In this week’s episode, Elizabeth and I talk about having a positive mindset and living according to your priorities.
Setting intentional priorities to make your life that matters
Elizabeth Benton is the owner of Primal Potential. Through her platform of podcasts, coaching, and live events, she has fueled her deepest struggles into a burning passion to help people create transformations and live more fulfilled lives. Elizabeth and her husband live in the northeastern United States with their dog and chickens. When she is not working, she enjoys reading and supporting her favorite football team.
A life-changing decision
Elizabeth has been in business for about six years. The decision to start a business came after years of pain and struggle. Elizabeth was depressed, deeply in debt, and obese. As a nutrition expert and educator who binged on junk food every time she put gas in her car, she felt like a fraud and a failure. Desperate to start her life, she decided to believe in her potential rather than her past.
Elizabeth did this by making a mental shift and changing her perspective. She lost 150 pounds, paid off $130,000 in debt, and remains debt-free as a successful entrepreneur. From that point on, Elizabeth knew she wanted to help others who had been where she had been, stuck in the trying and wanting, but not seeing things through, and getting in their own way with excuses. Since starting Primal Potential, she has put out 800 podcast episodes and written her first book. Elizabeth’s biggest passion is relationships with others and structuring her life around what matters most.
Your mindset affects your life
Elizabeth says that when it comes to making changes to our lives, most of us already know what to do. For example, we know that to lose weight, we need to exercise and eat right. The challenge we run in to, though, is that excuses, fears, and stories get in the way, causing us to change gears after a month and switch to a new plan or approach. We get stuck in a cycle of jumping from plan to plan but the same doubts, fears, stories, and excuses continue to follow us.
Our mindset is what is preventing us from accomplishing our goals and making changes, and that is what we need to work on. We need to upgrade our mindset. Once we do this, everything gets easier.
“We have to stop pretending that change is all about skill set. It’s not. It’s about mindset.”
A typical day
Elizabeth says that on a typical day, she will wake up, put her shoes on, and drive down to the Cape Cod Canal for a 4-mile walk. She likes to get this done within 15-20 minutes of waking up.
She will then come home, shower and dress, and get ready for her day. She will make herself a shake, walk to her home office (in a separate building on her property), and dive into her Primal Potential work.
Elizabeth typically has 2 to 3 big projects she works on each day, which she prioritizes first, and then fits the smaller tasks in between those.
In the mid-morning or early afternoon, she will head to the gym for a quick work out. After returning from the gym, Elizabeth will complete any leftover work tasks she may have. Before leaving work for the day, she makes sure she has a clear idea of her priorities and objectives for the following workday.
Resources and tools Elizabeth recommends
Due to all the roles Elizabeth fills as an entrepreneur, she uses a variety of simple but helpful tools to get her through her day. Her most used tool is Google calendar. Elizabeth uses this to schedule her whole day, including meetings and interviews, as well as exercise and personal time with her husband. Elizabeth’s calendar is available to her whole team so they know when things can be scheduled. Elizabeth’s highest priorities are put into the calendar first, such as time with her family and other personal activities.
Day to day activities are put into a shared Google spreadsheet, which lists the days of the week and ongoing projects. Each member of the team can see what they are doing on any given day and can easily rearrange their schedules to accommodate projects and priorities. Elizabeth believes that simplicity is key when it comes to tools that help you manage your life.
Prioritizing goals and self-care
Elizabeth hasn’t always made her self-care a priority. Back when she first began to lose a significant amount of weight, she would make an effort to get her exercise and other self-care in, but work was still a top priority. She still worked a traditional job and would get her exercise in early each morning before work or late at night. Some days she didn’t have time for exercise, though.
After experiencing the unexpected death of her daughter a couple of months ago, her priorities and how she viewed her work and the world changed. Elizabeth decided then that although work is important, it’s not what she cares amount most. She knew this deep down, but her life didn’t always reflect it. Elizabeth feels that if she had practiced more self-care in the past, her business could have been built in a happier and healthier way. Now, each day is structured around her true priorities.
Elizabeth also feels it’s important to be flexible and open to new ways of doing things when it comes to structuring your day and getting things done. At one time, she felt like there was only one way to do things as a business owner, that other ways would be too hard or impossible. Now she is more flexible and has discovered new options for getting things done. Creativity is a powerful tool for productivity.
When it comes to work, Elizabeth’s biggest challenge is delegation. She has recently hired several people and she is learning to hire the right people who can offer exactly what she is needing.
In her personal life, her biggest challenge is living according to her top proprieties and giving the proper time to those priorities. She has to be very intentional about this, holding herself to her commitment to self-care and to quality time with family. Elizabeth is intentional about dedicating time each week to her family and never taking them for granted. She tries to think of unique ways to spend time and connect with her loved ones.
Elizabeth routinely asks herself if she is living according to her priorities. She uses a journal (that she also offers to her clients) in which she lists intentional priorities for herself and how they will fit into her work schedule. This is part of her regular weekly planning because in everything Elizabeth does, whether it’s working or spending time with family, she wants to be productive and produce something of value. She doesn’t just want to get a lot done.
Saying YES when it’s hard
Elizabeth feels it’s important to say YES to our goals and priorities. It’s not the first yes that matters, she says, because that’s the easy yes. The more meaningful question is: Are you still saying yes when it’s hard or when you’re not motivated? We can ask ourselves this about anything that matters to us. To achieve a goal, we have to say yes in the times when we want to say no.
When we are met with internal or external obstacles, we need to be honest with ourselves and aware of what we’re choosing and feeling. It’s easy to be clear on what we want (but to also be on autopilot) because we’re not truly present. We can be distracted by things going on around us. If we’re being honest, we know exactly what it takes for us to accomplish a goal, but we often tell ourselves lies and make excuses, such as “I’ll do that tomorrow”. When we marry awareness and total honestly, every possibility opens up and excuses lose their power.
What do you do to get back on track on a day when everything gets away from you?
Elizabeth says she has these days at least once a week. She likes to remind herself that any task on her calendar is there because she put it there. That means she can take it off! She sets her own priorities and can always change them if needed. If something doesn’t get done today, no one will die. There is no reason to put so much pressure on herself.
She also asks herself each day which task is critical and MUST be done today and not tomorrow, no matter what. She has found that by asking herself this, barely any task actually meets that standard. In the rare case that something must be done without delay, she finds a way to rearrange her schedule to alleviate some pressure.
What’s on the horizon for Elizabeth?
Professionally, Elizabeth is most excited about working on her second book. It will be about a year before it comes out but she is really looking forward to its release.
Personally, she is excited about the shift that has occurred within her, which came from a place of pain and darkness, to be more gentle with herself about how she spends her time and taking the pressure off of herself to get everything done, which takes the joy out of living.
Elizabeth’s last words for the listener
Specificity is a super power. Most people feel stuck when they only have a general idea of a goal, instead of clearly defined idea. Get granular about what you do and don’t want and think about how can you live that way today.
Connect with Elizabeth
- On the Primal Potential website
- At the Primal Potential podcast
- Read her book, Chasing Cupcakes
- On Facebook
- On Instagram
What do you think? Questions? Comments?
Resources and Links
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Royse City, Texas