Champagne Problems

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Champagne Problems

Inside of every problem lies an opportunity.
— Robert Kiyosaki

Have you ever watched how a problem of any shape or size can quickly get blown out of proportion when you add some extra internal drama to it?

Recently I heard the term “champagne problems.” The idea of it got me to thinking when is a problem just an obstacle placed in our way to allow us to learn and grow versus a major life-altering situation that actually has life or death results.

For example, your roof has a leak. That’s a champagne problem because isn’t it awesome that you actually have a roof as opposed to being homeless and not having a roof at all. In other words do you have more to work with then you might have thought?

Let’s say you just got a call from your doctor about your recent test results. You were shared the news that you now have cancer. This is a major problem that unfortunately many are faced with every day. Your next steps will determine whether you live or die.

Somehow the rest of the “champagne problems” in your life will go away when you realize what is truly important. 

With all of this in mind, as you head into your week I encourage you to look at the obstacles in front of you in a new light. As you approach your current challenge ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is the outcome life or death?
     
  2. Is my physical well-being or someone I love being hurt because of this problem? 
     
  3. How have I been able to resolve similar challenges in the past?
     
  4. What is the best thing that could happen if I resolve this situation?

In this week’s Courage to be the Difference Podcast please enjoy my interview with Zhena Muzyka, author of Life by the Cup.

Zhena and I share a robust discussion of dealing with life as an entrepreneur and the problems that can be encountered along the way. Her story of founding Zhena’s Gypsy Tea as a single mom with a newborn baby that had a life threatening medical condition was no "champagne problem" to be sure. With no money or health insurance and only her tenacity to find a solution, it’s a story that is incredibly inspiring.  



Not only did she go on to build a multi-million dollar business, in the process she became a beacon for hope for the tea workers of Sri Lanka for whom she would become a warrior to protect.

Whether you listen on your way to the office or as you sip your morning tea, I encourage you to take the time to give this recording a listen. It will be worth every moment.

Please stop and look at the challenges that are currently in your world that you have perceived to be stopping you in your tracks. What are the potential solutions that could in fact actually enrich your life and get you to the other side?

Enjoy the 7’s of this day on 7-17-17!  Interestingly enough the number 7 in numerology represents the knowing that nothing is exactly as it seems and that the truth is sometimes hidden behind illusions. Seek and you shall find ;)

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Cutting Back

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Cutting Back

Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.
— Pablo Picasso

 

The year of 2017 is now officially half over and it’s always a good time to stop, take a breath, and really see what's in your world that is and isn’t serving you in a most excellent way. 

Over the long 4th of July weekend I stayed home getting in some nice family time, some hiking, biking, gardening and diving into a couple of projects that I have come to think of as my mid year purge.

Purging, or cutting back as another way to think of it, allows you to take an introspection of things in your life that have overgrown or just piled up when you were busy paying attention to other things in your life. Easy to have happen when you are busy moving through all the activities that day to day of life brings our way.

The benefits are that it can free the mind in so many ways and is very good Feng Shui (system for harmonizing your environment) as well giving you the feeling like you have just been given more space and some great new energy.

In my garden, serious tending and cutting back is required in order for it stay healthy and allow upcoming buds to have the sunlight and water they need.

Indoors I tackled the kitchen desk area that had three major junk drawers – finding things I didn’t even know I still possessed. Then I headed into my home office and began clearing there as well, removing items that just were no longer serving my business.

With that said, how about you? What is it in your life that you could cut back on in order to help your inner self shine and get closer to seeing that Inner Selfie that I talked about last week?
 

Here are three quick tips to keep you moving forward with your cutting back projects:

  1. Baby steps
    Set aside the time and then take on the projects in small increments remembering not to get overwhelmed and give up.
     
  2. Get support
    Ask someone who respects what you want to do and also understands that you may need extra nudging around some resistance that can come up when you try to let things go.
     
  3. Visualize it completed
    Imagine the project done. Savor the freedom and energy you are about to get as you embark on purging the things that are no longer serving you!
     

Sometimes it can seem overwhelming and that’s where timing can help. Give yourself 30 minutes to start. Once you get started it can leave you rolling up your sleeves to cut more and more.

By eliminating what is overgrown and no longer serving you – it opens you up for the possibilities of what is ahead for the rest of the summer and the rest of the year ahead.  

Would love to hear from you on your cutting back projects that are upcoming or perhaps some that you have already completed. Please share in the comments below.

Here’s to cutting back in ways that serve you best. Happy 2nd half of 2017!

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Inner Selfie

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Inner Selfie

Go on a journey from self to self, my friend... Such a journey transforms the earth into a mine of gold.
— Rumi

This week as we celebrate our independence here in the United States its seems like a good time to also reflect on our own inner independence.

Recently I was interviewed by a new podcast called Ditching 9 to 5. I shared with them my challenges along my journey as well as what has kept me working outside of the 9 to 5 format for over 30 years as both an entrepreneur and a business coach. 

I shared some things I have never shared before so take a listen and discover the key elements that has kept me ticking for so long in the world of small business ownership.  

Let’s look at the light of our own inner self to see what currently is working to bring us joy as well of course as what isn’t working so great. Think of it as taking your own inner selfie. 

Now for the inner selfie piece it is always best to ask questions to see what needs to be adjusted.  Because just like the taking a selfie picture with a camera the best ones are the ones that you adjust until you get it right.

The power of writing can bring to surface thoughts we had long ago buried in our unconscious mind.  By learning more about the person you have become you can allow the things you like the most about your inner self to come to life as you really stop to think about the person you have become throughout the course of your lifetime.

Set aside some quiet time to stop all other thoughts or activities to really think about the “who” of you. Schedule a block of time in your calendar and call it “Meeting with Self.” 

By taking a strong hard look at yourself through an inner mirror in answering the questions below it will allow you to see the you of yesterday and the you of today that will take you into your tomorrow’s. 

Remember there are no right or wrong answers to these following 12 questions. Open your mind to all that you truly are as you answer these questions.  Keep your pen or computer keyboard moving and don’t overthink the answers to these questions.  Let your inner self do all the work on this one. 


Inner Selfie Snapshot Exercise

1. What standards for yourself do you hold with highest regard and insure stay important to you? 

 

2. Do you enjoy spending time with yourself? If yes, what is your favorite thing to do during alone time?  If you are currently not spending time with yourself why not?

 

3. How often do you engage in conversations with yourself and what do you talk about?

 

4. Do you talk gently with yourself, or are you critical allowing your Inner Critic to always have the final word?  

 

5. What is your "glow" element? The piece of your personality that allows you to shine the most? This could be your sense of humor, your compassion, your ability to hear and be heard, your business sense, your craving for adventure...the list is long. List each one that applies to you.

 

6. Who are the people of your life that have assisted in the forming of your personality all along your way?

 

7. Who are the people in your life that mean the most to you, those people that hold a special place in your heart. Your heart after all shapes the “who” of you, doesn’t it? 

 

8. Of those people in question who is it that you could tell anything including your deepest and darkest secrets?

 

9. What makes you your happiest and brings you the most inner joy? 

 

10. In thinking through the twists of fate throughout your life – which have changed your course the most dramatically to make you the person you are today?

 

11. List your top five Strengths that you have developed over your lifetime?

 

12. How often do you actually get to use these strengths?
 


If you would like a PDF copy of this exercise click here.


As we move into the 241st year of independence as a country I hope that you are enjoying some independence in being your true self. Wishing you a happy and healthy 4th of July!
 

To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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The next great idea

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The next great idea

All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.
— Napoleon Hill

Today I want to ask you to think about the one idea that has been percolating in your mind for some time but you have yet to take action on it.

Yes, my request is to have you stop in this moment and really think about that idea that won’t go away and then answer these questions.

  1. What excited you the most about this idea when you first thought of it?
     
  2. What would change in your world or the world around you if this idea actually did came to fruition?
     
  3. What are the resources you feel that you are lacking to bring this idea to life? (example - time, money, confidence, courage, etc.)
     
  4. What are some ways that you can begin this week to find the necessary resources?

Ideas can only come to life when we get rid of the perceived obstacles. In the process of keeping our ideas hidden we will never know which idea will change our lives and the lives of others until we actually move forward and act on them.

Think back to the best ideas you have ever had. How long did it take you to act on them and what was the catalyst to finally got you to act on your idea?

In order to further encourage you with this “bringing an idea to life process” this week I am sharing with you part two of Hidden Treasures Podcast on Imagination.

This podcast picks up from last weeks interview from the archives and my interview with Cynthia Morris. We discuss how Cynthia brought to life a 12-year idea in the form of a book. See the link below to listen to Part 2.

If you have an idea that you have brought to life in the form of a business, book, etc. and you would like share with the world please reach out in our contact form. I am currently putting together my schedule for new podcasts in the months ahead and would love to collaborate and share your courage to be the difference with the world.

In the meantime, hope you are enjoying all the blessings of the summer season and letting your imagination have it’s place in the sun.

To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Hidden Treasures

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Hidden Treasures


I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain.
— Dr. Seuss

Opportunity is out there

Don’t know about you, but I took the question “what’s next?” from last week’s letter and really did some soul searching to begin to look within myself for the answer. 

I knew clearing my schedule as much as possible in order to allow a new way of thinking to emerge would let my imagination get involved in the process. There is something about an over the top schedule and rushing around to complete a never ending to do list that can squish creativity at its core. 

Think of it as the left analytical part of your brain partnering up with the right creative part of your brain to create a balance that allows you to step into new directions. However, the rational thinking brought on by the left brain can get us so caught up in those to do’s that we can just stop creating opportunities. 
 

Let's be realistic

You might be saying to yourself – hey that’s nice for you but I have to do all that I have to do to keep all the balls in the air! Keep in mind what our beloved Dr. Seuss has to say here in today’s letter about waking up the brain. Sometimes a little radical move, a little initially perceived nonsense, is just what the doctor ordered.  

With the summer solstice and the official arrival of summer arriving with the longest day of the year tomorrow (June 20th) I hope you take the opportunity during this magical time of year to explore a new way of thinking in regards to what matters most to you.  Can’t think of a better time to let your imagination come out and play.

Let me share a snippet of what unfolded in creating my “what’s next plan.” 

Tired of always reinventing the wheel, I took a strong look at the assets I have created over the years, identifying the ones that could enhance the lives of others through work I have already produced.
 

Hidden treasures

A variety of answers came to life that I am working through and one in particular put a large smile on my face and in my heart. I started to listen to the recordings from the radio show I did several years ago.

As I started to listen to those saved recordings I realized what a hidden treasure were in these interviews with a wide variety of experts from around the globe.  The rich topics are as relevant today as they were then. 

These shows included guests who were near and dear to my heart as well as others that I had the pleasure and opportunity to meet for the very first time during the interview process.

With imagination the Master Mind Principle of the month here in the Victory Circles I decided to start with interviews I had done on that topic. What a better place to start than one of my creative mentors, Cynthia Morris

So for your listening pleasure this morning as you think about ways to open up your imagination listen to part one of "Hidden Treasures: Your Imagination."

In this shorter and condensed version of this previous interview, Cynthia and I discuss the power of using the analytical skills of left brain in conjunction with the creative capacity of your right brain to bring your imagination fully to life. 

Enjoy the conversation and here’s to a creative summer ahead!
 

To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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What's Next?

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What's Next?

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
— Zig Ziglar

Funny thing, when you hit a big goal like I did with my century ride last week it left me asking, “What’s Next? What is the next big thing I want to accomplish?”

The many miles that I have been spending on my bike have given me lots and lots of time to think about the answers to this question.

While this new fitness habit is one I aim to keep, arriving home from Lake Tahoe I reflected on what it took to get there. There are so many metaphors between my journey as a cyclist and my journey as an entrepreneur over the past 30 years.

I am happy to share today that the Victory Letter hits 16 years old!  16 sweet years of Monday morning inspiration. That’s 862 letters and thousands of relationships that I have fostered through this journey as a writer.  

In order to for me to write the best content for you as we move forward I would  love to get a better idea of what you are thinking when it comes to the top marketing goals in front of you. Please answer the following question in the comments below:  

What is the top marketing goal you are looking to achieve?

A) Increase revenue 

B) Develop a long-term strategy

C) Gain a stronger following of fans

D) All of the above

The ongoing desire through my coaching work is to have others share their thoughts and ideas with the world.  I have some upcoming workshops starting this week and you can get more info here. As you will see they are either free or very cost effective.  

Thanks for being with me on this journey and here’s to us enjoying what’s next!


To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles
Email me: cheri@businessvictories.com

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The Victory Line

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The Victory Line

The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.
— LLS, Team in Training

This morning as I write to you with the beautiful surrounding of Lake Tahoe still in front of me I am full of both emotion and wonderment. My body is totally exhausted, which I know will pass, leaving the memories and lessons learned to get me past this huge milestone of my first century ride.

With my mom’s spirit guiding me over the 100 miles that took a little over 10 hours, here are the 5 top takeaways from this both physical and mental challenge.  This event was the real culmination of a goal I have been contemplating in riding with Team in Training for the last 8 years since my mother died.


1. Gratitude Wins All

On the ride I took the list with me of all the people who were in fact riding with me.  In addition to my mom and others who have lost their lives to cancer were the people who contributed to put an end to this nasty disease both in money and encouragement for me to get the job done. As each mile passed I thought of them individually, the memories we have shared along our mutual journey and my extreme gratitude to have them in my life.


2. Find your own way to climb the mountain

Over the course of the ride there were many ups and downs (literally) with several climbs of over 2,000 feet.  Not being a big hill climber, I had to find my way to get over them.  The magic formula was in taking the advice given by others and then creating my own individual game plan to get the job done.


3. Joy is in the journey

My sister, Robi, gave me a bracelet before leaving Colorado to wish me well on my ride. On it were the words, “Joy is in the journey.” And as I reflect back to not only the ride itself but the over 1,000 training miles that got me there, there is no doubt that I will cherish this event all of it all the days of my life.


4.  Don’t go it alone

My Pedal Girls teammate, Erica Bolsover was my rock through this journey.  Knowing she was there on those cold winter and spring mornings when we had to ride – always pulling me forward to keep up with her pace. The Rocky Mountain Team in Training also shared their deep experience in having done this ride for over 10 consecutive years - which was invaluable for me on my first ride. 


5.  The last 15 miles

To say I was exhausted at mile 85 is putting it mildly.  I had just climbed one of the most rigorous climbs of the day (not to mention in my life) and I knew there were 15 miles still left to go.  

Coming around a corner in literally the middle of nowhere was the surprise of my family ringing the cowbells and cheering me on. It deeply touched me and was the fuel I needed for my fire to get me to the finish.  I realized in the moment so clearly how I was not riding just for me – I was riding for them as well.

It touched me even more to learn that for 2 hours before they saw me my family was cheering on many other bike riders who needed that positive boost at this point before the final summit.

Goals can transform you...

Funny thing is as I reflect this morning on the gains and sweet rewards this ride gave to me, I realize that they were not at all what I had anticipated initially. The initial goal simply was to raise the money for the LLS organization that had been so helpful and caring when my Mom was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  That was achieved as this ride raised over $3 million collectively from all the bike riders - $4600 from Erica and I’s effort. 

I also am in probably the best shape of my life with a bonus 25 pounds lost in the process.

When you look at your own next big hairy audacious goal that might have you a bit frightened, and perhaps finding yourself procrastinating on as I did, ask yourself what will matter most when you look back after having achieved it?  I hope your answers make you smile as fully as I am this Monday morning.

As always…

To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles
Email me: cheri@businessvictories.com

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One Thousand Miles

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One Thousand Miles

Courage is grace under pressure.
— Ernest Hemingway

This morning finds me in route to Lake Tahoe as I begin final preparations for my century ride this coming Sunday!

I did in fact get my 1,000 miles of training in for this ride since February 1st… proving once again, when you put your mind to anything, anything is possible.  

So many of you rallied after the last Victory Letter and the Pedal Girls exceeded our goal by over 65% of our donations goal to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!!!

The countless well wishes that will be carrying me as well. Each of you has given me the ultimate Atta Girl!  Thank you, Thank you Thank you! Each of you along with the loved ones you have lost or are struggling with the disease will undoubtedly be riding with me just a few days from now on June 4th!  

As with any goal this huge one happened for me – not easily by any means but moment by moment, pedal by pedal.  

The hope in sharing this with you today is that it uplifts you to stop and think about how you will implement your own special 1,000-mile goal. 

As fate would have it I also received an email from the Society that after 40 years this organization I promised my mom I would ride for in her honor has been instrumental in funding the research to finally begin actual treatment trials to tap into the beginning stages of finding a cure for AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia).  

Of course it’s bittersweet because it’s way too late for my mom but to save another family from the pain we had to bear is so rich, so awesome. My mom would be doing a happy dance if she could - I am sure she is somewhere.   

My mom, Jeannine Landreau, wrote a beautiful poem many years ago that we never read until after she had passed away. 
 

"Do not take this moment lightly for it is the most important moment of your life—it is all there is of the present. 

Live it to the fullest for it will never come again. 

All that has gone before it is a memory and all that will come after it is only a hope or dream of future things. 

It is more than the beginning of tomorrow and the end of yesterday. 

Make it a great moment, it is your life right now and you will never live it again!"
 

For me, the time has come to take the training goal and now put it into action with the ultimate goal of pedaling 100 miles around Tahoe.

You can watch the Tahoe experience unfold as I share it over on Instagram: @victorygirl

Looking forward to connecting after I cross the Victory line next of my ride next week! 


To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles
Email me: cheri@businessvictories.com

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Atta Girl

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Atta Girl

My first Century bike ride (100 miles) around Lake Tahoe is now less than two weeks away. Training has become a constant in my life.

This has been a challenge like none I have ever taken on in my life before. Yes, even more than running a business or raising kids.

What I am discovering is that a constant challenge like this one utilizes a firm balance of mental and physical strength.

That is until you start to question yourself as to whether you are wimping out or in fact need to push a little harder. Last week, I reached a physical pinnacle where my body was screaming at me that something was wrong as I kept pushing up the current mountain I was trying to conquer. 

I gave myself the “Atta Girl” mantra while trying to look past some shooting pains that were going down my legs like I had never felt before.  So I calculated in my mind the need to do exactly the team ride that had been mapped out for that day or risk doing some serious injury to my body.  

Do you ever wonder what makes you get stuck in turning the ship around when you realize that something in your life or business is definitely going in the wrong direction?

There is a theory called escalation of commitment. How excited was I when I learned of this during some other research I was otherwise doing for my book I am currently writing.  

Basically, it is a theory of our human condition and how we look at a given situation when there is a decision to change course or not, when things go wrong.  


Here is the Wikipedia definition:

“Over the past few decades, researchers have followed and analyzed many examples of the escalation of commitment to a situation. The heightened situations are explained in three elements.

Firstly, a situation has a costly amount of resources such as time, money and people invested in the project.

Next, past behavior leads up to an apex in time where the project has not met expectations or could in a cautious state of decline.

Lastly, these problems all force a decision-maker to make choices that include the options of continuing to pursue a project until completion by adding additional costs, or canceling the project altogether.”


My decision at that moment on the mountain was to cut 10 miles off and go back down the mountain.  Being sure not to beat myself up, I gave myself an “Atta Girl” for the 60 miles that I did ride that day. By doing so I prevented further injury to keep me riding for the long run.

With the ride in mind, tomorrow marks the last day I can collect any donations for the ride. I am so close our team goal and am $247 from my personal goal. Would appreciate if you could help if you haven’t done so thus far with only 24 hours left and every dollar counting towards the cause!

For those who have donated so far a huge thank you!  

Think about the current “ride" you might be on that is difficult at moments and makes you want to quit.  Do you need to add more resources, change the route (as I did on that ride up the mountain) or drop the project all together?

No matter what, keep pedaling forward towards what matters most.

 

To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles
Email me: cheri@businessvictories.com

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Storm Strength

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Storm Strength

Storms make the oak grow deeper roots.
— George Herbert

As this past week progressed, I watched as the varied trees that are on our property regain the momentum for their spring growth. The freezing snowstorm that blew through a few weeks ago stopped a few of our beautiful trees in their tracks while others seemed to hardly notice.

When you think about the overall strength of these trees and their ability to withstand the change of seasons it’s imperative of course that they also maintain a healthy root system underground.

Interestingly an Aspen tree can live between 40 to 150 years above ground yet their root system can live much longer. There is actually an Aspen colony in Utah that is known to be 80,000 years old! Wow!

Trees simulate the strength in our human lives in so many ways.  The strength of a tree as it stands up to the adversity around it, based on that strong root system, is in many ways the perfect symbolism of leadership. 

We have heard the saying strong as an oak. Let’s face it - the process of leading can be fairly easy when everything around you provides the perfect conditions. However, any of us who have been on the planet for any length of time knows that life is rarely perfect.

Sometimes life can hit us hard and knock us right off our feet. How well and strategically we fight back determines our rate of survival and "thrival" as I like to think of it.  

"Thrival" is not just getting by each day according to the agenda around you but actually thriving and enjoying life in the process. Allowing our adversities to in fact become our strength that we continue to build on – like a good root system does.

Each of us carries with us our roots – the tidbits of our lives that got us to where we are today - some good and some not so good - those life experiences that have taken us this far into our journey. 

How are you using your experience to create the legend of your unique life?

How can we gain the strength from our collective roots to make it a better world?

I would love your feedback on these leadership questions in the comments below. Here’s to regaining our momentum even when a storm might slow us down!


To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles
Email me: cheri@businessvictories.com

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