Clients ask me all the time if you really can achieve a work-life balance. This is the million dollar question, isn’t it? I believe you can. However, balance is different for everyone. What makes one person feel peaceful and balanced may be the exact opposite for another person.Read More
When I first started my business, I reached out to several creative thought leaders and business owners and asked them to join me for a workshop. I gathered some of the coolest, most progressive, badass business people I know. To my delight, and slight surprise, each and every one of them said they would be delighted to join me for a test run workshop. This was not only an opportunity for me to show off what I knew and fine tune my workshop and coaching skills, but it was an excellent opportunity to learn from each of them -- giants in their fields.Read More
How often are you learning? The first time I was asked this questions I was taken off guard. I am not currently enrolled in a class, I don't often take webinars ... What do you mean "how often am I learning?" But as I sat and pondered that question I realized that I love learning. It feeds me in unimaginable ways. I firmly believe that we should spend some time every single day learning! What that means to you may be different than it means to me. Often people assume I think that means learning business stuff but I would not even begin to limit it to that!Read More
As the mother of a newly minted four-year-old, I have been over exposed to the new Disney princess, Moana. I will admit, this does not really trouble me because the movie is smart, female-centered and empowering for young women everywhere and the music was written by my favorite musical genius, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Each morning, after we have dropped her sisters off at school and are on our way to daycare, Scarlett requests the Moana soundtrack. I get to listen to Lin rap and that makes me happy, so I say yes. But inevitably my favorite moment is when the song “I am Moana” comes on. The song opens with Moana’s grandmother singing and encouraging her to step into who she truly is. The lyrics move me to tears nearly every day. I am moved to share these lyrics with you today and ask … Do you know who you are?
I have listened to these lyrics over and over. I have written them down and said them out loud. They connect deeply with me because there is always the potential for our journeys to leave a scar and we cannot know the future in front of us -- yet we must still soldier on.
I am reminded of my personal transformation. The journey was terrifying. I was unsure who would support me or if I was making the right decisions. I knew it would be difficult and painful, not just for me but for those I loved. Throughout it all, however, I truly and deeply believed that what was on the other side was worth it. I chose the empowering side of fear. It’s true that everything we really want is just on the other side of uncomfortable and, let's face it, fear is extremely uncomfortable. So I embraced the fear and pushed forward. And yes, the journey left scars.
Over time those scars have begun to heal and now I reveal them to you all a tiny bit each day, one by one. They are my personal map. They mark my life experiences, the lessons I've learned, the things that did not go well and those things that were brave and exciting. When I speak to you, it is from a place of total truth and honesty. The journey has not always been easy -- it often still isn’t -- but is has been so very worth it!
“The things you have learned will guide you and nothing on earth can silence the quiet voice still inside you.” Listen to that voice. Let it take you to places unknown. How can you ever truly know your limitations if you never try new things? Fear not what the scars will look like; they are just a byproduct of a fulfilling life.
What new journey are you hoping to take? Share in the comments below and let's support one another. Everything is more achievable when you have a cheering section behind you. I see you. I see your scars and I admire you for them.
I've been an entrepreneur for nearly 20 years. I've worked at home with little children at my feet, at Starbucks and in hotel rooms, kitchen tables, and home offices. There have been times where I could hardly work at all. I discovered that I need to be out of the house, meeting people, engaging in conversation. I am a very social person. But, if you are constantly out at meetings and socializing and networking, you're never really getting your work done. So, that's not possible either. So what happens for entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who have to stay home or in their office and get shit done? How do you avoid falling into a deep dark hole of loneliness and depression when you are not interacting with others all day with your head down and your computer open?
I had a great chat with Beth Bernstein, from SQN Events. Beth has faced her own battle with depression, bigger and deeper than anything I hope to ever experience. Beth shared her best tips on avoiding depression as a solopreneur:
- Stay busy. Beth suggests making lunch dates, scheduling appointments, make sure you build time for a massage or anything to force you to get of bed, shower, and get out of the house. She says from experience, “If I don't have anything on my calendar, I can easily get sucked into a cycle of not taking care of myself and watching Law and Order marathons curled up in a ball for days on end.
- Take care of yourself. Exercise is key when fighting depression. Again, it forces you to get out of bed and those endorphins really will pump you up. Just a 20-minute walk outside helps. On a side note, I have personally challenged myself to get up and move around every couple of hours. That means getting up and putting a load of laundry in or taking a brief walk outside. Put it in your calendar. Set a timer for yourself. Don't get so wrapped up in something that you can't get up and be physical. Literally getting up and moving, that one action, will make a difference emotionally and physically.
- Visit someplace with natural light. If you can't hop on a plane and head out to California or Mexico, and let's face it, most of us can't, find a spot in your local community that has light and warmth and can refresh you mentally. In Chicago, we like to head to the Garfield Park Conservatory which is filled with greenery and fresh flowers. It's warm and bright and it's even hot in some rooms where they have tropical blooms.
Last but not least, if you have a history of depression, continue to see a therapist on a regular basis, even if you feel fine. If you have had any history of depression at all, having a therapist is tremendous. They can spot warning signs a lot easier than you can, before you can admit to yourself you start to go down a rabbit hole. But listen to your friends as well; talk to them, trust them, they know you. They know your habits. In fact, a few years ago, I was having lunch with Beth and I could just tell something was off but she hadn't yet recognized it. As it turned out, she had been given the wrong dosage of medication and wasn't aware of it. It was affecting her and because I noticed her patterns and habits she caught it before it became disastrous. Thank goodness.
Building healthy habits helps you feel good and avoid depression. It also helps you be a better at your job. It helps you with your clients. It gives people confidence because when you take good care of yourself, clients know you will take good care of them.
If you're anything like me, you take one look at your to-do list and think, “This is too much. I don’t have time for this. I can never get this all done.” And then you jump on Facebook really quickly to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
Here’s the deal: if you look at everything from the big picture perspective, it will never be a “manageable” task. The key is taking that big picture vision and breaking it down into easy to accomplish, no-stress steps.
Take a moment, close your eyes and dream of a perfect day. It doesn't matter if it's business or personal. Can you feel it? Can you smell it? Now open your eyes … What do you see? Do you see a cluttered desk and instantly realize you have no idea where to begin?
This is where my Action to Vision plan comes into play. I developed this for myself when I was first launching Vickery & Co. It's a simple to follow format that had me moving, one small step at a time, closer to my big picture vision.
First and foremost you need to really know your vision. Vision is important; we often speak of brilliant minds as being visionaries. These people are able to imagine something into existence, and they do so through setting goals and breaking these down into smaller steps. But they begin with a dream. Before you can create a path, you have to know where you’re going. Your vision is where you are headed. Many people get confused as to the difference between a vision and a goal. A goal is an action step; a vision is bigger than that. I have a client who speaks and writes about LGBT and mental health issues. However, their vision is not to speak and write about LGBT and mental health issues - their vision is to raise awareness about the LGBT community and those with mental health issues. The vision is awareness raising, not speaking and writing!
Then you need to set those goals. Essentially your goals are milestones, that when met, get you to your overall vision. Goals are the roadmap to your vision. Clear and smart goals state how you are going to reach your vision. It is important to be specific about the goals you set. Words are important. What you put out into the world is what comes for you. Be specific. Be intentional. For example, instead of a goal being, “have more speaking engagements,” it could be, “have 5 speaking engagements a quarter.” Having specific goals gives you great aim.
In order to reach our goals, you must assign tasks. Most of you are excellent goal setters. In fact, according to a survey we ran of over 400 entrepreneurs, nearly 94% of entrepreneurs and small business owners stated they have clear business goals. However, in that same survey, over half say they are unsure how to achieve their goals. This is where tasks come into play. Tasks are the much smaller individual actions you can take to achieve your goals. Tasks are the tiny steps. The small movements, that when continuously pursued, get you from A to B. For example, with the goal, “have 5 speaking engagements a quarter,” a good task would be to write a list of places to pitch. Another task could be creating your pitch letter, with the next task to send the actual pitch. These task are simple and if you focus on them, just one at a time, rather than looking at the big picture, they are non-threatening and easy to cross off the list. Before you know it, you have crossed off all the tasks and that first goal!
It's easy to have a vision but still not know what steps will actually get you there. It is vitally important to regularly check in with your vision. Is it still strong? Is it still what you want? Have you identified the right goals to help you achieve the vision? Are you moving forward, one tiny task at a time?
If you would like a copy of my Action to Vision worksheet just follow this link for a free download. Print out as many copies as you want and then start creating your plan. I'd love to hear your vision! Be sure to share in the comments!
Boundaries are a gift that you can give to yourself and everyone around you. They give you freedom from guilt because once you've set them, everyone knows the rules and parameters. They know what to expect. If people don’t know what you want, they are unable to give it to you!
Recently, a client of mine who initially fought systems and boundaries tooth and nail realized that having succinct systems and boundaries gave her the freedom she had been searching for. You see, it opens up the rest of the world for you. It allows you to lean back on them and feel confident in your choices.
If this sounds like something you want to know more about, check out my boundaries blueprint for more information. Now is the time to get started setting your own boundaries and freeing yourself. Enter your information below to receive the blueprint.
I'd love to know what you think and hear how the blueprint has helped you. Contact me anytime
In less than a week, I will no longer have a three-year-old. In fact, I will never have a three-year-old again until I am a grandmother. I have four children. So, I've had a three-year-old four different times — and the idea of not ever having another three-year-old is a concept that is unexplainably and uncontrollably heartbreaking to me.
I'm not sure what it is about the age of three that is so enlightening and magical. Perhaps because there is still such childlike wonder but the brain has started to develop so they're funny and they communicate and they're becoming tiny little people while still being your little baby.
As I sit and ponder my future without a three-year-old, I start to think this is something like having a successful business. Not quite as emotionally intense, but when you start your own business and you work so hard for it in the beginning, there's no sleep and it cries and it needs everything you have to give it. You just keep loving it and caring for it in every way possible.
Then you start to learn its cues and it starts to learn your voice. You then enter the toddler years where every once in a while, it can walk on its own but you have to stand by because it's going to fall on its butt eventually. Then it turns three and you start to realize it needs you less and less. It's got its own personality. It's funny, but it’s still your baby and it still wants to crawl into your lap and snuggle sometimes. It still needs you to read it a bedtime story and make sure it takes a bath.
The thing is, that development continues and the next thing you know, your three-year-old is 12. Yes, I have one of those too. And, at the age of 12, they're really quite capable of doing everything on their own; they sort of run like a well-oiled machine. You've done all the hard work to get them ready and now you mostly get to sit back and watch them function. But, sometimes they like to snuggle too; so there's that. And you need to make sure to monitor their social media use because you never know what a pre-teen's getting into these days.
So, the reality of it is, having children and having a business really aren't that different from one another. Throughout each stage, they need different things and, sometimes, they need the same things but maybe in different ways. You have to listen and pay attention and do the things that are new and exciting because if you don't grow with them, they'll grow without you one way or another. For a business, this could mean it grows right out of your hands. It could mean it dies. For a child, it could mean it doesn't need you anymore or doesn't want you around.
The important thing to remember is that in business, like parenthood, the most important thing is to love and nurture. Be real. Be authentic and make sure they always feel loved and supported. And don’t forget to enjoy watching them flourish and grow, it happens fast!
I’ll be the first to admit it. I never really enjoy talking on the phone—well, at least not since I was a teenager and my parents installed a second line so that their phone wasn’t constantly ringing busy. As the technology industry boomed, I got more and more dependent on all of the other ways to communicate. First there was just email, then there were text messages, then there was Facebook. So there was never really a need to pick up the phone and call someone. In fact, I found myself getting annoyed when people would call me. I don’t really have the time to talk, or so I would tell myself. I don’t really want to stop what I’m doing and talk on the phone. I can send a quick email or a Facebook message or a text message in two seconds, get my point across, take care of what I need to take care of, and I never have to stop the other thing that I’m doing.
Here’s the problem with this way of thinking: as human beings, we crave contact. We crave validation and friendship. We need it. We require it. We need human interaction.
One thing I’ve discovered, as I’ve gone through my own authentic transformation, is that taking just a little bit of extra time to make a phone call can, in fact, make all the difference. When I think about somebody now, I pick up the phone, and I call. Do I have the time? Not always, but I make the time. What you get when you take that extra step and slow down for just a minute, is connection. You get validation. You have an opportunity to slow your brain down. Slow down your mind and your breath and really connect with somebody.
This is not just a personal thing. It works for business also. I recently had a client tell me she was going to email someone and ask them to call her. When I asked “why would you email them rather than just call on your own?” She told me she “didn’t want to bother them.” There were several things I found wrong with this approach. First, she gave up her position of power by putting the ball in the other persons court. The second was her assumption that what she wanted to talk about was not valuable enough for the person she wanted to connect with.
Think about it, if you are in a meeting and you cannot accept phone calls - - you turn your ringer off. If someone calls and it’s “not a good time” you simply don’t answer the phone. Instead, you listen to their voice mail and call them back when its convenient. So, what is the real risk in making the phone call in the first place? It shows interest in the other person. It indicates importance and it puts you, as the caller, in a place of power.
I had this conversation yesterday with one of my employees. I suggested that she pick up the phone and call a person that she was having an issue with, and she said, “No, no, no. I’m going to wait two weeks until we can meet in person.” Except two weeks from now could be too late. The situation could have already exploded by then.
I have even started using a phone call “meeting” to replace massive amounts of back and forth emails. It allows my clients to be heard. We can have real time discussions, answer questions and address issues. Decisions actually get made! I have answers that I could never have dreamed of getting via an email because people only answer the immediate question, instead of continuing the discussion and digging a little deeper, when communicating via email. I follow these phone calls up with an email recapping the discussion. Yes, I understand the importance of a paper trail!
As a salesperson and a coach, there’s really no alternative to the phone all. You can’t get across in an email what you can during an in-person conversation. People feel validated and heard, they feel understood, they feel empathized and sympathized with. You can hear when somebody’s legitimately concerned or when they’re legitimately tickled and laughing at something you’ve said. You can hear when they’re exhausted and worn out. You can hear when they maybe need just a little bit of extra help.
Are you willing to give it a try? Who will you call today instead of hiding behind email and text? I encourage you all to return to the phone call, connect with your peers and your family, your friends and your clients. Let’s get back to human contact. The world will be so much better for it.
Today I want to share something with you that I don’t think people talk about enough. This is one of the biggest myths out there.
I could never do it “all” without my tribe.
That’s right, my tribe, my people, my personal board of directors. My partner told me recently that I juggle all the balls better than anybody she's ever known, and I make it look easy. While that is a really fantastic compliment, I am here to tell you I could not do it without my tribe.
So, who, you may ask, is my tribe?
Well, my partner, who's a complete badass, and encourages me constantly. She asks me for advice (this is important because it means she values my opinion and it gives me a sense of worth) and gives me guidance. My friends, the ones who drive my kids to birthday parties and bring them home from school so that I can run a workshop or so that I can attend another event with one of my other children. The friends who reach out with a call or text simply to say "You are on my mind. You matter." The friends who sit with me in quiet and the ones that take me out for a much needed grown up meal. My marketing guru, my designer, my web developer, my copy editor, my mastermind group…the team of people that keeps me functioning at my highest level, because let's face it: I can't do it all.
Recognizing that you cannot do it all is key. Figure out what you do really well and then do that thing. Delegate the rest to someone else. You know what I'm really good at? I'm really good at being a coach. I'm really good at giving motivational talks and facilitating workshops and learning experiences. I am really good at planning events. I'm also really good at knowing who else is really good at their job. So, I put people in positions to do their magic. Allowing experts to play an active role on my team makes me look good. They are smart! They elevate me. They help me level up. I trust them, and they trust me. We work together collaboratively as a team.
On the business end, I call them my board of directors, the people I go to when I need to flush out an idea or pursue some new, crazy thing that I've just come up with. The ones who say yes when I send an email and say, "Oh my God, can you help me with this thing right now?" I own my own business - and I have a team - but I'm not a big corporation. It's not a team like you would find in the Google offices. That does not make them any less “my team” and it does not make them any less valuable. They are my board of directors. They come through every single time, no matter what. And I have a tribe. A personal tribe. The people that simply make sure I am able to get it all done. They enable me to "do it all."
I am always acutely aware of my tribe and how much I depend on them but the best part of having a tribe is being a tribe member. When the opportunity arises for me to rise up and help them in return, I do so joyously, graciously and with enthusiasm. It is important to ask powerfully so you enable others to give graciously. I have certainly nailed down the "ask powerfully" part. I long ago gave up the notion that asking for help made me weak. Instead, I realized that asking for help actually gives me strength and a place of empowerment. It gives me confidence to know that I can get it all done. Still, my favorite part is the “give graciously.” My tribe gives graciously over and over and over again, and I love the opportunity to pay it forward.
So, I ask of you now, do you have a tribe? Do you have a personal board of directors, even though you're not a big corporation? If you don't, I suggest you get one immediately, right now, the second you finish reading this post. I promise you, it will change your life!
Three simple stepsto building a sucessful business.Read More
Trust me when I tell you, you are not too busy to take action. In fact, it is so imperative that you do these things, these things that you don’t really think you have time for but nag at you. The phone call, the visit, the new business, the hug, the kindness, the generosity. Whatever it is, that in the back of your mind pulls at you and says, “I should do this” and you think “I’ll do it later, I’ll do it next week, I’ll do it next month, I’ll do it next year … there’s time.” But time goes whenever it wants. One second you wake up and there’s no more time.Read More