Concentrate on Winning

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Concentrate on Winning

Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.
— Helen Keller

What do you spend the most time concentrating on each day? What do your thoughts propel you towards?

Think of the best of the best in any sport, creative or business endeavor.  What do they focus on?  They focus on the gain. Not past performance or what could possibly go wrong, they concentrate on the gain of making it across the finish line.

Saturday, the Fall Equinox happened, and the official days of Indian Summer are in full swing here in Colorado. I am reminded on a daily basis of the seasonal change that is happenings all around us as I find myself flip flopping with the regret of saying goodbye to summer as I think  with anticipation to the change and appreciation of the cooler days ahead.

I should fully be spending my days tending towards business for the winter months ahead but still have the opportunity to spend countless hours in my garden to insure I get the most out of the fall harvest.

What do you want to work towards?

Are you living with regret of what was and no longer is?

Or, are you stuck in the fear of moving forward and getting out of your comfort zone?

Perhaps like me you have your thoughts flip flopping.

I had a student in one of my trainings this past week that had returned from a training the week before.  He told me that he was back partly because of something I had said the previous week.  He shared that it had profoundly affected him.  Of course, as someone who spends her days working to empower others he had my complete attention.

What he shared is that in my discussion about social media, I said there comes a point when you just have to jump off the cliff. You just have to go for it.

I loved the impact of these words for him and it reminded me of an entrepreneur I worked for many decades ago who had an entire wall of his office depicting the Grand Canyon.  When I asked him the first time I walked into the office why – he said it was a reminder to himself every single day that he needed to always be stepping off of the cliff.  Fear could not stop him.

What would change in your world if you focused only on the win?  If you found the courage, and yes courage plays a huge role in all of this, to step off that cliff that has been stopping you (think Thelma and Louise). Or as we went on in the class that day to talk about what if you let go of the side of the pool and swam towards the deep end.

The truth is it’s not enough to just start a business you have to be willing to do those free falls every once in a while.  I have to harvest the herbs in my garden even when the weather is beautiful out because I know that times will quickly change and I want those delicious herbs all winter long.

I hope you enjoy today’s podcast and concentrate on the win!


Courage to Be the Difference Podcast

This week’s podcast is with Helen Williams, Founder and Flavor Master of Best One Yet – Vegan Ice Cream.  Helen is a woman who had the courage to step past her comfort zone and fully start a new business, in a new state, doing something she had never done before. We talk in length about the element of fear and what it takes sometimes to just go ahead and do it anyway.

Helen shares her scary moments that have led her to “the magic of making ice cream.”  A perfect way to start wrapping up summer in a most delicious way.


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Living Unedited

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Living Unedited

Let the first breath of creativity live unedited. Not knowing where it will become or knowing where it will go.
— Andrew Newman

Stories connect people in one form or another. They focus us on a beginning, a middle and an end. They bring us elements of what other beings are up to, being challenged with on their path, and if all goes well bring us to a happy conclusion.

Stories can make us laugh, cry, and feel every spectrum of emotion.

Every story starts with the breath of an idea. There are many directions a story can go whether we are reading it, writing it, or living it. A story can help us to focus on a particular topic and allow the rest of the world to fall away.

A story can let the chatter of our mind quiet down and hear an important message or antidote.

A story starts with a single idea and evolves quite similar to how our lives evolve.

Recently I had the opportunity to have a wonderful podcast conversation with a story teller I had not met before. Andrew Newman is an Author and Therapist who has created a concept in storytelling with his company Conscious Stories

His idea was to create children’s books based on making story telling a beautiful way to end the day once again. To have parents relish that last 20 minutes of the day with their children as together they read through a beautiful story book. Not to make bedtime something to get through but something to look forward to.

Each of his books starts with a mantra for the parent and child to say together:

I breathe for me

I breathe for you

I breathe for us

I breathe for all that surrounds us.

One of the many words of wisdom that Andrew shared is the important element of how a child that is connected with their own innocence just naturally steps into courage. They live with courage as part of who they are because they don’t know to fear. When our innocence gets taken that is when we lose our courage and forget to be a part of our own story.

The power to concentrate and focus on even a simple story has taken on a whole new challenge in today’s world of electronic devices and so many things vying for our attention.

What is the story you want to tell, share and be a part of every day?

Can you devote the time to create the idea that will take you further towards who, what and where you want to be? 

If you are in business you must have a story to share. Your story is your brand and this message is what is going to connect you with your customers.

If you are having a hard time creating stories start a daily practice of writing 5 minutes. If you feel you need more time then give yourself more time to get the daily story out on the page.

For more info on strengthening your writing practice during your morning routine check out the journaling lesson in my free morning momentum program. 

Here is to living unedited with conscious stories!


Upcoming Live Workshops

Visit our workshop page to see a number of workshops coming up in the weeks ahead.

Can’t attend these workshops?
Schedule a Marketing Clarity Session at a time that works best for you and boost your business results.


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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You are the CEO

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You are the CEO

The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.
— Michelangelo

This week let’s talk about the the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) that must actively oversee and orchestrate everything in a business. 

While an Entrepreneur can be more of a dreamer and innovator there must be the control of the CEO mindset to keep the Entrepreneur thinking more strategically at times.

The CEO must also insure that the Manager is getting the required tasks completed and all systems are continuously set to go.

The role of a CEO may seem daunting and out of reach – practically speaking it is not. Like any other skill set you simply need to look at what is required and dive in. A CEO puts their shoes on one foot at a time just like you and me.

When you get to the office every morning you must take the birds eye view of everything that is required, dedicate yourself to making everything happen through effective communication, and develop methods for implementation.

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The most common road block I see for my clients in becoming an amazing CEO in their business is the fear of making a wrong decision. This fear of indecision can leave us making no decision at all.  As a result, many critical tasks go undone and the business has a much higher potential to fail. No decision is still a decision… you decide not to act.

If you only call yourself the “Owner” of a business, what stops you from giving yourself the full title of  “CEO” and the responsibilities (and rewards) that come along with it?

Several years back I interviewed Debra Benton author of How To Think Like a CEO – 22 Vital Traits to Be the Person on the Top.  This book has sat on my book shelf for over 20 years and is a great source when I feel I need to buff up my CEO muscles.

Here are those vital traits for you to consider today and ask yourself where you stand with each of them. Some may actually surprise you. ;)

  1. Secure in Self 
  2. In Control of Attitude 
  3. Tenacious  
  4. Continuously Improving
  5. Honest and Ethical 
  6. Thinking Before Talking 
  7. Original Ideas  
  8. Publicly Modest 
  9. Aware of Style
  10. Bold/A Little Wild 
  11. Humorous 
  12. A Tad Theatrical 
  13. Detail Oriented 
  14. Good at Job and Willing To Do What It Takes
  15. Fighter for Your People 
  16. Willing to Admit Mistakes
  17. Straightforward
  18. Nice 
  19. Inquisitive 
  20. Competitive 
  21. Flexible 
  22. Good Storyteller

While these are a lot of traits to try to take on all at once, what if you took them on one at a time? For example, the trait that I need to focus on is to be more detail oriented and that is going to get my full attention right now. What about you?

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In this week’s podcast I dive into each of these characteristics to share a little more depth in becoming the best CEO that you can be for your business.  Tap here to listen.

Here’s to an awesome week ahead!   


Upcoming Live Workshops

Visit our workshop page to see a number of workshops coming up in the weeks ahead. They include a social media overview and 2 workshops on Instagram (an overview and full day intensive).

Can’t attend these workshops?
Schedule a Marketing Clarity Session at a time that works best for you and boost your business results.


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Being a Better Manager

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Being a Better Manager

If you change your thinking you will change your life.
— Annette Matthies

Each of us has to manage someone, something or at the very least some tasks in our life. How we pull off our role in that management process determines whether we get anything done. And perhaps most importantly, whether we enjoy the process of getting things done.

Most especially if we are managing other people.  Because people are not robots or computers, each one reacts to the tune of their own different and unique drum.

I can remember the first time I was given the role of “night manager” at the mom and pop hamburger stand I worked at in high school.  One day, my grumpy boss had asked me to come into the storage room, which also played as his office, telling me that he needed to talk to me.  It kind of freaked me out because he was not the nicest person and was always telling me what I was doing wrong.

Well I stood there waiting to hear what I had done wrong this time when he told me, “You have been doing a pretty good job and so I have decided to make you night manager and close up the place each night.”  And… with it he was giving me a 10 cent an hour raise.

Wow!  Where had that come from because I don’t think he had ever said anything nice to me. I was excited because I didn’t have to work with him after school anymore and could work the 4pm to 8pm shift and be the boss.  Perfect.  Except I really didn’t know what I was doing.

With little instruction I was basically doing the same duties just making sure clean-up happened with one or two other employees.  No guidance, no mentoring, just someone to fill a void that had come to pass.  I did the manager job for about 6 months until I realized I was going nowhere fast, the 10 extra cents per hour was not worth the extra work, and no one gave me much training or motivation so I moved on.

A few years later moving into the corporate environment I came to clearly realize that each of us ticks differently. Sadly, at too many jobs along the way no one seemed to care about the what was in it for me piece, which is one the burning elements that led me to start my own business.  I was determined to find a better way to look at the whole piece of managing by managing my own company.

I would like to say that it was a piece of cake, but many lessons were learned along the way.

A few of the key things I have learned:

  • Never create a position around a particular individuals skill set, have the person fill the requirements needed for the position!  This one is huge. 
  • When you need to fire someone – do it!  Don’t wait because they are like a negative disease that just spreads. 
  • Realize what needs to be done and give yourself double the time to get it done.
  • Don’t ever get stuck on an idea, way to do things, or putting up with a persons bad attitude.
  • Create systems that work and constantly be improving them.
  • Find mentors in order to be the best leader yourself.  A manager must be able to lead.

In this week’s podcast I had the opportunity to interview Annette Matthies of Aspen Edge Consulting who shares some more juicy tidbits on How to be a Better Manager.  Take the time to listen to the podcast and decide what changes you might need to make.

Your bottomline as well as your sanity will thank you!


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Sink or Swim

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Sink or Swim

Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.
— Benjamin Franklin

Have you ever experienced what happens to your positivity when reaching for a great result and you end up with a not so great result that throws you back both in time and money? The lesson usually learned if we are paying close attention is how to swim in stormy seas as you rethink your course of action.

Who would have thought it could possibly happen again in the same year that my garden would pummeled one more time by a nasty hail storm!  There was absolutely nothing I could do about it other than control how I responded to this unfortunate situation.

Last Sunday as I began the cleanup work yet one more time I couldn’t help but once again think of the similarities of how it feels somedays in business.

So is the life of a Gardener and an Entrepreneur.  Your love and passion for what you do many times is what in fact keeps you moving forward.  Just like my love for the garden allows me to clean up the mess this late in the season.  That and the fact, like in business, I am in too deep at this point and there is just no turning back.

What happens when your passion dies because of too much angst and stress?  Have you ever had that feeling of being trapped with nowhere to turn?

I have felt it a number of times along my entrepreneurial journey and during those times that that I had to decide whether to sink or to swim.

The reality is that you have to shift your attitude pretty darn fast or your business and perhaps even your financial where-with-all could be lost as well.

Last week I presented Think Like an Entrepreneur and laid out what I call the "Victory Map." A road map for keeping your entrepreneurial fire burning bright – week in and week out.  It all comes down to working through what does and doesn’t serve you as you keep on swimming.

There are 7 elements of the Victory Road Map that spell out the word victory (if you haven’t noticed this one of my favorite words) and a great way to start your week.

Value
What are the most important tasks to insure value to customers?

Imagination
What innovations that will be brought to life?

Courage
What bold moves can be made?

Time
Where does your time need to be focused?

Ownership
Where do your CEO duties need to take place?   

Revenue
What are the best sources for bringing in revenue?

You
How you will take the best possible care of yourself in the process?  

Get the in-depth Victory Map (free)

Here is to a carefully planned week ahead to make sure we are swimming at our best and fully involved in the game!


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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How is your posture?

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How is your posture?

A true business opportunity is the one that an entrepreneur invents to grow him or herself. Not to work in, but to work on.
— Michael Gerber

Lately I have been noticing that I have not been standing up as straight and tall as I used to.  Not sure if it’s a result of gravity pulling, maybe getting a little older, or that my mother is no longer around to remind to stand up straight.  

Pay attention to yourself in this very moment as you decide how is your own posture is feeling. Are you standing tall? What immediate adjustment can you make to your body right now to make it feel better?

Our businesses are a lot like our postures – if you don’t pay close enough attention, one day you will notice that you have been slouching for a while and the business is suffering because of lack of attention in certain key areas.

My office is filled with hundreds of books. None of them touched my life as an entrepreneur and business owner as much as the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. I read it over 20 years ago after I had been in business for about 10 years.  It was quite an eye opener to everything I was doing wrong.  Suddenly I knew why I was so dang stressed and tired.  My business posture was way out of whack.

Recently I listened to the E-Myth on audiobook and once again the words about working “on” your business instead of always “in” your business made me stop and assess my business today.

Being in business for yourself can get tough, yet doable with the right attitude, proper perspective, and the right balance of working “on” your biz and “in” your biz.


As Gerber shared there is three hats to be worn by any given business owner which include:

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The Entrepreneur
The one with the idea to start a business in the first place. The one who creates, innovates and keeps the excitement and life of possibility thinking in the business alive and well. 

 
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The Technician
The one who has the skill set that is the core of the business. The one who creates the product or service that is the deliverable to the customer.

 
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The Manager
The planner who makes sure the systems in the business are working properly insuring that items like bills getting paid, cash flow is flowing, marketing and overall key components in the business happen on a consistent basis.

 

There is one more that I have to add...

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The CEO
The hat that must oversee the coming together of the other three so that they are working in complete harmony together. How does the business consistently  operate as a whole? The Chief Executive Office must figure this out.


Over the course of the weeks ahead I thought we would dive into the roles of each of these important hats starting with the Entrepreneur. That happens tomorrow with the How to Think Like An Entrepreneur Webinar.

Here’s to working on it together and standing tall!


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of Business Victories

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: businessvictories.com

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Passion Play

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Passion Play

There is not any one language of beauty - there are so many different languages of beauty no matter where you live.
— Linda Vater

Gardening is one of my passions that helps me to have greater gratitude for life. As a business owner I need and want to find relief from the challenges I face every day. A simple blooming of a flower can erase a stress filled day like nothing else.

It’s my extreme pleasure here on my birthday week to share a wonderful new podcast with one of my favorite gardeners. Linda Vater is someone I have been following on Instagram for some time. I have always been impressed with her knowledge about gardening as well as her beautiful garden pictures and giving personality.

Because of that giving nature she has gained over 35,000 followers to date on Instagram alone. Before we sat down to record the podcast I felt I knew her already because of the details of her garden that she shares every single day on Instagram.

In our inspiring conversation I learned so much more about how she turned gardening into a business and a business into a further love for gardening. Listen to her insights on making the world a beautiful place starting from her own garden based in Oklahoma City, her feedback about social media success, and so much more.

Perhaps the common thread for this interview is the importance of giving back to each other and whatever piece of greenery that you may have been given in your life to tend.

So, on this occasion of my birthday I give to you this wonderful interview that holds so many wise and wonderful lessons to be learned. Here is one: each of us has landscapes that come in many shapes and forms.

Happy Listening.


How to make a profitable hobby with Linda Vater

Courage to Be the Difference Podcast


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Middle Ground

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Middle Ground

We are always in the middle of two energies. Gravity is sinking you down, and inspiration is pulling you up.
— Mandy Ingber

Where is your middle ground? That place that allows you to see all sides, to think things through before heading towards higher ground?

My beloved yellow lab, Luna Marie, the majority of the time has no middle ground she is either on or off. She goes from 0 to 100 focusing only on getting the ball and returning it to us as quickly as possible so that she can run and catch it over and over again.

Some people might argue what is wrong with that, she goes after what she wants until she drops.  Well for anyone reading this that has done that in their own life (which I have) – it’s exhausting. This summer we actually got her a pool in the backyard to help her to stop and calm down as she was overheating. We in fact forced her to take some middle ground for her own safety and chill factor.

Everything in the middle does matter and when we can’t acknowledge or see that just trying to constantly get to higher ground – we miss out on a whole lot of the good stuff along the way.

Many of us are classified a “middleclass” citizens. Now one could think that middle is just “average” and who the heck wants to be average? Haven’t we been told all of our lives not to be average to be above average? However, I find the middle can be just as happy and joyful, maybe even happier!

What I have come to discover in the middle is great strength – think of the teeter totter and its greatest balancing point is right in the middle. Life to be sure can be a quite a teeter totter event. And sometimes we have to get into the middle and just chill.

Where is the middle ground for you?

Bottomline: The key is knowing where you are so you can stop to smell the flowers in this moment and be grateful for the time to rest, think things through and carry on. You are then ready and excited to head to higher ground in new and soul filled ways.


Ep. 38 - Middle Ground

Courage to Be the Difference Podcast


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Embrace the Inner Critic

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Embrace the Inner Critic

In the end, the only person who truly cares how you lived your life is you.
— Mrs Frugalwoods

What is your value and who should be the one to determine it?

The answer I believe is definitely you.  

Our challenge more times than not is that we can be our harshest critic, never finding enough value in ourselves.

The money we charge for our products and services and the overall value we give to the world by our actions, can come under fire from within our own mind of not being or doing enough. This is especially true for those of us with an entrepreneurial drive.  We need to create something that wasn’t there before and if our inner critic is fully in charge our business ideas just may never see the full light of day.

When my kids were little I made the conscious decision to not go into my business 2 days a week. I was around if my staff needed me and could put in a little work when the kids were napping but the rest of the time was for them.  It was an important value I wanted to give as a mom and something I highly valued giving my babies who are now entrepreneurs on their own.

Though those years were tough, and I beat myself up often because my business growth faltered, it meant everything to be a good mom and financial provider as well. Did I make millions – no – but I provided value on a variety of perspectives for my family, employees and clients.

Yet my inner critic was ready to lead the charge in making me feel I wasn’t enough and comparing my accomplishments to others.

What I have come to find over the years and still today from time to time is that I have to balance the words of my inner critic between truth and too much criticism (just like any other person in my life). Simple awareness of the sometimes overzealous voice of your inner critic in your head can protect you from the ultimate result of immobilization and procrastination.

When there is no “boss” to tell you where to be and what to do … it can all get very fuzzy.  You have to count on yourself to make the right choices without bossing yourself around. 

Bottomline: We have far more value than our net worth shows to those people whose lives we touch with our time and efforts. While there always will be the goal to earn more, do more and be more we can’t do it at the cost of our own true inner happiness.


Weekly Growth Challenge:

In this challenge I share some insights around dealing with your Inner Critic.  We each have one – that voice inside our head that questions our ultimate value and worth. While this part of our psyche is important in order to keep us in check and growing, if we allow the voice to get too loud it can keep us from ever feeling we are doing or being enough.  

  1. Listen to this week’s Podcast - Embrace The Inner Critic. Pay attention to how your Inner Critic talks to you.  
     
  2. It will be extra beneficial to journal about what this critic says to you and look at those words out of your head on paper versus always inside of your head.
     
  3. Think about the last time you were truly happy.  What were the circumstances that brought you that joy?  
     
  4. How can you have more of those circumstances in your life?
     
  5. Look back at what you wrote and why you are being critical of yourself.
     
  6. What are the negative words that you feel you could realistically change to be positive?  

Ep. 37 - Embrace the Inner Critic

Courage to Be the Difference Podcast


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles

Email: cheri@businessvictories.com 
Phone: 303-652-1718
Web: victorycircles.com

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Morning Mindset

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Morning Mindset

Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.
— Tori Amos

Stop for just a moment and think about how your day started and progressed forward, from the second you realized a new day had dawned until right now.

Did it happen in blur of knee jerk reactions or was it orchestrated from one positive routine into the next?

About 4 years ago I took a program based in getting mentally and physically healthy. While I learned a lot about my physical body to be sure the key component I walked away with was the mindfulness piece and the complete desire to make meditation a part of my daily routine.

Here was my problem… sitting still long enough to truly meditate had always evaded my over-thinking mind. This time was different though because I decided to tailor my meditation time around something I have come to call my "morning momentum" time.

Through this practice I have been able to read, journal, enjoy the beauty of the morning and yes, meditate. Simply breathe and feel how good it feels to be alive.

Each morning this time of year I move from bed, to the coffee pot to my yoga mat in my garden. It has changed the caliber of my thinking and the beauty of each day. This is where I get most of my ideas for this weekly Victory Letter you are reading.

Late last year I decided to create a program based on the tools and methods I use in my own practice. Some of you reading this have participated in my Morning Momentum Program and I thank you for your time and investment. Your feedback took a great idea and made it into a self-sustaining learning platform.

Recently as I sat on my yoga mat one morning and thought about how to better serve my message to the world, a voice from within told me to make my Morning Momentum Program free to the public. It's an idea that just feels organic and easy for my audience to grow like the tree I was sitting below!

Whether you are looking to start from scratch or further enhance a certain aspect of your morning routine, my goal is to help you start each day a positive way. 

Today is the day I give you all the tools you need to have a great morning routine. It's free and only requires the amount of time you are willing to invest into your own morning. I always recommend giving yourself the time you deserve - it makes a huge difference in what you do next.

Have a great day ahead!


To Your Successand Victories

Cheri Ruskus

Author, Speaker and Business Strategist
Email Me

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