Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Recovery

Anniversaries – Celebrations With Reflection

This past week I celebrated two anniversaries both filled with emotions and the struggle to remember.  Two milestones in my life which changed me forever.

On Friday, hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  We have been together 18+ years BUT only married 10.  If you know our story, you get it.  🙂

I generally blog about our story BUT this year,  I want to share the gratitude I have for this man.  Our road has been a rocky one – from his commuting for 5 years, to living together to marriage.  It all seems so basic, right?  But add to it – recovery on the road to relapse, a perceived loss of independence, his congestive heart failure, my diagnosis of MS and now his retirement.  Life on life’s terms which is something I’m not really good at.  It has been a true test for both of us of our wedding vows.  He has been my rock on my most difficult days.  I have tested his patience and he has learned how to communicate just a little bit better. We have grown together in so many ways…

As we sat at dinner the other night, the subject drifted to the one question to be sure about a relationship.  I had never heard this and honestly, I was scared. But he continued saying it is “do you bring out the best of each person?”….. Of course I had to know what he thought about us because honestly my memory is awful and fear was creeping in.  My immediate reaction was to feel less than. Not worthy of his unconditional love.  Instead of blurting things out, I prayed to be quiet while he finished.  He said “our life has been a balance –  sometimes we have brought out the best in each other while there are times, we have brought out the worst.  He said it is life but the true test is how you get through it.  We have made it.  WOW!  I didn’t get defensive.  I didn’t try to over analyze.  I just was grateful I kept my mouth SHUT and for how far we have both come. I may have already forgotten much of the night, I pray his words about our life together stay with me forever.

Jump ahead to Saturday and another celebration…. WE HAVE 3 YEARS!  I look back on where I was three years ago… a hot mess on the verge of losing my hubby, a mound of credit card debt, a victim mentality while I isolated feeling less than everyone else, broken emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Appearing confident (often cocky) on the outside while a scared child on the inside.  I had walked this road before and relapse became part of my story.  I had let down my family, my friends but most of all I had let myself down.  The strong confident person was gone.  What was left was a broken, shell of my former self.  Sadly, I didn’t notice it – I thought I hid it well.  I blamed everyone else for what was wrong in my life when the only one who was to blame was me.

As I sit here writing, unable to feel anything but sadness (MS seems to play with my emotions as well as taken my memories) I struggle to remember how bad it was.  Not just this time but the first time (my first clean date was 10/26/91).  Hubby often says, God took the memories because it was too unbearable for me to remember.  God gives me glimpses at times but when it becomes overwhelming for me, they fade and only segments remain.  So instead of struggling to remember, I try each day to be a better person than I was yesterday. Does it always work? NOPE!  I know with God’s help, it will.  I continue to go to meetings – I need to hear the struggles, I need to share my blind faith, I need to be surrounded by people who have been where I have been and I need to remember  “never” should not be part of my vocabulary.

Today, the credit card debt is paid off.  Today, I am trying to connect with local women in recovery.  Today, I accept I am an introvert but it does not mean I need to isolate.  Today, I know my ride & die gals who have been with me since the first night 3 years ago are just a phone call away.  Just for today, I like myself.  Today, I don’t beat myself up over the weight or how I think “I should look”.  My life is blessed in so many ways.  Yes, MS kicks my butt BUT it is not an excuse to go back to those old destructive behaviors.  Living life on life’s terms is not always easy but WE do recovery together.

Thank you to everyone who has walked these many roads with us.  We are grateful for the part you have played and continued to play in our lives.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

So You Want to be a Leader?

How To Create a Spark In Your Team

Whether you are in direct sales or are a manager in a traditional job, sparking excitement in your team or staff can be tough?  As a County Coordinator and then a CFO with non-profits, it was sometimes tough to get staff to see the BIG picture.  It was difficult to get them to buy into my crazy ideas.  In direct sales, as leaders, we (or at least I do) struggle with motivating my team forward toward reaching their dreams and goals,

I love this Vision recipe shared by Lynn Bardowski, the Million Dollar Party Girl, which is:

Mix 1/3 purpose with 1/3 passion
Stir in 1/3 crazy idea
Blend well and let it marinate overnight
Mix in massive action
Once you get clear on your vision ask yourself two questions: What does it look like? and How will I make it happen?

Here are some tips from the Party Girl, herself…

Empower: Empower your team.  Encourage them to come up with ideas, action plans, goals and most importantly…solutions. When people feel like they contributed to something instead of just following orders, they’ll be more likely to take ownership and act on them.

Educate: It took me a long time to get this one right.  As a boss, I was more about telling people how and what to do instead of teaching.  I eventually learned, it didn’t matter how it got done as long as it got done.  In direct sales, it’s the same.  Provide your team with the training to help them achieve their goal. There are lots to trainings out there, you don’t have to have all of the answers.  Use Zoom or Facebook Live so you can influence more people.  “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” Just because you have been saying things for months, someone else may say it and the light bulb may go off and they think it is brilliant.

Delegate: This is when I usually hear crickets.  People lack confidence and as a result, don’t want to share.  I have been trying to delegate things to my team in the hopes of building confidence and increasing engagement which help them feel like they are part of the team. Believe it or not, the time you gain by giving up the reins will make up for the stress you feel as you let go. It will all work out. Trust me.  I have been there, and done that!

Recognize:  I love to send “happy mail”.  A way to recognize individuals for their effort, progress, and results. Did you know each generation reacts to praise/ recognition differently?  Millennials expect immediate recognition. Boomers might feel uncomfortable – and even embarrassed – by the attention. That’s me!  A great rule of thumb is safety in numbers when you’re giving praise.

Communicate:  I am are you have heard it a million times… “The key to being a great communicator is to be a great listener”.   To build stronger relationships with you need to be willing to listen to their struggles, and their triumphs.

I have learned to meet my team where they are, and not where I want them to be.  There are many ways people learn so you may need to use a variety of channels to communicate: Facebook messenger, live video chat, voice message, text, postcards and in-person coffee meet-ups.  Don’t forget about GIFs and stickers, which are fun ways to communicate an emotion.

Appreciate: Feeling appreciated is a human need…which makes it a much higher form of gratitude than recognition. [Source: Huffington Post]

Happy mail to me is a great (inexpensive) way to show my gratitude and let people know how much I value them on the team. I send happy mail to my customers too.  It not only helps you to stand out in the crowd BUT it lets people know you care.

Evaluate: We have all done it.  Waited until the middle or the end of the month, to see where we are on our personal goals as well as those of a team member.  Checking in weekly, helps everyone to make a plan to reach their goal.  I share my numbers with my team to let them know I am a consultant just like they are.  I am hopefully showing them how to take risks with new ideas, embrace bumps in the road and the idea of working together so we all are successful.

Discover: Look for the hidden gems on your team. Get to know Consultants who were sponsored by others – their dreams, their goals and help them make a plan to reach them. Believe it or not, they might just be your next super star.

This holiday season is a perfect time to spark some interest….What are your best tips?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks

How to Command an Audience

audience-300x200Happy Monday and it is time to conquer the world!

Believe it or not, I’m an introvert, content to be on my own working behind the scenes.  I work every day to overcome this in my business.  I mean, let’s be honest, being in direct sales you need to be out sharing and talking to people, right?

I never thought I would or could command an audience.  When I think of an audience, I think of standing in front of a large group of people speaking – YIKES!  The knees start to shake, I get nervous and totally forget what I am trying to say.  Without even knowing it, we command an audience…

  • Are you a mom or dad? Your family is an audience.
  • Have a job? Your co-workers are an audience.
  • Own a business? Your employees and customers are audiences.

When I put things in this perspective, it is a little bit easier to swallow.  The list goes on because an audience can be just one person you are talking to.  I love Andy Andrews! When I first saw him a Thirty One’s National Conference, I wanted to soak up everything he said.  The memory may not be great BUT I do read everything he puts out.  Some things stick with me while others I need to re-read lots of time.

He has an actual formula for commanding an audience no matter the size of the audience.

1. You want the audience to view you as a friend.

Do you feel like you need to have an answer for everything?  Are you a “know it all”?  Did you know the way your audience see you can determine how successful you are?   When your audience identifies with you or see you as a friend, they are more likely to be nice and engage in conversation.  Think about the people you enjoy being around. Then consider each situation from your audience’s point of view and make an effort to be friends with them, you will win their hearts.

2. You always want to actively engage your audience.

Do you get distracted talking to people (a group or event one person)?  You must ACTIVELY keep your audience engaged the whole time you are talking with them.  It can be stressful, right?  I tend to lose focus now with the MS and as a result, I tend to lose my audience.  So, I am working on way to acknowledge the distraction or “squirrel moment” so I can get back on track (for me and for them).

When I am talking to a small group (like at a home party), I used to stand in the front of the room – almost frozen in place, afraid to move.  Now, I walk around and talk to people while sharing the products.  If someone responds to something I said, I may walk over and share the product with them or try to engage them further in conversation.

The truth is despite my best efforts, I will become distracted or my audience will so I have to be ready to deal with it before it happens.

3. Communicate “what’s in it for them.”

When it comes to reading, watching, or listening, we only pay attention to things of interest, or those which affect us, or benefit us.  I mean, you aren’t interested in something, how long are you going to continue to listen or are you going to zone out?

Let your audience know what they will get from you (or the conversation).  If you simply tell them—they will show interest. Sounds easy, right? The key is to take the focus off of you and share what THEY want.  I have been doing this at my Thirty One parties but talking with the hostess before hand to get her favorites or the things she thinks might be of interest to her guests.  It has made a BIG difference in the interactions during a party.

The key is to Always keep “what’s in it for them” in the top of your mind. Tell the the value of your information upfront and it will not only keep their attention but it will also help you to focus your message on the key points.

If you want to make an impact, you must learn to engage and interest your audience.

What are your best tips for keeping your audience engaged or interested? Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Woohoo Wednesday

Rekindle Your Relationship

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Today is all about YOU!  Struggling with health issues (or any stress) can take a toll on you in many ways.  It can effect you mentally, physically and spiritually.  And as a result, your relationships may suffer.

Has stress caused you to feel like there’s no more passion or excitement in your relationship?  Do you only see frustration?  Despite the stress, there are some ways to reignite the passion. Here are some tips that I found in a recent article:

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Date yourself.   Be sure to take care of yourself first and stop feeling guilty about it!  I know it can be tough – I have been there, done that and I have a multitude of tee shirts!  The most important thing is to de-stress, keep up on your hygiene (mani-pedis are great), exercise, eat well, do things that make YOU feel pretty and sexy. Let’s be honest, when we feel tired, bloated, in pain, etc. it is tough to see the positives in others.  Taking care of yourself sets you up to focus and be present in the moment.

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Get educated. I don’t mean going back to school, who has time for that!  Have an open and honest conversation with your health care provider. You will be amazed at the things that affect your body and how excited we get with our partner.  Sometimes those feelings are the start of other health issues.

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Date your partner.  I’m not talking about the usual going out to dinner weekly to the same old place, the same old-time and the same bat channel! I mean schedule a time have fun with your partner! When was the last time that you locked the bedroom door and played a card game on the bed!  Or went to the park and played on the swings?

Communicate.  Communication is the number one key in a long-term relationship along with touch! No matter how well you know your partner you are NOT a mind reader. Despite the fact that many may think you are! Misunderstandings can lead to a lot of frustrations.  Learn to LISTEN while you are sharing your thoughts and ideas.

Try something new.  There are so many fun and exciting new things to add to your relationship just between the two of you. You can do something spontaneous like play hookie and head to the beach or lakeside for a couple of hours.  Stress causes us to get into a routine, a comfy spot – break out of that comfort zone!

Reflect.  Think about the things that were so thrilling and fun when you first got together! What were some things you did for your partner that they loved when you first started dating? Why not recreate those experiences?  If you don’t remember, have a conversation and ASK what they remember most about when you were first dating.  You may be surprised at the things that meant so much to them that you didn’t think about.

Take a vacation alone.  Isn’t the old saying “absence makes the hear grow fonder”?The truth is that alone time gives you time to reflect and regenerate your own energy. Gives you time to do self-care things without the judgement of someone else. It also interrupts the routine, “wakes you up” in a sense and you start to become aware of the things you love most about your partner, the things that make you feel incomplete without them.

See your partner at their BEST.  I can’t stress this one enough. If you are constantly frustrated with your partner or dreading being with them then try changing those thoughts. Make a list of everything you like and love about them and start paying attention to those things. In the morning say to yourself 3 new things you’re thankful for about them do this for at least 21 days and you’ll see a significant turn around!

What is your best tip for rekindle your relationship?  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks

Lovers and Haters

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Today is HUMP Day!  I can’t believe that it is only 8 more days until Christmas.  My importantly, it is only 6 more days and the girls will be home for Christmas!  Are you winding down your business as you prepare to spend time with family and friends this holiday?  Why not take some time to work on your dreams?

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I received an interesting email from one of the many business coaches, April O’Leary about “lovers and haters” in your business.  As a struggling people pleaser was “I want everyone to love me”.  The truth is that we need to start looking at haters as a gauge that we are doing something right.  There are going to be people who “hate” us or our business or our dreams just because  we are following our dreams and being who we are.

So, how do we attract more lovers and haters?

1) Have a CLEAR vision

Some people dream,   some wish but the majority of people think success or a happy life are a part of ‘luck’.  They do not see the hard work and persistence that goes on behind the scenes.  Have you ever noticed that when you are clear about what you want out of life and you continue to work for it, that you make people uncomfortable.  You outshine them without even trying and as a result their self discouragement comes out at you.

As you shine, you will attract others who are shining and expose those who aren’t.  The imbalance causes a lovers and haters scenario.  It’s normal.  Just stick with your vision.

2) CLEAR your own path

When was the last time that someone mocked you because you took the path less traveled?  How many times, especially in direct sales, have we been told that if we do things the ‘proven’ way we will be successful?  At heart they don’t want to see you fail.

Their best intentions can have you second guessing yourself.  You need to learn to trust your internal compass.  Think about the pioneers.  Everyone thought Columbus was crazy until he found the New World.  If he had a YouTube video at the time saying the world was round, he would have been #1 on the haters list, right?

3) Be CLEAR in your communication

Articulate what you want to the right people.  The ‘right’ people is actually everyone.  Soon the right people will be there to help you accomplish your mission.

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I’m  sharing my dream.  The chance to make a difference in the lives of women and children who have been affected by addiction, domestic violence and other life struggles.  Some people laugh.  Some people support it.  Some people doubt it.  That’s fine.  Think what you want.  I am sharing it with everyone that will listen.

Why are you doing what you do each week?  What’s your end game?

Think about this…When you live your life with a clear vision,  you clear a new path for yourself and you clearly communicate what you want and you will attract lovers and haters.

The secret is…to accept the lovers and the haters.  Then don’t let their words bother you.  You won’t abandon ship when someone criticizes your new venture.   You won’t feel discouraged when someone doesn’t ‘get’ the concept.

Live life in a way that suits you and let the opinions of others good, bad or indifferent come and go while you remain the captain of your ship.

What is your dream?  Are you working towards it or do you jump ship every time a “hater” steps onto your path?

Share your thoughts with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!