“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
(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
The best entrepreneur to work for is someone who has developed a business they are passionate
about—who’s doing what they love—or someone who has found a way to express their passion.
The ideal workplace is one where you feel you make a difference for others, know that you are
accomplishing something meaningful, while maintaining some control over your future.A good example of this kind of person is our friend, Jennifer, who’s an attorney. She’s not really that passionate about law; that alone doesn’t motivate or rejuvenate her. However, through her law practice, she has found a way to empower, teach and coach her clients and referral sources, and that unleashes her passion, fills her up and inspires her team. Ironically, her firm has not only reached their monthly revenue goal, but even exceeded, ever since she uncovered how to incorporate her humanity into what she “does for a living.”
A different example is another lawyer friend, a hip young guy named Lane, who has always had a passion for the law and being a lawyer. Lane LOVES to fact find, research and problem solve cases. However, he isn’t necessarily excited about the “people” stuff. We have a saying for attorneys like this, “business would be great but for the clients”.
Laney has passion for law. However, this isn’t enough to run a successful business i.e., make money. Not to mention it was impossible to enroll his team to take ownership in their role in “getting clients in the door” and servicing clients when he, as the attorney, wanted to hide out behind his desk. Lane knew there was something missing, but he couldn’t pinpoint it. after several months of analysis he finally made the decision to hire a coach from his local networking group to support him with HOW to practice law (which he loved) in authentic way that connected him with his clients and oh yeah, generated revenue.
In both of these instances, before the attorney found a way to find their passion within their job, their team shared with us thoughts like “I don’t understand, if she just DID the few things I need him to do we could collect the final check and be on our way.” and “I don’t believe him when he says he will do it, he never completes anything, he must not need this firm to succeed.” These comments were from hard-working, committed support team who were simply frustrated at the lack of focus, motivation and energy their attorneys were showing up with. They felt like they were forcing the attorney to do something they hated and that they were being fought every step of the way.
After a few evaluations, the root of the problem was the mere fact that the attorney was struggling with connecting with their passion for the “job”. There was little that was exciting them to show up motivated and energized. They often felt they were continuing down a path called “obligation and duty” that was for the sole purpose to serve their clients and the team members they employed. Most attorneys we know have a very strong work ethic and sense of integrity, though they seem to somehow constantly frustrate their assistants by not getting certain things completed.
Getting real, authentic and in line with your passion – and finding a way to express it in your job gets you off the wheel of working hard and allows you to produce results that excite (and pay) you. It brings back your energy, your hope and your focus. And it consolidates and motivates your team. Most support team will go to the mat for their attorney and their firm. They just need a leader to align them.
If you want to learn how to get in action and stay in action…on a path that incorporates that which you are passionate about with that which pays you, call us for a complimentary passion evaluation. Stay tuned for our next blog, How to Get Passionate About Your Work.
We can officially check the box called Christmas as “completed”. It is behind us and many of us had an ambitious goal of taking the last week of the year off and instead are sitting in the office starting to get that annual, panicky feeling. 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, your assistant is out this week and you don’t have a packed calendar with revenue generating activities. And in the midst of it all the glimmer of “the New Year” that is on the horizon… where things are going to be (have to be) better…right?
We get it. We’ve been there too. However, this is our 2nd year of taking a very different approach to the year-end wrap up and New Year resolutions. It has made a tremendous difference and we’d like to share it with you.
We like to end the year with “Year End Statements” that include a declaration of the Top 3 things we learned over the past 12 months. These will launch us into 2011 with intentional determination and discipline that is filled with passion, purpose and growth.
The Top 3 Things We Learned in 2010
1. We Created Pain. We each individually stepped out of our comfort zones (traps) and fully embraced “feel the fear and do it anyways”. We became much more focused and committed to the business. We made a conscious commitment to focus on staring that which fears each of us straight in the face. We each declared that if something challenged us, we would feel the fear and do it anyways. For Molly it was public speaking and sharing what she was “up to” with the world. She jumped in with both feet and joined Toastmasters, Speaking Circle programs, a weekend retreat at The Omega Institute, Journeywork processes, put her voice in print as a contributing author in “Speaking Your Truth: Courageous Stories from Inspiring Women”, and participated in a Winter Solstice Firewalk, just to name a few! For Laney it was learning to accept and receive relationships, personal and professional, where she is appreciated and celebrated, not merely needed, which can leave you tremendously vulnerable. Being “needed” is safe. We learned and will walk into 2011 with the ability to know that fear is just an emotion. The faster we take action, the less scary and stressful it is. The longer we wait and worry, the more we needlessly suffer. We only rob our own confidence. In 2011, we will continue to look fear in the face and move faster to take action.
2. We Quit. We quit subscribing the school of WSC – “woulda, shoulda and coulda”. In the past we’d receive a criticical email and be totally shut down and paralyzed with doubt about ourselves and the value we provide. In 2010, we stopped beating ourselves up. We stopped trying to retain clients who were not a good fit for us and focused on those who were. 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 fearful step of the way into the unknown void towards success. We learned and will walk into 2011 with confidence that we provide tremendous value to people who are in a place to receive our services. And for those who don’t, that’s ok – there are many paths to success. In 2011, we will learn from mistakes but not allow other people’s decisions to shake our confidence.
3. We Fired. We made the decision that we were going to invest in people ONLY if they showed an obscene amount of passion and integrity in everything they touched. Life is too short to not be passionate about what you do, the world you live in and the people in it with you. And we work too darn hard to not care tremendously about what we are doing. This started out in our personal worlds, first and foremost, and then carried into our professional worlds. We learned and will walk into 2011 with an absolute conviction to make a difference in this world. We are and will remain passionately committed to our purpose, despite the letdowns, disappointments and failures that get in the way. In 2011, we commit to continue the search for others who are passionately committed to their purpose, for together we can create tremendous momentum and change.
If you still feel like you need a “jump start” to moving forward in 2011, we recommend a book that we read together back in January 2010. “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyways” by Susan Jeffers. The concept of the book is “we’re all afraid of something: beginnings, endings, changing, getting stuck. But fear doesn’t have to hold you back from happiness or success. You can change your relationship with fear — and in this dynamic, inspirational program, Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., teaches compassionate concepts and highly effective exercises that help you unravel the complexities and reverse the effects of fear.” Most of our stress, worry, indecision and hesitation comes from some form of fear. Don’t let fear rob you of what’s waiting for you in 2011.
Year End Advisory Board
It’s HOURS before Christmas and about a week before a brand New Year. You’ve been running at 130 miles an hour since Thanksgiving for the proverbial year end sprint to get cash flow in and the piles of lingering “stuff” cleaned up. You still have a daunting “To Do” list, both business and personal. You’re feeling like your knee deep in the danger zone…days away from time off with family and friends and already have subscribed to the year-end advisory board (aka self talk) that goes something like this – “I’m thinking I should come into the office over the holiday ‘just for a bit’ to finish up some work while its quiet and nobody will bother me.”
DON’T DO IT! We know that you have committed to do what it takes to move your practice in the direction you want. You and your team have likely done a tremendous job so far, even though it may not feel like it to you because you are in the thick of it. We want to support you in creating the quality of life you desire. That being said, we respectfully petition that you absolutely take your time off over the holidays. While you have an unwavering commitment to creating the practice you know you are capable of, it is very probable that anyone speaking with you can hear in your voice that your energy is somewhat depleted. This is VERY natural as you balance the pressure to clear out cases and obligations while pushing your practice forward into new areas and new levels in preparation for the New Year. The only work that is a MUST prior to ringing in 2011 is taking a few days off, consecutively. At a mininimum, 3 solid days in a row. You will get more done when you return rested and rejuvenated than you will sacrificing your time off with family. We say this with the absolute and utmost respect and understanding of you. Molly and I hold each other accountable to taking time off as we too feel the pressure to “work more and clear the decks” which ironically rarely works. We promise you will come back with more energy and focus and be see more results. Just because you are taking time out of the office doesn’t mean your subconscious isn’t still working on figuring out things and planning. Often we have our best “ah ha’s” while out of the office or upon returning. Kind of funny how that works! Without the time off we GUARANTEE you will walk into the office on January 3rd feeling like Groundhog Day and “I shoulda” all over yourself!
We wish you a joyful, reflective, restful and rejuvenating holiday season full of connection and presence with your community of family and friends!
If you want to go FAR…
Mission statements, business plans, life statements, strategic plans, 5 year, 10 year, lifetime goals…it’s no wonder we are all living in a place of overwhelm and over commitment! Don’t get us wrong we are RAVING fans of goal setting and purposeful plans. HUGE fans of putting pen to paper and revisiting and reconnecting with what you want on a quarterly basis. Our lifetime mentor taught us about goal setting and without it we would not be where we are today or know where we want to be five years from now. It is imperative that we have all those things. But life smacks us all in the face every morning and our overwhelming “to do” lists suck the life out of us!
All the “buzz” these days is “less is more”. We’ve learned along the way unless something is quick and simple on a day to day basis, it will get trumped by everything else you’ve already committed yourself too. In our experience it is daunting to look at our 10 year goals day on a day to day basis and actually disempowers you more than it fills you up.
Don’t stop creating your future and mapping it out. But once you do that put those goals in a place where they are hidden and you can revisit them on a quarterly basis or when you are travelling or have time to sit and reflect. Schedule time in your calendar quarterly to “revisit long-term goals”. That’s it, not much more you have to do. It is amazing the power of writing them down and spending the initial time to plan them out. That process alone will be a very powerful experience.
So, now that we have a time and place set to revisit and adjust our long-term goals, let’s adopt a simple, fun process for moving forward with our short-term goals.
What you need
2. White Index Cards
3. A box or container to put on your desk or nightstand for “Filing” – make it something interesting or fun like a pretty vase or an old cigar box.
How to get started
The format is very simple. “FAR”—the written word (goals) everyday will take you FAR.
F= Focus. Be as specific as you can, be positive and write in the presence tense.
A= Accountability. Just by putting your written word on your desk where you can see it, noon hits and you are 99% more likely to get up and start moving.
R= Relevance. What is important? Your goals aren’t just about business. Make sure include family and personal goals too.
Step 1- Schedule in your calendar at the start of each day 5 minutes before you start “work” or “life” a hard wired appointment for “FAR”. Do this for the next 30 days.
Step 2- Take an index card and using only 1 side write your FAR goal. Leave it on your desk where you will see it all day.
Step 3- At the end of the day, file it in your box or vase. Molly has a beautiful tall vase on her desk where she just files these every afternoon before she leaves the office.
Step 4- Repeat the process the next morning and for the next 29 days. Trust the process.
Here are some examples (note the Focus, the Accountability and the Relevance of each):
9/7—“From 12-12:30 talk Finn (the dog) for a walk and recite out loud 5 things I am grateful for today”
9/8—“Surprise Aidan by picking him up from school today…just because”
9/9—“Take 3 deep cleansing breaths before my Toastmaster speech and speak from the heart with no notes”
9/10—“Register and pay for Parenting with Love and Logic class that I have been “meaning” to do for 2 years”
It is amazing how simple and fun the process really is. It easily sets the tone for your day and plants the seed of intentionality in your day with Focus, has some Accountability (staring you in the face all day) and has some Relevance (important things in your life).
That’s it…don’t overcomplicate it. Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t get the goal completed by the end of your day. Just say, “Maybe tomorrow”. Or maybe not…maybe after you go through your day you see that it actually wasn’t something you were very committed to in the first place. It was just something you thought you “should” do. Either way, when you write it down every day it makes you ask yourself “how am I doing”, forces accountability and brings your current reality to the light of day.
The challenge is to try this process for 1 month (it takes 30 days to create a habit, right?) and you will be very surprised at the results you see! We would love to hear what came out of this for you, so feel free to share your results.
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney
The past year has been a year of great change for many people I know, and collectively for all of us as Americans. Some have proactively initiated changes in our lives, and others have been dealt change and are struggling to deal with it. I’ve always been a fan of change – one who embraces it and indeed sometimes craves breaking out of my comfort zone and exploring new opportunities. However, I’ve learned that when change impacts the foundations you have built your life on – your core relationships and support systems – that change can literally rip away all that you thought you knew about yourself and leave you in a whirlwind of emotion and self-doubt. It can steal your confidence, energy and focus.
Knowing that many of my friends and colleagues are in times of change, be it in their businesses or their personal lives, I want to take a moment and share two keys I have discovered that may help you navigate your change.
The first key is to find your humanity and anchor to it. What do I mean your humanity? Find whatever it is deep within your soul that touches your very spirit. What is it that calls you forward in life? What is it you are passionate about and feel like you are you “true self” when you are a part of it? What is your mission or your Primary Aim in life? Find it – and anchor to it. As the change in your life blows around you, cling to your humanity – it is your North Star. Let it call you forward into what your life can be. Let it energize you to deal with the not so pleasant aspects of being in transition or change. You will find that decisions become easier when you are anchored and clear on what you are passionate about in life. Something or someone either serves or supports your passion – or they do not belong in the inner circle of your life. Your path may still be long and it may still be hard, but at least it will be clear. And when you get there, it will be worth it.
For example, my Primary Aim in life is to create possibility for children around the world – the possibility of education, of safety, of a better life. Even now, as I have momentary panic attacks while growing my business or feel overwhelmed with opinions and opportunities, I anchor to my Primary Aim. Does each decision I make support my Primary Aim? If considering a new service offering – does it allow me the flexibility to pursue my goal of working from around the world? If not, it is not for me. Is the person I am being a person who can create possibility and opportunity? Does each decision support finding happiness in my life? Comparing the outcome of each decision with my Primary Aim in life makes my decisions very clear, and reduces the needless suffering over them.
In the chaos of day to day life, you may honestly not know what your humanity or Primary Aim are. An easy exercise, “Locating Your Passion Keys” can help you begin to identify what your passion in life is. And almost always, your Primary Aim and humanity will be connected – that’s what makes you passionate about it. Email us for a copy of the exercise.
As one who is dealing with the winds of change, I can’t encourage you enough to get clear on what you want in your life, and make it authentic – make it something you are passionate about. This will keep you focused on your path and authentic in your actions.
Stay tuned for the 2nd key to finding your focus in the midst of change.
“One day the sum of all your challenges will be like feathers on your wings – so you can fly where only eagles dare.” ~Indian Proverb
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 your team’s 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!
Why is being a leader so important?
To be blunt, team members who aren’t in a growth-oriented workplace with good leadership won’t be around for long. In that environment a good team will be unfulfilled and talented members will move on to other places that provide leadership and growth. The rest of the group will become infected with a spirit of gossip and negativity that has the potential to become so infectious throughout the office that you’ll end up firing those individuals. Look at it from a purely selfish perspective – after all the time you’ve spent hiring and training do you really want to start all over? Which do you think would be a better use of time – helping a great team member continually find ways to grow, or starting all over interviewing, hiring, firing, and training every quarter?
Why is it my job to lead the team?
Everyone isn’t a leader. If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you are a leader or well on your way to becoming one. The role is both a blessing and a curse. The curse is that you can’t stop being the leader that you are, even though there’ll be times in your career when you temporarily stop leading. Maybe you’ll be mentally exhausted, or in an atmosphere that doesn’t allow your leadership abilities to flourish; regardless, while you may choose to stop leading others for a period you can’t ever stop being a leader anymore than you can stop being a mom or dad, the glue for your family, or a community advocate.
Don’t curse your gift as a leader. Cursing your gift can show up as:
“Why does everyone come to me, I have enough on my plate?” or
“I’m tired of everyone leaning on me!” or
“Is it me, or is everyone else either an idiot or just doesn’t care?” (Boy, have I said those things in the workplace!)
You can’t run away from your talents and responsibilities as a leader, even if you try, it won’t fix your problem, or make you happier. There have been many times that we’ve all wanted to quit our jobs or shut down our practices in order to get an easy and “stress free” job where we could show up, do the work well, and go home. We long for a job where we wouldn’t have to solve other people’s problems, or take stress home, but, alas a leopard can’t change its spots. You would not be fulfilled in a job such as this. You can either embrace the leader who you are, or find yourself constantly feeling unfulfilled.
If you’re a true leader, you’re a beacon in the night. No matter your role, you will draw people to listen to you because you ask the tough questions; in other words, you’ll motivate and lead. Others will be drawn to your innate ability to provide calmness and direction in the storm. If you’re really honest with yourself, you probably aren’t happy when you’re not leading. We’re not saying that you have to be a 1-800 help line, or wake up at 2 A.M. stressing over things at work, but when leaders aren’t in a position to lead, they’re like a flower without sunlight. They’ll wilt, their colors will fade and their vitality that always shone brightly will waste away.
So, since you can’t rid yourself of this incessant need to lead, why not simply embrace it? Remember, it’s not only a curse, but a blessing, as well. Very few people have the gift to inspire others. You can. Look at the difference you make in other people’s lives. For example, take a single mother who you’re helping build a career. You aren’t just helping her; you’re making a difference in her children’s lives too. Few people can provide calmness and confidence in times of change or uncertainty. You can. Remember all the people who you’ve helped keep the faith and not lose direction. Few people have the ability to truly make a lasting, positive impression on other’s lives. You do. Your ability to lead is a blessing. It only becomes a curse when you can’t balance the dependency of others with your own needs.
In our next few blogs, we will share strategies to provide leadership for your team, in a leveraged, structured manner. This will allow you to produce results, while protecting your own time and focus. Be sure to sign up to receive our blog so you don’t miss the next installment.
To see if you are running your office, or if your office is running you, click here to take our free Assessment.
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, things that 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 5 siblings and my 7 nieces and nephews
- Having my parents healthy and alive and well to know my kids
- The extraordinary friends in my life for 20+ years
- My husband and 2 beautiful kids and our new pup Finn
- Our new home and the nature that surrounds it
Here are some things Laney is Grateful for this year:
- My friends and family who refuse to let me be less than all that I am meant to be
- The opportunity to see the innate goodness in people as they give of themselves to support the children at the Hope Children’s Home this holiday season
- My mother, who won her fight against breast cancer, and my mother-in-law who survived a heart transplant for teaching me that courage can sometimes be a quiet strength
- God – for his constant, steady guidance no matter how hard headed I can be
- My amazing niece for keeping life magical and never letting me take myself too seriously
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.
A very grateful Thanksgiving holiday for you and your family,
Molly and Laney
“There are only 2 kinds of suffering - long term and short term…the difference in the outcome is the path you choose.”
When our coach and mentor Steve Riley shared this distinction in a coaching class you could have heard a PIN drop in a room of 77 attorneys – and that’s saying something!
This insight alone can powerfully change not only what your future looks like, but the pleasure or pain of your journey.
Reminding yourself of “long term vs. short term suffering” can single handedly get you “off of it” when you find yourself “on it” about a situation. Long term suffering is a choice and your mindset will determine whether your suffering remains a short term or a long term condition.
There are those who suffer real physical or psychological pain, and this blog certainly is not intended to diminish their condition. There is also a distinction between the usual and immediate short-term suffering (grief) following a catastrophic event in our life and unnecessary long-term suffering (self-inflicted useless torture). When a loved one dies, for example, the temporary suffering associated with our grief is a natural process. Additionally, natural short-term anxiety and fear may result from losing a job, your child being hurt by another, financial crisis or going through a divorce. Our instant short-term suffering is normal and actually serves a purpose as it empowers us to take action to eliminate the anxiety and fear.
Long term suffering is that continual suffering that is a pointless state of anxiety, fear and disappointment about some occurrence, condition or circumstance of our life. Those in a state of long term suffering typically take no action to resolve a situation; they just suffer endlessly over it.
Long term suffering is toxic and truly can be deadly for many. Deadly? Yes, deadly. We have seen business owners suffer for eight years over firing an employee that is COSTING them money and chasing off their quality staff! Or spend years suffering over if they should close their business because they have either lost the passion for it years ago or it is hanging on by a thread. We talk to employees that cannot stand their job or their coworkers and just “show up” and collect a paycheck. However, long term suffering does not just “stay” in the place you are suffering about – your job, community, marriage, etc. Wherever you go, there you are. Long term suffering in one area of your life will result in a diminished quality of your life in general and a loss of happiness, energy and productivity. Suffering will overwhelm you and make happiness seem unattainable.
Eliminating unnecessary long-term suffering is critical to achieve happiness, purpose and prosperity.
How to CHOOSE short term and stop the LONG Term Suffering:
1. Post It: Literally, it works like a charm. Type up and post the following statement over your computer, on your fridge, your car, wherever you will FACE it every day; “There are only 2 kinds of suffering, Long Term and Short Term…you choose.” This powerful little statement will lend a hand every time when you find yourself going down the path of senseless Long term torture.
2. Recognize the Red Flags: In that very moment when you find yourself hours, days or weeks later still mulling over the same thought inside your head “Well, Jenny is a great worker she just has a horrible attitude and never follows up with the clients, but you just need to take the good with the bad.” ok.….red flag #1 – you are on the route called LONG TERM suffering. You are beginning to “justify” the issue because you don’t want to “deal” with it. Dealing with it might be painful, but its short term pain, not long term suffering.
3. The Root of Matter: When you find yourself constantly going over the same issue, ask yourself WHY is this getting to me, again? Why does this keep showing up? Put pen to paper and write down what exactly it is about this matter, situation, or issue that keeps getting to you. If it is the suffering over firing an employee, closing of the business or leaving a marriage it all comes down to fear. We need to get to the ROOT of what about it is fearful and causing you to choose long term suffering over and over again.
4. Facts without Emotion: It is important to figure out WHAT emotions are showing up for you when you deal with the issue at hand. For example, if it comes to a closing a business after 15 years of trying to make it work but it has been on life support for the past 5 years what are the emotions tied to this? Is it looking like a failure to others, personal loss, frustration, anger, depression, hopelessness, feeling lost, your ego, etc.? OK! Whatever the emotions are is what they are. Just identify them, list them and be honest with yourself about what’s getting to you. Then move on and get to the facts. Maybe you are missing time with your kids and when you are with them you aren’t really present and in 6 years they will be off to college. Perhaps you haven’t taken a paycheck for a year, you work 60 hours a week plus weekends, or you have no drive, passion or desire to turn it around. Maybe you have no retirement savings but you still have 15 great working years left in you. Getting the emotions out of the way and facing facts allows you to think through possible solutions. “What if I took a job with that outfit down the street I can get my work/life balance again, start saving for retirement and start to feel fulfilled.” Or “What if I hire a coach to help me make sure my business decisions serve the personal life I want.” Or “What if I give myself one year to complete or transition all my personal injury cases and do estate planning full-time…and if I can’t make a profit in one year, I agree to stop the suffering and close this firm down.”
5. Pick a Path: In that moment you say, “Dang it….it is now up to me, what am I going to do about this situation” choose NOT to be a victim of your circumstance. In that very moment you have to choose long term or short term suffering. Decide to do something about it, even if that something is painful, to clear the way for a different future outcome or continue to revisit the issue next week, and the week after, and so on as you slowly lose your happiness and the people closest to you, be it your staff, your clients or your family.
Your playing small does not serve the world – Marianne Williamson
Just as important, it does not serve you.
To your future,
Molly and Laney