Money is tight. Economy is questionable. The U.S. starts a new beginning with a new President. Some people's 2009 resolutions are already shot and many people wonder - how can I succeed with so much in flux? Where do I even start looking for strategies and answers to my burning questions of "how do I do it?" Well, sometimes answers will come to you in the oddest places.
A fellow blogger shared the article "Good housekeeping: the lost art of thrift in the kitchen" with me. While the article is a little catchy and also a little silly, the point it makes at the start of the article holds a hidden gem:
There’s a generation of women in this country who think nothing of putting a slow-cooking casserole in the oven before getting on with the housework; who know how to turn one joint of meat into two family meals; and whose idea of fast food is something made quickly with leftovers from last night’s dinner. And some of them don’t even have a microwave.
Meanwhile, their daughters and granddaughters have smart kitchens full of expensive equipment and glossy recipe books they hardly use, but which they keep on buying in the hope that this book or that gadget will simplify their busy lives once and for all.
What strikes me about this statement is just the idea that in today's world we have more gadgets and technology at our disposal for our personal lives, our careers, and to build our businesses. Yet, what we most need to succeed is not the latest bright shiny object, but a return to basics.
President Barack Obama said it eloquently in his Inaugural Address:
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.
So, where in your life, business, or finances do you need to stop looking for gadgets and wasting money (like in the cooking article) and start focusing on the fundamentals?
The first is knowing how you define success in each area of your life. Tamar Weinberg has a quirky post that asks "How Do You Define Success in 140 characters or less?" which has a number of Twitter users answering for themselves. It's a fun read...although I do recommend determining what success looks like for you in much more details than 140 characters!
Here are some great back to basics posts I found on the web to help you in various areas:
Last week I challenged you to get clear on your financial goals for 2009 so if you haven't already, now's a great time to revisit the questions in that post.
Nina at Queercents has a great post on how to strengthen your own personal economy.
Business is about building relationships and understanding how to set yourself apart so you can be profitable. Sometimes the basics are counter-intuitive especially in a down market. This article "Small business marketing: Quickest way to the poor house" reminds us all not to shortchange our own value just because of fear.
Here's a back to basics look at one way to make your business successful in 2009. The "1 Thing That Will Improve Your Website This Year" according to Leah MacLean at Working Solo. I'll make you go to the post to find out what that one thing is, but trust me when I tell you it has NOTHING to do with a new piece of software, funky new design elements, or a new Web 2.0 gadget.
These are just a few quick tips, but I hope they spur your thinking and desire to move back to the basics as much as that quirky little cooking article did for me.
Paula Gregorowicz, owner of The Paula G. Company, offers life coaching for women to help you gain the clarity, confidence, and courage you need to have success on your own terms. Get the free eCourse "The 5 Crucial C's You Need to Succeed in Life" at her website
Get the latest word on personal finances from an LGBT perspective and Paula's practical coach approach to the topic at Queercents http://www.queercents.com.
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