Recently, I wrote about mentors and my meeting with career coach Pamela Slim. I mentioned how mentors can show up in a nontraditional form. If you have an open mind and approach the world with an attitude of a lifelong learner, mentoring can be found in a book, a song, a chance encounter or a conversation.
I had just such an experience with one of my clients, Veto-pharma, a French pharmaceutical company focused on improving the health of honey bees. It’s a worthwhile and interesting project and I’ve learned fascinating facts about bees. My role is to edit their newsletter for the North American market after it’s been translated from French to English. I wanted to make sure I understood an obscure concept called “Spring build-up,” so I asked Veto-pharma’s marketing expert Joanna Collin to explain.
“Spring build-up means the time when the bees start to fly out of the hive again and collect pollen, because the weather is getting better. Winter can be a tough time for the colony, because they are subject to intestinal troubles since they can’t poo out of the hive (yes, very nice!), and a weak colony won’t make a good harvest. They can even die during winter.”
It got me thinking about how important it is to step outside of one’s hive and take action. Otherwise, there’s a very good chance that you’ll end up wallowing in your own metaphorical “poo.”
Here are five ways to step outside your $#*!:
1. Join a networking group
Whether it’s Toastmasters International (I’m a DTM!), Business Networking International (my husband is a 10-year member) or the Rotary, get outside your own head (or hive) and meet some like -minded people. I’ve benefited by making long-term friends, found a tribe that I can call upon for many reasons and even found clients through my fellow Toastmasters.
2. Find an accountability partner
It’s really hard to create in a vacuum, so find someone who you can meet with on a regular basis to be your official accountability partner. Compare notes by sharing your thoughts and plans, create a deadline and report in with each other. This can be a friend you meet for lunch, a running partner or someone at work who needs motivation. I met my running partner Doris one morning when we were both out early after the time changed. We were nervous because it was much darker than we’d realized, so we agreed to run together. That one encounter turned into four days a week where we share our respective projects with each other. It’s makes our running that much more interesting and keeps us moving forward (literally and figuratively).
3. Create a project with a deadline
Whether you want to write your book or finally get that website up, put together a schedule and stick to it. Again, it helps to have an accountability partner to prod you when you start having doubts.
4. Stick to a schedule
It’s been said that even children and animals do better with a schedule and it’s no different for adults. If you want to be productive, it helps to work within the confines of scheduled activities. For me, my early morning runs with my accountability partner Doris help shape my day. I know if I want to make headway on my next book or blog on a regular basis, I need to schedule an hour to write before we go for a run. That means I need to forego that extra glass of wine (grrr!), go to bed at a reasonable hour, set the alarm, and get my act together. Otherwise, time goes by and I have nothing to show for it.
5. Think long-term, but focus on the present
It’s easy to stress out because you don’t think you’re making any headway, but if you stick to a schedule, create mini-deadlines along the way, you’ll make progress.
On a final positive note, keep this stat in mind from a recent article regarding older workers and entrepreneurship. The 2015 Kauffman Index says it loud and clear: we are seeing an increasing rate of new entrepreneurs among individuals aged 55-64. This group now makes up a quarter of all new entrepreneurs (25.8 percent) in the 2015 Index, compared to its 14.8 percent share of new entrepreneurs in the 1997 Index. Moreover, older entrepreneurs continue to have the highest share of opportunity entrepreneurship in the 2015 Index.”