Podcast Episode 10: THE Thing Successful People Do

It turns out that what you do every day really does matter.  The most successful individuals on this planet have daily rituals to keep them at the top of their game.  And, overwhelmingly, the most successful and wealthy, read books.  Like, actual books.  Every single day.

She's On Her Toes

Ok, ok.  Some of them listen to books AND podcasts.  But reading the written word directly correlates to higher education and thus higher income.  Studies have shown that reading 7 or more books per year makes you 122% more likely to be a millionaire.  Why is that?

Maybe it’s because reading expands the mind and encourages creativity.  Maybe it’s because so many of us don’t read, that this type of continuous learning gives regular readers a huge advantage in business and in life.

Today, we’ll talk about all that AND share our favorite books and podcasts to help you develop a strong habit of reading.

Listen as we discuss why we all read, why reading is critical to developing a life of learning and curiosity, and our favorite books that had a profound impact on our lives.  We also share what we’re reading and listening to now … and of course some fun, beach reads.

Check out the She’s On Her Toes Podcast on Apple Podcasts and iTunes.  Click here.

As promised, here’s the list of what we’re reading and listening to …

Harry Potter Complete Book Series ($61.14) If you listened to the podcast, you know that these are the books that turned Emily into an avid reader.  And, even though I kind of made fun of her for being obsessed with this series, it makes complete sense that she loves this whimsical, fantastical series because she’s super creative.

Baby-Sitter’s Club Box Set ($29.16) – So … I’m a little older than both Emily and Christina.  I was in college when the first Harry Potter book was published, so I never got into that series.  But … I absolutely loved the Baby-Sitter’s Club when I was in grade school.  I could rip through like five of these books in a day.  This is a series about a group of girls that start their own business baby-sitting … hummm … seems fitting.

The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body ($5.80) – Christina shared that this book, written by Cameron Diaz, was really important to her after college because it helped her embrace healthy habits like working out and eating healthy, and really respecting her body and a balanced life.  It sounded like a great read, so I just ordered it myself.

Other books that have been important to us in life and work …

Never Lose A Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days ($17.32) 

How to Make Friends and Influence People ($9.60)

The Compound Effect ($10.71)

All of Malcolm Gladwell’s books … The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference ($12.67)Outliers: The Story of Success ($12.29) David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants ($10.71) Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking ($8.98)

The Checklist Manifesto ($11.37)

Think And Grow Rich ($7.99)

Think And Grow Rich for Women ($13.60)

The Road Less Stupid ($18.56)

Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself ($7.67)

Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight ($15.24)

Fun books we recommend …

Jillian Flynn’s books … Gone Girl ($10.69) Sharp Objects ($8.99)Dark Places ($9.16)

Girls in the Garden ($9.54)

The Girl Before ($10.04)

Big Little Lies ($13.71)

What Alice Forgot ($9.80)

Podcasts we love to listen to …

Goal Digger Podcast

Side Hustle School

MFCEO Project

TED Radio Hour

How I Built This

Mind Body Green

Rich Roll Podcast

Serial

Up and Vanished

Whew!  That should keep you busy reading and listening for a while.  We’d love to hear if any of these books or podcasts helped you find clarity in your business or in life … or just helped you chill out on the beach!  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Ordering books from Amazon is super easy, but click here to get everything for your Kindle or Kindle App for your iPad.  You can also get audio books and magazines.

Or try Audible to listen to your books in the car, in the gym, or wherever you are.  They currently have a promotion to get 2 books free when you try it out.  Click here.

The Fitness-Focused Guide to Avoiding Holiday Crush

Let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t radiate cheer and festiveness during the holiday season.  And that’s ok.  With increased exposure to major stressors, like crazy family members, work deadlines, extra school demands, shopping marathons, drivers that desperately need to review their road skills (Since when did passing on the right become a thing?!  It’s called a blind spot for a reason, folks—I literally can’t see you.), you’re bound to lose focus on why this is the most magical time of the year.

Fortunately, the Fitness-Focused (that’s you and me!) already possess the skills needed to cope with what some call, the holiday crush, or that feeling of immense pressure that sets in during the months of November and December.  You know—pressure to have the most amazing decorations, the perfect meal, and the most thoughtful presents.  To attend all the parties with a smile and the cutest outfit.  Finish the year strong with your business.  Not to mention keep it all together so your family has a special holiday.  Whew!  That’s a lot for one person to handle!

But, as I said, the Fitness-Focused already have the necessary skills to make it through the holidays and actually enjoy themselves.  How?  Simple.  By incorporating the discipline and organization you use to plan your workouts to your holiday tasks, you can avoid the holiday crush and actually start the New Year with a smile on your face.  Here’s what I’m talking about …

Decide What’s Most Important

You set fitness goals and decide in advance what is most important to you before you start your workouts.  Take that practice and apply it to all the events and tasks ahead of you this holiday season.  Ask yourself, what is the most important thing that I want to accomplish before the end of the year?  Or, what is most important to me this holiday?  What do I want to get out of all my holiday experiences?  How do I want to feel as I head into the New Year (rested, fulfilled, energized, happy)?

When you prioritize your goals in the gym, you have something to work towards.  Same with your life—if there is something you want to achieve before year’s out, be it less stress, more time with family, saying “no” to unimportant things, or even cooking more, make it a priority and work towards it.

Whenever I decide that something’s important, it’s crazy—I always figure out a way to achieve it.  Always.  Once I make the declaration that it’s important, my mind immediately shifts into figuring out all the ways I can get to my goal.  But, you have to take the first step and decide your priorities.  Declare them out loud to your friends and family or write them down.  Whatever works for you—but take the first step and you’ll be that much closer to actually getting what you want.

 Make Your List and Check It Twice

Super practical.  Lists keep simple tasks organized so we don’t accidentally skip a step in our haste or hurriedness. (Go back to read a previous post about check lists here.)  When you have 800 things to do it can be overwhelming.  All the shopping, preparing and cleaning.  No worries!  Combine list-making with some of the lessons from The Compound Effect and all of a sudden life just got more manageable.

What is The Compound Effect?  This book, written by Darren Hardy, literally changed my life.  (Um, I am going to a conference where he’s speaking in February and I’m just a little bit excited about that!)  This book is all about making small changes that “compound” to effect bigger more amazing changes.  And it really works.  If you are in the fitness industry you can attest, like I can, that just making one change to workout on a regular basis leads to making other smarter choices about eating and drinking.  Then all of a sudden, you’ve lost weight or are stronger and people are commenting about how good you look.  Anyways, get this book immediately, if not sooner.  Read it.  Implement just one suggestion—after all it’s called The Compound Effect.  See what happens.

Exactly!  Make your list of 800 things to do and then pick one or two to accomplish each day.  Work back from your deadline to create a manageable schedule of accomplishments and you won’t feel so rushed.  And chances are you won’t forget things—or if you do have a last minute “oops” you have plenty of time to take care of it.

I’m putting this into practice right now.  Since I’m hosting our annual Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons holiday party at my new home this year, I have lots to do to prepare.  And last week, I freaked out a little by all the work I had to get done.  Now I’ve got my list and I’m working on just one or two things each day—starting with festive decorating.  Can’t wait to share the party pics with you!  Since I don’t have a lot of furniture, decorating is going to be strong this year.  Haha!

Reward Yourself with Rest

This is the most important part of working out and living life, yet it’s the most neglected and overlooked.  So sad.  When you stay on track with your goals and tasks, give yourself time to rest.  And reward yourself!  After a hard workout, you need time to rest and recover, so you can do it all again.  Same with a busy life—plan some downtime so you don’t get burned out and start to resent all of humanity.

The rewards don’t have to be big or expensive.  Grab coffee with friends, enjoy a nice walk with your dogs, watch a show on Netflix—all of these things count as rest.  Just make sure you use this time to do something you enjoy!  Doing laundry doesn’t count—make sure your rest and reward time makes you feel rested and rewarded.

It’s amazing how those who prioritize their health and fitness are just better at winning life!  Take those skills you’ve been using to motivate you through your workouts and apply them to your life this busy holiday season.  There’s no need to get so frazzled that the holiday crush comes crashing down on you.  No way!  Take the time to decide what’s most important to you, make a list and just do a few things at a time, and finally reward yourself with rest and you’ll set yourself up to avoid some of the stress most people face during the holidays.  Who knows, you might even enjoy yourself!

 

Invest in yourself!  Link to purchase The Compound Effect, written by Darren Hardy.  Click here.

Is it possible to become an idea machine?

I was recently elected to the Pure Barre Franchise Advisory Board and with that, I now represent the interest of all the owners in a specific region of the country.  This means I’m also responsible for keeping them up-to-date with important franchise information and helping them to solve problems should they need assistance.  My experience in politics working on Capitol Hill is finally paying off!  Kidding, but kind of not.

In addition, this leadership role has given me the opportunity to help shape some of the bigger decisions being made at the corporate level.  In fact, we have a meeting next week and I’ll need to present several “big ideas” to the group on where we should be going as a brand.  It got me thinking, is it possible to train yourself to always think big?  Is it possible to just become an idea machine?

There seems to be a misperception that your brain can somehow become blocked and you then become incapable of generating creative thoughts—some might call it writer’s block.  Maybe this affliction is real.  Maybe it’s bogus.  But I can report that after writing multiple posts each week and a book over the last eight months, I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced it.  And at the studios, anytime I need to come up with some new ideas, they just flow—mostly when I’m driving.  Man, I can get some good ideas when I’m in the car.  Sure, sometimes I just don’t feel like writing, but that’s not the same thing as not be able to write due to writer’s block.  So, what am I doing that seems to be generating all these big ideas?

I get organized

If I’m going to write something be it long or short, I always start by writing an outline.  At the bare minimum, I’ll write out 1 or 2 sentences that encapsulate what I’m trying to get across to the reader.  But here’s the important part … I do this days or at a minimum 1 day before I actually start writing.  Then by the time I sit down to actually write, I’ve been thinking about how I plan to start and what I’m going to type in advance.  This technique also works really well when you have a presentation, have to teach a class, or have a really over-scheduled day.  If you sit down the night before, plan it all out, something amazing happens.  It’s almost as if your mind works out all the things you need to say or do while you sleep.  Give it a try—I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you.

I make lists

This is a recent addition to my idea generation techniques and I totally stole it from James Altucher.  Well, I mean, I read his book The Power of NO: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness and he suggested that everyone make a list of 10 big ideas every single day.  If you can’t think of 10, think of 20, he says.  Good advice.  If you commit to thinking creatively every day, you’ll never be without an idea to get you where you want to be.  Of course, of your 10 ideas, some won’t be that awesome after you really think them through.  But … there could be that 1 idea that is exactly what you need!  In a previous post, I talked a little about how our events have become stale and a little boring.  Making these lists has been very helpful as I seek to change all of the events and programs we’ve been doing at the studios and try and come up with some new and exciting ideas.

It seems that the ability to freely think creatively each and every day simply involves thinking ahead either by making an outline and getting organized or by actively creating lists each day of big ideas.  It’s all in the preparation.  If you make a habit of preparing, your mind will never run into roadblocks and you’ll always have big ideas right in front of you.

Speaking of which—I’ve been reading an amazing book about creativity and business, so I’ll tell you about that next week as well as why it’s important to step away from my business and let my employees do more.  And finally, I’ll round it out on Friday sharing my favorite hair ties—super important.  By the way, where do they all go?  They’re always disappearing!

Until then, stay on your toes!

The Power of NO: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness, James Altucher:  I sped through this book in a few days.  Since I tend to over-commit or over-schedule myself, so I was hoping to learn a lot from the pages of this book.  And … it didn’t disappoint.  I have James Altucher’s other books on my reading list now.  The big problem with refusing to say “No” to things you don’t have time for or don’t want to do, is that they take a huge toll on the remaining time for the things you need and like to do.  The lesson here is the more you say “No,” the more you can say “Yes.”

How to Make a Simple Checklist a Powerful Tool

Last week, I told you about a book I just finished called The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande.  I read this book in one sitting.  It was so fascinating.  It’s all about how the simple idea of a checklist can take away the complexity of our lives and have a huge impact on how efficiently and safely we can accomplish tasks.  Atual Gawande is a doctor, so the majority of the examples and stories in the book are from the medical field and how adding checklists can literally save lives and reduce healthcare costs.  The idea of adding a checklist somewhere in your business is so simple, yet so powerful.   A larger discussion of what checklists can do for any business seemed appropriate.  So here goes …

On the surface, checklists seem overly simple.  As smart business owners, do we really need something as simple as a checklist to improve our overall business performance and better serve our clients?  We sure do!  If someone told me they had a tool that was simple for all my employees to use, yet ensured accuracy and consistency across our processes, I’d say, sign me up!  And the best part is … creating a checklist requires time, but it’s totally free.

So why are we so skeptical of checklists?  If they’re so effective and useful, why don’t we use them more often in business?  Why do we overcomplicate things or try to create fancy multi-colored flow charts in PowerPoint?  This is one of my favorite sections of the book found on page 177.  I think it sums up any checklist skepticism and also explains why checklists can be so effective:

“The fear people have about the idea of adherence to protocol is rigidity.  They imagine mindless automatons, heads down in a checklist, incapable of looking out their windshield and coping with the real world in front of them.  But what you find, when a checklist is well made, is exactly the opposite. The checklist gets the dumb stuff out of the way, the routines your brain shouldn’t have to occupy itself with (Are the elevator controls set?  Did the patient get her antibiotics on time?  Did the managers sell all their shares?  Is everyone on the same page here?), and lets it rise above to focus on the hard stuff …”

So basically, incorporating checklists into your business won’t give your employees a pass on thinking critically.  The opposite happens—once employees no longer have to worry about the many details of a simple process, they can actually work towards solving more complex problems.  Checklists provide a structure to complete simple, everyday tasks leaving our minds free to focus on more complicated matters.  But do they really work?

This week, my manager, Emily, created some checklists for all of our front desk associates to ensure they are never without a project during their time working in the studio.  I’m interested in learning the following:

  1. Did the checklists simplify any of our daily tasks?
  2. Did more work get accomplished?
  3. Did we sell more?
  4. Did we retain more clients?
  5. Did I hear any compliments from clients about my employees going above and beyond?
  6. Did the employee have a better understanding of what work to complete?
  7. Did the employee feel more empowered to help our clients?
  8. Did employees pick and choose which tasks to complete?  Why?
  9. Could the checklists be improved?
  10. Was anything missing from the checklists?

Since I employ several different personality-types in the front desk associate role, I’m very curious to see if we will need to create individual checklists or if we can create something that works well for everyone.  I’ll give it a few weeks and report back.  In the meantime, start thinking about how you can incorporate checklists into your business.

The best businesses solve problems that matter—have you ever thought about whether solving a problem that’s been holding you back, could help your clients?  On Thursday, I’ll discuss just that:  how solving my own problems with consistently working out and eating healthy led to some big changes at my studios.

On Friday, I’ll share my newest life hack—how to make a smoothie without bananas or avocados.  I am allergic to bananas and avocados, which makes smoothie consumption pretty difficult—but I finally figured out how to substitute those elusive fruits and now feel like I’m winning at life—or at least breakfast.

Until then, stay on your toes!

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande