'4 Tips for Trimming Your To-Do List

4 Tips for Trimming Your To-Do List

March 1, 2023

“My To-Do List is as long as a CVS receipt!” That’s what one of our coaching clients said when describing her level of overwhelm.

Can you relate?

So many of the business owners we work with tell us that they feel as though they are working harder than ever. They have less time for themselves and their families and sadly, some of them are losing sight of the passion and purpose that brought them into business in the first place.

It’s time to cut that list down to size, right?

Here are 4 tips that will help you to trim that To-Do List:

Defer – Take a look at your list and see if there are things that can be postponed to another time when things are less busy. Deferring an item should have a specific time so that the task does not just drop to the bottom of the list without being looked at again.

Delegate – Ask yourself if there are things that could be done by someone else on your team. Delegation is often difficult for business owners. They may have gotten into the habit of doing it all themselves out of necessity in the early days of their business. Now that you have a team, it’s time to break that habit.

Some of our clients say it’s quicker to do things themselves than to train or supervise others to do those things. That’s probably true in the short run, but it might not be the best strategy. When there are several people who can do what you do, it frees you up to do new things or to take that much-needed personal or family time without losing momentum.

Delete – If there is too much on your plate, evaluate whether there are tasks that are not really necessary. Are there things that you’ve over-complicated? Steps you’ve added to a process that really don’t make much of an impact on the outcome. If something is “nice, but not necessary,” and your list to too long, it might be time to delete the task.

One of my favorite business mentors once reminded me that “done is better than incomplete and waiting to be perfect.” It’s a good thing to remember when the “To-Do List” is much longer than the “Already Done” list.

Decline – Don’t say “yes” to another thing or add anything to the list until  you have made it more manageable. This can be a tricky one. It requires some tough judgment calls if a good opportunity comes along. Here’s a Rule of Thumb – you can add something to the list IF you defer, delegate or delete something that is already there. If you have narrowed the list down to things you must do that only you can do, then there’s no room on the list until some of those things get done. Once they are, you can say “yes” to those new opportunities.

Following these 4 Tips may not eliminate the overwhelm for good, but it will give you a head start on getting things back in balance. And here’s a bonus tip for good measure: don’t defer, delete or decline self-care. It’s important and should always have a place on your To-Do List. After all, you need to be well and healthy to enjoy all of that success you are creating.



'Wisdom from Black Business Leaders

Wisdom from Black Business Leaders

February 22, 2023

One of the special things about Black History Month is the opportunity it provides for Black voices to be heard and respected in a way that isn’t always the norm at other times of the year.

It’s a sad fact that much of the wisdom and many of the accomplishments of Black business leaders are hidden from view by the filter of dominant white culture.

As our way of celebrating Black History Month, we’re sharing ten quotes by Black business leaders across the generations. We hope that you will be inspired by their wisdom and their example.


“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”

Madam C.J. Walker, American entrepreneur, philanthropist, political and social activist. Recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America.


“If you wake up deciding what you want to give versus what you’re going to get, you become a more successful person. In other words, if you want to make money, you have to help someone else make money.”

Russell Simmons, American entrepreneur, record executive, writer, film producer, Chairman and CEO of Rush Communications


“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.”

Oprah Winfrey, Founder and CEO, OWN Network, philanthropist, talk show host


“It’s up to you to bring yourself to the attention of powerful people around you. They’re not going to find you on their own.”

Richard Parsons, former Chairman of Citigroup, former Time Warner Chairman and CEO 


“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”

Booker T. Washington, educator, author, orator, Co-Founder of National Negro Business League


“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”

Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American female astronaut


“Five days a week, I read my goals before I go to sleep and when I wake up. There are 10 goals around health, family, and business with expiration dates, and I update them every six months.”

Daymond John, Founder, President and CEO, FUBU


“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King Jr., Baptist Minister, Civil Rights Leader

Co-Founder Southern Christian Leadership Conference


“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

Shirley Chisolm, United States Representative, humanitarian, activist


“Many people don’t focus enough on execution. If you make a commitment to get something done, you need to follow through on that commitment.”

Kenneth Chenault, former CEO and Chairman of American Express


There are so many more voices to be heard, so many more accomplishments to be recognized.

While it’s great to have this special month to shine the spotlight, it’s more important to widen the beam so that wise and successful people of all races and colors are seen, appreciated and recognized.


Let’s keep working together toward that day.



'Empowering Questions Yield Powerful Answers

Empowering Questions Yield Powerful Answers

February 15, 2023

As a leader, sometimes you must have answers…or at least know where to get the answers. But it’s also important to have questions.

Not just any questions. The right questions. Questions that encourage the best and most powerful answers. Empowering Questions.

Empowering questions are framed in a way the engages the person responding more deeply into their feelings and opinions. They allow for a more full and complete expression of the situation than simple “either/or” or “yes/no” questions.

Empowering Questions are:

Open-Ended – allowing a free-flowing exchange of ideas, rather than a forced choice between two or more answers.

Unbiased – framed with an exploring word without telegraphing the correct response or the opinion of the person asking the question

Emotionally Neutral – phrased without implying a judgment of the past or anxiety about the future

Goal-Centered – based on exploring how a decision or course of action contributes toward achievement of the goal

Future-Focused – centered on creating positive change for the future.

Empowering questions open the door to invite your team to explore the greatest number of possibilities with the best likelihood of a positive outcome. When you ask empowering questions, your team becomes more engaged and takes ownership of the outcome because they have been part of its creation.

Asking empowering questions can also help to reveal and overcome resistance to a particular course of action before that resistance becomes destructive. Empowering questions can encourage your team members to creative ways to overcome barriers and create solutions.

Closed-ended questions take the power away from the respondent by implying there is a single right answer. These questions often begin with, “Do,” “Does,” or “Would,” rather than the more expansive beginnings of “How,” and “What.”

Here are some examples of empowering questions that can lead to powerful answers:

What could be different?

What’s the best possible outcome?

What else can be done?

What matters most here?

How can we accomplish this?

Whether you are asking questions in a team setting or in a private conversation, when you use open-ended and empowering questions, you are creating a shared solution where everyone involved takes ownership for the answer. That ownership builds trust and motivation to contribute to the shared goal.

In today’s crowded and competitive marketplace, you need your business to have the best possible solutions for your customers.

Empowering questions will give you the capacity to do just that.