Are You A Marigold?

This Is Not A Gardening Blog Post

Are You A Marigold?

Just so you know, this post has nothing to do with gardening. It has everything to do with you.

You’ll relate to this post if you’ve been working really, really hard on your business or career and it just keeps turning out slugs.

~ <3 ~ <3 ~

I love marigolds.

They’re so beautiful. They’re happy. They smell great.

I used to plant marigolds when I lived in Prince George, BC–a great town and a great town to plant marigolds in–but I had a problem. They kept getting eaten by slugs.

I’d awake in the morning, eager to see my new garden only to find that the slugs had been busy the night before. They crawled up to the base of the buds–they liked the buds the best–and ate a hole in the bottom and then crawled in and devoured the whole bud from the inside. Just before they were ready to bloom. The bud was done. It died. That gorgeous flower never got to shine its beautiful, sunny presence in my garden.

This drove me crazy! I tried a lot of things to keep the slugs from eating my marigold buds.

Apparently copper tape that you can wrap in a ring around plants will help to keep the slugs out.

That didn’t work.

I tried egg shells. I heard that slugs don’t like crawling across broken egg shells. I saved my empty egg shells, washed them out and let them air dry and then crushed them into jagged shards and then sprinkled them in rings around all of my marigolds.

That didn’t work.

I tried beer in a shallow dish. Apparently, slugs like the smell of beer and then will drown themselves in the cup. So I got a shallow dish, dug a shallow pit that would fit the dish perfectly, carefully poured my husband’s beer into the dish and went to sleep dreaming of the full dish of slugs I’d have the next morning.

That didn’t work.

I had the potential of a beautiful garden set to bloom but it wasn’t happening because of these darned slugs.

All of this effort that I had been putting in to keep the slugs from eating my marigold buds was completely and totally ineffective.

They were hiding in this soil that I had spent so many hours sweating over and nurturing. I built compost, a labour intensive process, where I hand turned big piles with a shovel every week to create this incredible, rich, loamy mulch so my plants could thrive and grow. The slugs loved this mulch, and they loved hiding underneath the thyme, a plant that spreads low over the soil like a carpet.

What if I went after the source? I was determined to rid my garden of them, so I started to search out those slugs and pick them, by hand, one-by-one out of my garden.

I thought I would be dealing with slugs about an inch long. That’s the size they were in my mind. And hoo boy, if I knew the size the slugs grow to here on Vancouver Island where I now live (4 or 5 inches), I might not have been so eager. But no, these slugs were tiny. So tiny, that they were easy to overlook. Easy to underestimate the damage they could cause.

When I finally started picking out those slugs–actually addressing the issue at the source instead of managing the issue–my garden started to flourish.

The exact same things happens in our businesses. We have such potential for beautiful gardens but we have slugs hiding in there, in the mulch that we have so lovingly crafted. They’re waiting for their moment to come out. Your self doubt is a slug that will keep your bud from blooming. Another one: waiting until your website or online program or elevator pitch is perfect. Another: I don’t know if people really NEED my services. Another: filling your days with busy work instead of productive work.

What are some of the slugs keeping your garden from blooming?

I’m human. I still have some slugs hiding in my fertile soil as I work to build a business. I was at a conference recently with about 1,000-1,500 phenomenal women business owners. When the speaker asked whether people were feeling fulfilled in their businesses, the vast majority of people said they weren’t. They feel exhausted. And they said they needed help in all of the areas that I help people with: to have processes and systems so they spend their time more productively, to clear their plate (or plates), to stop feeling so exhausted and instead LOVE and appreciate the garden they have created.

You want to know what it feels like to have only the things on your plate that make your heart sing and help you to make the impact on the world that you know you’re here to give, but right now you don’t know how to get the other stuff off your plate.

Or, you feel like you need systems and structure so that you can use your time more wisely, instead of getting to the end of the day feeling like you’ve wasted it or wondering what the heck you accomplished.

You know you need boundaries but you have no idea how to start setting them. Or maybe you set them and then make exceptions until your boundaries are gone again.

You want to know how to manage your time better.

To say no, even when it will be difficult.

These are the little slugs that creep into our gardens and keep our flowers from blooming.

When I saw those hands rise up and heard people asking how they can do those things, I knew that I could help all of those people in that room. That they needed my help. They need my systems and strategies and support backed by research.

I’m betting you could use some help in this area too.

I’m diving deep into these areas at an event coming up on September 21-23 in Victoria, BC. I invite you to sign up.

If you’re feeling exhausted, you don’t need to. There is a way to move forward. I know that way because I have spent the time, I’ve been exhausted and overwhelmed and I have plucked those slugs out of my garden.

If you know you have slugs that are keeping you from blooming, register for my event at Join me and the others who have already booked their flights for next month.

Find out what it feels like to have a garden that’s free from slugs.

Erin Acton CBC

Join me and CBC All Points West host Robyn Burns as we discuss how to create your best life.


Date: January 3, 2017
Time: 4:50 p.m.
Appearance: Creating Your Best Life
Outlet: CBC All Points West
Location: Victoria, BC
Format: Radio

The Now Habit

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

By Neil Fiore

Learn how to overcome procrastination and enjoy guilt-free play!  One of the most effective programs to combat procrastination, THE NOW HABIT has sold over 100,000 copies, has been translated into 11 languages, and is now revised and updated.

Featuring a new introduction and a new section providing strategies to understand and deal with the role technology plays in procrastination today, THE NOW HABIT offers a comprehensive plan to help readers lower their stress and increase their time to enjoy guilt-free play. Dr. Fiore’s techniques will help any busy person start tasks sooner and accomplish them more quickly, without the anxiety brought on by the negative habits of procrastination and perfectionism.

Women in Leadership and Business Conference

Join me, six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes, “The Voice” Consultant Tamara Beatty Vocal Coach and more at the Women in Leadership and Business Conference November 20-22 in Calgary, Alberta.

Use ERINVIP to get a truly sweet deal on the full conference price.

If you are a Leader, Senior or Middle Manager, Business Owner, or Entrepreneur you know you should invest time in focusing on yourself, your business and career. If you’ve struggled to find the right format that maximizes your time, energy and resources, the 2016 Women in Leadership and Business Conference is for you!

  • Strengthen your leadership skills
  • Have greater influence and impact in your role and team
  • Market your skills and your business
  • Be heard in meetings
  • Get noticed by clients, peers and your industry
  • Gain valuable influencing skills
  • Grow your business and market share by differentiating
  • Increase your likelihood for promotion
Date: November 20, 2016—November 22, 2016
Event: Women in Leadership and Business Conference
Venue: Hyatt Regency Downtown
Location: 700 Centre Street SE
Calgary, Alberta T2G 5P6
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Do you ever feel guilty for taking care of yourself because you’re so used to taking care of everything and everyone else?

I’m honored to be speaking on Pamela Zimmer’s FREE Telesummit, Redefining Mom – Permission to Break the Rules.

Register now and you’ll get access to Pamela’s interviews with 16 amazing women who will share their exact strategies for redefining mom, in a way that best serves YOU!

Date: November 10, 2016—November 12, 2017
Event: Redefining Mom: Permission to Break the Rules
Public: Private

To book Erin for your event, visit her speaking page.

Create Better Goals – the Power of the Positive Focus

If you have goals to stop procrastinating, reduce your stress, or quit losing your patience you may be setting yourself up for failure. In this blog post and video, I share how to increase your chance of reaching these and other goals by making one simple tweak.

This blog post came about thanks to a question from one of my newsletter subscribers, Amanda. She wanted to stop procrastinating with her exercise and on her business.

Words are incredibly important, and how we use them can support or sabotage our efforts to reach our goals. And after doing what I’m about to share with you, Amanda realized she was sabotaging her efforts right from the get-go, and it had everything to do with how she worded her goals.

Here is what she changed. She gave her goals a positive focus. In short, she focused on what she wanted instead of what she didn’t want.

Focus on what you want, not what you don't want

Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

Giving goals a positive focus has nothing to do with looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses or being optimistic all of the time. This is about giving your mind something to focus on. Something tangible and concrete that you see and feel and possibly touch instead of something you don’t want, or wish would disappear or go away or stop happening.

The brain can’t not think about something.

For example, it can’t stop thinking about a pink elephant. Stop it! Just stop thinking about her pink tail with the pink tuft on the end and those cute, pink toenails. Stop thinking about it.

See? Your brain put a pink elephant in your brain. And that’s the last thing you wanted in there.

The same rule applies to your goals. When they’re focused on what you don’t want, you brain focuses on that:

  • Stop procrastinating: the brain focuses on procrastinating.
  • Reduce your stress: it focuses on stress.
  • Quit losing your patience: brain focuses on losing your patience.

I assume you don’t want to focus on procrastination, stress or losing patience. So give yourself something you want to focus on instead.

For simplicity, let’s use the pink elephant example again. If you don’t want to think about a pink elephant, tell your brain what you want it to think about instead. How about a purple lion? Think about a purple lion with its purple mane, purple tongue, and piercing, purple eyes. Much easier!

Here is a question that will help to turn your goals from a negative focus (what you don’t want) to a positive focus (what you do want).

If you weren't BLANK, what would you most want instead?

If I wasn’t ____, what would I most want to do instead?

Put the thing you don’t want in the blank.

Let’s use Amanda’s example.

Her original focus was on what she didn’t want: to stop procrastinating with her exercise.

“If I wasn’t procrastinating, what would I most want to do instead?”

Amanda’s answer:

[I would want to] “be excited to move my body, and grateful to have the limbs to do so.”

This became her new goal. And it worked really well for Amanda. Here is what she had to say:

“. . . attaching a negative word to something I want to accomplish is kind of self-limiting right off the bat and maybe even makes it a drudge to work on, but when I change my words to describe it in a way in which I would LIKE to move through the blocks then it’s kind of an opportunity thing…it really makes a huge difference when you change your mind frame and your words!”

Beware or the trickster, “I want.”

Just because you start a goal with “I want” doesn’t mean that you have worded your goal with what you actually want (that positive focus).

Here are some common examples of things that SEEM like they’re focused on what you want, but are really goals that focus on what you don’t want.

  • I want to lose 20 pounds. The focus is on pounds and your weight.
  • I want to stop yelling. The focus is on yelling.
  • I want to get rid of the clutter on my desk. The clutter is the focus.
  • I want to reduce the hours that I’m working. This puts all the focus on the hours you’re working.

What do you want instead? Answer that, and you’re on your way to creating much better goals for yourself.

Actions to take from here

  1. Review your current goals.
  2. Re-word the negatively focused ones to have a positive focus.
  3. Download the bonus one-page cheat sheet of “don’t want” words. Details below.
  4. Send me your questions.

Bonus for newsletter subscribers (and those who become one)

Because it can be difficult to identify negatively focused goals, I put together an additional resource for my newsletter subscribers. This one-page cheat sheet includes:

  • The most common “don’t want” words I hear in my coaching practice.
  • 9 real-life examples of negatively focused goals that have been re-worded to focus on the positive.

If you’re a subscriber, simply scroll down the email of this article to download the document.

If you’re not a subscriber, you can still get it. Become a subscriber here, send me a super-quick email saying you want the cheat sheet, and I’ll fire it off to you. When you subscribe, you’ll also get my powerful and highly coveted 3-2-1 Countdown to get present and calm.

If you found this exercise to be valuable, please share it with others so they can start making better goals for themselves. I will appreciate it and I’m sure they will too.


In the video, I mention an exercise that will transform your excuses into powerful actions. Here is the link to that post:

How to Have Balance When You Run a Business and a Job

Balance and business – can they go together?

In this interview with entrepreneurs Valarie Trenholm and Katie Sewell of Upcycling Rosies in Victoria, BC they share how they manage to run a business alongside full-time employment and busy families.

Click on the video below to find out how they do it.

Here are the five takeaways from what they shared.

  1. Just do it. Instead of asking should I do it? Should I do it? Do your research, build a plan and make it happen. Even if you don’t feel ready.
  2. Don’t be afraid to fail. With your eyes wide open to what could happen, know that you will gain so much more from what you learn by actually doing it.
  3. If you do fail, realize that there is always a silver lining in the experience.
  4. Set boundaries with yourself. Create sacred time that you protect so that you maintain work-life balance.
  5. Ask for help. They shared that they ask each other and their spouses for support on a regular basis.


Your Beautiful But(s)

5 steps to make your goals and dreams happen faster

If you find yourself saying things like, “I would love to travel to Paris but…” or “I need to exercise more but…” or “I should really network more but…”, here is an exercise you may want to do right away. I outline the steps below and explain it in greater detail with three examples in the video.

This process will help you to

  • Get unstuck,
  • See where specifically you’re holding yourself back, and
  • Identify limiting beliefs.

You can use this for personal goals and dreams, business goals or corporate projects. Anything, really.

A recent strategy session that I did for a business woman prompted me to create this exercise. She said one of the phrases above and then let her voice trail away. I’m sure we can all think of something we’ve said that we’d love to do and then let our voices trail away in much the same way. Left to ourselves, we may never make progress on that dream or goal. It likely seems impossible or not something that’s really doable right now. And that’s not the case. Like I did with this business woman, you can explore the “buts” to find out why you think can’t do something and build an action plan to move forward.

Five steps to get your but(s) working for you

Step 1 – Draw a heart

On a piece of full scap, draw a heart with enough room beneath and around its sides. You’ll be writing in those spaces.


Pro tip: If you turn the heart upside down, it will look like a butt. Tee hee.

Step 2 – Write out your goal

What do you wish you could do? What do you wish you could have? What do you wish you could be? Write that out underneath the heart. Let’s suppose you want to exercise more regularly. Write down the number of times you want to exercise or the duration for each exercise session. The more specific, the better.

Write out your goal

Step 3 – Write out your buts

These are all of the reasons you can think of that would keep you from achieving the goal. Write them down around the outside of the heart. Space them out somewhat evenly.

ID your buts

Many common buts that keep us from exercising are

  • No time
  • No money
  • Don’t like exercising by yourself
  • Don’t stick with it

You may have more or fewer buts, depending on your goal and your self awareness of the reasons you feel you can’t achieve the goal. The total number doesn’t matter, so long as it feels complete for you. You will likely find that you have one or two main buts that are the primary culprits in keeping you stuck.

Step 4 – Brainstorm things that counter the buts

Inside the heart, write out your ideas to counter the buts. At this stage, it is helpful to ask yourself, “What do I need to do, have or become in order to make this but go away?”

Brainstorm responses

Here is what this might look like using the exercise example:

  • No time – get up earlier; experiment adding short breaks into the day
  • No money – cut back on coffee or other expenses that you don’t “need”; save up money for membership
  • Don’t like exercising by yourself – Get an exercise buddy; find a group class to join
  • Don’t stick with it – Get an exercise buddy; work with an accountability partner

Step 5 – Take action immediately

Choose one of the ideas you developed and commit to taking one small, simple and specific action step. Write this action step beneath the goal you’re aiming for. Be as specific as possible about what you will do, when you will do it, and where you will be when you do it. Aim to complete the task either immediately or within the next 24 hours.

In our rolling example, let’s suppose you chose your idea to get an exercise buddy. The action step could be:

  • Send Mary a Facebook message during lunch time asking her to be my exercise buddy for noon-hour walks on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Take action

And there you have it. Within about 5 to 15 minutes, you have taken a “someday maybe” idea and turned it into here and now progress.

  • For a specific example on creating a kick-butt elevator pitch go to 12:20 in the video.
  • For an example on becoming an executive member in your organization, skip to 15:08.

If you want to take this exercise further, or if you suspect you have some limiting beliefs that are holding you back, feel free to apply for a complementary strategy session. You’ll gain so much clarity for yourself.

In the meantime, share this strategy with others. Let’s see how many buts we can get working for us instead of against us. I’d also love to hear about the wins you create for yourself by doing this exercise. Drop me an email at erin [at] erinacton [dot] com to let me know what became possible for you.

Building a business can feel a lot like blackberry picking

Building a business can feel a lot like blackberry picking.

From afar, it seems like there are so many juicy berries to choose from. Wow! So many leads and prospects.

Then when you get there, you realize the best ones have already been picked and the ones left over aren’t ripe yet. You can see some great ones, but they’re out of reach. You’re strong, you’re determined and so you go after them only to scratch yourself silly and only get a few good ones.

When you work with a business coach, you can build strategies to pick at the best times, to find bushes others haven’t, to assess which berries to pick and which ones to leave to ripen a little longer, to take advantage of tools that lift you up so you can see the bush from above, or to extend your reach.

That’s how I support people.

To find out if we would be a good fit to work together, apply for a confidential strategy session. In it, we will clarify your goals and identify what’s getting in your way from reaching them so that you can choose your best next step forward.

You’ll feel silly when you say this out loud

And it may be the best thing for you

How would you feel if you had made a couple of deals involving at least a couple million dollars? I’m guessing you’d probably feel pretty good. I know I would. However, a woman I spoke to the other day did not feel good or the least bit positive.

Only compare you to you

She felt like crap. She was upset by her lack of progress and was beating herself up about it. She wasn’t making the sales and that she wanted to and in her eyes, she wasn’t at the level of others around her. It was significantly impacting her. She was frozen when it came to making cold calls that would help to generate new leads for her business.

I was curious to know more about one guy in particular that she was comparing herself to, and who had been doing incredibly well in his business.

Me: How long has he been in business?

Her: Three years.

Me: How long have you been working your business?

Her: One month.

As soon as she said this, and heard the words out loud, she realized how silly it sounded. Yet until that moment, she really, truly believed she was failing in her business. And this after one month where she had already closed a couple of significant deals.

I’m sure we can all relate to her experience in some way. We see someone else rocking it in life, their career or their business and we look at our lives, careers and businesses and wonder why the heck we aren’t seeing the results that they are. We beat ourselves up and the little voice inside our head starts yipping. And not in a good way. Here are the most common voices my clients and I tend to work on together:

I must be doing something wrong.

I’m not good enough.

I’m lazy.

I’m stupid.

We conveniently forget everything that we’ve accomplished and focus only on the things that apparently prove what failures we are.

This is poison. It seeps from our minds into our actions. We achieve what we believe. If we believe we’re pieces of crap, we’ll behave in a way that proves this and we’ll end up getting what we believe we deserve. Our beliefs manifest in our words, our actions, our tone of voice. They lead us to get a sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs. To start clicking through the part-time job postings when we should be making client or prospecting calls that will help our business thrive. They keep us from doing the most important things that will help us to achieve what we most want.

Here are the critical elements for you to remember.

You have no idea what the other person has been doing. You have no idea how much they have hustled to get where they are now. You don’t know how much work they needed to do to create a winning mindset.

If you’re like most everyone else, there will always be someone who is more successful than you. There will always be someone who is less successful than you. And there is someone right now who is looking at what you have achieved wondering why they haven’t yet done what you have. Really.

It can help to remember that everyone feels like they aren’t good enough from time to time.

It’s completely and absolutely in your best interest to change your mindset. Immediately. To believe inside and out that you can do this. That you are doing the right things. That you are making progress. That you are smart.

It takes time and a concerted effort to address this.

The only person you need to compare yourself to is you. That’s it. Be better this week than you were last week. Get more uncomfortable today than you were yesterday. Stretch more in this minute than you stretched the last. Focus on each and every win.

Keep a diary or a journal or a white board of all of your successes. All of them. Write all of your wins down and post them where you can see them. Keep them prominent. Honour those wins. Be grateful and thankful for the wins you’ve achieved so far. Review those wins every day. Review them when you notice you’re comparing yourself to others, and smile. You are making things happen for yourself.

And that is a beautiful thing.

If you found this valuable, I would be grateful if you shared it with others who may need to hear just this message today.