How Much Money Do Your Friends Make?

Let’s talk about your squad.  More specifically, how much money they make.  Tacky?  Probably.  Insightful?  Absolutely. 

Did you know that people who run in the same circles, tend to earn in the same wage bracket?  Coincidence?  Nope!  Research shows that you rise (or fall) to the level of the group of people who surround you.

Not worried about money?  Who are you?  Just kidding, kind of.  Well how about relationships?  Health?  Impact in the world?  Do any of those catch your attention?  Yeah, me too.

Academics call this phenomenon social contagions or clusters, where ideas, attitudes or behavior patterns are copied or influenced by those around them.   It’s a real thing, like a virus that can be caught.  Want to lose weight?  Surround yourself with people who hold health and fitness as a personal value.  Their habits will most likely rub off on you.

I remember once in youth group, our pastor had half of us stand up on a chair.  She partnered each of us with another person who stood on the ground.  We were instructed to grab each other’s hands.  The person on the chair was instructed to pull the person on the floor up to their level.  At the same time, the person on the floor was instructed to pull the person on the chair to the floor. 

You see where this is going right?  The person on the lower level wins!  Her point is that it’s much easier to be pulled down than to be pulled up.  Thus, who you surround yourself with will dictate your outcomes and is crucial to success in life.

And remember, we’re not just talking about money.  Although, let’s be real.  Who wouldn’t like to make more money?  Because even if you’re not all about the money, you could impact more people with your mission or your cause if you had more money.  Even if more money isn’t your end goal, it can certainly help in creating the life and impact you desire.

If you’re taking a look at the people you hang around the most, you may be asking if you have to give them up.  Not so fast.  I’m not saying you can’t associate with people who don’t have the same goals and desires as you in life. 

But you can intentionally seek out key people to add in, who will help you strive for higher levels.  You can intentionally decide to call the friend who has a positive outlook and will challenge your unhealthy habits instead of calling the person who will just wallow with you, deciding that nothing will ever change.  Because they’re right you know?  Nothing will change if you keep doing the same thing.

Now is the time to try something different in the area you’re stuck.  And you’re in luck because this week I am offering an in-person workshop called “Create a Life You Love – Vision Board Workshop.”  Several high-level thinkers will gather to dream and encourage each other to reach farther. 

If you live near Tulsa, Oklahoma, click here, to learn more. 

If you’re out of the area, promise me, no promise yourself, that you will take one small step to surrounding yourself with people who will challenge and encourage you to reach a little farther.  There’s no telling what you can accomplish with the right people supporting you.  It's time to uplevel your squad.

How I Used a Business Trick to Finally Lose Weight

“I am not putting ‘lose 10 pounds’ on my goal sheet one more time,” I told one of my mastermind buddies several months ago.  I was discouraged that quarter after quarter, I set the same seemingly easy goal, but could never mark it off as complete.  I mean really, just stop eating already!!  Don’t you wish it was that easy?  As with everything, there’s always more to the story.  So, let me back up a bit.

Two years ago, when I was diagnosed with cancer, it was a big shock.  Well thank you for pointing that out captain obvious.  But really, it was on several levels. 

One reason the doctors had no explanation was because I had none of the big four risk factors which can cause a woman to get breast cancer – over 60 years in age, heavy drinking, obesity, or family history of breast cancer.  I was in great shape, 42 years old, and healthy otherwise.  But as they told me, sometimes cancer happens and they still can’t explain it.

With a double mastectomy, you are faced with the decision of whether to undergo reconstruction surgery.  I chose to undergo the process and started learning about what that would involve.  One way to reconstruct is through fat grafting.  At the time, I didn’t have enough on my abdomen to rebuild.  So, we opted for the implant route. 

After the initial surgery, I was experiencing major depression.  I was going to work and going through the motions.  But I just didn’t have any joy.  This was aggravating as I had just beat cancer so figured I should be elated.  But instead, I remained stuck and melancholy, often eating comfort food to numb the pain.

After a mastectomy, you also experience huge hormone shifts.  Most of the estrogen in your body is contained in the breast tissue, so that hormone is wiped out from the surgery.  Estrogen regulates food intake and body weight, so pairing the lack of that hormone with my comfort food cravings, added up to about 20 extra pounds around my stomach.

Having long been a student of fitness and diet, I thought I could easily fix this situation.  But month after month, I continued to exercise with no change in my weight.  In fact, I kept adding a pound here and there.  It was very discouraging.  I gave up.  A lot.

We all have varying reasons that we may have put on some unhealthy weight from time to time.  And we all have periods in our lives that we set goals, but just can’t seem to pull through to reach them. 

One of the biggest reasons I feel we abandon our goals is we set these big goals and get discouraged when we don’t see immediate results or progress. 

Faced with having to go up yet another pant size, I decided enough was enough.  So, I started trying to do things a little differently.  Here are the 3 things I changed:

1)     Slow your roll.  I’m all for big goal setting, but when it makes you stall out, it’s more of a hindrance than a help.  Instead of setting a ton of big goals that were a complete lifestyle shift for me, I decided to go a little easier on myself.  I mean who was I kidding.  I was not going to give up cupcakes for life.  The thought of that sends me into a little bit of a panic anyway.  I set 2 goals – one about physical activity and one about my diet. 

2)     Set lead indicators.  I made a list of 5 small daily habits that would move me towards my goals.  This did not include weighing myself.  In the business world, that is a lag indicator.  It’s an after the fact kind of number.  What we’re focusing on are lead indicators, the things that we need to do daily that will change the scale.  (i.e. stop eating 3 hours before bed, eat 4 servings of veggies/day)

3)     What gets measured gets managed.  I used my business goal tracking spreadsheet to track the lead indicators.  Each day I completed a habit or task I had set up, I got a check mark.  At the end of each week, I would be able to see how many days I actually completed the daily habits or tasks toward a healthy lifestyle. 

What I liked about this simple spreadsheet method is that even though I wasn’t losing weight at the beginning, I kept going.  Because my focus was more on the small daily practices, I felt like I was winning even though the scale didn’t reflect that yet.  It’s the same method I use for our Mometum90 plan in business. 

Recently I started reading the book “The Slight Edge”, by Jeff Olson.  I was thrilled to find out that my method of small daily habits is exactly what he attributes as the secret to his success as well as his multiple businesses.  While he agrees that success lies in mundane, every day simple things, he says that people don’t consistently do the simple things that will make them successful for 3 reasons:

1)     While they’re easy to do, they’re also easy not to do

2)     You don’t see any results at first

3)     They seem insignificant, like they don’t matter

After reading this book, I was even more committed to my weekly tracker that I’ve been using for half a year now.  It’s so simple, but I am now seeing results in my weight, my business, and every area that I’ve set habits in. 

If you’d like to use my weekly momentum tracker, you can download it here.  Use it for any goal you’re working on.  I just shared with you how I used it with my weight because it’s something a lot of us can identify with.  With small daily steps, you’ll move closer to your goals and the success you’re working towards.  Time is the variable that will multiply your small daily habits into massive success.  So, keep on moving forward and you’ll get those results that have eluded you.

Unlock the Biggest Secret to Time Management

Unlock the Biggest Secret To Time Management

Can I let you in on a little secret about me?  Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach.  I’m not talking about food here, but actually that’s very true with eating as well.  For instance, when I’m convinced I need the double dip ice cream cone, but really one dip would have worked just as well.  But I digress.

What I’m really talking about here is life in general.  Basically, I bite off more than I can chew.  Great, back to the food analogies.  Note to self: Eat before you blog next time.  Noted.

Maybe I just need to tell you a story.  A few years back I was meeting with my coach.  I was complaining for the fourth week in a row that I didn’t get done with a project I was working on for my personal business.  I was just too busy with other priorities, so advancing my new side hustle was just not in the cards. 

So, to fill you in on the situation, I always have a full-time career in banking.  Serving my clients is my first love.  They tell me I’m the best.  I’m not bragging, I’m merely the messenger. #jk  #humblebrag.  But I also always have a side business or two because I love business.  And let’s be honest, I am a single mom with two kids, and I love feeding them.  Got it?  Are we all on the same page now?

So, my coach asked me to list everything I was doing that week.  By the time I finished, it was apparent I was sporting about 6 jobs counting all of my volunteer work at school and on nonprofit boards.  Yeah, no wonder I didn’t have time.  And no wonder my kids rarely got a home cooked meal. 

You could say I was overcommitted.  After admitting I was making exactly zero dollars on all this running around, he told me I needed to drop something quickly if I wanted to make money at this new side business.  The nerve.  I was a little agitated.  I didn’t want to give up anything.  How would I choose? 

Turns out, I didn’t have to choose.  That month I found out I had cancer.  Now I’m not saying all this chaos caused the cancer.  Although studies show, it very well could have.  We often don’t know what causes it.  But I am certain, having all the stress, all the time, did not help.

Going through all those life-changing surgeries sure changes your perspective and your energy level.  So, I dropped out of it all except my job.  Until I could successfully spin that one important plate, there was no need to add all those others.

When I started adding things back to my life, I knew I needed to do so in a much saner way.  So, over the past two years I’ve developed a new strategy for time management for myself.  It’s so simple, yet very rarely practiced.  Especially amongst go-getters.  Because you're, well, go-getting.  Instead of running from shiny object to shiny object, you write out your most important goals, chunk them down into daily tasks, and calendar what’s most important.  Like dinner with your kids.  Or your workout. Or your vacation.

I like it so much, I included it as a daily planner in the Momentum90 Plan I teach in our Momentum Mastermind Groups for High Performing Women.  <<<<You can grab it here for free. >>>> It’s a simple guide you can put into use tomorrow.  Let me know in the comments what you struggle to make time for when time is short.  And maybe even commit to scheduling time for that tomorrow.

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4 Ways You're Screwing Up With Your Employees (and how to fix it, pronto)

The number one reason people leave jobs, according to employee polls conducted by the Gallup Organization, is a lack of appreciation at work.   While this is a well-know fact in the business community, we still fall short in this category more often than not.  Why do you suppose this is?

During a management training seminar years ago, our speaker asked us to write down every area in which our bosses fell short.  Pens were flying, as this was an easy assignment for us underappreciated souls in middle management.  Here is a list of some of my grievances:

  • Doesn’t appreciate the work I do
  • Doesn’t listen to my ideas or input
  • Overlooks my extra contributions to the team
  • Passes over me for important assignments
  • Hasn’t told me good job in months, years
  • Never calls me unless there is a complaint

You get the idea.  Possibly you have a few of these gripes yourself.  As I sit there smugly with my mile-long list, the speaker clears his throat, asks us to review the list and ask, “Do my subordinates say the same things about me?”  Ouch.  Yes, most likely.

Here’s the thing.  We may casually throw out a good job here or there, but it’s just not enough.  So, what is a busy leader to do?  Here are a few things most humans need and want.  It’s a good bet, your humans are no different.

1)     Value their opinions and ideas.  You don’t have to implement or agree with every idea an employee has.  But it’s a great practice to ask their opinion and actually listen.  You may be surprised at the great insight you’ll gain if you’re open to a new perspective.

2)     Appreciate their contributions.  If you think something nice, say it!  Most of the time, I find myself thinking how much I appreciate something, but I don’t actually say it.  Find something to complement each team member for.  Be genuine.  Don’t blow smoke.  But find something you truly value about their contribution to the team. 

Additionally, if they have another supervisor, be sure to voice your praise out loud or via email to anyone in their chain of command.  A lot of times, they never hear from anyone else but you, so they often wonder if anyone even knows they exist.  Don’t keep them guessing.  Let them know.  Don’t be afraid to tell them you couldn’t do this job without them. 

3)     Listen to their dreams and motivations.  When was the last time you checked in and asked them what they’re working towards?  I had a boss once ask me what I wanted.  I told him I’d like to advance up the career path to eventually run the company.  He let me know that he would help me and look out for opportunities to grow in the skills I would need.  He checked in with me often with things to fulfill that desire even though I knew I’d be waiting for that position for years.  I didn’t get discouraged because he would check in with me and let me know he hadn’t forgotten me. 

4)     Make them feel part of the team.  As much as possible, inform your team with appropriate amounts of information about the business. When they understand the company’s goals, how they can affect those goals, and what’s in it for them when we all succeed, you will have everyone rowing in the same direction.  If something will affect their department or work group, ask their opinion on how they would handle this opportunity or problem.  If they’re heard and included, the buy-in will increase just because they know you have their interests at heart.

What can you do today to be sure your team knows you appreciate them?  Pick one of these ideas that you may overlook, and try it out as soon as possible.  It’s the small things that increase job satisfaction.  This influences retention, and ultimately, the bottom line. Build this valuable connection with your team and you’ll all reap the rewards.

Beginner's Guide to Getting More Sleep, From a Reformed Night Owl

Apparently, the early bird gets the worm, miracles happen in the morning, and successful people get more done before 9 am than most people do all day.  Sounds great, but what if you’re a night owl like me?  After surveying our community, it sounds like many of you are night owls as well.  Since our world revolves around jobs that start at 8 am, and gasp, even earlier for some, let’s take a peek at what those successful people do to get up earlier. 

Obviously, being an early riser or a night owl has a lot to do with nature.  But when your job and your family depend on you being up and at ‘em no matter what nature gave you, we need to build in some nighttime routines that give us a fighting chance at doing so. 

Through trial and error, I’ve developed a list of my favorite night time rituals that help me get up earlier so I can get more done in the morning.  So, let’s dive in.

1)     Stop drinking caffeine early in the day.  Coffee in the morning, great.  Coffee at night, nope.  Set a cutoff time no later than 2 pm for your java fix.  Don’t stress, if you’re getting good sleep, you won’t need the afternoon pick me up.

2)     Reverse engineer what time you need to be asleep.  Decide what time you want to get up in order to include your morning routine.  Back up by 8 hours.  That’s your bedtime.  Now, if you’re used to getting way less sleep, you can do this in 30-minute increments.  But you really need to be aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  Stop laughing.  It’s doable.  Unless you have a baby, then all bets are off.

3)     Set an alarm on your phone for one hour prior to your designated bedtime.   This will alert you to start winding down and start getting ready for bed.  Set your phone to go to nighttime screen at this time as well.  

4)     Turn down the lights.  Just by dimming the lights, your body takes its cue to start winding down.  Your body is smart that way.

5)     No screen time 30 minutes prior to sleep.  The light from your screen is like being in broad daylight, and your body thinks it’s time to rock and roll.  In order to get into your circadian rhythm with ease, you need to ditch the screens.

6)     Relax with yoga or meditation.  There are lots of great 5-10-minute yoga videos on you tube that will help you stretch and relax.  Try it, you may develop a new healthy addiction.

7)     Record 3 things you’re grateful for in your journal.  Focusing on what you’re thankful for is an excellent way to take your mind off what’s worrying you and shift to a more positive focus right before you go to sleep.

8)     Reading is one of the best ways to wind down.  Take advantage of the last few minutes of wakefulness by reading something that will positively influence your life.

9)     Set your intention for the next morning.  Before dropping off to sleep, I tell myself that no matter how tired I feel now, I will awake feeling rested and ready to start my day.  I tell myself I’m excited to work out the next morning and am grateful for the energy it will give me.  This may sound pretty silly, and at first, I thought so too.  But by programming my mind with positive thoughts, I’m much more likely to create a peaceful, productive morning.  Put your mind to work for you while you sleep.  You’ll notice the difference.

Leave a comment and let me know what works for you or if you have other methods that have helped you!  Us night owls have to stick together! 

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The Science Behind Visualization

If the very title of this blog post makes you start mocking me in your head, you are not alone.  Many people question the validity of visualization and its use in attracting what we want into our lives.  I know this because I was one of those people. 

It all sounds a little too hokey for us left brained, mathematicians.  We need some concrete evidence, some data that either proves or disproves this theory.  What is visualization anyway?  And how do people use it?

Visualization is the act of creating compelling and vivid pictures in your mind.  In other words, the process of creating an image or feeling of what you want to take place. 

Ask almost any professional athlete, and they will attest to the power of visualization.  For decades now, athletes have completed their perfect performance or played their perfect game in their mind many times before the actual competition.  This increases their confidence as well as experience in handling a variety of situations because their mind is prepared in advance on how to react. 

It's called mental rehearsal, and I've used it for a variety of circumstances, including visualizing myself giving a speech with ease and excitement.  Then I walk onstage and do just that!

And its not just happening for athletes and speakers.  The science side of this is phenomenal.  You asked, you left-brained nerd, so we have to go here. 

It’s called the Reticular Activating System and it resides in your brain.  Now don’t ask me to get more technical than that without sending you to a lot of science based articles.  But let’s just dissect how it affects you and me on a daily basis.

This part of the brain processes information and brings relevant information to your attention.  Picture yourself walking through a noisy airport.  Flight announcements and delays are booming over the loud speakers all around you.  Fellow travelers are talking on their mobile devices.  Children are scuffling, releasing pent up energy between flights. 

But you are oblivious to all this noise, until you hear your name called on the loud speaker.  Your brain goes into action to bring this to your attention, even though seconds before they had been announcing a list of other names, none of which you can recall. 

This system in your brain helps you notice things or resources that have always been there, but you haven’t needed them until now.  Until the moment you ask.

So back to you and visualization and how you can apply this to your life.  If you’re even a little bit curious to try it, here are some practical steps to start adding this powerful technique to your success principles.

1)     Sit quietly and ask yourself what you want.  What do you want to feel?  What do you want to have?  What quality of relationships do you want to manifest?  Ask God to guide you to His purpose in your life.

2)     Imagine yourself sitting in a movie theater.  The screen depicts you as you go about your day and your life.  Set your intentions for how you want your day to go, conversations to go, each meeting to go.  If you have certain career goals, envision yourself in that job, how it will feel, what you will do. 

3)     Put concrete pictures to your goals by creating a vision board.  These are helpful in quickly bringing up images of things you want, feelings you want to create, bringing continuity and clarity to your goals and intentions. 

4)     Review your vision board daily, preferably first thing in the morning, right before bed, or right after meditation, as you tend to be most relaxed at these times. 

I know, I know, you’re still doubtful, and honestly, I continue to doubt sometimes too.  However, when I look back on my past vision boards and realize most of those things have come to pass, I get less sarcastic about this technique.  If the worst thing that can happen is me wasting a few moments being positive about my future, then I guess I’m willing to take that risk. 

Have you tried visualization?  What for?  Are you willing to give it a shot?

5 Tips Every High Achiever Needs to Overcome Stress

She wiped away my tears, helped me sit down, and asked me to breathe deeply.  My heart was exploding.  I couldn’t control my breathing.  The breaths came in rapid succession like a train pulling into a railway station, one on top of the other and I felt out of control.  Helplessly, utterly out of control.

My mom held my hands, looked me in the eyes, and continued to ask me to breathe deeply.  Finally, my breath returned to normal.  She is a rock and the most compassionate, level headed person to have by your side in a crisis.  Today’s crisis was one of the smaller ones I would ever encounter, but at the time, it was the largest one I had faced in my short life.

I was a junior in high school, preparing myself for prom.  A group of my friends had met to get our hair and makeup done and had just arrived back at my house to finish getting ready when my boyfriend called me.  He said he wouldn’t be able to make it to prom that night.  No explanation, he just couldn’t go.  Later I found out he had been dating another girl at the same time and she found out about me. 

In retrospect, thank goodness that was over.  But at the time, I was devastated.  This is one of several panic attacks I have endured over the years.  This one caused by someone else’s actions, but some for sure, were caused by my own.

Today I want to share with you the practical steps to getting through times of crises, whatever that is to you.  You see, I run in a community of high achievers.  That just means that we press ourselves to be the best, to control our outcomes, to control our emotions.  These are all acceptable things, in measure, but can wreak havoc on your health and mental well being if not dealt with in a healthy way. 

1)     Breathe – The best thing you can do in a moment of crisis is slow down your breathing.  By taking deep slow breaths in, you can slow down your rapidly increasing heart rate.  Try focusing on a specific action in your breath.  For instance, the rise and fall of your chest or stomach, how it feels when the air enters your nose and exits back out.  Just focusing on the act of breathing will give your mind something to do and help it stop spinning out of control.

2)     Practice Breathing – This one sounds strange.  But if you make it a practice to focus on your breath, you’ll be better prepared when moments of anxiety hit you.  If you’re in a tough conversation, it’s nice to have this tool so you can remain calm, allowing the blood to continue flowing correctly and your thoughts to remain in order.  Set an alarm on your phone to practice breathing once a day.  The app I like to use is the Calm App.

3)     Meditate – Meditation is proven to calm brain waves and help reduce anxiety.  Take advantage of this powerful tool daily to help rest your mind and train it to respond in healthier ways when confronted with immediate stress.  Again, the Calm App is my favorite for guided meditation.

4)     Pray – Sometimes all I can muster is, “God please help me, I can’t do this alone.”  The peace that can come just from reaching out and asking for help has been the biggest source of comfort even in the scariest situations. 

5)     Walk – Get in nature if possible and go for a walk.  Nature is therapeutic and movement restores your body.  Notice and be grateful for your ability to walk and your ease of breath.  Just being thankful for what’s good can ground you and take your mind off what is bothering you. 

We will always have times of stress.  So why not be prepared with the healthiest ways to deal with that stress.  So, what works for you when you when you feel overwhelmed?