Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #10: Committing to the WIP Process

Yup, Farah’s Got Her Groove Back…..or just some inspiration!

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve written…a little over a month to be exact.  One thing that many know about me though, is that I don’t just do things to do them.  If I’m going to do anything, anything at all, it’s got to be something that meets a standard of excellence.  That way, I’ll be more confident of it’s potential impact for someone else.  It’s basically the principle of not just showing up to show up, but showing up so that others know you’re there, thereby leaving your mark.

All that to say, I’ve finally gotten some inspiration to get back into the groove here:  Preparing for the closing of Chapter 2012 and the opening of Chapter 2013!

This time of the year is always very interesting to me…the time between Christmas and New Year’s.  Growing up, this was the time we were scrubbing down the house, cleaning every nook and corner, cleaning out closets, getting rid of some of the old, and excitedly getting ready for the new year.  Prayer has always been a major part of our New Year’s celebrations.  I actually can’t think back to a New Year’s that I wasn’t in church.  Of course, as an adult, this all carries over.  So, for the past few days, I’ve been scrubbing down my house, cleaning every nook and corner, cleaning out closets, starting to pray about what I’m expecting for the upcoming season…etc etc etc!  It’s so refreshing given how much of a neat freak I a (yes, I admit it), this whole process has been soooooooo therapeutic for me.

When cleaning, I end up thinking about quite a bit.  Of course I started reflecting on how, in addition to the above mentioned New Year’s preparations, as I got older, the whole bit of New Year’s resolutions came into play.  We all know the standards that we hear or make for ourselves:

  • Lose weight (somehow this is always at the top of the charts)
  • Eat healthier
  • Exercise more
  • Be more financially responsible
  • Spend more time with family

The list could go on and I actually found a Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions List.  After we all make these resolutions, within a month or a little thereafter, I hear from different people about how they’ve given up on some of them…

  • “Girl, I didn’t know what I was thinking.”
  • “Ugh, I started traveling for work and things just got too busy all over again.”
  • “I need a workout buddy to really do this…..”  And they never actually ask anyone…
  • “All these sales, I just got sucked in…again.”

Look what else I found: Top 10 Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolutions.

Now that you’re probably thinking I’m going the route of “why bother”, let me be very clear: I am all for goal setting, being accomplishments-focused and the like.  What I have learned however, is this whole process of focusing on January 1, 20whatever to set goals of “All the way or no way”…you know “Lose ‘X’lbs or bust” just not productive across the board.  Some of us do work that way and it’s fabulous.  But when it comes to being fabulously fierce, you’ve really got to be one who can look at herself as a WIP-work in process and

  • Appreciate AND celebrate wins as they come
  • Leverage the wins, and even some of the losses, as motivation
  • Focus on the mindset of “ever to excel”

The WIP Factor

In an interview with Vogue, our fabulous First Lady said,

“I never consider myself a finished product.”  Never say never, right?  But here, it’s true and quite critical.  It’s so simple, but it’s such a motivating call.  If I can focus on never considering myself a finished product, my focus then just becomes taking one step at a time to becoming better and better at just being me.  I don’t need to try to be like anyone else, I don’t have to be anything others want or require me to be.  I just have to look at me and know that every rising of the sun is just another opportunity for me to be a better Farah than I was yesterday.

Where I am today, right here, right now, it’s really about me being better about not being so hard on myself.  Truth moment: I’ve probably taken my focus on being smart, successful, trustworthy, healthy, being a good daughter, sister, auntie, friend, best friend, business woman to the extreme of trying to be perfect instead of just being a WIP.  That being said, I know I’m not alone here so it’s time for all of us to accept the process!

Appreciating and Celebrating Wins:

I love my friend Dionna.


As I’ve mentioned before, those who are closest to me are really the ones who can tell me about myself whether it’s something good, not so good, or if they need to just say, “Farah, I’m really just going to need you to get it together on this” (I won’t name the person being quoted here, but you know who you are).  So, just the other day, D and I were talking, and of course we landed on the “wow, we’re really kinda grownups now” convo.  As I was talking about some of the things that I’m grateful that I’ve been able to do, I actually said of one of my accomplishments, “Now I know anyone could just get up and do this, but…” and she cut me off.  That’s when she said, “actually, that’s what you don’t realize, is um no, not everyone and anyone could just do that.”

This really made me pause.  I actually, in that moment, realized that she was right and yet, I had NEVER, NEVER, NEVER celebrated that win.  It was just part of the game for me, if you will, and I just kept moving.  This was something that happened yeeeeeears ago but has had such a positive impact on my life and I dwindled it down to “just something else I had done” that “yeah anyone can do that”.  Thank God for my friend who had no problem just telling me to shut up for a minute and think about that.

And so, my lesson: I’m going to be doing a whole lot more celebrating moving forward….notice, I didn’t say, this year….I said moving forward….yup, shifting from a 1.1.20xx mentality to a WIP mentality.  I’m not talking about an “everyone gets a trophy/award” mentality and patting myself on the back from every little thing that I do. What I mean is, I’m going to press, what I’m now calling, the “Dionna Pause Button”

as much as I can, and just celebrate my wins so that I don’t miss these opportunities as easily as I have in the past.

Leverage the wins, and even some of the losses, as motivation:

This process of leveraging is all about determining whether to keep the eye on the ball and keep moving, or evaluate if the ball may need a little bit of an adjustment-maybe more air, maybe even a whole new ball-before continuing to play the game.  As human beings, we are all wired to operate under motivation.  It is part of what really fuels or drives us to do the things we do…or don’t do.  So, let’s get a little technical here…

Wikipedia tells us that:

Motivation is the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal directed behaviors. It can be considered a driving force; a psychological drive that compels or reinforces an action toward a desired goal. Motivation elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal-directed behaviors.

That being said, we’ve always got to stay attuned to what really drives us, what gets us to do the things that we do?  When we figure this all out, we then have to determine if there’s been any change to that driving force for us.  When I first started my career, my motivation was really just “getting to the top”.  I just wanted to climb the corporate ladder, get to the top of it while helping others of course, but that was it.  I even developed my own career plan over the span of 10 years to ensure that I’d get to “the top”.  I wrote that plan, which was really just a checklist when you boiled it down, at 21 and I was on my way.  Now, you can imagine, what motivated me at 21, although not completely gone, has transitioned into so much more these many years later.  The cool thing about that…it’s totally ok and actually more normal that being a super-type A, 21-year old who thinks she can figure out and plan her life on a sheet of paper, all based on only corporate realities.  Thank God I’ve gotten revelation that I can, and actually should be driven by so much more than that.  Hence, Living Fabulously Fierce, my coaching with professional women, and my work with young girls…all in addition to actually being farther up that ladder than I would have thought possible at this point in my life.  How cool is all of that?!?!?!  All because I took the time to evaluate, not only the ball I had in play, but the actual game I was playing.  I had to shift my mindset from corporate success to personal legacy-building which encompasses so much more for me.  Love it!  Even more importantly, especially now with my pause button in play, I will be even more proactive in looking at my wins in different aspects of my life, to continue to build more wins no matter what I’m doing.

And of course we’ve got to be honest…not every action leads to a win.  Along this journey called like, there are definitely a few losses that come into play.  The different between the ordinary and fabulously fierce, though, is that the latter, we look at those losses as opportunities to learn, apply what what we’ve learned, even in the midst of frustration with circumstances or ourselves, and move on!  Leverage, leverage, leverage!

Focus on the mindset of “ever to excel”:

Every Boston College prospect, student and alum knows (or should know) this motto.

images-1It’s actually what led me to determine that BC was definitely the place I needed to be (along with the wonderful scholarship package they offered…let’s just be real).  That motto is a clear call to action no matter who you are, where you are, what you’re doing, how you’re doing, and/or why.  It’s all about keeping things moving.  Focusing on being better than you were and most importantly, not for your own gain, considering yourself, of course, but for the impact of your excellence on others, on the world, whatever role you play.  For the impact of not playing can be greater, in the negative, than contributing, at any level, to impact, in the positive.

Yup, this one was a long one, but the inspiration was in play so I hope you’ve gotten just a little something to spark your transition to being a WIP, never considering yourself a finished product, but always committing to just being better than you were, no matter what.  Cheers!

Soundtrack of the week: Beyonce’s, I Was Here