Integrate Life into Your Today

shutterstock_176813414 copyLet’s all just face it, sometimes it is just what it is.  I’m a wife first. A mom second. I’m a business owner third. And I don’t always get a hot second to spend on myself. True, we have complete control over the great majority of our circumstances, but sometimes elements of the life we have now are unchangeable – at least for the time being.  I don’t want to change anything about life today except for one thing…I want to slow down and enjoy it more! There is joy in living in the moment, so why waste even a smidgen of happiness or a minute of life???

The poet, William Earnest Henley, said it best in his poem Invictus when he wrote “I am the master of my fate”. You always have a choice. Choose wisely. So since I often have to talk out loud to myself to get myself to listen, here’s some advice I’m shouting today:

1.) Every day do at least one thing that makes you happy. There is no magic list. Do not listen to anyone else’s suggestions. You know what makes you smile, so smile today!

2.) Make a plan and make it a habit. Just like brushing your teeth, or jump starting your morning with caffeine – make this a priority on a daily basis.

3.) Make a mental list of the things you have mastered already in life. You know what they are – these are the areas where you receive accolades, awards and “at–a-boys”. You have a full twenty-four hours every day. Pick one, do it better than anyone else can, and feel fulfilled and accomplished.

4.) Be a friend, call a friend, help a friend or make a new friend. Interpersonal relationships have tangible power. Infuse each new day with a heaping dose.

5.) Feed your body; eating healthy foods increases your stamina and keeps illness at bay. (It’s shameful how lucky I feel on days where I miss only one meal!) Feed your mind. Read, read, and read. Keep abreast on current events, buy trade journals in your area of expertise, subscribe to how-to publications – just read daily. Lastly, at least once every day, do whatever feeds your soul.  Prayer, meditation, yoga, exercise, Bible study, journaling; whatever gives you inner peace.

Become your own life coach, and integrate life into your today. When you are ready to integrate new life into your financial future, make us the friend you call. Contact us  – you will be happy you did!

3 Things You Need to Hear but Don’t Want to

12436236_10153860979392650_1672561612_oThey say the truth hurts.  It’s a hard pill to swallow – like the time my two-year-old recently pointed out that she’s excited to see I’m going to have another baby.  “No, honey.  No baby in this belly,” and thanks for pointing out that I’m obviously fat!

But don’t you think that cutting out the crap and getting to the meat and potatoes of this life is really all that’s important?  Think about it.  Maybe I do need some exercise.  Maybe I do need to hear something that makes me cringe.  After all, the friend who will tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear, is the best friend of all.

So here’s the meat and potatoes – after 13+ years as a financial advisor, I’m still blown away by the people who just don’t get it.  The story is almost always the same…it’s a couple who has decent income, they don’t live extravagantly, one’s a spender and one’s decent with money, they have some debt, are underfunded for retirement and college savings, and they don’t understand that it won’t just all come together perfectly.  The hard truth:

  1. Debt kills you.
  2. Savings won’t just happen one day.
  3. It doesn’t ever get cheaper to live.

None of these people are dumb.  They’re just living the way society tells us we all should live.  It’s peer pressure at its’ core and it’s contagious!

Have you ever seriously thought about what it would be like to have zero debt?  How much would it cost you to live?  What if all you had to pay for were utilities, clothes, and food?  Would you have to save as much for retirement?  Would you have to work as many hours as you do now?

Did you know it’s entirely possible to pay off your mortgage in 5 years? What about your car payment?  Wouldn’t it be easier to not have one and pay for every car in the future with cash?  With proper planning in place, these are all realistic examples of goals that can be accomplished without being rich.

Food (meat and potatoes) for thought…

If you liked this or know someone who would, subscribe and share away!  ~Val

5 Tips for Winning at New Year’s Resolutions

winning at new years resolutionsJust yesterday when chatting about turning the page to 2016 a friend said to me, “I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I didn’t become a better person!”

Ok, here’s the thing.  We all have something we really want.  We think about it often, it’s in the back of our minds every single day in some way or another and it’s very personal to us.  Getting fit and healthy perhaps?  A new business endeavor?  Organizing your life?  Spending less and saving more?  Enjoying more time with friends and family?  Simply put, one of two things have happened – we’ve either made a conscience choice not to pursue our goal or we’ve likely failed before at trying to achieve it.

If you’re contemplating a New Year’s Resolution for 2016, you should know that scientific research tells us you have a 92% chance of failure*.  So what are the winning 8% doing successfully?  They’re throwing glitter at the new year and kicking adversity in the face!  Here’s how:

  1. They Want It! Sometimes we just think we want something, a stark difference than truly wanting it. Other times we think we should do something because of outside influences but we don’t actually want to do it. Start by asking yourself, am I making this resolution just because…or do I want it so badly I will sacrifice whatever it takes to make it happen?
  2. They have their priorities straight. When looking at your life, you need a list of your top five priorities. Write them down right now. Seriously. Write them down. If your resolution doesn’t fit into the top five, you’re going to have a tough time achieving it. Consider focusing on another goal that is perfectly aligned with one of your priorities.
  3. They are confident their goal WILL be achieved. Research indicates that the winning 8% have a higher degree of confidence than those who eventually fail. You should consider your confidence level. If you are not at least 70% convinced you’ll make it happen, it’s not worth your commitment or energy.
  4. They don’t tell anyone about it. Numerous scientific studies dating back to the 1920s support the idea that you should keep your resolutions to yourself.   Seems backwards from what we’re taught, huh? And it’s not just about self-accountability. Think about the feeling and emotions that would come from telling your friends your goal has been achieved. It’s a euphoric idea, isn’t it? Science tells us that when we share a big goal with our friends, your mind is tricked into thinking it’s already been reached.   When your goals are acknowledged by others, it feels real to your brain – like social substitution for that euphoric state. Moral of the story, don’t Facebook your resolutions this year!
  5. They embrace the power of positive thinking. We all have a choice to tell ourselves we will succeed or tell ourselves we won’t. As one of the most victorious Biblical characters, David said, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is,” Proverbs 23:7. When establishing a new habit your first step should be to create an ongoing practice of constructive thoughts. A pattern of negativity will simply squash your big plans.

I’d love to share more ideas with you on living a life on the north side of average!  Subscribe and share today!  Happy New Year to you!

*John Norcross, University of Scranton, 1985

You’ve Got to Stand for Something or You’ll Fall for Anything

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“You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.  You’ve got to be your own man, not a puppet on a string.”  – Aaron Tippin

Are you a bold person?  Do you have strong convictions and only share them with friends and family?  Is it your nature to be reserved and easily intimidated?  For me, it is.  I’ve always been more concerned about what people might think about me than what I truly believe in.  Recently, however, I’ve come to the realization that my own selfishness is stopping me from carrying out God’s will for my life.  Who am I to squander the gifts and knowledge he has instilled in me and keep them for myself?

This morning as we prepare to go out into this world, let’s challenge ourselves to do something bold today.  Let’s push ourselves out of our comfort zone.  For you, it may be asking a prospect for new business, showing someone how much you care about them, seeking out a new job, or pointing out something that a friend needs to hear instead of what they want to hear.  For me, I plan on telling a random stranger how much God has changed my life.  Be bold, live a life north of average, and do it TODAY!

I Smell Results

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Have you ever been on the cusp of doing something you never thought you could do?  Perhaps as you read these words you feel like you are destined for something greater?  Maybe you’ve dreamed a dream and are longing to feel it, see it, and taste it?  Does the very thought of it seem so exciting you can actually smell it?  If so, all that’s standing between you and your dream is FOCUS…

In today’s society, focusing isn’t easy.  I’m willing to bet that right this very moment you are battling one or more distractions.  Look around you.  Think about your day. Can you name more than one thing that bothers you?  So how on earth do we reach our goals when we’re overwhelmed with everything and everyone that pulls us in different directions?  I’ll tell you how.

This part is important and it hit me square in the face when I first heard it: “devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing,” says author Andy Stanley.  Think about that.  Re-read it: “devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing.”

Could this be why you aren’t living your dream?  Something’s gotta give…so what is it?

Who’s the Ying to Your Yang?

Balance is everything
Balance is everything

In business and in life, balance is one of the hardest things to achieve.  We are being pulled in different directions at any second of the day.  Whether it’s keeping up with e-mails, marketing ourselves, handling customer phone calls, keeping the books up-to-date, prospecting, managing employees, tracking and analyzing results, ensuring quality control of our products or services, planning for future growth, managing risk, and the list goes on and on and on, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed!  Maybe you feel that way right now?!?

If you’ve been blessed with a great spouse, you understand how having someone to balance you can be the secret to holding it all together.  If not, you get that failure is not an option because who else would pick up the pieces if you drop the ball?  Owning a company isn’t really that different if you think about it.  Going solo can mean tremendous pressure.  Having the right partner, however, can be the key to incredible success!

Take my financial advisory practice for instance – my business partner, Trent, balances me in every area I need it.  Not only do Trent and I share in the workload, we also get to bounce ideas off of each other.  If we have an issue, we can rely on each other to work through it.  If we have an idea, we serve as each other’s filter and can easily play devil’s advocate to ensure an idea actually makes sense.  When we are ready to run, it’s more like a relay than a sprint with a cheerleader always on the sidelines.  In a world where you can’t be everything to everyone, we are free to specialize and come together to provide a deeper and more well-rounded level of expertise and service.

Partnerships do take work, but they can be extremely effective in balancing your business, your life, or your projects.  Stick around and we’ll explore some more tips on how Trent and I have achieved an incredible partnership, and I’ll also share how my husband, Rob, and I work together in his window treatment business in the same way.  But I’m curious…what questions do you have about partnerships that you’d like us to explore first?

The North Side of Average

Rob, Jake, Addie Claire, Valerie and Kaitlyn
Rob, Jake, Addie Claire, Valerie and Kaitlyn

One of the greatest gifts we’ve been given is the ability to affect other people and inspire with our language.  In the beginning of all creation God spoke and said “Let their be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).  God’s words created light and, hence, sight for us all!

In my career, I’ve worked with those who couldn’t see how they could possibly become successful or were blind to how they could take their lives or businesses to another level.  My prayer is that my words and the gifts God has instilled in me will be a light to your life.  My mission is to help inspire others to become extraordinary in all that they do!

I’m a mother, a wife, and an owner of multiple businesses.  I’ve had incredible success and have also made many mistakes personally and professionally in my 33 years of life.  There’s a good chance I’ve been where you are today!  If you’re ready, I want to help you avoid the mistakes I’ve made and achieve success much faster than I have.  Please join me on my life’s journey to the north side of average…

-Valerie Leonard