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An Entrepreneur’s 2009: Seeding Business and Preserving Life

Francie Kitten

I’m thrilled about many things in 2009, both inside and outside my business. And I wanted to share a few that continually motivate me.

An accomplishment: seeding every day no matter what
My company hasn’t emerged unscathed from this recession.

We took some heavy hits. But action – consistent action – not fear – was the daily strategy. Some of the actions were counter-intuitive, like spending scarce cash on new marketing initiatives and professional development for staff when resources were low. Some were high risk, like making a new hire in a particular market segment when business was down in other segments. Most were just plain grunt work.

Some actions were successful; some weren’t. But our mantra was to stay busy seeding, and trust that the harvest would come. Once we committed to finding seeding opportunities, they appeared everywhere.

Networking. Helping. Prospecting. Brokering. Innovating. We stayed busy on purpose, seeding everyday, no matter what. Turns out it’s a great fear management tool. Looking back on this year, I don’t remember being afraid. I just remember being almost overwhelmed with seeding opportunities, frantically trying to fit them all in. And the harvest? We’re looking at a TON of little green sprouts!

An insight: preserving life
Last month, one of my virtual assistants, Kristy, who lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia found a not-yet-weaned kitten on a compost heap. She rescued it, and because she knows I’m an animal lover, emailed me to ask if I knew anyone who might want it. I didn’t, but was willing to foster it. So we each drove half way and I got the little fur ball and took it to my vet for a checkup. Happily, the kitten seemed OK (pictured above), and the vet even knew a couple that might want to adopt it.

Getting confused about how many people were involved in this?

I ended up fostering for only one night, because the folks my vet contacted did indeed want the kitten.

That kitten would not have survived a cold night out on the compost heap. Kristy only saw it by merest chance. In less than 48 hours that tiny little life passed through four sets of hands, 100 miles apart, to finally have a chance at life.

Only the 4th set of hands could give it a home – but other hands helped along the way. Makes me wonder – whose life could each of us advance just a little bit today?

A success: radiance in a staff member
I have a middle-aged female staff member who honestly has no idea how smart and capable she is. No one takes her more for granted than she does. This lack of confidence makes her shun opportunities that would elicit demonstrations of her strengths. A few weeks ago, I insisted that she attend my course on professional presenting, during which she would have to make 5 video-taped presentations in front of others over a 2-day period.

The first day she was huffy and defensive – her usual response to feeling vulnerable. By the end of day two, though, she was RADIANT.

And she deserved to be. She had done a great job of integrating all the learning, and delivered really terrific presentations. She knows she’s good at a particular set of functions, but has been unwilling to believe she can be good an expanded set of functions. This experience helped her discover another dimension of her existing strengths. It was absolutely wonderful to see that realization dawn on her. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

What about you?
What benchmarks, successes, or insights have been revealed through this year?

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Guest contributor Francie Dalton, CMC, is founder and president of Dalton Alliances, Inc. and author of the recently published book Versatility. Her Washington, DC based consultancy helps the C-Suite solve business nightmares. Francie equips clients to deal with what they didn’t see coming (and shows them there’s always another way to win!). She welcomes a chance to meet you via Twitter or on LinkedIn.

Image of the rescued kitten used with permission by blogger Francie Dalton.


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