What would a wise woman do?

It takes a lot of effort to successfully write and get a book published.  Our friend and writer Laura Steward Achison just had her first book released:  "What would a wise woman do?"  Questions to ask along the way.

Laura worked in the computer industry for many years, successfully running a company like The Computing Center in Connecticut and Florida.  Not quite two years ago, she decided to sell it.  This book, in part, talks about that journey and some of the take-a-ways from the process.  The book is available on Amazon in hard copy and in Kindle form.  It's also available from Laura's website: whatwouldawisewomando.com/  

Laura Steward Atchison is a creative entrepreneur and writer who brings wit and wisdom to her readers. Her current endeavor is founding Wisdom Learned, LLC. Ms. Atchison gave birth to the idea of a new company that focuses on educating other business leaders through experience and lessons learned from the trenches.

Big Mo - A creative job seeker

Our friend and writer, Laura Atchison recently found a true entrepreneur searching for a job in Silicon Valley in a most interesting fashion. 
 
It was 4:15am Pacific Time as I walked out of the hotel to catch a car service to the airport for my flight home. I had only gotten to bed around midnight so I was still a bit sleepy. Not so my driver, Mo. His energy, courtesy and smile welcomed me as he opened the car door for me.
 
I was curious about this man who demonstrated all the qualities of exceptional customer service. His dress, manner and speech were impeccable as was his car. Of course I had to ask what his story was. That was when I discovered Big Mo has a plan. Nine months ago he was laid off from Cisco Systems at age 51. After a month he was told to start collecting unemployment.

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What Direction are you going in?

What direction are you going in?

Sounds like a simple question with a simple answer doesn’t it? No, it’s not a trick question but one that requires more thought than most of us give to the answer. I’ve learned that there is a bigger, more useful question than just asking what direction I am going. It is actually more important to ask, “Where do I want to be and, will where I am going get me there?”

Too often we stay on a course that we set a long time again. We don’t re-evaluate the course we are on as we are on it. We figure that any course we set must be a good one and we need to follow it until the end. Sounding familiar to anyone?
Just before I decided to sell my I.T. services company in 2009, I began looking at the course I had set for myself back in 1994 when I started the company. It is important to understand that I only began looking because of an incident that had happened with the business that made me realize I wasn't fully happy having the business anymore. I needed a "2×4" to the gut versus the whispers I had been ignoring for about a year or more.
 
As I reviewed where I had been and where I was going, I realized that somewhere along the way I had changed. What I thought I wanted long ago was not what I wanted for myself anymore. Mostly because I did nothing except work on and in the business and my health had begun to succumb to the constant stress of a place I no longer wanted to be but had not acknowledged for a long time. Anyone reading this experienced that place?
 
Once I began looking at the course I was on and where it was heading the realization hit me hard, I don’t have to keep following this course just because I set it. I could choose to completely change course or start a completely new one and declare I had reached the destination on the previous one. That was so freeing to me. Eight weeks later I had sold the business and began to look at my life and needs with a new eye.
 
I began asking deeper questions like: “What does success look like to me? and Where did that image come from?" Those two questions really placed me on a new path because I realized my image of success came from external sources, good ones, but not ones that reflected my soul and passions anymore. I was striving to keep achieving more and more because my idea of success was based on bottom-line numbers, number of people in my “network” and external accolades.

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Information or Transformation

I spend a lot of time reading business and life transformation books and regularly attend seminars with some of the top experts in their fields to increase my knowledge to improve my life and my business. At times, I leave those events on fire to make changes in my life and business but something happens when I get home or back to work. The daily realities seem to push all the insights learned to the background and just never seem to get put into action. Does this sound familiar?

How many times have you been to an event and written down a laundry list of “brilliant” insights you were ready to implement and then forgot about? Each time you read a book or attend an event you say, “This time it will be different” but you never seem to change anything?

Ask yourself, “Am I interested in information or in transformation?” BEFORE you go or BEFORE you start reading that latest business or self-help book.

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Why settle for fine?

Editor's Note - We have known Laura for over 10 years as a computer systems integration business owner, entrepreneur, and prolific writer.

Have you ever said, “I’m fine” rather than, “I’m great”? How about when you’ve gone to a restaurant and said the food was fine rather than it’s wonderful and yet you kept going back to that same place rather than find another restaurant that had better food and service and perhaps even a better price? Fine to me means that it is just satisfactory. That the experience just meets my minimum requirements for that interaction. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my life to be filled with exceptional experiences whenever possible especially if it is possible for me to shift the experience with just a little effort.

I was talking to my mom the other day, she recently had open heart surgery and is recovering at our house, and I asked her how she was feeling. She said she was fine but when I prodded her for a deeper answer she said she had a headache and she was in pain. Comparatively, she was fine to where she had been a few weeks prior, but she really wasn’t fine. A couple of Tylenol and about 20 minutes later she felt great. You could even see it in her eyes. Why are we willing to settle for fine when we can be great?

All it took for great to happen in this case was Mom being willing to admit what wasn’t great and then analyze if there was a way to change fine to great. I have found that 99% of the time it is that easy to move from fine to great, wonderful, awesome or even just to good. In a restaurant, it may mean sending the salad back if you asked for it with no dressing and it came out laden with dressing or engaging the wait staff in a conversation and asking their name to let them know you appreciate them. Watch how your service improves with just that little bit of attention on your part.

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