Author Q&A: Financial Fresh Start by Shari Olefson Part 2 with Women Entrepreneurs Radio
Shari Olefson, JD, LLM, author of Financial Fresh Start: Your Five-Step Plan for Adapting and Prospering in the New Economy and a Bar Certified Real Estate attorney and a Supreme Court Certified Mediator with degrees in finance and psychology, is stopping by the Secrets of Success blog again today for part two of our Q&A discussion.
Deb Bailey: Hi, Shari. I'm excited to learn more about your new book. As you know, a lot of books have been written about how to deal with money and manage your finances, what makes your book different?
Shari Olefson: That's easy: it's totally accessible. What good is all the knowledge and information in the world if it's too much for anyone to read, understand and quickly apply to their own lives? The number one goal I had in writing Financial Fresh Start was to take these complicated situations and reforms that are impacting all of us every day, but that everybody seems to feel powerless and overwhelmed against, and explain what they are, why they matter and what you can do about it..in a quick an easy fashion.
The difference speaks to something Thomas Freidman recently wrote: "Today more than ever …boundaries between politics, culture, finance… are disappearing, you often cannot explain one without referring to the other and you cannot explain the whole without referring to them all. You have to learn how to arbitrage information from these disparate perspectives and then weave it all together to produce a picture of the world that you would never have if you looked at it from only one perspective." Unlike other books which tend to focus on one piece of the bigger puzzle, with Financial Fresh Start I do the weaving for you. Financial Fresh Start also includes links to dozens of 2 minute online videos explaining things for folks who prefer watching to reading.
Deb: What thoughts would you like your readers to come away with?
Shari: Three things: First, that no matter how wonderful your own financial situation is, if every American doesn't at least do OK, we all suffer. In other words, it benefits you to try to make sure everybody who is willing to work hard is able to improve their situation.
Second, no matter how bad your own financial situation is, you have the power to make it better - and I try to provide some of the tools to help you do so in Financial Fresh Start.
And third, being cognizant and deliberate about the implicit and explicit messaging we (including leaders on both sides of the aisle) are - together - sending to our next generation is essential, since our collective attitudes, values and expectations, over time, define who we are as a nation.
Deb: What's the best advice you could give to a woman entrepreneur who may be uncertain of her next steps?
Shari: Transitions are a GIFT. If you don't feel that way, it pays to try to re-align your perspective if you can. I'm a huge fan of always having as many options as possible. That requires continually preparing and keeping your eyes open. Building a wide range of great relationships - not merely, "contacts" - is also essential and help make transitions feels a lot less scary. (But so is moving on. Particularly for women, there are some professional relationships that will never be what we want. Learning to recognize that and move on before they bring us down is important). In times of uncertainty I typically begin by visiting my own important relationships for guidance.
Talking to folks you respect, not only about your options, but about the transitions they have navigated in their own lives, can make you feel a lot more confident - EVERYBODY has transitions, and many times they work out to be better than you could have ever imagined. In fact new transitions are a great time to look back on your past transitions for inspiration and confidence. Then I get introspective about the challenge and really listen to my gut. One of the great ironies is that women have such fabulous natural instincts but sometimes it seems we've been conditioned to doubt and not trust ourselves. I also think it's important to tune out the chatter. There's a lot of advice out there, allegedly for working women, that's totally unrealistic.
For example, for most real life women, the challenge is how to navigate the support staff lunch room or your small business employees, not whether or not to pull up a seat a at Fortune 500 board room table. Many real life working women don't have a spouse they can rely on, or regular access to "mentors" and "sponsors." Last, I always try to use change as an opportunity to re-visit some fundamentals women entrepreneurs seem have a tougher time with then men, and that has to do with stuff that happened when you were 3 or 4 or 5 years old.
In a nutshell, you need to make sure you're making the best decisions about your next move based on the facts, without "issues" inside your head that will hold you back. Some examples I still grapple with myself include messages from family and others about women, work, finances, and success. Transitions are also a great time to take an objective inventory of how others see your value, or your strengths, weaknesses, experience, education, and then re-visit ways to improve how you look on paper in order to open the most possible options. Transitions also help to consider your big picture - where you are on your ultimate lifetime career path and where you want to wind up. Without transitions, most us of would never have the chance to check in on important life paths like this!
Deb: That's terrific advice, Shari. So, what inspires you to do the work you do?
Shari: Definitely my kids; hoping to help our country (I'd say the world, but that sounds totally exhausting!) be a better place for them, and doing the best I can to try to set a good example. I also feel a deep appreciation for and pride in our country and values like honor and courage. These are the things I try to keep top of mind every day. And - of course - I have bills to pay. :)
Deb: Please let everyone know where they can find your book.
Shari: Financial Fresh Start is for sale on the web site www.shariolefson.com or on AMAZON or Barnes and Noble websites. There's also a newsletter everybody can sign up for on the website - I filter the news each week and break down the bare basics you need to know to keep informed. And on the web site you can email me your own questions, comments or concerns. I'm also on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In if you like getting up dates on news that will impact your wallet that way.
Deb: Can't wait to read you book! Thanks so much for stopping by. Please share your website and social media URLs.
Shari: My pleasure, Deb. Here they are: