One of my strong beliefs is that when you have the opportunity to hear the founder of a national (or international) organization speak in person, it’s a “must do.” There is nothing like hearing the big picture view directly from the source, and be right there to experience their passion and vision.
Last week, I had such an opportunity as Sandra Yancey, founder and CEO of eWomenNetwork (eWN), came to Bellevue/Seattle as her 15th sold-out stop in her 26-city Women’s Success Summit Tour. I’m a member of eWN, one of the nation’s largest women’s networking organizations, and I was excited to hear what new strategies and tactics she was unveiling. Now for all you men out there, don’t stop reading now – this is for you too!
Yancey outlined a four-step plan with the acronym C.A.S.H., designed to help business owners become more profitable, learn to collaborate more and be noticed in the marketplace. I’ve seen Yancey speak many times, and she was her usual motivating, insightful and humorous self. She had everyone on the edge of their seats, hoping for more CASH (!), and here’s a brief summary of her advice:
C is for Care – This means not just care for your customer, but care for yourself. Self-care and investing in yourself are not perks of success, but necessities. One of Yancey’s favorite questions to ask is “How are you investing in yourself?” and it inevitably reveals interesting details about where a person stands with their business. And as she so astutely points out, “if you aren’t investing in you, why should I?” I think I just heard a collective “gulp”!
A is for Ask –You must ask for what you want and what you need. Yancey’s observation is that women are infamous for expecting others to read their minds, while men are much more effective about asking for what they need to succeed. Her theory is that men rarely reply “fine” when asked how they are doing, but women use it all the time, especially when they don’t mean it! I hear giggles of understanding out there, ladies. The best part of this is Yancey’s definition of “fine” – Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional. Bet you’ll think twice before you answer “I’m fine” the next time you’re asked how you are!
S is for Share – Yancey shared one of her mother’s best pieces of advice – “you haven’t really helped anyone until you’ve done something for someone who can never pay you back.” The longer I think about that statement, the deeper it gets. It’s easy to help another when it doesn’t cost much – time or money or emotion – but true sharing is digging deep and giving without any expectations in return.
H is for Harvest – Gardens are great analogies for success in business; you can’t just plant seeds and leave them, because nothing will happen. You must tend them, weed, fertilize, replant – and repeat. As Yancey pointed out, gardens are just like people: Some things bloom first but peter out early; some things will bloom later than others, but be glorious and long-lasting; and some will never bloom at all. But Yancey’s point in the harvest analogy will cause you to take pause – she says the hardest part of growing a business is that you will outgrow some of the people you started with.
It’s so true that some of your friends, employees or business partners may not be comfortable with watching you succeed. And part of the fallout is that you may need to part ways with some of them along your business path. But there is power and growth in getting out of your own backyard and discovering new ways to succeed – Yancey calls it the art of knowing how to fit in AND stand out.
I’ve heard many times that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, meaning you often become like those who you surround yourself with. If you want to be thin, hang out with thin people; if you want to be rich, hang out with rich people; and so on. While that might seem too simplified, I firmly believe that thinking bigger and surrounding ourselves with those who have achieved things we are reaching for, will take us to a higher level of success and accomplishment in our businesses.
So, which part of C.A.S.H. most resonates with you? What five people do you spend the most time with and how is that shaping your business and personal life? Let’s start a conversation and see where it takes us!
Edmonds resident Karen Rosenzweig is a social media consultant/trainer and owner of One Smart Cookie Marketing. She writes weekly about how companies, entrepreneurs and restaurants can increase their customer base and gain visibility through Twitter, Facebook, blogging and other social media tools.