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?

Coaching for “Girls on the Run, Sierras”

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A few years ago a friend asked me if I wanted to volunteer to be a coach for Girls on the Run Sierras, the Nevada/California branch of Girls on the Run International.  I just had my son and I was beginning to go back to school for my MBA, and I felt like my plate was full, but I decided to give it a shot anyway and make the time. My dad volunteered to coach all of mine and my siblings’ sports teams growing up, and I thought it would be fun to be on that side of the sport.

Girls on the Run is a non-profit organization that inspires girls to be happy, healthy and confident through an experienced-based curriculum that integrates running. The program is for girls 3rd-5th grade, and 6th-8th grade, and focuses on building girls up in a team environment so that they can learn to support each other, embrace their differences, and recognize their own limitless potential. Through lessons and practice, girls learn to understand their own values at a young age, and gain confidence to make decisions for themselves that are in line with those values. They learn gratitude, compassion, and build resilience through running. At the end of the season the girls all run a 5k so they can see what all of their hard work had led them to accomplish.

“We believe that every girl can embrace who she is, can define who she wants to be, can rise to any challenge, can change the world.”

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When I started as a coach, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be a good fit because it was hard to connect with the girls as a new coach in the first few lessons, and I wondered what experience I had that would actually make a difference for them. Over time we built up a relationship as I learned more about each individual girl. I learned about their dreams, their home life, things that happen at school, and concerns they had about friends and relationships. As I got more and more into coaching, I was so engaged because I felt like I was actually making a difference. I didn’t have any life-changing wisdom for them, but just being there was what mattered. Having a coach who comes to practice everyday and shows them that they are important to the team, and is there for them when they need to talk; that is what they needed.

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This organization is so inspiring as they work every season to teach girls self-reliance, strength, and values. Everything they do revolves around the idea that they can do whatever they put their minds to and are willing to work for, and that girls should build each other up rather than tear each other down. Having girls experience this kind of support system before they hit middle school leads them to have confidence and a growth mindset, which can give them a major advantage in the brutal middle school years.

I learned so much about myself from volunteering and really expanded my circles of concern and awareness.  I learned that I can make time for whatever it is that I care about, and that I shouldn’t be limited to caring about the things that only effect me or are visible to me. Although I remember how tough it was in those years as a girl, helping young girls going through the same struggles just wasn’t on my radar. Doing something that I normally wouldn’t do led me to have this life-changing experience that I will always value. Those girls are always on my mind, and when I see them continuing to succeed with the principles they learned through Girls on the Run, I know they are going to go on to do great things.

Consider how you can help someone or an organization in your community. Even if you are not sure how to help, sometimes just being there for support or giving your time can make a big difference to someone in need. Like the values behind this organization? You can donate to Girls on the Run Sierras HERE, which supports the program and sponsors girls who don’t have the financial resources to join the program. Girls on the Run always need running buddies to volunteer to run with the girls and support them on their 5k.  If you live in Reno, head down to a Reno Aces game on May 14th, where a portion of the proceeds from every ticket benefits Girls on the Run, Sierras.

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!

Connecting Hobbies With Career Success

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Finding hobbies that you like to do outside of work is an important part of keeping work-life balance and nurturing the interests you have that you don’t necessarily deal with in a normal job. In our busy lives where we sometimes feel that we have just enough energy to make it through the day, hobbies may seem like more of a treat when you have spare time, rather than a necessity for balancing what you have to do with what you love to do. Hobbies are the things that we choose to do, that we are good at or enjoy learning about, and play an important role in many aspects of our lives including stress relief, allowing us to connect with people who share the same interests, and engaging us in activities that we choose to be doing that are purposeful and important to us. They give us the ability to develop new skills while balancing out what we need to do on a daily or weekly basis with what we love to do.

Many people have a hard time making hobbies a priority because they seemingly do not have a direct impact on our career development or financial success, but studies have shown that participating in hobbies outside of work that you are passionate about can actually have a measurable impact on your performance at work. “Maintaining such hobbies can make individuals seem more appealing to potential employers, improve their mood, increase their confidence, reduce stress, provide networking opportunities and help them work better with others.”

photographyThere is a reason, after all, why so many employers ask about hobbies in an interview. They are looking to see if you are well-rounded and if you may have skills such as leadership, and the ability to set goals and see them through. “It’s assumed that if you engage in a diverse assortment of hobbies, you may be better equipped to manage a broader array of experiences and people on the job.”

When you challenge yourself to do something new that you enjoy, and then you continually build upon those skills, you develop a sense of mastery. By breaking up routine in our daily lives we are challenged in a positive way without the stress of a work related challenge. Skills that you build through your hobbies can transfer to all aspects of your life including work and may include skills like time management, patience, decision making, networking, grit, creativity and confidence. Since our hobbies reflect our personal tastes, values and interests, they can also be important clues to direct us towards meaningful and successful career choices.

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We are able to find what we are passionate about by exploring many different things and finding something that speaks to us on a personal level. Taking a class is one of the best ways to explore a new interest and expose yourself to something new without any commitment, and it is a great way to network with people who share the same interests. The more you explore, the more your interest in something meaningful to you will come naturally. I encourage everyone to try something new this week. Maybe it is a new yoga class you have been wanting to try, or taking a fun painting class with wine, or even going for a run. You might just find your passion and you won’t know if you love it or hate it until you try!

 

 

 

Building Self-Reliance Through Experience

Few things feel more amazing than accomplishing something on our own that we didn’t think was possible. Have you ever known someone who is really handy and can fix or figure out anything? Or maybe they are the kind of person that can travel on their own to unknown places almost fearlessly? Many of us would describe ourselves as self-reliant and open to learning new things, but in reality, self-reliance is diminishing.  We live in a time where we have such a vast amount of resources available that sometimes it may be easier or more convenient for someone else to do things for us. Life skills build on experiences that we have and people that we meet, while putting us in a position to better serve and help others who we care about.

How do we build self-reliance? It happens through investing in our own skills and abilities. It comes from asking questions and seeking out answers in new experiences. Comfort and stability drives us to maintain our lifestyles through day after day routines and habits. When a daily routine turns into monthly and yearly routines, it makes it harder and harder for us to step out of our comfort zones and try something new. The less that we make a conscious effort to make a change and continuously improve ourselves, we lose the confidence in our capacity to do something else; something better.

Through my own experiences of becoming a mom, a wife, a student and a professional, I have learned the powerful effects of breaking the habits that were holding me back from success. I used to be someone who made plans all the time. I would agree to any crazy idea that was thrown out there, and then when it came time to actually make it happen, I backed out. I loved the idea of going on adventurous trips and dreaming about what my life was going to be like in the future once I had accomplished something big, but I could never put it into action. I felt like I just didn’t have time, but later I realized that I was uncomfortable and afraid, and holding myself back. Growth can come from facing anxiety, discomfort and even pain, but overcoming those feelings once you have accomplished that new task is one of the best feelings in the world. The more new and uncomfortable experiences you have, you will gain the confidence to trust in your intuition and your own skills to shape your path for your future.

I hope to use my own experiences and new experiments along the way to help people find their paths and create new habits that lead to resilience, wellness, self-respect and confidence. Follow along with me as we explore baby steps to life changers in the world of self-improvement. Ask yourself, what if you could do more? We all have the capability to obtain what we need, especially happiness.