Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Success Driven by Passion

By Nicki On July 7, 2013 3 Comments



I have always believed that in order to be successful, you must be engaged with something you’re passionate about. That goes for all aspects of life, not just work, but everyday life. Keeping passion alive is what makes every day an adventure. How I love adventures!

Some say that optimism is inherited while others think it’s simply a matter of making the choice between happiness or staying angry at the world.

I really believe that happiness and success is a direct result of doing what you’re passionate about, plain and simple. Very often grumpy people complain about everything including their job. I wonder if things would be different if they sought out something that they’re passionate about? Maybe the idea is just to daunting or they’re content where they are. Sometimes it’s easier for people to stay with what’s familiar even if it’s fruitless.

In the last year, I’ve been so lucky to get involved with things I am passionate about. Both my work and volunteer world adds excitement and purpose to my life. People ask me why I would sell  my business only to work even harder and I quickly respond, “It’s not work when you’re doing something you’re passionate about.”

If you feel like you’re stuck, stand back and take a look at the big picture. Is there any aspect of your life that excites you? Is there anything you’re doing that triggers passion? If not, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate and see what you can change. The truth is that you will never be successful both personally and professionally if you settle, and you will most definitely not be successful if there’s no passion.


Find your passion and you’ll very likely find success!

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!


Women and Value- It’s Time to Realize Your Worth!

By Nicki On May 21, 2013 4 Comments



It’s been going on for years. The disparity between pay for women and men continues. According to a report from the American Association of University Women,  one year after receiving their diplomas, women earned 82 cents for every dollar men earned.

In an article found in Wikipedia, “In 2010 the median income of a full-time year round workers (FTYR) was $42,800 for men, compared to $34,700 for women. The female-to-male earnings ratio was 0.81, slightly higher than the 2008 ratio. The female-to-male earnings ratio of 0.81 means that, in 2009, female FTYR workers earned 19% less than male FTYR workers. The statistic does not take into account differences in experience, skill, occupation, education or hours worked, as long as it qualifies as full-time work. However, in 2010, an economist testified to theU.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee that studies “always find that some portion of the wage gap is unexplained.”

When I was a speaker for the health and fitness industry, I conducted lectures for women in business. The most common topic women wanted to discuss was pay. Typically, 99% of the women in m y workshops greatly undervalued their time, talent and knowledge.

Many of the comments women shared included, “I feel bad asking for money. I’m afraid if I charge too much they won’t hire me. I haven’t raised my prices in three years, I’m afraid if I do people will leave me.” And to me, the saddest comment of all,   “Well male trainers charge more but that’s because people pay it.”

I will add on to the above by saying that I know many, many women that do things for free. Predominantly women are the ones who feel that if they give something free, it may pay off in the end. As long as people get stuff for free, your worth will never be realized by you or a potential customer.

Here are my thoughts based on the comments above.

1. I feel bad asking for money. My question is, why?  If you’ve worked hard to get where you are, you deliver 100%,  why in the world would you feel bad asking for something you deserve? NEVER feel bad asking for money you’ve rightly earned. I used to tell my staff, “I’m not selling anything, I am simply providing an opportunity. You can either take advantage of it or pass.”

2. I’m afraid if I charge too much I won’t get any new clients. If you’re afraid of charging too much perhaps you need to work on understanding and respecting the service that you provide. If you’re a crappy trainer, salesperson, whatever, you won’t make any money and you’re right, you don’t deserve top dollar. But if you practice excellent customer service with a focus on delivering a quality product, you won’t be charging too much.  You can certainly check around with the competition, but often that leads to people undervaluing themselves because they’d rather be in line with competitors.


3. I can’t raise my prices. I can guarantee that your customer or clients have had an increase in pay. Further, you can bet everything from groceries to clothing to gasoline have increased in price. Why should you be any different? Your cost of living has gone up to!  I’d rather hang on to those clients that value what I deliver. If you lose clients, they didn’t value what you were delivering.

4. Male trainers charge more because people pay it. My friends, it’s not because he’s male, it’s because he’s asked for what he believes he’s worth. You are no different.

As long as women fail to recognize their value is no different than their male colleagues, they will continue to be undervalued. To me, there is no greater gift you can give yourself than understanding the value of your contributions to work and life.

Here’s a great article to check out when you’ve got the time.

Bottom line, we women aren’t going anywhere. So there’s no better time than now to stand up and expect and request to be paid what you’re worth. The longer you sit idle on the sidelines, or assume you can’t get what you’re worth,  the more money will be given to those who recognize their value and ask to be compensated accordingly.

What do you think?


Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!



Boston- This Runs for You!

By Nicki On April 16, 2013 No Comments

180133_10150106878560929_760825928_6127386_1997986_aAs runner’s crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon, the last thing on their mind was to duck and cover. They were focused on crossing the line that would mark a personal victory. A victory that came from months and for some years of training and dedication. The feelings of success, exhilaration, accomplishment all erased in a flash. The coming together of people to support their friends, loved ones, running buddies were suddenly pulled apart by chaos and tragedy. How do you make sense out of a senseless act?

Every time I see something like this, Sandy Hook, NYC, Atlanta, Colorado and on and on it goes I feel helpless. I feel like a movie is unfolding right before my eyes and I am simply an outsider with no control.  It’s like someone kicked me in the gut and I’m unable to fight back. How do you make sense out of a senseless act?

My heart goes out to every participant in yesterday’s marathon. From fire fighters, to EMT’s to onlookers to police and of course runners and their families. As someone who participates in a number of runs, though never qualifying for Boston, there is something about the world of runners that is hard to explain. There is a brotherhood/sisterhood amongst runners. There is a camaraderie that connects us all and somehow we know that no matter what, we have each others back. It’s like an unspoken pact that happens naturally amongst runners.

When I began running races, my first big one was with an organized run by Chicago Tribune columnist, Eric Zorn. He formed the FOOL’s group (For Once in Our Lives) which consisted of runners that wanted to complete their first marathon. My life was forever changed after training for 6 months with that group.  Although finishing the marathon was great, the friendships that were created have lasted far beyond the finish line. I remember on long runs, the more experienced runners would run behind me yelling, “You can do it Nicki, you’ve got this.” It almost brings me to tears writing about it. There is an incredible kinship amongst runners and  if you’re not a runner,  I can’t do it justice in this blog. So the thought of these runners, the relationships, their personal stories, their excitement, and their hard work instantly obliterated by someone’s hatred and clear mental instability is truly tragic.  How do you make sense out of a senseless act?

My swimming coach!

In my small effort to honor, acknowledge, pay tribute to runners and their families, those who lost their life and all the city employees that risked their life for others I’m going to run 103 minutes today. It hardly seems enough, but during the 103 minutes that I run I will be thinking of those runners that never crossed the finish line and hope they make it their mission to  make it back to Boston and try again. I will be thinking about those families that came to an event looking to cheer friends or family on and ended up at the emergency room or worst yet, planning a funeral. During the 103 minutes of running I will think about the person or persons that are behind this horrible act and hope they are soon found and we can get some answers. Although  what answer would be good enough? How does one make sense of a senseless act?

The best I can do is my little part. It’s interesting how tragedy brings people closer together regardless of distance. It’s touching to see how many people reach out wanting desperately to help. Our country is pretty amazing as no matter how many times we’re knocked down, no matter how many lives are cut short or compromised, we somehow come back stronger and closer than ever. This realization doesn’t change anything but it  brings a bit of comfort which during a time like this, we could all use. Boston, this runs for you!

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.


Who’s Your Favorite Child?

By Nicki On February 19, 2013 No Comments
Me with my older sisters. Love the hats!

Me with my older sisters. Love the hats!

I am the youngest of 3 girls. Combine that with being a Libra and I feel like I was dealt a pretty great hand. As the youngest, everyone says that the baby of the family gets off easy and is spoiled rotten. If you’re a baby you’ve likely heard that more than once. Is it wrong?

As a mother of four grown children, I see very clearly the advantage or disadvantage of a certain birth order. There’s no doubt that the first child has the toughest job. Dealing with parents who haven’t a clue and expectations that are often unrealistic. “How come he’s not potty trained yet? The book says he should be!” “How come she’s not speaking in full sentences? So and so’s kids are!” And the list goes on and on.  My Grandmother used to say, “The first child is the experiment child.” I believe that to be true.

I remember my Aunt telling me that no matter how many kids you have, you will always manage to find love enough for each.  I think a Mother’s uterus is a storage tank for extra servings of love to pass around as needed.

When my children were little, getting together with other mom’s was a weekly ritual.   The topic of favorite children was common one. I was asked if I could tell who my favorite child was. Hmm, I thought to myself, a favorite? How do you have a favorite? The other girls would shamelessly tout their family favorite position while I wondered if I had ever showed favoritism to my kids.

I can honestly say, even after all these years I have had a favorite but not kids- moments. Those opportunities when you’re able to recognize their unique talents and personality. Share a funny story together. Cuddle up with them when they’re sick or struggling. Getting an up close and personal glimpse of those qualities and experiences, those moments no doubt, a favorite.

I think having a favorite child is nothing about loving another child more, it might be more about a connection at certain times in their life. They have the natural ups and downs that come with growing up and there are times when you feel particularly connected to what a child may be going through. Again, not a favorite child, simply a favorite moment or connection. CIMG1031

Four kids and 27 years later, they’re all adults, leading their own lives, supporting themselves and giving back in their own way. I look forward to getting together with them as a group as much as I do one-on-one. Either way, it is then and only then I realize those sleepless nights, runs to the ER, never ending band concerts and school plays that’s given me the most incredible gift,  favorite moments. I guess if you’re going to have a favorite, that’s the best kind to have. What do you think?

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!


What if Your Daughter Were Homeless?

By Nicki On January 15, 2013 No Comments

A-Dollar-for-Our-Daughters-Logo-150x150As a mother of four children, it was mandatory that they attend college. I didn’t have the luxury of that kind of support, so I made sure that all of my children had the gift of a loving home and a college education. But what about those who don’t start off with a solid foundation? What about those that focus on simply survival vs. a college education?  As parents that want only the best for our kids, it’s hard to believe that there are parents who send their child out on the streets at 18, without money, tools or any idea on where their next meal is coming from. But it happens more than we’d like to believe.

As of this post, homeless youth, ages 18-22 are a fast growing segment of the homeless population here in Dupage County, Illinois. Women especially are vulnerable to homelessness for a number of reasons including, unstable parents, sexual abuse, untreated depression and trauma. A program that was started at 360 Youth Services called, THP (Transitional Housing Program) has been incredibly valuable and badly needed for young adults. THP has a program for young men from 18-24 and has been successful for 13years. The women’s program for 18-22 year old women started 5 years ago. During that time, they have housed, educated and inspired these young adults to eventually move out on their own, with a solid career and a bright future. However, this past fall the funding for the girls program was cut.

When the girls in the program were told about the cut in funding, they didn’t worry about themselves, the common question was, “What about all the other girls that need this program? What will happen to them?”  These girls know how valuable this program has been as most of them are in college, gainfully employed and acquiring the skills necessary to lead a productive, high quality life. This is all due to the program and their hard work.

But if we can’t get dollars raised for these daughters, they could be back out on the street. I don’t know about you, but as a daughter, mother, friend and advocate, this is unacceptable.

Won’t you join me in helping to raise the necessary dollars needed to keep a roof over these girls’ head as well as raising awareness about the need for this program? Currently there are only three programs like this in the state of Illinois, and one of them is about to be cut. Help me fight for these girls and a offer a bright future for them and the numerous others that need advocates.

Thank you for making a difference and giving these girls the opportunities they so richly deserve. Check out the video and please share it with friends, family, colleagues, or your social media circles.  Just one dollar, can make a profound difference! Won’t you join me?






Gray Expectations – Liberation or Panic? 8

By Nicki On January 6, 2013 4 Comments

CharltonHestonTheTenCommandmentsC10_1I have to laugh when people come up to me asking to see my gray hair. Seriously? It’s only been 5 weeks since my last color!  It won’t be a Charlton Heston, Ten Commandments transformation, it takes time.  So, there’s no before and after shots yet.

I have to admit, there’s part of me that when I see the gray coming in I’m half proud and half in panic mode. The proud part of me likes the fact that I’ve dismissed societal pressure and I’m doing something that isn’t popular or trendy, or is it? The Libra in me likes things orderly and neat. That gray part of my hair coming in isn’t orderly and neat. It looks like I’m terribly overdue for a color appointment and I feel a bit discombobulated.  I find myself explaining why I have this gray streak in my hair. “Just so you know, I’m fully aware of the gray strands,  I’m working on an experiment.” Then I realize the lady at the grocery store couldn’t care less.


A bit o’ gray

The other day as I was getting ready to go out, I looked in the mirror to find gray staring back at me. I was inches away from my mascara tube ready to dab that gray right out of my hair! I had to talk  myself down from the ledge, “No fair touching up your hair, remember? Au natural!”  I got over it, sort of, went out and completely forgot about it. That is until people started asking, “So where’s the gray?”

Interesting, women who ask me where the gray is say, “Oh,  I can’t see anything, you don’t have any gray. The guys seem to be intrigued and being men say, “Oh yeah, I see it coming in.”   As of today, I feel good about my decision. But today I have nowhere to go, it’s just me and my computer. My computer doesn’t care what color my hair is and as of this  moment, I’m not that interested either.

Here’s to not wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!



Forgetting Christmas

By Nicki On December 24, 2012 No Comments

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”  ~ Bob Hope, American film actor and comedian.Keep-your-Christmas-heart-open-all-the-year-round.-Jessica-Archmint

As Christmas inches closer, the holiday spirit makes its presence known through family gatherings, gift giving and grudges pushed aside. However, I’m reminded that the spirit I swore I’d carry with me all year long, dropped off around mid-February as the gloom of Chicago winters got the best of me. I let go of the enthusiasm that kicks in December 1st. That first December day, I embrace the truth that the needy don’t just need in December, that kindness should be spread throughout 12 months not 31 days, and that concern and love for others isn’t seasonal. I’m motivated to change the world on December 1st, until um, January 1st.

I liken the idea that I can live with the Christmas spirit year round to those who set their weight loss intentions January 1st, only to find that 30 days later, the goal was a bit lofty.

So, instead of thinking I can change the world in 30 days, I will try something a little more reasonable, each day, I’ll ask myself, “What can I do today, that will contribute to a better tomorrow?”  That is a question I can answer every day, year round. I often make the mistake of thinking that gift giving is an act of kindness, when in truth the real gift is giving of your heart, living with more compassion, patience and love. I’m thinking that is something that I can stick with. I believe now, and will likely feel this way 6 months from now, that becoming a year ’round “gift giver” versus just one month out of the year, is the best way to keep the spirit  of the season alive and well all year long.

Here’s wishing you and yours the spirit of the season that inspires you every day of the year.




Our Children- Our Greatest Teachers

By Nicki On December 14, 2012 2 Comments

I remember years ago one of my clients in her 60’s had lost a child. She said to me, “There is no greater pain in the world than out living your child.”  That stuck with me as a young mother because not a day went by that I didn’t worry for my children’s safety.

When my daughter was born, she was only a week or so old and came down with a terrible virus. She was rushed to the hospital, a myriad of tests were done, but they didn’t know what was wrong. During that time, I would leave the hospital, reluctantly with visions of my daughter going through grade school, Jr. High School, her first prom, graduating high school, and so on. I sobbed at the thought of never being able to see her do those things.  Fortunately, after a week, she came home and I h ave been able to witness all of those events and many more. How fortunate I am, how blessed I am.

With the recent shootings of the children in Connecticut, I’m sobbing for the loss of those young, precious lives. I sob for the parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, grandparents, neighbors that also mourn the loss of these innocent children. There is absolutely no answer that will ever soften the pain or justify the loss, no answers.

There are tragedies that happen everyday against our children, whether it’s abuse, abandonment, hunger, neglect, but we can’t see it, we don’t hear about it, and it’s not breaking news. This senseless act of mass killings pulls us to attention and we can’t help but listen and wonder, why? This tragedy raises awareness like never before that there is no greater gift to the world than a child. A fabulous quote by Emma Goldman, “No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.”


I Heard the News

I heard the news,  couldn’t catch my breath,

Such senseless acts, untimely deaths

Innocence and love,  gone with a shot

My heart aches, families distraught

What pain and questions this act raises

Now only a memory of angelic faces

We yell the question, “How can this be?”

Special lives cut short, this we didn’t see

What can we do? What must change?

These random killings, unbridled rage

I feel so helpless, then anger sets in

We can not let this violence win

Perhaps it’s best to hold our kids tight

Remind them of our love and all that is right

Pray for the families, full of  fear

May their ache be lightened ,  and comfort near

Why things like this happen, I wish I knew

Extending a hand, is the best we can do.

Tonight my prayer will be for the children

The parents, the loved ones that carry this burden.

May the quote below offer solace from pain

May peace at some point fill hearts again. –   Nicki Anderson

“When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory
becomes a treasure.” Anonymous










Inspired to Do More!

By Nicki On November 8, 2012 3 Comments


In the aftermath of Sandy, those of us not directly affected continue on with our daily lives. We live as usual without a thought about what will happen to those that are homeless or have a house to piece back together, or worse, the loss of a loved one.

We observe the tragedy on television, in the comfort of our homes, a place of safety, empathetically shaking our heads barely able to grasp the deep devastation.

As a viewer I’m more compelled to feel sorry as to remove the guilt that stems from not actually being a victim.  When the television coverage gets too hard to watch, I can simply change the channel, unlike the victims of mother nature’s wrath (who are likely not sitting in front a television), wondering where they’re going to live for the next 6 months. As we watch the horrors of other people’s circumstance unfold, somehow by simply voicing our sympathy, we feel exonerated from doing more. I saw it on T.V. so I get it.

I know I’m guilty of the above. Because I’m not immersed in the tragedy, I feel like there’s nothing I can do other than say a prayer, or wish a quick recovery for everyone. But in truth, it’s the easy way out, it’s not enough.

We all know someone who feels compelled to act despite their distance from the destruction. They know that there is something that they can do that is not only active but effective. They don’t use distance as a deterrent, as they know that little things do matter. They are my heroes.

I’ve recently witnessed heroes in my community that are doing something to lend support to those suffering at the hands of mother nature or at the hands of a heartless killer. When I see people coming together to make a difference for someone that they’ve never met simply because it’s the human thing to do, I’m inspired. I’m inspired to stop making excuses for not jumping on board and helping to make a difference. I’m inspired to remember every day that we are all here on this earth to support and love one another regardless of race, culture, religion, sexual preference or political leanings.

I am grateful to those in my community that continue to step up and never use the excuse of time, money or geography to keep them from  pitching in. These local heroes never look for anything back, they are simply making an effort to do what should come easy, being a human being that cares and contributes. These heroes make the world a better place.

Between Sandy, recent local killing of innocent children, the fall out from political disappointment, and the countless other tragedies that happen in our country and around the world, we need to come together.  At a time of such turmoil, isn’t it more fitting that we come together versus pushing away?

I will continue to be inspired, even try to emulate those heroes  locally and globally that strive to make our world a better place. Whether it’s volunteering, extending a hand to someone in need or simply offering your time to those less fortunate, we have more reasons to be connected than to be divided. It really is what brought this country together from the beginning.

Each day I will commit to being more aware of where I can help and be of service, versus using media to absolve my responsibilities. It’s almost inconceivable to ignore those that so desperately need kindness and compassion, but it happens more than not.  I vow today to keep that in the forefront of my mind and to better appreciate what a powerful role I/we can play in making a positive difference. Positive change starts with me and I hope with you too.


Here’s to not wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!