Limiting Beliefs and Growing Future Vision

Guy Kawasaki. Photo ©Jocelyn Canfield

Yesterday I saw Guy Kawasaki speak on the subject of innovation. Guy was at Apple computer in its early days and today is a prolific business author and venture capitalist who listens to countless pitches on ideas for new products and businesses.

One of the points Kawasaki made was how limiting beliefs and narrow thinking can result in lost opportunities…He cited:

  • the 1876 internal memo from Western Union stating that “the telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered a means of communication”
  • the 1943 quote from Thomas Watson of IBM that he stated there is “a world market  for maybe five computers”
  • the 1977 quote from Ken Olson of Digital Equipment Corp that there was “no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home.”

In hindsight, of course, it’s easy to see that these statements demonstrate limited vision. But this is what many of us do when we look through the blinders of the status quo. Kawasaki shared his own worst example of that kind – of what he calls bozo thinking. He was invited to interview for the CEO position of Yahoo in its very early days. His response to the opportunity was that it was “too far to drive and he didn’t see how it can be a business.” Convinced the job would have been his, he believes that narrow thinking about the potential of the company cost him about $2 Billion had he taken on the role of CEO.

How can we expand our vision and open our minds to the world as it could become? To the potential of the new technologies that are already in existence? To the ways in which our jobs are being transformed by technology and the economy? What skills can we develop to have better future vision and develop ourselves to step into tomorrow?  I believe in the importance of creating thinking time to consider opportunities before us and ahead of us so that when our own  “Yahoo opportunity” comes along, it won’t seem like too far to drive.

Jocelyn Canfield, ABC
Communication Results


Pro Bono with Passion and Purpose


Taken at a Native American Powwow by Jocelyn Canfield

Many consultants I know receive frequent requests to take on non-paying work. Because I could spend all of my waking hours doing pro bono work, I have become much more selective about the projects I take on. The project has to ignite my passion or represent a growth opportunity…in other words, it has to serve my needs as well as the organization making the request.

Consider how volunteer activities can advance  your sense personal satisfaction – and your career. I know many professionals who are currently unemployed. In what way can you reach out to organizations who could benefit from your expertise and who may be in desperate need of help? Consider opportunities which may allow you to network to your own professional benefit, or that may build skills in an area that you want to develop. Volunteering can boost your business and your sense of satisfaction.

My next project satisfies my passion and my desire for growth: I am about to accompany a team of veterinarians to two Native American reservations in New Mexico. I will be photographing the people and animals these vets are helping…people who have no financial ability to pay for veterinary services but who are reliant on their livestock to create a better standard of living. This project was a strong fit for me on many levels. I have a deep sensitivity for native Americans, a passion for animals and I love the southwest. I have also been looking for a meaty photography project to inspire a book of my photos.

The vet who organized the trip and invited my participation likens life on these reservations to a third world country. Pets sustain wounds and injuries which go untreated. Feral dogs roam and prey on livestock which are critical to the livelihood of the people. These reservations have virtually no access to veterinary care other than these periodic volunteer visits.

One thing that I have learned is that strong imagery enhances awareness and can be a catalyst for change. Because of this, I am in the midst of starting an organization called Photo Mission to provide creative support to causes that otherwise couldn’t afford to commission work to tell their story…which in turn would contribute to their success. If you want to support my work helping others, through a donation or sponsorship, please reach out to me.

The Positive in Every Situation

bigstockphoto_lemonade_3393603A member of a LinkedIn group questioned the degree to which the media are guilty of fueling the fire of our economic downtown with incendiary headlines like, “Consumer Confidence Plummets.” My feeling is that the media ARE complicit in fueling that fire and my response to his query talked about the failure of the media to seek balance in their reporting. I have not seen a lot of headlines about companies that are doing well in this economy…companies who are innovating, making good business choices and navigating the turbulent waters. These companies ARE out there and they are the ones that will emerge on the other side in a strengthened position.

I believe in the statement about life being like a camera…whatever you focus on develops. Sure, there is plenty of negative out there. But think of the abundance of innovative responses to these challenging times! These times are NOT going to reward the whiners and worriers. I personally have been engaging in a wide variety of new marketing efforts…trying new things, reaching out to new people, evaluating all of my opportunities and looking to create new ones. As a result I have connected with new people, landed new work and put in place new strategies for growth.

Never forget the importance of your attitude in determining your destiny.

© 2009 Jocelyn Canfield, ABC

Surround Yourself with Successful People

15665wbf2I was at a conference last year with about 300 people who were fired up to learn, grow and succeed. What energy filled that room! EVERYONE I met was looking for ways to improve themselves and to suck the proverbial marrow out of life! And the success that these people were looking for was not just about money. The facilitator encouraged putting heart and soul into life and living your passion. Attendees exchanged countless hugs over the course of the week. The experience of being with so many vibrant people with common goals made me realize that once I returned home, I had no one in my primary circle of friends who is like this and who could support me in my growth…or even understand it.

So this year one of my goals became to build my “posse” by finding an assortment of like-minded people who can help me to grow personally and professionally. I have heard it said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Think about who those five people are in your life and decide if they are helping you to realize your goals and dreams.

To determine who you need to add to your mix of friends and acquaintances to support your success, you need to know what success looks like for you, both personally and professionally. Each of your goals or personal visions may be supported by different types of people…but for now we’ll focus on business success. Here’s what I am up to:

1) After the conference I referenced above, I participated in a series of group coaching sessions with folks from the workshop. I was assigned an accountability partner and, nearly a year later, we still check in with each other weekly. We discuss our success on our goals for that week and what we want to achieve in the coming week. This helps to focus me and move me toward success.

2) Several months ago I joined a book group that focuses on life changing books. This is a group of people who want to grow and experience life more deeply.

3) I have decided that I want to become a better public speaker and have greater confidence speaking off the cuff, so I am joining a local Toastmasters group. These skills will help me personally and professionally.

4) I want to join or form a business mastermind group.

In each of these situations, I will have the opportunity to expand my network of successful people.

Take Action Challenge: Think about whether you have people around you who can support your success toward each of your business goals. Do you have at least one group of like-minded people with whom you affiliate? If the answer is no, consider where you would find such people and seek them out.

Perspectives on Persistence and Success

persistence-successI’ve been considering how important the quality of persistence is to having a successful life, both personally and professionally. For several months, I’ve been implementing a number of business strategies to become more visible and to reach out to people for networking. This fulfills not only my mission to find new and interesting work, but also my intense desire to form deeper relationships.

Most of the time when I reach out, there is no immediate “win” when measured solely in terms of business revenue. These efforts could be viewed as failures, but I choose to dwell on the many personal wins: connecting for coffee with a former client…giving someone the nice feeling that I was thinking about them…offering help in the form of a referral to someone I just met. When I view simply making a deeper connection as a win, I can consider each contact I make as being successful! Last week, I had a double win. I reconnected with a woman who was interesting to me, and whose organization was appealing to me from a work standpoint. I had a new project within days! My persistence paid off.

Success coach and author Jack Canfield says in his book, The Success Principles, that “Persistence is probably the single most common quality of high achievers… No matter how hard it seems, the longer you persist, the more likely your success.”

I recently recognized that I have a completely different persistence personae when it comes to work than I do when it comes to my personal life. I am more easily discouraged when I reach out to someone in friendship personally and it does not come to fruit. I have times when I give up frustrated that I will never find what I want (ever tried online dating?). I am taking note of that self realization and will try to shift my attitude and behavior accordingly.

Take action challenge. What challenge are you facing in your life right now, and how can you persistently overcome it? Cosmetics empire founder Mary Kay Ash said,”When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.” Can you brainstorm a way around, over, under or through your roadblock or challenge?

© 2008 Jocelyn Canfield, ABC

Growth: What have you done for yourself lately?

It is easy to become stagnant if you aren’t pushing yourself to engage in new things. I have engaged in a number of new activities this past month with an eye on marketing myself in different ways AND not becoming a dinosaur. I started this blog and a photography blog because I feel I have something to offer and because it imposes a discipline on me to write and to think differently. I joined Twitter where I am starting to build a new network of people who could possibly use the services of my graphic design business. I took on a different role on the board of a professional organization and am reaching out to my professional colleagues in different capacities.

I had no idea at the outset what the results would be of these new activities. I’ve met several new and interesting people through Twitter. I’ve had people from around the world reach out to me because of my photography, including a chicken farmer/photographer in rural England. People I’ve known for years have expressed curiosity about my photography, including a friend who asked me to take pictures of him. And I have had some interesting and fulfilling conversations.

These new activities are leading to personal growth and an expansion of my network. They have also taken a lot of time, so I am not certain that I will be able to continue all of these activities indefinitely, but the lesson that I take away is to be open to new things.

Take Action Challenge: What can you try that is new or has the potential to foster growth, personally or professionally? Can you volunteer for a new role in a group of which you are already a part? Have you ever considered blogging in an area that you have expertise? Is there a new piece of software that has the potential to make your life better? Try something new and share your results.

© 2008 Jocelyn Canfield, ABC

GOALS 2: Habits Create Your Success

When you are trying to reach a goal, such as growing your business or writing a book, consistent daily actions are what it takes to get you there. Consistent daily actions are HABITS. You don’t even think about climbing into the shower in the morning. It is an ingrained habit. And I bet you find yourself standing in front of the mirror before bedtime brushing your teeth and you didn’t have to add it to your day timer. Habits help us to function more effectively.

So how does this apply to your goals? Here are some examples:
Writing a book seems like a daunting task. But writing just one page is not too scary. If you write one page a day five days a week, at the end of the year you’d have a 260-page book! So, what if BEFORE you check your email or start Twittering in the morning, you wrote just ONE page? You may have to remind yourself not to check email with a sticky note on the computer for a few days, but after a while, it will feel funny if you DON’T write that daily page. It will become a habit. And my guess is that one page might just turn into two or three pages.

Here’s another idea. If you want to grow your business you need to reach out to people by networking and making phone calls. What if, before you eat lunch, you make a commitment to contact three people about work? Those three contacts = 15 a week. And 15 a week = into 780 a year! Can you see how good I am at math? If just one percent of these contacts leads to business, you’re looking at nearly eight new clients. But you have to make a deal with yourself. NO LUNCH until the task is done.

Take Action Challenge: What one habit can you add to your daily routine to fuel your acceleration toward your goals? Post a comment telling us what you currently do or plan to implement to achieve YOUR goals

© 2008 Jocelyn Canfield, ABC