When I was growing up my mother would tell my sister and me many stories. As an adult and mother to my own kids now, I find myself remembering and sometimes retelling the stories I once loved to have told to me. One of my favorites was the house with the Golden Windows. It is a story about perspective and appreciating what you have when you have it. It can also be about not comparing yourself with others… I found this version of the story online… tell me what you think you can learn from it…
(This is actually a picture of my neighbors window I took to remind me of MY golden windows)
The House with the Golden Windows
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a simple, small, and shabby-looking house. When she would be outside playing in the yard, she often glanced over the fence and across the valley and noticed a large house high on the hill. This house had “golden windows” that glistened every time the sun shone on it and the girl would dream about how lovely it would be to live there instead of in the ordinary house like hers.
A few years later, when the girl was a little older, her mother gave her permission to ride her bike a little further up the street. She rode up the street, across the valley, and up the hill until she reached the house, with the golden windows, that she always admired from the distance.
As she dismounted from her bike, gazing at the house, she was a bit disappointed in what she saw up close. The house was abandoned and dilapidated. The front yard was surrounded by weeds taller than her and the “golden windows” were actually plain and dirty, reflecting only the neglect of the house.
Feeling so sad, she didn’t go any further. Heartbroken over the false illusion of her dream house, she mounted her bike and headed back to her house. As she glanced up, ahead of her in the distance, there was a sight that really amazed her. Across the valley on her side of the valley was a little house and the windows glistened just as golden as the house she was just leaving. It was the sun shining on her little house.
It was then that she realized, she had been living in her “golden house” that she always dreamed of from afar. But her house was filled with love and care. It wasn’t abandoned like the house she often dreamed of someday having. Instead, everything she dreamed of was right there in front of her. In reality… she WAS living her dream!
MORAL: Things aren’t always greener on the other side. The way we view things aren’t always how they really are. We need to appreciate the things we are given and make the most of it.
We often compare ourselves and/or our businesses to others. We are often comparing apples to oranges or our own challenges/weaknesses to other’s strengths. When they look at us… they see the golden window too! In the summer months when things tend to slow down and become more relaxed it gives us time to criticize and compare. I challenge you to instead revisit and reevaluate what you are doing. What is working? What isn’t working? Take the time to live in the moment, dream, create, and change things up. Ask someone you trust to tell you what they think of your business or what you are doing right in your life. Then remind yourself that you ALREADY have golden windows! How will you let your golden windows shine??
Snow Day! Yeah! Oh wait… I have to work and now the kids are here ALL DAY… Sound familiar? Well here on the east coast and in 24 states across America, we are having what I hope is Mother Nature’s last blast of winter “fun”. So, that means many of us are working from home today. I thought I would share some tips on how to keep the day productive.
Snow Day Tip #1: Create a NEW to-do list just for today. You can think of things that need to get done that do not involve clients like social media, blog posting, business finance, updating your marketing plan… etc. The list should be kept short if possible… use today to have a slower paced day yet include something that will really make you feel accomplished.
Snow Day Tip #2: Sit down with the kids and let them know you are working… if they are old enough, you can even show them the list of tasks you need to finish so they can cheer you on and support you through it. It is good for them to see you working!
Snow Day Tip #3: If you do need to do client outreach, be sure to do that FIRST before the natives get restless! Let them know mommy/daddy needs about 20 minutes (or however long you need) where you cannot be interrupted… Dust off an old favorite movie, a board game or pull out the cookbook and have them choose something they would like to learn to cook. Heck send older kids out to shovel! Show them a signal you can do without words to show them you cannot be interrupted. I put 2 fingers up to my lips as in “shhhhh” then blow a silent kiss. When you make the calls… It is also a good idea with some clients to just address the elephant in the room… many will have kids home so in the beginning of the call, just mention it… “Oh by the way, if you hear some background noise, I apologize… after all it is a snow day and the kids are home. I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me today.”
Snow Day Tip #4: Have some way to separate the area you work and the rest of the house… this can be a door or a screen. Here is a picture of my screen.
When my family sees this up they know I am working and have to assume they need to be quiet. This also keeps me from being distracted by what is going on around me as well.
I have a 3 part blog that addresses tips to work more productively from home. You can find them here:
Enjoy this winter wonderland today! Let me know what questions you have!
Many of my clients first reach out to me thinking they have a time management problem. Once we have our first session we almost ALWAYS find that it is something else.
Having said that I 100% believe that scheduling is important and can be done wrong if not careful. Are you focusing on Income producing activities (IPAs)? If not you are leaving money on the table. Getting those Income producing activities first will set the tone for the day. One of the tools I use is the 6 Most Important Things List.
Prioritizing your work and putting the income producing activities first will help ensure you are not pushing papers all day. What activities create the most income for you? Is it making calls, holding appointments, selling something or working on a marketing project? Each business is different and there are seasons. My recommendation is for you to sit and make a list of how you make actual money in your business… If you sell a product, set a goal to sell 1 or 2 first thing in the morning. If you offer a service, set up a selling appointment first. Try it for a week and see if your bottom line increases.
Share with me what your income producing activities are… if you don’t know… let’s talk! It could be that you are leaving money on the table!
You may have heard my story before about running. If not here’s the short version… In 2009 I was told by 3 doctors that I would never run again. I had the beginnings of stenosis of the spine, “crunchy” knees due to 5 surgeries from an ACL injury in High School and I was overweight. I am the type of person that if you tell me I can’t do something I am going to prove you wrong! So I began to lose weight and then in January of 2010 I started the couch to 5K program. Long story short I ran my 1st 5K on April 10th 2010 and continued to run races until my ultimate race in October of 2011… The Hershey Half Marathon!
There will always be people who tell you that you “can’t” or you’re “crazy”, “stop “dreaming”… I’m here to tell you that you CAN, you’re NOT crazy and NEVER stop dreaming! I first heard this poem at a Mary Kay event probably around 1998… I still love this poem and I hope you enjoy it! Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
The Race by Dr. D.H. “Dee” Groberg
“QUIT! GIVE UP! YOU’RE BEATEN!” They shout and plead,
There’s just too much against you now, this time you can’t succeed.
And as I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will as I recall that scene.
For just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; now I remember well.
Excitement, sure, but also fear; it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope. Each thought to win that race.
Or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
And fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for his son.
And each boy hoped to show his dad that he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they went, young hearts and hopes of fire.
To win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.
And one boy in particular, his dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought, “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his hands flew out to brace,
And mid the laughter of the crowd, he fell flat on his face.
So down he fell and with him hope. He couldn’t win it now.
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished to disappear somehow.
But as he fell, his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done – behind a bit, that’s all,
And ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself to catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quite before with only one disgrace.
I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.
But, in the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
That steady look that said again, “Get up and win the race.”
So, he jumped up to try again. Ten yards behind the last.
If I’m to gain those yards, he thought, I’ve got to run real fast.
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.
There’s no sense running anymore – three strikes and I’m out – why try?
The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had flew away.
So far behind, so error prone, closer all the way.
I’ve lost, so what’s the use, he thought, I’ll live with my disgrace.
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.
“Get up,” an echo sounded low. “Get up and take your place.
You were not meant for failure here, get up and win the race.”
With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said, “You haven’t lost at all,
For winning is not more than this, to rise each time you fall.”
So up he rose to win once more. And with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been.
Still he gave it all he had and ran as though to win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he’d rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered the winning runner as he crossed first place.
Head high and proud and happy; no falling, no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster crossed the line, last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last, with head bowed low, unproud;
You would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his Dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me you won,” his father said, “You rose each time you fell.”
And when things seemed dark and hard and difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy – helps me in my race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and down and all,
And all you have to do to win – is rise each time you fall.
“Quit!” “GIVE UP, YOU’RE BEATEN.” They still shout in my face.
But another voice within me says, “GET UP AND WIN THE RACE!”
If you read my social media or blog posts regularly, I am sure you have heard me talk about comfort zones before. My tag line is “open the door to empower your future!” When I say “Open the door”, I mean the door to your comfort zone. I practice what I preach! I find some way to step out of my comfort zone weekly if not daily! I am always trying a new networking event where I don’t know anyone or driving to a place I have never been before. It is usually something mildly anxiety filled… except when I travel to NYC!
I have been to New York City a lot for leisure, but that has always been on an organized planned trip and with family or friends. I have travelled to a few times this past year to visit my business coach. I first travelled there for business in July of 2014, again in December of 2014, and again this past Wednesday. For some reason going for business makes me so nervous. I don’t know if it is worrying about being late, going alone, or getting lost… I just get very anxious at the thought of going to NYC. My friend Emi travelled with me this time as we were attending the same event.
We started our day before the crack of dawn leaving our houses by 4:30 AM! We drove to NJ to catch the NJ transit. All was going well when we heard “Penn Station next stop” So we started to get off but I quickly realized this was not New York Penn Station but NEWARK Penn Station! My first thought was… OH MY GOSH we got off at the wrong station… I proceeded to push everyone out of my way to get back on the train! Not how I usually behave but I was in a panic! We get back on the train and someone was in our seat! AHHH! We scurried to 2 open seats. I just stared at the tickets in our previous seat wondering if I should have grabbed them. I sat there thinking, “who names 2 stations the same 1 stop apart??!” Then the conductor comes by and asks us for our tickets! YIKES! I stammered… “We were sitting there and got off at the wrong stop…” he saw the panic in my eyes, chuckled and moved on. He must have thought “Rookies”! Whew, crisis averted! Emi and I decided we were just on an “adventure” and boy was I glad to be with her on this adventure and not alone!
We finally get to the correct stop and decided to get Starbucks for the 1 mile walk to the workshop site. I have my Grande Flat White in hand ready to start walking. I turned the GPS on my phone to pedestrian and we set out… of course we walked the wrong direction at first but I redirected us and we were on our way… 5 minutes into the walk I realized I was squeezing my cup so much it was spilling all over me! UGH! A slight panic attack followed, but I finally got that under control. We arrived safely and on time… only took me about 20 to 30 minutes after that to calm down fully.
I don’t know if it is the rushing, the sheer giant size of everything, the honking, the lights, the chance of getting hit by a car or taxi at every corner… I am just not a city girl… BUT I KEEP GOING! I step out of my comfort zone into massive discomfort to grow myself and my business. I keep showing up even when I don’t want to! As a matter of fact, I am going back this weekend for TWO days! I doubt I will like it, but it is important for me to keep doing it! So tell me… where are YOU stepping out of YOUR comfort zone… go ahead… open the door… let the empowerment begin!
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Before each laser coaching session, my coaching clients are asked to fill out a Session Prep Questionnaire to help us zero in on where our focus should be for that session. One of the questions is, “What action/changes are you ready to take now?” I often get the answer… I’ll do anything! Only to find when we come up with some ideas they also come up with excuses as to why that won’t work. Well, that only works once with me… I nip that in the bud right away. You have to get uncomfortable to grow! That’s why they are called growing “pains”! I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and “try something on” for a week or 2. Find ways to develop baby steps to ease into the changes where you can. You will most likely find that the expectation was worse than the action. Are you buying into the excuses… it cost too much, I don’t have time, I could never do that, I don’t like the phone…
How long are you going to let the excuses stop you from reaching your greatness?? Get out of your own way and just do it! If you need to, find an accountability partner or coach to help you and support you through it! Say you will do whatever it takes and mean it! It takes practice, but when you push yourself, reach and stretch amazing things begin to happen. Tell me what you have been putting off. Will you do whatever it takes?
I remember as a kid I had one of those Magic 8 ball toys. You know the one… it has that multisided cube-like thing floating in the blue “water”… you asked it a question then flipped it over for an answer. This was THE hottest thing to help a pre-teen predict the future or make a decision… “Should I wear my “Jordache jeans”, “Forenza Sweater” or “Swatch Watch” to the dance on Friday?” (Ok I’m sure I just dated myself!) I remember sitting in my bedroom with my best friends asking question after question. It was a lot of fun, but we soon found out it was just “fun” and not reliable at all! Now we are all grown up, and we need more than a magic 8 ball to make decisions.
As an entrepreneur you will have a LOT of decisions to make on a daily basis. Are you a decision maker? If you want to be successful in business you need to be! When faced with a decision there are many ways to handle it. You can do some research, ask a friend for advice, make a Pro/con list, and on and on… But ultimately the bottom line is… you must make a decision! Sitting on the fence is NOT comfortable! I have been there. In the past I have been faced with a big decision and dragged on and on… it can get exhausting!
I’m not saying you should rush into decisions, but I do encourage you to take a look at what is holding you back from making a decision. Is it a lack of information? Has someone burst your bubble? Most often it is simply FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real). I LOVE to work with decision makers! Best of all… when you do make a decision you can see how it goes and make a NEW decision with more information! What decision will you make today? It just could be the one that makes ALL the difference!
We have all heard the quote by Albert Einstein (or Benjamin Franklin, or Mark Twain or Rita Mae Brown) where he states … “The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results”. Having a background in psychology I understand this really isn’t the “true” definition of insanity, but it sure does bring up a great conversation point! When you are trying to improve or change but don’t change your actions the results can’t come to fruition. Are you living this definition in your life or business? Are you trying to grow or change your life or business in some way but keep thinking the same thoughts, setting the same goals, making the same plans, doing the same things?
Often times we are stuck in a routine or afraid to make the changes necessary because they carry some risk. What if I fail? What if I don’t recoup the funds I have to put out to try? What if I actually succeed? Gasp! More importantly… what if I don’t know HOW to change? I invite you to take a good look at what you are doing. What pops into your head as something you have avoided trying? I challenge you to go for it! Step out of that comfort zone, Feel the fear and DO IT ANYWAY!
Start small… Pick something to change… Set a NEW goal, make a new plan, DO IT, then evaluate the results. Figure out what worked, what didn’t, make some tweaks and do it AGAIN!
I work with clients on a daily basis helping them NOT live this definition and find growth in leaps and bounds! If you need help let me know! I’d be happy to help you too!
I’m sure you have heard the phrase “Fake it ‘til you make it”. If you Google the term you will find articles and blogs showing many various points of view. Some discuss how it is done, some say what a terrible idea it is, some tell a success story around it. I can see all points of view, but I have to admit when you use it in regards to mindset it can be a VERY powerful tool on your journey to success.
Over the years the interpretation has gone too far in the wrong direction at times. For example, you want to “look” successful in order to feel confident. You interpret that as being rich with lots of lavish items. So, you decide to live the life before you earned it by “faking it” buying a bunch of things on credit you can’t afford. There is a huge difference in changing your mindset by believing vs. buying! It’s one thing to exude confidence before you fully believe it. Merely “looking the part” by wearing expensive clothes, driving expensive cars, and living in a large home is not going to get you there. Success and confidence is much more than THINGS.
Even if you aren’t buying a bunch of stuff you can’t afford, you can still make “Fake it ‘til you make it” backfire and feel icky! Faking it is very different than stretching the truth or even flat out lying. Before someone will work with you or buy from you they need to Know, Like and Trust you. If you are being authentic they will know it… if you are NOT being authentic, they’ll know that too! If your confidence quest is costing you large sums of money or worse yet your integrity… it’s not going to work in the long run. Eventually your confidence will be squelched by the overwhelming reality of debt, lies catching up with you or the loss of your ability to be trusted.
How to “fake it” like a pro!
Like I have said… “Acting as if” or “Faking it ‘til you make it” is a mindset. Changing how you think will change your level of confidence. Growing your confidence is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. You need to practice. You practice by putting yourself in situations where you NEED to use confidence. Over the past year I have gone to many, many networking events. Most of these events I had to drive in places I have never been by myself depending on my GPS. Then when I arrived I would walk into a room where often times I didn’t even know one single person there. The first few times I thought my heart would jump out of my chest! But as I practiced and changed my thinking, it got easier.
Getting rid of thoughts like “what if” or “maybe” or “I hope” will help reduce doubt creeping in. Find where even a small amount of confidence lies within you and build on that. Simply saying, “I can do this” can change your outlook in a situation. Did you know fear and excitement have exactly the same physiological reaction? They do! Think of it… your heart beats faster and you may feel butterflies in your stomach. It is our mind that decides how we interpret what that feeling is. With some training you can change your interpretation of fear to excitement. Replace your negative thoughts and feelings with positive ones. When you find yourself in a negative spiral, take a deep breath and reframe it. Change the thought process to a positive one full of positive expectation. Instead of saying, “Oh gosh, I don’t know anyone here!” reframe it to “Wow, I get to meet some great new people tonight!”
From time to time, when meeting someone new in our mind we focus on what we don’t know instead of the vast catalog of what we do know and are passionate about! This can cause unnecessary angst and worry. When meeting with someone talk about what you are excited and passionate about. Tell them what you CAN do for them and feel confident about that. If you are asked about something you don’t know… say you don’t know but you will find an answer for them and get back to them. As you practice your confidence will grow and so will your knowledge base and experience. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake or even fail at something. We can learn a ton from mistakes if we take the time to see the lesson in it and grow from it.
Being able to be outwardly confident even when you aren’t feeling it is a learned skill. It takes practice. But, with practice you can step out of your comfort zone into a place of confidence and begin to grow beyond your wildest dreams! If you want tips on growing your confidence or help with this, give me a call to set up an appointment! I’m holding the door to your comfort zone open so you can step into your empowered future NOW!
I have been known to be a great multitasker… to the point that a former employer actually gave me 12 out of 10 on multitasking in a review and listed that as one of my biggest assets! Multitasking seems to be a necessity and a sign of the time. Mompreneurs especially need to be efficient multitaskers. But there are times to multitask and times when that is not the best or most efficient idea.
Yesterday I was making lunch for my mom and myself. Since it was a dark, dreary, and damp day I thought grilled cheese sandwiches and soup would be perfect! Now, I have made grilled cheese sandwiches many times. Through trial and error I have discovered how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. You know, the kind that is perfectly golden brown and buttery on the outside and the perfect amount of gooey melted American cheese on the inside? I know my stove, I know exactly what temperature to set it to, what pan and what lid to use, and how much time on each side (2 minutes 45 seconds on the 1st side, 1 minute 15 seconds on the 2nd). I KNOW all this… yet I keep screwing up the darn grilled cheese sandwiches! The reason why is… grilled cheese sandwiches need to be watched, yet since I am prone to multitasking I am not paying enough attention. I figure… Hey! I have 2 minutes and 45 seconds I’ll just reply to that email really quickly or I’ll just do these few dishes while I wait. But EVERY TIME I do something else, even if I set a timer, the sandwich burns on one side or the other! However, if I stay and watch it… I can see then the edges of the butter has melted on the upper side and know it is time to flip it or I can see more steam coming from the bottom and know it will soon start to get too dark and I better flip it. When I DON’T multitask while cooking a grilled cheese sandwich… I tend to get the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. If I DO multitask at all… I get either a burnt sandwich or an “almost” perfect sandwich, but not quite.
The moral of the story is… use multitasking carefully. There are some tasks that allow it and others that don’t. You will know when multitasking isn’t working… when you aren’t getting anything finished or you burn the sandwich so to speak! Some tasks need your full attention! For example, a phone call with a client. FULL ATTENTION!! They will know if you are checking email or not fully paying attention and it will hurt your credibility or even the relationship… they won’t feel important. Scheduling time for different tasks can help you stay focused. For example, you can schedule yourself to do your social media scheduling on Mondays from 9 am to 10 am or you can schedule your bookkeeping tasks for Friday at 1 PM. Then when you think of those tasks at another time, you can say to yourself, “I don’t have to worry about that now… it is scheduled for Friday at 1pm”. Planning your schedule by including tasks can lead to feeling more in control of your schedule. If you need help with this let’s chat! I can show you how I can help!
Now go make yourself a grilled cheese sandwich… You know you want to.