Doing What You Want to Do on Your Own Terms

I have noticed a pattern in some of my coaching recently. I have been working a lot with clients on defining how to live their lives on their own terms. Helping them to gather the skills and confidence required to really getting to the core of their why and how they want their life to feel.

I have a client who recently suffered great loss. Both her mother and father passed on close together. In her eulogy, she was sharing that there were some great parts of life and love, but there were also some parts of her father’s life that she cannot forgive.

She has worked so hard to live life on her own terms and making choices for herself everyday. And I really challenge you to do the same. What can you do in order to make sure that when you pass on, you are satisfied, fulfilled and happy? By living a life on your own terms and having done what you really wanted to and what really mattered to you.

It is all too simple to sometimes feel like your whole life revolves around your obligations. It can feel like all you do is worry about what your kids need, spouse needs, house needs, what your business wants and needs from you. These are and absolutely should be priorities. But at the end of the day, are there parts of your life that you are forgetting about or not fully fulfilling that really matter deep down to you?

Living life according to your most basic values can be so rewarding and yet so much more difficult than it seems it should be.

There was a woman who wrote a about entitled Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, she was a nurse who spent a lot time caring for those at the end of their time. In this book, written by a nurse, individuals talk about getting caught up in daily life and the needs and expectations of others, and letting life pass you by. It can be hard to get around to what truly matters most to you when you have so many things pulling you in different directions. In her book, she says that most people regret working too much, and expressing their thoughts or feelings too little. It’s easy to fall into work and become a workaholic or fall into the rabbit hole of always seeking more money or success, but at the end of the day, that’s not what is most important for us.

Most everyone has a family member or a friendship in our lives that needs our attention and nurturing, but that can be hard to keep up with if you are distracted consistently. It should be important to spend time connecting with that person or making time for them.

Mindset can be a very powerful thing as well. It is common for people to sometimes feel like they don’t deserve something, or are getting too much. It is normal to have a lot of inner voices in your head, but at the end of the day they can convince you that you shouldn’t try, or make the effort because there is no point. But that can easily breed regret in the future.

Considering instead of reasoning or making excuses, trying to ask yourself if, doing something, will make you happy. Make it less complicated and just ask yourself “Will trying this make me happy?” It can feel foreign, but it can really produce a more authentic response.

Have you ever felt the friction in your life, of putting someone else’s expectations of you, above your own values? Do you think when it is your turn to be in the hospital, talking to the nurse, that you will feel fulfilled? Spend some time this week evaluating your to do list and find those things that really matter. If there’s nothing on that list for you, it’s time to clean it up!

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Why is it So Hard for Mompreneurs to See Themselves as Successful?

What is success and what does it mean to you? Success is not the same for every person, so why do we always seem to slip into trying a one-size-fits-all approach to what it means to be successful? Why is is so hard for us to figure out what success really means to us?

This is a topic that repeatedly comes up in my coaching business. Are you trying to figure out what is next for you or what your next step is? It is important when trying to figure that out, that you have a defined idea of what success really means to you. Not only that, but also your own “yardstick” or way of telling if you really measure up to that definition.

Why do we feel so much pressure? The reason you may feel like you’re not measuring up consistently is because you are using the wrong yardstick. Your definition of success get polluted, bent and misshapen as time goes on. Your goals and aspirations will always continuously evolve as you evolve and accomplish certain things that you set out to accomplish. Your yardstick needs to consistently grow and change with you. It’s very hard to remember to do this with your own definition of success.

Sometimes you just really need to understand that when we say “success” we are really searching for a deep-seated feeling of happiness. Success can look so many different ways to different people, but it never fails that it is rooted in happiness. That’s when life starts looking and feeling the way you want it to. It can be very hard to get there and distractions are so easy to get caught up in as a mom entrepreneur. It is easy to get caught up in doing what others “expect” for us to do, instead of following our heart or our own definition of success. Doing what others expect, you would get a lot of external encouragement and acknowledgement, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right for you.

Another common yardstick that can trip you up is the yardstick that measures your physical belongings and current life situation. Maybe you have the perfect house, that new car or the perfect body you’ve always wanted. You can be so proud of those things and accomplishments, but sometimes that is still the wrong yardstick for measuring your individual success.

Research has shown repeatedly that more “things” does not equal more happiness. Keep collecting more things, working out more or going on more luxurious trips that we think will “prove“ to us that we are successful based on what we have seen in society of “successful people”.

It is important to really define success for yourself and keep the important things on your radar so you know if you are on your way. The first step is to determine your own standards. Don’t worry about how other people measure their success, what is truly important to you? After establishing your standards, it is crucial to doing something that is related to your purpose and that is aligned with your passions. And lastly, focus on intrinsic goals, what will make you feel better instead of on money or time based goals.

If you haven’t already, be sure to grab a copy of my book Moms Mean Business, because you will benefit greatly from this being covered in the first 3 chapters as well as the assessments to help you define your own meaning of success!

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Permission to be Successful

We’re gearing up for a month of talking about success: defining and measuring our success, feeling successful, and more. Today, though, I want to give you something really special. It’s permission to be successful.

You have permission to be successful.

So often in our lives we get buried under negative self-talk and our own doubts and fears, not to mention the negativity and doubt of those around us. Sometimes, our own predictions of failure become self-fulfilling. But not anymore!

Everyone deserves success. You deserve success.

Sometimes, we have survivors guilt: our business and life is going well, but our close friend or even partner/spouse is having trouble in certain areas of their lives. This leads us to downplay or feel undeserving of what we’ve achieved. Baloney!

You earned your success.

Don’t let comparison steal your joy! Often we hear that in the context of giving yourself a pep talk when you feel less than about what you have, but it works the other way, too. Allow yourself to feel deserving of success. You are working for it, so let yourself have it!

You have permission to be successful.

Say it to yourself “I give myself permission to be successful.”

For more about success, check out my latest podcast: “Why is it so dang hard for mompreneurs to see themselves as successful?

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When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Sheryl Sandberg

I have been working with some other moms at my fifth-grader’s school on a memory book that each of our fifth-graders will take with them when they leave elementary school and move onto middle school. One of the questions the kids are asked for this book is “Who is your hero?”

Who Is Your Hero?

This sort of question always gives me pause, since I am not in the habit myself of thinking of heroes. I had to ask: “Who is my hero?” And for a while, I just couldn’t come up with anything since the term “hero” made me think of putting someone on a pedestal, making them different from me, and making them superior. I wound up with a whole bunch of weird emotions about that term, shook my head, and then forgot about it.

lean in collageBut over the last few weeks, I have been consuming all the information I can about Sheryl Sandberg and her movement and new book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. I’ve watch a smart, ambitious woman put herself in front of the firing squad to stand up for what she believes in–that women deserve an equal shot at success and leadership opportunities, in addition to running a family. And I’ve watched a strong, kind woman respond to all manner of criticism and contempt with grace and self-confidence.

This video clip from CNN.com is a great example of how Sandberg accepts and allows criticism of her views and respects different points of views without losing sight of what matters most to her.

Ambition, Confidence, Leadership

I love what Sheryl is doing to bring discussions of gender in the workforce and the choices about raising a family and being successful in business to the table. I appreciate that she’s using her role as a woman leader in business to speak about a controversial topic that matters. Yes, she has resources that most of us don’t and won’t have that contribute to her success, but that doesn’t make her points less valid. She could simply do her job at Facebook, make a ton of money, and be happy. Instead, she’s choosing to leverage her position to attempt to help working women have better choices.

Bless her heart. If I have to pick a hero, she’d look a lot like Sheryl Sandberg. I’m 42 and she’s 43, so maybe there’s still time for me to be just like her when I grow up. If that doesn’t happen, I hope that one day she knows who I am and how much her message makes a my world a better place.

Special thanks to my little sister, Jessica Axton, for sending this video clip to me this morning. She knows my heart so well.

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What if you stopped trying so hard?

Everyday, I get an email from a guy named Mike Dooley who offers inspirational messages. Some days, I feel too busy to read them and simply delete them. Other days, it’s like he has somehow been able to read my thoughts and sends a perfect message at just the right moment.

Here’s the message I almost deleted this morning:

Stop thinking that you have to make it happen, Lara, and let it happen… That you have to be better, and be yourself… That I’ve ever judged you, and be free.

What stopped me in my tracks this morning was that this is the exact message I decided to use for a keynote speech I’ve been asked to deliver at a Women’s Leadership Conference next year. And I just came up with this yesterday afternoon.

Since I don’t believe in coincidences, I’m taking this as a sign from the Universe that I’ve chosen the perfect topic. I’ll be talking about authentic leadership, and how the first step is self-acceptance.

Crazy things happen when we accept ourselves–we become a magnet for others who want to accept themselves, too. And all of that has nothing to do with being perfect or better than others.

Photo credit La Bella Sandra Photography
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Up Next in the WoMEN teleseminar series: Alisa Bowman

This is gonna be so much fun.

As you know by now, I’ve put together a fabulous and FREE teleseminar series for working moms called: “WoMEN: What Mom Entrepreneurs Need.” Our next topic in the series is something every mompreneur I know needs–some advice, tips, and clever ways to get the support we need from our partner or spouse. Running a business and raising a family is not easy, and it’s near impossible if you’ve got a struggle with your partner going on.

I’ve found just the gal to help us figure out how to make this better.

On Tuesday, April 14th at Noon ET, I’m pleased to welcome Alisa Bowman from “Project Happily Ever After” as my guest expert for the teleseminar entitled: “How to Make Your Marriage Work With Your Business.” alisa_bowman

Her approach to marriage, parenthood, career and friendships has been described as “disarmingly honest.” Her fresh take on life includes mentioning what others deem unmentionable.  From bikini waxes to second honeymoons, the silent treatment to power struggles (both with 2 year olds and 42 year olds), she is able to masterfully blend the helpful with the hilarious. Alisa speaks at college events and conferences. She has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens, Women’s Health and American Baby. She has also been interviewed on large websites such as Glamour.com, various newspapers and a guest on regional radio and television news shows. Alisa has authored and co-authored or ghosted more than 20 books, including 5 New York Times Best sellers. Alisa currently lives happily ever after (most of the time) with her husband, daughter and dog in Emmaus, PA.

I hope you’ll join us for this fun, wise and honest look at how we mom entrepreneurs can get the support we need from our relationships. Here are the details:

What: “Make Your Marriage Work With Your Business” teleseminar, the second teleseminar in the “WoMEN: What Mom Entrepreneurs Need” series, hosted by Lara Galloway, The Mom Biz Coach with Guest Expert Alisa Bowman

When: Tuesday, April 14th, from Noon – 1pm ET

Where: On your computer or your phone via www.blogtalkradio.com/MomBizCoach (click on the link to listen via webcast) or call (347) 838-9199 to listen and ask questions during the live show!

Tell your girlfriends to join you! I promise you’ll find some great nuggets of wisdom, some funny things to laugh about, and a few actions you can take immediately to improve your relationship.

Do you have a question or topic you’d like to hear addressed during the teleseminar by Lara or Alisa? Just leave a comment below.

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Can I get a little inspiration, please?!!!

There are a lot of people out there who are a lot scared right now about how things are looking in the economy. And no doubt: once a person gets scared, more and more scary things start showing up.

I’m excited to continue sharing good news that’s happening to some great mom entrepreneurs right now. If we continue to look for what we can celebrate, what is working, what IS possible, then a lot of amazing mom biz owners will get the recognition and support they need and deserve.

Please read the attached blog post below from a new friend and colleague, Traci Bisson, who runs The Mom Entrepreneur as well as her own PR and marketing firm. Traci is doing a phenomenal job in her own ventures and is celebrating other mom biz owners who are committed to doing the same. Traci is looking for stories from mom entrepreneurs who are “making lemonade from lemons”, and will highlight them in an upcoming blogpost.

Want to know more, or have a suggestion for Traci? Read below.

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Amazing kids

About a month ago I was invited to speak to a group of “at-risk” high school students in the metro Detroit area. These students had elected to be part of a summer-study course to learn about Global Trade Markets, and ultimately, to learn what it takes to get a job in today’s global economy.

I was floored when I met these students–mostly minorities of one sort or another, with bonus points for unconventional hairstyles, clothes, piercings and tattoos.

But their appearance wasn’t what surprised me. They were doing the work of entrepreneurs in this four-week long seminar, looking for problems and creatively collaborating to engineer money-making solutions. They were studying the cultures of our overseas neighbors to better understand the challenges and pitfalls that could occur when doing business in a global model. They were taking ownership of their model “companies” and doing what it took to get their ideas to work. These kids were motivated, creative, ambitious, willing to learn and dedicated.

All this while living in a home where important basics were missing: one or more parents, proper supervision, love, a healthy, safe environment, the list goes on…

I challenged them in my presentation to take the entrepreneurial strategies and skills they were using to create global businesses and apply them to their lives. I asked them to consider themselves CEO of a company called Your Life, Inc. As they were getting ready to finish school and begin calling the shots in their lives (where currently many of them were surviving circumstances no one should have to), this challenge shook them up a bit.

They had already demonstrated to themselves that they could do everything it took to give a company a successful vision, to figure out their biggest obstacles and create a plan to overcome them, and to keep themselves focused on their end goals until they reached them. So what would keep them from doing the same to accomplish their own dreams?

The students were very engaged, asking questions, offering examples, sharing their ideas. I was totally inspired by their openness and willingness to take responsibility for their lives and go after what they believed in. I would love to teach this concept/strategy to other high school students so they walk out of school and into the world with the knowledge and power to achieve their goals.

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Delicate balance: mothers in business

As a mother of three children under six years old who owns her own company, I spend a lot of time doing one thing while thinking I “should” be doing another. Sometimes I’m building Legos with the kids and I’ll remember I’m on deadline for something I’m writing. Other times I’m sitting at the computer responding to a client or doing research on my target audience, only to have a nagging feeling that I should be back downstairs drawing silly sketches or playing hide and seek with the kids.And I know I’m not alone. Mothers in business, “mompreneurs”, have particular challenges when it comes to the issue of balancing business and babies. Without question, priority #1 is my family. I chose to be a mother a while back and have no doubt that this is exactly who I am supposed to be. But my journey to become a mother who also has a fulfilling career has been a not-so-graceful dance between passion, commitment, ambition, guilt, joy and inspiration. Can we truly have it all?

I’m collecting thoughts, witticisms, rants and such from women who are the primary caretakers of their family and who own their own businesses or who want to return to work but feel conflicted about it. If this describes you, please post your comments here.

Some questions to ponder:

  1. Why do you (want to) work?
  2. What are your biggest challenges as a mother/business owner?
  3. Does your husband/significant other support your choice to pursue a career?
  4. Does your work satisfy you? If so, why?
  5. What do you have to sacrifice to be a “mompreneur”?
  6. What is the most gratifying part of your work?
  7. What inspires you?
  8. What do you hope to teach your children by being a mother/business owner?
  9. What does “success” mean to you?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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