In September of 2017, I had the great honor to participate in a vision quest in the Colorado Rockies near Crestone. I had participated in a number of other quests and journeys in other countries and with other cultures, but never with the native people of my own land. I knew immediately it was time when the invitation came. I prepared for my vision quest in the traditional way by making 405 prayer ties on one continuous cotton string. (more…)
I have found myself struggling as I work to break through the latest layer of growth I am encountering. Like a chick working to break through the hard shell of the egg; like a butterfly taking those first tentative wing flutters after escaping from the cocoon covered in heavy mucous; like the birth of a baby; like a woman entering menopause… when it all falls apart, it’s messy and it’s difficult, and I want to just sit in a comfortable chair and read a good book and hope it’s over by the time I turn the last page. (more…)
How I Reinvented My Daily Commute… And My Life In The Process
For four years in Paris, my daily commute was a 20-minute walk across the Seine and through the Tuileries Gardens.
Before that, for seven years, I traveled Irish country roads through green fields bordered by low stone walls to get to the office every morning.
For the past 10 years, I fought rush-hour Panama City traffic each day coming and going from my Live and Invest Overseas offices in the heart of this boomtown.
These days, my daily commute varies.
Recently, my husband Lief and I have been spending time at our Los Islotes property on Panama’s Pacific Azuero Sunset Coast. The drive from Panama City to our home and office at Los Islotes, we travel, again, as in Ireland, narrow, winding country roads… some of them dirt…
I’ve been an overseas entrepreneur for the past two decades. I’ve opened and managed businesses in Ireland, France, and, most recently, Panama, as well as in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Honduras, and Mexico.
Starting your work day by walking across the River Seine and then strolling through the gardens Catherine de’ Medici conceived to bedeck the Louvre may sound like a fantasy… and, I have to admit, those mornings when I remembered to pay attention, it felt like one.
However, I’d be lying if I said my adventures in Waterford, Ireland, Paris, France, or, most recently, Panama City, Panama, were part of a well-executed plan.
The truth is, if someone had suggested, years ago, back when I was still in Baltimore, Maryland, where I grew up, that someday I’d be living and running a business in any of the places where I’ve since done those things, I’d have laughed. The idea would have seemed as far-fetched to me then as it may seem now to you.
How did I get from Baltimore to Panama City with extended stops in Waterford and Paris in between? In stages and steps, each unimagined beforehand but leading organically to the next.
I’m not special. I was raised in working-class Baltimore and didn’t take my first trip beyond U.S. borders until I was 18-years-old. That was to Bermuda for spring break. My family has no tradition neither of international wandering nor of global entrepreneurship.
My point is, if I was able to create this life for myself, anyone can.
In fact, it’s easier to make this erstwhile jet-setter lifestyle a reality than ever in history (including when I set out to chase it) and getting easier all the time.
Big businesses and international corporations figured out long ago that geography can get in the way of growth and profits. They learned to move operations and staff where they’re best treated and most well received.
Today, the same opportunity exists for the individual entrepreneur—not only to build a business where it stands the best chance of success but to reinvent your life and take control of your future in the process. You could live wherever you want, embracing the lifestyle that suits you, while building a business that supports the whole adventure.
In 2007, I took early retirement from the company where I’d worked for nearly 23 years. Six months later, I realized that retirement didn’t suit me. I liked being in business. For me, the question wasn’t… what business might make sense? I enjoyed the business I’d already spent 23 years trying to learn.
For me, the question was… where best should I base the new operation I decided I wanted to launch?
In 2007, Panama stood out as the obvious choice. This remains true today, as Panama continues to work hard to attract business investment from around the world, big and small.
That’s one way to approach this—you could look for the best place to start the business you know you want to launch. Or you could show up where you want to be and look for ideas for a business that might be successful in that market.
A friend in Poland years ago learned that Burger King was planning to open up shop there and needed warehouse space for its supplies. My friend bought a warehouse. Burger King became his client. In time, he expanded his storage business to include other clients and other products… and he made a nice living for himself in the place where he’d decided he wanted to live.
Another friend noticed how few coffee shops existed in Warsaw. (This was before Starbucks came to this town.) My friend found a local roaster to roast the coffee beans and then packaged them himself. He set up a combination retail and wholesale operation that was bought by another larger one. That company is still going strong.
Others I know have opened a martial arts studio in Bangkok, Thailand… hotels in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua…a property management business in Cuenca, Ecuador… a beachside bar in Ambergris Caye, Belize… and a wine magazine in Mendoza, Argentina.
The easiest and increasingly common approach is to pursue a portable profession, as a writer or a consultant. For this, all you need is a laptop and a reliable internet connection. Going this route is a chance to go into business for yourself, to be your own boss, and to make your own money… without incurring the hassle and the overheads of a fully-fledged business.
Perhaps, though, you’re up for taking on the liabilities, headaches, and hassles that come along with running a fuller-fledged business. Perhaps you, like me, are interested not only in generating revenue and income, but also in the adventure and challenge of building something.
Running your own business isn’t easy; however, running your own business overseas comes with the enormous upside of absolute freedom, flexibility, and control.
Doing your own thing to generate the livelihood you need to support yourself anywhere, including in the United States, can mean never being chained to a desk. However, doing your own thing in more exotic locales can mean that, instead of being chained to a desk, you’re surfing in the morning, or boating in the afternoon, and hitting the laptop before, after, or in between.
A friend in Panama told me how he once emailed client proposals and presentations from his computer opened on his lap and tethered to his cell phone data connection in a dugout canoe while boating upriver to visit an Emberá Indian village with his family.
Pursuing your entrepreneurial inclinations overseas rather than Stateside can mean freedom in another way, too. Many countries, especially developing ones, don’t have the stifling rules and regulations that developed countries, including the United States, can have.
Have a great business idea and want to try it in any of dozens of countries eager for help stimulating their economies? Great. They aren’t going to stand in your way.
Another friend in Panama wanted to give his young children an international-standard education, but he and his wife didn’t want to live in Panama City, where the international schools in this country are mostly located. So my friend’s wife started her own international school for their kids and others in their area, too. Now they have 40 kids from all over the world attending the school and getting a first-rate education.
Getting all this approved by the Panamanian government? “Piece of cake!” my friend says.
I know many dozens of people who’ve conceived ways to generate the income they needed to support the lives they wanted in beautiful, sunny, exotic, and exciting destinations around the world, from 50-, 60-, and 70-somethings who’ve reinvented their retirement years to 24-year-olds fresh out of school… from older widows to families with school-age children… from divorced guys looking to start over to extended families who wanted to make a move overseas together… and every age and demographic in between.
This works for anyone… for everyone… anywhere…
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