Please help me welcome our Guest Blogger, Sarah Jones, who is sharing natural tips on how to get a better night’s rest.
How to Reduce Stress: Improve Your Sleep Health
Stress is the main cause for a sleepless night. Stress factors plague us daily and heighten our anxiety which can cause precious hours of sleep to escape us at night. This can quickly turn into a vicious cycle as less sleep can lead to more stress, which then in turn makes sleep difficult again. To nip this in the bud we need to focus on improving our sleep health.
Sleep and Why We Need It
Sleep is one thing we all need, whether it be a few hours or several hours, our bodies need time to rest and recuperate. Sleep helps our systems restore as well as improve our cognitive abilities during the hours we are awake. Non-REM and REM are two states of sleep that each of us need as well. Non-REM is considered a deep sleep and in order to feel fully rested, we must reach this stage of sleep each evening.
Stress Versus Sleep
Stress and sleep are conflicting states that do not support or welcome each other. Stress can be accrued throughout the day, increasing and decreasing depending on the stimuli in our lives. Stress is counterproductive to sleep, and many of us toss and turn because anxiety from our stress has disturbed our ability to decompress and relax. Both stress and anxiety can be dealt with in healthy ways to help us relax and let us sleep.
Tips For A Restful Sleep
One of the most suggested tips for achieving better sleep is to avoid the use of electronics around bedtime. Many of us tend take our iPad, laptop or smartphone to browse through social media before calling it quits for the day. The brightness of the screen(s) and mental stimulation increase awareness and actually promote a more “awake” and distracting atmosphere which detracts from a restful evening.
Another key factor to reaching that restful night is to avoid caffeine. Caffeine can dwindle in our systems for much longer than many of us realize, so enjoy that cup of coffee in the morning, but avoid caffeine in the hours before its time to sleep for the night.
Caffeine isn’t the only liquid you should avoid before sleeping. Alcohol is a popular drink in the evenings and often used as a “night cap.” Alcohol can initially help us fall asleep, but it has consequences that may arise after the first few hours of sleep. Alcohol causes people to wake more often due to restlessness as well as to relieve a full bladder. This beverage too should be avoided in the evenings in the hours before bedtime.
To further reduce stress and achieve more restful slumber, you can actually promote rest with a few specific food items. Milk, halibut, avocados, eggs, walnuts, potatoes, bananas, and oats all encourage the body to rest. Keep in mind that overeating will keep you up at night as will heavy meals.
Exercising is not only beneficial for your physical state, it is beneficial to your mental state as well. Exercising daily helps relieve insomnia, according to the WebMD and studies that have been conducted. Exercise affects us differently, so if you are more alert after exercising, it is best to do so in the morning.
Relaxation exercises done before bed can also help lower stress and anxiety levels. According to Dr. Michael Breus the “Sleep Doctor,” breathing exercises are an excellent way to achieve a restful night. Dr. Breus suggests getting into a comfortable position and inhaling for 4 seconds, then holding your breath for 7 seconds. After that, exhale for 8 seconds, making it a long, slow exhale. Completing this exercise a few times before bed can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
Dr. Breus also encourages the Progressive Relaxation technique. This exercise can be done as part of a nightly ritual to ease tension and to encourage relaxation. Starting with your feet, tense and relax the muscles in them, slowly working your way up to your head and neck, progressively tightening and untightening all your muscles. Focusing on the areas that hold more tension are those that you carry stress on the most. Relaxing these muscles will encourage better rest at night.
Trying one or all of these techniques can help increase relaxation and benefit us in a good night’s sleep that is restful, not wakeful. This exercises and tips can be done throughout the day or whenever you feel stressed.
Sarah is the Editor of Sleepy Deep. Feeling the repercussions of being an irregular sleeper for far too long, she decided to do something about it. She learned why sleep is so important and how to maximize it, and is now helping others who are struggling to find their right sleep routine.
My special guest blogger today is Suzie Kolber, who is an expert in coming up with just the right words we can all use when we wish to offer words of sympathy to bereaved friends and work associates. Sometimes it can be a real challenge to say something other than a cliche or platitude, and so I know you’ll enjoy Suzie’s ideas for how we can be more supportive during those unsettling and precarious times everyone encounters in life.
Here’s her article:
Common Mistakes People Make When They Offer Condolences
Talking to someone who has just lost a loved one is never easy. In fact, many people avoid the situation by staying away or sending a generic card. They are afraid of saying the wrong thing. While there is no one right way to offer condolences, there are a few mistakes well-meaning people often make. Learn from others so you don’t make the same errors.
Saying “It will get better.”
While you know the person won’t always feel like they do right now, telling them so only trivializes their feelings. Instead, you want them to know it’s okay to feel this way. You have no idea how long it will take for their heart to mend and for them to feel like resuming life again.
In place of telling someone to cheer up or that they will feel better in time, you may say something like “I’m here for you if you need to talk.” This lets the person know they don’t have to pretend to feel better if they don’t.
Trying to cheer them up
Everyone moves through the stages of grief at their own pace, and you can’t hurry it along. If the person is feeling sad, they don’t necessarily want you trying to make the smile or laugh. They may not be ready to move forward with their daily lives because it feels like they are leaving the deceased person behind.
You don’t want to avoid talking about the person who passed away because it may actually make them feel better. Hearing stories about that person from your point of view may be the healing they need. And you might be surprised to find it does cheer them up. While you may not enjoy talking about sad things, forcing conversation on superficial topics because they are happy or neutral won’t ease the person’s pain or make them forget about their loved one.
Pretending nothing has changed
Many people feel awkward talking to the loved one of someone who died. They aren’t sure what to say, and so they try to avoid any mention of the person. They will talk about the weather, what’s going on at work or other normal stuff. While this may be helpful, don’t purposefully avoid talking about the person who died.
The family member knows they are gone, and they will feel the silence as you struggle to avoid mentioning the person. Instead, mention them as it feels normal. Talking about the person is one way the loved one has of keeping their memory alive. Don’t be afraid to talk about serious and sad subjects. Ignoring them won’t make them go away, and the discussion can help the person deal with their emotions.
Knowing the right thing to say can be difficult, but knowing what not to say can be even harder. Just know that if your heart is in the right place, the person will understand what you can’t find the words to say. Your presence means more than any words, so don’t avoid interaction with the family just because you aren’t sure what you should say to them.
Suzie Kolber is a writer at Words of Condolences
Have you ever thought about what everything in the universe is made out of? It’s energy! All of us are vibrating energy beings, and we, along with everything else we can perceive, are vibrating at different frequencies, which are then interpreted by our senses. We know that we can’t see a radio frequency with our everyday sight, but we can perceive it with our ears.
The importance of understanding the basics of energy—without the need to get into quantum mechanics or even a beginner’s course in radio frequencies—is that it relates to the results we get in life.
The following statement has been attributed to Albert Einstein: “Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”
When he says that we need to “match” the frequency of what we want, and then we’ll get it, what he’s talking about is becoming in harmony with our desires. Let’s say you want to write a book. If you keep that thought in the realm of a wish, or you just talk about it all the time to your friends but you never actually write a word (or maybe a few notes), you might upset with yourself that you didn’t complete a book but that result wouldn’t surprise you.
In other areas of our lives, however, we tend to overlook the connection between the energy or “feeling” we are emitting, and the energy of what we want. We figure it’s bad luck that we never attract a guy who treats us well, or it’s bad luck we get passed over for a promotion at work time and again. But if that is a pattern you recognize in your own life, take a look at what you might be doing wrong as far as matching frequencies. If you want a soulmate in your life, start matching the energy that person would emit: caring, compassionate, generous, loving, and so on. Make a list of all the qualities you want this companion and lover to have, and then be sure you are demonstrating those qualities yourself! That action will do far more to attract your romance than all the makeovers and dating tips can ever do for you.
Try this with everything in your life that you wish to improve. List the qualities that person with the promotion should have, and make sure you act as if you are already that person. Don’t wait until you get the job, that’s Old Worldview thinking. Demonstrate today that you are the one deserving of the job, and it will be yours. You’ll magnetize it to you, perhaps at a different company, so don’t get discouraged and give up before the results come true.
For many of us, we grew up being told that faith means believing in the unseen, and it was used as a way to explain why we should accept certain religious dogma and teachings without the proof that we were logically requesting. For many people, faith still is synonymous with their chosen religion. And for that reason, people of a more secular mindset will find themselves ignoring or pushing away lessons that include the words “have faith,” in the assumption the lesson is a religious teaching of some kind.
Faith is belief in the power of the universe, God, Source, Universal Mind, One Mind—we have many names we use for the unexplainable force of creation. Of course there are many millions of people who doggedly believe that “God” is an old man with a long white beard sitting on a throne off in the blue yonder, ready to punish the wrongdoers and reward the faithful. That conception was based on the image of Zeus when early Christians were seeking ways to convert “pagans” away from their beliefs in multiple gods and into a belief of their own three-in-one godhead.
When you have faith in manifestations, it means that you understand the mental process of creation: first form an image—that is always based on a desire for expansion, for joy, for more beauty—then have full faith in the process that says believe it is yours, expect it to come, and it will be yours.
We tend to falter in the “faith” segment of the creation process because of the challenge of believing in the unseen and understanding unseen doesn’t mean it’s not on the way, and that is how we end up with so many undesirable results in life. But with practice, we can and do get better and better at manifesting happy and healthy lives.
Do you ever lounge around and daydream, coming up with pictures of what you’d like your life to be, relationships you’d enjoy, success you’d be happy to experience? Wait, did I just hear you snort in disbelief that I must not understand how busy you are?
We’re all busy, and we end up with lives so crowded with events on the calendar and chores on the never-ending To Do list that we barely have time to sleep let alone sit idly under a tree and think blissful thoughts. We’ve had daydreaming drilled out of us, usually about the age we start first grade, although sometimes sooner if the day care giver or pre-school teacher runs a tight ship based on old ideas of order through discipline.
But when we keep our focus on all that needs to be done, it’s far too easy to drift away from all that we’d love. And that love of life is why we are here. We’re here to experience more joy and more expansion, and we do that by dreaming up projects and ideas and relationships and events … and then we create them. The joy comes in the doing of these creative things, in the dreaming and unfolding. Not in the goal-setting and grim attention to checklists and spreadsheets and agenda books.
Here’s a lesson from a book titled Immortal Man by Neville Goddard: “First, have a dream, and by a dream I mean a daydream, a gloriously wonderful daydream. Then ask yourself, ‘What would it be like if it were true that I am now the man [or woman] I am dreaming I would like to be. What would it be like?’ Then catch the mood of the wish fulfilled and drench yourself with that feeling.”
Joe Vitale calls it “Nevillizing” a dream when we follow Goddard’s instructions. So what will you Nevillize today? What dream can you snatch off the cold back burner and light a fire under by imagining it to the extent that you fully experience all the details of how it feels, just as if it was happening now?
If you’re not sure what to pick, then start here with an intention such as this: “Today I will allow myself to be playful and enjoy my life. Okay, I like that. Now, what would that feel like? Mmm, like joy and happiness and laughter and dancing around? Yes! And I feel it now—it feels like I just woke up on the first day of vacation and the world is smiling.”
As I sat to write this blog post, I glanced down at my feet and the sight of my fresh pedicure with bright red polish instantly took me back to early childhood, as if I’d stepped into a time machine and been swept away in a flash to being about three years old and watching my mother get ready to go out to dinner with my father. She was putting on red lipstick. She wore red lipstick exclusively for many years, and I thought it was simply wonderful. For special occasions, she took time out of her busy life — raising a big family, sewing our clothes, cooking incredible meals including baking, also gardening and sundry other activities that I am much more grateful and appreciate of now than I was at the time (amazing how much we take for granted, isn’t it?) — to put on matching nail polish. One day, I borrowed the nail polish, took it with me into the bedroom my two oldest sisters shared — because it was a sunny room and I needed good lighting for what I had in mind — sat on the floor and carefully painted my toenails. I can remember looking down in satisfaction at what a wonderful job I had done. A bit later that same day, I was playing at a neighbor’s house and my friend’s mom came into the room where we were playing dolls. The mother caught sight of my sandaled feet (this was summer in Texas) and said something like, “Oh my, you painted your toenails!” I remember being astounded that she knew I was the one who had done it. I really expected her to assume my mother or one of my older sisters had done it for me. Now of course, today, I am sure that red polish was all over my toes and clearly the artwork of a three-year-old, but at the time I was amazed that she guessed it was a DIY project.
But what has this little trip down memory lane got to do with perception? Perception is our point of view, and we use it every waking moment of the day. From my viewpoint as a three-year-old, I’d done such a spectacular job painting my nails that I assumed people would think a teenager or adult had done it for me as a special treat. From the perception of my friend’s mother, who had seen pedicures before, it was clearly the work of a little girl. In cases such as this, the difference in perception didn’t have much impact on the world or on the lives of the people in that room.
However, our perception of our life purpose, of our ability to create what we desire, of events going on around us in our community, our country and other nations, all do have an impact, because we make our decisions based on our point of view. As we go through a normal day, perception helps create an efficient way to filter the bombardment of sensory perceptions and information that our brain must process. We choose what we eat, what we wear, what we like and dislike based on many thousands of judgments made over time, starting in early childhood and highly influenced by our family, teachers and peers. Have you ever met or known someone who seemed to be living in a different era? Perhaps they’re long past middle age and still wearing their hair the same style as in high school, eating the same foods, driving the same color of car, and pretty much repeating the life they’ve lived before, year after year. To that person, the sameness of living out a familiar point of view feels safer than changing or shaking things up with something new and different. Usually we say that person is “stuck in time.”
We also gain our perception about major events in the world based on the mindset we hold and the news channel we tune into–it’s easier to listen to what the newscaster is saying and nod in agreement. It’s easier to not have to think much about upsetting situations. It’s easier to say to ourselves: Let someone else do that. After all, I’m just one person so what can I do to change situations?
An important situation that we have collectively formed a “perception” about is that the Dalai Lama, who was forced to flee to India to escape the Red Army in 1959, can never go home again. I realized one day that we were–again, collectively, in the millions–holding an image of the Dalai Lama that was actually keeping him boxed in. Together, we can change that perception, and I invite you to join the movement I’ve founded, called “Restoring Tibet.” By changing our point of view to envision him back home in Tibet, we can and will create a peaceful demonstration of the power of the human mind to affect events.
I took an informal survey to find out what most people are stressed about these days–and it’s no surprise to me that the #1 answer is MONEY! Small business owners worry how they are going to meet payroll and vendor bills, parents worry how they will afford their kids’ education or their own retirement, entrepreneurs worry how they will replace their previous income while building their new business, and everybody seems to be worrying how to enjoy life when they can’t seem to reach their money goals.
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Chronic stress affects everything in your life: your relationships, your job satisfaction, your health, and your sense of personal fulfillment. It’s important to find ways to get your stress level down to a manageable level, but usually when someone is filled with anxiety, and the bills are piling up, it can be hard to consider that relief could be just a thought away. However, that is true, and the reason is that we become what we think about. The more you think about your money worries, the more worries will flood to you, because they are in harmony with whatever your focus of attention is, and you attract more of the same.
There’s a way out, and it’s a simple three-step process that you can practice right now, use as often as you’d like, and share with family and friends. Here’s what you do:
- Breathe in slowly through your nose to the silent count of four, then hold your breath to the count of four, and slowly exhale through your mouth to the count of four. Your stress hormones will settle down instead of firing up even more panic. Repeat a few times until you feel a bit calmer. Understand what you are seeking is a sense of relief so that your mind is open to the next step in this process.
- Bring to mind the outcome that you desire. Perhaps there is a specific amount of money that would bring great relief to you at this time. Imagine how it would feel if that money was in your bank account, and that even after paying the bills, there would be a delightful surplus of funds available to you. How would it feel? Did your shoulders just drop a little? Maybe you didn’t even realize how tensed you’ve been, and how tightly you’ve been holding your body. Shake your arms, wriggle around, signal your body and mind that change is coming. Keep that feeling of relief in your thoughts and bask in how wonderful it feels now the money stress has vanished.
- While holding that feeling of relief, and visualizing yourself smiling at your employees or coworkers and enjoying a few high-fives because you have turned a financial corner, consider an action step you can take in the next five minutes that will lead you toward your success. It might be making a phone call you’ve been putting off because it felt uncomfortable and you worried how the other person would react to you. Go do it now. Successful people make it a habit to do the things they know must be done, even when they don’t really want to do those things. They put the success of the business or project first, and step into the required action. That means, whatever is on your list that you’ve been avoiding even though you know it’s important, contains the seeds to the success and money freedom you desire. But nothing will happen if the bright ideas just stay on paper and never see the light of day.
When you are stuck in a worry and stress mode, that zone of fear will keep you paralyzed. Use the three steps above, take an action, keep visualizing your success and feel it as being real. Think of what you want, not what you don’t want. That’s the key to changing your results.
If you’ve ever woken up and groaned softly to yourself, thinking not-so-kindly about the day ahead, then there’s something important missing in your life–and I think I know what it is…
Passion for your own journey!
If your thoughts revolve around the household, the job, the family’s needs…the chores to be done, the errands to be run, the schedules to be kept as orderly and organized as possible–then you are missing out on the key ingredient of a joyful life. Passion.
Yes, that’s the missing link for many people, because from early childhood most of us were taught things like “Be practical,” “Think it through before you make a decision,” and even things like “What will the neighbors think if you do that?”
If you learned to play it safe, I’ve got good news for you: you can ditch the old rule book starting today, and begin truly living a life that is bursting with satisfaction, fulfillment, and personal growth. Why is growth important? Because without it, you’ll stay stuck and the only thing in the world that doesn’t strive for growth is an old rock that’s stuck in the mud of a river bank. Everything else around is is growing, striving to expand, to create more Life.
Parents, a special caution for you, because if you’re moaning and groaning about your life, what is the lesson you are teaching your children? Unfortunately, you’re modeling behavior that they’ll probably imitate later on, even if they make a conscious decision to do otherwise. Remember all the times when you were a teen and vowed “I’ll never be like my parents!” and then as you got older, married, started a family, those trigger points were hit like a hot button, and you reacted from your old training.
There are over 400 articles at my site, and lots of products and e-course programs I’ve created, so I hope you’ll look around and enjoy a new perspective on your life.
If you’re ready to start creating big quantum leaps in your life and zoom ahead to happier results, believe that you can do it. I know you can!
Recently, a member of my Sales Authenticity and Success Mastermind asked me about my planning process. How do I decide what my business priorities will be? What mindset do I employ?
Since fall is the perfect time for you to start planning your own six- or seven-figure business for the coming year, I thought I’d share with you what I told her:
1. Listen, Act, Trust.
This is my mantra, which I practice all year long. To begin your own planning process, start with listening. Lessons and messages are everywhere, so you want to notice what things keep showing up. Do you keep ending up in a certain market segment or with certain partners, or are your clients asking you for certain things? Can you feel your Trusted Source pulling or pushing you in a certain direction over and over? Listen to that and consider if those messages are pointing the way for your business. You know what they say: If you don’t listen to the taps, you could be asking for the 2×4!
2. What would you love to NOT do anymore?
What do you want to let go of in your business? Or, maybe you like everything you do, but you know you can’t keep adding to your plate without taking something off. Therefore, what could you let go of that you could make up the loss of in other ways? For instance, if you decided that JV and affiliate partnerships weren’t a perfect fit for you anymore, you might make up the loss of the leads through doing a telesummit, podcast or Facebook ads.
3. Use the four Irresistible Offer Litmus Test Questions.
And, finally, to create a very solid foundation for a six- or seven-figure business that serves you as well as your clients, apply the same litmus test to your planning process that you used to design your Irresistible Offer. Those four questions are:
• What is the transformation you want to offer? Even if you’ve had a successful business for years, you’re always evolving and growing, so take the time to look at what’s in your heart. What is the transformation you most want to offer and work on now? In many cases it’s a slight upleveling from the year before, which encompasses what you have already built.
• How would you deliver that transformation? Now that you know what transformation you are committed to providing, you can take a look at how you would deliver it. Most people make the mistake of thinking about delivery first. But putting the transformation first is the key to serving more people and making your sales conversion machine a profit- and difference-making machine. So do you want to be doing live speaking and events? Or has your life come to a place where you want to minimize being on the road so you would prefer a more virtual model. Maybe teleseminars and webinars. Or maybe you want a hybrid, like our model. In any case, you want to take two things into account here: your lifestyle and which delivery model best serves the transformation you are working to provide.
• Is it leveraged? There are only so many hours in a day, so to get to the six- or seven-figure level while still leading a balanced life you’re going to love, you need to be working with more than one person at a time. Will the delivery model you chose above allow for that?
• Do I love it? This is key. You want to be doing what you love, standing on your own dime, not fulfilling somebody else’s idea of what you should do. So even if the signs seem to be pointing in a particular direction, if you don’t love it, don’t go there. And this is important for the delivery model you chose too. If you’re tired of being alone behind your computer, maybe it’s time to build in speaking and some live events or workshops.
BONUS: Give yourself some space.
Don’t try to plan a big future on a sticky note. Use a wall poster. Get everything off your desk. Give yourself actual, physical space to plan the business and life of your dreams.
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It can be really stressful to be a business owner. And there’s a special kind of added stress if you are in business with your spouse!
Whether you are in the planning stage of a new business that you will run together with your mate, or you’ve been operating a family business for years, you are probably already aware that there can be perils to all that togetherness. As someone who was the “mom” part of a home-based construction company for over twenty years, I am pleased to share with you some of the tricks to keep the romance in your marriage while building a thriving business together.
• Decide up front how many hours each of you will devote to the business on a weekly basis. Keep in mind that if one of you will also have the responsibilities of homemaking and caring for children or elderly parents who live with you, those hours of work count, too, toward the whole.
• Talk it over with your tax advisor before selecting the form of business you will operate: sole proprietorship, LLC (Limited Liability Corporation), corporation, or other entity. At first it might seem totally fair that if your husband is the one who will be out making the deals and meeting with clients, while you stay at home working part-time in the business as the bookkeeper and manager, that it’s no big deal if the business is a sole proprietorship in his name. Think it through, and anticipate if you will still be happy being invisible as the business grows and you take a larger role in administration. Also decide how salaries and wages will be paid to each of you.
• Establish a “date night” each week, preferably for dinner outside the home and not just sprawling on the couch in front of television. Keep the romance alive. As your budget allows, hire a babysitter or trade with other parents in your neighborhood who would like a weekly date night, too. Here’s the secret to making this actually work toward keeping your marriage and romance alive: no discussing business during your date! Seriously, it will feel so tempting to catch up on projects, client updates, brainstorm new business ideas. After all, you’re finally in the car together or on the subway, eating in a restaurant or diner, and it seems almost like a waste of valuable business-owner-time to not spend at least part of your evening on catching up. But make it a strict rule, and keep to it.
• Instead of allowing business to encroach on personal time together, set up a weekly status meeting for business projects. Depending on whether both of you are working in your home office, or one of you is out in the field, try to schedule this for daytime hours, perhaps during Friday lunch time. Just as you keep your date night for refreshing your romance, make this business meeting strictly about issues involving the projects you are working on together as mom-and-pop.
• You may wish to also schedule phone calls with each other in a businesslike way when it involves the business, and not just call to chat and then “Oh by the way…” and rattle off a lot of business-related items. Text or call and agree on a time to go over necessary updates, and also for practical home-related tasks like cleaning the garage, fixing the dishwasher, scheduling a car repair. The separation between business and home life is critical in order to not have an unhealthy shift where all you ever talk about is chores and business, and it runs together so that each of you secretly dreads talking to the other because every call turns into an ordeal.
• When your focus is on building a business, it can be tempting to overlook holidays, three-day weekends, and vacations. After all, when you’re keeping the business thriving, it’s hard to get away, and if business isn’t thriving, you want to stay there and drum up new clients. But that Catch-22 will sap your energy, and make you both wonder why it once seemed a great idea to have a family business.
• Take time for your own activities and hobbies, and quickly discuss any resentments or upsets that arise when one person feels overworked while the other still manages to find free time. Work these things out while the issues are small and manageable. As the old saying goes, Never go to bed angry at each other. That includes not going to bed with a resentment that you are nurturing but feel afraid to bring up. Honest communication is the cornerstone of any healthy mom-and-pop establishment, whether you have an office or storefront you go to, or you both work at home.
• Keep up your social life with outside friends, not just business associates, so that you can enjoy the occasional movies or dinner out with other people and talk about topics besides business.
No matter what your work is, it’s important to keep a balance in your life between business and personal goals. Following the tips above should help you keep the lines of communication open with your business partner so that both your marriage and your venture can thrive.
If you need a boost of self-confidence to implement these changes in your family business, check out my Home Training Program “Unstoppable Confidence” CLICK HERE