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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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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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 Match.com 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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“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

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

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Jake and Vienna…the Bachelor SAGA…Give me a break!

July 6, 2010 at 13:24 (Relationships)

We do not follow the television show “The Bachelor,” nor do we know anything about the “characters,” Jake and Vienna.

Last week, one of our students forwarded a clip of an interview of “Jake,” the Bachelor. In the clip, he denounced his choice for the FINAL rose, AFTER the fact. He stated during the interview  “I love her…but I am not ‘in’ love with her” referring to his breakup with Vienna. We immediately burst out laughing thinking how typical and what a load of crock!

It would have been more classy for Jake to “own up” to the fact that the relationship just did not work out…for whatever reason, instead of giving a cowardly answer of “in” love opposed to just love. Amusingly, he also stated that he wanted to be “friends” and that he still cared about her.

The first time we heard this “in” love bunk was whilst conducting a focus group of women on the subject matter of the “new dating rituals.” We discovered through our field research that this “under” statement was used casually and OFTEN by certain “types” of men, regardless of social standing. Not all men used this ridiculous phrasing, and not all men were definitely alike.

These women described the “same” type of man over and over again, with common characteristics. These included lacking confidence and direction in their life. They were drifters, wanderers and what some might call, “Bad boys.” They also loved their man cave and would retreat to it often. What these women misunderstood was that  “Real men” don’t sit in a “man cave,” they are equal partners in a relationship. A REAL man supports the success of their relationship not by going off on a “man hunting” expedition with other men, but sharing in the development of a “real” life for both he and his partner. If a man is not willing to do this, don’t be discouraged and “don’t” try to change him…just drop him and move on….

Society may have evolved, but these men are still set in the stone age. They may be charming, polished in some cases, and seemingly have all the traits of someone who understands affection and love, but deep down inside they are scared, uncertain human beings trying to “figure out” who they are and what they want to be when they grow up. They are boys in mens’ bodies, and in some cases may hangout with someone half their age, with their same maturity level.

These men are prone to forget dates and meetups and in general forget about you until, when it is convenient for them. Yet, so many women are willing to stick it out with these inappropriate types, making excuses, sitting by the phone hoping he will return the call, instead of venturing out and experiencing life to the fullest.

Whilst conducting our field research, we notated these factors to consider: (1) Look at their divorce rate (once, OK, twice…questionable, three…why are you still there?); (2) time between relationships; (3) exclusion/inclusion; (4) assertive/aggressive tendencies; (5) “responsiveness” with full on communications; (6) chronic complainers, real or imagined (bad mouthing their exes) and; (7) Your dates feel like a “group” date with their drinking buddies in tow. These men will have all or a combination of these traits, to start. They may be subtle at first, but the traits will become more prominent once the relationship “seems” to progress.

Like most relationships, it may start out “hot and heavy” then a natural progression of “togetherness,” but “lacks” cohesive “partnership.” Aside from marriage, you get the feeling they don’t want to “make an honest woman” out of you. At this point, a “hard” decision has to be applied whether to move on or stay. The most applicable to this process is “feelings.” Does it feel right or estranged? Is it worth the time invested or not?

Every “partnership” is about “give/take,” “compromise” and “thick/thin.” If you are in a relationship that feels “one sided,” perhaps it is wise to look elsewhere. Through it all, be proud of the fact that you did not compromise!

Don’t believe in man cave speak that “all men stray.” Surprise! They don’t! Only certain types stray and certain types are prone to never settle on just one good woman. These men are fed by their own egos.

Most of us will experience the end of a relationship, but we most surely will experience the beginning of new ones too!

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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July 6, 2010 at 08:30 (Relationships)

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Use Your Delete Button…Frequently

April 8, 2010 at 05:53 (Relationships)

Social Media has become a “social” phenomenon that is now prevalent even in the halls of Congress. Practically every political figure and celebrities including President Obama and Oprah Winfrey have Facebook and Twitter accounts. Information is passed so freely that the line between what is “private” and “public” is sometimes blurred.

There have been instances where  the revelation from a status update or Tweet, i.e. travel itineraries have resulted in theft of property. Stalkers have easy access to “fan pages,” following tweets and even “friending” their “prey” on Facebook. With so much information “out there,” the danger of “overexposure” is greater and the potential to be a “victim” that much more prevalent.

Unless your Social Media association is purely to rack up the numbers, i.e. 5,000 on Facebbook, a million Twitter followers or 500+ on LinkedIn, certain criteria should be implemented by everyone on Social Media sites, especially on Facebook that now boasts more than 78% of the market share. Facebook offers more social interactions and is heavily driven by status updates, photos, videos and notes.

The following are safety features we believe everyone should implement to limit or totally avoid “friending” “questionable” profiles. Due to some pre-friend security measures, you may not have all the details about this person, however, once you do accept them in your network, make certain they have at least the following, or delete them from your list.

1. Profile picture. A picture is worth a million, so don’t skip this part. Don’t accept blank page. Caveat: there are dangerous of photos, so some may use their pets or stock image. That is fine, as long as the rest of their profile look genuine.
2. Information. After reading their profile or posts, do you know anything about them?
3. Photographs. Do they have ANY or are they “stock” photos only? Caveat: Photos could be images of vacations, without their actual image. This is fine too, since we always advise safety and security when posting anything on social media sites.
4. Quotes. Especially on Facebook, you can make a distinction between a friend or a foe by what is stated, as well as what is posted.
5. Work/Profession. What do they do? Is this blank? Not all profiles have this information, however, their list of activities will reveal their interest(s) which are key indicators. For instance, runners have a propensity to gravitate toward other runners.
6. Status updates. How does it read? We once accepted a connection due to a mutual connection, to find out their status updates were full of “questionable” language. This connection was immediately deleted and blocked.

Don’t make the mistake of accepting just anyone. Just like you would not bring a stranger home on a first date, be aware there are individuals who do not have the best intentions.

Healthy | Mindful | Wealth

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

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