why is it dangerous to play it safe right now?

Don’t wait for normal to return, it is not coming back.

Take chances now.

Playing it safe right now is too dangerous a strategy.

If you are trying to play it safe you are missing a significant opportunity to stand out. And you need to stand out!

I gave this advice at an event this spring at the dawn of Covid. And about a month later one of the participants messaged me to say that she took my advice. She said, “I quit my job and started the journey that I always wanted to take, but hadn’t really had the courage to do it.” Now was the time.

Now is the time to invest in yourself, relying on yourself as your most valuable asset.

Understanding who you are, being able to articulate your purpose, and how you can use your genius work to help others; this is your portable equity and it is worth gold!

It is easy to lose ourselves right now, and yet the opportunity to find ourselves is the one we need to say yes to.

If you are ready to invest in your portable equity and declare your purpose we can help!

Now is a great time to

I had a blast as the guest speaker at the WESK Uncorked event last month.

I loved the chatty chat line.

We might not have been able to see each other but we sure knew that each other were there. I soaked up all the vibes like a sponge.

The pandemic has asked us to make mindful, generous, and difficult decisions. There has been very clear language around what we cannot do. And it has worked!  We listened.

But when we gather at Uncorked we are there to honour the art of the possible.

So it only seemed natural to flip the “can’t” talk on its head and think about what we “can” do.

I asked listeners to finish this sentence: Now is a great time to …………….

Below are the answers that came flying in faster than we could read them and I can’t resist sharing the main threads of the responses with you:

  • Business growth
  • Stretching what I can do and be in this world
  • Follow the opportunities
  • Own a business
  • Re-launch
  • Re-focus
  • Be bold
  • Tell your story
  • Pivot
  • Re-commit to what matters
  • Believe in myself
  • Be the leader you want to become
  • Mentor
  • Find my purpose
  • Re-invent myself
  • Lean in
  • Become who you really are
  • Personal growth and self-care
  • Be grounded in your why
  • Brand building
  • Hold on to calm
  • Get grounded
  • Get loud
  • Love myself

Can we keep this conversation going?

What resonates for you?

How will you finish the sentence? Now is a great time to…….

Things Have Shifted

Could you feel the shift?

I felt it this weekend.

I am not sure if it was that the buds on the trees seemed to burst in front of my eyes, that the grass was tinged with green, or our puppy Stella’s insane spring fever, but I felt it!

It echoed what I have been experiencing at The Story Co., too.

Since the pandemic clients have been gradually shifting from crisis mode to vision mode. Now, we are asking, “where to from here?” The questions are more hopeful and also more helpful. There is an openness to new ways of thinking.

This time last year our whole family was wrapped up in the Raptors’ triumphant run for the playoffs. (I’m seriously missing the Raptors but I promise no pivot analogies!)

Remember that game winning shot by Kawhi? There was a collective gasp at our house and all across the nation. With each exciting game I became really impatient, craving to know how the story would end.

I feel the same way now!

With the Raptors story I only saw it ending one way.

There was so much to cheer for; the nation, the underdog, the star, the hustle, the fans.

And at that pivotal moment was the shift.

We went from a nation shaking our heads at the luck of having a chance to win it all, to a nation believing we were champions.

Maybe it feels like all you have been doing is shifting and changing gears lately.

But all this shifting is making us into believers.

Retailers began this pandemic by shaking their heads wondering how they could possibly get an online store up and running so quickly, to seeing it now as a permanent income stream.

The gyms and yoga studios that now know that online classes will be here forever. Universities and educational institutions, not designed for being nimble, shifted gears completely getting online classes up and exams written. Masks were produced in basements; factories were re-tooled.

In the process raving fans have been created. The kind that never forget how when the chips were down you were there and willing to help with what you do best. That is what we live for. That is the soul of a purpose brand.

The “what” and “how” we do business has changed radically.

The raw innovation is profound.

The shift is real.

Keep going.

Five tips for creating a website that tells your story

It is always easier to tell someone else’s story. No wonder people have gossiped for centuries. Talking about someone else is the easy part!

Telling our own story can bring up all kinds of what if’s, not now’s, moments of intense clarity balanced with harrowing bouts of self-doubt. We know; we get it, we just went through it!

Here are some tips we swear by (not that we swear often but sometimes it just happens).

Unlearn boring– this is not the time to play it safe. You can stand out in the marketplace by simply not being boring and telling your own story! There are a zillion boring sites out there. Not being one of them is easier than you think. We are crying out to be fascinated by your story and someone did all the hard work to find you on the endless world wide web so don’t disappoint – it the worst kind of lunch bag let down. No excuses either, it does not matter what industry you are in. Trust me no one wants boring. If Tangerine could make banking seem fun and fresh, and turn a rather stodgy industry on its head so can you! (I mean whoever thought a bank named after my favourite food would be a success!)

Do the hard work. The hard work has nothing to do with fonts, colour palletes or menu bars. Those are important but you don’t have a chance of getting that right if you don’t do the hard work first. What is the hard work? Getting your story straight!! You have known since you were a teenager that not getting your story straight lands you in hot water.

Get started by answering these 3 questions:

  1. Here is the big one – What is your purpose?Why do you do what you do? What is your legacy? What is your impact for social good?

Let your heart and soul answer this question.

  1. What do you do? Here is a hint: this question is never answered with a product number or SKU and the answer has nothing to do with you. After all, we are a rather “me-first centered world”. We actually care less about the product than you might imagine. Because likely someone else has the same or what seems to be a similar type of product. If you can show me that your “what” is exactly what matters to me today, right now and in the future – you have my attention.

Let your visionary, vulnerable self answer this one.

  1. How do you do what you do? You are not like anyone else. DNA proved that long ago so shine a light on your weirdness and show me that your weirdness is just what I need. Let your brand personality fascinate me.

To get at your “How” answer this question: how do you value the bonds between you and your bestie clients or customer?

Let your ‘brave, self aware’ version of yourself answer this.

Answering these 3 questions forms a benevolent triad. Benevolent triads are steeped in trust.

Trust is the cornerstone of sustainable business.

So let it rip.

Be irresistible; show us your why, your what and your how. Live your story, the one no one else can live. Trust me we are gonna love you for it!

Mentoring works. Plain and simple.

We have just wrapped up the 6 month Mentoring For Growth program for WESK.I had the honour of designing and facilitating the program.

Sometimes something just hits you between the gut and the heart and you know that something big just happened. Well something big happened.

18 audacious, bright, committed, open hearted women business owners gathered once a month committed to growing their business and helping others to do the same.

And grow they did.

From the first meeting the boardroom at Path Cowork buzzed with the air of possibility.

Each monthly 2 hour session included some pre work, a guided framework for discussion and then break-out sessions that got to the heart of what each business owner needed help with now. Participants were both mentor and mentee, drawing on the collective wisdom and support of the group.

We were inspired by guest speakers who are out there now making their way and growing their own businesses. We heard about their challenges, triumphs, missed opportunities, and their ‘what is next’ dreams. How could we not love up that kind of inspiration! We soaked up their advice, their energy and their encouragement.

Some big goals were set back in January and in June we toasted our achievements: e-commerce sites were launched, expansions happened, strategic plans put in place, operations fine-tuned, taxes were paid, clarity, alignment and focus happened. Confidence happened.  And baby Leo was born!

And we are just as excited about the challenges ahead because we know there are 18 strong women who have our back and are cheering us on as we figure it out.

For the last session we asked each participant to share one piece of advice and a book that inspired them. This will be passed along to the next Mentoring for Growth session that begins in September.  Weaving the spirit, hopes and dreams of this session into the next. Quite a beautiful way to demonstrate that supporting each other in business is a movement not just a program.

Mentoring works. Plain and simple.

I was very humbled by this fabulous opportunity. I have always believed in the philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child and I certainly believe that it takes a village to raise a business.

I am so thankful for this village and I hope you find your own village that supports you as you build your business. A special shout out to Mona Bates the WESK manager who makes things happen! Her commitment to the ideals of this program, her calm and steady “we’ve got this” attitude is what put those 18 women business owners in the room every month. Her leadership bravely built this community and that is indeed something to be thankful for.

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