Lifting the Fog on Which Path to Take

When you are faced with a tough decision, when you have several paths you can take, or when you are simply waiting for the fog to clear (hey, relating this with the fog this morning and the pictures I took of it, it was so pretty)... how do you know what path to take?

There are a number of things happening right now with me and my husband... options and opportunities, delays and hurry ups... testing the water and deciding the water is not what we want... (yeah, really heading into metaphors here... sorry)... but anyways, it got me thinking...

When you are surrounded by so many paths you can take... and you explore one and invest time, money, and effort... when do you decide to move on to explore another path?

If you decide to move on to explore another path, does that mean the first path is a failure or just not a fit?

If it means it is a failure, does it really matter?

If it means it is just not a fit, aren't you wise to move on?

To me, these are tough questions. They may not be to others and from what I know from listening to others... it is all too common.

Steve Jobs and other wise and successful people will tell you that to find your focus, you need to say no more than you say yes.

I agree with that statement... but I don't think it means that you say no before determining if that will work. I think you must embrace saying no at any point along the way.

We often (and by we I mean me too) feel that if we say yes to something, we have to stick it out. Yet, if it is not working out for whatever reason, is it good to stick it out for all concerned?

You are not always able to adequately gauge how something will work out when you begin pursuing a path. Sometimes, you have to alter the path to make it work for you... and sometimes you have to get off the path altogether.

Many wise and successful folks state that you must fail many times to enjoy that one big success.

With that said, failure is not an option comes to mind... when we look at the phrase - failure is not an option - do you think that you must succeed every time? Do you think that maybe, just maybe, the real failure is not having to alter your path or create a new path... but the real failure is not persisting and pursuing other paths to find your success - however you define it?

These are all things I think about... and things I hear from those I speak with and listen too... and they struggle with understanding what both success and failure means.

Life is full of paths to explore... but if we assume we have to take the correct path the first time... we miss out on the adventure, the exploration, the success and the tenacity that is inside of us that demands we not look at failure as failure but as a confirmation that this is not the path we were meant to take.

Just a few of my thoughts on this subject... but thinking about them and writing them out sure has brought clarity to my foggy morning...

Muah Dannie


Saying No to Time Wasters, Attention Seekers, and Freebie Seekers

The joys of saying no... yep, there are many joys to saying no... saying no to activities, tasks, people, and just about anything that does not fit into your success plan is a good thing.

Saying no to potential client is one area that many people struggle with... you may be in one of these situations or in all of these situations...

1. You need the money. Seriously, who doesn't need the money... someone says they want your services and you will take them even if your gut and mind say NO!

2. You love to help everyone. You feel you can help anyone... and you want to prove it... even if your gut and mind say NO!

3. You are the king or queen of patience. You will be more than happy to walk them through the process and because of that... you spend a lot of time helping this person 'see the light' and hire you or purchase your products even if your gut and mind say NO - this lead will never become a client.

4. You are an eternal optimist and believe that you can do anything for anyone and you will win them over... even if they are asking you to do something you don't normally do or even like to do... your gut and mind say NO, but you truly believe if you do just one thing more... you will succeed with this lead being a client.

5. You said yes to a client you should have said no to and you are suffering for it... they ask for more than they paid for, take up more time than they deserve, work your last nerve... but because one or more of the previous four points applied to you... you are suffering... and suffering greatly.

Well, imagine this...

~You created a process in which clients applied to be your client. They had to answer the questions that are usually asked during the consultation process... if they finished the application, you knew they were serious... if they set up an appointment for a quick and timed call to confirm you understand their answers... and

~You created an assertive approach and told the lead/potential client that unless they are ready to pay for your services or products right now, you are not able to set aside a consultation time... and

~You asked the potential client to pay a retainer fee prior to the consultation to spend time creating the proposal that was applied to their balance... as a way to say "Are you serious enough to pay for my time and expertise?"

There are many reasons entrepreneurs dread free consultations and endless proposals... they do not create income. People are very savvy and manipulative... they will get your ideas for their business and then either do it themselves or find someone cheaper than you...

If you can weed out the 'freebie seekers' and the 'time wasters' and the 'attention seekers'... you can create a prosperous business.

You weed them out by allowing yourself to say no along the process, but more importantly, building opportunities for the freebie seeker, time waster, and attention seekers to say no for themselves and leave you with time and energy to work with those who are serious about engaging your services and products.

There is something very powerful in saying no to those who are not serious and leaving the level of seriousness potential clients may have up to them to decide.

If paying for your time during a consultation is something they refuse to do, will they be willing to pay for the price they owe for your services overall?

Why not save your time and energy for those who understand they need your products or services and focus on what you do best?

So go ahead... weed out the potential leads that are not potential leads... and focus on those who truly want to be your client.

Saying no in this manner brings all kinds of joys... and income to your business.

Dannie :)

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Networking - Connections - Human Needs

Yesterday I attended two different networking groups. Tonight, I host a networking group. Each networking group is slightly different, but there is one thing in common. Each group is filled with people who seek connections. Whether the connection they seek is to learn, share, support, be supported, obtain clients, or build referral sources; it all starts with building connections.

I saw a person yesterday at the first one that we'd been trying to connect for a while. I saw her name tag and approached her to introduce myself. She was thrilled that I took that step. That I wanted to make that effort to connect in person after communicating electronically for as long as we had. Making the effort to connect meant so much to her. It really is a leap to approach when you may not have a real understanding of how they look in person compared to a tiny profile picture. :)

Connections matter in a world where we are spending more and more time on our devices. It's not to say that one cannot connect well or deeply through electronic means... it has its place and it has its value. But humans are meant for real connections, face to face interactions, and touch.

There is a reason that hand shakes, pats on the arms, and hugs are given freely. Human touch is craved as much as conversation.

Someone laughing with you, smiling at you, their face lighting up when you speak to them... clues to how much interactions matter. And those actions are contagious. Very much so...

A good networking event has an energy, a positive and contagious energy that builds you up and stays with you as you deepen the connections even more.

Dannie :)

 Who do you know that can fill these stool? Make those connections and fill those stools!

Who do you know that can fill these stool? Make those connections and fill those stools!



Time Management - Managing Your Tasks and Energies to Your Benefit

Time Management is a term that scares many people... some think it will make them be tied to their calendar... others think it will make them unable to be spontaneous... that is not the truth.

Time management at its very best is allowing yourself time to do what you need to do, want to do, and love to do... and here is the best part... according to your energy levels and desires.

Time management is about knowing what you will do and what you won't do... don't like cold calling - don't put it down as something you will do to build your business. Find something you do like to do and will do so that you actually do it. If you like meeting people and getting to know them... network face to face instead... a better solution that you will actually do and enjoy.

Time management goes even further than just deciding that you like to do something and choose what it is that you will do...

Take the networking face to face example... even if you go to a networking event and enjoyed meeting the people... if you go to the networking event and it doesn't really produce the results you need... strong connection (not necessarily sales) but strong connections that allow you to increase your sales force because others got to know you and tell others about you... then make the decision to stop going to that networking event and find a new one to try.

That is what time management is about in its very essence. To find what is working for you and what you need and adjusting your activities and tasks to meet your needs.

Time management requires you to be assertive, be a leader for yourself and your family if applicable, delegate tasks you don't want to do and keep putting off, and saying no if something just isn't working for you.

Tuesday night Julieta and I went to a networking event. It was one that didn't give off a 'good energy vibe' and if they didn't already know you, they didn't mingle. We were talking about heading out of there as it was a waste of time in our opinion… while discussing that, someone came up to us… feeling much the same way... and gave us some great information about Cake and Whiskey networking event happening at the same time. Julieta and I left the current event and went to the Cake and Whiskey event - the name came about because the networking events are for women who are both sweet (cake)  and spicy (whiskey). As soon as we walked to the door - before we even went in - Martha showed us the type of women and energy found within. We connected with others, the energy and intent to network was there and we proved why Leveraging Your Time works.

When you leverage your time through delegation because you are no longer want to do something or you cannot do something, you have to be able to give up the actual task. You cannot go back and take it over because you need to have control... that is not true delegation. It is difficult to give up control and if you look at the reasons for this difficulty you may be surprised by the reason… the need to control is very personal and there is no one size fits all solution. However, most of the time, when you continue to do something you do not want to do or like to do… you do it so you can complain about it… and you control it for the reasons you have that are personal to you… but to remain miserable is often easier than to make a change and release that control.

That is not effective leveraging your time and it certainly is not healthy for you at all. There are ways to overcome these issues and it all starts with looking at the why behind them.

Leveraging Your Time through appropriately managing your time means giving yourself permission to enjoy life, plan a life with a balance between what you need to do (work and home responsibilities) and what you want to do.

Reflecting on what time management means to you and adjusting to the reality of time management (deciding what, when, and why you are doing the tasks and activities) and adjusting them to your energies… is the key to Leveraging Your Time.

Dannie :)


Boundaries with Friends/Clients

I have written about boundaries a few times on here and each time I have had people talk to me in a variety of public and private ways about some of their struggles with boundaries... in the work place.

We are not talking about sexual harassment and similar types of boundary violations.

They mention how hard it is for them to stay firm in their boundaries when working with 'friends' or people who claim they are friends.

It is hard.

Separating friends and business is challenging. You do not want to ruin friendships or make business suffer.

And you don't have to do it by telling the person "I am putting my business hat on" or "Now my friend hat is on."

It is far simpler in theory and in practice... if we choose to let our minds and hearts get on the same page.

When we are in the midst of business, we should act as if we are the professional we are. We explain our business, our processes, our prices... without fear of being judged by our 'friends'.

When asked if you can do this for free - far less than what you usually charge - or other 'benefits for a friend'...

We should simply say... yes, no, or maybe.

Depending on what you CAN and WANT to do for our 'friends' for our business... while friends are awesome... friendships do not pay our bills. That is a hard truth...

When we are friends, we can put qualifiers on what we will do or won't do.

We should simply say... yes, no, or maybe.

If you do not feel comfortable with a request from a friend... we should be saying no... if we are excited to do something with a friend... we should be saying yes... you get the point... we should be honest with the friend.

It truly is that easy.

When we are a professional and we say yes, no or maybe... they client has to accept our answers. Friend or not.

But many struggle with saying no... or feeling like they have to say yes because they need the money despite not wanting to work with the client. Add a friend who is a friend but difficult to work with... and we agree to work with them under conditions we normally would not put up with... and we have to stop that... set some boundaries...

Our friends and family do not always understand or even know the state of our business or the motivation of our decisions. Even when a family member is a participant in the business. They may not understand what you have seen, heard, or learned and how that determines your answer... and when questioned as to why... we fear being honest with them.

How well would it go over... "I simply do not want to work with you because you tend to be overly negative, frustrating as you change your mind constantly, and nit pick everything as you demand to get a full refund and still keep the work."

You see, when you are friends with someone, you can overlook some things that do not directly apply to you, but when you are suddenly working with that friend... you can no longer overlook the negative... it is right there in your face all the time.

We as business owners, employees, and other titles within a business have an understanding of what our perspective is, our reasoning for our decisions, our responsibility for those decisions.

When we say yes, we do not tell a person why we said yes. The yes is simply accepted, often with glee that a yes was given.

However, we demand that we receive a reason for a no. And we argue the no as if that will get us what we want.

And often, a forced no does not get you or the other person what they want or more importantly, a happy relationship that is built on mutual respect. You may get what you demand, but you destroy the relationship in the midst.

When we blur the lines thinking that our clients must be friends and our friends must be our clients... we find that we are feeling a bit of unease or turmoil.

Most people are unable to separate the two. Most are unable to treat a friend like a business associate and a business associate like a friend in the appropriate manners at the appropriate times.

Saying no and setting boundaries become more difficult at these times and when this happens... yeah, we suffer from some serious boundary issues.

I am not a friend with either of my children on Facebook. They are nearly 23 and 26. I can text or call or talk to my boys face to face any time I want. We have a good relationship that allows us to communicate when we need about what we need and I do not need to read what they post on Facebook or them me... unless they choose too.

That is a boundary I appreciate and respect on both sides of the issue.

If a mom can have that boundary with her boys... then as a friend, I can have a boundary with them as well. And if that friend is a client, I am have a boundary in the business aspects as well.

It is something that I have to remind myself of when the client portion of the relationship starts to sour or starts to end. I can separate the two parts of the relationship... but this is where the problem with boundaries starts to blur.

A person is usually the same 'type' of person in their personal and professional life. They may have variations of themselves in different roles in their life... more intense on the family side or more intense on the work side or more assertive with work, more passive-aggressive with family... or vise versa. I hope you understand what I am saying... we are different in different situations but still the same person overall.

How do you reconcile with the fact that a business arrangement does not work out because of something the person did, said, or failed to do... and this is likely how the person is on their 'friend' side as well?

It is a great question and a difficult question.

We see this all the time and we have to ask ourselves, how do I resolve this?

You have to set boundaries to protect yourself.

You have to tell yourself that you need to have a boundary to protect your heart and soul when relationships happen to go sour. Work or personal.

This boundary is not to cut yourself off from others that may hurt you. Not at all.

One of the best lessons I learned was from reading the A Patchwork Heart: Deepening Your Love for Others
Book by Pam Mellskog. It talks about how beautiful a heart is that is filled with patches from others, not neatly placed or fully covering the open spots... but a heart that is filled with hurt, love, joy, pain, and all the rest of what we experience in life.

The point of that book is, life is messy and your heart will hurt... but take the lessons you learned, the memories you shared, and the joys you experienced and focus on those moments and not the fact that you were hurt because you cared. Because you loved. Because you tried to help.

When you realize this is who you are and you are not ashamed of the efforts you made to be a friend, be a professional and blurred the lines... you can set a boundary to move a bit slower, a bit more cautiously, a bit more... well, you can add whatever you have experienced here as the basis of your boundaries... and work towards setting that boundary in place.

I know it may seem like I am saying two different things and backtracking a bit on the boundaries issue... but I am not. I am telling you boundaries are challenging unless you understand why you need the boundary in place to begin with... and you do... to protect yourself.

The purpose of mentioning the patchwork heart is to allow you to understand why hurts happen and why it is not a bad thing... and here is where the two thoughts come together.

When you place a boundary into a relationship... where business is business and friends are friends and when you need to make it clear that while you cherish their friendship, you need money to live and cannot give away your services for free... and they leave in a huff because they thought their friendship entitled them to getting something for not much more than nothing on their part...

That is when you have a patchwork heart.

You put a boundary in place and they get upset... ask yourself before the hurt really takes over... 'Were they really a true friend?'

The answer is no. They were not a true friend.

What they were is a person who wanted to be your 'friend' to get what they wanted from you for whatever little bit they had to put forth to get the most from you.

Your heart may be broken to lose a friend and maybe more so to lose a paying client, but in a while you will realize that your heart has put a patch over 'their' hole and you will move on... and it will allow you to understand that boundaries are necessary and a true friend understands that and respect those boundaries.

A friends is awesome...

A client is awesome...

A friend and client is really awesome...

But a friend and client who appreciates the boundaries you set and respects them... PRICELESS.

I have had to and will continue to put in place boundaries with clients and friends and friend/clients and clients/friends.

It is necessary to at times, reinforce why you have boundaries and end the relationships if the boundaries are not respected.

On a much simpler level, it is sometimes important to say no - no to any more games played...

That is often the hardest to do.

Decide when you are done chasing a client or potential client who doesn't respect you, your time or your expertise.

If they do not respect you, why continue to deal with them.

Boundaries are good. Boundaries are simple to employ. As long as we get out of our own way once they are in place.

Dannie :)

Building Business Boundaries

Boundaries... many think boundaries are difficult when you have to put them in place in the beginning... and they are difficult when you find you have to adjust them again and again... they are difficult because we often think of boundaries as a bad thing.

Boundaries are not a bad thing. Not overall. Not in every case. Boundaries are essential for proper growth. Boundaries are essential for safety - emotional, physical, mental... you get the picture... all parts of us need boundaries.

Boundaries are often more difficult to put in place because of your 'fear' or 'resistance' to change. And sometime that fear and resistance is not only yours but how others will react to your change.

In business, especially for self employed business owners, it is challenging to have the boundaries in place as you want to do what you have to do to make your business successful.

It is a problem many face... how on earth do you turn someone down when you need income coming in?

In a moment or two of desperation, you take on a client you know you should not take on... because you need the money.

Or you may bend over backwards a few times to make someone 'choose' you when the person is not interested in choosing you... they are interested in having you want them so much you will do anything for them.

Or... you can fill in the blanks...

It is almost a given that you will fail to put up boundaries, hold in place boundaries, or make exceptions to your boundaries just for this person or that person for this reason or that reason.

Here is the problem we often face in regards with boundaries. You don't realize when you have made exceptions in your boundaries until you realize the other person or persons have taken advantage of you.

Answer these questions for your personal and professional life even if it seems like it is more professional based. You will see how easy it is to blur lines in general. And that will clue you in on how blurred your boundary lines are overall.

1. Have I made the boundary between 'friend' and 'client' blur? 
2. Do I do more for others to get them to like me or want my business than I should? In other words, 'what is my motivation for doing for others?'
3. Do I believe I should be friends with all my clients or all my clients be my friends? 
4. How do I want my business to run for all clients and do I have different rules for friends and family? 
5. Can you say no to clients, friends, or family?

I am working with clients on how to set up boundaries in their business. While I am working on this issue with them, I am also working on reinforcing my boundaries as well. Physical boundaries like fences and landscaping often need some care to ensure they are still strong and secure.

If you are interested in finding out how to put boundaries in place... how to charge for your services in a manner that demonstrates you are a confident, professional entrepreneur without giving away your services for far less than you deserve to receive, how to qualify clients rather than jump into a bad situation because you need money, and speak assertively and without an apology for your prices and policies... I can help you.

I offer a virtual or if local(ish) on-site workshops on Empowered to Take Action. In this workshop we learn about assertiveness, leadership, delegation and saying no... all that are essential to set boundaries and earn money that you deserve from your clients...

When you participate in this workshop, you receive a workbook with practical and easy to implement tools, solution focused coaching, and instructions you can implement immediately into your personal and professional life.

Go ahead and find out the details, register for the workshop and get Ready and Set to Go setting those boundaries.

Schedule your Empowered to Take Action Workshop


(big sigh) - What Networking Really Means - At Least to me

I enjoy networking with people and I enjoy getting to know people. I network in the hopes that they will know someone who needs my products and services. I network in hopes that eventually I will receive a new client. I never network hoping the person I am talking to will suddenly say they need my services. I want to develop a connection with them that will be based on mutual understanding, chemistry, and... a true desire to Leverage Their Time. 

I love it when someone asks to meet one-on-one to 'get to know each other'... I honestly believe that is what they want to do - get to know me as I get to know them - so we can learn about each other and what we do and be able to 'sell' their services to others who we know or meet that may need their services. 

To me, it is through this interaction that we learn how focused on making real connections the other person is and how important it is to 'sell their products or services' to ME more than getting to know me. 

I have to admit, I am instantly turned off by that... when we meet under the guise of 'getting to know each other' and it turns into a 'sales meeting' with great sales pressure... 

I am a person who will be more than happy to tell you I don't need your services or products. That is not a problem I have... the problem is... when you 'lie' about why you want to meet me and then do a hard sell on me. 

You see, when people do that hard sell during our get to know you meeting... I may need your services or products... but I make an instant decision to 'never buy from you'. Seriously... you are not the only person who sells that product or service or a great and close variation of what you do... and I do not bother to take you seriously... you in effect, lied to me to get me to meet with you - not to get to know each other... but to sell your services. 

Here is a not so secret - secret about me... if I like you, I AM YOUR BEST SALES PERSON... even if I get nothing from the referrals and sales. I will tell everyone I know that may need your services or products about you... 

So... when you lie to me about getting to know me or you fail to disclose that the one-on-one is a hard sales meeting... I often decide that I am not going to go forth with you even if I am desperate (and you don't know how much so) for your services. 

I don't like people like that... I don't like people who mislead to meet with you to do a hard sell... 

I get that sales is a part of the 'game'... however, that doesn't mean you have to play games with those you network with... 

Here is why I have a problem with this type of networking.

I tell you a tiny bit about what I do and you suddenly know all you need to know about me to determine I need your services or products. 

Yet, you did not ask me if I am already using/working with someone who does the same thing as you. 

You don't really know what my business is about because you didn't listen to me... you see, one of the many things I do is present training on communication and listening... yep, when I see you asking a series of quick "qualifying leads" questions, I know you are not interested in me as a person or my actual business, you want to go through your checklist and get your sales pitch in before 'time is up'. 

But because you didn't really want to get to know ME... just corner me into a conversation to turn it into a hard sell... I lost interest in you. And your business. 

I do not and have not done a hard sell on my business at a get to know you one-on-one. I will tell you what I do when asked... and I will offer some ideas if you mention an issue you are having... but I don't hard sell you. I want you to see me as a connection, someone to share your business with others I know... not be your first or best or newest client. I want to believe that you want to know me better as I want to know you better. 

In these types of networking events - one-on-one... I have been sold too, attacked, criticized, and chastised about what I do, how I do it, my website, and so on and so forth.  But what really gets me... is when I am then criticized about how I am not asking enough questions or acting interested in them... 

First of all, you monopolized the conversation and kept me working very hard not to 'get defensive'... second of all, I know all I need to know about you... and that is... that I really have no desire to get to know you more. Your approach towards me told me everything I need to know about how you are not honest about why you want to meet... or that you aren't really interested in getting to know me... in fact, you are unable to grasp the definition of networking... the process of making connections that matter... 

Here is by the way the definition of networking - "interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one's career." No where in that definition does it say... do a hard sell to the person under the impression you wanted to truly network. 


Get Ready and Set to Go, 


What is Your Why?

What is Your "WHY"?

And in this case, it is not about your struggles with Leveraging Your Time...

There are a number of styles of networking you can do and some work well, some used to work very well, and some don't work so well. Sometimes, it matters more to choose something that works for 'that potential client'... and sometimes it is best that you find what works best for you... and that is where the problem often comes about... let me explain.

When you are trying to 'sell' to everyone you meet... you often alienate the potential clients. They begin to dread seeing you. They understand that you are going to do yet another hard sell.

When you try to employ the 'find their pain' element, many actually inflict pain on others in order to get them in a position where they will 'go with you' to get away from you. Not really a good situation for either of you...

Some will tell you what they do... how they do it... their stories... of success and how their clients like them so much for all the good they do for them...

Some will tell you everything you want to know and then start telling you their discounts and offers to make you 'not want to pass up the offer'...

What none of those approaches offer you, the prospective client or referral source, their 'why'...

Why is a why so important?

Your why matters more to them than all you do and can do for me...

Your why matters to them because your why will connect with their reason for finding someone to meet their need or pain that has passion, skill, knowledge, and experience to deal with their 'pains'.

If carefully constructed, your why will connect with your 'best potential' client's pain... and you won't have to say anything about their pain... your why will explain it well...

And here is the kicker... Your why will be heard differently by a number of people... You will reach more people by telling your why than you could with the scare - manipulate -
pain - what - story - or incredible discounts approaches.

Here is an example...

Let's say you are a lifestyle coach (Please note this is a generic example and not directed to any one person)... You are a lifestyle coach... you help people in the following categories - happiness/contentment, wellness physical and mental/emotional, motivation as it pertains to a healthy lifestyle and stress reduction.

Those are great categories... and you can help just about anyone who breathes... seriously... every living person can relate to something you provide.

So you can list those things you do - your 'what'... and this is what others may hear.

"He/She is going to tell me how I am not living right"
"He/She is going to make me feel bad about my health/weight/food choices"
"He/She is going to scrutinize my choices"
"He/She is .... add your own... "

You may also have a few people who respond well to what you do... and say 'sign me up'... but for the majority of people, they will run from you because they aren't sure of why they should go to you and why you do the lifestyle coaching. And let's be honest and real here... they will scrutinize you and see if you are truly 'perfect' and allowed to talk to anyone about lifestyles.

However, if you start with your why... you have a better chance to connect...

For example, "I am a lifestyle coach because I have lived through a number of health issues and realized that my mind, body, and soul are truly connected and when I get all three aligned, my health improved."

That is a killer 'why'. It tells people what they want to know... you are not perfect... but you understand the struggles they are going through... maybe not the exact same illness or issues, but you get it...

And then they will seek out your 'what'.

And then they will seek out your 'how'.

And then they will seek out your 'experience, skills, knowledge'.

Let's say you sell a physical product - say insurance, make up, clothing, skin care (just trying to cover a lot of types)... it really doesn't matter what your product is... it matters more what your why is...

"I use these products because I was tired of having (list your products purpose - wrinkles, dark spots, boring clothes, too much financial liability etc) and I looked for a solution. I found this (company or these products) to give me peace of mind and I could see the difference).

To make it clearer, let's say I tried anti-aging products... and I decided to sell them myself... and I need a why.

"After turning 48 this year, I was worried about looking my age... I found that Nerium actually works on the wrinkles that are starting to show, the freckles I was not fond of, and just gave me the glow on the outside I feel on the inside."

That is another killer why. It tells you why I love the products and you can relate to one or all of those points.

My 'why' for Leveraging Your Time covers the start with why principle... but it allows for others to 'begin thinking about their why'.

Here is what I say... "My name is Dannie Frey, I own Ready Set Go and I created Leveraging Your Time. I help individuals and businesses find their 'why' behind their struggles in Leveraging Your Time."

In my statement of what I own - Ready Set Go - I am indicating that I am ready to get other set to go and therefore I am ready and set to go myself.

When I state that I created Leveraging Your Time - I am telling you that I am an expert in Leveraging Your Time... I had to be in order to create it...

When I state I help others find their 'why'... it sends the message that I know my why... and if you want to find yours... we have something to talk about...

People begin to think one of three things when they hear "Leveraging Your Time"... I am bad at time management, I know why I am bad at time management, and I don't want to know what I do wrong and I am going to avoid her...

All three are great responses... here is why...

The first one - I am bad at time management... this will get them thinking about what I do and how I can help you... many of these people approach me... they joke about it... and yet, try to find out how I will treat them...

And I surprise them... when they say they are always late... or they can't say no... or other things... and I say I can help you with that... and then I drop it... they begin to feel 'safe' with me.

The second one... I know why I am bad at time management... they will come up to me and challenge me... will I tell them all they do wrong... will they get a hard sell... and then they will share with me some stories... I share some stories... and I tell them some of the things that I have struggled with... and what I did... and then it is done... they don't really want to change... they just want me to know that they know and now that we both know... I am to accept that they are this way... and to them I say... 'al-right-y then.' "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't force him to drink" is my favorite saying at times like this... and I move on. Not my potential client.

The third one - I know and I will avoid her... those crack me up... I am not going to make anyone listen to a hard sell if they aren't interested. I do go up to those people - and how do I know who they are? Because they avoid eye contact with me every time I speak about what I do... But I do go up to them and introduce myself to them and... ask them to tell me more about what they do... I send a very direct message... I am not interested in selling to anyone, let alone to someone who doesn't want to be sold too... I send a very direct message... I want to get to know you... because you are you... not a potential client.

When looking at starting any relationship - business or personal... start with your why... I bet you are thinking, 'how does that work with personal relationships?'

Same principle... when you start with why you want to get to know someone... rather than what that person can do for you... you develop a connection that builds stronger over time.

What's your why?

Finding Your Focus Part 1

Feelings of overwhelm, panic, fear, exhaustion, confusion, and disappointment are a few of the emotions one experiences not in a moment of panic or emergency... but when their mind is cluttered and you are unable to focus.

How much time is wasted dealing with the same old words and behaviors that keep you from finding your focus?

If you had to write out your vision - as it will be in three years - writing it in the present tense... could you do it?

I was given the task to listen to a person's vision and repeat it back to them. I admit, I could not do it. Not as the instructions were stated. The person gave me random thoughts rather than a vision statement. The person gave me disjointed thoughts. I tried to repeat it as she was seeking to find confirmation on these thoughts and feelings as they come from her and then to move them into a plan of action going forward.

I was told I was wrong, even though these were thoughts and feelings they had... and this was an assignment about writing a vision statement today as if it came true in three years... and that was the perspective I was coming from... I was told that the thoughts and feelings expressed in HER vision statement were not things she struggled with and was not looking for those answers or patterns to fall into place in her life.

Well, I admit I was confused. I was stumped. I was amazed at how well she could do as instructed when repeating my vision statement as I... well... I followed the instructions.

This person later admitted that she is coming off of a bad time and is struggling to figure out where she wants to go. She was very positive about it... but her thoughts are all out there and very random. Through additional conversation I was able to help her find a narrower focus and through that I was at least able to 'figure out what she was talking about.'

During the additional conversation, it became apparent she is at the 'first thoughts' stage of finding your focus. She was not ready for the activity we were all doing, but it was an opportunity for her to begin the process.

First thoughts is where you begin to investigate a topic and then decide if you are going to elaborate on those thought or let them go...

If you begin searching for your focus on any topic or task, you are going to have a wide range of 'really, really good' ideas. You will also have a number of really, really good ideas you will never do. And you have a number of really, really good ideas that are not that good after all.

It is through this process of thinking of a number of possibilities you can try that you find the number of possibilities you won't try or that won't give you the results you want.

This process is important to complete and when you complete them, you have the paths and tasks ready to define when you are ready to proceed.

I will explain the paths and tasks more in a later post.

But here is a great technique to try when you are looking to find your focus on a task or thought...

Write one word that defines what you need to accomplish.

Let's take networking as an example...

Answer this question with a one word answer.

"What does networking mean to you?"

My answer - "Connections"

It is a great answer, and not just because I said it... but while it is a great answer, it is too BIG of an answer.

What does connections mean? How do you make connections? Where do you make connections? Will connections spontaneously happen?

What you need to do is elaborate your one word answer to narrow your focus down.

Even though that doesn't make sense immediately... think about it...

You started with one word. The one word answer is too big... so if you add more words, you make the answer larger and the focus narrower.

Connections was the one word...

Building connections is the first elaboration.

My focus is now narrower... I am going to focus on building connections.

Yet, building connections is too large of an area of focus... I am going to elaborate the answer a second time.

Building Connections That Matter.

Now my focus is narrower and I can begin to determine my paths and tasks to further find my focus.

Next post I will share with you how to do that very easy step…


Negative People While Networking

The world is filled with all kinds of people with all kinds of personalities. Some are very easy to embrace and others are not so much.

I have been incredibly blessed recently to run across a number of people - male and female that are an incredible source of positive energy, assertiveness, friendliness, and authenticity.

When you are around people like this, you feel better... their spirit is contagious...

And yet, when you are around someone who is the opposite of that... you may find yourself in a totally different mindset... and overall feeling...

When you find yourself around someone who is highly negative... it causes you to rethink a number of things... and often you look at what is wrong with you instead of what is wrong with the situation you are in with that negative person.

Let me explain.

A negative person will spend a great deal of time either being outright aggressive towards you or even worse passive-aggressively attacking you.

An aggressively negative person will be easier to spot. And run from. You can avoid them by saying 'NO' in a variety of ways...

A passive-aggressively negative person will approach you with interest to meet with you, to get to know you. And you will be willing to meet with them because you do not realize they are as negative as they are... you will greet them and then you will begin to feel the attack coming on.

Here is the thing.

You are not sure what you are to do with them and what they say to you or about you.

You will think 'maybe there is some truth'... then you think... 'that is not true'... and then you sit there wondering what you did wrong to deserve this...

And the truth of the matter is... you did nothing to deserve this... you are just their next 'victim'.

In most cases, this is an easy fix... you tell them they are wrong and move on along.

In a networking situation, this is a bit more challenging. You can't tell them 'the blunt truth' as they are a part of the networking group that you are... and you see this person repeatedly. Often.

You have to be careful when you interact with them because if you stand your ground assertively, this person - negative, passive-aggressive or outright aggressive - will make life challenging for you.

Even though their behavior is not 'unknown' to others... it is the same situation for all those who have encountered the same behavior directed at them.

It does not matter how 'strong' you are...

It does not matter how 'assertive' you are...

It does not matter how 'positive' you are...

It does not matter how 'confident' you are...

When you are networking with others, you are putting yourself, your brand, your company, your reputation out there for others to 'judge' you worthy to share with others who will share you with their friends, family, and clients.

When someone makes a point to 'damage' you through their attacks on you... it can shake your strength, assertiveness, positive outlook, or confident you are... you look inside to see if it is true, you look inside to see if your insecurities are going to peek out or if they have... and you are going to feel down or depressed - depending on the strength and duration of the attack... and you are going to have your confidence shaken... even for just a little bit of time.

A recent conversation with someone who suffered through an encounter with a person I had recently suffered through myself... she didn't have to mention a name... I knew who she was talking about when her story had started... Her confidence was shaken and this positive, beautiful, creative, confident and strong woman should not have had her confidence shaken in this manner...

I know this, because I also went through this with the same person...

It is not that our insecurities overtook us... yes, it did make us second guess ourselves... but what the real problem was... we both are assertive women who will share our opinions and feelings with others... felt that we could not tell this person that this was uncalled for... because of the numerous ties to networking groups we all had.

Our hands were tied in how to separate ourselves from this negative and destructive situation and person.

That is the crux of our dilemma. To make a statement to this person to stop or avoid all potential encounters in the future... kill them with kindness while keeping them a safe distance away.

The reason for the attacks is not nearly as important as avoiding situations where the attacks can happen.

Humans crave connections with others... they want to feel respected, cherished, liked, wanted, needed, and relaxed around others. We look for people who will most likely make us feel this way. We look for people who will make us feel good to be around. We look for people who will give us what we don't always have - to make us feel whole. We want positive experiences from others. We want to build something great with the encounters we have with others.

This is true in business and in personal aspects of our lives. They are often interwoven and hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

But we seek what we feel compliments us... and we avoid what hurts us... no matter the reason it hurts.

In the world of networking... we learn that we should seek the 'pains' of our clients/customers... to be able to show them a solution...

We should never be the pain or cause the pain to sell them our services... it just never works out well.

When we are our authentic selves - sharing positive energy -we do more to sell our products and services because of the need of others to find those who will build them up - as it is a part of who they really are.

Building Connections That Matter - Networking Groups

Last night we had our first Ready Set Go Network Hendersonville Meetup at Never Blue. The food was delicious, the restaurant beautiful and fun... and well, the group was alive, interactive, real, and building connections.

My success plan for 2017 focuses on 'building connections that matter' and last night connections were built and it gave me goose bumps. The good kind. Where you look at what is happening and think 'this is SO good'.

The conversations were relaxed in how they developed and throughout the night insights about each of us went beyond typical 'first time we met conversations'. The focus was making connections rather than networking, yet each person had a number of conversations about what they do... and went even farther to discuss deeper about what others wanted to know about a product or service.

There was a schedule of events to guide us throughout the networking processes.. and we threw it out as we were allowing the evening to proceed organically and accomplished more in building those connections.

Why am I talking so much about connections rather than networking in the 'traditional' manner?

Through my research on networking, I found that what matters most are the connections we have with other. It is not saying any particular method of structuring the networking group is better or worse than another... it is the building of connections that matters most.

No matter the set up of your networking event - or finding commonality in any group you are present in personal or professional - there are common 'needs' people seek to find in others and often you find you seek these as well.

1. Authenticity - be who you are - warts and all - so people see the real you. The warts and all is simply to define you as who you are not who you want others to see you as... when you are real and imperfect, people will connect with you and find commonality with you and feel comfortable with you.

2. Identify Shared Goals and Values - in such a diverse world that we live in, it is difficult to figure out what we have in common that we can actually talk about. This is not about politics, religion, or other 'hot' topics... what we are talking about is kindness, helpfulness, trust, honesty, and other elements of moral character.

3. Mutual Respect - respect takes time to form and increases as we prove ourselves worthy and others prove themselves. In business relationships this is especially true. The trust we build is based on our reputations and our ability to put our actions behind our words.

4. Vulnerability is a Good Thing to Share - when you share a bit about yourself - whether a gratitude, abundance, or what you wish to manifest - you share a bit of the vulnerability that others can relate too. You also allow others to feel the level of mutual respect to be vulnerable as well. This is the start of a connection that matters to them and to you.

5. Loyalty - Have Their Back - there are always situations where someone is needing support from others. Whether you hear something from another person that makes you worry about their character, you have to decide what action you will take and how you will move forward. When you demonstrate loyalty to others, you experience it in abundance back at you.

6. Meaningful Connections with Others to Network with Them - when you supply someone a referral, you are paying a great compliment to others. You show your trust in them by handing over a person you share a name with... and yet, you expect them to pick up the 'work' and connect with your referral. How they respond can either build a connection or let it go to the side and be ignored.

7. Be More Personal - make an effort to meet with them one-on-one for coffee, lunch or dinner and have a conversation to meet them where they are... not in a location, but to find out who they are and what they bring to a relationship. Think past what business they can bring you or what you can bring them and get to know the person beyond the business networking element and find out what you have in common as people.

8. Do Something Fun Together - Music, art, entertainment, meetups (non-networking ones), community events, going out to dinner and a show - all those things that helps a person have a fun time with others so you can be the people you are when not working.

9. No Expectations - when you network and meet someone for the purpose of 'getting a referral or customer' you often walk away unhappy. This is because you find the expectation of great things happening disappointing. When you head into the event and connection with no expectations, you are in fact able to see past your expectations and see what they really bring you... a connection that matters for more reasons than just networking. You see the person rather than the result. And that makes it all worth while.

10. Brainstorming Time Scheduled - do you ask those you meet to meet with you to help you brainstorm on a variety of topics... to help you think outside YOUR box and to help them think outside THEIR box... and then you explode with great ideas and a great deal of motivation. This is not the same a 'free consultation' or an exchange of your products or services - it is about the ability to get together as 'friends' just working together on separate or similar things... much like a study partner...

11. Be First To Offer Something Before Asking For Something - Serving is the new selling ( 2010). When we educate, help and inspire others with our expertise and experience we build a foundation of trust that will endure throughout the relationship. When you offer something to show your experience and expertise and then ask... your value in the relationship has increased.

Last night, there were so many examples of all of the 11 points happening throughout the entire group. It was a beautiful experience to be a part of and connections happened. Connections that matter!

Hope you can join us at either the 1st Thursday dinner or the 3rd Tuesday lunch meetup.

Leveraging Your Time helps you feel guilt-free... no guilt... YAY!

Leveraging Your Time helps you feel guilt-free... no guilt... for planning your day how it relates to your energy and priorities.

Here's a story - 
In a conversation with someone about Leveraging Your Time she mentioned that many of the areas of her life have different issues that I mentioned. I asked her to explain to me what she means. I have permission to share the conversation here.

She said that she finds her focus while working early in the morning, but not the afternoon.

She cannot find her focus on her bills. She is constantly struggling with remembering to pay her bills on time.

She loses her ability to concentrate after so long working on anything, but sounds like she is contradicting herself all the time on this issue.

She finds herself feeling guilty for planning fun things she likes to do because she should be working.

She is aware of her health, but chooses not to make it a priority as it pertains to preventative measure... but will when it is reactive.

Her family is important, but they are often put off until she can get her work done and it is never done.

Any of this sound familiar to you?

These are common feelings we all feel at one time or another. Some of us can overcome it quickly and others struggle with it for a long time. That is until we break the self-limiting beliefs keeping us from leveraging our time... and this means, give yourself permission to... plan your day to reflect your energies and passions.

Her first statement was that she is more productive in the morning.

She recognized that her 'energies' are powerful and productive in the morning and therefore should focus her work during those times. Planning a 4 hour period of working in the morning when her energies and passions are higher is a smart plan of action. It is paying attention to her mind, body and energies and going with 'her natural' way of being to fully Leverage Your Time.

By looking at 'why' she struggles with paying her bills, we looked into her cash flow coming in... she is self-employed while her husband is full time employed and receives regular paychecks. She discussed why she struggles with paying and found that it relates to her fluctuating income and pay dates. She struggles with paying bills on time because she fears not being paid enough or on time.

We worked on what she can do regarding this 'why'... she came up with an idea that made her feel comfortable enough to try it. We will see how this works. If it does work, she can continue it... if it does not work, then she has permission to make a new option to try to make it work. That was important for her... to recognize she has the right to give herself permission to try multiple options to find what actually works for her.

When she was told that EVERYONE loses the ability to concentrate after a period of time... and to stop and RECHARGE is essential to increase productivity...

"Wait" she says... "how do you take time away from a task and be more productive?"

Awesome question. Here is the answer.

When your brain or body is tired and you give yourself time to recharge - even as little as 30 seconds, your brain has time to reboot and refocus on the task at hand. When you finish a task and take a break before starting a new task... you brain feels happy at completing the task... and ready to take a new task on... think about computers and the screens going blank after a set amount of time... and then you come back and it is ready to go again... yeah, it is like that... Recharge frequently throughout the day.

Why does she feel guilty planning something fun for herself?

Because she works from home and should be busy at least 8 hours like most corporate workers are.

Hmm, google sometime how much time is wasted in the workplace on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. You will see that you are more likely to spend more time working than those in the corporate world.

Then consider the following.

Your commute is a few steps rather than a minutes or hours one way...

You don't have to 'greet' and chat with all your coworkers before you can get busy working...

You don't have to hide your social media activity you are doing at work from coworkers... that saves a great deal of time each day! :)

You don't have to schedule your breaks to meet employer expectations... which means you don't have to think about how much you have to use the bathroom or if someone is tracking the time you take a break... or other things that take our concentration from our work... because if we need to get a drink... we do and no one says anything...

We don't have to waste time thinking about lunch and which coworker to eat with, where to go, and all the other things that take about 30 minutes before the 60 minute lunch break and then waste another 30 minutes after the lunch break to tell everyone where we went, what we had...

You get the picture... work at home folks... who actually work at home have less distractions from others... and can get more done in less time if they focus...

So, if you get up in the morning and work far more productively in 4 hours than you would if you sat there for 8 hours... then why can't you plan a fun activity during the time you are not able to pay attention as well as you would like when your energies wane.

And that would give you time to take a walk, go to the gym or other activities that would help you proactively care for your health.

Yeah, it really is that simple.

When you look at the why behind your struggles with leveraging your time...

You can live life assertively, pursue your passions, and do it without a bit of guilt. Not a single bit of guilt.

 What are the areas of your life that need the most focus to Leverage Your Time? 

What are the areas of your life that need the most focus to Leverage Your Time? 

Jane's Story - Jane's Why

This week has been a great week for me as it relates to building connections that matter. You know, I mentioned that it was my success plan theme for the year.

I love meeting people... I love getting to know people... and I had a number of incredible opportunities to do just that.

I had some one-on-one and group opportunities... some that I participated in and some that I led.

A common element in each of these connections was a level of authenticity and vulnerability presented in these encounters.

I was talking with someone who is a stay at home but busy as all get out mom. After we talked, I asked if I could share her story with this group. She said I could.

Janet has worked in the corporate world for many years before getting married and having children. After the first child was born, she made the decision to stay at home when she looked at the financial picture - daycare costs, clothing, food, travel, vehicle maintenance... and she would be working 40 plus hours a week and after all those expenses, she would be working for $8.50 per hour. Her hourly wage was $18.92 per hour, but after paying $6 per hour for child care and the other expenses... it left her bringing home $8.50. Her husband made enough for them to live comfortably and she had envisioned she would work from home.

Her child was born and she fell in love with him and enjoyed being a mom. However, she struggle with the inability to make a schedule for her and her newborn and that really threw her for a loop. No matter how she tried, she struggled. She told herself it will happen soon enough... what did happen when her son was almost 7 months old... she became pregnant again.

Her second son was born and she really struggled with two babies under 16 months old. She had even less time to figure out what she was going to do with the day let alone that business she never started, but intended too.

Jane felt like she was always frazzled and always receiving sympathy and not all that sympathy was well meaning. She was in the corporate world for many years and she should be able to get 2 babies on a schedule... she had 30 employees she managed regularly.

When her youngest child was a year old, literally two days after his first birthday, she found out she was pregnant again. Her daughter was a blessing... but it threw everything even more out of whack for her and her schedule and non-existent business.

Her youngest child is 2 years old now and she is exhausted. She is frazzled. She is frustrated. She is going crazy.

She loves her children with all her heart, does not regret one moment with them. But, she is nothing like how she was when she was working. She cannot bring a connection between the two people she was/is.

She ran across something I wrote and since I write with both business and personal intent... something I was told was not good BTW... :) I needed to pick an audience... she asked me if I could give her some help.

I asked her this question.

"What help do you WANT?"

She didn't say anything right away.

I stayed quiet and so did she.

A few minutes later she told me, "I need to know I am a good person even if I don't have a schedule."

I asked her about her schedule. She stated she doesn't have one. I asked her what does she do the moment she opens her eyes in the morning.

She said, 'this is what I have done today" and listed her day so far.

I asked her how that varied from yesterday.

She went through her previous day.

I asked her what she did two days ago.

She realized that she has a schedule. It is just not a tight and predictable schedule.

I asked her how she was able to make it today to where we were.

She said her husband works from home and she has a babysitter that comes to the house and she wanted to get out and do something and saw this and chose to come to this.

I asked her how often could that happen?

She didn't know because of the financial elements.

I asked her if the kids take a nap every afternoon. The two youngest do, the oldest will play quietly during nap time.

I asked her what she does during nap time.

She does cleaning.

I asked her if she could work for those two hours each day on her business and clean with the kids helping her at other times during the day?

She said she never thought of that... not once. But she could.

I told her she just found 10 hours a week to work on her business.

I asked her what does she do when the kids go to bed at night.

She said she usually picks up the house and watch television.

I asked her about how long does she watch television each night... 2 or 3 hours she said.

I told her that she had about 4 to 5 hours a day to work on her business if she used her time wisely.

I then asked her why, if she was in the corporate world for so long, this never occurred to her before?

I was not being rude or condescending... I let her know that before I asked the question, I needed to ask her a hard question and I don't mean anything bad about it... and then asked her why, if she was in the corporate world for so long, this never occurred to her before?

She said, 'the corporate world works from 7 to 3, 8 to 4 or 9 to 5. I was trained that those are the only times you can work and be successful. I thought I would be unsuccessful in everything that I do if I didn't work or be productive during those hours. When my first son was born, I spent a lot of that time holding him, bathing him, feeding him... loving him. That wasn't productive.'

I asked her 'what type of child is your oldest son?'

Her response, 'he is loving, fun, creative, inquisitive, helpful...' and her list continued.

I said, 'well, it sounds like when you were loving him, bathing him, teaching him how to live a loving, fun, creative, inquisitive, helpful.... life... you were very productive... maybe not as you did in your corporate life... but this is motherhood... not a top corporation... so, you were productive... you were on a schedule that fit you as your life is now...'

I said no more... she looked at me with a look of surprise...

"I felt like I was doing everything wrong because I compared my corporate life to my present life. I felt guilty, like a loser, a failure, a frazzled mom but I wasn't. I was a great mom paying attention to what my child wanted and needed, but I never cut myself any slack.'

Motherhood is not an easy job. It is often looked down upon. Yesterday at a workshop I attended as a participant, I received this card to comment on as it pertains to me...

"What would give you great comfort right now?"

I struggled hard with how to answer that... I heard another person make a comment that brought clarity to me.

What would give ME great comfort right now? I feel great comfort right now knowing that every moment I have spent as a mom... from the moment I found out I was pregnant... to this very moment where my boys are 25 and 22... brings me great comfort. I have two incredible boys that I love dearly, am hugely proud of... and they turned out this way despite all the mistakes I made as I was learning how to be a mom worthy of their love.

Sometimes, that 'why' behind our struggles are not as obvious as it appears... sometimes it takes a bit of understanding of our roles and how those roles affect our self-esteem, our understanding of perception of those roles and cutting ourselves some slack in our view of perfection.

Yeah, the 'why' behind our struggles are very personal... and very profound when we figure them out.

Thanks Jane for letting me share your story.

Building Authentic Connections That Matter

Have you ever wondered just how to build a connection that matters? I have. I have quite often... how do you move a potential lead or a network connection to something more?

Heck, how do you even determine what that something more is? Or how to get there?

Authenticity - the quality of being authentic - being genuine, being real, being yourself and not a copy of someone else.

Vulnerable - being real/authentic with someone leaves you vulnerable. But it also lets other put their guard down and be honest with you, vulnerable in the same manner with you.

Relatable - breaking 'it' down so others can identify with what you say or do. Sharing a story that tells others what you do better than your best marketing pitch.

Trustworthy - being seen by your words and actions to be honest and truthful.

Whether you are looking for a product or service, these are qualities you look for in the person 'selling' you something... but it is often the characteristics we look in people for friends.

Do you connect those two with people trying to sell you something and determining if they are friend worthy?

Many do and do not realize that is what they are doing. Is it a candidate for a friendship? Is it a potential for friendship? Is it necessary to share contact information with others you know if you feel like this person is 'friendworthy'?

Hey, there is nothing wrong with that... seriously, nothing at all. You do not have to be best friends with someone to network with them. However, it does matter when you introduce your friends to someone you network with... no one wants to set you up on a 'blind date' with someone they do not like or trust.

Building connections that matter is important to many people. As I mentioned before, humans are a very social creature. We crave socialization with others... some more than others... some on a larger basis... some on a smaller basis... some extrovertedly... some introvertedly... however it best works for you and me.

Building connections that matter is more than an instant 'liking' of someone... it takes work and it takes maintenance. I will venture into this topic more as it is what my success plan is focused on this year.

Since the beginning of this year, I have increased my facebook friends number by over 50 new friends. I enjoy learning about my old and new friends... I enjoy building those connections. Those connections that matter. What about you?

Get Ready and Set to Go - Building Connections That Matter!


The Fine Line Between Building Connections and a Hard Sell

Recently I arranged a meeting with someone met at a networking group. I looked forward to the meeting as I enjoy getting to know people. The meeting started off on what I would call a wrong foot. The person I was meeting immediately started telling me all that was wrong with my ______. For more than 80 minutes, I heard all about what was wrong with me. 

Now remember, this was not a 'free consultation' to discuss what is wrong with the product or service I have that they could do better. It was a get to know each other and build a networking relationship. 

After the 'get to know each other' session was over... the lady next to me share with me that she didn't know how I handled it so well, especially when she found out that it was not a 'free consultation' but a get to know each other coffee date. 

This was the second time in a week that I had this happen to me from other networkers. 

I believe in the concept of networking as sharing my 'why' and what 'pains' I can help them with... but letting them decide when they needed my assistance. I don't do hard sells. 


Because hard sells don't work. Not for me. Not for many people. And those who cave in to hard sells because of the pressure do not commit fully to the 'product or service' that the hard sell was about... and that means, as soon as they can 'escape', they do. They are not the type of person who will be a dedicated consumer of your product or service. 

People who identify your 'why' for your product or service that you are passionate about and see their 'pains' in what you mention in a 'relationship' building conversation, will investigate it more and want to commit when their heart and mind connection and get on the same page. 

Networking is a delicate balance, even more than the lead into a customer balance. Networking is about building a relationship where one feels confident in sharing the other person's business with those they think could benefit. It is also important for a person to understand, that the networker they are sharing their business with... will share with those who have placed trust in them. They do not want to make the mistake of letting a bad apple spoils their network. 

I attended a group meeting and after the meeting was completed, I watched several people swarm a few people they decided NEEDED their services. It was sad because of the manner in which they did such a thing. They literally pounced on this 'victim' and then kept laying the hard sell on this person. I laughed in between watching this happen... you see, this person and I were involved in a discussion. He approached me... and others swarmed him. 

While those who were swarming this victim pounced... I received to offers of my own. No hard sells, just being asked to look into an opportunity to do what I do... share Leveraging Your Time to a new audience. 

What would I do differently in each situation? 

In the meeting with a fellow networker to get to know each other, I would not have started in on me with 'all I am doing wrong'. This is how I feel it should have gone. It should have started with some questions like - "So tell me one thing you think would surprise me if I knew it about you?" 

I would answer "Before the first time I colored my hair blonde, I had trouble with small talk with people. Once I got to know them, no problem... I could talk and talk. But... when I colored my hair a lighter shade, I adopted the mindset that... If I could go blonde, I could certainly loosen up and talk to anyone." 

I would then ask her the same question, to hear their answer. And then I would ask a follow up question. 

You see, my answer would have allowed this person to get a good glimpse as to the type of person I am. I will look outside the box for an answer to a problem. I wanted to get better at small talk with people... I lighten my hair color... and yes, I thought this... 'if blondes have more fun, it is because they are less concerned about what others think of them and will take those risks without concern of censure.'

I would have looked into their answer to find out a bit more about them and determine the messages that were not being said... in order to follow up and ask another question. 

One of the best ways to get someone to want you, your products and services.... is to demonstrate that you are good at what you do. I am an expert at Leveraging MY Time and love to share this with others. I prove my expertise by arriving on time, completing tasks on time, being assertive, saying no, developing relationships, finding my focus and sharing these tips with others, without preaching to them, without belittling them, without criticizing them... I do it by showing them what I do all the time. 

What went wrong with the coffee date was an 'attack' on my and my ______. It started and ended that way. It was sad that the person who spent so much time criticizing me stated that the meeting was supposed to be us getting to know each other. 

It was sad because I did get to know this person. I learned that 'being right' or 'being better' than me was more important than getting to know me. That being the preacher, preaching at me was more important than building connections. 

I told this person that my success plan is built around the word connections. I elaborate this as building connections and even more so building connections that matter. I told this person that the majority of the time, when I have meetings like this, the lead - client or networker, has turned into a deeper relationship and depending on the purpose of the relationship - a client or a referral source and a friend. I then told this person that maybe next time we get together we can get to know each other. 

I left it at that, I didn't tell this person that I knew all I needed to know about them. I didn't tell them that I felt attacked, criticized, and saddened by the encounter. I didn't tell them that I would not refer anyone to them. 

There was no reason to tell them that at the meeting. It wouldn't be received in the manner it was intended. It would not be seen as anything other than me being bitter because I was told what I was doing wrong. Even if throughout the criticism I told this person that not only do I know what I am doing, I also seek out others who are experts in this area for advice. And everything you have just told me to changed was just changed from that to what it is now. And despite, in an effort to end the continuous onslaught of criticism, I changed what this person told me to change, even when it didn't look right, I was still treated like an oppositional child who wouldn't listen to my parents. 

This is not the how networking should go. This is not how building connections should go. This is an example of what not to do and how to get out of a situation like this with your head held up high. 

Building connections with any lead or networker should be a positive experience. If it is not a positive experience, then you must know what is true, how to handle yourself, and walk away. Not everyone will treat you as a person worthy of respect. And when they don't, then you need to move on... quickly. 

Saying no is an essential part of building connections. Negative people come in all shapes, sizes, and yes, others may like them... but that doesn't mean your perspective is not correct. Say no and move away from them. 

Are you Ready and Set to Go - Building Connections That Matter?


Building connections That Matter

Building connections that matter has been my success plan focus for the past two years. For me, this is important in a world of virtual and fly-by social media posts friendships. I have to look at what a connection means to me, what I need to do to build those connections, and how to develop those connections.... that matter.

It seems like an easy tasks to accomplish, I can talk to just about anyone at any time... lucky me huh? But to truly determine what connection matters to me... not so much.

I have been friends with some people for ages (yeah, high school was a long time ago)... I have made friends with others over the course of the years... and I have made connections with clients and associates.

Each of those connections changed from school mate to friend, from business associate to friend, from acquaintance to... you get the point I am sure... there are different levels of connections and for different purposes.

When looking at building connections for 'business' it is easy to focus solely on those connections and what they can do for you... it is harder to invest in yourself and that connection for other reasons... for personal reasons... for no benefit for yourself other than to get to know them and appreciate them.

Recently, I read a post on a 'friend's' Facebook feed that she had just felt the law of abundance raining down on her. Those are my words, my interpretation of what she wrote... I made a comment about how thrilled I was about her success and how I was so very happy for her and her success. Her response made me... well, it made me happy and a bit sad.

She thanked me for feeling happiness, true happiness for someone else's success.

I was happy she felt my happiness for her... but I also felt sadness because... well, few really feel happy for someone else when they have abundance raining down on them.

We often find ourselves jealous about other's success. Well, why not, we wonder why it happens to them and not to us. We look at what they did and try to find out how they were just handed something for nothing rather than working hard for all they do.

We build connections to get something instead of building connections to build them up.

Some recent events have happened that made me want to focus on a few things in this group. Along with my posts where I talk about leveraging your time, I am posting a different 'theme' each day of the week. It is my hope that it will 'build connections that matter' between me and the members of the group and between the members of the group.

Why is this important to me?

Well, more than just to find success... remember my success plan is about building connections that matter... this is important to me, because in a world of drive by social media and virtual relationships and the very busy lives we live... we are often feeling alone.

We feel that no one wants us to be successful... in business, life, relationships... that it is often us again the world... and it doesn't have to be that way.

We have the choice to build connections that matter. That choice begins anew each day. Each day we can choose to build connections that matter.

So, what do you choose? Do you choose to build connections that matter?

I do.

Join me.

It's easy.

Get Ready and Set to Go - Building Connections That Matter!

I'll Pencil You In

Do you write your appointments in your calendar in pencil?

I have written a number of my standing appointments and long scheduled appointments or presentations in pen... only to have to deal with the mess after it was canceled by the other person. I had to start writing my appointments in pencil.

I thought that if I wrote in pen it meant that the appointment is firmly set.

But yikes... just because I thought that... doesn't mean that it was true. Sometimes we cannot help changing the commitments we have... or that others have with us that are changed because of circumstances beyond our control.

What I noticed was... by writing in pencil, I can change what I need to change without a 'mess' to deal with on my calendar. I also found that I could in fact change my calendar without a mess at all in my life... off the paper.

Many of us think that to make a commitment is set in stone. Yet, we may find that the commitment that sounded perfect previously... may be more of a hassle than a pleasure. Yes, some things like a dentist or doctor appointment are really not THAT pleasant... but we still go to those appointments... but often when we have second thoughts about an appointment or commitment... and we look at why we have those second thoughts... you find that maybe... it is best that we simply erase the commitment from our calendar.

When I say simply erase the commitment... please note, I am not talking about blowing someone off... but instead let them know that you are not going to be able to keep the commitment.

There are times when our calendars begin to fill with a lot of things we were unable to say no to or simply changed our mind. You have to know in your heart and mind that it is okay to say no or to change your mind.

Writing your commitments in pencil gives you permission to change your plans if you need too.

The other day I wanted to attend a networking group for lunch. However, I had to make some choices... work with a client or go to lunch... yes, that seems like a very easy decision to make... yet, many people will try to fit it all in - and I could have... but it would have been very tight in my schedule. I had to ask myself... do I want to do this?

My answer was no, I did not want to rush from one to the other... throw more into my schedule than I really wanted to do. I said no. I changed my RSVP and erased it from my calendar.

Write your commitments in pencil... give yourself permission to change your mind, say no, and set boundaries for yourself. It really does help you leverage your time.

Get Ready and Set to Go! 


Another "Why" Behind Your Struggles with Leveraging Your Time

Another 'why' behind your struggles in leveraging your time... my schedule is based on too many other people's and I have no time for myself.

Do you give yourself permission to make a schedule that actually works for you?

Often we have a schedule that is made for us... whether we work for ourselves or work for other people, our schedule is made for us... and we have no control of our schedule... or so we think.

When we were kids, our schedules were made for us... we had to get up to go to school at the time decided for us. Yet, we did have some opportunities for us as we grew older...what classes we would take, extracurricular activities, after school activities and so on...

When we graduated from high school, we had the opportunity to decide if we would continue on to college, take a year off, get a job...

When we decided to become parents... we had our schedules dictated to us... but at the same time... we had some control of our schedule. It may not be as flexible as we want it... but we did have some control of our schedule.

When my boys were babies... I worked on getting all of us on a schedule... I was seriously lucky... my oldest son was a perfect baby... he would go to sleep easily around 8 pm and sleep until 6 am. I got up at 6 am every day and well, he was perfect. His father worked 2nd shift and my little boy would eat breakfast and take a bit of a nap until dad was ready to get up. The schedule was working for us...

The key to that schedule working for us... I took into account all the needs of all the participants. I took the flexible parts and the non-flexible parts and worked them together.

We brought another little boy home to join our family... we had to do the same thing with him... He was also a very good baby... very happy and easy going... did I ever mention I am blessed....

When my oldest was in his mid to late 2nd year of life, he decided he didn't need to take naps. I tried to get him to take a nap because.... because it was said that children that age need naps. I tried to get him to nap for several months. I was worn out trying to get him to take a nap... and I needed naps after trying so hard to get him to take a nap.

I decided that I would end the battle of naps... my little guy would play quietly while his brother was sleeping... he would be happy to snuggle with me and read a book... or tell me stories... sometimes he would just play with his toys next to where I was, just to be there... but no naps. He would go to bed at 8pm every night... he would sleep until 6 or 7 am. No fussing going to bed at night. He wasn't grumpy during the day.

I gave him and myself permission to have no naps. His little brother would nap everyday in the afternoon... he would walk himself to where ever he wanted to nap... his nook in the playroom, his bed, the sofa... wherever...

When you work for yourself... you don't have normal business hours. You have hours between all the other tasks you need to do, with or for others... and then you may have to do things in the afternoon or weekends... you are living a very flexible life when you are your own business owner.

You have the right to design your schedule how you want your schedule to be... You have that flexibility.

But what if your preferred hours do not correspond with the 'norm'?

Who says it has to be within the norm?

We have to decide our schedule that works for us. And yes, if you are your own boss or work from home for someone else where you have some flexibility to set your own hours most of the time... yeah, it is a bit easier.

However, even if you have to work set hours for someone else, you do have control of your schedule. Maybe not when you work... but the rest of your time... you have the ability to plan your time to best suit your needs.

The first step is to realize that you have the ability to schedule your time after work as you want as it fits within all your roles. This means... you have the right to say yes or no to anything that comes up. You have the right to make the most of your time.

In my many travels to locations doing the wellness presentations I do... I asked all the locations in one series, what do you do after you get home from work? The largest number of the participants said, they go home and watch television.

I also asked them do you have enough time to get the things you need to get done at home after work?

Their answers were largely "no, they do not have enough time to get everything done".

I then asked them, "Do you think there is a connection between watching television when you get home and not enough time to get everything done?"

A conversation continued... I asked if they felt more rested after watching television or more tired? The answer was not surprising to me, but it was to them... "They felt better if they kept busy rather than stop and started watching television."

We have the ability to control our schedules to be more productive, more active, more fulfilling. We have to look at a number of components to this, fixed and flexible schedules, priorities, desires to accomplish certain tasks, and so on... or we can come home and decide that we 'deserve to sit for hours in front of the television and complain we don't have time to get stuff done.'

I know, that sounds so very harsh. But when people sit in front of the television and not realize that 4 or 5 hours passed in a blink of an eye and still complain they don't have time to do anything... well, that is a big 'why' behind the struggles you have with leveraging your time.

Being able to recognize your time wasters and making steps to change the time wasters into productive time...

And here is the thing... that productive time... it could be having time to go for a hike, spend time doing something with your spouse or children, reading a book, learning something new, writing a book, starting a new hobby, making time with friends... making new friends, networking, building your business, visiting family, traveling, trying new restaurants, community events, school events, volunteering... the list is endless... and so much better than just accomplishing nothing and not realizing why.

Are you Ready and Set to Go - Leveraging Your Time? 


Share Your Abundance - Sharing Sunday

Share Your Abundance With Us! Sharing Sunday!

What a great week I had last week. It is always great to see hard work pay off. I had some great successes and I had two new opportunities literally handed to me. It was incredible. Then on Wednesday I went to a networking event... it was a Yao Buffet in Asheville/Candler area. I picked up a fortune cookie but didn't open it until Thursday... and this is what it said... "your hard work is about to pay off. Congratulations." I had already started to see it paying off... but isn't it cool when you see it in writing... At that networking event I shared a gratitude of the evidence I have seen of the Law of Abundance happening with me and with some close to me. All of that happening in the same week... reinforces the belief that if you acknowledge what you are grateful for... you can see the law of abundance happen to you...

What are some of your blessing you received this week? Share them here... I would love to celebrate your successes and/or blessings you experienced this week... Make this a weekly post... Share Your Successes or Blessings Sunday! Leave your blessings and successes in the comments so we can all say "Yay You!"

What is the Law of Abundance? Abundance is more than just about money... it is about all aspects of life... It is more about the positive that you find and focus on and see it multiply in your life and the lives of others...

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” 
― Anthony Robbins

“Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature.” 
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

“Today expect something good to happen to you no matter what occurred yesterday. Realize the past no longer holds you captive. It can only continue to hurt you if you hold on to it. Let the past go. A simply abundant world awaits. (January 11)” 
― Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

Share your abundance with us! 


Fear of Success - A 'Why' Behind Struggles With Leveraging Your Time

What's your why behind your struggles with Leveraging Your Time?

Do you feel fear of failure? Or fear of success? Yes, that is as valid a reason as fear of failure. Some people believe deeply in their subconscious that they do not deserve success and will sabotage themselves with constant negative thoughts, words and actions. They will focus on why something won't work so that when it doesn't work they were right.

In those situations, they fail to realize they did not fail because of being right, but because they did all they could to make sure they would fail. They spent a great deal of effort and time making sure they failed. They didn't do what they needed to do to succeed. They purposely did as little as they could to make an appearance of trying, but those who experienced success in anything knows... you have to put forth energy and effort and then a bit more...

Those who are negativery in their core beliefs of their ability to be successful do not see their shortcomings in this area. They claim they are being realistic. They are not. They make excuses. They justify their lack of willingness to put forth real effort by finding ways it won't work.

Let's look at this example. You want to start your own business. You have a product people can use and see real results. Your have friends, family and coworkers but instead of asking them to help you... you tell yourself they won't want to help you, they don't have money for your product and/or they won't share with others what you are doing with people they know. You also tell yourself you don't know anyone else so you can't sell product to others...

Does any of that sound familiar?

A person thinking in that manner cuts down potential clients substantially because you assume facts you don't know for sure. You don't know their needs, desires, fnances, or willingness to help you. You also tell yourself that you don't know anyone else... but fail to realize a few facts that are obvious to others... you cut out your sphere of influence - family, friends, and coworkers... and then you fail to understand the concept of networking or getting out to meet others...

A person like this tends to drive people crazy due to their negative behavior, their doom and gloom words...

It's not just the constant negativity that's sad in these people... but the fact they don't see it even if pointed out to them. They feel at home in their negative behaviors because of their self limiting beliefs.

They have the same opportunities to succeed as everyone else. They just have to begin addressing their self limiting beliefs. Until they do so, success is unattainable. And in this case... success is not a better life because of money... it is satisfaction, contentment, peace, happiness, and a positive spirit.

Are you Ready and Set to Go in addressing your self limiting beliefs?