Live like you are dying…

October 30, 2011 at 12:16 (Health & Wellness, Relationships, Women Empowerment) (, , , , )

The death of Steve Jobs greatly impacted us. Not only did the man make us “financially secure” but the way he lived his life has been an inspiration. We have a propensity to greatly admire those that live on the outskirts of “normal.” We spent plenty of time with brilliant outcasts in school to know that Valedictorians are over rated.

We do not put ourselves in the same sphere as Jobs, but have an affinity to the way he made “no excuses” or apologised, rarely, for who he was. In many respects, we lived a similar path of “self-discovery” sans the drugs and rock and roll, shutting down the “noise” and doing it our way. We did not care what others thought, and less about what they thought about us. We were never bothered by “personal” opinion that had no bearing on what we wanted to achieve in life. As stated many times over, we are not here for a popularity contest and; what seems to be of great importance to other people doesn’t even register on our radar. However, loyalty can NEVER be compromised.

Whilst we all graduated with a degree in something, we never stopped learning or growing as a person. Jobs said after dropping out of college, he dropped in on some courses that he found “fascinating” such as calligraphy. Later with the creation of the Macintosh, he incorporated the beautiful typeface fonts he learned in calligraphy class. As a collective downrange, we took up language courses including sign language which gave us a unique ability to “read” people, all the whilst pretending we did not know what we knew. There was something to be said about being a fly on a wall and acting ignorant, whilst having a brilliant “other” career.

Jobs’ “authorised” biography gave lots of credit to the man who admitted to the world that he was no saint and; wanted the book to be a raw reflection of the man himself. We don’t think he was a perfectionist either. He just knew what he liked and did not let anyone or anything stand in his way.

Later in life, he stated he did look at the man in the mirror and started to live every day as if it was his last. During his most difficult times of his pancreatic cancer, he put out sheer brilliance including the iPhone and iPad.

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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I Am…What’s Wrong with the World? “Tom Shadyack”

April 21, 2011 at 09:39 (Ethics, Health & Wellness, Money & Finance, Relationships, Women Empowerment, Your Bottom line)

Tom Shadyack, the director of the provocative documentary, “I Am,” explores what happened to “civilisation” as we know it. We had an opportunity to screen this film back in March. The film resonated with all of us as we continue our journey for more “altruistic” ventures. He was on Oprah yesterday with an epiphany that changed his life forever, as it did ours in 2003.

Tom Shadyack is no stranger to filmmaking or Hollywood. He has turned out comedic hits as “Bruce Almighty” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” starring Jim Carrey and “The Nutty Professor” starring Eddie Murphy. He averaged about $8M per film with points for box office receipts. At one time he owned three (3) sizable “mansions,” flew on private jets and lived by any standard, an “extraordinary life.” He gave it all up for a more “happier life” a “double wide” and a bike and; as he stated, “the less weight I had the happier I became.”

His “ground-breaking” new film explores his own journey to discover where did civilisation get it wrong? Whilst the film does not condemn life as we know it, it questions where society sets “priorities,” and the notion that “more” will make us any happier, or that we are hard wired for competition. On the contrary, we are “hard wired” for “collabouration.”

In 2003, we made the decision, as a collective, to downsize out of economic necessity. We were once again “Going to war.” One cannot live on just a military salary, alone. We also made a conscious and ethical decision not to take our usual Board of Directors stipends whilst on deployment. In the years since, just like Tom Shadyack, we, as a collective, became happier with less weight and; realised that we did not miss the “management of “stuff” nor the “stuffy” and “pretentious” world we were once part of.

To be clear, being part of “high society” is not stuffy at all, but the trappings of which others see as being important was. We also realised in our unique personal journeys, that the people we associated with were MORE important than those things that defined our status in life. Whilst we were products of good stock and education; associated, some would say, with a “privileged” life, we never let that which was afforded to us “go to our heads.” We were able to put things into perspective, select the friends who made us whole, be part of a team that made us thrive and seek out projects that gave us the opportunities to achieve.

A reporter who interviewed us during our pre-deployment once asked if it was “easy” to give up most everything we owned. Our ownership extended to properties, cars, lucrative stipend and luxury items including memberships at exclusive clubs and a private jet. Absolutely! When you are on the front line, your priorities are totally shifted to “What is really important in life.”

Today, we are still lean, and still don’t miss “all that.” With that said, we did not have to compromise our love of travel, entertainment and joys of life. Matter in fact giving up the other “weight” afforded us greater freedom to play. Tom Shadyack stated that when he told people he worked 18 hours, he received “positive” feedbacks, until he stated he played about four hours a day…to blank stares! No wonder people are stressed out and unhappy! We love the blank stares…so bring it on!

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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Suze Orman vs. Kim Kiyosaki

March 4, 2011 at 00:05 (Education, Ethics, Health & Wellness, Money & Finance)

We recently heard an interview of Kim Kiyosaki and realised the woman was “out of touch,” especially in this economy. She told the interviewer point blank that “no one” should live below their means or within their means. HUH? Really? Even the interviewer asked her “Why?” Ms. Kiyosaki responded, “Do you want to get rid of your credit cards and eat cheap meals? I don’t.” She then continued by stating that she was used to a certain lifestyle and she was not going to give it up. We found her response to be quite “elitist.”

We thought Ms. Kiyosaki’s statement to be “negligent,” as well, since the majority of women who “flock” to these conferences where Ms. Kiyosaki appears do not have the financial resources. They mostly come from the “working class.” Some are single mothers who don’t have the luxury of an extra income. Even if they have a spouse, some women feel they need to work to support the family. Rarely will you find women from Bel Air, Palm Beach or Riverside flocking to these kinds of events. Can you imagine the Housewives of Beverly Hills, Orange County, DC and Atlanta attending? So the message has to be tailored to the masses who do attend, not those who don’t.

We attended one of these Rich events for FREE, but rather have paid for “real value.” This event was more like a “Get rich quick” scheme where unsuspecting people were “sold” on a “system” that costs more than some of their pay checks. Of course, the price was slashed to $495 at the event!

The Rich staff members sat at long tables, behind the audience, “ready and eager” to take credit cards, and even suggested a “payment plan.” A guy at the front of the house “worked the crowd,” shouting and we thought, “touched by the holy spirit.” It sounded like a Baptist revival, all programmed to release the audience of their hard earned money!

On her website, Ms. Kiyosaki does bring up a good point that money can “set you free.” We totally concur with that. Being financially solvent and independent from debt and liabilities does set you free. There is nothing more EMPOWERING than being debt free and cash rich, but certainly NOT at the expense of others. Ms. Kiyosaki and her husband became rich selling their lifestyle ideals to others, whilst pocketing the profits.

Suze Orman got it right, and in our view, she is the “real deal.” She is a highly successful professional who can spin Ms. Kiyosaki in a wind tunnel of financial expertise. “True wealth” is knowing that you have the cash to pay for it outright, not that you can put it on credit. Once you put it on credit, you already carry a liability which eats away at your networth. Then you are trying to figure out how to make more money to counter balance that liability. When in the first place, if you did live either below your means, meaning spending less than you bring in (AND NOT as defined by Kim Kiyosaki), or within your means, you would not have to work so hard to generate income to make up the difference.

The Kennedy’s are seen as a Wealthy American family in every sense of the word, yet Rose Kennedy, the matriarch had no problem shopping at Woolworths. Warren Buffett is the second richest man in the world, yet has no problem eating a steak at a dive. You can’t even find the headquarters of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha. They don’t have a marquee on the building. They rent office space, as they had done for years! We attend their Shareholders meetings annually. During our first year, trying to find their headquarters in Omaha was like, “Where’s Waldo?”

SMART Women know how to build wealth…SMARTLY. These women do not follow the groupies, the heard or the raving fan base. Be your own mistress to your destiny and take charge of your life and financial future by being SMART and living SMART.

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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Here is a recent Tweet from Kim Kiyosaki. NO Ms. Kiyosaki, “Living below your means DOES NOT mean being “less” than who you are.

@kimkiyosaki Kim Kiyosaki says:

Often we hear “live below your means.” This means be less than who you are. We should be expanding to be MORE than who we are.

17 Feb via HootSuite

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Shattering Misconceptions, Part II: Seems too Organized? “Fear is the Mind Killer”

February 7, 2011 at 14:57 (Health & Wellness, Money & Finance, Relationships, Women Empowerment)

We recently conducted an exit interview with a woman who was accepted into our latest beta programme, “What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know.” Please note for the value of this blog, she only experienced the first week of the twelve week programme. The first week is dedicated to introductions, where participants introduce themselves to each other, in their respective group dynamics. The “meat” of the programme is week II to XI.

This woman relayed to us that our programme, from her experience, seemed “too organised.” She felt that down the road we would want “something” from her, like “money.”  We advised her that our programme was altruistic and sponsor underwritten. No monies EVER exchanged hands with participants. The primary goal of this beta programme was to mine data for future events and; to assess the viability of such an undertaking. We do NOT sell to participants.

The “organisational” process was credited to the people that made it happen. They included our volunteer staff who were experts in their field; Moderators/Mentors who dedicated their weeks to this programme; Keynotes who presented each week and; Advisory and Training Advisory members. Quality people bring quality to the table!

Nevertheless, we validated this woman’s “fear” since change has to come from within and; “fear is the mind killer.” Her bad experience(s) of the past has crippled her in the present. It was shameful that some Organisers run their show with no checks and balances. They charge enormous fees, with no guarantees. They promote their friends as instructors and keynotes, with no credible experience. Some Organisers are a one person show, with “claimed” expertise in ALL subject areas. One cannot be an “expert” in everything and if they claim they are? RUN AWAY!

It is natural, of course, to have doubts. We are the sum total of our past experiences. While many programmes are worth the time and investment, some are disingenuous and built as a “cash flow” vehicle for the Organiser(s), and NOT a viable resource for the attendees. Programmes of the latter nature do spoil the good image for those programmes that strive to do good. We leave the final judgement up to the attendees.

We don’t like wasting time and do not want anyone to waste their time either. So, when we were approached by this woman to leave the programme, we did not stand in her way. Interestingly, this woman “changed her mind” and wanted to continue with the programme, even stating she would be there for the next session. WE HAD OUR DOUBTS.

After 12 years profiling people as a profession, we felt that this woman was not sincere in wanting “back into the programme”  We sent her an exit survey, in any event. Did we we assess her personality correctly? You bet! As it happened, she changed her mind again the VERY next day.

“What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know” is a Program that is NOT for the “faint of heart.” This programme is designed for women who “want to make things happen” in a BIG way. So, the next time, you see us in your neck of the woods, make sure you want it, or don’t sign up. We say this honestly and without malice.

MORE information: What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know

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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Shattering Misconceptions, Part I: What Women Should Know…They GOT the Power!

February 7, 2011 at 14:44 (Health & Wellness, Money & Finance, Relationships, Women Empowerment)

January was an exciting beginning to what will undoubtedly be a prosperous year! In the Chinese calendar it is the Year of Rabbit = Prosperity. The Rabbit is a lucky animal symbol. In numerology the number 1 notates “Beginning, New, Focused concentration, Goal-striving, Action, Independence, Originality, Courage, Invention, Leader, Self-reliant, Ambition, Pioneer, Will, Conscious Mind, Positive.” Whatever your belief, this year does bring with it HOPE.

In January, we also launched “What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know,” a programme specifically designed for women. What we know is that women are pioneers, everything from the suffrage movement to “breaking the Glass Ceiling,” including at Ebay, Hewlett Packard and Facebook and; starting businesses. More than half of small business start ups are initiated by women.

Single women also are in the MAJORITY. imagine that! In a recent research study, 52% of men are now “dreaming” of the “traditional” household and seemingly want to get married. Less than half the women researched say they do. Women are also leading in the hire rates of industries including education, health care and government.

Now with all this POWER women have, what is holding them back from achieving the calibre they all know they can? Women are less prepared for the job market, with less than 7% negotiating for their first job out of college. They are less financially prepared, albeit the majority run their own household finances and, they are paid less than their male counterparts in almost every other “male” dominated industry such as law enforcement, legal and finance.

Whilst the “What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know” programme is aware of these issues, we are MORE focused on creating opportunities and helping women compete in their specific marketplace by elevating their knowledge and skills set. We believe we can be the great equalizer in making this happen and; true to form we are already shattering “misconceptions” of what this programme is all about.

MORE Information: What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know

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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What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know-“Downsized” & “Fairy Job-mothered”

December 20, 2010 at 14:44 (Education, Health & Wellness, Money & Finance, Women Empowerment)

We recently conducted a focus group in four (4) of our markets to assess spending habits and lifestyle changes of participants directly impacted by the economy. This was an independent study of an outside market research company to obtain a “snap shot” of how people were doing in their “new” economic reality and what were their “coping” mechanisms, if any. Spending habits is one of the indicators of how an individual copes with economic “hardship” or “prosperity.”

Not surprisingly, the data revealed that most of the people were “optimistically” cautious, BUT also more individuals were gravitating towards “uncharted territory” in an effort to “survive.” For instance, more were willing to share their “challenges” and participate in forums and open discussions with total strangers, with similar background and experience to themselves, in order to feel “connected” and to seek information for their own circumstance. Additionally, some started watching “reality-based” TV shows like “Downsized” and “Fairy Job Mother” to help them understand that they were not alone.

The “coping” mechanisms, i.e. to be with others who “feel” their “pain,” and seeking outlets that could help them improve their circumstance seems to be what is “trending” in this NEW economy. This brings us to events on television, which sometimes reflects life, and the shows that have found “instant” success due to the “demand” for that kind of information, knowledge and pacification.

In the show “Downsized,” a blended family goes through the realization that their once “cushy” lifestyle on a million dollar plus income and living way “above” their means, gave way to their current daily struggles of putting food on the table and finding ways to cut expenses. In “Fairy Job Mother,” individuals are making the most of valuable job-hunting techniques proposed by their career consultant to land their next job. Both shows are definitive of the “current” economic situations faced by many households and individuals.

On the flip side, some of the focus group participants were making the most of their new reality. These individuals are not millionaires… far from it…but were able to sustain themselves by living frugally, on a budget or being realistic about their financial expectations. Whilst some did lose their jobs, they did not lose their sanity, their “shirts” or their “home” in the process because they had the foresight to “store” enough “nuts” during the “harvest” to ride out this economic “winter.”

What Focus Groups bring to light is (1) insight and; (2) opportunities. What we learned was that there was a great divide between how men and women took advantage or not of their current situation. Whilst we like to believe that women are great “networkers,” women are not doing nearly enough for each other as their male counterparts. Women are supportive to be sure, but men’s outright “assertiveness” is the game changer in why the “Good Old Boy” Network is so much more efficient and SMARTER than the “Sisterhood.”

Let’s put the “Good Old Boys” to the test. Take for example former “disgraced” New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who now has his own television show or; even former “disgraced” Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich who has been receiving steady work including his own radio show, reality show and TV commercials, whilst awaiting trial for fraud and bribery. I am not saying that EVERYONE falls into this “Teflon” category, BUT most men seem to bounce back from scandal or other life’s challenges with little to no damage, whereas for a woman, there is a “double” standard, especially initiated by OTHER women, NOT men. Women ARE their own worse “frenemies.”

Men too are more assertive in business and in job hunting than their female counterparts. A man is willing to let go of his “ego” to stand on a street corner with a sign that says, “I need work,” whilst dressed in his business suit and tie; whereas a woman sometimes restricts her own opportunities to “save face,” and continues to “pretend” that everything is all right, when in fact it is not. The same woman might continue to spend money she does not have, shop at the same stores and dine out with her gal pals, all the whilst her debt continues to mount and she does not know how she will pay for rent or mortgage. Not ALL women and not ALL men fall into any of these categories, but the gender “behavioural traits” are spot on. These behaviours were also clearly evident in Focus Group discussions.

The “support” mechanism between the genders also vary on how situations are handled. As one of my Sponsors pointed out, a woman is very likely to be supportive “verbally,” saying things like “it will be all right…it will get getter,” whilst a man whose friend needs a job will pickup the phone and speak to a contact to get his friend a job. Men are more “action” oriented, whilst a woman puts all her “feelings” into words with very little activity physically. Again, I am not trying to square peg anyone into a round hole, but there is a vast difference between the genders on how they cope with their reality.

Take for example the TV show “Downsized.” When the couple went to a financial planner, they were both given the “riot act” to change or else. They were given top-notch feed back and what they could do to drastically improve their financial situation. Whilst the man “got it” and already started making cut backs, the woman felt “guilty” about cutting back on her kids “extra curricular activities” that were supporting their increasing debt! In one episode, she even told the financial planner she “needed” the “expensive” Starbuck’s coffee every day due to her MS condition.

As a direct result of several factors that came out of the focus groups we conducted from August to October, we developed a programme specifically designed for women. “What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know” hopefully will be plenty! That a woman does not have to give up her femininity to be assertive and; she can meet the challenges head on without being called a “dragon” lady.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

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

What S.M.A.R.T. Women Know

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

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“Waiting for Superman”

September 24, 2010 at 17:37 (Education, Health & Wellness, Relationships, Women Empowerment)

“Wellness” IS a state of mind, and when negatively impacted by environmental circumstances, can tear down the spirit and hamper the maintenance of a healthy body. Wellness IS the TOTAL body, mind and spirit connection, an experience we hope everyone achieves successfully.

“Waiting for Superman,” a film by Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning Director of “An Inconvenient Truth,” explores the affects of an ineffective public school system on children, families and the society,” at large.” The affects can sometimes be devastating for a child’s mental, spiritual and physical development, and can change the “trajectory” of future offerings by this child.

The film purports that under performing public schools are partially responsible for our crumbling, crime-infested communities and the increasing number of gang activities. Of course, there are excellent public schools and equally exceptional teachers and educators, but more needs be done to address this growing social problem.

“Waiting for Superman” is not a denigration of the public school system, but reviews the antiquated processes that are ineffective to address the needs of children in these school systems. The film explores teacher tenure offered to every teacher, regardless of skills, who serves a minimum of two (2) years in the system. The film explores the severity of drop out rates that can be as high as 42% in some districts. The film explores the continuing explosion of illiteracy among our youth. The film also explores the rise of the Charter schools and the important role they play in the future lives of these children.

All of this and more can be seen in the film, “Waiting for Superman,” in limited release on Friday, 24 September 2010. The film follows five (5) unique students and their parents as they struggle to make important decisions about education and their fight for a better future. No child’s future should be decided on a lottery and no child’s future should be determined by certain “unfit” teachers and highly compensated educators who continue to fail “our” children.

Whilst some have accused the film as being too “simplistic,” no doubt this film will ignite important conversations on the subject-matter. Having screened this film earlier this week, we can honestly say that this film is a start and hopefully will motivate individuals to continue the conversation.

Wellness is the TOTAL body, mind and spirit connection…an experience that IS directly impacted by environmental circumstances.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

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

Watch the Trailer

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

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View existing comments Curb your “Control” Factor

September 16, 2010 at 12:26 (Health & Wellness)

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View existing comments for CDC…Obesity not Abated

August 5, 2010 at 09:22 (Health & Wellness)

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