How Do You Unplug?

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Today I am sitting at Jersey Shore Medical Center waiting patiently (ok maybe not) for hubby to have his procedure and head to a room.  I was in this same spot 7+ years ago.  The only difference is, this time is a battery replacement which they say is a simple procedure.  I know, what does this have to do with being unplugged right?  Well, I might be more plugged in today to pass the time but as soon as he is out of surgery, I am unplugging.

When was the last time you totally UNPLUGGED from technology?  A scary thought, right?  I used to think it was impossible.  I have my own business and I rely on social media and technology for a large portion of it.  What happens if……?

A million reasons run through your mind as to why you should NOT unplug, right?  What did we do BEFORE technology took over our lives.  I used to call people until I got someone on the phone or if they had a machine, I left a voice mail.  The truth is business survived and thrived, right?

The last time I totally unplugged was on our cruise in 2011.  By totally, I mean no cell phone or internet.  No communication with anyone who wasn’t on the trip.  After the first 24 hours (always the roughest), I actually didn’t think about technology.  I enjoyed the trip and the people around me..

I haven’t totally unplugged for a long time, I have changed the way I look at technology and its effect on my life.  My obsession with my phone is a habit I developed during my relapse – a way to escape and turn off the people around me.  Did I know it then?  NOPE!  I justified it in a million different ways.  Now, I struggle with putting down the iPad.  LOL.  I started during puzzles and word games to help with my cognitive issues with my MS but it isn’t long before I am moving into scrolling Facebook or checking email.

What effect does technology have on your life?  I bet A LOT of the requests for your time, your money, and your energy come to you digitally, right?  Probably mostly via email as well as messages on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites.  And it is stressing you out. It’s distracting. And worst of all you suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  I know I am not alone in this.  I have always said “there is no PURSE (substitute your product/company/business) emergency”.  So it was time I finally practiced what I preached.

Yes, I used to check email in the middle of networking meetings; while stopped at red lights; in the middle of dinner with my family; and as soon as my eyes popped open in the morning.  I used to hate to have any notifications showing on my phone. Yup, all part of the obsessive/compulsive life.

I was afraid. Afraid of missing out:on booking a party or the next big potential customer or potential team member; or maybe someone on my team had a question. I was afraid of just not being “in the know” or worse yet, them going elsewhere. Crazy, right?  The truth was (and still is some days) is I didn’t like myself enough to spend time with me so why would anyone else want to.  A harsh reality which has come from recovery.  As a result, I buried myself in social media where I could be who I wanted others to see – sometimes not letting them see the real me.

If you are in direct sales, thing about it…. who would want to join your team if we are  always accessible?  If your obsession is just with everyone else’s life, maybe unplug to spend some time exploring yourself and the beauty around you. Here are some tips for unplugging and re-claiming your life.

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#1 – I removed all notifications from my phone – the apps are still there but the only notifications I get are text messages.  My family does a lot of texting so it is a good way to connect with them long distance.

#2 – My phone is usually on “do not disturb except for my favorites”.  This keeps me focused on enjoying time with those I am with instead of grabbing the phone every time it rings.

#2 – I start my morning with devotions and a smoothie – social media comes later.

#3 – I don’t have multiple tabs open on my computer.  I try (sometimes I don’t succeed) in only checking email and social media periodically.  I actually am more productive.

What do you do to #UNPLUG?

Have a blessed day!

 

I’m The Best!

Okay, I have your attention, right?  You are probably thinking “Who does she think she is?”.  “What makes her the best?”

Although, I have some skills and have received a few awards for my work – I wouldn’t say I am the best.  “Doubtful Debbie” is always lurks in the corner.  Just when I think I have built my confidence up to where it can’t be shaken, she pops her head!  Since MS has entered my life, those inner gremlins seem to come more often.  Add to it, relapse and recovery and those gremlins have a field day.

In direct sales, as in most businesses, self-promotion is important but we need to say it without actually saying it.  I mean, isn’t branding part of the key to growing our business?  Not always an easy task, right?  I am guessing I am not alone since Entrepreneur magazine did an article about it.  Here are some tips:

1. Identify what you’ve done and and what you’re good at.  This has always been difficult for me.  Believe it or not, I didn’t think I was good at anything for many years.  While working in the non-profit world, I was a behind the scenes girl.  The one who let everyone else get the fame and glory.  I got my share of rewards but I never felt like I truly deserved them.  I am learning to share my achievements along with my failures through blogging.

2. Practice your communication.  I LOVE these key phrases to help – “I’m passionate,” and “I did [this]” or “I worked hard [at that].”  When I share about my my passion for Thirty One, people respond.  When I share about my passion for my angels, people respond.  They get interested, share their stories and then usually shop.

3. Tell everybody.   This is definitely hard for me but I am getting better.  I mean if we worked hard and built an AWESOME business – shouldn’t we be able to share it with the world?  I mean when people meet me and they ask what I do, my answer is “I’m a Director with Thirty One Gifts, a blogger and a crafter”.  This starts the conversation rolling and allows me to share my passions with them.

4. Be prepared to prove it.  Don’t just talk about how awesome your product is – make sure you are using it so they can see it.  I had a consultant tell me once , no one took her business seriously. Then I realized she had LOTS of Thirty One bags at HOME!  She never carried one with her.  Now she is a walking billboard and she is getting sales.  I always have product (Thirty One and angels) with me and I include my blog on all of my business cards.

5. Get creative.  For me, sometimes it is tough to get creative.  I offer my customers great service – I try to remember birthdays and key events in their lives so I can celebrate them.  My VIP customer page offers some fun without promoting sales.  I haven’t found an unusual way to promote myself except by blogging so maybe it will catch some attention.

6. Be generous. Promote and encourage others who are doing a good job and offer your help to those who ask for it.  Giving back and making a difference in the life of others is the thing which keeps me going.  From chemo comfort bags to Fight Hunger Campaign to mailing an angel to someone who needs some cheering up.  Helping others is what I like to do.

Are you “THE BEST”?  Brag a little… tell us what you are the best at!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

What’s Your PR Strategy?

When we talk about PR, what is the first thing you think about?  By definition, “public relations” is the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.  
For most in direct sales, we figure we are our company, right?  If someone knows the product, they know we sell it – done!  The truth is good PR will help you develop and grow relationships, being known as the “tops in your field”, and land on your feet quickly should you ever find yourself out of work (or your direct sales company closing their doors)..
It’s not about being a pushy sales person, it’s about being a person who people trust.  People buy from those they respect, trust and know.  It’s about people knowing YOU, what your stand for and who you are NOT just about the products you sell..

 

1. All PR is not good PR.

I know can you believe it!  I used to think as long as people were taking about me, good or bad, it was okay.  For celebrities, it might work.  I mean they get book deals and new TV shows, but it rarely works in the real world (our world).  Drama does not make for good business.   Not sure about something,  stay quiet until you get your facts straight. Be intentional about the image you present. Protect it. Polish it. Then, present it.

2. Communicate your wins consistently.

Businesses put out press releases. We should too. This is on my “to do” list for this fiscal year.  You can call them whatever you want BUT you have to communicate!   What better way to recruit new team members or gather customers than by sharing your success.  No, it isn’t bragging if you consistently communicate with people.  When I achieve a goal, I thank my customers because they are the reason I achieved it.   When you work for someone else, you keep them in the loop, right?  It is the same thing for your customers in direct sales.  Let them know how things are going then they never have to wonder if you are still in business.

3. Collaborate and celebrate others.

Being in direct sales, celebrating our accomplishments may feel like shameless self-promotion, right?  Focus on the relationships!  When you celebrate your wins and those of your team,  you are strengthening relationships, and building trust.  Did you honestly accomplish your goal on your own?  Chances are NO!  So build those connections which will help you to reach your goals, quickly and easily with the help of those around you.

4. Stay positive and share your business tips.

In direct sales, we want our communication to be intentional – sharing our progress and ideas.  The key is for others to know what you do is duplicatable.  I tell everyone my business is an open book.  Want to know something – ASK!  I don’t share gossip about others and I definitely will not be the one complaining online about the company I represent when I get frustrated. Stay positive on the outside even if you are fuming on the inside.  There is no better way to kill your business then by complaining about a problem to others.

5. Be kind. Be bold.

Nice is bland and often not even authentic.  Instead, focus on being kind and gracious to people. Tell the truth, but in a gentle and loving way when you tell it. Being arrogant, disrespectful, or obnoxious to get your point across could eventually cause you to lose customers and team members.  One of the top strengths of a good leader is love and compassion. To stand out, be bold in your own unique way. Leaders know when to take a stand instead of following the crowd.  The result will be,  soon the crowd—and the opportunities—will be following you.

What will your PR campaign look like during the next few months?  Share your ideas with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How Many Half Read Books Do You Have?

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I’ve noticed over the last few years, I have developed a bad habit – leaving books half read.  I was never a HUGE reader but I did and still do enjoy reading. Life was crazy as a single mom with a stressful job as a Social Worker but I did like to escape for a little while in a good book.  I am a fan of fiction and some self-help books.34050bf1607e60e550360e8fa9a4867d

My concentration level has drastically changed with the onset of MS symptoms. The MS has affected my memory so reading became difficult.  I would read something and within hours forget what I read.  It now seems like a great excuse for the many piles of books I haven’t started yet – or worse, half read and then forgot about. My Kindle app is full of books but the truth is, most of them are half read or have never been uploaded to my Ipad.  Collected for “some day” when I “have time”.

I love reading.  Books were my happy place.  A chance for me to get away from the craziness of life.  Now, reading requires lots of concentration – no music in the background just silence.  But on a typical day where I’m balancing my business, my home, my relationships, and my health, I seldom find time to carve out 30 minutes or so for getting lost in a good book. Of course, reading before bed is a definite no-no.  I am asleep before I have read the first page.

The truth is, I’m just not prioritizing reading.  Whether it is to help me grow my business, strengthen my relationships or just escape from life, I need to give it time since it is important to me.

I have similar experiences with my long distance relationships – my mom, and my best friend.  Our lives are all so busy, we’ve got into a bad habit of letting weeks go by before we are actually talking to each other.  Communication falls to texts and emails.  I know no matter what, in the long run – we’ll always be there for each other – but the truth is friendships or relationships can’t thrive without communication.

As for the books, I’ve made a promise to myself I will stick with a book from start to finish (unless it’s really bad) and actually give myself space and time to really take something away from it, instead of just dipping in and out now and again before bed.  So far, that is what I’ve been doing and reading is becoming enjoyable again.

Why am I sharing this with you on a Friday – the first Friday of the New Year?  I am being “accountable” for my actions, in all areas of my life this year.

So, what’s important to you?  Family? Worship? Friends? Reading? Work?  Do you realize there are always things we say are important to us but we’re not actually prioritizing them in our lives.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the things you say are important to you, you’re not actually making space for?
  • Dive deep for a minute and ask yourself: is this actually important to me? If so, why? If not, how can I let go of it?
  • For the important things, how can you dedicate more time to them? It’s totally natural in our busy lives to struggle to “do it all” – it doesn’t mean it’s not worth still making space for – but what can you put in place to make it easier for yourself to actually do the things you want to do?

For me? I’m going to finish reading “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero.  Then I am moving on to a fiction book.  As for what is FIRST in my life, I’m going to put a date in my planner to hang out with my hubby, my mom and my best friend,

Comment below and let me know – how are you going to make space for what’s most important to you this week?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

 

How To Practice Loving Your Hubby

Happy Friday!  Yes, it is a strange topic for a Friday but before the hectic fall season gets into full swing, I wanted us to take make sure we are honor our relationship with our spouse.

It is easy to love on your spouse when things are going well, right?  Snuggling on the coach, enjoying quiet moments, dinner together and lots of conversations.  But when the going gets tough, we need to learn to dig a little deeper in order to love more intentionally. I mean who has time to love on your spouse as you are playing mom taxi, cooking dinner, working, running errands, struggling with health issues and juggling a million balls in the air during the school year?  It is during these times that we need to dig deep to make sure that we love on them. Thank you Club31Women for these tips:

1. Be patient with him.
Okay, so this is not always easy for me but I am working on it.  No matter what drives you crazy about him, or what struggles he’s facing, be patient with him. Take a breath, and pray for patience. Love is patient and by showing patience, you are showing love.

2. Be kind to him.
Sometimes, we think we are being kind but our tone or that snarky look on our face says otherwise.  It is during these times, out kind gesture turns into unkindness. Kindness is a cornerstone of love. Being locked into a committed relationship does not give us license to be mean. When you’re having a tough day, dig deep and be kind anyway.

3. Be honest with him.
There’s a time to share honest communication and a time to wait.  In the heat of a moment may not be the best time to be honest.  When sharing concerns, be honest about them, but do it in a kind manner. Honest communication is crucial for a marriage to thrive and grow. Hiding things from your husband will only shake or break the trust in your marriage.

4. Protect him.
I am learning to do this – not physically but in my conversations.  Sometimes our off-handed remarks are mistaken by others leaving the door open to attack or speak down about our spouse.  Protect his character and integrity. Always speak well of him to others. If you need help with struggles, do it privately with someone who can be trusted.

5. Trust him.
This can be tricky, if you have experienced situations in your relationship where trust has been broken – it takes time to build it up again.  Forgiveness can help us begin or continue to build trust. Also, trust him to make decisions for your family!

6. Hope for your marriage.
All marriages struggle at some point or another. Some struggles are larger than others, but most can heal and be made whole again. There is always hope even when we hit rock bottom. God designed marriage to be for life. Always seek Him for counsel through His Word.

7. Persevere for him.
All husbands make mistakes and have struggles. As his wife, we ought to be his biggest support and helper. Let’s be honest, we all make mistakes.  Love perseveres, and love covers a multitude of sins. No matter what*, you’re always fighting for love.

Every day we have an opportunity to show practical love to our spouse.  When the stress comes and struggles get real, take a moment to remember the reasons you fell in love with him so many years ago.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!