There’s not enough time

How many times a day do you think you tell yourself there’s not enough time? I tried counting today and lost count because who has time for that.

Here’s usually how my day goes.

Alarm goes off and I’m totally confused because there is no way it’s really time to get up. Snooze a few times and wake up 40 minutes late in panic and probably not shower. Who needs it when we live in a world with dry shampoo.

Wake up the kids, get everyone out the door and start thinking about work. This is where the panic starts to creep in and I start mapping out how there’s not enough time to get it all done.

Drop kids off and start thinking about what’s on my personal to do list and remind myself there’s not enough time.

Start working and spend a good 30 minutes thinking about how much there is to do and planning it all out so it’s just right.

Go to a meeting and get assigned more things to do and try to politely tell them….it’s gonna have to wait. There’s not enough time.

Back to work and get everything set up to really get serious about the project due tomorrow.

Dial into another meeting and try to multiple task, but really just stress about how I don’t have time to be on this call and waste more time.

Back to work, but hey…I’m hungry. A girl has got to eat.

Grab food and eat at my desk, but work on a personal to-do item because I deserve a lunch break.

Spend a few solid ours in the afternoon really focused getting some of my work done, while stressing about all the other things I’m not going to get to. Tell myself I’ll finish those two other projects tonight after the kids go to bed and call it a day.

Rush out the door to grab the kids, rush them into the car and home, rush through dinner, rush them into bed, yell at them for getting out of bed, and then tell myself I need to sleep to really be productive tomorrow at work so I’ll just go to bed and get up early and do the work in the morning.

Then…rinse and repeat.

You guys. There’s not enough time is the worst thought ever. It’s so not helpful and making me feel like time is really slipping away, but who do I think I am. I’ve got 24 hours in a day just like everyone else in the world.

What if you just decided that there’s exactly the right amount of time? What if you stopped rushing everywhere and had time to relax and enjoy the day? What if you just decided to say no and yes and then no again and stoped trying to multi task and got things done? What if you had too much time? How amazing would that be.

How you spend your time is totally up to you so I say start taking back control over it. Choose to work for your employer and you chose to spend time with friend and family. Chose to take ownership of projects that are asked of you and you chose to say no or delegate other things. You are able to control your time simply by your thoughts about it.

So what are you going to chose to think? Tomorrow I dare you to start thinking I own my time, and just watch how much better you day is.

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4 ways to survive the Holiday season in eCommerce

This is my 8th Holiday season at my company and once again people are starting to feel the heat.

Like always, we have big goals and want to provide the best customer experience possible. I’ve seen this cause so many people extra stress and anxiety. I’ve been there, but let’s not go back to the year I was Holiday captain and wanted to physically harm our in-stock manager, but instead ate an entire jumbo bag of gummy bears.

Here are 4 ways to dominate and enjoy the Holiday season.

1. Go for B- work– I know what your thinking and yes, a leadership principle is to insistent on the highest standards, but hear me out. When it comes to the customer, the highest standard is always important, but we waste so much time on the last 20% of work on so many non-customer facing projects.

Think about the last doc you wrote. Did the last 20% of revisions actually improve the strategy and communcation or was it semantics and details to make sure it was perfect? Image what you could have been using that time doing if you just went with a B- doc. Let’s be honest, no matter how great the doc is, your audience is always going to have feedback. Review the B- doc, get the feedback, then go deliver results.

2. Have a schedule and stick to it NO MATTER WHAT– I’m guessing you already know all the things that need to be done from daily stand-ups, flex flash reports, walking the store, to a post mortem. Map out each project, detail all of the steps necessary to accomplish the project, aim for B- work, then literally schedule every detailed step on your calendar. Limit how much time you are going to take to do each step and get it done during the allotted time. This means you have to be heads down and 100% focused because it HAS to be done in the time alloted. The biggest part of this step is to do exactly what is on your calendar even when you don’t feel like it and don’t let others schedule over your work time. This means you might need to schedule in “fire drill” time each day, but honor your calendar no matter what.

3. Remember we don’t save lives– Seriously, we ship crap to people. I’ve seen so many people lose there cool over the dumbest thing. Yes we want to do our best and yes we want to create an amazing customer experience, but shift happens. It’s important to keep a healthy perspective and remember the worst thing that could happen is a negative feeling and possibly a COE or meeting explaining what happened. Don’t get caught up in the drama of it all. Things will go wrong and that’s actually part of the fun. It if all went smoothly it would be so boring and you would wish you went bigger.

4. Bring the fun– Work is not fun but YOU ARE. Make a point to be the person that helps the team have fun along the way. Make bets on sales/traffic for Cyber Monday, buy a gong and create a rule requiring a 15 second dance party whenever someone rings it, include slightly inappropriate memes in status update emails. BE THE FUN. I know I will be.

And if nothing else, just remember your stock vesting is right around the corner. You got this!

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Willpower doesn’t work

Have you ever tried to use willpower to make yourself do something? It never works long term. Sure it might help for a bit, but it never lasts.

Trying to lose weight, just willpower yourself past those delicious, freshly baked maple bars today…and next week have two. After all, you lost a pound.

Have the most time wasting, life sucking project to complete at work? Just willpower yourself through…and then dread every follow up item that spins out of that project.

Dread going to the dentist because who can stand those sounds and let’s not even talk about the picking and scraping. Willpower through it….and continue to put off your next appointment in 6 months requiring even more dental work.

So often we rely on willpower to make it through the drudge of life, but did you know you don’t have to? True story.

Your mind’s job is to protect you from danger, but it does not understand the different between physical and emotional danger so whenever it feels a negative feeling, it tries to get you to run the other way. This is why we try to willpower our way through things we don’t want to do, but it never works long term. It can totally help you short term, but after that it’s no good to you.

Instead or relying on willpower, I say just be willing to feel the negative emotion. When you actually feel your emotions, it’s not as bad as your mind thinks it’s going to be.

I promise you if you are willing to feel miserable for a few weeks until your body stops craving sugar, you can move past the misery and easily pass on the maple bars.

Feel the dread of your crappy work projects and once the dread passes, get to work and feel proud that you did the hard thing and know the worst thing that can happen is feeling dread again, but now you know what it feels like and that you will survive so bring on the dread.

Feel anxious about the nice lady that scrapes all the maple bars out of your team and know that next time you can get happy gas so maybe you want to go back sooner. JK. They put a limit on how much happy gas you can get…so I’ve heard.

But you get my point. Willpower will only work for so long. At a certain point, you have to put on your adult pants and deal with what’s really going. And after you have felt misery and dread and anxiety enough times, you can get over your thought causing it and start viewing things in a new way that feels great and helps you create the life you want.

So next time you feel like you are running out of willpower, know that you are and it’s time to start feeling those negative feelings. You’re welcome.

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Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose

Guys. I love the TV show Friday Night Lights. Like watch the entire series every year kind of love. The character are hilarious and who does not love Tim Riggins.

I know I’m not alone in this and now every time I drive past a High School football stadium and think about Riggins living on his land in TX someplace, enjoying a beer with Skeeter.

Before and after every game, Coach Taylor would give some kind of a pep talk and always ended it with the phrase, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” Cheese as it sounds, I LOVE this mantra. It really is true when you stop and think about it.

These last few weeks at work have been a doozy. It’s Holiday prep time and the quarterly review cycle and everyone seems to be on edge. Nothing is good enough, they always want more, and the cards seem to be stacked against me.

Today, I decided to practice thinking this mantra and guess what, it totally helped. I stayed clear on what results I needed to deliver, tried to find ways to feel compassion for myself along the way, and had an overall productive day. So often I just get caught up in the overwhelm of the never ending to do list that I don’t get series about getting things done.

So next time you are feeling stuck in overwhelm and self pity, try finding a way to stay focused on what really matters, come at it from love, and watch what you are able to accomplish.

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Are your failures helping or hurting you

Have you ever stoped and really thought about what your life would be like if you were willing to fail? Seriously, image how many more things you would try if failure was no big deal.

I think there are two ways we can choose to look at failure.

Your default brain wants to see it as evidence around why you suck and should never try scary things again. This way of thinking about failure just adds to the stress and anxiety you are already feeling.
Your higher brain, however, has the ability to think of failure as an additional datapoint and one step closer to where you are trying to go.

Say you really want to get promoted. Image how fast it would happen if you did not care about failing and went out and tried to learn 10 new skills to add even more value to the team. Then image the other side where you worry about failing and stick to what you know and trying to get better at what you are already good at. Which way gets you promoted faster?

Or maybe you want to rotate teams but are worried about finding the perfect situation. You could worry about making the wrong choice and just keep doing coffee chats and informal interviews and take 8 months to rotate. Or you could do a few coffee chats over the next month, find a team that seems like a good option and make the move. If it does not work out, now you know what to look going forward and can rotate again. The failure taught you more about what to look for when changing jobs in less time than the 8 months of making extra sure things were just right. Because we all know, nothing stays the same so there’s no such thing as just right.

I know exactly what failure feels like. I’m getting pretty good at it. I know that I feel it deep in my chest and it’s super tight. It rushes all around and feels like it wants to burst out. My chest gets all splotchy and my shoulders feel like a million pounds. But guess what, that the worst of it. And since I’m willing to feel that, I’m making things happen. Are you?

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Pay attention to where you are going

I have twin 3 year olds that are…well 3. I love them and they drive me crazy. Whenever they walk anywhere, I’m always telling them to pay attention to where they are going. They love to look all around, behind them, and usually lock eyes with something to the side and just keep walking. I can’t tell you how many things they have run into. Doors, people, walls, down the stairs stairs, each other, you name it. They get so distracted by everything around them and just keep walking without worrying about where they are going.

This made me realize that so many of us are doing the same thing with our brains. We want to move forward with a problem but are looking behind us for evidence or over to the side at the shinny distraction. What’s usually behind us is proof why we have the problem and the shinny objects just satisfy our instant gratification monkey by avoiding the problem.

Whatever the problem is, you have to manage your brain. The ONLY reason you have ANY problem is because of your thinking.

Don’t look behind you and tell yourself I don’t know. Look forward and ask how could I know.

Stop focusing on the past for why you can’t reach you goal and start looking to the future on what your life is like once you’ve reached your goal.

Quit wasting time doing the things you don’t care about and start doing the things you really want even when you don’t feel like it.

Pay attention to where you are going. You’ve got amazing places to be.

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There are dumb questions

Growing up my teachers often said there is no such thing as a dumb question to encourage questions, but they lied. There are dumb questions and we all ask them everyday.

Your brain loves a questions and is always looking for evidence and an answer to whatever question you ask, but have you ever stoped and really looked at the questions you ask yourself in a day?

I dare you to write down every questions you ask yourself.

  • Why can’t I get up earlier?
  • Why can’t I lose weight and keep it off?
  • Why do I have to be the one to do it?
  • Why can’t if figure this out?
  • What was the point of that meeting?
  • Why am I the only one that cares?

When you ask yourself a disempowering question, you get disempowering answers that does nothing to help you so it’s a pretty dumb question.

  • Why can’t I get up earlier? Because I went to bed to late and am not a morning person
  • Why can’t I lose weight and keep it off? Because it’s hard and donuts are delicious
  • Why do I have to be the one to do it? Because no one else is capable.

You get the point. None of these answers are actually helping you get the results or answers you are looking for. What you need to do is ask yourself more empowering questions.

  • How do I want to start my day?
  • Why do I really want to lose weight?
  • How can I empower others to be self-service?
  • What’s one thing I could try?
  • How can i make this fun?
  • How else could I get this done?

So stop asking dumb questions and start getting the answers you are really looking for.

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How do you feel about yourself

If you had to write down 25 things about yourself that you like could you do it? Sounds easy, but I dare you to try. It can be anything from, I like my hair to I’m a great listener.

Seriously, try writing down 25 things. Most of us have a hard time doing this and really have to start digging. I think the real good stuff happens when we get deep.

What would you want to be on your list? Could you write a list of 100 things? Why?

I think it’s so important to take the time to evaluate how you feel about yourself. It seems like if you love yourself and think you are amazing, you will become complacent and not grow and progress as a human, but actually the opposite is true.

Everything we do depends on how we are feeling so if you feel love and compassion and curiosity about yourself, you are going to take care of yourself and honor your commitments to yourself and do the hard things even when we don’t want to. When you are feeling shame or disgust or frustration with yourself, you are going to take the easy road out and not try new things or grow.

So the key to getting what you want out of life, is having a healthy relationship with yourself and knowing that you have your own back.

If you had a hard time writing down 25 things, finish the list with things you want to belive about yourself and practice believe them. Image all the things you could do if you did believe them and start doing those things today.

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It’s none of your business what other people think about you

It’s so easy to see the flaws in others and some people are really vocal about pointing them out. My mama always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit next to me.” Ok, so maybe when I say “my mama” I mean me, but whatever.

My child is stubborn. My employee is lazy. My manager does not care about my growth. My wife is high-strung. My neighbor is so rude. My coworker is a jerk. My husband does not care.

We talk about it like it’s a well known fact, but it’s our interpretation of people and when we plug it into a model we see what’s really happening when we think about these things.

Remember the CTFAR model shows us what we are creating and also teaches how to create whatever we want. Circumstances are neutral facts. We have Thoughts about those facts that create our Feelings which drive our Actions that create our Results.

C – I have a child
T – They are stubborn
F – Furious
A – Yell, ignore them, threaten them
R – I’m stubborn (I mirror their actions and try to one up them)

C – I have an employee
T – They are so lazy
F – Frustrated
A – Try to avoid them, don’t give them key projects, dread meetings with them
R – I’m a lazy manager (I’m not having the hard conversation and communicating clear job expectations)

C – I have a manager
T – They don’t care about my growth
F – Powerless
A – I don’t give it my all. I don’t look for ways to improve my work. I do the minimum required.
R – I don’t care about my growth (I’m leaving my growth up to my manager)

You get the point. Whatever you put in the Thought line about someone else is always what you prove true about yourself.

This is why, it really is none of your business what other people think about you. Because what they think about you is actually what they think about themselves. This goes for the good and the bad. I’m not saying you should not give compliments or accept them, but know they think you are amazing because they are amazing.

What IS your business is how you feel about yourself. You are 100% amazing because you are a human. It has nothing to do with your weight, or job, or what you have done. You are of infinite value because all humans are, even the jerks you work with. Like I said, it’s none of your business what other people think about you.

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Better than a promotion

People at work are constantly obsessed with getting a promotion. They create career development plans to review with their managers and take on specific tasks to get exposure to people outside of their direct teams.

I personally have been promoted at my company and have promoted multiple employees. I get it. People want to get promoted.

Except why do we really want to get promoted?

Sure the additional money is nice and there might be a title change, but we wants to get promoted to feel good and rewarded for our hard work.

Guess what. You can feel good even without a promotion.

Pretend you got promoted right this second. Tomorrow when you go into work the phone tool will have a new title and level and your bank account will have additional numbers in it.

But you will still sit at the same desk. You will still work on the same project. You will still work with the same people. You will still have the same manager.

Nothing changed except the phone tool and your bank account.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a career plan or promotions. But how you feel at work has everything to do with your thoughts about it and nothing to do with the facts.

You think a promotion will magically make all your annoying coworkers and frustrating projects disaster, but they are all still there waiting for you after the promotion.

All feelings come from your thoughts. If our feelings came from the facts, everyone would have the same feelings.

Go for the promotion, but take ownership of your feelings. It’s the most empowering thing you can do for your career.

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