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
I remember the exact day I stopped being a yes chick. It was completely by accident, but the decision to leave yes’ing my boss behind and actually provide insight, well thought out answers and information so he could make more of an informed decision about growing his business was completely on purpose! Not only was it the best thing for the company, but being completely honest, I liked how it felt to be truly heard, to have my opinions considered, even if they weren’t ultimately agreed with and the feeling that I was a part of something bigger, something we were growing, something exciting. It sure was more empowering and interesting than drinking coffee and watching the clock tick towards 5:00pm.
When I started at the firm, I was hired as a temporary receptionist through a staffing agency. It was exactly one week after my 21st birthday and my first “office” job. Let’s just say my sense of dress code and office etiquette was a little on the rough side. However, my boss and his team saw through my inexperience and saw a smart, hard working girl – in need of a little direction. They decided to hire me on and things were going well for about 7 months. Let’s be honest, I had a job where I wasn’t flipping burgers and didn’t have to work nights or weekends, and everyone was fairly supportive of me… except the boss. He was neither nice nor mean to me – he was just pretty much invisible. He was the guy who passed me in the morning and went into his office where he met with people all day and said good bye at the end of the day, if he wasn’t still in a meeting when I left. Then one day, it all changed.
Apparently, unbeknownst to me a few people had mentioned to my boss that it was maddening to be screened by the receptionist when calling for him. While I was only doing as instructed, something about it was not working because people felt more like I was keeping them away from my boss than helping them solve the reason for their call. All I knew was that my boss asked me to attend the team Monday Morning meeting so we could talk about the firm phone procedures. I’d never attended a team meeting. All I knew about team meetings was that everyone entered the conference room and closed the door while I took messages. Now, back in those days, I used to love to go out on Sunday nights to a local hang out spot and celebrate the end of the weekend. (Hey, remember I was 21!) I remember distinctly that Sunday evening. I remember thinking that I had to make sure I was on time the next morning for the team meeting and I didn’t want to be tired and sound silly when my boss asked me a question. I decided to stay home instead and go to bed at a reasonable hour…not knowing this would literally change my life.
The next morning in the team meeting, I had the most unusual experience of being shown how something I was doing didn’t work in a way that empowered and excited me about how to do it differently, rather than making me feel defensive and like I was being scolded. Rather than tell me what I was doing wrong, my boss explained how our firm helped people after the loss of a loved one or helped family members deal with an elderly or ill loved one. He explained how I was the first person these grieving people or those suffering over a decision to put their parent in a nursing home had contact with. This was a scary, intimidating call for them to make and they were hiring us to alleviate their pain, even just a little. Now at 21, I knew nothing about estate planning. But I had a grandmother I loved dearly and I completely understood what it was like to have questions you needed answers in effort to help someone you love so much. Now that I ‘got it’; together my boss and I created a tracking system for tracking the most common reasons people called and at the end of the week we would review it. Together, we worked through each of those situations and came up with a plan of how I could respond so that the person felt heard and that they were being taking care of. I learned how to do a basic intake, I learned about information packages I could mail a client and several things I could do to help someone start getting the information they needed while waiting for my boss to return the call.
After that, I took my role so seriously of being the “first impression” of our firm that I looked at everything from the perspective of “how can I improve this for our clients’ expierence”? I brought ideas weekly to the team meeting, which I asked if I could attend every week. Some ideas were great. Some didn’t make sense to my boss but even in his explaining why my suggestion didn’t make good business sense, I learned. I learned A LOT. And learned each week.
Deciding to get some sleep and show up to a meeting with my head in the game was pretty much accidental. My decision was based on being a little intimidated by my boss and not wanting to look stupid. Deciding to keep my head in the game, pay attention to the value I could create rather than paying attention to the clock, and speaking up with ideas and feedback my boss could use to make our firm better was absolutely intentional. And what a difference it made in my life. I stopped being the “good enough” receptionist and eventually grew to be the marketing director for our firm.
Most importantly, I realized what a boss, partner or co-worker needs is someone who will take ownership of their role, the value they can create and can speak up and realize they are important enough to be included as part of the team. They need people to stop “keeping their head down and giving the easiest answer possible”. And what a powerful way to work and to live, for that matter, knowing we are heard, we are collaborating to build something great together and that by not being a Yes Chick you can create endless value for your boss, your team, your clients, and YOURSELF!
Are you not sure if you have slipped into Yes Chick mode? Take the self-exam in Don’t Be a Yes Chick! Now available at www.yeschick.com.
Stay tuned next week for Molly’s story of when she left yes’ing her boss behind and the difference it made!
Overwhelm is a state-of-mind and a way of being. It is NOT a set of circumstances. It is resistance to what is. It is NOT loving what is going on. The distinct difference of how to stop overwhelm is what you are willing to do about it and taking the responsibility for it.
Lingering in a state of overwhelm can
• Increase your risk of burnout
• Reduce productivity and effectiveness
• Add unnecessary stress on your team and staff
• Decrease your overall happiness and well-being
• Increase your work hours and
• Cloud focus, clarity, insight, and ability to make critical decisions
So how can you move from overwhelmed to overjoyed? It requires a little attention and a different mindset.
First recognizing that while you could try to do it all on your own, actually doing everything yourself is practically killing you. Step one is acknowledging all the assets that exist within your team and staff and then utilizing those assets to the fullest. That means you stop delegating your tasks, and start giving out ownership for assignments.
Second, you need to ensure that you have the right people in the right positions. Sure, your office manager knows how to handle just about every thing in the office, but it doesn’t mean she’s the right person to do it.
The next part is trust, training, and team. Working together as a team, and learning to trust and depend on one another for tasks – when the right person has the right assignment – it means the work will get done. And it won’t just get completed, it’ll be done right.
You see it all boils down to people. The people who support you, who are on your team, and who are there to help grow, sustain, and maintain the business for you – so you can work in the role you enjoy and do so well.
If you are curious as to HOW this can happen, it starts here. Molly Hall and Laney Lyons have been team members for business owners who were just like you.
Now, they are sharing all their dirt in how you can:
• Turn Your Key Team Member into a Consistent Star Player
• Create More Value for Your Business with Proactive Employees
• Generate More Profit with Increased Bottom-line Thinking
• Eliminate Time Wasters, Energy Vampires, and Other Destructive Time Thievery
In their book, Don’t Be a Yes Chick!, Molly and Laney teach your employees how to:
• Get Your Team to Love Their Jobs, Feel Respected, and Improve Productivity
• Understand What Your Boss Really Wants & Needs
• Do More of the Work You Love and Are Good At
• Build Your Dream Team of Talented and Proactive Team Members
This book isn’t just for YOU, the business owner to read, this book is for your TEAM to adapt, implement, and finally gain the courage and the skills to lead like you’ve always dreamed they would.
Move out of overwhelm and into overjoyed when you grab your copy of Don’t Be a Yes Chick today at http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Yes-Chick-Babysitting-Transform/dp/0615478956/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1308745801&sr=8-2
The answer is quite simple, get passionate about your work and share that with those you have
involved in your firm.
How to Get Passionate about Your Work.
1. Surround yourself with the right people. The job of your dreams, straight from the page of your passion, can be unfulfilling if you aren’t surrounded by the right people. These are the ones who not only call you to be the best that you can be, but refuse to let you be any less. The right people don’t let you sell yourself short. They believe in you and encourage you to believe in yourself. They may be mentors or role models, or you may be in a leadership position to them. These people don’t expect perfection from you, but they do expect greatness over the long run. No flame of passion can ignite or continue to burn in a vacuum. A workplace full of negative, passionless, and going-through-the-motions people is toxic. Like a vampire, it will suck out any passion that you have.
2. Get your life priorities straight. The “big rocks” in your life are the things you love such as your family members or outside passions, and your job should support them. Does your work environment allow you the flexibility to take time off to attend your child’s school functions? Or, if your big rock is traveling around the world, does your job allow you to take three weeks off at a time to travel to faraway places? Maybe your job isn’t your “passion,” but it can allow you the opportunity to comfortably enjoy the passions you do have in life.
3. Open the toolbox.To be passionate, you not only understand what you’re doing, but you have confidence in it as well. If you don’t have all the tools and resources you need to get your job done, ask for training. Be a lifetime learner and enroll in a “passion-feeding” educational event every quarter. Commit to one new workshop outside of work to expand your toolbox. Whether it’s a communication class, a technology workshop, or simply attending a two-hour speaking engagement by an author who inspires you, it will enliven your passion.
4. Enlist others’ support. Discover what motivates you. If you can’t do this on your own, ask for help from those around you whom you trust and admire. It may be the last person you would expect, or even someone who
Here’s a story from Laney that serves as a good example of this scenario:
I had been working at a law firm for four years, and I liked my job. I worked with people who encouraged me, pushed me to grow, and helped me develop self-confidence. I had the training, resources, and knowledge to do a good job. I started thinking about growing further in this same workplace I loved so much, and I began to seriously consider attending law school to become an attorney. That achievement would have allowed me to have unending growth in my current workplace with more responsibility and more money. I shared my desires with my boss. He had already been very supportive of me going to school, so I knew that wasn’t a problem. But I wanted his opinion. Would I make a good attorney and what would it mean for my growth opportunities at the firm? He answered with one simple question of his own: “What do you love about your job?” That was a hard question. I loved my co-workers, and my work was a lot of fun. But I had to think, what was it exactly that I loved about my work? “I love talking to our clients,” I answered. “I love hearing about their lives, especially their kids. When we discuss estate plans, they tell us about all their hopes and dreams for their children, and you can see their eyes light up. You get to hear about their children’s accomplishments. You get to hear how the husbands and wives met each other, and all the wonderful, even heartbreaking events that they’ve shared together. Every time I talk to a client, it’s not just about a document they want or a legal question they need answered; I hear the love they have for their children, spouse, or community.”
My boss wisely answered me. “You don’t need to be an attorney to do that,” he said. He went on to advise me that if I had answered that I loved the law, the research, and the technical and legal aspects, he would wholeheartedly encourage me to go to law school. But I didn’t need to go to law school to hear the clients’ stories and to help ensure that their estate planning wishes were carried out. Since then, I’ve moved more and more into working directly with clients and prospective clients of our firm. In fact, they like that I’m not an attorney. I’m a layperson, just like them, talking to them about how planning can help them and their families, and why our firm is the team they should use. I employ the skills I enjoy, like writing, public speaking, and event planning. I help write books, newsletters, and marketing materials for the firm. And I get to plan parties and conferences. One of the fundamental keys to unlocking my passion—making a difference for the aging population and their children—has been fulfilled. I talk mostly with elderly people—whom I genuinely enjoy and learn from—about helping their children or grandchildren grow up to be successful, loving people. Through my clients, I help make a difference in the world.
By being asked the right questions and by not just following the logical next step to a bigger paycheck, I found some keys to my passion, and they were right in front of me! And as I grew, rather than being molded by my job, I expanded my job description to include skills I enjoyed, like writing and public speaking. Now, many years after that crossroads, I’ve made a difference by helping the community, like organizing golf tournaments to benefit the educational needs of underprivileged children, and taking my first trip to Cambodia to volunteer with children and seniors disabled by polio and landmine explosions. If I had gone to law school as the next logical step in my career path, who knows if I would have found my passion? Maybe I would never have really looked for it, thinking I had made a right career choice. I may have “followed the job” rather than making the job follow me.
Now, don’t go into the office tomorrow and say, “I don’t like that we sell computer services, because I’m not passionate about it.” Take responsibility for how you communicate. Laney loves to teach, but who could see that as a possibility in a law firm? At first, it may have seemed as though she would have to quit, but she found a way to teach—she teaches the team and the attorneys by training them on the firm’s systems and processes. Even at the law firm, she found a way to express her passion. She didn’t need to leave to fulfill her dreams—everything she needed was right there.
That is the million-dollar question that business owners, consultants, and management gurus have been asking since the day that the guy who invented the wheel started hiring people to make and sell wheels.
Business owners pay motivational speakers a handsome sum of money at conference centers all over the world to come in and motivate the troops, even though extensive research has shown that you can’t really motivate another person, at least not for any extended length of time. You can dangle carrots and wield sticks that will have short-term effects or that will appeal to an individual’s susceptibility to greed or fear, and you can even inspire his higher nature, but even these motivators will work less and less effectively as time moves on.
You may not be able to motivate someone else, but you can discover what motivates you. Moreover, you can use that awareness as a key to unlock all the latent creative talents and passion within yourself. Intrinsic motivation that comes from the inside out is the only lasting passion that will be there day after day, and won’t need a constant stream of reminders, nudges, encouragement, threats, and bribes to maintain.
As an intrapreneur™ (a person who works within a small business for a solo entrepreneur but is personally vested in their responsibility for creating a profitable business through assertive risk-taking and innovation) you must find that internal passion, but part of your role is also to help your team find the passion within themselves.
How do you find this hidden motivational switch? What inspires one person to do her job with passion, while another equally gifted person may perform the same task begrudgingly or mechanically, doing only the minimum required “to get by”? Why is one person inspired to do one particular task, but not inspired about another task? How many of us feel happy that it’s Monday and excited about what’s on deck this week? You spend at least eight to nine hours a day at your job—almost 25 to 30 percent of your life. If you’re a clock-watchin’ kind of gal, you’re missing something really important in your work life—passion.
Sadly, many people don’t enjoy their work. Worse still, they have no expectation that they should. They simply show up for work, look busy, and collect a paycheck to pay the bills in order to live–and work. Is it any wonder why most heart attacks and strokes in America take place on Monday mornings, as people begrudgingly ready themselves for another week of unfulfilling labor?
Being passionate about your job is more than the old cliché, “Do what you love.” It’s about looking forward to going to work. It’s looking at the clock at 2 p.m. and realizing that you never took your morning bagel out of the toaster. It’s working past “quitting” time, not because you’re swamped with work, but because you’re so involved that you don’t notice time. Is this the reality of your world?
If you’re not passionate about your work, you may feel like you’re just going through the motions, and wondering if this is all your life has to offer. You may be asking yourself, “What happened to my dreams?” If your life is currently full of passion, Don’t Be a Yes Chick will help you identify the traits that contribute to it so that you’ll always have the tools to mend your confidence when it gets low or when you need a reminder of why you do what you do day in and day out. If your life isn’t driven by your passion now, Don’t Be a Yes Chick will help you learn to identify what you’re passionate about and find some simple ways to restructure the “stuff” in your life so that it feeds your desires.
If “finding your passion” involves running off to Paris, Pisa, or Prague to study art and history, or quitting your job to become a pianist, or something else that may disappoint those around you, rest easy. We’ll help you unleash your passion whether you’re in Des Moines, Detroit, or Dayton. Even if you chucked this life and ran off to something more aligned with your fantasies, chances are that if you don’t know how to identify the key elements of that passion, you’d quickly find yourself exactly where you are now, but without a steady paycheck.
“When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one
and you reach that deep well where passion lives,
nothing is impossible.” Anonymous
You can read more about Finding your Passion and Fulfillment in Don’t Be a Yes Chick, being released Spring 2011.