The International Women’s Summit: Support, Encouragement, Empowerment

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A few months ago I was invited by my mother-in-law, Jamie Metz, to attend the International Women’s Summit, which was being hosted in Phoenix, Arizona.  I had no idea what it was or what we would be doing, and it sounded like something that I typically wouldn’t do or even know about, but as I would encourage other people to do, I decided to say “Yes”. I flew to Phoenix on my own, which previously would have made me a little anxious, but after my journey to Australia, it was a walk in the park. I actually enjoyed my alone time and had some time to catch up on my blogging.

CYLWhen I arrived, Jamie and I received our itinerary for the weekend. Starting Thursday evening, we had back to back events which included speakers from all over the world and from every walk of life. I was feeling a little overwhelmed; how could I sit through this many speeches from all of these different women in a single weekend? I am not someone who typically has a weekend or even a day planned out for me, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this.

Thursday evening, our first speaker was Melissa Harris-Perry, who is a writer, professor, television host, and political commentator in America. She talked about the uncomfortable conversations that we avoid, but need to have in order to really see each other for what we believe in and why. She said that we have to be brave enough to engage in these conversations to not only realize, but to embrace the fact that we don’t all think the same. In a time where people are so divided for their beliefs, it was refreshing to hear someone speak to a crowd of over a thousand women and preach a message of unity and engagement. After hearing Melissa’s speech, I was humbled and so excited to see what the rest of these women had to say.

CYL 3The rest of the weekend included speakers such as Elizabeth Gilbert, Collette Baron-Reid, Marianne Williamson, Sheri Salata, Lisa Ling, Glennon Doyle-Melton, Zainab Salbi, and many more. If you don’t know who these women are, seriously, look them up and read their books, or at least their stories. They are inspiring and unique and encouraging and brave. It was like TED talks for women. I left feeling so inspired and uplifted, and almost two weeks later, I am still up in the clouds thinking about this amazing event.

Here are some of the most important things that I learned from this Summit:

  • You only have one energy stream. Where will you choose for your energy to go? Sometimes you have to choose entitlement, and have the arrogance to do what you want to do. In creating your own path, you are going to have to start disappointing people. It is okay to say “no”. Be the boss of your life.
  • Before you judge or attack someone, dial down your own self-righteousness. Be humble, get real, then speak.
  • Don’t keep repeating behaviors that don’t serve you. Do something you love, even if it is for just 15 minutes a day. If you aren’t living with passion then you are living with resistance.
  • Use your voice to better someone other than yourself. This is how you will find your voice.
  • Instead of making a “to-do” list, make a “to-be” list. When you are being who you want to be, the “to-do’s” will come into alignment.
  • We must forgive people even when we are not asked for forgiveness. We all have our own shadows and our own darkness. Acknowledge it and respect it so that you can control it.
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I will continue to tell the stories of each of these women in further depth, and include      what I learned from their journeys, as I wish that every person, (men and women), could have the opportunity to go to an event like this. To see and hear everyone’s perspectives, stories, and heartbreak made me look deeper into my own life and realize where I should take control, as well as sit back and be immensely grateful for the life that I have. There were over a thousand women present and every single one of them was cheering each other on, supporting each other, laughing and crying together. No judgement, no competition, no bad ideas.


Celebrate Your Life Events
hosted this International Women’s Summit, and their next event is for both men and women, and they are hosting a “Celebrate Your Life, Sedona Retreat” in Arizona in November. Check it out HERE. If this sounds fun, or even if it sounds like something you would never do, I encourage you to just give something like this a try. I never would have gone to an event like this on my own, and I am so happy that I just said “yes” to this experience. It is something that I never will forget. If you went to the Women’s Summit, share your own experiences in the comments section and what you took from it, or if you have any questions about events like these, feel free to ask!

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!

5 Ways to Explore Your Hometown: Reno Redevelopment

Photo Credit: http://www.ralphandersen.com/jobs/city-manager-reno-nv/
Photo Credit: http://www.ralphandersen.com/jobs/city-manager-reno-nv/

I grew up and live in Reno, Nevada and to most people who have lived here, it is one of the friendliest and supportive communities to live. Somehow everyone is connected by two degrees of separation and when you meet someone new, it doesn’t take long to find out how you are connected in the community. Reno has been a constantly evolving city and offers a completely different feel than it did even a few years ago, especially in the downtown and Midtown areas. A $1.2 billion downtown reinvestment plan along with the development of Tesla’s giant gigafactory are just a few of the changes that are sure to host and inspire an array of new people and businesses to come to the area.

Reno has become a prime example of how reinvestment and change can bring new opportunities for the city, surrounding areas, and for the people and families who live here. New businesses and services have popped up all around town providing opportunities to discover self-investment opportunities in fitness and wellness, outdoor adventure, social interaction, community involvement, intellectual and career development, and creative exploration.

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http://www.history.com/topics/us-states/nevada/pictures/nevada/neon-arch-sign-in-reno-2

A substantial part of investing in yourself comes from seeking out new experiences, and what better place to start than in your hometown? (Especially when businesses give discounts to locals!) Whether it is signing up for a class or trying out a new running trail, stepping out of your normal routine can open doors that may lead you to find new interests and passions that you didn’t know you had. I find that even when I take my kids to a new playground or on a new trail around town, I am much more comfortable seeking out other new places to check out and experiences we can enjoy. In future posts I plan to highlight several local attractions, experiences and businesses in the Reno/Tahoe area in hopes of helping people in our city and others in their own towns to find ways to develop themselves through experiences close to home.

Here are 4 ways to explore your own hometown to discover how it can help your personal growth journey.

1. Visit local attractions

Reno and Tahoe are incredibly good about the amount of events that go on in the area, and many of them are free. Going to new places in town, especially with a friend, helps you to become more comfortable with areas you may not be familiar with. The more you can conquer around town, the more comfortable you will be to seek out and enjoy all that it has to offer. Cheer on your hometown team, find the best lake or river to spend the day, and take advantage of seasonal activities such as farmer’s markets, pumpkin patches and snowshoeing.

Great Reno Balloon Races
Great Reno Balloon Races

2. Check off your city bucket list

Try out some of the places that you have always wanted to but never got around to. I’ve lived in Reno almost my whole life, and the more I explore this city, the more amazed I am at the businesses and people that I find. Make a list of new things to do whenever you go out and try not to go to the same places or restaurants twice until you have made it through your list. Free community events such as concerts, movie nights, sports events, and arts are a great way to experience the culture of your town on a budget. Find a local charity that you are interested in and go to one of their fundraising events. This is a great way to step out of your comfort zone if you want to develop yourself in social situations.  You might be surprised at who you meet and the role they play in your community.

 

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Ferrari Farms Pumpkin Patch

3. Take a class

Whether you’re interested in painting, sports or computer programing, take advantage of the classes that your community might offer. Reno has some great options for learning new hobbies like cooking, gardening, and art classes. Community colleges and universities usually offer a variety of vocational courses that are also great ways to explore an interest you may have. Even Home Depot and Lowes offer DIY classes for adults and kids. You might find something you are passionate about.

4. Join a group

Since some of these recommendations are likely to lead you to meet new people and probably ones with similar interests as you, try and join a group that meets every week or month. Ask around at classes or search Facebook for local groups that might spark your interest. Running groups, mom’s groups, outdoor adventure groups, you name it, people want to find others that like what they like. It is nice to have a place to belong to, and sharing experiences with others is a great way to feel good about your journey.

 5. Go on a date night

It is almost always easier to try new things if you have a partner or a friend join you. Arrange some time with your significant other or a friend to do new things that you wouldn’t normally do on your own, like going on a new hike or taking a class. If you decide to do it again, you might feel more comfortable on your own knowing what to expect, and if it is a good place to bring kids or pets next time.

I hope some of these tips encourage you to go out and see the people, places and businesses that make your home town great! What is your favorite experience around Reno and Tahoe that has helped you grow? Share in the comments I will make sure to go experience it too!

Breaking the Negativity Habit

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Investing in yourself can take many forms, and it does not have to be a tangible skill that develops you. Everyone is motivated by something different, but almost everyone has something that they are uncomfortable with or afraid to do because they have negative emotions tied to it. It is easy to tell people to say, “Yes” to everything and to pursue their dreams without fear, but it is no simple task to overcome negative emotions that we have associated with obstacles, change and the potential to fail.

Sometimes it seems like it is so much easier to remember the negative things that have happened to us during our days than the positive. Our brains have a natural tendency to spot the negatives, while it takes more effort to see the positives. Unfortunately, we carry negative emotions in our minds much longer than we do the positives, and it takes longer to build ourselves up than it does to tear us town.

Research shows that positive emotions contribute to essential downstream life outcomes, including social development, satisfaction in your relationships, higher incomes, and better physical health.  “Positive emotions temporarily broaden our attention and thinking, allowing us to draw on higher-level connections and a wider range of ideas. These broadened outlooks help us find and build important personal resources which can be cognitive, psychological, social or physical.” (Fredrickson, 2017). People with these resources are more likely to effectively seek out and meet life’s challenges and take advantages of its opportunities.

So how can we rewire our brains to focus on the good things? We can practice actively looking for the positives and over time build a habit of thinking in a different way. Here are seven tips to help us escape the negatives and focus on the positives so that we can overcome whatever it is that is holding us back from becoming the best version of ourselves.

1. Focus on learning.

Don’t get stuck on a negative event or emotion. We are all human and everyone of us has a bad day or makes a mistake. Failing does not make you a failure. Turn your mistakes in to lessons and praise your process for getting it right next time.

2.  Listen for and identify negative self-talk.

Try to recognize when you are beating yourself up over something. We are our own biggest critics and our thoughts are very powerful. Put a positive spin on a negative outcome or even try and laugh at yourself. Shrink the problem because it is probably a bigger issue in your mind than it is in reality. Self-image is made by self and not by people.

3. Rehearse the good news. 

How common is it to come home from work and vent about the annoying things that happened in your day. Negativity feeds on negativity and your story will likely lead to someone else venting about their bad day. Instead, try and play up the good things that happened, no matter how small they were, and ask about the good in other people’s day.

4. Forgive people for negativity.

We can’t all be positive all the time, but dwelling on someone else’s negativity or holding a grudge can weigh you down. A lot of negativity stems from misinformation or miscommunication. You never know what someone is going through in their personal life, so forgive them and move on. Someone has probably forgiven you along the way too.

5. Surround yourself with a positive community.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that you become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Surround yourself with people who you respect, share your values and inspire you to do great things.

6. Emphasize the Positives.

Spend a few minutes each day writing about what you are grateful for, whether it was a great day with your family, a good meal, or even a funny joke you heard. Even Oprah does it! She says, “I got so focused on the difficulty of the climb that I lost sight of being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb.” Be grateful for the mountain.

7. Spread the good.

Words can empower or debilitate someone. We all have the power to spread kindness and positivity, and you never know when someone might really need it to get through their own negativity.

Start today! Be conscious of how you can bring positivity into your day or into someone else’s in a small or big way and make it happen.

 

 

 

Sources and Citations:

  1. Fredrickson, Barbara L. et al. “Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources.” Journal of personality and social psychology 95.5 (2008): 1045–1062. PMC. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

2.  http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/tips_for_keeping_a_gratitude_journal