We are in an era of extreme makeovers in all things physical — our homes, our faces, our teeth, our bodies —almost anything that gets in our line of sight.

And from all indicators, the majority of us are absolutely enthralled. In a world of quick fixes, we are intent on taking the shortest route from Point A to Point B and turbo-charging the journey. The concept of reinventing ourselves is not only magical, it’s achievable — with some time, cash and a great team of professionals.

For those not quite ready to make the leap of faith into recuperation periods to heal the physical as well as the financial wounds, there are other ways to repackage ourselves so that we feel not only refreshed, but reinvented. So, hang on. It’s time for a relaunch of YOU.

Physical fitness

Physical well-being is key to a balance of mind, body and soul, according to Jennifer Fritzsching-Rulon. In her spare time, when she is not training whales, she is a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach and a USA Cycling Club coach and works for T3 Coaching.com. T3 is about transitioning athletes, even beginners, to the next level. Some of her clients are businesswomen who realize that they need to spend time on themselves, not just on their work and families.

“Triathletes come in all shapes and sizes,” says Fritzsching-Rulon. “The triathlon family is a family that will support you in anything that you do, encourage your goals and give you the support you want and deserve.” She knows this firsthand. A triathlete for 12 years, she has competed all over the world and completed more than 30 triathlons and four Ironman triathlons — the most recent this past November in Australia with her husband while on their honeymoon.

The first step, says Fritzsching-Rulon, is to change your lifestyle. Setting a goal to complete your first triathlon is a great way to do this and to get in shape. The time frame is typically three to four months to train; a coach will help you get to your own personal finish line.

Whether you are a beginner or veteran, the ABC’s of becoming an athlete are no different from the steps needed to become successful in life: A — Achieve your goals. B — Believe in yourself. C — Have Confidence — building throughout each season by continuously practicing your skill.

A coach’s goal is to be a positive role model and to respect all athletes, regardless of ability. Some of the issues a coach will guide you in addressing include:

Taking a personal inventory. How is your fitness level now? Can you run 500 meters? Can you walk one mile? Can you bike eight miles? Can you swim? Are you comfortable in the water?
Setting a realistic goal for YOU. Someone’s goal may be different from yours. Be SMART: You need to determine a commitment level that will contribute to a balanced lifestyle and not cause stress.
Staying FOCUSED. How much time are you willing to put into triathlon training or running a race? Don’t forget to consider how much time you have to train and how the training will affect your family life and career. Sprint distance triathlon requires a small amount of training. To train for an Ironman Triathlon is akin to having a part-time job.
Determining what you want to accomplish. Do you want to finish? Do you want to improve? Do you want to win? Triathlons range from a Sprint, which consists of a 500-meter swim, 12-15-mile bike and 5k run, to the grandmamma of them all, the Ironman: a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2 mile run.
A big concern for many of us is how to start a program, then how to keep it all together and not quit. Fritzsching-Rulon says, “It is not going to be easy, but it’s very doable. If you do this correctly, you will gain a lifetime fitness program plus a serious and rewarding commitment of your will.” Now that constitutes a real “WOW” factor.

Business relationships

Now it’s time to reach out and make some new friends — of the business variety!

A master on building business relationships is Linda Elliott. Her company, Elliott Connections, focuses on connecting businesses that would be beneficial to each other. “Life is a sales call — for everybody,” says Elliott. Some of her guidelines on how to become more adept in this critical skill are:

Remember that people like to talk about themselves, not about you. So be interested, not interesting!
The more you discover about individuals, the easier it is to engage them in helping or recommending you and your services. This will allow you to tailor your recommendations to best meet their needs.
Play to egos. Don’t say, “I’d like to talk about doing business with you.” Or, “I’m looking for new business. Do you have any ideas?” That offers the perfect opportunity for a “No!” response. A much more effective approach is to say, “I value your advice as a successful business person. Would you allow me a few moments of your time so that I can learn from you?” Very few people will decline.
Don’t ever appear to be pushy or aggressive. That equates to desperation. Be upbeat and confident in yourself in a subtle but friendly fashion.
Keep others’ interests in mind so that you can always be looking for articles or opportunities to share with them. Let the relationship work both ways. More often than not, they will feel an obligation to reciprocate.
ALWAYS be looking for ways to help them. Ask if you can introduce them to certain people or recommend that they call someone, using your name if appropriate. Be a solutions provider.
Don’t “bug” people. Accept the fact that not everybody is going to warm up to you. Just respect their feelings and move on.
Always remember to say “thank you” whenever you receive a referral, and keep your resource advised of the progress you make. If a referral becomes a client, a tasteful thank-you gift to the person who gave you the referral is most appropriate.
Don’t cling to one person or group when in a large networking environment; mingle. Move around. Don’t sit with other people from your company — pick a table where you don’t know anyone.
Don’t give your entire story at a networking event. Practice your very brief elevator speech. Ambiguity stirs the curiosity and creates an opportunity to meet again for a scheduled appointment. Remember, if you focus on others, they will like you, but they really won’t know much about you. And that’s a favorable position for you.
Go with the attitude that you are going to have fun. It IS fun to meet new people!
Follow-up is critical; some key points to remember:

Prepare yourself to manage multiple disciplines for networking, including letters, e-mails, phone calls, and one-on-one personal connections; prepare templates for each discipline that you can quickly access so that your communication is timely.
Follow up on every new person you meet with a letter or note, and be sure to personalize each one. Suggestion: On every business card received, jot a positive fact about that person.
Keep a good database of all your contact information. Using Outlook, set up a record for each of your contacts and keep notes of connections made. Enter birthday, spouse, assistant, etc., on the Detail tab.
Set up on your Outlook task bar key dates to reconnect with prospects and associates.
Image

By now we all know that we get only ONE chance to make a strong FIRST impression. This is where the services of image consultant Priscilla Hale might be worth considering.

Hale provides personal shopping, wardrobe consulting and fashion-related services to individuals (so far, men and women from ages 13 to 75) and corporations who are trying to guide employees on following dress codes and the value of a polished image. As the personal shopper for North Star Mall and The Shops at La Cantera, Hale shops anywhere the client desires and always with a budget in mind.

“My purpose is to enhance an individual’s image based on her lifestyle and personality.” says Hale. “I want the WOW factor to come into play for my clients. Often when I coordinate wardrobe pieces and show a client how many outfits she can have with her existing wardrobe, it amazes her.”

Some advice from this professional shopper:

Start with a current wardrobe assessment. Figure out what looks good on you and what makes you feel good about yourself.
Get rid of the old to make room for the new. Be objective; if an item still has the tags on it but is two sizes too small or clearly outdated, get rid of it. Keep only what fits your body and your personality.
Create a positive relationship with your wardrobe. You need to be able to open your closet and have a variety of things to wear that you truly love and that present your best image to the world.
Polish your image and gain confidence. When you know you look great, you face your world in a completely different frame of mind. A positive mind-set can bring about great success on the job and in your personal life.
Plan your wardrobe to fit your audience and your life. Dress appropriately to project the right appearance to seal the deal. Figure out what items you need to add to your wardrobe to expand it to fit the needs of your life.
Shop with your budget in mind; style and quality can be found in many price ranges.
Hale suggests that you keep a jacket in your office in a color that you wear often. If you have a meeting you were unaware of, your jacket will help polish your look quickly. Also, keep a few accessories in a little bag for a quick change — some earrings for evening or a scarf that can quickly change your look. Keep a lipstick and blush with your extra accessories for a quick touch up, as well.

Ready. Aim. Relaunch.

The goal of being the best we can be . . . some dismiss it as vanity and ego. But honestly, isn’t it a worthy goal? I believe it is, as long as we keep in mind that our own personal best is not a reflection of popular culture’s ideals or even the standards of those we love or who love us. It’s knowing who you are when you are alone. When there’s no one around except you. When the only voice speaking is the one inside your head. And if it’s speaking words of love, then listen to it. And be the best YOU possible.

Donna Hinkelman serves on the board of NAWBO-SA and is the owner of d!hinkelman marketing.pr.

An Income Of Her Own® continues support of teens with entrepreneurial dreams

An Income Of Her Own® is a program that focuses on mentoring teenagers who have dreams of being entrepreneurs and are selected by teachers from area high schools. Mentors are established businesswomen who help educate the teens on entrepreneurship and finance.

Launched by NAWBO-SA in 1999, the 2005-06 AIOHO program is stronger than ever with a new partner, the University of the Incarnate Word; more at-risk teens from inner-city schools participating; and a new title sponsor — Summit D.M.E., owned by CEO Shawn McCormick.

Starting last fall, 120 teen women representing 10 area high schools began the multiple-month journey. For two months, NAWBO-SA members met with participants to help the teens discern what their post-high school visions are.

In January the teens gathered at the beautiful Plaza Lecea, which donated its in-the-sky facility. At this scholarship fund-raiser, they learned networking tips, mingled with San Antonio women business owners and viewed a fashion show.

Feb. 16 was the occasion for a full-day program at the University of the Incarnate Word focusing on direct interaction between experienced businesswomen and the budding entrepreneurs. The Facilitators’ Fete, a half-day training session, helped prepare the business owners who served as facilitators for the teens. This training and interaction in a mentorship role is considered one of the highlights of NAWBO membership by many.

On March 31, the AIOHO participants will submit plans describing their business dreams. They will be competing for a chance to win scholarships and other prizes.

The program will culminate April 24 in an Awards and Recognition Breakfast at the Petroleum Club at 7:30 a.m. Winners of the business plan competition will be acknowledged.

The 2005-06 An Income Of Her Own® program is being led by Corine Wofford, CEO of WOW Promotions & Consulting Services and a Master Certified Facilitator,and Cindy Stynchula, president of Stynchula & Associates, a teambuilding and leadership development company.

For more information on participating in the program this year or next, contact Corine at (210) 402-0053 or wowpromo tions@sbcglobal.net or contact Cindy at (210) 734-8806 or cindy@stynchula.com.

NAWBO-SA IN ACTION

NAWBO-SA and Financial Women International presented a half-day business seminar by attorney, international author and speaker Carol Frohlinger on Feb. 28. An expert on women and leadership and co-author of Her Place at the Table: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiating Five Key Challenges to Leadership Success, Frohlinger led a session that focused on developing stronger negotiating and financial skills for every level of business.

NAWBO’s National Public Policy Days were held Feb. 19-21 in Washington, D.C. Chapters from all over the country gathered to discuss issues affecting businesses and to meet with their representatives in the nation’s capital. The San Antonio chapter was represented by Elise Cox and Shirley Crandall, corporate and economic development chairs; Madeline Slay, member services chair; Allison DePaoli, membership chair; Dr. Patricia Adams, public policy chair; and Laura Bray, chapter administrator.

NAWBO-SA MEMBERS MAKING WAVES

DocuGuides, owned by member Michele Moody, received the Minority Business Enterprise of the Year award presented by the Central and South Texas Minority Business Council, a regional affiliate of National Minority Supplier Development Council. DocuGuides is a certified Native American/woman-owned business.

Elaine Mendoza, president and CEO of Conceptual MindWorks, was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The board sets policies and coordinates efforts to improve higher education in Texas.

Consider NAWBO because….

NAWBO has helped women evolve their businesses by providing a single voice to shape economic and public policy since 1975.
NAWBO is the only dues-based national organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs in all types of businesses.
NAWBO chapters are in almost every metropolitan area.
NAWBO is represented in more than 40 countries across the world through its affiliation with Les Femmes Chefs d’Enterpises Mondiales (World Association of Women Entrepreneurs).
NAWBO membership offers women business owners the opportunity to maintain a competitive edge through training, education, networking, peer support and advocacy.
NAWBO’s vision: Propelling Women Into Economic, Social and Political Spheres of Power Worldwide.
NAWBO’s mission: To work to strengthen the wealth-creating capacity of our members and promote economic development; create innovative and effective changes in the business culture; build strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations; and transform public policy and influence opinion.
For more information on the National Association of Women Business Owners or any of the items reported here, contact Laura Bray, chapter administrator, at (210) 408-1699 or at info@nawbo-sa.org.

Author: Donna Hinkelman