February & March 2018 in Review

Coming off of the high in January, February was a much more subdued and, at times, stressful month. Every year I better understand the sentiment of how quickly time flies when we’re busy working, living, and experiencing the world.

The theme for February is best summed up as barriers to success. If an issue could come up, it did. I was put into difficult positions and forced to face some tough things head-on and not let anything prevent me from moving forward. There were three areas of growth and challenges: the continued development of my business, my personal / professional development, and other personal stressors.

Business Development Experiences and Barriers

As mentioned in the January 2018 post, I setup a few interviews with candidates for a new position I’m creating in my business. It was a big challenge to get high-quality candidates. One young woman frustrated me when she blatantly admitted that she had no idea what my business does and that she had not even bothered looking at my website before getting on the call with me. Seriously?! That is one of the “young professionals” out there applying for jobs right now. And they wonder why it’s been such a challenge. Despite the minimal number of qualified and serious candidates, I found 4 who are going to meet with me for a second interview. Hopefully, one of them will be joining the team on April 2nd (fingers crossed).

In preparation for hiring a new person and treating my business as a real and separate entity from myself, my operations needed a review. After looking at how I’ve been managing things, I saw that things were working but disjointed. I made the logical step to upgrade my systems to Zoho One, which gives you access to all of their applications at one price and it’s all integrated into each other. Now I can send out a survey and have the answers be mapped to someone’s profile in my CRM or send out an email and have it attached to their profile. And I can generate leads from social media interactions. There’s plenty more for me to tinker with, but I’ve quickly setup several applications and integrated them with each other. This was a Win. 

Course Creation and Client Challenges

  • I began creating Marketing 101, a new online course, from the vast collection of resources that I’ve accumulated over the past 5 years. It’s a lot to digest and organize into something useful for others.
  • There has been a Customer Research Project for one of my favorite clients. I really wanted it to be easy since I’ve done something very similar before, but boy oh boy… gathering, organizing, and analyzing data is a challenging.
  • As I’ve gone through the process of creating Marketing 101, I realized that there is a shorter term very logical workshop that I could pull together – Branding 101.
  • The toughest part of February was having to fire a faulty VA and take work back for a Client. Ugh.

Personal and Professional Development

So many interesting things happened in my personal life…

The Chorus that I joined back in November hosted their annual retreat where we hardcore practice our music for a full day – with some bonding activities squeezed in there. It was an interesting experience to get to know these women better. And I really missed the kind of musical practice that challenges me. It was a perfect kick in the pants.

Other highlights…

  • Finished a Critical Thinking Course. Mixed feelings about the content, but an overall good experience.
  • Last Mastermind meeting was bittersweet. I love those people, but it’s time for me to move on.
  • First IAW Mastermind meeting was so unique and such a different experience. Looking forward to the next one.
  • Attended a Kundalini Yoga Class. I have so much gratitude for my yoga and meditation practice.
  • Went hiking the Hill of Life with my buddy Steve. Always an adventure in conversation there.
  • Looking at houses (moving in March) was very stressful at times. Plus, we squeezed in a trip to Florida to visit my family, which always comes with drama.

March Highlights

1. We Found a House! After seeing a range of great to awful places, we signed the lease, moved in, and are now unpacked. We bought a bed, which makes sleeping way better.e Plus, we bought a washer and dryer – a bit of an ordeal but we made in through.

2. Practiced, practiced, and practiced more for the big chorus competition in Houston. We did well, but not amazing and that’s okay with me. It was all worth it for the journey.

3. I got 6 work inquiries and sent out 5 project proposals in March. One of them close and began in March, but I’m already regretting in. Two of them are definitely starting work in April and the other two will probably close in April.

4. I finally hired some help! Randi joined me at the end of the month, after several rounds of interviews and some awesome candidates came through (some not so awesome too). We are jumping right in with projects.

5. Feeling so blessed to have built strong relationships over the years. I am confirmed to get support from my strategic partners on rebranding my own business in April. Woohoo! It’s finally my turn. Plus, two partners are jumping in to be speakers on my brand webinar in May.

6. Downer at the dentist was that I had a cavity – first one in a long time and it is damn expensive.

Alright April, I’m ready for you.

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Are You Chasing a Dream or Building a Career?

What’s the Best Career for You?

Isn’t this the age old question that we all face at some point – or in my case, multiple points? It’s definitely fun to waste some time on the goofy online quizzes like those on Buzzfeed. It forces you into a conversation about what makes you happy. I like this one: What Career Should You Have? My result was Astronaut. While I do very much love adventure and science, I don’t think I could pass that gravity test.

What is a Career Really?

I’m not sure if the concept of a career still exists in today’s society. What is a Career. Dying at DeskGrowing up, it was enforced that we would go to college, figure out a career, find a job, and stay at said job until we retire or die (whichever happens first). By the time I was in college, the world was rapidly changing – technology, terrorist attacks, hurricanes, and of course the birth of social networking. Every year it seemed that the definition of a career was changing. By 2009, there was no such thing as a career – just luck that you had a job at all.

Work or Die

Even though it has been several years since the economic meltdown (lovingly nicknamed the “great recession” of 2008), the same secure job is what so many people stick to. Every day we exchange our time and talents for money, to buy things from other people who are making the exact same exchange. This is one of the most cyclical things going on our lives – like running in the hamster wheel – yet, so many of us refuse to recognize this fact, so we keep running and hoping for something to change. Isn’t that the definition of crazy?

Happy vs Wealthy

Why can’t we have both? I wish I could tell you that we can all have both; but that would be an outright lie, and it’s just not my style to play that game with people. Some people can definitely have both happiness and wealth, and we should all strive to achieve both. I love music and singing, but at the end of the day I need to be realistic. Singing does not pay the bills, and I’m not nearly talented enough to pursue it further than an activity of enjoyment. BUT THAT IS OKAY BY ME. Not everything you love can be your income generator. I also love to create ideas, communicate and connect with people. Doing that pays my bills, and still makes me happy.

There’s a reason that the phrase “Achieving a Goal” insinuates success and “Chasing a Dream” insinuates wasting time. I used to dream about being an actress on Broadway (age 14) or a powerful band manager (age 16); but I also imagined myself as an entrepreneur who was going to make a change in my community (age 13).

Once you take the time to filter through your many dreams and realize that one of your dreams is actually a goal, then you can stop running and go achieve it. When it is just a dream it remains as nothing more than part of your sleep cycle. Are you done dreaming yet?

Run, Achieve goals, set goals, CEO Candi

Set Your Goals and Run Toward Them

46 Girls Changed My View in 46 Seconds

3 Powerful Moments

I drove along a rocky and winding trail to a series of cute white cabins and a larger building that I would later discover is the dining hall. Though I have done a million presentations and workshops before, the butterflies were there reminding me that I will always be 10 at heart.

Moment 1 – The Energy

As I stepped into the dining hall, I could feel the energy coming from this group of powerful young women. Smiles, waves and friendly glances in my direction as I walked through the space – that’s all it took to pull me into their energy.

Moment 2 – The Sound

The chanting began. Without instruction or request, the girls began to sing a song. It sounded like nonsense words at first, but a song book was quickly offered so that I could follow along. They simply love to sing and chant fun songs with empowering lyrics.

Moment 3 – The Fearlessness

Suddenly it was my turn to stand up. We went around the room offering up what we want to be one day. There was a ton of honesty in the “I don’t knows” and confidence in those who said multiple careers at once. No fear in this group.

Camp Lantern Creek

46 Girls Changed My View

Last weekend I had the pleasure of being the Bright Lights Speaker at Camp Lantern Creek (also called CLC) in Montgomery, Texas. CLC is the camp that you send your incredible daughter to so that she can try a little bit of everything with other awesome girls while surrounded by the beautiful outdoors. They coin the camp’s focus as developing renaissance girls, but it is so much more than that.

For a while, I thought that it was most important for me to be working with women in college and in their twenties. Those are the women who need the most help with understanding business, finance and how to succeed – right? No! If you delay learning or thinking about these things, then it is much harder to develop the critical skills related to being successful.

Tweens and teens – that’s where it’s at.

During the hour and a half that I spent with these 46 powerful young women, I could see that today’s girls are the risk takers, creative thinkers, and collaborative workers of tomorrow. It was in the small moments throughout the day that I saw glimpses of powerful leaders and entrepreneurs. I could see more potential in a 12 year old girl than I’ve seen in most any adult that I’ve met.

If you want to shape the world in a positive image, then start with the girls.

 

Looking Ahead into 2014

“It was tumultuous, it was crazy, but I would not trade it for anything.” Colin Quinn

That is how I feel about 2013, and I know I”m not alone. Many of my friends and family had a similarly challenging year filled with change and transitions. While it was difficult, the events of 2013 were part of the larger journey we continue along this year. As I reflect and “prepare” for the year ahead, I’m thinking about three big things:

What are my priorities this year? What are the goals associated with those priorities? What systems am I putting in place to assure that I achieve those goals?

Priorities

  • Career – I am focusing on my marketing/writing work primarily with just one company, but how does that affect my bigger dreams of creating a business to help the creative class?
  • Finance – Money smarts and activity are getting more attention this year.
  • Love – Last year I was lucky to start the year off by meeting an incredible guy. Throughout the year I had moments of not giving him enough of my focus or energy. This year he will get the best of me.
  • Friends – I worked on my interpersonal skills and being a good listener in 2013, so I want to give that additional attention and deepen my existing relationships.

Goals

  • Create a plan for balancing my paying work with my business dreams
  • Get more involved in the music community in Austin
  • Develop a more strategic way to handle my money and investments
  • Learn more about finance and investing
  • Be a great listener

Systems

  • Once a week for a minimum of 1 hour (on Sunday mornings) I will set aside time to work on my business dreams. This can be in the form of a meeting with someone in the industry or just research.
  • Begin taking voice lessons 1-2 times a month. After 3 months of practice, begin teaching voice lessons again.
  • I am signed up for a 4 week class titled Investing for Beginners, and I’ll continue with my Women’s Investing Group meetings every month to further my knowledge.
  • I will create an updated budget that includes expenditures as well as projected income. The first draft of this budget must be complete by January 12th, and the finalized budget by the end of February.
  • Once a day take time to fully listen to someone tell a story – giving my complete attention, not interrupting with comments, asking minimal follow-up questions, not getting distracted by my own thoughts that relate, and using simple body language to confirm to my speaker that I am listening.

Goals and Systms Checklist 2014

The Transformative Power of Passion

I recently watched this wonderful TED talk by Benjamin Zander. If you choose to skip through the video, make sure not to miss his performance toward the end.

What an incredible man with such love and passion for music. From the moment he played that first note I went to this place deep in my mind that is pure and untouched by the real world. It is a beautiful and safe place for me to be.  When he finished playing, I let out a deep sigh and remembered the old feeling of connecting to something beyond other people. It has been a little too long since I’ve felt so centered.

I admit that I absolutely LOVE Classical Music. I love all kinds of music, but there is something so special, so unique, and so important about the way composers wrote (and some still write) for that genre. As much as I enjoy jumping around to a 4 chord progression in a cheesy pop-punk song by bands like The Starting Line, Say Anything and New Found Glory, it just doesn’t have the same effect on my brain.

It’s time to start singing again. Music led me to a good place once and I have to believe that it will happen again.

Mozart. Voi Che Sapete

When to Give Up

Lately I have been fed up with this lifestyle. Freelance work takes twice as much effort and, after taxes, pays about the same as a regular job. How am I supposed to work on my own business when all I do is worry about money and working enough hours? It’s a terrible cycle.

The other night I got to the point where I wrote, “I give up on this stupid idea” in my journal. I continued on writing, “My stupid business is just an idea, a concept or conversation topic. It is nothing. I am nothing.” Yes, it was mellow dramatic, but that is what journals are for. As I continued to write, my thoughts became a series of evasive questions.

Why is starting this business so important to me?
What am I really doing with my career?
Aren’t I just going to end up failing anyway?

Eventually I got to a point where I remembered my hidden light. “There is this ever so slight glimmer left inside of me. It sparkles in the back of my eye where only I can truly see it. The spark of hope, inspiration, courage, and love lives in my crazy idea.”

Do What You Love, Career Inspiration

Over the past few months, my social life has rolled downhill. My poor boyfriend has put up with a few too many of my mini-breakdowns. The balance in my bank account has shifted. And my skin looks like I’ve been beating myself up. Despite all of this, I’ve kept going.

I can’t go on living my life not knowing the end of this story, especially when it feels like I’m nearing the end of the boring intro chapters. I have no idea what it is inside of me that is driving me forward with such strong motion because it lies so deep that it cannot be explained – it’s just who I am.

Well, I guess that’s the answer to my question. I cannot give up until I know the end of this story.

————————————————————————————-

Music Review

The M.I.A. song “Bad Girls” from 2012 is fun, goofy and makes you want to dance. Listening to it led me to search for her newest release – Y.A.L.A. She released the track on Sound Cloud as a teaser, and I listened to it a few times. The sound is totally M.I.A. style, which I love. The use of the synth is a little heavier than usual, so she may be diving further into the electronica sound while still inter-weaving her hip-hop vocal prowess. I guess we’ll find out more when the album is released.

M.I.A. You Always Live Again

Passion, Money, Success, and Chaos

Why did you choose your current job or career? 

Was it for the money and success? Was it for the expression of your passion and interest? No matter what reason for your choice, there will always be chaos and imperfection at times.

I believe that life should be full of passion. My significant other always tells me that he works hard so that he can do the things he enjoys most, and that the job (in the end) does not really matter. As long as he can be a high-performing team member, then the chaos is worth it. We often disagree about this point. While he claims to not necessarily “like” what he does, I think he secretly loves it. The level of detail in and organization of software development interests him, and it helps that it is a lucrative career. My love of music, art and creativity does not always tie me into lucrative roles. Though we do not always agree, I appreciate the fact that he questions me. I look closely at my driving force everyday because I am reflecting on the questions he pushes me to ask of myself.

Is it better to earn a steady paycheck now, and you can enjoy your passions during free time?

I could take a high-paying marketing role with an established corporation. It’s likely that I would enjoy it to some degree, and I would appreciate the safety of the regular income. But is that really the kind of person I am? Sometimes the best thing to focus on (other than income) is your ultimate career purpose. When I look back at my career 5 or 10 years from now, what will that picture look like?

life choices

It is hard enough to choose the right pastry. How will I choose the right career path?