Coping With Stress and Trauma

meditation

My husband and I just watched the Jodie Foster movie, The Brave One. (Warning: This post may contain spoilers.) In the movie Jodie Foster’s character, Erica Bain, is traumatized when she is brutally beaten and her finance is murdered in a vicious attack. The movie was a little too depressing to watch more than once. But it originally caught my eye as it chronicled the life of a woman after trauma and told the story of how she strives to cope with the fears that arose. Her response to the trauma surprises herself. This is evidenced in the quote:

“I always believed that fear belonged to other people. Weaker people. It never touched me. And then it did. And when it touches you, you know… that it’s been there all along. Waiting beneath the surfaces of everything you loved. “
You can speculate and guess how you would cope with traumatic events. But I believe you can’t truly know how you would cope in any experience unless you are in it. Sure you can look at your character traits, you can look at your past experiences, you can speculate, but you can’t truly know.
In a million years I would have never thought that I would react to a series of events in my life the way I have…
How I am able to cope fluctuates and has a great deal with how in control I feel. When I begin to feel circumstances around me are out of control I begin to panic.
Things that surprised me about how I cope are:The fact that sometimes I don’t cope well at all. I hide under my covers and try to block out any and all noise and sound. This surprises me as I always felt that I was a mentally strong. I’m a survivor for sure. I’m more than that. I’m an achiever. But I have been know to run and hide for 15 minutes, or even for an hour or two.How judgmental I have been in the past. I honestly never felt I was a judgmental person, and have always felt very accepting of other people. Still I couldn’t understand how someone could let their house get so messy, or their personal appearance could get so unkempt at times. I now understand that things can sometimes get so overwhelming that even the most organized and well intentioned people can have simply have a hard time keeping up with life.How judgmental people can be – The saying “do not judge me until you have walked a thousand miles in my moccasins” has great relevance here. Trust me, you can’t really truly understand unless you’ve been there.My temper – At times of high stress little things will cause me to feel angry. I’m not really angry at the event, but it is the lack-of-control I feel that I have on my surroundings that anger me. When I lose my sense of control anger surfaces. So one of the primary symptoms for me of a panic attack is anger.That sometimes “thinking my way out” of it is so hard. I believe in positive thinking. I believe in the power of thoughts to change lives. I believe that how you think determines your life. But still “thinking my way out” of these feelings of panic can sometimes be so difficult. When one’s body reacts, and when things trigger emotions they can cast a heavy cloud that is a little more difficult to dissipate. That being said, I believe you can easily think your way into a depression. Anyone could think of plenty of things to be depressed about. It is much easier to stay out of depression than to get out of depression. Controlling your thoughts is the key.What can set these feelings of lack of control off. The most common thing is fighting kids. It drives me nuts that when I can’t control the noise level or contention. Normally beautiful sounds can also trigger these feelings. Things like the sound of a baby laughing. It is a sound I love, but it will trigger feelings of great loss within me as it transports me back to a time.How strong I am – I have learned that I am a strong person. That I have a fighting spirit. That I can survive. But I can do more than survive. I can live. And not only that I can help others live their life more fully.
Things that I used to do:Fear – I no longer fear. I am not afraid of people. I’m not afraid of circumstances. I got to where I would wanted to confront my stocker and look him straight in the eyes. I no longer wanted to flee. I wanted to be the one in control. In the end I became that person in control.Purge the trauma – I threw up many times a day for years and years. Don’t get this wrong. I wasn’t bulimic. It wasn’t something I wanted to do or tried to do. It just happened. I tried all sorts of things to keep the food down. But it just kept coming back up. I came to realize that it was as if my body was trying to purge the trauma. It was trying to purge the memories. Once I got to a certain point of healing it began to ease up. Now I can go for weeks at a time. (This was dramatically helped with some nutritional supplements as well).Not eat – OK, this is one that I admit I am still working on. But we are nearly there. I got in the habit of not eating. After all, why eat if it wasn’t even going to stay down.Not sleep – it took hours to get to sleep, and finally when I slept it was for an hour and a half at a time. That was even with medication. I was on some form of sleep medication for nearly twenty years. About four months ago I began a specific nutritional supplement that made it possible for me to go to sleep on my own and I actually slept for six hours straight. I remember vividly the night I fell asleep and awoke eight hours later feeling refreshed. It was a miracle. Now, thankfully, I can go to sleep easily and stay asleep for four hours even when not taking the supplement. I now am able to turn off those thoughts that would keep me awake at night.So readers I ask you:Have you found yourself in situations where the way you reacted surprised yourself? If so, in what way?What coping strategies have you found you rely on?

Attempting To Thrive In Today’s World

Why do I find it so hard to take care of myself? I must think I am super man.
I do get a lot done, I’m very successful in many many ways, but I won’t be able to keep up at this pace. Things have got to change.
You see, I’ve been known to not eat all day, get four hours of sleep a day (consistently), and run myself ragged. It’s a terrible habit I’ve gotten myself into. I believe it all began years ago when I had a  silent death wish, a wish to check out of this world, and stop the pain.  But that is no longer the case and it has become simply a habit of self-sabotage because I get hyper-focusing and forget about anything else.,
Even at the worse times in my life there was a big part of me that wanted to live, and really live passionately. Thankfully that, and my love for my family, kept me alive.I mentioned before that I began the road to recovery when I began creating. While the creating was artistic, I am sure it was to my soul symbolic of “creating a future.” I believe the physical act of creating something was important. It said to the world, “I’m here for the long haul. I am creating my future.”
But now staying alive isn’t enough. I’m out of that survival mode, and into the living mode. But I don’t want to just live, I want to thrive. And to thrive I’ve got to definitely take better care of myself. I’ve got to stop putting my health and well being last.
So here it is, my first two commitments on my Thriving plan. I plan to live a long healthy life. And to prove that I will now:

Start by day off right by eating breakfast. I will begin eating breakfast each morning so I have the energy to “really live.”

Drink More Life Giving Water – I’ll start off by drinking three large glasses of water before reaching for another beverage.What are you doing to sabotage your future? What are you doing to create your future? What can you do to increase your odds of staying alive and enjoying life? Want to join me on my quest to live with passion and vitality?

Are You Chasing Rabbits Down Rabbit Holes?

rabbits Down Rabbit Holes

I believe the World Wide Web is not the most appropriate name for the internet. Yes, it’s true, the world wide web is justly named because one website links to another, then another, and another – just like one strand links another strand in a spider’s web. But perhaps, it’s not the most appropriate name…

Perhaps you’ve had those days when the world wide web is more like one large rabbits hole that connects to another rabbits hole, and perhaps, like me, you find yourself just like Alice in Wonderland chasing rabbits down rabbit’s holes and discovering a whole new world.

Yes it’s true the world wide web can open a whole new world, or should I say under-world.  And it begins like this…

You open an email from a friend, and read: “You should go check out this site.”  Naturally (if you are a curious person like me, and someone who hates the fact that someone else might know something you don’t know)  you click to check it out.

While you’re there you read something you didn’t know before, something that peaked your interest, but…

That web-site just provided a glimpse, and not a full answer.  So you do the sensible thing and person who values learning does…

You open up your browser, go to Google.com and type in your question. There is is! 184,796 web pages that just may have the information you need.

So you open up the door to rabbit hole number one and down you go.  But wait…

That rabbit hole wasn’t quite what you were looking for!

So you open another door and go down rabbit hole number two.

Perfect, you were lucky this time. Right there in rabbit hole number two is everything you ever wanted to know about rabbits and rabbit holes.

You read it, but then you begin to worry…Maybe, just maybe, you may not really know everything there is to know about rabbits. So, just to be safe, you decide to check out a few more rabbit holes (aka websites) just to make sure.

There you are on that fifth website, and you learn that rabbits prefer one kind of plant A over another type of plant B.  Good thing you decided to check out those few extra websites!

But naturally, you’ve never heard of that plant B.  Do they grow in my area you wonder? So you go back to Google.com to do another search for plant B.   And yes, to chase another rabbit down another rabbit hole.

At that site the  expert says “subscribe to by newsletter” and learn everything you ever wanted to know about rabbit holes, plants, and raising baby rabbits. So you decide to subscribe.

What a relief…

Now you’ve don’t have to follow those rabbits down the rabbit holes. They’ll come straight to you. Right into your home and set-up house on your computer.

With a sigh of relief you decide that you finally have enough info on rabbit holes, plant B, and how to raise baby rabbits that you can stop searching. After all, the information will now come straight to you, and it will be right there safely tucked away in the cage when you need it.

So you go back to your in box, open another email, and read another email.

“Hey, Leisa, what do you know about XYZ?”  So off you go, down another rabbit hole…

It’s true, what they say.  Rabbits do multiply fast.

Suddenly, you look at the clock and exclaim that famous line from the book: “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date.”

Thanks to Rich Schefren who provided the inspiration for this post.  His post talks how to eliminate information on  rabbit-hole journeys.

So sorry, I’m going to recommend you follow-this rabbit down this hole and check out his blog.  Rich has some valuable insight into why you should stop the madness. I like Rich’s advice.“Remember:You cannot conquer uncertainty by burying it with more information. Wisdom comes not from devouring information, but by filtering it through personal experience and taking action on it. It’s the action or reaction, not the information itself, that makes us wise.”

Here’s a few valuable questions to ask yourself:Are you attempting to become business wise by following rabbit’s down hole after hole, and getting lost in the journey?Are you spending to much time down rabbit holes, and missing out on the stuff that is right there on the surface?

Or are you the type of person who can quickly filter the information, and then act on what needs to be done?Are you taking advantage of the knowledge you have, putting it to work right now in your life?Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do!If you don’t, then perhaps you’ll wake up just as Alice in Wonderland did and discover you’ve dreamed your life away.Oh, by the way, while you’re here, be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed and we’ll deliver more insightful rabbits right into your in box.   But don’t worry, our rabbits are fixed – they don’t multiply.

A Productivity System for Getting Things Done

I’ve always been an extremely busy person, but I’ve been EXTRA swamped lately so that’s why I haven’t even gotten my first post done in the Envision It series.  I haven’t even had time to get in  many Tweets.
It’s primarily because our business is booming at the same time I’m trying to get Rich Women Sisterhood relaunched (after we found some problems in BETA mode).  I’ve also been coaching several small business clients, something that just kinda happened as people asked for help in setting up their business to market online.The Problem
The problem is my old methods of  tracking my projects, and everything I had to get done, wasn’t working anymore…
I’d used a paper-based planner since junior high.  When I first got married I worked for Franklin Covey (back before Franklin merged with Covey) and fell in love with the Franklin planning system.   Once I began homeschooling and running several business I found that it wasn’t working as well anymore.  Primarily because of the many repetitive tasks and multiple projects.
In all fairness, I’ll take that back…
I had automated the system by using the Franklin Covey software, but my computer crashed and I couldn’t install it on my new computer. I wasn’t willing to invest in new software at the time.  Though now their online planning system looks pretty good.
Don’t get me wrong, I still find great value in the teachings offered by Franklin Covey system, particularly when it comes to aligning your tasks with your values and core believes. I also firmly believe that it is a fantastic system for many, many people.  And I will continue to use many aspects of it in conjunction with what I am doing now.  But, there had to be an easier way than creating a new list every day.Getting Things Done So some time ago, I searched and found David Allen’s book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and fell in love with the GTD methodology.  I highly recommend you read the book!
I downloaded and printed some fantastic forms for GTD (I’ll still use many of them) and created my own DIY planner and used it in conjunction with the Hipster PDA.  I found that worked fairly well, but things were still falling through the cracks.  Plus it was costing me more considerably more for printing than the Franklin planner cost.But my system wasn’t working
It wasn’t flawed, but…
I spend a good share of my day at the computer, or away from my home office.   Some days I’d go to add things to my list and realize that my planner was in the trunk of the car.  Not a problem, unless the car is gone for eight hours.   Even if the planner was right there next to me, I’d end up taking notes on a piece of paper – simply because I’d be in to big of a hurry to find the correct page to write that particular task on.
However, now after quite a bit of research and a little time organizing I think I’ve come up with something that will work well for me. Perhaps it, or parts of it will work well for you.A New Productivity System
It’s a system that uses technology (and no I don’t have an iPhone or Blackberry), to track all my projects and tasks, and combines it with other productive tools.  It allows me to easily capture tasks on the run.  Plus, my husband, and business partner, can automatically add tasks he needs me to work on as well.
So I’m not giving up my DIY printed planner /Franklin planner /Hipster PDA completely and I still have a project folder for each one of my projects.  But I’m merging them with other tools for getting things done. I’ll share with you what I use each of the tools for.If I were to include everything in one post it would be counter productive, and difficult to follow. So I’ll be sharing with you the tools I use to keep track of all my projects and tasks.   Perhaps some of the tips will help you not only dream, but act.  And not only plan, but believe.

A Lesson in Authentic Living

I just returned from the Marketing Mastery Seminar where I was able to learn from several entrepreneurs – particularly Garrett J. White, and Gerald Rogers. What really truck a cord with me this past weekend was what I learned from Garrett J. White, the master of Authentic living. This weekend, I thought of this question over and over again: Am I being truly authentic? I came away with the realization that I haven’t been living authentically. You see, I tend to hide behind a facade of success. Sure I am successful. I truly am. But I have found myself not sharing my true self enough the past few years. I found myself wondering why. And came upon the realization that the very definition of my business and what it stood for had began to define me more than I thought it could.

You see, when I first started by blog in 2008 it lived at LeisaWatkins.com where I tended to share a little more openly.  After all, it was about me, my journey, and what I had learned from life. It was much easier to be me.  However, when I moved that blog to Wealth, Wisdom and Success later I stopped being so authentic and tended to hide my true self more.Somehow I bought into the believe that…when someone arrives at Wealth, Wisdom and Success they want to see a picture of success.

What I came to believe  this weekend is that you, my readers, want someone who will share their struggles (to a point) as well as their successes. I’m not talking about a bunch of doom and gloom news – that wouldn’t be any fun for anyone and that isn’t my life at all. But I’m now realizing that people would much rather learn from and experience someone who is being truly authentic. Thank you Garret J. White for living your authentic self so it drew such a stark contrast to my moments of in-authenticity.

Don’t get me wrong, the posts contained here are not fakes.  They are what I believe. They are the authentic me. They are a true side of myself. After all, I talk about… Health Problems, Financial Problems, and Feeling Broken. I talk about feeling like I am drowning in overwhelm, about growing up with ESP and I even talk about panic attacks and my quest to live more authentically when I start to tell my story. And I share my beliefs and life lessons of success.

But I admit it, I have had a tendency to hide to much of me. In fact, when I moved my blog I didn’t transfer many of the posts from that old blog to it’s new home here.  Part of them seemed irrelevant at that point. But some were not moved simply because I was failing to live my authentic self.

This weekend I also realized that I was making a bigger difference in lives when I shared more openly. When I shared more openly I found others could more easily identify and related with me.

I failed to share the intense bouts of depression I felt as I began to recover from rape and trauma.

I failed to share my journey of recovery from multiple personality disorder. (Gasp. Did I just write that for all the world to see?)

So I’ve re-posted a couple of those older posts so I can begin my quest to more authentic living. One is Coping with Stress and Trauma: How Would You Cope and the other was Attempting To Thrive In Today’s World. And I’ll tell you right now, I am not doing very well at my original plan to take better care of myself.

A Good Book Has No Ending, Or Does It?

“A good book has no ending.”~R.D. CummingA good book has no ending because it is either a catalyst for change, an inspiration for life, or a starting point in a journey. Books change lives.
I remember just a couple of things about my life is sixth grade. One was the daily writing assignments our teacher gave us. She said we could write on any topic we wanted.
While most children wrote about something different every day, I chose to write a book. As a 12 year old child I was inspired by the book Stuart Little by E. B. White and The Borrowers by Mary Norton. They became the inspiration for my book. I wrote a book about children who had lost their parents, but whom were roughly the same size of Stuart Little.
Day in and day out I wrote of their adventures. They traveled the world.
What I knew of the world thus far was pretty much taken from, you guessed it, books.  Books had become the backdrop for my understanding of the world. They became the inspiration for one chapter after another. They were without ending because they inspired a new chapter, in a new writers life.
By the time I was done I had written many chapters and proudly handed them in to my teacher. I couldn’t wait to take them home to show my parents, but first they had to be graded.
The last day of school arrived, and the teacher handed back everyone’s work. I waited anxiously. I was never so excited to receive a homework assignment back in my life.
But my name was never called.
My book wasn’t among the work returned that day. When I asked about it she said she must have left it at home, but not worry she would mail it to me. My precious book never arrived.
Several years later we learned from a friend of the teacher that she had aspirations to write a book about children’s literature. Not the literature written for children, but a book about literature written by children. We learned that she had a habit of keeping some of her student’s favorite work as research for her book.
Oh, how I wish I had that book today.
What fun it would be to read it to my girls. They could get a glimpse into the child I was back then. She could learn from my writings about how I saw the world and about the adventures I dreamed of perhaps having some day.
As far as I know that teacher hasn’t written her book.  That one book did have a fateful end for one child.
Likewise, the personal education of countless individuals end the day they leave school.   They fail to ever pick up another book.  They fail to continue to educate themselves. Their education meets a fateful end.
I believe continuing education, and continual reading are so important because books can be that catalyst for change, the inspiration for life, and a starting point for yet another journey.

How have books proved to be a catalyst for change?

How have they been an inspiration in your life?

How have they been a starting point for yet another journey?

Do you put the things you learn from a book into your life, or do their teachings, and the things you learn meet a fateful end?

Unstopable Features

“I remember I was staying with my grandmother when my parents came to pick me up to take me to Swaziland where they left me. I was dressed up like umakoti, I was young and confused and didn’t understand what was happening I cried the whole time. When we got to Swaziland my parents told me that I was now married. I asked how and to whom but didn’t get an answer.  Later that night  umamazala (mother in-law) took me to a hut where there was this old man, she then told me that he is my husband, I started crying again and he told me that even if I cried there is nothing I can do he paid lobola for me and I am his wife.

The same night he said we are going to sleep together but because I was young I didn’t understand so I took the blankets nga lala phansi, he said no you are my wife we will sleep in the same bed. I refused he grabbed me, took off my clothes and he had sex with me. I cried the whole night thinking what have I done to deserve this, why are my parents doing this to me. In the morning his sisters woke me up to go fetch water and wood, when I come back I would start cleaning, bathing their kids and cooking. When I asked for help I was told ngi wumakoti so I should act like one. I was young and when I saw other kids playing on the streets I would wish to go play with them but I would not be allowed because I am married.

Every night this man would force himself on me; having sex with me without my permission he didn’t even use protection. After a few months I woke up feeling dizzy and nauseas and I told my mother in-law. I didn’t know what was happening because I was vomiting and had all the signs of being pregnant but because I was young I didn’t understand. After telling her she got excited saying sibonga aba phansi, and I asked her why is she saying that she told me that I was pregnant. I was not exited because it was not my choice. Then I had my first born child. During the pregnancy I would still be doing the house chores and they didn’t help me. After my child was born the abused started again. This man would bring other women into the house, I would be asked to sleep on the floor with the child while he slept with the other woman in the same house and they would have sex. I asked him why he was doing this he would beat me up telling me that he is the man of the house, he paid lobola for me so I must get used to it.

Life was hard and I didn’t know where to run to because I was in another country. After a few years I was pregnant again with my second child. The abuse went on until we moved to Johannesburg. In 2005 I was pregnant again with my third child. One day this man came home from work. He owns a construction company. When he got home, he told me we had to talk and he told me that if we want to be rich and live comfortably, he needed to do something to grow his business. I asked him what he wanted to do. He told me that we must use our first born child. He will take my child to an inyanga where they will use her blood to grow his business and I should not tell anyone where the child is. I refused and he told me that because I am refusing I will die.

He started beating me up and verbally abusing me. I was thinking of my kids. I didn’t care what he would do to me but I wouldn’t let him use my kids. One morning I woke up while he was at work packed my clothes and took my kids and ran away back home where my parents were staying. When I got home I told my mother what had happened and she told me that ushadile and as a married woman I should bear it. I didn’t understand why my mom would say something like that to me, after taking away my childhood now this. I told her I was not going back, I would be staying with them she told me that she won’t be able to maintain me and my kids (angikwazi ukuphakela wena naba ntwana bakho).

I stayed at home for a few days and she was not  happy about it. I then ran away to Johannesburg thinking I would get a place to stay and a job so that I can take care of my kids. When I got to Joburg I didn’t have a place to stay so I stayed with the kids on the streets after a few days I realized that the streets were not safe so I took the kids back to my mother’s house and I went back to stay on the streets. Life on the streets was tough because we would sleep without blankets, always fighting for safety because there would be a man who comes and want to sleep with us. I would use a box as my blanket and sometimes metro police would come at night and chase us away taking our boxes and saying we don’t belong there.

In 2011, I met a pastor who helped me get a shelter where he was paying for my rent. I then registered my construction business but getting clients was hard as I was not educated and I don’t know much about construction. Atleast now I have a place to stay I also have a phone so I could check up on my kids. Life became better as I had shelter and I know that my kids are safe with my mother.

BORN FOR LEADERSHIPS

There aren’t many people who add sparkle to a room when they enter itbut when we meet up with Happy Ralinala, she is radiates confidence andher warm smile kept the crew calm as we didn’t know what to expect fromher. From her soft spoken voice to her humility you can easily tell whatkind of a leader she is and we were honoured as Successful WomanMagazine team to have her. That same warmth was present when she camefor our Women of Influence breakfast, as she was our keynote speaker.

Born in a humble home in Soweto, Happy’s childhood was more texturedthan many people’s. “I was born in Soweto and grew up in both Soweto andDundee in KwaZulu-Natal. Growing up as the eldest of five siblings, Iwas always surrounded by strong impressions of hard work and tenacity askey ingredients to success. I am a daughter, sister, wife and a motherwith a purpose to enable Africa as a continent to reach her fullpotential. I’m also in the humbling position of heading up a division ofone of South Africa’s largest financial institutions,” Happy explains.Empowering Q & A with Ms Happy Ralinala1. How was growing up in during apartheid?Growing up in apartheid South Africa was both rewarding and scary.Rewarding, in that, this period helped me find my voice – a voice thatis positive and transformative, a voice that is unwavering on my beliefsand rights as an individual and as a South African. Scary, in that,through my activist ways, I could never know who was looking to arrestme for the role I played in voicing the struggles of many disadvantagedpeople.2. What motivates you?Seeing other people succeed truly motivates me. Helping people,particularly the youth, to achieve their dreams and aspirations andreach their full potential is my way of making a difference.3. What is your take on women empowerment?As women continue to break glass ceilings across various economicsectors, there is soaring expectation on their role and contribution togrow economies and help build strong and thriving societies. Thisresponsibility comes with remembering that success begins when we allowourselves, as women, to understand that life is about growing; it isabout acquiring the knowledge and skills we need to live more fully andeffectively.4. Your passion for women empowerment, development and leadership, howdid that come about?As a young woman trying to make it in the corporate world, I saw howimportant it was to surround myself with a strong network of mentors,coaches and leaders who would help steer my career. Often women have towork twice as hard to advance compared to their male counterparts. Theyhave to learn new skills and have the mental stamina and willingness tosucceed –without losing their authenticity and identity.5. What is your secret to your success?I always challenge myself to do better. I firmly believe that ‘you areonly as good as your last game’. This has guided everything that hashappened in my life and has been instrumental throughout my career. Froma very early age, I realised the power of education and knew thatlearning through formal and informal means would be key in my life’sjourney. It was through sheer courage and determination that I lookedat my earlier adversities and turned these into opportunities to learnnew skills.6. What does success mean to you?Success to me means living with purpose – a purpose to help peopleachieve their goals and ambitions. It is about a feeling of fulfilmentwhich is often brought about acts of kindness and efforts of ‘paying itforward’. Success is also about the little blessings in my individualspace that grounds me and fills me with pride and appreciation.7. How do you keep humble with all the achievements?My family, friends, colleagues and the type of work I do humble me. I’malways reminded that every interaction is an opportunity, a secondchance to change a life and improve the circumstances of others. Thisis what we call stewardship – leaving things better than how we foundthem.8. Best lessons you have ever learned?I owe the person that I am today and the successes that have come alongin my life to my entrepreneurial mother. She ensured that the bestlessons were learn’t through the smallest tasks. Accountability,integrity and hard work are just some of the early lessons I learned asa young girl growing up. I assumed big responsibilities as a younggirl: seeing to the house and looking after my siblings while my motherwas out making ends meet. This early learning instilled in me humility,resilience and drive.9. What are your favourite books?Reading is one of my favourite ways of passing time. I enjoy all genresof books – from business and finance, biographies, autobiographies andleadership to religion, cooking, house and garden. One of the mostmemorable books I’ve read that had a profound influence on my personaland professional life is by David McNally and Mac Anderson, titled,‘Even eagles need a push’.
We’ve all seen it, or felt it, at some point in our life: how just onemoment of encouragement can change a life forever. It can be thegreatest gift we’ll ever give or receive. The book is about the power ofencouragement and the realisation that even the best ‘high flyers’ orthe most successful need a word of encouragement every so often.10. How do you encourage creative thinking in your organisation?By understanding that every employee is an individual and has a uniquecontribution to make towards finding solutions to day-to-day challengesexperienced in the organisation. This is the ultimate expression oftrust and empowerment – vital qualities for any high performanceenvironment.11. How do we identify a leader?In the words of our former President, Nelson Mandela: “A leader is likea shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go outahead, where upon the others follow, not realising that all along theyare being directed from behind”.This is the philosophy of ServantLeadership. This is a type of leader who views leadership through thelens of changing and enriching the lives of individuals.12. 5 tips to be a good leaderThere are six qualities that I hold close as a leader. A good leadershould:
• Be a visionary• Be a good listener• Have humility• Have empathy• Believe in the concept of community and strive to invest and empowerindividuals and societies• Subscribe to Stewardship. Living by this value means striving to leavethings better than you found them.13. Tips on how to unleash your leadership potentialI work with a team of dynamic people. We work hard, but also ensurethat we have fun in the process. We laugh together and are veryconstructive in our feedback to each other. I work for a greatorganisation that believes in the strength of its people.14. What makes leaders to succeed?Trust! As a leader, you need to trust and invest in people becauseeverybody is capable and has potential. The role of any leader is toassure people that they are capable by creating hope and possibilities.

Everything You Need to Know About Freelancing

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Freelancing is the method of working for an individual, firm or organization without the typical restrictions which are tied to permanent jobs. Freelancers or independent contractors are only hired when there is a need for their services and this gives them the flexibility to work within their own hours. Also, getting involved in any type of work as a freelancer gives you the chance to take multiple jobs at a time from as many clients as you desire. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are currently engaged in freelance work and with the internet becoming even more popular across every corner of the planet, it is expected that the number of people doing these jobs will surge in the near future.Who Can Be A Freelancer?

People from all walks of life can engage in freelance work as long as they have the necessary skills and time. These range from unemployed people to Full-time College students looking for extra sources of income. Many Stay-At-Home Mums and Dads who want to keep an eye on their kids while earning some money also try to find work-at-home jobs which require their skill sets. As long as you are good at what you do and have the commitment to put in the right levels of energy and time, you should have no problems finding freelance jobs. If you are currently jobless, working as a freelancer can be a great way to make some money. A substantial number of people also use freelancing to make more money to supplement their regular incomes. Additionally, there are huge numbers of people working as full-time freelancers.Which Skills Are Required to Become A Successful Freelancer?

There is a huge demand for freelancers of all types on the internet today and a few basic skills can help you find a well-paying job that can be done from your home, dormitory, library, or anywhere you want. Are you an avid writer? Do you have impressive graphic design skills? There are tons of individuals, firms and organizations willing to pay you top dollar for your services. Web designers, Social Media Marketers, Typists, Proofreaders, Copyeditors, Transcribers and many other professionals also benefit from the wide range of freelance positions available daily in these positions on the internet and elsewhere.Finding Freelance Jobs

There are so many platforms that can be used to source freelance jobs. If you have any kind of impressive skills, you can simply talk to brick and mortar businesses in your locality which may need your services. Alternatively, you can check the classifieds sections of local newspapers, magazines, Yellow Pages and other publications to find out if there is demand for your skills. Another great idea will be to post ads with a good description of your skills in these publications because you could end up getting scores of responses from prospective clients.

People looking for freelance job opportunities now face minimal hurdles thanks to the advancement of technology. Gone are the days when one could only find part-time jobs available in his or her locality. With the advancement of the internet, freelancing has gone global and as long as you have the right skills, it’s easy to find a client that lives thousands of miles away. There are various reputable marketplaces on the Web where freelancers can find jobs that require their skill sets. Popular platforms such as Odesk, Freelancer, Fiverr, Elance, etc., have millions of freelancers from all over the world and host thousands of job ads daily. These websites are great for beginners as well those experienced in working independently from home. Once you gain more experience, it may be a great idea to establish your own blog which will help you find additional freelance jobs.Benefits of Working as a Freelancer

Many people dream of running their own businesses from the comfort of their homes but find it difficult to achieve their aims. This is simply because they fail to find a business system that works for them. Freelancing is a straightforward method of making money on the Web as it simply involves exchanging your time and skills for money. It doesn’t come with a steep learning curve like affiliate marketing, blogging and other internet business modules which are notorious for their high failure rates. In fact, working as a freelancer can actually be the gateway to earning full-time income online. You can engage in article writing, graphic design and other jobs while simultaneously learning the ropes of internet marketing and other profitable online ventures. This will give you access to regular income to pay your bills in the mean time.

One of the main benefits of engaging in freelance work is the opportunity to spend more time with your family. If you have a spouse or kids, working at home full-time means you will get to spend precious moments together which will help strengthen your bond as a family. This will ultimately lead to a more solid relationship which will make everyone happier.

Working as a freelancer rules out the necessity to commute to work every day. Research shows that majority of corporate workers spend a couple of hours on the road each day just to attend and return home from work. In order to get to work on time, many of term are deprived of quality sleep which eventually takes a toll on their health. The ability to set your own working hours as a freelancer will give you ample time to rest after a hard day’s work which can improve your productivity.

Freelancing places no limit on your earning potential unlike many 9-5 jobs and therefore you can earn as much as you want. Freelancers have the freedom to charge their own rates for hire and most of them charge by the hour. This gives you an incentive to work harder in order to earn more.

Working as an independent contractor can be extremely rewarding especially if you have great skills. You can easily establish a good name through excellent work over time. Many of your clients will not hesitate to refer you to others when you impress them and this will lead to high work volumes and ultimately, more money for you.

MARRIED AND UNMARRIED COUPLES FINANCES

According to the most recent research of the U.S. Census Bureau Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, there’s an increase in cohabiting couples from 2009 to 2010. It means more unmarried couples are living together. Couples who were not living together in 2009 were moving in together in 2010, according to the research they are known as “newly formed couples.” There could be a number of reasons for this increase. Since more couples are moving in together, I suspect a strong reason for this is a precipitating economic environment. Factors such as job loss or consolidating to living in one home could conveniently entice a couple to move in together. It’s cost-effective to pay for one residency than two. Another reason could be that financially couples may not be prepared for all the financial responsibilities of marriage. In addition, some couples may believe in the value of a committed relationship without marriage. Marriage is more than living under the same roof, it’s a union. Not just a spiritual, physical union, but a financial union. His money is your money and her money is his money no matter how you slice it or dice it. If one partner loses their job, then the other partner will have to pick up the extra work. Theoretically speaking, your monies are not really separate. If one partner brought into the marriage bad debt it will affect the way money is to be managed in that marriage. However, I do believe married couples should have their own separate accounts, too. Mismanaged money in a marriage can dismantle its union causing headaches, stress, and financial friction.Due to the trend of increasing couples living together today’s blog will be focused on unmarried couples and married couples financial responsibilities. Here are 3 basic steps to prepare you to evaluate your financial responsibilities:Step 1: What’s in the baggage? Did you happen to take a peak at the baggage that was brought into the relationship? It doesn’t matter if you are living together as a married or unmarried couple, you must know what type of financial situation your partner is in. Do both of you have baggage that you are claiming or is it only one of you that is carrying baggage? How much debt is being brought into the relationship? Do you and/or your partner have any delinquencies? Are there any expenses to consider associated with you and/or your partner’s kid(s)?  In addition, what kind of baggage are you bringing into the relationship: a heavy, medium, or light bag(s)?  How will it affect your finances as a couple? Step 2: Reaching a common ground. Money problems are inevitable. Discuss with your partner how their parents dealt with money issues. This will give you an inside peak to understanding how your partner handles their own money issues. Were those practices copied or avoided? Within your relationship how will you discuss and handle any money issues should they come arise? It’s important you reach a common ground on how you will work things out.  In addition, how will you handle the baggage that was brought into the relationship? On the other hand, money discussion should not only be about problems, but, about goals you want to achieve. What are you short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals? Do you want credit card debt paid off in one year, 8 months of expenses saved in two years, down payment for a home in three or five years? Or maybe it’s to take a vacation to the Caribbean?Step 3: Planning: How will you manage your financial affairs? Now that you know what baggage is being brought into the relationship and goals you would like to accomplish the last step is to come up with a plan. This will require uninterrupted time. The following is the minimum that should be discussed:Bank accounts—Setting up two separate accounts for your household would be ideal. One account will be for household expenses and the second account will be an emergency fund for household expenses. In addition, each partner should have their own accounts, too. As I mentioned earlier, theoretically speaking you don’t have “your own money” but it’s a smart idea to set up separate accounts so you can do what you want with it and it will not affect the household accounts.Paying off debt – When will the debt be erased? What’s the payoff plan?Estate Issues—A estate planning attorney can offer advice on how to probably set up your estate. You don’t need to be wealthy. At times, a simple will may suffice. However, in the event of an unexpected death, who will take care of the kids? How should your assets be distributed?Allocating money— What portion of your income will be allocated towards the household accounts? Unemployment rates are still high, so you will need at least eight months of household expenses saved in your household emergency fund? How will that be accomplished? How much will be allocated towards paying off debt? Have a plan on the amount of money that will be contributed to your retirement account and other obligatory expenses. This will require setting up a budget. Beneficiaries— Who are the designated beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, IRA and other retirement plans? Are they the correct beneficiaries on file? You must make sure your beneficiaries are updated correctly.