All posts by Lili Rahmati

About Lili Rahmati

Lili Rahmati was inspired to launch Empowered Bookkeeping based on her strong desire to help individual women and women entrepreneurs gain empowerment through mastery of their finances. With a career background in finance and bookkeeping/accounting spanning over ten years, she gained valuable knowledge, experience and insights as a result of hands-on roles focused on managing the finances of privately held start-ups as well as those of high net worth individuals. In 2009, she felt as though she were answering a life-long calling by launching her new venture and viewed it as an opportunity to be of service by blending her quantitative skill-set with her desire to help women in an area which for most is traditionally intimidating and exclusionary. Lili treats each engagement as an opportunity to enter into a partnership with the client to create an experience which will educate, uplift and transform, resulting in true empowerment. Clients (individuals and small businesses) receive individualized, focused, and expert assistance in a wide variety of services areas such as one-on-one financial literacy coaching, personal & business bookkeeping/accounting services, and financially-focused business consulting services. Prior to starting Empowered Bookkeeping, Lili was the Assistant Controller of the Mail Room Fund, a Los-Angeles area based joint venture established by the William Morris Agency, Accel Partners, Venrock and AT&T. When she’s not focused on running her core business, Lili enjoys philanthropy, traveling the world, learning new languages and pursuing her creative passion via the visual art-form of black & white fine art film photography (and darkroom printing).

10 Quotes to Inspire an Abundance Mindset

It seems like just yesterday that we celebrated the New Year but we’re already halfway through the month of January. By now, those of you who have made New Year’s resolutions have had some time to adapt to your new routines. Some of the most popular resolutions each year are to lose weight or to improve one’s finances. Believe it or not, the two are very closely related because in both cases, in order to be successful, you must focus on consuming fewer resources than you take in. Whatever the goals might be that you’ve set for yourself,  I hope that you’re making steady and consistent progress every single day. It’s also possible that some of you might be struggling to stay on track so you might be feeling frustrated or disappointed in yourself.  If the latter is true then this is precisely the point during which you need to stop what you’re doing and give yourself a chance to make a change that will help you continue along the intended path.  As a financial expert, much of the work that I do with my clients involves helping them practice goal-setting in order to achieve their ultimate desire which is to improve the state of their finances.

When it comes to achieving your (financial) goals, you first have to prepare your mind for the task ahead. You have to literally wipe the slate clean in order to receive new information which will serve as the basis of your new habits that ultimately will lead to the achievement of whatever you have set in mind to accomplish. Think of it as a warm-up which helps you make the transition to a more rigorous routine. Your heart and your mind need to be aligned in order for your actions to feel authentic and to yield the proper results. You have to create an abundance mindset before financial abundance can become a reality. When I refer to financial abundance, it takes on a unique meaning depending on the individual according to their respective life circumstances. The focus on abundance is not just on financial resources and wealth but it is also important to think of abundance in terms of time, energy, and resources to help others in need as well as the community of which you’re a part. Abundance in this sense takes on a transitive property that helps you make an impact in a way which is aligned with your values which ultimately helps to contribute to a better and more just world.

I’ve selected some quotes which are accompanied by photographic images. Each quote and photograph is meant to serve as a daily meditation to help you prepare your mind for the actual task of defining your goals, mapping out a specific plan for accomplishing them and then taking the actions needed in order to make the goals a reality. I recommend that you start and end your day with these meditations but you’re welcome to review them as often as you wish. Since this and subsequent exercises are based on being mindful, find a quiet and tranquil space in order to really focus on the words as well as the images. Practice these mindful meditations for a full week and prepare your heart and mind for success and abundance.

TAKE THE FIRST STEP & GO THE DISTANCE: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu

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YOU ARE IN CONTROL (OF YOUR EMOTIONS/PERCEPTIONS); THIS IS YOUR JOURNEY:  “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” ~ William Arthur Ward

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BE GRATEFUL FOR ALL THINGS AT ALL TIMES: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continually. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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FOCUS ON WHAT YOU KEEP NOT WHAT YOU MAKE: “The amount of money you have has got nothing to do with what you earn. People earning a million dollars a year can have no money. People earning $35,000 a year can be quite well off. It’s not what you earn, it’s what you spend.” ~ Paul Clitheroe

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BELIEVE IN YOURSELF – IT IS ESSENTIAL TO YOUR SUCCESS: “A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failures certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.” ~ Alexandre Dumas

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YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES, JUST STAY FOCUSED AND DEAL WITH OBSTACLES AS THEY COME: “Whatever course you decide upon there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires….courage.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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ENJOY WHAT YOU NEED FOR TODAY BUT PLAN FOR THE FUTURE: “When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.” ~ Confucius

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PRACTICE DISCIPLINE & RESTRAINT – THESE QUALITIES BUILD CHARACTER AND SELF-WORTH: “Savings represent much more than mere money value. They are the proof that the saver is worth something in himself. Any fool can waste; any fool can muddle; but it takes something more of a man to save and the more he saves the more of a man he makes of himself. Waste and extravagance unsettle a man’s mind for every crisis; thrift, which means some form of self-restraint, steadies it.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

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DO WHAT YOU LOVE, DO IT WELL, DO IT WITH PASSION – MAKE THAT YOUR FOCUS: “You can only be truly accomplished at something you love. Do not make money the goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you. All the other tangible rewards will come as a result.” ~ Maya Angelou

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DO THE BEST YOU CAN EACH DAY/THERE WILL BE GOOD DAYS AND BAD DAYS – JUST KEEP GOING: “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Hellen Keller

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A Five Point Plan for Maximum Impact

Photo credit: Lili Rahmati
Photo credit: Lili Rahmati

Thanks to the brilliant campaign sponsored by the generous folks at Gold Peak Tea, one lucky individual stands to win $100,000 so that they can take a year off to do whatever they wish – pretty amazing stuff and definitely the opportunity of a lifetime!  As a response to Mallika’s recent call to fellow Intent-ers to share their ideas assuming someone from the community might be lucky enough to win, I’ve been fantasizing about what this scenario would look, taste and feel like for me.  At first, so many things rushed through my mind that the exercise became quite overwhelming. But after allowing the thoughts to simmer down a bit, I’ve identified five distinct opportunities for allocating the winnings (both time and money) in a way which would create huge impact and fulfillment.

I have to admit that I found this exercise to be a little bit alarming, but also very enlightening. Instinctively, most of my initial thoughts about how to use the prize resources had little to do with myself and instead were almost completely focused on how to support others whether they were causes, organizations, individuals, etc.  Clearly, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I did become aware that I was perpetuating an all too familiar pattern of female behavior which is based upon always playing the role of dedicated nurturer, caretaker, and being the one who provides comfort and succor, etc.

It’s part of our biology to know how to readily give to others, but when it comes to ourselves, we often don’t know how to receive (from ourselves or from others). I can only speak for myself, and I don’t want to make sweeping generalizations. I’m sure there are many women who can be classified as outliers compared to this typical model of behavior. That said, I think that the conversations that we have with one another — whether in person or online –tend to lend support to the fact that women need to learn how to take better care of themselves so they can be better equipped to care for or give to others.

Once I allowed myself to become more comfortable with the concept of including myself as a recipient of the winnings, I was able to craft a solid vision of what life would look like and the impact and fulfillment which could result, both for me directly as well as for those who I want to help/support.

1) Self-care: This is an area of my life that needs a lot of attention. I’m lucky to have a thriving business (which gives me immense personal and professional satisfaction), but being an entrepreneur is hard work and I often am left feeling physically, emotionally and mentally spent. I realize that it is essential to allocate time and money to incorporate regular self-care rituals into my life. These involve yoga, meditation, nature hikes/walks as well as massages and other wellness practices.

2)  Photography: In recent years I’ve discovered the creative passion in my life which is photography. I usually shoot on film and print in the traditional darkroom, but recently I’ve incorporated digital photography into my repertoire as well. I would love to create the space for my own darkroom (or pre-pay for an entire year’s worth of rental darkroom time). I’d also use the additional resources to upgrade my camera equipment and bump up my inventory of film cartridges, media cards, etc.

3) Social Interaction/Quality Time: I score pretty high when it comes to spending quality time with my immediate family and a few close friends, but there’s a gaping hole in my life when it comes to spending time with my other friends, relatives and colleagues (even though we don’t live that far from one another). Putting forth the effort to have quality interactions with people we already know is not only fulfilling but also a huge component of our emotional wellness.

4) Travel:  Throughout my life travel has been a natural part of my existence, so much so that as an adult I truly identify myself as a world citizen. Every opportunity to travel is a chance to learn something new, and as a result my life is enriched in ways which I could never have anticipated. I often travel for pleasure, but if I had a year off and $100,000, the travel would be more purpose-driven. I envision incorporating my photography with my travels in a way that would tell stories of where I’ve been, who I’ve met and what I’ve learned. Or perhaps it would enable me to give a much needed voice to those who otherwise may not have one. Whether domestic or international, the opportunities for connecting with others in meaningful and impactful ways are endless and I would seize upon as many as I could.

5) Philanthropy: I’ve always felt the need to have a clear sense of purpose in terms of my place in the world. Although I haven’t always been connected with exactly what that meant, the older and more experienced I become, the more I’ve been able to craft a precise vision of how I want to affect positive change.

Philanthropy is an essential part of my current life and within the context of a life-changing event such as the Gold Peak Tea campaign, the opportunities for philanthropic giving and being of service would be hugely magnified. Aside from having the time to volunteer for causes near and dear to my heart, the ability to make direct targeted contributions to causes, social enterprises and traditional non-profits would be at the top of my agenda. Whether it’s through providing a scholarship to a girl in a US high school who plans to study math/finance or business in University or supporting a crowd-funding campaign for a non-profit which addresses the basic health and hygiene needs of girls and women (in developing countries) so that they can pursue their education, undoubtedly there are numerous ways to make a meaningful, sustainable and life-altering impact. From my perspective, being philanthropic and cause-driven is immeasurably meaningful and rewarding, and I look forward to a lifetime of service and philanthropic giving.

What would you do if you had $100,000 to take a year off?

5 Intents to Help You Rejuvenate Your Finances this Spring

 

First blossoms of Spring, the season of renewal and rebirth

Earlier this week the vernal equinox heralded in the much anticipated Spring season with the cold, short and dreary days of winter eventually giving way to longer, warmer and sunnier days. The arrival of Spring signifies a time of rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation – a time for new beginnings, new possibilities and new hope since that which lay dormant in the winter is now able to blossom and flourish. In fact, in my Persian heritage, the arrival of Spring marks the beginning of the Persian New Year (Norooz, literally “New Day”) which we honor, as we have for thousands of years, as a season for renewal, both within ourselves as individuals as well as in nature and the world all around us.

This spirit of renewal can be applied to anything in our lives and given my role/expertise in helping my clients learn about money and personal financial matters, the message which I’d like to share with those who wish to rejuvenate their finances is that there’s no better time to get started than during this beautiful season of renewal. Of course, there is no cookie cutter formula since everyone has different aptitudes, life circumstances, goals, etc. Also, the  process of becoming more financially literate and empowered does not happen overnight. It is a habit, which if adopted consistently over time, can become a valuable asset to one’s life with far-reaching ramifications.

For those of you who have a desire to take control of your financial health but don’t know exactly where to start, the first step is to begin with a commitment toward adopting a new mindset and an openness to a new way of doing things. With consistent daily practice of keeping your hearts open and your minds ready to accept new and positive messaging, it will become easier for you to take the steps necessary to identify and work toward reaching your own unique financial goals. Focus on making small changes, but do so consistently to yield big results.

In celebration of the season of renewal, I’m dedicating my inaugural post on the Intent Blog to the community of individuals who seek financial empowerment. I’m honored to share with you a series of five intents which can be incorporated into your daily consciousness to help you create the proper mental and spiritual environment for improved financial wellness. Whether you choose to focus on a single intent or all five, make sure to connect with the chosen intent(s) on a consistent basis (ideally daily) since the application of a consistent effort is the key to success in anything that we do in life.

  • Intent #1:  I acknowledge that my financial wellness is a vital component of my overall wellness (which includes the wellness of my mind, body and spirit).
  • intent #2: With improved financial health I will be better able to be a force of positive change in the world.
  • Intent #3: By being mindful of my finances today, I will ensure a better future for myself and for my loved ones.
  • Intent #4: My finances are aligned with my beliefs and attitudes. My finances reflect who I am (and who I want to be).
  • Intent #5: I have the power to change my habits, thoughts and emotions about money. I will replace past mistakes and bad habits with positive inspirations and healthy habits each day.

As I stated before, there is no cookie cutter formula. There are as many unique ways to incorporate these intents into your life as there are unique individuals so feel free to find a method that works best for you. Based on my experience with my clients, I find that the individuals who are best able to harness the power of these intents are those who write them down, either in a journal or on index cards. As impactful as it is to fill your mind with positive thoughts, you’d be amazed by the power of writing your thoughts down on paper. Once you allow yourself to engage in some form of written self-expression, you’ll notice a tremedous release of creative energy from within. Whatever method you choose to follow as far as incorporating these intents in your life, make sure that it fits comfortably within your overall schedule and lifestyle. Start with baby steps and then expand as you need to over time.

I hope that these intents will be a useful first step in your journey toward financial empowerment and I look forward to sharing more posts with you in the future. If you have any comments, insights, etc., feel free to connect with me on this blog or via Facebook or Twitter.

Wishing you success,

Lili

President & Founder, Empowered Bookkeeping LLC

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