The Five Steps to Getting Promoted

I recently spoke to a group of mid-level professionals who were seeking guidance on progressing in their career. Like most of us, they feel frustrated by the lack of upward mobility and even more confused about what to do.

Below is a five-step strategy to understand where you are, where you want to go and how to get there.

 

Step 1: Your Why

Think about the title you want to have. What do you want and why do you want to get there? If you were promoted, what would be different in your life (positive and negative)? How would you feel? What else would be impacted?

Step 2: Research

Using similar job descriptions, observing and asking people in similar positions, research the training, skills, experience, and attributes needed to do the job. If it’s not clear, ask. Look around at other companies and industries with similar job descriptions.

Step 3: Self-Audit

Now that you’ve looked into what’s needed, you can assess where you are what you need to do in order to get there. It is critical that you are honest with yourself. I recommend scoring yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 for each area. Anything below an 8, will need further action. I would also recommend asking for feedback from a trusted source about your strengths and areas of improvement. This is not fun and can be critical, but if this is really something you want, it’s worth the work and temporary discomfort.

Step 4: Resources

With your areas of improvement in the forefront, you can now look at the resources you need in order to improve. Is it more time in a role?  Additional training? Public speaking experience? Team building and management? At this stage you can match up what you need to improve and how to do it. Create a manageable strategy to accomplish your goals. I recommend doses of daily focus (an hour or less) to stay on track. Create a plan before diving in to prevent over-scheduling overload.

Step 5: Allies

A support network is imperative to keep you on track on your path. Whether it’s a mentor, supervisor, a coach, friends or family, these people will be there to give you honest feedback and advice to take the best step towards your goal.

The Four Tendencies and Why I'm Obsessed with Them

I am an avid fan of Gretchen Rubin ever since my mom handed me a copy of “The Happiness Project.” Her voice was flawed, gritty and real. She was my type of girl. Then I started listening to “The Side Hustle School” podcast, where the host mentioned he was on a book tour with Gretchen who had an awesome new book coming out… The Four Tendencies.”

(Cue the Scoobie Doo sound)

I’ve been reading it and I won’t spoil all of the magical gems that you need to read about, be here is the teaser.

There are two types of expectations: internal and external. With those expectations, we either listen or reject them.

Say what?!?!

You mean to tell me everyone isn’t motivated by the same things?

That’s exactly what Gretchen Rubin is saying.

 

The Four Tendencies are:

The Upholder – driven by inner expectations, driven by outer expectations

The Rebel – resists inner expectations, resists outer expectations

The Questioner: driven by inner expectations, resists outer expectations

The Obliger: resists inner expectations, driven by outer expectations

 

If you can’t figure out when tendency you fit into, fear not, there is a quiz to help you determine it. Here is the link: https://gretchenrubin.com/take-the-quiz

That’s all I’m going to give you because I want you to read it and enjoy it as much as I am.

 

When Your Dog Is Cooler Than You…

 

I have come to the harsh reality that my dog is cooler than me. He makes more people smile. More people know his name. More people are willing to pet him (I’m definitely okay with that). More people are willing to give him treats and compliments.

Tonight the extent of this situation became even clearer. I attended the Holiday Apartment Crawl for a couple hours and Senor Suave let it be known he needed to go out. So, we did our normal walk outside to his favorite mulch hill and as he assumed his typical position for relief, a couple approached with celebrity-excitement.

“Is that RICO?????!!!!” said the guy in his camel colored cashmere coat.

“It sure is.” I replied. “You may want to step back. He’s about to pee.”

“Oh that’s okay. I just really want to pet him.”

Did I just hear what I thought I did? You’re okay getting peed on so you can pet my dog. I think he realized my not so subtle judgment and backed away?

His partner then stepped in and told me how Rico was the topic of conversation in their household on a weekly basis. Had anyone see Rico? Did Rico look like he was losing weight? I wonder how Rico was doing?

After some face snuggles and compliments galore, we headed in with Rico’s newly acknowledged fans. They ooed and ahhed when Rico followed the treat in my hand and sat when asked to.

As we got into the elevator, I turned to them and said, “I don’t think I know your names.” They paused and looked at each other then started laughing after realizing the major and commonly used social faux pas. We exchanged names and shook hands.

As the exited the elevator, the woman turned to me and said, “If this was another woman, we’d have a problem.”

I shouted out of the closing doors, “It’s okay he doesn’t have his balls.”

 

Now if I told you this was a rare occasion, I’d be lying. Every few months, I catch people in their obsession for my dog and it always leads to a good laugh.

I’m a proud mother of my little love nugget, Rico Suave, and it’s okay if you want to know him first.

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“I’m So Busy, But I Can’t Get Anything Done”

 

Thank you for submitting your ideas to the 100-Day Blog Facebook Page. This was the highest rated topic, so here goes.

 

You wake up and check your calendar and your task list that seems to have doubled in size in your sleep. When are you going to get it done? Where are you going to find the energy? This is impossible! AHHHHH!

 

Sound familiar?

Congratulations, you are a part of an exclusive group of everyone who hasn’t learned the power of “No.”

 

Let’s take a look at your current list.

1)      Grab three colored highlighters.

2)      Next to each item:

a.       Highlight the urgent things that must be done today or the world will end in one color.

b.       In the second color, circle the items that can be done today, but most likely can wait for another day this week.

c.       In the third color, underline the items that can either be delegated or done next week.

3)      Now let’s focus on the highlighted items. Next to each item, note how much time you realistically think it will take to get it done.

4)      If you don’t know the time required, you need more clarity around what it will take to the accomplish the task. Is it a series of phone calls, additional research, waiting for a response? Whatever it is, make a note of what you need apply effort to the items you can actually do.

5)      Focus on the top line items that can be knocked out easiest.

If you’re still feeling bogged down, it may be your language. I’ve mentioned before the “Range of Engagement.”

Can’t/Won’t - - Have to - - Need to – Choose to/Want to

Look at the words you’re using to talk about your day. If you aren’t in the “Choose to/Want to” your energy and motivation is leaking out with every thought you have around the task. If you want to feel empowered to do something, think about how it contributes to something you want to do. This item is the gatekeeper to your next choice for yourself.

When we think of things we have to do or can’t do, we are in reactive mode with life being thrusted upon us. That sounds awful and exhausting!

So if you’re too “busy,” what do you need to prioritize and what can you let go or delegate? If you aren’t energized about doing it, how can you approach it differently or ask for help from to help support you.

Being “busy” is a choice, so when you’re ready to make different choices, you’ll be able to get more of the things you want to get done checked off your list.

Revamped Spending Tracking

Have you struggled to stay on budget or track your spending? Let me guess it seems like a punishment or restriction on your spending freedom.

Today I talked with a client who has been struggling to feel in control of her finances. She’s tried budgeting, but as soon as she felt money getting tight, she would break out the credit cards and swipe away. That temporary want-based shopping, knocked her down even more to appoint where she gave up entirely.

I asked her what she wanted her relationship to look like. “I want it to provide protection and security for her future.” I then asked her how she felt about money now. “It’s uncertain and I have a lot of fear around where it will come from in the future and every time get anxious, I go out and spend money on things I want.”

We brainstormed a bit on what a reasonable spending plan could look like. I asked her how she felt about a Needs-Only-Spending Diet. “Well I already have everything I need I know I’d have a lot more money left at the end of the month, but I know I need something else to keep on track with it.”

What if you tracked your spending, but wrote things down in a “Want” or “Need” column?

“Oh! I could definitely do that and then I could look back and see how good I did that week and I can keep it in Excel because I love Excel and I can send it to you.”

So we now have realistic tracking with accountability. If you’d like to start keeping track, feel free to download this form as an Excel or printable PDF.

Excel

PDF

 

Hiring and Working with Friends

Yesterday I had a working date with my friend - a true sign we’re growing up. After a few hours of plugging away in silence, we chatted about our friends who are on the job hunt or starting their own companies. We talked about their opportunities and potential and then the conversation shifted to hiring friends.

 

I have an amazing collection of friends that would be great to work with, but i haven’t. It seems like a no brainer - low hanging fruit to reach out to, but to me it’s forbidden fruit I don’t want to ruin. Think about how many times you’ve been upset with a vendor and wanted to fire them or write a bad review - no-can-dos-ville with friends if you want to stay friends.

 

As a certified coach, we are trained to not get into our clients’ story. We must be objective and practice detached engagement. When you’ve been friends for over 10 years, storylines are what bind us together. I could say I can put that to the side, but that’s bs. What’s more challenging is the hint of a friend doing you a favor by hiring you. I don’t want a pity referral. I want a raving from the rooftop recommendation.

 The friends I have worked with have come to me with a true request at full price and offer of a barter or haggling. We have clear expectations and a signed contract. 

So if you can work with friends and forget that you’re friends while you’re working, you’ll be an even better professional and friend in the long run.  

 

Moral of of the story - don’t ask or do favors when it comes to your business and friends.  

Do I Need a Business Coach?

Answer "Yes" or "No" to the below statements.

  1. I have great ideas, but get stuck when I try to make it happen.
  2. My website doesn’t reflect who I am or what my business does.
  3. I try to stay current on marketing trends, but don’t know which to do first.
  4. I love what I do, but feel like I struggle trying to explain it to others.
  5. My sales are not where I want them to be.
  6. I worry about where I'll be in the future.
  7. I don’t really know who my ideal client is.
  8. If I could get more organized and focused, my business would take off.
  9. I’m a first-time business owner and a lot of this stuff I’m “supposed to do” seems over my head.
  10. A lot of people give me advice, but it doesn’t help and actually confuses and frustrates me more.
  11. I feel responsible to make this business work, but I’m not the best at asking for help.
  12. I work best when I can bounce ideas around and build a plan with someone.

If you answered yes to any of these statements,  I would love to talk to youabout what business coaching could do for you.

These were all real statements and scenarios from my clients. They felt overwhelmed by the decisions, technology, paperwork and day-to-day operations of their business. They knew they were capable of doing more and trusted me as their coach to take them there.

How’s Your Relationship with Your Finances?

As business owner and a coach for business owners, I’ve had to get real about my relationship with money. It would be a lie if I said I had it all under control. I’ve come a long way, but with the cyclical nature of clients and a feeling of financial uncertainty, the scarcity mentality can come creeping in.

When I work with my clients (who are my best inspiration to keep my shit in check), I notice that their financial fear comes from partial information and a story that is based on one or two facts. Their fear of the knowing the full story is exactly what they need.

I’ve had the best 6 months of my business (almost triple to what I was making at the beginning of the year) and I still feel the tightness in my chest when I start to worry about what next month looks like. Are people going to reup? Will I get new clients? Will people be interested in my new courses? Will all of that outreach finally pay off?

It’s a lot of unknowns that rely on the decisions of others, which makes it even more important for me to focus inward on what I can control – how I feel about myself and what immediate, mid-range and long-term financial decisions need to be made.

I sit down with my Quickbooks App, open up my bank account, and make a list of priority expenses in addition to the fixed costs each month. The I write down my earning potential for the next month and highlight what feels like a strong guarantee and what is probably not going to close in the month. Then I work with the guaranteed number. I don’t focus on the “OMG it would be so awesome if that happened.” I’ve done it and it’s caused more productivity-stunting harm.

I totally believe in abundant thinking, but counting checks before they’ve cleared your account can only lead to disappointment. Trust me, it’s happened to me more than once and it feels like shit.

So, what can you guarantee for income? What bills do you need to pay? What do you have left over or need to bring in to make up the difference?  It’s all about keeping things realistic. If you need to make an extra $200 in two, it’s feels much more doable than $2500. You’ll also want to keep a budget and saving strategy for those flush months and future bigger purchases.

As you build your business, it’s not about being flashy and seeming like you’re successful. Your success is reflected by your poise and composure because you actually have your financial shit together and can afford it.

The first 2-5 years are all about stowing away for those uncertain times in your business. It’s not meant to be easy. It’s not meant to be glamorous, but if this is what you want to do, get your numbers straight and get real with yourself.

If you’re racking up credit card debt, take a close look at what’s a need and what’s an image-boosting want. I definitely put my rent on a credit card for the first year, so I could stay cash flush. After my business started increasing, I started paying with cash-on-hand and paid down my credit cards. I’m still not at a zero balance, but I’m getting there.

I’ve seen too many CEOs ignoring their financial situation and being fancy. They live a plastic swiping existence thinking that they’ll be more successful when they look more successful. Ultimately, you’ll pay with lost employees when you can’t make payroll or lost vendors when you don’t pay your invoices. Keep your word to yourself first. If you’re not being honest about your money, you’ll never have a real picture of abundance, but I’m sure you’ll have some pretty stuff.

What I Need and Want Most, I Suck at Asking For

“I don’t worry about you because you’re scrappy.”

 

I’ve heard this or a version of this my whole adult life. 

 

Right after I told my friends I was getting divorced:

 

“I’m so surprised because you looked like you had it together.”

 

“You’re strong. You’ll get through it.”

 

I should probably take this as a compliment for my amazing acting skills and ability to rebound, but I’m not.

 

It’s a red flag that I need to keep a close eye on. Perception is reality.

 

When people see me working hard and staying busy, they assume I’m racking in the dough and don’t need help.

 

When people see me smiling and being silly on social media, they assume I’m happy all the time  

 

What you see is a partial truth of a much bigger picture. If you see composure, you’re less likely to reach out and check in and I’m even more guilty of not wanting to burden people with my issues.

 

I know logically my friends and family are there to support me, but the internal voice of “Do it Yourself. Don’t bother them.” overrides my better intentions. This is not new. I remember as a 4-year old sucking it up and ignoring discomfort. “Don’t get in the way. Don’t be a nuisance.”

 

Thirty years later i still feel like i get in the way, which i know couldn’t be further from the truth. I isolate myself and then feel left out when I don’t get invited.

 

Looking at this on a screen, I see how ridiculous it is, but it’s exactly what I coach my clients around - What we need most, we either repell or suck at asking for.

 

So here goes - I want help. I want support. I want feedback. I want to hear from people.

 

Yes this is a passive approach, but it’s a first step.

When Are You Going to Be Worth It?

I remember the day I finally decided to invest in myself. It was after years of putting everyone first. Whether it was new furniture, mortgage payments, car maintenance, or things my husband wanted, I always thought some one would tell me when it was my turn.

But my turn never happened. I paid all of the household bills and kept everything afloat all the while hoping someone would tap me on the shoulder and say, “You’re next up.” I’m pretty sure several people actually nudged me forward, but I wasn’t in a place to listen. I didn’t think I was worth it. I thought I needed permission from someone, but what I actually needed was permission from myself.

It wasn’t until I hit my personal rock bottom and asked for help from a coach that I could start to break through the cave of unworthiness I had built. After one conversation, I knew I had to do it. No more “we’ll see next year” or “when the house is paid off a little more.” One question flipped the switch and turned the lights on.

“When can it be your turn?”

At that moment I realized that it had always been up to me and here was a stranger giving me permission to think differently in the form of a question.

Now. Is. My. Turn.

After that conversation, I researched a coaching program and invested almost $9,000 and when I say it was worth every penny, I mean it. Not for the coaching tools (which were great), but for the personal investment and gift I gave to myself. It has changed the course of my life and I am forever grateful for that questions, but most importantly to myself.

Yes, there are bills and people depending on you, but a worthy and valued “You” pays back in dividends.

 

What have you been meaning to invest in that you’ve been putting off?

How would it change things if you believed you were worth it?

What are you waiting for?

Why Your Mom Was Right: The 5-Second Rule to Getting Shit Done

The other day I was trying to motivate a friend, so I started counting down from 10. What ended up happening was I got motivated.

So I put a post on Facebook:

Remember when your mom would count down to do shit_ I miss those days..jpg

Of course I tagged my own mother, who explained " I think we just count because we’re trying not to lose our shit!" 

It seemed to work for some with kids falling in line before 2 was mentioned. Then there were the happy counters who loved counting with their parents and not understanding the undercurrent of approaching consequence.

After some fun banter, my friend KiKi mentioned Mel Robbins and The 5-Second Rule. I wondered what dropping food on the floor had to do with compliance, so I dug in and took a look. 

The 5-second rule is a tool for hyper-intentionality, action, and identifying moments in your life where there is tremendous opportunity and joy.  I'm super excited to read her book and try it out. If you're interested, check out the video from the TEDx talk:

Shower Time is the Best Time for Thinking and Forgetting

It’s time to hit the showers! No you aren’t in high school gym class, but you are about to cool off and refresh yourself. Ever notice how you have THE BEST ideas in the shower and then suddenly forget them? I feel your pain.

There is something about water that cleans off our bodies, but also clears out the funk and blocks in our head. The soothing temperatures and beads of water take us out of our every day hustle and bustle and allow us to tap into a momentary creative flow. Much like water flows, when there aren’t obstructions, it comes on the ready.

I have come up with my best ideas in the shower, but then I seem to forget if I remembered to wash my hair. Yep, it’s happened at least 10 times and it ain’t pretty.  In my research for this article, I actually stumbled upon a Shower Meditation – yes it does exist, but you’re not actually in a shower.

According to a study on creativity in the book Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation, we have our “Aha” moments when we’re doing mindless activities.

“In creativity research, we refer to the three Bs—for the bathtub, the bed and the bus—places where ideas have famously and suddenly emerged. When we take time off from working on a problem, we change what we're doing and our context, and that can activate different areas of our brain. If the answer wasn't in the part of the brain we were using, it might be in another. If we're lucky, in the next context we may hear or see something that relates—distantly—to the problem that we had temporarily put aside.”

So whether it’s a bathtub or shower, I have the sure fire way to avoid forgetting your great ideas.

Ladies and gentleman… drum roll… the Shower Whiteboard. Now you can write down your ideas without having to dry off and grab a pen and paper. For less than 8 bucks, I’m going to get me 4!

So scrub-a-dub and get your Aha on!

What I’m Thankful for This Thanksgiving

 

I am thankful every day, but on this day, I want to give a special shout out to the awesome people in my life who support, inspire, and hold me accountable. Yes, I’m naming names.

1)      My Mom – She’s an amazing example of resilience, power and resilience. In addition to being raised by her, she’s an amazing reminder to keep my head up and fail forward. I am grateful for our sound boarding and nonsense-checking phone calls.

2)      My Boyfriend – Yep I’m going to get sappy. He’s one of the most hardworking and talented musicians I know. His direct and loving feedback has inspired me to only focus on my collective awesome shit and to lessen the blow of a no or a not yet. He has opened my creative floodgates with getting on stage and feeling fearless in front of hundreds of people. We also have the most killer handshake.

3)      My Friends – Holy shit the friends I’ve accumulated! There’s my friend and neighbor, Tish, who has not only been an amazing emotional support, but has also been a Fairy Dog Mother to my dog Rico Suave.  My oldest friend, Jenna, who after 20 years still laughs and cries with me on our hour-long calls. My super talented friends Debra and Kimberly, who have challenged and supported me to a higher standard of sound and visual expression among so much more. The SocialPreneurs, who every two weeks fill my heart and brain with resources and support to be bigger than what I am. The Monday Night Potluck Crew, who fills my belly with food each week and then makes me laugh it out.

4)      My Clients – 2 years ago I had one client. Today I have 10 and am so inspired by their vulnerability, courage and passion to living a kick ass life. I’m honored to be their coach and so thankful that they believe in me.

5)      Last, but not least, I’m thankful for Me.  I am thankful I didn’t give up when things got tough. I am thankful that I have attracted in such awesome souls. I am thankful that I chose the better and challenging life over the easy. I am thankful I keep trying and pick myself up and do it again if it doesn’t work. I am thankful that I believe and trust in myself.

7 Ways to Cope With Family Chaos During the Holidays

If you're blessed with a chill family that just wants to eat and take naps, this blog post is not for you. If there’s a little piece of you that’s dreading sitting across from Uncle Mike as he chews with his mouth open in between marginally racist comments, I’ve got some tips for you.

There’s something about scheduled “togetherness” that brings out the “together mess” in families. From old sibling rivalry to polarizing topics, it’s a challenge to keep your composure and not want to stick your head in the turkey. Before you walk in the door, please read this post.

1)      How do you want to feel when your saying goodbye to your last relative? You are only in control of you. You get to choose how you respond, think and react. If you want to feel right, you may feel that way, but you probably will be exhausted and not very happy with the exchange. If you want to be at peace, think about where you can acknowledge and validate someone without opening up a can-of-debate worms.

2)      Find yourself a friendly ally. If you have a cousin or sibling who helps you stay positive, sit next to them or pick up a charcuterie board with them in the kitchen to get away from any negative spewing.

3)      Meet people where they are. If you know someone is stressed about money, it’s probably not going to make them feel very good if you’re bragging about your new car or expensive shoes. Have a new relationship? Wait to be asked about it. This doesn’t mean you can’t share your good news, but not everyone is in a place to see it as anything beyond self-absorption.

4)      Ask people about more than the weather. Want to know how people are? Don’t ask them how they are. Try something like “what’s the most exciting thing that’s happened since I saw you last?” Also don’t rely on Facebook as giving you an accurate update, most people are only showing you their highlight reel.

5)      Be of service. The best way to stay out of trouble, is to keep your hands busy. Help to set the table, take out the trash, cook a side dish, take care of the gaggle of kids. By being helpful, your ears won’t be sitting ducks for negativity dumping.

6)      Don’t drink. (GASP!) I know It’s a crazy concept, but think about how many family battles have emerged because someone was overly sensitive or rude from too many glasses of wine. Someone needs a clear head to disengage and the best way to make quick decisions is to avoid impairment from alcohol.

7)      Have an exit strategy. If you’re feeling uncomfortable or super triggered, it’s ok to leave, but make sure you have a plan before you get there. You may want to visit a childhood friend or go for a walk. Whatever you need to do to take care of you in the moment, go for it.

 

I hope you don’t need a strategy and everything is awesome a wonderful, but in the event something goes array, you are now prepared with seven options. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Is Your Environment Making You Sick?

I’m not referring to asbestos or living next to a factory spewing toxins in the air (although those are absolutely making you sick). I’m referring to how you live, the people you are surrounded with and the routine you’ve acquired as your own.

I was inspired to write this blog post after meeting with a client today. We went through a visualization exercise where I guided her through a future life scenario. The visualization was general to allow her imagination to fill in the blanks. After she opened her eyes, she wrote down everything she observed.

Everything was about being in nature. Her life was full of love and friends. A big smile came to her face as talking about it took her there. “I’ve really been missing being connected to the woods.”

We discussed her findings and uncovered her longing to be in nature – not to visit, but to create roots in. As a city dweller for almost 15-years, she felt trapped and forced along a pattern that conflicted with her values. (One of her first sessions was focused on identifying her values.) She felt rushed to make time for friends and events and conflicted when she wanted to choose time alone for herself.

As we moved through the session, she came to the realization that she needed to move to be truly happy.

If you’re thinking that moving away is an easy solution to fix your issues, it may be temporary, but this is not in fact the case for this client. If it were said in haste or I need to move this month, I would be able to pick up the urgency and avoidance. Instead her response was aware and composed with a plan of 1-2 years.

If you take a look at the blog on Staying or Going, this is the fourth phase: Going with a Plan. My acknowledging how her current environment works and doesn’t work for her, she can create a logical and longer-term plan that serves her.

So, how do you know if your environment is making you sick?

1)      Do you feel run down and sick all of the time? It may be your environment.

2)      When you think of the people around you, does it excite your or exhaust you?

3)      If you close your eyes and think about the place that inspires and calms you at the same time, where is it?

4)      If you could make three changes to your current environment to make it better for you, what would they be?

5)      What’s a choice you could make for you today to improve your environment?

What I Learned About Podcasting at Guitar Center

I have watched countless hours of YouTube videos trying to understand how to set up, record and launch a podcast. Most of the time i thought they were speaking another language and i was the dumb one who didn’t get it. Plug this, click that, twirl around three times and voila you have a podcast!

I had way too much information and no plan to implement.

I asked a friend who runs his own podcast for suggestions. (Thank you, Mark Phillips of Better PR Now for the help!) His podcast is interview style with a guest in another location. He uses:

  • A Skype recording software (I use a free version I found online)
  • Audio-Technica ATR 2100 microphone
  • Garage Band to edit (free on Macs. I have a PC and use my video edit software - Wondershare Filmora that cost $65 for the license)

I then decided to take my new found knowledge and put the guys at Guitar Center to the test. These guys know their stuff! We asked them about a fancy schmancy set up for speaking and instrumental recording with the set up.

I’d like to think they were impressed with my knowledge of dual outputs to USB and XLR, but beyond that i was having an internal “huh????” moment. These guys were rad and recommended the ideal microphones for the intended set up and swayed us away from the top of line models.

Did you know that Guitar Center also re-sells equipment and offers a 45 day return policy with no questions asked? I didn’t. It’s like having an insurance policy for a Craigslist deal!

These are my buds at Guitar Center. Yes, it took a village to answer my questions!

These are my buds at Guitar Center. Yes, it took a village to answer my questions!

For a higher end recording for musical performances, they recommended the following set up:

2017-11-18 14.08.13.jpg

If you can't read their handwriting, here is a breakdown:

Interface (where the mics and instruments get plugged into) Specifications:

  • 480-192 Khz sample rate
  • At least 4 mic pres, 2 line inputs
  • 16-24 bit rate

They recommended the Scarlett 18i8 that will run about $349

Microphones:

  • Blue Spark - $200
  • AKG P220 - $150
  • Rode NT1 -$200

Headphones:

  • Sennheiser HD280 - $99

With cables and everything, it’s about $900 for this grouping, but they said to keep an eye out for Black Friday specials and they price match for 10 days!

 

I ended up buying two of the Audio-Technica ATR 2100 microphones from Amazon for my set up which will be a direct plug in to my computer. It cost me a little over $130 for the two.

I'll be back to visit my buddies if I need any help!

Your Body Knows Best: Why Are You Ignoring It?

 

Yesterday I met with a client who needed to reschedule the week before. Why? Because she was in urgent care dealing with multiple infections. “I’m going to have some serious lessons learned after this” she said in a text.

The antibiotics started to work her magic as we scheduled our next session. Yesterday we sat down to refocus on her goals, but I wanted to get a sense of what led up to her being in such a dire situation.

"So tell me about the days leading up to going to Urgent Care.”

“Well I hadn’t been feeling well for a couple of weeks, but my schedule was too busy and I couldn’t make time to make an appointment to go to the doctors. I brushed it off and hoped it would go away, but it kept getting worse. I made a doctor’s appointment and the next available appointment was five days away.”

“What did you tell them your symptoms were?”

“I wasn’t very honest with them and definitely undersold what was actually going on. I didn’t want to freak anyone out and thought I could push through.”

But pushing through was the last thing her body did. The next day she had to run out of a web meeting to go to the Urgent Care for what turned out to be three infections, one of which was in her kidneys.

 

I asked her “When did your body start whispering it needed attention?”

“Oh months and weeks ago.”

“When did it start talking?”

“Last weekend.”

“And when did it scream?”

“Two days before I went in.”

 

My client isn’t alone. I’m guilty of brushing aside alignments that I hoped would go away. I’ve ignored things that just weren’t quite right that in hindsight couldn’t been dealt with very easily. Our body knows what we need and when we ignore it, it doesn’t go away, it gets louder until we listen.

 

It turns out, she needed rest and time to herself. She knew she needed it, but didn’t want to admit it.

“What more evidence do you need to know this is what you need?” I inquired.

“I don’t want to know what’s worse than this. I know I need it.”

“So when will you start listening to your body?”

“When it whispers.”

 

I’ll be checking in on her to make sure she’s been sticking to her self-care routine.

For everyone out there going a mile a minute, take a pause and check in with your body. Those around you want you well taken care of before you take care of their needs. Take a nap or make a cup of tea. Your only job today is to take care of you.

Utilize Your Under-Used Promotional Real Estate: Your Email Signature

Do you sign your email with your name? How about your contact details? What about your social media links? A Video?

If you said no to any of these questions, this blog is for you!

 

No, this isn’t an original idea, but it is an under-utilized tactic to get your name and offerings out there. Think about how many emails you’ve sent in the last year and how many impressions you made with those emails. What if you could continue the engagement beyond the words in the body of your email?

If you’re like most business owners, you’ve got a lot of stuff going on and don’t necessarily have the time to draft newsletters or ads all day. In this case, the email signature is your new best friend.

In your signature, you can include:

A picture of yourself (so they know who they’re meeting)

Your contact details (this should be happening any way, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t include phone numbers)

Your website (or 2 or 10 depending on how much you have going on) be sure to label what the site is (i.e. podcast, blog, product)

Social Media accounts (use the logo graphics as much as possible)

Scheduling links (want someone to make an appointment with you, you can include your online scheduler)

A Recent Video (try to keep this fresh every 1-2 months to increase interest from repeat viewers)

 

How do you put it all together?

You can use the signature setting in your email to do simple text, hyperlinks and images, but for formatting and sleek looks, there are signature providers out there for a fee. I used WiseStamp.com to build mine and have had tons of compliments from it.

 

It takes a little time, but the upswing of engagement is worth it!

There's an "I" and "Me" in "TIME" for a Reason: Time Management Strategies with a Client

How are you managing your time? Are you waiting for breaks in the day to appear to tackle your projects? Do you constantly feel interrupted or in a start-stop pattern of work flow?

For most people, this is probably a daily occurrence. All it takes is one email or phone call to bump you out of your zone.

This was also an issue of one of my clients looking to maximize his productivity and efficiency. He found that during his day, he would start a project that needed two hours and would get interrupted half way through with an emergency. After putting out the fire, he would return to the project, but without the same energy and focus leaving him feeling frustrated.

“What should I do?” he asked me.

We looked at his overall schedule on a normal weekly basis and focused on the average time spent over a week in percentages in different categories:

Company Meetings -  20%

Employee One-On-One Meetings – 20%

Technical Troubleshooting – 20%

Project Time- 40%

 

Once we had the percentage, we were able to see that on a daily basis he only had about 2.5 hours a day to work on projects. He was stunned to see how much of his day was redirected to non-project work, but understood based on his management responsibilities.

Then we looked at average flow of his day as most meetings were pre-scheduled and reoccurring at the same time. After sketching it out, we found a potential solution. Between 10am and 1pm, he typically felt a slowdown from outside demands.

“What if you could schedule your project time the same way your meetings get scheduled?”

“But what if someone needs me?” he asked.

“What would happen if one of your team members was super focused on a project and you needed them for something?”

“Well they would wait until they had a natural break to call me back.” he responded. “So, I can do what everyone else on my team does?”

“Why couldn’t you?”

 

It was like a switch had been flicked. He could set up his schedule to get his team members and his own needs met.

I have a meeting with him later today to see how his two weeks on his new schedule went and I’ll let you know how it went.

What can you take away from this?

1) Look at your time as a whole over a longer period of time to determine your average time spent

2) Highlight the priority activity that isn't being served

3) Map out an average day and identify the natural dips of time or where you could build a gap.

4) Plug it into your calendar and keep the standing meeting with yourself and that activity

5) Shift your mindset - by serving yourself, you are better able to show up for your team

 

UPDATE:

Yesterday we had a session and the new scheduling tool was a big hit! Once he knew how much time it took to get tasks done, his anxiety decreased dramatically and his feeling of power as a leader soared.

He admitted it was tedious to think about tasks by the minute, but overall it helped him project manage his day. He also found, by blocking his time out, he could delay a non-critical response until he had a natural break in the process.

When we first addressed the issue of time management, I asked him on a scale of 1-10 (1-low, 10-high) how he thought he was doing. Three weeks ago, he said 3. Yesterday he said 7!

 

After our discussion, four steps emerged from this process:

Step 1: Get the specifics. If you don’t know the specifics, the task is too obscure or large. Chisel it down to steps you can accomplish and know how much time it will take.

Step 2: Plug it into a bigger picture calendar. Use an app or online calendar to do so and make sure you check your calendar before agreeing to a new project or task.

Step 3: Stick to the plan. There’s no point in spending all of that time planning, if you’re not going to get any use out of it. Following your calendar as if the project blocks are scheduled meetings with another colleague.

Step 4: Communicate your wins and boundaries to colleagues. When everyone gets on the same page and is consistent with respecting time, it can open a door of trust and collaboration while decreasing stress and anxiety.

 

 

 

 

Business 101: Don’t Depend On Your Friends

I remember a conversation with a business owner who was convinced she needed to add a virtual component to her business “My friends said they would totally pay for it.”

Immediately my red flags were going off. “Have you asked anyone who isn’t a friend what their interested would be.”

“Well no.”

Our friends want the best from us. They want us to succeed and when it works from them, they’ll support us with their wallets. We rely on them as a shoulder to cry on and an open hand for a high five when we’re celebrating. The problem is they know too much about how the sausages are made and may have a bit of a bias going on.

“Yes, that’s a great idea. Do that!” they say. But when it comes time to launching and earning revenue, it’s a fraction of the fanfare. They weren’t lying to you and they’re not bad people. They want to encourage you, but your friends along are not enough to sustain a business.

Friends ARE great for:

1)      Promoting your business

2)      Referring people to your business

3)      Manual labor

4)      Extra set of eyes

5)      Hugs

6)      High Fives

7)      Drinking pick-me-ups

Friends are safe and if you’ve only been relying on them for feedback, you’re limiting your marketing reach. Take the risk and expand see what happens. If nothing bites, keep trying or shift your focus. Ask acquaintance level friends for their feedback if they are in your target audience.

The friends closest to you are there for your emotional support, but don’t expect them to be your financial support. It only makes things weird in the long run.

After I created and ran The Spring Cleaning Summit last year, I was ecstatic for the clients and friends that showed up. I also was disappointed at the friends I thought I could count on to support the event. As I go forward, expectations will need to take a backseat to gratitude mixed with the risk of the unknown.

If you're unsure about who you should reach out to, take a step back and think about the problem your service or product is solving. Who is most likely to have that problem? Where do they hang out?