Visionary: Drink & Dream Workshops in the Biggest Little City

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Midtown Reno is a continually evolving neighborhood which, guided by many like-minded entrepreneurs, has become a center for one of a kind businesses that have made it a trendy and vibrant part of Reno. At the heart of it all is Junkee Clothing Exchange, a midtown staple that is getting ready to celebrate their 9th anniversary of doing business. I had the opportunity to chat with Jessica Schneider, owner of Junkee, about their new business, Visionary, described as a “drink and dream workshop”, along with the value it provides to Midtown Reno, and the Reno community as a whole.

Visionary is aimed at helping people understand and realize their goals, while giving them a way to hold themselves accountable for them every day. Having a visual aid of what you want your future to consist of can add clarity to your desires, and ensures that your chosen images are firmly lodged in the subconscious. Visionary is one of the few self-improvement businesses in Reno and is the only vision board business in the United States.

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Visionary founders, Jessica Shneider and Hillary Schieve Photo Source

What made Jessica want to start this business?

In 2005 Jessica started teaching vision board classes at Nothing To It, a culinary center in Reno. When Junkee opened up, her focus was on Midtown. How could she help clean up the neighborhood that had such a bad reputation?  She was taking over the building where Junkee was located, so she decided to make it a more family friendly area, and an ice cream shop would be the perfect fit.  After pitching the idea to others without gauging interest, she decided to do it herself, and Simple Ice Cream Sandwiches was born. In October 2016, she teamed up with mayor, Hillary Schieve, to create her third business, the Visionary, a place where people could come and design their life goals in a real and tangible way.

What is a vision board?

A vision board is something you create as a visible and consistent reminder of your goals. You can visit their website HERE for more information and for a Q & A on the process. Jessica says, “For me, it really reminds me of what I want most. I put my vision boards right where I can see them every day. And, when I look at it every day, my visions come true. It’s not magic, or religious, it a daily reminder of your dreams.” When you walk into her office at Junkee, the wall across from her desk is a wall-size vision board to serve as a reminder of what she values and wants to accomplish.

“Where energy flows, the mind goes”

 

What is a class like?

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Visionary Reno

All of the tools needed for creating a vision board are provided in a class. Classes usually last around two hours and there is a stocked bar of beer and wine available. Every class also has a speaker. Sometimes it is Jessica or Hillary, and other times they have guest speakers to guide subjects such as recovering from failure, parenting, sexuality, and entrepreneurship. This is an excellent exercise for team building because it allows you to see people beyond their everyday persona, and gives you a glimpse of what their hopes and dreams look like. “People start to share what they have created and then they all start to open up to each other.” The reason why a vision board can work is because the board is a reflection of the thoughts we hold around something we desire to come into fruition in our lives.

Everyone has a goal, many are focused on better relationships, dream vacations and living a healthier lifestyle. Jessica hopes to change Reno one vision board at a time while also encouraging a culture change in businesses. Everyone should make one because it draws you away from negativity and gives you something to strive for every day. She sets an example at her businesses by creating a culture of engagement and friendship.

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Junkee team building trip to Disneyland

Her advice for entrepreneurs: “It is hard work! It is not what you think, it takes 3-5 years to build a business and once you have built it, that doesn’t mean that you are going to make money right away. Every business has a story, and moments where you think, ‘What am I doing?’ You need to be a leader instead of a boss and invest in your people.” Jessica’s vision board describes her taking her whole staff to Disneyland, which she was able to do recently with her team at Junkee.

Curious about Visionary? Grab some ice cream at Simple Ice Cream Sandwiches, get inspired with a great find at Junkee, and sign up for a class at Visionary TODAY!  This could be the push you need to recognize and hold yourself accountable for your own dreams. You might find out that you benefit from it more than you expected to, and you will be supporting local business in our amazing town! Have you taken a class like this before? Share your own experiences in the comments!

Finding Your Identity After Parenthood

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Having kids is like nothing else in life. It changes the way you think about the world, and lets you love someone in a way that you never knew possible; but parenthood it is not to be underestimated.  No matter how much you love being a parent and adore your kids, it is the ultimate test of grit and resilience and there are going to be times where you are exhausted, mentally broken, and feel lost in your direction in life. It happens because you start to care for someone else around the clock, someone who needs you, and only you for every waking moment, and all the things you had on your life to-do list gets put aside so that you can dedicate your whole world to this little person’s needs, while often neglecting your own.

 

Being a mom is such a blessing, and every day I am so grateful for those little boys who are growing into sweet and hilarious people who challenge me every single day.  It is the hardest thing I have ever done, and I am always conflicted about my life as a mom and where I stand in the professional world. I have worked hard as a manager and as a student, and although being a mom comes first, I still very much value my future as a financial provider for my family while finding my own satisfaction in my career path.  I have spent three years putting my heart and soul into taking care of my family, and I find myself thinking a lot about my own identity besides being a mom. Cheryl Richardson, author, radio show host and teacher, states that “many mothers fall prey to the common misconception that their identity is merely wrapped up in what they do. You are more than the care you give your children and the responsibilities you take on for the good of your family, and you can reclaim your identity after children and marriage.”

 

Here are some things that have helped me on my journey through parenthood:

  1. Discover your interests: Spend time exploring what you like. The things that interested you before might have changed, and that’s ok! Take time out and get to know yourself again. For me, even listening to my own favorite music rather than Disney songs from Moana over and over again makes me feel like myself again. Take a class. Going back to school changed my life! It made me feel like I had “me” time again and a chance to start fresh with my career options.
  1. Do something out of the ordinary. Most of the time, being a parent is all about routine, especially if you stay home with the kids. Routines can help us to be more efficient, but breaking that routine every once in a while can be liberating. Take some time to go on a hike with friends, or find a fundraiser for a cause that you care about.  Social time is so important for creating connections and nurturing the ones you already have. Making yourself visible in your community can help you find a job, internship, or volunteer opportunity. Don’t get a lot of alone time? Take your kids! Go camping, head to the beach, or even go to a movie. “When we consistently stick to the same routines, some brain functions run on autopilot, but by changing our habits, we can force the brain to pay attention and exercise itself. Simply switching up your environment or changing your workflow exercises your brain, generating positive and lasting changes.

    My husband and I on a scuba diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Australia. We left the kids with my parents to have some one on one time.
  1. Have some “me” time. Take time to take care of yourself. It does not mean that you are being selfish. For me, sometimes it means dropping of the kids so that I can focus on school work, or spending time with my husband one on one. The options are limitless if you just give yourself a little time to do whatever it is you want to do while re-charging and taking time to reflect.  Having uninterrupted time to think about what you really want can help you create a game plan for getting closer to your goal.
  1. Find your tribe. Whether it is your family, friends, colleagues, or someone you met at the park, finding people who you can relate to can help you form important connections and can help build a community of trust and support in your life. My tribe is my family. Many of them live in Reno and I know that when I need to get work done or do something for myself, I can count on them to help me out with the kids. My friends with kids help keep me sane because we can all laugh about the crazy things we do as parents while the kids play, and my friends without kids encourage me to think about where I am going next in my career and what I want out of life for myself.
  1. Use your resources. Find a quick class to take to sharpen your skills on a subject or program, or ask a friend in the industry to give you feedback on your resume. If you are still exploring your interests, try volunteering for a local organization. You will likely form valuable connections while helping others in your community that you care about.
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When spending so much time working with and for your kids, it is common to feel detached from who you feel that you really are. Parenting is a role that you play; it is an important one, but just as we are employees, students, friends, and volunteers, those positions are roles, not necessarily what defines us or who we really are. As parents, it is also common to be too hard on ourselves for not living up to who we think we should be in those roles. Parenting is hard enough as it is, but if you never make anything happen for you, you can’t expect anything to happen to you.  What are some ways that you have found your identity while caring for others? Whether you have kids or not, take some time today to reflect on who you want to be, what kind of example you want to set for your kids, and if your current path is leading you in the right direction.

Why I Decided to go Back to School

 

Wgraduationhen I graduated from college in 2009 with my bachelor’s degree, I was so happy to be done with school and start my career. I began working as an event manager for a country club, where I stayed and grew to oversee many departments over my 5 years as a manager. In 2013 my husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby, and although we couldn’t have been happier, I wondered about my career and what I would want as a mom.  I grew up with my mom staying home with me and my three siblings. I always loved having my mom there for us all the time, but I had planned to have a career and a family, and hopefully find a good balance.

 

I continued working once my son was born, and leaving him each day was heartbreaking. I came to a point in my career where there was no growth opportunities within the company. I wasn’t challenged anymore and working late nights and weekends made it hard for me to stay engaged. I decided to leave my job and take some time to figure out my next step while staying home with my son in the meantime.  The longer I wasn’t working, the more I felt like I was losing out on potential jobs in the future because of my gap in employment. I thought about going back to school; I always wanted to get my MBA, but it was one of those things I always said I wanted to do but for some reason knew that I probably would never actually do it.

I went through a period where I started calling myself out on making plans and not following through on them. I started writing things down, keeping a journal of ideas, goals and gratitude. Writing it down made it more real for me and I felt more accountable to myself as I could see all the things I was wanting to do, but wasn’t following through with.  I decided to take the GMAT, and once I was accepted to the MBA program at the University of Nevada, Reno, it felt like a weight had been lifted from me.  Actually following through on something I had been thinking about for so long felt like a relief. I wondered what else I could accomplish by holding myself accountable to my goals.

Going back to school felt strange to me. I was a non-traditional student, married with two kids and would be graduating when I was 30 years old. It was scary at first because it was new and different, but as I continued through the program I was learning so much valuable information, making many new friends, and became part of a network of resources that I never would have had access to otherwise.

Here are 5 reasons I went back to school:

  1. To acquire skills for a better job in the future. I value my time with my kids while they are babies and toddlers, but I want to provide a good life and financial start for them in the future as well. When I return to work, I want it to be something I am proud to be investing my time in.
  1. Personal fulfillment. Learning is exciting, especially when you are making the choice to be there for yourself. Challenging myself to develop new skills and perspectives has opened so many doors for me, and is the reason why I am so focused on personal development. It is an endless endeavor that builds confidence, character and gives a feeling of accomplishment that can’t be beat.
  1. Setting an example. Although my kids are very young now, it is important for them to see me studying and excited to learn and go to class each week. I want them to see from a young age that education is important, and as they grow older I hope they are encouraged to continue learning and engaging in personal development.
  1. Self-reliance and security. I have no doubts about the future of my marriage, but at a young age my grandfather encouraged me as a woman to be self-reliant and to create my own safety net so that I would not have to rely on anyone to take care of my family and myself. If something were to happen to my husband and he was unable to work, I know that I could provide for our family, and that is very valuable to me.  I am in charge of my own future and my own happiness, and continuing to develop myself gives me the ability to ensure that I am creating the life that I want.
  1. Keeping the balance. I love kids. I love the chaos and the funny things they say, their sweet innocence and unconditional love. I have to admit though, being with them all day every day makes me crave intellectual conversations, adult interactions, and challenges that don’t involve toddler tantrums. It is important to have your own time doing something you are passionate about, and school gives me that. It is the bridge between me as a mom and as a professional, which creates a balance that gives me the satisfaction of both worlds.

Being a graduate student has changed my life in many positive ways, I can’t even imagine where I would be if I hadn’t chose this path. As we get older and have more responsibilities it gets harder to find the time to go back to school or to start anything new for that matter, but it is never too late! The American Council on Education report, Framing New Terrain: Older Adults & Higher Education, shows more older adults are starting to return to college, pursue new career directions, start new businesses, and realize lifelong dreams. Over a lifetime, the gap in earning potential between the high school graduate and those holding a bachelor’s degree or higher exceeds $1 million, according to the College Board.

If anything, I encourage people to start a journal and begin writing down their goals, ideas and gratitude. What are you grateful for? How can you build on that to create and realize your own goals? Start small or go big, you don’t have to get a master’s degree, but hold yourself accountable to your ideas and plans, I promise that great things can happen!

Developing Business Skills on the Go

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Personal development comes in many forms and is a lifelong process of assessing your skills and qualities while setting goals so that you can maximize your potential. Self-actualization is the desire that everyone has “to become everything that they are capable of becoming”, and identifying what it is that a person needs to do to reach their full unique potential.

Creating the time to learn or experience something new can open many doors for people and may help them learn things about themselves, others or the world by changing perspectives and encouraging the continuation of growth. It can be difficult to commit to an immense change in life such as going back to school or changing careers, especially later in life, but exploring classes and seminars to build skills requires little commitment and can motivate you to continue your path of personal development.

There is an online career training portal called “Train Up”, which offers seminars and courses on business skills and personal development training throughout the year. They offer live courses which are either web based classes, traditional classroom settings, or a mix of both. They also provide courses that are self-paced and include e-learning, online and video courses. Classrooms are located throughout every state in the U.S. and Canada; and in Reno, NV alone there were ten 1-day courses available for developing business skills.

In their online “Personal Development” section, they offer everything from leadership training, project management, presentation skills, time management, working with difficult people, and many more topics that you can learn at your own pace. Some topics such as customer service and business writing are only an hour long while others like Microsoft Office skills can be up to 7 hours. Here is a sample of the industries they cover:

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If you are looking to strengthen your business skills or learn something new with little commitment, this is a great tool to get started. Taking the first step can motivate you to take another, and soon you will realize not only how beneficial it is to keep “sharpening the knife” and learning new skills, but you will also recognize your capacity to do so. Check with your company to see if they already have a personal development program in place, or see if they would be willing to pay for or reimburse you for your courses if they relate to your industry. You will be benefitting your own personal development journey, showing initiative, and making yourself more valuable to employers.

Check out the website HERE. Have you taken a personal development course or seminar? Feel free to share your own experience and if it was beneficial to you. I would love to hear your experience!

Being “Busy” is Holding You Back

How many times have you heard someone use the excuse “I can’t, I’m too busy” or “I just don’t have time”? I am sure we have all caught ourselves using these excuses, and probably fairly often in our lives, but when you think about it, why are we so busy? And what makes us so busy that we can’t find time to do things that others who are just as busy, if not more, can?

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This is probably most common when it comes to relationships and dating, but when it becomes our go-to excuse to get out of doing things out of our routines, it can hold us back from personal growth in a way in which we don’t even realize is happening. Everyone is busy! Of course, there are days where we just cannot or do not want to fit another item on the agenda because we are just completely swamped, but that is not the busy I am talking about. It is the “busy” that surrounds our day to day lives that makes us feel like we don’t have time to take on anything new, such as start a new project, learn a new skill or even make a new friend. We all have times where we just don’t feel like doing something, and being busy is the easiest thing to say where others won’t question your excuse, but the more you do it, the more you fall into the routine of actually believing that you don’t have the time to do things and you create a habit of saying “no” to people and experiences.

Time Management

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When I was just out of college, all of my time went towards working full time, overtime, buying a house, having a relationship, making time for my family and friends, and trying to squeeze everything in so that I made time for everyone in my life. Busy, no doubt. At another point in my life I was not working but staying home with my 1 year old son while pregnant with my second. There just weren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all of the things I wanted to, not to mention time for myself. Staying home with a child was extremely demanding and I looked back and felt like I had it so easy before, when I had no one to take care of everyday and had all of the time in the world to do what I wanted. Now, as a grad student with two kids, I look back again and think, “Wow, I had no idea what busy was”. It is so easy to look back and think about how it wasn’t really that hectic compared to what you are doing now, and that is because we survived that chapter of our lives and still made time to do more. Resilience builds up and we learn to manage our time so that we can do what we need to do and still have time to do what we want to
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Time is precious and everyone’s time is valuable. The important thing is to recognize that you are only too busy for the things you don’t want to make time for. If you care about something, you have to find the time to make it happen. Don’t believe that you are too busy to catch up with friends, take a trip, or go back to school. You will only set yourself up to miss out on something that could have been really fun or memorable, or even something that could have changed your path. There is a lot of power in taking control of our own time, and there are always ways to work smarter or faster to accomplish your goals. Here is a really helpful blog about time management that is definitely worth a read if you are looking to maximize the time in your day.

No Excuses

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We are all busy because we are all students, teachers, business owners, employees, volunteers, parents, friends, athletes, and all of the other roles we play every single day. Make the time to develop yourself personally, socially, physically, etc.  Text your friends back, show up to girl’s night, call your mom, do the things you have been meaning to do but didn’t make the time. Recognize the times when you don’t have to be trying to do a million things at once and just be present.

Be truthful to yourself about what your priorities are so that you don’t have to use “busy” as an excuse.”

My challenge to everyone is to try and go a full day without using the word “busy”! Be conscious of how and when you are using it and notice how often others use it too.