Pro Bono with Passion and Purpose

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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.

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What Fires You Up?

kickupheels2I was checking in recently with my accountability partner on progress toward our goals. (We talk every Monday about our goals for the week and performance over the prior week.) She is making major changes in her life and is in that in-between stage of still working full time for a company while she readies herself to launch her own business.

Despite the long hours she is putting in, she commented that she is “so freaking excited” about working toward her dream job that she jumps out of bed early every day eager to make progress on her goals! We should all have that same level of enthusiasm while working two full-time jobs!

When we give ourselves permission to do work that resonates with our heart, we have the potential to have the same kind of enthusiasm. Certain work that I do gives me this level of excitement. There are also quite a few projects filed away in my brain that have the potential to spark that level of excitement. How can we bring these projects to the forefront, especially when time is at a premium?

I frequently hear people talking about what they will do “when they have time.” What I have learned is that time seldom materializes in large blocks. It is important to learn to take advantage of small bites of time in order to make gradual progress toward your goals and dreams and put my friend’s level of excitement into your workday.

– What if just one morning a week, you spent 30 minutes on your project?
– What if you gave up watching one sporting event on TV to work on your project?
– What if you spent an hour before breakfast one day each weekend?

If you do all three of these, you’ve just created four hours of time each week to accomplish something important to you!

Take Action Challenge: Consider where you can find small bites of time in your schedule to make progress toward a project or goal. What ho-hum activities are you willing to give up to get to the level of excitement my friend has?

© 2009 Jocelyn Canfield, ABC
www.communication-results.com

Do You Really WANT to Get Out of Your Box?

set your imagination freeBeing “Out of the box” is something that many of us aspire to. It is associated with innovation, creativity and freshness. A quick search on amazon.com uncovers dozens of books with out of the box in the title. What is it that actually creates a box around us? In what ways does the box serve us and in what ways does it become limiting?

Truth be told, most people stay nested safely inside not just one box, but many boxes for most of their lives. Can you identify your boxes? A box can be a routine. A box can be a job. It can be a relationship. It can be a mentality. Some boxes provide safety and comfort, while others limit our thinking and the possibility of becoming a closer version of who we are intended to become.

My job as a writer and graphic designer requires creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, but it can be a HUGE box. It is a box that I usually love with a passion…but when I find my backside parked in a desk chair for 8, 9, 12 hours, I start to feel the walls of my box a bit more and I wonder about ways to feel less confined and more inspired. Photography and art directing photo shoots is a nice beak from my desk “box.” Sometimes I ask myself, Why do I have to sit at my desk all day long? What if two mornings a week, I worked from the café or at the picnic table in the park? Why do I have to work 9 to 5? Maybe another schedule would suit my body better and I’d actually be more productive in fewer hours?

I know quite a few people who are concerned about keeping their jobs during these troubled economic times. Some of these people may even have a dream tucked away to do something really big, like take time off to write a book, or travel the world. If you lost your job tomorrow, would carrying out your dream be possible? Or would you feel so bare without your box around you that you would spend your days panicked and searching for a new box? Clearly finances can put us in a box. I challenge you to think about what you would do if your current boxes were suddenly stripped away. Would you have the courage to go in the direction of your dream and try it on for a while?

I have been asking myself that question this week. I anticipate that my business will be off by about 25% in 2009. What will I do with that extra time? Should I spend it looking for work that simply may not be available at this time due to client budget constraints? Or should I view it as a gift of time to work on the book of photography that has been in my heart and mind for the past two years?

Take Action Challenge: Think about the boxes that you are in at this time. What keeps you there? Is the box a comfort or a prison? If you removed fear and panic from the equation, could you leave your box behind?

© 2008 Jocelyn Canfield, ABC
www.communication-results.com

GOALS 4: Well What Did You Expect?

New Year’s Resolutions. Right around this time, after the excesses of the holidays, many of us decide to become a better person. We want to take better care of ourselves by eating right and exercising more. And we don’t stop there. We are going to reunite with old friends. We are going to grow the business, or take that class we’ve been meaning to take in order to build our skills. Each one of these resolutions is completely doable IF we are willing to make changes.

Today while I was swimming my laps, I thought long and hard about the huge banner that hangs over the pool at my club. It says, Before you can accomplish something, you have to expect it of yourself. This is an exceptionally easy statement on the surface, but over the years that I have seen that sign, it has given me much to think about while I swim. That statement applies to my business, my exercise, my relationships – everything.

But let’s stick with the exercise example. I love to swim, When I swim, I feel better. I look better. It is in line with my goals. I know it is the right thing to do for my body. I am very keenly aware that when you don’t have good health, there is little else that matters in life. Still, in the last few months I let myself fall out of the habit of swimming. Work was exceptionally busy. I am a single parent and have significant demands on my shoulders. But quite frankly, these are excuses. Very lame excuses. I find time to eat. I find time for social activities. And you better believe that if I had a heart attack, I’d find the time to go to the ER and could rearrange my schedule for visits with the cardiologist. The truth is that I CAN find 60 minutes three or four times a week to spend at the club. I simply wasn’t expecting it from myself.

Take Action Challenge: How does the above statement apply to you? What is it that you want to accomplish, and in what ways have you (or have you not) expected it from yourself? What do you have to change or give up to make time for what really matters… for you to start living the life you expect for yourself?

© 2008 Jocelyn Canfield, ABC
http://www.communication-results.com

GOALS 3: Something’s Gotta Give

A colleague Twittered her followers asking what top three things we would be focusing on in 2009. I responded in the allotted 140 characters: “Happy goal = More time with friends. Healthy Goal = More time at the gym. Wealthy goal = More clients. It’s about MORE!”

After I sent my tweet, I realized that MORE is not a likely scenario in my life in the near term, given that “more” relates to TIME. I am a single parent of two teens, an entrepreneur, active on the board of a professional group, in a book club, a camera camera club, active in church, etc. Just where will this additional time come from to meet my important goals?

I read an article recently that suggested eliminating an hour of TV each day to free up needed time. I scoffed. Not going to work for me. I am already a virtual social outcast because my television watching = ZERO. (People’s jaws hit the table when I tell them I never saw a single episode of Seinfeld.)

Be mindful that the reason we may fail to attain our goals is likely because we put too much on our already-full plate. In order to make room for new things in your life, it is important to consider what can be eliminated. Here is my list:

– Break the email addiction. Do I really need to checking every 7 minutes? Three or four times during the workday should really suffice. I will also try to turn off the computer before dinner most days (this is going to be life changing).

– Limit social media “play time” to twice a day. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will no longer remain open in my browser all day long. I work from home and crave community, but these resources are not a replacement for the deep personal interactions I want.

– Delegate more. Get a cleaning service and consider a virtual assistant. That’s right, I’ll be doing my part to create jobs for others and get this economy back on track. I will also encourage the kids take on more responsibilities.

I’m going to work on one of these areas each week for the next three weeks. Trying to change too much at once would be a recipe for failure.

Take Action Challenge: What can you give up to make time for achieving your important goals?

© 2008 Jocelyn Canfield, ABC
www.communication-results.com

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
www.communication-results.com