Congratulations! You’re a CEO

Dear Friends,

I had a God Breeze today, and it sparked me re-sending this wonderful testimonial from a couple of years ago:

Dear Flylady,

Wanted to let you know about the wonderful B&B my husband and I stayed at this Memorial Day weekend. The small but simply furnished kitchen was well stocked with delicious, healthy snacks and meals. Homemade waffles with blackberries were served from a beautiful, clean kitchen. The living areas and bedrooms were furnished with freshly plumped pillows, lovely matching sheets and down comforter, and scented candles everywhere. The bathroom — ah… bubble bath, lotions, and fresh white towels. The library was stocked with books, magazines, and yoga videos. Best of all, my husband and I spent time together with no interruptions, chores, or traffic. Okay — you guessed it… thanks to you — this is my home. Thank you, thank you.

FlyLady here: This testimonial had me wanting to know where this B&B was located. I have tears in my eyes. Shouldn’t all of our homes treat us like guests? This season, let’s concentrate on making our homes huggable places that we never want to leave and that we are always glad to come home to. Maybe we can even pretend to go on vacation for a few days. With the price of gasoline, many of us are opting to stay a little closer to home for holidays. Let’s enjoy our home just like it was a vacation hide-away. This could be great fun.


Now for the God Breeze! What if we ran our homes like five-star hotels? The funny part is, we already do a lot of it! Pam and Peggy have made us Home Executives of our hotels; granted, we tend to get Sidetracked occasionally, but that is getting better! So let’s look at our homes in comparison to a hotel! We have bedrooms and bathrooms. We provide a place for our people to sleep comfortably and get ready for their day. We have a laundry service. The dining room is always open. The concierge is ready to plan any excursion. The limousine service is at their beck and call. The lounge has nice reading material and comfortable places to relax. So, as you can plainly see, our hotels already offer the best!

You are the Chief Executive of this hotel; it is your responsibility to keep it running! But how do you do this? Every business has to know where their money is being spent and to keep track of their (ugly word here) budget. Do you know what a budget really is? It is a projection of what you have coming in and how much you think it will take to operate your hotel. That doesn’t mean you spend everything that comes in, either. When we continually do this, we eventually go bankrupt. You can only rob Peter to pay Paul so many times. At this point, our hotels are struggling to stay afloat in a sea of problems. As we fix one problem, another one rears its ugly head. We are working on the cleaning problems. We have established routines for getting things done on a daily basis. The kitchen is coming together, too. Menus are posted, and purchasing lists are ready for the buyer. But this is only part of keep our hotel running.

When we have financial problems, the stress hurts everyone involved with the operation. We have to learn to find a balance in our hotel and look objectively at how much we have coming in and how much is going out. Some people would automatically say we need to charge more for a room in our hotel! WRONG! Higher rates mean you could run off customers. More is not always the key to having enough to operate. One year, as a county commissioner, we were facing trying times with our budget. We had to get creative in order to save jobs and not raise taxes. Our income was being cut by forces outside of our control. What we did have control over, we did not want to abuse by raising our rates. When we look at our homes from this prospective,  this would be like going to your boss and demanding a raise and getting it! Now, that is not going to happen. We have to learn to run our little hotel operation with what we have. In other words, live within our means.

In order to address these issues, we had to start with a zero-based budget. Now I don’t quite understand this, but I think it means start with nothing. Each department head wrote down what they needed to run their department, from paperclips to payroll. In other words, we started fresh! I love it; we do this every morning when we get up! Just because we spent it last year doesn’t mean we can spend it this year or this month or today. Money is like spilled milk. Once it is gone, it is gone; all we really have control over is what we have now and what we plan to do with it.

Last week someone asked me what my greatest asset was. Without hesitation, I replied, “Me!” Do you want to know why? It is because of my “can-do” attitude that keeps me learning and doing. You want to know something else? You have that attitude, too! Knowledge is the answer! Why do you think you keep looking for those answers? Why do you think you found us? You were searching for answers to problems. You know deep down inside that the knowledge is out there, but having the knowledge and using it are two different things. We are going to teach you how to use what you know. Our whole lives we have been told, “You are woman, and you can do any and everything!” The problem with this type of brainwashing is it made us go after what we wanted (we wanted it all), but it didn’t teach us how to keep what we have and prioritize what is important to us. This is what I want help you with.

As SHEs, we are smart, savvy people! Our greatest asset is ourselves. When you take care of you in even the simplest ways, you are taking care of your hotel! I know you equate this with being selfish, but it is not. In order to keep your hotel running smoothly and efficiently,  you have to be happy and healthy! SHEs fall into all types of people; some of us are better at certain things. I like to call them savants SHEs. There are lots of our members that don’t have mountains of laundry or dishes piled high, but their clutter is overtaking their homes and they can’t let go. There are some that are good with their finances while others that can’t find their bills. We have members that can literally run a five-star hotel but have trouble finding things, just not at the office! At the office, our members look totally put together! They just Can’t Have Anyone Over. Their dirty little secret about their home has been kept from their friends and co-workers, and I’ll bet their financial dirty little secret has been hidden from their loved ones. Do you want to know why? FEAR! FEAR OF REJECTION! Could that be why we spend ourselves into countless credit card debt, living beyond our means? Fear of not being worthy because of a flaw. Fear of not looking like we are worth something. Fear of what other people think! Fear of not living up to our ideals of what life really is? Do you see the stinking thinking in all of these attitudes? Are you trying to keeping up with the neighbors? The FEAR of not knowing is worse than actually knowing. When you know your enemy, you can work out a battle plan!

Now back to your assets! You have them, and we are going to utilize them. Even our SHEness is an asset! Think about this. We love to plan and scheme and scheme and plan; oh, and let’s not forget our love of making lists, but we are not really good at implementing these plans. We are going to do all of this one BabyStep at a time. Here is what you are going to need: pen/pencil, paper, and your control journal! Now isn’t this fitting: a control journal for gaining control over our spending habits. Put the paper in your control journal, and with our financial FLY Bys, we will begin to look realistically at what we spend, what we have, what we need, where we are, and where we go with this knowledge! I will not overwhelm you! We will take BabySteps! Your finances did not get messy over night, and your debt is not going to get cleared up in a day!

Are you ready to let knowledge give you the power to FLY?

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