‘Overwhelmed’, Part 1: Distracted Role Overload

Overwhelmed book coverIt took me more than a month, but I recently read a book by Brigid Schulte.

Along the way, my reading was interrupted by texts, phone calls, my children, my husband, my need to make dinner, business,exhaustion, and too many other factors to possibly remember.

In other words, it was a journey that echoed the personal experience related by Schulte, a Washington Post staff writer, in Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.

There’s so much to the book that even this three-part series will only skim the surface. But I hope that my take-aways will inspire others, particularly my fellow moms, to enjoy Schulte’s writings for themselves.

Because Schulte writes so much from her perspective as a mother of young children, the book is especially relevant for me. My time-management issues have escalated since giving birth to my twin children nearly 11 years ago, and intensified since my husband and I chose to begin home-schooling them five years ago.

As I read Schulte’s book, I took note of  terms she coined which defined the causes of “overwhelm,” as she puts it. One is Distracted Role Overload. This is where we multi-task between our different roles. In my case, those roles include wife, mom, worker, house cleaner, cook and teacher.

My self-awareness about the different hats I wear came from teaching by World Wide Group (WWDB) leaders, mostly husband-and-wife teams, who related the rewards and challenges of building an Amway business as they were playing other roles, at work, with family and in other areas of their lives.

One vivid memory is a seminar by Howie and Theresa Danzik in which they shared some of the ways that they were able to draw the line between being in the spouse role and the business partner role.

Sometimes, Theresa said, it’s just a matter of stopping a conversation in mid-stream and asking your spouse, “Are you speaking to me as your spouse or as your business partner right now?”

This tact may seem jarring and clumsy, but, in fact, such an approach can alleviate the “overwhelm.” Since reading Schulte’s book, I now ask myself this similar question, “What role am I in right now?”, multiple times a day. It helps me be more productive, focused, present, and helps me avoid “contaminated time.”

Next: ‘Overwhelmed,’ Part 2: Contaminated Time.

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Amway India CEO’s Latest Arrest Highlights India’s (In)justice System

Indian protest continuesSometimes it’s right; sometimes it’s wrong.

Sometimes it happens by accident.

Over the last few days, those comments have been made by political leaders in India to describe a certain action that is always wrong and is never by accident: rape.

In this same country, where girls and women are raped and killed, and where police have a well-documented and shameful history of sometimes doing nothing about it, there is a ridiculous repeat of what I wrote about almost exactly one year ago.

That’s the arrest of Amway India Chairman and CEO William S. Pinckney. Last year, he was one of three Amway executives arrested as a result of authorities’ apparent interpretation that they had violated the nation’s Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act.

William Pinckney Amway arrestThis year, it’s more of the same nonsense. Amway President Doug DeVos petitioned India’s newly elected leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to intervene quickly in Pinckney’s release and “to restore confidence in India’s investment potential.”

An excerpt from a story in The Financial Express highlights the very questionable tactics used as a pretense for the latest arrest:

“Intriguingly, the complaints, despite being filed presumably by different Amway distributors in distant towns such as Kurnool, Khammam and Guntur, use almost identical language, according to Samir Behl, Amway’s regional president, Europe, Africa and India.”

The whole episode ought to be so much more embarrassing to India than to anyone associated with the Amway Corporation.

The “arrest-now and ask-questions-later” approach by authorities also reflects more India’s struggles to govern and grow a diversified economy than on anything about Amway, a leader in the direct-marketing industry for more than a half-century.

Get your house in order, India.

Focus on cleaning up the garbage—from the culture of “sometimes right” and “accidental” rapes to the literal garbage piling up in your nation—rather than zealously persecuting CEOs of legitimate businesses.

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Appreciation for Bigger Home Sparks Furry ‘World Wide Group’ Memory

The Perch seating area

Top Floor Seating Area

It has been more than nine months since we moved from our home of nearly 19 years to a new, much larger place. And hardly a day goes by that I don’t say something like, “I’m so glad we live here now. I can’t imagine still being in our old place.”

It’s a view shared by my husband and our two 10-year-old children, as well.

The move was less than a mile on the map, but represents a huge distance mentally and emotionally. Now, we have nearly 2,000 square feet on four floors; before, we had a 750-square-foot condo on one level. Now we walk directly into our house; before we had to endure three flights of stairs before being in our own space.

Looking back, I am astonished that we lived in our condo for so long. How did we do it? My mind goes back and forth between second-guessing why we didn’t move earlier and being grateful that by living so “small” for so long, we all now appreciate and enjoy our current space that much more.

Now that some time has passed, and most of the labor of “setting up a house” is over, I am able to see that the limited space where I spent most of my time before had limited my world. In that old space, I didn’t even think of certain things—they didn’t even enter my mind.

Italy paintings

Paintings from my trip to Italy

Now, there is physical beauty all around me and so much more to work with. One current project is designing our patio; another is contemplating how to decorate our walls: Which photographs should we display? Where? How?A couple of walls scream, “I need a big piece of art!”

I thought I didn’t like gardening. I dismissed it as way more work than worth the results. Well, after doing a little pruning of a poor damaged-by-the-ridiculous-cold-weather bush, I kinda got into it.

The list goes on and on, and though at times it feels overwhelming, mostly I am excited to now be in a position to exercise this part of my being that has been latent for so long. I enjoy learning, solving problems, and outfitting our home so that it reflects the domestic life that what we want to lead.

It has also been a growing experience in terms of sharing our space with others. Impromptu get-togethers are so much more feasible, and comfortable, than in our former home. We have more than one seating area! We regularly host gatherings, such as a group of 10 people from our church that meet almost every week.

Diningroom light

New dining room light

It all adds up to this: you don’t know what you don’t know. The idea of something is only a tiny fraction of the reality.

It brings me back to the time, years ago, when I was at a World Wide Group meeting where Amway Diamonds Glen and Joya Baker were speaking. Afterwards, as she was chatting with some other Independent Business Owners, Joya started inviting some women to try on her fur coat. As it was being passed around, I politely declined. I mean, I am a vegetarian. We don’t wear animals. What would the neighbors think!

But a few friends gently persisted, so I put it on for a minute.

Wow. I wasn’t prepared for that feeling.

I can still feel the all-embracing warmth, security and, yes, even peace that went from my head all the way to my toes. It may sound superficial, and I am sure that’s what I would have thought myself—before the experience went from an idea to reality.

Fur Coat

A vegetarian dream-building

While I still don’t want a fur coat, that experiential lesson has made me less judgmental of other people’s dreams and wants. And it reinforced for me the importance of “dream-building.”

World Wide is known as World Wide DreamBuilders. They have a business vehicle for helping people attain those dreams and a key part of that blueprint is “dream-building,” or helping people crystallize their picture of an ideal future.

It’s like what Steve Jobs said: “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

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WWDB Recommended Book: ‘I Will Teach You To Be Rich’

i will teach you to be rich image“I’d rather act and get it 85 percent right than do nothing.”
-Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich

Ramit Sethi writes with a blunt, in-your-face style that doesn’t appeal to everyone, but if you can get past that delivery, you can gain much financial wisdom from his boldly named book.

It came to my attention recently after being added to the World Wide Group (World Wide DreamBuilders/WWDB) recommended reading list. I wish it had been available 20 years ago, when I was the age of his target audience (those in their 20s) and the youngest member by at least a decade of one of the numerous investment clubs that formed around that time.

I was the treasurer of the group, which disbanded after about 18 months.

And because I felt, back then and in the years since, that I didn’t know enough about investing to do it on my own, I have certainly not reached my potential in this arena.

One of the book’s key concepts is to make things easy and simple, so that you will actually do them, and don’t get entangled with needlessly complex layers that so often scare people away from any kind of money management.

For example, he counsels taking an hour or so to automate regular monthly payments through your bank, investment accounts and credit cards. Doing so frees up your mind, and time, to live your life rather than just manage it.

The problem with a lot of people is that we are so concerned with getting it right—whatever “it” may be—that we don’t do anything. That brings to mind something I heard from my community’s mayor earlier today.

As a longtime restaurant owner, he holds a perspective that most government officials lack. As he was listing some of the ingredients essential for economic development of our town, one is the entrepreneur’s “courage to execute,” he said.

The courage comes in knowing that a project where they put lots of time and money on the line is not going to be 100 percent predictable or perfect…and they do it anyway. As I looked around the room of nearly 200 people, consisting mostly of traditional business owners, I appreciated the fact that they do have the courage to execute. They don’t wait until they have it all figured out, or until all the signs are pointing in their favor.

What does venturing into the uncertain look like for you? Is it investing money? Is it becoming a parent? Is it starting a relationship? Whatever it is, you have to be willing to move forward knowing that there is going to be a percentage rate of failure.

Compare that with this statistic: 100 percent of unexecuted plans reap zero results. When people look back on life, the much more common regret they have is not something that they did, but the missed opportunities, the “what ifs?” that haunt them.

There’s no shortage of pithy sayings out there: Anything worth doing is worth doing well…If you’re a jack of all trades, then you’re a master of none…Knowledge is power.

For sure, you can latch onto a kernel of a saying that contains some wisdom. But are you applying it in context wisely, or using it as a bumper-sticker justification of your own fears and self-sabotaging failure to act?

They sound intelligent, even noble. But what results do they reap?

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World Wide Group/WWDB Spring Leadership 2014 On 7-City Tour

WWDB Spring LeadershipEven if the chilly Chicago weather isn’t really cooperating very much, the calendar makes it clear that spring has sprung. And along with it, World Wide Group is in the midst of a series of Spring Leaderships for 2014.

These conferences, held throughout the U.S. and Canada, are designed to inform and inspire Amway Independent Business Owners to build successful businesses.

At the same time, they teach principles applicable to many others areas of people’s personal and professional lives.

There have already been WWDB Spring Leadership conferences in Las Vegas (Orleans Arena, April 11-13), Spokane, Washington (Spokane Arena, April 25-27), and Honolulu (Hawaii Convention Center, April 26-27).

World Wide Group / WWDB Spring Leadership dates still to come are:

Calgary, Alberta (Calgary Exhibition & Stampede), May 2-4; Denver, Colorado (Sheraton Downtown Denver), May 3-4; Minneapolis, Minnesota (Minneapolis Marriott Southwest in Minnetonka), May 10-11; and Washington, D.C. (Hyatt Dulles in Herndon, Va.), May 10-11.

Once again, a featured speaker for World Wide Group, an Amway Approved Provider, is John Maxwell, who has written dozens of books on leadership and is a global authority on the topic.

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‘Turn on the Faucet’: My Tax-Day Lesson From World Wide Group’s (WWDB) Brad & Greg Duncan

fire hoseToday as I was doing my taxes–yes, I am a procrastinator—I thought about Brad Duncan (a Founders Crown in the Amway business), and orange juice.

Going through all my records and the IRS forms, I was growing increasingly irritated that life, including taxes, keeps getting more and more expensive. Even with 2013 being an especially strong income-earning year for us, it doesn’t feel like we are getting ahead by very much, if at all.

It seems like everything, from insurance to medical costs to park district programs, continues to push the envelope. With all of that rattling in the background, into my head popped a snippet from a Brad Duncan talk at Spring Leadership.

At the annual World Wide Group training conference, and in his entertaining way, Brad was railing against the insane cost of orange juice at hotels. Having stayed in swanky hotels while working in Miami for two months this winter, I can attest to these jaw-dropping prices.

While most of us might just stop at complaining about exorbitant costs of living, Brad went on to talk about making so much money that you could endure the “rip-offs” of life.

Years earlier, Brad’s older brother and sponsor, Triple Diamond Greg Duncan, gave a talk that mirrored this sentiment. Greg used a metaphor to describe what most people do when it comes to finances–plugging up a bathtub—versus what he had chosen to do through his Amway business: turn on the faucet.

I am all in favor of being financially prudent and mindful about how I allocate funds. (For instance, I never once ordered OJ at my Miami hotel.) But I am also aware of what I can and cannot control. So as I sat in front of my TurboTax, I stopped arguing with reality.

Taxes aren’t going away. And although I do love a good deal, there are only so many coupons that one can cut. And there is only so much one can slice from a budget before life is reduced to treading water, a half-step above survival.

Today especially, I needed to be reminded that I should devote only so much energy to keeping the water from escaping into the drain. Instead, a much more productive use of my time and energy is to get creative and get to work as I find ways to crank open the faucet or, better yet, get a fire hose.