066: Beth Strange | Why You Need to Get Rid of Your To-Do List

Let’s welcome Beth Strange, Founder of Beth Strange Strategy. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate with distinction from Penn State University with a degree in Linguistics, she spent her early career as an educator, administrator, and business owner in the branding and reputation management industry. She spent 25 years assisting high-profile and emerging corporations, academic institutions, groups, and individuals in defining, refining their presence, and becoming influential by applying proven principles in reputation, brand, public relations, and image management.

In this episode, we dive into why you need to get rid of your to-do list. We find out how she helped one of her clients go from an unknown boutique owner to the Director of the Women’s Line at Dolce & Gabbana. We also talk about why you should have a mission statement for your household. Check it out!

Beth’s learning journey and Masterminds

The Mastermind Effect:  02:06

Let’s start out with how we learn and how we used to learn. The ability and the access that we have to stuff has just changed, especially over the last 5 to 10 years. When we were younger, it was textbooks and teachers. Then it became our friends, family, and the people around us. How is your learning changed from your early years versus today?

Beth Strange:  02:38

I’ve seen a lot of changes happen over time. I started my career in education. When I was in college, at Penn State, there was the huge two block mainframe computer.  Nobody had personal computers. One of my first professional roles was at a department chair at a private school and I was tasked with building the first computer lab. It was an amazing experience to me to see a computer for the first time. It was 1986-1987. When I think about this, I think I had a medical emergency myself and condition that was newly discovered in 1987. I went to the Penn State Medical Library and for weeks I sat in piles of books piled up beside me. It just took me forever to learn all that was going on. Now, that would take me maybe five minutes. We all know that and I’m not telling you anything new. The speed with which we can access information is a complete game changer for learning. Along with that comes the real challenge and responsibility to vet the information that we’re picking up online. I think the speed with which we can access information, the breadth of topics and knowledge we can gain online. I started my neuroscience studies at Harvard online. Who would have thought years ago when I was in school that you’d be able to do that? Technology’s changed everything for learning. It’s given us enormous responsibility as learners to make sure that we are wise and responsible with the information we’re intaking.

The Mastermind Effect:  04:31

What do you mean by our responsibility to the information we have access to?

Beth Strange:  04:43

I’ll give my age a little bit again here. I think we need to look at our sources. Where are we going for information and in this conversation, you and I will touch on social media probably a lot and in fact checkers. It is a relatively new phrase phenomenon, fact checkers. Now, we’re seeing that the fact checkers are not incredible in a lot of ways. I remember when Snopes first came out and you could go to Snopes and say, “Oh my gosh, is this true or not”. Snopes was very credible. but now they’re credibility and authority has been called into significant questions. Where we’re getting our information? Where’s the data coming from? Who are we trusting? That is an education itself. Where can we go for valid information? I’m a little bit old school, going back to textbooks going to academic institutions, and looking at validated research, that we have to question the validity of the research. I think when I say we have a responsibility, that’s not that’s not lip service, or a superficial endeavor. We’ve really got to do our due diligence in what we’re learning. Now, I’m learning how to build a pedestal for my new washer and dryer, and I’m going to go to YouTube for that, and I’m going to get the information that I need.

The Mastermind Effect:  06:05

Yes, one of the biggest search tools out there right now is YouTube. It’s not just videos, it’s really one of the biggest search engines out there, constantly owned by Google. What you said there, which was like, how do we trust and know who we’re learning from the information we’re taking in the fact checkers now have to be fact checked. Some of our listeners know that we’re building the platform, the Success Finder, because there is an abundance of people out there that say they are the next “it” thing whether it’s in marketing, networking, business, speech, wherever it is entrepreneurship, and you just really don’t know. It makes it discouraging and difficult we’ve got a way around that.

Some people look for a mentor, others an accountability buddy, masterminds, coaching online courses, tons of different ways. Who are you currently learning from? And more importantly, how did you find them?

Beth Strange:  07:03

Good question. I might not be giving you the answer that you’re looking for here. I’m learning from the more historic, time proven, and brilliant minds. I see a lot of people close to me, clients of mine, and some of the general population, are learning from the icons that are currently in, in the media and social media. I know that there is enormous brilliance and life changing value out there from so many people. I’m going to give you who I’m not learning from first, and then I’ll tell you who I’m learning from. Many of the contemporary icons are trendsetters, fads, or flash in the pan. I’m not saying that they’re not giving an enormous amount of value. But what I see happening, especially in social media, is when there’s a new face that comes on board, and they’re attractive to look at, flashy, and they sound cool; they create a following and an audience and then in not very many years, they’re kind of gone. I’m extraordinarily careful about where I’m getting my learning from contemporary people. I know that there’s great value. When I really need to learn a new principle or learn about a principle, I’m much more comfortable going to Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Thoreau and Plato. I’m looking for timeless principles. Of course, there are business strategists who are speaking to new ways of doing business, and we can learn from them. There are coaches who I like who are contemporary. For example, Steve Chandler and Steve Hardison, the ultimate coaches. I’m really careful about getting deeply entrenched in following influencers, which is where I think a lot of people are going. I go to the timeless people, the timeless standards, and pull those principles that I can apply and morph to my own to my own needs. I don’t know if that’s exactly where you’re going but that’s what I’m always learning from.

The Mastermind Effect:  09:24

I think one of the things that you said right there is not a strange coincidence. There’s a lot of people that are looking back from to the Socrates and to the philosophers because you can take that and translate it to what is relevant for you and who you want to become today. Then, you can take the technology, you can take the social aspect, you can take some of the influencers and you can mix it in there and actually make what you what you believe in and that you know is tried. It’s not as a foreign of a concept, learning from those that are no longer with us. They did it and we know they did.

Beth Strange:  10:02

I love what you said, Brandon. When you talked about being responsible for where we’re getting our learning and we look to a mentor or a coach. The personal sphere, for me, is much more important than the social media sphere. For example, in my former company, Chapman International, where we did reputation and brand management, I built a board that was 10 seats filled with people. Almost all of them are older than me, more successful than I am, and wiser than me. That’s a good answer I would give to “Who am I learning from?” These are contemporary people in my sphere that I want to learn from because I have vetted them and I know that they’re credible. Finding someone on television to follow and learn from is a lot riskier.

The Mastermind Effect:  10:57

Yes, it really is. Then, those are the people that when you get stuckaren’t the ones that you want to go to. We doget in the bushes, we get in the weeds, and we can’t see through our own walls that we put in front of us. Right now, we’re still going through a pandemic. I feel that it’s causing a bit of a reset, and how we’re able to accomplish things when we get stuck. How have masterminds helped you when you’re looking to reset yourself and how you do things to get unstuck?

Beth Strange:  11:28

Really important question. All of us live in this thick forest. We always benefit from a second set of eyes. For me, whether it was a group or one-on-one mentorship, there is incomparable value in having somebody from the outside looking in. I feel pretty confident in what I know and what I do. But when I feel like I’m free falling or a little bit lost, it’s so quick to ask questions to people who will give me honest feedback. I know who those people are and they’re a very defined group. For me, it’s just that second set of eyes. I’m so aware that we get nose blind.  We recently put our home in the market. We had a potential buyer walking through and they messaged our agent, and said, “What is that enormous crack along liberal wall?” I thought there is no crack on the wall. I don’t know what you’re talking about. And they sent me a picture. And I thought, “Oh, I remember that from two years ago”. I have not seen that. It’s been there right in front of my face and I haven’t seen it two years. We all live in that that blindness, whatever it is. Even people who are confident and feel like they’re moving forward, you do that. Check up with your trusted advisors and it’s extraordinarily eye opening. They’ll help you see your crack on the wall that you didn’t and you forgot was there.

The Mastermind Effect:  13:14

That help you see around corners?

Beth Strange:  13:16

Absolutely, blind corners.

Self-Education and Beth’s reality

The Mastermind Effect:  13:17

Yes, because they’ve already done it. They’ve made the mistakes. If you can surround yourself with people that have done it, they don’t have to be in the same industry, they can get you to where you’re going a lot faster, which is the great thing when it comes to masterminds. Now, masterminds in itself have been around for a long time, we talked about learning from our past. The apostles probably were one of the first masterminds. Eventually, Benjamin Franklin creates the leather apron club. Then there’s the guy Napoleon Hill, who you mentioned that wrote this book called “Think and Grow Rich” and he brings up the word mastermind to the forefront.

With this large boom of self-education over the last 10 years and just only growing, how do you see the difference between traditional education versus self-education going forward?

Beth Strange:  14:04

I can talk about it in principle. Its time has come. We have the technology and this impetus with the pandemic to show ourselves that we really can do it. We homeschooled all of our seven children from kindergarten through to college. We were not anti-public school; we were just educators and thought we really want to have this experience with our children. We went into it starting in the early 90s. There wasn’t a lot of literature out there on homeschooling, like there is now; but we learned quickly and empirically that our children learned the best when they taught themselves. We caught on to that pretty quickly and we taught them that self-learning was the deepest, best, most long lasting, and effective learning. Not that they needed us. We were involved and engage. We all need people on the outside. Learning in a vacuum would be not productive or beneficial.

So, where do I see self-education going? I’m hoping that the pandemic, that has required so many of us whether school age or not to foster our own education, is going to show us that it’s possible. We have the tools to do it. When we were raising our family and this goes a little bit into the way that I strategize with my clients, we did all of the mission statements. We were doing that when the mission statement thing was really big. We did a failing mission statement and then we let the kids do their mission statement. Then we had a parenting mission statement, which was, we teach our children correct principles, and they govern themselves. We tried to make that work. We feel that all of our children, as adults now, are successful in very different ways. Because they learned how to teach themselves and learn on their own with some facilitation. I am not an expert.  I haven’t thought a lot about where it’s going. I just think the pandemic has forced us to move into that arena, more than we have in the past.

The Mastermind Effect:  16:16

Yes. When we look at mission, vision values, those are equally as important.

The Mastermind Effect:  17:18

Let’s get into to your world. Typically, when someone invest in their future, they’ve got a better than vague idea of what they’re going to get and what the outcome could be. A lot of that is resting on them actually taking action but they’re able to have an expectation. What should people expect when they enter the strange reality?

Beth Strange:  17:43

Good question. Everyone who knows me knows that one of my driving attributes and desires and priorities is structure. Again, I have enormous respect and I really mean that for all the different ways that valid coaches. I call myself a strategist, not so much a coach. I don’t think coaching should be a label, I think it should be an approach or an activity. In my strategy work, one-on-one or in groups, or however I’m engaged, I’m very structured. For me, it doesn’t work to have a nebulous and not defined strategy with my clients. I don’t go into a session saying, “Tell me how your week was. Tell me how you’re feeling? Tell me your thoughts”. I think we should go to our friends for that. I know that therapy kinds of conversations, and what I do are not appropriate. People should go to their therapist for that.  When they work with me, we’re going to have a very descriptive strategy, customize, more descriptive and prescriptive. Although in some kinds of strategy, prescription about how people can take a look at changing. The first thing they’re going to get is a structure with me. Whether it’s entrepreneurial strategy and the 12 components that incorporate what we’ll go through. All of them; business models, economic models, branding and sales and marketing. What are the 12 components of successful entrepreneurship, high performance coaching, what are the six pillars of high performance and how those been defined over.  We’ve looked at 70 years’ worth of high performance. Again, I know that the universe does things, but I don’t really know how to define that. I’m not for having a conversation with a client or a group and saying, “Let’s just let the universe come to you”. That’s not going to work for me. We’re going to have tactical strategy. I think that’s a hallmark of mine and there is flexibility and adaptability of it. We’ve got to be that way. You understand what I’m saying?

The Mastermind Effect:  20:02

Yes, absolutely.

Beth Strange:  20:03

They’re going to get structure and they’re going to get a written strategy.

The Mastermind Effect:  20:07

That’s a tangible that you can take away from. I was talking with someone just today and I’m like, “Hey, I need you to let me know what the actual items are that are going to be happening. If we’re paying x, this is going to be y.” I know that we have to insert our own action, we can’t just expect it to happen. But the reality is, if you want to talk about your feelings, go find your mentor, or your therapist. A coach is there to actually kick you in the you know what, and move you forward. They’re not there for your feelings.

Beth Strange:  20:31

That’s right. Coaches and strategists should not be your friends. You have friends for that and people fills certain roles. I think it’s important to define what you’re getting. One of my hobbies is car shopping. I have this sick love for being in the dealership. I think when you’re working with a strategist or coach, you don’t want to have an experience like you walk into a showroom and the manager says, “Give me $40,000. We’ll decide where you’re going to end up? What kind of cars and what kind of features?” Nobody does that because you want to know what you’re getting before you purchase whatever the commodity is. I think definition is important.

The Mastermind Effect:  21:18


The Mastermind Effect:  21:27

Let’s get into the people that are going through your program. I feel that people have a way of surprising us. They probably have a way of surprising you with their willingness, and their drive. The rooms that you put together, typically your hand selecting, sometimes maybe someone slips into that room, but the reality is, they probably have a pretty quick exit. Has anyone that has been to your coaching session, were able to surprise you? And what was the outcome because of going through that with you?

Beth Strange:  21:59

Definitely, in my current role and then in my 20 years before, you know working in reputation, man brand and image management and PR, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients, many of them on a nondisclosure. I’ll be general instead of really specific.

Yes, the surprises. I’ve had people who work with me and save a marriage that was worthy of saving, but didn’t look like that was possible. I’ve had someone who came through some more of a structured training with us and really wanted to hit it big. Because of all the work that we did together, their drive, and what they uncovered that they had no idea they could reach this potential, they became the director of the woman’s line of Dolce Gabbana when they opened their flagship store in New York City. They went from an unknown into that world, because they were willing to do hard work and take big risks. I’m talking from zero to 100 in a week. I’ve seen people keep high profile jobs, who were on the verge of having their career end to being willing to dig down into the blood and guts and say, “I’m going full tilt here”. Whether it was the marriage, career growth or athletes that were willing to make a push and really end up where they want it to be. People who were willing to take enormous, vulnerable, wise, and intelligent risks, and get their money right in massive ways. I hope that gives you some glimpses into specific people. I think the common denominator is a willingness to go as deep inside themselves as they could and take a risk and have phenomenal satisfaction that they hadn’t even imagined.

The Mastermind Effect:  24:15

Those are great, like specific success stories without getting to exactly the who’s, especially the Dolce and Gabbana.

Beth Strange:  24:25

She was in my office when the call the offer came in and they made the offer.

The Mastermind Effect:  24:33

That was the head of the women’s line?

Beth Strange:  24:35

Yes. She went from a small, little unknown and one-off boutique and we work together for probably a year. Successdoesn’t have to be defined by getting that big thing. Sometimes it’s how much I’m just ready to scale back

Creating Success

The Mastermind Effect:  25:49

Speaking of success, I think we talked about on the solo shows the pillars of success and what it really takes. Surrounding yourself with the right people, willingness to invest, willingness to take action, and by implementing this action. There’s a lot of things that we can define success and what it takes to get there, like mentorship, willingness to fail, experimentation, and partnerships. But the one that I get stuck on, or I see people get stuck on sometimes is their willingness to be successful and define that success. With the sensitivity of social media out there, sometimes we’re just afraid to share our successes. What do you feel it takes to get over that hump?

Beth Strange:  26:31

I think it’s honesty. Again, I’m going to social media and influencers. I do follow some of them and there is great value out there. If someone to find success in a way that doesn’t look exactly like what’s out there, maybe even subconsciously, we get crippled by that. People get crippled, like, what I really want doesn’t look like what everybody else is saying I should want. I think it’s an awareness of the need to be honest. and are we in tune enough with ourselves? I’ve talked to a lot of my clients who tell me something and that’s not it at all. It’s not what they say what they want because they think that’s what people expect or that’s what it looks like out there. It’s not that they’re being cowardly or unintelligent, we just all fall into these ruts. It’s when my clients have said, “I want something that doesn’t look like the norm that we’re really getting to”.  Now we’re getting down to it. We want what you want. And usually, the first five or six layers is not it at all.

The Mastermind Effect:  28:02

As we get closer to the end here, I feel that there’s always new ideas brewing in times of prosperity, super easy to be successful, and things are going well. I think ingenuity and innovation comes out of when we feel the grind and the squeeze what we’re going through right now. What are you working on right now which are going to take place over the next year that really excites you?

Beth Strange:  28:27

Growing the mastermind and seeing who’s engaged. You have been thinking a lot about what is the greatest value in a mastermind and there are so many out there. I’m really excited to define our masterminds to continually define them, so that they’re distinct from some of the more commonplace or just so that it’s different.  People can come to these masterminds, not so much for the structure but for who is in the mastermind.

Four of my children were basketball players. Three played college basketball and my husband played and coached at the college level. I’ve thought a lot about that. Clients come to me and they say, “Well, if I can afford it, I’d rather have one on one coaching or one-on-one strategy”. A lot of people are hesitant if they haven’t had the experience to get into a group mastermind, especially if they’re high profile or a figure that people know. If you think about college or professional teams and you think about the athletes, they can have one on one coaching and most of them do have a one-on-one coach. But the real value in coaching a college or a pro basketball player is in the team setting on the court with the team. Why is team coaching so valuable when you’re looking at an Olympic team? Why are they coaching as a team, as well as, as individually? When I think about growing the mastermind over the next year, I think about that; who is in the mastermind, what the structure is. But it’s building the “who is in there”, that’s going to make that a one-of-a-kind, incomparable group of people who will strategize and just bring great intellect and unthought of ideas, into that group. What I’m excited about is building.

The Mastermind Effect:  30:31

It’s that collective brain. It’s that symbiotic relationship where if you have one person in the hot seat and then the people around it. The neural network that’s going into that and feeding into that, when you can be open and honest about what you’re really wanting to get, is when you see some of the greatest growth. That’s the power of what you’re going to continue to build over the next year.

Give the listeners a tip tactic, an actionable item, that if they implemented this in the next 30, 60, or 90 days, they could see some real results from Beth Strange.

Beth Strange:  31:02

I’m going to give you two because the ones really short and then I’ll give you my thoughts. The first is define what it is one or more things that you don’t want other people to know., What is it that you don’t want people to know and address that whatever it is. What is it that you wouldn’t want anybody in this mastermind to know and address that.  It will change your life.

The other kind of more actionable, which people can take to the bank today is, “get rid of your to do list”. This is a strategy that takes of education and practice. But if you can eliminate and never have a piece of paper that has a list of items on it; it will change your personal professional world. I have glide glass up in my office and when I have a thought it goes on the glass, but it immediately goes on my calendar. It never goes on a piece of paper. It never goes on a sticky note. It never goes on a to do list. It goes on my Any thought that you would put on your to do list, put it on your calendar. That will change your universe.

The Mastermind Effect:  32:43

That’s a great one to leave it right there. Get rid of your to-do list. Beth, I appreciate it. I love where we started the conversation. Where were you brought it to? In regards to coaching and masterminds and just actionable items that we can take today. Thank you so much for your time and everything that you instilled on us today, Beth.

Beth Strange:  33:14

Thank you, Brandon. I am in awe of what you have built and what you’re building. I cannot wait to just ride with you and go with you through 2021.  It’s going to be an epic journey.

Tweetable Quotes:

“The speed of which we can access information is a complete game-changer for learning. Along with that comes the real challenge and responsibility to Vet the information that we’re picking up online.” – Beth Strange

“Technology has changed everything for learning, and it has given us enormous responsibility as learners to make sure that we are wise and responsible with the information we are intaking.” – Beth Strange

“There is enormous brilliance and life-changing value out there from so many people.” – Beth Strange

“There is an incomparable value in having somebody from the outside looking in.” – Beth Strange

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Beth on Instagram. Send her an email at beth@bethstrange.com or visit https://bethstrange.com/

Be one of the first adopters of The Success Finder when it releases! Email me at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com

You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, send me a message or an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

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