I wanted to be Rachel Green before I even knew who she was…

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Yes, for those of you who are familiar with the TV series Friends you already know who Rachel Green is, or was (Oh man has it really been 13 years since that show ended -YIKES I’m old!!) In fact, you are probably singing the song in your head now…”I’ll be there for you… when the rain starts to fall….”

BUT, for those of you who are not so familiar with Friends let me introduce Rachel Karen Green. She was the character played by Jennifer Anniston. The spoiled rich kid who instead or marrying her fiance Barry left him at the altar and moved into the city (New York City) with no money, no job, and no place to live.  After meeting up with a long-lost friend from high school, Monica Geller (played by Courteney Cox) she moved in with her, became friends with all of her friends and got a job as a waitress at the local coffee shop.

Now you’re probably wondering WHY in the world would anyone want to be like that? Well, for those of you that have seen the series, you know that Rachel gets fed up with her job at the coffee-house and breaks her way into the fashion biz at Bloomingdale’s. Eventually, she moves up the ladder and on over to Ralph Lauren where she becomes a Merchandising Manager/Product Developer. Now that’s the Rachel Karen Green that I wanted to be.

The reason I say I wanted to be her before I knew she existed is because Friends aired from 1994-2004, however, I didn’t start watching the show (I highly recommend starting from the beginning … all seasons are on Netflix) until 2002. I was already in college and well on my way to graduating with my Bachelors of Science in Apparel Merchandising, Design and Product Development.

So yes, I dreamed of being in New York one day as an Apparel Merchandiser or designer, jet setting off overseas to Milan and Paris to see what trends would be heading west in the next couple seasons. From before I had my driver’s license I had a job at one of the most fashion-forward boutiques in Birmingham, AL  (don’t laugh they actually exist in the deep south too… you should check them out here…). I was fortunate enough to get to go on a few buying trips with the team when I was in high school (which I will forever be grateful… what an opportunity for a high schooler!) It was there that I fell in love with fashion, the business of fashion and the art of apparel… and yes, those of you who know me SHOES!!! Shoes that I had NO business buying at my age, but I just couldn’t help myself.

After high school, I went on to college to pursue my degree so that I could get started in my dream job somewhere in the fashion world. I found a few sketches from a Sr. Project the other day… man those were the days, sitting around with sketch pads and pencils doodling, I’m lucky now if I get to borrow one of my kid’s crayons to jot down something I forgot to put on my grocery list.

 

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One of my fashion doodles

 

After college, I interned with Saks, Inc. Corporate Headquarters in the buying offices and ultimately got a full-time offer (I worked in the Children’s area, Home and Men’s while I was there). Then it was off to Baltimore Maryland to work for Jos. A. Bank Headquarters as an Assistant Merchandise Manger and was then promoted to Merchandise Manager a few months after joining. I was living my dream, I was 23, A Merchandise Manager working in the fashion industry (my husband LOVED that I worked in men’s clothing… he got LOTS of samples)  making pretty good money and the Lord had different plans. just three months after Daniel and I were married we found out we were pregnant with our first child… SCARY!!! I was always one who wanted to wait to have kids, work towards my career for a while and one day I would have kids. FUNNY that is NOT what happened at all!

Daniel and I moved back to Birmingham so we could be close to family… I mean I needed my mom, I had no idea how to be a mom, I was 23 and had done my deal of babysitting growing up but that was easy, you swoop in play with the kids and put them to bed…and people paid you for it.. this was going to be WAY different!

Our firstborn came into the world (that could be a whole blog on its own… Little Miss I had to take 18 hours before I finally decided to come) and once she arrived (and yes a second and a third) I had a string of various jobs that ended up pointing me into a marketing career. I’ve worked for large companies, small companies and currently work for a large global marketing agency which I must say is THE BEST… I thoroughly enjoy my job (yes, I have my days… just like we all do) and feel very blessed that I have been given the opportunity to be a part of an amazing team.

Where am I going with all of this you ask… good question, I just stopped to reread what I had typed and I am ALL OVER THE PLACE … If you know me and my dad, you know we have a hard time “landing the plane” HA, I don’t JUST look like you, dad!

But I realized something while on this journey. At some point, it developed into a love of business, not just the Fashion business (I think I’m close to a 50/50 when it comes to right brain/left brain). Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy putting stuff together, doodling when I have the chance, and tapping into my more artsy side. BUT,  working with a brand or a specific product and using data to inform a marketing and sales strategy is more exciting to me these days.

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but my biggest challenge has always been time. If I just had a few more hours in a day, it would be perfect. But I’ve learned that time is a limited commodity, it’s all about being focused and trusting others to help you instead of doing everything yourself!

So when I was presented with an opportunity to build a business with Rodan and Fields this past year, I took a long hard look (think like 9 months hard look), I did my research, I tested the products for 8 months and here is what I learned.

Here is a company run by two Stanford-educated women and doctors with a top-notch product in a multi-billion dollar industry. Remember Proactive??? (it changed the face of acne). The same doctors who created Proactive saw the want/need in the market for an anti-aging line and went to work.

The Products – at first these products were sold in high-end department stores only and ended up being the leading clinical skincare brand at Nordstrom. It was so successful that they began to see the products in the major magazines winning readers and editors choice awards. The Stanford-educated founders Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields decided to bring dermatology to the masses and break into the direct sales market. Their reach has become incredible making them the fastest growing premium skin care company/brand in North America over the big three… Estee Lauder, Lancôme and Clinique.

How good can they be you ask? Well, when we to Sedona this past November I received so many compliments on my skin (and I had absolutely NO makeup on – remember my posts on our hiking excursions) by the time I made it home I had 7 orders!

I’m so excited about this business but have been skeptical about sharing it outwardly with my friends and family as I was worried about what people would think. You see direct sales comes with a stigma. Believe me, I know… I was one of those that thought the same thing. BUT, then I realized I’ve been able to build a pretty decent following for R+F in three short months (an extra paycheck each month is NICE) and I haven’t even scratched the surface, nor have I ever announced to my family and friends that I’m even doing this. SO, in 2017 I’m not holding back. I have some pretty big goals for myself and my team one of them is to trust my gut and not worry what others think. I’m going to put myself out there and grow this business to what I KNOW it can be.

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SO….it’s out there… I finally announced it publicly and now it’s time to see this thing grow even bigger…Here’s to a BIG 2017!!!!!

 

 

 

You’re NOT a Tree!

 

2017 – A new year brings new opportunities, new adventures and the chance to make some new changes in your life. It’s now day two of 2017 (yes I was super lazy yesterday on day one, but had fun hanging out with my kids) and I am thinking of all the things I want to do in the new year.

I want to be more financially stable, I want to spend more time with my kids, I want to excel in my career, I want to build something of my own, I want to be a better mom and wife, I want to be more healthy, I want to create good habits. I’ve been really good at setting goals in the past. I have spent lots of time thinking through them, charting the course but when it comes time to execute (like a lot of moms) I put all of my goals and happiness last and make sure that everyone else is taken care of first. At the end of the year, I look back at my goals that are not attained in frustration.

I had some good ideas, think of how much better off I would be now if I had worked at those goals every day of 2016? Well, not this year! I’m NOT a tree… I don’t like where I am and I am going to move. NO one is going to do it for me and it’s not going to be easy. There will be hard days and even harder days, but that is not going to stop me pushing forward to accomplish some pretty big things for 2017.

One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain. This year I am going to focus daily on what I have to gain, financial freedom, extra time with my kiddos (who are growing too fast), personal growth, health, and good habits.

This year, I may be annoying to some, I may have people scratching their head at times, what I’m doing may look strange, nothing like me and something that you might not do in a million years. BUT, I will not worry about what others think (remember my post Don’t Be a Flat Squirrel!) I am going to be unapologetic about pursuing my goals and dreams this year. I’ll keep you updated on my progress because I need accountability, I’ll share my story along the way as I hope it helps you in chasing your dreams for 2017. Today is the beginning of whatever I want, and what I want for myself and my family is going to be BIG for 2017.

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Monday Monday…

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You guys know how much I like Dr. Kevin Elko from my previous post I Said to Myself. Do you ever feel like certain messages you hear were tailored specifically for you? Well, this morning’s Monday Morning Cup of Inspiration spoke directly to me. It talks about how self-pity  destroys everything around it.

How many times have I found myself venting to friends (sorry Lee), family (sorry Mom) or even those of you I don’t know who read my blog yesterday Hostage Negotiating?  It’s called venting because we build up so many negative thoughts that if we don’t let some out, we will explode!

The definition of self-pity is, excessive, self-absorbed unhappiness over one’s own troubles. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s a bunch of words I don’t like. Excessive anything is usually not a good thing, I don’t want to be self-absorbed and unhappiness, no thank you! Sure I may have a hard day (hard in my mind anyway) but, if I focus on what was hard and wallow in my own self-pity, not only do I affect my own productivity but I also bring down those around me.

As Dr. Elko said, I need to “practice to eradicate self-pity.” I need to practice gratitude! What better time to start than this week… Thanksgiving week. I am going to work extra hard, looking for the good and positive instead of the negative.

I find that if I write something down I tend to actually remember it. I already keep a daily journal but I am now going to start adding a page up front for things I’m thankful for that day. I read that gratitude journaling helps to slowly change the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. You want to get specific… If you just write, “I’m thankful for my family” every day, then you just keep writing the same things without thinking about it… it doesn’t allow for fresh grateful moments. For example, today, instead of writing “I’m thankful for great friends” I wrote, “I’m thankful for wonderful friends that invite us to spend Thanksgiving with their family as we do not have family close by.” I’m going to try to make a point to stretch myself beyond the things right in front of me and open my eyes to more of the things around me to enhance my gratitude attitude.

What are you thankful for?

I Said to Myself…

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“This is easy!”

This is a phrase that my husband says repeatedly to our children daily. My husband tries to teach them how to talk to themselves, and you know what, it works! I can see a change in my kids, I know when they’re using these short little phrases to talk to themselves, to push through something at school, sports, etc. My husband and I use it too, we’ve learned that it’s all about how you talk to yourself.

My mother is the smallest bundle of Auburn energy that you will ever see/hear and growing up it was contagious. I was fortunate enough to spend four wonderful years on the Plains. But, for those of you who know my husband, he is one of the biggest Alabama fans you will ever meet. Now, he’s not just a Saturday fan. No, he’s a die-hard, knows all the players, studies the plays, knows the stats, stands up the entire game three feet from the TV kind of fan. My kids know if The Tide scores a TD they’d better hide their little hands because daddy is coming by to pass out some “stingers” (high-fives). You can imagine what a pleased fan he is with all the success Alabama has had under Nick Saban for the last nine years.

Why are they so successful? Sure, there is the obvious, talent, hard work, strong program…. but what sets them apart? I mean, there is good (winning seasons, a conference championship and maybe a national championship here and there) and then there is dominant (4 national championships, 2 Heisman Trophy winners, 37 First Team All-Americans, 55 players drafted to the NFL… 18 of which were first round selections and all within 9 years). I think it has a little something to do with how the coaches coach the players to talk to themselves.

Before I go any further, please know I am on the outside looking in, I have no insider scoop, I don’t know any of the players or their families and while I would love to shake Coach Saban’s hand, I can say without a doubt he doesn’t even know that I exist… so these thoughts are simply my own.

My husband, being the Bama fan that he is, introduced our family to Dr. Kevin Elko. Check out his bio and website here (I can’t even attempt to do him justice with my words… read for yourself). Dr. Elko teaches people, teams (yes Bama), business organizations how to talk to themselves. His series Think Like a Winner is all about how you talk to yourself, how you set yourself up to be a winner. People who are high performers and enjoy what they do speak differently to themselves. They don’t look at adversity and immediately go to the negative. They talk positively to themselves and power through.

I think one of the best things that Coach Saban does as a coach, is introducing his players to Dr. Elko. Yes, it produces winners on the field, but it also sets them up for the future, in whatever they become. What if you could be as successful as the Alabama Football Team in your everyday?  It starts with how you talk to yourself!

I said to myself… “I’m going to have a meaningful, productive day and bring joy to someone else.”

What do you say to yourself?

 

Don’t be a Flat Squirrel

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How many times in my life have I heard, “Just make a decision!”

I’ll be honest, I usually hear it while having a conversation with my husband about what kind of takeout we’re going to pick up. We are both pretty indecisive when it comes to food.

I don’t want to be indecisive, It doesn’t inspire confidence.  If anything, being indecisive makes us doubt or call into question one’s knowledge and experience.

How do I become more decisive and what keeps me from being able to make decisions with confidence?

I need to stop worrying about what other people will think. I want to be more like Kevin Costner’s character, Ray in Field of Dreams…  He didn’t care what everyone thought when he was plowing over most of his crop to build a baseball field … he decided to do something and went for it!

Now I don’t have a farm, I have no need for a baseball field (although my son would LOVE one in his backyard) and I definitely do not have some strange voice that whispers in my ear, but I can certainly apply this to my life and learn to make good, confident decisions and stop worrying about what others may think.

If you think about it indecisiveness is also a decision. Something will happen whether you actively choose it or not.