Why I’m Thankful This Christmas

It’s Christmas week, so I want to keep this short and sweet and simply say….. Thank you.

Thank you for believing in Priority VA.

Thank you for believing in me.

Thank you for believing in my team.

2017 came with its share of ups and downs. At the end of the day, all I can say is that I’m thankful!

Perhaps it’s because of my recent accident, personnel transitions, or a crazy influx of business the last few weeks of the month. 

Quite possibly, a combination of challenging experiences and insane opportunities that have made me thankful for my family, my clients, and my team. Each has given me a reason to pause and gain a fresh perspective on both life and business. 

Through all the challenges and triumphs we face, one thing should always remain the same….a thankful heart.

Thank you for an opportunity to serve you. 

As we move through the hustle and bustle of this week, let’s all take time to be thankful.

I appreciate you and wish you the Merriest of Christmases!

P.S. There is nothing I love more than serving entrepreneurs who are busting their tails to grow a successful business. I want to partner with you in 2018! Let’s make some magic.

Why We Need Guardrails In Our Lives

Last week, with one hour left in my 6 hour drive home from visiting my brother, I was hit by a Semi on the highway.

As I was being pushed by a Mack Truck going 65-70 miles an hour on a busy interstate, I tried to use the mad skillz my mama taught me to stop my SUV from flipping…

I was thrown into the cable guardrail, which snapped, and wrapped around my tires as it worked to take the impact of my 4300 pound SUV.

The momentum flung my car spinning wildly again and I finally landed facing traffic halfway in the median, with me trying to brake with all strength even though I was already stopped.

The whole thing was so fast.

There wasn’t time to prepare for it.

THE CABLE GUARDRAIL SAVED MY LIFE.

Possibly the lives of others had I went into oncoming traffic in the opposite direction.

I visited the Honda Pilot today at the wreckage yard and saw where the cable had literally wore down the metal all around the frame of my car.

It sheared off the metal of the frame of my car in an attempt to stop what could have been a lot of devastation to multiple lives.

The guardrail did its job.

I was thinking about the accident, and it was so interesting to ponder:

WE ALL NEED GUARDRAILS IN OUR LIVES

To protect us….

from ourselves.

from others.

… from the unforeseen 80,000 pound eighteen wheeler that we have no idea is coming out of the darkness

… and if we’re honest… most of us think we don’t need them.

That the guardrails I’m talking about are thought of as commodities. They are dispensable novelties that you think you don’t need, or desperately know you do yet..

you think that:

you’ll get to them later.

you’re too busy now.

you don’t have the money.

But what if the semi comes out of nowhere?

Then what?

The guardrails can look like systems, process, automation, and people who keep us on track.

These guardrails help prevent us from spinning out of control.

They too, take the brunt force that is life;

the tragedy, the illness, the employee that quit, the contractor that bailed and didn’t do a good job.

The kids soccer club, playdates, and homework.

The spouse that wants you focused on them at night instead of answering yet another email.

DO YOU HAVE GUARDRAILS TO PROTECT YOU?

It’s THESE SAFEGUARDS: the partners we have, the employees we pour into and train, the countless hours spent documenting SOPs… the second set of eyes reviewing our blog posts, the friend who asks if you’re really okay and helps you create a plan when you’re not.

It’s that type of guard rails

that PROTECT US when we’re going too fast, and even when we’re minding our own business in the slow lane and a Semi comes barreling into us in the form of melanoma, or a son that’s been abused by a neighbor.

So many businesses fall apart because they don’t take the time to put up the guardrails necessary to protect them.

So many marriages fall apart because couples don’t put in guardrails to protect against infidelity.

Friendships fall apart and men and women are left to struggle alone because they lack structure, and a guardrail for accountability when things start to go a little too fast in life.

Who knew getting hit by a semi would make me be so reflective to the areas in my life where I’m lacking some serious guard rails.

Who knew that I’d be so compelled to wonder about how I could help YOU ensure you have the right ones, too.

What guardrails do you have in your life that will help take the impact with you?

Is there something you need to do?

Something you need to say?

Someone you need to hire?

A system you need to put in place?

An accountability partner you need to ask for help?

A process you need to revamp?

Are you ready for it?

Don’t let an 18 wheeler come from the darkness speeding down your highway to knock you off track…. and have nothing in place to help take the impact.

Don’t do it alone.

Life.

Business.

Friendships.

Relationships.

Struggles.

Successes.

Find where you need guardrails… and work your ass off to figure out how to get them built and ready for impact. Because I can assure you… that Semi is coming when you least expect it.

I want you to be ready.

If you need help, let’s start the conversation.

We’ll get your guardrails in place, and get you back on your highway of life.

Cultivating Gratitude

Are you annoyed with the gratitude posts that go around every November? I have tried to do them for years now, and by about day 9 I’m grasping at straws to find something I’m thankful for.

I actually had my assistant draft a blog post for me with 30 things I’m grateful for. She knows me better than I know myself most days, which is what happens when you have an awesome, engaged partner in your business.

Even still, I read through each of the items and while it was all true, (I AM thankful for my four kids and the psycho puppy that bites me, I swear!), it didn’t feel like me.

So, in lieu of 30 gratitude snippets to fill space on the blog and social media, I wanted to from the heart share one circumstance that I’m most grateful for this year.

My strengths finder says I’m not adaptable. In fact, it’s LAST on my list of strengths. How I’m surviving as an entrepreneur, still amazes me. With all the roller coaster emotions, metrics and pressure to perform, it’s surprised ANY businesses succeed in this culture of comparison.

Circumstances this year personally and professionally changed a lot.

What I’m realizing after spending a few days in a Mastermind in the same room with my mentors, is that I’m thankful for the opportunity to be adaptable this year. To learn, grow and be challenged in new ways.

I shifted my focus from client work and growth of the business to refining and scaling the business only.

I moved from the safety of Colorado to the unknown adventure of Georgia.

I joined a high-level mastermind and started focusing on my health.

I quit working 13 or more hours a day and relied on my team more than I had in the past.

So, while this year hasn’t been completely rosy, (one client faked financial issues and basically let go of 13 AMAZING people on my team right at the start of summer, killing 33% of our revenue)…it has been pretty darn good.

I’m learning to cultivate gratitude instead of always defaulting to the negative. It’s no small feat when you’ve lived 40 years with a half empty outlook, but this is what it looks like for me to cultivate gratitude in my life for the highs, and lows…

It’s been a darn good year because I’m learning who I need to become to deal with the problems instead of shriveling from them.

My goal for the next year is to practice cultivating gratitude every single day.

Here are a few practices I plan to try:

The 5 Minute Journal [AFFILIATE LINK TO the JOURNAL on Amazon) – I met UJ Ramadas this year at Mastermind Talks and this guy is legit. He’s insightful and witty. More importantly, his practice of gratitude is unreal. I want to be like UJ. Grab The 5 Minute Journal here.

Weekly Thank You’s 

My friend, client, and mentor, Todd Herman had a daily practice of writing a note to someone every single day. He even uses an elegant wax seal. Check it out, here.

Brag on our Team 

I do know I do a great job of highlighting when our team does great things, and I’m going to step up my game on this. So, look out. I’ll be asking frequently for wins along the way, so we can show off our client’s successes along the way.

Commit to Growth

Face it, part of being grateful is being able to make up for our mistakes. I’m committing to always taking actionable steps to right a wrong and learn from it. Having feedback loops available allows for everyone to see how they are doing, and how they can stretch themselves toward excellence.

And finally…

Schedule a Date

With myself. Self Care is really important. If I want to be around to chase after my kids, run a business and give to those around me, I’ve got to be in shape to do it. This is one way I’m looking at. Hello, accountability. It may not be easy, but I will be grateful for the results.

What’s on your list to be grateful for, and how are you currently expressing it? If you have a great idea how we can do better at expressing gratitude here at PVA, or in your own life; will you reply and share it with me? I’d love to cultivate a list to share on social media.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, wherever you are. I’m grateful for you.

Please, not another fruit basket. Why gift giving has to change.

I know you. I’ve got you pegged. You aren’t really a sentimental guy, but you know that connecting with your colleagues and customers is a big deal.

You understand the importance of staying top of mind to your clients so when it comes time to choose, people pick you.

It’s about to be the most wonderful time of the year. That’s right – those weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas when every day reminds of sneaking down the stairs to see what presents Santa may have left in the form of a brown box from Amazon on our doorstep.

If you’ve not already, it’s about now that many of us start thinking about the gifts we’ll send clients to show our appreciation for all the money they gave us this year. (Er, I mean, for the relationships we’re trying to nurture!)

Here’s the deal though. I don’t want to get another fruit basket or box of 36 different kinds of chocolate I need to bite into to find the one caramel I really want.

The idea of honoring those we partner with this time of year is steeped in tradition from the 1840s when nativity scenes were all the rage in handmade cards sent for a penny in the post.

Now, cheesy greeting cards containing politically correct holly leaves with Happy Holidays slathered in Gold Foil script (so as not to offend folks that don’t like the words “Merry Christmas”) are sent in mass to people we hardly know anything about.

What if this year, you chose to do something different that would actually be meaningful, get noticed and make more impact than the moleskin you’re tempted to give with your logo on it?

Enter John Ruhlin. He wrote the book Giftology and has turned the corporate gift giving world on its ear.

John put into words what I had been feeling for years, and when I turned to him to help me find the perfect gift for my assistant Kim, he got it.

The gift needed to represent the relationship.

Kim is super special to me, and what she does for my business was worth way more to me than a gift card to Starbucks.

With John’s help, I was able to create a memorable experience for Kim that goes well beyond a nic-nack for her desk.

Watch the creation of Kim’s gift here…

So, what if instead of a gargantuan cornucopia of oranges at Christmas, you sent a gift in February or May?

Don’t worry so much about being top of mind amongst all the other cards and towers of high-end chocolate. Instead, focus on providing meaningful gifts when people least expect it that strategically position you at the front of the line, and build relationship almost immediately.

People won’t say “Remember that coffee mug imported from China Bob sent last year? That was amazing!”

They will say, “Remember the headphones Todd sent that had my initials engraved on them?”

Nothing seems more memorable to me than a story John told about getting a meeting with a guy that happened to like Brooks Brothers shirts.

John spent $7,000 buying shirts and coordinated with a hotel someone was staying at to turn his hotel room into a simulated Brooks Brothers store! You bet he had (and held), the attention of Cameron Herold, whom John was eager to spend time with. Cameron will take a meeting with John anytime now. Wouldn’t you?

The creativity of gift giving doesn’t have to cost $7,000, but it isn’t cheap. Neither are the relationships you want to build. We can spend $10k on an advertising spot, or $500 sending custom gifts to several key clients and wonder which will get us more business in the end?  

The possibilities are endless, and all it takes to be an expert gift giver, like my friend John, is paying attention and getting a little “outside the box”. Go beyond the normal and ask questions.

Your client casually mention that he likes rootbeer? Send him a case of specialty rootbeers from around the US. He’ll remember you for it.

John had to ask Cameron’s shirt size to recreate the Brooks Brothers store. Creepy? It might sound like it, but the end result is anything but.

I once sent a case of specialty potato chips from Pennsylvania to a client of mine because I remembered him posting once that they were the best chips and he missed them since moving to NYC.

It wasn’t an expensive gift, but it was thoughtful and recognized one thing: my desire to offer what he would value, rather than using gift giving as a marketing gimmick.

Good gift giving enhances these three key elements of any relationship:

1. It’s about them, not you.

There will be no logo, no swag and for the love of all things holy, no expectation in return. It takes the sincerity out of it.

2. It doesn’t do what everyone else is doing.

If getting Apple earbuds is the best you can do, (and your clients have Android!) you’ve missed the mark. Because a gift is popular, it may not be what your client can even find useful. Study your recipients, and know what will be meaningful to them. I read an Inc article describing Ruhlin that said, The best gift is a purple cow. Be purple, people. Be purple.

3. It doesn’t wait for the right time

When is the perfect time to plant a tree? Yesterday. Second best time? Today.

The same is true with giving gifts. It doesn’t have to be Christmas to show someone you care about their relationship. You can send a gift on July 12 and it will likely have MORE impact than a cheap bottle of wine.

For more ideas on the kinds of gifts, you can give that will make you stand out, create memories, and perhaps land the deal: download our idea bank of the best places we’ve found to send meaningful gifts to our most important relationships.

Or, check out The Ruhlin Group and let them do it for you!

Happy Gifting!

For more ideas on the kinds of gifts, you can give that will make you stand out, create memories, and perhaps land the deal: download our idea bank of the best places we’ve found to send meaningful gifts to our most important relationships.

Click Here to Download Your Ultimate Gift Giving Guide

The Search For A Life Of Simplicity

We did it! The Barber family has left our Colorado home and are in search of a life of simplicity.

For 5 years, I’ve tried to convince my family to pack up and leave our home in Colorado. I didn’t have one specific location in mind. The only requirement was that we set up shop somewhere near the beach. The salty ocean air is therapy to my soul. There is something about it that rejuvenates me, gives me energy, and a place to anticipate visiting.

At the end of May, we decided to put our house on the market. Fully expecting it to take a few months to sell. After an open house the FIRST weekend, we received multiple offers. Apparently, the Denver market is hot when all we want to do is hit the road on our new adventure. Once we accepted the best offer, Chris and I flew to Georgia in search of our new home. We didn’t know where we wanted to live, but quickly found out that Atlanta traffic was NOT for me! Remember, I needed simplicity!

After a lot, and I mean A LOT, of driving, we found the house that was perfect for our family. We’d been looking at this house for a while and dreaming. It has a lovely home and 13 acres for our girls to run on. I can’t tell you one thing that drew us to this house, other than one word that kept coming to mind…. Simple.

I’ve spent the past several years burning the candle at both ends and I’m tired. Hear me when I say that I am not complaining at all. But dang it… I’m tired!  I decided that my family will no longer live a life of convenience because it’s safe and familiar. Instead, we are seeking new adventures, a calmer state of mind and chickens. Yes, I said chickens!

You have to work for simplicity.

When you hear someone say that they long for a life of simplicity, it’s often equated with a vacation mentality. They want to do the bare minimum to survive in life. Nothing more, nothing less, unless you can get away with less, then by all means go for it!

This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I’ve spent countless hours researching new places to live. Which town has the best school district? Who is the best doctor in the area? Where do I update my driver’s license? Where is the closest beach?

So many questions, so many to-do’s. However, each question and task will be worth it. I’m working hard to make sure we have everything in place to begin our dream of living in Georgia, near the ocean, adding poultry to our list of pets!

More so than the prep work, is being intentional with your time. I may be moving and looking for new adventures, but I still have a business to run. Now more than ever, it’s important that I’m intentional with my time. This will drive me to work that much harder during the day, so I can enjoy the fireflies at night with my girls.

Simple doesn’t mean lazy.

This week, we’re in a vacation home while we’re waiting for our closing date next week. This means that we are living like vacationers. We’re playing, getting the lay of the land and enjoying the sweet days of summer.

Once the PODS have arrived with our belongings and we’ve unpacked the last box, it’s back to business. However, this time, life is going to look a little different.

I’ve often prided myself on being a worker bee! I love to work. It’s who I am, down to my very core. Though I’m longing for a simple life, it will in no way be a lazy life!

Simple doesn’t have to be lazy.

Simple can mean that you’re serious about time blocking.

Simple can mean that you schedule your distractions.

Simple can mean that you shut your computer down when you promise your family it will close at 4:00.

Chaos will always be around us. However, chaos doesn’t have to be the center of my life. Instead, simplicity will now be the center of my life. Does that mean I may have to say “No” every once in a while? Yep!

It also means that if I get an email at 10:00 pm, I may not answer it. Why? Because a healthy life balance has been my desire for so long. I feel in my gut that this new 13-acre oasis we will soon call home will be just what we need for a life of simplicity. Hard work, but a life that we love.

Do you feel like you’re running a rat race? I’ve been there and it’s exhausting. You don’t have to relocate across the country to seek a simple lifestyle. This will look different for each one of us, but as entrepreneurs, it’s important that we take time for yourself.  It’s crucial to our well-being that we breathe, enjoy our families and savor this beautiful life we live. For you, it may be taking the time to exercise or cook a meal for your family. Whatever it is, do the things that bring you joy. The work will always be there.

What can you do this week to begin living a life of simplicity?

 

 

 

Community Over Competition

I don’t believe there’s ever been a time when so many could find so much success. Businesses are popping up all over the world, and for every available need. It’s an amazing time in our lives, filled with amazing opportunities to make a living.

I want to caution you, though, to not get caught up in chasing success for the wrong reasons. It can be easy sometimes, when we see the ball in our court, to want to smash the competition. To rise so high above the rest, we couldn’t see them if we wanted to. To blow the competition out of the water.

The fact is, the reason we’re living in such a success-driven time, is because we’re working in such a community-driven atmosphere.

Jeff Goins (and if you don’t know him, you should) recently made the point, “every story of success is really a story of community.” Especially working in the virtual business world, I couldn’t agree more.

If you take a look at the virtual entrepreneurs (like Jeff), you’ll find they all know one another. They have similar connections, methods, and strategies. They hang out at the same events. They participate in one another’s launches. You see a pattern in the way they do business. The reason is: they’re all supporting one another.

No one’s out for blood. No one’s out to crush the little guy. No one’s out to leave anybody in the dust.

They’re constantly collaborating, communicating, encouraging, and challenging one another to be better, do better, and live better.

It’s a world I’m honored to be a part of.

If you’re on the drive to succeed (and I have a hunch you are!), here are some pointers to help keep you grounded and to garner the support you’ll need from your fellow entrepreneurs.

Study Best Practices

Who’s leading the path of your business market? Observe their methods. Watch what they do and how they’re doing it. Take note of what works and what they abandon.

What advice are they giving in their blogs? What podcasts are they on? What are they marketing? How are they doing it?

If you want to succeed, do what the succeeders are doing. Eventually, as you get the hang of what’s working and what’s good for your business, you’ll be able to use your innovation to take it to the next level. Pace yourself.

Find A Mentor

You’ll need people who can speak truth and wisdom into your life. Find at least one mentor you can talk shop with, and one mentor you can work through the daily grind of life with. You’ll need different perspectives from your own.

Find people you respect, admire, and want to emulate, but not people who think exactly like you do. You’re going to want to see different angles of the same picture.

Whether it’s a mentor leading a mastermind group or a close friend or colleague with good business sense, be open to new ideas and perspectives. Often times, you need someone who can show you the blind spots in your business.  

Network

It’s important to build a network of people you can count on to back you up. The best – and most productive – way to do this, is to make an investment in people first. The return on your investment in them will be their investment in you. Find people you can build community with in your market. I’ve done this be simply encouraging and coaching others in their business. Free advice goes a long way!

That said, take advantage of technology. They don’t all have to be local (though it would be helpful if at least a few of them were!). Do you have Twitter? Use it. Tweet the people you admire. Reach out to them. Tell them you love their stuff. Open the doors for conversation, and build bridges to people you can not only learn from, but offer support to.

Don’t be pushy, but work your way into the circles you want to be a part of.

Give Back

There are so many people who are willing to get their hands dirty in order to help you get to where you aspire to be. So many generous, and genuine business leaders have given of themselves to help other people find their footing in the entrepreneurial world. Remember that.

Wherever your road to success takes you, always remember to give back. Be a mentor to someone. Share in the success of others. Celebrate with them. Give your time, share your resources, and remember this isn’t a competition. It’s a community.

I love this quote I found a while back, and it sums up my thoughts on community over competition. Let’s make this our goal…. to root each other on and watch them grow!

 

3 Ways To Get To Know Your VA

Do you know the people that work for you?

I don’t mean a formal chat on the phone or even looking at them through the lens of your laptop camera. I mean really, truly getting to know them.

  • Who they are.
  • What they excel at.
  • What makes them tick.

There are two types of people in this world. Those that are relational and those who are not.

I fall into the relational category, all thanks for my dazzling, extroverted personality. Honestly, I don’t understand the non-relational people. It isn’t how my brain operates. Nonetheless, I know that there are a lot of people out there that are more “director” style personalities.

One isn’t better than the other. Both have excellent qualities! Regardless of your personality type, it’s important that you get to know your virtual assistant.

When I started Priority VA, my vision was to create a business that is relationship based. I’ve found, the more I get to know my team members, the better we work together.

How can you do this when you work virtually? It’s easier than you might think.

get-to-know-your-va

Get to know each other on your weekly calls

When a new Client and Priority VA kick off, I ask them to schedule a weekly, non-negotiable check-in call. The purpose of the call is to keep you on the same page. Lines of communication stay open and you have conversations each week.

I’ve been told that some clients start their calls with,“Give me one good thing that has happened this week”. This gives your VA and team members an opportunity to share a little piece of their world. Something that is relevant to them.

I know it’s hard to believe, but your VA has other interests and people in their lives other than you. Let them share. You don’t have to be all business, all the time.

Listen to them, share in their excitement, then move along to business as usual. Your VA will feel valued!

Follow them on Social Media

I’m not a private person at all. If I have a thought, I tweet it, Instagram it, Facebook it. To the outside world, it’s a peek into my brain. (Scary, I know!)

Ask to follow your VA on Social Media. You’ll see pictures of their family, friends, outings and what they enjoy. You may find common interests, mutual friends and one more way to get to know each other.

My team and I are friends on social media. I love looking at their vacation pictures, weekend excursions and funny thoughts that pop in their heads. It makes me proud to see how the influence the world around them and to know that I get to spend my weekdays with them, growing by business is a thrill!

Give them a test

There are two tests that I feel is necessary when on boarding a new team member.

The first is the Gallup StrengthsFinder. Do you want your VA to operate in their strengths, then ask them to complete this test. I would rather pay a small fee to know what someone is capable of rather than spend time trying to push a square peg into a round hole.

The second is the 5 Love Languages. By asking your VA to complete this test, you’ll know the best way to show your appreciation. No sense wasting money on gifts if they could care less about them.

Results from this test will give you such great insight into their personality and how they feel loved. If you aren’t good at words of affirmation, but your VA NEEDS to know that they are doing a good job, then it’s time to brush up on your kindness vocabulary.

Remember, you should show appreciation to others in their love language, not your own.

Getting to know your VA on a personal level will not only help you get to know them, but it gives them an opportunity to know you, too. This will trickle into other facets of your business and will truly benefit you, your business and your brand.

Tell me… what is your communication style?

3 Resolutions Worth Keeping in 2017

Every year it’s the same.
Countdown from 10, clink the glasses and make resolutions for the impending year.

If you’re like me, you cross the threshold of a new year with grand ideas.

  1. This year I’ll lose the weight.
  2. This year I’ll save more money.
  3. This year I’ll be a better spouse and parent.

If I had a nickel for every high hope I had at midnight on new year’s eve, well, I’d have a lot of nickels. I’m not that old, so they wouldn’t stack up too high!

While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a clean slate, the promise of a fresh year, often times we feel defeated come January 2nd.

Today, I’m sharing 3 resolutions that are worth keeping in 2017.
3-resolutions-worth-keeping-in-2017

1. Take time for you.

This sounds elementary, but I’m here to tell you that it is impossible to pour from an empty cup. Start small. Block off one hour per week to do something you enjoy.

  • Take a walk
  • Take a nap
  • Get your nails done
  • Go to the gym
  • Walk the aisles of Target
  • Read a book
  • Listen to a podcast

As you can see, this hour doesn’t have to be elaborate. Simply something that brings you joy.

2. Make communication a priority

Regardless the size of your team, communication should always be a top priority. Do you want to see growth in your business this year? If so, then communication should be at the top of your priority list.

I tend to get on my soapbox quite a bit when it comes to the topic of communication, but it is vitally important to your business.

Imagine this scenario:

On a Tuesday, you have a random call with your VA. On this call, you decide to create and sell a course. It’s going to be freaking amazing!! You put your VA on a mission of research, content creation and marketing strategy.

Three weeks pass and within those three weeks, you decide that you no longer want to sell the course. You’ve decided to offer something completely different. The problem is, you didn’t communicate this change to your VA. Which means, over the past three weeks, your VA has spent hours upon hours on research and building content for a course that is now a fleeting thought.

Here me out. I’m a woman and 100% entitled to change my mind! It in my DNA. However, if I’m not in constant communication with my team, they don’t have the slightest idea when I change my mind and I’ve wasted time and money sending my VA on a rabbit trail.

Make it a priority to stay in constant communication with your VA. When you’re on the same page, you’ll accomplish so much more!

3. Give yourself grace

There have been too many January 2nds filled with regret. How can I achieve big goals if I can’t even achieve one small goal? My advice to you is this…give yourself grace.

If you run one red light, you don’t get permission to barrel through every red light you see the remainder of day. It’s the same with resolutions. Try as we might, we will not be perfect. Sometimes we fail. If you mess up, remind yourself that it’s okay and start over again.

Too often, we feel as though we have to set extravagant, lofty goals. I have good news for you today. It’s all about the baby steps, my friend! The small, micro-goals that we set today are more likely to be achieved than the shiny goals we set to impress others.

  • Take time for you.
  • Communication with your team.
  • Give yourself grace.

Three resolutions worth keeping in 2017 and years to come.
What is your resolution for 2017?

30 Things I’m Thankful For

Chances are, your Facebook feed has been flooded with the annual “Thankful Posts”. I’ve participated in years past. It was fun to sit down each day and write something I was thankful for. Though I didn’t write thankful posts each day on Facebook this year, I thought I’d take time to write 30 things I’m thankful for.

Thankfulness looks different for each of us.

Regardless of how different our lists may look, it’s important to keep thankfulness at the forefront of our minds. Now and all year long.

30-things

1. My Husband

Ya’ll! (I’ve been in the south for a while, so it’s now a permanent part of my vocabulary!) I have the most patient husband in the world. He takes care of me, believes in me and loves me. He has stood by my side for the past 15 years and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

2. My Kids

Never in a million years could I have imagined loving 4 human beings as much as I do. My girls are my heart!

3. Adoption

I never understood how beautiful adoption was until I experienced it for myself. They are ours and we are theirs. Forever!

4. Jesus                                                         screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-4-30-38-pm

I couldn’t get through a day without Him. I may cuss a little, but I know He loves me despite my downfalls.

5. Religious freedom

I love that we live in a country that allows us religious freedom. While we may not agree, we can agree to disagree.

6. My Clients

This may sound cliche’, but I mean this with the truest sincerity. I’m amazed by the clients I have the opportunity to serve.

7. Priority VAs

Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of growing my team to 50+ VAs. Each VA brings a special skill set to the table and work hard to reflect PVA in a positive light.

8. My core teamimg_7920

I don’t want to brag, but my team is better than yours! Okay, so maybe that was bragging!! All joking aside, the team that I’ve surrounded myself with are top players. I know they have my back and want the best for my business.

9. Modern medicine

Without the benefits of modern medicine, I’d be a hot mess! ‘Nuff said!

10. My home

Often times, I take this for granted. On my way to bed and as I turn off the last light in my home, I’m thankful for the love that these 4 walls hold.

11. The beach                    screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-4-36-35-pm

Life doesn’t get better than when I’m on the beach. Salty air, crashing waves and sand between my toes. I can’t get enough!

12. Business

I love being a business owner! To watch something that started as a dream blossom into a thriving business that is much bigger than I could have imagined brings on the ugly cry!

13. Books

I recently set a goal for myself to read more. I love the power of words. How they inspire me, teach me and spur me on to greatness.

14. Technology

With the help of technology, I’ve built a business, worked with some of the best business minds in the world and met some of my closest friends and confidants. Thanks, tech!

15. Sunshine

Nothing can bring a mood up better than some good old fashioned Vitamin D!

16. Kickboxing screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-4-25-58-pm

I recently rekindled my love for kickboxing. Punching that bag brings me more joy than you’ll ever know!

17. My Mentors

I never want to be the smartest person in the room. I’m thankful for people that take time to pour into my life and my business.

18. Coffee

Coffee is my love language! #truth

19. My network

Sometimes it’s just dumb luck, sometimes it’s who you know. Regardless of how the connections happen, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the most brilliant people on the planet.

20. This is us

All. The. Feels. If you haven’t watched This Is Us yet, it’s a must! Cancel your Tuesday night plans, DVR it, stream it… I don’t care how you do it, just watch it! You’ll love it!

21. Liplessscreen-shot-2016-11-22-at-4-21-44-pm

If laughter is the best medicine, then you NEED this game. I haven’t laughed so hard in my life!

22. Encouragers

Years ago, I didn’t believe that I needed a cheerleader. I’ve come to realize that I do need key people in my corner to encourage me. No pom-poms needed!

23. Logical thinkers

I’m a dreamer, so I need people around me that will bring my feet back to the ground and help me create a plan that makes sense.

24. Airplanes

Orville and Wilbur must have known how much I would dislike road trips. I love that I can jet from coast to coast in a matter of hours.

25. Gut checks

When in doubt, I always trust my gut. It’s never let me down!

26. Chili Cheese Fries

Have you had chili cheese fries? It’s why I have to kickbox!

27. Creativity

I love the beauty that creativity brings. Whether it’s watching my daughter perfect her photography skills or my team design a marketing plan. Every plan, every skill requires creativity.

28. Breathscreen-shot-2016-11-22-at-5-06-42-pm

I’m training myself to take time to breathe.

29. Conversations

I love getting to know people. Not just on the surface, but what is going on in their minds.

30. Cameras

My kids are only little for so long. Someday I’ll look back on the moments I’m capturing now and cherish them. If you aren’t taking a million pictures now, start today! In the years to come, you’ll thank yourself.

What are you thankful for?

Take time this week to write down 30 things you’re thankful for. At first it may seem overwhelming, but once you get started, it will be hard to stop.

You may find it therapeutic and who doesn’t need a little free therapy every now and then?!

3 Key Ingredients To Maintain Integrity In Your Business

To run a successful business, it’s important to maintain integrity.

The integrity that you started out with.

The integrity that you pledged your allegiance to.

Unless you’re as pure as the driven snow, you’ve been tempted to cover your “you know what” a time or two. Giving into this temptation can completely alter the way people in your circle perceive you and it can be detrimental to your reputation and your business.

How can you maintain integrity in your business? Although the list could go on for miles, I decided to share 3 of my favorite character traits that will serve you well in business.

eastway-university-of-social-sciences

Honesty.

Honesty is always number one on my list. Have you ever been around a person that wasn’t honest? I have and when you end a conversation with them you feel dirty. You feel like they’ve tried to “play” you. I never want anyone to feel this way with myself or my team.

People aren’t perfect. Try as we might, we will never achieve that level of perfection, no matter how hard we try.

We are all human and we fall sometimes. How we respond to the fall is what defines our character. Owning up to mistakes or areas we lack in isn’t easy, but getting caught in a lie, well that is so much worse.

Respect.

Respect is much for than an Aretha Franklin song. I only mention that, because I can’t read or hear that work without bursting into song.

I love the Motto from the Ritz Carlton.  “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.”. No one is above you and no one is below you.

We are all here to serve one another. When you’re meeting with potential clients, it’s important to treat each person with the same respect. What a world we would live in if we all lived by this rule.

Over promise, Over deliver.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of people pleasing. We want to be everything to everyone at all times. While this may be approached with the greatest of intentions, we often fall short in this area.

Instead of promising everything to everyone, try promising what you know you CAN deliver and do it with excellence. Saying “No” isn’t easy, but when your reputation is on the line, say “Yes” to what you know you can provide and “No” to the things you can’t.

These 3 points may seem elementary. However, I feel it is necessary to bring back some of the basics. After all, the tallest buildings have the firmest foundations.

How do you maintain integrity in your business?