Posts by Chrysta Bairre

How to stop being busy

Posted by on Dec 21, 2017 in Work-life Balance | 0 comments

Our society puts a high value on being busy. Instagram is filled with images tagged #hustle, #hustlehard, and #busy. If we’re not making enough money we think we need to work harder, to do more.

Start listening for the word “busy” and you’ll begin to notice how much you and the people you know say you are “busy”. Busy has become a default state of being!

For someone that’s been writing a work-life balance blog for the last 8 years, even I fall into the busy trap more than I’d like to admit. I’m building a business and it’s often hard not to think I need to do more to grow.

But in my 8 years of creating intentional work-life balance in my life, I’ve learned many times over that I achieve more when I do less.

What?!

That’s right, I achieve more when I do less.

Being busy looks like me spinning my wheels. Being busy looks like me judging myself and my progress, not being happy with the progress I’ve made. Being busy looks like self doubt. Being busy looks like burnout. Been there, done that. And it’s not a pattern I’d like to repeat.

What does it look like to have work-balance? Balance looks like me having more joy and deeper connection with family and friends. Balance looks like being well-rested. Balance looks like being in the flow of life and getting more results with less work!

Doesn’t balance sound better than busy? Doesn’t balance feel better?

stop being busy

20 ways to stop being busy

  1. Stop multi-tasking. Do one thing at a time and do each task with attention and care.
  2. Set and stick to your office hours. That means no calls, no texts, and no emails outside office hours!
  3. Work in sprints to get more done in less time!
  4. Get comfortable making mistakes.
  5. Show more care for your own well-being than what other people think of you.
  6. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  7. Give yourself a break.
  8. Give other people a break, too.
  9. And while we’re on the subject… take breaks!
  10. Stop doing things you “should” do.
  11. Every day cross one item off your to-do list without doing it.
  12. Quit activities that aren’t serving you and your higher purpose.
  13. Say no more often.
  14. Live with intention, aka do things that matter and don’t do things that don’t!
  15. Declutter your digital life, including turning off social media and app notifications, unsubscribing, and filtering your news feeds.
  16. Turn off your phone during meals and events. (You won’t die, I promise!)
  17. Have an attitude of gratitude! Appreciating what you have instead of always wanting more.
  18. Celebrate your wins, big and small! You’ve accomplished so much already! Enjoy each win before moving on to the next one.
  19. Meditate 5 minutes a day.
  20. Do less, BE more. “Be” as in accepting your life and your situation for what it is, without judgment.

Choose at one item from the list and commit to trying it for a week. Throughout the week be curious and open to what is shifting for you and how it feels. At the end of the week make a note of what you learned.

How will you stop being busy?

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Progress is the new perfect

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 in Get your goals | 0 comments

It’s easy to remember your failures. You’re keenly aware of things you haven’t done. You set goals based on subjective indicators of success, as if numbers are all it takes to make you happy.

The right number on the scale.

The right number in your bank account.

The right number in your zip code.

All too often you fail to measure up to your own hopes and dreams. You’re not good enough, not yet.

Bullshit. You ARE good enough.

Even as you work towards your big goals, your best self, know that today, right here and now, you are right where you need to be. You are enough.

In your quest to health, happiness, and success, you shortchange your progress.

You may be familiar with the concept that most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in three years, or six years, or ten years. The key to staying the course is recognizing the progress you’ve made. Progress not perfection! Progress over completion!

Acknowledging your progress is more important than you know. It’s how you stay motivated. It’s your life. It’s happening right now. And the measure of your success isn’t in the numbers, it’s in the progress.

progress not perfection

As we approach the end of the year, before setting your New Year’s resolutions, take a moment to recognize your progress. And don’t just do it once a year, do it weekly. Then, once a year, make a list of your progress and celebrate how far you’ve come!

It’s not just you- it’s also me. I’m writing this post because I need this reminder. It’s easy for me to focus on where I want to be instead of where I am. I feel the painfully short of my big goals, only momentarily celebrating how far I’ve come. My successes are fleeting in my own mind. And I’m changing that pattern. I choose to celebrate my progress, and publicly! I volunteer as tribute!

Here’s my celebratory progress list for 2017:

  • I prepared and delivered 27 presentations. (In public! In front of people!)
  • I wrote 13,249 words of my first book. (To be published in 2018- lookout, 2018!)
  • I started a professional women’s community, She Leads, and hosted 4 events to 103 attendees.
  • I worked one-on-one with 18 individual clients throughout the year.
  • I increased my gross income by 106%!
  • I became a licensed teacher of the Art of Feminine Presence, and taught 25 classes.
  • I facilitated in the Larimer County Women of the Year program.
  • I scaled back my business after a serious illness. (Don’t skimp on self-care!)
  • I started meditating daily in February. (11 months of daily meditation!)

Now it’s your turn. I invite you to make a list your accomplishments this year. What progress have you made? Say it loud and proud! Leave a comment and celebrate how far you’ve come! This is the first step towards really owning it.

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Life is hard. Or is it easy?

Posted by on Nov 30, 2017 in Personal Development, Work-life Balance | 0 comments

I’ve had a particularly hard life. I grew up in poverty and experienced trauma at an early age.

I had to fight, and work hard, and earn for everything I have. I bootstrapped my life and my success.

My life story has taught me life is hard, and it’s true, life IS hard. But what if life is easy? What if life is both? Life is hard and life is easy.

As a lifelong bootstrapper I tend to approach all situations with great effort. I believe life is hard and so it is.

Sometimes life is genuinely hard. Sometimes the odds are stacked against you. Sometimes you’ve got to put on your big girl pants, knuckle down, and do some hard stuff.

The thing is, I’ve recently discovered that approaching every situation with that sense of toughness makes my experience of every situation a lot tougher!

If I believe life is hard, I gather my strength and my courage and tackle problems in head-on. This approach can lead to overlooking simpler and easier solutions and outcomes, including asking for help, clarifying expectations, or negotiating terms.

My choice to stop believing work and life are hard

Years ago before I started this blog, I was on the edge of burnout. I worked so hard at everything I did that my health and happiness suffered. I remember one time in particular that I was faced with a challenge at work and I was prepared to bootstrap my efforts to deal with the situation.

A co-worker was planning a 3-week vacation during our busiest season. I began to prepare myself to work 50+ weeks to meet all our deadlines and get he work done while she was away.

Then I made a choice not to kill myself over a job. This was not a life or death situation. I chose to stop taking work so seriously.

Instead of assuming the only possible solution was for me to work too hard, I decided to brainstorm my options. I made a list of all the possible ways I could handle the situation, from the unreasonable (run away to a foreign country, or work myself to death) to some easier options (ask for help, or set boundaries).

What I chose to do was send an email to my boss, letting him know I would be unable to do all the work and meet all the deadlines alone. I proposed two solutions and asked my boss to decide which option he preferred.

Option 1 was to miss our deadlines and pay associated fines and penalties.

Option 2 was to hire a temp to cover the staff shortage.

Instead of approaching the situation as if life is hard, and I have to work hard, I approached the situation with ease.

Which option did my boss choose? Well, he decided to tell my co-worker her 3-week vacation was not approved during our busiest time of the year, and asked her to move her trip a few weeks before or after the time she requested off.

What if life is easy?

So what if life is easy? Where can you find more ease in all you do? Where can you create more ease?

Instead of following your old habits, old beliefs, and old patterns, what if you challenged the idea that life is hard and, instead, you chose to follow the ease?

life is easier than you think

Here are some ways life may be easier than you think:

Life is hard, and it is easy. Stop making life harder than it needs to be. Start creating more ease.

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11 Ways to Increase Your Income

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Career Advice, Entrepreneurship | 0 comments

Just about everyone wants to make more money- myself included!

Unfortunately, few people will see their income increase much in the next year because they’re going about it all wrong. Most people are looking for the right strategy that will put more money in their pocket. They think what we need is the perfect elevator pitch, the cookie-cutter sales funnel, or salary negotiation tactic.

money please

The problem with seeking a strategy to get more money is that strategy won’t be effective if you spend the rest of your time minimizing your contributions, undermining your expertise, and keeping quiet when you should speak up.

Every day you show people what you think you’re worth in your day-to-day interactions and relationships. If you have a habit of deflecting praise, for example, your boss might start to think you don’t really work all hard, or that it comes easy to you.

It usually goes something like this:

Boss: “Thanks for getting that report to me yesterday.”

You: “It was nothing!”

OR

Boss: “You did a great job on the Johnson project.”

You: “Thanks but I missed that typo and forgot to send the email reminder about the meeting.”

STOP, please stop, brushing off praise! Try receiving it instead!

For example:

Boss: “Thanks for getting that report to me yesterday.”

You: “You’re welcome!”

OR

Boss: “You did a great job on the Johnson project.”

You: “Thank you! I worked hard on it and I already have some ideas for future improvements!”

If you’re an entrepreneur you may be making similar mistakes when it comes to accepting praise. It goes something like this:

Client: “Wow, I love the logo you created!”

You: “Really? Because I can create something else if you don’t like it (and I won’t ask you to pay more for additional mock-ups!)”

OR

Client: “Working with you has been amazing!”

You: “….kthxbye…”

What if you could receive appreciation and really take it in? What if you could own that praise instead?!

For example:

Client: “Wow, I love the logo you created!”

You: “I’m so glad you like it! Here’s your invoice.”

OR

Client: “Working with you has been amazing!”

You: “I’ve enjoyed working with you, too, and I’m thrilled you got the results you wanted. Will you give me a referral?”

Are you starting to see how you show up through your work has a direct impact on your income? If you aren’t owning your value in your business relationships, you probably aren’t getting paid what you’re worth. How you communicate your value in everyday interactions either increases or decreases other people’s perception of your value.

Here are 11 ways to increase your income.

increase your income

01. Receive, don’t reject, appreciation and praise!

02. Renegotiate when the scope of work changes, i.e. don’t do extra work for free!

03. Say yes when you mean yes, and no when it’s appropriate to say no.

04. Avoid using justifying and/or self-shaming language like “should”, “just”, and “sorry”, and more examples HERE and HERE!

05. Set and stick to your working hours. If you don’t value your time, no one else will, either.

06. Be the absolute best at what you do, and stop trying to do everything for everyone!

07. Stop complaining!

08. When a situation isn’t serving you, walk away. Even if it means leaving money on the table in the short term.

09. Own up to your mistakes.

10. Be grateful.

11. Believe in yourself.

When you communicate your value with your thoughts, words, and actions, other people value you. This increase in your worth leads to more opportunities, more impact, and more income!

Don’t forget to download the worksheet for my free 8-step plan to discover your next big, bold career move! Just enter your name and email below!

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Stepping outside your comfort zone

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 in Get your goals | 0 comments

Are you playing small? Do you tolerate situations that don’t serve you? Have you been stuck in a rut?

As humans we inherited a predisposition to avoid risks and play it safe. This made sense when everyday life was harsher and more perilous.  Most of us are not in that situation, yet the bias to avoid risk remains.

The temptation to play it safe has a significant impact on career. It’s the reason we stay in jobs we hate. It’s the reason we aren’t earning enough income to thrive. It’s why we think about making that big change and don’t actually make it.

We’re more comfortable in our comfort zone. Or rather, we’re comfortably uncomfortable in our comfort zone. (Let’s be honest, it’s not really that cozy there, but at least it’s familiar.)

So you’re here, reading this post, and my guess is you’re at least thinking about stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s become less comfortable, or maybe you’re just ready to go big.

Some of the benefits of stretching your comfort zone include:

  • Boosting your confidence
  • Increased productivity
  • Building resiliency
  • More creativity
  • Innovation
  • Skill-building

In most situations, the benefits of stretching your comfort zone outweigh the risks.

Your comfort zone

This November I decided to get outside my comfort zone by participating in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing MonthThe goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That’s an average of 1,667 words per day!

Participating in NaNoWriMo is helping me prioritize writing, create a writing habit, and make significant progress on my book.

I’m stretching way out of my comfort zone with my writing. Not only am I writing more, I am working on a project clouded with self-doubt.

I’ve already seen benefits of participating, even though I haven’t hit the daily average and my overall word count is short of the goal. My confidence around writing my book is increasing. I’m making great progress on my book project. I’m building great relationships with other writers.

comfort yields complacency

Stretching outside your comfort zone is easier than you think! Here are some ways to get started:

Stretch in Community

You can stretch your comfort zone in supportive communities like Toastmasters, NaNoWriMo, and mastermind groups. There are lots of communities to support you in your personal and professional goals.

Join a Challenge

Find a virtual challenge related to the area you want to stretch. The prompts, tips, and tools in these types of challenges can make it easier to get started!

Practice Self Care

Stretching outside your comfort zone uses up more resources than your usual routine. Take extra care of yourself and give yourself a break as you stretch!

Start Small and Practice Daily

A simple daily practice can have a huge positive impact on your health and well-being. Start a short daily practice of meditation, gratitude, or other healthy habit. Five minutes a day, every day, makes a BIG difference!

If you want a better, bigger, bolder life, you’re going to have to stretch! Are you up for the challenge? Leave a comment and tell me how you’re stretching!

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