Feb 22, 2024
In this candid solo episode of Scared Confident, Tiffany challenges the myth of "balance" and offers a fresh perspective on aligning life's priorities with one's deepest values. Guiding us through the concept of minimums, Tiffany reveals how setting attainable commitments can lead to consistent success. She challenges the fear, survival, and resignation mindsets that often grip working parents, proposing a life of 'and' that celebrates both ambition and joy in every role.
Whether you're a working parent striving for balance or someone seeking to align your life with core values, Tiffany brings real working mom truths and practical wisdom to redefine your 'what' and figure out the 'how'. Tune in to embrace the power of choice and set minimums in your life for maximum impact.
[00:00] Sales presentation: understanding and addressing audience mindsets
[06:00] Seeking a sustainable, passionate, impactful life
[08:09] Optimize workout schedule by prioritizing morning routine
[10:57] ‘What’ and ‘how’ are two different questions
[14:23] Struggling to stick to fitness plan, found success
[18:40] Refining values and priorities through life changes
[24:41] Experiment, test, and try new things early
[27:17] Achieving balance by aligning priorities and values
[30:32] Choose what aligns with goals for best life
[31:41] Thanks for joining me on another episode
[00:00:00]:Life is hard. It is not easy. It is not simple. And we add complexity to it when we decide we want a lot out of life. The secret is not in trying to find a life that isn't hard because it doesn't exist, but in choosing the hard that aligns with what we want out of life. Hey, it's Tiffany. If you've been listening to the show for a while and find yourself wanting more good news, you can sign up for my newsletter. It's filled with my favorite products, recipes, tips, stories to help you build your version of a life of Anne.
[00:00:37]:I'm a small town kid born with a big city spirit. I choose to play a lot of awesome roles in life. Mom, wife, entrepreneur, CEO, board member, investor, and mentor. 17 years ago, I founded a marketing consultancy. And ever since, my husband, Jr. And I have been building our careers and our family on the exact same timeline. Yep, that means four kids, three businesses, two careers, all building towards one life we love. When I discovered that I could purposely embrace all of these ands in my life, it unlocked my world. [00:01:10]:And I want that for you, too. I'm Tiffany Souder, and this is scared confident.
[00:01:19]:So this past week, I was asked to come and do a lunch and learn during a big national sales meeting. And they wanted to have a lunch breakout for the women that were on the sales team. And there were, I don't know, I think, like 150 that registered for this lunch and learn. And it was an awesome, like 45 minutes together. And I promised the audience that if they would rather turn the presentation into more of a Q and a style like I present on that topic. We talked about guilt and balance and how to prioritize your spouse and some things like that, that if they wanted to get into questions during my presentation, that I would record the pieces of the presentation that I didn't get to in a podcast episode. So the title of the presentation that I gave was called six real life working mom truths to help you dream into your future. Six real life working mom truths.
[00:02:18]:And so I'm going to call, like, one and a half, two of those out here for this podcast episode. And then I'm also going to recap some of the questions that I got from the audience that I thought were really good and that the broader kind of podcast audience could benefit from. And then a couple that some young women came up and asked me afterwards. And I find that sometimes those are the ones you're not quite as courageous to raise your hand in a big group and ask. So I've got, like four or five of those questions that we'll run through. So that's kind of the format of the episode today. So, first of all, whenever I'm in front of an audience like this one, so there was about 150, I would say about a third of them had kids, and about 85% were in some form of a really committed relationship. So that's kind of where they were at in their life.
[00:03:03]:Generally. This audience was under 35 years old, so it was a little younger sales audience. But I find whenever I talk to a group, there's like, three mindsets that they're in, or maybe sometimes phases of life can certainly impact this. The first group is fearful, fearful at this idea of becoming a working parent. Like, how will I do XYz? How will I fit in time for myself? How will I still be able to manage my career? How will I still have time to work out just this kind of fearful mindset of not knowing how to solve for the next step and kind of feeling, I would say this artificial pressure to feel like you've solved in your single life or your married but no kids life like that, you've solved for the next step in that stage. I kind of, like, laugh sometimes at that thought. My daughter, who's in middle school, does not know what it's going to be like to be in high school, but she doesn't need high school tools yet because she's in middle school. I think sometimes we hold ourselves a little accountable for the next stage when it's like, hey, you're going to naturally learn and grow.
[00:04:09]:So one group is just. Is fearful, like, what the heck? How will this work? I have no idea. I just kind of feel scared. Another group is like, in survival mode, they're surviving, and they are constantly using words like, I'm overwhelmed. I feel always behind. I don't feel like I'm good at anything anymore. I'm just surviving. My kids are the primary customer of my life.
[00:04:34]:I don't feel like I get anything from my time anymore. I'm just surviving. We are just keeping our head above water. And then the third group is what I would call, like, resigned. And I think this is past survived, where it's like the mental talk track sounds something like, I'll find myself again once my kids leave. I'll start my priorities, my dreams, my adventures. Once I retire, they're always waiting for the next stage of life to unlock the thing they want. And as I get older, I'm in my mid 40s.
[00:05:10]:As you know, my mom and dad are in their mid 60s. Her mother is still living. She's got a million grandkids. I mean, they're like at the next two life stages ahead of me and they still don't have time. They have to make time. I think that it is like this unsatisfying mirage to say that the next life stage is going to unlock all of the time that you need for discipline, all of the time that you need for routines, all of the time that you want for adventure, the time that you want for your spouse. I tell my kids, all the time you are practicing what you are becoming. And if we allow ourselves to spend a decade being just simply resigned to the fact that later is where we're going to start, how much further behind are you on all the things that you actually want out of life like crazy.
[00:06:00]:So I don't want to live a life that is fearful, that is just about surviving, or that is resigned to my environment. I want to live a sustainable life of and I want to be able to say yes to the things that excite me, yes to the things that serve the people I love, yes to the things that leverage my strengths and my gifts and who God made me to be and impacting my community and my family and the world. That's what I want to say yes to. I do not want to be fearful or just surviving or resign to my environment. And I know that if you're listening to this podcast, you don't either. So that like, oh, I don't know, it makes me so motivated to solve the like, if I don't want to be those things, then what the heck do I want to be? And if what I want to be is pursuing passionately a sustainable life of Anne, then how the heck do I do that? You'll also hear me say a lot. And this is one of the things I didn't talk about a lot. This is one of the things I want to talk about is what and how are two different questions? What and how are two different questions? So example, what do we want to do for a family vacation this year? How are we going to make that happen? Like what do Jr and I want to do as our trip away this year? Do we want to go somewhere? Do we want it to be a staycation? What do we want to do? Okay, how will we deliver on that choice? So this past year we went ten days overseas.
[00:07:26]:That's a big what. And so the how was like, pretty complex. How to make that happen? Those are two different questions. What happens in our little brains is that we, like I was talking about people who are fearful. I'm trying to figure out, do I want to have kids in the exact same moment? I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to do my life if I do have kids. Like, you can't solve those in the same narrative. So if you decide, I want a sustainable life of, and then all of your energy goes towards figuring out how am I going to deliver that what to myself? What and how are two different questions. What I want 3 hours a week to work out.[00:08:09]:That's your what. Okay. How are you going to do that? Well, one of the ways that I did that for myself is that I started to look at when am I going to work out? I have to work out in the morning. It works best for me and my body and just how my body's put together. It works best for my family and it works best for this irritation that I have all day. If I know at the end of the day I still have to get workout clothes on, workout, shower, and all that rigmarole, I just don't like it. So what is I need 3 hours a week to work out how is I observed my, how is best done in the morning? Okay, I want to do it in the morning. How do I make the morning happen? Well, I observed it's much easier to get out of bed in the morning if I go to bed early the night before.
[00:08:53]:Right. Okay. How do I make that happen for myself? Well, I observed I am much better at getting to bed if I do not turn on the tv because I have like, very average self control. And so if I'm watching a show, I am like watching four shows. And so I started to realize watching tv is not serving my goal of wanting 3 hours a week so that I can work out. And so I literally, like, probably four or five years ago, stopped watching tv pretty much generally, but 100% during the week, I don't even turn it on. Jr is traveling, I don't turn it on. I turn on music.
[00:09:29]:Whatever the things I do not turn it on now is cocomelon blaring in the background. 100%. That is not to say there's no television on in our house, but as I say, I am not in a show. I haven't watched a show, probably on Netflix. Whatever the things are, I just do not know about them. Because getting to bed at night serves every single one of my priorities in my life. And watching tv at night is mostly watching people do the things I want in my life, be successful, have intimate relationships, go on adventures like go to new cities, eat good food. I want my life to look like that, not the people I'm freaking watching on tv.
[00:10:09]:Come on. I'm not saying tv is bad, but you know what I'm saying? We are exchanging stupid things for our priorities. So, okay, I got on a little bit of a rant, but my what was I want 3 hours a week to work out my how was I am going to not watch tv anymore during the week, get to bed like before 10:00 so that I can get up between five and 530 in the morning and make that happen for myself. And you know what? It's been pretty sustainable. What and how are two different questions. Another is like, I did an interview with Taylor and think that's already gone live. And she was talking about how she needs a clean space physically for her brain to work and her not to feel like some manic crazy person. So her what is I need a clean house.
[00:10:57]:How she does that is a different question. How are you going to make that yourself? She decided, I'm not going to resign the fact that I have young kids to the fact that I'm not going to release this. So, like, I have a sticky palace all over. It's just not going to be the thing. So what and how are two different questions? Okay, I know I've drilled out to your brain and you just need me to go to a different topic. But whenever you find yourself panicking, separate those two things in your mind. What is it that I want to have happen and what am I willing to exchange so that I can figure out the how? We've talked about the concept of minimums a lot on this podcast. I'm going to go through it again for the purposes of this episode because it's always an important reminder those of us living inside of this life of, and I think this is a core strategy and hack.
[00:11:44]:And for the young women that were in the audience, we did not talk about this. And so I really want to cover it. So, minimums again, if you are listening to this podcast, if you are in a two career home, if you have decided that you want kids and a big career, you are somebody who is used to the maximum. You're used to maximum effort, you're used to maximum outcomes, you're used to excellence, you're used to pushing, you're used to just going faster, going harder, and all the things. And so the maximum or goals is what we become ruled by. Well, I was introduced to this disruptive concept to me by my trainer, Zach Pello, and he talked to me about this idea of minimums. What is the minimum that you can commit to every single week, every single day, every single hour? That no matter how good or bad the season of life is, that you're in. That this minimum can be managed and honored.
[00:12:43]:And what he observed in working with clients was when they were very clear on their minimums, and they hit that every single time. It created this positive accomplishment. Dopamine response of, like, I did it, I'm successful, I'm making progress, then you can do a little more, and it feels like a bonus. He recognized that the idea of establishing your minimums had a ton of impact because it benefited from the compounding value of time, meaning you can do it over and over and over again for every single week of your life, and it just keeps going. You're not taking these pregnant pauses from life and your commitments and your goals, because life got crazy. And so you get this compounding interest that happens over time, and you feel success every single week. So, again, an example from my life is going back to fitness. It's just so easy to relate with. [00:13:37]:I have journals packed in my house. Someday I will take a picture of all these pages of these elaborate plans that I created for myself, like, for so many years of my life. I would print out a calendar, and I would write how many days I was going to run. It's going to be five days this week, four days this week, six days this week. It was this very scheduled, rigid plan that created a level of output of compliance that required near pitch perfect in every other area of my life for that running schedule to be able to happen, and I would not be able to fulfill the first week of it. Run five days, and I only ran four. I would be like, I didn't comply. The whole plan is out the window.
[00:14:23]:And I would stop, and then I would restart three weeks later, four weeks later, the next time a trip was on the calendar, whatever it was, and I would, like, restart again, and I would start with this big plan, and I would hold myself accountable to 100% compliance, and it wouldn't happen, because I live in a big, crazy life, and I have a lot of commitments, and there's a lot of variabilities, and there's a lot of surprises, and I have to be willing to absorb those, and I wouldn't comply with the plan, and I would abandon it. And that happened over, over, and and over and over and over and over and over and over again. For me, when Zach introduced this idea of minimums. To me, we decided my minimum was going to be, I lift weights 60 minutes twice a week. That's all I was committing to. And I could do that in the morning, I could do it at night, I could do it during the week. I could do it on the weekend. I could do it over lunch.
[00:15:12]:I could do it with him. I could do it by myself. There was a million variables, but that level of commitment, two days a week for 60 minutes of lifting weights, I have been able to keep for 50 weeks a year. That's what I committed to. There's just like the week of Christmas. Sometimes you can't. There might be a vacation you take to somewhere that doesn't have a gym or you just don't want to work out something crazy. So I have two weeks a year that I don't need to do it, but I love to do it.
[00:15:39]:And getting two in is very easy for me at this point. But Jr can be gone all week long. He can be gone all weekend long. It doesn't matter. I can fit in, too. Aubrey can have early morning practice three days. Like, whatever needs to happen, I can fit in, too. And for three years now, I have been 100% compliant with that commitment.
[00:15:59]:And do you know how much energy I have towards the fact that I have been able to keep that commitment? And so if I go out on a four mile run one week, that's just bonus. If I can get to the gym three days a week, that's just bonus. If I can do an AB workout before bed, which I've never done in my life, that's just bonus. Those are just bonus. Those are not things I have to do. Those are things I get to do. Those are things my schedule allowed me to do. And so the power of a minimum is about establishing what, in the context of your life today, in the context of what all the things are that you're committed to requires of you, what can you commit to? Even on your worst week, what can you commit to? So that's the concept of minimums across every area of your life.
[00:16:45]:Even things like grocery orders. I have minimum grocery orders. There are times I do not have time for all this elaborate meal planning that I kind of like to do. It's not even elaborate, even just making a short list of what are we going to eat this week? I sometimes don't have capacity for that. I have a minimum grocery order. It's a rotisserie chicken, four chicken breasts, avocados, cucumbers, grapes. I know we eat this stuff. This is our minimum grocery order when I don't have time to do anything else, so at least there's food in the house.
[00:17:14]:Like establish minimums. That is how you get a lot of stuff done over a long period of time. One of my best performing podcast episodes last year was the one I actually did with Zach Pello on fitness and stuff. I know it's a topic that's top of mind for a lot of us. I've been working with him for three years and I was talking to him at the gym and I said, if you would have told me it's going to take you three years to get to your goal. We live in such a fast food world. Like twelve week program, eight week program, 90 days to your high school jeans, whatever it looks like. I don't know if I would have signed up for it, but that is the progress I could actually absorb into my life and look at where I am.
[00:17:59]:But when things are going to take a long time, what we decide is to never start. And that is the point of minimums, is when you put your maximum effort towards something for only a short period of time, you fake yourself into believing you have started something. No, all you did is run an experiment that didn't work because it didn't stick into your life. It didn't stick into your behaviors and discipline. It didn't actually become part of the way you operate as a human being for the next forever. You just ran an experiment and it failed. And you've tricked yourself into believing that you put a maximum effort into something that you think you want to make progress towards. That's minimums.
[00:18:40]:I'm going to go through some quick questions. I was asked again, either from the audience or for those of you who came up and talked to me afterwards. One of them was, how often do you refine or redefine your values and priorities? And I'm going to talk maybe about those two words separately. How often do you refine or redefine your values and priorities? I would say on the value side, for most of us, maybe all of us, those are probably pretty slow changing our values. I would say if you would have looked at my list of values when I was on the planet by myself, there would be a lot of overlap with my values today. But when you get married and you decide to live life really closely beside somebody else, I mean, Jay and I are both certainly individual people, but we do try to make decisions against the we values like, what does it look like for us as a family? So I would say values are probably refined as you go through major life transitions. So it could be getting married, could be adding a family. I think those are going to be very slow changing, though.
[00:19:50]:And as it relates to priorities, priorities shift with your seasons. If you would have looked back at my 33 year old self, my priorities were very much around establishing myself professionally in Indianapolis. They were very much around being known for very high quality work and excellence. My priorities were around saying yes to a lot of things because I was sorting out, what do I like? What do I don't like, what am I good at? What am I not good at? I'd worked for myself since I was 25 years old. I needed exposure and experience to things that were not my own sandbox. And so my priorities look like that in this season of life. Right now, at 43, my priorities are around how do I make people I care about really successful? How do I be really flexible for my family? Because right now, Jr's job requires a lot of travel, some of it very short notice. So a priority of mine is to remain very flexible and close to home.
[00:20:55]:But then there's some priorities that are, I would say, never changing for us. We are really actively involved in our church and that has been a priority for us for the last 20 years. So some things don't change. But I would say some things evolve as you're at different seasons of your career and different seasons of your financial journey and what you need to do and what you have the capacity to do and what you have to do. And I think priorities also shift as your kids get in different stages. I am in the process right now of rolling off of all of my external board responsibilities, like serving as a board of directors. And the reason for that is it's taking away from some of the flexibility that I need. But those choices that I made three, six years ago when I was in a season of, hey, I've got to expand my sandbox and get myself beside people I don't know.
[00:21:51]:That was a decision that made a lot of sense. Beside that priority of expanding my sandbox. And now that I'm in this season of I need to stay close to home, I need to remain really flexible, those are dates I don't have control over. And so changing that choice better reflects my priorities today. So that's examples of how values and priorities I think, work together. And I think seasons of change are when you need to go back and revisit. How do my values and priorities need to evolve to best serve this new season that I'm going into second question. I said something like, my dad is a disruptor.
[00:22:30]:He just kind of doesn't need to do what everybody else is doing. And so I said something like, going on your own path, can it be lonely? I said, yeah, definitely. It can be very lonely. A lot of the people I went to college with didn't necessarily pick the same path as me. A lot of the people I grew up around didn't necessarily take the same path as me. As I was growing the agency element three. I was a lot of times the youngest person in the room. A lot of times was the only female in the room.
[00:22:59]:Not fitting. I was kind of, like the last one to notice, but I would say that was definitely part of my path. It's like I just was the first, the only on whatever it looks like. And so she asked me, she said, how do you know when to zig, when other people are zagging or whatever? Like, what I mean. And what I told her is, test it. Most people who set out to do something different, they don't start by saying, I just want to do something different. At least that was not my journey with this. But I would go do what some of my contemporaries were doing.
[00:23:36]:And I'll give you an example. Like, go volunteer at the school. I would go volunteer at the school, and I would be, like, three minutes in, and I would be like, I hate this. I would be, like, standing at the copy machine in the office pushing copy and stapling things. And my first thought was like, who can I pay to come do this? This is crazy. I'm not enjoying this. I know it's helping the teacher. I could very easily enable this to happen in a much simpler way.
[00:24:07]:This is taking an insane amount of my time. I would rather be doing this. Instead, it would be creating so much more good in the world. I just would start snowballing, and my brain was just like, I don't want to do this. Or I would go to mops, moms of preschool students, and I went to one of those things, and it's amazing. And I know people who love it, but I went, and I was just, like, twitchy. That does not make mops bad. It just was like, this is not where my strengths and energy fit.
[00:24:41]:My head was thinking about different things. I was just like, I feel like I don't fit here. And so I would say, again, that is not to say that those things are bad or that you shouldn't go do those things, but it is to say, if you try things, test them, show up once. Like, conversely, I would go to a breakfast at 07:00 downtown in the morning that I was asked to go to, and it was a room full of strangers, and I was like, oh, my word, I met the most interesting people, and I think I've got somebody that can help you. The way I felt when I got in my car was like, oh, that was amazing. And so you just have to try stuff when you're early in your career or if you're back in the workforce, kind of like after raising your kids or whatever it looks like, go try things. Don't sign up for them for three years at the jump. Go try them.
[00:25:26]:Put yourself in the environment. Put yourself around the people. Put yourself in the context of the information, and see if it gives you energy. If you're adding value in that environment, if you get in your car and you're like, oh, my word, I loved it, then that's probably a clue that you should do more of that. And if you get in your car and think, oh, my word, I feel like I'm supposed to like it, but I just didn't like it then. Maybe that's a clue you're not supposed to do it. There was definitely seasons where everybody I knew was at some of these things, and I was like, I felt a little left out, but that wasn't their choice. That was mine, and it just wasn't my path, and that's okay.
[00:26:04]:And so I would say, if you feel like you're an outlier, don't get so associated with that idea of being the outlier that you just make the other decision because you think that one's probably right for you. Because being part of the pack sometimes is awesome and really cool and exactly where you should be. So that, I guess, is like, I don't know. My tips for, how do you know when you're supposed to zig when other people are zagging? Another question I got asked is, how long did it take you to feel like you were in balance? I defined balance as I think we wrongly associate balance with time, meaning that we think we had a balanced day. If we had 50% of our day go to our job, 20% of our day go to ourselves, 10% of our time go to our spiritual pursuits, and 20% of our time goes towards our family or whatever, we look at it as, like, time. And I think that's a wrong way to look at balance. Or maybe I'll offer up a different way to look at balance. I think balance is at the intersection of your priorities, your goals, and your values when those are totally in alignment.
[00:27:17]:Life's in balance because you are behaving in a way that is supporting both who you want to be as a person and the impact you want to have in the world with your priorities or the things you want to achieve or opportunities you want to have, whatever. And when those things are congruent, life feels imbalanced, even if the time demands are a little bit nuts. I would say I learned this really slowly because I'm a high eye in the disprofile and so I can spend a lot of energy making other people happy and happy with me and approving of me. Instead of chasing the things that I want for my time, I chase who I think they want me to be and the things that I think they want me to do. And I would say it's just been in the last three to four years that I have really claimed this idea of balance and gotten really clear with myself and my values and my priorities. I think it's impossible to be in balance without a clear understanding of those two things. I think there are places, times in my life where I kind of intuitively got myself there, or I would go to bed at night and say, wow, this day felt really good. And that's maybe a little bit of a hack, too.
[00:28:27]:When you lay in bed at night and think to yourself, today felt really good. Take a look at what happened, why I had one of those days last week. I got up early, pretty rested. I got up like half hour earlier than I needed to. I got a few things done, went to the gym, came home, did some work, went and did that presentation, came home, was here for my kids, drove a kid to practice, made a dinner that was really delicious. Didn't take forever, but it was good. And then went and saw my other daughter swim in a swimming. And it was like, today was a perfect day.
[00:29:01]:I personally got fulfilled. I was able to serve my family. I got to do something that I felt like had a lot of impact. And I was able to have some one to one conversations that I felt like made a lot of progress. And I was like, today was a perfect day. I loved it. And not everybody's going to be like that day, but give yourself the check mark when it happens. I think we just sometimes can complain about the days that are really out of balance instead of recognizing and being grateful for the days that are in balance. [00:29:26]:Everything is hard. You're a grown up and life is hard. That's the thing. Life is hard. It is not easy. It is not simple. And we add complexity to it when we decide we want a lot out of life. The secret is not in trying to find a life that isn't hard because it doesn't exist, but in choosing the hard that aligns with what we want out of life, what we want to experience, with what we want to pursue, with the opportunities we want to give our kids, with where we see our lives in ten years, with who we are and the gifts we have and what God wants to do with who we are.
[00:30:00]:That is the secret of life. Stop complaining that it's hard. If you want to do something significant with your life, it's going to be hard. Get over it. Who cares? Just acknowledge it. I've said this before. It's hard to get up in the morning. It's hard to be uncomfortable in your body.
[00:30:14]:It's hard to forgive somebody. It's also hard to hold a grudge for your whole life. It's hard to create a big career, and it's hard to feel like you're insignificant. It's hard to be poor. It's hard to have a lot of money. It is hard. It is hard. Let's take that off the table.
[00:30:32]:Let's choose the hard that aligns with our goals. Let's pick the things that are moving us towards our version of our best life, our best self. So we've talked a lot about a lot of core principles in this. How do you create your sustainable life event for yourself? I guess one thing I'll just say is if you work at a company that you think would be interested in having me come do one of these lunch and learns doesn't have to be over lunch, but it could be. Actually, I'd prefer you not eat then. It's distracting. But like 45 minutes to an hour, I'm going to be doing more of that this year and I'd certainly be interested in being connected to opportunities. So as always, thank you for listening.
[00:31:09]:Thanks for being part of this journey. I'm really excited for 2024 and appreciate you giving me some of your time.
[00:31:16]:Thank you for joining me on another episode of scared confidence. Until next time, keep telling fear. You will not decide what happens in my life. I will. If you want to get the Inside Scoop, sign up for my newsletter. We decided to make content for you instead of social media algorithms. The link is waiting for you in show notes, or you can head over to tiffanysouder.com. Thanks for listening.
[00:31:41]:Thank you for joining me on another episode of.
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