STB 17 | Attaining Freedom

Freedom Unbound With Helen Raleigh

Whatever way you might choose to frame it, freedom is something that, at the end of the day, all people do seek. Whether it’s personal freedom and liberation from an oppressive environment or financial freedom, attaining freedom is a vital part of your journey because it opens up your world and your choices. Helen Raleigh is the Founder and CEO of Red Meadow Advisors, LLC, a wealth management firm. Together with Michelle McGlade, Helen tells her story of attaining freedom in all the most important aspects of her life. Don’t let your world be limited; find the freedom to be who you want to be.

Freedom Unbound With Helen Raleigh

Our guest is Helen Raleigh. Helen is an accomplished financial expert with two decades of experience in the financial services industry. She is the Founder and CEO of Red Meadow Advisors out of Colorado, a wealth management firm. She is a certified board candidate and is serving on several government commissions. She’s also a highly sought-after thought leader, award-winning author and public speaker. Her work can be seen on national media including the Wall Street Journal and Denver Post. The topics that she writes about if of interest to you are immigration, foreign policy, social and cultural issues. This is a first interview for me on a woman who didn’t start out in the US and has made a huge impact not just for her own life but in the lives of many women.

I didn’t say it to start, but this is an episode that brings home the idea, which I also ascribed to is that you can do and be anything you want. You have the ability to create your own destiny. For Helen, this was born out of her value, her highest value around freedom, the freedom to create and be whoever you want to be, to be in control of your own destiny. Helen and I both tear up, read what it is exactly that brings us both to tears in this interview but don’t miss out on some of the powerful tips and tactics that Helen offers. That’s what I love about these episodes. I don’t think that a lot of the women that I’m speaking with realize the gold nuggets that are in what they are saying. Helen lays them out so succinctly around what it is that creates the opportunity for success.

My previous guest, Carol Meyers, talked about in her episode, asking herself the question, what is it that I can do to more greatly ensure my success? Helen brings up the exact same thing and gives you some of the tactics that she uses around that. I also think a huge piece here is her ability to not just pay attention to who she surrounds herself with. She talks a lot about family, a lot about community, but also having a big why being focused around whatever that big why is for you, whatever that passion is for you and asking for help.

You read that theme from Genna Garver as well in her interview. If I can continue to create the threads through each of these episodes, you’re learning the same themes come up in a different way from many of these women, who are reaching levels of success that you may be looking for or maybe you’re at, high level, but there’s just that one piece of information that you need to unlock the next level for yourself. That’s what you’re learning in these episodes. I will not delay us any further. Let’s get started.

I grew up in Communist China. The China I grew up was very different from the China people envision or see. There were no skyscrapers. There was no abundance of supply. There were no luxury stores. It was very poor. It’s very much controlled both politically and economically. I grew up with the food rations and for people who are not familiar with food rations, because there wasn’t enough food available, so the government has to institute a food ration to determine through central planning how much food each person can have. The food distribution was based on your age and your gender. At the same age as the boys and the girls, a girl would normally get about four-pound rice last each month than a boy. My Chinese name happened to be a boy’s name.

What was the name?

It’s Chang. It means strong and excellence. It has many good meanings. It’s a popular boy’s name. The government bureaucracy sometimes makes mistakes. Because my name sounds like a boy’s name, for a period of time, I received a food ration that meant for a boy. With this additional four more pounds of rice each month, I was still hungry. I remember I always dream about food. I shared with another friend about I still remember the first time I went to a restaurant to have a meal. I still remember how it smells, how the dish looks like. Because there was a lack of food that everything you have, you’ll cherish a great deal and you remember those things.

One day, a police came to our house to do his regular check to make sure everybody in this house are who they’re supposed to be. They matched that with the household registration paperwork. When he was doing this check, he realized I was not a little boy. I was a girl. Instead of acknowledging that the government made a mistake, he blamed our family. He accused us of cheating. He demanded us to repay the government back. My family had to go on a further diet. Everybody had to put together their food stamps in order to save enough to pay the government back. That incident left a profound impression in my young heart. I didn’t think about any grade ideology back then. All I could think of was, “Why couldn’t I decide how much I could eat? Why should a little boy eat more than I do? Why am I hungry all the time?” This didn’t make any sense to me.

Did you know that your parents had to pay back? I don’t know how old you were. Were you aware that your family was being penalized?

I was very well aware of that because the checkout was very open. If you grew up in that environment, you knew what happened. My parents never tried to show that from the realities. I learned how to cook since I was six years old. We live in a family because both my parents are professional workers. Everybody has to chip in. It was nothing like a hideaway from me. That’s why it left such an impression on me. I always have this strong sense since then that I want to have the freedom starting from deciding how much I want to eat to feed myself. When I grew up, this whole idea about deciding how much I can eat was the idea expanded to, “I want to have the freedom to decide for my own future. I wanted to have the freedom to choose my own destiny. I don’t want anybody else to tell me what I can or cannot do.”

When did it move from, “I want,” to “I believe it’s possible for me?”

Especially as a woman, it's completely okay to say, 'I'm really struggling, and I could use some help.' Click To Tweet

When I came to America because I was the first one in my family who came to America. Initially, I didn’t think it was possible because we had no family relations in this country and nobody in my family ever got on a flight and got out of the country. Everything was new. I was fortunate that when I was in college, China was already starting to open up to the outside world. An American professor came to teach economics in our school as a visiting professor. He opened the door for me to say, “There is a possibility that I can go to America to study.” At that time, all I wanted was to go to America to study, to get a good degree so I can find a good job, be more financially independent.

There was not as much tied to freedom until I got here. When I got here, I had very little. I had less than $100 in my pocket. I had to find a part-time job in order to support my full-time study. There were these exuberant failings of freedom because I want to be in charge of myself. Finally, I got this opportunity. I was on my own. I had to take charge of myself. Everything was exciting and also compared to my parents’ generation, my dad is an engineer and my mom was a medical doctor.

Not all of them had the freedom to choose who they wanted to work for and where they wanted to live. Right before their graduation from the school, the school’s HR department would tell them, “You go here and you go there.” They will be sent far away from the home town. They had no choice. Here I am, I have this abundance of choices. I’m responsible for my own success and failure. Failure was not an option because my whole family is backing me up for this adventure. I have to be responsible for every decision I make to make sure I get a good grade, to make sure I show up on time. Figuring out my own bus schedule, how to get all these worked out and still maintain good grades.

What was the first job that you got?

I had three part-time jobs and my first job was as a waitress at a Chinese restaurant. There were a couple of benefits. It’s your own community. It’s an industry that has high turnovers and always see the workers, plus as part of the restaurant workers, you get to have leftovers. Your meals are covered. Sometimes they provide lodging too. All those things are important for new immigrants.

What other kinds of jobs did you have?

I worked at a help desk in a computer lab at the library. I didn’t know much about technology, but I learned quickly that 99% of the time you could tell people to reboot their computers. That will fix the majority of the problems. It was my best paying job. It was $7 an hour.

I understand that it was exciting. You’re the first one in your family. I can see how the weight of the responsibility to make it happen for yourself and your family was there, but there must have been moments of doubt inside. How did you deal with that?

It’s a couple of ways. Back then, a phone call was very expensive. I rarely talk to my family because a phone call is several dollars a minute. My family has been writing me a letter. Everyone in the family took turns writing me a letter. Every week I would receive a letter from my family full of encouragement and share with me what’s happening back home. They would cheer me on and I still have those letters. That helps a great deal. They didn’t do it to remind me. They do it to share the love and support. To me, those letters besides love and support, it also is a reminder of why I am here and what I must do to be successful.

Another thing that helped was faith. I was not a Christian. I was not exposed to Christianity at all when I was in China because China is a communist country. It’s believing atheist. Back then when I was in China, religion is something you are looking down upon, condemned, not something that’s encouraged. I remember when I came to the United States, in a small upstate New York college town, I first went to. The first thing I noticed was how many churches there are. The whole place is so peaceful. People are generally very kind. You see strangers on the road, they greet you.

In those moments of doubt, I certainly had the many of those moments. I sought it out to go into the church initially totally out of curiosity. It’s a place that’s welcoming with many nice kinds of people. It’s a nice escape for me to escape the day-to-day. I had to run to three different jobs, getting my homework down to catch the bus. It has given me a one-hour break at least each week to break away from all those hustle and bustle to focus on something bigger. I’m glad I made that decision to check out the church.

STB 17 | Attaining Freedom
Attaining Freedom: When you grow up in an oppressive environment, you eventually make a choice to find the freedom to decide on your own future, charter your own destiny, and not let anybody tell you what you can and cannot do.


People, like I imagined, were very welcoming and they showed me around. They accepted me, embrace me as a part of their families. I have this desire. I met a nice lady from the church. We started to meet for tea. She would gradually teach me how to read the Bible. She was nice. She even got me a Bible, both in English and Chinese. Her husband happened to be a dentist too. I couldn’t afford dental care. I didn’t even know what dental care was because when I was in China, I didn’t have regular dental care. Her husband helped pull my wisdom teeth when it was bothering me and he didn’t charge me anything. Those deeds warm my heart and opened that up to me. Faith has played such an important role in my life. It helped carry me through a lot of difficulties in my life. Looking back, I feel like everything is making sense that everything happened for a reason. I was meant to be here. This is meant to be my life.

What happened from that period when you were here to go to school? Do you go back to China? What happened after you graduated?

When I was at school, I couldn’t afford to go back to China because of the cost. My part-time jobs add up to $20 an hour. It’s not enough. I can barely meet the payment for tuition, rent a room and board. I graduated from school. I’ve got two Master’s degrees. My first Master’s degree was in business economics. It was in upstate New York. I was told the perspective of employment security would be to become a professor, a teacher. I had to get a PhD. Back then, I didn’t want to become a professor. I came from poverty. I want to achieve financial success immediately.

I told my professor, I said, “I want to get an MBA.” I was told that if you get an MBA, that’s like a golden ticket to financial success.” I was accepted at the University of Wyoming and they also offered me a generous scholarship. It would cover all of my expenses. I traveled from upstate New York to Laramie, Wyoming on a Greyhound bus three days and three nights. I’m sitting right behind the driver because I was told that’s the safest spot to be at. That’s my first cross-country journey. I reached the University of Wyoming. I had a good experience at the University of Wyoming. I’m glad I did that. After graduating from the University of Wyoming, that’s when I had my first job, working for an international bank. Only after I started working, that’s when I have the resources. I was able to visit my home for the first time after being in this country for five years.

Getting to that point is quite a feat. What are you thinking about yourself at this time when you’re in your first job?

I remember I was screaming on the phone when my boss called me that they offered me a job because it was not easy. It’s like everything else in my life. There was nobody to show me how to apply for a job, especially as an international student. Compared to other American graduate students, I had to face the additional challenge of getting a visa. I needed my company employer to be able to sponsor me for a visa. Our immigration law is so complicated. Most people, not even the HR department, understand how this whole thing works. I’m very thankful that I didn’t have to go. Also, I was in Laramie, Wyoming, which is relatively isolated back then. I’m not in New York, Boston or San Francisco.

Those areas with abundant supplies of jobs. Before I got a job offer, I had to drive my ‘86 Ford Escort. The air condition doesn’t work. Nothing worked except it’s still drivable to come here for an interview. All this stuff is a brand new experience for me. I’m glad I got a job. I was the first woman at that department ever hired. I remember my first day, my boss told me, “You are the first one without a beard that we hired.” They were tremendously nice to me even though this was before Me Too. I never had any problems with all my colleagues. They’re wonderful gentlemen. They showed me how to be a professional worker.

They also taught me American cultures, teaching me slang words. You do not learn slang words in school. They’ll share with me popular TV shows, different things to help me become more assimilated and better equipped with the corporate culture as well as the American culture in general. Also, the feelings that I am in charge of my destiny. I’m working for an international company. I have enough resources to pay back financially to support my own family and also to save money for the down payment for my first condo. Become a homeowner, all those things are exciting and to feel free.

Things that maybe you weren’t even thinking about when you were a young girl getting the rations of a boy.

Definitely not. I’m very thankful to God because I had nothing when I came here. I know many bad things could have happened. We know people who came to this country in my situation who didn’t make it, who has suffered a great deal and experienced many other unfortunate things. I feel incredibly blessed that a girl who had nothing, who knew no one, came this far, stepped off the plane with less than $100 and now got two degrees and working for an international bank and buying her first house. None of this was in my wildest imagination.

You know that the journey doesn’t happen for everyone. You said that, but it’s not by chance that it happened for you because you continued to create this for yourself. You are years past this point and you can look back, what do you see about yourself, some of the traits, some of the decisions? What is it that you can tease out to share with other women who are in this situation like you were? That’s a lot but what stands out?

There are more good people than bad people. Seek friendship with people who love and respect you and seek to continually build you up. Click To Tweet

A couple of other things stands out. Number one is dedicated love and support from your family. Those weekly letters mean to me more than anything. I know that when I was scrubbing toilet in a Chinese restaurant, when I was riding the lonely bus in the midnight, I got out of work. When I feel depressed, lonely and homesick, I knew that I had this whole family behind me. They couldn’t see what I’m going through but they understand. They’re all supporting me. Their love surrounded me and protected me. When I found God, the same thing, I feel there is love and support surrounding me to protect me and to guide me. Those love and support are very important. I would encourage anyone who doesn’t have that, seek that out, whether it’s through a church, real community. I firmly believe there are more good people than bad people around. It’s important to who you build a relationship with. Seek friendship with people who seek to build you up, love and respect you. Those things are very important.

Another thing stands out is this determination, this drive that I will never give up. I have to succeed. At one point in time, I work about two of them, one for lunch and one for dinner. I remember this one Chinese restaurant I worked for, the wife who owns the restaurant told me that she used to be a graduate school student just like I did. It turned out she was homesick. She didn’t have enough money and a lot of things. She didn’t think she could have continued. She decided to get married and find this a secure environment. She’s about my age, but when I worked at the restaurant, she already had two children. Her American dream turned out very different from mine. I’m not condemning her choices. To me, that’s still much better choices than some other things could happen. I’m using that example to say that in comparison, we’re all going to face challenges and difficulties in life. I’m the kind of person that if I set my sight at a certain point, I will get there no matter how hard it is.

For some people, they may have the sight, but then they climb halfway through and they say, “It’s too difficult. Maybe it’s time to quit.” I don’t condemn those choices, but if you want to climb high, you have to be determined and be laser-focused to never forget where you want to go, no matter how hard it is. The hope shines the brightest when you’re in the darkest moment. When you’re in the darkest moment, you feel nothing makes sense and you want to give up. That’s the moment you have to remember, where do you want to go? Why do you want to do this? Also, remember the love and the support that surrounds you. To me, those two things stand out.

Those were her choices, but she at some point had to make the decision and she let the fear take over. Whereas what you’re saying is you tapped way back into that deep passion and why you’re doing it. You use the community around you to not let you fall.

That’s a good way to describe it. From my family to my friends I met and the church and the faith, it’s this whole community. It’s like a white cloud that keeps supporting me so I don’t fall back. I don’t fall into the darkness that I do not want to be in. It’s very easy to seek the darkness out. Sometimes it’s more comfortable to be there even though it’s dark. I have this white cloud that’s supporting me and guiding me so I do not fall back into that state.

Maybe this is true or maybe not, but I feel like women will hold in what they’re feeling. They won’t say, “I’m afraid.” They won’t say, “This is getting tough and I have doubts.” Do you feel that was your approach or did you lean on the community, go into your church and say, “I’m struggling and I need support?” Were you expressive about the ups and downs that you were experiencing?

I’m learning because I came from a culture where you’re normally not very expressive. We do not hug each other. We don’t say I love you openly. We do not have great animated expressions. Those are the things I gradually learned. Since I started going to churches in upstate New York, I learned that it’s okay to say, “I am struggling with X. I could use some help with X.” Jesus said, “When you seek help or knock on a door, a door will always open for you.” I see there’s no shame in asking for help. You tend to get help when you demonstrate. You are not there asking for a handout like, “Give me something to get over this.” When you demonstrate that you’re self-determined, that you have this self-reliance, you just need some actual push. You need a door open a little wider or have somebody pointed out to say a different door will open that you didn’t see. Help like that tends to be more successful if you throw your hands to say, “There’s nothing I can do about it. Give me some handouts.” I tend to see those kinds of love-seeking help does not work.

If you genuinely say, “I’m working hard on this. I’m giving 100% of what I can do about it. I needed this actual direction or little actual push or open a door of opportunity for me, I can get through it on my own.” When you approach it that way, you tend to get help beyond what you’re asking for. You tend to get an opportunity beyond what you envision. I encourage not just women. There’s no shame to asking for help. I approach it in a way that is like, “I need something extra because I am already giving my 100% at this.”

Do you consider yourself a high performer?

I’m a very productive person.

Why do you say it that way? What makes you say productive instead of a high performer?

STB 17 | Attaining Freedom
Attaining Freedom: As an international student, you might not have anybody to show you how to do things like finding a job.


Part of it is high-performer compared to what? I like to say I’m productive because I’m always doing multiple things. I’m running an investment advisory business. I’m also writing articles. I’m also publishing several books. I’m working for a nonprofit. I’m serving on a government commission. I wear many hats. I do a lot of things. I’m productive and not wasting time. As far as a high performer, I’m good at everything that I do, everything I touch. I don’t think so, but I’m doing little things, number one because I have a passion for each one of them.

I’m doing investment advisory because I want to help people achieve financial freedom. I’m writing articles because I have thoughts and ideas that can make certain things better. I want to express it. I wrote books about my journey to come to the United States because a good story is worth sharing. This book I wrote about my own life, to me a high performer would be it’s the best seller on the New York Times. It’s not. To me, the high performer I set the standard very high. I wrote books. None of them is a New York Times bestseller so I’m productive.

Any tips around that? That’s always a question on women’s mind, “How do I follow multiple passions that I have just like you are? Be a great partner, spouse, mom, daughter, friend. How do I balance all these things?” Do you have any insights on that?

Sheryl Sandberg’s said that having a supportive spouse is very helpful. My husband is very supportive of anything I want to pursue. I always say that I married the right guy because like everybody back home, every time I tell him I want to do something, he never tells me, “No, you can’t. No, you’re not good enough.” He was my best cheerleader who says, “Go for it. You can do this.” Definitely have a supportive spouse, things you can share, is very helpful. I would also say that it’s important to do things you’re passionate about.

To have real passion is important. You don’t treat the things you do as a job or as a work. You don’t exchange your work for pay. You’re doing something you love. It’s a labor of love. When you approach it that way, it shows. People you deal with, it shows that you’re doing this out of love, not a transactional thing. Don’t just do things because you have to do it. Maybe you do, but I would encourage people that even if it’s things you have to do, trying to find something you can love about it and truly find something you are passionate about, aspect of things, to approach it that way. Focus is also important because when you ask somebody, “How are you doing?” 99% would say, “I’m crazy busy.”

That’s not a good sign when somebody says that, because when you are crazy busy, do you have time to think? Do you have time to meditate? Do you have time to make sure you stay on the path? You want to be doing the things you love. To me, that’s not a good answer. Therefore, it’s important that before you expose yourself to a ton of things, I don’t always believe the answer. I always say no or always say yes, but use some criteria. Does this additional thing help me to become more focused on where I want to go? Does this additional thing exemplify the values that I want you to present or I want you to support? Will this additional thing benefit, which group? Is that a group I want you to do what I can to love, support and respect? You should have some criteria before you say yes and no to this additional thing. That would be my suggestion. Have a support system, never lose focus there where you want to be and ask yourself several questions.

It sounds simple, but many people don’t do that. They say yes to everything. The underlying current there that’s important is when you are passionate about things and you enjoy, you make space for that and you’re not getting out of bed thinking, “I have to do this.”

You don’t drag your feet. You’re like, “I get to do this. That’s so wonderful.” When I write articles, I was thinking, “I get to have the freedom to express myself however I want you and not worry about going to jail for what I write or what I want to say.” I know that’s a freedom many people around the world that do not get to enjoy. Whenever I write something, I always think how blessed I am that I get to do this.

What kinds of things are we going to be reading from you in the future? What is the next level of your voice that wants to come out?

You will hear from me not only from writing. I joined a movement called Women Onboard. I got certified to become a corporate board candidate. That’s one of my main focuses. We talk about the whole theme throughout my life is to keep finding new challenges. Keep finding a different way of going forward. That’s an area I want to devote more of my time. Not just how to have more women on board, but especially make sure how this movement will benefit minorities and women in general. The way we’re seeking board members, first of all, most of the board members are white males. The way they look for a future board member is Bob will ask Steve, “Who do you know?”

They’re looking for their own network, from their own zip code, finding somebody shared similar life or work experience just like them. That model does not work. We want to see more women and minorities on the board. I do not believe we simply have a code that you mandate that is a good way to go forward either. Unless we change how this model of finding that next board member. If you implement a quota system, the only change is Bob will ask Steve, “Which women do you know?” It will go through their own network from their own zip code to find somebody who is a woman but share similar life and the work experience resembled them. The whole methodology of how we find a future board member needs to change in order for more women and a minority to serve on the board.

While wealth has a lot to do with your philosophy, ultimately, financial freedom is achievable. Click To Tweet

I do believe that diversity will help with the performance of the board in general and also elevate the women and the minorities too. A board is the highest level of management in the organization. It’s a bigger table. If women and minorities want to have a bigger voice in the society, we need to have a seat at a bigger table. How do we have access to that bigger table? That’s one thing I’m passionate about. It reflected my values of I want to see everybody has the freedom to live the life they want to live, to charge their own destinies. I want to see equal opportunities for all. That’s why I say I’m working out.

In terms of writing, I will continue to write about immigration issues. That’s another passion of mine is to advocate for immigration reform based on my own experiences. I wrote a book called The Broken Welcome Mat. I’m writing articles to spread ideas from that book to help reach more people, especially decision-makers, to help recognize that our immigration system is broken. There are more things we can do. That’s one area that you will hear more from me. I’m also passionate about healthcare issues. Healthcare issues is new for me, but I’m taking those traditional things because it all comes back to reflect on my values of how we can make sure everybody will be treated equally with love and respect. We can foster an environment for everybody to have a voice at this bigger table.

How do you incorporate some of these values into your business? How do they show up?

I always tell people my business is called the Red Meadow Advisors. It’s a conviction driven business. The conviction I have is based on my own experience is going back to freedom. I believe in freedom. I believe everybody should have the freedom to live the life they want to. For each one of us, to me, the wealth is not determined by our dollar figure. For each one of us, financial freedom means different things. Ultimately financial freedom means you have the resources to live the life you want, to do those things you want, whether to climb Mount Everest or starting a charitable group.

Whatever you want to do, financial freedom is there to provide you with that resources to do that. My conviction is I believe everyone can achieve financial freedom. It doesn’t matter how much money you make because it’s a mistake. I know people who make millions of dollars still end up filing bankruptcy. Wealth has a lot to do with mentality and philosophy, but ultimately financial freedom is something achievable. When I meet with each single client or prospective client, we do not talk about the dollars and cents immediately. We talk about life. We talk about what aspirations and dreams you have in your life. What do you want to do? Evil money is not objected to how they want to live their life. We talk about their anxieties, things they are concerned about. What other things will pull them back because money is the object? We’re starting from there. My financial plan with my clients is a life plan. This is what we can do together to help eventually live the life that you want to. That’s how I implement values. It’s a commission-driven business. It’s not transactional. It’s not about the dollars and cents.

I’m not sure that you experienced this growing up, but I’ve experienced it. I’ve had other conversations in some of my interviews around this that sometimes when you’re achieving at levels like this, like you and I are, people think that it’s easier for us. Your actual life story proves that not to be true, but I still wanted to ask the question because success comes to those who go for it. It’s available to everybody. What wisdom, what thoughts could you offer to the person who may be reading, going, “It was easier for you because?” It’s almost a silly question, but I was curious what you would have to say about it because you’ve overcome more adversity than anybody I’ve talked to.

If anybody thinks that I have an easier life, they should read my first book, Confucius Never Said. They will realize it was not. Nothing was easier. My husband would tell you. I have a tendency to choose to do things I know little about. It’s very difficult. For example, I started a business. Nobody in my family started a business. That was something brand new. I choose to come to America on my own. When I started writing, English is not even my first language. I’m not even a native speaker. I choose the hardest to pass. When I started writing, I knew no one from the publishing industry. Like everybody else, I go to their website and find under the contact, their general email box. I start sending things and get a rejection or sometimes you even get a criticism rejection. You’re buried in a digital world you never heard of.

Nothing gave me a leg up, but I do believe you build on success in a way that if you have measurable, incremental success, it helps you build confidence. You are more willing to try because success tends to lead to success. Also, as you build on your success, success will open more doors. You get to know more people. When you know more people, more opportunities will open to you too. I do believe in this country there are opportunities for many of us that are wide open, but the question is, when there are opportunities open to you, are you ready for it?

To me, the question that comes back to each one of us is, “What have you done to prepare yourself for that upcoming opportunities?” Sometimes we do not necessarily see opportunities because you don’t see the opportunities right in front of you. I remember when Steve Jobs, the Apple founder, in his Stanford speech. I don’t remember the exact words, but I’m paraphrasing what he said. He said that sometimes when you look ahead, nothing makes sense. You can’t see where you’re going. You’re not sure.

He said when he looks back and he connects the dots, everything leads him to where he needs to be, where he should be. For example, when he was at college, he went to take classes to talk about fonts that have nothing to do with anything. Maybe some wise people criticize him back then and say, “You’re not going to get a job by learning about fonts.” Later when he became the CEO of Apple, he learned about the beauties and designing by learning about fonts and that helped make his product so beautifully designed and easy to use. It’s coming back to when you do not see opportunities, ask yourself where you want to be and prepare yourself to get ready for it.

I believe in positive energy. I believe when you are preparing yourself for the things you want. For example, I want to get on board. I went to take a class. I met with high-performing women, productive women like you. I got my certification, a different company of a different group of women. All the things I do, I believe is sending positive energy to the universe to say, “I’m ready for this. I’m doing everything I can.” When an opportunity, when there’s a board position opened up, I’ll be ready for it and I will answer the call. I have my resumes ready. I have all my reference ready. I have tons of examples and life and work experience I can show to them. Nothing is easy here, but you can approach it differently when you get yourself ready for where you want to go. The first question is, what are your values? Where do you want to go? You have to have the zero-laser focus to focus on that and prepare yourself for it. Do everything you can to prepare yourself for it. Asking the universe and asking your support system to help you to get there. Once you do all that, something amazing will happen.

STB 17 | Attaining Freedom
Attaining Freedom: Making a financial plan is basically like making a life plan. It’s all about helping you live the kind of life you want to live.


I’m so glad I asked that question and thank you so much for being on the show.

Thank you for having me.

Before we wrap up, if you didn’t catch the last part of this episode with Helen and it didn’t sink into your being, you need to stop and go back. I asked Helen a powerful question, a question that I’ve had conversations with other women around specifically women who are successful. Most of us have heard this comment at one time or another in our life that it’s easier for you because. That almost sounded ridiculous in my mind when I was going to ask the question to Helen, but I am glad I did. That’s why I’m encouraging you to go back because of how she laid it out and it was grounded in what she believed in what she was saying.

It was juicy and summed up everything that she is about. I love her discussion around energy, focusing on positive energy and turning that finger back around to yourself and saying, “If this is what you desire and this is what success looks like for you. If this is what you want badly in your being and that’s where your passion is. If that’s your big why,” then how are you preparing for that success? How are you now taking that one tiny step towards what it is you want badly? That is the throughline to what she reinforced throughout this episode, which is focus, having criteria for what you’re going to be taking on and not letting yourself fall into that crazy busy.

How that’s completely not a good sign according to Helen. Focusing, channeling that drive and that passion that you have and surrounding yourself with the community, the family, the resources that you need to ensure your success. I can’t wait to know what you thought. Reach out to me. Share in the comments. Hit me up on LinkedIn. We’re having conversations on the daily around these episodes. I’d love to hear from you. This was always meant to be a conversation for you and I. I love that you’re reading, but I’d love even more to hear from you. Until next time, we’ll talk to you soon.

About Helen Raleigh

STB 17 | Attaining Freedom

Helen is an accomplished financial expert with two decades of experience in the financial services industry. Currently the founder and CEO of Red Meadow Advisors, LLC, a wealth management firm. She is a certified board candidate and is serving on several government commissions. She’s a highly sought-after thought leader, award-winning author and public speaker.

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