What Do Fitness and Business Practices Have In Common?

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My first time exercising in a long time felt great! So great, in fact, that I felt accomplished, and I began to look for results in the mirror—wait a second! That’s not how it works! Too soon?? – but I get excited and want to jump forward even though I KNOW I can’t just get back in shape after one round of exercise—and you can’t snap your fingers to make your business successful, either! . . . No matter how muchwe wish it so, these things are not that fast and easy.

Ohhh, no, no, no…the reality is true. Change must be constant, consistent, and long-term. Truths we know but forget all the time, which is why my fitness coach, Kolleen, has been a lifeline. When I get excited and want to jump forward, she reminds me of the best way to accomplish my goals: “Slow and steady, do it right, and keep going.”

She’s right; I know this, because I offer the same words of wisdom to my clients. It took applying these experiences in a new situation to really reinforce the practices in business. I saw the ways in which my habits changed across the board with Kolleen’s voice in my head. Now that I am working with a trainer on my body, the lessons have rolled over into other healthy decision making in my life. I am working on getting more sleep, watching each thing I eat, and just feeling better. And I see the long term goals a bit more clearly – they are now seeming possible whereas before they felt far away.

In your business, you’ll benefit from these practices, too. 

  • Developing Muscle Memory

    My fitness goals can’t solely focus on waking up my core muscles; that only flexes them. Instead, my goal is to get them fully engaged to the point where it becomes second-nature to use them; this is muscle memory. Do something enough, and it begins to settle into a routine, take shape, and become the new pattern of behavior. Butthis takes time

    In your business, it is not enough to write out your vision, mission, WHY, etc. but to sit with it, turn it over, commit to it – OWN it. Only when you spend time with these tools will they become a part of you and second nature to how you work and think.

  •  The Importance Of Scaffolding 

    My purpose for working with Kolleen is to reduce my back and shoulder pain, so I was pretty ready to start building my arm strength right away. However, she delayed this in favor of strengthening my core. First thing’s first; other building will come in time, but I can’t start working on my arm muscles if it will cause me to pull my back out. There is a process. I did not create this pain and lack of muscle engagement overnight, and I won’t change it overnight. Each day counts, even if I don’t see immediate results. That’s because there is a multiplying effect that comes from building to each level—I become the sum of the parts.

    In your business, make sure to make your foundation the strongest piece and then scaffold from there. Build over time and add pieces once you are strong enough to handle them.

  •  Good Form Matters

    My fitness goals are about strength, and an injury would be a major setback. It’s a delicate balance to push the body in order to grow stronger while avoiding injuries. Luckily, there is a formula to follow that makes it possible to avoid getting hurt: to grow stronger and not cause injury, follow good form. There is a Right Way to perform strengthening exercises that will build muscle without suffering an injury. Form matters.

    As it does with your business. Business practices that follow a good form will be more successful. There are established methods and means to a successful end. Therefore, a good actionable plan matters and will support us for years to come.

Putting It All Together 

Like Kolleen helped me see and understand, following good form, building my foundation, and allocating appropriate time to the process created changes in my fitness and is helping me to achieve my goals. The same can happen in your business when we work together. The Solid Foundation Builder program will help you create a strong ‘core’ for your business. And you will hear me in your head when you are done cheering you on to the business of your dreams.


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Getting To The Core Of The Matter

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My personal trainer seems to be reading my mind. When it came time to start training with her, I told her that I wanted to strengthen my arms, back muscles, and shoulders. These were the areas where I desperately needed help, to stop excruciating pain and get relief. In the face of my urgency to get started and target these areas, my personal trainer had one response, “Not so fast.”

Before you can deal with the issues, you need to target the biggest underlying factor contributing to the problems:  she said that I had to build my core, though she called it “my body’s foundation”. I about laughed out loud—Sound familiar? Isn’t that pretty much my starting point with clients? Of course! You need a good solid foundation on which to build, whether it’s your body or your business.

Everything out of her mouth was like listening to a recording of my own sessions with clients: the ways she defined my body and the weaknesses was SO SIMILAR to my own methods for describing my clients’ business and foundational practices.

3 Core Facts

It was like my words back to me, a sounding board that helped me address the needs of my body in the same ways that my clients need help with their business. It took an external perspective to help me see things that I already knew because sometimes, we’re too close to something that is right in front of us to see it; we need another point of view.

1.       Our Core Supports Us

The reason to start with the core is simple—it supports everything. The stronger the core becomes, the better you are able to MOVE.

 Same thing in business. Your core business practices allow everything else to happen. Without a solid core, you will not be able to pivot or respond to the demands of your enterprise.

 

2.       Engage Your Core At All Times

We must keep our core engaged at all times, not just when we walk: whether sitting, talking, or breathing, your core is working.

In business, we also need to keep our core values and our WHY front and center – in all company decision making. Engaging with your core business principles prevents you from losing focus, momentum, purpose, and, of course,—profit!

 

3.       Many Parts Make Up The Core

Our core is made up of more than one muscle, and they ALL must be engaged together. If you only strengthen one part, then the weakness of the rest will prevent your continued development.

 Again, our business is more than a mission statement or a vision board; business is the combination of mission, vision, WHY, marketing and financial strategies that create long term success. It’s not okay to focus only on one at a time; these ALL must be in action simultaneously to achieve results and success.

 

Just as my fitness coach helped me see, I can help you. Find and develop your business core with The Solid Foundation Builder, and you will see results!


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Rinse and Repeat: Repetition is a key learning strategy

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The Spring quarter is about to start, and we’ve been figuring out the story revealed by your financials. Where are you at? Are you feeling the optimism of Spring at the results, or are you feeling defeated because the story reveals you’re not at the level you must be to succeed?

First, let’s all breathe – take in a breath and let it out slowly, finding a place in your mind clear from distractions . . .

Listen: . . . just because you have learned the numbers doesn’t mean you stop, and just because the story you discovered fits a scary genre doesn’t mean you’ve failed. This is a learning process, and if we break that down, both words deal with stages and steps; learning takes you through phases of ignorance to enlightenment while a process brings you through sequential moments that culminate in a final outcome. No where does it say each step or phase only occurs once.

Rinse and Repeat

Before dry shampoo sprayed our hair clean, directions on shampoo bottles were pretty cut and dry: rinse and repeat. Apply the product not once, but twice; apply the method not once, but twice. Same thing goes for understanding your interior design financial statements.

  • Review. Did you take my course, Understanding Your Financials, listen to an interior design podcast, or use another type of resource? Go back. Take it again. Review the information. Like watching a movie for the second time, you will notice something that you didn’t the first time; you will glean something new, and that might make all the difference.

  • Re-apply. Gather your interior design business plan, your interior design fee structure, your accounting reports, etc. Work the numbers through and perform analyses of your interior design profit margin. You’re looking for new options to pursue or connections that you missed the first time. Make sure you’ve got the right story. It’s always possible to adjust your interior design business plan for a different, better outcome.

  • Repeat. Repetition is the key to learning. We don’t always grasp something the first time through. We don’t shampoo our hair once a year (shudder at the thought!). Don’t just learn about your financial statements and stop. Keep learning. The goal is to re-visit your financial statements habitually; establish a process that includes financial reviews. Your story will always be changing, your goals are subject to change, and the world delivers surprises all the time. Therefore, you need to make this a constant part of your business.

A Wealth of Knowledge

A good way to foster learning is to gather a library of resources. Provide accessible and easy-to-reach information so that you will return to and use your resources:

  1. Make a collection of training videos, podcasts, articles, etc. in a folder on your computer

  2. Put links to good sites into a document

  3. Use your Favorites Bar on your internet browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc.)

Then, rinse and repeat: re-read, re-listen, re-watch, and re-apply the lessons.

Make a Choice to Profit Today! - Are you a business owner and you are trying to get a "handle" on your finances? Enroll in "Understanding Your Financials" today to see how you can reach your business/financial goals.

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Why Take An Online Course? 

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Let me call to mind the business woman running on the treadmill while signing documents and talking on the phone. While this could be a real scenario, it’s also figurative: since you started an interior design business, you’ve been running on a treadmill at high-speed and multitasking furiously!

“If You Want Something Done, Give It To A Busy Person”

Your response to the pace may vary between thriving on the challenges to feeling overwhelmed. I understand; as an interior design coach, I can tell you that the pressure is real. But I can also tell you that you are capable—you wouldn’t be here in the first place if you weren’t. And I say this because I’m going to challenge you to do one more thing.

“What?!” you say, “I can’t handle one more thing!!” I hear you. I see that treadmill churning. But this challenge will help you off the treadmill and onto real avenues that head towards a successful interior design profit margin.

Therefore, I am challenging you to keep learning. Right now, you’re working hard just to stay on-track. If you want to get ahead, discover the methods that will propel you. A treadmill is stationary, after all. 

Challenge Accepted

The truth is that the more you learn about your finances, the easier and more meaningful the business tasks become. You’ve come this far, but to go the distance, you need to understand your financials. It’s an essential ingredient for success. When you learn the story that your numbers tell, then you’re able to create and follow a successful interior design business plan. 

  1. Knowledge Is Power. Take the opportunity to gain new financial skills. This type of information—this knowledge—has the power to push you ahead in life and work. Think of it as an investment; the time you devote to learning about your interior design financial statements will come back to you as profit.

  2. Become a Life-Long Learner. The internet has made life-long learning possible because you no longer need to trek to a campus, sit through a class, and meet in person. You now have access to on-demand courses that let you learn when you can. Most courses are self-directed which means you can download and log on when you’re ready. Unlike a live instructor, you can click pause to take notes or really let something sink in.

Well-Meaning Resources Are No Substitute 

While we all know a family member or friend well versed in business, listening to them talk is not the same as learning. Learning is a process, and even though your loved one is enthusiastic about helping, they may not follow best-practices when it comes to learning: breaking down difficult concepts, giving visual aids, and providing opportunities to apply the lessons.

Sometimes, you need to slow down before you speed up; no one turns a corner at 60 mph. The good news is when you’re ready to get ahead, there is an online course on financials available to you. Slow down your treadmill enough to learn about your finances, then chart a new direction and charge forward, full speed ahead.

The Understanding Your Financials course will allow you to gain a fuller understanding of where you are making money and losing money. Then it will give you the knowledge and confidence to use that information to make wise decisions going forward – so that you can get off of the treadmill of trading hours for dollars. I promise.

Staying In The Zone

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Here is a familiar scenario: She was sitting at the table, coffee forgotten in her hands, adrift in her thoughts. Suddenly, snapping fingers in front of her eyes broke her train of thought, and a loud voice asking, “Hey, are you in there?!”

We are conditioned to pay attention, and when we find ourselves lost in thought, dreaming, we are either rudely woken up or feel guilty for losing track of ourselves. After all, successful people understand the amount of concentration it takes to be good at something and shouldn’t allow themselves to be distracted! 

We often discourage such daydreams because they amount to distractions, but that really does them a disservice. The stuff of our dreams may be wild imagining, but there are kernels of reality that we can mine. When you dream, you’re figuring things out and exploring at the same time. 

Your dreams can be tools. 

Zoning Out

Too much dreaming could be distracting from your task, and doesn’t it seem like our minds often wander when we’re deep in the throes of a project? It makes sense when you think about the effort exerted by the brain to concentrate. A daydream might either be a break from the efforts or an extension of the increased brain activity. Either way, we often find ourselves “zoning out” while we’re working.

The usual response is to shake ourselves back from the daydream and focus again. However, there is an opportunity to take next time you find yourself zoned out—follow the thoughts. Let yourself take the time to zone out. Stay in the zone.

Evaluating Your Dreams

When you come back to earth or snap out of your reverie, don’t jump back into work. Instead, think some more about the daydream or thoughts you just experienced. Where did you go? What did you see? What was on your mind? Write them down.

When we get lost in thought, we are actually processing ideas. They may be nothing of importance, but you may find yourself dreaming about your heart’s desire. Give yourself a chance to find out. 

After you have a few sessions of letting your mind wander and getting a sense of your thoughts, look over your collection of notes. Were you thinking about that last client meeting? Did you imagine yourself handling it differently or did you relive it start to finish? Maybe you were working on setting your interior design pricing and suddenly whisked yourself away to a place that didn’t bother you with numbers like a tropical island with endless beaches. 

Glean from your notes the meaning behind the thoughts. Do you need a new approach to client meetings? Are you still struggling with your interior design financial statements? These are the real issues with which you’re grappling.

Taking Action

Now, you can create action items. What are 3 things you need for every client meeting? What are two ways you need to prepare for those types of events? 

Or, you can identify specific actions you still need to take. List people who will help you with your interior design fee structure. Decide two methods to gain more information about your interior design business plan. 

Getting Started

You already have everything you need—next time, let your mind go and see where it takes you. Keep notepaper close to you. Allow yourself time to see your dreams through. You may just find that rather than distract you from reaching your goals, they may take you exactly where you need to go. Always feel free to connect with me and we can work together to make your dreams come true.