How Do You Build Relationships?


Today I work up with the realization I suffer from “self-centeredness” on any given day.  SMACK!  When I walked back into recovery, I was unaware of how often I actually did this.  I rationalized and justified everything I did.  I thought I was being responsible.  I thought I was hard working (in other words a workaholic).  Slowly but surely I have found out what the true meaning of “self-centeredness” is and how selfish I truly was (or can be).

Self-centered is defined as “concerned solely with one’s own desires, needs, or interests”I used to say this wasn’t me!  Then I looked at some other words for self-centeredness and they included egotistical, narcissistic, self-absorbed, selfish, self-involved, and I didn’t think I was any of those either.  Yes, I was an only-child.  Yes, I was spoiled – I was an only child, an only grandchild and an only niece BUT….. You know what they say “everything that comes after the word “but” is BS!  When I thought of egotistical or narcissistic, I thought of people who were so full of themselves, I mean they actually loved themselves.  Most days I don’t love myself and there are even the occasional days when I don’t like myself so how could I be self-centered?

My first time around in recovery, I didn’t grasp this concept.  I became a workaholic and as I was recently told – “I thought your clients came before us, even though you were there for the important things”.  SMACK!  So, this is a concept I am trying hard to understand.

“I choose relationships wisely and nurture them intentionally.”

Okay, so I may choose relationships wisely but I definitely didn’t nurture them.  WHY?  Because I didn’t know how.  YIKES!  Think about it. When there is turmoil in your relationships, it impacts your whole life.  As a result, my relapse and road to being totally self-centered has effected my business, and my personal life.  It has ruined friendships, it has left me sitting on a “pity pot” and struggling to figure out the difference between being self-centered and being responsible.  You would think at the ripe old age of 61, I would know the difference.

The truth is I struggle with building strong relationships and maintaining them. Even in the relationships I didn’t  choose – family members or coworkers – I mean they need to be nurtured in order to be strong and healthy too.  So, I went from people pleasing (pre-recovery), to workaholic (recovery) to self-centeredness (relapse) to relearning the things I learned in kindergarten about making friends.  Talk about a roller coaster.  Along the way has been filled with a lack of confidence and fear which causes me to become (or at least appear to be) self-involved.  I may not always say “ME, ME, ME” although I am grateful for people in my life who lovingly point out to me when I am being “self-centered”.  It is always like a lightbulb going off.

I know this is totally a ramble and for some they will tune out because they have healthy relationships.  They are able to make the best of those relationships by setting strong boundaries, building trust where they can, and expressing gratitude when others are a blessing to them. For those few people who may relate, take it from one who has learned the hard way….. self-centeredness doesn’t always mean we say “me” or “I”, it can come out through our actions.  Do you justify and rationalize everything you do to make sure your plans stay in take?

So, for today I challenge you to ask yourself this powerful question:

What one gesture could I make today to strengthen one of my important relationships?

Are you already feeling the panic?  What if if you made a simple phone call of support to encourage someone?  What if you wrote a thank you note to someone for something that touched your heart?  What if you put your phone away and gave your undivided attention to the person you are sitting next to?  My simple gesture lately has been to put my phone away and be present in the moment.  Is it tough, without a doubt!

Believe it or not these small gestures strengthen the bonds of a relationship, any relationship. We can’t achieve our goals or meet our needs alone –  we need people. And people need us.  So, if you think any of these may be you…. step out of your comfort zone and make a gesture – no matter how small.

Wonder why you are struggling in your business?  Wonder why you scroll through social media thinking the grass is always greener? The truth is those who are most resilient and successful have strong relationships.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Especially In Scary Places

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message

I couldn’t help but notice the flying shoes. Strewn across power lines all over El Salvador was pair after pair of dirty, old tennis shoes that had been tied together and strung over the wires that lined the streets. On the bus, our guide pointed them out – telling the story that those tennis shoes serve as territory markers for the violent gangs and drug cartels.

They establish boundaries and stake claim to who runs what in particular parts of town.

My heart sifted through the language, economic and cultural barriers that separated me from them. I was stirred to understand more deeply. Distressed by the implications and evil. Moved to do something. To help. To protect.

As we got off the bus in each area, the guide gave specific instructions about what we could eat and drink, the time we had for the stop, the dangers of the area and the challenges the locals were facing. I was grateful for his direction and knowledge. It helped me know what to do and how to respond. Made me feel more confident. More safe.

With the guide, the trip was far better than it would’ve been had we tried to explore the region on our own.

Psalm 48 celebrates God’s presence and showcases Him as our Security, Defender and Guide.

A good guide knows his stuff. He’s got the backstory on places you go and is able to answer the questions that come up along the journey.

A good guide stays with you, even in the scary places, and helps you see and understand the history, significance and culture as you pass through new places.

A good guide welcomes your questions, warns you of danger and points out tennis shoes on power lines.

It’s easy to feel lost and trapped by barriers of life that keep us from understanding or knowing which way to go. “For this is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.” (Psalm 48:14, NIV)

As I read Psalm 48:14, I breathe in a fresh confidence.

God is not just a good guide, but the one and only perfect Guide.

He’s the Guide I need. The Guide that walks with me along the path, offering protection and direction.

Our security and peace are amplified when we listen to and heed God’s instructions.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Are You Ready to Quit?

We are coming to the end of  a “J month”…. one of those months when people don’t typically spend.  It includes June and July too.  I’m grateful Thirty One set us up for success with an AMAZING outlet sale at the beginning of the month.  Did I have incredible sales?  NO!  Did I beat last year’s numbers?  NO!  Did I panic and think about quitting?  NO!  I didn’t but some on my team did – they saw incredible success during the holiday selling season and in just 2 short weeks, they were ready to throw in the towel.

Whether you are in direct sales or have your own business there are times you may have felt like everything is going against you? You tried everything and nothing worked, right?  Maybe instead of your business growing, your business (and your confidence) was shrinking?  Been there, done that and got the t-shirt!  Have you ever wondered why you’re doing this at all?  Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel and calling it quits?

Believe it or not, you aren’t alone. I have felt the same way over the past 8 years and especially when health issues flared up.  I’ve been self-employed (only income) for 2 plus years.  It has its highs and lows but even when I feel like quitting, I know things will even out, settle down and start working again if I simply hang on.

How do I know?  Because I’ve seen it work the same way time and time again, for myself and for others.   I have faith in the foundation I laid in my business.  I know there is no success without failure, no confidence without fear and no rewards without sacrifice. It’s part of the process.  Do I still have fear and doubt?  Absolutely!  Honestly, it is one of the reasons for my word this year is “COURAGE”!   As difficult as it is, we need to learn to trust the process,  growing through our difficulties instead of giving up.

Here are 4 things I have learned about working through difficult times in your business (and life):

1. Take a step back and rest. When I am feeling overwhelmed and like nothing is going right, I simply take a step back.  Crazy, right?  It is usually a key sign I need to give myself some space and time to rest, renew and refresh.  Despite our best efforts, we can’t pour from an empty cup.  We have to take care of ourself first before we can take care of our business and others.  The “people pleasing” me wants to help everyone so I definitely struggle with this concept.  When things are the toughest or we are smack in the middle of a difficult situation, all we can see is what is in front of us.  We don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  So, when it happens – take a short break. I have found when I take a step back and get out of the mix, I can actually see the bigger picture.  The creative side kicks in with new ideas and a glimpse at the light at the end of the tunnel.  .

2. Go back to your vision & your why.  One of the worst parts of my MS is not remembering – not only do I not have memories of important times in my life BUT I tend to forget my “why” or have a link to the emotional aspect of it.  The truth is, when you take your eyes off your why, your vision or your goals, you’ll start to get off track and before you know it, end up in a ditch of despair.  Revisit your vision, if it doesn’t resonate anymore, create a new vision board, new goals and a new plan for success. Take some time to write out your 30 day or 90 day or 12 month vision for your life and business. Reconnect with what makes you feel excited and passionate and purposeful.  Keep focusing on your goals, don’t look in any direction but straight ahead.

3. Get out of your head and get into momentum.  “Inaction breeds doubt and fear while action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie   After you take a break and refocus on your vision, take action. Don’t overthink the action you take.  Yup, that’s me.  I want to overthink EVERYTHING.  Or I should say, I want to fix, manage and control everything.  It is a real internal battle for me some days to do something positive to move my business forward.  When I’m struggling, I focus on an area which comes easy to me, one I enjoy and can get some quick results and wins (sales) with.   Why start there?  With a sense of accomplishment, you get the momentum going so you feel more positive about your business.

4. Reach out for help and support.  I need to practice what I say instead of what I do….I’m learning AGAIN to reach out and ask for help.  Another lesson as a result of my relapse.  Everything feels worse when we try to handle it by ourselves. Always being expected to be the “rock” clouded my thinking and often causes me not to reach out for help.  The truth is we don’t have to go through the tough times alone. Reach out to a team member, your up-line, a fellow direct sales sister, a friend, or a family member.  Despite those nasty inner gremlins, we are not the only person to have struggles and it doesn’t make us any more brave to try to get through it by ourself. Be willing to accept support, encouragement and help. In doing so you can make some great connections, friends and accountability partners. You will also realize others go through the same struggles, so you will be able to learn and gain confidence from their experiences.

You aren’t alone. We are all on the same journey, just at different places with different stumbling blocks and paths we are going down. Keep going because there are brighter days ahead.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Pack Like a Pro

Happy HUMP DAY!  For some, this may be a day off and the start of a LONG week-end  on one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.  Can you believe more people travel on Thanksgiving weekend then any other time of the year?  Whether you are flying or driving to your destination, packing can be a chore…  When you are driving, you can pack what you want and even over pack, right?  But what about when you are flying?  Carry on versus checked luggage?  Roll on or tote?  It is enough to make your head spin.If you are flying this holiday week, here are some quick and easy packing tips to lighten your load.

1. Mix and Match

Do you really need a different outfit every single day?  The truth is you don’t.  I have always been of the mindset to take  “just in case” clothes.   I have learned when I fly, less is more.  I use the mix and match theory.  Pack neutral colors and colors which go together, nobody will notice your wearing the same pants two days in a row.

2. Light Clothing

The best thing about denim is you can wear it day after, day, after day, and it is perfect for traveling. The problem is denim is heavy.  I never really thought about this BUT it is so true.  So why not wear it on the plane so it’s not in your luggage.  Have a shirt or two in your bag to go with your jeans and some lighter pants if you must carry extra clothes.

3. Digital Entertainment

Let’s be honest, will you actually read the book you are carrying or will you be trolling the internet, listening to music or playing a game?  Don’t over pack with books and reading materials. Use a Kindle or an app on a iPhone or iPad.  I love this idea if you must have an actual book: buy one at the airport, then return it to the same bookstore at a different airport. You’ll get 50% back.

While you are sitting at the airport, do some people watching for some great travel tips.  The expert travelers travel very light while the novice is loaded down with lots of bags and struggling.  By using these lug-less luggage tips on your next trip, you’ll look like a pro, just like them!

Here are some of my favorite Thirty One products for traveling…  The Glamour Case is great for traveling or to organize your bathroom space at home.  It has four brush holders and a clear PVC zip pocket which keeps your cosmetics, toiletries and other beauty needs at your fingertips. The zip closure and top handle strap ensure transporting it is neat and easy

The Fold Up Family Organizer (#1) hangs up wherever you need it – in closets, the garage, the kids’ rooms, the bathroom (shower rack when traveling) — anywhere there’s a bar or a hook. It has four separate zip-close clear pockets, so you can sort anything from your craft supplies, to beauty products.  This is a great way to travel with activities for the kids – fold it up, snap it closed and carry it easily with a top handle strap. OR let them carry their own.

As for suitcases, the All Packed Duffle (#3) and the Retro Metro Weekender (#2) are my all time favorites.  I usually use the weekender and hubby travels with the duffle bag.  The weekender is the perfect with an adjustable, detachable strap, you can turn it into a shoulder bag or crossbody bag with ease. It has an interior zipper pocket and exterior flat pocket so you can keep valuables separate and secure. I love the fact this bag will fit under the seat of the plane or it is durable enough to withstand the baggage handlers.  If it gets a little dirty, toss it into the wash.  Yes, it is machine washable.  The All Packed Duffle is perfect for the gym, weekends away, sports, camping, overnight or whenever you need a fabulous carryall. The exterior compartment keeps your shoes separate from the rest of your clothes, while two interior mesh pockets keep things in place during transport. Carry it by hand or sling it over your shoulder.

So whether you are flying or driving this holiday weekend, be safe.  Enjoy the moments with family and give thanks for the many blessings you have had during the year.

What is your best travel tip when flying?  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-deful day!

In Want or in Plenty: Real Ways to Create Contentment in Your Life

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message…

On that sunny August day, I thought my life couldn’t get much worse.

Recently separated from my husband and with no support from him, I was teetering on the financial edge. My kids and I had just moved in with my parents, and I was desperately looking for a job to support my two middle schoolers.

I thought about our old life where the only thing I needed to get them ready for a new school year was a debit card and a couple trips to the mall. With school only a few weeks away, I didn’t know where I’d get the money to buy clothes and shoes or pay for annual physicals.

That was fifteen years ago.

Today, I do have enough, but the dread of not having what I need can still make me sick to my stomach.

We live in a tiny house, but one that is situated in the most expensive county in the US, with plenty of food, enough money to buy clothes we need and go out to dinner occasionally. Even take an occasional vacation.
This is the land of plenty. No doubt about it.

But what I’ve discovered? There are benefits and drawbacks to both.

When I was in want, we pulled together what we needed with the help of my parents, hand-me-downs from friends, Goodwill, and a small amount of surprise money that showed up in our mailbox. We didn’t have extra, but we had exactly what we needed.

Living in want is a scary place to be, whatever your want may be. But the other thing I discovered about living in want? It gives you plenty of room to see and experience God’s provision first hand, evidence of God’s care and provision for me and my kids.

Now, living in plenty? Whew! Finally, you can be relieved of the day-to-day worry about how you’re going to pay the rent, or the next car payment. But there is a drawback to living in plenty: You can forget to notice all the miracles around you.

We falsely believe we are making things happen—and that can even turn into thinking if only people were as ______________ (conscientious, hard-working, smart, etc.) as us, they would not be in want.

And suddenly we forget about the love, graciousness and strength only God can provide in both of these times.

So how do we stay content in a world that actively works to keep us discontent?

Limit your time around agents of discontent.

Where does your discontentment grow? For me, it’s looking at Pinterest or home decorating sites. I see all-white country chic homes and am transported into another world—until I have to come back to earth and see my stained carpets, saggy couches and 1970’s bathroom. Not only can I become dissatisfied, I can project that dissatisfaction onto my husband, who works hard to provide for me.

I’ve learned to limit myself when it comes to my house. Currently, we are replacing our carpets with flooring. Instead of spending months perusing different websites, I’m heading to Home Depot. No muss. No fuss.

Get radically, ridiculously grateful.

This is an exercise I do when I need to recalibrate my gratefulness. Notice how many things you have directly around you.

As I write this, within a foot of me are:

2 Bibles
A notebook and pen
A coffee cup with hot coffee in it
A banana peel from the banana I just ate
A tray a good friend gave me
A couch I’m sitting on
A quilt my mom made me
My dog cuddling with me
Just noticing the blessings in my immediate surroundings changes my perspective.

Here is what I know from reading God’s word: We need to set our hearts on God and not our circumstances. We must learn to live both in want and in plenty.

God will meet us, no matter our situation. Our ability to be content is not determined by our circumstances, but our connection to Him.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!