Productivity is not rocket science. But, when you set goals and don’t reach them, it can feel just as impossible as receiving an advance degree in a foreign language.
We all have the tools available to us to be successful goal setters AND achievers. For some, these tools come from within and naturally. It’s true that some peoples’ brains are just wired for seeing the vision, breaking down the tasks, assigning deadlines, and meeting those deadlines without procrastination, overwhelm, panic, or any of the other feelings that the remainder of the population feels. The beautiful thing is that even if the tools you need do not come from within, you CAN access and use them!
You may have set goals for the New Year already. If not, I highly recommend that you do! You can at anytime sit down and think about where you would like to go. If you would like support in doing so, check out Launch, a semi-annual, strategic planning intensive.
Your next step is to ensure that your goals actually come to fruition. Here are the 5 tools you need:
1 - Set the Time to Work On Your Goal - Your second step after the creation of ANY goals is to grab your calendar and find space to work on it either daily or weekly. Google Calendar, iCal, your paper planner. Write it in. Block out at least 1 hour a week towards your goal. If you don’t yet have room in your schedule for goal work then something else will need to shift.
2 - Turn Off Distractions While Working - There are apps to help you with this but the basic idea is to turn off all the things that go beep or pull your attention away for the entire time you are working on your goal whether that is 15 minutes or 1 hour or a full day at a time. Even when you think you can move seamlessly from 1 focus to the text, that context switching is slowing you down by at least twice the time if not more! That means, that BIG goal you have this year, won’t get finished until NEXT year. It’s worth it to turn off Facebook Messenger and shut your office door, don’t you think?
3 - Give Yourself Accountability - If a star sticker on a calendar works for you, then use it. Every day find a way to track your progress and ensure that you are using the time you set aside for goal work. This could be a sticker chart, a reminder on your phone, a checklist app on your phone, an accountability buddy or an Accountability Coach. Did you know that for less than $6/day you can have personalized accountability?
4 - Visualize Your Success - You don’t have to know how you are going to achieve your goal but you do need to know what success looks like. Otherwise, how will you know when you have achieved it? Take time daily (16 seconds is enough!) to imagine your end result and how you will feel. Journal or keep a video diary or even post on Facebook Live as you talk about your success. This step adds clarity and energy to your work.
5 - Create An Environment That Supports Your Goals - Like making time in your schedule, you need to make room in your space to work on your goals. A cluttered environment can make it difficult to focus on the work at hand. Even if you simply package everything up to give yourself a clear space to work, it is worth it (Someday you have to go back and sort out what you put away!). Your environment is more than just things. Think about the messages in your space and the people, too. Are they supporting your work?
Right now, achieving your goal may feel like wishful thinking but with these 5 tools you will be unstoppable. What would it be like for you to say, “This is the year that I used the tools I had available and I achieved my goals”?
If you would like support in getting there? Let’s find a time to talk: https://sappari.as.me/StrategyCall
Right now, Momentum Accountability Lite is taking applications. The program will be full at 30 registrations. Give yourself the support you need to get your biggest goals done.
I am not sure why we designate spring as the time to clean. I understand in the past, you would want to throw open the windows after being cooped up in the house for the long cold winter to bring fresh air into a space, but there is another kind of cleaning and letting go that MUST happen now, before the warm weather of spring.
Spring is great for ‘refreshing’ for breathing new life and energy into your work. That new life cannot take shape IF you have not allowed room for it. Winter is the time to clear out the underbrush. To clear your spaces, to let go of the past to be ready for all that is coming. From a logistical standpoint, I am much more fond of going through papers and work while cozied up to a fireplace when I’d rather not be outside than in the spring when it’s warm and I’d like to be out and about!
How do you apply this to your work? For me, everything comes back around to figuring out how best to do the things we were put here on this planet to do. Here is a 4 step process to use this winter time for wiping the slate clean:
1 - Gather - Bring the stuff, the thoughts, the experiences, the good, and the challenging from the last 12 months all together in one place (a journal works well for this!)
2 - Reflect - Spend time thinking about how it all worked together (or didn’t) and write down the lessons you learned from these experiences. Which ones do you want to take with you? Which ones will you let go of?
3 - Plan - What do you want to create? It doesn’t have to be right now but over the next three months or more, what do you want to create in your life? It could be a bigger business with more clients. It could be time in your schedule to pursue a hobby. It could be a warm, welcoming environment. Decide.
4 - Carve it Out - You cannot create where something already exists. This may have been your problem in the past. Today, you are going to clear the decks and make room. In organizing, one method, is to clear everything out of a room and put back only what you use or want. If you were doing this same exercise on your schedule, your office space, or with the programs/products that you offer, how can you clear it all out? Next, what would you return into your “space”?
If you cannot do this exercise all at once, it is OK to break it up into multiple steps or days. Keep in mind, what you are letting go of need not be broken or of no value. What you are letting go of is making room for what you are creating.
If you need help in this process, let me know. I am happy to support you. All you need to do is schedule a time to talk.
The Momentum Accountability Programs are designed specifically to help you with this and more. For more information go to MomentumAccountability.com
Last year, to the day, my grandma passed away. It was the phone call you never want to receive. But when the phone rings before dawn on Christmas Day, there cannot be good news on the other end. Today, I am sharing with you a snippet of her life. It is the same message that I shared at her service.
This year, in meditation, a received a message from my Grandma. She stood by me while I buried and laid to rest the part of myself that continues to rush and be too busy. As a mom, a business owner, a wife, a daughter, a friend, there is always more to do. But, rushing is not what we were put on this planet for.
How do you wish to be remembered? Will others think of you fondly for the impact you made in their life? I hope so.
If you are ready to move forward, to stop rushing, to get your BIG goals done in a way that feels good and honors who you are, let's talk (include a link to schedule a virtual coffee)
I hope you enjoy reading about my Grandma as much as I am enjoying sharing her with you.
Wishing you peace, joy, and light in this holiday season.
In the year 1920 women were given the right to vote. But before that happened, my Grandma, Jeannette Borden Studley, was born.
She was an amazing woman. Stern - “Respect your Daddy. Don’t bother him when he walks in the door from work.” “Eat what your mama gives you.” “If you name him Joshua then you call him Joshua”. But you always knew where you stood with her.
Because she knew what family, respect and responsibility meant.
And, that none of those values matter if they do not come from a deep, deep love and connection.
She had three amazing children, George, Donald and JoEllen, before the doctor said, ‘no more’. As she told me, being pregnant didn’t agree with her. But she LOVED babies and children. After raising her three and looking out for others as an aunt and friend, She was nanny to 5 others including my nephew Dylan, earning her the title "Nanny Grandma".
Grandma loved. She could see people where they were, where they were struggling and still see the brilliant person within. She truly had a heart for those in need.
I understand, from others, that she had a southern accent. I never heard it. Just her voice.
Always put together.Her hair was done, lipstick on, dressed.
And her smile. Nearly always present. She came up with the most unexpected things to surprise you and make you laugh. You will remember, or see in the slideshow, that mischievous twinkle in her eye. The humor gene runs strong in our family.
She traveled and loved the outdoors and wildlife. Because of Grandma, I tried to save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge when I was 12 years old and I can tell you the names of the birds that come to our feeders. Because of Grandma, I know about the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society.
She loved this country and all it has to offer and not in the love it or leave it mentality. She was well aware of the faults in our history, but she said there was no need to travel abroad when there was so much to see right here. When my grandparents retired for the first time, they spent years traveling across the US and exploring.
My grandparents adopted a vegetarian lifestyle before it was the popular thing to do and ate healthy meals…Grandma shared that she craved a head of iceberg lettuce when she was pregnant... it was never safe to keep Ho Hos in the house.
I cannot say that I know my friend’s grandparents, but they knew mine. Grandma (and Grandpa) were at every event. They were there for everyday life.
Even though I knew with my head, this day would come, it felt like she would live forever. She talked about watching her great granddaughters get ready for the prom together while she watched from heaven with a smile on her face.
She was always there. Ready for a hug.
Last week, I shared how to survive if you fall the the ice (or face any major crisis). My post generated a few emails from concerned friends. I am so thankful for this circle of support. 2018 in general has been a year of many significant ups and downs. It would be so easy to say, “I’ll be thankful when this year is over and I can move on.” But the reality is that each difficulty has revealed a multitude of blessings. I would not give those up just to not experience that pain that came, too.
I wanted to share my journey and experience because our personal lives are not separate from our work lives. We just have ‘life’. When I am focused on all that is not going well, I miss the lessons and the blessings. I find that working and thinking to be impossible. To put it bluntly, my productivity diminishes.
So last night, I purchased a pack of thank you note cards with the intent to thank each of the challenges I have experienced recently. One of the major challenges was in acquiring a service dog for my son.
Here is the note I wrote to this challenge:
Thank you so much for the tremendous blessing you have given us. Two weeks ago we sent you a payment, you accepted that payment and sent us a notice on that same day to let us know that your facility would be closing. A week later we received notice of your bankruptcy. I couldn’t have imagined in that moment the blessings that would come from your actions. Actions that seemed negligent and extremely hurtful, even criminal.
Two weeks later though, the gifts are coming in more quickly than the pain and shock of that email.
In two short weeks, this is what we have received that is even better than what we could have imagined:
From just one challenge, we received no less than seven major blessings. What challenges are you facing today, that are blessings in disguise? I encourage you to thank each one of them.
Share in the comments how this exercise affected you.
I’ve recently had a series of unfortunate events. As I was sharing with my mentor and friend all that was going on, I told her that life was just feeling hard, that I feel like I have been hit by a Mac truck (or a few). Her question back, “What could make it softer?” got me thinking because I don't tend to be the kind of a person to blame the world for my frustrations. I usually feel like you find a lesson in every single thing, that there is a silver lining, something to be gained even when things aren't going right (aka the way you expected them to go).
But this time, the onslaught was just too much and I was completely overwhelmed.
Then a video popped up on my Facebook Feed:
I stopped scrolling through and watched it and was immediately struck by this video and my own situation. I was being given the exact formula for getting myself unstuck and back on solid ground.
Here are the steps:
1 – Don’t Panic
Your lungs could fill with ice cold water and you will drown. You have to allow yourself to feel that shock of the cold water.
2 – Breathe and Relax
Take a deep breath and relax. Do the things that will calm you down from your sense of fear and overwhelm. Take care of yourself.
3 – Give yourself space
You need room to think. Give yourself space to think and plan the next step. Even if it is a small step. Break the ice around you (use your feet). Do not let the ice trap you.
4 – Kick your legs to break the ice behind you
Continue to break the ice behind you. Crush all of that that is holding you in place here and by doing so, you will start moving, getting your energy and warmth up.
5- Use this energy/movement to start propelling yourself forward (slowly)
You are not going to put your hands on the ice and push yourself up. Doing so would sink you. Kicking out behind you allows you to slowly propel yourself forward horizontally onto the ice, little by little.
6 – Go all in and be vulnerable
Spread your entire self, arms and legs wide onto the ice. You are fully vulnerable on this thin ice and fully committed but you have also cast yourself wide exploring and receiving all the support that is coming to you. Allow this. You are out of the cold water but not off of the ice yet.
7 – Continue to move forward until the ground is beneath you
You cannot stay partially in the situation. You must keep moving forward until you have solid ground beneath you BEFORE you stand up. Continue to wiggle forward in small motions until you are ready to slowly stand up.
I am in the kicking forward stage at the moment. I am not even yet out of the ice water, but I'm getting there.
It’s a hard place to be when fall through the ice. It may seem to come out of nowhere. Allow the shock to wash over you and breathe through it.
I would love to hear how you are receiving this message today. Share with me by replying or commenting online.
Are you over complicating this? Are you making this harder than it needs to be? If you’re anything like me and I’m guessing you are, there are times when you get stuck in your own head and need a way around. I want to share with you an experience that I had recently.
I often will sign up for new programs. I would so much rather rely on the expertise of people who have gone before than to reinvent the wheel. If somebody has and offering and it sounds like it can solve my problem, I am 100 percent willing to invest in that program to make the path easier for myself. But, I experienced a conundrum. I was excited about the beginning of the program, all that I was learning, the mindset shifts I was experiencing when, at the three-week mark, I hit a wall.
The Kolbe Assessment, an evaluation I took in 2016 came to mind. One of the levels it evaluates is Quick Start. People who are high on Quick Start are fast to take action with new ideas. They may not necessarily get around to implementing everything, but they do start a lot of different stuff. I am higher than the median on Quick Start. I do finish a good amount of the projects that I start but I also have a lot of ideas. What if, I was stuck in Quick Start mode but would never finish??
I began a new program and I wanted the results that others had. I knew there was a path from A to B, right? That’s why I brought the program, to explain how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. I knew that it was possible, but everything was feeling complicated. The enthusiasm and energy from the beginning of the program had started to wear off, it just seemed confusing. Like everything was kind of jumbled up in my mind. Has this happened to you? I would love for you to write to me and let me know. Have you gotten to the point where you could not see the path forward?
The demons appeared
I decided to take the next step on the path outlined by the instructor, trusting they would not lead me astray. And everything began to open up. I had to push the demons aside and just move forward in faith.
Why I got stuck
I lost track of myself and what I was already great at in trying to implement just like the instructor. You can use others’ information as a framework but it should never replace your specific magic.
I confused something uncomfortable for failing. Because I couldn’t see each next step I worried that the path would disappear, but it didn’t. The right path is always available.
The 4-Step Process for Moving Forward
1 — Remember Your Strengths
2 — List Your Successes (things that were once hard but are now easy)
3 — Recall Your Vision
4 — Take the Next Small Step.
When I did this four-step process, the noise and nonsense fell away and my desired outcome became clear again. In this case, what became clear was that I had six pages of notes of exactly what my ideal clients needed from me to improve their situation. And as luck would have it, I was able to whittle this down to 52 specific questions. I am thrilled to be able to answer these questions on my podcast anchor.fm/momentumaccountability and here.
You will only ever know the next few steps ahead. Trust yourself, your strengths and your past successes to know that you will figure out the next best step to take. And when you become frazzled, follow the four-step process to come back to clarity.
Scrap it and Start Over
There are times when you may need to scrap it and start over. If you are working and working at something and not making progress, start with a fresh page and try again. Apply all that you have learned in the first round that was not successful. You will make progress faster and in better alignment with your vision.
I’d love to hear from you. Where are you overcomplicating things?
I was sitting at dinner with an acquaintance. We were on a break from a business transformation retreat and just squeezing in a few more bites before heading back in. Out of nowhere, or so it seemed to me, she says, “You know, you are ‘half-fairy’, right?”
My brain stopped. What? Did I hear her correctly?
“Um, I am not sure what you mean. I’m what?” I sputtered out. Over the next hours I grappled with this and what she could have possibly meant and then when to ask a good friend. A person I was sure would say, “Oh, that’s silly” and everything would be right in my world again. But no, that friend replied, “Of course. Didn’t you know?”
Grinding halt, number 2. I asked Google. My friend reassured me. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll talk in the morning.” Ok, so for now I was just to sit on this idea and try to sleep.
In the morning, I found my friend first. She introduced me to two more people who could explain what all this supernatural talk meant.
Why did all of this fairy talk bother me so much?
For the past year I had been enrolled in an advanced business coaching course. How I saw myself was shifting. For the longest time, I had put others before me. Others’ dreams before my own and I had left my work to the very last moment of the day. I would send emails after the kids went to bed and wouldn’t take work that conflicted with my family’s needs. But all of that was starting to shift. From the outside, all was well and my business was growing. But on the inside, I was still putting myself and my work last.
When I heard the words, “half-fairy”, what I REALLY heard was ‘You are special.” “You are unique.” It was seeing something in me that I didn’t see for myself. I signed on with Business Reiki Master Victoria Whitfield and asked her all the questions that I didn’t understand about this fairy-business. But in the end, the work we did (and continue to do) centered around my own self-worth.
An Opportunity to Connect
As I have been working on the Creating Momentum Book, I have been asking what I could share that would make the biggest difference for you and I received this response:
“I am someone who has big goals and big dreams, but I keep getting pulled into distractions and losing focus on daily habits and such that would help me to be able to accomplish things other than basic mom stuff. I have stepped back into entrepreneurial ship and I'm hoping to pursue real estate investment in the future.”
I immediately saw myself in her words. I saw myself before the fairy revelation. I had big hopes and dreams, too! I kept getting distracted! I couldn’t form habits! I couldn’t accomplish anything beyond the basic mom stuff! I thought, at the time, that I was doing my family a favor to put their needs first. But the reality was that I was denying all the gifts that had been given to me. I was refusing to use them. I was operating on empty.
The Way Out
For me, the way forward began when I reconnected with myself and my dreams. Not just saying, “I hope to one day be a world renowned organizing and productivity consultant,” but actually acting like I already was one. It took seeing the Vision for myself and then acting in small ways as if it were already, true. From here, life become more and more joyful as I came back into alignment with the gifts I had been given.
Just for kicks, this summer, during my branding photoshoot with Ale B I had photos taken of myself dressed and positioned as the Archangel Jophiel. A further extension of seeing myself in this bigger, more special, more unique way. I’ve never shared them before. But for you….
Last night, I was watching X-2: X-Men United with my children. If you are not familiar, X-Men is a comic based on the idea that there are people among us, mutants, with special abilities. They can walk through walls, freeze water, control fire, access people’s thoughts, etc. The comic has been made into at least nine movies over the years.
In one scene, Nightcrawler, a mutant with the ability to teleport, was speaking to Storm, a mutant with the ability to control the weather. Nightcrawler, who has a strong sense of faith, was surprised at Storm’s deep anger. He asked her about it and she responded that this anger has helped her survive.
I wondered in that moment. What do we hold on to that helps us survive but not live? So often, we have beliefs, habits, behaviors that keep us “safe” but prevent us from experiencing life and learning. Thankfully, for Storm, she would have the opportunity to learn that faith can also help you survive.
Nightcrawler could teleport anywhere he could SEE.
Nightcrawler’s power was limited to teleporting where he could see, with his eyes (or so he believed). When you are looking to move forward, to access somewhere you have never been, you need to be able to SEE where you are going. This is your VISION. Before you can move, you must be able to see where you are going.
If he couldn’t see where he was going, he could end up in a wall.
He warned he fellow X-Men that if he couldn’t see where he was going he could end up teleporting into a wall. If you do not take the time to visualize where you are going, you will end up in a wall. You will end up STUCK and unable to move forward. Have you experience this? Have you attempted to move forward without first SEEING where you are going and found yourself stuck in a wall?
Your EYES are not the only way that you see.
Later in the movie, Nightcrawler was asked to teleport to a place he could not see and save the leader of the X-Men. Without Nightcrawler the leader would perish. Failure was not an option.
Nightcrawler was limited by his belief that his eyes were required for vision. We are often like Nightcrawler thinking that we need to SEE results with our eyes in order to move forward. We think that we need to see the process in order to act on it. How often are we limited by this?
It also takes BELIEF.
Nightcrawler was wary and Storm, having experienced Nightcrawler’s faith, returned to him the gift and said, “I have faith in you.” She believed in him and his ability to teleport to a destination he could not see with his eyes.
Belief was the missing piece. Once Nightcrawler believed that he could see where he was going, he didn’t need to actually see his destination with his eyes. He successfully teleported into a room beyond a massive door and back out again, rescuing the leader. All (almost) was well. Nightcrawler’s ability had grown. I imagine if this were a video game he had just ‘leveled up’.
What are your limiting beliefs?
What is limiting you from moving to your next level? Do you think you do not have enough time? Do you feel like you need more knowledge? Do you think that a certain number of clients are required? Do you think you have to do it all by yourself? What is keeping you trapped moving only to places you can see?
What can you learn from Nightcrawler?
1 - Teleportation to places beyond where you are right now, requires VISION.
2 - BELIEF in yourself fills in for all that you can’t yet see.
Which one of these is the sticking point for you?
Register now for “How to Rock Your Time and Skyrocket Your Business,” a free masterclass available for a limited time! [Details here]
I met today with another fantastic fabulous CEO who graciously agreed to an interview. She was the 15th one and all of these will become part of my forthcoming book, Creating Momentum. Her interview was brilliant! I cannot wait to share it with you. (if you want a sneak peek of hers and the other 19 interviews, you can join 90 Days to Success!)
I went into this interview believing that she would talk about Vision and I was not disappointed. She hit the vision nail on the head. She laughed when I asked which of the 9 principles she thought she embodied the most. Vision was the obvious answer. BUT, as every one of my interviewees has shared and confirmed, each of the 9 principles is absolutely necessary. They create a blueprint.
It starts with Vision, Mission and Core Values & Culture. But quickly you move to the tools that are necessary to implement the first three. And those tools are time & task management, systems and organization. In the end, you also need strengths, connection and focus to truly create a sustainably successful business. All great businesses have all 9 principles.
Organization ensures that you are consistently making decisions and clearing the clutter. Things are where you say they are and everyone knows where to find them. Your work space is conducive to getting the job done.
Systems allow you to create consistent, repeatable processes that make your time more efficient, ensure your customers are getting the best possible service and that you can share the job of running the business. You cannot do it all!
Time & Task Management means you you know you are picking the right task for any given moment. You are working with your brain and your body so that you can be efficient with your time and work. You have space for the activities that will grow your business and that you are not always putting out fires.
No matter what, every decision is made based on your Vision, Mission and Core Values. But, with only those three you will be a flash in the pan, a one hit wonder. You need organize, systems and time & task management for implementation of your vision over the long haul.
However, if you start using your tools before you have your vision, mission and core values clarified, you will, as my interviewee today shared, quickly run out of fuel because you have no direction. Be sure to go back to this post to learn how to create your Where, What and Who and then take the next step to use your tools to create momentum.
If you need more, be sure to catch the replay of the masterclass by joining the Facebook Group: Create Momentum. I make an offer to go even deeper through the program 90 Days to Success. You can find out more and take advantage of early bird member pricing ($97). I’ll be hosting the next 9 Principles to Sustainable Success on October 26 at noon EST. Don’t miss it. The link to register is here.
My ‘friend’ is often overwhelmed with what task to do first? There is so much to do that I, ‘she’, feels sometimes like just pulling up to a bowl of ice cream instead. What would you suggest my "friend" do?
-- Ice Cream is my Superpower
Dear Ice Cream is My Superpower,
“To Do’s” can be daunting and you just hit the nail on the head with the task of handling the mail. I have personally been acquainted with many who would leave the task of opening the mail for months or even years! If your to-do list has gotten out of control, pulling up to a bowl of ice cream does seem like it would be your best bet! And, I am completely serious about this.The first step is to put yourself in a better mindset whether that is ice cream, going for a walk, dancing, writing in your journal or doing 5-10 minutes of a task that you absolutely love.
If you have handled your mindset, then step two is to understand your vision for the work you are doing. It may seem silly to create your vision when you are talking about checking the mail or running errands with your kids or handling miscellaneous tasks at work. But when you know why you are doing the work you are doing and you keep this ‘why’ in front of you then you can ensure that you are always doing the right task at the right time.
If you envision a life with a roof over your head, fun events with friends, engagement in your community, then opening the mail will help you achieve these goals and you will be more inclined to go through the mail measuring what you are opening against it’s ability to help you achieve your vision. If it doesn’t, then TOSS!
Once you have a to-do list a mile long it is likely the case a portion (maybe even a large portion) is no longer relevant. Step three is to cull your to do list. Remove anything that is past due (and cannot be completed) or no longer relevant. Then decide for each item if and how it helps you achieve your vision. Last, decide if you need to be the one to complete the task or if you can delegate, outsource or automate the item.
Step 4, grab yourself another bowl of ice cream. As you said, it’s your superpower!
Hi! I'm Nettie Owens, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization and Productivity Consultant.