What are the common traits between Oprah, Martha Stewart, Barbara Corcoran, Sheila Johnson and so many other successful businesswomen? They continuously find ways to take their businesses to the NEXT LEVEL. They’re always looking ahead, and make adjustments as needed to achieve their goals. And they realize they can’t do it all alone. Most importantly, they aren’t afraid to make things happen!

Stop being stuck! Too many women, people in general, let outside influences keep them from growing their businesses. They let the economic circumstances keep them from making the right moves to improve business And some even let their basic business foundations crumble, resulting in them returning to corporate instead of fixing what’s wrong so they can prosper. Sometimes all it takes is stripping down to the studs and changing the way you do business.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, 8 women decided to take a chance on their businesses and me and joined the Next Level Business Coaching Program so that they could become unstuck. It has been an incredible journey and they are here to share their experiences with the program and talk about the transformations and revelations they’ve learned about themselves and their businesses. Tune in to hear all about it and to ask questions about taking your own business to the next level.

If you’re considering starting a business, or have a business that is stalled, or have a business that you are itching to take to the next level, you cannot miss this show. If you have a business and you are feeling like you need to go back to corporate to “make ends meet” you definitely cannot miss this show!

Tune in at 9AM EST http://www.blogtalkradio.com/viewsfromthetop and you can join the chat room during the show to ask questions. We’ll answer them live on air.

And if you tune in live during the show, I’ll share the special link for you to receive the special discount rate if you’re application is selected for the program. But you have to tune in to find out what it is.

“See” you then!

Adrienne Graham

23053737This year is indeed a year of change. Whether you were prepared for change or not, it’s happened. Whether good, bad or indifferent, it’s happened. Change is the one constant we can rely on to always rear its head. And no matter what, you better be prepared to meet it head on or at least position yourself to manage it. Sometimes change is subtle, requiring not much from you. Sometimes it’s dramatic, requiring you to make some adjustments. And sometimes it’s defining, requiring you to throw all conventional wisdom out the window to adapt to the winds of change.

I think of change as a way to reinvent myself. In the last ten years, I’ve had to adapt to change in ways I would have never imagined. I’ve found myself getting back into the business of recruiting, after I swore I was done. I have had to deal with the change in my son as he went from a child, to a teen and now to a young man. I’ve had to adjust to not having a Dad any more when he passed way in 2002. I had to adjust from apartment living to becoming a home owner. I’ve even had to adjust each time I decided to take my business and career in different directions. I’m not saying these changes were a cakewalk. Far from it. Some changes in my life were smaller than some, but the one constant was the way in which I’ve dealt with change. As a child, I was a little afraid of change. I preferred things to be comfortable. As I got older, I learned that change was consistent and if I wanted to succeed, I would have to learn how to deal with it, manage it and embrace it…good, bad or indifferent.

With the economy going through constant change, you must be prepared to take adversity and turn it into your competitive advantage. Someone once said that challenges are merely forms of opportunities in the making. I strongly believe in that. But the caveat is you must be willing to accept it and keep it moving. People who assumed their jobs were secure have found themselves on the unemployment line for the first time in years (and in some cases, first time ever). People say that now is a scary time and that nobody should take dramatic chances with their lives. I say bull. This is the perfect time. I dare you to step out on faith and do something you’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t because a job held you back. I dare you to challenge yourself to define who you are, then develop a plan to take your career and/or business to the next level. I dare you to take a chance on yourself and your passions. Now is the perfect time to just start doing.

Now is the perfect time to lay the ground work on that new career you’ve always wanted to try. Now is the perfect time to start that business you always dreamed about (even if only part time or on the side). Now is the time to go back to school and get the training/education/degree/certification/diploma you need to take your career to the next level. Opportunities are all around you. Don’t pay attention to the news and reports of massive layoffs and career destruction going on. Focus only on yourself and what you bring to the table. I dare you to pull together your own personal advisory board and start bouncing ideas of them. But only allow positive people on your board. Don’t confuse this with yes men/women. Only people who have your best interest at heart will tell you the truth. I dare you to get out and start making contacts to build your network. People like to hire/do business with people they know. I dare you to put together a presentation outlining your key attributes, interests and successes, then go to your boss and ask for more responsibility (or projects or a shot at higher level work). I dare you!

Don’t let fear paralyze you and keep you from all of the potential opportunities in your midst. Get out of your own way and dare to grow. Figure out what you want out of this life, then make it happen. I DARE YOU. What do I dare do for myself? I dare to step out on faith, expand my recruiting business, build my media company, and be the best Me I can be. I dare to learn new languages, complete my education, travel, expand my network and not accept anything less than the best for myself. I dare to continue writing and sharing my knowledge and gifts with the world. I dare.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

I am never the same as I was the previous year. The world is ever changing, life is ever changing and if you don’t learn to keep it moving, you will get left behind.

Over the years, my career and business(es) have gone through numerous changes. Some self imposed, some due to circumstances out of my control. But the common theme was how I managed the change each time. Every year, people make resolutions and vow to make these changes in their lives, big or small. By the time March rolls in, those vows are dusty somewhere in the recesses of their minds, hiding from daylight. I’m not sure if it can be attributed to laziness, lack of motivation or plain fear. But nonetheless, that gusto we came into the year with vanishes. I do things slightly different when it comes to my career and business(es). While I do make my annual December 31st pledges, those are more for personal development. I like to sit down every quarter an see what I have done, what I need to do, and what I’d like to try going forward. By doing this exercise quarterly, I can ensure I don’t get stale.

It’s often hard to get people to reinvent themselves because they often don’t want to look inside themselves and do a thorough examination for fear of what they’ll find. We all have things about our careers, business, etc that we want to change, goals we’d like to accomplish, bold steps we would love to take. But sometimes it falls to the side as life is happening. It has happened to me…yes, I’m not above it. True reinvention requires a number of things, but most importantly, a vision of who YOU think you are and who you want to become is crucial. It is a reflection of who and where you are now, and what you are willing to do to get there. Reinvention begins with a hard lined assessment of what you’ve done to this point and what you need to do to continue on your journey.

I have great news for you. You CAN write your own script! There is no rule that says you can’t shake things up. Change is inevitable, and if you are not open to change, you cannot learn and grow to become that woman you want to be. If you are unwilling to change things every now and then, you are destined to remain in a paycheck to paycheck JOB that makes you unhappy and unfulfilled.

So how do you reinvent yourself? Take tips from the Queen of Reinvention.

  • Write your vision. Who do you see yourself being in 5-10 years? Where do you see yourself? Note I didn’t ask what career path are you on at work. Despite the best laid plans, things (LIFE) happens. Just close your eyes and let go. On this day in 10 years, where do you see yourself?
  • Write some letters. I want you to write 3 letters. The first one is a letter from the You of today, writing to the You of 10 years ago. What will you tell yourself? What will you warn about or against? What words of wisdom would you give the young you. The next letter is a letter from the you of today to the you of 10 years from now. You’ve imagined that place and time, now think of what you will ask yourself in this letter to help you get there. Be honest and candid. The final letter is a letter from you 10 years from now, advising the you of today. Trust me, this exercise puts a whole lot into perspective!
  • Research role models. Pick 3 people who are living in the life or career you want. Study them, gather articles, get as much information on them as possible. Create a folder for each. Dedicate time to building this folder and tracking their successes. When you are comfortable doing so, reach out to them. By the time you do, you will be familiar with their careers and have formulated some very relevant questions you can ask them.
  • Make changes in your life. I’m not saying go out and get a BMW! Change your wardrobe and hairstyle to be more in line with the person you want to be. Now, don’t go dying your hair platinum or blue! Look for models of success and use them as benchmarks. Loose weight (or gain if that pertains to you). Get healthy however you need to. A healthy you is a happy you. Look the part. Whether getting a new briefcase or new glasses (or contacts), it’s still a change.
  • Upgrade your resume. Don’t fudge it! Take courses, earn certifications, volunteer, get involved. Take on projects that will allow you to noticeably contribute and stand out from your peers. Continuously seek the creative or competitive advantage. Remember that there are 5 competitive advantages: more, better, faster, different and cheaper. Brainstorm ways you can deliver any of these advantages to your boss, department, team or company. The value of this strategy is when you seek to improve, you’re being proactive and the ball is in your court. You are in control.
  • Surround yourself with forward thinking people who are smarter than you. There’s a lot to be said about the company you keep. Surrounding yourself with these types of people, it makes you want to be better do better. Don’t waste your time with people who are resistant to change or don’t want to change themselves. That only slows you down. You are known by the company you keep and if you keep stellar company, the opportunities will come your way. You can’t help but to continue reinventing and perfecting yourself.
  • Get used to living outside your comfort zone. Again, flexibility and adaptation to change are strong assets in this job market. The willingness to change with the times, meet new people, assert yourself and learn new things gives you that competitive advantage.
  • Step out on faith and keep it moving. Trust that your higher power will bring you through. Trust in yourself that you have what it takes. The key is not to overthink or panic if things don’t immediately work the way you plan. Remember, sometimes it is in the stars to change course. How you react to it and manage it determines success.
  • Realize that Entrepreneurship may be the next step in progression. There is such a thing as maxing out your career. Maybe you’ve gone as high as you can in a company or career path. Investigate opportunities that will allow you to strike out on your own.

So what are you waiting for? Get moving to reinvent yourself today. Life is so much more fun when you mix it up ever so often.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham