You Can't Always Work Harder

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You Can’t Always Work Harder

You Can't Always Work Harder

As a business owner, it’s difficult to do the right work AND guide your company toward its next big initiative.

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Starting the conversation:

While discipline is crucial, it’s the unwavering consistency that propels you towards your goals. Prioritizing the right work becomes a cornerstone — building, learning, growing, and managing energy converges in how your plan becomes a reality with the time, energy, and money you have to invest. How you align expectations with the reality of your situation is key. In this It’s Your Business program, Quentin Ortega, Founder and Lead Consultant at QCO Consulting; Christy Maxfield, President and CEO at Purpose First Advisors; and your host, Jess Dewell, Managing Partner at Red Direction, discuss what to do when you can’t work any harder.

Growth doesn’t have to be complex, yet at times it will be difficult. Your ability to comprehend the way your organization carries out work — as well as the provided value — requires a commitment to deeply understand how you will grow in order to communicate this effectively. Then will it be possible to discern the right work, communicate what work will be done, and know that choices will be made to reduce the chance of work overload — choices that are supported by processes, automation, and actual results.

In this program, you will hear that commitment, discernment, and consistency are constant in the pursuit of sustainable profitable growth. You will also hear real-life examples of how to determine urgent versus important, and practices to help you build confidence making decisions. Quentin Ortega, Founder and Lead Consultant at QCO Consulting; Christy Maxfield, President and CEO at Purpose First Advisors; and your host, Jess Dewell, Managing Partner at Red Direction discuss and offer actionable takeaways for how to face what to do when you can’t work any harder.

Host: Jess Dewell

Guest: Christy Maxfield and Quentin Ortega

What You Will Hear:

It is important to have a deep understanding of your growth strategy.

Make the decision to know where you are going.

It takes effort to discern the right work.

You can’t do it all.

Discipline alone won’t get you to your goal … consistency will.

Prioritize the right work (to build, learn, and grow as well as manage your energy).

Identify and implement tools to reduce the burden.

Receive a series of questions to reduce overwhelm.

Use insight, data, and experience to determine just the one next step.

More than a cliche: slow down to speed up.

Your expectations are equally important to the reality of the situation you are in.

Looking closely at the results and confirming the momentum helps your growth priorities.

Know your daily check-in, your true north, to align to.

Know the tools you use to live by to get things done.

Have daily priorities to avoid being lost in the noise.

Show up prepared.

Build time into the day for doing work toward your short-term goals.

#ActToPlan, and then readily let go and say no to as much as possible.

3 Takeaways to achieve more results without increasing workload or effort:

  • It is important to zoom out further than a day or week, to have an idea of the destination.
  • Know the difference between what needs to be done and actually doing it.
  • This work is necessary to communicate to your company so everyone is moving in the same direction.

Get started and make a difference in your business with a Growth Framework Reset.

You Can't Always Work Harder - Christy Maxfield
You Can't Always Work Harder - Quentin Ortega



Quentin Ortega 00:00
So finding that TrueNorth, and sharing that with other people, I think is a really critical piece of optimizing and stopping to work smarter, not harder. And the goal here of this conversation,

Christy Maxfield 00:09
I would look for a consultant who has a consultant, a coach who has a coach, if it’s true that you can’t see your whole business by yourself, then the same has to hold true for me. And if I’m not operating in a system that gives me those checks and balances, I can’t be of highest and best service to you, either.

You are listening to the Bold Business Podcast, in this program Jess Dewell hosts experts who share information with you about solving problems and communicating priorities to help you guide your company toward its biggest goals.

Jess Dewell 00:54
Hey, you know what, this is such a cool thing. I am trying something different. I’m trying something different with my friends, Christy, and Quinton. And let me just tell you this, it’s different because we’re live. And I haven’t done that in a very long time. So welcome. I hope everybody who’s jumping in from Christie’s pages and Q’s pages, and my pages has the time to sit and listen in the background. And if not, because it’s going to be important. I want to welcome you to It’s Your Business brought to you by the Bold Business Podcast. This is a program where you can go to you can get the source and resources that you need to navigate today’s ever-changing business landscape. I’m your host Jess Dewell. And on each program, we get real, really real about current business challenges and triumphs. Let’s get ready together to lead with depth understanding and achievement. All right, I have to tell you this right now, today we’re going to talk about what we’re going to talk about, we’re gonna talk about, we can’t work any harder. So now what we’ve all been there, we may be there right now. And with that in mind, I asked Christy and q to come with something that we could share. So you will go away with three things. And the three areas that we’re going to dive in today to help deepen your understanding, increase your achievement, and feel just a little more confident to deal with whatever today brings you include growth strategy, a deep understanding of that growth strategy, the tools to reduce the burden of doing work, and how to decide and find your True North that you’re checking in with every day. Why? Because it’s your business. And you can’t always work harder. And we’re here to talk about the so now what Okay, I gotta tell you, let’s do Welcome. Welcome, Christy. Welcome cue, we’ve got to introduce ourselves to everybody. So we should probably just start right there.

Christy Maxfield 02:51
Sounds good. I beat you to the punch week. I’m Christine Maxfield. President and CEO of purpose first advisors and we help you build grow and exit your business on purpose. So we work with great people like Quinton and Jess and other colleagues to make that happen, because entrepreneurship and business ownership is a team sport. And we love talking about the real. That’s generally how we roll. So that’s me,

Quentin Ortega 03:20
That’s Christie, I’m going to reset again. Founder lead consultant SEO consulting, similar similar work, I’ve been working in helping companies figure out growth strategy and create their 10-step plan towards growth since, since about 2008, with various companies over the years and always excited to meet new founders meet new executive teams dive in and work with them on helping them break down the barriers that they’re facing to help their company or their organization. That leaves me follow up those two?

Jess Dewell 03:53
How do I do this? How to see I am in such great company today. And in fact, I love being in panel discussions and in groups where we’re having these conversations to just learn. And here’s the thing. I’m a business consultant, and I specialize in strategic growth, specifically around what does it mean to have a strategic plan? How does it tie all the pieces together? Because we’ve got to look out to 510 steps ahead to have that multi year plan to thrive over time. And it’s a grand experiment. What I’ve learned over the 24 years that I’ve been doing this is that it’s a grand experiment. So Red Direction is really working with the founders, executives boards to understand what the elements of the experiment are, where do they want to try and grow and understand that it is trial and error. And that failure is part of it, but so is success. And the challenges that come with failure and success are often similar, even though we don’t really want to look at him that way. So that’s what we’re doing in terms of increasing our capacity with which to look at things see into the future so that we can act right now. Well, and I did sell my First business early, I did have a lot of other failures in between, I have had stunning failures, in addition to great success. And all of that experience really comes down to the perspective that I bring this concept of, I will see things others miss not only because I’ve been there, but because I’m willing to stop, step back and ask a question. To stir the pot, let’s just be real to stir the pot, and to be able to go forward and be curious and understand coming back to our big experiment. That’s what we’re doing over at Red Direction. And I love to be here and learn with and from both of you today.

Christy Maxfield 05:37
Thanks for having us.

Quentin Ortega 05:39
I want to say I love stunning failures as a term I think I think that more people should celebrate stunning failures. I think that’s a valuable lesson.

Christy Maxfield 05:47
If you’re gonna fail, do it stunningly.

Quentin Ortega 05:50
Yeah, do it big if you’re gonna go big. See?

Jess Dewell 05:53
That’s right. That’s right. Oh, I got both ah, oh, that’s hilarious. Oh, man, I’m telling you about. Okay. So in these areas that we are looking at in the three things that I talked about earlier, and I’m gonna repeat them, so everybody knows. So we can keep track of this, understanding deeply our growth strategy, choosing the tools that reduce our burden, and finding our true north that we’re checking in with daily, that is what we’re going to talk about. So starting with that high level, that the growth strategy, understanding where we’re going and what we’re coming from. And what we have actually reality is, when we understand exactly what we have a much better opportunity to be innovative and creative. And to understand a growth strategy deeply, it really means that we know the direction our company will go, regardless of what’s going on around us. We know where we’re going. And then the way that we as a company identify to do that, then we go out, and how do we stay market relevant? How do we understand to continue to be of service, and we as a company, are defining and ensuring our success, because we’ll be around in the future. And sometimes our baseline is, we want to be around in the future. And then from there, we can understand what does achievement look like. And we forget that and that’s really what a growth strategy truly entails. If you were to just put it in a little box. I love a little box. You know, I love our framework.

Quentin Ortega 07:22
I had a great yeah,

Jess Dewell 07:22
I love a good framework.

Quentin Ortega 07:24
And I love the idea of keeping in mind that the you need to keep looking at where the future goal is right now. Right, Christy and I have worked with clients who are looking at an exit, right, which is a very different, which creates a very different day to day than if your goal, like you said, is to just be around in the future, right? That’s a big piece of it.

Christy Maxfield 07:42
And being around in the future may mean orchestrating your exit so that the company exists with or without you that because there’s lots of ways to exit including closing the door and shutting out the lights, right? So if we’re building something that, as you said, our clients really value, and we’re of service to them, ostensibly, we want to be of service to them, regardless of whether or not we’re at the helm. I often tell clients, going west is a nice direction, but I can end up in San Francisco or San Diego, those are two very different locations. How I choose to get there, what I when I know I’m in the right place, that that specificity matters. And that knowing where you’re going, even though many things are going to change between point A and point B is incredibly grounding, and it gives you a decision-making matrix you can start to say yes or no. Am I going to stop in Boise? How far off my path? Is that gonna take me? Is it worth it? My husband’s the king of the side trip? I’m not. I like the shortest distance between A and B.

Quentin Ortega 08:48
He sees the signs on the side of the road. He’s we’re going to the ball yard.

Jess Dewell 08:51
That’s the barley yarn. And he seeks them out. Right? Well, you can’t data to from here. He’s on it. I think between you and the West Coast, you could see the Stonehenge made out of cars. You could see the biggest ball of twine, you could stop by the city that is dedicated to the Wizard of Oz. Oh, yeah.

Christy Maxfield 09:10
Yeah. Yeah. And if I get to the right place when I’m left, okay.

Jess Dewell 09:17
Yeah, it’s interesting, because I agree with all of that. And I would add that we, when we understand what our growth strategy is, it allows us to know what work is important. And I think first and foremost, we all are looking out and seeing what else is going on. What else could we try? How could we improve? And sometimes that actually discount is disguised as a big distraction that takes us off track. And we may not realize we’re off track. And so understanding what our growth strategy is a way to have that feedback loop of going. I maybe I went too far. We’ve stayed at the stop a little too long. Oh, we probably might want to consider changing direction. And regardless of what everybody else Doing, we have our own work because we have our own unique selling proposition. Because we have our own unique goals, because we have our own unique ways that we want to solve a problem and be of service ultimately, to others, and to have it be of service and be valuable that there is an exchange of time, energy and money with us in our work. And that’s really, I think, the first part of what a growth strategy allows from my perspective.

Christy Maxfield 10:26
And going back to the idea that I’m, I can’t work any harder, really going and knowing deeply what where you’re going means that you will be able to take some things off your list. And you have to be willing to do that, like you have to be willing to make the choice and live with the trade-offs because you can’t do it.

Quentin Ortega 10:48
Yeah, a lot of the companies that I work with, I joke with them that they have the shiny key syndrome, right, like they they see something shiny, and they kind of chase after it. And and like, the interesting thing is like, that mentality is actually part of the requirement to be a good business leader, right? Like you do actually have to pay attention to the things that that might be opportunities and look for those. But I think using that using that growth strategy, always referencing back and checking and saying, Hey, is this in line with where I’m going? Have you be more focused? And not just all over the place? Focus is key.

Jess Dewell 11:23
In it, no. Okay, so I was reading this thing the other day. And this might total and I don’t remember the context, all I remember is cue that now that you said this. Discipline might not get you there. What’s your reaction in relationship to what we’re talking about right now about that?

Christy Maxfield 11:38
But consistency will. So like discipline is this idea that I will do it 110% Every single time. And if I can keep doing the same thing, regardless of how much effort I can put towards it, if I didn’t keep the ball moving? I think it will get you there. And you don’t always have to be the one doing it either. So long as you’re the one making sure it gets done.

Quentin Ortega 12:05
Yeah, yeah, I think that it’s the same as I often reference other things outside of business to do this. It’s the same as like when somebody is trying to start working out, right. If you’re not somebody that works out a lot, like, you just need to do one, one set up a day, right, or five setups a day, whatever it is, that doesn’t turn you off from doing it so that you come back the next day, and keep doing it until you build that habit. And I think that building successful growth strategies is similar in some to some extent, right, you need to start small, start with what doesn’t scare you away from some of the change, and slowly increase the reps as you build the habit. And in doing so you create longer-term impact. But everybody wants to see it back right away because that’s another, another business owner trait. And so you have to be able to like, know, that future gratification that future impact is happening, even if you can’t always feel it today.

Jess Dewell 12:59
Yeah, that’s that grass is always greener peace. And that’s one of the things too, it’s one of the reasons why I like doing the work that I do in terms of everything is a grand experiment, and we don’t know where the stunning will be, or where will come. And what I’ve learned over the years, not only directly, but also in working with companies that are at these growth plateaus and they’re working to break through, it really does come down to how can I embrace what the stunning is and maybe everything is actually as it needs to be as it should be, as is necessary to do the right work. And I have the wrong mindset. And I have the wrong expectation. And I have been attached to the different thing. And that’s where groups of people, right, I am so excited to be here learning with each of you. This is my favorite topic, I could talk nonstop about this from now, all the way back for the amount of seconds that I had been alive in this world. I could just talk about this going forward that many more seconds. And I know that’s an interesting thing to think about in relationship to Christy, you said this. And Q You said this to both of you had a variation of this. And that is when we know what the right work is we know that how we might want to do what as much we know we have to do as much of work that work as possible. So what does that mean? And how do we do it when we can’t always work harder when we’re at capacity, when even when we’ve taken the time to create more time, which is possible. I’ve done it I do it every day actually make more time. There still is this element of there’s only so much effort to go in. And that kind of that takes us into that takes us into this other part. And I know we’re gonna get into that in just a few minutes in regards to where we’re going next.

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Jess Dewell 14:52
I’m just curious how do each of you prioritize right if we know we’ve got all this necessary work to do? And we know that there We’ve got to do all of the right work. How do we determine what is the right work in relationship to our growth strategy?

Quentin Ortega 15:08
So I grew up and I know Christy rubbed his way to being told just work harder. Like you’ll that’s the answer that a lot of us are given as we grew up, or it’s not working, like just put more hours towards it. And personally, I had hit like, I hit a wall. At one point, I hit a personal wall where I’m working. I like woke up one day dressed out to the max, like I had a bunch of different businesses going at the time I was, and I was like, there’s no more there is no more work harder, right? Like you get that you I think everybody eventually hits that wall if they’ve been working in business for long enough. And then they’re like, now what? Iraq’s everything you’ve been told your whole life for a lot of people to say, Okay, now. Now, what do we do if the thing that I was always told solve the problem doesn’t solve the problem. And then, so I think that, then you turn the look back at you. And you look at other processes and tools that you’ve learned in the past where you say, like, how am I optimized other things and apply that and then the kind of the build, build, learn grow like cycle or if there’s a bunch of different versions of it, however, you want to do that. I think for me, I just tried to start applying that as fast as I could write how many cycles a biller go, can I go through my personal task to try to suss out what is actually the right thing. And I think I still do that today.

Christy Maxfield 16:22
I’m very much a fan of trying to do the things in an in a way that capitalizes on how much energy or enthusiasm I have, like, I’m neither a morning person nor a night person, I’m really good between nine and three. So if I know I’m going to have to really bring a lot of creative thinking to something if I’m going to have to sit and right, if I’m going to have to diagram, if I’m going to have to do things that require an extended level of attention, I’m literally going to try and design my day that way, and structure my work to take advantage of that, right so that when I’m in that learn, do repeat cycle, I can hopefully be doing it when I have the most to give and then for forgiving myself for actually needing to take a break and I very much was the Keep your head down, hold your breath, keep going till the end. And then you can take a break kind of person. And now the really respecting the idea that I need to take breaks along the way and I actually get more done, than if I simply muscle through it because muscling through it is giving me diminishing returns at an exponential rate. It’s not just I’m a little bit less good at it, I’m a lot less good at it. One of the things so So recognizing that sometimes you think of things that need to be done, and they actually don’t make it to your to do list because they’re not that important.

Quentin Ortega 17:53
I appreciate you giving us part of your peep day here.

Christy Maxfield 17:56
Yeah, I’m definitely funnier in an earlier in the day, I’m definitely more tolerant of BS earlier in the day. There’s all sorts of things. I would also say that one of the things Quinton has done, and I’ve done it in my own way is add people, which is the thing that teams are or owners, I should say are least likely to want to do because people cost money. Right? I have a virtual assistant do I um, salutely need a virtual assistant. Part of my choice to bring her on a couple of years ago was I had to get used to delegating things that truly were not the highest and best use of my time. And until I started to do that, I was I couldn’t wait until there were so much of it that I was overwhelmed. And we still necessary, like scheduling all the meetings that came in reading requests that came in at the end of the year, I could have spent a week organizing my calendar. And thankfully, Heidi helped me do that. But also we’ve tapped each other, we brought in additional team members as we’ve needed them because sometimes two brains are better than one.

Jess Dewell 19:00
Always hands down. Always working in a silo never works, which is one of the reasons I ended up doing what I am doing. And I love every second of it because I get a chance to learn. I can be creative. And I it’s interesting how dialed in you are to your energy management, Christy. I also know mine for the most part. And every once in a while I get surprised. So I’m even breaking my own rules around that now and again. And that is actually what I would say about prioritization, thinking about this. I get so stuck in a routine, that I forget that there’s some potential drag there. And you both have mentioned, you gotta let go of the stuff that’s not important or delegate at what’s only necessary. Unless we know our growth strategy unless we know the direction we want to go unless we are clear with what we are offering how we want to offer it and the impact that we want to make. We actually can’t do a good job of any of the other we don’t know what to say yes or no to and the frameworks and the decision-making process and all of that Add, actually ties into what this is. And I know it seems, of all the things we’re going to talk about seems the one that’s the hardest to grasp or to go, here’s my checklist, and then it’s done at the end. Yeah, think about what you did in college. If you went to college, think about the last class or certification that you took. Think about the last book you read, that was inspiring to you. It doesn’t have to be formal education, it can be any of those things. Anything that created an inspiration that made you double down on something you really care about, or you fully believe in, or you know, is important. I bet you it’s part of your growth strategy, not only in our work world, not only in the professional world, not only in the exchange of value in services, but also personally because it lights us up. It gives us energy, it tells us even when things are hard. It’s not as bad as it’s not bad. And there’s a big difference that we forget and holding up that mirror. It’s hard for me what makes it hard for me. It’s hard for the company, what makes it hard for the company, sometimes it’s delegation, sometimes it’s tool selection, sometimes it’s we’ve got too much extra drag. And that moves us right into this second thing that I wanted, that we teased that when we can’t work any harder. Now what and that is that we have tools available to us to reduce the burden. And those tools just because our growth strategy could be very unique and should be and will be I did use the S-word. I did use the S-word. It will be unique to each one of us. That is something that then comes into the toolset as well. So I know Christy This is really big on your heart and mind right now in terms of we know when we can’t work any harder. And you alluded to it in your in how you prioritize take it away.

Christy Maxfield 21:45
Yep, it’s it does come down to tools. So I’m not an expert on what CRM you’re supposed to use, or how best to time block your calendar, or which which automation and drip sequence is going to get you the highest response rate. When we think of automation and tools, we often think of those things. But I think first and foremost, for me, it’s if I think, how do I actually work smarter and not harder, I have to reduce a load, right, I have to actually make it less strenuous, less burdensome. And I go back to manual labor. And in manual labor, you’re going to find a lever or tool, a mechanism, you’re going to use something so that a another device takes more of the burden than you do alone. And that’s to me, or what automation or using technology or leveraging systems, whether those are paper systems or not paper systems, having systems and processes having ways of doing things having common language with which to do them. And then introducing technology to make those even more powerful, more seamless, less burdensome, kind of, for me is at the heart of smarter, right, I can add more people, I can add more processes, I can add more technology, I’ve got to make sure they’re all aligned and working towards that strategic goal. And what you said too, about the mirror, even when you hold up a mirror, you at best, you can see one side of your body at a time. And generally speaking, if you’re holding the mirror up to your business, you can only see the part that you’re holding up the mirror to at any given time. And as consultants, our job is to reflect back to you on a regular basis, because you’re going to call us and say I’ve got this great opportunity. I’m not sure what to do next. I’m really excited about this. Why can’t I get people to move off the dime on this? And we’re gonna go back to this is what you said you wanted? How does this fit into the plan of your how’s your goal changed where or the way you want to approach that goal changed? And based on that conversation, what do you think you want to do? And I have had one-hour conversations where we’ve gone from overwhelmed to wow, that was a lot simpler than I thought it was going to be. Because I didn’t have any skin in the game to the answers to those questions. I could just pose those questions and also say it’s okay to have changed your mind. But I’m working off the playbook that says this is where we’re headed. And this is how you want to get there. If something’s fundamentally changed, I need you to tell me,

Jess Dewell 24:27
I hear you saying slow down to speed up.

Christy Maxfield 24:30
Absolutely, that the chaos that we all create in ourselves comes from this idea that I am already behind. I should have been doing it before. If I don’t act right now. It’ll be forever if I don’t perform exactly the way I need to perform in this meeting. That all is lost. It was my bite at the apple. Right? We build up a lot of stories and you alluded to that, too, just of what’s holding me back. Is it me? Is it the way I’m doing it is the way I’m thinking about doing it and I’ve applied right now I’ve said already to prepare the sheet of these are the things I think you believe that I’m not so sure they’re working for you, where can we actually re-examine some of these core beliefs? Because the evidence I’m seeing is that operating on, on the basis of these beliefs is not serving you, right?

Jess Dewell 25:17
Oh, it’s wrong equation. Right, the wrong the wrong combination.

Christy Maxfield 25:20
I think they just don’t know how they’re gonna get different outcomes. If they don’t change that

Quentin Ortega 25:24
We’re our own toughest critic. I think that’s the phrase that I always fall back on. Everybody has these high standards. I think. When I think back again, to myself over the years, one of the stories I share with people is that you do set these expectations on yourself. And so for years, I lived in my email inbox, right? And if somebody emailed me, I, within 24 hours, it was my goal that I set in my head that I was getting back to them with a meaningful response, not just I saw this, and move on. And then I took a week vacation, where I like, disconnected from email entirely, right. So I didn’t tell anyone I was going on vacation. I didn’t set like, expectations. I just took a week off. And I came back. And in that time of being away from email, I realized, like, Oh, I’m the only one that expected email to be that, that fast. Like the expectations I lived up there, were stressing me out, right? Like on a pretty regular basis. Let me get back to everybody. If they send me an email, we’re all me because realistically, if somebody had a fire burning that needed more attention, and they’re going to call me they’re going to text me or they’re going to Slack me, right. There are other channels, that people are going to use other tools or see that people are going to use to escalate those messages. And it was a lesson for me, oh, I need to let go of this, of this productivity expectation, because no one else has it. Right. Like now. Now I still try to answer my emails in a reasonable amount of time, not me.

Jess Dewell 26:46
I’m actually email correspondence is my heart is my Achilles heel. Cute.

Quentin Ortega 26:52
No, it’s good to know. Yeah, yeah.

Christy Maxfield 26:56
But it’s an example of a tool to write. So emails is a tool we use everyday, we don’t even think of it as a tool. It’s like a pencil for us. But sending an out-of-office message that sets expectations, even if it’s, I have a higher workload than usual right now, I’m anticipating that it will take me three to four days to get back to you. If it’s an emergency, please text me, right 99.9% of the time, whoever you’re interacting with simply wants to know what’s going on? Did you get it? Did you get it? Yep, I got it. Nope, you’re not gonna get an answer right now. So that’s a tool. If you don’t use some type of automated messaging system for when you need to preserve sacred time to work on your business, then one tool you could adopt today, using folders so that your inbox is not your perpetual filing cabinet is a tool. It’s a way it’s not what we think of as automation on a grand scale. But it’s most certainly going to help you look at that inbox in a different way and feel differently about that, and consequently have more energy to devote to the important things versus oh my god, I’ve got 10,000 unread emails 90% of what don’t need to be in your inbox to begin with, right. So I think that what we don’t need to overcomplicate tools, either, and we don’t have to overcomplicate automation and technology, we do need to lean into using it in ways that actually benefit.

Quentin Ortega 28:30
Nothing stresses me more than those people that we all know we all have this friend or colleague who you see their phone like laying on the table, and it says like 10 or 20,000 on red. There’s the badge and the number. And I’m like, I couldn’t do it. If

Christy Maxfield 28:42
I worked with a co-founder who would his primetime and I’ve told you mine is not this time was like midnight to 3 am Not for Christie is not working. She’s not thinking she’s not doing it. But as I would go to bed, the thing would start to be the thing would start to bring and it would give me stress and anxiety even though I knew he wasn’t expecting a response. No, it doesn’t bring when I have an email, because I am fully capable of opening this up and hitting that icon and seeing how many are in there. It doesn’t I really minimize my notifications, simply to be able to reduce the stressors that make me feel like I need to be working harder, versus working smarter.

Jess Dewell 29:26
But you know, what’s really interesting is I think about this and I’m listening and I’m thinking oh, you know what, this ties into our growth strategy, and it ties into those highest priorities that we have. Because if we have an expectation of answering emails a certain way in a certain timeframe, and when they come in for responsiveness, what is that actually taking away from and is the way that we are doing our work here that makes us solid that makes people want to come back that makes us likable. Is it taking away from that external experience because of what we think we should be doing and I recognize that yes, we can use tools to help, we can also accidentally erode what we’re trying to do. And that’s where this conversation that we’re having, and the tools and the ideas that we’re sharing here, work for each of us. So it’s up to you. Now, it’s up to you now to go, I, maybe I don’t understand my growth strategy. I don’t understand how I make money, I don’t understand where my opportunities to actually grow this company are, I don’t understand where what I actually want to put in versus what I want to get out. These are all business lovers that are incredibly important. And the tools that we choose, are very important for that. One of the things that’s important I know at Red Direction is that we all have lifework balance. So if something comes out of the woodwork, we all are sharing each other’s workload, hands down, when somebody’s on vacation, we plan for it, we know they’re going to be out. And any of you that email me over the last couple of weeks, got an email that said, I’m out and this is the short version, I’m out, won’t respond. When I get back, it’ll be deleted. So it’s really important to email me after this.

Quentin Ortega 31:04
Oh, you’re one of the deletes when they come back people I love that I am.

Jess Dewell 31:08
By the way, my husband me built that muscle already three years to do

Quentin Ortega 31:12
it yet. But I love the technique, just so you know.

Christy Maxfield 31:15
And what was that? It was because if I’m not as the torchbearer as the person who is carrying this mission, as the one who is setting the direction, I’m saying work-life balance, I’m doing it for everybody else. If I am not doing it myself, I am not leading by example. And I am accidentally eroding, and it changes what my what other people will think so holding up going back to holding up that mirror to me holding up that mirror to the business really am I might have a lot to say about what’s out. But what do I actually really have to say about me? And what is what I’m doing here and doing the same for the business. I’m gonna I can tell everybody how everybody else is doing their business. But what about what’s going on? What’s going on in my business? And am I walking my talk? And are the, for lack of a better term right now judgments and criticisms that it’s easy to give other people? Are they actually really present here? And are they a little clue?

Quentin Ortega 32:05
Oh, yeah. For sure. Like, it’s always hard to reflect back on ourselves. Chris has heard me say this a billion times over the past decade of knowing or probably but one of my favorite, like phrases that apply to business is the cobbler’s children have no shoes, right? Because I think that the three of us specifically, we spend all day helping other people grow their businesses and but it’s a different thing to turn around and be mindful of yourself and your own energy level and your own wellness and then taking your medicine, right, like being sure that you’re applying that back on yourself. And I think that been doing you guys now for a while I think that we I think we’re all getting better that I’d like to say right now I’d like to I want to pat ourselves on the back that we’re all getting better at taking our medicine. hopefully over time here.

Christy Maxfield 32:48
I would look for a consultant who has a consultant, a coach who has a coach, right? It’s true that you can’t see your whole business by yourself. If it’s true that holding up the mirror by yourself is not sufficient, then the same has to hold true for me. And if I’m not operating in a system that gives me those checks and balances. I can’t be of highest and best service to you either.

Quentin Ortega 33:15
How to go about it. Acountability buddy.

Christy Maxfield 33:17
I like that.

Jess Dewell 33:18
I like that. I can’t say it. But I like it.

Quentin Ortega 33:21
Christy and I’ve been meeting weekly for a long time. And a lot of that is just to check in right? Sometimes it’s what did you do this week? Right? What did you do this week and trading those back and forth? And Chris is definitely one of my accountability buddies. So for sure on that list.

Jess Dewell 33:34
So what now when we can’t work any harder? This is It’s Your Business brought to you by the Bold Business Podcast. And Christy quick, who are you? What do you do?

Christy Maxfield 33:44
Christine Mansfield purpose first advisors we help build grow and exit business on purpose.

Jess Dewell 33:50
Q, who are you in? What do you do?

Quentin Ortega 33:51
condors QCL consulting, helping companies break through the barriers that are holding them back from growing.

Jess Dewell 33:59
And I’m Jess Dewell host of the Bold Business Podcast founder and managing director of Red Direction, where we look at all the roles there are and we break them together too fast. We’re working with all of these things. And as we are taking that short break, right, we just did a quick reset, hey, don’t forget you’re here. This is why we’re here. I love the conversation we were just having, we’ve talked about the importance of a growth strategy, slowing down to speed up, we’ve talked about the tools, holding up the mirror and have somebody having somebody else to help hold up mirrors for us. So we can see as many pictures of possible. And now we’ve got to talk about the true north. We’ve got to talk about the what do we check in on every day?

Quentin Ortega 34:37
So a lot of times when I started working with clients, we talked a lot about tools and processes. And there’s everybody knows like time management and I should I gotta live in my calendar and I have to use a CRM and I have to like and the because everyone knows and talks about that. I feel like by the time someone talks to one of us a lot of times, they’re like, Oh no, I have those tools. And I’m like great If I see that you’ve paid for the subscription, right, that’s often the case. They’re like, No, I’m paying monthly for HubSpot. So guaranteed I have a CRM, and I’m like, great, but it doesn’t want to use it now. Now, along the way, and so I think that try to start helping people see is finding what I call their True North, or their gold standard for their task prioritization for their day for what’s driving them, right? And I think that kind of revolves around and not only for themselves but for their team, right? So I see this all the time, where if you have a CRM, and you have, let’s say, a ticketing system, like Jira, and you have Slack, and you have email, and you have you have all these things. And so when you sit down as a business leader to grow your company to try to focus on and remember these high-level strategies that that Jess was talking about, and everything you pile all these tools on, that Christy was talking about. It gets lost, right? You somebody sends you an email, and you click on the link in the email, and that email takes you to here and there. And then before you know it, you’re in Wikipedia, like researching. You’re like, what was this hold on? And that was like a valuable five minutes of your day when it comes to time management. So I think that what I work with people on is saying, Okay, what’s the thing that works with how you work? Right, like so, for me, I live by I tell people, I live by my calendar, right? If it’s on my calendar, it’s going to happen, right? That’s number one, probably after that is my email inbox. So like, my email inbox is somewhat of a to-do list for me, right? So I go through and if you send me an email, I’ll get to it, I might, as we just discussed a little bit ago, it might take me a while, I won’t get to in 24 hours, but I will get to it. And then after that, as these other tools start to flow in. And I think that having knowing what your gold standard is might be my calendar is good, because then I check my calendar first, always I sit down my computer, the first thing I do is I look at my calendar, my team around me, if you have a team, they also know that right? So they know if they need my attention if they need to know what I’m doing. Or if they need to know what I’m focusing on or where I am, where I’m located, those sorts of things, they know that they could check my calendar, and it will be the True North, there’ll be the gold standard of what he was working on what one’s working on for that day. And so I think knowing that for yourself, and then also sharing that with your team can be super impactful. And help you to honestly just to not get lost in the noise, right? Because we all are being pulled in a million different directions all the time. The other example of the analogy I give to people is if you’re putting up all these systems, all these tools, it’s like putting up walls in the foundation of a building, right? Like you’re building walls here in there. But if nobody came in and said, This is the point, we’re going to start measuring from that True North point, the walls start to fall down because they’re not attached to each other. And you can put up a CRM over here, you can put up your email over here. But if no one has said, but here is the corner that we all measure from, then it’s gonna be a mess. So finding that TrueNorth and sharing that with other people, I think is a really critical piece of optimizing and stopping to work smarter, not harder. And the goal here of this conversation, so what’s your turn? That’s what I’ll ask you to while we’re here, right? What is your gold standard that you and others know that you look at, right, so that they can set that expectation for you?

Christy Maxfield 38:02
It’s my calendar, very much. And I actually schedule, I asked just scheduled time to do the work, right? So one of the reasons I very reluctantly use a Calendly link in some situations is because I don’t want you just pop it on my calendar. I don’t want to have a random I thought I had a half hour here. And now it’s full. And I also know which things I can move and which things I really can’t move. That’s not a meeting with another human being. But it is a meeting with myself to get this thing done to have the meeting with a human being I find that people often say I’m not really busy, I guess, if you actually need to do something, it is time-bound, it has a deliverable. It requires you to be prepared. Preparation is pretty much the whole game, not just part of the game. Showing up prepared takes a lot of stress out of things. If you’re not creating space in your calendar, if you’re not reverse engineering where you want to be in 90 days and figuring out if that’s true, then I better make sure that I post these posts, send this newsletter schedule these meetings follow up on these proposals. And if I haven’t built time into it, I could. I can definitely tell the time. But I’m going to be running around feeling really stressed out and unprepared. So I like to have more control over who gets on and when not because I’m trying to be a snob but because I acknowledge that it actually takes time to do the work and be prepared to show up some people are on my calendar, who need me to show up. Well, one of my daily prayers is helped me to be of service helped me to show up with compassion helped me to show up with enthusiasm because I don’t always feel like it right. I genuinely love talking about people’s businesses, what they are, how they work, how we can make them better, what opportunities lie ahead, and I’m human so Sunday Is I’m just like, Ah, okay. And I that that is my, how can I structure my day, use the tools at my disposal, use my own Northstar to end my strategic goals to ensure that when I’m showing up, I’m showing up at minus between nine and three,

Quentin Ortega 40:22
Also blocking out that time for the self-care, the like mental time, the meditation, whatever it is, to make yourself better, right? You can’t help others, if you’re dealing with your own stuff, right? Like you have to get yourself right before you can help others with their stuff. And I think that I use my calendar for that as well, when I’m just like, I just need an hour, you know, I don’t know certain things.

Jess Dewell 40:40
Pro Tip number two, when you use a link like that, decide when you want to be interruptible, I’m only interruptible for people to appear on my calendar, three afternoons a week, because they don’t, that’s not when I can do any deep work. That’s when I’m going to be doing other tasks. And you have to get on my calendar 24 hours in advance, I, by the end of my workday, I want to know what’s happening tomorrow. And I’ve done that through my scheduling link. So in the events that were I need, so I don’t want to go back and forth 10 million times. I’m just like, there it is. And I know what those days are. And there’s a little behind the scenes color codes, so that I remember, don’t plan a client meeting here. Or when I do I’m taking away from this opportunity, or, Oh, this would be a great thing. I have to work on this. And it’s okay that I get interrupted here. And that’s really I think what mine is, if you were talking about a TrueNorth for me is what are the things that everything I do is going to result in 10,000. Other to dues. And that is, hands down? I do because I act to plan, I will take action, I need to see how it’s gonna work out, I need to understand what that initial result is. And then I can go yes, no, yes, no, yes, no great, and go. But it’s the result of a lot of things. And until I said, Oh, I don’t have to do all of this stuff that I’m generating, oh, all the stuff that’s been generated, nobody has to do because this is just silly work, we’re, you know, I actually used to lead by spaghetti on the wall. And if it stuck, we’d keep doing it. And if it fell down, we just keep throwing spaghetti at the wall. And that was that was something as a man, there’s a lot of them. This one I’ll share today. I thought it was great, because it promotes innovation and creativity. What I didn’t realize at the time is related to our company’s growth strategy. When that was the case, everybody was fatigued more, because they were always on guard for whatever the new idea was that was coming your way. And it was always coming from me. And so I inadvertently got things out of balance. And we were very creative, but we were not doing the right work. And it comes back down to that those two things. And what is that checking? What is that balance? Thankfully, that was a long time ago. Thankfully, I um, thankfully, I still go, oops, I’m throwing spaghetti at the wall, I got to stop that. And my team actually knows how to I’ll be in a meet will be in staff meetings, and somebody was like, Okay, that was three ideas right now, like, spaghetti on the wall. Okay, gotta pause. What does this actually mean? And there’s nothing there. By the way, some of us are just that way. So if we have to act, we have to plan then you got to clear the plate. So we know what’s left, right? I’m gonna make cookies. But do I have everything to make cookies? I don’t know, I’m gonna pull everything out of my pantry and see, I think I can make cookies with all of this stuff. Well, we got to put the rest of the stuff back in the pantry. Or if it’s expired, put it in the bin, or whatever else we got to do with it so that we can just make the cookies. However we go about it. There is no wrong way. And that is actually one of the things that I think we forget about. We think tools give us a clear path. We think somebody else’s success and following those steps give us a clear path. And really all it does is it can hold us back because we’re prioritizing to somebody else’s strengths are not our own. We’re we’re prioritizing to somebody else’s capacity in their company, in their organization in their reach in their where they’re at in their world are they 10 years in? Are they 25 years in Are they two years in. And when we compare ourselves apples to apples, we accidentally get off track. And so that’s actually something acting to plan is awesome. I’m all about that, get rid of the extras. And then day to day I have just three things because I know there’s stuff is going to come up people are gonna want my time, I want to be accessible. And sometimes those three things might be three, personal wellness, personal care, timeout, self-care things, and the whole rest of the day is interrupted by everybody else and that’s okay. And there’s definitely I have a cycle that I would say, not a daily thing but more of a it’s probably a six-week cycle that I’m like, Oh, I know about this time I’m gonna be really creative or I have space to do that kind of thing in my calendar. And I will shape that and be okay with. I might not eat my vegetables every day. But as long as I’m eating the rainbow once a week I think I might be doing okay. And there’s something to be said for just owning that. It’s all good. It’s all good. Three things lots of stuff. I discard and say no. Every day and that is a that has been a challenge because I like to be of service because I like to be able to show up for people. And I’m not I don’t think I’m a people pleaser. I used to think that but I don’t think I’m that I just like to say yes. And I think I like to be helpful. But saying no actually makes me more helpful. And saying no actually has moved mountains that much more.

Christy Maxfield 45:17
Yeah. And actually, if you’re helping somebody who hasn’t asked for help, it’s the disservice to them. And you. So I also find leaders who say, I don’t want to ask so and so to do this, because they already have too much on their plate. And nine times out of 10, they, the person perceives it as you don’t trust me, you’re working around me, you have some other thought going on in your head about me, that’s not good, because we never think that other people think good things about us. And your attempt to protect this person actually backfires. And you’ve put more on your plate than you needed to. And what I hear under all though, whether you’re starting with your growth strategy, choosing a tool, using a tool, making one of those tools your go to, you have to make choices. And there is a perception that if I don’t make choices, I can play the field. And then when one of those things, becomes more, I can jump on it and do it and I won’t be locked in. In fact, making no choice is a choice. And it you’re choosing not to focus your energy, you’re choosing not to make strategic decisions, you’re choosing to chase after all the things, you’re choosing to work hard. And there’s actually nothing that says that when you make a choice, you can’t change your mind into something else, which is at the heart of justice, act to plan, make the choice. You get go to the movies and go ice skating, choose one, you walk into movie, and it doesn’t mean it’s not rocking your world you can leave and going skating. You can also send the food back you can but I was with somebody once we must have gone through five rounds of eggs. And I was like, I’m ready to go. I don’t know how anybody else feels. But you can make a different choice, right? It’s not forever and ever and Amen. There are very few

Quentin Ortega 47:11
Like being a business leader as making decisions. That’s what everyone’s looking for you to do. And to make them confidently even if you’re not sure,

Focused on growth? Listen to more programs like this, which support the challenges and opportunities you are working with right now. Search Bold Business Podcast for the key terms at, or your preferred podcast listening app.

Jess Dewell 47:33
We showed up because we can’t always work harder. And what can we do about that? And that’s the conversation we’ve been having today. And we talked about three areas with which our listeners and our watchers can start thinking about it. They can think about how I how well do I know my growth strategy. And am I able to prioritize work for that? They can look at the tools that they’re using and say, Are these the tools that actually helped me lighten the workload and get the stuff the necessary work done? And it’s how are we using those tools? And are they actually being effective for us. And we because we’re using them every day, because they help us be productive every day, because they give us a pulse of what’s going on in our business every day. And those are the three areas that we really talked about. And we went deep on a lot. And we didn’t necessarily give how tos. Because this isn’t a how to conversation. This is a conversation of the How to is what question are you going to ask yourself. So we’re going to, we’re going to help you out by saying here’s what our biggest takeaway is. Here’s what our biggest takeaway is, from this conversation of people who do this every day, not only growing our own businesses, but working with other companies and business owners to grow their businesses. What was your biggest takeaway?

Quentin Ortega 48:45
I can go first, I think that just I enjoyed the reminder, I think from you, it’s a good reminder for me constantly to always zoom out further, if that makes sense. I feel like in this chaos of using these tools of trial of fire, even, even of using a TrueNorth tool, finding your like one tool that you’re relying on. We as humans still often default to this day-by-day feeling right? What do I have to do today? And then you put the blinders on. And you focus on that day that and I think as, as somebody who’s trying to grow your business, as somebody who’s trying to do that, you have to remember that you have to sit and take time and remind yourself to zoom out and see that and I think that even for myself, it’s a good reminder just to hear that over and over, right? Because I think that even you can hear it over and over. But again, as humans, I feel like we default back to focusing on just what’s in front of us all the time. That’s just what we do. It’s our nature.

Christy Maxfield 49:34
For sure. I don’t know if we explicitly said it, but the idea of there’s a difference between knowing that something can be done or how to do it and doing it. And a lot of times I think people resist working with coaches or consultants because they’re like, they’re not going to teach me anything new and they’re just going to tell me what I know already. But there’s a difference if you’re struggling in the space Have knowing. But having trouble doing or feeling like that doing is way harder than it needs to be that you’re doing the hard work and you’re not seeing the results. And you’re now you’re tired and angry? and disappointed and first rated and all the other things. That’s to me a prime signal of, you need to be working with somebody who can help you re-evaluate, take the long view, and then focus in on where you want to be and get rid of some of the superfluous stuff. I’ve had clients where I’ve said, Please don’t read another book or listen to another podcast. Right? Like it uh, you are not that whatever’s going on is not from lack of knowledge. These things are actually creating way more distractions, and way more turmoil for you than they are giving you good things to act on crud and I have talked about this a lot. Everybody reads the book and thinks they can do the book. But 99% of people don’t do whatever that book said they could do. And that’s actually why, if you’re a fan of traction, you can go out and hire an EOS implementer. Because Gino Wickman realized this, the secret sauce was in actually helping you do the thing he wrote the book about because it looks a lot easier on paper than it really is. And there’s real value. I also go back Witten too often to sports, but I watched the documentary Quarterback and I know nothing about football. But what I know now is I need a I don’t need one coach, I need five coaches to help me do very specific things, to help me capitalize on my strengths and mitigate my weaknesses. to strategize to develop a plan not just on how to play the game, but how to play the game against this particular opponent. And I was just fascinated. And I was like how can you watch this and not see the value in working with anybody in any area of your life? Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, business, personal to help you get that next level? Because quite frankly, it works. It’s worked. No quarterbacks a I’ve been throwing the ball for good my whole life. I’m good. I know all there is to know and my muscles, they be good too. And they’re now in a super balls. They’re not mahomes.

Jess Dewell 52:21
That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. I think my biggest takeaway was this concept that all of us talked about it in our own ways, but it was how to say no. How to say no to what is not right right now? And I think that’s a huge piece. That’s just a boundary. It’s, so what are we doing? So those questions that are now coming up for me that I’m going to think about, as I’m reflecting on our conversation and doing some of our post work and all of that as well. So what how else can I say no, I can use a calendar, I can use a tool, I can actually continue, some people are gonna listen to what I said earlier and be like, that’s really inefficient, you know, well, it’s actually the quickest way for me to get to the real work, because I don’t have to, I don’t have to schedule 10 things because 10 things to me is exhausting. But one thing that I throw away 75% of is great. But in the end, what is this? It’s a boundary, it’s what are we saying no to? So we can say yes to more of what’s right. Because when we when we know what’s necessary, and we make the space to do as much of that necessary work as possible. That’s really where all of the magic happens. It’s where all of all of the empowerment of our teams comes in. The ability to communicate clearly and simply that vision, the ability to show up every day, regardless of what we’re facing the good, the bad, the ugly and the exciting, and be okay knowing I don’t know what I’m going to do how I’m going to do this. I don’t know what’s gonna go on. I know people are looking to me, and that’s okay. And there you have it. This is It’s Your Business hosted by the Bold Business Podcast, and I’m Jess Dewell your host,

Christy Maxfield 53:58
Christy Maxfield.

Quentin Ortega 54:00
Quinn Ortega.

Jess Dewell 54:01
We will see you next time.

Wow! Jess hosts the Bold Business Podcast to provide insights for building a resilient, profitable business by deeply understanding your growth strategy, ensuring market relevance, and your company’s future. It is bold to deeply understand your growth strategy with your host. Jess Dewell. Get more information about how to drive solutions and reset your growth mindset at Thank you for joining us and special thanks to our post-production team at The Scott Treatment.