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SAM for Your Business

SAM and Mindset for your BusinessFor the last couple of weeks, we have talked about the two prevailing mindsets: inward and outward mindset. When you are in an inward mindset, your focus is on your own goals and ambitions. You have no regard for the impact you have on others around you. When you are in an outward mindset, your focus is on others and you are aware of how you impact their success.

These concepts sound great but how can I use them in business? Mindset is everything related to what you do. Mindset influences all that you do and most importantly how you think and your behaviors towards others. Have you ever found yourself at odds with an employee you can’t get through? Have you ever been in a slump with your business? If you say yes ask yourself, how have you contributed to this situation? Once you answer this question with true honesty, you can finally see how the inward mindset clouded your mind. This mindset dulls your senses and perception so that you can’t see clearly. When you are in the inward mindset, you will drive your business to fail. This is why being aware of your mindset is so critical in your business.

In order to get out of the inward mindset, you must be aware you are in it in the first place. Some common symptoms of the inward mindset are: feeling victimized, thinking everyone is out to get you, feeling entitled. These are just a few but it is important to know what are your own signs when you are in this mindset and how to get out of it. One of the tools I use for this requires SAM.

SAM is a little acronym we use to refocus our efforts and get us back into an outward mindset. When you are aware of that inward mindset monster use SAM:

S- See others: The first step to seeing others is seeing others needs, wants, desires, or challenges. Then ask lots of questions and get really curious.

A- Adjust efforts: Take all of the needs and objectives into account and adjust efforts to assist.

M- Measure: Ask if you have been helpful and gauge your impact. Hold yourself accountable

This tool is truly simple but effective. If you would like to learn more I encourage you to visit the Arbinger Institute website. There is lots of information regarding mindset. In addition, schedule your coaching session with the Restart Specialist and allow us to make your mindset the best it can be.


Two Bright Lights and Moving a Business

Moving a Business

I would be lying if I said moving a business is easy.  It takes a lot of work and research but is possible to do well with the right planning and tools in place.  When I first started relocating my baby business back in 2009, the reality was that I had no idea what I was doing and there was a LOT of trial and error involved.  Fast forward to 2018  and we have found a process that allows us to move a business every three years cross country while booking clients in new markets long before we ever get there.  I don’t say this to brag but to share with you that it is possible to have a thriving business despite frequent moves.  One of our best tools for that is publications.

Two Bright Lights and Relocation

As my business grew and evolved over the past nine years one of the best tools we have found for relocation is, publications.  They have helped us break into new regions and markets despite being new to the area.  Today we are sharing some of our top ways to use publications and break into new markets through the Two Bright Lights platform.  Want to know how?  Head over to the Two Bright Lights Blog to find out but before you do, make sure that you sign up for our newsletter below because we have something HUGE . . EPIC . . LIFE CHANGING coming in April.


Outward Mindest Grows Business

Outward Mindset Grows

Last week we talked about the most pervasive and distructive mindset here.  When we are in an inward mindset we think others don’t matter like I matter. You may view people as objects and not actually as human beings.  In order to be in an inward mindset, we have to dehumanize people to view them as objects.


What are the consequences for this mindset? Relationships are ruined over petty things, employees relationships are hurt, your ability to truly help people is compromised. Sounds pretty bad, but in this article our focus is to explain the mindset that will get you the results you want for your business.

Outward Thinking

The outward mindset is the missing link to your business success. In fact, the McKinsey Group (global consulting firm) stated

“Organizations that identify and address pervasive mindsets at the outset are four times more likely to succeed in organizational-change efforts than are companies that overlook this stage.”

In addition, there are preliminary studies being conducted currently, showing that when organizations focus on shifting to an outward mindset, employee and supervisor job satisfaction increase and staff cohesiveness grow.

Now that you can see the possibilities with this, I want to share what it is. Imagine a shift, so that you are aware of what is going on around you.  According to the Arbinger

“An outward mindset means that I am aware of, and interested in, other people’s needs, objectives, and challenges, not just my own.”

Applying this to a bigger organization, employees know they are part of a bigger objective and they know their role is important, but they perform their roles in a way that helps other to be successful in their mission.

One important factor of this mindset that is often confused is the concept of being “nice”. When I teach an Arbinger course, almost every class someone says

“so this mindset thing is just being nice to people.”

This is the farthest thing from the truth. In an outward mindset you care about others and their success. Sometimes letting people succeed means you have to let them fail or figure it out on their own. A good example of this is employees that are slacking off or turn in sub-standard work. Supervisors that let the employee get away with sub par work, do you think they care about that employee? Probably not, and as a result will probably put them in an inward mindset.

I hope this gives you a good foundation for an outward mindset. For further information please read Arbinger Institute list of works. If this is the first article you are reading, start the series at the beginning…

How Inward Mindset Kills Community

Inward Mindset Kills

The number one thing that kills community is your mindset.  Now before we begin, I would ask that you keep an open mind and try to look at old concepts with a new perspective. The major buzz phrase around the creative community for the last three years or so is “community over competition”. The intent of this phrase was to instill a sense of wanting to help others to foster a community atmosphere among the wedding industry. Sounds great in theory, but  instead of producing this sense of community, it has created the opposite in some areas, which makes me sad.

The Original Concept of Community

Originally the concept of “community over competition” was and in some cases, still is fantastic. The definition of community states that it is a “feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Since all of us are in the wedding industry and want to be successful we are a “community”.

Right now you are probably saying . . . ah well duh.

Hang with me for a minute though . . I have been blessed to see how Community over Competition really works in some areas and I am so very GRATEFUL for that.  However, there are cases where others have used it purely as an excuse to shame or guilt others into something because their concept of community has mutated.

The Mutated Giant

Over time, this concept of community mutated due to something called an inward mindset and it is the true cancer that kills communities and destroys the original thoughts behind “Community over Competition”.  It takes a phrase that embodies an outward thinking mindset and twists it to put self first at the harm of others.  YUCK!

The True Community

People have individual goals, ideas, and interests. In order to embrace these differences we must look at each person with an outward mindset (term coined by the Arbinger Institute). In an outward mindset others matter like I matter. “With an outward mindset, I am alive to others. I care about their needs, goals, and objectives.” In this mindset, I truly want other people to succeed. Some people may interpret this as to simply give them whatever they want. In a true outward mindset, I look at each person and think to myself “how can I help?”. Sometimes that might be giving information or letting them fail (doing the hard, right over the easy, wrong). Regardless, treating people as people is more individualized and focused on their success as people.

To further learn about the outward mindset you can also read Leadership and Self Deception, Anatomy of Peace, and the Outward Mindset written by the Arbinger Institute.

Business Mindset

Business Mindset

In March we are focusing on our mindset ( it really sounds cool as a title “march mindset”).  Many people today throw the word “mindset” around as an ambiguous term to mean the same as emotional state, feelings, or even thought process.

To really dive into this upcoming months topic, I turned to the experts at the Arbinger Institute.  Their work in the area of mindset is really revolutionary and has drastically changed the way I interact with clients, my colleagues, and my family. Above all, becoming a facilitator for mindset training has become the most impactful training, personally, I have ever completed.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when we say the word mindset? Some people say it is how people interact with one another or how they act in response towards a situation. These are only partially true.  In its most simplest terms, it is our perception or how we see other other people. Think of it as a lens of how we see our colleagues, family, relationships, bosses, and any other person you basically come into contact with. Mindset is the foundation of how we perceive others and shapes how we interact with them.

The tricky thing about it is its ever persistent tendency to change in an instant. According to Arbinger, all people are in constant flux between two mindsets:

inward and outward

These two opposing sides are in constant struggle with one another and can sway in an instant between the two. If this sounds a little out there, let’s share an example:

You have an employee who you just caught with something in their hand (lets say its something you sell) walking out the door? You have been on great terms with this employee and they have worked with you for years. What is your first reaction, anger, resentment, rage? Consider this, do you know anything more about this situation, what are the facts, and what made you react this way? This is a great example of how mindset can greatly influence our behavior.

Over the next few weeks we will be discussing inward and outward mindset as it pertains to your business. So to kick us off I recommend you do two things:

  1. Take the Arbinger Individual Assessment to see where your mindset is right now
  2. Start reading Leadership and Self Deception to grasp a foundation for mindset

Very important note, mindset is a journey and not a destination. Achieving an outward mindset is not something you will ever reach permanently. The goal is to become self aware so that you recognize when your mindset goes inward, and then know how to shift it back to outward.

Final Thoughts on Workflow

Workflow Final Thoughts

First off, if you have not subscribed to view the last article in this series make sure you do so in the link below. This will give you access to lesson number 5 and all of the workflow articles in this series as one e-book.  In addition, you will be added to our Restart Specialist Newsletter where you will receive all sorts of updates and information related to making your business the best it can be no matter if you are moving or just starting out.

So over the last five weeks we have covered many different topics. If you have implemented the techniques and tools  that were covered, you should see a huge difference in your workflow and, hopefully, your efficiency. With this series, I hope that you will start to reclaim time that is important to each and every one of you and achieve a more balanced work/life state.

The Workflow is Your Baby

Please keep in mind your workflow is your baby and your responsibility. You have to take care of it and mold it as your business grows. In other words, your workflow is never really finished. Many people who are very involved with process improvement say that workflow is a journey and not a destination. This brings me to my final point I want to impress upon all of you, ensure you maintain your workflow.

This series of articles is meant to be a starting point on your journey. Maintaining your workflow will need to be done as long as your business exists. The easiest way we have found to maintaining our workflow is reviewing it as often as we can. We really try to review our workflow after each client. This way the adjustments that need to be made, if any, our still fresh in our mind and they are not forgotten as I am sure none of us have other things to do. This process takes less than five minutes in total. By doing this, you are creating an environment of continuous process improvement with your business.

I hope all of you have enjoyed this series as much as I have in writing it. I would love to hear great stories any of you have related to improving your workflow. We love to hear success stories. Please reach out to us at with your stories. In addition, if you feel your workflow needs some more attention or is really complicated please contact us for a coaching session so we can develop an individualized plan that fits your business.


How Do We Define Waste in Workflow | Part 4

Define Waste in Workflow

Last week, we looked at how we utilize our time. I am hoping from that exercise it really brought a lot of things into perspective. Today, we are going to take those results and really analyze to see where we are wasting our time. First, how do we define waste?

In a very strict sense, according to the go Lean Six Sigma Site waste is “any step or action in a process that is not required to complete a process (called “Non Value-Adding”) successfully.” Our goal is to get rid of as much waste as possible so that we are left with steps in the workflow that actually help us to complete the process and add value for our clients or “Value-adding”. This part in the process is probably the hardest step to complete. You have to come to the realization that some of my time is waste. An easier way to remember the kinds of waste is to remember my good friend Mr Tim Woods:

  • T – Transportation – Moving people, products & information
  • I – Inventory – Storing parts, pieces, documentation ahead of requirements
  • M – Motion – Bending, turning, reaching, lifting (So yes, any movement is waste)
  • W – Waiting – For parts, information, instructions, equipment
  • O – Over production – Making more than is IMMEDIATELY required
  • O – Over processing – Tighter tolerances or higher grade materials than are necessary
  • D – Defects – Rework, scrap, incorrect documentation
  • S – Skills – Under utilizing capabilities, delegating tasks with inadequate training

So how does this apply to our workflow? Lets look at those times we wrote down last week a little closer:

  1. Look at your times you wrote down and see what steps in your workflow you are spending a lot of time on
  2. For each of the identified steps ask yourself:
    1. Will this add to my client experience (value added)?
    2. Does this have to be accomplished for my business?
    3. What is the worst thing that could happen if this is removed?
  3. If the majority of the questions above are no or nothing would happen if this step is gone, you should consider taking it out.
  4. You would do this for all of your major steps identified
  5. For each step you can eliminate put a “X” through them on your workflow diagram.
  6. Look at other steps to see if they can be consolidated or redistributed to other people.

No Excuses

As you are looking at these steps the two pieces of advice I can give you is to be honest and just go by the numbers. A lot of clients I work with feel very passionately about their workflow and will make excuses not to touch or modify it. Even when their process is making them go bankrupt financially or in their relationship. I advise my clients to avoid this by understanding that the step, in consideration, is not a reflection of you or who you are. It does not and will not ever define you or your business. This step is nothing more than a step in your process you need to evaluate to see if it is helping to serve your clients.

The goal of this part in the process is to get rid of waste and redistribute steps among people to maximize efficiency.  Want to develop your action plan now?  Check back in next week to find out how.









Jason is a Arbinger, Spectrum, and Crucial Conversations Coach as well as a workflow specialist.



Time is Money in Workflow | Part 3

Time is Money in WorkflowTime is Money

“Time is money”. How often do we hear this expression? Weekly, monthly? I hear this phrase almost daily from just about every business I consult or have conversations with. The funny thing is, especially with creative businesses, the majority of them do not value their time. Now, before every one starts sending hate mail my way, just let me explain. If I asked what your hourly rate is could you tell me? In other words if you were just sitting at your desk working, how much is your rate per hour? If you can’t calculate a hard number then you can’t value your time.

Time is the most important resource you have. Time is the one thing you can’t ever gain and is the one thing you will always lose. Without a sense of your value related to time, you lose respect for your time. Case in point, I was consulting with a local photographer and was trying to help her with pricing. She was charging only $300 for a family session and giving digitals and everything else in her package. I asked her why she charged so little, based on her educational experiences and years working. She told me because her cost of goods was so low she could charge that much and still make a profit and it made her clients happy. I then asked her how much time it took her to complete a family session and she replied only an hour. I could tell, she was only thinking about the hour to take the pictures, not any time it took to acquire the client, cull pictures, edit the photos, or anything else. After bringing these points up to her, she analyzed her time again and realized it took about five hours of her time per family session. This means she valued her time at about $50 per hour (this does not include cost of goods for he session). Needless to say she was shocked and raised her prices to an adequate amount that would value her time.

Assigning Time to Workflows

In today’s article we are going to assign time to our workflow. Here are the steps:

  1. Take your multi color markers and put the time it takes to complete the step under each sticky note (If the step is automated you can put a zero).
    1. To make it easier, use only one unit of time throughout this whole thing (I would recommend you just use minutes).
    2. Ensure, you assign a marker to each color sticky note (remember, each sticky note coordinates to some who has responsibility in your workflow).
  2. Once you mark down all of those times, then I want you to put time between each step.
    1. You can just use a black marker but this is a general number about how much time goes in between each step.
    2. This may be hard to do based on your business but just remember this is your ideal circumstance with no outside influences, how much time would be in between each step.
  3. Once this is complete add up the time for each color sticky note. This will let you know how your time is being distributed. The goal is this will show where most of your workflow time is being utilized.
  4. Lastly, add up the time between steps to see how long your workflow should take.
  5. Convert all of your times from minutes into a useful measurement such as days or hours (whatever is easiest for you)

So we have accomplished a lot in our workflow journey.  We started off with identifying our mission and vision and then we just laid our current workflow on paper last week (here). If this is your first time joining us please look at the links below and start at the beginning of the series.  Do you see anything that surprised you? If you did, tune in for next week as we start to discuss how to analyze that time and start to construct an action plan.  If you missed last weeks post then check it out here.









Jason is a Arbinger, Spectrum, and Crucial Conversations Coach as well as a workflow specialist.



Keeping Your Desk Organized in the New Year

An Organized Desk

An organized desk is usually not the reality in my office.  Things tend to get placed on my desk to be dealt with later and usually, they don’t.  Things like a loose button off my daughters sweater or my headphones from the gym that I plopped down after getting back from a workout.  The problem with this is that I am constantly waisting time looking for something or straightening up before a video call.

My Brain

The reality is that my brain is more creative in beautiful calm environments (whose with me) and so I am doing myself, my husband (who works with me), and my clients a disservice when I don’t keep my desk a little more neat.  This isn’t about having a Pinterest worthy office space but rather a space that allows me to give 100%, cause there is no way to hide the utilitarian look of my GIANT hard drive or card readers . . why don’t they come in pink or teal . . why black!!!

A Goal in 2018

So for 2018 I set a goal for myself to keep my office space not only clean but visually inspiring despite being unable to convince Drobo to offer a teal hard drive.  If this is a goal for yourself then here are a few things to help you organize your space.

  1. Have an inspiration board like this one to remind you of what is important or as a cheerful reminder on tough days.
  2. Have a place for everything to go at night so that in the morning you don’t walk back into the hot mess that I shared with you below
  3. Get rid of the unnecessary things that clutter up a space and add to much noise to what is going on.

Check back to see what we end up doing with this mess.  If you are looking for more information on workflows, organization, and productivity then make sure you sign up for our newsletter below.  We have some great things coming your way soon.

Creating a Workflow Diagram | Part 2

Workflow Diagram

Your current workflow is what you are doing right now at this time. This, for some people, is one of the hardest parts because they have to admit what their process is or lack there of. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed of your current process. Think of this as your baseline or your starting point. It is not a reflection of your whole business or your values. Before we begin, we will need some supplies for this:

  1. Roll of butcher block paper (can be found in craft store or IKEA)
  2. 3 different color sticky note pads
  3. 3 different color markers

It sounds like we will be taking a trip back to grade school, but it will make sense a little later. The reason we have all of these supplies is to write your whole process down. In the nursing field we have a saying “if it isn’t written down it isn’t done”. The same applies here, you must take the time and effort to write everything down. So let’s dive in:

  1. Lay out your butcher block paper in one long piece. (I usually do about 4 ft long)
  2. Identify the workflow you want to work on (i.e. client acquisition, post production… pick only one) and its start and end point.
  3. Make your key on the paper: Each sticky note color corresponds to whose responsibility it is to complete. By making a key you clearly define who does what. It might be you, the client, or your employee just as examples. (if you need more sticky note colors please make sure you have one color for each person or entity involved)
  4. Take the sticky notes and start marking your process from left to right. This is the meat and potatoes of the whole thing. Write down every step including emails, phone conversations, etc. IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE TO WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING! No I am not screaming, I am over emphasizing. Each sticky note is a step or action. In between each step put a direction arrow to show where the next step in the process is. Once you have this done take a break you’ve earned it.

Key point is to make sure you are only writing down your current process and not what you want your process to be. Workflows, as you can imagine, can get very complicated. If your workflow needs more attention please contact the restart specialist for a personalized coaching session.

If you missed the first part of our workflow series then head here to start your workflow process.









Jason is a Arbinger, Spectrum, and Crucial Conversations Coach as well as a workflow specialist.


Time is Money in Workflow | Part 3 » The Restart SpecialistFebruary 6, 2018 - 8:25 am

[…] So we have accomplished a lot in our workflow journey.  We started off with identifying our mission and vision and then we just laid our current workflow on paper last week (here). If this is your first time joining us please look at the links below and start at the beginning of the series.  Do you see anything that surprised you? If you did, tune in for next week as we start to discuss how to analyze that time and start to construct an action plan.  If you missed last weeks post then check it out here. […]

Hello & Welcome

Exhausted from trying to break into a new market and have no idea what needs to be done to keep your creative business growing?  You are in the right place, friend!

The Restart Specialist was born out of our constant nomadic life and the search for answers on relocating a business without fear. I am so excited your here. Pull up a chair, settle in with a good cup of coffee and lets get started.



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