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

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Wednesday
Jun292016

Three Keys to Having a Healthier Relationship with Something You Don't Like

I hate summer. There, I said it! I can’t believe I’m publicly admitting this but it’s true!

Summer is my least favorite season. “Blasphemy!” you might say. Most people I know adore the summer. It means freedom, family vacations and pool time. It means flexible schedules, fruity drinks and family barbecues.  

But to me, summer spells H-O-T. And I can’t stand being hot! I was born in New York and grew up in Connecticut.  I’ve got bona fide Yankee blood in my veins. When I was a kid, a week of temps in the 80's was a serious heat wave. And yet, I’ve lived the majority of my adult life in the South – Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina (3 different times!), Florida and now Texas.

You’d think I’d be used to summer by now. Maybe even grown to like it a little bit. Sadly, that’s not true. It’s still my least favorite season (Fall is my favorite and winter/spring tie for second depending on where I’m living!)

So how do I deal with it?

I’ve changed my relationship to it.

So take a minute and think about something or someone that you are frustrated with or is driving you a little bit crazy. (Let’s not use “hate” because that’s probably too strong of a word!) What if you could change your relationship with it or them?

  • Your business. (Are there stuck parts? Things you’ve been ignoring?)
  • Your body. (Feeling tired, heavy, uninspired?)
  • Your mother-in-law. (Lucky for me, that’s not an issue… but I know for a lot of folks, it is!)
  • A friend. (You wish you could spend more time together but you are both so busy.)
  • Your child. (Terrible twos or the dreaded teenage years, anyone?)
  • Where you live. (In need of some organization, fresh decorating updates?)

I learned a long time ago the concept of “what you resist persists”. In other words, if you keep focusing negative attention on something and focusing on how much you dislike it, it will continue to be part of your experience and make you miserable. However, if you learn to be at peace and accept your current reality, you can have a different experience of it.

 

So how can you change your relationship with ____________ and create a new reality for yourself?

1.  Stop trying to change it. Don’t expect it to be any different than it is. (When I first moved to Florida, I used to watch the weather, willing the temps to go down into the 70's and 80's, like the summers of my youth. And then I’d get upset or disappointed when it was still in the 90's!)
 
2.  Identify healthy boundaries regarding it. Know what is and what isn’t acceptable. And stick to it. (I get overheated very easily and I used to hike, bike, swim and play tennis outdoors in the heat of the summer with friends but then I’d pay for it the rest of the day with fatigue akin to heat stroke. Now, I just politely say “no thanks” and find other activities to engage in instead.)
 
3.  Seek out ways that you CAN embrace it. If Plan A doesn’t work, try Plan B. (A day at the pool in muggy, stifling Houston is not so much fun. But a day at the beach in Galveston where the breeze is blowing and it is 5 degrees cooler? Let’s go!)

For me, I don’t hate summer any more. I don’t dread it and I don’t badmouth it (OK, well, a little… but I’m a lot better than I used to be…) And as a result, summer is just part of life now. I still look forward to fall but I’m not trying to rush through the summer anymore.

How about you? What are you ready to change your relationship with? Tell me! I’d love to hear about it! 

Here's to summer (like it or not)!

Elizabeth

Wednesday
Jun222016

5 Bits of Wisdom to Help You Stay the Course with Your Self Care

At a recent meeting of the National Speakers Association Houston Chapter, we were given some excellent advice by seasoned speakers who were all past presidents of the organization. As I jotted down their bits of wisdom, it dawned on me that their advice is universal – it applies not only to building and sustaining a speaking business, but it applies to almost any aspect of your life that you want to excel at.

Improving your health. Being a good parent. Cultivating a loving relationship. Tackling a creative project. Caring for aging parents. Managing your finances. Organizing your environment.

And then of course, there’s self care!

Which, in my humble opinion, is the foundation for ALL of those other fabulous life goals.  So here are 5 bits of wisdom to help you stay the course with your self care!

1. Be persistent. This reminds me of the old phrase "When the going gets tough, the tough get going ". One of the common things that I hear from the women in my community is how easy it is to get derailed on the self care journey. You may have the best intentions in the world, but life happens and it's easy to go off course quickly. But what's even harder, is getting back on track.

Boy, don't I know that one? I had plantar fasciitis last year that sidelined me from my regular zumba classes for over 9 months. It has taken me another three months to try to ramp up my exercise routine again now that my foot can handle it. I can't tell you how many times I have fallen off the wagon. But I keep trying and have finally found something that is working for me. (Exercise videos in my living room – not nearly as fun and social as a class at the gym, but I’m more likely to fit it into my busy schedule between running my business, caring for my daughter and caring for my ill mother.)

And because I was persistent, I am finally feeling better again (thanks to my regular exercise routine!)

2.  Be consistent. Sometimes you can get so excited about a new self care idea that you invest time and money up front, but then you never follow through on making that initiative a part of your life. For example, have you ever…

  • Taken a meditation class…but then never meditated again on your own?
  • Bought a journal…and it’s still collecting dust on the shelf?
  • Gotten a great new workout outfit… and it’s still sitting in your drawer?
  • Purchased an online course… but then never followed through to actually participate?

If any of this sounds familiar to you, it’s time to reevaluate your consistency. The key to maintaining your energy, inspiration, health and positive attitude is setting yourself up for success with consistent practices that feed your mind, body and spirit. So just like you shower every day (or most every day!) and brush your teeth and eat three meals (Hopefully!) a day…. Remember, if it’s not in your schedule, it’s not in your life! What practices can you do consistently that will support your foundation of self care?

3. Stay connected. Seek out support and encouragement of friends who are on a similar path with their self care. Spend time with your buddies at yoga class, cook with mom friends who also want to make nutritious meals for their kiddos or join a meditation group online with a master teacher like Deepak Chopra!  

Or if you want more 1:1 support, hire a coach or personal trainer or talk to your best friend for more accountability. The more you talk to other people about your goals, dreams and plans, the more likely you are to stay the course, to be both persistent and consistent, and achieve what you set out to accomplish.

4. Diversify. People often associate this concept with finances and investments. Business owners are familiar with this idea to make sure that they incorporate multiple streams of income in their business model. But variety is vital for your self care, too – you’ve got to mix it up a little with the activities and strategies that nourish and feed you.

If you do the same yoga poses every morning, or walk at the exact same route in your neighborhood or make the same five dinners week after week, you are going to get into a rut. BORING!

The more variety you can introduce, the more committed you become to the process.   Also, you need different things at different times. You may come home from work and be absolutely exhausted. One day, you may simply need to go for a run to get the endorphins flowing. But the next day, you may really just need to come home and grab a 20 minute catnap to revitalize your energy.

Change it up and see how that inspires you.

5. Do what works for you. This may be the most important piece of advice of all. In our noisy world, there are so many voices vying for our attention. Do this! Try that!

You may have a friend who is a runner and who swears by running. Another friend may have turned vegetarian and is reaping incredible health benefits and says "Everyone should do this! " Someone else may have gotten into the essential oil craze and swear up-and-down it's the only medicine you’ll ever need.

Please don’t jump on the latest fads because someone else said you should. I’m all for trying new things, but whatever you do, make sure that your self care choices fit with your values, your personality and your deep needs.

Revitalizing Actions: Take these questions to your journal, chat with a good friend or send me an email and let me know what bubbles up!

  • How can you be more persistent with your self care goals?
  • Where can you be more consistent in your self care routine?
  • What connections do you want to deepen or initiate to support your self care goals?
  • Where are you in a rut and where can you diversify?
  • What self care activity or perspective can you claim that works perfectly for you? 

Here’s to staying the course!

Elizabeth

Wednesday
Jun152016

In the Wake of Orlando, Why Self Care Still Matters

I don’t know about you but I’m not normally someone who watches the news.  However, I haven’t been able to tear myself away from it since the shooting in Orlando a few days ago.

Here we are, almost exactly a year from the devastating shooting in a Charleston church, and once again, the United States is rocked by a senseless shooting, the most deadly shooting in American history.

I’ve been trying to find the right words to share with you. And I’m at a loss. So instead, I thought I’d share with you some highlights of what I wrote last year after Charleston….

 

When we practice smart self care, we learn to love ourselves a little more every day.

When we love ourselves more, we love others more.

When we love others more, we feel connected and part of a greater community.

When we are part of a community, we work harder to promote cooperation and collaboration.

When we collaborate, barriers are slowly dismantled, old patterns change and we contribute to a more peaceful world.

So, by deduction:

WHEN WE PRACTICE SMART SELF CARE, WE CONTRIBUTE TO A MORE PEACEFUL WORLD.

 

In the Charleston blog post, I suggested some things we can do when we feel helpless. In addition to being kind, surrounding yourself with positive people, loving your neighbors and speaking up against discrimination in any form, there’s one more important thing that you can do.

Take action and write your representatives.  Make your voice be heard. Ask the people who represent you in Washington D.C. to stand up for what’s right and make changes to our gun laws so that we have common sense gun laws. There is absolutely no reason for any private American citizen (non-military) to own an assault rifle. It’s that simple. We need to let our elected leaders know that we’ve had enough.

And after you’ve taken 10 minutes to contact your elected leaders, go do something loving for yourself or another. Because love trumps hate. Always.

Peace, blessings and love to you and yours,

Elizabeth