Overcoming Discouragement

Happy Monday!  If no one has told you lately, let me tell you how amazing you are.

For some of us (yes, I’m included), no matter how much we achieve or how much progress we make, we still have those nasty inner gremlins (and maybe some outer ones) who want to knock us down.

It’s the gremlins in our head saying:

  • “You’re not good enough.”
  • “You’ll look like a fool.”
  • “Who do you think you are?”
  • “You are self-centered. It isn’t always about you”.

When these mantras start, it is sometimes hard to silence the noise.  Verbal abuse whether external or internal can eat away at us.  Did you know there are things you can do to actively combat those nasty inner gremlins?  If it is an outer voice saying these things, the inner voices feed on those comments long after the outer voice has stopped talking.

Here are four simple ways to overcome those nasty gremlins:

1. Start talking to yourself

“You need to stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself again.”

Those nasty inner gremlins are setting you up for failure.  We are what we feed our mind.  When we feed those nasty gremlins positive things, they will shrink in the corner and the good will overcome.  When we feed them something negative, you know what happens.

The bottom line is: the statements and questions you use in conversations with yourself make a huge difference in what you do, how you think, and how you feel.

Instead of questions like, “Why am I having such a hard time?” or, “Why does this always happen to me?” Try, “What just happened, and what can I take away from this?”  Ask yourself questions which are life giving not life killing. OUCH!  What we do, how we think, and how we feel are all dictated by the conversations we have with ourselves. Pay attention to those conversations and watch how your life changes.2. Celebrate Often

When was the last time you celebrated a small victory?  Or do you wait until you reach a huge milestone to celebrate?  Did you know by waiting to celebrate, you are giving those nasty inner gremlins a chance to sneak in the back door crushing your joy?

Why not celebrate everything and everyone—all the time?  It’s hard to stay discouraged when you’re constantly searching for something or someone to celebrate. The seeds of depressions have a tough time taking root in a grateful heart and the same is true with discouragement and celebration.

You have your goals set, right?  Now create smaller ones leading up to the BIG one and plan some kind of celebration when you reach a small milestone. It doesn’t have to be elaborate—just give yourself a reward for making progress.  Then watch for others who are hitting their small milestones, and recognize them when they do. When you acknowledge an achievement others are overlooking or discounting in their own lives, you can do wonders for their confidence.

Celebrating small wins along the way will keep you motivated and encouraged. Don’t neglect it!

3. Prune Your Negative Vines

This one can be tough but it is probably one of the most important pieces to the puzzle.  When you don’t prune unproductive branches off a fruit-bearing tree, you can’t expect much of a harvest.  The same goes for us.

We must distance ourselves from negativity. If we don’t, we stunt our own growth.  Your dreams, visions, and opportunities will always require you to become more than you currently are. In short, you must grow to achieve them.  So, how can you grow when you are surrounded by negativity?

Those outside voices feed the negativity to those nasty inner gremlins and the result is they squash your dreams saying things to discourage you.

The vision you have for your life (and your family’s life) holds more weight than other people’s opinions.  So distance yourself from negativity. Don’t listen to people whose intentions are just to slow you down.  For some, the most negative people in your life can be those who are closest to you. You can actually use these four strategies to distance yourself from them.

4. Establish Boundaries

Imagine how easy it would be for an army to capture an unprotected city. The same thing can happen to your mind if you don’t establish boundaries.  Boundaries are the castle walls surrounding your mind, preventing discouragement from walking right in and taking control.  The problem is most people are scared to set them.  I know I am sometimes.

We don’t want to offend others, so we tolerate the negative people and activities influencing our thinking and behavior. When we do this, we let their meaningless opinions take priority over our own goals and dreams.  Whom you spend time with, what you spend time doing, and what you allow in your mind will either help you overcome discouragement, or fall to its forces.

Boundaries are the only mechanism for keeping the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. If you want to overcome discouragement, boundaries are vital.  We’re all either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or headed for a crisis—is it just part of living life.

But, we can choose how we react to whatever life throws at us, including discouragement.  When you equip yourself with the proper defenses, you can overcome it and live the life you were made to live.

Share a time you overcame discouragement and how did you fight back?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

What Does Your Success Look Like?

Success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose” and is something different to everyone.  The true meaning of success is up to YOU.

A new year at Thirty One allows me to reflect on my accomplishments, where I stand on my goals for the year and define (or re-define) what success will look like for me.  When you think of success, you probably think of more money, maybe another car, travel – all tangible things, right?  In the past, I always said success was being debt free. I still want to be debt free, who doesn’t, right?  But will it alone get me up in the morning?  For some the answer would be yes.  For me, no.

I want my legacy to be more.  I want to know I have made a difference in the lives of others.  I want the ability to give to those in need.  Success to me isn’t about just being debt free, it is about what I can do with the money.  Don’t get me wrong, part of the reason I have debt is because I give to those in need and try to make a difference in the lives of others even when I don’t have it.

Do you have tunnel vision when it comes to what your  successful life will look like?  Are you focused on the tangible things or are you creating a legacy?  I have heard it said often “people may not remember the day you were born or the day you die but they will remember how you lived your life (or made people feel)”.  What will they remember about you?

Success isn’t a destination—it’s a progressive realization of a worthwhile dream or goal.  What is your dream or goal?  Dream BIG!

Years ago, I had a dream of opening a house – a place where those infected/affected with HIV/AIDS could come and enjoy life forgetting about their life struggles for a moment.  In the early days of my work in HIV/AIDS, I created a place like it.  For some it was my office to get help with problems, for the kids it was a place to play and get snacks, and for others it was just a place to forget for a moment how cruel life could be.  The last time I was in Bridgeton, I drove by what used to be “Hope’s House”.  The small office, long since closed and moved to a new location, brought back some memories I thought were lost.  I honestly didn’t know what I was creating.  I didn’t know I would make a difference but my passion to help others showed through all I did.

As I moved from HIV work to working with struggling addicts, chronically unemployed and single moms – the dream faded slightly but my desire to make a difference in the life of others was still there.  Since retiring from social work, almost 6 years ago, I’ve been searching to find the dream and the passion.  Despite my best efforts, the MS beats me up and steals my passion as a result of stealing my memory.  Some days I feel like it is an excuse while other days I embrace the reality and enormity of it all.

Do I still dream of making a difference?  YES!  Do I know what it looks like?  NO!  Success to me is seeing a smile on the face of a single mom struggling to provide for her children.  It is seeing a struggling addict believe in themselves if even for a moment.  It is seeing a smile on the face of someone enduring the pain of treatment of a chronic disease. In today’s busy world, I’m not sure how my view of success fits in.  I’m the eternal optimist, seeing the good in everyone and looking for a place to make a difference.  What is your dream?

While I continue to search for a place to connect, I will continue to give back in small ways.  This month we are again doing our FIGHT HUNGER campaign.  A chance for YOU to make a difference in the lives of a child.  You can sponsor a thermal tote which I will fill with healthy snacks and school supplies.  These will be delivered to children in need in the local area to bring a smile to their face.  My Thirty One team, the Rays of Hope, will be collecting thermals all across the country and delivering them to children in their area to make a difference.

Remember you can also help me to make a difference by nominating someone on my “Give Back with Me” page.  Each month, a someone special will receive a Thirty One product and words of encouragement.  Do you know someone who needs some “loving on”?

I know I squirreled.  When I started today’s blog, it was about defining success in your life and I’m not sure I have helped you to do it.

I challenge you to take a moment and think about what success means to you.  Think about what people will say about you when you are gone – how will they remember your life?  I would love to hear your definition of success….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

How to Command an Audience

audience-300x200Happy Monday and it is time to conquer the world!

Believe it or not, I’m an introvert, content to be on my own working behind the scenes.  I work every day to overcome this in my business.  I mean, let’s be honest, being in direct sales you need to be out sharing and talking to people, right?

I never thought I would or could command an audience.  When I think of an audience, I think of standing in front of a large group of people speaking – YIKES!  The knees start to shake, I get nervous and totally forget what I am trying to say.  Without even knowing it, we command an audience…

  • Are you a mom or dad? Your family is an audience.
  • Have a job? Your co-workers are an audience.
  • Own a business? Your employees and customers are audiences.

When I put things in this perspective, it is a little bit easier to swallow.  The list goes on because an audience can be just one person you are talking to.  I love Andy Andrews! When I first saw him a Thirty One’s National Conference, I wanted to soak up everything he said.  The memory may not be great BUT I do read everything he puts out.  Some things stick with me while others I need to re-read lots of time.

He has an actual formula for commanding an audience no matter the size of the audience.

1. You want the audience to view you as a friend.

Do you feel like you need to have an answer for everything?  Are you a “know it all”?  Did you know the way your audience see you can determine how successful you are?   When your audience identifies with you or see you as a friend, they are more likely to be nice and engage in conversation.  Think about the people you enjoy being around. Then consider each situation from your audience’s point of view and make an effort to be friends with them, you will win their hearts.

2. You always want to actively engage your audience.

Do you get distracted talking to people (a group or event one person)?  You must ACTIVELY keep your audience engaged the whole time you are talking with them.  It can be stressful, right?  I tend to lose focus now with the MS and as a result, I tend to lose my audience.  So, I am working on way to acknowledge the distraction or “squirrel moment” so I can get back on track (for me and for them).

When I am talking to a small group (like at a home party), I used to stand in the front of the room – almost frozen in place, afraid to move.  Now, I walk around and talk to people while sharing the products.  If someone responds to something I said, I may walk over and share the product with them or try to engage them further in conversation.

The truth is despite my best efforts, I will become distracted or my audience will so I have to be ready to deal with it before it happens.

3. Communicate “what’s in it for them.”

When it comes to reading, watching, or listening, we only pay attention to things of interest, or those which affect us, or benefit us.  I mean, you aren’t interested in something, how long are you going to continue to listen or are you going to zone out?

Let your audience know what they will get from you (or the conversation).  If you simply tell them—they will show interest. Sounds easy, right? The key is to take the focus off of you and share what THEY want.  I have been doing this at my Thirty One parties but talking with the hostess before hand to get her favorites or the things she thinks might be of interest to her guests.  It has made a BIG difference in the interactions during a party.

The key is to Always keep “what’s in it for them” in the top of your mind. Tell the the value of your information upfront and it will not only keep their attention but it will also help you to focus your message on the key points.

If you want to make an impact, you must learn to engage and interest your audience.

What are your best tips for keeping your audience engaged or interested? Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Are You Spinning Your Wheels?

Throwback Thursday is when I look back on past posts, a time for reflection.  A time to see how far I have come (or where I am stuck).

After working with the AMAZING Britt Bolnick owner of In Arms Coaching, I have learned how important reflection is.  When I first met Britt, I connected with her.  I could relate to her struggles as a single mom since I was one.  I was in awe of how she used those struggles to build an amazing coaching career helping other women.

As a “bag” lady, I see everyone as a customer/ client. I mean who doesn’t need a bag, right? From purses to totes to thermals, we have them all at Thirty One.  As Thirty One returns to their “gifts” roots, the customers change a little bit. I know my customers have been buying gifts all along but now we have a broader base of products and with it comes a broader base of customers. I don’t want to leave any customers behind.

So, are you wondering who your customers/clients are?  Are you struggling to figure out how to get the “right” ones?  Here are some questions from one of Britt’s virtual retreats which might help you figure out your next steps:

1. What isn’t working for you in your business right now?

Think about it.  Put it on paper.  I don’t mean just “no one wants to party”, I mean be specific.  What isn’t working for you?  Not enough time to work your business?  Not enough new customers?  No time to schedule parties?  For me, what isn’t working is the lack of a full calendar for the summer months along with a steady flow of new customers.

2. What do you want SO badly for your business or work you’re NO LONGER willing to settle for NOT having it?

We all talk about our “why”, and for some it is stronger than others so it keeps them motivated.  For others, a vision board helps to keep them focused.  Make a list of the things you want in your business – just keep writing, let the feelings pour out.  When all is said and done, you can sum it up in a sentence or two.  For me, it is an action plan for consistent sales, parties which will bring me new recruits and expand my business.

3. What would the ripple effect be OF you having it? How would it affect your life, relationships, even your health?

It is like Andy Andrews says in “The Butterfly Effect”, one action creates a ripple effect changing not only your life but the life of others.  So, for me the ripple effect would be: If I grow my business with an increase in sales and recruits, it would mean a higher consistent paycheck every month. This would allow me to pay off my credit card debt.  Paying off my credit card debt would allow me the freedom from stress. Less stress would allow me to smile more which would make hubby happy which would help our relationship/ marriage.  In addition, less stress would allow me to focus more on maintaining my goal weight which would make me feel better.  Less stress would also help to keep health issues in check.  Expanding my business would allow me to give back to the community (it is about what the money can do).  Therefore, an expanded business = happy, healthy & wealthy Hope.

What is your ripple effect?

I love my Thirty One business. I love it pays my bills every month. I love I get to meet new people and share the gift of Thirty One with them. I am transparent with you when I am struggle because having your own business whether a storefront or direct sales isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. There is some rain along the way. You need to be willing to work past them to move forward.

What about you? How would you answer these questions? Be truthful with yourself. You know what isn’t working in your business. Own it so you can figure out the best way to move past it. I would love to hear from you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Things Leaders Wish They Learned Sooner

The Little Things

Happy Monday morning….. I have been on a high since earning the Leadership Incentive Trip from Thirty One diligently trying to grow personally and professionally.  I have just started reading a NEW book by Andy Andrews called The Little Things.”

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been told to focus on the big picture because when I do, it would lead me to success and happiness.  So you can imagine my surprise and curiousity when I heard successful people really focus on the little things.  Here is the one question asked of some “high achievers”, you may be surprised by their responses:

If you could go back in time 10 years, what “little thing” would you tell yourself to start paying more attention to? Why?

1. Talk to Yourself Instead of Listening to Yourself by Jon Gordon, Bestselling Author of The Energy Bus Jon Gordon - The Little Things

This is a GREAT book… Too often we listen to ourselves and hear all the complaints, self-doubt, fear, and negativity that lead to unhappiness, failure and unfulfilled goals.  Yup, Been there done that and have lots of t-shirts to prove it.

But instead of listening to the negative we can choose to feed ourselves with the positive. We can fuel up with words, thoughts, phrases, scripture and beliefs that give us the strength and power to overcome our challenges and create an extraordinary life, career and team.

Just keep running, stay positive, talk to yourself instead of listen to yourself and make sure you celebrate and raise your hands in the air when you’ve reached your destination!

2. Ask for Help (and Be Willing to Receive It) by John Jantsch, Founder of Duct Tape Marketing John Jantsch - The Little Things

This is a tough one for me but with the help of a coach/friend Eryka Peskin I am learning to ask for help and receive it graciously.

The truth is business owners like to push through and figure everything and to some extent, this constricts a lot of growth. What’s funny about this is people want to help and to some extent when you don’t allow them or ask them what they think or what they would do in your shoes, you turn the tap off. I think a great deal of this comes from the desire to be seen as having it all figured out and few things are more harmful to growth than that. Ask for help, be helpless, and activate the helpfulness in others.

3. Embrace Everyday Encounters by Michele CushattKeynote Speaker 

Thus, in answer to your question, my “small thing” is to learn to be less consumed and worried with plans, schedules, and important connections, and more attuned to everyday encounters.

4. Watch for What Excites You by Chris Guillebeau, New York Times Bestselling Author of The $100 StartupChris Guillebeau - The Little Things

I’d tell myself… Pay more attention to the way things make you feel. Feelings aren’t everything, of course, but noticing when something fills you with the right combination of excitement and nervousness can be a good sign in knowing when to take a big risk.

5. Learn the Right Way to Listen by Ray Edwards, Entrepreneur and Direct Response Copywriter Ray Edwards - The Little Things

Instead of walking in a room with an attitude saying, “Here I am!” I’d walk in with an attitude that says, “There you are!” I would smile at strangers—who doesn’t love getting a big smile from a total stranger? I would listen because I want to hear what people are saying, not because I was preparing to speak. I would stop trying to get God to bless what I was doing, and instead try to do what God was blessing.

6. Don’t Let the Wrong “Little Things” Hold You Back by John Rampton, Entrepreneur and Speaker John Rampton - The Little Things

If I could go back 10 years I’d tell myself to take more of a chance on myself. I always let the “little things” hold me back from my true passion. Little things like money, security, my girlfriend at the time, etc hold me back from becoming the person I knew I could be. Pay more attention to that little voice inside you that you know you should follow but don’t always listen too. It’s usually right, but it’s the little things in life that hold us back.

Now, It’s Your Turn…

What “little thing” would you tell yourself to pay attention to if you could go back 10 years?

As for me, I would stop letting the little things hold me back – lack of money, waiting for the perfect time and follow your dream.  Share your story with us….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!