Live and Lead For Impact Podcast with Kirsten E Ross

EP 126: 6 Quick Questions to Help You Capture Time and Decrease Stress

EP 126: 6 Quick Questions to Help You Capture Time and Decrease Stress


Do you have some lingering relationships … …tear you down….cause grief…..have baggage…..long histories…

……these relationships can and DO zap our energy, steal our joy, drum up false beliefs about ourselves, and sometimes even stand in the way of achieving our dreams.

Yes, addressing relationship stuff can feel overwhelming, but often remedies are simpler than you’d think if you know how to define the right fix. That’s why I’ve designed the Relationship Renovation Roadmap  I can’t wait to show you how!

Go to to check it out!

I think it’s pretty safe to assume that, if you are working to make an impact, life is busy!  You are almost certainly juggling, coordinating and prioritizing life, relationships, self-care, hiccups, money-making endeavors, impact activities, if the two are not intertwined, and then all of the extra activities that surround any and all of the above.

Most of us would probably say, “life is busy, but good!”

While you are increasing your bandwidth, however, it is so important to minimize stress.  Busy and energized is great but stress takes the energy to a negative place.  Overwhelm is never good and stress takes a toll on our impact, our bodies and our lives.

I always say, you can live that way for a sprint, but not a marathon!

Here are 6 quick questions.  Answer them and then take action to move from overwhelm to calm – or at least calmer!

  1. What can you stop doing?

Are there rules that you live with in your house because you grew up that way?  Your mom made you do it so now you have to?  Rules about laundry, making the bed, dinners and more…..sit back and start fresh. Can you relax some rules you have for you?

I still remember the dinner I made when my boys were little……”Oh mom!  You are the BEST cook!  You should have your own cooking show!”  My fancily cooked cuisine?
Tomato soup and grilled cheese – I think it’s safe to say they were easily wowed –

I’ve been a huge fan of my crock pot for years and Dump Recipes are amazing.  Drop the contents in a freezer bag, throw it in the freezer standing up.  Pull it out to place it in the crock pot first thing in the morning.  Fire up the rice cooker for a side and the meal is ready to go!

Remember…..I’ve always done this….does not have to lock you in for a lifetime.

Also consider, What committees are you on?  What volunteering are you doing?

How much time are you spending on social media or watching junk tv?  Now, I have nothing against either and I’m not saying you must stop it all – but, let’s get real, either can become time suckers.  Netflix couldn’t make it any easier to binge watch for hours.  And scrolling social media for a few moments can turn into hours without any thought.

Take a look at your time with fresh eyes and let nothing be off limits. Keep track for a week or so.  If you have an iPhone, check the stats they now provide for how you’re spending time on you phone.

What will you stop doing?


Where can you lower expectations?

There are different seasons of life.  Did you create some expectations for yourself, your home, your family that made great sense during a calmer time?

Making your impact or maneuvering through any busy time of life with some amount of peace requires recalibrating expectations to better fit the time.

I still remember when, as a single mom, I had to lower my expectations for our pool. I’d always been proud of how sparkly blue I could keep it.  Well, once the full complement of responsibilities fell on me as a single who hadn’t downsized the home it was no longer realistic to keep the pool that way.  There are only so many hours in a day and some things had to give – Good enough had to be good enough.

Where are you holding tight to unrealistic expectations that are not a fit for your circumstance?  Are they causing extra pressure, stress and discouragement?  Give yourself relief by adjusting where you must.

What can you outsource?

Make a list of the activities you don’t like to do or aren’t good at and farm out what you can.

I’m not just talking about hired help.  Is there anyone in your household who could take on additional duties?  Do you have kids old enough to start doing or chores, or, if doing some, can they take on more?  Now….I get it, this may also plop you back into the question above….where can you lower expectations?  Are you one of those, it has to be done exactly how I want it or it will drive me nuts people?  If so…lowering expectations and learning to live with good enough or different is fine may need to be part of your solution.

And then what CAN you hire out or trade for?

There’s an endless list.  If you don’t have money to outsource, perhaps you can trade some services.  If you do outsource, be intentional with the time you capture.
Lawn and landscaping?
Driving Kids
Clerical Activities
Basic accounting duties
Marketing and Social Media
Emails and Schedules
How will you capture your list? 

The written or typed lists are essential!  If you don’t get it out the list sits in your head.  If it sits in your head you have to keep rehearsing it to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything.  I know you are laughing right now because you’ve done it or are doing it now!

Rehearsing a list makes you less productive in the moment and stressed.  Your mind will think that there is an endless number of tasks.  And you will be afraid of forgetting something.  It will also rob you of sleep.  Lying in bed when your mind is supposed to be quiet is the prime time for rehearsal.  Get it out of your head and on paper into a digital format!
How can you chunk down large projects?

Good from a practical standpoint.  You can only do so much at once anyway. Unless your life is different from most, you’ll never get large projects done if you tell yourself you need a solid week of uninterrupted time.  BUT….you can finish pieces of a project 15, 30 or 90 minutes at a time.

Chunking down makes it easier to fill in fragments of time with pieces of your priorities list.  Apps like Toodledo will even help you sift to find tasks by time.

Chunking down also helps you focus only on what’s next.  This is really helpful!  I used to feel the full weight of a project until it was all done.  That added way too much stress.  In a large project there is going to be an order to tasks.  If you’re on step 3 but worrying a feeling the weight of step 20 as if it’s gotta happen now, you’re increasing your stress exponentially.  I know from personal experience. I had to learn to chunk it down AND put the later tasks to the side in my mind.  Look at what’s in front of me now not what’s coming.

What should be prioritized first? Knowing what you need to get done is step one.  Step 2 is prioritizing it all to fit into the time you have in a way that gets it done on time.  Use your time with intention.

When I’m prioritizing I pay attention to my energy.  I know that my most creative time is earlier in the day so prioritize tasks that require more focus into earlier time slots.

I also consider what’s happening in the world.  You won’t see me at a Costco on the weekend. I can go there during slower times so choose to do that instead.

I hope these questions will help you capture some productive time.  I can’t wait to see the impact you make with the new found time!

Still struggling with difficult relationships?

Head over to


Wishing you a life of joy, balance, passion & purpose!

EP 124: 3 Secrets to Stopping the Constant Complainer Whining Only Works on You If You Let it

3 Secrets to Stopping the Constant Complainer

Whining Only Works on You If You Let it


Do you have some lingering relationships … …tear you down….cause grief…..have baggage…..long histories…

……these relationships can and DO zap our energy, steal our joy, drum up false beliefs about ourselves, and sometimes even stand in the way of achieving our dreams.

Yes, addressing relationship stuff can feel overwhelming, but often remedies are simpler than you’d think if you know how to define the right fix. That’s why I’ve designed the Relationship Renovation Roadmap  I can’t wait to show you how!

Go to to check it out!

Your plugging along working and feeling productive with a vision of an on time exit from work when you look up to see the Workplace Whiner standing in your doorway.  Or, perhaps you work from home and the constant complainer enters your space via phone.

Oh No!! Not now! Not today!

The energy-zapping, soul-sucking minutes that can drag into an hour. Time you can never get back. You want to scream, slam the door in their face, or end the call, but you don’t want them to feel bad……or walk around complaining about you!

Years ago, when I worked in an office full time we had an employee who walked around for hours every day holding a coffee mug. We called the mug his “decoy”. He’d make it appear as though he was just out on a quick jaunt to refill, but this was obviously not his true mission.   Office by office he’d stop in for his chat, sharing tidbits he’d heard along the way. He was also known as the department spy.

Whiners and complainers can take many forms. They can be frustrated about co-workers or personal injustices. Whatever the topic, they are breeding drama wherever they go. They aren’t just looking for an ear to get through a tough time. They are built to look for the issue, the challenge, the drama.  If a frustration isn’t easy to find, they’ll flip a story to become victim, wronged yet again.

Your whiner may be at work, or perhaps provide service at a place you frequent.  Are they a friend who calls nightly to share their woes?

Many of my clients struggle to avoid whiners. Here are some of the key strategies I share with them. Pick the one that feels right for you and your circumstance.

  1. This one is the least direct but usually yields a good result. A quick excuse stated as you focus intently on your screen or head out the door. “I’m so sorry. I’m on a deadline so can chat for 5 minutes but no more. What’s up?”

I don’t condone lying. So, I’m not really suggesting that you say you are on a deadline when you aren’t. I just think it’s safe to assume that, whether at work or moving through life, there is always some kind of priority looming. Just fill in the blank with the actual time frame or leave it out altogether if you prefer to make an instant get away.

  1. This option is one that will achieve your end result over time. Ultimately, any whiner is looking for the sympathetic ear. That person who will commiserate with their opinions and validate their misery. They are intentional about their targets. It’s no fun to whine to someone who is coming back at you with butterflies and sunshine, or worse, someone who’ll share strategies or specific actions the whiner could take to improve the situation!!They aren’t looking for a new perspective. No, they seek someone to join them in their funk. So, I suggest that you begin sharing ideas about the more positive perspective they might consider as they describe their negative view. Or, share how wonderful you think that situation sounds or how they might improve the situation with a proactive approach. You won’t be the chosen one for long if you don’t empathize or commiserate. I promise!

No beating around the bush with this one. The more direct approach that will earn you the quickest retreat is to simply state that you have made it your personal goal to remain focused on all things positive. You’ve given up watching the news and will be happy to engage in problem solving activities but are committed to steering clear of complaining or any other negative, low energy inputs.  It will be immediately obvious to even the most self-absorbed whiner that you are not the ideal target. Some will put up a bit of a fight, but stand your ground. ‘If you have any positive news to share I am all ears. If not, I need to stop you right there and get back to my work.”

EP 123: He’s Helping Men Understand their Value They Can Bring to Their Families An Interview with Matt Woodrum

He’s Helping Men Understand their Value They Can Bring to Their Families

An Interview with Matt Woodrum

Wrestling with Fatherhood

Matt Woodrum, married, with 3 daughters, is passionate about sending a call out to men to understand the value that they bring to their families. As someone who grew up without a dad and worked within the prison system, Matt has seen firsthand how growing up without a dad can negatively affect our children.

Matt is equipping men to become their kid’s biggest hero.  To often men minimize their value.

Matt found his motivation from his childhood.

As a small illustration of the kind of life he had as a toddler, Matt shares that his first words were Scooby Doo.

Matt was removed from his home and adopted out when he was 4 years old because he had been abused.  The man he called father committed suicide when he was 7.  He did not have a good role model after that.

He credits his wife who, when they first met, encouraged him, telling him that he had a great future and could design it.  She also believed in him and his ability to do well in school when he felt like a failure.

As an adult he worked in a prison ministry and learned that 88% of men who were incarcerated did not have good father figures growing up.

And, then he worked with women in prison teaching anger management and learned of the heartache so many had felt from treatment from men.

He knew that men needed to step up, do better and understand the value they could bring by living to higher standards.

Next steps include Mastermind groups for men where they will find a community to lock arms with so they can encourage, uplift one another and hole one another accountable to exceptional standards.

Matt often struggles with not feeling good enough or questions how in the world someone with his background could ever be equipped to help men be great fathers and husbands.  He has no role model himself.  But, his wife is always there with words of encouragement and this keeps him going.

Matt knows that with a history like his he could either think poor me and use it as an excuse to do nothing with his life or, he could turn his trials into his testimony.

EP 116: 7 Musts for Your Mentors or Trusted Advisors Give Weight to the Advice of Only a Select Few

7 Musts for Your Mentors or Trusted Advisors Give Weight to the Advice of Only a Select Few


Do you have some lingering relationships ….that can be challenging …tear you down….cause grief…..have baggage…..long histories…

……these relationships can and DO zap our energy, steal our joy, drum up false beliefs about ourselves, and sometimes even stand in the way of achieving our dreams.

Yes, addressing relationship stuff can feel overwhelming, but often remedies are simpler than you’d think if you know how to define the right fix. That’s why I’ve designed the Relationship Renovation Roadmap  I can’t wait to show you how!    Go to to check it out!

Where are you in the making an impact process?  Are you brand new and still working through the idea in your head?  Perhaps you’ve just started to share with others, or maybe you’re well on your way and enjoying some success.

Whether you’re announcing a new business, podcast, book, network marketing endeavor, volunteer initiative, ministry or nonprofit dream……

One thing is certain……once you start sharing your idea, those with opinions thoughts, cautionary tales, similar stories they read about, something they heard one day ……..alllllllll start sharing theirs……

As the old saying goes, “Opinions are like a***holes.  Every person has one”…..

And you end up with all kinds of feedback and words of quote unquote “wisdom” whether invited or not:

Are you serious?  I heard of a guy who did that too and it was terrible!

Why would you waste time on that?

Those are all scams!

I tried that and it didn’t work out for me at all.  It won’t work for you either.

You can’t do that!  You’re too busy already!

You don’t know anything about how to do that.  You’ll never get it done.

You’re too much of a quitter!

You’ll never be able to create change there.

The problem’s way too big!

That’s too hard!

You won’t get anyone else to care about that!

What do you know about that topic?

Why would anyone listen to you?

You should do this instead……

It’s important to keep in mind that most of these opinions, thoughts, ideas, cautionary tales are moving through their own fear filters, and are boxed in by their own life experiences and knowledge.

And many times, they’re just thrown out there with little thought or any attachment to your success or future.  It might just be that the person wants to look smart for a minute.  Maybe they like to think of themselves as well-informed…..and maybe, just maybe……they fear YOUR success……and the words are shared to halt your progress.

Even when well-intended, words can be unhelpful and will get in your head to cast doubt where it doesn’t need to be if we give those opinions more weight than they’re worth.

So why do we listen?!?

You are not obligated to heed the words or warnings of every person who shares advice.

Today I give you license to let words fall as if on deaf ears.

Instead, be intentional about who you give the privileged position of speaking into your life.  Some call it trusted advisor status.  Perhaps you call them mentors.  Whatever the title, choose wisely. There are specific characteristics that someone should have before you give them this esteemed role.

Here are 7 Musts for Your Mentors or Trusted Advisors

They Must:

  1. Have Knowledge or Expert Status about the Topic:They know it, have lived it, or at least studied up on it. They can share opinions and advice from a place of fact rather than busting out with info off the cuff.  And, if they don’t have specific knowledge they’ll go find it to share an informed opinion or stay silent on the topic.
  2. Have a Unique Perspective: they’ve been where you want to go or have done what you do, but with a twist. They can offer you real life perspectives to help you achieve your goals. They aren’t going to rely on some folklore passed down through generations as a cautionary tale to squash your dreams.
  3. Understand Your Perspective:they know your passions, desires and your vision.  Or, they’ll ask questions until they totally get what you are trying to achieve.
  4. Want the Best for You: they won’t feel like a failure if you succeed. They aren’t driven by jealousy. They truly want to see you reach your goals even if it means surpassing their success or moving away from them.
  5. Put Their Own Fears, Biases, Agendas aside: they are able to provide objective and well thought out advice with the pure intent of helping you achieve your goals.When you are starting a business, or taking on an unconventional endeavor, you’ll often get people weighing in who have a deep fear of taking a similar leap. They will warn you out of their own sense of dread. (facilitating an executives in transition meeting) Stay away and stick to those who can put their own fears aside.
  6. Allow You to Make Your Own Choices: (we probably all have that friend or relative who always thinks they know best…..they throw out ideas on every single topic and are offended if you don’t listen…….STEER CLEAR) Mentors provide their advice and fact-based opinions, share concerns and then sit back and allow you to make the final choice. They aren’t mad, disappointed or frustrated with you if you don’t heed their warnings or follow through on their counsel. They provide their ideas freely.
  7. The Relationship Lives On: Whether you take their advice or not they continue to be in your corner cheering you on and wishing the best for you.

If someone who is not a trusted advisor weighs in just listen to their advice, thank them and move on.   Sharing an opinion does not obligate you to consider or follow through based on that advice.

Click To Get More Information On The Relationship Renovation Roadmap

EP 114: 6 Secrets to Keeping Volunteers Engaged and Giving Their Best

6 Secrets to Keeping Volunteers Engaged and Giving Their Best

Get them to Show Up, Make an Impact and Keep them Coming Back


As you Live and Lead for Impact it is quite possible that, at some point, you will draw upon the time and talents of volunteers.  I’ve worked with many nonprofits as a coach, have started ministries and utilized volunteers myself, have been a volunteer and have also served on a nonprofit board.  And, I know that nonprofits, ministries, churches, PTA’s, or other similar organizations often struggle to find and keep volunteers.  The keys I’ll share will also apply in other organizations like Network Marketing Teams, where uncompensated time can lead to profits.

How do you fuel commitment and ignite loyalty that generates a dynamic team that will show up, make an impact and keep coming back?

  1. Share Clear Expectations for Informed Commitment

Too often nonprofits, ministries or PTA’s ask for volunteers without communicating expectations clearly.  If people don’t know what they’re signing up for how can they follow through? Committing loosely leads to loose commitment.

Instead, design and document a combination of volunteer positions that fulfill your needs.  Share the documented expectations with potential volunteers so they know the kinds of tasks they’ll be working on and the commitment of time required per week or per month.  This allows your volunteers to make informed decisions about the role they’ll take on.  Commitments are then based on fact, which should increase follow through.

Documenting the requirements of each role will also help you avoid scope creep.  That pesky little problem that plagues both for profit and not for profit entities alike.  Someone makes a commitment, they do great work, you need some additional help, so you ask for more.  I’ll cover this one in more detail in a minute.

  1. Inventory Volunteer Abilities & Special Skills and then Utilize Them

Too often it’s an all hands on deck, with a grab whatever you can do, mentality.  But, asking volunteers to do what might be difficult for them can make them feel uncomfortable and the outcomes they generate may not be good.

We are all born with unique gifts, those skills that are innate or come easily to us.  Most often our gifts are aligned with our passion.  We love spending time in our area of gifting.  Time flies, we feel energized at the end of our task and the outcomes we create can be amazing.

Take the time to learn the special skills of your volunteers.  The exercise of asking will help them feel known, appreciated and valued.  If you take it a step further and tap into those skills, you will also benefit from the superior output they create while doing what they love and are good at.  A great way to get the best from your volunteers.

  1. Find Each Volunteer’s Currency and Fulfill it.

Even when there is real currency involved, you want the focus of a team to be on something beyond just a paycheck.  Obviously, it’s even more important to identify the alternate currency when we’re talking about a team that is not paid money for their time.

You need to answer the questions, “what’s in it for them?”  Let’s face it, people want to get something for their time.  We don’t do much of anything unless there is some benefit to us.  There are very few purely selfless acts.

Now, before you get all agitated with me, let me explain.  I am not suggesting quid pro quo relationships where I do for you and require an equal something back.  And I’m not suggesting that we all need to get paid for everything we do.  But, if you are spending the resource of your time on something you will want a return on that investment.  It could be the warm fuzzy feeling you get from serving someone less fortunate.  Perhaps it’s playing a role in someone overcoming a fear, getting out of a bad situation, or achieving a big goal.

Figure out what currency your individual volunteers are working towards and help them enjoy that benefit.  Here are a few potential currencies your volunteers may be working towards:

  • They want to meet people interested in making an impact.
  • A personal experience has them attached to your mission and they want to give back in a meaningful way
  • They want to feel appreciated and would love to hear some thank you’s.
  • They want to feel a sense of purpose.
  • They want the chance to use their unique abilities to further your mission.
  • They like to feel needed.
  • They want to build new skills or find achievements to add to a resume.
  • They are exploring a new career and want to learn more about the field.

There are more, but this will give you a start.  Learn what your volunteers value to help them achieve their goals to keep them engaged and coming back.

  1. Allow Volunteers to Make a Meaningful Contribution!

As I often share, humans are driven by an innate desire to know that their lives are part of something bigger than themselves.  Let your volunteers find that fuel through their work with you.  Provide the opportunity for meaningful impact each time they volunteer.  If the work they do is far removed from the main mission, help them see how their activities are still attached, helpful and important.

Value the volunteer and value their time. If you’ve scheduled a volunteer or invited them to participate in your mission in some way, make sure you have something lined up for them to do.

I still remember the time I showed up for a large church event.  I had signed up to volunteer and was excited to help.  Unfortunately, they had signed up far too many volunteers.  A good problem to have, I know.  BUT, for me, it was not a good experience at all.  The people heading up the event were busy and dismissive.  I walked around asking each team how I could help, but every area was overstaffed. My husband and I had driven together and he had a role so, I was stuck.  I ended up spending the entire night walking around alone watching as others experienced the joy of making their impact.  I’m not gonna lie, I felt devalued and alone.  I wasn’t able to participate in the event that was getting my time.  I had no role. I made no impact.  You do not want your volunteers to feel like that….EVER!

I had a similar, though longer-term experience, serving on a nonprofit board.  I was told that it was a “working board”, meaning, they wanted each member to contribute their knowledge, skills and abilities to the organization.  I was specifically recruited because of my background and was told that my talents were aligned with current and pressing needs of the organization and that, as a result, I’d be able to make an important contribution.

This all sounded great to me.  I was not interested in spending my time as a rubber stamp or to be just a name on a list to add to some meeting minutes. I wanted to use my time as a true resource and was happy to give back in that way.

I immediately began working on some human resource related projects, heading them up and pulling in colleagues who agreed to provide their talents as a favor to me.  I also began some work to improve processes and conducted some leadership training.

I believed in their mission and wanted to make a big impact with the team.  I was investing my time toward specific impact.

The problem was, at every turn, my efforts were overturned or denied before implementation.  There seemed to be a “we don’t like change” mentality driving the team and an underlying false belief that change meant that the current systems were bad and they’d done something wrong. It, thus, became very difficult to make any real impact.  My investment of time was not making a difference.  I did not stay for an additional term on that board.

I am not unique.  People want to feel valued and know that their investment of time is worthwhile.  Value the time your volunteers contribute and assure that they are able to make a difference.

     5. Avoid Scope Creep:

They are willing and seem to love working with you to help you make your impact.  You ask and they say yes.  What’s the harm?  Well……the truth is, some people have a hard time saying no.  And, while this is certainly something they should work on and it wouldn’t be all on you if they DID say yes when they wanted to say no, it is something you MUST keep in mind.

Too often this scenario happens:  They keep working, you keep asking, they keep saying yes.  They are too uncomfortable to say no, or feel guilty for leaving you strapped, so they just keep doing more and more and more.    It is quite possible that the person who seems to be happily helping more and more is actually feeling really burned out, over-extended or maybe even used.  You don’t want a great volunteer who’s become overwhelmed to tell you no with their feet, as they disappear altogether!

So, am I suggesting that you should never ask a volunteer to do more than what they’ve agreed to? No!  But, I am saying…be very careful about how you ask.  Make sure you are not adding extra pressure.  Do everything in your power to allow them the freedom to say no.  Assure them that you will be fine either way and will not think ill of them if they say no.

And, if there is anything in their body language or voice that tells you they are saying yes with duress, point it out.  “It seems like you might be saying yes when you really need to say no to me right now.  If you need to say no that is ok!  I appreciate all that you do and fully realize this would be additional work for you.  I’m throwing it out there in case it works for you but you are under no obligation what so ever to say yes and I will be fine whether you say yes or no.”

When you first bring them on board you’ve asked them to make an informed decision about the amount of time involved in volunteering with you.  And, you’ve asked them to commit to a specific volunteer role.  You, as the leader must commit as well.  Be true to the original request you made of them.  If you do ask for some additional support give them every license to say no.

  1. Show Appreciation Often:

Humans have an innate desire to feel known, acknowledged and appreciated.  Fill that need for your volunteers. I’m not talking about all grand gestures.  Just a quick authentic thank you, a note in the mail (how often does anyone get a handwritten note these days?), a high five, a thumbs up.  Some love kudos in front of the team or at an event from the stand.  Be authentically appreciative of each gesture, no matter how small.

I’ll share another personal story here.   I would often drop clothing and household items off at a local nonprofit. They didn’t have a pickup service, but I believed in the mission so took the extra time to drive and drop my donations.  Each time I was greeted by employees who treated my arrival like a chore.  They’d grab my items and immediately start tossing them into appropriate piles.  They were always very focused on the task and quite efficient.  It’s a pretty subtle thing but the one thing they forgot was to acknowledge my giving in any way.

Now, I didn’t take it personally or get upset.  But, since I work with so many nonprofits I’m always aware of potential problems.  And, dropping off items isn’t a volunteer position per se but it is a touchpoint with members of the community and failing to show gratitude was a lost chance to connect.  And, there are plenty of other places to donate to, most more convenient.  If someone’s currency is appreciation they were missing the chance.

Show appreciation for even small gestures with at least a simple thanks.

EP 110: 3 Keys to Saying No With Ease

Episode 110: 3 Keys to Saying No With Ease

20 No Phrases Define Your Goals to Make it Easier to Say No

Many people I’ve worked with have difficulty saying no appropriately.  But, demands on our time, money and other resources can take all that we have if we allow it.  Failing to use this important word leads to resentments in our relationships, over-scheduling, overwhelm, over extending, frustration and inattention to our own needs or goals.

Saying no is absolutely a required skill if you want to live and lead for impact! 

Here are 3 Keys to Saying No with Ease


  1. Figure out Your Why


If you figure out your why it’s much easier to overcome.  It’s almost certainly a false belief or fear of some kind.  Give it a name and then make it go away!  Here are a few of the main reasons I see again and again.  Do you see yourself in any of them? 


  • You automatically feel guilty. “I feel bad.  They need me.  I should say yes.”

  • You like to feel needed. “What would they do without me?  Where would they be?”

  • You believe that to say no is selfish or shows bad manners. “I need to care about others and not just myself.”  Which begs the question, “when’s the last time you DID care about you?”

  • You are seeking approval and care about what other people think. “I don’t want them to be mad.” Or, “What if they think I’m lazy?”

  • And from Christians, very often, “God wants me to serve others.” Let me pause quickly to talk about this one….I won’t go into full detail but…..God does not call on us to serve others based on all requests from people.  He asks us to serve others based on His call.  If people are dictating use of your time, there is no opportunity to hear from God or follow His call for your time.  I will also add……Serving God is not always comfortable.  He does not promise that.  But, serving Him will not come from a feeling of “have to” or “should” and will not build feelings of resentment or overwhelm.  A little food for thought.


Ok…..I just had to spend a few extra minutes on that one.  Now back to our regularly scheduled topic…..


  1. Define Your Priorities Clearly


It is much easier to say no if you are very clear about your own purpose.  What main goals are you seeking to achieve?  The clarity gives you a framework to use to make informed decisions about your time.


I’m very clear on the 3 main objectives I am working towards as overarching goals for my life.  It makes it so much easier to say yes or no to an invitation.  Whether it’s a social event or business-related request it’s fairly simple for me to evaluate it to determine whether it’s a yes or a no.


These 3 life objectives help me meet my more specific goals.  Mine happen to be intertwined as well.  So, I am often working towards all 3 at once, which is great!  I recommend that you create a similar list.


Here are mine:


Establish and Maintain Relationships with Goal Oriented/Motivated People

Help Others Succeed

Earn Money  And, money along with the design of my work, helps me to achieve some of my more specific goals.


And remember, I shared that these are overarching goals.  I do have more specific goals and tasks aligned with them that help me design each day.  But, the tasks or commitments of time will almost always be aligned with one or a combination of these 3 objectives. 


  1. Have some phrases that mean No memorized and ready


I encourage my clients to create some ready phrases so that they are prepared with a few more comfortable ways to say no.

Regardless of how you choose to say no, here’s the trick: 

  • Be authentic: Trust me, if you WANT to say no, you have a good reason. It’s just a matter of getting it phrased in a way that feels comfortable.
  • Make it brief:  Too much detail and you end up sounding defensive or whiney rather than assertive.

Here are a few “No” phrases.  Modify them to fit your own priorities and style.

  1. I just can’t right now
  2. I volunteer a certain number of hours per month and I’ve already made my commitments elsewhere.
  3. My focus is on my family right now.
  4. Sorry, but I won’t be able to help out this time.
  5. My focus for the next several months is on a big career push. I won’t be able to help this time.
  6. I would love to but my husband and I have made other commitments.
  7. It sounds great. Not right now. Can you call me back in 6 months?
  8. That is not my area of gifting. I’m really trying to put my energy where I can be my best self.
  9. I’m sorry, but I need to decline.
  10. No.
  11. I’m sorry, it’s not a good fit for me.
  12. Sorry. I’m already overextended.
  13. I wouldn’t be able to give my best to that right now.
  14. No thank you. I’m not interested.
  15. I’ve been really overwhelmed lately so am practicing saying no.
  16. That just doesn’t work for me.
  17. No thank you.
  18. Sounds like a great project. Let me put you in touch with someone I think would love to be involved.
  19. My budget doesn’t allow for that right now.
  20. I just have no time for that in my schedule right now.

Good luck!!  Now go make your unique impact!

EP 108: Social Media – Recommendations to Minimize Regret

Episode 108: Social Media:  Recommendations to Minimize Regret

Click To Download Your Free Sliding Into Self Care: Super Simple Strategies for Crazy Busy Lives

In the last episode, I talked about making things LOOK a certain way rather than having things BE a certain way. 


It all began with my trip to a wonderful destination where our condo was designed for an initial great presentation over the practicality of actually living there for a time. 


That concept also definitely leaves me thinking about what social media can do around this same concept.


How many people can scroll through their feed to say, “Yes, these posts definitely mirror my actual life!”


My guess is….No One!  And, the truth is, they really shouldn’t. 


Sure, you can share a bit about a health scare, or perhaps a quick quip about some unfortunate circumstance. 


But, social media isn’t really the place to air all of life’s challenges, missteps, snafus.


The problem is that, as we scroll through other’s feeds we can forget that this is just a snapshot, a small, mostly positive sampling of another’s life. 


We live in a world filled with happy, smiling faces on FaceBook and can sometimes forget that those images do not represent a person’s whole life.  Most share just the best, brightest happiest moments…. Some of those moments can be very fleeting, no longer than it took to capture the smiling faces for a post then back to unhappy, grumbling, fighting and more. 


So, to be our best selves we must stop comparing our full lives to the happy, window-in-time moments depicted on social media.  Doing that will, of course, leave us feeling like everyone else is living happier more exciting lives. 


These comparisons do NOT serve us!


My first recommendation is Avoid Social Media Comparisons


Here are a few more recommendations to avoid regret as you swirl through the virtual world of social media.  Used well, social media can add value, but, forget what you’re dealing with and you can add plenty of frustration to your real life.



Avoid Debates:  The reality is that, on social media, Ideas and opinions are shared AT people.  Sharing here will rarely mirror an actual conversation like you might be able to have in real life.  On social media it’s more about showcasing your use of “smart” words, sticking to the far side of a spectrum of opinion and driving an idea home vs. actually seeking to understand another person’s point of view.


Often in the middle of divergent opinions is a thought that makes a lot of sense.  But social media debates don’t move people towards compromise.  Instead sharing there continues to highlight and stretch our differences.  I do believe it is playing a large role in dividing us……We are all quite similar actually, I just think that communicating on social media helps us forget that as we focus on our differences.



Keep Your Digital Commitments:  We have become lax with our invitations and time commitments.  Where we used to use a mailed invite, many now use a tag on social media, an email or a text to announce a party or event. As a result, invitations all feel looser and less important.  People wait to reply while comparing other options, don’t reply at all, or say they’ll come but just skip it if something else comes up or they don’t feel like going when the event rolls around. 


Digital commitments don’t carry the same weight as the formal invites we used in the past.  It can lead to hurt feelings and a wedge in what might be important relationships.  So, my recommendation is… LEAST keep your digital commitments. If some of us continue to do this maybe we can help slow the deterioration of commitment to invites.


Don’t Let Social Media Replace Real Interaction:  Social media definitely increases your circle of casual acquaintances.  However, we sometimes spend less time in actual connection with those we’d normally see or talk to.  Social Media interaction doesn’t count!  The problem is that we feel like we know about the kid’s concert or the trip to Florida and there is less motivation to meet up or talk to catch up.


Our closer relationships can then diminish down to meet the relationships that we haven’t invested in at all, where most of our up-keep happens online.  Now we are missing real connection and getting only the made-for-mass-viewing version of a close one’s life.  This is not the same and can lead to feelings of isolation.


Make the extra effort to stay in connection to those most important to you.

So, can social media play a key role in our world today?  Sure!


You can

Share an idea, concept or more in-mass

Find others with similar interests

Reach out in support groups for encouragement

Share about public events, new business offerings, etc……


And, it is nice that we can stay a bit engaged in the lives of those we’d otherwise have zero contact with. 


Yes, social media has a place in our world  Just use with caution and keep the recommendations I’ve shared in mind to minimize your regret and avoid the frustration that social media can ignite.


Click To Download Your Free Sliding Into Self Care: Super Simple Strategies for Crazy Busy Lives

EP 107: Living Right or Just Looking Good

Episode 107: Living Right or Just Looking Good?

Click To Receive Your Busting Fear: Jumping out of Limbo Land PDF Download!

Recently we had the chance to travel to a warm destination. It was awesome!

When we walked into the condo where we’d spend a week, we were amazed! It was beautiful, open, and spacious, with an awesome view!

But then……as we moved through our normal living activities we found that there had been little focus on functionality in the space.

There were only a couple of small drawers in our bedroom and no room for a suitcase, making it impossible to have organized access to our clothes. The bathroom had no place to hang towels or tuck away toiletries. Furniture in the living space looked nice but was not comfortable…….

And the list goes on……

The space was definitely designed for presentation over practicality.

Now….I certainly did not let ANY of this spoil our time away!

But….it got me thinking about a number of clients I’ve worked with and…just people I’ve run across through life, who put that same emphasis on looking good over actually living right.

A life filled with fabrication and dysfunction over real fruit.

Zig Ziglar, a popular motivational speaker, said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

Talking about what you’ll do or, worse, pretending to do what you’ve said is NOT the same as taking real action and never will be.

Don’t let fear stop you from real action.

Zig also said, “With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide.”

And he’s right! Fear can stop you from action but then you may have to live with the new fear of hiding what is true.

Working to make things look a certain way over actually making it so through work is exhausting and a waste of effort! Trying to track words you’ve said without truth, failing to follow through on commitments. Fear, hiding, and guilt that accompany all of these will steal your focus.

Getting others to believe things are different does not make it so! And lies you tell yourself can keep you stuck in what you desire to change.

My clients leave each coaching session with a list of action items they’ve committed to take that will move them towards their desired goals. As we review the list from a previous week I must rely on self-reporting. Did they do what they promised?

Most of the time my clients are honest, but, at times, it quickly becomes clear that they are working to impress me with fabricated success over what they’ve really achieved. And I have to call them out.

The end goal can’t be about impressing me for a moment. I’m not going to judge or push for any agenda that is mine. Faking forward momentum doesn’t affect me.

And fabricated looks don’t last.

So, ask yourself, do you want to create impact for the long haul or just look good for a moment or two?

Living and leading for impact requires integrity…..So, be real with yourself and others.

Make sure your words and commitments match actions. And, where they don’t, clean it up!

Some Simple Little Things to Ponder from What I Shared Today:

1. Be real. Pretending to be something that you are not does not move you closer to who you want to be, but real change does!

2. You only achieve what you actually achieve, not what you or others believe you achieve.

3. Lying zaps energy and shifts focus. Why live in a way that ignites fear, worry, overwhelm, confusion and more lies?

4. Getting others to believe your lies does not prove bad things about them, but it does say a lot about you.

What are you really working towards? Do you want things to LOOK a certain way or would you prefer them to BE a certain way?

Integrity is a key foundation to living and leading for impact. End of story.

Fear can sometimes limit integrity. I’ve got a free download below to help you bust your fear…

Click To Receive Your Busting Fear: Jumping out of Limbo Land PDF Download!

EP 106: Dare You To Move – 3 Keys To Jumping Out Of Limbo Land

DTD Episode 106 Show Notes
I Dare You To Move!

Click To Receive Your Busting Fear: Jumping out of Limbo Land PDF Download!

I don’t know about you but there have certainly been a few times in my life when I have felt stuck……and I mean really stuck!  …….knowing my current circumstance was not the right fit but unable to make the next necessary step.

Even when the choice is right It can be hard to walk from the known to the unknown…..particularly when that move is huge!

It’s been almost 15 years but I still remember the feeling I had while waiting on ME to start the process of getting out of an abusive marriage…………..

It was such a journey to get to the point of KNOWING that I could not be who I was made to be….make my unique impact in this world…….in that marriage…..and there I sat……

I was beaten down from walking on eggshells for years….had physical reactions to fear that ignited whenever I was yelled at……..had been told I was a failure and a sham……screamed at for having to have surgery that required time for recovery……No matter how hard I tried to avoid the wrath there was always something I hadn’t done or something I hadn’t done right….it didn’t even need to make sense……If the spew had to happen he could always find a why……like the time he walked into the kitchen to scream at me for never doing the dishes while my hands were dripping with water over the sink as I DID the dishes.

Over years the abuse had morphed me……. Applying normal relationship strategies to what was not normal didn’t make a dent….I thought I was negotiating or accommodating like a normal couple would without realizing I was the only one making any change….. the slow, methodical metamorphosis I made to make a marriage that wasn’t working work…..I was the proverbial frog in the water and couldn’t feel the heat.

I had spent years trying to make the marriage right……doing all I knew to do to fix it…trying what was in my control..…….I still remember exactly where I was when I had that final ah ha moment….. ….My “punishments” never fit my “crimes.”  AND…..This relationship is what it is and I can NOT do anything to make it better…..I need to put the full focus of my creativity and energy towards getting out.

Soon after that epiphany moment I launched my coaching business….an important step that could provide both the money to support myself and two young boys and the flexibility I’d need to help all of us heal……And I’d be able to use my unique gifts – I could be who I was made to be!

Thankfully, my business took off quickly……and yet, there I sat… My boys were suffering, I could not be all of me……..And I was STILL unable to take that last final step………to file the paperwork that would distinguish the flame of hope and cement the end of that marriage.

It’s where I first used the term Limbo Land.  It’s such an uncomfortable place.  You know that you aren’t in the right place but feel uncertain about where to go next …..Or….know the direction but fear the unknowns that accompany the big step.

I felt paralyzed.  The visual I had for the moment was standing at the edge of a forest with an expansive, open field in front of me.  To leave the comfort of the known I just had to take that first step into the big, open unknown where the possibility of making my impact lived.

One my boys’ counselors’ knew what I needed to do…..and knew that I was stuck….  He suggested I listen to the song….Dare You To Move by Switchfoot.

Just a couple of the lines…..

The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be………I Dare You to Move

That song became my anthem!  I listened to it over and over.

And happily, was soon able to make that important big step away from what I knew wasn’t working towards a life that could.

Since my big step almost 15 years ago I’ve had the privilege of walking beside others taking their professional or personal big steps….whether it was big career moves, having tough conversations, transforming relationships or transitioning away, working towards health.

Here are 3 strategies that have helped ease the tension of transition for me and many others

1. Focus on the First Step

    Take it all one step at a time. You don’t have to decide your entire future to take the first step.  I often ask clients to put secondary decisions on hold.  By tabling them for now you can focus on just that next small step rather than being overwhelmed by many.  And guessing at a future you aren’t certain of isn’t best use of your time anyway.I still remember a client who negotiated me into her severance package.  It was a scary time for her but also exciting as she created a future aligned with her dreams.  She was exploring the idea of moving from the for-profit world to non-profit.  Her first inclination was to figure out where she wanted to work while she still struggled with the initial idea.  Through coaching I had her back off from that future choice to focus first on that next step….Was non-profit for her?  We did some exploration and when that decision came back with a yes we moved forward to determining what ignited her passion more specifically.  By taking it one step at a time she was able to avoid a lot of the fear and overwhelm that can come with a big move.

2. The Decision isn’t Final

      If things work out horribly or aren’t what they seem –just tweak your choice……The path this one decision takes you on is not the end all be all and perfection should not be the goal. The truth is, sometimes you can’t know more about the outcomes until you just start.A few years ago I was part of a small team that launched a ministry for single moms.  We had done the basic work of designing our initial service offerings and some felt we should ponder and do more research before we launched.My immediate response, “Research cannot give us more facts about reality.  Only experience can do that.  The truth is, there will probably be even more trip-ups than what we anticipate from here. We’ll never be perfectly ready.  With action we’ll get answers to questions we haven’t even thought of yet. Let’s just launch to see what we learn and tweak from there.”  And that’s what we did!We launched, we learned and we made changes from there.

Remember – you don’t have to define ANYTHING as a failure!  Every misstep, every snafu, is a chance to learn, grow and redirect.

Ultimately the change you experience creates a moment in time.  There will be opportunities to make more choices along the way

3. Get Real About Your Fear:

    Often we sit with a generalized fear of the unknown. Making the fear of the future concrete can help.  I like to take my clients through a little exercise called, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  Get specific!While you may assume that asking this question would drive us down an anxiety-inducing path, that actually has never been the case.  As a matter of fact, we almost always end up with plenty of laughter.  When we define the fears there is either a ridiculously low probability they would actually happen OR…. are easily overcome.  At times the “what if” scenarios are actually better than the current circumstance.  So, yes….we laugh!What we find is that The generalized fear is almost always worse than the individual things you identify if you make it specific.  And, you soon realize that most of what you imagine won’t happen and, that if it did, you’d actually be fine.  There would be options, you’ve made it through worse already…

Using these 3 strategies usually removes the main barriers to making the first big step and, in my experience, has always lead to good things….for me and my clients.

I mean, look what I’ve accomplished since I filed those divorce papers:  I’ve impacted thousands of lives through speaking, writing, coaching and podcasting, raised 2 amazing boys to adulthood and into college, am remarried to an amazing man….were there missteps and new choices to make along the way?  Absolutely!  And I’m pretty sure there will be more to come…

But…. the more I move towards success the more I equip myself with the courage and confidence to take bigger, bolder action!  And the same goes for you!

So, what has you stuck in limbo land?  I Dare You To Move!

Click To Receive The Busting Fear: Jumping out of Limbo Land PDF Download!

Head to my podcast site where I’ve got a tool to help you implement these 3 key strategies.

Submit your current personal or professional challenge….

EP 105: Maintain Motivation For Maximum Impact

Live and Lead For Impact Episode 105 Show Notes
Maintain Motivation For Maximum Impact

Click To Download Your Free Sliding Into Self Care: Super Simple Strategies for Crazy Busy Lives

Once you awaken to your desire to make a difference it is tough to quiet the internal push towards action.

What does it mean to make an impact? The dictionary definition is to have an effect; influence, alter. The force exerted by a new idea, technology, concept, ideology.

So, anything that shifts the course of another.

At times it can feel like my impact isn’t enough…I want to be doing more…..helping more….serving more….I know for me, as each new year or birthday rolls around I feel it even more….time’s a-wasting….let’s DO THIS!

However, feeling this desire too much can leave you feeling frustrated or disappointed. And I don’t know about you, but, for me, when I’m feeling discouraged I am not living to create my best impact.

So, how do you keep motivation at a high and discouragement at bay as you work to create your unique difference?

Here are 3 keys to Maintaining Motivation for Maximum Impact:

1. Don’t minimize what you have accomplished. The truth is, we often don’t realize the full impact our words and actions have. When you are feeling low, quickly picture the ripple even a very small pebble can make in a lake. That one small act sends an ever-expanding motion through the water beyond where your eyes can see! The same is happening in your life whether you realize it or not! So, rather than assume you’re moving to slow, picture that ripple!

A few years ago, I got to see how one short conversation I’d had expanded to many. It was really awesome and has been a vision I’ve carried with me since to help me keep going when I needed it.

I was with a group of women and one offered up a thank you to a second woman in the room. She said, “I need to thank you for sharing that morning car routine with me. It has really made a difference for me and my son! I have been so much more intentional each day as I drive him to school! Turning off the radio and picking a topic has helped me capture those few moments for us. We’ve had a great conversation during that 10 minutes every morning since! I ended up sharing the idea with 4 other women that I work with and we’re all using our drive time for cool conversations now.”

The thing is….I was the one who had shared the idea with the women she was thanking! It was sooo exciting to think about my quick little conversation moving across people and impacting other families!

I also get to see my expanding impact quite often when I’m coaching leaders in a business. I’ll start to hear phrases or concepts I’ve shared during coaching sessions from employees I’ve never met. I know that those I’m coaching are sharing with their teams. It’s really rewarding!

Your actions are making a difference beyond what you see! Know that to your core! It will help you maintain the momentum you need.

2. Avoid Comparisons: At times I can hear about Oprah building an orphanage for girls or watch her show as it’s broadcast to millions and start to feel insignificant. And I’ve heard her speak at one of her huge events. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve left feeling deflated. I want to be making an impact like that!! I would love to watch my words and actions travel that far, touch that many lives!

If I continue to compare with that frame of reference, however, I can slow my progress. There is little benefit in comparisons that create jealousy or disappointment. I might not be making Oprah-level change right now but I’m still making an important impact! And…..if I keep moving, you never know what will happen!

And the same goes for you! Keep focusing words and actions on the impact you wish to make. Each step creates an impact!

3. Impact Can Happen in Any Role: Maybe you say you are “JUST” a volunteer, or JUST a mom or dad. Don’t do that! You don’t have to be the executive director of a non-profit, start a ministry or head up a huge company to make an impact in this world!

I look at the impact I’ve made being “just” a mom to my two boys as they struggled through tough health challenges. I’ve watched other warrior moms in support groups for these illnesses do the same! We fight, scratch and claw to get resources for our kids in our schools and as we search to find health practitioners who can help us heal our kids. We research, read, learn and re-design aspects of our lives to work towards wellness.

Yes, as “Just” a mom, I’ve made an impact! Even beyond helping my kids heal, I’ve made an impact by working hard to raise two respectful boys.

Your impact may be in a role you have already or a role you add on. You might make your impact as a business owner or parent but it could also be serving as a volunteer.

We were all put on this earth to make an impact!

Click To Download Your Free Sliding Into Self Care: Super Simple Strategies for Crazy Busy Lives