This Isn’t How You Planned It

Is your life going the way you planned it?  Are you living out your dreams?  Or are you on the verge of giving up? Are you working at a job which seems fruitless?  Is your relationship hitting a brick wall?   Do you get a little extra money, and then an unexpected expense saps the money as quickly as you got it?

I’ve been there and some days I’m still there.  Sometimes life is all about moving ahead when the road is long and hard. When you’re exhausted and weary, it’s essential you take charge before you burn out or give up.

Like you, I’ve been there, done that!  I never planned to reconnect with the love of my life 16 years ago. I never planned on leaving my dream job.  I never planned on being diagnosed with MS.  Life happens and the plan changes.

The best skill you can gain in life is the ability to navigate unexpected turns and setbacks life throws your way. NEWS FLASH!!!! Life doesn’t always go the way we plan it. The truth is, it rarely does.  So, let your challenges build character and perseverance to empower you to stay the course and win your race.

Here are some tips from the amazing Valerie Burton on just how to do this:

1. Stop expecting things to be easy.

The quickest way to become discouraged is to expect life to unfold just the way you planned it, with few or no obstacles or opposition. Raise your hand if this is you?  I know I’m not alone here.  Life is so much easier when the expected challenges appear –  you know, the ones you planned for.   Don’t get caught up in feeling sorry for yourself when hard times come.  This is the perfect opportunity to tap into your strengths, character, and faith to courageously face whatever life throws your way.

2. Get some fresh air.

When your inner gremlins get the best of you, and you start traveling down that dark tunnel, it might mean you need a break.  Have you been focusing on your problems, rehashing them over and over in your mind? Remember, focusing on the negative brings us more negative.  Take a walk. Do something different. Get out of your normal environment. It can energize you and redirect your thoughts.

3. Get some perspective.

Fresh air will give you perspective and clear out some of the cobwebs or maybe even blow away the inner gremlins.  The greatest difference comes when we focus on someone else’s life. When you start focusing too much on what’s wrong in your life, force yourself to notice what’s right. STOP and think of three things you’re grateful for. Believe me, you probably can’t stop at three! Now, open your eyes to others’ stories about determination and strength.  Despite what we may think, we are not the first person to face our challenges.  Look for someone who has gone through them with strength and grace? When you realize you are not alone, you will feel the rush of power. In face, you may discover someone who has triumphed through far greater challenges and can be a source of inspiration.

4. Commit to running your race to the best of your ability.

Who knows why you are going through what you are going through? It may not even be worth the energy of attempting to figure it out. What is worth your energy is expanding your character and capacity in the process.  Think about the ways will you become a better person by persevering through this? What growth do you intend to glean through it all?

5. Be an inspiration.

Yes, you can be an inspiration for someone else.  Your story may be just the thing someone else needs to hear to overcome their obstacle.  Every person who has faced a challenge has overcome them with their attitude, determination, and faith. Tackle your challenges in a way your children, friends, family, and coworkers will be inspired by your example. You can give others hope by simply acting with the courage to live and love fully in the face of fear and disappointment.

The first time I was told I was an inspiration, I laughed because the truth is, I never believed I could inspire anyone.  My life was my life full of challenges and obstacles.  Some I have overcome and some inner gremlins I still do battle with.  About 2 years ago, when the diagnosis of MS was “unofficially” given, I made a decision to allow my setbacks to build character and perseverance. Truth was my life’s journey had brought me to where I was today.  The challenges were actually a blessing in disguise.  Do I always understand it? NO!  Do I always like it? NO!

If you are struggling, I challenge you to stop feeling sorry for yourself.  It is time to gain  some perspective which will inspire and empower you.   When you get discouraged, what thought will lift you up?  Share it with us, maybe you can inspire someone else…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Unclutter on Friday

Have you started to countdown to the end of the day?  Are you overwhelmed? Are you exhausted?  Do you easily get distracted?  Whether you own your own business or work for someone else, we have all had these feelings.

Some days I have even thought “it would be easier to go back to work”.  Who am I kidding?  These feelings are usually a result of playing the “comparison game” then trying to follow what someone else is doing.  The result, I am headed in a 100 different directions making no progress at all.  So, I usually

No, it isn’t easy but you have to decide if you want to focus or give up.  Yep! Are you going to focus on one direction, one massive goal or give up and give in to all all the competing images and blogs and social media streams?

Listen. I get it. I fight the comparison game too!

I love the opportunity to get my cup filled from the AMAZING Carrie Wilkerson on a regular basis as a leader with Thirty One.

Staying focused is not easy.  It takes practice.  Here are some tips to help:

1. I am on ONE thing at a time.

Yes, ONE! I have a daily checklist of the things I must get done every day.  I work each thing one at a time.  I close the tabs my computer so I’m not scrolling through Facebook or watching for alerts to come through, or watching for incoming emails. One thing at a time. I used this same theory years ago with paper.  It worked then and it works now!

2. Invest (pay ) in ONE course or seminar or conference per year.

I know there is ALOT of FREE classes and offers out there.  I have signed up for many of them and then don’t attend.  I’m trying to focus on ONE skill for the year. No, it isn’t easy.  I have been the “I want the magic wand” type of girl and it just hasn’t worked.  So it is time for a change.  If you are going to pay for a training, find the person who you connect with.  Honestly, I have paid for lots of classes and got nothing out of some of them.  I have followed lots of coaches but have found only two whose tips have really helped me in my business.  Guess what?  I’m sticking with them.  Will I still take some free classes?  YES!  But, I won’t be spending money to “try them out”.

3. I am intentional on social media. 

This is a work in progress for me.  Learn your audience.  I actually did a poll in my VIP Facebook group to ask them what things would be helpful and fun for them.  I used to watch my friends and do what they did but I stopped because I usually end up feeling inadequate which is not helpful in growing my business.  I use Cinchshare to ensure consistency in my posts BUT I also jump in and share things at random.  I always make sure I stop in to see who has liked or commented on posts.

4. I have my work scheduled.

The truth is what we schedule… happens. Think about your hair appointment, dentist appointments or even lunch with your parents or kids.  Does it mean “You Must Have xx Hours Set’?  No, it means you need to schedule what works best for you.  I have found the consistency pays off.  Did you ever take up an instrument?  I played the piano for years.  It took lots of time practicing a little bit daily (30 minutes or so) moved me along faster than cramming 5 hours of practice in once a week. Be consistent and schedule.  Will my week look the same as yours? NOPE! I am up early and in my office usually by 6:30AM.  Hubby is off on Monday and Tuesdays so these are my weekends with limited hours in the office.  You need to set aside time for the things which are important to you.  I plan out my week each Sunday night.  I have a morning routine and an evening routine (hubby works swing shift).  It allows me to be consistent and work towards my goals.

I know this isn’t rocket science or brain surgery and I am sure you have heard these tips a million times.  I’m sure I have even written about them before.  Remember “you can’t get different results if you keep doing the same things”.  So are you ready to try something new?

Hope this was helpful and here’s to a ThirtyOne-derful weekend!

Home Business or Hobby?

It is Monday morning and the last week to get Thirty One’s Summer Essential Enrollment Kit to start your own business for just $50.  Are you wondering whether you want to be a true home business owner or just a hobbyist?

The truth is not everyone has the same goals. Some people treat their business as a business and others dabble basically running a fun hobby.  You can do either one which is why direct sales is perfect for everyone.  If you want to truly run a home business which leads to financial success, you need to know the difference between the two!

There are five questions which can help you determine which category you are in – true home business or hobbyist.

1. Do you have a plan of action?

Although having a successful home business can be flexible, you need to have a plan. The plan needs to include what needs to be done and when.  It can also include plans for marketing, knowing your competition, and follow-up.  Customer specials, hostess benefits and company incentives are usually set up by the company so you will just need to include these in your plan when they are announced.  Have a plan on what you are going to do to grow your business?  Contacts?  Parties? Fundraisers?

2. Do you have a schedule?

Remember I said, your business can be flexible?  It is BUT you need to work at your business on a consistent schedule.   Set aside time in your day – EVERY DAY- to work your business in a profit producing way.  Have you scheduled and SHARED your “office hours” with your loved ones and your customers?  Remember working your business doesn’t include reading emails, checking Facebook, blogging, etc – these are all time-consuming activities to help maintain your business.  Working your business ONLY includes actual person-to-person interactions, such as making sales calls, booking parties, setting up recruiting appointments, Hostess Coaching, pink bag calls, etc.

3. Do you have a budgets for your business and are you investing in your business properly?

I struggle with a budget in my business but I am learning to reinvest in my business and myself.  Remember – you must spend money to make money.  I know it is difficult when you want the extra money to pay off debt or for emergencies in the house but your business will not grow when you put zero dollars into building it.  No one “got rich” without some investment.  You invested in the initial Enrollment Kit but it doesn’t end there.  I always tell my team, you are in this to make money – not spend it.  You need decide what to spend, how much and where you are going to spend it so you can grow your business. It doesn’t mean you need every product in the catalog. Things like: business cards, thank you cards, giveaways, etc.  According to the Diva Success System, you should never invest or spend more than $50 per month into your business.

4. Do You know if you ARE making any money? 

The enormous difference between a hobby and a business: Hobbies COST money, Businesses MAKE money. So, do you  KNOW if you are making any money?  I don’t mean, do you have money in you bank account because it only shows what you took in and spent during a given month.  You can use a calculator or a spreadsheet to figure it out.  Let’s look at your last party and see if you made a profit. Look at your expenses  for the party – including gas/mileage, any giveaways or freebies you offered to guests or your hostess.   Once you see your “profit”, look at what you did with the money.  Be honest.

5. Are you investing in your education?

Continuing education is important for business owners as well as in Corporate America. Learn something new- every day. Invest in your education through seminars, courses, and magazines or books. You are investing in yourself, your business success and your future when you take the time to continuously learn. This is a great investment in your greatest business asset … YOU.

I have been working my business for six years, and I will admit, I have fluctuated between hobby and business at times.  My ultimate goal is for a business 24/7 so I have been making changes this year to achieve my goals. You don’t need to do it all at once, take baby steps… Trust me, I get it.  Having tried my own home based business before, it is tempting to play and enjoy your new-found freedom but in order to succeed, you need a solid foundation.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Maneuver Difficult Converations

timthumb-phpWoohoo Wednesday is all about how to grow personally which will help us to grow professionally whether you are a business owner or not.

Think about the most successful person you know.  Visualize them?  Got the picture?  Do they have the most talent you have seen?  Did they go to college and have the highest test scores?  Do they have a degree from an Ivy League school?  Or, did they earn their success because of their way with words?

The truth is some of the most successful people are a success because they learned how to talk differently – to others, and to themselves.  They conquered the toughest skill of all –  the art of navigating a difficult conversation.  Do they sweat or worry? Or do they effortlessly talk about topics which would utterly stress you (and others) out?  I am in awe how they manage to maneuver through these mine fields without even a scratch.

I wondered how they did it so I went on a hunt to see if I could find out….

Here are six things successful people do differently when they have something hard to say.

Consider what conversation you need to have and

1. Plan it out.

Think about the outcome you want from the conversation. Then stay focused so you don’t get distracted by emotions. This is the tough part for me.  I tend to cry at the drop of a hat – not good in difficult conversations.  Write your key points. Decide how you want to say them. How do you want to end the conversation?

2. Have compassion.

Speak with respect and kindness. See it from the other side, not just your own. Remember it is not all about you.  What do they want? What are they feeling? Acknowledge those things. Hard conversations don’t have to be ugly as long as you are being compassionate when telling the truth.compassion-2

3. Get it over with.

When you need to have tough discussions, do you delay them?  It is the worse thing to do.  The longer you wait, the more stress.  When you stress and wait, all of these tips are useless.  Have the conversation because when you do, you will be able to bless and release.

4. Talk more than you type.

How often would you rather hide behind a keyboard then have the difficult conversation?  This is not the way to approach a difficult conversation.  WHY?  because it is important to have the back-and-forth interaction, sense the tone of the voices, and see the body language.  These are things you can’t convey in texts or emails.   Have a face to face (or phone conversation if in-person isn’t realistic) conversation.

5. Know listening is a form of speaking.

Listening is key to any conversation but letting others feel like they are being heard is extremely important in difficult conversations.  People can see their value in your eyes when you are listening.  I’m not saying to skirt around the points you want to make, just be sure to listen, too.  What did our mothers always say?  God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen MORE and talk less.

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6. Question your fear.

FEAR!  It stops us dead in tracks most most of the time.  Having tough conversations is not different.  Fear usually keeps up from moving forward on so many things.  It is not a stop sign. It does not mean we should not move forward.  Use the PAUSE as an opportunity to question your fear.  What are you afraid will happen if you have this conversation? How will you handle the reaction or response?  How can you have the conversation without having an unwanted outcome?  Face the fear and refuse to allow it to silence you by making a plan to deal with it.

So, who are you afraid to have a difficult conversation with?  What are the key points you want to say and how do you want the conversation to end?  Share with us and we will help you fight the fear…

Thank you Valerie Burton for these tips.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Secrets to Success  

success

Do you know what today is?  YUP, it is HUMP Day. Halfway to the weekend.

Since the beginning of the year, I have been working on personal development in an effort to grow my business.  I know it probably sounds crazy to some BUT I am finding when I grow personally, I am blessed in both my personal life and my business.  I set up a morning routine which includes checking off those things I felt were absolutely necessary to be consistent (plus they are usually the things I let slip by or forget to do).

Here are some tips I have implemented based on the suggestions of other successful people:

Unknown1) They wake up early.

The early bird catches the worm, right?  I committed to waking up early.  Since the onset of health issues, early for me is 6 or 6:30AM so I can take the LONG commute (down the stairs) to be in the office by 7AM.  Why?  Because it allows me to get things done. By getting in the office by 7AM, I am able to put in at least 2 hours (or more) of uninterrupted work which makes all the difference in the world as I attack the rest of the day.  When I worked in the non-profit world, this was my key to success.  Arriving before staff came in to ensure I could clear my head before the craziness of the day.  I believe it was this routine which helped me to move up the ladder from volunteer to a Chief Operating Officer.  So, why would I not do it in my own business, right?   I challenge you to start waking up early everyday!

2) Say “No” often.

I am still working on this one since I have alway been the proverbial “people pleaser”. I am learning how to evaluate every request when it comes to my time and my business.  With every request you have to ask yourself is this going to help me get to my end goal. If the answer is “no” it’s likely you need to answer “no”. Of course there are always exceptions.  When you know your goal, it is easier to do this.

planner pic3) Plan ahead of time.

Every successful person plans ahead. Guaranteed. They have a clear path to get to their end goal.  They only veer from the path if the plan needs adjusting because their results aren’t going as planned. They know how to stick to their plans and pivot when needed.  I will admit this one is tough for me but I am working on it.

4) Be consistent.

This is a challenge for me all areas of my life.   When I plan, consistency becomes much easier.  I find it is easier to be consistent in my business which tends to then roll over into my personal life.

goal5) Set goals and see them through.

Goal seeing it not one of my strong points.  I think it has more to do with fear of not succeeding then anything else.  I also tend to play the comparison game and worry about how I measure up to others.  Having an accountability partner and setting small goals every day is helping.   The key is to set your goals, write them down and follow a plan to achieve them.  Everyone’s goals are different and so is the route they take to achieve them! Set them anyway, make a plan and be consistent.

6) Ignore what others are doing.

Do you always check to see what others are doing? Do you spend countless hours on Facebook reading posts, trying to figure out how to get ahead? I was amazed to find out successful people don’t do this – they just don’t care what others are doing.  They have their blinders on and their heads down focused on their goal. They have a plan and are consistently working it.

Those who are successful aren’t following the crowd, they are continuing to learn new things.  Once they learn something new, they figure out how it can be used to help them reach their individual goals.  Whatever your goal, are you willing to invest some time into learning how to make it happen?  Whether it is reaching your goal weight, having a successful business, or reaching the top in your field – it all is achieved when we are willing to invest in ourselves.

What is your best tip for success?  Please share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!