Change Your Circle, Change Your Life

Change Your Circle, Change Your Life

TODAY is a big one! So, naturally, I stayed up late and read A Child Called It. I devoured it because it was a triumph of the human spirit. I guess I am addicted to that sort of missive.

Maybe it is why I surround myself with the people who believe they can do anything.

With people who know that they are no different from anyone else, who know the rules are the same for them or the Queen of England. This is the key, isn’t it? When we acknowledge there is no difference in what we can achieve, then our reality and our potential changes exponentially.

The Winning Mindset. Ryan Stewman talks about this a lot. He has discovered it and applied it to his own life. He is an example of the kind of person whose company I crave. The entire Tribe of people that his mastermind contains are all ball busters and they ALL, every last one, follow through with what they say they are going to do.

I don’t encounter one negative mind in this group. No, it is steeped in the power of collaboration, compounding growth and brilliance and when you are in such company your own life and potential positively EXPLODE. You NEVER cave to the baser and toxic disbeliefs that you CAN’T. It’s simply not a word and the proof of what you can construct in synergy will blow your mind.

Ryan Stewman will be on the Sick Biz Buzz podcast today.

Because he is a person who sees all people as having the same capabilities. He works with people who are chronically ill (and let’s face it, don’t we all have something?!) but he will never treat you like it. He is the epitome of a person who does not see an illness or disability, but who values a person based on their work. He was selected because he can teach people, employers, leaders, his special vision. He doesn’t see differences. He sees potential in every single person willing to work for it. THIS is why I am up early and preparing to have a memorable and moving conversation with him. It is no surprise he wants to grab that sledgehammer and smash the stigma surrounding invisible diseases and disabilities because he smashes the stigmas on so many subjects people are terrified to talk about.

I am also appearing on Satori Prime today and am so excited to talk more about Sick Biz’s exciting developments as we grow as a nonprofit and continue to spread awareness of what we can do to help chronically ill and disabled entrepreneurs. These are big weeks coming up. Tomorrow is my cover shoot for the book. My publisher and I are weeding through cover mocks and I need to do what I advise all my clients to do: Keep Writing.

Reach for the content, the books, the people that move you, that shove you from one reality into the next. Shed your self-doubts and defenses at working with others and tightly embrace your gifts. They are yours and they are unique. What will you bring to the world that is your purpose? What are you living out each day, an ascension into clearer light and bliss, or are you anchoring yourself with self-recriminations?

Do not feel threatened by the brilliance of others, but help them to shine brighter as you polish your own star.

Maybe you need to change your circle to people who will lift you every day.

I know the decision to align with unstoppable people has forever altered my life. I will never be the same. I don’t want to be. I don’t know that old, sick, fearful woman cringing at memories, judgment, and pain, who sought approval from outside forces every day. I only know this new force who can do anything because I say I can. Because the source of my belief resides inside me. It can’t be touched and I am in control of it.

Change your circle. Change your life.

Sick Biz Buzz’s episodes will be available to soak up soon. After today, we will have four shows in the bag. Then one a week following that.

Plenty more coming down the pike, right Erin Schultz, media miracle worker? Get up and get after it.

What if You Could Be Addicted to What’s Good for You?

What if You Could Be Addicted to What’s Good for You?

Your hyperfocus will propel you…farther than you ever imagined.

I don’t gamble…and there was a time when I wouldn’t allow myself to even step foot in a casino. Once, when I was in my 20’s I went to the casino and I lost $600. In retrospect, $600 is and is not a lot of money. Veteran gamblers have certainly won and lost more, but it is not the money that scared me. I changed when I gambled, morphing into this person who justified the money I pulled out of the ATM because I knew I would win it all back and then some. The prospect of any other scenario was sickening. I couldn’t have possibly lost that much. If I’d had the deed to my house with me, I would have kept going. I could feel the hunger creeping to conquer me, this bargaining pleading I normalized in my head and on my lips. Luckily, the person I was with, hauled me out and broke the spell.

Alcohol is not a huge draw to me, mostly because my grandfather and all his brothers were alcoholics. I worry the gene is buried inside and that I would awaken it after so many sips. And man, did I love cigarettes when I smoked. Never before was there a stinkier chainsmoker. Back in the days when you could light up at your desk, I sat with a butt jumping up and down in my mouth as a jabbered on the phone and added up vending checks. What a lovely image that conjures.

Many times, I have fixated on people, food, habits and releases that were not good for me. I have craved the high of more of whatever it was I needed. It was a long-winded quest to gain something…and now, I’m pretty tame. I drink coffee (that I will never give up!), stubbed out the butts and I stay the hell away from the casino.

My personality has latched onto a different target. Business.

Deep inside me, a passion lives and lurks every day. It is a good and taxing force, although most days it astounds me, the levels we will go together. My insistent roommate wakes me, fills me up, drives me on and compels me to reach, network, resolve and BELIEVE in myself. The further into the belly of the beast I descend, the more I realize what I am capable of accomplishing.

Isn’t that the way it goes?

You think, what the hell? Then give the new venture a shot. What’s the worst that can happenI’ll fail and then it’s back to my regular life? Not such a bad prospect.

But you don’t fail and when that happens a part of you flies free. You tap into the fact you’ve succeeded. This success causes you to think about taking a stab at the next new aim, until it becomes a dizzying game of King of the Mountain, between you and a mountain of goals.

The knowledge of what you are capable of creating is still staggering, but somehow more believable this go-round, and this is the invisible shove that keeps you going.

Your goals, now loftier seem as possible to reach as that very first one you ever identified and went after. The fascination at your own power is dazzling and you talk about it with people (who are a little sick of how surprised you are at your own gratitude and joy.) You begin to realize you are no different than the people you admire, than any person at all. The rules of what you can accomplish are the same for you, whether you’re pitted against Tony Robbins or Gladys down the street.

This equalization levels the mental game field. When there is nothing holding you back or negatively defining you, simply, you will keep going. It is one less obstacle in your own head.

I don’t write about flipping addiction on its head to make light of the very real epidemic we face. But to say, if you have these tendencies, if you glom onto objects, or chemicals, or even just like that evening beer a little too much, then you can pop that switch to your advantage. You can lower yourself into the sea of possibility and compulsion and learn about living limitless, too.

Too many times, we identify compulsory characteristics as traits that must be controlled or they will cause ruin, as a negative ache that leads to no good and is destructive, but what if the opposite is also true?

Instead of honing an unhealthy fascination, what if you could turn your appetite toward your own success?

Toward learning, not what do I need to make to survive the month, but how much can I make? What are MY personal limits? How far can I go? This is an addiction you can give yourself over to completely.

Can you start your own company? Of course, you can.

Can you close a high percentage of deals? Absolutely.

Can you help other people with the work you plainly don’t have time for? One-hundred percent.

What else can you do?

Leverage media exposure? Yep.

Write a book about your experiences containing an angle unique to you? No reason why not.

Work in your purpose, whether it’s creating a nonprofit, identifying a niche in the market, establishing a mentorship? All the yeses.

The key is that you can do anything. And you get that from your first, what the hell moment.

Try this.

The next time a whim strikes. Whatever it is…go for it!

I don’t care what it is, just do it.

You will learn that you can do anything. And then…this is the first building block of your fire that you certainly can feed into an inferno.

That first slam dunk is followed by wondering what else you can do. Slam another one in, then another. The fire is starting to roar a little, isn’t it? Use it as momentum, as proof of what you can do.

THIS is how we get there…whenever our journey takes us. We achieve and then BELIEVE.

The discernible difference between a person who is perceived as an expert in their field and a proven expert comes down to one simple fact. The expert performs. Time and time again. The expert takes action no matter the size or noise of the crowd. They do it for the ceaseless pull to outwit themselves at every turn. It is a game of chicken they use to challenge their boundaries.

This hyperfocus will propel you if you let it. It will replace the sexiest, swankiest siren song out there with the intoxicating instances of your success. You will devour it as if you have been denied sustenance for a thousand years.

Here’s a little disclaimer. You may get carried away. Sometimes, that is alright. It is the missing component of what is needed, what has been needed. But as with any sword, respect the edge. In the moment, when you are floating on accomplishments, it will be harder to identify when you must set limits. So, write some rules for yourself to ensure your family and friends don’t wind up a casualty of your fire.

A few of my rules are:

1) No cell phones during dinner

2) No calls or work during dinner

3) A severe reduction of work on the weekends when my family is home.

I also had to stop working in bed at night. It was selfish and encroached upon the goals of my marriage. In short, family and relationships come first. You will want to safeguard your priorities, but when it is play time in the winner’s circle, get ready to go all in. Get ready to astound yourself with how much you can win just through the indelible truth that you can hit every goal, then develop more and hit those, too… You can even become obsessed to a degree and put your mindset to work for you so your to-dos are less of a chore and more of a game.

Every game you have ever played contains rules that alert you to the inevitably of winning. Entrepreneurship is no different. Apply your tendencies to fixate on the unsavory to get ahead. Unleash your compulsions in an entirely different and healthy manner and witness the effect on your life.

__
Original article appeared at The Good Men ProjectReprinted with permission.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Commit to the No-Leniency Rule When It Comes to Your Livelihood

Commit to the No-Leniency Rule When It Comes to Your Livelihood

When personal and professional brands meet…follow these guidelines for more authentic engagement and clear boundaries to protect your rep.

When we are running a business we have to stay woke! (Thank you to my children for keeping me up-to-date with the slang…or is “woke” out now?) Woke means you must be aware of how your personal and professional brands intersect. When you are an entrepreneur, you simply can’t take the chance that you will damage your business with ill-applied behavior.

Ask yourself these questions?

  • Are you posting personal drama on your page?
  • Are you high-handedly discussing politics?
  • Are you sharing crude videos with your friends?
  • Are you needlessly spamming people?

 

Let me explain. Before you jump to a defense, there is a reason I am asking you these pointed questions. Don’t answer yet because I am going to ask you one last question.

  • Are you trying to grow your business or become an influencer?

 

If the answer to that question is “yes,” the answers to the prior four questions should be nos.

As entrepreneurs, our relationships between our personal and professional brands are inextricably muddy. Several years ago, the goal was to ensure that your professional Facebook page (or all your social media pages for that matter), used differing marketing strategies. You had a haven for your friends, where you could cut up if you wanted, but your brand page would tell a different story.

Now, the majority of entrepreneurs (at least, the ones I know), have welcomed in all sorts of people onto their personal page to build their networks. The personal page has become an offshoot of the professional page.

This does not mean constant advertising is the goal here, but allowing people into your privileged circle invites them to see another side of you…a deeper authenticity. In getting to know you, you not only gain a friend, but you will also pique interest in your company.

So let’s define what you are lenient about on your page.

Some best practices in this overwhelming social media age:

1. Your Face. You are presenting a face of your brand, if you are intending on being a leader, understand why people gravitate to leaders. They want the reassurance of following someone who has been there, done that and survived. Who has emerged from their hardships with hope.

2. Politics. Yes, it is hard to keep a lid on it when it comes to politics. I used to engage in what I deemed thoughtful discussion, but have since realized…I changed no one’s mind and in business, it is not about offending another person who may have a different belief. It is about presenting the fact that you are a political person. There is nothing wrong with that. Our world needs help. But you will lose business if people perceive you to be a person who will draw them into an uncomfortable discussion.

3. No Drama. A hard fast rule would be to never post about the bickering you get into with your partner, for example. The bigger picture is that it paints you as a petty person, incapable of controlling their emotions. Worse, you may be perceived as a person who likes to inflict pain, or who doesn’t care about the pain you cause. People expect you to conduct a relationship privately. But this rule also applies to engaging in comments with trolls, whether they attack you personally or professionally. You are modeling grace and taking the high road as a leader. This is one of a good leader’s best qualities.

4. Sales Strategy…or Not. There is still a marked line between your personal page and your company page. You can run sales and other promos on your pro page all day long (not the greatest strategy, but acceptable as far as etiquette goes), but do not do the same thing on your personal page. It is about delivering the expectations to your friends. They anticipate that you will let down your guard and interact with people without bringing business into it at every turn. So yes, operate your business. Let your friends know what you do, but remember to let your hair down, too, to show your human side. In the same vein, if you want to get close to someone and even consider working with them in the future, treat them like you give a damn. Don’t just go in for the kill. You know what? You might as well say, “Nice to meet you, whatever your name is that I didn’t bother to remember. I am only talking to you regarding business because I don’t think you merit any use of my valuable time but to quickly pitch you. P.S. Buy my (insert fabulous, life-changing thing here).”

I am not advocating that you become a plastic Facebook user or Tweeter either. Far from it. You don’t always have to be up. Yes, you can have a bad day, but resist insulting people, throwing people under the bus, and showing everyone your circus and your monkeys. I don’t happen to believe in fake either. But I DO believe in positive. I do believe in sharing lessons in the name of prosperity and growth. I do believe that we can push ourselves to be more respectful of our audiences. I do believe in setting a healthy example.

Have a tip to add to this article? I’d love to read it! Please leave it in the comments below.

__
Original article appeared at The Good Men ProjectReprinted with permission.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Announcing Our Sister Company, the Non-Profit Sick Biz!

Announcing Our Sister Company, the Non-Profit Sick Biz!

“Sick Biz is an organization dedicated to providing support, resources, hacks, and hope to entrepreneurs affected by chronic illness, pain, disability, and sickness.”

I recently started a new company, which I hope will help many other entrepreneurs like me. After I got sick, I had to reinvent myself and there were few resources to help.

Sick Biz is trying to change that.

Our podcast is booked for six month’s straight, and we have 20+ guest bloggers lined up. Our branding and the logo mocks should be done today.

We will be featured in a major business magazine.

The development of this business gives my pain purpose.

If you are someone, or if you know someone who could benefit and needs support, please send refer them to this article.

Here is the link to the Sick Biz Facebook group. Please spread the word to help other entrepreneurs.

A Mindset Empowered

A Mindset Empowered

The world is not against you.

The strength of your struggles has everything to do with your attitude.

Yesterday, I logged into my bank account and saw a weird charge. I knew I hadn’t been to Chicago in the last couple of hours, but I thought maybe I had bought something online I had forgotten about over the past weekend.

Let’s face it…life is a blur many days. It takes everything to slow the ride and decipher the mosaic of action, people, events, everything!

But paying attention paid off. Literally.

After interrogating my family to see if I was crazy (always a fun exercise!) I figured that purchase was bunk.

Cue calling the bank and filing a claim. In the five mins that passed, another purchase had registered to my account. Apparently, I was witness to an unfolding shopping spree. How thrilling! What fun that sounded like! It was interesting to see where people would spend my money.

I guess we were headed to buy beach apparel next.

When was the last time I had been to the beach?

I stopped further shenanigans in the midst of finding a collar for the cat’s fat neck, threatening my hair into a presentable shape and losing the connection with the claim department, all while coaxing a cat on a leash out the door shepherded by my lion-heart daughter.

She is unflappable.

Now, in the car, we called the claims department, I punched in the address on Lauren’s phone, so we could get Monkey to the vet eye clinic, profusely apologizing to the lady at the bank on my phone for Monkey’s incessant yowling every five seconds.

My account was frozen.

Including all cards.

How was I going to pay the vet?

I dug out an ancient check, Deacon had told me to put in my wallet in case of such emergencies, calmly combating the side-eye the receptionist leveled at me as I explained sheepishly that my name might not match my driver’s license EXACTLY because I had been married last year.

OMG…how shady did that sound?

Long story short(ened).

In the past, I would have announced the universe was out to get me…that I had brought on such energy because I “had it coming,” that my very existence had warranted “bad luck.”

Instead, I went home, worked my tail off, and gave thanks for the ability to pay for our precious Monkey’s eye.

Framing.

I, too, turned unflappable and was able to handle whatever was thrown at me because sometimes we are supposed to pause.

Grateful. I stopped a binge in motion! It could have been so much worse (and so much more work.)

Hysterical.

The pharmacy called and said they had the second medication for my pet monkey. LMAO. The lady on the phone and I had a good, ongoing laugh as she processed my order.

No one is out to get you. No energy is meant to swallow you up. Unless you let it.

As I have told my children growing up, “You will be as miserable as you want to be for as long as you want to be.”

Mindset.

It can turn a day that could tank your spirits into an amusing adventure.

How will you frame your day today?

However it shakes out, you are in control.

Never doubt it. The world has conspired to help you succeed. But sometimes you won’t know the direction.

You will think the direction is not for you because it is not where you want to go. But it just may be where you are supposed to go.

Where you are called.

Every situation is an opportunity for empowerment.

Seize the day and make it yours.

 

Why Self-Awareness Is a Key to Emotional Healing

Why Self-Awareness Is a Key to Emotional Healing

The people I work with in my career as a writer and editor are so cool. Many of them are business owners and entrepreneurs and half the time they act as my own legion of life coaches! As a result, I am privy to innovative thought processes and unique ways of surmounting obstacles.

I also stumble upon content that pushes my own continual healing. Personally, I do a ton of writing on learning to eliminate self-limiting beliefs and examining how our pasts can fuel our emotional rehab.

After a certain amount of internal work has been accomplished; I’m talking decades of counseling, tapping into the gift of changing your mindset and figuring out how to handle compulsions and urges in the form of eating disorders and anxiety tendencies, you can start to chip away at your own self-awareness.

Questions like…

How do other people see my responses? (Not from a standpoint of needing their validation), but to gather intel on how you can be more compassionate, for example).

  1. Do I understand my triggers?
  2. Do I know how to rationally react to these triggers?
  3. What do you believe you are capable of accomplishing?
  4. How do you define your limitations?

I don’t want to give anything else away, but I did take a test, which took me deeper into evaluating particular habits and beliefs about myself than I would have dissected on my own. I had never taken a test like this, asking these sorts of questions and it spurred my self-examination. I’ve always wanted to ask myself these questions so I could think about how far I’ve come in my healing journey. But I never knew what the questions would be. It’s always valuable to gauge our progress and so I seized the opportunity.

But why is understanding our self-awareness important to our emotional health?

Let me give you an example. My childhood was rough; it didn’t offer a lot of security and when we are plunged into and restrained in survival mode, this is how we think long-term. It is how we plan. We use this method like we flex a muscle. Our every decision has a desperate root. We can’t move out of simply reacting quickly to situations and triggers. I was not self-aware during this time. I was furious and devastated and terrified because there was no motionless core to which I could anchor. I didn’t care how I affected people when I spoke, or through my actions. Half of my responses were couched in the subconscious need to receive some kind of frickin’ validation that I was worth anything. Truly, I could have given a crap less about the feelings I influenced in others.

After many years of counseling and answering the need in me to heal on a consistent circuit of self-revelation as I build confidence and internal work, I can now say, I care about people’s feelings.

I care about my own self-awareness, too, and I use questions like these to push my healing even further.

Understanding our limitations is critical because it frames our confidence. Knowing your triggers allows you to plan for your deliberate reaction, and it gives you invaluable information about yourself.

I believe that triggers, when confronted are actually our biggest avenues to emotional prosperity. When we define and accept our fears, we can develop plans to move past them, to practice making them smaller and less damaging to our lives. We can have internal conversations with ourselves about being afraid and identifying where fear comes from, that we are humans and instead of seeking to avoid, we can use our histories to teach us, and when we get stronger…we can teach others what has worked for us as well.

I am not denying there are triggers that are paralyzing and traumatizing, but I am a believer in finding the solution to not overcome what we have been exposed to, (because we will never be the same) but to compartmentalize our experiences to our benefit. We can use visualization to shrink terror. We can reason through fright. Because education is the antidote to fear, right?

It is possible to get better. To feel less pain.

We can help other survivors. But before we do, we need to hone our own insight into our self-awareness and realize the vital role it plays in our positive emotional health. I am not a counselor or therapist. My full-time job has been progressive healing. These perspectives have worked for me and that is why I share them. To help people recover from the wounds of their past.

__
Original article appeared at Huffington PostReprinted with permission.