Emily Marko

Visual Problem Solver


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Come See My New Website

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I am super excited to introduce my new website to you!

I haven’t been posting on my blog because I have been busy behind the scenes creating visuals, choosing page layouts and refining package content.

My new blog now has all my old posts and I will begin posting new posts over there.

Take a break from your day and have a look!


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Set Your Intentions

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Unbelievably time has flown by and it is now June – half way through the year. So I took some time last week to complete a mid-year review. There was a lot going on in my business for the first 6 months – it was a “good” busy. In my end-of-year review of 2015, I was very specific and intentional about who I wanted to work with and that made a big difference. I witnessed the power of naming what you want, writing it down and watching it become reality.

Though I am pleased with the focus on my business, I fell short on the other areas of my life. To be quite transparent – I didn’t meet the goals I had planned for at all. In fact, I had serious trouble completing even the first few action steps I defined for myself. And they were seemingly super simple, easy to-dos, such as buying a pair of exercise shoes – which took me 8 weeks to buy. Yes, I said 8 weeks…to click a button on Amazon.

At first, I felt embarrassed and was resistant in sharing that little bit of information. Then I realized that is exactly why I should share it. Because we all struggle – holding yourself accountable is really hard. Just the act of defining your goals, remaining focused on them throughout the year is ridiculously hard. But that is also not a reason to give up.

There is great value in going through the process of setting your intentions; with time and practice, good habits can be formed. I think back to four years ago when I started the process of reviewing my past year. I spent a few fleeting moments deciding on very vague goals. I, along with my process, have grown so much and as I continue to create snapshots of my past, pull out some learning moments and actively participate in planning my future I know I am progressing even more.

I am aware that I will set high expectations and possibly fall short on a lot of them. But I continue to be intentional about my goals and somewhere in my subconscious I remember them and instinctively make choices to get closer to meeting them.

Because of this, I encourage you to continue where you left off and start setting your goals. There is never a “perfect” time to set goals. You don’t have to worry about deciding what to do first, just do something and you will experience some growth. And if you need some extra accountability or maybe a lot of guidance, let me know. Send me a message at emilycmarko@gmail.com and I can share some services that have worked for me and are working for my clients.

Do you have any tips on setting your goals? I would love to hear them!

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Tell Me A Story

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My mind has always been pulled towards a good story, lately I have been thinking about why that is. I believe for me, stories are how I relate to other people whether connecting with family and friends or building new relationships with clients. Stories help me find commonalities with people I meet, but also teach me more about who they truly are as a person.

Although we all come from different walks of life, I find it rather easy to befriend a person when a story is shared – theirs or mine. Sharing a part of yourself  – whether with a stranger or someone you are close with – requires a degree of honesty and vulnerability, but that is why I can relate to another person.

Early this month, I took a road trip with my dad to pack up my daughter’s dorm room.  A lot of stories can happen in a 4 hour drive. We talked about plenty –  best chinese restaurants, bad drivers, vacation plans, kids and reminiscing about the past. What stuck in my mind is how well my dad tells stories – it is a natural gift for sure. Between his delivery and subject matter, he tells stories that I want to hear over and over again! This instance, he shared several stories from his time in the Air Force while stationed in Vietnam. Though I can’t relate to being part of a war in a foreign country, sharing amazing and mostly funny stories about himself did make me feel closer to him.  I definitely can relate to his drive to experience different things in life by taking advantage of new opportunities.  Those experiences gathered throughout our lives can tell a great story, often times it is all in how we piece those experiences together and share them.

One of the things that I love helping people with is exploring and shaping their own story, especially when they feel like they don’t have a story to tell.  Using my visual storytelling tools, I can help you draw out the parts of you story that will really help connect you with others. Whether you are a small business owner looking to connect to customers, or a non-profit looking to share your story with the community that cares about your cause, using visual tools to open up to your story can help you translate it into an accessible format that people will really connect with.  And while my Dad’s natural gift is telling stories, mine is helping you to find your unique story to tell.

If you’re looking for someone to help you find and tell your unique story, I’d be happy to help.  Contact me at emilycmarko@gmail.com to schedule a call to see if we’re a good fit to work together.

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Process is My Friend

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I’ve had several discussions with clients around process lately – the uncertainty of needing a process, the distress from lacking a defined process, the anticipated pain, time, energy to figure out a process, and then the sense of relief, ease and confidence once the process is defined. Who knew process could bring so much emotion with it?!

For years in my professional life, process brought up a lot of emotion for me as well. I was a creative and I was sure that process would make me seem and work less creatively. I tried to steer clear of process as much as possible. Yet everywhere I seemed to work, I inadvertently became involved (and passionate) about process. Most of the situations were identifying an ineffective process and then creating a much needed improvement for it. I really just wanted to do my job without involving acrobatics every step of the way.

I found myself creating a booklet on how to do my job duties, creating databases to more efficiently gather information and designing new or improved processes for my work groups to follow. I was even assigned as a member to a process improvement team – eek, my worst nightmare! Now, I have since accepted the fact that I am a creative person and also a process junkie – though it did take me nearly a decade to realize this.

A few months ago I read Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie. In a chapter named First There’s Grope, Then There’s Rote, MacKenzie discusses how to maintain creativity and uniqueness by embracing the unknown and chaotic – groping for the answer. He continues to explain that once a routine (or process) is formed, you become rote, predictable, and…..uncreative. Ugh!

So I wasn’t necessarily scared of process, but I was scared of becoming rote. Once I accepted that I could still be creative while passionate about order, I began to truly appreciate its value. Through all my work experiences, I found a way to be creative by using process as a very focused tool.

When used appropriately, defining a process can be super powerful. It can help clarify the unique way of how you do your work – and turn that into a selling point. Process can create guidelines to follow so that you can consistently offer quality work – that is definitely a brand image you want to project to clients. It is a great way to build a strong foundation for your work and effectively get things done.

I am now proud to say that process is my friend.

How about you? Do you love or loath process?

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Find your Spark

match imgs_wordpress.jpgI was in desperate need of some downtime as February rolled around this year. It is a rough month after all the holiday celebrations, plus the not-so-sunny weather. It was a bit quiet, but I guess that was necessary for me. My focus has been on aligning my work better with the other parts of my life – quite frankly that has always been my focus – or struggle.

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

This Secret of Adulthood, from Gretchen Rubin’s was replaying in my mind all month. So I took the downtime to really help me reflect on what I want my days, weeks and months to look like in all areas of my life. It must have done me some good because I started off March with a refreshed feeling. The hint of Spring can do wonders for an energy boost. Throughout these last couple weeks I have been finding little sparks to build on that energy everywhere it seems – conversations, books, events and client work.

I realized these are the sparks that need to be infused into my schedule regularly. For me, adding consistency but also a variety of perspectives is most important to fuel my mind so I can build upon my ideas. It is similar to when a match is lit. One continues striking the match (consistently), and changes the angle they hold the match and then the amount of pressure they push on the match (switching perspectives) until finally, it catches fire!

I have a little fire burning now and continue to find new ways to add sparks into my days. I am always looking for new sparks though, if you have any please share!

How do you find your sparks?


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Money = Broccoli

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A few months ago, I read an article from Entrepreneur that is still sticking with me. There was a specific tip that really changed my perspective on my finances.

Know that making money is like making broccoli.

 

Money = Broccoli?! Yup!

So basically, instead of getting hung up on money — treat it like you would the food in your fridge. Use what you have, you can always get more.

Money in general can be very scary. For me, parting with my money is a struggle sometimes. I like the security of seeing all those dollars saved up for when “just in case” happens. While that is a great mentality to have, I sometimes miss out on a lot as well. (Still kicking myself for not splurging on the Katy Perry concert tickets.)

I love the idea of knocking down the power of money and turning it into a vegetable! Long ago, vegetables were more valuable than a piece of metal or paper anyways – check out Deepak’s similar thoughts on money and wealth.

I believe the way for me to get past the fear is to build realistic goals for the future that are aligned with my core values. I can do that by asking myself if what I want to do with my money provides growth for me, my family, my business, etc. Those goals can be reflected in my financial budgeting plan so I can easily identify if I am making a beneficial investment, while still being mindful of my money.

We have been talking financials and work all week in the Review Reflect Relaunch 2016 Program and learning bunches. As we paused to capture what happened over the past year, this is what has come up:

  • It seems easier to ignore finances than deal with them
  • Facing how we interact with our finances is actually empowering – not scary!
  • Our relationships between work and money are closely tied together
  • It is important to remember that the value of our work is defined by much more than money
  • Mindful investments – whether monetary or other types – contribute most to our growth

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How do you interact with your money?

Not sure what your money story is? Check out this link or this money personality link.

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#RelaunchMy2016

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We are five days into the new year. How are your plans going for 2016?!

I feel very ready to relaunch into my year, yet my mind seems to be in slow motion. Possibly from my lingering head cold or not getting enough sleep? Or it could be that I still have not completed my year-end review – Oops! I have been so busy conducting reviews for everyone else and preparing for my  year-in-review workshops…. I am not practicing what I preach.

I have been taking little steps to gear up for the new year – researching new doctors, finding strength exercises, creating a business budget, scheduling calls with social media consultant, etc. But the one thing I know is hanging me up – I haven’t looked back to 2015 to really accept what happened. It is all still replaying in my brain – over and over and over again.

So I am putting it out there. I will conduct my year-end review by the end of this week. Someone please hold me accountable to this!

In the meantime, I would love to hear how all of you plan to relaunch your life this year. Leave a comment below or post in the #RelaunchMy2016 contest happening over on Instagram – share what you need to relaunch and you could win a FREE registration to the Review Reflect Relaunch Online Program which starts next Tuesday.

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Interested in participating in a visual review of your past year? I offer individual sessionsbusiness review workshops and a new interactive online program to review 2015.

Sign up for the Passionate Do-Gooder e-newsletter to receive special promotions and tips.