Red Flag: Consumer debt rising!

February 15, 2011 at 11:12 (Health and wellness, Money & Finance, Relationships)

On the Today Show, Jean Chatszky and Consumer Reports’ Mandy Walker raised the alarm of consumer debt being on the rise. For the last 2 years, it appeared that personal debt was abating, but once again, consumers are “back to their old habits.” This report does NOT surprise us in the least. We lived through countless ups and downs in the economy to know better that consumers won’t change until they make the change for themselves. The Economy is ONE GIANT psychological roller coaster and trend setter, NOT a means to an end.

We are known as the “FREEDOM T.E.A.M.,” because we know the value of ownership. This hit a nerve with a potential Strategic Alliance recently who called us out and stated, “Does that mean you don’t charge for anything?” We answered, “absolutely NOT!” It means that we know the value of the dollar. We don’t believe in credit or the “credit” industry. It is because of this attitude we are able to thrive in this economy whilst others are barely surviving. People and businesses are debt heavy and cash poor. That just is not us.

Recently, we saw an HGTV episode of “Selling New York,” where a well know New York City “Soap Star” was selling his New York City apartment and needed to do it FAST. His property in Florida was barely floating. We wondered, with all the millions he MUST have made through several years and decades of acting…where did ALL the money go? Not very many people realise that there are PLENTY of wealthy people that are credited up the hilt. Remember Sami Davis Jr.? Red Foxx? Tony Braxton? They ALL faced financial hardship. Tony Braxton was bankrupt and had to buy back her own Grammy awards!

Here’s the rub, savings IS easy when you VALUE and PRIORITIZE your expenses. EVERYDAY IS a choice, either to buy a beautiful set of painted tea cups and saucers from Ebay at a huge bargain price of $15.00 or buy power steering fluid for your car for $20. The former is a “Want” whilst the latter is a “Need.” For us the choice is clear. Needs trump wants!

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

© 2011  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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Another SCAM event?

February 15, 2011 at 11:05 (Education, Ethics, Health and wellness, Money & Finance, Relationships)

Recently, we had a conversation with a colleague who was attending an event of a well known Motivational Speaker. In our view, he is known for making “lots” of money on the backs of hard working people. Whilst his message was interesting…nothing new or “earth shattering”…he was able to “hook” unsuspecting people to come to his events that cost hundreds of dollars. He not only expected them to pay, but did plenty of “upselling” before his event to ensure that he made even MORE money off these “suckers.”

Personally, we are ALL for events that are “altruistic” in nature that support the success and achievements of others. There are excellent examples of great events that do just that! Then, there are those organisers who approach their events with one “conflict of interest after another,” organising an event” that showcases themselves and their “friends.” They even promote themselves with tag lines such as “#1 Internet Marketer,” The “Greatest” Marketing mind, the “Worlds Top” Marketing Experts. Who determines these titles anyways? If you see one…RUN AWAY!

Anytime an event promotes “You can make money in your sleep” and talks about the Internet, we TRASH IT! Come on…have you REALLY met anyone that actually made money in their sleep this way? We have interviewed not less than 80 business owners/entrepreneurs in one such community and none of them did. We even conducted a focus group of 566 in 2009, and none of them did either. So, could these organisers who run their own show be blowing a giant smoke screen? Perhaps.

Be aware and just make it happen for yourself!

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

© 2011  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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Energy Vampires…Stop Sucking your own Life force!

October 31, 2010 at 06:23 (Ethics, Health and wellness, Money & Finance, Women Empowerment)

In recent months, we discovered a very “disturbing” trend. We call it the “discombobulated” factor where intelligent small business owners, entrepreneurs and sole proprietors are adding on “unrelated” business entities to their mix of already “unsuccessful” list of “things they do to try to earn some money.”

Unless you are an “investment” or a “holding” company, i.e. Berkshire Hathaway or Unilever, a business should be crafted in such a strategic way to be identified with their “brand.” Therefore, if you are known as a “webmaster,” per say, and you start selling fashion clothing, we wonder how serious you are about your craft, unless you are making a concerted effort to “reinvent” yourself and have therefore left a “successful” venture to try something COMPLETELY new. It does happen!

Several months ago, we totally gave up attending any “singular-minded” business-related functions because we were so confused by the majority of the attendees. Chambers of Commerce and institutions that support small businesses are a good thing, but they are so similar in the way they approach business practice, they do a great disservice most times for their membership. Personally, we hate the “elevator speech,” the sing songy way of expressing what you do, usually in 30 seconds or less. We suppose it does help people from “rattling on,” as some do at these functions.

Regardless of the “elevator speech,” most attendees do not have a clear vision of their business or their brand. They seemingly take on more than they produce. They do not prioritize their strategic business intent which is evidenced by their rattling more ventures in a single breath, i.e. Printing service and an unrelated MLM company like Juice Plus; rather than highlighting their specialties or mission within their main business frame.

This trend of the multiple unrelated, discombobulated “features” in one’s business does little to promote the business. It is too darn confusing! However, this trend has been growing in recent months due to the recession. People, especially sole proprietors are feeling rather “desperate” and with it, unfortunately, comes despair and with that comes a need to “try anything” to stay afloat. In other words, they try WAY TOO hard to be heard and in essence, spread themselves too thin. Their life force is being sucked out of them and they don’t even know it.

These Energy Vampires are more dangerous because they suck the life force out of you from within, leaving you nothing but a shell. You are not enriched by this experience because you have lost your sense of direction and focus. Instead of successfully maneuvering the challenges of your main business, you have now taken on yet another “task” that is completely unrelated, and neither your primary nor supplemental job come to fruition because you had no plan.

The “triple threat” like J-Lo, aka “Jenny from the block,” come to fruition when you successfully maneuever all three (3) areas of talent exceedingly well. Each talent block, ie. singing, acting, dancing, MUST co-exist and collabourate, not become discombobulated. There is nothing wrong with “dominating” an industry, i.e. Oprah (Media/Entertainment Mogul) or Tyler Perry (Writer/Director/Producer)…just do it well.

A “triple threat” or any addition to your known public “brand,” should be a building process, not a “stick to the wall and hope it will stay” mentality. Examples of successful transitions are all around including Jill Ireland (Model/decorator/investor). Yes, there will be missteps (i.e. Oprah’s “Beloved”), but just keep moving and with each step, you will get stronger and better.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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Curb your “Control” Factor

September 16, 2010 at 18:04 (Health and wellness)

Recently, we encountered yet another example of “Control” that is both detrimental to the Psyche as well as surrounding individuals. Surprisingly, ALL of them come from the small business/entrepreneurial sector; the sector we have always thought to be “open,” “understanding,” “embracing” of differences and “free-flowing” ideas. Even more “alarming” is that ALL of the “Control” issues are from women! Yes, women who are supposed to be nurturing, caring, understanding, and so forth.

“You cannot throw a pebble without hitting at least one women’s organization.” They have been sprouting up in abundance in the past few years. Most offer great value, some we question, but overall, we do applaud “genuine” and altruistic efforts made in this direction. Afterall, women should be helping women.

Rudeness, anger, bitterness, envy, resentment does not belong in any company, nor in any organization striving to do good. there should be absolutely NO reason for such a behaviour, or to condone it. Mental professionals characterize these traits as “Deep rooted, unresolved inadequacies.” Life it too short to carry such a “burden.”

Women should embrace diversity and ideas, as they will make themselves, others and the organisation stronger. Women should be open to receiving and; in turn giving back, without a “hidden” agenda or “Quid Pro Quo.” Women should applaud the achievements of others and support it instead of striving to undermine it or deface its value.

Women do belong to a unique “Sisterhood,” BUT in order to make it work, we need ALL of our Sisters to embrace each other.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF
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© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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CDC…Obesity not Abated

August 5, 2010 at 14:26 (Health and wellness)

When the new report on obesity was released this past Tuesday by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) , it came out with a whimper, not noticed by the majority of those directly impacted. In the Health and Wellness Profession, the reaction was more obvious, but not surprising.

Not to bore you with more statistics, as you can review any news source for that, the CDC report suggested that rates for obesity has not abated but trebled in the last year. Sadly, this is not good news for the youngest of those affected, now with questionable futures. This will be the first generation that “might” not outlive their parents.

Type-2 diabetes is a “Lifestyle” choice, unlike Type-1 which is genetic in nature. This means that if you have Type-2, it can be reversed! Imagine that! Yet, the CDC report suggests that there are many “unhealthy” choices being made and food and beverage companies are not helping to reverse the obesity epidemic…and why not?

We continue to applaud shows like the “Biggest Loser,” but wonder, if they do more harm than good. We continue to source blog sites like the Biggest Loser and most times are astounded by the “desperation” we see out there to just get on the show. What IF contestants paid to be on the show, instead of having a money prize attached at the end? Yes, these participants are actually contestants and YES, this is a GAME SHOW!

If people paid to lose weight, would it reverse the obesity epidemic? We look at shows like the “Biggest Loser” for face value. Some of processes are interesting, however, keep in mind, it is a GAME SHOW with paid sponsorship. The product placements and the end game prize mitigates any long term success. Statistically, more than half the winners regain their poundage within a year!

The only monetary incentive for anyone to lose weight should be lower health care costs, longevity and vitality. There is a direct correlation between smaller waist size and a better sex life! That should be incentive enough! What about lower blood pressure? The ability to chase after your grand kids in the playground? Sit comfortably in any seat, i.e. plane, train and automobile? No prescription medications with all those side effects? Run and finish a marathon? All these and more should be incentives for living a healthier lifestyle.

We would much rather see MORE shows like Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution.” It is more edgy, less “showy,” more raw and real. The fact that casket companies are booming in business due to obesity…and larger caskets…at an alarming rate is a wake up call to any health conscious “hard liner.” The problem is that hardly anyone is interested in seeing shows like these, including health professionals. It is not glamourous enough. Well, we are also living in a society where people choose to listen to a books rather than read it.

We sometimes wonder whether we have become a nation of fast food and convenience. Even at Wholefoods, we doubt people who shop there cook much, between the “prepared” meals to bags of organic “junk” food.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

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To “Err” is Human…Own up to it

June 2, 2010 at 20:33 (Health and wellness)

We have discovered “many moons” ago that “Life” is what you make of it. You can either live a life full of adventures and possibilities or constant challenges and obstacles. You choose. We chose the former and continue to see life with fresh new perspective, awe and hope. Our perspective does not mean that we are immune to the “bumps” that come with “mileage;” it means that we view all “crisis” as opportunities and lessons never to be repeated. Some might argue we are blessed with good fortune to have such a life; but it has been our position that “luck is by design,” with all its good intentions, flaws and lessons learned.

Oprah Winfrey interviewed Sara Ferguson, the Dutchess of York, recently. As many of you have heard, Lady Ferguson was caught on tape accepting a “bribe” to the tune of $40,000 USD. During the interview it was revealed that she was nearly bankrupt. Many would ask, “how could this be? Is she not the ‘Dutchess of York,’ a royal?” In fact it was quite possible for the Aristocracy to have title only, but no cash flow in which to sustain their lifestyle. Those not familiar with the Aristocracy would find this shocking, but for those more familiar to this lifestyle, this is far from a “revelation.”

What we found “shocking” was the limitations of Lady Ferguson’s own “moral” judgment. It was one one thing to accept a bribe in exchange for “open access” to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, but another to lay blame to other factors driving the decision-making process. It was our personal hope to have seen Lady Ferguson own up to her “error in judgment” for the reason that she was “broke,” and needed the cash, and; not because she was “helping out a friend.” This attempt to cover up the truth was disingenuous. After all, she was a “role model” for many young and impressionable girls.

We do not fault Lady Ferguson for who she truly is, a well-kept lady, living above her means, to keep up a facade. We know this society well enough to know that friends are limited by your “net worth,” not your “self worth;” but then are they truly your friends? Lady Ferguson has been afforded many opportunities and; with such a life comes extraordinary responsibility.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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Multitasking diminishes brain activity

May 17, 2010 at 19:38 (Health and wellness, Women Empowerment)

There has been countless research conducted on the subject matter of multitasking and brain cells. Multitasking does little to increase brain activity. Matter in fact, it does exactly the opposite. Studies have shown that when an individual engages in two of more activities at the same time, it limits the brain’s capacity, thus diminishing the output results of each task. This puts you at risk for mistakes that sometimes can be fatal, such as texting and driving.

The same level of caution can be applied to the job force where employees are put to task on several varied activities simultaneously that can result in dangerous and costly outcomes, i.e. traffic accident that result in death, serious work-related injury, or a financial mistake at the expense of the company.

The ability to focus and efficiently execute a single task should be rewarded. Skills should be based on effectively managing the task at hand and not on the ability to be a “juggler.” This will eliminate costly mistakes, injuries, deaths and protect the efficiency of your gray matter called the brain.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

Addendum: Whilst writing this blog, we thought a lot about the serious problem of texting and driving. We believe that the Oprah Winfrey No Phone Zone Pledge can help save lives through awareness. Save a life and sign up today. We signed up for no texting and using a handsfree device. How will you make an impact today?

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

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© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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Living in a “skinny” world?

February 19, 2010 at 21:50 (Health and wellness)

Director Kevin Smith’s was ejected from a Southwest flight because as he put it, he was too “fat to to fly.” Here is what happened:

1. Kevin Smith did purchase (2) tickets on a later flight and decided on an earlier flight “on standby.”
2. Southwest on the “standby” flight had one seat available for Mr. Smith.
3. Contrary to “popular” commentary, Mr. Smith DOES NOT always purchase (2) tickets when he flies.
4. Mr. Smith on the standby flight did in fact pass the “arm rest” test.
5. Mr. Smith was ejected from Southwest due to “security” and “safety” reasons, according to Southwest.
6. It appears that one flight attendant was directly involved with this decision and one pilot indirectly involved.
7. Southwest did offer Mr. Smith an apology and gave him $100 voucher.
8. Mr. Smith did go on a tirade and tweeted to his followers.
9. Mr. Smith did blog about the ordeal.
10. Southwest, in fact, apologised more than twice to Mr. Smith via Twitter.

In a followup, Director Kevin Smith posted a video blog talking about his ordeal.

Unless you live in the skin of a heavy or obese person, it is difficult to judge the level of embarrassment, public shame and anger one goes through when this occurs. Can we all get along? YES WE CAN!
Healthy | Mindful | Wealth
Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

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The END of “Entitlement”

February 4, 2010 at 18:12 (Health and wellness)

The “bottom line” with “Entitlement” is “don’t,” otherwise you will look like those AIG “brats” that got their bonuses for doing absolutely nothing! By the by, it was ALL legal.

So what is “Entitlement?” A clinical Psychiatrist describes entitlement as “Narcissistic” and “Egocentric” behaviour. In a nutshell, someone who is “self absorbed.” How many “self centered” people do you know? We know quite a few. In dealing with an “entitled” personality trait, you will get the feeling they want everything for nothing….AND have a “what’s in it for me” attitude. Could Altruism be dead? NOT on our watch!

Respond the way you should to people who (1) tries to negotiate “down” your worth; (2) who puts the responsibility on YOU and; (3) who blames YOU for their shortcomings. As discussed in our coaching sessions, these are responses to those entitlement “gnats.”

1. Tries to negotiate “down” your worth. You owe them nothing! Remember that. Never negotiate your “self” worth. This means that if your hourly rate is $80.00, it is $80.00, unless you are running a special for “everyone.” If you barter more than receive “cash flow,” then you are NOT running a business, but a “charity.”  An “Entitled” person will NEVER appreciate what you have done for them even if you do negotiate down this rate AND; you will be running circles to please a person who is not even worth your time, energy and resources. An “Entitled” person does not care about your successes, they only care what they can get from YOU.

2. Puts responsibility on YOU. Has anyone said to you, “I have not spoken to you in such a long time!” Hint, Hint. ” You must be SO busy…” To which you should respond, “I am only a phone call away and I DO answer my phone.” DON’T give these people an inch and yes it is O.K. to remind these “Entitled” people that they too can pick up the phone or drop you an email any time.

3. Blames YOU for their shortcomings. The bottom line is “Entitled” people will do the minimum amount of effort AND will look for a scape goat if things don’t go their way. DON’T be this person and don’t give an inch to anyone who exhibit these traits.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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Nutrition by Number?

January 22, 2010 at 02:05 (Health and wellness)

In 2008, we heard about this nutritional numbering system that was invented by scientists called “The Overall Nutritional Quality Index” (ONQI). In a nutshell, it is an “algorithm which converts complex nutritional information into a single, easy-to-use score.” It was developed in Partnership with Yale University school of medicine.

Flash forward today, sitting for a pow wow afternoon tea when we heard the report about it on a local news channel. We were ecstatic it made the local news here because for the last year, we implemented QNQI in our “Weight Mastery” Programme. Unlike Weight Watchers where the point system is based on calorie count, QNQI “empowers” the average person to make smart food choices based on a nutritional number system from 1-100. Once you understand the “concept,” it is an easily adaptable lifestyle change. Grocery shopping becomes quite simplified and there is really no need to read the “convoluted” packaging, other than to find out more about the ingredients.

Most “diets” and “weight loss” programmes concentrate on “calories,” not nutrition. People are “obsessed” with calories to the point that they may be eating 1200 a day, but poorly, at best. We are “obsessed” by nutrients as they “fuel” the body. As multi-sport athletes, we understand the value of eating foods “close to the source.” The closer to the source your food, the more nutritious and better for you. So, it is no surprise that “fresh” fruits and veggies consistently score 100 and more “processed” foods score a 1. Happy eating!

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

Twitter contact: T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne. Ask questions at hashtag #TEAMSOUNDOFF

© 2010  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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