5 Great Conversation Starters

“Where are you from?”

“Do you come here often?”

…yawn…

Never be afraid to ask great questions. When I’m out at an event and someone asks me a question that’s completely out of the ordinary, it feels like a breath of fresh air.

So the next time you find yourself chatting with a new person and you’d like to take the conversation to that next level of awesomeness, try one of these. I promise you, you’ll get a lot more out of the exchange than if you’d simply asked, “Do you come here often?”

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Creating a Workspace You Love

Where do you do your best work? Can you work in any location with equal productivity and inspiration? For I confess, I cannot. My surroundings and environment have a huge effect on how inspired I feel and my level of focus. Recently, as I sat in the very uninspiring setting of a dismal local cafe, it occurred to me how much thought and care I’ve put into transforming my home office into a workspace that I truly love being in. It led me to ask the question: What do I need in a physical space for it to inspire me? In my answer, I’ve put together the following list of strategies for making your workspace more enlivening and uplifting.

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Working in Coffee Shop Smart Tips

I don’t think I’ve ever met an entrepreneur who doesn’t work in coffee shops. Coffee shops are our turf. They’re our office away from home office. They’re where we can finally focus and not be distracted by the refrigerator, or the kids, or whatever those distractions at home are for you. They’re where we can get into the zone.

And so as I sit here at Mighty Good Coffee (which has quite a nice website by the way), enjoying my decaf Americano with cream, it occurred to me that after years of working in coffee shops, I’ve become quite good at it. I’ve figured out the ins and outs, the etiquette, the tips and tricks, and the things to watch out for.

So without further ado, I present to you my list of Working in Coffee Shop Smart Tips.

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Life Lessons from a Four-Year-Old

Recently on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I spent a few hours with my nephew Jack. I was struck, as I always am when I spend time with him, by how much he can teach me about life. There are of course the practical lessons I’ve learned from him such as to eat your favorite food first at meals (you might be full later!) – but also some that are much deeper. Jack, here are the things you’ve taught me about living life that I’ll try my best not to forget.

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My First Vision Board

When my friend Angela of Revalue Investing invited me to her “vision board making” party, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for. I did not.

I’ve always thought that a vision board is a combination of words and pictures that represent all the things you want to manifest in your life. And it is, but the process Angela took us through was unique and eye-opening.

I encourage you to capture the energy of the new year and take some time this month to create your own vision board. Although you can do it by yourself, I found it was a fantastic experience with friends included.

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5 Self-Care Tips for Entrepreneurs During the Holidays

“Time off? What’s time off?” – Every entrepreneur who every lived

I find the single most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur is the sheer juggling act of it all. Client communications? That’s you. Managing a social media presence? Yep, that’s you too. Accounting and Finance? You guessed it – all you. And so it’s not hard to guess why we entrepreneurs find it so incredibly difficult to give ourselves any meaningful time off at the holidays. We think that if we take time off, our clients will forget about us, our work will completely dry up, and come the new year we’ll be applying for a full-time gig somewhere (gasp!).

But we’ve got it all wrong.

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The Birthday List

Remember when you were a kid and your birthday was the thing that you most looked forward to all year? It was that day of ultimate fun when you were treated extra special and got to do and enjoy all of your favorite things. I remember birthdays being this way for myself and my friends for all of my childhood and well into my teenage years.

And then, at some point, I began to notice that many of the people in my life didn’t really enjoy their birthdays anymore. Sometimes they didn’t even tell anyone it was their birthday at all. They would hope the day would silently go by, and that no one would notice they’d turned a year older.

But today, on the first day of my 34th year of life, I’m here to tell all of you (and myself) that birthdays are a day to celebrate yourself and celebrate your life – no matter what your age. And so I present to you, The Birthday List.

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The Vast Rewards of a “You-cation”

Does it ever seem like you can never quite get to those things in life you’re most excited about? Those things you’d love to do that are indefinitely “on the backburner” because you’re too busy simply trying to keep up with the many activities of everyday life?

There are of course things we each must do every day: sleeping, eating, earning a living, taking care of the kids, walking the dog, etc. But for all of us, there are other things beyond those must-dos that we want to do – long to do. Things that would bring us such deep satisfaction and joy, if only we could find the time.

That’s what a you-cation is all about. Reserving the time for those things you care about that never get done because they’re just not as high a priority as the must-dos in your life.

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Take Control of Your Time

Do you ever feel like time is in control of you instead of the other way around? This is exactly how I felt most of my adult life – until recently. So what changed? It’s very simple. I decided to structure and spend my time much more deliberately and thoughtfully. Following the following three principles, I was able to take control of my time, and you can too.

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What is a work funnel?

Have you ever given any real thought to how you secure work? If you trace backward and consider each step of the process that had to happen to get you there, you’ll most likely discover that you have one or more┬áprocesses that you go through over and over.

A “work funnel” diagram is basically a visual representation of this process and each stage in it. You might have just one funnel, or you might have multiple funnels, depending on your profession and how you acquire work.

Getting completely clear on what these work funnel processes look like for you will arm you with the knowledge to set specific work goals for the future and take clear actions towards achieving those goals.

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