Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

Authenticity and Vulnerability

Brené Brown, Daring GreatlyHave you ever been thinking about something and then suddenly it’s everywhere? I feel it’s a sign you’re on the right track, keep going.

It’s about authenticity and vulnerability. It started with reading Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly. Then, in a Facebook group, someone shared an article about the topic, and Brené Brown’s response. And then a YouTube personality I sometimes watch was very vulnerable in a video and that made me think about authenticity. And finally, this morning in the Momentum Mastermind, it became a subject of discussion.

Ohh, I have so many thoughts and experiences I could share (and the ladies in the Mastermind only heard the tip of it, truly).

The quote that comes up for me again and again is, of course, from Brené Brown in Daring Greatly:

Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them.

Here’s the part to pay particular attention to: people who have earned the right to hear them.

Now, let’s add this quote, also from Brené Brown:

Vulnerability without boundaries leads to disconnection, distrust, and disengagement.

Think of it this way, if I was a stranger and walked up to you in Target and started to tell you my thoughts on authenticity and vulnerability – you’d think I was really weird and want to get away from me pretty quick. Right?

That interaction would lead to you distrusting me and pretty much wanting to put as much space between the two of us as possible.

However, it doesn’t seem odd at all to read this. You’ve chosen to be here. You’re interested in the topics and the tidbits I share. And you’ve earned the right to hear them.

Now, if I shared all about my relationship with my husband – you might wonder if you’re in the right place. That’s not the relationship we have here through this newsletter. AND you’re not expecting it.

So, the question becomes: how vulnerable and authentic can/should you be in your business? What are those boundaries? What have they (whoever they are for you) earned the right to hear from you?

Those aren’t easy questions to answer, especially when this is so true:

Vulnerability is courage in you and inadequacy in me. I’m drawn to your vulnerability but repelled by mine.  – Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

Your clients, your potential clients, your peeps, whoever you want to connect with wants and yearns for seeing vulnerability and authenticity in you. AND it feels sooo scary and yes, maybe even repelling to you (I know sometimes it does for me).

No one can tell you where your line between being vulnerable and over-sharing is.

Here’s what I’ve found helpful:

  1. I have a couple of really great friends, who are also entrepreneurs and write blogs, that I can run things by when I think I might have crossed that line. Who are those people for you?
  2. I ask myself am I sharing to connect or to make myself feel better? And if it’s to make myself feel better, it’s probably better kept in the drafts folder and maybe it will be rewritten later.
  3. I think of one specific person to write to (not a super close friend). Will sharing this be helpful or am I over-sharing?
  4. I’ve created a few unsaid boundaries around who/what I share about and how I share it.

Again, there are no hard and fast rules.

Final question: How can you bring more of you, wonderful person that you are, to your business? To your networking? To your marketing? To everything that you do?

Progress Vs. Significant Progress

Lego man spinning platesLet’s talk about your progress. What kind of progress are you making in your business?

Progress or significant progress?

I’m guessing you’d like to be making significant progress, right?

Over the weekend I heard someone describe the difference as trying to move 12 projects forward at once verses trying to move two projects forward at once.

When you’re working on 12 projects you maybe take a step or two forward in each project every week, progress is pretty slow.

However, when you’re focusing on just two projects you can move them forward much faster, now you take a step or two forward in each project every day.

The picture I had in my mind was of spinning plates in the air. When you have a dozen plates spinning you’re adding momentum to one plate and keeping an eye on the ones that are starting to wobble so you can run over and take care of those next.

It quickly gets really tiring! You’re never able to fully focus on one plate at a time because you need to keep an eye on which ones are about to come crashing down.

However, when you have just two plates spinning, you can add momentum to one and not worry about the other one for a bit. You’re able to fully focus on one plate.

When you’re able to have that full focus on one thing, you start making significant progress.

What would your business look like if you made significant progress?

Would you be making more money? Helping more people? Have more free time? Spending more time with your family?

Tell me, what would significant progress look like in your business and what gets in the way?

photo credit: Jameson42 via photopin cc
two girls having coffee

Impromptu Visits – Should You Ignore Your Schedule?

two girls having coffeeYou have your schedule all planned for the week and things are going according to plan. Maybe a couple of hiccups, but all-in-all, you’re on track. Pretty much everything is getting done on your list. Until… a friend (or maybe family member) calls and says “Hey I’m in town today, want to grab lunch?”

Now what? You’d like to see them, but you know if you go then a couple items on your list won’t get done and your schedule will be up in the air for the rest of the day.

So, what to do?

I used to automatically say “nope, sorry, I don’t have time today! But let me know next time you’re in town.” My reasoning was I needed at least 24 hours’ notice to adjust my schedule. And then I realized I hadn’t seen my sister for a couple months or so (she’s usually the one who calls me with these invitations). And I missed seeing her.

Then I realized, one of the reasons working for myself was appealing was so I could occasionally have these impromptu visits. And here I was acting like I was tied to my schedule and to-do list. What happened?

I let my schedule and my to-do list decide everything I would be doing each day. If it wasn’t on the list, and took longer than 10 minutes, I probably didn’t do it (but it might be added to the list for next week).

Here’s what we forget about to-do lists sometimes: they are there to help you, work for you and you do not work for them. Sounds funny to say it like that, but sometimes in our quest to get as much done as we can each day for our business – we forget that there are other things to do. Life doesn’t always fit in nice little compartments and since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you probably really don’t want it to. You want a life with some flexibility.

That’s why Wednesday morning at 9am I was pulling into a local pancake house to have breakfast with Nate (my husband) and some family – instead of sitting in my office starting the day’s work.

However, I’ll admit that when the idea was proposed to me on Tuesday night I wasn’t sure about it. I have things! that must be done! I can’t start my day late, those things! might not get done! (anyone else have those thoughts running through their head sometimes? Or am I the only one? Comment below to share) Then I took a breath and realized I had no appointments scheduled and the things! can be done later.

I have some questions that I tend to ask myself about these unplanned visits:

  • Are there any appointments or meetings that this will overlap or interfere with?
  • Are there any deadlines approaching that will be negatively impacted?
  • Have I already spent time this week with unplanned visits? How will this impact progress on my goals?

The gist of these questions is: will my business or my goals be negatively affected by spending time elsewhere? If so, is spending this time with this person more important than my business and/or goals?

Notice I wrote “is spending this time with” and not “is spending time with.” That one little word changes the meaning of the sentence a bit.

Again, your schedule and to-do lists are meant to help guide you and make your day flow smoothly. They are not a ball and chain that keep you tied to your office or computer. If you’re treating them like that, step back, get curious and ask yourself why.

When was the last time you said yes to an impromptu visit? Leave a comment to let me know!

The Value of Vacation

Alaskan SunsetRemember that poll I wrote about a few weeks ago? One of the questions was about having a balance of personal and business time. At that time, I didn’t share the answer of one woman who felt that she doesn’t have balance right now, because she puts in long hours at work.

Despite her long hours, or perhaps because of it, she knew how important it was to take days off and vacation. She said that when she starts to feel burned out, she takes a day off.

When was the last time you did that? Has it been a while?

I’ve noticed that for myself and my clients, sometimes needing a day off shows up as procrastination. You’re tired and your brain might be a bit fried so [insert your task here] just doesn’t get done. Instead you might find yourself checking email and Facebook a lot (or whatever your distractions look like).

The other thing she said was that she and her husband take a vacation once every three months. I didn’t ask her how long the vacations were or where they go, but I’m guessing her vacation is at least 2-3 days away, if not more.

When was the last time you went on vacation? When did you last leave your business for more than a day, or weekend? Has it been a while?

Leaving your business for any period of time can be stressful for entrepreneurs. What will happen when we’re gone?!

You know what will happen while you’re away from your business if you allow it? You’ll relax and you might even enjoy yourself. And when you go back to work you’ll have more energy and ideas than before you left.

So, when is your next day off or vacation?

How Do You Make Sure You Have The Balance You Want of Business and Personal / Family Time?

This is the last of four articles that share what I learned from my informal poll on tasks, goals and balance (first article, second articlethird article). The exact form of the questions changed slightly as calls were made, but in general it was three questions and some follow up questions after each. This article is about the last question.

Ahhh, the work – life balance question. How does one find and maintain a balance? I heard some version of the following three answers:

  • I don’t have it and with my business it’s just not possible right now.
  • I keep boundaries.
  • I schedule it.

Now, of those that didn’t fall into to the “I don’t have it” group, most thought their work – life balance could use improvement, but seemed that, in general, they were content with how things were going. Meaning, they thought it could be a bit better, but weren’t going to make any changes right now.

The boundaries I heard about most revolved around when kids get home from school. So all work activities must be done by then and will not be picked up again until the next day (and that takes more discipline on some days than others). And a lot of people said that they don’t like to check or answer their smart phones after a certain time of day.

Scheduling the personal or family time looked a bit different for everyone. Some people said that they make sure all the special events are in their calendar so they don’t miss a family birthday party or child’s recital. Or they just put some time on the calendar for themselves or their family.

At least one person said that they tend to work long hours for weeks a time. She pays attention to when she’s starting to get burned out and takes a day off.

A couple of the guys I talked to said that their wife helps a lot with this, or they’d probably spend a lot more time at work without realizing it.

So, what works for the people who are content with their work-life balance?

  • Set boundaries. Many people had clear boundaries around the times and days they do and do not work.
  • Schedule it. Some people I talked with scheduled special personal events, just like they schedule business appointments.

My final thought (for right now) on this topic: work-life balance is what you define it as. If you enjoy spending lots of time working, by all means, do it! Just because someone else doesn’t enjoy it, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. Just check-in with yourself occasionally to make sure that if you’re spending a lot of time working that you’re not avoiding something at home. And on the flip side, if you’re spending a lot of time not working, check that you’re not avoiding something in your business.

So, what can you do, or do you do, to create the work-life balance you want?