International Women’s Day

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Here’s the deal: Women can do anything.  We have limitless capabilities, an abundance of empathy, strength, stamina, courage, drive, creativity….the list goes on.

And yet we hold ourselves back.  We tell ourselves we aren’t good enough, under qualified, not ready, or unworthy of our dreams.

Why???

It’s not about changing the conversation in the world so much as it is about changing the conversation in our HEADS.

Click here to hear my thoughts in full. 

Do you agree?

3 Things To Step Into A Great Week

“Comfort is the enemy of progress.” -P.T. Barnum

Monday mornings can be a pivotal point in your week or they can be a painful point in your week.  Which will you choose?

Hitting the snooze button, staying in the warm bed, skipping the gym and making deals with ourselves to stay in those comfortable, happy places are all sure ways to set yourself up for a lackluster day of catch-up instead of on of forward progress.

Here are 3 tips to set yourself up for success:

1). Have “Me Time.” 
Make sure your weekend (or some point of the week) has been just for you to relax, check in with yourself and pour into your own cup.  Sleep, take a bath, get a massage or read in a quiet place…whatever your version of ultimate unplugged and chill time is.  Do it.  Your world doesn’t exist without you so make sure you’re starting out the week with a full battery.

2). Plan out your week.
The better prepared you are, the much greater chances you have of finding success in whatever your mission is that week.  Looking to be healthier?  Have your meals planned and as prepped as possible, healthy snacks ready to go and workouts mapped out.  Building an empire with your own business? What specific activities are you going to do every day to grow that sucker?  Write out names, contact info, marketing messages and social media posts ahead of time.  Working on a relationship in your life? Schedule when you are planning on pouring time and energy into that person, set alarms on your phone to remind you to pick up the phone and call or text.

3). Give yourself a mantra every day.
Wake up with purpose and intention.  What WILL you do today?  What person will you be?  Something as simple as “Keep moving. Life is good” put on replay in your head can make a big impact on your attitude and -consequently- what happens to you during the day.  Write it on a sticky note and put it on your desk, in your car and in your planner.

Of course there are lots of other great things you can do to set up your days, but start with these 3. Tune into YOU and YOUR purposes and intents.

Have a great week!

 

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I’m Guilty Of This

This morning I took joy in attending a local photography networking breakfast.  It was wonderful to tap into a professional network and learn some great tips from other creative people.  We ate, talked, collaborated and drank copious cups of coffee. Bliss!

  The biggest takeaway from the session this morning was the message:

“PRINT YOUR PHOTOS!”

I am so very guilty of not printing out many photos.  I blame my lack of wall space and uninspired mind when it comes to decorating…I rarely print photos. I’m guilty of thoughts like “I can see them on Facebook any time I want.” Yikes!

Quotes rolled throughout the presentation like:

“Without printed photographs, we only remember half the moments we said we would.”

“Because nobody is going to pass down a USB drive from generation to generation.”

and

“It shouldn’t require electricity to see a photo of someone you love.”

Bottom line:  We forget, we don’t want to spend the (minimal!) money or we just plain don’t understand what we are supposed to do with photos once they are printed (turns out, we are supposed to display them, share them, carry them in our wallets, send them in the mail to people and look a them often)!

So get out there and print some quality images today from your last family photo session or of people who you love.

Tip: don’t use Walmart or somewhere cheap.  Spend a few cents more per photo to use a local photography business or a website like Mpix.  You won’t be sorry!

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Sun’s Out FUN’s Out!

When the weather starts to show signs of life again, everyone in Iowa scampers outdoors….like bears out of hibernation, we slowly emerge, blinking our eyes at the sun and sniffing the fresh air.

My little cubs and I (and the Papa Bear in our family) took some time to play outside in the recent warming, Iowa temps.

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Bristol loves her new bike.  She got it for her 5th birthday (along with that sweet helmet!).  You’ll never guess her favorite color!

John was all but too excited to show the airplanes his lawn mower.

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I’m sure JJ was very glad for the expert help fixing the speed bump we have in the driveway…they say “many hands make light work”!  These signs of spring make my heart happy (even if they all lead to a muddy floor!)

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100 Days Live

We all need to grow in life.  But to do that we need two things: challenges and direction.

When I was challenged by my current life coach to go live on my Facebook wall for 100 days in a row, sharing what inspires me, challenges me and moves me…. I immediately said “Okay!”

…followed by the thought “Oh…wait….what did I just say I could do?”

Life tip: There is a “short cut” to finding rapid growth towards your goals.  Say yes before you can think about it. Could you fail? Yep.  Could you crash and burn publicly? Yep.  But will you be MUCH farther ahead of the game than if you’d taken it slow and wait to feel ready? Absolutely!

Disclaimer: I’m saying this as someone who has a strong desire to be given permission and feel “ready” before voicing my ambitions.  Making great leaps is scary as hell, but sometimes just doing it is the best way to get out there.  Not always, but sometimes.

There have been numerous times in my life I have jumped into tasks or challenges without hesitation despite feeling completely devoid of this skills needed to do it.Jefe

The very first time was when I was 19.  I was working as a polo groom for a man named David.  We were in Colorado for a weekend of polo and when he fell during the game and his horse rolled over on him.  It was a really scary fall, but he seemed to feel fine and finished the weekend playing (tough guy!). We would later learn he had broken several ribs, which be came more and more evident as the weekend wore on.  By the time Monday morning rolled around and it was time for us to drive the string of horses back to Iowa, he could barely stand up.  He was in obvious agony.  Reluctantly, David said he didn’t think he could sit up to drive the truck home and I found myself confidently saying “I can drive us home.”

Here’s the deal: I had never driven any kind of a truck and trailer before.

8 horses, an old Dodge with undersized mirrors pulling an extra wide trailer meant that not only was I driving a horse trailer for the very first time (a huge horse trailer!), but I would be doing it with limited visibility, a painfully injured boss in the seat next to me and 10 hours of road ahead of me.  I wasn’t nervous until we started to pull out of the driveway.
“You have to turn extra wide so the back of the trailer can clear the corners” groaned David.

I curb checked the first turn and heard all the horses scrambling to get their footing in the trailer.

“Shit. Sorry!” I said. David reassured me it was fine from his reclined position.

My knuckles were white for the first hour of the trip as I drove along through Denver traffic, perched on the edge of the drivers seat, hands at ten and two.

The first fuel stop had my anxiety through the roof.  I felt like every trucker was staring at me as I edged my way into the diesel pump.  This made me even more anxious and I hit the brakes too hard, sending every horse slamming into the one in front of it in the trailer. My face got beet red.  I felt out of place, insecure and completely out of my comfort zone. But there was obviously no turning back or changing my mind.

The day and trip wore on. By the time evening rolled around, I found a bit of a groove, but was still incredibly unsure of myself with such a heavy load of important cargo with massive blind spots.  I had figured out a rhythm when passing vehicles to make sure I didn’t have anyone sneak into my giant blind spots.  I was hyper-aware of traffic around me as well, counting cars as they passed me.

David was fading fast next to me.  He had slept most of the last half and was becoming more and more uncomfortable as his injuries stiffened.  The truck was quiet except for road noise and the occasional thump from a horse kicking the trailer wall. I was exhausted and sure the horses were as well.  I don’t ever recall being so laser focused on a such a mission before that point in my life.  It was powerful!

When we rolled into the driveway of the ranch in Iowa more than 10 hours later, I felt a flood of accomplishment roll over me.   I had done it. We made it. A brief part of me actually wanted the drive to continue…I felt I was capable of even MORE!  An abundance of emotion rolled over me….pride, astonishment, empowerment, excitement and disbelief.  It was the moment I realized and verbalized to myself quietly, “I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”

That drive lead to a whole new skill for me that would serve me very well for the next 10 years.  I had no doubt in my abilities transporting horses after that day.  And although there was still learning to do and mistakes were made from time to time, my confidence in myself to was through the roof.  I imagine it would have taken years to gain the confidence and abilities I gained in that one day had I instead taken baby steps, made small practice trips and waited until I felt “ready” to drive that rig.

There have been a few other instances since then that have solidified these feelings in me as well. I have come to recognize when these fleeting opportunities arise and I jump on them.

I am at the beginning of one now with this “100 days Live” challenge. 

I imagine my inner-self white-knuckled at the wheel of my mind and thoughts, trying to hold onto a meaningful and understandable stream of thoughts as I put myself out there live in front of my entire network to see.  I feel like I did at that fuel pump….everyone watching, wanting to see if I mess up (which I might!) and feeling anxious at what the trip will look like.  But I’m so looking forward the trip…bumps in the road and all!

What’s pushing me through is seeing what happens during this all. What will I feel like at the end of 100 days? Will anyone listen?  Will anyone care or -more importantly- feel inspired to do the seemingly impossible in their own lives?  What kind of confidence and clarity of self is waiting for me on the other side of this?

Here’s the kickoff video! Check it out and follow along…it’s going to be a ride!

Thursday Thoughts: Women in Business

I recently got to spend 3 days with a pretty powerful group of entrepreneurs in Tucson, Arizona.  3 years ago, I never would have dreamed that I was capable of creating a life like this, but I thank God every day for the chances I took on myself to get to this point.

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At our conference in Tucson, we did all things “dude-ranchy” like riding horses, having cookouts, hiking and mountain biking.  And of course we treated ourselves to poolside locations for collaboration sessions, spa treatments and great food.

If you know me even slightly well, you know that this is the setting of my soul….wide open spaces and horses are my jam!

(PS, if you’re looking for a fantastic Arizona experience, check out Tanque Verde Ranch)

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While away from my sweet family for this trip, I was able to take the chance to get some perspective on my life and how it has changed so dramatically since jumping into the entrepreneur pond.

Today, I am a better mother, wife, provider, friend, sister and overall human being.   I am developing a relentless ability to get up and try again. Daily.  In all areas in life. And I am doing, sharing, giving and loving so much more than ever before.  The opinions of others effect me less and -possibly most importantly- I am realizing exactly who I am and what I want out of life.

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I have learned (and am still learning) that life is a series of growing and stretching exercises designed to form us into the very best versions of ourselves.  Life is not about getting what we want or living within our comfort zone.  It’s not about doing the coolest things or having the best-appearing life on social media.

Life is about adding value: Valuing ourselves, valuing others and creating value in the world.  It is about accepting others even if we don’t understand them. Life is about creating and sharing, respecting and accepting…starting with ourselves.  

As women -and especially women in business- it is imperative that we realize just how powerful we are and accept our turn at the controls when offered.  Did you know that we CAN have it all?

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Growing up, I never really had a plan.  There wasn’t some shining career that I lusted after, I didn’t have my heart set on a family right away and there were no role models who’s lives I wanted to emulate in any large way.   I knew I loved animals and helping people. But I struggled with that for a long time…feeling like there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t force myself into a career or lifestyle as it seems so many of my peers did flawlessly.  I guess the idea of being put into a certain box for my whole life just scared the crap out of me.

So, after college, I wandered my way around the country, working mostly with polo horses (that’s a story in itself!) but also dabbling in bartending and restaurant management followed by a brief career as an Executive Assistant.  But none of the labels that came along with those jobs ever felt accurate to me and I felt strongly that none of them were long-term situations for me.  There was so much more out there for me, but where?

Enter entrepreneurship.  Now, the story of how I found the business I am in how is long and quite interesting, but I’ll save it for another day.  The point is, the universe opened up a door and I jumped through it.

That was 3 years ago.  Today, I am no longer asking myself “Why can’t I just be ME?” because that is exactly what I do.  Every day.  I do me things.  I take care of my family.  I dig in the dirt with my kids.  I play with the pony and go to the gym.  I bake, laugh and goof around at the drop of a hat. And I work.  I work hard on myself and growing my business.  I set huge scary goals and I try hard to reach them. I am CEO, accountant, secretary, sales person and marketing executive.  It’s messy, but I’m learning.

And the best part about it just might sound like the worst, but the glory is in the growth: Being an entrepreneur is challenging.  It is often uncomfortable.  People sometimes judge me and it’s hard not to second guess myself.  This all feels out of my wheelhouse some days.  But I am growing.

 

 

 

As I sat in the Arizona dusk, listening to the music of a solo guitar player, smelling steaks burning on the grill and watching fellow business women and friends celebrate each other, I realized just how incredible it is that I have gifted myself this journey.

Together and alone, the women I share time with on this trip have overcome challenges, both internal and external, to prove that we really can have and do it all.  We are rewriting the definition of what a career is.  Private life and professional don’t always have to be separate and, in fact are often better when you can marry them together in the right way.  You can lead with your heart and still make a great income.  You can be an aggressive businesswoman and still be caring, sensitive and have other’s interests at heart. We can measure each other by the size of the impact we make and not the size of our wallets.

So cheers to you women out there ruling your own fate!  I see you, I feel you and I respect you. The struggle is so real some days, but isn’t the reward worth 10 times all the bad combined?

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