Friday, October 24, 2014

Speaking at @assuredandwell in Ojai, CA

I'll be speaking at the Assured + Well retreat at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa on January 18-21, 2015. Hosted by the editors of Cottage Hill Magazine, Assured + Well is a retreat designed to help wedding professionals and artists start the new year with clear focus as well as emotional, physical and mental rejuvenation.

I'll be giving two different sessions: one on neuroplasticity and the other on margin.

In the first, I'll be speaking on neuroplasticity, or — rather simply — the brain's ability to renew itself. We all know that we're supposed to love our bodies, but we often forget that the brain is in the body and that there are things we can do to intentionally live better. I want to be clear that this is not "The Secret" or "Law of Attraction" or other kumbayah fluffy theories about positive thinking and I won't be parroting any of the books available on the topic (most of which are full of dangerous misinformation). Instead I'll be sharing scientifically proven facts and in-depth psychological research about how the brain works and how you can use it to create a healthy business and life you love.

In the second session, I'll be talking about how to create margin in your life and business so that you can pursue the things you dream of. This is not a talk on "work-life balance." There's a quote by Alain de Botton that I love: "There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life." I believe this wholeheartedly, and believe that margin and balance are very different things. Margin is possible when balance is not: when you're juggling kids' or a partner's schedules, when you're taking care of an aging parent, when you're battling a life-threatening illness yourself — all on top of running a business. I'll be sharing a bit of my own story on this as well, including how turning down Oprah led to an opportunity to do the work that I am most passionate about.

You can learn more about the Assured + Well retreat and register here (registration includes accommodations and a spa treatment, among other things) and follow them on Instagram here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Owning It

This past Spring, I worked with an orphan home in Kenya. One of my favorite things about the kids I spent time with is the way they accept compliments.

"You're really intelligent." I know.

"You're really good at XYZ, did you know that?" Yes.

No hubris, just matter-of-fact confidence.

This weird — mostly American — practice of downplaying intelligence or talents in the hope it will make us somehow more relatable is damaging on so many levels and truly holds us back.

If you're not smart, why I am paying to hear you speak?

If you're not innovative, why did I hire you to produce my event?

If you're not going to make me think, why did I bring you on as a consultant?

There's a fine line between ego and confidence, but owning what you're good at is the only way you're going to change the world. True humility doesn't hide its gifts.

Originally published May 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Setting Yourself Apart From Your Competition

People want to be heard, feel like they belong and know that they matter — regardless of whether or not anything is in it for you.

Setting yourself from your competition is easier than you think. Paradoxically, it means thinking of yourself less.

Originally published October 2012

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Building Trust Online

There's a myth floating around that says that in order to be successful online and build trust with potential clients, you have to spill your guts about every aspect of your life.

Fortunately, this isn't true. Multiple studies have shown that trust increases more with predictability than it does with an increase in self-disclosure.

If the current trend of keeping it (overly) real and out-authenticizing each other leaves you uncomfortable, you're not alone. Yes, people want to connect with you on a personal level, but oversharing and TMI actually turns them off.

Oversharing can even build distrust, particularly if you're openly discussing your spouse or kids in an embarrassing way. When a potential client sees this, the thought process tends to be: "If they're willing to talk about their family this way  their most important relationships  then what will they say about me?"

Want to use social media effectively to build more trust with potential clients? Show up more often. Be real. Set boundaries.

Originally published March 2012

Monday, October 20, 2014

Creating a Better Life

Routines determine your life, so it's necessary to choose good ones. Here are three that have profoundly changed my life for the better. Simple (sometimes easy to justify not doing because they're "too simple") yet effective:

1. Morning pages. I've written about this practice several times before: first thing in the morning write three pages of whatever spills out of your head onto the page. The point is not to make sense, the point is to get it onto paper. The size of the pages doesn't matter. The size of your handwriting or cursive vs print or whether you prefer to type doesn't matter. What matters is the doing. You actually have to do this — sit down and write — for it to work. With morning pages you'll find you have more creativity, more margin mentally and emotionally, more clarity to focus on what's important. Almost every good idea I've had has started in cursive.

2. Listen to positive influences. Seth Godin blogged about this and I'll second it: make this a habit and you'll find that it works. I am an optimist, but I am not a Pollyanna. I do not believe in glossing over real problems or sweeping them under the rug in the name of "staying positive." I relate to people with real problems in their lives because that is real life (I have no time for made up drama). I also believe that what you put into your mind is what you get out. So listen to truth. Listen to things that give you the tools to choose optimism over cynicism, things that help you see the silver lining. Life has difficult and dark seasons, but grey skies aren't the whole picture. It's important to strengthen your heart and mind to choose real joy regardless. Choosing joy doesn't happen by accident, it is a cultivated habit.

3. Eat breakfast. This habit is certainly not a new idea. I made eating breakfast (not just coffee) daily a new year's resolution last year, and now I'm not sure why I ignored this piece of advice for so long. Everything that people said would happen, happened: I have more energy, my mind is sharper, I lost weight almost immediately. I'm including this one here because it's so obvious that it's a healthy habit (breakfast is good for you? No kidding!) and yet I willfully skipped it for years.

We all have a million excuses for not setting up healthy habits and routines in our lives and the excuses are all lame. (Don't believe me? Why exactly don't you drink enough water? Say it out loud. Yeah, that excuse is pretty lame.) You don't have to drastically change your life and fill it with new routines overnight. Just pick one to start. I'll give you a hint: the one you're resisting the most will probably be the most beneficial.

Originally published July 2013