“So how are things going?”
“Oh my goodness. I’m just swamped. I’ve been so busy!”
“Really? What have you been doing?”
There is a difference between being busy and being productive. When you are “busy”, wheels are spinning and you get absolutely nowhere. When you are being productive, you can see your progress. Some people don’t know the difference so when they ask someone how things are going, they are impressed by the list of things that are rattled off. Here’s the difference between busy and productive people:
- Busy people fake having a personal mission. Productive people live their mission every single day.
- Busy people have several “priorities”. Productive people have a selective few.
- Busy people say “yes” at the drop of a hat. Productive people have no problem saying “no”.
- Busy people tell what they are doing. Productive people show you.
- Busy people multitask. Productive people focus.
We have all been guilty of glorifying the “busy”. However, in order for you to be extraordinary and live a life that will inspire others, it’s time to start being productive.
Registration is open for the 4th annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference on October 7, 2017. Limited seating is available, register today at www.wyp2017.eventbrite.com.
Exhausted. Irritated. Overwhelmed. That was me last week. Multiple responsibilities from home and work collided and I was left feeling defeated and depleted. I had nothing else to give to anyone or to myself. I didn’t feel like working any of my “packages” and felt guilty about it. I shared my feelings online and received permission to be still. Understand this, I didn’t need or ask for permission. What blew me away was that the people who told me it was okay for me to take a day or several days off were the people who I serve. The people who have attended Work Your Package conferences, have bought the book, read the weekly blog and double-tap my images on Instagram. It was confirmation that I could be vulnerable and transparent to the people I was created to serve without being viewed negatively. Additional confirmation came in the form of a sermon preached by Pastor Battle of Zion Church. The name of the sermon was “A Wounded Witness”. Here are some of the lessons I learned from that sermon:
1. Your wounds are a witness.
2. Some of the stuff you’ve been through, you can’t hide.
3. Being transparent is one thing, being touchable is another. (Reminds me of Dr. Brene Brown’s teaching on vulnerability)
4. Sometimes you have to reopen a wound in order to help someone else.
6. Stop giving a censored version of your wounds.
7. Wisdom, grace, life, compassion come out your wounds.
8. Don’t ask why you went through what you did. Ask why you survived it. It’s your credentials. You’ve been to hell and back so that you can help others.
It looks great on social media to appear like you have everything together but behind closed doors that facade is exhausting and eventually, the truth will seep out and your authenticity will be in question. It’s okay to say that you are tired and feeling overwhelmed. Sharing the challenges of life doesn’t diminish who you are as a person, tarnish your “brand” or your effectiveness as a leader. Wounds lead to scars and scars lead to lessons that will help others.
How many times have you talked yourself out of taking the path that would have led you to something extraordinary? I have a friend who has a story that needs to be told to the world. I don’t say this because they’re my friend. I say this because when they told me a small part of their story, a piece of my heart wept and then I was in awe at how they were still standing. Recently I asked my friend when they going to tell their story. They told me they were too young to tell their life story and they were going to wait another 20 years. Insert major eye roll right here. My friend doesn’t know if they going to live another 20 years. Do you know the best stories ever told and the best advice that fit your exact situation are six feet under at the cemetery? If you aren’t ready to tell your story, find a way to document it.
You are too young to do that. Who would want to learn from you? You haven’t lived yet. You are too old. That is an old-fashioned way of thinking. Write a book? No one would buy it. Go back to school? It’s not like you’ll get a promotion when you finish…if you finish. Lose weight? Haven’t you tried to do that already? Vacation by yourself? Are you crazy? Buy a house? You’ll never get approved for a mortgage. Start a business? Do you know how many fail in the first year? You aren’t doing anything original…
These aren’t the lies that other people tell you. These are the lies that you tell yourself.
Lies hold you hostage. Denying the potential positive impact of sharing your imperfect life serves no one. Lies keep you stagnant. I believe you are more resilient than a lie. But it doesn’t matter if I believe it. Do you?
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes life can just suck. Like sucks to the point that you don’t want to be bothered with anything other than remembering to breathe and to blink your eyes. The amount of negativity the average person can face each day is enough to make your want to throw your hands up in defeat and question why you started in the first place. I get it. I really do. Now here’s where you will probably roll your eyes at me and sigh deeply. I need you to GROW ANYWAY. The concrete in your life can be anything from family members who tell you can’t do it based on your past mistakes to sabotaging co-workers. GROW ANYWAY. Ask for the promotion. Create the business plan. Enroll in school. Lose the weight. Write the damn book. No one ever said that your individual journey would be easy. If you are looking at someone else’s journey and you think they had it “easy”, invite them to have lunch so they can tell you the truth. Success is hard. Following and fulfilling your purpose might be even harder. But I can tell you that it is worth it. Don’t let a little bit of concrete stop you…GROW ANYWAY.
How can you get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you are right now? While coaching an amazing woman, I asked her, “Where do you see yourself a year from now?” The question stumped her. So I asked her a basic question based on her current circumstances. “What are you really good at?” Again…crickets. When using your GPS for driving instructions, it needs your current location in order to give you directions for your destination. Getting to know yourself is the starting point on the GPS. If you are unsure of where you are, here are a few questions to get you started:
- What are my strengths? What are you known for? What do people call on you to do frequently?
- What are my short-term and long-term goals? You don’t need a complicated plan. Take some time and mind map it.
- What am I ashamed of? If you haven’t read “Daring Greatly” by Dr. Brene Brown, I highly recommend it.
- What new activities am I willing to try?
- What am I worried about? What is keeping you up at night or keeping you from making a decision?
- What does my inner critic tell me? We are our worse critics. Listen to what it is saying. Is it really true or a lie that someone told you that you keep replaying as truth?
- What do I do to practice self-care? This is a big one. If you don’t take the time to take care of yourself. No one is going to give it to you
- What am I passionate about?
- Am I an introvert or extrovert? Did you know you could be an outgoing introvert? Transparent and vulnerable moment….I’m an ambivert. It took me years to figure out why I get so mentally exhausted after being around a large group of people for an extended period of time. I love to serve others but I now know when I’ve met my threshold of being sociable.
- If I wasn’t afraid, I would______. Some are able to complete this statement immediately. Some may take a few minutes or even days to think about it. However long it takes, answer it and then ask yourself, “Why am I afraid?”
When you are unsure of where you are, the road ahead can seem daunting. When you know who you are, you can chart your own path.
This week I received an email from one of the parents on my oldest daughter’s middle school PTO asking me to consider joining the board for the next school year. She gave plenty of reasons why it would be a great idea: I’m passionate about my daughter’s education (true), I’m very organized and creative (true and true), I have a GREAT working relationship with the principal (also true) and she REALLY believes I would be great at it (yeah, also probably true…but). While compliments are nice, they are also the “suck you in” tactics folks use when they have no clue or don’t care how full your calendar already is. Like seriously, I will put myself in timeout if I add one more thing to my plate.
How many of you are dealing with well-intentioned folks who see how awesomely magnificent you are and want you to share all that awesomeness and help them with something? They will give you plenty of reasons why you should….Oh, it will only take a few hours a month. All of our meetings are by conference call. There’s a rotating schedule so you won’t have to do it all by yourself. I’ll be here to help you. Listen, while all of that sounds really great, the truth is, you should only commit to doing something based on your schedule and allotted mental bandwidth to take on something else. Will they be disappointed? Yes. Will they possibly give you a little bit a side eye the next time they see you? Maybe.
You, my dear, are the ruler and protector of your precious time. Don’t let sweet words and promises take you off course from managing your 168 and using those hours for what really matters and makes you happy.
P.S. How many of you tried the mind mapping exercise I shared with you last week?
When you know your “why”, obstacles become lessons, not barriers. When I realized why my life experiences were primarily centered around encouraging others and helping them recognize how extraordinary they were, everything else started to make sense. The whispering from the little birdie no longer left me baffled and questioning my capabilities. The doors of opportunity that continue to open are no longer met with skepticism and doubt. There is a freedom that comes with realizing who you are and why you are on this earth. If you are paying attention to the little birdie, actions that may look insane to others make perfectly good sense to you. And guess what? You no longer feel the need to explain your actions. Truth is, if you are surrounded by the right people, you won’t have to. It’s not your job or responsibility to explain your journey and path. Folks are either going to support you or wait for you to fail. And guess what? You might fail the first, second or third time but I’m encouraging you to keep going until you are successful. If you haven’t figured out your “why” take a look at the repetitive requests for your natural talents. Your “why” is there and is waiting for you to discover it.
It’s National Women’s History Month and this year’s theme is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business”. The theme honors women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force. But just for a moment, let’s just forget about the titles that women hold. Let’s think about the fact that you are a woman first and forget about the fact you might be running a multi-million dollar corporation or you might be on your third startup or you just sold your most brilliant idea to a company that wants to pay you seven figures. Let’s forget about the fact that you just gave birth to twins or you just got married to your high-school sweetheart or you’ve decided to go back to school or you finally got that promotion that you’ve been working for. Let’s just forget about all of that. Take a minute to remember that before all of that you are a woman. Being a woman requires extraordinary strength and resilience because there are times when your womanhood will be questioned or others make a juvenile attempt to define it for you. Being a woman requires patience and I’m not talking about patience with others. We need to have patience with ourselves. We are prone to being Type A…we want things to be perfect…have everything in place…all our ducks in a row…dot the “i” and cross the “t”. And because of the way we are wired, we have a tendency to be extraordinarily hard on ourselves when gentleness is required. Understand this, no one called you to be superwoman. I don’t know who started this foolishness. Let me say it again, no one called you to be a superwoman. No one said that you had to carry the golden lasso of truth or wear the golden, bullet reflecting cuffs. Take the damn cape off already.
Your title at work doesn’t matter. It doesn’t if you’re running your own business. It doesn’t matter if you won ‘mom of the year’ and your kids are on the honor roll and your husband places you up on a pedestal. It doesn’t matter because of the end of the day when you close your eyes you are still a woman and everything about being a woman is amazing.
Registration is open for the 4th annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference. Register today at www.wyp2017.eventbrite.com.
When you hear someone mention how much clutter they have, you might assume they are talking about physical stuff like magazines they don’t have time to read, clothes that no longer fit or wedding gifts that they will never use. The sentimental, “what if’s”, and things you have inherited can take up precious physical space and create unnecessary clutter in your home or office. But there is also emotional clutter such as pent up hurt, disappointment, anger, and resentment. Left unexpressed, these feelings repeatedly come to the surface and will not allow you to move forward.
How long are you going to hold on to that grudge that you should have let go of days, weeks, months or YEARS ago? How long are you going to replay that argument in your head? How long are you going to blame someone else for your unhappiness? How long are you going to blame yourself for something you had no control over? How long are you going to let your flaws define you instead of strengthening you? All of that emotional clutter is keeping you from seeing the big picture. It is clouding your judgment, causing self-doubt and keeping you from being your authentic self. That ‘clutter’ is keeping you from fully articulating and demonstrating your life’s work and purpose.
What clutter do you need to let go of?
This past election season has shown that fear of the unknown can be fodder for hours of complaints and speculations around the coffee table or the water cooler. Let’s face it, change is scary as hell. What are the big changes you are facing in your life right now? Are you digging your heels in and refusing to budge or are you peeking around the corner at the possibility of what “might be”? Yes, change is scary. But do you know what is scarier? Looking back at your life a month, a year or ten years later and wanting to kick yourself for not making a change. Accepting and embracing change allows for self-reflection and evaluation to take place. You may learn that you are more resilient than you once thought. You may realize that you are stronger than you once gave yourself credit. Yes, change can absolutely suck. But what if the change leads to something miraculous and you realize that you could have robbed yourself of the opportunity to stretch just a little bit out of your comfort zone? What if change lands you in your dream job? What if change finally takes off those last 10 pounds? What if change adds a comma to the balance in your retirement and savings account.
As you encounter change, instead of running away, ask “what if?”