How to NOT Do It All

Do you feel like you have to do it all? You’re not alone.

There is only so much time in the day. We can’t do it all. You have to pick and choose what you’re gonna focus on.

How do you know what to focus on?  Here are 6 steps to NOT doing it all that worked for me.

Step 1:  Begin with the end in mind.

What do you want to accomplish in life? Literally, in this lifetime?

LIFE IS SHORT. VERY SHORT.

I cannot stress this enough.

You will wake up one day, and it will be over. What will you wish you did more of? Less of?

Let that answer guide ALL of your decisions about where and how to spend your time.

Step 2:  Define SMART goals and focus only on them.

Maybe you want to be a good provider for your family. Maybe that means make millions. Maybe that means make $100k/year. Whatever. The goal has to be SMART:

Specific
Measurable
Actionable
Realistic
Time-Bound

In other words:

If you want to run an online kid’s clothing boutique that generates $100k/yr in net income by Q4 2016.

Then that is your goal. Period.

Everything else, and I mean EVERYTHING ELSE should support that goal.

Does            get you one step closer towards that goal? NO! So don’t do it!

I’m not kidding. DO NOT             UNLESS IT FURTHERS YOUR GOALS.

Now, maybe your goal is to be the most loved, cherished, adored, helpful friend and person on the planet — the person who goes out of their way to help everyone with everything. Maybe you want your tombstone to read:

HERE LIES SALLY. SHE HELPED EVERYONE DO EVERYTHING. THAT WAS HER GOAL.

Just remember that every single thing you do needs to be in support of that goal.

However, don’t assume that you will accidentally also achieve another, secret goal of $100k/yr in net income.

Which brings up another point…

Step 3:  Be honest about your goals.

If you want to be THE leading expert on all things related to belly-button lint, then so be it.

Do not judge your dreams. LIVE THEM.

No one will laDon't Judge Your Dreams. Live Them.ugh at you for following your passion and living your life your way. If they do, tell them to call me, and I’ll set them straight.

In other words…
Don’t create goals because you should or you have to. That’s lame. You will never accomplish lame goals.

Create goals that speak to your heart. Goals must excite you and make you say, WOW, wouldn’t it be cool if I really achieved that?!

HAVE TO Goals sound like:  I need to lose weight.

WOW Goals sound like:  I will lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks and totally rock that killer red dress hanging on my door and treat myself to a night of dancing.

Which brings up another point…

Step 4:  Write down your goals and prominently display them in a place that you see every single day. Or even better, hang it in a place you see every minute of everyday.

Mine are on the bulletin board that hangs over my desk. I literally sit with my nose 24 inches from that bulletin board everyday.

Do your goals stare you in the eyes daily and dare you to achieve them?

Another thing…

Step 5:  You cannot have disparate goals.

It’s ALL got to line up with each other.

Goal #1:  I will become a famous rockstar and tour the world.

Goal #2:  I will be a rockstar mom who takes my kids to school everyday.

Those two goals don’t line up. If you really want to, you can find a way to make it work — maybe the kids and their teacher go on tour with you.
My point: Make sure your goals line up. Work together. No conflicts.

Speaking of no…

Step 6:  No is a complete sentence.

Because our time is LIMITED, you HAVE TO get comfortable with saying NO. It is a complete sentence.
Successful people make it a habit to say no all the time.

One more thing…

I promise if you follow this advice, as you take your last breath and reflect on your life, you will say:

I did it all.

The Secret to Success: I Failed

The secret to success is found in failures.

I built a long list of accomplishments over the years. The secret? An even longer list of failures. My discovery: the secret to success is found in failures.

My list of failures is so long I can list them both alphabetically and chronologically.  And that is simply the secret to success.

Honestly, I’m not really good at succeeding. But I’m great at failing. And it just so happens success is a fabulous and accidental by-product of failure.

Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before he invented the light bulb. History is crowded with amazing talents — from Henry Ford to Michael Jordan — who failed miserably before skyrocketing to success.

It’s difficult to talk about failure because it exposes our vulnerabilities. How ironic that we feel shame about the very thing that leads to our success. Often times, our society rewards success and belittles failure.

One of my favorite success stories, James Altucher, candidly writes about his long list of failures. We should all be so vulnerable. Our stories connect us. You admitting failure gives me permission to do the same.

I often tell my son, who wants to be a computer scientist when he grows up, that the secret to success does not necessarily include a college degree. In fact, I tell him that he does not need to graduate from college. He needs to dropout after his first year because that’s what the really successful guys did (Gates, Zuckerberg, Dell, Jobs).  Seems those guys know a thing or two about the secret to success.

Sometimes failure is helpful because it means you took a risk and put yourself out there. Failure can indicate you stretched yourself a little too far. Maybe inherent to failure is the willingness to take risks. Taking risks leads to all kinds of opportunities. Opportunities lead to success.

Sometimes failure is helpful because it means you hated what you were doing so much that you purposely sucked at it. That’s ok. Because you learned what you don’t like. Which hopefully led to something you like.

Secret to Success: I Failed & Why You Should Too | Christine Boudreau

Sometimes you feel like a failure even though maybe you aren’t. I often felt like a huge failure when I was working on my masters degree, holding down a demanding full-time job, and raising my one-year old son. I continuously felt like I was either failing my boss, my family, or my professors.

I’m currently in the process of writing my first book. (Yay!) It is something my soul has wanted to do since as far back as I can remember. I battle my doubts, fears, and insecurities at every step. Sometimes I fail, the demons win, and I don’t touch the keyboard for days.

Failing is just part of the process. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail. Know success is right around the corner. The trick is persistence. Get back on the horse.

I work hard at trusting and having faith in God. Believing there is reason for everything. Trusting this is my purpose, my calling, and the work God intends for me to do. I remind myself to “let go and let God.” Which I fail at a lot.

Have you ever failed at anything? I’d love to hear your story!

Escape the Rat Race Now

Do you fantasize about escaping the rat race?  You’re not alone.

Jennifer, a highly educated & successful woman in her late-30s, expresses a desire to escape the rat race.  She dreams of abandoning corporate life and starting her own company.  However, she believes she has a stable job at a reliable company making good money.  She is afraid of losing that stability.

She debates things like:

    1. Financial concerns — How will I pay the bills?  How will I manage without group healthcare?  What if I lose my life savings?
    2. Failure — What if no one wants to buy what I’m selling?  What if I’m a horrible entrepreneur?  What if this business idea stinks?
    3. Other people — What will my parents think?  My spouse?  My colleagues?  Will I burn a bridge and never be able to return to corporate life?

All great questions and valid concerns.  Anyone in her shoes would have these questions.

Let’s consider:

  1. How stable is the job, really?
  2. How high-paying is the job, really?
  3. Of what are you really afraid?

Our perceptions either limit or enable our dreams.

Jennifer earns a healthy 6-figure income.  By most accounts, that is a high-paying job.  She works at a Fortune 100 company that has been in business for decades.  She assumes the company has a long future ahead of it, and so does she.

If Jennifer had a crystal ball, she would see the company’s industry shrinks over time.  And a recession hits.  The company fails, merges with a competitor, and drastically reduces headcount.  She is laid-off.

Escape the Rat Race

The crystal ball would show Jennifer that her salary is minor compared to the revenues she would generate with her own company.  More importantly, she would see the lives she positively impacts with her new company.

She’s still not willing to part with the golden handcuffs.  Her fears and perceptions limit her dreams.  Until she learns to follow these 6 steps to escape the rat race.

 

6 STEPS TO ESCAPE THE RAT RACE

STEP 1:  Remove the perception blinders.

What do you know is true?  How do you know this?  People used to perceive the world is flat, and it isn’t.  Don’t assume that if you perceive you have a stable, high-paying job, that you actually do.  Always question your perceptions.  Make sure they are serving you — not the other way around.  Don’t become a slave to your perceptions or beliefs.

 

STEP 2:  Believe in yourself.

It’s really that simple.

If you believe in yourself, an entire world of possibilities opens up.  If you are passionate about your dream, then believe you can do it, and you will.

Your dreams are the map to your future.  What you truly desire, you can create.  God (or whichever Supreme Being you believe in) planted those seeds in you for a reason.  You are uniquely talented and qualified to pursue your dreams.  If not you, then who?

Your dreams hint at your life purpose.  The future is waiting on you to fulfill your destiny and live the life you came to Earth to live.

So if deep-down you want to be a successful entrepreneur, then why not believe that you will?

 

STEP 3:  Develop an action plan.

Create a 30-60-90 day action plan.  Define what specific steps you will take in the next 30, 60, and 90 days to reach your goal.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  I recommend using Excel or MSProject, but you could easily use the back of an envelope.  What’s important is that you think through steps to get you to the goal.  And write them down.  So you can hold yourself accountable.

As Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.”  What do you want to accomplish in the next 90 days?  Maybe in 90 days you want to have an executable exit strategy.  Maybe in 91 days from now, you want to be on the first day of self-employment.

No goals is wrong as long as it is SMART.  SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, & Timely.  An example of a well written goal:  Lose 5 pounds in 30 days by exercising 4 times per week & reducing calories.  A poorly written goal:  lose weight.

Be sure to reward yourself when you reach your milestones.  As organizational behavior guru Dr. John Slocum says, “What gets measured and rewarded, gets done.”

You may also want to determine exactly how much money you really need to live on.  Strip down to the bare necessities.  Do you really need 300 cable channels?  Can you move to a location with a cheaper cost of living?  Sometimes you have to take 2-steps backward to take a huge leap forward.

 

STEP 4:  Analyze your fears.

What fears are blocking you from achieving your dreams?  Make a list.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and brainstorm a list of fears.  What are all the things that keep you from making the leap?  Be honest.  Ask your spouse, friends, trusted advisers to review the list.  Did you miss anything?

Create a risk mitigation plan.  It’s helpful to use Excel.  In the first column, make a list of all your fears and all the things that could go wrong (aka risks).

In the 2nd column, define the risk as high, medium, or low probability of happening.  Usually you will discover few risks have a high probability of actually happening.  This little fact alone will help minimize your fears.

In the 3rd column, define the steps you will take if the fear (aka risk) becomes a reality.

Now, you have a concrete plan to use in a moment of crisis.  Or analysis paralysis.

 

STEP 5:  Don’t be afraid to execute.

Don’t get analysis paralysis.  Don’t get hung at dreaming and not doing.  Stick to the plan.

Hold yourself accountable.  Tell a mentor, friend, or spouse your plan, and ask them to hold you accountable.

Create a motivational credo — such as Rat Race Escape Winner or Best Rat Race Escapee!  Make copies of the credo and place it so you frequently see it, i.e., bathroom mirror, car dashboard, refrigerator, etc.

When in doubt or afraid, do something.  Any little thing to move you in the direction of your goal is better than nothing.  Determine a company name.  Buy the domain name.  Fill out the necessary forms to establish a sole proprietorship or LLC.  Make a business plan (find templates on-line).  When the Negative Nancy voice in your head starts talking, any small step toward your goal will help quiet her.

 

STEP 6:  Belief + Faith + Trust

The holy trinity of success is believing you can and having faith and trust in God when you can’t.

 

I know these 6 steps to escape the rat race work because I lived it.  Jennifer is me.

 

I want to hear from you! Tell me your plan to escape the rat race.


About Christine Boudreau:  From trailer park to country club, Christine’s history proves you can beat the odds and achieve great success.  Today, she leads high-potential people through growth, change, and transition to accomplish goals and reach their maximum effectiveness.  For more information about her, read Christine’s Bio.


 

Is college worth the cost?

College.  Is it worth the rising costs?

Let me share an email I recently sent to my college-aged niece & nephew:

One of my favorite bloggers, James Altucher (made millions, lost it, made it again, worked at HBO, authored several books, & a lot of other cool stuff) wrote a few posts on why you shouldn’t go to college.  I agree with him.

I want to share this with you not only because you are college-aged, but also because I want to teach you to ALWAYS look at things from different angles. ALWAYS question.  Always say, well what if we tried it this way?   Maybe you end up right back where you started, and that’s ok.  What’s important is that you made an attempt to see things differently.

It’s the ability to look through the mirror — instead of at the mirror — which will create the most fulfilling life.

So…

Many people judge my life as successful.  By society’s standards of PMS (power, money, & status), I had them all.   Thus, most would deem me successful.  (Later, I’ll write about success, and my definition of it.)

When I look back at my life, and analyze what helped me create that “success,” I realized it’s not what I learned in college.  College did not enable me or prepare me for life, or work, or anything, quite honestly.  It’s my own ambition and desire to become better that enabled my success.

What college did for me is:  It bought me time.  Time to mature.  Which might be the real value in college for some folks.  For me, at 18, I wasn’t yet mature enough to do much of anything except attend class and party.  Ok, maybe I’m selling myself short.  We’ll never know how my life would have turned out had I elected to go out in the real world versus attend college.

College is expensive. Is the experience worth the price?Keep in mind, I attended college twice – once at age 18 to 22, and once as a 31-year-old employee, wife, and mom.  And let me tell you, the 2nd time was vastly different because I had 10 years of real-life experience from which to draw.

So… My experiences have taught me that college is just one experience.  And you need many AND varied experiences (which lead to many and varied failures, which, BTW, is the real teacher) in order to figure out this thing called life.  Because what is life, after all, except a string of experiences?

Altucher makes a good point:  He says statistics show that college grads earn more money than high school grads.  But if you’ve taken a statistics class (and everyone should), you’ve learned how easily stats can be manipulated, and that numbers can and do lie.  You also learn to ask questions about variables and data.  Like:  Perhaps the people who elected to go to college were ambitious, hence the reason they attended college. Chicken or egg?  Did the ambition (& assumed success) come 1st, or did college create the success?

The same question has been asked of Harvard grads:  Were these folks going to be successful BECAUSE they attended Harvard, or despite it? If you have the ambition to attend Harvard, don’t you have it within you to do just about anything?

So…

I say all of this because I want you to know while college is helpful, crucial, and beneficial in many ways for many people, it is not the golden ticket.  It will not by itself make you rich, happy, self-assured, or confident.  In a recent NY Times article, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, Laszlo Bock, said, “Too many colleges don’t deliver on what they promise.  You generate a ton of debt, you don’t learn the most useful things for your life.  It’s an extended adolescence.”

So if not college, then what?  Experience.  And lots of it.  Getting into the world and experiencing as many different things as you can.  Work at a big company.  Work at a tiny company.  Work for yourself.  Volunteer.  Don’t work at all.  Spend a week alone in a cave.  Meditate.  Ride roller coasters.  Ask for a date.  Call the boss. Confront the teacher.  All the while questioning, asking, poking, prodding, and dissecting this thing we call life.

Most importantly:  FAIL.  Do not be afraid of failure.  It is your greatest teacher.* (*If you’re paying attention!  If you fail, and then ask lots of questions about what you can learn from that failure, then – and only then – will you grow, learn, and blossom into the amazing, talented individuals that you are.)

Most importantly #2:  TAKE RISKS.  Especially when you’re young because you have less to lose.  Taking risks leads to experiences that could lead to failure (or success), and BAM! you learn something.*

Any maybe after all that, you’ll find success.  If not, you’ll find yourself, and that’s the greatest accomplishment of all.

xo,

Christine


About Christine Boudreau:  From trailer park to country club, Christine’s history proves you can beat the odds and achieve great success.  Today, she leads high-potential people through growth, change, and transition to accomplish goals and reach their maximum effectiveness.  For more information about her, read Christine’s Bio.