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michelle kraft fear vision consulting blog


Your Strengths > Your Fears

Me: What is your greatest strength?

Client: My honesty.

Later in the conversation…

Client: I often don’t confront issues because I don’t want to hurt others’ feelings and I don’t like the drama.

Me: So, are you being honest then? How do the people in your life get to benefit from your Strength of Honesty if you are unwilling to offer it?

It is these kinds of conversations I frequently have with my clients. And they are why I do what I do.

If my “honest” client shields the people in her life from her genuine thoughts, are they able to experience the BEST of her, or is she shortchanging them? What would her relationships be like if she showed up as her authentic self? How much richer would her life, and the lives of those she loves, be if she were confident in her Strengths?

How often do you hold back your strengths out of perceived deference? How many times have you said to yourself something like this:

  • They don’t really want to hear what I have to say
  • She doesn’t want to know what I think
  • He won’t like my answer
  • If I take charge they won’t like me
  • If I do it “my way” she’ll reject me
  • Every time I’m “myself” I lose friends

You know what we are VERY good at doing? Becoming what we THINK “they” want us to be. When we come to terms with who we genuinely are, we find that no one knows us…not even ourselves. We think we are an honest person, but then we see the truth that we tell lies all the time. Oh no, not the bold-faced ones; but we tell “white” lies or “fib” consistently in an attempt to be accepted. And what are other people accepting? Not who we really are! No, they accept the illusion we have crafted.

What fear is causing you to deny your authentic self? The fear of rejection? The fear of failure? The fear of discomfort?

What conversations would you have? What experiences would you pursue? What would you create? Who would you ask out? What business would you start?



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The most important asset of your business is the PEOPLE.

I know it’s cliché, but the reality is that most of the business world still doesn’t get it!

Here’s what’s interesting about this subject: 90% of small business owners, executives, and managers would say that they agree with the above statements. However, if we look closely at our organizations, little, if ANY, time or money is invested directly into our PEOPLE. Yes, we probably have some picnics or some holiday parties, maybe even beer Friday’s or taco Tuesday’s, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Those things can be TEAM-building but they are not PEOPLE-building.

So what IS people-building? I’m so glad you asked! People-building is a process by which an organization takes an active, constant, and authentic stake in developing each individual toward their own success. This is personal development, not group development.

Here’s the thing; great teams are made up of great players. Coaches only orchestrate and develop the talents of individuals who are already GREAT! As business owners and managers, we need to understand that if we don’t invest in the INDIVIDUALS to make them strong, happy, fulfilled, and engaged, the PLAYERS on our team are underequipped.

Let’s look at an orchestra. Let’s say an orchestra conductor takes a group of musicians with strong natural talent and tries to conduct them BEFORE they fully develop the individual skills associated with their talent. Not only would that conductor produce poor musical results, but they would be in for quite a bit of drama as they attempt to bring together two very different processes: one being the process of building a great musician; the other being the process of orchestrating those musicians into glorious symphony.

So here’s the bottom line: Every individual has a unique offering to the world around them; a “talent”, if you will. Organizations who recognize this fact, and help the individuals on their team learn about themselves and develop in their unique strengths, WILL build great teams. They’re effectively developing the raw “talent” of each individual, finding the best fit for that individual on the team, and continuing to nurture that relationship over time.

Don’t have any idea what I’m talking about? No worries. Start by reading this short article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2013/08/27/four-essentials-of-strength-based-leadership/

And remember, Vision Consulting Group is people-centric. We are always ready to help you learn about, develop, and engage your team! http://www.yourfutureaccelerated.com 

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successmoney sign web 

Some thoughts on good form from one business owner to another.

Dear Business Owner,

Let’s begin by being totally frank about one thing: Business owners are independent people. If we weren’t independent, we would be working for someone else, building their dreams instead of grinding out our own, day in and day out.

Since we’re independent, here’s where it gets a little challenging for us: We need to be able to be honest with ourselves, and admit that even though we know a LOT, and we are independent and strong, we don’t know everything. If we can admit that one thing, we can keep ourselves open to learning, improving, and developing. The output of which is a better version of ourselves and a better running, more profitable business!

So, how about it? Are you ready to jump in and see how your business stacks up? Do a basic good old SWOT analysis:

Answer these 4 questions, What are my...

- Strengths

- Weaknesses

- Opportunities

- Threats

Technically, there are no wrong answers, but fudging doesn’t help anyone. If you see a weak spot, dig in and go to work on it. Of course we’re here for you should you need us along the way. Finally, remember this: You are among the very few business owners who are willing to continue to learn and improve, even after 10, 20, 30, or more years of business success.

To your success,


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Sometimes the “new tricks" just can't outgun the “proven”.

If it were easy


The lessons of a start-up consultancy. Sometimes the new tricks ultimately circle back around to the old ones!

So over the past several months we’ve been busy “pivoting and tweaking” our firm’s business model. The process reminds me of learning to ride a bike. You can’t really learn without being in motion but the motion exponentially increases the risk.

I’m not gonna lie, the process has been a little uncomfortable. The output of the process, however, is that we have closed in on a MUCH more direct connection between our business DNA and our public face. That, my friends, is what it’s all about. Unfortunately, like it or not, we can’t get there without risk.

Now, since we’ve gotten ourselves more tightly defined, it’s time for the blog to properly reflect our conclusions.

Interestingly enough, “blogs” started life as “weblogs” and they were actually just random musings about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. Then, as time wore on, these musings became valuable, and then…BOOM! Blogging became a business. Thanks to this evolution, when we began blogging, we viewed the whole mechanism as a kind of platform. A platform for me (us) to project information which we felt would be valuable or helpful to our target audience – business owners.

Well, I’ve made a big counter-cultural decision here. (I know, right? David Kraft going counter-cultural?!) I’ve decided to take this blog old-school. I’m going to post organic musings which are topically relevant to business owners, but everything else is going to be loosely formatted. I’ll have no target length, no specific agenda and I’m not attempting to shape everything into a “how-to”. Heck, I may not even put up an image! (Please don’t email me about how bad this is for search and engagement; I’m aware. J) The point is: Those who connect, will connect.

Meanwhile, just in case you aren’t familiar with our firm, Vision Consulting Group, Inc., I need you to understand a little bit about our DNA. We are serial entrepreneurs and multi-industry business owners who launched a consultancy to serve other business owners. We’re people-centric and almost annoyingly authentic. For more on us click here: www.yourfutureaccelerated.com.

So, on to today’s random musing. It’s sponsored by the phrase “If it were easy, everyone would do it.”

People who don’t own a business, really don’t get what I mean when I say that business owners and entrepreneurs eat, sleep, and breathe their business; but we do. Just remember today that no matter what new law has you worried, no matter what weird employee confrontation looms, no matter what other dark cloud may be on the horizon, you’re not alone and “If it were easy, everyone would do it!”

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Fear of Failure - why none of the old platitudes apply to me (…or you for that matter)!

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If only the fear of failure could be overcome by the old cliché’s!

I don't know if you've ever attended a meeting held by a mainstream addiction coping program or not. I've attended in support of a few close friends of mine over the years and I always find the introductions segment right at the beginning of these sessions to be the most powerful part. Typically, each attendee begins by giving their name and then identifying with the addiction which is the focus of their involvement in the program. So, it goes something like this "Hi, I'm Bill, and I'm an alcoholic and an addict." To which the group responds "Hi Bill!" Many times, Bill will then say a few words about his journey which may include things he's loved and lost, feelings he's dealt with or is working through, and oft times a word or two about things happening right now. And so it goes at group sessions around the world. People facing down big hairy addiction monsters, together, openly.

So, why am I talking about addictions in my business blog? Well, I'm so glad you asked! Here goes: In my best "12 Step Program" intro voice - "Hi, my name is David. I'm an entrepreneur and I fear failure." That's right, you heard me. I fear failure. No platitudes like "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” - Franklin D. Roosevelt or "Fear is just feedback and feedback is the breakfast of champions.” - Ken Blanchard, Simon T. Bailey. Nope, not getting off that easy. You wanna know why? Because fear is an addiction.

That's right folks; I'm asserting that we are addicted to our fears. To be abundantly clear, our fears give us crutches, comfy reasons for our mediocrity, and ultimately, excuses for inaction. You've likely heard that fear paralyzes. Well, this is HOW fear paralyzes. It makes us comfortable where we are and builds a seemingly impenetrable wall between us and our goals.

Many times I attempt to deal with my fears by applying the old “just do it” approach. The thing is, sometimes this works for forcing action but it rarely works for actually systemically repairing the underlying problem. The underlying problem is that the fear of failure is a warm blanket on a cold day, even if we don’t typically see it that way. It’s a friend, not a foe. It helps us explain away things; to ourselves. What may help us deal with the problem at a systemic level is understanding that our fears are like an addiction and that we must “cope” in a way more consistent with coping with addiction. Most all of the effective programs dealing with addition have two powerful components in common: 1.) They incorporate BOTH group and individual accountability and support. 2.) They maintain a constant reminder that the addiction is ever-present whether in “remission” or not. This “ever-presence” tends to foster a vigilance which allows the individual to see the addiction as a separate entity to both respect and divert using the support resources available beyond their own will.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, we need to understand that despite the feeling that we’re an “island”, success is not likely to be complete in that framework. We need to add other people into the equation to allow us to expand our ability to engage fear of failure and WIN. Not sure where or how to get the accountability? Vision Consulting Group can help! Want Proof? CLICK HERE!





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Vision Blog Hire A ConsultantSince I've vowed to be honest in this blog, I'm gonna jump right in: There are two primary reasons people hire a consultant. (Or a personal trainer, or a financial advisor, or a nutritionist, or an executive coach, etc)

One, they recognize that an outside perspective is likely required, in order to truly do EVERYTHING possible to produce the highest level result - and they desire THE HIGHEST LEVEL RESULT. Two, they seek validation that they have already done (or are doing) EVERYTHING humanly possible to produce the highest level result.

Now, to me, only the former of these makes sense. However, every year, small business owners spend millions of dollars paying consultants to do the latter. Even as a firm which stands to benefit from this behavior, this is disappointing.

Understanding that most business owners and execs don't have a lot of "free time", typically they favor direct, honesty in the form of practical business principles, delivered quickly and cleanly. 

Well...here's today's practical, quick, clean truth: Whether you aim to develop yourself as a leader through books, classes, or the advice of a consultant, YOU have to DO THE STUFF. It's like when you hire a personal trainer to transform your body from a Homer Simpson physique, to a Mark Wahlberg physique. You gotta DO THE STUFF. If you don't, you will remain the likeness of Homer.

So bottom line: All of the BEST business theory in the world cannot help you if you are unwilling to implement the principles laid forth, and experiment with how they impact your organization. This is why if you're "not gonna do the stuff" you should never hire a consultant (like me). If you're only interested in validating your current actions, save the money and use it elsewhere in your business or life. Because, let's be realistic; if I do my job well, I'm not going to pat you on the back and say "Keep up the great work!". I'm going to challenge you to see more, be more, and do more! 


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