Of course, I am paraphrasing the brilliant Marianne Williamson quote that goes on to state that we were born to manifest the Glory of God that is within us. And indeed we were. And we were born to live a BIG ASS life and give others around us the permission to do the same! So why then are so many people with BIG ASS ideas and BIG ASS talent and BIG ASS dreams living so small?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” The YO!BIGMAMA blog is a guide to living powerful beyond measure. It is a place where you can come and step into your Glory as the amazing, wonderful beautiful, perfectly flawed, fabulous woman that you really are. A place where honesty trumps bullshit, and fear comes to die.

And don’t worry, you don’t have to be a bad ass roller derby queen to live a BIG ASS life. You just have to have the courage to step onto the rink. Start here or scroll down to jump right in!

Bootcamp and Barbells

2013  – the year I went to war against “those last 10 pounds.”

I began the ambush in January when I signed up for “Dr. Drill’s Boot Camp,” an awesome military inspired fitness program perfectly suited for such a battle. Camp was exactly as you would image it to be, complete with a fiery drill instructor calling cadences and motivating the new recruits to move their lazy asses. The regimen was designed for physical and mental betterment challenging me to dig deeper than imagined and find my inner warrior. Two nights a week after work, I would march my rear end over to the training center and get into formation, prepared to go to war to win back my long lost “girlish figure.”

The camp was intense, and I was shocked at just how out of shape I had become. I struggled with insecurity and frustration, even choking back tears at times because I couldn’t even muster up the strength to do 2 push ups. I was weak, fat and frustrated…and mad as hell at myself for being the out of shape old broad at the back of the pack on every task.  I was last to make in up the hill on my hands and knees during bear crawls. Last to finish every set of pushups on the gravel parking lot. And last to get my monster truck tire rolled across the soggy ball field and it pissed me off. But I used my anger as motivation, and I showed up every Tuesday and Thursday, rain or shine and took my place in line at roll call.  I ran as much in unison as I could with my fellow cadets, chanting rhymes as if I were in the movie “Stripes” while gasping for breath and trying not to fall too far back in the formation. I did everything that was asked of me including crawling like a good little soldier through thick, prickly, unidentified brush; over dirt mounds of muddy muck; and through sticker bush and tick infested woods. I had the poison ivy on my arms and legs, and jungle rot in my sneakers to prove it.

On one chilly evening with snot running down my nose and mud running down my drawers, I remember thinking “what the hell is wrong with me? I am too damn old for this crap! I should just quit and go home and get back on the couch where I belong! ” But just as the thought entered my mind, one of my comrades drug his body over to me on his elbows (during the wounded soldier drill) and reached over and wiped my nose with his sleeve. “Keep your chin up kid,” he said. “Don’t get mad at yourself for not being able to perform all the tasks, just get mad at yourself if you want to quit! Use the anger as motivation to finish.”

And finish I did.

The support from the other enlisted is what got me through. Whenever I felt like giving up or throwing in the towel, someone would come along, grab me by the back of my shirt and pull me up a hill or over an obstacle. Dr. Drill himself encouraged me often with shout outs to the back up the line. “Let’s go Big Mama, keep up the pace!” The experience of being part of a team and the motivation to not let my comrades down, inspired me each week to continue.  It was an awesome experience and one I highly recommend.

I learned to be disciplined. I learned to have compassion for myself and others, without letting that compassion yield excuses. I learned to push through barriers, face fears, and remove the limits I put on myself. I learned that failure is only a result of quitting and anytime your give your best, you win. My body got stronger, lighter, and healthier and sixteen long weeks later I graduated from camp 10 pounds lighter and more determined than ever to love myself and appreciate my body. The battle against those ten pounds was over…at least for the time being.

After a two week break from training, summer was approaching and temperatures were rising quickly. The thought of bugs in my teeth and swampy summer pond scum in my skivvies at another round of bootcamp did not seem all that appealing. I had no idea what to do next but I knew was ready for a new challenge.

As luck would have it, my path crossed with Paul D, personal trainer and accomplished powerlifter. I was hired to photograph Paul for his website and marketing materials. When we met, I was in awe of his well tweaked body and his commitment to his training. He was extremely fit and he had an amazing way of articulating his understanding of the complexities and nuances of personal fitness and nutrition.  After we finished his portrait session, we talked about my fitness goals and he encouraged me to consider adding powerlifting to my workout routine.

At first I brushed off the idea because I had no desire to lift weights and get “bigger.” I had just spent 4 months working my butt off at bootcamp trying to get smaller! But after a few weeks without a game plan and several more conversations with Paul about the importance of muscle strength, I took a chance and decided to add “powerlifter” to my resume.

The first day at the gym was extremely intimidating. I had never been on “that side” of a gym before (you know, the side where the wide-necked, “Jersey Shore” wanna-b’s grunt and groan like meatheads while flexing in front of the mirrors). I stood out like a sore thumb with my skinny neck, pink Nike T-shirt and ponytail, as Paul walked me through the gym introducing me to the bar bell, the squat rack and the weight bench. I tried hard not to look in the mirrors and I also avoided eye contact with anyone except Paul. I listened intently as he explained “good form” on each of the 3 powerlifts and assured me that if I followed his instruction, injury would not ensue. I remember lying under the bar attempting my very first bench press, feeling like such a “girl” as I struggled to raise just the the bar…without any weights on it… away of my chest. My wimpy arms sagged under the pressure and all I could think about was dropping the bar on my face and smashing out a few of my front teeth.

It took me about a month to get comfortable being on “that side” of the gym and probably another month to get comfortable with the idea that I was not going to get “big and scary.” I continued to train with Paul and he introduced me to some of his friends, who it turned out… were not meatheads after all.:)Everyone was respectful and kind and I learned that looking in the mirrors is an important tool to help a lifter maintain proper form.;)

The training advanced and I got stronger and stronger. With the passing weeks I could feel my muscles emerging and my body transforming. I set goals and progressively added weight to every lift with success. My biceps were becoming vaguely visible and at the same time my waist was getting smaller and my butt was certainly getting tighter! I was making progress physically but the mental process of overcoming fear and busting through limitations was even more rewarding.

My excitement for pumping iron intensified and I found myself looking forward to the challenge each week. I was blown away by the energy it gave me and the heightened sense of achievement I had about the amount of weight I was able to lift, squat and press. I pushed hard each week and when the opportunity came up for me to sign up for my first powerlifting competition, I jumped at it. “YOLO!” Why not? I thought. Participation in a powerlifting meet was not on my bucket list, but it seemed like a pretty fun adventure so I filled out the required paperwork and got down to the business of training.

It wasn’t until I found out that I had to wear a “singlet” (along with a corny weight belt around my waist) that I panicked.

So picture this scene if you will…this Saturday, December 7th, at 7am in the morning I will be weighing in at the Oaks Expo Center, for the 12th Annual USAPL American Open Powerlifting Championships. I will be dressed to kill in my one piece unitard, knee high striped tube socks, and of course my all important (but not so fashionable) powerlifting “belt.”

Close your eyes and get a visual…its ok to laugh out loud!

I will be competing in the “master class” (which is a nice way of saying “older folks category”) with three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. I will have completed a week long “water cut” to ensure that I “make weight” and several nights of visualizing myself on the winner’s podium with a medal around my neck. Thoughts of my comrades from bootcamp will be in my mind and I will be picturing them cheering in the stands. My embarrassed children will be at home praying to God that no one they know will be in the crowd.:)

I will face this singlet fear head on and wrap up 2013 knowing that the war against those last ten pounds is finally over for good! My body is strong and powerful! The number on the scale means nothing to me anymore —well, it will mean nothing to me anymore right after I “make weight” on Saturday morning -LOL.

I have gone to war with ten pounds this year and won. I am taking back my power and celebrating the victory by adding ten pounds to each side of the barbell to show them who is boss this weekend!

Wish me luck! I will check back next week and let you know how it all goes down. Maybe I will even share some pictures… because I know you are dying to see me in that singlet!;)

Peace, love and powerlifting! xoBigM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pray, Fast, Give!

The principals of prosperity are quite simple. 1.) pray   2.) fast   3.) give.

Prayer is easy. Most of us pray without even realizing it. We pray prayers of thanks, despair, regret, pleading, and amazement and we do it almost unconsciously. We say “Oh my God!” or type OMG at least once a week.;)We pray for help or healing, or we pray with our children at bedtime, or over meals etc…  Most people who have even a tiny bit of faith generally pray with ease.

Fasting is a whole other ballgame. Most of us have no idea what it means to have real hunger and yet I have heard or said “I am starving” at least 5 times already this week. The principal of fasting is one that is seldom taught on the pulpit and seldom practiced yet it is mentioned 77 times in the bible! What fasting means is “refraining from food for a spiritual purpose.” It does not have last for forty days and it does not have to feel like a crusifiction.

Paula White teaches an excellent sermon on the power of fasting and how important it is to include it in your spiritual walk.

Giving is the third principal and it is very clear that if you want to change your life and you want to be successful and prosperous, the sooner you learn to give, the better. Many of us give with ease. Often times we give better than we receive. We give of our time, our counsel, and our talents with ease and grace, but when it comes to giving money, our tendency is to refrain. Giving money is much more painful for many of us because we are afraid that we can’t afford to give. It can be painful, scary or uncomfortable to give money away. But the truth is that we can’t afford not to give it away. Financial giving unlocks the storehouse that is filled with your financial blessings. Mother Theresa is quoted saying “Give until it hurts,” not because she wants us to suffer, but because she wants us to prosper.

Your breakthrough is about to happen and abundant prosperity is on its way! The simple principals of prayer, fasting and giving will bring you into a hundred fold harvest in areas of health, wealth, career, family, love, and opportunity for perfect self expression! Don’t delay your harvest.

 

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Take this opportunity to sow a financial seed into Flashes of Hope, a national non-profit that directly impacts the cause. Give your very best and ask God to bless you in return for your faithful gift. Sow financial seeds with expectation and don’t give up your expectation until you see the harvest in return.

 

Vulnerability is beautiful!

Are you willing to let go of who you think you should be in order to become who your were meant to be? Are you courageous enough to expose your vulnerability in order to connect fully with your real self and others?

I believe that what makes us different makes us special. Our differences are exposed when we are willing to be vulnerable. Yet in some way, vulnerability connects us to each other. Our feeling that we do not fit in or that we are not the same as others is uncovered when we tear away our phony masks…the ones that we created to hide our shame about being different.

Shame stems from the feeling that because we are different, we are not worthy, not good enough, or can’t measure up. It manifests via internal messages that make us question our uniqueness.  “Who do you think you are?” “Who are you kidding, you are not like the rest. You are not BLANK enough (smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, etc…).”

These internal messages were likely recorded in our youth by external forces like our parents, teachers, coaches, peers etc… but each morning if we don’t consciously record a new message, the old ones playback over and over.

I am at a place in my career where I am feeling stuck. I am feeling  frustrated and uncertain. I lack creativity and inspiration and I am challenged each day to get motivated. I am tired and I am afraid. My old negative shameful messages have been on constant playback recently and as a result, finances are tight, opportunity is lacking and creative wells are running dry.

We often think that our wells dry up first and then our career or life gets stalled. The truth is that most often it is the other way around. We get stalled (because of our own insecurities or our own shame, guilt and fear ) and consequently the universe responds.

I am learning that the best way to get unstuck and to re-open the channels of creativity, prosperity and joy is to become vulnerable. To expose my so called flaws and take off the mask (the perception) that I put on for the world when my shame bubbles up. The person I think I should be is stable and purpose driven. She is fearless and bold. She is a leader and she does not take no for an answer. She is powerful beyond measure and full of grace and peace.

The truth is that I am driven but at times lacking direction or purpose. My creative spirit is wild and goes in many directions, often all at once. There are times when I am afraid. I battle the fear ferociously, but I am still afraid. I am extremely sensitive and I feel deeply. This causes me to get entangled in feelings that keep me from moving freely toward my goals.  I struggle with consistency and often look for quick cures rather than long term remedies.

It takes courage to write these truths about myself, but in doing so, by being vulnerable, I have re-opened the channel for creativity and prosperity and joy to flow. I have unblocked the dam and it has helped me to realize that I am not so unlike the rest of you after all. We are all gloriously flawed, imperfect, and unique. We are all one in the same person striving each day to grow into the “powerful beyond measure” person described above. I realized today that the power I seek is born of vulnerability and an understanding that vulnerable is both beneficial and beautiful.

So I ask you again, are you willing to let go of who you think you should be in order to become who your were meant to be? Are you courageous enough to expose your vulnerability in order to connect fully with your real self and others?  I sure hope so. My real self is dying to meet the real you! xoBigM

Brene’ Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

 

Time Out!

January -March 2013; teach workshop, start boot camp, finish writing and editing first book, complete home remodel, present master class at photography convention, create business marketing campaign and begin implementing, begin second book project, update studio decor, design new website, prepare taxes, implement new studio software, continue mentorship program, soft launch new product line.

April-June 2013; finish 16 weeks of boot camp, hire and train new employee, attend financial education course, network computer systems, overhaul database, photograph commercial campaign, travel to photograph several out of state sessions, maintain all aspects of studio and management, begin weight training program, return to counseling.

This is just the short list of what I have been up to so far this year and why blogging has been so challenging. Add to the list all of the aspects of parenting including helping Jessie transition through her first year of middle school, attending swim lessons with her several mornings a week, attending an outrageous amount of out of town soccer tournaments with Matt’s premier club, and taking him on several college visits. Oh, and let’s not forget maintaining the books for my husband’s construction business and trying to keep the spark alive in my 18 year marriage.;)

I know there are many other women who have lists that are longer and more intense than mine. And I also know how hard it can be for all of us who live large to make time for peace, harmony and balance. It takes a great deal of stamina to live a BIG ASS life but if you don’t learn to slow down, prioritize and delegate, you will burn out before you ignite!

My post today is to remind you that it’s OK to take a “time out” to retreat and recharge!

Take these last two weeks of summer to truly relax and celebrate your victories. Half of the year has passed and while much has been accomplished, much more is to come! Now is the time to call yourself a “time out!”

Here are some ideas to help you plan your end of summer “time out.” My goals is to indulge in all ten before September 22 when summer officially ends.  I hope you will join me! You deserve it! xoBigM

1. Schedule a spa day and full body massage.

2. Read a trashy novel or autobiography. (I am enjoying Keith Richards’ of the Rolling Stones new book called’ “Life.”)

3. Spend some time with friends laughing, drinking, and dancing like a rock star!

4. Schedule a passionate sexy weekend or over-nighter at a hotel with your hubby, lover or random pick up.

5. Plan a day of shopping alone or with your bestie and buy yourself a fabulous new outfit.

6. Get your eyebrows waxed or hair colored and update your skin care line and makeup bag.

7. Play hookey from work and spend an entire day with your kids hugging, talking and giggling.

8. Take a nap outside in a hammock or on the beach.

9. Wake up 15 minutes earlier each morning to pray, meditate and listen to your soul speak.

10. Call or write thank you notes to all of the people who helped you accomplish so much already this year. Without them you never would have come this far!

Get out of the boat!

This one of my absolute favorite teachings from Joyce Meyer.  I needed to hear it today more than ever as I prepare for my own journey heading west toward Las Vegas. It is time for me to get out of the boat and arrive! After several years of being called to take my photography workshop “to a larger audience,” I finally got into the boat and headed towards the stage at the international photographer’s convention. God has moved on my behalf and arranged for it to happen this year and up until today, I kept telling myself I had two choices; sink or swim. It never occurred to me that there was an option to walk on water!

If you want to be a confident woman, you have to take a minute, I urge you!! to listen to this amazing  podcast!

If you are being lazy and telling yourself that you don’t have time today to listen, your are full of bull. At the very least just listen to this section of the audio (2:37 -3:48). One minute, eleven seconds that will inspire you to get the hell out of your boat and ARRIVE as the confident woman you were meant to be!

LISTEN HERE

 

 

A crazy little thing called love…

Love can build a bridge.

Love can keep us together.

Love can move mountains.

Love stinks. Yeah, yeah.

Love is alive and at our breakfast table.

Love will set you free.

Love is a many splendored thing.

What’s love got to do with it?

Love is all you need.

Let your love flow.

Any love is good love.

Love don’t cost a thing.

How deep is your love?

I’ll do anything for love, but I won’t do that.

I am lost in love and I don’t know much.

You got me lookin’ so crazy in love.

Because you loved me.

Happy Valentine’s Day, xoBig M

What are you expecting this year?

If I were to ask you what you were expecting and believing God for this year, would your answer be crystal clear? Would it roll off your tongue with ease and grace?

You can’t give birth to something if you do not know what you are expecting. If you want this year to be one of great blessing and abundance, you have to do some preparation. January was a month of goal setting, self reflection and strategizing. Hopefully you took some time to write out your goals on paper and set timelines for achievement on your calendar. If not, shut your computer down and go do it now!

February is a month of expecting, loving, and anticipating! Your goals are written and the desires of your heart are expressed. Your heart is the birthplace of all of your increase and decrease. You get to choose which one of these things your heart is going to produce. You are in control of this. You are in control of your heart. Not the devil, not the angels. Not the people around you, not your spouse or lover and not your children. Only you.

Your heart is the birthplace of your destiny. What is on your heart? What are you expecting this year? Take some time today to write it out. Make it crystal clear and read it everyday.

Don’t let fear or your fickle feelings dictate what you write. Look deep into your heart and ask yourself this questions: What am I truly expecting and believing God for this year?

This is the work that has to be done by you, before any other work can be done through you.

I am expecting my health, wealth, love and opportunities for creative self expression to be to be exceedingly abundant, filled and overflowing with prosperity and possibility. I am expecting my body to be strong, fit, fabulous and free of illness and disease. I am expecting to secure my present and future financial freedom by sowing into fertile ground and securing abundant income opportunities. I am expecting my relationships to be filled with love and respect and honor, and my mind to be filled with wisdom and exciting new ideas and creative visions. I am expecting God to do amazing works through me.

February 2-3, 2013

Dont miss our first ever YBM Big Ass Event!

If you are a dreamer, a visionary, or a woman in search of her passion…

this workshop is for you.

If you want health, wealth, love, and the opportunity for perfect self expression…

this workshop is for you.

If you believe that you deserve to live a life of abundant joy and overflowing opportunity…

this workshop is for you.

 

I hope and pray that you will be there! xoBigM

 

Please don’t “like” this post

Don’t you want to fall in love with your life? Don’t you want to have the life of your dreams? The relationships, the career, the lifestyle and the wealth that you deserve.

Then why all of this wasted time just randomly “liking” things when we could be busy LOVING them!  Love is the catalyst that moves our feelings from bland and basic to amazing and spectacular. Our feelings are the forces that bring energy to our world. They are the powers that give birth to our thoughts which create our reality!

When we spend time on Facebook or Pinterest unconsciously and randomly just “liking” pictures or posts, videos or quotes, we are unconsciously attracting random meaningless people and things into our world. People and things that are just ok, or maybe kinda cool, sort of interesting, blah blah blah.

Bleck! I am done with that.

It is time to move into the LOVE realm where I am attracting and receiving only the people and things that make my heart skip a beat!!  People and things that that excite me, energize me and make me want to jump up and down with delight. I am going to look for, notice, talk about, and feel only the things that I love!

You are never going to hear someone say that “like” can build a bridge. But I can tell you for sure that love can. If you are trying to bridge the gap in your life between mediocre and magnificent, it is time to fall in love again.

Write a list of all of the people, things, places, spaces, scents, colors, styles, and qualities of life that you love. Then train yourself be to think about them daily.

If you want to lose weight, eat only what you LOVE and nothing else! If you don’t absolutely and totally LOVE it, don’t let it anywhere near your mouth.

If you want to get a new car, don’t look at or test drive any car other than the one you would LOVE to drive. Don’t be willing to sit in or entertain the possibility of driving anything else.

If you feel like you are struggling to find the love in a situation…keep searching.

If you hate your job… focus on how much you LOVE your paycheck!!:)

The power of one

One phone call can change everything. One person can come into your life and give you an opportunity. One setback can be your setup. One smile can change your mood. One hug can calm your fears. One dance can lead to love. One child can change the world. One idea can manifest into your destiny.

Today, you have only one day. Don’t waste it.

Answer the phone. Take the opportunity given you. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Smile. Ask for a hug. Go dancing. Be childlike.

And be still long enough to manifest one idea, then act on it.

 

Bitch stole my book!

Well maybe she hasn’t stolen my book exactly…but Jenny McCarthy has definitely beat me to the punch with her new book “Bad Habits; Confessions of a Recovering Catholic.”

I have not read the whole book yet, so perhaps saying that the bitch stole my book is a bit premature, but damn if she did not get my attention with the title.

In the top drawer of my desk, stuffed into a manilla folder are the first three chapters of my (still yet unedited and incomplete) second book titled “A Recovering Irish Catholic’s Confessional.”

They say great minds think alike. I guess we have confirmed that recovering Catholic minds think alike too. Below is a teaser from each of my first three chapters.

Chapter One:
Bless me Father for I am a born again Christian.

Hi my name is Karen and I am a recovering Irish Catholic. I would have preferred to remain anonymous but I think a relative spotted me on the jumbo tron at a Joyce Meyers conference last month.

I struggle admitting that I am a born again Christian because as any good Irish Catholic knows, turning into “one of those desperate pathetic Jesus freaks” like Aunt Theresa is practically a mortal sin. By writing this book I am at risk of being instantly turned into a pillar of salt or being condemned to an eternal life of torture in the fiery pit of hell. Please pray for me just in case the whole “blood of Christ and salvation” thing is just a scam.

Chapter Two:
No meat please, I’ll take the fish and chips.
I have scoured my bible and can’t seem to find the “no meat on Fridays during Lent” rule anywhere. Strange…I know. There is a passage in Acts15 that mentions that eating meats from strangled animals is not cool, but other than that it seems we are free to consume McDonald’s burgers (at our own risk of course) anytime we want…even on Ash Wednesday, Saint Patrick’s Day and straight through Easter Sunday. (The verdict is still out on the McRib pork sandwich though.)

For the Catholics still reading along who are unsure of the reference above…a bible is a holy book that contains Scripture that is the words of God dictated through His prophets. It is unlikely that you ever saw one over the course of 12 years of schooling, but your great grandmother on the O’Hara side probably had one back in Ireland…

Chapter Three:
Shame on me for quitting CCD Prep
It is one thing for me to become a heathen Bible beater, but to sacrifice the welfare of the children is inexcusable. I probably should have just gutted it out until the kids got confirmed and received the Holy Spirit, then maybe Sister Mary Grace, aka 80 year old second cousin once removed on my mom’s side, wouldn’t have passed away.  They weren’t joking around when they said, “if Mary hears about Karen quitting CCD it will kill her. She will roll over and die.”  Shame and guilt are mine to carry for this decision. I am pretty sure that “though shall not kill” is one of the top ten no nos!

Side Note: The sacrament of Confirmation has been postponed until 8th grade because 5th graders are just not ready for the spirit of God to fill their hearts. Oh, and because all of the public school Catholics quit prep right after being confirmed and enrollment (re:tuition income) drops dramatically thereafter. So… in order to keep ‘em coming back, they had to change the sacrament. No shame in that game!

Shout out to Jenny McCarthy for jumping this shark for me.  It is a sign from God that I need put my effort back into finishing my (still yet unedited and incomplete) first book titled “Big Girl’s Cry.”

I need to get that one finished and published before some other screwed up, big ass middle child from a dysfunctional family of wounded women comes along and decides to tell her story first! Step off Khloe Kardashian. This story is all mine!   xoBigM

 

Make your mark

I recently spent some time on the opposite side of the country in southern California. I traveled there to teach a business workshop but had a few days to soak up the sun with friends before the start. We spent a day bar hopping along Pacific Coast Highway, stopping into rooftop restaurants and wharf side harbor bars. We drank, ate, laughed and watched the beautiful golden sun set over the Pacific.  It was a fabulous day that we never wanted to end, so long after the sun had gone down we found ourselves lingering at a local hotspot called Swallows.  I absolutely loved it there and plan to one day open up a bar next door named “Spits” …for the rest of us.;)

What I loved most about Swallows was the decor and the ambiance. It was a cowboy bar right smack in the middle of the OC.  It was a rough and tumble honky tonk type of place, with graffiti all over the bathroom stalls and peanut shells smashed on the floor. It was nothing like the other posh rooftop cafes that we had hopped along all day. Swallows was dark and gritty, but full of energy.

What I found most entertaining in Swallows (besides to California Cowboys) was the impact of all of the names written in sharpie marker on the walls and carved into the bar tops. It reminded me of my high school bathroom where rebels who had the courage to risk demerits, were immortalized with their names seen and noted on the stall walls.

I was definitely more of a rule follower in high school so you won’t find my name carved into any of the bleachers, but if you ever get to the OC, look me up at Swallows. (third bar stool from the end.)

“Big Mama was there.” Seen and noted.;)

 

 

Sell is not a four letter word

Ok, well technically the word sell does have four letters in it…but unlike other four letter favorites of mine, the word sell does not require a quarter in the swear jar.

Did you know that the word sell is derived from the Norwegian word selve, which means to serve?

I am a firm believer in the philosophy of the great salesman Zig Ziglar: “Selling is a valuable service that you do FOR and WITH your client, not TO your client.” Taking the time to sell or “serve” your client is the most important part of your job.

Prospects and clients are looking for help and seeking out professionals who are willing to serve their needs. The “selling” business person puts the needs of the prospect and client first and makes time to sell to him. Remember… to “sell” and to “serve” are one in the same so you don’t have to feel bad or be afraid to become a great salesperson.

Great salespeople make a commitment, a promise, to their clients to invest time with them, to uncover their need, and to passionately find a way to meet and exceed their need.

What exactly is it about you and your business that is unique and special, that you feel strongly about, that you can PROMISE to your clients and sell to them in order to meet their needs and better serve them?

You are not selling a product. you are selling a relationship. Relationships are based on trust and trust is conveyed through your promises kept. When you take the time to serve your clients needs in every aspect of the relationship, your sales will soar.

SERVE, SERVE, SERVE is my motto. The more I serve, the more I sell because to me they are one in the same. I serve by calling, not emailing prospects when they inquire. I serve by meeting clients in-person before sessions to discuss their goals. I serve by offering my professional suggestions about what will look best on display. I serve by meeting clients in-person for ordering appointments and guiding them in regard to what images are in their best interest to order. I serve by keeping my promises regarding timelines and delivery of products. I serve by respecting budgets and selling my clients what they need and what they want to buy.

I serve, I serve, I serve. I sell. I sell. I sell.

How about you? Do you serve and sell with the same passion? Are your sales soaring because your service is top notch? Or are you afraid to sell because you think it is scary or rude? Leave your comments in the box below. I would love to hear from you.

Take a flying leap

What is with all of the baby step approaches to success? I speak with struggling business owners almost everyday and the most common excuse I hear when people are not making changes or not moving to their next level is the following,

“I know what I need to do and I am trying…but I am afraid that I will fail so I am taking baby steps.” 

If you know what you need to do and you choose not to do it, then you have no one to blame but yourself for your failure. Take accountability.

Remember that the word “trying” means failing with honor. So keep in mind that every time that you choose to “try” instead of to “accomplish,” you are choosing to fail. Change your language and internal message. Don’t plan to try something, plan to accomplish it.

Quit being a baby and commit to making the change. When you are afraid, acknowledge the feeling and then release it. Fear is not the same feeling as a warning. Don’t confuse the two. Fear is false evidence appearing real and it is the only tactic the enemy has to use to block you from your joy. Battle through it.

Don’t settle for celebrating your baby step when a big ass flying leap was called for instead. 

Your money message

Working step seven taught me how to look at my financial affairs with a new set of eyes. My financial planner taught me a new way of looking at my debt, teaching me to take back my power and own my debt rather than being ashamed of it. He taught me to have a relationship with money and to respect and recognize it’s power. He taught me to give, to save and to spend in a healthy way. He taught me to study my money and my money patterns. But most importantly he helped me to change my “money message” by looking at my first money memories.

What is your first money memory??

By answering this question I painfully uncovered the root of my poverty mentality and identified the “broken” area in my present day finances. I went back to my childhood and it didn’t take me long to recall my first money memory:

My parents were divorced. My mom was on food stamps, an alcoholic and raising myself and my three sisters alone. She was scared, angry, and exhausted. My father was “in and out” of the scene, but mostly out. I remember being 9 years old and asking my mom if I could get a pair of high top chucks at Clover. They were super cool and I wanted them in black.

I must have approached her at a bad time when either the bills were due or the case of beer was empty, because her response was a raging “I have no goddamn money for your sneakers because your father left me alone to raise you girls by myself. Next time you see him…ask him to buy you the goddamn sneakers. I am broke.”

Three weeks later, the next time that I saw my dad, he was working at the local auto body shop. I mustered up the courage to stop in the shop that I walked by each day on my way home from school. I was a bit intimidated because I had not seen him for a visit in a while. He didn’t come around the house much. I felt uncomfortable barging into his work just because I needed money, but I really wanted those chucks! So I peeked my head around the hood of the old car he was working on and nervously blurted it out. “Hi Dad, mom asked me to ask you if you would give me $12 so that I can buy a pair of sneakers.” He set the wrench down on the engine, stood up and leaned toward me. I thought I was going to get slapped at first…but then he took a long deep breath and said in a tone equally as offensively as my mother’s, “You gotta be shittin’ me. That no good drunk mother of yours has been garnishing my wages and now she wants me to buy your sneakers. I don’t even have a pot to piss in myself. How the hell am I going come up with the money to buy you a pair of sneakers.”

As you can see—remembering this horrific first money memory shed a great deal of light on my years of financial struggle. For my entire life, my money message was based on memories such as this one. The message was clear: “There ain’t no money and if you ask for any money there is going to be a whole lot of anger and heartache.”

No wonder I was “broken.”

Facing my painful memory helped me to recognize the magnitude of my screwed up money message. For 39 years I was making financial decisions based on a message that said wanting or having money leads to fear and pain. 

In order to transform my stinkin’ thinkin’ I began a series of daily affirmations to reprogram my money message. 10 times a day for 30 days I repeated the following statements:

“I have a life of wealth in abundance until it overflows.”

“I am a money magnet.”

“Money flows in and out of my life with ease and grace.”

Then, in order to activate my faith, I spent the next 30 days consciously giving money away. I woke up each morning and decided who I would bless financially that day. Then I sought them out and gave them some sort of financial gift. I bought the person behind me in the line at Wawa their coffee and doughnut. I paid the toll for the cab driver behind me on the turnpike. I tipped the waitress at a pizza joint $50 instead of $5. I did this everyday for 30 days and some how, through God’s grace, my money doubled. And then tripled. And then quadrupled.

Opportunities to make money arrived at my door step. Gigantic financial blessings poured into my business. In no time at all, only five short months, my finances were restored, renewed and replenished…and I was finally free of the poverty chains that were keeping me from my destiny. I made the decision to be forever free of my poverty mentality and decided that I would never allow myself to get trapped in it again.

Just four years later I am completely free of financial struggle and live an abundantly wealthy life.  I no longer associate money with stress and fear.  I love and care for my money and it loves and cares for me back. I have a great relationship with my money which flows in and out of my life with ease and grace. I love to spend it, save it and give it away knowing that all that I want and need will be provided for me.

So if you have the courage…and you want to transform your finances, ask yourself: “What is your first money memory? What is the money message that you received in your life that is keeping you from having a wealthy mindset and a healthy attitude of abundance and prosperity today?” Share it in the comments below and take step one today.