Stuck in the Learning Rut

Studying-Learning

Today I am compelled to write about the Learners verses the Doers. Over the weekend, I questioned myself, was I trying to learn too much and telling myself that I still had to understand more before I actually attempted anything, or was I truly properly preparing myself for what I needed to do? I was getting the feeling that maybe I was letting the fear of failing convince me that I did not understand enough and then my first sign came.

  1. Sign number one was a video that appeared on my newsfeed of Seth Godin’s “Quieting the Lizard Brain” where he talks about the fear of failure and never actually delivering the product because one is stuck trying to reach perfection.
  2. The following morning, I watched a webinar where the number one killer of business was “not taking action” or sitting around not doing anything and focusing on learning rather taking action and doing.
  3. My final sign came this afternoon when Donna Merrill used Periscope to discuss “Procrastination: Fear of Failure”.

 

“I pay attention to the synchronicities in life” –Gabriel Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie App

Yes, Universe, I hear you! Yes, I pay attention to the synchronicities, and yes, it’s time to take action!

 

You know what I’m talking about when I say perpetual learners, right?

  • The people that hold 5 or 6 college degrees, but no other job than being a TA.
  • The people that are always signing up for webinars and purchasing “How-to” products, but never actually implement the action of doing what they’ve learned.
  • The people that have read every book on said topic, but have no actual experience in implementing what they’ve read.

 

So what is the difference between information hoarders and action takers? One word: FEAR.

 

“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will” – Suzy Kassem

 

So what do you do to overcome the fear of failure and start taking actions toward progress?

 

The first step is understanding what exactly it is you’re afraid of. The word “failure” isn’t enough. You’ll need to further define what that failure is to you. More than likely you’re afraid of under-delivering, not beating your competition, and/or appearing to lack knowledge in the area of your expertise. So what do you do other than to continue studying and learning? You take action, that’s what!

  • Quickly devise a plan for removing each of your fears. For example: if under-delivering is a fear, determine how you can ensure customers are happy with their purchase. Maybe that is adding an additional product that compliments your original product at no additional cost to the customer. Consider PLR products, or short 1-3 minute videos from other experts in your field with knowledge that would support users of your products, and offer great customer service to answer questions your customers may have after purchase.
  • Shift Your Perspective – Your idea of perfection is generally different from others ideas of perfection. If your product (or service) can aid others or act as a solution for a problem others have, does it need to fit your idea of perfection? Most people would answer ‘no’ to this question. Most people would simply be happy that there was a solution or service offered that does, in fact, help others.
  • Continue to Perfect AFTER Delivery – Experts never cease learning, that’s how they remain at the top of their fields. As you continue to learn, you can continue to offer better solutions and services. These solutions and services should be upsells and/or giveaways to loyal customers. Perfection is an illusion while evolution is not. As you continue to learn and grow and put that knowledge into action, developing more products and services for your clients, your business evolves and remains relevant to the times.

 

 

Don’t stay stuck in the learning rut, but rather continue to learn, act and repeat. You’ll not only feel more accomplished, but your customers will be grateful.

 

 

 

 

Girl Power vs. Guy Code

male female sign

Why Females Always Usually Lose

Today I’m voicing my opinion on why women are each other’s biggest obstacles and why if we could live by the rules of Guy Code and support each other, we would, as a sex, be far better.

The advantage is ours. We outrank males on so many levels. Women are the smarter gender: we invest better, we tolerate pain better, we live longer and healthier lives, we are cleaner, and a recent study has even revealed that we are evolving more beautifully while men are staying the same.

To me this news as nearly as exciting as pulling a pair of jeans out of the dryer and finding a five dollar bill in the pocket – talk about a score! YES to found money and YES to being female! Unfortunately though, with all the things we excel in, there are a still few things men not only beat us in, but women will never be able to overcome.

 

The most obvious advantage men have is strength, however this really isn’t a problem as women, being the smarter sex can easily convince a man to move any heavy object when needed. Let’s face it, even a smart man who knows he is being manipulated will allow this to happen if he enjoys any aspect of the female. From looks to conversation, if a guy is intrigued, he most likely will willingly help the physically weaker sex out and if not because he is interested in the female, because his ego will kick in and he will assist with the heavy lifting simply because he is able and likes to prove it. If not interest or ego, the guy will assist because he is a gentleman and holds his own set of standards. EASY!

 

The real advantage men have, however is GUY CODE.

Guy Code/Man Law/Bro Code/Man Etiquette is a universal, innate understanding, shared amongst men all over the world. By the laws of Guy Code, men do not provide any information that could ever incriminate their male friends when questioned, they never betray their male friends, a wrestling match or rock-paper-scissors can truly be used to settle an argument without that argument resurfacing hours or days later, and most importantly, a guy will never go behind another guy’s back to his mother, girlfriend or wife, to talk about a problem he has with the other.

Ladies, here’s the kicker – guys never have to be told that these are the rules as they are born knowing them! If we are truly the smarter gender and we aren’t born with Girl Code and yet still have understood that we’d need to create our own code, how in the world did we come up with Girl Power, rather Chick Code? How have we not taught ourselves not to hate other women because of their size and shape, or to control our natural, jealous, envy-filled, other-women hating instincts? Holy Cow – we are our own worst enemies!

 

Here’s where we fail ladies: We, all of us, are at times jealous of other women and we let that jealousy get the best of us.

Of course there are some of you who will immediately deny the statement above and I can tell you, honestly, that you are only fooling yourself. Even if you rarely get jealous, or behave in that irrational way that is known as “typical female”, and even if you have many female friends and a strong base of male friends who tell you that you’re the most sane female they’ve ever met, you are still guilty of not having Chick Code and you have still been threatened by another woman at some point and done one of the following:

  • Called a woman who is clearly not overweight “fat” and “ugly” because she has somehow upset the balance of your fragile emotional self
  • Gossiped with your friends about how another female received a promotion, was hired for a job, graduated early, affords things you cannot, is married while you are not, is more successful than you, is dating a guy you wish you were dating, is pregnant or has a family when you do not, or in general possess something you wish you had.
  • Displayed passive aggressive behavior – posted confrontational or rude statements intended for another female to view on Facebook, Twitter, or other forms of social media, forgotten a females coffee order when you offered to pick up coffee for the group, or any otherwise expressive, aggressive behavior in a non-assertive, subtle way.
  • Intentionally undermined another woman’s self-confidence

 

Now before you female readers get mad and start calling me names and saying I’m the reason women are held back in this world, take a minute to remove your emotions, think about this logically, and keep reading.

 

It is our hotbed of insecurity issues that makes our estrogen-laced gender the weaker sex and why we, as intelligent females need to throw away the days of Girl Power and adopt a more stable set of gender laws: Chick Code. If we cannot learn to control our jealous and envious tendencies, and truly support other females in their achievements and found happiness, we will forever be the lesser gender. It’s time, as females, we stand beside each other, not allowing pettiness to come between us. It’s time we acknowledge our own insecurities and stop our passive aggressive, social networking, name calling posts.

It’s time we stop incriminating our own sex, stop calling a foul when someone legitimately out plays us, and learn from their moves, rather trying to belittle them.

 

If we aren’t going to challenge our female friends to an arm-wrestling match to settle our differences, then we need to accept defeat when a female ‘levels up’. If we cannot that easily move forward, we need to invent our own pissing-match tiebreaking method. I personally suggest a kicking contest because I’m good at it, but I’m game for whatever you ladies prefer. I’m a winner and I keep proving that each time life knocks me down and I not only get back up, but also rise above my previous status. I’ll accept any challenge presented, but I’d like to rise to the top alongside other great females. It’s possible ladies – look at the US Women’s National Soccer and Volleyball Teams and The Radio City Rockettes. If these groups of women can complete their seasons as a team and be successful, so can we as a gender.

 

Girl Power has proven to be ineffective. I’m offering up a new strategy called Chick Code, who’s in?

What Companies Can Learn From The Rockettes

Rockettes Team Work

When most people think of the Radio City Rockettes, they think of glamour, sequins, leggy ladies, and Christmastime and to be fair, that’s what you’re supposed to think while feeling nostalgic. The Rockettes are an American icon bringing world famous eye-high kicks, but that’s not all they do.

The Radio City Rockettes have mastered the art of working as a team, something every business should learn, but doesn’t readily know how to do.

Having first-hand experience, I’m going to share with you the inner-workings and secrets for building such a strong team that ranks highest in its industry in the world.

 

  1. The Rockettes aren’t just talented ladies, they’re intelligent women.

The casting directors are masters of hiring women that aren’t only talented dancers, but are also fast learners who are able to take direction and apply it immediately. The stage is a grid where each Rockette has multiple marks to remember. Depth, spacing, and numbers on the stage grid accompany every turn of the head, angle of focus, step, and arm movement. The amount of detail that goes into each movement is immense and the Rockettes must take them all in and immediately apply. Oftentimes the strength and intelligence of the Rockettes can be overshadowed by the glamour, but that’s a misconception. Many of the Rockettes hold graduate degrees and work jobs outside of the dance industry after the holiday season.

  1. The Rockettes respect each other.

Unlike other companies I’ve worked for, the Rockettes are welcomed into their first day with both the admiration and responsibility of the Rockettes Legacy. Every Rockette, from former casts or present, has been indoctrinated into this group of strong, classy, and intelligent women and is aware of their responsibility to uphold the standards and traditions of this amazing company both publicly and internally. The sense of pride and incredible amount of respect each Rockette holds is palpable.

  1. The Rockettes take direction.

The chain of command is not only thoroughly laid out, but also made clear from the first day of rehearsals. This not only makes it easy to know who to take direction from and when, but also ensures the company as a whole runs smoothly at all times, both onstage and off. There’s an enormous amount of responsibility that comes with every position within the organization. Each Rockette knows not only her own responsibilities, but also those of the roles surrounding her. From the publicist, to company and stage managers, and the directors, the Rockettes know whom is leading, when and where they are leading, and how to take their direction to keep not only the show, but the company running perfectly.

  1. The Rockettes work as a team.

In order to maintain the precision and perfection the Rockettes are famous for, the women work as a team. If one person is off, the entire line is affected. The Rockettes know the importance of working together as a team and support each other both onstage and off. There is no room for hierarchy or egos.

  1. The Rockettes are always evolving.

From the 1930’s, to the years I was a Radio City Rockette, to the ladies that are currently cast into this sisterhood, the Rockettes are always evolving and keeping mainstream while upholding the standards that existed from the very first cast. Whether performing “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” which was choreographed in 1933 and performed annually, or dancing to “Fireball” alongside Pitbull, the Rockettes keep relevant while upholding the traditions and class of the first Rockettes.

 

Being a Rockette is more than simply putting on a smile and good show, it takes class, talent, intelligence, superior work ethic, amazing physical form, respect, and the ability to adapt to change immediately. More companies should take a page from these leggy-ladies book and learn to not only work as a team, but to build an environment of mutual respect amongst all employees, leaders, and owners.

 

Here’s to a great season ladies. I’ll see you on Opening Night!

Beat Distractions – Avoiding the Social Media Time Trap

Procrastination

How to Stay Focused when You Work on the Internet

Distractions are part of life, especially when you decide to do something important (you know, like earning income). The things in the surroundings grab more of your attention than the task at hand. This happens frequently when you have to work on the internet. Even in the office where there are fewer distractions around, the internet itself becomes the greatest medium of interruption and you find yourself browsing the web, checking out Facebook, watching videos on YouTube or simply checking your email.

You convince yourself that you’ll focus on the work at hand once you’ve watched one last Jimmy Fallon skit, or scrolled down your newsfeed just a little further and checked in to see what your ex is up to (otherwise known as stalking), and before you realize it, another hour has passed.

Once you learn how to stay focused on the task you’re doing, you will realize that you can complete your work very quickly and end each day with a sense of accomplishment.

It has been found that in the office employees get distracted after working on the internet for about 15 minutes. That means, on average, only 15 minutes of work is completed before countless hours of wasted time perusing social media sites. If you’re working for someone else and they haven’t fired you from your lack of productivity and you’re complacent with where you are in your career, keep on keepin’ on. However, if you’re your own boss and your income depends on your output, remember that procrastination is the biggest form of self-sabotage that exists. Are you in it to win it, or simply along for the ride? The choice is yours.

Here are some tips to help you stay focused when you have you work on the internet either from home or at office:

  • If you don’t require the internet, turn it off while you are working to concentrate more on the task at hand.
  • Plan ahead what you want to achieve during the entire day at office or at home. This way you will be aware of all the tasks before even starting the work.
  • Complete hour-to-hour gut checks. Set a reminder for every hour and ask yourself if you’re doing the most productive thing possible at this point. If not, you have a decision to make to either redirect your focus towards productivity or continue on, knowing that you’re sabotaging your own success.
  • Close all irrelevant windows on your computer to pay attention to what is important.
  • Working for hours at a stretch is not possible for anyone no matter how workaholic a person is, so take a break every now and again, eat something to boost your energy level and then get back to work to stay more focused.
  • Use helpful tools to keep time-draining, productivity-stealing, actions at bay:
    • StayFocused is a Google Chrome extension that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Best of all, if you change the settings to increase or decrease time allowed for waste, it gives snarky little comments. When I reduced my time for Facebook, I received a celebratory slow clap. It’s like they know me!
    • Kill News Feed is another Chrome extension that prevents you from being distracted on Facebook. You’ll still get your messages and notifications, however news feed posts won’t distract you.
    • 1Password and LastPass are password managers that integrate with your web browser to automatically log you into websites. They can also enter credit card information and complete registration forms. These apps are huge time savers and keep you from stressing over remembering passwords for less frequently, but still vital websites.
    • Google Drive – When you’re working with others, Google Drive is a great place to not only store images and documents, but to work on them together in real time.
    • Asana – The ultimate task management tool that allows teams to share, organize, plan, assign tasks, and track progress.

There are many other timesaving, productivity-increasing applications like Evernote and Dropbox that are essential to organization outside of the paper and pen world.

What are your favorite productivity apps and how do you prevent yourself from procrastinating when working on the internet?

Fitness – In it to win it!

Laura Fitness Back

Fitness is a huge part of my life. When I workout I am better; I think more clearly, I sleep more soundly, though my muscles may be sore my body hurts less, and frankly, I like the way I look more.

The times in my life when I have excused myself from working out (yes, made excuses like I just don’t have the time right now, or I’m too tired, etc.) are the times I have been the most unhappy. Don’t get me wrong, there truly are some days where there isn’t enough time, but just like missed days at school, if you skip enough, you will FAIL.

I try to keep myself motivated to not only find the time to workout, but to prioritize exercise with two things: my skinny jeans and photos of me of my fittest. That’s right, I said photos of ME at my fittest. Now, I know plenty of people say it’s important to have outside inspiration and while I’m not against that, I know it’s not what works for me. I know what I’m capable of and I also know how hard it is to maintain that level of fitness with every, aging year. And much to my own surprise, I find that I like my body more in my 30’s than I did in my 20’s.

Over the summer, I took a bit of break on the intense workouts. After a series of races and committing large amounts of time to long runs, I was tired, my body needed to recover, and I simply needed to restore my tank of willpower. Now I’m back and committed to reaching my fitness goals. I’ve set my first 3 goals – a 5K, a half marathon, and getting back to the way I look in the picture on this post (taken a little over a year ago by Mitchel Gray).

Goal time: 8 weeks!

I’m excited to get back to my most fit self.

I’d love to hear your fitness goals and what you use for motivation.

#tbt #fitnessmotivation

The Greats Meditate

Steve Jobs

Meditation always seemed like some hippie, tree-hugging, granola thing that required a certain down-to-earthiness that I knew as a Type-A, I did NOT possess.  In the past, when I was stressed at work and a colleague recommended meditation, I’d politely thank them and walk away thinking about how much I had to do and that I didn’t have the time to sit cross-legged with my palms up, chanting or humming or whatever was done. Honestly, the thought of doing something like that stressed me out even more than I already was.

When I reached the point in my career where most people would be satisfied with the title and pay I possessed, I realized that I wasn’t fulfilled and still wanted more out of my career, but the things that used to work to propel me forward, simply weren’t getting me any further.

That’s when I started researching what the top CEO’s and Entrepreneurs have in common and learned that many of them meditate.

Thankfully, I’m not dumb enough to think I know better than Oprah, so I bought my first book on meditating and committed myself to 40 days of the practice.

I certainly haven’t mastered the art of meditation, but I realize that I’m more mindful, self-aware, less stressed, happier, and by starting each day off with meditation, I’m accomplishing more at a faster pace than ever before. Another great benefit is that I’m becoming more open to new ideas and even hired a business coach that I’m learning incredible amounts from.

I’m not a meditation guru and the only advice I can provide is this:

  • Read a book on meditation that provides instruction and describes the benefits
  • Commit to your practice for at least 3 minutes for 30 days, preferably first thing in the morning. The first week, I only did 1 minute a day as I was still a skeptic, but even that 1 minute produced results.
  • Be aware of your thoughts. If you find your mind drifting to your day’s to-do list, etc., there’s no need to chastise yourself. Simply redirect your focus back to your mediation.
  • Start with positive thoughts. For the first 40 days I meditated on very simple affirmations that set the tone for my day. I’ve listed some of these for you:
    • My thoughts create my reality, so I focus on positivity
    • I am happy for the success of others – there’s enough for all of us
    • I have infinite potential to accomplish my goals and dreams
    • The attitude and energy I put out is what I receive back
    • When I focus on what I do have, I create more of what I want.

I recommend downloading the free app “Spirit Junkie” for more of these short daily affirmations for meditation.

There’s no reason to start meditating because I’m recommending it and you can Google all the CEO’s who practice meditation and believe it’s a key component in their success.

I’ll just leave you with these 3 names: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey. BAM!

 

#dailyaffirmations #meditate #Oprah

Monday Motivation

Monday Button

It’s Monday and hopefully, you spent the weekend refueling your tank of willpower.

That’s right, if you didn’t already know, willpower comes in limited supply and much like gas in our cars, when we use it, we have to replace it.

Soooo…On Monday’s when we’re setting out our tasks to accomplish for the week, it’s best to get the most important items checked off our lists first. Another great idea, is constant refueling of your willpower. Below are some great tips for keeping your willpower tank from reaching empty too soon:

  • Make a plan– Resist temptations that draw on your willpower. From dieting to focus to work, the more temptations that you allow to present themselves, the more willpower you use to say “no”. These things may seem little at the beginning of the day, but think back to the last time you stuck to diet all day, avoiding those doughnuts at work, and then at 10pm gave in and ate everything in your kitchen. That’s right, you ran out of willpower and that’s why you failed at completing your day of healthy eating. Reducing your interaction with temptation helps ensure your willpower tank isn’t depleted too quickly. (Apps like “Kill News Feed” can help with maintaining focus while working online).
  • Complete one goal at time– Complete one task at a time. Create new habits one habit at time. Don’t try to tackle everything at once or else you’ll end up accomplishing very little. Once new habits have had adequate time to form and set in, they no longer require as much willpower to maintain. Think twice before starting a new work project and workout plan at the same time. If possible, give yourself 21-42 days to allow a new habit to set-in before tackling the next big project or change.
  • Fuel up– Your brain runs on glucose (blood sugar) and skipping meals, which many of us are guilty of when working diligently on a project, and exerting self-control (willpower and focus) leaves brain cells burning through glucose at a rapid pace. Therefore, eating at regular intervals, avoiding dips in blood sugar levels, can help keep your willpower tank from emptying too soon.
  • Consider your motivation– it’s often difficult to remain focused and draw on our willpower when we’re tired and overworked. Keeping your motivation or end goal in mind certainly helps, that’s why vision boards or dream boards have become so wildly popular. Keep both a mental and physical image readily available as a reminder of where your hard work is taking you.

 

Working from Home – it’s not for the weak!

Laura Office

Disclosure: I don’t use a Dell 😉

 

I can’t tell you how many times I get asked “How do you hold yourself accountable when you work from home?” or “Don’t you just end up watching TV or doing housework, instead?”  And I can honestly tell you, the answer is NO.  I set my schedule and I follow it because I know that if I fail to make money, the only person to suffer is me and the only person to blame is me. If you aren’t a disciplined person, If you aren’t the type of person who knows how to prioritize and form productive habits, working from home most likely isn’t for you.

To provide a little more insight on both the freedom and responsibilities of working from home, I wrote this short article:


 

Many people feel passionate about working from home because it gives you the liberty of choosing your own working hours and being your own boss (or at least feeling as if you’re your own boss). Moreover, you may also decide to work on weekends to earn some extra cash (picking up freelancing jobs in your area of expertise, or developing your next product) and do a range of different tasks in a day to increase your revenue (no revenue cap is so seductive, isn’t it?). However, one of the biggest drawbacks of working from home is the large number of distractions around including household chores, people – especially kids (even the ones with fur) who make it difficult for you to concentrate on your work, unexpected and unbearably long phone calls, and many other things.

All these distractions reduce your productivity when working from home. Here are some tips to stay more focused, avoid the distractions, and be more productive when working from home:

  • Find a place in your home where you feel more relaxed and more away from distractions; such as, a secluded corner in your bedroom or a separate couch in the living room where there is not much traffic, or even dedicate an entire room to being your office if possible.
  • Depending on the nature of your work, keep all the tools and equipment you require so that when there is a need to use one of these things, you don’t find yourself lost and frustrated. I personally have a desk with a large monitor, my notebooks, daily planner, books for reference, and recording equipment all in one room, ready to be used. The only thing I move around is my laptop.
  • If the sound of TV or radio distracts you from work, turn off these things. Better yet, don’t allow yourself to turn them on until you’ve completed your day’s work.
  • Keep your laptop fully charged so that whenever you get time, no matter how little, you don’t have to wait or find a place where the laptop could be connected to the charger to start working. Or if you’re like me, keep charges plugged in and ready to use in the areas you’re most likely to work in. Aside from my dedicated office space, I also keep a charger by the couch. Even after my “work hours” I’m always available to assist customers, so my laptop is with me while I’m watching the news or unwinding with Netflix.
  • Even if working from home allows you to have flexible working hours, you still need to follow a proper routine. I don’t have children, so my schedule revolves solely around me and the needs of the company. My personal schedule is wake, coffee, shower, mascara (yep, it’s important for these blonde lashes), work, exercise, dinner, relax (reading, researching for work, or TV) and I mostly leave playing/fun for the weekends. If you have children, or other responsibilities you’ll need to adjust your schedule accordingly. Let your significant other know that household chores and running errands cannot happen during your work hours. Set boundaries. There is so much flexibility with working from home, but structure and prioritizing is imperative. So, getting more organized also helps you to be more productive while working from home.

 

Do any of you work from home and if so, what are your tips for staying productive?