Freedom Blog

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving-Who Do We Thank?

No Limits | The Freedom Coach

Thanksgiving-Who Do We Thank?

Written by Steven Griggs |

Today is our national day of Thanksgiving. This holiday originated in 1621 as a day of thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrims for their survival to that point in Plymouth. They were thanking God for their deliverance and the harvesting of a good maize crop, but in truth they should have thanked the Wampanoag tribe, particularly Tisquantum and Massasoit, the chief, for without their help they would have starved.

When they first arrived in Plymouth, there were no villages left on the coastal areas as all the local tribes had died from disease stemming from the first contact with Europeans in 1618. In fact the colony of Plymouth was built on the old site of Patuxet, Tisquantum’s old village, which was empty as everyone, including all his relatives, had perished.

According to his excellent book “1491, New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus”, by Charles C. Mann, in describing the New England coast- “What had once been a busy line of communities was now a mass of tumbledown homes and untended fields over run by blackberries” and... “Scattered among the houses and fields were skeletons bleached by the sun”.1

One of the main reasons the colonists survived that first year in 1620 (51 out of 102 had died) was that they found stores of corn and other items:  “they found a deserted Indian habitation… dug open burial sites and ransacked homes, looking for underground stashes of food”.1

And they thanked God- “And sure it was God’s providence that we found this corn… for else we know not how we should have done”.1

They also thanked God for the empty landscape and lack of any population to oppose them- ‘to the good hand of God”… which “favored our beginning” by… “sweeping away the great multitudes of the natives” …..“that he might make room for us”.1

I’m not saying it’s wrong to celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has really lost any real religious connection and has actually evolved into a generic family holiday, a great reason to have families get together. It has also been a good shot in the arm for retailers once they created Black Friday….

It is that we need to remember the real context of this holiday and remember that America was not a vacant, virginal land waiting for us but a home to many millions of Native Americans who had lived here for some 20,000 years or more.

History is written by the victors, but let’s at least acknowledge those ancient Americans and thank them for the corn, tobacco, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, cashews, avocados, strawberries, pineapples, chocolate and vanilla that they have given the world.

A moment of silent thank you would suffice.

1. 1491, New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus”, by Charles C. Mann, Alfred E. Knopf, New York, 2005

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reboot Your Business®| The Freedom Coach

Can Your Business Be Saved? Part 2 of 2

Written by Steven Griggs |

Excerpted from my coming book: “REBOOT YOUR BUSINESS! How to Restructure Your Business to Survive and Thrive in Today’s New World”

"Fall seven times, stand up eight"- Old Japanese proverb

4. Marketing Efforts: If you aren’t constantly marketing you are setting yourself up for failure. Most failing businesses haven't performed or maintained effective marketing campaigns. 

Start advertising effectively. Make use of free or low-cost online marketing methods such as writing articles, producing videos, blogging and social media marketing.  Post free online classifieds on Craig’s List, for example.  You can create a large online presence in a relatively short time. 

While free Internet tools such as social media help get your company known, never forget that quality and performance must back up your marketing. This is crucial. You can market all day long, but if your products or services don’t match the promise, it will be a huge waste of time and money. Make sure nothing is compromised there.

Ask for feedback from your customers, (of course don’t tell them the business is faltering!).  Just let them know you’re seeking to improve your offerings and let them know how much you appreciate both their business and feedback.

5. Personal Attitude: As always you need to be the positive power behind the business, and this is even more important in this recovery period.  This will be a challenging time so it is crucial that you present a strong and positive face to the world. Find ways to regenerate and keep your positive energy on high.

6. Develop Additional Sources of Revenue: Look for other products to offer your clients along with your original offerings.  For example, if you own a carpet cleaning company, you may want to add flood work or upholstery cleaning to your list of services.  If you own a landscaping company you may want to add pool cleaning to your list of services.  A window cleaning company might add Christmas light installations. Such services make use of your existing customer base.

Increase your price point by adding additional value, through either size or quality. For instance, most gas stations allow you to choose from two or three types of gas with three different price points. All three will work in your car, but they vary in terms of fuel efficiency and price. Create different service levels to increase your price point.

7. Consider Strategic Alliances: Is there another organization you can join forces with?  Combining resources with a similar company can have a positive impact on both businesses. 

Examples of symbiotic alliances include pairing a health food store with a spa; a beauty salon with a massage center, or a dog grooming business with pet daycare.

Remember, there is really no such thing as failure. Good luck and I wish you the best.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Do Affirmations Work?

No Limits| The Freedom Coach

Do Affirmations Work?

Written by Steven Griggs |

An affirmation is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as: a: the act of affirming; b: something affirmed, a positive assertion.

The definition here refers to positive affirmations, but in truth most of the thoughts you have are an affirmation, one way or the other.

You can tell yourself “I am abundant and money flows to me” all day long, but if you aren’t in alignment with what I call your “under programing”, that is your subconscious mind’s programming (limiting beliefs), nothing will change. You will keep getting the same results.

If you have issues around money, which usually means issues around not being good enough or not having value, your inner voice will answer the affirmation with a cancelling negative response.

“Yeah, so and so makes a lot of money because he has connections” or “So and so is just lucky ”or “I’m too old to make a lot of money”, or “Money is hard to make” etc. etc.

Some people believe that you can cancel or override these limiting beliefs with continued positive affirmations.

I’m not so sure.

I think that, unless you first address the underlying beliefs,  the more you repeat the affirmations, the more you activate resistance which can actually make the limiting beliefs stronger.

The negative or “unwanted” result you receive is not the conscious affirmation but the underlying limiting beliefs that you unconsciously respond with. The belief or vibration you are sending out is that of the contradictory or negative belief.

There are techniques you can use to address and remove your limiting beliefs that are very effective and I will address a few of them in future posts. I will also talk about how we acquire limiting beliefs.

I believe that a good place to start in aligning your conscious and your subconscious mind is in strengthening the internal dialogue you have with yourself. Getting more connected with your unconscious self.

This is not as straight forward as you would think, but a good place to start is creating alignment with what you say and what you do.

Most of us have trained our minds to allow us to say one thing and then do something else. I’m not saying you’re lying, but in a way you are, to yourself. Your mind gets used to being flakey and not keeping its commitments. It knows it doesn't have to keep its promises.

A good example: keeping New Year’s resolutions. Have you kept all your resolutions? See what I mean. We all do it.

But try this: agree with yourself to do exactly what you say. If you can’t or aren’t ready to do something, don’t do it. If you need to go on a diet, don’t lie to yourself and promise to go on a diet soon, instead tell yourself I’m not going to diet yet, I will when I’m ready.

Affirm to yourself that you are “not dieting”. Whenever you eat something you think you shouldn’t, don’t berate yourself, tell yourself this is part of “not dieting”, when I’m ready to diet, I will.

This is a bit of an extreme example and I’m not advocating eating yourself into oblivion but you get the idea.

Get used to keeping your word and being honest with yourself. This applies to any situation in your life, if you aren’t ready or can’t right now, don’t commit. Commit to not committing: "I’m not ready right now”.

When you are ready, you will. Practice using this. Do small things at first.

The idea here is to "train"your mind to know and believe, that what you say, you do. It will strengthen the connection between your conscious and subconscious minds.

I have made a habit of completing anything I decide to do. Nothing is too small.  For example, if I think about having some delicious Baklava for desert, I make sure I pick some up on the way home. I try to meet most, if not all of my desires (within reason!). There are some things that I want that I know I'm not ready for right now, so I put them out for future delivery. I have to be watchful about this sometimes....

Try it. You’ll see a change in yourself.  Treat yourself well, do not berate yourself or be self-critical.

If you make a commitment and fail to stay on course, don’t get mad, start again.

Get in the habit of affirming yourself to yourself.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Can You Unplug?

No Limits| The Freedom Coach

Can You Unplug?

Written by Steven Griggs |

When was the last time you unplugged and went radio silent? I mean taking a few hours off and disappearing to have a picnic lunch in the park or take a long walk?

I know you’ve heard all this before but it’s really, really important to unplug.

I mean literally unplug, with no cellphone, no ipod, no blackberry, nothing electronic. Just you, in silence, just floating along, listening, smelling, watching the wind in the trees, the rippling waves on the lake, the birds in the air, the bugs on the ground….

(There is a lot going on out there, it’s busy!)

You may find it very difficult or almost impossible to pull away from your day and disconnect.

This is because our ego mind wants action, noise, distraction, chaos……. It always needs to be doing, taking action. It loves self importance. You may tell yourself: “But I’m busy! Sitting around on a park bench is flakey, even weird….I’ve got better things to do! Lets get back to work, I have calls  to make…..” .

But there is only so much we can take, especially today.

We are constantly under attack. We are barraged by negative headlines, shocking news stories, constant incoming phone calls and texts, calls to return, to do lists to complete, errands to run… whew! I got a headache just writing this ….. .

Yes technology is a huge part of our lives now, it’s great and I love it and I use it as much as I need to.  But I don’t need to be that connected.

The next time you answer the phone or a text, ask yourself who is controlling the situation? If you answer every call and text it’s not you… it’s the person calling or texting you. You are on a tether and whenever they need something they reach out and touch you. ( Let’s be honest, how many calls do you get that aren’t asking for something or meeting that person’s agenda?).  

I admit I am being a little extreme here. I know there are times when you need to be on alert and connected, but I am just trying to remind you that you can and should step away from the battle once in a while. It will be there when you get back.

Try to maintain a little parallel universe to the one you normally inhabit.

Find the time to slip into that space once in a while and disconnect. Free your mind and reconnect with that quiet place, your true home and feel the wind and sun on your face.

We’ve made quantum leaps in knowledge and technology over the last 120 years. But we must remember that we are still operating inside the body and mind of our ancient ancestors and that is the issue. We are not really designed for this way of living and there are limits to what we can take.

We have to remember that we are not machines, we are creators.

We created this technology, these tools. Technology didn’t create us.

Be connected but know when to unplug.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reboot Your Business®| The Freedom Coach

Can Your Business Be Saved? Part 1 of 2

Written by Steven Griggs |

Excerpted from my coming book: “REBOOT YOUR BUSINESS ! How to Restructure Your Business to Survive and Thrive in Today’s New World”

“I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2000 step process.”     Thomas Alva Edison                                                                        

1. Self-Review: The first step in assessing whether the business can be saved involves taking a long, unflinching, honest look at yourself.  Do you still feel the same as when you started the business?  Do you really like what you are doing? 

Like Steve Jobs and his mirror talk- If today was the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?      
Do you like some aspects of the business, but maybe not others?  Make a list.  Are you passionate about the products or services your business provides?  Do you have the time and energy to do the work needed?

Do you find yourself able to "be yourself", act like yourself in this business?  If not, why not?  Do you really want to own and run this business? 

Look closely at these issues before analyzing the business itself.  If you don’t really like what you’re doing, if you are not passionate about it, the odds are against you, it’s as simple as that.  I’m not telling you to give up.  I’m suggesting you take an honest look at what you really want, and what can be changed, or better yet what needs to be changed in order to make you happier, more productive, and therefore, more fulfilled.
2. Finances: Next, analyze cash flow, the money in and money out.  If you haven’t already done so, consider hiring an accountant to forecast finances. Go through each and every item in the budget and cut all items that are not absolutely essential to daily business operations.  Look at everything, including small items, such as coffee delivery service, snacks, and magazine subscriptions, as well as big dollar items, such as employee benefits and travel and entertainment expenses.  

Dig deep into your fixed expenses and try to find ways to reduce the cost of essential items, as well. For example: office supplies- can you find a less expensive supplier? Office space- can you downsize or relocate to a less expensive location?  Or, can you dispense with office space all together and go virtual?

Are there products or services that are no longer producing positive results for your organization? Eliminate or replace products and services that are no longer profitable. Remember the 80/20 rule- 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts; find the 20%, emphasize that and eliminate the rest. Sell off any equipment you don't need. Look everywhere for potential waste.

3.Employees: Being honest with your employees will help retain their loyalty even if times are bad, and will reduce the effects of the rumor mill.  Keep them in the loop. Tell them what’s going on, the challenges you are facing, and new developments as they emerge.  

If cuts are needed, tell them. The chances are they already know. Try to be available to answer any questions.  And by all means, ask for their suggestions for improvement.
Reduce your staff as needed.  Look at staff whose skills can be consolidated across several jobs.  I would try to retain generalists who can do several things well, and keep those who have proven both reliable and versatile.

Make sure your employees know they're valued. Share your vision and plans regarding turning the company around, and provide them the opportunity to stay in or move on.

Be careful and apply any reductions in benefits uniformly, don’t create dissension by favoring anyone in the organization. This will breed discontent.

More in part 2.