Allyson Lewis ’82 remembers the exact moment her life changed.
“I was forty-one and as a full-time working mother, felt the constant crushing pressure of deadlines and obligations,” she recalled. “My life sped past me in a blur from one day to the next, one month to the next, and one year to the next. I wanted my days to be more than just waking up and going to work. I wanted my life to matter.”
Deep into a highly successful career as a financial advisor with industry giant Morgan Stanley, Lewis decided to begin pursuing a different path, one that taught others strategies to help them prioritize, organize, and simplify lives for greater meaning and productivity. She did so when she founded The 7 Minute Life in 2006, a time management company that has now transformed the lives of of thousands of men and women – including corporate executives in the financial services industry, pharmaceutical sales managers, hospital senior managing directors, leaders of non-profit organizations, university students, and others – into individuals who are doing more of what matters to them in life.
But it has become more than merely time management.
“The real purpose of the 7 Minute Life is to help create a life that is filled with meaning, purpose and productivity,” the Arkansas native says. “Freed from chaos, people are suddenly able to pursue their dreams and experience joy and renewed excitement for life.”
Clearly, her message has been resonating for some time. In addition to founding the company, Lewis has also written five books that have sold more than 130,000 copies while being translated into Chinese, Turkish, Korean and Spanish. Her YouTube channel has had more than 2.1 million minutes watched. She has been a guest on CNN and Bloomberg Information TV, and had her work seen in Investor’s Business Daily, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun Times, Family Circle and Fast Company.
Pretty big stuff for a woman who once found her college home, the campus at William Woods University, to be “huge.”
A moment in “time” at The Woods
Time management strategies are what motivates Allyson Lewis these days, but she also likes to go back in time – to her days at William Woods.
Growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, she loved learning and wanted to attend a small school. She found that at WWU.
“I remember my first day of student orientation, with student buzzing around campus and parents and boxes and nervous freshmen. I didn’t know what to say or what to do,” she recalls. “The campus felt huge, but it didn’t take long for me to know I had chosen the right school.”
“William Woods had a vibe. I felt a sense of belonging. The next four years flew by.”
Graduating in 1982 with a double major (Economics and English Communications), her William Woods experience helped her to pass all licensing exams and get hired as only the second female advisor at a regional financial services firm. She remembered how being exposed to successful women every day while at The Woods helped mold her.
“They used to say ‘look at your friends and you will see the future,’” Lewis said. “This could have been said about my instructors, sorority sisters and fellow students at William Woods. I spent four years as a student at WWU, and then spent the next three decades in the financial services industry. So you could say my four years of colleges proved to have a very high ROI – return on investment.”
Changing lives 7 minutes at a time
From William Woods, Lewis launched herself into a 31-year career as a financial advisor, 24 of those with Morgan Stanley. Her years in the industry included moving into corporate training, gaining vast experience training time management skills and management concepts and strategies to financial advisors across the nation. Over time, she was asked to speak/train for other companies and organizations, training tens of thousands of people in the process. The evolution from financial advisor to full-time trainer happened organically over a span of two decades.
Lewis also began writing business books in 2001. By all accounts, she was a wildly successful individual with a fascinating, fulfilling professional and personal life. But still, something gnawed at her.
“I could see a mental health crisis in the U.S., leading to 85% of workers being passively or actively disengaged at work,” Lewis said. “People are overwhelmed, stuck, frozen, exhausted, unhappy and drifting through life. I wanted to address that and really help individuals and companies thrive.”
So in 2006 she left corporate America and founded the 7 Minute Life, an innovative time management company based in Hot Springs, Arkansas that has become her full-time passion. In addition to founding and serving as CEO of the company, Lewis is also Director of Learning and Innovation.
“Companies are spending millions of dollars on leadership and professional development,” Lewis said. “There has been a revolutionary shift to add a new dimension to investing in what is now called the ‘Human Capital Initiatives’ of well-being and continued learning. Employees are consciously aware of the importance of each day, and they want their work to make a difference in the world.”
“The 7 Minute Life is on the cutting edge of creating awareness of the power of helping people how to improve their personal time management skills, create a life plan, and reconnect with their priorities and purpose in life,” she continued. “Our training, tools, and technology are creating a shift in personal and professional development, helping people create meaning 7 minutes at a time.”
The 7 Minute Life is based on the 7 Minute Solution, which is about gleaning a deeper understanding of what Lewis calls the seven vital signs of living and meaning: conscious awareness, motivation, growing and learning, engaging, persevering, living in flow, and living with faith. The training is designed to teach how we can successfully plan our days and be intentional with our time, training our brains to focus on what is most meaningful in life. The strategies learned are aimed at empowering individuals to make choices that will shape them into the people they desire to be, and thus experiencing a more meaningful life.
“We help people thrive,” Lewis said. “This is the 7 Minute philosophy: Time Management Mastery + Compelling Life Plan = Reaching Your Highest Human Potential.”
“My own personal journey of discovering the principles in the 7 Minute Solution made me realize that, for me, meaning doesn’t come simply through self-discovery or personal development,” she added. “As I learned what was most meaningful to me, I became more deeply aware of the needs of those around me – and my desire to help them grow and discover more in their own lives.”
The 7 Minute Life and 7 Minute Solution are based on a solid framework of practical tools that have been developed through years of usage by men and women of all ages, many that began with some of the first concepts to help people improve their time management skills. But Allyson Lewis has taken these strategies to new level in her career.
In 2006 she described herself in a way that still resonates with working women – “I am a full-time working, teenager-chaperoning, pet-grooming, laundry-doing, treadmill-marching, Tweeting, Facebooking, fiftyish-year-old woman. And I am creating a life of more – more meaning, fulfillment, significance, purpose, hope and joy.”
16 years after that quote, Lewis is now in her sixties and believes her years at WWU influenced her current mission to help people live with passion, purpose, clarity, commitment, productivity, kindness, excitement, adventure, creativity, innovation and happiness.
For more about Allyson Lewis, go to: the7minutelife.com.