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Health Plus Business Equals Success

April 17, 2019

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Motivation for women entrepreneurs, women in business, female business owners

The wind was whipping, but not through my hair, since I don’t have any but the sun shone bright on my face warming it and turning pale cheeks to pink. After working a very early morning at my desk promoting and uniting women entrepreneurs, I needed a brisk bike ride around Onondaga Lake. Most women can’t find time to exercise, but I haven’t been that woman in twenty five years. A day isn’t perfect unless I partake in some type of fitness before, in the middle or at the end of my work day.

Last week’s Post Standard article revealing my smooth head due to Alopecia received 500 views on YouTube and 300 comments on Facebook along with multiple shares so the paper asked if I minded having my bald headed image, story and video shared on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper since it was only posted online last week. “Sure!” I said as if I landed a Vogue modeling gig. Sometimes I wonder why I am so honest although being candid has served me well promoting equality for women. I’ve never been someone who backed down from speaking up.

“Why do you want to share your story Tracy?” asked the reporter. I said, “If it helps other people with the disease, women losing their hair or defining beauty by women looking instead themselves instead of in the mirror, than I’m willing to share the image and lessons learned,” I responded. Sometimes in life and business, we don’t know what difficulties we might face. Unable to predict the future or our response to it, we do the best we can when the time arrives. It’s the same thing with my story.

If I share this personal wisdom more than business wisdom at times, it’s because we are more than just our companies. No one is immune from life’s lessons and adaptations. I understand now there were times I was so consumed with handling all entrepreneurial duties by myself that my health was affected. I don’t want that for the women I serve. There is time in the day for both work and play especially if we control our own schedules.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom, during this spring break week, is to encourage you to give yourself permission to walk away from your office and take a health break in the form of a walk, bike ride, run or yoga class. Women TIES has members who offer fitness, yoga and health coaching to get you moving. Take a look at our directory and invite another woman to join you. Start the habit now to build into your schedule so you stay mentally and physically healthy while working hard in your business.

Fresh air, pink cheeks and clean lungs have a way of fueling our spirit and mind for a clearer way of thinking when we return to our desks. We might not be in warm humid air, like our family or friends vacationing this week, but we still have multiple ways to add healthy living to our routine.

A Major Lesson in Overcoming Fear

April 15, 2019

Inspiration and wisdom on Boston Marathon Monday for women entrepreneurs, women in sports, businesswomen

I am going to teach you about fear today because I had to overcome it to experience one of the best days of my life.

In 2013, my son was a junior at Boston College. He had the day off of school since it was Patriot’s Day and the state proclaimed the day a state holiday. I knew he would be watching the marathon somewhere along the route but didn’t know where. Boston College is at the top of Heart Break Hill at the 20 mile mark in the 26.2 mile race but BC students are urged that day to perform community service and support the runners so he could have been at the finish line. I had no idea where.

As the text messages came in about the bombing, I frantically tried calling him to no avail. I left him messages to call me back immediately. Others who knew he was in school in Boston were reaching out to me. I had no answer for them. Within the hour, my son texted me saying he was safe and on campus cheering not at the finish line. Relieved I told him to be very careful.

Although he was safe, my motherly heart wasn’t settled until I saw him so the next day I drove to Boston to see him for myself and take him to dinner. They hadn’t found the bombers yet so as him and I waited for dinner in Legal Seafood, our favorite restaurant, we saw the news identify and share images of the suspects wearing baseball hats. As Thomas and I drove to our hotel with an extra eye to the streets, we checked into the hotel safely.

At 6 a.m. we woke up to a phone call from my son’s girlfriend telling us to turn on the television to catch the updates of the search and story of the suspect hiding in a boat very close to the hotel we were staying at. I called the hotel front desk to double check that we could check out since the entire area was on shutdown. She said, “Yes you have to leave, we have other customers checking in.” I was shocked and said, “Well can we wait for a couple hours because I don’t want to be driving around when the suspects are on the loose around this neighborhood?” She gave us two hours. No one was caught in two hours.

As I drove down the desolate highway to Boston College, with not a single car on the road, I didn’t think it was right to be on the streets; but my son insisted on going back to his dorm. I’m not sure I was the smartest mom at the time now looking back. As I dropped him off at the barren campus, I noticed how dead quiet the scene was at the moment. If you know Boston or its surrounding areas, it is never quiet. Spooked and slightly mad at him for not coming home with me, I drove off watching Boston disappear in the backdrop of my mirror.

By 8 p.m. when I returned home, the ordeal was over. They found the one suspect and my son was safely in his dorm room. I was worn out and made him promise me to not go back downtown until he came home for the summer. Fear had griped my heart.

A year later, I also made him promise me to stay away from the Boston Marathon because I didn’t trust the safety of the bomb event. Fear is irrational and my mother’s brain was living in it. So it surprised everyone in 2016 when I decided to train for the Boston Marathon. The words “When you are fearless, you are free Tracy” from Kathrine Switzer, eased my nerves, tested my will and sent me running with her and 100 other women in the 2017 Boston Marathon. I had to overcome the fear of terrorism.

I am proud of many things that April 17th day – my medal, my tenacity, the people of Boston, the policemen who protected us, the fearlessness of runners and the people that watched them run and myself for not giving into fear.

My friend is right. There is freedom in fearlessness. I hope you remember it the next time you face fear in business, sports or life. As one of my favorite quotes says, “She rises beyond all limits.”

How Faith Fueled My Boston Marathon Run

April 12, 2019

Inspiration, wisdom, faith for women entrepreneurs, women in business, female athletes

“Once you run your first marathon, you are a different person,” said Kathrine Switzer, running icon, founder of 261 Fearless and my friend. I thought of those words today knowing the 2019 Boston Marathon is happening on Monday and jealous it has been two years since I ran, enjoyed and completed my goal.

As I thought back to the nerves leading up to the race, I wasn’t 100% confident I could complete it because I had bronchitis twice training for the event and never trained past 13.1 miles. A marathon is 26.2 miles. Could I double my longest difference and complete the race in less than 6 hours to have the gold medal hang from my neck proving I was a marathoner? I honestly didn’t know; but I sure was determined to do everything in my power to finish the race even if someone had to drag me across the finish line if I stumbled with the finish line in sight!

I also knew I couldn’t complete the race without prayers to God and Mother Mary to support me on my journey. I wore my rosary bead bracelet around my wrist and a favorite bible verse, from my beloved aunt, tucked in my running skirt. I stopped inside a church to ask for God’s blessings and to be with me during the 26.2 mile journey.

Written on my arm in purple ink were the name of my five nieces – Lexie, Lauren, Faith, Ramona, and Maude – to show the girls if I could run the Boston Marathon they could do anything themselves. Carrying them with me on my arm and in my heart carried me at times when the hills were steep and long.

An important part of running a marathon is fueling your body perfectly to get you through. This was a vital part of marathon training I learned. So the day before the race, I stopped at a restaurant to have a small pizza and salad. I was taking the leftovers back to my hotel room in case I needed a late night snack, when I saw a homeless man digging through the trash can for food. I instinctively stopped and gave him my bag of food. He needed it more than me. He blessed me as I walked away. I have often thought perhaps his blessing was the most important one.

As my friend Dawn and I waited at the start line for our heat to start running, we said a prayer to God, hugged each other and started our historic first time journey. Fueled by faith right up to the last minute before the gun went off, I was confident I could and would finish the race with training, faith and God on my side.

I happily crossed the 2017 Boston Marathon in 5 hours 56 minutes and 58 seconds accomplishing my goal. Throughout the fan-filled iconic streets of Boston, I walked and ran, took in the beauty of the day and love from the crowds, thought of the people who donated $8,000 to my charity bib, and thanked God for being with me every step of the way. Faith was an essential element to my success that day.

Wednesday Wisdom in Reviewing Your Revenue

April 10, 2019

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Business Success Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs and Women in Business

Sitting in our accountant’s office, for our annual tax appointment, my husband and I fumbled with our tax receipts, bulging binder of records and a scratched-up yellow pad with questions waiting nervously for our accountant to return to his desk. Entertained by colorful fish in the desktop aquarium, signed golf memorabilia and photos of his daughter from birth to womanhood, we were distracted as we awaited “the results” of the meeting.

Describing why my income was fifty percent less than last year created a conversation about my health and how it altered my business activities and earnings. I shared my health journey so he understood “what happened” as he phrased it. I understand. Both my books and looks are different. As I explain managing fewer events at physical venues and more one-one-one meetings with members at my poolside and pool house, to be comfortable while losing all my hair, I asked financial questions regarding different ways to increase revenue in 2019 while still dealing with lingering medical issues.

I decide to paint him a picture of my relaxing pool house and poolside and how I will rent it out this summer to women entrepreneurs to use for day-long retreats, relaxation, writing, swimming or even consulting, to give them a unique venue as well as subsidize my revenue. Renting a place that stands vacant, yet so beautiful, makes perfect sense. It provides customers with a place to use when seeking time away from their offices or a creative work place.

He informs us about his entrepreneurial decision to add staff to continue to grow his well established business even further because he wants extra revenue for retirement and how that staff are taking on new clients. I like the discussion we are having about business revenue. Departing the office, I think it shouldn’t take an annual tax appointment to focus entrepreneurs on financial planning, changes or goals.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to inspire you to look at your books differently than last year by using figures as indicators on where you want to build your company or broaden your financial intake. Also an annual tax appointment can demonstrate large expense categories that need trimming or outdated processes or systems to make more efficient. Even looking back at how much or little you paid yourself in a year can lead to smart financial changes.

As April 15th fast approaches, I hope you are prepared to face the truth of your business production, with its pluses and minuses, so you can make well-informed decisions regarding your financial status, outlook and plans. Reviewing the books can be a perfect jolt of energy as a new tax year gets underway.

Marketing Monday: You Are Your Brand

April 8, 2019

Monday Motivation, Inspiration, Wisdom for women entrepreneurs, women in business, women in sports

The morning television show announcer asked a panel of women “What one word in the dictionary would your closest friends, significant other or family say describes you best?” The answers ranged from fun to intense and sporty to savvy. I know for sure what my one word would be and I’m pretty sure my family of men knows too.

A few minutes later, I looked at the inspirational calendar on my desk to find this quote, “When you lose sight of who you are and what you most value, you end up chasing more of everything else.” As I prepared today’s wisdom message, I found parallel themes between the show’s question and my calendar. Both speak to the idea that each woman has a personal brand that everyone around her sees; and every female entrepreneur has a corporate brand that uniquely identifies her.

If I asked you to list one word that described your personality best, what would it be? If I asked you to answer that question as a woman entrepreneur, from the perspective of your customers, community and associates, what would it be? It might be similar but it might be different. The point of these questions is to help you see your “brand” better. You have a personal brand and as the owner of your company you should have an identifiable corporate brand.

If you have a strong corporate brand others can share, it will be easier for customers to describe who you are and what your business offers to others they meet. In essence, by developing, possessing and living a strong brand message you help others market your company to their own extensive network.

Today’s blog post should inspire you to think about your personal and corporate brand and answer the two questions posed above, “What one word in the dictionary would your close friends and family say describes you best?” and “What would customers say is your unique brand?” If you don’t know the answers, ask the question. As a business woman, the second question is important since your brand sells you and your company at all times. Work on your brand image today if you feel you need help in this area.

When my son was in second grade he had to describe me in 3 words to his class. He told me he said I was “loving, caring and a feminist.” I love that my 8 year old son identified my personal and corporate brand so long ago. In his exact words, “You are a feminist because you believe women rule the world.” Fourteen years later my entrepreneurial brand is close to that meaning, “I believe women could rule the world if we were equal in all areas of life and business especially the amount of money we make.”

Go rock the world today with your own strong personal and corporate brand.

Business at the Ballpark: New Networking For Women Entrepreneurs

April 5, 2019

Inspiration, Friday Feeling and Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Sports, Women in Business

Sitting in the sunshine in a brilliant blue sky, 39 degree day with 8,800 other people including 2 fabulous female entrepreneurs put me in the perfect mood on the April day. It was a bucket list type of day for me finally attending an opening day at a ballpark even if was the new Syracuse Mets a Minor League Baseball team of the International League and a Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, my 85 year old Aunt’s favorite team. I always imagined taking the day off of work to sit in the stands, soak in the energy of a new baseball season and enjoy it with others. Why not, it is an iconic American pastime.

Our seats were in Left Field, second row from the infield so we had a perfect view of Tim Tebow, new Mets player, someone I admire for his charity work, faith and athleticism. Sandwiched between my feminist friend Roseanne and other woman entrepreneur Amanda, we chatted with the friendly guys around us in tight quarters enjoying $1 hotdogs, $2 beers, cotton candy and Carmel corn. The sun beamed down on us, the air was nippy, the crowd loud and the view out of the movies.

I had left my accounting work behind me preparing for my annual tax appointment. My sophomore year in college I learned ledgers, credit and debit recording wasn’t the best use of my outgoing personality so it made perfect sense I would abandon doing the books to head to the baseball field to break up the monotony. Graced with an outgoing personality and talkative spirit, the stands provided the perfect setting to enjoy two other business women chatting about our business and personal lives.

Men have been doing business on the golf course and in the ballpark for years. For the most part, women have shied away from this unique networking and bonding experience. Six years ago, I decided I needed some girlfriends with me on sporting activities and have found a unique niche for us to bond in different settings – high in the trees on a rope course, on the pavement in 5K races and in the stands at basketball games. Today, we took our business to the ballpark.

It took about 2 minutes after posting the invitation on my Facebook page to have these 2 women pick up the tickets and join me. I think that says a lot. I “sold out” the networking experience in 120 seconds. As women in sports and female athletes gain the attention they so deserve, I believe I’ll have more female friends joining me on the roads, zip lines and trails, not to mention in the stands, as women find a cool, new, productive way to create connections.

Stay tuned or check out the Women’s Athletic Network or our Facebook page for your chance to join me to enjoy activities outside while still conducting “important” business activities like networking.

Free Solo: Risk Taking Motivation

April 3, 2019

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Business, Women in Sports

Have you ever been on the precipice of something big, something larger than yourself? Standing on the edge of a monumental decision, action or goal that seems so enormous there isn’t anything you can do but go for it? I’ve been having this experience lately and it’s not in dreams but right in the middle of my life. Perhaps you are standing right with me, in the same situation, but in a different spot?

As I watched the movie “Free Solo” about Alex Honnold decision, preparation and journey to rope-free climb the world’s most famous rock wall Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan in September 2018, I could barely watch the unflinching documentary shot by two of his friends as they wondered if he would make it to the top or fall to his death. I can’t imagine climbing or witnessing the feat live since it made my heart pound just watching it from my couch.

When Alex finally decides to do the climb, after trying a couple times with too many camera crews and people watching, he makes the decision to do it suddenly without much notice to others. The pressure of accomplishing the task was paramount in his mind. I likened the moment he decided to show up the morning he climbed it running the first few steps in the 2017 Boston Marathon knowing there was only moving forward 26.2 miles like it or not. There was no turning back for me.

Our hearts can handle a lot of difficult experiences and one thing I’ve learned is physical fearless, risks and athletic feats can strengthen an entrepreneur’s own ability to risk in business.

Every day presents a woman business owner with small, medium and large risks depending on the day, life cycle in business and experience. Every time we risk and survive we are emboldened to risk again. I don’t think risk wears us down; instead it builds us up internally for larger unknown opportunities. Just like lifting weights strengthens us in the inside and outside, business “weights” do the same.

Ever since I challenged myself to run the Boston Marathon, I’ve had an appetite for more physical challenges, thus the re-launch of the Women’s Athletic Network, as a way to bring women business owners together in sports and fitness to take on new challenges together to build muscle physically and mentally. After risking with sisters in business, women are emboldened to do more and succeed again and again.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to encourage you to chart a course for some challenging physical and entrepreneurial ventures in 2019 to get out of your comfort zone to experience risk, receive reward and recalculate a future with more acceptance than doubt in your abilities as a woman and woman entrepreneur. Life is for living my friends and I hope today you are inspired to do something risky in life or business.

Remember you are not free soloing El Capitan rather some other activity or goal that brings the same kind of adrenaline, anticipation and repayment to your body, mind and soul.

P.S. I hope to motivate women when an article and photograph of me “bearing it all” for appears this week. I agreed to do an honest interview and photo session about Alopecia to help others. I can tell you I feel like I’m standing on a precipice waiting for the photos to appear. Pray the camera is kind! #FreeSolo

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