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June 2009

When I Grow Up I Want to Be an Old Woman …

Today I’ve been sitting in the sweet aftermath of a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and these Michelle Shocked song lyrics keep running through my head: “When I grow up I want to be an old woman…” paper-people-connections

And, when I’m that old woman, what I want to reflect on the most are my life’s connections, both the fleeting and the lifelong connections that made up the rich, elegant and profound fabric of my being. This takes me back to this recent weekend, which was full of just that – connecting; connecting to dear, old friends, to interesting new friends, and to faraway friends and family. And, on Saturday morning I volunteered at Operation Gratitude which is a wonderful organization that sends care packages to the troops. I went hoping to contribute something in a small way and walked away with an amazing feeling of global connection to the 4,000 men and women we packaged boxes for in that short three-hour time period. Wow, breathtaking.

It hit me this afternoon why I’m still glowing from this particular weekend and why those lyrics are stuck in my conscientiousness. It all reverberates strongly with one of my core values, that of “making meaningful connections.” It’s a primary driving force behind all that I do in my life, professionally and personally.

One of the key leadership principles we identify as Cashmere is “Be True to Your Authentic Self.” When you lead with authenticity, people are drawn to your sense of clarity which instills trust and loyalty. The path toward getting in touch with your authenticity starts with clearly identifying your own core values. What drives you? What makes you tick? What philosophies define your way of life?

Take a 20-minute break today and answer these questions with words and phrases that quickly come to mind. Many times the first notions that pop into our heads are the closest to truth:

  • What makes you say yes and jump into an opportunity or situation?
  • What makes you say no because it ‘goes against your grain’?
  • What tugs at your heartstrings, filling you up with love?
  • How do you define human behavior by the standards you feel in your bones?
  • What fills you with gratitude?
  • What fills you with determination?
  • What determines how you treat people and how you want to be treated?

For those questions that need a little more time for reflection, spend the time.

Every decision you make, every risk you weigh, every person you meet will ultimately filter through your core value system, whether you’re aware of it or not. It happens organically on a subconscious level. To be completely authentic and to seize full advantage of being present in your life and leading with purpose, take the time to identify, honor and utilize your core values, bringing them into your daily consciousness. It’s a powerful and centered place from which to lead your life and your business.


3 R ’s for Being Successful

The memory of the original 3 R’s takes me back to grade school, when “Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmatic”, meant the basics in education. The idea was if you nailed the 3 R’s you had a good foundation for learning. And, undeniably, you couldn’t effectively learn other subjects if you couldn’t read or write. Wish it were still so simple today! 

Now, in an ever-changing era of career re-invention and diversifying industries, the following 3 R’s describe essential qualities you must possess to stay current in your career.

§ Resilient – bouncing back from a layoff, or watching an industry transform before your very eyes, means you must be ready and willing for the change. Resilience involves building your coping skills, including stress management and a willingness to look at change as opportunity. Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein in their book, The Power of Resilience, call it a “resilient mindset” because “mindsets can be changed”.

  • Create realistic goals and visualize their outcome on a regular basis.
  • Be prepared – have a current resume and some ideas for a plan B.
  • Have a positive outlook, which brings on more positive energy – it’s the law of attraction.

§ Relevant – to remain relevant means finding your place among the fast moving trends.

  • Broaden your perspective and widen your horizons by exploring ancillary markets surrounding your current industry. How is your field expanding?
  • Take inventory of your skill set and look for ways to leverage it.
  • Take a class to improve and expand your expertise. On the other hand, teach a course on what you know, making you relevant as the expert others seek out.
  • Create an online presence – it’s THE way to stay current. If you don’t, you’re behind the times. Have a profile that flows easily between all of your social media. 

§ Resourceful – this means continually thinking outside the box.

  • Branch out in other areas you’re passionate about – a hobby can pay off. A recent Wall Street Journal article cites a great example about a woman, who after being laid off, took her Wall Street skills along with her love of cooking with kids and created a business. Read the article to see how she did it: http://tinyurl.com/phv968
  • Network, network, network – join associations, forums and discussion groups, offline and on. Pull out old contacts and make new ones. Create a web between them as you ask for referrals, etc.
  • Find your mentors and ask for help – be specific in your request. People are generally flattered and love to be of assistance and when you’re specific it saves them time, allowing them to focus on your true need.

One Leadership Principles is that of being your own CEO when it comes to selling yourself. You are your best advocate; and the most successful of today’s CEO’s won’t survive without being Resilient, Relevant and Resourceful.

"Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.” — Jerome Kern


Two Things to Be Grateful for Today May 7, 2009

  1. Mercury Retrograde - Why does the thought of Mercury retrograde petrify people in their tracks and at times make us feel like nothing is going right? Things can feel chaotic and confusing. It's likely because they don't understand the meaning of Mercury retrograde and how it can really help our lives, causing us to pause and take stock of upcoming decisions, contractual obligations, new beginnings, etc. According to alphalifetrends.com, "Mercury retrograde provides the opportunity to adjust our thoughts, attitudes and decisions about our issues and adjust our new direction as we move into 2009." It will take place four times in 2009, and the current retrograde starts today and ends on May 30. So take this time to reassess, review and reconnect with where you are. Wait until after May 30 to make any decisions about where you're going.
  2. 2. Santa Barbara's Fire Dept - These fearless men and women have been vigilant around the clock to contain the current raging fires in and around Santa Barbara, California. The strong winds aren't helping and they put their lives in danger on a regular basis. We're thankful for these everyday heroes. Check in here for fire updates... http://www.keyt.com

This e-book profiles some very cool women...

Very cool profiles of some very cool women:  Women of Personality.  It's written by Rohit Bhargava.

Rohit is a founding member of the 360 Digital Influence group at Ogilvy and author of the award winning new marketing book Personality Not Included, an entertaining and useful guide for companies on how to use their personality to stand out.

You can even go on the Women of Personality site and nominate women for the next book.  Kudos, Rohit!


Bring Your Mother-Energy to Work

Lead With Compassion

Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” As the quintessential world mother, Mother Teresa led her vision and life’s work through an open heart, with kindness and compassion.

Mothers have been on my mind a lot lately. Two friends recently lost their mothers, while another just found out that she’s going to be an adoptive mother in a mere three weeks after waiting eagerly for years. It sparks the notions of the profound effect ‘mother-ness’ has on our lives. And, with Mother’s Day coming up this week, I got to thinking about how mothers are such natural leaders and managers. Ponder it for a moment. What are/were the innate cashmere qualities in your mom and other great mothers you know? Such qualities would be:

  • Compassionate
  • Empathetic
  • Nurturer
  • Listener

One of the principles for being a Cashmere Leader is to Lead With Compassion. Leading with compassion means leading and managing through your heart. It's where these exemplary characteristics reside and when we're living and piloting the way through an open heart our immediate actions organically filter through that heart portal.

We all have the “mother-energy” within us. Remember that this Mother’s Day week when you deal with others and in everything you do going forward. Mother Teresa got it right. She was -- what we could call today -- very Cashmere!


Is ‘Happiness in the Workplace’ an Oxymoron?

With the current economic and marketplace stresses being felt by all of us, ‘happy’ is not an emotion many associate with being at work. Here are a few Cashmere tips to get your happy back on in your daily work life:

 

· Breathe Breaks – schedule 3 to 4 ten minute breathe breaks into your Outlook calendar. Studies have shown that stress causes people to breathe improperly resulting in a lack of oxygen which can lead to low levels of concentration, negative thoughts as well as a myriad of health issues. Keep it simple.

- If you have a door, close it; practice some deep belly breathing as in yoga; stretch your limbs; gaze out a window. If you don't have an office, find a room with a door and steal it for a moment!

- Get outside and walk around the block or take a moment with nature, breathe it in. A moment with a tree and bring your back to being present.

· Gratitude Moments – taking a moment to be thankful for what you have only brings more of that into your life. List three things you’re grateful for - come on, you can think of three! Do it every day.

· Positive Focus – an attitude shift only happens when you focus on the positive and what you actually like about your job and workplace. There’s got to be something! Start with that one thing and see where it takes you.

· Compliment Someone – find someone to compliment today. Trust me, it will brighten yours!

 

It may not seem like a lot, but simple steps taken every day can give you a whole new outlook before you know it.