Making decisions…

Greetings from the Lake! The sun is just rising here… there’s so much beauty and peace at this time of day… 

Even so, I’m only compelled to get up with the birds when we’re at the lake. 😉

But I do treasure these early mornings at the water, with my journal, sometimes a book, oftentimes just my thoughts – and my coffee. 😉

It usually takes me a couple of weeks to fully decompress and relax into the summer’s ease… but I’m already starting to feel things loosening.

People often tell us how lucky we are to spend the whole summer at the lake – but I always tell them, it’s not luck. It was a decision to do so a long time ago and then taking action to make it happen.

The first summer we were here for 2 weeks, and last summer we were here for 13. We just kept adding weeks every year until we were staying from Father’s Day to Labor Day.

But it all started with a decision. I knew what I wanted and I decided to make it happen. And this is our 12th summer doing so.

What decision could you make in your life or your business that would bring you more peace, joy, ease, freedom, happiness, laughter, wisdom, abundance?

I’d love to know – please share with me in the comments.

Until next time…

cheers,

Wiping out overwhelm bit by bit

The next two weeks are a bit overwhelming with so much going on, both personally and business-wise, so I took time yesterday to clear the decks.

I boxed up a ton of old binders and notebooks to go to the recycling center. I started filling my ‘summer bin’ mostly of books I want to read over the next few months. And I’m about 75% through my inbox as I head to zero before we leave for the lake.

I walked into my office this morning feeling considerably lighter and more energized to move forward.

I also made a list of exactly what needs to happen when over these next few weeks. Now I just need to focus on that list. 😉

I share more about wiping out overwhelm here:

http://aliciaforest.com/how-to-wipe-out-overwhelm/

Enjoy!

Cheers,
~ A

How To Wipe Out Overwhelm

How often do you find yourself in this scenario?

It’s Monday morning and you’re all geared up for a productive week ahead. You’ve got your to-do list (massive as it is) at the ready and you sit down at your desk to start checking things off.

As you begin to read down your list, you start to feel something in your gut. It’s not a physical pain necessarily, just a feeling of something heavy starting to grow. You ignore it and continue reading your list, making stars next to the things that seem to be the most important to get done that day.

But the more you do this, the heavier that feeling gets, until it starts creeping up to your shoulders and finally settles in your head. All that enthusiasm you had when you first sat down is gone and the only thing you feel now is utter and complete overwhelm.

Sound familiar? I’ve been there, too, so I understand.

And it’s not that all the tasks on your list aren’t wonderful and/or doable. There are simply too many of them – and they all seem important right now – to expect that you can accomplish them all in the hours you have to work in any single day.

So what happens? You do a little of this, a little of that, and you really never complete a single project!

But you don’t have to let another week pass without really accomplishing anything. Simply create a Priority Card.

A Priority Card will help you organize all your tasks in a way that will SHOW you every day what you should focus on.

There are a lot of details that will threaten to take your mind off your priorities (this is where a virtual assistant can be of immense value), but those details are not necessarily what will move you forward in your business. To do that, you need to consistently focus on completing the projects that will move your business ahead big-time.

You can create a system for helping you focus on your priorities in a number of ways, but I’m going to give you mine. I only work about 15 hours a week on my business, so adjust your own plan accordingly.

At the beginning of each week, I choose 3 projects with looming deadlines (self-imposed as they may be) from my master task list (which really is so massive that has it’s own notebook).

For example, at the moment, I am working on a sales page, content for a program, and a new offer.

On a colored index card, I write down those projects and prop the card in a standing clip holder, right in front of my computer screen. When I start to feel that sense of overwhelm, or when I find myself getting distracted by new ideas or other tasks (all of which seem important), I remind myself to look at my Priority Card and focus only on what’s written there.

Once I started using my Priority Card, my own business growth leapt forward ten times faster than when I was doing a little of this and a little of that, working on a dozen things, but taking much too long to actually complete just one project.

Know you won’t be able to stick to this process 100% of the time, but even 80% will help you make dramatic strides in your business growth. You’ll actually finish the projects you set out to do, and you’ll not only feel great about doing so, you’ll be inspired to do it again, and again, and again. Once you make this shift, you’ve learned the secret to wiping out overwhelm for yourself and your business!

How to Unhook from the Future

Chloe has a children’s book (which is now a movie) titled Milton’s Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and Robert S. Friedman, which really simplifies the concept of living in the present moment, and how the practice of that will, for the boy in the story, eliminate fear and worry.

I wanted to explore that as it pertains to your business, with a slightly different slant. I wonder if you, like so many of my clients, and myself as well from time to time, are so hooked into the future that we’re missing the NOW and not fully enjoying the journey?

So how do we unhook from it to allow what we truly want to come to pass without always feeling like we’re striving for it?

Here are 5 ideas:

1. Let go of the goals that take you away from the present.

Let me say first that you can have everything you want – and there’s no judgement here on what those things are.

That being said, do you want a mansion, to be the #1 speaker in your market, to be the one with the biggest email list in your market, to be a New York Times bestselling author, to make a million dollars? There’s nothing wrong with any of those lofty (yet completely attainable) goals.

And, what happens is when we’re so focused on the sexy dream we tend to get ourselves so riled up about getting there that we miss all the amazing stuff happening NOW.

What I’ve noticed is that people get impatient, sad, frustrated, and even angry when they’re so focused on the future goal that the present seems uninteresting at best, despairing at worst. The antidote? See #2.

2. Polish the present

I want to encourage you to stop striving so hard and thrive in your present. What I mean is that if you make what you already have better, and polish what’s already good and working, you uplevel your life without expending that energy on something that doesn’t exist yet.

Yes, it’s about appreciating what’s already good and right in your world and in your business AND it’s about how you can make what’s already there fulfill you even more. It’s true that if you make the most of what you already have, you’ll get more and better of it with a lot less effort on your part.

3. Don’t plan so much

I’m all about having the big picture plan down to the day-to-day details, and yet I know that most of the time, the plan changes.

One of the reasons we – as business owners – plan so much is because it gives us a sense of control and it helps to alleviate the fears and doubts we have about knowing what we’re doing.

So have the plan and be willing to be flexible with it. Let it be a guide but not the only way. If you get wrapped up in THE PLAN you’ll actually hold yourself and your business back from being able to adapt quickly when things change – and they always do.

Assess if you spend more time planning than doing – and if you do, stop right now. And if you tend to fly by the seat of your pants more often than not, you might want a lightly-built framework around you to give you some sense of stability.

4. Get out of the striver’s club

Stop trying to acquire a better future with others who are striving. It’s just too exhausting. I’m not saying to surround yourself with lazy folks, but get out of the overdrive club if you want to relax into a currently compelling present instead of an exhausting still ‘out there somewhere’ future.

5. Get off the ‘if/when’ rollercoaster

I admit this is a pet peeve of mine. Not from people who are decisive, but from people who use it as an excuse to not be happy now. When you make ‘if/when’ statements, you’re living in the future. Dreaming and visioning is one thing; otherwise it’s a holding pattern for you but even worse, you’re not enjoying where you’re at right now!

Now take and implement these five ideas to unhook from the future so you can enjoy the present – I promise you’ll thank me for it. 🙂

I’d love to hear you thoughts on this – please comment below…

How to LEAP Forward in Your Business (and Personal) Growth

For the first year in my business, I tried to do it all alone. Then I joined a group here and there, mostly free forums and free classes. And they helped some. But the real momentum and shifting came when I joined a paid mastermind group.

It was $5400- and at the time, I couldn’t afford it. And yet, I couldn’t afford not to get the expert help and the group support I so desperately needed so I wouldn’t have to resort to getting a J-O-B.

The first year in that mastermind took my business from $15k to $43k. Ok, so not to a million bucks or even 6 figures, but I was pretty darn happy with tripling my income, considering I was still only working about an HOUR a day on my business, as I tended to my young family.

The second mastermind I joined had some private coaching peppered in, and that year my income doubled, getting me to just shy of that $100k mark, while still only working about 15 hours a week.

Then I took the big leap into a high-level private program, and that pulled me into the multiple 6-figure mark, with a net of $127k cash in the bank. And I still only worked less than part-time AND took the entire summer off (again).

I’ve been leading my own highly successful Mastery of Business Academy Coaching & Training Programs since 2010, and I thought it would be helpful to share why this format is so incredibly powerful.

I’ve noted three things that seem to help the members make the BIG shifts they’re seeking:

  1. Focus

In our intimate mastermind, you get to focus on monetizing what you already have or are about to create. You get to focus on where you’re headed, instead of staying stuck in where you are. You get to focus on getting crystal-clear on who you’re serving and how you love to serve them, within a structure that honors your highest values.

  1. Implementation

You get the support you need to implement everything you already know to get the money in the door sooner than later, all while honoring your values and lifestyle. And when you invest in yourself at a high level, it spurs you into taking the big leaps so you get the most out of your investment (that certainly happened for me!).

  1. Sacred Support

You get the kind of support from the other members that may be really hard to find otherwise. Your spouse, best friend, or mom may not ‘get’ what you’re doing but your mastermind members do – and they are available to you in a moment to help you push past your fear, give you that next piece of information you need to take that next step, listen to you vent, offer advice and suggestions on how to move past any challenge, and giving you loving support whenever you need it.

So here’s what I know:

When you’re going it alone, it can be much more difficult to focus, to implement and to get the kind of sacred support we all need to bring our messages out into the world in a much bigger way.

In the beginning, I resisted this – I thought I liked being a lone-ranger. But once I open up to the possibility of allowing a group of lovely like-minded people to support me (and vice versa) everything changed in my business – and my life – for the better.

Find out how you can enjoy this level of support, no matter where you are on your business-building path here.

 

7 Ways Attending Live Events Can Boost Your Business

Are you the kind of business owner who tends to hide behind your computer screen?

You network online through virtual groups, but you’re hesitant to leave the comfort of your home office to actually meet others in person?

 

Whether you’re a natural introvert or extrovert, attending live events and meeting peers and colleagues in person can make a dramatic difference in the success of your business. If you’ve been the lone wolf type, it’s time to get out and start gathering with your pack.

 

When I was in the public relations/higher education field, I attended dozens of conferences, but when I started my consulting practice, money was tight and it took me a few years to get back out on the circuit.

 

The first event I attended in my capacity as a consultant/coach changed my business and my life. I hesitated about attending because it was a lot of money to invest back then and I was going to be starting over in a way in a new industry, which were both risks for me at the time.

 

Was it worth it? Let’s just say that I still have the card from the Irish pub my husband and I went to the final evening of the event where we figured out how I was going to make this business work. It really is when everything changed.

 

Not only did I learn a ton of great stuff, I met some amazing people who have become colleagues, joint venture partners and even friends. And I truly believe that what you put out is what you get back, and by attending this event, I was sending the message that I was ready to start playing big.

 

One of the best investments you can make in your business is in your continuous learning, by attending events, as well as investing in high-quality education products and programs. Part of my own marketing budget is dedicated solely to my learning (and believe me, it’s hard to keep the lid on it!).


So, are you thinking maybe you’ll take the risk and attend a live event in your industry?

 

Here are some specific reasons why you should:

 

1. Dedicated time and focus on the event topic

 

I bet you have at least a few books, CDs, home study courses, etc. that you’ve probably listened to or read, but that you haven’t actually applied. I know I do. And I also know that when I get out of my office and dedicate time and focus to one thing, I make some big breakthroughs.

 

2. Sharing space with like-minded individuals

 

Nothing inspires me more than being around others who are as passionate about what we do as I am. Collaborations come naturally and we easily share ideas and resources. Taking the time to share space with these folks helps keep me motivated and excited about moving forward.

 

3. More high-quality connections

 

Not only do I end up with a ton of business cards, but there’s also a handful of strategic partnership opportunities, as well as new ezine subscribers and new customers of my products. And by attending an event comprised of others in my industry, the quality of the connections I’m making is much higher for my business building than attending something like a local chamber event.

 

4. Discounts on materials to increase your learning

 

Typically the speakers of these events will offer special discounts to attendees on their products and programs. And if the event has vendor booths, the same usually applies. Events are a great place to “shop” for the next tool that will help boost your business.

 

5. It’s guaranteed and tax-deductible

 

I think this is something most small business owners forget. They just look at the price tag of the event, and then shy away. But remember, whatever you put out as an investment in your business is tax-deductible. Be sure to check with your accountant for details, but stop to think about how much you could increase your bottom line by attending the event, instead of how much it costs.

Besides, most reputable events offer a money-back guarantee, so if you really felt it wasn’t worthwhile, you can always ask for a refund.

 

6. Meet the experts

 

Most of the time, the speakers at the events are accessible, so don’t be shy and go on up and introduce yourself. You may not have another chance and you never know where that connection may lead!

 

7. Enjoy yourself outside of the event

 

Don’t forget that you can take in the place where the event is being held. Do a little research ahead of time and plan at least some time away from the event to enjoy wherever it is you’re visiting, even if it’s in your home state.

 

Once you’re home and recovered from being out and about at the event, you’ll be both excited and recharged to jump in with all your new knowledge and connections!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – please share them in the comments below…