Speaker, Trainer, Troubadour, Author

Kim Ratz

Helping people create more harmony
in their own life, and in
their relationships with others ...

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January 2013, from Kim Ratz, Speaker-Trainer-Troubadour

A free, fast, and fun read to inspire hope, improve skills to cope, and induce a chuckle along the way ...

A Thought to Help You LiveWise - - What's New With You?

"Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity." So what will you do in 2013 that's new, different, or improved (or stop doing) so that you'll be better able to achieve the outcomes you most wish for? I'm not talking about the "new years resolution" -- most people are too quick to pack them away with the decorations too as we transition from holiday mode back to routines and habits ... I'm talking about having an "honest conversation with yourself" about the people and goals that are most important to you ...

Every 3 months or so, including last December, I spend time thinking about how things are going for me, because I keep finding that by seeking ideas for improvement -- they always emerge! Even though I've done pretty well during my almost 60 years, I keep learning new things along the way that will help me achieve better results in the future; the past year's experience gave me an even more realistic grasp of what else I need to learn and follow-through on so that in Dec 2013, when I am looking back on the year again, I am feeling even better about my efforts -- and outcomes ...

A quick review of how to "have an honest conversation with yourself:

  • When you ask yourself the question, pay attention to your first response, because it is the closest thing to your "truth." Your won't lie to yourself - the first time. Of course, if you don't like your response, you can always ask it again. However, framing it so you give yourself the response you want is what we call a "rationalization," and it may not be as much in your best interest as you would like it to be. Your first response is almost always what your "inner you" feels is the "best" or "right" thing to do, so pay attention and accept it for what it is. You can modify the thought as needed later when you identify a compelling reason to do so ...

  • Have your identified goals and questions ready - if you are doing this for the first time you can start with the ideas I use as a suggestion to develop your own ...

  • Let your mind roam through the questions and responses to your goal areas, as our mind doesn't always operate in a linear fashion ... Jot down key words or phrases to capture the essence of your thoughts so you can come back later to go deeper and into more detail ...

  • I like to use flip chart for this "big picture" kind of activity, and a five column chart for my initial notes, explained below ...

My 4 areas for goal setting (yours may be different, of course):

  • Faith, Family & Friends, Personal, Professional (column 1)

Questions to ask self:

  • What are my specific goals? What do I want to achieve? What do I need to work on? (column 2)

  • What's going well? What's working? Can I identify why it's working? (column 3)

  • What's not going so well? Can I identify why it's not working? (column 4)

  • What's next? What do I need to do better, or do different? (column 5)

Tips to help make the time productive:

  • Research shows that when we are in a relaxed, natural environment, especially outdoors, we are much more likely to think more clearly and creatively ... Give yourself this kind of time and space to let your thoughts emerge, and have a way to quickly & simply list your key ideas & thoughts so you don't lose them, while not spending a lot of time writing - just let your thoughts flow ... (My favored kind of place: next to water! :)

  • Then give yourself some time to let the ideas bounce around and flow ... Don't lock anything in just yet - mull them all over ... Exercise, or meditate, and then sleep on them - let your subconscious mind work on them for a while ... Then when you come back to the ideas, kick them a little harder and you'll see that some ideas sink away, while others keep floating higher with possibility ... Focus your energy on these ...

  • Periodically make time to have this "honest conversation" with yourself regarding your important life roles and goals. Just like your boss expects you to have a plan for how you will succeed in your job, you need to expect yourself to succeed in your other life roles and goals too ... These are the strongest WIIFMs (What's In It For Me?) that will motivate you to do what's needed for the ultimate WIIFM - - you achieved your goals! Humbling as it may be sometimes, this "honest conversation with yourself" is SO worth your time! You can feel good about what went well, about being honest with yourself about what you need to do next, and hopeful about the future ...

My wish for you is: a Planned, Productive, and therefore Prosperous 2013!

A Thought to Help You WorkWiseWise -- Great Ideas for Conferences

Because you are a leader in your profession and your state, you're likely involved in the planing of your state's professional development conferences and workshops. So as I strive to support you in the important leadership you provide, I want to start 2013 by sharing a few of the best ideas I saw being used by some of my recent clients. I hope these will help your group experience some of the best training and motivation you've ever offered!

  • Re: Declining Attendance and a "Generational Divide" -- Involve the new, young professionals as members on the Board, or a Task Force, to help implement additional systems of networking and professional development via technology for those who prefer webinars, online conversations, online classes, etc. IN ADDITION TO more traditional systems such as multi-day conferences or seminars that people attend in person. Instead of feeling compelled to decide EITHER/OR, these associations find the WIN/WIN by maintaining their traditional methods AND growing in ways that have appeal to new and additional members ...

  • Joint Conferences -- Based on current issues or opportunities, pairing up with one or more groups who share a common goal or mission, yet whose members may not be in touch with each other in their day-to-day duties, can provide numerous advantages to everyone. Increased attendance means increased revenue, which affords you to offer more. You facilitate new connections which foster on-going relationships afterwards. You introduce new ideas, activities and traditions, which create intrique and new interest ... In some cases you will help people save time and funds because they would otherwise attend both conferences ...

  • Vendor Partnerships -- I spoke at several conferences where vendors contributed much more than just a fee for an exhibitors booth. They sponsored the speakers, hosted special events, and added value to the conference that otherwise would not have been affordable. In return, the association frequently and visibly acknowledged the vendors and the value they added and encouraged participants to show their appreciation and talk with the vendors. At one conference, the planning team hosted a lunch for the vendors and asked them what they could do to make their participation next year even more worthwhile, rather than waiting until afterwards to only ask for an evaluation of the conference that just finished ...

  • Don't squander breaks! This is when everyone talks about what's REALLY on their mind, and if nothing is going on it can be a time when people leave ... One of the best ideas I saw for a group to keep people around AND get invaluable feedback was an afternoon break with an ice cream buffet (everyone likes ice cream! :) with every imaginable topping! While people waited in line, board members had the chance to ask people both what was going well and what needed attention ... They succeeded in keeping people together, and also got some invaluable feedback and suggestions that otherwise might not have been shared. (And even if it is shared in the evaluation afterwards, it's too late to do anything about it for that year anyway!) ... This is also a great role for a vendor: let them host the break and showcase their product/service ...

  • Keep giving your members ways to communicate with you! Through technology and social media meeting planners can further improve how members can let you know what they need, and also for you to let people know what's being planned and coming up ... With little or no cost you can easily promote special events, recruit new members, create more "buzz" and intrigue/interest about the speakers you've invited, etc. It takes somebody to spend some time doing this, yet using these systems proactively can reduce time spent reacting to questions and needs. Here's a link to a helpful web article about meeting planners & social media: http://blog.cvent.com/blog/event-planning-and-event-marketing/ten-reasons-social-media-matters-for-todays-event-planner (they have other good articles too!).

Quotes related to "New Year" for the days ahead ...

Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.

Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle.

New Year's Day is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. (Mark Twain)

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.

Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions!

I'm a little bit older, a little bit wiser, a little bit rounder, but still none the wiser.

A New Year's Resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.

For last year's words belong to last year's language, next year's words await another voice, and to make an end is to make a beginning.

Be at war with your vices; at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right. (Oprah Winfrey)

May 2013 bring you: 12 months of Happiness, 52 weeks of Fun, 365 days of Success, 8760 hours of Good Health, 52,600 minutes of Good Luck, and 3,153,600 seconds of Joy.

If we can but recognize our common humanity, that we do belong together, that our destinies are bound up in one another, that we can be human only together, then a glorious world would come into being where all of us lived harmoniously together as members of one family, the human family. -- Believe, Desmond Tutu

I specialize in helping people create more harmony in their own life, and in their relationships with others. It's about Choices and Congruence - by aligning your Attitudes, Aptitudes and Actions - so that at day's end you feel content, not regret. I do this through keynotes that inspire hope, workshops that help people improve skills to cope with change, challenge and conflict, and original music, stories and humor to induce some fun along the way!

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