Never Let Anything Stand In The Way of You Connecting With The Right People!

Never Let Anything Stand In The Way of You

Connecting With The Right People!

Find a way

                 If you have/had parents like I did growing up, they probably said things to you like, “It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts!” when preparing you for the real world. I totally agree and would also like to add that “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know {AND} WHO knows you!” that counts!

              There are so many ways of connecting with people in today’s digital age that simply did not exist just 20 years ago. You can connect with people through social medial channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, etc and find direct contact info for individuals you want to reach out to online. I’ve heard plenty of stories of  job seekers starting conversations with companies they are interested in working with on Twitter and have secured employment through that interaction!

                The world is smaller than you know and it’s easier now, more than ever, to reach out to and connect with others! I’m always amazed when I look at a LinkedIn contact or Facebook Friend of mine and see how that person and I know several other people in common. Sometimes I can’t figure out how in the world one could possibly know the other! My takeaway here is this: Never let anything stand in the way of you connecting with the right people! (Tweet this).  Often times that connection is only a phone call, email or Tweet away!

What are some ways you use to reach out to and make new connections with others in both business and social realms?

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

           Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril

A Lesson I learned About Positioning From My Dog

A Lesson I Learned About Positioning From My Dog

maltipoo

(The above photo is not of my precious Bella, but she looked just like this as a puppy!)

               I have a cute little 10 pound Malti-poo named Bella who is the center of attention – always! She is the sweetest, kindest dog you’d ever want to meet and, in full transparency, has her hyperactive moments as well! She does her best to always be in a position to get what she wants when she wants it! In the morning as I am preparing for work, I usually eat my breakfast such as fruit, cereal bars, peanut butter and crackers, in between various tasks I’m running around doing before I hit the door!

           Bella has figured out that I often drop crumbs as I’m eating on the run and she likes to scoop those up for her breakfast too! Additionally, as long as she is on good behavior, I normally give her a treat. Bella sits, ever so politely, in the “Sit Bella” position right next to my feet hoping to catch some crumbs or a treat. If she waits for too long and thinks I don’t see her, she will move to the other side of me and try the “sit Bella” position again. This happens repeatedly until she gets what she wants!

             Watching her do this one morning made me think about how many of us give up on getting what we want because we are afraid to position ourselves where it counts. I believe that “Good things come to those who wait, but better things come to those who work their butts off!” (Tweet this)

           If Bella can properly position herself to get what she wants, you sure as heck can to! Learn to put yourself in positions that lead to success by networking and making the right connections, updating your resume and CV regularly, participating in philanthropic endeavors and giving back to the community. You can’t simply sit around and wait for opportunities to come to you, you have to continuously work to position yourself where it counts and don’t give up until you see the reward (whatever that means to you) you desire!

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

           Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril

Why Isn’t There Enough Time in the Day? 7 Time Management Tips

Why Isn’t There Enough Time in the Day? 7 Time

Management Tips

Time Management

                 We are all afforded the same 24 hours in each day – nothing more and nothing less. Why is it then that some people seem to get everything done with time to spare while others can stand to have a couple more hours tagged on to each day? It all comes down to Time Management!

                I’m often asked how I have time to do everything I do including running a medical practice, writing a leadership Blog, Being a Leadership Speaker, writing a food blog, serving on 3 non-profit Board of Directors, active in my sorority, exercising, enjoying my family and still have time to dine out with my friends AND spend time watching any number of mindless reality shows from time to time! The answer I always give people is that I’ve always been really good at Time Management. I’ve simply figured out how to do everything I want to do when I want to do it!

You can always make time for what you are interested in! (Tweet this)

               I don’t really believe in work-life balance because the scales will always be tipped in one direction or another. I like the concept of Work-Life Integration better. The term “integration” removes the connotation that there has to be a perfect harmony with your schedule all the time. It also allows for the idea that your work can be both fun and enjoyable.

              My food blog is work, time-consuming work, but yet Sooooo much fun! Even though putting together any given blog posts usually takes at least an hour’s worth of work ( and that is for a short post), I absolutely love food photography, dining out with my friends and making connections within the culinary world through my blog. This is Work-Life Integration.

            My Leadership Speaking engagements require a lot of work and preparation. I am constantly studying, reading, putting together presentations and writing regular blog posts. However the benefits I receive when I present to groups is priceless. I love the work that I do – Work-Life Integration

               Owning my medical practice is one of the biggest responsibilities I’ve ever had and is certainly a ton of work! However, because I own the practice, I have the freedom to shape my schedule the way I like to. This allows me to integrate a lot of other opportunities into my schedule – Work-Life Integration.

               I’m also a “To-Do List” type of person. I create my list on Sunday afternoons for the upcoming week and that gives me a clear, written vision of what I need to accomplish in the coming days. As I’m creating the list, if I notice any given day becoming more full than I know is realistic for me to accomplish my tasks, I simply shift some things to another day. Not everything on our “to-do list” is urgent….some things can wait!

              When I start feeling overwhelmed with activities, I do a self-evaluation to determine if I need to let go of some things on my plate. I gain fulfillment of my God-given purpose in life when I am serving and helping other people………..including MYSELF. No one else will be held responsible for me being stressed out and over-doing it but me! I’m not interested in a life where I become so busy with outside obligations that I miss out on time with my family, friends and doing those things I enjoy and bring me peace.

Here are some Time Management tips that I hope help you when you start to feel overwhelmed by too many activities and happenings in your life:

❐ Create a To-Do List – 1 for the entire week and 1 list that you can tweak and tailor everyday

❐ Assign a time frame to each activity – This ensures that you are being realistic about just how much you can physically get done in one day. When I was a student, specifically a med student, I literally scheduled blocks of time to study each subject, down to the hour. Example:

Anatomy 6pm-6:45pm

Break for 15 minutes

Microbiology 7pm-7:45pm

Break for 15 minutes

Pharmacology 8pm-8:45

Break for 15 minutes

Watch Favorite TV Show 9pm-10pm

❐ Schedule for time spent with family and friends – At the end of your life, you will most likely care more about the time you spent with those you loved and who loved you than the hours spent pounding away at the office. Work and making a living is important for all of us, but make sure it doesn’t come at the expense of quality time spent with others.

❐ Schedule personal “me time” – These include time for meditation, meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner times, times to watch your favorite TV shows, working out, pampering yourself at the nail salon or spa, attending a festival or a cooking class, etc

❐ Create barriers around your valuable time – Answering and replying to emails is a major time-stealer for many people. Set specific time frames around when you will answer emails and when you will return them. If you like to check emails first thing in the morning, try deleting spam and junk mail 1st, then scan your inbox for emails that are urgent and need immediate attention-> reply to those as necessary. Flag those emails that require a response (not immediately) today, so that you know to come back to them later. Wait until the end of the day to reply to all others. Close down the email tab so that you are not distracted my message alerts throughout the day. Believe me….most things can wait a couple of hours!

❐ Create time barriers around social media – Ever been on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest and before you know it, an hour or two has gone by? I love social media, but I know how much of a time-zapper it can be too. Engage in social media during breaks or downtime. Similarly, resist the urge to engage in social media during times when you should be spending precious time interacting with family and friends. Ever been out to dinner and seen an entire family all on their individual mobile devices checked into social media and ignoring each other?………..ANNOYING!

❐ Be intentional with how you live your life! – Many of you are probably engaging in activities that don’t really bring you joy, purpose or allow you to live out your passions. The problem is that many people get trapped in doing things out of habit. Walk away from those time-stealers and start living a life on purpose!! Remember,  you can always make time for what you are interested if you simply make it up in your mind to do so! (Tweet this)

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

               Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

In Order To Achieve Success, You Must First Define It

In Order To Achieve Success, You Must First Define

It!

Achieve Success

               I’ve never known anyone to set a goal of wanting to be unsuccessful. We all want to succeed in life, but what does Success really mean? Success is different for everyone and the first step to achieving the success you desire is to define what it looks like for you! Success for some may involve great wealth, owning a business, leading a community organization, holding a political office, having a C-Suite position in Corporate America, or having a fabulous company expense account. For others, it may involve raising a successful family, or having a schedule that allows them to travel the world and explore other cultures.

                 It’s important to realize that there is no one definition of success. I recently asked a group of Junior High Students what Success looks like for them and they all gravitated toward the definition of success that involves having lots of money, a big house and a fancy car. I’m sure when many of you were in Junior High School, your definition of success probably sounded a little something like this too! We are fed images in the media that strongly suggest to us that success involves just what those students imagined success to be. However, at what point do we consider that there are other definitions of success than this. How do you go about defining it for yourself?

Consider these questions to guide you to your personal definition of success:

❐ What are your career goals?

❐ What are your family goals?

❐ What is your Purpose in life?

❐ What excites you most in life?

❐ Who are the people you value most in your life? Why?

❐ What motivates you?

❐ How are your choosing to live your life on Purpose right now? How do you plan to do this in the future?

Take some time to think about these questions and write down the answers. I’m a huge proponent of writing down your goals and visions. There’s power in writing these things down!

Create the definition of success for yourself and don’t let anyone else define it for you. (Tweet this!)

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

                Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Release the Fear

Release the Fear

Release the Fear

                There’s so much that can be said about Fear and there are thousands of scientific articles written about it. At its most basic level Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger. Physiologically, it’s crucial to our physical well-being and without it, we would set ourselves up for all types of dangerous situations and real threats. However, sometimes the scenarios we imagine become irrational fears, those that are not likely to happen and cause unnecessary worry, stress and bad decision-making.

                A definition that I often use when discussing FEAR is that it is False Evidence Appearing Real. I first heard this years ago and think it adequately describes Irrational FEAR, the type of self-limiting beliefs we feed ourselves everyday that are counter-productive to positive action and an optimistic outlook on life.

                    Many types of Fear have a basis in past negative experiences we have been through. Example: If situation X was really bad the 1st time we experienced it, we make the correlation that experiencing situation X will produce the same result next time. I encounter this with my patients quite often. I’m amazed at how calm kids are when I have to give them injections for things such as removing a foreign body from their foot or administering local anesthesia to remove an ingrown nail, while adults are usually the ones who take much more convincing because they’ve often had previous negative experiences that have translated into Fear moving forward.

                Fear holds us back. It causes anxiety. Fear wastes our valuable time. Fear is stressful. Most of the things we have irrational fears about never actually happen!

Here are some steps to help you overcome irrational fears:

❐ Identify It – This involves figuring out WHY you have the fear in the first place? Was it a previous experience? Does it stem from something you heard or saw happen to someone else? What triggers your fear?

❐ Name It – Naming your fear removes its power! Write the fear down and eliminate the confusion surrounding the exact fear. Many times simply admitting out loud that a fear is irrational allows you to acknowledge it as such…irrational.

❐ Rewrite the Story using faith in the positive, instead of fear, as your fuel – The possible negative outcomes to any given situation are usually what drive fear. So, instead of imagining the negative outcomes, re-write the story using possible positive outcomes. Every time the idea of a negative outcome pops into your head, counter-balance that with a positive affirmation instead. Refuse to allow the negative energy to manifest in your psyche….it’s too large an emotional burden to bear!

❐ Fight Fear Consistently by addressing it head on – Immersion therapy is a method commonly used to help people overcome irrational fears. This involves placing people in the exact scenarios that scare them so they can experience the fact that the irrational fear actually never manifests. Another way to address this is to take any given situation and say, ” Yes, Negative Result “X” May happen, but Positive Result “Y” is also an option.

❐ Attract Positive Situations into in your life and leadership roles by putting positive energy into all you do – If you believe in the law of attraction, this makes complete sense to you. It essentially mean this–> If you are constantly fearful, doubtful and have a glass half-empty mentality, negative energy is what will return to you. Moreover, if you live and lead with confidence and a positive, glass half-full outlook, positive energy is what will return to you. The impact of many of the situations you encounter on a daily basis boils down, in large part, to the outlook you have on them! (Tweet this)

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

          Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Gut-Check: Learning How to Trust Your Intuition in Leadership

Gut-Check: Learning How to Trust Your Intuition In

Leadership

intuition

                  I’ve honed in on this skill of trusting my gut pretty well through my practice of medicine. I’ve learned that when in doubt, always trust my intuition when it comes to making decisions for my patients. All the typical “textbook” signs of a particular medical condition may not be present in a patient I am examining, but when in doubt, I’ve made it a habit of trusting my gut to make important decisions and diagnoses.

               When we talk about “Trusting your Gut, we are really talking about trusting your intuition.  By definition:

Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason. Intuition provides views, understandings, judgements, or beliefs that we cannot, in every case, empirically verify or rationally justify.

               Great leaders don’t simply rely on facts to make decisions. While relying on facts may be the most logical for most people, leaders are often times called to make the correct decision even when all the facts don’t line up. For illustration purposes, think about it this way–> FACTS are equivalent to MATH, while INTUITION is equivalent to ART.

             ❐  Experience is definitely a great way to sharpen your intuition. Experience making important decisions teaches you that everything can’t be explained by looking at situations in black and white or by simply looking at the facts.

             ❐  Learning to quiet your mind is another method that allows you to listen to what your gut is trying to say. Many times FEAR plays into our decision-making – fear of making the wrong decision, fear of judgement from others, etc. When you learn to quiet your mind and remove fear from the equation, you can begin to trust what feels right to you.

              As I’ve mentioned here on the blog before, Leaders don’t always have the right answer and make mistakes just like everyone else. There are times when leaders trust their gut and make great decisions and times when they end up making an unpopular decision. This may cause strife on a team or within an organization because the leader chose to “trust their gut” instead of using logic and sticking with the facts. If this happens, it’s best for the leader to admit the mistake and use the experience to guide their decision-making in the future. It’s important to remember that no leader nor any given team member will make the “best” decision 100% of the time. Removing the fear and trusting one’s gut is a major step along the path of becoming a superb Leader!

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

         Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Write it Down Before It’s Gone

Write it Down Before It’s Gone………

keep-calm-and-write-it-down

               “Writing it down” is exactly what I had to do when the inspiration struck me for this blog post. Ideas are fleeting and because we have many of them floating around in our minds every day, it benefits us to write down those glimpses of inspiration as they flash across our minds!

              I keep a brainstorming sheet next to my laptop at home and at work. I’m always being inspired by “flashes” of ideas for various projects I’m working on. Because the next flash of inspiration is likely not far behind, if I don’t write them down as they come to me, they may likely be gone forever.

Here are some tips that may help you:

 

❐ Keep a brainstorming sheet in your workspace, both at home and at work

❐ Create a Brainstorming list on your smart phone for those times you are not near your computer or creative space. Use an app such as the iPhone’s notepad or my favorite Smartphone app, Evernote!

❐ If you are one who receives inspiration at night, keep a pen and paper near your bed to transfer those thoughts

❐ If the inspiration requires immediate action, don’t hesitate. Act on it as soon as possible! Opportunities, just like ideas, can be fleeting. Don’t miss out on good opportunities because of procrastination!

❐ For kicks and giggles, keep some of these ideas in a journal (instead of crumbling up the brainstorming sheets and throwing them away) and a year from now, look back on the ideas you had. Some may be great and some may not be worth 2 cents. However, you may find yourself inspired again by ideas long forgotten.

What suggestions do you have for documenting and retaining “flashes of inspiration”?

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

              Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.