Change The Where, Not The Who

Happy Woosah Wednesday.

This is a big week for me, as I made my final edits and gave the greenlight for officially sending my first book off for printing. 🙌🏼 🙌🏾

In preparation for the launch, I have been a guest on a handful of podcasts over the past few weeks to share my story. And because it is a book on leadership written for other women on the rise, I’ve met some incredibly amazing and talented fellow female entrepreneurs so far along my journey.

Then, my brain went and did one of it’s favorite things to do and connected the dots…. Each and every encounter has been filled with great energy AND the opportunity to collaborate and amplify each other on our individual missions to help other entrepreneurs. Which lead me to reflect on a time not so long ago, when I found myself in a room that had me questioning if I was “the problem”, when in fact I was simply the outlier in a non-collaborative space.

And then I stumbled across a video clip online that brought it all home. A Black woman in a leadership role was asked to share some advice based on her own experiences. The tip that really hit home for me was “change the where, not the who.” What she meant by this, was when we find ourselves in less than optimal settings or spaces, we (women especially) tend to think we need to adjust WHO we are to fit in WHERE we are. While sometimes this may be true, more often that not, it’s a sign you’re in the wrong place to be your authentic self.

My request of you as you move through the next few weeks is to pay attention to the WHERE’s in your life, especially the ones where you get to be your true, authentic and best self, and make a plan to spend more time in those spaces. Then evaluate what you can do when you find yourself in a space that has you questioning your WHO. Sometimes a simple acknowledgment and conversation can shift the energy, and sometimes you may find the need to limit your time spent in that space to honor yourself.

At the end of the day, we all deserve to be met with more smiles than frowns, so make an effort to maximize your time WHERE you get to be be WHO you are at your core. 😍

Give Yourself Permission To Rest

Every morning, when I wake up and get out of bed, the first thing I do is make my bed. Sheets are re-tucked, comforter is smoothed out and all of the pillows are fluffed and neatly stacked. For me, it signals the “transition” into my waking hours. I also like knowing that when it’s time to go back to bed, all I have to do is pull back the covers and tuck myself in.

At some point during the middle of the pandemic though, I hit the wall. One morning I got up to get my daughter squared away for school and get the dogs out and fed, and I thought to myself “I’m just too tired today.” That morning I chose to leave my bed unmade with the thought that once everyone was settled “I’d crawl back in for a little extra sleep.” And you know what happened? I didn’t need to. Once I got up and moving, had my morning cup of tea and took the dogs for a walk, I found the energy to stay up and moving. I did end up popping back into my room to make my bed though before heading to my desk for the day. 😂

 

And ever since that day, when I’m feeling particularly worn out, I leave my bed unmade when I get up and give myself permission to come back to it if needed. The amazing thing is, giving myself the permission to rest often gives me the strength to push through. There have been days over the past year where I have crawled back into bed due to burnout and exhaustion (it’s real), but more often than not, once I get up and moving I stay up and moving (and always go back and make my bed).

As entrepreneurs, we love the hustle, we love the grind, we love being able to say we gave 110%, but we often forget that we’re still human and need to rest and recharge as well. Stepping away from your desk in the afternoon to take a walk and clear your head is not a waste of time, it’s actually an investment in your health and overall productivity. Choosing not to check your work email on a Sunday isn’t being lazy, it’s a sign of respect for yourself and your family to spend time alone or together. And giving yourself permission to rest when you’ve hit the wall isn’t weakness, it’s the self grace we all deserve to be our best selves (as opposed to the tired and burned out version who isn’t very productive or effective). So the next time you’re feeling worn out, give yourself permission to rest. You may not end up needing it, but knowing that it’s an option might make all the difference.

Who’s Your Accountability Partner?

Meet Georgia – she’s a flower coat Shar Pei and will turn 1 at the end of July…

…and if you asked me why on earth I agreed to get a puppy in the middle of the pandemic when we already have 2 dogs, my first answer would be, don’t ever give a teenager a challenge. 😳 Then I’d probably tell you when I saw her cute face I cracked, but that’s only part of the truth. The third reason is that I needed someone to keep me accountable to get back into better shape.

You’d never know it by looking at me, but if I had to run a mile right now to save my life, please bring hydrangeas to my funeral, they’re my favorite. 😂

Then came Georgia, who quickly grew from a 7 lb. eight week old puppy into a 42 lb. full grown dog who still has the energy of a puppy. She’s the definition of a “power walker” – solid muscle with a very quick gait. So, what went from a 10 minute morning walk with my two old and little dogs has now become three 30 minute power walks with Georgia every day. And I feel sooo much better than I did this time last year (and Siri is finally happy that I’m closing my rings).

So what’s the point of my puppy story?

We all have the best of intentions when it comes to setting goals around our family, our business, our health, etc., but we’re also all human. And as humans, it’s easy to come up with “legitimate reasons” (read as EXCUSES) as to why we can’t always stick with the plans we’ve committed to for ourselves.

Personally, I’ve found that having a partner to hold me accountable is often the difference between honoring my intentions or bailing a few days or weeks in. So instead of getting caught in my head thinking “I should be able to do this without any help,” I CHOOSE to choose someone to partner with and keep me on track.

What area of your life could you use some help in when it comes to reaching your goals? From getting more exercise to growing your business… set your intentions, find someone on a similar path, commit to keeping each other on track, and then hold yourselves accountable. It may be painful in the beginning, but well worth it in the end.

And I’m off for another walk. 😊

 

Need To Have A Difficult Conversation… Try Taking A Walk

My daughter turned 16 this year (I was 27 when she was born, so you can do the math…) which means we’re in full swing of navigating the teenage years and all of the tricky conversations that go along with it. What I’ve come to realize though, is tough subjects are much easier to discuss when we’re both in the car and heading somewhere. Here me out on this one for a minute… If you think back to the last time you had to call an employee into your office and have a difficult conversation, you may find yourself coming to the same realization… No matter how prepared you are, or how much they know about what’s to be discussed before hand, the act of you simply sitting at your desk facing them (the alpha seat) and them sitting on the other side facing you already sets you up for an uncomfortable conversation. Without the distraction of say sharing a meal across the table, one on one meetings can feel more like an interrogation, whether you mean for them to or not.

 

So, back to the car rides with my daughter… while sitting side by side in the car and both facing forward, somehow I’ve found it’s much easier to discuss a difficult or touchy subject. No need to worry about eye contact and maintaining it for too long, and less worry about the full view of your facial expressions as the conversation unfolds. And while you may not be able to hop into a car with an employee and take a drive, you can take a walk around the block, building or jobsite and chat along the way. The neutral territory will help level the playing field (no one likes walking into the bosses office for a meeting) and if you know about how long it will take you to complete the lap (plan out your route ahead of time) it will force you to cut to the chase and get to the point, as opposed to a potential long drawn out conversation in your office which may be more difficult to end.

 

And when you get back to the building, if a follow up needs to be scheduled, or you want to jot down a few notes about the agreement you’ve come to, you can do so then knowing that it’s the final to do before you both move on with your day. So next time you’re dreading calling someone into your office, why not try suggesting taking a walk instead?

3 Questions To Ask Yourself As You Prepare For The New Year

For many service-based business owners, the holiday season and start of the New Year means a little less work 🙁 , but also a little less chaos 🙂 … and time to finally work ON your business. As you sit down to plan for your New Year, here are 3 questions I’d encourage you to ask yourself.

1.What do you LOVE to do?

As your company grows and changes, so do your responsibilities. However, you should spend part of everyday doing something you LOVE to do. Whether this means something truly IN the business (I know an owner who still loves doing touch ups) to a networking lunch once a week (don’t let anyone tell you “lunching” isn’t work), to digging into a spreadsheet and crunching the numbers, there’s no wrong answer. Just be sure to allot the appropriate amount of time to what you love (ie – not all day) so you can still get all of your other to do’s taken care of, which leads me to…

2. What do you HAVE to do?

As the owner, there are certain duties and responsibilities that only you can truly handle. Make a list of what you HAVE to do on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis and knock it out early in the day or week so you can get back to doing what you love. And for everything else….

3. What are you WILLING to do, for a little while longer?

As your company continues to grow, hiring some additional overhead help will become necessary. Make a list of all of the tasks that you’d love to hand off to someone else to execute and then, when it’s feasible, go find them. If you’re still running a solo operation, the “first hire” dilemma is usually between an office admin or a field ops person. Your list of what you love, have and are willing to do will help you determine which one makes more sense first for you. And if you already have that extra help, this is a good exercise to make sure the work they’re doing is truly lightening your load in the most helpful way.

Here’s to enjoying a little quiet time this holiday season and starting off the New Year with a plan to continue building the business you’ve always dreamed of.

#businessplanning #ONthebusiness #strategicplanning #newyear #newgoals #newopportunities

What, Why and How – The 3 Keys To Leading Through Change

As I write my very first Full Circle blog, we’re just a few days away from my favorite conference of the year – The PDCA Residential Forum Advanced Shop Talk. This year will mark the 20thanniversary of AST, and it’s in my hometown of Philadelphia, so I couldn’t be more excited. It got me thinking about how much I’ve learned from the group over the past decade or so, and I thought it would be fitting to start this journey with one little tidbit that could have a major impact for all of us both working IN and ON our businesses.

 

Much of the work that happens within The Full Circle Business platform is geared towards business owners looking to create systems and processes to calm the chaos and/or set themselves up for the growth required to reach that next milestone. At AST 18, John Kahl, CEO of ShurTech Brands, shared his story of how having solid core values has shaped their company over the years. And while core values are critical to the overall and continued success of any company, there was one small piece of insight that he shared towards the end of his talk that sparked my “ah ha” moment.

 

John started by drawing a diagram of what I like to call the upside down snowman. The largest circle is at the top, and the smallest circle is at the bottom. Then he added one arrow pointing down on the top right and one arrow pointing up on the bottom left.

 

He then went on to explain that small movement at the top causes BIG movement at the bottom, but big movement at the bottom often only causes SMALL movement at the top. His point? That when the leaders of a company make a decision that results in the shift of a system, process, etc., it’s going to affect the people in the bottom circle the most – go back and read that one more time… John’s advice – be sure to weigh changes very carefully and measure and monitor their impact. The best intentions may cause more harm than good if those who have to execute on the changes aren’t a part of the decision making process for the “how.”

 

Put another way, it is the job of the leader to decide WHAT needs to happen and explain WHY, but those who will be making it all happen need to be included on HOW to best accomplish the task.

 

So as you consider your next growth opportunity or creation of a new system or process, take a moment to define the WHAT very clearly. Be sure you can explain the WHY in a way that will click with the rest of your team, and then ask them to help you with the HOW. You’ll be amazed at the results that can be achieved through a truly collaborative effort – where everyone is given the opportunity to try (and maybe fail) and arrive at the optimal solution and successful outcome together.