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!

Tis the Shopping Season……

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The first day of November…. temperatures are cooler, it gets darker sooner, pumpkin is everywhere and in everything.  The best part of November is people are starting to get into a holiday mood.  I know, it is EARLY but the stores have been decorated for Thanksgiving and Christmas since the beginning of October.

With the holiday mood comes lots of shopping, right?  How many of you have suffered from “buyers remorse“?  Whether it was a $25 item or a $1,000 item, we have all been there.  You start by shaking your head wondering what you were thinking.  Then you think how you could have spent the money on something more worthwhile.  This leads to regret and being mad at yourself for wasting money and going into debt.  Okay, this may be a little extreme for a $25 purchase but if $25 is out of your budget, you know what I mean.

You vow to never make the same mistake again.  I mean doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is insanity, right?  So, the next time you get ready to make a purchase not in your budget, ask yourself these questions to help you make a better decision….

1. Can I afford it?

If you can’t afford it, then you should not be getting it.  It’s really simple.  By affording it, I don’t mean putting it on a charge card so the great deal now costs you twice or three times as much. I mean, money in the bank or cash in hand.

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2. How long did it take to earn the money to pay for it?

Think about this: If the item is $100 and you make $20 an hour, then you had to work 5 hours in order to purchase it.  If it is’t worth you working 5 hours for the item, then you may end up regretting the purchase later.

 

3. What else could I spend this amount of money on?

What else could you possibly use this money to buy. This reminds you of about your goals – paying off debt, saving for a trip, etc.  It helps you decide whether or not you truly need to make the purchase.

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4. What mistakes have I made in the past with a big purchase?

Let me count the ways… oh, no let’s not because it will open the door for the inner gremlins to start bashing me!  Have similar decisions in the past made you happy or have you felt regret.  You never know, you may be about to make the same purchase mistake yet again!

5. Can the large purchase wait 24 hours?

If the purchase can wait 24 hours, then you should delay it. This let’s you think about the purchase longer.  Believe it or not, you make a more rational decision about a large purchase after you think about it for at least 24 hours.  Wouldn’t you be surprised, you realized you didn’t need the item at all!  The more time passes, you tend to forget, which means you most likely didn’t need it.

7. Where can I find the best value?

Shop around at other stores – even thrift stores.  Check both offline and online.  Prices can vary from store to store, as well as online, so get the most bang for your buck.

 

 

8. Is there a return policy?

Regardless of the purchase, return policies are important. I mean if you aren’t 100% sure, you want to have the return option for a refund.

9. Do I really need it?

Sounds easy right?  Truth is, it is the most important question to ask when making a purchase.  Really dig deep and ask yourself this simple question. You may think you need it, but is it a want or a need?  “Wants” are fine, as long as you are realistic with your budget and your spending. Living paycheck to paycheck, have a large amount of high-interest rate debt, or anything else, then you may want to skip any splurges and stick to what you REALLY need.

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What do you do before making a large purchase or making a purchase not in the budget? Share your best tips with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Budgeting Works

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For many of us, this was one of our New Year’s Resolutions.  The holiday bills have started to roll in.  Maybe bad weather caused you to miss some hours at work.  Maybe you lost your job.  Maybe hours have been cut due to lack of business.  Whatever the reason – this is probably the last thing on your list right now.  Great intentions when we start the new year but like most resolutions by the 3rd week, they are starting to lose their luster.

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Setting up a budget is tough.  Monitoring your spending is tough.  Believe it or not, when you have control of your money it is empowering.  You can also reach your financial goals one step at a time – even if they are baby steps.

The basic idea of a budget it simple – spend less than you make.  I know the kids need XYZ.  I know you will put it on the card and pay it when you get paid. I have heard (and used) all of these reasons as to why I can’t save or stay on a budget.

The truth is that once I figured out what I was actually spending money on, what I wanted to spend money on, and how to automatically save – life got so much easier.

Do you really know where you money goes?  I mean most of us will say we do but if we had to track every penny spent in a given week, could we?  How can you create a budget, if you don’t know where your money is going.  I have to admit this is the toughest part.

If you use a programs on your computer like Quicken or Quick Books, that is a great place to start.  Look at your spending from the past three months.  Now it may not count the Starbucks coffees or lunches if you use cash.  If you are like me and use your debit card for EVERYTHING, this will be very easy.  The key is to put ALL spending into a category.

Here are some categories:

  1. Needs: rent, utilities, basic groceries, car payment, paying off debt, etc.
  2. Wants: eating out, shopping, vacations, etc.
  3. Savings: retirement, emergency fund, savings for future purchases (such as a house down payment)

So, how does your monthly spending look? Are you spending more on wants than needs?  Are those needs being put off?  Believe me, I cringed when I saw that most of my budget fell into the needs category due to debt.   It was time to make some changes.

I started to prioritize my want spending so that I could save and pay off that debt.  I looked at my wants and decided which was the most important to me.  Then I started cutting some things out.  WaWa stops when I worked to pick up food when I could make and take it from home.  I stopped getting my nails done every 2 weeks and  made it a monthly treat.

Then I set up an auto transfer to start saving.  Okay, so it may not be the recommended 20% but it is a start. On payday, I automatically pay myself first.  I will admit that on months when I am short due to a smaller paycheck, I may borrow BUT I always do the transfer.  Start with $5 a paycheck and put it in a savings account.  It will slowly grow.  I actually do $25 a month then if I get a bonus or any extra money, I split it between debt reduction and savings.

Budgeting does work.  I stomped out my inner gremlins around budgeting and money management a few months ago.  It made a HUGE difference in how I look at my checkbook.  I have money saved plus bills are paid.  I am using the snowball method to pay down debt.  Honestly, it wasn’t easy but give it a try because it was so worth it.  Start somewhere even if it is figuring out where your money ACTUALLY goes instead of just guessing.

I would love to hear your best tips for budgeting.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

 

Your Herd

 “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds” Proverbs 27:23

I have been doing some work this week on my vision and mission statements which I will share next week.  In the midst of that I have been giving a lot of thought to my team, my customers and my family.

Have you ever created a program or an idea for your business and it was a flop?  Okay, I will admit that I have had my share of flops.  In my days of being a program person in the non-profit arena creating a program was fun and exciting.  There were some that weren’t very successful.  The same thing has happened when I have copied ideas from other consultants – some worked and some didn’t.  It always took some reflection to figure out what caused the flops versus what was the reason for the successes.

The bottom line was always – I didn’t know my “herd”.  I didn’t pay attention to my current market of customers or my team or even in some cases my family.  I thought I knew best.  I thought I could do it alone.  I thought everyone would love it because I did.  Well, we know how that works, right?  Now, I am not saying that we need to please everyone, all of the time.  What I am saying is that we need to have a hand on the pulse of what is happening not only in their lives but also within the community.

Jesus sought to meet the needs of His customers by ministering to their needs as His Heavenly Father revealed them to Him.  He could not meet their real need for salvation until he met their basic physical needs.  Once he was able to meet the physical need, He could reveal the true need they had.

Some of your “customers” have a perceived need for your product. But they also have a spiritual need they may not realize they have.  How often have we heard, “my friends don’t have any extra money to spend” or “I have no time for a party” or “I need a real job” or “the products are too expensive”?  Our customers have already set their fears in motion and as a result the walls are up to prevent us from booking, selling or even recruiting.

It has always been my goal to change the perception that people have about direct sales.  I don’t want to be that “pushy salesperson”.  I want to be the person who helps them come up with a solution to their current problem.

Maybe their budget won’t allow to shop BUT they can gather a few friends for a night out.  Maybe they have a financial need AND you are able to show them how we can do some fundraising for them.   Maybe they don’t think they have enough friends to have a party BUT you work together to have a small successful party.  Maybe she really needs an additional income and she has no time BUT you can show her how she can make money while out and about doing their every day work and errands.

The bottom line is that you need to meet your “herd” where they are at, focusing on what they need NOT what is in it for you.

God wants to use us to meet both needs – physical and spiritual.  That’s why it is important for you to know your customer.

Do you know YOUR customers?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!