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.

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

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.

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?”

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…

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.

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.

Do You Know How to WIN?

Before we dive head-first into Thanksgiving and all of the festivities that the coming weeks will hold, I’ve got a quick tip for you that could make this year’s holiday season your very best, ever.

What's Important Now?

This time of year is my ABSOLUTE favorite. It starts with the advent of pumpkin spice lattes in September (which I choose to recognize as a symbol that I can then get out my autumn décor) and it goes all the way through New Year’s Day. The crisp fall air…the brilliance of the autumn trees…the frost on an unexpected morning that momentarily makes the kids think it snowed…the gusty, gray and rainy days…the first snow and all subsequent snows (when you don’t have a commute you enjoy the snow a lot more!)….more reasons to get together with friends and family…a crackling fire (gas fireplaces count) and then there’s all of the sparkle and joy of the Christmas season.

There’s a short list of what I’m thankful for!

The dark side of that though is that it comes with a lot of “to-do’s.” Even starting in the fall…got to get out to the pumpkin patch, carve pumpkins, roast seeds, clean out the now-frozen garden…and it continues throughout the Christmas season…shopping, baking, wrapping…you know what I’m talking about!

If you’re also attempting to grow your business, whether it’s a full-time endeavor where you feel the weight of the responsibility on your shoulders on a daily basis, or whether it’s something you’re building on the side by carving out every precious moment you can to work on it….

It can be a recipe for disaster. How on earth do you fit it all in?

Is This Holding You Back?

The Secret Question to Finding Clarity and Focus

There’s a crippling trend that I’m seeing on an ever-increasing basis. It latches on to your ankles and slows you down…holds you back…sometimes even pulls you backward. It spins you around until you don’t know which way is up, you have no idea what you’re working so hard for, and then you finally start to ask yourself…what is the point of all this?

WHAT are you doing?

For lack of a better term, I call it the busy monster. And I can’t help but wonder if one of these days we’re all going to revert, by choice, to a lifestyle of decades past. Sitting on the front porch as you enjoy the sunset, actually stopping to talk with your neighbors when you’re out to get the (snail) mail.

But for now, it’s a battle facing each of us. Family, friends, work, quite possibly work plus a side business, church, kids, sports, sickness, exercise, media, social media…

How on earth are you supposed to manage it all?

When Life Throws a Curveball (Or a Concussion)

4 Tips to Keep Moving Forward

Life never chooses a good time to throw a curve ball, does it? It’s been nearly four weeks since we took a swing at our curve ball. Or rather, since it took a swing at me. And since it happens to all of us, in one way or another, I thought you’d appreciate the story and what I’ve learned from it.

It was a Saturday afternoon packed with two birthday parties, one right after the other. My seven-year-old and I had left her friend’s party and were on our way to celebrate with my little nephew. We stopped at a Chevron to fill up on gas and when that was done, ran into the quickie mart for a potty break.

We hustled back to the car and hopped in, not giving a second thought to the F350 extended-cab-with-a-camper Ford truck that was stopped at the pump behind us. It’s Idaho. Trucks like that are a dime a dozen around here.

My car still in park, I made sure that Madison was buckled and buckled myself. Then, before driving off, I grabbed my phone to check my husband’s progress…he was supposed to be bringing the gift and the salad (and our three-year-old) to the party.

I was looking down at my phone when BAM! Something crashed into the back of our Yukon. My head whipped forward and although it didn’t hit anything, I can still remember the sensation that traveled up my neck, to the very top of my head, and then receded.

But then I looked in the rearview mirror and saw something even more horrifying. Between my car and the truck that just smashed us…was a man