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Shining Brightly: Taking Care of Yourself is Good Business

New England’s coast is notorious for tricky currents and rocky shoals. Lighthouses were essential guides to ships that brought cargo into the harbours. As you might imagine, maintenance was important to keep these lifesavers operating. Lighthouse keepers had to polish each mirror and make sure the light burned brightly and consistently. They did this job every day of the year, regardless of weather or other considerations. All because they knew that lives depended on them

Standing tall in spite of the elements

Many of the liCEO, self-management, stormy seasghthouses were built on hard-to-reach rocky promontories. They were subject to all weather conditions and the constant battering by the ocean waves. It was not at all unusual for a lighthouse to be inaccessible in the winter months due to the famously ferocious New England storms. It was a place of harsh elements and it was crucial that the lighthouse was always working.

The ongoing negative economic news can seem like the incessant crashing of ocean waves.

The ocean leaves its mark on the rocks and buildings as the waves crash against them. It’s okay to acknowledge that you feel battered and bruised. You work hard to light the way and give your staff a vision that engages them. You encourage your sales team to build good and profitable relationships with customers. You watch emerging trends the market so you can capitalise on them. It makes sense to feel weary, stressed or discouraged.

Maintenance of YOU is as essential as polishing the mirrors and monitoring the brightness of the light in a lighthouse.

People depend on you. You depend on you. How are you taking care of yourself? The effects of stress on the body are well documented. And while lower levels can serve a positive purpose, experiencing insomnia and chronic irritability isn’t the best choice. How does your exhaustion and negative mood serve your business?

Suggestions to get you back shining as brightly as a beacon.

  • Take some time off. Maybe you can’t take a two-week holiday. You can take an hour, a late morning, an early afternoon or a whole day. Just relax and be yourself. Go home and take a nap, play like a child or just sit on a beach.
  • Laugh your *&# off. Laughter is like a mini-vacation. It releases the natural painkillers in your body leaving you feeling high and relaxed. Talk with that funny friend, watch a silly movie or see a comedian perform.
  • Unplug yourself. Even if it’s just for lunch 2-3 times a week. It might feel quiet and weird to shut your phone off and leave your laptop in the office. However, it is calming when you become mindful of your environment, other people or the food you’re eating.
  • Talk to someone about your worries, dreams and plans. Talking with a mentor, coach, trusted peer. friend or family member can help you hear what’s going on in your head. There’s crazy stuff playing in our heads and letting go of that negativity re-focuses us. Make an effort to pay attention to your dreams and plans so you re-fuel your motivation and hope.

Good leadership depends on self-maintenance.

Business leaders are often work-oriented and other-oriented. Couple this with the rough seas in the marketplace and it’s easy to forget that you’re human. However, like the ships looking for a lighthouse to help them navigate tricky waters, your employees are looking for you to consistently guide them through these turbulent times. Make it easy and habitual for yourself. Simply put, take care of you, the leader, with the same conscientious attention that was given to the lighthouse.  

“Keep your flame lit, and you will never feel darkness.” -J. Parker

Growing a business locally or internationally takes a different mindset; the CEO Mindset. Elli St.George-Godfrey, a behavioral economics coach, international expansion consultant and founder of Ability Success Growth, uses her 3 Keys Coaching process to help business owners and executives in the US, Ireland and Northern Ireland to unlock the CEO within. Under her guidance, personal styles are fine-tuned allowing the senior leader to “authentically inhabit” the role of CEO and collaborate with their team more effectively. With this focus on both the people and the organization in which they work, Elli’s market-proven coaching helps leaders and their teams develop styles and capabilities which enables them to collaborate and effectively join together to optimize the business outcomes.

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  • Great post an great advice, Elli. I am someone who constantly needsu00a0remindingu00a0to slow down and take some time out. At the end of the day, business is great but we’re greater!

  • Anonymous

    Niall,nnI think we all need that reminder from time to time. It’s scary how easy it is to get on the hamster wheel because there is ALWAYS something to do. You are definitely one of the beacons, Nialll! Be great!

  • All too true Ellie, we can often work work work and we call know that makes dull people 🙂 , good advice here.

  • Anonymous

    Lorna,nnThanks for commenting. With so much going on in our businesses and around us, it is easy to get “busy”. The thing we forget is that being so busy is a numbing experience. We lose our edge this way.

  • It’s too easy to get “busy” but often we settle for busy when we should be more effective. Leadership includes self-leadership and that includes the boss, as much as the workers.nnGreat post Elli, and timely too as our pitiful summer comes to a fast track end…

  • It is a great analogy and lovely phot image. The Chinese tradition emphasises Yin (emotion) and Yang (action) balance. Taking care of emotion is part of leader’s action.

  • Thanks Niall and you’re welcome – please use as you wish 🙂 Happy New Year to you too – looking forward to working with you in 2012

  • Thanks Freda – that’s another great saying that can be applied – very true

  • Love it!  Thanks to Anita Campbell for Tweeting.

  • Thank you 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Love the gardening analogies! It’s always a good reminder of what really goes into growing a business. Perhaps #3 and #4 try us the most but we forget that, like a garden, our everyday actions lead to blooms and/or harvest.

  •  I love analogies, as they are 100% subjective for each individual person – everyone will take something different from the analogies used in this post – and what a great read.

    Thank you, Happy New Year Sian – what a great post.

  • Thanks Elaine. It was fun doing it

  • What a great comment Elli – thank you

  • Thanks for the comment, Debbie! 

    I’m not opposed to setting targets as regards fans, but I am opposed to setting targets for fans and not having a system in place to engage with those fans effectively and sincerely. 

    While it’s a big platform in terms of numbers of people, Facebook is also a very competitive environment for biz, so much so that we are invariably competing for same fans. If you want to be effective on there, you got to do something more to stand out from the crowd, where as most businesses are just trying to same as everyone else.

    Taking one of the suggestions above and really flying with it, is one way to go 🙂

  • Brilliant post Niall!! 
    Again you are re-enforcing the benefits of being a connector online, and engaging, interacting, and not making it all about “ME”.

    A wonderful read, thank you

  • Liking this post! Especially point 4 – after all, what could be better than getting both engagement from your fans, as well as some potentially very interesting and effective marketing tips from the very users you are seeking to target! 

  • Great ways!  Many of these points could also be used by B2B companies, since it’s key to value your fans and followers.  2012 will be a great year for social media.

  • Móna Wise

    A great post Niall.

    It is a numbers game for sure. I remember reading an article, years ago, about the difference in ‘fans’ versus ‘true fans’. Fans ‘like’ you and true fans give you their money.

    I think customer engagement is vital to building a healthy community on your Facebook page and catering to their needs builds trust. The percentage of fans that will actually put their hand in their pockets and shell out their hard earned cash is still very small (less than 10 %) but they are still very important becuase of their social reach.

  • Thanks for the comment & check out “a few businesses” above for examples of B2Bs doing it well 🙂 

  • Thanks Anton, check out this case study from Glenisk:

  • Absolutely! I think one of the best ways to benefit me is to not make it all about me. Thanks for your comment, Elaine! 🙂

  • Thanks Móna, I think a combination of effective targeting and engagement is the way to go to turn fans into customers. But first, you’ve got to find ways to get your existing customers on there, because they are the ones that are most likely to engage an spread your message at the start. 

  • Exactly! Don’t think of them as fans but rather as people, then look to develop the realist (is that a word?) relationships that you possible can. That’s another reason why starting with your customers makes sense because you already have real relationships with your customers, and Facebook can help amplify that. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  • It’s too bad i can’t search facebook for blonde busty girls. That would really help my facebook page since it deals with exactly that. Especially if their profile picture is in a bikini…

  • Facebook is a major tool which, if used well, can do wonders for developing your online presence. Its a marketing tool in its own way as you can gain immediate contact with other businesses.

  • Thanks for the Comment Elaine- Even as someone born in Asia who is now living in the West I was also confronted by some revelations and reminders about the continent I came from having taken for granted so much in terms of our lifestyles here.

    I listed a lot of basic anecdotal differences because sometimes the simplest differences can really impact how people use and perceive your products e.g. how grandparents are such a key part of any household in the east and therefore become important influencers or users for any household products

  • Frank Hogan

    Thanks for the article Elish. Looks like i missed a great seminar. Hope to be in on the next one. My own interest is in possibly importing from China and getting a greater understanding of what are the tools i need for that. Luckily i have a few friends who trade in such a manner with China so hopefully i  can get some advice there.
    Take care and thank you

  • Thanks Frank – am glad you found the post -I hope it gives you an overview of what happened – Perhaps the people at Pivot dublin will accommodate you with more presenattion notes? There are several Chinese Focused events on the horizon – Perhaps look up the Sunday Business post events and Asia Matters

  • Christina Giliberti

    Wow Elish, a killer post!

    The world is getting smaller and smaller by the day but cultures are getting stronger. Businesses that are thriving in international markets are those that understand local cultures and customs.

    I’m half Italian (for my sins) and at weddings we are quite rowdy and constantly ‘clink’ glasses with a piece of cutlery. This custom always makes me laugh because our ‘English’ table sharers were baffled…at first…then they got stuck in. Just so you know, clicking the glass means the happy couple have to stand up and kiss…..after a while we can demand other couples copy. Its fun and funny and part of the culture. When the others joined in, they became part of the culture.

    While working for the Premier group, I worked with the online team to develop websites globally and it was a real learning opportunity to research, listen and employ different techniques, copy, ideas, etc. What works in one location, doesn’t work somewhere else. Local knowledge is key and I see many companies surviving if they use this information and not just duplicate their own versions.

  • Elishbul

    Thanks Christina! Yes being part Indian too I can appreciate the Rowdy Family Gathering.
    Yes thinking local when marketing global is definitely significant to online marketers and web design professionals too. A key reminder here was the fact that not only are Asian societies different but they are also evolving very fast given the rate of progress there so eve hat little local knowledge one has needs to be updated regularly

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey


    Conversation is definitely a skill that Irish people excel at. The groups you mentioned are fabulous resources so people and businesses can connect easily. I can definitely attest as a member of IABN that IABN takes networking and connecting seriously (but in a fun way). For those who want to connect to the Boston business community, keep your eyes on the Boston Irish Business Association (BIBA). This group is well connected and keen on helping Irish companies and American companies connect and succeed.

  • Pat, welcome to Tweak Your Biz, and a fantastic resourceful first post!
    We are everywhere!! I heard a few years ago, that there are 17 million Irish Passports in the world, I wonder if this is true. Just as well that we travel, our country really is too small for 40 million souls (including baggage).
    Yes, we are great talkers and networkers and I would add that we are great connectors, my favourite of course is the wonderful Niall Devitt of Tweak your Biz 🙂
    Not to forget that we also have the ability to talk and discuss the weather for ever, especially this week, as the island of Ireland sinks into the Atlantic Ocean…

  • Hi Pat, welcome to TYB and thanks for this inspirational first post. Social technologies now offer our global community a global opportunity but the traffic/money/jobs needs to move both ways. While these are all great initiatives, we need to also ask what can we do for our people across the world. If we change the starting point to the conversation, we could end up having a much better conversation? & Thanks for the vote of confidence, Elaine! 🙂   

  • Elishbul

    Love this post – being 1 quarter Irish I can testify that my Irish grandmother’s foray into Asia in the 40s was definitely a sign of the Irish propensity to look beyond their ken and explore global opportunities. It was so useful having all those networks summed up in one place and makes me proud to have a drop of the green stuff running through my veins.

  • André

    Difficult to understand why Worldirish is listed here as it’s not even launched ?  Site says Beta ?

  • Fun post. Love the premise that the Irish have a head start on social and networking.

  • Thanks, Margaret.  As one of the top CMO’s in US + leading lights in social media world, combined with being a proud Irishwoman -you are a prime example of a our propensity as Irish to network so successfully ! I loved your own SXSW Blog, on effective networking and the nuances of a networker versus a connector.

  • It does already have almost 14,000 signed-up members,André

  • Thanks for sharing that into, Elli.  

  • Thanks, Elish. Just as the Irish have enriched other cultures, people such as your good self help add a wonderful variety to Ireland.

  • Thanks Elaine… on this grand ‘soft’ summer’s ?? day 🙂 

  • Smallbiztrends

    Interesting graphic.  Lots and lots of proud Irish here in the U.S., that’s for sure…. 

  • Thanks Anita. That’s for sure. I find the combination of social media and Irishness an interesting one. -Just look at Niall Devitt 😉 We don’t do shy and reserved very well ! 

  • What a list @twitter-126795043:disqus I had no idea the gift of the gab extended so far and wide!

  • Indeed, Marie. There are lots of Irish Business Networks out there alright. It is somewhat heartening to see some great collaboration now beginning to happen between some of them. Let’s get over our ‘silo’ mentality , in these economically challenging times, collaboration is the way forward.

  • Mike Hannon

    I am involved in introducing Irish NGOs to the power of the diaspora and I could not agree more about the enormous potential of social networking. But it also demands conversion to face to face networking if it is to work to it’s full potential. It is this environment that the Irish really shine – ‘look in my eyes, hold my hand and I am sure I can help’.

  • Christina Giliberti

    The Irish are taking over the world! haha
    Well that explains why Luton had a string of Irish pubs (plus that’s where I picked up my own green-eyed lad) so yes, you can see how far the Irish have traveled and integrated into many societies.

    I also think that the people here should be a applauded for keeping the culture so strong, despite blending into another culture. I did much the same growing up and it keeps what really matters in teh forefront of your mind.

  • John Twohig

    Great first post Pat, welcome to TYB may this be the first of many.

  •  Thanks Connor- you know one of your posts on your personal blog was partly responsible for making me want to write – ; )

  • I know it’s mentioned above, but the Irish Business Network in Germany is a really powerful tool – we’ve made (& are continuing to make) lots of changes over the past few months to make sure we stay relevant to our members in whatever part of Germany they may find themselves! You can check us out on: and don’t forget our LinkedIn page! We also have a sister organisation in Switzerland & you can check them out at!

  • Thanks for the coverage Neil and nice to meet you at the event. Hoping to make the next one even better. We’re putting up the slides and photos later on @

  • Yeah Niall Harbison said that he and Lauren used to spend 4 to 5 hours PER DAY writing blog posts but they did it every day. That’s a long day of work!

  • Hey Brian, yeah good to chat & thanks again for putting on an awesome event. Looking forward to the next one already!

  • Martin Lindeskog

    The free market will take care of the safety of the mobile transactions. Have you heard about iZettle as one of the players of the mobile payment providers?

  • Sian, exactly. So true. Online commerce was a bit slower, but I don’t think it’s possible for technology to move slow anymore! And thanks for the welcome 🙂

  • No, I haven’t actually, but I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks for reading!

  • Debi Harper

    Brilliant as always Aoife

  • Thanks a million for reading John 🙂

  • Thanks Debi, much appreciated! 🙂

  • Hi Niall – Ian is away at the moment, so I’ll leave him to answer that when he gets back 🙂
    Thanks for the comment – good question!

  • Niall
    Sorry but I have been out of contact.
    To answer your question, I dont think that the challenge is really around translating other metrics into real numbers. In general each industry tends to know and measure its relevant metrics be it users or whatever.
    My comment “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” more referred to how an acquirer might look at a target company with a view to the strategic benefits it might bring to the acquirer. So it is very important that your M&A adviser presents your company in the best possible manner, that is, in the manner which will be most attractive to the Acquirer. Unfortunately a lot of Advisers dont have the competence to do this as it requires a considerable amount of industry knowledge.
    Hope that answers your query?

  • This is great! I had heard of KISSMetric but the others are new. I think I might want to check out Easy Webcontent! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Thanks so much Noel. Much appreciated re: the clarification. As mentioned, although there may be no virus to date and while malware may be very rare, I would hate to think that I or indeed a reader would be that drop in the ocean. Great advice. I would still advocate getting Sophos. It’s free so what harm. Thanks a mill for reading and Happy New Year 🙂

  • Much appreciated. I have two more on the way so stay tuned. Happy New Year

  • Thomas

    Squarespace is better known and tried it, but after much thought I was more comfortable with Easy Webcontent. for me it was the ease of use and the control over theme without worrying about coding was key.

  • Nicely explained, and often a touchy subject – especially with smaller firms – who foots certain bills, and how much “personal” usage is allowed?
    I think the debate (and the fears) will stretch into 2013 – education will lesson fears, but I expect it will be one of those – learn as we go – kind of business goals.

    Great post Nishadha, thanks!

  • Swarna

    Great points, Nishadha. Another reason why mobile virtual desktops — and sandboxing solutions for that matter — aren’t always ideal is because they force the user to alter the way they use their devices. Mobile virtual desktops and sandboxing solutions force users to be either in personal “mode” or work “mode,” but not easily both at the same time. Mobile application management (MAM), which you also discuss and which we at Symantec offer, provides a seamless usage experience across both personal and work use. By applying security and management controls at the application level rather than the device level, MAM technology lets users use their devices in the ways they feel most comfortable with, which enables them to be more productive. At the same time, however, it ensures IT departments have the ability to protect sensitive company data.

    Swarna Podila

  • For sure & thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Thanks Lorna, we missed you! 🙂

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    It goes without saying that you need money to make more money. You can start small. You can start with almost nothing but you need it in order to grow.

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