Tuesday, October 8, 2013

30 Day Love Challenge

Sometimes books come across our path just when we need them, or when we are ready to absorb their message. In my case, I was recently reminded to pick up my copy of the book "The Power" by Rhonda Byrne and reread it.

What the book emphasized is that I have no control over what goes on in the world around me.  All I have control over is how I'm going to react to situations and what can I do every day internally to change my world.

The premise is that Love is a power and when we focus Love out into the world it will come back to us with positive results.  I totally believe in the concept of positive energy attracting positive, and negative energy bringing more negative. So the idea of Love as an energy to make changes in my life seemed like a valuable concept.

Plus, I was at a time in my life where I needed to bring more positive feelings into my day.  

As I started to utilize some of the examples in the book, right away what I noticed is just by consciously filling myself up with Love to project on the world -- internally I felt better and more at peace.

And then when I started to picture all the people, places and objects that I loved, I could feel that energy get stronger.

So one night after seeing a miracle unfold in my life, I decided to create a 30 Day Love Challenge.

I would make a list of a few intentions I would like to see happen in my life over the next 30 days and I would focus Love on those desires.

Imagine It ----- Feel Yourself Achieving It ----- Receive It!  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Facing Adversity

Over the last several months I feel as if I have been tested emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  I would have visions of the story of Job from the Bible, where God was talking to Satan. "Everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself, do not lay a finger."  I felt as if I was re-enacting the part of Job as challenges kept coming at me, left and right.

And I know that I am not the only one.....we have seen major challenges hit people from natural disasters, to health crisis, to violent tragedies. 

When faced with that much adversity it is easy to fall into the trap of being a victim.  But that is what it is a TRAP!!  There becomes an overwhelming desire to crawl into a ball and give up, or allow anger to consume you and ask why is this happening to me.  The harder path to take is to Keep Moving Forward -- sometimes operating from the mindset of just getting through the next couple of hours.....then getting through one day at a time.

I believe there are evil forces working against us every day to take away our power, to distract us and to keep us in a trap of feeling powerless. If we get caught up in the mindset of being a victim than evil has won. 

Instead we need to go into the silence and ask for answers -- what do you need today, what help do you require, how can you find a way to handle that situation? And believe that they will come. Only when we change the way we see and handle our challenges do we become the Victor.

We may not always receive what we want, but in most cases we receive what we need! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

League of Extraordinary Women

As I continue to mine the internet researching the movement that is taking place among women, I came across two articles in Fast Company magazine about a "League of Extraordinary Women: 60 Influencers Who Are Changing the World."

These articles represent an unprecedented network of high achieving women from the world's largest companies, innovative start-ups, philanthropic organizations, government and the arts.  They have combined forces to change the lives of girls and women everywhere.

It states that this interconnected group of women are formulating groundbreaking initiatives and hacking long outdated aid models by tapping new thinking and a growing data set that suggests, investing in girls and women will create measurable economic benefits for all.

Pat Mitchell, a 69 year old award winning journalist believes that the League is the embodiment of a new global women's movement. "It's distinct from the first wave started by Gloria Steinam primarily because it is inter-generational and highly collaborative, focused on specific issues with specific solutions.

This group of women are modern social capitalists who aren't content to throw money at top-down solutions.  Instead they believe in using new methods to solve global problems one girl at a time.

Their goal is to create lasting institutions and models that will bring the issues of very poor women and girls to the table and that will help these women help themselves.  They aim to elevate deserving like minded peers and develop future generations of leaders.

I would call these 60 women definite Role Models for our next generation of up and coming professional women.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Women Role Models

When I was in my 20's and a striving woman entrepreneur there were NO women role models that I could look up to and follow.  All the "business books" that I read showcased male dominated businesses.  

In the industry that I worked in, filled with furniture and accessory manufacturers it was an 'old boys network', there were No women owned businesses. Almost all the conversations I had with decision makers were with men.

So as I walked the halls of the Big Furniture Markets in High Point, NC, Atlanta, and Dallas I may not have been totally taken seriously as a 27 year old female, but I was respected because as President of a company that represented clients such as Sears and Montgomery ward I brought buying power where ever I went.

Today I look around at all the women CEO's, Philanthropists, and Entrepreneurs and I get excited for our current generation of girls.  Girls and young women now have real role models to show them the way, and to enlighten them on the mistakes they've made on their journey to get to the position they are in today.

I look forward to seeing the progress they will make as they grow into Women.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wendy Schmidt Invests in the Planet

Focusing on Women Angel Investors, one woman, Wendy Schmidt, wife of billionaire Google chairman Eric Schmidt is a full time philanthropist and is putting her money where her passion is, saving the Earth.

Schmidt runs two foundations: The Schmidt Ocean Institute and the Schmidt Family Foundation, which funds 150 groups that work in 5 general areas; climate and energy, ecological agriculture, human rights, environmentally conscious sailing and the vitality of the island of Nantucket.

According to an article in Forbes magazine in June, since 2006 Wendy has spent $225 million on philanthropic efforts making her a powerhouse on the environmentally philanthropic scene.

In 2004, after Google's public offering Wendy heard Al Gore speak and invited him to present his talk at Stanford University.  With her husband, she invited 350 Silicon Valley's smartest people to the event and seated an environmental expert at each table.

That event lead to the creation of the Schmidt Family Foundation and the 11th Hour Project.  She says "it is called that because we are in the 11th hour now and we need to change what we're doing."

Her husband's feeling about Wendy's work is that "Wendy believes that we can combine environmental stewardship with good business judgment and real economic growth and what she's doing will change the world."


Friday, July 5, 2013

Women Investing in Women

At the end of last year I could feel and see a change happening.  Which is why the book I wrote for professional women entitled "A Higher Purpose" became relevant.

Now is the time for women to step up and come together to start making changes.

In an article by Harvard Business Review it said that "according to the Kauffman Foundation, venture funds with women on their teams invest in women founders 70% of the time.  The more women investors at the table, the more women run companies are funded, and the pipeline of women run companies grows.  The difference is that women entrepreneurs bring in 20% more revenue with 50% less more invested."

There are now organizations specifically focused on getting more women involved in angel investing.  As the number of women angel investors increases, so should the number of successful women founders.

Then in April 25, 2013, an article appeared in Forbes magazine entitled "Women Angel Investing Reaches All-Time High."  It opens with Angela Lee, a longtime entrepreneur and founder of 37 Angels, an 8 month old Angel Network and initiative to train women to become investors saying "currently only 13% of angel investors in the U.S. are women and I want that number to be 50%.

But Meghan Casserly, a Forbes writer countered Angela's statement in the article by citing that the Center for Venture Research just reported that in 2012 Women Angels represented 21.8% of the Angel market, an impressive leap from the 13% figure used in 2011.

Julie Works, CEO of Womenable says that "increasing the number of women investing will have a direct correlation to an increase in women-led firms and it certainly increases the kind of companies that are funded.  Adding women to the equation certainly broadens the view of whats worth investing in."

I totally agree! Women have a different view of the world and bring a whole diverse set of skills and talents to the table than men do.  Women should be investing more in women.



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Where Are the Women Investors?

Last year after putting together a business plan to launch my DB Adventures project into the education and technology space nationwide, and build out a company to make that happen, I started talking to investors.

I already knew that our educational system needed to change and teaching kids by using technology is the way to go.  I also knew when I created an Adventure Series for kids and developed a whole online, interactive, comprehensive curriculum to accompany it, with a turn key system for teachers, that it would be a valuable resource.

It was developed with several different learning styles in mind.  It was created with flexibility for teachers to easily incorporate the lessons into their daily plan, and it provided valuable life skills needed to help students succeed in our emerging world.

Everyone I spoke to about the program loved it, and kids loved the story and the characters.  The people who didn't really get it were the male Angel Investors and male Venture Capitalists.  They were all looking for the next Facebook or technological advancement created by a college kid working out of his apartment, writing code.

Men tend to have a different vision than women do and while I have always worked with men throughout my career, I felt in this case, having a woman invest in this program may be more beneficial.  Women get the benefits of empowering our children and providing them with the tools they need to succeed.

But at the time there were rarely any women at the funding lunches, cocktail gatherings and an all day investing event that I attended.

In the beginning of 2012 studies showed that only 10-15% of Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists were women.  By the end of 2012, that number was beginning to change! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lean In, Lean Out or Tap In

As Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In" started a national dialogue and a book tour; Arianna Huffington, an influential woman in her own right as Co-Founder of the Huffington Post stated in an article about Sheryl's book, "To effectively lean in, we must also lean back and focus on our health and wellness."

Arianna is advocating for a new women's movement in the U.S. She states that "women are redefining success, but the larger debate is about values. The two metrics for success now are money and power.  She is calling for a third metric: well being and wisdom."

Now is the time for a new women's movement, and I totally agree that women should focus on values, well being and wisdom.  But my recommendation is to Tap In to our wisdom and reinvent the next stage of our evolution.

Sandberg advocates for women releasing doubts and moving forward in their careers fearlessly.  

Huffington advocates for more efforts being made for women on the work-life balance front.

I am advocating for women to Tap Into their wisdom, their courage and their true potential, to become Change Makers and implement the changes our society needs to be a better place for our children!!


Show Women How to Win

Along the same lines as the last post I like this concept:

"Give a woman a fish and she cooks it for her family.  Teach her How to Fish and she provides for her family for a lifetime."

The evolution of women over the last 50 years has been interesting.  The beginning of that period has a woman's place at home and in the kitchen, then years later women start going off to college, graduating and entering the work force, then women are pursuing professional careers and graduate degrees, with motherhood being put on hold until certain goals are achieved.

Over the last 15-20 years we have seen more women in higher positions of power in corporate America, in politics and in the professional sector than ever before. We have also seen many more women earning more money than their husbands, causing men to play the role of stay-at-home dads. It is interesting to see how certain dynamics have shifted.

We currently have more than 8 million women owned businesses, as women forge ahead as entrepreneurs. We also have two major magazines, Fortune and Forbes now publishing a yearly list of the most powerful women in America.  

So where do we go from here?

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, published a book entitled "Lean In" which hit the market in march with a lot of fan fair. Her mission seems to be to create a national dialogue with the intent of getting women to aggressively pursue success by speaking up and not backing down.

Having been successful in her career, Sherly Sandberg lends her influence and is a great example for women on how to win.

Monday, June 10, 2013

God Focused Not Bottom Line Focused

Our society has been extremely focused on the accumulations of material wealth.  Definitions of success have been the large house, the expensive car, lavish vacations, adorning ourselves with objects of wealth and being in a position of power.

In the past those possessions have been mostly held by men.  The business world was run by men, the government was largely run by men and investments into innovation and enterprise was mostly funded by men.

We now see a shift in those areas, but yet the definition of success, which was created by men, was what women have pursued as an achievement of success.

But "what if" women could change the definition of success and could shift the way that business has been run?  We now have more women than ever before running their own businesses.

What if a "position of power" is one in which social problems can be solved, instead of being a platform for individual greed and monetary abuse, as we have seen in the past.

What if Women Business Owners and Leaders could create a God Focused Way of Life instead of a Bottom Line Focus?

What if the real achievement of success is when everyone Wins, when groups of people are elevated in their social status and solutions are achieved for life long sustainability.

Now is the time to Create a New Way!

I plan on showcasing individuals and companies that became very successful when they focused on helping others rather than focusing on the Bottom Line. 

Teach Life Skills

I believe in the old saying: 
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

This saying is the reason I created the DB Adventure Series for kids.  DB Adventures is a multi-media program that incorporates a 190 page fun chapter book and an online curriculum with interactive games and a news portal for kids 9 - 12 years old.

Kids today are innately sensitive to what is going on in the world and they have a desire to make a difference.  They are looking for tools and guidance on how to make that happen.

The characters in my series are relatable, the adventure in the book is attainable, and shows kids step by step how they can create their own adventure.  The interactive curriculum reinforces the tools they learn by reading the story, and ultimately provides life skills that are needed to be successful.

The other tool we created is a blog in which the 7 characters are posting stories about kids across the country, setting up companies, creating non-profits, developing downloadable apps, raising tremendous amounts of money and making a difference through their actions.

"Show kids how to succeed, and they become successful!"  

Provide The Tools

When I first became an advocate for kids back in the 90's, as a Guardian ad Litem volunteer, I saw the impact I could make on a child's life by standing up for that child in court and providing a voice.

I then became addicted to the impact I was making whenever I got involved in a case.  But I realized that I was only able to help one child at a time and there were SO MANY languishing in foster care.

I saw so many needs going unmet and I decided to do what I do best -- create a non-profit and find solutions to the problems.

I believe there are 2 ways to help with problems -- there is the short term fix -- which is to provide a need in that moment, and there is a long term fix which is to solve the problem completely.

When I was coaching kids, I saw so many children given medication as an immediate solution, or a quick fix to school issues, anxiety, anger, frustration or possible suicidal tendencies.

These medications never really "fixed" the problem, they only masked them.

My work involved finding the cause of the problem and providing tools to fix the negative situation in their life.  Time and time again, with the right tools, that child began to blossom and flourish as the negative that was holding them back, fell away.

In our world today, I feel there have been numerous short term fixes going on, and not enough real solutions and tools being provided to problems.   

Building Dreams

When I was in my 20's, I was career driven, money focused and deeply believed that the 60-70 hours a week I worked was an investment that would reap the rewards I wanted.

I was successful on the outside, but what I discovered is that life is ever-changing and business partners aren't always what they seem!

In my 30's I had to regroup and start over from scratch.  This period brought me a ton of life lessons and an opportunity to focus on my personal dreams of being married, starting a family and building a life, not just a career.

Now in my 40's, I have realized that my talents, experiences and life lessons have brought me to a point in time where I now need to help others step into their power to fulfill their dreams.

As an entrepreneur I always looked for solutions to problems and figured out ways to implement them.  This mindset also allowed me to see opportunities within niche markets and read the dynamics going on with people and trends.

I believe we are at an interesting point in time.  Many could say our economy is at it's worst and our government is running this country into the ground.  

We have also had violence and tragedy hitting us on a regular basis since last summer!

That would be one viewpoint.  Mine is that through all this negative we have an opportunity to make real changes for the better.  People want change and when they feel that desire they are more willing to do what ever it takes to make things better.

I believe in the Possible! I believe in the dream, and I believe we can make the world a better place.