After the holiday onslaught of gifts and gets, the new year is the perfect opportunity to declutter. You start January armed with a label maker and ready to organize, but the volume of stuff makes it almost impossible. As the nation’s top decluttering expert, people ask me all the time, “What’s the easiest way to organize?” “Simple,” I say. “Have less stuff.”
But letting go of clutter is difficult. We have actual emotional blocks that keep us from letting go of our clutter. Seven of them to be exact. In my upcoming book, MAKING SPACE, CLUTTER FREE: The Last Book On Decluttering You’ll Ever Need, I discuss all seven of the emotional blocks and how to break free of them.
Some of the emotions that get in the way include: sentimentality (but Aunt Lois gave it to me, how could I possibly get rid of this lamp that doesn’t work?), guilt (but I spent so much money on them, how could I possibly get rid of these ridiculously high heels I’ll never wear?), or pure fantasy (but someday I might take up mountain climbing so how can I get rid of all this rope?). If you deal with clutter on a daily basis, you know these can be powerful stumbling blocks. If you are grappling with any of these emotional blocks, how do you declutter? Here are 5 simple questions to ask yourself about any item in your home or office to decide …
Should it Stay or Should it Go?
If you want to keep it and you say yes to any of these questions, it can stay! If the answer is no, then it goes!
- Do you use it on a semi-regular basis? By semi-regular, I mean at least once year, such as the large platter I have that holds the turkey at Thanksgiving. I have used it every year for over two decades, and it stays. The old sleeping bags that haven’t been on a camping trip in ten years should go.
- Is it making you money? Do you use it for work, or does it help you generate income somehow? It stays. Whatever is piled up in the corner of the family room for that someday garage sale that you’re never going to have should go.
- Can you buy it again for a reasonable price or borrow it? Is it costing you more to store it or fix it than it would to buy it again? Or is it something everyone has and it would be easy (and free) to borrow from someone you know? It should go.
- Do you have a place to put it away in your home? Is it in a comfortable place where it fits easily? Great! It stays. Is it shoved on a closet shelf so that every time you open the closet door, it falls on your head? It goes.
- Do you love, love, love it? I mean, do you love it? If yes, then it stays. If it’s okay, I sort of like it, “I hate it but so-and-so gave it to me,” it goes.
These five questions will help you launch your decluttering process. Every time you hit up against one of your emotional blocks, ask yourself these questions and letting go will become easier. It’s a process so remember to start with the easy stuff (not family photos or your beloved grandmother’s jewelry) and set yourself up for decluttering success!
The child of a hoarder, Tracy McCubbin knows firsthand that the grip “stuff” can have over some people is very real. In 2007, while working as an assistant for a major television director, Tracy discovered she had the ability to see through any mess. Ten years later, dClutterfly is Los Angeles’ #1 Home Organization company, serving clients like Mindy Kaling and Ray Romano, as well as countless producers, directors, and executives. Tracy’s book Making Space Clutter Free: The Last Book of Decluttering You’ll Ever Need (Spring 2019), reveals the seven emotional blocks we have with regard to our “stuff” – and how to cure them while creating permanent change for a happier, healthier, and clutter-free life. To learn more about Tracy, go to tracymccubbin.com.
Some of you might know that my son married the love of his life last month in one of the most beautiful ceremonies I have ever seen. One of the parts of the ceremony I loved the most was when his wife said, “we are not meant to be together, we choose to be together. Over the last 11 years we have chosen each other again and again and again. This is not destiny or serendipity, this is conscious choice that we will continue to make for the rest of our lives.”
Crytpocurrency Scams and Phishers Posing as Elon Musk, SpaceX, Tesla, Your Friends and Family and More.
Pages and Profiles Impersonating Elon Musk, SpaceX, Tesla, or a Friend or Family Member Are Offering Free Cryptocurrency, Free Government Money or Threatening You With Fines and Fees. Beware and be informed!
Some very aggressive scams are targeting crypto and Elon Musk fans, impersonating Elon, SpaceX and Tesla, and even showing up as a friend or family member. Your best defense is to know the red flags of a scam and avoid the ruse altogether. If you spot a fake page or profile report it immediately to the social network, to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and to the FTC. (Click on the blue-highlighted links to access.) Share this blog with your friends and family members because as soon as one page or profile is reported, another one is created. Below are a few ways to spot scams before you hand over your information.
Red Flags of a Scam
Very aggressive scams, set up on pages and profiles that look legitimate, are targeting cryptocurrency fans. Phishers and scam artists use all kinds of ruses to lure in unsuspecting victims, including posing as a friend or family member, as your bank, as a lottery win, or as a sure-shot, can’t lose investment. Below are a few questions to ask yourself before you hand over any personal information or money. Most scams are alike in that the devil is in the details. If you look closely enough, the cracks in the façade of the fraud are quite visible.
Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Pushy salesman or person.
- Email or URL looks fake.
- Misspelled words.
- Promises of fast, easy, often free money.
- Comes in as a phone call, email or shared on a friend’s timeline.
- Guarantees that you can’t lose.
- Require you giving personal information.
- Require you giving money first.
- Website doesn’t have a physical business address.
- 800 phone number and fill-in-the-blank contact form, instead of a staff member and real email address to contact.
Before buying anything from anyone you don’t know, or sharing any of your personal information, you need to check out a few more things.
1. Find out who owns or leads the company. Read their bio and then Google that person with the phrase “SEC fines lawsuits scams” and see what turns up.
2. Click on the Contact Us link. If you don’t see a physical address and phone number, that is a red flag. If there is only an 800 number and a fill-in the form email submission, the warning bells and whistles should be going off for you.
3. About Us. What do you see on the About Us page? A legitimate corporation will list the executives and their bios. A questionable enterprise will have a video and sales pitch, with stock photos and no mention of who is running the company and how you can get in touch with someone there.
4. Referred by a Friend or Family Member? Sadly, this is the most common way for people to get roped into scams and losses. Many people fell for Madoff in this manner.
Below are two screen shots from pages that are impersonating Elon Musk and SpaceX.
The Fake Elon Musk Tweet
If you look closely on this page, you’ll see that the official Elon Musk account replied to Tech Girl. Right below that a fake account with Elon Musk’s name and the same profile picture replies again offering a sweetened deal. Further in the thread the same scam artist offers free Bitcoin and Ethereum, and even a chance to win a Tesla. However, there is no “official” check mark next to the scam artist’s profile, and the “real name” shows up on the right as GizeMyOrgun.
The Fake SpaceX page.
If you look in the comments on the screen shot below, you’ll see that there is a “huge giveaway for our community!” The page is set up to look like it is run by SpaceX. However, on the About page, you can see that the page is actually run through a URL m.me/spacexpage. Even the “Official: SpaceX” Facebook page is not really official. Both Facebook and Twitter make it easy to spot verified pages with their blue check marks. If you see the word “official” without the check mark, chances are it is a fraud.
Private Message from a Friend or Family Member on Social
Last week, someone set up a fake account of my aunt, using her family pictures. They sent me a friend request, which I immediately accepted. Then they sent me a message about something very important that they’ve been wanting to get in touch with me about. The scam artist asked if I had heard of grants from the Health and Human Services. “My aunt” then told me that it was completely legitimate and $100,000 had shown up in her bank account. At that point, I reported the profile to Facebook. I noticed that other relatives had accepted the friend request. Facebook was very quick about deactivating the account (within minutes!).
It’s clear that there is a very aggressive campaign of fraud going on right now, through multiple channels. So, protect yourself. Never give out any information to anyone who contacts you online, by phone or through email. If you worry that your bank needs something from you, go visit your local branch.
If you are worried about your finances, your budget or your investing strategy, or if you have lost a fortune on cryptocurrency or gold, it pays to get The ABCs of Money that we all should have received in high school. I just published The ABCs of Money, 2nd edition last month on Kindle. It’s updated with 2018 data, statistics and information, and costs only $3.99.
If you want to make sure you are safe and protected in your nest egg before the next market correction, call 310-430-2397 or email info @ NataliePace.com to receive an unbiased second opinion on your current strategy. You can learn to save thousands annually in your budget when you stop making the billionaire corporations rich at your own expense. If the myth that you can make ends meet by cutting out café lattes and avocado toast worked, then you wouldn’t still be in debt. It’s the big-ticket bills that are sucking the health out of your husbandry, and there are solutions. Our easy-as-a-pie-chart nest egg strategies earned gains in the last two recessions, at a time when most people lost more than half, and have outperformed the bull markets in between. Call 310-430-2397 to learn more now.
Article originally posted on https://www.nataliepace.com
Natalie Wynne Pace is the co-creator of the Earth Gratitude project and the author of the Amazon bestsellers The Gratitude Game, The ABCs of Money and Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is (aka You Vs. Wall Street). She has been ranked as a No. 1 stock picker, above over 835 A-list pundits, by an independent tracking agency (TipsTraders). The ABCs of Money remained at or near the #1 Investing Basics e-book on Amazon for over 3 years (in its vertical).
Meditation brings a point of connection with the universe—the divine stillness. Everything ceases its motion in the exchange between our human self and soul. Beauty pours into our awareness. Physical sensations calm, and emotions become joyful as thought ceases. The illusion ends temporarily along with the sensation of cascading from one task to another. Light fills our countenance, altering and smoothing our vibrations and moods.
The stillness refers to an illuminated state, the search for light and a response from the universe. With practice, the energetic exchange can come on a daily basis—giving insight and inspiration to our daily lives. In the stillness, the heart speaks with a soft voice. It provides gentle guidance, which often feels like positive preferences or inclinations to move through life more softly (a slower pace.) From this point, emotions and thoughts become quiet. Intuition grows like the soft light dawn, illuminating the passage of our spiritual quest.
Often, we can feel the answers within us—even if we lack the knowledge of “how” to find the way. By meditating on the feeling of the calm (and unknown) answer, we find our way. We learn to substitute calm for agitation and how to push away negative thoughts and emotions until we find our true understanding about them. The stillness usually gives a feeling before it brings an answer. By meditating on the feeling, we essentially ask for more knowledge about the answers.
The same is true with gifts. We find our gifts by taking one step at a time toward the illumination of the true self and following our passion instead of pushing it away. There is also a quality of trust. It’s important to trust the information received in meditation and to believe in our power to bring it to fruition.
Life involves a dance between the True Self and the Not Self (the part of us that lives life in a way that we don’t like.) Meditation on the still point leads us into discovering our true feelings and preferences so we can take proper action. It also reveals the peaceful, joyful feelings of the true self, which are always present if we stay with our work—even when it takes longer than we would like.
- It’s helpful to recall the state of connection before meditating.
- When emotions are wild or discordant, acknowledge it. Imagine pink or light blue light pouring into your emotions and the perception of your problem. Focus on how you feel when life goes well.
- Trust your ability to tap into the stillness and find answers.
- Observe when the mind chatters or focuses on problems. Problems often change when we admit our real feelings and involvement.
- Believe in your power to commit to change.
- Imagine your life moving in a peaceful flow.
- It’s a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Energy vacillates. You will experience highs and lows. It’s part of the human condition. Send love to lows and give gratitude for breakthroughs.
One of the biggest concerns moms have for their tween/teen daughters is their loss of confidence. Social media, friendships and simply going through adolescence can contribute to girls comparing themselves to others and, in many cases, ending up on the short end of the stick. Our girls need their moms now more than ever! If we properly guide and support them, they will begin to trust themselves more. When they trust their own beautiful intuitive nature, they have a better shot at becoming confident, mature and self-assured women (newsflash!, it’s only a few short years away!).
Here are 8 sure-fire ways to help your daughter increase her sense of “I’m Worthy”:
- Model the behavior you want to see. Moms, we are our daughters’ most impactful role models. But we’re so busy; we may be unaware that we’re unwittingly exhibiting the behaviors that we’re telling our daughters NOT to do. We trash talk ourselves and our own bodies and then wonder why our daughters don’t feel good in their own skin. We get frustrated when they’re on their cell phones too long, but we don’t think twice about checking our social media multiple times a day or taking a call during dinner. We tell them to speak to others with kindness but sometimes what comes out of our own mouths is anything but! TIP: Start noticing in yourself the things you tend to correct in your daughter. If your own actions don’t align with what you claim to value, then make a conscious change. Believe me, your daughter will notice.
- Give her more responsibility. If you want your daughter to have more confidence, you need to offer her activities that will give her that confidence. She may not like getting extra chores (or any chore, if you haven’t yet given her some!), but having a sense of accomplishment, no matter how small, is a confidence booster. Explain that she, too, lives in this house and she needs to contribute. If she puts up an argument, you can remind her that she enjoys many benefits of you being her mom – like driving her everywhere, buying her nice things, taking her to dinner and all the other awesome things you do. She can certainly spend a few minutes helping out where it’s needed. TIP: Make her set the table, clean up after dinner, make her bed, take out the garbage, rake leaves or fold some laundry (at least the socks – I HATE THE SOCKS!).
- Let her make her own decisions. Depending on your daughter’s age, start letting her make decisions for herself. If she’s in the 11-13 age range and wants to stay home alone and you believe she’s mature enough, then do a trial run. Go do some errands for an hour and see how it goes. If she’s 14-16 and starts experimenting with different clothing styles to assert her individuality, then let her (I’m not talking about wearing skirts short enough where you can see crotch – that’s definitely a NO GO!). TIP: Allowing your daughter to start making decisions for herself, even if you think they’re embarrassing, is a great way to build her self-esteem. Don’t worry, she may decide that orange hair really isn’t for her anyway!
- Allow her to fail! Let me ask you a question: have you ever failed at anything in your life? Of course, you have. What was the biggest lesson you learned from it? If you answered, ‘it taught me how capable I was to bounce back and ultimately succeed’….you are correct! If we deny our daughters the gift of failure, we’re setting them on the fast track to low self-esteem! I’m not sure why this generation of mothers has a penchant for saving their daughters from misery, pain or struggle. Please keep this in mind: if you don’t allow your daughter to fail and get back up on her own two feet, she will never know how capable she is and the chances are also good that she’ll resent you when she’s older. I know. I’ve seen it a million times! TIP: If your daughter fails a test and you immediately offer her ice cream or dinner out as a consolation prize, put on the ‘mouth’ breaks and simply say something like “Sorry, honey, that really stinks. I know how hard you studied.” Or if she befriends someone who you see is ‘bad news’, don’t insist on breaking up the friendship (unless there’s danger involved, of course); let her figure out on her own that maybe this person is not trustworthy.
- Ask her opinion on important matters. Your daughter is in school for so many hours taking direction and spewing facts. How about you get her input on things that you normally wouldn’t ask her. Next time you have a conflict or dilemma, think about asking your daughter for her opinion on what you should do. You never know what creative, thoughtful solution is lurking in her mind. Even if you don’t take your daughter’s suggestion, the mere fact that you’re asking her shows her that you value her opinion. That can go a long way toward making her feel cherished and appreciated – two key ingredients to feeling good in one’s own skin. TIP: If you’re considering two job options, discuss the pros and cons of each or ask her opinion about a political issue that you believe is important.
- Encourage her to get a job (if she is age appropriate). Once your daughter is of the age where she can get a part-time job, I highly encourage you to have her get one. Not only will interviewing and putting a resume together give her a sense of accomplishment, she’ll get a nice boost to her confidence from doing a job well done and learning a new skill. In addition, it will also help her manage her own finances, an area we need to teach our daughters about from a young age. TIP: Encourage her to get a job that plays to her strengths. If she’s good with numbers, perhaps, a cashier. If she’s good with kids, how about babysitting? If she loves animals, maybe she can help out in a pet shelter. And, by the way, volunteering counts!
- Pay her a sincere compliment. If your daughter looks particularly beautiful when going out or if she happens to be having a good hair day (Lord knows life is great on those days!), simply acknowledging it can make her feel great. If you’ve witnessed her accomplishing something that she’s been working on (from learning to play a new instrument or acing a mid-term), let her know that you noticed the effort she put in and the positive results she experienced. You never know how your words impact others – when our daughters hear us sincerely acknowledge the people they are, it can lift them up in meaningful ways. TIP: Your daughter knows when you’re giving her lip service. Make sure you mean what you say and that you’re not just doing it for the sole purpose of making her feel good about herself.
- Set a goal together. An effective way to ensure your daughter reaches her full potential is for her to set goals and then take small, measurable actions to reach them. While your teen daughter may not want to do an activity with you, she might change her mind if the prize for reaching the goal is awesome! For example, suggest to your daughter that you start a weekly (or daily, if you can) meditation ritual to start your day off on the right path. Five minutes is all you need to start. TIP: Set a benchmark for a month. If you do it consistently for 30 days, the reward is lunch and a manicure. It’s not a bribe (although sometimes those can work like a charm!); think of it more as a prize for a job well done!
Sheira Brayer is a motivational speaker, coach, author, and award-winning songwriter. She offers innovative solutions and strategies to help moms and their tween/teen daughters reduce stress, increase awareness, boost confidence, and improve decision-making. To find out more about Motiv8 coaching, visit sheirabrayer.com
When I look back at my life, it seems as if I have always stood up for the “little guy” or speaking up when things weren’t fair. As a kid I was put in the corner or sent to the Principal’s office many times for doing this. When I was in my late twenties, I began working as a financial planner when I discovered my passion was helping women with their finances. I believed that this was the key for them to stand in their power.
I was so excited to create an environment where women could come in knowing nothing or very little about money, and after completing a financial plan, they would have gained clarity and confidence, not just about their money, but their purpose in life. I started coaching without even knowing what it was.
By the time I was in my forties, I came up with the idea of Smart Women’s Empowerment. I was in Washington DC at the Ritz Carlton attending a financial conference when I wrote down on the hotel notepad that I wanted to create an army of smart, successful women who would each reach out to just one other woman in need and say, “Here, take my hand, and I’ll show you the way.” I retired from my 20-year career at Ameriprise about five years later to launch the Smart Women Companies.
You, too, can very simply help empower women. You can share this ezine with other women, you can give them a book, listen to their stories and then give them some direction, or simply find an organization that you love and volunteer or simply make a donation. Just know that one gesture has the potential to change another woman’s life forever.
This month, I’m interviewing two very different women on Smart Women Talk Radio. Dr. Shawn Andrews is a brilliant professor, speaker, and author who will be telling us what’s really going on in corporate America with leadership and the gender gap. This is important because women around the world are coming together in this #METOO movement. Be sure to download your free copy of her 25-page Power of Perception workbook HERE.
Sheira Brayer is an author, speaker, singer and song writer who inspires women and girls through song and interactive programs she leads.
It’s back to school and a perfect time to see life through the eyes of an eighth grader, so enjoy Brent Marchant’s review of the new movie, Eighth Grade.
Last month we started our new book review where we feature new cutting edge books. Today I am so excited to share my newest ebook with you, The Five Biggest Money Mistakes Women Make and What To Do About It.
Be sure to download your free ebook and share this link with your friends: www.JoinSmartWomen.com. When they go there, they receive not just the book, but this ezine, access to the Smart Women Academy, and 100 days of inspirational quotes by women! Remember, Empowered Women Empower Women!
Katana Abbott is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and Certified Senior Advisor who began her financial planning career in 1987 with Ameriprise Financial Services. Because of her personal experiences with financial abuse, death, disability, divorce, and caregiving, she teaches women how to take charge of their finances, create wealth and prepare for expected and unexpected life events. Katana is an inspirational speaker, author and the host of Smart Women Talk Radio with over a million subscribers. She is the founder of the Designated Caregiver® program and the Smart Women Companies. She has been married to DSO French hornist, Mark Abbott, for over 30 years and they have two daughters. To learn more and connect with Katana, visit her at www.KatanaAbbott.com