Self-Reliance is for Everyone

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Imagine being in an emergency situation. Who are the people you want to be near? Or think about being deserted on an island with one person, who do you choose? You choose the ones who are self-reliant and have the skills to survive.

The idea of self-reliance is broad. When I talk about self-reliance in my blog posts, I don’t necessarily mean that you should have to go off the grid or put yourself in extreme survival situations. There are a lot of valuable self-reliant skills and tools that we can learn from others as well as teach ourselves that are important for our day to day lives. Doing things ourselves and becoming more handy is incredibly rewarding, and it seems as if we are becoming less and less self-reliant as we become more reliant on technology and other people.

 

Here are a few ways to boost your self-reliant skills:

Learn to fix things yourself: We live in a time where everything gets thrown away, many times without even a second thought. Try and minimize your impact while also saving money for yourself.

Learn to do jobs that you would normally hire someone else to do: Sew up that split seam in your clothes, or learn to change the oil in your car. Do your own yard work and small repairs around the home. Many of the entrepreneurs I have interviewed have a broad set of skills that allow them to fill in wherever they need within the operations of their businesses and are able to save money by resolving issues on their own. You don’t have to know how to do everything, but learning by doing is one of the best ways to build your skill sets.

Take responsibility for your health. We are the only ones who are responsible for our health, and it is our job to ensure that we have the strength to be self-reliant when we need to be. It is our job to look after our kids and teach them healthy lifestyles, and the best way to do so is by modeling that. Most of us can improve in this area, myself included. If we don’t take care of ourselves, who else is supposed to?

 

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Emergency preparedness: Okay, it is easy to laugh at the people who go overboard prepping for disaster, but it is actually pretty simple to develop the skills needed to assist you in an emergency. Learning how to use tools, change a flat tire, stop the toilet from overflowing, put chains on your car in a snowstorm; these are all skills that you will be so glad you have if you find yourself in one of these situations. Take a CPR certification class because CPR can be such a valuable skill to have. If an accident should happen, you will be able to rely on your skills to help you.

 

Outdoor skills: These are fun skills to develop and can be critical if you are in a situation where our luxuries are unavailable or taken away. Try backpacking or camping, as these are some of the best ways to test your own self-reliance and teach yourself things as they come to you in a natural environment. Sometimes these are the most rewarding skills to have because they involve instincts and exploring.

Education: Like many of these skills, education is something that can never be taken away from you, and something that you can always fall back on in hard times. This doesn’t have to be formal education, but seeking out continual education for yourself throughout your life will benefit you in so many ways. I went back to school for my master’s degree because I want to have my education to assist me if something happens to me financially or in terms of opportunity. I don’t want to worry about anyone having to help me or support me in a time of need.

I really admire the people who are really handy and seem to be able to fix anything and everything. Go out today and learn a new skill that can help make you more self-reliant. In most cases, a YouTube video can teach you how to do it! What can you do to become more self-reliant?

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!

Traveling for Change

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Alright guys, I am taking my own advice and going way out of my comfort zone this week. A little over a month ago, a lovely classmate and friend, encouraged me to go to Australia with the Nevada Global Business program. I kept thinking about how amazing it would be, but had a feeling it wouldn’t happen because first off, I would be travelling by myself, or without my closest family members or friends, and second, I would be leaving my husband and two kids for two weeks which made me uncomfortable only because I knew I would miss them so much.  I had about a day to decide because the deadline was passing, so I just went for it and said, “Yes!”

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Tomorrow I leave for Australia, and although I am anxious and incredibly nervous, I know that travel is such a great way to open your eyes to different cultures and perspectives. Equally as important to me will be the confidence that I build from stepping out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I can get in my own head about what to expect, but the only thing I can do is really to just DO it. Then I will know that it isn’t as scary as I thought it would be and I’ll find that the benefits of my personal growth outweigh the temporary anxiety of stepping out of my bubble.
Traveling gives you confidence to know that you can cope with new and challenging situations, whether it is a language barrier, losing your luggage, or getting lost. Overcoming the unexpected is very rewarding and shows yourself that you are more than capable of finding solutions. I am going into this adventure with an open mind and I am hoping to learn more about myself and others by getting out of my usual environment for two whole weeks. Maybe that isn’t a big deal for some, but for me it is substantial!

Social media makes the world feel much smaller than it is, and according to Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, globalization will continue to shrink and flatten the world through insourcing and outsourcing, global supply chains, and the rise of digital and mobile technology. After my 18 hour flight, I will let you guys know if that feels true. Any tips on traveling around Sydney is greatly appreciated! I challenge everyone to say “Yes” this week to something that feels scary, or out of reach. You don’t have to travel around the world to grow yourself, but in the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take. I’d also like to note that without my friend’s encouragement, there would be no way that I would have embarked on this adventure. So I urge everyone to find someone that pushes them out of their comfort zone and inspires you to be adventurous.