It’s a million dollar question, isn’t it?

And it’s one I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. Do I absolutely LOVE what I’m doing? I mean, am I absolutely, madly, can’t wait to jump out of bed, passionate about how I spend my time every day?

And the more I asked the question, the more undone I became, because you see, the answer that surfaced was no.

Do I LIKE what I do? Yes! Without a doubt. I love the creative aspect of my job and the freedom and flexibility it gives me. I love being geographically free and there’s no greater feeling than being your own boss!

And the money is not bad, either… Plus, I LOVE helping other people get what they want. That really turns me on and lights me up!

But there was a part of me that felt incongruent; like I wasn’t living my life’s purpose and passion.

The truth was that I wanted to paint. I was an art major; with a concentration in painting. I hadn’t painted in years and I missed it.


The feelings of incongruence kept nagging at me. To add insult to injury, I was scared to admit it. I without a doubt, did not want to say out loud that I wasn’t loving the business I’d spent the past 5 years working to build; the business I’d left my profitable real estate career to pursue.

Consequently, there were accompanying feelings of guilt and irresponsibility… I MEAN, I can clearly remember my parents telling me as a child how incredibly difficult supporting yourself as an artist was… Hence the term; starving artist. I felt as if it were a silly pipedream.

The weight of the “SHOULDS” I was carrying around was breaking my back! After all, I have commitments and responsibilities to my kids… to my clients… to my friends and family… The list goes on and on…

But don’t I also have those same commitments and responsibilities to myself?

And if I can’t be my authentic self and own everything that that entails, then how can I be an inspiration for those around me; particularly and specifically, for my boys???

A couple of weeks ago, I was getting a quote for blinds in my master bedroom and when the rep came over to my house for measurements, she commented on the art on the walls (most of it mine) and asked me if I was an artist.

And I responded, without hesitation, “Yes”.

Believe it or not, I stunned myself. I was floored that I said it so unabashedly and I was even more astounded by the lack of latency in which I said it.

This was profound (for me, at least) in two major ways… First and foremost because that simple, two word statement had everything to do with ownership and identity. Secondly because I’ve always thought of myself as artistic, but never as an artist. I guess for me, the word artist was defined as the occupation; as the income producer, rather than the individual involved in the activity.

While I’ve been painting since I was a teenager, I’ve never thought of myself as an artist.

(and i think i’ve always wanted to…)

SO, I dug deep into my pocket of bravery and decided that what I most needed was to be true to myself. That I would
commit to taking a year and consciously step off of the hamster wheel that is my “business” and spend some time
focused introspectively…

(TRANSLATION: no new clients for one whole year.)

Scary, huh? That means no income as well…

Fortunately, I’ve got some resources to float the boat, so I’m lucky enough to be able to take this time and really explore what makes my heart sing, (Believe me, I am well aware of the blessings and abundance in my life and that not everyone is as fortunate.)

So, here’s what I’ve decided to do… For starters I plan to:
  • paint
  • write
  • journal
  • read
  • meditate
  • get on the mat and practice yoga
  • honor and love my body
  • walk
  • travel
  • volunteer
  • play guitar

and whatever else I encounter along the way…

Basically, I plan on doing the things that nurture me and feed my soul, so that I’ll not only feel like I’m living my life honestly and authentically, but ultimately to have more to give to others.

I’ve got two amazing gals helping me stay accountable; both to myself as well as to this dedicated time. I’m grateful to Deborah Razo and Heather Fatzinger for loving and supporting me through this journey. In our weekly chats, they love, accept and meet me where I’m at, encouraging me to grow and expand while holding empathy and space for me to feel safe and unjudged.

Additionally, I’ve just (like yesterday) joined another group of lovely, local ladies going through the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. Stay tuned to see what this opens and uncovers. I’ve heard great things from people who have taken the time to do the work.

Finally, I’m committed to embracing whatever the wind blows my way… I’m committed to saying YES. Yes to the opportunities that show up… Yes to being open to everything… And most importantly, YES TO BEING HONEST. I will honor the need to express myself artistically.

And I am committed to sharing it along the way… Which, if I’m being honest, I will tell you scares me the most.

SO, I promise to share the good, the bad and the ugly… The ups and downs of this journey with you, right here on this blog… All of the joys, setbacks, wins, loves, frustrations and fears… The art, the expression, and the creation of what this year will bring.

Care to join me?

I LIKE ME.

Typically, I post about social media strategies and advice on how to create a profitable and productive mindset for achieving your goals. However, I felt compelled today to share something a little off subject…
Well, it is… But really, it isn’t.
One of my mentors, Gary King, tragically lost his son last Sunday. At the same time, Gary was in San Diego, California speaking to and inspiring my own child, Jacob (as well as several hundred other teens from around the world) at The Global Youth Leadership Summit held each year.
My baby… my 16 year old son, Jacob was in that room listening to Gary. His son was struggling and Gary was across the country speaking to 300 of our future leaders on the importance and value of loving yourself.
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What “The Bachelor” Ben Flajnik And The New Facebook Timeline Have In Common…

What do “The Bachelor” Ben Flajnik and the new Facebook Timeline have in common?

Well actually, not much… But it does illustrate the point of how useful the new Facebook Timeline Cover is in telling a story.

I’ll warn you… this video is a bit longer than most. As a matter of fact, it was too long for me to upload to YouTube without going to extreme measures… (You see, I’m going snowboarding with my sweetie tomorrow and I’ve still got packing to do.)

However… several of you have asked about the new changes coming to Facebook and I didn’t want to leave without answering your questions. So, I’ve put this together and if you stick with it, you’ll learn the nuts and bolts of the new changes coming to Facebook on March 30th… Here it is…

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How To NOT Waste Time On Facebook

I got an email from Dora the Explorer!
…and in it, she confessed to spending too much time on Facebook.
OK, so it wasn’t really from Dora, but a friend who asked to remain anonymous.
(Hey, that’s cool.  Everybody’s entitled to their privacy, plus it made for a fun video intro…)
Anyway, in her email, she asked me for help with her Facebook addiction
Check out the short video below.  In it, I share 5 tricks for NOT wasting time on Facebook AND I also teach a strategy for managing your Facebook business page in 15 minutes a day.
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The Only THREE Things Your Website Needs To Do

Ever spend a ton of time on a project, only to find out you were going down the wrong path? Well, I have! And it was my website!
You see, two years ago – when I first decided to make my big career change –
I threw up and website and went to town dumping all of my ideas into it.
I had gone off on a design tangent… Who I was and what I did had become lost amidst too many fonts and various graphics.
And, then I got smart! And I got clear… about the THREE THINGS my website needs to do.
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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Even though I cannot lay claim to the title, this question haunts many of us…  What do you do, when you don’t know what to do?
What do you you do when fear and stress and overwhelm take over?
Where do you begin?  What’s the starting point?  I mean, seriously… What’s a girl to do?
Truth is, there are too many options out there and it’s easy for a girl to get overwhelmed… and sometimes, ya just gotta get out of your own way.
Check out what I mean…  I just made this awesome video where I share some sure fire ways to kick yourself in the butt and get out of your rut!
If you liked this, please share it! It’s easy!
AND, more importantly, I’d love to hear about any tools or tricks you’ve used to motivate yourself and get out of a rut.
What are two things that you do for yourself to let go of stress and overwhelm?
until next time,

The # 1 Time Waster

“Ti-iii-me is on my side…
…Yes it is!”
– or so says Mick.
Is it? Is it really on my side, because sometimes it really doesn’t feel like it.
There are countless idioms about time:
  • “time is money”
  • “time flies”
  • “in the nick of time”
  • “turn back the hands of time”
  • “time heals all wounds”
  • “only time will tell”
  • “a waste of time”
…and they’re all in one way or another true and not a damn one of them helps me focus on the huge stack of work I’ve got to tackle or makes me feel any better about the guy that I’m trying to get over.
I know you can all identify, so I wasn’t surprised when I got this email about time management, since it’s something we all grapple with.
How do you make the most out of your time?
In this week’s Q&A, I give two simple tricks to make the most out of your day.
 
   
1.) Don’t check your email first thing in the morning…
Learning how to not check my email (first thing in the morning) was one of the hardest and most useful habits I’ve ever implemented. Period. I learned this trick at one of Brendon Burchard’s seminars and it has been a HUGE help in keeping me on track, focused and producing. He said that the #1 time waster was your email; that your email was an organized systems for other people’s agendas. Hmmm, that one really sunk in deep for me.
Additionally, get the biggest thing out the way first. On Monday mornings, this blog post is the very first thing I’m focused on completing. And, man does it feel f^#*ing great when I cross it off that list.
2.) Set a defined time frame for yourself.
Figure out whatever it is that you want to finish first and set a defined number of minutes to complete the job.
Then, divide that number by 2.
Seriously, you don’t need as much time as you think to do what you need to do.
One of my very favorite people in the world, Judymay Murphy, once told me… “You’re not a procrastinator, You’re incredibly efficient.” Meaning, we always get done whatever needs to get done in the time that we have to complete the task.
When you were in school… how many times did you postpone doing a paper until the night before? And then you pulled an “all-nighter”, and by sunrise had produced an amazing (and rather awesome, I’m sure) dissertation out of thin air. (You’re a Writer & a Magician!… Who Knew?) Point is, you got it done it the time you had.
You’ll find the same happens for you. And you’ll get better and better at it. Before you know it, you won’t even need the time you gave yourself.
I’m a perfect example…
I usually give myself two hours to write a blog post. I may have the idea in hand, but it sometimes takes me a while to get into the groove… OK, so that means one hour… I started at 8. It’s 8:24… All I’ve got to do is wrap this baby up and attach the video… post to the blog and voila!
I’ll leave you with this quote that I found while writing/researching this post:
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler
If you liked this, please share it! It’s easy!
AND, more importantly, I’d love to hear about any “time management” tricks you have up your sleeve… or how the above tools have worked for you.
until next time,

The Internet Has No Eraser…

Need To Be Visible, But Want To Hide?
Last week I received a question from a young woman in North Caorlina.  She knows she needs more of an on-line presence to grow her business, but doesn’t know how to balance her private life with the transparency of the internet.
GREAT QUESTION! and she’s not alone.
I understand this concern… Completely!  Especially given that a strong internet presence is a HUGE part of my own business!
It’s easy to connect and share things about yourself in a private situation… without feeling like you’re being monitored. And on the internet, in public, it’s out there for anyone and everyone to see.
Check out the video below where we talk about ways to keep things “behind closed doors” so-to-speak, while not being afraid to put yourself out there…
 
 
One of my greatest gifts is rapport. I can connect with anyone, anytime, anywhere. Throw me in a room full of strangers and I’m good to go.  And yet, I totally relish my alone time, so you’re not alone in wanting to create balance between the two.  (I had a friend once tell me about herself, “I’m private. I’m not shy.”)
Online, you must take concern. You must pay attention.  The internet has no eraser.
I have a huge passion for helping women entrepreneurs so that they can create ANYTHING they want for themselves and in order for me to be successful in that mission, I had to master three things…
  • I had to be able to reach them.  e.g. the internet; specifically, social media
  • I had to have valuable content to share with them; stuff that could really serve them.  (The last thing I want to do is waste anyone’s time) and
  • I had to find a way to convey my authentic self. I needed to be able to create that same trust with someone online as if I were face to face with a friend.
When I first got started, finding that balance between sharing enough of myself and not too much was a big challenge for me (or so I thought) as I asked my self the very same question.  Then, I reminded myself that I was in complete control of whatever it is that I share and I rephrased the question.  How do I show people every bit of who I am without showing them everything?
IN YOUR BUSINESS, this is the goal… It’s the target. It’s how you establish a relationship with new clients and deepen the relationship with existing ones. You want people to get to know you through what you share and you want them to know and trust that you have their best interest at heart; no matter what that interest might be.  Just make sure that what you’re sharing will contribute. The idea is to share quality content; something that adds value.
Using the internet and social media to market yourself and your business while still maintaining a private life deserves thought and consideration. You DO need to be careful of what you post and remember, THE INTERNET HAS NO ERASER. Anything you share can (and might) be recorded, captured or shared.  Everyone has a cell phone with a camera and almost anything can be almost instantly uploaded. ***
*** Remember before digital cameras came along… and you actually had to go to the photo store and drop off your negatives to be developed… Well think of the internet as the Polaroid camera. At least if you made an ass out of yourself, there was a chance you could intercept the negatives and destroy the evidence. But, not so with the Polaroid camera… It was instantaneous. (well almost instantaneous… 45 seconds of fanning that thick plastic card and VOILA ~ Instant Embarrassment!)  Less than 45 seconds and that cell phone snap of you doing the belly shot is instantly shared with 1000 of your closest Facebook friends.  Next thing you know you’re tagged and grandma wants to know how you got the salt in your bellybutton?
TED videos are awesome.  I LOVE ‘EM and I learn a lot.  (Sometimes they even make me cry.)  They are ALL great.  You can’t go wrong AND whichever video you choose, tells whoever sees your post a little bit about you and what you’re drawn to…
A guy I know once told me that his mother taught him that before he said anything, he needed to ask himself three questions and I think this is a great rule of thumb for anything you post on the internet.
So, when it comes to what you share via the web, ask yourself the following three questions:
  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it nice?
  3. Is it necessary?
If you can answer all three of those questions with a “yes”, then go for it.
If you know it to be true, then cool…  share the wealth…
If it’s nice, (which could be as simple as a photo that makes you smile or a video of a baby monkey riding a pig that cracks you up), then re-post it.  Share the photo of your family.  It makes you look happy and people will be drawn to that.  How many times have you seen something and thought to yourself, “Oh, that’s just like me…”  People like people like themselves.  Share the video blooper reel.  The “reel” will make you REAL!  Anything can be considered added value if brightens someone’s day.
Is it necessary? Look at #2 and then give thought to how many videos of pig riding baby monkeys people REALLY want to see. Value added content doesn’t have to always be educational, but keep it in check.   Yes, you want to inform and give people stuff that can improve their life and that doesn’t always have to come in the form or charts, graphs & data.
People like to read well written articles or blog posts (sometimes, about nothing in general – just well written) and they love videos with a message…  AND, don’t undervalue the power of laughter.   You will  never know how what you say or do or share might affect someone.   Just make the random YouTube videos of the kids trying to eat a teaspoon of cinnamon, just that…  random.
If you’re still not sure of what’s enough to give someone a taste of who you are and what’s too much, I’lI leave you with Pareto’s Law.  Pareto’s Law is the 80%/20% Principal. It basically says that 20% of your effort will yield 80% of your results. 20% of your clothes get worn 80% of the time… 20% of your carpet get 80% of the wear… You get the point… Make 20% of your stuff stuff that people can really benefit from and make the other 20% more entertainment & personally driven…
You’ll get the hang of it and people will start to get the jist of who you are.
SO, tell me… Who else has “Social Media Privacy” Anxiety?
Come on, don’t be afraid to share…  It’s easy!
until next week…

How Many Eggs Are In Your Basket?

We’ve all heard the phrase “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”…
So…. As an entrepreneur; especially if you’re someone growing a small business from scratch, how much weight or rather, how many eggs would you put into your social media basket?
Well, a friend of mine recently got back into the real estate biz after about a 5 year hiatus and asked me just that.
We were talking and she asked me about social media and marketing and where she should begin… She said she knew she needed more eggs in her marketing basket, so-to-speak… but didn’t know where to start.
Check out the video below as I answer Kathy’s question and let me hear your thoughts on the subject too…
If you’re just beginning to implement social media into your marketing plan, the best advice I could give would be to pick one or two platforms and I’d make sure that each of the platforms met two criteria.
1.) Pick a format you like and are comfortable with. If you don’t like it, you probably won’t do it, so pick something that is in alighnment with your nature. For example, if you love to write, but hate to hear the sound of your own voice, then a blog might be a better format for you than a podcast.
And…
2.) Consider your target audience and ask yourself, where are they spending their time and what format best appears to them? Where are they already?
Go fish where the fish are.
Diversify too wildly in social media and I can almost guarantee that you’ll find yourself in a state of overwhelm. It’s one of the most common comments I hear. Period.
Social Media can be incredibly distracting. And it can be a HUGE time waster!
Think about the time you spend on facebook, twitter, etc… like this: when it comes to Social Media… you’ve got to be like The Marines. You have a mission. Get in, Get the job done and then ( and this part is key) GET OUT…
If you’ve got 10 different missions going on at once, it’s near impossible to keep up…
There’s another saying that goes “Burn the Boats”. Meaning, the fewer options you have, the more invested you’ll likely be.
If you have the attitude of catching everything with a wide net, it’s hard to focused on any one thing and my experience has always been that when you’re spread too thin, stuff falls thru the cracks. Customers fall thru the cracks. and that would be bad.
Facebook has a lot of fish, so it’s a good, logical place to start and chance are, you’re already on it yourself and familiar with the platform… No need to go learn an entirely new format if you don’t have to. Believe me, there will be plenty of time to branch out later.
The other “egg” I’d recommend would be to start blogging. Know that your blog is THE central hub of your online business. Your blog is where you create and share and build your relationship with your clients. The new saying, “Content is the New Currency” is true. Your blog is your website and it’s your main vehicle with which to add value. It’s a place to engage, connect with your clients & build your on-line brand identity.
Look, I get that it’s scary to put yourself out there (especially on video – hey, this blog was two weeks late) and that resistance shows up immediately; rearing it’s ugly head, determined to sidetrack you. What I would suggest is that you just start. Anywhere. Beginning anywhere is better than not beginning at all. As Nike says, “Just do it.”
Here’s a little video inspiration to take with you this week…
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends….
and just out of curiosity… How many of you out there, in internet-land are experiencing resistance or overwhelm in regards to an online endeavor or social media?  Post your comments below.
If you enjoyed this, please feel free to share it.  It’s super easy.
until next week…

New Changes To Facebook Fan Pages…

Just before the year turned, Facebook released their new profile design and the other day, they released their new design for pages.
At this point you can opt-in or not opt-in; however, come March 1st conversion will be mandatory, so… you might as well jump on the bandwagon…
So, what do these changes mean to you and for your business?
The first bit of good news is that the navigation links have moved to the left under the profile picture. This follows the changes Facebook had previously made to your profile, so now all of your pages will be in a logical, familiar location for your user.
WATCH: The similarities will in all likeliness result in more business pages as people use this tool as a way to create a separation between their personal and professional lives. You’ll notice that business and fan pages also feature your photos, just like your profile and this will open up very cool design possibilities for those who stay on top of their page’s activity. The profile picture has gotten slightly smaller in size, but most will re-size automatically and proportionately, so no worries there… (I checked) AND, there are now two filters for your posts. Posts that you make to your page and posts others make on your page. Meaning: You get to decide what your user gets to see first.
But here’s the biggest and best change!
As an administrator, you can now log in and comment as the page itself.
In the past, you could only make posts to your own page, as your page. Now you can leave your page, move externally throughout Facebook as your page (only on other “pages”) and interact as your page. What does this mean? More interactivity and more engagement between you and your clients and not just limited to the confines of the page itself. Pages will get more exposure as will the fans of the pages.
Here’s what else has changed…
As of right now, all comments and/or posts are listed based on their activity whereas before they were listed chronologically. (A nice feature; also easily manipulated. I expect Facebook to tweak this in the future if – you should think “when” – it gets abused.)
Additionally, you can now set up your notifications to alert you when someone makes a post or comments on something of yours. You will be able to see the interaction on your personal page and not just the fan page.
Another couple of cool features.
You now have the ability to set yourself as the founder / owner of your business page. This is a smart move as it allows you to now put a face with a business. Previously, there was no way to tell who owned what pages. This was a great way to hide if you wanted to stay hidden, but didn’t provide you with any options to publicize yourself as the owner of your business (other than through your profile pic or additional pages).
AND, you can now choose which additional pages you feature whereas before, external pages were selected randomly. This will drive a connection between the pages; increasing their individual exposure. So, let’s say you are Mars, Inc. and you have a different Facebook page for each of your candy bars… (which they do; however, they have not yet taken advantage of this feature.) You now have the ability to deliberately feature each of your different candy bars (or whatever different products you may have OR different branches of your business) and link each page to the other. Before you had to create external links within additional pages and your user had to deliberately seek those links out. Now, it’s all there in the left sidebar! Content from these pages will now show up in your feed; meaning you can move away from distributing just your own content and towards a source of consumption where you present your content and the quality content of others.
If you are an administrator… a couple of things you should do right away…
1.) Go ahead… take the plunge and opt-in for the new format…
Don’t like change? So sorry, because Facebook plans on making the change mandatory by the end of the month. You might as well get used to the new format and start utilizing it.
2.) Check the settings on your page; specifically under the categories.
Some have defaulted over to the first option and you want to make sure you’re category & sub category is accurate. This is the 2nd bit of GREAT NEWS because it used to be that you were locked into your category for life… Now you have the ability to change this as your business grows, develops & changes. Click “Edit Page,” then “Basic Information” to select your category and subcategory.
3.) Check your settings for notifications and how they get delivered to you.
When a fan responds, you want to be able to interact with them immediately. Going back and forth, consistently to check for comments in the past was a pain and there hasn’t been an automated way to do it well. If you have a lot of fans, this might not be a good idea for you, but if you are building your list from scratch, this will be a very welcome feature and tool.
Under “Account” click on “Account Settings” and then click on the “notifications” tab. Scroll down until you see the 4th chunk; which should be “Pages”. Click on “change email settings for individual Pages”. From there, you will be able to check or uncheck whichever pages you’d like notifications for.
4.) Choose photos.
Check your profile page and make a conscious decision which photos you want to feature at the top of your page. Go ahead, get freaky… Show off your creativity! There are some unique design opportunities here.

Email me if you’re interested.
5.) Choose to post of one of your pages or as yourself.
Now you get to choose. meaning; you have the option to comment as yourself or as your page… Nice choice and a great option for small business owners who want to give a personal touch / face to their business.
Go to your fan page and click on “Edit Page” and then on “Your Settings”. Either check or uncheck the box “Always comment and post on your page as your page”
6.) Check your wall preferences.
Who can post on your wall? Everyone or just yourself? If you’re a small company… just starting out you want to encourage that interaction, but you need to make sure that you can monitor your wall or you open yourself up to spammers. If you’re a large company, your wall may thrive on the public interaction. If you don’t have the commitment to maintain your page or, if you are more private, you may want to have exclusive control over what gets posted.
Go to your fan page and click on “Edit Page” and then to Manage Permissions. Here you can control whether or not your users can post comments and other media.
7.) Change the names of your applications; specifically Static FBML.
Static FBML is one of the most common tab application within Facebook.
Yet, it doesn’t have an icon image or the ability to customize one. It’s just that obnoxious “<->” symbol.
What you can do, however, is give your Page’s apps more detailed titles instead of the one or two word title you were limited to before.
To change your tab titles, click “Edit Page,” then “Apps,” then “Go to App” and you’ll be able to change the name.
Bottom line is that page owners now have a greater reach and more customizable options across the medium know as Facebook which will lead to an increase in interaction.
Have you been playing around with the new design? Post your feedback here and let me know how you like it.
until next week…
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