In this episode, Veronica takes us on a journey through the hardships of creating and managing a company with your spouse, to working to find balance when you naturally have a very driven personality…
“If you’re working with a partner, they need to know what’s going on, especially if you feel pulled in too many directions”
00:02:25 All levels of failure
00:04:34 The year that changed it all
00:07:14 Money is a magnifier
00:10:03 Using work as a buffer
00:13:20 Your 3 choices
00:17:21 Getting in the zone
Read The Full Episode:
Welcome to another instalment of the Digital Breakthrough Podcast, Fail Forward to Success series.
This series is all about changing our relationship to failures. Failure can be a really hard word for many people to face, but I think the worst thing we can do is not talk about it. I named the series Fail Forward because that’s actually what failures help you do. They help you move forward and create opportunities to learn. I like to say we don’t Fail, we have a Fun Attempt In Learning!
I had such a special conversation with my guest today. She was so open and honest about the very real challenges we face when trying to push forward in our careers while having responsibilities at home, and there is so much we can learn from what she shared!
Veronica Romney is a multi-talented wife, mom, and entrepreneur with experience and knowledge across so many areas. She is a 12 year branding and marketing veteran who combines her brilliant vision with expert execution. She has shared her talents with many influential brands, including Sprint, Marriott, and IMAX. Veronica is the founder of My Modern Brand, a branding and marketing education company that helps great people and great companies clarify their brand message, find their unique brand voice, and market themselves authentically.
She is a former in-demand international Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi speaker with topics including branding, marketing, sales, entrepreneurship, and self-education. Currently, she is also serving as Chief of Staff at Boss Babe, Inc.
In today’s conversation, I asked Veronica the standard question: What is one big failure you can share with us, and how did you learn from it?
But this conversation was nowhere near standard. Veronica and I took a journey through the hardships of creating and managing a company with your spouse, to working to find balance when you naturally have a very driven personality. The central theme throughout everything Veronica shared was learning how to accept, function, and succeed in a space that might often feel out of balance.
4 Ways to Create Space When You Lack Balance
Veronica Romney has experienced success and failure in corporate environments, as an entrepreneur, and everywhere in between. She has gone from ground zero, built her business up, and found herself back to the very humbling moment of being back to where she started. She knows what it’s like to succeed and fail at being a working mom, and what it’s like to see your business or mom life negatively impact your relationship with your partner, and your marriage.
We started the conversion from the year she feels like she almost fell apart in all areas of her life. She and her husband were several years into the digital marketing agency they started together and everything was hurting. She shared with me they had separated for a couple of months, and reflected on what it was like with her kids going through that.
Veronica had just given birth to her second son, taken the reins on their marketing agency, and she and her husband were figuring out how to redefine their new parenting roles. And during it all, she was not advocating for herself, setting boundaries, or figuring out how to create space for all parts of her life.
She was throwing herself into her work as a way to distract from other problems, but all areas would eventually get affected. There is only so long you can run away from your problems before they catch up to you. But, instead of letting a pivotal, stressful season like this break her, Veronica learned from it. And is now able to share with us, so we can learn to.
When Veronica went through this challenging time in her business and family, one of the biggest pieces she was missing was speaking up for herself, and communicating with those around her that she is not at her best.
If you are working with a partner, whether that’s in your home life or your work life, they need to know what’s going on, especially if you are in a moment where you feel pulled in too many directions and stressed out to the point where it is affecting your life.
When you have a flare up and your problems seem too hard to manage, you need to communicate with your staff or your partner. You need to simply apologize ahead of time, tell them you’re not your normal self, and just own that you might have a hard time today.
“when you realize you are above the line, verbalize it to those around you who might be collateral damage”
2. Identify When You’re ‘Above the Line’
When you are above the line you might feel overwhelmed. You might get those thoughts in your head that you just can’t do it, or you’re way too anxious or stressed. When you get more problems than you have the capacity to take on, you are above the line.
Below the Line:
When you are below the line, you have less going on than you are capable of managing, and probably feel unfulfilled or bored. These are those moments that are ripe for inspiration and taking on a new project or solving an old problem you never had the time to tackle.
So when you’re above the line, how do you get back to the line?
When you realize you are above the line, it is time to own where you’re at and verbalize it to those around you who might be collateral damage. Then, take a moment for yourself. This is anything unique to you that helps you reset.
Veronica and her husband love the beach, so for them it might be going away for a weekend. But, it could even be something as simple as going for a walk, or even yelling into your pillow or crying in your shower. Sometimes you just need a release. Veronica compared it to letting the steam out of the pressure cooker.
Once you have given yourself that moment, only then can you start to move forward. Instead of running from your problems, or trying to bury them down deep, you are now facing them, and figuring out a way to either handle them all, or change something that isn’t working. And it’s likely that at this point, you need to change something.
“Take an honest look at everything you are writing down, and figure out Where you can create more space”
3. Make ‘Not-To-Do’ Lists
So, how do you actually change a situation that seems out of control? Veronica had a genius way of looking at it. She describes herself as a high capacity person who truly loves making to do lists and then slaying the lists every day. But if you are as driven and motivated as she is, you might find there is a point where you are taking on way too much.
Her first simple step is to start making not-to-do lists at the same time you are writing your to do list for the day. Take an honest look at everything you are writing down, and figure out the spots you can adjust to create more space.
And when I say space, it is important to make clear that Veronica is not someone who idealizes balance. She lives in a zone where striving for balance is like trying to seek that unattainable Pinterest perfection.
Instead, she focuses on creating space. She accepts that there are different seasons in her life for different priorities, and in the seasons where one part of her life might be falling to the side, she uses a brilliant system to determine what could shift in order to create that much needed space.
4. Delegate, Alternate, Eliminate
Once you have created that not-to-do list, it is time to filter through the items, and assign them to three specific categories. Instead of putting every single thing on your plate, think about some things that you don’t want to do, or find yourself never really having the time to do.
According to Veronica, when things start to collide, there are really only three choices you can make: delegate, alternate, or eliminate. And I LOVE this strategy! It takes a very clear approach to finding solutions to an overburdened to-do list, and really does create that much needed space for everything you want to get done.
Delegate: Give it to somebody else.
What are some tasks that someone else could realistically do for you? Is there something you are not super passionate about accomplishing yourself? Think about it both in your work and home lives. Maybe you hate cooking dinner and a meal service would be worth it, or you need a cleaner once a week. Maybe you love posting on instagram, but realize that your higher level responsibilities demand a lot more of your time, and you need to outsource to a social media manager. There are probably at least 2-3 tasks you could delegate today, and it would create so much more space in your life.
Alternate: Use a partner or a spouse, and split the duty evenly.
You are not alone! This is something we often forget as the super moms we are, but I promise you there is something your spouse or partner can do to take on 50% of some responsibilities. Veronica mentioned that she and her husband alternate school pick up every other week, because they are both committed to the task, but know that it needs to be shared for their own schedules. Maybe you even have some weekly or daily tasks in your business that can be split with a partner. Remember that sharing the work is a completely acceptable solution.
Eliminate: Make the hard cuts.
This one might be hard, but if you cannot find a way to do it yourself (be honest!), delegate it, or alternate it, you need to eliminate it. Now, this doesn’t have to be a forever thing, but maybe you are in a busy part of the year, when something just needs to be put on hold. If your kids want to play two sports that happen in the same season, they might need to choose just one. If you have two different launches scheduled for Q1, but they need similar levels of your attention, you might need to rework the scheduling on one. Not everything can be done at the moment you want it to, and that is ok! The second you give yourself permission to figure it out rather than run from your problems, you will instantly feel more successful and less stressed.
“when things start to collide, there are really only three choices you can make: delegate, alternate, or eliminate”
I am so grateful Veronica took the time to sit down with me, because this conversation was full of so much valuable information. She is experienced in so many different zones of business, and is such a great resource of knowledge. I know we will have many more conversations in the future, as she has so many golden nuggets to share with all of us.
Remember, if you find yourself in a situation where you have more problems than you have the capacity to manage, it is a sign that you need to take a significant step back, advocate for yourself, take a moment to decompress, and really edit out the items on your to-do list that may not have to be there.
You CAN do it all, but you just have to decide what it is that you want to do all of. I hope you were able to take away some great lessons from Veronica’s story.
Let me know what you think in the comments! Was there ever a time in your life where you felt like it was all crashing down? What did you do to get through that time, and build back up? What strategies help you edit your to-do list?