10 Reasons Why “Moms” Make Outstanding Business Leaders…John Page Burton

After a recent conversation with a female client who manages to effectively balance the roles of being the primary care giver to three small children with also being the CEO of a progressive start up company, it dawned on me why “moms” tend to make such outstanding business leaders. The skills that are required of motherhood are basically the same skills that are required of a successful business person. Below are 10 examples of the traits and skills inherent to both “moms” and business leaders.

1. Organizational skills. “Moms” are highly proficient at multitasking. They know where things stand and how to maximize both time and material resources. They are masters of logistics who understand that the devil is often found in the details. They routinely inspect what they expect.

2. Problem solvers. “Moms” rarely sweat the small stuff!  They know where to focus their energy and when to release control. When a problem or obstacle arises, they transition into solution mode and stay there until they achieve a favorable outcome.

3. Master negotiators. “Moms” occupy a permanent seat at the bargaining table. They must possess the ability to impartially consider all evidence, weigh each argument and often render their decisions in the face of extreme opposition. They make decisions that are congruent with their core beliefs and values.

4. Financial management. “Moms” are masterful at establishing and living within a budget. They understand the value of a dollar and how to make it stretch. They are value oriented and consciously seek out the highest return for their investment. They will plan for a “rainy day” and they understand the fundamental principles of income to debt ratio.

5.Resource management. “Moms” can make 3 peanut butter sandwiches using 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and convince their kids that bread is what makes the sandwich so tasty in the first place. They are masterful at recycling clothes, shoes, books, bicycles and just about anything else that can serve a secondary purpose and still keep them within or under their budget.

6. They are true servant leaders. Need I say more. The early stages of motherhood could be described as a thankless job in which the compensation is low and the frustration is high. Motherhood requires an extreme outward focus.

7.Patience. “This to shall pass” becomes a daily mantra.  “Moms” learn that all storm clouds will eventually blow over and be replaced by blue sky and rainbows. They recognize that maintaining patience is critical to their sanity. They learn to focus their energy on what they are able to control in their present moment rather than dwelling on the past or living in the future.

8. Flexibility. “Moms” recognize that life happens when they are making other plans. They instinctively understand the value of contingency plans and must be extremely quick on their feet. They are acutely aware when they are trying to put a square peg in a round hole and will usually be among the first to acknowledge that NOW would be a good time to head in a different direction.

9. Compassionate understanding. Life holds a profound truth…STUFF HAPPENS! Feelings get hurt, ego’s are bruised, fears surface, anger arises, jealousy brews and through it all a “mom” must remain objective and compassionate with those in her charge. Compassion is a guiding light to those who are lost.

10. Sense of humor. “Moms” know the secret to life…don’t take yourself or those around you to seriously. Maintaining a sense of humor is the healthiest way to navigate through trying times. A sense of humor helps us to maintain perspective and is also a reminder that we should not go through life treating everything as either do or die. A smile can often melt even the hardest heart.

In short, “moms” are natural family leaders who also make outstanding
business leaders!  As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

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Making Room In Our Closets…John Page Burton

I recently spent the evening visiting a friends house. During our visit he talked about his frustration with being “single” and his desire to meet the “right” person and settle into a “normal” relationship. He went on to talk about how difficult it had become to get his friends to “come over and just hang out”. He rationalized this by saying “I guess everybody has just gotten caught up in the virtual world”. As our conversation evolved, I couldn’t help but notice the series of incongruent messages he is sending out to the universe. If you were to take a “virtual tour” of my friends home you would quickly notice that everything is designed to accommodate one person, him. It is abundantly clear that he does not intend for his friends or family to stay for any length of time. Let’s take a quick trip through his home, I’m sure he won’t mind. FYI…It is important to note that my friend is a person with above average financial means who has simply made a conscious decision to structure his life in this manner.

Close your eyes and let our “virtual tour” begin…

After we park on the street and walk toward the front door, we immediately notice that his carport only has room for one car, his. We enter the living room. A Lazy Boy recliner is the predominant piece of furniture. He has a “hard” wooden bench along one wall and also a small wooden chair with a thin pad serving as a seat cushion. The impersonal, barren nature of his living room furniture shouts a clear message…don’t plan on staying long, your body can’t handle it! “His” Lazy Boy recliner is the only comfortable chair in the room, although it would be unthinkable for anyone else to sit there. Our journey into the kitchen/dining area reveals a small table with two chairs. A quick glance into his cupboard reveals 1 wine glass, 3 coffee mugs, 2 plates, 2 drinking glass’s and several miscellaneous bowls, undeniably the trappings of a bachelor (did I mention that he is in his early fifties).
The home features two bedrooms. What could be considered as a “guest room” is far from it. This room serves as an office/utility room that leaves no space for any type of sleeping accommodations. Again, the message is loud and clear…”I am bachelor, hear me roar”!
His sleeping quarters appear cozy and comfortable and feature a bed, dresser, mirror and several warm pieces of art. His closet is well organized however, every bit of space is taken up by his clothes and shoes. There is clearly no room in this closet for anyone else to place their belongings. Our journey concludes on the back porch where we find two hard plastic chairs, a small grill and an outdoor fire pit (when I visit I choose to stretch out on the concrete slab as the hard plastic chairs are far too uncomfortable). This theme of discomfort carries throughout my friends “collegiate style” home and sends a very strong message to his friends and potential relationship partners…my closet is full.

How many of us lament being alone and yet we leave no room in our closet for anyone else to hang their clothes? Some of us carry this restrictive theme into every aspect of our lives. We find ourselves “wishing” we could land a better job but we never update our resume or send it out. We “wish” we were in better shape and yet we make little or no room for exercise. It seems that our wish list continues to grow while we continue to repeat the same behavioral patterns that keep us stuck. If we truly desire to attract a romantic relationship partner we must clear our closet to make room for them. It would also be a good idea to clean out the other half of our two car garage so when our ideal partner shows up they will have a place to park. If we desire to secure a more rewarding job or pursue a new career we must first clear the clutter that will enable us to attract a new opportunity. If we desire to get in shape we must make  time for exercise. We must also clear our cupboards and refrigerators of unhealthy foods and replace them with healthy food. If we desire for things to change then we must change our thoughts and begin taking the right action steps that are congruent with our desire. For many of us today may be the perfect time to start making some extra room in our closet. The choice is ours!

As always, I enjoy your thoughts and feedback.

Designing A Limitless Life…John Page Burton

In 2011 I turned fifty years old, a milestone that for much of my life seemed akin to climbing Mount Everest.  I found myself celebrating this epic achievement by enjoying a slice of birthday cake and watching a movie called the Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.  For those who have not seen it, the Bucket List is an adventure story that centers around two terminally ill patients (Freeman & Nicholson) who meet during an extended hospital stay. They embark on a journey  to support each other in completing their “bucket list” of adventurous activities they had never “made” time to accomplish.  The movie is funny and yet offers a very profound message…Don’t wait until you are near death to start living!  Many of us carry around our own “bucket list” of dreams and desires but  continue to place strenuous conditions around there achievement. “I’ll wait until I retire” or “I’ve got to pay my dues first” or “this isn’t how responsible people go about things” are common sentiments expressed by those who have resolved to wait until the “timing is right” to really begin living. Conditions and justifications tend to choke out dreams, I say, LIVE NOW!!!

 Why do so many of us give up on our dreams? When did we make the unconscious decision to settle for the status quo and let our aspirations drift up into the clouds? Life is not a dress rehearsal, we only pass through once! How we choose to spend our time on Earth is entirely up to us. If you are the type of person who desires to live your life to the fullest, I would like to offer you some considerations for designing a “limitless life”.

*First, we must get very clear on what it is we DON’T WANT. Once we become clear on what it is we don’t want we can then re-direct our energy toward what it is we DO WANT.  Far too many of us are willing to settle for scraps when we could be enjoying a banquet. Many of us find ourselves lamenting our “toxic” personal relationships as we begrudgingly make the daily commute in our sub standard vehicles to our dead end jobs, eating fast food and wondering how in the hell we arrived at this station in life? If this sounds eerily familiar, it’s time to take a serious look at your life plan!

*Clarity of purpose. Designing a limitless life begins with clarity of purpose. If we decided to start a new business, we would write a business plan, a plan that would detail every aspect of our operation. We would write a mission statement, we would set both short and long term goals, (with projected completion dates) and we would determine our start up costs and chart our financial projections. Designing a limitless life takes the same dedication, commitment and strategic planning. What do you desire to do for a living? Where to you desire to live? What type of vehicle do you choose to drive? What type of school environment do you desire to educate your children in? These are choices that each of us have control over. Remember…GOOD decisions=many options, BAD decisions=limited options.

*Get out of your head and into your heart! The biggest obstacle most of us encounter in life, lies between our ears. We  have allowed a lifetime of counterproductive programming to govern our current reality. “My family has always been blue collar, I need to tow the line” or “I don’t want to insult my parents by creating a better life than they had” or “I never had the chance to go to college, so I’ll never be able to get a good job”, the list goes on and on. We must give ourselves permission to follow our heart! What are you passionate about? What gets you up early and keeps you up late? If you could live anywhere, where would it be? EVERYTHING is possible! It is your canvas, your paint and your talent, create your own unique mosaic. Start viewing yourself as the creative director of your life.

Once we have determined the things we are no longer willing to settle for, we can re-direct our energy toward what it is that we truly desire. Our clarity of purpose sends a clear message to the universe that we are ready to make a significant shift. The laws of attraction will begin coming into play as we apply the law of motion. In other words, as we are taking proactive steps toward our goals and dreams, the universe is reciprocating by aligning us with the right people, circumstances and events to help manifest our dreams and desires.  We will never enjoy limitless living if are enslaved to consumption and the use of credit as a way of falsely portraying our success. Creating a limitless life is for your personal happiness and should never include the insatiable need to impress others.

Create to your heart’s content!  As always I enjoy your thoughts and feedback.

Your Assumptions May Be Costing You Business…John Page Burton

We live in an “assumption” based society. Let me explain…have you ever found yourself “assuming” someone was “wealthy” or someone else must be “middle class” or someone else appeared to be “economically challenged” only to find out later what you assumed was wrong? We have ALL done it. What did you base your initial assumption on? Was it the car they were driving? The home they lived in? The clothes they were wearing? Maybe you even based your assumption on a 3rd party information source, someone who shared their own assumption with you. In any case, your assumptions may be costing you business. It is easy to get drawn into appearances such as clothes, cars, homes or jewelry and focus on that person as your “gold mine” prospect, when in actuality the person in shorts, tee shirt, flip flops sporting a scruffy chin may be the person who is sitting on a fortune, while your “gold mine” prospect lives on revolving credit. Don’t act surprised when the “bum” you just blew off is a discerning cash buyer.

My recent experience…

I recently made two separate trips to a local furniture store. On the first trip I was dressed in casual business attire, wore an expensive watch and sported a fresh haircut. The sales person who “rushed up” to assist me was extremely friendly, repeatedly commented on my impeccable sense of furniture style and offered to send me home with an array of full color furniture pictures that would enable Diana and I to match colors and find the right style to meet our “exquisite taste” (the salesperson’s perception of my affluence and potential buying power). Two weeks later, Diana and I returned to the same store. As I was parking my American made Jeep Commander (perception of middle class) this exact same sales person exited her older model Japanese vehicle (perception unregistered) and casually acknowledged my friendly hello before she made her way into the store. It was obvious that my gym clothes, unshaven face and baseball cap had not impressed her (her perception of definite middle to lower middle class). Armed with our full color furniture pictures and a couple of swatches, Diana and I headed into the store to re-introduce ourselves. Approximately 10 minutes later( my overall importance rating had clearly dropped 50 points) I was able to flag her down and attempted to re-fresh her memory with regards to our needs and desires. At one point in our conversation she actually stated “there are a couple of things I could show you in another area of the store, but they may be to expensive for you” (I found myself struggling to remember when we had ever discussed my personal finances?). I finally left the store armed with a black and white photo of a dining set that I expressed an interest in and she was thoughtful enough to let us know that if we were willing to wait a couple of weeks we could take advantage of their next big sale (still registering middle to lower middle class). 

The lessonIn today’s virtual business world it is not a good idea to pre-judge potential customers.Some of the most affluent, successful, wealthy people I know, choose to work from home in shorts and t-shirts. They run multimillion dollar companies from the comfort of their modest homes and drive their older model vehicles to pay CASH for their carefully chosen furniture.  The best way to avoid the “assumption trap” is to treat ALL of your prospects and customers with dignity and respect.

To your happiness and success!