New This Spring

Spring seems to be taking its sweet time showing up where I am this year, which is a little frustrating. We’ve had a few tastes of it and then it goes back to being like winter. This week looks like we might more firmly move towards spring but I won’t hold my breath. Instead I’ll focus on the other things that spring brings, and that’s new life. Just like the New Year inspires us to make changes in our lives, spring inspires us to think new, fresh and alive. So today I thought I’d share a few thoughts on bringing new life to your family and relationship.

Spring is a great time to get organized and purge your belongings. It’s a great time to work together as a family, especially on rainy spring days when you’re stuck inside anyway, and go through all of your clothes and get rid of those that are too worn or don’t fit anymore. You can also take this time to pack away clothes that you all don’t use for the warmer months if that’s something you do. It’s a great time to go through all the items in your kitchen and bathroom and get rid of things that are expired or you don’t use anymore. Finally, you can go through all the other stuff and gear you’ve got (sporting, books, toys, gear etc.), and get rid of what you don’t use any more. All of the stuff you’ve decided not to keep can be great for a spring or summer garage or yard sale, or are great to donate to charities (as long as they’re not broken or ripped and the food isn’t outdated).

Spring is also a great time to try a new hobby or try out some of the new stores, restaurants and venues that have set up shop over the late fall and winter. Lots of towns and cities have evening courses at local community schools and other locations that you can take to try something new or learn about something you’ve always been curious about from business to food to languages to arts and crafts. I don’t know about you but I don’t enjoy seeing the local stores empty, so if we want them to stay occupied we have to shop from them. As we get out of winter and are more interested in being outside and doing things, it’s a great time to visit some of those new places and at least check them out and recommend them to a friend who we know might have more interest in them than you do.

Why do something new or make room in your life? Because sometimes our lives get stagnant and there’s a reason why the statement ‘out with the old, in with the new’ is so popular. It’s not about old being bad (it’s not), or about trying every new thing (not possible), but about being open in life, being willing to try new things, and especially about accepting growth and new life in your journey. New can be good, especially as a tool to keep your family, relationships, work and health thriving. What new will you try this spring?

Spring Alive Together

There is nothing that says “alive” more than spring. The whole world bursts into life and color in the matter of a few short weeks. I don’t know about you, but I fully believe life is better when we live it with others. There’s so much we can learn from others, and I can’t imagine trying to do all that everyone else does around me while doing all of my stuff (like fixing cars, picking up trash, policing the area, and running hospitals). The good news is that there is plenty of life to go around.

The thing about spring that’s very evident in much of the new life is that it’s about multiplication and family. All of the new animal lives and seed growth are small representations of what should be happening in our lives too. Yet over and over we shy away from contact with other people, or at least the deep and full contact that is seen in the new life of spring.

I wonder what it will take for people to start building the relationships that it will take to make a difference in the lives of the next generation? How long it will take us to learn that together we are more than we ever could be apart? To learn that hatred and violence do not make the world go ‘round?

The more I see, read, learn and discover, the more I realize that we’re all connected whether we want to be or not. We’re connected to the earth by what we eat and use. We’re connected to each other through the thousands of invisible threads of the internet. We’re connected to the past and the future by the choices they have made and we will make. Even fully isolated from human contact we’re still connected to the earth by how we live and eat.

Maybe it’s time to stop fighting the connection and start working on how we can coexist together. Let’s work on making this spring a time of growth and health for all of us.

A Burst of Spring

The first day of spring is officially hours away. There’s a lot about spring to enjoy, one of my favorite things is how everything is so very clearly coming alive. There’s something magical about having everything burst into clear life from being seemingly dead and definitely drab over the winter. It’s one of the things I enjoy about living in this part of the US, that we do have clear seasonal changes throughout the year, and while I could do with less of the snow, it does make spring all the more appealing.

Sometimes what success needs from us is letting go of something big. Another thing some people are journeying through right now is the spiritual time of Lent which is leading up to Easter, and many people give something up for Lent. Other people give stuff up because they’re allergic to it or find they’re intolerant of it. But especially in that case it’s worth it to give it up, even if we miss what we had. Sacrifice and change are part of life, and I think we’re getting better at accepting that it happens and working through it.

But sometimes what success needs is not a sacrifice, but a big burst of effort, a big (positive) change. This big burst can reinvigorate what we’re doing, help renew our spirits, give us hope that it’s possible to achieve the victory and give us the energy to take a better look around and see the possibilities around us.

Spring hasn’t quite sprung here yet, but others have said that they’re seeing the signs slowly appearing, so I have hope that it will be here soon. If you’re struggling or feeling depressed or feeling stuck, maybe it’s time to let spring invigorate your life and success. Look for new life this week, new opportunities, new leaps of faith that you can take that will help you get closer to your goals.

Creative Earth Day Celebrations

Sunday is Earth Day, and while I’m not quite ready to get out there and enjoy spring, with today being an unseasonably cold 42 degree day, I’m still looking forward to doing some earth-friendly things this week and weekend. If you’re looking for some creative ways to honor the earth and still do things you enjoy, here are a few things to add to your list.

Garage sales and estate sales are a great way to buy new things that you want and need while still helping the earth. Many people sell gently used items or even brand new ones that they haven’t used or don’t want but are still in great condition. These types of sales are also a great place to find stuff that just isn’t made anymore, or isn’t made in the same way or with the same quality that it used to be made with.

Farmer’s markets and roadside stands are a great way to support the local farming community. Eating vegetables and fruits is a great way to care for our planet in the first place, making the extra effort to do it locally not only gives you the opportunity to support the local growers, but also to know exactly where your food came from. Also, you typically have the chance to talk with the people who grow the food, which means you can find out exactly how they were grown and what, if any, chemicals were used.

Giving the gift of a potted plant is another great way to think more about the earth while still giving flowers or a plant that will make someone smile. Even if the person you’re gifting to doesn’t have the greenest thumb, most people can still keep a potted plant alive for far longer than cut flowers, and the potted plant often can go outdoors and last for months or years depending on the type of plant. And if you’re gifting to someone who has a home, things they can plant outdoors are almost always a blessing, including small trees and shrubs.

What ways are you planning to celebrate Earth Day this weekend?

Refresh for Spring Success

With spring officially arriving even if we did have a snow storm where I live this week, I thought we’d talk about some ways that you can bring new life to your business.

1-add a new product or service. I get emails from companies on a regular basis announcing new collections they’re offering, new partnerships they’re doing or seasonal offerings they’ve got. There’s something exciting for both the customers and the company when a new product is added, whether it’s planned to be a permanent edition or just a seasonal or short term opportunity.

2-refresh your marketing. Maybe marketing isn’t something you’ve been consistent with for your business, or you’re just not happy with the marketing you’re doing. Spring is a great time to redesign your newsletter email, recommit to marketing consistently, create and implement a new strategy for marketing on social media, do more local marketing (yes, even if you’re just an only business), or make some updates to your website.

3-clean up. If you’ve got a physical location that customers come to, or a location where you spend a lot of time working or store products, spring is a great time to do a deep cleaning of your location, move things around, throw things out and put a fresh coat of paint on the place.  Customers will appreciate the space being neat and clean, and so will you!

4-education. Spring is also a great time to learn a new skill or get some education, both for you as the business owner as well as your employees. Whether you’re interested in expanding your services and need some education to do that, or you want to give your employees some opportunities to be more proficient or work in other areas that they currently don’t, sometimes some education can be just the thing to get you refreshed, renewed and bring new life to the business.

So what will you do to put some spring in your business?

A Refresh for Spring Success

With the official arrival of spring, I’m thinking about why many of us are so productive in the spring. I think it has to do with everything being fresh. We’re more likely to pick up the new shirt, spend time in the clean rooms, and even be with people who are more like sunshine than rain clouds. There’s something magical about going out in nature after a rainstorm, or seeing peices of history uncovered by a storm. There’s something refereshing about walking into a clean room or putting away clean clothes or finally getting things organized (that hands-on-the-hips, surveying the victory moment).

With that breath of fresh air also seems to come a burst of energy, a feeling of renewal, and a spark to the motivation that may have been missing for some time. So if you’ve been struggling with success, maybe it’s time to give yourself a little spring refresh. I get it, we’re pulled in many directions, given more to our piles rather than less, distracted by shiny things and trying to stay with the movement of life. Whether you get organized, hire help, delegate, or let go of stuff, spring is a great time to give yourself a fresh chance at success.

Spring would be beautiful if just the green stuff showed up or if we only had flowers come up, but true spring experiences are an explosion of activity, growth and new life. Spring isn’t just baby bunnies or crocuses, there are countless animals and flowers that come into bloom. It’s only when it’s all taken together that you can really see and appreciate what spring is all about. Don’t feel like you have to make “spring” happen in your life without help. Yes, you’ll have to make some potentially big decisions that you may have been avoiding, but passing on the cleaning to a cleaning crew, hiring a carpenter to build you shelving that actually works for you, deleting emails you’re never going to read, or saying no to some things you’re really not passionate about can give you the mental and physical freedom to get more done that only you can do, and only in the way that you can do it.

So on this fine spring day, what freshness will you commit to creating or welcoming in your life?

Planning for a Healthy Spring

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to talk about getting healthy!

Get out: it’s finally nice enough to spend a lot of time outside!  You can go on walks, go hiking, train for a marathon, play in the backyard, go to a park, visit a nature center near you and even eat your lunch outside!  Fresh air makes you feel better, whether you’re exercising or even just sitting outside.

Eat right: eat a fruit or veggie with each meal, and in between too.  Whether it’s a salad, side of corn or banana, fruits and veggies are usually an easy option with lots of good vitamins, minerals and fuel for your body.  Take time this spring and summer to visit local farmer’s markets and farms near you and get locally grown produce.  You’ll be supporting your community and getting good food too.  Don’t forget to try some of the delicious seasonal produce that’s available now too!

Get rest: many of us don’t really know what our body needs in the way of sleep and rest, and even if we do, we don’t always get it.  Know how many hours of sleep you need, and do your best to get it.  An unrested body doesn’t function as well as a rested one.  It’s also important to take time out to just sit and relax too.  Our bodies aren’t designed to be on the go 24/7.  They have to rest too!

Power your mind: in our on-the-go societies, we are subjected to thousands of messages each day, whether at work, on the computer, on our phones, while driving, at the store, in the newspapers and on TV.  This also means you’ve got tons of choices about what you choose to be exposed to.  Granted, you can’t block out all the bad stuff, but you can be particular about what you and your kids watch and see at home.  Yes, it’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the world and be socially aware, but you don’t have to be a news or TV junkie to do OK in the world.

Get involved: Finally, the last piece to being healthy is being involved in the community.  Join the community pool, help at a community garden, go out with 3 or 4 other couples, bring your kids to the park with your friends, and have play dates.  Getting your kids involved with other people, going on group dates, and being part of your community are all an important part of having a healthy life.

I encourage you this week to do a family checkup: plan and make changes in your lives to eat, live and work in your communities and at home.  Together we can make the world a healthier place!

Joy in Seasons

Can you believe another month is almost over?  Today is our last post really looking at our topic of the month: seasons.  What I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is the joy that can be found in each and every season.  I know, you’re mentally complaining about at least one season in your head right now, like how much snow there is in winter, how much rain there is in spring/the rainy season, how hot summer/the dry season is, how cold fall gets and miserable it is to watch the leaves fall off the trees etc.  You don’t have to like every season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some joy in each of them.  For example,  I don’t like snow but still find joy in watching kids go sledding, or sitting in a comfy chair watching the snow fall with a cup of hot tea and a good book.

Like so many things, the seasons are really what you make of them.  Last Wednesday I talked about what to do if your business is heading into a slow season for the summer.  Just because you may not be making many sales, it doesn’t mean there is nothing you can, could or should be doing during this time.  Just because it’s raining out today doesn’t mean that you have to do nothing because your outside plans were cancelled.   Just because you have a broken arm or leg doesn’t mean there’s no summer fun to be had.

I really believe that life is what you make of it a majority of the time. If you are feeling miserable, that’s the life situation you’ll create around you.  If you’re feeling like a winner, that’s the situation you’ll create around you.  If you want to enjoy your least favorite season, I believe you’ll be able to find reasons to do so!  But it only happens when we choose that path.    So what path will you choose this summer? Will you choose to find some reason for joy in each and every day?

A Season and Gift of Hope

One of the things I love most about spring is that it is a season of hope.  With the arrival of spring officially yesterday we can cautiously put away our winter clothes and think about wearing shorts and tank tops and having our lunches in the sun and taking walks after dinner.  I know those things excite me!

Research has been done over the years about how challenging winter is for many people, so much so that they’ve given it a name: seasonal affective disorder.  You’ve probably heard about it and may know someone who deals with it or struggle with it yourself.  So when spring rolls around it’s a fresh breath of air for these people especially, and for all of us too.

Not only am I thankful today for the arrival of spring, I’m thankful for the people in the world who are called to make people happy, to encourage them, and to cheer them up.  I’m not talking about the people who are considered “comics” or the shows that are “comedies.”  Yes, they have their own place in things and sometimes the break they offer is what you want.  But the people I’m talking about are those who make you smile when you see them or they call, the people who brighten every day, the people who always have something good to say, and those who can see some good in just about everything.

You may not think you’re that person, and maybe you’re not always or often that person. But each of us can be the bright light if we so choose to be.  Your light and hope may be what someone needs to choose to live another day, or just the little hope that they need to try again tomorrow.

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is to be happy and hopeful yourself; then you draw them up out of their despondency.” Dr. Edward Bach

The Start of Spring

One of the keys to running a successful business is being aware. You need to be aware of what’s going on, aware of what your business needs, aware what your customers need, aware of what’s going on in the world, aware of what’s going on in your niche, and aware of when things need to change. If you’re not aware of what’s going on in your business, you’ll never be able to recognize when things are happening, when new things are needed and when things are hurdling out of control.

I had to stop and pause this week because I saw a chipmunk out scurrying around and it’s much too soon for them, or so I thought. But it reminded me that sometimes we get caught up in what we’re doing and what’s going on that we miss the signs. The good news is that spring is the perfect time to get started on updating things and growing your business. For spring to happen, for your business to be successful there are some things that need to happen.

Spring seems like all of a sudden there are just flowers everywhere and you can’t believe it. The truth is that it’s been happening slowly over the past few weeks, you’ve just missed the signs. To businesses it may seem like the answer to everything is to be viral, but what those who go viral quickly learn, you have to keep going viral for lasting success. So while viral’s nice if you can make it happen, it’s not what I recommend for consistent success. Instead I recommend you follow the guidance of spring and instead work on consistent, lasting growth and success throughout the life of your business. If you’re consistent with your marketing efforts and with your work with clients you’ll never deal with a lack in clients or be concerned about how far behind you are. It’s time to stop trying to be viral and start consistently helping people.

Spring is also known as the bringer of new things. Very few businesses can exist successfully on just one product created just one time, or one client purchasing one time. While a music store may only sell music, they’re always getting new songs and new artists. While an accountant may always work with numbers the numbers always change and tax rules change each year. Very few writers live off only one book. Your willingness to bring in a new perspective, try something new, work with a new client or partner with another business could be the breath of fresh air you need in your business to get you out of your slump or passionate about your business again.

Consider this week as your chance to shed the chills of winter and move into the warm fresh air of spring. Let go of what’s holding you back as a business and step into what will help you grow. Not sure? Contact me and I’ll review your situation and share my thoughts for what spring can be for you.