Elise is a Productivity Coach who helps business owners and their teams overcome the overwhelm of life and business. She believes that success and fulfillment come when we can navigate all the elevations of life. From the highest levels of purpose to the ground level of daily to-dos.
Productivity isn't about doing more, productivity is about doing more of what matters. It's about moving forward the things that matter most to you. We can get so busy that we lose track of what matters to us.
Elise exists to help business owners get their shit together. To get clear on what matters most, communicate it with the people who matter most to them and set up systems to support consistent progress.
Where is your business located?
Where did the idea for your business come from?
My productivity coaching practice was definitely years in the making. It has ties to all aspects of my history and experience.
I was an entrepreneur in an entrepreneurial family growing up. I watched my parents juggle business, careers and family.
I spent years doing operations, process and policy work at Microsoft in their fledgling online advertising division. I spent most of my time getting everyone on the same page and moving projects forward.
I was married to a highly successful mortgage professional. I helped create systems and structure for his team so they could deliver the best of themselves more consistently to their clients.
I was a successful realtor who built my business by referral. I learned how hard it is to build a thriving business from the ground up and that my love of all things organization gave me a leg up on my competition.
I am a certified Life Coach and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Practitioner. My passion is to help people achieve personal acceptance so they can take meaningful action in the world.
But it didn't all come together right away.
When I launched my coaching business back in 2009 I thought I was going to coach corporate employees to whatever it was they wanted to do next. I joined a networking group to grow my business and had entrepreneurs asking to hire me. I had found my people! However, in spite of creating amazing results for my entrepreneurial clients, I had not truly found my approach. That took a few more years.
In 2015, I separated from (and eventually divorced) my husband. My world felt upside down. I knew I had a potentially long road in front of me navigating a divorce. I knew I had a business that I needed to grow. I knew that I was going to need a system to keep me on track so that I could fall apart when I needed to and then be able to get back to life and business again.
Up until then, my life had been about "sure". You need something? Sure. I can do that. I was getting a lot done, but the stuff I was getting done was usually for other people and was rarely about moving forward what was most important to me.
So, I became my own client and got clear on where I was going and created a productivity system for my life and business that helped me move forward the things I wanted to move forward.
In doing that for myself I knew that was the missing piece of my coaching practice.
I was already helping people uncover their purpose and their values.
Goals and vision are not hard for entrepreneurs to come up with and I consistently helped my clients achieve theirs.
But systems? That was something I've always done naturally. I'm a dork for systems, structure and organization. Why had I not embraced that part of me and brought that purposefully into my coaching practice?!!??!?!
Finally, it all came together.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Eat. OK, not exactly. I go to the bathroom. I drink some water. And then I eat. I'm useless if I don't eat right away. And grumpy!
On my best mornings (which I have more often than not) I have a smoothie, read for about 10 mins, journal, and meditate.
Exercise happens 3 times per week at Orange Theory. Exercise happens in the morning or else it doesn't happen for me!
What does your work day look like and how do you maximize your productivity?
The bulk of my workday is different depending on the day. What is consistent is that I focus on staying in my daily flow.
My flow is:
Look at my calendar which only has actual appointments and drive times on it. That way I know what my day looks like in terms of where I need to be and when AND it shows me how much time I have for everything else.
Look at my task system to see what I have marked as DUE TODAY. So when I have a break in my calendar I work on those items. This includes lead follow up.
Next in priority is my NEXT ACTIONS list. This shows me the next step I could be taking in any project I've already decided to take on.
The unexpected happens. I might choose to respond to an email instead of moving a project forward. I might be sick. But my system is there to support me when I want to get back to the things that I've already decided are important to me.
In the midst of all of that is client sessions with ridiculously amazing people, collaboration sessions with my awesome girlfriend, letting the dogs out, making lunch, etc.
How do you bring your great business ideas to the world to serve your clients?
Through my Get Your Shit Together (GYST) program. I help overwhelmed entrepreneurs create a bonus brain to hold the stuff that needs to be remembered so they can dream up what's next and be present with their clients, family and friends.
The majority of my time is spent working with my 1:1 clients and their teams. We cover all elevations of their lives: purpose, values, vision, goals, projects, tasks.
What is one trend in business that excites you?
There's been a trend in the music industry for years now that I want to take root in the business world. While there have always been collaborations between musicians, rap and hip hop has really grown that a lot. I'd love to see more collaborations between businesses. Where people can expand on overlapping audiences and bring diverse audiences together through their collaborations.
What is one strategy that helped you grow your business?
Asking for help. I wasn't good at it at first. I didn't want to look dumb.
I'm less concerned about that now. There are people out there who know a LOT more about all sort of things than I do and it is silly not to tap into their expertise.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Oh jeez, there have been lots of failures.
One of the biggest has been in not having a good follow up system for leads.
I didn't know this was an issue. I just knew that my business wasn't growing as fast as I wanted it to.
So I hired Debbie Page to help me look at things. She helped me create a simple system for tracking my leads so that I could be more consistent in my follow up.
They key in overcoming all failures is to not judge yourself, look for the lesson and make changes as needed.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to this community?
Stop trying to hold everything in your head. You use a calendar because you know you can't keep track of all of your appointments in your head.
The same thing goes for everything else that matters and needs to be remembered. Get things out of your head and into a system you trust so that your brain can be freed up to create, collaborate and grow.
What is the best $100 you have recently spent? on What? Why?
I think my GoDaddy Bookkeeping subscription just renewed. That is $100 well spent. It takes a ton of work off my plate by tracking all of my expenses and income for me.
What is one piece of software or app that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I use GQueues to keep my list of "to-do's" and projects in one place, plus I can send a quick email to my inbox when I am not at home so I won't forget my ideas or action items. I am at a point where I will need to look at automation next. It's a good place to be!
You can check it out here.
What is the best business book you have read? Why?
I've read a lot, but when it gets down to it, Getting Things Done by David Allen takes the cake. It is the book that helped me create my work+life productivity system. It helped me realize that I can't come up with brilliant ideas, be present with people and reduce anxiety if I have a bunch of stuff in my head.
What is your favorite quote?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves,
'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles
Put simply: Shine your light.
Who inspires you in business and why?
My clients. They built something from scratch. They left successful careers to build a dream. They feed their passion while also feeding their families. They serve their clients and communities. They risk. They try. They stumble. They regroup. I'm humbled to be around such talented and dedicated people.
What are your thoughts on work-life balance?
There's no such thing. I'm a fan of counterbalancing.
This concept acknowledges that you can't change things to the degree you want to without giving them your full attention.
So it's a matter of not leaving anything for so long that it becomes a problem, but to give your full attention for as long as possible to your top priority. Sometimes that top priority will be part of your work world and sometimes it will be part of your life world.
That's why I like have a work+life productivity system that allows me to keep track of it all so that I can focus intensely on the top priority for periods of time.
Here's a great article on counterbalancing.
What are the 3 business lessons you’ve learned so far?
Know how you're wired and set up your life and work to support that.
Ask for help. It's worth it to pay for the right experts at the right time.
Technology won't solve your problems. You have to solve your problem first and then find the technology to support the solution.
What is your workspace like?
BRIGHT - I've learned that natural light is a big deal to me. One of my last offices didn't have a window. It was depressing walking into that space very day. Now my desk faces a window. So much better.
CLEAN & ORGANIZED - Visual clutter stresses me out. I'm definitely a "place for everything and everything in it's place" kind of person. Things can get messy when I'm in the middle of something. I'm a pen and paper kind of girl so I take lots of notes. But it all gets put away when I'm done working on it.
WELCOMING - While I don't see clients in my home office, I want it to be welcoming to me. I want to feel good walking into my office. Plus, my girlfriend and I share our home office. Having her there makes me feel welcome too!
Last thing you do at the end of your work day?
Check the calendar for the following day to make sure I'm prepared for what's coming next.
What is the one thing you can't leave home without?
My phone. I like being able to look up trivial stuff whenever a conversation calls for it. "What's the name of that actress in that movie?!?!?"
And it's my tool to capture anything that's on my mind that needs to be remembered. That helps me keep my brain clear so I can be present with people.
What superpower would you love to have to use for good?
Same page power. There aren't any comic books written about this super power, but it's world changing.
This super power would allow me to bring two opposing groups together, suspend all bias, privilege and -isms so that they can hear each other and find common ground. Then they would take action on that common ground to make our world a better place.
Number of unread emails right now?
Anything else you want to add?
I recently learned of this quote attributed to Vincent Van Gogh.
"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series
of small things brought together."
You don't have to take big leaps. Just identify the next step and take it. Next steps are usually pretty small but they still move your forward.
How can other entrepreneurs connect with you?
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