5 Things Turning 30 Taught Me

 

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When I was in my 20’s I always heard mixed reviews about turning 30. People primarily told me all about the new found freedom you would feel and liberation and a desire to chase your dreams because you have lived through your twenties; where you are finding yourself, making mistakes, and building your values based on your experiences.

This year I turned 30. I can definitely look back on my life and feel a little wiser, a lot smarter about decisions and a whole lot more confident in myself. Here are 5 things I have come to terms with as I begin my 30’s:

  1. You Matter. You matter outside of what you do as a profession. You matter outside of who people think you are, and you matter outside of what you can do for other people. It takes a long time to find your identity and your voice and it is easy to feel like you are lost in a crowd. Stand up for yourself and for what you believe in because your voice does matter and you are important.

 

  1. Set Your Boundaries. It is amazing to have a year of “yes”, but it is also important to be careful with your time. It is ok to say no! And the best part is, you don’t even have to have an excuse. You don’t have to agree to anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have an endless stream of energy and you should put your time into the things that you really care about. Set your boundaries and make them clear to yourself and to your friends so you can focus on saying yes to the things that are in line with your goals and politely just say no to the things that aren’t.

 

  1. It Doesn’t Matter What People Think About Your Choices. The definition of success is different for everyone. A big part of this for me is parenting; how much you are working, traveling, or the fact that you stay home with kids. People are always going to have their opinions on your situation, especially if it is different from their own. You have to just keep doing what is right for you because, in the end, you are the one who has to live your life. Do it the right way that works for you. It doesn’t have to work for everyone. Make the decisions that feel good for your situation.  I have realized that most of the stress associated with what people thought about me was in my own head. I don’t find myself wondering what people will think anymore because it honestly doesn’t matter as long as I am being true to myself.

 

  1. Never Stop Changing.  We have all made mistakes that have shaped us into who we are today. We have to look at places where we are unfulfilled, unhappy and unsatisfied in order to make positive changes in our lives. Something that made you happy a few years ago might not be as fulfilling now. Although I have reached a happy place with who I am now, that doesn’t mean I am done changing. It is never too late to recreate yourself or change your path and we should never ever settle for mediocracy in our career, our relationships and in our health. You are strong and resilient and should not let yourself settle for less than you deserve but you need to keep learning and experiencing in order to be the best version of yourself.

 

  1. Find Your Tribe. At this point, you have probably narrowed down the people in your life to the ones that you have created meaningful relationships with and who bring positivity to your world. As we get caught up in life, it can be easy to lose touch with people, and it can also be easy to lose depth in our relationships. It is so important to hold on to the people we care about and to maintain a mutual effort in showing respect and love. You will have hard times, and you will have times when you need help, and having your tribe who understands you will make your life a whole lot easier and more fulfilling. Give way more than you expect to receive Lianna Ruben wrote a great article on listening and connecting with people that I found really helpful in strengthening conversations.

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There is no right way to do life and everyone finds joy in different paths. There is a lot to learn from your twenties and all of those lessons will guide you into a place where you know more of what you want, you know where your boundaries are, and how to keep pushing yourself towards greatness. These lessons are going to be different for everyone. What are some of the lessons you learned in your twenties or thirties or beyond?

Visual Branding and Entrepreneurship: The Stanton Brothers

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How do you tell a real story about your business that lets you connect with your customers and community in a timeless way? I had the opportunity to talk with Nick and Chris Stanton, creators of Stanton Brothers, about how they got started building their dream and how they are helping others visualize and create theirs.

Getting Started:

Chris and Nick have been making movies since they were 9 and 12 years old and have always been cinematic thinkers. When they found an opportunity to start their own company, they both left salaried jobs to pursue their passions and start their business in their hometown of Reno, Nevada. They use techniques, tools and devices of cinema, story and drama to help entrepreneurs, businesses and artists tell the stories behind the brand. “We want to know what their story is; why they do what they do, and how we can best capture that and tap into the heart and soul to tell the story behind the brand.”

Family Business and Branding Values:

One major benefit to working with a sibling is that they never had to sit down and establish their values because they know each other so well. Nick found himself drawn to directing and editing. As the Writer, Director and Editor, he brings the story-telling and big picture, concept-to-screen aspects to the production.  Chris, the Director of Photography, comes from the music video scene in Nashville and has an eye for imagery. He is strongly focused on using his tech knowledge to express that imagery on screen. “We share a brain aesthetically and artistically, but we work differently. 99% of the time we are on the same page and we balance each other out.” They started their business on February 1st, 2017, and if you follow them on social media, you can get a glimpse of some of their inspiring and powerfully creative work.

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Nick Stanton  Image Source

Craft Filmmaking:

“We want to link with the right people. We are not looking for clean and traditional, we want real stories and characters. Emphasizing people is timeless because business trends change, and who you are will weather the storm regardless of externalities. If we do a video on a business, and they go under, the video should be just as useful for the owner in their next endeavor.

We want to bring honesty and authenticity to how people market themselves; this is what we want to do, what we hope others will do, because that is what resonates with our generation. We use real messages to appeal to people rather than constructed commercials. We aren’t trying to have mass appeal; our brand is craft film making because each project is a custom tailored creation.”

Who is an ideal client for them?

Anyone with a story. They look for other small business owners who have a lot of challenges and a lot of passion for what they are doing. They favor businesses who are doing a lot for Reno and the community, and try to connect with people who want to expand their brand and will benefit from telling a cinematic story. “We are not in a sales field because we don’t want to convince people that this is what they need. We want them to see us and get a visual feel for what we do and say, ‘I want that’.”

The Reno Community:

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Chris Stanton  Image Source

To the Stanton Brothers, Reno is home. Both brothers were raised here and went to college at the University of Nevada, Reno. After living separately in Nashville and San Francisco, they found a happy medium back in Reno.  “In big cities you sometimes compromise your ability to access nature, scenery and inspiring places. We lean on our visual surroundings and it would be crazy to give up that resource that Reno provides.” They found that living away made them realize how connected they were in their hometown. “Reno is a city in progress. To be a part of the opportunity as a local is a very cool and advantageous place to be.”

What’s in the future for the Stanton Brothers?

They recently started a project with Cliqvue, an on demand digital platform for short film projects, for their first series titled, “Undiscovered”. Their project will encompass a behind the scenes look at elaborate, high-concept fashion shoots, and dramatic theatrics with scenes throughout Nevada and California. Everything will be sourced by local artists and businesses. “It is sort of a love letter to creatives. Why do we create are when we aren’t getting paid or when no one else is watching? We are investing ourselves into this passion project.”

“We want meaningful work. We can feel when it is right, and if were working on a project, we’re not letting it out of our sight until it is perfect.”

How do you tell your brand story? Follow the Stanton Brothers to keep up with their latest projects and to help you create an innovative visual platform for your business.

Stanton Brothers: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube |Contact

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Running for Resilience

My mom running the RTO

It seems like every week there is a different running event going on in Reno. In April, there are going to be at least 9 different races, each with different themes and charities to benefit, and that is not even including the Tahoe area.  The running community in Reno has exploded in the last 10 years. Participate in one 5k and it will all make sense why.

I grew up running in sports, but after high school it was harder to find the motivation without a coach telling you what to do and a team who you would let down if you slacked in your practice. I decided to run my first 5k when I was about 3 months pregnant with my first son. It was the Leprechaun Chase in downtown Reno and I felt confident because I had the best excuse ever if I needed to walk or was taking it slow. I was pretty intimidated and had no idea what to expect.  What I found was that there were a lot of really fast runners, but also slow runners, walkers, parents pushing strollers, kids, and grandparents all running together. Families and friends cheered on strangers from the sidelines with motivational signs and chants. When I finished, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and I felt like part of this incredibly supportive community of people who were all doing this thing together.

Reno Tahoe Odyssey

Since then I have ran numerous races in Reno and Tahoe, and this will be my 5th year running the Reno Tahoe Odyssey, a 178 mile, 12 person relay race around the Reno/Tahoe area. Running has given me a sense of empowerment over my health, happiness and my ability to meet goals. I have learned to accept failures and to praise myself for my efforts. Overall I have become much more resilient, and that has given me confidence to take on other goals that I might have otherwise felt were out of my reach.

Here are just a few of the ways that running adds value to your personal development journey:

Community

Our RTO team crossing the finish line together.

There are a lot of factors (technology, careers, families, busy lifestyles) that contribute to making it harder for us to find the time and confidence to connect with others. We naturally crave connections with others, and it is so important to invest your time into something where you feel a sense of belonging; where you are part of a tribe. They push you to be your best and elp lift you back up when you are at your worst. In a running community, everyone is at a different level and no one judges your speed or your process, but rather they praise you for just being there and giving your best. It is a great discipline to teach yourself strength, not only physically to push through when you feel weak, but also mentally to talk yourself through it and believe that you can succeed. Belonging to a group lets you see that people are not judging you, and that they value your presence, and helps you work on accepting others and letting go of your own judgments.


Accountability

There are a lot of curve balls that life throws at us, but with running, you are in complete control. You set your goals, find motivation from within, and tell yourself when it is time to push harder, take it easy, or call it a day. Your performance is the outcome that comes solely from the motivation you give yourself and the actions you take. There’s no one else to blame if the outcome isn’t what you expected, and there is a lot of personal accountability that comes from that. There’s also a lot of personal gratification and there’s nothing like the feeling of running that last stretch to the finish line and knowing that all of your hard work has paid off. The best part; the only way to fail is to give up. You ran 5 miles yesterday and only a half mile today? Awesome! You got out there and did it. Small efforts still make a contribution to your goals; don’t give up.

Resilience and Confidence

My sister and I after running up to Virginia City on the RTO

Running isn’t easy, especially if you are just getting started. Every season when I start to train for the Odyssey, I am dying trying to run a few miles. It is something that you work on day after day and you can definitely set yourself up for failure if your goals aren’t realistic or if your negative self-talk is overpowering you. When you come across something that is physically and mentally difficult and you are able to push through that and keep going, that resiliency that you build up spreads to other aspects of your life. You start to see that you are strong and what you are capable of if you really apply yourself, and that is a powerful feeling.

If you live in Reno, check out a list of upcoming races here, and even more are listed at www.race178.com. Regardless of the level you are at now, I encourage you to sign up for a 5k in your city, even if you want to walk it. You might surprise yourself how much fun you have while setting goals for yourself, building strong transferrable skills and most likely benefitting some local charities too.

Own Your Financial Future: Retirement Planning

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If you are beginning or continuing to invest in yourself, there is a good chance that you are doing it to help ensure that you have more options for yourself personally and professionally in the future, and that in doing so you will improve your financial situation. Investing in yourself allows you to take control of your future by determining where you are today and identifying where you want to go and how to get there. Setting goals and measuring their progress is key to success in any area you are focusing on improving, especially your finances. Although there are many financial demands that we face every day, it is so important to begin saving, meet with a financial advisor and start investing your money. If you want to create a better life for yourself, you have to be smart about your finances and your future.

It can be hard to think about saving for retirement when you are in your 20’s or 30’s, but it is important to create a baseline for saving for retirement as soon as possible. According to Time, 1 in 3 Americans across all ages do not have any money saved for retirement, and 56% have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. For Millennials, saving as little as 5% each paycheck can add up to make a big difference long term. Make sure to take advantage of any employer matches, and automatically transfer funds from your paycheck to your retirement fund so that you do not even think of that money as disposable income.

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It is so easy to focus on the present but I urge you not to procrastinate. Start today by talking to your employer or financial advisor about your options, or start consistently putting even a small amount each month into savings. A small amount may not feel like much is happening in terms of growth, but 20 or 30 years from now, you will be thankful that you started. Personal development is about seeing the potential for yourself in the future through things you are doing today to make it happen.

When you reach retirement age, you are still going to want to do all of the fun stuff you do now like travel, pick up new hobbies, or start a new business. Make sure you have enough saved up to finance your dreams. Start now! Don’t fall behind, your future self will thank you!