From December 31, 2019 Media Coverage --
Marcia Elder was recently interviewed for insights to help those setting goals, plans and resolutions for the New Year – the subject of one of her books by the above name. The format for this article consists of Interviewer questions followed by Elder answers. Information about Elder and the company she heads appears at the end and elsewhere on this site.
QUESTION: People refer to you as being successful and a success story. What does that mean to you? What does "success" mean in your eyes?
ANSWER: Success is often thought of in terms of money, position, fame, power, possessions. But, in my way of thinking, these are not what real Success means. To me there are several truly important ingredients to success. Having good values and living by them. Being a person of principles and sticking to them, even when doing so has consequences or otherwise is hard. Having a desire to help others and make the world a better place – and acting on that desire. Being committed to personal growth as a lifetime proposition. Plus, as an overarching ingredient, clarity of purpose - and fulfilling one's purpose.
QUESTION: Well that's sure not the typical definition of success. So let's break it down, starting with what you've referred to as an "overarching ingredient".
ANSWER: Most people don't give a lot of thought to perhaps the most crucial question of a lifetime: "What is your purpose in life?". I'm thankful to have asked myself that question many years ago, decades actually, and to have guided my own life based on the answer. To me, being clear about why we're here is fundamental to who we are and that clarity has huge bearing on how we live and what we accomplish in the course of our lives.
QUESTION: What about values and principles? What can you say about these?
ANSWER: Same thing. If you ask most people to list their values and principles – as well as to define their purpose – they're either silent or they struggle in trying to think of an answer. They're simply not accustomed to being asked – or asking themselves – such questions. They may be able to respond with a couple of one word examples (that may or may not match how they actually live). But few have a clearly defined picture of themselves at this level. And I can say this authoritatively having worked at seminars with thousands of people "confronted with" such questions.
QUESTION: So are you saying that people can achieve greater success by asking themselves these questions?
ANSWER: Absolutely. Asking and then answering with honesty and precision. Coupled with writing the answers down and keeping them on a typed paper or device that they regularly or periodically look at, to keep the contents in focus. Writing by hand, by the way, also increases retention.
QUESTION: What if they don't like who they see in reading what they wrote?
ANSWER: That's part of the beauty of being human. We have the capacity to change what we don't like. And to grow and improve upon what we do like. We can enlarge our purpose by defining and claiming it. We can commit to new values and principles and take steps every day to make them real. They may start out as aspirational, as who and how we want to be. And by committing to them, focusing on them, acting upon them, we can transition them from aspirations to reality.
QUESTION: That sounds good as a concept but how does a person make it real?
ANSWER: There are many steps we can take to transform ourselves. One of them is to create new habits. That's what New Year's Resolutions are generally about. An example related to values and principles is generosity. If we want Generosity to be a significant part of who we are we can create or expand upon it by engaging in generous actions – doing things large or small that reflect generosity, observing the effects on others, feeling good about it and acknowledging ourselves. Doing this over and again can cultivate generosity in a person. Gratitude is another great example and I've written about it in some detail here, including how to experience more of it: https://cpiconsulting.co/gratitude-1.
QUESTION: You've said the word "focus" a couple of times. How is focus important in what you've achieved and are achieving now? And what about planning?
ANSWER: What we focus on determines our emotions and our outcomes -- how we feel and the results we produce in our lives. If we dwell on the negative we'll experience more of what I'll refer to as disempowering emotions – frustration, resentment, anger, anxiety, depression, irritation, jealousy, and other assorted negative emotions. Through the power of focus, we can choose to instead experience positive, empowering emotions. Whether we're prepared to shift from negative to positive, or negative to neutral and then positive, each of us has the capacity to direct our focus and our emotions. Where we are emotionally in turn determines, or plays an enormous role in, what we accomplish in our lives … including how we affect others, what we get done, how we feel about it and our overall "quality of life". Strategically, effectively planning for success is also a given.
QUESTION: What about those who say, all of this sounds good but it’s not something that everybody can just do. Some of us have bad or difficult situations and people in our lives that interfere with or prevent having things be the way we want.
ANSWER: The saying that “we can all do much more than we believe we’re capable of” is TRUE. If all we can take is small steps to start out with, every step still counts. We simply have to decide to STEP. I’ve faced more than my own share of the bad, including when it seemed I couldn’t overcome what was happening in my life. But the events of our lives are not who we are and it’s up to us to step beyond the challenges we face. We may need a new strategy to get there, and we may need to push harder than we thought we could. But, chances are, we can make our lives better if we are determined to do so. And, as I’ve found personally and have witnessed in so many others, it’s way worth the extra effort.
QUESTION: What are some examples of how all of this pertains to your work and your career?
ANSWER: Purpose, values, principles, focus and deliberate emotions have set the course for my personal life and career. They are who I am and have been the guiding force for what I do. Before starting my own business, I worked for state government as part of my commitment to public service. That commitment has continued throughout my business life. A few years ago I wrote an article about what it takes to stay in business for 25 years where I talk about the specific values, principles and approaches that have been the foundation for my business: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-does-take-stay-business-over-25-y ... urfZ0dnjdM.
QUESTION: Your business is an interesting example when it comes to planning for success. Tell us a little bit about that.
ANSWER: I’ve always loved variety and, if you look at our Website, you’ll see that reflected in the range of our services and areas of expertise. Internet marketing, strategic planning, book publishing, communications training, personal and professional development, business coaching and technical assistance & expert witness services (energy technologies, community planning, other) are some of what we do. Managing this extent of variety in topics and activities – and all at the same time – wouldn’t be possible without the core ingredients and practices that I’ve referred to in this interview. You asked about “planning for success” and that too is vital as is having a vision of the end results we want, whether in our work or personal lives.
QUESTION: Are you a believer in New Year's Resolutions?
ANSWER: For sure. I've been a believer in such Resolutions for literally decades. Every December I do an end-of-the-year review along with defining goals, outcomes, strategies and action steps for the year ahead. It's a tremendously helpful process and, along with my personal determination, has enabled me to accomplish what I believe is a LOT in many different categories of my career and my life. Resolutions are by definition a "resolving" to do something -- a commitment to something new or to continuing something worthwhile. The act of such resolving also builds a person's ability to commit and follow through. By taking action we create new habits -- and can become a better version of ourselves.
QUESTION: What are one or two tips you can give readers on how to accomplish their New Year's Resolutions and plans?
ANSWER: First off, be sure to write or type them out and look at them regularly. Noting them down forces us to clearly define what we want. Accompanying our list with statements of Why we want this can compel us even further. Looking at the list on a daily or regular basis plants it in our subconscious mind as well as our conscious focus and automatically helps us achieve more of what we want. Visualizing ourselves carrying out and having accomplished our goals and resolutions is the icing on the cake. Seeing ourselves achieving results in our minds eye has a powerful impact on our making the visions real, bringing them about.
What better time to focus on a compelling vision for the future than the year 2020. And always remember: New Year's Resolutions and plans, Acted upon, can TRANSFORM lives.
Elder's book on the subject, "Planning the Life You Desire ~ Living the Life You Deserve: Creating & Achieving Goals That Matter Most", is available on Amazon.com HERE.
Marcia Elder is well known for her ability to produce exemplary results in multiple fields and roles – as a consultant and entrepreneur, nonprofit leader, past government official, published author, personal development trainer and more.
Elder is President of a long-time consulting firm, CPI Consulting. The multi-disciplinary firm has been in business for over 30 years providing a range of professional services to clients in varied fields. Strategic planning, business coaching and communications are among their specialties. Through CPI, Elder is also Director of the Virtual Solutions Center, providing diverse Internet marketing services and e-based solutions.
More about Elder may be found here: https://cpiconsulting.co/our-ceo .
Thinking about setting resolutions for the new year? Ever created a strategic plan for your business or organization? What about combining the two into a personal strategic plan that includes your top resolutions for the year ahead!
“Planning the Life You Desire ~ Living the Life You Deserve: Creating & Achieving Goals That Matter Most” was written to help people from all walks of life do just that. The 154 page book is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book form.
The book jacket notes: “Whether you’re seeking to find and forge a new life path … or to simply get clearly focused and well organized to achieve your goals for the next year … this book is an invaluable tool to get you there.”
“Planning defines the target and the path for realizing what we want in life. Everyone has the opportunity to create a better life through effective planning”, according to the author, long-time business and nonprofit leader, Marcia Elder.
As noted by Elder, “Throughout the book readers will find timely insights, strategies and resources for creating the life they desire. The book also includes what Elder refers to as a “powerful process” to engage and guide readers, along with workbook forms.
The process includes defining what success means for your life, what is your purpose and the what, why and how of your goals. It provides guidance in setting meaningful priorities as well as developing strategies and action steps to back them up.
As the book summary notes, “it is a book that can be used year after year to get and keep you on course for what’s most important in your life … and it strives to help the reader get crystal clear on what you most want and why.”
The book promises as the end result “your own All-In-One Personal Strategic Plan, New Year’s Resolutions and Life Guidebook”.
Elder is President of a long-time consulting firm, CPI Consulting. The multi-disciplinary firm has been in business for over 25 years providing a range of professional services to clients statewide and at the national level. Strategic planning, business coaching and communications are among their specialties. Through CPI, Elder is also Director of the Virtual Solutions Center, providing a range of Internet marketing and other e-based solutions.
Elder has had extensive training and work experience in fields related to the book. She also was a Trainer for Anthony Robbins Seminars for 10 years. Prior to owning her own business she worked in senior management roles for the State of Florida. She has a graduate degree in Engineering and that background has contributed to her systematic approach to creating desired results through effective life planning.
To find the book, click here or go to Amazon.com, Book Department or Kindle, and enter the book title or author name. Further information on the author and CPI appear on this site.
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