Category: Pursuing Your Passions


How to Say No and Have More Time For Your Passions

In last week’s post entitled “The Best New Year’s Resolutions to Boost Your Career,” I gave you seven resolutions to try this new year. One of those resolutions was to do less so you can have more time to focus on your personal and professional goals.

This may sound impossible, especially given your current work schedule and all the other resolutions you’ve made for yourself this year.

But there are several things you can do less of  to carve out more time for your goals and passions.

Say yes less and learn how to say no more

It can be hard to say no, especially for people-pleasers. Anytime you’re faced with a task, activity, or event, ask yourself the following questions before immediately responding with “yes.”

  • Will I enjoy it?
  • Does it earn income?
  • Will it open up more quality time with my family?
  • Is it something leading me one step closer toward a goal of mine, like starting my own business?
  • Does it support my personal mission statement?

If you can’t answer yes to at least three of the above questions, say no or delay giving a commitment if you need to think about it some more. Perhaps you can say yes, but need to set some clear parameters or boundaries. For instance, you may agree to help with the task but for only a certain amount of time.

Most importantly, make sure you measure the opportunity against your personal mission statement to see if it supports it or distracts from it. If you don’t have a personal mission statement, check out my post “How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple” to help you create one.

If you realize it’s best to say no to the request, do so politely. Simply say, “I appreciate you thinking of me, but unfortunately it’s not something I can commit to at this time.” You don’t have to give any further explanation.

If the person doesn’t respect your response and keeps pushing the issue, keep repeating the above statement without changing it or adding anything to it. He or she will eventually accept your response or move on.

Outsource what you can

If the task or activity is an obligation, determine if it can be delegated our outsourced. While you may not like the idea of paying to outsource the task, the time saved from hiring someone can open up more time for you to do work you find more enjoyable and more profitable.

For instance, housework is a necessary evil and it has to get done. Some weeks I have more clients and more billable hours than I have time to spend doing my housework. But if I can make more money in an hour or two doing a job I love than I’d spend on a visit from a housekeeper, it makes more financial sense to pay the housekeeper so I can have the time to make more money and grow my business. Plus, not having to spend the extra time cleaning frees me up to spend time with friends or family.

When considering what can be delegated or outsourced, choose to delegate or outsource the tasks you enjoy least or make you the least money yet require the most time.

Work within your skill set

Make sure you’re spending your time working within your skill set. Don’t expend time or energy trying to get better at the things you’re not good at. Instead, let those be the things you delegate or outsource.

When I do presentations on the topic of personal branding, I often ask the audience why it’s important to know your weaknesses. The usually say it’s so you can know what skills you need to learn or improve. But this is not the correct answer. Instead, it’s so you can know what to say no to.

Do the things you do best and forget the rest. Stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole or you’ll just get frustrated and waste your time. You were created with certain gifts. You’re a good steward of those gifts when you’re using them instead of trying to take on someone else’s gifts.

Be selective in who you work with

You don’t always get to choose your boss or co-workers, but on the occasions you do, only work with those who are receptive to what you’re doing.

This is especially important if you’re starting your own business. If a potential client or partner doesn’t get your vision or mission, don’t waste your time trying to sell them on it. Save this time and energy for those who do get it.

This is why I’m selective in who I take on as clients. The ones who see the importance of career coaching and understand their return on investment make my work so much more enjoyable and less stressful.

If you do have to work with someone difficult, keep any necessary interactions with the person as short and limited as possible. During those interactions stick to facts. Don’t express your emotions to someone who can’t be trusted with them. Also, establish boundaries and repeat them if necessary. And above all else, remain professional.

Downsize

If you’re spending more time and money having to maintain your material possessions, it’s probably time to downsize.

Get rid of the stuff that costs you more to maintain than it provides you convenience. Better yet, sell those items and use the money as seed money to start your own business or side hustle.

I promise, you won’t miss those things tying you down.

Say no to time-suckage activities

While you’re at it, also eliminate any unproductive activities sucking up all your time. This includes scrolling through social media, binge watching Netflix, talking on the phone with people who only want to gossip instead of talking about more meaningful things.

At the very least, reduce the amount of time you do these things by 30%.

With all the free time you gain back, use it to learn a new skill, read a book, or write a business plan for your own company you hope to start.

Screen your calls

I have a personal rule. If I don’t recognize the number calling me, I don’t answer it.

I’m surprised how many people don’t do this. Especially given the number of robo-calls people get these days. If it’s important, the person calling will leave a message.

Manage your time better

Sometimes finding more time for your passions simply requires you to revisit some tried and true time management practices. This includes setting deadlines for the obligations you can’t delegate or outsource. Put those things on your calendar.

Speaking of calendars, once you’ve incorporated some of the above suggestions in your life, look to see how much time has been freed up on your calendar. Write in the productive things you now want to use this time for in pursuing your passions.

In addition, if you like to make a to-do list for everything, consider writing a to-don’t list too. This can also help you manage your time better.

Get over your FOMO and say no

Some of the above suggestions may make you feel like you’re missing out on some things. But consider what you’re really missing out on if you say no. It will be the things that have no real pay-off in your life.

Sometimes the joy of missing out (JOMO) can free you up for the things you should say yes to and should never miss out on.

Related posts

say no

How to Make This New Decade Your Most Successful One Yet!

Several years ago, I was introduced to the pageant world when I was hired to provide interview coaching for the contestants of a preliminary pageant in the Miss America system. Since I wasn’t familiar with pageant competition, I began my research, which included attending something called “Work Weekend.”

Work Weekend is the annual event held a month before the Miss North Carolina state pageant. It’s where new judges are trained and the state contestants are prepped for the upcoming week-long competition.

Each year during Work Weekend, the current Miss North Carolina gives a talk to the newest batch of state contestants. She shares her experience of winning the crown, making appearances across the state, and promoting her philanthropic platform.

While attending this talk, I observed the contestants as they listened intently to the reigning Miss North Carolina. But I noticed one contestant in particular who was writing feverishly in her notebook. She never once looked up.

Laser-sharp focus

At the following year’s Work Weekend, this same young woman stood before the latest batch of state contestants. She told them how, when she was sitting in their place, she was writing down what she wanted to say to them in her own speech.

I knew what I witnessed the previous year was someone who’d already won the crown and was preparing for her role as queen. Within the year, I watched this woman compete and win the Miss North Carolina title with laser-sharp focus, and go on to become the 2nd runner-up at Miss America.

She used a method for achieving success you too can apply to both this new year and this new decade.

Method to a Successful New Year and New Decade

1. Visualize it

Start by visualizing the success you want to have by the end of this next decade and by the end of the new year. Close your eyes and picture yourself having already achieved this success.

What do you see?

What do you hear?

And what do you feel?

Go back to your vision board I talked about in one of my previous posts and see what you might need to add to it. Look at it on a regular basis as a reminder of what you’re working toward.

Repeat this step each year of this next decade.

2. Prepare for it

Now, taking your vision, work backward to determine what steps must be taken to arrive at your goal.

Do you need to learn something new through training or additional education?

Do you need to expand your network?

Or, do you need to just gather the courage to take a calculated risk?

Use a mind map like the example in my recent post “Are You Happy With What You Accomplished This Past Decade?” to help you plot your steps for success.

Then, consider if there’s anything you can begin now that will be required of you once you’ve achieved the success you seek. Map out those steps as well on your mind map.

Update your mind map at the beginning of each new year of this new decade.

3. Trust in God

Like Amanda Foust said in “How To Find Peace About The Future,”

“We need to accept that the future is unpredictable in some ways, but what we do now does have an effect on where we will be later…Understanding our lack of control, continuing to work hard in the present, and letting God handle our future is the only sure way we will find peace.”

Once you’ve done the first two steps of visualizing your success and preparing for it, all you can do at this point is trust everything will work out the way it’s supposed to, as long as you’ve done your part.

It’s at this point you have to develop patience to see the fruits of your labor. And you must learn flexibility in case success might look slightly different than you originally envisioned. It may take the entire decade to develop patience and flexibility, so allow yourself time to be molded in this way.

Believe in your success in the new decade

The example of the young lady mentioned above is a reminder how success doesn’t just come from achieving your goals. It also comes from believing you can achieve your goals.

She was able to do what was within her control. She visualized it, prepared for it, and trusted God with the rest.

I encourage you to do what’s within your control. Learn to recognize when you still have more to do, and when you need to take a break and let God do the rest.

Related posts

new decade

How to Make This the Last Year You Say Next Year

As I sit down to write this blog post, I’m procrastinating. I don’t feel like writing it for a couple of reasons. One, it’s my birthday and I’d rather do something else, but I can’t because I have too many other things I have to get done between now and when this post is due to publish. Two, the words for this post aren’t coming to me as I’d hoped.

While I don’t usually procrastinate, there are times when I do. And this is one of them.

Another time I was reminded of this morning was when I was a junior in high school. I had an English class assignment to read a book entitled A Walk Across America and write a journal entry for each chapter of the book.

I did read the book. But I was procrastinating on the journal entries. I told myself I’d go back and do them after reading through the entire book first. This was not a good idea.

After reading the book, the journal entry portion of the assignment now seemed too daunting. I never did finish the full assignment. I only turned in three or four journal entries and therefore did not get a good grade. Twenty-nine years later I still remember this.

Better late than never

About five years ago, I decided to re-read the book and maybe even journal on some of the rest of the chapters.

In doing so, I learned the author, Peter Jenkins, now lives near me just outside of Nashville. I contacted Peter and told him the story above. He got a good laugh out of it and of course said, “Better late than never!”

I often wonder to myself, “What if Peter had procrastinated and never took his walk across America?” He surely wouldn’t have high school English instructors using his book to teach young minds about the importance of pursuing goals and adventures.

How to stop procrastinating: get to the root of the problem

Procrastination isn’t a good thing. But it’s even worse if it’s causing you to put off your dreams and your goals for your life.

How many years (or decades) have gone by where you never did what you said you wanted to do? How many more years do you want this to continue happening? Make this year, 2019, the last year you say next year. Here’s how!

You first have to get to the root of what causes you to procrastinate, especially if you’re a chronic procrastinator. So let’s first figure out your reason for procrastinating.

1. Is your goal not urgent enough?

If you don’t think your goal is urgent, then ask yourself if you’ll be disappointed again if you haven’t completed it by this time next year. If the answer is yes, then your goal has now become urgent.

Look at some of the other goals you have for yourself and ask the same question. Then choose the most urgent of those you said yes to, and commit to beginning it now.

2. Do you feel like you don’t know where to start?

Well, whether you realize it or not, you’ve already started just by reading this post and determining which of these reasons are causing you to delay your goals. And if you’ve read last week’s post (“Are You Happy With What You Accomplished This Past Decade?“), you should’ve already started with the first few steps in the complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. If not, go back and do so.

Now you have a place to start, so you can no longer use this as an excuse.

3. Are you afraid of failing?

You won’t be considered a failure if you at least give your goals a try. It’s when you don’t try at all that you’ll be seen as a failure.

I’ve written a lot in my blog about the fear of failure. If this is your reason for procrastinating, I suggest you type the word “failure” in the search box of this blog and read what pops up!

4. Do you work better under pressure?

This might be about the only legitimate reason to procrastinate, but be honest with yourself about it. Is this really true about you? Or are you just saying this because you don’t want to admit any of the other reasons might be the real reason?

If you know this is true for you and you honestly produce your best work having a tight deadline, then keep working this way (since it seems to work for you!). But go ahead and set your deadline for your goal.

5. Do you just not want to do the work that’s involved?

If the amount of work it takes to accomplish your goal feels overwhelming, choose some other goals you’re excited about and won’t easily get either bored or overwhelmed with. Start with those.

Once you see how you’re able to accomplish these goals, you’ll find it easier to accomplish your other goals.

How to stop procrastinating: take action

Now that you’ve figured out which reason or reasons for your procrastination, next set and prioritize your goals. Again, use the free 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan I gave you in last week’s post.

Then, find an accountability partner. Someone who you can report to periodically on your progress (but not someone who’s going to nag you about it). Someone who wants to see you succeed but doesn’t necessarily have a personal stake in the results of your goals.

Also, write down dates in your calendar and set alarms on your phone for check-in points (either every month or every 90 days).

I recommend using a Passion Planner since it’s specifically designed to help you accomplish the goals you’re most excited and passionate about. I’ve used one every year for the past four years and just started filling out my fifth one for 2020. I honestly don’t think I would’ve accomplished as many things as I have in the past four years without my Passion Planner.

Finally, at the end of each quarter in the upcoming year, look back over what all you’ve accomplished thus far. This will give you the confidence and the momentum you need to finish out the remaining steps and tasks for your goals.

“The truth is 2020 won’t be any different than 2019 if you don’t make the choice to change.” Yasmine Cheyenne

By this time next year, instead of saying, “I’ll do it next year,” you’ll be saying, “What’s next?!”

Related posts

procrastinating

How to Create the Life You Want to Wake Up To Every Day

Life would be grand if you didn’t have work getting in the way of it, right? You’d wake up every morning (even Monday mornings) loving life instead of dreading your soul-sucking job. But we all have to work to make a living and to make a contribution to our world.

However, there are ways to create work opportunities which allow you to develop the life you want to wake up to every day. Work that allows you to blend your life and job harmoniously instead of it taking over your life. How do you create such a life?

Meet Dorothy

Photo of Dorothy by Lily Darragh

I just finished working with a client named Dorothy who is 58-years-old and has spent over 25 years of her career in the corporate world. Looking back on those years she was able to see how stuck she was. She wasn’t moving forward or up as she had expected to in the corporate world, and therefore also wasn’t increasing her annual salary. When she came to me, she had just left corporate for a much-needed break and not sure what her plan was next.

Because her outside hobbies include competitive body building which requires a lot of training, her friends told her she should be a personal trainer and coach others. They said it made perfect sense, especially since it’s something she’s excelled at and is passionate about. Dorothy agreed this could be a real possibility since she loves working out and has the body to prove it. But she wanted to get some guidance first to make sure. Thank goodness she did, because she made a very surprising discovery.

Photo by Lily Darragh

Wake up and make the investment

Dorothy admitted she’d never before considered spending money on herself, not even for career coaching. At least not until she found herself in need of some direction. Now having gone through paNASH’s program, she says she’s now able to see the value of it and the return on investment!

The first step in creating a career and life you want to wake up to is to decide you’re worth investing in yourself. (Because you are!) It may seem scary at first to make such an investment, especially the unknown part of it. (The unknown is always the scariest.) But, you can learn a little about what to expect by following Dorothy’s progress below.

Also, there are ways you can start with just a small investment to test the waters. This includes spending only a few dollars on a Kindle or paperback copy of my book on Personal Branding, along with the time it takes to complete the exercises in the book. Or you can get it as a free download with your purchase of the Personal Branding on-demand video course at yourpassioninlife.com/ondemand.

Dorothy was pleasantly surprised to see how such a little book was packed with so many powerful exercises that helped her in discovering her direction and her new path.

Wake up and trust the process

Whether you choose to start small with the book or decide to go big like Dorothy did with a one-on-one coaching package, you’ll need to trust the process. This is the second step in creating the life and career you can’t wait to wake up to.

After her first couple of sessions, Dorothy was wondering why she didn’t have answers to her questions about her career path yet. Since she’s a competitive body builder, she’s used to seeing almost immediate results after working out in the gym. Results like improved muscle tone are visible when she looks in the mirror. But this isn’t the case with career development.

I had to remind Dorothy this process of discovering her authentic career path is a marathon, not a sprint. However, she was on track because she was moving through the homework with as much discipline as she does when preparing for a competition. I promised her if she kept moving through the personal branding exercises at the rate she was, she’d see the results come together. But they wouldn’t be visible until she got closer to the end of the program.

Wake up and be honest with yourself

When going through the process and doing the exercises, you’ll need to follow this next step of being honest with yourself. Once Dorothy got honest about what she wanted from her next career opportunity, she realized it was something different than what she originally thought.

Dorothy knew how much she loved working out and sculpting her body for competition. But she realized from the homework I gave her she did NOT want to train other people. She was happy to let others come workout with her and to help motivate them. But she did not want to have to hold others accountable nor chase people down for payment of personal training services. She realized this when she got honest with herself.

At this time Dorothy was also getting calls about jobs doing the same work she used to do in corporate. Since she realized she didn’t want to do the personal training all her friends were telling her to do, she started wondering if going back into corporate was her only option.

Body building is just a hobby and doesn’t bring in any income. But, the body building had previously led Dorothy to a talent agency and to some paid modeling and acting gigs which served as a side hustle for her. It brings in a few big paychecks every now and then for only a few hours of work. Because she previously worked full-time in corporate, she wasn’t able to accept every gig. Therefore, Dorothy viewed this endeavor as more of a hobby too. But after leaving corporate, she was able to say yes to more modeling jobs. She also started getting some brand ambassador gigs because of her modeling work and fitness competitions. This really opened up a whole new passion for her.

Photo by Randy Dorman

Wake up and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks

Even though Dorothy was discovering her excitement about brand ambassador work and how it fit well with her experience in modeling and fitness competition, she felt societal pressure to do the practical thing and respond to those offers for work back in corporate.

But Dorothy really knew she wanted to explore the brand ambassador opportunities more. She liked it because it allowed her the flexibility in her schedule she’d been missing out on for so long. It allowed her to meet new people in various fun and exciting settings. It allowed her to move from project to project with different companies instead of being stuck at one company. She could choose which projects she wanted and turn down those she didn’t. She also didn’t have to manage other people. And she was able to see the earning potential compared to her lower-rung corporate job offers.

I asked Dorothy two questions. One, “Are you able to earn as much money in a traditional eight-hour-a-day office manager job as you are in a few hours of being a brand ambassador?” And two, “If you were back in corporate, would you be able to accept as many modeling and brand ambassador gigs as you’re starting to get right now?” Her answers to both of those questions were, “No!”

With this realization and also knowing she didn’t want to do what her friends were telling her she should do, Dorothy stopped worrying about what everyone else thought. She stopped worrying about what society considers as practical. And she stopped worrying about what her friends would think. She said to me,

“Your program revealed to me my friends’ vision was not my vision for myself.”

Do you need to stop worrying about what others think about your goals and vision?

Wake up and understand your worth

Something else Dorothy said to me about paNASH’s program is,

“I now know my worth!”

She learned how her skills and talent were worth more than what she’d been making in corporate. And she learned from our work together how to negotiate higher rates for the brand ambassador gigs she’s continuing to land. This is the next step in creating a life you want to wake up to.

“At first I didn’t believe I could do any better but now I do!” she says.

Because of this, Dorothy has turned down the low-paying corporate job offers. She says the paNASH program gave her the vision and a path for her next career move. (Which does NOT include going back to where she was stuck before.) But she stresses to anyone considering the program, you have to put in the time and energy in the homework assignments. You have to be disciplined and be honest with yourself if you want real results.

“I have finally found my path!” Dorothy says.

Let me ask you: are you worth more than what you’re currently making? Are you worth investing in yourself to discover how you should use your talents and how much you should be making?

What will your new career path look like when you wake up?

Dorothy says she now has a career path she’s excited to wake up to every day. And she didn’t use age as an excuse to not pursue new endeavors. She’s 58-years-old but she’s never let age stop her. Not in modeling. Not in body building. And certainly not now in her new career path.

While Dorothy’s path may be very different from your future path, you likely have the same goals. You both want more flexibility and work-life balance in your career. And you both want to wake up to a life and career that excites you and energizes you.

You too can discover how to achieve these goals in your own unique way through paNASH’s Personal Branding program, either through personalized and in depth one-on-one coaching, the on-demand video tutorial, or the book. Visit yourpassioninlife.com to learn more or click on the links above. It’s never too late to strive for a better life and career!

Related posts:

wake up

Nobody Likes a Know-It-All. Be a Learn-It-All Instead!

How to Enrich Your Life and Career with Lifelong Learning

I’m currently learning how to land paddle. Last week one of my stand up paddle boarding friends gave me another lesson in it. Land paddling is similar to stand up paddle boarding on water, but it feels so different! It’s like being on a big skate board with a stick that has a stopper instead of a paddle at the end of it.

To me it feels very foreign compared to being on water. (Confession: I’m much more clumsy on dry land than I am on water!) I’ve never skate boarded before, so this is way outside my comfort zone! But it’s a great way to get outside and get exercise, especially after paddle boarding season ends.

learninglearning

I’m also currently teaching myself about financial investing. This is something I once had no interest in because I didn’t think I had the ability to fully comprehend it. Even though it’s never too late to learn about investing, my limiting belief kept me in my comfort zone longer than it should have. This probably cost me money in hidden fees and the additional money I could’ve already earned had I understood it better.

Luckily my father is well-versed in this area and got me started early on with a financial adviser. But now I’m becoming more educated on how it all works. And I’m starting to make my own investment decisions instead of just relying on my financial adviser.

Finally, I’ve hired a digital marketing expert to teach me how to improve my business marketing and increase the sales of my on-demand video courses. Much of what she’s teaching me are things I know I need to do, but I’m learning from her how to prioritize it all. It’s not always easy to find the time to implement her suggestions while balancing my client base, but I know it’s important to do so I can scale my business.

Importance of Being a Learn-It-All

I’m doing all of the things above because I understand how important lifelong learning is. Being a “learn-it-all” is imperative for growth, success, and fulfillment. In fact, lifelong learning is so important I’ve included “education” as one of the seven goal categories in my 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan (free when you subscribe to my weekly newsletter).

Continual learning can increase your earnings, reduce your risk of age-related diseases, and enrich your life!

Learning Doesn’t Follow the Smooth Road

You can see from my own experiences listed above there are oftentimes obstacles involved in being a “learn-it-all”. These obstacles can include discomfort, limiting beliefs, and time constraints. But those obstacles should never be used as excuses for not being open to learning new things.

These negative feelings and risks are to be expected. Author and CEO Gary Burnison says,

“People who are curious and risk-takers are often the best learners. But learning doesn’t follow the smooth road.”

And learning opportunities are not limited to the risk-takers. Even if you’re not a natural risk-taker, you can learn how to become a better learner.

How to Become a Good “Learn-It-All”

Burnison also goes on to say,

“While learning agility, to a large degree, is inborn…it can be developed. One of the was you can become more learning agile is to develop your curiosity. People who are curious are engaged in the world. There interests are varied, and they are constantly learning. They intentionally expose themselves to the new and different, whether that means eating unfamiliar foods or listening to music that’s outside their favorite genre. They approach every day as a new opportunity to learn something, especially about themselves. That’s why the best…CEOs begin and end the day with self-reflection.”

You can be a good “learn-it-all” by increasing your curiosity in some of the simple ways Burnison listed above.

For instance, next time you go out to eat, order something on the menu you can’t pronounce or have never heard of. And don’t just take a picture of it for your Instagram! Actually taste it and savor it. I shudder when I think of all the great foods I would’ve missed out on (including camel!) had I not been curious enough to try them.

Burnison says you can also be a good learner by ending your day or week with self-reflection. Self-reflection is the very first exercise in my book and on-demand video course Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

Tangible Examples

It’s this same branding program that’s helped so many paNASH clients open their minds to learning something new and enriching their careers. It’s even led several clients to some really cool side hustles and career changes.

For instance, my client Ashley discovered she has both a passion and a talent for voice-over work. Had she not taken a voice-over basics course at the local community ed program I told her about, she never would’ve discovered her new-found talent.

She’s since taken a more intensive voice-over course while also building her voice-over portfolio. She’s even landed some voice-over gigs with her current corporation she works for. Her short-term plan is to get an agent so she can get more gigs. Her long-term plan is to eventually turn it from a side hustle into a full-time thing.

Another client, Adelaide, decided to leave her job without knowing what she wanted to do next. But because she’s a saver she was financially able to do so.

Shortly after leaving her job and in the midst of our work together, she discovered the Nashville Software School. She did some research on it and decided to delve into the world of coding which is something completely different from what she went to college for or what she’d been doing in the past. Because of her savings and her creative budget management, she was able to afford the six-month program.

A week before graduation she landed a job with a highly sought-after company. This company’s interview process usually takes several months, but she had one interview and got hired a week later.

What are you learning?

So my questions to you are:

  • What do you want to learn?
  • What are you curious about?
  • Are you currently learning something new?
  • Are you making time to expand your mind on something interesting?

Education doesn’t end after graduation. So become a “learn-it-all”!

Related Posts:

learning