Thursday, November 6, 2014

Spoil me Silly

This week I write to you from sunny Phoenix. 
I love it when the stars align and things gel together. I have a convention in downtown Phoenix over the weekend, and my parents live in the Phoenix suburbs. I am able to combine a visit with business and through the power of the world wide interwebs, I can even extend my visit to a whole week and work from Phoenix for a couple of days.

Today, we went out for breakfast, did a little shopping, and got massages. 

As adults, we don't get the chance to get spoiled very often, so I'm enjoying my time with my parents and allowing myself to be treated. 

It's not about money or gifts, but just letting someone else take care of things for you when you are normally the care giver, the organizer, the orchestrator is a huge blessing. 

As women, we often have a hard time accepting, heck, most women can't even accept a compliment! 

I'm giving myself the gift of doing just that this week. And it feels GREAT! 

And check out my office! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Timing is everything

You may or may not know my story, but through the journey of the past 10 or so years, my husband and I have both come to believe deep to the core of our being that not only does everything happen for a reason, but everything always works out for the best. I'll submit that when everything works out, it may not be in the way, or sometimes even the time that you wish, but it always does. 

In my family, I am most like my father and my sister is most like my mother. One of the ways that this often presents itself is in the area of worry. I don't do a lot of it, but my Mom and sister both do. 

Neither of these facts should suggest that I simply wait around for great stuff to happen, I definitely actively engage in my life, but I have the ability to release things that i have no control over and to not only hope, but also believe with my whole heart for the best.

Recently, some of you may have guessed from last weeks' blog post, I was met with a disappointing situation regarding my personal network marketing business. My personal business took a hit, and I also found myself faced with a dilemma regarding our upcoming convention where I was left with no roommates. 

In the mean time, I was offered and accepted the honor of serving as the Chapter Director of the Online Community of Over 40 Females. Then, I was offered a coaching session through one of my network marketing company's top leaders. Talk about the stars aligning! He talked me through an outstanding strategy to build my business using a LOT of work I have done previously with another company that I didn't really think I could re-use. By the next morning, I had seen so many parallels that I can put into action immediately to benefit and grow the Over 40 Females Online Community

AND I was connected with the PERFECT roommate. We spent more than an hour on the phone and are both so excited to be sharing the experience as we are in similar growth phases of our business. 

All lining up perfectly in time for an amazing personal development and training conference and right before the holiday shopping season hits. 

What some may have seen as a reason to give up I see as the most perfect thing that could have happened at the most perfect time. 

Things happens for a reason.
Things always works out for the best.
Timing is everything. 

How did we get here?

Do you ever find yourself looking around and wondering how you got where you  are? Of course, I can't help but hear the Talking Heads as I ask that question (you're welcome if you are too - click the pic).

As an Over 40 Female, my story is long but the journey I see as my journey started about 10 years ago. 

After college, my husband like many people found it tough to get a job in his field. So, he took a job in a warehouse with a solid company. He worked his way up and along the way I was hired by the same company. He worked his way from a menial job in the warehouse to warehouse manager when they closed the facility and made him a project manager. Then the recession hit, and in a company that ran on the automobile industry, cuts came and they kept coming.

The day he was laid off, my manager sent me home as well to deal with the situation since we both worked for the same company. (I suspect they didn't want to take a chance I'd freak out or have a melt down in the office.) It was a bit of a surreal experience. I can best compare it to when someone you know has been sick and in pain for a long time and then they pass away. It's sad, and always some level of shock, but kind of a relief too. 

We sat down and talked about our options and decided that it was his last, best chance to follow his dream of becoming a professional pilot. We'd figure out the rest along the way. He had been so unhappy as a project manager that I would have done anything to make it possible for him to have a job he truly enjoyed.

A short time later, I started my first direct sales position along side my corporate position. There were definitely some tight and scary months, but we made it. My husband got hired as a professional airline pilot. 

We learned SO much through this process. I learned things about myself I never knew, I developed confidence, speaking, training and leadership skills I never would have thought I had, all sorts of things. We learned it is NEVER too late to go after your dreams. My husband was in his 40s when he went through the training and certifications and loss of income of changing careers. But it was SO worth every minute. 

Like building a lot of solo businesses, everything wasn't perfect, and I went through some bumps and bruises and some heartache growing mine. As the struggle grew, I got to work with an amazing coach. Through our journey, I started having an inspiration to create a service based event for women. Those that were my customers, or that may become my customers. An event that would give women some much needed pampering and community and also give exposure and promotion to local businesses. I just couldn't quite figure out how to make it happen. 

With a firm but loving nudge, I started doing research and found Over 40 Females. They were doing what I envisioned but even better! With more benefits than I had considered. We started talking and found a great fit, and Chicago Over 40 Females was born.

About a year ago, I was talking with a dear friend, someone who I consider a mentor as she has achieved significance in her business and financial success as well as the impact she has made on others lives. Someone I truly emulate. 
I made the decision to change companies and leave the team and the business I had built in my first direct sales company behind. 

It has been the best decision of my life. 

Some more cool rebranding and exciting new stuff is coming... stay tuned!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Honesty, Integrity and Karma

Like most of you, I was brought up with the belief that if you do the right thing, the right things will happen and if you do the wrong thing, the wrong things will happen. 

As business owners and professionals, integrity is a huge part of how we do business. The women that I interact with regularly operate in their business and their personal lives with the highest integrity. 

Sometimes that faith, that belief system is shaken. Sometimes we are faced with a situation where someone being dishonest, and unethical seems to get ahead, maybe even to your detriment. If it happens in a big enough way, or an impactful enough way, it may do more than hurt our feelings, tick us off or leave us frustrated. It may make us wonder about the very thing we do. Is it worth it if the cheaters and the liars get ahead? 

There is a wide spread belief that "what goes around comes around". In social media when you see an injustice, or someone with their "pants on fire" getting ahead, there is a general outcry of "they'll get what's coming to them". I think that belief is the danger. I think Karma is not a bitch and I think while those people who behave in an unethical way are definitely people that I remove from my circle of interaction, they may never suffer a negative consequence whatsoever from their wrong doings. 

So why should we behave in that ethical, honest, full integrity way in the first place? 

Because I believe like attracts like. 

So, those people who are dishonest, who behave and do business in a sleazy way, they will attract other people who behave and do business in a dishonest and sleazy way. 

And I'd like to thank them! 

Because I do not want any of those people any where near me, and sometimes it's not immediately obvious when you are getting to know a person or starting a new business relationship. 

So the next time, you are negatively impacted by a dishonest, unethical, deceitful person, rather than wishing that the experience comes back to bite them in the butt,  thank them. Thank them for removing those influences from your life, your circle and your business. 

Because we know that nature abhors a vacuum and it only makes space for more of the perfect people to be attracted to you in their place. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Is GPS making us blind?

As I was driving to an event this past week, I was using the GPS feature on my phone. There was traffic, and I was paying attention to driving and to the cars around me, yet, I drove right past my destination as the little lady in the box didn't tell me to turn in time. 

Remember before we had GPS? 
Remember actually looking around for your destination?  
Remember directions given by reference to sites you passed and landmarks? 

Do we even notice those sites and landmarks any more? 

I think our, at least my, reliance on GPS has started to make us blind to our surroundings. 

Kind of a statement to being present in our surroundings in general. We go through so many things on autopilot without even realizing it. 

What are we missing out on by being so focused on the next turn, and not where we are right now? 

Now, don't get me wrong. I love, and frankly NEED my GPS. My poor husband not only can't take my tear filled phone calls when I'm lost, but is also a pilot and frequently unavailable to assist me in my navigational shortcomings. 

Luckily, like most things, I think the realization is enough to start the change. 
I'd love to challenge you to try to see more as you navigate your week. 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Managing Expectations

Many of you have heard our vehicular story of 2014. My poor old truck was queued to be replaced. 1998, 196,000 miles, rusting down at the bottom of most of the panels. 
Then, I totaled my husband's car in January in some drifting snow, and he got bumped to the front of the line. 

The great part about this part of the story is that I had been looking at the new Camaro as my replacement vehicle, but had just come to the realization that it wouldn't work as the dogs hate the deep bucket seats in the back and I am the primary transporter of our furry little babies. 

My husband is 6'4" and does not fit into a lot of cars, and fits comfortably into even fewer. So, it was a bit of a win for me when he decided that was going to be HIS replacement vehicle.  
Of course, it's painful to consider going from a house with zero car payments to a house with 2 car payments. 
So now we are finally are near the point to replacing my truck, I don't quite have the down payment saved back up, but possibly the perfect car has appeared. 
I've been trying to manage my emotions and expectations, but my husband's excitement is winding me up like a kids top at Christmas. I feel like I'm going to be dead meat for the car dealer.
How many times do we let ourselves get overly excited with the anticipation of something?
How do you keep your emotions and your expectations in check? I'd love to hear your suggestions. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

GASP! ... I AM a taker!

So, for the past 13 years, Mike and I have been 
attending ProgPowerUSA in Atlanta, GA. We have made some of the best friends we have through and at this festival. We have gotten to be good friends with some of our all time favorite musicians. 

I commented to Mike who would think that the conversation a person would have with Lance King would be about how his son is entering the disrespectful teenage years and how that is going with him and his wife, etc. You know, like a "normal person". 

A dear girlfriend of mine, is married to Urban breed. I can't comment that any conversation with Urban would be normal, however. Love you guys! 

Of course, this doesn't include my random moments of complete fan girl melt down. Poor Floor Jansen. I can only apologize, and then apologize again for my swooning.

There are lots of things that make the festival special, but at the top of that list is the people (both the attendees and the bands) and the fact that the bands do something special for this performance. I have noted that I've become a bit spoiled and my expectations are pretty high after 13 years. Bands that perform their standard setlist are quickly removed from my playlist and we really don't follow them any longer. Sonata Arctica is an example of this. We really liked them, completely blind bought all of their albums and saw every concert anywhere near Chicago. We have not seen them or bought any new albums since they played the exact same set at the festival that we had seen them perform at House of Blues the month prior.

Another really neat thing is that each of the bands has an interview that we get in a program at the fest. I never get a chance to read through them until the plane ride home and always regret missing the opportunity to talk to this or that band member about something they mentioned in their interview.

This brought me to a realization. My expectations are unfairly one sided. I expect a lot from the bands and yet, for hose bands that I'm not familiar with, I don't put in any effort whatsoever into getting to know their music let alone them as people. 

Isn't this true of so many areas of our lives? 
I'm not talking about the professional takers, the energy vampires or the permanent gimme's. I'm talking about those of us who consider ourselves to be givers. Those of us who consider ourselves to be genuinely positive, outgoing, do unto others types. 
Sometimes, somewhere or with someone in our lives, we expect but we don't give in return, completely without realizing it. 
It could be our family, it could be our friends. It could be in business, with our colleagues, employees or customers. 
How often do we lament that we aren't getting what we expect without considering what we are giving in exchange? 

As you may imagine, I'm remedying that this year. I have a year to not only listen to the music for the bands I don't know yet, but follow and really get to know the members as people. If I expect something special from them, they should get something special from me.

Where in your life are you expecting but not giving in return? I challenge you to up the ante and give more of yourself.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Letting Go

Technology is great, when it works, right?

Our Over 40 Females website went through a huge revamp and launched over the past couple of weeks.  

Do you remember ever going through the experience in college or high school when you wrote a paper for a class and somehow didn't save and lost it and had to start over? 

So last week, I was working on the weekly newsletter, and had authored a blog post. It didn't upload correctly to the new site, and then of course, with the microburst on Friday we lost power and my local copy was lost as well. 

As I sat this morning, considering trying to recreate the post I reflected on the weekend we just spent with no power and while it was certainly inconvenient, it was as most things are, also a blessing. 

We fall into routines, don't we? In our households, in our days, in our business and family lives. 

Because we had no power, I spent Friday evening with friends at a restaurant in Arlington Heights listening to a good friend playing guitar and singing.

Because we had no power, my husband joined myself and our 2 dogs at the dog beach downtown Chicago for the first time. 

Because we had no power, we spent the entire day together, actually conversing and doing things together rather than sharing the same space but each doing our own thing.

We had to let go of our routine, our normal and just go with the flow. Similarly, I decided to let go of the lost post and not worry about trying to recreate it.

Isn't that something we can all use in our lives, to let go and go with the flow, be present? As a former software engineer, I certainly like my technology, but unplugging and letting go is really refreshing! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

I beg your pardon

I love the information age sometimes, and the way that thoughts and ideas seem to show up on my radar from several places at the same time. 

A friend posted a conversation this week on Facebook responding to some accusations that he intentionally set out to offend people. A great conversation ensued around active thought and mindset. 
About the same time, another leader I follow posted a podcast about approval addiction.
Just a couple days prior, I received an email from someone telling me how much they love my organization, but were offended by the subject of my email and just wanted to send me some feedback. 

I really like the things that these 2 conversations got me to thinking, and I am intrigued by the idea that there are people who would really be offended.

Growing up, I was never one to follow the crowd. As I got older, not following the crowd became part of my identity. So much so, that sometimes if a thing got too popular, I stopped liking it. I've always been extremely proud of my individuality and my ability to respect the same in others. Admittedly, I am also very sarcastic, and have a sick sense of humor. 

With the advent of social media, blogs, podcasts, personal websites, and all the avenues to "put yourself out there", people are stating their mind more than ever. I quote a portion of a speech from "An American President" 

America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free". 

We all absolutely have the right to be offended by another's statement or point of view. We have the right to debate, question and educate one another. But we have to be willing to receive the same. 

We do not have the right to silence another person, but we do have the right not to listen to that person if we don't want to hear what they have to say.
Many of us grew up with the adage "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." While I can't say I comply with that entirely, I would say that it saddens me greatly that so many people will give more energy to complaining than to thanking. 

After lunch during a training over the weekend, I made a point to thank the hostess for taking special care of our group. They rearranged tables so that 12 of us could eat together, and gave us each separate checks. When I addressed her, she visibly jumped. She was more than a little surprised to receive positive feedback from a customer leaving the restaurant. People go out of their way to complain, but not to give simple thanks. What a shame.

We are the product of our environments folks. You may have heard it said that you reflect the 5 people you spend the most time with, and many of my personal development friends talk about energy takers and energy builders. You reflect all of the things that you take in. Garbage in, garbage out as they say. 

If you find yourself confronted with someone or something that offends you, make an empowered choice. I don't apologize for offending you, but I welcome your thoughts and opinions.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Are you "really" the boss of you?

Ever have one of those days where you just want to scream? 
Or a day or two where you are in a funk and can't seem to shake it?

Do you feel like that feeling is out of your control?

It isn't, or at least, it doesn't have to be.

Life is full and things are fluid all the time. Things are always going to be coming at you, there will often be more than you can handle. 

You will have not enough business, or too much. 
The kids will have a million activities, or they will be bored and driving you crazy.
The house will be in need of fixing, or in need of remodeling or in need of redecorating, or you will be ready to sell it.

There will always be stuff. It won't all be rosy. But the really cool thing is you are in complete control of your perspective and your reaction.

As kids, when we wanted to stay up late, or eat popcorn, or go outside, we always had to ask our parents. And, when we got an answer we didn't like, they would tell us that when we grew up, we could make our own rules and we could decide when to stay up late, or eat popcorn. 

But we don't do we? We still let everything around us be the "boss of us".

Growing up, we all had rules, right? You had to do the hard or unpleasant stuff to get the good stuff.

Eat your vegetables, then you can have dessert

Do your chores, then you can have your allowance

Finish your homework, then you can go out and play

As an adult, don't you still hear your mom's voice sometimes when you break the rules? When you think of having a nibble of chocolate before dinner? When you think of sitting down to catch your favorite show in the middle of your weekly cleaning? When your girlfriend calls to ask you to lunch but you have a to-do list a mile long? 

Remember when you were a kid and you couldn't wait to grow up so you could make your OWN rules? It happened! You're a grown up. You can make your own rules. You can have dessert first if you like. You can set aside your cleaning and watch your favorite show or go for a walk. You can meet your girlfriend for cocktails, coffee or lunch no matter what's on your list.

When you hear your Mom's voice in your head, gently remind her that in your house, you get to make the rules. If your Mom was anything like mine, she even told you that, remember? 

Make new rules! Treat yourself! Grab a glass of wine, or whatever your favorite beverage is and give yourself 30 minutes tonight even if you don't have all your chores done. Choose to stay up late, or go to bed early. Take a nap, go for a walk, eat ice cream before dinner. 

Pick a thing that makes you feel great, and do that thing just for you and nobody else.

I'd love to hear what your thing is... share in the comments below.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

There will always be "stuff"

As "back to school" season approaches, or in some cases is already here,  (That's a whole weird phenomenon, isn't it?) I had the fleeting thought of how busy parents will be "at this time of year". 

The really funny thing, is that I've had that same thought pretty much every month this year, and I expect I will for the remainder of the year as well.

We go from "just after the holidays" to "spring break" to "Easter and Passover" to "end of school" to "summer starting" to "summer ending" to "back to school" to Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas and Hanukkah.

You're busy with the kids in school, you're busy with the kids out of school. You're travelling for work, you're travelling for rest.

What's my point? 

Very often, both in business and in personal invitations, you'll receive the "I'm too busy" response. This could be in response to a sales presentation, a networking event, a grand opening, or an invitation to gather the girls around a few bottles of wine any given evening. 

Sometimes your on the receiving end of the "I'm too busy" response and you put that person into your mental tickler file to extend the next invitation to. Very often that response will never change, no matter what month, what time of year you extend that invitation unless something changes in that person's circumstances for them to see and appreciate the intrinsic value in your invitation. 

Sometimes you're on the giving end of the "I'm too busy" response. I used the word response, when I really should have used the word excuse. 

It's not that you don't very honestly believe that you are too busy. I believe you. You are busy. 

The point is, you're always going to be busy. Even if you win the lottery tomorrow and can afford to never work again, you're going to be busy.

But here's the real problem... somewhere down the road, you may regret those opportunities you passed by. The girlfriend who invited you to watch her son's first baseball game, the networking event you heard so much buzz about the next day, the evening of joy, laughter and connection with friends, the sales presentation where you would have met the perfect business partner.

There will always be "stuff". While I don't recommend overextending yourself, as we sometimes do, I do recommend taking a beat the next time you receive an invitation before giving the auto response "That sounds so great! I'm too busy this week, maybe next time." If it really sounds so great, will you actually be less busy next time, or is it worth it to see what you can do to fit it into your schedule?

Cause, there will always be "stuff" and we only get 1 go around at this life of ours. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Let's Get Naked!

In the world of social media, interesting and uplifting things manage to hit my radar every so often. Last week, it was this great story, song and video by an artist, Colbie Caillat, who I would never have heard of as it's not the kind of music I typically listen to. 

You can read the story, and watch and listen to the video at the link behind the pic. 

It not only inspired me as a powerful message for our young women, and some of the older women I know too, but it really got me to thinking about some of those universal truths.

We have all known girls, had girlfriends, or even sometimes been those girls who were so desperate to be in a relationship that they tried to be something they were not. Not in an effort to be false, or to hide or be dishonest, but innocently enough, just trying to be what "that person" wanted, or what she or we thought "that person" wanted.

I think we all also know that in the end, that is not only unsuccessful for the obvious reasons, but it is also kind of unattractive. 

People know when you're not being your authentic self. Maybe they don't know they know it but they sense it. They sense your genuine self. One of those things I can look back and remember learning quite keenly as an Over 40 Female, is the process of learning to like myself. Really like myself. 

The other thing I learned is that it's pretty unreasonable to ask someone else to like you if you don't actually like yourself. 

And here's the universal truth part - this not only applies to romantic relationships, but also to family, friends and business. 

The more you really like that person in the mirror, and the more you really authentically show up as that person in the mirror, the more attractive you become, on every level. 

Don't get me wrong, you won't see me out too often with no makeup or my hair not done, but I am willing to put myself out there naked now. 

It even inspired me to put together a special event with Chicago Over 40 Females

When you're all alone by yourself do you like you?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Momentum, ROI and Instant Gratification

We've all heard that a body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest stays at rest, right? 

It's tougher to get rolling from a standing stop than from a slow roll, right? 

If anyone had a first car experience like I had, you know what it's like to push a car, and man it is tough to get moving, but once it starts rolling, it doesn't seem so bad.

So why is it SO tough to keep ourselves moving? 

You've also heard the term ROI. Return On Investment, the concept that an investment of some resource will yield a benefit to the investor. In business, we think of ROI most when we are calculating our marketing budget or specific marketing tactics. 

I think our most valuable resource, by far is our time. And here's the BIG danger - we live with an instant gratification mindset. Whether we realize it or not, whether we acknowledge it our not, it's true. 

When it comes to effort in building a business, or getting in shape, or losing weight, we expect linear results. 

I put in x I get y.  I put in 2x I expect to get 2y, right?

But it doesn't work that way. Remember the car? 

So here's what happens... 

Let's look at business prospecting. For the purposes of this illustration, let's accept that there is a ratio of 1 to 10 in lead conversion. You expect that if you talk to 10 prospects, that you will yield 1 customer. 

So, you go out and talk to 10 prospects and get 0 new customers. You talk to 10 more prospects, and get 0 new customers. Now, you're frustrated. You talk to 10 more prospects and get 1 new customer. You look back at your results and get even more frustrated, thinking that your ration is 1 to 30 instead of 1 to 10 and you decide, maybe subconsciously, that the result is not worth the effort.

But if you were to have kept pushing, kept moving forward, you would have found that your effectiveness is likely to dramatically increase. 

10 - 0
10 - 0
10 - 1
10 - 0
10 - 2
10 - 2
10 - 3
10 - 3
10 - 4
10 - 4

Now after talking to 100 prospects, you have 19 new customers, not just 10. But those first 40 seemed fruitless. 

There are loads of reasons that a prospect may not become your customer, and that's not the topic of this blog, but you do need to wrap your mind around that as a business person. It may be a wrong fit, a not now, a lack of need, a lack of urgency. 

The best way to combat the instant gratification monster is tracking. If you track your efforts, you can link it to results over time. 

We've been talking about business (mostly because it's super black and white to understand) but this same principle holds true for exercise, eating healthy, learning something new like meditation or yoga, yard work, there are a million things in life that will respond this same way. 

It would be great if all things were linear, but how BORING!

Keep plugging along, don't get discouraged, and track your efforts and results so you don't end up running behind your car rolling down hill without you. 


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hidden Gems

We have lived in our house for 20 years now. I've been an active runner for most of that time. 

When we first moved in, I would run up to a neat park with a tiny zoo and a pond called Lord's Park.

Then the park got pretty crowded, and it was not as pleasurable to run, and I started serious distance training.

So, I'd drive to the local forest preserve and run the path there. I ran this for years both from home and from work.

Then, as luck would have it, they extended the bike path from our neighborhood almost all the way to the forest preserve. With a small stretch where I need to run roadside, I have been running this path now almost exclusively for probably 10 years now. As much as I love running, the path has nearly no shade, and is fairly boring along the roadside.

I recently started exploring. I have found some wonderful gems right in my "back yard". First, I found a disc golf course that was put in across the road from me which winds around a marsh and leads to a nice little park where I can stop for a drink of water. 

Then I found a beautiful park and path around some soccer fields that makes for an interesting, lovely run and a more enjoyable experience for my dog Apex who gets quite riled up by some of the dogs on our normal route.

These have been there for years now without us knowing. How many hidden gems are there in our lives either in our neighborhood or in those around us that we pass every day without ever noticing? 

I invite, no, I challenge you to take some time this holiday weekend and explore and appreciate some hidden gems in your life. I know you won't regret it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Happiness is a Choice you have to respect

You've probably heard someone talking about how happiness is a choice. If you're reading this, it's pretty likely you're one of the people that have made that choice. 

You're probably even one of the people who realizes that it is a choice that you have to make over and over, sometimes in the same hour :) 

Out on my run today, I was pondering how happy I was to be out running on a hot, but beautiful day, and I got to thinking about some of the people in my life. It led me to the realization that while I expect others to respect the choices I make in my quest for happiness and fulfillment, I don't always respect theirs. 

I will readily admit suspending judgement of those closest to me is one of my hardest struggles. I think my judgement is based on love and "seeing what could be better in their lives". Have you been guilty of this too? 

A prime example is my mom. Everything I believe about strong, unstoppable women comes from watching her as I grew up. She was a force of nature. Known, loved and respected from the top to the bottom of her company, anyone who worked at ComEd, knew my mom. She was one of those people who could get things done and whose bad side you didn't want to be on. She makes friends at first sight, like falling in love. At the store, at the hotel or restaurant, anywhere. When people meet my mom, they are instantly friends with her. After she retired, she went through some changes. I'll certainly never understand all of them, but the result was that she made some choices that made her happy, but they made her different than the mom I had grown up with. She didn't seem as strong or confidant or secure as she used to be. 

For years, I thought this was a bad thing, we even had some pretty unpleasant arguments around it. I felt like she let me down, like that strong woman who showed me all I could be was gone and that made me question if it had been real. If my beliefs were founded. At one point, during one of those ugly conversations, she told me that she is happy the way she is now. 

Honestly, it didn't sink in until today.  

I was thinking about me, and what I wanted and what I needed. What I thought was best for her, and you know what, that's not up to me, any more than it is up to her to tell me what choices I should make for my happiness. 

Using the line my friend often uses, sometimes it takes a 2 x 4 for an idea to sink in. She is happy, and all I need to do is be happy for her. 

There are plenty of other examples I could cite, but it only dilutes the point. I'm sure you have people in your life that you can draw a parallel to. Their choice for happiness isn't yours, isn't something you even think has value, but it's their choice. 

Sometimes people in our lives are making bad choices like dead end jobs, or abusive relationships, or neglecting or abusing their own health, or worse, and it is definitely a great thing if we can help them through those times. 

But sometimes, they are making a choice - their choice - for their happiness. Even if we think "they could do better" or "if only they would ...", that's not our choice, it is theirs. 

And then, our job is to respect and support it, just as we want them to do for ours. 

Monday, June 2, 2014


I am admittedly NOT a gardener. Several years ago, Mike and I hired a landscape designer and then dug in the flower beds and pavers ourselves. 

I do love the bed in front of our house, it is so pretty to look at when it's flowering outside our picture window in our living room. One of the plants in that bed is a flowering carpet rose. There are maybe 6 plants or so, and each spring, they need to be pruned, trimmed back and shaped. Being the not proficient gardener that I am, I always wait until the plant starts to green so I know where to prune and what to leave. 

This year was the first year I noticed that all the new growth was at the base. None of the branches were greening at all. I waited, and waited, and no change. So, 2 weeks ago, I got out there with the shears and pruned all the dead branches off. Stuck with rose thorns, and a pile of brush for our Monday yard trash, I looked at the little tiny growth in the center of each plant, wondering if I had done the right thing, if they had really just taken too much of a beating through the winter, and if they would come back at all this year.

 This weekend, I noticed, they are fully back to nearly the size of all the branches I sheared and removed with thick, healthy, leafy new branches. Where there was just 2 or 3 inches of growth 2 weeks ago, now there are branches a foot or 2. When I finished trimming, they were all smaller than the one in the front left.

How can such a dramatic change occur in just 1 week? 

Well, as I understand it, a plant has roots that bring in moisture and nutrients and then those are distributed throughout the plant. I'm guessing, and I believe that those roots don't really have any idea what state any of those branches are in, they just pump out an equal amount of moisture and nutrients to all areas of the plant. The dead wood, simply can't absorb it, so it is just going to waste. Once that dead wood is removed, the roots can effectively and efficiently pump all those nutrients to the live healthy areas of the plant and those then thrive and prosper.

What the heck does this have to do with anything? 

Pruning is something we have to do in all areas of our lives from time to time. Sometimes we have maybe people in our lives, or aspects of our business that are draining our resources, but simply cannot absorb the nutrients in a healthy way. It feels bad to "cut off" this "dead wood" because we saw it grow to where it is today, and we continue to hope upon hope that it will come back if we continue to pump those nutrients into it. 

The truth is the same as that rose bush, dead wood simply cannot absorb anything, and once it is pruned, what remains, even though it may look small and stunted now, can burst into beautiful color and thrive perhaps even larger and brighter than ever before.

As you look around your life or your business as Spring closes and Summer begins, do you see things that could use pruning? Go ahead, grab your shears! 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Situationally Specific Confidence

As people, particularly people on a journey of personal development, we are growing and improving continually. As Tony Robbins, and many others have stated, if you're not growing, you're dying. 

I started my entrepreneurial journey in January 2006. As I grew my first business, my confidence grew. My personal confidence, my professional confidence, my confidence in my future self, my public speaking confidence, my training confidence. I found myself in one situation after another that was scary, but once I worked through it, became rewarding and even fun. 

But life isn't linear, and the road we are on is seldom straight. In that same business, I experienced challenges with my business growth and more impactfully, with leaders I had viewed as mentors and colleagues I had viewed as friends. Feeling like the unpopular girl in high school once again, I began my retreat. At first, it was so slow, I almost didn't notice. I certainly denied it was happening, to those around me and most importantly to myself. 

Here's the funny thing, at this same time, as my professional confidence was eroding, my athletic confidence was exploding. I ran my first marathon, then my second. I completed my first triathlon, at the Olympic distance. I entered the dirty and physically challenging world of mud and obstacle racing and advanced from the Warrior Dash to the Super Spartan race. 

I also built amazing friendships in a circle that I hold great passion, esteem and love for. A group of people that I respect and enjoy. I get to be one of the cool kids when I'm with them. I advanced to the "in crowd".

I observe, in hindsight as we often do, that I didn't lose my confidence, though I thought so at the time, rather I shifted it to another aspect of my life. We often view people from a distance that seem confidant in one way or another and we assume that they are fully, 100% confidant and competent in all aspects of their life. I wager they are not. How often have you heard an interview with a celebrity who shares something they are really bad at, something maybe even close to what they are known for. Like an athlete who is a terrible dancer, or a public speaker who can't sing in key. 

Working with an amazing coach, she saw my loss of professional confidence and the effect it was going to continue to have on my business and worked with me to take a huge leap in a totally new direction and start Chicago Over 40 Females. WOW has that been amazing. Over the past year my confidence has grown exponentially. I feel loved and respected and recognize those are very important things to me. 

And last fall, I took the leap to resign my leadership position with my direct sales company and shift into a new company. Totally new in every way. It has been amazing, uplifting, and successful. But, this week, I've observed another strange phenomenon in my confidence. I lack the confidence in my role and my connections in this business in an insidious way. Where I have no qualms about talking to anyone about Over 40 Females, in any profession, at any level, asking them for any level of sponsorship or involvement, I find I have some silo'd areas where I have that same confidence in my new business. 

If we're not growing, we're dying, right? 

As I move into the 2nd half of 2014, I embark on yet another facet of building my self-confidence, and learn to accept and embrace that it doesn't always apply in all situations.

How about you? Do you find there are areas of your life where you are confident, and others where you wish you were? I'd love to hear about it!  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What is your thing?

This week, at our Over 40 Females event, I was inspired by Jill Belconis story of how she got to where she is (was) by simply assuming the best in the world. Never asking herself "Why me", but instead always "Why not me?" I can't wait to hear what the next chapter in her life unfolds. So excited to see where her passion leads her and what happens next. 

Coincidentally, or serendipitously (I don't think that's a word) I have been reading the book What is your What by Steve Olsher. A great workbook to help you on the journey to discover (and monetize) the one thing you were put on this planet to do. 

I have had a hectic, but amazing month. I started spending a weekend in Austin, TX with friends I've known for over a dozen years. After years of seeing each other once a year at an annual festival, we decided a year is too long to wait to hang out, so we added a 2nd annual vacation. It's the absolute best time! 

Then I spent last weekend with my Seacret family at our spring international convention in Salt Lake City, UT. What an amazing inspirational weekend. 

The cool thing, as I was finalizing plans for my event this week, and working on my Seacret mission, I got so crystal clear on my thing. I'm a community builder. Building our Chicago Over 40 Females community, building our wealthy global Seacret community. My thing is bringing people together, and supporting them to get everything they need, deserve and want out of this great big thing we call life.

What is your thing? 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Love Will Lead the Way

I am looking at the 1st Birthday/Anniversary of Chicago Over 40 Females, the local chapter of a National women's networking group I launched and grew in the Greater Chicagoland area.

I talk about the journey a lot, and I am constantly in awe of what shows up on the road I'm on, or how the road leads me to places I'd never have imagined.

In late 2012, I was working with business coach Christine Gallagher. She pushed me WAY out of my comfort zone to create an event I had been envisioning and that is what led me to launching Chicago Over 40 Females.

At the time, I was terrified. Even though I had been active in the Chicago networking community for 8 years, I worried that I didn't know enough people, that no one would see me, no one would be interested in me and no one would believe in my vision enough to follow me.

Our launch brought 75 women from all over Chicagoland. Many of my friends and colleagues. So many women brought guests, and the energy was amazing.

As I look at celebrating our 1st Birthday/Anniversary, it's funny that it's almost like walking or riding a bike. What was simply terrifying a year ago is like taking a breath today. Running an event comes totally naturally to me, I'm not nervous in the least. I'm not afraid to approach anyone in any business with my invitation. I'm not worried about approaching sponsors or venues and not wavering in the least about my requirements. 

I look at our community and I am so proud and honored to have been instrumental in bringing these amazing ladies together. It's humbling to be among such dynamic, inspiring ladies month after month. 

In 8, almost 9 years of networking in the Chicagoland area, I don't think I've ever seen as much business taking place as I see at our events. But the reason is what makes me proud. It is because of the relationships, it is because of our deep, heart-centered desire to support one another. I see real relationships and true friendships and no superficial or narcissistic vibe. 
Real women making real connections. 

Women met for the first time at this event and were scheduling work together within 15 minutes.

The conclusion I've come to is that the road to success is paved with love. Lead with love and amazing things will come from it.

I'm never quite sure what to call it. Is it a Birthday or an Anniversary? I kind of feel like it's my baby, so birthday seems appropriate, but anniversary does as well (Please share your vote in the comments, I'd love that!)