Commit VS. Quit: 3 Questions to Help You Decide


I’m confident you have heard about the importance and value of perseverance. We’ve all seen quotes, like the following, all over people’s social media posts:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

“The will to persevere is often the difference between failure and success.” – David Sarnoff

But there is also a huge movement around just saying no and eliminating those things not serving you. This includes stepping away from things that aren’t working.

So, how do you know whether you should commit to moving forward in your perseverance or quit because it is never going to work? What is the difference between clinging to a mistake just because you are invested versus stopping right before a breakthrough?

Boy, that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? I’m going to share 3 questions you can ask to help you make that decision. (Disclaimer: while these questions can be modified to work in a multitude of situations, they are best posed when evaluating marketing strategies/activities or long-term creative projects.)

1.       What metric are you measuring?

The first question to ask is what metric are you measuring? If what you are measuring is moving in the right direction, then keep going. Even if it isn’t moving as fast as you would like. If it’s not moving in the right direction and there is no other benefit to the activity, then quit.

Most of this is metrics + common sense. Repeating the same activity over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. However, if you can tweak the activity to change the results, then persevere. I’ve heard it said that success in business is often a game of numbers and dogged persistence. That dogged persistence comes in the willingness to tweak your approach. Then if you still aren’t getting positive numbers, you need to walk away.

2.       Why are you really doing it?

Investigating our motivation for our activity is another important step. Why are you really doing it? Do you have a newsletter because you see that everyone else in your industry has one or do you have a newsletter because it generates opt ins, fulfills your need for creativity, and keeps your community engaged? Are you doing webinars because that’s what everyone else in your industry is doing or because its how your target audience wants to be introduced to you and your services?

If you are doing it because everyone else is but it’s not working, it’s probably time to quit. If you are doing it because it’s appropriate for and desired by your audience, then tweak it and keep going.

3.       What is the opportunity cost of staying the course?

We all have limited resources – time, money, patience, brain power, etc. There just isn’t enough to do absolutely everything and certainly not enough to waste any of it on something not working. The third question is to ask is the opportunity cost of staying the course. If the metrics aren’t moving in the right direction and if you aren’t doing it for the right reason, then what are you not able to do because you are sticking with this activity? Letting go of those things that aren’t working frees you up to add the things that might work. So, you aren’t really quitting, you are choosing to do something more effective.

No one wants to think of themselves as a quitter. No one wants to quit only to find out they were just one step away from their big breakthrough. But using some common sense and these three questions will help you determine when you should persevere or quit (or more accurately, when you should redirect your efforts). If you are an air conditioner salesman who is bound and determined to be top in your company but live in Alaska, perseverance is probably not going to make a difference in your success. However, asking these three questions and making the appropriate tweaks – like moving to another climate if you really love air conditioners or transitioning to heaters – could lead you to your breakthrough.


3 Steps to Break Through Limiting Beliefs


Our belief systems are very powerful. At their core, belief systems are how we make sense of the world. Interestingly enough, “reason cannot prove the beliefs it is based upon. Beliefs arise through experience…Beliefs, reason, and experience, are based upon each other…This is where relative understanding lies.”

Limiting beliefs are those that constrain us in some way. The only way these limiting beliefs hold any weight is because we’ve decided they are true. If you think about it, there are a lot of limiting beliefs out there that are generally accepted by the majority of people. For example, “time is money”, “you can’t have it all”, and “it’s impossible for a woman to succeed in a man’s world” are all generally accepted limiting beliefs. These limiting beliefs that have been accepted by the collective may or may not be based upon our individual, past experiences but we allow them to shape our belief system anyway.

But how many personally acquired limiting beliefs are you holding on to? More than likely these have been collected over your lifetime through your own unique experiences and have been developed unconsciously. The problem is that these limiting beliefs keep you from experiencing the life you desire and keep you emotionally stuck. For instance, “I can’t have a job in finance because I’m not good at math.” This limiting belief is probably based upon a few poor math scores from long ago as well as someone reinforcing that math may not be your strong suit, which is why it feels so true. As a matter of fact, it feels so true to us that it eventually becomes part of our identity and will keep us from pursuing certain careers or being good stewards of our finances. It becomes our excuse for not excelling in that particular area.

Additional common limiting beliefs are:

  • I don’t deserve to be happy, wealthy, thin/healthy, successful, loved {insert adjective here}
  • I’ll never be enough
  • I’ll never have enough money, time, things, resources {insert object here}

If our ability to live the life that we desire is simply based upon our beliefs, then why aren’t all of us living the dream?

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to change limiting beliefs because either we feel that things just are what they are or we’ve been living with them for so long that there isn’t any point to trying to change them. Or, they have become so part of our identity that they feel impossible to overcome.

It may be difficult, but it is possible to change limiting beliefs. So, how do you begin to break through your limiting obstacles so that you can move from a position of disempowered to full strength? Here are three simple steps:

  1. Ask yourself what unspoken assumptions or limiting beliefs are holding you back from achieving what you desire. Sometimes they are obvious and sometimes it takes a little effort to really identify the constraint.
  2. Once you recognize the limiting belief, ask yourself if it really is true? Doing this helps challenge the unspoken assumptions you are operating under. If you find it not to be true, the context of the belief changes, changing your core belief and ways of reasoning.
  3. Finally, break through your limiting emotion by asking yourself what you would do if this thought didn’t exist. Complete this step by listing three specific things you can do to disprove the belief and then go do them. Taking action will break the pattern of your limiting belief.

While these steps are simple in nature, it takes discipline and persistence to completely eradicate a limiting belief. But by challenging limiting assumptions and then acting to disprove the assumptions, the movement from disempowered to full strength will be undeniable not only to you but to those around you.

What Would You Accomplish If You Believed You Could?

As a bonus, here are 10 Empowering Beliefs (the opposite of limiting beliefs!) shared by Tony Robbins in his article “The Power of Beliefs: How Our Meanings Decide Our Destiny.”

  1. The past does not equal the future.
  2. There is always a way if I’m committed.
  3. There are no failures, only outcomes—as long as I learn something I’m succeeding.
  4. If I can’t, I must; if I must, I can.
  5. Everything happens for a reason and a purpose that serves me.
  6. I find great joy in little things… a smile… a flower… a sunset.
  7. I give more of myself to others than anyone expects.
  8. I create my own reality and am responsible for what I create. 
  9. If I’m confused, I’m about to learn something.
  10. Every day above ground is a great day.

If you are ready to challenge your limiting beliefs and are looking for support, guidance, and accountability so that you can get what you need from your life right now, feel free to drop me a note at to discuss how Minerva Management Partners can help.

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist (repost from 9.16.15)


I am republishing this blog post from September 16, 2015 simply because the struggle with perfectionism has popped up in my conversations and coaching sessions multiple times this week. I hope that all of you trying to fight your inner perfectionist find this helpful.


Hello. My name is Stacy Oldfield and I am a perfectionist – or at least, a recovering perfectionist.

Sounds like an introduction at a support group session, right? I wish I could find such a group. My own perfectionism, while being a huge driving force in my life, has also kept me from being the fearless individual I was meant to be. I first heard the term “recovering perfectionist” from TEDx speaker Mitch Matthews and immediately laughed out loud. I had always thought that being a perfectionist was a good thing. It meant that you always put your best foot forward, you act deliberately – not impulsively, you do not accept anything less than the best, and you have the highest expectations of yourself and everything you do. But can being a perfectionist be detrimental? Research says it can.

The more we know about perfectionism, the more we understand how it drives more than just ambition but also overly critical self-evaluations that not only negatively impact our self-esteem but also our confidence. Unfortunately, studies show that this is largely a female issue and is displayed throughout our entire lives.

Women tend not to answer questions until we are entirely sure of the answer. We also tend to not apply for jobs unless we’re sure we are perfectly ready and perfectly qualified. We obsess over just about every aspect of our lives – as professionals, mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends, athletes, etc. Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson, the authors of The Plateau Effect, call the tendency the “enemy of the good.” Basically they state that striving to be perfect actually keeps us from getting anything done – which is counterintuitive when thinking that perfectionists tend to be very driven individuals.

In the 2014 article, “Perfectionist Traits: Do These Sound Familiar?” Elizabeth Scott, a stress management expert, points out that perfectionists and high achievers are very similar but with some key differences.

  1. GOALS: Perfectionists and high achievers both set high goals. However, high achievers are happy with doing a great job in working toward that goal while perfectionists will see not achieving the goal as a complete failure. Take weight loss as an example. My weight has been a perpetual yo-yo since college. One year I lose 30 pounds and then two years later I’ve gained 20 of them back. The perfectionist in me can only see the final number as the goal, while a high achiever will take each day in stride and celebrate even the smallest win while keeping their eye on the prize. So, instead of celebrating not eating that third cookie, I will be completely disappointed in the fact that I did not complete the day without going off track even once. This disappointment causes frustration and depression that makes me eat even more. You can see how quickly this can create an out of control spiral.
  2. PRIDE: Perfectionists are very critical of themselves. While high achieves take pride in their accomplishments, perfectionists spot every little mistake in themselves and focus on them rather than the accomplishment. I was a competitive gymnast growing up and always wanted to finish first in every competition. However, I found that finishing first wasn’t enough, what I really wanted was the perfect score. While this kept driving me to work harder, my expectation was so high that it was impossible to achieve and therefore, my accomplishments were impossible to enjoy.
  3. BABY STEPS: High achievers are happy with steps toward their goal, while perfectionists are only concerned with successfully accomplishing the goal.
  4. PROCESS: High achievers enjoy the process of attaining the goal. On the other hand, perfectionists can only see the goal. This all or nothing attitude will make the journey less enjoyable or impossible to enjoy for the perfectionist.
  5. DISAPPOINTMENT: Perfectionists become very depressed if a goal goes unmet. High achievers are much more able to see the small wins, even if they don’t achieve the goal, and are therefore able to bounce-back from disappointment. (High achievers don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.)
  6. FEAR: Because perfectionists are unable to accept anything other than success, they fear failure much more than high achievers.
  7. PROCRATINATION: Often times, perfectionists are also procrastinators. Their desire to do something perfectly and their fear and anxiety over being perfect can paralyze them into not doing anything at all. Then, believe it or not, that feels like a failure and the cycle repeats. When I was launching Minerva Management Partners, I was so afraid of it not being perfect or not being complete that it delayed progress in many areas. The pressure of having the perfect logo equated to weeks of cutting out copies of the drafts and individually matching up colors to get the perfect look – which of course, held up business card and web site design. Painstakingly going through web site copy until every word is perfect keeps the web site from going live. I found that sometimes you just have to hit “publish” with the understanding that you can keep refining and editing. Kind of like life.
  8. SELF-ESTEEM: High achievers, as you might guess, tend to have high self-esteem. Contrastingly, perfectionists tend to have low self-esteem due to being so self-critical.

If perfectionism can rob you of happiness and self-esteem, then it must be true that ridding yourself of this behavior trait can greatly decrease stress. So, what can we do help ourselves become a recovering perfectionist?

  1. Alter self-talk: Don’t be so hard on yourself! Shifting your mindset from perfectionist to high achiever can be done. Find joy in the process and begin to accept less than perfect outcomes knowing that less than perfect does not mean failure. Keeping a gratitude journal can be really helpful with managing negative self-talk.
  2. Set smaller, more realistic goals so you can enjoy the small wins. Allowing yourself to be present for each step instead of only focusing on the goal will reduce stress and make the journey more enjoyable.
  3. Aim the trait outside of yourself by volunteering or helping others. Focusing our perfectionist tendencies on areas outside of ourselves transfers the spotlight from internal to external, again reducing stress and silencing the self-critic.

Just so you know, the first draft of this article was written 5/18/15 but not published until 9/16/15. It’s still not perfect. It’s not even great. But sometimes, you just have to hit “publish” and see what happens.

3 Steps to Achieving Your Dreams

dream big.jpg

If your dreams seem too big and out of reach, here are 3 steps you can take right now to get you there.

1.       Create a crystal, clear reality

It is one thing to list things that you want. It is another thing to get crystal, clear on what that means. When you think about your dream life, it has to be more than a collection of things. What does it really look like? What does it really feel like?

Take a look at every area of your life. Your body and health. Your love and relationships. Your wealth or financial abundance. Your big dreams. Your call to give back or the way you want to contribute to those around you. Write each one on a sheet of paper and divide the sheet in half with a vertical line. On the left side of the line, write your current situation in each area. On the right side of the line, write your dream situation in each area. Be very specific on each side.

After you write your list (some may only have 1 item and some may have 10), take the time to recognize what achieving those goals will mean for you and write those at the bottom of the page.

For example, maybe your wealth page looks something like this.

Working 60 hours a week            |              Want to work no more than 40 hours per week

Making $2k a month                    |              Want to make $10k a month

Achieving these 2 goals in the area of wealth/financial abundance will allow me more freedom and flexibility in my life, will allow me to purchase a new car, will allow me to pay for my child’s college which will keep them from entering real life with a ton of student debt, and will allow me to travel. It will also give me the confidence to know that I can financially handle any situation therefore increasing my security long term.

What you write doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do need to take the time to put some real thought into what you really want and what that will mean.

2.       Visualization

Some of you have bought into the power of visualization and some of you are probably still on the fence about if it really works or not. I’m not going to spend the time here today to try to convince you that visualization really works but I will say there is scientific evidence that supports its power.

Once you complete your lists, start to visualize accomplishing those goals. Visualize yourself as you will be after you achieve the goals and do it through your own eyes (meaning not looking at yourself but looking out as yourself). Visualize what it will feel like. Visualize what it smells like. Visualize how your days will be, who will be around you, and all of the details associated with it.

Don’t stop visualizing until you reach your goals.

3.       Uncover blocks

This one is probably the most difficult because we often are not aware of our blocks. If you are unsure how to uncover your blocks, I wrote a post “How to Uncover your Self-Limiting Beliefs” on the subject a while back that you are free to check out for more guidance in this area.

But just uncovering your blocks won’t fix the problem. You must recognize them and then counter them. One of the easiest ways to counter these blocks is to speak an opposite truth.

For example:

·       If you have been telling yourself you are not deserving – instead tell yourself you allow yourself to be deserving

·       If you have been telling yourself it will always be hard – instead tell yourself that you allow it to be easy

·       If you have been telling yourself it will never happen – instead tell yourself that you allow it to be happen

Getting crystal, clear is the first step. And the one that people usually skip through too quickly. But it isn’t the only step. Following these three steps together will put you on the right path to achieving your biggest dreams. So go dream big my friends!

The Problem with Assumptions


J. Paul Getty has been quoted as saying, “There may be some substitute for hard facts, but if there is, I have no idea what it can be.”

A lot of people, me included, waste a lot of valuable time and energy guessing about what other people are thinking and intending. And because we don’t have any facts regarding what they are thinking or intending, we make assumptions. Then, to top it all off, we make decisions based upon the assumptions.

How many times have you caught yourself thinking:

·       “I wonder why they haven’t responded to me? They must be mad/don’t like what I sent/don’t want to work with me/my pricing is too high.”

·       “I can’t ask them for help, I’m sure they are really busy right now.”

·       “I can’t send them my information, I’m sure they aren’t really interested/don’t need anything from me.”

People always imagine the worst when they don’t know what is true.

The fundamental problem with assuming anything is that people are usually most afraid of what they don’t know. And, instead of checking into things, they assume facts that are typically not true and then make bad decisions based on these assumptions.

When you take the time to know all of the facts you can make decisions and take actions on the basis of what is real instead of the story you have created.

How much easier would it be to not assume but instead ask a couple of questions?

I remember a sales situation many years back when I worked for a large company. We had sent a proposal to a prospect and then heard nothing back from them. We immediately started making assumptions. We assumed that the price was way too high and they weren’t responding because they had sticker shock. So, a lot of time when in to strategizing an appropriate discount to offer. When our salesperson finally gave them a call to offer the discount we found out that the real reason they hadn’t responded was because our contact had been out of the office due to an illness and no one had seen the proposal yet. But, they were happy to accept the discount! If we had just followed up to see what the issue was before we made any assumptions, we would have won the account – and won it without a discount.

I could fill an entire book with illustrations on this point. We are reluctant to ask because we are afraid of bad news. So, we make up stories and then act on those stories. The end result is usually a misfired attempt at solving the wrong problem.

Take the time to ask the questions rather than make assumptions. Checking out assumptions improves your communication, your relationships, your quality of life, and your success and productivity. You start to get better results because you become focused on solving the right problems, instead of the made-up ones.

Need Better Self-Esteem?

self esteem

Who here can use a positive shot in their self-esteem every once in a while? Now, who here waits for someone else to make that happen for them?

If you find yourself guilty of the second question, here are some ways you can start taking responsibility for the development of your own self-esteem.

1.       Rewrite your story: If you aren’t the hero in your own story, you need to rewrite it. I recently saw a suggestion on how to do this. The suggestion was to purchase a new, beautiful journal and on the very first page, write your story. Once complete, take an objective look at what you’ve written. Is it sad? Angry? Unlucky? Are you portrayed as a victim or do you take ownership of the things that have happened in your life?

On the next page, change something. Take ownership of a piece of it. Be more accountable for the things that have happened (good and bad). You will notice that as you continue to literally rewrite your story shifts will begin to happen in your real life.

2.       Stop criticizing: Are you your worse critic? If you are talking to yourself in a way that you would never speak to a friend, nip it in the bud immediately. 

3.       Remove toxic people: Do you have people in your life that suck the energy right out of you? Do you have people you hang around with but aren’t sure why? If so, you need to take responsibility for distancing yourself from that kind of negative energy. 

4.       Quit comparing: Comparison is the killer of dreams! Focus on the work you have to do on yourself. Never look outside at others. You never get the full picture by looking out instead of in. 

5.       Let go of things that don’t serve you: Are you holding on to bitterness or anger in your life? Are you finding it difficult to forgive someone? While these things may have served you in your past, they will wear on your self-esteem. Let them go. The burden of carrying them through life leaves no room for the good that awaits you. 

6.       Accept imperfections: As a recovering perfectionist, anything less than perfect is difficult for me to accept. But demanding perfectionism keeps me from taking risks. Give up on perfection and give yourself permission to try something new. 

7.       Say no to the things you don’t want to do: Saying no to what you don’t want to do frees you up to focus on what you do want to do. 

8.       Celebrate the people who love you: Focus on the people who love and support you. Give them your time and your attention. They deserve it for their support and their positive reinforcement will give you wings. 

9.       Own your internal Boss Lady: You are your boss. Own it by making decisions based upon your goals and desires, not the expectations of others. 

10.   List what you are good at: The fastest way to increase self-esteem is to recognize all of the things you are good at. Make a list and look at it regularly. Make sure to include not only the areas where you excel but also the things in life that make you happy.  

11.   List what challenges you: In the same spirit, list all of the things that you find challenging. Maybe its talking to strangers, maybe its learning a new skill. But write them down and note every time you attempt to do something from that list. Feel proud of all of the times you do things you didn’t think you could do. 

12.   Learn to accept compliments: In general, most of us don’t accept compliments very well. If someone compliments us on our outfit, we tell them we grabbed it off the sales rack. If someone tells us they appreciate our help on something, we tell them it was no big deal. Don’t minimize the impact of a compliment by shrugging it off. Just say “Thank you”. 

13.   Take care of yourself: Self-care is a hot topic and it has been made into this overcomplicated, always preached, almost impossible to implement routine. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be trying to get more sleep or eating better. Or, finally being brave enough to say no to the things you don’t want to do. Self-care does a lot for self-esteem. 

14.   Practice being a better person: The best way to feel better about yourself is to just be a better person. Practicing kindness, consideration, patience, empathy, and understanding has as much a positive impact on you as it does the person you are demonstrating it to. 

Its easy to fall into the trap of needing validation from others. However, the real power lies within. When you take responsibility to create things like value, worth, and self-esteem for yourself, you become owner of something that no one can take away.

“My Life is Mine” – Tracee Ellis Ross


I have many frustrations in life. Don’t we all. But one I struggle with is living life based on other people’s expectations. I do it. You do it. We all do it. We are so afraid of letting others down by not living up to their expectations that we never end up reaching our full potential as an individual.

And this is not an isolated issue just for women. Men endure the same pressures. They have been instructed from birth that they must have a masculine job that supports their family. For women, we are judged not only on the type of job we choose (it must be the safe and responsible career choice, of course), but also if we get married and have kids. Many imply that if you are married and have children that your life has more meaning than those who don’t. As if everything else in your life has no merit or who you are doesn’t matter if you don’t have a family.

I recently read an interview of Tracee Ellis Ross in Glamour Magazine – February 2018. (Please don’t judge, I had airline miles that were about to expire and had to use them on something!) Even though Tracee is a Golden Globe winning actress, a hard worker, a good sister, and the daughter of Diana Ross, because she is unmarried and has no children she is constantly being judged for that choice. And while she is a confident and accomplished individual, it still confuses her as to why her choice to not get married and have children is so important to everyone.

In the article, she says, “that in her confusion about these expectations, she took to her journal where she had an epiphany. She wrote, ‘My life is mine’.”

What an incredibly profound and brave statement. “My life is mine.”

She goes on to say that “the realization opened a door for her to sort out what her life could look like if she had full ownership of it. [If she paid] attention to the reality of [her] life and the audacity of [her]dreams instead of the expectation [she] was raised with.”

I want each of you to think about that for a moment. What if we each lived our lives with the audacity of our dreams instead of the expectations others have for us? What if we accepted the fact that we are whole and complete as ourselves, not in relation to anyone else, any job, where we live, or what we spend money on.

My challenge for you is to determine what your life looks like if its really yours. What does it look like when you silence the expectations of others and really focus on taking full ownership?

As the article by Emily Mahaney says, we are individuals made up of many parts. What happens when you get to know yourself, when you own your own dreams and desires, when you take the time to celebrate your individual path, and make space for other people to follow their paths as well?

I think we become the person we were meant to be…and allow others to do the same.