Why I’m Going Offline

It's Probably Not What You Think

For the last week I’ve debated whether or not to write this post. For one, it now goes against doctor’s orders and two, well, it’s not the type of post I usually write. But I finally decided I owed it to you. You take the time to visit my site, and / or you’ve invited me into your inbox, neither of which is a privilege that I take lightly. And although I’m not conceited enough to think the world will stop spinning because my posts are going to stop momentarily, I wanted you to know that it’s happening intentionally.

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As you may know, last fall I was rear-ended in a freak accident that left me with a concussion – and apparently, post-concussion syndrome, as I’ve been trying to recover ever since (long story here if you missed it).

Although numerous tests have shown that there’s no permanent damage, not a single doctor has been able to give me any sort of path to recovery besides a vague, “it just takes time.”

That is, until last week, when I visited a new (to me) doctor who actually has a specific plan that results in recovery. It involves a new medication to stop the headaches (woohoo!) therapy, and…brain rest.

“What exactly does that mean?” I asked.

To which she proceeded to type out a letter (no exaggeration!) detailing how I am to do nothing for at least the next month. No work, no screens, no reading, no movies, etc. I am to be a “slug.”

As you might imagine, coming to a screeching halt is hard for, well, probably anyone. But, after four months of what is best defined as chronic headaches and other symptoms that are not improving, I’m done. It’s got to happen. And now that someone’s actually told me that yes, if I stop I will actually get better…I’m stopping.

So with that, I am going on a super-lame vacation…it involves therapy, napping, staring at walls, adult coloring books, quiet walks, and a lot of time for prayer.

You know I’m an optimist so while I will say that yes, it’s devastating and a royal nuisance…I also am fully aware that it could be so much worse, and is for many people. I am still grateful.

I’ll be back with new biz-growing content when the doctor releases me to work. Which, she guarantees me, will happen.

Until then, stay focused, get your business out there in front of those people who need what you have to offer them…and live your life with intention!

All the best,

Angela

An Unexpected Lesson From the Powerball

Headlines are screaming it, social media memes are being made, wish lists are being created…and possibly, life savings are being lost. You don’t have to go far to hear about the lottery that’s now up to a staggering one and a half billion dollar jackpot. Incredible, isn’t it? But whether you’re scoffing at the dreamers, counting down the minutes until the next drawing, or you’re somewhere in between, there’s a simple lesson each one of us can learn from the Powerball mania that some might say is sweeping our nation.

dream big

Last week we had our monthly board meeting with the members in the Boardroom. As you might expect at the beginning of the year, I challenged them to set their goals for the year and make a plan to actually follow through. But there’s one thing I like to do at this time of year that many others overlook.

In addition to setting goals to be conquered in the current year, it’s a good practice to take some time to dream big.

Really big.

Outrageously big.

Because when else are you going to do it?

If you can’t first come up with the dream, you don’t have a chance at seeing that dream become a reality.

But if you’re like me the first time I was introduced to this idea of outrageously big dreams, you’re going to struggle to come up with some. It helped me then to use Tim Ferriss’ strategy of identifying something you wish you could have, could do or could be.

I wish I could have a cabin in the mountains big enough for my extended family and my friends to visit.

I wish I could spend the entire month of January in Hawaii (or another tropical location)…every year.

I wish I could start a kids’ running club network in the local schools.

What does all of this have to do with the ridiculous Powerball jackpot?

Productivity Hacks from the Peak Work Performance Summit

This week I’ve been tuning into the Peak Work Performance Summit, where over two dozen authors and productivity experts are sharing their best practices for getting things done. I’ve never seen so many brilliant minds in one location (virtual or not!) I’ve had to press pause often to capture some of the great strategies and insights shared, and today I’m going to share some of my favorites with you.

peak work performance summit highlights

First on my list to watch was, of course, Greg McKeown, author of my favorite book Essentialism.

Greg made this memorable comment, and while it seems counter-intuitive, if you’re an Essentialist you understand why. Success can become a catalyst for failure because success creates more options.

Too many options. 

And then you face the risk of losing focus on what matters most (which likely is what delivered that great success.) Instead of pouring your energy into that one essential thing, you’re once again chasing too many options, and diluting your efforts.

The key then, is to stay focused on what matters most.

(You know I’m a fan of FOCUS!)

“How are you doing?”

Greg also talked about the “busy bubble” that exists in our society, and how it’s almost like a badge of honor to respond to that question with, “Doing good, really busy!”

As if somehow being busy makes you more important or successful.

The key is to stay out of the busy bubble, so that when it bursts (and it will, one day) you don’t look back on that time period with regrets.

But how do you actually answer the question, “How are you doing?”

What’s Your Best Of?

One Thing You Must Do Before Diving Into the New Year

Everyone’s talking about 2016. What are you going to do with the New Year? What are your goals…dreams…plans? And while I absolutely agree that we need to intentionally dream big and then act, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. 2015 isn’t even over yet, my friend, and you’ve got some things you need to reflect on for this year.

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And this time, I don’t want you to think about all the things that didn’t happen as you’d hoped or planned. Instead, I want you to recognize and reflect on what went well.

Celebrate your year. Be proud of what you did. Enjoy the wins, whether they were big or small!

I want to hear your “Best Of” list.

Take some time and think through the last year…the entire year. What are you proud of or excited about? Write it down (bonus points if you share it with your loved ones that are cheering you on!)

I couldn’t write this note to you without doing the homework myself, of course. Here’s my “Best Of” for 2015. It’s been quite a year! 

The Single Most Important Factor to Success and Happiness?

As I prepared to write last week’s note to you about the importance of taking time for yourself, my mind snagged on a concept in my favorite book, Essentialism. It’s along the same vein of living a more successful, happy life. And I realized I had to share this with you, too. It’s perfect if you’re on a holiday break, but you’ve got to promise me you’ll work to incorporate this year-round. In addition to making time for yourself, you’ve also got to…

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Make Time to PLAY

Before you laugh this off as a trivial, idealistic concept, you’ve got to understand what play really is, and why it’s actually very important.

What Is Play?

(VERB) 1. To engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.

Or as Greg McKeown defines it, in Essentialism:

Kids are so good at playing. Last night we made gingerbread cookies. My kids had fun cutting out the cookies, frosting them, and dumping sprinkles on top, but the play for them came after I’d put the cookies in the oven.

You know how there’s always scrap pieces left over after when you’re making cutout cookies? My kiddos spent nearly an hour playing with those pieces. They mixed in different sprinkles, added more flour, rolled out, carved up and rolled out those scrap pieces again and again, until you’d hardly recognize them as gingerbread.

That’s playing.

Play Must Be a Priority

In the book, McKeown lists three primary reasons that play is essential. The one I want you to remember, today, is this:

An Unexpected Step You Can’t Afford To Miss

Are you ready for Christmas?! (Are you tired of everyone asking you that yet?!)  Ready or not, here it comes! But in the midst of this busy, often chaotic, season….trying to wrap up year-end and prepare for the holidays, I’ve got one simple tip that I want you to be intentional about making time for, so that you truly enjoy yourself this season.

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In this busy season of giving, the odds are that you’re so busy giving to everyone else that you’re not making time for yourself. And, while I’m absolutely an advocate for generosity and abundance, I recognize the importance of giving to yourself, too.

I’ll even go as far as to say that you should give to yourself, first. It’s like when you’re on an airplane…it doesn’t take many flights for you to remember that, “in the event of a loss in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Please put the oxygen mask on yourself first before assisting another passenger.”

You understand why the airline stewardess advises that, right? If you’ve passed out from a lack of oxygen, you’re not going to do anybody any good.

The same is true in your own life. If you’re not taking time to take care of yourself, you’re going to burn out, pass out, or become generally unbearable, and you’re not going to do anybody else any good.

So, in the midst of the extra stress that’s often created by the holidays (or maybe, because of it)…

When Good Ideas Are A Bad Thing

Among other things, in this month’s lesson I advised my Boardroom members to spend some time reflecting on this last year. What worked? What didn’t work? It’s important to know where you’ve been, before you dive headfirst into where you’re headed in the coming year. So, at our monthly mastermind meeting this week, we went around the table sharing our failures and our successes. And during the discussion, one of our members said, “I just have so many ideas!” and I couldn’t help but giggle.

FOCUS

Back in my office that morning, I’d been finishing up a Member Review for the Boardroom. One of the things I ask before starting every Member Review is, “What’s going well?” And for two months in a row, the first response to that question has been, “I have no shortage of ideas.”

It may have taken me longer than it should have…and I might suffer from this myself, to a degree…but I now recognize that:

My ideal customers are really good at coming up with really good ideas!

(I love it!)

But there’s a difference between what I do with all of my good ideas, and what pretty much every single person that I work with does.

A Simple Email Hack to Save You HOURS

After the accident two months ago that left me with a concussion, the doctors prescribed “complete brain rest,” which apparently involves lying in bed staring at the ceiling. As you might imagine, I’ve not done that so well…lying around doing nothing sounds fabulous until you are forced to do it! But the last few days, I’ve found myself on “brain rest” as I’ve laid in bed at night, unable to sleep, staring at the ceiling. It’s a more recent symptom of the rather ambiguous, and disruptive, post-concussion syndrome that I’m still dealing with. And to be real, it can’t possibly have been complete brain rest, as my brain would not stop thinking. As it turns out though, it’s great for new ideas, and that’s where I realized that you could benefit from this too!

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As I was lying there unable to sleep, I was thinking about how I welcome new people who sign up for the BizFarmer VIP list. The very first email I send to welcome new VIPs has an excellent open rate. But when it comes to the weekly blog post I share with you, my email open rates are just average.

And being the over-achiever that I am, I don’t like to settle for average.

There are a number of factors no doubt, but two immediately come to mind.