Categories
Business Operations

Business Development: Top Down vs. Bottom Up

Would you describe your business development as being top-down, or bottom-up? Because the thing is, it’s literally one or the other. If I’m being honest, I seriously hope that your answer is top-down, and not bottom-up. But I also know that, at the end of the day, what you say doesn’t matter. Your business will tell the truth for you.

What Your Business Tells Me

When I look at a business’ proclivities and strategies, I can tell very quickly if they have a top-down or bottom-up approach. Before I take that line of thought any further…

I can hear you screaming through the screen wondering: 

Lany, what do you mean by top-down and bottom-up?

I am SO glad you asked.

Top-down means you have a vision, backed by a strategy that you’ve put thought into.

Bottom-up means you’re fucking winging it. (If this hits some kind of way…then I’m 99% sure that this is you, boo.)

Signs You’re Developing Your Business From the Top-Down

If you are working from the top down, you’ve actually sat down with yourself (or with your team) and created a strategy. 

You have a BIG picture vision of what you want to create, and you can communicate your purpose, your goals, your mission. You’ve taken the time required to think deeply about your business, and to create long-term plans for its success. 

You created a strategy and a plan. The pieces needed to move forward are in place.

Now, this doesn’t mean everything is perfect and you’ll never make changes. You can be in full strategy mode and still need additional clarification, or be planning to make changes. Honestly, you can still be throwing shit at the wall just to see if it sticks every so often. 

That’s ok. A top-down approach isn’t about being perfect or knowing everything all the time.

The main priority here is that you are keeping your vision top of mind. 

You’re still testing it to see if all of your products, programs, offerings, and events are still in alignment, but you’re able to accurately assess alignment because you have a vision to measure progress and growth against.

Signs You’re Developing Your Business From the Bottom-Up

If you are working in your business from the bottom up, that means you are trying everything under the sun. (Also, you’re probably exhausted and over-caffeinated. Consider pausing here for a second to drink a big ol’ glass of water.)

You’re in the phase I fondly refer to as throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks. This is not something you periodically do just to test something super innovative. This is literally how you operate at all times.

P.S.  It’s not working. (In case you were wondering.)

I’m not trying to be a hater, I don’t want you to throw in the towel, and I’m not putting your business down. As entrepreneurs, I know that we often feel we have to battle against other people’s limiting beliefs or judgments, and that’s not what I’m here for.

I see you making it harder than it has to be. I see you running yourself ragged, getting discouraged, and desperately hoping for light at the end of the tunnel. And I see the potential you have to make an impact.

So if you find yourself sitting in the position of not having a big picture strategy, or from having gotten super disconnected from that strategy, don’t worry. You can shift without feeling like you are starting all the way over. (And without feeling like you’re trapped on a staircase with an increasingly irate brunette screaming “PIVOT!” in your face.)

If you don’t have the BIG vision that will allow you to develop your business from the top down, I’ve got a few steps for you to start with.

Step 1. Visualization

Years ago I went through a training with David Byrd that focused on vision casting. 

It was truly profound, and has helped me with my business (and personal life) through the years. Although I’ve since adapted my own version of how I visualize my future, I still credit his methods with having given me a great starting point.

What I loved about his process is that when you initially write your vision, you pick a date/day in the future. It can be any future time: 1 year from now, 3 years from now, 5 years from now. It can be your birthday. Your anniversary. A holiday. The day doesn’t matter to anyone but you.

Feel into it.

Once you have selected your big day, I want you to take some time to think about and feel into what your future looks like in these areas: 

  • Financial 
  • Emotional 
  • Physical
  • Business
  • Mental
  • Relationships

(Not every topic may be relevant for your actual business, but I encourage you to still do this for all areas of your personal life. Your actual day-to-day reality, beyond your business, will still impact your work.)

Once you have spent some time here (Journal! Meditate! Get a massage! Take a walk!), I want you to write out your visualization for that day in your future as if it is currently happening.

Write out your day from beginning to end, covering all of the areas mentioned above. Make sure you tap into your feelings and write them down too.

Once you have that complete, we’ll take a closer look at your actual business vision. Then we’ll dive deeper and break it down into strategic goals and action steps.

Having a vision is fantastic, but it won’t come to pass by itself.

Step 2. Take Action

This next part is something you can work through in whatever way works for you. You might put aside 45-90 minutes a day for the next week or two. You might block out an entire day, or even gift yourself a solo retreat for a weekend to really sit with some of these aspects of shifting towards top-down business development.

Define Your Business Vision

Who do you serve? How do you impact them? What is your impact on the world we live in? Why is your work meaningful? How does this impact move beyond a single sale, service, or experience — why does it matter in the next 5, 10, 20 years? What part of this work will be your legacy?

All of these are questions you might consider answering on your way towards developing your business vision.

Align Your Purpose, Goals, and Mission with the Vision

Your starting point here is to determine what’s already happening in your business so you can intentionally create change where necessary and understand where you are lacking alignment. Determine where you (and/or your team) currently are spending time, money, and energy.

I often recommend you take at least one week to track all of your time (including the 20 minutes you spent trying to find your passwords for the new social media manager, the 3 hours you spent “fixing” your website because you hadn’t been clear about what you were looking for in the first place, and the 7 hours you spent doing things any decent VA could have cranked out for you in 5, like responding to customer requests via email, or making graphics in Canva).

It’s also helpful to review the last 3 months of your expense statements. Where is the money going? Are you spending thousands of dollars on subscriptions, tech stacks, and tools you hardly use? Are you frequently throwing money at programs or new hires that just “don’t work out”?

When you created your ideal day, you thought deeply about how you wanted your time and money being used to both support your own personal wellness AND to build your business.

Then, you created a vision that helped you communicate your desired long-term vision.

Now, you get to take your awareness about what’s NOT aligned to consider what things you want to remove, what things you want to uplevel, and what things you want to add that are actually aligned with what you are creating.

What is your vision?

Do you know your purpose?

What are your major goals/objectives?

Once you have those, head to step three!

Create a Strategic Plan with Clear Objectives

Using your vision, purpose, and list of major goals, you can start to break things down strategically. Often, business owners think in terms of quarters. If you break the next 12 months into four quarters, I would recommend planning to achieve 1-2 major goals in each quarter, then breaking them down into actual steps.

For example, if one of my major goals is to start a podcast, I would first ensure that I have deep clarity around how that fits into my vision and purpose, and what the goal for the show is. 

As I understand that, then I’ll move on to tackling the actual actions that I need to take to make it a reality, like:

Watch a podcast webinar on getting started / Choose podcast equipment for recording / Work with my designer on making cover art / Write the description / Write a pitch for guests / Pitch my first 15 guests / Determine interview scheduling methods and open my calendar up / Create a disclosure or right to use form that guests need to sign / Get an audio editor / Work with my social media manager on how we want to publish and distribute and share about the show / Create content for a podcast page on my website / Find a designer to brand the site page and update it on the site / Develop pitch – pre-interview – interview – post-interview – publication flow for guest communication / Develop workflows for VA, social media manager, and audio editor to work through each show seamlessly / Create promo emails for the show for existing list

The foresight I’m putting into what it actually takes, in reality, to create a podcast that will both be successful and be fully aligned with my vision and purpose is the result of taking a top-down approach. 

It also ensures I’m not going to be up till 3 am the night before my show is supposed to launch while I scramble to put the pieces together. And, it will make it less likely that I’ll publish two episodes then get too busy and quit.

You can also see why I encourage you to focus on 1-2 major goals per objective. Pacing yourself and truly grasping the full scope of a project makes you so much more likely to be successful in the long term!

Prioritize Actions Steps

If you just brain-dumped a whole paragraph of things that need to happen, you then need to go back and actually prioritize them. 

  • What do you, personally, need to handle?
  • What could an existing team member do?
  • Could some of these tasks be most easily achieved with pre-made templates?
  • What positions could you get referrals for?
  • In reality, what needs to be done first, second, third, etc?
  • What things would you like to talk through with an expert?

Having clarity around what needs to happen, and in what order, takes a huge weight off your brain. You’ve gone from ALL.THE.THINGS. to specific priorities that are aligned with the goal, which is aligned with the vision.

You are nailing this top-down business development thing!

Take Inventory of Current Projects

You already identified the places you’re spending your time. Now, make a list of actual, ongoing projects that you are currently knee-deep in.

During this step, you may realize you have 20 projects halfway done…or that you’re working 80 hours a week but can’t actually identify clear projects that are occurring.

Whatever the case for you, make a list! Once you have that, I would recommend sorting it into three smaller lists: 

  1. Projects that are fully aligned with your vision.
  2. Projects that are partially aligned, and worth revising.
  3. Projects that are not aligned. (Imagine an entrepreneur’s version of Gordon Ramsey looking over your shoulder and shouting “encouragement” — even if you like a project, be honest with yourself about how aligned it really is with your vision.)

Assign Financial Investment

People often cringe here. Creating the vision is fun, getting real about the dollars and sense can feel….less so.

However, we are business owners. We know we have to roll up sleeves and handle money like the bosses we are.

You know where you’re spending money now, and you may have already identified areas that you could decrease wasteful spending. (Hint: Constantly hiring team members to fix issues is not helping you. Investing in courses that you never actually finish is doing you no favors. Paying premium prices for tech that you basically never use is no bueno.)

Taking a look at these areas can also help you understand where you might have additional funds to cover the tools or new hires you need to make your newly defined goals and projects a reality. Figure out where your most aligned investments are going to be, and get serious about making those happen!

Set Manageable Deadlines and Timelines for all Deliverables

Manageability is key! When you did your big picture vision exercise, you weren’t just focused on your business. You thought about the life you are creating.

I’m guessing that it didn’t involve pulling your hair out at 1 am, running yourself ragged, or spiraling into total overwhelm every other week. (Should I have been an oracle? I might be in for a career change!)

Consider using all four quarters of the year to distribute your major goals, create margin where possible, and consider life constraints as you plan. For instance, if your family always goes to the ocean for a month in August, don’t plan to start your new podcast launch and schedule 10 interviews for that week. This is your life, and you get to create alignment with the way you manage your deadlines and deliverables!

Hire a Team to Execute the Vision

You don’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) doing everything alone. Yes, it happens sometimes, especially in the early stages. But it’s not really a long-term strategy for success. 

Eventually, you need to hire! That’s an entire post / course / process / deal in itself, so I’m not going to try and shoehorn it into this post. I will say, however, that I have some amazing templates that can help you onboard your new hires right here.

Face Your Fears

I know this is a hard one. 

We all have fears, myself included. We tend to either let our fears hold us back, OR we learn how to move through them and past them to create magic in our world. As you move through your vision creation process and start laying out the action steps above, you will definitely have moments where you will question everything.

And the reality is, if you don’t believe in your vision, then it’s going to fall apart. 

You are the glue that holds your vision together, for both yourself and your team. Ideally, you need to be working with your own accountability partner or mentor to keep you on point as the powerful leader and visionary that you are. It also helps to have team members who strongly support you.

If your vision is as big and impactful as I believe that it is, then it’s imperative that you do the inner work that is required to hold this massive vision and move through any fear that steps in to block you. 

If we’re going to change the world, we have to be in alignment with ourselves first.

What Position Are You In?

These are my tips for how you work from the top of your business rather than the bottom. 

What position are you working your business from? Are you ready to work from the top down and create a business that is efficient AND impactful?

—————-

As the “get shit done” person who holds the answers to what stands between you and the crap that slows you down and takes up all your time, I’ve created an exclusive group coaching offer –  if you’re ready to develop the systems you need to get your business on track and increase your profits, all while doing what YOU do best –

THIS IS FOR YOU.

This 12-month group coaching experience will provide you with support and accountability as you put all the moving parts of your business together. We kick off Feb. 22 – learn more about joining today!

 

Categories
Business Operations

Client Screening and Boundaries

What do they have in common? Well, boundaries have been a conversation that has come up for me a lot lately. Sometimes that can sound off-putting, but I mean it in the most positive way! However, I haven’t always gotten a warm, fuzzy feeling about acknowledging the power of boundaries. In fact, prior to 2016, I really struggled with setting and honoring them in my life and business. As I’ve grown, though, I’ve come to realize that boundaries and client screening are closely tied together! Improving one tends to naturally improve the other.

Boundary Problems Lead to Client Problems

My problems started because, like any normal human, I really, really wanted to be liked and acknowledged. I wanted to be seen and accepted. I wanted to have a sense of belonging.

However, I apparently got tricked into thinking that the way to be accepted was to give away my time, my essence, my love, my energy, my money, my resources, my knowledge, and my experience. Whatever you needed, I would help you. I would share time and energy and resources with you without hesitation. (Thankfully, I have always been able to draw the line at sharing tacos. so I’ll give myself a few bonus points for that.) 

From personal relationships to clients, I expected myself to be constantly pouring out, no questions asked. And while I was definitely leaving satisfied customers and glowing reviews in my wake…

I was also causing myself so much harm and heartbreak.

Gradually, I realized I was constantly running on empty. It seemed like I never got anything back, and it was brutal. It was also translating into my work. 

Apparently, if you give clients the impression that you’re basically thrilled to double your work without increasing your pay….that you always respond within 5 minutes to emails and Slack messages…that it’s no problem to burn the midnight oil to solve crisis situations that even a moderate effort on their part could have helped us avoid….

You attract clients who take advantage of you.

This is both a boundary problem and a client screening problem.

If You Don’t Have Boundaries, You Can’t Do Client Screening

This is a bold statement, so hear me out!

When I didn’t have boundaries, I didn’t respect myself. I didn’t value my work. I didn’t think I was worth the respect of others.

With that as my headspace, what “client screening” criteria were available to me?

Rather than being able to make empowered choices to work with people I shared mutual respect with, I was offering discounts to work with clients who were less than ideal. 

Sometimes that meant they micromanaged or were difficult to work with. Other times it meant that their work in the world didn’t light me up. And sometimes it meant I accepted ridiculously low pay that I should have never considered.

I didn’t know my own worth, I didn’t have boundaries around what was acceptable, and as a result, I didn’t have the capacity to go about client screening. There were certainly people that I didn’t want to / shouldn’t be working with. By not signing them on, I could conserve my efforts for dream clients that I was excited to pour into.

Crafting My Boundaries

And then, I made a life-altering decision. I hired a coach.

I hired a coach who saw me. Who loved me. Who had grace and compassion for me, and who showed me tough love. Ultimately, the person who set boundaries with me. Who questioned my decisions and challenged why I had chosen the path that I had. 

She challenged the fuck out of me. 

And I resisted.

Y’all, I was so stubborn.

I dug in to where I was in life and what I was doing, making excuses for the people who were depleting me, making excuses for why I had to have the clients I had.

I didn’t want to be made to feel I was wrong or making a mistake. In addition, I didn’t want to be called into something higher or better or, heaven forbid, different.

My ego was in rare form.

And then things shifted. 

I’d like to say that it was instantaneous, but it was a slow and painful process that I put myself through. I literally made it hard on myself. Even though I could have made it easy, I didn’t. I resisted over and over until I finally wore down my own resistance and realized what a fucking waste of time that was.

Once I shifted, it was game on. 
  • What boundaries did I need to set? 
  • What had I allowed in my life to happen to me that was no longer allowed? 
  • Why was I setting boundaries? 
  • What relationships (personally and professionally) were actually good for me?
  • What clients do I need to let go of? 

I decided I was worthy of setting boundaries. I deserved to have solid boundaries, and I owed it to myself to have firm boundaries.

Boundaries Aren’t Cement (Also Known As, You Can Always Change Them)

Now here’s the thing… my boundaries aren’t cemented in. I can consciously choose to change ANYTHING or to allow ANYTHING in my life or business. 

BUT…

The key is consciously choosing.

I have learned to tune in to what feels aligned with my head, heart, and soul. If it’s aligned, it’s allowed. If it’s not aligned, it’s not allowed. 

Remember that line from Dirty Dancing, “Nobody puts baby in a corner.”? 

Well, that is how I look at my boundaries. Nobody gets to treat me like crap in any form or fashion. That is especially true for the people I work with and for. Boundaries and client screening are like two pieces of a puzzle that are designed to fit together. They literally just go together — as you develop boundaries, you’ll find that you are naturally reevaluating who you work with, and how that work happens.

My Boundaries in the Wild (Actually Living Them Out)

Recently I was working on a project with a few women, and it fell apart in a most disastrous and disappointing way. One of the women went on the attack and made it personal towards me. 

Frankly, I was shocked. I walked away from the conversation saying to myself, “These women really don’t know me. They don’t see me.” 

The next evening I ran into one of the women at a local event, and we decided to talk out the situation a bit more. She said to me, “Lany, I believe she (the other woman) is threatened by you. Out of all the women working on this project, you are the one with the most solid boundaries.” 

Now, I can’t say that I was leaping for joy, because I was still disappointed that the project fell apart the way that it did. When she made that comment about how strong my boundaries were, however, I gave myself an internal pat on the back and I shared with her verbally that I had practiced these boundaries for some time. 

I put in a lot of effort and practice to have boundaries this strong. 

One of my dearest friends was a part of that conversation that night, and she affirmed that “I had fucking strong boundaries”. 

You can’t just say you have boundaries and then let people walk all over them. You can’t cave to peer pressure, or to pressure from clients. It’s vital that you learn to be firm in your boundaries. 

You can bend when appropriate, but you cannot break. Palm trees and bamboo bend in the storm, but they don’t break. You can do the same.

Set, Hold, Honor: Verbs That Boundaries Love

Setting, holding and honoring your boundaries takes work. It takes practice. It takes effort. Desire and care for yourself. Loving yourself. Honoring yourself. Boundaries are meant to protect you. Not cause you or others harm. They are not meant to be malicious. They are meant to be clearly defined terms of what is and is not allowed in your life and business. 

When it comes to clients, boundaries do not mean you only work with millionaires who pay you with Bitcoin and offer you free flights on their private jets. They aren’t about building an ivory tower and keeping everyone out.

Boundaries actually enable you to build better, stronger relationships that are healthier on every level.

In fact, if someone asked me what my specific boundaries were today, I would be hard-pressed to lay them all out because I listen to my intuition when things show up. 

Someone or something may be pressing me to do something or to take a specific action, and if it’s out of alignment with my integrity and my intuition, I will set a solid, fast and firm boundary that I will not participate in said action. 

No if, ands, or buts about it. 

My boundaries are tied to my intuition, my integrity, my self worth, my self love, and honoring what I know to be true and right in my own life. Knowing that, I’m able to joyfully work with clients who respect me and see my worth. 

——————-

As the “get shit done” person who holds the answers to what stands between you and the crap that slows you down and takes up all your time, I’ve created an exclusive group coaching offer –  if you’re ready to develop the systems you need to get your business on track and increase your profits, all while doing what YOU do best –

THIS IS FOR YOU.

This 12-month group coaching experience will provide you with support and accountability as you put all the moving parts of your business together. We kick off Feb. 22 – learn more about joining today!

Categories
Business Events Life

Vision Casting for Your Business

In the name of vision casting, many coaching and self development programs ask you some variation of these questions:

“What will your life look like one year now? 5 years from now? 10 years from now? What would your perfect day be? Who do you want to become?”

I’m not knocking any them — in my own book, Stop Wasting Time and Burning Money, there’s literally a chapter devoted to considering your vision. It’s all about doing the work of future casting, practicing visualization, and all that good stuff.

Knowing where you’re headed is common sense, and I’m here for it!

But Is the Practice Still Powerful?

By asking these types of questions so often, however, there’s the reality that potency can be lost. Sometimes questions strike us powerfully because they are novel. Admittedly, there is something wonderful about an unexpected prompt that asks us to think in new and different ways.

But when every life coach, performance guru, and internet sales page is throwing the same tired questions in your face, the novelty disappears quickly. (Or is that just my opinion?)

If you’re like me, you find yourself asking:

  • Are these overdone questions?
  • Have we used and abused them for far too long?
  • Is there still value in the unknowing and curious state that question puts you in?

I say yes…and no.

What Impacts Our Question Receptivity?

When I’ve been asked to answer the question about what my life will look like in a year, I’ve noticed the answer perceptibly shifts along with my mental state and circumstances.

The reality is, when you’re in a place of struggle, it’s hard to see past the struggle. 

When you’re in the muck and the mire, it can be a challenge in and of itself to pull yourself up. We’ve all been there. Trying to “look into the future” and see something positive and good in those times can be a real shit show.

Like…yes Guru Gary, a few years from now I can see a magical world where I didn’t accidentally fuck myself over by not paying enough taxes.

Peering even further for Mentor Mallory, I can envision a world where my alarm clock causes me to spring out of bed so I can rush to my journal and start my gratitude meditations. Maybe, assuming I haven’t had a heart attack by then, I’ll be grateful that I’m not working 2.5 jobs PLUS a side hustle while I try to get this business off the ground!

And revealing it all for Coach Craig, I’ll share a vision of my glowing future, filled with many miles run, crunches crunched, and downward dogs. (Thankfully I’m responding to him via Zoom, so it’s not immediately apparent that I’m rolling my eyes and eating Oreos in the same sweatpants I’ve been wearing for three days.)

Our circumstances and mindset absolutely impact how we envision our futures.

Being in a Good Place Makes Us More Likely to See (And Believe) in Good Things

When we’re in a good place in life, it’s much easier to look forward and see MORE good coming. From personal experience, I know that when I’m already practicing feel-good habits (like gratitude, movement, and setting aside money for taxes) and feeling grounded and positive, I tend to vision cast in a way that is, shockingly, much more grounded and positive.

Rather than responding grudgingly, or with cynicism or defeatism, I’m able to vision cast with a great deal of intention and a belief that my outcomes will be amazing. In fact, I would take it one step further and say I’m also more likely to believe in the vision I’m casting. I think, say, and believe more good things are possible when I’m coming from a position of strength.

That being said, I’m not saying to not do vision casting, or implying things need to be perfect in your life before you start creating a future vision. However, I am noting that I’m all about doing it while in the right frame of mind.

A few small steps that can help you get there?

Practice positive habits. Drinking enough water, being in the habit of gentle movement, building a journaling or gratitude practice: these aren’t things you wait to do in some perfect future. No! These are things that you can start doing now, in order to cultivate the mindset and sense of wellbeing that will help lay a stronger foundation for your desired future.

Believe In the Vision You Cast

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but….

none – not a single one – of my past life vision casting practices ever came to fruition. (Is it too late to ask Guru Gary for a refund?!)

Sometimes better came. Sometimes different showed up. Other times, I simply struggled to believe.

The future I cast for myself didn’t feel like something that could ever be a reality for me.

Even though I know how powerful the practice of vision casting is, I also think that we’ve probably all had the experience of not believing in the vision that we cast, of not believing in ourselves.

We do this future-focused practice because our coach encouraged us to do it, or someone from stage said it was a great idea, or some book or influencer said it was what changed their life.

But when it comes down to it, it feels a little bit like trying on Aunt Thelma’s hundred year old girdle set. There’s way too much going on, nothing fits like it should, and you’re left feeling like it was too much, or too hard, or too complicated, or too obscure to work for you.

The Fly in the Ointment

And that’s the fatal flaw (or the fly in the ointment, if you will).

We try to jump into vision casting without making any effort to prepare ourselves for it in the present. In many ways, we treat it like buying a lottery ticket. We throw in our lucky numbers, we imagine how fun it would be if we were to win it all….and then we buy some cheap wine and go back to whatever we normally do.

Along with that comes the sneaky little idea that we’ll start making changes if the vision begins to unfold.

This is a problem because it lets us have the fun of vision casting (even if we do it ironically or cynically or from a dark, Cheeto encrusted part of our souls), without calling us into any form of work connected to vision creation.

Doing the Work

Before you begin vision casting and planning for what your life will look like in a year, or five, or ten….

Work on your mindset.

Your inner self.

Your habits and ways of being.

Find the deep work that needs to be done and lean into doing it.

Because that, right there, is where the change happens. That is where the magic is – in the present life that you’re literally living right now.

When I consider all of the years of goal setting and vision casting that I have participated in throughout my journey, the most powerful and impactful practices have occurred within the last 5 years. Not coincidentally, that’s also when I had actively started doing the deep work.

When I decided to dig in and change my life, that is when my life changed.

I stopped waiting for the big future win that was going to make everything in my life so different, and I started cultivating the soil and planting the seeds that would enable me to actually be part of co-creating the life I desired.

Change is Calling

The reality is, you’ve got to be willing to change if you want something different. 

We want different, we want better, we want that 7 figures, that fancy car, that travel lifestyle… yet we’re not willing to do the work to grow, learn, and improve who we are, how we live, the decisions we make and the words we speak in the present.

We’re not preparing ourselves for the future we’re casting, which means it’s going to come into being.

When I look back over the last 5-6 years of my life, I feel like I’m a different woman now. Don’t get me wrong….I was amazing then! But I’m definitely a better version of my amazing self today.

When I vision cast now, it’s with a completely different mindset.

It’s something I do with clear intentions, massive awareness, and the knowledge that, in a year from now, I’ll be better off than I am today. It’s also knowing that it won’t be all rainbows and unicorns.

However, I’m empowered to visualize with a massive belief in who I am, how I show up, and who I want to be.  

Look Inward & Develop Your Own Self-Belief

The next time someone asks where you want to be a year from now, I challenge you to first do the inner work to lay a foundation for your future self.

If you can’t stand strong in believing in yourself, consider working with a coach or mentor to help you get there. For myself, working with a coach saved my life (and my business!).

No, I wasn’t technically dying (it was all on the inside). But, I felt hopeless to create change, and couldn’t seem to see the forest for the trees. I was buried in my own self doubt, and working with a coach helped me shift so many things in my life, my thinking, my language and so much more.

I realized that, with all my previous vision casting and attempts at creating change, I was doing a lot of pretending.

Pretending to be ok.

Pretending to be happy.

Pretenidng I wasn’t fucking miserable and doing my best to hide it from the world.

Because honestly, I was NOT okay.

I couldn’t see beyond my face and my current circumstances, much less try to visualize life a year in the future. Doing some actual work around that was what allowed me to finally begin the process.

It’s also what allowed me to finally develop the business I had been dreaming of for so long.

Being Present Today to Build Your Business’s Tomorrow

Now, I help businesses create workflows, systems & processes, and optimal tech stacks.

Some people may think that sounds….

boring.

Honestly, it’s anything but.

I think of it as teaching you how to do the tangible work of building a business that is prepared for the future you’re casting.

You want to make an impact?

Scale to the next level?

Build a legacy?

None of it is going to happen if you haven’t built a sustainable set of systems that will support that dream. In the same way that you get to dig deep and gain inner clarity for yourself around who you are and what vision you’re cultivating, you get to do the same for your business.

How powerful is that?

Take a Breath (Or Two)

If all this vision casting and inner work is resonating, take a breath.

Take another one.

If you look back and consider your previous attempts at goal setting, vision casting, or other visualization practices, can you recognize the limitations?

Can you see how preparing yourself for the vision is the work of right now, in both your personal life and your business?

You are amazing. You have a purpose. And you are absolutely here for a reason. Choose to believe that, then take that next step. Odds are, you already know exactly what to do.

————-

As the “get shit done” person who holds the answers to what stands between you and the crap that slows you down and takes up all your time, I’ve created an incredible online community so you can quickly and easily bring your ideas to life, get your business on track, and increase your profits, all while doing what YOU do best.

This community will provide you with support and accountability as you put all the moving parts of your business together. Join us, and share the ideas, questions, and projects that truly light you up and push your vision forward — join us!

Categories
Business Events Life

Life in 4500 Miles

Earlier this spring, I decided that I was going to do a road trip for 6 weeks or so. I had a client event that I needed to drive to, so I started planning out a journey around the event. It was going to be amazing. I knew I was going to move out of my apartment, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to feed my wanderlust and work. Plus, I planned to see friends and family along the way. Total win-win.

My intuition kicked in on a very specific piece of my journey, so I verified, double and triple checked that piece. Let’s just say my intuition was right like it always is.

EVERY.

DAMN.

TIME.

They say if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans. 

This was no laughing matter.

My trip imploded from day 1, hour 2. 

It didn’t take long for my plans to go to hell in a hand basket.

So, what do you do when it feels like the whole world is falling around you?

You adapt.

At least that’s what I do.

I shifted and redirected.

I faced the storm head on…

And I lived to tell about.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, they say. 

I feel stronger.

I feel more powerful.

I feel more raw.

I’m more open.

The next 3 weeks were a tumultuous ride. 

Storm clouds and sunshine.

Ups and downs.

Peaks and valleys.

Physically, emotionally, mentally, financially.

I’ve been pulled and tried and tested at every turn.

I haven’t made it out unscathed, but I made it through.

Leaning into the depth of pain.

Learning my strengths.

Owning my power.

Honoring my loss.

Accepting that I will never know the whole truth.

Even in this moment, I am still processing.

I am still shedding the hurts, doubts and questions.

I’m seeing myself in another light.

I’m giving myself grace.

Loving myself instead of judging.

As I type this, I am 24 hours away from this road trip ending. Yesterday, I drove 8 hours across the vast Nevada desert. 

Area 51 is all quiet in case you were curious 

As I drove across the vastness, I experienced my entire journey throughout the day and I reflected on the journey in every aspect.

I’ve crested 9,000 foot mountains and been on top of the world.

I’ve driven below sea level and experienced the dry, arid landscape.

I’ve driven through Monsoons and come out the other side to glorious sunshine.

I’ve driven through Death Valley, literally.

I’ve made friends, lost what I though was love, explored new opportunities for intimacy, received an outpouring of love from family and friends along the way.

I cried tears of angst and pain.

Been pissed off as fuck.

Been rescued.

Shown up for myself and others.

Honored commitments.

Hid out and hibernated..

Recharged, rested and rejuvenated my heart, soul, mind and body.

Allowed creativity to come through.

Laughed so hard I cried.

Snuggled with all the fur babies.

Slept in and stayed up late.

Nourished every part of my life with goodness.

Forgave.

And forgave some more.

And had to forgive even more.

Life is this incredible journey and we get to choose how we show up to it. 

It’s full of crazy storms that come flying across our path

It’s also full of sunny, calm, lay on the beach kind of days.

It’s perfectly imperfect.

And we get to choose how we move through each moment. 

We get to recognize how and why everything comes shows up in our lives.

What we are attracting and calling in.

I don’t know if I have failed or passed this test.

Is this even a pass or fail moment? 

Maybe.

Maybe not.

What I know is that I faced the challenges. 

I see me.

I honor me.

I love me.

I forgive me.

And now, no one’s gonna fuck with me. 

While this journey may be ending, the lessons are still being integrated.

The moments and experiences will continue to teach me about how to BE.

About how to show up.

I want to learn these lessons this one time please. 

A repeat is not necessary. 

I want to encourage you to travel. 

To journey beyond your borders and limits. 

Get outside your comfort zone.

Challenge your own status quo.

Face the storms of life.

Embrace the journey in all of it’s peaks and valleys. 

Be seen. 

Be vulnerable.

Be transparent.

It’s scary as fuck.

It’s empowering as fuck too.

Categories
Business Life

Do You See Me?

I’ve just come home from spending 4 days in the Southern California mountains in a retreat with 12 other incredible leaders. I went in with trepidation knowing I would have a choice to step into this space of vulnerability and visibility.

You see. I’ve always been the strong one. The resilient one. The one that bounces back. The one that doesn’t cry.

My claim to fame is my adaptability.

When life zigged, I zagged with apparent ease.

At least, that’s what I wanted you to think.

As I went into this retreat I knew that I would be different on the other side. I knew that I needed to be different on the other side.

I knew that for me to step into this next level of my life and business, I was going to have to bust down some walls and show you who I really am.

There is a part of me that I’ve never wanted anyone to see.

I never wanted to show the cracks in my walls.

I was afraid of being judged.

I was ashamed.

I didn’t think I was worthy.

I’d forgotten how to love myself.

I didn’t know what you would think about all of my failures.

I want to be seen and understood. Loved and accepted.

But I did’t want you to see me.

I did’t want you to see the hurts, the shame, the judgments, the weight of this burden that I have carried around.

Would you love me less?

Would you avoid me?

Would my vulnerability make you uncomfortable?

Would you shame me?

Would you judge me even more?

I was afraid of your rejection.

I was hiding behind my fear.

“What will people think of me?”

That is one fucking powerful question that holds so many of us back.

So, here I am in all of my glory; hurts, scars, failures, warts and all.

Do you see me?

I see you.

That’s what we all really want and need, right?

To be seen.

To be understood.

To be loved.

AS WE ARE.

As I step into this next iteration of myself. My highest self. I am showing up for me. I honor all of me. I love me. I will care for my heart and my soul first.

Because that is true love.

I see me.

I see you.

You get to choose.

I get to choose.

I choose me.

What do you choose?

How will you show up?

Will you choose to walk away from the fears that have held you back?

Walk with me down this path.

Acknowledge your fears.

Face off with them.

Release the shame.

Release the guilt.

Release the judgment.

It only holds us back.

Release it all with me.

Let’s link arms.

Let’s rise.

Let’s step into more love.

More honor.

More truth.

For that is where we grow.

This former version of myself that played small is no longer. I am stepping into this new space ready to fulfill my vision, mission and purpose.

I will not let me failures or fear stop me.

I am bigger than they are.

Will you join me?

To change this world, we can no longer play small or BE small. We are strongest when we do the inner work. When we dive deep. When we crack our hearts wide open. When we take responsibility. When we release all the shit that has held us back.

*Side note – I encourage you to follow and connect with Ruby Fremon on all the social channels. Attending her Activation Retreat was one of the best decisions of my life. I don’t say that lightly and I don’t promote very many people or their work. I deeply trust the work that Ruby creates and you will not regret connecting and working with her.

Categories
Business Events

Business Development: Top Down vs. Bottom Up

Would you describe your business development as being top down, or bottom up? Because the thing is, it’s literally one or the other. If I’m being honest, I seriously hope that your answer is top down, and not bottom up. But I also know that, at the end of the day, what you say doesn’t matter. Your business will tell the truth for you.

What Your Business Tells Me

When I look at a business’ proclivities and strategies, I can tell very quickly if they have a top down or bottom up approach. Before I take that line of thought any further…

I can hear you screaming through the screen wondering: 

Lany, what do you mean by top down and bottom up?

I am SO glad you asked.

Top down means you have a vision, backed by a strategy that you’ve put thought into.

Bottom up means you’re fucking winging it. (If this hits some kind of way…then I’m 99% sure that this is you, boo.)

 

Signs You’re Developing Your Business From the Top Down

If you are working from the top down, you’ve actually sat down with yourself (or with your team) and created a strategy. 

You have a BIG picture vision of what you want to create, and you can communicate your purpose, your goals, your mission. You’ve taken the time required to think deeply about your business, and to create long-term plans for its success. 

You created a strategy and a plan. The pieces needed to move forward are in place.

Now, this doesn’t mean everything is perfect and you’ll never make changes. You can be in full strategy mode and still need additional clarification, or be planning to make changes. Honestly, you can still be throwing shit at the wall just to see if it sticks every so often. 

That’s ok. A top down approach isn’t about being perfect, or knowing everything all the time.

The main priority here is that you are keeping your vision top of mind. 

You’re still testing it to see if all of your products, programs, offerings, and events are still in alignment, but you’re able to accurately assess alignment because you have a vision to measure progress and growth against.

Signs You’re Developing Your Business From the Bottom Up

If you are working in your business from the bottom up, that means you are trying everything under the sun. (Also, you’re probably exhausted and over caffeinated. Consider pausing here for a second to drink a big ol’ glass of water.)

You’re in the phase I fondly refer to as throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks. This is not something you periodically do just to test something super innovative. This is literally how you operate at all times.

P.S.  It’s not working. (In case you were wondering.)

I’m not trying to be a hater, I don’t want you to throw in the towel, and I’m not putting your business down. As entrepreneurs, I know that we often feel we have to battle against other people’s limiting beliefs or judgments, and that’s not what I’m here for.

I see you making it harder than it has to be. I see you running yourself ragged, getting discouraged, and desperately hoping for light at the end of the tunnel. And I see the potential you have to make an impact.

So if you find yourself sitting in the position of not having a big picture strategy, or from having gotten super disconnected from that strategy, don’t worry. You can shift without feeling like you are starting all the way over. (And without feeling like you’re trapped on a staircase with an increasingly irate brunette screaming “PIVOT!” in your face.)

If you don’t have the BIG vision that will allow you to develop your business from the top down, I’ve got a few steps for you to start with.

Step 1. Visualization

Years ago I went through a training with David Byrd that focused on vision casting. 

It was truly profound, and has helped me with my business (and personal life) through the years. Although I’ve since adapted my own version of how I visualize my future, I still credit his methods with having given me a great starting point.

What I loved about his process is that when you initially write your vision, you pick a date/day in the future. It can be any future time: 1 year from now, 3 years from now, 5 years from now. It can be your birthday. Your anniversary. A holiday. The day doesn’t matter to anyone but you.

Feel into it.

Once you have selected your big day, I want you to take some time to think about and feel into what your future looks like in these areas: 

  • Financial 
  • Emotional 
  • Physical
  • Business
  • Mental
  • Relationships

(Not every topic may be relevant for your actual business, but I encourage you to still do this for all areas of your personal life. Your actual day-to-day reality, beyond your business, will still impact your work.)

Once you have spent some time here (Journal! Meditate! Get a massage! Take a walk!), I want you to write out your visualization for that day in your future, as if it is currently happening.

Write out your day from beginning to end, covering all of the areas mentioned above. Make sure you tap into your feelings and write them down too.

Once you have that complete, we’ll take a closer look at your actual business vision. Then we’ll dive deeper and break it down into strategic goals and action steps.

Having a vision is fantastic, but it won’t come to pass by itself.

Step 2. Take Action

This next part is something you can work through in whatever way works for you. You might put aside 45-90 minutes a day for the next week or two. You might block out an entire day, or even gift yourself a solo-retreat for a weekend to really sit with some of these aspects of shifting towards top down business development.

 

  1. Define Your Business Vision

Who do you serve? How do you impact them? What is your impact within the world we live in? Why is your work meaningful? How does this impact move beyond a single sale, service, or experience — why does it matter in the next 5, 10, 20 years? What part of this work will be your legacy?

All of these are questions you might consider answering on your way towards developing your business vision.

  1. Align Your Purpose, Goals and Mission with the Vision

Your starting point here is to determine what’s already happening in your business so you can intentionally create change where necessary and understand where you are lacking alignment. Determine where you (and/or your team) currently are spending time, money, and energy.

I often recommend you take at least one week to track all of your time (including the 20 minutes you spent trying to find your passwords for the new social media manager, the 3 hours you spent “fixing” your website because you hadn’t been clear about what you were looking for in the first place, and the 7 hours you spent doing things any decent VA could have cranked out for you in 5, like responding to customer requests via email, or making graphics in Canva).

It’s also helpful to review the last 3 months of your expense statements. Where is the money going? Are you spending thousands of dollars on subscriptions, tech stacks, and tools you hardly use? Are you frequently throwing money at programs or new hires that just “don’t work out”?

When you created your ideal day, you thought deeply about how you wanted your time and money being used to both support your own personal wellness AND to build your business.

Then, you created a vision that helped you communicate your desired long-term vision.

Now, you get to take your awareness about what’s NOT aligned to consider what things you want to remove, what things you want to uplevel, and what things you want to add that are actually aligned with what you are creating.

What is your vision?

What is your purpose?

What are your major goals/objectives?

Once you have those, head to step three!

  1. Create a Strategic Plan with Clear Objectives

Using your vision, purpose, and list of major goals, you can start to break things down strategically. Often, business owners think in terms of quarters. If you break the next 12 months into four quarters, I would recommend planning to achieve 1-2 major goals in each quarter, then breaking them down into actual steps.

For example, if one of my major goals is to start a podcast, I would first ensure that I have deep clarity around how that fits into my vision and purpose, and what the goal for the show is. 

As I understand that, then I’ll move on to tackling the actual actions that I need to take to make it a reality, like:

Watch a podcast webinar on getting started / Choose podcast equipment for recording / Work with my designer on making cover art / Write the description / Write a pitch for guests / Pitch my first 15 guests / Determine interview scheduling methods and open my calendar up / Create a disclosure or right to use form that guests need to sign / Get an audio editor / Work with my social media manager on how we want to publish and distribute and share about the show / Create content for a podcast page on my website / Find a designer to brand the site page and update it on the site / Develop pitch – pre interview – interview – post interview – publication flow for guest communication / Develop workflows for VA, social media manager, and audio editor to work through each show seamlessly / Create promo emails for the show for existing list

The foresight I’m putting into what it actually takes, in reality, to create a podcast that will both be successful and be fully aligned with my vision and purpose is the result of taking a top down approach. 

It also ensures I’m not going to be up till 3am the night before my show is supposed to launch while I scramble to put the pieces together. And, it will make it less likely that I’ll publish two episodes then get too busy and quit.

You can also see why I encourage you to focus on 1-2 major goals per objective. Pacing yourself and truly grasping the full scope of a project makes you so much more likely to be successful in the long term!

  1. Prioritize Actions Steps

If you just brain dumped a whole paragraph of things that need to happen, you then need to go back and actually prioritize them. 

  • What do you, personally, need to handle?
  • What could an existing team member do?
  • What could be most easily achieved with pre-made templates?
  • What positions could you get referrals for?
  • What needs to be done first, second, third, etc?
  • What things would you like to talk through with an expert?

Having clarity around what needs to happen, and in what order, takes a huge weight off your brain. You’ve gone from ALL.THE.THINGS. to specific priorities that are aligned with the goal, which is aligned with the vision.

You are nailing this top down business development thing!

  1. Take Inventory of Current Projects

You already identified the places you’re spending your time. Now, make a list of actual, ongoing projects that you are currently knee deep in.

During this step, you may realize you have 20 projects halfway done…or that you’re working 80 hours a week but can’t actually identify clear projects that are occurring.

Whatever the case for you, make a list! Once you have that, I would recommend sorting it into three smaller lists: 

  1. Projects that are fully aligned with your vision.
  2. Projects that are partially aligned, and worth revising.
  3. Projects that are not aligned. (Imagine an entrepreneur’s version of Gordon Ramsey looking over your shoulder and shouting “encouragement” — even if you like a project, be honest with yourself about how aligned it really is with your vision.)
  1. Assign Financial Investment

People often cringe here. Creating the vision is fun, getting real about the dollars and sense can feel….less so.

However, we are business owners. We know we have to roll up sleeves and handle money like the bosses we are.

You know where you’re spending money now, and you may have already identified areas that you could decrease wasteful spending. (Hint: Constantly hiring team members to fix issues is not helping you. Investing in courses that you never actually finish is doing you no favors. Paying premium prices for tech that you basically never use is no bueno.)

Taking a look at these areas can also help you understand where you might have additional funds to cover the tools or new hires you need to make your newly defined goals and projects a reality. Figure out where your most aligned investments are going to be, and get serious about making those happen!

  1. Set Manageable Deadlines and Timelines for all Deliverables

Manageability is key! When you did your big picture vision exercise, you weren’t just focused on your business. You thought about the life you are creating.

I’m guessing that it didn’t involve pulling your hair out at 1am, running yourself ragged, or spiraling into total overwhelm every other week. (Should I have been an oracle? I might be in for a career change!)

Consider using all four quarters of the year to distribute your major goals, create margin where possible, and consider life constraints as you plan. For instance, if your family always goes to the ocean for a month in August, don’t plan to start your new podcast launch and schedule 10 interviews for that week. This is your life, and you get to create alignment with the way you manage your deadlines and deliverables!

  1. Hire a Team to Execute the Vision

You don’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) doing everything alone. Yes, it happens sometimes, especially in the early stages. But it’s not really a long-term strategy for success. 

Eventually, you need to hire! That’s an entire post / course / process / deal in itself, so I’m not going to try and shoehorn it into this post. I will say, however, that I have some amazing templates that can help you onboard your new hires right here.

  1. Face Your Fears

I know this is a hard one. 

We all have fears, myself included. We tend to either let our fears hold us back, OR we learn how to move through them and past them to create magic in our world. As you move through your vision creation process and start laying out the action steps above, you will definitely have moments where you will question everything.

And the reality is, if you don’t believe in your vision, then it’s going to fall apart. 

You are the glue that holds your vision together, for both yourself and your team. Ideally, you need to be working with your own accountability partner or mentor to keep you on point as the powerful leader and visionary that you are. It also helps to have team members who strongly support you.

If your vision is as big and impactful as I believe that it is, then it’s imperative that you do the inner work that is required to hold this massive vision and move through any fear that steps in to  block you. 

If we’re going to change the world, we have to be in alignment with ourselves first.

What Position Are You In?

These are my tips for how you work from the top of your business rather than the bottom. 

What position are you working your business from? Are you ready to work from the top down and create a business that is efficient AND impactful?

 

If so, I’d love to invite you to join the Ops Community here. From live Q&As to powerful templates, real-life advice and the occasional tough love we all need — we’ve got it all.

—————-

As the “get shit done” person who holds the answers to what stands between you and the crap that slows you down and takes up all your time, I’ve created an exclusive group coaching offer –  if you’re ready to develop the systems you need to get your business on track and increase your profits, all while doing what YOU do best –

THIS IS FOR YOU.

This 12-month group coaching experience will provide you with support and accountability as you put all the moving parts of your business together. We kick off Feb. 22 – learn more about joining today!

———-

As the “get shit done” person who holds the answers to what stands between you and the crap that slows you down and takes up all your time, I’ve created an incredible online community so you can quickly and easily bring your ideas to life, get your business on track, and increase your profits, all while doing what YOU do best.

This community will provide you with support and accountability as you put all the moving parts of your business together. Join us, and share the ideas, questions, and projects that truly light you up and push your vision forward — join us!

 

Categories
Business Life

On My Mind

I’ve written 3 different incomplete blog posts tonight in one document as I have so much on my mind and it’s all flowing, but none of it makes a lick of sense together and I literally said out loud to myself, “What’s the point?” 

 

I want to tell you about how I do this thing and withdraw from social media because I just don’t give a fuck about it and then I want to share a simple update on my health (no pity wanted/needed) and then I want to tell you how random this month has been. <<< Yes, that was a run on sentence for all of my grammar nazi’s out there. I want to remind you that we need to stop “shoulding” all over each other and ourselves. I also want to remind you that people around you are going through some serious shit in their lives and we really have an opportunity to practice more grace, love and kindness.

 

So, here I am tonight trying to articulate all the things. Maybe that “should’ encompass it all, but maybe I can figure out how to tie these thoughts together. 

 

Are you game for this bit of randomness that is about to ensue? Here’s what’s on my mind….

 

Piece of Randomness #1

 

I do this thing. 

 

I withdraw.

 

I withdraw from being present on social media. I do it regularly. My coaches and my friends in the online space tell me I need to be consistent with my content. I don’t disagree.

 

But I still withdraw. 

 

I simply don’t care to be present online when it feels like work. When I have to show up because that’s what the “social media construct” says that I have to do. I show up for things I love and am passionate about. Social media is not one of those things.

 

So, I withdraw.

 

You see, I simply don’t care what the social media “rules” are. I know from a business perspective what works and what doesn’t work. I have great social media pros around me. I tell clients what they need to be doing for social.And oh the irony, as I work with clients on all their strategies for marketing, visibility, communications. It all has a large amount of social. When it comes to my own personal social accounts, I couldn’t give 2 fucks, much less 1 most days. 

 

Am I a hypocrite?

 

You may think yes, but I will have to disagree. 

 

We get to choose. 

 

Each and every day we get to choose how we show up, what we do, how we be, what we wear, say, eat, etc, etc. As a human BEing with that powerful knowledge and ability of choice, I have chosen to not be so present on all these platforms. 

 

I may one day regret it, but I can’t really see that happening.

 

This may or may not be a permanent choice. Either way, I know that I will be ok with it because I chose it. It was not forced upon me. 

 

I’m really choosing more and more where I want to be present and more often than not social is not really that place. I know that for business it would be good for me to stay consistent, but I think it’s time I really figure out why I am on social media and what do I want out of it. 

 

You know what’s great?

 

How I show up or don’t show up on social media has ZERO impact on my clients. What matters is how I show up for my clients in person. It matters how present I am to their needs, vision and goals.

 

Piece of Randomness #2

 

October has been this very interesting month for me. Quiet, peaceful, a deep lull, lots of rest, lots of surrender, lots of meditation with my favorite playlist, lots of BEing, an underlying desire to DO. I really have wanted to do so much, but I physically and energetically couldn’t. 

 

Initially, I tried to force things to happen and that backfired on me, so I very quickly shifted to ease. Ease and flow has been my thing all year. I lost it for a few months this summer, but got it back in late September. Even as I write this, trying to articulate how this month has been on an energetic and spiritual level is difficult. The month was not difficult though. I feel like I’ve been in total surrender. I’m allowing things to happen or not happen and staying in a space of peace and ease. 

 

I’ve been super tapped into one of my new favorite groups called Beautiful Chorus and today as I was listening to a song called “I am connected”, I realized how deeply I am connected to myself right now. More than I have been in a long time. I was pretty fucking proud of myself, to be honest. I wouldn’t always acknowledge and love myself for these moments and realizations before. 

 

While all of this has been going on, my health stuff has flared up because I still have moments where I am overdoing it. You see, what most of you don’t know is that more days than I care to admit I am sleeping 14-16 hours a day. My body is EXHAUSTED. I can barely keep my eyes open. Only a few close friends and my coaches and mentors have known the depth of this stuff. I’ve been showing up and being present and then coming home and literally crashing. 

 

This is fucking hard. It goes against everything that I have been and do in my life. I’ve always been high functioning, but I have to admit; I was burning the candle at both ends. My DOing self is an over achiever to the highest degree. I have literally burnt myself out. There are people in my life who think I am lazy because I need to rest so much, so I have kept it close to the vest. I simply haven’t wanted or needed the judgment or opinions. 

 

I’d love to be able to say that I am past all of this, but I am in the middle of healing my body. It’s a process and a journey that I will continue on until I am healed. 

 

Here I am. All of me. Vulnerable. Raw. Open. Real. 

 

Piece of Randomness #3

 

September was SUPER stressful and sad. Full of death and grief. Full of angst and worry. Full of setbacks in my health, life and work. September was the end of a 90 day stretch of travel, major heartbreak, massive breakthroughs and so much love. I drove to LA for a 4 day retreat in mid-September that changed my soul and my trajectory. 

 

We all have stories that we tell ourselves. We have been selling ourselves a bunch of bullshit and lies. This is me raising my hand admitting that I’m still telling myself stories today. I just catch them quicker. 

 

I have faced so many layers of my stories, but there was one that was so deep that I never looked for it. I thought it was fear. Then I thought it was rejection. They were both present, but there was something deeper I needed to uncover and face. 

 

I didn’t love myself.

 

I couldn’t even say it out loud. 

 

Even typing it now it brings tears to my eyes to share this. This is deeply personal. 

 

I have faced some awful, evil, malicious shit that was dished out to me and over time I stopped loving myself. I stopped feeling worthy and good enough. I wasn’t deserving. I was ashamed. Embarrassed. Judging myself so very harshly.

 

I have so much love to give. I gave it freely to others, but I withheld it from myself. Going into this retreat, my goal was to love myself when I came out of it. This retreat was amazing, but it required devotion to peeling back the layers and facing your shit. 

 

I’m always fascinated and surprised at the layers that we keep uncovering as we dive deeper into our souls. Just when we think we’ve dealt with an old story or layer, a new and different light is shed on it from another angle. 

 

This life is full of growth and lessons. I will continue to be willing to grow and learn on this journey.

 

Looking back at October I think that part of my lesson this month has been about self love. Allowing myself grace. Allowing myself to BE in the moments. To remember to be in ease and flow. To give forgiveness….to myself. 

 

I am love. I love me. I love you.

Photo taken by me in East Mesa, AZ – Aug 2019

Categories
Business

Eight Steps to Create Your Own Project Management Flow

When the elevator is broken and you have to take the stairs…. 

You have to climb them….

One step at a time.

How do you launch a big project? 

One step at a time.

You’re a visionary. 

You’ve got ideas flowing nonstop.

You have no capacity to integrate.

You’re at a tipping point. 

You’re at max capacity.

How do you get all of your ideas on paper, broken down, assessed and evaluated to see if they can legitimately be created?

You need systems and processes.

Did that hurt?

I know for some it does. I felt you cringe.

For creatives, those words can cause pain sometimes; especially when you don’t already have those systems and processes in place.

The idea of setting up systems and processes can feel arduous and daunting, but when you have an expert who can capture your vision and big picture ideas it’s painless.

Often times, as a visionary and creative you just keep trying to figure out your marketing and messaging, but you’re literally spinning your tires in the mud. 

Please stop. 

If you were to take a step back, stop being a one man/woman show and hire an expert; you would be able to start moving forward.

Let me tell you about one of my clients. She’s an incredible being. We are working on a major project. She’s been working on this project for 5 years. She had a marketing company doing a ton of work for her over the last couple of years, but while the branding is gorgeous the marketing was actually missing the mark.

For the last 5 years she’s been spinning her wheels. Don’t get me wrong. She’s accomplished a ton, but she was missing very key systems and processes that were not in place to move everything forward. 

She had content EVERYWHERE. No consistent messaging. Her marketing team wasn’t actually posting content with intention, so it’s caused a bit of a mess that we are in the process of cleaning up.

Again, my client is brilliant. Highly creative. Impressively so.

She was just completely out of her depth when it came to systems and processes. We are actively creating her systems and processes. We have all of her content contained in one space, so we can easily find everything when needed. We are now able to move her projects forward and bring on a new marketing team that will transition in smoothly with the new direction. So what took 5 years before will take less than a year now.

Here’s what you can do to get started if you are in a similar situation. This is really a simple process, but not necessarily an easy process if this is out of the norm for you. 

Trust me, if you do this, it will remove so much of that overwhelm and stress that you’re feeling right about now.

  1. Set up a Project Management Tool

There are tons of resources out there. I personally use AirTable, Basecamp, Slack and Trello for different clients along with Google Drive. I know there are many who use Asana and Dropbox as some of their main tools. It doesn’t matter what you use. The point is to find one that works for you and how you think and operate. Ideally, you will want a tool that you can use with a team. Some of these platforms have a cost when you bring on more than one or two people. Do your homework and evaluate what your needs are.  

 

2. Create Tabs, Boards, Cards, Folders for Each Project

If you have 2 projects or 20 projects, set up a file for each one that you can begin to build a structure and system within. Any of the tools above you will be able to do this. Each platform has different vernacular, but the point is to create a file for each project. 

 

3. Define Your Goal for Each Project

When this idea came to you what made you light up about it? What do you want to accomplish? What is your BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal)? Do you have short term goals and long term goals? Really get clear on this project and lay it out in the description in your file. This will help any team members that you bring on to understand and grasp your vision quickly and create more concise questions as needed. You may find as your get in deeper on your goals for each project they may not light you up as much as they did originally. You may find that you want to backburner some of your ideas. Others may burn hotter and brighter and you might have just found your magic key!

 

4. Break Down Your Projects One by One

This next step is crucial and tedious. Take the time to really think about each project individually. Don’t think about the whole just yet. What will it take to get this one project to completion? Create a list of tasks. Cover all your bases from intake forms to community building to marketing to sales, etc. The number of items doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you cover all the tasks that you believe are relevant to completing the project. Here’s the thing with this piece, don’t go down the rabbit hole yet. Stay high level on this list building.

 

5. Create Action Steps

Here’s the rabbit hole. Take each item on your task list and break down every action step that you believe is needed to accomplish this task or goal. Again, the quantity doesn’t matter. It’s all about making sure you have everything covered that you believe is relevant. 

 

6. Assignments

Now that you have each project broken down, who’s going to do the work? You need to have a team in place. You need to sit down with you team to discuss your projects and assess if there is anything missing or needing to be removed. If you have a team of experts, hopefully they are helping you create the list in the first place. If not, have them take the time to review the project(s) and make sure they understand what you want to accomplish. As the experts, they may provide you with alternative ideas, so be open to what they offer.

 

7. Set Deadlines

When I worked in the Finance and Lending Industry, we had deadlines and goals every month. We had bigger and longer term goals as well, but monthly we had a check in on where we were at for the short term and long term goals. If we were missing our monthly goals, it was an indicator that our big goal was most likely not going to be met. So, set realistic monthly goals for your team. Set them with your team. Get their buy in and make sure everyone is clear on what is expected and by when. 

 

8. Follow up and Reassign

As the leader, visionary and creative of this dream you want to stay in communication with your team. Having a point person to manage your operations and projects will simplify your communication as well as be more efficient for the overall scope of work that you all are working towards accomplishing. There will be times that work falters, deadlines get missed or something falls completely off the wagon. If you have an operations manager they will be on top of your team, leading and guiding them towards the goals. You will want to have an expectation that everything will be followed up on in a timely fashion and that tasks are to be reassigned to different team members as necessary. 

 

Let’s be honest, shit happens and something will inevitably fall through the cracks. If you have the right people on your team, they are going to fix it quick and get the train back on the track. If you don’t have a team, then it’s all on you and things will definitely challenging.

 

This 8 step process can be tedious and time consuming, but once it’s done you will find that your business will run like a well oiled machine. Everyone will know what they are doing and when and you will be able to focus on creating and serving your clients. 

 

In the end, that’s really our goal and mission; to positively impact more people. 

 

You can’t do that if you got lost in the rabbit hole of trying to figure out your systems and processes without a team. 

 

If you are ready to discuss how to effectively set up your systems and processes, send an email to lany@lanysullivan.com.

 

Categories
Business

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

You know how a line from a song or movie just pops into your head and sparks a train of thought that you just have to go with….well this is that.

I was thinking about how I serve my clients and how they serve their clients and for some reason that old song from Annie Get Your Gun musical (1946) came to my head.

Here’s a refresher if you’ve never seen it….

The premise of this song was that Annie Oakley could do anything better than Frank Butler, and that may have been true at the time. 

As I started thinking about the lyrics, I realized how this is not the way we want to operate in life and business today. Back in the 40’s and 50’s (even before that and after that) women had to prove themselves, but today we don’t need to be better than the next person at everything. 

I am phenomenal at what I do and you are phenomenal at what you do. In essence, I can be and do my zone of genius better than you can because it’s not your zone of genius. I can guarantee that you can do your zone of genius better than I could even contemplate an attempt.

Here’s my point. We aren’t supposed to be competing with each other at every turn to be better at all the things. 

NO!

Instead we need to focus on the thing that we truly are good at, what serves our soul, makes us happy and pass off the rest to someone else who has perfected that piece. 

My clients are BRILLIANT at what they do. I mean insanely magical. 

You know what? 

So am I.

This is the beautiful part of integrating partners and team members into our businesses. We get to each shine in our unique glory. We get to showcase and be in our zone of genius without competing with each other. It’s a beautiful collaboration.

Our works gets to enhance the lives of those that we serve.

I know that’s what I do. 

I enhance the lives of my clients. 

I reduce overwhelm, create ease, operate in flow, make the big scary picture not scary and so much more. By taking a client’s project, event or operations structure and putting an effective strategy in place to move forward allows my clients to focus on their zone of genius; the thing that truly makes them happy. 

What I do is not sexy, but it’s beyond valuable. 

I’m not saving the world, but I am saving you. 

I create opportunities for my clients to create more revenue and to be more creative. I take the list of projects, tasks, to do’s and all that other crap off of their plate. I hire the appropriate team members and I manage all the things. 

This is what I do better. 

We are to be the best at who we are. We are not better than anyone else. 

Are you ready to be and do better in how you show up? 

Are you ready to create more, to serve more, to make a greater impact?

Let’s hop on a call and discuss how you can reduce your task list and increase your soul work.

Categories
Business

From Failing to Productive

I had to assess my office from top to bottom and make major changes.

I was 21 years old and the company I worked for not only promoted me into management, but moved me across the country to a city I didn’t know and into an office that was failing.

I was the top sales woman in my former district/division and had been groomed for management.

What they didn’t tell me was it was sink or swim.

I walked into an office that was neglected in all areas.

  • Staff morale was low.
  • The office was disorganized.
  • The audits were a mess.
  • The sales #’s were bottom of the barrel.

I was excited and completely clueless.

I knew I had a mess to clean up, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until I got in eyeballs deep.

That first year was brutal.

The staff changed over 3 times before I finally got a staff that began to produce. I ended up firing all the original employees because they couldn’t let go of the blame and stories around why they were failing.

We got our files and audits in order and passed all internal, state and federal audits with flying colors.

We began producing sales again. We began to compete with the Top Dogs in the district for top sales #’s.

Staff morale was at an all time high.

I groomed 3 of my staff to go into management.

Things were looking good!

Then I got “promoted”.

To another failing office.

I had to build again.

Guess what?

I got promoted again.

To another failing office.

In one company in 3 years, I turned 3 failing branches into top producers. I mentored more than a dozen new managers and managers-in-training.

I created systems and processes for others to follow to pass the internal, state and federal audits.

💫 I learned quickly that I had the innate ability to walk into any office and find all the issues. Not only that, I knew how to effectively fix them and turn the situation around.

💫 I learned how adapt to different scenarios, people and demographic areas.

💫 I learned to be open and to listen.

💫 I learned that this ability to organize chaos was special and unique.

💫 I learned that I loved supporting people in this way.

For the last 20 years, I’ve been able to take this ability and adapt it to any job, client or event in any capacity.

I have worked with finance/lending, nonprofits, events of all sizes, entrepreneurs, wellness and Fortune 500 companies.

I’ve provided strategy and created more effective systems, processes and workflows for a variety of industries and clientele.

If you’re ready to organize your projects and operations, send an email to lany@lanysullivan.com to start the conversation.