31 Meals in 31 hours

As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I spent time a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend making 31 Crockpot Freezer Meals. We put our favorite music on the iPad, cracked open a bottle of wine and got to work. We talked and laughed a lot and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was a nice little bonding experience for us as a couple. It felt like old times when we traveled overseas and made meals in youth hostel kitchens.

For your entertainment, the following provides a snapshot of how it all went down.

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31 Crockpot Freezer Meal Recipes - Ingredients

New response to the age-old question: “What’s for dinner?” 

“What’s for dinner?” This question asked sometime between 4 and 6pm each day makes millions of women angry, tense and exasperated all at the same time – myself included! There has to be a better way, right? I’m hoping so.

Effective immediately, we’ve implemented a new meal-making system in our household: 31 Crockpot Freezer Meals.

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Buddha Quote - Do What Matters

3 Practical Tips to Help You Focus on Your Most Important Work

Word for today: Focus

A New Chapter
Earlier this month, I joined the ranks of the “employed” (as opposed to “self-employed”) and accepted a full-time position as a VP of Marketing & Communications for a 180-person company. My new position comes with a lot of responsibility, but it’s also going to be a ton of fun. I’m very excited…and a little nervous.

Over the past several years I’ve been working as an independent marketing consultant. This provided me with considerable flexibility to dial my workload up and down based on family and personal commitments. So, while I’ve definitely been a “busy working Mom” juggling many balls in the air, it’s been primarily on my terms.

Now, I am what I consider to be a traditional busy working Mom, working for a company and receiving a paycheck. After more than a decade of being an entrepreneur, this “regular paycheck” thing is quite a novel concept! ☺

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Woman writing with a pencil in a journal

5 Valuable Life Lessons for Busy Working Moms

Word for today? Lesson.

Do you ever feel like you are supposed to have ALL of the answers?

I felt like that back in the days when I owned a marketing agency. Any time someone on my team had a question, I felt I had to have the “right” answer. Immediately. On the spot. Every time. If I didn’t have the answer, I would do one of two things:

  1. Make up something and pretend I had the answer. This, in turn, made me feel like a poser and a fraud. But most importantly, this never led to the best result. Instead of being focused on my need to always have the answer, I should have been focused on doing whatever I could to help the team meet the needs of our valuable clients.
  2. Since I’m not very good at masking my emotions, I would get visibly frustrated and annoyed with the person asking the question. This happened often enough that, over time, my peeps asked fewer and fewer questions. I can assure you that it’s not a very healthy work environment when employees don’t feel empowered to ask questions.
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Grab Your Tissue Box…

Apple released it’s new 90-second holiday commercial called “The Song.” With over 2 million YouTube views in four days, the spot features a young woman using her Mac to make a song for her Grandmother.

It’s very touching and definitely brought a tear to my eye. Enjoy!

 

Young girl playing dress up in red high heel shoes

Ever been embarrassed at work? Join the club!

Word for today? Embarrassing.

I’ll be starting interviews for “The Girl’s Got Balls” podcast soon. One question I plan to ask each guest is: “What is something embarrassing that has happened to you in your career?” If I’m going to ask others to share something embarrassing, I should do the same. So here goes…

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3 Benefits from Taking a Sabbatical

Word for today? Sabbatical.

In a previous post, I talked about the burnout I experienced from running balls to the wall in my business for way too long. As a busy working Mom, chances are good that you might be headed toward burnout at some point in your journey. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means that you’re human.

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Are YOU on the Brink?

Word for today? Burnout.

Imagine a coach expecting an athlete like Aaron Rodgers, LeBron James or Tiger Woods to be in peak physical condition and to perform at the top of his game every single week, for 48 or 49 weeks out of every year. And, to maintain this level of performance year after year after year. It sounds ridiculous, right? We all know that professional athletes need an off-season to rest and recover from the tremendous strain intense athletic competition places on their bodies and minds.

Yet, that’s exactly what the rest of us “mere mortals” are expected to do year after year after year.

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3 Simple Ways to Get a New Mentor Relationship Off to a Great Start

Word for today? Mentor.

Earlier this year, I started a mentor/mentee relationship with a young woman who is working to take the next step in her career. I am actually the mentor – which feels weird to me. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I do actually have some valuable life experience. I think we all take our experience for granted. We think, “Everybody knows how to do that!” But guess what? They don’t!

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Tips on How to Keep Employees Engaged at Work

Word for today? Engagement.

As a leader in your company, you know the importance of holding your team accountable for achieving real results. In order to create a culture of motivated and engaged employees who strive to accomplish big goals, it’s important that they:

  1. Believe in the organization’s vision, mission and values;
  2. Feel your passion;
  3. See a clear link between their daily work tasks and the long-range goals of the organization; and
  4. Understand how these goals will benefit them personally and propel the organization forward.

So, what’s the plan?

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3 Steps to Foster a Strengths-Based Company Culture

Word for today? Strengths.

When is the last time you asked yourself the following questions: “What are my strengths? What am I really good at? How can I get more of this at work?” How would each of your employees respond to these questions? As the leader of your organization, you need to understand not only your own strengths, but also those of each employee. This is key to individual job satisfaction and performance and, ultimately, your company’s success. Unfortunately, a person’s natural talents may go untapped simply because we are not immediately aware of them.

 

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Who does your company’s marketing message REALLY speak to?

Word for today? Avatar.

When it comes to marketing, most business leaders are familiar with the need to define a target audience. It usually consists of annoyingly vague language that points to a general demographic such as: “Females, between the ages of 18 and 80 who live on Earth and will eventually die one day.” In other words, basically everybody…which really means nobody. All at the same time. Sounds like the foundation for a killer marketing strategy!  (Perhaps the word for today is really “sarcasm.”)

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Open book with white pages open against a red background

Top 10 Life-Changing Books

Word for today? Learn.

I LOVE books. I mean REALLY love books. I usually read non-fiction but occasionally indulge in a good fiction one. I recently perused my Good Reads app to jog my memory about game-changing books that I’ve read. As a result, I compiled a list of my favs. So, here it is…cue dramatic music. The top ten books that have changed my life.

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3 Ways to Approach Goal Setting

Word for today? Goals.

It seems like many people recognize the importance of setting goals for themselves and their businesses but very few take action and actually DO it. It’s one thing to set meaningful goals…it’s quite another thing to maintain focus and stay on track toward achieving them.

At the end of 2013, I completed a goal-setting course called Best Year Ever by Micheal Hyatt. As a result, I set ten goals to accomplish in 2014. In case you’re curious, here are three of them.

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Killer Whale Swimming

Praise Progress: It’s Often a Moving Target!

Word for today? Praise.

Have you ever been to SeaWorld to watch the famous killer whale show? You know, the one where giant whales jump 10 feet out of the water, jump through hoops and allow their trainers to ride on their backs? Since a killer whale could kill a human being in a few quick seconds, it begs the question: “How in the world do you go about training a 10,000 pound killer whale?”

I’ve read the book, “Whale Done” by Ken Blanchard who applies the concept of training whales to forging strong relationships with others. He begins by saying that, in both business and personal relationships, we tend to focus on the negative. For example, we often feel the need to address and correct negative behavior. As a result, many leaders (and parents) focus on catching others doing things wrong instead of catching them doing things right. Sound familiar?

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Footprint In Sand

What’s Holding YOU Back?

Word for today? Start.

I don’t have a problem seeing the big picture. I love contemplating thoughts and ideas and identifying opportunities and possibilities. I can envision scenarios several years into the future and then work backwards to identify all of the steps required to get there. This is fun for me! Given this insight, it’s not surprising that a Strengths Finder 2.0 analysis identified my top strength as “Strategic.” A summary from the book: “The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. You play out alternative solutions, always asking, ‘What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?’ Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections. You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path – your strategy. Armed with your strategy you strike forward.”

So, what happens when your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness?

 

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Why You Should Consider a Mind-Diet

Word for today? Mind-diet.

OK, I know the word for today is really two words and I just tried to cover it up with a hyphen. It was only a matter of time before I broke the one-word rule. I AM an entrepreneur, after all!

My Mom is a news junkie. I stayed with her for a few days over the summer and got to witness her daily routine. Each morning, she watches the national news on TV and then listens to the local news on the radio. She tunes in to CNBC promptly at 9am CST to know what the opening market price is, checks in again around mid-day and again at the end of the day to know where the markets closed. She reads a daily local newspaper almost cover to cover.

It drives her NUTS that I don’t care more about current events.

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People want success to be a linear process from point A to point B. In reality, it is a squiggly mess!

Embrace the Chaos

Word for today? Squiggly mess.

Let’s be honest…this is how you expect your life to go, right? A straight line from Point A to Point B. But, we all know that the squiggly mess is how it REALLY happens.

As hard as we try, life does not follow a straight, linear line. It’s not meant to. We’re supposed to take tangents, check out new things, see if we want to pursue another path or get back to the original one. Obstacles are going to pop up. I say embrace it. It reminds me of those “choose-your-own-adventure” books that we read as kids. Remember those? I used to always backtrack and change my mind so I could get to a better ending story. In fact, I feel like I’m still doing that in my real life adventure today!

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SeedToTomatoPlant

Why NOT you?

Word for today? Seed.

I still remember the first time I met Carly. It was in band class at Monroe High School in the winter of 1991. I was a sixteen-year-old small town Wisconsin farm girl and I found Carly to be so intriguing with her air of confidence, her BIG personality and captivating Australian accent. We both played the clarinet and became fast friends since we shared a love of cute teenage boys and giggling. She had a crush on a percussionist and we found ourselves craning our necks to the back of the room for glimpses of him much more than we looked at the sheet music for Carmina Burana on the stands in front of us. While our giggles frustrated our band teacher to no end, they became the foundation of a strong friendship.

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Best Apps for Mom Entrepreneurs – Part One

Word for today? Value.

If you’re still reading, thank you for your patience – along with an inside look at my messy journey to find my authentic self and voice, I promise to provide you with value and practical information that you can use in your journey as a Mom entrepreneur. With that in mind, below is the first of a two-part series covering my favorite iPhone apps that I use on a daily basis and why I love them so much.

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Word for Today

Word for today? Reflective.

I want to share the inspiration behind the “word for today” found at the beginning of each post….I used to be part of a CEO Roundtable group and each meeting would start with each member sharing a “one-word” opener. This was sometimes expanded to “one-short-phrase” because entrepreneurs simply have a hard time following directions.

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How to Find My Voice

Word for today? Voice.

Have you seen my voice? I’m looking for it.

For some reason, this topic cuts deep to my core. Three times over the last year, someone has encouraged me to “find my voice.” The result is that all I want to find is my tissue box – instead of these words being a source of encouragement, they cause me to burst into tears! Seriously. WTF?

I’ve always been a strong business woman in positions of leadership, so why in the world do I feel this way? I‘m not sure but am determined to figure it out.

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Clown holding color balls

Launching a Blog & New Attitude

Word for today? Scared.

Scared to death, actually. That’s how I feel right now as I anticipate launching this blog. How will people react? How will they respond to the title? Will people like it? Will some choose to be offended? Will anybody even read it? And, why in the world do I care SO DAMN MUCH?!?

Truth be told, this blog is part of my self-prescribed therapy. I’m trying to move beyond the polished public persona I invented for myself years ago and instead, learn how to cope with just being my authentic self and speaking my truth. And – this is key – to feel OK with just being my authentic self and speaking my truth.

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