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!

The Art of Dancing Backwards in High Heels

dancing backOh the irony! I actually can’t dance. I don’t have a coordinated bone in my body and my husband has fallen out of his chair laughing at me one too many times when I’ve tried. But, he knows better than anyone that I’m a master – and I mean award-winning champion – at dancing backwards in high heels!

The struggle is real but the payoff is incredible when you learn this dancing art. There are over 9.9 million women-owned businesses in this country that generate over $1.6 TRILLION in revenue and the growth rate at which these companies are taking off is unprecedented! But as an owner of several thriving businesses myself, I’m no stranger to wiping bottoms while simultaneously fishing the remote control out of the toilet just 2 minutes prior to running out the door with sloppy kiss stains on my silk blouse. Don’t worry…two bottles of antibacterial soap stand ready by every sink in our home.

But here’s the thing. The days with deadlines that can’t be missed, employees who have questions every time we turn around, e-mails out the whazoo (is that even a word?), 32 missed phone calls, kids to cart around, computers that can’t think as fast as we can, opportunities that you don’t want to turn down, invoices that need to be sent, accounting fiascos, legal questions, continuing education marathons, and staplers without staples when you need them most – these days are the norm for even the most successful business owners! Whatever or whomever gave us the idea when we first started out that being a business owner was all glitter and glam is the culprit of all the stress and anxiety we manufacturer in our lives.

Luckily, it can be easier! Yes, you heard me. Take it from the gal who choreographed the backwards moves to the tune of Areosmith’s “Dream On.” Here’s what you need to know to get it right:

  1. Stay grounded and keep your priorities straight – I’ve learned from dancing straight through the fire that my relationship with my maker has to be #1, my husband is #2, my kids are #3, and my business and all the folks I serve within it are #4. I’m pretty sure my clients would agree that that’s the way it should be. My confidence comes from the fact I work with people I love and respect and who feel the same about me. This is an absolute MUST! Life is too short to fill your life with people you can never please or help at the end of the day.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – I’m already finding the old saying “it takes a village” to raise your kids is so incredibly true for me. I’m certain God didn’t intend for me to be a stay-at-home mom because he gave me different strengths and talents. That doesn’t mean I’m neglecting my children or not giving them the attention, love, and care they deserve. It means I do everything I can to be the very best mom I can be, and we surround them with people who have God-given gifts to fill in the gaps. The same is true in business. There ARE people out there that are better than you at bookkeeping, scheduling, technology, etc. Learn to play to your own strengths while keeping your priorities straight and God will handle the rest.
  3. Take care of yourself – I’m not the world’s greatest at this one; however, I am positive that I feel my best when I do get enough rest, eat healthy, exercise, and pencil-in down time. These activities equip you for the juggling acts and demands of others.
  4. Be confident – Learn to recognize that the source of your strength is from a God in whom nothing is impossible. As long as you’re listening to and obeying Him, you have absolutely positively no reason to doubt. God wants to bless us. He wants us to be happy. He loves us. Therefore, we need to be assured in His plans for us and embrace challenges, frustrations, and opportunities alike.

Are you a business-owner or professional with a broken high heel? How can I help you???

– Valerie R. Leonard, AIF®

* U.S. Census, 2012

Do You Need Balance in Your Life? 5 Habits of Well-Balanced People to Increase Success

balanced LIWith all of the responsibilities, obstacles, and goals life hands us, it gets tough keeping everything together. You could easily find yourself stressed out when you have too much on your plate and wondering how to handle it all. Being out of balance does more than cause stress, it diminishes productivity and success. By adapting the habits of well-balanced people, you open new doors which hold the solutions to getting everything done. So what exactly does someone do to maintain balance?shutterstock_319742651.jpg

1.) They are well-rested: Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep allows you to reap many benefits such as sharpened attention and improved memory along with boosting your mood and making you feel better in general. You can’t tackle everything with a tired mind, so don’t cut yourself short.

2.) They wake up early: Early risers give themselves enough time before leaving the house to organize their day with schedules, goals, and any other morning rituals to ensure they make the most of the day. Research shows this type of person is more successful at life than the night owl, so it’s definitely worth heading to bed early the night before.

3.) They stay healthy: Exercise and positive eating habits are pretty important. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you’ll achieve improvement both physically and mentally in endless ways. So pick a workout that’s right for you, whether it be a walk around the block or taking a dance class. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast, and be sure to keep sweets and junk food to a bare minimum.

4.) They appreciate the small things: Waking up thankful for another day, being grateful for the people in your life, and feeling blessed for everything they have rather than being miserable for what they don’t are all traits of someone with a balanced life. It brings them more peace to celebrate all they have accomplished and gained instead of focusing on the things they lack.

5.) They stay positive: As far as negativity goes, they learn from it and don’t dwell on it. They’re open-minded, knowing behind every wrong turn is an adventure with something earned rather than lost. They acknowledge the opportunity to learn from mistakes and embrace the lesson. They always look at the bright side of all situations instead of what can go wrong. Thoughts are more powerful than we give them credit for; a positive mind equals a positive life.

Achieving a balanced life is possible. Practicing these habits will bring more than just success your way, they’ll create a better you.