There are self-help books, motivational blogs and leadership symposiums to help the business- and entrepreneurial-minded make the most of each day to maximize productivity. Connect Business Magazine, though, recognizes we have great resources right in our own communities. So we are going right to local business leaders to give all of you a glimpse into how they manage their days. The goal is for readers to be able to take away little tidbits to incorporate into their own lives to be at their best in and out of the office!
For Rachel Lueth, the keyword is balance. Although elusive, Lueth strives to achieve this between her busy personal life…she’s a mom of a 3-year-old as well as her professional life as a sales associate for Ryan Elbert–Farm Bureau Financial Services.
As the mom of a toddler, and a busy professional, would you say juggling it all is the hardest part?
Balance, can you spell it and use it in a sentence? Just kidding. It’s hard. Being a mom of a toddler is tough on top of admittedly trying to be the hero all the time. The best thing I ever did for myself was learn to say no. I used to be the one to get roped into doing anything. Do I still do a lot? Sure, but I don’t do anything that I genuinely don’t want to do. I also stopped and had to learn a harsh reality that I was being a little selfish by saying yes to everything. Even if it was volunteer work, my family still got put on the back burner. So I still had to learn to weed some things out. I tried to find things that we can all do together. I do find myself choosing to stay home from certain horse shows. Sometimes I ask myself, in the grand scheme of things, what does this event get me, what’s the prize, what do I gain? That doesn’t apply just to horses, I can apply that same question to networking events, etc. I used to be able to fill my entire week night calendar. There comes a time where maybe the gains don’t outweigh the loss when your family is at stake. When that’s the choice, it’s not hard to stay home and say, “I’ll catch the next one.”
Sometimes you do have to make the hard choice when it’s work over family, not just the hobbies and fun stuff. That’s a little tougher to swallow. But you work through those days knowing that it isn’t every day and knowing that the hard planner that I have, it’s mine. If I don’t like something, I have the power to change it. If I’m doing something where all of a sudden I’m working too much at night, it’s time to look at those days and see, where is my wasted time at the office? Where can I get more efficient so I can put an end to this? I am in control. And on the days it really is out of my control, I know that after a long hard day at work, my family is at home most likely asleep on the couch waiting for me and it makes every minute worth it.
Do you have a certain morning routine that helps you prepare for each day?
Does hitting the snooze button 20 times count? Because that is definitely the first thing I do to start my day. My husband leaves for work before I do, so I have to get the toddler ready. Typically I bring him downstairs with me and set him up with breakfast and in front of the TV so I can get ready in peace. It’s rare that it works that smooth but we try. Breakfast is a must. It fuels the body and keeps your brain energized. Also, a good cup of coffee with some cream (ok, a lot of cream) is required. I usually catch up on my personal emails and even my work emails that came through since the night before so I can start the day fresh, once I get to the office. Then it’s time to start the battle of getting the toddler into the car for daycare. I don’t work out in the mornings, because that is a work out itself. I drop him off at daycare and he demands his hug and kiss and that’s when I know that both him and I are ready for the day.
What is your best organizational tool and why?
Honestly, I get laughs and I even get people that try to change my mind, but I will never let go of my old school planner. Each year getting a new planner is the highlight of the year. It’s a clean slate ready for me to decide what I am going to write. What am I going to write to create my life’s journeys for the next year? It’s entirely up to me. Nobody gets to add to that calendar except for me. No Outlook invites, nothing that somebody can just add events without me knowing, it’s all mine. It’s a daily reminder that I am in control of my destiny. If I don’t like something in my life, I have the power to change it. It’s in ink, though, there’s always white out. It’s blank, fill it in. Of course there’s mandatory work meetings and the like, but in general, that planner is my story that I get to write.
On a more practical note, I have a photographic memory, so it’s easier for me to visualize a month in my mind as a calendar view and see which dates have something written on them to see if I am free on a certain date. You might ask, but how do you not forget events with no reminder? My mother (M.Ed. in Special Education) taught me you are more likely to remember something if you write it down and even more likely to remember it if you write it in cursive. I have seen technology fail many times when it comes to calendars and reminders. You forget to put the actual reminder on, you put PM instead of AM, your phone died, so if anything I use both, but never just technology.
Do you do working lunches…or do you actually take lunch?!
It’s hard to take this question seriously as I sit here munching on an apple, some Easy Mac, and a Dr. Pepper. Sometimes I will sit at my desk and take some personal calls or take care of personal emails. If I have errands to run or want to go out to eat, I certainly will. Most of the things people would do during a lunch break aren’t close enough for me to do in that time period. I don’t like spending money on going out to eat and starring at the wall while eating in an empty office just seems….sad. So why not keep working.
What is the best way you feel you “connect” with people?
I love this question. If you looked up introverted extrovert in the dictionary you would see my photo. I enjoy connecting with people on a deeper and more intellectual level. I am involved in different organizations that are centered around continual self-development, common interests, or humanitarian efforts. I enjoy attending networking events, lunch and learns, and various socials/open houses. I have been attending the Sibley County leadership program this year and I have learned so much from it and met so many new friends. It’s fun to meet other people or catch up with people I only see at these events and learn more about what’s going on in the community around me. I participate in Toastmasters, fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Arlington and Gaylord Chamber of Commerce.
The introvert in me says all of those things can be exhausting! So I love to be active on social media! This is a great way to connect to people everywhere in the comfort of my own home and environment. I can even be alone and do it. Yet I don’t have to feel alone. I can do it when I have energy or when I am even just sitting on the couch recharging from a hectic day. I am active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, and Alignable. The best part is that you can mix business with fun. Sometimes the best way to market your product is to market yourself first. I can go on my platforms and show the world that I am just an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. Sometimes I am being silly, sometimes I inspire people with stories, sometimes I talk a little about insurance, sometimes I try to make insurance exciting – that’s the biggest challenge of them all! But I find it to be a great way to connect with people at a super down to earth level. And even though my husband likes to tell me it’s a waste of time, over the holiday weekend. I got three insurance leads off my social media accounts!
What are your hobbies?
I show horses. That takes up the vast majority of my time outside of work. When I’m not at work you can find me on the back of a horse. I’ve been showing horses since I was about 11. I attend barrel races throughout Minnesota and sometimes the surrounding states. I have two quarter horses that I run. I also show Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, and Showmanship with my 3-year-old Paint horse. Most of these shows are in Minnesota and Iowa, but every now and then I will go to Oklahoma. During a normal summer I am typically at a horse show every weekend from the beginning of May until about mid-October. Most of the time I am gone for either just the day or just the weekend. Every once in a while I will be gone for a few days when we are out of state or at the larger shows. My son Parker likes to ride horses as well. My husband enjoys being around the horses, but doesn’t compete.
I have always said that one of my hobbies is volunteering. Somehow between work and showing horses, I volunteer. I don’t always have the money to donate, so I try to make up for it by donating my time. A lot of the times it is volunteering to hold a leadership position in the associations that I have membership, or I volunteer to help with certain aspects of horse shows, etc. I really enjoy putting on parties and events, so if any association that I am involved with needs help with that, I jump at the chance!
I love music, dancing, cheerleading, public speaking, promoting mental health, supporting PTSD and PPD victims, and simply being a positive influence on the world around me, so I can look back and be proud of the person that I was.
Farm Bureau Financial Services, Ryan Elbert
335 Main Avenue
Gaylord, MN 55334