Reasons for Relationships

As we finish off the blog month today I wanted to take time to talk about relationships and purpose. I believe that relationships (of all kinds, not just romantic) exist for many reasons, some are good reasons and others are not so good reasons. But I do believe that all relationships have a reason for existing. Some relationships exist because one person has chosen to pick on or bully another, some relationships exist because two or more people have come together in support of a mutual goal or cause, some relationships exist because people have been put in proximity with each other, some relationships exist because kids have been created, and some relationships exist because two people have fallen in love.

The relationship we’re talking about today of course is one of romantic reasons. There was a reason that you two came together. That reason may not be something you are both in agreement with today, but there had to be a reason that you partnered up in the first place. To get back the passion and life in your relationship it may be as simple as refocusing on the reason(s) you started the relationship in the first place.

Each of us have a purpose in a relationship as well, a job if you will. You’re not in the relationship just for what the other person can give you, otherwise it’s not a true partnership. If you’re not living up to your purpose in the relationship, the relationship can’t last, or it will be a very unhealthy one if it does, one with lots of jealousy, anger, frustration and avoidance. What reason do you have for being in your current relationship? Are they reasons that you’re proud of and can sustain the relationship, or are they not applicable anymore or are they of selfish intent? If you want your relationship to last it’s time to take a look at the reason behind it, the reasons that keep it alive and the reasons you’re in it and what you’re contributing to it.

What are your reasons for being in your romantic relationship?

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Support For Success

This week we honor the administrative assistants of the world. Today I want to take some time to share a few thoughts about them and a few resources too.

First let’s talk about why you need one.  Most small business owners are doing entirely too much on their own.  They aren’t making the best use of their time, are not getting the clients they should be and can’t properly care for the clients they do have because they’re so over-committed.  There are tons of sites out there that can help you get connected with the help you need to run your business better, whether it’s a babysitter, massage therapist, marketer or administrative assistant/secretary.

Second, just because they’re your support staff doesn’t mean they should be treated with no respect.  They are human, they have feelings and it wouldn’t kill you to give them a compliment every so often.  Try your hardest to fully communicate all instructions to them, don’t expect them to read your mind or just “know.” Good communication will reduce the errors, frustrations and redos that have to happen.

Finally, there’s no shame in asking for help.  But if you can’t let go and really let them do their job and empower them to do a good job it will backfire on you.  You will waste time and money on them.  Yes, there will be some trial and error initially, to finding the right people to work with, but the biggest and most important step is to ask for the help regardless of your fears and concerns.

If you’re looking for some help here are some sites to check out:

Fiverr

Upwork

Outsource

Guru

Craigslist

99 designs

College Recruiter

Simply Hired

What are your recommendations about hiring assistants?

Thankful For Purpose

With this the last week of April today we’ll be taking look at our monthly topic, that of purpose.  I’m thankful for having made the time this month to think and talk about purpose.  It’s not an easy topic to talk about because so many of us struggle with our purpose, struggle with accepting our purpose, struggle with discovering our purpose and/or struggle with living our purpose along side all our other responsibilities in life.  I get that.  It’s not easy to keep all of the balls of your life up in the air and moving at the same time.

But for me purpose is one of those things that I need in my life because without it I’d be lost.  I’ve struggled with depression in the past, add to that not being a morning person and it can make starting the day difficult.  Having some insight into the purpose I’m here to fulfill and the goals I have for my life are part of the motivation that gets me out of bed each day.

I don’t know about you but I want to be a better person. Chances are good if you’re reading this blog so do you.  You have a desire to grow and improve yourself, you’re not interested in backtracking or staying/getting stagnant in your life.  Living your life intentionally and working towards accomplishing the purpose you feel you have been put on earth for are two ways to make sure that your life means something when you stare down death.

As we think about reaching the end of yet another month in our lives how are you feeling? Are you frustrated by what you’ve not accomplished in your life?  If so decide that starting today you’re going to do a better job of living on purpose, celebrating life and making the most of every opportunity.

Earth Day Details

Today the world celebrates Earth Day.  It’s a time for us to reflect on the world we live in and often take for granted.  As we reflect on family and relationships today it’s important to note that we are all in a relationship with the earth.  It’s not one that we all think about or take time to appreciate, but without the air that surrounds us and the ground that supports us we’d be nothing. Today as we think about Earth Day I thought we’d take a page from our kids and look at the little things.

Kids are really good at noticing the little things, like the stains on your shirt, the things you drop, and the words you say.  Kids are also pros at collecting stuff.  Whether we’re talking about toys bought at the store, old standbys like cardboard boxes, or the countless stones, acorns and flowers (aka weeds) they find in their explorations and your travels, they love to pick it up.  When was the last time you took a good look at what they picked up?  Have you took a close look at some of the things they’ve found lately?  Have you picked up a few of your own lately?

I know, that’s a kid thing! But at the same time it’s not. It’s all about noticing what’s around you, appreciating the beauty of the earth and how the world was created and what makes up the world.  Kids have great imaginations because they don’t see the limits and restrictions we’ve put on the world and still see the little things that make up the big things.  This Earth Day spend some time up close and personal with nature.  See the little bugs as they go about their lives, see the spring flowers exploding, see the birds searching for worms, pick up a couple of rocks, and appreciate the little things that make up our big planet.

“To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.”   William Blake

Business on Purpose

Today we’re going to take a look at 3 aspects to the purpose of a business, since we’ve been talking about purpose this month. If you’re running your own business I know there’s a lot that goes on that you’re trying to keep all things moving and it becomes very challenging. So to trying to keep the concept of purpose alive and well is often a challenge that you don’t think you have time for. But more often than not it’s the businesses that remember their purpose and share it with their customers and potential customers who make a lasting, positive impression.

You’re in business for the purpose of helping people: That’s the really general perspective on purpose. Each and every business is in existence to help people in one way or another. How we help people can be different, and the people we help can be different as well. Some businesses offer the same type of thing, for example creating websites, but one company may make websites for realtors and another websites for companies in developing nations. But regardless of what you offer you’re in the business of helping people, that is your purpose for being in business.

The purpose of a business is to make money: If you’re not making money on what you’re doing it’s not a business, it’s a hobby. Even if you’re a non-profit the funds have to come from somewhere, whether you take donations or have investors, there has to be money involved, because even if you offer your services for free you still have to have the money to get the products/services you offer or pay your salary and that of those who work for/with you. No, you may not always break even (although you should!), but money should be flowing in and out of your business.

The purpose of the business should be personal to you: I believe that each and every business should mean something to the person or people who start it. I don’t see a point in starting a vet business if you hate dogs. I don’t see the point in selling software for business building if you have no interest in business. Yes, there are some really great opportunities out there in which you could make lots of money; doctors or plumbers for example. But that’s not for everyone (I can put on a band-aid but that’s about it and I go nowhere near pipes). You don’t have to do everything and if you’re truly passionate about what you do you’ll have a much better chance of being successful.

So what’s the purpose behind your business? Are you helping people? Do people know what the purpose and passion is behind your business? Are you still excited by the business you’re in or have your interests changed and it’s time to move on to the next part of your journey?

Thankful for Change

As we work our way through another Monday today I am reflecting on something that has been alternately frustrating and reassuring me especially of late: time.  I’ve been reflecting on how slow it has gone the past week and yet how fast it has gone at the same time.  It seems like the minutes stretch out but then when I look next hours have gone by and I wonder where all the time has gone to.  Have your days been going like that lately?

When you’re under the pressure of time one of the biggest concerns that comes up is the question of whether or not you’re going to make a mistake or wrong decision.  However, with how fast time moves and how fast things change around us it’s almost impossible to not screw up occasionally.  The good news about how fast time moves and things change is that as soon as we realize we’ve made a mistake we’ll be able to start fixing it.

Don’t let yesterday’s mistakes get you down. Don’t let yesterday’s missed opportunities hold you back.  Don’t live going over the regrets you have about what you have or haven’t done.  Today comes with its own troubles and doesn’t need any help from yesterday and the past.  We all make mistakes and we all will have regrets.  But when we just dwell on them rather than doing something productive with them they win and we lose.  Choose to embrace the freedom that comes with today being a new day and our world changing as fast as it does.  And if you screw up today know that you’ll have a new chance as things change yet again in your life.

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.” Charlie Chaplin

Family Finance Smarts

This weekend there are tons of people throughout the US who are scrambling to get their taxes done.  Are you one of those people?  Of course taxes are all about one very important topic: money.  What are you teaching your kids about money?  As inspired by Tax Day I thought today we’d take a look at some money smarts.

Save: this is one of the most basic practices that most people don’t follow but is crucial to getting ahead in life.  If you want to have a great retirement and have enough money for whatever situations come your way or if your kids have a need.  You don’t have to save a lot, consistently saving even a little each week/month depending on how you get paid is a great start.

Spend smart: do your best to make smart purchases that you won’t regret.  There are 2 parts to this: first taking the time to be aware of how much things cost and buying things on sale whenever possible.  Second, thinking about your purchases before making them and making sure they’re good decisions that you’ll be happy with for an appropriately long time depending on what you’re purchasing.

Plan ahead: anticipating expenses or potential expenses, like a tax bill, are another key to making the most of your money.  Planning ahead means you can put some away each month for these expenses rather than trying to come up with the money when it is needed.

Respect money: money comes and goes, but if you don’t respect that cycle it will be much harder on you.

Always grow: this is one of the most important smarts.  It’s important for us to keep growing and learning and trying to improve our situation, both about money and about our skills in general.  This doesn’t mean you have to work crazy hours or multiple jobs and ruin the other parts of your life, but it does mean having a healthy work ethic and always looking for opportunities to better yourself.

What are the best lessons you’ve learned about money in your life?

Filing System for Success

One of the challenges that all business owners face is organization. With Organize Your Files week this month I wanted to share some insights to organizing your files and keeping things as straight as possible to make it as easy as possible to run your business, keep track of your finances and clients and work and get back to the good parts of running your business as quickly as possible.

Organization starts with a plan. Do you have a plan for what you do with documents you download, print or receive in the mail (virtual or physical)? If you don’t have standard operating procedures for how you deal with your materials pretty quickly you’ll become overwhelmed by them and it will be very difficult to catch up.

Once you’ve got a plan you have to consistently implement the plan. Plans, ideas and concepts are all great, but implementation is the key to success, especially when it comes to organization. Some things you can get away with organizing on a weekly or monthly basis, other things should be organized on a daily basis. Knowing the volume of different types of information and documents in your business will allow you to come up with an appropriate schedule.

So how do we get organized? You may want to create inboxes, both physical and virtual, where you quickly categorize things to be dealt with all at one point in time during the day or week, or it may work better for you if you file things as they come in. Personally I find filing as things come in a distraction and interruption to my work, so I have boxes (physical and virtual) that I stick stuff in to be filed at the end of the day/week/month, for example paid bills, bills to pay, items to shred, things to keep for ideas or clients, and things that need to be done. It takes seconds to put things in a temporary home and that allows me to get back to work quickly and take care of properly filing when I’m not needed with clients or during non-traditional work hours.

The next step is more permanently addressing things.  Have overall categories and more specific folders within the categories to organize things as is most appropriate.  Things that you have a large volume of files for should have many more specific folders to help you manage the clutter like leadership, marketing, and legal/taxes, while things like potential art and decorations for your offices will have a one general folder and no sub-folders since you won’t access it as often or have as much to put in it.

Once you’ve got your filing system set up you have to implement and keep up with the filing.  This is where the specific folders make things much easier for both filing and finding in the future because you won’t have to search for things or go through files of papers before finding things because you’ve got a great system.  If your organization system needs work make time for it this week. You’ll be glad you did in the future.

What are You Smiling About?

Do you know what a gift it is to smile? Some people live in such pain and poverty that a smile is the furthest thing from their minds. They’re too concerned about getting their next meal, living until tomorrow and not getting beat up by those who hold them captive in one way or another. There are also the people who have no teeth or bad teeth and are ashamed of it so they don’t smile. Plus there are the people who are so overwhelmed by the stuff going on in their lives that they just can’t find anything to smile about (most of us can identify with this one!).

I had some time between appointments this weekend so I stopped at a coffee shop to get some work done because it was smarter than going home and back out again. I enjoy going to this particular coffee shop because they always decorate for seasons and holidays. For the spring season they’ve got paper flowers and streamers hanging from the ceiling. This isn’t a large expense, there are any number of catalogues and online stores who sell these products, they probably spent a maximum of $30 on them. But by doing so not only did they brighten my day, they made me smile. They don’t have to do this, just like no one has to hang lights for Christmas, but by doing so they bring some cheer to the world.

Has something or someone made you smile lately? If so make it a point to pass the cheer along. Maybe you’ll post something positive on their social media, maybe you’ll volunteer to get the treats for your next girls/guys night, maybe you’ll choose to Shop Small to help a small business owner breathe a little easier this month, maybe you’ll donate to a charity that brings smiles (literally or generally) to other people, or maybe you’ll just share a smile with someone you pass at the store, in the halls at work or just going about your day. What has made you smile lately?

Today is a New Day

You may not think about it often but today is a brand new day. Today has never happened before and today will never happen again.  You have the opportunity to do anything and everything with this new day.  You can get out in nature, take a walk and listen to and observe the spring changes.  You can choose to listen to your partner when they tell you they’re stressed out and ask how you can help (or just do something).  You can choose to play with your kids rather than ignoring them in favor of playing an app on your phone.  You can choose to pick up healthy food at the store rather than just the good looking junk food.  You can choose to get stuff done rather than procrastinating and putting them off again.

Today is a new day with new opportunities.  But those opportunities are only open to those who are open to them.  Are you open to seeing those opportunities in your life or are you so stuck in your current rhythm that you can’t see beyond it, or are you willing to go through the possibly painful and definitely challenging experience of changing it? Once you’ve made the choice to be open to the opportunity, to be open to the needs and desires of the people in your life you have to take action on your decision.

Start making the changes in your life that you know deep down in your gut that need to happen today.  Start with the little things if you’re intimidated by the big ones, like checking your phone less often, picking up after yourself, making healthier life choices, and treating others with more respect.   Do it because you love them and yourself and want the very best for your life.