Author: Lela Barker

Taming The Infringement Beast (without straightjackets or spendy lawyers)

Copyright & Infringement, Lela Barker Let's Get Ethical graphic by Lauren Hardage

Let’s Get Ethical image designed by Lauren Hardage for OMHG

Ever felt as though you wouldn’t actually need your business if you only had a dollar for every time someone swiped a product picture or borrowed your web copy? You’re not alone. If you’ve been in business for more than a hot minute, you’ve probably come face-to-face with the Infringement Beast. He’s a nasty creature: disheveled and slovenly, inconsiderate and demotivating on an epic scale. And yet he lurks in the shadows of creativity, almost impossible to vanquish, rearing his ugly head at the most inopportune occasions.

At the helm of my beauty company over the course of a decade, I’ve stared down more cases of picture pilfering, copyright swiping and trade dress lifting than I ever care to recount. The refrain I often hear from others is: “Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Please allow me a brief moment on the soapbox. *ahem*

That’s utter bull^*!@. The sincerest form of flattery is telling me that you think my work is awesome. It’s purchasing something I’ve poured by blood, sweat and tears into to help me feed my kids and get them to college. It’s thinking enough of my work to share it with your friends and family while telling them where it actually originates. That’s flattery. Imitation is just another energy-sucking nuisance that creative entrepreneurs have to wade through. Can I get an “amen?”

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Track Your Goals with A 2013 Goal Mandala

2013 Goal Mandala, Lucky Break Consulting

For the last decade, I’ve been slugging away in the entrepreneurial trenches. During that time, I’ve learned innumerable lessons about life, liberty and the pursuit of an empire. I’ve been on television and splashed across magazines. I’ve sat in thatched roof huts in West Africa and been flown to Dubai for press junkets. I’ve also had my ass handed to me on a plate. More than once. If those experiences have indelibly burned two things into my brain, they are these:

  1. An entrepreneur’s empire-building efforts are inseparable from every other facet of her life. Your entire being is interdependent and intricately woven together.
  2. When you set your entrepreneurial boat out to sea, it’s going to move. Whether you’re in control or not- thanks to the winds and the tides- that sucker is going to be in motion.

So you can surrender yourself to mercy of Mother Nature or whip out a compass, chart your navigational path and go full steam ahead to Success Island. Your pick. But I’m uber-confident that you want to be the captain, yes? Enter the 2013 Goal Mandala.

In Buddhism, mandalas are geometric figures which represent the universe. At Lucky Break Consulting, they’re wheels that represent the path you’ve charted for your life + empire.

Step 1: Look first at the box on the top left. Meditate on how you want to feel as 2013 draws to a close? Empowered? Peaceful? In control? Respected? Successful? Fulfilled? Whatever it is, jot it down right here. Be as specific as possible. The rest of the Goal Mandala should be built in to support and facilitate these emotions. They’re the actual end game. The Holy Grail, if you will.

Step 2: In the next two boxes, write a few reminders to yourself. Make simple plans for what you will and won’t do in 2013. I vow to take better care of me. I vow to get control of my empire and ride it so Success Town. I refuse to listen to negative self-talk. I refuse to let fear hold me back from my dreams. You get the idea…

Step 3: Look at each wedge of your Goal Mandala and define a short-term, mid-term and long-term goal for each area. I’ve inserted some deadlines to keep you on the straight and narrow. I like action and you need momentum.

Health: mind, body, energy

Establish a more regular sleep cycle. Exercise regularly. Lose 20 pounds. Get control of an addiction. Eat better. Wheatgrass shots every morning (better you than me).

Environment: your physical space + possessions

Establish goals that transform and empower your dwellings and things. Reign in the clutter. Purchase less. Live more simply. Keep the house a bit tidier. Find a new home.

Business: your empire

If you’re working a traditional gig while building your business, then restrict this wedge exclusively to your empire-building efforts. What tangible goals have you set for your entrepreneurial adventure?

Friends + Family: interactions with those you love

You can’t make goals for someone else on your mandala! This wedge should focus on you. Mend a torn relationship. Weekly game nights with the wee ones. Regular date nights with the Mister. Once-a-month wine soirees with your girlfriends. In that case, may I be invited?

Spiritual: religious, mindset, daily infusion

Whether or not you’d dub yourself “religious”, we’re all spiritual beings and connecting with the divine should be a regular gig, no matter what form your divine takes. Attend church services more regularly. Meditate daily. Yoga twice a week. Journaling. Weekly nature walks. You name it…

Financial: both how you interact with money + financial benchmarks

Balance your checkbook monthly. Save $6,000 this year. Pay down $6,000 worth of debt. File all those quarterly tax returns on time. Feel in control. Score a line of credit for your business.

Remember to make your goals SMART:

S – Specific
M – Motivational
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Trackable

Now, tape your completed Goal Mandala to your bathroom mirror, refrigerator door, etc. Someplace highly visible and hard to ignore.

Step 4: Immerse yourself. Infuse those goals into your being. Build the empire and the life you’ve always imagined.

Do you feel like you are the captain of your entrepreneurial adventure or are you just drifting along? What goals do you want to set and chart a course for in 2013? Share with us in the comments and be sure to welcome Lela to OMHG as a new contributor!