Purpose

Purpose and Passion quoteI’ve been doing a lot of soul searching the past year – some with a personal coach/mentor/counselor and a lot on my own. My goal: To figure out … finally … if I have a true purpose on this planet.

I’m getting to the age where if I don’t figure it out soon, I may never figure it out. And frankly I’d rather not leave this earth still wondering. I like things done. Scratched off the list.

So – for the past year I have worked on myself. I looked deep. I measured my life based on my career path, my friends and family path, and my personal path. I looked for milestones that resonated with me. DEEP in my heart. I relished the awesome times. I grieved for the truly gut-wrenching ones.

This soul work is NOT an easy task! Some days I gave up. Some days I beat myself up over a lot of missteps and serious failings. Guilt? Got it. And then some. Some days I questioned why I was even trying to find my purpose. Did it REALLY matter? To me it did.

AND THEN. This past weekend, at a company retreat designed around leadership growth, it hit me. We were in a very, VERY raw moment where people were digging deep. It was emotionally draining, to say the least. But the BEST. THING. EVER.

Because … I found my words. I was actually doodling on my notepaper because I was trying not to fall into a million tear-dripping pieces.

Those doodles turned into this:

EMPOWER OTHERS

I didn’t actually realize what I’d written down for a while – I was listening to our speaker and making blurry-eyed contact (damn those tears) with some of my best friends and cherished mentors. But then I looked back at my notes to write down another profound thought. And there it was again.

EMPOWER OTHERS

At that moment. I knew. I KNEW. I am on this earth – I have ALWAYS been on this earth, to EMPOWER OTHERSFrom the very beginning of what I can remember of my life, I’ve wanted to make lives better for the people in my life. For the people I’ve known all my life, and for the people I meet for the first time. To offer my help. To offer my hand, my heart, my friendship, my support, my experiences, my knowledge, and a pinch of the wisdom I’ve gained in my sixty-ish years. To help them be confident in the knowledge that they have whatever it takes to be the person they want to be. They have the smarts they need to have whatever career path they choose. They have the skills they need to follow their path. 

I want the people in my life to know that they have choices! They can start down one path and then decide … ‘Nope, Not working’ … and find a new path that is a better fit.

(For the record: I’ve been down several paths, made some gigantic errors, disappointed people, and at one point broke the hearts of people dear to me. I’ve BEEN THERE.  And I’m here to tell you that as scary as it is … as hard work as it is … if it’s right for you, you have everything it takes to find the RIGHT path.)

From the depth of my soul, I want  to EMPOWER OTHERS. I want them to have the skills and tools they need to create a  life of meaning. A life that gives them joy and passion. I want them to know that they have a mentor and confidant in me. To know that I care, and that I will do everything in my power to hold them up. Or lift them up. Or push them to be more than they thought they could be – if they want my nudge.

I want the people in my life to KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if they want or need more out of their life, and I can do something to facilitate that change, I’ll be right there with them every step of the way.

EMPOWER OTHERS.
The two simple words that are going to shape the rest of my life. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tulip Spinner

I’m working from Denver this week and staying with our cousin Michael. Looking out his window this morning I’ve noticed a lovely piece of garden art – a large copper tulip sculpture that catches the sunlight and spins in the breeze. Tulip Spinner Photo

It reminds me of all sorts of things – how fast my life spins by each week; how even in a winter garden movement that catches my eye makes me smile …

It reminds me of residual income. I know. I know. My mind works is very odd ways sometimes.

But here’s why.

I’m watching the tulip spin and I’m listening to music via Pandora. Hmmm….

Residual income is actually very similar to royalty income. ( You know – the income that musical artists, actors, and producers receive every time a song or a show is played. Like PANDORA.) Artists create something fabulous, and in perpetuity they will receive income off of their hard work. It’s very lucrative, folks. VERY lucrative. It keeps growing with the smallest bits of momentum.

My company, Rodan+Fields, has build a business platform based on direct sales (i.e. no middle man) and residual income. (think royalty income)

The easiest way to look at it is like this:

  • I own a Rodan+Fields franchise versus I write/produce music/movies/tv shows
  • I sell Rodan+Fields products versus I present my talent via live productions/concerts
  • I partner with others to sell products and expand the Rodan+Fields brand and business platform via their own franchise versus I partner with others to represent me and my talent
  • I am paid commission on my personal business, plus I am paid residual commission as I build out my distribution/business platform versus I am paid for my live work, plus residual income (royalty fees) when my work generates income for my distributors (radio, cable, Netflix, etc.)

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather see a regular monthly check come in from the work I do upfront, PLUS the work my business partners and I do in building out our distribution organizations for years to come.

I suspect that if you ask any actor or musician … they feel the same way. Their hard work is supported and rewarded in perpetuity.

Michael’s tulip spinner chugs along, even with the smallest breeze. In an odd sort of way, it’s very much like residual income. It takes some momentum, but once it gets started, there’s no stopping the possibilities.

 

 

Healthy Habits: Did you know…

Healthy Life imageSometimes I run across an article related to new advances in healthy habits and I like to share them – like this article is written by two of the most-recognized Dermatologists on the planet, Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields.

They’re two of my heroes. Smart, gracious and generous. Without them, I might have never known that I had a melanoma forming in my inner ear. It’s all gone now (whew!), but Drs. Rodan and Fields are a daily reminder to me that taking care of my body’s largest organ (my skin!) is incredibly important.

If you’re ready to take much better care of your skin, check out the newest skincare/skin-saving products from Rodan+Fields.

Words. Thoughts. Vibes.

I’m taking a class on the Law of Attraction and the whole idea is quickly becoming a HUGE eye opener for me. Here’s why:

  1. I’ve learned that we all carry our own vibe with us … day and night. Meaning, I attract to my life and business whatever I give my attention, energy and focus to, whether positive or negative .
  2. The Law of Attraction is obedient and opinion free. If I tell it something, it simply agrees because I said so.
  3. It keeps checking in with me all the time, and gives me more of the same – whatever my vibe is. All day long. Check. Check. Check.
  4. It’s ALWAYS LISTENING.

I also learned that WORDS (which of course I love), really only have 2 kinds of vibes. Positive or Negative.

→ Like … Grateful. Joy. Confidence. Creativity. Happy. Love. Hopeful. Inspired.
→ Like … Fear. Worry. Distraction. Disappointment. Doubt. Frustration.

The cool thing is this: The WORDS that I use, become my THOUGHTS, which become my VIBE, which give me my RESULTS.

→ If I want positive things to happen, and I want to have a great day, the WORDS I use (starting from the time I get up in the morning) become my THOUGHTS, which become my VIBE which give me my RESULTS all day long. 

Power in Positivity

If I start out thinking it’s going to be a less-than-stellar day, I’m going to get less-than stellar results out of my day. Worry. Distraction. Doubt. Frustration.

If I start out confident that my day will rock (even if it’s, um, somewhat rocky), I’m going to get a day that, for the most part, ROCKS. Grateful. Happy. Hopeful. Inspired.

There’s room for some going back and forth here, but when you POSTURE positively, the Law of Attraction will GIVE you positivity. (If that’s not a word, excuse me. I like the way it sounds.)

I’m going to have to practice this a bit, because it’s easy for me (and likely everyone I know) to swing back and forth during the day.

But … IF IT WORKS, IMAGINE WHAT WE COULD DO WITH OUR MINUTES. HOURS. DAYS. YEARS. Imagine how we could CHANGE OUR LIVES.

Maybe there is something to this? Quite possibly. 2016 is my year to find out. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

The Lost and Found of GRIT

GRIT
ɡrit/
noun
  1. 2.
    courage and resolve; strength of character.

Thirteen years ago on a winter night in November, I was forced to dig deep into my soul and find the kind of personal GRIT that no parent should have to find. The kind of GRIT that stops you from falling down into a dark hole and choosing to never, ever, crawl back out.

In the days that followed, I – we – celebrated an extraordinary life and buried a son. In my entire life, that will likely be the hardest thing I will ever have to do.

GRIT: courage and resolve.

And then, as the years passed, that GRIT quietly receded and sort of got lost. Well, not LOST lost. Just sort of lost. I forgot where I put it because I didn’t really need it. My life was okay; my work was okay (someone else made the hard decisions); my world bobbed along just fine for me. A hiccup now and then, but for the most part I let my life take the easy path.

The word GRIT came up again the other day and my immediate reaction took me by surprise. A lump-in-throat kind of surprise I did not see coming. One simple word and I was THIS (finger pinch gesture) close to tears. Memories run deep in this heart of mine.

A conversation with my friend and mentor Meredith revolved around entrepreneurship. Owning your own business – being your own boss – striking out on your own as an entrepreneur … it can be an incredibly rewarding career choice. It’s a terrific feeling to make the decisions and chart your own course! It’s awesome to have work that fits into your life rather than fitting your life into someone else’s plan.

Entrepreneurship is also HARD WORK. It takes GRIT, Meredith said. You need to dig deep and find your GRIT.

As entrepreneurs, we must be passionate. We must know in our gut that what we do, and what drives us, is absolutely essential to our entire Being. We put ourselves out there every single day. We have a hard week and we keep going. We get up every morning and are excited about the highs … and accepting of the lows. We SEE the future of our industry, and company, and ideas! It keeps us awake in the middle of the night! It’s hard work but SO WORTH IT!

GRIT: strength of character.

I’ve been thinking about GRIT for a few days now. Meredith’s version of GRIT. How it’s essential to entrepreneurship. How it’s essential to our lives.

Looking for some inspiration today, I reread an article about a friend of mine – a young woman who I admire. This girl has got GRIT. Buckets full of it. Mountains full of it. Her name is Elyse Saugstad.  (She also has a terrific Ted Talk under her belt.)

Thanks Meredith. And thanks Elyse. For reminding me to find my GRIT again. To rise up, put it squarely on my shoulders, and let it guide me EVERY SINGLE DAY.

 

Change in the Palm of My Hand

I had another one of my ‘ah-ha’ moments yesterday morning … while bouncing some change around in my hand before I put it away in my wallet.

Change in the palm of my hand. Pennies, nickels and maybe a quarter or two.

Change low resOr CHANGE in the palm of my hand. Change as a change-agent. As in I have the power within me to change darn near whatever I want. (Okay, some things I can’t change on my own like curing cancer or solving world peace.)

It’s a powerful thought and worth remembering.

I have the power to change my circumstance. I have the power to change my life. Ultimately, I am in control.

I can make excuses all day long, but at the end of the day the excuses are my way of staying put. Staying in my comfort zone. Staying in whatever place I’m at because pushing myself beyond my comfort zone is scary. Staying because I’m afraid of failure.

I’m way to busy. I don’t know the right people. I live in a small town. I live in a big unfriendly city. My dog ate the car keys. I have Christmas cards to send. It’s all so much easier when I have excuses to lean on.

I make excuses just like most of us do, and to me they’re very, very valid. But when I hear others make the same excuses, it’s like the V-8 konk on the forehead. Oops … sounds an awful lot like my excuses.

I just put a quarter (25¢) on my desk – right where I can see it every day. It’s my reminder that change in the palm of my hand is also CHANGE in the palm of my hand. If I want my life to be better, or more meaningful, or less stressful, or financially more stable, I can change my circumstances if it’s important enough.

CHANGE happens when I give up the excuses that are so darn easy to lean on.

 

3 Tips for Creating Stellar Customer Service

customerservicequotesThis morning I had reason to call Constant Contact – an email marketing company that many of my clients use. I had a fairly complicated billing issue that I figured was going to take some time to resolve.

How awesome to be reminded why I have such high regard for this company: Constant Contact is a PRO when it comes to customer service. We should all take some lessons from them.

Here are 3 things that I was reminded of today … that will keep me a Constant Contact raving fan.

1. The first voice you hear (granted, it’s an automated phone system) is mellow, friendly, and super engaging. I might be ticked off about something, but that voice subtly says to me, “Stay calm. We’re going to fix it. No worries.” I have no idea who is actually on the other end of the line but someday I want to meet her. I’ll bet she’s as cool as her voice is. If you have an automated phone system, your company ‘voice’ should be THIS good.

2. The customer service reps know their stuff. Jeff (my rep this morning) listened carefully to my issue, confirmed that he understood my question and problem, and then walked me through a series of checkpoints in their billing system to make sure I knew (and could actually see) that he was making the necessary changes. Changes that I couldn’t figure out how to make on my own. If you have an online customer/client portal, use customer service calls as a quick and easy training opportunity.

3. They don’t push to close the call before you’re ready to hang up. We got my problem solved and instead of rushing to close the call because there were umpteen-thousand other callers waiting, Jeff actually visited for a minute – without trying to sell me any upgrades or asking me to take a survey. Brilliant! I started my call with the company ‘voice’ who subtly assured me my problem would be solved. Then I ended the call with a nice, 60-second chat with my customer service rep. I don’t even remember what we talked about but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I hung up a happy camper. Thirty seconds of extra engagement says volumes about how much you care about your customers/clients and their business.  

Regardless of your role at your company, be a pro at customer service. It’s not really all that hard. Sure it takes an extra minute or two of your time – but people really, really do notice.

Constant Contact didn’t ask me to write any of this. They just deserve a nod today because of any company I go to for support, they get the prize for truly stellar customer service.

 

 

 

14 Days and counting

I just realized that it’s September 25th. I lost track about the first of August. The one date in the past 60 days that is etched in my brain is September 11. Yes, it’s an important date to all of us. But it’s also important to me because that’s the date that my wonderful, amazing, terrific Dad who was 92 years and 356 days of age passed away.

14 days ago and counting.

I find myself trying to think of something to write that is insightful or engaging or funny, and I am at a loss. My brain is on overload and it’s hard to concentrate. Heck, it’s hard to focus on anything for very long.

14 days ago and counting.

He was my rock. He was my go-to-guy for so many many things. He was a brilliant physician, a life-long student of science, a hilarious story-teller and a very humble man. He was pragmatic to a fault; on my very very darkest day as I told him my son, his grandson, has died and I didn’t know what I was going to do, he said simply, “You only have two choices. It will either pull you down into a black hole that you might never climb out of, or you can rise above it.” He was right.

He was my Pops and I can’t believe how much I miss him.

Tomorrow is day 15 and it will be better. So will days 16 and 17 and 18. And so on.

Instead of counting the days since he passed away, I will listen to his words again. No black hole for me. I’m his daughter – I’m strong as they come – and I can rise above anything. Even losing my Pops.

Outside My Window This Morning

As I sit at my desk this morning:

  • Cat with mouse in mouthThe neighbor’s cat has wandered by twice – once on the way out to his Monday hunting expedition – and once coming back with a mouse in his mouth. His route is under the fence between his house and ours, down along our yard and our patio (where I see him as he goes by my office glass door), then off into his jungle full of who knows what excitement. I think he’s had a run-in with either one of the local raccoons or coyotes because he’s missing part of his tail and much of the fur on his backside. He’s not a particularly good-looking cat as cats go. But he’s clearly a good hunter and he’s even better at staying alive.
  • The local doe and her fawn have sauntered through the yard, down the driveway, across the street and into the green belt. This year, I’ve gotten smart and used something called Deer Out to keep her (and that darn cute child of hers) from cleaning every last piece of vegetation off of my one remaining rose (she obliterated the other ones) and biting the leaves off three-quarters of the rest of my garden plants … while leaving the stems intact. While I like seeing Mama and fawn, they are my arch nemesis when it comes to my garden.
  • The guy painting our house has come by twice and waved to me as I sit here at my desk … he doesn’t exactly know what I do for a living; he only sees me sitting at my desk with my hands on a keyboard, or sitting in my chair talking to myself. (What he doesn’t see is my Bluetooth in my ear that indicates I am, actually, talking to someone other than myself.

I’m not sure what these all have to do with each other. Perhaps nothing. But then again – the fact that I am sitting at my desk watching cats and deer and house painters go about their morning, as I go about mine, brings a smile to my face.

When you get right down to it, I think we’re often so busy chasing our tails (sorry neighbor cat with less tail … no offense intended) that we forget to stop for just a minute, and take pleasure in what’s going on outside our window. Everyday normal stuff. Like the morning errand-run of cats and deer.

Finding Balance Without Giving Up Income

I was watching the news last night and saw a piece on NBC Nightly News about Dads in the workforce. The piece featured a high-tech CEO who, just like many of us, struggles with how to balance his demanding career and the need to also be more present in his family life.

This morning I’m still thinking about this topic. While most of us know many (many!!) Moms struggling with work/family balance – hardly ever does anyone talk about the toll a lack of work/family balance takes on Dads. Married Dads. Single Dads. Or Granddads.

never get so busyWe all deserve to find a balance that works for us. But we all also need to earn a living – which most often trumps everything else. I don’t think it matters one ounce whether someone has a career they love, or knows they’re in a dead-end job with no options. If there’s no chance to find balance without giving up income, balance will lose every single time.

Which is why I am so excited about the consumer-direct business model, otherwise known as Network Marketing or Direct Sales. And specifically within the context of folks (including Dads!) who need a better work/family/life balance.

The consumer-direct business model is the perfect fit for anyone who craves more balance in their lives … without the loss of income that often comes from scaling back on time or position. It provides the flexibility to work either part-time or full-time, from wherever you happen to be at the moment, including the little league bleachers, soccer field, park, beach or family room. For someone who is motivated, a self-starter, loves to network, and knows what they want and need out of their life, this business model is a game-changer!

Listen up Dads (and Moms) who crave more balance: There are options. You don’t have to sacrifice the things that are most important to you because you’ve structured a family budget solely around your monthly wages. The consumer-direct business model was built by people like you who wanted income without the constraints of the employer-employee relationship. People who wanted to have control over their lives rather than have their lives controlled by a time-clock and company expectations.

Bottom line: If any of this rings true for you, and you’re searching for a way to get the balance you need, why not at least look at the consumer-direct business model. I’d be happy to give you my take on how it works and whyI find it so incredibly compelling.

p.s. In the list of consumer-direct companies, I happen to think the company I represent – Rodan+Fields – is by far the best company to come along in at least 50 years. I’d be more than happy to tell you why.