Friday, December 18, 2015

Do you hear what I hear?

We all have our favorite quotes. By far, the one that has stuck with me the most, and that I think of most often is one I heard the first time from Tony Robbins at an Unleash the Power Within weekend. I don't think he was the original "author" but I attribute it to him as it's his voice I hear when I think of it. 

Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.
This week, I hosted the 2nd annual Inspiration Awards for the Chicago Chapter of Over 40 Females.  It is definitely my favorite event of the year. I can't plan for all the fun crazy moments that come out of the little awards I make up based on what I hear over the year. 

Only this past year was it brought to my attention that this is my gift. I hear people say they things they don't even say out loud. I don't claim to have any magical ability or anything, I just think I pay more attention than most people. 

I'm so thankful that I learned the art and skill of active listening so that I can be fully present in the company of some of the most amazing people I have ever met. It is amazing what you can learn and appreciate from those around you if you only stop to listen. 

Listening tips which are great this time of year (and pretty much always) when you're at lots of parties and gatherings. 

1. Let go of your agenda.
2. Stop waiting for a moment to share that great story, the moment will come or it won't.
3. Don't look over the other person's shoulder at everything else going on in the room.
4. Allow yourself to take in what the other person is sharing with you, all of it. The words, the tone, the timber, the thoughts and the emotions behind it. People say SO much more than the mere words convey, it's easy to miss half the conversation if you're not focused.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What do the Holidays Mean For You?

My immediate family is pretty small. I have 1 sister, my Mother has 1 sister and my Father has 2 brothers and a half brother. When I was growing up, I had the joyful blessing of spending the holidays with my extended family. 
My maternal Grandma was one of 8 siblings, and most of those had more than 2 children, so my Mother has loads of cousins. I had the extreme blessing of my Great Grandma until I was 18 years of age (something rather unheard of) and so until she passed, we had a huge family holiday celebration at her home. 
For me, that came to define the holidays. Family. Optimally, lots of family crammed in a home that just barely large enough to contain them all. 

After my Great Grandma passed away, the celebrations got smaller as we didn't get together with my Mom's cousins any longer, but now I had 2 cousins and we still had that warm family feeling. Over the years, we had a few different iterations of inviting friends that were like family to join one holiday meal or another. 

Time changes as all things do, and I remain the "last man standing" in the midwest as all the rest of the family have moved to warmer climates. Luckily, I have the new blessing of my husband's family which is robust on both his Mom's and his Dad's side. We still have a holiday meal filled with family around a table where you're bumping elbows with your neighbor and making bad jokes. 

But I always think back to those Holidays at Grandma Brieschke's. I long for the whole family to be in one place, and I wish that things didn't have to change. My Mom and Sister tend to be the weepy ones in the family, but every year around this time, I find myself getting misty at warm family movies and commercials. 

What comes up for you around the Holidays? I'd love to hear your stories!  

Friday, October 30, 2015

What a difference the sun makes!

Here in the midwest, we're pretty solidly into fall. Meaning the temps are getting lower, the colors of the leaves are mostly changed and the leaves themselves are starting to fall. 
This is my favorite time of year, as I am a fan of the cooler temps, although we've had more rain than I like. This past week, I really noticed what a difference the sun makes. On back to back days, the temp was the same - between 60 and 65. 

The first day, I was perfectly comfortable in a t-shirt, and even a little warm in jeans. 

The second day, I was down right chilly in a sweatshirt. 

What was the difference? The sun! 
The first day was a clear sunny day and the second was overcast. 

For whatever reason, I really took notice of this. 

I will never advocate a false attitude appearance, and don't want you to feel like I'm suggesting a Pollyanna perspective, but think about how this applies to so many areas of your life. 

Where can you bring more sunshine? The same circumstance can appear, sound, feel and even taste different in the bright yummy warm light of the sun.

Friday, October 16, 2015

It's not OK that it's not OK

Those of you that know me "in real life" know that I am genuinely a happy, positive person. A lot of people who know me add a lot of superlatives to that description. 
This isn't fake, it isn't forced, it isn't an act, it is genuinely who and how I am. 

Most of the time

But sometimes, just sometimes, I'm not amazing, spectacular, outstanding or fabulous. And the rub is that I honestly feel like that's not OK. 

Like many of us, this leads me down the path of not listening to my own advice. I can clearly hear my own voice talking to friends, family and colleagues and telling them that sometimes they owe it to themselves to feel how they feel for the moment (just don't wallow there). Also like many of us, I feel intense pressure and responsibility to not allow myself to do just this. 

Years ago, early in my employment with ADP, there was a guy in my department, a really toxic guy. They sat him right next to me. After some time, I realized this guy was having a negative impact on me, my attitude, etc. I went to my supervisor and explained this, and that I really enjoyed my job, and didn't want that to change and could they please move one of us. My supervisor actually said to me, "You are the most up beat positive person on the team, imagine how he would impact anyone else. I can't move you away from him."

We all fall into roles. Roles where we not only feel obligated, but feel responsible for others around us. 

I've fallen into a role where I lift up those around me. It's a GREAT role. I love it, most of the time, I do it without even thinking about it, without giving it any effort or energy, it simply is how I am. 

But sometimes, just sometimes, I feel like being a little selfish. I feel like feeling crappy. And I kind of feel like I'm not allowed. Don't misunderstand me. This is completely, 100% self-imposed. This is nothing that anyone around me would ever say or even think. 

I share it with you today because I think I'm not alone. It may not be this exact situation for you, but I think we all fall into roles where we tell ourselves that it's more important for us to do x for this person or that person that it is to do what we know we need to do for ourselves. 

And the truth of it all is that is what is not OK.

It's not selfish to honor yourself.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Life Does't Make Reservations

We've all heard the saying "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Life has its own agenda, and it doesn't make reservations. You don't often get a heads up for the little hiccups that get thrown in on your journey.

As with everything, your perspective makes all the difference. Stuff comes up that you have to deal with whether you are ready or not. 

Years ago, my husband and I coined our own little phrase, on an adventure, for when we got lost. We'd say, we're not lost, we're on an adventure! Accordingly, we'd thoroughly enjoy our unplanned exploration.

This past week, we found ourselves on a new adventure. After getting some water in our basement, in my office of course, during the flash flood rains, we noted a distinct musty odor. We set out to remove a small portion of the carpet in my office, quickly realizing that we needed to pull all of the carpet out of the office. 

--- Our house was built in the 60's and the previous owner fancied himself somewhat of a handyman. Unfortunately he took lots of short cuts and we always find shoddy workmanship when we take stuff apart. 

Next we find we need to take down the paneling and then, to our dismay, find we need to take out an entire wall between my office and our bar. Demolition of the entire room was not on the plan or in our time or money budget.

But life doesn't make reservations.

My computer has been offline since Saturday and we're working on some temporary work conditions as this weekend project won't be quite finished in the time we originally planned.

Your perspective makes all the difference...

As I sit with a glass of wine, stressing about the much bigger project than we had planned, my amazing husband says. "Man, this is going to be awesome! I'm so excited about actually having your office done right! It will be so much lighter in there with dry wall and you won't have any more Brady Bunch paneling!" 

It's going to happen. Life is going to throw stuff at you. Challenging stuff. Scary stuff. You don't get to plan for it. You don't get to budget time, effort, energy or money for lots of little surprises.

But you do get to choose your perspective. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Refresh... whatever works for you!

Many of you know I recently returned from my annual vacation. Some of us call it a family reunion, some call it a concert, some call it a festival, some call it a pilgrimage.

We've been going for about 14 years now, and have made some of the best friends in our lives from, literally, all over the world. We can't wait each year to see one another. A couple times, we even put together a "mid-year trip" just so that we could see each other before having to wait the whole year.

In an interview with one of the band members that played this year, he said " When is another time in the world when I would be able to hang out with an obstetrician from Alabama, a half-Brazilian booking agent from Connecticut...? We have very little in common except for the fact that we love this sort of music... it's like a warm, fuzzy place."

While it not a vacation with a lot of sleep and rest, it is definitely an amazing rejuvenation of a completely different sort. A week that starts with hugs, hugs and more hugs. A week of complete divorce from reality. No TV, no social media, no email. A week of connecting. A week of laughing until your face, ribs and stomach ache.

I come home feeling new again. Feeling like a computer after a reboot.

What do you do that completely reboots your system? When do you give yourself the chance to disconnect from tasks, lists, responsibilities, worries, etc etc etc? 

I'd love to hear how you rejuvenate yourself. What do you do or use to divorce yourself from your daily constraints, how often and what difference do you see after?  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Did I say what I thought I said?


We do/use it every day. Sometimes, things become so obvious to us, so taken for granted that we assume everyone is operating from the same basic understanding that we are, the same starting point. 
But, that is not always the case.

A great example is an old riddle...

There is a bit of water and broken glass on the floor. George and Gracie are dead. How did they die?
In an attempt to solve this riddle, you offer many solutions, you also have many questions. As with all murder investigations, the important first detail is the identity of the victim or victims. 
Most people begin to solve this riddle (assuming you haven't heard it before) with the same basic assumption; that George and Gracie are people. In fact, this basic assumption sends you down a path of thinking that will direct you away from the solution. 
George and Gracie are goldfish. They died because their tank (bowl) broke.

Often times in our daily communication, we believe that others around us are operating from the same basic assumptions that we are when, in fact, they may not be.

Equally often, we may form half a thought in our head and communicate the rest of the thought without even realizing the first half no one heard but us.

A brilliant step in clear, connected communication is making sure that your audience is absolutely on the same page that you are. This is true whether you are speaking to a group, an auditorium or one individual.

Can you think of places where you have run into a misunderstanding based on faulty basic assumptions? I know I can! 

Keep this in mind this week when you're communicating and make sure you are saying what you mean to be saying. 

Friday, August 28, 2015


Collaboration is an amazing, exciting thing that can create something that is exponentially larger than the sum of its parts so to speak.

It's a great way to cross promote.

It's a great way to extend your offerings to your "peeps" (your list, your customers, your colleagues, even your friends and family).

It's a great way to increase your value to your "peeps".

It's a great way to learn about other businesses that are in alignment with yours to promote future referrals.

It's a great way to get new eyes on your business.

All these things are great and why collaboration can be an amazing tool.

That being said, you want to ensure that the project, or the partner business is in alignment with your business, your current direction and your underlying mission. You also want to ensure that the partners you are collaborating with do business in a similar fashion to the way you do business. You have to be an advocate not only for your business visibility and branding, but most importantly, an advocate for your customers. 

A large part of collaboration is cross promotion, and if you are going to open your precious database and invite your customers to experience something, you want to do your best to ensure it will be a good experience for your customers, and one that is in alignment with the type of experience they receive from you.

If you are a very nurturing, high touch, deep relationship building kind of business professional (as I strongly suspect you are if you are reading this right now) then it is not going to be a right fit to partner with a very straight up hard sales type, even if the product they sell is something that your people would be super keen to purchase.

There are many other examples I could site, but I'm sure you get the idea. 

Collaboration can be amazing and create something entirely new and fantastic, for you, the partner, and all of your "peeps". But take care, because it can also reflect someone else's business model and practices on you so choose wisely friends!

Everyone has an agenda, it's naive to think that they don't, and you should, too. You're not in business to be giving everything away. But like any other relationship, you want to be partnering with someone who cares as much about how the relationship benefits you as they do about how the relationship benefits them.

Finally, when you do choose to collaborate, think of it like those group projects in school. You never want to be the guy everyone else thinks is a slacker in the group. Do your share, and most importantly share your brilliance. Sometimes the project originator has an idea, and only through the added insight and brainstorming of a team does it reach its full potential. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Bloom on the Rose

I've written before about pruning as a necessary process for growth.
I was deadheading my rose bushes a week or two back and for some reason it caused me to think about it from a slightly different perspective. 

When we come up with our next great idea or thing or just hit our next stage of greatness, we essentially bloom. Each time, we allow ourselves to think that this is the "end" in a sort. We feel accomplished. 

I'm no green thumb, so I apologize if I explain this wrong, but how I understand it is that basically when flower withers and dies on a plant, the plant really has no idea that the flower is no longer blooming. It continues to send nutrients and energy to that bloom, essentially starving the rest of the plant. It is when we trim off this withered bloom that the plant can grow stronger, fuller, and in some cases bloom again, as is the case in fact with my rose bushes.

I think we do this in our lives and in our business. We continue to feed our energy into a bloom that has withered and prevent the option to bloom again, or force that bloom to wait an entire season.

So what if we taught ourselves to look at each new bloom as a great, beautiful and temporary win, being fully ready to move on right away to the next step, the next stage, the next idea, or just the next repetition of that beautiful bloom?

Do you do it? Do you find yourself funneling energy into a tired bloom in some area of your life or business?  I know I do. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Why do we wait?

I got some bad news from a friend this week. You know the kind, the kind that makes you immediately infinitely more appreciative of your life, your relationships, all that.

If you're reading this, it's pretty likely you practice daily gratitude, or at least practice gratitude in your life. 

I'm challenging all of you, including myself, to step it up a notch and truly cherish your life. 

Why does it take these moments of tragedy to wake us up? And why does that lucidity not last? It shouldn't take news of an accident, illness, death or divorce to make us stand up and say WOW I'm so incredibly lucky I have an amazing life. 

News hits of a shooting or horrible accident to befall kids somewhere and social media blows up with hug your kids messages. Someone's parent or grandparent dies and everyone calls or posts memories of their parents and grandparents. A tornado or hurricane levels a town and we suddenly stop complaining about the house we're living in.

Why do we wait? 

I know I'm really lucky. I have a lot of people around me that tell me they appreciate and care for me all the time, most of all my amazing husband. He's thankful for little things and big things in our life from running an errand for him to making his lunch for his trips, but there are moments like receiving this news yesterday when that all feels so superficial.

We need to strive to keep the best of us at the top of mind every day, not just in the aftermath of the latest tragedy. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sometimes it's not about you

This past weekend I completed the Chicago Rock 'n' Roll half marathon. That's totally not the cool part. The cool part is that I did it with my girlfriend who has only been running a year. I've done 4 previous half marathons, and I had a pretty decent cheering section at every one. 
This time, my husband was there with me, which is always awesome, and even he was helping to cheer on my friend.
Every person that has congratulated me on the race almost surprises me. Part of me feels like I didn't even run the race. 

Because it wasn't about me.

It was an absolutely amazing experience to be able to fully support someone in achieving a huge massive goal. Especially when she doubted, especially when she was afraid, especially when she was willing to accept less from herself.

And, don't you know, this felt like a much bigger accomplishment than my own first half marathon. 

Who can YOU support this week? 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Evolution of Learning

Isn't it amazing how the first time you learn something, it seems impossible? 
It becomes possible, then manageable, then easy, then second nature.

You can back slide, but once past that first learning curve, it's never quite as difficult again. 
The danger, is that you may not work as hard as you could or should on those subsequent efforts. 

This weekend, I'm gearing up to run the Chicago Rock n Roll half marathon. I haven't run a half marathon in several years. 

My training hasn't been nearly what it should this year for a myriad of reasons, but I'm still getting out there and it's going to be awesome. The best part is that I have a girlfriend who will be running her very first half marathon. She has just become a new runner in the past year and she's diving headlong into the love of the activity.

I remember my first half marathon. It was epic to me. It was a HUGE accomplishment, our first cattle dog, Loki died just before the race, he had been my running partner. My virtual trainer in Australia not only called me that morning, but sent flowers! My amazing husband was there to support me the whole way! 
I finished that race with a stress fracture and didn't even know it. 

This will be my 5th half marathon, and I haven't run a straight distance race since the Chicago marathon in 2011, that year I did my first obstacle race, an Olympic distance triathlon and the marathon all within less than 6 months. I got pretty addicted to obstacle racing for a while but I'm really excited to get back to half marathons. I think it's my favorite distance.   

I'm not going for any kind of personal best at all this time, it's SO much more exciting to support a friend! 
The funny thing is that I have no doubt that I'll be able to run the distance, that I'll be happy with the experience. 

What have you learned that seemed impossible at first and now seems like child's play?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Stop looking for balance

I just completed the book "Think and Grow Rich for Women" and the final chapter really struck me. 
Sharon Lechter talked about balance in a way I've never thought of before and surely has changed the way I'll ever think of it again.

She quotes the Merriam Webster's dictionary definition of balance as 
the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling
She also notes that as women we never stop moving, so why would we strive to achieve something that is defined as just that. 

I took it to another thought and correlated it to the statement I've most heard quoted by Anthony Robbins which is 
If you're not growing, you're dying.
Sharon went on to assert that what we should be seeking is presence. Rather than feeling guilty for not doing something else in this moment, seek and choose to be fully present doing what you are doing in any given moment. 

I love this philosophy. I feel thankful that I'm already practicing this in many ways, of course I can improve in this area, as most of us can in most areas of our lives.

This brings to mind for me so many people I see these days with their smart phones out at the dinner table, or at a business meeting. Don't get me wrong, I understand that you may be taking notes, or using social media to share and or promote the cool experience you are having. I've been to meetings and conferences where they ask you to tweet the hash tag, etc. 

I challenge you to ditch the search for balance and embrace the choice to be fully present.

When you are with your family, don't worry about the business or household tasks that need to be completed, BE with your family. When you are focused on the work you need to complete for your business, don't feel guilty that you are not spending time with your family. 

Certainly, do your best to arrange your schedule so that you can make the optimal use of your time, and serve your highest values.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ever notice that how you do anything is how you do everything?

I find so often that running is a metaphor for my life. I was out on my first 6 mile run of the season today and noticed 3 pretty big points that directly correlate to my business. 

I'm behind on my half marathon training compared to where I feel I should be based on the date of my race and my past experience. 

Of course, I still ran the run that was on the schedule for today. With little consideration to whether i was ready or not. So I ran my first 6 mile of the season 2 days after my first 5 mile of the season. As a seasoned runner, I know that could possibly be a recipe for disaster, but I'm more focused on the goal and the outcome than the process and the journey. Have to hit that finish line! 

Thankfully I stopped myself from trying to do an 8 mile run the following day. I have some sane moments after all.

I do this in my business, in my house work, I beat myself up for not doing this long laundry list of things I've set up for myself because I'm so focused on the result and I want the result NOW. As a result, I don't do all the things, and then feel bad because I'm "behind".

How friggin silly!!!!!!!

I'm binary. My husband makes fun of me all the time that I have a binary bladder. I don't have to go to the bathroom, and then I have to go right NOW!

I noticed that about my running today. I'd be running (jogging) and I'd run until I was near my aerobic threshold, then I would stop (walk) until I caught my breath and rinse and repeat. Even after I noticed this, and took note that if I could just throttle my speed I could sustain it for so much longer. I'll be going along and my pace app will announce current pace 8 minutes 30 seconds per mile, split pace 11 minutes 48 seconds per mile. What the heck am I doing running at an 8:30 pace? That's a much faster pace than I can sustain, so I hold it until I can't hold it any longer than walk 10 paces or so then repeat. If I could hold a 9:30 or 9:45 pace, I could sustain it for a long period of time. 

This is true in many areas of my life. I have 2 speeds, stop and go. I get moving on something and push until I can't sustain the pace any longer, then I come to a complete stand still. I need to learn to move at a sustainable pace. Throttle my efforts and push through a mild level of discomfort rather than "take a break" as soon as I feel fatigue setting in.

Today I went on one of my first runs of the season without the dogs. When I run with the dogs, they need to stop to go to the bathroom, they stop at all cross streets, and are sometimes distracted by this or that causing us to stop for a moment or two. I've gotten used to that. 

Running alone today, I did my first sustained effort of 3 miles. It was tough, reminded me that I need to build up my stamina considerably before my 13.1 race mid July.

I let others set the pace. I enjoy pacing with others, but I allow it to hold me back. I can see where I sometimes do this in other areas of my life. It is easy and comfortable to stay at the speed and pace that someone is doing so I don't have to push myself, stretch myself. It also reminds me that I need to step up and into my role as a leader more fully in some areas of my life and inspire others to step up to MY pace.

How about you? Do you see any of these weird habits showing up in your life? 

1. The "I'm behind I need to catch up" mentality
2. Two speeds, stop and full speed and nothing in between
3. Letting others set a "comfortable" pace below your own capabilities 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Time to turn off auto pilot

When you read a lot of self help and personal development and inspirational material, especially as an entrepreneur, you see and hear a lot of reference to "the treadmill" or the hamster ball, there are other colloquialisms as well - mostly pointed at corporate America, or the average person's life. 

All of these refer to the idea of exerting a lot of effort (running) but never actually moving forward. 

I've seen this all around me in not only my corporate life, but also as I watched my friends and family in serious relationships.

So many people just keep moving on to the "next logical step" because they are on a track like a railroad train. Even though they are not going where they want, it's just easier to keep moving on the path that is clear. I'm sure you can think of countless examples of people in positions, some maybe even high level management positions who get there and turn around and ask "How did I get here?"

I've seen it happen to people in my life in serious relationships as well. My sister as well as a dear girlfriend both ended up in a position where they ended up calling off a wedding mid planning. 

That is an extremely tough thing to do. Looking at all of the planning and the time and the money invested into the wedding, it's easier to just go along with it and not disappoint anyone. Not have to answer questions. But how much more expensive in dollars and emotional breakdowns is it to get divorced? 

I talked with my girlfriend about it at length and she related to me that they found themselves looking at one another and asking "How did we get here?". They were dating long enough that it "just seemed like it was time to get engaged". Thankfully, they had the wherewith-all to realize in time that they were really just super great friends and it was easier to keep dating than to not. 

How many people do you know that don't like their job, maybe even hate it, but aren't looking for an alternative because "it's good enough", "it pays the bills" and it's easier to do nothing.

Life's not meant to be that way. I'm not saying life is easy, or that it's supposed to be easy. But it's supposed to be happy. 

It's supposed to light you up. 

It's supposed to excite you. 

Not 10 years from now, not when you retire, not tomorrow, but today and every day.

That's what life is meant to be. 

Is it time for you to turn off the auto pilot on your life and take the controls?   

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What's your story?

Ever have that feeling hours, or the day after a really great workout when you're sore but it feels really great? Not in a masochistic way, but that sore that lets you know you did an awesome job! 

I'm finding that you can get that feeling from some really great inner workouts too! 
I spent last weekend at the Millionaire Mind Intensive Experience and it was awesome! But I've definitely got some sore muscles. 

It's funny how parallels show up in your life and, in my case, sometimes allow you to do work in overlapping areas simultaneously. Working with my coach, I am starting to dig through my story. What is my story and how does it relate to my next step? What parts of my story serve me and what parts of my story have helped to carve those amazing gifts into me? What parts of my story are ready to be let go? 

Then I went to this weekend experience and in order to change my mindset around money, I needed to get in touch with my story and find out what parts are no longer serving me and let them go. It was revelationary and really intense and kind of cathartic. 

I've definitely got more work to do but it's kind of cool to see the patterns in my story and the links between stories that I previously viewed as very compartmentalized and to just let go of some stories that simply don't serve me or anyone else any longer. 

How about you? What is your story? Are you ready to let go of your old story right now and start a new story? Are you ready to share your story so you can use it to make more if an impact in the world by helping women follow or steer clear of the path you have taken?   

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Baby Steps with Lead Shoes

Life is truly amazing. When you declare what you want in that certain way, when you set a goal or create an affirmation and it is so visceral that you feel a tightness in your chest when you think about it, you know something is different. You know, I knew, something big is coming. 

Those of you who have been following along lately have heard me blame my amazing Coach Christine Suva for my most recent big amazing project

It's amazing how when you start building momentum how fast things shift. It was less than 2 months ago that the idea for my first full day event, Whole Self Nourish came out of our first official coaching call. I was scared sick over how or if I would be able to pull it off. Even the day of the event, heck even two days after the event, I was still nervous. 

And yet, here I am today, joyfully, confidently working on the second Whole Self Nourish Day on July 25th. I already have speakers and partners registered and on board and I should have my location secured within the week. Partners I was even a little nervous about approaching were totally psyched to get on board and be a part of the event. One partner went so far as to say 
Im in! Not sure what's going on but whatever you're doing i wanna be a part of it. :-)
Of course, something even bigger was pushing its way into my life. I keep telling Christine, my coach, I'm starting to get really terrified as what my life is going to look like after 6 months of us working together because in just the first month two really huge things already started moving, and moving with purpose. 

So, I'm stepping into the next big amazing project. It requires some self discovery, a little skill and story inventory, and trying to re-connect with that "little braggart self" I talked about last week. A few weeks back, I experienced an amazing presentation from Wendy Lipton Dibner. The replay is up for just a few more days, I would highly recommend investing 90 minutes of your time. You won't regret it! The second assignment is to help you discover your unique gift to the world, the thing that you probably take for granted because it comes easily to you. The message is becoming clearer and clearer that this new direction is where I'm going right now, whether I feel ready or not.

So I'm stepping into it. I'm taking definitive daily action. I'm spending lots of daily time on introspection and trying to change that inner conversation from "Who do you think you are?" to "You've totally got this!". Thank you, by the way to all of you who contributed to my homework assignment with your spectacular words of support. And thank you to my personal cheer-leading squad who spurred this next evolution, you guys totally rock my socks off! 

But I'm taking small definitive daily action. One baby step after another, and I feel like I'm wearing lead shoes! Man what a workout! My quads and glutes are going to look amazing!   

I'm not ready to spill the beans quite yet but you know coming from me it will be FUN, so stay tuned! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mirror Mirror

I heard a great statement at a presentation last week
You can't read the label from inside the jar.
What a succinct way to say it. It's amazing to me how we can see things so clearly except when it comes to our own reflection.

Many of you are experts in human behavior or insights in one way or another, and yet, when it comes to shining that light on yourself, you can't read your own label. 

It's too bad that we all grow out of our "little braggart self". 

One of my all time favorite blog posts is about Amelia.

I had several intense experiences last week that are propelling me into my NEXT BIG THING because this journey I'm on seems to have a life of its own.

As I turn my vision to myself and start to claim and step into those unique gifts that are mine to bless the world with, I find myself in that inner struggle between YES I AM AWESOME and I'm not worthy or I'm not enough.

Definitely as I step out onto a bigger playing field and use more of my own voice rather than lending my voice to the backing vocals of another lead, I feel that struggle even more. 

I am SO thankful for my amazing people who support me, and my AMAZING ROCK STAR coach who manages to uplift me in such an uncanny way.

I'm learning to see that one of those unique gifts of mine is that very ability to see that in others. It's tough for me to see because if you asked me, I'd just underplay it and say I just pay attention to information that is there for everyone to see. 

I'm starting to realize that I may see things differently that others do. When I say things, I mean people, situations, business models, plans, strategies, etc. Most impactfully, I think, I see people through a lens of genuine love and support. To me, it just seems like how things are, but I'm learning that it isn't how things are for everyone. 

I look at you and see Amelia with all her quirky brilliance and unbridled potential, what do you see?  What inner voices to you hear as you step into the next steps on your journey?  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

It's great when it works

A phrase I've been known to use often is "Technology. It's great when it works!" This past week has been an extreme version of that in my life. Many years ago, I found an amazing vision correction technology called Orthokeratology or Ortho K. I wear hard contact lenses at night when I sleep and it reshapes my cornea. The result is similar to laser surgery without the laser. 

As I hit the middle of my 40s my vision has begun to change, and like all busy people I haven't made regular time to go to the eye doctor like I should, so only when my lenses aren't fitting properly or delivering the result I need to I make an appointment. 

Not surprisingly, my near vision is starting to diminish and my eyes have been naturally compensating for that, which is a good thing, but my old lenses weren't cooperating. As a result, I had been wearing my lenses during the day and causes some dryness in my cornea as well as a "dent" where the lenses were sitting slightly off position in my eye. 

SO I was ordered by my doctor to not wear my lenses for a few days. Under normal circumstances if I were to wear my lenses for a very short time (like only get a couple hours of sleep) my vision is slightly worse. I expected to have a gradual diminish in my vision. WRONG. I awoke on Tuesday with very near to my natural vision and very close if not completely natural vision on Wednesday. 

My vision is something like 20/400 or some ridiculous number. I can see the 1 large E about 1 foot from the screen in the office. So, I have spent the greater part of a week "in the dark" so to speak. I could see about 2-3 inches from my face, and not completely clearly at that.

Like most things in the age of technology, you don't realize how much you rely on your vision for EVERYTHING. I couldn't read a book, I could listen to the TV but not watch it. I could sort of get emails on my phone but trying to read or look at the computer for any length of time was exhausting. 

Of course, I haven't been able to drive, so I've been dependent on my husband to take me places, and I hate to ask so have been not running errands that need to be run, etc. 

Disorienting, frustrating, all in all not a lot of fun. I did play with the dogs a lot, which, of course, they enjoyed. We had a nice dinner out at an Italian restaurant with low lighting and I felt like I was able to appreciate the mood more than most not seeing outside our booth LOL.

I took some time for introspection and visualization, but these are things that are not easy for me, so it was a struggle.

Today, my vision is probably 75% and I am overjoyed. 

Definitely an experience of making me very thankful for the things we often take for granted! 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

It's all worth it!

Today is a BIG day in the Bednowicz household! 

First, Mike is coming home after having been gone almost an entire month straight. He was home, literally, for 36 hours in the middle. 

Second, Mike is coming home as a captain! 

For those who aren't familiar with my / our story, my entire entrepreneurial and personal development journey started with our decision for him to make a major career shift after he was laid off from a corporate position at the front end of the economic downturn.

He really really hated his job. To the point that it changed his personality. He actually had the thought more than once "If I got in a car accident on the way to work, I wouldn't have to go." Mind you he never took action on that thought! 

So, when he got laid off, we immediately saw the blessing in it. Immediately - I mean when we got home twenty minutes after the "news". (We were both working for the same company at the time and they sent me home with him that day) We knew he could keep making the same money by doing what he had been doing somewhere else, but I didn't want him to continue to be miserable. His happiness was more important to me. I committed to make it work no matter what it took. 

It was a risk. We had to invest a lot of time and money in the completion of his training. We went more than a year with him earning no income at all, then more than a year with him earning less than $8K. When he got hired at the regional airline, they were saying the upgrade would be 3 years. It's been 8. 

All this, after 40 years of age, knowing that the mandatory retirement age for pilots is 65. Knowing his window of earning was finite. 

And it's SO TOTALLY worth it. All of it. The people we are today, the life we have today, while not super flush with cash flow, is amazing. 

The lessons we've learned first hand about the joys and blessings of following your dream even when it seems ludicrous have been simply spectacular.

If you think it's too late to go for your dream, you're WRONG. If you are going through life every day sedated and numb, you're doing it wrong

Even if it's scary, even if it seems crazy, it is NEVER too late to follow your dream! You are truly meant to be happy every day of your life.   

Friday, March 27, 2015

Do You Need to Lighten Your Load?

I would guess that many of you are like me, and fall into the trap of getting involved in an ever growing number of projects. 

I'm often asked how I manage Chicago Over 40 Females along side my day job, not including the Over 40 Females Online Community and my skincare business. Most of the time, I have a good rhythm. 

Meanwhile, I'm building my personal brand, Whole Self Nourish around all those businesses, launching my first full day event and when asked to help out on this or that committee, of COURSE I say yes.

The problem, as we all know, is that the more balls we throw in the air, the more likely you are to drop one.

I find the detail work to be the ball I seem to drop most often. My social media planning and scheduling, or my newsletters. 

The great thing is that there are lots of resources from tools to hiring virtual assistants, or full on companies to handle different items on your list.

One of my favorite words these days is leverage. How can you best leverage your time, effort and energy? How can you get the most mileage out of work that you do?

I'm great with adding tools to help me complete my tasks faster, easier, more efficiently, but I find when it comes to leaning on outside resources, I feel like it takes more energy for me to get them "up to speed" than it takes for me to do it myself. Of course, that need for things to be done exactly the way I want is a large contributing factor as well.

But I'm learning, I'm getting better. I used to joke that I need more staff. Of course, it's for the items that I'm clearly unskilled at or simply dislike. Yard work is very high on that list.  Also, nearly ridiculous things like a person to do my hair and makeup for me every day as those are not tasks I'm very skilled at. 

At what point do you recognize that you may need to lighten your load, and what strategies to you employ to offset some of your overhead? Are you more of a team or a tool person?  I'd love to hear from you! 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sometimes the Leap Takes a Push

As we travel through this journey called life. Each new challenge brings with it new knowledge, new confidence and new self worth. 

So why is it that we resist them each at first? I've been sharing lately about the amazing results I'm experiencing with my new business coach Chris Suva. As I have found in my experience with working with a coach, I am pushed to do or create something bigger than I have before. I am pushed to step into a version of myself that perhaps others see, but I don't completely believe yet. 

As I am working on bringing my first full day event to fruition, I find myself alternating between excitement and terror, anticipation and self-doubt. Luckily for me, based on my very first session with Chris, I can look back and see how that exact feeling in the past has led me to some of my very best moments and finest achievements. 

Sometimes, in order to take that leap of faith, we need a little push. 


Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Having been a runner since high school, I am a bit ashamed to admit I'm terrible at stretching. 

When my muscles are really stiff and sore and tight, of course then I do it, but as part of my normal workout routine, I'm horrible and I skip it almost all of the time. 

I got to thinking about it today as I was thinking about how much I'm being stretched by the next project I'm working on. How stretching can be uncomfortable, but it's a very good thing that helps you to perform better in all areas. 

Whenever I work with a business coach, (something I strongly recommend) I find myself pushed and stretched in ways that often greatly frighten me. My husband would admonish me and tell me that it's because others can plainly see "how great I am" it's only me that can't.

Working on this new project, under the banner of my "new" brand, I am alternately excited and terrified. I think that's a good sign that I'm on the right track as weird as that sounds. 

Where are you stretching these days? Or where have you stretched that brought you great results? I'd love to hear your stories!   

Monday, March 2, 2015

If the shoe doesn't fit...

I think we're all familiar with the Cinderella story. Think over the part where the glass slipper has been found and the stepsisters are trying to get it to fit. Not because they find the shoe beautiful, not because it is a comfortable shoe, but because they believe ownership of the shoe will get them their desired end goal, to marry the prince. Of course, as you know, the significant obstacle here is that the shoe simply does NOT fit. No matter how they squeeze and struggle, nothing they do will change that. 

Do we ever unwittingly find ourselves in this same pattern in our business? 

Stay with me here... 

You see an idea, a business model, a strategy and you see how well it is working for someone. You perceive that it even takes them across a goal line that you are eager to achieve. That may be a title, a monetary earning amount, a significant achievement of any kind. 

But when you try to implement the same thing, it simply doesn't work for you, it doesn't have the same result, and you don't understand. 

Say, for example, you are a business coach, and you are trying to grow your practice to a $10K a month practice. And you run across another business coach, and learn that she has a $12K a month practice. (It's magic that you find this out, just stick with me here) And you see that she is active on twitter and even gaining new clients through here twitter conversations. 
So, you study twitter, you model her activity, and after 6 months, you don't have a single new client through twitter. 

For any number of reasons, this marketing model may simply not work for you. There may be more to it than you are aware of, for example, these conversations may have started with a live referral, or her audience may be significantly different than yours.

Now this is an overly simplistic example for illustration sake, but the principle is there. I think that sometimes, we see something and we believe that it is going to get us the end result we are looking for, and we get hung up on that "thing". Maybe it's a vehicle for delivering your product or service, maybe it's a business model, it could be any number of things.


If the shoe doesn't fit, move on. 

I think we get tunnel vision sometimes and we think that the vehicle we are in is the only one that can get us to our destination. That simply isn't true. If you are at point A and you want to get to point B, there are any number of vehicles that will get you there, at differing speeds, and with differing levels of comfort, but they will all get you there. 

Be willing to move on. Try something else. 

How about you? Can you relate? Have you found yourself in this pattern? I'd love to hear your comments!