He asked if I was Pushing Too Hard…

That’s the question… Are you pushing too hard?

It had been several months since my last vacation, and with a new business, 3 weddings, and moving to a new town in the offing, he wanted to know if I was pushing too hard. Maybe? Probably? Don’t we all…

Then he said, “What’s it like pushing through the pain, struggling with sleepless nights, and not feeling good about your life when you wake up?”

Isn’t this normal?

I stepped away for a moment and looked around the room.

This is my favorite room in the house, and I couldn’t tell you one single thing I liked about it… Why not?

Hurry up and push through this
I settled back in the chair and looked at him across the table…

Look, I know you’re pushing too hard.

I watch you. I see you pushing past the pain, through the sleepless nights, living in that world where you go. I’ve done it too. I’ve done it recently, but I want you to know you don’t have to be always pushing too hard. Sometimes, you can step back and enjoy the benefits of your rush.

It doesn’t have to be every single day of your life that you’re pushing too hard.

That’s what he said. And I listened. I heard him.

I took a deep breath and looked around me… I had accomplished much. And there was more to come.

favorite placeI settled into my chair, leaned back and looked for one single thing that I loved about this room. What was it that I appreciated about my life.

There was family.

There were friends.

There were some things… But honestly, I looked around and realized there was absolutely nothing beyond the people in my life that I wouldn’t be more than happy to leave behind. Why was I working so darned hard?

I considered the coming winter and remembered the cabin where I’d spent a little time the year before. Not long, just a few days when I could kick my feet up and read a book. Enjoy the morning with coffee. And appreciate the flowers a friend brought me one wintry afternoon. I remembered the feeling and I wanted it back.

Business was Booming Back Then.

So… What was the difference?

pushing too hardAs hard as I’d worked the past several weeks, my marketing wasn’t done, and my website was lagging behind, and everything seemed to be losing ground along with me… I was losing ground.

I needed inspiration. Rain splashed against the window and I realized that I wanted to observe the world around me and notice the rain coming down.

I get even MORE done when I slow down, back off, observe what’s going on, stop rushing and simply . . .

.He said what I was thinking and I couldn’t imagine a better solution to the struggle I was facing. A three day weekend coming up and my daughter needed someone to take the kids… I could do that, and take them to the cabin.

I made the call.

Three days and four nights at the cabin with nothing but books to read, games to play, laughter, and good food. I knew exactly what I needed to do. And it was going to be fun. The outcome would be worth it.

How many useless things fill up your day?

The last night I lit a candle, refilled my coffee cup, and sat back to enjoy the evening. The kids were in bed, and it was just me and my thoughts to absorb the atmosphere. I felt relieved. Inspiration was overflowing and I knew that going back to work the next morning in the city, I’d be fresh and ready for the job.

For all the hustle and bustle, I loved my community, and the people. I could even imagine the coming move with anticipation. And I was ready. I was ready.

The significance of the moment spilled over, the silence overwhelming me, and I sat there dripping tears. The realization that I’d been able to walk away from it all and leave it behind me for a time, and gain more clarity made sense. But more than that… It helped me to realize the importance of my own downtime.

I needed time away to find the message again.

More important, I needed time away to find the value of my message and the reason I wanted to share it.

With clarity I returned to the city the following morning… The grandkids had a wonderful time, and I felt refreshed.

I remembered my message and there… In front of me, on the back bumper of someone’s car was my message in clearly defined white letters.

Make a difference…

The thing is… I rarely feel rushed. Even when I’m pushing every one of my own buttons, I feel like I’m accomplishing great things, and in a regular amount of time. I usually only work on productive projects, and I feel good about what I get done.

Sometimes, I put in too many hours, but isn’t that pretty normal?

Still, I’m learning that when I’ve had some down time. Some time to just be with myself in nature, and enjoy the grandkids, or have coffee with my kids… I feel better about everything around me, and I believe… I may be wrong here, but I believe I make a difference for others and that I probably change lives for the better during those times.

I believe that I genuinely make a difference.


What about you? Do you feel like you make a difference?

How would it feel to slow down?

Perhaps you need to visit with someone who can help you to catch a glimpse of your inspiration again?

I would love to be that person!

Let’s have coffee and I’ll help you find that balance in life that allows you to get more done, feel more inspired, and accomplish greater tasks.

Let's do coffee!

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Change Your World from the Inside Out

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the realities of life, there are ways to make you feel more in charge and change your world. You know you can’t live successfully, in a happy life with all the strife of dealing with other people’s issues, or even when you’re just overwhelmed with your own issues. So, there’s got to be a change. Make that change, but putting your foot down on the problem.

1 – Refuse to settle for mediocrity.

You don’t always have to fix what is broken, but when you realize that everything that surrounds you is mediocre, and just not up to par… Change it. Start over. Create something of value, something worth having, by going the extra distance to make it better. Don’t settle for second best or the old “just enough to get by.” Give yourself a reason to get up in the morning. Strive for excellence!
Change Your World

2 – End that old negative thinking bit.

The struggle is real, and negativity of all kinds barks at your door. You don’t have to let it in. Send it away and think about the positives. Stand up for yourself and be the sunlight in your own life. Think positive, and be assured that you’re headed the right direction. As you find your own positive normal, you’ll be influencing others too. You can be an influencer. In my book “Become an Influencer in Your Niche” I share the Proverbs 31 Woman and how her best was not achieved through negative assertions, but rather by stepping outside the expectations of average. She raised a KING. You too can be royalty and raise a King or Queen. It’s a choice you make to take on the world and shine a positive light.

3 – Leave unhealthy relationships behind.

I recently called an old friend who reminded me that when people start putting you down, it’s more often than not a feeling of jealousy that they are expressing. They’re jealous of your success in life. For about half a minute I struggled with that concept, because I had been convinced by the other person that I somehow hadn’t lived up to her expectation. WOW! What a recoil. The realization that her expectation was misconceived relieved me of the weight of HER burdens. I could step over her misconceived notion of who I was supposed to be and feel confident in the woman I am, because I’m right where God put me.

I’m strong, confident, and amazing.

Unhealthy relationships are generally related to someone else’s displaced expectations of your norm. They weigh you down with jealousy, and beat you into submission if you allow them to. But you don’t have to meet their expectations for your life. Walk away from those who don’t accept you as the person God has created you to be. Leave unhealthy relationships behind. You are exquisite, perfectly made in God’s image, and YOU are exactly where you are supposed to be right now.

4 – Be a person of integrity.

Value yourself and others enough to be authentically yourself. Transparency matters in relationships, and if you’re not transparent, you are the person you’re hurting. Authenticity means that your wear spots will show a little, the parts of you that aren’t exactly perfect will shine through, and those who know you will love you anyway. Be an authentic person of integrity.

5 – Take the first step always.

Everyone sets goals and decides at some point or other to achieve something… But then they often wait for it to happen. Don’t wait. Take the first step. Because once you’ve taken that first step, you’ll take the second. And the third step is easier yet, and you’ll keep going, because you took action and took that first step.

When you set out to achieve your goals, the first thing you really must do is start taking action. Sometimes you don’t have all the steps in place when you start, just a goal. But with action come the logical steps to make necessary changes and achieve your ultimate goal. Take action, get started, and the rest will fall into place.

6 – Follow the 5 second rule.

Did you ever drop a piece of toast with jelly on it and the jelly side lands down? Of course it does. And now you have to clean up the mess. Hurry up and get it done, but use hot water. Seriously. Sugar comes off and out faster, with hot water. But the five second rule still applies – you have to grab it, get it off the floor, and remove the offending slice of toast. (I know, you thought I was going to say you could still eat it. HA) The point is, you’re going to make some quick moves to fix the problem.

The same 5 second rule applies to having a great idea. TAKE ACTION. Don’t wait. When you have a great idea, take immediate action. If it takes you more than five seconds to make the first action, chances are pretty good that you’ll be gripping the side of your chair, still sitting there when someone else takes off and runs to success with YOUR IDEA. You waited too long.

The reality. If you take action fast, and it isn’t meant to be, you’ll find out just as fast. There will be a realization that this isn’t the right move, and you can stop. You really don’t have to continue pursuing a failure. You can STOP.

7 – Recognize your choices and follow through.

In these days of escaping hurricanes, fires, and natural disasters, the process of making a choice and then following it through is important. You can’t fix what you don’t recognize. And you don’t want to be a victim, so you really do need to make some good choices and follow through with action.

Know this… You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you’re stuck rereading the last one. Let’s do this!

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Growing up in the shadows of country music singers had many benefits. Not the least of which was being present when a good many songs were performed for the first time. Sometimes by the writer before they were completed. Don Williams was one of those writers.

Carrying his guitar from place to place and singing with a variety of folks before a show on stage, my first glimpse of this gentle giant was him standing beside the country bumpkin Cal Smith. I wanted a picture with them both, but Don was rushing onto the stage.

He sang Amanda that night on the Grand Ole Opry. I was smitten. I fell in love with the song, the song writer, and the man.

I still squirm when I hear him sing. It is with a sad heart that I bid him farewell, rest in peace, until we meet again.

I’m betting there’s some great song writing going on in heaven tonight. God bless…

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New Books Published

Today was the day!

They arrived. A tiny box for several books, but I suppose it was big enough, when I opened it four new books fell out onto the table. I was so ready to look through them… You see, when you read your own writing in book format, you’re no longer editing.

You may find a mistake or two (I found three in one book), but you’re not reading for editing purposes. You’re reading because the story captivates you. And you have to turn the pages, just like everyone else. You want to know what happens next. And you’ve forgotten what you wrote about by the time it hits the press. Not everything… But most things.

Jan VerhoeffEvery page you turn, you read something you don’t remember writing. Even if the stories are non-fiction and you lived them, as the reader you can get right into the process.

Funny thing is, on the Influencer… I caught myself taking notes. Now, there’s a concept. I already knew this stuff well enough to write it once, and I’m taking notes! Whew! What kind of information is that?

The story here…

A while back in a writer’s group with a bunch of writers, editing a book of simple, non-fiction stories for another writer, we caught ourselves editing the edits. The depth of the story was sucked out of the writing when we edited so completely, removing all the writer’s deep, well-thought-out words that defined his characters and his stories. And yet… When we got the book back, there were 11 mistakes in his book. Eleven. We found 11 mistakes in the 179 page book that we missed while we were removing all the -ly words, that, just, and, the, and any other word we deemed superfluous. But would the readers have noticed those words?

Maybe. But none of those words would have sucked the life out of the reader had we left them in the book.

And now… I know why. As a writer, those superfluous words define who you are. They distill your voice and place you in the head of your reader, lifting them out of their own thoughts, and into yours. The key to writing a great story isn’t removing all the ‘gotcha’ words that you might have added as you write, but rather it is creating a story that flows from one page to the next, captivating your reader with every single word.

You influence your niche when your words captivate their minds, steal their hearts, and warm their souls.

And that my good and faithful reading friends is what I believe every great writer does. So, let me know if you found a misspelled word if you must, and I may change it in the next edition. But please, take a moment to be captivated, warmed, and stolen away from the struggles of life, so you can enjoy the stories written between the covers of my books.

Let me influence you.


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Business Model for Startups

Randomly, I get to share something so significant that I feel like it might be a bit overwhelming. And this may be it… I know, it’s pretty intense.

I’m going to cut to the chase and give you the step-by-step directions on how to use this business model for startups. Because quite honestly, if you need more than that to pull this together, we need to do a consult.

When you get this Business Model, I know you’re going to be pretty jazzed, because it’s a thrilling moment, to get the full-on step-by-step plan in one simple outline. Anyone can do startups with this business model.

But, here it is.

1. Become so totally enamored and knowledgeable about your area of interest that you can solve any problem that might arise. You need to know this information inside/out. And be able to talk about it, fluently.

2. Orient yourself into the program so that you can flush out any problems and offer air-tight solutions. This is an in-depth level of exposure that will take you deep into the program you’re going to present to your readers.

3. Validate and prove your expertise in the program by writing content, and building a solid platform of information that allows you to share your expertise, and attract a given message about this program.

4. Know, ask, and answer the three biggest questions within your platform. Ask them, and answer them in your FAQ pages. Be sure to give as complete an answer as possible and share the whole value of your work, because once you know it this well, it’s okay to share everything with your audience. They’ll need more of your expertise.

5. Set up a landing page where you can signin subscribers to your program. This is the most important step you will take, because without subscribers to your email messages in this niche, there isn’t really a viable business. Be sure you’re getting subscribers.

a) use a squeeze page split test to find out what the biggest problems are and what problems get the biggest result.
b) activate your marketing plan for both squeeze pages, personalized to the audience.

Be sure you read through this business model for startups, and before you start adding content get those squeeze pages set up. You’ll want to grab that traffic from the beginning.

Do this!

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