How to Spend a Week in Cancun

2014-11-26 10.33.49Back in November, I treated myself to the good life for a week in Mexico!

The first resort I stayed at was Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort. This was an all-inclusive resort, meaning all your meals, cocktails and many amenities are included in the cost of your room – even 24-hour room service!

Sandos Cancun was definitely the kind of place you go to chill ALL the way out for a week-long vacation. In fact, one of my favorite afternoons was spent on the beach just eating, drinking tamarind margaritas and falling asleep to the waves.

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3 Lessons I Learned From Hiring An Image Consultant

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Me and my image consultant Liana at her Beverly Hills studio

 

I’m in San Diego right now for another few days of learning, networking and FUN with my business mentor and my fellow mastermind members.

I’m enjoying my last week in California before I head back to Hawaii to soak up the sunshine and not have to wear a jacket anymore.

Last night, me and my girl Kristen had a wonderful dinner at Fleming’s Steakhouse in La Jolla and let me tell you…their lobster bisque is off the chain!

Anyway, today I wanted to share a part of my personal development journey for this year.

I’ve been stretching myself in line with my 2015 theme of “fun, love and adventure.”

I’ve been asking myself how I can show up more fully in my life and in my work – for myself and for my tribe of amazing women?

One of my big investments I wanted to make in myself this year was in the area of self-love – to give myself the gift of looking better and feeling better in my body.

Now that I’m in my 30s, my body is beginning to change and I know my personal style is overdue for a change as well.

Not to mention all the events and travel I have to do for my business, which is requiring me to step it up a bit in the clothing department!

So last month, I hired an image consultant.

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How to Write a Love Letter to Your Future Self

Thinking

“If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.” — Barbara De Angelis

When you look around your life, you have a lot to be grateful for. But you also likely have some areas that you would like to improve.

By now, you probably know that setting goals is a great way to begin the process of creating your ideal life.

But what can you do to lift yourself up as you go through the stages of pursuing those goals?

Well, one of the most creative ways to manifest your big goals is to write them down in the form of a love letter.

No, not to your romantic partner — to yourself.

Here’s an idea.

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3 Magical Steps to Attract More Money Into Your Business This Month

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned since I quit my job back in 2010 is that there is no limit to the amount of money you can make in your business. We are always surrounded by the energy of abundance; we just have to claim it! There is never a shortage of potential clients and customers who want what you have to offer.

Once I embraced this infinite possibility for my life, I began to see so many doors open up for me, especially when it came to increasing my income. This year was the first year that I have been able to earn over $100,000 in my business and I owe much of that success to the power of setting goals, eliminating limiting beliefs and doing the work!

If you’ve been struggling to create consistent cash flow in your business, here are 3 simple, yet powerful steps you can take TODAY that will help you bring in more income this month.

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How to Create a Personal Altar in Your Home (Even if You Have a Small Space)

1545648_866836023342365_2693814071271888944_n As a faithful student of personal growth and the field of positive psychology, I’m a big fan of any practice that invites more happiness and fulfillment into our lives. Over the years, I’ve developed many habits that have enhanced my outlook on life and helped me achieve some of my big goals.

Now there is one tool that I’ve been wanting to incorporate into my life for a long time…a personal altar! There are a lot of different variations out there, but a personal altar is essentially a sacred space in your home that serves as a “spiritual center” where you can focus on being your highest self. It also consists of specific items meant to invite positive energy into your life. Last week, I took the time to gather all of the items I needed to set mine up and I can already feel the powerful spiritual shift it’s made in my living space.

Here are some basic guidelines you can use to create your own personal altar…even if you have a small space!

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6 Powerful Ways to Practice Self-Love

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“You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself. The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the self. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never lose.” – Jo Courdert

This week, I hosted a powerful teleseminar with guest speaker Candace Thoth, a personal transformation consultant, wellness expert and former crisis therapist. Candace shared some useful concepts and exercises to help us practice self-love in our daily lives. If you missed it, you can sign up to get the call recording, plus a special link with all the self-love resources and exercises that Candace shared with us!

Click here to get the call recording

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How to Take a Vacation (Without Feeling Guilty About It)

Happy African American Woman Dancing on Beach One thing I hear a lot from the hard-working women in our community is how difficult it is to take a vacation. Many of us already work long hours at work or in our business, yet for some reason have trouble taking a break! If it’s been years since you’ve given yourself the gift of a proper vacation, read on for some tips to help you step away from the laptop or plot your much-needed escape from the cubicle.

Schedule Time Off from Work Far in Advance

The best way to ensure you take your vacation time is to sit down at the beginning of the year and map out the times you already know you want off. It might be useful to think in terms of seasons. Plan to take some time off during the spring, summer, winter, etc. For instance, no matter where I worked, I always took off from my job for a few days every spring so that I could attend the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. And for the last 3 years in my business, I’ve taken off at least one full month for vacation at some point during the year for travel!

Most people want to spend extended time with their families during various holidays, so you can plan around those as well. If you’re taking time off from your business, block off time in your calendar for the dates you want to get your R&R. If you’re taking time off from your job, make sure you submit your leave request as FAR in advance as possible so your supervisor can approve it in a timely manner. That way, you can work together to make arrangements for other staff or an assistant to cover your responsibilities and take care of clients during your time away, if necessary.

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How to Create an Inspiring Morning Routine

Hot Chocolate, Closed Eyes

Does your morning routine consist of staying in bed as late as possible while barely making it to work on time? If you’re like most people, your morning might go something like this:

  • Alarm goes off.
  • Hit the snooze button (at least three times).
  • Lie there and think about how much you don’t want to get up. Or moan and groan about how much you hate your job.
  • Shower.
  • Get dressed.
  • Run out the door with a honey bun (or nothing) in your hand.

With so many people starting their day off like this, it’s no wonder there’s constant grumbling in the mornings. How can anyone expect to have a great day when their morning routine is rushed and filled with negative thinking? Getting the day off on the wrong foot can sabotage your entire to-do list and prevent you from making progress on your goals. But what if you could change your life simply by developing an inspiring morning routine that sets you up for success?

About a year ago, I started to create my own morning practice that included healthy habits and positive thinking. As I began to follow this routine more and more, I noticed that not only was I feeling better mentally and physically, but that I was also able to focus on my goals and get more done throughout the day.

Here’s the outline of my own practice, with some tips for how you can incorporate this routine into your day as well:

1. Wake up one hour earlier. I don’t consider myself an early riser, but I do feel more inspired to get things done when I wake up before 8:00am. Set your alarm to go off an hour earlier than usual as you’ll need extra time to accommodate your new morning routine. Of course, going to bed earlier makes this task easier!

2. Get up immediately. Avoid lying there and thinking negatively about your day, life, job, challenges or anything else. Instead, get your head up off the pillow quickly before you convince yourself that five more minutes won’t hurt. It helps to place your alarm clock or phone on the other side of the room. That way, you’re actually forced to get up to turn it off.

3. Drink an 8-16 oz. glass of warm water with lemon. Or leave a bottle of water on your nightstand if that’s more convenient. Just be sure to get your water in as soon as you wake. You’ll feel less groggy and ready to get moving! Plus, it’s much easier to continue the act of drinking water throughout the day when you get a head start first thing in the morning.

4. Meditate or pray. Take 5-10 minutes to meditate or pray. Being still or spending time in worship will put you in the right mindset to face the day. My simple meditation process includes reading the daily passage from Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening, then sitting in silence on my yoga mat by the window.

5. Prepare a healthy breakfast. It’s hard to focus on your goals when you miss the most important meal of the day! Try a quick, nutritious meal each morning, Some of my favorite “ready in 10 minutes or less” breakfasts include: fruit smoothies, oatmeal with bananas and almond butter, scrambled eggs with sauteed kale or Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit and granola.

6. Exercise for at least 15 minutes. Take a walk, jump on the treadmill, do a full workout in the gym, etc. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do as long as you get your body moving! I’m not a big fan of the gym, but I enjoy taking walks in the morning as the whole world seems to wake up with the sun, especially the birds!

7. Shower and put on something that makes you feel good. Take a hot shower or warm bath after exercising. Choose one of your favorite outfits or wear a beloved piece of jewelry. For instance, I often wear a gold ring with a small rose engraved on it because it was a gift from my grandmother. Whenever I put on that particular ring, I feel her love and encouragement throughout the day.

This week, try to develop a morning routine that will help you to stay positive and focused. The practice outlined above will likely take you at least 60 minutes to complete. If that’s longer than you can spend, simply come up with an abbreviated version that works for you. For me, putting in the effort to develop an intentional morning routine has definitely had a significant impact on my productivity. Give it a try and see how it changes your day!

Leave a comment below: Do you have a morning routine? Which activities help to put you into a positive and productive frame of mind for the day?

How to Bounce Back From a Painful Breakup (and Become Happier in the Process)

Joy comes in the morning

This is a guest post by LaDonna Green, a communication and relationship coach. Please welcome LaDonna to the HBW Community!

I’ve always been that person everyone bounces ideas off of. The advisor, the editor and often the shoulder to cry on. At times, my shoulders have been drenched from the tears of the burdens of others. Other times, I have been there to share in their moments of elation and success. I have accepted my intuitive, empathetic nature, as well as the phone calls and conversations that go along with being a trusted confidant. Most of the conversations deal with love and relationships so I have had my fair share of pep-talks and advice sessions with friends and family experiencing difficulties with love.

Yet, a few years ago when I separated from my husband (now ex-husband), I found myself in a quagmire of being the advice-giver needing advice. My head was spinning! I had so many doubts and questions. My emotions ran the gamut, from sadness to anger to despair and back to anger again! Out of all the questions I had, the one that resonated most was:

“Now, what am I supposed to do?”

If you have ever experienced a breakup, I’m sure you can relate. Breakups are never easy, but there IS life and love afterwards. I won’t profess that I have found the “holy grail” of how to deal with breakups. But what I can say is that a breakup is an opportunity for you to experience  breakthroughs! You can do this through what I call the the “Triple A” process: Acknowledge, Accept, Advance.

Acknowledge

Acknowledgement of the end of a relationship sound like a no brainer, right? If your partner came to you (or you to them) and said it’s over, then it’s over! How could someone not acknowledge that? In some cases though, it’s not that simple. As individuals, our perspectives change when we couple up; during that time our individual experiences and desires continue to evolve. In some instances, the evolution draws us away from our partner. At the end of the relationship, you may not have a clear understanding of the how, when, why, and where the shift happened. That’s OK! The important thing is to acknowledge the end. You can’t move forward without acknowledging that the relationship is officially over.

Accept

It’s over. You could now be living in separate parts of the house or one of you may have moved out. Whether you’ve unfriended and blocked them on Facebook or vowed to maintain civil communication with your ex; it’s over. Acceptance is a conduit for change. Playing the shoulda, woulda, coulda game with your relationship is counterproductive to acceptance and can breed doubt. Doubt can quench motivation and in turn, interrupt constructive thought processes. But when you accept that you are now no longer a part of a couple, you must focus on self. For some, this is the hardest aspect of the “Triple A” process. Once your partner is gone, there are no more distractions, no more pointing out the wrongs of the other person. During this stage, it’s important to minimize distractions (like going to get a new puppy, another car, or a new relationship). Instead, consider seeking a local support group, counseling session or therapy to navigate through dealing with your loss. Although I had already had a therapist prior to my breakup, my therapist was a tremendous help through my divorce. She assisted me in finding the tools that I needed for the next step in the process.

Advance

Advance means to move forward. Identifying and evolving self is important in advancing your life. Here are some ideas for how to do this:

  1. Take this time after your breakup to advance through education, networking and building relationships within your community. Go back to school to finish that degree or get a certification that you have been putting off. Join a local community group or volunteer organization. I started volunteering at a domestic violence shelter and it changed my life! After that experience, I changed my college major and hope to one day open my own nonprofit rehabilitation center for survivors of domestic violence. Volunteering is what opened eyes to a devastating social issue and birthed my talent to help others in need.
  2. Explore your spirituality. Take that mission trip that you have always wanted to take. Practice daily meditation and prayer. Heck, I don’t care if you sit on the beach to watch the sunset rise and marvel at the wonders of the universe. Just make sure you find the connection between spirit, being and self to continue your journey to self-actualization.
  3. Practice holistic living. Exercise, eat well, remove stress and get adequate rest. Eliminate everything in excess: food, wine, negativity, social media, and anything else that you can think of that has the ability to stop you from reaching your maximum potential.

The key is to get in the habit of finding value in yourself and the activities that you participate in. Loving self is the door to reciprocated love from others, when that time comes. But right now, your job is to focus on you!

I have experienced love four times in my life. Each of my partners offered me something special that forged the bonds of love between us. During these relationships, I experienced memorable moments that will last a lifetime. Some moments were filled with tears and some with laughter. The gaining and then subsequent loss of their love, helped me reach a level of self-love that I will forever be thankful to them for. Their gifts of introspection at different stages in my life have helped me acknowledge, accept and advance to the place where I am now. And today, I am happier, healthier and more determined than ever to continue on the journey of becoming the best me that I can be!

What strategies have you used to bounce back from a painful breakup? Which aspect of the “Triple A” process resonates with you the most?

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LGreen CULaDonna Green is a communication and relationship coach based in Orlando, Florida. After working for years in a corporate setting as an analyst, facilitator and coach, LaDonna has balanced her passion of helping others with her talent to teach others to maximize their full potential. Learn more about LaDonna’s work on her website, Communication for Life.