B-Side Mastermind: Monthly Meeting #7 (September) + I’m Back!

b side meeting 7

Hello and welcome to The B-Side, a mastermind group for entrepreneurial women! On the first of each month, I share my business-related goals, challenges, and triumphs while inviting you to do the same! I’d love for you to join me; you can learn more about participating by clicking here.

It feels sooo good to be back!

How are you doing? Did you miss me? :-) I can’t believe my August sabbatical is over already! As I said when I first put up my sabbatical post I really, really, really DID NOT want to take a month off but I truly felt the strongest urge that it was something I needed to do.

Having gone through it, I’m so glad I did. In fact, I think this is something I want to incorporate in my life on a regular basis. Not sure what month I’ll do it next year but I’m now convinced that taking a few weeks to a month off once a year is something everyone should try! The insight you gain on your personal, professional, and spiritual life is really amazing!

Last Month’s Results

So what did I learn? Girl. Pages and pages worth of stuff. No, seriously, I have a notebook with PAGES full of all the insight I felt God so graciously gave me during my little “time out”. I’m going to do a separate post going over everything that happened and everything I learned but let me say that during this sabbatical, God reveled that the challenges I was facing were rooted in issues so much deeper than general frustration with my business ambitions. The frustration and confusion were the symptoms, but fear, idolatry (i.e. turning my dreams into an idol!), and a general lack of trusting in God were the root cause. I know this walk with God is a life long journey so I wouldn’t dare say that this 30 day sabbatical has “solved” everything but it has realigned me and given me a stronger, more purpose-filled direction going forward.

Yeah, there’s just so much to talk about and explain. I’ll leave it at that for now but I promise to get super deep with you in my upcoming, post-sabbatical write-up. So stay tuned!

This Month’s Business Goals

Before going into the sabbatical, some of my biggest frustrations stemmed from me not knowing what I should work on. I had a gazillion ideas and they all seemed awesome, so I tried to force myself to work on them all at the same time. Big disaster. Now that I’ve had a chance to step back and gain new insight, I’ve decided to prioritize two things: facing fears and iteration. Facing fears is just what it sounds like — I want to set and achieve goals that move me further and further past my comfort zone. There’s a lot I want to do but honestly haven’t done yet just because I’m scared! No bueno, I’m facing my fears head on. By “iteration”, I mean quickly accomplishing small milestones and building up from there. I have a lot of grandiose visions but I know I have to baby step my way there, just like anything else in life. So with those priorities in mind, my goals for September are:

  1. Secure a location and Fall date for my event. I don’t know why I’ve been so scared to do this silly event but I have! Nevertheless, I’m doing it! I recently linked up with I’sha from HoneyBeNatural Magazine and she is helping me put on my first event here in Dallas! I’m shooting for late October/early November. I already have the concept and agenda down, we just need a location and date so we can start recruiting women to sit on the panel (this will be a panel discussion event). Really excited (and nervous) about it!
  2. Publish my “Find Your Purpose” blog post. During my sabbatical I had a major flash of inspiration for an entire workbook and even e-book devoted to helping women align with their purpose. In the spirit of iteration (start small and build up from there), I want to publish a detailed blog post on the topic to see how my readers respond. If the post is a success and I get good feedback, I will use the feedback to begin turning it into a book/workbook. So stay tuned for that!
  3. Schedule at least 5 “Pick your brain” Skype calls with my readers. Lately I’ve been learning a lot about a concept called “minimum viable product“. It’s basically a philosophy in entrepreneurship where you discover what your target market’s needs and problems are, then you develop a “minimum viable product” (MVP) to help your market meet their needs/solve their problems. Once your MVP is built, you improve it and build upon it based on the feedback you receive (iteration) until you get to your final product. Companies like Ecko Unlimited, Nasty Gal (#GIRLBOSS Author), and Skillshare have done this with much success. Before you can create a MVP, you need to know all about your prospective clients first! I recently conducted a survey that somewhat accomplished this, but I want to go more in-depth by speaking with my readers face to face.

Current Challenges

None yet! The sabbatical has kind of given me a “reset” so I don’t have any challenges now. I’m sure I’ll pick up some (lol) as I get back in the groove of working on my goals.

Current Successes/What’s Working

  1. Trusting God. Duh! You know I was going to say that. But seriously, that was one of my biggest revelations during this sabbatical — It’s my job to take diligent action towards the dream and purpose that God has called me to, but I don’t need to get so crazy and obsessive about the end result. Which leads me to…
  2. Focusing on intention-based actions versus outcomes. Instead of obsessing over the end result all the time, I’ve committed to focusing on the present and the actions I’m taking here and now. I of course take action with the intention of producing certain results, but I’m realizing more and more that it’s not my job to “make” things happen, it’s my job to consistently take the action that leads to the desired result (outcome). The future outcome will only happen if I’m consistent about doing what I need to do today. So that’t what I’m focusing on.
  3. Fostering my creativity. A huge, unexpected by-product of last month’s sabbatical was that I was pretty much tuned out from the blogging world. Instead of reading blogs and surfing the internet, I spent a lot of time reading a TON of books (seriously, I think I have 11 checked out from the library right now) on a variety of topics. Without meaning to, I ended up getting a lot of creative ideas just from learning more about other topics and industries. I realized that I had spent to much time reading about my little niche and focusing on what “experts” and “gurus” have to say. I don’t know about you, but when I’m not constantly broadening my horizons, I get creatively stifled and have a hard time coming up with anything new and remarkable. I knew this before I went on my sabbatical but I was so focused on becoming “a success” that I felt that I had to stay plugged into what everyone else was doing. The sabbatical, however, forced my to unplug and seek new sources of inspiration. This was awesome for me; I’m going to continuing seeking new sources of inspiration and fostering my creativity.

Your Turn!

Mastermind Rules

  • Share your goals, challenges and successes in the comments.
  • The goal of this mastermind is to support each other, so be sure to read all the comments and check out all the participating blogs and businesses! If you have something to offer, leave a comment and help each other out!
  • If you are a blogger, feel free to create a post sharing your entrepreneurial goals, challenges, and successes (via the format above) on your blog and link back here. You can even grab the button and include it in your post:
Think and Grow Chick

B-Side Facebook Group

Be sure to join the B-Side Facebook group! Since the B-side post will come out monthly, this women-only Facebook group will serve as a “hub” for us to ask questions, share what we have going on, and generally connect with each other on a day-to-day basis. You can join right now: http://facebook.com/groups/bsidebythinkandgrowchick

B-Side Mastermind: Monthly Meeting #6 (August) + My Summer Soul Sabbatical

b side meeting 6

Hello and welcome to The B-Side, a mastermind group for entrepreneurial women! On the first of each month, I share my business-related goals, challenges, and triumphs while inviting you to do the same! I’d love for you to join me; you can learn more about participating by clicking here.

Happy Friday! And Happy August! It’s the first of the month which means it’s time for new goals right?!?!

For you, yes. I encourage it in fact. But for me? This month, I’ve decided to do something different and something a bit strange even. Something I haven’t done before but I should have done before I even started the B-Side.

The month, I’m not setting any new business goals. I’ve decided to do something radical and dedicate this month (at least) to seeking God and seeing what He would have me do in regards to my business dreams.

What?!?!

Girl, I know! I know this sounds crazy! I had every intention of setting new goals up until earlier this week. I was going for big goals too because I was still pretty frustrated with the rut I got myself in and how I really hadn’t gotten anything done last month. Up until literally a few days ago, I was determined to not only set new goals, but to double down and really stretch myself. I was determined to get over my hump with brute force. You, know — 50 Cent style. Get rich goals or die trying!

And then it hit me. A small, persistent, troublesome thought. “Have you consulted God? Maybe this is unnecessarily frustrating because you haven’t consulted God…”

As I continue on my journey to business success, the more and more I realize that there are seemingly and infinite amount of experts with an infinite amount of strategies. If I drink from the firehose of information — do this, tweet that, post this, launch that, buy this, read that — I will drown. It is impossible to do everything suggested.

And that is where the frustration lies (for me at least). There is just so much noise. So much advice. So many strategies. There a literally 1000 different things I could be doing right now to move my business goals forward. 1000 different strategies and they all make sense on the surface! How does one know which path to take? How does one persist in doing what they need to do?

As I pondered the gut check I got about not consulting God, I realized that I would have the answers to these questions if I simply asked Him.

Up until this point, I actually have not asked God. No, seriously! Sure, I pray about my goals all the time. Not a morning goes by where Think & Grow Chick is not in my prayers. But that’s the problem. For the last 6 months, I have prayed and prayed and prayed that God bless what I’m already doing but I haven’t prayed for the wisdom on what to do in the first place.

Like the energizer bunny, I’ve just been picking strategies out a hat and going, going, going with it. “Oh, that sounds like a good idea, I’mma do it! Oh, and by the way God, can you help me with that? Thanks in advance!”

That, my friend, has been my strategy and that, my friend, is not the way to seek God about something.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

    and he will direct your paths.”

(Proverbs 3:5-6, emphasis mine)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of resistance. I even wrote a post about how we sometimes feel resistance when we are on the right path — we experience forces (natural or spiritual) that resist us in effort to keep us from succeeding. I talked about how it’s important to get our beliefs right in order to push past this type of resistance. I still 100% believe this is true.

But over the last few days, I’ve been meditating on another type of resistance. God’s resistance. Plain as day, the Bible says:

“God resists the proud

    but gives grace to the humble.”

(James 4:6, emphasis mine)

And just like the other kind of resistance, God’s resistance is also brought on by negative beliefs. The belief that I can be successful on my own. The belief that submitting my plans to God is not a big deal. Another word for that kind of belief is pride and I truly believe that God has resisted me on it. I believe it is the source of the difficulty I’ve been facing.

Now I know this was not the B-Side post you were expecting. This is not the B-Side post I was expecting to write!!! All this “revelation” happened on TUESDAY. Today is FRIDAY! As I said before, up until this week I was fully intending to write about all the big, bold new goals I was going to go after this month. So if this all sounds crazy, trust me, I know. I delayed even writing this because this is so out of the ordinary for me. But I also know that God is real. And when He speaks…girl…I have no choice but to listen. (*Kanye Shrug*)

So, in summary, this month, I’m doing things a little differently. A lot differently, actually. This month, after much reflection, I’ve decided not to set goals and dedicate the month to spending time with God, seeking His direction for what I should be spending my time on in regards to my business endeavors versus what sounds good to me to spend time on. In short, I’m letting God reveal my goals this month rather than me charging ahead with some stuff that makes sense on the surface. Let’s just call this my Summer Soul Sabbatical. :-)

Housekeeping: The above “a ha!” moment is what I received, this is not a mandate for everyone else so please, carry on with the goals you set for this month and report on your progress as usual. (But do learn from my mistakes!) I will still be active in the B-Side Facebook Group and comments, providing encouragement to everyone with their business goals. I will also still be posting on the blog as usual. Actually I’ve decided not to post this month on the blog either. A true sabbatical indeed. Be sure to check back in September!

So that’s it! Pray for me! (Seriously!) And if any part of my experience resonated with you, feel free to shoot me an email or drop me a line in the comments. Ditto if you’d like me to pray for you and your goals this month too. I love you all and I really am rooting for your success. We are in this together. :-)

***

P.S. — I recently stumbled on a this great podcast about God and entrepreneurship. These two particular episodes speak to this topic exactly and really resonated with me. Check them out!

How to Motivate Yourself Out of a Rut (+ Free Printable Worksheet!)

how-to-motivate-yourself

Last week was one of those weeks where I fell all the way off. I just could not motivate myself to do the things I needed to do!

I didn’t get any blog posts published, I ate pretty terribly, and my workouts were only so-so last week. What was unusual, however, was that I could tell I wasn’t dealing with one of my typical battles with procrastination. When I procrastinate, I do everything other the sun to avoid doing what I need to do but that wasn’t the case last week. I actually attempted several times to sit down and write something interesting for the blog, or cook a healthy meal, or plan an intense workout but every time I did, I would literally draw a blank. Last week, I couldn’t come up with anything to save my life!

I would just sit there and stare at my computer screen waiting for the words to flow but nothing came. I leafed through all my cookbooks and looked up recipes online but I couldn’t motivate myself to cook anything I saw. I tried to brainstorm new workouts but when I got to the gym, I would just spend a lackluster 20 minutes haphazardly jogging on the treadmill. Last week, when it came to making any progress on any of my major life goals, I was both overwhelmed and uninspired.

Yours truly had fallen into a big ugly rut.

Why We Get into Ruts

For some, a rut might be brought on after facing a major crisis. After spending all your energy to deal with an unexpected life challenge, you may find it hard to motivate yourself toward anything else, even though you still desire to reach your hopes and dreams.

For others, a rut comes about after repeatedly failing or getting rejected. Maybe your family doesn’t support your ambition or maybe you’ve been after your goals for years but haven’t yet been able to make it happen. After failing into negative thinking because of your past or what others say, it suddenly becomes very difficult to do what you have to do to achieve your goals.

For me, I knew I had to ignore my urge to Google “how to get out of a rut” and actually listen to my intuition to figure out why I was in a rut. After sitting silently and thinking about what brought me to this lackluster place, I realized that I simply felt disconnected. I had a lot of things on my to-do list but there was a little voice in the back of my head asking “Why am I doing all this again? And am I sure these are the right things to be doing?” In short, I felt separated from the “why” and “what” behind my goals.

The Two Keys to Staying Motivated

Since deciding that I want to coach other women, I have been reading an insane number of books all about how to motivate yourself, have more willpower, and achieve goals. One I finished recently that I really enjoyed is Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.

I like this book because she’s not simply giving her opinion on what she thinks are the best ways to reach goals — her observations come from real-life scientific and psychological research, some of which she conducted herself. What she discovered that ultimately helped me get out of my rut when I applied it to my life is that there are two factors that increase our motivation to achieving our goals — knowing your “why” and knowing your “what”.

Know Your “Why”…and the “What”!

Halvorson explains that there are two ways to look at any goal — via a “why” perspective or a “what” perspective. In the book, she uses the example of vacuuming the floor. A person can see the task of vacuuming as “keeping my house clean and stress-free” (why perspective) or a more literal “sucking up crumbs from the floor” (what perspective).

A why perspective helps us focus on the big picture whereas a what perspective helps us focus on the actual process of getting the job done. While knowing both are critical to staying motivated towards your goal, we all tend to have a bias towards one or the other. The studies explained in the book show that different situations can cause us to lose sight of either our why or our what, which in turn can hinder our motivation for going after our goal.

How I Re-Motivated Myself

In my case, I realized I felt disconnected from both my why and my what. I lost sight of my why because I was “in the weeds” focusing on all the little tasks I had to get done, forgetting how they related to my big picture. I lost sight of my what because I had a nagging feeling that I might not be doing the right things, the things that are directly related to me accomplishing my goal.

So, I called a time-out on myself and spent a good 15 minutes rewriting my goals and hashing out both my why and my what. I kid you not, my mind felt so free and clear once I did that! It was like all the subconscious confusion melted away, leaving behind a clear road-map of what I needed to do and why I needed to do it.

How to Motivate Yourself

Because I know you may struggle with getting into ruts from time to time, I’ve created a free, printable worksheet for you so you can keep your goals, whats, and whys close at hand at all times.

know your why goal setting worksheet

Here’s how to use it:

know your why goal setting worksheet

First, write whatever goal you have in big bold print at the top of the worksheet. I encourage you to print multiple sheets of this worksheet and use it for all your major goals. You can use this for fitness goals, diet goals, money goals, whatever!

Above, I’ve filled in my current major goal for Think & Grow Chick — “Turn blog into a business that earns [my current income from my job] per year via information products, coaching, public speaking, and events.” Things to note: this is not my ultimate goal for TGC (the skies the limit!) but this is the first major milestone I want to reach with it. Just write down the first major milestone for your goal that want to reach, such as “lose 20 pounds” or “have $1,000 in savings”.

know your why goal setting worksheetNext, write your top three “whys” for why you want your goal.

know your why goal setting worksheetLastly, write down the top three immediate steps, given where you are currently in relation to your goal, that you need to do in order to move yourself forward. These are the “whats” you should now be focusing on above all else.

Motivational Tips

The beauty of this “why-what” motivational system is that you can focus on one perspective more than the other depending on what you are experiencing as you work towards your goal. For instance:

  • If you are prone to procrastination and “dreaming” all day, focus more on your what list as it will force you to think about action steps.
  • If your goal kinda scares you because your next steps are pretty daunting, focus on your why list, as it will encourage you to keep on going in spite of your fear.

 Download the Worksheet! 

Click the image below to download the worksheet and try it for yourself!

what-why-worksheet-downloadTry the worksheet out for yourself and let me know what you think by posting on twitter or instagram with the hashtag #thinkandgrowchick! Share it with your friends and anyone who could use a motivational boost!

 Talk to Me: 

Have you ever been in a rut? What strategies do you use to get yourself out? Share in the comments!

 

 

How to Bring Your Dreams to Fruition: Wise Words from Samantha Jo Alonso

samantha-jo-alonso

A few weeks ago while lost in the vortex that is my Instagram feed, I stumbled upon a photo of one of my acquaintances from DC preparing for a run. What caught my attention was the hashtag — #missionIMpossible. Curious, I went further down the rabbit hole of hashtags and Instagram post only to land on the account of @sammyjofruition — that is, Samantha Jo Alonso.

Apparently I’m in the minority of people who had never heard of her before! Listed as one of Instagram’s most stylish women by Complex Magazine, Samantha is the owner of the retail boutique, FRUITION Las Vegas, brand partner to Nike Women, and creator of the running movement MISSION: I’M-POSSIBLE.

As she elaborates in the following videos, Samantha brought FRUITION to fruition (corny pun totally intended) because of her deep desire to marry her love of fashion with her desire to be “a light in the midst of darkness” in her hometown, Las Vegas, NV. Opening the store at the age of 21 on literally nothing more than a hope and a prayer, FRUITION has since blown up into a premiere fashion destination in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles. What I like most about Samantha’s story is that she opened the store not only to be a cool boutique with cool clothes, but to be a place that would provide hope and encouragement to her Las Vegas community. She even named it “FRUITION” because she wanted everyone who came in contact with her brand to be inspired to go after their dreams.

As if having a successful retail store wasn’t enough, Samantha recently started MISSION: I’M-POSSIBLE after having an epiphany while out running one day. As she was running, she realized that the sport of running was really a metaphor for her life. Having persevered through many obstacles and naysayers to make her dream store FRUITION come true, she realized that in many ways, her ability to run long distances had prepared her for that. She says sticking with running taught her “You know what, ‘I’m possible’!” and she wanted to inspire others to develop that same sense of belief in themselves.

So I say all of the above to say, this chick is amazing! I love her story; you will be so encouraged after watching these two videos. In the first video she talks about how FRUITION came about, her brand strategy, and her business mindset. In the second video, she talks about her faith in Christ, finding her purpose, and how she ultimately developed a vision that was bigger than herself:

Video Notes & Quotes:

  • [When building a business] What are you providing to your customer besides theactual product you are selling?
    • Think differently about what you are offering. How can you re-imagine what already exists? How can you stand out?
  • What experience are you offering?
  • “Why be comfortable, why be stagnant, why settle for something that is safe when everything is in front of you?”
  • “Anything I do has to coexist with each other. There is no separation whether that’s fashion, fitness, or my faith — all three of those worlds are interconnected.”
  • Find a way to make what you do bigger than yourself and give back to your community
  • [Referencing MISSION:I'M-POSSIBLE] “An idea brought to action has evolved into a growing and evolving community.”

 People will believe the impossible when they see you live it! 

  • “Grow and be the best person you can be and if you want to be that person, you have to be intentional about it.”
  • “Whatever is making you uncomfortable, you have to run towards it because that’s the only way you’ll see your dreams come to fruition.”
  • “There’s a lot of pressure in our purpose and when faced with that pressure, a lot of people tend to fold and fall back and say, ‘You know what, this isn’t necessarily for me,’ when really, God is calling us to be uncomfortable. “
  • “What are the dreams you have in your heart? What are the desires that were placed in you so deeply that you’re running away from? I want to encourage you that you have to run towards that dream. You have to fight for that dream. But when God is on your side, you cannot be defeated. You are fully equipped with the gifts and talents that nobody else has…”
  • “When you activate your dreams in faith, the right people are going to be attracted to you. The right people are going to be brought into your life.”
  • “You can’t give what you don’t have. So it’s important to feed ourselves spiritually.”

I hope these videos inspired you! Let me know what you think!

 

 

Girl On Top – My Feature on PauleannaReid.com

girl-on-top-feature

This week, Pauleanna Reid of PauleannaReid.com was super gracious in featuring me on her website! Pauleanna sent me 20 questions on a range of topics including some relationship ones. Ow ow! Here’s some excerpts from the interview:

First job ever?
My first job ever was at dry-cleaner up the street from my childhood home.

First “real” job?
…was in DC as a marketing assistant with a government agency. I had a lot of fun working on interesting projects and going to conferences.

So what do you do?
I encourage women to live better lives and go after their dreams! I do this through my website and brand, Think & Grow Chick. I am a blogger, entrepreneur, and budding finance and personal development coach.

Take us along the path (personal & professional) that took you where you are today.
I originally got into entrepreneurship and blogging when I started a hair care line at age 19 out of my dorm room in college. The business ended up not being very successful but my interest in business, blogging, and working with other women grew. I started Think & Grow Chick after meeting a life coach at a women’s entrepreneurship conference who said Napoleon Hill’s classic book, Think and Grow Rich changed her life and taught her how to set and reach goals. Intrigued, I studied the book and was inspired to use the principles not just for getting rich, but for improving every area of my life. I figured I could blog about my journey just to get some extra accountability, so I dubbed myself “The Think & Grow Chick”. Little did I know this would turn into a movement! I started thinkandgrowchick.com with a lot of transparancy, openly talking about the mistakes I made in college and how I racked up a bunch of credit card debt. Little by little, I started gaining more readers who were going through the same thing and were inspired by my drive to succeed. After a few years, I ended up paying off all my credit card debt AND graduating college with top marks. I also had grown my natural hair longer and got in great physical shape — all from living the principles I blogged about! Since then, the blog has grown into a community of women interested living successful lives and learning what it takes to achieve their dreams, particularly in the areas on finance, career/entrepreneurship, personal development, health and beauty, and spirituality.

Is it possible for a woman to successfully balance both love and career? Why or why not?

….

You’ll have to visit PauleannaReid.com for the rest! Click here to check out the interview.