Webinar (Replay) – 5 Insider Tips For Cultivating Relationships That Yield Humongous Results

(Original date: April 28, 2016)

Relationships make the world go round but few of us were ever taught HOW to maximize our net worth through our network.

In just 60 minutes, I’ll share my 5-tips on how to cultivate relationships that yield humongous results. Brimming with examples from my own personal success, this “serial asker” spills my  insider secrets about how to catapult relationships into dollar in your bank account.

Discover How To…

  1. Test if your relationships are helping or hurting your bank account
  2. Avoid the #1 professional mistake that most women make and they don’t even know!
  3. Cultivate relationships you haven’t even made yet!
  4. Create your own revenue and media generating opportunities!
  5. Master the easy techniques to authentically ask for help!

If you feel like you are on the treadmill of life, not getting ahead or achieving what you want, you’ll want to treat yourself to these 60 minutes of learning, inspiration and action plans. Life begins with the permission you give yourself to succeed!

 

Hosted By: Nicole Matthews

As an in-demand speaker on entrepreneurship and personal development, I have presented across the globe, including Scotland and Mexico. I am also the author of Permission: Stop Competing and Start Creating the Life You Want to Live, and owner of The Henley Co, a global event, travel and lifestyle management firm. In all aspects of my work, I champion the importance of designing an authentic and prosperous life!

Manage the Crazy—5 Tips For Wedding Planners to Keep Their Sanity!

Article originally appeared in Wedding Planner Magazine – March 4, 2016: http://weddingplannermag.com/2016/03/manage-the-crazy-5-tips-for-wedding-planners-to-keep-their-sanity/

lodge-torrey-pines-real-wedding-1

No doubt about it, wedding planning is hectic and harried. How can you keep your cool and carry on? Read on.

The rose pedals have been scattered, the music has been cued, and the groom stands ready to receive his beloved as she slowly walks down the aisle. The guests are watching through the screens of their cell phones and trying to get a selfie with the bride as she comes down the aisle—signs of a modern wedding! You take a breath at the back of the church as you watch your clients profess their undying love to each other in front of their friends and family. While the vows and rings are exchanged, your team has already scattered and your assistant is flying across town to make sure the reception site is flawless for the announcement of the newly minted Mr. & Mrs. If even one leaf is out of place or a crumb has fallen from the cake, your overstuffed event kit will allow your assistant to MacGyver a solution out of the mobile tool box you have on wheels. You are wearing your superhero cape—you are Super Wedding Planner!

Having been in the event industry for 18 years, I applaud myself for keeping my sanity. During my tenure I have produced events as small as an intimate cocktail party to as large as Olympic programs. Sprinkled amongst the pages of my portfolio are a handful of weddings. Why so few, you might ask? The brash answer is that I don’t take on projects that I think will come with a big bag of crazy. I screen hardcore when I meet a couple. If, for a minute, I sniff out any loony in the room, I end the meeting without apology. My schedule suddenly “fills up,” and I’m not able to take on the project. With an apology for my overbooked schedule, I’m happy to let the couple go back out to fish in the planner pool.

For the couples who make it through my screening process, I implement five tips for keeping my sanity and keeping the couple from losing it.

1. Have the couple complete a thorough questionnaire. As part of the introduction and orientation to working with me and my team, I request all couples complete a comprehensive form, which tells me their vision for the wedding, the budget, any red flags, and helps me to get to know their personality. The questionnaire also identifies who will be involved with the planning and, more importantly, who will be writing the checks. Finally, I ask the couple to provide their expectations for their wedding planner. I want to hear, from them, what they believe my role is and how they believes we will interact. Tweet me @henleyco if you would like a copy of my form or click here:

Client Intake Form (Wedding)

2. Bring them back to reality. As we know, Pinterest is both a blessing and a curse. Little does the couple realize, when they are pinning away that the wedding they are creating will really cost $1.2 million. An experienced planner will take the vision from Pinterest and turn it into something the couple can afford. Educating couples about what items, services and products really cost is crucial. We have a very direct conversation early in the planning so we can manage expectations on both sides.

3. Get the details on everyone involved. In an attempt to herd the wedding party and family, I ask all couples to complete a spreadsheet with the names, role, and contact information for all VIPs. This allows me to communicate directly with the wedding party, key family members, and friends, which has eliminated any confusion, and the “I didn’t realize we had a rehearsal” comments. Everyone on this spreadsheet receives a timeline and production schedule, which starts with his or her arrival into town and continues until the wheels are up on their airplane ride home. The couple has enough to think about; we see it as our role to be the portal for communication. This has been a game changer!

4. Set boundaries—it will make all the difference to your business! Just because the client wants to email, text, or call you every five minutes, doesn’t mean you have to respond immediately. We train clients on how we want them to treat us. If we jump every time they wail, we are going to become a pogo stick. I set an appointment time for each of my brides, once per month (by phone or in-person), which then increases as the wedding day nears. I explain to the couple that I am happy to receive their emails when they have a thought or question but that I will respond during their dedicated appointment. It’s amazing how productive this has made the relationship.

5. Don’t leave money on the table. Regardless of whether you charge a flat rate or a combined rate (flat rate and mark-up), it’s important to look for ways to increase your profit. The decision to add concierge services to our business has allowed us to have a more comprehensive relationship with our clients long after their wedding is over. They come back to us for their travel coordination, household management, and in-home entertaining. Weddings should be the opening for you to manage other projects for the client—not just a one and done experience.

Clients look to us for guidance and expertise. We won’t be good at our craft if we let Bridezilla run the show. Setting boundaries is key for your own state of mind—which, in turn, attracts the clients we really want to serve. I now pronounce you a wedding planner with sanity intact. Go wear your Super Planner cape with pride! WPM

__

Nicole Matthews, The Henley Company, San Diego, Calif.

Win a Copy!

Email editor@weddingplannermag.com, with your name, business, and complete address, by Thursday, March 31, for your chance to win a copy of Nicole Matthews’ book, Permission – Stop Competing & Start Creating The Life You Want to Live, published by Archway Publishing. Be sure to put “Book Contest” in the subject line. The book champions the power of “leaning on” others to help create the life you want to live. Simon T. Baily, CEO of the Brilliance Institute, says about the book: “WOW…this book is brilliant! Nicole walks next to us as a personal concierge who woos us with her riveting storytelling and painful truth.” The book is also available on Amazon.

You’re Engaged…Plan Accordingly

7EqzAZW7SJM9860WPTphFLyKcOS8hzUboo5y53lW-K8,2hNeb8uio1jOwV9HgeYGRm34Zgpb_UFDb1WjnLOxzQQ,Lg-DUZsbtOK-NE0vYyJZ_8jz1voPdwKL7exy10j4nYE,Jvlbj2w-bzrQas6btWa9N4wC0xpn47ClpT4DAsDNZdw

Congrats!

If you are one of the 26% of couples to get engaged over the holidays, two things are happening:

  1. You can’t stop flashing your diamond (“Oh what, this new thing?”) and telling your engagement story to anyone who will listen. And…
  2. You’re now back to work and you aren’t doing anything at your desk this week besides building your wedding board on Pinterest!

I get that you are totally excited, and you want to start your venue tours, cake tastings and dress shopping, stat! I get it; you’ve probably thought about this moment your entire life. Not to burst your bubble, princess…but first thing you should be doing is booking your planner! I know, it doesn’t seem as fun to think about your wedding planner as it is to dream about lace, bridesmaids and honeymoon destinations, but your planner is going to set you up for success so all those dreams come true!

Here’s 5 things you should consider when selecting your planner…

  1. Understand the difference between a “Day-of Coordinator” and a “Full Service Planner.” In the industry, the “day-of coordinator” doesn’t really exist. Any of us true professionals will tell you that we would never show up at a wedding the day-of and just wing it. “Day-of” really is “month-of” coordination because it’s important we reach out to all of your vendors and to create a timeline and production schedule so that the day runs smoothly. Realize of course that “day-of” coordinators are not full service planners, so PLEASE do not think you are paying for day-of and expecting full-service.  In contrast, a full-service planner is going to be your partner in your planning. We work with clients to create a vision, budget, design and coordinate the affair.
  2. Does the planner have insurance, a business license and a legit business? Is your planner a member of a professional event industry association and/or certified? If you can answer no to any of these questions, you need to sprint away from the planner. They are not a professional…move on!
  3. You get what you pay for…see #2. If you find a planner that is offering to charge you an insanely small amount to coordinate, you should be hesitant of their professionalism. The average day-of coordinator should be charging at least $1500 given the amount of time they put in month-of and on the wedding day. The cost will be more if they have an assistant (given the size of your wedding). A professional planner is bringing their experience, resources and vendor team to the table. This comes with a cost.
  4. Be realistic with your budget! Trying to dodge the budget question with your planner is just going to end in tears. Your Pinterest wedding board probably will cost you $10 million. If you don’t have that in your budget, let your planner help you to prioritize your resources. Planners are not in the business of spending every penny you’ve ever made in your life. Tell us what you have in the budget, and we will tell you the best way to spend it to gain value.
  5. The relationship between the planner and the couple is paramount. You have to like each other! Be sure the planner you select feels like a partner, a confidant and your cheerleader. You should not be afraid of your planner!

Need even more tips for working with a wedding planner? Jump over to our previous blog, “A Letter to the Bride, Love Your Wedding Planner.”

 

Nicole R. Matthews, CSEP, is Founder & Lifestyle Architect of The Henley Company, LLC. a global event, travel and lifestyle concierge firm. With the belief that life should be experienced in a big way, Nicole set out to create a company focused on helping clients to live the life they want and to produce the experiences they want to remember!

The Henley Company offers comprehensive event production, as well as manages the busy lives of executives and their families. Her recent international projects include the 2012 London Olympics, the 2013 Super Bowl & FIFA Confederation Cup in Brazil, and most recently the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Nicole’s first book, Permission – Stop Competing & Start Creating The Life You Want to Live is now available on Amazon. Follow her antics on Twitter at @henleyco.

 

 

Ms. Henley’s Must Have Gifts…Men

Men's Gift Guide

 

Yesterday, we focused on the must-have gifts for the women in your life; today it’s all about the men! Ms. Henley has curated the best of the best for the guy you love!

  1. Give the gift of organization! We love Pine Cone Homes charging station that combines functionality and style.
  2. Converse has taken their classic sneaker to the next level with these Chuck Taylor All Stars. It’s the dressed up sneaker you’ll approve of!
  3. Nothing sexier than a man in a perfectly fitting sweater! We adore this timeless half-zip pullover by Polo Ralph Lauren. Paired with the Chuck Taylor All Stars and your guy becomes a style monster!
  4. Plaid is all the rage these days! An easy way for your man to stay on trend is to incorporate plaid into his accessories. We love this pop of color on the Timex Expedition.
  5. A monogrammed beer holder with bottle opener, by Cathy’s Concepts, makes for the perfect gift for your beer lover or home brewing fan!

Have a gift you think should be included on Ms. Henley’s list? Tweet us at @henleyco or IG @MsHenleyCo and use the hashtag #mshenleymusthaves

Ms. Henley’s 2015 Gift Guide…Women

Women's Gift Guide

 

Tis the season for all things gifting and giving! To help you with your last minute shopping, Ms. Henley, the ambassador for The Henley Co., has put together her favorite must-have’s for the woman in your life.  #mshenleymusthaves

  1. If you’ve been hanging out with anyone under the age of 18, you know there has been a lot of dancing and singing of “Now watch me whip…watch me nay nay” going on! This grown up version, by Skreened, allows women to get the last laugh!
  2. Who wouldn’t want this cheeky desk accessory to bring a little spunk to her work station? We  would love to personalize our space with this unexpected pencil holder by LennyMud.
  3. The layered necklace never goes out of style, and this little gem, from Charming Charlie, is not only ridiculously affordable but also easy to take from day into night.
  4. For the woman who has everything, customize a pair of Nike running shoes. You get to pick the color, the style and the personalized monograms that will make these Nike’s worthy of hitting the streets or just looking adorable at your local coffee house. Be original by customizing.
  5. Let there be peace on earth, and in your closet! Share peace wherever you go, while looking adorable this winter in a cozy sweater by Gap.

Have a gift you think should be included on Ms. Henley’s list? Tweet us at @henleyco or IG @MsHenleyCo and use the hashtag #mshenleymusthaves

The Season for Engagements…

diamond-rings

 

As we dive head first into the craziness of the holiday season, there is a subset of men who are starting to get nervous about popping the question. While the focus is on holiday decor, shopping, gift wrapping and holiday parties for most of us, these men are thinking about the when, where and how they are going to pledge their love while presenting a sparkling ring! Cue the nerves and insecurity!

November and December account for 26 percent of marriage proposals so we are full-fledged into the World Series of engagements! If you have the “big ask” in your immediate plans, here are 5 ways to make it a memory worthy moment!

  1. KNOW YOUR BELOVED – Before you set out to create the ultimate proposal, stop and think about her personality. Just because you think asking her via a scoreboard and the kiss cam screams romance, it might be far too public for her. More than likely, your love will want something more private or romantic. Think about where you shared your first kiss, date or a fun memory as a couple. You’ll score far more points on the romance scale if you put some thought into the special places reminiscent of your relationship.
  2. ASK PERMISSION – I realize that women are waving the feminist flag these days and the tradition of asking for her hand in marriage seems outdated, but there is something very special about asking her father or family for her hand. Even if she comes from a Jerry Springer dysfunctional family, or she is a fiercely independent woman, more than likely she has someone in her life that she would like you to commiserate with. Ask her sister, her brother, that special uncle or even her best friend; going through the motions of declaring your intentions will create a memory she will cherish. It also shows that you understand you marry a family; not just the girl.
  3. SPARKLE – Choosing the right ring can be very stressful because budget can have a huge impact on the cut, color, clarity, and carat. When deciding on which sparkler you will purchase, reach out to her inner circle. This is where calling on her sister or best friend is crucial. More than likely she has told her girls what style of ring she would want; she might have even said that she doesn’t want anything flashy because she would want the two of you to use that money to travel the world.  And when it comes time to make the purchase, realize that someone in your inner circle has a contact at the diamond mart or with a broker; so don’t be shy about asking!
  4. CAPTURE THE MOMENT – Whether you are planning an over-the-top proposal or are going to surprise her during a walk on the beach, invest in a photographer to capture the moments. Your girl will LOVE that you thought enough about the proposal and hired a photographer. Many photographers are well skilled in proposals, so they can be discreet as you build up to the big ask! Give her the gift of something other than the selfie is bound to take 5 microseconds after you slip the ring on her finger!
  5. BE IN THE MOMENT – No doubt you will be rehearsing the exact lines you want to say as you go down on bended knee. It’s great to give this important moment lots of thought, but don’t forget you are a human! Being a rehearsed robot, will not make the moment authentic. It’s perfectly fine if you forget a line, or you stumble. Realize, ff you start crying, you are no less of a man! All that matters is that she knows you love her, and you have chosen her for the rest of your life! So be you, and be completely in the moment!

An engagement concierge can help you put the final touches on this very special day! Email us at hello@thehenleycompany.com to say “yes” to planning!

A Beginner’s Guide to Throwing A Thanksgiving Feast – Part 2

Thanksgiving is just around the corner; I can almost smell the turkey crisping up on the BBQ! That’s what we do in California – we BBQ our turkeys!

In our last blog post, I talked about planning your guest list and your invitation. It’s time for us to discuss menu planning and recipes! This will be a busy weekend at the grocery store as everyone begins to stock up for the impending feast so it’s time to get organized!

Here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, as well as my suggestions for menu planning!

Let’s Eat…

When deciding on the menu, you should first decide if you are the hostess that wants to cook the entire meal, or you are willing to share the glory. In our house, we have always welcomed a ton of people for our Thanksgiving dinners so it would be a huge burden for my parents to prepare all of the food. Plus, our guests have always enjoyed contributing to the feast.

As the hostess, think about providing the main staples of Thanksgiving such as the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. The rest of the menu can be rounded out by the guests. We’ve always found that dishes like mashed potatoes don’t travel very well so it’s better if we cook them versus having a guest bring them later. We divide up the rest of the menu between salad, side dishes, veggie dishes, and desserts. Don’t be shy about asking your guests to contribute! It makes them feel engaged with the party before they even arrive! Be sure to remind guests of the expected time for you to enjoy the meal so you can plan accordingly with cooking times and reheating dishes if needed!

 

Menu Planning

Easy Recipes…

I’m the queen of appetizers! I believe you can make a whole meal out of appetizers, so therefore, my contribution to the feast is usually always the nibbles we can enjoy while the food preparation is being finished! Here are a few of my favorite dishes I’ve crafted over the years. Both have received rave reviews!

Mexi Dip

1 Can of Chili with No Beans
1 Cream Cheese  (8 oz)
3 Green Onions
1 Can of Chopped Olives
1 Can of Green Chile – chopped (you decide on the heat!)1 Cup of Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for 45-60 seconds. Mix remaining ingredients into bowl. Transfer to microwaveable dish. Cook for 5 minutes, stir and rotate. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Chutney Dip

1 Jar of Chutney (found in the Indian food sections)
2  Cream Cheese (8 oz)
1 Cup of Sharp White Cheddar
1 Tablespoon of Curry Powder (add more as preferred)

Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for 45-60 seconds. Mix remaining ingredients into bowl. Transfer to microwavable dish. Cook for 5 minutes, stir and rotate. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add additional Curry Powder to taste. I have also added red chili flakes for additional heat. Serve with crackers. Can be served at room temperature.

 

What’s your favorite recipe for Thanksgiving? Share in the comments below!

 

A Letter to the Bride, Love Your Wedding Planner!

Engagement Ring

Dear Blushing Bride,

First, congratulations on your engagement! Along with everyone you shared the big news with on social media, I’m equally as excited about your big day. (And your big ring, which you were so quick to share with a finger selfie along with the words, “I said yes!) I assume there is a wonderful man that indeed got down on bended knee to propose but somehow the diamond blocked out his face. I look forward to seeing the Ken to your Barbie in the wedding photos.

Now that you are officially off the market, and you are giddy with wedding excitement, there are a few things we should get straight, so follow me down the aisle as we have an honest chat.

  1. You hired a wedding planner because you wanted help to design what will arguably be the most important day of your life. But let’s get something very clear; I should be considered a partner in the planning. I’m not your slave, therapist, or Girl Friday that will jump at every wail you have when you think your wedding world is falling down around you. I’m a seasoned professional that is going to guide you, support you and to work feverishly on your behalf. Help me, help you, by treating me like the professional I am, and for appreciating the stripes I have earned through experience.
  2. If you want to sign contracts without running them by me, you will be put on restriction in the time out chair. I realize you are trying to be an independent woman but the reality is that there is a language within the event industry, and unless you are fluent in it (Rosetta Stone can’t help you), you should defer to the pros for translation and guidance. When you get confused between a final guarantee and an estimate, things can get expensive. Unless you want to confess to Daddy that you just cost him an extra $25,000 because you prematurely signed the contract without running it by your wedding planner, you might want to consult with me. Remember, you hired me to be your guide. Contract negotiations do not faze me.
  3. Please realize that the images you have pinned on Pinterest, will realistically cost you $1.8 million. Weddings are expensive. If you think your day won’t be complete without tuxedo-wearing doves and diamond confetti, Daddy is probably going to have to sell the vacation home. An excellent wedding planner will take your Pinterest inspiration and turn it into the event you can afford. Please don’t look at us with those puppy dog eyes, full of disappointment, when we tell you what things really cost. It’s the reality of an open market. Sorry to be the one to tell you no for the first time in your life.
  4. Lighting is like Spanx; it highlights what you want and camouflages what you don’t. When in doubt about what to cut out of the budget, never cut lighting. You are a pretty girl; be lit appropriately.
  5. Please don’t hire me as a “day of coordinator” and assume I’m going to be a full planning coordinator. First of all, there is nothing called a “day-of coordinator” in our industry. No good planner is ever going to just show up on site without coordinating with vendors. At a minimum, I would be a month-of planner but even that window is closing. Experience tells me a client asking for discounted services will always be a discounted client in terms of attitude, appreciation and our relationship. Don’t be that client.
  6. You are allowed one (and only one) complete meltdown during the planning process. Please plan accordingly. When we first met, you were a very mature, capable and right-minded woman. Let’s keep her front and center, shall we? If you want perfection, you shouldn’t be getting married. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  7. Whatever happens, remember to enjoy the experience. Share your story with your guests. Be authentic. Celebrate the fact that all the people you love are in one room, on one day, showering you with best wishes. Put way more thought into your marriage than your wedding day. I promise it will make all the difference in the world.

I hope I have made myself clear by laying the groundwork that is going to make our working relationship very successful. I realize you might be taken aback with my straight talk, and I could very well be the first person to take this tone with you, but if you are old enough to get married, you are old enough to hear the truth. Don’t forget, I’m here to be your biggest cheerleader, the bad cop to your good cop, your sounding board and your support system. However, that doesn’t mean we are going to allow crazy to creep in to the process. Promise you will keep your head on straight, your perspective in check, and your mind wide open to all possibilities. I, in turn, promise to be the planner worthy of your referral.

Cheers,

Your Wedding Planner

Image by fashion-kid.net

 

Nicole R. Matthews, CSEP, is Founder & Lifestyle Architect of The Henley Company, LLC. a global event, travel and lifestyle concierge firm. With the belief that life should be experienced in a big way, Nicole set out to create a company focused on helping clients to live the life they want and to produce the experiences they want to remember!

The Henley Company offers comprehensive event production, as well as manages the busy lives of executives and their families. Her recent international projects include the 2012 London Olympics, the 2013 Super Bowl & FIFA Confederation Cup in Brazil, and most recently the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Nicole’s first book, Permission – Stop Competing & Start Creating The Life You Want to Live is now available on Amazon. Follow her antics on Twitter at @henleyco.

 

Playground Chatter Featuring Our Intern…Lychelle Kime!

Welcome to Playground Chatter! Our blog series, where we get to profile and chat with some of the most interesting people in town! Sure, we could ask about all their fancy business stuff but since we are fun monsters, we want to know how they spend their spare time on the playground of life!

Today, we get to introduce you to our rock star intern, Lychelle!!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Your Name: Laura Lychelle Kime

Your nickname: I go by my middle name, Lychelle

What is your grown up job?  I’m a senior at High Tech High International, and an intern at The Henley Co!. Soon, I’ll be a first year student at Sonoma State University.

 

Lycehlle 4.jpg

 

Tell us where you spent your childhood years. Is there one year you remember most? I spent my childhood sitting by a campfire in many national parks, biking around on different trails leading to secret ponds only us kids knew about. I spent my childhood swimming in pools and oceans, always in the sun keeping my skin nice and tan. My most memorable experience as a child was when I went to Costa Rica while I was in the 3rd grade. It was my first vacation to a Spanish speaking country, and I could not have been more excited. We enjoyed crazy excursions like zip-lining, surfing, and going to a natural hot springs. This was the highlight of my elementary years.

Favorite part of the playground to hang out in? I loved playing on the swing set, it was an activity that I could do alone but also with others.

Lunch pail, brown bag or did you buy lunch? I was/still am a lunch pail kind of gal. But I did get hot lunch occasionally.

What would be your ideal recess today? I would love to have recess during my school day where I could go outside for 15 minutes to just lay down on the grass, close my eyes and breath in the fresh air. It would give me a little break from the worries and stress of school/life.

Lychelle 1.jpg

If I deemed you Playground Monitor for the next 15 minutes, how would you rally your employees? What activity would everyone participate in? I would choose a game like red light green light or sharks and minnows, two classic games that are fun and easy to manage with a large group.

What rules did you learn on the playground that you still utilize today? Listening to the rules and knowing people’s boundaries

When does time disappear for you? When I’m with the people I love, hanging out at the beach, walking my dog, playing tennis, or watching my favorite program.

What is your authentic intention (that thing that you really, really want to do or accomplish?) What are you doing to get there? As of now I am trying to maintain a positive mindset while I am transitioning out of high school and into college. I am doing so by thinking positively and surrounding myself with uplifting people who love and support me with everything that I do.

In her book Permission: Stop Competing & Start Creating the Life You Want to Live, Nicole Matthews, Founder of The Henley Company, talks about giving yourself permission to design your best life. Which area of your life needs a little more attention? What are you willing to give yourself permission to do? I need to focus more on living in the now rather than worrying and feeling anxious about the future. I have been known to get too worked up about the unknowns of the future and have allowed the fear to stop me from enjoying the current moment. I try and think of this quote I read online “worrying won’t stop bad stuff from happening, it just keeps you from enjoying the good.” I need to give myself permission to let go of the anxiety and worries of what the future has to offer and enjoy the now.

Define happiness in less than 140 characters. Happiness is being able to love and let others love you.

Lycehlle2.jpg

Grab your colored chalk and write a motto on the asphalt of the playground for all the kids to see. What’s your message? Everything will be okay.

What will you do from this day forward to design your life to better incorporate more recess? (Pinky Swear). I will make sure that I am aware of my mind and body and know when I need a break. I will not be afraid to take that few minute break to clear my mind and body. In the end it will help me be more productive and give me the clarity I need to take on whatever I have thrown my way.

 

Thanks Lychelle! We are happy to have you on the Henley Co. team! We adore you and wish you the best on the playground of life!

 

 

The Other Far Worse F Word

To my joy and delight, my article, ‘The Other Far Worse F Word” was published in Elephant Journal, an online publication with over 14 million monthly views. The content on Elephant Journal is dedicated to living a mindful, authentic life. I’m a huge fan of the content so when I took a bold chance and submitted my work, I was thrilled when they said yes!

As of today (May 13, 2015), the article has had over 16,000 views and was moved to the front page of the site within 3 hours of being posted. I’m humbled by the response for my article.

The original article can be found at: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/05/the-other-far-worse-f-word/ but a short cut is below!

Apathy

The Other Far Worse F Word

To the chagrin of my mother, I like (no, love) the f-word.

I realize that it isn’t Namaste appropriate and I probably make my third eye angry when I blurt it out loud, but at times there really is no better word to fill in the blank, to express an emotion, or to tell someone where to go. I do my best to not drop the infamous f-bomb in social settings where I am required to wear a name tag, but I can’t promise that I do not think it or secretly direct it at some idiot on a regular basis.

With no filter between my brain and my mouth, the f-word and I have created many memories together. When I recently turned 40, I decided I was old enough to no longer apologize for dropping my favorite adjective and noun at the drop of the hat. With what my heart endured in the last decade, embracing the f-word without abandon seems like a free gift with purchase.

There is another f-word that I believe does more damage than the f’er I have constantly on the tip of my tongue. The word that excites me as much as a wet noodle is “fine.” Even when it rolls out of my mouth, I start to gag. Have you noticed that nothing good ever comes from the word fine?

How do I look in this dress? You look fine.

Are you mad at me? No, I’m fine.

How are you? I’m fine, thanks.

Ironically, the definition of “fine” can vary between “high quality” (adjective) or “pleasing manner, very well” (adverb). If fine is the mistress of positive, how did it become the word that yields a response as exciting as chips with no guacamole? Fine is now the filler word we use when we don’t really have anything else to say. When our emotions are dragging on the floor, it’s all we can muster.

I hate fine; I hate everything the modern generation has allowed it to become. I strongly dislike when I feel fine because that means I am content. At the ripe old age of 40-ish, content is like making the B-team instead of being selected as an all-star. Content and her cousin, fine, are the bridesmaids—never the bride.

Being fine equates to getting sucked into the Alanis Morisette song, Ironic; “It’s like a black fly in your chardonnay.” It’s still fine to drink, but you lose interest because Jeff Goldblum took a diver in your glass. (Will the younger generation understand the movie reference I made there?)

So in an attempt to turn my frown upside down, I’m campaigning to rid the world of fine. If you are living in a life that you didn’t design, going to a job every day that doesn’t fill your soul and/or in a relationship that feels like you are wearing a heavy coat full of burden, you are a fully paid up member of the Fine Club. In case you need a smack in the f’ing face, you are bordering between the neighborhoods of content and just getting by. Believe me, I was the mayor of this town for a long time! I realize I can’t point my finger at you without pointing three back at me.

In spite of every great intention, when I rounded into my 30’s, I found myself in a very high profile job in corporate America; I regretted it on the third day yet I stayed five years. I landed in a relationship that started as a casual friendship yet became emotional abusive; it lasted two years and 11 months longer than it ever should have. And I found myself existing in a world that went from colorful to dark gray because the architect of my life apparently took a hiatus. It should come as no surprise that I look back at my 30’s and can’t help but think, “f*ck off!”

It’s easy to point fingers at my ability to choose the wrong job, the painfully wrong man or the wrong life; being the victim allows for so many excuses. The honest reason my life fell off the rails is because I let it. I didn’t allow the inner voice that spoke loudly, on the third day at my fancy corporate job, to completely derail the American dream of having a consistent paycheck every two weeks.

Regrettably, I closed my ears when my intuition raised its hand and started campaigning for the end of my relationship the first time he used the c-word. As my life imploded, exhausted from being in a place of crisis of management versus thriving, I shut down completely. The only answer I could muster up when asked how I was doing was always the infamous “fine.” Life was winning against an opponent that was no longer in the game.

They say time heals all wounds, and as much as I believe that, I have come to learn that giving yourself permission to live the life you want really is the best remedy. When you start to view your life through a selfish lens, you can no longer live with the rose-colored glasses of fine.

I realize that the use of the word selfish may shock some but it’s really the crux of the solution. I’m not giving you permission to be selfish so you can have the biggest piece of cake (in your 40’s, your metabolism slows to molasses so, believe me, leave the cake alone!) Instead, selfish is meant to be a rallying cry so that you put yourself first. There is a reason the airlines tell us to put our oxygen mask on first before we help others. When we do not allow our heart to explore the vocation our life intended, we experience turbulence. And this turbulence doesn’t come with complimentary peanuts.

The next time you utter the word fine, I implore you to do a gut check. If fine starts to pepper your daily language, it’s time to call in the architect of your own life and start to make plans for a major overhaul. Scary, sure; doable, absolutely! Please don’t ever get to a position where your job, relationship or view on life is just “fine.” Take it from someone who lived far too long in that space; life is winning when you get to that point.

With self-initiated permission to design the life you want to live, I promise there is a whole lot of “f*ck yeah” ahead!

~

Author: Nicole Matthews

Editor: Caroline Beaton

Photo: Flickr
About Nicole Matthews

Nicole Matthews is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and champion for living your best life. As a global event, travel and lifestyle concierge, she helps clients to enjoy the playground of life. Her new book, Permission: Stop Competing & Start Creating the Life You Want to Live is available on Amazon. Nicole craves humor and storytelling, as much as the perfect accessory to accentuate an outfit. Deep down, she believes her days performing, at the age of 9, as a showgirl in Las Vegas, have prepared her for when Dancing With the Stars calls.