You need to stop buying stuff.
Not just you, but me too!
[Story Time] This summer I moved to France. Before I moved I struggled with making a large purchase.
See, I have an awesome desktop computer where I do most of my work. I also have an old laptop that still works but tends to get super hot and has an embarrassing loud hum. So I decided that with this new life abroad I was going to get me a new laptop too! A Macbook Pro! I deserve it right?
As the time for the move came closer and the budget became more real I was starting to have doubts about the big purchase. I mean a grand on a laptop? That was 2 months rent! I kept searching and searching for a deal but nothing felt affordable enough to unclench my fists. I assumed it was just fear so I did what any other rational human being would do, I posted my dilemma on Facebook!
Half the folks said “Yaaaaass girl! Go get the MacBook Pro. It is so worth it! Ever since I changed from PC to Mac my life has changed!” *side eye* (I’ve had a MacBook Pro before and it is NOT that serious). But there was one response that though caught my eye.
It seems like you have something that works and even makes you happy. The only point of unhappiness I’m hearing is that others have a better computer than you…
Instead of focusing on other people and what they have focus on YOUR goals. You’re going to France to grow your business. Will the new laptop do that for you? Instead of buying a new laptop, you can use all that money on something that will directly impact your business like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, even rent!
Reevaluate what you want. You want something that works, that will help you grow your business, that is reliable and it seems you already have that. Yeah you won’t be able to go to the coffee shop and look cool with your sleek Macbook, but you’ll be doing what’s right for your needs and that’s all that matters. Focus on you and use what you have. You’ll be much happier with that extra $1500 in your pocket.
Can I get an Amen?
I won’t tell you to never buy anything new! You will need training and tools, so here are 5 tips to help you make a decision whether you should buy something or not.
Can It Wait?
I do this trick with clothes but the same goes for business tools and courses. For example, I want to start a podcast next month. I have iPhone headphones, but those professional podcasting mics look soooo good. I know it’s not necessary NOW, but it would be nice. The podcast is more in the idea stages so purchasing an expensive microphone right now may not be the best idea. Yes, it can wait.
Can I Get It For Free?
Seriously, it’s odd how life can gift us when we ask for what we want. Take some time and think about how you can get your purchase for free or even discounted. I’ve been shopping around for a co-working space here in France and boy are they pricey. I shared my problem with a new friend and she offered up an empty office at her job. Hey heyyyy! Even when I was in Salt Lake City, I managed to get a volunteer position at my local co-working space in exchange for free membership.
How Often Will I Use It?
Now this is a good question. Are you buying a super expensive product that you only plan to use once or twice? Then maybe pass on it. On the other hand, will this purchase be used everyday? Will it bring tons value to you and your business? Then go for it!
Will This Purchase Help Me?
Sounds like a silly question because I know your answer is yes, but go a little deeper. Are you buying a Facebook ads course before you even have a product? Then the answer is no because right now this product won’t help you. On the other hand, if you are having trouble finding time to post to all your social networking apps, a scheduling tool would be a purchase that will save you so much time and stress. Evaluate the effect of your purchase based on the return you will get from it down the line.
Can I Return It?
I’m serious. Read the fine print. A lesson I had to learn a long time ago is that returning a product doesn’t mean that I’m cheap. It means I’m self-aware. You know what your needs are and when a product or service does not meet that need. This is what 30-day trials are for. I signed up for an email automation tool and after 2 months of tinkering it was just a headache. So canceled and asked for my money back. Guess what? No one called me cheap, poor, etc. They said sorry this didn’t work out for you, your money will be in the bank in 3 business days. Easy peasy.
Moral of the Story: You don’t need every shiny object. God, the universe, or whoever you believe in has gifted you with everything you need to make your business work. It’s important that you take the time to recognize and appreciate the tools and talents you have now by using them.
So chill out. It may be time for you to stop learning from others, stop buying new things and stop preparing. It might be time for you to just step out and be great as you are.
I want to make $500,000 by the end of this year.
I want to have 10,000 Instagram followers by June.
I want to give a Ted Talk.
These are all goals written in my journal, January 2015. Looking at them now, I can’t help but laugh a little bit. What’s funny is not that they were far fetched, it’s that I can’t even REMEMBER making them. I’m sure I probably just finished watching some inspirational video or stalking an uber successful somebody on Instagram and said to myself, “I want that. I’m going to speak it into existence and it will come to me.”
Have you done something similar before?
I know I can’t be the only one who has made goals that they’ve never achieved. It’s a cycle I’ve repeated for the past few years. Make a goal in the beginning of the year, fail at achieving it, and make a new goal the next year. (It’s half of why I stopped making goals in the first place. Read here)
Thankfully I was able to break out of that pattern this year. It’s October 2016 and I am just two items away from crushing all of my goals.
Here they are:
- Travel To France
- Weigh 155lbs
- Make New Friends
- Pay Off Personal Debt
- Improve Mental Health
- Quit My Job and Live Off My business
- Start A Podcast
- Grow My List to 1,000
- Create A Facebook Group
I’m still 10 pounds away from my goal weight and my list is at 806, but I’m confident I’ll get ‘er done in the next month or so.
So what changed in 2016 to help me make and achieve my goals for this year? That’s what I want to share with you in this blog post.
I attribute my success to:
⇒ Understanding Why I Don’t Reach My Goals
⇒ Finding A New Goal Setting Method
⇒ Creating New Habits To Help Me Achieve My Goals
Keep reading to learn how to implement these strategies for yourself.
Why We Don’t Reach Our Goals
We often fail to reach our goals for 3 reasons
1. We choose the wrong goal.
2. We take on too much too fast.
3. We don’t plan to fail.
What does choosing the wrong goal mean? In order for goals to be achieved, they need to be understood. So if your goal is to be a successful business owner, then you need to be able to break down the steps to reach this goal. If you just envision your future without figuring out how to get there, then you’re daydreaming and NOT goal setting!
Goals exist in a hierarchy. There are top-level goals, mid-level goals, and lower-level goals. The higher the goal the more abstract it becomes and the lower the goal the more specific it is. Your goal of becoming a successful business owner is a top-level goal. In order to reach your top-level goal, you need to first master your mid-level and then your lower-level goals.
Many times we latch onto these high-level goals and doggedly spend the year trying to achieve them. What we often find is that we’re not actually pursuing ONE goal, but instead trying to juggle multiple mid-level and lower level goals at the same time. That’s why we fail. We take on too much and get overwhelmed.
We also fail because our goals are not researched or thought out. A clearly explored goal not only breaks down the vision into small chunks, but anticipates roadblocks that one may encounter. A thoughtful approach like this to goal setting can help you avoid the high of dreaming up your life and the eventual disappointment from failing, yet again, to achieve your goal.
Here’s a goal setting method that asks you to break down that vision into more manageable chunks.
A New Goal Setting Method
1. Identify Your Arch Goals – Arch goals are your dreams and desires in their largest sense. They provide direction and meaning to all the goals in the rest of your hierarchy. These arch goals usually exist in dreamy vision statements like:
I want to be a star player in the NBA
I want to own a successful business
I want to be happy
2. Create Anchor Goals – Unlike your arch goals, your anchor goals are more actionable. They are a way of distilling your desires into mid-level goals that you can work towards. I like to encourage women to spend a few days researching your arch goals to help identify the anchor goals.
3. Plan Your Support Goals – This is the most important part of hierarchy goal setting because it’s often the most overlooked of the three. Support goals are the systems and habits that we must implement and focus on in our DAILY lives in order to reach our Anchor goals and eventually our Arch goals.
Creating New Habits To Achieve Goals
Now that you have an understanding of why your previous goal-setting methods didn’t work, I want to share 4 ways to actually achieve your goals.
Create New Routines
If what you used to do in the past didn’t work, then it’s time do something different. The success of your arch goals largely depends on your support goals. Support goals are made up of systems and habits that you will have to change in order to make a dent in your arch goals.
The best way to develop new habits is to change your routine. If you want to grow your Instagram following, create a new morning routine that involves taking 30 minutes to interact on the platform. If you want to be featured on other websites, make it a habit to repurpose your weekly content for guest posts. If you want to spend more time growing your business while working a 9-5, make it a habit to take an after work nap so that you’re prepared for a 6-10pm shift in front of your laptop. The list of possible new routines is endless.
Set Yourself Up For Small Wins
Small wins are exactly what they sound like. It’s the accomplishment of an easy milestone that you set for yourself. We spend a lot of time imagining how it will feel when we reach our arch goal but we don’t give our lower-level goals the same love! This can make achieving our goals seem like a long painful process. Instead, try setting up small wins. This will not only encourage you to keep going, but serve as progress markers as you advance to your arch goal.
For more on “small wins” check out The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Write Down Your Goals
A large part of success comes from focusing on your goals. I mentioned earlier that when I looked at my goals from January 2015, I didn’t even remember them! That’s the surest path to failure. Instead of forgetting them like I did, commit to creating a new routine that requires you to write down your goals daily. Here’s an example of why writing down your goals works.
In a Scottish study, hip replacement patients were split into two groups. One was given a booklet after their surgery and asked to write down their rehab goals each week, such as walk for 5 minutes, do stretches, etc. The second group was not given a booklet. When the researcher compared the groups, she found that the patients who wrote down their plans for the week actually healed two times faster than those who did not. (Read more on the study here)
This study, and others like it, continue to establish that writing down your goals and staying focused increases your chances of success!
Get Real About Fear
Half of the reason why we are unsuccessful in achieving our goals is fear. Fear that we’ll fail. Fear that we aren’t worthy of succeeding. Fear of rejection. Fear of changing your mind. Fear of hitting roadblocks. Fear for no damn reason! So I want to encourage you to get real about what you’re scared of. Write them down. Identify any obstacle that you may encounter when pursuing your Anchor goals. Once you’ve identified the obstacle, image the worst case scenario. Yes, I mean it. Go ahead and imagine what would happen if you fail miserably and lose the house? What if you don’t make any money and your mom was right? What if the new job rejects you. Vividly consider the worst case scenario and then write down what you’ll do. Are you going to move back in with your parents until you can get back on your feet? Will you take a day to cry and then start applying for another job? Will you sign up for counseling to deal with the shame from publicly failing? This process will take the mystery out of your fear and turn your worries into a contingency plan.
Address Your Mindset
Just as important than fear is your mindset. Possessing an optimistic mindset is so valuable for your journey towards success. Optimism is a feeling of hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.
Why is optimism important? Here’s another study to consider. Elite swimmers were asked to take a test to determine if they had an optimistic or pessimistic mindset. Once their classifications were secretly determined all were asked to swim at their very best. When the swimmers completed the exercise, researchers deliberately told them that they swam a few seconds slower than their actual time. Swimmers were then asked to give it another try. Those who were identified as being pessimists swam even slower than their original time. Those who were identified as optimists swam either at the same speed or faster!
That’s how important your mindset is. You’ve got to believe that you can do better, learn more, and improve. This growth mindset is the key to traversing roadblocks and reaching your goals.
Learn more about Growth Mindset in Angela Duckworth’s Ted Talk.
Oftentimes when we feel off-track, disappointed, or unfocused it’s because we’re out of touch with our goals or what we want for ourselves. Goals can serve as a useful life compass. If you need help creating your own goals, check out my Goal Hierarchy Workbook where I walk you through identifying your Arch, Anchor, and Support goals so you can finally start getting stuff done!
You can download it below!
Creating a new website or blog doesn’t really come with a how-to guide. So many of us simply sign up for a service and start cranking out posts. (Get IT Girl!) But there are 3 words that can immediately stop the music at this productivity party.
Cease And Desist.
Scary as hell right?
Here’s what many bloggers and entrepreneurs don’t realize. Using photos that you find on the internet could be illegal. Yes, even all those free “looking” photos on Google. Did you hear about Lauren Conrad’s recent nightmare? You see, the original owner of any image has the legal right to ask you to remove their photo from your website or worst, they can ask for compensation for the use of the photo without their permission. (Even if your blog hasn’t made any money yet!) Ouch!
How do you avoid breaking the law and losing coins?
Don’t worry. I got you.
First, let’s break down “Copyright”.
Copyright is a federal law that protects original works. This includes written, visual, and artistic works. Copyright does not have to be applied for, so it starts automatically when the work is created, whether it’s finished or not. So most of the photos taken by other people are off limits unless you have their express permission to use it.
There are exceptions, though. It’s called Fair Use. You can learn more about that HERE.
My advice though is to break your Googling habit right now. That’s why I’m sharing three ways to find and include photos on your website while avoiding the 5-0.
1. Use Copyright Free Photos – There are 2 main places to get copyright free photos.
Creative Commons Licensed Pics — You can search for photos that are free to use through Creative Commons. Usually, this means you have to cite the source of the photo and link back to their site. To find these photos, all you do is go to CreativeCommons.org, type in what you’re looking for in the search box, check the boxes to image for commercial purposes and/or modify them, then choose which library/search engine you want to use to search for your image. Finito! Don’t forget to cite the source!
If you aren’t in the mood to give credit you can also use photos that are in the public domain.
2. Take Your Own Photos – Hey it’s FREE99.
All that matters here is photo quality. You can get a really good camera for a 100 bucks. I usually use my IphoiPhone little tip is to hold your finger against the portion of the screen you would like to focus on. This will enable your iPhone’s exposure and focus lock. The letters AE/FE should appear on the screen to indicate you’re in that mode. Your pictures come out looking so much more professional this way.
3. Sign Up For A Free or Low Cost Stock Photo Subscription – This is my favorite of the 3. If not for a designer I recently hired, I would have never known about these awesome sites run by photographers who give out a free set of photos every few days. You can have access to all the photos for a low subscription cost. (Like $7) My top 2 are below as well as a link to a more extensive list.
CreateHerStock – CreateHERStock is a collection of awesome images for the everyday female blogger and creatives of color. I mean helloooooo is this awesome or what?! I splurged on the $7 subscription 8 months ago. It’s by far one of my best business investments.
DeathToTheStockPhoto – I’ve gotten some pretty diverse photos from the photographers at DeathToStockPhoto. Their photos lean more towards the creative side so they’re perfect for blogs related to lifestyle or design.
Here are some honorable mentions:
Colorstock – This catalog offers images of Black, Asian, Latin, and other ethnically diverse people at work and at play. You have to pay though. The other caveat is that they don’t provide a subscription service.
Black Stock Photo – Black Stock Photo is similar to other traditional stock photo sites like ThinkStock and Getty Images in that you have a subscription or pay per photo option. The only difference is the photos focus on people of color. If you’ve got the coins, definitely try them out!
Unsplash – The photos can be a bit random, but they are all great quality.
For more options on Subscription Photo sites, check out this extensive list that Shopify did. You can find it HERE.
Let me know which service you use in the comments below!
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A few minutes on social media can ruin your entire day.
That’s what happened to me during a bit of pre-getyourbuttup Facebook scrolling. A couple cats, memes, and then BOOM!
An acquaintance of mine posted an update announcing her upcoming TED Talk.
Her? A TED Talk? I mean, we’re the same age. We both work in similar business spaces. Plus, I have way more personality than her! How did SHE get a TED talk?
In a fit of jealousy I scrolled through her Facebook page and website trashing her site design, website copy, and muttering to myself about the irony of being so obviously beautiful but lacking in the eyebrow department. It was that bad.
Eventually I had to stop myself and ask, “Dayo, are you jealous?”
Who? ME? Jealous?
Why, yes. Yes, I was.
Jealousy happens to all of us. At times it seems like everyone else’s business is growing, that everyone else is getting a promotion, that everyone else is on TV, and that they all have their lives together. And yet with all the success, you can’t bring yourself to be happy for them.
This is jealousy.
You know it’s wrong. You know you should be happy for the person, but you can’t bring yourself to put out the hot coals that are burning in your chest.
Don’t fret. There is a way out of this. Jealousy is actually quite normal, but it doesn’t have to be an everyday thing. If you’re ready to make some serious strides to conquer that jealousy when it bubbles up, here’s a 4 step process to take you from hater to cheerleader.
Embrace Your Jealousy
I’m serious. In order to address jealousy you first have to admit that it’s there. Attempting to tell yourself that you are in fact not jealous will only make taming the beast that much more difficult. So be honest with yourself about the emotions that you’re experiencing. Explore specifically which events, experiences, or people are the sources of your guttural reaction. You may find that there is a common theme such as travel, career flexibility, or financial freedom.
Jealousy usually occurs when we’re not happy with our own situation. It’s a sign that someone has something that we want for ourselves. So once you have looked at the specific events or experiences that are causing you to be jealous, take some time to self-reflect. Is your jealousy expressing an internal desire? Is it a sign that someone has something that you want for yourself? What do you want?
Get Clear on Your Goals
Jealousy is actually distracting you from the real problem. Research suggests that jealousy can actually distract a person so much, that they miss what’s right in front of their eyes. So get focused. You’re not where you want to be. So take some time to get clear on your goals. Identify what you want for yourself and start creating a plan towards it. For example, I started working on my stage fright by joining Periscope to help me reach my goal of giving a TED Talk.
Surround yourself with people that make you jealous. This isn’t some cruel form of torture. It’s actually an opportunity to learn two things. One, that everyone’s life is not perfect. While it may seem like good things just fell from the sky and blessed the object of your jealousy, the more you insert yourself in the situation you’ll see all of the work that went into making the major trip, the increase in sales, or the accolades happen. Two, you’ll see what it actually takes to get what you want. Many times when we see good things happen to people it’s mystified. Put yourself in a position to ask, “Hey, how did you land that TED Talk?” and outline real steps to get what you want for yourself.
Jealousy can be a mighty difficult emotion to curb. The truth is, the person you are jealous of did not steal an ideal version of your life. There are more than enough TED Talks, money, clients, TV spots, and customers to go around. Think of it like clothes. You’re just seeing the same outfit on someone else first. Now it’s your turn to start saving for that amazing dress!
So next time you encounter the fiery feeling in your chest, follow this four-step process to nip that jealousy in the bud. Only then, will you be able to go after the life you really want.
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