“Overcoming the Challenges of Being a Black Woman Entrepreneur”

“Overcoming the Challenges of Being a Black Woman Entrepreneur”

If you’re a Black woman entrepreneur, then you may already know that you are part of the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States. As a matter of fact, businesses owned by African-American women have grown by 322% since 1997, according to Fortune magazine. Overall, African-American women are in control of 14% of all companies owned by women in the country, for an astounding total of 1.3 million businesses.

Due to the lack of fair pay, as well as the absence of fair promotion and family-friendly policies in corporate America, especially for African-American women, women-owned firms have been multiplying. So have been the numerous challenges faced by Black female entrepreneurs like yourself as you set up and grow your business. These include lack of available business loans, scarce startup capital, limited resources, not to mention the gender and racial discrimination at play, particularly in more male-dominated sectors such as technology and finance.

As you may very well suspect, the rise of African-American female entrepreneurship is not recent, neither is it a new occurrence. One of the only ways Black women could survive after the Emancipation was through self-employment. Some of the famous names that come to mind as related to Black female entrepreneurship from this era include the impressive Madam C.J. Walker, who first pioneered the creation and commercialization of African-American hair products. In more recent history, Entrepreneur Magazine spotlights a few Black female movers and shakers.

Despite this strong legacy, you may still face a host of challenges and obstacles as an African-American woman entrepreneur. While some of these may be subtle in nature, they are still very real and may affect you at different stages of your business implementation and growth. As a Black woman entrepreneur, I have faced these and was initially intimidated by them. However, with time and experience, I have learned to identify, recognize and respond with a different mindset as well as new and innovative ways of working.

Some of these challenges do include, but are not limited to:

1. Business world biases

You know the strong feeling of “not being part of the group” you may experience as you enter a room filled with fellow entrepreneurs, who just don’t happen to look like you? Many, if not most, women of color entrepreneurs have, and still are, experiencing the same phenomenon on an almost daily basis. This is also known as the double bias in the business world, due to both race and gender, which in turn creates difficulties when it comes to networking, obtaining funding, and reaching out to potential partners.

As a result, many African-American women entrepreneurs fear appearing too aggressive or defying social expectations. In mostly male-dominated industries, it can be a struggle to gain respect or consideration. In addition, their ideas are often dismissed, which keeps these women from reaching their full potential in their businesses.

As you grow more aware of these biases, it’s all the more important to keep motivated and determined to face them head-on. While the reality may not always be pleasant, it’s only by addressing it that you can start changing the face of entrepreneurship for African-American women, women of color, and women in general. A particularly effective way to address these biases may also be to create networks and opportunities catering to women of color, so as to raise awareness of the issues faced by Black women entrepreneurs.

2. Lack of representation

You may also have noticed that you are one of the only, or the only African-American female entrepreneur, represented in your industry. Very often, women of color like yourself are the only ones to appear in certain industry business meetings. Like yourself, these women are often striving alone in fields dominated by men. As such, they are often talked down to and have to constantly prove their worth, qualifications and determination.

This is especially relevant and critical if you happen to just be starting out or making your leap into entrepreneurship. It can be easy to find this lack of representation and diversity intimidating and discouraging, to the point of driving you, and so many other Black women entrepreneurs, away from business altogether.

While lack of representation and diversity may be crippling in business, you can still rise above it by being an example in your community and network. By embodying what it means to be a Black woman entrepreneur, you can also help bridge the representation gap for African-American women entrepreneurs.

3. Networking Challenges

As Ellevate Network’s founder Sallie Krawcheck puts it so well: “Networking is the #1 unwritten rule of business”. It’s also an area which leaves many women, especially women of color, out of its beneficial realm of opportunities. As entrepreneurs especially, it’s crucial to make the right connections and build mutually beneficial professional relationships.

However, many, if not most business networking events, do not necessarily cater to women of color, especially African-American women entrepreneurs. As a result, you may not be able to make the right connections, establish proper relationships and build powerful associations. It can all seem like a good ol’ boys’ club that just doesn’t allow women of color in. It’s precisely the lack of access to these networks, as well as not having the right tools and resources to navigate them, that ends up preventing perfectly viable businesses from surviving and thriving.

As a Black woman entrepreneur, investing in networking is a priority. Make it a habit to attend at least one networking event a month, and to nurture your network as much as possible. It can be as easy as making an inventory of all the networking events in your vicinity as related to your industry or business and committing to participate in one, or some of them. It is also a matter of disciplining yourself to follow up with new contacts after each networking event and keeping in touch with these contacts on a frequent basis.

4. Lack of mentorship

Mentorship is a valuable resource that benefits many entrepreneurs and their businesses, especially in the early stages. It’s especially crucial for women entrepreneurs, and even more so for Black women entrepreneurs, who face disproportionately high odds when it comes to entrepreneurial success.

Unfortunately, there are fewer mentorship opportunities available to women entrepreneurs in general. According to Inc., forty-eight percent of female entrepreneurs sorely lack mentors and advisers. For women of color, the gap is even wider as a result of bias and limited networking opportunities.

This is where women -focused networks such as Ellevate Network, and Black Women’s Collective, or events like the WIN conference, as well as events targeting Black women can make all the difference when you join them. Proactively identifying and seeking potential mentors is also a powerful way to receive the leadership you need to be more effective and successful in your business.

In addition, you can also serve as mentors for other Black women entrepreneurs so as to provide them with additional help and guidance. The most important thing to remember as you achieve milestones in your business is to always keep the door open for the next woman of color behind you.

5. Lack of access to capital and funding

According to this recent study by Fundera, “women entrepreneurs get offered smaller loans across every product, from the same groups”. Female entrepreneurs seeking venture capital do not seem to fare any better. Research confirms that investors actually prefer entrepreneurial pitches by attractive men.

For minority women, the chances of getting traditional sources of funding such as loans can be slim to none, due to both conscious and unconscious bias. As a matter of fact, according to the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), small business owners of color are more likely to be denied credit than other small business owners. They also tend to pay higher interest rates than non-minority owned businesses. As a result, fewer women of color entrepreneurs seek to apply for loans.

Faced with the lack of access to capital and funding, it can be easy to throw in the towel and give up. However, this challenge is also a great incentive for you to look into setting up capital and funding vehicles that cater to all women, including Black women entrepreneurs. There are enough African-American women entrepreneurs out there who can join forces and innovate with new sources of funding. As a consumer and a voter, you may also consider making decisions that positively impact the distribution of capital and funding to women of color.

6. Lack to support within our families and communities

Getting support within from families and communities can be troublesome. In addition to the likelihood of minimal available family financial resources, access, and inheritances, often times family members don’t understand entrepreneurship, prefer the predictability of a bi-weekly paycheck (no matter the size) or don’t trust a fledgling entrepreneurs’ capabilities. While these concerns are understandable, it can make the journey a little rockier.Finally, there is sometimes that distrust in doing business with one another, believing that the quality of their products or services will be substandard. One great avenue for finding great talent is on such freelance sites like Upwork, where you get the opportunity to interview and vet small Black-owned business owners, review their profiles and freelance history, as well as test skills and performance with smaller jobs before you fully commit. “Pretty much my entire phenomenal team came from Upwork…and I gladly refer them to my fellow entrepreneurs,” shares My Amazing LYFE course creator and chief catalyst, Maria Dowd.

Overall, as an African-American woman entrepreneur, you will face many obstacles and challenges when it comes to being successful in business. From harsh biases in the business world to lack of representation, minimal access to capital and funding, to networking and mentoring challenges, the scale is very often not tipped in your favor. These can be intimidating, discouraging, and may make you want to give up on your entrepreneurial dreams. Many women of color have unfortunately watched their businesses fail or simply walked away from them as a result of these.

However, instead of considering these as insurmountable, you can use them as powerful incentives to keep building up your business, as you create and leverage innovative channels of networks, communication, and investment in your business.

ABOUT

Maria Dowd’s deepest, most electrifying passion is to energize and equip women—especially women of color—with tools and strategies to take bolder stands for the quality of their lives.

As a dynamic motivational speaker and impassioned catalyst for women’s empowerment, Maria taps into her own personal missteps and wake-up calls to inspire women to be more courageous, wise, and enterprising—to design an amazing life built upon uncompromising values, enduring passions, their true genius and expertise, and with crystal clear visions of what they want and deserve. Maria’s My Amazing LYFE brand of empowerment programs experientially and holistically deliver this promise, along with a community of highly engaged mentors and action partners to ensure the activation of its participants’ dreams and aspirations.

Maria discovered her vocation in the 1990s, with the founding and production of African American Women on Tour (AAWOT), an empowerment conference she toured with for 13 years that garnered the support of such mega-corporations as Bank of America, Chrysler, JC Penney, ExxonMobil, and Kellogg. AAWOT profoundly touched the lives of over 29,000 women worldwide by embracing, fueling, and celebrating their strengths, endurance, and brilliance. Maria later became a successful network marketing consultant, representing a line of botanical body care products. She trained and mentored a team of over 1,100 consultants committed to uplifting their economic well-being and sharpening their leadership skills while promoting self-care and healthy living.

Maria has authored three inspirational books: Journey to Empowerment, Journey into my Brother’s Soul, and Journey to a Blissful Life, which was featured in Essence magazine as one of the best books on personal renewal. Maria is also a contributing author of Delayed But Not Denied Book II and the upcoming Book III.

Her life took a dramatic turn after a divorce in 2012, which served as a “lightbulb” moment, for Maria, like so many women, had fallen into the trappings of financial and toxic emotional co-dependency. Determined to never find herself in such a vulnerable position again, Maria created a holistic life map to help her through the journey of expanded self-awareness, course corrections, and remarkable levels of clarity and traction.

Eager to share with other women possibly going through—or healing from—similar experiences, Maria posted a snapshot of her map on social media and received overwhelming responses. This was her cue to launch the My Amazing LYFE Map Course, an interactive holistic life planning system that includes coursework, personality assessments, action partnering, community support, vision boarding, and more to help women (and men!) powerfully navigate and activate transformative life goals. Participants are challenged to create a soul-stirring, whole-life blueprint with action steps that promote greater inner peace, physical well-being, prosperity, more harmonious personal and professional relationships, and uncompromising optimism and happiness.

The Day I Stopped Stressing Over Christmas Shopping

The Day I Stopped Stressing Over Christmas Shopping

I know it’s rather odd having a conversation about Christmas in Spring.

In just a few more months, that sense of urgency will be fired up by advertisers and retailers who will begin quietly installing their first round of holiday ornaments … right around early October.

For years, I’ve felt “meh” about this obligatory shopping expectation that rides hard and heavy on the back of Christmas.

THE OTHER REASON FOR THE SEASON – FAMILY

Of course, what matters more than anything is quality time and other expressions of love for family. I loved being around my rambunctious aunts, uncles, grandparents and six cousins who loved to tease, play board games and laugh hard.

However, after my grandparents transitioned, and between divorces, college life, and my family’s tendency toward very moderate procreation, family attendance at holiday event shrank and became less frequent.

Eventually, I simplified my Christmas shopping goals. Practicality became my mantra. Target gift cards for everyone!

“Here … buy what you need.”

(Though I did order Bitsbox for my brilliant STEM-crazed grandson – a monthly subscription box – that teaches children how to code.)

While some of you may feel my attitude is godawful, I’m guessing that someone out there might be exhaling, discovering they’re not alone in longing for a simpler holiday season – without so much material fanfare and strain on household budgets.

OPTING IN FOR REFLECTION TIME

Over time, my Winter holidays become more personal and reflective. It was the time I chose to curl up and deeply comb through my life map, quietly celebrating my accomplishments, refining my goals and renovating how I wanted my life to unfold in the New Year. It was also the time I re-calibrated my various game plans, tweak my calendar time blocks, and evaluated my levels of integrity with my family, love, experiential and social life declarations.

Did I spend enough time nurturing my sister-friendships? Which country on my vision board will I travel to this year? What do I need to be doing more of (and better) to build my cash flow?

What do I want the My Amazing LYFE brand to mean to women and their families? How well did I keep my promise of monthly massage? What kind of a love relationship do I truly want? How will I get more face time with my youngest daughter? What role will I play in nurturing my grandson’s keen interest in the sciences These are all very real questions I ask myself. There are scores more I ask and answer in my life map.

THAT DEFINING MOMENT

Winter of 2016, I did something totally out-of-the-box:

I earned my life insurance license and got certified by the National Financial Educators Council. I wanted to impact women’s lives at a higher frequency because our earning, spending, saving, investing and giving habits all impact how we progress (or hinder) our goals, strategy plans, and legacies.

Armed with these tools, I could help women not only create living blueprints for their lives, but could also support them with strategies to build brighter, and more secure futures.

Both measures were inspired with the release of a report by the Institute for Policy Studies: The Ever-Growing GAP: Without Change, African-American and Latino Families Won’t Match White Wealth for Centuries.

Wow! The title alone spoke volumes to me.

This was the year I really laid down the gauntlet.

I decided to stop buying the gift cards even. Instead, I gifted my daughters and then 3-year old grandson with permanent life insurance policies that included living benefits and cash accumulation, earmarked to help fund his college education. I calculated the exact amount I’d typically spend on gifts throughout the year, and re-directed that money into life insurance.

MY TOP 6 COMPELLING REASONS

I want to do what I can today to ensure my grandchildren don’t graduate from college heavily burdened with debt and experience the mental, emotional and financial anguish can have on their young soul. It would be difficult for me to face myself in the mirror, knowing that I could have done more.

I’m in love with the idea of my children and grandchildren inheriting money from my efforts. With proper guidance, education and carefully spelled out guidelines, this money can be used to jump-start wealth accumulation such as buying a home, offsetting college expenses, or seeding a business start-up.

I’d rather plant seeds in my own garden (AND in the gardens of my business and personal “partners in creation”) than plant my seeds in the gardens of people who are already billionaires. I want to seed OUR heirs’ economic empowerment and success in life. Leaving this kind of legacy is very important.

I have no need to own a lot of stuff … and owe a lot of money to credit card companies. Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education. I choose to make higher education a high priority, as my parents did. And, if you believe in Pareto’s Law, we all likely only wear 20 percent of what’s in our closets. My idea of a great time is walking into a thrift store, and walking out with a really cool, one-of-a-kind $8 wool jacket!

We’ve ALL witnessed the reality that family members can get seriously sick or injured long before they die. Things become far less important, when a key breadwinner suffers a heart attack, stroke, or is in a serious accident. It happens to families every day. It’s likely happened in yours, or someone close to you, An entire lifetime of dreams could be obliterated within a few weeks or months…just like that.

A CALL TO ACTION

Last month I got an email inviting a group of professional women to a posh nail salon. Our host was treating all of us to complimentary manicures and pedicures. I was so impressed by his “self-care” centered marketing strategy, I jumped online and researched our host and his company.

Within 30 minutes, I’d learned a lot about this young man and the insurance/financial services empire he’s built. Within a few quick Google searches, I was impressed by and excited about what I found.

After a relaxing Sunday of pampering, coupled with this young gentleman (but with a 19-year award-winning track record, I might add) and his business partners personally serving us wine, cheese, grapes, hummus, and pita chips, I met with Eszlyfie Taylor the following Monday (when my intuition calls that loudly, I take brisk action)…and joined his team 48 hours later!

Yes, I’m very excited to be a part of this dynamic team, successfully creating solutions for clients – who range from high net worth individuals and families to business owners, entertainers, and athletes.

MY “BIG ASK” OF YOU

I’m asking for 30 or 40 minutes of your time to show you the type of work I’m doing now, and to get your opinion about it.

ON THE LIFE PLANNING SIDE:

If you’re ready to push your boundaries, deepen your self-awareness, do the inner-work, engage with other like-minds, advance your goals … and define your destiny on your own terms-


I’m available to consult with you – my “seed planting” GIFT to you – on how “My Amazing LYFE Map” coursework can help you design, chart and activate your goals, game plans, and daily tasks to profoundly enrich the quality of your life. Book here.

ON THE MONEY SIDE:

We take a realistic look at how you’ll financially plan, execute and manage your needs, hopes, and desires.


As a team, we’ll review your financial and insurance game plans, and evaluate how you’ll meet your goals and objectives. Book your complimentary consultation here.

Or, you can always email me at maria@MyAmazingLYFE.com anytime.

ABOUT MARIA DOWD

As a dynamic motivational speaker and impassioned catalyst for women’s empowerment, Maria Dowd inspires women to be more courageous, wise, and enterprising.

Maria’s My Amazing LYFE lifestyle brand of empowerment programs includes a simple, step-by-step system you follow that will help you unlock your potential and reach your goals. The system includes training modules we refer to as “LYFE Labs.” Each Lab, you will learn what simple, actionable steps you can take to make your goals a reality.

With your “My Amazing LYFE” Map in hand, and your goals clearly defined, I can help you identify opportunities or gaps in your planning, and devise viable solutions to fill those voids. www.myamazinglyfe.com.

Join us on Facebook and Instagram.

7 Reasons to Have Mentors – Not Knowing What We Don’t Know Can Cost Us a Legacy

7 Reasons to Have Mentors – Not Knowing What We Don’t Know Can Cost Us a Legacy

It wasn’t until I was actually surrounded by professional coaches and trainers eight hours a day, five days a week did it all make sense. For at least one and a half decades, I grappled with those deeply wedged, whispery, yet meddlesome voices that constantly asked:

“WTF happened?”

“How come it seems like my life is wrought with rash decision-making and costly wrong turns?”

“How come I keep doing this to myself?”

“Why am I starting over…again?”

The answers started surfacing as I spent more time with brilliant stewards of transformational work, witnessing their intense dedication to helping others powerfully recover from, and hopefully avoid pricey pitfalls, much like the ones I’d slushed around in. During my African American Women on Tour days, I’d been in that space but was so busy “doing busy,” that I didn’t garner that insight then. I’m talking the biggies here – failed marriages, failed businesses, failed investments and all of the emotional, psychological and financial messiness that comes with these failures.

It took getting immersed, waist high, in others’ genius to get reacquainted with my own.

I had to save my soul. It took grooving in a circle of people intensely committed to and vested in getting out of their own way, to grasp what my journey had been fraught with. I heard testimonial after testimonial and all of the corresponding lessons learned, and finally it seeped in how invaluable it was to not only surround myself with mentors, but to engage trainers and coaches. I learned the value of being part of a community that actively masterminded, held one another accountable, collaborated strategically and celebrated successes vigorously, with high octane doses of self-awareness, transparency, integrity, wisdom, creativity and financial achievement. Thank God, I caught the life preserver.
Looking back, while I’d considered myself a “life-long learner,” some of my lessons didn’t stick. I’ve ignored flashing caution lights, stayed on obviously dead-end paths or arbitrarily tweaked game plans, convincing myself that it made sense to do something a different way, with no facts or financials to back the change.
Today the message is clear. While I’ve flown with the wind of grace at my back, I didn’t operate my jetliner with a solid flight plan – often I had no business plan, life plan or mentors to hold me responsible and accountable, to help guide me to the next milestone or to support my successful crossing of a finish line. Essentially, without a solid foundation and someone wiser than me to support my journey, it was too easy to veer off course, invariably chasing someone else’s dream or running from someone else’s fears…as well as my own.

The bottom line is we ALL need mentors, coaches and trainers.

It’s easy to get comfortable in our discomfort, especially when our foolery is endorsed by other people’s accolades – purely based upon feelings and fantasy without looking at the facts and finances.

We ALL need sage-quality tender loving care. Outwardly, your business, company culture, teams or operations may appear to be running smoothly and successfully. However, there is always room and opportunity for transformation.
Do you know what’s not working?

Do you know where things are breaking down?

Do you know where you are not operating at capacity or efficiency?

How are your people getting along?

Where is there opportunity to empower, grow and increase cash flow and profitability?

What are your customers asking for that is not being delivered?

When we don’t know what we don’t know, other sets of eyes and minds will help guide, advise and coach.

In my case, I didn’t know that taking on “solopreneurship” was not the wisest of choices. Getting caught up in the busyness of busyness, critical things slip through the cracks and we potentially end up with a heap of epic fails. Had I engaged sagely support, I could have had a viable business to sell rather than shells of businesses that I ultimately walked away from, feeling totally burned out and defeated. That’s where I landed in 2003 and again in 2013.

Here are just a few of my key lessons learned:

1. Understand and institute the very best practices for controlling expenses, appropriately scaling, increasing profit margins and mapping out a transition plan.

2. Make sounder business decisions based upon facts and financial statements, rather than “gut feelings,” as we’re often wrong. Get feedback and insight from experts.

3. Soul-search and actively assess your blind sides and weaknesses as well as your extraordinary talents and core competencies. Get a complete, objective handle on what you’re exceptional in, and what you suck at; what you’re absolutely passionate about and what completely annoys you; what electrifies you and what paralyzes you. Include people, places and things on this list.

4. Diligently and methodically surround yourself with people who are more experienced, wiser and who are trusted sources of knowledge, insight and leverage.

5. Allow yourself to be supported, challenged, encouraged and empowered. Graciously accept help. Move ego out of the way.

6. And, be unabashedly thankful for the entirety of your experiences…in all of their glory.

7. Kiss the Lone Ranger goodbye.

The 4 Top Things Women Want Most Out of Life

A Point of View and an Invitation from Maria Dowd

Observation… Society is hammering women. Lest we forget: the president of our United States is a proud, card-carrying, self-proclaimed “pussy grabber.”

That’s it…No more pussyfooting around with our reality. Far too many guys in key leadership positions are sleeping soundly at night (unless they’re up tweeting) knowingly promoting gender and racial disparities…a double wammy for women of color.

They’re perfectly fine with the fact that women continue to earn just 56 to 77 cents on their dollar. Let’s do the math…that averages close to $500K in unrealized income in most women’s lifetime!

Furthermore, these guys are okay with wrecking havoc on our already inequitable health care system, warehousing children into pissy-poor (to use my grandmother’s term) school environments aka “prep school” for prison and urban/rural decay, feeding us chemicals-disgusted-as-food, pitting religion against religion…

… And, grabbing our crotches (literally and figuratively) anytime they damn well please, then sticking a microphone into the face of an unenlightened “YES woman” – who becomes “our” voice mindlessly doling out hall passes while these boys run wild lifting girls’ dresses.

I once had a [drunken] boss crawl under a conference table to peer between my legs. I was in my 20s. What’s your story?.

“Don’t be so uptight. Boys will be boys. They were just kidddddding.”

Really?

A woman’s quality of life is nothing to kid around with. We’re over being the butt of foul antics, lack of humanity, care only for bottom line profits, and dancing around deep pools of hypocrisy hidden behind the backs of unconscious people who don’t know any better than help fuel this global warming climate of “woman-shaming.”

Are you ready?

This is an open invitation to collaborate with us – to join the My Amazing LYFE Women’s Empowerment Movement. It’s time to link arms and bring YOU and YOURS into a dynamic community of high-octane coaches, mentors and advocates who passionately live to share, support and provide proven solutions that stand toe-to-toe with the challenges women face daily.

The first tier of the My Amazing LYFE Movement is the launch of our life-transforming learning platform where the all-important inner-work is done. Every woman has at least one area of her life she longs to elevate, improve, expand: love, money, health, family life, business, career. There’s a lot of power within us to be unleashed. We’re building the platform to usher this UNLEASHING process into something powerfully enlightening…and liberating.

One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us.
We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.” Anaïs Nin

Through the My Amazing LYFE Map coursework, you’ll emerge with a holistic game plan – to guide your personal and professional development pursuits – to break through what may be getting in the way of living an even richer, more fulfilling life.

To breathe life into and powerfully activate your game plan, we’ve got an entire brigade of powerhouse coaches and mentors ready to serve and support you in achieving your goals and living your life out loud… and unbridled. Plus, a community of like minds to share, encourage and celebrate your successes

We’re CROWDFUNDING this Movement for a very specific reason: Collaboration accelerates getting more things accomplished in a more profound, far-reaching way.

None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” Mother Teresa

We invite you to say YES to joining the My Amazing LYFE Movement, to support women realize the quality of life you may already have, yet feel more women and their families deserve.

LYFE = Live. Your. Freedom. Every Day!

THE 4 TOP THINGS WOMEN WANT MOST OUT OF LIFE: A Declaration

Our Children Safe, Secure, Well-Educated and Prepared for Life

We want our children to be loved, protected and enriched at home and in school by parents, teachers and administrators who deeply care and fiercely advocate for their well-being, happiness and promising futures. We want our children to truly enjoy learning in safe, engaging, inspired, peaceful, progressive, well-equipped environments that universally encourage and provide positive outlets for children to reach and surpass their potential.

Awaken Each Morning Feeling on Top of the World and in Control of our Destiny

We want to rise each day feeling highly energized, immensely loved, well supported, empowered, physically healthy, emotionally fueled and overflowing with gratitude because we have a crystal-clear vision of how our day will progress, and what our future beholds. We want to awaken each morning feeling our Divinity, power, ease and peace, knowing that we’re living our lives per God’s perfect design…with absolute clarity of mind, heart and action.

Freedom to Love and Be Loved Boundlessly and Masterfully

Women want to enjoy the kind of love that’s open, honest and divinely expressed, beginning within ourselves. We want to be free to adore our beauty that transcends the trappings that society pushes on us, to experience self-love so deeply rooted and absolute, we’re attuned and therefore unmoved when false, pained love shows up. We want pure, nurturing, chivalrous, sacred love that continuously evolves inside of trust, harmonious communication and shared values.

Safe Harbors to Thrive… And Not Merely to Survive

Whether in the workplace, classroom, neighborhood, campus or social setting, women want to feel a safe, organic, bias-free sense of belonging, equal treatment, and access to avenues that elevate our quality of life, and to realize economic gains on par with our male counterparts. We want our contributions recognized, our body protected, our beliefs honored and the way we experience life as a woman – and as a woman of color – taken seriously. We want free and clear opportunity to advance and prosper… so we can live and play our dream life on our terms….joyfully and purposefully.

Superhero Parenting Part 1: Age 0 to 12

Superhero Parenting Part 1: Age 0 to 12

Superhero Parenting Part 1: Age 0 to 12

By Maria Dowd | Creator and Catalyst

MyAmazingLYFE.com | MyMoneyLYFE.com

Being a superhero for your children doesn’t require super powers. It simply required dedication to being great parents who gives their time, care, love, compassion, energy, involvement, emotional, spiritual and financial support. It starts with setting the intention of being the best possible parent for your children, and their unique needs, gifts and ages.
The Early Years: Spread Love

The first five years of a child’s life are the most
crucial for a number of reasons. Not only do kids
learn who their family is but they also pick up on
their loved ones’ habits.

Since parents are the people your little one sees more often than
any other family members, you can count on them to mimic your
traits.
Speaking of compassion, did you know that you are your children’s
teachers when it comes to love? Well, you are.

Various studies
show that children
who feel heard, and
are given hugs and
kisses from their
parents on a daily
basis are more
likely to pass on the
love to other kids .

These children are more willingly to share their toys with peers and more than likely will not bully others. The amount of love that you give a child during the early years of growth, essentially, creates the type of person that they will be in coming years.

Enrich your children’s life by practicing daily habits that will grow their capacity to love learning.

Read to them daily. Have compassionate, loving conversations. Expose them to wonderful outside enriching activities and really want to give your children the very best that their parents and extended family have to offer. And, I don’t mean THINGS…I mean EXPERIENCES. And, this is not a function of money, but more a function of a deep desire to afford them quality time and your creativity.

Growing your children’s capacity to live their lives fully and successfully starts with your commitment to creating an enriching life for them.

Coming Years: Elementary School
First grade is when kids get a real sense of how school will be for the next twelve years, and where
parents are exposed to another stage of their children’s lives. They are no longer with you all day, and it seems that the teacher is more aware of your kids than you are. During these times it is important to do the following:

Get to know your children’s teachers well. Your child should feel good and have nice things to say about their teachers.

Ensure that you clearly understand what’s going on in your child’s classroom. Their teachers may be amazing POSITIVE INFLUENCERS. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some teachers could be doing more harm than good by TYPECASTING your child without really knowing your child. What praises and/or criticisms are you hearing from both your child and their teacher?

Be the parent that everyone can count on to care and be engaged in their children’s well-being, success and happiness.

Be keenly aware of the changes
brought about by peer pressure and
other aspects of schooling

Watch for anything that feels unsettling to you. Listen intently to your children, read body language, look them in the eye and really see their facial expressions. Listen to a teacher’s suggestions oncerning your child and take action when their observations coincide with things that you have noticed.

Your child is no longer a baby and
should be treated like the growing
boy or girl that he or she is.

While there is nothing wrong with showering your kids with love, you should understand the difference
between affection and domination, over-indulgence and being overly lenient. Your elementary school student needs room to grow, make friends, and learn to take responsibility for their success a school…and in life.

Monitor the company that your children are keeping.

While first graders tend not to have a large problem with attracting the wrong crowd, older children in elementary school do sometimes manage to befriend children whose upbringing may not align with your values and parenting skills. Hurt children hurt. And, you want to know if your children’s friends are hurting inside. This is why it is so important for you to know who your children’s friends are along with the parents who care for them. Your child may show embarrassment, but you will be saving him or her a lot of heartache in middle school. Statistics show that kids who become friends in elementary school, especially the first grade, often remain buddies for life.

Start planning early for your
children’s college education and
overall experience.

Envision higher education for your children, even if it wasn’t your experience. Simply put, college educated adults out-earn those without. And, rich college experiences opens wider opportunities to live a more expansive, amazing life.
Young adults who are heavily burdened with student loan debt and making ends meet comprise their health, overall well being and quality of life.

Explore powerful, yet easily managed ways to start funding college now – no matter what age your children are.

As a motivational speaker and catalyst for women’s empowerment, Maria Dowd’s mission is to elevate women’s self-awareness and self-activism. Maria’s My Amazing LYFE lifestyle brand of enriching programs, tools and events, holistically and methodically advances women’s well-being, healing and transformation.

Maria discovered her vocation in the 1990s, with the founding and production of African American Women on Tour, a high-impact empowerment conference she toured for 13 years, attracting close to 29,000 women worldwide. Maria later became a successful network marketing consultant, representing a line of botanical self-care products, while leading over 1,100 consultants.

A few year’s ago, Maria created a life map to help through two major life transitions. After sharing a snapshot on Facebook and receiving overwhelming response, she birthed My Amazing LYFE Map e-Course and Workbook , to help others navigate their success and happiness.

Maria is a native Californian, mom to two daughters, and “Mimi” to her 5-year-old grandson, who’s clearly on path to becoming the president of something amazing from the superhero mothering he receives. Also, his college fund is compounding interest daily. Maria can show you what she did for her grandson. Maria@myamazyinglyfe.com619-750-8232www.MyAmazingLYFE.comwww.MyMoneyLYFE.com