Tag Archives: consistent basis

Implementing a Hope Strategy

23 Mar

Never lose hope that your dreams will come trueLately I’ve heard several people say not to use hope as a strategy. This gave me pause to reflect about the name of my company – HOPEpreneurs. Is it a mistake to embrace hope as a you implement your business plan?

Redefine your words

Your words establish your atmosphere. Many use the hope as a desperate, helpless approach to the unattainable. What if, instead, you begin to put action and strategy behind the deepest hopes and dreams in your heart. In that context, you will become much more focused to reach what others may not be able to accomplish because of their negative belief system. The HOPEpreneurs slogan is “Where passion meets purpose.” When I had the inspiration for the name of my company I began to research HOPE and the possibilities of a HOPE Strategy for success. Many start with a strong passion for what they want to do but then give up when delays and difficulties crop up.

Clarify your thought process

“My experience has been that almost every defeat I’ve been through starts in my mind, i.e. how I think. I believe people can’t succeed without hope. But not the weak, wimpy way we use the word – I hope this happens or I hope this other thing doesn’t happen. The word ‘wish’ might be more appropriate in that context because there is no belief or faith being applied to the situation. True hope means a faith or belief in something or someone. Your basis for action is grounded in and propelled by that belief.” Janis Sizemore (A HOPEpreneur)

Crystallize your vision

Where are you headed and what do you want to see in the future? You shorten the road to success when you nurture the sense of a positive future outcome. Even more importantly is having a firm conviction that your choices today are taking you in the right direction to accomplish what you have set out to do.

Reframe the problem

When you focus on the positive outcomes from difficulties and problems, something shifts in your brain. You can begin to come up with creative solutions rather than dire predictions of failure. Many of the most popular products on the market were invented as a solution to a problem the inventor was experiencing. Find something to be grateful for in the even before the problem is solved. This one shift will keep you going and make you stronger.

Take action

It’s very important to do something every day toward your goals for your business. Consistent small steps taken in the right direction are more effective than occasional attempts to leap forward. If you are feeling overwhelmed, prioritize the goals and take action accordingly.

Celebrate progress

As you reach a goal, be sure to take the time to acknowledge its completion and to celebrate with your team or family. This process of honoring yourself those who helped you accomplish a milestone makes the effort seem more worthwhile. Part of the strategy could be to plan ahead of time how you will celebrate. This one approach will increase performance because the next time you are feeling like you are not making progress you will look forward to the celebration.
Karen Sebastian - #thehopelady
Author, speaker, corporate trainer and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. To increase hope and make difference in your business, click here.


Discovering the Secrets of Organized People

2 Mar

Secrets to Super Organized People

I’ve always wished I was more organized. As I look around my desk right now I see the notes for all the projects I’ve been working on in disarray on my desk. On the other hand, I also love being creative. Here are a few secrets I have learned from the super organized folks I’m around.

Don’t keep so much stuff

Paper is my main weakness. As an educator, I love books, notebooks and the notes I have taken. I am in the process of cleaning out my notebooks. I plan to scan certain ones so I can refer to them in the future. What can you get rid of in order to declutter your work space?

Identify your work style

Many times I have felt that something was wrong with me because I tend to spread out all the papers on my desk when working on a project. That seems to be part of my creative process and work style. That is fine as long as I come back and rearrange it periodically. Have you given yourself permission to work the way that is best for you?

Keep projects separated

You may mentally shift gears quickly but your paperwork will not move as quickly. Have a system so you can separate the items you need for specific projects. It can be as simple as a file folder. In fact, don’t make it to complicated. As you get ideas, put your notes all in one place. This will save you lots of time in the end and keep the amount of papers manageable. Where are you going to place the notes, etc. for each project?

Focus on keeping file folders on your computer

Despite what my desk looks like, I learned a long time ago to be very careful to create file folders and keep my electronic files where I could easily access them. If you are saving everything to your Desktop, it’s time to take a few hours to set up file folders and transfer the most important files to where you can easily find them. What electronic filing system do you have set up?

Schedule specific cues to stop and straighten up the clutter

One of the challenges of working from home is that work and pleasure at my computer tend to merge. I set an alarm to take a break in between. Before I can start my evening routine I clean off my desk in the same way I did when I worked at an office outside my home. What cues are you going to set up in order to know when to transition to personal time?

What suggestions do you have for me?

Author, speaker, corporate trainer and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. To increase hope and make difference in your business, click here.



Keep Going

11 Nov

Celebrate Progress rather than Perfection

As a woman entrepreneur it’s important to remain focused on where you are headed. Our lives can become very complicated and busy. In the midst of that hustle and bustle, take a few minutes every day to get quiet. Think about your goals and determine what you can do that day to move closer to that goal. Here are a few tips to help keep focused.

Capture your thoughts on paper.

You can feel overwhelmed by all that you have to do when it’s all floating in your head. Set aside 15 – 20 minutes to write down everything that you have to do. Don’t categorize this as personal or business. Your thoughts are random so get them on paper. Once they are written down you can put them in categories.

Get a picture of what you want to accomplish.

We process our thoughts in pictures. How do you see success? What do you want your business to accomplish? Why do you want to have a thriving business? The more crystal clear this ‘vision’ becomes the more you become willing to do the hard things to make it a reality.

Put words around the picture you’ve just seen.

Most of you have heard Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “I Have a Dream.” He described his picture of racial equality in such a way that others felt the compelling desire to join this dream and make it a reality.

Share your vision cautiously.

Many will not understand what you want to accomplish until you reach the point where you gaining traction. Often it is those closest to you who will try to talk you out of the ‘crazy’ idea. Find those who ‘get’ what you’re talking about and start taking steps in that direction.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. Keep going in the right direction. You can do this.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. To increase hope and make difference in your business, click here.

Ten Good Reasons to Clean Off My Desk

3 Sep

10 Good Reasons to Clean Off Your Desk As a solopreneur who works at home, I usually have a cluttered desk. While I know it’s not good, it’s easy to let it stay that way. Here are the reasons I’ve used to convince my mind to declutter this desk and, most importantly, to keep it that way.

10. Save time

I save time because I have what I need at hand.

This was the last straw for me as I got ready for a trip and was rushing around at the last-minute because I couldn’t find something very important that I needed to take with me. Now that I have implemented my system and am keeping up with it, I find that I am much more effective and thorough.

9. Find lost items

I am able to find what I need to get my work done.

Once I removed the clutter, I could see exactly what I have done and what I need to do. I am less overwhelmed when there is order. As I removed layers of clutter, I found the charger for the video camera that I had lost. (Plus many other things that I was able to release.)

8. Share with others

I have had so much fun finding others to bless with my extra office supplies.

I was wasting money and time by buying supplies that were in my office somewhere. It’s a good feeling to help others as well especially as we get close to the start of school.

7. Make better decisions

As I get rid of what I don’t need, I hone my decision-making skills.

I held on to stuff for two reasons: 1)I might need it one day; 2)I can come up with a creative way to use it. I’ve given myself permission to give it away and buy the supplies later if I find I need them. It’s quite likely that day will never come. Every time I make a decision, I feel stronger and more capable. It may sound silly, yet I know this will help me in the days ahead.

6.Delegate effectively

I can decide how others can help me.

When I am overwhelmed, I can feel like no one can help me get out of this hole. Now I am beginning to make a list of how others can help me. I am ready to delegate and am looking for a Virtual Assistant.

5. Get your work done

I give myself permission to ignore my desk while working on a project.

My new habit is simply to clean up as I wrap up my work day. That, in itself, requires discipline.

4.Maintain easily

I maintain a cleared desk by putting my things away each evening.

This saves me time because I no longer have to dedicate a day (or week) to going through things.

3. Promote life balance

I now clean up my work project before starting on my personal ones.

When you work from home your work and personal life often blend together. While the flexibility is is nice it can lead to being overwhelmed and afraid to take time off.

2. Multiplied energy and enthusiasm

Walking into my clutter-free office makes me smile.

When I smile I have more energy and enthusiasm to focus on all that I want to carry out today.

1. Sense of freedom and happiness

As I have everything that I need (and want) I am free to accomplish my purpose.

I am not sidetracked by ‘stuff.’ A clean desk is more a sign that I am free because I no longer have the need to hang on to things that I’m not using.

Let me know the progress you make in your quest to keep a clean desk. Also, did any of these reasons resonate with your situation?

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. She is a certified facilitator with Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to book her as a speaker or want one-on-one coaching to accelerate your personal and professional growth.

3 Surefire Ways to Beat the Fear of Writing

24 Jun

3 Surefire Ways to Beat the Fear of Writing“Why does this business writing class have to be so long?” the man asked as he entered the classroom. I was welcoming him to a mandatory training to help supervisors/managers improve their documentation skills. As I began to ask questions, I listened carefully to his words and demeanor.  Before long he confessed that he was very nervous about his writing skills because this was one of his weak areas. Fortunately, by the end of the training session he was equipped with tools to overcome these barriers. For many people, the fear of writing ranks right up there with their fear of public speaking. Many of us experience writer’s block and postpone writing as long as possible. This blog explores three ways to face and beat the fear of writing.

Fear of failing.

For many of us, the fear of writing was instilled in school. I know I’ve cringed at all the red ink on the assignments I turned in. It made me want to just throw my hands up in despair. One of my daughters, spent the summer before going into high school writing stories and poems. It was a joy to see her give place to creative expression. Something happened early on in her English class. She had a teacher that was a harsh critic of every assignment she turned in. She came close to failing that class and I stepped in to help with the dreaded term paper so she wouldn’t fail the class. It was like the light had dimmed. She felt that there was no reason to even try because she could not succeed. There is something final about printed words and the way others can judge them.

HOPE Antidote

The best way to overcome past writing failures is to follow the old adage: “You have to get back on the horse that threw you.” Set aside the first few minutes of the day to write something. Turn off your inner critic and get it down on paper (or in the computer). There are many opportunities to start small by writing a blog or posting encouraging comments about what others have written. Join a writing club where others can give you feedback. Remember that writing is a skill not a dreaded assignment. When you run into those who criticize what you’ve written, check to see if there is merit to their advice. Adapt and move on. You’ll improve as you keep writing and learning.

Fear of making decisions.

I consider myself a creative person. That should make writing easier but it does not because my mind gets overloaded with the ways I could spin a topic. Have you ever noticed how much work goes into deciding what you are going to write about? It is the very nature of the way your mind works and all the connections you make as you begin to speculate on topics to write about. This decision-making process is what makes writing so challenging and tiring. Another term for this is decision fatigue.

HOPE Antidote

Mind-mapping is a wonderful tool to help you record your ideas on paper before making the commitment of writing the actual words. Our minds work in a broad, circular fashion as we freely associate seemingly unrelated thoughts. The writing process takes a more linear approach. Keep a running list of topics that relate to your blog theme. When inspiration strikes write it down.  Ideas for topics surround you. Also, here’s a link to a previous post that might help: Finding Topics.

Fear of making mistakes.

This hurdle is closely tied to both of the topics already mentioned in this blog. The technical mistakes can create major hurdles in setting up a blog. Ask for help if you need it and continue to keep writing because once you start, you will want to establish a consistent schedule. Everyone makes mistakes so set aside your perfectionism and get going.

HOPE Antidote

When you experience writer’s block, start typing something else to get the flow going. I like to start typing a quote about the topic I want to develop. Another tool I use is to look up key words in the Thesaurus. I write them down and that gets the creative juices going. The greatest hope antidote for the fear of making mistakes is to give yourself permission to make them and correct them as quickly as you can. In fact, I’ve made 7 mistakes already and so I know I’m making progress. Also, one of the wonderful things about a blog is that as soon as you spot that typo, you can go in and correct it immediately.

What other tips do you have for beating the fear of writing? What works for you?

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to book her as a speaker or want one-on-one coaching

Eliminating Excuses Caused by Perfectionism

24 Apr

Celebrate Progress rather than Perfection

“What’s wrong with perfectionism? Shouldn’t I set high standards,” you might be thinking. In my own experience, perfectionism has done me more harm than good. When facing new situations, I feel uncomfortable and unwilling to look like a fool or ask for help. Here are some of the ways where seeking to get it ‘perfect’ has hindered my success (along with the HOPE Antidote – of course):

Too hard

When facing a new challenge, it can seem like an insurmountable situation. Every time you try something new it will seem hard at first. If you are a perfectionist,  you  may resist moving forward when you are not sure of yourself.

Hope Antidote

My hope antidote for this excuse is to think back on other times when I felt like something was overwhelming. With time, I became comfortable with the new skill and encouraged others to try it. Why should this situation be any different? It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay if you’re unsure. The key is to move forward and take action.

Take too much of my time

This excuse can become a self-fulfilling prophecy because at times, when I’ve tackled a new project, I’ve lost sight of all the other things that I need to do. This ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking  is confining and holds me back.

Hope Antidote

The best way to eliminate this excuse is to schedule my time and move forward systematically and not compulsively. Darren Rowse in Problogger writes about how perfectionism itself is a ‘time drain.’ He’s right about that. Determine how much time you are willing to spend and reward yourself when you stick to it.

Too complicated

I have to face that, most often, I am the one making it complicated. This goes back to the saying, “If it’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing it right.” The flip side of that statement is that I’d rather not even start the project because it looks too daunting.

Hope Antidote

The battle is in my mind. What I believe becomes my reality. In other words, if I keep believing that it is too complicated, I will indeed be paralyzed by my perfectionism. On the other hand, I will move forwards if I create a mind map or a list of next steps and tackle each one consistently. It’s my choice. My new saying will be, “If it’s worth doing, I will take steps in that direction.”

Set a simple plan in place. Take a few steps. Laugh when you trip. Learn from your mistakes.  Cheer yourself on as you tackle big projects. If you do this on a consistent basis you will be much better off. Experience the joy of forward progress instead of beating yourself up because it’s not perfect.

What hope antidotes to perfectionism can you share? I would love to celebrate with you.

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to book her as a speaker or want one-on-one coaching. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

10 Tips to Overcoming Procrastination

1 Apr

This is the first year – EVER – that I am not dreading April. Usually when we hit April 1st, I am less concerned about pranks and more disturbed by the fact that in 15 days I will be turning in my taxes. This year I finished them on March 15th (Number 1 on the 10 Tips to Overcoming Procrastination list). It worked for me. It looks like there is hope for me yet.

Most of us procrastinate in one or more areas of our lives. There are those who are right on top of all their business related activities but fall behind on the personal. Others, procrastinate on certain aspects of their work that they do not enjoy – such as the detailed part such as accounting or taxes.

Here are ten ways to overcome procrastination

10. Write down a list of all the projects you have put off.

9.    Prioritize them by date you need to have them completed.

8.    Decide what needs to be done first and DO it!

7.   Divide a big project into manageable parts and tackle one a day.

6.   Get a timer and set it for 15 minutes. Focus on that one part without allowing yourself to get distracted.

5.   Get someone to help you get started.

4.   Find an accountability partner and report your progress.

3.   Make a game out of it and have fun!

2.   Celebrate progress and keep going.

1.   Set a fake deadline before the real one.

I set a fake deadline for my taxes and have enjoyed a sense of smug accomplishment for the last two weeks. Good luck with your deadlines and remember, be kind to yourself!

What tips can you add? What are your secrets to avoid procrastination?

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to book her as a speaker or want one-on-one coaching. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

Replacing Ten Negativity Traps That Can Sabotage Success

22 Feb

What’s standing in the way of your success? Often, our doubts and self-talk become our greatest hindrances. I have needed to overcome negative ways of thinking as an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, when we sit and think about the negative side of things, we begin to speak from that place and sabotage our own success. Negativity becomes a poison that drains our initiative and energy. If you are struggling with any of these thoughts, use these Hope Antidotes like a rope to climb out of the pit of despair.

What people think

  1. This looks too complicated (hard).

    Hope Antidote: The first time you start learning how to do anything, it may seem difficult, uncomfortable and overwhelming. To move forward, break it down into smaller steps and ease into it gradually. OR, be like me and jump in to the deep end. Whichever way you choose to move forward, the key is to do just that.
  2. What will people think?

    Hope Antidote: “We would worry less about what people think about us if we realized how seldom they do.” Ethel Barrett I love this saying because it makes me realize that I do not have to waste any valuable energy and time on what others will think. It’s been my experience that when I am moving forward the ones that really matter in my life are cheering me on.  
  3. I don’t have enough _______ (time, money, talent, etc.).

    Hope Antidote: Take stock in what you DO have and not what you lack. Ask those around you to help. Share what you have with others and create a hope chain of resources. That’s my vision for women entrepreneurs: helping each other to succeed and creating hope in future generations successful business owners.
  4. I hate change.

    Hope Antidote: First of all, cut the word ‘hate’ from your vocabulary. Most of us feel uncomfortable, uneasy or uncertain as we start something new. The amazing principle is that the more you stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone, the more quickly  you will get used to what I like to call the ‘new normal.’
  5. I can’t handle all the ___________ (pressure, work load, etc.).

    Hope Antidote: Take a look back at all the challenges you’ve faced in your life so far. When we look ahead and project the difficulties they can start to grow. Instead, move forward and deal with each issue (aka problem) as it arises. You have a great track record or you wouldn’t be reading this blog.
  6. It’s not good enough.

    Hope Antidote: Who sets the standards? You do. Imperfect progress is better than perfect planning. I’m all for having a plan in place, yet you need to take some steps forward, adjust and learn as you go.
  7. I don’t want to leave others behind.

    Hope Antidote: Sometimes those closest to us do not support what we are doing. If you are passionate about making your ideas a reality, continue to move forward even if others do not follow immediately. Remember, they do not see the vision that you see. Sometimes the best way to get them on your side is to show them that you can carry out what you’ve set out to do.
  8. I could never do _________.

    Hope Antidote: Challenge your doubts. Set you fears aside. Go for it! The main reasons we don’t think we can do something is because of the limits we put on ourselves. What’s the worst that can happen? You don’t try it.
  9. Last time I tried something like this, it didn’t work.

    Hope Antidote: The difference between failure and success lies in the way you approach your obstacles and failures. Successful business owners use these as ways to learn, adjust and improve.
  10. If it’s supposed to happen, it will.

    Hope Antidote: Sometimes when we look at others who are where we want to be, we can believe they were just lucky. They worked hard to get where they are. You can do it too, if you just don’t give up.

Do you relate to any of these barriers? What are yours? What about the Hope Antidotes? Are there any that have pulled you out of a negativity trap?

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to receive one-on-one coaching. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

Copyright (c) 2012 Picture Hope International, Inc.

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Ten Ways to Keep Your Passion Alive

3 Feb

Successful entrepreneurs have passion or a strong desire for success. Success means different things to each of us, yet to be truly happy and fulfilled it is important to nurture the aspirations, drive and desire for change. We live in a society where many feel like one person cannot make a difference. HOPEpreneurs are those who are enthusiastic about their purpose in life and actively take steps to fulfill the purpose.Never lose hope that your dreams will come true

  1. Let go of the need to do things perfectly and allow others to help you move forward.
  2. Always be eager to learn new things so that you embrace the fast-paced changes that surround you.
  3. Stir up the fire in your belly by revisiting your goals, doing what you love best and remembering why you started on this journey.
  4. Get up and go after what you know only you can do.
  5. Take the initiative to make changes as soon as you see a better way so you stay ahead of the curve.
  6. Stop talking to people about what you plan to do; instead, take specific actions to make it happen.
  7. Push through the resistance you encounter when starting out; you will gain traction & momentum soon, if you don’t quit.
  8. Never lose hope that your dreams will come true because you are closer than you think.
  9. Don’t get discouraged when others don’t get your vision & zeal. What do you expect? It’s your vision, so make it a reality.
  10. Take the time to restore your energy by resting, spending time with those you love, and doing something crazy that you are passionate about.

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to receive one-on-one coaching. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

How to Succeed in a Niche Market

31 Jan

Shirley Fisher entrepreneur with successful handpainted cards

Shirley Fisher is our guest blogger. She shares how she found the niche for her beautiful hand painted inspirational cards that are available at www.fishprintgifts.info .

What inspired you to start your business?

In a nutshell, it was my passion to find a unique platform to share the heart of God. I found this outlet as I began to write phrases and words of encouragement. Before long, I realized that I was writing poetry. I wanted to find a way to share what I had written so others could be blessed by it.
My husband and I had already started a printing and publishing company called Accent Digital Publishing. I started putting all the poetry in greeting card form. I wanted to paint even though I had never done it before. It looked so easy, yet I wasn’t sure how to do it. One night, in a dream, the Lord showed me the exact strokes I needed to use. I have been painting flowers and writing poetry ever since.

What did you do to market your cards?

I found the first opportunity I could, which at that time was our local farmer’s market. I simply started painting the cards and discovered that people were fascinated and wanted to watch me paint them.  People were very receptive to a hand painted card. Some wanted specific poems for encouragement and some just wanted blank cards so they could to put their own words in. The fact remains that in some special way, people are being touched by the love of God.

How do you generate income?

I make my money through the custom work I do for weddings or special occasions, the original design cards, hand painted book marks, custom book marks and other specialty custom designs. You can see many other gift ideas on my website www.fishprintgifts.info.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a business like yours?

Dream bigger, because you can. We all have a voice. Start with what is in your hand to do. Influence the ONE first.

What pitfalls should those looking for a niche market avoid?

Getting too busy. When that happens I lose the focus of my original dream or the original intent.

How do you handle discouragement?

Recognize it for what it is and where it came from.  Be honest with myself and God. It’s okay to let Him  know you’re discouraged. I think He already knows anyway. After I pour my heart out to Him, I close the door to any other discouraging thoughts that may come and then I do the right thing. If I rest in His presence and read His Word I can enjoy peace.

What inspires you to keep going?

That’s easy to answer. When I see the smiles on people’s faces as they receive the hand painted greeting card I am motivated to keep going.

How do you keep the passion alive?

Ten years have now passed and the passion is still very much alive. I could not stop if I wanted to. I have painted and given away so many cards I have lost count. The opportunities are endless. One of my latest pleasures was to paint cards for the staff at our local women’s refuge facility. Other ministries have asked me to do the same for them also. This is a gift from the heart. Very few people will turn away a free hand painted greeting card.  The heart of giving is one of the ways God shows His love.

Like the motto on the back of my cards says:
 Fishprint – A Lasting Impression Through Art & Poetry
Each day we have the opportunity to make an impression on someone; my prayer is that I make it count. Whether it’s painting flowers in a decorative style, writing poetry or speaking, my focus is the same:
To reflect God’s glory in all that I do.
“Let me be a flower in Your Garden of Worship.”
Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to receive one-on-one coaching. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.
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