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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

What Does Healthy Self-Esteem Look Like?

Dealing with low self-esteem can feel challenging. But there are many people who have learned to change how they view themselves. It does take work and time but you can develop healthy self-esteem. Here are three women - one of them, me! - who did just that…

I Had to Learn to Say “No”

In school, I was smart.  Not popular, but smart.  In fact I was ostracized and bullied much of my school life.  Which meant no one really wanted to be my friend - until it came time to partner up for projects.  Science projects.  History projects.  Didn't matter.  When it was time for the next one, EVERYONE wanted to be my partner.  Why?  Because they were assured of a good grade.  And they knew they wouldn't have to do any work.
  
I would regularly take on the whole project by myself, which often meant I took on more work than I could handle alone. And this habit continued into college and even into the beginnings of my military career.  No one worried when it was our section's turn to clean the watch center.  They all knew I would do most of it and not say anything.
 
Finally I realized that I was chronically tired.  I reached out to the base chaplain, hoping to vent a little.  Fortunately, the chaplain was also a trained counselor.  And what he helped me discover shocked me. 

I realized I was saying ‘yes’ to everyone in the hopes that they would like me because I was battling low self-esteem.  As I began to learn to like myself, I discovered that in the military I was respected for my competency.  It helped me develop a positive self image.  And I learned that outside my small town where my family was looked down on (wrong side of the tracks and all), no one knew or cared that I had grown up poor.  They only cared that I could be counted on when needed.  And that I could do my job and do it well.  That's when I realized I could say ‘no’ to others without guilt or fear.  Because I liked who I saw in the mirror.  And there were people who liked and respected me for who I was, not for what I could do for them.

Tishia Lee Accepted Herself

Tishia, from Shining Self, has struggled with her self-esteem since she was little. She says, “I grew up with so much negative feedback about who I was. I was told I was too fat, that I’d never amount to anything, that I could be pretty if I’d only lose weight.”

She spent years believing these lies and battling a negative self-image. But things started to change for her recently.

“When I moved to the West Coast, I found an amazing community of body positivity people and health-at-every-size advocates. All of a sudden I was given permission to be me. I realized I didn't have to lose weight, diet, or do things others (including the media) had fed into my beliefs.”

As soon as she gave up dieting and accepted her body, Tishia found a confidence and self-esteem within her that she didn’t know existed. She says, “To me, healthy self-esteem means being confident and comfortable in my own skin, knowing my value and worth. Now I’m confident in my abilities and I’m OK with all of it regardless of whether other people like or approve of me.”

Sandra Went From Resisting Change to Embracing It

My friend Sandra was a watch officer who feared failing at anything.  As a result, she was rigid and wasn’t open to new ways of doing things.  She resisted even the smallest of changes.

It wasn’t until our lieutenant challenged her to try one thing a week that Sandra realized how much control fear had over her. With the help of that same chaplain that helped me, Sandra traced the cause back to her alcoholic parents.  She fought to say in control as a kid because it meant safety.
 
We went our separate ways shortly after and eventually lost touch with each other.  But through the wonders of the Internet, we recently reconnected!  I learned that Sandra retired shortly after I did.  Now she travels all over the world, housesitting and pet sitting for people when they travel.  "I’m an adult now," she told me, "and I’m not the same little girl. When I saw that, I was set free. I view myself differently now. I’m excited by new opportunities and new changes. I can’t wait to see what each new day brings!”
 
Changing your view of yourself isn’t an overnight process.  There will be hard days and setbacks but keep moving forward.  Forgive yourself for your mistakes and embrace the beautiful now.

Why Do You Struggle with Low Self-Esteem?

Low self-esteem can occur at any time or age even if you’ve had a relatively good life. However, there are some circumstances that make you more likely to develop low self-esteem.  Here are a few of the most common causes…

Comparison

Some people develop low self-esteem because they’re constantly comparing themselves to others.  Maybe you look at the woman who has your dream business and think you’ll never be like her.  Perhaps you envy a friend who seems to have a wonderful marriage and beautiful children.

You may even compare yourself to people you don’t know.  For example, envying a supermodel in a magazine. Even though you know she’s been airbrushed to perfection, you might still feel inferior.

Dysfunctional Home

Sometimes, low self-esteem begins in childhood due to difficulties in your home life. Perhaps a parent was chronically ill and unable to provide for you and your siblings.  Maybe you witnessed domestic violence between your parents.

When children don’t get their needs met in childhood, they turn inwards.  Many blame themselves even if they don’t realize it.  For example, if your parents divorced after you accidentally slipped up about dad’s affair, then you might think you were the reason your parents separated.

Trauma & Abuse

Another common reason for low self-esteem is becoming a victim of trauma.  You may have survived physical, emotional, or sexual violence. Often, becoming a victim of a violent crime leads a person to believe they are worthless, deserving of punishment, or unlovable.  These false beliefs create low self-esteem that can follow you for decades.

Like trauma victims, abuse survivors may struggle with low self-esteem.  Abuse can be more difficult to heal from since the wounds were often on-going over the course of months or even years.  Additionally, abusers often tell their victims that the abuse is their fault, that they deserve to be hurt, or that they need to be punished.

Religious Beliefs

Depending on your religious beliefs, you may have been told that you are “bad” or that you are “going to hell” if you do certain activities.  Many religions draw a line in the sand and if you cross that line, you are then cut off from other members of your family or community.

This type of belief system can lead you to believe that your behavior determines your identity.  That’s fine if your behavior falls into what’s expected and acceptable within your religion.  But if it doesn’t—if you violate these beliefs—you may see yourself as damaged, tainted, or unredeemable.
 
Now that you know the different causes of low self-esteem, you may recognize yourself in some of these examples. But the good news is that understanding where your low self-esteem is coming from is an important first step in healing it.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Defining Low Self-Esteem

So why am I preparing to do an entire series of posts on self-esteem?  Isn't this a business blog?  Yes, it is.  Which is EXACTLY why I'm doing this series!

Low self-esteem can cause you to self-sabotage your business, even if you aren't consciously aware that you are doing it.

But what is low self-esteem?  I mean don't we all beat ourselves up once in a while?  Well, self-esteem is the way you view yourself.  People with a healthy self-esteem can see both their flaws and their good qualities.  They know they are not perfect but they’re also aware of all the good things they bring into the world simply by being themselves.

But low self-esteem is different.  People with low self-esteem see a flawed version of themselves.  Instead of seeing anything positive, you only focus on the negative and feel badly about who you are.  If you’re not sure if you struggle with low self-esteem, here are a few common signs of it…

Sign #1: You Feel Shame

Shame is the belief that deep down, you’re bad, unlovable, or worthless.  It often convinces you to hide.  The way you “hide” may be different depending on your personality. Sometimes, it involves your body language by hunching your shoulders, walking with your head down, or not meeting the gaze of another person when you’re in conversation.

For some people, shame shows up in other ways—overcompensating in one area of your life, trying not to draw attention to how you look, or over-apologizing for things that clearly aren’t your fault.

Sign #2: You Fear Failure

When you struggle with low self-esteem, it’s easy to believe that what you do is who you are.  This creates tremendous pressure to do everything right.  As a result, you’re not willing to try new things or experiment for fear you’ll mess up and become a failure.

Fear of failure may show up in one area of your life but not another.  For example, you may be the best sales person in your division at work but in private, you struggle to write that book you’ve been dreaming of for fear that it won’t be amazing.

Sign #3: You Keep Saying Yes

Yes can be a wonderful word—when you say it and truly mean it.  But for many people with low self-esteem, they say “yes” to opportunities and events that aren’t a good fit for their skills or interests.

Some of this stems from a desire to get other people to like you.  You might think if others like you, their approval will rub off on you and you’ll feel good about yourself.  While that might work temporarily, you’re always looking for the next shot of approval and saying “yes” feels like the only way to get it.

Sign #4: You Won’t Own Your Success

People with low self-esteem struggle to believe they deserve success.  When they are praised or their work is acknowledged, they’re quick to downplay it.  For example, you might say, “Jenny handled most of the work. I just came along at the end and put a finishing touch on it.”

Another way you might do this is to call your success “luck” or tell others that you were simply in the right place at the right time.  You may also struggle to accept compliments, dismiss kind words as someone being nice, or tell yourself that others are just trying to make you feel better.
 
Like a funhouse mirror distorts your image, so does low self-esteem. The good news is that even if you identified with some of the signs above, low self-esteem can be worked through and overcome with time. I should know. I did it!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Sometimes, You've Just Gotta Follow Your Heart

I've been in network marketing for a very long time.  I joined my first company in 1975!  And I've been at it in some form or another ever since.  I love the business model!  It's one of the few ways anybody can achieve financial stability, no matter where they start from.

But as I've gotten older and maybe wiser, I've discovered that there is more I want to do.  So much more!  Things that make me want to get up and get to work first thing!  Things that will launch me into an impassioned speech in no time.  My kids tease me about how easily I climb up on my soapbox.  But these things are important.   


I've lived a very full life.  College.  Career Navy.  Professional Girl Scout.  Biotech.  Stable hand.  Waitress.  And yes, even car sales!  I've lived in many different parts of the world.  Visited others.  Met lots of different people.  Combine that with my network marketing experience and I realized something.  I KNOW STUFF!  And more importantly, I know people who also know stuff!


My experiences have also served to make me passionate about many things.  You all know the story of how I finally decided to get serious about network marketing.  Thankfully, I had that as a way to ensure I was able to fulfill my obligations to my family.  But many people don't have that - or don't realize what a wonderful opportunity this business is.  And so I am passionate about helping anyone who wants to build a business to succeed. 


But it's not just enough anymore to build that network marketing downline.  Companies come and go.  I've had more than one fold under me!  With so much opportunity available, team members come and go.  There will always be down times.  That's why it's so important to have more than one income stream.  I am a HUGE believer in multiple streams of income.  I currently have six.  So I am not totally dependent on any one thing for my livelihood.  And I am absolutely passionate about helping others learn to do the same thing.  It's easier than you think!


But you know what else I have discovered?  Making money isn't enough to build real wealth.  You have to know what to do with it once you have it.  How to keep it.  How to make it work for you instead of you working for it.  I am not as good at that as I should be.  But I know people who are!  I am learning from them.  And I am passionate about introducing them to you!


My network marketing company is a health and wellness company.  I'm sure you all know why.  Diabetic mother.  Alzheimer's father.  Husband, daughter, and grandson with health issues.  It can be challenging at times.  But what is most infuriating - many of their problems were the direct result of misinformation or outright DIS-information (lies!) from the medical establishment.  (Anyone heard of ESSURE!!!?)  I have devoted a great deal of time and research to learning the truth.  And I have met many others who are leading this charge.  Living as healthfully as possible in my senior years is important to me.  I don't want to be spending my money on expensive prescriptions.  I don't want to be too frail and weak to enjoy my remaining years.  And I don't want to burden my family with medical costs.  I know many of you feel the same way.  And I am passionate about helping you achieve that goal.


Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men, as they say.  I have been a Red Cross Volunteer for many years.  I have personally been through hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and even a volcanic eruption.  As a volunteer I have witnessed the devastation left by wildfires and tornadoes.  It's sad to think that everything you worked for can be gone in an instant.  But those things can all be replaced.  If you are ready.  The days of waiting for the government to ride in and save the day are over.  We must be prepared to take care of ourselves, our families, and to help our neighbors.  I'm not one of those crazy doomsday preppers.  But natural disasters are more frequent and more devastating than ever.  In many cases it's not a matter of "IF", it's a matter of "WHEN".  Are you ready?  I am passionate about helping you make sure that you are.  I've helped pick up the pieces too many times.  I don't know how much more my soul can take.


Of course, this leads me to my last great passion.  Taking care of this big beautiful world that we call home.  I don't care if you believe in manmade climate change or not.  The world is changing.  And if we don't do something soon, the world we know won't exist for our grandkids and great-grandkids.  I am passionate about sharing ways we can all make a difference.


Lots of stuff here, right?  And for a while now I've been struggling because I've been focused on network marketing as my primary business.  But I'm 62 years old.  I'm running out of time to focus on my other passions.  My family is fairly long-lived so hopefully I will have a good number of years yet.  But in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, there are far fewer years ahead than there are behind.  And I don't want to let things go anymore.  My heart is calling me to share all of these things I have learned and all of the wonderful people I have met with anyone who is interested.


Sounds daunting, I know!  But I'm a Gemini!  We invented multi-tasking!  And I think I have figured out how to do it.


So today, I announce a new direction, a rebranding, a course-correction...whatever you want to call it.  I call it following my heart.  There is new content coming.  A website redo.  A shifting of focus.  This blog will remain although the name will change.  You may have noticed the content has been broadening to include more than just network marketing tips.  I've been preparing for this for a while!


I am more excited than I can express to begin this new journey and to share it with you.  Many of you have been here from the beginning.  I am grateful for your support.  I hope you will stick with me on this new path.


Are you ready?  I am!  Let's do this!



Monday, April 22, 2019

Sunshine Blogger Award

It's been a challenging few weeks for me - as evidenced by the fact that I've been remiss in my blogging.  My husband, my grandson, AND my little fur baby all had to have some serious major surgery.  So yes, I've been spread a little thin with caregiving.  And a little stressed with worry.  And even though the results for the husband and the grandson were good (still waiting on the pathology report for my dog), it has been hard to refocus.  It's been one of those times when you just need a boost.  So imagine my delight to find out that I had been nominated by a friend for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  What a way to lift my spirits and to remind me that my message matters.  Yes, this is a business blog.  But I am glad that people find it inspiring and encouraging!

What is the award?  The Sunshine Blogger Award is given from bloggers to other bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.  How awesome is that!  I am so grateful to the amazing woman who nominated me and is allowing me to share a bit more about myself and my passion for helping others live life on their terms.

I was nominated by my friend, Lisa King @thefulfilledpharmacist https://thefulfilledpharmacist.blog/.  Lisa's passion for health and wellness is apparent in everything she does.  She has been a major inspiration for me in making some lifestyle changes and to take charge of my own health.  Her Amazon best-selling book, Tiny Life Changes, is one of my favorite books and I regularly recommend it to others who want to start changing their lifestyle but don't know where to begin.  I love it so much I even give it as a gift to other women I care about.  I look to Lisa for truthful information on health and wellness, not hype.  And for encouragement and support and just overall positive living.  Lisa is a ray of sunshine in my social media every day, and I am grateful for all that she does.

Lisa wanted me to answer some specific questions so here goes!

What made you want to start your blog and how long have you been blogging?

I started my blog for one simple reason.  When I first started in business, there was so little information out there.  Sure there were the "gurus" who were all willing to help you if you wanted to pay a few hundred dollars - or more!  But when you are just starting out, you don't have that kind of money.  And I don't believe you should have to go deeply into debt just to start your business.  I mean isn't that one of the reasons so many of us did start?  So we could get out of debt?  Not create more?  So one night back in 2007, when I was still working as an event planner, I was attending one of my customers' events.  He happened to be a guru - although not one of THOSE gurus.  And he was surrounded by amazing people who all knew stuff!  And who were willing to share what they knew.  And it suddenly hit me - what if there was some way to document what I was learning so others could follow along?  Well it turns out there was.  It was called blogging.  So that night after all the presentations, a few of us gathered in my room and they helped me set up my first blog - this one!  And I've been posting and sharing ever since!  There have been some revisions and course corrections over the years, but it has been here in some form for the past 12 years.

What is your favorite post you have written and why?

That's hard.  I think I actually have two.  And I'm not sure either of them are what you would call "business" posts, even though this is a business blog.  But they are tributes to people I care deeply about.  My father and my daughters..

The first one is Lessons From My Dad.  I think it is one of my favorites because it was only after many years that I came to appreciate the man that he was and what he had taught me.  The post was my thank you to him for all that I learned. 

The second one is A Tribute to My Daughters.  I wrote it on July 4th.  Many of you know that I am retired Navy.  As is my husband.  So this particular Independence Day, amid all the patriotism and support for the military and yes, even the spouses, it occurred to me that one group was missing.  Children of military families.  And suddenly, even though I had been struggling to write something all day, the words just started flowing and it became a tribute of thanks and appreciation for my daughters who had been with us on the journey.

What is your favorite or least favorite thing about blogging?

My favorite thing?  That's easy.  I'm a communicator.  And a trainer.  Even in my younger days.  My camp name (for all you former or present Girl Scouts) was Sage.  Knower of stuff as my fellow Scouts put it.  So I absolutely love having a platform that lets me share my ideas and knowledge with others.

My least favorite?  Well I hate to admit it.  As I said, I love sharing.  And I've taken blogging courses.  Done all the things they say to do.  I get traffic.  I have readers.  But no interaction.  No feedback.  And for someone like me, that's hard.  We like feedback.  We need to know we made a connection.  That's one reason this award is so special to me.  At least I know I am impacting someone!

What do you like to do when you're not working on your blog?

Well, of course, there are the other aspects of my business.  Managing my Facebook group.  Interacting on social media.  Creating training material to share.  But when I'm not working on my business, then I like just being with my family.  Outdoors.  One reason I'm so late getting to this today - besides the reason mentioned earlier - is that today was planting day!  Time to repot the plants that needed it.  Time to add some new specimens to my garden.  Time to get the vegetables in the ground so we can reap the rewards later this summer!  Dirt under my fingernails, sweat on my brow, and the fragrance of freshly turned earth mingling with the wonderful aroma of the flowers from the flower garden.  Perfect day!

I also enjoy my evening walk around the lake with my husband.  We always see something amazing.  A bald eagle in a tree.  A family of geese.  A blue heron fishing.  We talk as we walk about all kinds of things...the kinds of things we probably wouldn't talk about just sitting in the living room.   Those evenings are some of my favorite moments. 

And now for my nominees!

These two women have inspired me in completely different ways.  One appeals to my love of nature and the outdoors and life!  The other has shown me new ways to stand in my spotlight and make my voice heard.

The first dispenses garden tips and life lessons with equal aplomb.  So one day I may learn all I need to know about geraniums.  And the next I might be reading about a creating a life of beauty, bliss and passion.  To me, both of these are important.  And my friend Bea Rigsby Kunz, @sunnyblues2, talks of both with ease.  Not only has she helped me improve my not-so-green thumb so that now I have an actual semblance of a garden, she has also taught me how to enter the next phase of my life with grace and wit and I hope a little charm.  Check out her blog:

http://sagehillgardens.com/beas-beatitudes/

My second nominee is Joie Gharrity @joiegharrity.  She is the author of The Red Carpet Guide to Visibility and Influence.  As a former Hollywood insider, Joie knows how to be noticed.  Her mission is to teach others to claim their place in the spotlight and shine.  Her experience and passion have inspired me to speak out about things I might have kept to myself - things that I am passionate about and that need to be heard.  More importantly, she has shown me how to do this in a way that attracts others to my cause.  There is more to being heard than being the loudest person in the room.  Joie has taught me that I can speak softly and still have big impact!  You can read her blog at:

https://113branding.com/113-branding-blogs-with-joie-gharrity/

Your Questions Ladies-

  • Who or what inspired you to begin blogging and how?
  • Where do you find the inspiration for your blog posts?
  • What is the most important thing you would like your readers to take away from reading your posts?
  • When not working on your blog, what do you like to do?

The rules for this award if you choose to accept, are to:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog and IG account.
  • Answer the questions given to you by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate other bloggers (2 - 4) and give them questions to answer.
  • Notify your nominees through social media or by commenting on their blog.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award Logo in your post.

 

Monday, April 1, 2019

Make the Sales Decision Simple & Easy

When it comes to creating a sales page, you should have one goal: make the sales decision simple and easy for your visitors. When the decision is easy, your visitors don’t have to think very hard. They see your offer and think, “That’s sounds amazing!”

Then they sign up and you get to enjoy the profits from your product or service. But making this decision simple requires a little bit of work. That’s because you’re used to viewing your sales page as the product creator. You have to be willing to look at it as a visitor and potential customer. If you’ve never given it a lot of thought, here are a few things your visitors want to see on your sales page…

Add Testimonials

Don’t use the stuffy, corporate kind of testimonials that use fancy words like “synergy”, “allocation” or “utilization”. Words like these make your testimonials sound as if they came from robots, not real people.

Instead, use testimonials with everyday language that will appeal to your buyers. The best testimonials often come when you least expect them. For example, you may have received a compliment from your client about your writing services or a customer may have sent a “thank you” email because you followed up with them on an important issue. Use these casual messages (with permission) for your testimonials section.

Share Your Stats

Sometimes, statistics can be helpful for convincing a client to take action. For example, you may have seen a statistic announcing that 70% of smart devices are infected with some form of malware. If you’re selling a virus protection product then sharing this statistic can be a good way to convince your visitors to take action.

But keep in mind that statistics can be overwhelming if you share too many of them. Try to pick one or two stats to share with your audience. 


Stick to the ones that will have the most impact and explain why they matter. For example, you might say, “According to a recent study from ABC, 7 out of every 10 smart devices are infected with malware. This makes you five times more likely to be the victim of identity theft.”

Feature a Real Life Story

Testimonials often feature clients or customers that are praising you and your product. But what they don’t cover is the personal journey your customers take in order to achieve the results they wanted.

But real life stories are some of the most powerful examples you have. They reassure and comfort your site visitors and let them know that they’re not alone.

The stories you share can be from your own life or that of a client you’ve helped. For example, if you’re selling a weight loss menu then you could share a story about how you struggled with weight loss for years until you learned how to hack your diet like a professional fitness instructor. Whatever your story is, share it openly with your potential customers and they’ll be more likely to make a purchase from you.

A good sales page isn’t about fancy marketing software or hiring the best copywriter you can afford. It’s about understanding a visitor’s need and creating a product that addresses that need in a real, tangible way.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Convince Your Visitors to Take Action


I've been using sales pages for awhile. I use social media to bring visitors to my sales page. It took time to figure out how to make it work. At first I would simply create a very simple sales page. Then I eagerly waited to see the results of my marketing efforts. Unfortunately, I only saw a few sales despite the fact that I’d driven thousands of viewers to my site.

Then I took some training through MLSP. I learned that while I had strong copy, my sales page was still missing a few important ingredients.


Here's what I learned:

Create a Clear Call-to-Action Button

The button for purchasing your product must be clear. If you’re vague, you’ll confuse visitors and this confusion will cause them to leave your site before completing the transaction.

I had used a button on her page that read: Yes, I’m Ready to Change My Life. I thought that was very clever. It wasn't.  So the first thing I learned to do was change the wording to “Add to Cart Now”. It was a subtle tweak that boosted conversions quickly!

Make a Guarantee

Making a purchase online—especially from a product creator you don’t know—is risky. Your visitors don’t want to pay you only to receive no product or even worse, a crappy product that they can’t use.

But when you offer a guarantee, you can ease a customer’s mind. A simple promise like a 30 day money-back guarantee is all you need. Of course, some product creators choose to offer only a 7-day guarantee due to the nature of digital products.

Don’t Forget Your Sign Off

I also tweaked the end of my sales letter. I added two elements to the end of my page—first I added a smiling photo of myself, the same one I used on social media and for podcast interviews. I used an image of my signature, too.

When visitors see a photo of you and your signature, they’re more likely to trust you. You’re no longer some shadowy marketer that might take their money and run. Instead, you’re a digital business owner who will stand behind their products.

Add a Post-Script Section

Another thing you can do to convince your visitors to take action is to use a “PS” section. Many people scroll to the bottom of a sales page before they read the copy. Typically, they’re looking for the price of the item, the person selling it, and a summary of the offer.

That means you’ll want to offer a quick recap of the important points in your PS section. You should touch on two things—the problem and the solution. For example, you might say, “Tired of diets that never work for you? Try out my done-for-you meal planners and download the first month’s menus today.”

It can also be helpful to add urgency to the PS area. In the above example, you could mention that the price goes up in a few days or that you’re only selling a certain number of copies. When customers like your offer and have a reason to act immediately, they’re more likely to add your product to their shopping cart.