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!

Managing Distractions

I can’t believe Christmas is just two days away – well, Christmas Eve is tomorrow.  I have been sort of a Grinch at home this year – no decorations until last Sunday but I did get some shopping done.  Yes, I squirreled but what else is new, right?

Last Sunday at church,  the first hymn was “Hark the Harold Angels Sing”.  I know it is “herald” but my grandfather always said it was his song and yes, his name was Harold.  I knew then, it was going to be a service I needed to pay attention to.  As we moved through the holiday songs, I found my thoughts drifting to the things I wanted to get done, the people I was missing (Belinda not being home for Christmas) and then BAM!  The sermon was on “managing distractions”.  I knew this was just for me.

The brain fog from MS causes me to get distracted easily, memory is short or sometimes nonexistent and sometimes I find it hard to concentrate.  But the reality is, even without MS, many of us have difficulty managing distractions.  Think about how you or your kids do/did their homework.  Do they need the music or TV on leaving you wondering how they can possibly concentrate?  Or do they need silence?  These days, I need silence.  I get easily distracted but there was a time when I could have the TV on or music and actually remember what I was supposed to be doing.  Do deadlines cause you to focus more?  Is one of your tag lines, I work better under pressure?

#1 Identify Inevitable Distractions

Distractions are going to happen – they always do.  So why not expect them – if they come, you are ready but if they don’t you are ahead of the game.  I can remember when I was a work at home mom, distractions happened and I was never really ready for them.  The TV was too loud or a million questions came just as I was working on a grant.  Then there was the “I’m hungry” cry.  Yes, I miss those days but the distractions are different now.  I start a project or work in the office and thoughts of 10 other things which need to be done in the house enters my head.  Before long, I have squirreled into the “this will only take a minute” project being completed distracted from the work I was doing.  I’m sure I am not alone especially during this busy holiday season.

#2 Learn to Discern the Main Thing

SMACK!  Distractions sometimes pull us away from our main focus – family!  We get bogged down in worrying about having lots of time with family while we miss out on enjoying the quality time we do have with them.  What is your main focus this holiday?  Is it buying the perfect gifts, planning the perfect meal or enjoying the moments with family and friends?  I always “talk” about family being the most important thing to me – tops on my list.  Yet, I find there are times when I place other non-important things before spending time with them.  My focus turns to working in the office to make money to pay bills or being busy in my business (notice I didn’t say working my business).  Yup, I am one of those struggling recovering workaholics….

We have identifying the distractions, so how do you manage them, right?  You got this, it isn’t as difficult as it may seem if you are intentional about it…

#1 Clear the Clutter

No, I don’t mean the clutter in the house!  I mean the clutter in our heads.  Maybe you need to write a list or delegate chores or maybe decide not to do certain things at all – however you do it, JUST DO IT!  Prune your schedule. Control spending.  Weed out the things which aren’t the main thing.  I am working on calendar blocking AGAIN so I block out time needed to work versus time I will spend with family.

#2 Don’t Let Distractions Distract You

We know distractions will happen BUT don’t let them distract you from your MAIN THING! If the most important thing for you this holiday season is family – spend time with them, enjoy them. STOP watching the clock.  STOP worrying about if the house is clean enough or whether there is enough food or how you look.  Enjoy the moments….

The main thing is to make the Main thing the Main thing

This Christmas is different for our family – Belinda in North Carolina, missing my Dad, hubby working so others can spend time with their little ones  has left me trying to figure out how to embrace the change so I can focus on my main thing – FAMILY!  Grateful to have dinner on Christmas Eve with my step-mom and half sister then spend Christmas Day with my mom and step dad as well as my hubby.

What is distracting you this holiday season from enjoying your “main thing”?  When the holidays are over, will you have wonderful memories of the moments shared even with the distractions or will you regret being too busy to have enjoyed your “main thing”?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Hump Day or Workaholics Day?

Do You know what time it is?  Yes, it is Wednesday, traditionally known as “HUMP DAY” but today probably feels like a Monday since many people had a LONG weekend for the 4th of July.

There are lots of “special days” celebrated for many reasons but this was definitely a new one for me!

rtc_june_5_workaholic_fullAccording to Punchbowl which helps you plan a party from start to finish – July 5th is Workaholics Day!  By definition, a workaholic is a person who is addicted to work.  Generally it implies the person enjoys their work and they feel compelled to do it.  According to an article on Webmd, a workaholic is a life out of balance with key signs to when you are in trouble.  Does this sound like you?

  • Trouble delegating work
  • Neglecting other aspects of your life (family, special events, vacations, etc) to work
  • Incorporating other aspects of your life into work (turning a hobby into a new business)

So, if I have just described you – TODAY is dedicated to you.  It is a time for you to step back and take it easy.  Do some mindless activity you enjoy – read a book for fun, take a nap, take a walk on the beach or spend some time watching YouTube videos.  If you are the friend or family member of a workaholic, CELEBRATE – ENCOURAGE – REWARD them for their accomplishments today.

As for me, I am a struggling recovering workaholic.  Family and friends used to take a back seat to my job – I thought it was my calling or passion.  Now, my passion is owning my own business.   Yes, I always have a catalog with me.  Yes, I am always ready to share about the way Thirty One has changed my life.  Yes, I love every time I go to work – I get to PARTY!  The difference is now i take time to spend with hubby on his days off, or play hookie to hang out with my best friend or spend the day with my mom.  I still slack in the family time area but I am a work in progress.

I challenge you to look at your life and do a double check – do you have a healthy work-life balance?  If not, what are you ready to do about it?  Please share how you will be celebrating today

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How Do You Parent?

hot messWe are almost 3 weeks into a catalog change, about 1 week into an amazing enrollment opportunity and my office (not even just my desk) looks like a “hot mess”.  For those of you who know me, this is not good!  Health challenges, brain fog and “hot messes” don’t mix well.

I know, you are wondering what this has to do with my question, right?

My “time hop” reminded me of a workshop hosted by ETTW (Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Women) where Caryn Chow was the guest speaker.

Caryn shared that we need to “apply the same skills to your business as you did to raising your children”. That got me to thinking that we need to do the same thing in our relationships.

Here is the acronym that she shared with us:

P = Patience
A = A lot of Love
R = Resilience
E = Endurance
N = Nurture
T = Time Out

In direct sales, this makes so much sense. Many of us think of our team as our kids. They need patience, encouragement and nurturing.  Just as my daughter taught me lessons as she was growing up, my team teaches me everyday.  Let’s be honest, these same characteristics are important in our relationships with other people, especially our spouses, right?

The question is,why is it sometimes much harder in our relationships then in our business?  Love is pretty easy.  In our marriage, we love our spouse or we wouldn’t have gotten married right?  Endurance to continue on even despite nah sayers.  Even when there are bumps in the road personally and professionally, we endure.   Nurturing seems to come naturally for most women. I mean, we take care of everyone else and seldom take time for ourselves, right?

Patience, now that can be a little tougher in both aspects of our life.  Why do we tend to lack patience with our spouse or in our business?  We tend to compare where we are in our lives with where others are in their life.  Social media – a love/ hate relationship that keeps us comparing ourselves with others!

The two things that I struggle most with are “time out” and “resilience”. Sounds crazy right considering that I have endured the roller coaster ride of life.  Taking time out for me (or family) is something that I have struggled with my entire  life. Workaholic Wendy steps in sending the message that I am only worth anything at work!  YIKES!! Did I say that?  Yes, I did.  With the help of hubby, I am learning to take time out to enjoy our moments together without work. Not easy but I am trying.

Resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly” or “the ability to spring back into shape“. Yup, that is me!  Bad business month, I spring back kicking it into overdrive.  I have to be careful not to become the “pushy salesperson” and just continue sharing the gift of Thirty One. The recovery process is a lot slower when Negative Nellie and Doubtful Debbie visit mostly in my personal life. The key is that I do snap back.

Here is another fun acronym

T eaching (telling them)
R ight
A ctions and Attitudes.
I nvolvement (showing them)
N urturing (caring for them)

Telling, showing, and caring– this triple helps you have a successful business and a happy marriage!  So, are you ready to be a PARENT and be a TRAIN-er ? I would love to hear others thoughts on this…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Embrace Life

Funny-Friday-quotes

“Work smarter not harder”

Wouldn’t we all like to do that?  Wouldn’t it be great to get to the weekend and just embrace it?  Would’t it be nice not to worry about the work that didn’t get done during the week, or have a list of to do’s a mile long?  I envy people who can shut off work and just embrace the weekend (or their days off).  I figured they were better at time management or had a hidden stash of money so there was no stress in their life.  Crazy right?  Remember I am a struggling, recovering workaholic.

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Over the last few weeks, I learned a little bit about working smarter, not harder.  I found that despite the brain fog as a result of health issues, I have been able to focus more, enjoy time with friends and family, and have some clarity in my work and my life.  For the first time in a LONG time working from home, I have put down the computer (and the phone) to watch a movie, do some household chores and actually read a book.

Did my business fall apart?  NO!  Did customers care that I didn’t answer their emails/messages right away? NO!  The truth is, my business kept moving forward.  The best part was that I didn’t feel burnt out, exhausted or stressed.  Did it happen overnight? NO!  It is still a work in progress?  YES!

It has taken weeks of trial and error, hard work, and paying attention to what feels good and what doesn’t to be able to get to this place.  The best part is that I have been able to change my schedule around so that I get to be present in my life.

Here are some things that have helped in the process

Embrace Three:  I have been working with Desiree Wolfe who routinely reminds me to make a list of 3 things that need to get done each week.  Then break down the tasks so that they are accomplished.  I also read parts of Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism, which talks about only doing what is most essential.  Of course, there is also the need to get crazy comfortable with the word “no” which is still something that I am working on!

Setting boundaries around my routine: This is a tough one for me.  Protecting my time in the office is key.  I plan out my week based on what I need to get done, then I stick to the plan.  When someone says “what is on your schedule?”, I now gladly share that I’m working from X to X.  By setting up a schedule, I have been able to accomplish more AND break away to embrace life.  I mean wasn’t the whole idea of having your own business to have flexibility.

Building a business that aligns with how I work and live best:  This has been my goal ever since I started my business.  I wanted to find a way to blend my work (my passion) and my life.  With harmony in both, I am able to thrive.  I mean if momma’s not happy, no one is happy, right?

Losing the guilt: WOW!  This one is HUGE for me.  On the days that I do this, I’ve been able to work smarter, not harder.  I’m don’t feel guilty about being in the office for a few hours on hubby’s days off.  I’m don’t feel like I’m being lazy and complacent when I am reading a book or watching a movie. Fighting the inner gremlins of guilt and learning that self-care is important to not only embracing life but also to building my business.

No matter what your journey is, you need to know that it doesn’t always have to feel like an uphill battle.  You have permission to seek out how to work smarter, not harder.  It will take time, BUT the only way to get there is to start shifting your routine, schedule, and mindset.  Even baby steps will lead you to where you really want to be.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!