Amber Dancy is a Get It Done Now Coaching Member. She is also a multi-passionate leader who's often described as “the glue” that holds the business and team together. Amber loves systems, people, and learning new things. She thrives on figuring out how things work (tech or people) and creating solutions. Her business Hidden Path Solutions helps entrepreneurs to build their visions into successful enterprises. You can find it here - www.hiddenpathsolutions.com.
She is an Operations Systems Strategist with a passion for helping entrepreneurs discover freedom in their business. After almost 15 years of working behind the scenes, she's seen firsthand what makes or breaks a business (no matter the type!).
We talked about her business, the entrepreneur lifestyle, and her journey to MorningCoach®.
John Cunningham Tell me a little bit about yourself
Amber Dancy I’m Amber Dancy, I am an operation and systems strategist. I work with online service providers. I have a varied background. I was a mechanic in the Air Force for 6 years. We are a military family and my husband is still on active duty. I’m a wife, I’m a mom, I’m a business owner. I like dragons and my favorite color is purple.
JC What is an Operations Systems Strategist?
AD My zone of genius is that I understand the big picture in a way that most people don’t. For example, how all the pieces of a business conceptually connect together. I understand how things work without needing to be told. I’m not sure if that comes from my mechanical aptitude, but generally, you can give me A, B & C and I can tell you how we got there and where we are going.
There is no one thing that is going to solve (all) your problem .
From an operations standpoint, that makes me really good at finding holes and obstacles you may not be able to see yourself. I can tell where the issues lie and it’s usually not where you think it is. Because I work with service providers, coaches, and content creators. They don’t really follow a traditional flow and so I can connect what they need to do with the way they think and operate, bridging the gap between the creative and operations sides of the business. My number one superpower is empathy and seeing things from the other person’s perspective. When you keep looking at the same thing, the same way over and over and you just don’t see it.
JC I know what you mean. Sometimes, while listening to people explain where they are at, they ask me, “Should I do A or B next?”
And my answer is, “Have you considered E?”
“E?” they ask.
And I say “yes”, then lay out why that is the best course forward. They agree, but they are stunned.
AD There is no one thing that is going to solve your problem or fix your business. Nothing magical that fixes your business, it’s all about what fits you, your employees, your contractors, your business and gets you the results you want.
I can give you a tool that does what you think you want or I can give you the tool that solves your problem. If you are not clear on how the tool will solve your problem, you’ll never get there.
What I have found is that business owners make it through and find some level of success through sheer will and off their expertise and eventually they hit a wall where they can not scale any higher because they don’t have systems or operations. They are not leading their team because they are not really sure of what to do next.
JC This is like masterminds. There are coaches that guide people through uncharted stages. When we have this independence, we think we can do everything ourselves, but once we get moving, we need a wider perspective to move to the next stages and trust others.
We all have a finite amount of energy every day. Those tasks will give or take away energy.
AD It is really hard to let go. I can do everything in my business. The truth of the matter is that I don’t want to. I want the freedom to be with my family, I want to be present, and give my clients my zone of genius energy and work. But I can’t do those things if I am spending my time and energy doing things that are not in my zone of genius.
JC So how do you evaluate which things to take on and which ones to delegate?
AD So the first thing is to take stock of what you like doing. Then look at the important things that need to be done (i.e., what are the money-making things) for your business?
There are the money aspects and the ones that make the business run. Those are going to vary in importance depending on where the business is at. When you start ranking those, you will find that there are patterns that lead to finding your zone of genius.
Considering the 80/20 rule, what do they need to focus on because they are the only ones in the business that can move those things forward.
JC It seems that you need time to be visionary and as we are in the weeds with our businesses, we forget to allow ourselves the time to do that.
AD It is also about energy. We all have a finite amount of energy every day. Those tasks will give or take away energy. If you are spending a lot of time on activities that aren’t in your zone of genius, aren’t making you money or are easily delegatable those take up energy. When you are doing the 20% tasks and they take up all your energy, I find it makes it difficult to be present with my family at the end of the day.
it is very hard to find a group like (the MorningCoach® community) anywhere else.
And I think, “this doesn’t look like freedom, this doesn’t feel good, this isn’t what I want my business to feel like.” And as I bring on team members and delegate more, I can focus on the things that are important for me to do and I feel like I still have time for the other things I love and want to do.
JC Do you do an inventory of how you manage your time and activities?
AD I actually do track my time. I like to see where I am spending my time and analyzing the reports, though I don’t like tracking because it takes time. It’s very detailed, and it’s frustrating.
JC Yeah, it is really a chore, but it does show you where your time is going. Time tracking reveals where your day is being used and when is the best time to do certain activities, like being creative.
AD Yes, I find that when I have time to do the things I like during the day, I feel better. And when I have to do the things that move my business forward but I don’t particularly like, I am happier doing them.
JC How did you find MorningCoach®?
AD I have a really funny story about this, actually. I found JB because he was looking for an online business manager. I found him because I applied for the position (within 48 hours of seeing his posting) and he kindly told me he had already found someone and to stay in touch.
Though I had never heard of him, as I was researching I started listening to MorningCoach® and it was like drinking the Kool-Aid. I thought great, this is wonderful! I have a feeling that in some capacity we will work together in the future. I knew I wanted to be involved in this community. Not only JB but the people he draws into his community because it is very hard to find a group like that anywhere else. I like the diversity of people from all over the world and in all walks of life and different industries, coming together not just for a business reason but also for lifestyle.
Seeing how other members of the community manage the integration (of personal and professional) showed me a whole other way.
JC How have you grown over that year?
AD Exponentially. I’m not the best student. Consistency is not a strong point for me. I love learning and connecting with people with different perspectives. The community as a whole has had me open up to seeing this from the other side. For example, I don’t think I would have put my self-care first if I hadn’t been listening to JB for the last year, talking about sometimes you have to put your self-care first. In society it’s often about the hustle, putting yourself out there, and working more. There is this stigma about you have to work hard to be successful.
Over the last year, I’ve worked really hard to give my business the ebb and flow. There are going to be times that my personal needs come before my business needs, and there are times my business needs come first. That’s ok, knowing that I can prioritize what needs the attention.
If I feel like I got a lot done, then I feel that I was focused on the right things.
So getting back to your question, seeing how other members of the community manage that integration showed me a whole other way. That focus outside of the hustle was huge for me. When I try to do too much, my progress goes backward.
AD Essentially, our time and our energy are finite, When I say yes to everyone else, I am saying no to myself and my business. It’s really hard, but the truth is, if I am not healthy, if I am not on, and my cup is not filled, then I can not help you.
JC Tell me about how you manage your time. Do you use GIDN and Sacred 6?
AD Not really, I love GIDN and am excited about the belt system. I did read Sacred 6. For me, the hardest part is the integration piece. How am I focusing on my business and health at the same time, I do need to be careful to give myself space to focus on both. If you don’t have your systems in place, something is going to suffer.
What I am focused on is the 1% improvement. And where I get the biggest bang for my buck. As I’ve started doing that, I see that my personal and business life ebb and flow with that.
Right now that’s health and resetting for what comes next.
JC Before you mentioned tracking your time, how do you do that?
AD I found that it takes a lot of time and you need to offer yourself forgiveness if that doesn’t go as planned.
Now, I am using Toggl. It is visual and I can see it on the calendar. I’ve tried other tools, but they don’t give me the visual to map it out and it lets me run reports. I am not perfect at it, like I said, that is why you need to forgive yourself.
If things aren’t working, you can go back and look at what you are spending your time on. In general, I want to know how much time I am spending on my clients’ businesses and my own. To see that I am moving my business forward too, and spending quality time with my family. Tracking lets you see if you are spending your time doing the right things. If things aren’t working, you can go back and look at what you are spending your time on, you will probably find the answer in what you are spending your time on.
JC How do you focus on the 20% of work that gets 80% of the results?
AD In most businesses, there is a revenue portion, an operations part, and then how present am I for my family.
If I feel like I got a lot done, then I feel that I was focused on the right things. If I take the time to plan and set the right goals, it’s much easier to know that what I did was effective.
JC I’m really focused on being mindful and in the moment no matter the activity I am doing. So, how do you stay mindful as you switch from activity to activity during your day?
AD This is something I was struggling with, and my nutritionist gave me this exercise that has me do deep breathing, a bit of movement, and giving myself a few minutes of buffer to recenter. That can be something as simple as getting in the sun or petting the dogs. Building in buffer time is a big thing no matter if it’s 5 minutes or 30 seconds. It makes a huge difference.
JC I was imagining walls between activities when I asked you the question, and that is exactly how you laid it out. That’s pretty cool.
AD It works well when you move from work to family. My husband, son and I live in an RV and that makes it hard to transition from one thing to another. And so using that centering activity and using rituals at the start and end of the day that indicate the day is starting or ending the day. This signals to my brain that I am transitioning from one thing to the next, even though I am in the same space.
The litmus test is if my mind is wandering back to the business, I haven’t focused on the right things that day.
JC I feel like we could sit and talk all day long
AD 100% we totally could.
JC So is there anything you’d like to share as we wrap up?
AD If you’re new to the MorningCoach® community or JB’s principles, just give it a shot.
If you can show up and commit to listening to the Coach Cast every day, I promise you, your life will be impacted. Just start there and see what comes of it. That is what I did, and it has infinitely changed my life.
JC Thank you so much.