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How Fasting Affected My Work Flow

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A little more than a month ago, I felt like I needed a “reset” on my health. I’m someone who enjoys staying active and fueling my body with (mostly) healthy options. However, Pennsylvania’s winter weather, the stress of work, and keeping up with the demands of caring for a family and running a household was taking a toll on me, I could tell. I felt under the weather and drained far more than I have in the past. It was time to do something different.

I’ve heard about the juicing fad, and the benefits it boasts. Thanks to a generous neighbor, I even got to preview a few of these “green juices.” I liked them, but I also knew they came with a pretty hefty price tag at about $5 to $8 per juice, and that’s if you bought them in bulk. After a particularly bad 24 hour flu bug, I had enough. I was sick of feeling sick and decided to look into a short-term juice cleanse to see if fueling my body with only raw fruits and vegetables for a few days would do anything to jumpstart my immune system.

There are plenty of raw, cold-pressed juice companies out there. I started with a google search and a quick browse of Groupon. I found one that featured a 3-day juice cleanse that seemed really reasonable. I could commit to three days, anything longer made me anxious about how it would impact my lifestyle – I mean you can only watch your kids suck down chicken nuggets for dinner while you sip on blended spinach for so long.

The juices arrived frozen with very strict instructions for keeping them frozen until you were ready to consume them in the next 24 hours. For three days, I had 18 bottles of various juice blends to fuel me. I could drink as many as I felt like I needed in a day and I could mix in other raw fruits and vegetables as well, if the juice wasn’t enough. Tea and black coffee were okay too, as well as lots and lots of water.

So for three days, I cleared any social commitments that might involve food – why torture myself? Here are the highlights from my first experience with juicing and how it impacted my work flow.

Without food structuring my day, my schedule and my mental capacity seemed to open up

For three days, eating wasn’t a pleasure or pastime, it was a means to fuel my body. I didn’t have to think about what I wanted to eat for my next meal, because it was pretty straightforward and only took a minute or two to consume. I didn’t snack because I was bored, mostly because I wasn’t all that interested in snacking on raw vegetables. I opted for a lot of tea and water to sip on while I was working. This showed me how I was misdiagnosing boredom for hunger, and how much I was really consuming over the course of a day. Without mealtimes (and those routine snack times) structuring my day, I felt like I had so much more interrupted time to get things done.

The change to my health was gentle, yet noticeable

Unlike those crazy fad cleanses that I have heard leave some people running to the bathroom all day, drinking raw, cold-pressed juices was about as gentle as it comes. I can’t speak for everyone, but in my experience, I felt less bloated and like I was functioning so much better after just one day. I felt mentally alert and, for the most part, in a really good mood. Even if this is a placebo effect to knowing you’re doing something good for your body, I’ll take it!

I did not have to give up my routine schedule or activities

I often think people worry that a cleanse means you have to take it super slow, giving up exercise and sleeping all day. That was not my experience. I completed a normal workout my first day and lighter workouts the next two days (solely because of my schedule). I still put in normal work days, took on client meetings and events and kept up with the kids. I made sure to give myself the opportunity for a good night’s sleep, but that’s a smart habit to practice – cleanse or no cleanse!

Instead of focusing on food, I focused on other ways to fuel my body

Over the course of those three days, I stopped looking to food for comfort and pleasure. Instead, I found other ways to get a similar mood boost. I would go for a walk, take a long bath, catch up on a favorite TV show or paint my nails. These activities were so good for my soul, not only my body. I felt like I was finally taking care of myself.

I felt empowered

At times, I definitely felt hungry, agitated and craving my normal foods (even a bowl of oatmeal seemed like a treat by day three!). But those moments were short lived. Knowing it was just three days made it a really reasonable commitment. How many days do I not eat healthy? My body deserved this three day break. I was determined to do this and do it right. At the end of each day, I felt empowered by my discipline and will power to stick with this. The experience caused me to get a little uncomfortable and dig a little deeper. This newly ignited “fire” is still burning and continues to help my accomplish other undesirable or challenging tasks life requires of me daily.

By the end of three days, I was ready to be back to solids!

The first morning off the cleanse, hell yeah I was excited about a hot breakfast! Normal, healthy foods seemed so indulgent. It was awesome! Fruit tasted like candy and I really had no cravings for sugary or greasy foods. Why undo in one day what took me three days to accomplish? The cleanse really helped me to reset my relationship with food and to see areas where I was getting a little lax. Have I indulged since them? Absolutely! Life is about balance. Since this three day cleanse, I have done a “mini reset” where I juiced for just one day if I felt bogged down by sugar, alcohol and caffeine.

Will I do it again?…Yes!

I will, and look forward to, keeping a juice cleanse part of my journey toward good health. I want to stress that for me, this was not about losing weight. That wasn’t my goal. I wanted to nip some bad eating habits in the bud before they caught up with me. I wanted to boost my immune system and retrain my cravings to be for good, nutrient-dense foods, not junk. I learned a lot about my will power of the course of those three days, as well as my tendencies to misinterpret cravings. I see no reason why, anyone who wanted to, couldn’t do a three-day juice “reset” to better their own health!

Have you ever taken on a cleanse, reset or otherwise “challenge” to better your health? Share your experience by commenting below!

Note: This post is not sponsored in any way, so I did not want to call too much attention to the brand of juice. However, I’m sure you’re curious so I used Raw Generation (www.rawgeneration.com). Be sure to use the 70% off coupon they offer. Shipping is steep, so if you think you want to stock it, it’s better to do it all in one order!

 

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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Business & Success, Life

 

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Top 10 Blog Posts on Life and Entrepreneurship in 2016

Best of... onlineHappy New Year! Hopefully you have recovered from your holiday celebrations and have started to think about how you plan to make 2017 your best year yet.

Before we completely move on from 2016, I wanted to take one final look back at some of the insight and inspiration we’ve shared on the Bennis Inc blog, specifically on topics related to life and entrepreneurship. As I read through the year’s worth of writing, I found myself particularly drawn to these 10 articles. I hope that they give you a renewed passion for pursuing your dreams in 2017!

Life Lesson: Are You Satisfied or Merely Distracted?

It’s easy to find things to distract us, but it’s not quite as easy to find true satisfaction in life. So often these two feelings are confused which causes us to life a “busy” life, but not a fulfilled life. This blog helps you to identify the difference and make changes in your life to achieve satisfaction.

Read the original blog here.

Best Practices for Internal Communication During a Crisis

We never want to imagine something bad happening to our business or personal reputation, which is why so often we don’t have a plan to deal with a crisis. This blog offers best practices for internal communication – that means your staff, family, etc – when life throws you a curve ball.

Read the original blog here.

Thanking Up: Sharing gratitude with your superiors

When you want to show your boss appreciation, it can be an awkward situation. How do you properly thank a superior without it appearing condescending? This blog offers tips for how to “thank up” and show gratitude for people above you in rank.

Read the original blog here.

Parenthood: Adjusting to the Ever-Changing “New Normal”

This is a personal post that focuses on the journey of parenthood combined with entrepreneurship. Spoiler alert…it most certainly has its challenges! How have I adjusted to the “new normal” of running a business while raising a growing family? Take a look!

Read the original blog here.

What My Toddler Has Taught Me About Motivating People to Say Yes

Just about every parent can agree that a toddler’s favorite word is “No.” Each day is a new challenge to motivate my children to comply with my requests. Here’s what the experience has also taught me about motivating clients to say “Yes.”

Read the original blog here.

Declutter Your Life by Asking These 5 Questions

Whether you’re a neat freak or someone who wishes they could keep their life a bit more organized, this blog post can help you declutter by asking yourself five simple questions.

Read the original blog here.

The Power of Picking Your Focus

Some of the most successful people are those who can intensely focus on one goal and see it through completion. With the start of the New Year, this is a great article to re-read to help you prioritize your resolutions.

Read the original blog here.

How Some of the Worst Jobs Have Made My Career Better

We’re all had less than favorable career experiences, but rather than chalking it up as a failure, we can choose to learn something valuable. In this blog I recap some of my worst job experiences but how they ultimately led me to a fulfilling career.

Read the original blog here.

Can an Introvert Thrive in a Career in Public Relations?

Knowing now how much of an introvert that I am, I may have never chosen to pursue a career in PR. But that would have been a mistake! Introverts can most certainly thrive in a career in Public Relations and this blog explains how.

Read the original blog here.

5 Ways You Are Spreading Negativity Without Knowing It

No one enjoys being around a negative person. However, sometimes we spread negativity without realizing we’re doing so. Start the New Year off on a positive note by reading about the five ways we spread negatively unintentionally.

Read the original blog here.

Want to explore most blog posts from Stephanie Shirley and Bennis Inc? Be our guest! Click here to browse business and success, here to browse life and here to explore all the rest.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Business & Success, Life, Wisdom

 

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Top 10 Blog Posts on Life and Entrepreneurship in 2015

Top 10 of the year (done in 3d)

I feel like I need to start by asking the obligatory question of “Where has the year gone?” But truthfully, I feel like it’s been quite a long year packed with great memories, exciting achievements and whole lot of interesting writing.

Before we close out 2015 and turn our calendars to the New Year, I wanted to take one last opportunity to revisit some of my favorite blog posts. We covered just about everything you could imagine including branding, communication, personality types, time management and of course my cat, Pinot.

Join me on this brief trip down memory lane with a list of the top 10 blog posts on life and entrepreneurship in 2015 from Bennis Inc. May 2016 be filled with just as much insight and inspiration!

How Do an Introvert and Extrovert Live Together in Peace?

Whether it’s your spouse, best friend or boss, co-existing with the opposite personality type brings a unique set of challenges. This blog explores my personal experience as an introvert living (and often working) with my husband who is an extrovert.

Read the original blog here.

How to Rebrand Your Business

This blog is the first post in a 5-part series that was inspired by my website redesign (check it out at www.bennisinc.com!) So often, businesses miss the signs that they are in need of rebranding or are overwhelmed by the task and don’t know where to begin. These posts provide a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.

Read the original blog here.

The 4 Most Powerful Words You Can Ask Someone

In between my many articles focused on communications, public relations and marketing, I also like to insert posts that are philosophical and geared toward life in general. This is one of those posts…and one of my favorites from 2015. Find out what four words I’m talking about and why we should use them today.

Read the original blog here.

7 Ways to Use a Press Release Beyond Pitching to Media

I never like to see good content go to waste which is what inspired this particular blog post on repurposing a press release. Even if you don’t get a single media hit, you have the power to get the most out of this content with how you personally promote it across your communication channels.

Read the original blog here.

5 Tips for Running a Productive Business Meeting

I love efficiency and good time management which is why I often hate sitting in boring business meetings. This blog post received a ton of love from my readers who can relate! Take a look at how you can run a more productive business meeting in 2016.

Read the original blog here.

5 Lessons My Cat Has Taught Me About Entrepreneurship

Of course my cat, Pinot, had to make an appearance at least once in 2015, so this is her post. What I’ve learned by observing her actions are usually more “what not to do,” but she inspired me with some solid advice this year as well.

Read the original blog here.

How to Professionally Fire a Client

This was among the most read and shared Bennis Inc blog posts in 2015. Breaking off a bad relationship with a client is a hard and uncomfortable topic for many business owners. In this post I offer advice on how to identify these “must-go” clients and how to remain professional when showing them the door.

Read the original blog here.

Why Technology is Killing These 11 Essential Skills

So often we read about the wonderful advancements and achievements of technology, but it’s important to also stop and examine how technology may be making our life more difficult. In this blog post I challenge the “helpful” aspects of technology by pointing out 11 essential skills it is hindering in our society.

Read the original blog here.

6 Valuable Lessons I Learned from Working from Home

I am a passionate advocate for the virtual work environment, but I am also constantly learning how to balance and manage the unique challenges that come with working from home. This blog post takes a fresh look at the lessons I’ve learned specifically in 2015 about how to be efficient and effective when working from home.

Read the original blog here.

8 Reasons Why We Never Have Enough Free Time

This is the perfect post to end my top 10 list for 2015. As we hopefully get some rest over the holidays, we can all benefit from reflecting upon why we might feel like we never have enough free time. January tends to be among the most stressful and hectic months for many business owners. Prepare yourself for a calm and collected 2016 by learning about these time management pitfalls.

Read the original blog here.

Want to explore most blog posts from Stephanie Shirley and Bennis Inc? Be our guest! Click here to browse business and success, here to browse life and here to explore all the rest.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in Business & Success, Life, Wisdom

 

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Oh What a Year! Top 10 Blog Posts from 2014

2014-year

At the end of December, it’s become a new tradition on the BPR blog to pause, reflect upon and highlight some of the best moments from the year gone by. As we say “Goodmorning!” on this last Monday of 2014, it’s only appropriate to again feature a top ten list of the best blog posts we published in 2014.

What exactly determined what blog posts made the cut? A combination of things really, that – let’s be honest – just boiled down to my personal preference. But there is some method to this madness. I wanted to include the blog posts that you, the readers, deemed most popular based upon web hits. I also included some blog posts that captured an important memory or milestone from the year. In many instances, these overlapped, making the selection quite obvious!

If you’re a frequent reader, join me on this trip down memory lane. And if you’re stopping by for the first time, perfect! You get to experience a whole year’s worth of our best moments in one blog.

  1. The Easiest Way to Find Your Passion

In our busy lives, we often lose sight of our passion and forget to devote time to cultivating this into each and every day. This post looks at the single question you need to ask yourself to truly understand your passion – and it’s not “What do you want to be when you grow up.” As we look toward the New Year, we could all benefit from revisiting this particular post…and looking critically at whether our lives align with our passion.

  1. 4 Ways to Make More Money Without Raising Your Rates

I had a lot of fun writing this one and it’s a wonder the topic didn’t come to me sooner! As an entrepreneur, I have to stay flexible and resourceful when it comes to earning a living. These four tips show you that simply slapping a higher price tag on your products or services isn’t always the best answer. Think outside the box with these expert tips!

  1. The 11 Most Annoying Email Personalities

For this blog post, I of course came up with quite a few of these most annoying email personalities based upon my own personal experiences. But I also turned to friends and family who had some great input on ones I missed by sharing their own horrifically frustrating stories. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone, but unsettling to know how common these personalities are! Take a look and tell me how many you’ve personally encountered.

  1. Why We Need Rainy Days

This blog post was written on the tail end of an absolutely gorgeous and invigorating summer. We didn’t have too many rainy days to speak of, which helped me stumble upon the realization of just why we need the rain to keep us balanced on a personal and psychological level. Now in December, I would love for the summer warmth, but looking back on this post was a good reminder to appreciate the weather we have and use it to keep you balanced.

  1. When an Introvert Takes a Family Vacation

2014 was the year of our first family vacation with a toddler in tow. What a different experience! In addition to the wonderful memories, I also gained the realization that family vacations as especially challenging for introverts who rely on alone time to recharge. I was blown away by home many of my readers could relate to this scenario. Thank you for helping alleviate my guilt for liking my solo time!

  1. 7 Ways to Effectively Manage Busy People

I’m a busy person and I live with two other busy people (an entrepreneurial husband and a toddler). Not to mention the many clients I serve on a daily basis. Communicating with truly busy people can be quite the challenge, but I’ve developed quite a few techniques for breaking through the noise. Check them out!

  1. At the Intersection of Passion and Purpose

This blog falls into the category of “2014 milestones” as it describes my physical, mental and emotional journey taking on a crazy GORUCK challenge while raising funds for rare disease research. When you have a Special Ops Cadre leading your team for 6 hours of military training, you can expect to be sore and tired. What I didn’t expect was how fulfilling and life changing this experience would be…beyond that single day.

  1. Life Lesson: 5 Ways to be Your Own Advocate

In this blog post, I shared a personal backstory as to why this topic is so important to me – and my career path. While I am not an outgoing, demanding or selfish person by nature, I’ve learned that at certain moments I need to do a better job of speaking up and going after what I want. These 5 ways to be your own advocate will teach you how to do the same.

  1. 8 Time Saving Hacks I Use Everyday

I haven’t mastered the 4-Hour Work Week, nor am I sure I want to, but I am a huge proponent of saving time by being smart and efficient. Work smarter not harder, right? This blog takes a fresh look at what I am doing right now in my daily life to save time as an entrepreneur, mother and wife. I swear that these tactics have helped me to “make” more hours in my day!

  1. 5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand

Personal branding is a hot topic that calls for an expertise all its own. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many different clients and helping them to improve and market their personal brand. As a sole proprietor, I am my business’s brand, so I have also implemented these techniques on a personal level. What I like most, is that they are ones you can start doing today. You don’t need a grand budget, entire PR team or celebrity status. Your personal brand really comes down to telling your story in a way that connects with your audience.

There you have it! A sweet and condensed version of the 52 weeks of the BPR blog from 2014 transformed into a Top Ten list for your skimming pleasure. I already have some great topics on my “brainstorming list” cued up for the New Year, not to mention the many new milestones that will inspire topics I can’t even predict. I invite you to continue along with me on this journey of a 20-something entrepreneur!

What blogs or pieces from your portfolio represent your year? Share some of your most memorable moments from 2014 by commenting below!

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Business & Success, Life

 

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Life As My Own Boss: A Six Month Review

Standing atop the milestone of my 6-month mark, where do I want to take Bennis Inc from here?

Standing atop the milestone of my 6-month mark, where do I want to take Bennis Inc from here?

Just yesterday I happened to look at the date and couldn’t believe how quickly the first month of this New Year has flown by. With a small pause in shock, I realized that January 15th has significance far beyond just the midpoint of the month. It has now been 6 months since I resigned from my position with the Governor’s administration and launched Bennis Public Relations Inc as my full-time career. This is a milestone I’ve been anxiously awaiting to achieve. I see reaching the 6 month mark in any new business as an exceptional opportunity to review its achievements—and struggles—and to redefine the goals I have moving forward.

On July 15th, 2011, my personal “Independence Day,” I had just 3 monthly clients (and a job as a bartender). I was scared, I was unsure, but I felt more alive than I had in years. I knew I had made the right decision when long hours and less than glamorous work conditions were no obstacle—I was doing what I was most passionate about and I was surviving!

The second half of July flew by as a blur. It still hadn’t yet registered that this was a permanent change. It felt more like a long hiatus from work. In August, less than 2 months after starting the Bennis Inc Blog, I was Fresh Pressed for the first time. I was considered “the best” of 362,344 bloggers, 502,365 new posts, 442,553 comments, & 118,245,712 words posted that day on WordPress.com. This was one of the first signs I received that I was doing something right. I had talents that I was tapping into and I was inspired to keep going.

September through December were months of major changes. I moved from my tiny apartment into a place with much more room to grow. I traveled to Charlotte, DC, New York, Seattle, Portland, Chicago and Texas. I learned how to work from the road and essentially mastered the 4-hour workweek from airports and Panera Bread’s all across the United States. And did I mention I went skydiving?

In December, I had increased my business to 7 clients (plus some side projects) and was busier than ever. I upgraded to a new website and invested in some programs and subscriptions to keep me abreast of new PR techniques. But as any entrepreneur will tell you, when it rains it pours. One client’s contract ended and one of my largest clients dropped off. I was left going into the holidays wondering whether I could make ends meet to buy my family (and Pinot!) Christmas presents.

As I normally do in times of adversity, I went into survival mode. I networked, promoted and tapped into all of my resources to find work. What it resulted in is the best proof I can give any business owner that even in your darkest moments, you have to keep going. The brightest light is often right around the corner. In 3 weeks, I’ve more than tripled the number of clients I had just 6 months prior and am receiving an average of 2-3 side projects each week. I’m also involved in 3 pro-bono projects that are as rewarding as they are additional ways to network. Slowly but surely, Bennis Inc is becoming its own brand. The business that was once my delicate infant has now learned to walk and talk.

So now, standing atop the milestone of my 6-month mark, where do I want to go from here? Do I want to become a PR mogul with international offices and hundreds of employees or do I simply want a career that supports me and allows me to do what I love while working from home? Each has its own risks and rewards. And to be perfectly honest with you, and myself, I don’t have an answer beyond simply wanting to keep Bennis Inc growing in whatever direction that may lead. However, I do know the one goal I aim to keep with me every step of this entrepreneurial journey is to continue to offer services of the highest quality and to create lifelong relationships along the way.

I made this drastic life change so that I could pursue a more fulfilling life using my talents to do what I’m passionate about. The strangest result of this change I didn’t realize until right now. Since July 15th, I have not once complained about my job or dreaded the tasks that lie ahead of me. But to get here takes more than just 6 months. It takes, as Frank Lloyd Wright would say, “…dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.”

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Business & Success

 

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