As I mentioned two weeks ago, my husband and I were blessed with the opportunity to take a business trip and attend Dave Ramsey's EntreLeadership Business Conference. We'd both been eyeing this for sometime and when the tickets were put on special for $99 each and we found a very smoking hot package deal which included airfare, hotel, and rental car incredibly inexpensively through a travel site online we jumped at the opportunity to invest some of our business earnings to attend this conference.
We were in no way disappointed! Not only was it really wonderful to get to have some quality couple time–something that with three little children and two businesses doesn't happen as often as we'd like for it to happen!–but it was also a very inspiring and motivating conference. We came home fired up, encouraged, and ready to hit the ground running again with more purpose and drive and vision.
Here's just a brief recap of a few of the things I took away from this conference:
1) Always be growing and learning.
Dave stressed the importance of constantly reading good books and surrounding yourselves with wise mentors. We can greatly hinder our effectiveness if we become stagnant.
While the focus of this conference was on running a business, I couldn't help but apply some of what was shared to my much more important job of wife, mother, and homemaker. I want to do the best job as I can do and that means continually seeking to learn and grow.
One practical way I am striving to do this right now is by being mentored by more experienced moms. A few months ago, I joined a group of moms in our area who are committed to loving their husbands and training and nurturing their children. They meet twice a month for a teaching and sharing time and also have monthly required reading assignments. It's been so good to be motivated and encouraged by these wise women as well as to be reading articles and books which challenge me in my role of wife and mother.
I had set a goal at the beginning of this year to read 50 books–about one book each week. I've fallen quite a bit behind in this goal but EntreLeadership re-energized me to make this a greater priority in my life. So I'm going to make an effort to read at least four books per month for the next six months. Of those four books, I am aiming that one will be a business book, one will be a book on some aspect of homemaking/child-rearing, and one will be a book to encourage me in my Christian walk. While I might not get all three books in these genres finished in a single month's time, I'm hoping that just having the goal will propel me to be reading more and thus growing as a person in the various aspects of my life.
2) You are the problem and you are the solution.
In the very first session, Dave said a few really poignant words: "If your business or organization is messed up, YOU are the problem." He talked about how easy it is to lay blame on others when we're really the ones at fault.
"You are in charge. Fix it!" he said.
I think if we truly grasp this whole mindset of personal responsibility, it can transform our entire lives. It is so easy to make excuses, to transfer guilt, and to not own up to our own problems and mistakes.
Again, I thought of my own home. There's been more chaos and disorder in our home than usual and I realize that I am the primary one to blame. I've been lax in our daily schedule, staying up later than I should, and not being as disciplined in my own life as I should be. This lack of discipline has a trickle-down effect.
Instead of saying, "If only this or that…", I need to make the most of what I do have and get busy changing things. For me, that means making a concerted effort to go to bed early, being more disciplined about time spent on the computer, and sticking with our daily schedule. I need to stop making excuses, and by the grace of God, start implementing solutions.
3. Learn to be intentional in your time usage.
I would say that the most life-impacting thing Dave talked about was time management. He said that we often say we don't have enough time. Yet it's not that we don't have enough time, it's that we're choosing to use our time otherwise. Or maybe we are just letting time slip by without even realizing it.
He emphasized how vital it is to be intentional about using all of our resources–including our time. I appreciated his words on prioritization of your day and how to keep the unimportant from becoming urgent and needlessly steal a large portion of your day.
There are many hats I'm wearing right now: wife, mother, homemaker, homeschool teacher, friend, daughter, sister, blogger… and the only way I can accomplish what needs to be accomplished and have a fairly organized home and life is by being intentional in what I do and the daily decisions I make. I have to say "no" to things which are unimportant, delegate tasks, let some things go, and come up with creative systems which flow well for those things which must be . Otherwise, my life will easily revert to chaotic stress.
I so enjoyed the opportunity this trip gave us to spend one-on-one time with Silas. I'm loving this little guy to pieces and can't believe he's getting close to five months old!
As a side note, we also learned on our trip that we were in no way
created to live in a huge city. Kansas City seemed plenty big to us,
but Atlanta is HUGE. It's the biggest city I've ever been in
before and I think I spent half the time wide-eyed and incredulous at
how busy and populated it is. However, I just have to say that we found
the people of Atlanta to be very warm and friendly–not at all what I'd
expect for "big city folks". Southern hospitality and charm seem to be
alive and well, despite the massive population!