Take Back Your Power

How many times have you told yourself “when I get to X then I can do X” ? Or “when I save (a certain dollar amount) then I can buy X”?

I hear this excuse a lot, and I’m calling it an excuse, because the truth of the matter is your power doesn’t rest in the unknown. Living in a world of uncertainty is not great. In fact, it can be stressful and debilitating if you let it. So how can you take back your power?

  1. Start with a the smallest step – you got it, start doing something! The smallest step towards what you want and who you want to be is everything. This first smallest step can be as simple as making a list of what you want to achieve. If you get stuck here, then reverse this list and write down what you don’t want to achieve.

For example: if you have a financial goal of: When I save $1000 in my emergency fund, then I can start planning to remodel the guest bathroom. Ok – great goal to have, but have you even considered what your guest bathroom remodel will entail? Will it be new paint and fixtures, or a full gut job taking the room down to the studs? Have you gotten estimates on what your project will even cost? Putting the steps together, even before you are ready to pull the trigger, will (believe it or not) open up the path to achievement. You may find out that the steps of your plan aren’t hurdles at all, and that the tools already exist for you to get started.

2. Overcome the mindset that “others take away my power.” This is a good one. I, too, have gotten all excited about a new idea only to have those close to me (my spouse included) take all the wind out of my sails. It is not because they think my idea is a bad one, necessarily, but perhaps more to do with the fact that my idea isn’t interesting to them. This is where the planning part of your strategy needs to come into play. As yourself these questions:

  • Why is this goal important to me?
  • What will allow me to do differently than I’m doing now?
  • What will not moving forward with this goal mean to me?
  • Who and what do I need to have to accomplish this goal?

3. Find your own path. Many years ago, I was on a long flight by myself and was seated next to a guy who ended up having a remarkable conversation with. It is not always the case that we get seated next to strangers and end up having a hours long bonding session, but this one stuck a chord with me. I never got his name, but the conversation we had was powerful. I can’t even remember how the conversation started, or even what the specific topic was about. The feeling I got when the flight was over was a feeling of understanding, sense of self and aspiration to be more centered in who I was. This gentleman exuded a high sense of self confidence, humbleness, and total lack of insecurity in who he was. We were sitting in coach, and as we exited the plane I watched as he made his way over to the limo driver who was holding a sign with his name. An assistant greeted him, took his carry on bag and escorted him into the waiting limo at the curb. I felt like I had been given a gift that day. This person was obviously someone who had achieved financial success, but took the time to have a hours long conversation with me (a complete stranger) in coach on an airplane. WOW!

4. Share your power. The best way to feel powerful is to give it to others. Think of yourself as a magic fairy who can wave their magic wand and drop power into the hearts and minds of others at any given moment. Something as little as a kind word of encouragement, an open ended question, or a little nudge in the right direction through an introduction is a spark that someone else needs to reclaim their power.

5. There is enough power for all of us. I sometimes come across other people who hang on to their power like it is their last lifeline on this earth. They are afraid to “give their power away” because that will mean that there is less for them to have or control. Here is a secret: power is not limitless. Allowing others in our lives to rise up will create even more power to us.

What is Your Frequency?

“Check in with yourself before you check in with the world”

– Matthew McConaughey

How do you operate most days? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you enjoy bursts of activity, or quiet spaces? Do you like to live in the moment or are constantly planning for what comes next?

The truth is, we ALL operate on various frequencies that don’t always sync up with those that are around us.

I have realized that I am a morning person. I naturally wake up early (some days earlier than others), but don’t necessarily like to have to be put together early. I like my quiet time in the morning to get a cup of coffee, check the news / emails / social media and get organized for the day. I feel the most at peace when I have some space in my morning routine and don’t feel rushed to get out the door. But when I’m ready, I go all in. I thrive on the hustle and bustle of my day. I love meetings to create strategies and solutions, and most importantly provide value to my clients. I am charged up by moving the dial a little more and a little more towards the finish line.

At the end of most work days, I am ready to crawl back into my cocoon of home and surround myself with just my immediate family.

My frequency is a mix of quiet and calm and high energy and collaboration. I find myself thriving in both, and too much of one frequency can leave me pining for the other.

Our firm hosted a guest speaker at an event we had a few years ago. She traveled to our area from out of town, and was scheduled to fly out the next morning. Her hotel was about an hour away, and at the close of the event that evening one of my colleagues who was scheduled to drive her to her hotel had to cancel due to another commitment. I offered to drive her, and she politely declined (and reserved an Uber instead) telling me that she actually would prefer to ride with a stranger, so she didn’t have to be “on.” Needless to say, I was surprised to hear that she wanted to be able to turn it off. She gave a presentation on stage, and mixed and mingled with a large group of professionals for several hours and didn’t skip a beat. I admired her ability to recognize her own frequency, and how to give it a rest.

How many times do we push our own frequencies to the limit just so we can feel included? Or not let others down?

This year, especially, has tested our own frequencies. I think many of us have realized exactly how we operate on an even deeper level that we originally thought. My motive here in writing this post is to get you to think about how in tune you are with your own frequency, and that it doesn’t have to match others.

What Defines Success?

Success is that all encompassing, top of the mountain, finish line word that tends to define us and our efforts. It can bring us unsurmountable joy, and ego shattering defeat – and sometimes at the same time. Success is a journey, and how it shows up for you isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

About ten years ago, my friend and business coach, Jay Pryor, led me through a discussion about success. They encouraged me to think back to a time in my childhood when I felt successful. Was it acing a test, scoring a goal, or getting accepted into a group or program? All of these examples show different types of skills, effort and engagement. More than likely, we aren’t successful in all areas, and sometimes our successes aren’t even large enough to get noticed by others. The purpose of this activity was to identify what success felt like to me, and what physical and emotional cues showed up when success was achieved. Was it an adrenaline rush, a sense of personal pride, an “atta girl” by others?

So why is success so important? Should we be seeking success all the time?

My answer to these questions is entirely dependent upon your personal goals, aspirations and how you want to feel when you put your head on your pillow at the end of the day. Success can be having a productive conversation with your teenager. It can look like having those around you achieve their goals, and being their strongest supporter. It could come in the form of a simple “thank you.”

I want to do a simple activity with you. Write down a few things that fit under each category below. I’ll give you some questions to get you started.

Once Was (what did your life look like 10 years ago):

  • What was your job / occupation at this time?
  • What did your home life look like?
  • How were you spending your time?
  • How did you feel physically and mentally?
  • What role did money play in your life?
  • What did success look like to you?

Is Now:

  • What is your job / occupation?
  • What does your home life look like?
  • How do you spend your time?
  • What does your physical and mental health look like?
  • What role does money play in your life?
  • What does success look like to you now?

Can Be (what will life look like for you in 10 years?):

  • What job / occupation do you want?
  • What would you like your home life to look like?
  • How would you like to spend your time?
  • How do you want your physical being and mental health to look?
  • How much money do you need to accomplish your goals?
  • What defines success?

By writing down these reflections, I think you will be surprised at how much you have accomplished. Ten years is a long enough time to see growth in yourself, and plan for growth in the future. Notice I said “growth” and not success? The goal here is to get you into a growth mindset, and the success will come naturally.

Taking Chances and Winning…a Year Later

A year ago this week I took a big chance: I switched careers.  I had been with my previous company for almost 8 years, and loved my job.  I had great colleagues, a nice salary, and opportunities to meet new people.  So why would I consider making the move?

“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes- then learn how to do it later.”

~Richard Branson

When opportunity knocks, do you open the door?  I feel like my best opportunities come when I least expect it.  In fact, sometimes I don’t even know they are opportunities until I stop for a minute and put myself into the equation.

Fear is an adrenaline pumping emotion that can cause us to fight like a wild animal, or run away to a safe place as fast as possible.  How do you respond to fear?  The thought of going from a comfortable salary to 100% commission made my heart beat wild, but it also made me excited.  I changed industries from banking to commercial real estate, and had a lot to learn.  Here’s the reason I made the jump: I knew deep down I could do it, and that sense of confidence drives me through the ups and downs of this feast or famine industry.

I encourage you, dear reader, to think of what you are really good at.  Are you insanely organized?  Do you love to solve problems, meet new people, or never miss a deadline?  You have skills that are engrained in you that make you invincible to anything that comes up against you.  You just need to know how to engage them to win.  Use these skills and make them your talents.  The rest will be easy.

In addition to a career change this year, I also published a book.  Little did I know that during this same time, a savvy gal out in San Diego, California was also making her dreams come true.  Also making a career change was the founder of  GOLFopolitan.  I was contacted a few months ago by her to be a featured book in their golf tournament displays.  Writing this blog was my introduction to GOLFopolitan, and I can’t wait to see this company grow!

So what does the next year look like for me?  Well, if it’s anything like the past 12 months, then the sky is the limit!  Stay tuned!



A Powerful You

I had the wonderful opportunity to engage with a group of business professionals and have a much needed social time recently.  I have been invited to join these phenomenal women for a scheduled social time for many months now, but for the first time was able to attend due to my busy schedule.  I left some emails unattended, and some work left to be finished up later, because the opportunity to engage with these fellow power people was the most beneficial part of my week.

I feel that sometimes the busyness of life forces us to react instead of being proactive.  Why don’t we give ourselves permission to push the “pause” button and truly engage with people in the moment?  The life lessons we are able to glean from others, when no agenda is set, is sometimes the most important lessons that we can gain in life.  Those moments when you are not talking about a business deal, or a logistic for your  household, can be the most eye-opening.

What I am grateful for, is the people in my life that I only get to see for little bits of time, but when we are together it seems like no time has passed at all.  The hour that I got to spend this week with these powerful women made me feel powerful, too.

That leads me to a question for all of you: How do you feel most powerful?

My friend and executive coach Jay Pryor has asked me this question many times over the past few years.  At first, this question threw me for a loop.  If you are in sales, the power play comes at the close of the deal or when the client says “yes!”  In other parts of the business world, it may mean getting the job, promotion, recognition or new opportunity to expand yourself.  Feeling powerful is important in so many ways.  To know that you have a voice that matters and to know that you are heard is one of the most redeeming qualities you can have.

On the flip side, the ability to listen to others, reinforce others in their dreams, and be that support system for your family and friends can make anyone be powerful.  Sometimes the sheer act of being present for others is the best way to create power within your life.  Cherish these moments you have, and make sure you have the opportunity to engage with others that not only make you feel powerful, but that you also provide a powerful source to their lives.

Turning a Dream into a Reality (#raisingstandards)

My favorite quote that I like to share with others is:

“Do one thing each day that scares you” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

To me, these eight words are powerful enough to move you into action if you are ready for it.  How many of us have dreams that don’t become realities because of fear?  What is holding you back?  Is it time, money, support, education, fear of the unknown?

My friend, Jim Moore, had a dream that is now becoming an amazing reality.  Jim is a former collegiate and NFL athlete, who has a passion for coaching.  His ability to nurture others into being the best they can be, and use their strengths to enhance their teammates is something quite remarkable.  He is a father of three active boys, and has had the opportunity to take on first hand the spirit of teamwork, motivation and accountability that exists on and off the field.

A couple of years ago, Jim had a dream of opening up an indoor sports facility to enhance the baseball and softball training programs available in his community.  This was no easy feat.  In addition to working full time, and being a full time husband and father, he also coaches two of his sons in multiple sports, and volunteers with his church and community organizations.  After a lot of research, and the opportunity to form a partnership with others, Jim’s dream was on its way to fruition.

Over the last several months, Jim and his partners have put some considerable sweat equity into making this dream come true.  From cleaning out cob webs, scraping mud off of I-Beams to painting 20 foot walls, peeling up old flooring and laying astro turf, this project is a true labor of love.  My family and I had the pleasure of touring this space today, and WOW!  It looks and feels like a professional level facility that athletes young and old will enjoy immensely.

I am pleased to announce that Team Performance will open its doors on Saturday, January 4, 2014 in Lawrence, KS.

As you enter this new year, realize that you too can turn your dreams into a reality.  #raisingstandards

Do Business Owners Have All the Fun?

I recently made a big career change and am now self-employed.  My decision to embark on this career move was made with a desire to be completely in charge of my earning potential, schedule, and ability to manage my own goals and expectations.  If you are not self-employed, you may look at these objectives with a twinge of jealousy, and be asking yourself “gee, I wish I could make my own schedule, goals and salary.”  If I had that genie in a bottle mentality, and could merely wish my success into existence, the self-employed lifestyle looks pretty sweet!

Here’s the reality of working for yourself:

1. Your time is your biggest commodity – Every activity has a purpose.  Every meeting (whether it be a coffee, lunch or whatever) needs to be focused around producing results.  The small amounts of creative brainstorming that I used to work into my week exists mostly outside of the work day, or is earmarked through quick conversations to be delved into later.  I use my early mornings or quiet time before bed to get my thoughts together for the work day.

2. You (and only you) are in charge of your income – I am fortunate in my new career to be a part of a small team.  But at the end of the day, my contribution to that team solidifies my place on the bench.  Results need to be quantifiable, and accountable.  I don’t get the luxury of waiting until the progress report at the end of a quarter to determine if I need to make adjustments in my strategy.

3. There is no safety net, unless you create it yourself – Being self-employed is a high-risk, high-reward industry.  There isn’t a pile of money sitting in my bank account just waiting for me to indulge in a spa day (although that sounds like a pretty good goal to set).  Planning is key, and creating a full pipeline of activity builds that safety net a bit faster.

4. I don’t work 40 hour work weeks – Here’s a reality check: self employed individuals work way more than 40 hours per week.  A flexible schedule comes with the perks of being able to attend your child’s school program in the middle of the day, but results in cranking up the computer at night to make up for that time away from work.  Being in charge of your outcome has a direct correlation to the time you invest to get there.

Being self-employed is exhilarating, rewarding, challenging, engaging, and motivating.  It is by far the hardest I have ever worked in my life, and I am loving every minute of it.  It also comes with its share of stress, doubt, and competition.  I didn’t make the decision to become self-employed quickly, and it took a lot of planning and soul searching to jump in with both feet.

Finding Your Cadence

I have signed up for my first half marathon.  This is a big stretch for me, since the longest distance I’ve ever run is a 10K (or 6.2 miles).  In approximately two months time, I have committed to run 13.1 miles, and my training has begun.

If you enjoy running, then you will appreciate the reference of finding your cadence.  If you are not a runner, then I would guess the idea of rhythm and zone apply in some other area of your life.  When starting any new challenge, the first part is the hardest.  When I began running more about a year ago, it was all I could do to complete a one mile run without walking.  It wiped me out!  Now, the first mile of my run allows me to warm up, get the aches and pains out of my knees and legs, and find my rhythm.  The first mile sets the pace and mindset for the rest of my run.  I use my smartphone with a running log app to give me updates on my time and distance.

I have found that using a self check system (with the assistance of my running app) forces me to pay close attention to  my breathing and speed.  If I’m going too fast, my body will feel it later. Too slow, and my cadence is off.  It takes getting into mile 2 and 3 before I know if I’ve found my cadence.  How do I know?  The running feels effortless.  I’m not struggling to breathe, my legs feel good, and each step is an automatic extension of my momentum.

Here’s one thing I forgot to include: I have asthma. I was diagnosed as a teenager, and had to quit the soccer team and switch to tennis because I couldn’t breathe while exercising.  I carry an inhaler with me when I run, but the best way for me to keep my breathing in check is focusing on my mind overcoming my body’s objections.  The cadence that I force myself into is a disciplined act of deep breathing, and putting one foot in front of the other.

As you define your cadence, identify a project that forces you to step up your game.  Getting started is not going to be easy, and quitting seems like the more comfortable approach.  If you utilize tools to keep you in check, and set small stretch goals, anything is possible.  Maybe even a half marathon.

Start Your Kids Saving

The idea of saving as a child seems unfair. When I received a cash gift from my Grandparents, all I wanted to do with it was go to the nearest toy store and buy something fun. The only value that money played into my young life was that I knew it was a means to get things. As I grew older, I watched my parents pay bills, donate to charity, and make tough decisions on how to spend their money on things like a station wagon for our growing family. My parents were (and still are) savers, and shared with me and my siblings that the financial decisions they made to allow for savings provided us with the fun things like trips in that station wagon.

When my first child was born, my husband and I were given the gift of a savings bond. I had no idea what to do with a savings bond, so into the safe deposit box it went. That particular gift did get us thinking about how to get our newborn started off on the right foot to financial success—even at her young age. We established a savings account for her, and deposited the cash gifts we received for her birthdays and holidays. As she has gotten older, we have shared with her the importance of saving and of making good financial decisions.

On a day off from school, my daughter and I had a “mommy/daughter” day. She had saved up twenty dollars to spend at the mall that day. I told her that I would spring for lunch, but nothing else. It was up to her on what she chose to spend her money on that day. She went to her favorite store, and started to pick out some items. When she reached the cash register, she quickly realized that her twenty dollars wouldn’t cover her entire purchase. She looked to me for help, and I reminded her that her purchases had to be made with her money that day. It was a wonderful learning moment for her to recognize the value of money and of the impact her buying decisions made on her budget. With a strong face, she put several items back and politely said “no thank you” to the sales person who was desperately trying to add on more items with a pleading look to me (as the mom with the checkbook).

As a parent, my heart soared that day to see her make some tough choices with her money. We make it a habit to work together to decide on how much to save and how much to spend. We have watched her savings account grow over the years, and look forward to embarking on her next financial step in a few years: a checking account.

– See more at: http://www.kucu.org/FullStory.aspx?id=218#sthash.3JMp2Bke.dpuf

All About the Numbers

Have you ever noticed that we measure things in numbers?  We determine our success by the value of our paychecks, we count to 10 when trying to calm down, and we seek out the “9 most important things” to do ….

Milestones are important to work towards and achieve.  Numbers have a way of providing a starting point and a level of achievement.  For those of us who like to track things, like how many push ups you can do in one minute, the number counts big time.  If numbers didn’t exist, how would you track your success?

In a recent article titled “10 Simple Things to Make You Happier at Home” on www.apartmenttherapy.com (see, there we go with the numbers again!) the advice given in this article had nothing to do with numbers.  It spoke more on the importance of creating a warm, comforting environment that makes you take a deep breath and just feel good for one minute or forever.  Creating an environment where you feel at peace, makes the numbers fade away.  Our accomplishments can be measured in memories and feelings, it just takes a bit of refocusing.  So, take a look around your space today, whether it be at home or work, and see where you can move away from the number counting and into a progressive, comforting and stimulating setting.