“Founder Jeanette Schneider shares her lessons as a new mom with Influencer Academy during their Female Disruptors event.”

Women’s #1 financial regret is that they wish they would’ve invested more, yet 61% of women would rather talk about death over money.

Wait. I’m not done.

Women make up 85% of consumer spending, account for 7 trillion in investable assets, yet are 80% more likely to become impoverished during retirement.

A misinformed Instagram troll commented that this is because women are big spenders. No, sadly, it is because we are programmed to think small from the day we are set up with an allowance. Women make less money and enter and leave the workforce multiple times because of lifestyle events like maternity leave and caregiver responsibilities. The cumulative effect of this societal disadvantage is calculated to cost us $1 million over the course of our lives, yet we are barely investing what we do earn. We keep 71% of our money in savings and are only 26% of investors.

Are you mad yet?

Good. Now take action. We have to move these stats in our favor and that starts with three monumental shifts you can make today.

Mindful > Mindless

Somewhere along the way we expected that we weren’t as good at math and 65% of articles surrounding finance aimed at women refer to us as “excessive spenders” (clearly what the troll had read). What’s fascinating is that when a woman chooses to educate herself, manage her money and get clear, she outperforms men by 40 basis points on average. This doesn’t start on Wall Street. This starts with the down and dirty basics of your money story, spending habits and a plan in place. I recommend utilizing a Personal Financial Checklist each quarter that will remind you to track your spending, update your budget, determine what is being paid down v allocations to emergency savings, retirement and investments.

Retirement Is a NOW Thing

It is never too early to talk retirement. This means maxing out contributions to 401ks and IRA plans. There are incredible robo-advisors out there that use algorithms to determine your risk tolerance, have low minimums and fees and are perfect for beginners. Check out NerdWallet’s most recent comparison.

Invest. Period.

This is where the men get us. Women are only 26% of investors, yet the stock market has historical average market returns of 10%. My biggest piece of advice? Understand your risk tolerance, the asset allocation mix that fit your lifestyle and start small. Take advantage of dollar cost averaging, low minimums and reinvest your dividends.

If you want a deeper dive into this subject, watch this webinar replay and download the attached Personal Financial Checklist to get started. I delve into specifics. If you need more guidance join me in my next live free masterclass Wall Street Basics.

Jeanette Schneider is the Founder & CEO of LIV Media and a retired financial advisor. She spent 23 years in finance and retired a Senior Vice President with Bank of America Private Wealth Management. She sat on the Merrill Lynch Impact Advisors Committee and participated in the study “Women & Financial Wellness: Beyond The Bottom Line” in partnership with Merrill Lynch and Age Wave.

In this time of great uncertainty we are being faced with aspects of ourselves, our relationships and our fears that we’ve previously been able to avoid, ignore and explain away. We’ve numbed ourselves, gotten lost in our work, our HIIT classes, and the daily grind that kept us focused on anything other than what hurt. These facts and realizations are now directly in front of us and we have nowhere to hide, no distractions, no options other than to be fully present with ourselves.

This is an opportunity, but it doesn’t come without pain.

It is a hard thing to meet yourself fully and with open arms, but it is a beautiful time to get to know both your shadow and your light, and not for the purpose of shame or denouncement. No, for the purpose of self awareness.

True leaders must know both their weaknesses and their strengths to be effective. I argue that every human should know these things to arrive at the door of their next partnership, job or friendship fully aware of who they are, how they show up, what triggers them, what brings them joy, and resolute in what they will create from this space of forced evolution.

Who will you be when you leave your house again?

Will you rush for the distractions, or will you learn to sit still within your own presence, enamored with your own divinity and, in equal measure, the etchings on the glass of your life that make you flawed? Could you spend this time understanding and accepting yourself? Acceptance doesn’t mean that we languish within our survival tactics, our control dramas, or our fear, but that we see it cleary when it is happening and choose again.

We often make passive choices through our inaction and triggered behavior. We allow our automatic minds to take over, as opposed to observing our own behavior and choosing differently. Acceptance includes self-regulation, utilizing our tools to turn reactivity and blind behavior into productive choices.

We can do this by finding the way back to ourselves, and creating from a more aware vantage point.

1. Observe. Become actively aware of your thoughts and behavior as an observer. Do not assign anyone else responsibility for the way you feel, but instead name the emotion and ask yourself why you feel this way before you allow it to become a thought or an action. Utilize “I” sentences with yourself as opposed to “they” sentences. Blame is not a good look.

2. Be Curious. Think of the aspects of your personality as neutral, neither good nor bad. Your traits are simply part of the whole. Spend time reflecting on those you are not as proud of, and the aspects of yourself you may hide from others.

3. Take Responsibility. Take radical, active responsibility for the faults and flaws that you push into the back of your mind or try to ignore. Don’t allow for blame or excuses. Accept your responsibility for where things have gone wrong, resolutely.

4. Forgiveness. Actively forgive yourself for anything that has happened prior to this present moment. It no longer has to be a part of your story. You can choose each morning to remake your life and your relationships. You will simply choose better.

5. Find gratitude. Find reasons to be grateful for all of the traits that make you who you are and why they have served you in the past. Many times we will find that some of those traits we may have called negative have also kept us safe in troubled times and can many times be attributed to our need for survival and fight/flight.

We have been given a landmark opportunity to know ourselves without distraction. To offer ourselves grace for the happenings of our past, and to leave this situation with a new vantage point. This doesn’t have to be the time you create your new business, learn a new language or read a book.

But, as we are all alone with our thoughts, let’s take the time to restructure our relationship with them… and ourselves.

Sending so much love and healthy germ-free vibes to you and those you love.

Now, more than ever, the time we spend managing our thoughts, is of utmost importance. It is no longer “good enough” to calm the frustrations of the office grind or deal with a fight with a spouse or partner.

Today, as we deal with a global pandemic, we realize we manage our mindset because it will support a healthy immune system, decrease cortisol levels, and it provides perspective in an uncertain time.

The first step is to turn off the TV, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, and step away, whether that is out of doors, or created mental space. You must create distance between yourself and the vicious news cycles, pundits, and fear-based storylines.

Once you’ve created space between yourself and the external, it is time to greet the internal.

Here are a few suggestions:

Write. The great Julia Cameron has said that free writing “makes you known to yourself.” Allow your anxieties, your sadness, and the inner workings of your subconscious to bleed out of you and onto the page. No editing.

Pray. You don’t have to be spiritual, faithful or religious to send up a note and connect with something bigger than yourself. Faith is a gift. Lean into it.

Move. Yoga, HIIT, weights, dancing, jumping jacks, you name it, it is available to you. Cardiovascular exercise decreases anxiety within four weeks and yoga calms the parasympathetic nervous system.

Meditate. Find the space between thoughts. If you are new, start with a counted breath meditation (there’s one for free on LIV Pocket Coach on Apple), and feel your way into it. Many argue that they can’t calm their minds and they “don’t do it right,” however, most yogis will tell you it isn’t the quality of the time in meditation, it is the quality of your life outside of it where you find the results.

Listen. Music calms and soothes, excites, inspires. It is emotion set to beat. Start building your own playlists based on your moods. One for calm, one for energy, another to just chill with your loved ones. Have fun with it and if you want inspiration, we have some amazing Vent playlists within LIV Pocket Coach.

Laugh. Whether it is a Zoom call with your bestie or the wide-ranging list of comedic specials and sitcoms on streaming services, allow your entertainment to create positive emotions, rather than fear or worry.

Feel. Seek out sensory moments that allow you to be fully present. Smell the tea as it steeps, watch the wine loll on the side of the glass as you swirl, taste the decadence of chocolate, feel the warmth of a salt bath against your skin, listen to the sounds that rise up while you sit in the silence.

Our mindset is ours. We control input and response. It is wise to remain informed, to understand how we can help the world, and create change, but it shouldn’t also dash you of your hope and your zest for life.

We have a lot of life yet to live.

Dear Liv:

How do you balance work and family? I feel like I’m always failing someone.

So tired,

Jessica

Hi Jessica! You are not alone. This is the most commonly asked question our coaches receive. If everyone and their brother is worried they’re failing someone, let’s look at the root of the issue.

Expectations.

We want to be perfect parents, employees, lovers, friends and many times expect the same of others. When we see the perfect IG mom who has it together, we don’t also realize that after she takes that pic, she deals with a toddler meltdown and likely cries in the shower.

Expecting that we can create perfection in each of our roles is simply setting ourselves up for failure. Have you ever spent quality time with a loved one, just to apologize as you check texts or emails, your mind at work or elsewhere? We are so afraid we’re not being who we need to be, we are failing OURSELVES. If we recognize that we are all doing the very best we can each day, and reset our expectations we can drop the pressure and create some structure. Get in front of your roles instead of reacting to them.

First, how are you taking care of yourself? You come first because you can not pour from an empty cup. Think of the things you do that recharge you mentally, emotionally and physically, and schedule those in to your calendar. No excuses. These are your dates with your mental health, sis.

Next, what big projects, goals or meetings do you really need to attend to this week? Time block both the time needed to spend on them and focus only on those items during those chunks of time. This will get you to Friday feeling accomplished and allow you to do the next part with more ease.

Block time to spend with your kids and spouse where you can be fully present. Phones off. Face to face. Whether that’s dinner together, a nighttime snuggle or a date with your partner, truly be present to the connection.

In short, let’s be aware of unholy expectations, get in front of our time so that we are really focused and work toward more presence and connection. That may mean some boundaries around access to you, and that, my dear, is gold. Prioritizing yourself, your goals, your family also means we say no to those things that don’t fit into your calendar.

You’ve got this.

Xo,

LIV

We live in a culture that rewards the #grind, the long hours, and dedication to the pursuit of a material life. We have been enslaved by advertisers, social constructs and corporate greed and, depending on our family dynamics, we also have generational curses to unwind. We create stories in our heads about our worth, our relationships and compare ourselves, wondering, “what will they think?”

Good Lord, the pressure, y’all.

But, what if…

What if happiness and success isn’t really all that hard? What if it is easy and we, in our need to compare and prove ourselves based on constructed external forces, have made it hard?

This isn’t a trick question and I won’t drone on and on about the Law of Attraction or how you can manifest your millions and the perfect relationship. No, I’m simply asking:

Could we have this whole happiness thing wrong?

Therapists and neuroscientists say yes, and many of them are penning books to tell you all about it.

We now know that we can rewire our brains and recondition ourselves. We know habits lead us to goals. We know that we have so much power, but do we harness it constructively? Or is that also, “too hard?”

I argue that a new and intentional relationship with self, ie our brain, as well as the meanings we place on… well, anything, is not only totally within our control, but infuses more ease into all of the decisions, goals and troubles that create anxiety and dis-ease.

The first line of defense is to understand your triggers.

I recently recovered from COVID. While I was very fortunate (and grateful) to have mild symptoms, COVID arrived with its own fear and anxiety that seemed to be wound in the spikes we read about online. Whether it was the fever or the isolation, I spent quite a bit of time reminiscing. Ironically, my own fear of death, leaving my child motherless, and feeling as though I’d failed as a parent had absolutely been triggered by my positive diagnosis. But, that wasn’t all. This purview into the stance of a very triggered woman and mother created a bit of a deja vu that I wasn’t expecting. So many decisions I have made have been from the stance of a triggered person; deeply ashamed, fearful or anxious. I decided, during my isolation and reflection, that I didn’t want to live as a triggered person anymore. I did not want to visit that space again. I chose not to involve myself in any future decisions or interactions while I wondered if I was lovable or if I’d end up in life alone, whether I was successful or a fraud, if I was a good person or if the person across from me was just like my mother.

Do you know yourself well enough to recognize when you are responding from your triggers? Are you able to see when someone says something and the righteous anger you feel has more to do with an old belief, boyfriend or colleague than it truly has to do with them? When a choice to take a job or move has more to do with how you want to be seen than it does your life happiness?

Get to know who you are when you are acting from this space so you can suspend it when it arrives. Learn to observe the who and why of your stories instead. I guarantee you the choices you make when triggered are marred by old stories and are not always in your best interest.

Become the observer and learn to quiet the inner monologue by asking questions.

When you begin to ask yourself questions from the stance of observer, you move out of the fight/flight response into your logic center; your pre-frontal cortex. You begin to shift your brain chemistry out of survival mode. These questions may sound like, “What is this telling me? Is there a decision to be made? What emotions am I feeling right now?”

With this said, understand there is a difference between observation and rumination. Rumination will put you right back where you started if you begin to think of all the ways you’ve been wronged and regret or blame begins to surface. When you begin to identify with the emotions instead of observing them you move back into triggers instead of teaching yourself to understand them. One of the most effective ways to stay in this mode of observation and signal the feel good hormones (serotonin and oxytocin) is to start utilizing gratitude sentences. Gratitude is the cheapest and most effective pharmaceutical available.

Play the long game.

Get out of your way and stop tripping over your feet in the now. Instead learn to play the long game. Imagine your future self on a mountain top with a vision board. Conceptually you know you want to get to that person and fully realize the images of travel and dream homes cut out from magazines and lined in glitter and all they represent, but what habits has that version of yourself implemented each and every day to get to that space? It’s not truly about the material item on that board. It is about who you are becoming. Back into your habits by conceptualizing who that person is on the mountain top and what she does every day to bridge the gap between your vantage point and where her feet are firmly rooted. I promise you she changes out of her yoga pants and has cut down on the wine with dinner.

Pare down your choices and make them bite sized.

I have a very long list of things I would like to accomplish in 2021. If I stare at the list I become overwhelmed and that leads to paralysis. In order to make my goals feasible, I have to dedicate time and attention to them each week, but I have to keep them attainable so that I can trigger my reward center with a little dopamine when I cross them off.

To do this I have created pillars. These are items of focus that are the building blocks of my company. They hold the roof up. For me these pillars are content creation, strategy and monetization. My business cannot run without them. I know that I must spend time each week dedicated to these pillars. Each of the pillars have three primary activities I have to focus on each quarter. At the end of the quarter I review what’s been accomplished, throw myself some kind of little dopamine celebration and assign new goals for the next quarter. I have set myself up to be rewarded and remain focused and action-oriented.

Create rewards and accountability.

The top neuroscientists in the world share that you have to provide some dopamine hits (rewards) and get your ego involved in order to rewire your brain. Otherwise we’re just creating a new kind of grind. A great question to continue reflecting on throughout this process is: Who am I becoming? When you attach your identity to the woman on the mountaintop, you are more likely to remain on track and focused on your goals. This is one of those moments where our ego is working for us as opposed to creating havoc on our programming.

Additionally, your circle is a huge part of your success and the souls who surround you should feel more like a board of advisors as opposed to General Admission. These individuals should lift you up, hold you accountable and want to see you win. Find someone to offer you feedback and finesse as you create goals and quarterly plans. This positive (and chosen) peer pressure is intentional and co-creative.

Wellness and intentional living is a lifestyle. It is not a line item on your calendar or a glass of wine in a salt bath. It is in every relationship, interaction, and the way you organize your life. While it may seem overwhelming at first, it becomes second nature over time, through repetition and habit. All of the intentions and habits you put into place design your future self, clear the old and outdated neurons and build new synapses so that when you are on that mountaintop… the view is glorious.

Originally published at elitedaily

Bad days are inevitable, but here’s the thing: You always have the power to change how you view them, and how you respond to them. For me, writing my feelings out on paper has always helped tremendously in processing why I’m feeling the way that I am on those not so great days. And I’m not alone: According to at least one expert, learning how to feel better on a bad day can be as simple as getting out a pen and a piece of paper, and writing your damn heart out.

“We all have [bad days]: those days where nothing goes right or something goes incredibly wrong,” Jeanette Schneider, an accomplished speaker, panelist, and author of the book Lore: Harnessing Your Past to Create Your Future, tells Elite Daily in an email. “When I was in my 20s, I would call a girlfriend [and say] ‘Drinks, stat.’ I griped over wine, while she agreed with all the reasons I was right.” Sound familiar?

The thing is, though, according to Schneider, those moments of griping don’t exactly help you grow, nor do they teach you anything about how to actually handle a bad day when one does come your way.

“As I matured, took on more responsibility in work and in life, and surrounded myself with other strong and successful women, I realized we handled our bad days with far more intention,” the author explains. Over time, Schneider tells me, she learned how to turn to self-care on those bad days, and how to create something purposeful from the embers of her negative experiences — which is, ultimately, she says, what helped her grow.

“If you look at each bad day as a way to better know yourself and grow as a person, you curate your own lessons and don’t stay stuck in old offices, relationships, and ways of relating. Don’t get mad. Get intentional,” she explains.

In a world that tends to offer an overwhelming amount of self-help advice, Schneider tells me her favorite, tangible exercise to change the trajectory of a bad day, is one that literally anyone can do: writing a love letter to your younger self.

This is one of many exercises that Schneider writes about in her new book, Lore. Her insightful words encourage you to closely examine the stories that have shaped you, and challenge you to dissect what you’ve been led to believe about yourself — ultimately smashing any self-imposed limitations you might have to smithereens.

Again, this is meant to be a love letter to your past self. So yes, it might feel a bit awkward or uncomfortable at first to focus only on positive details about yourself — let alone your past self — and to shower yourself in unconditional love and adoration. But as far as Schneider is concerned, it really is an effective way to conquer bad vibes when your day is just not going your way. So get out that pen and paper, and just write, girl.

And if you’re still stuck in a rut after letting all the feels out on paper, Schneider shares a few more ways to turn a bad day around, so don’t give up just yet.

The author tells me that she believes moving your body is huge when it comes to elevating your mood. “Whether it is a walk, a run, or a yoga class, get the blood moving and the cortisol out of your system. Once you start to heal from the inside out you will be more clearheaded and able to get some perspective,” she explains.

Additionally, Schneider stresses the importance and value of getting quiet — rather than spouting off to a friend, that is. “[That friend] may help you process, but also may keep you in static anger for longer than is healthy,” she says.

Instead, she suggests, get quiet and announce your feelings to yourself. The author suggests mentally announcing things like: “I am angry. I am scared. I do not feel heard.” Be completely honest with yourself, she says.

And once you’ve had time to process how your feeling, Schneider says it’s not a bad idea to take a little time to express gratitude for what you love most about your life. “While the last thing you may imagine doing at the end of a bad day is finding things to be thankful for, it helps reset you,” Schneider tells Elite Daily. “Start small, and set the intention to eventually be able to thank the offending person or situation for teaching you something about yourself, your boundaries, or the changes you can make to live a bigger, badder, more purposeful life.”

Originally published at mother.ly

I had to give up my desire to control what happened at Daddy’s house.

How I created a village with my ex and his new partner

The first time my daughter told me someone named Ashley painted her nails at Daddy’s house I thought I was going to implode. Another woman was loving on my daughter in the family I built. I texted my ex, “Who is Ashley and how long have you known her and why is she painting my daughter’s nails?”

What should have come next was, I feel replaced. I am jealous. I am competitive. I am angry. I am heartbroken.

Instead, I told myself it was my “mama lion” coming out; the woman who wanted to protect her child from a string of girlfriends and hold her little heart safely in my hands. It was partly true, but the hysteria and anger I felt signaled that much deeper hurt was bubbling its way to the surface and using “it’s for our daughter” as an excuse to play out my pain.

It took a full 24 hours of deep anger, soul searching, crying and finally surrender, to realize that my daughter would have other women in her life and I had no say in how they entered, behaved or left.

I had to give up my desire to control what happened at Daddy’s house. My only power lied in my influence over my daughter and on that day I chose to believe that she would be a much healthier human being if she was raised by strong women who came together to support her in life.

Women have been programmed to compete for jobs, security and partners in our patriarchal society. It is understandable that we feel competitive when another woman falls in love with the man we once did, and tucks the children that came from our bodies into beds that aren’t made by us.

It is programming, but that doesn’t mean it is permanent. It also doesn’t mean there isn’t pain to be felt, processed and released. You have to heal your wounds so you can approach the new members of your child’s life with grace and forge new relationships.

It requires a shift in mindset and a retooling of your previous relationship, a lot of confidence and respect on all parts, and a focus on the child first. You have to recognize the influence a stepparent will have on your child and that it is better to be teamed up and kid-centered, as opposed to stewing over past issues, sitting in blame, regret or jealousy. I had to discover who I was as a newly single woman and co-parenting mother without old stories.

Ashley only painted Olivia’s nails for a year or so, and her dad and I had great conversations about how and when we would bring people into our daughter’s life. When he met Jessica he called me, “I’ve met someone and I’d like to introduce her to Olivia, but wanted to talk to you about it.”

My only question has ever been, “Is she a good person?” We talked about Jessica, his feelings and certainty, and over time they met and we did too. I sent him a text after a brief and completely casual encounter, “I like her. Don’t mess it up.”

Jessica and I ran into one another at a yoga studio shortly after they all moved in together. She asked how I felt Olivia was handling the change and very sweetly offered, “You are always the mom!” I smiled, appreciative of the unnecessary gesture, and told her that Olivia loves feminine energy and that she’d thrive having Jessica in the same house.

Several years later I not only love Jessica, I love their son, Luke, as well. Our entire little blended family lucked out. Jessica treats Olivia as her own but is so conscientious about my role in Olivia’s life that I’ve never felt threatened. I am thrilled my daughter is supported by a strong, confident woman and that she sees us getting along as a village, as opposed to competitors.

Jessica recently called me concerned that Olivia was receiving poor messages at school about the importance of pretty as opposed to smart. We came up with a plan, laid down a few rules for messaging in both houses and in no time we had a little feminist running around with t-shirts announcing “Girls Are Smart, Strong and Brave.” We spend Christmas mornings together, Halloween trick or treating, and have deep respect for one another and our passions, relationships and careers.

When I recently vacationed in Tanzania I had to update my estate plan and asked Jessica if, in the extreme unlikelihood that both of Olivia’s parents were to pass while she was a minor, would she become Olivia’s guardian? It’s important to me that Olivia grows up with the brother she adores and a woman who loves her (almost) as much as I do.

There wasn’t a missed beat, “Absolutely. I want them to stay together.” While Luke doesn’t care for me as much since I keep Olivia away from him every other week, “Sissy mommy, go home,” we work.

We are blessed that each one of us, at some point, made a choice to let fears, ego, jealousy, blame and hurt go for the sake of one little girl and our collective family.

Excerpt from LORE: Harnessing Your Past to Create Your Future with permission from Balboa Press.

In this time of great uncertainty we are being faced with aspects of ourselves, our relationships and our fears that we’ve previously been able to avoid, ignore and explain away. We’ve numbed ourselves, gotten lost in our work, our HIIT classes, and the daily grind that kept us focused on anything other than what hurt. These facts and realizations are now directly in front of us and we have nowhere to hide, no distractions, no options other than to be fully present with ourselves.

This is an opportunity, but it doesn’t come without pain. In