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  • 04/16/2021 10:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger, Cherina Johnson is the owner of Upstairs Resale Shop located in Saginaw, MI, which is currently operating as an online and pop-up store.

    A benefit of living in Michigan is that you get to experience all four seasons. Each season brings forth certain characteristics from beautiful landscapes to various weather conditions. Each season within itself can stand on its own and in the forefront at its appointed time during the year to showcase its strengths and reveal its weaknesses.

    We are still in the midst of a pandemic, but do not let the pandemic get inside of you through complaining and having a gloomy outlook on life. A lot of devastating things have happened since spring 2020; thousands of deaths, job losses, and business closures. While acknowledging these things, let us also recognize the positive things that has spring forth: more family time spent together, businesses pivoting into new ventures to survive, and work from home that allowed parents to be present to assist child with virtual learning.

    It is inevitable that life will throw you some twists and turns throughout your seasons. The outcome will depend on how you act in the midst of the challenges. Either you will react or respond to the situation. Reactions are emotionally driven and most likely to be accompanied with regret. On the other hand, when a person responds to a situation it tends not to be done hastily, but given thought into how to proceed and overcome the circumstance at hand. Just like the seasons come and go, know that wherever you find yourself in life at this given time, it will surely pass. Therefore, let go of things that have held you down, that has frustrated you, and kept you from moving forward because you are stuck in the past. This is your season to let go of fears, disappointments, uncertainties, jealousies, and inadequacies. This is your time to rise up and spring into new opportunities and new beginnings in your life, family, workplace, and community. This is your time to shine and launch into endless possibilities.

    Spring into life…


  • 03/26/2021 8:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest post by  Andrea S. Richmond Proprietress, Leopard Print Books, Gifts & Curiosities and Account Manager, The Scott & Miller Group

    Years ago, I read a book on how to be more creative. One of the suggestions from the author was to change your route to work and places you travel frequently. By doing so, you expose yourself to new sights, new sounds, and new paths, which change neural connections in your brain and foster creativity. Since many of us are working from home, changing the path to our workplace isn’t going to make much of an impact. There are a finite number of ways from your bedroom to your desk, after all. However, we can still apply this approach when we do go out and about. 

    “If we know exactly where we're going, exactly how to get there, and exactly what we'll see along the way, we won't learn anything.”
    ― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

    For example, taking a side street on your way to Meijer can shift your perception or spawn an idea. Even taking a different path shopping in the store can change your mindset. I applied this idea when I went for a walk in the woods recently. There’s a path I always take. I often think to myself, “I should try a different route (or travel the path in reverse),” but then make excuses for not doing so. “I know this path. It will take me longer to go a different way. I’m not sure where I’ll end up, etc.” However, Sunday morning, I took a different route. And, what happened? I saw things I hadn’t seen before and they were exciting! A muskrat swam under the ice directly under the bridge I was standing on. A blue heron, who was standing in a marshy area, took flight right before me. Some of you are probably wondering how a muskrat and heron can be exciting. But for a nature and animal lover like me, it was. 

    Poem of the One World
    This morning
    the beautiful white heron
    was floating along above the water
    and then into the sky of this
    the one world
    we all belong to
    where everything
    sooner or later
    is a part of everything else
    which thought made me feel
    for a little while
    quite beautiful myself.”
    ― Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

    These experiences also reminded me of why I love walking in the woods so much. Like Oliver, it fills my spirit. In every season. The aroma of the earth and decaying autumn leaves. The sound of birds chirping and wind making music striking branches together. Sights of a snow-covered landscape or lush moss on a fallen log. Ahh. And, in an age that’s full of spirit-sapping devices, media, and sometimes people, finding something that brings you into the present moment and fosters appreciation is life giving. 

    I’m fortunate to have friends that also inspire me. My friend, Pearlette, who was the presenter for March’s monthly meeting, always provides unique insight. In addition to being very driven, she’s also very intuitive. She often says something that I’ve known at some level but I’ve either missed or ignored. During our last chat, we talked about listening to our intuition. I don’t know about you but sometimes I don’t listen to the nudges. Sometimes, they are little ones, “you shouldn’t type that” in an email. Sometimes, they are bigger, like making a big mistake because you’re overtired should have gone to bed. 

    Listening to your inner voice is required if we are to live our best, most authentic life. It’s why I started an indie bookstore. I had an epiphany sitting in one of my favorite bookstores, Literati in Ann Arbor. I had wondered what my life purpose was for years and read, journaled, and worked with a life coach to figure it out. That day, I was reading The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. (This is a great book for entrepreneurs and wannabees) And, it hit me like a jolt. My intuition said, “I need to open a bookstore.” It was the convergence of all the things I love – books, creativity, art, funky stuff, shopping, and uplifting people – and things I am good at – organizing, making connections, marketing, transformation, and shopping. (Yes, shopping appears twice.)

    Now, would that idea have come to mind if I hadn’t been quiet and listening? I don’t know. What I do know is that making time for myself was absolutely necessary to birth this vision. For most women, myself included, this is incredibly difficult to do. 

    “Tell me with whom you consort with [or how you spend your time] and I will tell you who you are.” 

    ~ Goethe

    Who am I? Who are you? Are you who you want to be? Authentic conversations with people we trust like Pearlette can provide insight into what we already know. I need to do the work – recharge, spend more time in nature, and go within and listen – in order to be who I want to be and live my “I am.” What about you?

    “Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
    ― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

    Building or running a business is a ton of work. We must nourish ourselves so we can give to our families and friends, to our communities, and to our passion. When we realize our value, our lives, our community, and our world will be a richer, more vibrant and fulfilling place for all. 


  • 02/18/2021 9:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger, Cherina Johnson is the owner of Upstairs Resale Shop located in Saginaw, MI, which is currently operating as an online and pop-up store.

    Do you work in an environment that is hostile, disrespectful, or unappreciative of your skills or input? This is a toxic relationship. What can you do if this is something that you are experiencing now or have been experiencing for some time? There are basically three options you can choose, each having its own pros and cons.

    First, you can stay at the workplace and tolerate the abuse. You will most likely keep your job, but under the present circumstances you probably will be stressed out or even fearful to go to work.

    Second, you can report incident to immediate supervisor or executive management of any intimidating or rude behavior that has been targeted against you. This may reveal to management a potential problem, however, if management does not take it very seriously it could result in a more vicious attack on the individual who disclosed the issue.

    Finally, you could quit this job and find work elsewhere. If you leave the job it would be a good thing for your mental health, yet it may put you in a financial bind until you find another job with comparable or better pay and benefits.

    If there is incivility in the workplace, in order for the root of it to be cut off it must be dealt with from the top down. What is civility? This is something that has to be defined, communicated and demonstrated by word and deed by executive management, not just written in an employee’s handbook. Sure, these individuals may not deal with the staff much on a one-on-one basis, but they set the tone of what is expected from their staff and how the workers should be treated by their superiors and toward each other; no matter, what department they are working in. The following is an example of what civility is according to the law firm Bryan Cave in Irvine, California (Porath, 2018):

    Bryan Cave’s Code of Civility

    1. We greet and acknowledge each other.
    2. We say please and thank you.
    3. We treat each other equally and with respect, no matter the conditions.
    4. We acknowledge the impact of our behavior on others.
    5. We welcome feedback from each other.
    6. We are approachable.
    7. We are direct, sensitive, and honest.
    8. We acknowledge the contributions of others.
    9. We respect each other’s time commitments.
    10. We address incivility.

    Another thing to take into consideration to foster a civil atmosphere at the workplace is to teach employees skills in how to act civil through ongoing training, including role playing. Being civil is a learned behavior, so teaching about civility is important. Yet, modeling civility is essential. Like the old adage says, “action speaks louder than words.”

    Reference: Porath, C. (2018). Making civility the norm of your team. HBR. 

  • 02/01/2021 2:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger Neena Hogle is the 2021 President for Women in Leadership, she is also an inspirational speaker and owner of Fearless Networking

    Grabbing coffee or lunch with a friend or colleague probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon, at least not in person. But social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t network. In fact, you may find even more ways to connect and network with your circles.

    Due to modern technology, meeting in-person isn’t required to develop new relationships or deepen existing ones. So, although we’re all practicing some form of social distancing for the moment, here’s how to maintain and grow your network while social distancing:

    EXPAND YOUR NETWORK

    Be intentional about reaching out to different people and groups of people. A lot of us have big holes in our schedules because of cancelled plans, In the past, many of us struggled to make time to network - now is a great time to reach out and get a response. How do you find these people without leaving the house?

    • Identify people you would like to connect with on LinkedIn.
    • Utilize professional organizations and association websites, i.e. Chambers of Commerce, Women in Leadership, Rotary, etc. 
    • Go through your collection of business cards. Organize and follow-up with connections from your current collection of business cards. 
    • Take advantage of one-on-one networking opportunities – global quarantine has had unexpected benefit - a surging interest in one-on-one mentorship and networking.
    • Carve out time to stay connected. Online relationships require nurturing just as much as (if not more than) those in the real world.
    • Consider mentoring - many successful people attribute their success to having had a great mentor and you can grow exponentially by being a mentor, as well? Serving as a mentor can develop your communication skills, allow you to gain a new perspective, give back and expand your network.
    • ASK how you can help! Be up-front and authentic and offer something like ‘since I can’t support you financially right now, how can I help?’
    • Write recommendations and testimonials – share them on contacts LinkedIn and Facebook Business Pages – and be sure to email a copy contacts can utilize for their website, or however they want.
    • Last but not least leverage social media by Following, Liking and Sharing posts to help contacts grow their online presence. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs rely on social media marketing and it’s hard to get content in front of people without paying for advertising. 

    FOCUS ON LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

    Don’t focus on sales, focus on the relationship. Reaching out with, ‘Business is really slow right now, do you have any leads?’ is not only transactional and opportunistic, it’s inept, we all know businesses are suffering. We don’t know how long the crisis will last; and we’re all adjusting to new restrictions, and this is not the time to be aggressively prospecting with people. What’s the best way to build relationships during the age of social-distancing?

    GIVE WITHOUT KEEPING SCORE

    How can you give back? We’ve seen a lot about supporting local businesses and restaurants #TakeOutTuesday, which is wonderful, but if you’re one of the many people that still aren’t working, and aren’t getting unemployment – you might be struggling to pay bills – and purchase-support may not be an option for you. So how can you give back?


  • 02/10/2020 11:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    What is your story? What makes you become a confident, empowering woman? Women from the Midland, Michigan area came together to share just that with Self Love Beauty through our Beautiful Me campaign. 

    Our Beautiful Me campaign has been bringing women together to showcase the shirts from our shop as well as hear from women on their journey to find self-love and what makes them beauty. Click here to view the photos from the Midland photo shoot.

    Each person has their struggles and it is amazing to hear their stories so we can help others relate through story. Quite often you see people looking for Life lessons and quotes that help them through their situation because they can see that others have managed to get through tough times too.

    Hear from women on their journey to find confidence: 

    I’m still in pursuit of being a confident woman. I try everyday to be kinder to myself and stop my negative self-talk.- Ali Cnudde

    Self Love Beauty Beautiful Me Campaign

    “I think my story is still a work in progress. It all started as an athlete

     in high school and then in college. That’s when I am comfortable and feel like I am in my own shoes. I now feel like I can do anything because of my drive that I got from playing in sports my whole life.” Alexsis Koch

    “I became and confident woman after leaving a bad relationship that made me feel like I wasn’t a lovable person. After I left that relationship I was able to focus on myself and learn to love myself. I saw that the relationship changed me and I didn’t like it. I saw that I needed to believe in myself and stop giving up on things and missing out on other opportunities because of someone else. I knew I needed to learn to love myself before I started dating again. Then I met my husband who helped me become confident in myself and show me just how lovable/wonderful I truly am. Also once I had my daughter I knew with all of the body shaming and bullying these days I needed to be strong and confident for our daughter. I need to teach her how to love herself no matter what . I am her example. ” Nichole Elledge

    “When I was younger, I had extreme social anxiety and was super self conscious. I wanted to be someone other than myself. I didn’t like the way I looked, I cared what other people thought of me, and felt like I couldn’t be myself with anyone except my family. It took a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin and confident in who I was. When I went away to college, I started to learn more about myself and really came out of my shell. Being on my own, trying new things, and just putting myself out there, really helped me become a more confident, empowered woman. After I graduated and moved off on my own, I grew more confident as I learned how to support myself and take charge of my own destiny. Don’t get me wrong, this journey was by no means pretty, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Because without those messy life experiences, I don’t think I would be the person I am today.” – Marie Nesbitt

    “A former health teacher turned studio owner, put me in a position to help change or influence the lives of others which means I need to lead by example .” –Amy Jaster

    “Through embracing the good in life and learning from the hardships.” -Alyssa Bickel 

    “Throughout my childhood my dad always told me “numbero uno” meaning number 1 in Spanish… sounds silly but it taught me always to keep me in mind first. I still repeat it to this day when I find myself caught up in the chaos life brings and remind myself to take care of my mind, body and emotions. It can begin to sound selfish but to remember about ourselves and show ourselves love is key to living my life freely. It has taught me to be true to who I am, my dreams and future. Over the years, I’ve learned so much about my self talk and being “my own best friend”, someone I can count on. My confidence and self love stems from loving and being true to who I am.” – Samantha Schlicker

    “Learn from your set backs instead of dwelling on them . Remember to celebrate the small wins and your will find peace in the process.” -Selena Ashley

    “I kicked cancer in the face while maintaining a positive attitude and having a lot of laughs”- Hayley Coleman

    “I discovered my self love through my involvement with SLB. It has been incredible to a part of the blog as it has grown. I have been honored to witness it touch so many woman’s’ lives.”- Gabriella Hoffman 

    “The Air Force played a huge role in me becoming who I am today. I loved being in the military, it had its ups and downs, and there were days when I was away that I cried more than smiled. But it taught me incredible things. It taught me that I can take care of myself, that I can hold a career, be successful, pave my own path, and it taught me to be proud and it humbled me all at the same time.” –Delainey Doughty 

    “My strongest support system is my immediate family. My mother and father have always encouraged me to strive for success, and they have supported me every step of the way. I know I am so blessed to have graduated college debt-free with a 4.0 GPA, traveled the world through study abroad opportunities, landed more than 10 internships in a field that I love, and so much more. I know that I can do anything I set my mind to, and I take great joy in sharing my story with other young minorities to encourage, assist and mentor them to strive for success as well. I also take pride in my characteristics of a confident, empowering woman as I want to be the best role model for my younger sister to look up to.” – JoLena Broussard

    “In the past, I have tried to be that size 0. I have worked out for countless hours and ate very little. I have ran for hours on end and hated having muscles. I would avoid working out my legs or my shoulders because I hated how muscular they were. I hated being the girls with the big biceps or big, broad shoulders. Then I discovered CrossFit. CrossFit showed me that having muscles bigger than the average person is a good thing. It not only is impressive to watch a person throw about 170 pounds over their head, but the hard work and dedication it takes to get it there. CrossFit has opened a new world for me and has shown women, all shapes, sizes and ages, that being strong is a beautiful thing.”- Danni Radosa

    “Through the revelation of God’s constant belief in me walking out of the darkness and into the light.” -Ruth Rushlow

    The Beautiful Me Campaign comes from Self Love Beauty’s mission is to ensure women have self-love through feeling confident in their own beauty and feeling empowered one story at a time knowing they are not alone on their journey to reach their full potential.

    Self Love Beauty’s online Beautiful Me shop opened in the fall of 2016. The shop includes a variety of shirts that showcase quotes for women to choose from to wear that best describes themselves.

    What is the Beautiful Me Campaign?

    The Beautiful Me campaign and store is to inspire women to share their stories of how they were inspired to love themselves, what they love about themselves and the challenges they faced to get there.This campaign is to showcase how all shapes, sizes, ethnicity and ages are beautiful.

    This campaign is to spread the word about women’s journeys to self-love. We have been traveling to a variety of states and cities for photo shoots of women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and ages for them to showcase how our shirts look beautiful on everyone and to have women share their story on what beautiful and self-love means to them.


  • 02/03/2020 11:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    What makes a good leader?……Someone who….

    Did you click on this link to see the top ten characteristics of a leader, to see if you feel like you have a few of them? Did you want to read a commentary to assure you that you are in a good leadership environment or affirm that you need to get out of a bad one? Maybe you thought that there was going to be an additional training on leadership…. well that one might be true……

    Having asked this question of adults in various settings the answer always is a comprehensive list of characteristics of leadership……for example
    • Communication
    • Delegation
    • Visionary
    • Networking
    • Commitment
    • Trustworthy
    • ……….

    Pages and pages of easel paper could be filled with characteristics of a good leader. We could search this question and have an endless list of characteristics. Good, even great characteristics.

    But what do these characteristics look like? How do they make people feel? What is the impact on the people around leaders?

    It seems easy to list the characteristics, but it takes self – assessment and commitment to behave the characteristics. My actions, my presence in the characteristics, essentially the way I am is what has the impact on others around me.

    This hit home for me when I asked this same question “what makes a good leader?” of youth. The answers were a little different.

    • Someone who makes me feel important
    • Someone who helps me learn new things
    • Someone who teaches me to do my job
    • Someone who is there if I have a question
    • Someone who knows what they are doing
    • Someone who leads a group to accomplish something together
    • Someone who knows I am good at things

    Most of my kids in class share openly and easily, yet there are always a few that you never really know if they are listening or if you are reaching them. If you could picture this day, a group of 12 and 13 year olds gathered around the easel paper, relaxed, sharing thoughts, and this quiet voice from the side of me says….

    • ‘Someone who doesn’t yell at me when I make a mistake’

    Even now as I reflect back it brings tears to my eyes. ‘Someone who doesn’t yell at me when I make a mistake’, there is a story there, a moment in this young person’s life where someone did something that impacted him.

    We are all leaders. It is not just characteristics that make a good leader but more importantly the person who embodies them. Characteristics are qualities or values people have, qualities that inform actions or behaviors and define the person who behaves them. This is the core of ‘everybody is a leader’. We are all ‘someone’ for ‘someone’ else.

    What kind of ‘someone’ do you want to be?

    Contributor Writer: Sarah Weisbarth has been described as rooted in her faith and able to draw inspiration from a rock. As a life coach with Self Love Beauty helping others grow in themselves and connect with others on a deeper level is a natural niche for Sarah. A commitment to providing others with the internal resources they need to be successful in life has Sarah working and serving in programs related to youth and those that promote self-worth and personal value.


  • 09/09/2019 10:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Darlene Myers

    We had a great meeting on August 27th!  After the regular business of the meeting was handled Michael Rhodabarger presented “Counter Intuitive Leadership.”  Michael’s engaging style started off by noting the three problems every business has…profit, people and process.

    Michael stated that most companies only focus on profit and process and neglect their people.  He suggested the percentage of time spent on people should be 90% and 10% of time on processes.  He showed a picture of a house without a firm foundation and it was obviously not stable or sturdy.  Then he showed a picture of the house with a great foundation.  The house with a great foundation just looks like a great house. You don’t see the foundation – but the fact that the house is upright and altogether, and looks good, etc…indicates that there must be a solid foundation.  A solid foundation in business is created by great leadership.

    There are two kinds of leaders Personality Leaders and Counterintuitive Leaders. 

    Personality Leaders:

    Personality leaders are split into introvert personalities and extrovert personalities.  And those are broken down into 5 components: Transactional, Bureaucratic, Laissez Faire / Melancholy, Autocratic and Charismatic.  These types are natural to human nature.

    Counter-Intuitive Leaders

    Counter-Intuitive Leaders split their leadership styles between Transformational Leadership and Servant Leadership and that produces success!  This process is “Un-Natural” to human nature but critical to effective leadership.

    Michael then used the analogy of a construction project to illustrate the importance of starting with a good foundation in our leadership endeavors (which incidentally means improving our own leadership skills). 

    Finally he noted that we should never under-estimate the power of competition.

    Michael provides something called a SKAN Skills Analysis.  His website is www. execuspect.com and his email is info@execuspect.com.


  • 01/30/2019 11:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Darlene Myers

    If you were at the Vision and Values Masterclass Tuesday, January 19, 2019, you already know this but if you weren’t – here’s a quick recap…

    It happened on a cold and dreary afternoon, with freezing rain.  In spite of the poor weather, the room was filled with women of all ages looking for knowledge on how to write their personal vision statement.  The room at Yeo and Yeo was warm and full of positive expectations for what lay ahead this afternoon.

    The program started at 12 pm with a delicious boxed lunch sponsored by Thrive Social and Team One Credit Union. Kris Marsh was fantastic. She started with a brief introduction to the exercises we were about to begin. Without delay, we found a group close to us and jumped right into the process of finding our vision. 

    Kris provided handouts to help guide us through the process.  As she moved through the crowd, she would share what other groups were doing to offer examples to the rest of us who may have struggled a bit with our vision. It turns out, this process is harder than it looks!   Even though some of us didn’t complete our own vision statement – we got a good head start on it and had the opportunity to contemplate our future in a way we had not previously done.  The process of working in groups with other people and asking specific questions of each other helped to clarify thoughts and desires.  Additionally, the group work was an excellent way to make new acquaintances and start new friendships.

    The program wrapped up at 4pm and we all bundled up to brave the drive home. 

    Remember we have another important program coming (Member’s Only) called “She Designed A Life She Loved” – Vision Board Party on Thursday, February 21, 2019 5:30 pm at ServPro, 470 N. Adams Saginaw, MI 48604.


  • 08/23/2018 10:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dreams & Goals

     By Tammy Claramunt

    While standing in line at a vacation resort recently, I began chatting with the woman in line next to me.  We were out at the pool, waiting for the bartender to whip up a cocktail and she was friendly, nice and oh so fashionable.  She was wearing a spectacular pair of Chanel sunglasses-round, gold and extremely sparkly!!  She told me how she vacations here frequently, a place that was a-once in a lifetime-kind of place for me.

     

    Cocktail in hand, I strolled back to my chaise, stared out at the beautiful scenery around me, google-searched her $500 pair of sunglasses then quickly wondered the possibilities.  "I don't want to be her", I announced to myself, "I just want to be here".

     

    This dream or goal or desire is not unlike any other.  I pulled a pen from my bag, using the napkin from my cocktail, I quickly began working on a plan. A financial plan.

     

    In the past when I've read other financial articles, it's easy for me to see how people get overwhelmed by the information or lost in the details.  A long-term financial goal doesn't have to be overwhelming though.  Think of it this way:  when you are trying to accomplish a career goal do you consult a career coach?  When you are facing a weight loss obstacle, might you consult a health coach?  A financial goal needs the help of a financial coach.  It all begins with the end in mind, yet action and accountability are critical components.  For example:

    • 1.       Identify your desire or need?  What is the end goal you are striving for?  A vacation? An early retirement? A larger home? A better car?

    2. Evaluate where you are now.  What does my spending look like?  What can I trim?  What can I do to earn more? What can I do to save more?  Invest differently?

    3. Develop a plan to achieve your goal.  How much, how long, etc.

    4. Track. Stop, measure, re-evaluate but most importantly, have an accountability partner who will track & measure your progress with you.

    Unfortunately, I have other financial goals that have a larger priority than the vacation spot; however, I'm making it a part of my plan.  I WILL return there some day! In the meantime, I'll be more aware of my financial habits so that I can stay on track.


    Tammy Claramunt pursued her life’s dreams by becoming a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones. She spends her days in pursuit of others committed to their dreams as well! 


  • 08/15/2018 1:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Learning to Listen to My Body and Love Myself

    By Lisa Stockmeyer

    I woke up this morning the same as always, sleepy and comfortable, needing to peel myself out of bed to avoid the regret of hitting snooze on my alarm. I walked into the living room and let the dogs outside, walked back through the kitchen to grab a glass of water, and then to the bathroom. Preparing to get in the shower I looked in the mirror and analyzed my growing belly. I look at how round and hard it feels. My skin is stretched, and I peek around to find any hints of stretch marks that may have grown over night. Although I use oils to avoid those pink stripes that peek out at this time in pregnancy, I still look for them, hoping to see one. Maybe I subconsciously see them as a trophy for carrying my daughter around on my front side for 9 to 10 months. Either way, it doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bother me that I’m getting larger, that nothing fits, that my boobs are huge and sore and I have no idea what will happen to them after the baby, that I can’t shave my legs as well as before, and all of the other odd happenings to my body.

    As a pregnant woman, people either act one of two ways; like I’m broken, or like I’m a superhero. Either way, everyone has their opinion whether they choose to admit it or not. If being judged in this way bothers us as pregnant women, curvy women, fitness woman, or nerdy women, however you may see yourself, then why, highly contrasted, as a woman, do we do this to ourselves? We treat our own bodies as if we are broken. We judge ourselves when we can’t fit into a body type, when we don’t work hard enough, or when we’re not perfect. When we don’t fit a mold, we subconsciously try to fix ourselves. But the truth is, you can’t listen to that societal mold of perfect, you have to listen to your body. What is your body telling you that you need to do for yourself? And how do we listen to our bodies?

    A few years ago through a series of less than proud moments of insecurity and self destructive behavior, I had a revolutionary yet simple discovery that I alone, am the greatest friend I will ever have. I don’t mean in an “I avoid other humans way.” But reminding myself that I will be with my husband most of the time, I will see my friends here and there, I will talk to my mom on the phone, but I have been and will be with one person, 100% of everyday for the rest of my life; myself. With that, I knew I needed to love and take care of myself more than anyone else on this earth, and stop and listen to what this body I take everywhere with me is trying to tell me. I am the only one responsible for its safe keeping and care. When I started really listening to my body and what I needed, whoa baby, did my mindset change, and my self- confidence soar with gratitude! Talk about power! It took years to clear my mind of negative emotions and thoughts and make space to listen deeply and intentionally to myself. And here’s how I did it in 8 beautiful ways.

    1. I began to ignore gossip of any kind. 

    Seems obvious, but we all know it’s not easy! I learned to disassociate myself with what was happening around me if it wasn’t productive. I TRY to not talk crudely about others. I TRY to not talk unkindly about myself. And I TRY to never talk unfavorably about my spouse. If we allow ourselves to be taken over by gossip and self destructive conversation of ourselves, we aren’t allowing room to listen to what our own body’s needs are. Consciously clearing gossip and hate from our souls is a good opportunity to ask yourself, how do I want to be treated? Make it clear to others what you need out of a relationship, whether family, friends, or a significant other. Knowing what you want will allow you to have empathy for other people's feelings and make you a better friend and companion.

    2. I learned to be intentional about what is becoming one of our main forms of communication, and influence, Facebook. 

    Delete or “unfollow” all your “friends” on Facebook that aren’t building you up. Harsh, I know. I have “unfollowed” at least 50% of my Facebook friends for this reason. I do not read and respond to posts that will cause me distress. I’m talking about the “grinds your gears” and all it does is piss you off type of posts. We are too damn busy!

    3. We tend to take on the personality of the 5 people we hang out with the most, so I told myself if I am spending most of my time with “downers,” or negative people, than I will have a hard time staying positive myself. 

    I learned to disassociate with those that aided in producing negative outcomes in my life. There is a difference between a friend that needs you during low times, and a friend that is doing everything they can to take you down with them. Give your whole heart generously, but not at the expense of your own wellbeing. You have to know when it’s the right time to let go of negative people because it’s what YOU need, and not feel bad about it.

    4. I stopped letting others take advantage of my kindness. 

    When people take advantage of us, it’s our fault. We allowed them to do that by not speaking up for ourselves, or not being perfectly clear of our intentions and expectations. Tell the world what you want and need. Hints do not work. If you come off too blunt or stern at times, you can always apologize.

    5. I started to not let things that scare me, stop me. 

    I know my body... and the awful symptoms I feel when I’m scared, shaking hands, racing heart, body aches and complete exhaustion, has never killed me, and it sure has never outweighed the amazing benefits I have felt afterwards, of putting myself out there. When I step outside of my comfort zone, I can tell myself that I am now one step closer to my goal, whether the outcome was desired or not. If the experience was horrible- like a disastrous meeting, or an embarrassing speech, I just gave myself the most valuable information to work with to improve upon!

    6. My absolute #1. I learned to eat well, workout, relax, and spend time doing what I want to do. 

    I have lunch by myself at a quiet café if I want to, I treat myself to a snack when I want one, I don’t deprive myself just because I am “healthy.” There is a huge difference between treating yourself to what you want, like a cookie or a bowl of ice cream, and overdoing it. I got in the mindset that I am taking care of this beautiful body and my body does not want to be pumped with sugar and grease every day, and certainly not in the amounts that my brain told me I needed. I learned that by listening to my body I could discern what those cravings were, not just what my taste buds told me. And I could discern what the foods were that my body needed the most to sustain. I do not have a health degree, but I listen to what my body says I need, and I am the master of what keeps me healthy and feeling amazing! Your story may be that you’ve embraced Keto and power walking. Great! Or Weight Watchers and weight lifting works for you! Also great! Gluten free diet has helped you the most? That’s perfect! We are not required to follow anyone else’s plan. I learned to stop “dieting” all together, and just started simply listening to my bodies needs which allowed me to feel amazing. Health is now a LIFESTYLE and not a burden or a plan with an expiration date.

    7. And with all of this, remembering, my outward appearance is important to me, and only me. 

    I still point out and cover up my flaws like everyone else, because I am a human on this judgmental, social media driven, “filter” obsessed planet. However, there was a point where I chose to look at myself in the mirror, and say to myself, “I look perfect.” Yes, people judge, people point out your flaws, that’s life. Get over it! I am the boss of what’s in front of me. I take action over everything that comes up, everything interruption, every irritation, I handle and manage it like a boss.

    8. My final action was embodying the idea that confidence is what makes you sexy, not your looks.

    Taking the best care of yourself and loving yourself is not one size fits all. It’s about truly listening to your body, your mind, and your soul and figuring out what is best for YOU. How do we know that we’re “too curvy” or “not pretty enough?” From all the people out there pointing out what we shouldn’t look like! Ignore this! Let your confidence and love for your body radiate! Your body does amazing things for you. Thank your body for that. Love yourself ladies! We take time to listen to our best friends issues at work, and our kids day at school, and we spend time remembering to listen and care for our spouse’s needs, and yet we won’t sit down and listen to the most important person in our lives; ourselves.


    Lisa Stockmeyer is the owner of Face Kicked Apparel, a family owned business right here in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Lisa established the business with her husband Sean after learning that his professional wrestling career could turn into a lucrative sales opportunity. What started out as making their own t-shirts to sell at wrestling shows, turned into making other wrestler’s t-shirts, which grew to what is now a full-time custom screen printing and vinyl work business, serving individuals and businesses nationwide. Lisa’s passion for marketing, design, and all things creative, makes Face Kicked Apparel the perfect career for her to live her passion of being an artist, working with her husband, and being a mom.



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