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What's your Baggage?

When I was travelling around the world, one of my first bus rides dropped my travel companion and I near a Guatemala hostel. It was about a quarter mile walk to get to the lobby, and my friend literally surged ahead.

However, the pack I was carrying weighed about 50 pounds and I couldn't walk fast. It was too much --- I was carrying way too much stuff. Things were literally weighing me down: a pack of socks, ten t-shirts, two sweaters, extra water bottles, and more. I needed to get rid of stuff, reduce the stockpiling, and realize that the universe will provide. I gave the extra socks and t-shirts to the man working the desk, he seemed pretty happy about it. I took off about 10 pounds of weight and had a little more spring in my step, and I realized I had to let go of everything except the basic essentials, if I wanted to make the journey successfully.

Which are your basic essentials?
Where is your baggage that is dragging you down?
Are you comfortable with your load?

I've worked with enough women at this point to profoundly understand the role of the entrepreneur / visionary / idealist who is navigating through this world to create value, sustain relationships, and build a lasting legacy. It's tough to be in charge, and for those of us who are in charge of everything - the triple bottom line, the children, the aging parents, the business, the organization, the campaign -- it is a heavy load to carry.

If you're leaping into the world of entrepreneurship and of creating solutions to ongoing problems, then let go of your baggage? What are you already holding on to that makes it even more difficult for you to "move through" the painful, deeply troubling, breakup-inducing, stress-related, creepy, sad, heart attack-promoting parts of building your legacy?

  • Do you believe you're worthy?
  • Do you believe that you're up for the challenge?
  • Do you think you deserve success?
  • Are you willing to reach out to other people?
  • Do you delegate?
  • Do you believe that everyone is perfect in their own way (or that no one's perfect = same difference)
  • Were you a tinkerer, inventor, dreamer, or doer when you were young?
  • Can you see what other people don't yet see?
  • Are you concerned about building something that works well?
  • Is anything worth doing, worth doing well?
  • Do you get enough sleep, adequate nutrition, and exercise everyday?
  • Are you willing to take full responsibility?
  • Do you have intestinal fortitude? (Are you gutsy?)

If you answered yes to most of these, you're fine. Keep doing what you're doing.

If you're still mired in the slog of any of the following, you'll want to work through your personal issues *first*, prior to unleashing them on your customers, team, staff, and end users.

  • Feeling unworthy
  • Not believing in yourself
  • Don't think you're ready
  • Don't deserve anything
  • Belief that other people are to blame
  • Take on everything, then feel bad about it
  • Find fault easily
  • Refuse to look under the hood
  • Blindness / willful ignorance
  • Not too concerned about your own work
  • Not too concerned about other people's work
  • Abusive, self-abusive, or generally disrespectful
  • Not willing to sign on the bottom line
  • Not up for the challenge

Baggage drags us all down. Travel light.

When we let go of the things that bring us low (worry, despair, stress-related activities, toxic relationships), we open our arms wide and embrace good opportunities, positive experiences, and wonderful, soul-touching relationships.

For entrepreneurs, changemakers, and those in leadership - take a first step towards your journey towards success:
I recommend you understand what your baggage is, then start putting away anything that no longer serves you. Let's travel light, make the world a better place, and leave our heavy packages behind.

Here are some exercises to assist you in generating a baggage-free perspective:
1) Ask other people for help. Ask more people for help.
2) Brainstorm 5 different solutions to any specific issue, challenge, or problem
3) Come up with three different ideas to help other people
4) Write a letter to someone thanking them for their impact on you
5) Volunteer at your hospice, school, church, religious organization, mentoring program, or other community group

How to Organize your Content

For any organization's website, there are certain items that can be converted from "static" pages to a more dynamically generated display of data.

Typically, these can be thought about by using a data entry form: if you have a certain type of content that always has the same fields, then this can be converted into a "content type" on your website; from your administrator login, you may then add/edit/delete content by using the web-based data entry form.

To give you an idea of how we completed this process for an existing client, their list of "content types" is as follows:

A) Frontpage Slideshow
Slideshows on the homepage

B) On the frontpage, a "highlighted" item
Use a "nodequeue" to mark an item directly, for example, navigate to a certain page and then simply click "Mark as frontpage highlight" for it to automatically display

C) Events
Typically these require a Start Date, an optional End Date, a Title, Description, and potentially an image. In this case, the organization also requires "signups" with a First Name/Last Name, Phone Number, and Age of client. These signups only appear on specific events, so you may specify which events are allowed to have signups.

Note that some of our customers also require a ticketing process: that is, the signup is confirmed by a paid ticket, where the customer may pay for their ticket using the online cart/checkout process.

Events may appear in a list or on a calendar grid, as desired.

D) Sidebar Highlights
Similar to the frontpage, this is an available "Mark as sidebar highlight" that can be clicked on any content and will automatically update on the sidebar of secondary pages

E) Staff listings
Include photo, name, a clickable link to e-mail, biography, and telephone

F) Programs
Includes a title and description, and optional image, as well as a "sort order" to show the priority on the main page of "All Programs"

G) Services
Includes a title and description, and optional image, as well as a "sort order" to show the priority on the main page of "All Services"

H) Support Groups
These are ongoing calendar events that have a recurring feature, e.g. "Third Thursdays"
Using the date manager, it is possible to exclude and include specific dates as needed

I) Downloadable files
Files such as .PDF files or .DOC and .XLS files may be attached to an item and uploaded
Alternatively, a link to a Google Doc may be added here

J) Directory listings
Outside resources may be added with a Title, Description, External weblink, Logo, and Category for display on a filterable "directory" of resources

K) YouTube or Vimeo videos may be easily added here, for display in various parts of the site at a specified size.

Notice that there are many different types of content that may be appropriate for your organization, and the use of a data entry tool to "manage" your content makes it easier and simpler for staff to keep the website updated.

If any of the above sound like something you may need for your website, please contact us.

Planning Long-term, Data-driven Decisions, and your Ultimate Number

As executives, administrators, shareholders, and those with the most to lose (or gain) from our company/organizational growth, it is important to plan long-term, use data to make decisions, and always focus on the "ultimate number".

Planning for the Long Haul

The difference between instant gratification and long-term planning can be as simple as a 10% set-aside. What is the long-range plan for your business, non-profit, community-based organization, or startup?

If your sole idea is to get big fast, get acquired, and move on, then I invite you to skip to a different blog, as that's not my focus (grin).

If your strategy is to build a core, lasting, valuable collection of products, teams, communities, processes, and institutions, then you understand what I mean when I encourage you to plan for the long-term future.

If you want your legacy to be one that is helpful, sustainable, and adds more insight and better education to the existing "way of doing things", consider the following:

  • What impact do your decisions today have on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation?
  • How do the tools and processes you're putting into place help those 50, 100, or 200 years from now?
  • Which best describes your timeline? Tomorrow, next week, next month? next quarter? Or this year, next year, five years from now, decades from now, even centuries from now?

If the average lifespan of a company in the world (Japan, Europe, and the United States) is a little more than twelve years, and if your mindset is ten times that, you'll find the key areas to plan around are: tenacity, adaptability, and steady growth.

Tenacity Holding on means literally being strong in the grip of your company's mission, vision, and values - not swerving and swaying with the wind or the tides or the current idea of "what's cool-and-new" but focusing directly on your triple bottom line and identifying the core purpose of your company's existence. How are you and your teammates tenacious about your company's success?

Adaptability Longevity = evolution. Change is a constant, and planning to remain "fixed" based on a certain "snapshot" of business conditions will leave you far behind those who consistently update and improve their offerings. Ask any classified ads department what they think of Craigslist, or ask any bank manager what happened when ATMs came into place, or ask any HTML web developer how they coped with the advent of programming languages like PHP and Ruby -- you'll see that those groups and individuals that took the extra effort to learn, change, and adapt are the ones that thrive in our constantly-changing environment. What processes are you undertaking to adapt your service products and offerings?

Steady growth Blowing up like a flash-in-the-pan is exciting for some, but it may not be a great idea in the long run. Ideally you see a strong, steady, "long tail" stype of growth, where incremental gains and additional services added over time contribute to a healthy, upwards curve of revenue, year-over-year. How will you continue to foster a culture of growth?

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Individual "gut feelings" can get you a certain distance down the road, but in the long run, your goals will be better and quicker achieved if they are smart: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. The better reporting procedures you have in place, the better decisions you can make, and the less you will be bogged down or distracted by transitory "blips" or "spikes" in the system.

Here are some ideas on which types of data to measure:
a) people-focused: how are people's lives different because of your product or service
b) qualitative: which outcomes can you expect from implementation of your product or service?
c) quantitative: how many staff hours are allocated? how many dollars saved? number of individuals served? types of campaigns launched? on-time proucts shipped?
d) environmental impact: energy usage, recycling and compost increase, reduction in solid waste?
e) grab bag: think about which datasets make the most sense for your specific business or area of focus, and start measuring those numbers

Identify your Main, Core, Rock-Solid, Ultimate Number

At the bottom of your annual report or report card, there will be a number that is important to your company's success. Be it a 1, a 10, or a 100, what is that core number? This "ultimate" number best defines your business and organizational success.

For an airline, it might be the number of on-time departures.
For a car company, it might be the number of units sold.
For a grassroots campaign, it might be the quantity of donations from first-time donors.
For the parent-teacher association, it might be the percentage of families who join.
What is this number for you?

Your "metric" of success, once defined, will be your most helpful and useful marker for your long-term success. It may be as basic as revenue generated, or it might be related to number of unique visitors, or hashtags, or signups on a certain day. Once you identify that metric, measure it repetitively and use it to identify where you need to go.

Contact us for more information on our proprietary dashboard tools.

What We Believe

We believe in the following --

  • Be truthful and live your truth.
  • Activate and achieve your full potential.
  • When in doubt, dream big.
  • Take a stand for education, women, families, the arts, and self-determination*.
  • Connect with other like-minded individuals - it hastens the process of achieving goals.
  • Build bridges between individuals and organizations. We all seek to work with each other.
  • Maintain a positive outlook.
  • Success is in our nature --it's a natural end result when there's an ongoing focus on quality.
  • Fulfill your purpose - do what you love.
  • Support the animal kingdom - they are our family, too.
  • At any point, you may be a guardian, a warrior, a sage, a princess, or a stranger. All roles are acceptable.
  • Embody the aloha spirit: at work, at school, and at home.
  • Gain power through inner peace.
  • Focus on health and wellness, including optimal weight, daily exercise, sound sleep, good nutrition, and appreciation of your body.
  • Good food, good friends, good family.
  • Have a healthy appreciation for wonder and mystery.
  • Remain curious. Love to learn.
  • Live with dignity, courage, and respect for self and others.
  • Remember that everything turns back to stardust.
  • We are all here to shine.
  • Learn how to connect to light, energy, and the planet's needs.
  • Take care of the land - plant, tend, grow, and share.
  • We are all one, embedded in the web of life together.
  • Seek patterns within patterns.
  • You belong.
  • Hear the message - strive for understanding.
  • Make time to unwind - reflection, introspection, meditation.
  • Be the change.
  • Cherish children.
  • Work for world peace: the mantra to repeat is "our planet is healthy, whole, and supportive of all species."
  • Interact. Impact. Support. Elevate.
  • Develop vision, then take action.
  • Leave the world a better place.
  • Make room.
  • Imagine the "City on the Hill."
  • Make it special. Create happy memories for loved ones.
  • Seek and understand nature's truths. Learn from nature: observe, understand, adapt, and evolve.
  • Follow your intuition.
  • Express appreciation.
  • Determine to live each day with purpose and passion.
  • Expand your consciousness - think on a global level.
  • We are exactly where we are meant to be.
  • Be aware that life goes in cycles - it includes joy, pain, action, inaction, activity, passivity, life, death, and rebirth....
  • Foster respect for others as well as yourself.
  • Strive for beauty.
  • Develop a sense of gratitude.
  • Seek unity in diversity.
  • Take care of family.
  • Be together.
  • Practice Patience
  • Grow plants and purchase from local farmer's markets.
  • Relax and enjoy.
  • Believe that what we do in life echoes in eternity.
  • Honor, activate, and energize the creative process.
  • Live your plan "A".
  • Shine your light.
  • Everything is unfolding according to the plan.
  • Remain calm. Do not let yourself be troubled.
  • Remember Albert Einstein's other precept: "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
  • The river of life continues onward, so go with the flow.
  • Always practice hope.
  • Develop a legacy: use your unique gifts and talents to help the world.
  • Trust that the Universe guides us to fulfill our mission.
  • Your abilities make the world a better place.
  • Put plans into action.
  • Remain close with family near and far, including children, parents, siblings, grandparents, in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles, and more.
  • Think long-term.
  • Eat locally grown organic produce, grains, fruits, and meats. Grow vegetables, grains, greens, and flowers.
  • Abide in abundance; there is plenty to share, plant for future generations, enrich the soil.
  • Raise chickens, rabbits, and bees.
  • Enjoy fruit: blueberries, strawberries, grapes, lychees, apples, pears, plums, pluots, oranges, tangerines, peaches, apricots, pomegranates....
  • Protect the planet by planting trees, adopting wilderness preserves, and encouraging wild spaces.
  • Clear your conscience: make amends, set things right, hold no grudges, be patient with others.
  • Work in collaboration - each one teach one: ideas, organizing, brainstorming, websites, books, panels, presentations
  • Learn from individual knowledge, then use that knowledge within communities for the common good. Practice generosity of spirit. Cultivate innovation. Meet the needs.
  • Be an active mentor -- make a positive difference in a young person's life.
  • Make decisions over the long haul: consider the seventh generation.
  • Maintain relationships that are positive, mutually supportive, healthy, creative, and abundant.
  • Strengthen communities: support alliances, cultivate networks, spread knowledge.
  • Work towards a clear, positive mission, vision, and values.
  • Serve: be on the board, make policy, think strategically.
  • Support women.
  • Share the journey.
  • Live a good life. Be happy, proud, and grateful to know you do your best.
  • Grow friendships: enjoy meaningful, entertaining, thought-provoking conversations with dear ones.
  • Appreciate craftsmanship, quality, and heritage.
  • Open your mind to find the peace that passeth understanding.
  • Find meaning and joy: be happy with work, engage in meaningful activities that provide joy, security, financial freedom, and daily happiness, and better your home, neighborhood, and community through day-to-day choices and actions
  • Contact us to request an estimate for your project, or visit our e-store for our current products and specials.

    Go By the Numbers

    The "Golden Ratio" offers a way to understand relative lengths. Two separate lengths of anything (walls, website proportions, product sizes, printed cards, et al.) are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to their maximum, shown by this WikiPedia graphic:

    The Golden Ratio can be integrated into any of your desired measurable outcomes. It's a favorite number of ours, along with pi (which heralds the universal language of mathematics), Fibonacci sequences (which elegantly shows how nature organizes itself into structural competency), and Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man (perfect proportions of the human body -- but we don't know anyone who looks like that in real life! yet!)

    During your process with us, we invite you to consider how you wish to demonstrate harmony, the search for perfection, and your core beliefs throughout your project. Perhaps you desire a logo that fits certain proportions. You might specify an underlying structure in your website content. You may choose to schedule your blog posts along a timetable of your choosing. We are flexible enough to give you guidance, but also expert enough to encourage you to really make your project work.

    "Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well," says the Fourth Earl of Chesterfield, and we agree. If you choose to engage us as your partner during the strategic planning, website development, or IT setup part of your process, we promise to give you the very best skill, advice, connections, and value we have available.

    Do it right the first time, integrate your desired results into the foundation, and your entire project's trajectory will succeed -- it will truly be a "golden" accomplishment.

    Think Local, Act Global

    In today's interconnected world, the sun will never set on your website property. Continuous uptime is your mantra. A store or brochure that works for you in Honolulu, Palo Alto, or Manhattan will also help you in London, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney.

    Your pre-dawn pinning gains you some subscribers to the RSS feed.
    Your cron run pushes your feed to your Facebook page at 11am.
    Your lunchtime Reddit boost hits your blog and causes a major traffic spike.
    Your e-commerce store make sales after you go to sleep.
    Your customers check your FAQs page during the wee hours of the morning.

    Your business, firm, organization, campaign, or simple informational presence is your "always-on" persona.

    Challenge yourself to consider your business development plan at the local level:

    1) What local vendors will you support?
    2) How will your work "fit in" to the community's charitable or business environment?
    3) Will you position yourself as part of the local eco-conscious tribe?
    4) Can you develop a "report card" of how you are making a difference
    5) Which measurable indicators do you use to manage your green credentials?

    Challenge yourself to expand your thinking to the county, state, country, and international level:

    6) You are part of an global awareness campaign toward healthier outcomes for all
    7) Your domestic success reflects and supports the green movement worldwide
    8) New thinking on your business model helps create a more sustainable future for all your vendors, customers, partners, and affiliates
    9) Document your incremental positive changes as part of the overall effort
    10) Build bridges between what you do in your own city, and what others are doing in their own communities

    The CoSustainable way involves a heavy focus on honesty, integrity, compassion, and growth.

    Let us work with you to build our shared future. Contact us for an initial assessment of your project, plan, or idea.