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Monday, December 27, 2010

If you are considering making at least one 2011 New Year Resolution, you may be thinking with the SMART an acronym for goal setting. Although everyone from Ken Blanchard to Tony Robbins to Edwards Deming are credited (or take credit) for SMART, the reality is that no one really knows where SMART started. The letters is SMART stand most often for (Specific, Measurable, Attainable or Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound or Timely).

As a coach, I use SMART all the time with my clients. Until this week, I always thought of most of the components of SMART as more mechanical strategies to work a goal into or a litmus test for "good goals" versus "bad goals." It never occurred to me the motivational power of the SMART component. I'd like to share a story about the motivating power of the "A."

Today's letter -- the letter A

Like a good coach. I practice what I preach. So every year about this time I set out to create a road map for the coming year. I print it out on nice paper and frame it at the top of the stairs outside my bedroom so I see it every morning. I print it on a transparency and tape it to the window next to my office desk so I can't help but see it when I look outdoors. It's nothing fancy -- just a list of big goals or daily habits I am commiting to focus on for the next 12 months. This whole creative process is fairly straightforward: I brainstorm some ideas, ask key people in my life for input, type up a draft and print it out, let it percolate, ask for feedback, etc. This year I wrote down "hike the Long Trail" and gave little thought to logistics or anything else. My thinking went kind of like this: "I definitely need to get in shape in the Spring and a lofty goal will help me -- what could it be -- other than my usual summer one-day Presidential traverse?" Bing! The Long Trail came to mind and I jotted it down.

The Long Trail runs the length of Vermont from Massachusetts to Canada. 275 miles long, it's the first long distance hiking trail in the US. I hiked a major part of this when I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1987. I thought nothing of it -- I just wrote it down.

Then the "A" started to happen.

I did a little research on just how I might do this at this point in my life. Ten weekends, 8 weekends and a week -- many options. I looked at my planned schedule for the summer / fall 2010. "Wow," I thought to myself. "I might really be able to do this I have the time." I noticed a shift in my feelings -- in my motivation about this particular goal.

I looked at the map. I saw that the trail passes near Serenity House in Wallingford, VT where I consult on a regular basis. "I could hike there, get into town, get cleaned up, work -- heck -- I could hike for a week not a weekend -- and still do coaching work -- hey I do coaching on the phone -- I could hike for 5 days at a shot, work for 2 and get back on the Long Trail." Suddenly, my motivation and emotions about this seemed to grow exponentially. "I could actually do this," I thought.

I caught myself saying it outloud while I was driving down the road: "S**t I could REALLY do this!"

When I got home, I rushed to my library and dug out a Long Trail Guide from my days with Outward Bound. "1992. Won't do," I thought. I checked out the Internet for some ideas about section hiking -- found a whole blog about this -- posted a comment -- got a reply. I decided I would check out EMS or LL Bean -- both nearby -- to get a map, guidebook and other resources. Suddenly I found myself now thinking about the prospect of hiking the Long Trail in 2011 with excitement -- I could literally feel my heart pounding when I thought about it. "This could really happen!"

Well , not so suddenly in reality. Chunking the goal down / thinking and planning the how had increased the power of the "A" -- Attainable/Achievable -- provoking new energy into what only a few days ago was just an idea on a list.

How many times do you set the goal but do not jump start your motivation by considering and envisioning the "A"? I have done it many times.

Not this year!

So this week when you think about what you want to do in 2011 -- spend some time and envision the how. It will infuse your goal with new power and excitement. Post a comment and let me know how your resolutionizing goes!

Monday, November 15, 2010

These days, there are many health books around but certain books deserve more hype than others. “Prime-Time Health” being one of them. An easy to read, fact filled from A to Z. Dr. Sears covers many great facts that are on everyone’s mind when it comes to health.

While reading this book you will learn anything from Heart Disease, to reversing bone loss, to losing weight and staying fit. Topics are endless and easily understood. Prime-Time Health explores new and old thinking of Health today. Dr. Sears also provides an “8-week healthy-aging” program that will help you boost your health and energy. Today everyone wants to feel younger and live longer and Dr.Sears tells you just how to do that. Sears implements the “LEAN” (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition) method which this book goes by. After reading you will have a better understanding of where fat comes from, and how to get rid of it, how blood pressure and blood sugars work, and how to prevent diseases. Whether you’re 5 or 70, there’s enough information for all the age groups. Reduce your stress and sharpen your thinking with these great tips.

Work your gut and build your bones, the descriptive images and explanations let you do just that. Dr. Sears also offers the top 17 super foods you should eat, and introduces you to his treatment plans which are easy to follow. This is a Must-Have book for every clinical practice. Publishers’ Weekly states “Prime-Time Health” is "Amusing, encouraging, and easy-to-remember prescriptive mnemonics and slogans enliven a lucid, personal and professional narrative. Sears provides what similar books often lack-an honest and trusted voice plus the latest medical science in a comprehensive, accessible program that is hard to resist."

As a life Coach I know the importance of health and nutrition. With Holidays and tasty food around the corner we can all try some of Sears' tips. Try a few of the 17 super foods that the book recommends from pomegranate to yogurt or go for his 8-week Prime Time Pan, I've tried a few myself. For more information click here.


Friday, October 15, 2010

"The Happiness Myth" takes us back to our history and the myths that are no longer. Can you believe that we used to think that “chores” were the main source to our unhappiness?, or sports were bad for women? How about eating coca plants instead of drinking Red Bull?

Times have definitely changed, and this book explores the myths and facts of our history and today. It provides an in-depth look into many different idea that we thought were good for us which todays' modern science proved them not-so. It shows us the differences between what we think happiness should be today and what people expected it to be in times past.

Jennifer Michael Hecht Keeps you stimulated and interested while reading this book, kind of like the coca plants did for the Columbians working in the fields. Heckts' conclusions are quite interesting and many times practical, making it easy to get the message to care for ourselves. An easy to read, quirky guide, will make you smile and see the difference between the days of yester year and today. Some may even change your thinking as well.

The Washington Post says “Heckts' curiosity ranges widely, and the breadth of her learning is impressive….Fresh and daring analysis.” This book will keep you informed and laughing from start to end. Through its’ amazing research into the cultural history, it will certainly rethink your assumptions about happiness.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The coaching-focused Mastermind Group in the Upper Valley of Vermont / New Hampshire will begin a new text on September 7th, 2010 that will help you expand your network, gain support and reach your goals.

The group, in collaboration with Borders Books, meets each Tuesday at 10:00 am in West Lebanon, NH. The new text, "Who's Got Your Back", by Keith Ferrazzi, provides an executable strategy for your most important plans without costing your sanity.

Many of us are caught up in the day-to-day struggle between work and family and fun and wellness. How do you do keeping yourself balanced? How do you keep yourself grounded? How do you keep yourself focused? How do you insure you reach your goals in a focused but mindful way? Ferrazzi's book explains a nine-step approach to building what he calls lifeline relationships.

With "Who's Got Your Back" you will learn to create meaningful and trusting relationships well beyond your success. You will benefit from reading this book regardless of whether you engage the Mastermind Process.

If you are like most people, however, just read books and don't engage them fully. Coaching brings the book to life. Through masterminding this book won't be another piece of information but will become an actionable strategy you can depend on being accountable to.

If you live near the West Lebanon, NH / White River Junction, VT area -- you owe it to yourself to check out the power of Masterminding.

"Who's Got Your Back" shows us that relationships are the key to our success in business. You will learn the kinds of relationships that really make a difference. Ferrazzi also shows us how to get further in setting your goals and staying more powerful in your career.

The Mastermind Group works through each book slowly - one text about every three months - so participants can easily keep up with the reading.

Have you read this book? Do you think it is as impactful as Ferrazzi's last book, "Never Eat Alone" (which we also covered in the Mastermind Group).

For more information about the Mastermind Group, call me at 802-380-1026 or go to

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yesterday Facebook announced Facebook Places which begs the question should I stop using Foursquare and start using Facebook Places, should I ignore Facebook Places and continue to use Foursquare-- what's a business owner to do?

Interestingly enough, most businesses don't even know what Foursquare is, let alone how to use it to grow their business.

Many of my business coaching clients are using Foursquare today because I strongly encourage them to (After all it's my job as a coach to look out for my clients) .

Foursquare is a great tool for your business. If you're not using it you should. In order to start using this tool you need to claim your business on their site. By claiming your business you can edit the type of business it is, add more information, and start creating specials for people to use in as they check into your business. The more times someone checks in, the better their rewards can get. You set up the specials you would like and the amount of times that someone needs to check in before being awarded.

Here are some ins and outs of Foursquare setups:

  • You can only have ONE special live on people's phone at one time.

  • When someone unlocks the special, they will have a special message on their phone they can show to you (the business) and get their reward/special that you have setup on the Foursquare site.

  • You can create multiple specials for your business.

  • Specials can be award related - i.e., for the mayor.

  • They can happen once after a particular number - i.e., after 5, check-ins.

  • They can be sequenced - i.e., every three check-ins.

  • The can be crunched up - i.e., three check-ins in four days.

Examples of Badges that I think you can create in-house rewards for:

  • Mayor- When you have checked in more times than anyone else. Example, you can reward someone for being the mayor by letting them cut the line. You can also solve the issue of your employee being the mayor in Four Square as well.

  • Swarm - You can also use the following badge and reward your customers when there are 50 check-ins during the same time period. Check in to a place where 50+ other foursquare users are currently checked in. And yes, if you are number 49, you get the badge when number 50 checks in.

  • Player Please - Check in to a place that has three members of the opposite sex currently checked in. They must be your friends.

As a business coach I educate my clients to not waste their phone specials on badges like mayor. After all you as the business owner can easily see who the mayor is. By creating an in-house reward that you tell your clients about, you create an opportunity to educate them about Foursquare and build brand loyalty.

Four square is a engaging tool that rewards users for their check ins and definitely gets people competing for the badges. It's a powerful tool for your business (if used skillfully) because you can reward your frequent customers to get the word out about your business. Four square posts can link peoples' check-ins to their Facebook page, Twitter therefore, creating free advertising for your business.

What do you think of Foursquare as a business tool? Essential? or just another internet waste of time?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

If you have gone on Facebook in the last couple of days, you may have noticed some changes.

Facebook is heating up the competition to penetrate websites outside of the Facebook platform by adding a number of gadgets / widgets / tools that can be added to a website, they have created pages from the interest section of your profile and they have replaced
Become a Fan” with “Like” for business pages on Facebook.

What does this mean for the business owner or organization with a “page” presence on Facebook already? Confusion. What does this mean to your consumer / client / target audience?

What should you do about all of this? Wait patiently for the dust to settle.

To illustrate the potential mess, consider my coaching business, True Azimuth, LLC. I have a website, a
coaching blog and a Facebook Page. All are integrated nicely. When someone goes to my website
or blog I encourage them to become a fan on Facebook. When someone goes to True Azimuth’s Facebook page, they can see a feed from my blog integrated on the page.

Now I have a new Facebook Page for True Azimuth, LLC (which I can’t control – at least at the moment) that was
created from the employer listing on my profile. True, I could have chosen not to create the page – I am currently the only employee of my coaching business. But what happens to BIG companies with thousands of employees on Facebook? You guessed it – it only takes one employee to create the company page! What a mess – more on this later.

Now “Like” comes along. Facebook developers have changed “Become a Fan” with “Like” – a move which I thought I liked. But then they added these website gizmos to the mix – more things to “Like.” And guess what?
None of these are connected!

So, say I add the inline code to both my blog and my website to allow people to “Like” them. A person comes to my blog and clicks “Like” – that does not mean they are now a Fan of my business on Facebook – they just “Like” my blog. Same thing with my website. If a person “Likes” my website, that doesn’t mean the “Like” my blog or my Facebook page.
The result: complete marketing mayhem and utter chaos!

Thrown in with this mix is the ability to feed news from your website into the Facebook News stream of people who “Like” you. If you have a website, blog and Facebook page, it could easily mean your target market gets up to three duplicate messages if you have a consolidated / integrated web presence like I do.

Add to this these new pages created from Facebook profiles and you have a cluster of a mess to sort out.

My solution? I am waiting for this dust to settle before I jump into Facebook’s newest gadgets. BTW – you should be doing that anyway – meaning your social media strategy and your web presence strategy should be built on a solid marketing plan that you review and update annually – keeping you and your business from making impulsive, jump-on-the-bandwagon decision.
(That is what I coach my business clients to do)

What is your solution? Do you like Facebook’s new “Like”?