Engage and Retain Millennials (Employees)

Having just come off Small business week, I’ve heard from many employers that their biggest struggle is finding skilled people, motivated people and people who want to stick around. In the human resources industry, Millennials In The Workplace has been the common theme of training and education to engage and retain them … as they’re now the largest population in the workforce this year.

Click here to watch my new video on this hot topic.

I see this as a double whammy for employers.  A worker shortage, compiled with a large population of workers who think quite differently than their older colleagues.

So … What to do about it?  Here’s my hottest tip:

Create an inclusion based culture 

Yes, there are competing interests between generations in the workplace.

Yes, there are demands and desires of the younger workers that are diametrically opposed to their senior counter parts, but guess what?

That’s ok.  It isn’t right or wrong.  It doesn’t have to be black or white.  We have different generations, different personality styles, different ethnic backgrounds, different morals, different values but so what?  Why do we seek ‘same’ in a workplace culture with such differences?

Inclusion based culture is about: 
– Listening to your team’s different perspectives
– Placing value on that feedback
– Benefiting from it

It’s about achieving a new way of thinking, and your whole team, inclusively, has the best answer for what’s best for the culture of their workplace.

I’ve got lots of ideas, based on tons of research on the topic, and so I’ve created an interactive program called “Engaging and Retaining Millennials, but honestly, it could be called “Engaging and Retaining Anyone” because when you really look at the solution, we’re different people who all want the similar things.

There’s your hot tip!  Create an inclusion based culture, where everyone’s feeling engaged to dig in and play nice in the sandbox.

Call me because your greatest leadership day is with Penny Tremblay.

Success is Posture – Posture is Success

Our posture is critical to success. I’m not talking about shoulders back, chin up so much as posturing ourselves as confident, influential people who stand up for what they really believe.

In my part-time direct sales business, the word ‘posture’ is used referring to how we present ourselves and our offering in a very confident way.

In my role as a speaker / trainer on the topic of workplace relationships and conflict resolution, I often talk about posture as a personal foundation to improve one’s ability to get along with others and resolve conflict, but regardless of the industry or application, the Olympic podium upon which an athlete steps up to receive a performance medal, is a great analogy.

The bronze step is relative to where you are now in your life, career or business. The silver step would be the next level to achieve, and the gold step the absolute best performance and results possible.

For example, if I consider myself a bronze level keynote speaker today, I’m making myself aware that I could be better, and why I’m not.  This awareness is critical to improving.  I get clear on what I need to do, and be to take the step up to silver. Then repeat that same process to get the gold!

Discovery from the activity is why I’m at the bronze level, (my past performance, successes, failures and lessons learned) as well as a clear understanding of the things I need to be doing more and less of, to attain the next level.

Let’s take this to a workplace example.  The Manager of a department has reasons why they’re currently at a bronze level.  Their Posture Podium Activity might look like this:

“I’m a bronze level manager because I’ve earned this promotion, I have attended training – Play Nice in the Sandbox with Penny Tremblay – to learn how to build productive, peaceful and profitable relationships at work, I’ve approached confrontational conversations with staff when necessary, I’ve reached out for help when needed…. etc. The manager would look at the silver podium spot and list the skills, attributes and successes needed to qualify for earning that next medal on the podium, and likewise for the gold.

Now here’s the real magic.  The distance between bronze, silver and gold on our podium is our own posture!  Our real Work is internal. Compiled with diligent action, accumulated experiences, client testimonials etc., advancing up the scale of success is highly influenced by the belief we have in ourself.

For example, I’ve seen many small business owners, especially women, undervalue themselves, their pricing, and their worth and as a result, sell themselves too short. I believe the toughest distance we need to advance on the podium is only 6 inches between our ears.  It’s a mental shift, a new a mental space to move into.  But … It’s not ego.  It’s not thinking that you’re better than you are, or better than others.  It’s being real, and humble about all that you are, and knowing the work ahead of you to become that world class performer.  Without the mental shift, you won’t step up on the podium.

Own the decisions you’ve made with great confidence.  Own who you are and who you are not and become content with them. Speak to that and know that you don’t have to justify yourself to people.  Allow yourself to be who you really want to be, and free mental state to chase that silver or gold medal that you so desire.

I’d like to invite you to have a workshop in your workplace or place of business, or a coaching activity just with you and I to improve your posturing because I can guarantee you there are people out there who think you’re way more amazing than what you’re giving yourself credit for so it’s high time just step up your posture from bronze to silver and then set your sights on gold!

My activity process to work on increasing one’s posture is an amazing investment.  *Notice my posture in that statement?  🙂

Remember, your greatest leadership day … is with Penny Tremblay

Attract Rich Relationships

I think everyone wants to be more attractive—in other words, to attract more of what we want. Perhaps it’s a partner; maybe it’s the desire to attract more wealth, opportunity, success, love, or respect.

What I know about attraction is that it is vibrational. We attract things similar to the vibrations that we are putting out. So if you want to attract good things, you have to put out good vibes.

Here’s an example: one afternoon, while I was shopping downtown in my beautiful home town, I asked some shop owners how their businesses were doing. The answers that I received were less than positive. There was a sense of doom, gloom, and fear in the shop owners’ responses. Ultimately, this way of thinking will attract more of the same kinds of vibrations. When fear and panic drives our responses, we need to work in the opposite direction of what comes naturally to us.

Check out the great new video on this topic.

Recently, I listened to a conversation at a local coffee meet-up between Mike Campigotto, Ian Kilgour, and other wise community members. The topic was about dealing with negative gossip, and the consensus was to not buy into it. “Keep conversations positive and upbeat,” they agreed, “and for heaven’s sake, don’t be one of those energy vampires that suck the life out of conversations by always complaining about how things aren’t, when there are so many other, greater things to discuss or get involved in.”

Chronic complainers and gossips are often lonely, or they have a few in their circle that like to maintain those same low vibrations. You’ve heard the saying “You become who you have coffee with”. Choose your pack wisely. Rub shoulders with winners, and before long, you’ll be winning too.

Before we can truly speak highly of our business, we need to feel good about it, and that has a lot to do with how we believe we are doing. Sometimes, in order to have good vibrations, we have to believe in what is unseen. A lot of that lies in vision and faith. Faith is being able to go beyond what the eyes can see.

Success starts at the root level of what we believe and how we’re feeling. We emit a vibration of that belief. I refer to this as ‘posture’. People are sensitive to the vibration we put out. If it’s high and positive, they want a piece of it.

Here are some tips to maintain those high vibrations:

Speak positively. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, negative circumstances, cynicism, or judgment, talk about ideas, possibility, and potential. Ask good questions that will lead you to a better understanding of what you can do to improve your business or relationships. Where attention goes, energy finds a match, and the results will come.

You’ll know you’re in a state of high vibration when you feel good. Circumstances beyond your control are going to challenge you, but your job is to feel good (naturally). I don’t mean taking drugs or alcohol, or excessively using any crutch to get you feeling high. I mean really feeling good about who you are, how you are, and where you are. This takes work, but I guarantee that it is the absolute best investment you can make in yourself. People like happy people.

When people ask you how you’re doing, tell them you’re fantastic, happy, or excited for life. Emit an authentic, high-vibrational answer with matching words. Don’t lie. If you can’t honestly say something great about yourself and where you’re at, call me. We’ll get you on track.

If you’re feeling stuck, stagnant, and full of low-vibrational energy, you can always give. Get out there in your community and get involved. Start giving a little more of your beautiful self away. Make a difference. Everyone has the ability to change this world and make it a better place and that, my friends, is very attractive. Not only will you inspire and influence others with your actions of kindness, but you’ll increase your own self-worth and sense of value.

Being attractive has very little to do with how we look and lots to do with our ‘posture’—what we believe, feel, think, and speak.

My purpose and my passion is to foster rich relationships between businesses, employees, and clients so that the world can vibrate at a higher level and be more efficient, harmonious, and abundant. For that to happen, we need to be vibrating at our absolute highest. I’m committed to helping your entire team raise their vibrations and attract rich relationships in business and in life.

Call me, and remember…your greatest leadership day is with Penny Tremblay!

705-358-3396

Be Disciplined and Be Rich

The most coveted human virtue is self-control, which is synonymous to discipline.  People yearn to possess better discipline, especially when they know it’s power in personal leadership and self-development.  Over my career, I’ve learned that there are professional development strategies that even if taught, don’t get implemented, until foundational personal habits to support them are solid.  Discipline is one of them.  For example, how can I teach or learn time management skills if I cannot first make and keep commitments?

At the beginning of this year the theme was about planning.  Goal setting, strategic and even personal planning ideas, tips and strategies were shared with you.  We are now entering the second quarter of the year.  Are you on track with your goals?  Of course, if you want to be more disciplined, you must be clear on what result you’re looking for.

Based on your goals, how are you doing?  Are you on track, or off track?  Use these three questions to find out why you haven’t achieved your goals.

  • What do you need to be doing more of (and when)?
  • What do you need to be doing less of (and when)?
  • Who do you need to spend more time with, and who do you need to spend less time with?

With the answers to these questions, you’ll have the specific road map on how to get where you need to be.  Here’s an example of what I needed to be doing more of, and when.  When I got disciplined to the action of doing it, the results were even more perfect than I could have imagined.

About 6 months ago, I time blocked mornings as follow up time.  Calls to prospects, checking in on proposals, and cold calling (or connection making as I call it).  The difference was immediate, and intense.  I knew what to do, but only when I became disciplined to do it and say ‘no’ to other shiny ideas, tasks or distractions, did the results show like gas being thrown on a fire.  Where do you need more discipline?

I have committed to sharing my strategies and knowledge about discipline this month.  I have created an awesome little video with tips and ideas, and I will blog about a personal experience that inspired the topic, so be sure to check them out.  Personally, I know that my most important discipline is my spirituality, and then second is my health.  Family is next.  Why?  Because I have to take care of myself to be a good leader and influence for others. Make sure you’re taking care of the machine with a good balance.  The machine is YOU.  Your body, mind and spirit need to be nurtured, fed, rested and rewarded.  Only when you’re well balanced can you have the power of full engagement to empower your actions.

I am sure much of this resonates with you.  If you’re seeking better discipline, I have a coaching program well suited for individuals or teams wanting bigger results.

So remember, be disciplined, and be rich and … that your greatest leadership day is with Penny Tremblay.

Improve Workplace Relationships with Love

“Love in the workplace” is not a phrase you hear often, but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to talk about it.

We have relationships with everyone in our workplace.  Some may be closer than others; some may be kind and courteous; and others may be challenging, disconnected or downright nasty!  You can improve workplace relationships starting today.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career as an expert on Workplace and Business Relations, it’s that there is a big difference between love and relationships.  Love is easy, but relationships are hard.

For Valentine’s Day, I’d like to invite you to celebrate the fact that you have relationships, and that these relationships have taken effort.  Congratulations!

Valentine’s Day is an outward expression, like giving flowers, cards or chocolate.  I’d like to challenge you to outwardly recognize your colleagues today.  You don’t have to acknowledge them with gifts—words will do.  You can improve workplace relationships with Love

Words like “I love the way you serve customers for us.”

Or “I’m happy you’re my boss because you seem to care about me as a person.”

“We need you.”

“Your skillset is valuable to us.”

 “I appreciate you because…”

I use the phrase “love in the workplace” to symbolize the important things we do to connect and build rapport, like sharing admiration, giving respect, and honouring, appreciating and complimenting the people around us!  These acts of recognition are free and only take a few seconds, but they build relationships because we are all emotional creatures of pride and vanity.  We all want to feel valuable and feed our worthiness.

If you’re up for another challenge, consider reconnecting a disconnected relationship in your workplace.  Look someone in the eye and pay him or her a genuine compliment.  Oh, and by the way, “Mary, you look hot in those pants” isn’t an appropriate “love in the workplace” compliment.  Speak true words when you find something to compliment about.  If you can’t think of something nice to say, either you’re not thinking hard enough, or you need my conflict resolution services!

Even if you have to resort to writing the compliment or recognition in a little note because you’re afraid of the face-to-face conversation, do that.  In my humble opinion, nothing beats a face-to-face or a phone call to convey sentiments.  The energy that you pass into the sacred invisible reservoir between two people will have a lasting affect.

Interacting and intertwining our energy with someone else to result in a positive interpersonal relationship doesn’t always go as planned.  But this is where we learn the most about ourselves.  Relationships shine a light on our most needed lessons.

Remember that love is easy, but relationships are hard.  The way to better relationships is through love, respect, honour, and authentic communication with people who matter.

Love is a verb.  Take some action that is going to move someone else, especially if there’s a need between you and a co-worker.  A conflict. A disconnect.  Take a step toward reconciliation today.  Call me if you need help.  A big part of what I do is help people fix broken relationships in the workplace.

Never underestimate the power of this invisible, energetic connection that you can put effort into.  Create more love in your workplace, and remember, your greatest leadership day is with Penny Tremblay.

 

Are You Strategically Planning for All Areas of Life?

This past week I was immersed in my own strategic plan for 2017 and beyond.  The new year always catapults me into goal setting and strategy, where I first look back at the previous year and acknowledge my accomplishments and the lessons learned, as well as my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

I set BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals) and then I chunk them down to the minutia of tasks that need to be done daily, so that the BHAGs will be realized one day.  Basically, I look at critical issues that need solutions to overcome.  Once I get clear on these, I look at how they need to be conquered.  Once I know what I need to do, I analyze how I currently have been spending my time, versus how I need to spend my time to achieve the BHAG.  I schedule checkpoints throughout the year.  Monthly reviews of where I am versus where I’m going, and quarterly planning days.  It takes time to do this, but it’s worth the effort.  Well worth the effort!

One thing that I as a woman value more than money is balance.  I explained to my accountant one year who was disappointed in my balance sheet, that balance means more than numbers to me.  I’m a Mom, and I was a wife at the time, a daughter, friend, community giver of my time and service, I’m fit, fun and fabulous and that is all valuable to me as well as the revenue and profits of how I spend my time.

Since that conversation with the accountant, I’ve also learned that a part of me was ‘justifying’ not being profitable enough.  Last year I raised my bar on my own performance and the profits went up.  My balance is still on, and my balance sheet has improved.

I’ve learned to plan my work and work my plan.  We don’t become rich by dreaming and planning.  We become rich by putting our dreams and plans in to action.  We expand with the experiences of trying and trying again, fine tuning and being wide open to receiving all that comes, distilling the ideas and ways to spend our time down to what works, and where to focus.

Businesses and organizations need a Strategic Plan to guide them through the wide range of possibilities and reign in their employees to align with one main focus.

Personally, our strategic plan can be as fun as a vision board, or vision card, or written goals that are reviewed every day, and shared with the people that matter most to us.

As the calendar year turns, this is a great time to plan.  You are the Creator of your own life.  This is not a dress rehearsal.  YOLO (you only live once) and therefore, every single second of every single day is worth really, fully living.

My Strategic Planning facilitation is getting lots of attention and referrals.  Thank you for your trust in me.  I go through the same process with my clients as I’ve mentioned above.

My Vision Card exercise is available for personal use.  Download it here, and enjoy.

I’d love to hear how you’ve made out, and I’m more than happy to help businesses and people grow with these great tools. Just call me with your questions. 705-358-3396

rich relationships, leadership training

 

 

Let’s Dig into Gossip


Gossip is something I’ve been dealing with from all sides these past few weeks.
Workplace gossip is rampant. So let’s take a moment to dig into gossip and see what it’s made of.

Gossip is always negative. If you’re talking trash about someone behind their back to someone else, you’re gossiping. On the other hand, if you’re speaking positively or highly of someone and they’re not present, you’re praising. However, in all honesty, praise is likely not occurring in environments that are rampant with gossip. There’s a connection here, but I will address that in another article.

Is there a difference between gossip and venting? In my opinion, no. The term ‘venting’ is generally used to describe blowing off steam when difficult emotions are running high. The problem is that most people ‘vent’ about someone to someone else. That’s gossip. Now your issue is off your chest but onto someone else’s, and the person that you gossiped about is still unaware of the specific issue they caused you to vent about in the first place. Venting to the wrong person is just blowing hot air. Why not tackle the issue itself? Vent to the person you’re upset with. Hit it straight on and put it to rest immediately.

If we can break it down into a few simple points, gossip is always negative and discussed in absence of the person that it concerns; venting, while temporarily gratifying, is no more efficient. Addressing the person responsible for the issue at hand is ideal. That’s what I call challenging conversation or feedback.

Through our work as conflict resolution facilitators, we often have conversations about gossip which have made me realize that sometimes people even gossip about others who have caused no issue or negativity at all. Sometimes gossipers are just envious. Don’t get hooked into it.

If you gossip, the people you’re speaking to will wonder what you’re going to say about them when they’re not around. In effect, you set yourself up to be mistrusted.

One quick way to ensure that you’re not gossiping is to always speak about people as if they were in the room or included in the conversation.

Why do people gossip? People are just not courageous enough to have the right conversations with the right people to make sure that they aren’t gossiping.

The solution is to practice. Practice on me. Practice on big people—that is, people who are mature enough to have an adult conversation. Practice your skills by asking the other person permission to have a real, honest conversation with them. You’ll make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them too. You can always tell someone that you’re not sure how to talk about the subject in the best way possible, but that you didn’t want to gossip about them by telling someone else.

Another, faster solution is to reach out for help. In my new affiliation with M.Thorpe & Associates, we help workplaces, families, couples and individuals through conflict.  Our process —“Stand Up, Speak Up and Master Your World”—will help you rid yourself of fear so you can stand up with integrity and have challenging conversations in a good way. You may have some cleaning up to do, but there’s no better way than to have a process facilitated for you so that you and those you’re tempted to gossip or vent about, can create something healthy and new!

workplace conflict resolution

Claim What’s Yours and Be Rich

Do you want less suffering and more connection in your relationships? Learn how you can have more serenity and acceptance toward the things you cannot change, and more courage to shift the things you can, with the following words of wisdom.

In every workplace or relationship conflict, there are always at least two sides to the conflict.  Conflict often stems from one person’s underlying ‘stories’ that are neither heard nor understood by the other person in the conflict. These stories consist of a person’s beliefs, cultural conditioning, and past experiences which make them think and believe that the world works in a certain way.

One of the quickest ways to arrive at a place of inner peace or resolution during a conflict that affects you is to claim what’s yours—to claim what you are bringing into the conflict.

“Aw, shucks,” you might be thinking; “I didn’t really want to admit that I had any part in this conflict. It’s easier and more convenient to direct the blame toward the other person(s) involved.”  Unfortunately, your contribution to the conflict has everything to do with you.  However, by claiming what’s yours, you’ll also be separating what’s yours from what’s theirs.  By sorting out who is responsible for which elements of a given conflict, you’ll likely find yourself left with only half of the troubles you had counted on.  When you learn to identify those troubles, you’ll see that they appear as patterns in other relationships, too.  In doing so, you’ve taken the first step toward causing a major shift in your situation by rooting out your issues and fixing them.

For example, Sue feels that Bill, her manager, speaks down to her.  The disconnect between these two colleagues has festered over time to create a deep-rooted resentment which ultimately prevents them from having a productive conversation about day-to-day issues within their workplace.  Effectively communicating about those issues only serves to bring to light more difficult conversations that must be held, such as about how Sue thinks that Bill is speaking down to her.

Sue brings to the conflict her suspicion that Bill is speaking down to her, but rather than taking ownership of her thoughts and looking inside herself to find clues as to why Bill’s behaviour is triggering an emotional reaction within her, Sue simply blames Bill.

To claim what’s yours in a conflict is the most direct way to identify the underlying issues that are ruffling your feathers.  Own these issues—they’re yours!—and give them your undivided attention.  Seek them out by asking yourself questions about the things that trigger you.

Sue, for instance, might ask herself “Why does the way Bill speak to me trigger my emotions in such a negative way?  What’s the underlying cause of my reaction? When has a similar situation brought up these emotions in my past?” and so on.  In recalling her earliest memory of a similar feeling and situation, the resolution to Sue’s conflict can be found within the questions she asks herself.

When we claim what’s ours, we can also realize what’s not ours.  In any conflict involving two or more parties, others’ issues are not our responsibility. When we can leave others to deal with their issues so that we might focus on our own, we can feel relieved.

This simple strategy may not be easy in practice, so seek guidance.  Education, training, team development, and coaching are but a few of the ways in which you can tap into guidance that is available to you.  If inner peace and freedom from conflict is attracting you, fulfill your attraction expeditiously by seeking such guidance. I would be happy to personally help or refer you in that regard.

Claim what’s yours, know what isn’t, and be rich in healthy relations.  Be mindful of what you’re bringing to and omitting from your relationships.  When you understand your own weaknesses, you can fix them and strengthen all aspects of your relationships in return.  That’s the kind of richness that really matters.

leadership training

This article is dedicated to a new teacher and business associate whose work has transformed my world in a short period of time.  To Matt Thorpe & associates, Lise Leblanc, and Sandi Emdin: thank you for sharing your wisdom and experiences, and for seeing, hearing and welcoming me into your circle.

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

 

If You’re Not Appearing, You’re Disappearing

Recently I delivered inspirational messages for our local Toastmasters club’s tenth anniversary celebration and the M. Thorpe Group’s North Bay Leadership Conference. My message was, “If you’re not appearing, you’re disappearing.”

I joined Toastmasters about ten years to hone my communication and leadership skills and network with other people.  I started appearing at meetings and taking on various roles available through the club, which pushed and pulled me in ways I had never expected.  As a result, my life was permanently stretched and shaped by these experiences, which also provided me with tremendous lift in my career.  Once I had attained the highest communication designation and almost every leadership credential that the Toastmasters organization offered , I left the club.  I felt that I wasn’t growing anymore and needed to expand.

While working with a professional speaking coach, I was encouraged to write a book that would leverage my speaking career, and so I did.  This gave me a ‘reasonable’ excuse to hide out, as authors often do—in a little cabin in the woods where they can write to their hearts’ content.  I hid behind my new role as an author and stopped attending the usual meetings, networking events and community involvement opportunities that I had made a part of my routine.  A couple of years passed before I realized that, despite my reasonable excuse for not appearing, I had been slowly disappearing.

Attending Toastmasters is once again on my list of regular commitments.  I’m reappearing at my local club, and that means more pulling, pushing and stretching into a newer and greater me.

  • What does ‘appearing’ mean for you?
  • How do you need to ‘appear’ or show up to become the greatest you? 
  • What holds you back from ‘appearing’?

These questions are important, and worth finding answers for. Perhaps ‘appearing’ means:

  • Giving 100% in what you’re doing at the time.  While you’re at work, be fully present in your duties.  When you’re at home, be there in body, mind and spirit.
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone and being vulnerable and humble to new and different roles or tasks.
  • Choosing a new perspective or way of feeling about a situation.
  • Initiating a conversation that needs to be held; perhaps one that’s more challenging or difficult than usual, but necessary.
  • Committing to a greater level of service to your beliefs and values, having an open mind and heart, or awakening your spirit.

Whatever ‘appearing’ means to you, it’s something that is calling you right now to become bigger and better.  Listen closely.

What holds us back from fully appearing as we could?  Often, it is our own egos.  The ego asks only one question: “Am I right, or am I wrong?”  Ego is fueled by fear: of not being good enough; of failure; of not being liked; of losing popularity; of not knowing everything. Our ego tries to protect us, but in doing so it also holds us back from appearing as our whole self.  Ego wants us to hide, avoid taking risks, look perfect, and be complacent.

Our egos are not bad parts of us, but things we need to be aware of. Becoming vulnerable, accepting your imperfections, and being patient with your impatience are all ways of becoming more awake and conscious, and more authentically ‘you’: confident, self–worthy, and deserving of life’s greatest offerings.

We must be brave enough to appear as we are, and who we feel called to be.  We must be brave enough to be vulnerable; to stumble, make mistakes, and learn from them.  We must be humble enough to be willing to see ourselves truthfully, and patient enough to love ourselves proactively.  Being humble is to recognize not only our strengths, but also the opportunities we’re given for self-improvement.

We must feel compassion for where we are and how far we’ve come, and honor ourselves for trying.  We must emerge from under the protection of our egos to appear the way that the world needs us to appear.

As we move into the holiday season, I believe that the best gift you can give to anyone is the gift of really appearing as you are.  Be the gift this season, and remember: if you’re not appearing, you’re disappearing!

Penny

Are You Open for Business?

Are you open for business?  For wealth, good health, or quality relationships?  “Of course I am”, you will answer to the question.  But are you really open?

What is ‘open’? How can I be more open to receive more of what I want?  This article is about being open for all types of business: the business of being a good employee,  employer or successful entrepreneur ; or the business of life, love, joy and enthusiasm.

“Am I open?” is a question I’ve been asking myself often.  “Fully, completely open?” What I’ve learned is that this is an inner energy, not an outer action.  To be open means not to be closed.  When we’re open, energy can freely flow in and out of us.  We feel expanded, enthusiastic, clear, prosperous, energetic, valuable, and worthy—and the emotions that these high-vibration adjectives create.  To be closed means to be blocked someplace deep inside; to feel constricted, tight, negative, stuck or depressed; to close your mind and your heart to something that is stirring up bad feelings.

We close ourselves off for protection.  Our fear and insecurities from past experiences makes us want to curl up in some restrictive place inside, rather than to stay open.  The problem is that we can’t be open to receiving an inflow of energy, and yet closed at the same time.  There is a great collision going on within us when our mind wants to be open, and our heart is working to keep old emotions and feelings pushed down inside.

Imagine you are an entrepreneur, and you’re asked to give a presentation about your area of expertise during a conference.  You remember your primary school public speaking assignment and feel your past fear of standing in front of the class, trying to deliver a memorized talk, but forgetting the words and feeling humiliated.  So being presented with this new opportunity many years later, you begin to close up, thinking that you hate public speaking. Instead of remaining open to the potential you have to share your expertise, and putting in the preparation and practice time that you need to build your confidence, you’re letting the stored energy of what happened 20 years ago block your prosperity today. You’re closed for business.

Now imagine that you are an employee, and you’ve been yelled at or treated poorly by a customer in your past, so a part of you is closed off to protect yourself from ever experiencing that pain and embarrassment again.  So you choose not to work in the ‘line of fire’ dealing directly with customers, even though so many of them are awesome and they need your service.  Perhaps you stay somewhat closed by wanting to privately listen to music as you work, or by finding some mind-numbing way to cope with the tasks of your day. Perhaps you hide in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ department because you feel you are better suited to work under those conditions. You’re closing yourself off to giving and receiving your full potential.  These days, your employer needs your full potential, and you deserve fullness too.

Finally, imagine yourself as a recently promoted manager who now has authority over their previous colleagues. Somewhere inside, you feel a sense of not being completely worthy of the position.  When a difficult situation triggers those feelings of self-doubt, you act out with defensive behaviour.  Although you want to feel worthy of the position, you are snagged on feelings of inadequacy from somewhere in your past, so you close yourself off to the opportunity to notice that there is a disturbance or a block in your energy.

This idea of ‘staying open for business’ will show up in many places of your life if you simply become aware of where you are open, flowing, floating and moving along, versus where you are closed, stuck, restricted, hurting and frustrated.

Hopefully you had an opportunity to read my previous article earlier this summer about fishing—the high risk of getting snagged, and the importance of going back and freeing yourself from the snag in order to move forward efficiently.  Staying open for business is a metaphor, then, for realizing what is getting you ‘caught up’ or tangled in your process of flowing, and then detaching from your own inner issues and past experiences.

You stay open by noticing patterns in times when you typically close.  By noticing, you become aware of your behaviour.  With this awareness, you can make a different choice.  You can feel the feelings, relax, breathe, and release them.  In your state of being and with these feelings, you are allowing the situation to take place.  You can honour it, respect it, and just let it be exactly what it is.  For the entrepreneur, it’s to relax into the idea of preparing for and delivering an effective presentation. For the previously abused employee, it may be to go back in time to revisit the pain and humility felt, and to just let that experience go.  It is not you; it’s only what happened once, so long ago.  For the new manager, it’s noticing what disturbs their confidence, and letting that thing go so they can be more supportive in their role.

It takes more energy to be closed than it does to stay open. Stay open to allow an unlimited inward energy flow, one that fills you until it begins to overflow outward.   Don’t ever close. You will attract everything you’ve ever wanted when you stay open.  Stay open to change, growth, opportunity, feedback, initiative, learning, feeling, being … just stay open.  I’m here for you if you ever need help.

Read more about Opening the Soul for Business, and the inspiration for this article.

Yours in service, and always intending to be open for business,