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As we are about to officially rip the last page off of the 2012 calendar and declare the year “complete,” many of us are starting to get that annual, panicky feeling as we slink around the corner of the new year. You can’t really explain it other than you’re feverishly trying to recover from the “Christmas hangover” – the credit card bills will be coming soon, the out-of-town family is heading back home and the house is feeling empty, and you may be looking at a blank calendar without revenue generating activities. And in the midst of it all the glimmer of the new year is on the horizon… where things are going to be (have to be) better…right?
We get it. However, this is our third year of taking a very different approach to the year-end wrap up and New Year’s resolutions. It has made a tremendous difference and we’d like to share it with you.
We like to end the year with a declaration of the Top 3 things we learned over the past 12 months. These will launch us into 2013 with intentional determination and discipline that is filled with passion, purpose and permission to grow. Here’s hoping they will do the same for you.
The Top 3 Things We Learned in 2012
1. Less is more. In October we shut down and spent an entire day working on our business plan for 2013. Usually we would come out with our “Top 10,” but we quickly realized we would have been completely depleted by the end of month ONE, and not necessarily any richer or wiser, if we planned to operate that way. We gave ourselves permission to be completely honest with ourselves and committed to creating “4 Power Projects” – not 10. We did an analysis of what work would suck the life out of us and what would allow us to work within our passion keys, and very quickly we were focused on and committed to what we were declaring for the business. It wasn’t a “man oh man, it’s gonna be hard work, but we can buckle down and muscle through,” it was much more “WOW, that feels really light and exciting. And we’re still able to keep a work-life balance, make a difference and make the money we need.” We made a conscious commitment to focus on staring these routine fears straight in the face. For Molly it was public speaking and sharing with the world what she was up to. For Laney it was sharing her voice and creating a new work-life balance that will be necessary with a new baby on the way. All while enabling us to focus on the projects that allowed us to feel not merely needed but appreciated and celebrated, which will challenge us and keep us engaged and inspired.
2. We quit the school of Shoulda– In the past we’d receive a critical email and become paralyzed with doubt about ourselves and the value we provide. In 2010, we stopped beating ourselves up. We shoulda said this, instead of this. Maybe that was too harsh, so and so will think we were talking about them. In 2011, we stopped trying to retain clients who were not a good fit for us and focused on those who were. In 2012, we found our voice and spoke the unedited truth about the challenges we see businesses facing every day. Sometimes people were thankful for our message, sometimes they were offended. But we know what our soulful client looks (and acts) like and we will not accept anything but that – it is a disservice to them and to ourselves. And… it feels GREAT because it allows us to lock arms with like-minded people and support them every step of the way. And in 2013 we will cross the proverbial threshold with resolute confidence that we know when we feel the “Shoulda” bug, it’s just fear speaking. And we will strive to apply our high-level skill to shrug off other disappointments or judgments and choose our voice, the one that we know will make a difference in this world.
3. Permission to grow— This was a big one for us, both as a business and personally. One big lesson for us was to nurture our willingness to be a stand for ourselves. We are so used to being a constant stand for others, helping unleash the courage to share your true voice and gifts in order to grow. For us, it was our willingness to share our stories more, to put a voice to the words. This allowed us to truly connect with our audience and their darkest fears around business, team, life, and gave us the strength to shine a light on those fears and name them. Giving ourselves permission to receive the gift of people’s lives and businesses, something they really don’t even trust themselves with, and fulfill our promise to give it back to them in better shape than they could ever imagine. That is the true essence of permission to grow.
If you’re feeling like you need a launching pad to move into 2013 with anticipation, we recommend a book that we continue to read every year. “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success” by John C. Maxwell. The theme of the book is: “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” Most of our stress, worry, indecision and hesitation come from the fear of failure. But Maxwell has learned to make failure his friend, and he does a life-altering job of sharing that in his book. Don’t let fear of failure be a self-fulfilling prophecy any longer and rob you of what’s possible for you in 2013.
Champions for your continued success,
Molly and Laney
When we are young, impressionable children, we are taught never to brag. Be humble. Don’t get too cocky because here today, gone tomorrow. Don’t get too comfy, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.
“Wisdom” such as this is just disempowering baloney lined with fear-based thinking. We’re not just saying don’t carry that torch, we’re saying blow that sucker out and BURY it. In a recent focus group we were leading on celebrations, we had a great discussion on why people can’t celebrate their triumphs, no matter how big or small. Why is it that we work tirelessly to enroll a client, collect a well-earned check, get the girl or whatever victory it is that we have won, but then shrug our shoulders and mutter, “No big deal, I really didn’t do anything” or “It’s not a done deal yet” and then move onto to what’s next?
We bet our bottom dollar that if we launch a strategic, businessy tool and package it under some clever name that included an ROI, we could “trick” folks into celebrating their personal victories. Such as: stop, analyze what worked and how you can repeat what you just did so you can produce the same results, again. SHHHHH….this is celebration.
By quietly moving on to the next thing, we rob ourselves of a huge opportunity for growth. By not taking a moment and truly acknowledging your efforts, as well as the triumph, we aren’t refueling our tanks so we can do what we did again and again, in all interactions and areas of our life. Instead we move to the next thing with an empty tank. That crucial refuel puts us back on the road with a tank full of confidence, pride and an unwavering commitment to make a difference again and impact those in our lives in the best way possible. To share your gifts, the best you can.
The irony of this is, the prize that is the reason for celebrating is actually your willingness to find the celebration in what could appear as a loss. You’re celebrating your ability to get out there and give it your unwavering dedication and commitment. It’s not about saying “I got this life thing nailed, I’m the man.” Tis quite the opposite. It’s about saying I was committed, present, authentic, and intentional. I gave it my best AND I learned something from it. Sometimes in hindsight, our biggest challenges, struggles and upsets can become our greatest celebrations. For Molly, here are a few that come to mind in 2012:
- My Mom was diagnosed with cancer this year and I live 1,300 miles away and I feel helpless. And that’s a celebration HOW? After 14 years of not being with my family for Christmas, my kids will spend Christmas with their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles for the first time. It was crazy expensive for all of us to fly, so we’re driving from Colorado to NY, dog and all. And for me there is much to celebrate in my decision-making process to do the road trip; not accepting the expense of the airline tickets, or the time away from routine, or the possible bad weather, etc. as “reasons” not to go. Rather, looking at how thankful I am for my steadfast commitment to family. Taking a few minutes to sit with this gave me reason to bask in my unrelenting dedication.
- I get to pay the largest tax bill EVER on 1/15/13. For a tiny moment I had a giant fit of panic, but then I stopped and asked myself “Where’s the positive in this?” Well I have a job that isn’t work at all because I love what I do; I work with a phenomenal team; I have a ton of room to grow, improve and challenge myself in the coming year; and now I know what I must make in 2013 and what I’m no longer tolerating come January 1st because I never want to feel this panic. Ever, ever again.
- I published a book that was an Amazon bestseller 18 months ago and I never celebrated it. People would constantly say, “That’s so amazing, you wrote a book” and I would blow it off and talk down like it was no big thing. [ed. It’s true, I’ve seen her do it.] I didn’t realize how much I was discrediting a gift they were giving me with my refusal to accept their gift of celebration. I wasn’t willing to sit with it and celebrate it so I wasn’t able to receive their gift of acknowledgment and excitement. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how that landed for them, as if I was saying, “No thank you, I don’t want your gift. Take it back.” I was crushed when I realized that was how it was perceived. Only then did I allow myself to savor the absolute accomplishment of not only publishing the book, but also embarking on the writing process with my incredible partner.
- In 2012 I hired a personal coach. I’ve had coaches before and have been a part of many team coaching programs, but I’ve never hired my own personal coach dedicated to my personal growth (versus my growth as part of a team). This is a huge celebration for me to invest the time, money and courage to stay in a constant conversation about growth and to consider myself worth the effort. As someone who usually powers through things, taking time to stop and work consistently on my personal growth from an insight and soul perspective versus an action/doing perspective is a huge celebration, not of my skills and abilities, but of my heart and my soul.
- In January, my husband and I were astounded to find out we were expecting our first child. In February we had a miscarriage and were absolutely devastated. In this loss, I found a deeper, more meaningful definition of celebration than I thought possible. A week later we went on a vacation we’d planned months before to try to begin to heal. In the Cayman Islands we happened to pass a little local church right by the ocean. The church was empty but the doors were open, and I asked my husband if we could go in and pray for our baby. I thought I would pray for God to hold her and bless her. But instead my heart had me pray a prayer of thankfulness, thanking God for giving us the joyous weeks of having our baby with us, the absolute joy we felt during that time, and for the privilege of loving her. I learned that above all else, beautiful things that we lose deserve the honor of being celebrated and honored, even in our pain.
- In 2012 I also learned to celebrate my voice. So often we hesitate to share parts of ourselves with the world, thinking it might not “land right.” In the weeks and months after losing our baby, I would often share my thoughts and journey with others and on Facebook. Sometimes I would find myself hesitating, thinking, “people are going to think this is TMI or think it’s too much.” Yet every time I shared, I received an outpouring of love and support, but also validation of how my willingness to share my pain and my faith helped others, many who had dealt with the same situation, or had loved ones who had and didn’t know what to say to them. A woman shared with me the loss of her child which had happened almost 20 years ago and how in sharing with me, she finally was able to honor her, because she previously felt it was a taboo topic. I learned through this that my voice can powerfully connect with those who need to hear it. And for others who don’t make the connection, those just aren’t the people who need to hear what I’m saying. But it felt like robbing what I can offer the world to quiet or dilute my voice.
So, here’s a year-end challenge to you: Are you ready to acknowledge your credit, accept it and celebrate it? Take 10 minutes and jot down what your recent victories were, NOT ONLY THE WINS, but the victories in the losses as well. We would love to hear about them, so send us with what you came up with!
Champions for your continued success,
Molly and Laney
“If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.”
This weekend I happened to catch the movie Eat, Love, Pray on TV. Though I usually love any movie or book about journey and growth, for some reason I’d never been interested in watching this movie. Perhaps somewhere inside I was envious that I couldn’t up and leave my life for a year to travel and find myself.
Two things struck me about the above referenced quote the movie ended with. First, “If you are willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue”. What a powerful approach to life, as our life is always a journey. I know, at least for me, that for so long I worried over and tried to fix and control everything happening in my life. Others I know often become apathetic and accept things, assuming they can’t be changed. I’ve now learned that worrying won’t fix things, and often what you are worrying about never comes to fruition. And how much focus, intentionality and happiness were lost in those hours of worrying. And yes, often you may not have the power to change things in your life, but you can be empowered to regard those things as a clue to your journey.
The second part of this quote that struck me was “accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher”. Everyone we meet is a teacher. People we like and admire and people we don’t. They all teach us if we are willing to pay attention to the lesson. A great example of this was one of the biggest changes I made in the direction of my career. I was working for an estate planning law firm and had been promoted from receptionist to legal assistant. At first I was proud and eager to learn my new job. Then, after a few years, I finally realized that role wasn’t for me. While I was good at it, it didn’t fulfill or inspire me. I thought I was going to have to find a new job and that kept me paralyzed in this position I really wasn’t enjoying. After all, I didn’t want to leave this job. I’d worked there for years and loved my boss and my co-workers. Now, I can see that resentment and entitlement was slipping in. The job I once tackled with fervor began to irritate me. I realized afterwards that I’d been struggling with this for awhile. I just didn’t know it, and therefore it was stealing my focus and joy. When you don’t look at things that happen and how you feel as ‘clues’ to your journey, you don’t realize why you are feeling disengaged, emotional detached and overall unfulfilled. You blame yourself, or others, rather than just realizing the clues. After all, it’s hard to strip out the blame and right and wrong of a situation and just stand in that place of realization. For me, at the time, it was hard to admit that I didn’t want this ‘career track’ I’d been placed on. It was easier, at the time, to think “I’m overworked, tired, burned out” and that’s why I’m not happy. By allowing those things to factor into my decision, it actually took away my power to make a decision based entirely on empowerment and what I wanted in my future. Had I instead paid attention to the clues, I may have realized what was really bothering me.
Fortunately, I found an unexpected teacher who helped me realize I didn’t have to leave the place I loved to work. I could discover and create a new role that inspired me and helped grow the business, within my workplace. I was chatting with an old friend. I knew she had recently moved and just started a new job. I inquired how she was liking her new job. I wasn’t looking for nor asking for any advice, I was simply catching up with a friend. What she said hit me between the eyes and moved me forward. She said “It’s great. I realize in this new job that I love working with people, not paper. I can’t wait everyday to get to work.” She articulated what I wanted but was too blinded by the “what is” of my current job to be able to see. She was my teacher showing me what could be. So, I talked to my boss about my unhappiness in my role, while expressing how much I loved working for him. Together we designed a role that allowed me to go out into the community and introduce our firm and services to others and be the first person clients met with when they started working with us. (This was back in the day, before this role became popular in estate planning law firms.) I was in a role I could thrive in and helping bring more business into the company. And we hired someone who loved being a legal assistant. Holy cow! This changed the path of my career and saved me from either being stuck in a role I hated, that was starting to show, or leaving a place I didn’t want to leave!
I realize now the power of seeing everything that happens as a clue and every person we come across as a teacher. To do so leaves us in total control – not of what happens to us – but of the decisions we make. Being overworked, burned out and tired (which is something we hear constantly from business owners and team members) doesn’t have to be a reason to do anything. If you connect with the clues to what will fulfill your passion keys and look to the teachers you meet, you can often find a solution versus running from being overworked, burned out and tired. Because guess what, had I given up and left my law firm I would have quickly found myself in another role where I was unhappy, overworked and tired! Because I didn’t know what I needed to be fulfilled, until an unexpected teacher showed me. Until you accept the clues, the teachers and hold them up to yourself as a mirror, you will repeat the same patterns no matter where you go. And whether that means you stay in a place or move on, you will do so with all possibilities on the table.
Team members, your bosses are your teachers. Bosses, your team members are your teachers as well. And there is so much to be learned when you can strip out the blame and right/wrong from your conversations and instead have honest, while respectful, conversations with each other.
Champions of Your Continued Success,
Molly and Laney
“Inspiration comes forth from within. It’s what the light burning within you is about, as opposed to motivation, which is doing it because if you don’t do it, there will be negative repercussions. Motivation is making me do something that I don’t really want to do. Inspiration is having the clear picture of what I am wanting and letting universal forces come into play to get the outcome.” – Abraham-Hicks
Funny how sometimes we received unexpected gifts in the strangest way. Ten years ago I lived in downtown Denver and had the greatest hairstylist in the city. She was the most expensive, took the longest time (3 hours) and it was a bear to get in with her…but when I left I felt like a million bucks. She was more than a “stylist”. Fabulous hair was just a strategic by-product of what I received when I made it to the chair every six weeks. But that ended once I hit my 30’s, along came babies and “the burbs”. Like most working mommies of two kids in the burbs, I found a new stylist in a very strategic way, the most convenient one I can find that will make my life 1/10th easier.
Fast forward 10 years and welcome to social media. I recently re-connected with “Kimmy” on Facebook and remembered why I paid double the price, spent double the time and had to book months in advance…and didn’t ever think of cancelling that appointment. Kimmy’s “wall” on Facebook was captivating with beautiful photos of her work, positive quotes and inspirational YouTube videos from the work of Abraham and Hicks, The Law of Attraction.
Needless to say, I am a returning client of Kimmy’s and am reminded, daily, of why I am now travelling 40 minutes for a cut and color. No, we’re not going to get started on a diatribe about social media…that will be another blog. What we want to discuss on this blog is The Law of Attraction.
Every day I wake to a different “Law of Attraction” YouTube video link from Kimmy in my text messages. All of them no more than 12 minutes. This week while chauffeuring my kids to sporting events I opened up one of the texts from Kimmy on “Motivation vs. Inspiration”. I almost fell over as I heard the most amazing way to articulate what Laney and I have been trying to communicate with our “Keys to an Empowering Conversation.”
The essence of the message was the startling difference between motivation and inspiration.
Motivation typically has a soul of “because I think I should”. O.M.G….Laney and I have been saying this for years! You can’t motivate people, you can only inspire them. Pep talks only last for so long. The teachings go on to say, motivation is PAST tense. “You don’t want to motivate your employees to work hard for you. You want to shine the light on the purpose and the intent.” At that moment I had an “ah ha moment”. Motivation is really fear based. Motivation, if you really think about it, typically has underlying tone of manipulation. If you don’t do X then you won’t ever get Y. You’re trying to convince the other person of why they should want “it”, how to “get it”. It is like constantly having to reignite a flame. Then the “motivator” begins to get frustrated, starts reading every book they can get their hands on to see how they can get better at their motivation tactics. They start signing up for every webinar and workshop offered on “motivating your employees (or husband or children) to do ___.” It doesn’t matter what’s filled in the blank just please teach me how to motivate them to care. And that is the crux of why motivation is a failed paradigm. When you find yourself having to reignite the fire, retool your toolbox with different, better tools to “help them along” you know your swimming upstream and stuck in the motivation trap.
Inspiration on the other hand they talk about is “because I WANT it”. Inspiration is ease and flow. And when you spend two minutes on ease and flow because the engine is already in place and can reignite on its own, that is inspiration. Inspiration is present tense. There is nothing anybody “has” to do but a lot of what you “want to do”. When you are talking with an inspired person about an idea, a project or something future based that you can’t even fully articulate, they chime in with “and then what about if we…” Or they say “I love the idea! Right now let’s finish the project we’ve already committed too and let me start poking around on Google about this new idea. I think I have some ideas but for now, let’s out it next on our project list. But I see where you’re headed and I’m excited. We just need to finish up our current project then I’m all yours to get this rolling.”
Think about it. Think about the past few conversations, interactions that you have had. Were they motivation or inspiration? It has become so crystal clear to us. And WOW, what a freeing feeling that there is actually a definition for the difference between the two. If you can stay awake to when you are motivating or inspiring someone, including yourself, you may realize that you just aren’t that committed to something you’ve been trying to motivate yourself about. It’s not the right fit. Move on and find what inspires you. Imagine a life of flow and ease when you only accept inspiration in yourself and others. It really is that easy.
If you would like to learn more about motivation vs. inspiration and the work that we’ve done around “The 8 Keys to an Empowering Conversation” join us for our free webinar, “What Your Support Team Needs to Know to Help You Succeed” on September 28th at 11am-noon EST. To register email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney
What Are Your Biggest Frustrations Working for an Entrepreneur?
Our previous blog shared part of the results of a focus group we held for support team across the country in a giant attempt to figure out where the disconnect lies between the boss and the team when trying to reach a common goal within a small business. We shared in this blog what team member’s greatest joy was in their job. Many business owners were surprised to see what really meant the most and connected to their support team.
In this blog, we are sharing with you the greatest frustration team shared. We want to share our findings with you, not to scare you, but to inspire you. We are hopeful you will hear the commitment of team with an honest, while respectful, cry for you to allow them to help you grow your business with joy and ease. Team members and bosses speak two distinctly different languages, which often leads to disconnect even though both sides want to achieve the same goal. Our hope with this blog series is to allow you an inside look into the thought process and voices of support team so you can better understand and communicate with yours.
Are you surprised when you hear what team members think? What we hope you notice is the massive about of “CARING” for the business, and your success, behind each of these frustrations. Team members who are just collecting a paycheck typically don’t care if clients are mad or things aren’t done. These team members care – intrapreneurs in an entrepreneur’s world.
What is Your Greatest Frustration Working for an Entrepreneur?
a. When I stop believing in my boss because I don’t have faith/trust that they will get it done. I would not hire my own boss as a client. And I don’t like feeling that way, it is disheartening.
b. The entrepreneur won’t just let go and trust the key people in the company. If he would I think things would run much smoother. I realize it’s his baby and hard to do that, but crucial at some point in time for the best of the business. That’s my biggest frustration.
c. The business owner won’t get out of my way. I expressed my frustrations to him in the moment and received encouragement … then all downhill from there…things go back to the same. I really am at a loss to get his attention and I really don’t think he would miss me if I left. I can’t seem to communicate that to him without sounding “entitled” or risk being told “I’m a less than stellar performer”. I say these words as a tear rolls down my cheek and I hate myself for that. Those contradicting words from how I felt 6 months ago to now haunt me on a daily basis, every time I open the door here. I am working a “job” right now because I’ve told myself I’m doing this for my family and to get my daughter through college. It’s the only thing that eases the pain. But, when she’s done with college and the BIGGEST reason is gone….. I’m afraid my heart will be more broken than usable as I look for the spark of passion every day.
d. We are known as the “Last Minute Larry’s” and now we’ve all gotten in the “HABIT” of making that the standard/norm.
e. Letting the boss hire family; when the boss hires the wife, kids, extended family, etc. and there is no accountability in the business. The team doesn’t respect them and will never say anything because they are afraid they will be out of a job. And it sucks for the spouse because they become the buffer because people will go “WHINE” to them hoping they will do something about it at home. Then the circular cycle begins.
f. Getting interrupted. I am preparing documents, answering phones and keeping the calendar and everything else. I will be in middle of drafting and the boss is always “shouting” out things to me and I lose track and mistakes happen. I don’t have 4 walls or a door around me so I am in the constant firing line and if something comes into his mind he has to interrupt me to tell me at that very moment, and everything goes downhill.
g. Lack of responsibility on entrepreneur’s part.
h. Getting my boss to focus on the top pressing cases. I present the TOP 3 Gotta’s for the day, he will agree to it but then he will go hide out in email and not do what he said he would. Then sometimes things will linger out there for 2-3 weeks and the clients will be frustrated and screaming at me. At first I was hopeful that things would happen and now I just feel blown off, disrespected and don’t ever believe that he is going to follow through. Then I have to lie and make excuses for clients. I don’t lie. It is not o.k. with me to lie.
i. False Agreement. No matter how many times we remind them that they have priorities and they agree they have absolutely no commitment to it. They are just “YESSING” us to get us out of their office but they are going to go and do what they want anyways.
j. The Hero Complex. I am so excited at the start of the week when we have our TOP things identified that we are going to knock out of the ballpark this week. Then we have a sick or emergency client. We will over care for them and over compensate to help them and drop all the other things, and everything else goes out the window. It’s a new distraction for the entrepreneur so they get to come out as a hero without any understanding of how they just wrecked the world of the assistants and other clients. Not to say we are not going to tend to our clients in need but the business owner will make it into a big social worker ordeal to do so they don’t have to “work” on the things they don’t like, They thrive in chaos and crisis.
k. Nothing is ever as easy as the entrepreneur thinks when they initially commit, and it is insulting to our intelligence. I feel like she thinks what I do and the value I bring is tasks that are simply “quick and easy”.
l. Trying to manage my schedule but I feel like I always need to go back to my boss to get stuff from them and I have to stand there until they finish it because I have no faith that he will ever complete it unless I hound and pounce, or eventually break down in tears. Then I am appearing emotionally unstable vs. committed to the business.
m. They destroy their weekly calendar which in fact destroys ours.
n. Time management with the boss. They are very unorganized and it’s very frustrating when they throw a curve ball into everyone else’s day.
o. Trying to close the loop on open items. When you are trying to pin down the business owner and I have a deadlines. I submitted the same thing four times and it keeps getting “lost” in her priorities and now I am in the red and can’t move this off my list and it looks like I am not getting MY job done. I don’t like feeling like I am not doing my job.
Are you surprised at what team members think? What we hope you noticed is the massive about of “CARING” for the business behind each of these frustrations. Team members who are just collecting a paycheck don’t care if clients are mad or things aren’t done. These team members care – and that is invaluable.
Stay tuned for the 3rd, and final, series of this blog, “If there is one thing you could change in your business, what would it be?”
If you have a team you want to be honest, while respectful, with you about what isn’t working in your business consider enrolling them in the Don’t Be a Yes Chick tele-training series to participate in conversations such as these. Next series begins September 4th – contact email@example.com to register or with questions.
To read Part 1 of this series – click here.
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney
“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” ~ John Maxwell
At one point or another in our lives we’ve each lived in a place of ease, security and poise. Welcome to The Comfort Zone; a place where you drive to work and don’t really dream up ways to take that idea mentioned in yesterday’s meeting, create a project manager and put it into action. No for you, you can pretty much predict what each day will bring, and you can deliver and conquer with your eyes closed. You’ve been in your current position for X amount of months or possibly years, and you do it damn well. However, something is “missing.” You meet the days without that butterfly-in-the-belly feeling. There is neither angst nor excitement on how you are possibly going to get “it” moving to produce remarkable results.
Welcome to the doorstep of Growth. Welcome to the commencement of Replacing Yourself.
Are you thinking, “Wait a minute? What does this mean? It sounds kind of scary. I “like” what I do, and I do it better than anyone else in the office. There really is no one to take over what I do. Furthermore, well, then what would I do?”
The greatest mistake we see “great employees with a ton of potential” (what we like to call Intrapreneurs) make is the traditional “continuation” in the workplace. You’re probably saying, “What’s wrong with that”? Well, this acceptable behavior is detrimental when companies are looking for ROI’s (Returns on Investment, including what they invest in employees) or employees are looking for that annual raise to climb the proverbial ladder. The real problem is most employees are not aware of the act of replacing yourself and stepping up out of the comfort zone.
The truth be told, many of us believe if we give up control of what is “ours” we are being reduced in importance. In all honesty, the boss will have no trouble replacing you with someone who accepts and encourages capability, position and resourcefulness. So either get busy growing or stay busy existing, either way you have to choose, and yes, existing in a role without growth, is a choice.
We are not talking about managing up, delegating or giving up control. We are talking about reinventing yourself.
Molly actually found herself standing in this very crossroad just last month with an employee. Every year her company conducts a Year End Planning Retreat where they shut down the business for an entire day to work on revisiting the company organizational chart and designing their Top 10 Intentional Projects for the year to come. We started the day by going through the company “org” chart and outlined all the necessary roles and responsibilities needed to meet our goals, objectives and serve our clients in 2013. After two hours, the exercise was completed and Molly started feeling a bit “empty.” Molly has served the company of three employees in the role of “CEO” for the past three years. Now, if you have ever worked for a small company, you know the CEO role means a little bit of this and a lot bit of that. Her roles ranged from accounting to customer service in any given day but every client loved her, and she did her work tirelessly with compassion, authenticity and most days, with a sense of accomplishment.
In their retreat, when they approached the Finance department someone else stepped up saying, “It makes the most logical sense for me to take that over to free Molly up to work on Relationship Building with Power Partners.” When it came to event planning, Molly would find herself saying, “Actually, that is not the best use of my time if finding new Power Partners is my primary contribution to the company.” After completing the company organization chart on this early December morning Molly realized she just “gave away” over half of her job! She knew enough to know this was a “story” she was creating in her head but, nonetheless, she was feeling a bit “empty.” For so many years Molly took a tremendous amount of pride in the fact that she could “do it all and everyone depended on me.” The company of three had grown to a company of five over the past year. She had to replace herself and grow into new roles to support the growth of the company and to allow other team members a place to grow into.
She now found herself feeling empty, nervous and excited all at the same time. WOW, this is the exact place she needed to be sitting in. Molly had just replaced herself.
After going through the org chart Molly could put herself in one role/department and one only, Marketing. Never in a million, trillion years would Molly have put herself in the role of “Marketing.” In fact, anytime the word marketing came up she would literally get a belly ache. However, finding herself in this place of angst and overwhelm she knew she was simply filling the role of a connector, cultivator and nurturer. Funny how this stuff works, THAT is Molly’s Unique Ability®.
Connecting, cultivating and nurturing…now that, Molly cannot only do and do with pride, but she is already thinking of ways she is going to enhance and grow this role.
Sealing the Deal – The Transition Phase
Often, if we get to this point, we stop and then wonder why our new, great ideas and plans never move forward. Any major change requires a transition plan.
The very next morning the team scheduled a one-hour team meeting to distinguishing all the roles they have each reinvented themselves with. They realized they needed to be responsible and create a Transition Schedule to determine their current activities in their current roles, the time it would take to train the new person and the steps to systematize it. One hour later they had a transition schedule that would take four complete days to implement. They scheduled out an entire week, three weeks from now, to implement the Transition Plan. Then they would each be able to step into their new worlds confident that someone else had stepped into their previous role and was trained and ready to succeed.
This is Replacing Yourself.
Sound interesting? Then stay tuned for The 8 Laws of Replacing Yourself.
Employees that feel appreciated are more willing to work together, support you and stick out the tough times versus slipping into resentment and irritation.
It’s 5:05pm and you’ve been rushing to get a document done for a very important client that is overdue and the client has already called 3 times looking for the ETA. You finally finish, after laboring for hours, and rush down the hall to your assistant’s office to ask her to print it off and overnight it.
The office is dark…the computer is off…she has left for the day. You didn’t realize it was past 5pm. Not to be deterred you venture into the supply closet to find an overnight envelope and can’t find either. You have no idea what your online log in is and end up driving to an overnight drop off location that is still open which results in your being late to your daughter’s dance recital…frustrated and stressed you are rehearsing the “talk” you are going to have with your assistant about leaving without checking in to make sure you don’t need anything else at the end of the day. You aren’t asking her to stay late. But if she just would have let you know she was leaving you could have asked her for the information to overnight the document and saved yourself all the pain.
In the morning, you walk in; shoulders set to let your assistant know what happened. You walk in to her office and start with “we need to talk…” She bursts into tears and says she can’t believe you could think she isn’t supportive of you after all the lunches she has worked through and times she has stayed late and that you never point out anything she does well…and only point out the mistakes.
You feel unappreciated…she feels unappreciated…what now?
We read a fascinating book a few years ago, “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. When sharing this blog with a colleague, she informed us Gary released another book titled “The 5 Love Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” which is now on the top of our must read list. Without reading Gary’s take on this topic, we believe that there are also 5 OFFICE love languages and the importance of understanding each others. Love, in this context means each person shows up at work most days with an authentic sense of empowerment, appreciation, connection and could honestly say “I truly love this place and the people I work with!”
The premise of “The 5 Love Languages” is that there are 5 ways that people communicate love. And that most ‘relationship problems’ are simply because the people involved are speaking two different love languages and not recognizing the language of the other. So, both are trying so hard to show love and both are feeling unappreciated and unheard. The book outlines when you speak to someone IN their love language, they become happy, secure and fulfilled in their relationship with you and a lot of frustrations and resentments go away. They are willing to face problems head on without wrapping them in sheets of drama and emotion which allows them to support you because they are confident in their relationship with you.
The 5 languages are:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Gift Giver
3. Acts of Service
4. Quality Time
5. Physical Touch **Note, for the office we’d replace this with eye contact, not checking your iPHone and email while they are speaking and actually put whatever you are working on aside and lean in forward with general interest and presence.
We believe that the 5 Love Languages can solve many office ‘relationship’ problems such as the often too real example shared above. In this example, I’d venture to say the assistant’s language is Words of Affirmation and the boss is Acts of Service. If the boss routinely verbally affirms his assistant when she does good work she will feel confident in their relationship and that he values her as part of the team. If the assistant routinely supports the boss with the things he asks, like checking in before she leaves, so he isn’t left to blunder through an unfamiliar task alone, he will feel appreciated by his team for how hard he works too.
The disengagement in Office Love Languages is often the very reason certain incentive programs or perks do not seem to get the response the entrepreneur anticipates. If you have a team member who feels you never listen, never make time for his or her questions and never stop to train them how you would like certain things done and their language is Quality Time – they need these things to feel appreciated and confident (which we will be so bold to say is 95% of your support team’s Office Love Language). If you are bonusing a team member with money but their love language is Words of Affirmation, they may not be that responsive to the bonus set out. And if they are, it will have a short shelf life because their “Love Language” is not being fulfilled.
The more you speak your team’s Office Love Language and let them know what makes you feel appreciated, the more willing you all are to work together, support each other and stick together versus slipping into resentment and irritation.
A team member who feels appreciated and “loves” their job and the people they work with is the team member that will stick with you in good times and tough times.
To help identify your Office Love Language, have each person on your team list out 5 things you did for them that really made them feel appreciated and respected. And you do the same! Your Office Love Language needs to be met too. From that, you can see the things that resonates with each person and which Office Love Language speaks to them!
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Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney
So often we receive phone calls from frustrated attorneys asking “can you fix my assistant”. That answer alone is a blog (or a book). However what is critical about the question, “can you fix my assistant?” is the flip side of that question; “What can I do to support a team member whom doesn’t need to be fixed? The person, the one, which constantly shows up, does a great job and produces consistent results. So often the attention and resources are given to the “squeaky wheel” and the “good” team members are left alone to keep doing a “good” job.
We are then surprised when they become inconsistent, complacent or leave. This makes us just heartbroken for the attorney because it never, ever has to be that way. The attorney is ALWAYS in shock and “had no idea” their key team member was unsatisfied. And the “good” employee just simply felt bored and stuck.
The “good” employee has a very, very basic need – the easy, inexpensive need for growth and unlimited opportunity. It’s really that simple. Trust us. We’ve interviewed THOUSANDS of employees. The kicker is this typically doesn’t require anything from the attorney to proactively provide – other than awareness and a small monthly fee with an enormous ROI. 90% of the time people leave simply because they ARE talented and they want to be in a positive environment where there is an opportunity for growth. Otherwise, they get stagnant or they leave. And honestly, do you really want someone on your team who doesn’t require growth in their life?
1. Does each team member know the firm goals you have set? Including due dates and their role in achieving them? (Or are your goals in a binder you review, alone.)
2. Do you do minimally conduct annual employee reviews? In your review do you create and discuss growth tracks for your “good” team members.
3. Can each team member tell you where they see themselves in 3 years in your firm? What role the want to “own”? (Is this ‘news’ to you?)
4. Does your team have written goals? (That you are aware and in support of.)
5. Have you and your team identified their 3 Most Important Activities in the firm? (Or is there a “whatever it takes to get the work done” motto which results in everyone “not being on the same page”?)
***For a free copy of the Three Most Important Activies Worksheet email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.***
If you answered no to any of these questions, you may want to revisit how you provide your team a place to grow.
Providing leadership and growth for your team is an on-going, never complete responsibility and truly an honor that gives back to you as well. The flip side of this is being in the “hiring-firing” mode, yet again! Without a growth track for your team, you can set the clock to “Repeat Cycle” every 90-days while you converse at the club with your friends about “how hard it is to find good people nowadays!”
One reason we love the “Don’t be a Yes Chick” teleseries is that it is a proven system for your team to get the resources, grow and learn how to support you in a language and method that works for you, and for them. Because we are team members we “speak” team and have “been there, done that”. We can relate to your team’s excitement, frustration and overall needs. Because we are also entrepreneurs, we can help your team with insight on how to support you, the business owner, and the overall goals of the business.
It’s a wonderful place to put your talented team members so they can plug into resources, ideas and techniques of like-minded, “up to something big”, support team. And when your team is up to something big, a lot of the nuisances like gossip, lack of focus and inconsistency fall by the wayside. Energy levels increase and you can finally work on growing your firm with the CONFIDENCE of knowing the team you need to handle the growth is ready and growing with you.
ONLY 3 spots left for our next “Don’t be a YES CHICK” 12-week tele-program beginning Tuesday January 10th at 4pm EST! Email us at email@example.com for more information or to register. We limit each program to 10 firms -no if, ands, or “PRETTY PLEASES!”
Champions of Your Continued Success,
Molly and Laney
In customary fashion, we are posting our blog on “Gratefulness” again this year. Last year we received such an overwhelming response! For days around the Thanksgiving holiday we received responses from our readers sharing things they were grateful for and how they’ve impacted their lives. We feel this blog deserves a re-read…year after year!
We are continually worrying about things we don’t have or things that haven’t happened yet for us. Therefore, we hardly ever take time to make a note of the beautiful relationships, what we do have and amazing things that have already happened. We allow the smallest negative thought to instantly change our mood. Well then, why not allow the positive grateful thought to impact us as well?
Busy times are the times during which we often lose sight of what is most important to us and allow minor details to steal our joy. The “get your skates on and juggle” mindset is here for all of us this week as we approach Thanksgiving Day and then rush into Christmas before the turkey has settled. What better time, than a hectic, chaotic time, to stop and acknowledge the things for which we are Grateful. A simple, easy act can reduce your stress and center your focus on WHY you do what you do every day and what it’s all for.
How to Be Grateful in 10 Minutes
Here is what you need, time. Just a little bit of it – 5 to10 minutes – to tap into the five things that you are grateful for, that benefit you and without which your life would be less rich. Then note WHY you are Grateful for them. And that’s it, folks. This simple act can recharge your batteries and increase your confidence.
Here are some things Molly is Grateful for this Thanksgiving:
§ My amazing family – my parents, 5 siblings, 8 nieces and nephews, my husband and our 2 beautiful children and our loving family dog, Fin
§ My parents – healthy and well to actively know and love my kids
§ Extraordinary friends in my life for 25+ years that have stood by and supported my greatness even when I couldn’t see it
§ My Health – I am eternally grateful for the positive energy my daily yoga practice provides for my physical, mental and spiritual health. Getting my arse out of bed at 5 am and showing up on my mat allows me to declare how I am going to show up for myself and others each and every day.
§ My partners – Laney Richardson and Dave Zumpano, the constant stands in my daily life that will never let me get away with being anything but significant in my life
Here are some things Laney is Grateful for this year:
§ God – for his constant, steady guidance and abundance of blessings
§ My husband, Anwar – for loving me selflessly and joyfully – and embarking on this amazing journey with me
- My family – for giving me tradition and roots that grow deep and strong
- Molly – for being my North Star – helping me navigate day to day life while still keeping my eyes on something bigger
- § For Hope – on the darkest of days, hope brings me calmness, inspiration, strength and makes me feel amazingly connected to humanity
Together, we are forever grateful for our work that we have; work that brings not only money but authentic, personal and professional happiness. We are thankful we are able to provide valuable and purposeful work to clients that we not only enjoy but enhance our lives as well.
We encourage you to dedicate time weekly or even daily to the Act of Gratitude, particularly when you find yourself getting frustrated or turning to the dark side of negativity. The simple act of Gratitude can cause the miraculous to happen in your day.
So, what are you grateful for today? Grab your journal (or make time today to stop by your favorite book store to buy one) and take a few minutes to acknowledge and write down the five things you are grateful for. We get it, you are busy. We all are. But consider the possibility that taking the time to be still and connect with the things you are grateful for will offer you more energy, clarity and intentionality for the “stuff” you need to get done this holiday season and leave you exhilarated vs. exhausted.
This Thanksgiving, we will be remembering you with extraordinary gratitude for your constant support in its countless forms: sending encouragement, sharing our resources with your colleagues, trusting us with your teams, befriending us on Facebook and keeping us in your prayers…. We are simply amazed by your kindheartedness, again and again.
To quote Johannes “Meister” Eckhart “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
A very grateful Thanksgiving holiday for you and your family,
Molly and Laney
(by Laney Lyons)
Have you ever found yourself listening to a speaker and getting chills because its as if they were sitting smack dab in the middle of what’s going on in your life? But they are more articulate than you could possibly find the words to be, providing powerful insight on why we make certain decisions. That happened to me this morning. While getting ready for work, my husband and I were listening to a sermon* and I literally got chills as I heard him explain exactly why my husband was heading to work this morning to turn in his resignation at a job he has worked at for over 14 years, so we can move from our hometown of Tampa, Florida to Detroit…just in time for winter!
The theme of the message was “The Danger of Not Moving Forward”. When the speaker described how people who aren’t moving forward become stagnant, critical and bitter it resonated. Two years ago, while writing “Don’t be a Yes Chick!”, Molly and I wrote this:
Nurturing and growing your team is a never-ending process. And if it does end, you’re in trouble because it means that your team is no longer growing. That’s the beginning of stagnation. Like sitting water, your team doesn’t just stop growing and stay in place; they start to rot and eat away at all the standards, training, and culture that you’ve built. If a team isn’t motivated by growth, they’ll focus on other things that are negative and unproductive. A team that doesn’t have goals becomes wrought with gossip, cattiness, blame, and complaining; hence, your work as a team leader is never done. You can either devote time to leading your team, or spend time reprimanding them. The choice is yours. We don’t know about you, but we have very little patience for reprimanding.
This morning, I heard this message spoken to me with stunning clarity. The danger of not moving forward is that you become stagnant. And when you are stagnant you are not in the mindset to attract opportunity or to recognize possibility. Not moving forward doesn’t have to mean physically relocating, but it does absolutely mean being in a place and a mindset where you can grow. When you align yourself with your purpose, a commitment to happiness and a place you can grow-all wrapped up in your integrity-it’s amazing how doors begin to fly open. Paradoxically, they open when you were just getting “comfortable”.
Two and a half years ago I left my job of 12 years to start my own business. I began the process of creating relationships in my life that are meaningful, supportive, and healthy; which allow all parties a space to grow and flourish. Some relationships were reinvented and some didn’t make the transition. Every day since, I’ve been moving forward. Sometimes with excitement, sometimes with fear, but moving forward nonetheless. At 12:10am, January 1st I became engaged to a wonderful man who brings me joy and happiness. A month later I returned to Cambodia for a second time to volunteer with orphans and friends we met two years prior. A few months later the “Don’t be a Yes Chick!” book launched, after two years of hard, exhausting work. Two weeks after that I was married. In the meantime my company’s revenues before the end of the third quarter exceeded our total revenues of 2010 while we were training yet another team member to support our growth. And now, Anwar (my husband) receives a completely unexpected offer to become lead beat writer covering the Detroit Lions for MLive.com and The Booth newspapers. All of the above is a result of staying committed to moving forward in my life.
Chapter Nine, of “Don’t Be a Yes Chick!”, is ironically titled “Growing Chick”. The premise of the chapter is Why Becoming a Leader is So Important, which discusses how bosses and team leaders can provide the leadership their team needs to be able to grow and flourish. Sitting here just two years after writing that chapter, I have my own team in the Don’t Be a Yes Chick! Virtual Book Club because if these amazing things can happen to me once I committed to moving forward I have to continue to share the same possibilities with my team. And I understand the importance of my role as a leader is so critical, personally and professionally.
Why am I packing my bags, my dogs and my laptop and moving from sunny Florida to Detroit just in time for winter? Because I understand The Danger of Not Moving Forward and the endless possibilities that are waiting around the corner that I’ll never know if I’m not willing to make the move to turn the corner.
* The sermon I was listening to is “The Danger of Not Moving Forward” by T.D. Jakes.
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney