Show, Don’t Just Tell

What Matters Right Now?

For some reason this year, the holidays have me STUCK!  We have all been there from time to time, right?  I’m an emotional mess.  There is a multitude of reasons (or maybe excuses) I could give but the truth is I am stuck and struggling to reach goals – personally, professionally and financially.

Whether it’s a relationship problem,  a work challenge, a financial habit (good or bad) or a health dilemma……inevitably on the path to our goals, something gets in our way.  It is weird how this has hit me during the holidays.  As I reflect on the past year which was filled with LOTS of challenges and look forward to the new year, I am trying to put things in perspective.

I’m trying to get unstuck AGAIN!  Yup, unfortunately it happens more than once year for me and I’m sure for others too.  My focus gets pulled in a million directions.  My goals start to look unobtainable.  My emotions get jumbled and I am an emotional mess.  I often want to blame it on the MS but the truth is, I used to get like this BEFORE the diagnosis came along.  Time to take responsibility and face the fact I let everything and everyone influence me which causes me to lose my focus.  I play the comparison game despite my best efforts to squash those inner gremlins.  Comparison will not only steal your JOY but it will also have you wondering about “what really matters most?”.

I know, why am I rambling on about this, right?  The truth is there is ONE powerful question which always helps me.  When I find myself overwhelmed, distracted or bombarded with requests or life’s chaos, I stop and ask myself a simple question.  It usually helps me to regain my focus and use your time better:

What really matters right now?

It sounds so simple, right?  It is not as easy as it seems.  This simple, but perspective-shifting question can help you to get unstuck in the most common challenges of everyday life. There are times when the noise in my head is so great, even this one question is difficult to answer. During those times I stop and repeat the Serenity Prayer.   It has saved me more than once over the years when life became unglued.  It helps to focus my thoughts and THEN I can ask the question of “what really matters right now?”.  Staying focused in the present has actually been a blessing to me reaching my goals.

You may need to set a reminder on your phone – once an hour, twice a day or whatever works for you (or however often you need it).   Get into the habit of pausing and choosing what really matters right now. When you do, you’ll find your days more productive, your stress lowered and your time used well.  And in the end, you will find you have reached the goals you have set for yourself – short and long term.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Is it time for a break?

The summer is half over and what have you done?  Have you been a Vacation Veronica?  Have you enjoyed family and friends but dread what will happen when you open your calendar for the fall?  OR have you been crazy busy and are in desperate need of a break?

Maybe the question should be, whether or not you’ll take time for a break.  Today, we are living life at a faster pace.  Everyone is offering us ways to save time with more tech gadgets.   Instead of freeing up our time, they  have us trying to figure our how much more we can accomplish with the time saved. I sometimes feel like I’m on a treadmill which keeps increasing speed.   Moving faster but not always sure how much I am actually getting done.  Are you wondering if you need a break?  Here are a few signs it’s time to take a break.

1. You are busy but not productive.

You know what I mean, right?.  You’re doing stuff, just not the most important stuff. You’re shifting papers but definitely not moving forward.  If this is you, take a break. Refocus. Restart.

2. You are irritable, even when nothing particularly stressful is happening.

Do you have a sour attitude?  What I mean is, do you feel frustrated, or unsatisfied in you job? Chances are there’s something hiding beneath the surface. Usually anger— even the quiet, passive-aggressive type – is a sign boundaries have been crossed. Are you stuffing your feelings?  Resentment emerges when we don’t speak up, ask for help, or make a necessary change.  This is probably one of my biggest character defects.

3. You just accomplished a big goal.

Did you know our energy is depleted after we accomplish a big goal?  I always thought it was the opposite.  Studies show, we are more effective and able to work towards future goals when we give our minds and bodies a chance to recover.  This allows our energy to be replenished for the next big goal. When you finish a major project – Celebrate. Relax. Rejuvenate. Then move on.

4. Your body hurts.

Your body will give you warning signs. I don’t mean the aches from old age (yup, my big complaint). I mean things like chronic back or neck pain, headaches, and fatigue.  Don’t ignore them.  These are usually the ways your body is trying to tell you something. Listen. If you don’t, there could be long-term consequences ahead.

5. You’re dreaming about work.

This was me when I was working…. I was forever dreaming of projects, and deadlines.  Now working for myself I am able to walk away from things (sometimes).  No matter what, it’s a definite sign some downtime is LONG overdue.

6. You haven’t had a break in a while.

Are you thinking, none of those apply to me?  Guess what?  Even if they don’t and you haven’t had time off in awhile, it is time to take a break!  It could simply be ten minutes every couple of hours, a day of downtime every week (unplug), and a vacation or personal days for fun time every few months will make you far more productive—and far happier—than working nonstop.

Give yourself a break!  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Time to Get Your Finances In Order

I’ll admit, I am not the one to give financial advice because I still struggle with staying on budget as well as paying down debt.  As hubby says “You will never be a Rockefeller” which is why I was a perfect fit for social work and non-profits.I am always looking for tips on how to get better at this because:

Managing your money is the key to success!

So, if you’re looking to try and get your finances in order, stop spending, and start saving, here are some top tips are for you to try….

 

1. Create a Spreadsheet 

Do you know how much you owe?  If you have debt, do you now how much your interest rate is on each one? To easily organize your finances, a spreadsheet is a great way to see your income and your expenses.  You can create one in Google Drive so you can stay on top of it.   I have a list including interest charges so when there is extra money, I can pay down on the highest interest rate first.

2. Set Up Savings 

I know this sounds crazy if you have debt BUT you need to start saving for an emergency.  It can be as little as $10 a paycheck or $25 a month.  Check with your bank too for some of those instant kind of saving programs.  Bank of America takes the change from your ATM transactions, rounds up and the money is put in your savings account.  Those pennies add up quickly.  It all helps!

3. Organize Direct Debits 

I used to advocate direct debits but when my income varies, it is better for me to have repeated reminders set up. I have reminders set up on each of my credit cards when payments are due – 14 days out and 1 week out.  This ensures I avoid any late payment fees and any (further) damage to your credit score.

4. Refrain From Impulse Purchases 

Yup, we are all guilty of it.  Sometimes it is easier said than done.  Be sure to have some room in your budget for treats – large or small so you can occasionally splurge!

5. Make A List – Stick To It How many times have you gone to the store and your list is home?  The end result, you buy more than what you need and usually forget what you originally went to the store for.  I have started putting my grocer list on my phone.  When was the last time you left home without your phone?  Whether shopping for Christmas, clothing or groceries – always stick to the list!

6. Set Budgets for Events 

Everyone’s salary is different so why not set a budget for Birthdays so you don’t feel pressured to match what everyone else is spending.

7. Emergency Fund 

This goes back to #2 when we set up a savings account.  What happens why you have a surprise expense – car repair, etc?  Tempted to pull out the credit card. DON’T!!!  Use your savings account or emergency account.  By saving a little each money, you are ready for those unexpected events.

8. Don’t Be Drawn In By Offers 

Sales.  How often are you drawn in by the offers non things you may not really need.  If you need it, great.  If you don’t, why buy it.  I mean do you really need the  half price Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?

9. Make a Packed Lunch 

Taking lunch to work is so much cheaper than a daily visit to the local sandwich shop.  Think of the money and time you will save.  Have an hour for lunch?  Imagine being able to enjoy a full hour of leisurely eating your lunch and catching up with friends instead of waiting to order food and then gulping it down.  Bringing your lunch to work is better all around as well as far healthier for you.

10. Cut the Coffee 

Yes, I went there.  When I was commuting to work, I would do a WAWA stop on the way to and from work.  That came to at least $5 or more a day or $25 per week or over $1,300 per year.  I’m now hooked on Starbucks unsweet green tea and thankfully, I don’t commute or it would be about $1,000 a year on ice tea.  What could you use a $1000 on?

 11. Use Your Legs 

If you live in the city or your commute is to an area where there is good public transportation, this is a great way to save money.  Growing up in NJ, there really is not a very good public transportation system unless you are headed to NY to work. In addition to saving money, you can also burn some extra calories by walking to and from the stops.

12. Seek Out Deals 

Yes, I have gotten lazy when it comes to looking for the best deals.  Whether it is car insurance, phone service or our cable bill – I haven’t shopped around for the best deal in ages.  When I did call Comcast to re-negotiate our bill, I was able to save about $50 per month which is $600 to apply to paying down credit card debt.

13. Sell And Buy Online

I used to do this all of the time – selling on eBay was a regular thing.  It has gone by the wayside but it may be time to revive this old habit.  When it comes to shopping online, I am always looking for the best deal using apps like Ebates and others.

What is YOUR best tips for getting your finances under control?  Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Using Messaging For Business

 

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Just a reminder to set your clock BACK tonight.  Yes, it is getting closer to Spring and warmer weather.  I am so excited….

Do you have phone fear?  If you are in direct sales, you have heard the importance of picking up the phone and calling people. Phone fear is feeling like the phone weighs 100 pounds when it comes time to make business calls.  If you experience “telephone fear” and you can overcome it, you’ll make more money. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

I used to have total phone fear which meant I never picked up the phone.  Then someone said “just call and thank them for their business” and plant a seed.  I wrote out a mini script and it worked.  Yes, I do leave lots of messages but I do get some call backs and the chance to talk to some customers.

Now, I seem to have texting and PM fear.  I am doing to my customers the thing I hate most about getting text messages from other direct sellers.  It is time to make a change.

Thank you to Creative Success Systems for these four texting tips.  These techniques are easy, you’ll feel 100% authentic (not like a pushy salesperson), and they’ll increase the likelihood of your customer replying and purchasing.

#1 Don’t mention your company or product.

I know you have received messages where people just ask  you about buying or booking without any interest in you as a person.  You know the message has been copied and pasted a million times.  I have made the same mistake when reaching out to my customers.  I usually feel pressured to buy something or I ignore the message.  So why wouldn’t my customers feel the same way.

Are you friends on Facebook?  Check out  what’s happening in their lives. Send them a message via text on Facebook and ask: “How is your daughter feeling?” “How was your vacation to Disneyland?” “I love your new haircut. Who did your hair?” Get them to talk about themselves. They’re much more likely to respond to a personal question than one about your product.

Often they mention the product you sell. If they don’t, then ask, “I’d love to find out how the product you ordered is working for you. Do you have a minute for me to ask you a couple of quick questions?” Asking permission to talk about products easily transitions the conversation from a friendly chat into one between a concerned consultant and an interested client.

#2 End every message with a question.

How many times have been texting or sending a message on Facebook and the conversation just ends?  Go back to those conversations and see if the last thing you said ended with a period or a question mark.  When you ask questions, people feel compelled to respond.

How many times have we just answered their question or given them information about a product and hoped they would order?  The trick is to add a question at the end of your comment.  For example, if a question is asked about thermals, “what do you usually take for lunch?” or “what were you thinking of using it for?”

By digging deeper into the customer’s needs, you accomplish two things. First, you keep the conversation going so you can create a level of interest in a number of products. Second, you increase the likelihood of closing a deal. I definitely need to practice this one.

#3 Invite them to buy.

Did you know people seldom buy something without an invitation? Think about the last time you bought something.  Did someone ask you “can I help you find something?”?  The salesperson is usually eager to meet your needs, and help you buy what you’re looking for.  There are even pop-up boxes on websites for you join their mailing list or buy their products.  Sometimes even a chat box for customer service to make it a more personal experience.

Social etiquette is we wait for an invitation before we make spending decisions. This rule is the same when you are messaging someone. They’re waiting for you to ask them to purchase or invite them to visit your web site or book a party.

#4 Keep it short and sweet.

Do you read a full text or a long message on Facebook? If it is more than 2 lines, do you skim it and then move on?  So do your customers! Remember Rule Number 1 above, and keep your comments focused on their lives.

The first message is to test the water to see if they’re too busy to talk. On Facebook, only message when you see the green light.  They aren’t always online when it’s green, but the chance is a little higher if it is. After you get a response, reply to what they say, no matter what they say. “I’m sorry XYZ happened.” “Congratulations!” “That’s so exciting.” Validate what they say. Ask ONE additional question and then WAIT again before you move into a business discussion.

Using these four simple techniques may take a little longer to follow-up with customers.  You may not breeze through your list of calls quickly BUT isn’t your goal to build relationships with your customers.  These tips will result in repeat business, more recruit interviews, and growth in your overall business.  I am putting them into action TODAY!  What about you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

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