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Christy Wright is the author of the new book "Business Boutique" and teaches entrepreneurs around the world how to start, run, and grow their business. A Dave Ramsey and Entreleadership speaker, Christy shares her advice about how to create more time in your life by prioritizing the things that really matter, and how to be nice, honest, and say “no” all the same time.
Ellis: Do you have a question that you want us or an expert to answer? If you have questions about your small business, submit them at smallbusinesssuccess.com/questions.
Dusey: Hello, listeners. This is Dusey and I’m here joined with Ellis, as always.
Ellis: And we’re joined at the hip.
Dusey: [Laughs] And we have a very special guest today. We have brought on Christy Wright, who is a business coach and author of a new book called Business Boutique. She always works with Ramsey Solutions, so you may have heard her doing some events or on Dave Ramey’s podcast. So, thank you, Christy, for joining us.
Christy Wright: Hey. Thanks so much for having me. I’m glad to be here.
Ellis: So today we’re going to talk about a topic I know all small business owners want to know about, and that is protecting your time ‘cause time is one of those things you always you feel like you have less and less of it.
Christy Wright: That’s right.
Ellis: So, Christy, talk to us about how you protect your time.
Christy Wright: Well, sure. And that’s a big question. There’s a lot we could say about this and I’ve been teaching for years on life balance. And even this idea of is there such a thing as balance, and is that realistic, and what does it mean, and how do you create it, and that type of thing. I’ll tell you: there are several things that you can do that I would love to talk about with your listeners. Just really practical takeaways that can help you free up some time in your schedules, some margin in your life to where you're creating your version of balance and where you're protecting your time.
So, first, let’s just talk about one really easy practical way is for you – the best way for you to feel in balance regardless of your roles, responsibilities, regardless of how busy of a season you're living in right now or where your business is, the best way for you to feel I balance is for you to spend your time only on the most important things.
Now that may sound obvious, but here’s an example.
Many people spend time in their lives on things they don’t care about, things that aren’t important to them. Things that steal their time from those things that are important and so we say things like this, “I love to work out, but I don’t ever have the time to. I value spending alone time with my spouse, but we can never make our schedules line up,” or, “I love playing with my kids, but by the time I get home, I don’t have the energy to.” And the truth is, when you can’t spend time in your life on what’s important to you, you're going to be stressed and frustrated and angry because you have an inconsistency in your life between what you care about and what your life really reflects.
So, what I try to do is help people bridge that gap. I help them reduce the gap between what they care about and what their life reflects. And instead, spend their time only on the most important things. Now a big piece of this is cutting out some stuff you don’t care about. So that means saying no when you don’t want to go an event.
Dusey: Oh, my. Oh.
Christy Wright: Quit wasting time on Facebook or watching reality TV. Quit giving up your precious time to these things that aren’t really important to you in the grand scheme of things.
And then you're going to have more time for things that are important.
Dusey: So, yeah – saying no, like – I’m right there. I’m feeling ya right now. [Laughs] Ellis: I say no for Dusey.
Dusey: When someone – when someone asks something – like, I feel like I can – I can – for me – I know this isn’t the same for everyone, but if I say, “I need to spend less time on Facebook,” that’s a pretty easy choice because it’s something about me. But when somebody else comes and asks, “Can you do this? Can you do that?” I always want to say yes. So, Ellis is right. She’s my no-woman when I need a no-woman. [Laughs]
Christy Wright: Well, it’s such a good skill to have and it’s really hard though because especially in leadership, we don’t want to disappoint people. And so, you want to make people happy and that type of thing. But when we realize that our time is the most finite resource that we have, it gives us permission to be more protective of it because we realize when we say yes here, we’re saying no somewhere else. And so, what I like to do is I like to help people feel empowered and confident in saying no. Because saying no is a muscle. And so, if you never use it, it’s a little awkward at first because that muscle is weak.
But the more you use it, the stronger that muscle becomes and eventually, it actually feels good. You feel more powerful. You actually have a say in your own life. Imagine that. And so, if I can help people say no more, then they can protect their time more. And there’s just some really simple encouragement around this I’d love to give people.
For example, I like to remind people that you don’t just have the right to say no. You have the responsibility to say no because if you don’t protect what matters to you, no one else will. No one can do that for you. And no is a complete sentence. You don’t need to excuse it or justify it or explain it or apologize for it. You can even –
Dusey: That’s so hard for me. [Laughs]
Ellis: It’s ironic because it’s really hard for me, too, and yet, I end up doing it for Dusey and then not for myself.
Christy Wright: Not for yourself. Okay. So, let me give you a tip. I’ll tell you something that works every time. You can actually say no without ever saying the word. So, this may be more up your alley, Dusey.
Dusey: Okay. I’m interested in this.
Christy Wright: So, my husband does this to me all the time when I have a new idea to redecorate another room in our house for the 47th time.
Okay. This is what he does. He’s, like, “Wow. That is so creative. You know, we don’t have the bandwidth for another project right now, but way to think outside the box.” But the answer’s still the same: no, we’re not doing it.
Ellis: I like that your husband is dropping corporate jargon on your home redecoration.
Christy Wright: Oh, my gosh. He’s so practical. It’s so typical of his personality.
Dusey: [Laughs] Oh, that’s fantastic.
Christy Wright: But, the truth is you can say it without ever saying the word.
Dusey: And you’re still very positive about it.
Christy Wright: Be kind and you can do it in a way that’s loving, but you're still protecting what matters to you in the process.
Dusey: That’s fantastic. And I love that you talk about it as a resource, right? Because if somebody were to come up to me and to say, “I need a certain amount of money,” like, chances are it’s just a no right off the bat, right? But why am I so willing to be, like, “Oh. Yeah. I have 10 extra minutes. I have 20 extra minutes here.”
Christy Wright: And you know what’s interesting is your time is more available than money. You can earn more money. You can’t get more time. You can buy more stuff. You can get more of anything in this life that you want except time. And so, when we start to realize how finite it is and how valuable it is, it helps us be a little more protective of it and then we’re spending our time, like we said, on your most important things.
But it is hard and it takes some practice for sure.
Dusey: Absolutely. And another thing that helps is if you're on a team, it’s hard if you're, maybe, a solo-preneur, but even if you're a solo-preneur you can try to find ways to delegate. Get other people on your team to get other people that can help you with those things. You don’t have to do everything yourself, also, right?
Christy Wright: That’s right. And it’s really hard in business because no one can do it as good as you can, right? It’s really, really hard. This is your baby. It’s your business. It’s your idea. But, the truth is, the best use of your time when you're in high demand, is to do more of what only you can do.
And so, when you can delegate some tasks or outsource or automate or find help or even ignore some of those things that aren’t really that important and you begin to spend your time only on what you can do, then not only is the level of quality of the business going to increase because you're staying in your sweet spot and your strengths, but you're gonna free up some more time because you're getting out of the weeds.
You're not always working in the business. Sometimes you’re working on the business, and there’s a lot of tips around this where, you know, again, it goes back to saying no. People may come to you and say, “Hey. I need you to do X-Y-Z,” and it’s not really a problem. And it’s not something that you need to be doing, and that’s an opportunity for you to say no or to delegate to someone else, that type-a thing.
There’s a great quote by Warren Buffet where he says, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything. But what that means is you're saying no to all this unimportant things that you don’t have to be doing and you say yes to the things that only you can do. You're delegating everything else.
Ellis: So, what are some tips that you have for leveraging this power to say no and then coming it with prioritizing the thing that are important to you and putting that together in a sweet spot where you're able to do those things that you want and say no. ‘Cause it sounds great.
Like, “Yeah. I could totally do that.” And then I might walk out of here and be, like, “Wait. I don’t – how do I do that?”
Christy Wright: Yes. So that’s a great point because it’s very difficult. And I’ll tell you. I work with women a lot – women business leaders. And one common struggle of women business leaders – I guess everyone struggles with this, but I notice it more with women is that we tend to treat every single thing in our lives as if it’s equal.
So, I’ll hear a woman say, “Well, I really struggle because I’ve got my job and my kids and my sister and my husband and my parents and my volunteer stuff and my church and I want to work out,” and you can hear as they rattle off that list, that it’s as if they’re treating everything in one equal line. Everything is on an even playing field. But that is not possible in life. If you have everything created equal, then you're not going to know how to make decisions when push comes to shove when two of those areas of your life need you at the same time, you won’t know where to say yes.
So instead I encourage people to create a pyramid, a hierarchy of priorities, where you know what is the most important, what is the second most important, what is the third most important – and this is true in business and in life – where you know what your priorities are because if everything is important, then nothing is important.
But when you have that hierarchy, then let’s say, for example, I – you ask me to go to coffee and hang out, which I would love to do on any normal day, but you happen to ask me on the day that it is my son’s birthday. I don’t even have to think about it. My son’s birthday is more important than going to coffee with you. I would love to go to coffee with you, but if push comes to shove on the same day, in the same finite time, I know how to make a decision there because I know my son’s birthday is more important.
And so, I encourage business leaders to identify what is the most important and have those priorities, and then it helps you make better decisions, and it helps you say no to some of those less important things. But you have to know what is the most important in order to do that.
Dusey: Yeah. And I imagine that as you're creating that, I would say spend time to really deeply think about what is most important to you when you're making that, right? And then stick to it. And that’s probably the hardest part – [laughs] – is –
Christy Wright: Right. And don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
Just because someone else has a pyramid of hierarchy of priorities that looks one way doesn’t mean yours has to. For example, you know, some people may say, “Oh, well, that guy is way out of balance. He works 80 hours a week.” Well, what if he’s 23-years-old. He’s just graduated college. He doesn't have a wife or kids and his number one priority is building his career and he wants to work 80 hours a week to build his career and start his business, and that is balance to him. No one can tell him what his version of balance should be. That’s his life. He can build it however he wants to. What I like to help people do though, is those people that don’t feel in balance.
Those people that regardless of how they split their time, they feel stressed and frustrated because they’re not spending it on what’s important to them. I just help them align that. So, your version of balance can and should be exactly what you want to it be because at the end of the day, the only one living your life is you. So, it’s really up to you to decide what that looks like.
Dusey: Yeah. And I think when you're living in balance, like you're saying, there’s when you – if you're used to living out of balance all the time, then maybe you're not – you're not – you don’t feel this.
But I feel like when you're in balance and then you have that moment where you're out of balance, like, you can feel that – “Why am I not doing the things that are important to me?” Like, I know this is important to me and I keep not doing it.
Christy Wright: Right. And then the crazy thing is it doesn’t have to do with how many roles or responsibilities you have or even how much you work, in my experience. Being out of balance is just not spending time on what’s important to you, but when you do, when you spend time only on those things you care deeply about, those really good things that give you energy and bring you joy, then you can be crazy busy, but you feel that sense of balance because you're not spending your time on everything. You’re spending your time on the right things.
Dusey: Yeah. Absolutely.
Ellis: So, what does balance feel like?
Christy Wright: Well, for me, it really is dedicated my time to things that I care about. So, I’ll give you an example. There will be seasons. I tell people all the time. Life balance is not doing everything for an equal amount of time. It’s about doing the right things at the right time. So, if you want to have focus and in – I’m sorry – if you want to have momentum in any area of your life, you're going to have focus there.
Now that means that other things are going to fall by the wayside. So, I’ll give you an example. This spring, I have been working like crazy. I’ve launched my first book, Business Boutique. I’ve been on book tour. I’ve been traveling all over. It has been head down, getting this book off the ground. So, it’s been very focused on work. I’ve had a ton of help at home, a ton of help at work in order to keep all this going during this crazy season.
But last September, I had my second son named Conley and I didn’t work for four months. So, I was mama. I didn’t check e-mails. I didn’t work. I didn’t travel. During that season of maternity leave for four whole months, I was at home and very focused on my son.
Now this season, I’m focused on my book. Okay. Well, this summer, I’m going to take my foot off the gas. I’m going to go vacation and spend time with my family. During the seasons, you have focus and that’s okay, but over the course of your life, you create balance as you spend it on things that are important to you. My job, my kids, my exercise. All these things are important. I don’t waste time on things that I don’t care about.
Ellis: I wanna be like that.
Christy Wright: [Laughs] It’s easy to talk about, difficult to do. But admittedly, I talk about this often because it’s a daily struggle with me. It’s something easy to talk about because we all struggle with it.
Dusey: [Laughs] I think we’re all – we’re just soaking it in and reflecting on our lives right now.
Christy Wright: Y’all look tired. [Laughs]
Dusey: Yeah, like, hmm… [Laughs]
Ellis: I guess I want to go back to one thing that you said about prioritizing the things that are important to you because if everything is important, then nothing is important. Definitely one of those everything is important kinda people. How do you get over the hurdle of I want to do all the things and get in the mind frame of, okay, these are the top four – or five – most important things to me that I want to make sure I’m balancing.
Christy Wright: I know. That’s a great question. And I am with you – I want to do all the things. I’ve got a lot of things I enjoy. I’ve got a lot of things I could do.
The best thing that you can do is ask yourself a few questions. So, number one, what are you working towards? So, what goals do you have not just in your business, but in your life, in your family, in your fitness, in your social goals? What are some things you're working towards in the next year or two years or three years? That helps you have a little bit more forward thinking and vision casting to where you make better decisions today because it’s moving you in a certain direction.
But when someone brings an opportunity across your table or ask you to do something, I don’t know about you, but I used to only ask myself two questions. And these are the two questions: do they need me and can I do it? So, do they need me, which is the answer’s always yes because they’re asking, right? And can I physically cram this into my schedule?
So, let’s say for example someone said, “Hey, Christy. We’ve got a volunteer thing on Tuesday night. And we’d really like you to come and bring a potluck, da-da-da-da-da.” Now let’s say my calendar doesn’t have anything on Tuesday night, so I technically can come, but I don’t want to.
[0:15:00]I wanted to just be home. If all you ask yourself is do they need me and can I do it – am I physically available, then you're going to have every waking minute of your life scheduled for someone else.
And so instead, I want you to ask yourself a few more questions. Ask yourself things like, how will this affect my family? Does this – is this in line with my goals? Does this compete with a higher priority? Do I want to do it? You can ask yourself if you want to do something, believe it or not. It’s your life and your time. And, so, when you do that, it allows you to make better decisions because a lot of times I’ll say yes in the moment because it sounds like a good idea right then, but when it comes down to doing it, I’m trying to figure out how I can wriggle out of it. “Oh. Can I break my knee? I’m sorry. My car broke down,” trying to come up with an excuse to not go because it sounded like a good idea at that moment. So, just make better decisions and again, realize how precious your time is and then I think we’ll be a little bit more protective over it. [0:16:00]
Again, I know we keep saying this, but if you don’t want to go to something, I would encourage you most people value honesty over flattery. And what I mean by that is an honest no is always better than dishonest yes. So, if you don’t want to go somewhere, you can say it kindly. You can say, “You know what? That sounds like a really great event. I’ll be honest. I’ve been running ragged and Tuesday night’s my only night at home so I’m thinkin’ about just curling up on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in my pajamas and I think I’m going to stay in, but thanks for thinking of me.” D’you know what I mean? It’s honest and you're not going and that’s okay. It’s your life. You can do that.Dusey: You know what’s amazing about that is some – when we end up in that place of trying to say yes and trying to something that we don’t really want to do, it can come out of a place where you're wanting to help – it can come from a very good place –
Christy Wright: Totally. Absolutely.
Dusey: but then you end up doing exactly what you said is you're lying about saying yes that you want to or that you're going to do it. You're always struggling to find a way to come out of it and it’s much more – it’s much better to just be upfront about it. I love that.Christy Wright: Well, and most people value that. Like, if I asked you guys to come to a party and you didn’t want to go, I’d rather you tell me, “Hey, Christy. I really want to stay home tonight.”
I’d be, like, “Awesome. Have an awesome night at home” because then next time, when I say, “Hey. I’m in town. Do y’all want to grab some coffee and you say yes,” I know your word means something. I know that you're there because you want to be there, and I know where I stand with you. Most people value honesty over flattery and it’s just a really important skill to have to let your yes be yes and let your no be no, where people know where they stand with you.
Ellis: And I think – I totally agree. And to go back to what Dusey was just saying, it’s just like – Dan Ralphs, our dream manager, he’ll say, “Do you want to? Or do you want to want to?”
Christy Wright: That’s good. That’s a great – oh, my God. I’m totally gonna steal that. I will credit him. I will credit that.
Dusey: Oh, that’s great.
Christy Wright: But that’s a fantastic – fantastic question. You know, I had my pastor say a line – this was several years ago, and y’all cut straight to my heart so I’m just going to share it with your listeners in case some of them might resonate with this. If I’m honest with you, I love to be the hero. I totally have a hero complex. So, yes, to your point, I love to help.
But sometimes it comes from a place of I love to feel needed. I love when people need me because I feel valued and important and it makes me feel good about myself. And so sometimes I work with people and I talk about this idea of saying no and they say, “Oh, well, Christy, I would love to. I would, but I just – I just can’t say no ‘cause I’m just a giver. I just love to give and help and serve. And I’m just a servant at heart, so I just really can’t say no.” But here’s the truth. And this is what my pastor said that cuts right to the heart of that. There is a difference between doing something to be loving and doing it to be loved.Dusey: Oh, yeah.Christy Wright: And if I’m honest, my motivation, very often, is to earn the love of people. But when you can say no, it takes an incredible confidence and courage to say, “You know what? I’m going to say no right now, and I know that I’m going to be okay. And you're going to be okay ‘cause there’s a God and it’s not me, and we’re all going to be fine if I stay home tonight.”
Dusey: [Laughs] I feel like we’re having a real heart-to-heart right now. That’s just – that hit me.
Christy Wright: We’re going to church, aren’t we? [Laughs]
Dusey: Oh, man. [Laughs]
That’s fantastic. Well, that is going to wrap it for up for this episode of the Small Business Success podcast. Actually, I have one question before we wrap up for you and I wanted to – I want to put myself in the mind of a small business owner. When we say – okay, you know what? I’m sorry. We’re just going to pause and I’m going to re-do that ‘cause I started to wrap up before the question. [Laughs] I’m going to – I’m going to go edit that out. Okay.
So, a question that I have for you: when I put myself in the place of a small business owners, and we’re saying, “Is this something that you really want to do?” How do you decide between something that maybe you don’t want to do, but needs to get one for the business? And these things you just don’t want to do or have to do. How do you walk that line of, you know what, there’s this thing that has to get one and its’ something that I hate doing?
Christy Wright: That’s a great question because in business, you’ve got stuff, right? You’ve got stuff that you don’t want to do. So, here’s what I encourage people to do.
This is a really practical exercise. I’m going to walk you through it for your listeners. If they’re taking notes, this is something good to do.
I want you to write a list of every single thing you have to do. Every single thing that needs to be done in the business, write this list out. This is your to-do list. At the top, list everything. Now I want you to go through that list, and I want you to circle every single item that you get excited about, that only you can do, that brings you joy, that are in your strength, that give you energy, that sound fun, all of those things. The things that are in your strengths or only you can do, okay?
So, you go through and circle all those. All of the items that did not get circled, I want you to write out to the side what you're going to do with that instead. Are you going to delegate it? And if so, who are you going to delegate it to? Are you going to ask for help? If so, who are you going to ask for help from? Is it something you can automate and put on an automated system where you don’t have to manually do it? There’s a lot of stuff we do manually we don’t have to.
Christy Wright: Is it something you can ignore?
Aside from taxes, most stuff you might be able to actually just not do it. Just get over it.
Dusey: Man. We forget to put that in the list of options, don’t we? Man.
Christy Wright: Yes. And we say all the time, “I have to do this.” It’s, like, nah. You don’t have to. I mean, like I said, other than tax, you don’t have to. So write out to the side what you're going to do with it, and what that’s going to do is that’s going to help you stay in your strengths, have the most fun, the level of quality of your business will increase as you stay in the areas you're good at, but it also gives you a solution for those things that you don’t want to do, that don’t give you energy, that plain suck you dry of energy, and give you some options and some solutions to have help.
Like I said, there are things that you have to do a business owner. You have to do taxes. You have to know your numbers. Don’t completely farm that out to someone else. You’ve got to know your numbers. But other than those things, you can get help in most area of your business if it’s something you’re not good at. So, I just encourage people to write out that list and separate the two categories.
Dusey: Oh. That is fantastic advise. Thank you very much.
Dusey: Thank you again, Christy. And we want to point everybody to your new book, Business Boutique.
And could you tell us a little bit about what that is, what our listeners can expect if they go check out that book?
Christy Wright: Absolutely. Yeah. Thank you. We really want to help women start and grow side and small business. We live, right now, in a side-gig economy. The you economy, where it’s so easy to start a side or small business, especially from your hobbies or passions or things you love to do. But the business side of things, as you guys know, can be overwhelming. So, I really wrote this book to give women a step-by-step plan to give them everything they need to start to run or grow a business to the level that they want to. It’s a plan for them to win so they can make money doing what they love.
Dusey: Oh, that’s fantastic.
Ellis: I’m totally going to check that out. That has definitely been on my mind.
Dusey: So, we’re going to wrap this episode of the Small Business Success podcast. However, I am pleased to let all of our listeners know that if you hang on till next week, we’re going to have Christy back on again where we’re going to continue to get some great advice, not only for your small business, but this stuff is just great for living your life in general.
So, I’m really excited that we’ve been able to have you own. And –
Christy Wright: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Dusey: Absolutely. So, everybody, tune in next time. We’ll get to hear more of Christy on the Small Business Success podcast.