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Introducing our Word of the Year

Each December, our team works through a set of company PowerSheets to help us navigate heading into the new year. Every team member has a voice, answering each question and prompt, including offering suggestions goals, encouraging words, and ideas for our Word of the Year.

Our word of the year is more than just a word we choose once and leave be. It's displayed in the office, we remind each other of it during team meetings, and each team members has a slip of paper with our core values and WOTY on it attached to her computer. We take choosing our Word of the Year seriously, though we also know there is room for flexibility in the PowerSheets Goal Refresh every three months! And judging by the number of you discussing your Word of the Year in the Facebook Group, I'd say you feel similarly!

I'm excited to share our team's Word of the Year today, and more importantly, why we view it as an opportunity for each of you, too.

When Lara shared the Hebrew root of the word RISE during our conversation, it all clicked for us:

To abide or accomplish
To confirm
To be clearer
To raise up
To strengthen
To succeed
To build
To make binding
To carry out
To make good

Each product in our shop is intentional. We create them to help YOU cultivate what matters in your life, right where you are. Whether you're looking to cultivate your marriage, your friendships, your faith, your family, or set good goals, our hope is to provide products and resources to encourage you along the way.

This year, more than ever before, our team is rising up to our potential. It's a year of growth for us–a year of stepping into the unknown. A year of saying no to doing what's always worked, and saying yes to what makes our heart sing. A year of saying yes to hiring new team members. A year of humbly serving others. A year of embracing challenges as opportunities, and having a lot of fun along the way. Most of all, it's a year of continually growing ourselves and our impact, not for the sake of growth, but because each of us firmly believe that our mission can encourage each and every woman on this planet.

Our favorite part about the word RISE? It means we get to take other with us. Like the aphorism says, "a rising tide lifts all boats." As we enter into 2018 prepared to make good on our mission to encourage and equip you to cultivate what matters, we look forward to knowing we're doing it alongside an incredible community–each of you! As our team steps out in faith to rise to our potential, we're asking you to do the same alongside us, believing the best is yet to come.

Your turn! Have you chosen your word of the year yet? If so, I'd leave it in the comments and let us know! If not, what are you leaning towards? We want to hear from you!

Feeling stumped on your word of the year? We wrote a blog post earlier this year with some of our best tips for choosing your word of the year.

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We’re Hiring: Join the Cultivate Team!

A few weeks ago, our team convened in North Carolina for our Annual End-of-Year Summit and spent the day filling out our 2018 PowerSheets and looking ahead together. We spent the day digging into what fires our team up, where we see ourselves in ten years, and ruthlessly examining what has and hasn't worked for us over the past year. We have more clarity than we've ever had before, and we are excited to continue to encourage and equip women to cultivate what matters right where they are.

There's a good chance if you've been following us over the past year, you've heard Lara or another team member talk about our core values. Our core values aren't something we teach or train on; they're part of what makes up each of our team members. It's our core, what makes our heart goes pitter-patter each and every day, and the guiding force in our organization.

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: We see and are committed to the big picture.
  • Integrity: We are genuine, humble, and trustworthy.
  • The Power of One: We have a servant's heart.
  • Enthusiasm: We see challenges as opportunities, and have FUN!
  • Innovation: We continually grow ourselves and our impact.

As the lightbulb moments happened during our End-of-Year Summit and we discussed our newest core value, Innovation, we quickly realized something: we need a few people to join our team who are just as fired up about our mission as we are! With that said, we are delighted to announce that we are hiring three new team members for 2018. Each of these positions is unique, and you can find all the information for each position below:

Please note: these are full-time positions based in Chapel Hill, NC. We are not considering remote candidates at this time.

To learn more about each of these positions with our team, click the individual links above. We're looking for team members who can start in March, but we're willing to chat logistics with the right candidate.

Read through the individual job descriptions above thoroughly for specific qualifications and job responsibilities you'll have. Attention to detail is part of the application :)

Applications for Customer Delight Associate and Marketing and Content Coordinator are due January 18, and applications for the Art Director are due January 29.

Know someone who might be a good fit? We'd love for you to share this post with them!

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Goal Action Ideas for Finance Goals

Today we're continuing our Goal Action Ideas series with a Finance edition, supplying you with a bank of ideas for your Tending Lists on that topic. Like all overwhelming things, cultivating a stronger, more streamlined financial life is done through embracing little by little progress, and digging in even when things seem messy. I'd love to hear YOUR ideas, so please drop them in the comments! (In fact, many of the ideas in this post came from awesome PowerSheets users in our Facebook group!)

Though I've loved all of the topics we've covered in this series, I most definitely have a soft spot for today's. First, because I am extremely passionate about the freedom that comes from having your financial house in order, and therefore so happy to be your enthusiastic tour guide in this world. Second, because finances can just be an icky subject–one that feels too complicated, too stuck, too hopeless to make any progress on.

There is SO much hope here, though, friends! As with everything, little by little progress is the name of the game–sometimes with a few big leaps along the way. I've compiled our best action ideas for finance goals below, and I hope it encourages you to dig in where you are!

Monthly Goals:

  • Do a comprehensive review of your finances and set a goal to work toward
  • Sign up for Financial Peace University or a similar personal finance course (PS users suggested Wallet Win!)
  • Read a personal finance book (try Total Money Makeover, The Financial Diet, Love Your Life Not Theirs, or The Millionaire Next Door - or tell us your favorite in the comments!)
  • Make a budget (see our tips here)
  • Choose a way to track your budget (more ideas here - consider an app like YNAB, Mint, Good Budget, or Every Dollar Counts)
  • Set up an initial review meeting with a financial planner (either in person or an online option like Learnvest)
  • Set up a retirement account (either a 401k if offered through your work or an IRA)
  • Total all of your debt, especially if you have multiple sources (this will give you a goal to work toward!)
  • Choose a financial mantra to keep you motivated and post it somewhere you'll see it every day (we suggest your refrigerator)
  • Similarly, choose a picture that represents your biggest financial goal and post it somewhere you'll see it every day
  • Increase your retirement contribution
  • Comb through your expenses from the last month and look for areas where you can cut back
  • Create a visual countdown of your debt and post it prominently where the whole family can see it (more paying down debt tips here)
  • Open a charitable giving account (donor-advised fund) to streamline and maximize your generosity
  • Open an account designated as an emergency fund and seed it with an initial deposit
  • Make a plan to fully fund an emergency fund (most experts recommend three to six months of expenses)
  • Purge your social media accounts: unfollow accounts that contribute to feelings of lack or make you want to spend money!
  • Take our friend Nancy's Contentment Challenge

Weekly Goals:

  • Listen to an episode of a personal finance podcast (Cultivate readers suggested Entreeleadership and Matrimoney!)
  • Sit down with your significant other (or yourself!) and review the week's budget and spending
  • Purge a room of your house (this helps identify waste, cultivate contentment, and curb spending)
  • Update your budget
  • Pay bills
  • Unsubscribe from sales emails
  • Sell something (and put the money toward debt or a savings goal)

Daily Goals:

  • No spending
  • Express gratitude

These are just a few suggestions for items to add to your PowerSheets Tending List each month to make progress on your finance goals for the year!

We'd love to hear from you: what else would you add to this list?

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The Best of the Cultivate Blog in 2017

As the Content Manager here at the Cultivate Shop, I wear a lot of different hats! My favorite? The one that allows me to create content that will encourage you in your PowerSheets journey! One of the best selling features of our PowerSheets Goal Planners is that it includes everything–yes, EVERYTHING–you need to get started on uncovering your goals and making progress on them. We often say it's like having a coach in your back pocket, because we give you prompts and instruction on each page.

With that, we also know that sometimes it's nice to have some extra teaching too, which is why we have loved creating content on the Cultivate blog for you! Over the past year, seven of our team members have published 129 blog posts! From finances to faith to relationship-building to healthy habits, we've worked hard to create content that encourages you to cultivate what matters, right where you are.

Without further ado, here are our top ten blog posts of 2017. Enjoy!

  1. 2018 PowerSheets are here!
  2. Your Go-To Guide for Meal Planning
  3. PowerSheets Prep Week Kick-Off
  4. How to Crush Comparison Once and For All
  5. Goal Action Ideas for Nutrition Goals Bonus: If you like this post, check out our entire series!
  6. Cultivate Your Best Year Pinterest Contest
  7. How to Color-Code Your PowerSheets Goals
  8. How to Pay Down Debt
  9. Cultivating Habits in a Season of Transition
  10. How to Make New Friends

I'd love to hear from you! What types of content do you want to see in 2018? Our team wants to make sure we're spending our time where it matters creating content that encourages you in your PowerSheets journey, so leave a comment and let us know what you'd like to read about in the coming year!

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Cultivating What Matters in Your Finances

Boy do we have a treat for you today, friends! The PowerSheets Facebook group is abuzz with women across the world who have some sort of financial goal on their 2018 PowerSheetsShanna Skidmore, business strategist and financial coach, is sharing her herat and expertise with those of us looking to cultivate what matters in our finances. While Shanna's background is in serving creative business owners, her heart for what she does reaches far beyond that. Today she's sharing three ways to cultivate what matters in your finances, and we hope you're encouraged! -Jess

It happened one day while I was riding my bike to work (more on that in a minute)…It was a ten mile ride to the office and about an hour of peddling. Atlanta has a deceiving amount of hills. We had lived in Atlanta about a year, and I thought our move was for my husband's career. But on that fateful day in the midst of some heavy breathing and wondering if the car behind me was ever going to pass, I heard it. My calling.

In 2006, I started working in the world of finance. Business + Psychology degree in hand, I was a 21-year-old living in a big numbers world. I had my hot pink binder of goals, my fresh out of TJ Maxx blazer, and three-inch high heels that wouldn’t be traded for flats until years later. Back in those days I was taught the American dream went something to the tune of “if you can afford the payment, you can afford it.”

But two car payments, two house payments and a few years of the grind later, I learned the most important lesson about money I’ve ever learned : The American way doesn’t account for one thing–LIFE CHANGE.

Kyle and I found ourselves in a new place, living out big dreams but on salaries we no longer had. As we sat in church learning how to “be rich” in our finances, we took a good hard look at our money and realized we had no margin. There was only one thing we could do. Get rid of the stuff. We traded our wood grain and leather seats for bike helmets and “butt” pants. And since that day we changed our mindset about money. Today I want to share three ways to cultivate what matters in your finances:

CultivateWhatMatters_Finances

Awareness is the key to change. This is the hardest one guys. Get your tissues and favorite comfort food ready, pull out three months of your past bank statements and take a look. When Kyle and I sat down and really looked at the numbers, we saw more than $1,000 spent eating out and $500 on Starbucks–IN ONE SINGLE MONTH! Just know, as Dave Ramsey says, until we tell our dollars where to go we will wonder where they went! So take a look, judgment free. And then ask yourself “is this where I want my money to go?”

Create white space. What are some areas in your finances you can create some white space or margin? White space is like breathing room…it feels good. Are there some areas you can cut back to put your money where it matters to you more? Here's a tip: use your PowerSheets Prep Work to evaluate what has and hasn't been working.

Reallocate to what matters! A few years ago I decided to throw the word budget out of my vocabulary. Budgets feel like a “no” where as a spending plan feels like a “yes”. So let’s create a spending plan. Where do you want your dollars to go? When changing your financial habits it’s not about stopping something bad, it’s about starting something good! Just like with goal-setting, we have to want the outcome more than we don’t want the hard work! So what do you WANT?!!! You will only change your habits when you want something else more -- is it a house? How much will you save? When will you start looking? Is it a car? How much will it cost? How much will you save monthly? When is your deadline?

CultivateFinances

I have worked in the world of finance now for the past eleven years and for most of those years what I’ve said more than anything is this: “they just need a money plan.” You see, we get caught up wondering how much of our salary we should save for retirement, do we need a ROTH or a Traditional IRA, or what is an IRA anyhow? And while all of those are really good things to think about, there is only one essential thing you need–a PLAN.

This year as you sit down to make some really good goals, I encourage you to pull out your numbers and just take a look. I promise you, it’s not a fancy retirement portfolio that will get you where you want to go, it’s intentional planning and thoughtful spending.

Looking for more posts on how to practically cultivate your finances in 2018? Explore our vault of finance posts. This Friday, Emily will be sharing our Goal Action Plan Idea for Finances, and we hope it helps get your wheels spinning for those PowerSheets Tending Lists!

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