Melissa Ternes is a consummate connector.
She’s always at the ready to introduce interesting, accomplished women to the Kuel Life Community. An expert at money management, Melissa is committed to helping women fully embrace what it means to live an aligned money life. For many of us, money and our relationship with it can be very tricky. I know, I personally struggle. Having Melissa’s wisdom available to our Community is priceless.
Please help me welcome, Melissa Ternes – our 41st woman in our Share Your Story; the Women the WSJ Missed series.
KUELLIFE: What are you pursuing now, at this stage of your life, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it comes out of left field?
MELISSA: I’m writing more, which, to every English teacher I ever had would be a complete shock! I was always on the math and science side. Now, I find myself working on a second book and contributing articles in many different publications and online.
KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
MELISSA: There is no such thing as a typical day for me, more of revolving activities that sprinkle across days. I am always learning; so each day has some evidence of growth, whether that is listening to a book on Audible, a training or podcast, or digging into my thoughts. Other fun sprinkles are client work, networking, and time with my husband and pooch.
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
“Focus can be tough for me at times.”
MELISSA: Focus can be tough for me at times. I have so many ideas and ways I want to help others combined with so many incredible opportunities. I love starting new things, the boost of excitement, the thrill of seeing if I can, rising to the challenge that at times I lose focus on finishing.
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
MELISSA: Deadlines are my best motivator. One of my big fears is showing up and not being prepared and then looking foolish. So, deadlines are the way I bring focus back to finish projects and ideas. The greatest thing I do to stay motivated is read through my “fuel letters”. Over the years, I’ve kept all the notes, cards, and emails from people I have helped in a folder called “My Fuel” – this is gold for motivating me. I’m sure I read about this somewhere, it’s likely not a new thing and it is fuel that keeps me motivated in the hard times and in the times when I forget how much impact I have had in other’s lives. Instant boost!
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
MELISSA: Enjoy it; relish it! I’ve never much cared about how old I am (after I reached the magic 21). Find the pleasure in all the things age brings; the ability to not care, or care less, about what others think, the choice to do things differently and most of all the choice to live the life you most desire.
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
“I’m me regardless of what other’s think”
MELISSA: Being real and truthful with myself so I can be real and truthful with others. Being vulnerable has been one of the hardest things for me in life and only recently have I soaked in that I’m me regardless of what other’s think.
KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
MELISSA: First, is definitely flunking out of college the first go ‘round with a 0.88 GPA (my social education) and later going back to graduate top of my class in accounting (my academic education) and getting a master’s degree in business. When I went back, I was ready to learn and enjoyed learning. The second was getting married – where I have learned so much about long-term commitment, working through the hard stuff, and how to love and have fun. The third is finding myself deep in “random things” debt (meaning not my mortgage, not a car loan, and not student loans – just stuff). This one is the one that was the catalyst for my current business and for all of the personal development work it took for me to grow into the person I am today.
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
MELISSA: My parents have been a huge influence in my life. My parents built seven houses together and taught my brother and I the importance of work ethic and doing it the right way. Both of my parents were entrepreneurs and pushed us to be all that we could be.
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
MELISSA: To be myself because I am the only me this world has.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
MELISSA: To pick only one would be impossible for me! I find that I am inspired most by women who have overcome challenges and faced their fears regardless of the outcome. Ordinary, everyday women inspire me much more than any authority or celebrity because life takes resilience and that’s what each and everyone of us need to stay inspired.
KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?
MELISSA: Depends on the day. Most days I participate in the grown-up world in the sense of taking care of business and life. Other times, I relish daydreaming and just piddling around, getting nothing much accomplished.
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
MELISSA: Take a pause. Turn off my phone (or leave it in the car) at various times. I buy myself flowers to enjoy around the house and in my office. And of course, doing nothing is a treat that I use to take care of myself – and it usually involves me doing something fun.
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
MELISSA: Oh, these change regularly depending on my mood. So, off the top of my head today, I’d say skydiving, taking a year to travel the world, and owning a farm (where someone else takes care of all of the details).