Category Archives: Business Talk

Feeling Lost

I received a form request last week on my website that got me thinking:  “Hey Lauren-can you help me- I’ve done well in school, am told I have great potential, I run sub 3 hour marathons, but haven’t been able to land many clients as a running coach to make money and feel like I am a little lost spinning my wheels. What should I do?”

This person obviously is ready for a big change in his or her life, but there is no bigger goal to get there. No goal means no direction or starting point. Hence the hours spent “spinning wheels.”

When I responded to this post, I also shared a little secret: that I have spent countless hours thinking about my overall calling, profession, and purpose (I think all 3 terms can be interchangeable), – and I cannot seem to narrow down what exactly my higher purpose is.  Maybe a running coach, a business mentor, a mom, a nurse, a runner– I am really not sure and I actually don’t think it really matters, because I feel fulfilled playing many different roles and I am ok with that. So if you are feeling lost in your career or your fitness goals, feel free to keep scrolling down.

Lost is also the Wednesday Word over at Deb Runs today, so I am pretty excited to share why I disagree with having all your ducks in a line and all your long term goals figured out ahead of time.  Sure there takes some degree of planning out your weeks, months, quarters, and years to be successful, but as an entrepreneur, I also needed to learn real quick how to cope and adapt to change and uncertainty.

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Feeling Lost?

If you know your life’s calling with a deep conviction, good for you. But for the rest of us who are feeling a little lost, I’m not sure it really matters whether or not you have your entire life planned out. I’d rather enjoy that uncertainty and have broader experiences than jump on the next big trend and miss opportunities.  But let’s dive a little deeper at why people say knowing your overall calling is essential, and I’ll share why I disagree:

Reason One: No Life Purpose = No Motivation

Given the forms submission I shared earlier, this one seems to make sense. People with clear mission statements seem highly motivated.  However, many take all “all or nothing approach” in assuming you need to know your end destination to motivate yourself. I have no idea where I’m going to end up long-term, who I’m going to be, and the projects I’m going to work on in five years. I’s okay with that and I’m still motivated to work on the smaller projects that will improve my interpersonal skills and move my business forward.  In some ways, small steps can be more motivating, because you see the results now instead of in decades.

Reason Two: A Mission Keeps You Organized

The logic goes that without a mission in life, you’ll be unfocused and get off track with your vision for your future. Having a focus in life is important, but I don’t think you need to spend all your time, money, and effort on solely developing a mission statement for your business.

As you improve in your trade, you’ll have a greater impact with that skill in money, reputation, and passion. As your skill increases, it becomes more and more crucial to put effort into improving that skill, relative to other pursuits. This creates a feedback cycle which pretty much focuses your life down to a particular set of skills which are your strong suit and produce the biggest impact.

That positive feedback cycle of skill and reward is natural, and may eventually lead to you “discovering” your life purpose. The problem is you can’t predict exactly where that cycle will go in advance. Trying to predict your calling in life in advance may derail the more natural process of building that calling. Having a focus in the short term (say a project, starting a blog or practicing a skill) is good. It’s good to be incredibly passionate about that pursuit. But while focus is essential in the short term, I think it’s equally important to be open to change in the long term, so you can see where the process takes you.

Reason Three: Knowing Your Mission Helps You Persist in Doubt

If you knew with 100% certainty you were meant to be a lawyer, you might not give up after failing your LSAT’s multiple times.  Life is full of moments of doubt, and without some kind of consistency, it’s easy to give up. I agree that consistency is important. Feeling deflated about a failed project or rejection can feel awful, and the initial instinct is to cut our losses and avoid the pain. Even when we know that will only make things worse.

But narrowing down to a specific calling can be just as tough as not having that consistency at all. Perhaps you really aren’t cut out to be a lawyer, even though you would be great at sales and networking. Having too much conviction in one profession may force you to persevere, but it also cuts off any other options—including those that might be better for you.

Instead, I’d rather settle on a more general calling of helping people. It’s not very specific, but the general aim of helping others makes me happy.

Feeling Lost

Just because I don’t know what kind of life I’ll lead in 5-10 years, doesn’t mean I can’t make a difference now. It’s easy to obsess over the big picture and forget all the little victories along the way. As a parent, it’s also important to not lose sight of the little lives I am impacted with my actions every single day.

Even if you don’t know exactly how your life will turn out, you have to celebrate the little victories along the way. It’s those little victories that can add up to something bigger than you could have ever imagined when you first started.  I never ever thought I would be a runner coach, nor help mentor other running coaches grow their businesses along the way, but I am so glad I “stumbled” upon it along the way!


Serendipitous is an adjective that describes accidentally being in the right place at the right time.  Running into an old friend in some unusual location, winning $50 on a scratch off lottery ticket, or unexpectedly PR’ing on a race that you just signed up to run the week before.  

Serendipitous is also the Wednesday Word over at Deb Runs, and since I have been in a running holding pattern, I wanted to talk about how serendipitous events can change our lives for the better.  Is it all a matter of luck, or are serendipitous events more of a series of forward moving circumstances that help shape our future experiences?  Whether you are working on gaining new clients for your business, or are just looking to meet interesting people, below are 5 habits to help increase your chances of success:

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1. Talk to others

If you sit inside your house each and every day, do you have a high probability of a “happy” accident occurring? Maybe if the four walls of your house or apartment talk back!  Why not increase the chances of ‘serendipity’ by connecting with others, attend neighborhood events, buy from your local shops, or check out your local library.  I love going to story time with my girls at our local library and I have met alot of really cool peeps at the library too!  Your local library or community center is also a great place to practice your public speaking in a low stress environment.  Although you may not draw a large crowd, you gain having new subscribers to add to your email list or your next product launch, and it’s a pretty neat concept to connect with others in your local community.  

2. Meet others in your niche

If you want to be a runner, would you rather try to learn the basics by yourself, possibly just reading running articles all day long?  Or would you rather join a free running club in your community, where you could connect with other runners, find out about cool new races, and bounce running ideas off of one another?  The cool thing about networking with like-minded individuals is that it creates a safe way to share interests, hobbies, ideas, recipe swaps, book club ideas, and so much more.  And who knows, you may just score a new friendship or a new play date for your kiddies!

3. Slow Down and Look for Signs

This one is easier said than done, but there are likely hundreds of serendipitous events happening around you, which could positively affect your life in some way, but if you are too busy to recognize them, then you may miss the signs. If your life is literally a series of “lucky” circumstances, then open up your mind to the possibility that chance encounters truly mean something.

Pay close attention to coincidences, chance encounters, and patterns in your everyday life.  The law of attraction states that “like attracts like” which in philosophy is used to sum up the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, a person brings positive or negative experiences into his or her life.  This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from “pure energy”, and the belief that “like” energy attracts “like” energy

Just as like attract like, the latter is also true.  If you have ever had a serious of negative circumstances go not quite as planned in your day, you have probably experienced this firsthand.  That first negative event can sometimes trigger a chain reaction for an overall series of “negative” events.  And in my experience, they usually occur in a chain of 3’s.  

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4. Follow the signs

Once you have opened up your mind to the possibility of serendipity and the fact that it might be happening all around you, start following the signs that you are being presented. Yes this might all sound childish and/or silly but I invite you to try it out for a week or two.  

Put down your cell phones, ipads, ipods, apple watches, etc. and just take 5-10 minutes to meditate.  If you don’t meditate, sit outside in nature and soak up the sunshine.  For me, being outside both refreshes and recharges my senses, calms me down, and enables me to focus on the task at hand.   

5. Write Down your Goals and Visions for the Future

Create daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals for yourself and write them down in a place you will visualize them often.  Writing down your goals will not only help you get clear, but will hold you accountable to carrying them out. Connecting to your “why” means connecting to the feeling that achieving the goal will give you. When we connect to our “why,” we raise our vibration and which helps us attract more people, life circumstances, etc. that will help us achieve our goal.  Review your written goals first thing in the morning and before going to bed at night; then take five minutes to visualize and connect with the feeling of achieving your dreams. Visualize that dream into existence.  

Whether you believe in the law of attraction principles or not, implementing these habits can only make you feel better, but they can also positively impact the way your cope with stressful situations.  

What are some serendipitous habits you practice? Please share below in the comments!

 


About 150 million Americans make New Year’s resolutions every year.  These are some of the goals I am seeing floating around on social media these days:

  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to eat healthier
  • I want to spend more time with my family
  • I want to make more money
  • I want to get out of debt

Do any of these sound familiar?  Unfortunately many of these “resolutions” are based on the goals of others and also based on what we think we should or should not be doing.  The problem with making these very non-specific and non-measurable New Year’s Resolutions (I like to call them cookie-cutter goals) is that these goals may seem unattainable when there is not a very specific and measurable path of action to achieve them.  

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So how can you set your self up for success with your 2016 goal setting?  Maybe start by NOT making a resolution this year motivated by someone or something else.  Let’s start off by NOT setting yourself up for failure in 2016.  I am going to share some of my favorite working goals for 2016 below. If you’re setting resolutions for 2016, there are at least three ways you might be subconsciously sabotaging your success:

  1. Stop living in fear and doubt. One of the most important aspects of success is overcoming your own self-limiting doubt and fear—truly believe your own success is possible.  Feel it, visualize it, even smell the success.  But often we are motivated by fear and doubt when goal setting and tend to play it safe.  And it is only natural to play it safe because it is routine and predictable.  We have been molded from a young age, maybe by our parents, caretakers, or teachers, to conform and not questions authority.  Or maybe you were told to get your head out of the clouds as a child, so you stopped daydreaming.  But who or what is preventing you from dreaming big now? What is holding you back?  Is it money, popularity, or possibly the fear of rejection?  How many times have we failed to eat healthy, lose weight, improve our finances, or nurture our personal relationships, and tended to just give up?  Every time we fail, we lose tract of a clear path to success. And yet success is possible—and vital. Our health, wealth, and relationships matter. We have to get outside of our heads sometimes to believe that. Once we get past our own doubts and truly believe that’s so, we can begin moving in the right direction.                                                                                   stella christmas 2015
  2. Implement deadlines.  Yes, nothing makes us more anxious and uncomfortable than a deadline.  Saying we will run more in 2016 is much different than saying that we will run a half marathon by April of 2016.  Saying we’ll lose weight in the new year is different than saying we’ll lose a certain number of pounds by a certain date.   The specific nature of deadlines increases that inner competition within ourselves, and it keeps us accountable and motivated.  I am not suggesting that you set a deadline to compete with others, but rather to give yourself that extra push and drive to get things done.  And it works for start dates as well as end dates. Saying, for instance, you’ll hire a personal running coach by a certain date removes your wiggle room. Whatever your bigger goal is—running a marathon, quitting your day job, joining a gym, writing a chapter in your EBook—deadlines drive ACTION.                                                                                                                                                               
  3. Make it more challenging.   We talked about playing it safe already, but sometimes we make resolutions that lack any personal drive. Running and getting in shape are really great, but what if that alone does not inspire us enough to make a change?  We live in the land of the free and people are inclined to do what they want, when they want. We have to be at a point in our goal setting to truly want change and work for improvement.  If we are not ready to commit to the challenge, we most likely will NOT do what’s necessary (such as work really hard) to get that goal accomplished.  And the research shows external rewards are few and far between. Even in my own running business, it doesn’t do me much good to add a bunch of incentives to run a marathon if my client does not want to commit, first and foremost, to working really hard at that goal.   Unchallenging goals do not energize and inspire us. If a goal doesn’t demand anything of us, it can’t drive anything in us. Also, unchallenging goals do not engage our creativity or resourcefulness. And that means we don’t get far, no matter what goals we set.  Only goals that take us outside our comfort zone enable us to rise to the occasion. The rest just leave us standing in our comfort zones.  If it doesn’t challenge us, then is doesn’t change us, right?  And lastly, when we set safe goals that do not challenge us, we are also not living up to our full potential to maximize our true talent.  I think the Robert De Niro (Lorenzo)  hits the nail on the head in A Bronx Tale when he says, “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever.”                                                                                   

There’s a reason traditional New Year’s resolutions fail year after year. They’re based on a system built on assumptions.

 
 

If you’ve given up on a New Year’s resolutions in years past, it’s no big deal; so have I! But let’s take some time today to learn from the mistakes of years past to start 2016 with a clean slate.  Look at today as an opportunity to set your goals with intention and purpose.

Now, what are you waiting for??

For more Time Management Tips, check out My new EBook, Time Management Tips for Runners™ HERE.  

 


 

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Many clients often ask me what I think are the most important attributes of a successful business owner. There are many, but the one thing that I see as being the most crucial—and often ignored—is consistency.

Any worthwhile, challenging goal requires sustained effort. Doing the things necessary for a day or two isn’t necessarily too challenging. Where many people fail is in stringing those days together and then creating the progress, the momentum, and ultimately, the successful accomplishment/launch, and/or product(s).

I believe staying focused and keeping the drive directly determine your success.  In this day and age, it is so crucial to maintain your focus, energy and optimism while pursuing your goals. I have some tips that I wanted to share below on staying focused on your goals, as it relates to business and everyday life.  These tips have worked for me in launching my own fitness, running, blogging, and consulting businesses….oh yes, and in being a momma to two fiesty girls! When you employ all of these components as a whole, the desired result is totally achievable.

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1. Have a Powerful WHY. With a strong enough reason you can and will find the why to achieve your desired results. Reasons, paired with a powerful belief, keep you motivated. When you’re excited about your goal(s), it doesn’t seem like work. But, if you’re not that passionate, your efforts will require more discipline and energy. Make sure it’s YOUR goal(s), and not some other successful business owner that you follow on Instagram, Periscope, or other social media channels.  Make sure your reasons WHY make you excited and enthusiastic. And then act upon your goals with drive and passion.

2. Write Your Ideas Down. This is a critical step.  Sometimes your greatest and most creative ideas come to you when you are least expecting. When you write your goals down, they appear not only on paper, but they become forever written upon your consciousness, which in turn, hold you more accountable to achieve your goals.  I hear all the time from my clients and coaches that I help mentor that they just do NOT have time to write down these ideas. Here are some tips that work well for me:  Out for a jog?  Utilize your notepad or an app such as Evernote on your phone to keep you organized.  Busy with the kids?  Keep a notepad or pen and paper handy in the kitchen (or other heavily traveled rooms).   I also keep a big fat notepad in our master bathroom, because the greatest of ideas for me, come in the shower:)

3. Visualize. “Picture it into fruition and meditate” your objective already in existence. Nothing can withstand the power of a clear, multi-sensory vision of what you are intending. What does it look like? How will you feel? What does it taste like (for all my foodie bloggers out there).  The more detailed and realistic you can make your vision, the more powerful it will be. Your vision will operate like a magnet and draw forth all kinds of things you never thought possible.

4. Practice Affirmations. Speak your goal(s) into existence. An affirmation is a present-tense, positive statement of your intended outcome. I now have achieved ______________ (fill in the blank). The more sensory rich and detailed you can make your affirmations, the more effective they will be. All of these techniques help you to feel the presence of your objective, build the belief, and boost your drive and confidence.  

5. Make a Plan of Action. To achieve and stay focused upon your objective, create an action plan. What are the steps you will take to get you from where you are to where you want to be? Your strategies will likely change as you go along, so set your goals in concrete and your plans in sand. Keep your eye on the goal, but remain flexible (to all my fellow parents out there) in your path to it.

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6. Measure Your Progress. You can’t change what you don’t measure. Create mechanisms that will allow you to see your progress. Use charts. Log your actions. Use anything that will encourage you by allowing you to objectively track your progress. Ask for feedback from your clients and customers and don’t be too proud to modify/change your product and/or services based on this feedback.  

7. Maintain a Support System. Join a Master Mind Group. Use a Buddy System. Surround yourself with people who will encourage and challenge you. Be accountable to someone other than yourself. Ensure to read books on personal development.  Ensure your spouse, significant other, or team members  can “check” you or be able to provide honest feedback on how to “pull” you in another direction or “re-focus” you when needed.  

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8. Focus On Only a Few Goals at a Time. You can achieve anything you desire, but not EVERYTHING you desire.  Concentrate your efforts and your energy on just a few goals at a time. I might have dozens of goals and projects, but I keep 3-5 key goals in the forefront of my mind.  Not sure what goals to focus on?  Track your recent income analysis on what your audience is looking for and modify your goals accordingly.  

9. Take Action Every Day. An important objective warrants daily attention.  So dream big and set a big goal and break it down into attainable steps.  A 1000 page novel is not written all at once. To many, writing a book or an Ebook would seem overwhelming. But a little over a page a day will get it done in a year. Every goal can be broken down into doable tasks done consistently.

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10. Celebrate Your Milestones. Mark your successes and acknowledge yourself for your progress, in your business and everyday life milestones.  As you achieve one goal, you can see better and believe more easily in the accomplishment of others. You deserve to succeed and you deserve to celebrate your successes.

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Do you get easily distracted away from your focus and your goals this time of year?  I know I always need a few reminders and a “gentle” push to stay on track with my business goals through the new year!  Comment below on which tip you struggle with and we will help give you the motivation and advice you need to “push” through!