Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Who are you loving, Pearl?

This month is known worldwide as the month where grand gestures are made to show someone how much you love them. February is the time of year outside of Christmas were people have this weird sense of obligation to spend the most resources as a strange, but familiar yet arbitrary indicator of devotion for someone other than oneself.  Though the origins of this day only continue to perpetuate some sort of lovemaking whether committed or casual in today's practice, it is this current day and time that people, more specifically women, need to spend this day practicing Self Care, the love and commitment to oneself.

I am sure you've heard me say it before self-care is the foundation of your process/journey and your destination. Self-Care is significantly tied to your entrepreneurial journey in that it's a mirror of your mental health and entrepreneurial health.  Your health status is a byproduct of your self-care efforts.  Have you assessed your mental health status lately? Often in our community, (African-Americans specifically), implementing healthy mental health strategies is typically frowned upon or shunned away from due to social negative connotations. Self Care is seen as being selfish. But strategies such as diet-change, exercise, adequate sleep, pampering and possibly therapy are key to improving your mental health and regular practice of self-care. Thus having a direct impact on your entrepreneurial goals. As women, small business owners, mothers, wives, etc., it's way too easy to forget these things critical to improving your mental health. Well, it's time to Reclaim Your Time and protect your Mental Health. Here's how I reclaimed my time and maintain a regular practice of self-care.

Reclaim Your Time and Show Yourself Strong: Nearly six years ago, I reclaimed my time incorporating 4 components of Self-Care: meditation, diet, exercise, and pampering.
  •  Meditation-By carving out time every morning to meditate and journal, I took the time to pray, journal and listen to God and to my angels in the quiet of the morning. This time helped me to quell anxieties about the day, about my family and about my own dreams and visions. Calming the anxieties in my mind allowed me to think clearly and align my goals with resources and community. This step helped me to develop my vision and map out my plans to be successful. 
  • Diet-In 2010, my doctor told me that my diet was causing me to develop a dependency on medications in order to live my best life. He mentioned that I needed to take a look at my life choices for not only mine but my family's sake. High cholesterol and hyperglycemia is not the legacy that I wanted to leave for my daughter. I began to cut out meats from my diet and incorporate more green veggies. I also cut back on the size of the plates I used for eating. Instead of a regular full-size plate, I ate on a saucer. If the food could not fit on the plate without hanging off or being piled on top of something then I didn't put it on the plate and I didn't consume it. It was difficult and required discipline. 
  • Exercise-As a stay-at-home mother at the time, 1 hour a day, while everyone was out of the house for the day, was a great way to jumpstart my exercise regimen. But if you can't do that try 20-30 mins of youtube videos to get you started. I have had to cut my workout time back also but when I can get in some extra workout time, I am there. Currently, I start my day around 4am so that I can get that workout in. Take the stairs more often than the elevator or go out for a walk on your lunch break. Increasing your movement helps not only your mental health but your physical health. They go hand in hand and are directly connected to one another. A strong heart is vital to all your efforts being successful when you think about it. As Michele Obama says, "Let's Move".
  • Pampering-Now this is the piece of my plan that I really had to honor if reclaiming my time would be worth all the effort. There would be times when I felt that pampering myself was a selfish act. Selfish in a negative aspect, where I actually felt that I was shortchanging someone else, particularly my family when I pampered myself. But I soon learned that if I didn't reward myself for my efforts that I would soon regret those I was serving for depending on my efforts. I realized that I wasn't a hostage of my family and that I was not a victim of circumstances. I was a viable member of this family and if I rewarded my daughter and her father for their efforts periodically, then surely I deserved the same opportunity to be rewarded. And more importantly, I shouldn't wait for someone else to do the pampering/rewarding because that's no one's obligation but my own. My pampering started out as the purchase of cute nail polish and one day a week when I would give myself a mani/Pedi including a foot bath soak. 
These changes in my life helped me to preserve my mental health and focus on goals important to me (family, business, health). I reclaimed my time! My family, of course, was supportive and noticed the results of my life changes.  These changes had a clear, positive impact on my entire life. My mind was stronger, more focused and agile. Before I knew it, my business took off and I was in St. Maarten conducting a week-long conference where I was the sole presenter and the entire check was mine no need to split with a co-speaker or presenter. The aforementioned steps are not written in stone. There may be somethings you are already doing and somethings that you need to add in order to increase your mental health status and reclaim your time. My advice is simply don't be afraid to do it for yourself. Your family and your future self will be so appreciative of your commitment. Reclaim Your Time and Love on Yourself, Pearls!



             
                                Image result for self care meme



   Yours Truly, 

       DBC

Mother Of Pearls




Sunday, January 26, 2020

Partner.Provide.Promote.Pearls

About 6 months ago, I had an interesting discussion with fairly new friends about healthy approaches to garner success in your endeavors.  One of their suggestions was to be more intentional about your goals/plans.  Now, we all know that intentionality is to be deliberate; when you do things on purpose. This discussion piqued even more of my interest to hear them make the case that being intentional must have a ubiquitous application.  To look at intentionality as more concrete than abstract, we considered 3 actionable approaches towards success, Partner.Provide.Promote.

So as I prepared for a board retreat meeting with Friends of Ketcham Elementary School (FoKes) yesterday, I thought about some things the board must be intentional about to accomplish our goals for the school. As an educator and small business owner, children have always been my pearls in the making.  As it relates to FoKes, given that these little pearls have a majority of women helping to cultivate them, we must be intentional about our patronage. Just like Ketcham and many other schools, there is a board to help them increase their intentional efforts.  In this year of 2020, we Pearls need a "board' to help us be more intentional about or efforts towards accomplishing our goals. So that's why Nacr3 is here...to serve on your board and help you develop your board intentionality. We are here to help you to Partner. Provide. Promote in the Nacr3-way of being Strong, Resilient, and Luminous! So let's discuss how to be intentional in these 3 areas.

  • Get You a Partner! Our 1st step to developing your intentionality is Partnerships. When looking to partner, you should be clear on why you need a specific partnership.  Partnerships whether business or collaborators, in general, can have several beneficial additives for you. Partnerships can bring resources such as capital/money, talent, and access.  This is something that FoKes considered at our retreat on yesterday.  Given our goals for teacher support and student support, we need partnerships to intentionally further our goals. We've already determined that partnerships are key so here's a checklist to consider.  1. How well do we know the partner? 2. Is this partner a good fit for us/you (communication, follow-through or good on a return)? 3. What is the mutual understanding as it relates to the partnership? Partnerships clearly defined can provide you with additions that can encourage the growth of your business/organizations.  Additions such as financial resources, better talent, and most importantly access! These few positives promote growth in your business and therefore strengthens your position reach and endeavors. Partnerships=Being Strong!
  • What Can You Provide? Our second area of intentionality is how and what we provide to Ketcham.  The FoKes' board partnership with Ketcham was formed to provide teacher support, student access, family engagement, advocacy, and celebration. In return what we provide to Ketcham allows the school to provide their community with well-rounded children and a safe nurturing place to learn. Our community is a huge part of Nacr3 creed in being resilient and overcoming obstacles. To determine what you provide consider the following: 1. Your past accomplishments. 2. Do your abilities match your new goals? 3. Plan how to meet this goal? 4. Develop your brand and show enthusiasm about your endeavor.  Knowing what you contribute to a partnership organization or community encourages you to strengthen and increase connections within your community and it's your Community that allows you to be Resilient!
  • Controlling Your Narrative! Lastly, FoKes discussed intentionality changing the narrative around the school and community. How can we promote the beautiful community of families and educators working to cultivate Pearls in our little black and brown children? Promotion not only allows you to change the narrative but also control the narrative of your efforts. The next five steps can help you control your narrative. 1. Understand your purpose-what's your purpose and who else shares your purpose? 2. Put your narrative in the Human Context-when someone engages your brand, it's the first interview and you need to tell them about yourself. 3. Embrace your uniqueness-if you don't differentiate your narrative, you will be swallowed by those with more reach than you. 4. Contextualize shortcomings-you and your organizations are constantly moving, changing, adapting and evolving; your stories should be just as dynamic. 5. Beware of tone deafness-culture eats strategy for breakfast, listen to your audience and adapt to there needs. Opportunities to control your narrative are blogs, podcasts, newsletters, radio spots, social media, word of mouth and paper advertisement. Controlling your narrative allows you to promote your brand. Promotion begs you to Be Luminous!

FoKes is one arm that seeks to Partner. Provide. Promote for a well-deserving community. While you are making plans to develop your intentional efforts, look also to support the Friends of Ketcham Elementary Schools efforts. Become a partner with us, so that we can provide access to our students and families and promote the growth of such wonderful people. 

Here are your avenues to support the Friends of Ketcham Elementary Schools efforts- Twitter @FOKESDC, Instagram @friendsofketcham, and Facebook--Friends of Ketcham Elementary School (FOKES). Please consider Partnering with us by making a donation at the following link. 





Enjoy Pearls!

      DBC,
Mother of Pearl

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Who's Handling Your Money, Pearl?

The theme for 2020 is making your money work for you. It is time out for spending frivolously and not preparing for retirement, children's college funds, purchasing that new home and starting that transition from employee to employer. That being said, let's start the year off right by having informative discussions about our money and how we relate to it.

Last week we discussed Pearls and Taxes. Not only do you have obligations to the Internal Revenue Service, but we also have an obligation to ourselves. One avenue to you should take seriously is the road of investing. I know you're wondering how can a Pearl apply the nacr3 tenants to investing so let me tell you.


  • Know who is managing your money: A Pearl's first step to knowing who is managing your money is understanding how your history of managing your own money. Take a sobering look at how you manage your income and what your bank account shows as being priority expenses. Once you take this step, look into understanding how to reshape your expenses and research advantageous expenses such as bonds, annuities, mutual funds, stocks and retirement accounts, etc. These are withdrawals from your bank account that will WORK FOR YOU in the long and/or short term. Don't fear, there is a plethora of free information on how to invest, definition of terms and even leads to lucrative investments. One of my favorite persons to listen to on best financial practices is Ms. Lynn Richardson, Financial Expert. She's on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I follow her Instagram account (@lynnrichardson and @lynnmillionaire) with her weekly video sessions. Understanding your money and how it moves is the start of  STRONG decisions on your financial future. 

  • Being diversified, unconstrained and informed: Research shows that Pearls tend to have a better temperament for investing which sets us apart from our male counterparts. We take the time to research a company, ask more questions to make informed discussions on whether to sell or buy. Given that women typically outlive men, making informed decisions regarding investments is directly related to long term wealth and retirement options which also makes us less impulsive when presented with market instability. Knowing these effable qualities create a resilient outlook on your financial future. Take the time to understand the differences between investments with smaller returns having lower risks and those with high returns but an increased risk. A diversified mix of increased risk and stable investments will insulate your portfolio during market fluctuations. Online tools such as MorningStar (https://www.morningstar.com/) and MotleyFool (https://www.fool.com/) offer podcasts, books, and classes to enrich your knowledge on diversifying your portfolio and different investment strategies ranging from a conservative to a very aggressive investment approach. Diversification and information will keep your portfolio RESILIENT.

  • Reassessing your portfolio and asset allocation: Reassessing or rebalancing your portfolio is to maximize your return and risk. Pearls should do this while meeting the level of return she expects. One guideline that can help you determine asset allocation, is a very simple rule in which you subtract your age from 100 to arrive at the percentage of stocks you should own (ex: 25 years old should own 75% of stocks). Another rule of thumb is that your portfolio is that it should be rebalanced to its original mix when any given asset class moves more than 5 percent from its original value. There is also an online questionnaire that assists you in having an idea of asset allocations. Vanguard Funds Investment Questionnaire If rebalancing your asset allocations sounds overwhelming to you, several free or inexpensive money management firms will do this for you such as Acorn, Stash, Ellevest and TD Ameritrade Mobile. Frequent reassessment and realignment of your investment portfolio will keep your finances LUMINOUS and yielding according to your target goals. 


As you approach investing your money this year, keep in mind your own temperament as it relates to your money moves. In addition to conducting your own research, reach out to your community for information on trusted financial advisors. Many women lack the confidence or knowledge to aptly manage their monies as it relates to long term wealth and most questions can be answered with some research or guidance from a financial expert. This year, I want you to know who is managing your money! 


                             Related image
                               

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

PEARLs and TAXES


Good day Pearls,

Now that the holiday season has come to an end our next big endeavor is TAX TIME! Of course, tax time tends to overwhelm the best of us but fiscal responsibility for business owners and individuals should not be frightful as long as you are preparing yourself accordingly.

Though you may be quite familiar with filing your own taxes, don’t assume you are an expert with your small business tax responsibilities. In 2020, Pearls are Financially Strong, Resilient and Luminous. We, women small business owners need to ensure that we are rendering our businesses/side hustles healthy in all fiscal avenues. To prepare for this blog entry, I took the opportunity to speak with a Certified Public Accountant in the DC Metropolitan area with over 20+ years of experience to give some pointers on keeping your hustle solid and fiscally sound.

Mr. Robert L. Waller, CPA/CFE, was eager to provide direction for Women Small Business Owners on a few questions regarding responsibilities to the IRS and corporate financial health.

Understanding Financial Health is Being Strong

  • Nacr3: Mr. Waller, how would you recommend women small business owners (WSBO) increase their tax literacy to ensure improved and stable financial health? Waller: I would recommend that WSBOs increase their Tax literacy by talking to a CPA who specializes in tax issues; specific liabilities and how to handle them. Stay on top of your bookkeeping requirements and payroll reporting requirements. Most importantly, put a CPA on retainer! The CPA can give basic information about the type of taxes you are liable for and how to handle them. In addition, if time permits and you really want to build your knowledge base, look into a basic federal tax course at a local community college. Understanding steps towards financial health will keep your hustle Strong.

Seek out Support and Be Resilient

  • Nacr3: If a woman business owner has some previously unmet obligations with the IRS, what are the 3 most critical steps she should take to safeguard her business? Waller: First and foremost, DO NOT ignore correspondence from the State or Federal taxing authorities. Secondly, find out what happened and ascertain ways so that it not happen again. Thirdly, consult with a CPA to help resolve the issues ASAP. There is not an area of your life whether business or personal when positive, effective and transformative support is not beneficial. This concept also applies to the IRS. The IRS (irs.gov) (irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed)  has several different avenues for answering tax related questions. Seeking support even when it is a corrective measure keeps you Resilient.

Consistent Financial Healthiness is Being Luminous

  • Nacr3: Once tax season is over what optimal fiscal measure are available for her new business to remain in good standing with the IRS? Waller: Even before tax season is over, I would recommend that she stay in compliance with the quarterly filing requirements. In addition, review profit and loss statements at least quarterly to determine a profit or loss. If a profit, be prepared to make those estimated tax payments every quarter. However, don’t just think about making tax payments, Consult with a CPA to determine now how to best legally reduce your income tax obligations. Remember tax avoidance is perfectly legal. But tax evasion can be very costly (including fines and jail time). Financial Consistency and Compliance keeps your hustle Luminous…Shining Bright!

 *Again, tax time does not have to be overwhelming, seek out information, support and compliance.   Mr. Waller is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner. His office is located in Lanham, Maryland. Website: rwaller.com

                      As tax season nears, the Internal Revenue Service announced it has signed a new agreement with companies that electronically prepare free returns for eligible taxpayers. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Happy New Year Pearls!

I know we are all gearing up or at least in the beginning of our New Year Resolutions that include health and business, so let's talk about how these two are closely related.  As a educator, entrepreneur and personal trainer I know that both your health and business require Self Discipline, Building Business Muscle and Accountability to be successful! 

Strong: Self discipline is the key to progress! In the beginning, form is not as important as continuing with the exercise reps. Once you start your exercise regimen, don’t get caught up with whether you can do a plank exactly like the Halle Berry regimen. Link to her video. Planks build your core and stamina.  Be sure to learn how to do the plank properly so that you are getting the most optimal results from your efforts but don't fret if at first your are not performing perfectly. Just focus on being consistent with your exercises to enable you to build your capacity for the exercise, develop the appropriate form and increase self discipline. I can provide testament that being consistent with your routine will give you the strength to continue and become self disciplined in the regimen that you have created to accomplish your health goals.  Link to Business and Self Discipline. This same strategy can be applied to your business goals. Trust the process, keep moving forward, tweaking as warranted but staying true to the goal is Self Discipline. Self Discipline keeps you STRONG!

Resilient: Building Muscle increases the amount of muscle on your body, and increases metabolism that allows you to burn fat while at rest. Muscle uses food and nutrients, making it a gigantic calorie burner. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn without even moving. Lifting weights will build muscle that can burn fat while you are resting. Muscle aids in your body’s ability to endure stress better, in turn increasing your resilience. If we apply this strategy to our business goals, it's safe to assume that building your muscle in your craft is conducting research, attaining additional training, networking and remaining a teachable expert in your field.  Check out this link on business muscle. Building Business Muscle  Building Muscle in your expertise is what increases your RESILIENCE!


Luminous: Accountability helps you to shine during your journey. Building that community of those that support (not sabotage) your health goals. Your health/fitness tribe is what will help you shine in your journey. They can provide that encouragement that you need to push further and they can also call you to the carpet when you are slacking on your goals.  I'd be the first to admit that an accountability partner is what keeps me honest and true to my goals whether it's my health or professional ambitions. I am naturally a competitive person so my ego may get the best of me when it comes to my health goals especially. Professionally, it's a different story in that I can't control all of the variables involved so I may shy away from certain obstacles without an accountability partner to keep me accountable.   I consider my accountability partners as litmus tests to whether I am worth my salt. How are you accountable? Accountability is what helps you to be Luminous!

How are you moving towards your goals this New Year 2020; hopefully with Self Discipline, Muscle and Accountability. 

Be sure to get your copy of Entrepreneurial Elevation or Speaking My Truth for the new decade and new 2020 goals. PayPal.me/BCC2019 Get Your Autographed Copy Now!


Give it 120% this year. Reclaim your Time in 2020. 


MofP, 

DBC






Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019 Reflections

Hey Pearls,


It's been a minute but I am back!! The year of 2019 has been one of pluses and deltas. It has been a year of more sowing seeds than reaping. But 2020 is about to usher itself in as the last year of the decade and I want to be sure to reflect on my last 12 months of 2019 and frame my mind on work for the new year. My plan continues to become Strong, Resilient and Luminous as I go through this next year but here's my reflection on 3 principles I adopted for 2019.


  • Self Determination (STRONG): Planning requires the strength to be disciplined. Self Determination is the act of defining, naming, creating and speaking for yourself. January 2019, I journaled that I would become a new author so I began to plan for this dream. I actualized self determination in 2019 by the co-authoring two books. In addition, I became a 2 time Best Selling New Author in July 2019 and November 2019.  Did you see where your goals/dreams set out at the beginning of the new year were actualized? Take the next few days this week, to write down specific goals, actionable, realistic and time specific. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself and periodically check-in on your progress. This step is you being STRONG, Pearl!

  • Collective Work and Responsibility (RESILIENCE): Creating strong communities will keep you and me RESILIENT on this journey.  Collective work and responsibility is the ability to build and maintain our community together and make our sisters problems our problems and to solve them together. We've talked about before how building a community of support, resource and information as you work on your empire. This year, I worked my community in support of my daughter going off to college, getting the word out there about my books, new business opportunities, offering support to women that are coming behind me in their journey and securing mentorship from women that are ahead of me in this journey of entrepreneurship. Your RESILIENCE is based on your connections, Pearl!

  • Creativity (LUMINOSITY): Never be a dull Pearl! Creativity is to always do as much as we can, in the way that we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. Here's were you shine Pearl! How have you been creative in accomplishing your goals? Did you need to tweek a strategy or find another way to "skin the cat"? This year, I looked for alternative means to work out my plans when the situation called for it. I had to consider several different options for a blog/online presence because my ultimate goal is to leave a legacy of community and support for other women looking to be entrepreneurs and go after their dreams. Explore multiple options to display your LUMINOSITY in your area of expertise. 


How are you framing your mindset for the next year?

Happy New Year, Pearls.

With Love,
Mother Of Pearl


While you are considering your goals, check out both of my books Entrepreneurial Elevation and Speaking My Truth at Paypal.me/BCC2019






Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Ease on Down the Road

“Come on, ease on the down the road. Pick your left foot up when your right foot’s down. Come on legs keep moving, Don’t you lose no ground. You just keep on keepin’ on the road that you choose. Don’t you give up walking ‘cause you gave up shoes.” The Wiz, 1976

Saturday, I had my official book launch for Entrepreneurial Elevation, 31 Strategic Lessons and Life Stories. It was my first opportunity center stage to discuss my business and background. When I was given the mic I stumbled despite all of my preparations. Here’s my lessons learned and steps that I’d recommend to others to replicate. 

1. Reclaim My Time and Protect My Efforts:
As a mom and an entrepreneur, my efforts and time are prime real estate in that my bandwidth can only handle so much at a time. Whether it’s your calendar, connections or your health you have to take measures to reclaim and protect them. Don’t let every activity be worthy enough for your calendar. Choose strategically where you will make an appearance. You should be able to promote your business and learn some valuable information when you reserve time on your calendar. I’ve had situations where every webinar or workshop was enticing but I had to be realistic about my bandwidth and my efforts. Your connections too (friends, family, and acquaintance) can be time sucks also so pick them wisely. Believe me, I’ve had to nix several connections over the past 6 months because they deliberately disrespected my time, resources and efforts. Bye, Felicia. Many times connections not focused on their own goals will hang around to distract you from yours. As JayZ says, “Loiterers should be arrested” One to the Next One, 2009. Don’t forget your health because you can’t do either if your health is in the poor. Pick up a regular exercise routine, develop healthy eating habits and an appetite for reading. I know you’ve seen the memes that read, Leaders are voracious readers. Two years after my business launched I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and determined to be pre-diabetic. A close connection mentioned a plant-based diet and I have been on this path ever since. No cholesterol and no pre-diabetic indications.  In fact, my blood work this past May was that of a 16-year-old as my doctor reported. My grandma used to say the bought wisdom is better than taught wisdom. Lesson learned-Be strategic in your efforts. #Strong

2. Just Keep Swimming:
Listen, Momma, I was prepared with my elevator pitch. It was concise and with a consistent message. But when I walked on stage and saw the audience everything went out of my mind. I haven’t had an experience such as that since high school. Nevertheless, I spoke off the cuff with a smile and no one was the wiser. But as soon as I left the stage, my mind began to work and regroup my efforts. I thought strategically about my best qualities and how to have them reconstitute my efforts for this very important day. It was time for table discussions, 3 mins a piece at each table. It was time to regroup. I was not going to lose this opportunity. There’s never a lost opportunity just missed opportunities. Meaning, if you keep swimming you will see an alternative option to accomplish your goal around the corner. Just keep on keepin’. #Resilient

3. Accentuate the Positive
Bing Crosby had a great lesson in this song.  Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative. Even when you stumble about keep shining. I’m here to tell you that to keep going in the face of disappointment and failure remaining positive is more than a notion. My table talks were nice! If I do say so myself. Once it was time to speak at tables I felt more comfortable with connecting with others about my business goals and experience. I was able to answer specific questions and speak directly to each attendant. One of my best qualities is a personal connection. I owe that to my Southern upbringing and my dear old grandma who was also an entrepreneur. I planned to blow the table talks out of the water. This was my time to shine and I had 20 mins instead of 5 to put the word out! I used every minute to connect even when waiting patiently for my co-author was speaking. Even when it was time to sign/sell our books, I connected with each person by asking their name so that I could personalize my book signing. One young man mentioned that I was the first person to ask him his name. I told ya, personal connection is one of my best qualities. I used it to shine on! #Luminous
Truly,

DBC 


Mother of Pearls

Get your copy at PayPal.me/BCC2019 


Books By Dori B. Cook




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Books By Dori B. Cook


Who are you loving, Pearl?

This month is known worldwide as the month where grand gestures are made to show someone how much you love them. February is the time of yea...