Rethink your goals and find new sustainable ways to reach them!

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Your own true goals
Your own true goals

Goal setting is a favorite habit of mine. I love all about goals; dreams that create goals, identifying goals, getting goals down in writing and get down to specific plans on how to reach the goals. There is such power in goals and things that once seemed farfetched suddenly are approaching fast!

The most exciting part I think is when your goals become clear to you, then you can begin to explore why these goals are important to you. This process usually makes me understand myself a little bit better and also makes it easy to eliminate goals that are not really important to me. Usually, some goals have more to do with other people’s expectations or perhaps even other people’s dreams.

When you have identified your own true goals that you really connect with it is time to think about how to work towards them. Often we are stuck in our old ways and can have a hard time seeing new options or possibilities. Try to identify at least five different ways of achieving your goal. Then you should consider how you can do this and still honor your own believes and core values. There are ways, you just need to see them.

Do you know your core values?
Do you know your core values?

Here is an example. Your core values might be to spend time with your family, live in a way that is sustainable for the planet, to create a comfortable life for your family, and have time and energy to be there for your friends. But your own true goal might be to become a highly respected executive that all your coworkers look up to and your peers hold up as a true role model. The path of least resistance would be to think that somethings got to give and most people seem to accept that a successful career means spending less time with your family, live unsustainably and have very little time for your friends. But there are other ways. If you stay true to both your goal and your values you might find that when you have clear expectations of your work environment you can make it happen. Your current employer might understand your demands, or you find other companies in tune with your own core values. Maybe you create your own path as an entrepreneur. There are many solutions and when you start looking for them you will find them.

When you know your own true goals and your core values there is no need to give up any of them. In my work as a mentor in these changes, I help organizations and people find new ways, using the wonderful possibilities available today. The inventiveness and ingenuity of people creating a path based on their core values and their goals is truly inspiring.

You can do this too. If you believe that your goals and core values are conflicting you need to look closer at them. Question WHY the goals are important to you and do the same with your core values. If you are truly honest with yourself you will probably see quite easily what you really believe in and what you have put there to please others.

The path to live a truly fulfilling and rich life is available and you can do it without violating what you truly believe in. Do you just go with the flow or do you swim in the direction of your choice?

The IPCC report 2018 points at YOU to support the planet – be a part of the solution!

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Are you a part of the solution och the problem?
Which future will you be a part of creating?

Yes, it is scary. Yes, it is for real. If you have not heard about the UN’s newest report on climate change you need to. We are fast facing disaster with the way we are living, much faster than expected. Twelve years, a little more than a decade, they think we have to turn things around. We need to change this radically for the sake of us all, our children, future generations, and not in the least our own dear selves.

 

We can do this, we can make radical changes when we need to and I believe our lives will become richer by doing so. So what can you do today? As an experienced professional you are probably climbing your career ladder, you have responsibility for your family, children and maybe your parents. You might feel that you are stuck, there is surely nothing radical you need or even can do?

Yes, there are many things you can do! Radical things that really make a difference! As experienced adults, we have the highest responsibility. It is up to us to change our lives now, and enjoy the process as well. Inspire others and give hope to our kids.

We can live differently quite easily. We can rethink what we actually cherish in life and act accordingly, is not the future life of us all worth that?

There are major things you can do today to start your positive impact. Especially as a high achieving professional with responsibility within your organization. Your own conduct will be an example to your peers and subordinates.

Here are five suggestions:

  1. Guard your time and the planet by stop flying in your work. There are other ways to interact with your colleagues and clients around the world. We have technical innovations today making flying totally unnecessary. The younger generations already know this, they can create meaningful relationships via Skype and other similar tools. You can do this today. Spend time at home with your loved ones instead and be thankful for your new opportunity to create deeper more meaningful relationships where you actually live.
  2. Heavily reduce or stop eating meat. This is easily done today with this abundance of alternatives we have at restaurants and supermarkets.

    You can start to make a difference today!
  3. Rethink your transportation habits. Can you drastically reduce the damage you do each day with your transportation habits? Yes, probably. Can you work at home more often? Can you use the bike or walk and teach your children to do that too? Can you offer a ride to a neighbor? Perhaps it is time to rethink where you work or live to bring these places close to each other?
  4. Given your abilities, gifts, education, and experience where can you do most relevant work? Where can you really contribute to creating a solution for the world? Can you do this at your current job, in your current position? Should you rethink your choices to make sure that what you contribute with at work the coming decade leads humanity in the right direction?
  5. Stop buying physical stuff. We all know of the studies showing us that consumption is not making us happy and still many of us continues this destructive behavior. We have a twisted view of success being based on stuff, new things. You can challenge this view and show real quality of life by consciously making the decision that you will not buy physical goods unless necessary. When you buy things choose quality products that are and can be recycled. If you buy things to get variety in your life there are digital products you can buy making much less damage to our world. Most young people today prefer digital gifts anyway. We can buy digital products like films, music, and games online.

These are just a few steps to start with today that can help you make a tremendous difference in the world. I hope you stop hesitate and start to be a part of the solution today. Move forward and create a positive spiral of individuals taking their responsibility and take action!

How Keeping Your Strategic and Operational Thinking Separate Will Increase Your Success!

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Your strategic direction

One common mistake in any type of long-term venture is to mix your strategic and operational agenda. We need to set time aside to develop and sustain our strategic goals and plans, but then we are done and need to focus on action. If you are hesitant or unclear of your direction this will make solving operational issues more challenging.  All of us has a preference if we like to make long-term plans and look at the big picture or if we are more action oriented, eager to put our thoughts into activities. The result when running your own business can be either too much long-term planning or ad hoc actions that have no common direction. There is a need for a very different mindset when working with strategic planning compared to working on operational tasks. In large organizations, these things are done by different people, but in a small organization, you need to be very specific in which mode you are in. Is it strategic work you are doing, thinking long-term and more visional or is it operational with an action-oriented problem-solving focus? One way to make sure you spend sufficient time and effort on both are to identify what is a strategic decision and what is operational.

Go through your planned activities and think about if they are based on a strategic decision or not. Is there strategic thinking to be done to solve this properly or not. Here is an example of a small e-business run from home.

 

Planned activity Strategic Component Need for strategic decision Strategic/Operational
Delivery service always late – need to find a new partner My long-term need for delivery service Will I continue to grow my need for delivery services or do I need a short-term fix before starting to drop-ship? Strategic
My computer is not working properly and needs an update This is an issue I need to solve today and I already decided to get a new laptop in one year. No Operational
Answer the questions from my clients about my products There could be questions about future products but you can still answer what you know today No (but you’ll probably get ideas for strategic choices to be made) Operational
Investigate new products that could be interesting What is your strategic view on adding/changing your product offering? What kind of R&D activities are in focus for you right now? Strategic
Send products to clients but need to get more wrapping material Should you brand your wrapping more or make it look more exclusive? No, you do not make that decision today if you are at a standstill because of this. But if you are unsure of the right kind of branding that could be a topic for you to think about later. Operational

 

Then you gather strategic topics together and set aside time for strategic decision making when you go through all of these. Make sure to use your strategic decisions and not reassess them every time they come up. This is a common time-consuming behavior in many organizations, large and small, to ignore strategic decisions and guidelines.

Many entrepreneurs spend far too much time on strategic issues, instead of getting down to action.

Others spend too much time doing insignificant tasks not moving them in their strategic direction. To avoid this time-consuming behavior you can ask yourself these three questions when starting a task:

  1. Is there a strategic component to this task?
  2. Have I/we already made a strategic decision on this?

If YES

Use the decision and go to action!

If NO

Put the strategic question on the agenda for your next strategic session.

In some new ventures, the number of strategic decisions to be made are truly daunting in the beginning. Do not fear! This will change over time if you handle this in the right way. If you are overwhelmed with strategic decisions make sure your strategic sessions are frequent and document every decision well so you don’t have to revisit the question.

After a while, you will notice that you have answers to most strategic questions and your sessions can be further apart.

 

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You Are Unique! Identify Your True Value as Experienced Professional

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Your are unique, that is your gift, use it!

I’ve worked with many corporations and public organizations discussing their data assets. The value of their information and their knowledge about how to use it. Sometimes it’s hard to see the value of what is right in front of us. We tend to crave what we think we see in a distance instead. It is hard to really get into the core of what is creating a value in your product or service or what addition could easily enhance that value. But for organizations taking the trouble of understanding this, it could mean the difference between going under, when the demand from their customers changes, or huge success when selling what is actually making a difference for their customers. This approach can easily be translated into your own personal professional options as an experienced professional.

As an experienced professional you are way past the time when your professional skill was the tools you were taught in school. Experience add things to your skill. If you start to pinpoint the value you have added to your basic skills you will be surprised. If you understand your own unique qualities as an individual with your abilities you can start to see your options more clearly. We often tend to only see our own perceived shortcomings or we measure us against somebody else. Neither of these views are productive. We are all unique. To truly see our own traits gives us the opportunity to be creative about how we can make the most of them. Your good qualities, deep skills, and experience combined with your current interests and passions could really make a difference. But only if you use these assets to their full potential. Don’t wait for somebody else to “discover” your greatness and talents. Take your time to investigate this yourself.

Your key to success is to use your strengths where they create the most value

Ask yourself these “key to success” questions:

  • Where did I start from? What skills did I learn in university or in professional trainings?
  • How have I used these skills? When was I most successful and felt the flow?
  • What have I successfully added to my original skills?
  • What do I really enjoy about this today and feel passionate about?

Look at your answers and try to see them with an objective eye. Where would you suggest an individual with these traits would make the biggest success?

If you like you can send me your answers and I can give you my objective view of options I can see for you. Contact me at contact@cateswedish.com.

Don’t wait to take your next step towards success!

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Digital Business – Your Idea and Somebody Else’s Data!

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The data you need is out there

I’ve often in my work referred to the big opportunity with digital business as mainly our ability to reach a mass market only a click away. That is one part of the story. Another important ingredient is the era of the open data we live in. Many organizations have come to realize that they need to make data available to stay relevant. This is what is commonly known as open APIs. The data can be retrieved via open interfaces. In some cases, the availability of data is even prescribed by law. This is a great opportunity both for organizations and for you as an individual. Many ideas we get about improving services or society have a data component in them. There is a chance that the data you need for your idea is already publically available. The trick is to turn this open information into services so valuable that people would like to pay for them.

There are data available from government agencies, large corporations and even banks that you can use for free. There are sometimes restrictions of what you might do with the data and you might also have an option to purchase data for business use that you could consider.

I think that Uber is such good example of this. Probably many people have had the thought before. Why don’t people drive each other when convenient? But the trouble of making this easy seemed just too great to get going with the idea. Uber has over the years used many APIs to make their services work. They use Google Map’s API for GPS to locate cars and clients. Uber has also used Twilio API for SMS notifications, and the SendGrid API for automating email campaigns. If they had to develop all this themselves the service they provide would probably never have started.

The main point is that there are so many possibilities out there. Sometimes the obstacles we perceive are not even there anymore! Don’t kill your ideas too soon, keep them alive and get more information. Maybe they are easier to create than you think!

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Are You an Experienced Professional About to Become an Entrepreneur? Check out This Free Email Course

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Prepare for your next success

“Set yourself up for success!” – 5 days email course

The world is full of opportunities and when you made up your mind to go after them, leaving your secure corporate career there are things you can do to make for a smoother transition. You can make preparations to ensure your success. You are about to create the freedom and financial space you long for as your own boss. Finally creating real value from all those years of experience. To get off to a flying start there are some hacks you can use to prepare yourself. In five days we look at;

  1. Persistence. How to handle pressure to follow the beaten path. Preparations to survive the pressure from your surroundings and from yourself to doubt your decision to leave socially accepted norms.
  2. Business Models. Your new business. What do you need to know from the beginning? What do you need to have done before you leave the safety of your employment?
  3. Money. Preparations to survive and prosper from a financial point of view.
  4. Mindset. Set yourself up for success. What is the key to make yourself get the business and life you dream of in the long run? What do you need to do to allow yourself to succeed? Yes, we are often our own worst enemy when it comes to leaving our comfort zone and allow us to really make a progress outside of it.
  5. Getting ready to get started. With your foundation in place. What should be your first steps to ensure success?

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Is the Answer to Happiness Time?

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There are other ways to make money than selling your time.

We are many ambitious women, professionals climbing our career ladder, becoming mums, and reaching our dreams. But there is still something nagging, perhaps more now when we should have all the answers. The eternal question of happiness keeps coming back to us. Why are we not happy? What are we really looking for? This situation could be annoying but really it is a gift. We need to re-asses what we are doing especially when we’ve achieved a lot.

What is happiness to you?

The answer to many of us has to do with time. Where do we spend our time? With whom? For what reason? Some of us realize that we need to do something about our situation. We need to move our focus and also investigate what really matter to us. When we start to spend our time differently we might find out that the things we sought we were craving was not for us. The answer we believed in might not be our answer. The reason is that there are many answers to this question. There are socially accepted answers, there are politically correct answers, and then there are our own truth underneath it all. It’s hard work to sort these things out.

After changing my life giving time to the most important areas for me I realized something else. There are no eternal answers to this eternal question. Time might be our most cherished asset but we need to understand that the value of time spent changes and there need to be some scarcity to really value the time spent. When we spend time carelessly it is not as valuable as the time well planned and anticipated. It doesn’t matter if it is time for ourselves reading a good book or time playing with our kids. When we plan for it and anticipate it, time spent gives back a higher value. We can prepare, be in the right mood and understand that this is a special time. That time gives us more happiness.

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Are You Also Enslaved by the Endless Need for Growth?

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Infinite growth

Have you conformed to and followed the never-ending demand for growth? In the industrial world, growth has been seen as something good. You should develop a growth mindset, people need to grow, the economy is growing. But growth isn’t always a positive thing. Growth in the wrong places can kill anything from a cancer patient to entire ecosystems. I believe it also kills our dreams. The belief that we always need more, never could or should be happy where we are is killing our joy of living. On a personal level I believe that we can have everything that truly makes us happy without sacrificing all our time to work or the environment around us. Many of us already have what is most important to us in life and if we really put that in focus our actions would change a lot.

National Economics has told us that growth is the only way forward, and we, nations and leaders have believed it wholeheartedly. Some of us have had the feeling that this could not be right. Do we always need (or even want) more? I do not believe so. I think this view deceive us all into living lives we do not appreciate and striving for goals we don’t even care about. Why? Because everybody else does it? Because the company asked us to? Because the investors want it? The brilliant Economist Kate Raworth wrote a blog post getting into details about what believes the view of growth ruling the world is based on.

https://www.kateraworth.com/2017/07/14/for-21st-century-progress-pick-your-paradigm/

Think about what a company would look like if growth wasn’t the key value. Think about what your life would look like if you really found out what is important to you and didn’t waste your resources like time and money on anything else.

Is growth what makes you happy?

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3 Live Examples of Digital Business Models for Experienced Professionals

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Experienced professional
Put your professional experience to good use

The digital development of our society is fast and change our behavior more rapidly than anyone thought was possible. We buy things in ways we would never imagine only a few years ago. Digital products and value is mainstream for most generations these days. This is the golden era of new businesses and new business models. This is creating large opportunities for everybody willing to tap into this huge new market.

As an experienced professional you have knowledge that other people could benefit from. This could be a source to tap from in your business.  The starting platform for selling any of these products is trust. Probably you have a trust base to start from as an experienced professional, but this is often to local and limited and need to grow. To be able to address the global market you have to show your knowledge online; you can do this as a blogger, vlogger or You Tuber for instance.

Here are three interesting ways to create a business out of your knowledge to start from.

Create an online course
  1. Digital courses – you can teach your knowledge

This is a growing market and the key here is that you start small, check out the market response and grow your business accordingly. One example of online courses is Mare Forleos b-school. Check it out on her website;  www.marieforleo.com

E-books give you a chance to show your deep knowlege
  1. Digital books – write instructions and manuals about your knowledge area

Digital books are easy to distribute. These days you don’t have to be approved by anyone you can do it all yourself, but to create a book of quality is still the same hard work. The book you create could be a bi-product of a course or a complement product.

“Writing a book still tends to have a positive effect on your reputation: if you invest the effort to write a good/useful book, you’ve spent more time thinking about the topic than other people, which makes you rare and valuable to people who are interested in the topic.”

– Josh Kaufman, the author of The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours

Workbooks and checklists to support your peers in their work
  1. Digital workbooks and checklist – tools to support people to use your knowledge

This is extremely useful in many professions and if done with quality could be of great value to your peers. One example of this is http://ushistoryteachers.com/ where a history teacher is selling lesson plans to other teachers.

As always the key is to start exploring your opportunities. How can you use the knowledge you’ve gathered over your career to benefit more people?

High Achieving Women over 40 – You’ve Done Great, and You Deserve More

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Loving the life

A successful career can be very gratifying and when you have what many dream of, do you dare to ask for more? Yes, you should! We change over time and what success looks like change for us too. The problem for many successful women is that since other people seem to keep their view on what success looks like we keep our changed view to ourselves. Doubting if we could really ask for something else when we already got it “all”. When we start to question our priorities in life it often comes down to money and time.

We need to manage it as our most precious asset, time.

Time is equal, we all have 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Time is limited. Time is a nonrenewable resource. We need to manage time as our most precious asset. The only asset that really matters. The most precious gift to give to people you love and to yourself.

There are other ways to make money than to sell your time. Perhaps it is time for you to pursue them. Perhaps you would like to free your time for other more valuable purposes or perhaps you see that to make a true fortune you need to create real value not limited by time spent. What do I mean by that? To create value for others that many can benefit from is key to scale your impact and your ability to make money. What you actually sell is value not time. It is actually the other way around, most people are ready to pay more for value that requires less of their time. Time is our most valuable asset and that is true for all of us.

Technology makes our ability to create value for others easier and cheaper than ever before. You can distribute your knowledge and value to others the trick is of cause to be able to reach the people needing your services and to make them understand how they can benefit from the value you create.

This is where your creativity and self-confidence get into play. There are no boundaries except the ones you create and there is so much support to get from everywhere on the internet. Remember that the market out there is huge, you now have a global reach at your fingertips and only have to reach your very own specific niche.

You live in a time of opportunities and can do it!

Watch out for my free 5 days online tutorial “High achieving women over 40 – can you move on with financial stability and social recognition?” – available soon!

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