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Getting Ready for the Unstoppable Women Challenge


kamurj

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Excerpted from
Unstoppable Women: Achieve Any Breakthrough Goal in 30 Days
By Cynthia Kersey

Are you ready to join the ranks of hundreds of women who have taken the Unstoppable Women Challenge and successfully achieved a breakthrough goal in just 30 days, making their lives richer and more satisfying in the process? If so, let's get started!

Like anything in life that's worthwhile, the successful completion of the Unstoppable Women Challenge requires a bit of preparation, and that's what you'll be doing in the upcoming section, which should take about 90 minutes to complete. The first step is to identify a breakthrough goal that will excite and inspire you. In the next few pages, I'll walk you through an easy and fun process for doing just that. Then I'll help you break down your goal into a series of daily, manageable steps that will make change seem natural and energizing.

Consider the payoff: When you accept and complete the Unstoppable Women Challenge, you are building a foundation that will impact virtually every area of your life. Think about it. If you could make one change or create a single result in just 30 days, do you think you could build on that success and do it again? Absolutely. The Unstoppable Women Challenge helps you create the tools and momentum you need to tackle any new project or dream you have.

Don't be intimidated by this process. Hundreds of women from all walks of life have successfully completed the challenge, and their results were nothing short of miraculous.

UNSTOPPABLE WOMAN SUCCESS STORY

"As a mom with two small children, I didn't think it was possible to be able to juggle my life and my kids and move forward with my career. I thought I'd have to put my career on hold until my kids got older. I had hit a lull until I heard about your program.

"After hearing the stories about other unstoppable women who had accomplished so much, I felt it was possible for me as well. I committed to taking the Unstoppable Women Challenge, and I set a goal to increase my sales revenue by 25 percent in 30 days, the first business goal I had identified since having children. If I achieved it, I would qualify for a trip to Vegas, which I was very excited about.

"The Challenge helped me prioritize every step that needed to be done and how to get into action. I got up 1V2 hours earlier every other day to plan out the day. And I discovered that when you have a plan, you're prepared for those unexpected moments of time and can use them to cross a few things off your list. I have a TV and VCR in my car, and if I had to wait to meet a friend and had 15 minutes, I'd pop in a movie for the kids and make sales calls on my cell phone. And finally, to get further insight into achieving my goal while raising a family, I interviewed a woman in my business who was very successful and also had two small children.

"In just 30 days, I exceeded my sales goal and won the trip to Vegas. Never in my life have I felt this incredible about myself as a business person. I've shared so much of what I have learned from the Challenge with family, friends, and team members-all of them are thoroughly convinced this has had a true impact on me and my business and are certain that things will never be the same. I'm sure they're right!"

-Barbara Amato

The Unstoppable Women Challenge can be used for any type of goal-business or personal, big or small. And while not every dream- such as getting your diploma or starting a business-can be achieved in 30 days, in that amount of time you can make significant progress that propels you forward, putting you on the path to success.

For example, even though she didn't have any business experience, Sarah's dream was to start a small catering business. Rather than be overwhelmed by the task, she broke her goal down into a series of smaller goals: research the catering industry, take a business course at the local community college, develop a business plan, and so on. The first 30 days, she researched the catering industry. After six months, she finalized a business plan, raised her capital, developed her menu, identified her base of customers . . . and, for the first time in many years, was excited about her life!

Then there is Janet, whose goal was more personal. Janet spent 20 years pursuing her career, and after retiring, she realized she and her adult son were nearly strangers. Instead of living with regret, she acted: She devised a 30-day plan to renew her relationship with her son. She did it step-by-step, arranging lunches and casual dinners where they could talk. She made a point of listening when he opened up, and she took the time to learn about his job and the things he liked. Over the 30 days, they grew closer as the barriers between them began to come down. Her effort was noticed by her son, and it created a bridge for a closer relationship.

The Unstoppable Women Challenge can be used as a model to achieve any goal or dream-personal or professional-whether it takes one day, one year, or ten years to achieve. It is designed to jumpstart you into action. If your goal is a long-range one, once you've completed your first 30-day challenge, simply redefine your goal for the next 30 days and continue.

To get ready for the Unstoppable Women Challenge, you'll need to complete the following four steps:

1. Identify what you want to achieve-breakthrough goal.
2. Convert your breakthrough goal into a 30-day goal.
3. Learn how to plan your daily "one step."
4. Identify a way to help another woman along the way.

Step One: Identify Your Breakthrough Goal

To create a breakthrough goal, think about what really excites you. It should be something that will literally propel your life, career, or relationships to the next level: running for a school board position, losing those unwanted pounds, pursuing a new career, or spending more time with your family. The size of the goal doesn't matter. It's the passion you have for your goal-and your unstoppable spirit in reaching it-that counts.

The results realized by the women in this book prove that the Unstoppable Women Challenge can transform your life as well.

UNSTOPPABLE WOMAN SUCCESS STORY

"I am 53 years old and was not confident about my understanding of money or my ability to be in control of my finances. I've always wanted to do something about it, but I didn't know how to take the first step.

"The impetus came when I decided I wanted to take singing lessons. I had pushed aside a childhood dream to sing and dance, and now I suddenly wanted to be true to myself. I've always found time for everyone else but me. I decided now was my time. I knew I'd have to get my finances in order before I could justify spending money on lessons.

"I thought the Unstoppable Women Challenge would be a great program to help me gain control of my finances. My 30-day goal was to write down my expenses every day to get a handle on how I was spending money. A secondary goal was to educate myself about finances and investing.

"The results have been amazing. I established a budget and follow it daily. I no longer spend money without thought, and I record every expense. And as important, my spending habits have changed. Before each purchase, I ask myself, 'Is this going to take me closer to my goal or away from it?'

"I have saved enough money to take weekly singing lessons and am auditioning for the Sweet Adelines, an international group that incorporates singing and dancing into their performances. I am reinvigorated about my life and feel more in control of my finances and my future. I'm not just working, but developing my creative side as well. And I'm having a lot of fun!"

-Beverly Blair

A. Do a reality check.

To help identify what you really want, first assess your life as it is today. What's working? What's not working? What areas do you want to improve? The exercise below will help you assess eight key areas of your life. On a scale of 1 to 5, with a 1 meaning that you need a lot of improvement and a 5 meaning that you need no improvement, rate yourself in all of the following areas that apply to you:

PHYSICALFINANCIAL
___ Appearance-I look my best
___ Overall health
___ Fitness level
___ Healthy diet
___ Regular exercise
___ Optimal weight
___ Flexibility
___ Strength training
___ Enough energy to do what I need
to do each day

___ Current income level
___ Good credit
___ Balanced budget
___ Current savings
___ Current net worth
___ Level of debt
___ Clear investment strategy
___ Financial security
___ Enough money to do what I
want, provide for my family,
travel, decorate my home,
support causes I care about, etc.

PROFESSIONALPERSONAL
___ Passionate about my career
___ Advancing in my industry
___ Growing professionally
___ Challenged by my work
___ Doing what I want to do
___ Expert in my field
___ Performing at a level of
excellence
___ Have fun in my life
___ Take great vacations
___ Travel to places I want to go
___ Take time for myself
___ Live in a nurturing environment
___ Love where I live
RELATIONSHIPSMENTAL/EMOTIONAL
___ With my family
___ With my spouse
___ With my children
___ With my parents
___ With my siblings
___ Romance-involved in healthy,
growing relationship
___ Great friendships
___ Mentors to learn from
___ Spend my time with people
I love and care about
___ Personally growing and learning
___ Not easily angered
___ Happy, whole, and complete
___ Fear does not control my life
___ No unhealthy addictions-smoking,
alcohol, drugs, etc.
___ Live with gratitude
___ Feel loved and supported
___ Practice forgiveness
SPIRITUALGIVING BACK/LEGACY
___ Actively growing spiritually
___ Regularly pray/meditate
___ Involved in a spiritual community
___ Expanding faith
___ Regularly express love to others
___ Live in peace
___ Contributing time to others
___ Donating money to causes I care
about
___ Feel like my life matters
___ Making a difference
___ Clarity on my life's purpose and
passion
___ Actively support a cause I care
about

B. Identify three areas of your life you want to improve.

The next step is to review the ratings to determine which of the eight areas need the most improvement. Choose the three most important areas that you'd like to work on. When choosing your top three areas, consider what change or improvement would make the most significant difference in your life, providing you with satisfaction, energy, and momentum. Maybe you're at a point in your life where your health or giving back is more of a concern than finances or your career. Or perhaps you're in the prime earning time of your life and taking your career to the next level would make a huge difference in your and your family's financial prosperity. List the top three areas you'd most like to improve:

Getting Ready for the Unstoppable Women Challenge 15

1. _________________________________________________________

2. _________________________________________________________

3. _________________________________________________________

C. What do you really want, and what are you no longer willing to settle for?

Now it's time to really start dreaming. For each of the three areas you've identified, let's explore further what you'd like to change, improve, or achieve. Put yourself in a mindset of complete faith and optimism. Ask yourself the question, "If I knew I could not fail and had no limitations, what would I want for my life in these top areas?" Don't judge if it's possible or worry about how you'll make it happen. Just dream.

If, after going through the list, you're still struggling to identify what you really want, ask yourself the question, "What am I no longer willing to settle for in my life?" Be completely honest. Think about all the areas in your life that you've settled for less than you deserve. What do you believe would make your life better?

In a moment, I'll ask you to write down your answers to these questions. But first, read through the sample chart completed below. The examples listed are responses from various people when they asked themselves the same questions you're now asking. (To give you ideas in each area, the entire chart has been filled in, though you will want to focus on your specific top three areas when completing your own chart.)

After you've done some brainstorming and considered any ideas sparked by reading through the responses of other people who have gone through the Unstoppable Women Challenge, photocopy the blank "What Do I Want?" chart on page 302 or copy the column heads in your planner or notebook. (For a complete set of Unstoppable Women Challenge forms, go to UnstoppableWomen.com.) Then write down your hopes and dreams in each of the top three areas you'd like to improve. To provide further insight, answer the question, "What am I no longer willing to tolerate or settle for in my life?"

Acknowledge Fear, Prepare,Then Act

Loreena McKennitt knew that to succeed on her own terms, she needed more than musical talent and passion. She needed to educate herself about the music business. So she developed a step-by-step plan to become a savvy music businessperson: running her fledgling label, figuring out how to do media and publicity, and learning about taxes, agents, and contracts. By taking things a step at a time and preparing along the way, she reduced her risk of failure and kept herself from becoming overwhelmed.

Were there times when she was fearful? You bet. Fear is a natural reaction to change. It's the number one reason people hesitate to start anything new, opting instead for the way things are -- safe, comfortable, and familiar. It's important to realize that everyone experiences fear when venturing into unknown territory. It is a natural response. The difference between stoppable and unstoppable people is their response to fear. Unstoppable people acknowledge fear and manage it by confronting the cause and determining how they can prepare for the challenge ahead. They decide on certain actions that will enable them to feel as competent and confident as possible.

As women, we tend to be more uncomfortable with risk than men are; there are two major reasons for this difference. First, we have significantly lower levels of testosterone, the hormone behind aggressiveness, competitiveness, risk-taking, and high sex drive. Second, women have historically been trained to revere security, not risk.

Columbia University's Carol Dweck, Ph.D., one of the world's leading researchers on emotional development, says that women fear risk because they fear making mistakes. "Women take less risks because they don't want to expose their inadequacies. They see inadequacies as permanent deficiencies rather than things that can be learned over time."

For example, when a woman is applying for a job and is asked if she can do something she knows little about, she'll say no, Dr. Dweck says. On the other hand, men say, "Sure," meaning, "Sure, I can learn." They don't want to expose inadequacies. Many women, particularly bright women, see inadequacies as permanent deficiencies rather than things that can be remedied. Often, women will not think of the learning that will take place on the job and how they can grapple with that as time goes on, but will instead focus on the skills that they lack and the gap between what they know now and what they need to know.

As young girls, many of us were perfect and got a lot of praise for being good little girls. And it becomes a standard that we can't live up to and we're afraid of falling from that standard.

Let's take a lesson from the men. If we want to move into new territory and make a change in our lives, it's important to let go of the expectation of needing to know everything up front. This is unrealistic and holds us back. My personal strategy for approaching any new undertaking has always been to prepare thoroughly. Whether I'm giving an important sales presentation or speaking in front of a large audience, I never "wing it." Initially, the task may seem intimidating, but the more prepared I am, the more confident I become.

To overcome fear, we must prepare as best we can and then plunge ourselves into the very thing we fear most. Only by taking risks can we build our confidence.

Finally, don't be surprised if you don't get initial support from others when you take a risk. Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, "All truth goes through three steps. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident." Schopenhauer asserted that only 3 percent of people ever embrace a new truth during the first two stages, when their lives can be truly transformed. Ninety-seven percent wait for the self-evident stage, when embracing the new idea is safe and socially acceptable. Unfortunately, by then it's too late for any real opportunities.

By taking a risk, you are refusing to let fear create regrets for you. Instead, you are opening yourself to a world of new, exciting opportunities.

Is the risk worth the reward?

Are you experiencing fear and anxiety about your ability to achieve your breakthrough goal? Perhaps you've been putting off a particularly daunting step you need to take to achieve your 30-day goal? Take some time to think about what concerns you the most about this step. Acknowledge your fear -- but don't stop there. Brainstorm some ways you could prepare to take this step. Preparation is the key to taking fear out of the unknown. Of course, you'll never be able to foresee everything that could happen, but by preparing for the most likely scenarios, you'll feel more comfortable. Then go ahead and plunge yourself into the thing you've been fearing -- remember, the first step is the hardest! And once you've taken the risk, you'll be on your way to reaping the rewards.

Risk is the fuel behind all growth, all greatness. I've coached people who didn't achieve their 30-day goal in 30 days, but still said it was the most transformational experience of their lives. Why? For the first time, they had a plan and understood the mindset necessary to make real changes in their lives. They were in action! That is success! If we focus on what we gain through the process of trying and risking and see how we've grown and learned, we win.

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