Category Archives: Personal Development

4 Tips to Help You Follow-up

As December arrives so does time for reflection. This year has been full of ups and downs. From a business perspective, the word burned into my brain is follow-up. I have found my biggest failures have come from a lack of follow-up.

Failure to me can come in many different forms like not sending a Thank You card after a meeting, overcommitting or letting a lead grow cold. All these things resolve by following a few simple tricks.

  1. Set Reminders. As soon as you think of the act, write it down. I typically put reminders in my phone. It takes a quick minute to write down what you need to do
  2. Take your time. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. I am the worst at rushing through my to-do’s missing opportunities to secure next steps or forgetting details that can take work to the next level. I have found when I slow down I can set reminders, do better work and get more done.
  3. Do the behavior: I subscribe and listen to a podcast (SalesTuners.com). One of the guests discussed the importance of doing the behavior every single day. You can check out the episode here. The biggest take-a-way I found was to ask, “what are the minimum things I have to do today?” Once you establish your standard, the work ethic follows.
  4. Timeblock: I recently asked someone I look up to (who is coincidently the creator of SalesTuners) how he manages to get so much done in a single week. His response was to time block. Doing this activity is a challenge for me as my day currently revolves around a newborn, so I am pretty reactionary. However, when I do have help with the baby, I make sure to time block those days so I can maximize my efforts and eliminate multi-tasking.

Do you have any secrets to share that help you? I’d also love to know what (if any) technology you use to help you get more done?

Do you lead your life?

Most people don’t lead their life, they accept their life. Most people don’t challenge their thinking. They don’t question the way things are. They don’t reexamine their thought processes.  They don’t ask why they think a certain way. Instead, they accept the answers given. They are okay with no progression no evolvement.

Don’t be most people.

Question yourself. Question others. Inspire curiosity. Don’t accept ‘no’ to your ‘yes’. Don’t tell God your plans ask Him. Then listen. Always seek forward movement and reflection. Constantly ask yourself, why. The answers should inspire more questions and the questions should inspire action.

Go ahead. I dare you. Ask yourself, why.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

post inspired by A More Beautifull Question by Warren Berger.

 

 

Keep on Keepin On

Over the past six weeks, life has changed immensely. From having a baby three months early to navigating the waters of my ever ebbing and flowing career. One thing I have been clear on since leaving my full-time job back in 2015 is that I never want to work a 9 to 5 again. Now, that I have had a baby this is ever more important as I never want to sacrifice my time with her for money. I never want to miss an important event. I never want to sacrifice travel and opportunity due to the parameters inherent with a corporate career. All this to say, I’m proud that I have been able to create a lifestyle business by working with and for like-minded individuals.

The biggest challenge has been time management. When given the opportunity to create your own hours, work on your own terms, autonomy is your worst and best friend. All that to say, I have learned (am still learning) a few things to keep the balance while getting the job done.

  1. Keep yourself accountable. Regardless of whether your ‘boss’ requires you to track your tasks and time spent, do it anyway. It is useful for you to know how you are spending your time. It also allows you to track the results of your efforts in relation to the task required. I have used several programs in the past most recently TeamWorks, Trello, and Myhours. They are simple to use and allow for you to collaborate with your colleagues remotely.  I also use Slack to keep communication channels open without having to use email or texting.
  2. Keep a calendar. I use Google Calendar to keep all my personal and professional commitments. I even use it to schedule my gym time, my ‘home’ time as well as study time. I try to follow it carefully while allowing me the flexibility I crave. In doing so, I set commitments each day for the things that I need to accomplish.
  3. Keep a commitment to your health. As noted above, I put in my calendar time for the gym and home. This way I have pre-scheduled the time needed to take care of my health and hearth. I have also recently joined a group that my sister runs that fosters a community of people striving to stay fit and eat healthy. This creates another layer of accountability beyond the intrinsic drive. (if interested in that, you can email her by clicking here)
  4. Keep learning. Never stop reading, listening to podcasts, meeting new people and engaging with those that think differently than you. I have recently started diving more into podcasts. There is so much free information out there from experts in every industry. A few of my new finds are Side Hustle Nation, Tropical MBA, EOFire, & Growth Hack Your LIfe. If you can’t tell already, they are focused on the digital nomad or entrepreneur, which are obviously in line to the career and life I’m creating. I encourage you to read at least one book a month, subscribe to one podcast, meet with a new person or old contact every 6 weeks and spark new conversations. It sounds like work, but in reality, it will keep you focused and ahead of the curve.
  5. Keep your priorities in check. Constantly re-evaluate your priorities. By looking at your calendar and your activity you can start to see a pattern of how you are spending your time. If you start to see a shift towards one thing or another be sure to make sure that shift is in the direction of your goals. If not, make a shift back. Your priorities should align to your purpose. Make sure you are vigilant in keeping these at the top of your mind.

Any tricks or tips you care to share?

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Define What Matters

I’m on day 7 of Hospital bed rest. It was going fine (relatively speaking) until last night. Out of nowhere I was completely broken, discouraged, and had a suffocating feeling of being trapped. So like all adults do, I called my mom to come sleep here with me.

As I woke up this morning, from little to no sleep, I continued to struggle. My eyes red from tears that had dropped continuously through the night. I decided to take a shower, clear my head, and watch this weekend’s past service. One of the major take-a-ways for me was the understanding of pain and how the joy of the Lord is what will sustain me over these next few weeks (well, and in life).

In defining what matters, my focus goes from myself and to the mission. Quite literally my mission is to provide a house for our baby and to do what the Dr says. Success in life is not the absence of pain, of heartache, or of bed rest. Success is the leveraging of pain. By focusing on what matters, the goal, the mission, I can embrace the pain knowing I am making progress. Every day I am here our baby is making progress. In defining what matters, I can refocus my attention on the goal.

Although my analogy identifies the pain of having to be on bed rest and the multitude of emotions surrounding this, the fundamentals of this message resonates in all areas of our lives. Often, we focus on the negatives of what we are experiencing. We question God and seek to eliminate any discomfort. The reality is pain like failure is crucial to joy, which is God’s will for us. (John 10:10). There is no gain without pain. There is no opportunity for growth when you are unproductive and tired. Pain allows us to experience change, and this alone is a blessing. I challenge each of us to be clear in defining what matters. In the midst of any trial, focus on the mission and not the moment. In doing so, your pain becomes temporary, and your balance is restored.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Address the Elephant

In the past six months, I found out I was pregnant (surprise!) and had to deal with many family difficulties. I hate to say it and be cliche but the thought of becoming a parent has changed me. Instead of shying away from the awkward conversations that arise when people make poor choices, or do things that negatively influence you, I now find it necessary to address the elephant when these things happen. Why? Because my priorities have shifted. Because during this time my faith and friendships have grown stronger as a result of having these key conversations. I will not blame hormones for the issues I have had to address. Rather, I’ll credit hormones for giving me the strength to address things that once I would have let roll off my back or bury somewhere to never deal with. There’s something liberating about addressing an issue in a non-confrontational manner. Instead of ignoring it, pushing it down, or rationalizing it I have chosen to identify why it bothers me and communicate compassionately.

I have found that I have become quite particular with the pending arrival of our baby. Someone told me it was the hormones. Nope. It’s not the hormones. It’s a life-changing privilege and my particularities have grown to accommodate what we feel is best for our baby. Is that ungrateful, selfish or controlling? Some may say yes. I say no. We feel so blessed to have this little, unplanned baby and want to provide for her in the best way possible. I believe that things come from God – including the visions we may have for our future (caveat to this: the visions he plants in us because we have prayed and sought wisdom for them, James 1:5).

To me, addressing the elephant in any room provides an opportunity for growth and effective communication. In doing so, we must approach the conversation without anger or accusations. We must do so in a way that communicates a desire for clarification and understanding.

Elephants appear in every relationship whether it’s a significant other, friends, family members and/or colleagues. Don’t ignore the thousand pound mass, greet it. It’s better to gain understanding regardless if  in the end, your opinions differ. I guarantee the other person will respect you for addressing it and your relationship will grow.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Agreeing to Disagree: The Ugly Truth

Lately, I have found myself in conflict whether it’s due to hormones raging, spring rain, or simply learning to speak the truth. I’ll never know. I have always been one to reply immediately to an email, a text, or a call as I hate having to deal with things later. Instead of avoiding conflict I tend to quickly push for it so that it’s over with. To clarify, when I say conflict I mean conversation and not necessarily passionate argument. Recently, I’ve been using less tact which has caused me to be in some uncomfortable situations.

What have I learned from this?  

That it is totally okay. It’s totally okay to not only disagree with someone but sometimes it’s worth the consequence of living in unsettled conflict. Now, I’m not giving you permission to be a jerk just because you have an opinion. Rather, I’m realizing that it’s okay to say your peace, work through it, and then if you don’t come to an agreement to walk away unsettled.

In the past, I would stop at nothing to create a resolution. Sometimes there is no resolution. Sometimes you have to pray and trust that the actions you take and the words you speak are coming from a good place and let that be that. If it’s coming from a good place there’s no need to be defensive, no need to use hurtful words or actions. You can simply speak your mind. Yet, I urge you to pray that the words you choose come from logic and heartfelt sincerity and not anger, jealousy, or revenge. Before engaging in the inevitable conflict wait to respond, don’t rush into it in order to get over with. This is when you can run into trouble for when we rush to act or speak we can say things that are not necessary and cause unintended harm.

Conflict can either create chaos in your mind or it can provide clarity. I choose to embrace conflict as it allows me to stay true to my beliefs, to stay loyal to those I love, and to grow from new perspectives gained. Embrace the ugly truth that agreeing to disagree is simply a mature way of living in conflict without it impacting your life in a negative way.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Saying Sorry

I ended a career with a company due to many personal reasons. In the ending months of that business relationship, there were several frustrating things that happened. Unfortunately, I handled the situation emotionally and did not respond in the best way. Instead, I let my frustration control my actions. Lately, it had been weighing on my mind.  I decided to apologize for my behavior. I  wasn’t sure what I expected to happen. Actually, I contemplated blocking the response from my email so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the potential negative reaction.

I don’t like conflict, I hate drama, and I don’t like the idea of leaving a negative impression in someone’s mind. I decided to apologize for my behavior. I  wasn’t sure what I expected to happen. Actually, I contemplated blocking the response from my email so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the potential negative reaction.

I received a very gracious response.  A huge weight lifted off my shoulders. A weight I didn’t realize I had been carrying with me all these months. Saying sorry is powerful regardless of who is right and who is wrong. There’s freedom when you forgive yourself and those who may have harmed you. A freedom I didn’t realize I had kept locked away.

This was a powerful lesson for me. I was so concerned with my feelings and my pride. Instead of focusing on reacting the right way, I let my pride lead. Learning to say sorry is the right way to live. Period.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

The Unspoken Pressure

Many of the things I’ve learned since coming to Law School have nothing to do with the judicial system. Yes, of course, I’ve learned a ton in that regard, but more importantly I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s easy to succumb to unspoken pressure when you’re in an environment of people who are extremely intelligent, driven and opinionated.  By pressure, I mean the feeling of needing to compete, of seeking peer approval or of feeling like you have to pursue a certain path in order to be successful. (a.k.a pay back your student loans).

Recently, I was able to meet with an attorney for a ‘mock’ interview. It was a great opportunity to sharpen my skills while getting prepared for pursuing internships or experience. One of the things he said to me (I’m paraphrasing) was that you have to stay true to who you are and what you want to do. This is something I always thought I knew. Yet, after the pleasantries were exchanged and I shook his hand. I went to my car and cried. I cried thinking, “What have I done?” “Why am I here?” “Why have I made the choice to take on more student loan debt?” “Why am I in Law School?”

Doubt started to overwhelm me. I thought about going home and giving up for the day. After an internal monolog, I pulled it together and went to school. Resolving to not get caught up in the idea of what other people are doing, which is much easier said than done.

I’ve known for quite some time that I don’t want a conventional career. (For goodness sakes, I was a theater major). I refuse to create a life dedicated to another [wo]man’s dollar or another [wo]man’s dream. With that mentality often comes uncertainty, instability, and sacrifice. These words have never really scared me. On the contrary, these words excite me.

I went to Law School to gain the skills to catapult my love for serving others into helping turn their dreams of entrepreneurship, of entertainment, of artistry into realities. Ultimately, I want to advocate for, protect, and serve creative geniuses.

I’m excited to be on this journey. I’m grateful for the opportunity. Although there is much uncertainty, instability, and sacrifice involved I know I made the right choice. Others may think I’m crazy or wonder about me, but I’ll remain true to myself, my unique talents, and the dreams that God has given me.

xoxo,

BC

“First, do no harm”

“First, do no harm” is used in the medical profession as a guiding principle for physicians that, whatever the situation, the patient’s well-being is the primary consideration. I understand this is used by physicians in a literal life or death situation, but can’t it also be used for ourselves in every aspect of our lives?

Shouldn’t we be more in tune to whether or not the decisions we make are going to impact us negatively or even permanently disable us from living the life we’ve imagined? This life I’m referring to is above and beyond a monetary or materialistic gain. It’s about living a life worth living, the life you were meant to live. If you’re like me then the worst, most crippling feeling in the world is to be a cog in someone else’s machine. As I make decisions I keep this very, real fear in mind in order to ensure I don’t lead down that path professionally and/or personally.

Ultimately when I say, ‘first, do no harm’ I’m suggesting that when you are creating your goals you must be mindful of every choice you make. Will it impact your family? Will it limit your ability to give back? Will it allow you to go on that vacation that you’re yearning for? Keep your priorities in order and make your decisions surrounding those. No judgement here as to what those are. Just consider what harm really means for your life and who could suffer as a result.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Nothing is Missing

Last Friday I received one of my weekly TUT messages, read below:

Know what’s missing from most people’s live? The realization that nothing is missing from their lives. You already have whatever you may be looking for.

I read this about a dozen times. I agree with the message completely. Yet, something didn’t quite sit right. For me, success and fulfillment are only achieved if I’m progressing forward. While I think this message is an important reminder to be grateful. It also puts things into perspective when thinking about all the ‘wants’ vs. needs in life. (If you’re reading this then you already have a better quality of life than most in the world.) 

So my big takeaway – being grateful doesn’t require you to lower your standards. It’s similar to the methodology of SCRUM, in that you check-in on your progress to ensure you’re still headed in the right direction.

Keep moving forward, be grateful for where you are and what you have. Although nothing essential may be missing it is however, essential to keep moving forward in pursuing your goals. Realizing that you have it great now is part of having a grateful heart and attitude at all times.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick