Author Archives: Jengriz

Grow A Business You Love…Discover Your Why

Part II

Discover Your Why

So what’s next?  In Part I, you thought about and reflected upon growing a business you love and what that means to you.  Maybe you even already HAVE a business you love, so what’s the next step?

Discover Your Mission

To me, it’s finding the MISSION in what you love.  The reason WHY is the gateway to digging into that mission.  The mission is the journey, the process, the challenge, and the journey you embark on to get you to that place of true love.

Let me tell you a story of what this mission meant for me.  About 2 years ago I found myself in a tough spot.  I was a new mom who was back at work after a maternity leave that seemed to fly by.  I was teaching, but I was also an entrepreneur.  I was passionate about my business, but I had hit a giant roadblock.  I was exhausted, back in a chaotic class of children I needed to teach while I somehow finding time to pump (yay breastfeeding), plan, go to meetings, cook dinner, take care of my family, and still grow my business.  No big deal, right?

Embrace What Your Heart Is Saying

I fell flat on my face.  You see, beyond just the schedule struggles, I was sad.  I was frustrated I didn’t have more time to grow my business and even more frustrated because I wanted to be with my baby boy more than anything else in the world.  I cried every day dropping him off with his babysitter.  My heart ached to watch him grow and play and never miss a moment.

This is where my mission became fully realized.  I knew I had a chance to use this newfound reason why to really dig deep.  Just like always, it wasn’t going to be easy, but I just knew what I had to do.

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

It was time to go after my dream.  I was on a mission to grow my business no matter what it took.  I stayed up late, woke up early, and used my headphones to make calls on my commute.  Whatever it took, I did it.  You know what?  That paid off.  I was able to replace my income and leave my job to fulfill my dream of being a stay at home mom!

Accept that Your Mission May Change

What changed?  I had that business before my son was born.  The MISSION changed.  The WHY behind that mission changed.  Once my vision became crystal clear and my purpose fully developed, I was able to fully commit and take action to help me grow.  The love grew deeper, the emotional ties stronger, and the commitment deeper.

Whatever you are doing in life, realizing your true purpose will help you fall even more in love.  I guarantee it!

Finding Your Why

Having trouble pin pointing your why?  I encourage you to examine your heart.  Take a long walk.  Sit with pen and paper.  Ask yourself tough questions.  What do I really want?  Why am I here?  In 50 years, will I be happy with how I’m spending my days?  What do I want my legacy to be?

You may have to ask these questions time and time again, but if you trust your heart, the answers will come and so will the mission!

Written by Susan Brown

Get Over Your Damn Self!

Romi Neustadt

Pick up your own copy of “Get Over Your Damn Self”, by Romi Neusdadt here.

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What TED Has Done For The World?

Who’s TED…?

If you are anywhere on social media, the Internet, or YouTube you’ve probably read about TED, heard about TED, talked about TED and like I (totally embarrassed btw)…wondered WHO IS TED???  Well, I’ll let you in on a big secret…TED is not a person; rather TED is a collection of person’s that have taken over the world (in my opinion) by sharing “Ideas Worth Spreading”.

Ideas Worth Spreading” is TED’s motto…And TED is an amazing nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, in short, powerful talks in 18 minutes or less…SERIOUSLY…a global community where people from all walks of life, careers, and cultures can dig a little deeper and seek a greater understanding of the world.  It is a platform that allows people to discover any new or old idea they could ever possibly want to know, simply to engage conversation and spread the creativity we’ve developed, experienced, or taught through our ideas…AND IT’S FREE!!!!!  TED is an incredible community with the best possible collection of life worthy knowledge that is truly life changing.

Now, you might ask how is TED changing the world…and let me just tell you that we face many issues in the world and TED offers a global ability to feed our desires to better the future by using our creativity and ideas to make changes.  Think about the process, of searching a topic of interest and being able to understand many concepts anywhere you are, and in turn, create CHANGE!!  Change within yourself, change within your community, change within the world!!  TED empowers women, educates our youth for the future, brings communities together, and helps to unite the world in a platform that only motivates us to want more, do more, and be more!

So, what does this mean for you…?

Well, if that isn’t reason enough to discover who TED is for you…I don’t know what is!  The endless opportunities to learn, and grow, and step out of those stuffy comfort zones has reached its peak and it’s well overdue to start seeing what TED can do for your world!!  Too often we excuse ourselves from these opportunities that are shoving themselves into our faces and spaces.  I’m especially guilty of allowing my white noise to cloud my purpose, and it is time to take our ideas that sit at the peak of our finger tips and stop holding ourselves back from exploring this gigantic world of inspiration, growth, and empowerment!!!

Create Your Own Change

WE HAVE TO STOP getting in our own way of discovering our greatest purpose!  We have to stop overwhelming our minds with the white noises in our heads, and discover who we are and how we can spread our ideas too!  It’s time to BEGIN to embrace the power, wisdom, and abilities already in our hearts.

Let’s take advantage of this gift we already possess and engage in this amazing community of information and CREATE CHANGE from our ideas!!!  TED offers “Ideas Worth Spreading”, which begs the question…

What Ideas Are You Spreading???  I don’t know about you…but we’re all waiting to hear them!!!

Discover who TED is for you…and create the change in yourself, in your community, and ultimately, in your world!  Check out more at:  https://www.ted.com/

Written by Angela Uebelacker

https://www.facebook.com/auebe25

100 WAYS TO CREATE IMPACTFUL LEARNING MOMENTS

Abe Lincoln


I’m going to show my age with this next question.  Have you ever lost a picture?

I decided what I wanted to write about today, for Lincoln’s birthday, and I got really excited.  When my sister and I were kids, we took a trip across the country that impacted our world view for the rest of our lives.  My favorite moment from that trip was captured in a photograph.  When I tried to track it down last week, I discovered that the image is nowhere to be found.  It was taken in the age of film, when clouds were something you stared up at from a blanket on the grass.  The thought of losing that picture brought tears to my eyes.  And then I realized that the thing I was emotional about wasn’t the picture.  The tears in my eyes were tied to a memory:  when two little girls realized that their lives weren’t limited by lines on a map or lessons in a book.

PART I

THE SPARK:  EXPERIENCES THAT SHAPE YOUR CHILD’S FUTURE

Although he won't remember this trip, it's a memory I will cherish forever.

Taking my son to the same steps I visited as a kid was one of the most wonderful moments of my life so far.

With the picture hidden in the dark corner of a storage unit somewhere and the film long gone, all I’m left to share with you is a memory.  When I close my eyes, I can see it clearly: two girls, the smaller one with straight, brown hair, the older one with dark, frizzy curls, both wearing puffy 80’s winter coats, standing together on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  Before our parents snapped the photo, I remember staring up at the massive structure, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the words etched on its walls.  I didn’t understand what they meant in the grand scheme of our nation’s history, but I felt the power behind the words.  Even with the cold air biting my face, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from those walls.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the figure of Lincoln, seated thoughtfully, watching me as I tried to wrap my mind around his words.  That moment sparked something inside of me that still shapes my life today.

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.  I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”

― Abraham Lincoln

Standing in the shadows of Lincoln’s watchful eye, a tiny flame came to life in the back of my mind.  From that point forward, the most impactful decisions in my life were extensions of that moment. What started as a spark became a flame that lit the way to each turning point in my life.  To this day, I have trouble explaining why I chose to join the Air Force.  I just know that the thought of serving my country stoked the same flame that was lit 10 years earlier at the Lincoln memorial.  Both my sister and I grew up to blaze our own trails.  My sister is the ultimate expatriate, from the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan, to a nonprofit in Kathmandu, to growing her family in New Zealand, stretching her influence as an entrepreneur and pioneer in global education.

My thoughts still go back to that picture.  I could have read the same words in a book and they would have gone in one ear and out the other.  I would have been intrigued, but not captivated like I was standing in the cold air that day almost 30 years ago.  As I sit typing with my 7-month old son in my arms today, I am in awe of his curiosity.  As he grows older and opportunities for learning go beyond grabbing a spoon, or learning to put one foot in front of the other, I wonder what moments will shape his journey.

Written by Angelina Stephens

Instagram.com/angelina.r.stephens.

Stay tuned for Part 2…with an exciting perspective on how to build character through impactful, engaged learning.  Get a glimpse into an education revolution that is building innovative leaders for the next generation!

Want To Grow A Business You Really Love?

Part I

It’s here!  The season of love, right?  What a fun one!  Valentine’s Day parties, flowers, chocolate, romance, all these quintessential things deemed part of the seasonal experience.  What if there’s a way to bring those things into your business?  It sounds kind of funny, right?  I thought so, too, to be quite honest!

Here, let me explain a bit…

A Business You Love

When reflecting on how I receive and give love, something hit me.   This “love” thing is about people first and foremost, yes, but it can also be extended to various areas of my life.  My business is a vehicle to have the resources I need and want to best love those around me, so why not give it some love, too?

This is a question I’ve asked myself daily for the past few weeks.  What does it take to grow a business I truly love?  Not just one that pays the bills and gets the job done, but one that actually fulfills me and leads me toward my greater goals and purpose.  The first thing I’ll tell you is the answers are not always clear or easy because growing a business isn’t always easy.  I’ve encountered many challenges, including some of the biggest I’ve ever faced in the past month.

So, where does that leave me with the answer to this question?

It Isn’t Always Easy…But It’s Always Worth It!

Here is what I know.  Just like I always tell my team, business is a lot like marriage and exercise:  It isn’t always easy but it’s always worth it.   There will be good times, hard times, sad times, times of momentous growth and times of loss.   It’s in the continuation and drive despite the ups and downs that you can find true purpose.   The hard times are often the ones that grow my love the most because I find out what it’s really all about.  My drive has to go deep, deep down into the depths of who I am and what I want.  By taking the next step, even when I can’t see what’s next or it feels scary, I’ve found all the things I truly love about my business.

The Amazing Gift Of A Business You Love…

It’s in helping those who have the heart to grow their business, it’s in connecting and building relationships with incredible people from all over the country, it’s in helping others realize their greater purpose and what drives them to grow and succeed.   Through the good and bad I cling to what I love, and because of that, I’ve seen tremendous growth in myself and in my business.   I can honestly say I love my business and what I do, and that is an amazing gift.

So, friend, do not be afraid to ask yourself hard questions and find what it takes for you to keep going and Grow A Business You Love!

Written by Susan Brown

Want more practical tips about how to fall in love with your business?

Check back soon for Part II.

Progress Over Perfection

Hey ladies!  Ok, I need you to be honest for a second.  Could you be guilty of allowing perfection to paralyze you from achieving your goals?  It could be that you avoided a phone call because you were scared of not saying the “right” thing?  Maybe you had a business idea, but squashed it because you told yourself that it would never work?  Or maybe you DID try to achieve something bold, but it didn’t go as planned, and that one failed attempt to stole your desire to give it another try.

As I watched my 9-yr old daughter play soccer this morning, I was fascinated to see her team’s relentless pursuit of their (physical) goals.  No matter how many times they missed a goal, lost control and went out of bounds, or were given a slight correction by the coach, they had smiles on their faces and kept giving it 100%. They played with a bold and brave desire to do their best that was absolutely infectious!

REWARD EFFORT NOT ACHIEVEMENT

I attribute a lot of their brave demeanor to her coach.  I have always admired his style, which is to reward every try, rather than shame any failure.  It sounds a bit soft, but don’t think that he sacrifices top performance because of this style.  In fact, he coaches some of the most elite teams in the area with this method.  In essence, what he has perfected, is a lesson of which all of us need reminding.  And that is, that no matter how old we are we should keep our focus on progress, not perfection.

I recently attended a retreat with other successful businesswomen colleagues where the need for this lesson was reinforced. The retreat was an invitation-only event for those who had achieved new titles and promotions, so I was surrounded by an impressive group of proven leaders.  Our first agenda item during training was to connect with each person’s motivation for starting their business; or our “why” as it is labeled by author, Simon Sinek.  As we went around the room and each woman spoke, there were revelations about childhood, marriage, wanting to regain an identity, achieve a sense of security, etc.  It was a powerful session and the emotional connection through this exercise was absolutely unbelievable.  But the one thing that was surprisingly noticeable in many stories, was an overall unspoken feeling of guarded optimism by each woman that she truly believed she had what it took to achieve her big goals.  It wasn’t that anyone lacked belief in our company, the product we represent or the system we use.  Unfortunately, it was that they still had a shadow of doubt in themselves.  I found this realization completely ironic, because by anyone else’s measure these women had already proven themselves successful.  So why are we as women so hard on ourselves?

TEACH BRAVERY…NOT PERFECTION

The reason for each person’s ounce of self-doubt varied that day, but according to a 2016 TED talk, “Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection” by Reshna Saujani (founder of Girls Who Code) the overall problem stems from the way we raise our girls.  Think about it.  As kids, boys are encouraged to participate in daredevil acts like jumping off the highest playground equipment, playing with weapons, and being bold and aggressive at sports.  Yet, as girls we hear things like “act like a lady,” “be nice” or “don’t be too bossy.” And this kind of subtle societal disparity creates women who will strive, but only to the degree they can achieve perfection.  And if she falls short or attracts any criticism, she starts second guessing her abilities.  Over a lifetime, this breeds the exact feeling I was surrounded by at the retreat.  Unlike men who interpret failure as an opportunity to ask, “What went wrong?” we as women, blame ourselves for an imperfect outcome, and ask, “What is wrong with me?”

I’m not here to say that I’m not guilty.  In fact, I may very well be one of the worst offenders.  I was a straight A student, my friends will tell you that I am obsessed with keeping our house picked up and “presentable,” and I probably will have revised this article at least 5 times before you see it.  Beyond that, where I really notice my insecurity come into play is when I return to the male-dominated military world.  I only have AF Reserve duty in the Pentagon twice a year, but each session brings out an irrational questioning of my abilities.  In my business life, I confidently coach and lead a team of over 7,000 women.  But the second I walk through the Pentagon doors, it can easily seem like none of that success matters and it’s easy to question what I have to offer.  See how this quest for perfection works?  Thankfully, I have had to talk myself through this scenario for almost 17 years and I’ve gotten better at standing my mental ground.

CREATE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT

All that said, I think it’s important we truly begin to create an environment where we place more value on progress than perfection in our next generation.  I returned home from the retreat with an intense desire to create an environment where my daughter believes:

1)  That her ideas will always be as good as anyone else’s

2)  That she can try and fail, because failure is a natural stepping stone to success

3)  In herself and knows that that belief can’t be stolen by any single person’s words, by any tough situation, or by society’s norms

4)  That progress is worth more than perfection

So, for the sake of the young girls in your life, I challenge you to think about the way you see the world.  Is it perfection or bust?  Or are there small changes you can make to help encourage your girls to make bold, carefree attempts at going outside their comfort zone and tackling big things…regardless of the outcome?  As Reshna Suajani so eloquently stated, “when we teach girls to be imperfect, and we help them leverage it, we will build a movement of young women who are brave and who will build a better world for themselves and for each and every one of us.”

HOW THE FIRST LADY CAN INSPIRE YOUR LEGACY

Today I have hope for the future.  I am excited for the first time in a LONG time…I have chills just thinking about it.  When I close my eyes, and get ready to speak, the words that roll to the tip of my tongue bring on a surge of emotions that I haven’t felt since I was a kid.  I feel inspired, and it doesn’t have anything to do with a single politician converging on Washington DC.

The line at the top of this page implies that I am going to talk about the First Lady, but I would rather not talk about any single woman who boasts the title.  Instead, I would like to tell you about the First Lady of my imagination, the one who inspired the words that are sitting, buzzing, on the tip of my tongue.   I want to tell you how she pushed me to unlock something that I thought was long lost, that leaves me on the edge of my seat, on the brink of tears from excitement.

FAILURE: THE KEY TO CREATING YOUR OWN EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES

Although many take on a political role, especially in campaigning, the First Lady of my imagination is a person who has no political agenda of her own.  She didn’t run for office, isn’t worried about reelection, and isn’t obligated to a political party.

I imagine the First Lady, thrust into a room of staffers, pens to paper, ready to throw their life’s blood into whatever platform is launched by the words that leave her lips in that moment.  Suddenly, this person, who wasn’t on any political ticket, becomes a powerful figure, with the nation’s resources at her disposal and media poised to focus its attention on her efforts.  In that moment…the possibilities are limitless.  She can be the champion of any cause, setting the wheels in motion to affect real change in the world with a single whisper.

A former First Lady said that if you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, branch out…you don’t even try, because you are never willing to accept the risk.  I think it’s safe to say that an ordinary person is much more likely to fail than the First Lady in my mind.  Not only is she unbound by the limits of an ordinary person, she is encouraged by the wild ideas of my imagination, where no risk is too high.

I will be the first person to tell you that I will never be the First Lady, or the President for that matter.  But like many of us, I have causes that I’m fiercely passionate about.  Sometimes I daydream about ways to become a champion of those causes “someday.”  Sometimes I even tell people about vague future plans to give back, using words like “nonprofit” or “philanthropy.”  Usually, like most ordinary people, I jump into lively conversations when they come up, give to charities here and there, and leave the effort to change the world to the extra-ordinary people who are unencumbered by ordinary lives.

YOU MUST DO THE THINGS YOU THINK YOU CANNOT DO.

Another former First Lady said those words.  She was far from ordinary.  But her words should serve as a slap in the face to all of us who think the opportunity to change the world is reserved for those who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances.  The First Lady in my imagination was thrust into a room, given a platform, and was liberated by the expectation that she would change the world.

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

What if you set the expectation for yourself that from this moment forward, you would set yourself on a path to change the world?  What if you decided to accept failure as a possibility, no matter how high the risk?  The First Lady in my imagination is incapable of letting ordinary limitations get in her way.

Now, imagine yourself in her place, seated in a room, surrounded by eager faces, pens at the ready… 

What do you say?

Written by Angelina Stephens

Instagram.com/angelina.r.stephens.

Meet Our Guest Author – Angela Uebelacker

Angela Uebelacker

Angela Uebelacker has worked in the health care industry for almost ten years; she is a full-time student, entrepreneur, military spouse, and mother. She is a true believer that everything happens for a reason, and lives a crazy busy life running her business, devoted to her family, and supporting her husband’s military service. She functions in total chaos (loving every second) and insists that everyone steps out of their comfort zones at least once…In Angela’s (very) spare time, she enjoys writing, outdoor activities, cooking, and making memories with her family and friends! She is currently running the marathon of life, finishing her degree, deciding what to pack (or what not to), and trying to keep her spinning head at a functional pace.

See how far she can go in her race at https://www.facebook.com/auebe25

Meet Our Guest Author – Risa Riepma

Risa is wife, a busy mom of 3 growing kids and a retired Air Force dietitian. She likes her plates to be full and is always up for a good challenge. She finds her strength in life from the scripture “I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me” in Philippians 4:13 and believes each person is capable of achieving far more than they ever imagined. She loves to run (although she’s not breaking any records), be outdoors, cook, and spend time with her family which includes 2 adorable pups. After dedicating 20 years to military service which included frequent moves, she and her family are switching gears and establishing roots in Texas where her husband is a school counselor. Recently, she is focusing on her creative and entrepreneurial interests.  She has said good-bye to the perpetual hamster wheel of balancing a demanding career and family life and she is focusing on being in the moment more, serving others, enjoying life’s greatest pleasures, and finding her true north.