Sunflower Power

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Sunflower Power

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.
— Oprah Winfrey

One of my favorite symbols of summer is the majestic sunflower.  Here are 3 key ingredients that parallel between the power of the sunflower and the power of your business.  

1. Attraction

What I never imagined when I first started growing sunflowers in my garden was how much the birds love them.  Wasn’t even on my mind and it has been one of the greatest joys of this flower.  

Business Power Analogy – Many times we start a business expecting one thing and yet we attract something else entirely that gives us even greater joy.  The key ingredient is to fully pay attention.  

2. Beauty

These are the moments when you think there can’t be anything better.  And then one day the flowers begin to fade and you know that it’s time to move onto something new.

Business Power Analogy – Our businesses have seasons.  Some of us have seasons of customer interactions determined by time of year and then there is a season of product/service life.  We need to be prepared for the next stage of the journey.  

3. Planting

The action of the birds munching on the sunflowers inner seeds actually distributes the seeds throughout the garden. Some people might find it annoying, but I find it magical. I have plenty of players helping to support the growth in my garden and keeping the flowers blooming year after year in places I wouldn’t have thought to even grow them.

Business Power Analogy – How do you spread the seeds within your business?  What is the support you have to spread your thoughts ideas not only within your organization but beyond.  Something tells me my neighbors benefit from the fruits of my gardens labor…who benefits from the spreading of what your business has to offer?  


Wishing you a powerful fall season 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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5 Second Rule

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5 Second Rule

You can’t change the past but in 5 seconds you can change the future.
— Mel Robbins

Today of course is a day in history that those of us who lived through it will never forget.  9/11 has become a day that represents courage beyond our wildest imagination.  It also reminds us how drastically life can permanently change in 5 seconds.

With that in mind, I want to ask you to now shift your thinking in the opposite direction and think about the positive changes that have come to you over the span of 5 seconds. 

Maybe it’s the moment you said “Hello” for the first time to that person who became your significant other. 

Maybe it’s that moment you said “Enough” and decided to quit your previous job and pursue something new.  

Maybe it’s that moment when you step outside in the morning and feel the fresh wind blowing on your face to inspire you for the rest of the day.  

I want to share with you a transformational book that that I just recently read that is a game changer.  It’s based on the idea if you don’t act on something positive in the first 5 seconds it may never happen as you want it to. 

This new book is called The 5 Second Rule – Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Courage by Mel Robbins.  I urge you to either pick it up hard copy, eBook, or Audible audiobook (one of my favorite ways to read these days).  

What is one thing you have been saying you want to do that you keep finding excuses (time, money, courage, etc.) that keep you from getting it done?

How would your world change if you acted within 5 seconds of having the desire to do something? 

What positive desires come to mind as you read this? 

Ready?  5, 4, 3, 2, 1.  Go!  
 

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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Hurru for You

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Hurru for You

The point of power is always in the present moment.
— Louise L. Hay

Hurru (verb): Move with haste. Let love guide you and be confident that you will arrive as you are needed.

Change is an inevitable life phenomenon that we can either embrace or fight. 

The key I have found in this life-long journey so far is to pay attention to enjoying life as it is today, ready to fully embrace the possibilities that tomorrow brings. In the process, to find ways to keep stress and worry from taking over whenever I try to stop the change that happens when the unfolding of life events don't go as planned.

You know the ones that make your stomach gurgle and your head start to hurt...maybe a little and depending on the situation maybe a lot.

Have you ever felt that somehow you lost control of a situation?

In the past few weeks as many life and world events have unfolded I have been paying very close attention to the ways we collectively handle stress. Especially in the process of continuing to get everything done and be everywhere we need to be at the same time.

In all of this a brand new word has come into my vocabulary that was created while I was rushing to an event on a recent Saturday afternoon...

A client, who was hosting the event texted the word “Hurru” to me as she mistyped the word “hurry.” 

The reason I paid attention to the typo was because I was in deep reflection that day and that word “hurru” kept coming up again and again. Throughout the event, which was one of deep spiritual reflection and meditation, "hurru" really implanted itself in my mind. So I decided to give “hurru” my own definition (at the top of this letter).

This past week I had the opportunity to put the word to a tough test as I headed to speak to a group at a college facility I had not been to before. Life already had me heading there without my usual 30-minute grace period buffer when it became apparent that I was at the wrong campus and the one I needed to be at was 15 minutes (at least) away. 

Having relied on my GPS, which had let me down big time, I continued to give it my trust as it continued to send me down the wrong roads because it simply did not know where this particular campus was located.  As the minutes quickly ticked by I knew I would be at least a half hour past the time I was due to be standing up in front of the room. 

At that point I felt like I was in a dream which I had experienced so many times. In the dream I am trying in vain to get to a presentation – knowing there was a room filled with people who were waiting for me!  It was happening now in real time.

I could have completely freaked out in that moment but not only was the coordinator of the event awesome assuring me she would keep the audience engaged, I also remembered to repeat the word “Hurru” over and over.

Doing so gave me the wear with all to toss the GPS, along with the stress aside and find my way to the right campus - giving the audience the very best of my expertise without skipping a beat.  

So can you “hurru” too? I believe you can.

No, this doesn’t give you permission to blow things off, continuously procrastinate, or be constantly late to everything... it instead gives you permission to forgive yourself when you do screw up, something we are all guaranteed we do. Just take a deep breathe and remember that time marches on without us at times and that’s okay.

In all of this I can’t help but think of Louise Hay who passed away this past week at the age of 90. She had forgiven herself many times over and inspired the lives of so many in the process. If you have not read You Can Heal Your Life I would highly recommend you put it on your reading list. She has sold over 50 million copies.

As Louise said many times over - "Let's roll."

Give “Hurru” a try this week. Forgive yourself and remember you are human with imperfections. Love yourself for staying in the game with grace even when the going gets tough. Every storm eventually leads to sunshine.

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Picture Perfect

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Picture Perfect

Focus on capturing a story.
— Andrew Studer

Courage to be the Difference Podcast

Ep. 18 - Picture Perfect with Andrew Studer


Andrew Studer © All rights reserved

Andrew Studer © All rights reserved

Follow Andrew on Instagram - instagram.com/andrew.studer

Pictures are an important part of our culture today. We are living in an amazing time when we have such access to take digital pictures that can be consumed online within minutes. Taking and sharing pictures can be a very important element in the efforts to get your messages heard especially for your business.

Taking pictures that are a bit edgy and get remembered takes courage… just like so many other things in life that can be a little intimidating at first. When you share any new skill set with others you might not be so great at first but then you get better and better.

I have found that sharing pictures online pushes you to be better because you have an audience watching.

Long gone are the days of taking a picture hoping it came out okay as you waited a week or two to have the film developed. Only then could you determine if you should have taken another shot or if it was really in focus, and then… well it was too late.

What if you started capturing the world around you more often just because you easily can?

Through the magic of Instagram this past week I was able to view some pretty amazing pictures of the beauty of the solar eclipse we got the chance to experience here in North America. With only 90% coverage here in Colorado, we didn’t get to witness the amazing total eclipse in person…

As the pictures started showing up online from those who were in parts of the country where there was a total eclipse it was phenomenal. That is what’s awesome about photography - you can take someone from the other side of the continent and share a visual moment with them.

Andrew Studer

The Instagram picture that stood out from all the rest for me was this one taken by Andrew Studer (www.andrewstuder.com) a very talented photographer based in one of the hot spots to be for the total solar eclipse - Oregon.

I had the further good fortune to connect online with Andrew a few days later and have him share some great insights that have become this weeks Courage to be the Difference podcast.

iTunes | Google Play | Soundcloud

In the podcast Andrew shares how this amazing shot came to life – a very cool story. He also shares some great tips how you can take some great pictures as well.

Most of us carry a mobile phone around with us each day. Andrew shared something I have known to be true, that a mobile phone is a great place to start in photography. It is amazing what our phones can capture.

I encourage you to open your eyes a little wider to see the shots you might have otherwise missed. I also encourage you to appreciate the work that goes into epic shots from photographers around the world. Use their vision along with your own to see things you many have never seen before.

It really is a whole new way to be in the moment and get the perfect shot on life.



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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Wear the Crown

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Wear the Crown

Behaving like a princess is hard work. It’s not just about looking beautiful or wearing a crown. It’s more about how you are inside.
— Julie Andrews

Wear the crown

One of the gifts from my birthday dinner last week was this beautiful tiara crown that you see in today’s letter. I laughed and thought it was sweet when I first saw this gift from my son sitting at my place at the head of the table.

Then he insisted that I put it on. I found myself in total resistance and feeling a bit arrogant in making myself look like a princess. However, as the evening wore on I warmed up to the thought of it as I caught glimpses of myself in random mirrors throughout the house.

The next day I ended up wearing the tiara all day. From hiking at a nearby lake to going to the grocery store, it felt good to honor myself in a new way while confidently walking around town.  
 

Let it shine

I mentioned the tiara to a client during a coaching session a few days later. Our conversation quickly moved towards the idea of small business marketing. We concluded that marketing your business is a lot like wearing a tiara. 

Sure, at first marketing feels a bit too much in sharing yourself in a new way with others and the resistance is strong to not to put your products and services in the forefront. The fear can revolve around being too self-serving. 

We can absolutely and completely avoid the crown of marketing. When we do no one has the opportunity to experience the gifts we have to offer and our business will ultimately fail. Our marketing makes us step up our game, just like when I was wearing the tiara and I found myself standing taller to be the person my tiara gave me the permission to be.
 

Use your power wisely

So let me ask you this … when it comes to your marketing (or any message you want to share) do you let it shine on the best aspects of what you have to give for the world to see? Or, do you “kind of” let it shine feeling resistance to be loud enough for others to fully hear you?

When we stop to remember the importance of why we started our business and all that we have to share that matters, it further enhances our confidence.

Maybe marketing seems like too much work? We can get so caught up in all the other to do ‘s in our business that we let “hope marketing” (just hoping someone will notice) take over.

It’s time to dust off your crown or maybe get a new one. This will allow the true essence of your business or organization to shine and get that marketing done. Stand up tall and consider it your new thinking cap as you courageously let your voice be heard.

Wear the crown not only for your business but also for all those things that matter most in your life. Stand up and be heard!

Ready to fully embrace this idea? Here's a little exercise for you: 

  1. Get a physical crown and wear it for an entire day. 
  2. Notice how it feels when you first put it on.  
  3. Observe the reactions of others as you wear it.
  4. Listen to your internal dialogue as you wear it.
  5. Notice how you feel when you take it off. 

Here’s to a royal week 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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Surf's Up

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Surf's Up

Refine your skills to support your instincts.
— Bonnie Raitt

This morning as I open my eyes I am staring straight into the fact that I turn 60 years old today! What?!

Along with admitting it out loud I have come to realize, as this day got closer that many things were swelling up inside of me as if it were a time of rebirth. Perhaps we should look at each entrance into a new decade that way.

A time to embark into a new knowing of who we are inside cause goodness knows we are changing so much on the outside with each decade’s passing.

Since I don’t fully remember my first decade on the planet so well at 10, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the other 5 decades that I am grateful to have had the honor to embark on.


At 20: Take risks and grow up

I was scared and not ready to be an “adult.” I felt the pressure of what I knew my twenties would bring as I figured out where I was headed and where I needed to go. Turns out I had a premature marriage early on in that decade that did not work out. It did get me to move to Colorado and I moved in next door to the man who would become my life partner. It is also the decade that I became an entrepreneur.


At 30: New family, new business

With my new marriage and business just a couple of years old I embarked on motherhood. Yes, beyond my furry little puppies. I look at this decade as an exhausting but exciting one with so much happening and so much on my plate. It became quite honestly a blur. A blur, that filled my life with a tremendous amount of joy. 


At 40: Adjust and go with the flow

I became let’s say mature both mentally and physically. I watched and felt my body change as my hormones take over big time. Another decade of blurriness as there was so much going on both professionally and personally. My children became teenagers. I sold my first business and learned the lessons of taking risks – some good, some not so good.


At 50: Learn to let go

It really was a decade that started off with of a lot of goodbyes. I celebrated this new decade with my parents on Catalina Island as we had come to do together on my decade birthdays. Only this would be the last time, as they said their eternal goodbyes a few years later. Losing them, especially my mother changed me at my core. I had never in my life felt such grief - a huge piece of me was gone. Yet I also came to find her spirit alive and well inside of me, that realization helped me to get on with my life.

Also, I watched my babies fly from the nest and found a new deeper love for my husband along the journey. I also found a new deeper love for my business and a deep sense of gratitude to be able to do the work that means so much in helping other entrepreneurs find their light. With all of it I also found a new sense of spirituality that has enlightened me in so many ways. And to top it all off I did my first century ride on my bike.


At 60: ??????

A whole fresh decade is ahead of me starting today! It’s time for me to fly higher than before as I continue to reinvent myself and fully sink my teeth (heart and soul) into all that I want to make sure I do in this lifetime that has been given to me. I want to savor every moment of it. The opportunities ahead are unlimited as I allow my instincts to get stronger along with my skill sets. 


Whatever age you may be, here’s a toast I wrote for us to salute each other.. 

With each decade comes a new form of grace

A time to rediscover, and gather life’s gifts at a new pace

A time to be who you are meant to be

Opening your heart and letting it be free!  

 

I invite you to celebrate with me today not only my birthday but each of the decades that you have had the honor to be on the planet as well. Thank you for being on this journey with me.

Surf’s Up!

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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Thinking Spot

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Thinking Spot

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Out loud.
— Coco Chanel

It really is interesting to think about the space of time between a problem and the solution. What can be surprising is all the goodness that we can find in that space of working out whatever needs to be improved on in our lives.

Many times though we are so anxious and perhaps stress filled in just finding the solution to our problem that we miss the opportunity that the many important lessons to be learned along the way have to offer us.

Last week while on vacation with my dearest childhood friends I found myself on the freeways of Los Angeles. While I have been noticing how much fuller the roadways in Colorado have become here in recent years – nothing just quite compares to those freeways from my youth.
 

Make great results happen

My mom used to drive an hour each way every weekday from our home in the San Fernando Valley to Downtown LA and she loved it. With nine kids at home at the time I guess there was plenty of reason for her to love having the quiet space of the car all to herself – even if it was in the middle of thousands of commuters.

I never felt that way. With only one long commuting job in my life that lasted barely one month, I found I didn’t like the job so much and the commute just made it a deal breaker.  All I could think about then and still today was the claustrophobia of being in the middle of all those people with no way out at times.

Guess that’s why I split for the wilds of Colorado when I did. I needed the space to think and a whole lot more.

The reason I bring this up is because each of us brings with us our own set of criteria for not only how we think best but where our best thinking spot allows us to make great results happen. 
 

Home is where the mind is...

The trade off in LA for me this past week was not only being with my girlfriends it was being at the Pacific Ocean. Every morning during this trip I would have an awesome hour-long meditative walk along the shoreline – just the ocean, my coffee and a few other early birds (both literally and figuratively).

I even gave up a couple of day trips with my friends just so I didn’t have to get on those freeways. It kept me sane and was a reminder of the reason that I was there – to relax, have fun, unwind and do some thinking about my life ahead. I am happy to report all that was accomplished :)
 

Where is your favorite thinking spot?  

The richness of connecting our thinking minds with our surroundings matters. Each of our thinking strategies is as unique as the many other elements of our personality.

Finding a balance for what works for you in the process of your problem solving criteria will give you the ability to easily be decisive and forward thinking. It will allow you to embrace problem-solving time as opposed to running in the other direction. It is really critical to get the most that your individual mind has to offer.

So as you head into your week take notice where the spot(s) are that you think the best and make an extra effort to get there more often.

Happy Thinking!

To Your Success and Victories,

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and
Founder of the Victory Circles

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Create Your Future

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Create Your Future

It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.
— Rene Descartes

How much time do you currently spend each day in deep and unfiltered thinking? The kind of thinking that allows your brain to fully function past the daily to-do list or things you automatically (almost robotically) do each day?

Artificial intelligence has recently become a trending topic as it continues to enter our lives in so many ways. Is this new technology a positive or negative to our world? I see it as a positive, because it frees us from the robotic jobs that can suck the purpose right out of you.

Robotic human jobs are starting to disappear in record numbers. Jobs such as cashiering or data entry make way for more cost effective computerized systems to be put into place.

This is a delicate topic, but I believe robotic automation opens up the opportunity for each of us to become more innovative in the ways to earn a living. It’s time to utilize our natural human creativity - something that robots will never be able to reach.

With creativity comes fulfillment. No more coming home and watching TV after a brain-numbing day of the same tasks over and over. We are now being forced to start to think like entrepreneurs and spend our time making our world a more creative place. We can come home knowing that we played a key part in creating the future.

Being a successful entrepreneur requires a lot of clear thinking. This month as we dive into the mastermind principle of Accurate Thinking here in the Victory Circles we will be discussing ways to harness deeper and more rewarding thinking.

We can talk about theory all day long, but I want to give you something practical that you can use today to get the greatest results. The best place to start is with something I call morning momentum… 

Morning momentum gives you the time and space to start your day with a morning practice that allows you to fully fuel your mind in a way that a robot or computer can’t. Take the time to allow your thoughts to start the day in a positive and meaningful way. 

Here are a few examples to build your morning momentum. You don’t have to do all of these – just find something that gets those creative juices flowing.


Morning Momentum Examples

• A 10-minute meditation (yes you can do it).

• Watch the sun rise. 

• Enjoy a healthy breakfast for yourself and/or your family.

• Text your gratitude to 5 people.

• Write 1 page in a daily journal.

• Take a brisk walk before going to heading to work.

• Play your favorite song and have a little dance party.


Usually when I first mention this idea to my clients I get resistance. Time is always the issue. No time to stop and think when there is so much to do! 

Do you really have to check your email within 5 minutes of waking up? What if you waited 30 minutes or until after you had breakfast? Or even until 9 or 10? The fires that needs to be put out will always be there and your ability to handle them depends on how well you have built in your morning momentum. 

The thoughts we think determine the life we live. Everything around you in your world started as a creative idea. Your chair, the clothes you wear, or even the computer you read this on were all just a creative thought once upon a time.

I encourage you to find ways to fully utilize the creative strengths that you possess – it could lead to that next great idea that just might change your future.

Happy Thinking!  

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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Make a Splash

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Make a Splash

Once I dive in, I dive in all the way.
— Carly Fiorina

Imagine this… you want to enjoy the cool refreshing water of the lake, swimming pool or even the ocean on a hot summer day but the water is not just cool – it’s downright cold.

You put one foot in and shiver in surprise of how cold the water really is. You put your other foot in and debate whether you should now go in the water at all because it wasn’t what you had expected. Even though you know it will feel good and be totally refreshing once you get all the way in.

The question becomes do you just dive in and not go through the temperature change inch-by-inch which you know might leave you open to not going all the way in at all?

I think it’s safe to say in many life circumstances similar to this each and every single one of us at some point in our life has been afraid to totally commit to something that we really, really knew deep inside we wanted.

All the while knowing the reward would be worth it – yet the fear and the little bit of discomfort to get there held us back sometimes for years.

The foot in the water is really a metaphor for just “kind of” getting wet yet not allowing ourselves to enjoy fully what is possible as we stand on the shore line. 

There we are waiting for the perfect moment to have the courage to get past the initial change of temperature that could improve everything.

Have you ever found yourself“kind of” doing things in your business? You know, you are perhaps dabbling a bit here and there and not really committed 100%.

An example of dabbling is in how you might be using social media. Sure you get on to social media to break up the activities of the day, perhaps you even get a few adrenaline rushes by actually posting something and getting some likes.  

The truth could be that you are not committed to any one platform. You would love to build some strong relationships whether personally or professionally but it seems like too much work, and of course it would make you way too vulnerable. Then there is the whole aspect of how much time it would take…

For all the other elements in your business where you stop, hesitate and feel a bit stuck on the shoreline ask yourself these question as to what element is stopping you:  

  • Fear or doubt?
     
  • Not enough interest?
     
  • Lack of expertise?
     
  • No time?
     
  • Never enough money?
     

Look at that one thing you wish you would be more committed to not just getting done but getting done extremely well. Then find the answer to the questions above, find some support around the issue and quit waiting for the perfect conditions because they in fact may never come. 

What if this was the week that you quit dabbling and wasting your precious brainpower. What do you say… are you ready to take the dive and make a big splash? 

On the topic of social media I have more in this week’s podcast - Stop Dabbling in Social Media. I will give you 7 key insights to keep you engaged in your social media efforts.


Ep. 17 - Stop Dabbling in Social Media


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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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 ;)

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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