Robert and Noelle discuss the power of decisions with Barbara Hemphill. Barbara shares her view that clutter, in your rooms, on your computer or even in your mind are all a result of postponed decisions.
She shares some practical tips for taming the paper tiger in your life. She shares a message of HOPE for those who feel lost, and for those who feel stuck in a world of indecision.
A little bit about Barbara...
Barbara started her career in the organizing industry in 1978 with a $7 ad in a New York newspaper. Over the decades, she developed world-class expertise delivered by a team of Certified Productive Environment Specialists to help individuals and organizations to tame the chaos and clutter that keep them from being effective, calm, and ultimately free. Her first best-selling book, Taming the Paper Tiger, helped her launch and grow the organization industry. Author of several additional books, including Less Clutter More Life, which reveals that physical and digital clutter is a symptom of emotional and spiritual clutter, and Walking with Barbara: 30 Emails from God.
"Barbara Hemphill’s life goal is to live every day joyfully while giving hope to others! Her license plate reads HOPEFOOL.
When people ask “Why?” she replies, “I am a fool for Jesus and H.O.P.E stands for Help Others Pursue Entrepreneurship, which has been her passion for 40+ years!
Check out more of Barbara
barbarahemphill.com and tameyourpapertiger.com
Special offer: Vision Accelerator $997 on special for $197 paid to the Shepherds House Ministry Project (donation) until 12/31/22
Robert Peterson 0:10
Welcome to the add value to entrepreneurs podcast, the place where we help entrepreneurs to not hate their boss. Our mission is to end entrepreneurial unhappiness. If you dream of changing the world, but you're not sure where to start, the add value entrepreneurs podcast will help you transform your life in business. This podcast is for entrepreneurs who want more freedom and fulfillment from their work so they can live the life that they desire. You deserve it, and it is possible. My name is Robert Peterson, Farmer passer turned CEO and the smiling coach. I believe that success without happiness is failing. But there is hope. Join us each week as we bring you an inspiring leader or message to help you. Thanks for investing time with us today. Today's guest is the vision accelerator and founder of productive environment Institute.
Noelle Peterson 1:03
She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs accelerate their vision so they can leave a legacy that matters.
Robert Peterson 1:10
Barbara Han pills life goal is to live everyday joyfully while giving hope to others. Her license plate reads hope full.
Noelle Peterson 1:18
When people ask why she replies I'm a fool for Jesus. And hope stands for help others pursue entrepreneurship, which has been her passion for over 40 years,
Robert Peterson 1:29
Robert and well discuss the power of decisions with Barbara Hemphill. Barbara shares her view that clutter in your rooms, on your computer, or even in your mind are all a result of postpone decisions.
Noelle Peterson 1:41
She says some practical tips for taming the paper tiger in your life, she shares a message of hope for those who feel lost. And for those who feel stuck in a world of indecision.
Robert Peterson 1:52
If you're an entrepreneur who started their business with a purpose and a passion that has been lost in the busyness of the daily grind, we get it. That is why we've opened up our free strategy calls. A lot of entrepreneurs probably including you just want a sense of clarity on the barriers holding them back that you need to overcome in order to accelerate your growth and achieve your dreams. These short 30 Minute Calls give you a chance to work with one of our coaches without any commitment or pressure. Scheduling is easy, just go to smiling call.com. Let's jump on a call and get you the help and clarity you need. Select your time, and let's build your business. It's time for you to add value. Well. Barbara, thank you so much for joining us today. We're excited to have this conversation and so grateful for our friend introducing us and and making this possible today.
Barbara Hemphill 2:46
Me too. I'm happy for the opportunity. I enjoyed reading about your story. And so happy to share mine.
Robert Peterson 2:54
Well, perfect. So typically we let each guest just share their entrepreneurial journey and what's led them to what they're working on now and the impact they're trying to make.
Barbara Hemphill 3:05
Well, it's a long story. I've been an entrepreneur for 44 years.
Robert Peterson 3:10
Well, congratulations. That's exciting.
Barbara Hemphill 3:12
It is. And what's particularly exciting is that I love it more now than I did when I started. So it started because my first husband and I lived in India, we worked with an organization called Church World Service. And when we while we were there, we adopted three orphan children. They were ages two, three, and four, one of them had special needs. And my husband got a station back in New York City and he was working for a nonprofit so didn't make enough money to pay for living expenses in New York. So I needed to figure out a way that I could contribute. And but I wanted my children to be first and so it's like, okay, how do I do that? And I decided that one way would be to find a problem in the world that I could solve that people would pay me for. So I sat on the playground and I would just listen to people talking and complaining. I grew up on a farm in Nebraska so I went around with my father and grandfather. So that's pretty handy. I could do you know electrical repairs and plumbing and stuff like that. So I was gonna do a BIA handy woman handyman. But in New York, you have to be you have to be a member of the Union sounds like okay, well, I can't do that. And then I would hear people talk about being disorganized. I would hear people say we haven't eaten off the table in a month because it's piled full of papers or we had to file an extension or income taxes because it couldn't find the receipts or I'm fighting with my children about their cluttered room or women saying I'm fighting with my husband because he dumps his clutter on the kitchen counter and I can't cook dinner. And I realized they didn't have my mother I'm not a naturally organized person myself, I was trained as a musician. I've been diagnosed with ADHD I love to start things. I don't like to finish things. I love the big picture, but I don't like details. But I grew up in the second floor of a tenant farmhouse. And my mother was an administrative assistant to a bank president for 46 years. And my father was a dairy farmer. And so they, we grew up with systems, this was the way you did things. And I thought everybody had systems like that. Well, I found out that a lot of people don't probably more people don't have systems and do our systems. So I ran, I took $7 out of the grocery money, which is a big deal, because I used to walk 20 blocks because I didn't have 50 cents for the bus. And it said, disorganized I organized closets files, kitchens, you name it called Barbara Hemphill nice, and I got three crank calls from guys trying to pick me up. And and the fourth call was from a widow, 55 years old, her husband was an attorney, he had died very suddenly. She didn't know anything about managing anything. And he had left piles of paper everywhere. And so I went in and started sorting through the piles, I first looked at it, oh, what have I done. And I charged $10 An hour and lived in horror that somebody was going to ask me what made me think I was worth $10 an hour. I didn't tell her she's my first client. She never knew that. But then it went well. And then to promote it, I would go and speak at church groups and PTAs and garden clubs and any place that I could find a platform, I quickly learned that the number one organizing challenge was paper that we can do the closets in the cupboards in the kitchen is in the garages, but all of those spaces had boxes of papers. And the questions that people would ask me was, how long do you keep and in those days, it was bank statements, because we used to get those canceled checks that you wrapped up in your bank statement. And everybody kept them for decades. Nobody knew what to do with them. But they just they didn't balance checkbooks with them, which is what they were intended for. But they kept them. And they would ask me, How long do you keep those? And how long do you keep expired insurance policies and how long medical records and real estate sales and I didn't have a clue. So I thought well, there must be a book in the library. And I went to the library and much to my amazement, discovered there really wasn't a user friendly book that answered those questions. And so in 1988, I wrote a book called taming the paper tiger, which basically dealt with every single piece of paper that came into the household. I mean, recipes, cartoons, junk mail, photographs, memorabilia, tax records, financial records, everything. And it ultimately became a best seller and I became known as the paper tiger lady and build that kind of as a brand. I then realized we're jumping ahead because I realized people began doing digital information. So I didn't want to be known just as the paper tiger lady, because I didn't want people to think that that was all I knew about because, and let me just say that the whole business all these 44 years has been based on four words, clutter is postponed decisions. And I learned that from clothes, closets, clothes, closets fill up, because you haven't decided whether you're going to lose the 10 pounds to get into your favorite pair of pants, or whether you're going to use the exercise equipment that looks so good on home shopping network, or the candlesticks that you got from Sally and you love Aunt Sally. But the candlesticks are not really your style. But if she came for Thanksgiving dinner, she'd be so happy if they were on the table. And then the same thing is true of paper, there's a pile of papers and you say okay, today's the day, I'm going to clean this up and you pick up the first piece of paper and think of any number of reasons why you can't do this today. And then the second and the third. And before you know the pilot was on this side is on this side, and it's time to go to a meeting. And then comes email. It's like so people sit in front of email and they do open, close, open, close, open close for 45 minutes. And at the end, nothing has changed except that they feel discouraged about what they've done. And it's because they haven't made decisions. So basically, that's what I'm about is teaching people to make decisions. And then I ultimately in 1998 didn't realize I was doing lots of speaking I was traveling all over the world giving speeches but realizing that in some ways I was actually adding to the problem because I was raising people's awareness, but I didn't really have a solution, I was only one person, you know. And and, and for most people who are disorganized reading a book is not the answer, that's just putting another pile something else on top of the pile. So that wasn't really the book gave me credibility, which is I now at partnered with a publishing company. And our tagline is a brand needs a book. And a book needs a brand, because there's nothing and I have all I'm looking at a whole shelf full of books that I that I published, and I would not still be in business after 40 years if out if I hadn't published those books. So I'm passionate about helping entrepreneurs, put a book their story, you know, into a book. But I started training people to become certified at what I was doing. And so fast forward, there's now a company called productive environment Institute, we define productive environment as an intentional setting, in which everyone can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. And we have a program that's virtual, we do virtual organizing, which when COVID came along was a huge blessing, because there were so many people that needed to organize their home offices. And we could do it virtually. And so with total office transformation, in 90 days, you can go from, to a four day workweek, because we can actually increase your productivity enough that you can work one day less, and we've proven that, you know, over and over again. So that's kind of the short story that that company now is run by one of the people I've trained, I've trained hundreds of people. And one of the people I trained was Andrew Anderson, and she now runs productive environment Institute, because one of my goals as an entrepreneur, was I wanted my business to exist while I was gone, that if I dropped dead, I wanted it to still exist. And it will if I dropped in tonight, it would continue tomorrow, because Andrew has done that all. But I wasn't ready to quit working yet everyone. I'll be 76 next month. And everybody says, When are you going to retire and I said, I have no interests. My mother was 82. And still working full time because she wanted to, and I think I have her genes and I have no interest in retiring at all. But what I do now is something that I call vision accelerator. God has given me an ability to see things that people can do that they can't see for themselves. And it's often based on a question, what did you like to do when you were 1011 and 12 years old?
Barbara Hemphill 12:35
Because whatever the answer to that question is, is a key. It's a clue to what God created you to do. Every single time. And we always work with that with our our consultants. They all help people organize offices, but they pick different kinds of people. So like one of ours does, does people with ADHD and somebody else works with it. They have physical fitness companies and they have different things. And so we always help them find their target market based on what they were doing when they were young. My husband is brilliant at managing money. He always has been. He's a retired Army colonel and he worked for state government for a while. But his mother told me when he was 12 years old, he wanted the Wall Street Journal for his birthday. Well, there's a good example you know, I mean, this man is brilliant. When other people are losing money, he always figures out how to make it because that's a God given talent. So envision accelerator I'm helping them explore what is their God given talent that can take them to the next level. And also, I've helped people get rid of millions of pounds of clutter in 44 years and what I have seen is women especially spend hours days weeks years agonizing over who to leave their China their crystal their furniture, even their 401 K or even their property to bet as a Christian I believe that this world is not my home and so all that all that individuals all that physical stuff is really worthless and and that was proven lately, we saw that when Hurricane Ian came. And I was looking at people standing on top of their cars, with everything around them and thinking when they were on top of their car, they probably didn't even have their phone or their wallet. Which man if they didn't have Jesus, they didn't have anything but if they had Jesus they had everything. So one of the things that I did when I was little which I did not know I had to ask my mother that I asked my mother. I knew that as a child she worked for a jewelry store and she used to bring home the bent boxes from the jewelry store that they could use and I had a my only private space was a small club Was it and my father built me a chester drawers in there. And I used to arrange those boxes trying to maximize that space. But when I asked my mother, what was I doing? When I was little? She's Oh, don't you remember, you used to gather the family in grandma's parlor and you preach to us? Well, thought about it as Okay, now I'm preaching, organizing, and that's certainly what it's been for decades. But as I get older, and I see the state of the world, I like to combine helping people eliminate their clutter, which is clutter comes in four, four types, there's physical, digital, emotional, and then most of all their spiritual clutter. And it's the spiritual clutter that prevents us from that creates all the other kinds. So I'm actually preaching Jesus and organizing now. And my license plate says hope full. And when people ask me why I say because I'm a fool for Jesus. And H O P E stands for help others pursue entrepreneurship, which I've been doing for 40 plus years and love doing.
Noelle Peterson 16:08
talking point, that's nice, I love it.
Barbara Hemphill 16:11
It starts a conversation going for sure.
Robert Peterson 16:14
What a terrific story having having lived overseas, I want to go all the way back to the very beginning, when you talked about living in India. And, you know, obviously Noel and I both lived in South America for for a period of time and, and understand the value that that gave our family and we're as we're recording this, we're coming up on Thanksgiving and, and I just think about the things that Noel learned about cooking and about just there was no there was no one else there to help her cook raw vegetables and raw foods from the raw sources. And I think it changed. It changed her as a mom and a woman and, and just elevated our family. Plus, we didn't have to choose whose house we were going to and how many houses were dividing up and splitting up to go, you know, try to figure out how to get to three, four houses, and Thanksgiving dinners and all these places. So there was a huge benefit there. But tell us tell us a lesson that you learned about living overseas that served you and helped you?
Barbara Hemphill 17:20
Well, there are just so many, but one of them that I think about that's really important is that in the house that we lived in, which was provided for us by the organization we work for, if we sat at the dining room table and looked out the window, we could see peacocks doing their mating dance. And we had a gardener actually was provided for us. And he grew flowers that were just amazing, including dahlias the size of dinner plates, which were fine until the goats found them which periodically they did. But if you walk through the house and went to the back, there was a large field. And that field served as a latrine for the villagers behind there. And in the field was a very tall, old fort. And on top of that fort would be vultures. And the vultures would sit there waiting for the animals to die in the field and dive down to get them. So when people would ask me what was life like in India, I would say Well, do you want me to tell you the peacock story or the vulture story? And I think that's true. That just isn't true in India. That is true. Anywhere you live. There's always peacocks and vultures. And you know, we're coming on Thanksgiving, which you mentioned. And I think gratitude is just non negotiable. If you want to be happy, then Being grateful is just really, really important. And I've learned I'm now working on a project in India called the shepherd's house ministry that came because I have on my LinkedIn profile. The last sentence said, as a follower of Jesus, I pray that other people will feel His love whether I ever mentioned his name. As a result of that I get a lot of spam things you know, and one guy in Pakistan sent me pictures of bloody bodies and you know that, but one man named Canary reached out to me and he said, I feel called to be a pastor, but I don't have any training. And so I began to communicate well, what kind of what do you have in mind? What kind of training would you like and whatever else? Well, what he didn't tell me for almost two months was that his wife and his three children, they were literally starving. They were living on the border of Burma. They were digging up roots and eating them and eating leaves and berries and drinking water to keep from feeling hungry. And this was right during COVID and it was difficult to get things to them to this day. I can't ship it's $100 a pound to ship there and it gets stolen. And before it gets to them, so you can't really ship them anything. But I started communicating with him. And that was it'll be two years, it'll be three years in March of next year. And they were living in a house that was loaned to them by someone, and then that was gonna get taken away, and they didn't have any place to live. And long story short, we are in the process of building a building, which we are calling the shepherds house. And it will be the home for shepherds house ministry, which will be a home church, but it will also be an Entrepreneurial Center, we have managed through the grace of God to purchase an acre of land, which will be enough that they can grow lemon trees and have a piggery and get some chickens and, and things like that. So we're in the process now of we've managed to build the first floor, and we're raising money now and to build the second and third floors. And my goal is that by the end of 2023, it'll be self sufficient.
Robert Peterson 20:58
Nice. Yeah, one of our projects, pre COVID was to take teams to countries like India, Colombia, East Africa, not not countries, but there are multiple countries in East Africa that in and do Entrepreneurial Development for like literally the hot dog vendor, the micro enterprises, the people that could never afford to go to, you know, a Tony Robbins conference if it came to South America. And so we want to take teams and just do basically small encouragement, weekends, right. It's, it's, it's really a business conference, but it's more about encouragement, and lifting up and empowering people to believe in their God given vision and their God given ability to make an impact, regardless of what the dollars and situation around them looks like.
Barbara Hemphill 21:51
That's absolutely true. I mean, you know, without a vision, the people perish, and people need to have vision. And I think a lot of people have gotten discouraged, they been told that they couldn't do things. And Canary says all the time, you know, this is just the fact that I keep encouraging him means all the world to me, even when I'm not able to give him the kinds of things that I would like him to be able to do. So I think it's extremely important.
Robert Peterson 22:17
It's so valuable. All right, so now we're gonna get to the selfish part of the conversation. I'm, I've been attacked by the paper tiger and, and digital. Well, we won't even go into the digital Tiger because at least I can keep that I can close the lid.
Barbara Hemphill 22:35
Yeah, I didn't say that digital, digital clutter is just a bigger, faster hidden mass, but it's the same thing.
Robert Peterson 22:43
Well, and you just postpone it by putting it on a bigger hard drive, and then the next bigger hard drive and the next bigger hard drive. So for someone who takes notes on paper, and and piles, these papers in multiple locations, how do you help make these decisions? What are the decisions that really need to be made? Because you're saying these are this clutter is postponed decisions. So so this is gonna be a selfish podcast, the rest of you don't need to listen, this is just Robert trying to figure out how does he deal with this?
Barbara Hemphill 23:12
Well, we need to give him a lot. I guarantee you, you're not the only person because in spite of all the promises of the paperless world, my experience is that there's a large percentage of the population that still has paper. For years, my license plate said less paper. So I'm a big advocate of less paper. I think paper less is completely unreasonable, especially for anyone over 40. I mean, it's just I don't want to be paperless. I have no interest in being paperless. But I really believe in having a system. So to answer your question, first of all, there's only three decisions you can make about any piece of paper, file, act, or toss. File means I don't know if I'll ever need it again. But I don't have the guts to throw it away. So that's kind of go in a reference file only. We don't use filing systems, we use finding systems and we have a whole we have a whole training program on how to create a finding system. The second action is the second option is act I need to do this I need to pay this bill, I need to write this report, I need to have this phone call. So the question is, and often the reason we postpone it is it looks there several things that need to be done, and then we feel overwhelmed. We don't do anything we just shove it over to the sock. So the question you want to ask them is what is the next action by when? And so every time you know people have heard this handle a piece of paper only once, which is ridiculous. I mean, it's ridiculous. But a ver a version of that. is every time you handle a piece of paper, you say, okay, is this a file, act or toss, if it's a file, you put it in your to file pile, and then you address that you have to have a system for system we use the acronym, saving you space, time, energy and money. Every time there is something that you do repeatedly know li rant about how you help do administrative things, you know that that's what good administration is about having systems in place. So we teach people how to have systems, not only to make, you have to make the decision, but it isn't enough just to make the decision, you have to have a way to implement the decision. So for example, let's say you pick up a piece of paper and you look at it, a good example is okay, this is an email I printed out from you, when we first talked a long time ago, I use something called the swift file, this is today's date. So this piece of paper for this folder is right here. So when Today's day came, it's like I'm going to talk to Robert. And here's what I need. Now I have it electronically as well, so that I can pull it up. But I prefer to be reminded, with paper, it's not the only way. But that happens to be my choice in most cases. Then the last one is toss and research shows that 80% of what we keep we never use. And the more we keep the less we use either because remember, we have it or we can't find it.
Robert Peterson 26:38
Oh, that's so good. We will be right back after this short break. This episode is sponsored by perfect publishing a different approach to publishing a book. Perfect publishing carefully chooses heroes of Hope, who exemplify living a life they created through faith, hope, patience, and persistence. No matter what page you open to in this mini cube of hope, you will find a leader with a big heart, you will see you are not alone. The authors may share similar challenges that only hope and action could resolve. Get your free ebook at get a dose of hope.com. Welcome back, let's get back to more greatness. I mean, it's a true but I know I was over here shaking her head because her filing system for me, I'm pretty sure it's just toss, you should just toss it all start off.
Noelle Peterson 27:28
I constantly say 80% Probably.
Barbara Hemphill 27:31
And God has a sense of humor, I think most often couples are very different. That's certainly true in my case. And the interesting thing is, the more the organized one tries to help the disorganized one, the worse it gets. So I cannot tell you how many books I have not sold. Because somebody will compensate. I'm buying this for my husband, or I'm buying this for my wife and I will not sell it.
Robert Peterson 28:02
Good for you. That's that's, that's carry I mean, that's character, right. That's understanding who your target audience is and, and recognizing, look, if I sell it to you, it's just a waste of
Barbara Hemphill 28:13
money. What I want to point out is in this book, less clutter more alive, which is my favorite book, because it's so beautiful. And you can read it, it's got these gorgeous photographs in it, you can read it in just less than an hour. But page 14 says what stops us from getting organized. And I want to read this because I think you'll relate to it. I never have enough time. I have too much to do. I have better things to do. Organizing is boring. It's too difficult. It never lasts. I often overthink the situation. I didn't create it, I have no idea what's there. I'm easily distracted and go off on tangents. I get stuck in the memories of the past. It's too emotionally draining. Oh, and now here's a big one. I want to be responsible and respectful of the things I've been given. I have to take care of other people and other things in my life first. It's hard to admit I have an issue. And I'm afraid to let something go I might want it back. So are passionate we have a free webinar. So one of the things that anybody on this can listen to you go to tame your paper tiger.com It is a two hour webinar. And what's interesting is 90% of the people who stay on stay the entire two hours which tell em come back sometimes for repeat. So you can tell it's and it's a hands on workshop, where you actually come with a pile of papers. So we're going to teach you how to make this decisions and how to implement those decisions in that particular call. So it's a free resource, anybody can do it, and come back as many times as you want. And that will that get you started. And then part of what that does, is at the end, you can, there's a scorecard, we fill out we've done 1000s of scorecards, when you fill out this scorecard, we can quickly look and figure out what kind of help you need, we can figure out what the issue is, because it isn't a one size fits all, everybody has different issues. So the scorecard tells us what issues you are dealing with. And then we can customize, we have something called the total office blueprint, which is actually a picture of our system for organizing your office. You we give you that as part of doing this, the seminar, and then we offer a consultation afterwards to customize that for you. And we do that for no charge. We're not trying to sell you anything. We're just trying to get you to enact to, to do what you heard. And then if you want help, and we'll say do you want help, and then we have coaches that will help you either virtually or, or in person.
Robert Peterson 31:10
I think one of the biggest challenges and it was a challenge that we created for our kids, because when we lived overseas, we had a maid and the maid took care of a lot of the kids cleaning and room, you're putting stuff away. And they liked helping her. They Yeah, they liked helping her but but but the truth is they never learned the organizing part of you know, this object has to have a home and knowing that that object has a home. And so when an object didn't have a home, the kids would just put it anywhere because anywhere was home. And so it we did them a disservice in not equipping them to to have a system really is what it boils down to is that there was no system and
Barbara Hemphill 31:56
it's very common, it's happened a lot, it happens a lot. Now we're families have both parents working, and there really isn't time to deal with all that. And so, I mean, we've sent a lot of our clients, our clients who didn't have the parents we had, I mean, that's just the that's the reality of it. But one of the things that I think is so exciting, and that I've seen over and over is it's never too late to learn if people want to. And the most important thing is that, you know, like you've heard the saying, a place for everything and everything that's placed. And somebody said, Well, I can never do that. Well, that's not I mean, that's like handle a piece of paper only once that doesn't make any sense either. A place for everything is essential. Everything is not always going to be in its place because life is messy. But the trick is figuring out what level of clutter you are willing to live with, and how long it's going to take you to clean it up. So I'll give an example. I mentioned I'm not naturally organized. If you come into my office or my home on a Thursday, you might look around and say and they pay you money for organism because it's going to be messy. I like to start things I don't like to finish things. I mean, I did a video the other day, I was making something called the fruit pizza, which is one of my family's favorites. And I did a video of the kitchen after I was done. I mean, it looked like a bomb went off. Because I'm not somebody who takes down, uses it wipes it off, put it on, I pull it all down. And this isn't the right size. And I want this one. And this one is just like everything looks terrible. I'm the same way with my desk. But when Friday comes, everything has a place. And it needs to take less than 30 minutes for me to get it in that place. If it takes me longer than 30 minutes, then that means there's something wrong with the system. That means I need to go back and change something. There's something. So I told that story to one of my clients a number of years ago and he said, you know, he said I hate picking up clutter. He said I hate clutter, and I hate picking it up. But he said if I would do it first thing in the morning, get a home office. He said if I would do it first thing in the morning, it would be like Brian Tracy's book, Eat That Frog. He said it would take me five minutes. And so he said, If I clean up the clutter in the first five minutes, then I'd have it done. So here's the difference. So this is what I call the art of organizing, people will say what should I do? And I always say that is the wrong question. The question is, what will you do? And organizing in and of itself has no value. In fact, you may know someone I know people that spend all of their time organizing, but they never have anything to show for it. They're just just organizing they're never producing. So this is about what my question is not what should you do but what will you do because if your why if you Look at Simon Sinek the power of why the why organizing in and of itself has no value. It is simply a skill and a system to help you accomplish what you want to accomplish. So one of the questions I love to ask people is, if you died tonight, what regrets would you have? The answer to that question is extremely important, because it is impacting your mindset. And it is your mindset that is preventing you from getting organized or doing whatever it is, it's like this kind of anchor that hangs around your head. So we have a five step process that we use, that's the five step process that's in this book. And the five step process is state your vision, identify your obstacles, commit your resources, design and execute your plan and sustain your success. The common word is your and so we take that one thing, so let's say that, you know, what, what's the one thing if you if you died tonight, you would regret? It's like, okay, let's address that. So if you accomplish that, what would it feel like? What would it look like? How would you know that you've done it? And then number two, what are the obstacles? What have you tried that didn't work? Or what are you afraid of? Or who's preventing you? And then resources who can help you? What do you know? Where can you go? How much time and money are you willing to spend on it. And then that takes us to step four was in order to reach this vision, overcoming these obstacles with these resources, here's a plan, let's develop it's what we call a game plan. Let's put together the game plan. And then step five is the one that's the most important, which is sustain your success. And if you're not sustaining your success, then we need to go back because every single thing that you say, think or feel about whatever that vision is fit somewhere in there, and then we can adjust it. So at the end of working together in what I call a vision accelerator. People understand that five step process and they can use it anywhere in their life, either personally or professionally. One of my clients said, we took that and sat down with our family, and we planned our family vacation. So we sat down and said, Okay, what's our vision for a family vacation? And then we talked about what are our resources? How much time do we have? And how much money do we have? And where do we want to go? So it's a tool, I like to leave people with new capabilities. And that's a new capability that they can learn.
Robert Peterson 37:38
Nice. So you mentioned a little bit about design. And obviously, this is very, very intentional. But you also mentioned that part of your goal is helping entrepreneurs get started and, and a piece a piece for me is always asking, What does it look like to design a business around a life that you want?
Barbara Hemphill 38:01
Well, you I think, first of all, you want to ask the question, why do I want to be an entrepreneur? Because you're why I mean, entrepreneurship is not easy. If it were it wouldn't be 80% of businesses fail. I mean, it's just that it's just that through, right. So that means are, it's just like organizing isn't easy. If organizing were, were easy, we wouldn't have all these organizers. Unfortunately, a lot of the organizers put band aids where there needs to be surgery, and they don't really fix the problem. So good. But so first of all, let's explore why you're doing it. Why you want to be an entrepreneur? And then what do you do? And one way is what is it that you know from your experience that you can help other people do because of what you know what your experiences have been. And, and the most important thing is narrowing down the market because like for example, in organizing the biggest challenge when I was training, I certified we certified people that are called certified productive environment specialists. And we have them all over the country all over the world. Actually, we just had a retreat and somebody came from Australia. Nice issue is it's like well, this applies to everybody personally and professionally. Yes, it does. But you cannot market to everybody personally and professionally. We need to figure out who is your the vernacular we use now as Avatar? Who is your your flock? I love that term that's used or who is your target market? Who is the people? So one of the things you want to think about are who are the people you love hanging out with? Who do you really know the most about? It doesn't mean that you can't sell to other people. And it doesn't mean that other people won't ask you, but the language you're going to use to market for example, my My target market is women over 45. Because they are women who are highly successful, they've been successful raising a family, maybe taking care of parents, maybe they've been they've actually had a career, maybe in government and they've retired. Or they've they've just gone through a divorce, or maybe they have an empty nest. They're in some transition, where it's like, okay, my life isn't done yet, but I'm not sure what I want to do next. And so then we're looking at, okay, what skills do you have? And who do you like to hang out with? So I'll give you an example. Yesterday, I did vision accelerator with a woman who's a coach. And I was saying, Do you she said, some of my clients are entrepreneurs, and some of my clients are employees of companies high achieving women. Again, her clients tended to be over 40 as well. And I said, Well, which ones do you like best? Well, you know, I really like them both. But then we went back to her why part of her Why was she's a caregiver for her father who has dementia. So she's limited in the amount of hours she has to work. So one of the things which she said when she was talking about her clients was that her clients who are employees are far easier to deal with than the clients who are entrepreneurs, because employees don't have time to reach out to her 20 times a week to ask for help. And she likes working with them both. So it's like, okay, for right now, this doesn't mean forever. But for the for the foreseeable future, as long as you are taking care of your father, it would make a whole lot more sense for you to use the language to reach out to employees, because it takes less effort. You don't have to be as responsive. You could have physical times appointments, and executive women, they're busy, they have meetings all the time. And they're traveling and all kinds of stuffs. So they don't have time to always be talking to you. Whereas a startup entrepreneur, they have a million questions, and they'll interrupt you 50 times. So at this point in time, that didn't make sense. So helping people start and grow. Entrepreneurship is really about who do you like to hang out with or another example was I had a client who got she was in records management in a large pharmaceutical company. And she got laid off and she got a big severance pay. And she bought a shredding truck, a pink shredding. Nice. I thought this is great. I was so excited because she was going to help them shred the paper, but also help them go digital. So we were working on her business, while she would never sustain her success, because she never stayed long enough with something. She was always jumping over to something else. Oh, well, I just signed up for for a prepaid legal because that's going to bring in some more. And then I signed over to do that and just just constantly jumped around at one point. She said, Okay, I'm gonna mark it to to, to solo lawyers. And I looked at her and I said, Do you like hanging out with lawyers? And I'll never forget the look on her face. And I said, you don't want to be marketing the people you don't want to hang out with.
Robert Peterson 43:25
So true. So very true.
Noelle Peterson 43:28
I do have to ask you going back to the file, act and toss is that the same questions you would ask for digital clutter?
Barbara Hemphill 43:38
It is it? Absolutely. I mean, email, it's the same with email, you know, when I open an email is is a file is is an accurate tos. And then the important thing is there has to be as there has to be a system to implement those decisions.
Noelle Peterson 43:55
Yeah, I assumed I just wanted to make sure there was something I wasn't missing.
Barbara Hemphill 43:58
Now, it's exactly the same. Now one of the things we teach a lot of is the art of wastebasket DRI, which is when you sign up for the 10 year paper tiger, you get the blueprint, and the blueprint has the art of waste mastery. It's a series of questions, you can ask yourself whether or not to keep something. And the last question is the most important one, which is what's and this applies to digital in the same way. What's the worst thing that would happen if I threw this away? Or I deleted it? And you play that out? And then you say, is that a price I'm willing to pay? And it's not a moral issue? I mean, in two people can answer the same thing. So two employees in a company might say, because we do this in companies, we do what we call productivity parties where we clean out the clutter in the company. We did it for church just recently called clear the clutter for Christ and we went into the church and we cleared out the cluttering church with volunteers and people doing it to people you say what's the worst thing would happen is they both might say, well, the word thing would be the boss would be mad. And one would say, He'll get over it, throw it away. And the other one would say, I don't want it to be mad. That's not a right or wrong. That's the art. So we use what we call the cost factor, which is you can keep everything you want, if you're willing to pay the price. The price is time, space, money, and energy. So our job is not to tell you Oh, you don't need to keep that we don't have a right to do that. Nobody can do that, except that person. But our job is to say, if you choose to keep it, this is what's going to cost in time, space, money and energy. But I want to I want to tell one other story that I think is really significant about the emotional side of this. I was autographing books in New York City at Barnes and Noble. And I made the comment that every time I found somebody who had trouble letting go of, especially paper, but everything but especially paper, if I asked enough questions, I would find that that person had experienced a severe emotional loss in their life. Because the problem with papers is papers represent it isn't the paper. It's what the paper represents, our hopes, our dreams, our failures, our fears, our all of those sorts of things. Well, I made that comment. When I was done, this young man in his probably early 20s, walked up and he was his eyes were teary. And he said, My apartment is so full of papers, I haven't had anybody in it for months, including my family. And he said, I come home from work at night, and I say, okay, tonight's the night, I'm going to clean up this mess. And he said, I pick up the papers, and I start to figure out what to do. And I become physically paralyzed, I can't move. And he said, there are nights, when literally says I sorted my bed, because that's a studio apartment in New York. And that was the only flat space. He said, Sometimes I'd just push the papers over. And I would end up lying in bed next to this pile of papers. And then he looked at me and he said, My mother died when I was six. He said, Are you telling me that I have to deal with the grief of losing my mother, before I can manage my paper? And what I said to him was, I can't answer that, because I'm not a mental health professional. But I can tell you what I've seen over and over from experience. If you will find someone you trust, probably not a family member who can help you decide if you need or want to keep them. It will solve your paper problem. And it will probably help you deal with your roots, your mother as well. Well, I told that story. I was speaking to several 100 Women at a university and a woman walked up to me and she said, Well, you just saved my marriage. I said, Wow, that's pretty dramatic. What do you mean? Can you tell me what you mean? And she said, Well, I came to this conference with the intention of going home and telling my husband do my married for 13 years that I was leaving, because he's a pack rat, and I have allergies, and he won't get rid of anything. And I can't get rid of the dust and it makes me sick. And she said, but I never understood before until I heard you that it wasn't that he wouldn't get rid of it. But that he couldn't. His mother died when he was seven. So I said, May I make a suggestion? She said yes. And I said, Why don't you go home and say something to the effect of I never understood before how important all of this is to you. Let's figure out how we can keep it and still live together. So she did and I stayed in touch with her for probably six or eight months afterwards. And the change was dramatic. It still has a long road ahead doesn't take him 13 years to get there. So it took a while but there was a dramatic change because he felt heard for the first time and she wasn't saying you don't need that when someone says you don't need that you are actually making the problem worse.
Robert Peterson 49:11
Well, you touched touched a soft spot there because my mom's mother passed away when she was 12 and you got mom had a clutter problem her whole entire life and and I know that my dad was not helpful in his approach to the situation. So definitely lesson learned. Barbara, this has been so so terrific, so valuable, appreciate all that you shared. So we typically end each episode with a guest sharing their words of wisdom. So Barbara, what would your words of wisdom to an entrepreneur listening be?
Barbara Hemphill 49:45
Never give up. And I think the other word of wisdom I would suggest is I strongly encourage entrepreneurs to write a book hmm Hmm, I'm living exam. I'm living example I partnered with a Christian publishing company right now called Spirit media spirit media dot U S not.com. And their tagline is a brand needs a book. And a book needs a brand. And if you look on Amazon, the average number of books that are sold on Amazon is fewer than 250. And the reason it's so low is because those books don't have a brand. So as a publishing company, we help the author get a brand going even before they've written the book. But if you are an entrepreneur, I have you can do a little book like this, a little simple, easy book cost $2.20 to produce. It's the cheapest brochure ever. And in our society, there's nothing that gives an entrepreneur credibility, like a book. Nice and easy way to do it is to think of that target market that we've talked about and say, what is it that you want your target market to know feel understand or do differently as a result, and it will make a huge difference, because it's a way to communicate your expertise and hand it out to people and I love to help people part of vision accelerator is helping people figure out how they could write a book because Oh, I'm not a good writer. I'm not a good speller. I'm not a good, you don't have to be any of those things. publishing companies, a good publishing company, will help you do all that. And I'll tell you my favorite story on that is that 20 years ago, I wrote a book. I had an idea for a book that I wanted to write, but I didn't want to write it. So I hired a ghostwriter. And I went to her house. She lives in Rockville, Maryland, and she was on a golf course. And I'll never forget it. We had one of those old fashioned tape recorders with the box that you push the record by, courted me for three days. And I wish I had a picture of it. She had newsprint up on the wall. And while I was talking, she was making all these notes on newsprint. And we were done. After three days. She said go home and I will, I will send you the sample chapters. Well, she sent me the sample chapters, and I just burst into tears. Because I couldn't believe what they were my words, but I just couldn't be able to believe what she dealt with them. And so I called her and I said, You are not my ghostwriter. You are my co author. I'm not hiding your skills. So we co authored that book together was called Love it or lose it living clutter free forever. It was a great book, we didn't build a brand and we didn't make it a best seller. But now spirit media has. One of the things they do is take books that haven't sold well and kind of repackage them. So I sent him that book. And I said, What do you think about this and that editors, Oh, I love this book. And she said, it's the 20th anniversary. So we so I called my co author whom I've not talk to in a long time, I didn't even know she was alive yet. I knew she wasn't in business. But I know she have live I found her. She's celebrating her 80th birthday. And we have a publisher who wants to publish our book. So one of the things I believe is that a book is a legacy. And when you die, people worry about their China and their crystal and all of that. But if you leave a book, you're really leaving a legacy. Nice.
Noelle Peterson 53:24
No, I so many words of wisdom and so much to have to unpack on that. We'll be thinking about this for a while. Where can our viewers find you,
Barbara Hemphill 53:35
they can just go to Barbara hemphill.com. That's my website. And you can connect with me on there. I'm doing a special offer through the end of the year that I'm offering a vision accelerator 90 minute session, which is normally $997. But I'm doing it for $197. And it can be paid to the Shepherd's house ministry project, which means it's a donation. So if someone this kind of year, somebody can get their vision accelerator but they money can go to build the shepherd's house and that you can find that on Barbara hemphill.com. And people I'm very reachable. My My contact information is on the website. And I'm always helping to talk to people. And if you want to papers an issue, check out tame your paper tiger.com that webinar is runs over and over. And there's always a live person on it to answer questions and help you and if you want to solve your paper problem, that's where you want to go because it works.
Noelle Peterson 54:41
So much appreciate everything you've given to us, Barbara, thank you for your years of expertise and guidance for all of those that are of us. They're working on this for a while.
Barbara Hemphill 54:51
Well, thank you for having me. I appreciate the opportunity and you have a happy Thanksgiving.
Robert Peterson 54:56
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