The Ripplea.k.a. The Blog - tools, ideas and stories to inspire you to align your ACTIONS with your PURPOSE
It’s quite impressive how many business owners I encounter who are terribly frustrated by their team and just don’t know what to do.
“They just aren’t creating any results!”
“They just aren’t getting stuff done.”
“We missed our goals. Again.”
And then I ask them about expectations. As in “What kind of expectations have you set for them?”
The answer I usually get? “What do you mean? I mean, they know what they are supposed to be doing.”
And I push, “OK, but you tell me what they are supposed to be doing.”
And they tell me.
And then I say, “And have you told them that?”
The response? “Well, no. But they know what they are supposed to be doing.”
That’s not fair. It’s not fair for you to keep score in your head and get increasingly frustrated when they don’t deliver.
It’s not fair to ask someone to play a game with you and not tell them the rules.
What are the rules? Well, it varies for every business, but some basics:
Your mission: “This is WHY we all get out of bed every day and why our clients care that we show up.”
Your values: “This is HOW we do things around here. We don’t violate any of these, no matter what.”
You goals: “Here is WHAT I expect you to DO every day/week/month/quarter. These are the activities that lead to success. We can’t control the results, but was can control the activities. DO these activities consistently and we’ll get to our goals.”
Give people everything they need to succeed. Give them the rules of the game. It’s only fair.
I love party lights. You know, those strings of Edison lights that everyone has on their patios now. They just scream “festive”. Or “celebrate”. Or “gather here”.
And I had that kind of life for a long time. Bright, fun, amazing spots.
With stretches of darkness in between.
I’m not trying to be dramatic AND I’m not saying that it was pitch dark between the bright spots. There were little twinkle lights here and there, spanning the distance between the super bright spots. And maybe the better way to say it is to say that I was dull. My light was dimmer. And I couldn’t figure out why. I kept thinking “when X happens, things will be better”.
It was a string of extremes that was exhausting, fun, sad, joyful, lonely, full of love, scary, exciting, lonely. Did I mention lonely?
And life is like that, right? A mix of highs and lows. And while there were definitely more highs than lows in my life, I still felt dull.
So when I started this year, having come out of my Bold and Brave 2016 year, I knew that I wanted consistency and stability. So my words for 2017 became: Every Day Matters.
I mean that in every way possible, but mostly in these two ways:
- I want joyful, caring, meaningful connection with myself and others Every. Damn. Day.
- I need to do things every day that move my purpose, vision and goals forward.
AND I still want the big bright spots every now and again. Big celebrations. Concerts. Broadway shows. Family trips.
I don’t have to choose between the bright warm glow of every day life and the super charged shine of the big events. And neither do you. You get to have both.
And the way to have both is to focus on Clarity, Communication and Consistency.
Get clear about who you want to be in this world and the impact you want to have in this one brief shining moment the we have.
Practice, practice, practice productive COMMUNICATION. Share that clarity with people. Let those who matter most know who you are and what you are becoming. Have the conversations you need to have, even when it’s hard.
Create ways to build CONSISTENCY into the stuff that matters most. Focus on the actions that will move you forward and find a way to do some aspect of them every day that you possibly can. Whatever it takes. Score cards, accountability partners, posting on social media, whatever helps you get it done day in and day out.
Shining your light won’t always be easy. A bulb will burst every now and again. You’ll have days where you can’t find the light switch. And you can let those days be dark if you need to.
Then, the next day, you get back to your clarity again and just keep on going.
Every. Damn. Day.
A triad of influences hit me recently and resulted in a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion: Sometimes love just ain’t enough.
The first influence was GRIT: The POWER of PASSION and PERSEVERANCE by Angela Duckworth. Duckworth’s words and discoveries have been rolling around in my head A LOT as I’ve made my way through the book these past few weeks.
And if you know anything at all about me, you already know that Simon Sinek and his work are a huge influence in my life. I get a hit of Simon every day through quotes delivered to my inbox. (Scroll to the bottom of his homepage to sign up for these). I received a quote recently that really affected me and has become somewhat of a guidepost for me and what I do:
The best ideas are honest ones. Ones born out of experience. Once that originated to help a few but ended up helping many.
And finally there’s Kenny Rogers and his damn song “The Gambler”. I grew up listening and singing along to Kenny Rogers tapes. Yes. I said tapes. As in cassette tapes. For anyone under 35, you can see one of these crazy contraptions here.
Anyhoo, in Kenny’s song he tells the story of a card player learning lessons from a seasoned gambler (thus, the title of the song). The lyrics tell the whole story of the interaction, but the part most people know is the chorus…
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done
Like most worthwhile things in life, owning and growing a business takes grit. Grit is built through passion and persevering through failure. Letting failure be a teacher. While reading Duckworth’s book has helped me realize that I haven’t failed nearly enough in my life (something I knew somewhere deep down…perfectionist much?) building a business takes grit. I have grit. I want to grow my grit, but I have a fair amount already.
I have cultivated grit because I’m passionate about what I do. Which brings me to the point. Finally.
I created something called Get Your Shit Together (GYST) because I encountered a small group of people in my ripple that wanted help, um, getting their shit together. What originated as a free weekly video call for 12-weeks became a full blown class full of life-changing content and homework. I can say that about the content because it’s content that changed my life.
GYST became more than an unexpected class. It became a place to try and fail and ask for help. It became a community. A little one, but a dedicated one.
GYST was born out of my lifelong experience and passion around creating order and moving dreams, goals and ideas forward. It was an honest endeavor that turned into something bigger than I had expected.
So I decided to actually offer it as a class. Twice. I offered it up twice and do you know how many people signed up?
Do you know how many people inquired?
As gritty as I am and as passionate as I am, I had to look at what the data (lack of response) was saying to me.
So, I decided to fold ‘em. I put my GYST class on the shelf…for now. I pulled all marketing for my class that was supposed to start next week. It was a hard call to make (thank goodness I could talk it through with my own coach to help me figure it all out), but I felt relief when I made the decision.
Not because I don’t love the GYST class. I do. But somehow I must have sensed somewhere within me that it wasn’t time for it…yet.
I will find a way to teach this content. In fact, I already am. I’m currently rolling it out to all of my individual private coaching clients and it’s creating a cool shift in how they engage in their business and life.
The GYST website is still live and it will remain live so that people can express interest when they are ready. But this particular way of sharing this with the world, the class, is shelved.
And, as Stuart Smalley would say, that’s okay.
I share this with you for the same reason I share anything with you, with hope that my story can help you.
Do you have a story about hold ‘em or fold ‘em that you can share? How do you decide when to stop something or to change direction?
I’m often helping people have what they expect to be hard conversations. It’s usually because there’s been some sort of build up. Things they wanted to say, but haven’t, for some reason.
Maybe they don’t want to rock the boat.
Maybe they are hoping the person will catch on and change their behavior on their own.
Maybe they don’t want to seem “nitpicky”.
Maybe they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
Ok, let’s pretend this is you now. For whatever the reason, you are frustrated or irritated or annoyed by something someone is doing and you haven’t said something. And when things get put off, they tend to start feeling bigger than they really are. Well, it’s big for you, but not the person you need to talk to. Why? Because you have been noticing every single transgression. Keeping score in your head. Getting more and more frustrated and…
The other person has no idea anything is wrong.
And then they do that thing one too many times and you come at them too strong for the ONE thing they just did. You are coming at them with the force of all the times they did this thing that they didn’t know was an issue. Hardly fair.
If this is someone you are in real relationship with, like a team member, a business partner, a romantic partner, a family member, or a friend, you need to say something.
Say it sooner than later. Say it when it’s still a molehill. Don’t give it a chance to grow into a mountain.
And if it is a violation of your values you definitely need to address it on the first violation. Directly. Clearly. Respectfully.
When is it OK to keep quiet? If it’s someone you’re never going to deal with again, maybe you don’t say anything.
Other than that, say something. It’s simple, it just doesn’t always feel easy.
Welcome to the “end of winter” issue of The Ripple. Which is really just me saying…oops! I didn’t send out the February Ripple, so you get a combo this month!
The Ripple is my project to help you connect daily actions with your calling. Need a refresher on what I mean by the ripple? Click here.
My calling, or purpose, is
TO foster understanding and acceptance of self and others SO THAT we can come together to make the world a better place.
Sometimes the activities I engage in are very clearly connected to my purpose…like coaching one of my private one-on-one clients or leading a purpose discovery workshop.
And sometimes I’m out in the world doing my best to stay in line with my purpose. Here are some of the ways I was out in the world on purpose as winter came to an end:
- I went on a fun girls weekend trip to Bellingham. I was thoughtful about how I wanted to show up on this trip as it was the first one I’ve gone on since my divorce and these girls are part of the couples circle my ex and I have been a part of since college. It was hard at times, but I let myself be real and trust that my friends could handle it. This was a new way for me to engage with them and they were wonderfully supportive. Plus, we had spa treatments and did some good dining out. Have you been to Home Skillet? Amazing breakfast and breakfast cocktails! And how about Pure Bliss? Great spot for deserts. Both had great vegan options.
- I attended the Keller Williams Family Reunion real estate conference. Many of my current and past clients are Keller-Williams agents. It was great to learn more about their world and connect with them in this setting. Plus, I got to witness someone living their purpose. More on that in a second.
- My best friend and I did our annual Oscars challenge. We went and saw all of the best picture nominees for the Academy Awards before the big show. Where’s my purpose in this? Oscar nominated pics tend to stretch me beyond my usual taste in movies so I get to learn about new places, people and perspectives (fostering understanding and acceptance of others). Plus, this challenge always leads to a fun viewing party with great friends.
- I had an awesome “deep dive” with a client to take them through my Get Your Shit Together process to help her set up systems that will allow her to bring her ideas to life. We are just getting started and I can’t wait to see where it all goes.
- I launched Free Fridays. Throughout the month of February the topic was how to uncover and live your purpose. In March we’ve been talking about how to align your daily actions with your purpose and how to get create your own systems to help you focus and prioritize your daily actions and projects.
- I went back home to Selah, WA to say goodbye to our family farm. This trip was a good blend of understanding my own needs and honoring the needs of the rest of my family as they also said goodbye. It was a very fun, sad and special weekend. You can read more about it all here.
- I was a guest on 2 podcasts. These were probably my best podcast interviews so far because I was super intentional and created an outline for the interviewers and I to follow to ensure that the most important parts of my message were delivered to their audience. You can here me on The Daily Cup here and on The Path to Mastery here.
- I’ve kept up my daily routine of a smoothie, gratitude journal, wins journal, reading a book to help me grow and moving my body! I can’t do cool shit in the world with people if I’m not taking care of myself!
Blah, blah, blah! I share all of this to give you examples of how I bring myself back to my purpose whenever I can in whatever I’m doing AND I promised that The Ripple wouldn’t just be about me and my ripple, but about the impact others are having in the world too.
So let me tell you a quick story about my friend Sarah Troske.
Sarah is the Listing Coordinator for a real estate team called Pickett Street Properties in Bothell, WA. I’ve worked with this team off and on over the years on everything from Myers-Briggs Discovery Sessions for individual team members to facilitating difficult discussions between team members to leadership coaching.
Back in January, their director of operations put on a retreat for executive assistants, transaction coordinators and other operations folks in real estate and related industries. I had the honor of facilitating a 1/2 day purpose discovery workshop at the retreat.
While I had already known Sarah from my work with her as a Pickett Street Properties team member and experienced her work as a real estate client of the team, working in the area of purpose was a little scary for her. But she made it through the workshop and by the end of it she had created a draft of her purpose statement: My WHY is to create opportunities with positivity and happiness so that I can succeed in helping others.
Next she attended a couple of my Free Friday calls where we talked about purpose and she refined her statement. Here is a picture she created using her new purpose statement:
My WHY is TO create safety outside of comfort zones SO THAT I can impact lives.
Through our work together she realized that in order to have the kind of impact she wanted to have in the world, she needed to get outside of her comfort zone while still feeling safe. She also realized that she had grown a lot since joining the Pickett Street team because her manager did just that for her. She encouraged Sarah to get outside of her comfort zone, but helped her feel safe in doing that.
The more Sarah did this, the more her impact grew. Plus, she was creating safety for others. Clients who had never bought or sold a house before felt safe in Sarah’s care and were able to achieve big financial and housing goals because of her knowledge and expertise. She also realized that she’s always been doing this for her friends and family. She’s the resource for them. They come to her for her knowledge and expertise on the things she loves and that helps them be brave enough to step outside of their comfort zones.
So, remember when I mentioned that real estate conference I attended? Well, Sarah was asked to help lead a mastermind session for transaction coordinators during the conference. Public speaking is waaaay outside of Sarah’s comfort zone. Yet there she was, standing in front of some of the top teams in real estate from around the country, heck, the world. And to top it off one of the most successful real estate leaders in the entire company showed up to speak for a bit and that attracted a big crowd.
And when it was Sarah’s turn, with flushed red cheeks she stepped up to the mic and did what she always does. She tapped into her knowledge, experience and expertise to answer burning questions from the audience. She explained how she set boundaries with agents she supports. She shared tools that she uses to keep track of transactions. She demonstrated how she keeps clients informed and up to date during the often emotional and tumultuous process of buying and selling home.
She gave the audience what they needed to feel safe getting outside of their comfort zones so they could go back home after the conference and have the kind of impact they wanted to have on their teams, with their clients and in the world.
And because I got out of my comfort zone and went to this huge conference all by myself, I got to witness all of it in person. What a gift!
If you scroll back up to the top of this page, you’ll see a picture of Sarah in my ripple collage. She’s the one in the bottom left corner that looks like a badass sharing her gifts with the world.
Time for Whiteboard Wednesday. If you have time to watch the 4 min video, great!
If not, here are the key points:
Two concepts I want to explore.
- The 80/20 rule. Also known as the Pareto Principle, it says that most results are determined by a small number of causes. For example, most of your sales, 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your focused activities.
- The E to P concept from The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. E stands for Entrepreneurial. P stands for Purposeful. Entrepreneurial is the stuff that just comes naturally to you.
When you’re in entrepreneurial mode, you’re doing what comes naturally. Unfortunately, along with it comes a natural ceiling of achievement. The entrepreneurial path is as follows:
- You take with what comes naturally to you and you hit this natural ceiling at some point that you’re just not able to breakthrough.
- You experience some resignation.
- You search for greener pastures.
- Then, you go and you hit that ceiling again and you get frustrated and the cycle continues.
When you’re purposeful this is what happens:
- You get focused
- You implement models.
- You implement systms.
- You breakthrough.
When we look at the focus, you’ve got to focus on what you’re passionate and purposeful about. Passion is just the stuff that you’re interested in, something that you really can’t help but do. Purpose is how you serve the rest of the world with that.
Models and systems are all about action and consistency and failure and results and learning, so that you can have the breakthroughs.
What happens when you add these two concepts together, the 80/20 rule and the E to P rule?
Well, the way I look at is let’s try to have you be you 80% of the time, you naturally.
That other 20%, is going to help you breakthrough that natural ceiling, is about exploring new ideas, new relationships, new beliefs. It’s about exploring and implementing models and tools and systems. So the stuff that doesn’t come as naturally to you can come more easily because you systematize it and routinize it, so that you can feel in your gaps and have the breakthroughs that you’re looking for.
That’s how I do concept math. I take the 80/20 rule pair it with the E to P concept, so that you can figure out how to apply your time and energy.
I would love to hear how this could work for you.
Tell me more about how you’ve applied the 80/20 rule in your life or how you’ve noticed it in your life.
Tell me more about what you are like naturally and how when you’ve stretched beyond that and got into those uncomfortable places of doing the stuff that’s not quite as easy.
Please leave comments below because I would love to hear what else you want to know about, what other concepts you’d love to explore here on Whiteboard Wednesdays.