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    TABLE OF CONTENTS                                   

Life Changing Conference Business doesn’t matter if you’re not healthy Magazine Design and Publishing Do you dream of having an international business Virtual Margie Wealthy Sisters Network New Year Resolutions How intentional are you being in your business?

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3 Easy Steps to Melting Away Your Stress With the Power of Nature

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Cooking Kept Me Sane Thoughts Before Coffee Great Blogs to Follow The ABC’s and 123’s of Simplifying Your Life Attitude - A Networkers Most Vital Tool Making A Difference Getting Beyond Social Making Your Dream a Reality When The Impossible Becomes Possible Business Casual Making Loyalty Programs Effective for You

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BUSINESS DOESN’T MATTER IF

YO U’ R E

N OT

H E A LT H Y

    VICTORIA KNOX                                    I thoroughly enjoy being an entrepreneur. As a business and personal development expert, strategist, coach, speaker and author, I operate with passionate and a sense of purpose which inspires me to do it again and again. Having directly touched the lives, businesses and aspirations of several thousand people and seeing their circumstances change for the better as a result of connecting with me confirms that I am on the right track. Creating Transform from Inside Out Coaching (www.tfio.biz) was one of the most fulfilling career moves to date. Entrepreneurship is in my blood. I’m from a family of them. I held my first job at the age of five in the family office supply store stocking shelves. I’ve worked in family businesses, corporations, non-profits and for myself ever since. Over the last 20 years or more, I’ve noticed some common threads about being an entrepreneur. As an instructor for The Chicago Urban League and presenter on many business topics, I’ve found that many new entrepreneurs assume that being in business for themselves will be easy. Some of the assumptions are: •

I can make my own hours, work when and if I want to

There is no boss

All the money is mine to keep

I don’t need a plan or an exit strategy

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While some of this is partially correct, it does not come without a cost. Entrepreneurship is expensive in many ways other than financial. For the sake of this article, I’d like to focus on the aspect of health and wellness in particular. I learned firsthand that business doesn’t matter if you’re not healthy. The Sacrifices Many times, sole-preneurs (sole proprietors) are the business and pay a heavy price for it. They are the accountant, marketer, product developer, and the brain behind and in front of the entire operation. They find themselves struggling between being in business (operations/administration) and being on business (creativity/sales). The rest of the world operates on 24 hours but they operate on 36 and a good cup of coffee. In the beginning this can be an adrenaline rush and empowering. However, over time, it can literally suck the life from you if there is no balance. When I experienced this deficit and my health was challenged, this I knew I needed to help others through it. My Story In November 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the 44th and first African American President of the United States. Though we had a new president who was full of hope and promise, we were also in a terrible recession or economic genocide as I call it. Major companies merged, folded or downsized which left individuals scrambling nationwide to make ends meet and I was one of them. It was an exciting yet dismal time in history. Fast forward to the following year, I was going full fledge in business consulting and created my first entrepreneur expo, “Recession Proof Your Business.” During that year, statistics showed that more than five million jobs were lost since December 2007. Unemployment was up more than 8.5% in Illinois alone, the highest since 1992. As more jobs closed, people were forced to transform, re-invent themselves and trail-blaze their own way. The goal of the business development consultancy and

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subsequent conference was for attendees to walk away with survival tactics, tools and resources to quickly and easily implement as they built new partnerships and relationships. I was successful at securing more than 25 exhibitors including the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, banks and other local businesses. More than 10 professional speakers came to present. The turnout was excellent and more than I ever expected. Prior to the expo date, I went on the media circuit and was a featured guest on Perspectives which aired on the Fox TV Network in Chicago, plus local radio and other programs. I ran commercial spots on local radio too because I was determined to make this event quality, build a brand and do so with as little money as possible. I succeeded in them all! For years I worked extremely hard building my brand and delivering on promises. Sometimes this meant working around the clock with little time for family or me. I thought this was the way to become a successful entrepreneur. I was gaining momentum and losing it at the same time. I did not have a set time or plan for meals, just whatever I could grab fast as I worked or traveled Winter 2014


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in between clients or events. I tried to hold on to decent eating habits that I remembered from diet programs but they didn’t work in the middle of the night when I was really hungry and couldn’t stop working, so a bag of chips or cup of coffee sufficed. Though I was a solid size 12, I didn’t really feel good physically inside and in my eyes, I was chunky. My legs grew numb from sitting long periods of time. My posture was terrible from being hunched over a computer for hours. Headaches and chest pains came from nowhere, sinus congestion, irritability and more. It got to the point I could no longer sleep well at night. My mind would not shutoff; I gained a lot of weight and my body life was spiraling out of control. I developed a back pain that kept me bent over like an old woman and that was the end for me. During a doctor’s visit, which was happening more frequently than I desired, he told me I needed medications and less stress in my life. I didn’t want either.

R.A.W. Life I took charge of my health and overall wellness again by creating a R.A.W. Life! R.A.W. is my acronym for Really Awesome Way to Live and focuses on: ◊

Self-Prioritization

Cleansing

Diet

Supplements (enzymes/probiotics)

Environment

Exercise

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As a result I released 50 pounds and regained my health. Now, I help others do the same. Being an entrepreneur is extremely hard work. In the “Are You Ready to be an Entrepreneur” and “The Fit-Preneur” presentations, I lay down some hard truths about entrepreneurship so that individuals can make informed decisions about their plans while maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle. I talk about facts like the less sleep you have the more weight you will gain or maintain. Many entrepreneurs are terribly guilty of burning the midnight oil to get work done while health and other life areas suffer. Transformation is Constant Change When the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change, you will make different choices. I learned to embrace change. I found out that I could live more with less by decluttering my life of people, places and things that depleted my time, space, energy and money especially without my permission. Releasing others and myself from unrealistic expectations was a great start to releasing weight. Transformation is a continual process. As an entrepreneur, parent, spouse, employee, and human being, the opportunity to reinvent yourself will repeatedly present itself in every day. If you are in a place in life where you want to change or grow but don’t know how start, you’re partially there just by reading this article. The other part is to contact me for a free consultation and let’s plot a new path together. You can change the course of your future. I did. Victoria Knox is a speaker, author and business/personal development coach focused on holistic health and entrepreneurship. Her book, “My Secret Transformation: How I Reinvented Myself and Created a Life I Love” is due out winter 2014. To learn more about individual or group coaching, or to book Victoria Knox for speaking engagements, please visit Transform from Inside Out Coaching at www.tfio.biz.

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D O YO U D R E A M

O F H AV I N G A N I N T E R N AT I O N A L B U S I N E S S ?     KIM SHULD, THE LIFE JOURNEY COACH                                      I took a big leap in June and moved to Paris, France. It had always been part of my longterm business plan to build a business that would allow me to live and work anywhere, but actually living overseas for an extended period came up when I was integrating my life purpose and my life goals and I had no choice but to follow my life calling. So, my business plan underwent some juggling. Over the past few months, I’ve also noticed that a few of the experts I receive marketing emails from spent their summers overseas as well. I’ve been seeing their regular marketing emails and videos, but these were clearly produced before they left the country and are part of an ongoing business model. It occurred to me that what they did and what I had done were really very different. The internet has given us the opportunity to work from anywhere we can get a reliable WiFi connection and an outlet to recharge our gadgets. But there is a vast different between monitoring your business while on a long vacation, working on a strong business from a non-US location, and building a business in or from a foreign country. Americans are fairly lucky in that, generally, we can travel to almost any country we wish on a passport for up to three months. (Of course, check with the rules of the country you want to visit.) So planning an extended vacation where you are also working on an existing business sounds easy-peasy. Most of the people I have talked to are in this category so my words today are directed toward the short-term stay. If this is your goal, you need to ask yourself a few questions Winter 2014


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so that you can better plan your business and your life in a way that makes this a really great experience. Question 1) Why do I want to go to another country? Relaxing vacation? Exploration and sight-seeing? Culture immersion? Learn about an industry such as cheese-making or basket-weaving? Create a very clear picture as to why you want to be in Italy, or Denmark, or Costa Rica so that you can design your experience to make that reason the top priority. Set your mindset to make business a small part of your day and the adventure the larger part of your days and evenings. If your business takes up too much time, you’ll be miserable, your business will suffer and you will come away from the experience exhausted. Question 2) Do I have the right structures in place that I can put my business on autopilot for long stretches? Don’t assume that you will want to keep up the weekly networking chat or that the WiFi will even be working at the right time. If you aren’t at a place yet in your business where you can hand over the reins to your team, ask yourself if this experience will in some way enhance your business offerings when you return and focus on that. You might just want to put things on hold while you’re gone, or maybe this is the break you need to emerge with a new brand? Consider it all. Question 3) Is your business primarily US-based or are you expecting this trip to network and build an international clientele? Americans have entrepreneurism in their blood, but that’s what makes us very unique. Winter 2014


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Do a lot of research on the ways people in the country you will be visiting conduct business. There might be some things we do and say in a normal networking event that would be considered rude or even offensive in the country you are visiting. For example, I had heard that Paris was a great city for networking. What I have found instead is that Paris is a great city for socializing. It is considered rude to discuss business, your workday or money-making opportunities at networking events. There is a multi-leveled, multi-layered approach to conducting business here that doesn’t fit with the American understanding of networking. Research, research and research some more. Ultimately, having an online business, or having a great team working with you makes it possible to dream of heading overseas for a few months, or even a year. It’s not as out of reach as most people think. It will take a lot of planning and prepping, but it could be the greatest experience of your life. The key is to first be clear on what you want to get out of the experience, and then design your business strategy and expectations around that. No matter where you go or how long you stay, life will definitely not be “business as usual” from a new location. Lean in and enjoy that part of it all. BIO: Kim Schuld is the coach who can get you out of a rut, around a detour, or charting your route for a completely new destination in top-speed time. The first step is always to determine where you are currently. The key to Kim’s approach is helping her clients find that starting point and use it to create a clear path to the next destination without getting lost or distracted along the way. She uses the timeless principles of personality, goal-setting and success pillars to help you find your true life purpose and follow it. Kim is currently living in Paris, France. You can find out how she made her dream of living in Paris a reality by going to www.thelifejourneycoach.com.

Winter 2014


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NEW YEAR R E S O LU T I O N S     CLINT FUQUA                                   

Your health and

your

business are directly tied together. Don’t believe me? Think about how well work went the last time you were sick and what happened to your investment and working capital.

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businesses

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world the wind during a drunken and what happened to your

revolves around the calen- toast. When you resolve to investment and working dar year for fiscal goals and do something new or differ- capital. Every penny spent on you should set your goals ent in or with your life that illness is a penny stolen from and dreams to your own cal- means something else in your your bottom line and every endar year. Jan 1st is just an life must dissolve so the new day out sick is 2 lost days of arbitrary celebration of “The reality can be forged and productivity further reducing New Year”. Your new year built in its place. Things of your bottom line. Just as you may need to start with your your past must be let go in set sales and financial goals fiscal year or better yet on order for you to grasp the for your business you must your birthday as your health new things in your future. If set health goals for yourself is concerned. That ball drop- you hold on to both you will that can be measured and ping at 12am is great for show be stuck in limbo until you show progress. Make a plan but as you know the next decide what is more impor- and find an expert to help day has very little go. This is tant to you. Is it the life you you make a realistic plan as really the time to set up new have or the life you could it will be one of the best busigoals for yourself and voice have? Resolve to live up to ness investments you will some new resolutions into your potential and be the gift ever make. More energy and your life. This is the time to to the world you were born more focus lead to more profind out what you are really to become.

ductivity and that little edge

resolute on.

over your competition. Make Your health and your busi- that investment in yourself

Resolutions are declaration ness are directly tied together. every day and make this the of the things we will achieve Don’t believe me?

Think most profitable and reward-

so they should not be taken about how well work went ing year possible. lightly or just whispered into the last time you were sick

ClintFuqua.com Winter 2014


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H O W I N T E N T I O N A L A R E YO U B E I N G I N YO U R B U S I N E S S?     CANDY BARONE                                    How many of you believe that there is power in the words you choose? That being said, do you ever think about how the words you choose in your everyday life, in your communications with others, in your business, could really impact what you want? Are you being intentional about the words you use when meeting with a client or prospect? More times than not, you are pretty focused on what you want to say and how you want to deliver that message, right? So, you prep and plan and try to find the right words to adequately bring to life the things you want your client to focus on most. You guide the conversation at times. You pause purposefully when engaged in conversation, and you stop to ask clarifying questions along the way. I would venture a guess that you are probably the most intentional in this space. So, would you say that you are intentional in the words you choose with family and friends? Maybe a little less so, but still you probably find yourself pausing and choosing your words a little more carefully at times. One, not to “rock-the-boat,” to cause any unnecessary drama, or to upset anyone; or two, just so that you can fully express your thoughts and/or point of view. But, how many of you are really intentional about the words and frames you choose for yourself? How about in your business? My guess … probably very little or not at all. Say for instance, a friend or colleague calls you berating themselves about a bad day or bad meeting with a client; how do you react to them versus if you were the one who had the bad day? More times than not, we are much kinder and forgiving to others, our loved ones, and even strangers than we are ourselves. Winter 2014


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Do you think that this type of self-talk could then be a catalyst for how we could sabotage ourselves in our business? Think about it for a moment, … and, remember, you become what you think about and give the most energy to. That which you believe, you start emulate. And, the cycle begins. You may not only destroy the rest of your day, but you start to exhibit no patience for yourself, you begin to self-deprecate and “should” all over yourself. You continue to beat yourself up to the point of exhaustion, playing over-and-over again what you did “wrong.” And, then your bad day becomes a bad week, becomes a bad month, and so on and so on. OK, I might be exaggerating here a but, but your get my point. Do you think that those patterns might derail you in your business? Eventually, if you allow that cycle to continue and to become a regular pattern in your own selftalk, you start to limit your thinking and potential. You lose sight of what you are capable of, and only focus on your perceived “short-comings.” We don’t generally stop to be purposeful about our own self-talk and internal dialogue. Why is that? Don’t you deserve to be “given a break?” Aren’t you worthy of some compassion if you falter? Shouldn’t you be given permission to fail (because truly, “failing” is the only way to grow)? Yet, we want that for everyone else, but hold ourselves to this ridiculously high standard to be perfect in what we do. Trust me, as a recovering perfectionist myself, I get it and have been there too many times in the course of my own career. Wow, I am exhausted thinking about how we allow all this negativity to surround us, belittle us and take over our intelligence and ability to see the “forest for the trees.” Sometimes, just by changing a simple word or phrase could be impactful enough to change your mindset. For example when I made the transition from my corporate leadership position to starting Winter 2014


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my own company, a friend asked me how I was feeling. I quickly responded that I was “overwhelmed with all the support and outpouring of love I received” in my announcement. I realized as soon as the words came out, I had used the wrong words. See, I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed at all. Overwhelmed is such a heavy and anchoring word in my mind, and I was feeling exactly the opposite. So, instead I said “I was overflowing with gratitude” for all the support I was given. Can you see the difference? Imagine if I would have responded that way every time someone asked me how I was feeling. Not only would they have responded to me differently almost from a place of concern or doubt, but I would have started to perpetuate that thought for myself, as well. How limiting and damaging that could have been had I stayed in that mindset. So, you might be wondering, what do I do to change my mindset? First, create awareness around the words you use and the frames you are creating for yourself. Then, one of the techniques I use to change any negative self-talk that might creep into my head, is to create a mantra or personal affirmation statements. For instance, everyone knows the expression, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” But, by saying that over and over again, you are telling yourself that you are leaving the “way” up to everyone else. “There’s a way” implies that it may or may not happen. If everything arounds you allows for it to ... then, you might achieve what you set out to accomplish. Instead, I say, “where there’s a will, there’s a Candy Barone!” Yes, that’s me! You see, I AM my way! I am the only one capable of making my “will” happen. How many times have you said things like “I wish, I might, I’ll try?” Many times, I’m guessing. And, when you did, how many of the things you wanted actually happened? It probably was a crap shoot, right, a 50/50 toss? You left it out there for someone else, something else to make it happen. What about when you absolutely knew with certainty that something was going to happen? You Winter 2014


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probably used phrases like, “I will, I have, I am.” Do you see the difference. Just by changing that frame and your mindset, you change the game. It’s not the words themselves that have power, per se, but the intention and action you put behind them! When you tell yourself that something will happened or has happened, or you put yourself in a state that you already are empowered and have what you want in your mind, you do everything in your power to make that happen. Usually you get what you set after to accomplish. And, even in those rare cases where what you really wanted doesn’t come to fruition, you know that you gave it everything you had and can walk away with no regrets. Can you see where that could possibly be game-changer for how you approach your business. Fear and doubt are simply the lies we continue to feed and tell ourselves. You determine your truth and what will be, that applies to your business, too. So, are you being intentional in the words and the frames you are choosing? Are you creating the means for you to be most successful in your own life and in your business? As with anything new, you must first assess where you are at today. How would you describe your own self-talk? Are there any negative patterns or anchors that are holding you back from getting what you truly want? After which, it is up to you to create the means to hold yourself personally accountable to being more intentional. Find the way that works best for you, and enlist others in the process of helping you create greater awareness around the words that limit you or keep you playing small. Remember, where there’s a will ... there’s a YOU!!!

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3 EASY STEPS TO M E LT I N G AWAY YO U R S T R E S S W I T H T H E P O W E R O F N AT U R E     DAWA FITZMAURICE                                      How would you like to let go of your stress and feel energized, inspired and focused? I think we can all say yes to this! My easy 3 step method for melting your stress with the tranquility of nature works even if you are in the city and only have 5 minutes to spare. If possible get out in Nature. But, let’s imagine you’re in the worst possible situation, a windowless office. Step 1: You’re going to quiet your mind. A quick and easy way to quiet your mind is to create a “get ready ritual” using a few conscious gestures that symbolize entering your personal relaxation time. The important thing is to mindfully let go of all worries and tensions with each gesture you make. Make this ritual your own, but here’s a few suggestions: •

Turn off your cell phone.

Put your computer to sleep.

Tense all your muscles, then consciously shake them loose with an audible sigh.

Declare your your intention, preferably aloud, like, “This is my time to relax and reju-

venate. I allow all thoughts and worries about the past or the future to melt away. This is my time to be present and enjoy.” •

Extra credit: Imagine yourself under a waterfall while all those “have tos” and “I

should haves” are washed down stream.

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Once you have completed your get ready ritual you will feel pounds lighter and be ready for the next step. Step 2: It’s time to open your senses. Have a piece of nature near you: something as simple as a plant, rock or piece of bark. If you can, get out into Nature—by a tree or sitting on the grass. Our physiology is hard wired by over ten million years of evolution to be soothed and rejuvenated by the sounds, shapes and colors of nature. Opening your senses allows you to fully receive the amazing gifts nature is offering you. A easy way to begin is to bring your attention to each of your senses in turn. •

Touch: Close your eyes, take a few deep breathes. Feel the rise and fall of your

chest. Notice the texture of your clothes against your skin, the air against your face. Hold a piece of Nature (your rock, for instance) in your hands and explore its texture, shape and temperature with your fingers and against your cheek. •

Smell: Keeping your eyes closed, notice the smells around you. Explore your the

world with your nose. Appreciate each layer of fragrance. •

Sounds: Notice the sounds in your environment and see if you can hear 360 degrees

around you. The loudest sounds come first, but then what more subtle noises are present? •

Tastes: Bring your attention to the sensations in your mouth. Open your mouth and

feel the temperature of the air and its texture. If you are doing this exercise during lunch or in an herb garden take a small bite and fully experience the sensation of that food. •

Sights: Before opening your eyes breathe deeply and see if you can simultaneously

experience all the sounds, smells, feelings and tastes. When you open your eyes stay in tune with your other senses while you appreciate the colors, shapes and textures you are seeing. As you explore your senses you will experience the peace of being fully in the moment.

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Step 3: Now, cultivate gratitude. Giving gratitude will bring you powerfully into your heart, root you even more into the present moment and allow you to fully rejuvenate. Giving thanks opens your heart and allows you to see the many blessings that are available to you. A good way to begin is to simply notice what you are appreciating with your senses. Speak out loud, if possible, saying “I am grateful for . . . . (the sun on my face, comfortable shoes, the texture of this rock). Pick small things. I have found that being grateful for the ordinary things brings the greatest joy. And there you have it a simple 3 step method for melting your stress with the peace of Nature. My audio guide to these three steps is available at: http://www.wildernessawakenings.com/naturesserenityaudio.html

Bio Dawa Fitzmaurice helps professional women reduce stress, increase productivity and find inner peace through the power of nature via her company Wilderness Awakenings. Get more tips and find out at wildernessawakenings.com or email.

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COOKING KEPT

ME SANE

    CHEF JACKIE VALENTI                                      Simple, easy dishes that won’t drive you crazy! A cookbook by Chef Jackie Valenti. At the age of 43, having been downsized from my sales position after 25 years of working, I had a decision to make. After much debate and serious reflection, I decided to go to school, culinary school to be precise. I trained to become a professional chef and then went on with further schooling to specialize in baking and pastry arts. I have worked in several 4 and 5-star restaurants and now I am ready to share some of my experience and recipes with the world. I know my mother would be proud of me. She passed away 17 years ago and I miss her every day. I do, however, have many of her best recipes among those in my new cookbook. When I was a little girl I had probably the most loving, patient Mom on the planet. She never raised her voice in anger and she never raised her hand! But, me being me, I could bring her right to the edge of losing it and then she would snap right back into her calm, cool, collected self!

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My mother always let me help her bake. She made simple cakes, pies and cookies‌ nothing fancy, but the whole family loved them! My favorite was the chocolate chips cookies. Oh, what a mess I made, and she never once got upset! Growing up on Long Island in a middle class family, my mother cooked and baked every day. I learned from a very young age how to stretch a dollar! My book includes many family recipes as well as my take on some old classics. I have designed the book so even the most inexperienced cooks will be able to make a delicious meal for their families while staying within their budget.

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I have also included a “Kid Friendly” section in ‘Cooking Kept Me Sane’. I know many young families whose children are very picky eaters and I added several recipes that all children love! I worked as the cook for a day care center for a time and every one of the children, as well as some of their parents, would tell me all the time how much they loved my Mac and Cheese or Chicken Fingers and even the Meatloaf! The whole premise of ‘Cooking Kept Me Sane’ is to provide you delicious, nutritious, inexpensive meals your whole family will enjoy. Join me for one of my video tutorials on YouTube. Together, we’ll create amazing appetizers, entrees and desserts for a fraction of what a restaurant will charge you! Happy Cooking! You can order Chef Jackie’s new four-star meals on a home budge cookbook at www.cookingkeptmesane.com I will be offering a free recipe on a weekly basis as well as tutorial videos! Please tune into my YouTube Channel for easy to follow videos on “How to cook………” Each week will be a new recipe! Hope to see you there!

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CO L L A B O R AT I O N C R E AT I V I T Y     THOUGHTS BEFORE COFFEE - ROBERT CHRISTIANSEN JR.                                     In a flash of inspiration ‘POW!’, you have an idea. Not just an idea, but the idea of all ideas! This brilliant thought grabs hold of you, driving you through the darkest hours of the night. Pacing through rooms, rapidly writing out your vision in notes and diagrams, charts and printouts. Relentlessly researching on-line to discover that ‘Yes!’, your amazing idea fills a need! More research, more notes and ‘BOOM!’ you absolutely know what market to target! Your excitement overcomes any need for sleep because all you want to do is get moving on it now! Then those other thoughts show up. Those ‘current reality’ thoughts about resources, capital, marketing and time. Thoughts of how much there is to do and how can you do it all? Run your business, manage your clients, family time and make this new idea real too? How? Helen Keller, American Author, Political Activist and Lecturer, who was also blind and deaf once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller The ‘self-made’ person, man or woman, is a great myth which unfortunately causes many wonderful ideas, as well as the people who have them, to never realize the full potential of their visions. Whatever you personally can accomplish on your own is intensely magnified when you involve other people! Not simply for the reasons that they have resources you don’t, but precisely for those reasons! You have the idea, the vision for which their time, money, materials, etc. will be put to good use benefiting all involved! Recently, Kirby Ferguson provided a great insight on this exact concept in his TED Talks wherein he said, “We are not Winter 2014


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self-made. We are dependent on one another. Admitting this to ourselves isn’t an embrace of mediocrity and derivativeness, it’s a liberation from our misconceptions.” This is the power of ‘Collaboration’. To tap into the collective creativity of many who share your vision, but not your limitations. Sure, they have responsibilities of their own to handle. Everyone does, but not the same as yours. There are gaps, and within those gaps exist opportunity to fan the flames of your new idea into a great producer of success. Keeping the idea a secret, consumed by fear of losing control, will smother your vision to become another ‘could have been’. And in a way, extinguish your own inner burning desire to move forward into a new and profitable future. Albert Schweitzer, famed physician and medical missionary in Africa pointed out that, “In everybody’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner fire.” To collaborate is to invite creativity, perspectives and insights of others that you yourself do not and cannot have! You are the genesis of the vision. It is your enthusiasm and energy for it that excites and inspires others to make the imagined real. What are you doing is pure leadership 101. Being cause in the matter and in doing so, helping others achieve success they would not without your inspiration! Napoleon Hill, Author of Think and Grow Rich emphatically stated, “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr not Jr) spoke of how powerful collaboration is when he said, “Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” This is powerful indeed! Considerations - both positive and negative - to enhance your ideas come from many minds working creatively in collaboration. Imagine how your Winter 2014


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business, non-profit or community could benefit from everyone working in motivation for themselves and the entire ‘team’! Quoting Vince Lombardi, one of the best and most successful coaches in NFL history, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work!” Whether your ideas are to improve a community garden, increase your company’s market share, or transform an industry - collaborative creativity will boost performance and achieve spectacular results. All the while raising your status as a thoughtful, generous progenitor whose leadership and wisdom extends beyond the one to the many! You’ll be whistling a happier tune when you collaborate, or as on-line. Luccock reminds us, “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.”

ROBERT ‘BOB’ CHRISTIANSEN, JR. IS A DREAMER, IMAGINER AND OPTIMIST WHO’S GREATEST STRENGTH IS INSPIRING OTHERS TO BELIEVE IN THEIR IDEAS. A NATIVE OF LONG ISLAND NEW YORK, HIS SIMPLE YET INSPIRED EVENT AND ‘NINJA MARKETING’™ PRACTICES PRODUCE REAL POSITIVE RESULTS. CONSISTENTLY RAISING THE BAR AND BRINGING IT CRASHING DOWN ON STAGNATING ANACHRONISMS, BOB PERSONIFIES POSSIBILITY – “SEE SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING.”

Contact Robert Christiansen by E-mail or phone 631-334-1766. Let’s Connect! Via Facebook

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B2Bmarketinginsider.com - Michael Brenner Sweet Leaf Tea -sweetleafteablog.com PostDesk.com - Tech, Politics, Culture Arts Empowerment Life - Arlina Lindsay EmpowermentLife.info Pick the Brain Grow Yourself PickTheBrain.com/blog KUTA Empowered Women - Regina Rowley ReginaRowley.com/blog Going Tradigital: Social Media Made Easy - Angela Johnson GoinTradigital.com/blog Moving Forward Through Divorce - Nancy Kay MovingForwardThroughDivorce.com/nancys-blog Social Media Insider Secrets - Lissa Duty LissaDuty.com/blog Winter 2014


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THE ABC’S AND 123’S OF SIMPLIFYING YOUR LIFE     LISA CAIN                                      “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” - Confucius While preparing for this article I realized that throughout 2013 I have read more magazine articles, fiction, non-fiction, personal growth and business books than I have in quite some time. I mention this because as I was reading over the holidays it reminded me of a much simpler time. When growing up I would love to go in my room, close the door, sit in my rocking chair in the middle of my room and just read without a care in the world or do one of the other hundred things we did as children. One of the magazines I was reading was all about creating a more Simple life. While we can never go back to the carefree years of our childhood, we can remove clutter from our lives and get back to a simpler way of living. These articles helped me see more clearly as I get older the need to simplify my life and remove the clutter. This doesn’t have to mean doing without or downsizing work or home life. For me it means I want to spend my time on what is important to me and toss things that simply clutter up my life. When asking myself what is important to me and how can I do this. I began putting together the A B C’s & 1 2 3’s of Simplifying for work and home life. First things first. Write down what’s most important to you and create your simpler life around those things. Now for you if this means cutting back or out other activities to make room for those that count, then do it, so you simplify your life and have time for the more important things in your life.

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So, let’s get started with the A B C’s to Simplify your work life. Here you will find tips to remove work life clutter: A.

Our world is filled with all sorts of electronic devises. In 2014 set a time each night to turn

off all communication devices. This includes your cell phone, computer, pager, and fax. If possible, try to reduce your daily use of these communication tools. Ok, Ok, Ok I can hear everyone saying now, I run my own business and I can’t do that. Yes, you can. We can adjust our schedules, so we can accomplish more with fewer interruptions. For example, my good friend and mentor Michelle Ketterman only returns calls during certain times of the day, in addition she uses Acuity Scheduling a free appointment scheduling program to control her time to make the most of her work hours, which leaves time for more family hours. Be sure and tell your employees, co-workers that after X time you do not take calls and encourage your employees to do the same. Lead by example. Also, if you work from home, make sure that your family knows your work hours and these hours are reserved for work. (NOTE: If your cell phone is your only means of communication with the outside world, don’t turn it off. Instead, place it across the room from you where you have to get up to get it. Doing this you can make a decision if you will take the call at that moment or if its work related and after hours let your voicemail take the call) B.

We all get tons of emails and send just as many. So try this. Write emails only once a day.

Same as returning phone calls set a time that you send out and reply to the day’s emails. Then batch and process them all at once, this leads to an empty inbox. Simplify and clutter free. This will truly make work and home life simpler so you are not replying to work emails during family time. C.

Put as much as possible on Autopilot or Delegate to others who can get things done for

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payable, receivable and cut check. Then all you have to do is read the reports and sign the checks. Another way to simplify your office clutter is to have your computer backed up on something like Carbonite. If the unthinkable happens and your computer crashes you do not loose precious time with your computer(s) being down. Getting your information back is quick and easy and you’re back up and running in no time.

Now for the 1 2 3’s to Simplify your Home Life: Life is way too short to participate in activities that don’t make you happy. So, resign from any and all groups, organizations and commitments that don’t make you happy. 1.

Reprioritize your day. Think about what takes up the most time in your day? What takes

up the least time? Now, let’s evaluate how you spend your daily time, and then reprioritize it so you have time for what’s most important to you. Which you should have already written down. 2.

Get rid of clutter. I’ll be using the old adage “If you haven’t used it in over a year then get rid

of it. Clutter makes thing seem so much more complicated than it needs to be. Remove the clutter, remove complications. Have a yard sale or donate your unwanted items a local charity. 3.

Shop once a week. Do you find yourself stopping at the store on the way home from work

almost everyday? Mainly because of one question “What do you want for dinner” This takes a big chuck of time, even if it’s only 30 minutes a day that’s 2.5 hours per week or 130 hours per year or a little over 3.25 weeks of your life that you can’t get back. So, for 2014 I’ll be using a meal planning service call eMeals. With eMeals you can pick your meal plan, get great recipes, shop and save, relax and enjoy. eMeals provides meal plans for the week, along with a shopping list as well as what items are on sell at the retailer of your choice. Now, I can simplify this part of my life, take back those hours and take a nice long vacation. 

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Live in the moment. Something I’m learning to do. Doing this will helps to slow down your mind by appreciating moments as they come, even on the occasion you’re doing something you’d rather not be. By living in the moment, you only think about what’s going on here and now, not 15 minutes from now or what needs to get done by the end of the day. We all need to spend time alone and with family. By simplifying your life you can have time for both as many people feel cheated or even guilty if don’t have time to just read a book, enjoy a hobby or simply think about life. Likewise, others want more of your time to spend together with family. To make time for both in your life, it could mean saying no to something else and that’s ok. Remember you are simplifying your life to have more time to do the things that are the most important to you. Lastly, do one thing at a time. During 2013 I was extremely guilty of multi-tasking and as I reflect on the year I realize that I actually got less accomplished. In 2014 focus on one thing at a time as we all try to do too many things at once, only to find nothing gets done very quickly or very well. By focusing on just one task, one thing, one goal, one dream, one task at work, or one conversation you will discover that the task will get done well, done quicker and you will be less stressed. “A simple life is good with me. I don’t need a whole lot. For me, a T-shirt, a pair of shorts, barefoot on a beach and I’m happy.” - Yanni Lisa Cain CEO/National Director The Chocolate and Shopping Show Phone: 901.766.6920 EMAIL: lisa@bizfestival.com WEB: www.chocolateshoppingshow.com FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/TheChocolateAndShoppingShow TWITTER: https://twitter.com/CSSConnects

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ATTITUDE A NETWORKER’S MOST VITAL TOOL     PETER BIADASZ                                   Wouldn’t it be great to walk into a network meeting, or any meeting, and everyone came up to talk to you because they knew you had the best attitude in the room? As Carl Burchner once said “People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” We have all known someone with a habitually bad attitude. When they call you or approach in public, we may find a creative way to avoid talking with them. When you approach or call someone can you picture them diving over a desk to get to you or the phone because they want to talk to you? Likewise, we all would be more likely to give a lead to someone with a good attitude rather than a bad attitude. If you are like me, you give leads to those people who will treat the customer the same way that you do. Understanding attitude is the most vital tool you have as a networker. Here are some easy and practical techniques from my book More Leads I have utilized over the years to help maintain a positive attitude. 1.

When the alarm clock makes that unpleasant sound in the morning, make the deci-

sion you are going to be positive. Any decision made 22 consecutive days becomes a habit. Being positive can be as much a habit as being negative. When my alarm clock screams at me I also just start praying. That usually helps my decision.

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39

You can’t put a smile on someone else’s face unless you have a smile on yours, so

put a smile on someone’s face by 9:00 a.m. everyday. This can be the most fun for you and the most frustrating for those around you. I once had a boss that just hated it when I would pop my head in her office every morning to say a very cheery “good morning”. However, two weeks after I left for a better position, I received a call from her letting me know not only did she really appreciate the “message” every morning but that her day was not the same because no one else was saying “good morning”. You never know what kind of “seeds” your attitude is planting. 3.

You do not have to have the title of manager to be the mood manager of your

company. Set the example and standard of what a positive attitude is at your place of business, at home and everywhere you go. You may be surprised how many people you can influence in this manner. 4.

Anticipate problems before they happen. When was the last time a truly new

problem presented itself, one you had never been exposed too directly or indirectly through your own or someone else’s experience? Let’s face it; so many times we get upset over the same thing. Time to develop a new habit (see 1 above). 5.

Give sincere compliments on an hourly basis. Sincere is the key word. People will

know if you are not being real in what you are expressing. Also, by complimenting others, you are looking for the good in them. 6.

Finally, my favorite: develop points of reference. When you are going through a truly

rough time, you can think in one of two directions: a) think about the best time of your life or something which makes you laugh as an escape or b) think about the worst time

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in your life and realize you made it through that bad event so you can make it through this bad event. Even though I am an optimist, I resort to thinking about two very bad events and realize nothing I will go through will be as bad as these two events. The first event occurred about a year after I graduated from college. While fixing breakfast one morning, I was holding a glass pitcher full of ice tea when all of a sudden the pitcher mysteriously just emptied itself. I put the pitcher down and took a step with my right leg, no problem. I then attempted to take a step with my left leg and it just didn’t. Can’t describe the feeling, or lack thereof, but when I looked at my left foot I saw an anatomy science project staring at me. (I will spare you the gory details; I save those for my public speaking engagements.) I knew I was in trouble and had to get to the phone in the next room quickly or I thought that I would be found in a slightly stiffened position that evening. The reality was that the bottom fell out of the glass pitcher and propelled by the weight of the liquid, turned in mid-air and cut my foot to the bone. Moral of the story: When faced with a bad situation I ask myself, “Are all body parts attached?” If the answer is yes, then what I am going through right now is not as bad as something from my past. The second event occurred a few years later as I worked in a bank branch. At closing time an armed, masked, body armored wearing person decided to rob our office. He knew about a large shipment of cash we had received. The money was in a time locked vault which forced you to wait 10 minutes before you could access the cash. He decided to line us up in the vault stating there were enough hostages to shoot some of us and still have people left to negotiate with to escape. I was number two in line. Feeling certain the police would be there shortly, I had to resign myself that my life was about to violently end. Winter 2014


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Obviously there is more to the story as I live and breathe today, but… The moral of the story is: when faced with a bad situation involving another individual I ask myself, “Is this person literally holding a gun to my head?” The answer since the robbery has always been “no.” So, no confrontation is as bad as the one from my past. A consistently positive attitude combined with expertise regarding your product or service will make you a successful and unstoppable networker. You will always be the professional people want to do conduct their business with. Peter Biadasz, President of Total Publishing And Media, has authored/co-authored 16 books including “Write Your First Book”, now in its 2nd edition. He is also a very active public speaker. To learn more about publishing your book feel free to contact Peter at peter@TotalPublishingAndMedia.com Copyright 2013 Peter Biadasz

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE     ROBERT NEW                                  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the employment report for November. The analysts expected about 180,000 jobs would be created. The number came in at 203,000, a nice surprise. You’ll hear politicians and pundits on both sides putting their spin on the numbers, but I’ll leave that to them. The thing from the report I wanted to mention is called the labor force participation rate. That is the basically the number of available workers vs. the number of those workers who are working. Our participation rate is near 30-year lows hovering around the 63% mark. What does any of this have to do with us at Be The Boss you may be asking? If you look at many of the statistics behind these reports, you will hear economists and analysts telling us that many of the jobs lost are never coming back. They may be manufacturing jobs that have been shipped overseas for cheaper labor, or replaced by technology. In a May 2013 article in Forbes, Adam Lewis wrote about 4 million jobs in the U.S. that are unfilled. Many people have asked why can’t the people who are looking for a job just fill one of these positions? The problem is many of the unemployed do not match the skill set needed for these jobs. So bad is the disconnect in fact that among some of the items being discussed in the immigration reform discussion is raising the cap on H-1B visas to allow higher numbers of immigrants who can fill these jobs into the U.S. This will still not help our employment situation, but it will help fill some of these open jobs.

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The number of people not participating in the labor force, and not able to meet the requirements of these open jobs offers a unique opportunity. There are tons of people out there, I’m sure we all know some, who are unemployed or underemployed. Many of them have that entrepreneurial bug down inside them and for whatever reason have not explored it. We as small business owners, entrepreneurs, or business service providers should take this opportunity to identify, encourage, and mentor these would be business owners. Many of us had that mentor or investor who took a chance on us, now we have an excellent opportunity to do the same to another budding entrepreneur. It’s time to make a difference.

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G E T T I N G B E YO N D S O C I A L     DONNA SMITH-BELLINGER                                      Have you noticed that we’ve lost something? Perhaps it is not really lost, just ignored. It is a valuable item that has been hidden away like forgotten fitness equipment. Sometimes you see flashes of it in a coffee shop, or on a college campus. But for many of us it is as dusty and neglected as that old portable CD player. What is this forgotten “thing” that am I lamenting about? It’s the ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face engagements. We are becoming a society based on social media shorthand; quick emails, online banter, pictures and Tweets. But business has become global, and it is time to resurrect this lost skill and reconnect in face to face engagement. Parents today are completely engrossed in their phones, tablets and other mobile devices. If their child has a question or needs a little attention, they just give them their own little digital gadget and walk away. There is absolutely no exchange of values and ideas. How does this manifest itself in the business world? I often see the frustration on the faces of people who complain; “didn’t I just tell you that?”, “isn’t that what I said?”, and “why weren’t you listening?” Today, most of us are making it up as we go along; we are creators, we are innovators, we Winter 2014


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are thinking outside the box. As we grow, we are fluid, flowing, stretching our personal boundaries and the boundaries of what they said could not be done. This calls for a new level of communication….or a return to old skool. Allow me to introduce you to the lost art of listening. To truly grow and sustain your business beyond that one sale you must develop a relationship with your prospects, your clients, and the world at large. You must get to know people in order to learn what is important to them (their values), what keeps them up at night (their needs), what they plan to do (their goals) as well as they know. You don’t have to sell people when they know you understand what their pain is, and what they have the budget for. You provide the solution and congratulate them on their brilliance. It’s that simple. The same is true when it comes to managing your team. Talk it out, let them know you understand their concerns, and they will be more willing to work with and for you. Be a gracious and generous listener. Without a doubt the most effective tool in your relationship marketing arsenal is the skill of being an effective listener. When you listen intently to the conversation, you will pick up all of the data you need to determine how best to create the basis of a relationship and Winter 2014


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be able to determine if this person is in alignment with your desired outcome. Learn your communication style. This will help you determine how to manage the styles of others which can increase productivity and reduce conflicts. There are tools such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator that can help you here. Move beyond “Social” into the realm of relationships. Most of us simply do not see ourselves through the eyes of the people we communicate with on a daily basis. This all takes patience and work. Sometimes it can feel like pulling water out of a rock, but in the long run, it opens the floodgates to ideas, inspiration and profit. About Donna Smith Bellinger, The Advancement Strategist Motivational speaker, Business / Executive coach, Author “Creating The 8th Day & The 25th Hour” and “You Lost Me @ Hello: Actionable Principals That Move You Beyond Networking” and Radio Personality. From the C Suite to (KTC) Kitchen Table CEO’s Donna’s signature systems help business owners and other professionals seeking to translate their work and life experience into revenue generating outcomes. International corporations, national associations, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions have welcomed Mrs. Smith-Bellinger’s candid approach and razor sharp insights wholeheartedly. Smith-Bellinger’s workshops, motivational speeches, and trainings are geared towards: improving personal and organizational leadership performance.

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MAKING YOUR

DREAM A REALITY     SHELLY ARISTIZABAL                                      

Does

your

big

dream

sometimes

seem

like

only

a

daydream?

Start living out your dream in real life! Everyone has a dream. You may not be able to describe it, or maybe you’ve forgotten it. You may even think your dream is no longer possible. But it is there, waiting to be discovered. If you’ve spent any time with a five year old lately, you probably have a good idea of how to let go and really dream! If you were to ask a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the ideas would come so easily. “A firefighter, ballerina, secret agent, doctor, teacher, professional athlete . . .” What about you? What is your dream?

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What is a dream? What I mean by “dream” is following your heart’s desire – what you truly love to do, your passion. Dreams can be big or small, tangible or intangible. Without vision or a dream, we are not going to truly live; we will only survive. One of the most important keys to happiness in life is to do what you love. But discovering that dream-life, and what you are meant to do, isn’t always so easy. My dream to inspire and empower others came from the positive feelings I had as a child when taking on leadership roles during play or in school. My dream to write was encouraged by positive words of affirmation from people I admired. Your dream may be to work in a certain profession or live in a particular place. Or your dream might involve simple things: spending more time with family or friends, working in your garden, taking walks or reading books.

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Don’t wait for “someday” I once read an article following the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. It shared how a very high percentage of people who escaped the World Trade Center made dramatic changes in their lives. As survivors, they went home, hugged their spouse and children. When they evaluated what was important in their lives, many walked away from very high-paying careers. They discovered a new dream for their life. Fittingly, many are now involved in relief efforts, community service and other charitable endeavors. Just two years ago, I went through my own personal “life-changing” event. Miraculously, I was given a second chance at living when I recovered from a subarachnoid hemorrhage in my brain. During the two weeks that I laid lifeless in the intensive care unit, my husband received countless emails and phone calls from people who were inspired to consider their dreams and not wait for “someday” to pursue them. They realized that if someone like me, who was young, healthy, vibrant, successful and a mother of four small children, could be gone in an instant, it was time to make “someday” now. After that experience, I, too, went home and hugged my children for a very long time. As I evaluated my life, I realized how grateful I should be for the awesome blessings in my life. My life was wonderful, I was alive, but had I stepped into my greatness? I now make most of my decisions based on whether they line up with my heart’s dreams. Identify your dream, and get started! If you are not currently living your dream life, you may have a nagging feeling that something is “off” or that you’re missing out on something big. Think about how wonderful it would be to do what you love instead of just dreaming about it. You need to believe that you were created to achieve something remarkable with your life. Winter 2014


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Everybody has a dream, and it is never too late to pursue it. When we do pursue our dreams, we may even create an opportunity to inspire others to fulfill their dreams. Take a look at the happiest, most successful people on this planet: they are doing something they love, creating something they believe in, living a life of purpose and passion. They are using their dream to make a contribution to the world. Do that, and it doesn’t matter how much money you make. So how do you get started? First, take some time to dream big, then describe in detail what you picture. What special talents, skills and gifts do you have to share with the world? Is there something you want to do so badly that you wake up in the morning thinking about it, and can’t wait to get up to make it happen? It might also help you to create a dream or vision board. Add your ideas to it and look at it often. Begin making plans on how you will start living your dream life. What will it take to discover and follow your dream? Do you need to have some financial freedom to pursue your dream? If necessary, make some hard choices, difficult changes and even big sacrifices now to provide yourself some personal freedom later. Most importantly, you may need to step outside your comfort zone. To achieve what you have never achieved, you may have to do what you have never done before. Are you willing to do what it takes to pursue the life of your dreams? Anything less is hardly living at all. Isn’t it time to begin? You’ve waited long enough. Your dream is beating in your chest. Do you feel it? Tell your friends you are about to begin the journey of your life, and get ready to make your dream come alive!

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WHEN THE IMPOSSIBLE BECOMES POSSIBLE!     PATRENNA SINGLETARY                                    Have you ever wanted more out of life, but you did not pursue your dreams because you did not have enough confidence in yourself? Well, that’s what happened to me! At a very early age I became a dreamer, mind you I used this as an escape from my low self esteem lifestyle, but none the less I dreamed. In my dreams \ visions, I would take on the demeanor of a very confident model, celebrity or someone with means who was the direct opposite of me. As the years went by, my low self esteem lingered and evolved into a dead end marriage and a constant need to enable others. Believe it or not, that was ultimately the turning point for me. I became self sufficient and dared myself to live the dreams I had envisioned. I discovered a passion for teaching at the college level that I did not know that I had. As a result, through the help of my very supportive Business team, we established the Michael D. Singletary Foundation in an effort to help deserving college students reach their professional potential. The Singletary Network was also established which consists of: Nashville Presents: Saturdays with Singletary, Singletary The Magazine Radio Show, Simply Singletary TV, This Week With Singletary, and Just My Nashville. The Singletary Network also has it’s own Blog Talk Radio Channel, as well as Youtube Channel. I am very thankful for the help and support of notable guests, team members, and fans from all over the world. I can truly say that the impossible has become possible Winter 2014


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in my life and if you are reading this article, then I desire the same for you as well! Shelly Rice’s Guest Appearance on Saturdays with Singletary: Contact Information for Guest Appearances on The Singletary Network: Email: pvsingletary@yahoo.com or info@michaeldsingletaryfoundation.org Website: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-singletary-network Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/singletarymagazine Website: http://www.michaeldsingletaryfoundation.org/

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BUSINESS CASUAL     CAROLYN BENDALL                                    Men have it much easier for easy to avoid. However, for (and the list goes on) can be business casual than women women, the choices are so justified if they are given the do. There just are not so many abundant and the marketing unofficial okay by the fashion choices for men, the biggest department of the clothing industry. mistake that men can make line labels everything ‘office is wearing shorts or jeans! friendly’. Sportshirts, golf shirts, and dress shirts are all acceptable, and easily identifiable. Tee shirts, tropical print shirts, jeans, and shorts are kind of

And, yes, how one dresses does reflect on what people

A Dramatic or Romantic think of your abilities. Sad woman will be justified by the statement. Yes. True statead or the sales associate that ment.

Yes.

This season

say, “Perfect for the office!” A leather is a big item, and Natural or Classic woman are just how would one wear less swayed, because if it isn’t leather to the office? If you appropriate for the office, in are true corporate, it might their world, they know it; have to be subtle, perhaps in because it would be jeans and jewelry. For communicative tee shirts. But, in the world or creative, it would be much of the Dramatic or Romantic, easier. mini-skirts, halter tops, sheer tops, low necklines, sequins, sleeveless, midriff showing,

Wearing actual leather can be a turn off because there will

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be those that will look down on your for wearing it. Wearing actual leather can be a turn off because of it’s cost and expensive cleaning. Wearing actual leather can be a turn off because it is not forgiving, I haven’t seen leather blended with spandex, yet. However, ‘fleather’ is another story, a fabric designed to have the look and the fell of leather. I was drawn to this when I first saw the new Fall 2013 line for CAbi (Carol Anderson by Invitation), a direct sale line of clothing. (www.cabionline.com) To wear it successfully for business, Carroll Harrison wore the luxe faux leather trimmed, Owens Jacket in black ponte with polyester Print Wrap Top and classic black ponte My Favorite Trouser. Harrison is well within the dress code at the World Headquarters of a Fortune 500 corporation. And, for the home office, Cindy Hayes wore the knee length Fleather Skirt, with the Tailored Shirt in basic white cotton blend, topped with the French terry Coco Shell for a retro 70’s layered look. Hayes is ready for a meeting at the home office, or away. Carolyn Bendall, Image Consultant, President, Fashion Academy, and Radio Show Host. To have Bendall review your product, have her as a presenter on Teen/Women’s Body Image Pep Rally or Business Sloppy vs. Business Casual, or to find an image consultant, email: cbendall@fashionacademy.biz. or www.carolynbendall.com. Bendall also writes the monthly makeover for the Commercial Appeal newspaper based in Memphis TN, focusing on the needs, body line, and personality of the individual. Winter 2014


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MAKING LOYALTY REWARD PROGRAMS EFFECTIVE FOR YOU     SUSAN SHAEFER                                    There is some debate about whether hotel, airline, and rental car loyalty reward programs are still viable, or if they are more trouble than they are worth. Simply, it varies from one individual to another. Many people just do not travel enough to earn an adequate amount of points / miles to use before they expire. However, I had one client recently redeem enough points for two oceanview rooms for six nights in Hawaii which was a savings of thousands of dollars. Personally, over the years I have redeemed points for more than three weeks of free nights (over time) with the Hilton Family of Brands, and numerous free flights with Southwest Airlines. These programs can be beneficial, when used carefully. So are loyalty reward programs a good fit for you? Here are some points to consider when evaluating any program for you. First, remember no two programs are the same. You need to take the time to read contracts and program fine print. You have heard that knowledge is power. It is definitely true about maximizing the benefits of any loyalty program. When looking at a program, consider how many points / miles are needed to be redeemed for a free flight, hotel room nights, or upgrades that you want to earn. Then figure out how many stays or flights would be needed to earn those “freebies”. An important consideration – do the points / miles ever expire? If possible, consider loyalty programs that don’t have expiration dates (taking note that all of the programs reserve the right to change Winter 2014


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any part of the program, including whether or not points / miles expire). When there is no expiration on your points / miles, even with a low amount of travel, you can eventually earn some freebies down the road. Once you know how many points / miles you WANT to earn for redemption, and how much travel you need to take to reach those levels, you have to figure out if you’ll earn enough to reach your goals. You can do this by looking at your past travel history, as well as your projected future travel. How often do you fly versus drive, and to what destinations? When flying, you will need to figure out how many miles (or in some programs, points) you will earn when flying to the destinations that you visit. The next evaluation is really important: can you focus your flight loyalty to ONE airline? Does the same airline from your home airport serve all (or most) of the destinations that you frequent? Can you focus on one hotel chain or family of brands in all or most of the destinations that you visit? Based on your evaluation of past and/or projected travel, can you accrue enough points / miles to achieve your free travel goals? Can you do it before the points / miles expire (assuming they do expire)? Another way to judge the value of your loyalty programs is to consider the cost needed to earn those “free” flights, stays, etc. In other words, are you spending more than necessary on your travel, in order to earn points / miles to redeem later? That “freebie” might end up not being free at all. Many airline loyalty programs these days offer credit cards that help you earn points or miles. But if you are paying fees and interest on those credit cards, you Winter 2014


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might end up spending more than you’ll ever earn in “free” travel. If you consider a credit card that is tied to your reward program, you need to be diligent about paying off balances EVERY month; otherwise it’s not going to be an effective program for you. There are some other considerations as well. What ancillary benefits are provided by the program(s) you are evaluating? With airlines, can you get baggage fees waived? Or gain access to the airlines airport lounges (note that not all airlines have airport lounges)? Do they have express check-in lines? Can you speed through TSA security lines? You need to evaluate the value of these benefits, and how they fit into your travel plans. For loyalty programs to be most effective, you have to BE LOYAL. Belonging to EVERY airline program isn’t going to get you anything but headaches in the long run. You need to consider which airline and hotel(s) that you prefer, versus which ones can get you the most bang for your buck (more freebies with fewer stays, or with lower cost stays/flights). Also consider this, if you booked less expensive, non-chain hotels that don’t have loyalty programs will you save more than booking those hotels with a loyalty program? Would that savings be more than enough to offset “free” stays with any loyalty program? Corporations have travel policies in place for a reason. They need to control their travel costs. They assume that without a travel policy in place, employees would be booking First Class flights and 5 star hotels whenever possible (and racking up loyalty rewards left and right). As a solo-entrepreneur, you are the boss and the employee. As the boss you have the same need to control your costs. You need to set up your own travel policy, including policies about how much you’ll spend on flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. and balance that with what you (might) earn personally with any loyalty reward programs.

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Winter 2014



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