Posts tagged "purpose"

36,900,000 Results When Searching for “How to Stay Inspired”

February 6th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Vision 2 thoughts on “36,900,000 Results When Searching for “How to Stay Inspired””

If you enter “how to stay inspired” into your search engine, it will net about 36,900,000 results.

You’d think with so many people, organizations and articles out there to help us get or stay inspired, we’d find it much easier to do so. But the hard truth about inspiration is that while finding it is comparatively easy, keeping it is relatively difficult.

We gleefully make resolutions and promises to ourselves, saying things like, “This year, I am REALLY going to get in shape!”

We go to seminars with leading gurus, buy their books and courses, then run out with our arms raised, declaring, “I’m gonna do it!”

We watch TED videos, Shark Tank, and SuperSoul Sunday and exclaim, “I’m going to make a difference!

Aaaaannnnnndddd thennnnnnnn….we don’t

Why is it so hard to remain inspired (and motivated)?

An article at Care2 entitled 5 Reasons Why Motivation is Difficult to Sustain provides an interesting list of reasons it is hard to stay motivated. Even though inspiration and motivation are two different things, they are related, so we will list the 5 here as follows:

  1. No plan
  2. Distractions
  3. Drawbacks
  4. Negative motivation
  5. Extrinsic motivation (depend on outside world to reap rewards on you)

But here is what we think is the real reason it is hard to remain inspired

As discussed in a previous post, motivation is external and compels you to do something. Inspiration is internal – something you feel.

(see Where Do You Find Inspiration?).

The real reason that inspiration can be fleeting is because it’s a feeling – and feelings are naturally fleeting. Generally speaking, feelings can hit us with great intensity. Later the intensity fades – perhaps entirely, perhaps not, but it usually fades.

Maybe it isn’t important to remain inspired

If feelings are naturally fleeting, perhaps trying hard to hold on to inspiration is futile.

Perhaps, rather than spending hundreds and thousands of dollars and hours on the inspirational products of the inspirational gurus, we spend our resources REMEMBERING what inspired us, as opposed to PRESERVING the feeling.

It isn’t as difficult as you might think

When you feel inspired, remember, it is a feeling and it will fade. Before it has faded too deeply, write it down. Capture things like:

  • What were you inspired to do?
  • How did that feel?
  • What were you doing when it hit you?
  • Who were you with?
  • What were you thinking or thinking of?
  • What were some other circumstances surrounding you at the time?

Now use that to write a purpose statement. This isn’t WHAT you are going to do. This is WHY you are going to do it.

In business, it is foundational to have a Vision Statement, a Mission Statement, and a Purpose Statement. Vision is how you see things in the future, preferably as a result of what you do. Mission is in fact what you do. But purpose is why you do it.

The same types of statements can be useful in your personal life.

Once you have a vision, mission and purpose statement, put them in reverse order (purpose, mission, and vision). This becomes your elevator pitch for whatever you are doing – and it always starts with your purpose, which is founded in your inspiration.

Say it often. Start your day with it. Start your presentations with it. Start your meetings with it.

Don’t cheapen it or make it a rote statement, but use it often enough to remind yourself and others of what you felt in that moment of inspiration, even though the intensity of the feeling itself may have faded.

This will in turn help keep you motivated, even if no longer inspired.

How Do I Stick to New Year’s Resolutions – We Object to The Question

January 2nd, 2018 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post 0 thoughts on “How Do I Stick to New Year’s Resolutions – We Object to The Question”

How do you stick to New Year’s Resolutions?

If you just heard a collective “Ugh” from the Plan Canvas team, it’s because that is an old, tired question that begins with an assumption that, every year, we have to make new resolutions because we just couldn’t stick to them the year before.

But, hey, all the cool kids are doing it, so let’s jump on the how-to-stick-to-new-years-resolutions bandwagon and offer up a few thoughts.

The feel-good stuff is important, but not everything

To be clear, we believe strongly in the feel-good, softer-side of things, like maintaining a positive attitude, doing for others, and pursuing value-based versus profit-driven goals. We believe in pursuing a purpose that is greater than ourselves.

There is a lot to be said for and a lot that can be accomplished through a focus on these things, but, we have to be a little more pragmatic than just thinking about feel-good, softer-sided stuff.

For example, an article at Inc. entitled Three Tips to Help You Follow Through On Your New Year’s Resolutions recommends the following:

  • Don’t be a harsh critic
  • Be a better motivator
  • Develop self-compassion

These are all excellent character points that make a lot of sense. But in summary, what the article is saying is, “be a better person and you’re more likely to follow through with resolutions.”

There is even some lab work to support this position, but, call us cautiously skeptical. Some of the most hateful people in history were also the most resolved. And how many really nice people do you know that never seem to be able to stick to resolutions?

Which leads us to say…

Check out Plan Canvas

Click here for a list of features, functions and a demo

We are sorry to say, it takes discipline

You can’t just snap your fingers and say, “I am now a better person. I am now more resolved to stick to resolutions than I was prior to the snapping of the fingers!”

Hey, we’d rather have lean muscle mass and a healthy heart without having to worry about nutrition and exercise, but, it doesn’t work that way. Unfortunately, like anything else worth having, resolve takes discipline.

Are there any magic steps?

Not really. But here are a few steps to follow:

Step One. Define what you want to accomplish. Just say it out loud. Then write it down.

Step Two. Make a proclamation – a mental snapping of the fingers as in to say, “I am going to do this.”

Step Three. This is followed closely by a proclamation that not only are you going to do this, but you’ve GOT this! A positive attitude will dramatically improve the likelihood of a successful outcome, so, you have to genuinely believe you can do it.

Step Four. Track and record your progress. If there is a magic step at all, it’s this one. As you record progress, you begin seeing advances – even if tiny advances. Your mind starts to truly believe, “Hey, I REALLY CAN do this.” You begin to protect that forward progress because you worked hard to achieve it. No one, not even you yourself, is going to steal it away from you.

Step Five. Keep doing Steps 1 thru 4. Make them a habit.

A great place to start

Plan Canvas includes a Personal Plan designed for any individual to use. It focuses on 4 major categories including:

  • Career
  • Current Job
  • Personal/Family
  • Spirituality

It asks you to document what you want to include in each of those categories – over the short term, mid-term, and long term. You can think of these as your resolutions (and you don’t need a new year to make them).

Most importantly, it then asks you to specify the actions you will take to accomplish those resolutions. Feel-good stuff is necessary but feeling good doesn’t get it done. You have to take action.

Get a coach!

Whatever tools you use, even if it’s just writing your resolutions on a napkin, ask someone to be your coach. It’s the best way to help you hold yourself accountable. The coach can help you keep track of progress, remind you that you are making progress, help you maintain a positive attitude, and be a sounding board for your ideas, no matter how “crazy” they are.

Click here to see our consultant/coach services. Whether it’s ours, someone else’s, paid, or unpaid – GET A COACH!

Here is to the year 2018. May it be a good one.

A Decision Not to Launch is Not Failure to Launch

October 4th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Subscriber of the Month 2 thoughts on “A Decision Not to Launch is Not Failure to Launch”

The Plan Canvas official launch was September 5, 2017. Like all new business ventures, we started with an idea.

In our case, that idea was to create tools and a community that make business success much more likely. The odds are already stacked heavily against most business ventures, and the unfortunate truth is we make the risk even greater by either not thinking things through, or over-complicating it.

Our vision is to eliminate that unnecessary, self-inflicted risk, while dramatically reducing the naturally occurring risk of doing business.

Going forward, our intention is to highlight one featured Plan Canvas Subscriber of the Month. This month, our featured subscriber is our first, ever, paid subscriber – our first genuine customer – Anastasia Button.

Sometimes the best decision is NOT to launch

Before telling her story, let’s make something clear upfront. After doing the analysis and beginning to strategize and plan the business, this Plan Canvas user made the decision NOT to further pursue the new business venture.

You may be thinking, “That is an odd case study to highlight.”

It’s a fair critique – on the surface. Most solution providers only tell stories of customers and clients that have had wild success using their products and services. We’re no different in that regard.

The difference may be that we genuinely see a decision not to launch as a wild success.

Too many people have wasted precious time, money, energy, and have even sacrificed relationships, for a business that was either not right or not right at the time. We would much rather our subscribers realize that very early in the game -before those expenditures are made – rather than after it is too late.

The best way to do that is by formally visualizing and planning the business ahead of time.

At the core – finding purpose

All that said, our very first Subscriber of the Month is no stranger to critically thinking through business development and business solutions.

Anastasia is a Millennial Business Coach and also helps companies attract, engage and retain young talent. You can find her at

As she puts it, her passion is derived from pain.

“I was a lost Millennial trying to navigate what an entrepreneur was and I was failing as a roofing contractor – a door knocker. One day I realized I was not living a life I wanted. I worked 70-hours a week and was barely making ends meet. It wasn’t until I was on a 2-story roof and realized that I just felt like jumping (figuratively)!

I felt no purpose in what I was doing and realized in that moment that is what I was missing! So, after taking the journey to purpose everything fell into place and things began to streamline – book published, internationally speaking, professorship at the University of Denver, speaking to large corporate and helping Millennial business owners go from small to big!”

That is a GREAT example and great advice for everyone

Your sense of purpose does not have to be as grandiose as saving the world, but it is really important to take time to understand what it is. Once you’ve determined it, you have an opportunity to lay out a path forward to achieving it.

Anastasia’s drive comes from her sense of purpose – to help others identify their own purpose in life, so that they can leverage it to generate a business that is meaningful and brings impact to their lives.

She also helps corporations do this by leveraging their mission to fuel and engage their workforce and leadership to better serve the customer.

Anastasia had this to say about her experience with Plan Canvas

I enjoyed Plan Canvas for a few reasons:

  • Action Items – this is great for teams. My team members used to get overwhelmed seeing a huge to-do list. Now, from the dashboard, they just see what the next 7-days include.
  • Big picture – The team appreciated having immediate goals and I, on the back end, could see the whole picture.
  • Business planning – the tool was helpful in bringing focus to certain sections of the business plan. Instead of seeing a 10+ page business plan template and feeling like you have to fill it to the brim, Plan Canvas has you focus on small sections at a time. Before you know it, your business plan is written – and with brevity.
  • Simplistic, effective and easily navigated. I enjoyed Plan Canvas from the get-go and encourage startups, pre-startups and even my own clients to use Plan Canvas as a tool for their business and team, to get their plan in action!

Thank you so much, Anastasia!

We are so glad that there are people like Anastasia who are out there really making a positive impact on people’s lives and sense of purpose. We are even more appreciative to have subscribers like her in the Plan Canvas community.

There is always a level of disappointment in having a business idea that is eventually abandoned. But the good news is that Anastasia has a healthy coaching practice that continues to grow and thrive. She is the type of person that is likely to generate new, additional ideas throughout her life and career, and is probably already cooking up the next big one.

The great news is that she didn’t waste a lot of time and resource determining one particular idea is not right or not right now.

Thank you, Anastasia, for being a part of our big idea and for being our very first featured Subscriber of the Month.

For a quick demo of Plan Canvas, please click here.

My Why – What is Yours?

January 5th, 2017 Posted by Business is ART, Inspiration 4 thoughts on “My Why – What is Yours?”

Nathan Snyder

What is your “why?” If you’ve never watched Simon Sinek’s TED Talk video on starting with “Why”, click here and give it a view/listen. In the Business is ART planning process, templates and tools, and in my business consulting, I urge clients to start with “Why”. Why would anyone want or need what you have? Why does what you have satisfy their wants and needs (or create them)? Why do you do what you do? What inspires you to do it?

But the old adage “A doctor is his own worst patient” applies because I frequently do not start with why – particularly why I have made it a mission to help others succeed. A colleague, Lindsey Evans of 16th Floor Media, was recently talking to Adam Dince, author of Hopeful to Hired about me. Lindsey assists with my social media marketing. She and Adam have both been guests on the Business is ART podcast. Neither were particularly aware of my story and noted that I should be more upfront about it.

Why am I reluctant to share?

So why haven’t I? Well, for one, when I talk about it, the words come quickly, they just don’t come all that often because I want them to be something I positively reflect on, not dwell on negatively. I don’t share them seeking sympathy or pity and would in fact be a little disturbed if that’s what they yielded. Two, I don’t say them for attention or to “make a sale.” I don’t want to cheapen them and sound opportunistic…or as I usually say…I don’t want it to feel icky.

Still, my “why” is important to my mission and to who I am. So, following Lindsey and Adam’s advice, and with my sister Lisa’s permission, here it is.

July 5, 2011

On July 5, 2011 my sister called me to let me know her son, my nephew Nathan, had committed suicide. It was the third suicide of someone close to me in 7 years and it was a catalyst for bringing me to a very dark place in life.

Nathan was my first nephew. He lived with me 2 summers during his teens providing daycare to my kids. He interned for me during his college years. He was not just family but a friend. His suicide rocked the family incredibly hard because he, of all of us, seemed like the guy that would take no prisoners, bull through life come hell or high water, and achieve great levels of success. Full speed ahead.

We were tragically wrong.

David and Tom

I learned after the first suicide of someone close to me, my friend David, that there is no “reason” that makes sense to us who remain – “the survivors” as we are called. And there is nothing to gain from blaming ourselves for not seeing it coming or not doing something to prevent it. David called and left me a voicemail that gave no indication he was about to take his own life. The timeline indicated he must have done so just seconds or minutes after leaving the message.

He’d been ill and simply said, “I went to the doctor today and found out what’s wrong with me. Let’s go golfing Saturday.”

With that, he pulled his van over and shot himself. I went golfing by myself that Saturday and cussed him out with every bad shot…which was every shot…so he got cussed out a lot. Looking back on our relationship, the call still haunts me and I still wonder if he was a better friend to me than I was to him.

The other was the suicide of a long time employee. Tom was a super nice guy. Quiet. Always greeted me and everyone else with a smile and a friendly “How are you?” When he killed himself, the office was shaken deeply. In fact, one of his co-workers went to his home after he didn’t report to work and found him dead – a traumatic experience in and of itself. We were part of a large corporation at the time that did not deem it necessary to fly our HR director in to town to be there for our employees and make sure they knew 1) the company cared, 2) there were resources available for grief counseling, and 3) she needed to grieve in person with the rest of us. The company felt the $350 airline ticket was not a necessary expense.

She and I disagreed, so she took vacation days and I used my frequent traveler miles to buy her a ticket.

That experience left an extremely bad taste in my mouth. Certainly not all big companies are like that, but, this experience is one reason I am leery of big companies and prefer working with small ones. Large companies run a danger of losing their soul. Not all do. They deserve our business. Others do…and I try to avoid them.

It’s illogical but we do it anyway

“I should have been there” is an illogical response that unfortunately sticks in the back of our minds no matter how much we tell ourselves it is completely illogical. The trauma changes us. We can’t help that. But we can to a degree control what we do with the changes. In my opinion, one of the best things we can do is offer support to others who are still here among us in whatever way we are best equipped, in the hopes of helping them through a tough time, even if that is for a very brief moment.

The common thread in the suicides of Nathan, David and Tom is that they all felt overwhelmed by something – different things – and I wasn’t qualified to provide the kind of support they needed. I’m still not.

What can I do – what’s my purpose?

So then came the big question. What can I – little old me – do going forward that might help some subset of humanity feel less overwhelmed? How can I help?

Aside from supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and numerous other suicide prevention causes (which I do), a logical choice was to fall back on my experience leading businesses and people as well as my business education. I could take that knowledge and experience, find a way to make it available to others, and share it so that perhaps at least in a business and leadership capacity, they can feel less alone and overwhelmed.

That didn’t come to me all at once. I had to personally and professionally fall after Nathan’s suicide. Then I had to decide enough was enough and start making some major changes in my life. Once I shed all of the dark shackles that held me down, I was able to devise a plan, a service and a solution that I can in fact share with others.

Significance vs. success

I adopted a lifestyle of “significance vs. success.” Now the focus of what I do and the tools I provide is on others. I have thought long and hard about how to make things as simple and inexpensive as possible, while being effective enough to help others dramatically improve their odds of success.

And I believe that is what the entire suite of Business is ART services and products do. From consulting services, to the book and video training, the Plan Canvas software and all of the free content available thru the Business is ART Blog and Podcast – this is my contribution to a niche set of others to help them feel less overwhelmed and alone.

If just one person benefits from it, it will have all been worth it.

[bctt tweet=”Sometimes “why” is hard to share” username=”JonUmstead”]

How to Establish Trust (Part 1)

April 14th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, Business Plan, Strategy 0 thoughts on “How to Establish Trust (Part 1)”
Kevin West

Kevin West – Your Home Comfort Guy

The following is part 1 of a 2 part series on establishing trust.

On segment #27 of the Business is ART podcast at the TrueChat Network, my guest was business owner Kevin West of Your Home Comfort Guy, a heating and air conditioning company. Kevin is also the president of the Champion City Chapter (Springfield, Ohio) of BNI (Business Networking International). Our topic of discussion was “Trust” and during the course of the conversation, Kevin listed several means for building trust in your business, summarized in this 2 part series. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, follow this link and click on Segment #27 – Trust Me.

You Home Comfort GuyTrust is vital to launching and sustaining a business. Without it, you won’t be in business for long. Trust includes:

  • Customers trusting you (in every aspect)
  • You trusting your customers
  • Trust between you and your suppliers
  • Trust between you and your business’ other stakeholders
  • Trust between you and your community

Ultimately, trust is established by providing the right product/service, at the right place, at the right price to the right person. But how else can you establish trust? Here are a few simple, cost free means for doing so.

Know Who You Are

Before starting your business, take time to define who you are and who your business is. It is perfectly fine to revise and tweak that definition as you go. In fact it is encouraged. Things change rapidly, so you and your business need to change with them. But make time to ensure you have a clear definition.

A good way to do this is to define your vision, mission and purpose statements.

Pay Attention to Your Appearance

You never have a second chance to make a first impression, so, make sure that impression isn’t DOA simply due to appearance. It does mean something, and it is dependent on your business. What works just fine in one type of business setting may not work well in another, so pay attention, dress and groom accordingly. Start by imagining what kind of image works in your industry and what kind of image you want to portray. There is nothing wrong with being your own person, so long as you are aware that depending on what that means to you it may have an impact on your business or career.

Behave as Though Someone is Watching

This suggestion isn’t meant to imply that you should be paranoid. To the contrary. You should be confident in what you are doing. But operate in a fashion such that if you wouldn’t do something when someone is watching, don’t do it on the job when no one is watching. Act as though someone is always watching. If your business provides home or public services, there is a good chance that someone actually is.

We will discuss more in part 2 of this series on establishing trust.

The Secret to a Great Elevator Pitch

March 16th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, CEO, Engagement, Leadership 0 thoughts on “The Secret to a Great Elevator Pitch”
elevator pitch face

Photo courtesy of

An elevator pitch is a very succinct means of stating what you are all about. The concept is that if you had just a few seconds to make your case to a stranger in an elevator before the doors open, what would you say and how would you say it? It is commonly referred to as a “sales pitch” but more and more, people are catching on to the sentiment that the best sales pitch is no pitch at all.

So, as stated, I think of it as a succinct means of stating what you are all about, rather than a succinct sales pitch. Meanwhile, several books, articles and TED Talks have become very popular, encouraging us to emphasize “why” rather than “what.”

For example, Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire” urges us to communicate our ideas, goods and services by starting with why anyone should care, how it satisfies the “why”, and finally what “it” is, rather than the reverse order we commonly see.

His New York Times best selling book Start with Why explores this concept further.

Creating a succinct message can be far more difficult than creating a lengthy one. There are many schools of thought on the subject but here is one more that I stumbled upon in my own work. Just as the best sales pitch is no pitch at all, the best way to write an elevator pitch may be to not write one…at least not directly.

Here is a process to explain what I mean.

Step 1 – Write a vision statement

Your vision statement should be simple. A sentence or two that looks in to the future and defines what it is you see. There is no right or wrong because it is your vision. There is “more effective”, but there is no “wrong.”

Amazon’s vision statement is often used as a good example and is as follows – “Our vision is to be Earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

My own vision statement is – The vision for Business is ART is that small to medium sized businesses (SMB) are dramatically more successful – improving their odds by at least 30 to 50 percent.

Step 2 – Write a mission statement

There is a difference between a mission statement and a vision statement. The vision statement is what you see in an ideal world, sometime out in the future. The mission statement is what you do. Not why you do it. What you do.

As an example, my mission statement is – To provide entrepreneurs, businesses and organizational leaders with the easy to use tools that they need.

Step 3 – Write a Purpose Statement

Now write your purpose statement. Your purpose is different than your mission. Purpose is the emotional hook. It’s why you follow your mission. I know, I know. Simon says, “Start with Why,” and here I am including it as Step 3, but stay with me for a minute.

My purpose statement is – To help others to feel less overwhelmed, get organized and focus.

Step 4 – Write the Elevator Pitch

Now you have everything you need to write your elevator pitch and it becomes a very easy task because all you need to do is mash together the vision, mission and purpose statements you just wrote. The difference? We’re going to start with why.

In other words, we will create the elevator pitch from the purpose, mission and vision statements in that order.

In my case, that becomes:

“I help entrepreneurs and small to medium sized business and organizational leaders to feel less overwhelmed and be dramatically more successful.

By providing simple to use tools, information and the experience they need to get organized and focused, Business is ART can help them increase their odds by 30 to 50 percent or more.”

Why, How, What

Now, using Sinek’s approach, let’s break it down:

  1. Why? You are overwhelmed and would like to be more successful (purpose).
  2. How? With simple to use tools (mission).
  3. What? Business is ART (vision).

Hopefully the response is, “Gee, I DO feel overwhelmed and alone at times. And I do want to be more successful. 30% to 50% you say? Tell me more.”

Plan Canvas is a community and a powerful software for improving your odds of business success and personal fulfillment.

© SeaSeven LLC 2019.
Designed by FRW Studios, LLC.