Category Archives: work-life balance

What’s Your Exit Strategy? What’s Your Stay Strategy?

Whether you own your own company or work for someone else, it’s critical that you have an exit strategy.  Unless you plan to work until you die, you need to start taking actions NOW for how you’re going to gracefully step out and how you’ll spend your time once you do.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a number of conversations with executives, professionals and business owners (primarily women) who have dreams of life beyond their current circumstances.

They envision being well compensated in a job or business they love, having the respect and credibility from peers, bosses or clients they believe they deserve and having the time and resources to pursue their dreams.

They all, however, were dealing or putting up with circumstances that were literally suffocating their souls, extinguishing their dreams and leaving them feeling exhausted, sad or even worried about their future.

The one thing they each were lacking was – can you guess?…


At some level, they didn’t feel fully equipped to have their dream life NOW.  They felt at the effect of others around them who seemed to hold all of the power.

From my perspective, it seemed there were three key ingredients that, if implemented, would make all the difference in the world.

1. Self-definition
Because it felt to them that others were more powerful than they, that they were unable to truly define, and stand for, who they are and what is important to them.

They felt stuck in the roles they had been given to play and looked longingly toward the future when they would finally be happier.

My advice to them (or you if you find yourself in a similar situation): be true to yourself.  This is your life and it won’t last forever.  Know what makes you happy and what doesn’t. Don’t buy solely into other people’s dreams and expectations that are counter to who you know yourself to be.

2. Self-determination
Once you’re clear about where you stand, it will be easier to let others know who you are and what you need.  Without that, you’ll continue to feel frustrated, hopeless, resigned, depressed and afraid.

My advice to them and you: don’t wait.  Be clear and public about your needs and goals NOW. Make requests.  Make demands when necessary.  Make life go the way YOU want – now.

3. Focused action toward their goals
It’s one thing to dream big, it’s quite another to make those dreams a reality.  When you’ve defined yourself and your direction, the path before you will become clear.

It still requires you to take action.  Seeing the path and having it in front of you is not the same as walking on the path.  Rita Mae Brown defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”

Action is required. Action builds confidence.  Action gets results.

My advice to them and you: Take action.  Identify one thing you can do like making a request, taking a class, telling someone “No”, researching your passion or getting help to make it happen.  No one can or should try to do any worthy effort alone. And living a big life is definitely a worthy effort.

So what does this have to do with an exit or stay strategy? Start working on your exit strategy now.  Don’t wait until ‘the time has come’.  You’ll be scrambling then.  And it may come sooner than you expect.  Plan now. Act now.

Make sure you have a stay strategy that isn’t just going along for the ride.  Use your self-definition and self-deterimination to make your current life/career/business more to your liking now.  Again, act now.

Your life is in your hands.  Make sure you’re living YOUR life, not someone else’s.

How to Accelerate the 3 Stages of Business Growth

For the last several months, I’ve been constructing a model for building a highly successful business.  Based on what I’ve done to build mine over the years and harvesting the wisdom of brilliant mentors I’ve studied with, I’ve outlined a comprehensive, yet simple model for success.

The model extends well past theory and includes 7 practical steps business owners must take if they want to thrive and enjoy life rather than being consumed by the ‘job’ they’ve created for themselves.

Today, using the metaphor of how bamboo grows, I’ll share with you the 3 stages you must master to enjoy massive business growth.

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet, spurting at times, almost 4 feet in a single 24-hour period!  At the beginning though, it appears to be growing (on the surface) quite slowly.

There are 3 stages of bamboo (and business) growth: sleep, creep and leap.

1. Sleep
During the first year of a young bamboo plant’s life, most of its energy is devoted to

laying a strong foundation via the root structure.  Plant shoots peak out above the ground and underground rhizomes shoot out horizontally.

2. Creep
As the foundation builds, the plants continue to grow but most of the ‘work’ is still being done underground.  The roots branch and spread even further.  They provide water to the leaves and the leaves use sunlight to produce food that the roots need to expand further and stock up on energy for next year’s shoots.

3.  Leap
Once the foundation has developed (and this may take years) the above-ground plants grow rapidly.  Each year, as the stand of plants matures, the diameter of each new cane that develops, is generally larger than those that were ‘born’ last year.

So, as with your business, the huge bamboo stand of plants isn’t built in a single year.   But once the foundation is laid, growth seems almost miraculous.

Here are a few of the steps you must take to enjoy miraculous business growth.

In the Sleep phase, you dream.  You envision and clarify your ideal clients, your ideal work day and your overall ideal day.  Without this step, you’ll feel unfocused, frustrated and stressed.

You also clarify what you’ll be offering to the market place and how to best distinguish you and your business from all of the other vendors with similar offers.  You work on branding and understanding exactly how people or companies benefit from working with you.

You define your ‘product mix’, create revenue goals, set prices, deterimine sales channels and schedule your major marketing activities.

In the Creep phase, you launch your marketing efforts in a focused and aggressive manner.  You identify what you need to run a successful business from an internal perspective and from an external marketing perspective.  You implement your marketing plans and measure your success.  If you skip this step or do it poorly, you’ll feel scattered and leave money on the table because you miss opportunities that are right there in front of you.  You’ll use the wrong approaches and waste precious time and money.

In the Leap phase, you work on leveraging your success. You work ON your business not just IN it.  The focus here is on time mangement, automating and systemitizing. You document and delegate, work to continually delight your customers and build internal financial metrics and controls.

You also start to convert your ‘secret sauce’ into products that you can use to build revenue that is not dependent on you actively working with clients.  You build raving fans, referrals, affiliates and perhaps joint venture partners. You enhance and expand your online marketing efforts. NOw that you’ve got your systems in place, you aggressively drive traffic to your website to generate qualified leads.

During this phase, you’ll probably encounter more leadership challenges so you’ll also work on improving yourself while managing the issues of leading a team of employees or contractors.  You may even decide to pursue bigger, better and more well-heeled clientele.

If you don’t Leap successfully, you’ll survive but miss out on the mega-growth that you probably dreamed of when you first launched your burgeoning empire.

While I’ve laid out these 3 stages sequentially, you’re almost always working on some aspects of each of them.  At various phases of your own evolution, you make focus on different aspects of this model. You may elect to restart the process at stage 1 if you decide to revamp your business.  You may jump in at Stage 2 if you love the clients you have and the work you do, but the model isn’t generating enough cash.

And as you grow, you’ll need to work on Stage 3 to Leap into an even more prosperous future and create the lifestyle of your dreams.

From Overwhelmed to Overjoyed in 5 Simple Steps

A lot of people these days are trying to do more with less which leaves them feeling a bit anxious and stressed. It’s critical that we invest time in making sure we’re living our best life and that often requires that we take a more proactive approach in directing it.

When we don’t do that, we work on other people’s priorities and end up feeling overwhelmed and resentful. Women in particular feel the stresses of juggling family, career and self. Work life balance is completely missing and it seems there is no way out.

One of my fundamental beliefs however, is that “We all have more options than we generally see and more control than we tend to take.”

One way to take that control is in implementing the RENEW My Life System: From Overwhelmed to Overjoyed in 5 Simple Steps.  Here are those 5 simple steps.

1. R=Reveal & release the obstacles on your path
This step is critical in figuring out what is really bothering you and weighing you down. You are probably clearly aware of the more obvious ones, there I’ll bet there are many more that have become mild irritations that you don’t even notice anymore. Do an assessment and Clean Sweep of the domains of your life (relationships, work/career, physical environment, etc.) and get really clear about exactly what needs to be dealt with.

2. E=Elect and claim the future you desire and deserve and make it happen
When you are caught up in the daily grind and treadmill of life, your dreams end up languishing on some mental bookshelf collecting dust and growing weak or dying altogether.  You must reclaim those dreams and believe that they are truly yours.

Your limiting  beliefs get in the way, so it’s important that you do what it takes to stay positive, focused and committed to reaching your goals and knowing that you do deserve the life you envision.

3. N=Nurture your mind and soul with empowering beliefs and behaviors
You have heard on airplanes how important it is to put on your oxygen mask first when traveling with children. The same is true for you in life on the ground.  Put on your mask first.  Do the things that bring you joy and courage. Stop wishing and complaining. Take action!

4. E=Eject the things that no longer serve you
As you become more focused on your own life goals and what’s really important to you, you will become less tolerant of the situations and people around you that are inconsistent with your renewed vision for your life.  Find the courage and make choices that will bring your desired life closer to reality.  Make requests of others.

Eliminate distractions and tolerations.

5. W=Win at the game of life
Set yourself up for success. Focus on what’s really important. Start delegating. Keep growing. Invest in activities and programs that will help you develop more power, confidence and mental muscle.

When you use these 5 RENEW steps, you’ll find more work-life balance and joy.  The overwhelm will diminish and you’ll be happier with your life, family and circumstances.

How to create more balance and renew your life

New video of me sharing what has my attention these days in the area of life purpose, work life balance, goal setting, achievement and fulfillment.

5 Steps to Less Stress

If you’re like many people, you probably have more things on your To-Do list than you can get done To-Day.  The key to keeping your sanity is creating a virtual sanctuary where you can recover from from the demands of living.

“Easier said than done”, you retort.NestSmall

Think of it as though you were a momma or poppa bird having to create a space for eggs that were about to be laid.  Imagine that you (and your energy) are as precious as the parent birds instinctively know their little about-to-be-born hatchlings will be.

If you truly believed your actions would create life or death, safety or danger, what would you differently?

We place unreasonable demands on our bodies and sometimes forget to feed our soul.

Here are 5 specific, must-do things to rejuvenate your soul and experience relief in a hectic world.

1.  Schedule time every day to center yourself.
I spend my first few minutes of waking praying and meditating.  I keeps my spirit elevated and reminds me of the bigger picture.

2.  Express gratitude for all that you have.
A great evening ritual is giving thanks for all of the good things you have heard, seen, felt, beheld.  In times of challenge, it’s tempting to focus on the negative, but doing so just makes things worse.  Find SOMETHING to be grateful for everyday.

3.  Move your body enough to elevate your heart rate and work up a sweat.
The knowledge economy we live in promotes a sedentary lifestyle.  Between eating more processed foods and sitting on our…tushes… all day, our bodies aren’t being physically challenged in the way they need to be to be healthy and strong.

4.  Stay focused on what’s important.
Constantly ask yourself, is this task I’m doing or conversation I’m having in line with my purpose or major life goal? If it’s not, do something different.

5.  Give love.
Yes, even at work.  You don’t have to say “I love you” (although it’s really helpful at home).  But you’ll be surprised how much more relaxed and calm you feel if you have love rather than fear or hate be your dominant emotion day by day.

Obviously, these aren’t time management tips.  But I assure you, when you practice them religiously, time will seem to expand on its own and you’ll have more peace and less stress.