This morning, my 6-year-old daughter Jenna decided to work a new puzzle that she received for her birthday. The puzzle, when put together, would represent our solar system. She dumped the pieces out all over the floor and began to realize how “big” this process was for her.
I could feel and see that she was becoming overwhelmed. I sat down with her and asked if it might be a good idea to place the cover of the box in a place where she could refer to the “big picture”—what the puzzle would look like when she’s all done. She agreed and set to work turning over each piece, getting organized, and putting the pieces that looked similar together.
This got me thinking about how Smart Women create a blueprint of what their lives and work should look like, get organized, and then put the pieces where they need to go.
In our personal and professional lives, when a change or transition is looming we can become anxious about what this might mean for us moving forward. Sometimes we want to “dump” our options out all over the floor and quickly choose something so that we can get on with our lives. Change can be a challenge, especially if we have not given ourselves the quiet space and time to reflect on all of the different puzzle pieces in our lives and our businesses. The key is to focus on where we want to go in our lives and create a framework or blueprint to reflect this. It’s important to see the “big picture” and then look at what puzzle pieces would make it come together in the most effective way.
In our personal lives, we need to ask ourselves what’s most meaningful to us right now: self-care, relationships, family, friends, career, community involvement. These are just a few pieces of the puzzle called a woman’s life. We have to reflect and explore which pieces of the puzzle would bring the blueprint of our lives together in the most meaningful way. What makes the most sense right now? What feels “right?” Which pieces seem to fit together?
In my Women’s Success Circle, we are having a conversation around the puzzle pieces of effective marketing. As entrepreneurs, we can become so excited about our business that we want to put all of the marketing pieces together right now, all at once. We just throw it out there and see what works. We create business cards, a web site, brochures, etc., and wait for the phone to ring or emails to come rushing into our in-box.
It’s essential that you create your blueprint or framework around your marketing first. Ask yourself a few key questions: Who is my ideal client? Where is my ideal client? Where do they live? What do they read? Next, you have to decide how your ideal client benefits when they use your service or your product. Once you know who your ideal clients are and what benefits they receive, you can then determine what media you should use to reach them. Again, it’s essential to get that complete picture in your mind (or better yet, on paper!) before you begin placing the pieces of your marketing puzzle together.
How about you? Are you frustrated or anxious about the puzzle pieces in your life? Have you started to think that maybe the blueprint needs to change but there are so many pieces of the puzzle that you become overwhelmed about where to begin? It’s important to take that time to first sit down in a quiet place with some paper and colorful pens and sketch out what you want your life and your business to look like moving forward. Stephen Covey once said, “Begin with the end in mind.” Take a look at the “big” picture and decide which puzzle pieces feel “right” for you at this time in your life.
It took Jenna some time to put it all together. She called on me a few times for some gentle support and guidance—everyone needs a coach! When she finished, she stood up and took a moment to gaze carefully at her solar system. There was a look of confidence, achievement, and satisfaction in her face.
© 2008 Joy Chudacoff