Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #22-Being Trustworthy

“Every day we have the opportunity to build or tear down the trust of others.”

Marion Jones, 2011 MA Conference for Women



While I know there’s been a ton of drama around her and what she’s accomplished, how she’s achieved her goals and the validity of her success, Marion Jones is absolutely fabulously fierce.  She is someone who knows the value of a lesson, no matter how hard.  More importantly, she doesn’t just sit with the knowledge, she owns it and lives her life purpose in acknowledgement of it.  Fierce indeed!  I grew up looking  up to her and admire her even more so now because of her life experience-based  wisdom.  When I had the opportunity to hear her speak just a couple years ago, a number of her points tuck with me, but her perspective on trust really resonated most.

Trust is a serious matter for me….it just always has been because I truly, truly, truly believe it is the deepest and preliminary foundation of any relationship. Think about it: What can I talk to you about, how can I be totally be transparent with you, how can I hold your hand, let my guard down, call you my friend, my brother, my sister, my man, my anything, if I cannot trust you?  I mean I can interact with you.  I can engage in dialogue with you, and can be cordial with you, but without the trust, you will never have all of me and I am open to question any part of you-what you say, what you do, the sincerity of all that you are.

Now, moment of truth and transparency, I know for a fact I have really high standards around this element of trust, more than the norm.  I own that!  And here’s the reason why: when I give someone my confidence, they’ve got it fully, completely, no question, no doubt!  One of my coworkers was actually just recently asked about some news that was made public.  The person who asked her said, “I know Farah’s really cool but do you think she may have share x?  Didn’t you tell her that it was not to be shared?”  To which my coworker responded, “Yea, I definitely told Farah it was confidential for now and to be honest, I know Farah and I could tell her I just killed someone and she couldn’t tell and believe me, it wouldn’t go anywhere even though she would finally get me to confess and then she’d walk to the police station with me, but it just wouldn’t go anywhere.”  Yup!  So if I’m giving that level of trust (don’t worry, no one has been killed and I haven’t had to walk to the police station with anyone to confess anything) I totally expect it. 

Does this position me for disappointment?  Uh, can I get a YEAH!!!!!!!!!  And I’m always reminded of my friend Monica Cost’s coaching to me early in my career, “Farah, you have to learn like I have, that you can’t have the same expectations of others that you have of yourself.  Otherwise, you really are just always going to be disappointed.”  She’s right and I totally get it so what have I really learned…and accepted?  Well, the only person I can control is me.  The only brand I can take ownership for, good, great, fabulous, and however short of perfect, is mine, mine, mine.  And with that, I’m always committed to being trustworthy. 

I always want folks to know that they can trust me, as they see me, as they experience me, and as they confide in me.  What does all of this mean?  Well:

To trust me as you see me and experience me has to do with consistency.  See this can be really tough sometimes, especially for those of us who don’t really know who we are.  Ummm, have you seen Evelyn Lozada’s interview with Iyanla Vanzant.


I’m NOT bashing here, because you all need to know that she is totally on her way to increased self-awareness and ownership of who she is, but her past experiences are a great example of the consequences of inconsistency.  What it really boils down to is quite simple:  When it comes to who we are, what people see is what they get?   Noooooooow, does this mean you never lose your temper, that you’re always happy and never sad, that you’re always showing your pearly whites and never cry.  Nope!  That would jst be crazy.  What it does mean is that anything outside of how you normally show up yields the reaction of “you need a vacation or just a quick break” instead of, for example “I don’t know which Evelyn we’re going to get today.  Table top standing throwing wine bottles Evelyn, or family-focused genuine caring daughter, sister, mother Evelyn.”

In terms of confidences, ladies, it’s so simple, we need to be able to trust each other.   How many times have you or someone you know started a conversation:  “ok, so don’t say anything but Suzy told me she….and that her man…and that blah blah blah.”  Suzy told you because she needed to confide in someone.  Now’ here’s the reality, in some instances, Suzy shouldn’t have even told you because you know, and she knows, you two are really not cool like that.  BUT, let her know before she starts dishing stuff out to you that you know you’re not going to keep to yourself.  It might just be as simple as, Are you sure you want to share this with me?  or I know we’re cool, but it sounds like you’re about to say something really personal…are you asking me to keep this to myself?  And then take responsibility for being trustworthy.  And, hey, I’m including myself in this because just like all of you, and don’t roll your eyes at me, we all love a good story.  But when it comes to your circle, to your friends, to your sisters, to your aces, c’mon,  just commit to doing better.  So, I know there’s a girl code.  But I’m going to start off the list to the Grown Women’s Code of Living Fabulously Fierce with the first item on the list being 1-Maintain a reputation of being trustworthy by building the trust of others, or risk the consequences of tearing down the trust of others.  Essentially, operate so that others know they can count on you.

Soundtrack of the week: A little mushy…ok downright cheesy but enjoy Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans’ Count on Me

Living Fabulously Fierce-Where do we go from here?!?!


Happy Labor Day, my friends!

Hope you’re having a fabulous day and enjoying time with friends and family, or….if you so choose like I have, having fabulously relaxing low key day focused on some reflection and catching up with some good peeps. 

I couldn’t fall asleep last night after a quick weekend trip to Montreal to visit my aunt but still woke up pretty early…not a shocker to my friends who are reading this.  So of course, I got up, treated myself to a homemade waffle with nutella, tea and read a few chapters of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.

Honestly only picked up the book because the author had the same last name.  We must be family so I’ve gotta support …heheh.    Then headed to the gym for an intense arms workout and a few miles on the treadmill.

Then came home, put together what I think is a fab outfit and fixed myself a healthy lunch.



Now just chilling here with you good people.  Now you know I don’t go into long schpeels like this for no good reason… 

Soooooooo, we just wrapped up the branding process-the simple version-and a number of you have already reached out asking “What next?”  A few of you have even asked “seriously, where do we go from here?”  I love it when you give me some reach out love…helps me know that I’m not talking to myself in the blogosphere.  So to answer your question, first we just continue branding!  I mean it people, this is not a process that just ends after you get through the three phases.  This is an every day activity.  You really have to be committed to being your best self, every day, reflecting the experience that you want everyone to have with you. 

Yes this means even when you don’t feel well, even when you’re not on you’re a game.  Nope, not about facades, but about giving the best level of who you are, every day.  For example, my brand is fabulously fierce and having people experience joy whenever they interact with me.  Does that mean I’m 100% joy, fabulousness, and fierceness every day.  DEFINITELY NOT!  BUT, what it is does mean is that if I have 75% of this to give on a specific day, then hey, I’m going to give my 75% and not 50%.  ‘A’ game all the way, every day, with an appreciation that my ‘A’ game on a holiday when I don’t have to worry about doing the hustle and bustle of a workday is 150% and I’m  reaching for 100% every other day that the hustle requires me to jump up out of bed, continuously adjust flex, move, manage, balance, prioritize etc but I may only have 80% in me for whatever reason.  You know how I like to make things applicable and real so…another example…

My workout today was FIERCE!  I gave my best to every arm curl, tricep press, ab curl, oblique twist, squat, plank and mile that I ran.  I didn’t have any meetings for the day that I had to mentally prepare for which sometimes happens during my workout, no train that I had to make sure that I didn’t miss, no need to rush to my next “thing” so I had 100% t give and think I actually gave 100%+.  I already know tomorrow’s going to be different because I know me.  Even as I mentally prepare to keep focused during tomorrow’s workout, I’m a thinker, so I’m going to push, push, push to go with the same force that I had today, the same game, the same focus, but, I believe I can push to 90% during my 6:30a.m. workout tomorrow and so I’m going to commit to that, and during my workout push to get to a little more, knowing that that’s going to be the best I can do and I’m going to do that. 

Also, beyond this continuous focus on personal branding, we have to focus on continuous well-being–mentally, physically, spiritually!  This is all so important, and I believe we’re always positioned to be better in every area of our lives.  Even today, my instagram post was all about continuous improvement.  So, I’m introducing two things:

The Bernier Personal Branding Boston Workshop Series:  Get ready, get ready, get ready!  I’m asking you now, not to look forward to the new year for another set of resolutions.  Instead, get ready for a collaborative approach to personal branding.  More details to come but for those of you locals who have been asking for live sessions, mark your calendars!  January 2014 is going to be our opportunity to kick off the branding process with other fabulously fierce women, right here in Boston on Newbury Street!  Details to come.

LFF365:  This is all about every day healthy living…not because I have all the answers, not because I know what to do and what not to do, but because I’m game to go through the process with all of you and see what we learn and how we develop together. 

Essentially, we’re going to continue with our LFF Factors here on LivingFabulouslyFierce.  We’re going to have more opportunities to catch up too on how we’re living healthy lives, together.  Most of my posts around this are on my instagram page…feel free to follow, but I’ll be better about posting here too and definitely, definitely want to hear from you.

Aaaaaaand!  I’m so excited about meeting those of you interested in the live sessions in January!

For now, I’m heading to Whole Foods for some items for this week’s meals.  Hope you enjoy the rest of your day and to set you up for an amped week…

Soundtrack of the week: Mary J. Blige’s Just Fine