Lee Thompson Young Foundation Announces Lauren Carson As New Executive Director

Lee Thompson Young Foundation is helping to change the story around mental health through its educational awareness training in schools. The Foundation programs include:

  • MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION AND AWARENESS – Encouraging honest conversations and active engagement.
  • EMOTIONAL & RESILIENCE TRAINING – Demonstrating techniques to improve self-awareness and awareness of others: How thoughts and feelings influence behavior and how the application of cognitive-behavioral coping techniques in daily life circumstances enhances resiliency.
  • YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID – Designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health challenge or is in crisis.

The Lee Thompson Young Foundation (LTYF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Lauren Carson as LTYF’s new executive director.

Carson brings a unique set of qualifications with her background in mental health wellness initiatives, non-profit entrepreneurship and operations. In her new role, she will be responsible for directing and overseeing the daily operations of LTYF and will be responsible for fundraising initiatives and in the development and administration of the organization’s annual operating budget.

Ms. Carson has most recently served as executive director and founder of Black Girls Smile in New York, based on the gaps she experienced throughout her mental health journey as a young African-American female with clinical depression. On returning to her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, she wanted to continue her work with mental wellness. “I am committed to providing education, support and resources necessary for young people to lead more positive mentally healthy lives.”

Ms. Carson’s professional activities, association and community activities include, among many others, serving as campaign manager for the GA Campaign to Change Direction, Mental Health Initiative Forum Committee for United Way, Grant Advisory Committee for the Atlanta Women’s Foundation and event co-chair for the Annual Mental Health Fair and Walk. Ms. Carson was also the 2016/17 Atlanta 30 under 30 Non-Profit Professional Award Recipient. She is also a mental health blogger for Refinery 29, Huffington Post, Atlanta Black Star and HER Magazine. She has also been a committed mental health advocate speaker, including past presentations to Clinton Global Initiative University, the United Nations Day of Healing, Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority Health Summit: Mind Matters and the City of Atlanta College Series.

“I am pleased to welcome Lauren Carson as our new executive director,” said Lee Thompson Young Foundation co-founder Tamu Lewis. “Of all the wonderful and highly qualified candidates I had the pleasure of meeting, it was clear that Lauren was the best person for this role. She and I share a broad long-range vision, and she immediately understood the scope of what we wish to attain for the Lee Thompson Young Foundation. I am excited to work side by side with her as we move the organization into the future.”

The Lee Thompson Young Foundation was created after the death of actor Lee Thompson Young, by Tamu Lewis, Lee’s sister, and Dr. Velma Love, Lee’s mother. The Foundation was created to promote mental health literacy and to strive toward a world in which mental illness is recognized by all as a treatable, biological disorder and the stigma associated with it no longer exists; a world that supports and encourages wholeness and wellbeing at every stage of life.

“I want to continue to solidify the reputation of the Lee Thompson Young Foundation as being the provider of excellence for mental health and wellness programs in schools throughout the country,” said Carson. “Through collaboration with our partners, engagement with school system leaders, national professional associations and our funding partners, I want to see our organization rise to the challenge of demonstrating that ‘To Be Healthy As a Whole, Mental Wellness Plays a Role.'”

The Vicious Cycle of America…That Affects Black America

racism, america, black in america, african american, racism

Racial tension in America isn’t a new thing. It is reoccurring. It happens every so often. It simply reveals what is in the hearts of many. Prejudice. It’s not a fluctuating feeling. It remains. Blacks have been on the painful side of the stick of race relations for as long as the United States have existed. This isn’t an emotional opinion, it is a fact.

 

More facts include, Blacks have good reason to be angry. The anger isn’t unwarranted. The anger has become generational. It is brought on from trauma or the witness of trauma. Though a few Blacks escape the grips of racism, discrimination and bigotry, the fact is, they are a very small minority.

 

Blacks have yet to be seen as equal, even if at isolated times we may be treated as equal. What many people don’t understand that what Blacks go through, especially Black men, is the constant fear of being mistreated, dismissed, slighted or murdered. The same constant knowledge that a Black person has that our ancestors were slaves, Whites carry a regular memory that their ancestors were “Masters”. This knowledge affects the way we interact. We walk on eggshells with each other until we know it is safe to somewhat be ourselves.Image result for black racism

 

So what has happened is Black men have created a defense mechanism. This defense mechanism looks like “thug”. This “thug” getup helps young Black men feel safe and survive. It is a proactive stance at deterring aggressive behaviors towards them. It feeds the esteem of some young Black men who feel like failures. It helps them gain respect from their peers. No one is born a thug. It is learned ad adopted.

 

But sometimes this “thug” culture backfires. It puts people, especially those not in our community, at such fear that they shoot first and ask questions later; the police in particular. When this happens, the Black community’s anger reignites and the cycle starts all over again. This anger isn’t a figment of our imagination. It is brought on by generations of disparaging treatment. The lives of Black men are not understood, while people are busy trying to get Black men to understand.

 

Black people continue to feel hopeful when issues like Michael Brown arise. We assume that the harsh reality of what publicly took place, gives Whites, police and politicians some level of solace and grow a conscience. This is why we went back to life as usual after Sean Bell, after Eric Garner, after Troy Davis, after John Crawford, after Ezell Ford, and I can even go as far back as Emmett Till. We believe the conscience and compassion has emerged, we give Whites, police and politicians the benefit of the doubt that they now understand our pain, our aggression, our doubt…but future reveals, new situations of the same demographics reveals, that their conscience and compassion was never birthed. This makes us start all over again. I employ my Black family to turn on the engines of love for each other, for educational advancement, the suppression and disdain for thuggery/intra-hood crimes, and collective economic behavior, economic discipline, ownership, economic prosperity and movement towards being a sovereign group. I ask our Black women to be considerate and compassionate towards Black men who are trying, who are doing their best and who may not be communicating his fears and vulnerabilities to you. He is being beat-up daily in ways he doesn’t share with you.

 

Black people, we have a duty to be strategic, consistent and accountable. We have a duty to not choose money over morality. We have a duty to not only be angry but to take unified action. Protesting is not enough, being proactive is. We must use our influence responsibly. We must use our access to technologies progressively. We must use our intelligence positively. We can’t wait for the conscience of others to grow while the progress of our community is being impeded. What are your children saying about the society you create and the actions and inactions you have taken? It is time…

The Reason We Are Being Ignored

black business, black wealth, black lives matter, black entrepreneurship, black business, blcak politics, black people

Bottom line, we are being ignored because we are ignoring ourselves. The question is, where are we being ignored? I am glad you asked:

Politically – We religiously vote Democrat and then ask for no accountability from who we voted. If we think about it, the real help doesn’t exist in just programs. It must also come by way of government contracts. Can we say that any political party ensures we get the business training for areas of government procurement so we can get a fair play at government contracts? Actually, can we just get equal access to the RFPs? Folks, if we refuse to hold Democrats or black politicians’ feet to the fire when they are in office, we must also leave Republicans or white ones alone when they are in there too.

black business, black wealth, black lives matter, black entrepreneurship, black business, blcak politics, black people

Commerce – Some people say that a black business should not only rely on the black customer. They say we should focus on the community at-large. That’s just a cop-out to excuse those black folks who don’t support black businesses. At the end of the day, many, many non-black businesses thrive by only “focusing” on their own people. When we decide to patronize them, we are only bonus money. We must support ourselves and stop trying to find an intellectual argument as to why we don’t. Don’t be fooled. Holding back our money will not make them go out of business (maybe downsize but not go out of business) so let’s stop thinking we have such a great weapon as a customer. That weapon is fragile if we are not our own employer.

Religiously – How many of you all’s black churches have maintenance contracts with black businesses? Yet, they ask you (the black congregant) to volunteer to clean up and landscape the grounds in the beginning, only to give the contracts to a non-black business when the cash flow picks up. Is it because you can’t do the work or aren’t reliable? Is it because they also have stereotypes against black entrepreneurs? Or does your church just view you as the one who should “give” the money but not be “given” to. Let’s simplify it even more. How many of your black churches have bank accounts at black banks?

Black entrepreneurs get worn out by unruly, unrealistic black customers. Black employees get frustrated by shiesty black business owners. Black customers get turned off by poorly ran black businesses. Our problem is beyond an ecological problem. It’s more of a psychological problem.

We look in the mirror every morning before we leave our homes but still manage to ignore ourselves once we walk away from that mirror.

It’s no one else’s responsibility to save us.

There is no problem in the black community that black people can’t fix. However, first, we must fix ourselves.

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS MARKETING TOO SOON?

Most entrepreneurs start out with a great idea. This is where entrepreneurship is born; in the mind. It is usually born out of frustration over something in one’s daily life or some type of problem they would like to see solved. This is where innovation lives.

The problem with most entrepreneurs is they don’t even realize they have an entrepreneurial spirit until they actually want to start taking steps. They overlook those brilliant ideas that hit them on a whim and charge it off to just “another good idea”.

Because of this, most entrepreneurs don’t prepare and cultivate their spirit early. They don’t invest in building upon their spirit until they are at the place of actually producing a product, service or launching their business. Not preparing themselves for entrepreneurship way ahead of time is the very ideal that causes so many entrepreneurs to fail right out of the gate. They go into business thinking everyone will play fair, meanwhile the competition has been readying themselves for years with training and finance management. The competition already in business protects their territory and won’t throw you a housewarming or bring you a pie when you have your grand opening. Remember that! It’s a battle for the customer. no money

Recently, someone asked me to give them cheap marketing ideas for marketing their product. They even cited they were a single parent. It is something I commonly hear. (Sidebar: Ladies, stop doing that. Stop highlighting your “single-parent status as a way to play victim or get sympathy. It shows weakness, in my opinion. It’s like you’re starting off with excuses. Just know in your mind that you’re a single parent and deal with that privately. Don’t lead with that. Too much received sympathy will weaken your entrepreneurial prowess.)

Here’s what you need to understand in the grand scheme of things. When you are young in entrepreneurship, your focus should be on going and getting as big as you can. It should be rooted in the idea that you can win! Now, this idea should be invested in as well, way before it is time for you to market. This would mean that you’ve adjusted your life so you can set aside adequate enough funds to produce quality goods or services and are prepared to serve the wave of people that may come in from your marketing campaign. So let me get to the question. Is there such a thing as marketing too soon? No. Building-a-Business

Marketing is a culmination of activities: word-of-mouth, advertising, publicity, surveys, speaking engagements and more. You can get involved in these activities even before you actually have the goods or services ready to go as long as the market has an “expected time of delivery” and you meet that date. However, what you can do too soon is get massive exposure. You may not even realize how great your idea is until you see the demand you have created. You may not know how great of an idea you have until you begin marketing. However, once that crazy demand is created, then what? Are you ready to serve them?

The thing you really don’t want, especially as a new entrepreneur, is to create a bad first impression. Remember, you’re not some inconspicuous employee. You are the entrepreneur, the enterpriser, the owner, the face of the idea you just launched. What you don’t want is to go down in flames with a bad, shaky or flighty name, a place many entrepreneurs find themselves. When I see people wanting to market but have no money, I get scared for them. I worry that they may be another person with a bad experience at entrepreneurship who now relegates their self to a life as an employee because of the traumatic experience and criticism they received from their customers and friends due to such a bad entrepreneurial approach.

So, as you are working on your idea, work on putting up the money to fund it. Ensure you market within your ability to deliver on that promise to your customer. Exposure can be a blessing or a curse. Too many people want to hit “Good Morning America” but don’t have the money, time or capacity to meet the demand after the sale. And “after the sale” is really where your money is…

Lessons From A Female Entrepreneur: How To Work On Your Business While You Work In it

It may seem strange to some that in my article headline I specifically described the entrepreneur as “female.” Well, for me, growing up I did not know or “see” any female entrepreneurs. I grew up in the hills and mountains of West Virginia where most of the work was defined as industrious labor and blue color work. Yet, the first male entrepreneur I knew was my father. My father started work under the apprenticeship of a Caucasian man when the color lines were still drawn. However, because of my father’s motivation (he rode a bike to work many years before he could afford a car) and his tenacious work ethic, he gradually became his own boss until he passed away 15 years ago when the business was passed onto my youngest brother. My father left a successful legacy.

How To Work On Your Business While You Work In it

I reflected on this recently while participating in an online training series with a well-known author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She made a statement that caught my attention in response to a caller’s question. One that I had also recently explored. “How do you maintain a thriving business, keep relevant and knowledgeable with all of the social media and marketing outlets as well as to keep informed with the knowledge base in your industry, while performing the day to day work of the business?” When I became a self-employed business woman I did not anticipate such a rapidly changing world. I watched my father work 7 days a week sun up to sun down without any vacations. That is the work ethic that was modeled for me. Of course, now we have so much more information at our fingertips and working those long days without any breaks is unhealthy and unproductive. While trying to discover a balance, I developed the following keys to successfully negotiate building a business while working in it (without compromising my health, productivity, and time). I choose to leave a different kind of legacy for my family.

How to Work on Your Business While You Work In it

1.  Effective time management. Wake up the same time each day. Set aside the same amount of time each day to check emails, read your mail, and to go through all of the social media and marketing outlets. Prioritize which need more time and which ones can wait.

2.  Assign each day of the week a task to be done. For example, perhaps Monday is your writing day if you blog part-time, or writing a chapter for your book; Tuesday may be your teaching/lecture preparation day; Wednesday might be a day for paperwork/billing, etc.

3.  Build into your budget costs for conference and trainings. I would miss great learning opportunities because I did not factor the cost of traveling, training and materials into my budget.

4.  Develop a Master Mind Group. I think is the best idea ever developed. We all benefit greatly from the ideas, expertise, thoughts, and support of others who are like-minded in goal achievement.

5.  Eliminate the “I can’t” out of our vocabulary. As women we need to rid ourselves of the internal barriers that impede our growth and success.

6.  Read, read, and read. Read about successful others and how they maintained balance in their lives. There really is not much new under the sun…it’s just that some of us never learned it in the first place!

 

Dr. Angela Clack

About Dr. Angela Clack

Dr. Angela Roman Clack is CEO of Woman’s Empowerment Group International, LLC, an international coaching organization created to empower women to achieve their personal and professional goals in business and in their personal lives.

Entrepreneurship Requires Emotional Intelligence

Building a successful business is an emotional journey.  From vision to manifestation, entrepreneurial efforts teach us so much about ourselves.  It awakens things within us that we didn’t know existed, and challenges us in ways we never thought possible.   While everyone wants to succeed, the struggles of entrepreneurship can sideline the best of us at one time or another.   For some, it’s the challenge of staying committed, for others, it’s holding the vision, or being vulnerable, or pushing past fear.  If you’re an entrepreneur, I’m sure you know that staying the course isn’t always easy.  In fact, it rarely is.  This is just one of the pitfalls that comes with leadership.

Sometimes it takes a heart of steel and skin of leather to withstand them.  But you do it, because you’re called to do so.  You’re committed to producing a result.  You promised yourself that you would leave the world a better place.  And, whether you are a widget producer or a miracle worker, keeping your commitments takes self-awareness, spiritual fortitude, and emotional intelligence.  In fact, research from Harvard Business School demonstrated that Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is twice as important as IQ and technical knowledge in determining success!

What is EQ?  Emotional intelligence (EQ – Emotional IQ) if the ability to identify, control, and evaluate emotions.  It’s your ability to recognize emotions in yourself and others, to evaluate their usefulness, and to adjust your thoughts and actions accordingly.  As a leadership tool, EQ technology is highly useful.  EQ savvy entrepreneurs, CEO’s, managers, and visionaries of all types know how to sideline anxiety and emotional tension, de-escalate confrontation, and inspire teamwork calmly and confidently, bringing self-awareness, empathy, passion, and perseverance to bear in the most challenging of circumstances.

When you can identify what you’re feeling and the cause and effects of those feelings, your ability to transform and transcend challenges expands exponentially. In addition to the field of busin

ess and leadership, EQ technology has been applied in schools to help children develop prosocial behaviors and coping skills with great success.  As a tool for building relationships, EQ helps people understand themselves and to relate to others in a way that is both respectful and mutually empowering.  It’s easy to see why successful leaders all over the world are adding EQ to their list of best practices.  After all, successful businesses are built on successful relationships, and that’s what EQ is all about.  Learn more about EQ technology and its applications from books by Dr. Daniel Goleman – available on Amazon.

Are you ready to test your EQ?  *Here are some helpful questions to get your started:

  • Can I can stay calm under pressure?
  • Do I manage setbacks effectively?Entrepreneurship Requires Emotional Intelligence
  • How well do I manage anxiety, stress, anger, and fear in pursuit of my goals?
  • Am I able to accept criticism and apply it appropriately?
  • Do I recognize how my behaviors and those of others affect the collective?
  • Am I able to listen to others without jumping to judgments or conclusions?
  • Am I able to see things from a different perspective?

*Questions borrowed from Institute for Health and Human Potential EQ Quiz.  Get your EQ Score when you take the entire quiz at www.ihhp.com Test Your Empowerment IQ at http://bit.ly/EmpowermentIQ

 

About Lane Cobb

Lane Cobb

Lane Cobb is a Speaker, Transformational Author, and Holistic Wellness Coach committed to helping women enlighten their minds and empower their lives to heal, grow, and thrive!

 

If Companies Can Reinvent Themselves, So Can We…

For nearly a decade we’ve lived what Charles Dickens penned as “the best of times and the worst of times” in his 1859 novel: A Tale of Two Cities. Americans are recovering from one of the worst economic recessions since the Great Depression of the 1930s; major corporations have collapsed; people are being devastated by job loss, prolonged unemployment, home foreclosures, overwhelming debt, loss of their entire life savings, and suffering with the highest rates of stress, anxiety, and depression that America has seen in decades. Economists and business analysts have characterized this as the Era of Disruption.

Additionally, companies are faced with increased competition, accelerated change, and overwhelming complexity. It’s in times like these that we see a clear distinction between good and great companies who reinvented themselves and were prepared for this season of disruption, and those that barely survived, became irrelevant and ultimately ceased to exist. Companies such as Blockbuster, Borders Books, Harold’s, Circuit City, Linens ‘n Things, Lehman Brothers, Kodak, and many others either filed bankruptcy and/or went out of business because they were not poised or positioned to navigate through these waters significant change.

The Pizza giant, Dominos, is a great example of reinvention. After consumer surveys revealed

that their pizza tasted like cardboard, they went on national TV to admit that their product needed an overhaul. Subsequently, they introduced a new recipe and brand campaign. Lego, whose profits soared in 2009 to 63% when sales across the country were tanking did so by expanding to Asia and increasing sales in Europe. Of course, a blockbuster movie and a celebrity endorsement from David Beckham who admitted that he was building a Lego Taj Mahal added an increased boost to their sales and brand. Starbucks continues to reinvent itself. Not only are they still opening stores in new markets such as China and Europe, but they now enjoy a strategic partnership with the “brand queen” herself—Oprah Winfrey, and  launched the Oprah Chai Tea in 2014.

There are many other examples, but if these companies can reinvent themselves in this era of disruption, why can’t we as individuals do the same? As a success and leadership coach, and author of the bestselling book, Reinvent Yourself: Strategies for Achieving Success in Every Area of Your Life, I am intimately aware of the number of individuals who are at a crossroad in their lives and experiencing the effects of the global recession listed above.

If Companies Can Reinvent Themselves, So Can We

If Companies Can Reinvent Themselves, So Can We

In examining the strategies that successful companies employed in reinventing themselves, below are six key traits that they possessed and that we can apply to our own lives:

  1. They recognized that redefining what success looks like was a necessity. “What does success look like in your life?” is one of the first questions that I ask my coaching clients. Chances are, your definition today is different than it was 10 years ago, and what you thought was important then, is no longer a priority. As ‘life’ happens and we experience defining moments (good and bad), we have to constantly redefine what success looks and be willing to adopt new mindsets, skill sets, and strategies that enable us to shift with the vicissitudes of life.
  2. They were clear about their purpose and they stayed true to their mission and vision. Unfortunately far too many individuals can’t say the same. I ask this question of audiences around the world, “how many of you know your purpose and are living it?” Less than 25% of the hands go up. To identify your purpose, think about where you are the most gifted; what you would do if you knew you wouldn’t fail and you had the money to do it; and what you are most passionate about. Knowing your WHY brings meaning and fulfillment.
  3. They knew when to reprioritize their goals. As your definition of success changes, so will your goals. They should be aligned with your purpose and reviewed frequently for adjustments. If you want success in every area of your life, I suggest setting goals each year towards five key areas: Family/Household, Financial, Health/Wellness; Professional and Career Development, and Spiritual Enrichment.
  4. They consistently rebranded themselves. Whether you believe it or not, all of us have a brand. Your brand is ‘who you are’ and ‘what others know/say about you.’ It’s how you present yourself and the impression and aura that you leave. In essence, it’s your communication skills. This is particularly important in your career because hiring, promotions, new assignments, and performance decisions are made based on what others know about you. If you don’t know your brand, ask your friends, colleagues, co-workers, and your direct supervisor and start reinventing your brand.
  5. They made the tough financial decisions while also making great use of their corporate assets (physical, financial, and talent). This couldn’t be a more appropriate time to reestablish your financial management plan [i.e., budget], or to create one for those who have never done so. Examine spending habits and investments to determine where to make adjustments. Identify multiple ways of utilizing your gifts and talents to make money, and learn from the mistakes that may have contributed to the financial losses you suffered during the recession.
  6. They built and capitalized on strategic relationships and alliances. It’s been said that “your network, can determine your net worth.” Evaluate your inner circle to determine whether you are surrounded by N.I.O.P.s (negative influences of other people) or O.Q.Ps (only quality people), and establish diverse and mutually beneficial relationships that will enable your success.

Reinventing yourself is not just another buzz word, nor is it a fad. It is a journey, and a real solution to the realities of life that both organizations and individuals will inevitably face. Those who respond proactively and intentionally will be better positioned to enjoy the best of times even when the worst of times hit. And those who do not, will become extinct.

African americans can reinvent themselves and how we take on small business.

Dr. Davis, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CSP, is President of SDS Global Enterprises, a strategic development solutions firm that specializes in Global Talent Management strategies. She is an accomplished corporate executive, a certified senior Global HR and Talent Management expert, a success coach, and a Master of Reinvention.

How Serious Are You About Achieving Success?

An excerpt from my best-selling book, Reinvent Yourself

I have coached many professionals, at various levels and stages in their careers, including entry-level and mid-level supervisors and managers, officers up to and including vice presidents, senior VPs, chiefs, and CEOs. And I often ask them how they define success in their lives. Consistently, their definitions have varied based on gender, age, ethnicity, and their stage in life. But there are some commonalities. Here are a few examples of some of the most common responses I hear.

Some say that success is about having a great job and making good money. Some say their fulfillment lies in their personal relationship with their spouse or their significant other and with their children. Some feel that success is being personally wealthy and being able to buy anything they want. It’s having the car of their dreams. It’s winning the lottery. Some even tell me that success is being spiritually grounded in their faith, having good health, and living a long life. For others, success is retiring and being able to travel around the world.

I’m sure that many of these definitions resonate with you, as they do with most Americans. Statistics confirm that 40 to 45 percent of Americans—that’s nearly 100 million Americans—make New Year’s Day resolutions and set goals under the premise that their lives will be better off and more successful if they accomplish these new goals. The most common New Year’s resolutions include losing weight and getting healthier, finding a new job, spending more time with loved ones and friends, quitting smoking, and getting out of debt. Even so, according to a recent USA Today article, nearly 50 percent of those goals are abandoned by the end of January, and only 40 percent of them are maintained beyond six months.

Where Do You Invest Your Time, Talent, and Treasure?How Serious Are You About Achieving Success?

One way I encourage my clients to consider how they define success is to have them look at how and where they invest their mental, emotional, financial, spiritual, and physical energy. If I were coaching you, I’d want to know what you really spend the majority of your time doing and thinking about, and planning for and working toward. If I looked at your daily planner and your checkbook, and at your debit and credit card statements, what would it tell me about what’s most important to you?

I’m a big believer that where one invests one’s time, talent, and treasure is a clear demonstration of where one’s heart is committed. Where you commit your resources and energy says a lot about who you are and where you’re going, where you’ve been and what you believe, and what legacy you will leave. One of my favorite authors, John Maxwell, has written a number of great books on success and leadership (How Successful People Think; The Difference Maker; 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, to name a few). He describes success as a journey. It’s like a cross-country trip—just use your imagination and envision such a trip with me. It’s a trip that’s filled with beautiful scenic views and signs and guideposts. But also along the way, the trip comes up against rocky roads, hills, valleys, mountains, and deserts. So in order to get to the right destination, you have to have a roadmap or a navigation system. Unfortunately, too many people take trips without using a roadmap and refuse even to ask for directions when they get lost.  In other words, success doesn’t just happen. Like most things, it requires that you go through a process or a journey in order to achieve it. You may ultimately reach your destination, but along the way you will experience some peaks and some valleys. Successful people know this, and they’re willing to take this journey.

They actively invest in themselves. They require constant self-discovery. They’re growing and developing new knowledge, skills, attitudes, and perspectives. Plus, they’re meeting new people and expanding their network, and doing things that benefit others as well as their society.

Unfortunately, most of us are not making the right investment of our time; we are not doing things that lead to success. Research tells us that the average American spends 20 to 28 hours a week—that’s three to four hours a day!—watching television, when we could be using that time developing fresh skills or learning something new. The Consumer Expenditure Report published in 2011 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that individual consumers only spent $945 on education for the year. (This includes personal development activities such as attending a seminar/workshop, taking a college course, learning a new language, etc.) And purchasing reading materials made up only 0.2 percent of the average consumer’s income, which equates to about $118 a year. This means the average consumer spent only $9.83 a month on reading materials—Yes, that’s correct: only $9.83 a month!

A Huffington Post/YouGov poll conducted in October 2013 revealed that 28 percent of Americans haven’t read a book in the past year. And, what’s even more shocking, the Consumer Expenditures Report for 2011 mentioned above revealed that the average consumer spent nearly $2,700 on entertainment, almost $500 on alcoholic beverages, $323 on tobacco products, $588 on personal care products, and over $1,800 on clothing.

Wow! I don’t know about you, but the message is clear. If I were to look at the average American’s bank statements and credit card bills and daily planners and see where they’re investing most of their time and their money, I’d likely see time spent at the movies, video stores, concerts, shopping malls, liquor stores, restaurants, hair care product and nail salons, day spas, and other personal care shops. But I wouldn’t see much time spent at the library or buying a book from the local bookstore, or attending a seminar at the local college, or even listening to motivational CDs or DVDs or MP3s—and I certainly wouldn’t see time spent enrolling in a career or professional development program.

If you’re one of those consumers who finds him or herself spending frivolously and wastefully without anything to show for it at the end of the year, or at the end of each month, now is the time to redefine what success means to you.

Is success for you a repeat of that vicious cycle of dressing up outward appearances and having a short-lived good time on the weekend, only to wake up every day trying to fill a void and facing an emptiness caused by a lack of fulfillment? Do you want to enjoy life or endure life? Do you want success in every area of your life? If so, it’s time to Reinvent Yourself. And what better time than now to set forth a new direction and make the necessary investments towards your success. As 2014 comes to a close in less than 45 days and 2015 arrives, start by investing in your personal growth and development.

Remember, success starts with oneself, and it works its way outward—not the opposite. And when you have true success, when you have true fulfillment, it flows through every area of your life.

Dr. Davis, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CSP, is President of SDS Global Enterprises, a strategic development solutions firm that specializes in Global Talent Management strategies. She is an accomplished corporate executive, a certified senior Global HR and Talent Management expert, a success coach, and a Master of Reinvention.

Tips For Entrepreneurs: Invest In Yourself

A former student of mine, who is now in her mid-30s, contacted me about starting her own business.

She wrote:

“Hey there!

I see that you and the family are doing well. I had a question for and hopefully you’re willing to help me out on this. I’m thinking of starting a consulting/coaching business and I love everything that I see you do as far as branding and marketing your craft. Even the type of events you’ve been a part of or hosted are things I’d like to ultimately have as well, down here in NC. I wanted to know how you got started and what steps would suggest a newbie take in beginning this sort of business. How did you figure out your niche? Any advice you may be willing to give, I’m completely open to.

Thank you!

S.S.”

As a coach supporting people with transitions, the first question I ask when I receive an inquiry like this is, “How do you feel about investing in yourself?

To launch or go for anything that is important to you, you have to be open and willing to invest in yourself. Changing and growing uses a lot of internal and external energy. In order to put yourself in a position to create your business, respond to opportunities, collaborate with others, learn what you do not know, use failure as your teacher, and keep your entrepreneurial momentum, you have to be willing to invest in yourself.

Tips For Entrepreneurs

Here are the 4 initial investments I told my former student to make in order to get started:

1. Make sure you have a good wellness plan. In order to put forth your best efforts, you need to take good care of yourself. Working hard as an entrepreneur may cause you to put your wellness efforts on the backburner, but that will send you to the timeout corner of burnout before you can get a good start. Invest in wellness tools, such as a gym membership, nutritionist, or healthy meal deliver service, to keep your health on track.

2. Get the right computer and other electronic equipment for your needs. I have seen a lot of entrepreneurs try to build their business while working their regular job. They use their employer’s supplies, computers, copy machines, and a host of other office tools. This is a big no no. When you are branching out on your own, be sure to invest in the right equipment for your needs. This may mean purchasing your own computer or mobile phone.

3. Find or create a workspace that minimizes procrastination. As an entrepreneur, your ability to be productive is up to you. You are your own motivator and driver which means you do not have a lot of time to waste. If you are working on your business fulltime or part-time, it is important to get to work without a lot of distractions. Find a workspace that allows you get things done with the time you have. This may mean investing in a membership at a workshare location. If you have space in your home to create dedicated workspace, make sure invest in the right furniture and have needed supplies on hand.

4. Find a mentor, coach, training program, or join a mastermind group. You do not have to figure out everything out on your own as an entrepreneur. It is okay to get help. Think about writers and public figures who you admire. Research the books they have written or venues where they may be speaking. Find out if they offer any specific training or mentoring and sign up. Investing in training that will improve your skills will support you in staying motivated and doing a great job as you create and grow your business.

How have you invested in yourself when you started your business? What would you add to this list?

Join the Bold Living Today community! If you are looking for practical tips and strategies to support you in your personal and professional life, get Kanesha’s weekly eLetter delivered directly to your inbox. Each week you will be given access to impactful tools that will inspire and energize you. You will also receive announcements about upcoming event.

 

About Kanesha Baynard

 Kanesha Baynard
Kanesha Baynard is a certified life coach, educator, facilitator, blogger, and crafter. Kanesha trained directly with the masterful Martha Beck, monthly columnist for O, Oprah’s Magazine.

4 Steps to Avoid Entrepreneurial Burnout

Building a thriving business while fine-tuning your coaching toolkit, creating materials, and growing your client base takes a lot of time and hard work. For the female entrepreneur, it can take upwards of three years to build a success and solid coaching practice or business. There are a lot of competing factors; some are internal and others are external. A major contributor to burnout for female entrepreneurs is failing to get proper support or being afraid to ask for help.

For many women, the time spent building their business can be fun, magical, intense, and exhausting. Often, after leaving a certification program or obtaining business training, women are filled to the brim with presentation ideas, plans for women’s retreats, coaching offerings, and excitement about helping people. They get their websites up and running. They order business cards to handout to current and new contacts met during networking. They feel a fresh and hyper urgency to start working, supporting people, and making money. They are full of energy that seems never-ending and they cannot believe they are fully in charge of their work life. It is refreshing and dreamlike at this stage of business development.

At the same time, there is a lot to learn and because female entrepreneurs want to get out there and work, they consciously and sometimes unconsciously want to skip the steps of building a solid foundation for their coaching practice or business. They research and observe what other established business women are doing and will try to replicate a course, program, social media campaign, or anything else appealing that an established business person has going on. The disappointment when the replication efforts fall flat can be very defeating. She may wonder why things are harder than she anticipated. She may begin to resent the process of getting her name out there when it appears effortless for a colleague

4 Steps to Avoid Entrepreneurial Burnout

or established business owner. She may start to doubt the reasons she wanted to launch her business and consciously or unconsciously create mental obstacles that lead her to the black hole of entrepreneurial burnout.

With anything worth doing, it is important to remember that it takes time. The time it takes each person will vary and that is OK. Using another person’s success as a metric for one’s own success is a key ingredient that will have a new entrepreneur swimming in burnout soup before they can excuse themselves from the “do I measure up” table.

If you find yourself moving towards burnout, try the steps:

Step 1:  

List 5 things you thought about doing five years ago. Which of the things did you do/accomplish? Why?

Step 2:  

When you think about your future in [list time frame], what five things do you want to see in it? How would you describe your mood when these five things show up? What would you be feeling on a daily basis when these five things are achieved?

Step 3:  

When you are predicting how you would achieve these five things in [list time frame], how are you structuring your time on a daily basis? What resources are readily available to support you? What systems or strategies are you using to keep you focused and motivated?

Step 4:  

In looking at the mission statement for your life and transition, do you need to revise your personal or professional mission statement? Is your vision/purpose still clear to you? Are there any driving concepts that you need to add or omit?

Have you ever experienced burnout while building your new business or while working toward a goal? How did you recognize burnout? What did you do to take care of yourself?

Are you looking for practical tips and strategies to support you in your personal life? Do you want tools to enhance your career, leadership skills, or your business? Get Kanesha’s weekly eLetter delivered directly to your inbox. Each week you will be given access to impactful tools that will inspire and energize you.

 

Kanesha Baynard is a certified life coach, educator, facilitator, blogger, and crafter. Kanesha trained directly with the masterful Martha Beck, monthly columnist for O, Oprah’s Magazine.