Your first 100 days

We did it.  We did it again.  We do it every 4 years.

Yes, every four years America gets to vote on a new President.  Every new President has their first “100 day plan”.  It usually outlines the things they want to start doing to make our country great.  It highlights programs and laws that they want to abolish and also talks about those things that are working well and what will remain in place.

During the time between the election and the inauguration the President-Elect forms a transition team.  This teams purpose is to help the President-Elect form his Cabinet.  The role of the Cabinet is to advise the President on any subject he or she may require relating to the duties of each member’s specialty.  The tradition of the cabinet dates back to the beginning of our great nation.  Homeland security, health care, veteran’s affairs, education, etc.  There are 15 executive departments in all.

It really is a chance for the President-Elect to polish their plan, form a team and get rolling on day one in office.

With 2016 coming to an end, what is your “first 100 days” plan for 2017?

  • Who are your trusted advisors?
  • Can they shoot it to you straight?
  • Do you trust them?
  • Are they qualified to be in that position?
  • Do you have a specific accountability partner to keep you focused and efficient?

If these questions are tough to answer, then how will you hold yourself accountable in 2017?

I would suggest you create your plan and then fill your “Cabinet” with people you can trust and go to for advice, counsel and consult.  You don’t have to be the President to have a “first 100 days” plan.  You certainly don’t have to be President to have an accountability partner or team.

Today is the day.  Now is the moment.

Get accountable for all that you want to accomplish in 2017.  Are you ready?  Are you set?  Let’s go!!!

“The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same” –Steve Maraboli

 

***This blog post was co-written with my husband and most trusted advisor Dan Gielow.

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Are you really that busy?

Effective priority management is more than a set of disciplines. It’s a mindset.

It’s more than a daily to do list. It’s keeping the promises you make to yourself.

When we can stop lying to ourselves that things get in the way of what we truly need to do and realize were only really doing what we want to do.. our lives will change.

We have got to stop pretending that the reason we aren’t getting what we need to get accomplished in our lives is because of other people, or circumstances, or that “fire” that you needed to put out.  It’s simply not true and somewhere along the line you bought the lie that it was OK to make excuses for not accomplishing the things that matter most.

How many of you have used the following excuses when you don’t get things done:

  • The holidays are coming
  • We just finished up the school year
  • I’m in the mortgage business and it’s end of month
  • My boss just gave me five more objectives I need to focus
  • Etc.  Etc.

Stop it.

Today choose to do what is most important, and then keep your promise to yourself to do it until it’s finished.

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My Dog Should Sell Cars

For those of you that know me well, you know I am a big “eat in my bed before going to sleep” person.  I am not choosy what I eat.  Fruit, popcorn, spaghetti and meatballs (I kid you not).  It is just my thing.  I blame it on my 4 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat and my full time job and PTO Board position that keeps me from eating what I need to eat at a more appropriate time.  Also, I burn a lot of calories because I never have time to sit down.  Scoff if you will, but I am sticking to that reasoning.

Anyways, my 13 ½ pound Papillion, Chazz, is always right there besides me, cheering on my eating.  Encouraging me to get out there and get more food.  Sitting right beside me to show his support.

At first I just sort of thought his presence was because he knows how much I need the food, he sees how hard I work during the day and understands my hunger.  But the more he sits there, closely, staring, drooling, nudging my hand with his nose, I am beginning to think he wants me to share my food with him, almost like he is entitled to partake in my bedtime meal.

Some nights I do share a nibble or two with him.  Maybe throw a piece of popcorn his way or cut off a bite of that meatball.  Other nights I am too selfish to share with him and I tell him to go away.  Each night, whether I share with him or not, he is there with the same strategy the worked in the past…closely, staring, drooling, nudging my hand with his nose until the last bite of food is gone and I have put the plate/bowl in the kitchen.  He is relentless.

It got me thinking, no matter what the answer is, he is consistently by my side, hopeful of getting that treat.  He isn’t afraid of hearing the word no.  He doesn’t shy away from approaching me on Tuesday because he heard no on Monday.  He doesn’t come to me afraid, nervous, or reluctant.  Every night he moves into position with a positive attitude, feeling fresh, confident and hopeful of getting the treat.

Why can’t we take on that attitude, ourselves, when we get up and sell each day at work?  Some days we are going to hear the word no.  Some days we are going to hear the word yes.  Yet each day brings on new opportunities to make a new sale to a new prospect.  As humans, however, we allow the days we heard “no” to negatively impact our future opportunities.  It becomes a head game to us, and we often cannot overcome our sales call reluctance to get out there and get it done.

How can you enter each sales day with the positive attitude and confidence of my dog Chazz?  It starts with you making the decision to not let the past stop you from doing something great in the present.  It continues when you don’t allow fear become your business partner.   Choose to be fearless and your sales will be limitless.

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That moment

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There’s a moment in all of our lives when we realize we need to get back to what we love after taking a much needed break.  For me, my love of writing had to be put on hold while I balanced the other life accounts that were just more important.  It’s been 8 months since I wrote my last blog post.  Today is the day I jump back in.  I’ve missed you all and am glad to be back.  I hope you all have been well and would love to hear from each of you on how you have been and what has been new in your life since January.

So, what kept me so busy?  Well, here’s my story.

It was a hot summer in St. Louis this year.  my first baby was due in 16 days.  At my weekly doctor’s appointment everything looked pretty good for this 45 year old, first time mom to be.  Of course, I still needed to get blood work, because I was so old of course, but I have had a perfectly healthy pregnancy up to this point so I wasn’t worries.  After the blood draw my husband and I set out for a nice quiet summer weekend.  That was at 10 am on June 10th.

Then came the phone call at 9:00 pm.  I didn’t answer it because it said NO CALLER ID.  I figured it was a telemarketer and hit ignore.  Just a moment later my voice mail indicator dinged and I hit listen.  It was my doctor.  Seems this old lady’s kidneys and liver were starting to protest this baby inside of me and I was developing pre-eclampsia.  I was told to head to the hospital because it was time to have a baby.  Needless to say my husband and I were shocked, but also very excited.

For those of you that know me, I was already packed of course (for me and baby) so I started making calls to the family while Dan finished packing his bag.  We arrived at the hospital at 11pm with a smile on our face and a plan.  I still chuckle when I think about that plan.  We had spent hours upon hours making decisions about how we wanted labor to go, what we would do with Olivia once she was born, how we couldn’t wait to leave the hospital quickly so we could bring her home.  Etc. Etc.  Then real life kicked in and we just held on for our dear lives.

It started off pretty easy.  Since I went in only 1 centimeter dilated they had to induce me.  When my contractions started the nurse came to check on me and I laughed to myself about how women complain about them.  What were they talking about – this was nothing.  And my mantra “I can breathe through any pain” was still holding out to be true, because all it took was a few deep breaths and the contractions were over.  SWEET.  Now all I needed to do was to get to 10 centimeters and bring this little angel into the world.

I am literally laughing as I write this.  Laughing.  And I am on a plane and people are starting to think I may be crazy or that I am a morning drinker.  I am neither.

So, back to the contractions.  They started getting more intense and happening more frequently.  They got so painful that I was no longer convinced that “breathing through it” was a smart philosophy .  In fact, I was pretty sure I had stopped breathing altogether  and I was about to pass out.  I was starting to wonder that maybe I didn’t think this “having a baby thing” through all the way.

To say Olivia didn’t want to come out on June 10th is an understatement.  I never made it past 1 centimeter on 6/10.  To say she didn’t want to come out on June 11th would be just downright entertaining, except it wasn’t.  After 15 hours of being induced, trying every trick the doctor and nurses had up their sleeve and being naked in front of so many strangers that it started to not bother me anymore I finally caved in and said the magic word – REDRUM – to my husband.  That was our code word for get me the epidural.  NOW.  Part 1 of the plan – have natural childbirth – down the drain.   Just for the record, the other 20 parts of the plan went down the drain also, mostly because the other plans we made seemed so realistic when writing them and completely bonkers once she actually came into the world (Part 2 of the plan – don’t let the baby sleep in the nursery).  I think you get the drift.

To say Olivia didn’t want to come out on June 12th would also be correct, but this is where mommy’s stubbornness would prove to be a worthy opponent to my sweet child.  14 short hours after the epidural was administered, and just 3 short hours after I started pushing Olivia and I met (I actually got to pull her out of me and hold her in her first moments of life which was the BEST moment of my life so far and will go down as the BEST moment of my life forever).  It was in “that moment” where everything that mattered before didn’t matter at all.  And everything that I thought would matter again, wouldn’t matter either.  You just look at life differently after giving birth.  But it isn’t just giving birth that brings about “that moment”.  It is battling an illness until you have beat it.  It is running a marathon after losing your legs.  It is forgiving an enemy that doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.  Life is full of “that moment” where we get to become better people then we were before.  Where are lives will forever be changed for the better.

It has taken me 3 months to write about my “that moment”.  I can’t believe how fast time flies and it is easy to get caught up in that, but for now, I am embracing being a new mom and love seeing how my other three kids are bonding with their little sister.  The unexpected gift in all of this, however, was how much closer my husband and I have gotten since Olivia came into this world.  You know, you think you love someone with all of your heart, but then you make a little human together and the game just gets taken up a notch.   And for that I am eternally grateful to God.

Life will give each of us “that moment”.  Maybe several of them.  Are you open to it?  Have you already had it?

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Being Led Well

Leading-While-being-LedIt was a call that would change my life forever, though at the time I didn’t know it. I had heard about a company who coached mortgage professionals on living more purposeful in life and in business. I was told they were connecting me to a Coach named Michelle. The morning of the call came and I was very excited. From the start I just knew I loved her. She was smart, articulate and caring. She and I discussed my goals, my dreams and where I felt I hadn’t stepped up and taken any risks. By the end of that 30 minute call I was convinced I needed to hire her and her company Building Champions. I was over the moon.

Michelle and I coached together for a year and then came the “talk”. Should I continue? “Of course”, I said, I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it, guiding me, leading me and helping me make the decisions I needed to make to be happy and fruitful.

Somewhere in the course of that second year of coaching Michelle helped me to see that my calling was actually as a Coach and not a Mortgage Professional. She carefully examined my heart and my gifts and showed me how coaching would be the perfect fit for me to live out my mission of actively seeking out opportunities to help others.  I was more excited then I have ever been, so with her help I sat down with the decision makers of my company and discovered my calling.  That was 11 years ago and I have not looked back one day.  And I owe it all to my Coach, but more importantly to how well she led me and how well I allowed myself to be led by her.

There are many books and blog posts about being a leader.  Heck, I have written some myself.  And I know that developing your leadership skills is important, especially if you are leading a team.  However, being led is also important, and one you should not skip in the process of growing as a leader.

Ask yourself these three questions:

1.  Do I allow myself to be led?

2.  Does my ego feel offended by being led?

3.  Who do I know or who do I need to know who can be a good leader to me?

The answers may just be exciting for you as they were for me.  Good luck.

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Living well

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I saw a quote on Facebook recently by Mark Twain that says “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”.

I love that saying. Not because I get paid to help people execute with excellence the 2nd part of that quote.  Mostly because I have heard, in the voices of my clients over the last 11 years, that certain satisfaction they have when they realize they are living out their purpose and living it out well.  I think of my friend Robyn who has a passion for teaching and all of the lives she has touched by educating young children.  I think of my friend Adrienne who has such style that her only option is to pass it along to others, so that they too, can have style.  I think of my husband Dan who’s calling is to teach other dads how to be the best dad they can be, with the sole purpose of helping children have more meaningful relationships with their fathers.  The fact that they are making a difference in the lives of their others is awe inspiring and amazing.

Are you awe inspiring and amazing?

Do you know what your purpose is?

Are you living it out?

We all were put here, on Earth, to do something special.  If you don’t know what that is yet, it’s time to figure it out.  Others are counting on you.

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Reflections of my first trimester

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How many of you reading this has children? How many of you reading this are women who have had children? How many of you reading this are women who have had children and didn’t think you would make it through the first trimester?

If you raised your hand on that last question, welcome to club crazy. Please sign in and grab a name tag.

When Dan and I set out two and a half years ago to have a child, we never expected the journey we would take to get here. Infertility treatments, miscarriage, and then final acceptance of God’s plan – that I would remain childless. So we did what every self respecting couple would do – we sold all of our baby stuff collected from his kids and built a pool. We were happy, accepting the awesome life we had and relishing in the future with his three kids and my love of feeling good.

But God has other plans doesn’t He? And quite a sense of humor!

After all the time and money spent trying to start a family, God chose to step in and take matters into His hands. So here we are, in the last week of my first trimester and boy what a time we have had.

I believe that the first trimester has been the scariest, happiest and most comical time of my life. Scary because you just never know what is going to happen to this little ball of life growing inside of you. Every twitch got me thinking about the baby I lost and the devastation I felt for that life that we would never meet. Happy because, after all we had been through, God chose us to raise one of His children and teach him/her all about the grace, forgiveness and mercy of His love. Comical because, well, being pregnant is funny.

In the spirit of true Coach K, I want to share with you a few of the experiences we have gotten to live as a result of the first trimester. I hope you find them as funny as we did, it has truly been a humorous time for us so far.

1. Did you know that a pregnant women’s sense of smell is amplified? I didn’t until I started realizing how smelly everything is in this world. And that can take a toll if you are nauseous every moment of every day like I have been. One time, in particular, stands out for both Dan and me. We were sitting on the sofa, watching a movie and I said to my dear, sweet husband “Dan, I am sorry to point this out, but I think your feet are smelly, can you please go and change your socks”. He swore to me up and down his feet were not smelly, and that he did not need to change his socks. I, of course, thought he was crazy and mumbled something under my breath that probably wasn’t very nice.  Flash forward to an hour later, as I was sitting at my desk getting some work done. Low and behold, it was ME that smelled bad, not him.  I had to text him right away to point out the error of my ways (and of my nose).

Caveat here folks – when you read things in “…” and you are reading the words “please”, “sorry” and “thank you”, just understand, due to my raging hormones, I was not actually using those polite and kind words.  Just making sure we are all on the same page here.

2.  Every pregnancy is different.  Every woman gains weight and starts showing at different times.  I expected to have a baby bump in my second trimester, so you can imagine my surprise to look down and see the baby bump around week 10.  My doctor assures me it is because I am small boned and only weigh 121 lbs, and that this sweet baby and his/her entourage (bloating, amniotic sac, etc.) have nowhere to go but out.  I want you to know, I am totally fine with that.  I have never weighed more then 128 lbs in my whole life so gaining weight doesn’t stress me out at all.  I welcome the chance to put on a few pounds.  What I don’t welcome is not fitting into my favorite jeans, then having to borrow some maternity jeans from a friend and subsequently popping the button off of “said” jeans at a dinner party.  After my initial shock, I thought I would start crying, but instead Dan and I just started cracking up uncontrollably.

3.  I love football.  I know this is not a surprise to any of you who follow my blog.  What you may not know is that I am not a Seattle Seahawks fan (come on friends, if your team was beat so badly by them in the Superbowl, you wouldn’t like them either).  What I will never understand is the complete crying meltdown I had when one of their players got injured.  I cried like a baby for about 30 minutes.  Picture this, Dan walks into our living room and I am sitting on the sofa sobbing.  He asks “what is wrong babe”?  I couldn’t even answer I was crying so hard.  He looked up at the television to see that Seattle Seahawks player on the field being attended to and just laughed.  I can’t even remember his name now, because I have never heard of him, but boy was I sad when he went down.

4.  This one should probably not be shared, but it is too funny to pass up.  It is no secret that women’s bodies change and things that worked regularly don’t work so regularly anymore.  Along with the pure exhaustion of my first trimester, this has been the most unpleasant side effect of being pregnant.  However, the humor involved with this side effect has been, by far, the funniest times Dan and I have shared during it all.  I will say, I am not sure what pregnant women did before the iPhone and texting.  I know I have completely made a fool of myself with the texts I have sent Dan while waiting out regularity.  I also know that I have completely stumped my 5 year old step daughter Delaney, who oftentimes sits outside of my bathroom, asking every 2 minutes when I will be done so we can go back to playing.  I only wish I had an answer for her most of the time.

There has been so many other times that humor has taken the lead role in this pregnancy.  Way too many to share here today, but we are keeping a journal and look forward to many years of laughs when the baby shows up in the summer of 2016.

For now, we are enjoying this experience and are forever grateful for the chance God has given us to be here today.

We ask for prayers as we continue on this journey, and hope that our baby continues to grow strong and healthy until we meet him/her this next summer.

Merry Christmas, happy new year and I will be praying that 2016 is a wonderful year for you all.

Coach K

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A goal is a goal is a goal – right?

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When you google “reaching a goal” over 199,000,000 items would come up in 54 seconds. That is crazy. Also pretty telling about how many people are writing about goals. Google “setting goals” – 447,000,000 hits in 67 seconds. This is a topic widely covered.  So when I sat down to write this post I was a little “iffy” about whether there could be real value in what I had to say. Primarily because it has all been said before, but secondarily because as a Coach I “preach” setting goals and coach my clients how to reach those goals each and every day and it all seemed pretty black and white.  In actuality, it really isn’t.  Sure we have all heard of SMART goals, we have all seen speakers motivate us to accomplish those goals, but do we really understand the emotional wherewithal it takes to set and accomplish the right goals for us, at the right time?

There are so many layers of the human brain that are activated when setting and reaching goals. I won’t pretend to be the expert, but I will quote some experts who have exhaustively studied the human brain, emotions, and goal setting philosophies.

Let’s start with David Richardson, Ph.D. and Founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He writes about the two types of positive affect. Pre-goal attainment and post-goal attainment. What he says is that “when it comes to goal pursuit, it really is the journey that counts, not the destination.” He states that there is a more pleasurable feeling when you are making progress toward a goal then when you actually achieve it. (1) If that is true, then waiting to celebrate a victory when the goal is accomplished is pointless, your celebration is too late. You need to celebrate milestones along the way to really capitalize on the strongest positive emotional feelings you have during the process in order to see that goal through to the end.

I am taking a course at the University of Michigan on leading people and teams. Maxim Sytch, PhD, one of my Professors, dives even deeper into goal setting and the accomplishment of goals. He ascertains that goals are only truly accomplished when the person tasked with reaching the goals accepts the goal and is equipped to accomplish it in the first place. You have to have both. A person can accept the challenge of that goal, but if they are not qualified to accomplish it nothing will help see that person through, and emotionally that person will suffer as a result of that. Think of a flight instructor. If I have a desire to learn to fly a plane, but after a few lessons my flight instructor doesn’t think I am ready for my first solo, I will not be flying solo. Same rings true for those who are equipped to do the goal but don’t accept the challenge. You can be the best gymnast in the world, but if you don’t have emotional passion for gymnastics you will not put the time and effort into practicing that will bring home the gold. You really need both acceptance and performance to reach a goal.

So with December right around the corner, and 2016 approaching us fast you might be entering into the “next year goal setting stage”.  If that is the case, I want to encourage you to consider a few things before you put pen to that goal.  First, are you excited about reaching that goal and second, are you equipped to do so.  If you can answer yes to that question then you have what it takes to set the stage for a successful 2016.  Good luck.

(1) They Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

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The Fourth “B” in vision


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There is a little known fact in the business world that companies with a vision tend to be more successful then companies without a vision. There is also a little known fact that business visions that encompass the 3B approach tend to be visions that are executable and exciting to live out.

Before we dive into the fourth “B” of business vision, let me first refresh your memory about the initial three (from Building Champion’s 3B Business Vision Tool). For a copy, please email me at kristen.gielow@buildingchampions.com.

The first “B” is Belong – “What will my team members belong to?” Every person on your team has an innate need and desire to belong to something that is bigger than fiscal goals and their own achievements. When a team member can answer the question “what do I belong to” with clarity and conviction they will be dedicated to helping you achieve your Vision. Because of this, you must be able to clearly identify and articulate the culture, character and work ethic that you desire in your organization. The Belong section encompasses your convictions and purpose.

The second “B” is Become – The majority of your team’s waking hours are invested in your organization. In order to ensure each hour spent is purposeful you
and your team members must be able to answer the question “Who am I becoming, professionally and personally, by investing my valuable time dedicated to this organization.” If a person can see with certainty that their time spent is not simply a means to a paycheck, but is part of their professional and personal development, they will work harder and with more dedication. Their organization is no longer a replaceable location in which they do a service, but it is an essential element in who they are and who they will become. The main component in this section is creating the vivid description of the future. Knowing where you want to go is important before heading out onto the journey.

The third “B” is Build – After identifying the Belong and Become sections you are now ready to tackle the question “In order to maintain who we are and to achieve what we want, what needs to be built?” The Build section is completed in your Business Plan, however, you must first layout the roadmap for it in your Business Vision. Your Business Vision filters all of your plans to ensure you are who you say you are and that you experience the future that you envision. Think Big Hairy Audacious Goals (or what we also often call Mount Everest Goals).

These 3 “B’s” are essential in crafting your company’s vision, and without them you really won’t have the foundation you need to create a plan on an annual basis. But I want to stretch your thinking and introduce the fourth “B” below.

The fourth “B” is Beneficiary. Studies have shown that when employees can see or meet the beneficiaries of their work they have a higher level of job satisfaction and job performance. Think a manufacturing company who creates safety glasses for welders. How much more job satisfaction and attention to your job would you have after hearing a personal testimony from someone whose eyes were saved after an accident in the welding shop because of those safety glasses? A lot. Like the three “B’s” above have a question you answer, the fourth “B” has one too. It is “who is my product or service directly affecting”? Once you can answer that, you can tie the meaning behind what you do and why you do and move forward with creating a business plan.

Tell me what you think. Do you think the fourth “B” is necessary? Please send responses to kristen.gielow@buildingchampions.com.

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Where everybody knows your name

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In 1982 NBC debuted a show about a group of people who either worked at a bar or frequented a bar called Cheers. The theme song was titled “Where everybody knows you name”. The lyrics are all about dealing with the troubles of this world and how being somewhere with people who know you is so nice, and necessary. I used to love that show. I watched every one of the episodes for the 11 years it was on television. It just had a feel good message that really resonated with me. It must have resonated with a lot of other people also because the show, the Creators and the Cast were all nominated and won many awards over those 11 years.

Why do you think that is? Was it because the writers were witty and peopled love the comedy aspect of the show? Could it be the love story between Sam and Diane that kept people coming back? Do viewers just love to watch people drink beer? Maybe all of those things.

Could it also be that, deep down, we all want to feel like part of a community? Part of a “group”? Could our longing to be included in something significant in life trump a well-written comedy or a well-meaning romance?

I think the world we live in now, with smart phones and social media, makes us hungrier then ever for human interaction and involvement. I see it on the soccer fields in our town, the driveways of our neighborhood and in the schools our kids go to. People are longing for human interaction, longing to be part of something bigger collectively then who they are individually. People want to feel like they matter to others, not just their families.

How do you stay connected?

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