Archive for February, 2016

Change Ahead

February 23rd, 2016

The winds are changing for the Jehle Bunny Business


For those who do not know, my sons started a business long before I even considered the thought. They have been raising and selling rabbits for several years and at one point the even added chickens so they could eat and sell the eggs.


There have been many ups and downs with the boy’s venture, but there is change coming, whether anyone wants it or not. The acceptance of change on the family reflects the typical bell curve for change. There are innovators and early adopters, early and late majority, and at least one laggard. I do not want to point fingers or mention names, but I am sure that they would agree with the “labeling”.


The owner-operator is graduating from high school and going into the Swiss military for several months. This means an operational change of responsibility and work-load for the other men in the business. One person is hoping the animals will take care of themselves and the other person is hoping that July will not come very fast. The son heading towards the military is happy that he will not have to be in charge anymore.



I keep asking my coaching questions: What do you want? How do you envision the change? If everything that you do not like about the change were taken away, what would you do differently, etc.


And you?

When it comes to change, what kind of person are you? How do you, and your business, address change? What are some of your favorite phrases about change? My favorite phrase is the one about “We’ve always done it this way”.


So, I wonder what July will hold for our family bunny business. I wonder how my own business might change by then. How about your business?


Patricia Jehle


Also, should you want to join my LinkedIn group, SMEs Grow Together, please go here:

unplug, reboot, and let go

February 20th, 2016

Let it Go!

My teen-age sons love the Disney song Let it Go, but they prefer their own version, which I suspect they got from iFunny. You can either look for humorous versions or use your imagination. My sons can be very graphic sometimes. But the song is correct in its philosophy.


Sometimes we need to  to be able to change or continue in the chosen direction. We need time to think and reflect if we want to really succeed. Sometimes I think our minds and bodies are really very much like computers; when something isn’t working, we should probably stop and reboot.



This week I had to stop as I came down with a bad cough that turned out to be more serious than I expected. I worked till midday on Tuesday and then I had to give in and cancel the “week”, including work and fun. The time spent in bed regenerating and not thinking and over-thinking about work and business actually did me a great deal of good. I even came up with this idea for me blog 😉


But you can unplug without getting ill. It’s often called a retreat, but it could also be a day away with other like-minded people working on your life, your company, your “bigger picture”. You may say that is a luxury, but for good growth, both in business and in your personal life, that time away to think is necessary. That is what an Alpha Group Meeting serves for leaders of SMEs , by the way. It’s what a coach can do for you, too. But a retreat is also very good and I am planning one with a friend for the spring.



After you unplug, you need to reboot and implement the changes and plans you made while you were away reflecting. Without that implementation the time away can be wasted, or worse, we may have to even re-learn the same lesson. I have learned more things about my body and signs I need to pay attention to. What signs do you need to pay attention to, in body, mind, spirit and business? Where are the breaking points or the healthy boundaries that should not be overstepped? Where are the directions of new paths going to lead you? What do you want to do different next time?


Let it go

But to do the new, there probably will have to be some letting go going on. What old patterns are getting in the way of your progress? What expectations are in the way? What has to go to bring about growth? Any pruning needed in your business or personal gardens?


Thinking with you,

Patricia Jehle




Having a Pre-mortem

February 16th, 2016

Previewing a funeral


I learned something new this week: it’s called a pre-mortem or prospective hindsight. The idea is to see something in the future, a project, a business idea, a relationship, … and then think about think about two things. In two years’ time what might have caused the demise of the, let’s say business idea, to fail and what might have cause it to succeed. Put a team on each question and let them brainstorm. You can then report back to the whole group and hopefully find even more reasons for demise and/or success of the idea.


What the experts say: According to the Harvard Business Review, “Although many project teams engage in prelaunch risk analysis, the pre-mortem’s prospective hindsight approach offers benefits that other methods don’t. Indeed, the pre-mortem doesn’t just help teams to identify potential problems early on. It also reduces the kind of damn-the-torpedoes attitude often assumed by people who are overinvested in a project.”


So how can you apply this in your life? Think of something new- a hobby, a project, a new job, whatever. Then sit down with a coach or a trusted friend and think about all the things that might cause this thing to fail. Write it down. Then talk about all the things that might cause the thing to succeed and write that down, too. Then pick a few things on each list to work on that seem like deal breakers.


So, you want to start a business. You have all the finances in place, the idea and business plan down and you want to “go public”. I suggest you do a pre-mortem first, and this time with a coach, not your spouse or best friend. You may find that it is too early to start, or you may find a serious flaw in your plan. Or you may find two or three things to focus on that will prevent your start-up from failing.


But you don’t want to start a business? You can still use this model for about anything new. Why not try it our now? I think I will tonight with a friend at work regarding a class we both teach.


Tell me if you tried it and tell me if it worked for you.


Patricia Jehle

When it rains on your parade, put up an umbrella

February 10th, 2016

Is it raining? Are there Jealousy and Tantrums?IMG_0690


Sometimes other people rain on our parade, have you ever noticed that? They also rain on other people’s parades, too. Recently I have been noticing this in my life, in my “neighbors’ ” lives, and even in the international news. This kind of raining has become prevalent. I think we should put a stop to it, at least as much as we have power over it.


I want to look at the whys for such negativity, and then suggest a way to put up your umbrella in protection, and finally encourage you not to rain on others’ parades.


Why? Jealousy


Maybe you are doing well, maybe you are even doing really great- other people who are not doing as well may want to rain on your parade. Why? -maybe because of jealousy. Or perhaps they are feeling so bad that any sort of positive movement or attention given to others makes them angry. This kind of negative activity, whether it is talking about you behind your back, trolling, writing about you in the local newspaper, or whining about you to the international press, is really bad behavior on their part and truly has nothing to do with you or your success. It is about those people and their attitudes and behaviors.


What to do? Put up an umbrella!


How do I put up and use my umbrella to protect me? The “rule” Brene Brown uses is two-fold: only people actually getting out there and trying get ahead with you are allowed to tell you anything, and of those people, only the (very) few you can trust should be taken seriously. You alone get to make that list of people and the others “don’t count” so you don’t have to listen to them. You can even, like Brene, write down that list and put it in your pocket, briefcase or handbag. So, think about those who you are going to put on your list, write it down, and ignore all others. If you have to, go off-line. Don’t read the local newspaper. Do whatever you have to do to put up that umbrella and use it.


Finally, make sure you are not raining on others’ parades. Instead, celebrate with them!


It is important to recognize and celebrate success. We need to do that for ourselves and friends and family, but why not spread the wealth and celebrate other people’s success, too? You will find yourself celebrating very often, and that is good. It is a bit like being grateful for what you have. It puts a positive spin on life. Why don’t you try doing it today? Write a note of congratulations on LinkedIn or facebook. Call a friend. Give somebody an “ataboy”! Let’s move into the future with a more positive outlook for ourselves, for your neighbors, and for the communities we live in. Celebrate you success. Celebrate the success of others.


Patricia Jehle

Got Struggles? It might be normal.

February 3rd, 2016

Learning and Growing from Struggles

Life is hard and anyone who says it isn’t has not lived very long, does not know very many people, or is delusional. Something I really dislike to hear when I, or friends, have struggles are those trite sayings like, “What doesn’t break you, makes you stronger.” Who says?


Yes, we do learn, and hopefully grow, from struggles; usually we learn about ourselves and our needs and boundaries. We may also learn about others, their needs and boundaries. However, I want to look at the issue first from the other direction.

It isn’t until we have had struggles that we really appreciate life. Life is hard, but life is also good, and the good things do not come with easiness, but they are almost a kind of By-product of the struggles.

Let’s take health: I, and several friends of mine, have or have had serious health issues. I believe it is not until you “lose” your health that you realize what a gift it is, and it is one not to be taken for granted. One friend had a stroke last summer and it was really scary, scary for her and for her friends and family. A few days ago, glowing, she said she was doing very well. And she meant it. Health is not a given in life. I have friends with chronic health issues, and the issues are “managed” but they do not go away. I myself had cancer ten years ago, and am still under the watchful eyes of my doctor for that. I do appreciate each day because I was ill.

Friends and family can also be hard, a struggle for many of us, especially expats. Friends, new and old, move away, if you are an expat, and your family is far away. Perhaps someone dear is ill, or even dies, and you are an ocean or two away. My mother passed on last fall, and I have other friends and neighbors who have died recently. I am certainly not the only person who has these hard experiences. It is part of human existence to lose someone. But that does not make the situation easier. Yet we start again, make new friends, open ourselves to new relationships, even as we say goodbye to the old.

Business and work can have struggles from time to time. Or it can even be a long-term struggle. Some entrepreneurs in start-ups know what I mean, others who are in the midst of mergers also know. We need to learn to be as flexible and positive as we can be without letting go of our integrity and our “whys” for being on the job in the first place. It is a hard balancing act.

So, what do we do in those struggles? We talk about our struggles and share them with someone who “has been there”. We admit our humanity and our frailty and our struggles, and then we pick ourselves up and get back in that arena of life. Because that arena is where real life happens.

And I don’t know about you, but I want real life, with all the struggle and the dirt. Because in that very struggle we find ourselves. Together.

Patricia Jehle