5 Ways I Scared the Shit Out of Myself

A few months ago I read Amy Poehler’s “Yes, Please!” I expected it to be a light, funny read but was surprised by how much it moved and motivated me personally and professionally. I am telling you, I took a lot of notes while reading this book. One section that truly spoke to me was about doing things that are really, truly scary.

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After reading the book, I was inspired to make a list of things I have done that scared the shit out of me and why I am glad I did them. The list was fairly long with over 25 items ranging from the first time I went out to dinner alone, to cutting my really long hair into a short bob, to riding in a helicopter (it was scary but I am a total thrill seeker).

In the interest of being authentic, vulnerable and brave, I have decided to share five of those items with you. I am going to get really raw with you. This post was much harder for me to write than I anticipated. I sat on it for days and days. Normally words flow freely and I have to cut myself off. This time, for whatever reason, the level of vulnerability seemed deeper than normal. I felt naked and exposed. I am not sure why this was different than any other time since I’m normally an open book. So, thank you for being gentle with my heart as you read this piece and for understanding that sometimes things just feel extra difficult. I truly believe that is when we need to push through the most.

Here goes … my top 5 scariest moments and why I am unbelievably glad I did them.

  1. Taking a vacation alone. Ok, I will admit this was not supposed to be a solo vacation. I had originally planned to visit Atlanta with my best friend from middle school. At the time, fresh out of college, funds were tight but I was really excited for this visit. About a week before I was scheduled to fly out from Chicago, my friend let me know she wasn’t going to join me. I was heartbroken. I couldn’t get my money back so I decided to go anyway, alone. Have you ever gone on a solo vacation? I mean, as a 43-year-old woman I think it would be awesome but as a 23-year-old it was terrifying. But off I went, alone. On my first day there, I remember finding a sweet little restaurant that was, aptly named the “Vickery Cafe.” I sat down, ordered lunch and pulled out a book. It was then that it hit me, “I am pretty fun. I can totally hang out by myself.” It isn’t that I don’t need or want other people, it is simply that I don’t require other people to be fulfilled.

  2. Singing Publicly. A few years ago a good friend of mine was hosting an open mic night at a local bar with a live band. Since I have a background in musical theater and had done some singing as a child, she asked me to sing on this stage. When I agreed to do it I thought I would be singing to a fairly empty room in front of mostly strangers. As it turned out the lineup grew to be full of people I knew! Holy shit! I had to sing on stage for the first time in 25 years in front of a bunch of people I knew?! To say this was terrifying is an understatement but I had prepared and I was going for it. I even took my daughters with me for rehearsal. Looking out at their tiny little faces, seeing how proud they were of me, that was my payoff moment. I might not have been the best singer on stage that night but I was the proudest mother. I did something super brave and showed my girls that nothing can stop them from achieving their dreams and even if it feels scary, it’s worth it!

  3. Coming Out. Ok. Well, this one is pretty obvious. Coming out is hard. Really hard. And the truth is, it never stops. I have to come out almost every day in some capacity or another. My coming out happened over time and with each conversation, my heart became a little more whole. As each person I told welcomed me and showed their love and support, I began to feel like a real girl (you know Pinocchio or Velveteen Rabbit style). All of a sudden, an entire person emerged that I felt really comfortable with. It was me, for the first time. Hello Heather Vickery, nice to meet you.

  4. Getting Divorced. This one is hard. Based on the aforementioned coming out, divorce was a likely outcome -- but let me remind you that people don’t get married to get divorced and just because something is right that does not mean it is easy. There are all sorts of difficult things that come with getting divorced. For me, the hardest part was the fear of hurting my children and my then spouse. But once I got to the other side, that new girl I mentioned got wings. I was finally able to throw myself out there all the way and make any kind of magic I wanted.

  5. Starting a Brand New Business. Speaking of magic! I have been a business owner and entrepreneur for nearly 20 years. I was super comfortable in my role and had a fantastic, well-respected business on my hands. But then I was faced with this new version of myself, this authentic and empowered woman who simply knew there was something else out there. Once I stopped shaking and started listening to the universe, I realized I had some amazing gifts that could really help others elevate their lives and business. Fast forward several years and this shit is working!! My business is thriving. I have a full roster of amazing clients who honor me by allowing me into their lives. Each day is still a rollercoaster and I am along for the ride but damn it feels good!

So there you have it … The cliff notes version of the scariest shit I have ever done and why I am so grateful for having done them. Now it’s your turn! I would love for you to drop me a line and share some moments in your life where your bravery shined when you were terrified. As always, you can reach me via email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I love hearing from you.

P.S. Did you know I have a new course launching? Chaos to Clarity: A Roadmap to Personal and Professional Success.  This course will help you rescue yourself from feeling overwhelmed or stuck. Are you unsure how to reach your desired level of success personally and professionally? Go from Chaos to Clarity. Through concrete action steps, I empower people to run their business more effectively and increase their productivity while creating true work-life balance. Creating a business and life you love is only the beginning: by taking control of your work and life through these simple steps, you’ll have happier clients. Better yet, you’ll create both a home and work life that you love while achieving and even expanding your dreams! Register today for the pre-sale rates - good through December 15th!

Choose Bravely!

5 reasons to be in conversation with strangers

One of the things I’ve committed to through the end of the year is being in conversation with someone new at least once a week. I made this commitment on a coaching call with my own coach (remember, you cannot sell something you are not willing to buy!) and I chose this commitment because it would make me a little uncomfortable. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to talk to people. I am the person that talks to strangers standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, but that doesn’t mean it is easy for me to be in the right conversations with new people.

Being in conversations with strangers on a regular basis requires you to build those muscles. It is a habit. These conversations can be in person, over the phone or through Skype/FaceTime but they do require hearing one another’s voice. An email or messenger exchange does not have the same effect.

Here are five reasons why you want to get this muscle memory up and running!

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Professional networking

This may seem obvious, but being in conversation with strangers affords you the opportunity to meet new people! If you are active on different social media platforms, take action and invite someone you follow or admire into a conversation. Remember the worst they can say is no -- so why not give it a try?

The number one thing I tell people who are looking to grow their business is to network and build a tribe. Just this week I had an amazing conversation with Justine from It Just Flows. I have long admired Justine’s work and her “Calligraphy for Gratitude” workshops. I decided to reach out to her and see if she wanted to jump on a quick FaceTime chat with me. Not only was she happy to do so, during our conversation I learned that she is interested in partnering with me on an event. So many doors open up when you invite people into a conversation.

Learn something new

Being in conversation will most assuredly put you in a position to learn something new. Honestly, the possibilities are endless. The other day while sitting with my oldest daughter at a local coffee shop, we met a woman that appeared to be down on her luck. She was not asking for a handout; she was simply asking us to check her bus pass and see how much money was remaining. We had a computer open and she needed to go online. While looking, she shared a little about her journey and gave some “life lessons.” .. We did end up helping her out a little and I was grateful for the opportunity, but what I learned from this experience is how gracious and tender my daughter’s heart is.

When this homeless woman approached and asked my daughter (she was the one with the computer) to check her bus pass, my sweet girl smiled brightly and said, “of course!” and was so patient with this stranger. There was never a moment of hesitation. There was no fear of the unknown, only kindness and willingness to help someone in need. I could not have been more proud of my baby girl at that moment and it led to a really powerful and passionate conversation about compassion and helping those that are less fortunate.

Helping others

There is something magical about being able to help others. I am constantly telling my clients (and my kids!) that we cannot give someone what they need if we don’t know what it is. One thing I do in all of my conversations is ask how I can be of service. Is there anything I can do to help you get where you are going? I almost always get some type of “yes.” I find great joy in helping others whether it be offering a coaching session to help them solve a few problems, running to the grocery store for a friend who is home sick, or simply listening when someone needs an ear.

See the world beyond your own

It is easy to get stuck in our own worlds and to move through time with blinders on. The flip side is that we often see things one-sided and it causes us to lose compassion for the experience of others. Life is complicated and sometimes difficult. We run businesses, manage households, raise children and that often doesn’t leave space to see the world beyond our own experience. Being in conversation with new people gives us a window into a completely new perspective and it affords us an opportunity to step out of our normal lives and understand the perspectives of others just a little bit more. By engaging someone in conversation who has a totally different life experience than you, you open your heart and mind and gain compassion for others. You just might step more gently and kindly into the world and situations that may affect others, even if they don’t affect you. The world is wide but our perspectives are narrow without conversations with new people.

Enrich your life

One thing all of the items listed above have in common is that, in one way or another, they all help to enrich your life. Getting out of your comfort zone and networking then building a tribe, learning new things, helping others and seeing the world beyond your own are all important life experiences. They give us a broader sense of the world and the people in it. They help us serve more graciously in our businesses and families, build stronger relationships that have the power to drastically change our communities, and give us a sense of usefulness and gratitude that is strengthening and empowering.

It is all about connection. We often connect with people we see every day and those we know well -- but making an effort to connect with strangers has a powerful impact in so many ways. I challenge you to identify a stranger to be in conversation with this week and then let me know how it impacted you!

I am doing some new and exciting stuff lately including audio content so you can listen on the go! Would you like to be part of this audio experience with me? If you accept my challenge to be in conversation with a stranger this week, will you send me a recording (voice only, no video) about the experience and how it impacted you? I will be compiling these experiences for a special audio experience and I would love to include yours!

You can email the audio clip to me here and, as always, I love hearing from you in any format you prefer. Reach out at any time via Facebook, Instagram or email. I promise that I personally read and respond to every single note.

Achieving Work-Life Balance: Celebrating Success

You know how you feel when you have just nailed a client meeting or finished creating that course you are about to sell? That feeling of excitement and pride? That is a powerful feeling, one that helps you stay charged and ready to move on to the next big thing. That is a feeling that should always be celebrated.

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I firmly believe that celebrating successes, no matter how small, is the key to motivation and even bigger successes.  Aaron Anastasi, author of The Voice of Your Dreams, once told me, “celebration is a lost discipline” and I think he is right. There is something magical about the art of celebration. To truly celebrate all of your wins, personally and professionally, and not discredit the small ones, takes a lot of discipline. It also reaps the biggest rewards.

Imagine having that feeling I mentioned above woven through your life on a daily basis? Picture it, if you will: you feel awesome way more than you feel overwhelmed. There is always something to celebrate.

One of the ways I tap into all of the amazing elements worth celebrating is through a gratitude routine. I spend a few minutes each day writing down all of the things I am grateful for that day. Today, for example, I am already grateful that I managed to get my kids off to school on time (no easy feat with four kids and three schools), that I have a warm cup of tea, and am sitting down to write this post at exactly the time I intended to. I am also grateful for the clients I will service today and the podcast interview I’m about to give. Taking the time to acknowledge gratitude gives me reason to celebrate. It instills a level of pride that I may otherwise lack. I even celebrate with my “wins” accountability partner each Friday morning. I make every effort to bring celebration into as many aspects of my life as possible.

Each of us defines success differently. I truly believe that, for me, success is found in even the smallest of achievements. I have found that to create the work-life balance I desire, I must celebrate every success, even if it seems inconsequential. Huge, fantastic leaps are wonderful, but never forget that it takes many small steps to achieve those larger goals. Don’t forget about them along the way; they are the stepping stones that get you where you want to go.

I also love to celebrate my success with rewards. Yep, you heard me, rewards. That sounds exciting doesn’t it? I love rewards (just ask my clients). Here are just a few ways I celebrate by rewarding myself. Notice that they range from tiny rewards to really big ones!

  • Take a walk when I have accomplished a task

  • Ring a bell when I sign a new client

  • Splurge on a specialty coffee from the local coffee shop

  • Schedule a co-working day with some of my creative friends

  • Allow myself a few minutes to browse through Facebook for personal reasons

  • Get a pedicure

  • Spiriti one of my daughters away from school for a one-on-one lunch

  • Buy theater or concert tickets

  • Treat myself to a vacation

Because we all have days where we are super productive and days where achieving a small task feels like a major win, I encourage you to give each success its due celebration. Success is success, even if it looks different today than it did yesterday.

So tell me, how do you like to celebrate success? I always love hearing from my readers so drop me a line via email, Facebook or even on Instagram to let me know and thank you for being on this journey with me. Today I am celebrating you!

Achieving Work-Life Balance: Accountability

About a month ago I began an accountability partnership with a woman named Kimi from Brave & Co Design. This is not your typical accountability relationship. Kimi and I chat each Friday morning and share our wins for the week. We have agreed not to “discredit the wins” before sharing them. Rather we simply state them and cheer each other on. What this relationship has given me is a reason to stop and appreciate my wins as they happen. I now keep a running list on my phone to update and access as needed. This gives me pause several times a week to recognize that amazing things are happening all around me.

If you are going to make all of the effort to design a balance that works for you, by identifying what your needs are, defining and creating boundaries, spending your time wisely and productively, making intentional commitments, and delegating tasks, then it is crucial to add an element of accountability.

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According to the Vickery and Co 2017 Entrepreneur Survey, 34% of business owners feel alone in their business at least some of the time. One of the most important things you can do to avoid feeling overwhelmingly alone is to have accountability systems set up. Here are a few great ways to use an accountability partner or partners:

  • A specific accountability system, like mine listed above, where we share wins.

  • Identifying weekly “stretch” goals (perhaps things that you would otherwise put off!) and then checking in on each other weekly.

  • Developing Mastermind groups with 3 or more people to work through what is on your plate and come up with creative plans for achieving your goals.

Accountability is key to achieving your goals and following through on your commitments. Nearly 83% of those surveyed responded that they sometimes feel unmotivated. Another benefit of accountability partner(s) is having someone by your side to help you stay motivated!  

Accountability partners can be friends, colleagues, or a professional coach and you can have more than one (I do!). No matter who it is, having someone by your side to help you stay on track is imperative. Knowing you are accountable to someone else behind you is empowering.

Finding an accountability partner can seem daunting. Making friends as an adult is sometimes a challenging thing. However, it is always good to simply reach out to those in your field and people who seem to operate on the same level you do. Whether it is someone you know in person or someone you meet in a Facebook group or on Instagram (like I did with Kimi), finding someone you vibe with can have a profound effect on your business. I also have accountability partners that are not in my industry but are successful professionals that I admire and respect. When thinking about building accountability relationships remember not to limit yourself.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Once you’ve identified a partner (or partners), schedule recurring check-in times, ideally the same time every week for consistency.

  • Don’t over commit. These check-ins don’t have to be long; they can be as simple as a 5-15 minute phone conversation fit snuggly in the middle of a busy day.

  • Be a good listener to your accountability partner. Supporting them and helping them think through their needs will make you stronger.

Ready to get started? Here are some action steps:

  • Think about the people you know, work with respect and feel a kinship with.

  • Identify 2-3 people who can help you stay accountable.

  • Clearly lay out how you can help one another reach your goals.

  • Decide when to make the ask and then schedule that into your calendar.  

  • Make it happen and build up your accountability force!

Source: www.vickeryandco.com/blog

Achieving Work-Life Balance: Delegation

My own coach once told me that the best use of his time was to be coaching or making efforts to get into conversation with people he could potentially coach. For him, that meant delegating and outsourcing other aspects of his business which pulled him away from being in conversation with and serving others. He also admitted he simply was not very good at some of the more traditional business roles like marketing and administrative work. Truth be told, I am in the same boat. While I am competent at marketing, social media, bookkeeping and administrative work, it is not my strong suit and, as such, takes me much longer than it would someone with more skills in those areas.

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The reality is we simply cannot do all of the things on our own. We are not good at all things and if we are being honest, we simply do not enjoy all things. Yes, there are some things that must get done when you own your own business, but that does not mean you need to be the person actually doing them. Give yourself permission to build a tribe and begin delegating. If this is something you already do I encourage you to find new ways to delegate. Trim the fat and streamline those processes as much as possible. It might mean giving up some control but there is a lot of freedom in that. We touched on delegation in the productivity post in this series, but today we’re going a little deeper.

So far you have envisioned the life you want and established what your personal work-life balance could look like. Now it’s time to delegate. You know you can’t do it all, or at least you can’t do it all well — how do you decide what to delegate?

Start by creating a few lists:

  • What tasks must get done to keep your business (or life) running properly?
  • What personal skills do you bring to the table?
  • Which of the tasks in the above list do you actually like doing?
  • What tasks could easily be delegated?
  • What tasks simply cannot be delegated?

Then begin delegating!

  • Identify who could do the work required
  • Research virtual assistants, contract workers and other professionals who could meet your needs. You can even consider working a trade or barter with other professionals if you both offer something the other desires.

Ready to delegate? Here are a few last tips.

1. Have a clear understanding of where you want your business to go and who you are as a brand and a company.

2. Hire people who are able to speak in your voice and represent you and the company the way you, the owner, want.

3. Have clear expectations and communication systems with your new team members. In business, ambiguity leads to chaos.

Once you do these things, you will suddenly have time to do the things you are most passionate about. It will create a sense of freedom and you will be in a position to do your best work and you will make more money in the process.

 

Achieving Work-Life Balance: Productivity

I remember the day it all came crashing down. Clients were lined up out the door (this is a good problem, of course, but I was at max capacity and something had to give) and all I could do was scroll through Facebook. I was working hard but I was not working smart. I was in desperate need of some systems that would help me mobilize my productivity.

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Time spent in an unproductive manner just causes frustration and a backlog of work and responsibilities. I cannot tell you the countless days I spent feeling so far in the weeds that I had no idea when I would ever get out. There is always so much work to do! During those times it was all I could do to get client needs met, never mind working on my business - - I was drowning working in it! This is no way to live and it is certainly no way to run a successful business.

Productivity. Sometimes this feels like a buzzword in the entrepreneurial community but it makes all the difference in the number of hours spent working on and in your business. How you spend your time is the deciding factor in how long it takes you to complete the tasks at hand. In the Vickery & Co Entrepreneur Survey we discovered that 58% of those surveyed say they spend all of their time working in their business rather than on their business.

Now you have identified your needs and what you want your balance to look like. You’ve also defined and created boundaries to help you achieve the balance you desire. Now it is time to put productivity systems in place to get further into action and begin your journey to balance!

At this point I want to remind you that you do not need to do anything in your life or business. Remember to always find the want behind the need. If you start from the want, these new systems you are building will be much easier to implement and manage.

Here are my best systems for productivity:            

  • Set aside time in the morning for meditation and self-reflection. If you do this at the start of your day, your head will be more firmly in the game.
  • Eat the frog! Do the things you need to do, but may not really want to do, first. This frees your energy fields up and stops you from avoiding things. It also means everything else feels like a total win for the day.
  • STOP multitasking and START batch tasking. This does not mean you cannot have multiple projects going on at once. It simply means you only focus on one thing at a time. No more checking email while on a phone call or scrolling through Facebook when you are working on a specific project or writing next week’s blog post. In fact, I would venture to say if you tracked your time for a week you would be shocked at how much time you spend not staying focused!
  • Pick up the phone. Sometimes having a five minute phone call can get the answers that you or a client needs right away without a day’s worth of email back and forth.
  • Schedule out your day. Trust me, just do it. In most cases, it does not matter what task is first but having a schedule to tell you where to begin means you are spending less time in overwhelm and chaos.
  • Keep your to-do list to no more than 6 items. When we have a list that is three pages long it feels so heavy and unachievable. Pick the most important six things for each day and get them done! If you have time leftover, start on a new six. The idea here is to take action, be productive and feel accomplished at the end of the day.
  • Know when you don’t know something and outsource! Your time is best spent not spinning your wheels. Know when you should bring in an expert.
  • Utilize the amazing productivity apps and plugins available. What you use doesn’t matter tremendously so long as you are utilizing some. We all work in different ways, and that is why there are so many apps which work better for different people!
  • Utilize the rewards system. If I complete an hour’s worth of writing I will take a walk and grab a fancy coffee. Or upon completion of a major project I will treat myself to a day at the spa. The rewards can be small or large as long as they motivate you!

These are just a small sampling of tools to manage your time. Implement these systems or design your own -- but I promise that doing so will allow you to discover there are simply more hours in the day. Another amazing side effect will be happier clients because when you are focused, your clients get the best of what you have to offer!

Have some productivity methods that you love? I’d love to hear about them. Shoot me an email or leave a message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The more we know and share, the better off we all are. I love hearing from you!

 

Achieving Work-Life Balance: Define and Create Boundaries

When I first started my business, I thought I needed to be available 24/7 in order to be successful. That led clients to think I was always available and caused frustration and exhaustion on my part. I knew I couldn’t continue like that so I took a serious look at what I wanted and identified what needed to shift so I could meet my client’s needs and regain my life!

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Last week we talked about identifying your needs. Now let’s talk about my favorite step: defining and creating boundaries. Boundaries are limits that define acceptable behavior. They are your limits. You decide what’s acceptable for you, your life and your business. Boundaries give you permission to say “yes” and “no” at the appropriate times. They are the key to guilt-free freedom.

Guilt-free freedom?! Yes. An example I have is around my work hours. I am clear with all clients what my work hours are and I communicate this in my outgoing voicemail message that states “If your call is after 5pm or on a weekend, please note that I will get back to you on the next business day.”

Boundaries solve problems. I cannot tell you how many people compliment me on that message, how clearly I state this boundary and how empowering that is for them. Honestly, most people are willing to give you want you want if they know what it is! Communication is the key to allowing others to meet our needs.

Boundaries are empowering, instilling confidence and allowing you to control your interactions with others. Boundaries manage expectations, making for smoother relationships with everyone, even with yourself. They even lead to happier clients!

So how do you create boundaries? You set up systems that give you a desired result. I don’t want clients to expect a return phone call from me after work hours so I let them know this in advance.

Need some ideas to get started?

  • Set and maintain concrete work hours
  • Send new clients a “welcome” letter explaining your hours, communication policies and preferred modes of communication
  • Create the next day's to do list (keep that list short and achievable!)
  • Stick to your to-do list with minimal distraction
  • Batch-task instead of multitasking (stay tuned for more on this!)
  • Commit to self-care

A new client wanted to take a weekday off as she works weekends and her partner has Wednesdays off. She worried her clients would think poorly of her for not working in the middle of the week, that they wouldn’t respect her boundary and she’d have to say “no” when they asked for something. I challenged her to simply let them know she wouldn’t be available on Wednesdays. This wasn’t about asking for permission, but rather about making a statement. Want to know what happened? They said “Thanks for letting us know!” That’s it. She set a boundary, communicated it and now she has Wednesdays off.

In the Vickery and Co Entrepreneur Survey, 55% of respondents said they have a hard time saying no. By saying no you are setting a boundary on what you will or won’t do. Once you have identified what’s acceptable to you and you communicate clearly, in most cases, your boundaries will be respected and the fear begins to diminish.

ACTION STEPS:

List your Current Boundaries

Examine your personal and professional lives. What boundaries are already in place? List these boundaries.

Identify what Should Stay, Change or Go
You’ve listed your established boundaries; now examine them. Which ones are really working for you? Keep these. Next, identify which are good but could be tweaked, then those that no longer serve you. Create space to make room for new boundaries that better fit the work-life balance you are designing.

Create a New List
Consider your ideal work-life balance and identify at least 5 new boundaries that would help push you towards your goal.

Setting boundaries is one of the most important things you can do in life and in business. Identifying where you need to establish or modify boundaries changes things. Without them, you’re likely to burn out more quickly and are not able to give your best to your work or your family.

Observe
Once you have done this work, observe the changes they created. Do you feel more in control? Are you more empowered? Does it seem like there is more balance in your life?  Let me know! We are in this together.

You Don't Need to do Anything!

I recently had a conversation with my 7 year old daughter, Tessa. I was running around getting the kids ready for school and said “We NEED to leave the house by 8:30!” to which she replied, “We don’t ever need to do anything. You want to do it because you don’t want us to be late.”

Such a simple concept, right? She and I spent some time talking through things that I felt might be needs and she was able to find the want in each and every one:

Me: I need to feed you and your sisters.
Tessa: You want to feed us because you love us and don’t want us to die.

Me: I need to work.
Tessa: You want to work because you want to be able to afford our house and the things that help us survive.

It went on and on and, of course, she is 100% right!

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The truth of the matter is you don’t need to do anything. You do things because you want to, or at least because you want the desired result of having done the thing.

Motivation can be a tricky thing. What motivates us (and when it does so) can shift, sometimes moment by moment. I often have conversations with clients about their lack of motivation and my key to supporting them is to find the “want” behind the perceived need. While this seems like a fairly easy concept, it’s often difficult to put into action because the “stories” we tell ourselves get in the way.

I often find myself working with clients that are in a rut, struggling to run their business effectively because they lack motivation. Everything feels like a “need to do” rather than a “want to do.” If this is where you are, you are not alone. Vickery and Co conducted a survey of over 300 entrepreneurs and found that 83% of respondents struggle with a lack of motivation at least some of the time!

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The word motivation actually has two definitions. “the desire and willingness to perform a task” is the standard definition most people think of but the other definition of motivation comes into play as well and has a lot more power behind it. “The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way” -- basically this is finding the want in any situation.  

While people often spend time working on the block that is stopping them from taking action and being motivated, I am suggesting that simply finding the want behind the need might be enough to propel you forward.

I regularly work with clients to help uncover what is blocking them from having the life and business they desire. This is an important part of the process. Identifying the background noise helps clients find clarity about why they are feeling unmotivated and helps them work past limiting beliefs. But this is not enough on it’s own! The next time you feel unmotivated, ask yourself why you feel that way and what is the desired result of having done the thing you feel unmotivated to do. Essentially, how badly do you want the desired result?

Each and every one of us lacks motivation at some point -- what matters is what you do with the emotions surrounding it. Do you let them take over and keep you from doing the work you were created to do, or do you take steps to uncover why you’re feeling unmotivated, what you really want, and push through to the other side?

Each time you hear yourself say, “I need to do this,” I challenge you to stop, take a moment and identify why you might want to do it instead. Words matter, they really do. More on that soon, so stay tuned!

Living Inside of a Snow Globe

I have always loved snow globes. I think they’re magical. I collected them when I was younger. I would stare inside, at the pristine little world covered in “snow drops” and would imagine what it would be like to live inside one. As I got older, instead of feeling like I was on the outside of the snow globe looking in, I began to feel like I was on the inside, looking out. I was stuck in the pristine little world, surrounded by glass and unable to get to reality. I imagined that everyone on the outside was looking in and thinking what a pretty little picture it was, but there I was, not really living life. Now that I’m further away from that, I realize that I was trapped by fear and living an inauthentic life. I felt like I was supposed to be happy because I was in this pretty little world and to everyone else things appeared perfect.  

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I felt stuck but I didn’t know why and I didn’t know how to change anything.

Do you feel this way? Have you ever? You’re not alone. The question is, how will you get out? What changes and choices are you willing to make today that will get you out of the bubble? How will you get to the other side of the glass? How will you live an authentic life?

I suggest starting by simply writing your ideal future. Imagine this future is your current reality, happening right here, today. Take a moment to close your eyes and envision the future you want and write it down. You don’t need a ready-made road map, you can create your own. You’re not forging someone else’s path. This is your path. No one can decide what it looks like except you. As you begin to build your map, you will become one step closer, every day, to being who and where you want to be.

At the beginning of her coaching, a client once shared with me that she wanted to become the CEO of her company.  That’s a bold move. It’s a gutsy vision. The problem was, she didn’t have a road map.  She didn’t know how in the world she was going to get to CEO.  I assured her that we had all the tools and resources we needed to create one for her. We started with her big picture vision and come up with a plan. Plan after plan and goal after goal, things started into motion. Just last week, about six months after that initial call, she shared with me a number of different opportunities that had magically presented themselves. You see, she had asked for what she wanted. When you put your desires out there with intention, you should be prepared to get them! I asked her what would happen after she participated in these magical things and stepped into the roles presented her. I asked “where is that going to take you?”  She was quiet for a moment and said, “They’ll take me to CEO.”

I am here to tell you, you can invent your future, you can create it.  You don’t need a road map, you can design your own.  It’s all there for you. You just have to want it, and you just have to start today, right now. You can get on the outside of the snow globe.  Just like I did.

 

Transforming Reality

I have long said “our perception creates our reality, therefore, we have the power to change the future”. So many elements in our daily life affect our perception.

Last Sunday morning, I decided to shake up my routine. My kids were with their other parent so I had the luxury of deciding how I would spend my morning. If walking through your neighborhood early on a Sunday morning is new to you, it’s like a whole new world. I decided to get up and to get out, and I walked around the neighborhood listening to a podcast. I listened to Invisibilia on NPR, episode Reality: Part 2. I had no idea how related it would be to that morning’s experiences.

I had explicit desire and intent to look at the things and the people around me in a different light.  The houses I’ve walked past hundreds of times but never really looked at. The people milling about doing their Sunday morning things. I walked past lots of smiles and friendly people. One guy stopped me and said “are you my neighbor?”. He shook my hand smiled and we wished each other a good day.

This was similar to an experience I’d had days before. We have a little free library in our front yard. My daughters and I have long wanted one and it is such a joy to have. While working on the front porch (perks of being an entrepreneur who works from home), I had the pleasure of seeing our mail carrier looking, slightly confused, at our library. She finally spoke up and asked if the books were really free and if they needed to be returned. I explained that, yes, they were free and, no, they did not need to be returned. She went on to share that her four-year-old granddaughter was visiting for the summer and she wanted to take some books to her. I helped her pick out several books and she went on with her job but it made my day!  

This led me to wonder; what happens if you step out of your bubble? If you step out of your routine and the things that you always do and look at things from a different perspective. What happens if you shake it up? What if you wake at a completely different hour? Go for a walk or sit in a random coffee shop or talk to a stranger. Your perception creates your reality. So you have the opportunity to change the future, but what if your reality creates your perception? If you can change your reality can your perception change?  

Are you stuck in a creative rut? Are you feeling down? Are you not sure what’s next? Let me suggest shaking it up a bit. Do something different. This isn’t a new concept, Tony Robbins goes into a cold plunge pool when he’s lost his creative mojo. Lots of people try something different, get up from their desk, or go for a walk. But all of that is somewhat within the confines of your routine. What I’m suggesting is something that is completely out of your normal wheelhouse. Maybe you’ll find something you’d like to add into your routine. Maybe you will be struck with your next great idea… you never know. How about you give it a try?

Share with us how you’re going to shake it up. Why might you want to try something different? Are you stuck and looking to create change or transform into the next great thing? If so, the best way to do that is by trying something new.

5 Steps to Happier, Less-Stressed Clients: Part 2

Professional experts are in the unique position to ease stress and tension for clients, making their lives easier, happier and a lot more enjoyable. Revisit part one of this post to learn about the first two steps for happier, less-stressed clients: knowing what you are talking about and setting and maintaining clear boundaries. Now, on to the next three tips. 

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Communication: Ok, so we have talked about the importance of setting boundaries — but they mean nothing if you do not clearly communicate them with your clients!

People cannot give you want you want if they don’t know what it is. Nor can you give clients what they want and need if you don’t know what it is. Communication is the problem solver here. Have solid office hours and list them in a welcome email that clearly states them. Have a proprietary process when on-boarding new clients and communicate that to them in the beginning stages of your planning.

Manage expectations: This goes a step beyond communication. Let clients know when they can expect something from you. Vagueness is your enemy. Owe them a deliverable? Tell them “I will have this to you within a week” or whatever your timing dictates. Do not leave things to the imagination. If you do, their imagination will tell them to expect something from you instantly. We live in a world where instant gratification is expected and this is not a healthy way to operate your business or your life.

If you will be out of pocket for a day or are heading on vacation, send a personal email letting clients know and remind them with your out of office responder. But don’t just stop there! Be sure to communicate when they can expect a response from you. Are you checking email once a day, once a week or not at all until you return? What should they do in case of an emergency (which, let’s face it, shouldn’t happen unless your job is literally saving lives)?

Every step of the client experience should be managed by you, the expert. Your clients will look to you for action plans, advice and follow through. Arming them with knowledge and managing their expectations keeps everyone calm, cool and collected.

Always follow through: This one is simple and it applies to everything mentioned above. Do what you say you are going to do. Always. No matter what. If for any reason, you are unable to follow through, then quickly and articulately let the clients know that you need to shift your commitment. Do not make excuses and do not cast blame. State the facts as they are and re-commit with a new plan. It is not the thinking of things that matters, it is in the doing of things. Do what you say you are going to do.

Break it down and get it done!

I was talking with a new client the other day and she was really struggling with ways to get a new product off the ground. This came as no surprise to me because having clear goals and setting up the systems to achieve those goals is one of the most important things that any entrepreneur needs to do and many of them struggle with it. Vickery & Co recently conducted a survey of over 300 entrepreneurs and small business owners and found out what the entrepreneurial landscape looks like when it comes to setting and achieving goals.

Of those surveyed, over 93% stated they have clear business goals. But, as we all know, the magic is not in the thinking of things, it is in the doing of things. 52% of those surveyed struggle with knowing how to get from where they are to where they want to be and 33% have no idea where to start. Without a clear path to success, they simply do not start at all.

The discrepancy shows a clear disconnect between clearly identifying goals and knowing how to achieve them. This is an area where many entrepreneurs struggle. They are confident in setting goals and are willing to work hard to attain them but they get bogged down with the “how.” Aaron Anastasi, the author of The Voice of Your Dreams, once told me that there is no such thing as not knowing how to do something. It simply means your want to is not cranked up enough to figure out how to get there!

If this is a pain point for you, you are not alone! One of the things I work with every single client on is breaking big, seemingly unmanageable tasks down into tiny portions. The goal is to create small, manageable tasks that, once completed, have you achieving your big picture goal and don’t feel like a herculean task along the way. 

Fear is something that stops 46% of respondents from taking action. Whether it is fear of failure or fear of success, learning how to take that fear and use it as a motivator, rather than a deterrent, is the difference between getting what you want and making your vision a reality — or sitting on the sidelines. 

I cannot stress how important it is to set yourself up for success. When you are able to cross several small tasks off your list, you feel accomplished and successful. When you feel accomplished and successful, you have energy and motivation to push forward with more intention and faster results. This feeling is contagious and helps to propel you forward, ever closer to reaching that big end goal!

Getting to the empowering side of fear and testing out systems, strategies and boundaries until you find the ones that work best for you are the keys to success. This is exactly what we work on with our clients. 

Do you have any goals you are struggling to achieve? We love to hear your stories so please share in the comments below or on our Facebook page.