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7 Steps to Create Life Balance

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Life Balance is a funny thing.  Some days you feel great, highly productive at work, mom of the year, and everything falls into place...hold onto that feeling when it comes because it is rare.  Truth is, most days have you scrambling to do it all.  Usually if you are excelling in one area you are feeling guilty or sometimes even shameful about others.  This is why people will say life balance is impossible.

It doesn't have to be that way.

I believe life balance is possible if you go into it with the right expectations of what it is.  Here is how i define life balance:  Consistent action to grow stronger in all 8 areas of your life. The 8 categories I am referring to are faith, family, marriage, health , career, finances, home and friends/fun.

Once upon a time my life was so out of balance, my world was caving in on me.  My sole focus was my career and everything else suffered.  I closed off relationships, didn't take care of my health and worse part, I was too tired to play and be present with my kids.  By the grace of God I was able to learn practical steps that brought me out of living that life.  I have been working on these processes for a couple of years and as a result, I have more clarity and peace in my life.

I want to help you have t he same, so I created 7 key points that helped me create more balance for my life.  If your like me, you want results and you want them now.  That's why I turned these 7 principles into a one week challenge-7 days to Take Back Balance.
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Let's look at these 7 principles and how they work to create balance for you.  In the free challenge every day is themed to one of these principles.  I give you worksheets, and action items so you can easily take the practical steps to get your life back, so you can design the life you want to love.

Personal Accountability

We loose so much power when we cast blame for how our life is.  Our life is a result of the choices we make.  There are always going to be outside influences and events in our lives that we have no control over.  We can however take personal accountability for how we respond to it.  Personal accountability also involves the excuses and justifications we make.  Coming clean and being brutally honest with ourselves about the truth of our situation is powerful.  Always remember:  you are ridiculously in charge of your life an it can be anything you want it to be.

Change of Focus

Because you are living your life, it can be hard to objectively look at your life.  Your too close to see your life.  You only see what's right in front of your face.  It's like your standing to close to a painting.  Now, it's human nature to be drawn to the things that are not right, are broken, or need to be improved.  God has given you grace, maybe you should give yourself some?  Step back and count your blessings!  Change your focus to what you are grateful for.  As you are taking a step back, it is also important that you look at how close your life is to God.  Sometimes that pulling feeling of unbalance we experience is God trying to pull us near him.

Setting Goals For Balanced Living

Setting goals is a popular subject now a days.  Did you know that most of  time when you set goals and work to achieve them you are actually taking your life further out of balance?  Think about it this way.  Draw out a tire and list all 8 categories of your life around it.  If you set a goal to grow in only one area, it is like you are putting air in just that area.  That's going to make for a bumpy ride and you will feel the imbalance.  The same is true for your life.  You really need to make sure that you are setting goals for all areas of your life and following a system that allows you to work on and grow towards all those goals while keeping your sanity.  It can be done, promise!

Setting Boundaries

Think I am talking about setting boundaries with the people that demand things from you?  Guess again.  What I am referring to is setting boundaries for yourself.  After all, that is the only person that you have complete control over.  When you want to have more balance in your life it is important that you get really clear on what that means for you.  This clarity will help you to say "no" when things come up that look really great, but really take you down a path that is away from your goals.  This clarity give you discernment to make decisions that serve you living the life that you want to build.  This is real power towards building a balanced, purpose driven life.

Self Coaching

Think about the role of the coach.  Someone to encourage you, help you stay on the path toward your goals and help you navigate tough situations.  It is key that you surround yourself with people that can give you a perspective that you otherwise would not see.  But you can have the best people in your corner, even pay to hire coaches to help you out and still struggle if you don't have the right conversations happening in your head.  Use kind words and learn techniques that will help you help yourself.  There are some really helpful tips for this and action items that you can apply in the 7 day challenge.

Time Management

Truth talk moment, you can be doing awesome in everything else but if you don't use your time wisely, you will struggle to get to where you want to go.  The biggest enemy to balanced living is poor time management.  You have more time in a day, week, month than you realize.  With that said, there are going to be days that are out of balance.  Use a bigger frame of reference, like week or month.  From using some of the amazing tech tools that are out there, to being more intentional, to old school just getting stuff done:  You Can Do It!  Looking for some of these examples?  Check out this blog post:  http://yourliferocks.com/godly-woman/leadership/family/productive/

Being Proactive

Be intentional.  Think about your goals.  Think about the week ahead and the obstacles that are coming your way and prepare for success.  When you are feeling out of balance, chances are you are living in a place of reaction.  This happens to the best of us!  Give yourself grace!  You can prepare a ton and still be taken by surprise by life.  The key is to be proactive about your goals and what obstacles might come up so that when you react, you are doing it in a way that still serves the balanced life you trying to build.  

So there you have it!  7 things key things to focus on to bring more balance, and peace into your life.  Want to put these 7 steps into action?  Really, that is where you will see a change.  Not in reading about these 7 things but in applying them to your life.  Sign up for the free 7 day Take Back Life Balance Challenge.  Every day for 7 days you will get action items, and encouragement delivered right to your email box.  We are also there to support you in our Facebook Group.  Join us!  Click here to join the challenge and click here to join the Facebook Community.

Now, because I am all about surprises and giving and doing more.....here is a bonus.  Number 8.  God.  It's simple.  If you want to have peace, sanity, and balance in your life.  Put your trust in Jesus.  The road won't always be smooth, but you will never be on the journey alone.  When you seek him first, your goals will align with what he desires for your life.  When you follow him he will bless you for the greater good of his plan.  He will make your paths straight.  This is the principle that overtakes all the rest.  If you are going to apply just one....take the bonus.

Looking forward to seeing you build a life that rocks!

 

Take Back Balance Challenge: Change Your Focus

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What you focus on your find.  Have you ever noticed that when you are thinking about buying a particular car, you start to see them everywhere?  It's what you are focused on, so examples of that from the world around you are more noticed.  

Now, let's look inward.  What are you focusing on in your life?  It is human nature to focus on the things that are not going right.  To feel the pain from the areas of life that are out of balance rather than the peace that comes from the areas of life that are in balance.  We naturally see what needs to be fixed.  While your mind might naturally "go there", you can work proactively to combat this and shift your focus. Just like any new habit in your life, it will take practice.  But what would you rather?  Have a life that all the negative stuff sticks out to you, or one where the positive things stick out to you?  

 

This is why I have created the 7 Day Take Back Challenge!  

I have created 5 action items to help you change your focus and it is all inside day two of the free challenge.  

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Of course the 5 action items are all centered around changing your focus to a more positive outlook.  Now I want to take this part of the challenge and put a different spin on it. 

What if when we feel out of balance, it is because we are focusing on too much of what this world is all about and not enough on the eternal things?  What if it's God's way of pulling us closer to him?  I know that for myself, when I took the turn to being more present and obedient to God, that is when my life began to come back into balance.  So here is the bonus part of the challenge:  When was the last time you moved closer to God?  What can you do today to move a little closer?

Change your focus from things of the world to him that created the world.

Looking for more inspiration to lead each day with intention and positive energy?  Join our Facebook Group!  We would love to have you!

Until next time, keep building a life that rocks!

Taking Back Balance Challenge

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Is your life out of balance?  Do you feel that pull in your heart?  Do you experience those should have’s that create guilt, anger and sadness?  Do you wish you could do more?  Have more in your life?

I have news for you, it doesn't have to be that way!  You can take back balance in your life!

People will tell you that work life balance is not possible.  I don’t think that is true.  Maybe it all depends on how you define it.  I truly believe that you can have success in multiple areas and live a life of possibilities.  Where you can build a career you are passionate about, raise Godly children, have a passionate marriage, experience great health and have a whole lot of fun.  Do you believe this is possible?

Getting there will take intentional living for sure.  One step at a time you can take balance back in your life, and I am here to help you all along the way.  I have been out of whack in my life.  Career came first and everything else second.  It hurt every part of my life.  I was able to get my life back and now I help other women do the same.  

We are kicking off a series over the next 9 weeks to help you get your life back in balance.  Join us here at the blog every Thursday for new action items to guide you step by step through the process of building balance in your life.  Don't always have time to read?  We will be covering the same stuff over on the podcast.  You can find us in iTunes or whatever app you like to use for Android.  Just search your Life Rocks Podcast

Action is where change lives.  Are you up for the challenge?  

Here is how it will work:  I will be challenging you to take action each week.  These action items will move you closer to taking back balance in all areas of your life.  They won't be anything to time consuming, but will be little things that make a big difference.  If you are taking the challenge, I  encourage you to join our Facebook group for inspiration, and accountability as you walk this out.

Here is a link to the group.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog to get your weekly update and assignments.

Let’s start your action for this week right now.

Your challenge for this first week is to find the areas of your life that you have taken out of balance.  What areas of your life have you put too much focus and what areas of your life have you been neglecting?  List them out on a note on your phone or in your paper journal, somewhere where you will have it with you.  We will build on this next week.  Until then, here are your action items.

  1. List out the areas of your life that need balance.

  2. Join our Facebook group and let us know that you are participating in the Take Back Balance Challenge!


     

That’s it for this week!  Looking forward to hearing about your wins over the next 8 weeks as you take back your balance!

 

Ready To Take The Challenge?

Sign Up Here!

 

4 Ways To Set Your Path For The New Year

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New Year's Resolutions, who knew it was such a controversial topic?  It seems that this year more than any year before I have heard people say “I don’t believe in setting New Year's resolutions.”  Maybe you are one of them?  Or maybe you have your resolutions set and ready to conquer!  We have been doing it to welcome in the new year since the ancient Babylonians (commonly their resolution was to pay off debt…..not much has changed)  Maybe people don’t like “New Year’s Resolutions just because of the disingenuous nature of people setting goals just because of the time of the year.  Maybe it’s because people make such drastic change that it is impossible to make a permanent change.

Whether you are for them or against them, I say, do you!  I don’t see anything wrong with setting goals, intentions, or resolutions for the new year.  Truth is, I believe working to improve yourself is always a positive!  It seems that anymore there are becoming so many different modern ways of approaching this ritual of the New Year, New You!  Let’s take a look at a few of your options.

  1. Picking a word for the Year

This seems to really be picking up steam this year.  I see it all over social media.  Everyone picking a word and asking others what their word is.  I often wonder if they know that there is a process to this or if they are just picking a word that reminds them of their resolutions?  

In 2012, Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, and Jon Gordon released the book One Word That Will Change Your Life.  In this book they talk about the simplicity of having just one word to focus on throughout the year.  The thing that people miss is that you don’t just pick a word.  There is a process.  This process includes God and receiving the word he has for you.  I have read this book and it is excellent!  I highly recommend it!  Here is the link for you to check out (just to be upfront, I would benefit from you getting this book through this link).  

  1.  Good ol’ fashion, New Year’s Resolution.

By definition, this means to make a firm decision to do something or to stop doing something.  This is different than a goal.  It is a declaration.  Most people just choose one, while others do many.  Quitting smoking, losing weight, working out, paying off debt, and saving money are just a few of the most common.  At the base of it, we are resolving to have a better next year than the previous year.  I always think that it is interesting what we define will make us “better”.  Just remember that there are power in your words.  We are made in God’s image and he spoke everything into existence.  Declare your resolution proudly and take consistent action to improve.

  1.  Reflection and intention.  

There is something about the quietness of this time of year.  Things slow down a little and can allow you to take some time to connect with your life, and who you are.  Many people take this time to think about the year that is coming to a close and looking ahead to what they want to accomplish in the new year.  This is different than a resolution because instead of a decision to do something different, you are setting the intention for what you want to do or accomplish in the next year.  These types of goals are not as defined.  

  1.  Celebrate the change of the calendar….no goals…..no resolution

Of course you can just have a party and keep on living life!  (I had to throw that in there, but I don’t know anyone like this.  If this is you, please introduce yourself to me.  You fascinate me!)

Here is what I will be doing, and I invite you to join me.

I do all of the above.  

I spend time reflecting and getting in touch with my values, guiding principles, and desires.  Every few years I get a new copy of 5: Where Will You Be Five Years From Now by Dan Zadra.  It is a great workbook that takes you on a journey to really get in touch with all those many parts of who you are.  Here is a link if you want to check it out (yep, it’s another one of those links that I benefit from)  Once I have done the book and have cleared the fog in my head.  I go through the process from the One Word That Will Change Your Life.  This process requires you to get away from technology.  To find silence.  I spend a lot of time with God.  I surrender myself to him, and give him my year.  I patiently wait on my word….his word.  Once I get it, I make a firm declaration of my word.  I find ways to build it into my life.

Now, let me warn you, this is a process.  It takes days to go through.  It’s not about a light switch coming on January 1st.  It is about making the most of the precious time that God has given me.  It’s about living in the purpose that he has designed me to live in.  To be the person that he made me to be and follow his will and not mine.

Whatever path you take, set yourself up for success.  Ensure that you are identifying and removing obstacles.  Set up reminders and accountability.  Make it fun and rewarding.  Find ways to keep your focus.

Guess what?  I can help you with that!  

Did you know that there is a community of other woman just like you that are eager to help you be all that God has called you to be?  

There is!  And we want to welcome you into it!

 

All you have to do is let me know where to send the link to join!

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Leaders Are Readers: Must Reads For You And Your Team

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During this time of year, I always find myself gravitating toward books.  They make great gifts for people that you work with, friends, and for yourself.  (Hey, New Years is coming-It’s time to work on yourself!)  Just in case you are kinda like me, I thought I would put together of some of my favorites.  In this post you will find ideas for books to…...

  • Develop you as a leader
  • Read with your team to help them develop and grow
  • Books to give as gifts.

I have made a list of some of my favorite for each category.  To make it easy for you, I have included a link in each book description that will take you directly to Amazon where you can purchase the book.  Just for transparency, you should know that I do get a small kickback from each purchase that you make.  I promise, it does not effect the price that you pay.  Want to support what I am doing at YourLifeRocks.com?  Save this Amazon link as a bookmark and use it every time you shop.  Seriously, I use Amazon a lot.  It is a huge lifesaver for my crazy busy life.  My favorite thing?  Same day delivery.  It blows my mind how they do it!

 

For you as a leader

Books are my second favorite self development tool out there.  My number one is podcasts.  Can you keep a secret?  Ya, I can’t either!  I am launching YourLifeRocks.com Podcast next week!  I will share more information with you when it launches.  Have you signed up for our community?  It’s the best way to stay up to date with everything that we have going on plus get easy access to all our tools and resources.  

Anyway…...here are some of my favorite books that have helped to move my career and leadership forward.

 The Servant Leader by James A. Autry

This is my number one favorite book on leadership.  It was a required read when I first became a manager many years ago.  Do your team a favor and read this book and apply the principles.  There have been times in my career when I had to lead teams through bad times.  I have revisited chapter 13: Leadership When Things Go Wrong and Times Are Bad many, many times.  There have been many times since I first read this book that I wish bosses of mine had read and applied the principles in this book.  Be that boss for your team....be the change you wish to see in the world.

Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud

When I first heard about this book, it was the subtitle that got me:  Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge.  This book will grow you.  Each chapter has questions at the end that challenge you  to take action.  It is a great blend of psychology with business.  Just the idea of being ridiculously in charge is incredibly empowering.  Think about it.  Ready to grow into your leadership?  This is the book for you to read!

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

The fact that it is a Leadership Fable makes it super enjoyable and quick to read!  You will be quickly identifying people in the book with people on your team. What I love the most is that it is so full of actionable wisdom that you can apply right away to build a strong team with high performance.  You know how with a good fiction book you get tangled up with the characters and don't want it to end?  That is what you will find with this book!  What I love is that you are learning at the same time.  Beautiful.

Great By Choice by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

Ever wonder what makes a successful company or leader?  This book examines and breaks it down.  I love that this book is based on delivering data from studies.  It’s like pulling the curtain back and giving you the details that you can learn from, and take on for yourself.  One of the things that I really love about this book is that each chapter stands alone.  Meaning I can read a chapter, put the book down for awhile and come back and not loose anything.  I have reread chapters when I feel like I need to sharpen my saw and I encourage you to do the same.

 

For Your Team:

When you lead and mentor others, it is inevitable that you will be asked what books that you recommend for them to read.  I always like to take it to the next level and read the same books along with my team, even if I have already read them before.  This allows so many teaching moments as you discuss what you are both learning.  (I usually learn new things on a re-read of a book….don’t you?)

As you are getting ready to study a book together, here are a few key points to think about before you get started.

  1. What are you hoping to get out of this experience for yourself and for them?  Whatever it is, be clear about it upfront (even if it is just with yourself) and structure the rest of the experience around that.
  2. Decide the timeline for each chapter and how the discussion time will be structured.  Example:  I have had members of my team present to the rest of the group on what they have learned.  This then becomes double duty on their development since they are now practicing their presenting skills.
  3. Stick with it.  It is easy to get distracted or busy and put this aside.  By reading and reviewing these books with your team, you are making an investment in  their development.  It will take time away from other things.  Decide now that you are ok with that, or just don’t do it

 

21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell.

Not only is this a must read for everyone, it is an easy one to do as a group and has many learning moments as you cover each law.  When I have recommended this book to team members in the past it has had a great side effect.  It makes you really step up as the leader!  You can't help but to apply the "laws" to yourself so that your team has a model to what they are learning.  Win-win for everyone.  PS. If you haven't read this book in awhile, read it again.  

 QBQ!  The Question Behind The Question by John G. Miller

Now, it could just be me, but I think that having personal accountability is one of the most powerful qualities to bring you success in work and in life.  Imagine if you could eliminate blame, complaining, and procrastination with your team?  Just remember, leaders go first!

 Influence:  The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition by Robert B. Cialdini

This has been the very best book for my career and I find that I teach the 6 sources of influence to everyone!  Whenever my team is putting together a new promotion or are trying to find a way to drive behaviors with people, the structure outlined in this book is what we use to create the most positive influence for change.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0  by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

Seriously.  Read the title again.  Who wouldn’t want their team to have higher emotional intelligence?  What I love about this book is that you start off taking a test online that measures where your emotional intelligence is in several different categories.  The book then shines a light on each category and provides situations, lessons, and actionable activities to help you grow in each area.  Once you have had time to apply the lessons of the book, you can then go back and take the test again.

 

Great gift books

Anything from Simple Truths

I especially love The 100/0 Principle:  The secret of Great Relationships by Al Ritter

It’s an easy short read.  Simple Truth books are great for their many quotes and high visual appeal.  Have you checked out their website?  Seriously, cut out a few hours and spend some time there!  Great gift ideas for the whole year!

Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles

I love a great story!  Learning while being entertained?  Priceless!  It is an easy read with a simple message.  I received it as a gift and loved it!

Strength Finders 2.0 by Tom Rath

If I am being honest, this book could go in either of the top two categories.  Let me tell you why I put it under gifts.  I think too many people go around in this world very fully aware of what they are not good at.  Do you know what you are really gifted at?  What your true strengths are and how to get the most out of them?  If you do, you are one of few.  One of my biggest leadership truths is that you should always play up your strengths.  Put more energy on what you are good at.  This book allows you to take a quiz and figure out what your strengths are….they call them themes.  Then (my favorite part)  they give you an action guide for applying your strengths.  What better gift than a gift of figuring out what makes you awesome!  Ok, maybe you should buy two.  One for you and one for someone else.

5: Where Will You Be Five Years from Today? by Dan Zadra and Kristel Wills

Ok, so I was given this as a gift by a former boss years ago.  I love it because it is more of a workbook…..a dream book.  This was the first time I put my personal guiding principles on paper and made me really think about the values that I want to live by.  I recently found it again in a store and bought a couple copies.  One for me to do again (saving it for a quiet Christmas season night) and a couple to give as gifts.  They were too good to save for a holiday so I gave them as “just because gifts”.  It’s a guaranteed winner!

Your favorite book

I love giving and recommending books that have had a real impact on me.  You know what I love more than that?  When someone shares with me one of their favorites.  It is such a personal gift that shows so much thought and care.  Especially when there is a personal note on the inside talking about why you love the book and why you think they will love it too!

 

So as you have some quiet time by the light of the Christmas tree, make a cup of tea and open a good book.  Tis the season…..