Stop Should-ing On Yourself by Alece Ronzino

I’ve lived most of my life by shoulds. Growing up, I was the all-American good girl. I did well in school. I went on mission trips. I moved to Africa when I was 19 to serve as a missionary. I did everything “right.” By the book. The way I was supposed to, expected to, told to. The way I should.

But the treadmill of striving is exhausting. If only I could do more… If only I could do better… For every should I managed to check off the list, more would get added in its place. It’s a vicious cycle of defeat.

I finally realized how badly I needed to stop should-ing on myself. And I discovered just how challenging it can be to get off that treadmill.

One of the ways I’ve found freedom from the shoulds has been by ditching New Year’s Resolutions. I used to make a long list of goals I’d like to achieve in the new year, but never managed to live up to them (or, at times, even remember what they were).

It only left me feeling like a failure.

So I began choosing just one word as I step into a new year. One word that sums up who I want to be, or a character trait I want to develop, or an attribute I want to intentionally add to my life.

And since it’s just one word, it’s easy to remember. I place reminders of it around my home and workspace, and I inevitably start seeing and hearing it everywhere, which helps me stay mindful of it.

One year, I committed to risk more—it forced me to step out of my comfort zone and do things I wouldn’t ordinarily do. Another year, my word was look—it gave me eyes to see divine fingerprints even in the darkest of moments. Yet another year, my word was choose—a daily reminder that while I can’t control what happens to me, I can always choose my response.

My one word isn’t another to-do list. It’s simply a guide as I make decisions, set plans, and go about my life every single day.

And I’ve seen these words shape not only my year, but also myself. They’ve challenged me, inspired me, changed me. Such is the power of intentionality.

I’ve chosen unapologetic as my One Word for 2017, and with equal parts trepidation and curiosity, I am anxious to see how it will grow me this coming year.

Will you join me in choosing one word for the year?
Maybe a word popped right into your head. Maybe you need to let the idea percolate a bit longer. Either way, more often than not, your word finds you. You’ll probably have a love/hate relationship with it. That’s okay. If it doesn’t scare you at least a little bit, it’s probably not the right word. So… Together, let’s stop should-ing on ourselves.

What do you want to focus on in 2017? Who do you want to be by the end of the year?

Once you’ve landed on your word, join us over at OneWord365.com.

Alece Ronzino After pioneering and leading a nonprofit in South Africa for 13 years, Alece now lives in Nashville, TN. She is a nonprofit strategist, a freelance copywriter/editor, an Airbnb host, and the founder of One Word 365. She blogs occasionally but candidly about the grit and glory of life. Follow Alece on Instagram and visit her blog, Grit and Glory.

Alece Ronzino
After pioneering and leading a nonprofit in South Africa for 13 years, Alece now lives in Nashville, TN. She is a nonprofit strategist, a freelance copywriter/editor, an Airbnb host, and the founder of One Word 365. She blogs occasionally but candidly about the grit and glory of life. Follow Alece on Instagram and visit her blog, Grit and Glory.

How to Have the Most Organized Year of Your Life!

Do you find that your year goes by so quickly and before you know it the year is over? Do you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing in a year’s time?

You don’t have to squander another year. Just follow the ideas below for a better and bigger year. The key is to have a plan.

The best time to plan and set goals of the new year is at the beginning of the new year, but you can do this any time – it doesn’t have to be in January. All of the same tips & strategies will apply no matter when you start.

I’m going Calendaring!

I have all of my calendars out, along with school calendars, birthdays, vacations, holidays, city events etc… and adding them to my calendar.

I was inspired to do this from one of my podcast guest last year on episode #7 Jodi Vanderhoof. She plans everything on her calendars. She talks about it on the show. It’s a must-listen. 

Then just a few days ago I ran across a great video on calendaring. Click HERE to check it out. 

Just like the couple in the video the mister and I used to set a date after the new year to plan, dream and set our calendars. It was so much fun but somewhere along the way we let that go.

This year we are picking it back up and making things happen in 2017! We will set our focus on big things too during this meeting of the minds & calendars.

Goals in all of these areas need to be addressed during this time:

  • Financial
  • Spiritual
  • Family
  • Health
  • Career
  • Personal
  • Relationship
  • Vacation

Don’t forget to bring all of your other calendars to the meeting. This meeting doesn’t have to be with a spouse; you can have a meeting for one. Set aside a time to sit with your calendars, digital and paper, and add all of those important dates. Big things first.

Don’t forget to add birthdays, anniversaries, school events, parents' days at college, vacations, date nights, girlfriend time, and book club dates. All of these are important to us and if we don’t add them in now, time will slip away and it won’t happen. But this year we are armed and ready! 

Take advantage of the time you have now and make next year your best year ever.

How an Entrepreneur Survives the Holidays: 3 Tips To Keep Your Business Going

You know it’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays when you start seeing red and glitter everywhere you turn. When you own your own business, the stress can triple in size from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. I’m always tempted  to scale back in December, to let my business run on fumes. But this is not the easy way to get through the holidays. Since my goal  is to finish well this year, I came up with some tips that help me push through to the end of the year. Here’s hoping they help you, too.

  1. Don’t be an overachiever when it comes to decorating, baking and buying gifts. Keep it simple when decorating your office or home. One tree nicely decorated goes a long way. During the holidays I only bake for my family, so if my child’s school needs some baked goods, they will likely come from my local supermarket. Baking is hard work. I would rather spend the evening catching up on work, hanging out with my family, or resting than baking and cleaning up the kitchen at 10 p.m. I also have scaled back on decorating my home and tree. I found that a little goes a long way. I now take out fewer boxes from storage and decorate only one big tree. When you decorate with less, then you have little to take down and store again. I have enjoyed my sparse decorating just as much as I did my extravagant glitz from previous years. When buying gifts, keep it simple. Go with your gut and don’t overthink it. Using your lunch hour to shop online while chomping down your sandwich can save you lots of time.
  2. Schedule time to plan and dream. Sometime in December I set aside time to dream, plan my year, and gather my thoughts. This helps me find balance and keep the right perspective. When I don’t take the time to do this, I feel frazzled and waste time doing things that aren’t part of my plan. I sit with my planner, to-do lists, short-term and long-term goals, and my favorite beverage. The location of this meeting with yourself is important: I usually choose a warm spot near a window. A comfortable place with few distractions and interruptions is ideal.
  3. Keep your routines going. When everyone is out shopping and attending parties, the tendency is to go off-schedule with your work day, but don’t. Stay on schedule, keep those regular hours, and seize the day. When you attend a holiday party, don’t blow off the rest of the afternoon. You may find that you will be more productive after a fun party because you are in a jolly good mood. I do my best work when I am feeling festive. Set up those appointments you have been putting off all year long. Meet those people who have been busy week after week; chances are you may catch them with more time during the days leading up to Christmas because work has slowed down. If you catch them in their holiday jolly mood, you may actually seal that deal. I find it easier to tie up loose ends with my business in the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Give it a try this year.

Stay the course and don’t drop the ball (no pun intended). Scale back on the things that could be simplified or eliminated. Schedule a meeting with yourself to brainstorm and dream before the new year begins. And keep pushing through to the end.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!

3 Simple Strategies for Sticking to Your Goals

My husband and I usually have a “meeting of the minds” at least once a year. We talk about the year and the new year to come. We usually head to a fun coffee shop or restaurant with pen & paper in hand. It’s easier for us to write it out. Then we can cross out, start over and highlight. I bring my vision board along, which has all of the fun personal stuff.

We lay it all out and hit all of the areas of our lives. Some of our topics include spiritual life, personal goals, work/career, family, school year, vacations, and retirement goals. Of course we start with the fun ones like vacations and personal goals. Once we have those set it’s easier to move into the harder ones that will help us reach the fun goals in life.

Why do we hold these meetings? We hold these meetings because we want to move forward and chase after a dream. Proper goal setting can take seem like a huge task, but a plan breaks it into small ones that we can reach. If one of us wants to go back to school and get a degree, we need a plan!

3 Simple Strategies for Sticking to Your Goals

  1. Set goals that can be measured and that follow along with your overall mission.
  2. Become aware of your obstacles and make a specific plan to remove or overcome them.
  3. Aim with purpose. Set a higher goal that includes others in your goal.
The problem with not having a goal is that you spend your life running up and down the field and never score.
— Bill Copeland

There are two fun acronyms that I share with my clients when they want to start a new game plan. Remember that you can begin anytime, it doesn’t have to be in the month of January. It can be July or September. Start anytime you are ready to begin fresh.

The first one is called GROW, which stands for:

  • G - Goals: What would you like to see happen with your spiritual life, family life or career?
  • R - Reality: What is or is not happening for you right now in your work place, personal life or home life?
  • O - Options: If you didn’t have any restrictions or constraints what would you be doing or not doing?
  • W - Way Forward: On a scale from 1-10 how confident are you of achieving these goals?

Because writing your goals out is a game-changer, write them out and try posting these goals where you can see them daily. Be careful who you share these with: on one hand they can keep you accountable but on the other hand they may rain on your parade. Remember that slow and steady wins the race.

How to Decide What Stays on Your Plate and What Gets Tossed

“I have so much on my plate. Something’s gotta give this year.” Each year I set aside time to evaluate and do an overview of how I spend my time. I know that I need to clean house and take some things off my plate. I wanted to evaluate carefully and choose wisely what needed to stay in my life and what needed to hit the road. So I decided that this year I was going to come up with a system to do just that.

I lay everything out on the table much like the concept described in Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Kondo suggests in her book that you take every piece of clothing you own and put it on the bed or floor. Next you pick up each item and ask yourself these questions.

  • Does it bring me joy?
  • Does it fit?
  • Do I wear it or is it outdated?

By using these tests you begin to eliminate and discard those items that do not bring you joy or serve you well.

This concept also works on things that have a place in our lives and commitments that fill our schedules: book clubs, projects, volunteer work, school, new job assignments, board memberships, church commitments, helping friends, PTA meetings, seminars, conferences, etc….

At the beginning of each year I evaluate what is on my plate and what responsibilities I have ahead of me. Here is the method for deciding what to keep and what to remove off my plate.

The SandiCor Method

TITLE: Take each task no matter how large or small and write each one on a sheet of paper/file or document. One page for each task.

Next add these questions to each page without answering the questions.

  • TIME: Note the time it takes to do this task/commitment. Is is monthly, weekly, yearly? What day of the week? How long will it last and what is your prep time and clean-up time?
  • POSITION: What is your position/responsibilities? What do you do for this organization?
  • COMPANY GOALS: What goal(s) does this group/company/organization have overall? What is their mission statement or purpose?
  • PERSONAL GOALS: What is your personal goal for being involved/participating with this company/organization? What do you want to get out of it? Is it money, knowledge, friendship etc…?
  • CONS: What are the cons? What are those things you must deal with in this position? What is the poop sandwich that you have to eat? What do you have to put up with to get to do the fun stuff?
  • PROS: What are the pros? What are the benefits to you? If it is a benevolence organization, first answer your benefits and then add benefits to others involved.

Once you have filled out each page with the task name, you can begin to evaluate. Start with the smallest consumer of your time, i.e. volunteer work or book clubs. As you move from the smallest to the largest responsibilities you are able to see how much time you are spending as a whole. This will give you more insight as you walk through your year. Knowing what is on your plate and how much time you spend on each event/job helps you make better decisions when faced with new opportunities.

NOT ALL GREAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE MEANT FOR YOU.

Next, answer all the questions and ponder the importance of them in your life. Will it stay? Should it go? Does it have a timeline or a deadline? Touch the paper, review the responsibilities, job descriptions, etc… Meditate/pray/ponder on how you will spend your time for each task. Is it worth the time spent? Does it bring you satisfaction? Does it fill a void in your life? Does it bring you happiness or peace before, during, or after the task?

Do not move on to the next page/organization until you have answered all the questions for the first one. One by one dwell on the benefits and decide if it will stay or go. You may start a pile of “Maybe I will give it a go one more year” or “Heck yeah, I want to do this again.” Wherever you place your tasks make sure you think long and hard about what place it will take in your life.

Sign up for my newsletter here to receive the SandiCor Method Template for free.

The Biggest Challenge as an Entrepreneur and Small Business Owner

Hello Small Biz Owner & Entrepreneurs!

Today on Periscope we talked about the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs.

My biggest challenge as a small business owner is time management. I tend to have so many ideas that pop up and I want to do them all. If you are a go-getter like myself, you engage them and venture in.  Soon you realize that you have all of these commitments and no time to focus on any of them.

My solution for this is a formula I developed to analyze and organize your commitments. It is a formula that will help you decide what stays and what goes. Where are you spending your time? Should you spend your time on that task? I am happy to send you this free tip along with my monthly newsletter here.

Focus was another issue that came up on our scope today, as was finding a solution to not having focus when we sit down to work. If you are like me, all of a sudden you realize that you have to organize the junk drawer or find that missing item.

My solution for this has been finding a quiet place away from distractions. Sometimes it’s not in my home office; sometimes it is at a coffee shop or the library.

When I am at home I try to burn a candle like this one in White Lilac or my new favorite thing: burning sticks called Palo Santo from Peru. They both help me focus to work and calm me as well.

Another great tool is an app called Focus@will. I have used this for years now and love it. This music is set to help your brain focus and better yet to stay focused. Try it out.

We also talked about one of my favorite books by Marie Kondo. No wonder I could not remember the name; it’s such a long one!!! It’s called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I’ve posted links to these items to make it easy for you all to find them, just click on the link to see them.

We ended our time today by talking about one of the most important things to add to your life and business. Developing a routine is so important when running a business. You should develop routines for when you arrive at your office, a routine for Monday mornings, after work routines, and weekly routines. You can customize your own routines to fit your schedule, personality, and work. For example, Amy mentioned that she cleans off her desk at the end of her work day. I like to clean out my laptop bag at the end of the day and file my things away. This helps me get ready for the next day when I need to add new files to my bag for the day’s meetings.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

It’s not about having time; it’s about making time.

What tips can you add to that have helped you work your business?

Aim and SHOOT!

Henry Thoreau said “In the long run, you only hit what you aim at.” So many of us go along our lives without aim.

”I want to be a good person," "I want to have respectful teenagers," "I would like to travel when I retire,” are just a few goals I’ve heard this week. Having a desire to aim for IT puts you 1/4 of the way there. But then you must mark your aim and move forward towards achieving it.

“Yes, I would like to start a business this year but I don’t know how to begin.”
“I would love to quit my job and stay home with my children.”
“I want to retire in Arizona; how can I make that happen?”

Finding clarity and a plan can be a daunting task, but here are a few questions that might be helpful.

Where would you like to be in 5 years?

What is preventing you from moving forward with your goal?

Can you explain your long-term goal on paper?

Where are you spending most of your time?

Do you know someone who can help you in reaching your goal?

These helped me reach certain goals in my life. I spent many years wandering, many months wasting time and countless days doing things I did not want to do. I needed to aim, and shoot for my goals.

If you want a different outcome then you need a new action plan.

Gain clarity

Make a plan

Move towards your goal

Focus your time and energy

Seek wisdom

Please let me know if you found this helpful!

The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
— Proverb

3 Tips for Growing Your Coaching Business on Instagram

In 2013 Instagram had 80 million users; just one year later that number grew to 200 million users. Everyone is getting a piece of that pie today. Businesses are using Instagram to promote, sell, and get followers. Many top name brands like Nike, Starbucks and Gucci are active on social media, including Instagram.

Even small business could benefit from engaging their potential clients on Instagram.

Engaging clients

Increase exposure

Gain followers

Increase engagement

So how can Instagram help coaches gain exposure and meet potential clients?

  1. Use Hashtags.
    Use Hashtags often. When posting, use hashtags that pertain to your niche.
  2. Interact with your community.
    Make sure you follow, comment and like other Instagrammers.  Find your target audience and interact with them by sharing tips and info.
  3. Have an Instagram Loop Giveaway with a few other coaches to gain more followers. Coordinate with other Instagrammers and purchase a high dollar gift card to give away. They enter the giveaway by following all collaborators and/or tagging their friends.

These are just a few tips on how you can use Instagram to create a presence for your coaching business. See what works best for you and your coaching niche.

You can find me on Instagram at https://instagram.com/brentwoodlifecoach/.

New Year’s Resolutions: Don’t Bother

Don’t make any New Year's resolutions until you read this.

So many of us make New Year's resolutions and have great intentions to complete our goals and dreams. A resolution is only as good as the resolve because, when the inspiration dies down and old habits return, the resolution reaches a point of dissolution.

Make a Revolution

Create a plan of action with steps and ways to succeed. A coach can help you do just that. Have you been saying yes to a lot of things that were not a, “HECK YES, I wanna do that”? Have you been saying no to things that you knew you were really meant to do? It’s time for a revolution.

4 Steps to Succeed in Your Revolution

1. Set a Target – Ask yourself if your goal is practical and a part of your overall life plan.

2. Steps to Succeed & Achieve - Ask yourself what you have to do and what you need in order to achieve your goal. Plan out your action steps.

3. Time Frame - We all work best with a deadline. Set yourself time limits to fulfill the steps you listed in number two.

4. Make Yourself Accountable This is where a coach comes in. Hire a coach to report your progress to and do follow-ups. A coach will encourage and motivate you to continue the revolution. Declare it publicly. What we pay attention to grows and thrives. This is what makes goal-setting, declarations, and resolutions a sound strategy.

Pitfalls to Avoid

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will only set the behavior and attitude change will come from within. For real change to occur in any area of your life or business you MUST actively interrupt your current environment. The bigger the goal or intention, the larger the disruption.

Don’t underestimate small environment changes. The simplest of changes can make all the difference.

People in your business or life are the biggest structure to retrain, dismantle, or get support from. You cannot design an environment that is conducive to your growth without including others.

Start Today: Plan for a New Year's Revolution, Not a New Year's Resolution!