Today I have a two part presentation…In part ONE want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big speech…Just three short stories. In the Second part we will help you uncover what YOUR story will be. The first story is about transition.
I came from what was known in the 60’s as middle class family. Although they liked to say “upper middle class”. My parents were children of the Great Depression: that was cold water flats, meatless meals and hand me down clothes. No labels, no fashion statements…just warm. Luxuries were very few and saving for the future was a far off dream.
Both of my parents attended college, but did not graduate. My father was drafted and served in the military during WWII, then used his GI benefits to purchase a home in a small undeveloped Chicago suburb called Maywood.
The plan was to raise their only daughter there and provide her with all of the benefits they never had.
It was a TV sitcom life. A stay at home mother who baked and attended PTA meetings; A father who was moving up in his blue color field and a daughter that attended every class known to parenting. Ballet, tap, charm school…public elementary school, private high school anything to isolate her from “bad” influences.
Then life happened; the parents divorced, and I was plunged into a blended family, went from private school to public school, part-time employment and eventually, teenage pregnancy. I was literally disowned by my family and at 18yrs old I was on my own with a 1 month old son to support.
Their parting words to me were, you’ll be working the streets in 6 months. In my mind, the fact that I had no money, no place to live, no family to turn to and knew nothing about the real world did not matter. I had a job to do and a responsibility to live up to. I knew nothing about food stamps, and how could I be overdrawn…I still have checks left?
When things got really bad, I would make 1 large pan of tuna casserole, divide it into 6 pieces, and that was my menu for the week, so that I could provide for the needs of my son. To this day I cannot eat casseroles.
For inner strength, I would read constantly, focusing on stories of our ancestors – slaves in fields with superhuman attitude of survival and later, prosperity…people like Helen Keller, deaf and mute, who became a global symbol of what can be done against the odds…and I knew that that was the kind of drive and commitment that would carry me through. The facts didn’t matter.
The second story is about evolution.
I took computer science in High School and later computer operations as a vocational program (actually, when I finished that course, I was hired as the school’s first assistant director of admissions – but that’s another story and I promised only THREE today); years later, I was introduced to the new world of technology – Microsoft windows, and managed to talk myself into a sales position that involved selling technology training for this new innovation into large corporations.
Everything I once knew was out of date.
At the end of my first month, my employer (picture a boot camp drill sergeant…he only had one level of communications…loud and in your face) told me that on the phone I sounded “ignorant and unsophisticated”.
The fact was – he was right. And I had a terrible attitude – I took the job for all the wrong reasons. Think of terms like “out of the frying pan and into the fryer”, or always escaping to places that need escaping from.
But I still had a family to provide for (by now I had a son and a daughter) and this was a very well paid opportunity. The fact that I had no experience could not be allowed to matter. I had to make it work. So I stepped back and examined what I was and was not doing. I re-focused my energies and my attitude.
I put in 60 hour weeks and had my daughter come to the office after she got out of her (yes private) school and yes she worked right along with me. I took every class I could; and I became the company expert in a key technical area, and built relationships that I still have today. When I resigned from that company 18 months later it was as a senior account executive, the first senior account executive of color and ranked #4 out of 32 account executives. The fact I had no experience no longer mattered.
My third story is much like your stories – Re-invention
And now, I have embarked on new phase of my life where I have the opportunity to share what I have learned and assist others in shortening their learning curve. The economy is rocky and the facts are that the vast majority of businesses that start even in a good economy face huge challenges. Employment is hard to find, the older you are. And retirement is becoming a myth. Recently the news reported that 80 had become the new 65. Talk about moving the carrot! Sounds like fun!
But having lived through the civil rights era, watching man land on the moon, medical miracle after miracle, Nelson Mandela emerge from prison, the fall of Apartheid, and seeing a Barack Obama assume the most powerful position in the country…arguably the world…When the facts and logic said these things were not possible, I know that with the right attitude we are each capable of greatness in our own way. Because with the right attitude…the facts don’t matter.
Donna Smith-Belinger is a positively powerful woman who lives in Chicago. She’s the president of Group Endeavors. Recently she spoke before the National ABLE Network and left a message for us all: “With the right attitude…the facts don’t matter.” With her permission I include it below. It’s inspirational about overcoming circumstances with the right attitude.
TEW “THE BOOK”
Donna’s written work will also be featured in The Entrepreneur Within You Volume 2, coming this winter. For more information or to purchase your copy of the book, visit www.tewyou.com. TEW Volume 1 was published on October 28, 2012. It is our goal with this book tour to expand our reach and share our entrepreneur inspiration across the globe during the months of September & October in honor of our 1-year anniversary!
When you’re looking for people to hire to help build your vision, whom do you hire?
1. All in the Family
What about your relatives? What is the trust level that you have with them? Can you trust them with your finances, your dreams, and your privacy? Do they have the skills to accomplish the needed tasks?
2. In the Hood
What about the community that you grew up in? Are you desirous of finding a way to give back? To work with people that have known you all of your life? Of extending to local folks the same opportunities that you discovered?
3. School Fair
What about high school or college students, depending on the nature of your business? Is there a work-study program that will offer up viable candidates for the positions that you have available? How well are these candidates vetted if at all? Has the school guaranteed them employment?
4. Online: eHire Me
From Craigslist to Angie’s List to LinkedIn, there’s no shortage of opportunities to hire people, but how will you arrange further interviews? Will everything be done virtually? Can you check the references that they give? Are there samples of their work anywhere online?
5. A Warm Handshake
Recommendations from people you know can always be a boom or a bust. What is the quality level of the person’s work? Are they just doing favors to procure other favors down the road by recommending them to you? How experienced are they in your field? What are their price/salary requirements?
6. Telescope with your Microscope
What are your long term goals with the hiring? How long do you expect the new hire to be with your company? How much do you expect to invest in their training and retention? How easily can they be replaced? Once trained, will they just leave your company for a more attractive offer from a competitor?
These are pertinent questions that we all have to deal with in our quest to find good employees. As entrepreneurs, we discover very, very quickly that no one will care about our business the way that we do, so what will be their primary motivation? Money? Do they believe in what you’re doing? Are they clearly using their time with you as a stepping stone?
As I wrestle with these issues, I always keep in mind to treat others as I’d want to be treated, and to think of my own days as an employee. That helps me stay balanced and focused in my quest to hire. There are always diamonds in the rough out there, because as current visionary entrepreneurs and former employees, we sure were!
David M. Taylor II is a songwriter, music producer, author, and playwright. You can find his latest projects and appearances on his website, www.davidtaylor2.com.
TEW “THE BOOK”
David’s written work will also be featured in The Entrepreneur Within You Volume 2, coming this winter. For more information or to purchase your copy of the book, visit www.tewyou.com. TEW Volume 1 was published on October 28, 2012. It is our goal with this book tour to expand our reach and share our entrepreneur inspiration across the globe during the months of September & October in honor of our 1-year anniversary!
Running a business can be full of stresses that demand your attention and zap all your energy. No one can eliminate stress completely. Instead aim to minimize your stressors and increase your ability to cope with stress. This will prepare you to face bigger challenges with confidence.
Each entrepreneur has a certain level of stress that they can actually endure. Sometimes it makes work exciting and engaging. But when we pass that level, stress becomes detrimental, leading to physical, emotional and psychological pain, poor judgment, all which lead to poor decisions.
Stress management involves controlling and reducing the tension that occurs in stressful situations by making emotional and physical changes. The degree of stress and the desire to make the changes will determine how much improvement takes place.
The Big Question: What Can I Do To Reduce Stress and Reclaim my Business?
Here are 5 tips to reduce Stress and still be an Entrepreneur:
1) Plan, Plan, Plan
Ten minutes in planning saves hours in putting out fires. Ain’t that the truth! If you’re short on time, put a little effort in planning. Planning out your content calendar, plan your meals a week or two at a time, plan. Now don’t get in the habit of planning so much that you don’t get anything done!! Just understand that planning in certain areas of your life will save time in the long run.
2) Make Lists
A great way to prioritize is to sit down in a quiet place, away from the sources of your stress, and make a list of everything you need to accomplish in your business for the week. Laying everything out on paper can make your tasks seem smaller and easier to manage.
3) Get Up and Get Out!
Breaking away from the stresses of life doesn’t have to necessarily mean doing something expensive or elaborate. Getting up and out and trying one of the following may be very helpful:
-Fresh air (yes go outside) breathe..
-Change of scenery (even if it is just to a different room)
-Take your brain on a short walk (3-10 minutes will suffice)
4) Talk It Out
Talking about your challenges with friends or family members can sometimes help you feel better. They might also help you see your concerns in a new way and suggest alternative solutions. Get help from a professional if you need it. If you feel that you can no longer cope, talk to your doctor. She/he may suggest counseling to help you learn better ways to deal with stress. Your doctor may also prescribe medicines, such as antidepressants or sleep aids.
5) Turn It Off
I love to be “in the know” when it comes to what’s happening in the world, but sometimes the constant and fast-paced feed of images and information can actually do more to increase our stress rather than reduce it. And trust me: your body will definitely alert you!. Either through your blood pressure, respirations, or heart rate they will begin to rise the more you watch CNN and respond to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Take moments throughout your day to turn it all off—disconnect from social media and the internet, and unglue yourself from the TV. Do not just put the phone on silent—turn it off too and put it out of sight. Silence is golden. Turn on some soothing relaxing music, nature sounds, or motivational/inspirational speaking messages.
Use what works – exercise, meditation, meaningful connections with others, and volunteering your time to make a difference in the lives of others. Harness your power to live above the stress in your life. You deserve it!~ Les Brown
Bonus Tip: Help others
Volunteering in your community can help you meet new people and feel better.
What are you willing to do to let go of some stress and still be a successful entrepreneur?
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Felicia Houston, MA, LCPC is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) with more than 15 years experience in the Behavioral health field. She facilitates workshops & trainings for staff development days & community events.
Felicia Houston, MA, LCPC
Founder, Anointed Wives Ministry
THIN LINE BETWEEN LOVE & HATE
By Patrice K. Cokley MBA
Marketing/Social Media Consultant
Have you ever started a job, absolutely loving it, then months goes by and you notice that you are beginning to slowly despise it because you feel pulled in the direction of your business and/or passion?
If you have, then you are definitely an entrepreneur at heart, my dear. Before that line gets so thin that it breaks, you need to make sure that you are in a position to transition into full-time entrepreneurship. Here’s what you need to do:
Count Your Money
Money sure doesn’t grow on trees, and I’m sure you have bills that are looking for their money monthly, so you need to sit down and create a household budget and a business budget. You need to know what it takes to run both your household and your business. That would allow you to determine how much revenue you would need to generate to continue to run your household and to run your business.
Identify Who You Are
When it comes to business, knowing who you are is much more than looking in the mirror. You need to know who you are and what you represent in order to develop a brand that resonates with your target audience. If you’re trustworthy and your audience deems that as an important trait, then that needs to be incorporated into your brand so that when someone sees you or your name, they know that they’re in good hands. It’s also a good idea to ask your friends and family what they think about you to get a sense of how others see you. If that’s not an option, there are many brand consultants (myself included) out there who are skilled at assisting clients discover and develop their brand.
Network Network Network
I can’t say that word enough because your net worth is truly your network. That doesn’t mean go out and grab everybody’s business cards, or to make a big announcement at an event about the services you offer. Networking means building valuable relationships that benefits everyone involved. Networking is very similar to dating, and neither party wants to date someone who receives and never gives. So don’t be afraid to get out from behind your computer and go out and meet new people from all walks of live. You never know who you may meet that could lead you to someone that you could help and who could also help you.
There is so much more you could do before the line breaks, but these are a few places you can start. For more inspiration, motivation, and entrepreneurial tips, check out The Entrepreneur Within You book! I swear, that book saved my life, and I’m sure that it could save yours too.
TEW “THE BOOK”
Patrice’s written work will also be featured in The Entrepreneur Within You Volume 2, coming this winter. For more information or to purchase your copy of the book, visit www.tewyou.com. TEW Volume 1 was published on October 28, 2012. It is our goal with this book tour to expand our reach and share our entrepreneur inspiration across the globe during the months of September & October in honor of our 1-year anniversary!
How did I go on with all I had been thru? I made it by the grace of God, that’s what I did. Letting go my job that I had been with for many years and not being appreciated there at the same time had me down in the dumps. Now what was a girl to do? I took a step of faith, put on my big girl trousers, grabbed my pen and paper and I went on a journey, a faith journey that is.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy especially on one income and all, but my husband stuck with me and cheered me on along the way. We worked that thing together 😉 See walking by faith is NOT…I repeat NOT an easy job, but somebody has to do it 😉 As I departed I took a deep breath and exhaled. I knew down deep inside that my passion was to inspire the world through the power of positive faith filled words; this was already inside of me, even at an early age. Thru the years my parents had instilled writing in me and until this day it is still there. Challenges came, some came very abruptly and calmly, but you know what? We got through it. No the bills didn’t stop coming; unfortunately everything still was due at the same time each month 😉 however we didn’t stop living either. We knew it was going to take FAITH to survive, no ifs, and or buts about it. Faith wasn’t an option for us, it was a MUST. James 2:17 (TLB) says” So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all—it is dead and useless.”
During the time I was off, I had a lot of time to think, to meditate, to build my faith, to get some things done and most importantly accomplish some goals. Now fear attempted to creep and sometimes I didn’t understand how this all would come together, however I had to remember and was often reminded “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.”- (Proverbs 3; 5-6) – Now as I stated before this journey wasn’t easy and it wasn’t even a piece of cake to say the least 😉 Not only did we have to stay in faith, we also had to walk in love. “We” couldn’t do anything to “block our blessing.” Galatians 5:6 says “Faith works by love.” This would mean no matter what I had to stay in line for my blessings in love and in faith.
God spoke to me and told me to write a book, and not just any book, a book on faith. Now I’m like “Really God “? At that particular moment…fear tried to come in again. The day before I had been speaking to some people who were talking about the economy and how the unemployment rate was up and how can people survive? A lot of fear and doubt talk .That’s another thing; you are going to have to surround yourself with the right people.” Remember this “Surround yourself with the Dreamers and the Doers, the Believers and Thinkers but most of all surround yourself with those who see the GREATNESS within you, even then you don’t see it yourself.” -Edmund Lee-
On July 27 2011, a book was birthed entitled “The Walk of Faith”. God made sure all our needs were met and are still being met. He also made sure the funds were there for the arrival of the book and many more books to come. Remember if He did it before, He can do it again… Same God right now… Same God back then and it took Faith, Action, Love, Paper and My Pen.
TEW “THE BOOK”
Aisha’s written work will also be featured in The Entrepreneur Within You Volume 2, coming this winter. For more information or to purchase your copy of the book, visit www.tewyou.com. TEW Volume 1 was published on October 28, 2012. It is our goal with this book tour to expand our reach and share our entrepreneur inspiration across the globe during the months of September & October in honor of our 1-year anniversary!
Connect with Aisha Adams for more inspiration:
Facebook – @Author Aisha Adams
Twitter – @Author Aisha
Website – www.authoraishaadams.com