In episode 374, Andrea Liebross teaches us effective strategies for long-term planning, making it less daunting, doable and fun. Learn how two become clear on what you want to achieve and how you’re going to make it happen in 2023.
We cover information why long-term planning daunts us, how a vision, even a fuzzy one, helps create realistic goals and action steps, why you need to set SMART[ER] goals, the necessary steps of partnering with someone as you map out your year and being sure that mindset is as valuable in this process just like the goals so you succeed.
Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.
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Connect with Andrea Liebross
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Bio Andrea Liebross is a coach, speaker, podcast host, and soon to be published author who is known for helping bold, ambitious women make clear, confident decisions, so that they get exactly what they want, every time, and not just add another thing to their to-do list. Andrea’s clients become “I’ve got this” kind of women by creating their own custom secret sauce for success in both life and business; the sauce has just two ingredients – the right mindset and solid systems. Andrea shows women how to shift from believing what they want is impossible, complex and daunting to possible -just by simplifying, making things doable and FUN (even the systems) and adding a bit of confidence. Andrea’s signature process leads them to find success on their OWN terms and ultimately joy and freedom in life and business.
After graduating from Dartmouth College and marrying the guy that lived down the hall, Andrea and her husband settled in Indianapolis. Over the last few decades, Andrea has started 3 successful businesses and ultimately became a certified business and life coach, all while raising two kids, now ages 21 and 18, and several giant puppies.
- It’s daunting to create a plan when we don’t believe we have the knowledge and we don’t want to fail.
- Reduce the scary by making a Master plan and space to think/dream/visioning
- Create a 10 year vision – know what your working towards, even if its fuzzy
- Create a 3 year picture – get more specific, know what to focus on
- Make 1 year goals. Have 3-7 annual goals. Each quarter have 5-7 actionable steps working towards the annual goal
- What’s realistic? What can you accomplish? You gain clarity if you look out and come into smaller goals.
- SMART(ER) Goals = S -specific M – measurable A – actionable R – relevant T – time sensitive E-exciting R-risky
- Categorize your issues, goals – DO, PLAN, DELEGATE, ELIMINATE
- Set aside 3-4 hours for a Strategy day every year – work with a coach or partner and write out your plan. You talk/share ideas and someone else writes.
- Give yourself the gift of clarity and confidence to create more belief in yourself and the service you offer. Belief fuels belief. Action doesn’t fuel belief.
- View your plan quarterly and see if you’re on track, cross off achieved goals.
Andrea’s resources – take the quiz, listen to the podcast and set up a call with Andrea to talking about how she can best help with planning.
Click for full script.
EBT374 – Andrea Liebross
Intro: Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional.
I’m Megan Porta, and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you know that you are heard and supported. This episode is so packed with gold. You guys are going to love this one. It’s right up my alley. Andrea Liebross joined me in a conversation to talk about taking the scary out of annual planning as we go into 2023. Andrea is from Andrea Liebross Coaching. She’s a business and mindset and life coach, and you are going to absolutely love everything she shares, and you’re gonna be ready to tackle your goals in 2023 after listening. This is episode number 374, and it is sponsored by RankIQ.
Sponsor: Hey, awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player. Go to Eat Blog Talk. Scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave elo talk a five star rating if you love this podcast and leave a great review. This will only benefit this podcast, it adds value. And I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay, now onto the episode.
Megan Porta: Andrea is a coach, speaker, podcast host, and soon-to-be published author who is known for helping bold, ambitious women make clear, confident decisions so that they get exactly what they want every time, and not just add another thing to their to-do list. Andrea’s clients become this kind of woman by creating their own custom secret sauce for success in both life and business. The sauce has two ingredients, the right mindset and solid systems. Andrea shows women how to shift from believing what they want is impossible, complex, and daunting to possible just by simplifying, making things doable and fun, even the systems, and adding a bit of confidence.
Andrea’s signature process leads them to find success on their own terms and ultimately joy and freedom in life in business. After graduating from Dartmouth College and marrying the guy that lived down the hall, Andrea and her husband settled in Indianapolis. Over the last few decades, Andrea has started three successful businesses and ultimately became a certified business and life coach, all while raising two kids, now ages 21 and 18, and several giant puppies. Okay. Hi, Andrea. Thank you so much for joining me today. How are you?
Andrea Liebross: I am great. Thanks for having me, Megan.
Megan Porta: Yes. Okay. We always start by asking my guests if they have a fun fact to share. So do you have something to share with us?
Andrea Liebross: Yes. So I would tell you that I am currently doing two things that I said I would never, ever do. Number one, build a house, and number two, write a book. Both of them are happening all at the same time.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. Okay. So are they as scary as you thought they would be or?
Andrea Liebross: I think what’s interesting is, and I was just chatting about this with a friend the other day, the pieces of the puzzle, we’ll call it that I thought were gonna be the scariest or the reasons I thought both writing a book and building a house would be hard, are really not the reasons that they’re hard. So like things that I thought I wouldn’t even have to think about or couldn’t even have imagined having to think about, I am thinking about. Things that I thought might have been challenging just happened naturally. So it’s still hard, it’s scary, but for totally different reasons. So I think that’s been kinda fun.
Megan Porta: The moral of your story, the hard is different and it’s not worth worrying about what you think is going to be hard because it’s likely going to be a different kind of hard.
Andrea Liebross: Yes, exactly. Exactly.
Megan Porta: I am glad that you’re diving into both because I feel like we need to do scary things. Which is the point of our whole talk today. This whole thought of annual planning, so you probably didn’t intend for it to tie in, but it totally does.
Andrea Liebross: It does. You’re right. I did not intend, but it does.
Megan Porta: Yes. We’re gonna talk today about taking that word scary out of annual planning because I do think that planning is so vital to running a successful business and just taking that mental load off too, so that we can open ourselves up to doing other things. So why do you think, Andrea, that it does seem like such a chore for a lot of us?
Andrea Liebross: I think it’s a two fold thing, or maybe even threefold. Number one, just sitting down to create a plan that’s more than a plan for what you’re gonna do in the next hour, sometimes what you’re gonna do in the next hour is hard enough. So sitting down to create a plan for a longer period of time can seem really daunting. Especially in today’s world where we don’t know, we never knew, but now we really think we don’t know what was gonna happen in the next minute, hour, week, day. There’s so many things that could interfere with this plan. How could I ever plan out longer than an hour? Because I don’t know what’s gonna happen, right? Honestly, we never knew what was gonna happen, but for now, even more, it seems sometimes like, why would I even bother? Because things are so unpredictable. So I think that’s number one. I think number two is, once you start to put pen to paper and create a plan, then it becomes a little more real and we become fearful that we might not make it happen. Be able to make it happen. Not having the knowledge to make it happen, and then our brain automatically goes to there’s potential here. I might fail. No one wants to fail, right? No one wants that. So I think our brain is sending out messages telling us, you know what, is it really even worth it again, because this might not actually happen. You might fail. So I think that’s another reason.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I think it’s so interesting that instead of putting something on paper and failing, we’d rather just not do anything. Right?
Andrea Liebross: Yeah. Yeah. It’s true. There’s something called, and I use this with my clients a lot, it’s called the Motivational Triad. So it’s like what motivates us as humans and motivates us as humans goes way back to the caveman era when all we wanted to do was stay safe, be efficient and comfortable. It’s like we didn’t wanna leave the cave because out there in the wild, it’s scary and things are hard. So that is still how our brain operates. So anything that sort of poses a threat, we want to avoid. It’s human nature. But yet, I always love to say, anything you ever wanted is on the other side of uncomfortable. There’s that too.
Megan Porta: That takes practice, right? You have to do it over and over in order to just get used to that feeling of, okay, this is really scary and uncomfortable, but I’m doing it anyway.
Andrea Liebross: Yeah, it takes a lot of practice. I think sometimes too, when we’re talking about making a business plan or an annual plan, we can talk about what people get. Is it a business plan? Is it an annual plan? What is it? Our brain wants to go to how am I gonna do this? So if I create this goal, we automatically wanna know how we’re gonna do it. A lot of times we don’t know how we’re gonna do it, but we like to know how. Because then it makes it more safe. Right? Then it sounds easier if we actually know the how. But we don’t always know how. So therein lies another reason why sometimes this all seems so scary.
Megan Porta: So if we don’t know the how, which often we don’t and we really shouldn’t, I think, how do we formulate a plan in the first place? So we just go visioning one year into the future? What do I want in my life? Or how do you break it down?
Andrea Liebross: So how I go about it, there’s so many different ways to do this, right? It depends actually where you are in life and in business. I’m gonna give you one way today. How I really encourage my clients to go about it is almost like a two part process. Part one is really doing more of the visioning, and part two is figuring out how to get traction or take action on the vision. So again, we wanna go right to that action place, but I think we miss out on a very crucial important step in the visioning. So I always say, first of all, let’s figure out what do you value right now? I think this plays into both life and business because life and business are so much intertwined. I’m a business coach, but yet I take a whole life approach. Because our businesses are very much intertwined in our lives. So right now, what is of utmost importance to you? What do you value? If we think about that just with a business hat on, what you value most in your business are those values that are actually gonna be guiding principles to make lots of other decisions from. So if you value, for example, innovation, then any project you take on or person you start to work with, they also should hold that same value. If you value communication, then you need someone in your business and you need to help yourself hone your communication skills. So values are a really great place to start, even before you get a little deeper into a vision. Then I always say, all right, now let’s just go out 10 years. 10 years seems super scary to people, but it’s necessary. So if you have a 10 year vision, it’s really like just a painting on the wall. It’s like a Renaissance painting. It’s got fuzzy lines. But what would you love this to look like in 10 years? Where will you be? What will you be doing? What will other people be doing? So it’s really helpful to use that analogy of a renaissance fuzzy picture on a wall so that you don’t have to get caught up in the minutia. But if you don’t have that 10 year vision, then you don’t really even know what you’re working towards. I think sometimes this is the hardest part because people say, oh, I have a really hard time dreaming. I can’t even think about what’s happening tomorrow. How am I gonna picture 10 years from now? So giving yourself the space and time to do that is of utmost importance. A lot of times just in coaching, that’s what I’m doing. I’m holding space, I like to say, for people to do that kind of thinking. Because doing it on your own a lot of times can be really challenging or we never ever do it. I dunno if you have found that.
Megan Porta: Oh gosh. Yeah. It’s so true.
Andrea Liebross: It’s so true. Learning how to ask yourself the right questions to help formulate that 10 year vision is also important because a lot of times we don’t want to ask ourselves these questions. Again for fear of what if I come up with some amazing idea that I can’t make happen. Or I don’t know what’s gonna happen in my life. I don’t even know where I’m gonna live or what I’m gonna be doing. All that kind of stuff. So we constrict or restrain ourselves from even going into that place. But 10 year vision is really important, I think.
Megan Porta: Wow. I love that. I usually think ahead to three years, but I do like that concept of thinking ahead even further, and just knowing, like you said, it’s going to be fuzzy. It doesn’t have to be distinct, clear lines. We can have a really just faint vision of what it’s going to look like then.
Andrea Liebross: Yes. And if we don’t, it actually, I’m gonna say, makes it really hard to create the three year picture. Because in three years, that’s actually only, about a thousand days, three years from now is only a thousand days from now. So where do you wanna be in three years? There you can start to get a little bit more specific. You can have what I call some measurable things in there. You can think about probably where you are going to be living potentially, or what your business will include or not include in that point. So more of a 10 year vision and then a three year picture is how I like to position those.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s well said. I like that.
Andrea Liebross: Yeah. And in that three year picture, you also can really think about what I want to be focusing on? So as your business evolves and you evolve as a human too, what’s your focus gonna be? So if you’re starting out blogging, and you have a one man show right now in three years, do you picture yourself as a one man show? Or do you picture yourself maybe with a team, or do you picture yourself putting your content out in a different way? You’ve gotta have a picture of that so that then the decisions you’re making more in the short term are actually building towards that three year picture.
Megan Porta: So once you have a solid three year picture it’s probably going to be a little fuzzy too, not as fuzzy as your 10 year vision. But once you have that in place in your mind, then you can work backward even more and create a plan for the coming year, right?
Andrea Liebross: Yeah. So this is the place where you start to gain some, what I like to call traction. Okay, so how are we going to get to that three year picture? How are we gonna make that three year picture become a reality? So now we’re talking about one year goals. This is where people really love to start. But if they start here, then they’re really just thinking about when I’m gonna put this in air quotes if we were together, what’s realistic? What can I really accomplish in the next year? They’re not giving themselves the opportunity to gain that clarity of really where they want to go long term. So you can’t neglect the 10 years in the three years, but when you get to one year, now they start to turn into actionable goals to create to make that three years come true. I’m a big believer in using what I call smartER goals. So a lot of times, My clients have heard of Smart goals. That’s something that’s a term out there in the world. But I love talking about smartER goals and the extra ER there on the end stands for, the E stands for exciting, and the R stands for risky. Those are the kickers in this in a sense. S is specific. We can go through all the letters of the alphabet. The smarter word. S is specific. M is measurable. A is actionable, R is relevant, T is time sensitive, but E and R are exciting and risky. If things aren’t exciting and risky, we’re not gonna do them. That’s really what it comes down to. We’re just not gonna make it happen. It’s interesting, that’s the reality of it. But we need a little excitement or else our brain is just gonna say, you know what? It’s way easier to just hang out here. It’s safe, it’s comfy, it’s easy. Why would I wanna put myself out there and leave the cave, for example? Why do I wanna leave the cave? You’ve got to have that element of excitement or else, again, it’s probably not gonna happen. Which is interesting. Just that’s kind of neuroscience.
Megan Porta: Yeah. The excitement and the risky, I feel like combined create, maybe stir up some passion. That’s what makes it work.
Andrea Liebross: I think it is what makes it work. So really as we are working towards any goal, we’re doing what I call passionating. So I turned the word passion into a verb in a sense.
Megan Porta: Love it.
Andrea Liebross: Because that’s where the fun is. It’s along the journey. Because guess what? When we reach a goal, we’re like, okay, next. Right? None of us, and we could have a whole podcast on this, but we don’t really stay there long enough to reap the rewards. I don’t wanna say the rewards, but we don’t really stay there long enough to enjoy reaching the goals, right? So there does have to be some excitement along the way in order to create that motivation or commitment to make them happen.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s a great element. So once we have created those one year goals, okay, first of all, I have a question. How many do you recommend having? Because like 20 goals would be too much. One would be too few. Where do we go?
Andrea Liebross: So I think you should have three to seven annual goals. I think anything after that is unlikely to happen. What I find is we could generate way more than three to seven goals. If I just said, okay, write ’em all down, what are you thinking? But what really, if you take a deeper look at them, you’re gonna realize that a lot of those goals that you’ve written down are actually pieces of bigger goals. You could almost slide them underneath the bigger goals. So really you probably can get them down to seven. I think especially like your listeners, if they’re trying to grow their business, I mean they have to market their business, they have to have some sort of backend operations in their business. They have to figure out how they’re gonna deliver their services in their business. A lot of things could probably filter under one of those three bigger buckets. A lot of times the things that filter under the bigger buckets are really then what you’re really talking about are next steps or action steps. Those are really what you need to focus on each quarter. So each quarter you should have probably five to seven quarterly focuses or priorities that are feeding into those one year goals.
Megan Porta: Got it.
Andrea Liebross: So if you find yourself with 20 goals, I’m gonna guess that they all could filter under really bigger annual goals and then maybe almost get pulled out again into quarterly action steps.
Megan Porta: So you could categorize them and lump them together.
Andrea Liebross: Yes, absolutely. We’re not gonna be able to do everything in quarter one, right? It’s not possible. So the last section of this traction, part two of a business plan, you’ve got your one year goals, you’ve got your quarterly priorities or focuses, and then that third column I always say are the issues. So what are the things that are still dangling out there that you know you have to address at some point, but maybe it’s not gonna happen in the next 12 weeks? So I just literally got off the call with a client and I said to her, all right, so we’re recording this. It’s almost the beginning of December. What do you wanna accomplish this month? She listed off actually 11 things because I was writing them down as she was listing them off. And I said, all right Morgan. In the next three weeks, December’s kind of a short month. Are you really gonna get all of these 11 things done? She’s no, I’m not. Alright, let’s reprioritize. What are, say, the five most important things out of these 11? Okay, we got to those. Then those other six, I said, I love these ideas you have. I know you wanna work on this stuff. Let’s kind of park those remaining items on the issues list. It’s issues/ideas. It’s things you wanna address in the future. It’s like a no for now, but not a no forever. We can park them there and then when we re-look at this business plan on January 1st, we’re gonna decide which of those we’re gonna pull into Q1 of 2023.
Megan Porta: Having you to say that to her I feel would be really helpful. Because often I’m like, oh, I can do all of this. Yeah. But to have someone look at my goals and plans and be like, wait, you’re not gonna get all of this done.
Andrea Liebross: Yeah. Yeah. We all have grand plans but we’re probably not gonna get everything we want to get done. So the way I walk my clients through that is, we looked at her 11 things and she could quickly narrow down, cut out maybe three or four of them. Then, we had the rest and I said, okay. Of these, think about each of them and then put it into one of four categories. Is this something that you’re ready to do today? If I said, okay, we’re gonna get off of this call and now I want you to go work on this. Are you ready to do it? It’s either a DO or is it something that you really need to PLAN, like you need more pieces of information in order to start doing it. Or is it something that you could DELEGATE? This brings up a whole other topic because delegating can be scary or sometimes people are like, I have no one to delegate to, which isn’t usually true. We can talk about that too. The fourth thing, so it’s a plan, a delegate, or is it an ELIMINATE? It’s like a no for now, but not a no forever. Once we went through that, then it got easier for her to whittle that list down even further about what she was going to be able to do this month. But asking you these questions is key to growing your business. It is. Grow yourself too, because you become much more realistic. Like your eavesdropping in your brain about is this happening? Is it relevant even for this season? Literally season or season outside in the world? Season of life? Season of your business. Or is it just like something that you’d love to have eventually? Doing all of this again, isn’t super easy on your own because we wanna just stay safe. We want this to be easy and efficient. Or we go to the other extreme where we just decide we’re gonna kill it, man. We’re gonna do all this, and then that’s not realistic, relevant. or even exciting. It just becomes overwhelming.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s great.
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Megan Porta: So how do we carve out time to do this, and how much time do you recommend setting aside to put all of this together?
Andrea Liebross: So I think when you create an annual plan, there’s so many different ways to do it, but what I always say to my clients is, first of all, be kind to yourself and give yourself that space to think. I like to say set aside half a day. Like three to four hours to do this. Create or have a format that you’re gonna work off of. Just sitting down with a blank piece of paper is going to not give you a final product in the end. You wanna walk away from that half day with something super tangible. So I often guide my clients through, I call them like half day strategy and planning days. It’s just that other person and me either on Zoom or in person, and I am asking the questions, and I am also being the scribe. So if you can do this with another person and as a partner while they’re being the scribe and your ideas are just flowing out, it makes it even better. But you’ve really gotta walk yourself through those, what are your core values? What’s your 10 year vision? What do you want to focus on in the next three years? What’s your three year picture? Then switching gears and going into the action part. What are your one year goals and your quarterly priorities and your issues? I just sp that off in 20 seconds, but walking through that whole process should probably take you a half day, if you’re gonna do it well.
Megan Porta: And anything more than that would for me be overwhelming. But four hours is oh yes, I can sit down and do four hours.
Andrea Liebross: Yeah, because you’re really like, think about it, you’re spending four hours and out of 365 days each made up of 24 hours. So it’s really not a lot of time. It’s like you’re giving yourself that gift, right? It’s a gift of clarity and it’s also a gift of confidence that you can do hard things. Like you can figure this out. You will be able to figure out, going back to circling back the how of all of it. So we wanna go to the action. But I think a really important part of this planning is really creating more of a belief plan than an action plan. So as we’re talking about this over a morning, you’re starting to create more belief in yourself and your business. So belief in you and the service you offer. The more belief you create in yourself and the service you offer, belief fuels belief. Actions don’t fuel beliefs. So if we just focused on what are you doing today? What do you have to pound out today, what are your actions, that really is not contributing to you reaching your big goals because you’re focusing on the minutiae. If you can focus on bigger picture kinds of things, like believing in you and the service you provide, the actions are gonna come naturally.
Megan Porta: I have found, so I do this every year, and it’s funny, Andrea, because I do four hours toward the end of December usually.
Andrea Liebross: Hey, we didn’t even know this before we started.
Megan Porta: No, I did not. No, I did not know that you were gonna say that. But I love looking back. So I write out my values, like you mentioned. I write out all of the things I want to accomplish in three years, in one year. I also write down things that I don’t want to focus on in the next year. I just dump everything on my Google Doc and I like going back after, so I’m coming up on last year’s visions for this year. I like going back and looking to see what I wrote and to see how much of it came to fruition, how much of it died. But it’s really valuable I think, to look back and see after the time has evolved, what you thought for your year.
Andrea Liebross: Yeah. It’s really exciting.
Megan Porta: It’s powerful and exciting. Yeah.
Andrea Liebross: Yeah. I think something that’s also interesting is if you structure your annual plan this way, then what you’re also setting yourself up for is making it a working document. So I think it’s something that should not really go in the drawer and not be looked at for another 365 days. I think if you can be using it again like a working document, it’s like a Google doc, that can always change and you’re looking at a, at the bare minimum on a monthly basis, you’re going to start to create that traction you’re looking for. It’s actually going to be something that is motivating because you’re gonna be able to cross things off. So I think one of the most fun things that I do with my clients is, when I meet with them, it is kind of part of my coaching process. Okay, let’s pull it out. Where are we? When they can cross something off, like done!
Megan Porta: It feels so good.
Andrea Liebross: The adrenaline that gives them is amazing. Then really at the end of a quarter, we look, can we cross off all the things that are in that quarter section and what are we gonna put in for next? Then as the year goes on, you actually can even cross off sometimes some of those annual goals. That’s what I mean when I say, Hey, let’s make this a working document. Let’s make it a tool that actually propels you versus makes you feel less than, or makes you feel defeated. If you’re using this in the right way, it’s actually gonna be something that’s super motivating and helps you stay committed.
Megan Porta: You mentioned this earlier too, just giving you that confidence, when you look back. I usually look at mine quarter to quarter just to see if I’m on track. Sometimes more. But it gives me confidence when I see that I’ve created this big scary goal and I’m actually achieving it. Then I’m like, okay, cool. If I can do that, then I can do the next thing. So I think that’s a huge piece.
Andrea Liebross: It is. It is. A great way to start, so if someone’s listening and they’re like, oh my gosh, I don’t know. A great way to start is, I always say, if you and I were sitting down for a glass of wine or whatever your beverage of choice is, 12 months from now, and you said to me, Andrea, these have been the best 12 months ever. What would’ve happened to make them the best 12 months ever? How would you feel if it were the best 12 months ever? Seeing someone’s face light up. First of all, they’re like, be realistic. Then I say, Nope, this doesn’t have to be realistic. Let’s like the sky’s the limit. Seeing their face light up, gives them confidence in and of itself because they almost like they can feel all of the feelings washed through them that they had to go through in order to make those things happen. So I like to say confidence is really your willingness to feel all the feelings. If you can believe or even imagine what your best 12 months ever looked like, then you probably also can imagine that it’s not gonna be a straight line to the end and it’s not gonna be all that amazing. There’s gonna be some rough points, but you are willing to work through those. So confidence is really the willingness to feel all the feelings in my book.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. I love how you combine mindset with systems and an actual plan. I think that’s so important, and it’s something that not everyone does. But mindset and confidence and all those things that fall under mindset are such a big piece of this puzzle.
Andrea Liebross: They are. That’s the secret sauce. The secret sauce is two ingredients. Mindset, and I like to say systems and processes. So it’s not one or the other. You need both ingredients. We like to start thinking, oh, I just need more systems and processes. True, you do. But really it’s the mindset that’s gonna fuel the systems and processes, or it’s the thinking or beliefs that are gonna fuel the actions. So this way that I approach this plan, which kind of eliminates what I think is scary, is to spend half of our energy on that mindset piece or that visioning piece, and half of our energy on actually taking the actions or figuring out what some immediate actions might be. That’s what eliminates the scary. If we just go to what do I need to do? Then your brain comes up with all sorts of reasons why it can’t happen. If we just talk super hypothetical, pie in the sky, dreaminess, then our brain goes to, yeah, like how am I gonna make this happen? So you’ve got to combine both and that is what I think is really the secret sauce and that’s how I coach. So sometimes people ask me why? What do you do? That’s the difference and like I said, I’m a business and life coach because it’s all intertwined. Just like mindset and systems are all intertwined.
Megan Porta: You are speaking my language, Andrea. I have people ask me too what sets your podcast apart from others, like your diving into food blogging and I say the same thing. It’s all about mindset. If you don’t have that mindset foundation and you don’t take care of yourself and you don’t have all of those pieces, then you’re never going to grow a successful business. So it has to be both. That is what sets this podcast apart from others, because I prioritize that.
Andrea Liebross: Yeah. You can’t just act all the time and you can’t just think all the time. You’ve gotta have both components. A lot of times I’ll have clients come to me and say I just, and as soon as they say just, that’s a big red flag, but I just need to be more productive, or I just need to focus, or I just need to figure out, how to do X, Y, and Z. I always say to them, what’s the real issue here? There’s a thing called the seven why’s. Why do you just need to figure out how to be more productive? If I’m more productive, then I get more done. Why do you need to get more done? Because then I’d be further along in my business. Why do you wanna be further along in your business? So if you keep asking those questions, you get to the real root of the issue. 99% of the time it has to do with them, the way to solve it is to change their thoughts. So I like to say, what are some new thought options that you could adopt and put in there in order to give you that momentum? Now when it comes down to like productivity and things like that, I think it is helpful to figure out your productivity archetype. What is really getting in your way or giving you that feeling that you’re not productive. I created a quiz around that you can go take and figure out what your productivity awesome type is. That’s at andreaslinks.com. There’s also a quiz on there to figure out where in your business things might be falling apart. There’s two quizzes. But even if you go do that, really what it’s gonna come down to is you changing the way you’re thinking about things. No matter what.
Megan Porta: Oh yes, I knew I would like you, Andrea, but this is yes. This gets me so excited to hear somebody else say this. I feel like I say this stuff all the time and I’m just like this broken record and everyone wants to just do it. Teach me the keyword research, teach me SEO, which is absolutely important. I do not deny that at all. But we’ve gotta back up a little bit and pay attention to these things that you’re talking about.
Andrea Liebross: I just did a call yesterday with someone who’s helping me with SEO. So they’re all important, right? But why are they important and what do you wanna accomplish from it? Right now, is that the most important thing? That’s really where having a master plan to go back to and reflect upon, is important. Because we can go down so many rabbit holes. Teach me SEO, teach me this, teach. Those are all rabbit holes, and we could take millions of courses and gain all sorts of knowledge. However, if you’re not really putting that into action and getting the result you want, then there’s something missing. Oftentimes it’s really belief in yourself or belief in what this escapade you’re going on is going to get you. There’s also passive action and then there’s massive action. Teaching and learning is really important, but it’s more passive. Listening to this podcast is an amazing thing to do. You are feeding yourself. You’re feeding your brain, but in reality, it’s passive action. Even if you tell yourself you’re gonna take action steps from it, it’s passive until you start to truly put things into play and take that massive action. The massive action is what’s gonna move the needle, and that’s the harder part. Unfortunately. .
Megan Porta: Yeah, exactly. Actually doing. Okay, so you’ve encouraged us to set aside four hours. I think this is a great time of year to do that. We’re all coming out of Q4 when, for food bloggers, Q4 is just high traffic, higher revenue. Crazy because we’re trying to deliver food and all of the things to people who are eating around the holidays. So after Q4 is done, we’re ready to breathe a little bit and plan for the next year. So set four hours aside in your calendar. Anything else that you recommend for the planning? We’ve talked about 10 years, three years. one year, quarterly. Anything else you wanna mention that we should do during that four hour period?
Andrea Liebross: Yeah, I think doing it with someone else, with a partner or a guide will make it 10 times more valuable. Because that other person hopefully, if they’re doing it in the right way, is gonna be asking you the right questions and challenging your thinking. So I would encourage you to do it with someone else. Either a friend, a colleague, a coach, whatever. That’s number one. Number two is if you are lucky enough to have that other person, maybe trade and have someone else be the scribe while you just, I call it like ideate. While information is just coming out of you. More is gonna come out of you when you’re not actually typing or writing yourself. Then the third piece is, if you can, and you can do it where you’ve got big pieces of paper on the wall or on the table, something that’s more physical, if you add a physical element to it also, it becomes more valuable. Those are tips and tricks to help do that. And again, like when I do these with my clients, I do them in these strategy and planning days, I include all of those elements so that at the end you walk away with something super tangible that’s not just gonna get shoved in a drawer, that you’re hopefully gonna look at each month. That’s another thing. Build into your plan, some accountability and some support. How are you gonna support yourself over that next year to act, to help make some of these things realities, to get the results you’re looking for. So your support team or your accountability team should be part of your plan. From its inception to its final delivery. I think you’re missing a big boat if you’re not doing that.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I love that. Do you recommend putting something on your calendar monthly to do that so that you don’t just let it go?
Andrea Liebross: Yes. I do recommend that you have either a standing CEO day with yourself each month, or you have a standing appointment with some other person where you do this together or you get yourself involved in some type of Coaching program membership where that is part of what’s being offered. This kind of support helps you think through where you’re at and what you’re doing, what’s working, what’s not working, and what you wanna do differently. So I think we all have good intentions with that. Sometimes it’s hard to do on our own. So I am big about support.
Megan Porta: Do you have recommendations for implementing tasks weekly? Because for me, it’s easy to see what I need to do and to put it into next week. Then before I know it, it’s oh my gosh, everything’s piled up.
Andrea Liebross: So the next piece of this, and we could do a whole other podcast if we wanted to, but the next piece of this is taking this plan and teasing it down into monthly, weekly, and daily actions. My best tool for that is I use something called the Full focus planner. It is a manual paper planner, but I use that in conjunction with my digital calendar. Again, that’s really all mindset and helping you think through what you need to do. But that process is really training your brain to think in threes, what are my weekly big three and what are my daily big three? I have a whole kind of mini coaching program around that full focus planner as well. No matter how much we love our Google calendars or our calendar on our phone, and I love mine, you do need to create the space or the place for you to think about what you’re doing next week or next hour or tomorrow, and putting pen to paper literally is what I’ve found and there’s a lot of research behind this, what is the most valuable. Yes. That’s my recommended tool for that one.
Megan Porta: I do feel like we could go on and on. I just love this topic. It’s so valuable and I think so important and relevant and yeah, we’re getting this in at the perfect time of year too. Thank you, Andrea. Is there anything before we start saying goodbye that you feel like we should mention?
Andrea Liebross: I think you really get to know yourself through this process . If you know that Friday afternoons are not your most productive time, then don’t schedule something for Friday afternoon. Don’t kid yourself because you’re not doing yourself any favors. If you take the time to create this annual plan, use it. Really use it, like you would any other tool. It’s gonna become another tool in your toolbox. It’s a way to help redirect your thinking and give yourself kind of that safety blanket.
Megan Porta: Amazing. Thank you so much, Andrea. I really appreciate your time today. To end, I like to ask all of my guests if they have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with. Do you have anything for us?
Andrea Liebross: I do. I think one of my favorite quotes is, being an entrepreneur is really a journey in personal development disguised as an entrepreneurial adventure. Okay, so owning your own business is really a journey in personal development described as an entrepreneurial adventure. It’s supposed to be super fun and exciting, but in order to be fun and exciting, you really have to grow yourself and your own beliefs in yourself. So that’s one of my favorite quotes.
Megan Porta: That’s kinda deep. I really like that. It’s so true. I think a lot of us can think back on our journeys as an entrepreneur and probably really relate to that, so I love it. Yeah.
Andrea Liebross: Yes. It’s a great guiding principle.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Amazing. Okay, that was a great way to end. We’ll put together show notes for you, Andrea. We’ll put that quiz link in there and then we’ll have all other just takeaways from the show. If you wanna peek at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/andrealiebross, and that is spelled L I E B R O S S. Why don’t you just reiterate where people can find you online in social media, Andrea?
Andrea Liebross: Sure. So I’m gonna guess lots of your listeners are on Instagram, so you can find me at andrea.liebross.coaching on Instagram. I’m also on Facebook at Andrea Liebross Coaching and on LinkedIn at Andrea Liebross. If you go to Andreaslinks.com, you’re gonna find all sorts of amazing pieces of information and helpful hints, including those two quizzes. I also have a podcast. So a great way to consume some of this passive knowledge or taking passive action is to listen to the Time To Level Up podcast. Time To Level Up. You can find that on all your favorite podcast players, and you’ll get to hear my voice on a weekly basis.
Megan Porta: I do not listen to your podcast, but I am so excited to go listen. So I’m really glad you mentioned that. I am.
Andrea Liebross: Yeah. Go listen. There’s actually a lot about this planning, business planning and all that. That’s a lot of recent episodes about that.
Megan Porta: Oh good. Okay. I’m super excited. I’m gonna do that later today. Thank you again, Andrea, so much for being here. We so appreciate you and thank you for listening, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.
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