Today is recognized globally as the day of love, Valentine’s Day. It is great that we recognize and appreciate that we love others. But what about loving ourselves. You can’t truly love until you love yourself.

As an entrepreneur, it is easy to get lost in the hustle, to grind till you drop. But at what cost? I’m guilty of that. In fact, I’ve been accused many times of being a workaholic! Sadly, it’s true. I’m learning to dial back a bit without the fear of losing my edge.

One thing I’ve learned is that I have to love myself more. That means allowing myself time to rest, exercise and feed my mind. Making the time to get all this done while still doing the things I need to get done for my clients is a challenge. So I have learned to maximize my time, effectively.


This is where Audible comes in. I invested in the monthly subscription for Audible. As much as I love to read, I don’t always have the time to stop and read. Audible app provides me the opportunity to listen to a book while I am driving, exercising, waiting for an appointment or cooking. Now I’m hooked on listening to professional and personal development books.

Often, I listen to three books at different times throughout the week. Currently, I’m listening to The Power of Broke by Daymond John (Shark Tank) and Daniel Paisner. The stories that they share about other entrepreneurs are both inspirational and informative.


The book provide tips that I can use in my business, especially for controlling my budget while making a pivotal change in direction. It also gives me a feeling of “I’ve got this!”

While listening to some of the Audible books, I have uttered “Yeah!” or “Amen!” on the treadmill at the gym. Needless to say, I’ve gotten some “what’s with her” looks.

What’s the bottom line? Making the time to enrich yourself mentality will help your grind game. Take the time to Be Your Own Valentine and Love Your Mind!


Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. Marlene is the owner of Small Biz Evolution, LLC. She is a Keynote Speaker, an Author and a Business Consultant.


“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” ~ C. S. Lewis

Tempted to give up? Don’t. Think of all those that have failed or have fallen, but they kept pressing forward to reach their goals. The numbers are too many to count. Just take a look for yourself across the global and throughout history.

Know that you are not the only one that may be struggling to achieve building your dream business. Instead of quitting, focus on what to do next. Focus on the steps that will get you there. Then take the time to celebrate each achievement to keep your spirit up.

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of hearts. It is for those that dare to dream; those that live each day pressing forward, harder and smarter to achieve success.

I’m continuing my quest to press forward, harder and smarter. The reward I get each day that confirms that I’m on the right path far outshines the desire to give up!

Don’t quit now. Press Forward. Press Harder. Press Smarter.


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Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. She is currently the District 47 Public Relations Officer, and leader of the Public Relations Team. She provides her services to over 3800 members throughout the district. Marlene is the owner of Marlene M. Bryan, Corp and Small Biz Evolution, LLC. She is a speaker, an author, and a coach. Pick up the latest copy of her book:

 Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters  

Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters

Fear of crisis with businessman like an ostrich

Got problems? Face them before they become a crisis that buries your small business.

Many small businesses are started on hopes and dreams of the owners. We get excited in the beginning, knowing that we are fulfilling our desires of being entrepreneurs.

But the road to success is not always a smooth one. Problem rears its ugly head at the most inopportune time. Don’t bury your head in the sand and ignore it. Confront this problem before it confounds you and become a major crisis.

If you are one to avoid facing a problem, you may become a part of the problem. Face this problem by being a part of the solution instead. Doing so may divert your small business from becoming one of the those that are buried in the failed business graveyard.

Here are a few quotes to help inspire you to face problems:

  1.  “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ~ Mother Teresa
  2. “A problem is a chance to help you do your best.” ~ Duke Ellington
  3. “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  4. Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines. ~ Robert H. Schuller
  5. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” ~ Maya Angelou
  6. “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through the argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” ~ Colin Powell
  7. “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.” ~ Mae West
  8. Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them. ~ Henry Ford
  9. I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough. ~ Marissa Mayer
  10. “You never fail until you stop trying.” ~ Albert Einstein

While some problems are easily solved, others are a challenge. Learn to face all your problems. Take note of the lesson learned. Strive to solve problems and avoid burying your head and your business along with it.


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Her smile and twinkling blue eyes welcomed me as I entered the classroom. Sister Mary Catherine was my fifth grade teacher. She stood perhaps 5 feet 3 inches. She wore her habit over her gray hair that protruded from beneath it. She had a soft voice that she did not have to raise for the twenty plus kids to pay attention to her.

Being a student of Sister Mary Catherine was a blessing for me. Today I share what I learned from this wonderful, strong woman that laid the foundation of my Entrepreneurial Spirit. I hope I am able to give her the honor she is due on International Women’s Day #IWD2015. Here are some of her habits I learned:

Be Welcoming: I was terrified of my first day in my new school, Sacred Heart, in my new country, the Untied States.  I came from Jamaica at the age of ten. My mother immediately enrolled my sister and me in this school. Interacting with new people and learning new customs was overwhelming. But Sister Mary Catherine’s smile was the beginning of my lesson of welcoming strangers with warmth.

Defend the Weak: It was rough for me to make friends with some of the students. The bully of the class had her crew tease me about my Jamaican accent. Whenever, they started, Sister Mary Catherine immediately stepped in. Her small stature seemed to grow into a large shield in front  of me, as she reprimanded these students to leave me alone. In her defense of me, Sister Mary Catherine taught me to stick up for justice and those that need a voice.

Use Your Knowledge and Skills to Win: She discovered that I had an aptitude for mathematics and science. Sister Mary Catherine would encourage me in these areas. She and my mother agreed that I would get extra homework to increase my knowledge and my skills in these disciplines.

Sister Mary Catherine entered me into a Science and Mathematics contest, I placed first in the school. I represented the school at the  county level and placed third in my age group. This taught me to use my passion, knowledge and skills to go after the things I want.

Sacrifice: American History was a challenge for me, because I was an immigrant. Sister Mary Catherine told my mother that she believed that I could skip the sixth grade and move to the seventh; if I mastered American History. She sacrificed her summer vacation to tutor me in American History. Her sacrifice opened a new world to me, the love of history. I won the History award at my school’s graduation ceremony two years later.

Research: Whenever I didn’t know a subject, Sister Mary Catherine encouraged me to research it. My mother purchased a set of encyclopedia (remember those) for me to explore the areas I didn’t understand. With Sister Mary Catherine’s prodding, I utilized those books many times to learn more. I still do conduct research in my career to learn new ways of marketing my products or to make a decision on a matter.

Compassion: Sister Mary Catherine’s compassion for others, her love of her faith, her sacrifice to make children like me become better people in this world, are just a few of her habits that I take with me everyday. Whenever I’m mentoring young children, the youth in my Toastmasters club, young adults or the grown folks, I draw from her’s habit of compassion to share with them.

Becoming an entrepreneur is a frightening journey. Yet armed with the lessons I’ve learned from Sister Mary Catherine, I know that it takes sacrifice to get where I want to go. It takes research to learn more about my field of expertise and how to service my clients. It takes having a welcoming spirit to get the clients to open up to me. It takes sticking with it to get through the doubts and fears. Finally, it takes using my talents, skills and knowledge to win in business and as a leader.

There is so much that I recall about Sister Mary Catherine that it would take pages to write about her. I did this in my book Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters. Diamond Cutters are what I call my coaches and mentors. The folks that have positively impacted my life. Sister Mary Catherine is one of my important Diamond Cutters.

Below are some of the medals I won at Sacred Heart School because of Sister Mary Catherine’s efforts and habits. Though I appreciate them and they sit in a special place in my home. They cannot replace the admiration and love I have for Sister Mary Catherine. I lost touch with her. I tried to reach out to her, but the school has since closed. I pray that she realizes the difference she made in my life and the lives of many other students. Thank you, Sister Mary Catherine!



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I quit my job text on cardboard

“You’re not the boss of me!” My little 5-year-old niece said to her much older brother one day. He was telling her to stop running in the house. I had to hide my smile as I instructed her to listen to her brother, because he didn’t want her to get hurt.

Reflecting on her declaration of independence, I thought about the times I wanted to scream the same thing to some of my bosses. How I yearned to venture out on my own. Once I finally did, I realized it wasn’t so easy.

Gone were some of the predictabilities of having someone to tell you what to do. Gone was someone holding you accountable for getting your tasks done. Gone were the scheduled meetings that helped you to keep things on track.

Three of the big challenges for me were: self-discipline, accountability and time management.

Harry S. Truman once stated: “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.”

1) Self-Discipline: I had to summon my willpower to do the things that makes a business successful. Even the ones that I didn’t enjoy. Sometimes I had to push myself to act, instead of overthinking a project. I created my business plan. I took the time to research the marketplace to find my target audience. 

Cold calling is not fun, but I make it fun to get to my prospects. I make time to read and learn more about my audience. Continuous learning also helps to improve my skills. This ensures that the products and services I offer is up-to-date and relevant.

Before you head out on your own, think about some of the bad habits you have. What could   cause you to stumble if you do not control yourself? Make a note of it. Commit to practice self-discipling. The more you practice self-discipline in a certain area of your life, the easier it is to accomplish that task.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

2) Accountability: It is difficult to keep oneself accountable. Therefore, I turn to others to keep me accountable. I have a few great friends that I can share what goals I have to meet. They hold me accountable for achieving those goals. My mother notorious for keeping me accountable. If I tell her that I’m writing a proposal for a client, during our next phone conversation she would ask if I’ve finished it. She does so, because she cares about my success.

Find your accountability partner. Someone that genuinely cares about your success. Share your goals with him or her. You will be grateful to know that amazing folks are in your corner helping to make you better.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

3) Time Management: Zig Ziglar’s quote is so true. We all have twenty-four hour days. Yet, we may think there is just not enough time in a day. I used to believe that strongly. Until I took Dr. Stephen Covey’s course “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” It was one of the best courses I participated in.  I learned to management what I do within the 24 hours I am given. I also learned to set priorities and say no to things that do not impact my productivity or positivity level.

As your own boss, you will need to prioritize your activities. By planning your activities throughout the day; you are able to adjust your schedule should an emergency come along. Once you deal with that emergency you can quickly return to your schedule. It is eye-opening to see how many hours one can waste when we don’t plan or budget our time wisely.

As I mentioned, being your own boss won’t always be easy. Yet, if you practice self-discipline, hold yourself accountable and utilize your time properly, it won’t be as difficult. Perhaps you will be able to declare your own independence to your boss, like my 5-year-old niece did to her older brother.

Come learn about writing your first book and get a copy of my book: Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters, Saturday, March 14, 2015 3-5 p.m. at the Dania Beach Paul Demaio Library, 1 Park Ave., East Dania Beach, FL 33004.



Thank you for reading my post. Please hit the “follow” button at the top of the page. This will allow me continue to write and share with you on a variety of topics.