Sandi Leyva Training Solutions for Accountants

August 24, 2020

What Does Fear Have To Do With Running Your Business?

Filed under: mindset,stress management — 1o49d @ 10:26 am

Covid has changed our relationship with fear in many, many ways.

Several years ago, I attended a local networking meeting. I was delighted when my name was called to be in a hot seat for some coaching from the participants. I always have a topic I could use advice on, so I asked the group: “How should I market my new tools that help women entrepreneurs deal with the fears that come up in the running of their businesses?”

What was interesting is I got eager comments about fear from all of the *men* in the room. The women just stood silent (except for two later in the conversation).

Well, that’s telling, I thought.

I’ve had similar brush-offs at the networking meeting with a couple of the women who I know just had to lay off staff. Come on, now, who isn’t scared when something as dramatic as a layoff rips through the company you created with your bare hands?

So, what’s going on here?

The only thing I can think of is that some women are too afraid to admit they’re afraid. Perhaps because some people perceive it as a weakness to display fear, they aren’t willing to admit it in public.

Whether you are willing to admit it in public or not, I want you to know right now that fear is normal, especially this year (the lack of fear is abnormal, that’s for sure). What’s important is that you admit it to yourself.

A majority of the more than 100 women I was around in the pressure-packed, high-growth coaching, training, and mastermind programs I participated in were all freely, openly scared to death. They were also growing like mad, taking on astounding business opportunities including TV, keynote speaking on a big stage, running their own events, and connecting with celebrities and millionaire business owners that were past the stage they’re at.

This year has given many entrepreneurs the opening to admit publicly that they are afraid for their business. Michelle Obama took it a step further in her new podcast when she openly admitted to experiencing low-grade depression. We need to be able to talk about our feelings, even the negative ones.

So, what does fear have to do with running your business? The short answer is, just about everything.
Fear is a sign of growth in both yourself and your business. If you’re not afraid, you’re stuck, and so is your business.

When we can recognize and talk about our fears, we won’t feel so alone. We’ll realize other people are going through the same things. We can then support each other through the experience.

In future newsletters we’ll provide some tools for dealing with the fears every woman has in running her business. But the first step is to acknowledge that it’s there, if not in public, at least to yourself.

May 3, 2020

Zap energy sappers

Filed under: Happiness,mindset,positivity,stress management — 1o49d @ 7:00 am

I bet I’m not the only one having a challenging time keeping up with everything I need to do in one day.  Besides work, there suddenly seems like there are more chores – cooking, cleaning, and even sewing! (My grandmother would be so proud.)  If you are time-challenged to the point it’s affecting your energy and mood, then learning how to zap the energy sappers is for you.

Here’s what I mean by energy sappers:

  1. What does your desk look like right now? Is it clean or messy?  If it’s messy, that’s an energy sapper.
  2. How about your dining room table? Stacked with stuff or a beautiful bowl of fruit or flowers on top?  If there’s clutter, it’s an energy sap.
  3. Go around the rest of your house: laundry on the couch, unmade beds, dirty dishes in the sink, dead plants that didn’t get watered, stacks of paperwork, books, or bills.  Identify these sappers.

When you pass by these items every day, you look at them and what happens?  Your inner critic says “I am behind.”  “That needs doing.”  “Why can’t I keep up?”  A little piece of your energy escapes each time you look at these items and feel deflated.

How can you get your energy back?

  1. Clear the clutter, especially those items that have been sitting there for six months without moving. The world hasn’t fallen apart because you haven’t been able to get to this task.  Put it in the closet to get it out of sight.
  2. Get help from other family members, or if your state’s shelter-in-place rules allow, hire a housekeeper. If you feel that “help” is a 4-letter word, consider reframing that thought to a more powerful one:  It’s a gift to let people help us.
  3. Create an environment that supports and nurtures you. I buy a bouquet of cheap flowers at Safeway, then cut the stems off and place the flowers and buds in glasses around the house for an uplifting, beautiful (and low-cost) look that lasts a week.

Transform your energy sappers into energy boosters and watch your energy and happiness grow.

May 2, 2020

What Is the Happiest Man in the World Like?

Filed under: Happiness,mindset,positivity,stress management — 1o49d @ 7:00 am

Matthieu Ricard is still smiling.  The happiest man in the world has just finished up a two-day retreat in Washington DC with the Mind and Life Institute which brings neuroscientists and contemplatives including the Dalai Lama together to study the effects of meditation on the brain.  He spoke at an Emory University fundraiser headlined by Richard Gere and then flew across the US to my old backyard, Silicon Valley, where he now sits at another fundraiser for Tibetans.

Matthieu doesn’t know it, but I was watching him at all three events.  Other than the Dalai Lama, I don’t think you’ll find someone more relaxed and yet passionately engaged in the present moment at the same time.  Matthieu takes my hands, smiling, and greets me.  He’s not only joyful; he’s approachable and real.

I have been following the Venerable Matthieu Ricard since 2003 when Daniel Goleman wrote about him anonymously in one of my favorite books, Destructive Emotions.    That’s when I first heard his story.  His father is a well-respected French philosopher who socialized in heady circles of Nobel prize winners, successful artists, and genius scientists.  Matthieu earned a PhD in molecular biology and almost immediately after, joined a monastery and became a monk.   Today he resides in Nepal at Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery in Kathmandu.

The most amazing thing about Matthieu is that when Dr. Richie Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, took an fMRI scan of Matthieu’s brain, his capacity for happiness registered off the charts.  That’s how he earned the title of the happiest man in the world.  The thousands of hours Matthieu has meditated has actually changed his brain makeup (neuroplasticity) so that he has 7-8 times the capacity for compassion and happiness than any other person measured.

I asked Matthieu if he would give me an interview.  He said, “I would love to, in joy.”    Matthieu spends 70 days a year on airplanes, is one of the top Tibetan monks in the world, must get asked to come to every benefit, show, interview, and conference there is, and not only said yes to me, but said, “I would love to do it, in joy.”

There’s so much we can learn from Matthieu even before interviewing him.  How can we be “in joy” more often?  How can we add meditation to our lives for the benefit of our brain and our happiness? (Studies show just after three weeks there are fMRI differences, so you don’t have to meditate for 30 years to get the benefit.)  How can we calm our negative emotions?  And how can we greet perfect strangers with a smile, a warm clasp of the hands, and a “Yes.  I’ll do that in joy?”  There’s much to contemplate about the model this master contemplative is for the world.

You can find out more on his website,, or watch one of many of his TED talks,

May 1, 2020

Happiness in the Time of Coronavirus

Filed under: Happiness,mindset,positivity,stress management — 1o49d @ 7:00 am

It’s easy to be happy when everything is smooth and easy.  Enter COVID-19, with its myriad challenges.  How can you be happy with all the changes and fear that it’s brought?

We have some peace- and happiness-generating tools and tips for you.

  1. If your house is full, agree on ways to enjoy each other’s company without getting in each other’s way.
  2. Stay on your exercise schedule, no matter what.  You’ll feel better and be happier.
  3. Schedule in some personal time just for you, whether it’s a spa, meditation, or a walk in the woods.
  4. Start a family ritual that everyone can look forward to. Rituals are such an important anchor for kids and provide them with an identity and a story to hold onto. Your ritual(s) can be anything from a weekly gratitude ceremony to a daily walk to a Saturday morning wakeup call.
  5. Get out of your rut with your relatives, and ask them meaningful questions you may not know: 1-What was the happiest moment of their lives?  2-What were you passionate about when you were a teenager?  3-What is the change you want to see in the world?

If you do get into some squabbles, keep in mind the big picture view.  They’re family and you love them.  Make a bold statement like, “All I want is a relationship full of love, laughter, and light.  How can we get back to that?”

These are just a few tools you can practice during the shelter-in-place rule to make this time more special and less stressful.  If you have ideas, send them to us and we’ll post them.

April 30, 2020

A Story from Sandi’s Happiness Class

Filed under: Happiness,mindset,positivity,stress management — 1o49d @ 7:00 am

Jan (not her real name) was in my happiness class a few years back.  Her birthday was the Saturday before this class, and she had been anxious and a little depressed about turning 50.  Here’s her story:

“Saturday was my birthday and all my friends were there.  It was my 50th birthday so we celebrated at Café Istanbul with the belly dancer going hoochy-coo and it was all fun and good.   That afternoon, I went to get my nails done you know, just get a manicure.  The woman at the nail salon—I pick her because nobody ever picks her.  She’s got really messed up teeth.  She’s from Vietnam and she doesn’t talk very well.  She’s one of the happiest people. “

“I told her it was my birthday and she said, “Well, I don’t have a birthday.”“

“I said, “You don’t have a birthday?””

“She tells me this horrific story which made me think and I wrote it in my little gratitude book that I’m glad I have my birthday.  When her mother was pregnant with her, her mother was a nurse and her father was a doctor and he was blown up in the war.  So, her mother spent like three years looking for her husband and she had the baby and she already had another daughter.  They had no food.  They had no house.  So, she spent all this time looking for her husband and so she said, “You were born in the summer, I think.  I don’t really know.  You were born in 1967.”“

“Then, the nail woman says, “Then, my mom married another man and he was a farmer so we had to go herd the cows when I was like 5 years old and I couldn’t do it.  I ran away.”  They sold her to a woman and she ended up in a refugee camp in the Philippines for 17 years and then she finally made it to America and she works in a nail salon and she is tickled pink.  She is the happiest person. “

“I wrote in my little thing, I’m happy to be me.  I know when my birthday is.  That kind of changed my thought of “well, I’m going to be 50 and I’m not where I want to be in life really” and all these little…I was putting this little negative spin on it.  I left that nail salon and thought, “Gosh, I’m doing well.  I need to be thankful for who I am and what I’m doing.””

It’s all in the perspective.

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