March 2019 Archives

Ep. 36: Four Identity Shifts You Need To Succeed In Business

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Hey everyone, this is Julie. I’m back and today I want to talk to you about four identity shifts that will empower you to succeed in business even if you feel like you’re making it up as you go. And I’ve come to realize that everyone feels like they’re making stuff up as they go. And I have amazing news for you, if that’s what you feel like, that’s actually what it’s supposed to feel like.



So no stress if you feel that sense of like, ‘I don’t even barely know what my next step is.” It’s very, very common, there’s very few people who build business based on the plan that was written out ahead of time.

So I just got back Alison Prince’s Clan Con and for those of you who don’t know who Alison Prince is, she is an amazing woman teaching mainly women, but men too, how to do ecommerce. So ecommerce is a very fast growing industry and she had an event, and I went and spoke and I actually spoke on this topic, so I want to share it with you today.

So you know, she asked me to teach on what were the skills that would create success for the future. And obviously I’m going to talk about digital marketing, but I started to think of this in terms of identity and the identity shifts that I had to go through and the ones that I’m still going through now.

So before I start, the reality is, and I want everyone to hear me when I say this, that identity shifts in business and life happen usually in the midst of tremendous amounts of conflict and failure. Not in success, and not in comfort. So when you look and long for new identity shifts, you are indirectly, though you may not realize it, asking for conflict and failure to come into your life. So just be prepared for that.

I started my adult life wearing the identity of a Christian stay at home mom. I was broke, I was definitely ashamed of wealth, I was ashamed of my ambition, I was ashamed of the fact that I had a questioning mind, even though I knew that God made me and loved me as I was, I was very much stuck in thinking that the identity of wife and mom meant that all these other parts of my personality were not okay, not attainable, not worthy of being shown.

So as I fought through this as a young 20 something year old adult, I had three babies, and I tried this, it was definitely who I was. I was a Christian, I was a stay at home mom, I loved my children, I loved God, but I felt this desire to be rescued from this identity because it was so 2 dimensional. It was not encapsulating my ambition, it wasn’t encapsulating my dreams and my hopes and all these kinds of things.

So I, my personality, my weakness is that I like security. So when I feel like I’m not capable of making a change, I want someone else to help me make that change. So I really was looking, and in 2011 I found my biological father. I’m adopted, half way adopted, and my biological father I had met him briefly once when I was 13. He was always this mysterious elusive person. You know like in the stories when you’re like, “I don’t know who my father is or where to find him.” and all this kind of stuff. We went on this long search and I found him when I was 13.
I remember being not super happy with him, but I wasn’t really sure why, I was a 13 year old, it was super awkward. So in 2011 he came back into my life in a very dramatic and intense way and he was an entirely different person than the one I remembered when I was 13. So I latched onto this. He was an entrepreneur, he was wealthy, he had a family. And I thought, ‘Oh here it is. Here’s my chance. I’m finally going to sort of shake off this side of me that’s so ashamed of my ambition and my questioning mind, of my entrepreneurial-ness, and I’m going to go and I’m going to get to know my father.” and all this kind of stuff.

Well, my identity, what happened in that, in basically a year from 2011 to 2012 is that my identity was shattered. My father basically groomed me into a psychologically and sexually abusive relationship. I’m not going to go into the details. It was dark, it was empty, it was probably the time in my life where I felt more suicidal than I ever have. I remember losing all emotion. I remember walking through life like a zombie and I, the high of discovering a parent and thinking your identity is going to be reshaped and then having your identity shattered. It is hard to explain what that does to the human psyche, in terms of, especially for me, someone who looks for security. And I realized the only way I would get security is if I allowed my father to become the aggressor and to tell me exactly who I was to become in order for him to love me.

It was horrible. It took me a long time to get out of it. And by the time I did, by the time I wrestled myself away from this incredibly toxic and psychologically manipulative relationship, I found my identity as a Christian stay at home mom also shattered. Because I was like, “I’m a Christian but look at what just happened to me.” And I wrestled with that.

So what happened in that moment was I basically had to put aside some of the more ethereal ideas that I had about life, about life and spirituality. And I had to get back to survival. And that was okay. And a lot of you who have ideas and identities and you have this like sort of actualization where you’re like, “I’m going to make meaning and I’m going to make impact. I’m going to do this.” And then something happens in your life, and then it’s like all the sudden now all you’re thinking about is how you’re going to get food on the table. That’s kind of what happened to me.

So my marriage fell apart in the wake of that relationship, so I got divorced. So now all the sudden, it wasn’t really about like faith and meaning, it was like, “How do I make money?” and I realized in a lot of ways, this was the way I started to heal and started to create an identity for myself. And the key first shift I made was this idea that I had it in me. I had the power and the capability in me to learn whatever skill I needed to learn in order to get financially free. And that was the one thing I needed to learn in that moment because I was divorced and pregnant and three kids, and this whole thing.

So it was not the most actualized of identities but it was one that I could put on. I was like, “I’ve gotta learn skills.” So I put that identity on and I became a digital marketer. And when you’re putting identity on, sometimes you have to call yourself what you are before you are what you are, because that kind of calls you forward.

So that’s what I did. I transitioned everything, and I’m like, ‘I’m a marketer.” And I started diving into copywriting and diving into funnels and marketing psychology and how to get people to buy and ads and blogging and social media and traffic. And what I did in that exploration, it probably lasted about two years, is that I slowly taught myself that I was trust worthy, that I was a marketer and I could use my skills for financial security.

So some of you need that identity right now, you don’t have the confidence that you have the skill set that you need to be financially free. And that is a completely legitimate and valid identity that you can put.

Of course none of this was perfect. I was messing up all over the place, I had lots of turmoil in my life. I was pregnant with a fourth child, I was going through divorce. I definitely felt like a failure as a mom and a wife. So as I was putting on this new identity, the skills only got me so far.

There was another second identity shift that I needed to make in order to keep growing and I had to basically come to the understanding in myself that I can forge powerful healthy relationships that will get me where I need to go. This was a hard identity to put on because I had just come out of a very unhealthy relationship, a broken marriage, a lot of things that said to me, “Hey Julie, you haven’t had healthy relationships.” And I knew that I needed them.

And the actual catalyst for this identity shift was the Expert Secrets affiliate contest that happened in 2017. Russell Brunson had launched his new book, he had a big affiliate contest and there were lots of prizes and lots of competition. And I joined the contest sort of on a whim, not really thinking that I would rank. And in the first line up of the top ten, I was on the leader board as number six.

So this definitely fueled this competitive edge in me, but I quickly realized that I was going up against people like Grant Cardone and Tony Robbins and how was I going to win? I didn’t have the relationships that I needed, I didn’t have the visibility I needed. So I began to see that as I stepped out in fear and asked for other people’s help, I asked people to actually promote my affiliate link, and I had them join me in my mission.

I ended up placing fourth. I ended up beating Tony Robbins, because I forged the relationships that I needed to get me where I needed to go. And that was a moment where now it was like instead of switching identities you’re starting to add layers. So I was like, I can learn the skills I need to get financially free. And then the second identity was I can forge powerful, healthy relationships that are going to get me where I needed to go faster.

So every shift takes time, it happens in the pressure cooker. Another one that I have been learning, that I feel like I’m not sure that I’ve actually arrived at, was the identity shift that I needed to make that allowed me to make mistakes, pivot, and start over as many times as I need to. And this showed itself up if I had an unhappy client in my agency, if I had an offer that didn’t work and I had to change it. I have this long story that I can’t get into now about how I had to change my offer mid stream, it was hard and people were unhappy with me. What I have to do when I have, you know, my ad account goes down. And it’s okay. I can make mistakes, I do have the ability to start over as many times as I need.

I desperately needed that identity in me to be able to take the risk that I needed to take. So the last one that I think I’m learning right now, because I feel very confident that I know that I have skills that will make me financially free and they will never leave me. And I know that I have powerful, strong relationships, and I have a lot of evidence of that. And I’ve also made a ton of mistakes and stared over, you know, with different things. But this last identity shift is something I’m working on, and it’s the idea that I can piece together as many identity pieces as I need to be fully me.

And you know, one of the identities that I felt like I sort of left way back in my 20s was this idea of being a Christian. So now I’ve sort of come through this metamorphosis, and I’m like, ‘Well wait, can I be a Christian entrepreneur? Yes. Can I be a loving mom and be ambitious? Yes.” It is possible that I can take all these different pieces, these things that in my head seem mutually exclusive. You can either be a good mom or you can be a good business person, but you can’t be both. And can I pull those pieces in and create the identity I need to be fully me?

And that is what I’m working on right now, and it is super hard you guys, because in my personal life my marriage has been very, very rocky. My parenting relationship has been tested with my teenagers and then going through all the teenager things, and my daughter struggling with severe, severe depression. So for me, I’m questioning if it’s actually possible to do these things and to be all these things and to be okay.

And I feel myself tempted to be extreme, like either I’m a good wife or I can’t even be a wife. Or I’m a good mom, or I’m not, I mean I can’t not be a mom, but you know what I mean. So that’s the identity shift I’m working on right now.

So that was kind of heavy today. That’s really what I spoke about at Clan Con. So just to remind you that if you want the identity shifts that I made, if you want them for yourself, that’s going to help empower you to succeed in your laptop life and your business, it was number one, learning the skills that you need to become financially free, that was so critical for me. Number two, forging those relationships that you need, whether it’s colleagues, mentors, whatever those relationships are that are going to help you get where you need to go faster.

The shift that allows you to say, “Yes, I have the capabilities and grace to start over as many times as I need to become successful.” And then the fourth one, which I’m still working on so I can’t tell you to do it if I haven’t done it myself yet. But it is learn how to be okay with customizing the identity that you need in order to succeed and flourish.

So as always, I appreciate you guys. If you liked this podcast, please share it. Share it on Instagram, tag me @juliestoian, tell me that you like it so I keep recording podcasts. I need validation you guys. Anyway, leave a review that would be awesome. Talk to you soon. Thanks.

Ep. 35: Key Takeaways from Running a Marketing Retreat

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Today I want to talk to you about running your own marketing or team retreat. In fact, it doesn’t really have to be a marketing retreat. It can be any sort of team retreat in your business, whether you’re just a team of 2, team of 3, team of 10. One of the reasons why it’s been so long since I recorded a podcast is because I’ve only been home 3 days
in the last 2 weeks.



And that’s because I went to Boise to run the first ever Marketing Retreat for Clickfunnels. I came home for 2 days, 3 days and then turned around and went and spoke at Clan Con.
So I have lots of stuff to catch you up with, so I’m going to go right ahead and dive right in. So about two weeks ago I ran the first marketing retreat for Clickfunnels, and I want to talk about some of the things that we implemented, that you can implement in your retreats and team meetings. The first thing is that we wanted to make sure that we had taken the dedicated time to actually get to know each other. So that’s sort of one of the reasons that we did this retreat in the first place, because we get so busy, we’re running, running super fast, we’re all over the country, and we add new team members, and it can be very, very difficult to bond, especially in that setting. And we all know that teams that have bonded together are going to perform much better than teams that are all sort of disconnected.

One of the things that you need to do in order to create and facilitate that bonding that happens at a retreat is to make sure that you set it outside of a normal location that people are used to. So we specifically did not do it in the Boise office, we did not do it anywhere where people typically work. We rented a home and got everybody in the home together. A home also fosters a lot more intimacy than say, a hotel, or conference where everyone can sort of scatter. It forced us to have our meals together, and there were lots of different nooks and crannies in the house where people could hang out. So those two things alone, like making the time to help and make sure your team really knows and communicates well, and also setting aside a location that’s not a location that you normally hang out with.

So the next thing I want to talk about is creating the atmosphere for creativity and growth. So one of the things that we did, right at the beginning of the week is I introduced the concept of the six hats. This is not my invention, I’ve, now of course the name escapes me, of the person who wrote the book. But it’s a brainstorming principle that helps people understand what hat they wear when you’re in a meeting where you’re discussing a new idea. So there’s six hats, let me run through them really fast. So the blue hat is the hat that is very planning based, writes lists, organizes things, so since we’re talking about a business and this is a business and marketing podcast, if you were planning a funnel or the business, the blue hat would be the hat that you wear when you’re in your project management software putting out deadlines, writing checklists, etc, etc. The white hat is the factual hat, this is the statistics and the analysis. So again, if you’re building a funnel, the white hat is going to look at conversion percentages, benchmark statistics, the budget of how much traffic you would run, and what you would expect as a return on ad spend, so the white hat is very analytical, it’s not very concerned with emotion. Speaking of the next hat, we’ve got the red hat next. The red hat is the emotional hat. That’s the hat that you know, when you’re responding to an idea, a business idea or maybe a hook or story, or offer, you’re thinking about what’s that emotional reaction I have to this new product. The green hat is the creative, the possibility hat. This is, I joke this is the hat that Russell wears so well. He always has new ideas, “What if we did it this way? Or what if we did it that way?” So the green hat is just the hat of possibility. The next hat is the yellow hat. The yellow hat is what you would expect, positive, sunny. Really this is the hat when you’re brainstorming the positive results, values, benefits of whatever it is that you’re planning. Then we come to black hat. The black hat is the hat that looks for problems, looks for difficulties, looks for the holes. So all these six hats are needed to have an effective project, like taken from ideation taken all the way to execution.

So I explained that to the team and so a couple of things that we did during the marketing retreat that really helped. The first thing is I identified when a meeting was very blue hat oriented or green hat oriented. And that was really helpful because if someone is in the green mode and they’re in the creative mode and someone comes in with blue, it can feel really stifling. It can feel like suffocating. So I would say, “Okay, this is a green hat moment. Let’s all just think about the possibilities.” And other times I’d say, “Alright, this is a blue hat meeting, we’re really going to iron out deadlines and etails.” That preframe changes everything when you’re dealing with a group. The other thing is it creates the opportunity to express yourself without feeling judged. It’s nerve wracking to speak up in a group, it’s nerve wracking to say, “Hey, wait a second, I see a problem.” But if it’s preframed in, “Hey, let’s put on our black hats and look for the problems.” Then all the sudden there’s safety and space to actually communicate that. So something super fun happened in the meeting organically. And we were brainstorming, we were in green hat mode and brainstorming and ideas and we were writing on the whiteboard. And eventually our ideas ran out. So I noticed the transition happening in the retreat and I said, “Let’s transition to black hat. Let’s look for all the problems.” And so we started listing out all the problems and what happened is when you can appreciate that role in someone, it all the sudden sparked more ideas. Because the minute you heard a problem, someone who is very, very gifted in the green hat thinking, will all the sudden start thinking of an idea to solve the problem. So we actually went back to green after black, because black stirred the waters again. So I thought that was a cool way to look at the benefit of being the black hat. And why it’s really important we don’t get stuck in any one particular hat, because then our brainstorming is very 2D, 2 dimensional.

So we did that, so setting that stage is really helpful. The other thing we did as a company, as a team, is that we invited representatives from other departments to come to our marketing retreat. So you know, we had all the marketing team, but we invited people from product, and product are the developers and the engineers who work on the software. And this was amazing. It gave us a really
good connection point, so that the departments can start to communicate and give feedback to one another. And it also created a better communication channel and new ideas for the way marketing can help product, and product can help marketing.

So if you have a team and you have different departments, invite other people from the other departments to mingle with whatever retreat you’re focusing on because you might find new avenues and new ways to bring in more revenue and reduce refunds or whatever the issues are that your business is facing. We also shared our meals together, really helpful. People who share meals
together connect differently than people who don’t. So whenever you run a retreat make sure that you have meals planned. I would also suggest that you find time to co-work and chill in a retreat. Now, our
retreat was five days long. I would say we had probably 2 solid days of brainstorm, planning mode before we started to fatigue. I think probably the ideal scenario for a retreat is 3 to 4 days. We went 5 days so it was definitely longer. But what we realized quickly in that is that we needed to just create several hours of time each day for people to actually work, chill out, kind of let the ideas
marinate before we came back together in a group.

The last thing that I want to share about the retreat that I thought was super fun. Is we definitely took an entire day just to do team building exercises. And I led this and I will probably go into this in other podcast episodes later, because they will be too long to explain here. But we did some personality work in the morning, and I would encourage you, if you do not understand personality stuff, or you
haven’t geeked out on it, I would. You know someone who is really fun, who geeks out a lot on personality stuff is James Friell.

So anyway, there’s all different kinds of tests, there’s Myers Briggs, there’s 16 Disc, there’s the Enneagram, but understanding personality types really helps, not just in love relationships, and family, but also in work relationships as well. So we did that. And then we did a very, very fun exercise about communication, and I’ll share this because I think it’s really fun. It’s the peanut butter and jelly game. And the idea, I broke everybody up into a team. We had four teams. And the instructions were simple, it said, “An alien has come down from another planet and knows nothing about our planet. I need you
to write up the instructions to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

I gave everybody, it was about 20 minutes that they had, and they worked together to write the instructions. And on first glance that doesn’t seem that difficult, right. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is pretty easy. Well, once it was done, is when it was done we had everyone read the instructions, and we had four different people attempt to make the peanut butter and jelly sandwich based on the instructions.

And the results were hilarious, because number one, nobody was actually able to complete making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Number two, the levels of completion and what the peanut butter and jelly sandwich looked like were entirely different. In fact, one team couldn’t even get their peanut butter and jelly sandwich even close to made.

And the whole point of this exercise, besides laughing hysterically, and I really hope our video team makes a little micro episode on it, because it was really fun to watch. Is that the way we communicate the way we give instruction and the way we hear instruction is subject to wild amounts of interpretation. So if you go to someone on your team and say, “This is urgent.” What urgent means to you
and what urgent means to them, is entirely different. If you don’t set things in concrete mode, or you speak in sort of endless amounts of vagueness, you are subjecting yourself and your team member to misunderstanding what you need and what you want. So it’s the importance of giving really accurate feedback. So that game was really fun. And then in the afternoon we did some exercises where we created a safe space to talk about problems and issues and things that we see that we need to be better at and we created that safe space using anonymity so they were able to write out the problems on post it notes with no names. And then we went through an exercise where we looked at who has ownership of the problem, what the problem is, why the problem is happening, and who can help resolve the problem. So that’s what we did in our marketing retreat. We came away with incredible amounts of ideas, brainstorms, project plans, new bonding experiences, connection and a new awareness of we were, as who we are as people and how we communicate.

So I encourage you to get with your team once or twice a year to set aside time to get out of the office or wherever you normally work, to rent a home and to really focus on each other, your team building and your project plans. So I hope that’s helpful, as always, I appreciate you guys. Talk soon, bye.

Ep. 34: Hard Lessons I Learned About Pre-Framing This Past Week

Hey everyone, this is Julie and I so fired up and I’m not usually fired up. In fact, that is my friend Stephen Larsen’s job. We are both coaches in the One Funnel Away Challenge. So his job is to be all fired up and kick people in the butt and my job is to be kind of like Mary Poppins. You know, that kind, warm, nurturing teacher that everyone loves.


>


But today I’m fired up. I have been sitting on this podcast about pre-framing, so now I’m just going to jump in because something happened today and it was really, really interesting.
Alright, so last week I had a great conversation with Russell and we were talking about pre-framing and how critical it is in conversation. So let me give you a really dramatic example about pre-framing, and this happens in interpersonal relationships, in emails, in sales pages, everything. Let’s say that you have cancer, and that’s a terrible thing to have. And if you have this idea in your head that you’re healthy and then you go to the doctor and they tell you that you have cancer, all the sudden that’s really, really bad news, it’s very sad, it’s very hard. It’s horrible.

Now let’s say that you already know you have cancer and you go to the doctor and the doctor tells you you’re going to have to have this really complicated surgery, but if it works you’re going to live. That surgery now is the best news ever, even though if you went in not knowing you had cancer and he told you, “You have cancer and this surgery…” it would feel like the worst news ever.

So it’s always about the pre-frame of how you set that person up. And so every single situation in life has multiple perspectives. There’s like that old Indian proverb about how there’s an elephant in the middle of the room and everybody’s blindfolded and they’re all around the elephant, but someone grabs the tusk and someone grabs the tail, and someone grabs the leg and the back or whatever. And they all give you a different perspective of the exact same animal.

So the reality is that there are multiple pre-frames for anything in life. Anything in life, if you just sit, it’s like a marriage counselor and you listen to a couple fight, you’re going to hear the pre-frame from either side.

So I had this conversation with Russell last week, and I was having a moment. It’s sometimes tricky because I don’t work in Boise so I can feel like I’m far away from the hub of everything. So I can get in my own head, like “What am I missing out on?” you know. And it’s this ongoing joke about FOMO, FOMO, FOMO, which is fear of missing out. So I can get in my own head, so I have a pre-frame that’s a belief that’s making me see what’s happening through a different lens.

So if I’m coming at it from a lens of “I’m being left out.” And then something happens, I’m going to see that and be like, “See, I’m left out. Oh, I missed it. Blah, blah, blah.” And I’ll just end up, you know, being upset.

And yet, if I talk, and I did, I told Russell, I was like, “Oh, I feel left out.” And he showed me his frame, his perspective and I was like, “Oh, I see it now from a completely different angle.” Now I see it’s a totally different frame that I’m looking at the same situation in.

We had this happen with a project we were working on. And the project, you know the person that was in charge of the project, had a frame for the project, so that frame included stress and frustration and all that kind of stuff, and it was so funny because once we took that project out from under that person and put it under somebody else who didn’t have that frame, their frame was completely different. They were so excited, thought it was super cool.

And Russell and I were talking about how interesting it is that that same project, one that’s associated with frustration and hardship, when given to somebody else with a different frame, now all the sudden it becomes exciting and cool.

So pre-frame is everything in marketing you guys. It is everything in your relationships, in communication. I can’t explain how important it is. And today it happened again. A lot of you know that I’m running the One Funnel Away Challenge and the first time we ran it, we ran it without giving anybody the content ahead of time. So it was literally day one, boom, we dropped it. Day two, boom, we dropped it.

In fact, we did this because we didn’t have the content built out the first time, we were building it as we went. So we knew it would be important to give everybody just what they needed that day, what Stephen would call just in time learning. Everybody loved it. 7,000 people went through it. It was like our greatest course of all time.

Well for a couple of reasons, this time around because we’re working One Funnel Away into a lot of our different funnels, we thought maybe we should pre-load a member’s area with the content just in case people don’t make it to the Facebook group or they don’t realize that it’s a challenge and they feel like they didn’t get their purchase. So we thought we would front load the member’s area with the content.

So we’re on day one, so we’ve done the pre-training week, we’re on day one and we quickly are realizing this is a terrible idea, because what’s happening is people are jumping ahead. They’re’ getting confused, they’re getting off track and we know the best way to learn is just in time learning. And we designed it that way.

So we’re like, okay it’s only day one. We got 29 days left, let’s just take that content away and then we’ll drip it out. So we took everything away but today’s so that it would just like mitigate overwhelm. And basically the entire Facebook group blew up and most people were totally cool with it, but there were a few people that were so angry and they were so upset. They were ready to ask for refunds because they were looking at it from the frame of, we took their content away. The irony being that not one person in that 7,000 group the first time had the pre-frame of the content and they loved the drip.

The drip was the most amazing thing ever becaes it was bite size, it was actionable, it was exactly what they needed, nothing that they didn’t. They could complete it. That’s what made it so successful. So the very thing that everybody loved that drove all kinds of success, because we set up a pre-frame that was different because we were testing something, caused people to have a completely different experience.

So pre-frames and managing expectations are very similar. So when you are out there and you are sending emails and you are doing sales pages, and you are getting on discovery calls with clients, and you are posting on Facebook and you’re talking to your husband or your spouse about entrepreneurship, keep in mind that every situation no matter how benign or regular it seems, will have multiple different pre-frames, multiple different doors at which you can enter that situation and have a reaction to it.

Pick the right door, make sure you are super intentional about which pre-frame door you want to go into, because I guarantee for every positive door there’s a negative one, because will just find every possible perspective.

So I hope that helps. I hope that helps you think differently about the way you talk to your people, your customers, your team members, even your family members and people who don’t necessarily understand business, because the pre-frame is everything. Thanks so much guys, talk to you soon.

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Stop Stacking Time + Substitute It Instead!

Have you ever found a random $100 in your pocket or bank account, and got SO excited about how you would spend the money?

If you’re like most people, brainstorming what to do with it is half the fun. Maybe you’ll use it to go to fancy restaurant, buy a shirt you had your eye on (that was too expensive), sign up for a membership/course you wanted to buy, etc.

This is called “earmarking” – we mentally decide what we’ll spend the money on, except something happens in this process. A lot of us accidentally earmark the same $100 for multiple things…especially if the $100 isn’t tangibly in our hands, just in our bank accounts.

If you observe yourself in the area of finances, you might notice this subconscious behavior. Since we thought it, our minds think it done.

Hold this analogy in your head as we walk through one of the biggest time management problems I see, especially with entrepreneurs who don’t have a boss to answer to.

If you use the Paper Whiteboard, you might have a long to-do list or brain dump of stuff to get done. And if you’re practicing the art of Sacred Time, you also have dedicated times set aside to get certain tasks done (the ones qualified for that time slot).

But what happens if all this just stays in your head and doesn’t visually get “earmarked”?

You fall victim to TIME + TASK stacking.

What Is Time +Task Stacking?

Time + Task Stacking is a phrase I came up with for people who have a mental plan for how they will spend their week, but don’t actually physically earmark it, and therefore stack way too many tasks on the allotted time they have. What inevitably happens is that unexpected things come up, and because they have no visual representation of what that looks like in a schedule, they say things like, “Yeah I can fit that in….” or “I’m sure I’ll find a spot later in the week to do it…” or “Just give it to me and I’ll figure it out…”.

You’re probably time + task stacking.

It’s the process of “stacking” more and more and more on your plate for the week because it appears like there’s so much time later to do it, when it’s really already earmarked for other things.

How To Switch From Stacking To Substitution

I learned how to do this well with finances, which is where I made the connection that we can do it with time too!

Back in my early days, I struggled with spending outside my budget. In order to gain control of my debt, I started using the envelope system with Dave Ramsey. All of a sudden, I had a visual representation of how much I was saving for things like haircuts and clothes and entertainment.

I’d take my envelopes with me to the mall, and if I saw a shirt or pair of shoes I REALLY wanted, I had to grab my envelopes and physically pull the money out of the right category. If my clothing envelope was empty, I had to use an envelope for something like entertainment or food.

All of a sudden I could clearly see what I was substituting. I would take the $50 from entertainment to get the shoes, and my brain registered that I was substituting weekly movie night for shoes.

What happened is it created a clear way for me to weigh how important the shoes were. Instead of a vague “are these shoes worth $50?” I now thought, “Are these shoes worth missing weekly date night with my husband?”

That’s a TON more powerful. I successfully got out of debt using this method.

Most of us are in massive time debt. Because we aren’t using specific substitution style questions for our time, we stack more and more and don’t really understand the value of our MOST precious resource.

If you have a free afternoon (let’s say 2 hours), and there’s nothing earmarked on it…you might stack the tasks of working out, calling a friend, writing a blog post, and who knows what else in that time block. And even if you could get all that done in two hours, when your mother-in-law calls you and asks to come over and there’s nothing REALLY stopping you from saying yes (like a doctor’s appointment let’s say), you stack that inside the two hours on top of it.

Let’s stop shall we?

The Process For Time Substitution

This is super simple and easy to do. It requires you to set aside an hour or so on Sunday evenings before the week gets started.

  1. Get out your paper whiteboard and write down ALL the things you have to get done in the week. EVERYTHING. Personal, business, etc.
  2. Open up a Google calendar and create a Time Substitution calendar (it can overlay over your regular calendar if you want). You can also just use it as your main calendar.
  3. You’re going to drag colored blocks for EVERYTHING on your paper whiteboard. Do the best you can to estimate the time it’ll take.
  4. I want you to include things like getting dressed, working out, admin work, buffer time, and all the time suck type stuff that we forget about.
  5. Make sure you color code your sacred time a different color than the regular meetings/admin style work.
  6. After you’ve done that, you might see some open blocks. If so, drag a block around them and label them a third color. This way, you know what open blocks are still available and can be used for last minute things or overflow (if you estimated incorrectly).

Here’s a sample week.

 

Notice I’m including wake up time, voxer time, meal time, and other things that most people don’t calendar in. I’m not using this calendar so much for reminders as I am trying to realistically make sure I’m not time + task stacking and earmarking time inappropriately.

The Inevitable Unexpected’s

It’s impossible to plan your whole week perfectly. It’ll never happen, so just remove that expectation. In fact, last week my Monday morning Sacred Time tasks got completely derailed because of an issue in the One Funnel Away Challenge. I lost all that time putting out a fire.

So once that was done, I looked at what I missed, and quickly moved the block around and leveraged some of my free time still available.

By Wednesday, all my yellow free blocks were full. And by Thursday, there were unexpecteds that came up and there was now NO MORE time to just put stuff.

Entire TIME SUBSTITUTION.

In order to say yes to something new that I wasn’t expecting, I had to say no to something that was planned. You will see how much easier it to make a decision when you’re measuring specifics tasks against each other, instead of this vague intangible “can I fit it in” mentality.

As this becomes a part of your weekly habits, you’ll notice that you’re checking your calendar more frequently to see if you’re on track. It’ll get easier to estimate tasks, rearrange things, and draw boundaries because everything is visually measured.

Sometimes I have to move things to the following week because the unexpecteds are really important and there’s no time available left. The good news is that when I move it to another week, I don’t worry that I will forget or lose track. It never says off my radar completely, which helps with procrastination.

Start this on Sunday nights and use the super easy Google calendar to move things around as your week unfolds. Since you can have unlimited calendars, you can use a separate calendar from your main one and overlay it.

Don’t be surprised if the first couple weeks are a cluster. It takes practice to get it right, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you ever visually measured time before!

One last reminder: TIME is our MOST precious resource. It’s FAR FAR more valuable than money. It’s irreplaceable. You should be protecting your time with 10x more vigilance than you money.

xx

P.S. Are you liking the productivity posts? There are MORE of them! Check out The Paper Whiteboard, Sacred Time, and The Art of Refocus for additional tips and strategies.

 

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Episode 33: 10 Seemingly Benign Problems That Will Destroy Your Chances of Ever Making Millions

I’ve decided that making millions of dollars is not as difficult as it seems at first…and yet, it’s a road very few people take. Which is strange, because usually the easy roads are heavily trafficked.

So I’m asking myself…why?

I think it’s because there are these seemingly benign problems that are actually the THINGS that destroy our chances of success.



So what are they?

1. Perfectionism.

An unwillingness to fail fast and frequently.

2. Stubbornness.

The inability to let go of an idea that isn’t working because of your attachment to it (even when the market is telling you NO).

3. Shiny Object Syndrome.

The thought that there is a golden nugget or magic bullet somewhere that if you just find it you will…..

4. Endless Learning.

The way we fool ourselves into thinking we’re going somewhere when we’re actually still in bed just dreaming instead of doing.

5. Relational Bankruptcy.

Forgetting that business=people and you will be successful so much faster when you find the who for your how.

6. Being Cheap.

Growing businesses eat time and money three meals a day. Starve your business by being cheap and it’ll never survive.

7. Fear.

Everything you want is on the other side of it.

8. Busyness.

Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re productive.

9. Money S***.

Deal with it or it will deal with you.

10. Corner Cutting.

Growth hacking is different than cheating. Don’t copy, bait & switch, or lose your morals along the way.

Here is the truth about reaching your revenue goals…

>> We are living in an age where there is MORE access to resources, knowledge, and people than ever before. And you don’t have to be well-connected or well-funded to get started.

>> The path to success is paved (sometimes for free) on places like blogs and Facebook communities and YouTube.

>> There are key identifiers that everyone can quickly use to see if their idea/product/service is a million dollar winner. And if it isn’t, pivoting online is easy. It’s digital. Just rebrand and move along.

>> We have tools like ClickFunnels and Canva – programs that require no experience or coding, and produce digital assets that rival custom made websites and graphics.

>> Anyone launching an online business has instant access to the entire PLANET. They aren’t limited by their small town or geographic location.

>> Communities of specialists and professional services are everywhere, making it super simple to find the experts you need to get a job done.

It seems to me that with enough patience and persistence, anyone really truly determined to make it to $1,000,000 in revenue…could in fact do it.

But they won’t. 

They won’t because there are dangers lurking in every corner of the Internet and in life….and they seem so benign that we fail to see how deadly they are to the goals we have for our businesses.

If you want success, you need to ruthlessly and quickly eliminate them ALL from your life, no matter how silly or harmless it seems at first.

xx

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