Zone Blocks to Increase Productivity

Wednesday, 9th July 2014

taskingWhen creative entrepreneurs research time management and how they can get more done, they are often told they need to put everything on a calendar and schedule it.  I have talked to many creative entrepreneurs who have tried this only to get frustrated.

The reason the creatives get frustrated is that they aren’t wired to follow a schedule and be told that they need to do this exact thing at this exact time and proceed through their day like that.

I have found that most creatives I have worked with do better by implementing an energy management system.  What is an energy management system?  This is a system where the entrepreneur works with the flow of his or her energy and capitalize on it.  For example, most entrepreneurs’ energy is highest in mid-morning, so scheduling  the most important tasks between 10 am-1pm often works well. Doing the most important task first, gives a boost of energy by just knowing that task is handled.  That boost of energy helps a creative person to stay motivated and finish the next thing on the list.

Another important part of energy management is to know what helps you to get the kind of energy that you need to accomplish the tasks before you.  For instance, most entrepreneurs need to do some kind of consistent marketing. I have found that for me to set aside a marketing day is a great way to accomplish one of my least favorite tasks.  I bunch all my marketing-like tasks together to do on Wednesday.  Why Wednesday?  Because Wednesday is the day I get up early and go to a network meeting.  I know by being around all that networking and marketing energy I am more likely to absorb it on that day and to run with it.

I also know that being an introvert and doing all that outgoing stuff,  like talking to people for a whole day, will drain me, so the next day I schedule is an introvert day, and I do my introvert tasks like writing.

Another thing to look at is which day is the best day to get all those annoying little things done.  I love bunching them together and blasting through them.  I often schedule those for days that are filled with interruptions, and it is hard for me to get flow—or in mother language, it’s an early day out of school for my children,  so in-between clients, I am constantly driving back and forth to school.

Now what you need to do probably won’t look the same as mine, but hopefully you can see how I arrange my days around my energy. The environment, and tasks I need to do affect my energy, so if I plan for this, I can show up as my best, to get the tasks done.  Using this perspective, you can draft the perfect energy management system for you.

Going Against the Mastermind

Tuesday, 27th May 2014

wise owls

My entire mastermind group told me what I was about to do was a big mistake. Not quietly, but with adamant lectures about how I was throwing away everything that I had built up, and that if I continued down the path I had chosen, that all I would end up with at the end of it was a piece of paper and lots of wasted time and money.

I had recently been filed with divorce papers, and as I thought about that experience and what I wanted to create in the future, I declared to myself that I wasn’t going to settle in the romantic relationship department. As I looked around at the men in my life, the thought occurred to me that I might be single for a while. The next thought immediately popped into my head, “Then I am going back for my MFA in Writing.” A few hours later I started the application process.

I had wanted to get an MFA in Writing for years. It was one of my dreams, so I was completely surprised at the reaction of my mastermind group. They told me that I was selling myself short. My business was about ready to take off in a big way, and this decision was a way for me to sabotage or to hide from success.

Their reaction caused me to pause and to think. What determines sabotage? What defines following one’s dreams? What is the action of hiding versus an act of following one’s passion? Could it just be a matter of perception? How does one determine if a sacrifice is worth it?

I mumbled to my mastermind group that I was going to be a single mother now and needed a steadier job. I also needed health insurance. There just so happened to be the dean of a university in my mastermind group, and he shook his head. “You make more now and you know it. You will never be able to make as much as a teacher as you would doing coaching. If you do this you are leaving a lot of money on the table.” He let that settle before he added, “Do you have any idea how much time a master’s requires? I see so many people work around the clock, and what they end up with in the end is a piece of paper. You don’t need that paper. You could teach at colleges right now, unless you want to become a professor.”

The sad truth was that he was right. The group was right. So what did I decide to do? I am now currently in the MFA for Writing program. Why? Because it is my dream. When it boiled down to it, one question helped me to decide on whether to continue to work for the MFA or to build my business. The question wasn’t how much money I’d make because coaching fulltime would be a better choice money-wise. It wasn’t about spending the past years building a business and if I walked away how much time I would I lose. No, instead, the question that cleared my head was: When I die will it matter to me if I made it as an extremely successful business person? The answer was “No.” Then the next question: Would I regret not learning as much as I could about the craft of writing and giving that love of my mine one more chance? “YES!”

Bottom line, there are a lot of ways to look at your big decisions and where you are going in your life. If you want to make the right decisions for you, it is time to get really honest and to sort through what you value most and go for it!

Thursday, 2nd February 2012

You’ve been asking questions on how to drill down
on the right steps to take on growing your business.
We are listening and answered them in THIS episode.

In this episode we drive in deep on how to keep yourself
on track when you are a busy person. We give you options
on figuring out what’s best for you.


PS I just have to say my favorite part of this episode is the monkey.
Do you love your monkey?

Life Purpose: Does it matter?

Wednesday, 26th October 2011

This past week I got the privilege to hang out with a lot of life coaches. It is always fun for me to be with my peeps. There is just one thing I don’t get about them. They are constantly talking about life purpose. “I help people discover their life purpose,” is a frequent expression that I hear from them. That always makes me do a double take. Hmmm. How does a person know what their life purpose is? Does a divine messenger come down from heaven and say, “Boom, here is your purpose?” I am serious, what is life purpose all about and how does one really know what God’s reasoning was when He got involved in creating you?

Before you answer, I have been through coaching school and I went through the course on life purpose and I thought it was really quite silly. Really what it boiled down to is a person declaring this is the reason why they were put on this earth and this is the impact that they are going to make. Can a person really know why they were put on the earth? Can people REALLY know the impact that they are going to have? Does it really matter? I get the importance of being more authentic to yourself and to align yourself with a higher Source. I see the benefits of that in my clients’ lives all the time. I see results with learning and operating in your zone. Truthfully I haven’t seen any results from someone saying this is my life purpose other than be happy that they think they have it. But I bet most people are like me and forget what I decided my purpose was a few weeks later.

Does anyone have a good answer to this or are a lot of life coaches just making much ado about nothing?

Sales for the Introvert

Wednesday, 28th September 2011

A lot of my clients lately have been claiming that they can’t do sales because they are introverts. Wrong! Selling is possible no matter what your personality type is.

Watch this video below to learn of the secret for the introvert.

Please comment and let me know what you think.


Avoid the Pitfalls of Sales Pressure

Tuesday, 28th September 2010


I am surely not the only person who has ever fallen prey to a salesperson. What if I told you about a simple way to stay grounded and not be bulldozed by others’ wants? When I first launched my business, I was a nervous, shy, stay-at-home mom feeling awkward as she tried to pull herself off as a professional in a world she knew nothing about and didn’t believe she belonged in. My insecurity reached its height when I decided to board a plane and fly clear across the country to the heart of business: New York City.

My friend and I had gotten it in our heads that we were going to go to the National Speakers Convention to drive a lot of business. There were only several problems with this—one, I had just barely earned my membership to NSA and was still unsure about being a professional speaker; I’d convinced myself of my own inadequacy. Second, I was pregnant again and felt awful. My constant prayer was, Please don’t let me throw-up on anyone.

Then there was the third problem, which in its own way was bigger than the first two: I am introverted by nature, and when put in public situations where small talk is required, I become completely lost. Unlike my husband, who is awesome at small talk and engagement, I often go blank and have no idea how to maneuver myself through the situation. I would be rich if I were paid for how many times my husband has said to me, “Why didn’t you say…” Door-to-door salesmen loved me because I was tongue-tied when they showed up. As a result, I had a cupboard full of cleaners, painting, magazines and more.

So there I was, feeling inadequate, nauseous, and lacking networking skills.  My friend was more street smart than I was, and instead of being afraid of New York, she loved it, but she was new to business too and also had doubts of how to navigate that world. We were the stay-at-home mom dual.

We decked ourselves out in our best outfits, walked our confident strut, and strolled into the reception area of the conference. After mingling a bit, we decided the safest place for us was the bookstore.

We began browsing and made it to the second row when a man in an outdated, powder-blue, worn-out suit found me. His suit must have grown tired from the effort of trying to cover his extended stomach. He greeted us with a smile and immediately began pitching his expensive product.

“No, thanks,” I said quickly and tried to walk on.

He blocked my path and looked at my name tag, “Ah, you are the Step It Up Queen. You need to ‘step it up’ and buy my product. Or are you afraid?”

I froze, staring at him. I didn’t want to buy his product, but I definitely didn’t want to not step it up either.

“Um . . .”

“Come on, are you the Queen, or what?” he cajoled me.

Nothing. Blank. Trapped.

My friend interrupted, “Ah, but she gets to make her own rules about how she steps it up.”

I looked at her, thought about what she said. “Yeah. I get to make my own rules. And that’s rule number one to step-it-up living.”

What a great idea! Make your own rules about how you show up in your life and what you do. This simple comeback from my friend became the key I needed to fend off pushy sales people and countless others wanting to talk me into doing things or buying things that go against what’s the right path for me. So whenever I feel guilted, pressured, or smothered, I remember—I make my own rules to how I live my life.

This rule frees me up to live my life. It has also freed me from worrying if I fit in, am good enough, and so on.. Now I live the life I want to live. I’m writing the books I want to write, giving the speeches I want to give, and coaching the people I want to coach. I’m having a great step-it-up life.

So here’s a question: Do you have a similar key? Does it need sharpening? What rules do you want to make? Next time you feel pressured, guilted, or cajoled, remember that you get to make your own rules.

Get Off The Flight To Nowhere

Monday, 28th June 2010


How many people would get on a plane where the pilot hasn’t yet determined where he or she wants to go other than joyriding? Not many. Yet a lot of individuals journey through their life without a clear outline for their life. Some are even clueless as to what direction they want to head.

How likely is it going to be for them to live the life of fulfillment and passion—a life without regret? If you are one of those people—aimlessly stomping through your day—stop. Get out a pen and start asking yourself:

  • What do I want to do before I die?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What do I want to experience?
  • How do I want to be remembered?
  • What legacy do I want to leave?
  • What would I need to do, or what path would I need to be on, to accomplish it?
  • What is the purpose of my life?
  • What am I meant to contribute?
  • What gives my life meaning and value? Do I have enough of that in my life?

Answering these questions with thought and soul searching can be a great start on the path to clarity.

To learn more about how to create your passionate Step-It-Up Life, visit

Monday, 5th April 2010


As you probably know, there are people in all walks of life who are the greasy pigs.  They have an amazing ability to slip away and not be held accountable.  They say they will do something and then when accountability time arrives, they are gone or looking at someone else to blame.  Often these representatives will say their responsibility is a mistaken perception in others.  It can be confusing working with them because of the forceful conviction they’ve done their job the whole time. The more there’s doubt of what they were supposed to do the more power this person has.

So what does Donald do to weed these people out?  He forms testing grounds where conflict is almost eminent.  The difference between the audition at the beginning of the process is these latter small projects are more in depth and intense, looking further into how the individuals perform.  These small projects will help you know who are the greasy pigs, especially since Donald makes sure the task is due in an impossibly short amount of time.  This puts the pressure cooker on to see if people can remain high functioning, calm, and productive, thus proving their skills and capability for bigger jobs.

Through giving these project management assignments, Donald is able to put his Guerilla Fighters on assignment to be his eyes and ears collecting information on both the subtle and not so subtle.  Through these exercises people reveal true character.  For example Rebecca (season 4): she broke her ankle on an ice skating event and on the heels of that volunteered to be project manger, taking her team to a victory by doing everything necessary and accepting responsibility when things failed, proving she could handle herself well under pressure.  This contrasted nicely with Brent (season 5) or Jim (season 4) or Clay (season 4) who became raving control freaks the moment they came into a position of power and yet blamed others when things didn’t turn out.

We can apply this to our people selection, making sure before we commit we have hard core experience with how they operate when things count.  One simple way to do this is to suddenly change the time of the job interview and sit back to see what they do.  Another way is to give an unexpected assignment with almost impossible deadlines (with the business world the way it is this shouldn’t be hard).  A third possibility is to create a subcommittee and put the people you are considering on the team.  Give these people a challenging but short assignment then watch how well they perform and take responsibility.  They will reveal themselves.

Further Investigation Due to Political Weather

The third stage Donald engages in after weeding out the show horses and slippery pigs is to discover the cunning foxes.  These individuals shift when the individual doesn’t just change what he says, but changes what he is depending on the political weather.  This is how they try to manipulate their agenda.

This type becomes exposed when the political weather is tumultuous, brewing, and everything seems to be a stake.  A perfect example of this was seen in some of the last episodes in season 5 where Allie and Roxanne, best friends went to the board room.  It seemed that one of them had to be eliminated.  They fought to remain on the show.  At the end both girls set aside their friendship and tore each other apart.  Donald was so disgusted he fired both of them on the spot.

Donald was able to reveal from these tense situations the true loyalties that these individuals had.  So how do we create similar test grounds for people we are thinking about hiring to a big position or people we are considering promoting to an important position?  There are many possibilities.  Hiring a workshop leader that puts these potentials through exercises that reveal people’s nature.  One idea is to have the potential team member play a game specifically designed to show peoples’ loyalties.  Another possibility is to create a task that the success of it would put friends on opposing ends then sit back and watch.  Let the political weather uncover who the individuals really are.

Pay close attention to people’s behavior, especially when they are under stress or feel like they are being attacked.  If the person shows disloyalty or willingness to do other things that lack character, think about what Donald Trump does and dismiss them.  He takes no chances with shaky behavior and if you want a strong company neither will you.

Course correcting spares you nightmares.

Monday, 15th March 2010


When building a house, I much prefer catching the mistakes in the planning stage then in any other stage.  It just saves so much money and time.  Unfortunately, I can’t always catch my mistakes at that stage.  The faster I catch them, the less headache they’ll cause.  Problems usually become worse the longer they are let go.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are on the wrong path.  You made a mistake.  Course correct.  The only time it really is too late is when you are dead.  So, no matter how far down the path you are on, once you recognize that it truly is the wrong path or veering off course, take immediate steps to get on the right one.

Learning is a natural energizer in getting to the next upgrade.

Monday, 8th March 2010


Have you ever been dragging through life and going through the motions when suddenly you are shown something, or told a tip, or given some information that transforms what you have been doing and takes your project or your efforts to a whole new level? This is what learning is all about. The trick is for those of you who are like me—learning addicts—to learn the right things at the right time.

For the past year I have been on an information diet where I only learn and focus on what I absolutely need to know in order to get to the next level of whatever I am pursuing. It is amazing how this single focus is allowing me to transform my life. I am less stressed. The right information is getting to me faster and I am being juiced with energy to keep on keeping on.