Some might think it unfathomable to be considering ways to become wealthy in the midst of a recession, but there is never a bad time to try to leverage your talents and resources in an effort to boost your net worth.  Even in the face of market volatility, and even if you don't foresee a salary increase in the next few years, there are some things you can do to build upon your wealth, most of which start with simply changing your way of thinking. 

First and foremost, try and think of your wealth as the sum total of your decisions to date.  Think about that long and hard.  No one but you is responsible for your wealth - or lack thereof.  Where you find yourself today is the total of your efforts and decisions since you were equipped with the brainpower to execute such things.  Get excited and make some new decisions today.  Decide to build up a massive desire for that which you want most for your life.  Your desire for happiness will bring you happiness, just as your desire for wealth will bring you wealth.  Once your mind is made up, the desire will translate into a tremendous amount of extra energy and brainpower, which will be needed to accomplish your desired outcome.

It may help to narrow your focus and simplify your strategies by breaking your ultimate goal down into a number of smaller goals.  Map out a path to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Maintain your focus, and make a conscious decision to dominate anything that best exploits your skills and talents.  You might find that it helps to study the decision-making processes of your mentors, and other folks you admire for their success.  Find out why they make their decisions the way they do.  

Finally, remember that indecision can breed failure.  Welcome to Earth, where you are doomed to make choices.

Are you overloaded with work, family and personal demands, often rushing to adhere to a stressful "24/7" schedule?  If so, your everyday meal solutions don't need to come from drive-through windows or Styrofoam take-out boxes.  Even with a busy lifestyle, you can put nutritious meals on your dinner table with ease.  Being time-starved doesn't mean you have to sacrifice nutrition.  A few small changes in your meal and snack strategies can yield positive results.

Shop Smart

Supermarkets today offer an array of partially prepared products and other kitchen "shortcuts."  When you're busy, you can still put good nutrition on your table without doing all the time-consuming preparation yourself.
  • Keep fresh lettuce on hand and then add nutrient-rich extras: grated cheese; bite-size grilled chicken, tofu, or chopped hard-boiled eggs; cut-up vegetables; sliced apples, pears, or berries; toasted nuts or seeds. (Keep a variety of salad dressings on hand for variation
  • Add your own flair to "ready-to-prepare" dishes: add diced lean ham, chicken breast, or chopped carrots, broccoli or tomatoes to cooked macaroni and cheese; chopped dried fruit or nuts to rice; sliced red and green peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli florets to a good quality frozen pizza.
  • Flavor your protein with prepared sauces and spreads: barbecue, steak or teriyaki sauce on pork chops, chicken breasts, burgers, or fish steaks; hummus as a sandwich spread; salsas for quick tacos or quesadillas; pasta-ready or pizza-ready herbed tomato sauces.
  •  Use any oil-vinegar based dressing as a vegetable, meat, poultry or seafood marinade.

Do It Ahead

When you're doing it all yourself, it's best to do it ahead.  Spend some kitchen time on nights or weekends for easy meal prep during the week.
  • Plan - Keep an ongoing shopping list so you always have nutritious, easy-to-prepare ingredients on hand.  
  • Pre-prep when you can.  Put breakfast cereal and bowls on the table or put together a packed lunch the night before.  Assemble tomorrow's casserole while you clean up from tonight's dinner.  Wash and slice raw veggies ahead so they're ready for snacking, salads, or a stir-fry.
  • Make double or triple batches.  With soup, stew, salads (i.e., pasta salad or chicken salad), sauce, or whole grains, such as rice, you can make enough at a time for several meals.  Or prepare two casseroles at a time - one for now, one to freeze for later.
  • Cook once for two different dishes/meals.  For example, grill enough chicken breasts for dinner tonight and for lunch tomorrow.  Prepare hearty vegetable soup on Sunday; add chicken or beans and rice for variation on Tuesday.  Cook plenty of pasta - some for tonight's primavera, some for tomorrow's pasta salad.
The success of any relationship depends entirely upon a couple's ability to weather through inevitable life transitions. Problems in a relationship can range from the relatively benign flaws in communication to serious pain and trust violations due to such acts as infidelity. Outlined below are several characteristics of successful relationships. These qualities are integral parts of a healthy relationship foundation, and if you have them in place, your chances for a strong, lasting relationship are far increased. 

  1. Friendship: Couples who have a strong friendship have staying power. They not only love each other but genuinely like each other as people and enjoy spending time together. 
  2. Communication: Those who are able to openly express their feelings in an emotionally safe environment typically deal with situations as they come up and avoid burying frustrations which always have a way of coming out at some point.
  3. Humor: Partners who can make each other laugh tend to be good at de-escalating conflicts when they do arise. 
  4. Affection: Happy couples can find easy ways to say "I love you" without the words. These moments can be invaluable, especially in the throes of a chaotic lifestyle. Whether it's a hug, kiss, tussle of the hair, or sitting on laps, these acts of affection keep couples connected when life gets crazy.
  5. Chore Sharing: Those who divide household or parenting responsibilities in a way that is mutually agreed upon are less likely to harbor resentments about what they perceive as unfair.
  6. Sexual Intimacy: Partners who have their sexual needs met feel taken care of by the other.  Some couples are highly active, while others are content with far less sexual intimacy. There is no right or wrong amount of lovemaking. Negotiation and understanding, however, is needed to make sure no one feels neglected.
  7. A Relationship Vision: Couples who have created a "relationship vision" for themselves know where they're going and where they'll be in 10, 20, or 30 years, because they've planned it together. They experience great joy out of seeing the big picture of their relationship and reaching for their goals as a team.  
"My interest is in the future, because I am going to spend the rest of my life there." - Charles F. Kettering
The only constant in life is change, so it's likely that you've experienced it many times.  Though we all go through periods of change, some embrace it and deal with it quite effectively, while others suffer from "transition anxiety" and find themselves completely derailed by the shifts and surprises that life dishes out, which leaves them feeling uncertain about how to approach a new situation, and the future as a whole.  The following are some ideas for coping with change and channeling it into a pleasurable, life-enhancing phenomenon.

  1. Accept uncertainty. Many people fear the uncertain because they associate it with a negative, maybe even life-threatening, situation. In many cases, uncertainty is a sign of better things to come. Prepare for both desirable and undesirable scenarios so you'll have an idea of what to expect when the unexpected arrives.
  2. Look forward to the future. We can't change the past, so we have to accept it, learn from what has happened, and move forward. Looking ahead to the future means setting goals -and setting goals means working toward your dreams. As long as you're moving in the direction of your dreams, how can the future be anything to dread?
  3. Pay attention to your surroundings. Once you recognize that change can occur at any time, look for subtle clues that change could be on the horizon in your own specific situation. For example, has management been handing out an increasing number of pink slips? If so, it might be a good time to take a class that would increase your value in the eyes of your employer.
  4.  Communication is key. Don't just sit back and wait for things to happen. When you're standing on the threshold of imminent change, communicate with others to learn the nature of the change and what you can do to better adapt to it.
  5. Change requires flexibility. In the face of change, think about what skills and lessons, from your old role or situation that you can apply to the new circumstances.  In the event that your new situation calls for a different skill set or new lessons, be open to learning those things.
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Improving Your Focus

Have you ever had one of those days where you just didn't know what to do or where to begin, despite the mountain of tasks on your plate? We've all had those days when we just can't seem to get focused. When that happens, what do you do? Do you simply ignore your to-do list and go with your whimsy, or do you pour over your to-do list and wring your hands without ever really getting anything done? The next time you're feeling unfocused, there are a number of things you can try to get back on track.

When you find yourself doing anything except what you're supposed to be doing, try to rediscover what your immediate role is at that time. There is only one rule involved with this technique, and that is that only one role can be played at any given time. If you apply this rule to multiple aspects of your life, it will make finding your focus so much simpler. If you are supposed to be writing, then you are a writer, and nothing else at that time. If you need to be painting your living room, then you are a painter right now, and any other roles you might play come second. If you need to be baking for a fundraising event, then your role that day will be baker, and your place should be in the kitchen.  

It all sounds so simple, and it truly is. Direct focus toward what you need to accomplish, define your role, and work only within those parameters until that task is complete and you're ready to take on another role.

Busting Road Rage

Driver frustration is on the upswing these days as our highways become more congested and lives become more hectic. However, the road is no place to air your life's grievances, no matter how flustered you become with the other drivers around you. The root causes of road rage lie deep within the person experiencing it, but we all can learn to cope with this anger by taking an honest look at our driving behavior and making an effort to reduce our stress levels behind the wheel.

One of the best things you can do to avoid road rage associated with running late is to plan ahead. Sometimes, simply leaving 10-15 minutes earlier than usual can save you from having to drive aggressively to avoid being late. This will also allow you extra time to stop for coffee or gas if need be. Also, make sure to get plenty of sleep each night to avoid crankiness on your morning commute. 

Remember that your vehicle is not your therapist, nor is it a punching bag. If your boss or your partner has left you in a sour mood, don't use your driving as a way to blow off steam, no matter how much power you have under the hood. Listen to some soft music on your way home, loosen your grip on the wheel, and take some deep breaths. Then, when you get home, go for a run or punch the daylights out of your pillow. 

Anger is toxic and risky to bring out onto the road with you - it can easily spread to other people, resulting in sometimes fatal accidents. If you're so upset that you think you might engage in road rage behavior, pull off until you've calmed down, or don't get behind the wheel until you're ready. We're all bound to lose our cool at some point, but by planning ahead and keeping things in perspective, we can prevent our emotions from getting the best of us. 

How to Get the Recognition You Deserve
If you feel like your accomplishments at work deserve recognition, then they probably do! Don't be too modest about what you've worked so hard to achieve. Here are a few pointers for getting the recognition you deserve:
  • Privately, tell your boss what you've accomplished. Be brief, to the point, and share the credit if others were involved.
  • If you can quantify your achievements, by all means, do so. For example, "I brought in $34K in new sales alone last quarter..."
  • Rather than brag about yourself, describe what you learned from an experience wherein you accomplished something. 
  • Congratulate others for their accomplishments. When you praise others, they're more likely to praise you, and it makes it more palatable when you praise yourself.
  • Request feedback and express your gratitude for it whether it's positive or negative. People will recognize that you're attempting to improve.
  • Ask for tough assignments - this will give you visibility and let your boss know you want to grow and excel. If you're "invisible," you won't be in the running for raises or promotions.
  • Talk openly about the recognition you're looking to earn to let others know you have goals in mind and you're working toward the future. 

JBA Network • 311 Montford Ave • Asheville • NC • 28801

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