Five Mantras for Peace and Productivity

Ok to Say NOHave you ever sat down with a friend over coffee and poured your heart out about something that’s been troubling you? And somehow (let’s call it divine inspiration), she comes up with the perfect statement to put you at ease. She finds those magic words you need to hear to make you feel better and remind you that everything will be ok.

Wouldn’t you like to bottle that encouragement and tap into it anytime you need it? Of course, I know you’d rather have your BFF deliver it in person, but we don’t always have time for a long chat with a friend. So why not try the DIY method of encouragement? It’s not a replacement for your loving friendship, but it will help you stay positive and focused on what matters most. And don’t be freaked out because I’m calling them “mantras” – they aren’t woo-woo Western chants designed to bring you wealth and happiness. They are simply affirmations…reminders to yourself of what you ALREADY know…of what your best friend would tell you if she were sitting right next to you.

Here’s how it works. Create three to five mantras that encourage you. These are the messages that you know you need to hear whenever you are frustrated, defeated, overwhelmed or exhausted. These are the words you hear the Holy Spirit whisper in your heart when you really spend the time to listen. These are the words that bring you peace and confidence and clarity – in business and at home.

Your mantras will be unique to your life and your business and the challenges you are experiencing in this season. But take a look at some of my personal mantras for inspiration: [Read more...]

The One Thing Pinterest Doesn’t Want You to Know About Creativity

My best masterpieces are the ones that have a short shelf life. The art disappears and the creativity lives on without judgement. I’m convinced that Pinterest was invented to put moms like me to shame. You know the kind of mom I’m talking about – just creative enough to WANT to make edible snowmen and hand painted wine glasses, but not skillful enough to pull off anything that closely resembles the original image. Crafting is one of those gifts that God sprinkled sparsely on me – filling me with desire and courage but not so much actual talent. Same thing with singing. But that’s another story.

The problem with the Pinterest approach to being creative is that it focuses on the outcome or the result, rather than the process or the journey. If you think about it, we’re all creative in our own ways. If you like to garden, cook or sew, you’re creative. Or maybe you like to journal, dance, paint or go to the theater. That’s creative. You might like making scavenger hunts or enjoying role-playing games with your children. You guessed it – you’re creative. No matter what your interests are, I am certain there is a creative mamma inside you somewhere.

I learned all about the artist within myself from my friend and mentor Whitney Ferre of Creatively Fit. She taught me to resist the Pinterest Perfection and bathe myself in the beauty of the creative process. She forced me to let go of the final outcome by teaching me to paint 26 paintings on the same canvas – each one covering the previous week’s artwork. There was no time for judgment or regret or even pride. It was all about the process. [Read more...]

Who is in Charge of Your Schedule?

Jennifer sat silently on the other end of the phone. She came to me for help managing her time and structuring her day so she could work on her business while homeschooling her children. I asked her what she did during her office time that week and she couldn’t answer. She honestly couldn’t tell me what she had accomplished – although she knew she had been busy all week. She was sure she had worked hard every day but she didn’t make a dent in the priorities she really needed to tackle.

When I pushed her (as I can do with the authority of a drill sergeant and the compassion of a hospice nurse), she started to list her excuses: an unexpected trip to the vet, a last minute play date, a sale at Kohl’s, etc. These were the things that were preventing her from working on her business. I get it. Trust me; my work time takes a back seat when something important comes up with the family. But that is an exception rather than the norm.

I told her what I tell all my clients: When you’re a mom, your job is never done; when you’re an entrepreneur, your job is never done. There will always be more work to do – at home and in the office. And only you can know when to set one job aside and work on the other.

If Jennifer’s situation sounds familiar to you, I want to encourage you because I know for certain that is possible to create the time you need to grow a business. I do it myself and I’ve seen it done over and over again – but you have to stop squeezing in time for business. You have to stop stealing 10 minutes here and 20 minutes there. You have to make your business a priority (not THE priority…but A priority) by taking charge of your time. [Read more...]