Do You Find Yourself Working More But Earning Less? 3 Reasons You Fall into this Trap and How to Break Free

Why You Are Not Getting Paid What You're Worth

Have you ever found yourself working extra but not getting paid for it?

I don’t mean over delivering by adding extra value and delighting your clients. I’m ALL for that.  In fact I highly recommend frequently delighting your clients!

What I’m talking about is the dreaded… (Cue the spooky music)

Scope Creep…

Or the

Over-needy client who wants “just one more little thing”.

Ever happen to you?

If you’re in business – of course it has!  Scope creep can be a natural byproduct of many different kinds of projects (think: design, tech projects, and construction just to name a few).  Wanting “one more thing” can be a sign of someone who is thinking through their requirements as they go.

Neither of these things is inherently bad.  It’s what you do with them that set you up for success or a spiral of resentment, misery, and lack of cash.

Here are the top 3 reasons why you may find yourself working like a dog but earning less and less and what to do about it.

Wanting to Be “Nice”

[Read more…]

My 5 Most Powerful Daily Habits

5 Daily Habits for SuccessWe all have habits, some good, some bad. Or shall I say, some that move us forward toward an inspiring future and others that keep us stuck in the past. Habits are where the intersection between life and business becomes even more blurry than usual (and those of you that read me regularly know I have a pretty expanded concept of how life and business intersect). This is why I wanted to share my most powerful daily habits with you.

At first glance you might look at this list and think – What does this have to do with growing your business? My answer is everything. Because you are at the core of your business. The hub. The engine. Without you the business doesn’t go forward (particularly if you are self-employed or in a small partnership). As my earliest personal transformation mentor Debbie Ford would teach us – it’s all about the microcosm of the macrocosm. Meaning what affects one part affects the whole. The tiniest thing is a reflection of the largest thing. A bit metaphysical? Yes. Applicable to your business. Without a doubt.

So here are the most important things I do every day that make me more productive, happier, and a better business owner and human being.

Begin with Gratitude

Every morning before my feet hit the floor, I give gratitude for the day. Regardless of my mood upon waking, I say a prayer of thanks. No matter what is going on in my life or business, today is precious. Being alive, breathing, healthy, with others I love, and in a business of my choosing is a gift. Even when I want to go all crankypants before I’ve even dismantled the snooze alarm, I remember what it was like when my mother was dying two years ago. A humbling and very present reminder of the gift that is today. This attitude informs my day and my business dealings.

Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Daily meditation is one of my integrity anchors that I started in 2003 and faithfully commit to. There is the occasional day that gets missed, but usually another form of meditation takes its place that day (like a very long kayak trip on a quiet lake for instance). This has brought a quality of presence and mindfulness to my life and business that I never dreamed was possible. It directly impacts my clients as well. Whether the intentions behind your practice are spiritual, health related, or strictly business performance related, it works. Avoid burnout, increase creativity, cultivate better relationships, and be a more spectacular leader… that’s an ROI that even the skeptics can get behind. [Read more…]

Do You Feel Like You Have to Defend or Justify Your Choices?

Defend Your Choices

If there’s one thing that will get you in a pickle faster than anything, it is over-explaining.  Have you ever made a choice and then felt like you had to defend or justify your decision?  If you have a pulse and you’re still drawing breath, I would go out on a limb and say that you have (I certainly have!).

Let’s say that someone asks you to attend an event and you have another commitment.  Can you decline the invitation gracefully saying “Thank you so much for the invitation but I won’t be able to make it.”?  Or, do you feel you have to explain the entire back story around why you can’t make it and secretly pray that your reason is justified or acceptable to the person on the receiving end?

I see this painful cycle of torture play itself out with many of the clients I work with especially when they start to set stronger boundaries and make more powerful choices around how they invest their time and energies.  They yearn for more ideal clients, more free time, and dedicated space to work “on” their bigger business goals.  But then…

  • The people-pleaser in them comes out.
  • They feel like their reason for making a choice has to be “valid enough”.
  • They seek approval or acceptance from the other person.

This internal tug-of-war gets even worse when the other person is a prospect or client. The mind commotion starts with: What if they don’t like me? What if they take their business elsewhere?

I can really understand this struggle from the inside.  I used to feel like I had to over-explain everything.  I felt someone else had to be OK with my choices for my choices (and me) to be OK. [Read more…]

Healthy Boundaries for Your Business – (No Apologies Video)

 

Do you set healthy boundaries in your business? Or, are you at the whims of everyone else’s demands?

Let’s take a humorous yet practical look at the power of healthy boundaries in your business. Using a door as a metaphor, I ask you – is the knob on the inside of your door? Following these tips you will be able to be at choice, setting healthy boundaries with clients, family, and yourself so that your work is top notch and you feel energized by your interactions. Free to answer when opportunity comes knocking, boundaries are not about creating barriers to success.

Free yourself from the guilt, self-doubt, and need to feel available 24/7 and see how it’s done.

Comment below and let me know what you think! I’ll gladly answer questions too!

Do You Fall Prey to Opportunists?

Have you ever noticed that when your self-confidence is low others seem to take advantage of you?  Perhaps you’re feeling a little low in your mind and then all of a sudden things just keep going awry.  It feels like:

  • No one is listening to you
  • Everyone is getting the best of you
  • No matter how hard you try, you don’t seem to get the results you want

I know I have felt that way a lot.  I would say something and it would seem like I’m speaking Greek as everyone looks at me like I’m crazy or worse yet ignores me entirely.  Being a generous person I would give a little bit extra and then be taken advantage of in a big way.  I would attempt to guide a project in an optimal direction and team members would pull us way off course. It never seemed to end.

So what was happening?  I swear it took me what seemed like forever to find all the missing pieces.  I knew raising my level of consciousness would help. I knew stepping into a new level of confidence would help.  Boundaries were an absolute must.  Stronger leadership would certainly change the outcome.

Yet I never quite had the mystery illustrated in such an eloquent way as I did during my weekend with the horses. One of my favorite parts of that weekend was when we did an exercise called temptation alley. Now you have to remember that at this point in the weekend I had moved through my initial terror by picking up the horse’s hooves but that was all.  This exercise meant I had to lead my horse (and a damn big horse he was I might add…) on a lead through a ring and then up and down temptation alley.  It consisted of a narrow walkway (the alley) and was bordered on both sides by hay and buckets of food (the temptation) and we had to stop and pause for ten seconds several times (to increase the horse’s desire to dive for the temptation).  Great!

Stef and Scout in Temptation AlleyI had the advantage of watching several of my colleagues go first. So I was well aware of just how opportunistic the horses could be when faced with temptation and a momentary lapse in leadership. Let’s just say horses were diving for food, buckets were rolling around, and people were pulling with all their might on the lead attempting to regain the respect of their horse.  By itself this was truly amusing I have to say…watching strong women leaders I respect being schooled by the horses on a blissful summer day. Knowing I had to go next took the amusement factor down a notch.

As a woman handed me the reigns to my horse she said “Oh don’t feel bad if he gets away on you, he likes to run.” Great!  I thought to myself there is no way I am going to let that happen, so I simply decided to stand tall and lead as we were instructed – guiding the horse properly and “interrupting the thought” consistently. (Interrupting the thought meant preventing the horse from diving for food or grass by changing our grip on the lead.)  I liken interrupting the thought to handling objections just before or as they are surfacing, setting and enforcing boundaries, and simply teaching others how you wish to be treated.  It prevents someone else (in this case the horse) from yanking you around or taking you down a road where you are suddenly at a disadvantage, having lost ground, lost respect, and relinquished your leadership to an opportunist.

When I led my horse through the alley I experienced the clear difference between success and being had by an opportunist.  I was successful and quite proud of myself except for the one time we stopped and for just a split second I broke my concentration and presence and boom, his nose headed to the bucket like lightning.  Damn!  It took more effort for me to regain leadership of my horse from that one misstep than for all the other exercises we did combined.  The same holds true in life – it is much harder to reclaim leadership, respect, and boundaries if you’ve let someone get away with dishonoring them in the first place. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done; in fact we really do this all the time as we go along our journey living and learning.  However, you can claim a stronger role in all you do if you honor and respect yourself by the choices you make and how you teach others to treat you from the get go. When you bend on your own standards of integrity (“oh just this time I will lower my standards or say yes when I mean no”) you are disrespecting yourself and telling your client, boss, co-worker, family, (aka your horse) it’s ok to walk over you and have anything they want at your expense. [Read more…]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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