Busy Was Killing Me with Allyson Lewis

Allyson Lewis
CEO and founder of The 7 Minute Life
November 9, 2022

Being busy is worn by many like a badge of honor, but does it actually produce the results we set out for? Or, is there a better way?

What does “being busy” mean to you?

Being busy is worn by many like a badge of honor, but does it actually produce the results we set out for? Or, is there a better way?

In this week’s episode, Lara brings on our guest Allyson Lewis, CEO and founder of The 7 Minute Life, a step-by-step productivity and time management program, and a globally recognized author and speaker, as she shares three proven strategies for success in productivity and time management.

As a time strategy and productivity expert with 30 years of experience in the financial service industry including 24 years with Morgan Stanley, Allyson figures out what changes are needed and works with individuals, teams, companies, and entrepreneurs sharing groundbreaking strategies revolutionizing corporate cultures.

Today Allyson is sharing those insights with listeners.

Allyson discusses:

  • The value of time and how to leverage your day even with limited hours
  • How to have a clear compelling story that relates to clients
  • How to be intentional about reaching your highest human potential
  • Where “The 7 Minute Life” idea originated from


Connect with Allyson Lewis:

Connect with Lara Galloway:

Learn more about how White Glove can save you time with Done-for-You seminars, webinars and marketing.

About Our Guest:  

Allyson Lewis has worked in the financial services industry for 31 years Including 24 years at Morgan Stanley and seven years at Merrill. She’s the author of five books that have been translated into four languages and has sold over 130,000 copies. Her YouTube channel has over 2.1 million minutes watched and she is a globally recognized author and speaker. Allyson’s clients have included Kellogg’s, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, and the FBI.

She’s been a guest on CNN and Bloomberg Information TV. Her work has been seen in Investors Business Daily, Advisor Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Times and FAST Company.

Currently, Allyson stands as the CEO and Director of Learning and Innovation at The 7 Minute Life, a time management training company.

Podcast Transcript

Voiceover: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Fast Podcast. Financial Advisor Strategy Talks with Lara Galloway, SVP of Financial Education at White Glove. Lara provides advisors with an opportunity to hear from some of the best minds in the business, follow along to learn quick tips to help you grow your business from gaining new leads, to keeping current clients engaged and everything in between.

Now onto the show. 

Aric Johnson: Hello and welcome to the Fast Podcast with your host Lara Galloway from White Glove. Lara, how are you? 

Lara Galloway: I'm great Aric, how are you? 

Aric Johnson: I'm doing fantastic. I am back from a small vacation. I know that you've got family members traveling right now, right? 

Lara Galloway: Yes. Traveling is in the air.

Can't wait to do more of it. 

Aric Johnson: Oh, absolutely. But before we leave and go anywhere, you have a guest on the show today who'd you bring? 

Lara Galloway: Aric I have Alison Lewis with me today. So let me tell you just a little bit about Allison. Allison has worked in the financial services industry for 31 years. 31 years, [00:01:00] okay.

Including 24 years at Morgan Stanley and another seven at Merrill Lynch. She's the author of five books that have been translated in four languages and have sold over 130,000 copies, and her YouTube channel has over 2.1 million minutes watched. She's a globally recognized author and speaker, and her clients include Kellogg's, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, and the fbi.

She's been a guest on CNN and Bloomberg Information TV. Her work has been seen in Investors Business Daily, Advisor Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Times and Fast Company. She has done a lot of good stuff. So Allison, I am so excited to welcome you to the Fast Podcast. 

Allyson Lewis: Oh, it is a delight to be here.

I'm glad to be here too. 

Lara Galloway: And I just want to keep hearing you talk because I'm Southern and you're southern and your accent is stronger than mine and I love it. 

Allyson Lewis: Well, [00:02:00] you gotta do what you gotta do. It's beautiful here in Arkansas. 

Lara Galloway: Yes ma'am. All right, so let's jump right in. I want to start off just by getting to know you a little bit and would you share just a little bit of the background about your career for everybody?

Allyson Lewis: I'd love to, You know, I was in college and got a degree in economics and English. 22 years old. I looked 12 and was hired to become a financial advisor. Back then we were called registered reps. So I mean, it's been a long time, it has been a long minute. Went to work, then was recruited by Dean Whitter, which became Morgan Stanley.

Spent 24 years there and then spent seven years at Merrill Lynch and have absolutely loved it. Retired. And am now moving into a place where I really believe we can help people. I love what you're doing here, I was in the top 11% in sales nationwide. Now, that might not sound like a huge deal, but imagine that I was living in a town with 70,000 people [00:03:00] with a per capita income of 45,000.

And you know, when you want to do things like what you're doing here, it's about really just taking it up to another level. And I think what you all are doing is fantastic. 

Lara Galloway: Well, thank you for being a part of it. We're really excited to have you here. And you know, one of the things that excites me a lot is when you bring that financial advisor background, all that industry experience in, and then you find some shortcuts and some hacks and some tips that you can share with other people so they don't have to figure out the stuff that you spend a lot of your career learning.

That's what we want to do here at the FAST Podcast. We want really quick actionable pieces of education to help these guys, and I know that's what you're all about. So I just want to start off, one of your statements is just like a great kicking off point I think for you to talk about what we're going to talk about today in terms of performance and productivity.

And that statement you have is busy, was killing me. So I'd love for you to use that as a touch off [00:04:00] point. Tell us a little bit more about what that means. 

Allyson Lewis: Well, let me tell you what that means. I was 43 years old. I had been in the business for 21 years. By then, I had two small children, full-time working mom, trying to get everything done.

And literally I woke up one morning and it was like there was a line in the sand. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, stuck, frozen. Really felt like I was drifting through life like I was on the raft in the middle of the ocean and had no control. No clarity, no direction. And it was like a light went off and I realized that somehow my work and my life had disconnected and busy was killing me.

And you know, we spend a ton of time at our jobs and we wanna bring out our very best. And somehow a big part of me had gotten lost in all of it.

Lara Galloway: You know, I've heard it said a lot. I remember feeling this way sometimes myself and [00:05:00] my early professional career. It's almost like we wear busy as a badge of honor, right?

Oh, I've got a line of 13 people out the door that need my attention. I must be doing something right. Did you ever feel that way? 

Allyson Lewis: Of course I felt that way somehow. We think if we look busy, we are busy, and I'm here to tell you that's not really the case. Busy and productive or busy and doing the right things are completely different.

But somehow I do believe that when we set ourselves up, somehow we feel like we're a little bit special if we're busy. And it's just not the case. 

Lara Galloway: That's exactly it. It's part of a persona to be busy like I'm needed. So I'm curious, you mentioned you were in the top 11% and I think that is really impressive, especially given where you were.

That's amazing. So what changes did you make that, you know, got you from that point of reckoning that you just described?[00:06:00] 

Allyson Lewis: You have to understand that like many financial advisors, I am very high energy, and so it's kind of like I get pulled in all kinds of different directions, and what I realize is that I didn't have to do it all.

I just needed to do some of the right things a lot more often. And so what really changed is I began to look at what made me money. And that's a great question to ask is what's going to make me money today? Now, it may sound harsh, but money is a good thing. When you're in business and being focused on high value actions, they're going to give you high returns.

That's the secret sauce. So I can't wait to tell you a little bit more. But what turned and your point was perfect, is I went from being busy to focusing on being busy.

Lara Galloway: So what are the three key takeaways that you want to share with us? I know this is a part [00:07:00] of your book. It's a part of your method.

I want to hear a little bit more about your book in a minute, but if we could distill it down to maybe three key points, could you share with us what you did differently?

Allyson Lewis: Well, I woke up every day realizing that time was truly my most valuable currency. And when your listeners wake up, they need to have some strategic processes available.

So the first thing is that I think you have to have a written daily plan of action. You have to ask yourself first, what is my goal for today? And if time is limited then you have to really hone in on having a compelling story. When you get in front of prospects, you want to know, here's why I'm different.

This is what's going to really embrace them and bring them in. And then I think also, somehow Covid has allowed us to live here. You [00:08:00] know, just that little bit subpar. A lot of people are just wanting to get back where they weren't. I'm like, let's just go to the moon. 

Bring it and reach your highest human potential. That's what we want to do. So if people really want to do well, it's time to really just crush it. I mean, what else can you say? 

Lara Galloway: So I just want to reiterate it because I think that was so powerful. So number one is time is your most valuable currency. Thinking about how you're spending it, and I love how you just say, starting with that action plan being very focused.

If you're too busy, maybe it's because you're not focused and you're all over the place and you're not being very productive with the time that you have. Is that a fair statement? 

Very. All right. Number two, I heard a compelling story and knowing what drives you. So I think that's a really interesting piece to help kind of drive that focus again.

Is that how you're using that? 

Allyson Lewis: You know, as you look at [00:09:00] that, I want people to hear in their head that compelling story. It's all about clarity. What's your north star? Where is the passion going to come from? Are you willing to do it with grit and perseverance and commitment? Well, we've got to come back to that.

Really, why am I here and how can I make the world a better place? So that compelling story comes from deep inside. We got to rediscover that. 

Lara Galloway: I love that. And the last one that kind of leads into, beautiful. The third one was reaching that highest human potential. And I love how you pointed out the fact that maybe we did a little back sliding some of us during covid or maybe we got a little complacent.

And instead to be, you know, more productive and to get better results and become one of those people in the really high echelon, like the upper 11%. Like you are. Notice that and focus on it. Don't go for that. Let's go for reaching the highest human potential. I love that. 

Allyson Lewis: You know the highest human potential too is remember I said that there was [00:10:00] a line in the sand and there was a disconnect between what I wanted internally, that purpose, that drive with my work life, and I also wanted to tell people I worked really hard. If you want to excel, there's a lot of sweat and just pushing through it.

 But the highest human potential is where we really combine those things together. It's where we use our work strings. We focus on things that are incredibly important, but we also wrap that in our own priorities and purpose.

Not only making our own lives meaningful, but what is going to make the world a better place? How are you going to make a difference in the world? That's what the highest human potential is. It's that entire heart, body, mind, and soul. Reconnecting with your job imagined in the power of that.

Lara Galloway: I think we could go down a whole rabbit hole just on that key takeaway.

Because again, I'm very passionate about financial education. I [00:11:00] really believe that as financial advisors, one of the greatest gifts that you guys get to do is empower people. Let's not lose sight of that. Like how amazing is that? You get to empower people to take control of their finances and make great outcomes.

So I love what you're saying here. Like I said, we could go off on that forever. But I do want to dial it in because you have created this whole system that you're sharing. You've organized your thoughts, you've put it together in a book, The Seven Minute Life, and it's all about optimizing all of these strategies you just talked about.

So can you just tell me a little bit, where did that Seven Minute Life idea originate? 

Allyson Lewis: Well, I want you to think of financial advisors. People that have maybe a bit of a short attention span. Now, I'm not meaning to group everybody together, but you know, the market is constantly moving. The volatility that we're experiencing right now, it can distract us.

And so the seven minute life, if I was going to truly impact people's lives, it had to be [00:12:00] easy. And I mean, it had to be something simple that they could do in seven minutes or less. So here's where the seven minute life came from. They're 24 hours in a day. If you break that down into minutes, it's 1,440 minutes.

All that I ask our followers to do is to take 1% of their 14 minutes, and I think you can see where this is going. What would happen to your listeners if they took seven minutes in the morning to think about “What is my goal for today?” To create a written plan, to create clarity, to prioritize their task, and then just put a stake in the ground and just go do it.

What would happen if they just took seven minutes to really think about it, and then seven minutes in the evening to look back and think “Did I do what I said I would do today?” You know, what kind of asset allocation can I make on my time? How can I really maybe learn from what happened today? So it's those [00:13:00] simple inputs of taking seven minutes to create clarity about what you're going to accomplish if we can't get it all done.

If I want to have a life that matters, I need to get the most important things done. 

Lara Galloway: I love that and I appreciate you doing the math because that doesn't come as naturally to me. It does to you, financial advisors. So thank you for that. That's good math. And I also love that you make it really hard to argue with anybody.

I mean, who's going to say you can't spend seven minutes doing this stuff? Right. I know I'm a lazy exercise person. When I decided I wanted to start doing something more after I had my three kids, I thought, God, I just got to find something to get active and stay active. And if I have any excuse Allison, like “Oh, I have to drive to the gym.”

Well, that's an excuse. “Oh, the gym's closed.” Well, that's an excuse. Oh, I've gotta take a class while I'm [00:14:00] busy at that time or something came up, I just couldn't have any excuses. So the thing I came up with was running because literally I couldn't come up with a reason why I could not put on a pair of tennis shoes and go out the front door.

Everything else, there's nothing else, right? So what I love about the Seven Minute Life is that it's just really hard for an excuse maker like me. And I don't know, maybe nobody listening to this podcast has this sort of personality trait. Maybe you're all really good at this, but if you are an excuse maker like me, Allison, I bet it's going to tell you it’s really hard to argue with that seven minutes.


Allyson Lewis: It is hard to argue, and I think that's why people are so excited if we're looking for ways to re-engage. You know, here is what's going to happen. We're either going to choose to be different, learn some new skills, up our education, which is exactly what you're doing, or your listeners are going to blink their eyes and a decade is going to go.

Yeah. [00:15:00] And so if those are our choices, take seven minutes or to lose 10 years of my life, I'll take some time to be intentional. 

Lara Galloway: There you go. Bringing intention to your attention or attention to your intention. . That's a good one. All right, so let's move on to the story though. That's a great idea. I really liked that.

That was one of your big points in developing that compelling story, but that sounds good. 

Allyson Lewis: Well, you know your story. When I was in this industry, I went through a lot of training, and they all said, You need this uvp, your unique value proposition. And I'm like, okay, but I'm not going to get on an elevator and give people a 32nd pitch.

What I'm going to do is live a life where people see the story of who I am, and I want it to ooze out of me. You know, you can't replace that with some kind of canned uvp. [00:16:00] Some kind of unique story. What's unique is your history, your beliefs about the markets. How are you going to truly help people be kind, be nice, and be involved in the community?

People want to do business with people they think are going to take good care of them. So the story is, becoming an expert in the field, I was a CFP by the time I was 27. I was a sema. Go get the designations, read the books, do the homework, and become really an expert in your fields. That's the compelling story, and when you begin to develop that confidence, you don't need a uvp.

All you need is to let people know what you do and they'll want to do business with you. 

Lara Galloway: I love that. It's really powerful and it's hard to argue that it would be something that every advisor would have a hard time doing. It's very easy to imagine that if [00:17:00] you're an intentional person and you think about why you're doing what you're doing, that's probably a lot easier for you to share with people than some practice canned elevator pitch.

Allyson Lewis: It is you know, listening to what you do, what's separating this is that it's authentic, it's real. You know, you're coming to people right where they are with this podcast. That's what people want to hear. They want to see real people that have been in the industry, that have done it, have survived through markets.

They think this is unusual. In 1987, the market fell 22% in one day. For those people that weren't born in 87, let me tell you, I understand market volatility, It's part of it. And when the market's too volatile, this is the ideal time, not only to bring in new assets, but to truly make a lot of money.

There are very few opportunities to either dollar cost average or do things when your [00:18:00] gut's kind of wrenching and realize that 20 years from now, Play that movie to the end, you know, “Is the world going to collapse?” No, it could be a long time. You know, we don't know, but I just think this is an opportunity for people to really do a gut check and do their very best.

Lara Galloway: You're right. I think it's so important to tap into that personal side because you're dealing with people on a very personal level when you're dealing with their finances. So it absolutely makes sense. And let's talk a little bit though, as I said, we could go a long way about this. So let's just talk a little bit about how our listeners do that step of reaching their highest human potential?

What do they need to be doing to be intentional about that?

Allyson Lewis: I'm a student and so I'm going to add a new word to people's vocabulary today. So they probably need to grab a pencil, but it's called Uday Mon Happiness. Monic Happiness. And it comes from 400 BC from Aristotle. And [00:19:00] Monic happiness is that highest human potential.

You know, there's regular happiness where you're just doing something you love, but think about the highest human potential as something very few people have really ever experienced. And what Monic happiness means is living by your virtues, living by character, living with meaning and purpose.

And so in my mind, the highest human potential is when we turn all of our gifts, talents and skills, everything we've learned outside and we start giving away knowledge and time and things that matter. That's when we reach the totality of life. I want people to think today is all they have.

Now, I'm here with you today experiencing in this moment life. I mean, this is all your listeners right this minute, and so as you [00:20:00] look at this moment, are you living to the totality of life. And if not, I think we have to ask some interesting questions. Not just why not? Because it's not something that just happens.

You need to start learning about what that is. That's why you're doing these things. You don't just all of a sudden go, “Oh, I'm living to my highest potential.” We've got to read the books. We got to hang out with people that are living to their highest human potential. Jim Ro said that successful people are simply people willing to do what unsuccessful people aren't willing to do.

And that's fine. We want to do well, and I assure you, success in business is part of reaching your highest human potential, but it takes work and I don't want people listening to your podcast to think life is easy. It is time. My motto for 2023 is, it is time to get up [00:21:00] to do the work, to reignite the fuel and to find that little something extra.

You know, I want the next 12 months of my life to be filled with power and hope and inspiration to live out what we're talking about today. You know, if time truly is your most valuable currency, then boy, I want to live it to the highest human good.

Lara Galloway: I love that. One of the things that we always like to ask on the podcast is, you know, what is your personal mantra?

And I love what you just said. I think that fits really well when I'm talking to a person about their highest human potential. So I know that's coming from the heart for you and that's really great to hear. So, Allison, another thing that we like to do as awrap up is to do a defining success segment.

And so I would just love to hear from you what is one of the ways or the [00:22:00] way, a way that you define success for yourself? 

Allyson Lewis: Wow, that's actually a tough question that I probably should ask in the morning during my seven minutes is what success looks like for today and if you could see the tools that I use, which are very repeatable, very simple.

It's a sheet of paper that says, “What are the five most important things I'm going to do today?” You know, we talked about if you can't do everything, what could you do today? So I guess my defining success would be to wake up with intention, to be very clear about how I want to spend today, and the success would be at the end of the day.

Writing down the things I'm grateful for and being able to come up with things that I felt like really made a difference in the lives of others. So I think the defining moments of success are those little tiny moments in the here and now where we [00:23:00] celebrate things that we're thankful for. So that would be my definition of success.

Lara Galloway: I love it. So like you built it right into your whole program, right? So starting off with that intention in the morning, defining what's going to make you successful, how are you going to attack that day? And then at the end of the day, practicing that gratitude and that accountability.

Did I get it done? What did I do? How can I account for what I did? I love that. That's fantastic. No wonder you're successful. . Oh, so Allison, I just want, before we go, I'd love for you to share if, if our listeners would like to find out a little bit more about what you do and the resources you mentioned today, if they wanted to get a look at that plan you just mentioned, how could they do that?

Allyson Lewis: Well, thank you for asking, the seven minute life.com is where they're going to go. But what I want people to know is that it doesn't really matter what tools you use if you don't use them. So at the seven minute [00:24:00] life, when people come and use our daily planners or hire me to coach them, or they want to become part of our master class, we really want people to come when they're ready to make some changes, you know?

Any kind of effort that people put into life needs to be that I'm really willing to jump in. And I think that's what you guys do. I mean, you're putting a ton of effort into this podcast to make people's lives better. So when people are really ready, we say change happens in an instant. It happens the moment you decide to.

So I think there's that tipping point that I hope people are going to hear where once they decide that they want life to be different, that that's when they'll reach out to the seven minute life where we believe that things that you can do on a daily basis will make your life completely different than it is today.

So I hope that helps. I'd love people to come visit us [00:25:00] and find out more about how they can change their lives in just seven minutes. 

Lara Galloway: Books, tools, resources, like a mastermind, coaching. I love all of that. And then I love the coach in you that just said, all those tools are great, but you are the one that's got to take the action.

So if you're listening and nodding your head, that's awesome. But if you're ready to take action, that's where the real success is going to come in. So Alison, it has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us today. 

Allyson Lewis: It's been my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me. 

Aric Johnson: This has just been incredible.

Allison, I just wish you were passionate about what you do. Because that didn't come through at all on this podcast. I was sitting here just amazed by, I mean, just the little bits of wisdom. I wrote a few of them down. I know that Lara did as well. Thank you so much again, I just want to echo what Lara said.

You’ve chosen such amazing guests to this point. I just can't wait to see who's next. So thank you so much for everything that you do. Of course. And our last thank you [00:26:00] is to you, listeners. Audience, thank you so much for tuning in and listening to the Fast Podcast with Lara Galloway. If you have not subscribed to the podcast yet, please click the subscribe now button below this way.

When Lara comes out with a new podcast, it'll show up directly on your listening device, and we humbly ask that you share this podcast, write it and leave a review as this actually does help others find the podcast. Again, thank you so much for listening today. For everyone at White Glove, this is Aric Johnson reminding you to live your best day every.

And we'll see you next time. 

Voiceover: Thank you for listening to the Fast Podcast Financial Advisor Strategy Talks with Lara Galloway, your go-to source designed to help you grow your business. Have questions about the topics covered during the show? Visit our website www.whiteglove.com or email us at info@whiteglove.com.

Don't forget to click the follow button to be notified when new episodes become available. The information covered and posted represents the views and opinions of the guests and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of White Glove. The content has been made available [00:27:00] for informational and educational purposes only.

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional investing advice. Always seek the advice of your financial advisor or other qualified financial services provider with any questions you may have regarding your investment planning.

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