Picture of label maker with text What labels aren't working for you? And how to change them

What labels aren’t working for you? And how to change them

Does anyone else love their label maker?

I do! I’ve had it for a few years, and even though I don’t use it on a weekly or even monthly basis, I love being able to label things.

Mostly I use it on file folders.

It makes things easy to file and find.

There’s a different label maker that I’ve had for even longer.

I can’t remember not having it.

It can label file folders, but it doesn’t label all of them. And it doesn’t label them in the way that label maker does either.

It’s labels cover so much more. A few examples of the labels it uses are frustrating, boring, annoying, meh, or fun.

It labels my intentions and goals as things like good, silly, unachievable, and doable.

It labels the items on my todo list with words and phrases like ugh, please no, boring, fun, let’s see how this goes, and hmm.

Actually, my goals and projects are sometimes labeled with many of the same words/feelings as my todo list labels.

If you haven’t guessed yet, this label maker is my brain.

It tries to be ever so helpful with these labels, but it can really work me up about things I don’t need to be.

For example, when I was able to stop labeling my bookkeeping as “UGH” and “avoid” and “do something else” it made it a lot easier to do.

I did that by noticing the labels I had given bookkeeping and deciding what labels I would like it to have.

The words that came to mind were “easy,” “quick,” and even “fun.”

The labels your brain puts on things can be harder to remove and replace then labels on file folders.

For me to change my labels around bookkeeping, I thought about what would make it easy, quick, and fun. I wrote down some ideas and started trying different things.

The first things I tried didn’t entirely work, so I made some adjustments. It took about three months to put a loose system in place that makes it pretty easy and quick. I’m okay with it not always being fun. The win is that I no longer avoid it and don’t feel “UGH” about it.

Everything starts with noticing the labels.

As you go through the rest of your week, notice the label you’re applying to your goals, projects, and tasks.

And answer these questions:

  1. Which labels do you want to change?
  2. What do you want to change those labels to?
  3. What ideas do you have about how you might change those labels?
  4. What idea or ideas can you start implementing?

I’d love to know what things you’re changing your labels for and how you’re doing it! Comment below to let me know.

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #119 / Annoying or motivational? "We all have the same 24 hours in a day."

Annoying or motivational? “We all have the same 24 hours in a day.”

Is there a quote that most everyone finds super uplifting or motivational, but it just does NOT do that for you? It might even annoy the heck out of you.

I’d love it if you left me a comment with the quote and why it bugs you.

“We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How are you spending yours?”

Or sometimes it’s written as: You have the same number of hours in the day as Einstein/Mother Teresa/Steve Jobs/Beyoncé/etc.


Intellectually, I get that I’m supposed to hear that and think something like “YES! I can do anything I put my mind too!”

Instead, I’m transported back in time.

Back to when I was about a year in my business and heard this for the very first time.

I was overwhelmed, frustrated, and tired. My business was making negative money while I was doing A LOT of work.

I heard this quote and wanted to cry or scream.

All those other people had created success with their 24 hours, but I had put myself in debt, worn myself out, saw NO path out, and deeply felt whatever the opposite of success is.

I felt guilty that I hadn’t figured something fundamental out that they seemed to know and I compared everything I knew about myself to everything I knew about “successful people.”

And boy, oh boy, I judged myself harshly under that light.

Here’s the problem: I didn’t think about all the overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, self-doubt filled days that those “successful people” had.

I only saw their successes.

But I compared my worst days to their best.

And I couldn’t help but feel like someone ahead of me on the path said “catch this great tidbit of knowledge that I’m tossing to you” and I looked up just in time for a brick to hit me in the forehead and knock me to the ground.


Next time can I have a hug instead?

What would have been helpful, had I had the ears to hear it, was a gentle reminder that I was comparing the messy day-to-day that I felt I was slogging through to the perfectly lit and cropped picture that someone else was sharing.

Which reminds me of a couple of other quotes:

  • Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside.
  • Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.

Final thoughts:

  • If a motivational quote really bothers you, it’s okay. And it could be an indicator that you’re stressed or overwhelmed, which is valuable knowledge. Once you recognize it, you can do something about it.
  • If you share a motivational quote and the other person doesn’t hear it the way you do, don’t make them wrong about their interpretation. But do notice it and get curious. You might ask how they interpreted the quote and have a nice discussion about it. And they might leave feeling a bit better!

All this talk about my frustration with this quote has made me wonder if there’s a quote that you’ve beaten yourself up with in the past OR if there’s one that transports you back in time, in a positive or negative way.

I’d love it if you’d share it in the comments below.


When it’s not fair

why-do-we-get-so-stressed-outI was driving home and was at a point where two lanes merged into one shortly after an intersection. The cars ahead of me nicely merged together like a zipper, well before the lane ended. I left space to allow the car slightly ahead of me in the other lane to merge into.

That’s what you do, right?

Well, he didn’t merge. Instead, he attempted to get two cars ahead by speeding up past the cars ahead of me.

No one let him in. The car directly ahead of me actually sped up to make sure he couldn’t get in. So, he ended up directly in front of me anyway.

I don’t know what was going through the minds of the people ahead of me, but I imagined it was along the lines of “it’s not your turn you have to wait” or “Nope, no way you’re getting ahead of me.”

And I was struck by the fairness of it all. He had to wait his turn, it was only fair.

I laughed when he had to merge in front of me, but maybe not for the reason you think.

I laughed because none of it actually mattered. It wasn’t going to make any difference in how quickly any of us reached our destinations.

In fact, about half a mile later, the car that sped up to block the merge turned onto a side street! It wouldn’t have cost him any time to let someone merge ahead of him.

Why do we get so stressed out about these things?

In the above example, there was a commitment to fairness playing out – you have to wait your turn, that’s what’s fair.

It made me think of where I’m committed to fairness and where other people might be.

But how might a commitment to fairness show up in your business?

  • Someone with a similar product/service comes to the networking group that you’ve been attending for a while and everyone is raving about how great their product/service is – but no one has done that for you and you’re annoyed or frustrated. After all, you’ve been there much longer than she has.
  • You’re in a group program and you find out one of the other members is getting something you’re not and instead of asking about it, you compare notes with everyone else and stew on it.
  • Everyone gets x amount of time to talk about their business at your favorite networking group and you’re really annoyed when someone takes more time, after all, you didn’t get to talk that long.
  • Someone just started a business similar to yours and is having more success than you are, but you started first! You should be having that success!

Here’s the thing, being fair isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And fairness is taught to us from a very young age (stand in line and wait your turn).

So, it’s completely natural to find yourself miffed when you perceive something isn’t fair.

But here’s an important question to consider: Does being upset about the unfairness serve you or your business?

In the examples above, the answer is no. Being upset about unfairness only wastes your time and energy.

One of the other things happening in all the above examples is comparison. You compared yourself to them and it led to a feeling of unfairness, a thought that tells you they got something you didn’t and that’s not fair. As a result, there’s an underlying “me vs them” mentality.

What if instead of getting upset about it, you did one or both of these things below?

  1. Notice what you’re feeling and get curious about where that’s coming from for you.
  2. Get curious about the other person.
    If they’re more successful than you are, get curious about what they’re doing differently.
    If someone received an extra or bonus in a program you both participate in, get curious and ask (without judgment of them or you) how/why they received that bonus.

Opportunities to learn and connect are lost when you’re worried about fairness or comparing yourself to others.

Where do you notice yourself worried about fairness or comparing yourself to others? How does it show up for you?

If you’re feeling brave, share in the comments below.

What’s your measuring stick for “How are you?”

What’s your measuring stickI was talking with an acquaintance and asked “How are you?” and the response was, “Good I guess. I haven’t made any money this month.”

I said “Well, things can be great AND you might not have made money. One doesn’t require the other.” My acquaintance gave me a quizzical look and replied “I guess…” We were interrupted and didn’t end up talking more about it.

As I reflected on it later, I realized how easily I could have been on the other end of that conversation.

If a business friend or acquaintance asked me “How are you?” I felt like I was somehow lying if I said “good” but hadn’t met my financial goals for the week or month.

My personal worth was directly tied to how much money I thought I should be making. And how close or far from that mark I was.

Maybe you can relate.

Near the beginning of my business I attended a conference where the woman leading it said that if you’re not making a profit in your business, you don’t have a business, you have an expensive hobby.

And like everyone else in the audience, I nodded my head in agreement. And I tried not to outwardly show how ashamed I felt because I had just learned I wasn’t an entrepreneur, but someone with an expensive hobby.

A couple years later I heard someone else describe a business that’s not making a profit a different way. He asked if you were making progress, if you were trying new things, if you were learning, if you were implementing what you were learning AND if you were – then you were attending your own private school of entrepreneurship.

He pointed out that many people go to college to learn something they can get (hopefully) hired for later. They pay thousands of dollars a year for that privilege.

And you’re learning lessons from your business they don’t teach in college. You’re receiving an education about yourself that’s priceless.

So, when someone asks you “How are you?” I propose you toss out the measuring stick of “How much money am I making?”, “Am I making a profit – or enough of a profit?”, and “Did I reach my goals this week/month?” And replace it with “Am I learning?”, “Am I making progress?” and, most importantly, “Am I having fun?”

Days that start badly

Early in this blog’s history, I shared Stop that Bad Day. The gist of it is that my day started with a shattered glass full of orange juice and make-up on my shirt. I think I left the house in my third shirt of the day (and there weren’t any kids involved, just me).

I could have assumed that these things meant the rest of my day was going to only get worse from there.

Instead, I decided that the worst of the day was behind me. It would be clear sailing from there!

I’ll admit that I don’t remember the specifics of the day (it was almost 6 years ago).

However, we all have days like that. Days that start badly.

What do you do when that happens?

How do you react?

  • I should have just stayed in bed – these things always seem to happen to me.
  • The day would have been good if these things hadn’t happened. I wonder what else will go wrong today?
  • Oops, well, I know not to do that that way again.
  • I’m glad no one else was affected!
  • That was an interesting morning! Let’s clean it up!
None of the reactions are bad. But I bet there’s one that is how you immediately react and another that’s how you’d like to respond.

Our responses are interesting because they happen so quickly. Most the time we’re well into it before we even notice what’s happening.

And that doesn’t go just for days that have bad starts.

It goes for everything.

And other’s pick up on that energy – even when we don’t notice it.

So, what can you do about it? How can you shift your default reaction?

It starts with noticing how you currently react. That’s it. You don’t have to do anything about it right away, just start noticing it.

Then think about how you’d like to respond. What would that look like? feel like?

And if you’d like some help with that – I’m hosting a free interactive webinar on June 15 at 1pm CT. I’d love it if you joined me. You can find all the details here.