I met Christina Lattimer when she reached out to me on social media. She’s a leadership expert, who not only wants to motivate others to improve their own leadership abilities. She also sets an example for others, and has created an online community of fellow leadership experts to facilitate this example-setting. I’m thrilled to bring her to you.
David: What does your typical day look like?
Christina: My days are never the same. Luckily I’m based at home and I don’t have the dreaded early morning commute, so my day usually starts with a review of what the priorities are for that day. My business has several aspects to it. I try to plan so I get client appointments in blocks of time, so I’m usually out and about a couple of days a week. I run a small but growing social media management business, and I oversee what my team is achieving and making sure we’re on top of that work. I also spend time on the e.MILE Community, a big passion of mine, managing the monthly magazine is a huge piece of work, but its one of the activities I enjoy most. In addition, I am in partnership in a startup business, which is all about sourcing and selling beautiful gifts; I’m totally out of my comfort zone with that one! And it’s a great learning curve. I am always working around my personal life, and with 3 kids it’s a busy one as you can imagine.
David: What do you do to help reduce stress for clients and people you work with?
Christina: I am not always good at practicing what I preach, and I always try to work with my clients to get balance in their lives. It’s really important to keep a healthy perspective of the impact of each part of your life, family, work, friends, community, etc. One of the real reasons we get stressed is because we don’t think well enough. There are always going to be challenging times in this fast-paced world, and when we get overwhelmed, which is usually a precursor to becoming stressed out, it’s a warning to think again. The reason I say that, is because balance in thinking leads to balance in our behavior. We think poorly in stressful situations when we don’t stop and contemplate what we are doing, when we are overthinking situations, and we don’t practice trust to know we can let outdated beliefs and ideas go. In a very stressful time of my life, I carried on working when I should have given myself a break, because my family belief was working hard was king, and if you didn’t work hard, then your value went down. I now know that actually freeing myself from the cycle of work/thinking I’m in is the best remedy to cure stress.
David: If you could advise business owners to take one action to reduce the stress brought on by their work, what would it be?
Christina: When I took Michael E. Gerber’s advice, which is to work on your business and not in it, it changed the way I viewed my business. In practice this means, that however much you participate or work in your business, you remember your main function is to be the observer of your business. When you do this, you realize that your business is not you, and you are encouraged to get the right team to help you. Even as a sole trader, you need to have a team around you to help: This might be your accountant, a PA, your family, or even the people who help you with the domestics to free up your time to do what you do best. Being an observer gives you a perspective you don’t get when you’re steeped in the day to day running of your business.
David: If you could advise business owners to take one action to increase their productivity, what would it be?
Christina: Every business has multiple dimensions, but in order to truly increase productivity you need to be able to understand the matrix of systems and processes that achieve your outcomes. Using the Pareto Principle, in that 80% of your business can be maximised from streamlining 20% of your processes. My advice would be to take the top 20% of your systems and processes and make them as slick and as fast as you can. It is amazing how by creatively thinking about your processes you can nearly always find a smarter way of doing things, and it stops habitual processes becoming habits for the sake of it.
David: For many entrepreneurs, life and work often overlap. What specific areas of personal life have you seen significantly affect business success…and vice versa?
Christina: Entrepreneurs are usually quite driven, whether it’s to change the world, or make a million, or simply being able to create for fun. I think events in our personal life can create situations where our perception can be flawed. For example, a client I worked with a number of years ago was driven by a tragic situation where he had lost his father through poor health. He was very angry about the way his fathers company had treated him, so he vowed to make a meaningful change because of this. His business idea was great, but his negative judgment kept his mind closed to all the positive stuff going on. I see the same dynamic when people get into a career because they maybe experienced discrimination and abuse, and they find it hard to be objective and transparent because they are still angry about their own experience. Conversely, it’s much better if positive personal experiences are the focus, because it brings a different energy to the business.
To find out more about Christina Lattimer and her business, check out www.peopledevelopmentmagazine.com