No Performance Needed

Today’s message is from Gwen Smith…..

One day when my kids were little and playing with Play-Doh at the kitchen table, they enthusiastically called me over to view their creative masterpieces. I noticed that my son Hunter had used a small cookie cutter to make a bunch of blue stars. As I looked at the work of his small hands, I was reminded of a Bible verse. So I asked them, “Did you guys know that the Bible talks about stars?” I continued, “It says that God made all of the stars in the sky and has named each one!” Without hesitation my daughter Kennedy, who was five years old at the time, excitedly responded “Like George, Junior, and Kelsey?”

After the laughter waned, we had a simple, yet special conversation about God’s love for us. I really enjoy those moments of simplicity. The times when we pause to think about God’s handiwork and His Word as it applies to us. I can’t help but shake my head when I consider this thought: if God directed His attention to the stars and named each and every last one, how much more does He direct His attention to His children who are made in His image and purposed in His love?

It’s not uncommon for me to watch my children play in the backyard. While I do care what they say to one another, how they behave, and if they’re safe, I love to watch them just because they’re my kids…because I love them.

Do you know that God delights in you and loves you simply because you are His? Not because of what you do or don’t do … not because of what you say or don’t say … not because of what neighborhood you live in or what dress size you wear.

He just – flat out – loves you!

Psalm 145:20a says, “The LORD watches over all who love him….”

I’m so glad that I don’t have to perform for God in order to be loved by Him.

Just like the stars in the heavens, we were handmade by the Master of Life. He watches over us, loves us, and extends mercy to us through Jesus. I need that mercy daily. We all do.

I hope today you will intentionally remember this and look for opportunities to extend that same attention, love, and mercy to the people in your life.  Reach out and tell your child, children, or a special child in your life you love them, unconditionally, regardless of what they do or say.  Have you extended love to a friend recently? Call someone today with a word of unsolicited encouragement.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Let It Go!

This post is NOT all about the movie “Frozen“.  Although, I did see the movie and loved it.  This phrase has been coming up a lot lately for me.  It was the topic at a recent Weight Watcher meeting which of course sent me into emotional tailspin.  WHY? Because “letting go” is not something I do easily.  Then it came up in conversations with friends about business and personal lives.  Do you think God is trying to send me a message?

Do your emotions lead to food?  Whether we are happy, sad, stressed or angry – food seems to be solace for many of us.  We probably aren’t physically hungry but we find ourselves eating mindlessly and then wondering why the scale is not moving.  GUILTY!

Did you know between 35-60 percent of people who struggle with their weight claim to be emotional eaters.  It becomes a habit.  The two become so closely linked, we have a hard time separating them.  Yes, eating can provide temporary relief but then we never learn how to handle the emotion without eating.  Lately, it has become just the opposite for me – I don’t eat at all when I am upset.  Not good either since my body then goes into starvation mode and the end result is the scale doesn’t move.  Learning how to “let it go” is key to having balance in life (or at least in mine).  

Here are some steps to use when emotions trigger an urge to eat or when you need to let go of things in your life:

  1. Sit comfortably with feet on the floor and back straight but not rigid.  Let your gaze fall onto a spot which won’t distract you or gently close your eyes
  2. Settle yourself and focus on your breath moving in and out of your body.
  3. Imagine a blue sky with fluffy clouds lightly drifting across it (or actually watch them enjoying God’s beauty). Imagine each cloud passing by is a thought, image or feeling.
  4. Mentally step back to observe and label each cloud.  Maybe it’s a thought about work, a feeling of frustration, an urge to eat, or feeling alone.  You are not trying to change or stop the clouds, just watching, describing and letting feelings and thoughts pass by.
  5. Continue for two minutes.  Gently bring your attention back to your breath, slowly inhaling and exhaling three times and back to the present.

You can apply this same technique to other parts of your life as well.  Anger at a friend or family member.  Frustration with your business.  Feeling alone.  Hurt by someone’s unkind words.  Letting go of emotions is not easy but when we hold on to them, we feed those nasty inner gremlins.  As a result, the negative feelings build up and the inner gremlins grow causing a downward spiral which effects all aspects of your life, including the scale.

What unhelpful (or negative) thought have you had when emotions trigger the urge to eat?  Do a reality check?  You do not have to own those feelings, you can let them go and STOMP out those inner gremlins.  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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!

 

July is Sizzling…

It is July, and here at the Jersey shore things are heating up.  The temps are rising.  The “shoobies” are at the shore for the 4th of July holiday.  The roads are congested and the wait for just about anything is crazy.  No need to wait for July’s awesome Thirty One Customer Special.

First up is a HOT new summer time print “Sweet Sprinkles”.  You can get it in the large utility tote, the double duty caddy or the oh snap bin.  Headed to the beach or a picnic?  Turn some heads as you show off your new sweet treats.

Check out this month’s Customer Special.  If you are a Thirty One regular, you know December is when we usually have the “mix and match” deals.  Guess what we are having a Christmas in July special.  With a $35 order, you can mix and match TWO (yes, I said TWO) of these awesome products.  You can pick from the Oh Snap Bin, the Double Duty Caddy, the Swap it Pocket and the NEW limited edition Get the Scoop Bowl Set.

Would you like the “Sweet Treat” set along with one of the hottest Thirty One Summer bags?  You can get the Large Utility Tote with a Stand Tall Insert, an Oh Snap Bin and a Double Duty Caddy in the Sweet Sprinkles print AND a Style Setter (your choice of print) for $35 when you have a Thirty One party with at least $200 in orders.

I know you have no time to host a party – everyone is on vacation, too busy, kids.  The list is a mile long with reasons why you can’t.  What if I told you, you can and it is easy.  At the baseball field – I will come there.  At the pool – I will come there.  No big presentation, just a party on the go – complete in about 1 hour.  OR how about an online party?  We can do a Facebook party for 31 minutes LIVE or a theme party over 4 days.

OR Would you like to help me launch a new style of online party in July?  It on online and it a combination of LIVE and posts.  You can even join me LIVE if you want.  Help me launch this new style of partying and I will give you an additional $25 credit to spend at your party.  

Maybe you are thinking…. I can do what she does.  I could use an extra $300 per month to help with bills or have for the kids activities or save (whatever your reason), then join my team, the Rays of Hope.  If you join between now and July 15th, enter your first party of at least $400, you will  earn a $31 credit in your back office to use for whatever you want in addition to a $100 commission check.  You have already paid for your $99 Enrollment Kit.  Have a $600 party in the first 30 days and not only will you earn the credit, a $150 commission check but you will also earn $150 in FREE products of your choice.  I will be there to help you every step of the way.

Yes, there is a catalog change coming. So, if you want to wait, join after July 17th and you will receive the NEW (not yet disclosed) Fall Enrollment Kit.  I have seen some of the products and they are AMAZING!!!

Just a reminder this is the LAST month to order from the Spring/ Summer catalog.  So if you wanted the Starfish Splash print and have been holding off – GRAB it!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Throwback Thursday: So You Want to be a Leader?

June starts a new “fiscal year” with Thirty One and I am sure it is the same with many direct sales companies.  It is when I start looking back, not just at the past year but at my journey. It is when I start setting goals for myself for the new year.

Thirty One is offering an incredible opportunity right now….a chance to earn FREE Fall products AND up to $5000 in Disney bucks.

I love this incentive because the focus is on sharing the gift of Thirty One, NOT becoming a leader.  For some the word leader is scary.  I have heard it a million times, “I don’t want to be a leader”, “I don’t have the time”, “I won’t know what to do”, and the list goes on.  The BIGGEST tip I have given my team is: just share the gift of Thirty One and stop focusing on whether or not you will (or won’t) be a leader.  Have fun.  Help others. Share the excitement and the love.  The rest will fall into place.

This is a blog I wrote back in June, 2013.  I had only been a Director with Thirty One for about 8 months.  The thing is, this is still true today:

I never thought of myself as a leader, let alone a great leader.  I have always been a “behind” the scenes girl.  When attention was drawn to the work I did, I backed away and gave credit to bosses or those on my team, anyone else but me since I did not like being in the spotlight.  When I made the official decision to go into leadership with my Direct Sales company – the thought terrified me (and still does sometimes).  What did I know about being a leader?  I didn’t want to let anyone down – my up-line, my team, my family or friends.   I have been a “people pleaser” most of my life, a follower and not a leader.   

An interesting quote by Direct Selling Education Foundation said “the more others respect you as a leader, the more successful your business will be.”  

Here are some basic tips to help you to be a LEADER:

  1. Keep your word.  This is a basic concept for life.  If you give someone your word, it should mean something.
  2. Be inclusive, welcoming and make others feel safe.  If you do not get this kind of support from you company sponsor or director, find someone in the company who makes you feel this way.  I have been blessed with an AMAZING Sponsor (National Executive Director) Hope Shortt.  I want to be like her when I grow up.  Yes, I am much older than her but she is a leader I would follow to the ends of the earth.  I want my team to feel the same way. 
  3. Encourage creative thinking.  This used to be hard for me, in my years in the non-profit world, as a Program Director.  I lacked confidence in myself so it was difficult to encourage creative thinking in my staff.  As I grew, so did they and so did my ability to encourage “outside of the box” thinking.  I encourage my team to build their business with a solid foundation of company standards (home parties, etc) and then get creative.  Make their business – THEIR business.  Stand out from the crowd. 
  4. Allow people to share ideas and concerns.  My early management style was a dictator.  Fear, low self-esteem and lack of confidence had me instilling marshall law. As I got, older and squashed the inner gremlins, I learned to temper my demands and be open to suggestions.  I had a potential recruit come to a team training and share how she felt with my current party style.  It was not pretty.  WOW! In a room full of other consultants, it was a hard pill to swallow.  I listened and thanked her for her suggestions.  Yes, I quickly changed my party style so everyone is having fun (or at least I hope so).
  5. Support others and help them grow.  I tell everyone who joins my team, they not only get their kit but they get me.  I am there to help them in good times and bad.  It isn’t just about MY income or MY goals but it is about helping them reach their dreams – big or small.     
  6. Maintain an exciting and fun atmosphere.  In my past life, this was tough for me.  I was insecure and thought too much fun was a sign of bad management.  Over time, I found it was important to have a place people enjoyed working and coming to every day.  My team tells me all of the time – You are crazy!  I like to make things fun for them, get them excited and then they share the excitement with their customers and their teams.
  7. Hold others accountable for their actions.  I was a tough boss in the workplace but EVERYONE got treated the same – good or bad.  As a leader In direct sales, I struggle with holding my team accountable for their actions/ goals.  I am always afraid they will perceive it as being all about me (and my paycheck) instead of hemming them attain their goals.  I will alway encourage them and help them along the way. 

As I have said before, I originally fell into leadership (as a Senior Consultant) but then I made a conscious decision to be a leader.  I do a little each week to work on my personal development.  I know  if I focus on overcoming my challenges as a leader, I will be able to be a more effective one for my team.  What qualities do you think make a good leader?

Have a ThirtyOne -derful day!