At the end there was of course time for questions and one young lady asked me "how do you do it all? You seem to really just have it all together. What do you recommend for managing your success?"
What a great question that frankly, I was ill-prepared for. I don't often contemplate what I do or how I do it all. I'm thrilled she asked though and I'm going to share my secrets with you today! I DO often see this as a challenge that many people, both women and men face. Feeling like there is too much to do just to keep up with LIFE, how does one possibly add leadership to their already busy schedule?
I answered her very simply: I do what I care about. I pick what matters to me and make it a priority. TV? Rarely. Social Media? I've hidden my entire newsfeed so it's solely a way for me to stay connected (sorry if you've shared that you're engaged, pregnant, moving and I don't know.) Time with friends? I make it count. There's an influx in my area lately of home sales parties; I probably could fill every weekend with one and I know a lot of people that do. I don't go to something that I'm not interested in simply out of guilt.
So what matters to me?
1. My son and his education. Yes, I put 80 miles a day on my car with an average of 1 1/2 hours a day driving because sending him to Montessori is a top priority. I use that time when he's in the car to talk and connect with him (no radio); after I drop him off I use it to make phone calls, mentally plan my day, enjoy the silence or listen to the news.
2. Giving back to my community. I currently sit on the Crittenton Centers and the Morton Community Foundation Board of Directors. I have been asked to sit on a few more but have asked to defer so I can focus on my current duties.
3. Health and wellness. I schedule time with my husband so we each can have personal time to work out. This not only gives us sometimes much needed alone time, it keeps us fit and mentally upbeat. Sure, 5:30 AM classes at the gym are hard, especially while I'm pregnant, but it's worth it for how I feel later. I cook from scratch but I don't make it too difficult. I make a lot of freezer meals so I know we're eating something healthy but my time to prepare them is well managed.
4. Planning. This sounds vague, but I am almost always on high alert for opportunities to expand my horizons or invest in our future.
What I didn't answer to her and wish I had were these two facets that I'm sharing with you!
1. I have a solid team of people working for me and it doesn't cost me a dime. WHAT?!? How is that possible? Let me explain...
I have a banker, a lawyer, an accountant and a realtor, all of whom are fantastic. None of them charge me until something is facilitated. In the meantime, THEY are my ears and my eyes. My realtor notices a great investment? He calls me! I don't have to think about it. He runs the numbers, I send them to my banker for review and he also verifies. If/when the deal goes through, they get paid and I've expanded our income potential NEARLY without doing a thing. Sure, I'll visit the property once or twice, review the financials and ponder it a lot (remember the alone time in the car?) But for 2-3 hours of work, the payoff is incredible. To know that I have four highly qualified professionals that work for me for free (in the "when I get paid they get paid sense) is pretty incredible and something I don't think most people take advantage of.
2. This is the most important. I am not a perfectionist. It's true. Remember the cooking all of our own food? Some people may not think freezer cooking counts, but it's good enough. Laundry? I hate it. I do it because I have to and luckily my husband helps me. Clothes are clean but they may not actually get put away for a few days after being folded. I also don't dwell on a spotless house. Someday I'd like to hire a cleaning person but for now I'm too frugal. Our house is clean enough. The trim might not be dusted consistently but if that means I spend more time with my son, who cares? So many of us were told growing up that "if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right." I don't believe in that philosophy. That leads to a lot of unnecessary stress and stunting of personal and financial growth potential. It scares people from adding something new to their lives. "What if I don't do it right? What if I fail??" Instead of asking yourself "what IF I fail?" ask "What if I SUCCEED?" Before Sheryl Sandberg wrote "Lean In" I was already living by the quote "What would I do if I knew I wouldn't fail?" Lots. And I sure as hell wouldn't be dusting trim.
What I want you to take away is this:
-Choose what matters and focus on it. Make a list of what you want in your life and focus on the top three or four items that affect your immediate future.
-Find a team to work for you BEFORE you need them. Ask your friends and co-workers who they use for their lawyer, accountant, realtor and banker. Interview those people until you find someone who understands your goals and will work for you. Do not pay them until they get paid. This is about growth and financial efficiency.
-Give up the idea of being a perfectionist all the time.
Email or call me if you need more help achieving your goals! Sometimes a neutral voice is just what someone needs to kick start their future!