On today’s show, I am joined by Lany Sullivan, one of the many contributors to my two book set, Entrepreneur Mind Hacks. She has a passion for building, training, and shaping sales team to achieve their companies goals and is an online consultant and coach, co-author of Stop Wasting Time and Burning Money, and host of the Google Hangout Reach, Connect, Uplift Women.
Carey Green: What’s the mission of Reach, Connect, Uplift Women?
Lany Sullivan: It’s really about connecting women globally, being able to reach a hand out and connect with your local, nationwide, and international market, and reaching women where they are in their lives today, whether they are a stay at home mom or a corporate executive. Everybody has a need, and we want to find those needs, help fill them, and provide a shoulder to cry on and congratulations for their successes.
Carey: So you’re contribution to the second book in my Mind Hack was titled “Let Your Project Determine Your Deadlines,” and that’s a bit of a foreign concept in the entrepreneurial world. Could you explain that to us?
Lany: So, I set deadlines that are hard and fast and have to be met, but people often overwhelm themselves by setting deadlines that they just aren’t going to make. I’ve done this and buried myself under deadlines before I realized that it simply wasn’t working. I was only stressing myself out to meet a deadline and end up not putting out a quality product. I still set deadlines that I have to hit, but now I set those knowing that I’m not going to add anything else to that level.
I have set deadlines before where I have just been completely off base. You have to pay attention to the deadline that you’re setting. Can you put out the quality of work that you want with the deadline that you set for yourself. Sometimes we can and sometimes we can’t.
Carey: Can you give me some real life scenarios where you would have to think about pushing back a deadline?
Lany: So, I have a podcast that has close to 30 episodes recorded. I want at least 60 episodes, but I ended up “back burnering” the whole thing. I was working on a business, rebranding a community, and creating a product launch at the same time. So, I had all these projects that I was working on, and I decided to launch a podcast. I planned on launching it on a specific day, and when that day came I had my episodes recorded and finished my branding. However, the quality of my product just wasn’t cutting it. I didn’t have time to edit the episodes. So, I realized that I had to table it.
I’m a multitasker and great at being efficient and organize, but I can also max myself out. I think we all do this. Sometimes you just need to pull back the reigns, sit back, and evaluate the entire layout of your projects. You need to consider how much time it is going to take, the amount of effort you’re going to contribute, and how valuable it is to whatever you are pursuing.
Carey: One of the questions you told people to ask themselves in your chapter was, “Will I lose money?” Can you talk to us about that?
Lany: If a project is going to end up costing your business, you’re probably going to have to put it to the side and focus more on things that will help you make a profit. Also, if a project is going to affect your clients, you’re going to end up losing business.
Carey: Another question you listed in your chapter was, “If I push the deadline back, can I increase the quality?”
Lany: If you can increase the quality and outsource some the work to improve your product, the result is going to end up way better. I’d rather take a year to put out a quality product than six months to put out a halfway decent product.
Carey: How do you think people should adjust their mindsets when it comes to deadlines and failure?
Lany: We are trained to meet deadlines and show a level of success to the public. I say that we should try challenging that standard within our minds. You can be successful with a hundred failures. I have failed a ton within business, but I have learned so much that I don’t feel like a failure. Besides, I know that I’m not a failure; I have clients, make money, and have people that support me. There’s no way that I’m a failure. God didn’t make us junk.
Carey: One thing that I’ve noticed is that a lot of deadlines that people can’t reach are simply arbitrary. They’re just a date that the person picked.
Lany: Absolutely. I often just think, “I want to do it by this date.” When I do that, I have to evaluate whether or not I’m actually going to hit it. This is why it’s good to have an advisory board, a mastermind group, a coach, or anybody that you can bounce ideas off of. It means you have to be open and vulnerable and allow that person or group really pick it apart for you and give you some new perspective.
Carey: We always need to be able to put people first. Could you talk about how trying to meet a deadline can affect personal relationships?
Lany: I work my business around what is more important to me and my family is more important. My business and my projects are still important, but if I didn’t have my family or my friends, what would I have? So, I really want people just to step back and evaluate everything that you’re doing and make a priority list. I think figuring out your priorities is a key element in life. Once you have your priorities straight, everything else will fall into place.
Carey: How do you structure a good deadline?
Lany: Part of the book that I wrote is looking at the big picture and breaking it down. I think we get overwhelmed by the big picture and end up missing steps. We realize that we should have done X, Y, and Z way earlier than we have. When looking at the big picture, you need to think about things like what is need, who needs to be involved, and what kind of money is need. You need to build out your tasks for each element of your project, because sometimes the big project is actually twenty big projects. It’s easier to just break it all down and think about the functions that you need to accomplish, your timeframe, and how each step impacts the larger project. Some things will not be as impactful as others. This can also help you realize if you really want to do it or not.
Carey: You have also talked about taking your time and not rushing. Can you tell us more about that?
Lany: If you rush through something, you need to consider the quality you’ll put out and whether or not you’ll regret any actions or decisions you’ve made along the way. Like we were talking about, I’m not in a rush to put out my podcast. I’m could launch right now, but I know that it’s not time yet and there’s still work to be done. Why would I be in a rush? Not putting it out there yet is not going to affect me negatively.
Carey: How did you get to the place where you could be patient?
Lany: I haven’t totally mastered it. I’m probably like 80% there. I think a lot of it just comes from practice and experience. I started working in finance when I was 19 years old, and I thought I knew everything. After some experience, you end up realizing that you don’t know it all and learn how to be open minded, non-judgmental, and more accepting of what’s going on in the world and my life. I always go back to these questions: “What’s important?” “What am I trying to do?” “What is my purpose?” “What is my passion?” “How does everything that I’m doing fit into that?” If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t mean that it’s never going to fit. It just means that it’s not going to fit right now. It may be a really good idea and a really good project, but you need to consider if it fits into the direction and the path that you’re on, in your life or in your business.
Carey: Another suggestion you’ve given is surveying your audience. How does that fit into this whole process?
Lany: Well, you can’t just be self serving, because that’s going to get you absolutely nowhere. I think you really have to lack at the value of what you are bringing to the table and if it is benefiting you only or something that your audience can gain from. One way to stand out is to tell your story. We all have different paths and different experiences that have gotten us to where we are today, and somebody out there can benefit from your story and your experience. If you’re just telling the same thing that everybody else is telling, you’re not going to stand out or serve your audience. You need to be look at what you’re providing for your audience.
Carey: Can you tell us about what you’re working on right now?
Lany: I’m dropping a product later this year to help businesses and small business owner make a difference in the marketplace and social media. I also have my podcast Lany Said So, which will eventually come out.
To find more about Lany, go onto www.lanysullivan.com. For more information about Reach, Connect, Uplift Women, visit www.rcuwomen.com.