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Visit Our New Blog Site
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 12/18/08 7:46 AM
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Please visit our new Christian Coach blog site on WordPress for our latest inspirational posts.

Leadership Lessons from the Dugout
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 9/16/08 8:34 AM
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Leadership Lessons from the Dugout

Copyright 2008

 

Are you or your department struggling with recognizing other departments or contractors are a part of 'the home team?' 

 

Do feel uncomfortable or threatened when they seem to be crossing into 'your' territory and working on 'your' projects?

 

Imagine your workplace is really a baseball or softball game. Put your game cap on.  (Being in the Big A, I'm thinking a Braves cap.)


Let's say at this point you've got one or two of your best hitters already on base.  How are you going to get them back to home base?  By rotating through the other players on the team and letting them go up to bat.

 

See those "players" as fresh reinforcements for the long innings ahead.  You might be surprised at the blessings that will come from their perspective and increased manpower.


Deep breath. Put 'em in coach.  Entertain new thoughts such as these and the feelings of cooperation and collaboration will follow.

7 Tips to Inspire Going the Extra Mile (or 12 miles!)
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 8/25/08 10:18 PM
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If you find yourself in a position at work or in your personal life where you are trying to influence others to step and stay outside their comfort zone, these tips are a check-list of sorts for keeping others engaged and moving forward.

 

7 Tips to Inspire Going the Extra Mile, or More! 
(Tips to support Team Performance, Personal Achievement, Volunteerism)

 

1. Make it easy to attend by confirming with details

 

2. Be there with a welcoming smile

 

3. Provide crossing guards disguised as cheerleaders

 

4. Pacing and walking in tandem builds confidence

 

5. Dancing and hit tunes a must - Pink Mohawk optional

 

6. Water and cookies refresh

 

7. Photo finish celebration

 

The  August Journey that taught me these tips:

I learned more about how to inspire achievement and engagement one Sat. morning with an incredible group of women going for a walk, than I'd learned in two decades of professional experience.

 

A very special friend and mentor just faced breast cancer head-on this summer.  Just weeks after surgery Martha informed me she has been walking dozens of miles each week to train for the Atlanta 2-Day for Breast Cancer for "It's the Journey" - a walkathon through the streets of Atlanta to help support Breast Cancer research, prevention and education programs.


Yearning for some girl time with my awesome friend (and knowing I could use the cardio exercise myself) I asked if I could be her walking partner for an upcoming training walk.  In her usual enthusiasm, she accepted my request and a few days later called to confirm with directions and details.


With my own regular walks at best 3 miles a day, I assured Martha I would just come along for the first 6 miles . . . that was before I found myself in a well-orchestrated, collaborative effort between some pretty awesome people and God. (!)


I arrived for the event just minutes before we were due to head out. (Not my intention, but it was a restless night and I had somehow turned off my cell phone alarm in my sleep,causing me to also miss my quiet time and my cup of half-caff to prepare me mentally.) 

 

Yet, there was Martha, grinning and stretching . . . and oddly, un-annoyed at my last-minute arrival. She warmly greeted me and introduced me to a few friends.  Within minutes, the fun began and we began trecking through the streets of Sandy Springs in spite of dark clouds and occasional drizzle. (A blessing in August in the South.)


Within two blocks of the starting point, courteous gentlemen wearing orange crossing guard vests came cruising by on motorcycles, gently ushering us back onto the right of way out of the busy street.

 

Every few blocks we'd encounter these same men taking turns directing traffic, acting as crossing guards and cheerleaders, often with '70s and '80s dance music blaring from their radios . . . and always with a big smile and or nod of encouragement, whether they were being pelted by rain or waiving back confused Sat. morning drivers just sure they had a green light.

 

We girls walked and talked.  And we walked and talked some more. Every few miles there was a water car, and every couple of blocks more dance music and smiling traffic guards. It was a party in motion.

 

Note to self: something about dance music helps reduce the throbbing of tired feet and the burn of the largest muscle in the body (the caboose).

 

And before I knew it, we'd passed the 6-mile mark. In spite of protests from the soles of my feet and an odd twinge coming from the foot I'd twisted on a curb back at mile two, I grinned at my friend and my new walking buddies, took another swig of water, and continued onward.  They didn't even have to talk me into it.

 

Within minutes, the precious cooling drizzle began again with a lovely breeze as well. (God wink) So refreshing!

 

Graciously, my long-legged friend paced herself for several miles helping me compensate for my not quite 5'4" stride that required me to chasse every few yardsjust to keep up with her.  And we walked and talked, and she introduced me to more journey partners.

 

More talking, another safe street crossing, courtesy of that guy with the PINK mohawk on his biker dude helmet, traversing a few more hills (this is Atlanta!) . . . another water car - cookies too (passed on those since I full on the great conversation we were having) and more walking and talking.

 

And suddenly, we were back at the starting point and Martha had her camera out for pictures to celebrate our finish.

 

Three and a half hours after we'd begun, I'd walked the entire 12 miles.  OMG!

 

Yes, it was the journey.  A very well-orchestrated journey.  Thanks to my mentor and very brave friend, Martha Lanier, and Randi (founder of It's the Journey) and all the awesome volunteers who entertained and ushered us safely along the route. 

 

A huge thanks to my new "sisters" who inspired me to keep going, some who have fought the battle and won, others walking for family members (both men and women still in a battle), and some walking for those who went on to be with the Lord prematurely.

 

I learned more about how to achievement and engage and encourage others to step out of their comfort zone from this incredible group of survivors, than I'd learned in two decades of on-the-job training, research and studies, and attending training seminars!

5 Mental Fitness Discoveries to Change Your Life
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 8/22/08 10:30 AM
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5 Mental Fitness Discoveries to Change Your Life copyright 2008 Sandy R. Lawrence

Some of these you might have heard these principles before.  Truth is, much wisdom is not new, yet today's science and academic communities can provide conclusive data explaining how our Divine Design works. 

 

We can choose to affect our hard-wired physiology and be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

1. Your mind is never neutral, it's always thinking.  

2. Your mind can't think on two opposed things at once.

3. If you don't set your mind on something, it will default to thinking about something else.

4. Emotions and actions follow your thoughts.

5. Negatism and replaying negative events reinforces problems.

 

Your mind is never neutral -#1 Many brain studies show that we speak at a rate of 200 to 300 words per minute, yet our thoughts zoom (consciously and unconciously) atthousands of words per minute.  

Your mind can't think on two opposed things at once-#2

Functioning MRI's and neuroscientic studies show that when your brain's left pre-frontal cortex, the part that generates contentment is active, it suppresses the right pre-frontal cortex that controls resentment and anger.  Left pre-frontal cortex thinking enables us to feel more connected, more optimistic, hopeful, joyful, and energetic. See work by Dr. Richard Davidson, M.D. et al.

If you don't set your mind on something, it defaults to thinking about something else - # 3  (see point #1)

 

Emotions and actions follow thoughts - #4 (see point #2 and point #5)

 

Negatism and replaying negative events reinforces and makes problems worse - #5

Experts in the field of Positive Psychology, Barbara Frederickson and Marcial Losada,explain that when we focus on positive thoughts and experiences, we push back the negative tide of emotions and increase the likelihood of positive action Frederickson, B. L., Losada, M. F., (2005). Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing.  American Psychologist, Vol. 60, No. 7, pp. 678-686.   

Their research reveals that positive impressions widen the array of thoughts and actions facilitated (such as behavioral flexibility). Whereas negative emotions tend to narrow someone’s behavior to minimal life-preservation actions, such as inaction about a situation, or remaining in what is “comfortable” even if the situation is not beneficial or healthy.


In one of their experiments, a 28-day study, 188 participants provided daily reports of positive and negative sentiments or attitudes they experienced.  Losada was able to calculate what is known as the “tipping point,” the mean ratio of positive to negative influences as being 2.9013. This is known as the Losada Line. 

So, in order to overcome the toxicity of negative influences and to promote your own flourishing, make sure your positive thoughts outnumber negative ones by 3:1.

 

If you'd like to work with a coach or trainer who can translate these principles into practical and easy to apply disciplines for work and life success, please email me. 

 

Blessings,

Sandy

Is Coaching inherently Judeo-Christian?
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 7/17/08 6:10 PM
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Is Coaching an inherently Judeo-Christian paradigm?  Is it 'biblical' to participate in coaching?

Absolutely!  In addition to many of the more commonly quoted scriptures, here are more verses to consider:

"But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner" (1 Corinthians 14:40)

"For God is not a God of confusion" (1 Corinthians 14:33)

"Prepare plans by consultation" (Proverbs 20:18)

"The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage" (Proverbs 21:5)

"Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts" (Proverbs 24:3-4, TLB)


"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:13)

 

Your wisdom matters! 

Tell us what other verses you feel support the biblical basis for coaching 

- What biblical characters come to mind when you think of the 'first leaders' in coaching?

 

"living for the line and not the dot"

JOY & Blessings-

Sandy L.

www.ChristianCoach.com






Lessons from the Vacation: Time Management Insights
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 7/17/08 10:50 AM
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Lessons From The Vacation: REAL Time Management Insights

Think of the last time you were on vacation.  Do you see palm trees?  Do you hear the waves gently lapping at the shore?  Or maybe, you've begun humming that tune to your favorite Broadway show.
 

Whatever your preferred vacation, aren't you amazed at how much you get done the last few days before you leave?  Have you ever noticed how focused you are because you know your departure time is a finite time and there will be consequences if you miss your planned departure?

 
You decide quickly what things are ‘low’ priority and can wait, you delegate quickly, and you tackle core activities with focus and precision so you can leave for you vacation with a clear conscience.


You are mentally prepared as well, having considered what your dream destination has in store for you, you've watched the movie in your mind of what you will see and do while you are away.


This is exactly the kind of focus your business (and your personal life) can benefit from the other 51 weeks a year!  And guess what?  It’s possible to have that 'vacation bound' mind-set.

 

Such focus begins with assessing what rewards and benefits await you when you finish your work, then being aware of what you can and must complete during ‘work’ blocks of time so that you can be free to fully enjoy 'personal' time.


COMPARTMENTALIZE
If you've flown in the recent years, you know that the larger luggage - the items you won't need until you are at your destination- gets placed in the belly of the plane, while reading material and lighter, smaller items for the journey are welcome in the cabin with you as long as they fit in an overhead bin or under the seat.  Why?  For your comfort and safety of course. 


Being productive during pre-planned blocks of time for work and pleasurable activities can be viewed similarly. When you exercise self-control and pre-plan core business activities(prospecting, follow-up, next-step presentations), you can be 100% "on" while at work, and then 100% at rest and enjoying yourself when you are ‘scheduled’ to be away from work for personal activities. You will be less likely to slip into a cycle of overwork which tends to crowd and bruise every layer of your life- mental, emotional, spiritual and physical.


"Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill.

It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends."  Brian Tracy


Are you A THIEF?
If you don't get your work done because you don't use your time well, you will fall into the trap of stealing personal time.  This creates more than just physical and mental exhaustion, but often a values conflict as well.  Soon guilt, resentment and loneliness nag you, which can contribute to poor health, affecting both the quality of your work and your relationships.  You begin to realize you feel stressed, irritable, depressed most of the time.  You may also feel internal pressure to work 7 days a week.

 
Look at your calendar.  Do you have pre-scheduled blocks of time for completing your action plan activities, such as actual appointments to build future business or to improve value and service?  Or are you still only using a 'to do' list for these priorities? 


Or worse, are you doing the same things you've done for years or taking whatever business falls your way, including allowing constant interruptions, even during personal time?  Do you designate separate work time and personal time blocks in your daily schedule?

 
Often when we set mini-deadlines (appointments) with ourselves, we accomplish so much more than we ever imagined, just as we often do when we have that departure flight scheduled for vacation. 

 
A good habit to develop is to review your progress mid day.  Did you do the things you set out to do before lunch?  If not, ask yourself what absolutely, positively needs to be done 'DO or DIE' that afternoon to be true to your Action Plan for your business and your real life.  Re-focus and make time to get it done.  Move a lower priority task to the next day.  Stop boasting about what you are going to do and comparing your plans to others, and get out and DO it - concentrate on working wisely when you are supposed to be working.


One great way to figure out how you really spend your time is to jot down what you did every 15 minutes throughout the day.  As you move through the day, write a brief description of what you actually did the last 15 minutes; then review this log at the end of the day, before taking personal or family time.  Do this for a week.  (Talk about an eye-opener!) 


During the daily review, notice what appointments you did not complete, and note the most difficult or highest priority activity still remaining.  Assuming it’s not a contingency on a contract or time sensitive, schedule an appointment with yourself for the next day to complete it, preferably, early in the day.  Then, be sure to show up with the Nike mindset, ‘Just do it!’


(As a business and life coach, I recommend that clients turn the daily review portion of this assignment into a life-long habit.)


TRAVEL DELAYS
Often activities take longer than intended.  For example, you may find doing computer work or paperwork seems to take a whole day.  If so, try scheduling a start time and end time for each activity and one block of time in the morning and another later in the day. 

 

Exercise self-control with these appointments with the same intensity you have when getting ready for vacation.  The truth is, a mini-vacation does await you, in the form of time with friends, family or a favorite past time. 

 
In the case of email, studies have shown productivity actually rises if you don’t read email first thing in the morning, but instead open it after you’ve completed higher priority tasks.  Personally, I’m most productive when I begin my day with quiet time: reading scriptures, talking with God (asking Him to order my day, to give me wisdom, and to give me His strength) and counting my blessings and renewing my mind:  meditating on what I’m grateful for and reading affirmations.


Being a better steward of time means being pro-active and mindful of how you choose to spend your time.  You may find you need to learn boundary-setting scripts to use with yourself or others, or you might need to use an alarm to notify you when that a particular task time is up.  Try alarm functions on your PDA/cell phone, database calendar or even the kitchen timer if you work from home.


Get your FREE Souvenir
If you want to experience better business and healthier relationships, practice these time management basics and apply self-control.  And if you are a Believer, remember that ‘fruit’ of self-control is a FREE gift from God, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23.

 

So you can spend a little more on a much needed mental vacation, take advantage of our July 'TWO for ONE' Special - Receive 2 hours of LIVE Coaching for the price of one when you reserve your coaching or consultation on-line in July, (OR get twice the amount of accountability/brainstorming sessions for the same price.) 

 

CALL 404-939-1569 to find out more or email us now.

Spring Clearing: How to Overcome Chaos or Despair
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 4/15/08 11:50 PM
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Spring Clearing: Get Unstuck & Maintain Your Pace Copyright 2007 Sandy Lawrence

So you feel stuck or are concerned about maintaining your pace.

Maybe you are happily manic over a new venture.  Or possibly you're overwhelmed, burdened or burned-out.  Wherever you are (or aren't) there's HOPE and help.

Just like at the first of the year when everyone is proud to share their New Year's resolutions . . . I encourage you to  "Forget resolutions, try a few solutions."

 

Consider:

 

- What are the top ‘priorities’ or ‘issues’ on your plate this week?

- Where do you want to ‘go’ this month? Sense God is leading?

- Better yet, what just ONE THING that’s on your mind . . . the ‘to do’  list, prayer list . . . what is really bugging you?


Got it?  Good.

 

Like a fresh coat of vivid-colored paint you might use to spruce up an old wall in your home so you can enjoy that unused room, your next mind-storm session may be just the catalyst you need to get going again, to regain your pace after temptations and over-indulgence.

 

Now, it’s time to log-off the computer and roll-up your sleeves to get to work.  Grab a pen, clean paper or your journal, and your Bible.  Head away from distractions and find a quiet place.

 

Mind-storming is when you write down as many ideas, answers, and possible actions you can think of to any “problem” you have posed as a question.  A mind-storm is best done with yourself, and really effective when you make it part of prayer and meditation.

 

Later, after you have more clarity, meet with and brainstorm with others.

 

'Mind- storm' or 'think-out' sessions involve:

 

    * Your Mind- brainpower, psyche, wits, intellect

    * Your Storm- outburst, downpour, rant and rave (a good description for my own think-out sessions)

    * Focused Thinking- imagining, believing, supposing,considering, reasoning, pondering

    * Your Emptying-Out the possibilities- revealing, making known, exposing, viewing, making ready, making obtainable

 

Take some time in the next day or two and mind-storm for possible solutions and approaches to the priorities on your success journey. Name the priority and consider everything that comes to mind.  Then write the first steps you might take.

 

Just remember to first take some time to with God to test your heart, thoughts and ways, and apply that magnificent piece of machinery (the brain) and enjoy the inspiration that only He can give.   Start with counting your blessings- What's going RIGHT? What is POSITIVE?

 

According to the experts in neuroscience and positive psychology, when we focus on activities like listing things we are grateful for, or consider our progress, we actually turn-on the part of the brain that helps us feel more connected, more optimistic, hopeful, joyful, and energetic. This helps us take the next step.

 

These modern studies confirm our 'Divine Design' and how we should take responsibility to manage our thoughts if we want personal transformation.  Coincidentally, the scriptures have provided such knowledge for thousands of years:

“From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things” Proverbs 13:2,


“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus,” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18,


“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things,” Philippians 4:8.

 

Also, when you are 'mind-storming,' check the Manual (the Bible) and stay in close communication with the Designer and Engineer of your life for calibration and on-going adjustment.

 

It is simple, but how often do we honestly take time for prayer, confession, and meditation on God’s Word to face the things that seem to be ‘in need’ of attention, or to consider what we can learn from leaders of the past,  . . . or more importantly, to quiet our minds and present our possible solutions to God, asking Him to give us discernment?

 

"Test me, O Lord, and try me,

       examine my heart and my mind."  Psalm 26:2

 

"In his heart a man plans his course,

       but the Lord determines his steps."  Proverbs 16:9

 

If you are not familiar with the helpful examples found in the scriptures, then at a minimum, share your struggles and possible solutions with a wise 'Board of Encouragement -"BOE" - a group of professional peers, or hire a professional coach whose values are in alignment with your own.

 

The key is to be open to new insights, experience and wisdom . . . welcome fresh eyes to test and confirm your plans.

 

Once you have met with your BOE (or coach) and have considered possible solutions in light of your budget, time, resources, and your ultimate destination and mission, you'll be more prepared to take that next step on your success journey, and the next, and the next, and so on. 

 

Even better, you will feel more footloose and free - or at least will have found comfort in seeing the hands reaching out to help you get moving again.

 

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."  Matthew 7:7

 More about coaching with Sandy Lawrence, Founding partner here

How to Stay on Top of those Weeds and Enjoy More Green
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 4/15/08 7:00 PM
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How to Stay on Top of those Weeds and Enjoy More Green
Copyright 2007 Sandy R. Lawrence

Pink and white dogwoods join the cherry blossoms bursting into bloom. Azaleas and tulips happily join in, and the grass is finally turning green . . . oh, please, NO!  Those can't be  . . . weeds already?!

Spring is here in a BIG way.  And I've been caught without my pre-emergent. 

Such things do keep me humble.

It hit me while I was hand-pulling a few weeds and scrambling to find a lawn service that ensuring a lush, healthy lawn year around takes the same kind of strategic planning and foresight that is gained when we participate in self-imposed planning sessions or
regular coaching.

(Anyone know of a good landscaping coach?!)!  LOL

But seriously, pausing regularly to review your master business plan and to determine the timing of various strategies and "maintenance" is crucial to keep those little irritating 'weeds' from sneaking up and marring your landscape right when you're in 'full bloom' with your business efforts.

Don't say you are 'too busy' to stop and review.  Just a small investment of time, and if needed, money, can yield great rewards by preventing time lost, ineffective ad costs, and possibly lost clients due to poor timing or disorganization. 

The busier you are, the more likely something can slip through the cracks (or take root). Trust me, I'm speaking from first hand experience from both my own yard situation and other clients' situations  They waited until things were out of control to give me a call.

Take for example this person I met some time back who lost a contract file. Eek!  It took almost a week for it to reappear.  Such paperwork is extremely time sensitive and important, so how could something like this happen? 

For starters, this individual was juggling too many demands and got distracted.  What they realized once they began coaching, is that they didn't have clear guidelines or a system for how they should handle such files.  It just hadn't occurred to them that a file could 'disappear' - until it did.

They had organized their stacks of paper, but not operational details.

Let's make sure you don't have any unpleasant surprises this season.  Grab your master business plan, SWOT analysis, behavioral profile, and marketing strategy action plans.  Review your goals, intentions, challenges,and rewards.  (If you don't have these, call me!)

Now, take a look at each tactic and every operation you must touch in the next 30 days.  

    - If you were to be whisked away for a whirlwind world tour and had to hand-off your business to someone else, do you have written guidelines for what must happen to keep your 'yard' green? 

     - Are there important deadlines for maintenance issues such as completing your tax filing and completing continuing education/licensing requirements?  Are all of your clients and leads entered into your database with follow-up appointment alarms set? 

     - What about warm calls to your referral partners, advertising and marketing mail campaigns?  Do you have those target dates plugged into the calendar?  Have you finished researching the details and do you have a clear implementation plan in place? 

 

If you will pause regularly to work on your business, you will find much more joy and good returns while working in the business.  And, you might avoid having some ugly weeds pop-up and spoil the view. 

Need a business coach 'green thumb'?  A la carte coaching sessions (emergency or preventative maintenance) are available, in addition to detailed business plans and marketing strategies.  Call Sandy on 404-939-1569.

What is Coaching & What Can it Do for You?
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 2/27/08 7:49 PM
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What is Coaching?

Direct and honest dialogue, often with lines of questioning facilitated by a skilled professional to lead the client to greater discovery of choices, alignment of efforts, and commitment to action.


One-on-one coaching can help you:

- experience greater clarity
- create and support healthy habits/life balance
- uncover limiting beliefs and self-talk
- overcome specific challenges
- create momentum to tackle big projects
- maintain your best pace/consistency
- stretch and reach the next level faster

New Beginnings: Lessons from the Lawrence Puppies
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 1/7/08 9:04 AM
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New Beginnings: Lessons from the Lawrence Puppies

copyright 2008 Sandy Lawrence

Want a better new year?  Be like little children (or puppies).

 

This new year is a bit different than years gone by.  We have kids - well, puppies to be specific.  And I have a new perspective watching these precious gifts from God play, eat, play, sleep, explore, and pretty much live a life of blissful, trusting, loving dependence. 

 

At barely 5 months (Grace) and 3 months (Champ), our pups are amazingly smart, brave, loving and laid-back.  Character traits I greatly desire for myself, I confess.  Each day they don't do a thing without the other, or without relying on my husband Mike or me. 

 

Their days consist of a steady diet of affection, attention, and affirmation from their 'parents' and from one another.  They continue to grow in great spurts, never isolated on their own, but through on-going dependence and sharing.  Blissful, content, trusting, loving daily dependence, and fun, challenging, learning through sharing. 

 

Shared experiences, shared meals, shared toys, shared space.  They are learning this is a healthy, fun, and 'normal' way to live.

 

This morning we were in the back yard playing fetch and they even shared who would take possession of the ball.  Most of the time they would each bite a side of the ball and trot back to mommy, stopping along the way to  romp and wrestle in good humor.

 

It's just 'normal' for them partner up and to be quick to welcome someone else's involvment and contribution.  They trust and assume the best.  They don't demand their own way.  They aren't selfish or hoarding.  They certainly aren't close-minded.  And they don't seem to mind sharing the spotlight.

 

Coaching lesson from the dogs: 

If you are feeling worn-out, unmotivated, unfocused, threatened by others success, or bewildered, but you sense you are sincerely ready for a season of new beginnings and healthy growth, act like the Lawrence puppies - embrace dependence.


And he (Jesus)said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  Matthew 18:3

 

Dependence - it's a good thing when you are relying on the right relationships to affirm and support you. :)

 

 


Coaching for Leaders- Survey of Value & Needs
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 12/19/07 12:40 AM
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Cincinnati Enquirer, Tuesday December 18, 2007
 
Poll: Executive coaches asked to develop leaders
BY JOHN ECKBERG | JECKBERG@ENQUIRER.COM
 

Companies that pay for coaching for senior executives expect results to focus on leadership development, according to the third annual international survey from Sherpa Coaching of West Chester Township.

 

The company, which teaches coaching as a profession to students at three universities, surveyed executive coaches from 35 countries, but centered on the U.S.

 

This year's survey was co-sponsored by the Tandy Center for Executive Leadership at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. The survey, which has grown from 550 respondents in 2005 to 1,300 in 2007, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

 

Sherpa offered university-level executive coaching programs at TCU, Penn State University and the University of Georgia.

 

"We're finding less and less 'as-needed' coaching. People are going to regular meetings. People also want a more limited scope - six months or less." Karl Corbett, managing partner at Sherpa, founded in 2004.

 

The survey found:

 

Nine of 10 human resources professionals and clients see the value of coaching as "very high" or "somewhat high." The number of business people who rate the credibility of coaching as "very high" or "somewhat high" was 74 percent, up 7 percentage points from last year.

 

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These results were not a big surprise to us at REALinTouch since so many speaking engagments and personalized coaching in 2006 and 2007 focused on leadership skills:  self growth to inter-personal skills, to understanding personality and generational diversity and how to influence and inspire others to rise above the status quo.

 

I've also noticed that many one-on-one clients do see the value and need to coach regularly, but not to sign-up for a long committment.  Usually just one to four months is needed to reallly be able to digest the new lines of thinking and to find their "pace" in walking out their priority action steps and learning new, healthier and more productive behaviors.  Then clients can invest in 'maintence' sessions a La Carte as needed every few months, or a couple of times a year.


At times folks are ready for a whole-life overhaul, so that does take longer depending on their situation, but for the leadership, management or career-focused client, less than 6 months can work. 

 

That's why we've always offered our programs as 'month to month' - recognizing that the goal is to walk alongside for a 'season' in a systematic, supportive way, but with enough flexibility to empower the client to learn and grow into their own pace and rhythm as soon as possible.  

 

Another option to serve this 'regular meeting' but shorter committment trend, is the Coaching Connection group coaching offering.  It combines monthly sessions with email support and personal 'homework' and 'application' tools . . . and as an added bonus, folks get to meet other like-minded professionals in the group which can boost morale and business from networking and idea-exchange.

 

Sandy R. Lawrence, Coach & Inspirational Speaker/Instructor
Founder, REALinTouch Coaching

More Tips for Leaders: Managing Education & Programs
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 12/4/07 9:53 PM
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More Tips for Successful Educational Initiatives & Programs
Sandy Lawrence, 2008 WCR GA State Education (from GA Orientation 10/07)

WCR Vision
To be a network of strong chapters that consistently deliver value and provide collaborative, trusted, welcoming environment in which members can achieve their business goals.

Ask each time:  Why is this educational program a benefit?  What values will be supported?  How will this support or meet the needs of our chapter and our members?

Clear Roles and Responsibilities
Communicate, communicate, communicate!

What must be accomplished to make this program a success?  Who will ‘own’ each part of the project?  What are the smaller tasks, what resources are needed, and by what date should each task be completed?

Set clear goals, delegate tasks, give good directions, give as much help as possible (supply with member contact info, MOCA passwords, etc) and specify a ‘drop dead date’ for each person/each task.  Make time for regular meetings and always ASK what else they need/ how you can help.

Team Skills and Behavior
Who is best suited for a particular part of the initiative?  Do they have the time/resources/desire to give 100%?  What does their track record say about reliability/experience/strengths/weaknesses?  

Consider assigning task partners so each person has 50% of workload, and can encourage/compliment and hold one another accountable. Involve affiliates, too.

Operating Standards
Decide upfront budget, style and most appropriate way to promote.  Is your group more formal or informal?  Materials and message should match.  Create a flyer template that can be used again and again.  Save in Word - easy for others to use/change as needed.

Teamwork:  remember some folks prefer the telephone over email.  

Return on Investment: just as with business, you need to ‘reach’ your members with different types of communication:  networking (announce at meeting), email, mailed flyer/invitation, and warm calls.  

How to Host a Successful Event/Seminar Task Timeline
See other post on this blog.

The Value of Surveying “Needs/Wants” & Educational Forum Example
The best way to pick topics your members will find valuable, is to SURVEY them at the business meeting.  Ask what people want to learn more about, or what issues are important to them.  Then, choose topics based on spot survey results.  (Survey again via email or at next event if your attendance was ‘light’ the day you asked.)

“On the spot” surveys are simple, just have everyone pull out a business card and write their suggested topic on the back.  Use these cards to call members and invite them to be a part of your next event as a facilitator or panelist.  After your survey, challenge all members to find one piece of info (to research on their own) the coming week, while it’s on their mind.  You might send a reminder email after your meeting to thank them for attending and participating in the survey, and to prompt them to take this action step.

At least two meetings beforehand, remind members to do their legwork so everyone brings something TO SHARE (not showing up to just ‘take’).  Ask your ‘facilitators’ or ‘panelists’ to bring a handout, or at least examples and the findings from their ‘research’ - websites/resources/company contact info related to the topic, etc.
 
For example, the “Technology & Networking Tips- TNT” Educational Forum is a standard program I offer as a professional speaker, but this can be modified for any chapter.  When I provide, I conduct as a full workshop seminar and balance story-telling with interactive questions and give time for members to swap ideas.  I provide in-depth facts, a hand-out and focus on key points and examples to paint the picture as well as interactive exercises to get members to share.  Keep in mind such forums can also be less formal and conducted as a ‘round tables.’
 
We held one forum in a classroom/training facility provided by an affiliate (seated 40), another was held at the local board of REALTORS® building in a large conference room (seated 20).  Each was intentionally 1 hour 15 minutes in length to be mindful of everyone’s schedule.  One program offered lunch afterwards, the other, light breakfast beforehand.  (Affiliate sponsors provided the food and helped send invitations and make warm calls to invite members/ potential members.)  The interesting thing is that most folks didn’t care if there was food or not!!  They crave the information and interaction.

The feedback sheets from the breakfast program indicated an ideal length of 1.5 to 2 hours to allow for more networking/discussion time.   For breakfast, we offered a 30 minute breakfast and networking time that began at 9:30 (a few folks were actually early!), then we shared the topic and facilitated the idea exchange.  Many stayed afterwards to chat.  Additionally, the committee created flyers on fun paper and mailed to all members in addition to sending an email invitation.
 
The forum was a member benefit, but we charged a small fee to non-members.  We’ve done this in the past with CE sessions as well and gave the guests the option to join and have the money go towards dues, not the program if they joined on the spot.

Collaboration can mean working with other committees: programs, membership, ways & means AND including your affiliates.  Celebrate what each person brings to the team. There is no 'I' in team, unless it's an INSPIRED team.  Enjoy.   SL

Checklist for Success
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 12/4/07 3:01 PM
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REALTOR® Magazine Online Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

How to Hold a Winning Seminar: Checklist for Success

Plan every detail with confidence. Follow these steps to ensure smooth sailing at your seminar.

Three to four months before the seminar

Determine your target audience, based on your niche in real estate.

Write down your business goals for the seminar (referrals, name recognition, etc.).

Pick a compelling topic that would appeal to your audience and help you achieve your goal. To

brainstorm for ideas, ask yourself: What are the top concerns that my prospects have? What aspects

of the buying and selling process do they want — and need — to learn more about?

Estimate your budget for the event.

Draft a rough agenda for seminar that includes:

o Topics you will cover.

o The format: Lecture, panel, guest speakers, etc.

o Multimedia components: PowerPoint, video, etc.

o Handouts.

o Snack and comfort breaks.

o Time for audience questions.

Decide how many people you will invite, and what marketing components you’ll use to invite them

(postcard, letter, e-mail, newspaper ad, etc.). Determine how you will collect registration information.

Select a date and time that will be convenient for your prospects.

Reserve space at a venue that fits within your budget and is easy for prospects to access.

Invite guest speakers who will cover the topic enthusiastically and with authority. Big names attract big

crowds, but higher-profile speakers likely will expect payment.

Two to three months before the seminar

Create your seminar announcement/invitation. This may be a flyer, postcard, e-mail, newspaper or

online ad, or a combination of any of all of those. In addition to the date, time, and place, the

announcement should include:

o A catchy title for the seminar (“How to Find a Condo Your Dog Will Love!”), and a brief

description that explains why your prospects should attend.

o A rundown of the speakers (Will it just be you, or will you moderate other speakers).

o A deadline by which to sign up.

o Instructions on how to sign up. Make it as easy as possible; Filling out an online form is one

quick method to register for the event, and it also captures the attendees’ contact information.

o Information on whether breakfast, lunch, snacks, or other refreshments will be served.

o Information on giveaways, any drawings for gifts.

o Information on who else is welcome to come.

Check deadlines for publications and other media where the event will be announced. Submit

announcement as appropriate.

Create a list of people to whom the announcement will be e-mailed and/or mailed.

Start assembling materials for handouts.

One to two months before the seminar

Order special supplies or equipment you’ll need for the event.

Add event and registration page to your Web site.

Mail or e-mail announcements (no sooner than one month before the event.)

If you’ll be serving food, plan what you will serve and who will cater the event.

Decide on giveaways or gifts for drawings.

Continue to develop high-quality handouts.

If you’ll be doing the presentation or acting as moderator, practice what you will say.

Begin to develop any PowerPoint or multimedia presentations.

One to two weeks before the seminar

Call to confirm the meeting room arrangements.

Call people in your sphere of influence and invite them to attend.

Send out newspaper announcements at least 2-3 weeks in advance.

Confirm that you have all of the supplies and equipment necessary for the seminar.

Shop for refreshments that you’ll be providing yourself. Order food from caterers.

Re-confirm with guest speakers. Fill them in on registration details, get them excited for the event!

Check on the number of people who have responded. Follow up with people who you expected would

come, but have not responded.

Finish working on handouts, including an agenda for the seminar that includes information on you and

the speakers.

One to two days before the seminar

Confirm your guest speaker one last time. Provide directions, if you haven’t already.

Confirm the meeting room.

Make copies of handouts and gather other materials you will be sharing with the audience.

Gather the audio/visual equipment you will need to have that day, and practice with any new

equipment you haven’t used before.

Create signs that you’ll put up at the event to direct participants to the correct area.

Monitor how many reservations are received and make adjustments, if necessary, to your

refreshments or seating arrangements.

Send an e-mail to the registrants reminding them of the event and providing a recap of what they can

expect.

Day of the seminar

Be sure your day is free of time-consuming appointments.

Review the material you will be presenting.

Take a copy of the reservation list with you.

Put signs in front of the event location.

Arrive early and relax.

Greet the participants as they arrive.

Keep an eye on the clock; To ensure the seminar moves along seamlessly and ends on time, you may

need to remind speakers when their time is running out.

Take photos and videos, and post on your Web site.

At the end of the event, be sure to ask for feedback. Provide a feedback form to learn what you can do

better next time.

Make sure attendees know how to reach you.

Two to three days after the seminar

Send a hand-written thank you card to each guest speaker and attendee. Send ‘Sorry We Missed You’

cards to all no-shows.

Reflect on what went well and what could be improved for your next seminar. Review any feedback

received from attendees.

Enter the contact information attendees into a follow-up system.

One week after the seminar to quarterly

Begin communicating regularly with attendees, perhaps by sending them your e-newsletter or

mailings.

Keep attendees in the loop about future events, especially if the seminar is on a related topic. And

remind them that you appreciate their business and referrals!

Educational Program Tools - WCR
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 12/4/07 1:44 PM
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Education & Programs Tips for WCR Volunteers:

You might find it helpful in planning educational events and programs to pay as much attention to addressing the ‘context’ (communication of our values) as you do the 'content' or topics you choose.

Think of it as addressing members SOULS.  Why does WCR even exist?  How do we fill a need in the marketplace?  How are we not 'in competition' with the local board or school, but rather 'enhancing' or contrasting their programs?

 
The big take away is that we know times are changing.  We must be willing to change and to embrace the many faces and personalities in WCR to thrive and survive.   Where WCR really ‘wins’ and how we can ‘do’ what WCR is designed to ‘do’ is in supporting our core values – in particular, in creating and communicating high-touch, high-content environments in a spirit of collaboration with members and other organizations who embrace our vision,mission and values.  


Read over the VALUES, vision and mission for WCR often.  Share with all members, often.  Why? Because we forget.

 

Certainly SUBSTANCE for your educational events IS as important, but where WCR really has a 'niche' is in our Vision, Mission and upholding our Values in how we interact with one another and with others in the community.  Remember, remind.  Use as your guide in choosing topics and managing time.

Key Points: 

Organization of Influence to entrepreneurs often in a 'Lonely Desert.'  People in leadership and on your committees are VOLUNTEERS.  Praise what they are doing 'right' and where they ARE making an effort, even if it's not what you expected.  Give them clear directions and involve in the brainstorming so they will 'own' the event as much as you.

 

Communication= Success.  Keep in mind (always) we are a multi-generational membership - variety of communication styles/preferences adn more than one way to pull off a good program.  Don't just rely on email or a flyer at a meeting.  The phone is a good thing and should complement your other communication efforts. Announce, invite, mail, email, call, announce again - even send out press releases to your board and local papers about your events.  (That's why you want to go personally 'tap' members to be on your committee.  When you have a few folks, each person only invests 'some' time to one or two tasks - a quarter- or every 6 months.)

 

Get out of the box- expand your box.  Education does not just need to be a 3 hour class or be held at a country club or at the local board.  To address members with different needs and time constraints, and budget constraints, try one or a few of these approaches:

- 90 minutes 'forums' that include a 30 minute networking time before or after

 

- Round Table Coffee Gatherings to facilitate idea exchange

 

- Business Builder Questions and Table Hosts or Ambassadors to help make the arrival/social time more valuable/educational

 

- Periodic updates to members of Designation Courses being held at local schools or relevent Business Seminars and Events

 

- Partnering with VP Membership to turn your Education Event into a new member 'fishing net'.  Non-members pay a higher rate for events, but if join that day, give them the membership value rate instead.

 

- Charge something for every event (more likely to reduce no-shows and can get a better speaker/subject matter expert)

 

- Ask vendors/affiliate members if they have a large conference room or classroom facility at their office or corp office and let them 'host' or be a 'co-sponsor' of an event. Ask them to share in the marketing (getting the word out, making calls, distributing flyers and inviting new or non-members to attend)



Try these sites for tools and ‘how to’ tips and of course, the most current info to ensure we are in alignment with the vision and mission:  
www.wcr.org (almost everything you need to inform your members and volunteers - great downloads esp. for PMN instructions)
www.realtor.org (ideas for hot topics, a good resource if facilitating panels or round table-style educational forum)
www.vistaprint.com (standard postcards with easy to use templates - ‘100 Free’ and just pay for shipping $7-10- and add your member lables (send to home address) Can use as mini-flyer to hand-out at meetings plus mail to members to help get the word out about your events)
www.evite.com (avoid having your email blocked or tagged & manage your events/rsvp list)
www.constantcontact.com (another service for email campaigns- newsletters, surveys, etc- fee applies)

www.realintouch.com (especially this blog- take a look at past posts -there are some principles that might be helpful to you and/or members)  Visit periodically.

 

Again, I'm still learning (everyday!) and 'wish' I'd known more myself about 'how it all works' in this great organization.  My best advice is to walk closely with your Pres. and Pres-Elect (ASK their goals for the coming year) - get a cup of coffee together once or twice a year, and remember 'Together we're better.' 

 

Be open-minded and open your heart each and every member (affiliates as well - many have much to give and share, so don't treat them like 2nd class members).  You never know where your next referral, great idea, or encouragement might come from!! 

Thanks again for what you are doing to make the world a kinder and more professional place.

- Sandy L. 2008 WCR Georgia Education volunteer, 2007 Atlanta Member of the Year

Atlanta Luxury Agent Networking Association
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 11/15/07 4:47 AM
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Atlanta Luxury Agent Networking Association

"7 Ways to Market & Sell Luxury Homes" by Sandy R. Lawrence

Unique & Luxury Homes Info from Nov. 14, 2007

 

One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. Proverbs 13:7   *Align YOUR Perception of the Market*

 

 Good day!  Again, great meeting each of you. I hope you find these links and resources helpful.  Be sure to send me your links to your featured properties and any other tidbits you might come across as you refine your marketing and sales efforts.  - Sandy

 

Luxury Home Council White Paper - Who is a Luxury Home Buyer in N. America, Market Outlook - Survey Results & Forbes info

 

"Rich Buyer, Rich Seller"  NAR link to Luxury Homes Institute PowerPoint

 

$16 Billion in RE sold in 2006 - 12.5% increase in RE auctions from the previous year (39% growth since 2003), per the National Auctioneers Association. 

------------------------

Hello Sandy,

It was really nice meeting you at the luncheon the other day.  Ken and I learned several things from your presentation and I was able to use the "tell the story" just yesterday.  It worked, I got a much better response I think than if I just went thru the "real estate verbage/talk".  Here is the link to the virtual tour of my lakefront listing that you said that you would be able to put on your blog.
 http://homescenes.com/_pgm/hs_IDXMain.cfm?MLSID=3499239  you may have to copy and paste it into your browser.  Thank you!!
 
Linda Stewart St. Clair
RE/MAX Town & Country
770-402-4739 direct
770-345-SOLD ext. 322 office

------------------------------

Here is a link to the virtual tour and other various pictures for the home on Brandon Hall Dr.   http://www.circlepix.com/home/3395VD

Pam Babcock, REALTOR®

HOME TEAM Realty Group, Inc.

Keller Williams Realty North Atlanta

Phone: 770-754-1145     Fax: 770-754-1147

Mobile: 770-656-7447

e-mail: Pam@teambabcock.com

www.hometeamrealtygroup.com

 




Precious Moments
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 7/31/07 10:46 AM
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 “SOUL - Precious Moments” © 2007 Sandy Lawrence

After a morning filled with pouring over marketing plans, reviewing my calendar for the next month, and revising program notes, I paused to read email.  One in particular caught my eye- a story about an artist.  It was actually a touching video on how she pours out love and patriotism by painting portraits of fallen soldiers, and then ships those portraits home to the parents (and doesn’t take a dime).

 

Sure, I was moved to tears by her overflowing cup of compassion and her passion for sharing her gifts and talent to comfort the parents of fallen heroes.  But even more so, I realized that much like those young heroes, none of us really know the length of our lives. 

 

This week, a flurry of serious prayer requests- life and death situations- came to me via phone calls and cyber-space, reminding me of how precious each day and each moment, truly is.  Consider my friend’s adult son, a young man just 28 years old, who collapsed at work and had seizures from exhaustion and an on-going respiratory infection, believed to be brought on by too many high-stress, 12-15 hour days as a closing attorney.  His landing in the hospital and being on a respirator is an example of the magnitude of the consequences of even the small choices we make day by day.

 

It’s been said, “We are doing things each day that are either making us, or breaking us.”  Author Denis Waitely writes, "Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now."

 

Next time you find yourself wishing this day would pass, or entering the camp of a ‘negative Nellie & Ned’, pause and consider the importance of ‘the little things.’  How can you nurture relationships, health, wisdom or wealth in a way that won’t break you or someone else?  Whether that’s telling someone you appreciate them, taking a much needed break to nurture your health, or pausing to count your blessing and consider all that is going right in your world, try to live well in the moment.

 

Be thankful, joyful and hopeful, and enjoy each minute today!

 

Your Favorite M & Ms?
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 6/27/07 6:10 PM
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 What are Your Favorite M&Ms?    Copyright 2007 Sandy R. Lawrence

Ha!  Another chocolate-lover is wooed into reading this – gotcha!  What came to your mind first?  Brightly colored candies that well, you know the saying “melt in your mouth and not in your hands."  Practical yet tasty.

 

Or, were you thinking of the last time you opened a friendly brown (or yellow) bag and thought “I’ll only eat a few for now . . .” and before you knew what happened, you ended up consuming the whole thing?!’

 

That’s a lot like the M & Ms in my world these days:  Marketing & Momentum. 

 

My attraction to “Marketing” is akin to these brightly colored candies, or their fun packaging that just begs for attention.  I’m drawn to the many ideas and ‘colors’ of marketing plans and tactics.  I literally eat that stuff up.  Why? Because people get connected when marketing efforts are implemented as intended!  Solutions get shared.  Deals get made.  Friendships are born. Goals are achieved.  Plus, I believe that ‘together we’re better.’  Marketing can help bring together powerful alliances.

 

I’m often enamored with “Momentum” as well– for others and myself.  The dictionary defines momentum as ‘determination, initiative, get-up-and-go, energy, a compelling force, power, influence, control.’  (If I wasn’t a happily married woman, I’d be scanning a dating bio hoping to find those same attributes in the opposite sex.  What?!  YES, my husband IS all that and more; sorry ladies!)

 

Momentum.  My dance with momentum is often one of optimistic, bubbly consumption.  Yet, sometimes it’s a slower dance, like taking time to savor the chocolate pieces melting in your mouth before choosing to take another bite.  Imagine you have a new bag of M&Ms.  You choose a favorite color; you place it in your mouth but don’t bite. You taste the sweet yet hard outer coating as it dissolves, and very soon you begin to enjoy the flavor of the chocolate escaping. 

 

Certainly, it’s a process you can only appreciate when you slow down, taking your time . . . when you’re intentional to create and study each moment. (PLEASE don’t leave just now for the vending machine or a run to the convenience store!  Let’s finish talking about the stuff of business - PACING yourself in business.)

 

Self-control in the moment is the kind of momentum that can result in a sustainable pace, verses burn-out.  This is the kind of marketing momentum that has clarified plans and is diligently walking out those plans and tracking results.  P - A - C - E means keeping an eye to completion of the plan without being anxious or voracious and overdoing it. 

 

If our marketing efforts are the bag of M&Ms, then the smaller daily appointments and tasks related to the master plan are the pieces we place in our mouth.  The individual bites.

 

Stop and consider if your pace needs to be adjusted.  Do you already have a mouthful?  Are you gobbling more than your fill- so much so that you aren’t able to effectively track your efforts, or getting a stomach ache from overdoing it? 

 

Or, are you savoring each day and patiently and purposefully taking smaller bites, awaiting the moment of pay-off for your diligence . . . the moment when the hard outer shell gives way to small streams of joy? (Revenue not chocolate!) 

 

Possibly you are experiencing the other extreme-holding onto details so long that your plans become a sticky, wet mess. (Yeah, confessions of a coach, on occasion that's been me, too!)  Thank God for Divine intervention and provision!!

 

What about you?  Take time to consider which scenario is true in your case and adjust accordingly.

 

I’ll leave you with one last thought about a temptation that can affect your marketing momentum:  just because someone around you has a new bag of M&Ms doesn’t mean you need to reach your hand into their bag.  Finish the one you’ve got, and then get your own new bag.

 

Yeah, it’s late and this one is a little artsy. So just call or email me if you don’t get it.

 

Note: No M&Ms were consumed in the writing of this article.

 

Truths from the Canary
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 5/16/07 3:08 PM
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Truths from the Canary

A canary?! 

That's what a well-meaning chiropractor once called me a few years ago.  I'd gone to him for a very nasty neck/shoulder thing brought on by an unusual amount of work-related stress.  After he'd straightened me out so to speak, he asked what was happening at the office (at the time I was in a corporate role).  I was honest with him that the emotional and physical demands were getting to me. 

He explained that a 'canary' was often used by coal miners digging deep underground.  When the air was getting too dangerous to breath due to carbon dioxide, the odorless and invisible killer, the canaries would  . .  . well, die.  (Luckily, humans aren't normally as delicate as our feathered friends.)  And no, the chiropractor didn't mean I was going to die from the stressful work environment . . . not yet!

But a 'canary' I remain.  Last week I was pulling out of a full 10-day funk when I remembered this 'gift' of avian-like sensitivity.  (YES. Coaches are human too. We struggle with many of the same frustrations and situations as our clients.)

This time I had really no one to blame except myself; I was the driver of my reactions to 'atmospheric' conditions.

For some odd reason, I detect things are heading south, the air is getting thick, before symptoms or consequences are fully apparent.  (Kind of like those of us who just know it's going to rain because of the sinus headaches and aches we experience from a high pressure front preceding a downpour.  We feel pretty miserable long before the first rain drop.)

For days I couldn't quite pinpoint the root of my malaise and blues . . . until I was honest with myself and others.  Communication was breaking down.  I was being prideful and self-centered.  I was holding onto burdens and worries and not giving them up to God.

Desires had become expectations that were being unmet.  And healthy disciplines of regular planning and accountability to best practices and stated goals were quietly diminishing in more than one area of my own world.  (Read: procrastination and stagnation.)

Why do I dare be so transparent with you, my friends?  To encourage you to 'come clean' and let 'it' go. Clear the air.  Be brave and be honest with yourself and others. 

Lovingly confront those who seem distant and get to the root of the issue so you can forgive one another and be reconciled. Confess your trespasses; your sins.   Most of all, receive the gift of grace- unlimited forgiveness from our Creator and fruit, gifts of the Spirit: peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.

Explore expectations and take responsibility for your actions.  And before you assume the worst of others, stop to consider their finer points.  Begin with focusing on what's gong 'right.'  Do so before you meet the demise of canaries of long ago.  And once you find new wind under your wings, join me for a flight. 

The air is better already and I'd love the company.
How to Stay on Top of those Weeds and Enjoy More Green!
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 3/29/07 7:39 AM
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How to Stay on Top of those Weeds and Enjoy More Green! 
Copyright 2007 Sandy R. Lawrence

Pink and white dogwoods join the cherry blossoms bursting into bloom. Azaleas and tulips happily join in, and the grass is finally turning green . . . oh, please, NO!  Those can't be  . . . weeds already?!

Spring is here in a BIG way.  And I've been caught without my pre-emergent. 

Such things do keep me humble.

It hit me while I was hand-pulling a few weeds and scrambling to find a lawn service that ensuring a lush, healthy lawn year around takes the same kind of strategic planning and foresight that is gained when we participate in self-imposed planning sessions or
regular coaching.

(Anyone know of a good landscaping coach?!  We have a new place in Buckhead in need of help)!  LOL

But seriously, pausing regularly to review your master business plan and to determine the timing of various strategies and "maintenance" is crucial to keep those little irritating 'weeds' from sneaking up and marring your landscape right when you're in 'full bloom' with your business efforts.

Don't say you are 'too busy' to stop and review.  Just a small investment of time, and if needed, money, can yield great rewards by preventing time lost, ineffective ad costs, and possibly lost clients due to poor timing or disorganization. 

The busier you are, the more likely something can slip through the cracks (or take root). Trust me, I'm speaking from first hand experience from both my own yard situation and other clients' situations  They waited until things were out of control to give me a call.

Take for example this person I met some time back who lost a contract file. Eek!  It took almost a week for it to reappear.  Such paperwork is extremely time sensitive and important, so how could something like this happen? 

For starters, this individual was juggling too many demands and got distracted.  What they realized once they began coaching, is that they didn't have clear guidelines or a system for how they should handle such files.  It just hadn't occurred to them that a file could 'disappear' - until it did.

They had organized their stacks of paper, but not operational details.

Let's make sure you don't have any unpleasant surprises this season.  Grab your master business plan, SWOT analysis, behavioral profile, and marketing strategy action plans.  Review your goals, intentions, challenges,and rewards.  (If you don't have these, call me!)

Now, take a look at each tactic and every operation you must touch in the next 30 days.  

    - If you were to be whisked away for a whirlwind world tour and had to hand-off your business to someone else, do you have written guidelines for what must happen to keep your 'yard' green? 

     - Are there important deadlines for maintenance issues such as completing your tax filing and completing continuing education/licensing requirements?  Are all of your clients and leads entered into your database with follow-up appointment alarms set? 

     - What about warm calls to your referral partners, advertising and marketing mail campaigns?  Do you have those target dates plugged into the calendar?  Have you finished researching the details and do you have a clear implementation plan in place? 

If you will pause regularly to work on your business, you will find much more joy and good returns while working in the business.  And, you might avoid having some ugly weeds pop-up and spoil the view. 

Need a business 'green thumb'?  A la carte coaching sessions (emergency or preventative maintenance) are available, in addition to detailed business plans and marketing strategies.  Call Sandy on 404-939-1569.

A Mountain of Demands with Oceans of Opportunity in View
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 2/19/07 10:15 PM
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On top of a Mountain of Demands with Oceans of Opportunity in View  Copyright 2007 Sandy Lawrence

I don't know about you, but this season has been one of climbing up the mountain of many demands, only to get to the top to be tempted with oceans of opportunity in view.

Now at 'the top' what do you think I might be inclined to do, head down to explore those new oceans glistening in the sun, most likely filled with new people and adventures?

Or, will I study my 'map'- my business and life plan- and head in the direction already chartered, the one that will allow me to maintain my best pace and share my wares with those I've already invested time and resources to reach?

Have you ever been in such a place? 

If you are an independent contractor, an entrepreneur, or an individual embarking on a new job or career, you might be able to relate.

Which way should you go? 

How much of your past experiences and relationships do you build upon? 

How ready are you to try a new thing- is that courage or something less flattering?

How set in your ways are you?  Is that relying on your 'experience' or is that a limiting belief keeping you from growing a bit?

If you've ever snow-skied or talked with someone who has, you know that black diamond runs are more adventurous and dangerous, blue or yellow trails are intermediate (can be somewhat challenging but not too intense) and green runs are the easiest of all to make your way down.

So here we are upon our mountain of demands, ready to move forward on our success journey.   You get to choose the direction, after all you are 'the' boss.

Which path down is a green slope also known as 'comfort zone,' and which is the black diamond trail of 'foolishness'?

Logic says most of us would choose to head off down the blue run, (as Goldie Locks would say, 'Mmm, mmm, this one is just right.')

But hey, we're human, so that logic thing doesn't always apply.  Sometimes we do things from our gut, and not our head.

So how can you leave the mountaintop and proceed well, choosing the BEST path for your business or lifestyle?

The coach suggests you
  • Know and affirm your Purpose
  • Clarify the Vision & your Values
  • Follow a Plan and Strategies based on Wise Counsel
So what do you think I will do, in humility? 

Listen to my 'wise counsel' and head down the blue path(not too easy, not too hard, but well-suited)  . . . but only after shouting a little while on the mountaintop and pretending I can't ski!






How to Turn Plans into Action
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 1/21/07 4:09 PM
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Copyright 2007 Sandy Lawrence

Sure, we can quantify how good we might feel after listening to an inspiring speaker or reading an uplifting short story, but can we see any real difference a few days later, a few weeks later? Are their any tangible results?

But effective Business Planning or Life Planning is different.  It's so much more than just great ideas and creative strategies.  It much more than hoping and praying. 

It is about choosing the ground level tactics and approaches, and then assigning time frames and successfully completing each step on the success journey to get you closer to the desired outcomes.

Let me sum it up with this truth, "Success is a process that begins and ends with being intentional."

For example, if you have recently completed a 'think-out' day, or a 'DAWG' Day (day alone with God) to discern and decide your business or life plans for 2007, then you probably have several plans or goals identified.  That's progress! 

So, for a few days, or weeks, you might even feel relieved and proud about having put your goals on paper.

But this celebration is likely to be short-lived.  February, the second month of the year, is quickly approaching, and there's a stirring of guilt in our guts.  Why aren't we DOING more to get us further along in accomplishing our goals? 

Maybe your goals and intentions will effect more than just you personally.  If so, you probably feel the press of the responsibility to not only make the plan, but to work the plan.

It's simple, but it's hard.  I know.  Even the coach sometimes wrestles with procrastination and distractions.

Once you've identified plans and goals, you must dig in and do a little more knowledge-work to break your plans down into smaller manageable steps. 

You must make decisions of who/what/when/why/how (simple) and then, to accomplish the smaller actions, set aside time and take a step (hard). 

I call this necessary phase 'Project Planning.'  And anyone who coaches with me gets on-going help in navigating this crucial phase of goal attainment but it IS hard to do alone.

Let me share a secret with you:  when we consider each plan or goal a Project, it is much easier to internalize the fact that we must set aside time, tools and resources to prepare, mix and bake the necessary ingredients together to reach the goal, as if we were baking a cake for a special event or a batch of cookies to enjoy and share (or not).  ;-)

Take a look at the Download page on www.REALinTouch.com and you will find a helpful tool under Planning to help you get things done.   It's called the Project Planner. 

Enjoy- I promise it's fat-free and sugar-free.  :-)  Call or e-mail me with your progress and questions.

What really sets business or life coaching apart from your average motivational experience?  Results.

How to Get 'Unstuck'
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 1/4/07 4:07 PM
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How to Get 'Unstuck' (aka: Say Hello to New Year’s SolutionsCopyright 2007 Sandy Lawrence

So you feel stuck.

Maybe you are happily manic over a new venture.  Or possibly you're overwhelmed, burdened or burned-out.  Wherever you are (or aren't) there's HOPE and help.

Just like at the first of the year when everyone is proud to share their New Year's resolutions . . . I prefer to say "Forget resolutions, try a few solutions."

  1. What are the top ‘priorities’ or ‘issues’ on your plate this week? 
  2. Where do you want to ‘go’ this month?
  3. Better yet, what just ONE THING that’s on your mind?  What’s on the ‘to do’ list, prayer list . . . what is really bugging you?

Got it?  Good. 

Like a fresh coat of vivid-colored paint you might choose to finally spruce up an old wall in your home, your next mind-storm session may be just the catalyst you need to tackle that project or new venture, or to regain your pace after temptations and over-indulgence.

Now, it’s time to log-off the computer and roll-up your sleeves to get to work.  Grab a pen, clean paper or your journal and your Bible.  Head away from distractions and find a quiet place.

Mind-storming is when you write down as many ideas, answers, and possible actions you can think of to any “problem” you have posed as a question.  A mind-storm is best done with yourself, and really effective when you make it part of prayer and meditation. 

Later, after you have more clarity, meet with and brainstorm with others.

'Mind- storm' or 'think-out' sessions involve:

  • Your Mind- brainpower, psyche, wits, intellect 
  • Your Storm- outburst, downpour, rant and rave (a good description for my own think-out sessions)
  • Focused Thinking- imagining, believing, supposing,considering, reasoning, pondering
  • Your Emptying Out the possibilities- revealing, making known, exposing, viewing, making ready, making obtainable

Take some in the next day or two and mind-storm for possible solutions and approaches to the priorities on your success journey. Name the priority and consider simply everything that comes to mind.  Then write the first steps you might take.

Just remember to first take some time to with God to test your heart, thoughts and ways, then apply that magnificent piece of machinery (the brain) and enjoy the inspiration that only He can give.   Start with counting your blessings- What's going RIGHT? What is POSITIVE?

According to the experts in neuroscience and positive psychology, when we focus on activities like listing the things we are grateful for, we actually turn on the part of the brain that helps us feel more connected, more optimistic, hopeful, joyful, and energetic.

Also, when you are 'mind-storming,' check the Manual (the Bible) and stay in close communication with the Designer and Engineer of your life for calibration and adjustment.  It sounds simple enough, but how often do we honestly take time after prayer, confession, and meditation on God’s Word to face the things that seem to be ‘in need’ of attention, to learn from the leaders of the past . . . more importantly, to run our possible solutions by Him to check our discernment?

Test me, O Lord, and try me,
       examine my heart and my mind.  Psalm 26:2

In his heart a man plans his course,
       but the Lord determines his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

If you are not a Believer, or are not familiar with the helpful examples found in the scriptures, then at a minimum, share your struggles and possible solutions with your 'Board of Encouragement' or BOE. . . a group of professional peers, your coach, mentors, friends and/or supportive family members.  The key is to be open to their insights, experience and wisdom . . . welcome fresh eyes to your possible solutions.

Once you have met with your BOE and considered possible solutions in light of your budget, time, resources and ultimate destination, you'll be more prepared to take that next step on your success journey- and you should be quite 'unstuck' or at least have found a few hands reaching out to help you get up and moving.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  Matthew 7:7

Effective Leadership & Communication
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 12/19/06 4:25 PM
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Effective Leadership & Communication  Copyright 2006 Sandy Lawrence

I just finished a 'Rich Relationships' series to improve team communications and thought you might find this helpful.  Think of what we learned in grade school  grammar - 'A E I O U and sometimes Y' - the foundation blocks of words we call vowels. 

Just as it takes vowels and consonants to form the words we use, it takes these strategies for effective leadership and communication.

Communication Strategies of an Effective Leader:

Affirm people-   Use the 5 communication 'dialects’ that show you value someone; fill their emotional tank regularly with:  words of affirmation, appropriate touch, quality time, gifts, acts of service- aka 'the 5 Love Languages' by Gary Chapman.  (A must read.) 

Such sincere and regular affirming will build trust, instill confidence and make it easier for them to receive constructive criticism when needed.

Encourage/Empower people- acknowledge their challenges, but remind them of their strengths and their ability to choose better outcomes.  Once you let them share their struggles, recommend and provide the resources and tools to help them better navigate those challenges. 

Be a servant leader- roll-up the sleeves and work alongside when deadlines are tight or the workload is approaching max.  Give positive feedback to negative feedback 2:1.

Involve them in the problem-solving/solution-gathering process- help them believe that they are capable and provide that sense of freedom to choose one's steps- independence and involvement often inspires.

Owning solutions (hold them accountable to their own solutions)- do so with kindness, concern, care and tolerance.  Set specific, measurable goals and time frames.

Understanding (encourage applying the principle 'Seek first to Understand')- be quick to model stepping back to consider the context from which someone is speaking.  Consider the other person's perspective, then respond with care and concern.

You - Are YOU influencing others positively?  Consider this Management Proverb: 
He who thinks he is leading, but finds no one following, is only taking a walk.
Integrity
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 12/14/06 9:52 AM
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Integrity   

I'm not waiting for January 1st to make any resolutions.  What about you? 

As the Christmas season is upon us, I am reminded about the most inspiring gift ever given- the gift of a Savior who came to pay a debt He didn't owe, for a debt we could never repay. 

This does more than bring me peace and joy, it also convicts me to look at how I often 'fall short' and 'miss the mark,' especially when things get hectic.   It seems it's easier to try to rationalized my laspes in discipline, but I know better. 

No, I am not guilt-ridden at all, just receiving a healthy dose of humility that inspires me to show my love for our Lord and my appreciation for His loving act of reconciliation.  This time of year has me very aware of my INTEGRITY.

 How do you define and live a life of integrity?

Think on these:
  • How do I define integrity?
  • Do I keep my word?  (doing the things I say I will do in a timely matter- my 'yes' means 'yes')
  • Do I keep my commitments both large and small, to myself and to others?
  • Where am I allowing small cracks in my character, or making too many compromises?
  • Do I tend to come up with excuses or reasons for my lack of follow-through?
  • Does it benefit my character to share these details, or does it in fact, point out the cracks?
  • What do my actions communicate to others about my integrity, character and professionalism?
  • What attitude(s) need to be adjusted to stop the cracks from spreading?
  • Where have I been lazy in thought and action; who have I not given my best to. . . and what can I do today to make things right?

 One of my favorite speakers-authors, John C. Maxwell, says it well:

"A better future is built on the success and failures of today.  That gives you hope. And where there is hope for the future, there is power for the present." 

I realize that memories have value, but visions lead to victory.   Reality check- am I living in the past or embracing the future?

Progress comes not when we react to what has transpired, but rather when we are inspired by our vision and turn our reaction into action.

Lets have Thanksgiving EVERY DAY
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 11/25/06 6:11 PM
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Here's an out of box thought- what if we had  Thanksgiving every day?! 
 
I was watching the History Channel last night after visiting two family gatherings and eating more carbs in a four hour period than we normally eat in a week, when the HC pointed out one of the earliest accounts of a Thanksgiving celebration in the New World was actually in my home state of TEXAS back in the 1500s!

Apparently one of the Spanish Explorers and his near-dead expedition finally came upon food so Gave Thanks to God for the provisions and for safe passage here.  Cool.  Of course, the folks at Plymouth still get the credit for the first feast and no one is asserting any history books should be changed.

So here's the question of the week: what if we celebrated 'Thanksgiving' everyday? 

What I mean is, what if we did pause to reflect on what is going right or to count our blessings each and every day, verses just moving along at warp speed week to week?  What if we looked at the riches and the daily 'harvest' of safe passage to work (hey, we're in Metro Atlanta so that's no small feat), or thanked the Creator for our unique skills that allow us to enjoy the work of our hands, on a daily basis? 

WHAT IF on even the darkest, most frustrating days, WE were to pause to thank God for our health and/or our western freedoms (including freedom of speech which allows us to think out loud on a web page!) . . . and not wait to do such just once every twelve months?

Would the gnawing in our gut (the one not from physical hunger) subside?

Not that I'm an expert, but in doing research for a program this fall I stumbled onto this factoid about brain activity and the mind-body connection.  It seems that when we are reflecting on what's going right/counting our blessings, the part of the brain that stimulates good feelings of calm, contentment and connection is active, and actually shuts down the other side that is critical, judgemental and analytical. 

And we all know that when we are analyzing, we tend to notice the gap between have not and what we do have.  Hmmm  . . . food for thought.

Here is my hope for you:  Always be joyful.  Always keep on praying.  No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is the will of God for you, His children. - Thessalonians 5:16-18




My First Blog
By Sandy R Lawrence, On 11/24/06 10:05 PM
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We're at it again . . . Mike my wonderful tech-savvy hubby and I enjoying a little after dinner fun on our computers. Me, I decided to read something 'productive' and found myself visiting the NAR Center for REALTOR Technology link http://blog.realtors.org/crt/ to see what my new friends in the IT department at NAR had to say. Low and behold, as I was surfing around and getting 'edumacated' on this new 'thang' called blogging, my most excellent hubby was lovingly adding the blog portal to our site!! (And he didn't even KNOW that's what I was up to!) Am I blessed or what?! Ask and you shall receive!!