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”

 

Can We Talk?

As I was busy cooking before hubby arrived, and trying to pay attention to my friend on speakerphone, who was filling me in on a troubling circumstance in her life, I heard her ask…”Can we talk?”  But wait a minute, I thought we were talking.  What was I missing?  Did she say something that I didn’t catch in between the stir frying of vegetables and bubbling of jasmine rice?

I stopped everything and said, “Let’s meet at the coffee shop in 45 minutes”.  I felt a little guilty for not fully providing her my full attention, and knew in our coffee shop spot, I’d be all ears and heart.  As we sat down, I noticed that her body language was slumped, her hair unusually messy bunned, and her eye contact somewhat reaching into my soul for an invisible anchor to rest from it all.  She took a deep breath and verbally dumped. Literally dumped everything from her fears, doubts and insecurities; all conjured up from this “circumstance”.

Patricia, my friend, was never the needy type. She’s always proven resilient, confident and in control during the most challenging of times; yet today, clearly not her normal self.  I was taken aback for a moment, as I took my eyes off of her for a reaching distraction, and grabbed my spoon to stir my coffee.

After listening and providing my best wisdom on how she can use her strengths to overcome this challenge, Patricia kept pushing back with excuses to why the challenge was more dominate than her abilities to overcome it.  It was after she kept dodging my wisdoms with heavily grey filtered responses for over 35 minutes, that I became thoroughly exhausted.  I suddenly realized, in the dodgeball game of it all, Patricia only wanted to vent.  I was invited to ‘talk’, but this was a way for her voice, which had gone unheard originally, finally be heard.  She didn’t want me to come to the rescue or offer a way of escape that had gone previously noticed.  She wanted to stay where she was, and claim defeat.

Not all of our friends want advice or a way to even grow from an experience.  And knowing when to pull back and not allow ourselves to be drawn into the frenzy is self and relationship preserving.  “I could’ve listened just as well on the phone while still at home”, I thought to myself.  But in my cooking frenzy, which had now become guilt for not really listening at the beginning, and in all honesty, need to be a friend, I put on my ego empowered wonder woman cape and came to the rescue.

The point of this open and honest writing is to make sure in the everyday conversations with love ones that we are fully present, and if at that time the opportunity is not conducive to be so, let people know you’ll connect with them later.  This is a way to not only honor yourself, but also them.  I’ve learned a lot from that coffee shop meeting.  I’ve challenged myself to be present minded in conversations, to allow others the space to voice what they need from me, and to ask more questions verses providing unsolicited advice.  We are all walking on different paths on this journey called Life, and meeting each other where we are, is the best way to be a friend.


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.

 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.

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.

Within weeks, 2017 will be no more.  Like you, I approach this time in reflection of where I planned to be in January 2017 up until now, and I’m quite pleased with the progress.  No, I did not meet every goal, but what I did do is make great strides in focusing on three words that kept me in perfect step with intentive actions demanding greater results.  My three 2017 words were…Prepare, Position, Possess.

I adopted these powerful words as my own in order to ensure my foot prints were synchronized to the tune of Living a Life I Love.  I trusted Life experiences to prepare me by strengthening my infrastructure (my soul) for the next position or level in order to possess what was for me at the finish line.  You’ve heard me say this before, and the truth still rings true,

“If you want something you’ve never had, then you need to DO something that you’ve never done.”

Any desired change comes with the person taking ownership in the direction to go, because it’s no one else’s responsibility but our own.  Who else would you want to entrust with creating YOUR Life?  To give another power is dangerous, not to mention it lowers your level of Living down to merely existing; especially at the whim of another’s emotions.  With so many things pulling at our skirts in demand for attention, our Dreams, our goals and desires can become distant memories as soon as February rolls around.  

To help us all WIN in 2018, we are not focusing on what we don’t want in our Life, through a listing of resolutions that scream of all the things we deem wrong with us.  This list of horrors (as I call them) can be rattled off without taking a breath (because we constantly rehearse these horrors in our minds).  We’re too familiar with what we believe is wrong.  Did you know the very thing focused on the most becomes the reality.  I can say I want to lose weight, but what do I really focus on by mental rehearsals?  For me many years past it was “I’m fat”.  So, that’s exactly what I was every year until I broke the cycle and changed my truth. 

“Where focus goes, energy flows to create it.”

Everything we see around us was created twice—once by thought and then by active creation.  An airplane was a thought in the heads of the Wright brothers until they physically made the thought.  A chair was only a thought in the imagination of a designer until it was drawn and built.

As busy women, we can sure use a more simple yet powerful guide to achieve not what we don’t, but what we DO want in our Lives.  Here’s a 3 step process to Living your best Life in 2018…

STEP 1

What do you want to be, do and have in 2018?  See this clearly by envisioning you’re already Living this Life.  Go ahead and close your eyes, and give yourself the gift of a daydream.  What do you see yourself doing, feeling, smelling and tasting?  How are others reacting to your presence?  Use all of your senses to make this as real as possible.  As we believe, so it is. 

STEP 2

Notice your future self’s character Living the Life of your Dreams.  She’s telling you what you need to become in order to reach her.  Identify the attributes and make note of them.  Are you being more kind, compassionate, self-assured, direct, leading and engaging.  Write them all down.

STEP 3

Now choose 1 word from your list in Step 2 that resonates with you most.  This word will help guide your decisions towards that Life you just envisioned for yourself.  Give yourself the grace of patience as you embark on this journey, as it will seem surreal, yet know others have practiced this process and achieved miraculous results.  From all of us at Opulent Women’s Network, may you have your Happiest New Year yet!

With today being Veterans Day, I thought about the word allegiance and what it means to not only country, but to the person giving it.  Allegiance is defined as “loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a group or cause”.  Allegiance is a position one places within a relational system; it lowers or obligates one’s stature under another.

Being a Life Coach, I pondered how after helping a Client see their participation in committing to their parental relationship, had hindered her progress in business.  Let me explain.  My Client, who’ll we’ll refer to as Barbara, could not understand what the hidden sabotages were in being a success in her field.  There would be times Life clearly showed her this was where she belonged and could thrive, yet in private there were struggles in not progressing forward with confidence; which left her frustrated, borderline depressed, ready to give up the business all together and return to a 9 to 5.

After a Coaching session, we uncovered her deep hidden belief in not feeling good enough in the eyes of her parents, had now become her adult truth.  This belief buried into her subconsciousness and guided every decision, in order to create the reality believed.  This false belief kept Barbara from manifesting the REAL truth, of her being fully capable in achieving the success desired.  No matter how painful familiar is, we can cling and duplicate it, recreating the very things that birth more misery. 

“Our current circumstances are the total sum of our beliefs.”

Only in self-development and asking ourselves empowering questions, can we better understand what the the driving force is behind what we do.  Barbara had committed or had given her allegiance over to how her parents perceived were her capabilities, and that allegiance could not split towards the success of a business led by herself.  Every visit home for the holidays to her family, and how she felt after leaving the negative environment, only reinforced this to be her truth.  Barbara had vested her worth through the eyes of her parents and how they treated her, instead of allowing her achievements to speak instead.

“If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”  (Mark 3:25)

Barbara could now see how this false belief affected her business, self-worth, relationships, finances and even her health; it manifested and weaved itself throughout her life.  Through Coaching, Barbara now has ability to treat the false belief and is now flourishing in her field. 

If you can relate to my Client Barbara, ask yourself where your buy-in on what’s possible for you lies.  Does your buy-in on what’s possible for you originate from yourself, or from an external person?  When one cannot move past certain things in their life, it’s vitally important to a Dream to have a Life Coach.  One cannot afford not to have a good Life Coach; which can save time, lost investment, increase self-value and confidence!  

Commit, pledge allegiance to a more Opulent Life, contact us by CLICKING HERE for a free 30 minute Life Coaching Session with Angela Hicks, “The Lifestyle Guru”, who has helped women all over the world create and NOW Live a Life they truly Love.

 

Angela Hicks, “The Lifestyle Guru”