CELEBRATE WOMEN’S SELF-EMPOWERMENT WEEK-GET YOUR MOENY RIGHT!

Oh wow! It’s WS-EW! A week that was started to encourage women to celebrate their accomplishments (didn’t I write a blog post about that earlier this week?) and who they are! I think it’s a wonderful thing but at the same time saddens me that we as women have to be reminded that we are powerful and to embrace that power! However, I am thrilled that the power women hold is being  recognized and celebrated!

Here at EMDF self-empowerment is our motto and the whole point of this site is to encourage women to embrace themselves and who we are and to celebrate it-first! Now all of you know that I am all about knowing who you are and knowing your worth. I know that unless you are absolutely sure of your self-worth you can’t be fully confident in your ability and if you’re not fully confident in your ability you just might short- change yourself when it comes to asking for and getting what you want out of life.

So spiritual empowerment is a MUST! But I’m also a practical gal and I believe in empowering yourself in practical ways as well. Ways like getting yourself financially stable and in a position to not have to depend on anyone, and that includes your J.O.B, for your financial happiness.

We all have seen and in some ways felt the effect of our current economy whether directly or indirectly and wouldn’t it be nice if we were in a position to not have to worry about basic living in times like these? I’m not saying that you can throw caution to the wind but just getting your finances to a point of still being able to live comfortably regardless of the stability of our economy.

I think all of us know someone or have heard stories where women have gone through life changing situations like divorce or job loss and found themselves living in poverty as a result. I have to say that it’s not the divorce or the job loss that is the culprit but our failure to prepare for such events that causes the problem.

So what can you do to stabilize your finances for the new year and make sure that you can still live comfortably should our current economy remain or should you face job loss or some other event that impacts your finances:

                                                                            

  • Open a savings account and deposit at least $50 a month into it-And most importantly LEAVE IT ALONE! 
  • Purchase life insurance if you don’t already have it-Many life insurance policies accrue a cash value and can come in handy should you ever need extra cash. I encourage you to compare different kinds of policies and purchase one that fits your needs. 
  • Open your own IRA (Individual Retirement Account) and contribute the maximum yearly amount-This is in addition to any retirement system that your employer might offer. There are several kinds of retirement accounts available and may have many tax benefits. Find a financial planner that you trust and discuss your options.
  • Participate in your employers deferred compensation or 401(k) plan-Your employer matches your contribution and that equals free money! 
  • Pull your credit report-Knowing where you stand credit wise is empowering in itself! A friend in the mortgage business recently told me that 720 is the new 580 meaning what you used to be able to buy with the previous score you will now need the latter to buy. If you are a little short in having that higher score take necessary steps to clean up your report! 
  • Create an investment portfolio-Don’t be afraid to try your hand at the stock market, mutual funds or other investments! There are many less risky options so discuss them with your financial planner and see if this is something you could benefit from!
  • Leave the shoes at the store-Do you really need another pair of platform heels or would the money you are going to spend be better used being deposited into that saving account we mentioned!

Everything that I have mentioned here are things that I personally have had or have in place so I speak from experience. I can tell you that it made a huge difference for me and my children while we transitioned. I encourage you to assess your current financial situation and address any behaviors that you may have that have contributed to it. See if you need to make any changes (and most of us do) and begin to do so! You will feel much more empowered knowing that your money is one less thing you have to worry about!

THE PROBLEM WITH NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS!

Everyone does it- resolve to do something different, change something about themselves or their career at the beginning of every year and by the end of the first month most have already fallen off the wagon! It’s not that those who are making the resolutions don’t want to reach the goal that they have set for themselves or don’t have the drive to see it through, the problem lies more in the resolution itself!

Most of the time when we make a resolution we focus on an end result: To lose weight! To stop smoking! To stop cussing! To start a business! To clean out the closets…you get the picture. These are all end results! But how many of us take into consideration the process to get to these end results? Ah, here is the problem-there is a process!

When you make a resolution to, lets say, get in shape, the process to get to the desired goal is that you must change your eating habits, exercise regularly and address any health concerns that may be hindering you from losing weight. But the biggest concern of all is that you must address the reason for your current situation with your weight and that my friend is internal!

When we make resolutions we tend to focus on the external and rarely do we address the internal reasons for our current state. If you want to stop smoking have you addressed the reason why you smoke? Do you get nervous and smoking “calms your nerves?” Address why you get nervous and how getting nervous makes you feel! Does being in a certain situation trigger some other thought-rejection perhaps- that causes you to be nervous that causes you to want to smoke? Do you see how it all goes together?!

Business coach/Trainer Julius Henderson wrote a book called “The 7th Decision” which deals with decisions (resolutions) and the process to getting to the actual decision. I love this book and highly recommend it to anyone looking to make life changes!
It’s perfectly OK to want to change or discard old habits and create new ones. Just make sure that when you are deciding on what you are resolving to change, that you consider the other decisions that will go into making that change! I suggest sitting down and making a list of things that will also have to change if you are going to fulfill your resolutions and see if these additional decisions are something you can handle.

For instance, can you deal with changing your eating habits if you want to lose weight. Are you prepared to scale back your living expenses that often come with starting a business if that is your goal! These are all decisions that must be considered if you are going to fulfill your resolution.

So, go ahead! Make your resolutions and be prepared to address other areas of concern that will ultimately help you be all that you resolve to be! You can do it! After all, you are awesome! Amazing! Resilient! And powerful! You are YOU!!

CONGRATUALTIONS! YOU’RE STILL HERE!

Wow! What a year! We saw some pretty phenomenal things happen and some thing that weren’t so great! We saw the passing of some greats and we saw new life emerging! We saw a war end as well as some political careers of long time elected officials. We saw job loss, and new jobs being gained. We saw new companies being born and new friendships being formed. Yeah, it was a pretty phenomenal year!

  And on a personal note, if you’re like the rest of us, I’m sure there may have been times when you weren’t sure if or how you were going to get through the year! There seemed to be so much uncertainty in 2010 and many weren’t sure if or where they would be by the end of it.

Well, Congratulations! You’re still here! You made it through the uncertainty! You made it through the economic hardships! You made it through whatever personal challenges you may have faced…YOU MADE IT and THAT is something to celebrate!

I encourage you to take a few moments and list your accomplishments of the previous year! No matter how big or how small and even if you don’t think that you accomplished much (I can promise you you did) list them anyway! Once you start listing them you will see all that you DID accomplish!

As you are contemplating your goals for the new year and thinking about what you would like to accomplish, don’t hold back! Don’t be afraid to dream and dream big! Remember your greatness and go for it! Whatever your desire is, whatever your goal is, NOW is the time to throw it all on the table-to Leave It All On The Field!

Leisa Monique

LEAVE IT ALL ON THE FIELD-BY JONATHAN MEAD

I loved this piece from Jonathan Mead, author of Illuminated Mind, so much  that I wanted to share it with you!  Enjoy!

Right now, you have a choice. You can live life partially closed, or wide open.
You can spend each day feeling completely spent, knowing that you gave everything. Or you can hesitate, hold back, and obstruct what you have to give.
The first path is where you let your heart guide you, immersed in a deep curiosity and with a sense of exploration. You smile at what you have yet to do, because you know that each step will be joyful and deliberate.
The second path is filled with second-guessing, what-ifs, and seeking approval from maps and nods of others. You cringe with each step; you feel tense and unsure.
One way leads you to feeling thoroughly used up, knowing that you gave everything and held nothing back. Like at the end of a good run, you’re tired, yet energized.
The other way leaves you with a feeling of fragmentation; a sense that part of you has been closed off and bottled up. You feel twisted and jammed, as if some part of you is being pinched off.
They have a saying in sports to “leave it all on the field.” It means: Hold nothing back, put it all on the line. Don’t end the game feeling like you could have given more. Don’t leave feeling like you played it safe when you had the opportunity for something greater.
If you give everything, there will be no questions about what you could or might have done.
I definitely relate to this when I’m running the San Gabriel trails in my backyard. Most of the time I don’t run all the way up the steep climb to the top (an elevation gain and drop of about 4,000 feet over 7 miles), but when I stop to walk I hear a call somewhere in me asking if I have anything left to give. I ask: Jonathan, is there anything left in there? And even though my lungs are on fire and calves are burning I always find that the answer is Yes, there’s something more to give.
It’s easier when I’m on the trail. I’m only thinking about the next few steps in front of me; the next bush, the next turn… just a few more feet. In life I find it to be a bit more tricky. The path isn’t always as clear. Goals change as you move toward them; life can be messy and unpredictable.
But I find the goal to be the same. Give everything, hold nothing back. Unrelentingly feed love into everything that you do, in every interaction, every step. Even the smallest things can be done with great love.
Of course there will be days where you stumble. Sometimes you will make things out to be bigger than you are and forget what matters. Something on the path will distract you and deter you from the direction you want to go. But then you will remember to retrace your steps and take notice.
And when you reflect you’ll remember: give everything, hold nothing back. End each day thoroughly spent.
That’s the way I want to end each day. How about you?