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 www.burnouttobalancebootcamp.com. 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.

www.burnouttobalancebootcamp.com

Stop Holiday Overwhelm

It was a delight to be featured on Shaw TV to help people manage overwhelm during the busy, stressful holidays. Watch the story here:

Stop Christmas Overwhelm

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed in the holiday season? Certified Business Coach, Erin Acton & Registered Dietitian, Kristen Yarker have some tips on how to remain calm & stress free during the holidays.

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.

 

When you have no energy to do the BBQ

#FailFriday

Sometimes, I just don’t have it in me to bring a marinated meat in a plastic baggie with a hand-crafted side dish to a group BBQ. This week was no exception. So I gave myself permission to “fail” at this BBQ. I phoned my contribution in, so to speak. In this short video, I show you what I ended up bringing as my meat and side dish.

In my #FailFriday posts, I share where I’ve been “failing” (those quotes are very intentional) in my life and business to show others that no one is perfect. Many of the people I work with are high achievers who hate failing, yet feel so much better when they give themselves permission to loosen up a bit, myself included.

If you can relate and know others will too, make their day and share this post. Let’s give ourselves permission to fail more often.

How have you failed with the BBQ lately?

3 quizzes you must complete to know how stressed you are

You can feel it in your chest, shoulders and neck. You’re wired and tired: strung out from the caffeine and adrenaline but worn out from doing it all. What more can you do? What should you stop doing? How can you know? That’s where a stress test can help you.

hang on by a thread

Image by imelenchon used with permission.

You’ll likely have an idea of where things aren’t working, but when you’re chronically stressed out and overwhelmed, your brain doesn’t function at its best. In fact, the changes are startling.

A stress assessment can help you find out where you are good at supporting yourself and where you could be sabotaging your efforts to get it all done. I’ve been there. When I led the communications for a $50M company, I often felt overwhelmed and stressed out. When I did the assessments, I realized I could adjust in small but significant ways to improve my resiliency and manage stress better.

The assessments

Here are a few assessments from reputable sources that I have found to be helpful:

1. Stress Vulnerability Test by the Stress Management Society out of the UK. It will tell you if you’re prone to negative stress impacts and offers many resources to manage stress.

2. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. This is a well-established scale that measures your number of stress-causing life events. It can estimate how likely you are to become ill in the near future.

3. Stress Screener by Mental Health America. A test that feels more fun than the other ones. They provide links to ten tools that can help to manage stress after they calculate your score.

After taking the tests

Sometimes people can feel devastated or shocked when they learn that they are vulnerable to stress, or that they have a high or moderate likelihood of becoming ill because of it. When you’re a high achiever managing multi-million dollar projects, or running a business, or leading staff members, it can be very hard to believe that you can’t get a handle on your own stuff.

If you’re concerned your scores, take comfort that it’s a normal reaction.

Instead of focusing on any potential label or self-judgement because of your result, look at where you can improve. Implement one to three quick, easy wins that won’t add to your stress. For me, I chose to add exercise, mid-day breaks, and more sleep back into my regular routine. Like so many of the people that I talk to, I had cut back in all of those areas thinking it would help me get more done.

The opposite happens as research and our own experiences show. I followed the advice of the experts and self-help books that suggested I ease back into it. The last thing you want to do is completely change what you’re doing. Big lifestyle changes are not what we’re after here. You want to start with small, slow improvements that you gradually increase over time.

It’s simple. But it’s not necessarily easy. I can tell you from my own experience, that stopping work to take a break can be incredibly challenging. The emails and work don’t go away when we step away from our desks. You can get a lot done in 15 minutes. However, research has shown that people who take breaks during the day are more productive and happier than people who don’t. You can read more about that here in my recent post, “3 awesome reasons to take your breaks – even if you don’t want to.”

Same with stopping work to get some exercise in. All of that time seemingly wasted! Not so, particularly if you take walks. They are the “Best kept secret to stop overwhelm and reduce stress”.

Sleep is proving critical to our daily function. More and more research is coming out countering the decades-old assertion that sleep is only time wasted. For more, read “Don’t skimp on sleep: why choosing sleep makes you smarter”.

Taking it further

Leverage the information you learn from the tests. Apply for a strategy session with me. That’s where, even if we never speak again, you’ll walk away knowing what’s really going on for you right now and you’ll know your best next step to take to get more balance.

You might be thinking that you know exactly what’s going on for you and what’s causing your stress and overwhelm. But people who’ve done the strategy session with me have had a-has that there’s something happening at an even deeper level that’s that real cause. Until you set aside that time to find out what that is, especially with a certified coach—someone trained to hear what you say and what you don’t say—you’re bound to keep repeating your cycle.

If you can honestly say that you’re exhausted from juggling everything, you’re tired of being overwhelmed and you don’t want to be OK with that anymore, let’s talk. I invite you to schedule a strategy session.

Take good care of yourself.

The best reasons for you to walk in a park

I had the great fortune this past Easter long weekend to go for three park walks with my daughter. Not only was I getting some valuable mom-daughter time in, I was also beating stress. I share how you can too in the below video.

It’s National Take a Walk in a Park day. A great day to get out and about, even if it’s not all that nice where you live. I do love a walk in the rain and snow.

There is a lot of research that backs up the amazing benefits we get from walking in nature. Never mind that for now though. Think back on the last time you took a walk. How much better did you feel after walking than you did before you started? If you’re like me, you’ll have felt an incredible difference.

Now to the research:

  • Walking in nature lowers stress levels and blood pressure. (source)
  • Simply living close to nature reduces your stress hormone levels. (source)

And if you don’t live or work near nature, you can still use greenery to reduce your stress and have better brain function.

  • Find the greenery that you can in the environment around you: planter boxes, trees, gardens, lawns, a park. Your memory and attention will be better than if you walked through a busy street. (source)
  • Look at pictures of nature. We more quickly recover from a stressful task after looking at naturescapes. (source)
  • The sounds of nature are incredibly helpful as well. Listening to nature can help us recover from a stressful task faster. (source)

So what are you waiting for? Get on out there! For motivation, here are a few shots of one of our days. It was stunning.

Nature walk

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Get over it!

Isn’t it time to get over it?

jump for joy

Photo by Catrin Austin used with permission.

Like really get over it.

And by it, I mean everything.

Get over the need to put everyone else first.

Get over trying to be all things to all people all of the time.

Get over the guilt of saying no to someone or something that you don’t want to do.

Get over those voices inside your head that tell you you’re not good enough.

Get over the fact that your house is messier than you’d like.

Get over being fake happy.

Get over it.

It’s time.

Time to say enough already.

Time to put yourself first.

Time to go to bed early.

Time to take a day off.

Time to be happy.

Time to be you.

It’s time.

How to get more intimacy even when you are exhausted

For many people that I work with who feel spread too thin, who are exhausted and overwhelmed, often the LAST thing they want to do is get intimate with their partner.

And yet, one of the best ways to have greater work-life balance and really, overall joy with life, is to have a close, intimate relationship.

In this interview with sex educator, Sher Snow, we discuss:

  • How to create more intimacy — even at the end of a long day when the last thing we feel like doing is being intimate with our partners.
  • A quick, 3-step method to have a conversation with your partner that will help you both feel seen and heard.
  • Her suggestions on the best ways to love ourselves so we can better love our partners.

Watch that here, or at my YouTube channel.

Stair laundry shoot

#‎FailFriday‬. This is the “laundry shoot.” Usually by this time of the week (as you can see), there is a pile of clothes trailing up the stairs as we try and fail to hit the laundry basket at the bottom. I’m closing the door at the top of the stairs and moving on. My lesson: Some things aren’t worth fretting about. Sometimes you need to close the door so you can focus your attention on more productive things. What dirty laundry have you been fretting over? What positive things might happen if you closed the door on them?

Join the discussion on Facebook.

Why today is the most wonderful day of the year

Today, December 16, is National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day. Yes. Yes, it is. And, to make the day even better, we can all nosh away on this decadence AND lower our stress levels.

chocolate!

Image by Siona Karen used with permission and modified.

It’s true.

Chocolate helps us lower stress levels.

Did you just do a happy dance? I did.

In a study of 30 people, the research found that about four squares of a large chocolate bar eaten every day for two weeks lowered blood stress levels (source). The study used chocolate with 75% cocoa solids.

Another small study of 60 students showed that eating 40 g of dark and milk chocolate every day for two weeks can reduce perceived stress in females (source).

So pretty magical. At the very least, it lowers your perceived stress levels. And if you eat chocolate with 75% cocoa solids, you’ll see an actual decrease in the stress hormone levels in your blood. Win-win, I say!

So go ahead and wrap yourself in an indulgent blanket of chocolate over the next two weeks. ‘Tis the season! You’ll feel better both inside and out.

Know someone who needs to know this, like stat? Share this article with them.

Need more than chocolate to get through the holidays? I invite you to set up a confidential and complimentary burnout to balance strategy session. In this free, one-hour phone call, we’ll look at what’s going on for you and determine your best next step to get where you want to go. Get started here.