All posts by Laura Kinker

5 reasons mastermind groups rock

You may be wondering what in the heck is a mastermind group. Well, let me tell you, it’s an amazing group of individuals that come together to help support each other by exchanging relevant ideas and inspiration to help each person move forward towards their goals.

1. Get out of your own head.

If you’re an entrepreneur (or even if you’re not), it’s easy to get stuck inside your own head when trying to figure stuff out. Being part of a mastermind group gives you the ability to tap into other people’s ideas and insights, breaking you out of your own head and allowing fresh ideas in.

2. Be part of an exclusive community.

There’s nothing greater than being part of an exclusive community that “gets” you and is working towards similar goals as you. It’s amazing how much more quickly you’re able to move forward towards your goals when you have a whole community supporting and cheering you on.

3. Accountability.

One great advantage of attending a mastermind group regularly is accountability. It’s one thing to give yourself deadlines but quite another when you have other people helping to keep you on task and also helping you when you fall off.

4. Amazing ideas and insight.

Each member of a mastermind group brings their unique experiences and talents to the group, creating a diverse set of ideas and insights that you just won’t find sitting home alone. This is especially useful when you’re stuck for ideas and don’t know how to move forward.

5. Meet amazing people.

Besides extending your network and all that wonderful stuff, you’ll meet amazing people and create friendships that go beyond the mastermind group. And a wonderful thing about these people is that they’re striving towards similar goals as you so they get where you are on your journey.

Being part of a mastermind group is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business and/or goals. Join one that’s as specific to your business/goals as you can in order to get the most out of it and meet like-minded people. Be sure to contribute and give back as well as receive to get the most out of it.

You can find a variety of mastermind groups (coming soon if they’re not yet up) at the Fantastic Girls Club. Or you can email them at  laura@fantasticgirlsclub.com for an invitation. Please include what business/goals you’re wanting to work on to ensure that you’re placed in an appropriate group.

I’d love to hear your experiences on what it’s been like for you to be in a mastermind group – the good, the bad, the ugly. Also, what would you like to see/have in a mastermind group, either in person or online?

70 things to track on your habit tracker

I’m in love with my habit tracker. Every month I discover new and interesting things to track. It’s a wonderful way to adopt new habits, keep track of work tasks that need to be done repeatedly (like posting on social media) and keep yourself moving forward towards your goals.

If you’re anything like me, I find great satisfaction tracking my progress. It feels good to color in the boxes as I complete something, knowing I’m on track and keeping my promises to myself.

Not everything needs to be done everyday (you’re the judge of that) but keeping track of your habits and tasks in this way allows you an instant visual of what you’ve been doing along with what you haven’t been doing. It can be really eye opening. You may think you’re doing something more than you are (like exercising) or may be pleasantly surprised to see that you’re really on track with something (like meditation).

What you track is up to you.

Start by looking at your goals and how you want to live your life. Is there anything you want to change (like lose weight, get more sleep, increase website traffic, etc)?

Once you know what you want to change, decide what’s the best way to make this change. Start with small easy steps.

What are some things you can track to help you achieve the change you desire? These are the things to put on your habit tracker.

To help get you started, here are 70 things to track on your habit tracker:

HEALTH

  1. Drank 8 glasses of water.
  2. Exercise.
  3. Meditating.
  4. No carbs.
  5. Walked a specific number of steps.
  6. Yoga.
  7. Stretched.
  8. Went to sleep at a certain time.
  9. Woke up at a certain time.
  10. No electronics (at all or after a certain time).
  11. No TV (at all or after a certain time).
  12. 8 hours of sleep (or whatever works for you).
  13. No extra snacks.
  14. Wrote in gratitude journal.
  15. Journaled.
  16. Healthy eating.
  17. Took meds.
  18. Took supplements.
  19. Sex
  20. Period.
  21. Ate 5 veggies.
  22. No alcohol.
  23. Cook at home.

WORK/CAREER

  1. Social media posts.
  2. Blog posts.
  3. Guest posts.
  4. Commenting on other blogs.
  5. Commenting in online groups.
  6. Etsy (or other website that matters to you) posts.
  7. Emailed subscribers.
  8. Video posts.
  9. Practice (whatever makes sense for you to practice for your career, like writing).
  10. Networking.
  11. Collaborate.
  12. Web development.
  13. Business development.
  14. Marketing (get specific with what this means to you to make it easier to track).
  15. Admin work (like bill paying, etc).
  16. Backing up.
  17. Reviewing goals.
  18. Track progress on a project.
  19. Empty inbox.
  20. Prioritize tasks.
  21. Made a sale.

PERSONAL

  1. Wake up at a specific time.
  2. Read.
  3. Artist’s date.
  4. Play date
  5. Relaxing time.
  6. Spa treatment.
  7. No spending.
  8. Skin care routine.
  9. Affirmations.
  10. Date night (with significant other).
  11. Alone time.
  12. Pray.
  13. Call mom.

HOUSEHOLD

  1. Laundry.
  2. Dishes.
  3. Pet care (grooming, cleaning, walking, etc).
  4. Grocery shopping.
  5. Meal planning.
  6. Meal tracking.
  7. Quick clean (doing 10 to 30 minute bursts of cleaning every day).
  8. Invested.
  9. Paid bills.
  10. Updated budget
  11. Stayed on budget.
  12. Vacuum.
  13. Dust.

Be sure to check out all the bullet journal printables, including habit trackers, at my shop.

The art of making decisions

I have never been great at making decisions. Unless I’m really clear about something, if it’s a strong yes or no, I will usually muddle around with it for a while, put together many pro/con lists and hope clarity comes to me. Because of this indecisiveness, I’ve become an expert at making key decisions.

Today I’m going to share with you some of the top ways I’ve learned about how to make smart decisions.

As some of you may know, I moved to northern Michigan from Evanston (outside of Chicago) a little over a year ago. I came up here because I’ve always loved this area and used to vacation here as a child. My husband and I even honeymooned here so it holds many special memories.

We started our journey here strong, especially since it was summer, the best time of the year to be here. We often remarked on how much we felt like we were on vacation and how wonderful it all was. But then late fall hit then winter and we felt like we had overstayed our vacation. Over the past several months we’ve gone back and forth around whether we should stay or should we go. It’s been an excruciating process at times but I’ve learned how to come at it from many different directions.

Making decisions (especially big ones) isn’t always easy but with these tools, it will make the process a whole lot easier. You can use each one on it’s own or combine them. Do what works best for you. They each come at it a little differently which helps broaden your perspective around the decision.

The Pain/Gain Model
I learned this technique from my coaching training (iPEC) and have shared it with many clients over the years with much success. It works great when you have a decision based on things staying the same versus making a change (like my moving or not moving).

Start by making a grid with four quadrants (as illustrated).

  1. First look at the pain of the current situation (BOX 1). What is bothering you with the current circumstances? Why are you thinking about making the change?
  2. Look at what you have to gain from the future situation (the change – BOX 4). What benefits will you have if you make the change? How important are they?
  3. Look at what you have to gain by staying in your current situation (BOX 2). What are the benefits of staying?
  4. Look at the pain of the future situation (BOX 3). What challenges will you have to make the change? What pains lurk in this change?

Once you have all these scenarios down, step back and ask yourself what do you think about all this information? This is all info that’s been swirling around in your mind. Now that it’s all out on paper, how does it make you feel? What jumps out at you? Which option is pulling you? Is there a clear winner?

If you could eliminate all the pain of change and find alternatives for the gains of staying the same, what would you want to do? If you could eliminate the pain of the current situation and find alternatives for the gains of the change, what would you want to do?

What I love/What I don’t love
I developed this technique while figuring out whether or not to move. It’s similar to a pro/con list however it’s more specific to what’s going on. Using this technique will help you get to the core of what’s working and what’s not working, coming from your heart versus your head. This option works best when you’re trying to decide between a current situation versus a future (unknown) situation, like whether or not to move.

  1. Start by listing all the things you love about the current situation.
  2. Next list all the things you don’t love about the current situation.
  3. To take things further, list reasons to stay in the current situation.
  4. List reasons to leave the current situation.

This technique helped me to discover that the reasons I loved the current situation (my current house) weren’t strong enough reasons to stay. However the reasons I didn’t love my current situation were strong reasons to leave.

Fear-based vs. Growth-based
I learned this technique today and love how it cuts through the truth of why you’re making the decisions you’re making.

To start you look at whether you’re making the decision based on fear or growth. To aide you in figuring this out, list all the fears around staying the same and all the benefits/growth opportunities for staying the same. Next look at all the fears of making the change and all the benefits/growth opportunities for making the change. Once you do this, you’ll gain clarity around whether your fears are causing you to stay the same or are the ones wanting you to make the change.

I used this technique combined with the what I love/what I don’t love technique to gain greater clarity around my decision whether or not to move. I discovered by doing this that I had fears around leaving my current home and growth opportunities around moving somewhere else.

The Body/Mind/Spirit Technique
I learned this technique from one of my spiritual teachers Mark Anthony Lord recently. It’s a wonderful way to check decisions and to determine which direction to go.

Start by closing your eyes and thinking about one possibility of your decision. For me, I thought about the possibility of staying. With this possibility in mind, taking in some deep cleansing breaths and consider how your mind thinks about this possibility. Don’t force or even think about your answers but instead allow your answers to come. What does your mind have to say about this possibility?

Once you’re clear about what your mind has to say, move down to your heart and ask your heart what it says and/or feels about this possibility. Because you’re down in your heart, chances are you’ll feel the answer more than think it. That’s OK. Make a note of how your heart feels about it before moving on.

Next move down to your gut. How does your gut feel about this possibility? Really allow the answer to come. Don’t force it. Sit with it as long as it takes for you to feel how your gut responds to your possibility.

Once your gut has given you its answer, move up to your crown chakra (at the top of your head) and focus on what your spirit has to say about this possibility. Be open to whatever comes.

Once you feel complete, open your eyes and make notes of all the responses you’ll receive. Some of them might contradict each other (like the mind vs. heart) and that’s ok. This exercise is meant to give you clarity around your choice, not necessarily to give you the “right” answer. For even more clarity, repeat this exercise with the other possibilities from your choice (i.e. if you did the possibility of staying, play with the possibility of moving).

Want help? If you need further help making your decisions and/or would like to discuss it more with someone not in the situation, schedule a strategy session with me. It’s all over the phone so you don’t need to be local. I can help you gain the clarity you desire.

How to Believe in Yourself

I get it. Believing in yourself isn’t always easy. Continue reading

The Joy of Mindmapping

Mind mapping is a brilliant way to get information and ideas out of your head and down on paper. Continue reading

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