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Be the Best in 2013! Happy New Year!

Sunday, 30th December 2012

It is not always easy to take the steps to happiness, but that is what it takes to live a life of no regrets.

There is always a chance to make a difference.

Get prepared for next year.

Peak Performance Training: Step It Up and Get Results!

Wednesday, 12th December 2012

Most small business owners I coach want to earn more and work less. This is not a fairy tale wish, or a desire because they are lazy, but a real desire; an aspiration to reach their potential in both their personal and professional lives.

For the business owners to start getting those results—fewer hours and more money—they must implement principles of success to an even a higher level than they currently are.
One of the most important principles is mapping out what is possible. A great story from the winter of 2009 illustrates this point. At the time, I was busily working at my home computer, buried under mountains of projects, a small heater blew in an effort to keep me warm.

An instant message clicked on, so I hastily focused on my IM manager. I was totally unprepared to see an unexpected bump into the past as I glanced at the chatter and did a double take.
Red. It was my redheaded girlfriend from church and school. How long had it been since I’d had contact with her? It’s been almost twenty years. Wow.
We quickly began chatting, and then she got to her reason for IM-ing me. “I read your Facebook postings. How can you be so happy all the time?”
Bam. I had to roll back in my office chair. I’d never seen myself that way. But from my training to be a coach, I knew her question wasn’t about me, but about her. She must be suffering to go to the effort to look me up and establish contact.
Curious about what could be bothering her, I scheduled a phone appointment. A few days later, we talked, and I found a friendly person completely overwhelmed by her husband’s brutal dismissal from a successful business and the backstabbing he suffered.
The ugliness of the situation weighed on her, causing her to have a bleak outlook for her family’s future. It was clear her husband’s lay-off weighed her down, preventing her from remembering what was possible.
“What do you want?” I asked.
After some reflection, she said, “I want him to have a job where he is valued.”
“Is that possible?” I asked.
“I don’t know. With the economy being what it is, and so many people losing their jobs—”
I interrupted her. “I think it is possible your husband can not only get another job quickly, but a higher paying one where he is valued.”
“You do?”
“Don’t you? You just told me how he was the key person in the last business, right?”
“Oh, yes. He made them so much money. They still need him. They keep calling, asking questions on how to do things.”
“So why can’t he get a better job?”
“We live in a small town.”
“So?”
“I guess he could get a better job. No, you’re right. He can.”
Using an effective coaching question, I asked, “What’s next?”
“For me to believe in the power of the possible.”
Don’t you just love that phrase—the power of the possible?
If you believed in the power of the possible, what would you believe in? What would you dare consider that could happen? With my redheaded friend, I wasn’t sure what would happen, but I did know she would be happier if she held onto the power of the possible.
Two weeks later, I heard from her again.
“I wanted to thank you,” she started off, and then got to the juicy part. “My husband got a job last week. You won’t believe this—he loves his job. They treat him well, and the best part is that he’s making more than he did in his last job.”
As soon as she shifted to how she was showing up in her own life, her whole family’s circumstances changed. What amazed me was the impact a spouse’s belief can have All she had to do was plug back in to her natural optimistic self. That was enough to energize the whole situation. Her belief in her husband was enough for him to do what he needed to in order to get to his next professional level.

Stop right now and write down what situation in your life currently needs some energizing. Look at it and ask, “What’s possible?” Now believe in the power of the possible and get the results you want out of your life and your business.

Coaching Baby Boomers for Business Success

Thursday, 25th October 2012

Baby boomers are at a fun time in their lives. Most are in transition and a lot of them are looking at their businesses differently. Many of my clients ask me, in a roundabout way, if they can have it all. Can they have a full family life, successful business, and enriching “me time,” (which often includes travel or doing things that give them fulfillment)?

Clear on the Definition

The first step is to determine what having it all means to you. What it means to one person is definitely not what it means to another. Does it mean making loads of money, success exploding from your business, a very romantic love life, quality time for kids, and a spotlessly clean house? Or does it mean having that quiet satisfaction of knowing that you are happy with what is happening in your life, and you’re enjoying a sense of contributing?
A lot of my baby boomer clients want a sprinkling of things in their life that make them feel complete. If they’re overloaded in one area, things start not working out as well for them. For example, one of my friends played with a grandchild several full days a week. She loved her grandbaby and cherished the time with that child, but after doing this for over a year, she started feeling swallowed up with the labors of childcare.

It was a huge struggle for her to determine what she wanted to do because she loved her grandchild and wanted what was best for that child. But the more she took care of the child, the more she had the general sense that she was no longer contributing in a bigger way. For some women, watching their grandchild would be just perfect and completely satisfying. For this friend, that wasn’t the case.

Before she could achieve satisfaction, she had to identify what was causing the problem. Once she figured out that she had an inner yearning to contribute more and to be seen for her other skills, she was able to do something about it. It is also important to realize that having “it all” and happiness are two different things. You need to prioritize between the two.

Research the Possibilities

My friend decided the possible solution to her problem would be to find a part-time job. She then determined what kind of work she was good at and would give her the satisfaction she needed.
For other baby boomers, the answer may not be as clear cut as this example . Many of my clients need to try out the balance of the things that are most important to them. They ask themselves questions like:

  • If I work only so many hours a week, what would that be like? Feel like? How would that affect others?
  • Would more firm boundaries give me the breathing room that I need to feel better?
  • What would happen if I took a day off regularly?
  • What am I doing when I feel at my best?

After they think they know the answers to what work/life balance will bring them happiness, it is time for them to experiment and try it out and see if what they experience is anywhere close to what they imagined.
My friend didn’t need to do this because she had worked before, and she knew the kind of job she wanted and the hours and the type of work place she’d be working in. After you have a good sense of what will work for you, balancing the factors of your life, your wants, needs, and desires, it’s time to make it a reality, or in other words, time to swing into action.

Make It So

For some this can be one of the scariest steps because not only is it taking action, but it is also making a declaration for you and the kind of life that you want to live.

Striving for happiness is not always the easiest path, and is not one that can be accomplished without bravery and courage. It takes a lot to stand up against what is “normal” and say I am going to make some changes.
My friend applied for the job that met her criteria and got it within a week. Her boss is thrilled, and her husband is happier, but most importantly she is happier, and she still has a great time with her grandchild.
It is not always easy to take the steps to happiness, but that is what it takes to live a life of no regrets.

Benefits of Working with a Business Life Coach

Wednesday, 18th July 2012

Small business owners and entrepreneurs who have experienced working with business life coaches can attest the many benefits of getting a coach.  Professional coaches can give a sound and honest feedback regarding your business.

A coach keeps your motivations up. A person who is not only a friend but a mentor. That person is someone who is always available to be your business consultant. A coach is a teacher, a taskmaster and a guide. If you are having problems with managing your time; if you are getting confused on which career advice to follow; or simply trying to seek knowledge and guidance on how to improve your relationships to better your personal life, you can turn and ask help from a coach.

It is only then you will realize the massive results you can get from consulting with a business coach. You will be able to recognize and learn how to value self-awareness, self confidence, a more balanced life, a wiser goal-setting and lower stress levels.

You will:

  • Learn how to confidently reach for your professional goals
  • Understand on a profound level how you are wired and how you can utilize  your knowledge for the best results
  • Know how to balance your family needs with work without guilt
  • Plus, have time for a nap
  • Implement stress management tools that really work no matter how unique your situation is

Coaching is one key to empowering small business owners and entrepreneurs on their road to success.

Coaching Success: Keeping Your Business Going No Matter What Happens in Your Personal Life

Wednesday, 28th March 2012

Do you ever feel like the more you try to get things going in the right direction the more life fights back, taking you further away? This past week has been like that for me. It seems like all the foundational work that I have laid down has unraveled with one incident in one moment of time.

When things get challenging and everything seems to wind the most complicated web and makes it impossible to climb out of it, what does one do? How does one keep going as a business owner when life outside wants to scream for all the attention?

How Do You Keep Your Business Afloat When Your Personal Life is Going Crazy?

I know by instinct, as I am sure many of you do, to make certain you stabilize, as much as possible anyway, the situation that is causing the turmoil. Assess the needs and make a detailed outline of when and how the needs will be met. After you have calmed the situation, the next step is to make sure that you take care of damage control. Address the needs of everyone involved, and make sure they at least feel listened to and taken care of. Then you make sure that you take some downtime, and that you are addressing your own needs, which of course includes the most important needs of your business.

It becomes critical at times like these that you rely on the good business habits that you have already developed like: knowing how to prioritize the most important tasks, delegating everything possible, and establishing clear boundaries for yourself and others about when you are going to get your work done.

Expedite the Climb Out of Personal Crisis so That You Won’t Feel the Drag at Work

Unfortunately or fortunately, we as humans are emotional creatures and things that happen to us in one part of our life will have an impact in other parts of our life. So when you have a personal crisis that has a dramatic effect on you, like a death in the family, or illness, or domestic discord, I have found some really helpful tools to deal with the impact the crisis has on you.

A great thing to do is get curious and see if you can find anything positive out of the situation. Trust me, I have had some really bad situations happen and had to think a long time before I could find anything positive about them. If you look long enough, you are bound to find something that is positive, even if it is “what not to do next time.”

When we see that our pain, suffering, and hardship does have a positive side to it and can be used for our benefit, the result is that we feel somewhat better. When we feel better, the negativity that was brought into the workplace will be much less.
We can’t always stop crises from happening, but just because they do happen doesn’t mean that we, along with our business, need to be taken down for the count.

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.

Tribal Family Leadership Week 7: Real Life

Monday, 27th September 2010

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Sometimes life has a way of sneaking up and completely changing things.  That happened this week on my plans for the tribal leadership.  I had plans on giving my family some skills on how to lead and get better results.  Then really life happened.  On Sunday instead of me teaching my family some ways to align with others, I ended up in Urgent Care because I couldn’t stop fainting.   The docs ran tests and aren’t sure what is wrong.  They think I might have developed vertigo as a result from the physical therapy that I have been doing.  They are hoping it is that and not my heart.  I am hoping that too. So in our family meeting, when I wasn’t sleeping (the docs gave me sleepy medicine), I encouraged everyone to step up in their quests and get their projects done.  The deadline is looming and I hope that they meet the call whether I am a wake or sleeping

Tribal Family Leadership Week 6: Family Motto in 3 Minutes Flat

Monday, 20th September 2010

What is a leader to do when they know the task before them could cause the group dissension and could end up costing a lot of time and hurt feelings coming to the solution?  This was the question I was faced with this week on our family tribal leadership task.  We have yet come up with the family motto and the energy on the individual quests was starting to slacken before completion.

I started out the meeting talking about leadership.  We discussed what qualities a good leader does by highlighting some of the family’s favorite leaders.  1) They have a vision of what they want to happen and they communicate it clearly. 2) They make it very clear what actions they want the group to take.  3) They create a clear picture of what will happen and what the rewards will be if they achieve their vision.  4) They make it very clear what will happen if they don’t achieve their goal.

We discussed this paragraph out of the popular Seth Godin bestselling book, Tribes:  “Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate.  They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow them.”  Teenagers got it. Create a safe place to talk.  When they discussed this, I had to smile to how fast they jumped to what the next steps they were going to take on their quests.  I told them that this was their chance to lead.  This was their chance to make a difference and if they were going to do it the key was connections.

They pointed out that out of necessity (one of the people they wanted to visit had a stroke and is still in the hospital) their original quest has changed.  That is the way leadership and making a difference works.  We have ideas, we set out to create it, and life happens.  A leader adapts, sees the opportunity in the changing circumstances, and leads.

We then came to task that could take a long time.  I announced the next activity could take three to five minutes or hours.  Either way we were going to accomplish it and it was their choice to how long it would take.  They voted for the three minutes.  I explained that we need a family motto that everyone in the family could stand behind.  When things got difficult, when there were disagreements, we would follow back on the motto.

One of my more quiet teenagers said, “We do good things.”

My husband and I looked at her in surprise not expecting something like that from her.  Insightful.  Encompassing.  Motivating.  First suggestion.

It took a matter of a few minutes for the family to agree to her simplistic brilliance.  There is genius in our family that we didn’t know we had.  I was impressed.  Now we are the jellyfish who do good things!  Watch out world.

Do you have genius in your family that you might not have originally known about?  I’d love to hear about it.

Tribal Family Leadership WeeK 5: Power of Stories

Sunday, 12th September 2010

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We gathered together in the dirt pit.  It was filled with rocks, tall thorny weeds, and dust.  The chairs sat in awkward angles threatening to fall.  In fact one child did fall as the chair didn’t like the uneven ground.  I looked around at my family and could tell they didn’t much like being there, but they would endure it so they could get on with their plans that they had for the evening.

The toddler continually tried to make her escape and the almost four years old would constantly make loud noises.  I sat next to my husband at the top of the circle and I tried to gain control.  I first had my blonde teenager get out from sitting in the middle of the circle, explaining that it was important that everyone in the circle was equal and no one should be the center.  She reluctantly joined the rest of us although stating she wanted to be the center and deserved the attention.

We talked a little about gathering and how it was important.  Then I established the ruled for storytelling.  Each person was going to tell their favorite story that happened in the family.  When the person was talking no other person was to talk and everyone could say positive things or ask positive questions after the speaker was done.

I asked if anyone wanted to go first and was pleased that my blonde teenager who wanted to be in the center of attention volunteer.  Of course she choice to tell a story about what she just did with my ex-husband that excluded me, my husband and two of our children.  I knew why she was doing it and overlooked it.  My almost four year raised her hand on wanting to go next and she told the story about how she was out skating with her older brother, hit a rock, and cut her head.  She said there was lots of blood and went to the doctor and they hurt her (which meant they sewed up her cut).  This story ignited the family.  My son added to it, and I did, and then others added their part.

Everyone then willing told a story.  I was told before I did this from others who had done circle story telling that it was a great learning to have kids tell the popular family stories in their own words because then you get to experience what the events was like for them and their perspective on it.  Well, I learned that my kids remember a bunch of things that I don’t remember.  It was not so funny or positive but definitely interesting. The more they talked the more I realized the daughter who I had thought recently was so perfect wasn’t.  She started telling all these stories about how she had to go to time out for this or that or how she would do dare devil activities.

My memory started coming back.  These kids weren’t so easy to raise!  It wasn’t only one child that gave me trouble, a lot of them did.  The more they reflected the more I realized that the time out’s must of worked because they are much better behaved and that I am sooo glad they aren’t still young.

As my husband and I reflected on the experience, we realized that we were having a hard time remembering what happened the past eight years. We were having a hard time capturing the funny little stories that happens in every family.  We realized that this storytelling activity was a great beginning.  The kids at the end still talked about stories as we went on a family walk.  More memories came, and laughter, and so did a vague fog that we couldn’t remember most of the past eight years.

It wasn’t until tonight did I fully understood how important it is to remember stories and to tell them.  Stories bring bonding, memory, and can form the friendships that I yearn for my children to have.  We are going to tell more stories in our household and would love to hear about your experiences of telling stories in yours.