Business Owners, How to Use the Summer Slowdown to Your Advantage

Summer is right around the corner – and if you’re in business, you know what that means…the dreaded summer slowdown. It seems like everyone is on vacation and plans are put on hold until fall. Read more

Can You Really Achieve Work/Life Balance?

work/life balance

Work-life balance. Resolutions…goals…intentions. Focus.

You’ve heard it all. You’d love to run your business without it running you (or worse, running you ragged) but no matter what you try, you’re still overwhelmed and frustrated. Sound familiar?

We live in a fast-paced world where at any given moment, we’re being bombarded with countless distractions. It’s hard to stay focused when you’re not even sure what you should be focusing on, especially when everything feels important and urgent.

So, let me ask you: Where’s your focus right now? If the answer to that just makes your head spin, you might be suffering from what I like to call The Busy Syndrome

Do You Have Symptoms of The Busy Syndrome?

  1. You never have enough time to tackle your to-do list.
  2. You feel like you’re constantly on the go.
  3. You often miss out on important family events even though you want to attend.
  4. You know you would have more clients (and make more money)…if it weren’t for everything else vying for your time and attention.
  5. You’re living life just to survive, while missing out on the best part – actually LIVING it!

The Myth of True Balance

If you’re like most of the entrepreneurs and business owners I work with, I’m sure you relate to most, if not all, of the symptoms of The Busy Syndrome. As a business coach, I’m asked all the time how to establish that work/life balance.

My answer is always the same: True balance is a complete myth.

Yes, you read that right. It’s pretty much impossible to attain a “perfect” balance.

You can’t separate your day out into equal parts for work, family, and self-care…and still expect to have time to achieve your goals while making sure everyone feels taken care of.

Why Harmony is What You Really Need

What you’re really looking for is harmony: time to achieve all your most important goals, while still making time for the people that matter most in your life.

Step #1 is to define what harmony looks like for you. Harmony doesn’t look the same for every person, so it’s important to outline what an ideal day looks like for you.

Step #2 is to honor your boundaries…a huge challenge for entrepreneurs. When you’re at work, be at work. When you’re away from work, be away from work. Stay present in the moment you’re in – and enjoy it! If you get a great idea during non-work hours, write it down! Then you have it saved for later to revisit during work hours.

Step #3 is to quit saying “I’m too busy”. When you tell your daughter you’re too busy to attend her soccer game, what you’re really saying is that it’s not important to you at that moment. When you replace “I’m too busy” with “It’s not important to me right now”, I guarantee you’ll find it much harder to say no to the people and experiences that contribute to a harmonious life – because you know how important they are.

And don’t forget – take time for yourself! You don’t need 3 hours to do this – a few minutes at a time is all you need to nurture yourself.

Stay tuned, because I’ll be talking all about my 3 favorite tools to help you take control of your time more effectively in my next post!

Tell me what you think your biggest obstacle is to establishing harmony – and what you do to overcome it.

What Will You Say YES To?

Is 2015 going splendidly for you so far?

Set New Year Priorities | What will you say yes to?This is not a post about resolutions or goals (nor is about whether or not you are achieving them).

This is a personal note that’s been weighing on my heart to share. And of course one really amazing tip for your business (you know I can’t help myself!).

Last year at this time I fell on the ice and got a concussion (ouch!). 2 weeks after that, I fell down a flight of stairs, well actually it was more like I went sledding without a sled, and tore my shoulder (double ouch!). It made for an interesting year. Last month, I finally had the shoulder surgery to repair the tears.

Everyone kept telling me that shoulder surgery was the longest and most painful recovery. I fought buying into that story, but I’ve got to say – they were kind of right.

I haven’t been able to drive the past 6-½ weeks. I just recently re-gained the ability to lift my arm up enough to reach the keyboard and type with both hands.

I’d be lying if I told you that the sprinkling of snow or icy pavement doesn’t instill a little fear in my heart.

But I’d also be lying if I didn’t tell you about the gratitude that I’ve experienced and has consumed me.

I am so grateful for my family who has taken care of me when I needed help.

I am grateful for my team, colleagues and mentors who’ve been there to support and encourage me.

I am grateful for my clients who continue to kick business butt on a daily basis and make me feel like a proud mama.

I am grateful for you. Thank you for “liking” my posts, following me on social media, reading and sharing my articles, connecting with me and for being part of my community.

I am especially grateful for something one of my mentors, Jeanna Gabellini, shared with me, which helped me have my personal best business year ever (despite everything that happened).

My YES statement… it goes like this, “I only say ‘yes’ to things that [fill in the blank]”

Here was my personal statement for 2014:

“I only say, “yes” to things that positively impact my time, money and peace”

How to choose your priorities | what to say yes toSimple? – YES.

Easy? – NO.

This was such a great mantra for me last year that I really wanted to share it with you.

My example might not be the most important to you, but it’s easy to change the scenario and the statement to reflect what is.

Write it or print it out and place it where you can see it every day. As business owners we have so much to think about and do. It’s a great reminder to focus on what really matters.

This year as I’ve been recovering from my surgery and reflecting on my goals and the road ahead, I’ve modified it a little.

Here is my personal statement for 2015:

“I only say YES to things that positively impact my time, money, energy and peace of mind”.

(I feel calm and happy just saying it)

As a result, I’ve already said NO to some amazing opportunities because they will take up too much of my time and mental energy. And I’m okay with it because I know that leaving that space open allows what I really want, to show up and get the time, energy and focus it deserves.

So, what will you say YES to this year? I’d love to hear it!

To Your BIG Breakthroughs and BIG Results!

 

Images courtesy of freedigitaldownloads.com

Want to Conquer Time Poverty? Enter Your Genius Zone.

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

  • Time trap | time poverty | DeadlinesThere just aren’t enough hours in the day – you’re always stressed because you never seem to have ample time to accomplish everything.
  • You zip through your day, going from task to task, but when the day is over, it doesn’t feel like you got anything done at all.
  • Your burgeoning to-do list is nearly driving you insane.

If this sounds like you, you’re experiencing time poverty. What on earth is that?! When you’re in time poverty, you’re always rushing through life, but you’re definitely not running at your productive best.

Not surprisingly, entrepreneurs encounter time poverty all the time. Overcoming time poverty is an absolute must if you want to truly enjoy success in your business – and in life.

Here are three of my favorite tips to help you overcome time poverty and start getting things done productively:

Enter your genius zone.

ID-100294722When you’re working on the things that you’re passionate about, you’re operating in your genius zone. It’s your sweet spot – where you’re most likely to get stuff done – and do it well.

Time just flies by and you’re ultra-productive. Why? Because you’re doing what you were meant to do – what you’re good at. Now that you’re in your zone, stay there – and delegate everything else.

Don’t force yourself to work on tasks that you don’t like or aren’t very good at. These types of tasks will waste your time and siphon your energy. Don’t let that happen!

You may sit on to-do-lists for months, telling yourself you don’t have the time. Be honest – you don’t really want to do these tasks, do you? And that’s why you’ve avoided them.

Remember: Work in your genius zone and for everything else, delegate, delegate, delegate.

Recognize your distractions.

Everyone faces distractions – social media, email, phone calls and texts…even free offers from programs you’ve purchased.

Sure, it doesn’t seem like much to interrupt your work flow to spend five minutes answering a text or email – but those five minutes add up, and before you know it, you’re out of time and frustrated…again.

Start by identifying what it is that distracts you most often. Once you’ve done that, you can develop new habits that will help you overcome these distractions.

Listen to your inner voice.

What are you really telling yourself? Your outward condition is a result of what you’ve been thinking about in your mind. Meaning, if you keep telling yourself you don’t have any time, you’re going to create that experience in your life.

Does your inner voice sound something like this, “I don’t have time! There is no way I’m going to get all this done.” Or, does it sound more like, “I have enough time to accomplish everything I need.”? It’s pretty simple to identify which statement is the more positive one.

Try this easy technique the next time you find yourself saying, “I don’t have time to do this!” Replace that phrase with this one instead, “That’s not important to me right now.”

You’ll soon have a surplus of time you’re spending efficiently, because you’ll only be focusing on the things that are truly important to you.

If you put even one of these simple suggestions to work in your life, you’ll be well on your way to greater productivity and a thriving, profitable business.

For a more in-depth look at time poverty – and what you can do about it – visit the Huffington Post to read my latest article.

What are you doing to conquer time poverty? Which of these suggestions do you think is most useful?

Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand | Work Life Balance | Priorities

The Busy Syndrome: Do You Have This Affliction?

Jane Austen once said “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.” It seems in today’s fast paced world, we are too easily distracted by these busy nothings. We have created a new sickness I like to call The Busy Syndrome.

The symptoms include;

  1. Not having enough time to complete your to-do list,
  2. Being constantly on the go,
  3. Missing out on important family events or even afternoon picnics with your kids.
  4. Living life just to survive, while missing out on the best part of life… living it!

In our corporate driven world we speak about work-life balance, but many of us don’t know what it truly means. If we are able to leave the office a little early on Friday it feels as though we’ve accomplished this balance that everyone talks about. Forget about leaving early to attend a child’s sporting event. That feat is only accomplished by stay at home parents and people that don’t have high stress jobs, right?

I’m going to tell you something you might not like. Busy is really code for “that’s not important to me right now.” So every time you want to say, “I’m too busy,” replace it with “that’s not important to me right now.”

Feels different, doesn’t it?

None of us want to make our family members feel less important, and deep down we don’t really feel this way. In the digital age of constant communication we have changed the way we react at work and have formed bad habits which make us feel busier and those around us less important. So how can you change your routine to accomplish more and gain control of The Busy Syndrome?

Here’s a BIG tip…

Be proactive about planning your day rather than reactive; don’t check email or messages first thing in the morning. When you sit down and start your work day, write out a list of YOUR priorities for the day. The things you must get done, your critical musts so that you can achieve your optimal work-life balance. Make sure that your priorities take precedence over the items that are thrown your way; this way you form the intention to be proactive rather than reactive to situations and keep a clear picture of what is really important to you.

After you leave the office, disconnect. Don’t check your email or Smartphone for work messages; spend the time away from the office focusing on those around you. By not falling back into the busy syndrome, your relationships will start to change and you’ll realize what is truly important.

To further illustrate the value of establishing priorities, I share the classic example of the rocks, pebbles, and sand in a jar;

Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand | Work Life Balance | Priorities | Busy SyndromeA teacher walks into a classroom and sets a glass jar on the table. He silently places 2-inch rocks in the jar until no more can fit. He asks the class if the jar is full and they agree it is. He says, “Really,” and pulls out a pile of small pebbles, adding them to the jar, shaking it slightly until they fill the spaces between the rocks. He asks again, “Is the jar full?” They agree. So next, he adds a scoop of sand to the jar, filling the space between the pebbles and asks the question again. This time, the class is divided, some feeling that the jar is obviously full, but others are wary of another trick. So he grabs a pitcher of water and fills the jar to the brim, saying, “If this jar is your life, what does this experiment show you?” A bold student replies, “No matter how busy you think you are, you can always take on more.” “That is one view,” he replies. Then he looks out at the class making eye contact with everyone, “The rocks represent the BIG things in your life – what you will value at the end of your life – your family, your partner, your health, fulfilling your hopes and dreams. The pebbles are the other things in your life that give it meaning, like your job, your house, your hobbies, your friendships. The sand and water represent the ‘small stuff’ that fills our time, like watching TV or running errands.” Looking out at the class again, he asks, “Can you see what would happen if I started with the sand or the pebbles?”

So remember: You’re never really too busy, if something is important to you, you’ll find a way to make room for it.

For more tips on 5 Easy Ways to Balance Your Business and Personal Life; please visit my recent article on the Huffington Post.

 

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Would You Kiss A Frog to Make You More Money?

iStock_000012129617SmallfrogI was watching The Princess and The Frog with my daughter the other night. The heroine has to decide whether she will kiss the frog (yuck!) in exchange for the money necessary to achieve her dream- opening a restaurant.

So I wondered to myself what would I be willing to do to get my dream? Would I kiss a frog (or any other creature beside my dog)?

All this talk of frogs reminded me of this question I heard many years ago:

3 frogs were sitting on a log.

1 frog decided to jump.

How many were left?

Most the time the answer I get back is 2 (or some people think it is trick question so they say 1) but the answer is 3.

Why? Making a decision is not the same as doing.

You may decide to put together your new website, you may decide to create a workshop. You may decide you are going to put in place a keep in touch strategy for clients or you may decide to make more money this year. But the question is – will you do it?

What gets in the way? Fear.

You know, that little voice in us that says, “No don’t do it” and all the “what ifs” start running through our mind.

What if they say NO?

What if they are already working with someone?

What if they think I am too expensive?

We get so caught up in the “what if’s” that we talk ourselves out of the game by doing nothing. If the “what if’s” don’t get us, our excuses do. We insist, “I do not know how” or “I don’t have time” and put it off until later. We forget what it is we wanted. We forget why it was important. Instead we play small and accept that what we want is not all that important. Sure we make excuses or rationalize; these are really just fear in disguise. You can have reasons or you can have results and to get the results you desire will require you to cure fear.

The way you cure fear (and get things done) is by taking action.

When you find your self lost in the ‘what if’s” or making excuses for why you are not doing something, take these steps to conquer it:

1)    Identify the cause: ask yourself “what is it I am afraid of?”

2)    Acknowledge that it is uncomfortable

3)    Choose to not let fear stand in your way of your success

4)    Take action: ask yourself “what is ONE small step I can take right now?” and do it!

Action cures fear. When you are in action, you don’t have time to think about the “what if’s”, make excuses, or second-guess yourself. The more you do it, the less scary it becomes.

So kissing a frog may not be required but something else just as uncomfortable will be:)

What is the scariest thing you’ve done for your business?

 

 

Is Stinking Thinking Showing Up In Your Bank Balance?

 “Who do you think you are?”

“Who is going to work with you?”

“Why do you even bother calling, they are going to say NO”

“You just don’t have what it takes”

Would you say that to a close friend or colleague? Probably not, in fact, you probably wouldn’t even say those things to a stranger. Yet, it is not uncommon for business owners to have that conversation with themselves. You know, that little voice that reaches in from the sidelines. It’s that inner voice of doubt, pessimism and fear that plagues our wildest dreams. It’s the soft cynicism that appears in the moments of true inspiration.

Call it your Inner Critic, Gremlin, Demon, Saboteur, or Bully. The fact is, it is there, telling you that you are not good enough. This “stinking thinking” keeps you playing small. The more you listen to it, the smaller you play. The smaller you play, the less people you meet, the less calls you make, the less people you serve, the less revenue you create.

Whatever you choose to call it, that little voice in our head impacts our thoughts, which influence the actions we take, or don’t take and ultimately our bank balance.  I want to share a simple process to address it, to quite it down, so you can move forward.

STOP and observe when and where the saboteurs are showing up, maybe it’s when you are following up with potential clients, or when you talk with a “competitor”. Tune into the conversation you are having with yourself.

CHALLENGE the beliefs and thoughts that are keeping you for acting.

  • What am I telling myself about this event, person or situation?
  • What evidence do I have that this is true?
  • What are other possible interpretations?

CHOOSE a new belief that is more empowering, more connected to your goals and take action.

Below you will find a letter to my inner critic. I’d love to hear how you have (or have not) defeated your inner critic. Leave a comment and share with me your tips!

Well, old friend. Thank you for being there when I needed you. Thank you for protecting me from the hurt and disappointments that certainly would have occurred if I had taken risks and not listened to you. It felt so safe and cozy staying in my little cocoon. No challenges, risk taking or failing. Of course, since there were none of those, there was also very little success.

The thought of success is sweet and tempting, like stealing away in the night to meet a long lost lover. But since your love for me is so deep, I stayed locked up in the comfy confines of my home only reading about the excitement and fun that I so desperately craved.

When will it be my turn?” I wondered. Alas, it is time to break free.

I am bored in this tiny, cocoon of a home. I want the excitement, fun and fulfillment that others seem to experience.

“Oh, but you’ll never make it,” you say. “You are not smart enough, creative enough or talented enough to make it out there on your own. You will be disappointed and hurt.”

You have filled my head and heart with fear and worry. Too afraid to be open and vulnerable; I need and want to experience that which you have so sheltered me from. It is my time.

There is a saying that if you love something, set it free. So today, I set you free. By doing so I free myself. Please, don’t be sad and let’s not pout. You will always be there and I appreciate your constant attention, but I really must do this on my own. Feel free to check in and in time, perhaps you can change the song you whisper in my ear. How I long to hear a different song that moves me closer to success. Could you do that for me? Would you?

For now, I must say goodbye. A new day is waiting for me and I cannot let it down.

All my love,
Kim (aka Kim Possible)