Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino
Discover How to Be Your Best
by Katana Abbott on November 18th, 2015

I believe that Clarity is the Secret Confidence, Wealth and Happiness. I would like to share the  six step process I’ve used for me and my clients to create wealth, make a difference and live an outrageously joyful life. 

 Today, I want to go deeper on this idea of Clarity – because it really is the key to all of this.  Thought leaders and many of our wealthiest and successful people in the world have figured this out:
  • In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, bestselling author Stephen Covey,  talks about “starting with the end in mind” for a reason. 
  • In the book and the movie The Secret. the main theme is the Law of Attraction and You Get What You Focus on.
  • Mike Dooley – creator of Notes From the Universe says, “Thoughts Become Things – So Chose the Good Ones!”  
When we are clear about who we are, why we are here and what we are here to do in the world, miracles begin to happen and we can tap into the power of the Universe.  This is why I begin with The Dream in my Six Pillars of Awakened Prosperity System.
   
We all have Dreams, but so often, we get so bogged down with life that we forget what they are.  We forget who we are and why we are here.  Your Dream should be Big and Bold and it should be filled with emotion, so you can see it and feel it.  You should know what it is by focusing on it daily.

So here is an exercise for you to do so you can begin to get clear on your dream.  Over the next few weeks, I will taking you through different exercises you can do to become super clear about who you are and why you are here at your soul level, so you can begin to literally manifest miracles effortlessly in your life.

The Dream Exercise:

Step 1:  Visualize

Today, I simply want you to take a minute to close your eyes and imagine that you are looking in a mirror 3 years from now.  Imagine that you are looking in the mirror and you cannot get the smile off your face.  You are in a state of total joy.  Everything is going fantastic for you.  You are vibrating at a whole new level of vitality and joy. 

Now,  when you turn around to begin your day, I want you to think about what has to be happening in your life for you to be so happy.  For example:  Who are you today?  Where are you going?   What does your house look like?  What car are you driving?  What are you doing for a living?  Who are going to meet?  Who are you in a relationship with?  What do you look like?  What are you going to wear today?

Step 2: Affirmation

Take a moment to write down what has to happen between now and three years to make these things happen.  You don’t need to know how to do these things, just write down what would need to happen or change.  Write these in present tense and under the three categories below.  Here are some examples:

Personal
  • My life is joyful, abundance and effortless
  • I go to yoga three times a week, and love riding my bike through the wet lands each morning
  • I enjoy traveling, speaking and writing
  • I love my home on the lake – my life is a vacation every day
Relationships
  • My daughters are thriving and creating their own joyful lives now
  • I love going to weekly concerts with my husband.  We are closer than ever!
  • I make time to enjoy deep relationships with close friends by planning dates in advance.
Money and Work
  • My business is running without me.
  • My virtual team takes care of all the details!
  • I am focused on doing what I love 80% of the time, and it’s paying off because my business is thriving.
  • We are on track with our financial goals and update our financial plan quarterly.


Step 3:  Activate the Law of Intention:

Now print out your affirmations and put them where you can read them daily so you can stay focused on your Dream.  Begin taking action and working through any challenges. 

Step 4:  Partner with the Universe 

Don’t try to force things.  Simply state your dream or goal.  You never know what the Universe actually has in store for you, so leave it open to being “even better or even more”.  So many times we think way to small or our Ego is trying to protect us from really asking for what we want and are meant to do.

Step 5:  Believe, Trust and Watch for Magic

The secret is to get really, really clear about what you want and why you want it, focus on it daily, turn it over and trust.  Once you do, the magic will begin and you will literally be able to manifest effortlessly.  You’ll want to keep your Miracle Journal. 

Coach, contributing author of three books, and host of Smart Women Talk Radio with over 800,000 subscribers.  

 Rising from a life of poverty, Katana knows too well the struggles of trying to achieve financial security.  At the age of 48, Katana sold her million-dollar financial planning practice to launch the Smart Women Companies™ and Midlife Millionaires® where she offers private wealth coaching, group intensives and transformational retreats to Costa Rica and Panama.

She is the creator of the Six Pillars of Awakened Prosperity™, the proven step-by-step system showing you how to create wealth, make a difference and live a life you love.  To access your free video series on Money, Mindset and Manifesting and join her free Smart Women Community visit www.MidlifeMillionaireSecrets.com now!

by Beth Wonson on November 12th, 2015

In the course of a year, I spend close to 4,000 hours listening to people share what they love about their work, what challenges them about their work and what, if I had a magic wand (which I don’t) they would ask me to change for them.

Through this listening I am able to discern some very clear, prevalent and often flawed thinking. Here’s a thought that maybe you’ve had before. I know I have.

“I have to find another job because the drama and gossip here just drags me down. I can’t take it anymore.”

And this one goes along with it.

“As soon as I find another job, I will be so much happier.”

Well. Today’s newsletter is going to be short and sweet because this one is easy.

An intelligent, talented young woman who is a valued employee said to me, “I’m thinking of taking another position. I don’t want to leave here because I love it. But everyone is constantly coming to me to vent and complain. It wears me down and is impacting me outside of work.”

A man with unique skills in his area of expertise sighed saying with resignation, “I love my work and just want to be able to focus on it, I’m stuck playing peacemaker between workplace factions.”

Another young man came to me saying he was considering a job change. “I’ll take any job because the complaining by my colleagues is endless and draining.”

To all these people and many, many more I say, “Wherever you go, there you are.”

I asked each of these individuals to reflect and see where they leave the door open for others to vent, gossip and stir the pot. And I encouraged them to be brave enough to shut that door – gently, compassionately and completely. It is called setting a boundary.

Boundaries teach people how we want to be treated. Boundaries are love. Self-love. And self-love is the basis of self-management.

We all like to be on the inside track of drama and gossip. Why? We don’t want to be left out or shunned from our tribe for not following the norms.  So we participate to get the pseudo-feeling of being connected. But it is a false feeling and the shallowest of connections. Eventually the negativity attached to it wears us down. I invite you to experience the freedom, ease and joy that come with creating boundaries.

How To

1- Be clear about what you want for yourself. Spend a little time with this.
  • Maybe it is the ability to focus on your actual work. 
  • Maybe you desire work relationships and conversations filled with positive energy.
  • Maybe you want your outlook to be one of expansion and possibility (gossip and venting actually shrink rather than expand possibility).

2- Communicate what it is you want for yourself whenever someone comes to pollute your space with gossip or venting.

“I’m glad to see you. However I have decided I need to focus on positive energy and possibility. And since I really want to be connected with you and enjoy our relationship, I’m going to refrain from negative conversations. Thanks for helping me with this.”

3- Turn and go back to work.

What’s the risk? Well, you may be rejected. You may not have the inside track on speculation and stories (most of which turn out not to be true). But you also will have more peace, more time and feel more energized at the end of the day. You will likely see meaningful connections and opportunities take up the space formerly occupied by drama and gossip. You also will likely see more meaningful connections and opportunities coming your way.

So before you jump ship in order to get away from what is bringing you down, try setting boundaries and see if there is a shift. If you don’t practice this where you are now, it will only be a matter of time before you hear yourself saying, “I gotta get out of here to get away from the negativity, drama and gossip.”

If you do get comfortable with boundaries and practicing this strategy, whether you stay or go, you will be far happier, valued, connected and successful!
 
​Have you had to work with that person who is too valuable to fire but whose communication and leadership style continually make others cringe and put the company at risk? Beth Wonson’s unique combination of experience as a business leader, a non-profit leader and 20 years consulting on team development, organizational change and coaching leaders, make her the go to person for transforming personnel liabilities into personnel assets.

“In my experience, no one truly wants to be the company bully, they just aren’t self-aware enough climb out of it. Their increasing isolation causes more and more drama within the organization. Human Resource staff feel powerless and over time, team members and colleagues choose to leave the organization. The remedy is simply to get this person the right coach. The coach who knows how to  give them the hard feedback and will stand in the fire with them through the change process”. Wonson’s unique methodology combines brain-based research, experiential education and coaching to engage and empower individuals and teams to overcome perceived barriers and gain success. 

She and her team work with businesses, non-profits and individuals across the United States. www.bethwonson.com

by Katana Abbott on November 10th, 2015

Last week, my husband and I met with our financial planner, John Dankovich.  He is one of the partners at the firm where I provide financial planning and investment management for my clients.  Yes, even though I am a Certified Financial Planner, I still have my own advisor. It keeps my husband and me disciplined.  I am a big picture person and John is the detail person who does the number crunching.  We make a great team, so we also work together with my own personal clients.
 
Having a trusted advisor is one of the very best gifts you can give to yourself.  As a Wealth Coach, I can help you with both the big picture and your game plan.  So often I hear of advisors just looking at the investments or just the insurance.  Comprehensive financial planning can include many areas of your life:  financial position (where you stand now); goals like education, starting a business, and retirement; plus taxes, insurance, estate planning, and your legacy.
 
A great financial planner will ask you to create a detailed budget, asking when certain expenses end, decrease or increase — like college expenses, health insurance costs and medical out of pocket, home improvements and maintenance, and even downsizing.  They will use these numbers all through your analysis, and calculate how taking your Social Security and pensions at different times will affect your nest egg and amount you need to save today.
 
My husband is eligible for his pension at 55 and wants to compare retiring at age 55 to age 65.  I think he will find it eye opening at the least.  There is magic to knowing these numbers.  When you look at your retirement plan, do any of these apply to you?
 
You plan to work forever;
You haven’t opened your statement since the market crashed in 2008;
You left or lost your job, dipped into your 401K and may have even paid taxes and penalties on it;
You aren’t saving anymore or don’t even have a retirement plan;
You have never seen your Social Security estimate;
You don’t understand your pension and benefit statements or even know where they are;
You’re paying so much for your kids college, there is nothing left for you to save for retirement;
Your kids have moved back in after college — enough said;
You have run up credit card debt and college loans and are trying to pay them off first;
You lost a big chunk of your savings in the 2008 market crash, never got back in and are afraid it’s too late;
You are hearing that the stock market is too risky and that bonds are even worse right now;
You are putting all your money into real estate;
Your best investment is your business, so you have everything tied up in that and just pray you don’t get disabled;
You have no idea where to start or how much you will need anyway.
 
If you answered yes to any or all of these, then you are not alone.  In a recent “Retirement Confidence Survey” conducted by the Employee Benefits Research Institute they asked "How confident are you about Retirement?”  The results were as follows:
 
  • American workers are more pessimistic about their ability to retire comfortably than at any time since the survey began about 20 years ago. 
  • About one‐third of workers tapped their retirement savings to pay for day‐to‐day expenses during 2010 and many of them didn’t have much saved in the first place. 
  • Just 59% of workers are currently saving for retirement and one‐half of them have less than $25,000 tucked away. 
I believe that “work” is the New Retirement Solution, and so do more and more baby boomers who are looking at their options.
 
In a June 2008 Associated Press survey, it was reported that 78 million baby boomers are approaching retirement and that 66 percent of these individuals expect to continue working after “retiring” to supplement their pensions, Social Security and savings.
 
In a recent Gallop Poll – that number is now up to 80%.  Most plan to work part‐time, although some say they may need to work full‐time just to make ends meet. 
 
The silver lining, according to Lifescience.com people who continue to work during retirement often experience better health than those who don’t work.  As long as the work remains low stress, retirees who labor are less likely to suffer from major diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. They are also less likely to become depressed.


This is great news…because I see many of us continuing to work by doing something we absolutely love. I call this Retiring To Something — Not From Something. I believe that this new retirement for most of us will consist of a simpler lifestyle with less consumerism and working at something we are passionate about.   If my husband does want to retire early, we will have the numbers, and it will include going through this process…and I am sure it will include Costa Rica, Panama, and golf!
 
This certainly is a different retirement than our parents; things have changed dramatically over the last two decades.  Most of the clients I work with are interested in working in retirement not only for financial reasons, but to continue doing something meaningful where they are utilizing their unique abilities, life experiences, and making a difference in the world.
I see us doing this into our mid to late 70’s.  Look around you and you will see many vibrant 70 year olds doing amazing things and having fun.  Remember, we will probably end up living into our late 80s and 90s. 
 
The secret is creating your plan now and then taking action.  This is the first of an ongoing series that will help you create that plan.  Please make sure you don’t miss this series found at: www.smartwomenscoaching.com.  Share this information with your friends and they will receive: 
  • my free video course designed to increase confidence and wealth;
  • our weekly ezine and radio shows; and
  • 100 days of inspirational quotes from women. 

Your exercise today is to “Find Your Stuff“.
 
Pull together all your savings, investment, 401k, IRA, pension and Social Security Statements.  Don’t delay.  Please do this now before you forget.  Once you pull all of this together, your next goal will be to find a good financial advisor that you can trust.  Feel free to reach out to me at www.talkwithkatana.com.
  
Coach, contributing author of three books, and host of Smart Women Talk Radio with over 800,000 subscribers.  

 Rising from a life of poverty, Katana knows too well the struggles of trying to achieve financial security.  At the age of 48, Katana sold her million-dollar financial planning practice to launch the Smart Women Companies™ and Midlife Millionaires® where she offers private wealth coaching, group intensives and transformational retreats to Costa Rica and Panama.

She is the creator of the Six Pillars of Awakened Prosperity™, the proven step-by-step system showing you how to create wealth, make a difference and live a life you love.  To access your free video series on Money, Mindset and Manifesting and join her free Smart Women Community visit www.MidlifeMillionaireSecrets.com now!

by Katana Abbott on November 5th, 2015

When you join our free Community at www.smartwomenscoaching.com, one of the wonderful free gifts you will receive is 100 days of inspirational quotes by women. They come to your email box every morning for 100 days. Not only do I get such great feedback from people who are receiving these little gems, but I sign up for them myself and start my day with them.

Today, I read the words of Marianne Williamson which sounded very familiar to Napoleon Hill’s words “Thoughts are Things” written over 78 years ago. In her quote, Marianne shares these words:

Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we’re peaceful, life will be peaceful. And so our goal in any situation becomes inner peace. 

She goes on to say, “Our internal state determines our experience of our lives; our experiences do not determine our internal state.” 
So if “thoughts are things,” and our “internal state determines our experience,” how can we incorporate these principals into our lives so we can truly have more inner peace and live a life we truly love?

Most of us have very busy lives. We are working, running businesses, networking, caring for loved ones, doing chores, studying, and trying to fit in self-care. With all this going on, how can we live these words by creating more inner peace?

I believe the secret is to incorporate a mindfulness practice into your daily life. We have interviewed many experts about this topic on our program, and I highly recommend going into our archives and listening to these shows.

I’ve created a “daily prosperity practice” that I do first thing in the morning and just before bed. It is my time, and it takes less than 10 minutes. Because it’s such a short time commitment, I also repeat it during the day.

Here are the 5 steps:
  • Step 1 — Plug In: Select your favorite meditation music with your ear buds. I downloaded one that I love from www.OmHarmonics. I saved it to my home page on my iPhone, so it’s always available to me. It’s about 10 minutes long, so it’s perfect.
  • Step 2 — Breathe: Take several deep breaths to connect with your soul. I use the 4/7/8 breath. Simply breathe in through the nose on the count of 4, then hold for 7, and finally exhale through the nose on the count of 8. Do this 4-8 times.
  • Step 3 — Address the Divine: Now is your time to express gratitude and raise your vibration. It’s also the time for you to ask for what you want in your life. You can ask for inner peace, better health, for more income. This is when you envision what it is you want to manifest in your life. It’s time to see it and feel it. Now end just like you began by expressing gratitude. This is all about raising your vibration. My spiritual coach said that when we are in a low vibration, we are tapped into everyone on the planet at that low vibration. And when you are in a high vibration, you are tapping into everyone on the planet vibrating at that high vibration. I found her comment very visual. Who do you want to be tapping into?
  • Step 4 — Write: Keep a journal and end your prosperity practice every day by writing down what is it that you want to bring into your life that day. Write down your dreams, your desires, and what you are grateful for.Step 5 — Repeat: At the end of the day, repeat this process and come back to your journal to record little miracles that happened that day. What you noticed, what you learned and what you’re grateful for.
Come join our free community and receive your daily inspirational quotes by women at www.smartwomenscoaching.com. It’s time to live with more purpose, passion and prosperity!
Coach, contributing author of three books, and host of Smart Women Talk Radio with over 650,000 subscribers.  

Rising from a life of poverty, Katana knows too well the struggles of trying to achieve financial security.  At the age of 48, Katana sold her million-dollar financial planning practice to launch the Smart Women Companies™ and Midlife Millionaires® where she offers private wealth coaching, group intensives and transformational retreats to Costa Rica and Panama.

She is the creator of the Six Pillars of Awakened Prosperity™, the proven step-by-step system showing you how to create wealth, make a difference and live a life you love.  To access your free video series on Money, Mindset and Manifesting and join her free Smart Women Community visit www.MidlifeMillionaireSecrets.com now!

by Beth Wonson on October 22nd, 2015

 I attended my first ever partner dance class. The class was West Coast Swing and I took it because a friend, who is a fabulous dancer, inspired and encouraged me.

She asked, “Can you follow?”

I was befuddled. I had no idea. I’ve never really considered being the follower – in anything. I felt myself brace against the idea. After all, isn’t being the leader always the best?

“The class already started and is full of leaders. But they need more followers,” my friend stated.

I decided I would try because I wanted to learn.

Partner dancing is new for me. I was really putting myself out there. And as the day got closer I was having second thoughts, then my friend texted me to ask if I was still attending. I said something about being super busy, kind of tired, a bit overwhelmed and a lot unsure. She sent me the best reply. The kind I would likely send.

“Breathe”

“Then breathe again”

“Breathe once more”

“Now smile”

I decided to go.

When I walked into the hall where classes are held, the previous class was still in session. Dancers were gliding, moving and swinging with ease. Laughter, smiles and grace surrounded me.

When it was time for my class, I went to the beginner level room and there were about 19 people, all partnered up in two long lines. The rest of the class started two weeks earlier, but my dancing friend assured me I’d be fine. She attempted to catch me up before she went to her “advanced on steroids” class in the next room but my instructor, whose name I’m sure is Miss Sparkles or something, wasn’t having it. “I prefer no one teach over me”.  My security blanket left for her class.

I fell into the follower line (or the ladies) facing the leader line (also known as the men –even though several were women). We began the review from the first two weeks. Miss Sparkles gave elaborate instructions to the leaders. I began anxiously trying to follow the details and hold the steps in my head. Working hard to be the best. Then she’d say, “Ladies…your job is to have your hand gently just resting, not grabbing, the leaders hand…and follow”.

HUH? So essentially I had to retain nothing?

We’d practice a few steps. The leaders would rotate to the right. Every 5 minutes, I’d be following a new leader. At one point, when she was giving complex leader directions and I was feeling totally overwhelmed and anxious trying to remember each detail, I realized… I was the follower! Being the follower meant I didn’t have to listen. I didn’t have to retain. I could listen if I chose in order to have a context for what was going to happen, but in my absolute beginner state, that information frankly was too much and didn’t make sense. The awareness came into my head that if I did not surrender to following completely, I would obstruct the flow of energy and the beauty of the dance. I would sabotage both my partner’s experience and mine.

As the purest of beginners, my best course of action was to put my trust 100 percent in the cueing and energy of the leader in front of me. To give my focus to the nuances of body language and facial expression, to follow with soft eyes and feel into the shifts. All without question. Suddenly the class became exquisitely freeing and fun. As each new leader stepped in front of me, instead of worrying about where he or she would lead me and how I’d “do the right thing”, I asked their name. I smiled. We shared a laugh. And then on cue, they’d lead me through the next few steps. Down the slot, right side pass, left side pass, turn. Sometimes I noticed that everyone else was side passing on the right and I on the left. It mattered not to me. My leader cued me there. I fell in love with the freedom in the space of knowing that it was not my job to be watchful, or compare and correct, but simply to show up as my best wherever my leader led.

I heard myself exclaim, “Being the follower is amazing! Who knew?” and Miss Sparkles stopped her instruction, looked at me and said, “Right? Most people don’t want to follow, but following is actually awesome.”

I came to love the nuances with which people led – gentle pressure to the hand, a bend of an elbow, pointing with eyes, a nod of the chin, a tip of the head. The nonverbal, energetic communication that says great job or thank you without so much as a word.

My greatest challenge came when my leader got totally confused.  When the music started he could not find the first step. He simply stood, frozen while the other couples whirled and twirled and sugar pushed. I simply followed his lead. And for the entire 4 minutes, we stood still. I could see his angst, but the world didn’t end. When it was time to rotate, I smiled and thanked him as I did every other leader. I was so proud of myself for not jumping in and for staying in my space. I could tell he appreciated it as well.

I don’t think I’m being over dramatic when I say that the last time I felt this level of rest for my brain was when I was in the rain forest of Borneo with no internet or phone connection to the outside world. There was nothing to do but be in the moment. And connect with the energy naturally created.

Most of you reading this are leaders somewhere in your lives. In fact we all are. Today I encourage you to look for the spaces where you can truly follow. Practice in small spurts. Perhaps it’s a project where you can hand over the reins. Or allow your toddler to lead you around the yard, choosing where they want to go and what they want to do. Completely be the follower in a conversation with a friend. Let them take the conversation wherever they want to go with you simply attentively listening and affirming. Changing topic or direction only when they cue it. Not thinking ahead of what to say next.

Notice if you fully let go or if you are still hawkeyed, watching, waiting for where you have to jump in and make a correction. Rest that side of your brain. Soften your eyes. Check your body for tension that is trying to lead or correct, ready to spring into action. Notice the space that gets created in the letting go. Drop into the freedom of allowing someone else to take the lead. Observe the empowerment and confidence that fills the leader when you truly follow. And reward that by showing up as your best possible follower. Notice if you feel a sense of ease and grace.

In my recent Navigating Challenging Dialogue workshop, a gentleman who previously owned a company and was now working for someone else commented on how much tension, pressure and stress he feels when he observes others not working in the way he believes they should. But he is not in a supervisor role and it makes him nuts. I heard myself recommending he take a partner dancing class in the role of the follower. “It will change everything for you!”

I can’t wait for my second class. I’m not suggesting my technique is good or my steps are pretty. But my following is stellar and oh so rewarding. I certainly won’t stop being a leader, but I absolutely will look for the spaces where I can rest, recharge and play as the follower.

Take a follower break…it is amazing!
 
​Have you had to work with that person who is too valuable to fire but whose communication and leadership style continually make others cringe and put the company at risk? Beth Wonson’s unique combination of experience as a business leader, a non-profit leader and 20 years consulting on team development, organizational change and coaching leaders, make her the go to person for transforming personnel liabilities into personnel assets.

“In my experience, no one truly wants to be the company bully, they just aren’t self-aware enough climb out of it. Their increasing isolation causes more and more drama within the organization. Human Resource staff feel powerless and over time, team members and colleagues choose to leave the organization. The remedy is simply to get this person the right coach. The coach who knows how to  give them the hard feedback and will stand in the fire with them through the change process”. Wonson’s unique methodology combines brain-based research, experiential education and coaching to engage and empower individuals and teams to overcome perceived barriers and gain success. 

She and her team work with businesses, non-profits and individuals across the United States. www.bethwonson.com

by Katana Abbott on October 15th, 2015

Every morning, along with our Smart Women Daily Inspirational Quotes by Women,  I get these great Mike Dooley’s “Notes from the Universe“.  

Here is the one I received a few days ago:

“Should you ever find yourself on your path, moving along in spite of fear, wondering if you’re ready or not to rise to the next level, chances are great that you will not be ready.”

Are we ever really ready?  Wouldn’t it be better to wait until it’s perfect? 

All of us have been there, that time in our life when we were being called to step into our greatness; to leave that job, to release that relationship, to take that new position, give a speech, write that book. I call it taking the LEAP.

What exactly is the leap?  The leap is when  you make the decision.  That’s it.  You just say, “Ok, I am doing this thing.”  And here is the secret.  You don’t have to know how yet.  The how comes in the “Plan”.  And yes, you LEAP before you Plan.  The LEAP is simply making the declaration that  you are doing something new.

It’s a pivotal moment, because as soon as you do this, several things happen:
  • First you active the Law of Attraction, because you are sending your desire out into the Universe and then the magic begins. 
 
  •  Opportunities start coming your way to make it easier. 
  • People start showing up to help you on your path.
  • Next,  you go into major fear, because your subconscious or your ego chimes in with, “What are you doing?  Are you crazy?  Let’s do this later?  I’m not ready! 
This pivotal moment in time is when you need to have support — someone to help hold you accountable, who can show you the way.  It’s when you will need your cheer leaders to cheer you on, saying, “You can do it! We believe in You!”  

This is when you must simply trust that you are on a Divine mission to fulfill your higher calling.  You don’t need it to be perfect.  You simply need to step through that door.  When you do, what do you think you will find on the other side?  You will find your power.  Your personal power.

Why is the LEAP important?  Every time we take the LEAP, even if we fall, we learn and grow.  We get closer to our goal.

So what is your LEAP?  What is your dream?  Don’t keep your music inside of you.  You have come here for a purpose.  Understand, you will probably never be completely ready to LEAP…and that’s okay…because it’s all part of the process.
Coach, contributing author of three books, and host of Smart Women Talk Radio with over 650,000 subscribers.  

 Rising from a life of poverty, Katana knows too well the struggles of trying to achieve financial security.  At the age of 48, Katana sold her million-dollar financial planning practice to launch the Smart Women Companies™ and Midlife Millionaires® where she offers private wealth coaching, group intensives and transformational retreats to Costa Rica and Panama.She is the creator of the Six Pillars of Awakened Prosperity™, the proven step-by-step system showing you how to create wealth, make a difference and live a life you love.  To access your free video series on Money, Mindset and Manifesting and join her free Smart Women Community visit www.MidlifeMillionaireSecrets.com now!

by Beth Wonson on October 7th, 2015

Have you ever noticed the person who walks into a room and radiates confidence? They don’t appear concerned with others’ opinions of them? It doesn’t feel like they are trying to get anything from anyone, yet everyone is drawn to them?


Do you wonder how they got all that confidence?
 
Here is a quick exercise for you. You can simply do it in your mind by imagining that you are standing in front of a mirror. As you look at your reflection (you have to be able to see your entire torso), imagine yourself reaching out to try and take something out of the hand of your reflection.
 
What happens?
 
What do you feel?
 
If you are like me, you feel a bit of frustration. Why?
 
Your reflection represents another person. Someone you want to get something from. Maybe it’s that person described above who walks in with confidence and self-assurance. Your frustration comes from the illustration that you can’t get from the external (the reflection in the mirror/other person) what you don’t possess inside of you.
This is especially true when it comes to validation. The person who walks into the room with the aura of absolute confidence and presence knows this. As humans we all have a desire to be seen and heard. But few of us know that this core desire can only be truly filled in a sustainable, long-term way from inside ourselves – by seeing and hearing ourselves first.
 
In workshops and trainings, I tell managers, supervisors, and leaders that all of their employees (as well as themselves) have an innate desire to be seen and heard. However, when we as leaders are seeking to be seen and heard first, frequently those around us never receive acknowledgement and validation. Then we are all the people in the mirror, trying to get what we most desire from the outside and feeling frustrated.
 
On the flip side, do you know someone, perhaps yourself, who is so determined to be seen and heard that they talk over others in meetings? They are so busy crafting their response or defense that they rarely, if ever, fully listen and consider what is being said? Do you recognize the person who volunteers for every committee, job, task, or meeting to the point of over extension (this was me)? Do you know the person who lives as the victim, always talking about how they are left out, not recognized, under-appreciated and no one sees their talents? Or do you see this manifested in personal lives where someone is so hungry for validation that they are constantly seeking the partner that will make them feel loved.
 
These behaviors sabotage our ability to garner what we most desire – being seen and heard, and feeling truly known and recognized. They are the ineffective attempts of someone screaming to be seen and heard through validation from an outside source. We’ve all been there.
 
But frequently, these are the exact behaviors that prevent us from feeling loved, being promoted, or included on an important team. The constant need for validation actually inhibits others ability to see our value. And in leaders, these are the behaviors that create isolated micro-managers instead of inspirational leaders who motivate, empower and hold people accountable.
 
“…some people are driven to accomplish great things
in the pursuit of recognition, acknowledgement,
or fame that shores up their self-esteem.
Although chasing after self-esteem can motivate excellent performance,
performance itself is not a fundamental human need,
and it can be achieved through other, less destructive sources of motivation.
Recognition and acknowledgement are not the same as love or acceptance,
and they do not create the safety and security people desire.”
 
The Costly Pursuit of Self-Esteem Jennifer Crocker Lora E. Park University of Michigan*
 
The turn around on this is simple – the execution requires self-awareness and practice.
 
Step One.  Own it. Recognize and acknowledge that these behaviors are counter productive and don’t actually get you what you want. Forgive yourself. You didn’t understand it before and now you can turn it around. Amen!
 
Step Two.  Notice how these behaviors are actually creating disconnection and sabotaging your progress towards what you most desire – validation.
 
Step Three.  Trust that authentic validation originates from inside us – not externally. It is not something we get from others. We only can authentically get it from ourselves and then, when our internal reservoir of validation is overflowing; we can share it with others. But we MUST do so with no expectation!
 
Step Four.  Begin your practice.
 
1. Notice whenever you feel yourself begin to engage in any of the sabotaging behaviors above, simply be fascinated and say, “Oh. Huh. There it is again. My desire for external validation. Fascinating!”
 
2. If you feel yourself ready to raise your hand, interrupt, defend your position, talk over someone else, or start to craft a response that rather than contributing value to the conversation instead showcases what you know on the topic, ask these three questions:
 
a. Does it need to be said?
b. Does it need to be said by me?
c. Does it need to be said by me now?
 
3. At the end of each day make a list of everything you did well. And then read that list and give yourself a big pat on the back for a job well done!
 
To do a little test of your progress, ask someone close to you if you can email your list to them everyday. Ask them not to respond. No feedback. Then see how you feel when you share it without expectation. Is it challenging? Are you so invested in getting their feedback that it distracts you or upsets you? You may learn some fascinating things about just how much you depend on others opinions to determine how you feel about yourself.
 
4. Notice others doing little things well. Things you admire. Be sure it is authentic and casually, gently, and subtly start giving out the acknowledgement and validation you used to seek for yourself. Notice how you feel.
 
5. Pay attention to small shifts and changes in yourself. Are you feeling more confident? Less dependent? Less of a victim? Are you feeling more authentically noticed? Connected? Valued? Do more of what feels good.
 
In this culture of every child getting an award just for showing up, and with so many self-help books telling us that if we are “good enough” we can have joy and bliss every moment, we have forgotten how to tap into the authentic source of validation…ourselves.

The only place that we can truly access feelings of contentment, confidence, acknowledgement, and esteem is in our core.
 
The person who walks in the room and radiates self-confidence isn’t trying to get anything from anyone. They are tapping into the reservoir of self-validation that they created. They are curious learners and not clamoring to get anything from others. Which would you like to be?
​Have you had to work with that person who is too valuable to fire but whose communication and leadership style continually make others cringe and put the company at risk? Beth Wonson’s unique combination of experience as a business leader, a non-profit leader and 20 years consulting on team development, organizational change and coaching leaders, make her the go to person for transforming personnel liabilities into personnel assets.

“In my experience, no one truly wants to be the company bully, they just aren’t self-aware enough climb out of it. Their increasing isolation causes more and more drama within the organization. Human Resource staff feel powerless and over time, team members and colleagues choose to leave the organization. The remedy is simply to get this person the right coach. The coach who knows how to  give them the hard feedback and will stand in the fire with them through the change process”. Wonson’s unique methodology combines brain-based research, experiential education and coaching to engage and empower individuals and teams to overcome perceived barriers and gain success. 

She and her team work with businesses, non-profits and individuals across the United States. www.bethwonson.com

by Katana Abbott on October 2nd, 2015

When I invited our guest, Henry Gornbein, to be on the show a few weeks ago, I realized I had triggered a Signature System that allowed this radio show to almost run without me. It actually does too except for my time during the show.

There are a dozen or more steps that take place flawlessly between the time that I invite a guest to be on the show, till the moment I start the show each week.

I remember sitting down with my first assistant, Megan, years ago, and telling her all the steps that I believed needed to happen to make the show run smoothly. In addition, there is a whole process going on with the radio station itself. That makes our job easier on our end. Megan documented all the steps, even adding things I had missed and then added the steps to our operations manual. When she left to go grad school, our new assistant, Jillian, was able to pick up the manual and take over the process without me getting involved. This is a secret to avoid creating a bottle neck in your systems.

At one point, we added social media promotions, and ended up with two people running the process. I noticed that the process would be smoother and more effectively with one person managing both projects, so the manual was given to my current Virtual Assistant, Tara, who consolidated and simplified the system even more.

Some might think that systems are confining, but for me, systems give me freedom, and increase my income, confidence and happiness.

Where are the places in your life and your business that you can create systems?

The key to creating systems is to identify if you are a “Front Stage” or “Back Stage” person. Both positions are important and one is not better than the other. The sooner you can identify your strengths, passions and unique abilities, the happier, healthier and wealthier your life will be.

The Back Stage People: There are people who are very uniquely qualified to ‘run things”. They love that work and excel at it. My Virtual Assistant, Tara, is one of these people. I call her the executer, because as soon as I give her a task, I can guarantee that it will be done on time, and much better than I could ever do it. She also makes me look good because she doesn’t allow me to miss things that I say are going to happen.

I am a Front Stage Person: I’m a visionary, problem solver, idea person. In addition, I’m very intuitive and love working with people. I know what needs to be done and the sooner I hand it off to my backstage person the better. That’s when the true magic begins. BTW, I love to delegate!

Creating systems, give you freedom to focus on what you do best while delegating the rest. I create systems for everything.

The “T” Exercise: Where to Focus and What to Release 

1. Get out a piece of paper, and draw a line down the middle and on one side write down all the things you are fantastic at, the things that bring you passion, that generate revenue effortlessly for you, the things that you would do for free. In addition, write down all the things that are going well for you in your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

2. Then on the right side write down all the things that drain your energy, all the things that you do but would love to stop doing, all the things that you do that don’t make money for you but you end up doing them anyway it seems. Also list all the ways that you sabotage your health, your relationships, wellbeing, and self care on this side of the paper.

3. Now I want you to spend some time to study the left side of the paper to figure out how to incorporate the things you love and that will bring you optimal health, joy and wellbeing in your life. Your goal is going to be to focus 80% of your time on the things you love doing, bring you joy, vitality and vibrant health and mental clarity — and to eliminate, delegate and outsource all those things in your life that you don’t like doing and are sabotaging your optimal health and wellbeing.

4. The final step is to take the time now, with your team to have them create systems for every single thing that they are doing for you and to document these all in a manual. This way if anyone on your team leaves, you still have all the steps, contacts, passwords and files, so the next person can step right in and take over for them. This will give you peace of mind and will increase your time, energy and money!
Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Life and Legacy Coach™, and founder of the Six Pillars of Awakened Prosperity System™, the proven step-by-step process that shows you exactly how to create wealth, make a difference and live the life you love.  To get your F.R.E.E. Video Course and receive her weekly money, mindset and manifesting articles on attracting more wealth, joy and ease into your life, visit www.smartwomencoaching.com

by Beth Wonson on September 21st, 2015

Stories play a powerful role in our lives. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are the most impactful. Positive stories can help us launch dreams, achieve our goals and propel us to the next level. Negative stories can do quite the opposite. And most significantly, negative stories can create disconnection from others.When working with individuals and teams, the following types of negative stories may their ugly heads.

Do you notice anything familiar – from you or from those around you?
 
Types of Negative Stories
Victim Stories – “I would have been on time but my ride over slept.” “They don’t appreciate a person with my attention to detail”.  For the victim, other people do bad, stupid or mean things and the victim suffers as a result. “It’s not my fault” is the victim’s mantra.

The victim complains to everyone except to the person who actually has the ability to address their concern. And the victim always seems to omit the role that they played in the issue. This allows them to continue being the hapless victim.

Villain Stories – “I didn’t get a pay increase because you are a jerk. It is all your fault”.  “I’m not sloppy.  You are a control freak”.  “I can’t believe that bonehead gave me bad materials – again!”

Victims exaggerate their own innocence. Villain storytellers overemphasize the guilt of others. And they like to warn everyone else of the villain’s bad qualities.

People who rely on villain stories tend to stay very stuck because after all, look at who they are constantly dealing with – villains!

Helpless Stories – “There is nothing else I can do!” “I’m not telling anyone the printer isn’t working properly. They wouldn’t fix it anyway. There’s nothing I can do.”  “My neighbor’s dog barks until 1:00 a.m. every night!”  Did you tell them? “No, they are jerks. They won’t do anything. So I don’t sleep.”

Victim and villain stories look backward to explain behavior, while helpless stories look forward to explain why we can’t do anything to change our situation. We are powerless. Helpless stories allow us to suffer in silence.

Do you see yourself or anyone else you know in any of these examples? We all slip into a negative story at one time or another. But some people live there.
 
Why Do We Use Negative Stories?
Negative stories serve many purposes.

To get us off the hook and create convenient excuses.
To avoid admitting that we have acted against our own sense of what is the right thing to do.
We know we could have helped someone and didn’t.
We know we should apologize but don’t.
We said yes to something we wanted to say no to (or vice versa).
We become defensive during feedback even though we know we should have listened because it was valuable.
 
How to Engage with a Negative Story
When someone is in an endless cycle of negative story telling, gently inquire about his or her story.

Victim Stories – Check in about their role in the issue with clarifying, thought provoking questions such as “Hmmm. I’m curious what you might have been able to do differently in regard to getting to work on time. What are your thoughts?” Or “What might you do differently?” Or guiding them toward talking directly with the person they are blaming “How might you share your frustration directly with your boss?”

Villain Stories – If the storyteller identifies you as the villain, you may get defensive– not around the issue, but around the accusation. The storyteller frequently has responsibility in the issue that they aren’t bringing forward. Check in with the storyteller around what they could have done differently. “That doesn’t sound like Bob. He has always been a pretty fair guy when it comes to raises. What might you have done differently?” Or “What am I missing here? That sure doesn’t sound like Bob.”

Helpless Stories – For me personally, the helpless stories are the hardest to hear. As a manager, sometimes this person needs to learn or relearn how to structure a plan to get things accomplished, solve problems or move forward. Take a serious look at how you interact with the helpless employee, friend or family member. Are you someone who jumps in and solves the issue or gets it done for them because you are a “fixer”? That behavior doesn’t move the person forward. When you hear the helpless story, resist the urge to solve it and instead ask what they recommend to solve the problem and then tell them to get back to you and let you know how it went.

Negative stories show up most frequently as the precursor to challenging dialogue that goes badly. The stories are used to avoid having hard conversations. I invite you to spend time as an observer. Be on the lookout for the use of negative stories (by yourself and by others) so that you can learn to spot them. Help others see them in themselves by sharing an anecdote about a time when you used negative stories to deflect attention from an issue, or to let yourself off the hook.
​Have you had to work with that person who is too valuable to fire but whose communication and leadership style continually make others cringe and put the company at risk? Beth Wonson’s unique combination of experience as a business leader, a non-profit leader and 20 years consulting on team development, organizational change and coaching leaders, make her the go to person for transforming personnel liabilities into personnel assets.

“In my experience, no one truly wants to be the company bully, they just aren’t self-aware enough climb out of it. Their increasing isolation causes more and more drama within the organization. Human Resource staff feel powerless and over time, team members and colleagues choose to leave the organization. The remedy is simply to get this person the right coach. The coach who knows how to  give them the hard feedback and will stand in the fire with them through the change process”. Wonson’s unique methodology combines brain-based research, experiential education and coaching to engage and empower individuals and teams to overcome perceived barriers and gain success. 

She and her team work with businesses, non-profits and individuals across the United States. www.bethwonson.com

by Katana Abbott on September 17th, 2015

Remember Aunt Bee on The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D.? How old do you think Aunt Bee was when she started on the show? She was just 58! I’ll bet you guessed older than that, right?

You’ve probably heard that 60 is the new 40 and I agree. Most women today are taking much better care of themselves. Many are more active and most plan to stay engaged in some form of work during their entire lifetime.

Over the last 30 years, I have worked personally with hundreds of couples and individuals helping them design the perfect retirement plan both personally, professionally and financially. Here is the secret to a successful retirement. It must incorporate three parts: Health, Wealth and Happiness. This is true prosperity. You really want all three. If any of them are missing, you’ll be in trouble.

I remember, 10 years ago, when I was raising my daughters and working full time. I did not make time for myself and it cost me my health and was part of the reason I retired at 47. Today, 10 years later, I have reinvented midlife and health comes first. I am healthier and more active today than I was then…and I am certainly happier and wealthier.

Last week, I was talking to a dear friend of mine who is also a financial advisor and because she too has been in the industry for almost 30 years now, her clients are aging. During our conversation, she shared with me that she was so depressed because she had seen three different clients the day before and two of them had cried during the meeting because even though they had all this money, they could no longer enjoy it because of their failing health. The other was distressed because she too had all this money but no one to enjoy it with.

So my suggestion is at Midlife — self-care comes first. My personal trainer says that you can improve your health and strength up until the time you are 70. but after that, you can only maintain. So his suggestion is to start taking care of yourself and become your best today. Then you can take your 70s into your 90s.

Ernestine Shepherd is a great example of this. She was out of shape at 57 and began to work out. Now at 75, she is a personal trainer, model and competitive body builder and happier and more fulfilled than she’s ever been in her life. She’s actually in the Guinness World Record as Oldest Female Body Builder.

Of course you don’t need to be a body builder to be healthy, but when planning out your goals for your life, I like to prioritize this way: Self, Family and Friends and then Work or Money.

Exercise:

Envision your ideal life three years from now? What would have to be happening for you to be happy, healthy and wealthy — meaning you have more than enough? What would you life look like? Now take out a piece of paper and write this out for yourself in this order:

Step 1: Your Mind, Body and Spirit (all about YOU)
• I am riding my bike daily in nature and feel fantastic
• Healthy food tastes delicious and my body is strong and lean
• I have a daily mindfulness practice and feel at peace
• I get lots of sleep and look 10 years younger than my age

Step 2: Family, Friends and Fun (with others)
• I travel several times a year to amazing places with interesting friends
• I have season tickets to the opera and symphony
• My daughters and I have an amazing time together and they are doing so great!
• My sex life is awesome (thank you Dr. Keesha!) and I’ve been married 33 years now

Step 3: Money, Career and Legacy
• We have more than enough and I feel safe and secure about the future
• I wake up every day in a state of joy knowing I am making a difference while having the time of my life doing what I love
• I am a NYT #1 bestselling author
• Money flows to me effortlessly in expected and unexpected ways.

Now create your own and print it out. You can make a vision board, read it daily, meditate on it. But keep it where you can see it. I also have a check list called my Perfect Life Practice where I list all the tasks or activities that need to be done to make sure I am on track with my Perfect Life Vision. Then each day, I check off everything that I did. It helps me stay focused on what’s important in my life, my dreams and my legacy.

So remember at Midlife – self-care comes first.
Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Life and Legacy Coach™, and founder of the Six Pillars of Awakened Prosperity System™, the proven step-by-step process that shows you exactly how to create wealth, make a difference and live the life you love.  To get your F.R.E.E. Video Course and receive her weekly money, mindset and manifesting articles on attracting more wealth, joy and ease into your life, visit www.smartwomencoaching.com

by Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino on September 15th, 2015

We would probably love to hear the word YES instead of NO, right?  Well a few weeks ago, with all the power of positive yes-thinking behind it, I went to Mike Robbins' website and lobbed in a contact request to see if, on extremely short notice, he could kick off the 2015-2016 season of The Best Ever You Show.

He said YES :)

Hope you will listen and share our show:
Mike Robbins Nothing Changes Until You Do

The show is also on iTunes.

Much Love,
Elizabeth
 

More About Mike Robbins

Mike is ​an expert in teamwork, leadership, and emotional intelligence, Mike delivers keynotes and seminars that empower people, teams, and organizations to work together effectively and be more successful. He has inspired tens of thousands of people around the world to reach new levels of awareness and productivity, both personally and professionally. Through his speeches, seminars, and writing, Mike teaches people important techniques that allow them to be more grateful, appreciative, and authentic with others and themselves.

He has been featured on ABC News, the Oprah radio network, in Forbes, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and many others. Since 2008 he has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Mike is the host of his own radio show, “Nothing Changes Until You Do,” on Hay House Radio.

Prior to his speaking, writing, and consulting career, Mike was drafted by the New York Yankees out of high school. He turned the Yankees down and instead chose to play baseball at Stanford University, where he pitched in the College World Series. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals out of Stanford and played three seasons of professional baseball with the Royals organization before arm injuries ended his playing career while still in the minor leagues.

After his athletic career was cut short by injuries, Mike worked in sales and business development for two Internet start-ups. When the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 and he was laid off, it allowed him to follow a deeper passion – empowering and inspiring people – and opened the door for him to start working full time as a speaker, author, and coach.

In addition to earning a degree from Stanford in American Studies with a specialization in race and ethnicity, Mike has continued to educate himself. He has extensively studied many disciplines of both personal and professional development, and received training from the Coaches Training Institute.
​Mike and his family have partnered with a great organization called Change Heroes to put this campaign together. It’s a simple and powerful crowd-funding campaign that allows a group of us to contribute a relatively small amount of money, and collectively do something pretty special – build a school for a community that really needs it. See: ​http://mike-robbins.com/school/
For More Info: Mike-Robbins.com

by Susan Ford Collins on September 11th, 2015

Like driving, relating has gear-like phases. To move ahead smoothly together, we need to learn to sense when each gear is needed. If we fail to do so, our relationship will stall or, worse yet, come to a screeching halt which, sadly, can devastate lives and careers.

Relationships start in 1st Gear: We begin slowly getting to know each other; spending leisurely hours to learn what we each like and don’t like; what we each want and don’t want so that hopefully we can become good friends, or even mates. We’re eager to spend time together, to experience things together and dream about future possibilities. For months we’ve been so obsessed with each other that “the regulars” in our lives, the people we usually socialize with, have called and left messages to see if they did something to upset us, if we’ve moved out of town or fallen off the planet. Where exactly have we been? We’ve been in the preoccupying, all-absorbing, all-time-consuming 1st Gear of a Relationship! (Thankfully relationships don’t stay in 1st Gear all the time. We’d never get anything else done.)

Once committed, we shift into 2nd Gear, de-focus on each other and re-focus on the rest of our lives… projects, deadlines, promotions, appraisals, bonuses. We make time to straighten our homes, and reconnect with friends. Productive and competitive again, we work long and hard to plan our wedding and pay for it, to rent an apartment or buy a home and furnish it, to move in together, to plan for children, fund IRAs or 401Ks, buy stocks and put away money for our life together. 

We’re accomplishing so much together! Or are we? No, now we’re accomplishing more and more apart… taking care of our new home, maybe raising our family, taking on greater responsibilities at work and in our communities, dropping kids off and picking them up from daycare and school, babysitting for each other so we can attend meetings or take clients out to dinner separately, developing new friends in new circles. We’re doing more and more separately so we have less and less in common. Division of labor is what we call it but loneliness is what it feels like from time to time. And what about our plans and dreams, the unique contributions we want to make? There’s no time or energy left for them now. Increasing pressure, longer hours, arguments, disappointments, heartache and blame… until we reach a pivotal point… the choice to shift to 3rd Gear  - creativity and renewal together, or not!

Do we still love each other? Should we stay together? Or should we part ways and find someone we’ll have more in common with now? (Ironic, isn’t it… all relationships shift up and down through the same three gears. So if we start in 1st Gear again with someone new, sooner or later we’ll end up in high 2nd Gear in that relationship too - at the same decision point.

Here are the questions we need to ask ourselves:
Do we begrudgingly stay together and move into anger and disappointment?
Do we divorce and start over again with someone new?
Or do we shift into 3rd Gear together and find solutions?
Honey, we love each other dearly, what can we do to re-create our relationship?
To make time to talk for hours again like “the good ole days”, to get to know each other again, to plan and dream again.
Can we find a regular sitter and set up a date night?
Or take a class or start a project we can enjoy and share?

A quick review of the gears:

1st Gear is for starting to learn about each other.

2nd Gear is for getting things done, for making money and being productive.

3rd Gear is for dreaming, for creating and innovating, for renewing, redreaming and recreating.

Yes, from time to time we’ll be in the same gear at the same time… learning together, producing together, or creating together. But sometimes we won’t and there will be Mis-Gear-Matches, or Upsets. It’s essential for us to not only recognize which gear we’re in, but which gear our partner is in too. Now that we know more about the Three Gears of a Relationship and when each is needed, it’s time for us to begin shifting up and down, at the right time, so we can have more fun and romance!


About Susan Ford Collins

Susan Ford Collins is a sought-after speaker, trainer, and the founder of The Technology of Success. She began her career as a young researcher at the National Institutes of Health with a radical idea: to focus her research on healthy, highly successful people (HSPs) rather than dysfunctional ones. With more than two decades studying HSPs and two additional decades working with them, she now shares what she has learned about leadership and management. Susan and her husband live happily in their tropical Miami home, surrounded by lush gardens, koi ponds and an indoor/outdoor aviary filled with exotic finches.

The Technology of Success book series includes:
The Joy of Success: 10 Essential Skills for Getting the Success You Want, [New edition, Greenleaf Book Group Press, October 20, 2015]

Success Has Gears: Using the Right Gear at the Right Time in Business & Life, [2014]

Our Children Are Watching: 10 Skills for Leading the Next Generation to Success, [2014]

Find Susan at www.technologyofsuccess.com

by Beth Wonson on September 8th, 2015

The term battle royale comes from ancient Rome when two gladiators would fight until only one was left standing. Luckily we have evolved past such unproductive ways of being. Or have we?

If you work in an office, are involved in a community group or have a family, you’ve experienced a modern day battle royale. It’s where two people have locked horns over something (usually no one can exactly remember what it was about) and in typical gladiator fashion, are willing to hold their position until all is lost.

But unlike the king’s gladiators, we have a choice about what we are willing to sacrifice in order to be right. I can hear you thinking “But I wasn’t wrong and I’m not apologizing for what I didn’t do!” Okay. I’m not asking you to do that! But stay with me and let’s break it down.

Likely the original incident was long ago. Am I right? It probably wasn’t so much an incident, as something subtle. Maybe a rule was broken, a mistake happened, something concrete was lost, or an invite wasn’t extended, but now it has gone from misunderstanding and hard feelings to a battle royale, then feelings were hurt. Because it takes at least two to have this level of on-going, sustainable conflict, both people somehow felt not heard, not respected, not appreciated, not loved, not seen or not remembered. It is that pain and hurt, shame and humiliation, sadness and grief that keep the fire of the battle raging.

You’d be a unique human being if you haven’t experienced this situation. It is the hurt that needs to heal and it is an illusion that if the enemy falls on their sword, begs forgiveness and/or removes themselves from your life, you will feel better. The pain has to be healed by each of us – within ourselves first! Honest.

I was hired by a company* where two key people had long ago had a falling out. No one in leadership was quite sure how it started, but it was causing a disruption within the organization. Both employees were valued and so leadership was willing to try coaching as a way to remedy the situation.

After confidential interviews with everyone in the department (not directly focused on the incident or the two people – but focused on the stress), I could see that the fall out was impacting everyone. Publicly they were business like and polite, but the elephant in the room was making everyone uncomfortable, distracted and tense.

After a few one-to-one coaching sessions one of the parties said to me, “Everything is going well except I’m waiting for _________to say she is sorry. Then everything will be perfect again.”

This was my opening. The tiny sliver into which I could insert some suggestions that would facilitate change through self-awareness.

I asked her to think back to the original situation. “What do you wish you had done differently in that moment? No matter how tiny or insignificant, what do you regret or feel badly about?”

She considered for a few moments and through some coaching dialogue and clarifying questions, I was able to guide her back to a tiny step she took that she didn’t feel that great about. Maybe even a little ashamed. Or guilty. Where she had let HERSELF down.

And I asked her, “Can you forgive yourself for that?”

For a fleeting moment she looked at me like I was crazy (not the first time) and then her face softened. “Practice for a minute, silently if you wish, apologizing to yourself for letting yourself down. Feel the loss and sadness and disappointment as a result of that moment”.

All the years of holding her gladiator stance came tumbling down. The release of soft tears, the softening of her heart and opening to possibilities were visible.

As we closed the session, I offered a suggestion for consideration. “Consider if you would want to communicate that tiny regret to your colleague? You don’t have to apologize for or take ownership of all of it, but just that regret?”

She said she’d consider that and within a few days she shared she had done so. And within a few more days her colleague had followed her modeling and done the same. The relationship has slowly and gently progressed into a highly effective working relationship. And since that time I’ve coached countless others (maybe even you) to utilize this same practice.

Clearing out our internal gladiators takes a willingness to look inside instead of at our opponent – but what develops from that momentary discomfort is well worth it!

Do you see yourself in this example? That is because we are all human and this type situation comes up in every setting I work. While the strategy is the same, the situation is a compilation of several stories.*

 
​Have you had to work with that person who is too valuable to fire but whose communication and leadership style continually make others cringe and put the company at risk? Beth Wonson’s unique combination of experience as a business leader, a non-profit leader and 20 years consulting on team development, organizational change and coaching leaders, make her the go to person for transforming personnel liabilities into personnel assets.

“In my experience, no one truly wants to be the company bully, they just aren’t self-aware enough climb out of it. Their increasing isolation causes more and more drama within the organization. Human Resource staff feel powerless and over time, team members and colleagues choose to leave the organization. The remedy is simply to get this person the right coach. The coach who knows how to  give them the hard feedback and will stand in the fire with them through the change process”. Wonson’s unique methodology combines brain-based research, experiential education and coaching to engage and empower individuals and teams to overcome perceived barriers and gain success. 

She and her team work with businesses, non-profits and individuals across the United States. www.bethwonson.com

by Katana Abbott on September 1st, 2015

You’re not alone if you are one of the 80,000 Baby Boomers who is approaching or currently in retirement and looking for a way to generate income to supplement your savings, Social Security, and pension.

Many of the women I work with are looking for a way to generate this income by starting some sort of business that will allow them to leverage their unique abilities and talents as well as give them the freedom to travel, take care of themselves and give back.

I believe for most, the new retirement solution will be a combination of work, fun, learning, and giving back.

Before quitting your job, taking an early retirement to start a business in retirement, there are three steps I recommend you take:

Step #1: See where you stand financially by creating a financial plan. Yes, this means meeting with a financial planner who can help you take a peek at what you want to do before you do it. A financial planner can help you look at your current income, expenses, debt, investments, insurance and company and government benefits to help you see alternate scenarios before you take a leap.

  • -Examples could be downsizing, working part time, how working longer affects pensions and Social Security, even moving overseas where costs are much lower. BTW, I’ll be interviewing Kathleen Peddicord of Live and Invest Overseas about doing just this.
  • -In fact, reducing your expenses just $10,000 per year during retirement can have the net effect of $250,000, because at 4% it would take an additional $250,000 to generate that $10,000 over a 30 year period.
  • -Doing a financial plan can also tell you how much income you need to generate from a business to cover your income shortage.

Step #2: Create a formal business plan. Take some time to work with a business coach or your CPA to help you create your business plan, identify what type of business you want to create, how you would generate revenue, programs, products, services and the key players you will need in the business. There is a lot more to this, including branding, marketing and outsourcing, but the key here is to plan before you leap.

  • -One mistake I see people make is to retire thinking they can start a business which will give them freedom and income, only to find themselves overwhelmed, losing money and wondering what they got themselves into.
  • -You can keep your business model very simple by doing the planning before you put your shingle out.

Step #3: Assess your strengths and weaknesses by understanding the concept of Front Stage/Back Stage

How many business owners start a business looking for freedom only to end up as the “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” vs. thriving by focusing on their unique abilities in a team where others are doing the same?

  • -Example of Front Stage: Someone who is a “Front Stage” person could work for a CPA firm, but would not be happy behind a computer working with numbers. In fact, a “Front Stage” person would be terrible at it. “Front Stage” people flourish by growing the firm, developing relationships with new clients and strategic partners, and problem solving, but they would want to hand-off the details to their team of “Back Stage” folks. Neither is better than the other — they both play very different and important roles. You can be an engineer, CPA, consultant, graphic designer, yoga teacher, and be in either one of these roles.
  • -Example of Back Stage: A young lady who worked for me a few years ago had an engineering degree from U of M, with a specialization in accounting and got a job as a financial planner after graduating. She passed all her exams and loved working on the financial analysis. She thought she had found a career she loved until she was told that it was now time to get on the phone and find clients. She ended up leaving the career feeling like a failure. This is sad, yet it happens so often.

I immediately saw she was a “Back Stage” person and helped her get a job doing administrative work for a local CPA firm. She is now thriving managing the details for the lead CPAs in the firm.

So here is the key, to truly enjoy your “retirement lifestyle” will working in your new “retirement business” you will want to get crystal clear about what you should be focusing on, what you want to delegate and outsource and who you’ll need on your team.

And remember, just because you are the owner doesn’t mean you need to be front stage. You could be the owner and do the technical or managerial tasks, while partnering, delegating or outsourcing your marketing and front stage work.

In addition, your team can be virtual. My Virtual Assistant, Tara, lives across the county and takes care of all the detail work so I can do all the creative, big picture, and connecting with others.

My biz partner, Chris, makes everything better and is fabulous at graphic design. I also have a book editor and marketing expert who lives in North Carolina. We all have specific skills and work together great as a team.

Without my team, I would be overwhelmed and unable to implement. With my team, most systems, like the radio show for example, run totally without me. This way, I can travel, create, connect and lead which is what I love and do best.

Online Assessment and Consultation:

Want to know what you should be focusing on and what you do best? I suggest you start with an assessment.

One of my favorite assessments for identifying your key strengths or roles you should focus on in business as well as who you will need on your team is called Wealth Dynamics. The assessment is not free — it runs $97, but I believe it’s worth every penny.

You can visit the main website to learn more. They even have a nine-minute video that describes the process. When you take the assessment, you receive a very detailed 32 page assessment. Again, here is the link to check out the Wealth Dynamics assessment.

If you take the Wealth Dynamics assessment and want to review it with me, I am offering a limited time 30-minute complimentary Breakthrough Coaching Session which is a $200 value. During this call, we will talk about your business idea, what role you should play, and who you need on your team to thrive. Just visit www.TalkWithKatana.com and you’ll be taken to my online calendar when you can pick a time to chat!

​Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Life and Legacy Coach™, and founder of the Six Pillars of Awakened Prosperity System™, the proven step-by-step process that shows you exactly how to create wealth, make a difference and live the life you love.  To get your F.R.E.E. Video Course and receive her weekly money, mindset and manifesting articles on attracting more wealth, joy and ease into your life, visit www.midlifemillionairesecrets.com

by Barbara Slaine on August 28th, 2015

Whether we are holistically inclined or not, whether we have a knowledge and acceptance of alternative modalities or not, having a great MD on hand is always important.

But what should we look for in a doctor? What makes an MD exceptional? While medical school provides doctors with fundamental knowledge, it is a variety of qualities, many of which are not taught in medical school, the separate great doctors from the rest.

Open Mindedness
If your doctor is not open to or curious about the effectiveness of alternative modalities, he is not the doctor for you. The second you hear a doctor say, do it my way and you will be cured, you know his ego has run amok and you should run for the hills. I have found that ego is one of the major culprits in medical mistreatment. Especially if a doctor has a specialty or is researching in a certain area, he may tend to ignore the bigger picture.

Curiosity
Your doctor should be open and constantly learning and seeking. Yes, they are busy, and yes, they are educated. But as in any field, there are always new discoveries and options – yes options. Many times they are not in the mainstream yet but are proving to be effective, and many times they are unfortunately not covered by insurance BUT this is your life we are talking about. Bottom line your doctor should have a curiosity about all the new discoveries and modalities.

Empathy and Sincerity 
We are all different. Our environmental stressors, backgrounds, the causes of our particular disorders differ, and only when your doctor takes the time to get to know you is he able to treat you as such. Your MD should see you as a unique individual and diagnose and treat you to meet your specific needs. We are each an intricate symphony of mind-body-soul that needs to be honored.

Ego and Tolerance 
Your doctor should be patient with your questions and not make you feel less than in any way. This is a working relationship which can only work when both people are communicating as equals and with respect. Your doctor should be open to all your questions. He or she should encourage you if you want a second opinion, not be threatened or make you feel ashamed. If your MD sets himself on a pedestal, run.

Slow to Pull Out the Rx Pad
Your MD should look for root causes of your issues so that while a medication might be needed, he or she sets you on the road to true wellness by suggesting modalities that are more user friendly to your body. The doctor understands that true wellness is empowering.
Additionally if your MD writes a script because you ask and it is easier, well you are hurting yourself. Integrity, humility, conscientiousness, discernment and openness are qualities in your doctor that will end up serving you. Remember he or he is human and as we know many doctors have made many mistakes.

We are ultimately responsible for our own your health. Check out your options and empower yourself. Here is to YOUR health.
 

About Barbara Slaine

​Holistic Nutritionist, German New Medicine Practitioner and Alkaline Coach, Barbara Slaine is the founding director of The Liphe Balance Center in Weston, Connecticut, and the creator of the free online healing resource, www.MyHealingRooms.com.

by Dr. Ivan Misner on August 27th, 2015













​Over my career, I have observed people with different personalities, backgrounds, and behavioral styles achieve success in life. Many times I wondered if there was a reoccurring theme running through their success stories that would clearly illustrate what creates success.

When I was interviewing average business owners and entrepreneurs for my book, Masters of Success, I asked thousands of them what they felt the “secret” to success was. They generally told me things like: vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems.

I then asked many highly successful people who had obtained great wealth or personal success in business, sports, or science. They generally told me that success involved things like: vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems. Sound familiar?

This made me very curious. So much so that while I was teaching at a state university in the Los Angeles area, I asked hundreds of college students what they thought was the secret to success. These were all undergraduate students in business with little or no real-world business experience. What I found amazing was that they also said success involved things like: vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems!

Everyone I interviewed or wrote about regarding the secret to success – from Buzz Aldrin to Erin Brockovich, from average businesspeople to undergraduate college students – gave me virtually the same answer. So if we all know what it takes to be successful, why is it that we aren’t all as successful as we’d like to be?

I have found that many people are looking for some mysterious and ever-elusive secret to success beyond what they already sense to be important. The truth is, there is no great mystery. In fact, very often “success is simply the uncommon application of common knowledge.”

When you hear successful people talk about the secret of their success, have you noticed that you rarely hear any real secret? What you do hear about is their unwavering adherence to some system or approach they believed in and followed with intensity and determination — an uncommon focus on something that less successful people simply take for granted or pay lip service to.

Successful people focus on the goal and work through or around everything else. In sports, this is called “keeping your eye on the ball.” They do this with a passion and a vision – and they do it with persistence.

Even when the ideas are simple and easy to understand, they often don’t get implemented, because people think there must be something more. After I presented a keynote speech in Sweden a while back, a woman in the audience came up to me and said, “Everything you said makes so much sense. Much of it was about things that I’ve heard were important to do, but I never did them because they seemed too simple. I thought there had to be more to it than that, that the road to success was much more complicated and daunting. So I wasted valuable time looking for some secret.” Then she said, “I don’t understand why people often find it easy to make things so difficult. Myself included.”

Success comes to those who have not only a passion and a vision, but who also have a persistence and a commitment to perform the fundamentals over and over, continuing to work and learn until they can perform these fundamentals flawlessly. In the end, success is not about being different or having secret knowledge. In the end, everybody knows what the goal is and how to achieve it. This is common knowledge, and it’s been around for a long, long time. Success is about knowing these things and having the will to go after them without giving up, making excuses, or getting sidetracked. Success is about the uncommon application of common knowledge.
​Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author. He is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of BNI (www.bni.com), the world’s largest business networking organization. His books can be can be viewed at www.IvanMisner.com. Dr. Misner is also the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company (www.referralinstitute.com).

by Beth Wonson on August 26th, 2015

I often get called to help deal with “that person”. You know who I mean. The employee who’s too valuable to terminate, but they have annoying patterns of behavior that cause drama and take up valuable time. Now, for some reason, it has reached the crisis point. And they have become “that person”.

Recently I was working with a manager on giving feedback to “that person”. I listened to the manager and her supervisor (who now was at the end of his rope as well) share how this situation has been building for a few years. How the employee’s constant striving to be noticed is actually holding him back professionally and socially within the team. How his behavior has yet again escalated and peers are starting to gripe about feeling uncomfortable and distracted.  And how drained and tired the manager is in being forced to deal with a situation where she doesn’t see a performance problem, she just wishes the employee could “behave appropriately” so everyone could “get the work done”.

Then she said the phrase that cuts right to the root of the problem. “I don’t want this to be uncomfortable”.

What she is really saying is, “I’ve been this person. It feels yucky. I don’t want to be the one creating yuck. Because that feels yucky to me”.

The honest truth is, we’ve all been in this position. When we have a pattern or behavior that makes others uncomfortable, it is distracting and unbeknownst to us, is actually holding us back. And because we all can relate to this experience, we don’t particularly want to create situations where we are bringing these feelings up. Because it feels yucky. So we do one of three things:

Ignore the behaviors (and sometimes the person) and hope they get the hint.Make jokes about it or casually drop hints and hope they pick up on it.Wait until it is to the breaking point and lash out publically with more anger and energy than is warranted.

Why? Because we are human. Because we care about people. And because we want to avoid feeling yucky and inflicting yuck on others. But avoiding the yucky feeling actually causes more yucky feelings, drama and generally no real change or resolution.

Here’s the truth. Most of us don’t like to give hard feedback because we project how we believe we would feel onto the other person. 

Can you remember a time when you got some really hard but life changing feedback? How did you feel initially? I bet you felt kind of yucky. Maybe caught unaware?

But how long did that yucky feeling last? And what did you learn? What did you see that you didn’t see before? And what opportunity was created through this new awareness? What is different for you now?

Through years of this work, I’ve learned that most people don’t want to be “that person”. I’ve also learned that when there are persistent behaviors that hold people back, it is generally because they never had anyone who was willing to step up and tell them frankly, but empathetically, what behaviors aren’t appropriate. Someone who will not judge them while they feel the “yuck” and support them as they make changes.

As long as we are living, breathing and interacting with other humans, we are on a growth trajectory meaning we are always at risk of being “that person”. Every promotion, every new relationship, every new project and every new team presents us with opportunities to be that person.
 
As leaders, managers, supervisors, parents, partners and friends, we need to become more okay with giving and receiving feedback.

Here’s how:

One: It isn’t your job to manage both sides of the feedback relationship. If you are honest, empathetic, direct and clear with feedback and the other person feels some discomfort, that’s okay. You don’t have to make them feel better. In fact, growth and change are born out of discomfort. When you try to set things up so no one (you or the other person) feels any discomfort, you are actually enabling the problem to continue and you are holding the person back.

Two:  Create Connection. Remember a time when you were a child, or you were with a child, preparing to cross the street. The child, maybe about age four or five, started to step off the curb while a car was coming. You jerked their hand quickly and firmly and said, “Stop!”

To allow them to continue and hope they’d get the hint when the car hit them would have been irresponsible. It is the same when staff is behaving in ways that are inappropriate. Don’t hope they get the hint. Deal with it immediately and frankly.

Three:  Give feedback privately. Enough said.

Four:    Be empathetic and vulnerable. Incorporate a story about how you learned a lesson through feedback. This creates connection.

Five:     Seek understanding through clarity. Ask them to summarize what they heard you say. Emphasize their value to the organizations. And clarify anything that was heard incorrectly.

Six:    Grace is in the space. Give them time to reflect and process. Don’t ask “Are we okay?” immediately after giving feedback. That is your desire to get rid of the yuck. Send an email with a synopsis of the feedback, the action steps to change and a reinforcement of the positive. Let them know when you will check back in (within a day or two) and be sure to do so!

Seven:  Notice! Notice when they are trying to make change. Give subtle, frequent, positive feedback.

The more you give feedback, the more comfortable you’ll get with it. Giving feedback frequently and early is the only way to take the drama, stress and just plain yuck out of it. You will probably even get to the point where people look forward to your feedback because it means they are seen, heard, valued and moving forward!
​Have you had to work with that person who is too valuable to fire but whose communication and leadership style continually make others cringe and put the company at risk? Beth Wonson’s unique combination of experience as a business leader, a non-profit leader and 20 years consulting on team development, organizational change and coaching leaders, make her the go to person for transforming personnel liabilities into personnel assets.

“In my experience, no one truly wants to be the company bully, they just aren’t self-aware enough climb out of it. Their increasing isolation causes more and more drama within the organization. Human Resource staff feel powerless and over time, team members and colleagues choose to leave the organization. The remedy is simply to get this person the right coach. The coach who knows how to  give them the hard feedback and will stand in the fire with them through the change process”. Wonson’s unique methodology combines brain-based research, experiential education and coaching to engage and empower individuals and teams to overcome perceived barriers and gain success.
 
She and her team work with businesses, non-profits and individuals across the United States. www.bethwonson.com

by Katana Abbott on August 17th, 2015

Have you ever said to yourself, “If only I could go back and change this one thing, my life would have been so different?” You can fill in the blank.

What if you were supposed to have that experience as part of your soul journey and no matter how hard you may have tried, it was inevitable that it was going to happen…almost like a contract you made with yourself or another person. Think about this for a moment.

This is one of my favorite quotes:

“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” ~ Victoria Holt

Besides…it’s always perfect…the good and the bad. Have you ever noticed that when you are in the thick of things, feeling overwhelmed yet when you look back, it’s almost like a dream?

They say, “Time heals all wounds” and that’s why when you look back at a negative experience and look for the gift in the situation, the whole experience can take on new meaning. But there are those few instances that are really stubborn. The worst one is Regret. You really want to learn how to release this one because it will suck the life out of you and attract only more sorrow, self pity and resentment.

I’m a contributing author in a book called, Thank God I, and my chapter is Thank God My Father Died when I was six and I was Abused. In the chapter, I write about the experience of losing my dad and then growing up with an abusive step-father for 9 years, followed by an abusive husband at just 19. Yes, we often go back to the familiar.

Although this experience was so terrible that I would never want to live through it again, I was able to find the gift and to forgive my parents for abandoning me…and my abusers. I did the work through a remarkable weekend program, and when I did it was like a huge weight was lifted out of my body.

For a big part of my life, I carried this regret and resentment around and it simply sucked the life out of me. It wasn’t until I did the work to forgive and to release and find the gift, that I was able to make room for a totally new life…and it happened rather fast. I now have an amazing life.

Now that I look back, I can see the hand of God or Source at work…with all kinds of synchronistic events. There is not time today to walk you through the magic that happened, but I’ve written about it and it was magical.

Remember, what we focus on expands, so here are three tips to keep you in joy:
1. Focus on what you want.
2. Release what is no longer serving you.
3. And find the gift in adversity.

Such simple tips…yet they work beautifully!
​Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Life and Legacy Coach™, and founder of the Six Pillars of Awakened Prosperity System™, the proven step-by-step process that shows you exactly how to create wealth, make a difference and live the life you love.  To get your F.R.E.E. Video Course and receive her weekly money, mindset and manifesting articles on attracting more wealth, joy and ease into your life, visit www.midlifemillionairesecrets.com

by Beth Wonson on August 5th, 2015

I run up against anger in all aspects of my life. I see it in my work, in my family, in my community and most dauntingly – in myself.

As I hear participant’s stories in my Navigating Challenging Dialogue workshops, I am reaffirmed that anger:

a) Doesn’t have the impact on others we were hoping it would.
b) Is not really representative of what we are feeling.
c) Provides only momentary relief and usually leaves us feeling yucky about ourselves.
d) Is a tool.

“A tool?” you ask. Yes, anger is a tool. We use it to convey that we are disappointed. We use it to convey that we were wronged. We use it to establish, or hold, a boundary. We use it to justify revenge. We use it to release ourselves from the energy of the underlying bad feelings.

I’m just not sure it is the most effective tool for achieving these goals. Anger is like using a power nail gun to hang a small picture, when a tack hammer would have done the job. Instead of tapping one small nail that can easily be removed, moved, or patched over, the power nail gun fiercely sets many nails at once. The nails are driven deep into the wall – deeper than needed. They will be hard to remove. They will require a lot of work to repair the damage to the wall. In essence the nail gun is not only ineffective for this purpose, but when inappropriately applied, it is damaging.

When we use anger to convey messages to others, it frequently yields the same outcome as using a power nail gun to set a tiny picture nail. Our message comes out fast and furious. Too many messages come out at once and many land much deeper on the other person than we intended. Sometimes the damage is permanent and at best it will take a lot of time and intention to heal not only the relationship, but also the shame and guilt that appears within ourselves. And most often, nothing can ever be repaired to anything close to its original condition.

Have you ever started a conversation with the intention of conveying your anger and before you know it you have said something about “your mama” and are storming away? Not long after, once the adrenaline rush slows, you begin to wish you had responded differently? Maybe you feel shame, guilt or embarrassment? For most of us, we want to rid ourselves of those feelings so we get back in touch with the anger – ASAP. We call a friend and rant and rave about how wronged we were. Some people call their lawyer and get the ball rolling in an “I’ll show you” kind of way. And some of the folks I work with shoot off an email to their union representative or human resource department to file a complaint about the other person. All in an effort to rid our selves of the uncomfortable feelings generated by our own use of the power nail gun. Unfortunately, like the power nail gun example, we are left with too many nails, a big mess and a lot of pain.

Now let’s talk about anger as an emotion. I’ve learned, and learned, and then learned some more (and still learn) that anger, while an intense emotion, is not a very pure emotion. What I mean is that if you look under your anger, you will always find some kind of combination of other emotions – most commonly fear, sadness, disappointment or grief.

The next time you feel anger rising to the surface, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions:
– What was I hoping would have been different? (Disappointment)
-What about this situation is making me feel vulnerable? (Out of Control)
-As a result of this situation, what am I choosing to let go of – i.e. trust, friendship, relationship, a promotion? (Grief)
-What scares me most about this situation – i.e. I’ll be seen as an ineffective leader. I will end up penniless and homeless. I will always be alone? (Fear)

In the beginning you will be tempted to focus on the other person, but the more important work is to explore the questions in the context of yourself. In other words, you may be disappointed that your staff person missed an important deadline, but are you also disappointed in yourself that you forgot to check in with them on their progress last week? Does their missing the deadline bring up fears that you are ineffective as a leader and will be fired?

Once you answer each question as thoughtfully and completely as you can, ask “what else”? And go deeper. This is where your truth is revealed.

You can be angry that your partner isn’t great with money, but the more important thing is to go under that anger and check in on how you react when you feel out of control.

When you are able to isolate the deeper feelings, and ask the most important question, “When have I felt this before?”

Explore this question multiple times, searching back and looking for repeating patterns. Look for feelings of fear, disappointment, grief or sadness you may have mistaken for righteous anger. If you realize that you have felt out of control in relationships many, many times – there maybe a pattern you want to explore within you. If you realize you are frequently disappointed that members of your team miss deadlines, you may choose to strengthen your own skills in leadership, empowerment, and holding people accountable.

As you explore these questions, you will gain insight into what is driving anger. A few months ago an appointment I had been eagerly waiting for was cancelled at the last minute due to a scheduling mix up. It wasn’t my mix up. My first reaction was to be really angry with the person who had made the mistake. I could feel anger welling up in me. When I stepped back and really looked below the anger, I realized I was disappointed. Instead of an angry response (which wouldn’t have gotten me any closer to my goal of having this meeting), I was able to say, “I’m really disappointed that this meeting is postponed”. That was my truth.

I call this creating space. When I feel my reaction boiling up (which is biological based on what happens when adrenaline is triggered through anger), I breathe. Deep breathing sends oxygen into our blood stream and brings down our heart rate and other symptoms triggered by anger. Anger can serve as the momentum to begin change. Anger is neither good nor bad. Anger manifested inward causes depression. Anger manifested outward destroys relationships and sabotages opportunities. In both instances anger masks the opportunity for growth. But anger, when recognized as a symptom of sadness, grief, fear, or disappointment, can help us get clarity on patterns, places we can grow, how we want to be treated, and how we want to treat ourselves. Anger truly can serve us.

Have you had to work with that person who is too valuable to fire but whose communication and leadership style continually make others cringe and put the company at risk? Beth Wonson’s unique combination of experience as a business leader, a non-profit leader and 20 years consulting on team development, organizational change and coaching leaders, make her the go to person for transforming personnel liabilities into personnel assets.“In my experience, no one truly wants to be the company bully, they just aren’t self-aware enough climb out of it. Their increasing isolation causes more and more drama within the organization. Human Resource staff feel powerless and over time, team members and colleagues choose to leave the organization. The remedy is simply to get this person the right coach. The coach who knows how to  give them the hard feedback and will stand in the fire with them through the change process”. Wonson’s unique methodology combines brain-based research, experiential education and coaching to engage and empower individuals and teams to overcome perceived barriers and gain success.She and her team work with businesses, non-profits and individuals across the United States. www.bethwonson.com

by Katana Abbott on July 28th, 2015

“The Secret to Successful Retirement is to Retire TO Something Not FROM Something.” – Katana Abbott

I call this concept Reinventing Midlife and with over 76 million baby boomers who will be facing retirement over the next few decades, the dream of having enough money saved to support you through the 2nd half of your life can be daunting.

According to a study by the National Institute on Retirement Security, “The average working household has virtually no retirement savings. When all households are included— not just households with retirement accounts—the median retirement account balance is $3,000 and $12,000. 

In an article by Randall Hansen, Ph.D., I think he sums up the new Retirement Solution pretty nicely when he states that, “For many, retirement will indeed no longer signal the end of working, but more so a career and lifestyle transition, where the retiree has multiple options — such as continuing to work (though perhaps at a different pace), returning to school for additional training or education, changing careers, venturing into entrepreneurship, becoming more involved in volunteer work, or simply enjoying leisure and travel possibilities — a mix of working, learning, relaxing, and trying new things. 

This is exactly what I did at age 48, when I sold my financial planning practice of 20 years to venture out to create a non-profit — Smart Women’s Empowerment — where I could teach financial literacy and entrepreneurship, to write, speak and coach others to do the same.

I remember when I first got this idea after reading a book by Zelinski called, Retire Happy Wild and Free. His concept was to retire as young as possible, to downsize one’s lifestyle and then to retire to a life of leisure. Although this may sound appealing to many, as a financial advisor, I did not find it very realistic. Instead, I thought:

• What if you could follow your passion doing something you love in retirement, make a difference and get paid, would it even be considered work anymore?

• For most, the answer is no!

Let me give you an example of three women I have worked with who have shared their stories on Smart Women Talk Radio:

• Retired marketing expert, Peggy Tabor, thought joining the Peace Corps at age 60 would allow her to experience adventure, make a huge difference and allow her retirement portfolio to grow. When she returned, she was so moved by her experience, that she told me her Social Security was now a Millionaire Lifestyle. As we were having lunch, she mentioned that she was still in awe eating the beautiful salad, with roasted salmon, and fresh water with ice cubes, after three years of having to get her water from a dirty river. She returned and pulled money from her retirement to build a well for her village.

• Retired teacher and Andria Doria Survivor, Pierette Simpson, who took early retirement to become an international author, speaker, screenwriter and documentary filmmaker.

• And like Harvard trained OBGYN, Susan Sklar, who retired from her medical practice after healing herself through holistic and functional medicine to become an anti aging physician, author, speaker and retreat leader.

The key is to have a plan, to follow a process and to have a mentor to take you through the steps of identifying your passions, your vision, your values as well as your unique abilities and challenges as well as understanding your finances so you can create wealth while living a life you love. 
Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Life and Legacy Coach™, and founder of the Six Pillars of Awakened Prosperity System™, the proven step-by-step process that shows you exactly how to create wealth, make a difference and live the life you love.  To get your F.R.E.E. Video lesson and receive her weekly money, mindset and manifesting articles on attracting more wealth, joy and ease into your life, visit www.smartwomencoaching.com and to schedule a private complementary 30 minute Discovery Session visit www.talkwithkatana.com





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