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.

Green Means Go: Stop Sitting at the Intersection of Your Life

Green Means Go

Do you have a younger sister or brother? A niece or a nephew?

Let’s pretend you were being a very gracious big sister or auntie and offered to teach your little protege how to drive.

After an encouraging pep talk and a run down of what needs to happen, you buckle yourself up in the passenger seat as they begin to back out of the driveway. You are a little nervous because you know they’re driving ability won’t be perfect, but you also know they’ve been taking driver ed classes for months and learning how to drive is something they really seem to want to do. You lean over, pat them on the back and say “you got this!” and you mean it — they really can do this, easily even, if they simply do everything they’ve spent months learning.

All is clear as they back out of the driveway, put the car into drive and begin dutifully coasting at 25 mph to the end of the neighborhood block. After looking both ways and seeing that the road is clear, your loved one makes a left turn onto the main street and cruises a few feet until they encounter their first intersection.

The light is red. Unphased, you begin messing with the radio, looking for some good music. It’s a beautiful day outside and you know your younger relative is going to do just fine. You have full confidence in them. In fact, you are even looking forward to the ride now!

After finding the perfect station, you look up and notice the light is green. But your young driver hasn’t moved. Confused, you say “Hey, uh, the light is green…” They look at you and nod affirmatively, but still fail to step on the gas. Growing more impatient you ask, “What are you waiting for? Don’t you know that green means ‘go’?”
What would you do if your younger sibling or niece still refused to move the car? As in, they never took their foot off the break? If they continued to look at you and say all the right things but they never. moved. the. car. forward?

The car has a full tank of gas and was just tuned up so you KNOW it’s working properly. Your loved one got 100% on all the drivers ed exams and attended all the training classes so you KNOW they know what to do. There are no accidents ahead and the road is completely clear.

If they continued standing still, this would start to make you really mad, wouldn’t it? If you’re like me, you’d probably get out the car, walk around to the drivers side, tell them to get out the drivers seat and go sit in the passenger seat, and then you’d drive yourselves home. It would be a loooooong time before you’d give them the opportunity to drive again, if ever.

Do You Stop at Green Lights?

 How many of us get green light after green light in our own lives, yet we continue to sit at the intersection? We have every opportunity in the world to step on the gas yet we don’t move our ideas, our dreams, our goals, forward

Maybe we tell ourselves that we aren’t ready. Or we are nervous about what lies ahead. Maybe we don’t know what the speed limit is. Or we don’t know how long its going to take for us to get to where we are going. So we continue sitting still.

Would any of the above be valid excuses is someone else were driving the car? If it was your younger niece you were with and she was sitting at a green light, would you give her a pass to stay still indefinitely because she said she “wasn’t ready”? Or because she’s nervous about what’s up ahead? Or because she doesn’t know the speed limit? Or because she doesn’t know how long getting to her destination is going to take?

Of course you wouldn’t give her a pass! And you shouldn’t because those excuses are ridiculous! If she’s nervous about what lies ahead you’d tell her to take deep breath and drive anyway. If she doesn’t know the speed limit, she can drive at a reasonable speed until she sees a sign. If she doesn’t know how long the journey is going to take, she can simply enjoy the ride. After about 2 minutes of the back and forth, I bet you’d be like, “Giiiiiirl, if you don’t take your foot off that brake and start driving…”

So why do we accept these same excuses in our own lives when it comes to pressing forward towards our dreams? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I continue to personally fight through my tendency to over plan, over analyze and not DO.

Three Lessons in Pressing the Gas

Have you ever been mulling something over that you were on the fence about then had few back to back circumstances happen to you that seemed to confirm to you that you are on the right track? This has been happening to me this week as I encounter stories of other inspiring women who are putting the pedal to the metal at the first sight of a green light.

Lesson #1 – Move Past the Fear

The first instance happened yesterday when I received an email from GG Renee of Allthemanylayers.com. I’m on her newsletter list and her latest email really spoke to me. In her email, she writes:

“I get lots of ideas. I have journals and notebooks and post-it notes full of ideas and possibilities. Perhaps you do too. Perhaps you hoard these ideas and don’t share any of them because you are afraid that they won’t be received well.  Maybe no one will care or worse yet, people may criticize. I’ve been afraid to host an event because 1) I suck at event planning and 2) I was scared that no one would come. I’ve been afraid to do videos and conference calls because 1) What if I’m boring and I forget what to say and 2) Again, scared that no one would sign up. But I’ve been scared of lots of things lately and I’ve done them anyway. What they say is true, with practice, you learn to move forward even with your fear.”

That email resonated with me so hard, I had to email GG back! I’m at a place right now where more possibilities are available to me than ever before, but I find myself stalling for incredibly dumb and irrational reasons. It makes no sense. I had no problem pressing the gas on bumpy roads full of traffic, but now that I’m facing an open, 6-lane highway with little traffic and virtually no speed limit, I get way too cautious.

Lesson #2 – “Start Where You Are, Use What You Have, Do What You Can”

No sooner did I receive GG’s email, I stumbled on this wonderful blog by a motivational speaker named Stacey Flowers. In one post in particular, she interviews Estelle Archer, a regular girl who lost a ton of weight and started a 160,000 follower fitness movement through instagram. Stacey’s interview with Estelle is soooo inspiring. I encourage you to watch both parts below when you have a chance, but the gist of it is, after being obese, broke, and depressed for too long, Estelle simply decided she would finally “go” when faced with her life’s “green light”. I actually got the “green light” analogy from Estelle, as she describes how she was watching a sermon one day where the pastor said he was going to quit being a pastor to become a driving instructor because he was sick of seeing people sit at the “green light” of their lives year after year.

Not only was I inspired by Estelle’s tremendous success after deciding to “go” — she sells ebooks, produces her own fitness DVDs, leads classes, and is touring the country to do classes in all 50 states — I was inspired by the fact that she let NO excuse stand in her way. I mean, homegirl shot her first fitness DVD on her iPHONE!!! It doesn’t get more “start where you are, use what you have” than that!

Lesson #3 – You May Not Get a Second Chance

As if that wasn’t enough confirmation, while reading the book Success God’s Way by Charles Stanley on the train during my commute to work, I came across this scripture:

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!

22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

(Matthew 25:14-29)

I’ve read that scripture several times before but I don’t know, this time it lighting a fire under my butt! In fact, all the inspiration I’ve come across is lighting a fire under my butt!

So no more waiting, stalling, excuse making for me. I’m declaring that I’m no longer sitting at any intersection of my life when the light is green. Green means ‘go’! 

Will you step on the gas, too? Let me know by leaving a comment.

 

(photo by Andrew Ruiz via Unsplash)