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Christmas Reflection for Women Entrepreneurs

December 18, 2019

Inspiration for women entrepreneurs, women in business, small business owners

The soft light from the electric candle still providing light, as the moon set and the world lightened, illuminated near me on my windowsill with large snowflakes falling from the sky. Still covered by a warm steely blue-grey blanket my sister gave me, I reached for my latest gift from a friend The Book of Joy. Her handwritten note on the cover jacket described our shared friendship and joy of each other. On the front of the book are two unlikely, or perhaps likely, friends the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu smiling at each other.

I promised myself, after another year of health issues and reflection; I would take the same amount of time and patience during my medical sabbatical to greet the day to stay balanced and well. The book opened to the right page where a quote caught my heart, “Nothing beautiful in the end comes without a measure of pain, some frustration, some suffering. This is the nature of things. This is how our universe is made up,” said Archbishop Tutu.

The book discloses the three factors that seem to have the greatest influence on increasing happiness which is our ability to re-frame our situation more positively, our ability to experience gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous. I know without a doubt a year and a half of reflection and attention on having alopecia opened my eyes to these three essential factors in order to return to who I used to be even without hair. My attitude was shaped by the caring of so many people – especially people like you reading this Wednesday Wisdom blog post.

We don’t feel joy when something sad happens to us. Sometimes the only thing we can do is to re-frame our mindset to seek the light in the darkness, appreciate the very smallest gifts we see and give away as much kindness as we can muster because others need it more than us. In giving we receive, and in receiving we can give again. This is where I am now and how grateful I am for coming through this ordeal intact and enlightened.

Next week at this time, I’ll be gathering with my loved ones and celebrating Christmas. I know I am more fortunate than most to have two healthy beautiful sons and husband, a warm house, a business filled with women I love supporting, enough food to give me nourishment, faith to surround me and enough money in the bank to keep going with this business into its 15th year and my 25th year as a woman entrepreneur. A day doesn’t go by when I am not grateful for the women who have supported and cared for me and my company this year.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom post is simply to wish you a beautiful, joyful Christmas filled with quiet moments of faith and appreciation. Enjoy what you have, no matter what it is, and don’t focus on what you don’t have. Revel in the beauty of the moments that surround you and fill your heart and the people who care about you – including me. I wish you one morning where you can quietly look out your window at the gentle falling snow, tucked under a favorite blanket, counting your many blessings.

I truly count you as one of my many blessings. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

My new book with inspirational thoughts of acceptance, kindness, and joy can be found by clicking here.

Monday Motivation: There is Joy to Be Found

December 16, 2019

Inspiration, Monday Motivation, and Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs and Female Business Owners

In the new bestseller “The Book of Joy” featuring His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu written by Douglas Abrams, the following quote touched my heart, “Wherever you have a friend that’s your country, and wherever you receive love, that’s your home.” It is an old Tibetan saying the Dalai Lama shared with the author and his close friend as the three discussed the meaning of joy.

I knew what he meant because I feel like I’m home in the company of women entrepreneurs no matter where I go, who I meet or hug, and what kind of business they conduct. Saratoga and Utica were my “countries” last week as I traveled there to host intimate inspirational and educational luncheons for women. In January, Binghamton, Syracuse, and Rochester will be my countries as I travel there.

My friend Shannon gave me “The Book of Joy” for my birthday with a simple note inside, “Tracy, who is full of Joy.” I in return surprised her with my book “Under the Rose-Colored Hat” with lessons learned from almost two years of hardship with alopecia when joy was hard to find until strangers greeted me unexpectedly with hugs, advice, loving gestures and prayers when they saw my bald head under a pink hat.

I didn’t write my book to add one more thing to my resume, but to share a similar lesson of love, kindness, compassion, and acceptance by others towards me, just like I have done for years to people I see. One line in my book says, “All I wanted to be was kind at the moment,” as I described an experience giving my warm food to a homeless man in Boston and holding the hand of an elderly woman almost taken away by the wind in the parking lot one day.

“We create most of our suffering, so it should be logical that we also have the ability to create more joy. It simply depends on the attitudes, the perspective, and the reactions we bring to situations and to our relationships with other people. When it comes to personal happiness there is a lot that we as individuals can do,” the Dalai Lama shared.

As the countdown to Christmas comes this week, as busy women entrepreneurs rushing around hoping to finish all your work and personal tasks, realize you have time to be kind to yourself and others and to find personal happiness inside. I hope you find what I found on the street, compassionate people who want to show even the smallest amounts of kindness to brighten your day. I hope you receive it and give it as well.

P.S. My book with its lessons of kindness, love, and acceptance can still be bought and shipped in time of Christmas for yourself or a loved one who could use some kindness inspiration.

“The Book of Joy” can also be found and shared at this link.

Ice Cold Ideas for a Successful Life

December 12, 2019

Inspiration, Motivation, Thursday Thoughts, Wednesday Wisdom for women entrepreneurs, small business and women in business

I remember the day I was challenged to dump an ice-cold bucket of water on top of my head to support a national phenomenon. My son was filming the action when I dumped the bucket of ice water on my head and then half jumped, half dove into my pool which was right next to me. For some reason, the video has made me the laughing stock of my family. To be honest, I understand why my awkward attempt to do more than just dump the water on my head made them laugh.

My oldest son Thomas went to Boston College and was part of the athletic department as manager of the men’s basketball team for four years so when we heard of Pete Frates, a captain for the BC baseball team, diagnosed with ALS we were saddened like many. Thomas also knew Dick Kelly, the Boston College Media Relations Specialist, who battled the disease, loved the basketball team and died from it. I also knew someone with it, a friend named Mark Airel, which made me eager to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds and a cure for ALS.

The biggest take-away for me in the past year running my business, while dealing with alopecia, is the realization that life and business goes on when you have a medical diagnosis. Fortunately for me, alopecia is not a life-threatening disease only a life-altering one. But Pete’s death this week, after a seven-year championship run with the deadly disease, reminded me that sometimes life’s lessons are not to defeat us but to lift us to a higher place where we can make a difference for others.

Sometimes there isn’t a reason or rationale for being dealt bad luck in business, poor health, unhappy marriages or defeats in corporate endeavors, but if we look at the challenges as opportunities to advance our strength, insight, and selves while helping to give back, share or comfort others going through a similar situation, then our sorrows turn into unexpected abundance. It was a reason I took the risk of publishing my first book about the loss of my self-identity and lessons in kindness and compassion since becoming a bald woman. Instead of thinking, “Why me?” and being sad, I thought, “How can I help others in a similar situation?” and then I acted.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you we all face challenges. There is no escaping the truth of life’s full experience. Some of us are dealt a better hand than others and the choice is all about what we do with that hand? Can we find fortune where there is ruin or wellness where there is sickness or hope when there is none? I believe we can. I know I have. I continue to believe it is a choice as evident by Peter Frates who decided to take his diagnosis and turn it into good for others facing the disease in the future.

When we choose to focus on the positive things we can do with our businesses and lives, we might just end up like Pete raising 100 million dollars for research and a cure while touching the lives of millions with a cool bucket of ice-cold water.

An Early Christmas Present

December 6, 2019

Friday Feeling, Inspiration and Motivation for Women and Women with Alopecia or Breast Cancer

Huge, white snowflakes dotted the air as four new female friends exited the government building. Thirty minutes prior, they did not know each other although they are connected by a medical diagnosis hidden under real hair wigs and a rose-colored hat. The government guards asked for photo identification when they first arrived never noticing anything out-of-the-ordinary about their appearance.

Thirty minutes earlier the women, along with the father of one of the young women in attendance, shared their struggles with their diagnosis of alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that affects 6.8 million people in the U.S. One woman brought the listeners to tears as she recounted her twenty-one year battle as a woman entrepreneur covering up her condition from customers and sharing heartache about her teenage son with the same disorder. Another very stylish woman who went last telling her story, admitted to wearing a wig since she was fifteen just like the young woman whose father brought her to the meeting to share why having a wig was essential for her well being.

I was wearing my new rose-colored hat, without a wig, so I could take off the hat and show the people at the table my baldness from the disease while speaking about losing my identity and revenue as a small business owner after a year and a half of losing my hair with medical sabbaticals. The stark look of my round, shiny head has become my unexpected business card in many ways and if I wanted to make an impact I felt I had to show it to our state senator’s assistants as we pleaded for their support of a bill that would make wigs an approved medical expenditure by insurance companies and Medicare. The fifteen-year-old girl was brilliant at explaining her struggles playing sports, being bullied at school and living a normal life. Her wig costs $10,000 to start and another $5,000 per year to maintain.

We knew we impacted the listeners who promised to share the bill and its importance with the senators. Realistically they told us, it might take some time, to get passed but they thought their bosses would back the small, simple bill. Emerging from the building with some hope for our shared plight, the snowflakes felt like a sign from heaven telling us we did well.

What else can you do but hope when you approach something new that could make a positive impact in the world? All it took was four brave women, one committed father, people listening with an open heart and a sign from above in the form of snowflakes to feel good about our efforts on behalf of so many other people. It was an early Christmas present, I won’t forget.

Look for the miracles this season.

To buy a copy of “Under the Rose-Colored Hat”, click here.

Close Connections A Must in Entrepreneurship

December 4, 2019

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Motivation for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners and Small Businesses

As the bright sun landed squarely on my eyes, I adjusted my computer camera sitting on top of my laptop at the window’s edge. I promised myself I’d work all winter long in the cold pool house using it as a respite from my traditional workstation in my warm and cozy house. With a scarf slung around my neck and snow boots on my feet, I turned up the heaters and prepared for my Facebook Live interview. Half joking I said, “Sure, Syracuse finally has sunshine when I have an interview.”

As the interviewer, a woman entrepreneur named Dale L’Ecuyer, appeared on the screen, she admitted having to pull curtains closed to shut out the light. We were both excited to literally see each other since it had been a while due to my medical sabbatical. A lot changes in a year and a half, as we discovered talking about changes in our lives and businesses. Dale was now taping a successful Facebook Live series called “Create Your Best Life” expanding her network of customers, viewers, and interviewees. Because of this success, Dale agreed to be a speaker at our December 12th Saratoga and Albany event sharing how using Facebook Live was growing her business.

As I wore my “Women Supporting Women” rose-colored hat, we talked about lessons learned from my medical sabbatical to enrich other listener’s lives. Some of the pointers included staying in touch with customers on a face-to-face basis, using new technologies to communicate differently, and being transparent about being away from business. Although I couldn’t see who was listening to the interview, I hoped it was making a difference.

To sum up the experience, Dale and I were two women entrepreneurs cross-promoting and cross collaborating on new technology to widen both circles and drive attention to our business services and products. We could do it because we were connected electronically. But to be honest with you, we are both more excited to see each other in person the following week when a friendly hug allows us to enjoy each other’s company.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is simply to remind you that as glorious as technology is in today’s business world, nothing can replace the heart-warming, face-to-face experiences we have with other humans in the same room at an event, at a meeting or sharing lunch. Women entrepreneurs must remember to use both forms of communication to stay connected to valuable people in their circles.

With technology, we are quickly in touch with people hundreds of miles away, but in person, we literally come in touch with others immediately enjoying a more in-depth experience. Don’t forget how that feels and the impact it makes in the short and long term.

Interested in attending the Women TIES Saratoga and Albany Event – Click here.

Interested in buying Tracy’s new book “Under the Rose-Colored Hat” – Click here.

Marketing Monday, Cyber Monday and Book Launches

December 2, 2019

Marketing Monday, Cyber Monday and Book Launch Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

A quarter-of-a-century after starting my first business, I would have bet this aging woman entrepreneur would have known most topics related to running a small enterprise, but I was wrong. Being wrong sometimes is the best thing about entrepreneurship because we learn and learning helps us and others as we share lessons with them. Women entrepreneurs are awesome at sharing failures, unsuccessful attempts, and wounds from the brave life of running a company with other women. It is one of our strengths.

Launching my first book, “Under the Rose-Colored Hat” on Amazon, with the help of a knowledgeable book consultant, has been an eye-opening experience. I couldn’t have imagined cooking a Thanksgiving turkey for my family would correlate with checking the status of my brand new book’s ranking on Amazon. At one point I reconciled the fact, I couldn’t do both things at the same time and enjoy the day so family came first…..and checking the rankings came later while the family was watching football.

It’s been six days since my book launched. Never knowing an Amazon bestseller means hitting a certain ranking within seven days of a book launch, when 5500 books are published on Amazon daily, means I am learning valuable lessons to share with my membership of women entrepreneurs. Having a “book launch team” is something new to me too but 30 of my family, friends, and members jumped on board and have been sharing my book link with their network. This is even more wisdom for me to share with the next woman entrepreneur launching her own book.

Another fascinating factor in this new process of launching a book is the new creative marketing and advertising technology to create advertisements, social media marketing posts and book images to use to market a book. Small business owners don’t have time to take marketing courses so launching a new product, like a book, takes one out of their comfort zone and into a new educational curve to enhance their business knowledge for future endeavors.

On this Marketing Monday, which is also Cyber Monday, consider ways to increase your marketing knowledge to advance your business through increased studies, experiments, and conversations. If you’d like to support my new book on Amazon, please click on this link. If you need an answer to anything I posted today, feel free to leave a comment and I promise to share my knowledge with you because that’s how it works in small business today.

Thanksgiving, Pilgrims and Women Entrepreneurs

November 27, 2019

Inspiration, Wednesday Wisdom, Thanksgiving Message for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

Several summers ago my youngest sister decided to chronicle one side of our family’s history. Much to our surprise, our grandmother’s descendants traveled from England on the Mayflower. As my sister traced our grandmother’s paternal lineage she discovered distant relatives lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York; never moving past the east coast and deciding to stay where the winds took them.

Somewhere in photos from a hundred years ago was an Indian woman dressed in white standing next to a gentleman in a military dress in a grassy knoll. Never able to jog our grandmother’s memory about who the Indian princess was, we assumed part of our history included Native American connections. My grandmother was a dark-haired, dark-skinned woman with some facial attributes of Native Americans. Equally my grandmother’s two brothers and my father have distinctive-looking facial features and skin as our country’s first inhabitants.

Discovering my grandmother’s history makes tomorrow’s holiday sparkle in new ways as I contemplate the brave journey of the pilgrims who crossed a vast ocean not knowing what waited on the shore. Their fearlessness and adventurous spirit, handed down through genes, rest inside their descendants. Could it be my entrepreneurial spirit was based on the bravery of these descendants who took risks to enjoy a different way of life?

The pilgrim’s trek reminds me of the recent travels of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist, who sailed across the ocean waves on a zero-emissions craft to enlighten the world about the damage of greenhouse gases. There is still so much discovery to be made in this great world of ours. Every day as new women start their own businesses or seasoned female business owners offer new products and services to engage and help their customers, we sense a similar tinge of excitement as our country’s founders.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to inspire you to keep being fearless, adventuresome and tenacious in your entrepreneurial endeavors. Remember most of us came from pilgrims who sailed across the ocean blue with hope in their hearts for a better way to live. Their spirit lives on in us and girls like Greta Thunberg. Smooth sailing isn’t for the faint of heart and either is trying to change the world through a passionate business mission.

Buckle in and take on some new endeavors with a hopeful heart, intrigued spirit and eager attitude to see how your life can change by setting sail on new waters towards a different horizon. I bet you discover and experience new wonders you haven’t imagined before.

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