What I know for sure is, if we build Lives around what others expect, from what others have told us to be true without testing, and not build based on the foundation of our own personal values, scaffolded around “what matters to me”, we most likely have built a tower of misery, mediocrity and a muted sense of self. Once in this state, women can feel…

  • Trapped
  • Off track from goals and where they desire to be in Life
  • Unsure what actions to take to even begin getting back on track
  • Isolated or detached from genuinely relating with others
  • Unfulfilled in their current job or roles
  • And even afraid it’s all too late to begin again

I personally found myself in this state during MidLife and it was not a pretty sight!  What I had to come to grips with first was in taking responsibility for either staying where I was, or begin rebuilding the Life I believe was still available for me.  It begins with giving ourselves the greatest gift of getting to know just who we are. We have mastered getting to know what our spouse, children, friends, customers, boss and even what the government wants, but what about us

“To thine own self be true.” – William Shakespeare

Being faithfully true supporting the needs and values of so many others, we have neglected to provide the space to support our very own.  By the time our heads begin spinning realizing “Houston we have a problem”, our plates are full, energy is zapped, we are overcommitted and knee deep in active projects.  I mean it’s hard to even order dinner because we are so apart from our deepest longings.  Believe me, anxiety over steak or chicken is a symptom of a larger cause.  It’s when we decide to step back, breathe deeply and not ignore the ‘cause for pause’, that wisdom can begin to emerge from its veiled dwelling.  It’s in tapping into our own Soul’s voice (that inner voice) and allowing it to teach us how to be authentic, knowing who we are, and being unapologetically free to choose our own path at any given moment.

Start this new journey by asking yourself empowering questions like, “What really matters to you _____ ” (fill in your name). Then observe with childlike curiosity when you smile, are inspired to act, even when you’re uncomfortable speaks volumes about YOU. The answers can be used to build a Life solidly on your values and will stand serving others as a legacy.  Practice saying “NO” in the mirror until you get comfortable in this foreign vortex of strength. I mean we’ve said “yes” to so much stuff in the past and knew once we were there…”I should be home,” or whatever else your Soul was trying to tell you was best for you but you went anyway.  I’m sure you’ve been there too and can relate.  Saying “yes” to be liked, understood, even perceived as good or nice instead of what was good for us. 

Here’s an example, I had a Client who had what seemed like the American Dream, complete with spouse, kids, dog and upper middle class income – YET she was not happy. She found herself angry at her husband, yelling at the kids and absolutely hating being in the house, while others jetsetted around her. She felt a gaping hole within that could no longer be avoided apart from the busyness of family, friends and civic service. With Coaching, she discovered her Soul was knitted for travel and adventure, yet she had settled into a Life expected of her from upbringing. Now she LOVES her family, but with coaching she now understands where the frustration originates from and no longer makes excuses or blames others for it. She now travels with her husband, alone, with girlfriends and blogs about it to inspire other desperate housewives.

So take daily timeouts getting curious about your Life with compassion and no judgment.  Like a good friend who listens, really listens and understands, be that for yourself now, and take small actions towards the Life that is still calling at your heart. 


This article was written by Angela Hicks, “The Lifestyle Guru” .  Angela is a transformation coach, helping women around the world to no longer fight Life, but embrace it by clearly defining their seemingly impossible goals and create a plan of action to live a life they love.  Click hereto invite her to speak at your organization or for information on private to group coaching sessions.

Angela Hicks, “The Lifestyle Guru”

 

I messed up everyone.  Yes, I did.  I allowed myself to make a decision that affected not only myself, but those around me.  It wasn’t anything too deep, but it did give me cause for pause.  I took pen and journal in hand to investigate the crime towards my original goal and where I ended. 

How did I get here?  Just what did I believe was more powerful than my Faith in creating what I wanted?  How was I deceived?

At OWNetwork we believe in the power of asking questions.  Not to others, but to ourselves.  Empowering questions demand a response from our soul. To note on just how powerful a question is to get answers…ask someone what’s their favorite color, and they cannot help but to not only to see the color, but to respond.  Asking is powerful!

I could not understand what happened, but knew somehow there was a HUGGGGE lesson to be learned from the experience.  There’s great value in missing the mark if we allow it to be that.  The only way it cannot be a valuable lesson, is if we perceive the failure to speak towards even trying. Asking will shine the light on if we are secretly sabotaging our own efforts to prove the hidden belief to be correct. 

Whenever we get off course in a Faithful adventure, we have to ask ourselves how we arrived where we are.

“What do I believe is more powerful than my Faith to achieve?  How had I been deceived?”  These are the two questions I pondered as I wrote feverishly in my journal. Immediately my soul responded with a song. Yep, a song folks.  The song was by Alan Parsons called “What Goes Up”.  I started singing the lyrics to it…

What goes up, must come down
What must rise, must fall
And what goes on in your life
Is writing on the wall

If all things must fall
Why build a miracle at all
If all things must pass
Even a miracle won’t last

When I got to the last part of the song I came to a screeching halt. What?!  That’s it! For most of my youth I believed what goes up must come down so why even bother?  This silent deceiving  and sabotaging belief told me that when things are going good, just wait for it, bad was inevitable.  I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I had bought in on the lulling lyrics of this song as a little girl, chanting it and singing it no less to a lively tune.  Flashes of how adults in my life modeled this fearful belief began to emerge. Hearing adults chime in unison, “It’s always something” began to show me just how deep seated it all was.  Does this belief have any truth about life being merely spinning wheels? Can my fear be validated?

There was a raging war within me with believing I can do all things and why even bother. Both beliefs battle one another with external proofs to reinforce their territory. I believe I’m not alone in this too. 

Truth is,

Life is a real Force whose sole purpose is to expand and express through all it has created, and that includes you.

Scientists research concluded that the universe has no limits, is constantly growing and expanding; in other words the universe is infinite. Look around at nature right here on earth. Animals, plants are all seeking to expand their territories and express life.  You are no different.  We all desire to create a life we love—one that has a growing reach to others and we express life through every talent, gift and ability we allow.  Some of us play music, sing, cook, sew, write, and more. We have within us infinite possibilities to achieve, sustain and grow what we desire to create. The only thing that stands in our way are beliefs to the contrary.

Being aware of the undercurrent belief that drives our behavior, is key to overcoming and winning in life. Here are other keys to help you overcome and actually create a Life you Love.

  1. Investigation through journaling is a priceless way to put your ear to your head, your heart and soul all at once. Journal daily. Set a time where you make yourself a priority. I rise early in the morning while the home is quite and still; while others write in the evening. Whatever works best for you, just commit to a daily practice.
  2. Ask empowering questions. To start, simply ask “Why?” Start there and don’t stress on attempting to be the expert investigator just yet. Believe me, being an expert will come with practice, and if you’re a Mom, it will come much sooner (Moms are natural interrogators).
  3. Cast off what no longer serves where you are going. This is what I did with my sabotaging belief, because once it’s uncovered it can no longer hide. Making a conscious decision to no longer participate in its shiny distracting events will eventually starve it out of existence.
  4. Replace with Truth. There’s an opening in your consciousness to fill, so replace it with positive affirmations. “I have limitless possibilities and potential”, “I can do anything I put my mind to achieve”, “I contend and defy the odds”, “I thrive in life”, “I will succeed”, “I CAN I WILL—Just watch me!”
  5. Investigate regularly. No matter how successful you get, there’s always room to regroup, ask yourself questions, ensure you are in alignment with your goals, learn and grow.

Beautiful War Wounds

Courage.  That’s what it took as I eyed a skort of all things.  A garment that didn’t know if it wanted to me a skirt of shorts so it decided to be both. That pretty much explains how I felt, a beautiful woman, yet who also saw herself as a tattered mosaic masterpiece.

I wanted a short skirt for years, yet never saw myself wearing one, so I admired other women who were petite, had flawless skin and toned legs. A mini-skirt?  No, not for this woman.  I had too many scars or “war wounds” from being on the battlefield called life.  There were stretch marks that told the story of how I overate to fill the emptiness of my soul resulting into wearing 18-20 dress size, and how I had borne two children out of wedlock. 

When you saw these marks of passage on my legs, you got a glimpse of me, and that part left me more naked and vulnerable than an actual totally naked person walking the streets.  Besides I was raised by modest Baby Boomers who taught conservatively, and the conditioning thereof I sought to youthfully rebel against right from the start.  But today, I felt bold enough, confident enough, comfortable enough in the skin that’s been faithful through our love hate relationship.

Yes, the picture in this blog post is my actual leg.  One day at a stop light I casually looked down at the broken veins on my thighs.  They softly reminded me of all that my body had endured, yet still was faithfully reporting for battle duty.  I had a very hateful relationship with the skin I’m in.  It was never enough to my taste in comparison to others on television, family and friends.  It wasn’t light enough, even enough, tone enough. 

If you could only have heard the conversations between my mind and body, you would call my mind the most abusive of parents.  My skin never did anything right and was neglected of genuine love and appreciation.  According to PychCentral, 80 percent of women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appearance. And more than 10 million are suffering from eating disorders (https://psychcentral.com/blog/why-do-women-hate-their-bodies).

I mean think about it.  Do we as women ever take the time to simply appreciate the miracle of our bodies?  No, not standing there with a chart of societal standards of what it should be, could be, but of what it is.  An absolute wonder.  My body has endured recovering from chicken pox, bearing two healthy children, losing over 100lbs, and resurrecting from cuts and bruises back to an almost flawless hue.  It was as if the more life experiences came its way, the more determined and stronger my skin became.

My skin was teaching me what I was made of, what we as women are made of. 

Resilience

So today, I took a picture of the war wounds.  The markings of life which I previously hid, shrunk from, and never would have disclosed to public scrutiny, until I finally saw no one on this earth could ever say anything as bad as what my skin has not already heard from me.  Whenever I wear my skort, this little frock some may smirk and say is on the border line of indecent exposure, I rejoice.  I give my body honor.  I give my skin healing sunlight.  I give my body humble esteem to finally be free, be free of critical me.

Ladies, allow my transparency to remind you to stop criticizing the Divine miracle of you.  Practice self-care by accepting with grace every stretch mark, freckle, wrinkle, crease, blemish, all war wounds.  For the ability to openly love oneself completely, is the gateway to authentically loving the world in the most genuine way.


This article was written by Angela Hicks, “The Lifestyle Guru” .  Angela is a transformation coach, helping women around the world to no longer fight Life, but embrace it by clearly defining their seemingly impossible goals and create a plan of action to live a life they love.  Click hereto invite her to speak at your organization or for information on private to group coaching sessions.

 Six Sure Ways to Start and Stay Motivated  

Can I be honest?  It’s hard even getting the strength up to be motivated in accomplishing a goal.  What is my motivation?  Why do I even want to achieve this?  It’s so much easier to be there for others, but what about being the very best for myself?  Ladies, if we give ourselves away to everyone else, who’s there for us while we’re pouring our souls out?

As little girls, we are taught, “Don’t be selfish…give.”  And we still hold to this model of behavior (to prove we’re not self-centered humans) to an exhausting demise.  I’ve learned to point the gun of this loaded charge back to my own life, by serving ME first.  No one can give their best to others while empty within.  Believe me, at the bottom of an empty cup of me, was liquid bitterness, resentment and just plain ole exhaustion.

When we pour into the lives of others from a fullness, the world is so much sweeter.  We truly reap what we sow, not only to others, but within ourselves too.  I had to shift the paradigm of how I valued myself, and prioritize daily commitments to my own care.  For example, I’m up at 3:30AM every morning for prayer, meditation and journaling.  I light my favorite white sage incense and use this time to tap into the power within.  My personal value increased and this became a wealth in not only flowing in self honor, but in honoring others as well.  Things I wanted to do before, yet struggled in, became easier; from losing weight, not being afraid in asking for more (more can be more money, time off, to asking a sales clerk for greater discounts), trying new adventurous things, and flourishing relationships.  I vibrated at a higher tone and attracted the very same into my life.  To help our Opulent Women, I’ve created my very personal tips on how to kindle and keep that fire of motivation gassed up and glowing!  


1.     Take complete ownership of where you want to go.  This is the very first step that’s not only critical for success, but powerful! Everything is energy, and movement is proof of life.  Moving into ownership has no room for excuses of any kind (this includes reasoning against your goals or even blaming your partner), because the results belong solely to you.  As soon as you find yourself blaming, complaining or making a statement trying to provide a reason for the lack…STOP.  Know results are the total sum of your efforts to achieving.

2.     Create a new ‘selfie’.  As you believe so you are.  No one can be what they cannot see themselves becoming or achieving. Tune into your self-talk.  Are you verbally abusive, conditional, or are you loving , appreciative and positive?  Imagine your self-talk was another form of you standing right before your eyes, would you even want to be around you based on what’s heard?  After dropping a glass to the floor one day, I heard myself say within…”You are so stupid.”  Wow!  I didn’t even like me, so how could I expect others to treat me with dignity?  Encourage yourself with new truth, and be your own best friend! Create affirmations:  “I love me”, “I can do this, just watch me”, “There’s nothing I cannot do once my mind is made up”, “I am strong, capable and resilient”.  Transform your self-portrait into one you want to be around.  

3.     Nurture your motivation with positive support.  For motivation longevity, this requires regular feedings of healthy support.  Try connecting with others who are positive, who can see your achieving great results. Life can come at you hard sometimes, and the infusion of energy from encouragement can help you stay focused and not give up when everything around you and in you screams the opposite.  Take this opportunity to join OWNetwork!  We’d love to have you.

4.     Know that persistence pays up.  Water hitting a rock will wear it down over time. Keep at your goals, no matter what.  Don’t allow any room for a retreat. Burn the bridges offering any chance of returning back to the land of familiar. Assess your environment and ensure it supports that new direction. For example, if your goal is to not eat potato chips every night, get them out of the house!  Take the potato chips to work and leave them in the employee break area for others to enjoy.

5.     Create weekly benchmarks.  How will you know you’ve reached your goals without a clear plan with signposts along the way?  No one wants to go for a vacation to nowhere.  See your new view so clear, that it’s like you’re already living it. How does it feel to have this new change in your life?  What are you doing different and new?  Relive these feelings throughout the day. This will add turbo fuel to your desire to win!

6.     Make your journey fun.  No one is inspired to do anything that’s perceived as mundane, draining or forced. Find ways to make your new goals exciting, and rewarding; while celebrating achievements along the way.  And don’t stop until you make yourself proud.


This article was written by Angela Hicks, “The Lifestyle Guru” .  Angela is a transformation coach, helping women around the world to clearly define their seemingly impossible goals and create a plan of action to live a life they love.  Click hereto invite her to speak at your organization or for information on private to group coaching sessions.

I remember going to a black tie event and wearing a blouse that had a plunging neckline. I thought to myself, “It’ll be alright, even for my slightly conservative taste.” Yet at the dinner table, I fidgeted with the now greatly annoying blouse the first few hours at the dinner, so uncomfortable with the just how low the neckline was (as we were sitting before senators and other dignitaries).

There was an elderly woman directly across from me at the table, whose eyes I could feel gazing, piercing to my very Soul. I had created all sorts of delusional conversations within of her criticizing me for wearing such a daring ensemble. I instantly felt shame, guilt and deformed even my posture fitting the imaginary chastising.  After gaining a little courage, I finally raised my head to meet her gaze and was shocked to see a warm smile, and she then mouthed to me, “You look great, stop“.  Immediately my hand fell to my lap (probably in glee from working all night), and with this stranger’s approval that all was well, I allowed myself to enjoy the festivities.

I had the absolute luxury to attend this grand affair, and had missed the first hour of it, focusing on imaginary criticisms from others.  And such is life.  We fidget with the luxurious gift of it, trying to wear it according to how others will perceive us.  Some become doctors, lawyers, get married, become parents, pursue titles, degrees and even hairstyles, solely to fit into the world of others.  And in ‘fitting in’, many are distracted and totally missing out on the beauty of authenticity.

I was in my twenties at the date of this grand event, and desperately still tried to fit in with those around me.  Fitting in can be compared to putting on a well-worn dress of many generations who’ve lived before us, and just like that evening, pull and tug at its itchy ill-fitting.  The uncomfortableness of it was really a Blessing, signaling that where I was trying to fit in, to blend…I was meant to stand out!  It was my Soul trying to voice to me my error.  The world had done a good job on teaching me that I was incomplete unto myself and had to eat, sleep go to work like the masses.  I had no idea who I was and what I was capable of achieving. The thought of turning my gaze for approval and validation inward, towards my own Soul’s voice, had not yet been considered.

Your life, my life, are very different.  What is good for one may not be good for the other.  Each of us have a very different purpose with life experiences molding our perceptions.  Many of us have never considered what that purpose is, due to being so distracted into fulfilling the burdensome expectations of society, family, friends, and let’s not forget to mention the low bar grouping of expectations based on race, sex and zip code.  Yes, the world conditions us of what they believe is possible from you and I, but I challenge us to now see this as a starting line. 

It’s my hope that you, yes you, reading my blog post, will consider that your Life purpose was sealed within you before conception. That there’s a mission (if you so choose to accept…pun intended) for you to complete unlike anyone else ever born before or after you can achieve.  It’s a place of no competition and complete peace. It’s fulfilling and never draining.  It’s a life that only can fit YOU.  You are a one of a kind!  Just look at your fingertips proving it.

How do you reach this?

Well, I started by simply following these steps…

  1. Accept the truth that there’s a Power bigger than you, Who created you to be a solution to a problem of today. The Power controls the universe, guides its precision like clockwork movement, and placed you on this blue ball called Earth that spins in a limitless space. No, you are not a happenstance, an oops, or even a planned child of your parents. You are the Divine thought of this Power manifested on Earth.
  2. Meditate and Pray daily.  Start with just five minutes and build yourself up in time.  The time is not important, but the power in just being consciously still.  The mind will wonder in thought, and that’s alright. It’s just doing its job.  Center it right back with an affirmation or visual. Meditation is where you listen, and prayer is when you speak. Click here for a visualization to get your started.
  3. Journal your thoughts and revelations daily.  Writing allows the heart and mind to pour forth in unison instead of opposition.  You’ll discover amazing things about yourself and what really is going on under the matter of things.  I guarantee, clarity will shine from you unlike ever before.
  4. Let uncomfortable be you new normal.  Push your limits by challenging yourself daily.  Join conversations, take a class, resign from that draining obligation you absolutely loathe.  Like a dog at the edge of an invisible fence border, if he really wants to go past the barrier, he’ll push his limits by tolerating the pain to go where he wants.  Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Once the dog can push past this temporary paining, he can roam wherever he wants.  Being at peace with being out our comfort zone, is where we begin to see the powerful stuff we are made of.  

Are you living your life or someone else’s?  Are you living your passion?  If you could accomplish anything within the next 12 months personally, financially or professionally, what would you like to see happen?  What is it costing you to stay where you are?  These are empowering questions to get you started listening to your own heart and Soul. 

For those really serious and want to be free, to honor their authentic self, be more confident, eliminate fear, clarify your Dream, CLICK HERE for a complimentary strategy session.  NOW is your time to SHINE the light of your Life.

What’s Your Claim to Fame?

Being a solopreneur can be a lonely place sometimes, and we need to encourage ourselves against the seemingly impossible challenges we face on a daily basis. How do we do that? By reminding ourselves of the small achievements already done through us. All the pictures with those we never would have imagined being around. The locations, events and even the inspiring words from others who expressed how you’ve upleveled their life, should be within sight to invoke remembering just how powerful you are when you set your mind to it. 

As solopreneurs, we focus on the goals that lie ahead. We plan, create vision boards, strategize and stretch ourselves in order to reach them. Vision boards are important in maintaining momentum, yet I challenge you to also include a “Wall of Fame” in your office space. 

Tokens reflecting our right to claim FAME are not just for the jock and scholar from high school, or the stars in Hollywood.  I personally came to realize that I was missing a Wall of Fame when attempting to update my bio. I couldn’t remember a single new achievement and had to ask others outside of myself to help recall.

As women, we struggle remembering our ‘good’ because we’ve been taught to downplay ourselves, be small and allow others to shine so we won’t appear to be arrogant, vain or selfish. 

We’ve mastered playing small so well, that the brain now automatically disregards many of the things we should be rewarded for.  The most successful people in the world have walls showing their achievements, the milestones that speak the Dream they held for so many years while striving, was not just a wild haphazard delusion…It was all stepping stones to SHINING in their fields of expertise.  I can remember in elementary school yearning to be “Student of the Month” where my picture would be displayed as a symbol of top achievement. Walls or memorials have been used for centuries, were used to remind generations in the Bible of great miracles of yesterday, to be considered for hope today. They also help us not to repeat mistakes in the past.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana”

So remember how far you’ve come by creating your own Wall of Fame.  Start with pictures, certificates, degrees and words. Go back to your social media accounts and search for the forgotten things that will stir your soul into orbit.  Stare at your wall and celebrate!  Walls of Fame are great when used properly–not for vanity, but for the sanity of “I AM enough”, and created to achieve miraculous wonders even now. Share with us below pictures of your Wall of Fame!

Take Your Dream from Ethereal to Real in 9 Steps

Many entrepreneurs will tell you that ideas are the easy part — It’s the implementation that separates the successful from the unsuccessful. Turning an idea into reality is a skill that anyone can learn. Managing yourself and daily action are the most important factors.

What would you do if you knew failure wasn’t possible?

 

Follow these steps to create your own reality:

  1. Be clear regarding your objective. Are you clear about what you want? Success is much more likely if your objective is clear and precise. If you’re too vague, the problem-solving functions of the brain can become too confused to operate optimally. Write out what you desire to be, do and have in a journal and/or vision board.  
  2. List your resources. Be aware of all the tools you have at your disposal. You have more to work with than realized. Consider all the people you know that are capable of assisting you. List all of your resources that are relevant to your objective. Perhaps your car, computer, and local library are valuable tools.
  3. Consider the resources you’ll require. Make a list of everything you think you’ll need and compare that list to the list you made of your available resources. How will you make up the difference?

 Most importantly, ensure you have everything you need to get started. Avoid letting the future stop you from taking action today. If there’s something you’re lacking that you won’t need for six months, you can still get started!

  1. Maintain your awareness of your objective. Keep your objective in the front of your mind. The easiest way to do this is to think about it each day. A simple visualization session twice a day is sufficient. Just remind yourself on a daily basis that you have an idea that you want to bring into reality. 
  2. Avoid trying for perfection. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is the belief that success only comes from taking perfect action. This belief is enough to paralyze efforts. Consistent, steady action is enough to reach your goals. 
  3. Make a plan. Avoid waking up each day without a plan of attack. Know how you’re going to spend your day before you go to bed each night. A simple to-do list will guarantee that you can hit the ground running each day. 
  4. Work your plan. Knowing what to do is only half of the puzzle. It’s important to work your plan consistently. Everyone knows how to lose weight, yet there’s growing numbers of people considered obese. Focus on taking simple, effective actions day after day. Remember a river created the Grand Canyon, and your objective is just like that river flowing by consistent action. 
  5. Evaluate progress. Provide yourself with regular feedback. Determine a method of measuring progress and taking regular measurements. Assess if you’re on the right track. How can you enhance your results? Do you need to try another course of action?  Seek to improve your approach based on your evaluations.
  1. Keep going. If you keep working, measuring your progress, and developing an effective approach, how can you fail? You can only fail IF you give up. Enjoy and be proud of the progress you’re making each week. Know that your idea will become a reality.

Success isn’t complicated or only available to certain people. Success is the result of maintaining focus and taking appropriate action each day. If you don’t quit, failure isn’t an option. Nothing is more exciting than turning a dream into reality.

What life will you create for yourself starting right NOW?

Share in the comments what you would like to achieve, and join Opulent Women’s Network! Surrounding oneself with like-minded women in OWNetwork and having resources of support, can greatly increase faster and more enjoyable levels of success than trying to go alone. Click here to join us.

With tax season upon us, many are focused on their financial health. OWNetwork reached out to expert Crystal Inscoe for advise and she asked us some empowering questions. 


Take control now! Ready to take charge of your financial future? Start right here.  

Do you pay your bills on time?  Do you bargain-shopped and DIY like no one’s business? Do you max your investment in your 401(k) with your company?  Do you have both Roth and Traditional IRA’s?  

So… how many of you got excited with the first two questions and then your eyes glazed over and you began the blank stare on the last two questions?  Unfortunately, that happens to many women and it shouldn’t!  If this is you, you are part of a phenomenon that some money experts have dubbed “the female financial paradox.”  What that really means: You are perfectly happy to pinch pennies and hunt down sales, like millions of other women, yet you don’t have the slightest interest in big-picture financial planning.  What that means financially, you are content to chalk it up to doing what you can but not ACTUALLY DOING anything to create wealth or secure funds for your retirement! Why are we so contented to lag behind men in actions crucial to building wealth and security, such as investing and having a long-term money plan.

The gender pay gap is quickly becoming a an idea of a bygone era.  Many of the professional positions we employ have set salary ranges and women have as much power as men to negotiate within those ranges.  If our wages are similar why do men contribute far more to retirement plans? Their median account balance is $31,388, compared with women’s $20,877, according to Vanguard, an investment company.  There are four key factors underlying the paradox.  

1: Lack of Confidence

We mainly do this to ourselves.  Jargon like 12b-1 fee, market capitalization, front-load, back-load, no-load cause many men to feel a sense of pride when they learn what it all means.  Women, however, see it and tend shut down.  We like to talk about how others made us feel dumb and overwhelmed.  As an effect, we blame their actions for us shirking away from financial knowledge.  This mentality causes many women to be fugitives from necessary personal financial planning.  If you are running from it you will never be as well-informed as you should be.  To combat this, find a financial advisor that you know and trust.  If you already have one re-interview them! Just because they earned your business does not make them entitled to keep your business.  

START THE NEW YEAR doing two things.  The first is you should do an annual review with your Financial Planner, Tax Consultant, and your Mortgage Planner.   The second is interviewing Financial Advisors including the one you already use.  They should be helpful and plainspoken.  The should know to use as little jargon as possible unless they are immediately following up with explanations.  Read up on a financial topic before you go.  Ask them to explain it (they don’t need to know you already understand it)!  If they can’t explain clearly a simple financial concept that you already understand how will they explain the more complex ones.  Besides, if they can’t explain it easily do they really understand it themselves! REMEMBER… You should not be embarrassed in not knowing or understanding the financial planning process.  This is not your profession!  It is theirs!

2: Nickels and Dimes

We have become addicted to the small stuff.  We get instant gratification of savings from coupons and sales.  According to a recent Citi Economic Pulse survey, 76% of women regularly clip coupons and 38% buy in bulk.  “When they find themselves hitting up the sale racks, women need to remember that even the best deal they find is worth far less than a smart investment in their retirement fund,” says Eleanor Blayney, the president of the Washington, D.C.–based financial-advisory firm Directions for Women. We NEED TO COMMIT 2018 to moving beyond worrying about nickels and dimes and start thinking big.

3: Living Beyond Our Means

When planning your financial future, you should consider seeing where you would be with only one income.  This goes for women in new relationships, married, divorced, or widowed.  You can’t avoid the turmoil that comes with divorce or the death of a spouse or partner.   Planning and recognizing the inevitable changing of your personal finances could help you make thoughtful, rather than rushed, decisions and provide more solid financial ground.  Unless we die first, statistically speaking we won’t, we must be prepared to transition into being single at some point in our lives.

4:  Numbers not Goals

Money is the means to have the life you want.  Money is the tool to be able to take care of yourself, your family, and achieve your goals and dreams.  STOP HAVING CONVERSATIONS ONLY ABOUT NUMBERS!  You need to start setting goals with your financial plans.  I want to afford to buy a new home, send my children to college, and travel after retirement.  The financial conversations about saving and investing that we have with our financial team should connected to the concrete goals that we have for our lives! After clear goals have been established you can work with your financial team to estimate the numbers and timeline that will coincided with your goals.  This will bring a reality to why those numbers are important!  Your financial team assists you in accumulating the wealth needed to make those things happen!

This article was written by Crystal Inscoe with OVM Financial, Inc. If you have financial questions for Crystal, she can be contacted by Clicking Here.

Sugar Spice and Everything Nice

As I sit here writing in my journal reflecting on a situation where I felt less than powerful, I wonder at the reason for this powerlessness, and soon the word NICE comes forth. You see the previous day, to keep the peace, I allowed myself to appease another, allow their peace to become bigger than the importance of my very own.  And because of this choice, I tossed and turned in uneasiness all night. 

Thinking on this, the childhood song we use to sing, “What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice. That’s what little girls are made of”, came to mind.  I asked, “Just what is ‘nice’ and how has this childhood taught quality served me as Queen of my Life, because my days of ‘little girl’ are long gone?”


 Nice is an adjective meaning…

pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory

synonyms:  enjoyable, pleasant, agreeable, good, satisfying, gratifying, delightful, marvelous

 

Most of you know I love to understand the root of things, because this defines the fruit we see outwardly, and this is still true for words we use to align ourselves with. 

 

Now let’s look at the root word of ‘nice’ origination…

 

Middle English (in the sense ‘stupid’): from Old French, from Latin nescius ‘ignorant,’ from nescire ‘not know.’ Other early senses included ‘coy, reserved,’ giving rise to ‘fastidious, scrupulous’: this led both to the sense ‘fine, subtle’ (regarded by some as the “correct” sense), and to the main current senses.


 Well, does that make anyone want to be ‘nice’ ever again?!  Hopefully no, and we’ll delve into the why.

No one can give what they are not to themselves or already within (at least authentically anyway).  To reign as Queen, we have to BE kind, not nice.  And ‘yes’ there is a HUGGGGE difference between the two states of being. We will attempt to reveal how choosing nice over kind lowers our position from wisdom just as the root above alludes.

Kindness is a genuine quality that comes from the soul (internally), based on your own values, beliefs and ethics.  Niceness is founded on how others perceive you (externally).  Niceness bows us to the emotional state of others, and can toss us into storms that were never meant for our venture.   Now hold on to your crown Queens, because kindness is not always perceived as…well…nice. And we have to be at complete peace that perception to others is no longer our realm of occupation. 

For example, to be kind to my body’s health, I have to treat it with kindness; which pushes me out of the warm bed to exercise, over being nice and meeting friends for waffles and chicken.  Kindness will also not enable in my relationships.  For example. If I know Betty has money management issues, and consistently borrows due to her overspending, I will not continue being nice giving money.  I can empathize with her current state, yet not participate.  This my Queens is kindness at its best.

Kindness keeps us whole and complete.  Its a personal journey with the path paved with bricks of acceptance and empathy.  Our yes is yes and our no is no, and the resolve comes from our strength, and not people pleasing weakness.  If there’s fear of losing others by standing in loving kindness, believe me, that relationship is not what you dream it to be already (it’s unhealthy).

Its true kindness may not look nice on the outside, but it feels oh so good on the inside. You’re no longer that little girl who was told to be nice to others, to not connect with her own feelings, validating them, and to put others desires above her own as a living sacrifice.  You are Queen of your Life now, and that is authentically sweet.

Feeling stuck or frustrated with life often precedes the decision to make a personal transformation. Making a meaningful change can be both exciting and distressing.  Our brains are wired to make change uncomfortable and more challenging than it needs to be. Focusing on the most important aspects of personal change can make the process smoother and easier. The odds of success are greatly enhanced, too.  We at Opulent Women’s Network desire that all our Queens live their very best possible life.  So we ask that you give yourself the grace of what you desire,  give it your best intentions, followed with unrelentless aggressive action.  We are here as a network to support you!

Include these essentials in your personal transformation process:

  1. Making a true decision might be the most powerful thing you can do. A true decision cuts off all other possibilities. Most of us fail to truly decide. We make weak resolutions and fail to stick with them with an aggressive plan of action. The constant vacillation between multiple options is worse than making no decision at all.

 Narrow down your options to just a couple of choices and then pick one. After the careful consideration you’ve done in the narrowing process, one choice is probably as good as another when you only have a couple of options left. Picking a sub optimal choice is also better than failing to make a choice. Use your gauge of peace to lead you in the right direction, for it never fails.

  1. Create a deadline. Have you ever noticed how projects expand to fill the allotted time? If your supervisor allotted two weeks for you to complete a project, would you be scrambling at the last minute to get it done?
  • Choose a deadline that’s reasonable, not too stressful for you, but still aggressive. You can get more accomplished than you realize.
  • The lack of a timetable ensures the transformation process will take much longer than necessary.
  1. Have an exciting vision. Ensure that you have a clear picture of how your personal transformation will positively impact your life. If that vision doesn’t fill you with excitement, you’re going to need a new vision for the future. Making a big change can be seen as challenging. Without a compelling expected future, it will be hard to persevere.
  2. Address your limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs don’t directly limit your ability to transform. However, they can severely limit your ability to take action. If you do not believe you can succeed, you’ll never complete the hard work required to see a transformation.
  • Make a list of all the beliefs you have about yourself and the world that could be limiting your progress. Address each of them one by one. Make a list of counterexamples to that belief. What is the disadvantage of continuing to accept that belief? What new belief could you install in its place?
  • It’s challenging to find and eliminate all the limiting beliefs you hold, but it CAN be achieved, and eliminating them guarantees your ultimate success.
  • Consider any experiences in your past that fill you with a sense of failure. These memories can often hold clues to limiting beliefs.
  1. Measure your progress. Any significant transformation will take time. Weight is lost a little at a time. Skills are gained over time. Develop a way to track your progress and review it regularly by scheduling the review. Seeing progress is motivating. It also lets you know where you stand, and can allow room to adjust towards the desired mark. Enjoy your results and permit it to increase your enthusiasm.

Making a successful personal transformation is one of the quickest ways to positively change your life.

Create a compelling future and be determined that you’ll reach it by your deadline. Work on your limiting beliefs. These lying beliefs are the greatest impediment to the ability to change. Finally, measure your progress along your journey. The feedback and motivation it provides are invaluable.