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.
Joy Happiness Fulfillment
As business owners, we’re often seeking more of each (and money as well, but that tends to be a result of creating a life full of joy, happiness, and fulfillment, not the cause).
In last week’s blog, I shared studies on the importance of self-care and how it improves our physical, emotional, financial, social, and happiness levels.
Ya gotta love studies that show self-care helps improve our well-being as well as our bottom line. That alone increases my happiness quotient.
This week, I bring a touch of the Velvet Hammer to my message.
To increase joy, happiness, and fulfillment (and yes, $$) in our lives, we need to take more of an active, intentional role in creating it. We need to make it a priority and align our actions with what we want to experience.
It’s not a “Well, that would be nice”, but more of a…
“Oh hell yeah, that’s a non-negotiable” feeling of fulfillment.
We need to deliberately align with and CHOOSE joy, make room for it…and that sometimes means making uncomfortable decisions.
Decisions that also make others uncomfortable, frustrated, and let’s be honest, pissed off.
As a result, we tend to step back and choose their comfort over ours.
Their joy and happiness over ours.
Their success over ours.
It’s not sustainable…or authentic.
Again, making your happiness a priority WILL INCREASE success in every area of your life, even if at first it may ruffle a few feathers.
Taking an active role and being intentional will help you feel more empowered and more in control of your life and business, and less the mercy of circumstances or people.
You’ve got to be willing to sit with the discomfort of choosing your Self, your joy, and your SUCCESS before you’ll be able to confidently and consistently unhook from the reaction and discomfort of others.
Joy, happiness, and fulfillment are on the other side of discomfort.
Ready to get comfortable with the uncomfortable so you can create more of what you want? Let’s set up a complimentary Alignment Review call and get you moving where you want to go.
Self-Care Improves Your Bottom Line
One of the things I often hear from women about their self-care is:
“Someday I’ll schedule time for self-care, but right now I have to…”
- Finish this proposal
- Get back to a client
- Post on social media
- Write a blog
- Do laundry
- Get to the grocery store
- Pick up the kids
- …you get the picture
In my 27 years as an entrepreneur, and my work with women, what I’ve discovered is:
When we feel better, we do better, physically, emotionally, AND financially.
That means, if taking the day off to go skiing, digging in the dirt, going for a run, hitting the gym, making a pot of soup, or simply taking a nap makes you feel better, PUT IT IN YOUR BUSINESS PLAN.
What gets scheduled gets done. Put self-care in your business plan and mark it on your calendar.
Schedule your self-care like you’d schedule time with a client, picking up your kids, or doing your taxes.
Need even more reasons to improve your self-care? I’ll get right to the “heart’ of the matter:
Physical: Your body is the only one you’ve got. One of the most important resources for any human is their energy. If you don’t schedule time to focus on your health now, you won’t have the energy later to enjoy what you’ve worked so hard to achieve. It’s better to take time for self-care now than make time for illness later.
Emotional: Self-care helps us have the confidence to establish healthy boundaries so we can say ‘YES’ to what we want more of, and ‘NO’ to what we want less of. This increases our joy, satisfaction, and self-worth.
Social: A 2016 article from the Mayo Clinic states, “Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.” So yeah, go ahead schedule that get together with your friends. It will help you live longer, be happier, and prosper.
Financial: When we’re stressed, it puts our amygdala on high alert while at the same time decreases our hippocampus function, making us a wigged out forgetful person. Never good for our bottom line, self-confidence, or relationships.
Happiness: The Journal of Neuroscience published a study on happiness and our ‘vision’. The study showed when test subjects who were unhappy (aka, in a bad mood), their visual cortexes, the part of the brain responsible for sight, were not able to process information properly and had difficulty seeing things in plain view (like for example, your keys hanging right on the rack where you last placed them but didn’t see them as you were tearing the house apart looking for them…that ever happened to you?).
The study also showed that happy ‘test subjects’ found what they were looking for 50% more of the time than the unhappy subjects. The next time you’re in a bad mood, put on your favorite music, or whatever puts you in a good mood, so you can be more present, connected, and happy. Your family and clients will thank you.
So, on a scale of 1-10, how did you score on each of these for showing yourself some love and attention?
As Brene Brown says:
“It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.”
Work-Life Balance: Vision Required
That’s the number of results that come up when I Googled Work-Life Balance.
Clearly, A LOT of people are working on their Work-Life Balance.
How about you? Have you ever searched Google for some guidance, wisdom, and (or most of all) clarity on how to gain control of all the moving pieces of your life?
Let’s admit, the secret to success isn’t working harder and producing more. The law of diminishing return comes into play, and we wind up working more hours with less to show for it. Not exactly the result we’re looking to achieve.
When we come from the perspective of constantly needing to work harder, it leaves us feeling like there’s never enough time, or worse, that we’re not enough.
As a result, we can become consumed by scarcity- not enough time, money, support, tools, sleep, love, etc.- and we can quickly lose our perspective of the woman we want to be, the business we want to build, the life we want to live and the relationships we desire.
Too often our motivation for action is to feel the relief of checking things off our endless to-do list rather than focusing on our long-term vision of what we want; making sure our actions and words are aligned with our vision for work-life balance.
So many women I speak with want to feel like they’re intentionally choosing their life, instead of continually reacting to it.
They want work-life balance but don’t know how to achieve it.
Can you relate?
If we’re playing whack-a-mole all day, totally overloaded and overwhelmed, then go home to more juggling and feeling depleted, it’s nearly impossible to think about the future, or create more joy, fulfillment, ease, and ‘balance’ in our life.
And here’s the big kicker, our thoughts and images of the future, affect the future we experience.
So, I ask you, what is your vision of a fulfilling life? Again, your VISION for your future will affect the future you experience.
Do you want to feel more empowered, like you’re choosing your life, and less at the mercy of circumstances and other people’s expectations, needs, or demands?
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve heard me talk (a lot) about the importance of having a compelling vision for the business you want.
For us to create the business of our dreams, we need to be crystal clear in our vision of what we want our business to look like. To feel like. To provide. To BE.
Working to achieve balance in our lives is no different.
A long-term vision helps us with short-term decision making for Work-Life Balance.
This vision helps us so that we can say ‘YES” to more of what we want and ‘NO’ to what’s keeping us out of balance.
Far too often we say yes to ‘more’ in our lives without making room for it by saying ‘NO’ to something else.
These choices lead to a life out of balance.
Now, I’ll admit, I think balance is a fallacy. I’ll even go so far as to say it’s bullshit.
But clearly, work-life balance is what people are searching for…1,800,000,000, no arguing with that number.
Though I will say, I’ve yet to work with a woman who wants all of the pieces of her life to weigh the same.
It’s not about making everything even; it’s about aligning our actions, thoughts, and priorities with our Vision of a truly fulfilling, intentional life.
Intentionally choosing aligned actions, words, and beliefs, moment to moment, is what will consistently move you closer to your vision so that you can achieve the work-life balance you seek.
Keep in mind as you start moving towards aligning your actions with your desires, old habits die hard, as do old beliefs, stories, and way of relating, or reacting, to others.
As you move from your old habits into a more aligned and empowered way of being, you’ll feel a strong pull back to the familiar when things get uncomfortable (for example, saying no to a really cool opportunity because you realize it’s actually taking your eye, and precious time, off your goals).
It takes a while to embed new habits into daily practice so have some compassion for yourself along the way. With each new choice, opportunity, or request, ask yourself:
That is, ask yourself What’s The Function of my goal, action, belief, choice that’s in front of me? Is it adding to my vision of work-life alignment, or is it pulling me away?
Here’s a work-life balance activity that will help you align your actions so that you can achieve your vision:
Alignment Activity for Work-Life Balance: AKA Work-Life Alignment
If you don’t clearly define what work-life balance looks like for you, odds are you won’t achieve it.
Take some time to get clear in these four areas:
- Define your Vision of what ‘balance’ is for you in each, work and ‘life.’
- Get clear on what your non-negotiables are in each.
- Understand the trade-offs that will come with the changes required as you align your actions, beliefs, and goals to your vision.
- Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize.
Prioritize your vision for Work-Life Balance or chances are, it won’t happen.
Remember, your images of the future affect your future experience. Be sure to define the vision and images you want or someone else will define them for you.
If you know of anyone who is seeking (or has Googled…) work-life balance, please feel free to forward this email to them. And if you found this helpful, please share.
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.
As a business strategist, one of the struggles I hear most often is the topic of time management.
Has this statement ever rolled off your lips?
“I need to be better at time management.”
Here’s the thing, time management isn’t the issue.
It’s your priority management.
Are you prioritizing your schedule, or scheduling your priorities?
If you schedule your priorities
, your goals are much easier (and faster) to attain. If you prioritize your schedule, you may have a great schedule, but it’s less likely you’ll achieve your goals
Here’s a quick video where I share three strategies for how to get clear on your priorities so you can create a plan of action
that will work for you.
We all have 24 hours in a day. It’s how we manage those moments and hours within the day so that we can achieve what we want and still have time AND energy at the end of the day.
These 3 tips will help you shift your thoughts about time management so you can achieve all that you want and still have a life and have energy at the end of the day.
- Clarity. Be sure to have crystal clarity about exactly what it is you want. When your business is fully ‘cooked’, what does it look like? Where do you need to be at the end of the year for you to feel you’re moving closer to your goals? And even more, who do you need to be to make that happen?
- Skills. What are the skills you need to augment or acquire to create the success you want? The skills that have gotten you to where you are now won’t be enough to take you to the next level.
- Prioritizing. I cannot stress this enough. Taking the time to prioritize your vision and defining the skills you’ll need, will allow you to take what’s is important and place these action items on the front burner and place the urgent items on the back burner. No more whack-a-mole all day long.
Knowing your priorities helps you not only leave your time management struggles behind but also enables you to create structure and freedom throughout your day.
If you need help with your goal and priority setting, feel free to comment below and let me know what’s going on for you. I’ll personally get back to you with ideas to help you gain focus and traction!
Priority management over time management will give you your compass