Why I love Photoshop

If you didn't know: I LOVE Graphic Design!! I can do it for hours on end. The problem with owning a graphic design firm is that you don't get to design all day; you have to call vendors, perform social media tasks, write blogs, invoice clients, create spreadsheets, enter stuff into spreadsheets, all the day to day business processes it takes to run a business.

So when I have some downtime on the weekends, I like to get creative and and Photoshop is one of my favorite programs to play with. Yesterday, a friend posted this image on her Facebook wall. I thought it was so cute…

I decide to see if I could clean it up a little for her. She didn't ask, but it was a pretty photo and I wanted to play around to see if I could improve it. This is what I was able to do with levels, saturation, and some painting of red on one side and green on the other, to balance out the tones.

It was a nice photo but I felt it needed more. There was no way to make the cat any more sharp without throwing in a ton of nose, so I took the focus off the surrounding scene using the Iris Blur filter. This worked purrfectly, I must say, as it took the attention off of the entire blurry scene and placed focus not eh subject - the cat, and added a hint of the crisp lightbulbs and the branches of the tree. The Meowy Christmas was added as a final touch!

What creations do you make? Can you take a photo from your phone and turn it into a masterpiece? There are endless possibilities with Photoshop. Have some fun with it!

As a hobbyist published, photographer Alicia White, CEO of Back of the Room Productions™, helps speakers, coaches, authors, business experts and thought leaders monetize their message every time they speak. From speaker sheets to back of the room products, clients receive high-level graphic design and expert branding strategy on how to use their marketing products.

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Get the Right Shot - Public Speaking Photography Tips

Jonathan Peters and Monica Cornetti high five on stage.
Who doesn't want a great looking photo of him- or herself speaking? Though I am not a professional photographer, I have been asked to photograph speakers speaking on several occasions and thought I would share some tips that will deliver the shots you want:

- Prior to your presentation, have the photographer scope out the room and stage. This will allow them to evaluate the lighting, seating, and room layout to get the best shot.

- Let the photographer know when you will be making your most impactful points during your speech, such as: large gestures, audience participation, off stage activity, displaying meaningful presentation slides, holding props.

- Good shots to get:
Photographer facing you: tops of the audience heads while you speak; audience standing and cheering with arms in the air, pumping fists, or some activity you ask them to do; you and the screen with a projected slide of your brand or impactful point; you on stage with your table of props/books. 

Photographer behind you: your entire body in front of an engaged audience; waist up with hand/arm gestures and audience in the background.

Photographer at your side: your profile as you lean in with the audience in background; a profile of you smiling while the audience is clapping and smiling.

Other shots: you interacting with attendees, event host, and other speakers; your back of the room table with people looking through items; your table setup with products without people; you speaking with people at your back of the room table; you shaking hands or hugging people; visiting with vendors at their exhibits; pose with people in front of your retractable banner or other branded signage; pose with the event host, sponsors, and other speakers; pose with your book or product with a busy or interesting background.

- Hire a professional photographer who is familiar with journalism photography. Studio and outdoor photographers may not have the knowledge to get the best shot. Look at a photographer's portfolio and hire the one that speaks to you most. Tell them which photos you like and ask if they can do that for you.

- If hiring a professional is not an option, you can ask a friend to help but make sure they know their equipment. Most digital cameras with a 6-megapixel sensor set at full resolution will produce a photo that can be used for printing up to 15 inches wide (at 200 dpi) without much loss in quality. For large printing projects such as a 6 foot retractable banner or 24" x 36" poster, a digital camera at 10-megapixels or more set at full sensor resolution is desired.

- Avoid using a mobile device, like a cell phone, to take a photo. Even if the photo turns out fantastic, it may not be the right size for use on printed materials such as a speaker sheet or banner. Most point and shoot cameras offer better quality than a mobile device.

- Be sure to include in the attendee registration and speaker and vendor contracts that photos will be taken and you reserve the right to use their likeness in your marketing or promotional materials. Inquire with an attorney and/or local laws to ensure you are not violating any rights.

Alicia White, CEO of Back of the Room Productions™, helps speakers, coaches, authors, business experts and thought leaders monetize their message every time they speak. From speaker sheets to back of the room products, clients receive high-level graphic design and expert branding strategy on how to use their marketing products.

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Starting the Conversation

Today I saw a question posed by someone that got me thinking. She asked:

"At a recent conference I was told a good way to start a conversation is: 'I meet lots of people. What should I tell them about you?'"

I thought about this a bit and remembered what Patty Farmer, the Networking CEO, said at a Public Speakers Association meeting recently. She said instead of asking "what do you do," ask "who do you serve?" Patty explained that asking "what do you do" is so overused that people tend to tune it out. There is much more to networking than learning about a person's profession.

When I was new to networking that was the question I always asked to start a conversation. Over time, I realized there is more to networking than just getting some one's business card. I learned that networking was about building connections. These connections didn't need to end with money exchanging hands; instead it is about helping others.

Now when I walk away from a networking exchange, I come back to the office with more joint venture or speaking opportunities than I do clients! I know that the business associates who trust me and want to work with me will also recommend me. That's where I get my clients - from their recommendations.

So, what should you say to start the conversation? You can try Patty's approach. My approach is to ask "what brings you here?" It's a nice ice breaker and works well for me. It also delays the pitch-fest from both parties and, often times, I learn something about that person I normally wouldn't. And many times, people thank me for not asking them what do they do!

Alicia White, CEO of Back of the Room Productions™, helps speakers, coaches, authors, business experts and thought leaders monetize their message every time they speak. From speaker sheets to back of the room products, clients receive high-level graphic design and expert branding strategy on how to use their marketing products.

Sign up to receive weekly email tips on public speaking for the professional and business expert!

Are You Taking Risks to Success?

The mind is a powerful tool. It can calculate risks and make judgement calls in nano seconds. The mind can also limit our abilities perhaps based on past experiences, especially when mental or physical pain is involved.

All my life I have been a safe player, you won't find me jumping out of the airplane or playing $100 slots. My safe choices have given me great opportunities and life experiences. The riskiest thing I have ever done was backpacking across Europe and Egypt by myself in my early twenties. I went alone out of necessity; none of my friends were able to go and, well, I wanted to travel and see the world. Even so, every step of the way was calculated and planned. There were some gritty and scary experiences but I survived it.

Getting married was planned but not the when or to whom. Fortunately, I met my soul mate and we married just before I turned thirty. I guess you could say how I meet Rick was a little risky. I placed an online ad on AOL's Love Connection, well before online dating became mainstream. I remember friends saying I was crazy to meet a man I did not know, especially from the Internet! After deleting a few ads from weirdos, Rick's reply intrigued me enough to want to learn more about him. I am so glad I took that risk.

There have been other occasions in my life where I have been a little dare devilish: zip lining through the jungle with friends, quitting corporate America to start my own company, photographing fires, and, most recently, photographing wildlife in their natural habitat. And for the most part these are controlled situations and I consider these activities as adventurous and not so much as risky.

Recently, Rick and I rafted down the Merced River in Yosemite National Park. I was worried about strong currents and white water because I was not familiar with this river and had never done any white water rafting. Rick assured me this wasn't one of those types of trips. Yet at the first sight of rough water, my mind visualized us going over the "rapids" and our raft being catapulted over landing upside down, leaving me to swim for the shore in the frigid water. My body tensed up as we approached the "rapid" and I leaked out a little "eeek" as the raft made its way over the rocks... quite uneventfully.

"Okay," I thought. "That wasn't bad."

Another rough spot came up and this time I wanted to assist Rick so I paddled with all my might. Again, nothing came of the rough spot except the boat drifted sideways which meant we were navigating the river backwards. This startled me at first. My mind knew this movement was not natural but as soon as I saw the grand visual in front of me, all I thought of was the beauty that had been behind me that I had been missing.

I allowed myself to not worry about "driving the ship;" Rick had it covered. Instead, I focused on the grandeur of the half dome and the incredible, larger than life view of the monoliths before me. It was a quiet, pleasant ride. Amid my mental "awws" and "wows" of the grand visuals before me, I contemplated about taking risks.

I wanted to go zip-lining again without pure terror running through my veins. To this day, I remember the extreme fear of hanging from those tiny cables 60 feet above the jungle floor and not having the option to "get off this ride." Through encouragement of my friends and the staff, I began to trust that I wasn't going to die or break my back. It wasn't until the last leg of the ride that I actually had fun. And I wanted to do it again.
Just like I want to try white water rafting. I want to try rappelling. I want to walk on a glacier and a volcano. I want to go on a helicopter ride.

What do I have to fear? Bodily injury? Sure. Death? Possibly. But if I plan accordingly as I have my entire life, the risks should be minimal. Having my husband or best friend next to me will help keep the risks down as well as using recommended recreational vendors and guides for these great adventures.

If I start slowly by rafting down a river that is a little bumpy or climbing an indoor wall, I can build the skills I need and change my fear to confidence. The mind is a powerful tool and we can change our mindset.

So how do we decide if a goal is too risky?
  • List your goal and the steps needed to complete it. 
  • Identify what will be affected when you take on the goal, such as your reputation, family life, financial stability, success, community recognition, or any other Risk Result. 
  • Weigh each Risk Result on a scale from 1 to 5, using 1 as little risk and 5 as the highest. 
  • Add the scores and divide by the total number of Risk Results. 
  • A rating of 1 or 2 is worth starting your goal.
Share with us what you decide to do and why it is worth taking the risk!

Alicia White, CEO of Back of the Room Productions™, helps speakers, coaches, authors, business experts and thought leaders monetize their message every time they speak. From speaker sheets to back of the room products, clients receive high-level graphic design and expert branding strategy on how to use their marketing products. Copyright 2013.


Debi, My Friend the Leader

I have this amazing friend. We've known each other since high school. She came to Ole Main in North Little Rock, Arkansas in our junior year, and like me, she played the clarinet. And like me, she had a hurt knee that was wrapped up in a bandage that hot summer.

We first met on the field where marching band practice was being held in the dead heat of the summer before school opened. This small, blonde, wide-eyed girl walked up to me and I noticed she had a bandage on her knee.

She looked at me and with a crooked grin and a deep Southern drawl said “Hi, I’m Debi. I think I’m supposed to stand here.”

I scooted over and replied back, “what’s wrong with your knee?”

She told me she hurt it and I pointed to my bandaged knee. “Oh, me, too,” I cheerfully said, glad that I wasn’t alone, and quickly added “my name is Alicia.”

We became to know one another very well. She was third chair clarinet and I was fourth, then a few weeks later I was third chair and she was fourth. We switched back and forth like that our entire time in the band. I remember getting so excited when playing a challenging piece. With our fingers flying and breath in unison, every time we nailed that difficult section we would give a congratulatory nod of the instrument towards one another as we continued to play. No one noticed it and no one knew about it except us. That was our thing.

Should the director stop the band just after one of those times of success, a guttural “YEA” could be heard from the third row of the symphony. That would be us, the two somewhat-shy, yet friendly, pretty, young girls celebrating our victory. If we failed miserably during band practice, uncontrollable laughter would ensue followed by squawks and squeaks from around our mouthpieces. Ah yes, we received many a thunderous glare and ferocious sneers from Mr. Ramsey, but also hearty rounds of  laughter, the kind where he dropped his arms, threw his head back and laughed from his belly.

Music was a bond between Debi and I. We could harmonize the hell out of any Def Leppard or Journey song. Going to the lakes in Central Arkansas was also a shared activity. Often, a group of us would go, and sometimes it was just Debi and me. Once we got lost while Debi was driving and in an effort to turn around on a deserted two lane country road, we landed in a ditch head first!

Not a soul was around so we were a bit concerned about how to get this car out of the ditch so we devised a plan of action. That was how we operated, we always had a plan of action. Fortunately, a few minutes later we were helped out of the ditch by a couple of country boys and we made our way to a quiet, peaceful lake. I don’t think it was the lake we intended to go to, but we thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.

That’s what was great about being with Debi. You didn’t have to be anywhere specific to have a good time. After we graduated college, moved away from home, we started our own families, found careers and we made our own worlds. Staying in touch was challenging, so the Christmas card was always welcoming. As time passed, we discovered ways to reconnect. Our last visit we shared a weekend together. It was the most amazing time I’ve had with Debi since our friendship began.

Why was it so amazing? Because I got to re-discover what a beautiful, driven, funny, kind-hearted person she is. And that she is giving and kind to everyone she meets. But I learned something, too. She is more than smart, she is a brilliant advisor. She helped me through a life lesson that weekend and because of her I have a new perspective. I also learned not to mess with this small package of dynamite because she will cut you if you hurt her friends!

But seriously, other women told me how her advice was spot on and very valuable to them. They shared how much they enjoyed her positive energy and unique take on things. I shouldn’t have been surprised but this was a side of Debi I had not witnessed before, and frankly, she is a frikkin’ power house!! An exceptional leader and brilliant woman.

Debi is learning new things now and stepping out of her comfort zone. I can’t wait to see what she does. I want to be there when she does it... and give a congratulatory nod of my head and a guttural “yea!”

Dr. Debi Williams is a dentist in West Memphis, Arkansas and lives with her amazing husband Freddy (whom Alicia has known since she was 3), her two awesome kids and a plethora of dogs! Debi authored the book "The Greatest Leaders Do the Least" a self-help book on how to delegate, automate and regulate your way to success. Purchase your book on or visit her Facebook page at

Alicia White, CEO of Back of the Room Productions™, helps Speakers, Coaches, Leaders, Politicians and Authors monetize their message every time they speak. Alicia is also the nation's first Back of the Room Speaker Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2013.


Find Laughter Every Day

Sometimes we get bogged down in the muck and grime when working.Maybe a customer has a different vision than you even though you discussed it in great lengths and detail; maybe your team isn't motivated and the job is flopping around like a goldfish that jumped out of its bowl. Perhaps personal matters are getting in the way and negative thoughts are bogging you down.

Or maybe, you are having a fantastic week and things are going great! You have successfully completed an important project in which your client praised you; or you shrugged off the negativity of others and worked around the obstacles.

Regardless of the kind of day or week you are having, try to find laughter every day. Studies show that laughter increases the serotonin in your brain, thus lowering anxiety and depression and reduces stress. (Here are two of MANY related articles: Laughter as Medicine and Effects of Laughter on the Human Brain.)

Having a great day? Find something to laugh about to maintain your good mood. Better yet, pass it along. Share a funny video or photo with your friends and colleagues. Do you and a client share a similar sense of humor? Email a business appropriate funny photo or joke to them.

Having a bad day? Visit and search for funny videos. Videos like Goats Yelling Like Humans is sure to bring a smile to the face. Or try a favorite video of many that went viral and has over 135 million hits: Ultimate Dog Tease.

You are sure to feel somewhat better after laughing. Even if you are still bummed out, humor will physically alter your mood and give you a different perspective allowing you to take a break from the worries and handle them with a new and positive mindset.

Finally, one thing I discovered many years ago that I practice often: "If you want to be remembered, make someone feel good about themselves" I try to use humor in my business speeches. Because I am inherently funny, it is easy to bring a laugh to those around me. And I love hearing people laugh! If it isn't easy for you, practice. You want people to remember you and you need people to like you if you want your business to be successful.

And whenever possible, enjoy a good belly laugh. You know the kind. The kind where you and your friends did or said something so hilarious that tears start to form, your cheeks ache from smiling and you think you are about to pass out because the laughter has stolen your breath away. As I've said many times before to my friends: "Don't worry if you pass out. Your body will start breathing on it's on again. You can't die from laughing."

Laugh every day, my friends!

Alicia White, CEO of Back of the Room Productions™, helps Speakers, Coaches, Leaders, Politicians and Authors monetize their message every time they speak. Alicia is also the nation's first Back of the Room Speaker Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2013.

Making a Motivational Image or Poster

We all have seen truly inspirational quotes embedded in images on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. They mvoe us to share with others, or make us laugh or really think. Though it is rare, every once in awhile I come up with a thought that is uniquely my own. lol So I decided to take my own words and pair them with a beautiful image in hopes to motivate or inspire someone or pass on a luagh or smile.

First, I compose my thought. My most profound quotes are usually triggered by an event and typically pop in my head just as my eyes close for sleep. I keep a pen and note pad by my bed for just this occurrence so I can recall my thoughts the next morning. If you don't share a bed or your partner is a heavy sleeper, I recommend using the Dragon Dictation app on your smart phone or tablet, because sometimes I can't read my own handwriting!

After I've composed the message to my liking, I search for a suitable photo. Because of the thousands of photos that my husband and I have taken over the years, I will choose one of our own instead of getting one off the 'net. If you need to use someone else's photo, please please please seek out how it can be used so as not to violate copyright laws. In most cases, a simple request for permission from the owner is all that is needed for personal use. For commercial use, you should definitely obtain the photo legally.

I have a been compiling my quotes and sayings for about three years now. I maintain one document in which I place all my random thoughts; some thoughts are in a final state while others are not and need tweaking. In fact, the following quote was jotted down about a year ago and I finalized it just recently to make my own message to put on the web.
The direction in the wind cannot be controlled.
It is the strength in our wings that leads us
to where we need to be.
-- Alicia White
The next step was choosing a photo to set off the message. I have photos of birds in flight including an eagle, but the eagle photo didn't show his wings very well. I found a photo I took a few months ago of a pelican flying above the Arkansas River. His wings were perfectly outlined.

Then I designed a frame around the photo in Photoshop. I placed my quote for best readability and included my logo and contact info. The entire image was downsized to a manageable 1000px wide and saved as a JPG file at 10 resolution, which can be easily uploaded onto any social media site. Make sure you keep the original file separate from the smaller file in case you want the image printed in a book or as a poster.

The image is square which is a great shape for thumbnail viewing on the web, but not so much for printing as most prints are rectangle. To print it, I would take the original file and change the layout to create a high quality file perfect for a print or poster. This is one of many products offered at Back of the Room Productions™. Speakers, coaches, authors and thought leaders can use images like these to provide a long lasting message to their clients.

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2013.

A side note about the photo: my husband and I were visiting my parents in No. Little Rock Arkansas. We had just finished visiting the dog park at Burns Park and overhead were tons of seagulls flying. I gathered my camera and long lens and tried to get a shot. Just as I was finishing I watched this pelican flying towards us. I took several shots of him as he went over head. The shot below is five  photos merged together to show his flight path. It was pretty dang cool!

All photos Copyright 2013 911 iMedia, Inc. Photos may be used for personal use with proper credit to AliciaWhite911 or


Be Willing to Feel Discomfort

My very good friend Micki Allen and I enjoyed a beautiful day the other day. Shopping was the goal but before our adventure, fuel was a priority. As in fuel for our stomachs! We both have been very strict with our new eating habits so we decided to splurge. Pizza – pepperoni to be exact!

As we enjoyed every tasty morsel of our treat, we discussed our new eating habits. She is on a calorie and carb restriction, while I am currently on a calorie-only restriction. I can’t tell you how long it has taken me to get to this point. I shared with her what I learned recently: in order to experience change, you must be willing to experience discomfort.

worry discomfort entrepreneuer challenge
Okay, so who wants to be uncomfortable? No one! We all enjoy being in our comfort zone. For some it’s harder to break out of it than others. Some don’t even try because they know that there will be discomfort, mental angst or even real pain in making transformations or achieving new goals.

For example, Susan isn't happy with her body. She wants to add mass and made it a goal to begin lifting weights. Last year she made the same goal, but she avoided the gym entirely because she can't stand to be seen in her gym clothes. She had real mental angst over what people think of her as she worked out. But this year, Susan decided to be WILLING to tolerate the mental discomfort in order to achieve her goal.

First, Susan scheduled a time to go to the gym. Then she put on clothes she felt comfortable in. All the while her mind is telling her not to go, it's not worth it, you can't do this. She was willing to feel these emotions but continued on with her actions to get inside that gym. Though it was extremely uncomfortable, she forced herself to go inside the gym and worked out. She repeated this scenario over several weeks, until eventually the discomfort was non-existent. Because Susan was willing to tolerate and work through the mental pain, she was on her way to achieving her goals.

Try this simple exercise to get an idea on how to tolerate a little discomfort willingly:

Ask a friend to watch a second hand clock or timer. When your friend says “go,” take in a deep breath and hold it. Hold your breath until you feel the need to breath. Your friend will record the length of time you held your breath.

When ready, take in a very deep breath after your friend says “go.” This time hold it and let the discomfort that comes with holding your breath come and ACKNOWLEDGE it. Try to hold your breath a little longer while experiencing this new uncomfortable sensation, but not to the point of passing out or hurting your body. Then let your breath out.

Chances are you held your second breath for much longer even though there was discomfort. You may gasp or cough for a little bit after, but that’s okay. Guess what? You are still alive, and breathing, and most importantly, the discomfort PASSED! That’s the lesson here: the discomfort WILL pass.

As you build your business, you will continually go outside of your comfort zone. Most entrepreneurs experience discomfort only occasionally because of our personality types. We are known go-getters and achievers and doing new things and disregarding the initial discomfort is just who we are. But there will be one task that you avoid doing because of the “pain” it brings. Step outside of your comfort zone and FEEL and ACKNOWLEDGE the pain. Do it again, until the pain is gone or at a “comfortable discomfort” and you can overcome any struggle.

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2013.


Technology is Eating People

I read a Facebook post made by friend Eric Barna one day. He says:

technology eating people“One thing people have largely ignored when talking about "When are the jobs coming back?" is technology. Ever buy a piece of clothing online? You are helping put a salesman out of work. Ever book travel online? You are helping put a travel agent out of work. Ever accepted a meeting invitation through email? You are helping put an administrative assistant out of work.

You get the idea. Technology is about "eating people."* The S&P 500 companies are reporting 33% more profits than before the meltdown... but total employment is down since then. Technology, my chosen career path, has been great and I love doing it but it does "eat people" just like Soylent Green. A lot of the jobs people hope are coming back just aren't coming back. Capitalism is based largely on productivity... doing more with less.”

Eric goes on about the auto industry, how the US had peak employment in 2000, but today only 67% of that is employed in the industry. Technology (software and robotics) ate people/jobs.

My own industry, graphic design, has suffered because of technology. Software that was once exclusive to artists and designers is easily available and a little more affordable, and in some cases free, allowing “do it yourselfers” (DIY) to take on their own projects or young adults to get a little cash with their new-found hobby. The Internet and email has brought the world closer, and business owners are taking advantage of outsourcing design work to China and Slovakia. So, it’s no wonder my graphic design firm suffered.

It’s a harsh reality when a prospect asks for a quote and then later they show me what they did on their computer with a free software application. I politely say “that’s nice” and grimace privately when I see obvious errors and a lack-luster style or professional design. And I patiently wait for that prospect to come back to me with a problem with their design: the printer said it’s not “print ready;” my clients aren’t paying attention to it; I thought Word had a spell check.

One of Eric’s Facebook friends, Rob LaGow, said, “And it's why the jobs that are coming back are ‘service’ jobs. You can't serve someone a hamburger online.”

There is a lot of truth to that. Not everyone wants a service job, but that’s where technology is bringing our country. I don’t mean to be a downer here, but it is reality. Though this is big picture, let’s think about how we can change this in our own business practice. We can start by buying products made in America. We can insure our clients and prospects will receive super-duper customer service. We can find other ways to make ourselves unique or irresistible that clients just want to work with you.

Share how you will maintain the expertise in your field. Will you write a book? Start a new blog? Implement programs? I want to hear and celebrate your success!

*Eating People was coined by Andy Kessler, author of “Eat People: and Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs"

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2013.


Logical Choices from the Heart

It’s funny where life puts you. Every choice you make is what got you to where you are now.

logical business choices or follow your heart
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Many times when I was younger, I made choices based on emotion, not logic. Haven’t we all done that? Some were great choices (going to college), others could have been detrimental (who goes backpacking alone in Europe!?). Some choices slowed my growth, others accelerated it. The best choice I ever made in my life was putting an ad on AOL’s love connection in 1995 – that’s how I met Rick, my soul mate.

Today, now that I am older, and by the way, I LOVE being in my 40’s, I am making choices that are more logical. I still rely on my heart to steer me in the “right” direction, but I listen to my head more now than I use to. For example, even though I started my graphic design business in 2004, it has taken me a long time to get "business sense;" acting logically rather than emotionally. Now, I have signed contracts before doing work and I base my merits on a job-well done rather than someone liking me.

Don’t get me wrong, the heart still gets in the way, like finding my place among other entrepreneurs. Recently, I discovered I have value to others and it continues to rise­ – a challenge I’ve had a lifetime. Don’t think that is what makes me weak. It’s not. It’s what has made me stronger. And even through life’s turbulence, I maintain this thought: I have value. Sure, I could stand for some polishing like improving my relationships in business and how to communicate better, but if I can overcome previous challenges, I can overcome these; and it is my choice to see this to fruition

If you have a strong personality like me, then recognize there is room for change. Learn to do it now not later; before you make mistakes you can’t fix. The choice is ultimately yours. Listen to others to improve your weaknesses; recognize those who help you; ask for help; think logically in business decisions; make a positive impact on someone’s life daily; and be true to your heart.