Next SWIB meeting April 17th

Click below for details and join us!

Next Sugar Land -WIB meeting April 24th

 Sugarland's NEW networking group!

 

What if meeting your needs actually meant everyone wins? Watch this!

Take back your life! - Get the Revitalized Business Woman’s Manifesto now!

 

      
 
  

But wait! There’s more!

You’ll also receive regular revitalization tips from Elizabeth Barbour.

WOO HOO!


Look, she’s a cover girl!

 

Elizabeth Barbour, M. Ed.
The Revitalized Business Woman
Missouri City (Houston), Texas

Call Today: (281) 778-7298

Latest News

Wednesday
Apr262017

What I'm Reading Now...

"You know, I didn't grow up with books."

My mom mumbled this to me from her hospital bed one quiet afternoon while spending a grueling 16 days in the hospital last spring.

I paused before responding to her because my brain was trying to compute what she said with the bibliophile that I knew her to be. Ever since I was a little kid and can remember, she was always reading a book. For the 20+ years of her retirement, she worked the crossword puzzle in the newspaper every single day.

She loved words. I can remember several summers in my childhood where she and I played a game of Scrabble every single day. I remember winning the “Most Books Read Over the Summer Award” in 4th grade. I think I still have the plaque somewhere to prove it! She inspired me to love words, too.

I said, "What do you mean Mom?"

She replied "At the orphanage. There were no books. No one ever read to me."

I'm not sure where this random thought came from as we were sitting watching HGTV together, but I know that she spent a lot of time in the final months of her life reliving aspects of her childhood. This must have been a memory that popped up for her.

I felt tears well up in my eyes and my throat constrict as the tragedy of this reality settled into my brain. My mother had a very difficult childhood and overcame all kinds of abuse to become the strong, independent woman that she was. This revelation about not growing up with books and how she didn't let that hold her back from developing a love of reading gave me an even deeper insight into her personality and to her determination to make a better life for herself despite the challenging start she was given in life.

It also helped me to understand her fierce commitment to my education. She tells me that I was reading at age 3 and she got really frustrated when my daughter, Riley, didn't start reading until age 5. She thought that she was responsible for teaching me to read at an early age and didn't understand that even though I was doing the same things with Riley that she did with me, all kids develop at different rates. (Riley is now an avid reader at least a grade level ahead of her peers! I know that Mom is smiling down on her from heaven and also breathing a sigh of relief! Ha ha!)

I think my mom loved to read because it transported her to places she never had a chance to visit and she learned about ideas, experiences, and people that she might never encounter. Neither of my parents went to college and while they did some traveling in the U.S., they tended to stay close to home. She loved the detailed British settings of Maeve Binchy books, the controversial ethical issues that Jodi Picoult tackles and the spiritual elements in Sue Monk Kidd’s writing.

Mom and I talked about books a lot before she got sick and even more so during the 3 ½ years of her valiant battle with cancer. Although I tend to read a lot of self-help type books, we found common ground in recent best sellers like Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Ronald Balson’s Once We Were Brothers.

While I miss having my Mom here to talk about books, I’ll forever be grateful to her for instilling the love of reading in me. I buy books like most women buy shoes. And I’m perfectly OK with that!

I'm reading several books right now – some fiction, some memoir, some spiritual - and wanted to share them with you in case any of them piques your interest. I tend to be a personal development junkie but I haven’t read any Brene Brown in over a year! (She’d better write a new one soon!)

  1. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – Even though I had heard of the book and knew that the author dies at the end, I wasn’t prepared for the depth of emotion I experienced as the book came to a close. Obviously, reading about someone dying from cancer when my own mom just died from cancer made me a little rawer than your average reader, but the passion with which the author writes about both living and dying is truly a gorgeous piece of art. 
  2. Childhood Disrupted by Donna Jackson Nakazawa – A new friend told me about this book based on an article that she had read about a correlation between childhood trauma and lifelong chronic illness. Having lived with and managed chronic illness for a few decades now, I knew immediately that I had to read about this cutting edge research based on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Survey. I find myself nodding my head and underlining a lot as I not only see myself reflected in the author’s research but also see the stories of dozens of my clients and friends. 
  3. The Book of Joy by The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu – This book just makes me HAPPY! Of course, it should, it’s a book about Joy! But what I love about it is being privy to the intimate friendship that two of our world’s greatest spiritual leaders, a Christian and a Buddhist monk, as they tackle the immense subject of how to find joy in a world fraught with sorrow. This is a lovely read and I have given it as a gift to several friends and clients. 
  4. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Oooof. This was a tough read. My book club read it together and it was deep, intense and hard to digest at moments. While it is a work of fiction (The author’s reimagining of the underground railroad is really creative.), it’s obviously based in fact and on the atrocious history that the U.S. has with slavery. I’m glad I read it, although some of the images will haunt me for years to come. An important read at this time in our country. 
  5. The Magic of Memoir Edited by Myers and Warner – I’m taking this book with me on vacation soon. As I write sporadically on my own book, I wonder how much of it is going to be memoir so I figure that I had better learn about the art and see if it’s a good fit for my writing style.

 What do you like to read? What are you reading now? Have you read any of these? Please hit “reply” and share with me. I love talking about books!

Happy Reading!

Elizabeth

 

 

Wednesday
Apr192017

Permission to Rest: It's Not Just Ok...Sometimes It's Necessary!

I was a keynote speaker at a luncheon meeting last week and during the networking hour, I spoke with two women who had recently been sidelined from work for health issues. One was out of work for a week due to a bad infection. The other was out of work for almost two months due to pneumonia.

They both spoke about how challenging it was to return to work and pace themselves according to their energy levels. It’s easy to get caught up in the commitments of regular life and maintain a really busy schedule.

In our culture that values

  •  doing over being
  • growth over maintenance
  • busy work over stillness

it can feel like an act of rebellion to declare “I need to rest.”

I’ve struggled with it myself lately – taking the time I need to rest. I’ve got some health challenges going on so I’ve scheduled some doctor’s appointments to get to the bottom of everything. I trust that I will figure it out with some professional guidance.

While I’m able to get through the day-to-day commitments of getting my daughter off to school, meeting with coaching clients, running my networking groups, preparing for speaking engagements, writing my weekly articles for you and cooking dinner for my family… there hasn’t been energy for much else.

I see rest as an invitation to go deeper in my personal journey. I’ve been spending more time napping, journaling, reading and meditating. I’m going for slow walks by the creek with Daisy the dog in the early mornings before it gets too hot. I’m going to bed earlier (most days).

Choosing to rest is helping me to get clear about my priorities and know that all of the other “to do’s” can wait until I regain my health.

So if for any reason you are feeling the need to rest more than usual, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite quotes that remind me that slowing down is not only OK but sometimes it’s necessary.

 

6 Inspiring Quotes to Help You Get The Rest You Crave

 “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you.” – Anne Lamott

 “Solitude, says the moon shell.  Every person, especially every woman, should be alone sometime during the year, some part of each week, and each day…the core, the inner spring, can best be re-found through solitude.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer; since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power or judgment...Go some distance away because the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and a lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen." –  Leonardo da Vinci

“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” – Banksy

"An amazing thing happens when we slow down. We start to get flashes of inspiration. We reach a new level of understanding and even wisdom. In a quiet moment, we can get an intuitive insight that can change our entire life and the lives of the people around us in incredibly positive ways. And those changes can last a lifetime. Living more simply will make it possible to create those quiet moments. Out of those quiet moments, miracles happen. Be open to them.” – Elaine St. James

All life requires a rhythm of rest.  There is a rhythm in the way day dissolves into night, and night into morning. There is a rhythm as the active growth of spring and summer is quieted by the necessary dormancy of fall and winter. There is a tidal rhythm, a deep, eternal conversation between the land and the great sea. ” ― Wayne Muller

If you are feeling the call to rest, please heed it.

It doesn’t mean you have to stop for good. But you will benefit by pausing. I guarantee it!

Here’s to more rest… for all of us!

Elizabeth

P.S.  If you’re going to make an effort for some extra rest this week, tell me about it so I can cheer you on!

P.P.S. Perhaps you’re not the one who needs this message but you have a loved one that does… please forward this article to them … with lots of love from you, of course!

Wednesday
Apr122017

7 Ways to Make Celebration Part of Your Business Strategy

Over the past month, I’ve talked with three different women business owners who are reaching important milestones in their business this year – either their first year in business, their fifth or their tenth!

When I asked each of them “What are you planning to do to celebrate?”  They all shrugged their shoulders, mumbled a bit and said “Yes, I guess I should do *something*…”

Here’s the deal…

With all of the stress and overwhelm in our day to day lives, we need more fun, laughter, love and joy in our lives – and in our businesses. And planning  celebrations (big and small)  is a great way to do it!

Perhaps you read last week’s article Celebrate the Little Things where my virtual assistant, Danielle, and I were celebrating two solid years of publishing our e-zine! A small victory, but worthy of celebration no less. I had a lot of readers e-mail me to say “You’re right, Elizabeth, I really do need to celebrate the little things more!”

Don’t you enjoy being invited to a birthday party? I sure do!

Isn’t it FUN when someone says “Hey, we’re celebrating an anniversary over here – want some cake?”

Or “Woo hoo! We just hit some sales goals! Let’s go grab lunch and revel in our success!”

The truth is, the world is CRAVING more things to celebrate. So let me give you some ideas to make celebration a bigger part of your business strategy!

7 Ways to Make Celebration Part of Your Business Strategy

1.  Celebrate Your Anniversaries Publicly. If you’re celebrating one, five, ten or twenty years in business, let everyone know! Put up a sign in your office. Put a banner on your website or your email signature. Throw a party! Whatever you do, share it with your clients and they’ll love to celebrate with you. (When I celebrated 15 years in business two years ago, I threw a Gratitude Festival on Facebook. Search #gratitudefestival15 and you’ll see all the posts I did during the month of August 2015 related to it!)

2.  Acknowledge Milestone Events for your clients. Birthday, anniversaries, weddings, births of children, retirements… they are all special events for your clients. Call them, send them an email or use a cool program like Send Out Cards to send personalized greeting cards!

3.  Host an employee appreciation day/week/month where you celebrate the successes of your people. Bring donuts into the office, take everyone out to lunch, send flowers or give gift certificates for Starbucks.

4.  Host a client appreciation day/week/month where you celebrate your client successes. Share their stories and testimonials publicly (with their permission of course). Thank them for being loyal customers by hosting a morning coffee gathering or a late afternoon “happy hour”. Give them fun presents or simply hand write sincere thank you notes.

5.  Celebrate any media mentions – If you get some great TV coverage, an article written about you or any other time in the spotlight, tell your friends! Have you ever walked into a restaurant that’s gotten a good review in the local newspaper and the article is framed hanging in the front entryway? There’s a reason for that! They are celebrating the public recognition AND they are telling you, their customers, that “Hey, people think the food’s great here!”

6.  Share the news about any awards you’ve received.  A realtor client/friend of mine received a top award nationally last year and she wasn’t planning on sharing it on Facebook because she doesn’t relish being in the spotlight. I coached her to present it in a way that allowed her to express gratitude to her clients... “Thank you so much to my amazing clients who helped to make this possible” – It’s possible to share your successes and still be humble.

7.  Announce any new trainings or degrees – If you got a graduate degree, completed a certification course, completed a really cool continuing education class or anything in that vein,  your clients want to know that you are always learning more in your field and applying what you’ve learned to help them solve their problems! Be sure to share that news with them! 

Oprah said, “The more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate!”

I totally agree.

What celebrations will you be planning now that you’ve got some fresh new ideas?

Email me… I want to know!

Elizabeth