Breaking Plates & Establishing Priorities
“Fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging.”
– Brene Brown
Brene Brown’s quote jolted me awake as I was leisurely sipping my coffee and enjoying my morning reading a few weeks ago. It stopped me mid slurp and made me think deeply (no easy feat at 5:30am) how the need to fit in over the years has at times pinched me off from my gifts, my success, my happiness…my authenticity.
It’s not something I’m comfortable admitting.
To be honest, it makes me cringe a bit.
But I believe it’s more important to share because as a woman who is confident, independent, and most definitely boundary bearing, I still find myself on occasion choosing to hustle for my worth…putting my priorities on the back burner while accommodating the expectations of others.
My ‘fitting in’ of choice over the years was the belief I needed to do it all to be a whole woman as a person in business.
Run a successful business, chauffeur my kids to multiple events (a day), always make family and friends a priority, keep a clean house, work out, keep my shit together, and, of course, make it look easy. And still get a good night’s sleep. Is this ringing true for you too?
I’ve experienced this many times in my 27-years as a business owner.
It’s something I see and hear consistently through my work with women.
We continue to add more and more spinning plates in the air, believing that we can balance them all.
I call bullshit.
We can selectively choose which plates to set down (instead of break) and which to keep as a priority.
It’s important to choose. It’s important to stay one step ahead of dropping a plate, or three. Or maybe the whole damn lot.
Don’t let the breaking plates determine what you do and don’t do.
You get to decide what’s a priority, where you place your focus, and what drops out of focus, instead of stopping to clean up the pieces of broken plates that inadvertently fell.
You’ve got to be clear on your priorities because let’s be honest, ‘WHO’ are those breaking plates? Your children? Your aging parents? Your clients? The people you lead at work? YOU?
Which plates are you breaking each time you add to the plethora you already have up there spinning when you say yes to someone else’s priority? When you accommodate, adjust, fit in, ignore your intuition, and move your boundaries…again?
It’s important to say, “these are the things I need to do to accomplish everything I want to accomplish…and there simply isn’t enough time. AND, I get to decide what goes into the priorities and alignment of my life.”
Give yourself the gift of slowing down for an afternoon so that you can get clear what and who you want to be, what you want to create.
There are 24-hours in a day for everyone, no wiggle room there.
How will you prioritize and structure those 24-hours?
How will you fit in your self-care? How will you build in your work, parenting, family & friends, personal and professional growth…your belonging?
What do you need so that you can say no to what’s pulling you off course from your goals and putting your priorities on the back burner, adjusting yourself for the expectations or needs of others?
It’s about aligning with your priorities.
It’s not about balance.
It’s not about keeping 457 plates spinning in perfect balance.
Create your vision then align your goals and daily actions with who and where you want to be. Without apology.
Powerful possibilities come with prioritizing. This I know for sure.
As a result of my epiphany that morning, it has put a megawatt spotlight on the work I do with women, as well as my WHY.
Clarity is a beautiful thing. It’s impossible to make intentional and aligned choices in our life, and business, without it.
It can also be a double-edged sword at times… highlighting areas that we’d prefer to keep out of view, from others as well as ourselves. This was the case for me as I was enjoying my coffee that morning.
Digging deeper, becoming more grounded in my gifts and my brilliance (how dare I claim my brilliance for fear of getting too big for my britches…), I was able to see I was the one getting in my way, choosing to experience life through a lens that kept me over-balancing and out of alignment.
When I read those eight little words that morning, it jolted me awake and into alignment, like a chiropractor…with no copay. Win-win.
Knowing Your Values
As Oscar Hammerstein II wrote in the musical South Pacific:
“You got to have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?”
In my last blog, I shared three tips to help you with your priority management so that you can confidently move towards your dream.
Want to know the rocket fuel for consistently staying focused on your priorities, and hence, make your dream come true?
Know Your Values
I know, I know…not so sexy but hear me out.
Clarifying your values is a way to create a map that will guide you along the decisions in your life…so that at the end of your day, there’s more life to your day.
In other words: values help you put your priorities first so that you stop ‘shoulding’ all over yourself, unhook from what others think and intentionally create a life & business that allows you to thrive, not just survive.
Now THAT’S SEXY, right?
Yeah, I thought so.
Values are present in or absent from the choices you make each day.
An instructor once said to me, “Show me your calendar and checkbook, and I’ll show you what’s important to you.”
No arguing that one.
Living your values means being true to and authentic to yourself. No easy feat these days with perfectionism, having it all and looking fabulous while doing it is a common expectation.
There will be times you’ll feel some discomfort as you lean into and honor your values (choosing to follow your values, unapologetically, will most certainly upset the status quo), but it will pass and a sense of integrity & congruency will ignite your fire within as you expand into your dream.
Do you know your values?
Here’s a ‘short-list’ of Values to look at, think over, and see if they ‘fit.’
Here are a couple of examples of values in action:
- If you value respect for others, you’re more apt to instill self-control when you’re stressed or under pressure from a deadline, instead of snapping at an employee (or family member)
- If you hold integrity as a value, you’ll more likely take responsibility for a mistake even if it means receiving criticism.
Check out the list above and choose 3-5 values. Keep in mind that you can often have groupings of values that will go under one main value. If you want more of a selection, check out Brene Brown’s list of values from her most recent book, ‘Dare to Lead.’
Ready to put them into action?
Alignment Activity for Values:
Set aside some time to journal on these questions after clarifying each of your values. Go over each one individually and ask yourself:
- Where is this value showing up in my life?
- How am I honoring this value each day?
- How do I embody this value in my choices and actions each day? (Example: if I were congruent with my value of self-care, I would make to schedule time with my girlfriends who feed my soul.)
Keep track weekly or monthly with how you’re honoring each of these values, on a scale of 1-10 (ten being the most) and what the obstacles are that are getting in the way.
Clarity is key…with clarity comes awareness. With awareness comes better choices, with better choices comes…better results.
Could you use some help honing your values? I offer a mini-intensive to help women clarify their values and create a plan for how to live them every day. Let’s chat! You can book a time to connect with me here.
Creating a High-Performance Team
If you lead a team, are a part of a team, or want to increase your personal performance, here are the 5-main areas I’ve learned as a 27-year, five-time business owner that support us in working collaboratively, finding our creativity and increasing our performance.
1. Vision & Values: A Must For A High-Performance Team
Vision: Clarity precedes awareness, and awareness precedes making better choices.
Establishing a clear vision of where you want to go and grow your business or career is how you’ll know what to focus on, when, and WHY.
So often we feel we don’t have the ‘luxury’ to slow down and make sure where we’re heading is in fact, where we want to go. If you don’t know where you’re heading, how will you know what to focus on? How will you know what to have your teams focus on?
Values: Our Vision is where we’re heading. Our Values are what help us to get there.
Choose five specific values that embody the essence of the business or career you’re building. Take a look at where your values are present in, or absent from, your choices and direction of your business or career (…and relationships).
Ask yourself, how do you embody these value in your choices and actions each day?
Values hold us to a different standard for managing our time and achieving our vision.
2.Culture & Leadership: The Fuel For A High-Performance Team
An interesting statistic: 75% of employees say their boss is the most stressful part of their job. According to Gallup, people leave bosses, not companies (unless the company is promoting that type of leadership).
How you lead your team will impact their productivity, collaboration, innovation, and your bottom line.
Be clear on the culture and leadership style in your business. If you don’t understand your own culture, how will you know how to hire the right people to fit into it?
3. Time & Energy Management
So many people come to me saying they have difficulty managing their time. I’d say it’s right up there in the top 1-3 struggles that trip most people up on their way to success (..to be clear, success according to what it is for them, not what others need, expect or want for/from them).
I say it’s not time management; it’s priority management. We cannot go horizontal and vertical at the same time. If you have more than 1 or 2 priorities, you don’t have priorities; you have a to-do list (one that is probably not closely aligned with specific goals or your vision).
Having a clear vision helps you cut away the non-essentials and focus on your long-term vision which will minimize ‘issues’ with time management.
Be aware of how your energy is impacting your team, your clients, your environment in your business…and adjust accordingly.
4. Systems & Quantification
It’s about creating a well-oiled machine, not reinventing the wheel. Establish systems around what you repeatedly do so you can focus on what it takes to achieve your vision, and not feel like it’s Groundhog Day…again.
Once you have your systems in place, you can then quantify your efforts. Is that marketing strategy you have in place working, is there a glitch somewhere in the implementation of it? Does the system for onboarding new clients work efficiently, or is it missing a step?
5. Accountability & Implementation
Accountability is something many of my clients want (and need). Someone to hold their vision up for them to see, and keep directing them back to it with each choice.
Here’s the thing, we’re more apt to let ourselves down, but we are far less likely to let our team down.
Working together, collaborating, inviting conversation…moving out of our silos and into a community that supports us and holds us accountable to our vision, and the vision of the team is what motivates us to get into action, implement, succeed, and support each other.
One more thing, keep the Law of Linkage in mind…link ALL your choices, actions, and communication back to your vision and values of who you want to be and the business or career you desire to build, and you won’t go wrong.
I’d love to hear from you. What supports you in creating a high-performance team? Could you use some help clarifying your vision, establishing your culture and leading your team? Let’s set up a time to chat, I’d love to support you. Click Here to schedule a Clarity Call.
Fear of Failure
As a business strategist for entrepreneurs and business owners, one thing I frequently see is:
Our fear of failure is creating what we’re trying so desperately to avoid, failure itself.
I know this through experience.
I see this with my clients.
I hear it in conversations with friends, colleagues, workshops given, and conversations shared.
You want to reach more potential clients and know creating videos is what will gain you more visibility (and credibility) with your ideal client…yet you consistently busy yourself with other things because of the fear of looking ‘not so perfect’ on camera and continue to struggle with financial stability.
You cannot be a brand and be invisible
You have an employee that continues to do a poor job or has issues with boundaries. Yet you keep her on because at least you know where you need to pick up the slack with her… who knows what issues the next person might bring. (Say nothing about the fear of how long it will take to train a new person)
Not only does this create resentment and an unhealthy work environment, but it also reinforces the UGR’s (Unwritten Ground Rules) about what’s acceptable practice in your business.
You want to take your business in a new, more inspired and aligned direction, but fear keeps you second guessing whether you know what you’re doing, or if you have what it takes. So, you continue doing the same each week, feeling unfulfilled, exhausted and depleted at the end of the day.
Don’t fear failure, fear a lackluster life.
We’re always watching ourselves…SO much more closely than anyone else is, trust me.
My Shihan used to say “Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or thinking, they’re too concerned with themselves to notice (for long anyway).
Here’s the thing:
Fear gets in the way of our joy, success, fulfillment, AND our profitability.
Fear will mess with your clarity and high-level thinking.
When your MIND is focused on keeping you safe, it takes away from your ability to be present, to focus, to stretch, to get things done, and to be strategic in your thinking (long and short-term).
How much joy and fulfillment (and success) can you experience in your work and life, if fear is the constant soundtrack running in your head?
People who have succeeded the most, have failed the most. Period. (I want to be clear here, success according to what each person defines as success for themselves, not what society, family, or peers have defined success to be)
Here are three things I believe about fear and failure in business (and in life, to be real):
Fail fast. Fail forward. Fail often.
As promised, here are my strategies for silencing fear and amplifying success:
- Recognize what triggers fear for you. Is it a person, a situation, a belief…is it a story from your past that’s no longer relevant or serving you? Get clear on the trigger so you can set structures in place that will allow you to see fear for what it is, a thought in your head (not the saber tooth-tiger waiting to attack). You can then make decisions from a more grounded and empowered place rather than fear.
- Be vigilant about monitoring your thoughts. Will your thought (fear) propel you towards your goal, or will it keep you safe and playing small? Which of these are more important to you? What is it that you want from this one big beautiful life, and will you allow fear to get in the way of that?
- Discern between legitimate concerns and what’s simply fear. Take a moment to play your fear out to the end game. Are your thoughts binary/ black & white, with no curiosity? That’s fear-based thinking and should be challenged. Bring in some curiosity about what would need to happen. Instead of “I don’t have what it takes”, ask “what would I need to make this happen.”
What do you do when you experience fear? What tips and tools support you in seeing it for what it is (a thought), and navigating your way through it? I’d love to know, drop a comment below.
Boundaries Without Apology
Everyone has their own opinion, experience, take on them.
A boundary is not a bad thing. It’s not evil. Having healthy boundaries doesn’t make us aggressive. Boundaries don’t make us rigid or unapproachable.
I wrote about boundaries a little over a year ago in Business Boundaries to Protect What Matters (check it out here), yet I felt compelled to circle back around and talk more about this hot topic. Nearly every single business person I work with and speak to tells me that boundaries are impacting their business, what appears to be, at greater speeds and with larger impact. Usually, this is due to a lack of boundaries.
As entrepreneurs, we often avoid and don’t maintain boundaries because we don’t fully understand what they are or how to use them.
One View of Boundaries Without Apology
We tend to look at a boundary as a vertical gate that comes down smashing in front of us that says, “You can’t come near me and I can’t go near you …I have a boundary.” It’s a hard line in the sand, a solid wall slamming between us, BOOM! It’s clear, obvious, hard and divisive. It has negative connotations.
That’s what many of us tend to think of when we think of a boundary, and it’s why we don’t like them … because they exclude people,. They exclude us from being with people, or energy or relationships.
It feels awful, selfish, and hard to be on the other side of that boundary.
The View from the Other Side
I’d like to offer another, different perspective.
The way I think of a boundary is more like a step-ladder, that “thing” that’s going to help intentionally and confidently lift/move you to the next level, the next tier, a very important component that accelerates the growth to where you want to go and grow to in your business.
Envision yourself high up on the ladder, keeping your eye on the prize and climbing towards your goals. Up there with you are the people who rely on you, your family, your team, your business, your community.
And the boundary is if we bend down to accommodate someone else’s priority and do what it is they’re asking or ‘needing’ of us, then guess what happens? The ladder is going to fall over, and the people relying on us (ourselves included) are all going to come toppling down as we bend and break the boundary.
When we step down to accommodate someone else’s agenda and priority, we take our eye off the prize of what it is we’re working so damn hard for. It impacts our growth, our success, our bottom line, our team, and our relationships … and quite often, our self-confidence.
But when we hold our boundary and ask the person to come up the ladder and meet us, then we’re saying “I believe in your ability to meet me where I am, then we can move forward together.”
The Role of the Boundary
The boundary is there so we don’t break our back or topple the ladder and everyone relying on us feels the effects too.
It’s inclusive and empowering, instead of divisive and disempowering.
And here’s the thing, when we lack boundaries, we often feel resentment, frustration, and anger and this it drains our energy and vitality.
A lack of boundaries can make us feel scattered and eats away at healthy relationships with family, friends, co-workers, employees, or even (perhaps especially) with ourselves and our business.
And, with boundaries come a sweet little (well, HUGE) perk: work-life balance.
The Benefits of Boundaries Without Apology
When we have boundaries without apology, we simply get more done in less time and we can gain our life back. We can begin to enjoy again the things that are important to us, the things that drew us into business in the first place. Freedom, family, wealth, impact, and more fulfillment in each and every day.
4 Key Boundary-Related Categories
In my 27 years as a business owner, and through my work with many business owners in my coaching career, I’ve identified 4 key categories in our business that we need to be hyper-focused on when it comes to boundaries so that we can build the business of our dreams and live the life we want to experience. They are vision, roadmap, time management, and team. Let’s take a look.
At one point you had a vision, it may have been to make millions, maybe it was to work 10 months a year and travel 2 months with your family (without having to worry about paying your credit card bills when you get home), max out your 401K, pay for your kids’ college…and have some left over just to play with
But over time you had to bend because this person needed you, that person needed you, and the kids constantly needed rides to school, games, to friends’ houses.
So the big vision over time began to shrink and now it continues to feel out of reach. Suddenly, it’s so tiny it’s more like “ If I could just make payroll this week”…or “ …just take a damn day off!”
A clear vision of where we want our business to go and grow to, allows us to confidently set boundaries and unapologetically say no to the things that aren’t moving us closer to our goals.
And sometimes, those things might be something that we really want to do, but the payoff/tradeoff is so much sweeter knowing in the long run our short-term choice supports our long-term vision.
Roadmap…AKA Business Plan (air quotes here!)
A business plan isn’t just for banks and it’s NOT boring. It’s actually there to keep us on track so we can MAKE MONEY (a good thing, right?)!
You probably had a clear plan, a roadmap, at some point but employees came and went, a vendor didn’t pull through for an important job, a big client decided they were going in a different direction, and now all of a sudden your roadmap is GPS on haywire.
Nothing or little makes sense anymore, and you’ve become reactive instead of proactive.
This is when you’re in the biggest jeopardy of falling off the ladder … you’re spinning 50 plates in the air, working on deadlines, trying to coordinate employee schedules, family schedules, negotiating a new contract, (fitting in some self-care), and a veritable plethora of To-Dos.
It feels more like putting out fires than following your vision. I know, I get it, I’ve been there.
Being in reactive mode involves constantly bending down from your ladder to accommodate somebody else’s agenda and priorities. Taking your eye off YOUR vision and goals, and ignoring the boundaries you need to achieve your vision.
Your roadmap is what takes your Big Vision and strategically gets you into motion … it’s what creates a solid path to follow and solid boundaries that say “NO,” confidently, intentionally, and without apology.
Schedule some time to reconnect to your vision, to your goals for what you want your business AND life to be. Then back out of your vision to create a roadmap that supports you, defines your choices, and cut the edges in for strong boundaries, and for your success.
Many of my clients and colleagues, tell me they don’t have the luxury of slowing down to get clear, to reconnect. That’s like driving down the highway at top speed and saying you don’t have time to stop for gas.
We know what’s going to happen. Make time for your fuel now or get ready to pull out your AAA card for a tow. (And make sure your membership is up to date.)
It seems pretty straightforward. We’re all aware of it. While it’s an easy concept, it’s really, really challenging in healthy execution. It’s TIME MANAGEMENT.
It’s a common “business-speak” phrase. We all know it’s important, but do we always recognize just how much? This area is our NON-RENEWABLE currency. Let that sink in … “non-renewable.”
This is the thing we all have a finite amount of. We only get 1 “noon” on Tuesday this week, ever. And, here’s the kicker: none of us knows what that finite number is.
We’re operating a budget (our budget of time) with no fiscal transparency. Yet we behave like there’s always tomorrow.
Time Management isn’t really about time blocking, setting reminders, and finding 30 minutes to check our e-mail. There IS VALUE to all of that, absolutely. BUT, just coming in and “Managing Our Time” kind of feels like a time out, doesn’t it?
Time Management is about tying it all together…what’s the VISION? HOW are you getting there? WHAT’S your roadmap look like? WHEN are you moving things forward?
Actual TIME MANAGEMENT IS THE RESULT OF having a SOLID PLAN. The plan is the result of having a VISION you’re really excited about.
Our days are our life in miniature. Be vigilant with your time.
Use the law of linkage when someone is asking, or needing, you to step down from your ladder and not honor your boundaries. Link every choice you make today to your vision of the future you’re working so damn hard for.
THIS will allow you to say “no” and take things off your To-Do list, without apology.
Team. It’s the people, business AND personal. It’s the WHO. Your team is who’s supporting you, AND who’s not … and where are the boundaries drawn?
Some examples of team and boundaries include:
- An employee coming in late all the time. THAT is a boundary issue.
- Your team being reactive instead of proactive—where is your team?
- When YOU’RE coming in early and working late. THIS IS A BOUNDARY ISSUE.
- It’s not delegating work you could be handing off because you don’t trust your team. This is a boundary issue … as well as a delegation and communication issue, but those are for another discussion.
- It’s dropping what you’re working on and running your kids all over town, for the third time this week. That’s a boundary issue.
Team is how we ACHIEVE more without DOING more.
One of the biggest problems I see with the businesses I work with is they’re taking on too much, and in turn their schedule is overloaded, they’re overwhelmed … and they’re moving in reactive mode.
Be sure to have a competent team that you trust and that can handle the work you’re bringing in … or else if you’re saying “yes” to too many things YOU’LL be consumed 24/7 figuring out how to make it all work. And THAT’S a boundary issue.
Could your boundaries use some updating with your team? Be transparent. Let them know what’s working and what’s not. Invite them into the conversation of what your vision is. Share your roadmap. Ask them where they feel they can best contribute and what are their strengths?
We can’t do this alone. A team is what will support us and uplift us. Together we’re stronger (I know, I know, the dramatic music plays here, roll with me…) because it’s true.
Lift your head, look around, who’s your tribe? Who are your power partners?
Remember, a team is how we’re able to achieve more without doing more. It’s a reflection of us establishing a healthy boundary in our business. A boundary that says, “I do not need to do this all alone and I no longer will.”
Healthy boundaries are what make that happen. WITHOUT APOLOGY.
So, think about each of the 4 categories, and consider these 3 powerful questions:
- Which category is the MOST painful-annoying right now? (What has the biggest choke hold)
- Thinking of this area, when did I last feel amazing/supported/etc.?
- What’s ONE THING you can do differently, today?
THIS is slowing down without losing momentum…working ON your business.
It’s focusing on you, it’s focusing on your business….you’re just not doing it at your normal 150 MPH!
I’d love to hear how boundaries have supported you in achieving your dreams, leave a comment below.