“Faith is the New O.S.” by Ali Brown

January 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Handmaidens Tool Box

In 2002, I had been married two years to my first husband, whom I’ll just call “G”. While we each had our own reasonably successful business ventures (I was just really starting to ramp up my online business), we were still struggling financially, living in a rented one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, and carrying more than $30,000 in credit card debts. It was surely causing a lot of stress in our marriage.

A friend of ours invited us to attend a “money mindset” seminar that sounded perfect for our situation. Although the event was free, it was still a big decision to take three days off, drive down to San Diego, and pay for a hotel.

Once we arrived, our initial skepticism transformed into excitement and hope, as we listened to the information, did verbal and written exercises, shared, cried, sang, and broke boards with karate chops. (Yep, we drank the Kool-Aid.)

I remember driving home with G after that event, listening to him talking with a friend on his cell phone, and he sounded different—positive and confident, like the man I had originally married. It was so attractive! I felt different too. I was so excited for us to grow together, to have a bright future, to live together in this new positive mindset we’d found. I could barely sleep that evening.

The next morning, I got out our workshop materials, and we continued the work we agreed to do each morning. The first week was no problem. Then, the next Monday morning G made some excuse, and the next day, and the next day, and that was the end of that. I kept doing them alone.

The next time we took our weekly walk along the beach by the large and stunning multimillion dollar homes, I told him I wanted to start going to open houses… to set the intention we’d one day have a gorgeous home like these. He said, “Why should we bother? We’ll never have a house like this. We’re in tons of debt.”

I went by myself. (And, later, I actually bought one of those houses… but that’s another story.)

In the months that followed, my business began to grow, and more money started coming in. I excitedly shared these results with G (“See? It’s working. Isn’t this exciting?”) and gently encouraged him to get back on track. Finally I realized he didn’t even want to hear about my success. He finally got angry and said, “Listen, I did the seminar, I get it… I don’t need to do that stuff every day or think that way, OK….”

I didn’t make a big deal out of it, and I let him be.

But as I grew, both personally and financially, and began investing in my growth via trainings, workshops, and coaching, G became more stuck and frustrated. I tried everything… helping him with business ideas, getting us counseling, hiring him a coach, and more.

And then one day, I realized his negativity had become absolutely toxic, and I just couldn’t carry him anymore. I was heartbroken but knew I had to move on. (He didn’t argue with me.)

What was the difference here? Was it really my attending seminars and getting the coaching and doing the personal work that made me successful, and not G?

Well, no. Because you also see a lot of folks going to seminar after seminar and not getting results.

Really the core difference was that I was learning to live in faith. It was truly my new OS (operating system), and still is today.

While unpacking boxes with Brett at our new home in Scottsdale, I came across a great book a friend introduced me to years ago. It’s by Robert Russell, and it’s called God Works Through Faith.

(And if you’re not comfortable with that G word, whatever. Just insert your own here, like Source, Spirit, Universe, Higher Power… just stay with me here.)

He writes, “Faith is the belief that you have the power to do all things. It is a magnetic power that attracts the answer to your prayer. Results do not come by chance, accident, or fate. They are molded by your faith in your power through God.”

Faith is belief in what you cannot see and cannot understand. It’s belief in a power greater than you.  And when you align with it, stay in faith, let it flow through you, and follow its messages, miracles happen.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments of worry, fear, or doubt. But the key is simply catching yourself when you go to that place. Take a deep breath and gently redirect your thoughts to what you want to happen, how you want to be, and how you see your life and business evolving.

One of my favorite teachers on worry is Joyce Meyer. She says worry is negative prayer—it’s essentially praying for what you do NOT want.

Worry is a huge problem for most of us, and especially for women. I come from a long line of worriers, and this is something I have to continually monitor and manage. If I don’t, it will just eat me alive.

I seem most vulnerable to this right when I wake up in the morning. My to-do list comes crashing down on my head as soon as I open my eyes. An endless list of things for the business, the house, the kids, my mom. If I don’t immediately take control of my thoughts in a positive way, my brain will instantly start spiraling downhill. (And now that I have children, this has also seemed to double, by the way.)

To shift it, I take a deep breath and move into gratitude… I think about all the wonderful things in my life right now such as my twin babies and their dad, our beautiful new home in the desert, having a business and clients I love, and the exciting opportunities I know are in front of me. That seems to get me in the right direction, and all the little things in the way seem to lose their power over me.

There’s a lot more to it, but that’s what gets me started in the right direction. Because I found faith to be such a powerful part of what drives me and my success, I created a program called “Divine Success: The 7 Phases to Realizing Your Dreams”, which I think you’ll really enjoy. You can take a look at it here—it may be exactly what you need right now!

Question: How do YOU stay out of fear and in faith?  Please share your BEST way below! I’d love hear about it in the comment section below. ~Ali

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AlexandriaBrown© 2014 Ali International, LLC
“Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow a profitable business that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Success Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at www.AliBrown.com

Mentors are Key to Small Business Owner Success

January 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Handmaidens Tool Box

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You have a compelling business model … ambition … entrepreneurial spirit. Add in a solid business plan and the necessary capital, and you may be well on your way toward launching a business. But before you take the leap into owning your own business, it’s worthwhile to consider adding in another important element — the guidance of a mentor.

According to a recent survey conducted by The UPS Store, 88 percent of small business owners believe having a mentor has been invaluable. As evidence of the value this unique relationship brings, more than two-thirds of business owners who had a mentor prior to starting the business are still in contact with their mentor.

“For many, starting a business can be overwhelming — it’s not just about exploring a passion or following a dream,” said W. Kenneth Yancy, chief executive officer of SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground. “A mentor can help navigate the complex challenges that often come with being a business owner, and the guidance from someone who has been there themselves can be a real asset.”

Beyond the intangibles — access to knowledge and the confidence that comes from having a respected colleague rooting for your success, for example — a mentor relationship can have a very real impact on your bottom line. In fact, 70 percent of small business owners who receive mentoring survive for five years or more, double the rate of those who do not.

“Many small business owners feel like they’re all alone when it comes to facing challenges,” said Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store. “Getting help from an expert, or advice from another business owner who’s already experienced something similar, can be invaluable.”

A mentor’s contributions can take many different forms, so it’s important to find a partner whose expertise and approach to business is similar to yours. Through organizations such as SCORE, small business owners can — at no cost — pull from a pool of more than 11,000 certified experts from every industry to find a mentor that fits their personal work style and needs.

Before choosing a mentor, consider the following questions to help you find a match who can maximize your business potential:

 

  • How strong a role would you like your mentor to have? Are you looking for someone to bounce ideas off of, or someone who will guide you?
  • What timeframe does your schedule allow? Are you looking for a mentor to connect with weekly? Bi-weekly? As needed?
  • Where are you most comfortable meeting with your mentor? Is an electronic or phone-based relationship acceptable, or do you prefer chats over coffee?
  • Are there specific skills you lack that a mentor could help develop?
  • What credentials does your mentor need in order to provide you the greatest benefit?

To access tools, templates and other resources to help you find a mentor, and to search for a mentor with expertise in your field, visit www.theupsstore.com/score.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

A Healthy, Fruity and Protein-Packed Salad

January 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Handmaidens Tool Box

11914Blueberries are nature’s perfect little superfood, and now these little blue powerhouses are available in grocery stores throughout the winter months.

Fresh blueberries are natural cancer-fighters. In addition to a healthy dose of cancer-fighting antioxidants, fresh blueberries pack enough vitamins, fiber and phytochemicals to rank them high on the list of superfoods all by themselves. Heart-healthy, they’re also full of vitamin C and fiber, making them the ideal go-to fruit to pack great nutrition into every meal. Supplies of these amazing fruits are plentiful all winter long, courtesy of the growers and exporters of Chile, the southern hemisphere’s largest producer of fresh blueberries.

Recipe for resolutions

So, if your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier, this recipe for Blueberry, Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad will help you keep it. Not just one, but two of nature’s superfoods – fresh blueberries and quinoa – team up with butternut squash to create a salad that’s packed with protein, bursting with sweet and tangy flavor and colorful enough to brighten the drab grays of winter.

The protein in this healthful, low-calorie salad comes from quinoa, widely considered a grain but really a type of seed more closely related to spinach and chard. As a significant source of protein, just one cup of quinoa has a full gram more than is found in an egg.

Butternut squash is widely available during the winter months and is not only sweet and tasty, but contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol, so it’s an ideal food for folks on special diets. What’s more, it’s a good source of potassium, magnesium and fiber, and an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Put all three of these core ingredients together and you have a winter salad that is super nutritious and yummy.

For more recipes or information about Blueberries from Chile, visit www.fruitsfromchile.com/blueberryrecipes.

Chilean Blueberry, Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

Serves: 6

1          pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

4          tablespoons olive oil, divided

1          cup raw quinoa, rinsed well

2          cups water

2          tablespoons lemon juice

3/4       teaspoon salt

1/4       teaspoon pepper

4          Green onions, thinly sliced

1 1/2    cups Chilean blueberries

3          cups baby arugula

Preheat oven to 450°F. In large bowl, toss squash with 1 tablespoon of oil. Spread on rimmed baking sheet; bake until tender, about 22 minutes; let cool.

Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, bring quinoa and water to a boil; simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cover; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork; cool.

In small bowl, whisk together remaining olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper; set aside.

In large bowl combine squash, green onions, blueberries, arugula and quinoa. Drizzle with dressing; toss to combine.

Note: Quinoa should be easy to find at your local supermarket but if not, couscous makes a perfect substitute.