Are You Missing Anything in Life?: Try a Life Zones List, the Ultimate Planning List

I am a list addict. I write lists for everything:

  • yearly planning lists
  • weekly priorities
  • my team’s priorities/client needs this week
  • groceries
  • freezer contents
  • how to launch a company successfully
  • weekend tasks
  • meal plans
  • people I want to connect with professionally
  • and so on … .

 

So it is no surprise that part of my retreat process includes a list. Every retreat I go on, I review my “Life Zones” list to make sure that I am not missing anything.

ThinkResults Life Zones

Here is a very simple exercise you can do any time you feel the need for a life check in, such as:

  • The new year is a natural time for this work. This is a big reason why the 2014 Breakthroughs Retreat is scheduled for January.
  • The beginning of spring always seems like a good time to do some internal housecleaning as well.
  • On your birthday, another natural time of reflection.
  • In September, the beginning of the new school year (whether you are in school or not, it’s a time of new beginnings).
  • The beginning of each new quarter is fitting.
  • Any time there is a major change or shift in your life.

 

For each of the life zones, write down your answers to three simple questions:

  1. Where am I now?
  2. Where do I want to be?
  3. By when?

Take 30 minutes to write out your answers to each of these simple questions for each life zone and you will quickly have your 2014 plan created. If not, a full life plan!

 

Complimentary 30-minute Coaching Call

Jenn LeBlanc is the CEO and Founder of ThinkResults Marketing and also runs ThinkResults Coaching for high-performance executive and entrepreneurial women. Programs include retreats in the world’s most beautiful locations, including Costanoa in January 2014 and individual coaching programs.

Our programs will  help you grow professionally and personally with the support, accountability, advice, resources and ideas you need to love every aspect of your business and your life. Sounds like fun? It is.

Contact us for a free 30-minute coaching call. Your results are waiting!

Go Ahead, Get Mad: A Story of a Girl, a Bank and the Federal Government

After four years of being a good girl and working through the proper channels, I got really mad last week. And now, the problem that has dogged me for the last four years was magically resolved.

You see, in 2009, I entered into a modified mortgage agreement with Citi Mortgage following my divorce that left me with a very, very large mortgage to pay on my own. At the time, I was very concerned as a single woman and small business owner about my credit report as I knew that a bad report would cost me thousands of dollars a year in additional interest and difficulty in getting required credit both personally and professionally. And it did.

Despite repeated promises that my entering into this agreement under the brand new Home Affordable Mortgage (HAM) Program would NOT create any black marks on my credit report, they did not keep their promises. Since 2009, Citi Mortgage has reported me as “delinquent” for several months while I was under the HAM Program. I sold the house as soon as I could and my daughter and I moved in with a girlfriend (along with our Golden Retriever, 2 cats and hundreds of boxes … bless her soul for taking us in).

This issue has come up when I needed additional credit in my business, when I needed to reestablish credit in my name, and when I applied to rent apartments and start my life over. It has resulted in very high interest rates and, in at least one case, being denied a place to live.

I have been a good girl and have been diligently working through the proper channels. I have complained about the report to each and every credit reporting agency. Several times. Each time they would report that “Citi had reviewed my case and found no errors”. I sent letter and followed up with phone calls directly to Citi. Same response.

So when I pulled my Experian credit report two weeks ago and it was still there, I kinda snapped.

cfpb logoMy wonderful new husband suggested that I report Citi to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I filled out their very simple forms (it took about five minutes once I got the right browser working) and basically told them the story above.

CFPB asked what I wanted as a resolution, and my response was simple: “I want Citi to make good on their promises and remove the black mark from my credit reports since I made every payment on time as we agreed to under the HAM Program.”

Today, just a little over a week after I submitted my very simple story to the feds, I received a phone call from a very nice gentleman from “The Office of the President of Citi Mortgage” informing me that my case had been reviewed and that Citi has now requested that the delinquencies be removed from all credit reports. (Wow! Really?!) He agreed that I had indeed made every payment according to terms and that I was never “delinquent” in my payments. He told me to keep his number and call him if I had any other questions or problems.

While I am thrilled to finally have this erroneous information removed from my credit report, I am disappointed that I had to invoke federal protection in order to solve this very simple case with Citi. At a time when some are calling for less oversight, I can tell you as a woman and a small business owner, we desperately need oversight and regulation.

And to all the women out there fighting financial battles, I urge you to check out the CFPB website to get the feds on your side when dealing with banks that more often than not, treat women poorly, whether they are or not!

It is my hope that this post will help other women to get their cases resolved much more quickly than mine was. Don’t bother going through the credit reporting agencies. Invoke the feds, and use their power to get your case resolved quickly. Don’t be a good girl in this situation – it’ll cost you a lot ….

 

Complimentary 30-minute Coaching Call

Jenn LeBlanc is the CEO and Founder of ThinkResults Marketing and also runs ThinkResults Coaching for high-performance executive and entrepreneurial women. Programs include retreats in the world’s most beautiful locations and individual coaching programs.

Our programs will  help you grow professionally and personally with the support, accountability, advice, resources and ideas you need to love every aspect of your business and your life. Sounds like fun? It is.

Contact us for a free 30-minute coaching call. Your results are waiting!

The Wisdom of Stillness: The Value of Retreat in a Busy World

Timber Cove Coast 1113bWhat is the value of a retreat? Insight, clarity, rest, renewal, refreshment, energy, excitement, and more. The rewards are numerous and powerful. Yet very few actually give themselves permission to go on retreat. Especially women.

Yet, like exercise, the more someone says she doesn’t have time to do a retreat, the more I would argue that she does need one. I have been doing retreats for the past 30 years and for the past ten years, have been going away on two- to three-day retreats about three to four times a year.  I’ve even done silent meditation retreats for anywhere from one to six days. Always amazed at what I discover.

I do regular retreats because I find them tremendously productive. I get six month’s worth of the “I really need to get X done” work done. I run a busy agency and have a teenager, two cats and a hubby, so it’s hard to work ON my business during a typical day. I focus on getting work done for clients every day and then “my” stuff gets put aside. This is why I go on retreat.

Plus, when you take yourself away from email, clients, coworkers, your family, your friends, Facebook and all the myriad of things that draw your attention each day, you would be amazed at how many hours there are in a day. Plenty of time to think and decide if you are on the path you want to be on, and if not, what you need to do to make some course corrections.

Timber Cove Pampas 1113bAnother important part of retreat for me is to have a beautiful place in which to soak in the gorgeousness and vastness of nature. The pictures included in this post are from my most recent retreat on the Sonoma Coast in Northern California. (who couldn’t dream big in place like that?!). This helps me put things in perspective and remember that I am not an island and am supported and connected to so many others. I come away with a feeling that I can accomplish anything.

So when will you give yourself the gift of retreat?

 

Complimentary 30-minute Coaching Call

Jenn LeBlanc is the CEO and Founder of ThinkResults Marketing and also runs ThinkResults Coaching for high-performance executive and entrepreneurial women. Programs include retreats in the world’s most beautiful locations and individual coaching programs.

Our programs will  help you grow professionally and personally with the support, accountability, advice, resources and ideas you need to love every aspect of your business and your life. Sounds like fun? It is.

Contact us for a free 30-minute coaching call. Your results are waiting!

 

Fear Has Killed More People than Death

Fear has killed more people than deathI’ve been awed and humbled by the response to my speech in January to a group of women entrepreneurs here in the Bay Area (Women In Consulting).

We had a great time together talking about dreams and the fears that hold us back from living them. I led the group through some interactive exercises about defining their dreams in a powerful way, and why walking through even small fears can put you SO much closer to living in your dream life.

I asked the group to pick one fear (I suggested that a small fear would be sufficient, it didn’t have to be a lifelong phobia of snakes, although that can also be handled easily at any time …), and I asked them to report back to me about how they felt before, during and after this experience of walking through fear.

I have been BLOWN AWAY by the responses and the beautiful stories these fabulous women have shared with me. Here’s a sampling of the kinds of things that these women handled in merely seven days:

  1. Fired her doctor, and left feeling relieved and confident.
  2. Accepted an offer to write a book, despite negative self-talk.
  3. Started a vision board which provides hope, inspiration and excitement.
  4. Sang in public at a key family event, providing a lifetime of memories for everyone in the room.

The emails I have received have moved me to tears. I am so impressed by the courage and conviction that one hour inspired for the women who attended. It was an honor to be there and I wish everyone there more courage and conviction in 2012. Remember what General Patton said, “Fear has killed more people than death.”

If you were there that night, or simply want to share a fear that you’ve walked through in your life, please add to the comments below. We love to hear your story – and I know your story may very well inspire someone else!