Why I’d Rather Be Brave Than Perfect

I’m really struggling. My life is pretty much weathering one crisis into the next.  There is always a problem in my business.  Always something that needs to be fixed.

Sometimes I let dishes pile up in my sink.

Sometimes I vacuum up enough hair in my house to make another dog.

I wish I could eat salad for lunch, but I just can’t.  I like sandwiches.  With bread.

I will never live up to my inner critic about teaching Pure Barre classes.  And I’m ok with that.

Why?  Because I’d rather be brave than perfect.  I’d rather be doing something rather than nothing because I’m paralyzed with fear.  Moving forward is better than standing still—in business and in life.

Women today seem to value the appearance of perfection above being real.  Making mistakes is taboo.  Admitting that you make mistakes and don’t have all the answers is self-destruction in many social circles.  Other women will look down on you.  You’ll be judged.  Well, f*ck that!

Here’s a newsflash … nobody’s perfect at work, at home or in life.  We’re all dropping the ball and failing at something.  And that’s ok.

When was the last time you heard someone be praised for being brave?  When was the last time you even heard that word in a conversation … I know, I can’t think of a time either.  In today’s podcast episode, we talk about why it’s better to be brave rather than seeking perfection.  When was the last time you were brave?

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Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and 7 other platforms.

Follow me on Instagram and see what I’m working on in my business each day @shesonhertoes

I’m super-passionate about leading and managing my hardworking team.  Check out my courses How To Hire A Rockstar Team and 5 Days to Time Freedom to keep developing your leadership skills.

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.

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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.

Stay Comfortable or Reach Your Potential: The Story of My First Pure Barre Intensive Class

Everyone in the Pure Barre world has their “first class” story.  It usually includes the following:

You walked into the studio.

Didn’t know anyone.

Thought class couldn’t be “that” hard.

Was in shell-shock during what the teacher claimed was the “warmup.”

Felt like a complete idiot with arms and legs flailing while everyone else seemed to anticipate the next move.

Finished class, red-faced, wrecked, and hardly able to hobble out to your car.

Meanwhile, everyone else smiled, glistened, and looked fabulous as they effortlessly moved onto the next part of their day.

But … you still came back to your second class because deep down you couldn’t let Pure Barre defeat you.  You knew you’d be better at it the next class … and the next class … and the class after that.

Eventually class became comfortable.  You knew what to expect.  Maybe you even knew some of the exercises.  But that comfort and feeling of security was crushing your potential.  If you stay in your comfort zone, you’ll never know how good you were meant to be.

It’s so interesting.  First class stories are a dime a dozen.  But what about Intensive Class stories?

At Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons, we offer several Intensive Classes throughout the year including March and April during our Pure Health Challenge.  An Intensive Class is longer, more challenging, and offers an “intensive” focus on a particular muscle group, like upper body, lower body, inner thigh, outer thigh, or abs.  Each Intensive Class run 75-90 minutes while our everyday Empower and Classic classes are completed in 45-50 minutes, respectively.  An Intensive Class is meant to take you out of your comfort zone and show you what your body is truly capable of.  After taking an Intensive Class, you’ll have glimpsed your potential.  And it’s awesome.  Let me explain …

I signed up for my first Intensive Class, Bye Bye Inner Thigh, on a Saturday morning when I lived in Atlanta.  I was excited because my favorite teacher was teaching.  She actually convinced me to pay the extra $35 for the class promising a great experience.  I was told to bring a $1 bill—I only had a $20, so I hoped that was ok.

When I arrived at the studio, the class would have normally been over-full with maybe 25 women ready to shake and lightly perspire.  Not today.  5 of us showed up for the Intensive.  Fuuuuuu$$$$ck.  Why weren’t more people signed up for this class?

I told the teacher I only had a $20 bill and asked if that was ok.  She looked at me funny and said, “Oh sure.  That doesn’t matter.”  Great—but what was it for?  A tip?  I was told to bring my $20 into the studio and grab my normal equipment including a double tube, weights, and a ball.

Soon, I found out why there were only 5 of us in the room.  The class was f$cking hard.

I was shaking and what could only be described as convulsing uncontrollably all while squeezing that $20 between my inner thighs.  “Never let it drop!”, the teacher happily chirped over the mic.

“Or what?!” I thought!

Oh man.  We still had 55 minutes to go.

I wasn’t about to wimp out and drop my $20.  Hell no!  Someone else can have the honor of giving up first.

I’m sure we did some seat exercises in there somewhere, but I think I blacked out.  Next, all I remember was lying on the floor with my legs up in the air squeezing the ball so hard that even my teeth were shaking.  By this point, I had completely sweated through my luon clothes and my hair was sticking to my head like I had just gone swimming.

Oh man.  We still had 30 minutes to go.  How was that f$cking possible?

I was starting to wonder how I was going to get home.  Uber didn’t exist back then.  Would I be able to use my legs to push the pedals of my car?  No time to think.  We were on our sides and somehow I was lifting my legs in a scissor, but by now my lower body was completely numb.  My $20 didn’t look so good.

Eventually we made it to abs.  Yes!  Almost done … not quite … are you kidding?  Knee dancing now?!  This has to be wrong.  I can’t keep my seat hovered over my heels.  Oh wait, somehow I’m hovering.  Last 10!

I don’t really remember stretching.  Honestly, I’m not sure how I got home.  That class wrecked me.  I didn’t want to put that $20 back into my wallet.  Do you think the teacher would notice if I used some disinfectant wipes on my money?

But the funny thing was, I loved it.  That Intensive Class was like taking my first class all over again.  I started pushing myself harder in my regular weekly classes.  Sh$t, if I could last 75 minutes of thigh-shaking terror, I could certainly step it up in a shorter class.  And that’s why getting out of your comfort zone is so important in fitness.  When you show yourself that you can do something incredibly difficult once, what’s to stop you from working just a teeny bit harder every day?  Nothing!

So, if you’ve been hesitant to sign up for an Intensive Class because you like being comfortable, remember, that you’ll never know how great your potential could be by staying in your comfort zone.  Don’t let fear or complacency determine where you are on your fitness journey.  Keep getting stronger.  Reach out for your potential.

I can’t wait to see everyone on Saturday for the Lower Body Intensive!

To All the Men Responsible for My #MeToo Stories … Thank You

I’ve struggled about whether to write about this topic.  Not because it doesn’t deserve attention or that women shouldn’t be victimized in the workplace, but because I’m not particularly angry or sad about any of the ridiculous things men have said or done to me at work.  In fact, I say … thank you.

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A friend of mine from college, who has a storied career working in corporate America, asked me what I thought when #metoo became a “thing.”  And I said, “Be your own boss!  Work for yourself.  Problem, solved.”  I stand by that.

Before opened my business, I guess you could say I worked in a perfect storm of male-dominated industries: politics, car sales, and investment banking.  One might say, every day at the office was a #metoo day.  Of course, I’ve made lasting friendships and shared great times with most of my co-workers, male and female alike.  But like many women, I have some truly epic #metoo stories …

Like the time a well-known, respected political consultant took me out and told me he wanted to buy me a condo so I could be his mistress.  Uh … tempting, but no.

Or the time political bloggers wrote posts that went viral about how I was sleeping with a reporter from a major newspaper.  These bloggers contended that I was doing this to get my boss, a Congressman, better coverage during a critical re-election campaign.  They couldn’t fathom that I just might actually be good at my job.  What?!  While I was flattered that these individuals were so interested in my personal life, none of it was true.  As an aside, you can probably still pull these up on Google.  You definitely could when I was applying to business school and my subsequent job, so that made for interesting interview conversations …

And then this is a classic, resisting daily advances from a co-worker both at work and out of the office.  This gem of a human made threats against my job and on several occasions, called me at midnight to tell me he hadn’t finished his own work and that if I didn’t go in to complete it, I would be fired.  After six months of that bullsh*t, I left to take another job.

These are just the 3 #metoo stories that immediately come to mind.

So, to all of you … Thank you for doubting my intelligence.  Calling me stupid.  Devaluing my contribution.  Reducing me to a piece of meat wearing heels.  Thank you for showing me what not to do as I build my own company and ultimately create a higher net worth than you.

Because that’s what these #metoo stories are all about, right?  Power.  Powerful individuals preying on perceived weaker subordinates.  Today, most power is fueled by money and generating wealth.  And the fastest way to create wealth is through business ownership or investment in real estate.  Let’s solve this problem by giving woman more opportunities to be powerful.

The way to prevent more #metoo stories is not to have everyone go to some bullsh*t sexual harassment training or for offices to become more tolerant.  The only way to correct this problem is for women to become their own boss!

Here’s your dose of reality for the day: you cannot change other people or their behavior, but you can change the way you react to them.

Tired of being treated second-class?  Or worse?!  Get out of there!  Start your own gig.  Be in charge of yourself.  And then give back to provide a better place to work for others.  Creating your own work environment is the only way you’ll have the power to prevent future #metoo stories.

There has never been a better time for a woman to own and operate her own business, and I am proud to be one of the many.  To all the men responsible for my #metoo stories … thank you … and f*ck off!

I’m Not a Business Genius, I Just Don’t Quit

One of the most interesting things about owning a business is, eventually you realize your success isn’t defined by how smart you are.  It’s true—you could be the smartest person out there and fail spectacularly in business, or you could be of average intelligence and just crush it.  Why?

Success in business isn’t about who’s smarter.  It’s about persistence.  If you have above average intelligence, then good for you!  But, intelligence alone, won’t predict whether your business succeeds or fails.  Your daily habits and approach to building your business are what determine its soundness.

This is really important to think about—in business, you will never be limited by your intelligence.  The only limits you’ll face will be the result of your own bad habits, poor organization, or lack of mental toughness.  Wow.  That’s pretty powerful.

So, what do the best in business do that others don’t?  Whether you’ve been invited to join MENSA or struggled to make it through high school, doing these 5 things can dramatically increase your business success …

 Brush Off the Word “No”

Most people might think being successful in business is the result of great marketing, smart financial decisions, or maybe just “luck.”  But I think it’s more about persistence.  Specifically, being able to brush off hearing the word “no.”  As a business owner, you will hear “no” ALL THE TIME.  Like maybe every other word.  There is always a reason, be it valid or an excuse, for a client or prospective client to tell you “no.”  And hearing the word “no” over and over again can get really frustrating—if you let it.  The best in business don’t let “no” get them down.  In fact, they don’t even hear “no.”  They hear “not now” and move on.

 Become Goal-Oriented

If you don’t have a goal, you’ll never succeed.  END OF STORY.  Why?  Because without goals, where are you going?  What are you trying to accomplish?  You don’t know!  It doesn’t matter if you have small goals or big goals.  Without something to work towards in your business, you won’t have a focus and your business will remain stagnant or start to decline.  The best in business set goals and create plans to reach them.  They are always working towards a new target and moving their business forward.

 Read Books—Yes, Actual Books

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, if you’re not reading books—yes, actual books—you will really struggle to succeed in business.  As in, you’ll fail.  Y’all, seriously.  MAKE TIME TO READ.  It’s important.  Why?  Because being a business owner requires a lot of mental focus.  When you read, you are training your brain to focus and process information.  You are also learning, continuing your education, and making yourself better.  Think about it—if you read 10 pages a day, which is not a lot, you would read 3,650 pages a year.  If the average business book is 250 pages, you’ll have read 14 books.  Do you think your competition reads 14 books a year?  If you do, then you’ll have to read more.  If you don’t think they’re reading, then how much better off are you for putting in that time?  Like light years better.  The best in business are always looking to improve.  And improving means continuing your business education by reading actual books.

Right now, I’m reading The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, by Michael A. Singer.  I just finished The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story, by Michael Lewis. 

I highly recommend The Compound Effect, Success Principles, and The Little Red Book of Selling

Listen to Podcasts

I thought about not including this one because I’m sure some of you will take the invitation to not read and just listen to podcasts.  You’d be doing yourself a huge disservice.  Listening to podcasts should not replace reading because listening doesn’t allow you to train your brain to focus and process information like reading a book does.  So why listen to podcasts?  Simple, podcasts give you access to business information in real time.  Most of the business podcasts out there discuss what’s happening in business right now.  There are some great practical applications and ideas being discussed that could be significant for your own business.  The best in business keep up with new ideas and aren’t afraid to learn from others and apply what they’ve learned.

Here are the podcasts I listen to each week:

The MFCEO Project

Girlboss Radio with Sofia Amoruso

Self-Made Man

Side Hustle School

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

TED Radio Hour

 Eliminate “Can’t” from Your Vocabulary

As soon as you eliminate “can’t” from your vocabulary, you replace it with “How can I.”  What would it mean for your business and frankly your life, if you stopped placing limits on yourself and stopped saying “I can’t.”  What if you instead started asking “How can I?”  Hopefully you can see how powerful this one little word is.  Instead of shutting down ideas, you will start thinking of possibilities.  The best in business are always looking to innovate and create.  They have a curiosity that isn’t limited by “can’t.”

While being smart gives you plenty of advantages, in business, your success is defined by your habits—mainly your persistence to just keep at it.

The last page of my book She’s On Her Toes, includes this poem.  I’m not sure who wrote it—there are at least two different authors attached to it and the book I first read it in didn’t attribute it to a known author.  I’ve read it hundreds if not a thousand times.  And I think it pretty much sums up what business is all about.

 

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit—

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

 

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a person turns about

When they might have won had they stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—

You may succeed with another blow.

 

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup;

And he learned too late when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

 

Success is failure turned inside out— (This is my favorite part!)

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,—

It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

 

I’ll leave you with that … success is failure turned inside out.  Success isn’t always about who’s smarter, has the best marketing campaign, or is better funded, it’s about turning every opportunity into a way for your business to get better.  It’s when things seem the hardest that you know you’re onto something.

Your Excuses Are So Lame

When grappling with a big decision or making a significant life change, it’s amazing how easy it is to come up with excuses not to move forward.  After a while, the excuses multiply and build off of one another.  If you’ve reached this point, you’ve created such an intense fear of starting in your mind, there’s almost no way you’ll make the decision.  And you’re off the hook.  No risk of failing, because you haven’t even started!

We’ve all had these feelings of not wanting to fail, so we self-sabotage.  Similarly, if something is going to be hard, we start down the path of making excuses rather than just going after it.  You know, that new workout routine, eating better foods, mending or ending strained relationships, starting or quitting a new job—there are a million ways to make excuses and avoid being uncomfortable or the dreaded “f” word—failing.

But excuses are so lame.  I’ve been making a few for myself over the past few months about why I haven’t started moving forward on a new business idea that I have.  And I’ve reached the point where I’m getting disgusted with myself and my lack of decision.

I haven’t even been creative with my lame excuses sticking to the usual:

“I don’t have enough time.”

“What I want to do is going to be hard to get started.”

“I need more education/training/information/research before starting.”

So, I’m calling myself out for my bullsh*t, putting a plan together, and getting started.  Because if I really manage my time more efficiently, I will have more of it.  Sure, it will be hard getting started, but so are a lot of things that are worthwhile.  And, I don’t need more of anything—just less excuses.

What are you making excuses for in your life or business?  What can you do to move beyond self-doubt and get started?  Then get to work!

Piggy-backing on the excuse of not having enough time … there is no excuse to not be cooking healthy food in your own kitchen.  I’ve found 2 appliances that I use every day and I’ll share with you how I’m using them to prepare delicious, healthy meals even though I’m “too busy.”

Until then, stay on your toes!

My Why

So incredible!  Yesterday, I attended the annual meeting and luncheon for the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce … and Pure Barre Winston-Salem won the Truliant Best Small Business in Winston-Salem award for 2017!

I mean, seriously?  What an honor.  Winston-Salem was literally built from small businesses growing into large corporations (think RJ Reynolds, Hanesbrands, Krispy Kreme, Wachovia/Wells Fargo, BB&T and the list goes on) paving the way for thousands of other startups and small businesses to make their mark on the city.  And now, my business has been recognized as being the best.  Thank you!  To the Chamber, Truliant, my amazing clients, and my incredibly talented team of hard-working employees—Thank you!

So why do I do what I do?  Being a small business owner isn’t always glamourous.  It can be really hard sometimes.  But, I am motivated by the idea that there is nothing worse than wasted talent in this world.  You know, the idea that everyone has great potential and can accomplish great things.  And for me, that starts with being physically fit to accomplish all those great things.  When your body is strong, your mind is strong and you can do just about anything.

Every day, I get to see my clients do amazing things in the studio that I know help them do amazing things outside of the studio.  I’ve been fortunate to see clients who walk into Pure Barre completely unsure of themselves and their physical capabilities, transform into confident and strong individuals.  I’m extremely fortunate to experience these things on a daily basis.  It’s inspiring.

What if you were at the center of a workplace where everyone was pushed to be their best?  What if your business was bigger than yourself?  What if you could wear leggings EVERY SINGLE DAY?

Yep.  Life is pretty damn good.

Why It’s Important to Celebrate Your Wins

Oh my!  It’s been a wild few weeks for me—literally everything happened in September.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  To recap …

 

  • I attended the annual Pure Barre Conference where I was asked to speak about my best practices for hiring and leading a rock star team, to 500+ owners. Just a little nerve wracking!  That’s a lot of ladies.

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  • When I got back from Conference, I bought a house. Oh yeah, and moved.  The moving part wasn’t so bad because I decided to get rid of almost all of my furniture.  This seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that there’s no place to sit, might have been a little rash.

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  • Just a few short days after moving, we celebrated some big milestones at my Pure Barre studios—Pure Barre Winston-Salem reached its 5-year Anniversary and Pure Barre Clemmons reached its 3-year Anniversary. And I had my first book signing.  So of course, we had to throw a big party to celebrate!

She's On Her Toes 5 Year Celebration

The three of us have been together since Day 1–cannot believe it’s been 5 years!

  • And the day after the party, I had an allergic reaction to something I ate and basically had to save my own life. Good times.  Sorry … no pictures of my face turning purple.

 

After this swirl of activity, I’m pretty content to get back to basics, like heading out to the grocery store and buying more than one meal at a time, walking the dogs, writing more regularly, and spending time with friends—hopefully at my new house with a place for them to sit.

But as much as I just want to get back to “real life” where a major event isn’t happening by the minute, it’s important to take the time to celebrate my and my team’s business wins, both big and small.

When you own a small business, every sale is important.  It all adds up.  And my team is doing some really incredible things right now—they’re achieving the same level of sales that we had last year with one exception, I was the one driving most of those sales.  This means, that they’re working together and will surpass the standard that I set by the end of the year.  Pretty cool.  I’ll drink to that!

We’re just about to head into the final quarter of 2017 and all year we’ve been gaining inches.  A little progress has been made each month towards our sales goals and towards my goal of giving my team more responsibility to run the studios without me there every day.  It hasn’t seemed like that much has been happening.  And I’m notoriously impatient.  But I can see that we’ve been doing some really great things and they’re adding up.

Our focus going forward into Q4 and 2018 will be to create a stronger health and fitness community amongst our clients.  Next week, I’ll explain how I’m developing more robust customer service training for my team so we can keep growing our client base and daily sales.  I’ve also been reading some amazing books and I can’t wait to fill you in so you can be inspired for a strong finish to 2017!

Until then, stay on your toes!

When Things Seem Out of Your Control in Business

“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”  -Chinese Proverb

One of the most difficult things about being a business owner is accepting the fact that a lot of things impacting your business are completely out of your control.  Things like the weather, the economy, a catastrophic event, or overall trends in your industry can all have a huge impact on your business and there’s not a damn thing you can do about any of them.

I myself, experienced a period about a year ago when everything in my business seemed out of control (read about it here).  I’m not going to lie, it was an extremely scary time and at one point, I thought I would lose everything—as we all know, the exact opposite happened.  But as a business owner, how do you cope with that uncertainty?  When things seem out of your control in business, how can you remain calm to make sound decisions when all you’re thinking is, “I’m scared.”

I was in my studios working this weekend, and stopped to re-read an article that appeared in the local newspaper about 5 years ago featuring Pure Barre Winston-Salem.  I framed it; walk by it every day, but I haven’t read it since I hung it on the wall.  The article discussed the “new” trend of the importance of working out and how local residents were now placing value on health and fitness.  Now, in most places the subject of this article might not even be news-worthy.  But since Winston-Salem serves as the corporate headquarters for both RJ Reynolds (think Reynolds Tobacco) and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a focus on fitness in the community seemed important to discuss.

The article listed several big box gyms and a few smaller boutique fitness studios in the area for readers to check out and start their new fitness journey.  Of the 10 listed, only 3 are still open … my business, the YMCA, and a Crossfit gym (owned by good friends of mine).  Wow.  The Y’s not going anywhere, so what special secret had my friends and I found to stay in business?  I can’t speak for my friends, but I guess I do have “secret” for coping with and managing things that are out of my control … I don’t worry about them.

Instead, I think about all the things that are within my control.  I focus my efforts working ONLY on those things that I can control.

Oh man, are you confused after reading that?  It really is that simple.

I can’t control the weather.  I can’t control the economy or the aftermath of the 2016 Election.  I can’t control if one of my employees sleeps in and doesn’t show up to teach.  I can’t control if someone sees how great my studios are and decides to open a competing business.  And I definitely can’t control if my clients would rather eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts instead of drinking green juice and eating vegan, non-dairy desserts.

But I CAN control how I REACT to all of these things.

I try not to get sidelined by problems.  Instead, I try to jump straight to thinking about their solutions.

Turning problems on their head and re-focusing your energy towards finding solutions takes some practice.  For most people—including me before I adopted this way of thinking—this also requires a total mental shift.  Why?  Because it’s easy to be negative and complain about all the things that go wrong in your business.  It’s a lot more difficult to take the time to find a solution, create a plan, and stay disciplined while executing that plan.

Does this mean I’m never frustrated with how things are going in my business?  Of course not.  In fact, I get frustrated and mad about my business all the time.  I have a rule.  I can only stay angry about something for one day.  After that, I have to move on and solve the problem or just let it go.  And if the first solution I come up with doesn’t work, then I try something else.  This is why I love working for myself—when you are constantly challenged to solve problems and find solutions, it’s pretty rewarding to add up all of your accomplishments.  The studios probably average about 1-2 problems each day we’re open, and after five years, that’s about 3,650 solutions found.  That’s a lot of accomplishments.  No wonder I feel like it’s time for a vacation!

If you find yourself stuck in the vicious circle of negative thinking because things just feel out of control in your business, take a step back and start to think about what you can control—your reaction to what’s going on around you.  Focus on improving yourself as a manager.  Focus on only working on what you can control and see what happens … You might just create some light in all that darkness.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Did you see my book’s on Amazon?  Check it out here:

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Seeking Health & Wealth Mastery

I’ve been thinking about how health and wealth are intertwined—you really can’t have one without the other.  If you’re in poor health you can’t enjoy a good quality of life or enjoy even the basic things that most of us would define as “fun.”  Conversely, without wealth, or abundance, you’ll have difficulty reaching a state of feeling healthy, strong and confident about where you are in life.  Without health, you won’t have a wealth of amazing life experiences.  Without wealth, you’ll struggle to reach a healthy state defined as “feeling good” both in mind and body.  So why does it seem so difficult to have both at the same time?

There have definitely been times throughout my working life when I put wealth (monetary gains and career advancement) above my health.  When I worked in investment banking I worked 70-80 hours a week.  I ate all my meals at the office and was lucky to sleep 3-4 hours a night.  A week was deemed “good” if I left the office before midnight on Sunday—that meant I would get a decent night’s sleep, spend some time with my dogs, and have a chance to pack a lunch with real food to start out Monday.  Living such an intense life with little sleep takes its toll—my health suffered and I rarely found time to spend with my friends and family, but I was killing it at work.

Similarly, when I opened my first Pure Barre studio five years ago, I had to work all the time.  That’s what you do when you start a business.  There’s lots to complete to build a business.  Today, there is still plenty to accomplish—we have a new cardio class launching on Monday, August 14th called, Empower, so I have to learn how to teach it; I just hired some new teachers and they have to complete their training; we are approaching our busy Fall season and I have to prepare so we can maximize those opportunities to reach new clients; and … my book is almost finished—just a few more important decisions to make before it will be ready for sale.  But even with that swirl of activity, I’m sleeping 7-8 hours each night, eating well, maintaining a great social life and even starting the process to open another business (that’s top secret for now).  So, what’s the difference?  How am I managing to at least attempt the balance between health and wealth?

I think it all boils down to setting priorities and thinking creatively to reach those goals.  Sure, because I’m my own boss, I have more flexibility to choose where and when I work.  But I’ve found a few tools that have helped me become more efficient including time blocking, creating a Power List, and focusing on one thing at a time (there is no such thing as multi-tasking).

Time Blocking

The concept of time blocking is pretty simple.  You create blocks of time to get your most important tasks completed first and then everything else gets done at the end of the day.  Each night you also set aside a block of time to plan your next day and ensure your top priorities are actually tasks that will help you reach your broader goals.   Planning the night before means that these top priorities are just in fact that—top priorities not just line items on a list.

If you get to the most important stuff first thing, you’ll actually get it done.  You won’t run the risk of being sidetracked or getting tired in the afternoon and not finishing the things that are most important.

Maybe you’ve noticed that I tend to post new blogs really early in the morning—usually at 5:00 AM—but sometimes the posts are later, like 6:00 or 7:00 AM (like today, ah!).  If I couldn’t make time to write first thing in the morning, I run out of steam by the afternoon to write and then I’m off schedule posting.  It’s all about blocking out the time for what’s most important when you’re freshest and capable of working at your best.

To work smarter, you’ll have to build a better to-do list by making your to-do’s things that are actually important and help you accomplish your goals.

The Power List

If you struggle to develop good, lasting habits, then creating a Power List of your priorities is a powerful tool.  The Power List is all about narrowing down to 3-5 activities that you want to incorporate into your life to improve it.  You have to keep the list small and focused because the idea is to actually get everything completed, every single day.  Then, when your Power List becomes habit and you don’t have to actively think about completing your tasks, you can move onto new Power List items and keep growing.

The Power List should be comprised of things that are important to you to create your best self.  Activities like reading 10+ pages a day, writing, working out, eating balanced meals and snacks, spending time outside, etc. … The Power List should not include things you have to do every day, like going to the grocery store, brushing your teeth, or getting to work on time.  Creating a Power List is all about focusing on a few small changes, mastering them, and building good, lasting habits.

Focus on One Thing

Have you fallen victim of the multitasking myth?  Do you actually believe that you can do more than one thing at a time and do each to the best of your ability?

Multitasking is not a strength.  And the ability to multitask should never be used to determine which candidate to hire for a position.  In order to be your most productive it’s important to pick one thing and do it well.  Then move onto the next.

“Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.”

–Steve Uzzell, Award-winning photographer, speaker and author

I love this quote because it’s 100% true and a critical component to finding health and wealth simultaneously.  Don’t screw things up.  Focus on one thing at a time.

Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice productivity to have both health and wealth in your life.  It’s just about working a little smarter to prioritize what’s actually important to you.  Using the tools of time blocking, creating a daily Power List, and avoiding multi-tasking to manage your time can greatly increase your chances of achieving health and wealth.

But is there anything else you can do to get to health and wealth mastery?  Sure!  Eat better.  Specifically, eat more veggies.  But that’s so lame.  Those in the know drink their veggies in cold-pressed juice or smoothies.  Tomorrow, I’ll share my favorite recipes and tools for making great-tasting juices and smoothies.

Until then, stay on your toes!