Posts Tagged ‘career’

5 Things To Do In An Economic Depression (and the personal one that comes with it)

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

The economy is depressed.  Hell, even Henry seems depressed.  Job loss has gone from something you heard on the news to an event that has affected everyone personally in some way.  If you are lucky to have a job, with fewer people in the work force, you’re probably working harder and possibly for less pay (which I’m sure wasn’t one of your goals as you advanced in your career.)  The bottom line is, we’re all being forced to make some changes in order to “stay in the game” (and out of foreclosure, divorce court, bankruptcy, the mental ward, & the bar before 5.)  Here are a few ideas:

1. Change How You Entertain Yourself. I’m not going to sugar coat this because you and I both know we like to “treat” ourselves.  You still can, but lets tone it down a bit.  Instead of taking that trip to Hawaii, vacation at a friend’s house.  Chances are you’ve been meaning to go visit someone for years and haven’t gotten around to it.  Instead of that night out with the girls, have them over for a movie or game night and do a potluck.  Finally, cut back on salon expenses and you’re halfway to achieving enlightenment.  I couldn’t believe how much money I was spending on manicures, pedicures, cuts, color, massages, and hair products…. OH MY.  All I can say is, eliminate where you can, cut back where you can’t, and you’ll be amazed.

2. Shop Smarter. There are more sales than ever before, but you still need to pay attention.  It’s also a good idea to check out sites like Amazon and eBay for items you really want, because they may be for sale somewhere else.  I also like ShopItToMe!  While you’re at it, sell that outfit you just “had to have” but have never worn on eBay so you’ll have some money to buy something.

3. Save money on batteries; sleep with your husband/boyfriend. Sex has so many health benefits, so we should really be making it a bigger part of our lives.  It releases endorphins, fights depression, relieves stress, burns calories, and it’s FREE!  Take your birth control through, because babies aren’t.  While you’re at it, save money on the gym membership and kick it up a notch or two in the bedroom!

4. Make sure you’re getting the best rate. You can do this with everything from your cell phone to your cable.  Boost Mobile offers an unlimited plan for $50 a month and most all companies offer an unlimited plan for $99 a month but you HAVE TO ASK!  Go online and look at their websites and see what they have to offer.  I also love BankRate, which lets you compare rates for all different lending institutions and tells you who is offering the best deal for what you want.  This site is amazing and they have tons of calculators and tools to help you figure out your finances.  To make sure you are getting the best deal on your credit card rates and to see what is available, check out Credit Cards.  I think a great FREE tool for getting your personal finances organized and helping you evaluate where you are spending and where you can save is Mint.  Of course, if once you take a look at all the facts and realize it might be more than you can handle on your own, the NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling) has information and resources on different options.

5. Read a book, even if it’s chic lit. I think reading enhances our well being tremendously.  It motivates, empowers, humors, educates, and allows us to escape.  I started reading again a couple years back and now it’s my favorite thing to do in my spare time.  Here are some great books I recommend that will help give your mental state, financial smarts, and career outlook a boost: Stepping Out Of Line by Nell Merlino, Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan, Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk, Basic Black by Cathie Black, and Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster.

The important thing to remember is that you need to prepare yourself for whatever the future holds, the good and the bad.  To me, that means doing something every day to better yourself in one area of your life.  Be good to yourself, and while your “best” will vary from day to day, keep going and be proud of the woman you are today.

Mentors Will Inspire, Promote, and Cheer You On

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Do you remember the first person that believed in you as much, or maybe even more, than you believed in yourself?  Did someone inspire you to become something bigger than you knew was possible for yourself?  Maybe it was a teacher in school, a professor in college, or just a peer who looked up to you.  I don’t mention family here, although family is and has always been a huge source of support for me.  What I’m focusing on here is someone who said something to you that was unexpected and unsolicited that caught you off guard and made you think, “Finally, the hard work is paying off!”  Maybe it was someone you observed that inspired you to work harder, or in the worst-case-scenario some jerk who discouraged you from moving forward in some way, which resulted in motivating you to reach your true potential.

I believe these people exist in all of our lives and mine is no exception.  If I had to recommend three specific individuals to search for, I would look for someone who inspires you, someone who helps move you forward, and someone who cheers you along the way.  I am fortunate to have each.

The individual who inspired me was professional, matter of fact, but friendly.  I learned from this person that working mothers wake at all hours of the night to feed their newborns, sometimes twins, and then rise early in the morning in hopes of having enough peace to get a shower.  Working moms drop their kids at daycare, catch the train to the city, walk to work, only to know their day has just begun.  These women are revolutionaries without even seeing them conduct a meeting!  And when they do, watch out… they’re no pushovers.  Yes, I knew one day I’d like to have someone look at me and think I kicked ass the way this woman did, and I will.

The next significant figure came into my life soon after and we should all be so lucky to have a person in our lives like her.  She is radiant, professional, brilliant, and genuine.  She exemplified everything I wanted to be and as we got to know each other better, she became my first mentor.  One thing I am most grateful to her for is confiding in me some critical information that changed what I saw as possible for myself in terms of earnings potential.  I encourage more women to share this information because it is the only way we will bridge the gap.  She also committed herself to helping me move forward with my career and she landed me the interview with the company I’m with now.  She continues to help me in business settings by introducing me to new business leaders and always says the nicest things about me to others.  She is my fan and I am hers.  She is my mentor, my friend, and my home away from home.

My next mentor is the person I will choose as Chairman of my Board of Directors one day.  He encourages me to keep dreaming big and always finds time in his hectic and demanding schedule to answer my questions and give sound advice.  He has opened doors for me and introduced me to some amazing individuals in the industry.  Above all, he has been a trusted friend through good and bad times.  In the end, this is what matters most from anyone you let into your life, especially someone you look to guide you through difficult decisions and changes.  He is the kind of person whose positive energy is infectious.   We are each other’s biggest believers.

So search your memories and look back and remember the experiences that have had a lasting impression on you.  They have shaped who you are and it is never too late to show gratitude.  I encourage you to send a note to these individuals and let them know the difference they have made in your career and in your life.  Let’s face it; these days a lot of our careers can consume our lives!  Next, and just as important: be a mentor.  Take the time to get to know a new hire at your company; you can make a huge impact on their career.  One thing I truly believe is what you give to others, you get back tenfold.

Design Your Gal, And Adore Yourself

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Design-her Gals

I’ve been ordering note cards from Design-her Gals for years now and the thing I like most about them is that you can customize them in any way imaginable. You start by picking out your skin tone, hairstyle/cut/color, and then choose from hundreds of different outfit combinations. You can accessorize with shoes, jewelry, purses, etc. And if you see an adorable little yorkie on the site that looks like Henry, that’s right, they even made a custom illustration of him for me! Which is why I have to tell you how wonderfully kind and friendly the ladies at Design-her Gals are. It is run by a team of three brilliant women who are all friendly and willing to accommodate ideas of even the craziest of dog ladies like myself.

I have created note cards to send to customers to thank them for their business (in those I’m wearing a business suite and holding my blackberry and a briefcase). I’ve had some made with the Independent Belle web address on them (similar to the example below). I’ve even bought some for friends as engagement and wedding gifts (one set with their maiden name, one with their married name.) I’ve put an example of one of mine below so you can get an idea of what they look like.

There are TONS of great ideas on the site, so go check it out and DESIGN YOUR GAL!  You can send e-cards from the site so send me an email at Laura@IndependentBelle.com and let me see your gal!

I love to Jott!

Friday, May 29th, 2009

I love to Jott

I recently had to come up with some “best practices” that I use to help me stay organized, or just stay on top of life’s chaos in general. So I thought I would share some of them in the next few posts in hopes that they will help you too!

Jott.com- I use Jott a number of ways. Jott takes your voice messages and transcribes them into text, and then delivers them to the specified recipient via email or text message (however you choose.) This is especially helpful when I am driving and need to email/respond to friends, family, or work items. I’ll call Jott and it works like this:

Jott: “Who do you want to Jott?”

Me: “Regional” (which is a distribution list I have set up for my regional team)

Jott: “Just to confirm, you’d like to Jott Regional?”

Me: “Yes”

Jott: “Okay, Jott…”

Me: “Hey guys, have you registered for the IMBA Annual Dinner? Are you bringing any customers? Let me know! Thanks!”

Hang up.

Jott will then take the message I left and send my regional team an email with my transcribed message. This way I don’t have to send the email on my blackberry while driving. Not only that but it allows me to get a lot of my follow up items done on my way home so I can spend time with my family (i.e. Henry.)

Jott will also transcribe your voicemail messages into text and send them to you via email or text message. I find this most helpful when I’m in an account or a seminar/meeting and I receive a voice message. Jott sends me a text message so I can see if the message is urgent and needs immediate attention.

You can listen to your favorite RSS Feeds via Jott as well, which is nice if you don’t have access to a computer or don’t have time to sit down and read them. There is a ton of information on the site and its simple to set up. The good thing is, once you have it set up, its done and you don’t have to constantly manage and update it. I’ve even set up a group (distribution list) with all of my family so I can send them updates without having to make 15 different phone calls.

If you have questions about Jott or want to learn more, go to www.Jott.com.

Welcome!

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Welcome !!!

Hi everyone! I am both excited and overwhelmed as I begin this blog. Excited because it is the beginning of 2009, a new year, with infinite possibilities and opportunities that I can’t even begin to imagine. Overwhelmed because, like you I’m sure, life seems to get more difficult to manage gracefully as each year passes. I feel like I’ve seen it, been through it, wanted, had, lost, and dealt with it all, although I know I haven’t. I won’t begin this with any boring New Year’s resolutions and vows to avoid food after midnight, because I’m sick of letting myself down. What I am going to resolve to do is give myself a break, and I hope you will too. In preparation of doing this, I’m forcing myself to be very honest about where I am in life. I’ve written down the ugly truth about the things I’m not so proud of, and getting them out of my mind and on paper was scary but also a relief.

So wherever you’re at in life, whether it be lonely, depressed, unhappy at work, unfulfilled in a relationship, out of touch with friends, out of touch with your money, overweight, underpaid, stuck, unmotivated, or unfocused, there won’t be any judgment placed here. Even the best of us have skeletons in our closets. If you haven’t dealt with them and feel like you need to, put them down on paper and then give yourself a break because beating yourself up doesn’t change anything. Once you’ve made your list, take a look at it and then read this: “I can manage this.” I’m not saying in every case you won’t need help, we all do at some point in our lives, but that is also part of being able to manage things.

One more thing before you put it away someplace safe, (so you aren’t dwelling on it every day), think of one person you can tell. If you don’t trust anyone that much, send it here and it will be kept confidential. Hell, send it to Henry, he knows all of my secrets and despite my attempts, I’ve never been able to get him to talk.

Now go take a bubble bath, write in your gratitude journal, have a glass of red wine or something equally rewarding and GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK (and quit rewarding yourself with Coach bags if you’re in debt sweetheart!)