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Go for the Gold in Your Goals

Inspired by this week’s featured Reflection Weeks episode of the Mom’s Making Six Figures Podcast episode with Jennifer Becker, Managing Partner of Moms Making Six Figures, who believes in the power of staying the course and finding both your passion and purpose in focused one year commitments emulating the training cycle of high performance athletes.


If you’ve ever pursued a physical goal, like training for a half-marathon, or preparing to hike the tallest summit in your state, or wrestled with improving your health, then you know the battle for success is one fought on a multitude of fronts, from your inner critic, to your daily responsibilities, down to the weather, and everything in between, setting your sights on success requires a plan, preparation, consistency, a support network, and strength in the face of adversity. Simply put, athletes do far more than entertain us, they inspire us because they were us, and they are us.  With enough sacrifice and focused commitment to our training season, we can yield similar performance results in the pursuit of our own personal and professional goals.


 Make a Plan

When I trained for a half-marathon, I had a schedule that I maintained to ensure my success.  My daily runs, down to their pace and mileage, my strength training days, and my rest days were all predetermined.  Because I had a plan, I was able to coordinate all the other moving parts of motherhood and my career around my training schedule.  It wasn’t easy by any means, but it was doable.  Without a plan, and consistent progress checks, I would not have been successful in my training.

If we apply this same approach to a simplified and specific target we have in our career, beginning with our end goal in mind and backwards planning a year’s worth of training, imagine what we could accomplish.  Taking the time to plan is essential to every athlete’s success, and our own.

Prepare

Many of us don’t realize the financial struggles athletes undergo before they achieve sponsorship or they have a signed contract in their hands; just like us, they need a day job to fund their day dream and they have to work diligently in both arenas.  This is only possible with preparation.  When we’re pursuing physical goals this may look like meal preparation, hiring a sitter for our long runs, or taking our running shoes on a vacation.

In our career, many of us are living in the day-to-day without a simplified and specific target with a set duration, and without the preparation to achieve success.  If your goal, for example, is to take on 5 additional clients each quarter, what are the necessary steps you will need to include in your quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily plans to take them on?  Would you be wiling to sacrifice a year of Friday evenings if it meant 20 new clients by the end of 2021? What preparation would help you to protect those Friday evenings –childcare, saying no to social outings, etc.—in the pursuit of long-term freedom and financial stability?

Consistency is Key

Athletes don’t exist in some super human form of detachment from emotions and exhaustion; like us, they are trying to keep all the plates spinning while pursuing greatness.  Unlike us, they show up day in and day out without excuse because they have no option but to; they have skin in the game.  If you miss practice, you miss the game, and if you miss enough games, there is someone who is eagerly awaiting their chance to play in your place.

Cal Ripkin played 21 seasons for the Baltimore Orioles.  In those 21 seasons, he also established the record for most consecutive games played, an astonishing 2,632.  When he was asked what motivated his consistency, he replied, “Any day could have been my greatest day playing the game.”

What could you accomplish in a year of consistently showing up to achieve your goals? Just 5 additional hours a week translates to 20 hours over a month, and 6 additional full-time work weeks over the course of a year.  Mamas, you spent longer growing your babies, bringing them into the world, and waking up with them in the middle of the night.  You can do this.

Build Your Support Network

Even in individual sports, athletes rely on experts like a coach, trainer, nutritionist, and physiotherapist to maintain their peak performance. And this team doesn’t even begin to account for their emotional support network of family, friends, and fellow athletes.

Choose and pursue your support network wisely as they will play a key role in your ‘training year’.  Maybe your support network looks like a grandparent taking your kids for an overnight once a month so you can review your progress on your goals, maybe your network consists of a mentor you have a weekly Zoom call with to refocus and align your priorities, maybe your network looks like your spouse taking over the grocery shopping so you can squeeze in an hour of client calls.  Find your people and return the favor or pay it forward after you’ve accomplished your goal.

Hone Your Strength

Unlike most of us, when athletes fail or experience a setback, they don’t give up and they certainly don’t spiral into self-doubt.  Instead, they lean into their confidence in themselves and their training, a confidence that is unshaken because they know they have prepared, that they have followed the plan, and that they have been consistent.  When you have that much faith in your training, you can recognize that sometimes life just happens, and that you’ll approach your next attempt with new resolve and trust in your abilities.

Many of us lack this confidence in our careers because we haven’t pursued the training necessary to be successful, or we abandon our goal well before the expiration date arrives that we said we would give it.  If we can recognize that failure and setbacks are inevitable without throwing in the towel, and instead refer back to our plan, and rely on our preparation and consistency, we will develop our confidence to face adversity.


As we watch the 2020 Summer Olympics and hear the stories of trials and triumphs, maybe we can reimagine our own training plan.  If we were to commit one year to one specific and simplified goal to grow in our career, with a clear plan, the necessary preparation, consistently showing up, and with the support of our chosen team, then perhaps we could also develop our confidence in our own strength in the face of adversity, like the competitors have with all of the challenges presented by the pandemic.  Trust in the training and stay the course.

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Own Your Calendar to Own Your Life

Inspired by this week’s featured Reflection Weeks episode of the Moms Making Six Figures Podcast with our founder, Heidi Bartolotta, who believes in owning your calendar to own your life.  There is freedom in taking back your most finite resource: time. 


One of the perks of mentoring teens through some of their most tumultuous years is getting to be a first-hand witness to their astounding growth as they step into their identity and find their passion for life.  Their contagious energy is also wildly admirable (yes, I realize they sleep in absurd stretches of time, but have you seen what they juggle and accomplish when they are awake?!) and I often find myself thinking back to my own college days while drinking my third cup of coffee, “How do they do it? How did I do it?”

Quite simply, young adults are experts at time management (please suspend your disbelief, I can hear your cries of outrage echoing across the internet).   Really, it’s true.  Their schedules are every bit as demanding and filled to the brim as our own, but they have the hard-wired training and resources to manage all the moving pieces (with our guidance, chauffeuring, and financial support of course). They know the secrets many of us have forgotten when we left the world of 18 credit semesters and part-time jobs behind: the secrets of time blocking and a balanced calendar.  Here are six strategies you can begin implementing today to take back your calendar, and your time, to find freedom for fun and pursuing your passions.


Time Blocking

Unlike teens and university students, most of us don’t have dedicated and focused amounts of time (blocks) throughout our day for specific and similar tasks, like our ENGL 101 course. When we were students, whatever remained to be completed at the end of a class got put on the back burner while we focused our attention on the next block, and it didn’t come back to our mind until we hit our study block later that day.

Looking over your own calendar, begin by identifying all the daily tasks that are an essential and necessary part of your routine, both personally and professionally.  Group like tasks, and assign blocks of time to each.  Instead of living by a to-do list that will inevitably lead to burn out, with time blocking you focus your attention and energy on related tasks in a set period of time; what remains to be done, will remain to be done, and you move on to the next block.

Color Coding

Now that you’ve organized your calendar into blocks of time, designate each block with its corresponding color of your seven chakras.  This isn’t just some new age magic or an excuse to play with colorful pens, instead this technique allows you to see, visually, where your calendar and likely your life is out of alignment.  Each of your chakras corresponds to one of seven energy points in your body; if we’re trying to better manage our time, motivation, and energy, it would make sense to start from a point of reflection to achieve more synergy.

Here is just one way to approach this technique according to LinkedIn blogger John Rampton, “For example, because red is the root chakra symbolizing survival and safety, you would want to use that color for all work-related tasks.  For creative tasks, you might choose to use orange; yellow would represent the items that help you grow; green is reserved for personal events like lunch with a friend; blue equates to activities that express your mind like writing, and indigo is meant for activities that deserve your attention.”

E-mail

It’s a necessary part of doing business, and most parts of our modern lives.  If we don’t manage our e-mail, our avoidance of it will eventually manage us.  You have to commit time to organizing your personal and professional communication, and once you have a system in place, in order to maintain it, you need to give it its own block in your day.  We said we what we said, there is no way around it.  See Do It Yourselfbelow.

Eat the Frog

There’s a reason this time management technique took the business world by storm when it first debuted, and continues to do so.  According to Brian Tracy, the technique’s founder, when you tackle your Most Important Task of the day before you turn your attention to anything else, you can, “go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things are going to [go] all day long.”  Even science proves that our most productive and focused hours are in the morning, before other distractions and tasks consume our energy.

Determine when your “Power Hours” are and dedicate that Time Block to your biggest work frog each day; best to eat it before lunch so you can cleanse your palate as the day continues.

Schedule Everything

If it isn’t important enough to make it on your calendar, it probably doesn’t deserve one of your time blocks.  Conversely, there are aspects of our lives that are essential to our well-being and our soul’s nourishment; if these areas aren’t making it onto your calendar, you’re likely experiencing some alignment issues between your personal and professional life.  Just as you would schedule a block of time for meetings, schedule a block of time to take care of your physical and mental health, whatever that looks like for you. And, if you have a tendency to allow your work day to linger long into the evenings and time with your family and friends is continually being compromised, it’s time to begin scheduling an ‘Out of Office’ time as well.

Make yourself an optional list of ‘electives’ and ‘extra-curriculars’ you’d like to pursue if there are openings in your schedule, but that can also be the first things to be removed when your calendar begins to feel chaotic or life begins to feel unbalanced.  And perhaps the biggest challenge, dare we say it, begin to block open time into your day every single day that you can choose how to flexibly fill depending on what the day and your dreams demand

Do It Yourself

When you find the system, or systems, that work best for you, the most successful entrepreneurs have found that as soon as they begin to outsource their time management, they begin to outsource their control over their own life as well. Maintain your own calendar, reflect on it and refine it often, and share it with the people who it affects the most, but never outsource your schedule to someone else to plan for you.


Teens and young adults are exceptional at time-management because they have no other choice but to be.  When you own your calendar, you own your time and ultimately you own your life.  Fine tune this skill and achieve your personal and professional goals while also gaining better alignment and freedom with your most finite resource: time.

 

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Your Emotional Intelligence Quotient is Key to Your Success Equation

Inspired by this week’s episode of the Moms Making Six Figures Podcast with Brenda Lee, Emotional Intelligence Expert, who believes in the power of identifying our perspective and pushing through our conditional gaps to tap into our mind’s subconscious.


Part of the human experience is suffering.  And sadly many of us have experienced that suffering at the hands of another person in our lives, whether it’s the negative comments made by our father-in-law brushed off as ‘just his personality’, a boss who always asks us to stay late making our work-life balance that much harder to attain, or a poorly timed “friendly reminder” from the HOA about the state of our lawn, all of this suffering is imposed by and met with an Emotional Intelligence Quotient (or in the case of suffering’s worst offenders, the lack thereof).  And while we all know the old adage rings uncomfortably true, that we can’t control others, only ourselves, by improving our own EI (Emotional Intelligence) we will change our own perceptions of, and approaches to suffering, and model, for the less emotionally intelligent, the common denominator in the happiness and success equation.


The theory of EI was brought to the forefront of American psychology by Daniel Goleman in the 1990s.  While the concept was widely accepted in the field of psychology, employers were reluctant to embrace EI in the workplace.  Now, however, research has found that emotional intelligence is not only foundational to achieving personal happiness and success, but that it is also the strongest predictor of workplace effectiveness.

Here are the five key components of Emotional Intelligence, how to improve your skill set in each, and how each component, when put into practice, can benefit your personal and professional life.

Self-awareness

Individuals who are self-aware can identify their emotions and the impact of those emotions on their thoughts and behavior; they know their strengths and weaknesses and have self-confidence.

  • Keep a journal— Journals help to improve your self-awareness. Spending just a few minutes each day recording your thoughts can begin to move you toward greater self-awareness.
  • + The pay-off: Your mental health. Uncontrolled and unaddressed emotions and stress can take a toll on your mental health.  Learning to understand, identify and get comfortable with your emotions in order to manage them will help you to improve both your relationship with yourself and others, thereby leaving you feeling less lonely and isolated.

Self-regulation

Individuals who are able to self-regulate can manage their emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments and adapt to changing circumstances; they can control impulsive feelings and behaviors.

  • Hold yourself accountable— Easier said than done, but if you have a tendency to blame shift, it’s time to take some ownership. Make a commitment to, and a habit of, admitting your mistakes, and accepting the consequences.  You will have more respect for yourself, and quickly earn the respect of those around you.
  • + The pay-off: When you understand your emotions and you are capable of controlling them, you’re better able to express how you feel and to understand how others are feeling. This improves your communication and will allow you to establish stronger relationships both at work and at home.

Motivation

Individuals who are self-motivated work consistently toward their goals and have extremely high standards for the quality of their work.

Empathy

Individuals who have a strong capacity for empathy understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of others; they pick up on emotional cues.

  • Pay attention to your body language— An often underrated, but hugely important facet of how others perceive us, perceiving them, is our body language. Learn to control your own body language to prove you are someone who is truly empathetic and open, and learn to read others’ body language to get an accurate read of how someone truly feels.
  • + The pay-off: By investing time and effort to really pay attention to others, you’ll actually gain insight into your own emotional state as well as your values and beliefs. When we pay attention to others, their needs, and their overall well-being, we foster safety and establish trust in our relationship.

Social Skills

Individuals who possess strong social skills can maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team and manage conflict; they recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.

  • Learn conflict resolution— No one likes conflict, but it is inevitable. Knowing how to manage conflict and to successfully resolve it is essential to honing your social skills and finding success in both your personal and professional endeavors.
  • + The pay-off: When you are in tune with your emotions you are better able to connect to other people and the world around you. Your emotional intelligence directly correlates to your social intelligence; the greater your social intelligence the more your stress will be reduced and the more balanced your nervous system will be through social communication leaving you feeling loved and happy.

While suffering is a part of the human experience, it doesn’t have to define it.  When we take the time to invest in our own emotional intelligence, we benefit not only our own happiness and success, but we also become a multiplier in the lives of those around us.  By taking ownership over our own progress at home and in the workplace, we can reduce our own suffering and the suffering experienced and imposed by others.  The work is worth putting in for the reward, as psychologist Travis Bradberry notes, when M.B.A. students received emotional intelligence training (not a usual part of the M.B.A. program), “even after graduating from the program [they] had raised their [emotional intelligence] scores 40 percent.  They had trained their brains.  Practice doesn’t make perfect, but practice make things habitual.”

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Manage Your Mind

Inspired by this week’s episode of the Moms Making Six Figures Podcast with Brooke Paulin who believes in the practice of managing your mind and the small daily habits that lead to great success over time.


 In a world where we are inundated with more information and more access to it than ever before, we are faced with new challenges like ‘consumer fatigue’, information overwhelm and digital burnout.  The media and social media industries are designed to be addictive in nature, releasing dopamine or cortisol dependent on the nature of the content, that keeps us coming back for more and ultimately conditions our behavior.  Information, and the way in which we access it is not the enemy, instead it is our passive consumption of that content that can wreak havoc, particularly when we are bombarded with negativity, click-bait headlines, and divisive rhetoric.  Just as we fuel our bodies and health with nutrition and exercise, we must manage our mind and the information we choose to fill it with.

With nearly 69% of adults and 81% of teens in the US using social media, it is time for us to become active participants in managing our minds, our mental states, and our mental health.  Here are a few small changes you can make to be better prepared and intentional with the information and inputs you choose.


Reality Check

We would never let our children sit for hours on end, absent-mindedly in front of screens and we shouldn’t allow it for ourselves either.  While it may not seem like you’re spending that much time on devices outside of necessity, your Weekly Activity Report likely shows something different.

Start by taking an inventory of the current time you spend consuming content intentionally vs. out of habit or boredom.  Once you have begun to inventory your passive or active consumption tendencies, track for a day (or longer) every piece of information you digest with a “+” if it is beneficial to your personal life, work life, or overall well being, a ”–“ if it negatively impacted or took away from your personal life, work life, or overall well being, and an “=” for no impact other than time lost.

Seeing our habits in black and white allows us to see where our own struggles actually exist.  It takes five positive interactions to offset each negative interaction; is it any wonder we are more anxious, depressed, and lonely than ever before?

Schedule (and plan) Your Screen time

Self-monitoring and scheduling your consumption habits can change not only your perception of the information you digest, but also, your behaviors.  In 2018 the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study that observed the behaviors of 143 undergraduates.  One group was asked to limit all social media activity to only 10 minutes per platform, per day, while the second was allowed to use their social media as usual for three weeks.   The group that limited their scrolling “showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression during those three weeks over the group that continued using social media.”

As Brooke pointed out in this week’s podcast, “I don’t think that some of the top CEO’s, and, you know, multi-million dollar female business owners … I don’t think that they’re scrolling through social media that’s not feeding their mind. There’s no room for that.”  What would you be able to accomplish in a week of limiting your scrolling habits?

Empty the Junk Folder

Once you’ve taken inventory of the information and input you’re allowing in, and you’ve refined your mindless scrolling by replacing it with intentionally scheduled time for content consumption, get rid of anything that isn’t serving you, your mental health, your professional life, or your personal life.

Once you’ve emptied the Junk Folder, take note from some of the most successful people and follow suit by replacing what wasn’t serving you with content that does.  According to research, what makes highly successful people less stressed, happier, and more productive is scheduling their personal priorities before tending to other people’s priorities.  That goes for what you’re consuming too.  Instead of starting your day by checking email, dedicate an hour of your morning hour to be your Power Hour where you replenish your motivation with podcasts, books and curated content that supports your goals, challenges you, and leaves you feeling ready to tackle the day.  Ask your mentors what they listen to, what they read, and who they follow on social media to begin refining your palate.


In order to be successful in managing our mind, our mental state and our mental health, we must be intentional about what we consume and prepare our daily activity and schedules with discernment.  Just as nutrition is fundamental to achieving our health and wellness goals, so is the information we consume.  We avoid pitfalls of hunger by meal planning and preparation, and we can avoid the pitfalls of media and social media by planning and being thoughtful consumers.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” –Alexander Graham Bell

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How to get the most out of your day & night!

Here’s 3 Tips to get the most out of your Day & Night:

1) Morning Routine:

Part of what makes us so productive during “normal life” (pre-quarantine), is that we have a schedule to keep. Now that we’re all commuting from our beds to the kitchen table… it’s easy to get to 5 o’clock and realize you never changed out of your PJ’s. (No judgement, I’ve been there)

Get up and shower, and get dressed for work. This puts you in the right mindset to get into “work mode” and be productive.

Also, a little “Me Time” in the morning goes a long way. What fills your “happiness tank” up? Do that first thing in the morning. Maybe it’s taking time to read, listen to music, or go for a walk. The point is, “put your oxygen mask on before assisting others”. A happier you is a more productive you.

2) Turn OFF the News!

We get it… there’s a virus going around. It needs to be taken seriously. Give yourself 15 min to get caught up on the developments of the day, at the end of the day. Very rarely is anything SO important that you can’t learn about it in the evening after the day is done. Too many people are glued to their television sets or social media… all. day. long. It’s just gonna raise your stress levels and make you overly emotional. News today is incentivized to be “click-baity” and sensationalize everything. Take precautions, wash your hands and take your daily vitamins!

3) Bedtime Routine:

Since there’s no boss to see you show up late, you might feel the urge to binge watch all 7 episodes of your new favorite series in one night… alarm clock be damned. Resist this temptation and keep a bedtime schedule to maintain your natural circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle). Study after study points to the physical and mental benefits of a balanced rhythm and 7+ hours of sleep a night. You’ll experience:

An Improved Mood

Improved Weight-Loss

Increased Energy

Improved Focus & Memory

Improved Exercise Performance

Reduced Inflammation

Improved Immune Health

Just to name a few. If you need help you can try a hot bath with a relaxing essential oil.

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My dreams for the future were big!

Meet Shelly! A dedicated mother of three, wife and Moms Making Six Figures partner! She needed a flexible career to help her family meet their financial goals, like putting their children through college. Shelly was not totally sure there was anything out there that would allow her flexibility and financial freedom… Until she was introduced to Moms Making Six Figures, that is. Read on to learn more about Shelly!

Can you share a little about your career and family life?

I was the typical little girl with dreams of a wonderful life! Having a kind, handsome husband, three healthy children, a nice house, a rewarding career and to travel when we had extra money.  I graduated from San Diego State University with a BA and credential in K-8 education. Upon graduation, I immediately began my career teaching second grade at a private elementary school and married my high school sweetheart. I was promoted to the role of principal at my school. Everything was going as planned. Since I had always pictured myself as a mom with a busy career, starting a family was the natural next step. It wasn’t until I met my first-born daughter, McKenna (21) in October of 1997 that my dreams shifted. I left my career to become a stay at home mom.

 I never thought I would be that person to want to stay home, but it was the best decision we had ever made. My husband, Aaron, and I went on to have two more children, Delaney (19) and Kaden (16). It definitely wasn’t easy financially. We were living paycheck to paycheck, but we had a good life.  Six years ago, as my children were needing me less, my oldest was college bound and paying for her education became a priority. I started exploring a part-time career that would offer flexibility, freedom to still be a mom, travel with my family and bring in some extra money to help pay for all their educations.  How was I ever going to find something that did all of that?

How did you find Moms Making Six Figures and why did you feel it was a good fit?

I thought I was going to have to go back to full-time teaching, but in 2013 I was introduced to Moms Making Six Figures by an old friend from college, Angela Gange. It could not have been more perfect timing.  I was able to set my own part time hours around my hectic life of 3 busy teens, a husband who traveled most every week for work, caring for my father who was terminally ill, traveling with my family and starting to put away some extra money for college educations.

Joining this amazing team just made sense and fit perfectly into our lives! Moms Making Six Figures gave me hope for the first time in a long time. Being a teacher at heart, educating people is what I love to do. However, I am not saying you must be a teacher to excel with Moms Making Six Figures. Ideally, you just need to know your “why.” The reason you want to better your life.  For some, it may not be financially driven, rather a need to have other amazing, positive people in your life. Or perhaps you are like a lot of us here, needing a flexible career that provides the financial freedom you have been looking for.  Whatever your reason is, I can tell you with confidence that after being introduced to Moms Making Six Figures, my life changed… and yours could, too.

How has Moms Making Six Figures helped you to reach the financial goals you set out for yourself and your family? For instance, being able to help your kids with college, take those vacations, etc.? 

 When I started with Moms Making Six Figures almost 6 years ago, I only had about 5-8 hours a week to work. At the time, my financial goals were small, but my dreams for the future were big! As the years have gone by I have appreciated the team and how they meet you where you are at any given time in your life. If you want to run, they help you run! If you need to walk, that’s ok, too.  With our two daughters finishing their Sophomore and Senior years in college and our son starting his last year of high school in the fall, I am excited to see where my own life is headed. My goals are bigger now that I have more time for myself.  I couldn’t be more thankful that Angie introduced us to this amazing opportunity when she did. Not only have I met some wonderful people, but my family and I are healthier and happier than I ever dreamed of.  I am so thankful to be a part of Moms Making Six Figures. I love helping other women change their lives and fulfill their own dreams!