Monthly Archives

August 2019

Relative Transactions

By | Mindset | 188 Comments

One of the many things I do to build my business is network, and like any other business, I rely heavily on my ability to convince others to want what I have to offer. I have often said that no one cares what you sell until they know why you do what you do. I also think there is more to building a business than storytelling. It’s also about getting to know the people you engage with daily.

Last week, I met a gal that does personal branding. What makes this entrepreneur unique is that she claims she can use the natal birth chart to determine each person’s branding down to the color and type of font you should use on your website. I found this topic interesting, and the more I listened to her speak, the more I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about her and her subject.

Whether any of us chose to believe in natal birth charts or zodiac signs are beside the point. What I gathered from meeting with this lady solidified my thoughts surrounding the idea of being relational versus transactional. What does that mean? Are you relational or are you transactional? Let’s dive into this.

When I think of being relational, I think of the art of getting to know someone. In my business, my job is to get to know my prospects, my customers, and those I work with daily. That means I have to learn about each of the people that I am dealing with on some level other than just their name. I have to find out about their family life, their hobbies, their occupation, their goals, and their dreams. If it’s a business prospect, I may inquire about their why. What is their reason for selling that particular product? My goal is to learn everything I can about them as long as they are willing to share.

For many of the years that I have been in business, I have operated from a transactional mindset. Being relational didn’t always come easy to me. I work on this continually. It’s not necessarily always a negative thing being transactional. Sometimes it’s beneficial to remind yourself that you need to get to the results. If you are in a profession like many where you need to close something like a sale, then it can serve you well in some ways. You have the mindset that you need to make things happen, and therefore, you will subconsciously direct your activities to whatever you are thinking. If you are aways only relational, then you may never close. You have to have balance.

However, when we become so laser-focused on the result and all we do is think in terms of transactions, It takes away from the focus of the person we are engaging. It then becomes a one-sided position to sell what we are offering. That doesn’t always go well. People do not like to be sold. They want to be heard, and it’s our job to find out where we can fill a need for them.

Mary Kay Ash once said, pretend every person you meet has a sign around their neck that says, “make me feel important.” Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.

I like to follow an acronym I once heard from a colleague called, FROG and this is how I remember it.

FAMILY
RECREATION
OCCUPATION                                                                                                                                                    GOALS

When I meet someone, whether, in business or other relations, my goal is to find out as much information I can by using this acronym. In doing this, I get to know the person I am talking to better as well as it gives me a perfect opportunity to see how I can serve them. I don’t always know that I will be able to help someone directly or even at that moment. However, I do believe there is still something to be gained by engaging with someone, and most often, when we look for the silver lining, we can find a mutual benefit. Perhaps they refer you or send you a referral. Maybe someday they are in a position where your product or service fits a need, and because you cared early on, they remember you and call you. Maybe they need a friend, or perhaps you need one.

The gal I referenced in the opening of this blog did a great job at being relational when we first met at a networking event. Otherwise, I would have never agreed to sit down and listen to what she had to offer. She asked me enough questions to intrigue me to want to connect with her and learn more.

People want to feel important and whether you are serving on a board, coaching children, working in sales, or managing your household, the best way to get people to engage and subscribe to your thoughts, ideas, or products, is to become relational with them. Get to know them. Ask them questions. Get them involved. Find out what’s important them. Find out why they do what they do and see if you can fill a void. If we spend more time asking questions and listening, we can learn everything we need to know about how to serve someone else. The beautiful thing is, when we help others, we are rewarded immensely in all areas of our lives.

Be kind to one another and be the best version of you that you can be!

She Goes to University and I Learn

By | Mindset | 140 Comments

Yesterday I participated in the filming of a documentary about mental illness. The production company was looking for everyday individuals to get their input on the subject. We were not given any indication before arriving as to what our topic would be or the types of questions we would be asked. We were merely given the address and advised on what we could wear.

My scheduled time was about 24 hours after I had dropped my middle daughter Paige off at the university. I was not at all excited to take part in this project for several reasons. I didn’t know what I was going to be discussing, nor did I know what they would be asking me. I didn’t have time to prepare since I didn’t know anything, and I was worried about what I might or might not say. Will I say the wrong things? Will this be a topic I know very little about, and because of that, will I make a fool of myself? Lastly, I was still dealing with the mixed emotions of dropping my daughter off at college.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am excited for her. In my last blog, I discussed the ongoing issues she had been facing before leaving and my concern. Despite all of that, I know this will be an experience quite like no other for her. I want her to succeed and enjoy her time there. With that said, I am not going to lie; I was selfishly sad about it. It meant change was happening. Change I did not initiate, at least in a direct way.

I went through with the project as I promised. I arrived at the scheduled time, and four other ladies were waiting in a small room. None of us knew each other, and we all had the same information about the project. It was very little. We sat in the room speculating as to what the topic could be. I couldn’t help but be apprehensive, but the more we started talking about the possibilities that could arise from this, the more I found myself becoming excited.

If I told you that nothing significant happened in participating, I would not get to share with you the incredible wins that came from this. Not only was the topic something vital to me, but it was something I experienced previously within my household. That meant I had plenty of input to offer. Besides, it gave me the perfect opportunity to talk with the lead organizer about my book and how it may benefit his project. The thought of that was enough to get me fired up. That conversation allowed me to focus on the possibilities rather than getting wrapped up in the negative emotions I was feeling about my daughter leaving.

I have often said in my live feeds, that my brain can travel down a negative rabbit hole very quickly. At the same time, I can recognize this and take action to reverse my thinking. I joke that this is one of my superpowers. I have found techniques although I know are not new, that have given me some control over my emotions and have allowed me to process change with more success.

Some people adapt to change very quickly. Others struggle with it. There are always underlying factors that can affect one’s ability to adapt to change, and there is also the severity of the change that can affect someones ability to accept change. One change for someone else may seem trivial, while another person may view it as significant. Nonetheless, we know change is inevitable, and the better we can become at adapting, the more resilient we become and the quicker we return to normalcy without lives.

So what do I when I feel out of control with change?

1.)ACCEPT THE CHANGE
The first thing I do is accept the change. I may or may not be able to do anything about the situation, but what I can do is accept it and take ownership of how I handle it. I am not going to tell you I accept it without a fight. I can’t change the fact that my daughter is going to college. It would be unfair to expect her not to. What I can do is accept it and figure out methods to resolve my negative feelings. In doing this, I can learn to change my perspective. I like everyone else need time to process things, but in doing so, it gives me time to heal. It varies from person to person. The quicker you learn to accept change and move forward, the sooner you can make peace.

2.)STICK WITH YOUR ROUTINE
Sticking to my routine is something that I feel like I can have complete control over. The closer I stay to doing my usual routine, the better. What does that look like for me? Continuing my exercise routine, eating my typical diet, reading, making my checklists, doing my affirmations, and anything else that I feel like is a part of my daily life is helpful for me. What do you do regularly? Continue that if possible.

2.) SCHEDULE YOURSELF
When I know significant change is coming, I get myself booked. For me, that may mean more network meetings, more lunch dates, more client appointment, prospects calls, more meetings, and more engagements. The busier I get during those difficult times, the better. For me, positive interaction keeps me excited. When I am engaged in activities with others, I am learning, and I am thrilled. I often say when you are busy doing positive things, you don’t have time to fixate on the negative. Join a group or call a friend.

3.) FIND YOUR TRIBE
One of the best ways to heal or adapt is to find people that are going through similar situations as you or people that have successfully resolved their situation. These people can give you hope. Something is comforting about grieving with others that are traveling down the same path. There is also something comforting when those same people come through the adversity together. Those who run together through the trouble, win together.

I once heard in a sermon. You are doing one of three things; going through a crisis, about to go through one, or you are coming out of one. I think the same about change. I don’t know where you are in that cycle. I know that change is inevitable, and my goal is always to figure out how to successfully and quickly adapt to it. I know I am successful in doing so when I can find the silver lining.

In close, my daughter had her first timed trial yesterday. This race was the very event she was worried about running. She messaged me yesterday to inform me not only did she place first place out of the freshmen, but she also placed second overall. She finished the run given the ongoing injuries she has been dealing with, and she ran a great race. She was pleased. As for me, I am happy for her. She is going to make her way in this world. Letting her go to college is a necessary change.

As for the documentary I participated in, I am hopeful it will make a difference in the lives of others. If my book can somehow play a role in that, then my story will also make a difference. All the struggle, pain, and the changes endured will have been the price paid for a huge silver lining.

As We Prepare for College

By | Mindset | 48 Comments

As we approach, the last seven days before Paige leaves for college, I can not help but be flooded with a wave of emotions. I am thrilled for her. I am excited for her. I am happy that she gets to do the very thing she loves most, and that is to compete in cross country at the college level. At the same time, I am not going to lie. I am a bit sad. I feel like my world is about to change again, and I have no control of that. I jokingly told someone recently that I thought after Cara left home, I would be a pro at this moving closer to empty nest way of life. I haven’t mastered it yet. Maybe by the time Sean is ready to leave, I will have it perfected.

I am also not happy that we haven’t healed her body 100%.

This year has been tough for Paige. She has wrestled with stress fractures in her shins, shin splits, and a myriad of nutritional issues. We have worked with chiropractors and specialists, including nutritionists. We have done therapy and home care. Despite our efforts, we have not entirely solved the puzzle yet.

As she prepares to leave on Friday, the pressure to perform is weighing heavy on her. She has a timed trial a week from tomorrow, and I know she is concerned about her performance. The added stressors of new situations and surroundings in her future is more than likely also affecting her health in some way.

The situation reminds me of so many things. I see Paige’s struggle, and it brings back memories of a time when I was so desperately trying to restore my health from a nerve condition. It went on for so long that often I could see no hope. I was seeking this and trying that. The pressure to get better was weighing heavy on me. It also reminds me that stress has an impact on the restoration of your health, and it can rob you from living a healthy life. When you feel like you are in a vicious cycle, what do you do? You worry about everything.

Despite all that we have done, Paige continues to struggle. Sure running might add a bit of stress to an existing injury, but the more significant factor that I believe is affecting her right now is the kind of stress you can not see. It’s the unnecessary stress we put on ourselves to get it right — the pressure to perform. The stress to feel okay in an uncertain situation. She has to get better because she knows she has to perform. She won’t have access to all the usual things she has at home. She won’t have mom and dad around at close fingertips.

As her mom, it breaks my heart. I want her to be healthy. I want her to enjoy this time in college. She worked so hard her entire school career not because we forced her to, but because she is Paige and that is what Paige does. She never starts anything that she doesn’t intend to excel at or see through til the end. She earned a full academic scholarship as well as an athletic scholarship. I am proud of her.

I talk in my upcoming book, about letting go of the unnecessary. I refer to a situation that occurred when my three kids were younger, and we were running from activity to activity. While during my health crisis, I forced them to make decisions about what activities they wanted to continue pursuing. Paige was trying to decide between soccer, karate, and piano. She loved them all, and she did well, but we were at a time in our lives where I was struggling with my health, and she was struggling to perform in all of them while being happy. We had to let some of it go. I remember it took her two weeks to make a decision. She knew that whatever she decided to stick with, is what she would continue with, and she would put her heart into it. She chose soccer.

There are so many lessons that can come from that story, but the biggest one to me is the importance of letting go of the unnecessary. It’s easier said than done. Right?

I wish I could help Paige know it’s going to be alright. She is going to be okay. If she doesn’t run her best race next Saturday, it’s okay. I wish I could wave a wand over her, and she would somehow have everything right. Her leg pain would be gone. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy. Paige will have to fight this battle, and she will have to figure out what she is and isn’t capable of doing. What I know is that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. She has unbelievable grit, tenacity, strength, resilience, and persistence. She is a fighter, and she will solve this. She will, at some point, let some of it go. I am not suggesting she will stop running, but I do believe once she gets settled and things become familiar to her, some of the worries will subside and quite possibly some of these issues will resolve on their own. I think she is going to have a great time in college.

Letting go of the unnecessary can be difficult, but it is necessary. It might mean securing a job that is closer to you. Maybe it means taking less responsibility or duties at work. Perhaps it means allowing your body and your mind time to recover. I don’t know what letting go of the unnecessary means to you, and I also recognize it isn’t always easy. I think with persistence and dedication to your well being; you can work through whatever is troubling you to find some peace. You may have to make some adjustments in different areas of your life.

Doing activities like reading, exercise, meditation, and affirmations have helped me tremendously. They help me reduce stress. They help me to focus on things I can control. They also get me focused on more significant vision ideas. It’s hard to stay focused on negative thoughts when we are excited about something. If you are scared to run your first marathon, think how excited you are going to be when you cross that finish line. It will help you let go of the unnecessary fear.

Whatever battle you are fighting, know you will get through it if you stay committed. Let go of what isn’t necessary for your life and focus on the big picture. Where do you see yourself? Where do you want to go? Put your energy into positive stuff. Everything else will work itself out eventually.

I know Paige has hope. Otherwise, she would have given up. I keep encouraging her that it’s all going to be okay. I did put my nerve pain back into remission. It wasn’t easy, but I came through. I genuinely believe some of Paige’s best years are ahead of her. This dilemma is temporary, and it’s a time where adjustments are being made. She will survive. She will run her best race. She will meet knew people and make incredible memories.

Love you, Paige. You are going to do great and be great. I am proud of you.

When You Come to a Fork in the Road

By | Mindset | 5 Comments

We all have heard the term a fork in the road. What exactly does that mean? We know it’s an idiom or a figure of speech. But what does it mean?  For me, it merely indicates that I have hit a turning point, and I must make a decision. 

We all know the importance of making decisions. We make several of them throughout the day. Some of them are the right decisions, and they benefit us.  Some of them can be okay decisions. Some of them are just bad decisions. Regardless, we have to make them every single day.

Often we find it so challenging to make that single decision. Why is that?

I can decide what to wear. I can decide what to eat. Then there are days I can not determine whether I should write a blog about this or write about that?

What keeps us from making decisions? Is it the fear of the unknown? Perhaps we decide to take on a new business adventure, and it goes bankrupt the next year. Maybe we opt to put our child in a different program, and they hate it. Perhaps we decide to wear a white shirt, and we get a stain on it. These are random examples, but they all revolve around decisions made that resulted in negative consequences. Unfortunately, we don’t always know what will happen and how it will affect us or those around us.

This fear of the unknown can cause us to procrastinate. It can rob us of life lessons. It can cheat us out of many victorious moments, and still, we continue to delay. It could be that tomorrow you make that single decision to start eradicating refined sugar from your diet, and you prevent yourself from having a heart attack. Maybe you decide to jump on that business adventure, and it leads you to ten new people you never knew. The result of those people produces a growing team, and just one of those individuals can now afford to send her daughter to a private school. Maybe you decide to take  your daughter running never knowing if she will enjoy it, but you do that for days and days, and then one day she earns a scholarship to compete in college.

Recently, I feel as though I have had to make a few difficult decisions. As trivial as they may seem to someone else, I still have to go through that process as everyone does. Which route will I take? I must weigh the consequences of my decisions. 

Most recently, I have had to make decisions about which brands I want to be affiliated within my business. Do they support my values and my vision? Does partnering with them enhance my targeted audience and make their lives better? Will I benefit financially or will they become a burden? And then there is the decision of helping my daughter figure out which foods she can eat while in college, so her diet doesn’t negatively impact her running.  She is leaving in two weeks, and we have been working on her caloric intake for some time because of her food sensitivities.

So, what do I do when faced with difficult decisions. Here are some things that have helped me in the past. 

1.) Research your topic. Get familiar with what you need to know to make an educated decision. There is nothing worse than making a decision based on emotion. When you have the facts, you are better armed. For example, if you have a medical condition, find out everything you can about it.

2.) Make a pros and cons list. How does your decision affect you and those around you? Will you benefit temporarily or long term. These lists help me tremendously because I can look at things from a more subjective viewpoint. If you have to decide between jobs, what is the benefit of taking one over the other? Do you have to drive further?

3.) Lastly, talk to a mentor. I always believe that you shouldn’t take advice from someone that you wouldn’t trade places with. With that said, find someone that has walked through hell and ask them what they did to get through that. You can gain some valuable insight from others when it comes to making decisions.

For some more tips on helping with decision making, check out this article from Forbes.com.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/03/28/6-tips-for-making-better-decisions/#21cec92f34dc

Whatever fork in the road you have come to, rest assured, that making a decision is necessary. Part of the learning process comes from those decisions. That is often the silver lining. Understand and recognize there will always be risks associated with choices.  Some of them will be teeny risks, and some of them will be quite significant risks. Nonetheless, you will gain some incredible life skills, and you will learn some valuable insights along the way. As the author John Maxwell says, ”sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.”