Tribal Alliance: The Antidote to Adversity

women together in strength by Suhyeon ChoiAt the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit, the Dalai Lama predicted that Western women will save the world.  At the time, I believed that he was speaking about the impressive panel of female attendees, including three Nobel peace laureates, the Irish president, humanitarians, filmmakers—acclaimed peacemakers.  But through my work with Threads Worldwide and Emerging Women, our women Artisan Partners in developing countries, our Fair Trade Partners in the US, and the countless trailblazing women I have met on my journey, I have come to realize that the possibility he was talking about was me. He was talking about them. He was talking about you.

So I invite you to join me in this world-changing movement. I urge you to enlist in the tribe of empowered women who are making a difference, one dollar at a time, one necklace at time, one kneecap-to-kneecap conversation at time. Join us in creating a world that is fair, that is founded in compassion, that sees beyond gender, race, religion, and the depths of one’s pocket.

Surrounding yourself with Sisterhood = HOPE

Our vision has the power to equalize, and is built upon the notion that a seven-year-old Cambodian girl, sold into the sex trade, has the same amount to offer as a Fortune 500 CEO. She is equally worthy of love and joy and belonging.  She is equally deserving of the opportunity to contribute to her family, her community, and to help create a better world. That is her universal right. And it belongs to all of us.

This past weekend, surrounded by revolutionary women at our Threads Worldwide annual conference, I felt a gap close that had been welling over the past few months, blackened by mass shootings, suicide bombers, venomous political posts and mean-spirited debate. I felt hope. HOPE!

I understood, down to my core, that there is a way through. A way of being, of working together, of lifting one another up.

As women, we are inherently collaborative, compassionate, intuitive, and empathetic. We lead with our hearts and envision ourselves as part of the whole. These values—that I believe will save the world—have been undermined and devalued over the course of history. For our entire history, women across the globe have been told that our superpowers have no place in business, no place in politics, no place in any position of power.

Well, I say enough! THIS is our time. Our time to come together. Our time to live from a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity. Our time to walk our talk. Our time to lend a hand to someone who is struggling. Our time to fight injustice, to transcend senseless violence, greed, war, and the “us versus them” mentality that is pervasive and toxic.

Ways to stay hopeful in this troubled environment:

  1. Surround yourself with powerful sisters
  2. Face the challenging times by keeping the discussion going with others
  3. Turn conversations into actions that ripple into the community

There IS a way through. But it starts with you and me recognizing that we are all in this together. Let’s bring our tribes together with the understanding that our vision is only the beginning—that it is our alliance that will bring about change, much more effectively than our independent efforts.

We can do this. We really can. Let’s save the world. Are you in?


kara wiegandKara Wiegand has over 12 years experience in the non-profit sector with a focus on business development, sponsorship, accounting and finance. In 2011 she launched her own successful business, Threads Worldwide, which connects women in developing countries who make beautiful jewelry with women in the US who are interested in making money while making a difference in the lives of others. Kara believes in women supporting women to raise our collective voice and better our global community and standards of living.

A Room of One’s Own: Why we need sacred spaces in order to create.

A few months ago, we had a feng shui master and his wife over for dinner. His wife and I were talking about our creative writing ventures and, when the master overheard, he chimed in with the simple question, “Where is your writing space? I love to see creative spaces.” I stuttered around an answer. The kitchen counter after the kids are asleep? A stolen afternoon at a coffee shop with thirty other coffee drinkers? The lobby of the rec center while my kids swim?

His look bored into my soul. He said, “Your writing will never take you seriously if you don’t have a sacred space to create in.” In that moment I realized what he was saying was true, but that actually doing something about it felt inconvenient.

“Your writing will never take you seriously if you don’t have a sacred space to create in.”

So I’ve been thinking about it: Does inspiration really squeeze in beside you if she has to contend with the sea of laptops and fancy coffee drinks, table to table with other aspiring creatives? Whether you are seeking to create a poem, a killer investor pitch or high tech breakthrough, if you want to invite inspiration to come visit you need a place for her to sit down. You need a “room of one’s own”, à la Virginia Woolf.

How many of us read A Room of One’s Own in high school or college and said to ourselves, “Right on, sister!” Her small book declares that women need space to tap into their creative power. Like me, you probably thought that when you grew up, you’d insist on the room. It would be a non-negotiable. But as our adult living situation becomes a reality, we concede the space to the distractions around us.

Some never conceded, like my friend and entrepreneur, Renee Israel. Renee is an entrepreneur and cofounder, with her husband Rob, of Doc Popcorn. They both work out of the home and they both have private home offices. When most people were remodeling by tearing down walls for larger living areas, Renee knew that she needed that wall. She insisted on articulated boundaries versus the larger communal space. And with that came intellectual freedom.

I am lucky enough to have an “office” that is shared with my husband, but stacks of to-do’s cover the space: brochures for potential summer camps, permission slips, bills, catalogs and then there’s Will’s desk, which is even more chaotic. When he is sitting at his computer, we chit chat and share, and we interrupt with things like, “Hey, is next Thursday a good day to get the furnace serviced?” My son walks in without a knock to ask if he can have a turn holding the bunny. The humdrum and the wonder have a hard time cohabitating at times. Busy work is worlds away from generative thinking. My office is a place to orchestrate the responsibilities, not the whisperings of my soul.

“My office is a place to orchestrate the responsibilities, not the whisperings of my soul.”

Lately, I’ve been eyeing the potting shed in the back yard. It’s full of straw, torn slip n’ slides, stacked pots, a wasp nest and a weed whacker. All of the that can find another home, I realize. So what is really standing between me and a room of my own? Maybe it’s my own self-doubt, or the fear of taking up space, but I’m getting over that. I may not write the next bestseller, but I just will have more than half an hour without an interruption to my thoughts – that sounds just as delightful. There would be nothing worldly in there, just a writing surface, some cool tchotchkes and creative quotations pinned to the wall. And ventilation. That’s it – all my room needs.

I like to think of it this way: HGTV is full of shows on creating the dream man-cave, but what would a woman-cave look like? Even if the best room of your own you can create is the kitchen counter after the kids are asleep – go for it. Find a talisman, light a candle and tell the others to stay away because inspiration needs a signal for the all-clear. Demand it. Do it for Virginia Woolf and the women who fought for the right. Because when we take up space, we take ourselves and our aspirations seriously. And so do those around us.

Show us your “rooms,” ladies. How do you take up space?


annike Annika Paradise is a freelance writer living in Boulder, Colorado.  Her writing has appeared in Brain Child Magazine as well as various blogs.  She is currently working on an historical fiction novel that takes place during the women’s suffrage movement in Colorado’s mining towns.

Is your good customer service weakening your brand?

customerSurely you’ve heard the clichés: The customer is always right. Give the client what they want. Just do what you need to do to make them happy. If all else fails, give them their money back.

But when have clichés ever been a source of wisdom for building relationships with the people who matter most?

They offer no guidance in the often-messy reality of responding to customers’ needs and wants. It’s not for the faint of heart. Anyone who’s been in business long enough will know immediately what we mean: someone comes to you with a complaint, or a critical question, or a request that you change your policy just this once, as a favor, because it’s the “right” thing to do.

When you’re sitting at the computer with a knot in your stomach, you might acquiesce and just make the problem go away. In the painful moments it may be easier to defy your intuition and good sense than to speak an uncomfortable truth or hold a contested boundary. This is especially tempting when you mistakenly believe that the goal of customer service is to make people happy.

But here’s the truth: “good customer service” doesn’t mean putting your needs second. In fact, a more seasoned, intuitive, and courageous approach to customer service may just get your clients what they need instead of what they want.

In thinking creatively and in your willingness to speak a harder truth when necessary, you may serve customers in ways that they’ve never imagined, which have little to do with the product or service you’re selling. That’s what’s possible here. And in that capacity, you build your brand value along with your contribution to the world.

Most of us don’t even realize the ways we undermine ourselves. So here are the top 5 ways businesses unintentionally weaken their brand:

1. Falling on your sword to make the customer right.

We’ve all heard it before, but it’s just not true. Customers are human, and as such, they are funny, silly, forgetful, emotional and prone to make mistakes – just like us. They are also compassionate, caring, full of grace and forgiveness – you know, the good stuff – and we wouldn’t want it any other way. There’s no need for the blame game with your clients or customers, but there’s no need for you or your brand take the hit to stroke their ego.

Case in point: we were recently consulting with a client on creating some friendly scripts for failed subscription payments. They wanted their message to be kind and free from shaming language. (Yes, yes, yes, we couldn’t agree more.) However, the current model that they wanted to keep stated, We’re sorry, your payment has failed; perhaps something is wrong with our system (it happens), please try again or use a new payment method.

Do you see what’s happening here? This approach presumes shame on the customer’s part and assumes the blame. But look, failed payments happen. They’re nothing to be embarrassed about. They aren’t a sign of financial insolvency or an indication of personal irresponsibility. More often than not, a failed payment is the result of an expired or stolen credit card. There was no need to preemptively diminish the company’s payment system or apologize for the customer’s own oversight. Neither approach establishes trust in your brand and, worse, the former makes a valid case for customers not using your system in the future.

So keep it simple, stick to the facts, and be positive: Hi there, it looks like we are unable to charge the card we have on file for you. This generally happens when the card expires or some information changes. Here’s a secure link to update your payment information. We appreciate you working with us to get this matter resolved. Thanks!

2. Apologizing for things outside of your control.

Along the same lines, apologizing for things outside of your control sends the message that your business isn’t firmly on top of its moving parts. So one of your emails went to spam, and a client missed an important deadline. Or a customer didn’t receive an autoresponder that was delivering paid-course content. These things happen as a normal part of doing business in the virtual world. Instead of an apology, extend understanding (“Well that’s frustrating, isn’t it?”) and immediately move to a solution. (“We’ve got you covered, we just sent that email again.”)

This holds true even if the response you’re crafting is a troubleshooting email or a response to a complaint. All too often “I’m sorry” is said reflexively, without much thought, as a way to avoid further accountability for a situation. It also weakens your brand. There are more precise and productive ways to express that mayyybe you messed up. (You mess up? Nah.)

If you feel sorry, express empathy, and then write with a focus on solutions, from a spirit of assumed, collaborative solution-finding (i.e., “Let’s see what we can do.”).

3. Taking complaints personally.

Complaints frequently feel personal, because your work is woven through with your efforts, your aspirations, your desire to serve. In short, your work is personal because you’ve put yourself on the line. But the truth about client communications is that when it gets tough or goes sour it is RARELY about you (though it feels that way) and is NEVER personal, even if you made a mistake.

Taking things personally takes you out of problem-solving mode and puts you into a defensive, deflecting state of mind. Here again, you don’t need to take responsibility for the things outside of the scope your work, but we all have felt the difference between customer service that takes time to listen and understand our situation, and someone on the other end who is in total deflection-defense mode. The former will win you clients and referrals. The latter will not.

When a customer complains, they’re doing you a favor and giving you the opportunity to fix the situation. If you can get to the root of their problem and arrive at a solution you have a real opportunity to make a happy customer for life.

4. Offering an unhappy customer a refund as a first line of defense.

All too often our clients think they are being kind or delivering the very best in customer service when they immediately offer unhappy customers a refund. But consider this: when you offer a refund to a customer you communicate, “you’re right, our product or service failed you.” Sometimes it comes out of conflict avoidance or simple dismissiveness – a quick fix to avoid having to “deal with them.”

Over and over we see it. A talented, committed business owner whose work gives incredible value to her people will suddenly dissolve into no-questions-asked when someone writes a nasty-gram. (And sometimes it doesn’t even have to be nasty, but there is fear that it could become nasty.)

When we can face the complaints and gnarly moments with poise, even while our heart is racing and our stomach is in knots, we can learn so much. The unhappy customer may teach you something valuable about your target market, what they expect or don’t like, or the ways that what they’ve tried have failed them and how they feel about that. (Yes, there are always needlessly painful moments and folks who are caught up in their own neuroses. But remember that the most difficult cases aren’t fundamentally about you or your work anyway.) So it’s important to appreciate the value of what can be learned in the tough spots, even though it always feels awful in the thick of it, and to respond with grace rather than reacting with fear.

Sometimes when your surprising kindness and graciousness saves the day (because often it will save the day) people are so blown away that they will come back another time.

If you can’t remedy the person’s real complaint or objection and you make a graceful choice to offer money back (an important distinction, by the way: your ability to choose to give a refund from graciousness rather than shame) – that person becomes a brand ambassador rather than a detractor. Your genuine connection with them can shift what they say from “This product or service failed me,” to “That company is great, but I just wasn’t ready for what they were offering.

5. Assuming you have to reinvent the wheel of kindness with every reply.

Writing a kind, personal, unique email each and every time is the ideal, right? It means you and your team are delivering the very best in customer service. Well, not when it slows down the lines of communication or creates yet another unattainable standard of perfection.

Here’s the good news: it is absolutely possible to use a “formula” without writing a formulaic email. There is a middle way between pasting an impersonal blurb and feeling obligated to reinvent the wheel of kindness with every reply.

 This formula is the backbone that supports most of the communications that have come across our desks, because it allows for genuine connection that isn’t onerous or cheesy.

Here’s how it works…
 Use the 7 step non-formula formula:

  • Step 1: Thank them wherever possible.
  • Step 2: Make them feel heard and unique.
  • Step 3: If it’s a troublesome case, consider finding an alternative to saying “I’m sorry.” If you feel sorry, express empathy, and then write with a focus on solutions.
  • Step 4: Now work your particular magic. Move to a solution, recommend a service, etc.
  • Step 5: Outline the next steps involved and/or what’s needed from them.
  • Step 6: Clearly state what you need and make a call to action. Don’t bury this in the paragraph above (the one that’s full of abundant explanations).
  • Step 7: Keep the lines of communication and gratitude open, even as you sign off.

Good customer service simply means that you’ve honored the implicit and explicit agreements between you and the people you are helping. It means that your clients and customers reliably get what you’ve set them up to expect. And in order to provide those things, it’s critical to stand for yourself and your brand with dignity and integrity. When you model that, your brand’s trustworthiness grows, and so does its value. It’s a commitment worth making.

Now tell us: what are the hardest customer service moments for you? When are you most tempted to abandon your policies or to do the “nice” thing at your own expense? What might you do differently if you didn’t think your job was to make people happy?

Nita Apple and Jess Larsen Jukelevics of nitaapple.com are the co-authors of Say It With Grace Toolkit: a Blueprint for Stellar Client Communications. The Toolkit contains email templates and a customer service guide for what to expect, how to say it, and what to do when customer service gets gnarly. Together they provide a custom service called Let Us Say It With Grace and consult with businesses about ways to use customer service to build their brand, engage and retain delighted customers, and empower their support teams to do outstanding work. 

Nita AppleFor Nita Apple customer service was hardcoded into her DNA, as she grew up working in the family store, The Happy Apple. Greeting customers with a warm smile and can-do attitude was the norm, even for a five-year-old. Nita carried that service approach forward throughout her corporate career – whether working as a Human Resource Manager or an Employee Benefit Consultant – her approach was to treat everyone as a customer with a problem solving mindset. Today, Nita calls herself a Customer Service Solution-ist for online businesses. She’s a problem solver by nature, an intuitive innovator, and the founder of the online consulting firm nitaapple.com.

Jess LarsenJess Larsen Jukelevics is the founder of two businesses: a copywriting + virtual support firm and a birth doula + childbirth preparation practice. (You may think online course management and labor support wouldn’t meet in the middle. You’d be surprised.) Jess has a background in public relations, public policy and public health. She brings an instinctive sense about what needs to be communicated, and curiosity about ways that inspired communication can facilitate professional, personal and spiritual growth.

Elle Luna joins Emerging Women Live 2016!

We are excited to announce that artist, author and Silicon Valley startup survivor Elle Luna will be joining the lineup as a Keynote Speaker at Emerging Women Live 2016!

Elle Luna happily makes art in her very special studio in San Francisco (listen to her Grace & Fire podcast to hear about that peak experience in her life). But that wasn’t always her gig.

Before, Elle was nailing the shoulds. She worked with teams to design and build Mailbox’s iPhone app, redesign Uber’s iPhone app, and scale the storytelling platform, Medium. But in the midst of this life of business and chronic busy-ness, she felt the pull of something deeper calling to her in her dreams – the musts.

With one foot in each world (art and startup), everything was suffering. She wasn’t really feeling her creative process, and her work in Silicon Valley was exhausting her. Her head was saying “you got this” while her body was screaming for a vacation – and not just a week at the beach. She was craving the deep peace of a restful mind. She was at a crossroads.

She had enough in her bank account for a window of time to “not know” and just journey down the roads of should and must. She left her job in Silicon Valley and rented the dreamy studio in San Francisco, the dedicated physical space where must had a chance of being heard. And it worked.

On April 8, 2013, Elle published an essay on Medium.com, “The Crossroads of Should and Must,” which quickly went viral. Within weeks, it was tweeted to over 5 million people and seen by over a quarter of a million readers. Elle extended that post into an illustrated, four color book, The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, where she explains the importance of mistakes, of “unlearning,” of solitude, of keeping moving and of following a soul path. She had taken a leap, and it resonated.

 

It’s not just a one-time decision, she learned. It’s a daily thing. Shoulds are decisions for anything or anyone other than yourself, put on you from outside from family, community or culture. When you hear or think a should, you shrink in your body. Huge systems of thought are at work that feel overwhelming. She keeps a list of shoulds in her journal because she says that continuing to bring them into awareness is what releases their hold on your life.

To really get the juices flowing, you’ve got to have your finger on the pulse of must. Must is pre-thought. It’s inexplicable and undeniable. She says that staying in touch with that force is crucial. It’s “the source of our being – it’s the song, and we have to keep that song alive” by opening our eyes to “little mirrors, little clues that lead you back to something essential.”

Should, she says, is like cracking an egg on the countertop to get what’s inside out. Must is letting it burst out from the inside, and what results are the greater potentialities of your life. And the most important step? “To trust that that will manifest over time.”

We hope that you will join us in San Francisco to hear the inspirational Elle Luna share her insight with us at Emerging Women Live 2016. We can’t wait to see what will burst from your egg!

Listen to the Grace & Fire podcast here:

Elle Luna Podcast

7 Habits of Highly Resilient Women

In 2011, George S. Everly, executive director of Resiliency Sciences Institutes at the University of Maryland, was asked, “What’s the difference between those who choose to sink or swim in times of adversity?” He stated two factors:

  1. A lack of perspective stemming from inadequate preparation and tenacity.
  2. A negative attitude.

He further explained that resilience can be taught and self-esteem can be earned through personal accomplishment in the face of a challenge. Resilient women are not brought down by challenges or setbacks; instead they thrive on them because it brings new learnings and new opportunities.

Modeling these 7 habits of resilient women will create tenacity and build your resilience muscle:

1. They have a routine and plan ahead

There’s a formula known as the 2C’s – Commitment and Consistency. Commitment comes from being 100% responsible for any slip-ups, decisions or actions and knowing that you’ll give it all while still being in harmony with oneself. Consistency occurs when you’ve decided to create a daily, weekly or monthly practice that will help you along your journey. Without consistency, commitment can become lost and without commitment, consistency doesn’t follow through. Resilient women become successful by focusing on one or two goals a year and using this formula to achieve their goal.

2. They approach challenges with flexibility

When something doesn’t work, do you tend to give up after the first try and think you’ve failed? When you view a challenge and come up with several different ways to handle it, that demonstrates flexibility. Finding different methods to overcome a challenge keeps a person more in control of the situation. Having only one strategy is inadequate preparation.

3. They embrace failure as a setback and move on

When you focus on your failures, you dwell on the past and the problems you experienced, which in turn, drives the fear of failure even deeper. Resilient women do not view failure as failure; instead they view it as a learned outcome. Why? It has three purposes: First, it stops the fear of failure in its tracks; second, viewing it as learned outcome allows one to analyze the lessons from past experience; and third, putting the lesson to positive use later on leads to the creation of new possibilities and outcomes.

4. They know what they are passionate about and make it their purpose

You can’t have passion without purpose, and you can’t have purpose without passion. Resilient women thrive on their passion and purpose, and never get tired of working on it. Your passion lights the fire in your belly while your purpose helps you channel that passion so you feel fulfilled. A great resource for discovering your passion and life purpose is The Passion Test by Janet and Chris Attwood. Take their free assessment here.

5. They know how to let go

Embracing change and having realistic optimism are a resilient woman’s trademarks because they understand that change is inevitable and what worked today may not work tomorrow. They will let go the old and bring in the new if it becomes necessary for their business or life. Therefore, understanding that life will bring sudden changes and obstacles is the first step, but facing these obstacles and knowing that you have the coping skills to continue moving forward is equally important.

6. They have a strong sense of appreciation while feeling challenged

Resilient women feel overwhelmed and worried too, but they have two streams of thought running through their minds: one is about finding solutions and the other is about all the things they appreciate in life. It’s as though there’s a subconscious REFRAME button they push whenever their thoughts and emotions turn to worry and fear, because after a short time, they’ve perked up and are more positive and appreciative about what they already have.

7. They have excellent communication skills

Think of a leader or manager whom you admire and notice how he or she interacts with you or with others at all levels in the company or when networking. You will notice that she’s listening to your words and your communication style and communicates back in your style. She’s looking for the underlying reason behind your communication so she can relate to you. She’s also subconsciously picking up on your body language and tone of voice and mirrors it. These communication skills come naturally to resilient women because they want to create rapport with you.


Zaheen Nanji is a resilience champion and a business owner in Alberta, Canada.  Embracing change and fear is Zaheen’s trademark because she overcame her speech impediment, her struggles with weight and learned to live in a new country, at the age of 15, without her parents. Her book, The Resilience Reflex – 8 Keys to Transforming Barriers into Success in Life and Business, became an International Best-Seller on Amazon Kindle. Zaheen teaches people how to make resilience their first reflex using her 3-step system: Release, Re-program and Resolve. 

How to thrive despite having so much on your plate

Do you find it overwhelming to juggle work, life, relationships, wellness and family responsibilities? You may need review your calendar and reevaluate what’s working and what’s not working so you can implement habits that support you for the long haul. The following are 4 tips that can help you find ultimate work-life balance so you can thrive in your life and in your relationships.

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1. Stop Trying To Do Two Things Simultaneously: Although employers in the U.S. and some abroad praise multitasking, statistically multi-tasking is a less efficient and effective strategy.  First, it sends your stress levels through the roof. And secondly, you are likely to make more mistakes and increase your anxiety level along the way. The key is to develop a one mindfulness skill-set where you focus on one task, stay in the present moment and as a result feel calmer because you are not as easily distracted by alternative tasks that pull you away from the here and now.

2. Take A Personal Inventory Of Your Habits: This is an important first step to evaluate and self-correct habits that are not beneficial for your wellbeing. Do you ever find that you are trying to cram in too many tasks in a limited amount of time? Do you also tend to underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete each task? If so, you probably find that you put a lot of pressure on yourself and set up unrealistic expectations. This leaves you feeling bad as a result. An alternative strategy to increase inner harmony is to increase the amount of time allotted to complete each task and reduce the number of tasks on your to-do list, so you can start setting realistic expectations with clearer, more achievable objectives.

3. Mindfully Increase Your Self-Esteem: By becoming more intimate with yourself and your time you can learn to find your own internal rhythm. The more you become attuned to the sensations and wisdom of your body, the more you can feel intuitively if a choice is uplifting or depleting, expansive or constrictive. By slowing down and giving yourself time, you allow yourself to listen to the voice of truth within and feel empowered to follow your intuition.  

4. Give Yourself Breathing Room: Do you tend to overschedule yourself, leaving little room for spontaneity? By incorporating extra breathing room in your schedule to just relax and decompress, you open up space for mindfulness and self-care to become a priority in your life. Delegating tasks to others, getting support and intentionally creating the life and lifestyle you desire is the key to greater fulfillment and inner peace.

Do these tips make a difference in your sense of balance and wellbeing? Share your voice in the comments section.


Andrea Cairella HeadshotAndrea Cairella is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and owner of True Potential Counseling based in Long Beach, CA.  She works with adults and children and specializes in couples issues, trauma, addiction, anxiety and self-esteem and is the creator of Create A Relationship You Love ™ an online psycho-educational program for couples. If you would like to access my Free 3-Part Video Series visit TruePotentialCounseling.com to: Avoid the 4 Common Mistakes Many Couples Make And Know What To Do Instead, Learn the 8 Strategies To Strengthen Your Emotional And Physical Bond With Your Partner and Improve Communication In 10 Minutes Or Less.

Loving the Lives We Are In

Five Easy Tips to Move from Theory to Practice

Have you ever started a new exercise regime to improve your health? Have you ever dedicated yourself to reaching a certain goal in your career? What about the dream of having a partner who is just the right fit for you?

Most of us relate to having dreams, goals and hopes for our lives. After all, these aspirations are what ignite the fire that drives you to get up and go after your deepest desires.   

I believe big dreams create the magic of your life and are meant to be approached with a curiosity and thirst to fully experience life—bumps and all. By opening up to the idea that the journey is the magic, rather than reaching the actual dream itself, you open the floodgates to love your life right now.

When you give yourself the gift of seeing and experiencing all that is amazing in your life at this very moment, you no longer need to delay happiness until you meet some future goal.

In an effort to simply love life exactly as it is right now, no matter what dreams are in the works, I made this list of reminders and inspirations to put into practice each day. I encourage you to give them a try and see which ones work best for you:

1. Self-Awareness

When you step outside of yourself and take a good honest look at how you are showing up, over time you begin to take yourself a whole lot less seriously. There is a real lightness and sense of ease that comes from being able to laugh at yourself and see the humor in a situation.

By regularly checking in with yourself, you may also start to notice the patterns in how you show up and where there may be room to shift and grow.

Being self-reflective in a healthy way helps to strengthen your relationship with yourself. It also builds your self-confidence and resourcefulness in trusting yourself to take steps that are congruent with who you are at your core. Meditation first thing in the morning and writing at any time of the day have become essential tools in building my self-awareness practice. Have fun choosing the tools that most suit your style in order to create meaning and consistency in your self-awareness practice.

2. Give

Give what you can, whenever you can. It could be spreading kindness through your words, smiles, and helpful acts, or merely being present for those you share space with. When you adopt a generous attitude, it becomes easier to let go of beliefs and judgments that create an ‘us against them’ mentality.

Giving without strings attached or ulterior motives not only brightens the receiver’s day, it also fills up your heart and the moments before you with joy. It feels good to give, so do it as much as your heart desires. If there are times where you can extend your reach out to your local or global community, then do that, too.

Approaching your life with compassion and love may very well be the greatest gift you could give yourself and your community. The ripple effect you create by being content and happy with your life will be felt and may very well become contagious.

3. Move

Your health and well-being is deeply connected to your feelings and overall attitude. When you feel good in your body, it becomes natural and easy to be happy with life.

We all vary in our abilities and the types of physical activities we enjoy. What may feel great for one person may not for another. The key is to engage in activities that you enjoy and movement that fits your lifestyle and needs. Do what works best for you to create a regular habit of moving your body to help you feel the very best you can.

4. Breathe

Deep, intentional breathing is one of the most powerful ways to calm yourself and ease feelings of stress and anxiety. The best part about this particular tool is that it is “built-in,” and pretty straightforward to engage! 

When you find yourself in a stressful situation, you are more than likely holding your breath. In these situations, if possible, take a few deliberate deep breaths, holding each for the count of four. Doing this helps calm your body and creates space to refocus your mind away from destructive or overwhelming thought patterns.

The more you practice focusing on your breath, whether that is through yoga, meditation or routinely scheduled times throughout the day, the more likely it will become a habit and natural place to go to transform stress.

Breath may not solve the world’s problems, but it certainly helps to soften the daily stress and tension that often accompanies a busy life.  
 

5. Gratitude

Gratitude is my number one favorite way to get out of any funk and into the joy of life. When you focus on what you are thankful for, you relive all of the beautiful stories and reasons why your life is worth loving right now–and that feels so good!

There are countless reasons to be thankful. Getting to wake up each day to the miracle of being alive is just one of them. There’s also the air you breathe, the sights you see, and the opportunities and possibilities before you. Your list of reasons to be grateful is as unique as you are, and is yours by design.

I love to start my day reflecting on three reasons I am grateful to be alive, and end it by reviewing three reasons I am grateful for my day. The more you engage in a gratitude practice, the more natural it becomes to scan your world and see new evidence of things to be grateful for.

Being genuinely thankful on a regular basis helps you to see why your life is worthy of loving right now at this very moment.

Don’t delay your happiness for later. Jump in and love the life you are in. You are worth it!

Wedding Photographers Vancouver Island
Emily Madill is an author, professional coach and motivational speaker. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband and two sons. She has a BA degree in business and psychology and completed her coach training through Erickson International College. She blogs for Huffington Post and has published multiple esteem building books for children. Emily enjoys an active lifestyle including running, fitness, yoga, and keeping up to the adventurous pace of her family. She is a firm believer in stretching comfort zones and Dreaming BIG! Check out her new book, Fall in Love with Your Life, One Week at a Time.

Watch: Emerging Women Live 2015 Recap Video

Want to see a recap video of Emerging Women Live 2015 that warms our hearts?

Juliet Jarmosco was one of our photographers/videographers at the event. We covered the price of her ticket but she took care of everything else – all out of the love of Emerging Women. You can feel it radiate through the screen. Watch:

Check out her website here: www.jarphoto.com

If you want more video of Emerging Women Live, you can watch the talks on demand HERE until November 11th.

Top Six Benefits to Joining a Power Circle: The Inside Scoop from Past Participants

To date, more than 100 women—from CEOs and executives to small business owners and transitioning mothers—have participated in our Power Circles program. In true Emerging Women form, they have generously shared their amazing success stories to further inspire and ignite the community.

1. Thinking bigger.

We all know what it’s like to get stuck in old ways of thinking. What once worked wonders can quickly become the reason for a rut. Are you due for an upgrade in perspective? The group dynamic of a Power Circle helps us uncover new modes of viewing a situation, leading to more expansive thinking and creative problem solving.

As Rachelle Reichley, Founder of YAY! LIFE!, puts it, “The exposure here in the power of the circle—where everyone is going in their work, in their relationships, in their career—it’s helped me think a lot bigger, and that has a huge value.”

2. Gaining clarity.

Sometimes we know we’ve got “it” in us, but we’re not exactly sure what “it” is. We know or have an inkling of what’s inside or a spark of an idea, but may not have total clarity. As the NYC 2014/15 Power Circle participants told us, that doesn’t have to be a problem.

“These powerful women will reflect back what is burning inside of you, what wants to shine, what wants to come out, the gifts that we bring to the world.” And for others, like Rachel Allen, Travel Production Tour Coordinator, the circle helped her get clarity for her next steps: “It really helped me define and set the structure for where I want to go and put me on a different path.”

3. Speaking truth.

“The circle helped me find my voice. It helped me figure out my values, my definition of success in my terms, and how I wanted to move forward with my life,” shares a Power Circle participant.

It can be hard to locate our true voice if we’re not exercising it regularly. Power Circles are designed with reflections and practices to help bring out your truth, so you can lead with your most authentic self, loud and proud.

4. Holding vision and space.

Event planner, fundraiser and mentor Susie Mordoh says, “These women have become my sisters. They don’t need to get into my day to day (like family and friends do), they hold space for me, accept me and support me as a person overall. We do that for each other and our visions have been amplified, our frustrations have been protected and our successes have been celebrated.”

What she said!

5. Sharing wisdom.

The beauty of circle lies in the diversity—from life experiences to career levels—of people who participate. In this collective setting, you can leverage the strength and experience of others to help you grow and facilitate your own learning.

The flip side? We all have something to share in this world. Power Circles are an meaningful and impactful place to do that.

6. Pushing boundaries.

One of beautiful qualities of a Power Circle lies in the safe space created. When we feel safe, we have the foundation for deep intimacy and growth.

In the words of Liz Sinnot, Director of Stores for Evereve, “There was an intimacy created that was really critical to this group being successful. It allowed everybody to go beyond boundaries that you wouldn’t normally go beyond.”

Now it’s time to dive in….

“Joining Emerging Women’s NYC Power Circle was the best decision I made!” says Susie Mordoh. Are you ready to invest in YOU? Don’t miss this chance to take your seat in a circle built for elevation and transformation beyond your wildest imagination! Register NOW.


Registration closes on October 31st.

How’s the Money Thing Going for You? #emergingnow

Dear Emerging Women,

Ah, money. Money, money, money, money (…..money)!

These days, I can’t keep the refrain from the O’Jays song out of my head. To be completely transparent, we have big plans for the growth of Emerging Women, and in order to reach our goals, we need capital. Money, honey.

So we’re in the middle of the grueling process of raising seed money to create the next level of Emerging Women. If you’ve done this for your business, you know: it’s a full-time job that consumes your entire mental space – even when you sleep. I’m constantly honing our pitch deck, three different versions of a “compelling-yet-super-brief” presentation which I share in as little time as possible to as many qualified investors as I can get in front of.

I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur before I even knew what kind of company I wanted to build. About a year before telling my mentor and boss that I was ready to leave my cushy full-time job as a successful publishing executive, I started emerging – creativity and ideas started sprouting in my brain a mile a minute, and I felt restless and powerful at the same time. I had endless energy and drive, even though I was a working mom with two kids under four. I was scared, but more of the “how” than the “what” or the “why.”

How would I make enough money to continue the lifestyle I had created with my husband as a two-income household? How would I find a mentor once I left the fertile business learning environment of an established company? How would I create a profitable business while juggling motherhood and marriage? And most importantly – how would I fund this dream?

Ironically, all of these questions led me to create the business itself, Emerging Women. I wanted a support network of powerful women dedicated to creating a new version of success that takes into account the specific “how” challenges that women in business face. And BY FAR my greatest challenge has been access to capital.

When I started the raise last September, I felt confident and excited – with an impact-oriented business supporting women’s leadership in the world, who could say no?

Then I learn that though the total investment in female-led companies has tripled since 2000, “85 percent of all venture capital–funded businesses have no women on the executive team,” according to Babson College researchers. Even more astonishing: “…only 2.7 percent of venture capital-funded companies had a woman CEO.” What the what?!

I know we have a brilliant idea that fills a real need in the world, so I’m crazy eager to have enough money to hire more people, launch new products, take risks, make mistakes. That’s how businesses move from simply surviving to soaring, and scaling. When I look at the powerful women in our tribe, I know we will make it happen.

Until then, I’ll just keep being grateful for my thick skin, because every “yes” I receive comes with at least a dozen “mehs.”

I have refined and honed my pitch (am I on version 37 now?) to the point where I can say it backwards. And while I am not done with the full raise, the lessons I have learned along the way have completely re-shaped my relationship to money.

Want to redefine your relationship with money before a big raise?

Check out these 5 Ways to start setting yourself up for a life of alignment, abundance and impact.

I’d love to hear where you’re at with the whole money thing, too. How are you funding your dreams? Share your smarts with the tribe in the comments section.

Big Love,

Chantal Pierrat

Founder, Emerging Women

*If you are an accredited investor and want to be a part of Emerging Women, please mail us directly at [email protected]

More from Emerging Women this week:

Barbara Stanny – Sacred Success: A Woman’s Guide to Authentic Power & Affluence

 5 Ways to Reshape Your Relationship with Money

Juicy Bites: Black History is American History

Super Early Bird Tickets available for a limited time for EW Live 2015 in San Francisco!

How are you funding your dreams? Share your smarts with the tribe in the comment section.

Fellow Emerging Woman Nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year!

We are so pleased to hear that Brook Eddy, founder and CEO of Bhakti Chai, has been nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Magazine.

Brook and Bhakti Chai have partnered with Emerging Women from the beginning, so we can attest firsthand to her desire to use the success she’s created to empower women and girls worldwide.

“Honored doesn’t quite grasp the thrill and mania associated with being a finalist in such a prestigious national contest,” Brook says. “It feels like just yesterday I was a struggling single mother wishing for a better life standing over my steaming homemade chai. Thankfully, a magical network of women colleagues and female friends encouraged me to take the leap of faith and have been supporting and inspiring me to manifest my dreams of being an entrepreneur ever since.”

“Thankfully, a magical network of women colleagues and female friends encouraged me to take the leap of faith and have been supporting and inspiring me to manifest my dreams of being an entrepreneur ever since.”twitter

Brook’s passion, vision and authenticity shine through in the video on her voting page. Watch here to get inspired by Brook’s commitment to sustainability, fair trade and giving back, and then vote for your fellow emerging woman for Entrepreneur of the Year 2014!

Walking Our Unique Paths

At Emerging Women, we passionately believe that listening to the stories of successful business leaders helps us realize our own potential and possibility as we emerge. Below is the story of how our friend, Kathy Krumpe, VP of Operations for Future State Inc., was inspired to tailor a career that allowed her to live her truth. There are so many ways to go about crafting a life of authenticity and meaning. What are the necessary components for you?

Finding A Work Culture That Is True To Me

Kathy Krumpe

As we prepare for Emerging Women Live in October, I have been reflecting about Emerging Women’s tagline, “Live the Truth of Who You Are.” How does this resonate with my personal life and support my growth into a stronger leader?

I’ve spent 12 out of my 19-year career with Future State in many roles, ranging from project management, talent development, operations, marketing and strategic leadership. I left for a bit to travel the world, try new opportunities and spend more time with my children. I came back to Future State as it’s been an amazing anchor in my life. Why? Because it offered me:

1. leaders who support me bringing my true self to the workplace;
2. a corporate culture that shares my same professional and personal values;
3. a culture that not only allows me to bring forward my various talents, but actually requires it for the business overall to thrive.

Starting out my career, I quickly was inspired by the founder of Future State (back when our name was TechProse), a remarkable woman named Meryl Natchez. Meryl is a talented writer with a passion for technology. As she witnessed Silicon Valley’s rise, she knew she had something to contribute to the companies that were shaping this new land of innovation. But she wanted to contribute in a way that brought out people’s unique offerings, values and cultures.

Combining talent and entrepreneurial spirit, Meryl quickly built a consulting firm providing writing, communications, strategic change management, and learning and development solutions with a focus on the people side of transformation. She believed in core founding principles of strong female leadership, being of service to each other and clients, passionate problem-solving, ethics, trust and relationship.

Thirty years later, the company Meryl founded thrives, thanks to her founding principles. My professional career has grown alongside Future State’s because our culture ensures that I live my truth at work. We help clients solve operational transformation challenges impacting many thousands of people worldwide. We’re helping companies as they create cancer fighting solutions; designing leadership programs that foster a new generation of emotionally intelligent, compassionate leaders worldwide; and supporting businesses in developing internet operating systems that connect the world.

To make this happen for clients, I have to bring my authentic self to the table every single day. Client success doesn’t happen if I don’t.

“I have to bring my authentic self to the table every single day. Client success doesn’t happen if I don’t.”twitter

I’m now a member of the second generation of women leadership at Future State. My colleagues and I are excited to support and prepare new leaders through internship programs and talent strategies that give the same space, voice and value to the next generation of women leaders.

At the conference in October, I’m eager to learn from all of you about how you are walking your unique path and living the truth of who you are.