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Final Week in Family Tribal Leadership

Sunday, 10th October 2010

Nothing ever goes as planned.  That is the one lesson I am learning over and over again as I try to lead my family to greatness.  Okay, greatness is a little much, how about to being better than we started.  Today is October 10, 2010, which was the due date for my family’s leadership quests.  Let me drill down to how they did.  First, my husband.  No he didn’t do the real estate thing.  Once he got into it that didn’t seem practical so he went to applying for a job, which turned out to applying to many jobs.  He got hired too but quit that day realizing it didn’t fit with his ethics.  Now he is further down the job path and we have our fingers crossed that one of the jobs he applied for will come through or that he will find one that will work soon.  My take, this has been a huge success.  He got out there, got his feet wet, and still continuing.

My daughter who was going to bake a cake for the widows joined in with another daughter and then my son also joined in giving up his idea of cleaning the park.  They of course waited until today to do it.  They set out with the cakes they made to visit the widows and learned that not one neighboring widow was home.  They had a life other than waiting for teenagers to knock on their door on Sunday afternoons.  So my girls and son visited youth leaders in their church.  The reported ah ha was that everyone needs a boost.  They were surprised at what a difference it made in people who they would have judged had it all together.  They learned everyone needs kindness.

My daughter that was going to do the book donation ran into the problems with that project which she may continue in a later date.  She has decided to do another project this time for a widow that does answer her phone.  My daughter was granted an extension and will be serving soon.

Then to my four year olds project.  We had a great time buying the cookie dough at the grocery store together.  (I can’t bake.  Seriously I can’t stand putting all that butter and sugar in.  All I think about is the clotted arties and I begin reducing the recipe then I get yelled at …you get the picture.)  After we had the dough she did a good job in arranging all her siblings into helping her bake them.

Today we went as a family to give the cookies to my former mother-in-law, Mara Dee.  As a side note, I adore my mother-in-law.  This woman was one of the great ones.  She was funny, full of life, and cared so much for others.  She would spend months making wreathes for people sick at the hospital or for the elderly.  She has dementia and quickly went downhill over the past few years.  I haven’t seen her for awhile, being an ex-in-law and all but this was a good excuse.  I know how much she loves children, cookies, babies and we brought all three.

I knew that Mara Dee wasn’t doing well.  I’ve seen her before but I guess I wasn’t prepared to see someone that I love so much be so completely gone.  As I looked into her eyes and saw someone completely checked out, I couldn’t help but remember how many times she would say how she didn’t want to become like that.  How she never wanted to be a burned to anyone.  How she would rather die than to not be able to function and remember.  Yet, there she was exactly what she didn’t want to become.  I waited until everyone else left the room and held my baby up to her and I think for a brief moment she looked at the baby with delight and then the cloud came over her again and she grew tired and scared.

As I look back at the journey, I am glad we took it.  The kids enjoyed the meals, some like the picnics, storytelling and family time, which we are continuing.  Yes, it has brought the family closer and hopefully created more memories for them to rely on later in life.  Each person life has changed.  There has been learning.  I have to say what I learned most was the impact that my mother-in-law had on me.  She loved me all those years I was her daughter-in-law.  She took me in as daughter and a friend.  Her influence I will never forget.  It was her love that changed my life and made it so much better.  It is my hope that my family when looking back will be able to say that about me.  If they do, I know that my life was lived well for this reason I will continue to working on strengthening the tribe.

The Answer to Work/Life Balance

Thursday, 7th October 2010

desk

Have you ever found it difficult balancing two different areas of your life, such as work and family? Would you be interested in knowing that there is a way to be happier in both areas—and that it doesn’t necessarily require more work?

You should have been there when I was coaching a young sales rep with a truckload of ambition, saddled with the concerns a young family can bring. When he showed up for his coaching call, he announced that one of his children would soon have an extended stay in the university hospital. How would he manage the increased family responsibilities with the constant pressure of being able to provide for them? He would have significantly less time for business but a dramatic increase in demand for money because of growing hospital bills.

To add another layer to his pressure, his wife had a chronic health condition that the doctors said needed immediately attention. The last layer of stress was the businessman’s health. It was starting to get affected, because he wasn’t putting in the needed time to take care of himself.

I immediately had him take a deep breath, letting go of as much stress as he could. Then I had him quickly write what needed to be done in one column, what could be taken out in the other. He had to be ruthless. He had no time or energy to work on things that “would be nice.” Every item in the second column went to the calendar as things to do after he climbed out of survival mode.

Then I had him study and explore a concept I learned from my personal coach. The concept sounds real simple, but it’s one of those things that is harder to apply.

Here it is: Figure out what your perfect working conditions are.

What is included in your list? What things need to be in place for you to be a peak performance? Do you need to eat certain kinds of food at certain times? Do you need to exercise? If so, what type? How often? How long? Do you need to have a certain amount of rest?

What about the state of your desk? Do you operate better when it’s clean, or if it has a certain amount of clutter? How much family time do you need to put in so you aren’t riddled with guilt? What else do you need in place?

How many hours are you working? What gives you the motivation to step it up? Are there certain people, activities or meetings that naturally get you motivated?

These questions sound easy, but it is amazing how many people don’t know the answers. After I put my young sales rep through the questionnaire, it became clear that proper food, exercise, and hunting time were his magic ingredients to relieve his stress enough that he could with a clear head move through the other challenges. Once we brainstormed how he could accomplish more of those things within the confines of his circumstances, he more easily slipped into the zone. In fact, at the end of the year, he was ecstatic that he’d worked less than ever but had and made significantly more money.

The question is: Are you ready to be happier? What would being in the zone do for your business? What would it do for your personal life?

If you are ready to find out, Zone Play.

Achieve Leadership Excellence No Matter Where You Go

Friday, 1st October 2010

Businessman silhouette

Achieving excellence in leadership is a matter of knowing how you show up in the playing field, your impact, and how to accelerate both for maximum results.

Have you ever gone somewhere and wondered why you even made the effort? How about feeling like you don’t belong in some groups no matter what you say or do?

What if I told you that there is a way where you not only will never feel like a stranger, but you won’t have to worry about pleasing others again?

On an early snowy January morning in 2009, I was deflated, sitting at a greasy, cold breakfast network meeting. I was surrounded by suits, wondering how to get their respect and sell in a man’s world. The men were courteous but clearly did not accept me into their club.

I was newly remarried, recovering from a divorce after six kids and thirteen years of marriage. I was also recovering from a failed business that had consumed most of my time, energy, and money the year before. As I straightened my jacket, I wondered,

What am I doing here? I don’t belong here. I’d been coming to these meetings for six months and had never made a sale. I’m a mother of six, I thought. I should be at home. The suits won’t take me seriously, especially with another baby coming. It doesn’t matter how professional I dress. And I already lost $30,000 last year.

At that meeting, I once again, went through the process of trying to sell myself as a coach. Once again, I failed. I dragged myself home, where my husband put his arms around me and said I should just quit.  “Dear, I hate seeing you get all stressed out and tied up in knots. You don’t belong in the hard business world. You just aren’t built that way.”

Later that day, I received an e-mail from the coaching school I just promised $8000 to get accredited. I needed to have seven paying clients in one month’s time, or I would be kicked out of the program. Great. I’d gone six months without a single sale. I had one client so far. Now, magically, I was supposed to get six more in four weeks?

I sat on my office couch in defeat. I was going to quit. It definitely would be cheaper. I wasn’t cut out to be in business. The kids would just have to wait for braces until they got married and their spouses could pay for them. Assuming they could find someone to marry them with crooked teeth.

I had just got myself believing that I would never have future grandkids because I wasn’t a business woman, when the phone rang. It was my future mentor calling, a woman I’d met the month before. She was an older lady from Arizona who wore ethereal clothes and had a quiet confidence about her although she was incredibly shy.

She said she’d felt impressed to call me. After hearing my plight, she had three life-changing questions for me.

Question #1: Are you a man or a woman?

Answer: Woman.

Question #2: Do you like the aggressive way the men sell?

No.

Question #3: Then why try to be one of them?

Ahh. She got me.

Over the next week, it didn’t take long for me to figure out my strengths. I was a mother at heart. I can see greatness in others. I can call them to that greatness, whether it requires a nurturing touch or a butt-kicking. I naturally discover what causes people pain and then help them tap in to their brilliance to solve their own problems.

Once I plugged in to my unique but natural way of being—focusing on helping the suits be their best—and stayed that way throughout the sales process—I hit bingo. Now not only do I fill my practice quickly and easily, but I get to decide which clients to take on.

In a sense, my husband was right—I didn’t belong in the boys’ club. I needed to start my own club. Now I belong to Lisa’s club. I am the owner, and I decide who belongs. Guess how much I charge my husband to come visit?

So ask yourself: What club are you still trying to get into to? Stop.

Own your own club.