6 Tips to Help You Save a Ton of Money

Last week I talked to you about how 8 years ago, I had zero savings, was constantly overdrawn in my account and didn’t have enough money to pay bills. Here’s how I created a savings, increased my credit 300 points and got my financial life together. 

People say things like “there will always be debt”, “money doesn’t grow on trees”, or “there’s never enough money.” Bull. These beliefs makeup your money mindset. When your money mindset is trash, so is your bank account. It’s hard to hear but it’s the truth and the sooner you accept it and change your mindset, the sooner you can start building real wealth. What you focus on grows. 

1. Start budgeting. 
Bleck. I know. The thought of it makes people want to throw up. But I’m here to tell you, though it’s the hardest to start, it’s also the most crucial. We started with pencil and paper but it wasn’t as easy as digital and things kept getting left off. Now, my husband and I have a google excel sheet that we share so it’s on our phones, laptops, etc. Always at our fingertips. Easy access sets you up for success. We have 4 sections. The first section is monthly bills (mortgage/rent, electricity, groceries, etc). Things like groceries and gas get a number at the beginning of the month. So let’s say $150 for gas. There are simple formulas you can input to subtract 150- (total of each fill up) so you always know what you have left to get you through the rest of the month.The second section is all debt (credit cards, medical bills, etc). In each section make sure you the name of the bill, the amount due, the date due, and whether it comes out automatically or if you have to pay it. We also include login info as well (again for easy access). The third section is for extras (eating out, amazon orders, random things like car maintenance or oil changes). The fourth section is GOALS. All of our debt is listed in this section from highest interest rate to lowest. We’ve calculated what we can pay off every 90 days and that’s what we focus on. Again, what you focus on grows so when you’re laser focused on paying 3 to 4 things off every 90 days, you get through that list speedy quick. What you were paying on those 3-4 now goes to the next 3-4 you’re focused on. A debt avalanche. Everything is color coded. Pink items get paid at the beginning of the month, blue items get paid with the mid month checks. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

2. Pay yourself first. 
Every wealthy person in history will tell you to always pay yourself first. This was tough when we started and another thing that was hard and made us want to puke. But this is what started our savings. 10% of every single check or cash payment coming in goes straight to your savings account. You live on what’s left over. Not enough? Start cutting. I promise, you can do hard things! Trust me on this. 

3. Record it. 
On that spreadsheet, we record every single penny that’s spent (including cash) every month. Every cent is accounted for. At the end of each week, we look at it and discuss what we need to reign in and what’s coming up. The first time we had $800 leftover at the end of the month, my husband and I got into a huge argument that “something didn’t get paid! There’s no way this is right!” It was. It just hadn’t ever happened to us before. So whatever is left goes to debt. Pay all of that off as fast as possible. This increases your credit significantly and helps you meet your goals faster. A few months we halved what was left over and put part in savings and part toward debt. Either way works as long as you get an emergency fund set up and debt paid off. Your definition of “emergency” changes when you have a fund for it. 

4. Unpopular Opinion
Interest will kick you in the teeth every single month. This is a super unpopular opinion but has saved us a TON over the last year. Open a 0 interest credit card that will let you transfer balances. We did this with our largest credit card that was charging us almost $100 a month in interest. That move right there saved us over a grand last year alone and increased my credit score by almost 50 points!

5. Start reading and Stop Listening
Pay attention to what you’re listening to and looking at. If you’re listening to people that are always broke, you’re probably going to be as well. Surround yourself with people who push you up, teach you things and help you become better. I believe with all my heart and soul that you become like the top 5 people you hang around with most. Read books like Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eckert, anything by David Bach, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kyosaki, Tony Robbins has some good ones. Here’s why I’m not a huge Dave Ramsey fan. He says things like – if you owe any debt, you should not be eating out. No. Sometimes you need to enjoy a family dinner out to celebrate or save your ever loving sanity! Family morale means a lot! Does it dent your budget a little more than eating at home, yes. But the fear inducing mindset that statements like that promote are far more damaging than 1-2 meals out a month. 

6. Same ole, same ole
Cut what you can. We haven’t had cable in probably 10 years. How many channels do you really watch on your TV? Can you get those same channels with a Roku or an Amazon Firestick, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime? 

Shop at places like Aldi. I kid you not, their produce is WAY more fresh than places like Walmart and they have more organic options too. 

Do what you have to do for a short amount of time- teach English to Chinese kids online, sell essential oils, sell signs or paintings or clothes, substitute teach, all things I did for a couple years just to have extra funds to help get us ahead. My husband stayed in airport lounges instead of hotels and flew pipeline 5-6 days a week just to save. It wasn’t fun or pretty and our marriage struggled on the daily with all the stress but the payoff was incredible. 

These are all the things that you already know. I wanted to help you with things that you may not know or may not do. Everyone hears how they need to budget and many will ignore that advice but that was one of the best things we did for ourselves. 

I hope this helped and wish you the best of luck! When your financial life is in order, everything else feels so much better! Nobody will ever have their entire life completely together. That doesn’t exist. But having your finances in order sure does make a huge difference and significantly boosts your confidence! 

XOXO, 

Kameran

How I Changed My Life…

Some of you know my story. Some of you don’t but 8 years ago this week my life looked drastically different than it does now.

My best friend had just passed away unexpectedly at 8 months pregnant. 
My husband and I were having the same exact argument every 90 days with no change. We were beyond broke. Like so broke I couldn’t afford gas to drive the 4 hour trip to go home for the weekend, couldn’t buy new clothes, credit cards were all maxed out and I came home to no electricity more than a couple times. I filed for divorce, moved out on my own for the first time and had developed the belief that living by myself with a 2 year old was not safe. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t but not because of people, because it was so janky the floor may have fallen through at any moment and I’m pretty sure there was tetanus in every inch of the staircase outside that lead to the only laundry unit. I was a full-time college student, trying to get another degree because I couldn’t be a single mom on a teacher’s salary. (another limiting belief) I was working 3 part time jobs to make ends meet and vividly remember opening the door to the refrigerator one night only to discover a small jar of pickles and one slice of cheese. We had put everything in my name and when I got divorced, my ex-husband decided he didn’t need to help pay child support, or his half of the $40,000 in debt we’d accumulated over the 5 years we were married. I weighed 260 lbs and ate all my feelings. All. The. Feelings. The picture above is a before (top) and after (bottom). I’m about 90% sure that’s the only picture from around that time because of the pure embarrassment I had with looking at myself in the mirror. 

You can imagine at this point I was pretty low. Depressed and had debilitating anxiety. I watched reruns of One Tree Hill night after night because the anxiety was too bad to sleep. Hot Mess Express doesn’t even begin to cover it. 

I had to get it together, for myself and for my son. I started with what I knew. I knew my basic needs had to be met which meant food and sleep. I swallowed my pride and the limiting beliefs that I was a piece of crap if I got on food stamps. That’s what it’s there for. People who need temporary help, that was me. I had my cousin send me a bottle of lavender essential oil and a blend she made up for anxiety. I used these religiously and my anxiety got a little better, enough to at least sleep through the night. I finished school and with bribing Mason at 2 and a half to be SUPER quiet for 15 minutes while we sat in a Walgreen’s parking lot, I interviewed for a job in Dallas and got it. We moved 6 days later with a lot of help! I knew one person but I also knew deep down this job would propel me forward. It did. It helped me get back on my feet and introduced me to some of the greatest friends and mentors I still have today. 

I got off food stamps when I moved and I called a lady I knew from when I was married that’s a financial planner. She did my financial needs analysis for free, as she does all families and I followed it to the letter. I never had extra money to do a lot of trips or anything more than hitting the zoo once every few months but I paid that $40,000 debt off in 4 years. I still got no help with child support so I did that all on my own too. I didn’t have cable or anything that wasn’t necessary. I got real good at finding free entertainment for Mason and I to enjoy and still use that little trick to this day! 

Time management, grit, determination and a lot of swallowing my pride and asking for help made a huge difference in my success. I made a plan and I stuck to it. When I felt like I had kind of gotten a hold of my life, I borrowed the P90X program from a friend and I lost 30 lbs. with it. Shortly after, I met Moe which is a whole different story for another day.

But if I could give you any advice at all, I’d say- Have Persistence. Was it all easy? No. It was hard as hell! But I believed in myself and I believed that the steps I was taking, no matter how small, were still steps forward and would eventually pay off. 

8 years later, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’ll be completely debt free except for my student loans by 2021. I’m having another baby (something I never thought would be in my cards again), happily married and truly thriving. A lot of that growth came from taking a hard look in the mirror, getting rid of the limiting beliefs and reading…so much reading. I read on everything I needed help with, success stories I could learn from, parenting hacks, anything that could possibly get me where I wanted to go. It took working hard and smart. It took doing what wasn’t always popular and not always what I wanted but what I needed. Lastly, it took having a circle of people I wanted to be like, people who were smarter than me, more financially independent than me, people I could learn from to help me grow instead of people who only held me back. 

If you or someone you know is in this same situation, just know that like those food stamps, it’s temporary if you want it to be. It’s 100% possible to claw your way out of any hole you’re in. Just keep moving in the right direction. 

XOXO, 

Kameran

Your Upper Limit Problem

Have you ever…

had that nagging feeling like you wanted something so bad and then when you got it, you felt like you didn’t deserve it? Ever applied for a job that was out of your comfort zone and “a long shot” but then you got it and felt like you weren’t good enough? Ever not applied for a job because you felt like you weren’t qualified enough? Ever started worrying about when the next shoe was going to drop because things in life were “going too well”? Ever started a fight with your spouse because things were “too good to be true”? 

All of these are self-sabotaging examples that have to do with your Upper Limit Problem

Your Upper Limit is the glass ceiling belief that you put on yourself, your thermostat. It’s the level of success in your relationship, your job, your personal life, or where you’ll be to be successful. The problem comes in when you get to that point or just above that point, you sabotage yourself because you don’t know what to do with that success or you have a certain negative belief around actually achieving it. 

Did you know that according to Harvard Business Review, statistically women will not apply for a job unless they have 100% of the job criteria met while men will apply if they have only 60% of the job criteria met? Most of that job criteria is a “it’d be nice to have but isn’t necessary” anyway.

Ladies! What does this say about our sense of self-worth? You don’t know if you don’t try, right? But there’s that Upper Limit Problem. We don’t believe that we will get the job, so we hold ourselves back from even trying in the first place because what if you do accidentally get it and then everyone finds out you’re a fraud. Worst case scenarioing things never got anyone anywhere.

Stop living in fear. Robert Heller said that fear is the exact same emotion as exhilaration but without the breath. Think about an athlete, speaker, celebrity, or whomever has a lot of nerves but also a responsibility to uphold. What do they do just before they go perform? They take a big breath and they change the energy of fear into the energy of exhilaration by blowing that air out as if they’re blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Then they move. They take action.

You do new things every day, drive a new route because of a road construction detour, speak to new patients or clients, learn new things, complete new tasks, dive head first into learning 4th grade common core math just to help your child with their homework, figure out how to get spaghetti sauce out of your brand new white rug and didn’t disown your child for spilling it in the first place. (All of which are examples I’ve been through in the last 2 months so believe me when I say, when you put your mind to it- you can do hard, new things!) You can take that breath, blow it out, change the energy and take action. So why the self-sabotage when we finally get what we’ve asked for or hold ourselves back because of our own limiting beliefs? 

When I work with couples, at least one session is dedicated to finances. Not only because it’s one of the top reasons for divorce but because the fights about money are never just about money. They are so much deeper than that. The upper limit problem of one or both parties that make up that couple keep them thinking small. That limited belief system then spills over into the relationship and one picks a fight with the other over “spending too much” when it’s really the limiting belief of angered party that’s the problem- not the “money being blown by buying the good toilet paper instead of the generic.”

Another example is of a good friend of mine. She is married to the love of her life, has 4 beautiful children who are all healthy. They own a home on quite a bit of land with an enormous backyard and have little to no debt. They travel and genuinely live “a great life” (her exact words). Yet, she has debilitating anxiety attacks almost nightly because she believes that something is going to happen and they’ll lose it all or one of them will die. Her upper limit problem- she doesn’t believe she is good enough to have this great of a life so something has to happen to make it “normal”. 

How do you spot your Upper Limit problem? If you have: anxiety, frequent bouts of criticizing or blaming your partner, deflecting when someone points out your limiting belief system, picking fights with your partner, friends or family, frequent sickness or injuries, frequently comparing your life with others, finding fault in everyone else but yourself/having a “victim” mentality, you my friend, are suffering from an upper limit problem. 

How do you fix it? Well naturally, I’m going to tell you coaching! Additionally though, letting go of the guilt and the blame. Get to the root of the upper limit problem- do you have more than one? Commit to identifying them and working through them consistently. Work to not just get through it but completely dissolve the problem. Close the gap by recognizing when you’re letting your upper limit problem get in the way of your success and recover from it by acknowledging it and then changing the narrative in your head- “The lie I’m telling myself is that I have not done enough to deserve my success. My TRUTH is that I have worked very hard for the accolades that I’ve earned and I am successful because of that dedication and determination. I excel in all I do!” Lastly, make a conscious decision to change your thought process from a lack mindset to thinking abundantly, with gratitude, love and success! What you focus on grows! 

If you resonated with this, I’d love to hear from you. If you want to read more about it, Gay Hendricks talks all about it in his book The Big Leap. If you need help with this, I’d love to help you through it! I used to have debilitating anxiety as well and now I have none because I took responsibility for my own mindset, my own upper limit problems and my own dissolving of those limits. Upper limit problems aren’t forever. They’re only there as long as you let them take up space. 

XOXO, 

Kameran

P.S.- This week’s episode, just dropped this morning, talks more in depth about the Upper Limit Problem and how to overcome it. It’s fire, if I do say so myself.

Are You As Empathetic As You Think You Are?

Empathy. 

/ˈempəTHē/
the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings. 

This morning I was in a yoga class and had chatted quite a bit with the lady on the mat next to me before class began. About a quarter of the way through class, she got up and left with only her phone. About 20 minutes went by and she came back sobbing but trying to pull it together. She lasted about 3 minutes before she got up, gathered her things and left. During the 3 minutes she was laying there, I wanted to reach out. I wanted to touch her hand or somehow let her know that I was there because she was clearly not ok but you know…I’ve literally only known her for about 28 minutes at this point and then you’ve got social distancing…so many thoughts. After she left, I spent the rest of the class praying for her comfort, her safety, the safety of her children and husband, for her to have peace with whatever wrecked her so fiercely. What I had for her was a deep amount of sympathy. I acknowledge that she was struggling and I wanted to comfort her. But without knowing her circumstances and what was going on, I could not have empathy for her. I could not understand what she was going through and relate because I don’t know if I’ve ever gone through a similar experience. See the difference? Empathy and Sympathy both come from Greek roots and are often confused. However, empathy is much more than sympathy. 

Looking at a relationship standpoint, think back to the last argument you got into with your significant other. Did you hear to respond or hear to really listen and understand? If you heard to understand, most likely you showed empathy and the argument that was dissolved quickly. If you heard to respond, the argument probably escalated in a hurry. Don’t worry, you’re human. We tend to think we’re doing a lot better than we really are and more often than not, we hear to respond instead of listening to understand. Empathy. You’ve probably been in a situation where someone heard you and responded quickly without understanding your perspective or your need in that situation. You may have felt judged and you may have felt truly unheard. You can understand how you just made your partner feel. Now you can do better. 

Think about your children, if you have them. Does their frustration and fit throwing come from them “being bad” or do they need you to listen to them and understand better? I can’t count the number of times in the last week that my son tried to tell me something and then had to repeat it because I was only hearing him half way. No wonder he was frustrated with me. I can empathize with him on this. I have been in these situations before and it felt irritating, rage inducing and unfair. I will do better. 

Think about your community. Did you visit the friend down the street who just had a baby to hold the baby, maybe bring a gift and split after 20 minutes into the visit because “she needs to rest” but really it was so you could run to the store and keep up with your schedule? OR did you offer to come sit with the baby for a couple hours, do a couple loads of laundry, her dishes and bring a meal she could freeze for next week? Did you check on her after a few weeks to make sure that she isn’t suffering from PPD? Gents, did you help that new dad knock out some of his honey-do list or bother to ask him what he really needs right now? His world has been flipped upside down too but society has told him that if he says anything, he’s weak and unsupportive of his wife. How did you help the man who lost his business because of Covid? How did you help the family whose house burned down or their kid was just diagnosed with a terrible illness? Have you reached out to the single mom or the couple who are new to the neighborhood? Empathy. You’ve been there. You can relate to at least one of these circumstances, if not all. What did YOU need in those moments? How can you do better?

Now think about our country. Empathy would go a long way here. If you are white, like me, you can’t share in the emotions or experiences that your BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) friends have experienced but you absolutely can sit down and ask them to tell you about it. Listen to understand, not to respond. You can have sympathy here but that’s not going to change things. Empathy and educating future generations on why people have different levels of melanin in their skin, why it’s not ok to judge others, why nobody is better than anybody else, why it’s not ok to dehumanize anyone, ever. These are the things that are going to make a lasting change. Additionally, look at your circle. Is it filled with only (or more than 80% with) people who look, think, vote, and were raised like you? If that’s the case, you’re part of the problem. Expand your circle. If you’re fearful of this, ask yourself why.  Ask yourself why you believe what you do about people? Why do you have the unconscious biases that you do? Is it because of media? Because of what your grandma told you when you were 5 years old? Because you met one person that had less than stellar behavior? Are your beliefs fair to judge an entire population on? Are your beliefs still serving you? Your community? There’s incredible greatness in differences. Greatness that you are only open to seeing and living if you step out of your norm to develop those relationships. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much empathy you develop as a result of those relationships. If nothing else, by putting some or all of these practices into play, maybe we’ll be able to say, “this is how I’m doing better.” Hopefully, this will allow our children to say “we live in a better world than my parents grew up in.” Instead of “we’re still fighting the same battles my ancestors did.”

XOXO, 

Kameran

P.S.- If you’re like me and you want to do better, you’ll definitely want to check out this week’s podcast dropping Thursday morning. I interview 3 friends of mine who are all black, all from different upbringings and all phenomenal individuals making a HUGE impact in this world in different ways. We have a very real and raw conversation about the world, what we need for change and how people can do better. Make sure you tune in by searching Recognizing Potential on Spotify or Apple podcast platforms.

What if they don’t like me?

“BUT I WANT EVERYONE TO LIKE ME.”


This seems to be a reoccurring theme for so many in the past couple months so naturally I feel called to address it here in case any of you are feeling the same way. 

Of course the feeling of rejection from those who may not like you feels crappy. Nobody wants to be rejected but the need to have everyone like you isn’t realistic for two reasons. 

Reason one: It falls under the life drift of approval. If you’ve read my previous emails or seen my live videos, there are three major life drifts that everyone falls into almost every day throughout several different circumstances. The life drift of approval is heavily present in this scenario. Approval says “I’ll never BE enough.” You fall into the gutter of people pleasing with the fear of rejection and the need for acceptance. What approval leads to is Ambition- doing more to gain that acceptance or even doing anything to get that satisfaction no matter what it costs you in the process. This can lead to Appetite- the fear of not having enough (friends, love, space, time, money, etc) and around and around the triangle we go.

Reason two is an effect of number one. Not being authentic. See, when you fall into the Approval life drift and then are lead down the dark alley of ambition, you start to do more and more to gain the approval of those who supposedly don’t like you. You do things you wouldn’t normally do, things that don’t line up with your core values, and your identity is compromised all because you wanted a certain someone to like you. 

If we aren’t completely set in and comfortable with who we are, we will almost always sabotage our story by becoming something we aren’t. 

You are never going to make every one like you. Even Princess Diana and Mother Teresa had those select few that just had to see something negative about them. But what’s worse? Having people not like you or having people like you only for the facade you’ve put on so they would? That has a name, you know. It’s called manipulation. You’re manipulating people to see and like a version of you that isn’t truly you. So what will happen when the authentic you shines through? Believe me, it will! 

The people who are supposed to be in your circle will like you for being who God created you to be and those who don’t, aren’t meant to be in your circle. It sounds like a lesson you’d give a 10 year old but that’s only because it’s a lesson that we all need to learn and get comfortable with because this little lie we tell ourselves that everyone needs to like us starts somewhere around the age of 10. Unfortunately, it follows us into our 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, even 50’s and 60’s! Let it go friend. You are fighting a battle that literally cannot be won. 

Besides that, by not being your authentic self, you’re not sharing the gifts of who you are whether it be in the form of time, treasure or talent with the world! The book The Ten Percent Solution by Marc Allen talks about this very concept. He says that if we would all give away just ten percent of our gifts the world as a whole would be a substantially happier place. 

Be who you are, authentically and unapologetically. You’re the only one who can and the world needs more of that kind of courage and genuine presence anyway! Those who are supposed to be impacted by you will be. Those who are supposed to be in your presences will be. Those who aren’t, aren’t meant for you.

How Clear Is Your Communication?

Every person has a fight style and a communication style. 

But what happens when the two combine? When you’re upset with your partner, how do you communicate? 

In many of the couples I work with, when an argument ensues, one of the parties will brush their wants and needs under the rug. Your partner comes in and asks “What’s wrong?” You answer with a harsh “nothing.” Your words (7% of your communication) say nothing. But your tone and body language (93% of your communication) say “something BIG”. 

Understand a few things here. 
1. Your partner is not you, they do not think, feel, communicate or operate the way you do.
2. Your partner is not a mind reader. Without clear, concise communication, your partner will not understand what you want them to. 
3. Your feelings, thoughts, irritations, triggers, etc are your responsibility. Communication is imperative to living a happy, fulfilled life with your partner. 

So let’s go back to our scenario. If you are upset with your partner, it’s your responsibility to let them know why you’re upset. If you are communicating “nothing” then their reaction is going to reflect that nothing is wrong and this is something you are working through on your own. The problem becomes deeper and a solution is never found. Additionally, this is a toxic behavior that is started when we begin dating as teenagers and we take this behavior with us through each relationship until we eventually recognize it for what it is and let it go for a more mature response. On a deeper level, we are hoping that our partner recognizes their own wrongdoing without us having to communicate it but that only leads to more disappointment when that hope is lost. 

So what’s the most effective way to communicate? 

Most wrongdoings between partners are simply because of mindlessness, not malice. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt (antidote) instead of assuming the worst (poison). 

Communicate a clear message that covers both the surface and the deeper levels. “I am upset because you said you would…. and you didn’t. I feel that you didn’t keep your word and I am disappointed because that lessened the character I believe you to have and left me feeling abandoned.” 

Sounds like a bunch of psychobabble BS, right? Ok follow me here. A simple 2-3 sentence message like this is powerful to the nth degree. Here’s why. 

  • I statements (I am..I feel…) take responsibility for your feelings and avoid blame, shame or guilt of the other party. It keeps the gate of communication open instead of saying “You didn’t keep your word” which then triggers defensiveness. 
  • You’re not sweeping your feelings under the rug. You’re validating yourself, your feelings and your equal partnership in this relationship. 
  • You’re hitting the underlying problem (abandonment and lessened character) which could be a repeated problem in your relationship. 
  • Simply stating facts avoids whining (defensiveness) or using contempt (communicating that you’re superior to your partner).
  • Saying “I’m upset that you said you would (a behavior), lessened the character I believe you to have (behavior), you’re complaining about the behavior, not criticizing the overall character of your partner. This avoids later problems and is more easily accepted than criticism. 
  • By shortening the message, it’s easier for your partner to hear, understand and stay focused than having a long, drawn out explanation. This hits high points, details and communicates needs. Everyone wins. 
  • A statement like this is less likely to escalate the conversation which avoids more hurt and promotes a healing, solution oriented environment instead. 

This message leaves an opening for your partner to now reply with a calmer, more productive feedback of “I’m sorry for leaving you abandoned and not keeping my word. In the future, I will…” 

I understand that toxic patterns of behavior are difficult to break but in an ideal relationship, communication and arguments are handled calmly, rationally and a lot less heated. If you’re trying to uplevel your relationship, this is the framework you’re ultimately working toward. It eliminates the 4 deadly horsemen of the apocalypse as well as gas-lighting which are all high indicators of divorce. 

I can tell you from experience in changing this exact behavior in myself, the latter, more effective communication technique produces much more satisfying results in the short and the long run.

I hope this helps your relationships and helps everyone move forward in a healthier manner. 

Top 10 Things You Need to Live Your Best Life

This evening, I was indulging in some serious self-care. For me, this comes most often in the form of soaking in a hot bath. My husband comes in and says “you truly are living your best life, huh?” You better believe it babe. 

So here’s my Top 10 List for what you need to live your best life too. There are lots of links and name brands in here. These are not ads, just things we use and truly love. 

1. An Instant Pot
Anyone else tired of cooking 3,281 meals a week? Yeah, me too. Throw about 8 chicken breasts (frozen or fresh- doesn’t matter) in your instant pot with some water and a couple bouillon cubes, set it and forget it. You’ve now got cooked chicken for chicken salad. Throw the rest of it in a bowl and mix it with a hand mixer or your Kitchen Aid and now you have shredded chicken for enchiladas in a couple days and chicken spaghetti tonight. You can do roasts, soups, casseroles. Seriously, your possibilities here are truly endless. So is what you can do with the time you’ll save. 

2. A Hobby
Every single person I have coached in the last 6 weeks who has struggled the most with being quarantined has one thing in common. They don’t have a hobby. I started knitting again after not having touched it in probably two years. The child I’m currently pregnant with will probably be 10 by the time I’m done with the blanket I’m making but hey, it’s fun and it passes the time! 

3. A 90 day goal
Not only does a 90 day goal give you something to work toward, a purpose. It also gives you something to look forward to. This should be a SMART goal but also something that has enough impact that it propels you forward to being able to reach your yearly goal. 

4. A social media feed that you ENJOY!
I did a serious Marie Kondo of my social media not long ago and it was the smartest thing I could’ve done. The average person spends at least 4 hours a day on social media. If you’re spending half of a work day on your social media feed, shouldn’t it bring you joy instead of anger and resentment? 

5. A blue light blocker 
I know this one is super random but hear me out. I spend a ridiculous amount of time staring at a screen. Writing, coaching via Zoom, editing the podcast, teaching my child the torture that is 4th grade math, whatever it is, I’m staring at a screen clear up until it’s time to go to bed. Before I got my blue light blocking glasses, I didn’t realize how much the blue light was keeping me from sleeping well! Total game changer! There are apps you can use, settings you can change on your chromebook or if you’re in need of a new pair of glasses for you or your kiddo- www.zennioptical.com. It’s been our go to for about 4 years now. I’ve ordered a dozen pair from them and never been disappointed. Yes, 12. Mason seriously lost 7 pair between his first and second grade year. God help this child. 

6. Hot baths
Or something that makes you feel just as relaxed, calm and chillaxed as a hot bath does. 

7. A really good probiotic
90% of your immune system is in your gut. A healthy gut leads to a ton of other health benefits as well. How can you possibly live your best life if your health isn’t on par? Know that not all probiotics are equal. Good probiotics should list the strand of active cultures on the bottle and what they are good for! 

8. Virtual nights with friends
Myself and four friends did a virtual murder mystery dinner the other night and let me tell you. I have not laughed that hard in months. We all dressed up to play our parts more authentically and really get into the role. We did the 80’s Prom Night but there are so many options to choose from! Seriously so much fun! 

9. Self-Improvement
If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Growth looks different for everyone but if you’re into podcasts, some of my faves are (mine of course) Recognizing Potential podcast, Lewis Howes- School of Greatness, Jay Shetty- On Purpose, Jenna Kutcher- The Goal Digger podcast, Rachel & Dave Hollis- Rise Together, The Vision Lab podcast- Cuff & Mo, just to name a few. You can read or listen to books on Audible. Three fantastic books I’ve read since March are- Get out of your own way by Dave Hollis, Atomic Habits by James Clear and I’m currently reading The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. 

10. A Morning Routine
The days that I have felt most productive and have truly felt like I’m living my best life are the days that I follow my morning routine. I go to sleep at a decent time the night before, get a good night’s sleep. For me, that’s a solid 10-12 hours right now. I wake up refreshed, journal, read and start the day slow. Routine. Whatever that looks like for you. It’s what the most successful folks attribute to their success and I would have to agree. 

What are you going to add to your life from this list? I’d love to know how it works out for you! Reply to this email and let me know! 

Enjoy your week!  

What is Balance?

One of the hottest buzzwords right now is “balance”. Everyone is working to achieve it but are we striving to reach something that doesn’t even exist? 

Balance, self-care, alignment, all of these words are completely subjective. We are pressured by society, our families, and friends to achieve all of them but I’m here to offer a little bit of relief. 

What balance and self-care look like to you is not the same as what it looks like for anyone else. One person may have to try to juggle being a working mom, a wife and a million other things while someone else may not be married, may be a single mom or not have kids at all but still have to juggle a million other things. It’s all hard to each person but for different reasons. 

Comparing yourself to your friend who’s storm looks completely different than your own is only going to lead to feeling defeated, angry and a shame spiral of not being good enough. All lies. You are not defeated and you are good enough. Every day. 

Last week on the podcast, I had a guest speaker on named Edie Noble. She’s a military wife and mother of 8 children. I love that she talked about replacing the word “balance” with satisfaction. What is satisfying to your family? Is it eating on the couch off of paper plates instead of around the table with the good dishes? Awesome. Is it saying no to the 400th birthday party this month because you need to reconnect as a family? That’s perfectly ok too. Is it doing church online with coffee and cinnamon rolls because the rush of getting your family out the door and to a place where you’re not all together anyway is too much? God is where your family is gathered. What does satisfaction look like to you and your family? Strive for that! 

Same with self-care. Stop telling yourself that self-care has to be getting your nails done every week or spending your Saturday at the salon and spa. Maybe self-care to you is getting your kitchen fully cleaned during the only 20 minute break you have for the day because it makes you feel accomplished. Maybe it’s locking yourself in your closet for 7 minutes just because it’s the only place your kids are too scared to look for you. Maybe it’s sitting in your car in the garage to talk to your best friend because it’s the only place you feel like you can have one conversation instead of being interrupted by the masses asking for snacks. All of these are great and again, only subjective to what your circumstances are. 

Too often we compare ourselves to the highlight reels and the belief that we have created about a person and their circumstances. If we were to get a real look inside though, we’d see that the people we are comparing ourselves to have things to deal with that we didn’t know before, didn’t see before or don’t have to deal with ourselves. 

So how do we achieve the satisfaction we are striving for? 

Create the habits that will satisfy your family. Most of the problems that bring us down in life can be traced back to the habits we are or are not engaging in. If your house is always a mess, utilize the “Yours +1” rule. You pick up every single thing that’s yours plus 1 thing that’s not. If you’re finding yourself scrolling and wasting time on social media, start time blocking your day. This has been the single most helpful thing I’ve personally done to help myself become better and less stressed each day. 

Say no. Just because you’re invited doesn’t mean you have to go. When you say yes to something, you’re taking away from something else. If what you’re saying yes to isn’t more important than your sanity, the connection with your family or the stress it’s going to cause in following through, say no. One of my favorite sayings ever and I can’t even figure out who coined it exactly says: “If it’s not a HELL YES, then it’s a no.” 

Stop comparing yourself to your friends and neighbors. They’re in the same storm as you but not the same boat anyway.

Take care of yourself so that you’re not always pouring from an empty cup, in whatever way makes sense to you.

Don’t worry if things don’t look completely balanced from the outside. Nobody is paying that much attention to how you stacked your plates because they’re too focused on keeping theirs from toppling over anyway. Stack ’em how you need to. You’re doing just fine! 

10 Tips to Survive Quarantine with Your Spouse

1. Nobody is in the same boat as you. 
Not your mom, not your neighbor and not your partner. Everyone handles quarantine differently. Approach with caution, care and compassion. 

2. Everyone’s needs are different. 
I’m talking basic needs here. Because everyone is in a different boat, everyone has needs that aren’t anything like yours.

3. Basic needs have to be met first
Refer to the picture above. The bottom section lists your basic needs and these have to be met before you can move to the next rung up. Your basic needs also have to be met before you have a conversation that requires you to focus, respond rationally, etc. Think about when you’re hangry, thirsty, exhausted, or otherwise. Can you focus well? Can you respond in kindness? Can you control your behavior as well as you can when you aren’t all those things? 

Additionally, love languages are added in there because if your love tank isn’t full, you aren’t able to put forth 100% effort into your relationship like you would if it were full. Feeling less than full leaves you exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. Feeling full gives you the ability to overflow onto others. If you aren’t sure what your love language is or how to speak the love language of your spouse, click here and take the quiz.

4. Nobody is a mind reader.
Communicate clearly. “I need….” Check in with your spouse every day. “How can I show up best for you today? How are you feeling? What do you need?” I heard someone say “We’ve been married for a number of years now. At this point, I shouldn’t have to ask for what I need. My partner should just know.” It’s this kind of toxic communication that leads to a dead end on resentment street. You and your partner are both changing constantly. Nobody is a mind reader. You wouldn’t go into a restaurant to eat and feel like the waiter should just know what you want before you order. Don’t expect that of your partner either. Communicate. 

5. Be a TEAM player. 
 The responsibilities at home are 100% yours and 100% your partner’s. This includes housework, yard work and kids. Everyone helps everyone. A relationship is only as strong as weakest partner. If you’re responding to your partner’s request of “I need help” with “What’s in it for me?” (or anything of that regard), you are the weakest link. Everyone pulls their weight, even the kids. If they’re old enough to get it out, they’re old enough to put it away. Help them build a sense of responsibility by making kids put away dishes, take out the trash, sweep or mop the floor. 

6. Think BIG Picture. 
In the grand scheme of things, does it matter how your spouse loaded the dishwasher or folded the towels? Of course, it isn’t how you would do it but it’s done. Does your making a big deal of it and nit-picking the minor details really matter or is it just going to bring your spouse down and make the environment feel negative and tense? 

7. Communication is key. 
Should the need arise to complain about a behavior, make sure you’re doing just that. Complaining, not criticizing. Complaints focus on the behavior. “Can you fill the car up with gas after you use it please? It leaves me pressed for time if I have to do it in the mornings.” Criticizing focuses on the person’s character “You never fill the car up with gas! You’re so selfish to leave it for me to do!” 

Think about the Golden Rule here. If you turn your communication back on yourself (58% body language, 35% tone of voice, 7% words used) how would you feel on the receiving end? Treat your partner as you’d want to be treated. They’re a human you love after all. 

If you need a good app for communicating to-do lists, grocery lists, kids events, basically anything that would be the control station of your family- COZI is amazing. Not an ad, just what we use as a family. I love it because it even color coordinates who’s events are what and emails you in the mornings to say “hey! This is what your day looks like.” It’s free and fantastic. 

8. Have your own routine.
Set your to-do list the night before, get up and do what you would do if you weren’t in a quarantine situation. Go for a run, make breakfast, clean, have your morning routine. Do whatever you need to do to be productive for yourself. You’ll feel so much more accomplished in doing this.

9. Take time for yourself each day. 
The absolute best thing that my family has done in all of this is starting our day off by ourselves. We each go to our own spaces, by ourselves and we read, journal, write, do yoga, meditate, study, paint, draw, listen to music or whatever we feel like doing for 1-2 hours every morning. I’ve always got my sunflower butter and banana toast, my coffee, my journal and the latest book. My husband is usually studying for one of his classes. My son takes my laptop and goes to do his online school lessons for the day. When we emerge, we are better humans who appreciate each other versus wanting to punch each other in the face. We are already productive and we have our sanity. We don’t feel smothered and it is simply GLORIOUS. Many people have talked to me about being at their wits end in the past few weeks. Do you know what the common denominator is? Not having time to themselves every single day.

10. Gratitude
One of my trademark moves in coaching any couple is to make them start a gratitude journal and out of the 10 things they write down every day, 3 of them have to be about their spouse. When you are grateful, you’re focus on being grateful grows. When you’re negative about your spouse, you’re only thinking more negatively about your spouse. Grow your mindset and include a gratitude practice for your spouse each day. Share what you’re grateful for with them. It will build them up and make them more grateful for you too! Total win for both! 

These are all things that are tried and true with my spouse. I can honestly say that my husband and I have been quarantined together now since March 9. He’s taken 3 trips that were quick turns (1 flight somewhere and back the same day) in that time. Otherwise, we’ve been home together, the whole family. In that time, we’ve had two small arguments. The first was because taxes are stressful and something that literally nobody wants to deal with. The second was a total miscommunication because of the language barrier. Trust me when I tell you that this list works and it also makes an unfortunate time that you can’t control a lot more enjoyable! If you find that your relationship is struggling and you need even more help, I have opened my schedule for 2 couples to have 1:1 coaching. You can find more info on that here.

What’s Your Perspective?

I’ve learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something completely different.

This whole pandemic has taught me the same. I have had a lot of conversations in the past week and the range of emotions everyone is feeling is wider than Mariah Carey’s vocal abilities. 

Then I was reading something that talked about how in several years people are going to look back and say things like “don’t you remember the shortage of food in the grocery stores and everyone hoarding toilet paper? Remember how we couldn’t leave our houses for several weeks and how we had to juggle working from home and teaching our kids online? UGH! It was such a struggle!”

However, the kids that are living this right now are not going to remember that. They’re going to remember that their parents were more present with them than they ever had been before, more affectionate than before. They will remember that mom made homemade breakfast and she wasn’t screaming to put the shoes on in the car because everyone was running late…again! Moms and Dads had time for things like family bike rides, playing board games, walks around the neighborhood, watching movies and eating dinner as a family, setting up a tent in the living room in the name of science or building a fort just because. 

The perspective here is that while we are feeling such a disconnect from the world, our kids are feeling more connected to us in ways they never have before. That may be the biggest blessing that comes out of this. But what else could be working for us instead of it happening to us?  

Maybe we choose to look at this from a place filled with joy. Maybe we get our own reality check here and start prioritizing things, look at what we don’t need to go back to when all this is over. Maybe we start journaling and stop overthinking everything because now we have the time to analyze what is making our situation better and what’s making it worse. Whatever it is, it has to be a conscious choice that we make that may not come from a place of comfort. We may need to take that stretch step out of our comfort zone in order to change what we don’t like while understanding that we still have control over the majority of our reality. 

What I know for sure is that THIS. WILL. PASS. I promise you. I started teaching my Chinese kids online again this morning just to check on them, see how they are and earn a little more cushion income because we aren’t certain of what the airlines are going to do for my husband’s job and because we’re still fighting for our goal of buying a house at the end of the year. My little ones told me that parks are starting to open up again. Kids are going back to school next week and what they are all most excited about is going outside and feeling the sunshine. People over there live in high rise apartments and because of rules, regulations and over crowding on the streets, children are physically not able to go outside. At. All. Let that sink in from a child’s perspective and from an adult who has or has been around children. 

This is not a competition of what country or what neighbor has it worse. Lord knows we need none of that right now, but it is a matter of perspective. You can go outside. You can facetime friends. Social distancing should actually be called physical distancing. Right now, connection is indeed a necessity.  Connect with your friends through zoom, facetime or any other means necessary. If you’re reading this and you’re interested in a mastermind group that has free coaching or free networking or just adult interaction and connection, reply to this email and I will absolutely get it set up! Get back to your inner child and connect with the things you once loved but no longer “have time for”. Learn a new skill! My pilot wife group is BLOWING UP with all these amazing things that people are baking. We’re talking things like souffles and truffles, cookies that have like a billion steps and dishes that put Julia Child to shame! 

What you focus on magnifies. I have preached that for years and will until the day I die because it’s a concept I witness and live out every single day. Goals and ideas that I had a year or more ago are coming to fruition right this very moment because I didn’t pull up when things got hard or scary (more on this in a couple weeks). I fought for what I wanted most and not even quarantine or Rona was going to stop me. That was my perspective. If your perspective is to live in the anxiety, that’s going to be magnified exponentially right now. If you’re perspective is to choose to see the light, to be excited for each day and live in joy and happiness, that’s going to be magnified immensely.  What you’re looking for, you will find. If it’s hard for you to find joy and happiness, I encourage you to take a walk. Start a gratitude practice and listen to some Disney music. Seriously. Really listen to the message in each song. The words are powerful. It also makes for a great dance party if you don’t feel like exercising in a traditional sense. 

Your perspective in this time is going to make you the best version of yourself during and after this is over or it’s going to break you and you’re going to have an incredibly hard time with it all. If you are struggling but you want to be the best version of yourself, reach out. Let’s do a one hour strategy session to help you make that a reality. 

If you need even more content, don’t forget my podcast comes out THIS THURSDAY (another goal I’ve had for over a year now!) Watch my Facebook group and Instagram for more info (follow links are at the bottom of this email).

Take care and think happy thoughts!