Archive of ‘Development’ category

The power of visualization.

We all have people we look up to in life and take to heart everything they say. For me, one of those people is my Aunt. She is a strong and courageous woman who has experiences a lot of life. Despite the trials she’s dealt with, she’s never stopped trying to curate her best life. She said something to me that really stuck out, which was “visualize exactly what you want and then go make it happen.” She told me that she had envisioned a job that would provide enough for her and her family to survive off, yet provided her the flexibility she needed to work from home most days. After years of working her tail off, she was finally able to land a position that gave her exactly what she had wanted.

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I remember going through a period of time where nothing felt right. As I was digging deep and trying to get through, my Aunt’s words again came to mind, ‘visualize exactly what you want and then go make it happen.’

I sat down and made a list of everything I wanted in the next phase of my life, everything from being able to bike/walk to work, take a lunch break, live in a place where I could spend a lot of time outdoors, etc. I remember thinking it felt so far off to have all of these things. Now that I’ve transitioned to the next phase of my life, I can say that I have most all of these things now. However, I can’t say that I didn’t worry and struggle through the process of getting here.

I think we can all take away this valuable lesson from my Aunt, which is to identify and be clear about the things that you want or need. If we never verbalize or write these things down, there isn’t anyway we can hold ourselves accountable in reaching these aspirations. I’m not saying that we need to be ungrateful for the things we have but I am saying that you deserve to go after and receive the things you want in life, especially if you’re willing to put in the hard work it takes to get there.

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Saying Yes to Your Creative Soul Within.

When I was younger, all I ever wanted to be was an artist. It didn’t even matter what kind, I just wanted the ability to work with my hands and create. I had a childlike curiosity about everything around me and was never afraid to lean heavily on the right side of my brain and the skills that came most naturally to me.

As I grew older, I felt more pressure to develop the science and math skills that came easy to my left brain acquaintances. Over time, I became more focused on developing these skills because I thought they were more “right” than creativity. I even became accustomed to finding hobbies, internships and other experiences that fit with these more technical qualities. It’s as if the world was saying, “these skills are more useful for the real word, the creative skills just aren’t as important.”

Although I think it’s important to be well-rounded in all areas, I have always felt that since that key time growing up, I’ve neglected and pushed aside my want and need to be creative simply because I thought it was wrong or looked down upon. After a few “adult” years of struggling with this gap, I’ve come to terms with being okay needing to embrace my creative side every once in a while. I feel like now I see the value of being creative and the joy and new point of view that a little left-side thinking can bring to an area in my life.

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Since my recent decision to embrace creativity in all aspects of my life, I’ve started small habits to slowly build up my creative muscle again. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to create or be original or solve a problem differently so I’ve compiled a few small things you can start with today.

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Adult coloring books are bomb. I still remember the day my mother-in-law gave me my first adult coloring book. Knowing I was in a stressful situation at work, she thought it would be the perfect thing to help clear my mind. Little did she know, she encouraged me to start a new habit. Plus, I really did miss using colored pencils and markers. I feel like a kid again!

Switch it up. This could be as simple as taking a different route to work than you usually do or try substituting your usual breakfast of eggs with a new chia seed pudding you’ve been dying to make. The point is to push yourself out of your normal routine and in doing so getting your brain to think and approach a situation differently.

Get Moving. If you’re feeling very lackluster with no imaginative willpower whatsoever, get up and get moving. Every time I get my body moving, the creative juices start flowing. Don’t feel like you have to do you’re hardest workout, but at least do some yoga, go on a walk outside or perhaps do a little dance to your favorite song (always a sure way to feel inspired).

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8 questions you should ask before marriage

There is no question that marriage is hard work. It’s a huge commitment and one of the biggest decisions you will ever make so it’s no surprise that this decision causes angst and anxiety. To help ease these feelings, it crucial to ask your partner the following questions before rushing down the aisle.

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1. Do you want to have children? There are people who believe that having a child will make their rocky relationship better. This is almost never the case. Raising kids is hard work and can complicate feelings further. It’s best to be in a good place with your partner before kids are even in the picture to build that solid foundation. If you both do want children, you should also talk about how many.There’s a huge difference between wanting six kids and having an only child. You both need to agree.

2. What personal roles will you take on? Is there a breadwinner in the family? Will one of you focus on work while the other focuses on your home life? Will the duties of childcare fall mainly on one person or will you split the time? It’s almost impossible to be completely equal in a relationship. You both have individual personalities, wants and needs and those traits will continue to develop over time. Figure out who you are, who your partner is, and what role you’ll play in your marriage.

3. What sacrifices are you both willing to make? It’s inevitable that you’ll each have to give up something, or a number of things, once you’re married. It could be a certain level of privacy, time spent with friends, career goals, and a rearrangement of priorities. Are you willing to sacrifice something to better your relationship? If not, you need to reevaluate your dedication to the relationship.

4. What is your financial situation? Is your partner in debt? If so, are you willing to take that on when you’re married? You’ll probably open a joint banking account – are you okay with sharing financial information with your partner? What if one of you makes a significant amount of money over the other – does that make you uncomfortable? Money can be a sore subject for some people.

5. How much do you trust your partner? A marriage is nothing without trust. You have to trust that they’ll stay loyal to you, even in tempting situations. You have to trust that they’re constantly looking out for you and your family. You have to trust them with your finances. You have to trust them with your life. So, do you and do they?

6. Is there a reason you’re marrying besides love? When asked, “Why are you marrying me?” the obvious answer is “Because I love you.” But marriage takes more than love. You need trust, compassion, dedication, happiness, compromise, understanding, and more. Sure, your partner may love you, but they should be able to detail why they love you and expand on other traits about your relationship that will make a marriage worthwhile.

7. Do you really want a marriage, or just a wedding? This is probably more common with women. Ladies, we start planning our dream wedding as little girls. Most of us know exactly what we want once that ring is placed on our finger. But are you getting married just because you want to live out that dream wedding? Remember, that wedding will be just one day in a lifetime of marriage. Don’t marry for the wedding. Marry for all the happy days that come after the wedding.

8. What is the dedication level to our extended families? How will you split holiday visits? If you’re in need of a babysitter, who is at the top of your list? Do you all get along or is it a struggle to spend time together? Extended family can be a touchy subject. Your parents and siblings were probably the most important people in your life until you decided to start your own family. Make sure you’re both happy with the time spent with extended family and try not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Overall when you marry the right person, it is one of the most rewarding and wonderful decisions you will make. Yes, sharing a life with someone can be hard work but if done right, it is fulfilling and a special bond that cannot be broken.

Laura Dignan_1 cmykThis post is by Laura Dignan, an Influential Gal contributor. She is a Millennial from the small wonder they call Delaware. Laura is a marketing, public relations, and business development specialist and an advocate for the Oxford comma. In her free time she loves reading, writing, running, and drinking endless amounts of coffee. Laura’s personal blog, Can Ya Dig It?, explores topics such as marketing, the Millennial generation, and some personal ramblings.

 

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7 Books for Female Entrepreneurs

Whether you’re just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey or you’ve been in the game for a while, one thing is for sure… It’s important to never stop learning! If you’re looking for some new books to read that will inspire you and help you boost your biz, these are the ones you need to check out! Get ready to head to the local bookstore or fire up that Kindle and get ready to read!

7 Books for Female Entrepreneurs

The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte

Odds are, you’ve heard of Danielle LaPorte before. But if you’ve never read one of her books, now is the time! The Fire Starter Sessions isn’t filled with top business advice, but it is full of motivational messages that will leave you feeling ready to conquer the world. Staying motivated is only half the battle when it comes to building your business. And the great thing about this book is that Danielle includes exercises after each chapter to help you apply her teachings to your own life.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

You’re pretty much guaranteed to get great business advice when it’s coming from the COO of Facebook, right? While Lean In isn’t about growing a business, it’s still a great read for any woman on an entrepreneurial journey. Her advice (and all the data she provides!) will really get you thinking about the importance of female leaders in the business world and why we need more of them.

Daring & Disruptive: Unleashing the Entrepreneur by Lisa Messenger

Having worked in various industries over the years, Lisa Messenger has a lot of personal stories and business advice to share in Daring & Disruptive. Lisa opens up about the highs and lows she’s experienced in her entrepreneurial ventures, providing inspiration for ladies at all stages of their business.

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas

Denise is a pretty spunky Aussie who started her own business, Lucky Bitch. Her book is different than anything else you’ll find on this list, but there’s a good reason for that! If you find yourself busting your butt and working long hours without seeing any reward when it comes to your bank account, check out Get Rich, Lucky Bitch. Denise’s goal with this book is to help you determine what your money blocks are and how to kick them to the curb.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post Media Group, Arianna talks about her struggles in business in her book, Thrive. She questions the world’s definition of success and discusses why it needs to change. Arianna also writes about her difficulties when it comes to managing her time and juggling her career with her family life.

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Okay, okay… You may be tired of hearing about this book because it comes highly recommended for fabulous entrepreneurs like yourself, but there’s a good reason for that! If you haven’t already read it, this is your sign to buy it now. While this book is primarily about Sophia’s life, she shares some important lessons that she has learned on her journey to becoming a tremendously successful businesswoman. Sophia is a reminder that we all have struggles in our lives, but it’s always possible to overcome them and completely turn things around.

Make It Happen by Lara Casey

Lara’s book is similar to The Fire Starter Sessions in that it’s filled with inspirational tidbits and it’ll put you to work! Lara doesn’t want you to just read her book and forget all about it, never putting her tips to use in your own life. Make It Happen also includes questions at the end of every chapter to really get you thinking. It’s also part biography as you’ll get the inside scoop into Lara’s life and the difficulties she faced when trying to create her path in life. Such an inspiration, this book will leave you feeling ready to take a leap in your life, whether it’s to start a business, a new project, or something else entirely!

Which of these books are on your reading list?

Thrachel_mis post is by Rachel Moffett, an Influential Gal contributor. Rachel is a Maryland-based writer and the voice behind the lifestyle site, The Haute Notes. She has been blogging since 2009 and is passionate about inspiring women and helping them build better blogs and businesses. When she’s not working on The Haute Notes, she’s running an online book club for a local website that empowers women.

 

 

 

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Top 5 Sites for Millennial Women

One reason I ended my fashion blog, Classy and Fab Girl is because I felt like the fashion blog world was completely saturated. Although I love reading fashion blogs, I just didn’t feel like I could contribute anything that wasn’t already out there. Hence the reason I started Influential Gal because personal/professional websites for millennial women aren’t as common and throw in a podcast, and well it’s a little different than what everyone else is doing.

Today, I thought I would share the 5 top websites for millennial women. These sites I’m recommending, I have either been going to for inspiration for years to they have become my new favorites. They all offer something just a little different but I have found all of them very valuable. Feel free to leave your favorite inspirational websites for millennial women in the comments below.

Top 5 Sites

1. The EveryGirl – This is hands-down one of my all-time favorite websites for millennial women. I actually had the opportunity to hear one of the co-founders speak last year, which made my “fan girl” experience all the more sweeter. This is a website that I go to for all sorts of inspiration but my two favorite things they offer are home tours of absolutely beautiful (not super expensive) spaces and career profiles of women who are totally rocking it in their work. I highly recommend this site if you need a creative pick-me-up.

A few of my favorite articles include:

2. Levo – I recently came across this very interesting website. Levo is community for women looking for mentoring, jobs, career advice and peer networking. What I was most interested by is the mentors they have for you to ask questions and get an inside scoop on how they reached success. They have everyone from Chelsea Clinton to a few big-time bloggers that you can ask for their advice.

A few of my favorite articles include:

3. Career Contessa (Honest conversations about work and life) – Career Contessa has everything from inspirational profiles on women who have killer careers to articles analyzing the latest health trends. What I think makes Career Contessa unique is that it lists some great job openings by city and industry.

A few of my favorite articles include:

4. theCEOffice – In this case CEO stands for Chief Encouragement Officer. This group’s purpose is to encourage other entrepreneurial women in their journey to grow their business and left’s be honest, that is something we all need while starting a new venture. They feature monthly meet-ups in cities like Chicago and Kansas City. I haven’t been to an event yet but have heard good things.

A few of my favorite articles include:

5. She Is Fierce! – This is one of the newest websites I have ran across and I am intrigued by their goal of empowering women. She is Fierce! is a social movement that gives women the tools, inspiration and community support to make their dreams happen.  They feature contributors from all around the world that cover a robust amount of topics. I love that they have a Fierce Women section where they profile women who are leading awesome lives.

A few of my favorite articles include:

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Resistance is more powerful the closer the idea is to the heart

Alright ladies, let’s get real about this idea of resistance and be honest when we say that we have all felt it in our life at some point or another. I recently heard someone say on a podcast (surprise! I am a podcast junkie) that those dreams and ideas that are closest to our heart and are our true desires, create much more resistance than those ho-hum ideas that don’t ignite your soul.

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Influential Gal has been a dream of mine for so long and it truly is one of my passions to share other women’s’ inspirational stories but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I have never felt so much internal resistance before. I think that when we put all our dreams and passions out for the world to see, it is SCARY! Our minds start racing thinking thoughts like “Can I really do this?” or “Who am I say this?” but you know what makes it all worth it? It’s all of the positive feedback and encouragement you get along the way.

If you have an idea that simply just feels “right” in your heart and soul, go after it! The journey will be tough, it will be full of resistance but in the end, doesn’t the resistance make the success all the more sweeter? I think so and I am not willing to let go of my dreams and passions just because they seem hard or unattainable, because girl, if you work hard enough you can accomplish anything that heart of yours desires.

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Saying ‘No’ and Owning it

Saying no is easily one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Like most people, I am a people pleaser and hate to turn down an opportunity but here is one of the most important lessons I have had to learn. You have to say no to the wrong opportunities to create more time and energy for the right ones.

Each time you say no, it gets easier until finally it becomes second nature. Of course it’s important that you say no respectfully and with class.

Saying No and Owning It

One exercise that helps me know what to say no to is by evaluating my priorities and what’s on my plate. I am a huge believer in creating a list of all of things you need to get done and prioritizing based on the output you will receive so in other words, is it worth your time to complete the task? Ask yourself if it will continue to lead to similar opportunities or if it is a dead-end. There is only so much time in the day so choosing the right opportunities to pursue is crucial.

I received the following advice from a close mentor who told me that I should never apologize for turning down an opportunity nor feel like I have to give an explanation. All that is needed is a simple response, such as “Thank you for the opportunity but I do not feel like I have adequate time to invest what is needed to make this successful. Thanks for reaching out and I would love to keep you in mind for future opportunities.”

I encourage you to put this into practice and evaluate how it makes you feel. Every time I turn down an opportunity that just isn’t right, it always make ms feel empowered. Remember, time is precious and its up to you to guard it for the right opportunities.

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