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The #1 Thing That Gets in the Way of Success--and What You Can Do About It

The #1 Thing That Gets in the Way of Success–and What You Can Do About It

The single greatest thing you can do every day to succeed in your business or creative endeavors is… what?

Marketing? Nope.

Sales? Nope.

Deliver over-the-top customer service? Nope.

Book more speaking engagements or engage more on social media? Nope, and nope.

Now mind you, these are ALL critical to having a successful business, and I DO recommend you give them top priority each day.

However, the single greatest thing you can do everyday to succeed in your business and life is to build the belief in yourself.

 Self-doubt, not believing in yourself and what you’re capable of is truly the #1 thing that gets in the way of your success.

So here are 3 simple steps to grow your confidence and belief in your amazingness every single day:

1) Appreciate and track your wins every single day (no matter how small).

As the old saying goes, what you appreciate, appreciates! Meaning it grows! So, take time every day to celebrate and appreciate the big AND the little wins in your business and life.

Particularly on the days when nothing seems to go my way, I especially make sure to take time to find at least 5 things to celebrate, no matter how small or insignificant they seemed.

Success breeds success—and what you focus on, grows and flourishes!

2) Do something everyday to exercise your courage muscle.

 Recently, I saw Brene’ Brown (famed TEDx speaker and author of bestsellers Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection) on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, and she gave this definition of courage:

From the Latin word for heart, cour, courage is to share your whole story with your whole heart.

Where can you show up more fully in your business? What opportunities are in front of you to stretch and share “your whole heart” with strength, leadership AND vulnerability?

These past few weeks I’ve had at least 3 opportunities to exercise my courage muscle and share in conscious business settings parts of my story or hero’s journey.

It’s been exhilarating, scary and liberating! But I’m getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable and trusting that it will be awesome learning experience.

I also know each time I stretch myself to do something beyond my comfort zone, I’m growing my courage muscle—and my confidence.

3) Give yourself a testosterone boost.

We’ve learned that we can use the power of our thoughts or our mind to change our lives (our health, relationships, finances, career), and…

We’re also learning we can also use our BODIES to change our state of mind!

So, here’s what I mean by giving yourself a testosterone boost to grow your confidence and belief in yourself:

Anytime you are faced with a high stakes situation or even something that feels a bit scary or uncomfortable for you (like introducing yourself at a networking meeting or following up with a potential client), take 2 minutes before going into that situation and put yourself in a “power pose.”

A “power pose” is one that opens up your body and heart and has you take up space. My favorite one is the “X” pose where you raise your arms above you in a “V” and your legs are in an upside down “V.”

When you do this, you literally raise your testosterone levels, helping you feel more confident and personally powerful, AND you’re literally lowering cortisol in your body, which is the stress hormone.

This is one of my favorite practices that I’ve borrowed from Amy Cuddy, another famed TED speaker, Harvard Business School professor, and author of Presence.

I practice this confidence-booster everyday and typically say one of my favorite affirmations when I do it:

I expand in abundance, success, and love everyday as I inspire those around me to do the same.

Try these practices, and let me know how they work for you. Wishing you soulful success always!

 

The Essential Daily 3’s for Your Business

My yoga teacher often talks about the Essential Daily 5 yoga postures to keep your body balanced, aligned and thriving in everyday life.

So one recent day in yoga class I got inspired to create the Essential Daily 3 for creating a business that is balanced with the other important parts of your life, aligned with what brings you joy, AND thriving financially.

Essentially, it boils down to taking 3 daily actions in the areas of money, marketing and mindset to grow your business, your bank account, and the big impact you’re here to make.

Of course, there’s a lot more than these actions that goes into building a profitable business you love.

But when you consistently prioritize these 3 things, your success will skyrocket, your dreams will come true, the magic will unfold.

Essential Daily #1: Marketing

Action: Book a minimum of 30 minutes each day in your calendar for marketing outreach and then spend that time reaching out and connecting with potential clients.

Remember the ABC’s of marketing? ABC stands for Always Be Connecting! Use this 30-minute block of time to make calls, send emails and follow up with hot leads, prospective clients and referral partners, or to book yourself to speak in front of groups that are your ideal audience.

Bonus Tip: How to stay focused on your outreach and stop distractions in their tracks? Before you start your calls, set the timer on your phone to 30 minutes. This simple strategy works brilliantly!

Essential Daily #2: Money

 Action: Track your numbers every single day to the penny.

Most of us want to create a more harmonious and abundant relationship with money, and I’ve found this practice is a simple way to keep you mindful and on top of what’s coming in and what’s going out (revenues and expenses).

The practice of numbers tracking keeps you consciously engaged in a daily relationship with money, empowering you to make new decisions and take new actions that will certainly take your business to the next level.

Essential Daily #3: Mindset

Action: Spend a minimum of 30 minutes everyday engaging in a practice that cultivates a calm mind, uplifts you and raises your vibration.

Pick the practice(s) that you LOVE to do—whether it’s gardening, walking in nature, meditation, journaling, yoga, reading inspirational material, mindful movement or other activities that strengthen your inner wellbeing and inspire joy in your day.

What’s key here is that you practice it consistently.

One of my favorite practices is celebrating.

So I take time almost every day to celebrate and appreciate the big AND the little wins in my business and life. Even on crappy days when nothing seems to go my way, I force myself to find at least 5 things to celebrate in the day, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

Bonus Tip: Set a recurring calendar reminder at the end of your day and take 10 minutes to write down 5 things you are celebrating and appreciating. This super simple practice has a big pay off: Tracking and acknowledging your successes each day breeds more success!

5 Habits of Ambitious Heart-Centered Entrepreneurs

Do You Embrace Ambition? 5 Habits of Ambitious Heart-Centered Entrepreneurs

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
– Nelson Mandela

For many spiritual, heart-centered entrepreneurs—especially women—I’ve noticed a tendency to shy away from ambition.

There’s a very real fear we have seemed to inherit that stops many of us from standing fully in our power, speaking up and out, and claiming our right to abundance and wealth.

This fear stems from any number of factors: cultural conditioning; things we were told growing up such as “children should be seen and not heard;” modeling what our moms did or didn’t do; and/or perhaps even having a past life or an energetic/DNA imprint from a time in history when women were literally burned at the stake for speaking up.

The fear of ambition may show up for you when you say things like:

I want success, but I don’t want to have to work so hard or work a ton of hours to achieve it.

It’s not about the money for me; I just want to help as many people as I can.

I’m truly happy with my life the way it is… Even though I’m not making the money I want to be making, it’s decent enough.

First off, to truly embrace your ambition, you’ll want to define what ambition means to you.

Is it having a 6-figure business doing work you love in a way that supports your preferred lifestyle?

As an aside, I hear SO MANY women solopreneurs say this is what they want. Yet they don’t take the actions (such as investing in themselves) or use their mind in the most productive way to get this desired result. (I’m here to change that, but that’s for another article in the works for you!)

Remember, you get to define what ambition means for you, and it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. And your definition will probably look much different now than when you were in your 20s.

Ready to embrace your ambition? Here are 5 habits to cultivate as an ambitious and driven heart-centered entrepreneur:


1) Stand out. Be willing to be fabulous and unique YOU.

There’s truly a unique part of you that many women business owners mistakenly believe they have to hold back.

You may be plagued by self-doubt or lack the confidence to really own your value, resulting in you significantly undervaluing what you do and charging far less than what you are worth.

The truth is… you have a gift, a unique viewpoint and a stand in the world to take.

AND it often stems from a childhood wound or something you’ve really struggled with in the past, have overcome, and now you want to be sure no one else has to struggle with it like you did. Be willing to come out with it and capitalize on that part of you!

One of my clients Miriam realized she had been holding back and undervaluing her talents and not appreciating her accomplishments as a designer and businesswoman. As her brand mentor and business coach, I helped Miriam to define her business’ brand essence, which included her owning her value and discovering the courage, clarity and conviction to confidently move forward with the launch of her women’s clothing line on her own terms.


2) Show up. Take daily consistent action to get the results you’re wanting—whether you feel like it or not.

Ambitious heart-centered entrepreneurs show up. Every frickin’ day whether they feel like it or not. 

It’s not about working harder or working longer hours. But it is about being really clear on your goal, taking daily consistent action, staying laser-like focused and minimizing distractions.

The old saying “Little hinges swing big doors” could not be more true.

And when you learn to take daily consistent action—not just every so often or once a week, but DAILY—in your marketing outreach, money tracking and personal renewal time, you’ll actually increase your fun and profits!


3) Act as if. Make decisions from where you want to be not from where you are.

Here’s a quick exercise for you.

Step 1: Think of a decision you need to make in your business. It could be as simple as: do I order new business cards now or wait until the New Year?

Step 2: Next, write down the most amount of money you’ve ever made in a year.

Got it?

Step 3: Now, add a zero to it.

Whoa! That’s a very different number, isn’t it?

Step 4: Now ask yourself: As someone who makes THIS amount of money, what decision would I make in this situation? As someone who makes this amount of money, what’s the next action step to take?


4) Know your edges.

The famous Kenny Rogers refrain from “The Gambler” comes to mind: You got to know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away. And know when to run.

I’m not talking about cards or gambling in this case. I’m talking about knowing your edges and knowing when to hold ‘em, fold ‘em or walk the hell away.

In essence, it’s about you discerning what your edges are, your willingness to go to those edges. I’m not talking about jumping without a safety net. It’s also about knowing when to pause, stop and take a breath, or take a break. Or stop and rest.

Ask yourself honestly, am I going to the edge of the light I can see? Or am I holding back because it feels scary as heck and my insides are crazy?


5) Completely replace complaining, criticizing and comparing with…

Celebrating, Connecting and Collaborating.

Enough said! 😉

From Hiding to Shining: 3 Steps to Create the Business and Life of Your Dreams – On Your Own Terms

From Hiding to Shining: 3 Steps to Create the Business and Life of Your Dreams – On Your Own Terms

Have you experienced the feeling of being stuck—like you keep repeating the same pattern over and over—as you long to have the fulfillment you truly want in your business and life?

Yes?

I believe it happens to all of us! You get caught up in old stories about what you can or can’t have. You put your dreams on hold or push them aside.

Or, worse, you give up on them completely.

Because, well…

There are bills to pay and mouths to feed. You have to be smart and sensible about your future, your retirement, your sanity.

Or you think you’re not smart enough, rich enough, young enough, old enough, educated enough, loved enough or fill-in-the-blank enough to really go for what your heart is truly longing for.

So you stay stuck, or you stay in hiding.

I know this pattern all too well.

When I was in my early 20s – yes, I’ll admit that was about 25 years ago! – I had a dream to be an entrepreneur.

I wanted to speak to and inspire audiences, lead workshops, facilitate groups and work with people 1-1 to help them transform their lives.

So I began taking steps in that direction. I created a Mastermind group. I attended workshops and trainings to develop my skills. I put together a personal growth presentation (called it Open the Door with Rapport!) that I delivered to a roomful of friends and acquaintances. I even had it professionally videotaped.

I was on fire. That was in 1993.

And then…

I let the dream go.

I didn’t think I had what it takes. I got caught up in comparing myself to others and “not enoughness.”

I got caught up in the need to make money, have a steady job and do what I knew how to do. I stayed in the comfort zone of the “known.”

Which was to go to work Monday through Friday from 9-5 and use my marketing and communications skills to help others be successful.

Now, 23 years later, the entrepreneurial dream is alive for me. I’m living it.

I’m regularly speaking and leading workshops. I now emcee a monthly women’s networking group. And I’m continuing to coach others to success in their businesses and lives, but I’m doing it on my own terms.

What made the difference? These 3 critical steps:

1) Trust your heart and start with the question: What would I LOVE?

A question I often ask my clients is “What would you LOVE?”

That’s the first question to ask yourself when faced with a big or small decision.

Not what’s the best deal, what’s going to make you the most money, or what’s the smart or sensible thing to do. Typically, those are questions that come from ego.

But when you start with your heart, that’s where you tune into your inner voice of wisdom, your Higher Self. Then, you can bring in the more analytical and practical questions, so that your ego is in service to your soul.

For example, I used the “what would I love” question as the springboard to starting my coaching business.

At the time, I was working a full-time job that I enjoyed. But, ultimately, I was feeling stressed out and unfulfilled.

I KNEW I was meant to have my own business.

And I knew it was my time now to step out from “hiding” and shine my brilliance in a bigger and bolder way!

When I got in touch with what-I-would-LOVE, I realized my heart was longing to have afternoons off to spend with my son, plus a longing for more personal time and the space to create my budding new business. I longed for breathing room.

So my first step toward my dream of becoming an entrepreneur was to cut back my hours at the full-time job.

Then, as I followed my heart and excitement, the “how” of leaving this job to start my coaching business – and ultimately, create a freedom lifestyle and financial success on my own terms – was revealed to me.

And 8 months later, I fulfilled my dream of being a full-time entrepreneur!

2) Leap before you’re ready.

Price Pritchett in his excellent book You-Squared urges us to “Make your move before you’re ready.”

He says to act first and then strategize while creating your dream business and life. When you do that, you’ll discover you can trust your instincts and that you know more than you know.

Writes Pritchett: “A quantum leap is a move that is yours for the taking. Right now. It represents a giant step you can make merely by deciding to and opening yourself up to the resources presently available to serve you.”

So when I decided to leave my full-time job to start my coaching business, I didn’t have all my duckies in a row. I didn’t know how it would all happen.

But I acted. I leapt.

I took the first step I knew to take and then strategized along the way. I followed the breadcrumbs and looked for signs that I was on the right track.

Was I scared when I took the leap and quit my full-time job?

You better believe it. But again, it didn’t happen overnight. It took 8 months from the time I decided to leave my job to when I actually left and started doing this business full-time.

3) Be willing to invest in yourself – and get support.

Let’s face it. We ALL need support in creating the biggest dreams in business and life.

But sometimes relying on just the support of your spouse, friends, co-workers, or family members doesn’t cut it.

There are those times when you absolutely need the support of a mentor, coach or consultant – especially if you’re starting or growing a business.

It’s essential to have someone who has traveled the path and can take you where you want to be, giving you the structure, support and accountability along the way.

This has been a critical step on my path. And ongoingly investing in my business and myself is essential to my success.

So I have a business mentor and coach, and I regularly receive training so that I can continually uplevel my skills as a professional coach and business owner.

Plus, I’m part of a weekly Mastermind group that holds me accountable.

Having a team of support around me helps me see my own blind spots and reveal unconscious beliefs that stop me.

My client Tom struggled for years on his own to integrate his 30-year career as a financial advisor with his longtime passion for teaching meditation and mindfulness.

Through our coaching together, he got crystal clear that his purpose is to bring forth BOTH aspects—the material and the spiritual—into his work.

As a result, Tom created the Mindful Money Institute, a nonprofit focused on helping money managers incorporate mindfulness and meditation to promote business growth and inner peace.

And, oh yes, our coaching also helped him get refocused on his business priorities, and he increased his revenue by 33%!

Bottom line: Take these 3 critical steps to create what YOU really want in your business and life. And please comment below!

These 3 daily actions can make or break your business (and your dreams)

These 3 daily actions can make or break your biz (and your dreams)

There’s a saying I love by W. Clement Stone: “Big doors swing on little hinges.”

When you apply this to your business, it’s the little, yet consistent actions and habits that swing open wide the doors of income and opportunity for you.

In Sanskrit, the word for “habit” is called samskara. (Thanks to my yoga teacher who shared this with me the other day.) When we cultivate a new positive habit or samskara, our lives truly do transform before our eyes.

So here are the 3 daily actions in the areas of money, marketing and mindset to grow your business, your bank account, and your impact on your clients and community.

These are my personal practices, so I wouldn’t highly recommend them if I haven’t already given them a test run and KNOW they work.

Focus on these three areas each and every workday, and I guarantee you will skyrocket your success:

1) Money: Track your numbers every single day to the penny.

Tracking the inflow and outflow of your money is an amazing practice that keeps you mindful of your money—and empowered to take the necessary action steps to increase what’s coming in and be conscious of what’s going out.

For many women, it can become all too easy to ignore our finances, or to go to the other extreme and be obsessive-compulsive about our numbers.

Action: Set a recurring appointment time on your calendar each day when you write down or use a spreadsheet to track everything that has come in that day and everything that has gone out. (I do my tracking everyday at 2:30pm.)

This time is also the perfect opportunity to express appreciation—another powerful daily practice—for the inflow and outflow of money, and the value and meaning that expression has for you!

Bonus Tip: Set a weekly money date for bill paying, and schedule it as a recurring appointment on your calendar. I have my weekly “money date” on Friday mornings.

2) Marketing: Spend a minimum of 30 minutes each and every day making outreach calls to potential clients.

This one simple action has made a HUGE difference in the growth of my business. Use this 30-minute block of time to make calls, send emails and follow up with former, current and prospective clients for setting appointments and booking NEW business, or taking steps toward your big dreams.

Bonus Tip: Use a timer or hourglass to keep you focused on the project at hand and minimize distractions that are rife for many entrepreneurs who work from home. Set a timer for 30 or 60 minutes when you’re doing some critical (yet easy-to-avoid) business-building activity such as outreach phone calls, updating your website or writing a blog post.

3) Mindset: Set aside time daily (30 minutes at minimum, 1 hour is best) for spiritual nourishment and renewal.

This is perhaps the most important action of them all, as it promotes a calm mind and a feeling of being centered and grounded throughout your day–something you definitely want to feel when you’re marketing your business or tracking your money!

This time can include a combination of personal introspection, quiet time, yoga, meditation, journaling, a contemplative walk in nature, gardening, mindful movement, reading or listening to inspirational material, or other activities that strengthen your inner wellbeing and help you feel peaceful.

I’m a morning person so I like to get up before my family does to have a dedicated hour-plus time for meditation, visioning, journaling and reading from a book that contributes to my spiritual and personal growth. I also read my 3-Year Life Vision Plan each morning while making coffee and doing standing stretches in the kitchen.

Bonus Tip: Choose the 1-3 nourishing activities that truly feed YOU (not the ones that others are doing or the ones you think you SHOULD do) and then stick with it. Again, the key is consistency. Put it in your calendar and just do it. No excuses. 🙂

Be patient with yourself as you’re installing these new healthy habits or samskaras into your life. Don’t give up—and, eventually, they will become part of your normal routine.

Plus, you’ll feel great knowing that you are not only doing something that takes care of yourself, but also benefits your family, your friends, your clients, your community, and your bank account!

Leave a comment below and let me know how these tips have helped you!

How to Quiet the Ugly Voice of Comparison

How to Quiet the Ugly Voice of Comparison

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.” -Unknown

Mark Twain once said, “Comparison is the death of joy,” and I agree.

Comparison is one of the most corrosive practices we humans do that keeps us stuck and puts us in a low vibration of limitation, lack and separateness—and, frankly, it’s terrible for our bottom line.

It’s a bad habit that I catch myself indulging in from time to time—probably more than I’d like to admit!

For example, I notice that it comes up often when I’m on Facebook, reading other coach’s emails and newsletters, or attending a networking event.

It’s that split-second moment when I walk into a room and start to size everyone up, evaluating whether I’m better than or worse than (or better off/worse off) than the others there.

I believe this is something we ALL do, whether we’re conscious of it or not!

My friend Sylvia Becker-Hill, who is a brilliant executive change strategist, says that creating a real connection with the people you interact with is one of the most important capabilities in business. But what interferes with feeling connected to others are these feelings of inferiority and superiority.

In other words, the ugly voice of comparison.

Here are a few tips that have tremendously helped me clear the comparison clutter from my mind.

My intention is that these tips help you quiet the destructive voice of comparison and expand your capacity—your attention, focus, energy and love—to living your dreams and the fulfillment of your heart’s desires in every area.

1) First off, become aware of it.

As one of my mentors is known for saying the #1 life mastery tool is to simply “Notice what you’re noticing.”

So when I catch the ugly voice of comparison coming up, I’ve learned to stop, pause, take a breath, and say, “Oh, there’s my old friend comparison again!”

Essentially, you’re saying, “I see you” to the thought without judging that it’s there. It’s only when we shine the light of awareness on what’s there can we transcend it.

2) Have compassion for yourself.

In the moment that you become aware of comparison, recognize that you’re human and that it’s such a common human tendency to evaluate yourself in relation to others. When you do that, you can then extend compassion toward yourself.

I love the Dalai Lama’s Loving Kindness Meditation.

First, extend the loving kindness toward yourself with these simple words:

May I be truly happy.

May I live in peace.

May I live in love.

May I know the power of forgiveness.

May I live in recognition that my life has deep meaning, and good purpose.

Then, extend the compassion toward the other person, especially the one that you’ve been comparing yourself with or judging in some way:

May you be truly happy.

May you live in peace.

May you live in love.

May you know the power of forgiveness.

May you live in recognition that your life has deep meaning, and good purpose.

3) Affirm the Truth about who you are.

The truth is, there is no competition. Ultimately, you are not seeking anything that is possessed by anyone else. So, the step here is to cultivate a sense of interconnectedness in our shared humanity and remind yourself that we truly are “all one.”

4) Cultivate an empowering mindset with empowering questions.

When the ugly voice of comparison pops its head up, once you’ve acknowledged it, shined the light of compassion on it and affirmed the truth of who you really are, then the final step is to ask yourself empowering questions. Here are a few examples:

What if I really believed the Universe was conspiring for my success? What if it really was in my corner arranging and aligning all things seen and unseen in my favor?

How would I live and love my day, my life, from this thought pattern?

Kindly leave a comment below and let me know how these tips have helped you. Also, feel free to share your own tips and strategies for quieting that voice of comparison.

3 Ways to Identify Your Unique Brilliance—and What Makes YOU Stand Out as an Expert in Your Field

3 Ways to Identify Your Unique Brilliance—and What Makes YOU Stand Out as an Expert in Your Field

You are brilliant. Absolutely, positively and fabulously brilliant!But if you’re like me, you’ve struggled to identify that special “thing” that makes you really SHINE and lights you up no matter what you’re doing or who you’re with.

And when we don’t know what IT is, we tend to doubt ourselves, wonder if we’re “good enough” or if we “have what it takes” or even hold back from sharing our gifts and putting ourselves out there. Which, frankly, can be painful and a huge disservice to others—not to mention, ourselves!

Discovering your unique brilliance is the first step in creating an abundant business and life that you truly LOVE.

You may wonder, “Who am I to be brilliant?”

And as Marianne Williamson so famously says, “Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

So getting in touch with YOUR unique brilliance, that has been with you since you were born, is key to sharing your gifts and serving the people you are meant to serve—from your clients or customers to those in your close circle and extended community.

Here are 3 ways to identify your unique brilliance:

Think about what you LOVED to do as a child.

Was it performing, being on stage, reading, writing, singing, dancing, sports, playing with animals, being alone in nature?

Write down at least 5 different things that really lit you up when you were a kid—which, for most of us, is a time in our lives when we were the most free and uninhibited.

Now, write down the words and/or qualities that describe that. (Hint: Think about what you loved to do as a kid meant for you.)

For example, one of my clients loved to read and invent imaginative stories as a young child, and for her that meant the freedom to create, unlimited possibilities, as well as inner pride and accomplishment.

As a child, I Ioved singing, dancing and performing in front of an audience, and for me that meant expressing myself creatively, delighting others, and shining my joyful essence. (It’s no accident that my company name is called SHINE, and my unique business brand is a way for me to authentically stand out from other coaches and consultants.)

So what are the words that described what you LOVED as a kid?

Now, think of 3 times in your life when you were absolutely, positively at your best, and write those down.

Look at the common qualities that are in each of these situations, and you’ll start to clue in to the aspect that makes you really stand out as an expert in your field.Remember, your Unique Brilliance is about YOU and not other people. It’s something that’s true for you no matter WHAT you’re doing or WHO you are with.

Once you’re clear on your Unique Brilliance, the more powerful, focused and aligned you become in your business, finances and relationships. The feeling of using your Unique Brilliance is so powerful and motivating that you’ll find you can begin to let go of anything that is NOT it.

And over time, you’ll find that when tasks and activities try to creep in that are outside of your Unique Brilliance, you quickly learn to ditch, delegate or redesign them—so that you are living primarily in your most brilliant zone!

P.S. As always, I want to hear from you! Post a comment below and let me know your thoughts on these 3 tips to identifying YOUR Unique Brilliance.

5 Tips to Make Each Day Positive, Productive—and Profitable

One of the best tools I know of to keep me on track, disciplined and focused is… my calendar.

“Calendarizing” just about everything related to my business—even personal stuff like exercise, meditation, date nights and social time—may sound constricting or rigid.

But, in fact, it’s just the opposite… it’s liberating!

Having appointments, work projects AND personal commitments to myself on my calendar give structure to my day (something I need as an entrepreneur who works from home) and helps me grow my business AND enjoy a balanced life with ease and grace.

If you struggle with overwhelm, lack of focus, prioritizing or just getting the important things done in your biz and life, here are five tips to help you:

1) First off, make friends with your calendar.

Express your “calendar-love” daily by investing at least 10-15 minutes of your time planning, keeping it organized and clutter-free and working for you, not against you.

Google or other online calendars make this sooooo easy. I love being able to easily set “repeat” events like I do for meditation, exercise, marketing outreach and tracking my numbers each day, plus other great features that pencil & paper calendars don’t have. Plus, I sync it with my iPhone, so I always have my calendar with me and can set appointments or schedule things on the go.

Here’s an empowering calendar mindset for you:

My calendar is my friend. It’s here to support me in positive, productive AND profitable ways each day.

2) Make sure everything that’s on your calendar is what you WANT to be there.

Is it packed to the gills with appointments and your long to-do list? Then, look at where you need to build in more buffer or integration time between projects and appointments, as well what things you can cross off your list.

Yes, part of growing a business and building your dreams is discerning what needs to be let go of–or delegated!

Or if there’s too many blank spaces and “unaccounted for” time on your calendar, then you’ll want to start scheduling in those things that are most important to you—such as marketing your business, networking, family and relationship time, and, yes, self-care.

Essentially, you want to ensure that your calendar serves you and not you being a slave to it.

3) Schedule a minimum of 30 minutes of personal one-on-one marketing outreach or dreambuilding time every single workday on your calendar—first thing in the morning is best. Just get it done!

This one simple action has made a HUGE difference in the growth of my business. There’s the old saying, “Little hinges swing big doors.” And when you stay in action consistently each and every day with building your business and creating your dreams, the doors of income and opportunity will swing open wide for you.

Use this 30-minute block of time to make calls, send emails and follow up with former, current and prospective clients for setting appointments and booking NEW business, or taking steps toward your big dreams.

4) Use a timer or hourglass to keep you focused on the project at hand.

This is one of my absolutely favorite tips. Many entrepreneurs like me work from home—and there’s soooo many distractions that can call to us: The laundry! The dishes! Email! Facebook! The online shopping that needs to get done! The list can go on.

So we need support, yes?

To help you stay on track and minimize those pesky distractions, set a timer for 30 or 60 minutes when you’re doing some critical (yet easy-to-avoid) business-building activity such as outreach phone calls, updating your website or writing a blog post.

Use that timer as your little sidekick buddy and as a signal to the Universe that you’re serious about focusing and getting a particular task DONE. And when your mind starts to wander and think about doing other things like checking email or Facebook, you can just take a look at your timer and hear it’s friendly reminder saying, “Not yet, sweetie…”

Then, when your 30 or 60 minutes are up, consciously choose whether you want to keep going or conclude your focused time for the day. (Set a new timer for the desired amount if you’re continuing.)

You can even use a timer for 10- or 15-minute time blocks, too, like I’m doing now to help me finish this article. 🙂

5) Don’t forget to schedule in “YOU” time for spiritual renewal, rest and fun.

Too many entrepreneurs (especially moms with kids and most Type A personalities) can neglect themselves or forget to schedule in downtime when running their own business. But the truth is, when our well is dry and depleted we have nothing to give to others anyway. So it’s critical to schedule in time for rest, renewal, fun and self-care.

When I first started my business and left my full-time job, I couldn’t wait to start taking my favorite yoga class with my favorite teacher on Tuesdays at 9:15 a.m. For the first 6 months or so, though, for the life of me, I couldn’t get myself to go to that yoga class! I tried once or twice, but would end up feeling guilty for going to yoga during “work hours.” (Obviously, the 9-5 grind was so engrained in me.)

I didn’t give up, though. I faithfully kept that yoga class on my calendar, started showing up (guilty feelings and all) and eventually it became a habit—and one that I look forward to every week now.

So just because you set an intention to meditate everyday, for example, and then you take the step of putting it on your calendar to remind you, but end up not doing it… don’t give up! Be patient with yourself—and, eventually, the healthy habit will become part of your normal routine. AND you’ll feel great knowing that you are not only doing something that takes care of yourself, but also benefits your family, your friends, your clients,  your community, and your bank account.

P.S. As always, I want to hear from you! Post a comment below and let me know your thoughts on these 5 tips for making each day positive, productive—and profitable.

5 Practices to "Keep the Faith" When Your Dream Hasn't Come True (Yet)

5 Practices to “Keep the Faith” When Your Dream Hasn’t Come True (Yet)—Part 2 of 2

What do you do when something you really, really, REALLY want in life isn’t happening yet?

It may be a love relationship (like it was for me at one time in my life) or a business or career that’s in full alignment with who you are. Or perhaps for you it’s about having more balance and free time, or a greater flow of abundance–you’re tired of being on the money rollercoaster.

Yes, things can look bleak at times. “When? WHEN will this happen?” you may find yourself crying out. You might go through periods of despair or you may doubt that it will EVER happen. Or worse, you’ve given up on a dream, assuming that it’s “just not meant to be.”

If your dream is a TRUE desire—one that’s in alignment with your highest expression and not just from an egoic wanting place—then there are things you can do to keep you, as Thoreau says, moving confidently in the direction of your dream.

Last month I shared two of my favorite practices that have made a huge difference in my life. I’d love to hear if you’ve tried one or both of them yet, or hear what practices you DO use that help you. Kindly post your comments at the end of this blog article!

#1 – Become 100% peaceful with your situation, your life, your love life, your business, whatever it is.

#2 – Begin a daily praise (or gratitude) practice.

Now, here are THREE more practices, plus a Bonus Practice that includes the 1 powerful word to say yourself when something doesn’t work out as expected:

#3 – Get into action and stay in action.

Being peaceful with everything in your life exactly as it is now doesn’t mean you give up on your dream and not take any action towards it. In fact, it’s just the opposite!

Eckhart Tolle says, “Being at one with what is doesn’t mean you no longer initiate change or become incapable of taking action. Action comes from a deeper level, though, not from egoic wanting or fear.”

Taking inspired action each day is critical to receive and allow what you want to manifest for you. But it doesn’t have to be in a pushing, striving, pressurized, make-it-happen kind of way that can create stress and tension in your body (like I’ve been known to create in myself) as well as emotional unhappiness.

When these feeling of unease and tension arise, my recommendation: just stop what you’re doing. Use your breath or another technique to bring yourself back to center and then take action only from a place of ease and wellbeing.

Then, on a very practical level, I recommend having an appointment in your calendar every single day (or at least 5 days a week) where you’re taking action toward your dream for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. Mark it in your calendar. This is your commitment to yourself and the larger vision you have for your life. And, then, make sure you take that action each day!

#4 – Get support from someone who will hold you accountable.

Let’s face it. We ALL need support in going for our big dreams. But sometimes relying on the support of just your friends, co-workers, family members or spouse just doesn’t cut it.

There are those times when we need the support of a mentor, coach, counselor, therapist or another trained professional. Someone who has traveled the path and can take you to where you want to be. Someone who can provide you with structure, support and accountability, and take a stand for your greatness—especially when the voice of your paradigm pops in to say, “I can’t do that. I’m not smart enough, savvy enough, pretty enough, thin enough, educated enough, courageous enough, etc. to really go for what my heart truly wants.”

This has been a critical step on my path. In addition to my own personal daily practices, I’m part of a weekly Mastermind group that holds me accountable. I also receive regular business coaching and training—support and structure—that helps me continually uplevel my skills as a coach and a business owner.

#5 – Surrender.

Do all you can from where you are with what you’ve got. Then, let the rest go. “Let go and let God,” as the old adage says. Trust that the Universe has your back and that it’s all working out for the highest good of everyone.

I say that to myself often, “The Universe has my back” and “The Universe loves and adores and is rushing to fulfill my every desire!”

Trust it will all work out and EXPECT that if your desire is a true desire then it will be fulfilled. Desire and expectation go hand and hand. Remember, your job is the “what,” and the Universe takes care of the “how.”

#6 – Bonus Practice:

And when something doesn’t work out as expected, there’s a very powerful word I’ve learned to say… “Neeeeext!”

Many years ago when I was seemingly going from one “failed” relationship to another and wondering when I was EVER going to meet “the one,” I remember having lunch with a dear friend at the Whole Foods in Marin County. When I was telling him about my current relationship and how it didn’t look like it was going to work out between us (yet again). I remember him saying to me, “Rebecca, if it doesn’t work out, GET EXCITED!”

Huh? At first I was shocked to hear him tell me to get excited about a relationship not working out. But then he explained that it just meant that this wasn’t the guy for me and that someone EVEN BETTER and more perfectly suited to me was coming.

So I practice that now when something doesn’t work out that I really wanted. I allow myself to feel the disappointment, anger, sadness or whatever feeling is there. And then I start to reach for a glimmer of excitement or enthusiasm, knowing that something even better is coming my way. This thinking prevents me from staying on the frequency of the “problem” when things go wrong and to even get excited so that I can say “Neeeeext!”

I’d love to hear your comments and feedback. Do you use any of these practices? What other practices do you recommend to “keep the faith” when a big dream, something you’re really longing for, seemingly hasn’t happened yet? Comment below!

5 Practices to "Keep the Faith" When Your Dream Hasn't Come True (Yet)

5 Practices to “Keep the Faith” When Your Dream Hasn’t Come True (Yet) – Part 1 of 2

Chances are, there’s something in your life that you really, really want—a big dream–but it hasn’t yet manifested for you.

Perhaps it’s an intimate love relationship you’ve been yearning for, a new direction in your career, greater financial abundance so you can live in deeper alignment with your values (like buying only organic food or sustainably-made products), a dream trip to Italy with your family, or an overall feeling of aliveness, ease and wellbeing in your body.

What the heck do you do—because giving up on the dream isn’t an option, right?—when something you truly want hasn’t come true yet?

Here are five of my favorite practices that keep me going when my heart really longs for a big dream:

1) Start with this practiceBe 100% peaceful with your situation or life exactly as it is now.

Just a few weeks ago I was in a low point with a particular situation in my business. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to FIX it. “Make it happen, Rebecca. Try harder,” I demanded of myself. But each time I tried, I still wasn’t getting the results I wanted. The self-induced pressure was mounting, while my body and emotions were crying out in pain.

Then, I had a moment of grace. I read an article in my email inbox where the author shared how she was facing a similar situation, and she decided the best thing she could do was to “be 100% percent peaceful” with the situation no matter what. A flood of tears came pouring out of me. I realized how much I had been pushing.

The first insight I got was to “relax and surrender,” to not resist <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>what is. And the second insight I received was to trust—trust that somehow, some way this situation will work itself out.

Eckhart Tolle, in his bestseller A New Earth says, “Nonresistance is the key to the greatest power in the Universe.”

So, the first step is to love what is. Accept it and claim 100% peace for yourself in the situation.

2) Praise the good.

And I mean do this FOR REAL. Everyday. Mark it in your calendar and commit to it.

How many times have you heard that gratitude is the #1 practice for increasing the flow of good in your life—whether it be money, relationships, opportunities, new clients, etc.?

Well, I’ve heard it countless times. But what I discovered with myself is that I’d start a gratitude practice, and then I would stop. I’d pick it back up again, do it for a few weeks, a few days, and then I’d stop again until the next reminder. So now I have a committed “Praise Practice” every single day. It’s in my calendar, and I have reminders that pop up to help me install this new habit in my everyday life.

The reason expressing praise or gratitude is so important is that the latest neuroscience research shows that our brains have actually evolved into having a “negativity bias.”

Rick Hanson in Hardwiring Happiness says our brains act like Velcro when negative experiences happen–and they act like Teflon for the positive ones. That means that when something negative happens in your life–someone quickly cuts you off in traffic or your spouse or partner says something that hurts your feelings or you’re in a restaurant and the waiter is rude to you, your brain will grab on to that experience, sometimes even replaying it over and over.

The research also says that when you have a positive experience–like looking into the eyes of your child or pet or someone you love, or smelling the rain, or you get a raise or a new client, your brain doesn’t naturally hold onto that experience. It quickly slips away, the way eggs easily slide off a Teflon-coated pan.

Knowing that we’re literally hardwired for negativity, for looking for what might go wrong, what do we do? This is where the practice of gratitude—or praise, as I like to call it—comes in.

Wallace Wattles in <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>The Science of Getting Rich says this about being thankful: “The more gratefully we fix our minds on the Supreme when good things come to us, the more good things we will receive, and the more rapidly they will come. And the reason simply is that the mental attitude of gratitude draws the mind into closer touch with the source from which the blessings come.”

So, commit to a daily Praise Practice to help lay down those new neural pathways for your brain AND stay on the frequency of what your heart truly desires vs. the negative self-talk of “Why hasn’t this happened yet? What’s wrong with me?”

Start with these practices and let me know how it goes. Add your comments here on this blog!

Part 2 to come in June. Til then, keep the faith and keep SHINING!