Friendship Garden

Friendship Garden

Friendships are like flowers.  I love flowers.  They bring me joy; they make me happy.  Friends bring me joy and make me happy also.

Some flowers, annuals, only last in our gardens for a season; and some, perennials, have longevity, coming back year after year with repeated beauty.  Some friendships only last for a short time and others last a lifetime.

If you’ve ever had a friendship that has faded over time, you’ve undoubtedly feel some sadness over it.  I know I’ve had a few of these friendships.  Often, they simply faded away since one of us physically moved away from the other.  With both my father and husband serving as career Marines, I have moved frequently my entire life.  Even though these were close friendships at the time, the distance between us eventually won out.

Other friendships ended over a particular circumstance: a difference of opinion, a difference in values, something a little more substantial.  Sometimes these friendships were easily dismissed and other times the termination of the friendship hurt deeply.

The friends that were in my life for a moment remind me of annuals.  They were beautiful and filled in and complimented the garden of my life for a season.

Then, there are those friendships that are so deep, so intertwined, time and distance mean absolutely nothing.  You may see these friends daily, you may go years between seeing them, but when you are together, your friendship and connection never misses a beat.  You would do anything for them, and the feeling is mutual.  They are there to uplift, comfort, support, encourage, and celebrate you.  They are there for you through thick and thin, year after year.

These enduring friendships remind me of perennials.  Their beauty shows up year after year.  They are faithful and always there for you.  Even though they may not be blooming all year long, you know they will be back, ready to show up and delight you.

As I reflect on those “annual friendships,” I’ve decided not to feel bad about them fading away or ending.  Just like annual flowers, who fill in your garden for a season, those friends were there for me when I needed them.  Maybe they were never intended to be long-term friendships.  I am thankful for the gift of them, what they brought to my life and hopefully what I was able to contribute to their lives for the season we had together.

All friendships should be celebrated, no matter how short lived or permanent they are in our lives.  In the same way, every flower is a gift from the earth to beautify our world and fill us with joy.

 

 

Memorable Lessons – Thanks, Dad!

Memorable Lessons – Thanks, Dad!

Do you have one or two special memories, lessons learned, from a parent or special teacher that stay with you and make you smile years later?

I have one that I’d love to share.

My father is a deeply spiritual man, but it’s funny to me that my favorite memories of him have nothing to do with that side of him. They are the more down to earth, simply being a good human, lessons that I remember and cherish the most.

I was in high school and he had taken me to the eye doctor to be fitted for contact lenses (YAY!!). We were seeing a Navy doctor and both the doctor and my Dad were in uniform at the time of my appointment.  I remember the doctor asking my father a question and when my Dad replied, he called the doctor, “Sir”. To which the Navy doc politely told my Dad that he didn’t have to call him “Sir” as they were the same rank.

Now let me pause here for a second…..if you aren’t familiar with the military, ranks structures vary between the different branches of the service. And I was thinking, “Did he just insult my Dad by implying that my Dad didn’t realize they were indeed the same rank?”  Not cool in my mind.

But my Dad proceeded to politely tell the doctor that the reason he referred to him as “Sir” was out of respect for his position as a Doctor – not because of his military rank.

For some reason, the level of respect my Dad had when dealing with that Doctor, and the classy way he responded and explained himself to him, struck me then…

And continues to put a smile on my face all these years later.

Disclaimer: I do NOT have a good memory and I know I have forgotten many fine examples and lessons taught to me – by his actions, rather than his words – by my father. For some reason, this one remains one of my cherished memories of time spent with my Dad. And I bet he has NO recollection of this exchange of words.

Note to self: You never know who is watching/listening/learning to/from your words and actions.

The Power of Skincare and Confidence

The Power of Skincare and Confidence

Confidence is defined as a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.  Plastic surgeons have long built successful careers by marketing their ability to improve your confidence by making you feel better about yourself and how you look.  Not quite as drastic as plastic surgery, but would improving your skin help you feel more confident?  Would clearing up your acne make you feel more confident?  Would reducing fine lines, wrinkles, spots from age or accumulated sun damage make you feel more confident?

Whether you are required to stand up in front of a group of colleagues to give presentations, meet with potential or current clients, or interact with other moms at school and sporting events, we all see people in our day-to-day lives…and they see us.  Many of us struggle with self confidence because we are not happy with our appearance.  Truth be told, and I believe we all know this deep down, we are our own toughest critic.  I’m reminded of this almost daily as I talk with my teenage children and try to remember this myself.  Yet, I still find myself worrying over a newly spotted line around my eyes or the occasional blemish on my face.  While others may not even notice, we think they notice, these insecurities often are responsible for decreasing our self-confidence.

In transitioning from the corporate world to building my own skincare business with Rodan + Fields, I have learned three things about myself.  Yes, I am selling skincare which can help to improve our outward appearance, decrease our insecurities, and improve our self-confidence; but, quite unexpectedly, through this transition, I am learning so much more about myself.  Read on.

1. I have found my passion.  “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius.  I have heard that expression for years and can honestly say that I “get it” now.  Years spent working in a field I was not passionate about has given me such an appreciation for loving every minute I dedicate to my new “job”.  I must remind myself, at times, to stop “working” because I am finally and completely passionate about my new career path.

2. I enjoy mentoring others.  In my corporate career I have had some amazing leaders and some that were lacking in their leadership abilities.  I am thankful for the opportunity to be the leader I always wanted for myself!  Being able to coach and assist others in finding their own success and confidence is even more rewarding than achieving my own success.

3. Helping others gain confidence in their lives brings me joy.  It may come from assisting a customer with their skincare needs and celebrating with them when they finally see the results they were hoping for.  Perhaps it’s helping a new business partner launch their business, helping them place their first customer order, or strategizing on how to implement social media into their business plan.  All these successes lead to the same thing…CONFIDENCE.  The happy customer who has improved the appearance of their skin may now have the confidence boost they’ve been looking for to take on something new in their life.  The confidence a new business partner gains after a few initial successes may be the boost they need to propel them to greatness.  As I come into contact and touch the lives of so many people with my new business, not only does this give me joy, but yes, you guessed it…my confidence is increasing as well.

I no longer look at my skincare business as simply selling somebody an eye cream.  I am helping others gain confidence and that is empowering!

 

Being A Military Spouse Taught Me…

Being A Military Spouse Taught Me…

Recently I found myself reminiscing about a job I held WAY BACK IN THE DAY – 28 years ago to be exact!

Quite frankly, I’m marveling at my own bravery.

I was NOT athletic as a child.  Not much interest, old school thinking parents and a dad with a strict dress code were some of the reasons I just never gave anything athletic a try.

Then when I went to college I started running on my own. It wasn’t an intense training schedule, but a few times a week you could find me heading out for a jog.  I was interested in attending aerobics classes, many of my friends did, but when I’d peek in at them, everybody seemed to know what they were doing and I felt too intimated to venture in, so I didn’t.

Fast forward a few years.

I marry a US Marine, move on base, don’t have a job at the moment, and have a lot of time on my hands. So, I finally decide to step out of my comfort and start attending a morning aerobics class.

Guess what? I loved it and start attending several times per week. I thought I may – one day – even like to teach it. I stayed after class one morning to talk with my instructor to ask her how one would go about getting certified to teach. As it turns out, the “Semper Fit” program on base was looking to hire some additional instructors and the next thing I know she is offering to train me.

So just three short months after taking my FIRST aerobics class EVER, I was in front of a class team teaching!

CRAZY! That took a lot of SELF-CONFIDENCE and I’m really not sure where my 23 year old self pulled it from! But I did it.

📌 The point of this memory is to point out that YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS. YOU CAN DO SCARY THINGS. YOU CAN, and should, STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.

📌 Stepping out of my comfort zone, asking for the opportunity, welcoming the new person, heck, making the phone call to introduce myself when I WAS THE NEW PERSON are all skills that I mastered by being a military spouse!

📌 In case you didn’t realize….military spouses kick a$$ and I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been one!

Just Figure It Out

Just Figure It Out

For all you entrepreneurs out there (MYSELF included), THIS is for you:

Repeat after me: 
“I believe in my ability to figure things out.  My growth is entwined with my positive state of mind.  Everything I need is attainable, and I am capable of learning anything I really want to learn.  I focus on what I can do from here: I can believe in MYSELF.”

These are not my words.  They are from my new morning read, “Morning Affirmations” by Jennifer Williamson.  LOVING this book with its short little snippets to inspire and encourage me as I start my day.  

The ability to “figure things out” is what sets apart successful entrepreneurs/biz owners and those who quit…those who hang up their dreams.  I feel as though I am constantly in a state of “figuring things out”.  And let me tell you , when I figure out the next piece of the puzzle, master a new skill, improve my mindset, increase my confidence a little more, it feels amazing!  

If discouragement ever tries to sneak in (and this happens to all of us, doesn’t it?), taking a moment to reflect on something I have mastered, have figured out, along my entrepreneurial journey is usually all I need to improve my spirit and get me back in the game of “figuring it out” even more! 

So, while not a technical business term, “figuring it out” is truly one of the most important traits you need to master as a business owner – and a great asset for life in general! 

So, all together now…repeat after me.  “I believe in my ability to figure things out!”

(On a personal note, let me share a tip I learned recently from my business coach, Heather Quisel. Speak your affirmations into a voice memo on your phone so you can hear, in your own voice, your personal affirmations.  It’s powerful, folks!)  Learn more about author and blogger Jennifer Williamson on her website, healingbrave.com.  

Create Your Own Community

Create Your Own Community

We’ve all heard the expression, “Kids say the darnedest things”, right?

Sometimes those things are embarrassing, sometimes hilarious, sometimes they sting (due to the truth behind them), and sometimes they really get the wheels spinning in your head.

“Mom, you don’t have any friends.”

Ouch!  While said in jest by my teenage daughter a few years ago, this was one of those times where the wheels started spinning!  I know she was just teasing me, but the statement was truly instrumental in me making some major life changes.

For starters, it made me take a long, hard look at my j-o-b.  While my day-to-day job was fine, I enjoyed it for the most part, the company, and overall industry that I supported, was simply not one I was proud of.  I looked around and noticed that I was giving  much  more of my energy to an employer that I didn’t enjoy or trust, spent more  time with people that I was basically assigned to partner with, than my own family.  I felt my priorities were out of the alignment with what I was wanting for my life.

Fast forward to leaving that employer, and the corporate world all together, and entering the world of entrepreneurism.  Now I get to partner, collaborate, and surround myself with people of my own choosing and it is simply refreshing!

In the course of networking and building my business, I befriended a woman and we started chatting occasionally and meeting for coffee every few months.  During one of those coffee dates, we started talking about networking, as she had recently embarked on a new business venture of her own.  Each of us were looking for ways to increase our reach, meet more people, make new friends.

A few coffee dates later, an idea was born to start a local women’s group!  At first, we were focusing on networking.  That made sense for two new entrepreneurs, right?  But in one of our brainstorming sessions, the question arose, “What would make you want to go out in the evening, say after a long day of work?”  For me the answer was quite simple, and it wasn’t to attend yet another formal networking group.  It was simply to meet new people and form new friendships.  (Remember, “Mom, you don’t have any friends” was lingering in the back of my brain!)

I think as grown women, it is sometimes difficult to make new friends.  As a military spouse, I’ve been forced to figure it out, otherwise I would have led a very lonely adult life.  But for many women, they simply go to work, take care of their family, and that’s it.  They may be friends with neighbors and other moms from their children’s various sport teams, but again, those “friendships” may feel forced, the same way work colleagues often feel.  The connections are made for you and are not necessarily of your choosing.

So, we sat down and drafted a mission statement:  We are a fun and caring community of local women coming together to develop friendships, share ideas, support, encourage, and network.  We decided on a name, had a friend design a logo, threw up a Facebook page, and started planning events.  BOOM, it truly was that simple, Chick Clique was born!

If you are in any type of relationship driven business, expanding your reach and making new connections is essential.  For me, I’m not simply looking to meet people to give my “pitch” to.  I’m looking to make real connections with people, get to know them, listen to their needs, their frustrations, their dreams, etc.  If I can help by offering one of my services or products to them, that is great.  If not, that is fine too.  My hope is that I’ve developed a new friendship, or in the very least, been a resource to them, instrumental in them meeting new people and developing their own new friendships, uplifting and encouraging them along the way.

So, the next time your child says something to you that strikes a nerve, sit with it for a while.  Ponder whether that message was sent to you for a reason.  I know my life has been enriched in the few short months since starting this local women’s social group.  The “icing on the cake” for me is when other women thank me for starting this group, organizing our events, etc.  I’ve realized that I was not the only woman craving a community of fun and caring women looking to develop friendships, share ideas, support and encourage each other.

To learn more about our group and upcoming events, visit our Facebook page here.   To learn more about the author and to follow her blog, visit bloomwithbec.com.