Posted in Planning

Save yourself. Get out of the fray.

I have been in a season of churn and burn for what feels like years. Managing a multi-million dollar contract, having 2 school-aged kids with schedules of their own (that no one coordinates with my schedule mind you)… I’m also over here trying to develop personally, professionally and spiritually….it seems too much sometimes. More often than not I have a tendency to feel like I’m failing at everything. Have you ever felt that way?

Over these past months I’ve learned so much and so much of what I’ve learned is that the “work” is always going to be there and *NEWS FLASH* I don’t have to do all of it! Read: YOU don’t have to do it all. Seems so simple, but when you’re in that chaotic surf, crashing into rocks and gulping water it’s hard to see the many lifelines rolling on top of the waves waiting for you to grab hold. Here are some of the life lines that I look for when it seems like I’m doing all I can to tread water:

  1. Ask for Help: People want to help. Your friends, family, co-workers. I believe they genuinely do, but you HAVE TO ASK FOR IT. Believe me, I’m giggling to myself as I type this out. It’s so hard for me to feel like I need to pull anyone into the fray with me if I can just work harder or faster or longer – what’s wrong with me – why is this so hard?!?!? Take inventory of what needs to be done, sort by due date and those things that don’t have to be done by you, ask someone to help you out – even if it’s just part of the overall job. I guarantee that the final product will be so much better by letting someone else provide a fresh perspective. Think about it. Will this body of work be better if someone helps you make this project the best it can be with a new and different perspective or you pushing through without 100% to give it. BONUS: That person that you ask for help may learn something along the way that they can add to their toolbox, OR BETTER YET they may find that they actually loved helping you with it and want to start focusing on it. Then you can start sharing more of that very thing with them.
  2. Let go of Control: This coincides with #1 above and similarly is so hard to do for those of us Type A, control freak personalities. Can I share with you that this work or whatever it is that has you feeling like you’re drowning won’t follow you into eternity. It was constructed as a temporary fix to a temporary problem in this life. Try your best to put this task or obstacle into perspective with the rest of the world and the rest of the things in your life that mean something to you. Give it the attention it needs, but don’t go crazy.
  3. Wrap it up: Do you have something on your to-do list that has been lingering longer than 72 hours? Just get it done already! The longer that thing sits on your list the more anxiety it collects around it. No one likes waking up everyday remembering something they didn’t get done the day before. Be like Nike and Just Do It!
  4. What’s not getting done? When you have 40+ hours of work to complete in a 40 hour work week (or whatever your ratio of work to available time is) then I suggest you take 30-45 minutes to write it all down. {Tip: When I do this exercise I literally write it all down. I take an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and mark it into 4 quadrants and each quadrant has a list. My quadrants are Home, Kids, Me, and Work.

    My home list may look like charge the doorbell, make vet appointment for the dog, take down Halloween decorations, pay bills.

    My kids list tends to look like don’t forget teacher workday on Monday, Parent/Teacher conference on this day, PTA meeting 11/6, schedule Cole’s 4 year old doctor’s appointment, purge toys.

    My me list includes things like sign-up for Chili cook-off at church, write new blog post, order Rise ticket, make workout plan for the week.

    My work list includes submitting my time sheet, booking rooms for meetings, drafting contracts to get out for review, proofing edits of proposals, finish my development plan, finish quarterly review for my team.

    Maybe you need more than 4 lists or maybe you need a legal-sized sheet of paper. You do you! Get whatever materials you need and get it out of your brain and into the world. In each list highlight those things that are a priority in whatever color draws your attention to it. Beside those highlighted things write down when it needs to be done by and who owns it. Remember friend it doesn’t have to be you. You may not know who needs to own it, but it’s not you. For those things put a big “?” beside it. Tada! You now have a more concrete idea of what’s on your plate that you need to tackle and what you don’t need to give any more power to.

    For those things that you don’t need to do or own – have some conversations with the folks whose names you wrote down and let them know that this was on your list but you think it really belongs to them or that they are better suited and pass those things off. For those things that had the “?” beside them, talk to your supervisor, your significant other, or your kids and ask them for help in determining who can take those things from you. Be honest and genuine in what you do and don’t have the bandwidth to do and let them help. Communicate. Be the team you know you know how to be!

    For everything that’s left on your list un-highlighted and un-assigned…ask yourself: Do these things need to be done at all? Chances are if it made it to your list – someone put it out in the universe. If you put it out there is it still a priority if you didn’t highlight it? If you didn’t put it out there circle back to the person that did and get some clarity on their vision, who needs to own execution of it and the timeline.

  5. Seriously, make some “you time”: It may sound cliche’ and you are probably thinking to yourself “I’m reading this because I already don’t have enough time. How am I going to find extra “me time?” It is so important that you do. I recently heard a story that I want to share with you. Go with me on this visualization exercise for a moment. Pretend that you’re a glass vase. You are being filled up with water. In this analogy water = love. You are being filled up with love by those around you. As you start to feel your thirst for love quenched you start to tip yourself to the side to pour some love out on those around you who have been thirsting for your attention. You tip and tip and tip until you fall over and break. You can’t keep making yourself uncomfortable and pouring out on those around you while risking your own safety or you will break. Now, let’s look at this another way. You’re the same glass vase being filled up by love (aka water). You let yourself stand tall being filled with love and resist the urge to tip over. Collect as much as you can until your vase will hold no more. Do you know what happens when your vase becomes too full? That love starts to overflow. It naturally pours out of you to those around without you needing to do any extra work at all. You’re still just standing there; tall, strong and beautiful – oh and by the way, not a hazard for those that could fall into your broken glass. Let this sink in. Take time for you. Be intentional about it. Let those who support and care for you love on you, help you grow, and build you up. You stand tall and LET THEM! Soon enough you will be so full of love and energy that it will naturally pour out of you and onto those people and things surrounding you and work won’t seem like work any more. You’ll have watered the seeds that promote teamwork, business continuity and new life (read: innovation).

    You’re awesome and I want you to make the best decisions about how you spend your time and energy. Do great things!

Posted in Planning

Start Today Journal: A Preview

I’m a sucker for new post-it notes, new pens and markers….new journals….and I recently managed to snag a Start Today Journal c/o one fabulous Ms. Rachel Hollis and I want to tell you all about it!

The first run of this journal came in 3 patterns (brushed gold, tortoise shell and Hope is Not a Strategy) and is currently sold out. 200,000+ people trying to purchase 4,000 journals literally broke the internet on October 12, 2018. I feel like it’ll be a Jeopardy question one day, so make a mental note. Rachel and Dave (her husband) assure us that more journals with new covers are coming. Can’t wait!

While we wait on for the next editions of this journal, I’ll tell you about the awesomeness you will find right out of the box.

Can I first start by saying that if you haven’t heard of Rachel Hollis or haven’t listened to her RISE podcast then check her out. She has a down to earth, no-nonsense way of approaching life that I find refreshing. We really could be BFFs if she knew I existed, but back to the journal….

On the first page (after the cover page) you and Rachel are BFFs. Bonus! In the next several pages Rachel shares with us the process she used for years to be intentional in creating the empire she oversees today. Taking her 10, 10, 1 approach she walks you through an exercise of writing with emphatic intention where you want to be in 10 years, 10  dreams you will accomplish and 1 goal that will get you to that 10 year version of yourself the fastest. Recently on the RISE Together podcast, Rachel posted her keynote speech. In that talk she walked audience members through a visualization exercise much like she’s walks you through at the beginning of this journal. I’d encourage you to find that episode from September 26, 2018 and listen to it before you start this journal. Lord knows there is nothing worse than getting a fresh new journal and feel like you ruined it from the start. The worst!

Once you have your 10, 10, 1 exercise done Rachel gives you more than 100 pages (136 to be exact) of daily templates you use to write down 5 things your grateful for, those 10 dreams that you WILL make happen, and the 1 goal you’re focused on right now. That goal can be the same every day until you realize it, or it can change as you learn something new about that goal that may cause you to break it down into smaller goals, or you find that you don’t need to accomplish that goal at all, in which case you will revisit your dreams and identify a new goal to focus on. The intent is to stay focused on the goal as long as it takes for you begin to live those dreams you set for yourself once upon a time. I’ll also add that starting every day from a perspective of gratitude is powerful. I’ve been practicing this attitude of gratitude for 28 days as part of Rachel and Dave’s Last 90 Days challenge and rather than dreading what I need to do that day or the next day, I’ve been focusing on what and who I’m thankful for and I find I get so much more done when the intention is set on being grateful rather than feeling obligated.

At $24 per journal (that was the launch price in October 2018) I’d encourage you to add this gem to your toolbox and buy one for a friend. If you don’t have the $24 just know that you can use any ol’ piece of paper or notebook you have lying around to start this process. There are images of the journal’s insides on Instagram (link above). Just start the process. Meant to be so much more intentional than a running to do list that can seem trite and overwhelming. It takes you out of the day-to-day churn of life and gets you really focused on the bigger picture of who you want to be and what you need to do to get there.