The Difference a Year Can Make – Lessons in Life AND Business

On August 31st, 2015, I officially handed over the keys to the new owner of my day spa. That day was a weird experience. I was excited, full of anticipation of how my new career/business would unfold and develop. At the same time, I was sad to say goodbye to so many great clients, memories of how it all began, the good times, and funny stories that had happened there over the years. It was a day of mixed emotion.

The sale of my day spa is just one component. My family and I also relocated to a new town in June 2015, leaving behind great friends and a community I loved dearly.

For those of you getting these newsletters and following me on social media, you can agree: WOW a lot can happen in a year!! I have been blessed to moved into a great new community, launch a new career, make new friends, etc… you see the highlight reel. All the good stuff.

There has been lots of talk lately on how the “highlight” reel on social media feeds can actually make us feel bad about ourselves.

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Maybe you are anxious to get engaged and start a family, and while you seemingly wait patiently by the sidelines and nudge your boyfriend to buy the ring, everyone else you know seems to be getting married or having their first baby. UGH it isn’t fair: when will it be my turn?! you think.

Are you struggling to make ends meet financially, and it’s depressing to see posts of friends traveling the world, going to exotic places or even having a dinner out? I mean sure, you are happy for them, but you deserve it too!

I am one of the most upbeat, positive, happy people I know, and yes – this past year has been marvelous, but I have also had struggles. As an entrepreneur, I can tell you it is a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs.

I choose to show my highlight reel on social media: all the good stuff, the celebrations of my hard work and perseverance.

What you didn’t see is me sobbing uncontrollably driving away (and for hours after!) from appointment with the lawyers to close our previous home. We carried both homes for 4 months and I didn’t realize how much emotion this would bubble up. The finality, knowing I couldn’t just pop up the road to my friend’s house for an impromptu tea and a chat. I felt fear of the unknown.

I began online certification courses in September 2015. Every day for the first month my husband would come home for lunch and I would be waiting for help, frustrated and ready to throw the computer out the window! The course load itself was fine; it was my incompetency with computer programs I had never needed to use before that was literally driving me crazy! I felt inadequate and stupid.

Same goes for joining a tug of war team, as well as a ladies dance troupe, to meet new people. I felt clumsy and awkward.

Heck, even the grocery store was set up differently to my old one. EVERYTHING was new and I was a novice at it all. My normally adventurous self was taking a beating, and it wasn’t pretty.

And for the first time in 28 years I felt lost. By December my courses were complete, Christmas shopping was done, and my business was not yet launched, so I was client-less and stir crazy! In previous years, I would have been running around the spa like a chicken with its head chopped off by that time – crazy busy and exhausted while wishing for it to end. Be careful what you wish for!

I felt lost and frightened. My confidence faltered and I began to second guess myself. Some days I only drew comfort knowing I could cook a good meal and keep a tidy home.

I am persistent if nothing else!

Every day, I woke up determined to keep on going. I soldiered on, and slowly but surely everything became easier: I was getting better! My confidence returned and the adventure became fun.

My persistent nature, consistency with executing “the plan”, and willingness to try new things, whether in business or pleasure throughout this last year, is what has brought all the cool, new opportunities into my life.

My motto – feel the fear and do it anyways!

Guess what?

  • I have made new friends and maintained friendships with many whom I care so much about and we still get together for tea… the only difference now is we just have to plan ahead!
  • I have gained new clientele from across Canada/U.S.A. and stay in touch with some former clients through Facebook/email, or get a big hug if we bump into each other at the mall!
  • I can now troubleshoot many of the computer techy issues myself!
  • My tug of war game has improved and it will continue to be a work in progress.
  • Over 600 people, over 3 nights, paid to watch me dance in a community fundraiser with the ladies dance troupe! What a blast!
  • I easily maneuver through the local grocery store these days and despite clumsily knocking over an entire aisle display of birthday candles, I became friends with the owners who had a good chuckle that day!

My mission or personal mandate when I launched this business, began blogging and creating buzz on social media, was to be a woman first and an Image Coach second. To some this may seem a backward approach in growing a profitable business, but I am passionate about creating a community where women empower women. To see higher potential in yourself, to inspire action or to love yourself in this moment today while on the journey to becoming the next version of you!

What I know for sure is we are all more alike than different. We all have the ups/downs in life, it depends if you decide to tackle them or let them tackle you that dictates your outcome and future.

Cheers to all of us in the game, ready to rumble and make our dreams come true!

Remember that you are beautiful!


How The Word “No” Taught Me When to Say “Yes”

dreamstime_s_30035137I have a hard time saying no. I admire those who can say “no” straight up, with zero hesitation and zero guilt.

Saying “no” has been on my list of goals for the past two years, and I have improved. People pleasing and doing things out of obligation instead of desire are two areas where I am practicing this art of “no”.  Years of patterned events, behaviour and customs for us “people-pleasers” can take its toll, and the joy of serving others is replaced with resentment. Now I carefully choose with whom I spend my time, and I am thrilled to have such a diverse group of family and friends.

Who wants to spend their life feeling and doing things strictly out of obligation? I thrive on joy, love, fun and excitement. For those of you who’ve received an email from me, you may recognize this quote from Rumi, which used to appear in my email signature and is my personal motto:

“Set your life on fire; seek those who fan your flame.”

The real magic begins with saying “yes.”  Are you confused yet? 🙂 First I tell you I am practicing saying “no” and now I tell you saying “yes” is magical!

Here is the difference:

Say ‘no’ when you are suppressing an eye roll to an invitation to spend time with people who are simply not in line with who you are, where you do not want to spend the evening with a fake smile and head nods.

Say ‘yes’ when your heart skips a beat, when you think “I can’t do that” because it is far fetched – be crazy enough to give it a shot!

Being open to new experiences, adventures and people is saying “yes” to what makes my heart sing. Yes is magical. Yes is scary. And yes opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

So what do you have to lose? Try saying yes to something new this week and see what difference it makes in your life and in the lives of those around you! Here are some suggestions:

Say “YES!” to…

  •  Trying new foods!

Life is far too short to spend it eating meat and potatoes every night! Be brave: order something new the next time you are at your favourite restaurant or try a new recipe!

  •  Volunteering in your community or at a fundraising event!

Meeting new people with a common interest/goal and giving back is a win/win. I have made amazing personal and business relationships through volunteering.

  •  Signing up for a physical challenge!

Whether it is a 5 km fun run, mud run, marathon, bike ride, yoga or tai chi in the park, the energy and excitement are amazing.  Registering will keep you on top of fitness goals and the accomplishment will make you proud!

  •  Doing business in a new way!

I never expected my business to expand virtually through Skype the way it has, but I said ‘yes’ to trying. Likewise, with new partnerships, public speaking – which I had no experience doing, but said ‘yes’ anyway.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained – and I have gained a lot thanks to being open to trying something new.

  •  Something that scares you a little (or a lot)!

Like zip lining, tree topping or a midnight skinny dip, doing anything out of your comfort zone heightens all the senses. It is invigorating and freeing!

Practice saying yes to opportunities TODAY by grabbing one of my complimentary Style Success Sessions. I’m opening up just 6 spots on my calendar for these 20-minute sessions, and they’re first come, first served for the first 6 people who book one. When the last session is booked, I’ll be closing my calendar. Click HERE to schedule yours now!


Effort is Attractive: 7 Tips to Avoid “The Trap”

When you start a new job or open a business, things are always so fresh and exciting at first! Your mind is full of cool new ideas. You know, with full conviction, that you’re going to make your mark on your industry. Sure, there are obstacles, but you can conquer them and boy, you look good doing it, too! Coming to work, attending meetings and conferences with your hair coiffed, nails polished and dressed to impress. No one can stop you, except you – when you fall into “The Trap”.

Trap? What trap?

I’m talking about reaching your comfort zone… aka falling into “The Trap”.

Here’s how it happens: your career is humming along, your life feels balanced, you have a good rapport with your clients and coworkers, and you’ve hit certain goals that you’re really proud of and happy about. You’re feeling good about yourself and life in general, so you decide – subconsciously – to ride it out for a while.

caution

How do you know you’ve fallen into “The Trap”? When bit by bit, you start letting yourself slide by thinking things like“No one else dresses up in this office, so why bother?” or “Ugh, it’s Casual Friday anyways – jeans and a messy bun will do,” or even “I’ve had this client for years; they won’t care how I look.”

Hey, I get it, I’ve been there myself! It’s a nice, comfortable and easy feeling.

Breaking News…. your appearance matters!

What got you to where you are now in your career is not going to take you to the next level. People notice when you show up as your best self and they notice when you don’t. This is not ego, this is reality! I just read The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, and this particular line stuck with me:

Appearances matter. If you want people to judge you for what’s inside,

don’t let them get confused with the outside.

If you are happy with your current reality, happy with the status quo, that’s great – no need to read any further! But if you want to stand out from the competition and go above the norm, here is the best advice I can give to get you back on track:

Effort is attractive – jot these words down on a sticky note and attach to your bathroom mirror. It all boils down to effort.

Whether it is within our workplace, business relationships or personal and romantic relationships, effort is attractive and key. Effort in how we present ourselves is the quickest, simplest way to increase attention towards who you are!

1. Get a decent night’s sleep.

7-8 hours is what research suggests the average person needs to maintain good health. Routine sleeping patterns will keep you looking fresh;feeling energized and maintains more brain power!

2. No extra snoozing.

Get up with your alarm! Allot yourself enough time each morning to properly get ready for the day ahead. That means no more ponytails or applying mascara/lipstick in the car at stop lights! Have an outfit picked out the night before to alleviate some time in choosing. Calmly beginning your day sets the tone for next 8-10 hours.

3. Pre-book grooming appointments.

Haircuts, waxing, manicures and pedicures can all be booked from one appointment to the next. This habit alone will keep you feeling and looking better, which builds your self confidence.

4. Don’t wear clothing that is worn-looking, stained, missing buttons, or in any state of disrepair.

Toss it! Same goes for shoes, boots and purses.

5. Smile!!

Even if you don’t feel happy. A smile goes a long way, makes you more approachable, likeable and it shows effort!

6. Say please and thank you.

Good manners are very much in style. Be fashionable: use them and earn the respect from those around you.

7. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Often, I hear women say they don’t want to stand out, they would rather blend in. This breaks my heart! You were born to stand out, not to blend in! Besides, if you want to advance in your career, you need to stand apart from the competition, get noticed, get promoted, gain higher level clients, and earn more wealth!

Above all, remember that you are beautiful! Do you have questions about how to stay out of “The Trap”? I work with professional and entrepreneurial women who want to kick their style and their careers up a notch. I’d love to chat with you – just click here to be taken to my calendar and book a complimentary Style Success Session with me!


Perfectly Imperfect

perfectly imperfectThe t-shirt arrived on my doorstep as a gift from my good friend… and I find it “perfect”. I wear it with great pride, and it is what I am wearing in the cover photo on my personal Facebook page.  Our joke regarding the phrase began while she and I decorated my home on two separate occasions: once for a baby shower and another for a Mardi Gras party. We both like the house to look perfectly imperfect when staged for an event!!

As a type A personality, Virgo and self proclaimed perfectionist, I began to think and have a silent chuckle at how many times over the years I have spent endless hours decorating our home so it looks magazine worthy, yet not so perfect to be on display in a showroom all matchy-matchy. Or countless formal styles or updo’s I did as a hairstylist, making my clients look gorgeous with an effortless elegance, yet spending an hour and cursing silently with a bobby-pin in my mouth to achieve this. Or how I balance a client’s outfit to look elegant, sophisticated and yet approachable and fun.

I had to ask myself the question: Why? Why am I, and others, obsessed with this “perfectly imperfect” style?

I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because we are all perfectly imperfect; flawed in ways that make us unique and more attractive to our family, friends and clients.

All of us were born into this world as beautiful, perfectly unique humans. I encourage all of us to embrace those imperfect traits we possess, whether it’s those freckles, the gap in your teeth or your carrot top. Learn to love that which makes you different!

I have found that the quirky little traits we own and perhaps shun ourselves, are usually the same traits our friends admire about us most, or don’t even notice. I used to be terribly self conscious about my toes, they are spread wider apart than the average person (kinda creepy), so what? I am not average, so why should my toes be? My thighs rival most men’s for thickness, but they are strong! And I have this obnoxious loud cackle – yes I said cackle! – and the occasional snort slips out as well, it’s horrifying! Yet, more people have told me how much they love my laugh and how infectious it is!

Let the perfectly imperfect YOU shine on!

In a world where Photoshop and filters serve to enhance our pictures, let’s keep those enhancements subtle, real, pure and fresh.

To end I will leave you with a quote to ponder.

“There is nothing more rare and beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me that is the true essence of beauty.”

~Steve Maraboli

Victoria Baird works with women in life transitions to discover their personal style, develop their personal image and brand, and build their self-confidence around their own natural beauty. Ready to kick your image up a notch? Schedule a complimentary Style Success Session with Victoria here.


6 Fool-Proof Shopping Strategies from a Semi-Recovered Impulsive Shopper

Image courtesy of stockphotos at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockphotos at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Retail therapy! Easing the pain of a crappy day, week or month one purchase at a time. Distracting us with the thrill of the hunt, the deal of the day or three times the bonus points!! How can we resist the offer to sooth our soul and make our life seem richer – even if only for that impulsive ecstasy moment?

Is Your Impulse Shopping Fun or Frightening?

Over the weekend I scoured Netflix looking for a good chick flick to watch.  Curled up on the couch, I settled in and pushed ‘play’ to watch Confessions of a Shopaholic. , If you haven’t seen the movie or read the books, Confessions of a Shopaholic is about a young woman who ironically gets hired as a financial journalist while she herself has a serious high-end shopping addiction. Severely in debt, she is hounded by creditors calling daily! Not an Oscar winner by any means but a fun movie to watch. Maybe you (and I) are not “shopaholics” but perhaps you (and I) have been guilty from time-to-time of making impulsive purchases.

A Laptop, A Credit Card and a Buy Button

You know I am right, even the strongest willed women have succumbed to this on occasion, and now with online shopping, impulsive buying is easier than ever.  How many emails do you receive a week from your favourite stores? Daily temptations arrive in my inbox from a variety of retailers. Usually I just delete without even looking. But catch me at a weak moment and, coupled with the fact that I know my credit card number by heart, –BAM – Victoria your purchase is complete. Thank you for shopping at­­­­­­ our online store.

Combine that deadly duo with retailing superstores that offer groceries, beauty and clothing in a one stop shop. The temptations are everywhere. The result? We are filling our closets with one hit wonders while depleting our hard earned monies.

The 6 Tips You Need to Curb Your Impulse and Keep Your Money in the Bank

Does this sound familiar? Don’t despair, I am right there with you, and although I am not a completely recovered impulse-ecstasy shopper I have learned a few things along my way. Here are a few tips that will help you slay any impulse demons that might be lurking:

1. Shop With a List

A list is CRUCIAL, much like grocery shopping having a plan when either in the mall for the day or online shopping will help curtail any non necessary purchases.

2. Ask About the Return Policy

This is a MUST! Some retailers have great 30-90 day return policies with full refund, others are less time or in store credit only, ask BEFORE the purchase is made, this gives you some reassurance that the item can be returned if once you are home, you decide that it wasn’t right.

3. Check Out Consignment Stores

To sell those articles that you hang onto (but never wear) because of the money spent.

4. Donate!

Donate any additional items to local women’s shelters – you will feel great about your donation and the women who receive them will benefit from your generosity.

5. Pay with Cash or Debit!

Yes I have my credit card number memorized in my head; No this is not a good thing! We all know how easy it is to buy now and pay later and we do NOT want to end up like Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic. Even when you know the return policy, deciding to pay with cash or debit acts as a deterrent to an impulse buy.

6. Avoid Giving Out Your Email

When in stores shopping, I often decline this now regardless of the coupon that will be sent to me, we both know this coupon is for the retailers benefit not the customers! Because sooner or later I will weaken. And if you are already on a list? Feel free to unsubscribe.

The Closet Clean-Up

It took me awhile to learn to adopt these strategies, but once I did, I saw my bank balance go up and my poor purchasing decisions go down. A great first step is to go through your closet and separate the “keepers” from those items you no longer wear. It will give your spirit a lift and help you begin to build that all important list of what you need to buy to round out your wardrobe, rather than what calls your name the next time you step into a mall.

Not sure where to start? What items to keep or donate? I can help. Book your complimentary Style Success Session with me here.