Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #67-Employing Your Extinguisher(s)

“We misuse our mental faculties by barely using them at all. We have the means to extinguish our fears, but we lack discipline in using it, like having the extinguisher in our hands as our home burns but choose not to use it because we’d have to aim.”-Brendon Burchard

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m so grateful for the people in my life who will just tell me what I need to hear, whenever I need to hear it.  Nope, I’m not talking about telling me what I think I need to hear, but indeed what I truly need to hear.  There is a difference between the two and this quote by Mr. Brendon Burchard sounds exactly like something we all need to hear sometimes.  

It’s tough love, reminding us that for almost everything we seek in our lives in the way of change and/or progress, we actually have to get up and do  something.  There’s no sitting back and watching and waiting to see what happens.  That’s exactly how your house….and everything else with it… will burn to complete and utter nothingness.

Ok, so what am I getting at here?  Essentially, it’s no secret that we are all always dealing with fear in some form or fashion.  I’m not talking just shaking in your boots fear that can make us feel weak and powerless when facing something significantly major.  It may be something like the fear of public speaking, actually applying for a dream job, walking up to that guy and daring to ask him out, buying a home, moving across country…the list could go on and on.  Whatever it may be, it’s all relative too, right?  Where speaking in front of a room of 3,000 people would make most of my friends crumble to pieces…it excites me BEYOND MEASURE!!!!  And where mentally I cannot fathom the actual process of another human being coming out of my body, almost all of my friends who are parents chuckle a little when I share this as one of my major fears and essentially say, “that’s nothing to be afraid of….your body will do what it needs to do.”  Ummm, yeah but I’d still be deathly scurred.  #allrelative.  

In any event, when it comes to having to address fear, most of us would more readily embrace the fetal position than the warrior pose. More often than not, our tendencies may be to embrace ease and comfort instantly letting go of the opportunity to seize a challenge and embrace our capabilities as conquerors.  Did she just say opportunity to seize a challenge?  Yup.  I really do believe that, challenges are actually opportunities just to see how friggin fierce we actually can be…and just a little reminder, the she who said it is also the one who never in a million years thought she would leave a home and go a distance of 3000+ miles to face a personal challenge and seize a life changing, future redefining opportunity.  Seriously, do you know what I’ve learned about myself in just a little over two months?!?!?!  No, but that’s not important.  What’s important is what you have to learn about you by employing your extinguisher(s)-your means of putting out your fears, doubts, and mental blocks.

Yes, so you want me to elaborate on these extinguishers?  Cool. Simply put, these are things, mindsets and mindshifts, the people or squad that motivates you, your faith, the personal affirmations and confessions, your playlist that gets you amped to face whatever challenge you’re facing, your mom!  The list can go on and on but now you get what I’m getting at here.

Action plan for the week:

  • Identify one thing that scares you…anything, big, small, you name it.  
  • Describe how you feel when it shows up and comes over you.
  • Describe what it would feel like to stand up to that fear.  

Now, get your warrior on and decide two things do you need to do to just start to stand up to it…what extinguishers are you going to use?  Prayer, talking about it to a friend? Having your sister, your brother hold you accountable to address it?  Whatever it is, get up. Stand firm. Look the fire in the face. AIM!

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Soundtrack of the week: Janelle Monae’s, Tightrope…whether you’re high or low, brave or battling fear, even tip toeing is a start in the right direction!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #65-Thinking of and Embracing the “Impossible”

“Sometimes, I think of as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”  -Alice, Alice in Wonderland

Impossibilities vs Possibilities.  I think of these as two sides of a coin:

Though they have their own distinct definitions, it is pretty clear that the distinction is pretty simple: What can be and what can’t right?  The impact may be significantly grand, but the distinction, that’s pretty simple.  

So when we think of what we should focus on in our day to day, in our commitments to being and living fabulously fierce, wouldn’t it make sense to focus on what is possible instead of what is impossible.  I mean, if I have the option of focusing on what is possible, eg spending part of my Sunday afternoon writing my next post, instead of what is not possible, eg picking up and joining the Alvin Ailey Dance Company to be a part of this year’s tour, what am I going to do?  You see the fruits of the option I selected.  So why, why in the world would Alice focus on six impossible things every morning?  Why on God’s green earth would I focus today’s conversation on embracing the impossible?  Well, because truly the difference between what is impossible and what is possible is nothing more than our mindset.

Before you start to counter right off the bat, please indulge in a little walk down memory lane if you will.  Please?  Ok, what was the last thing you did that you thought, at one time, just was not possible.  Think really hard if you need to?  At some point, we all face certain things, experiences, that really challenge us because we’ve not yet faced them.  We’ve not yet envisioned experiencing them, let alone obtaining a sense of accomplishment in that experience. Then, opportunities to choose show up.  We get to choose if we will face what we think is impossible and entertain the potential of possibility in the impossible and there, there lies the most critical difference.  One perfect example is my friend Riem’s little girl right now, just starting to learn how to walk.  You should see this little munchkin.  Right now, walking is actually an impossibility for her.  She’s never done it before.  Every day though, every day, she’s getting closer and closer to trusting a little legs, her own ability, and embracing the fact that it may actually be possible.  Her impossibility will soon be an unquestionable possibility!

The fierce Eleanor Roosevelt once said “All things possible were once thought impossible.”  Something FBA’s Mrs. Joseph shared with me when I was wondering how in the world I was going to pass that AP History exam that has stuck with me to this day!  And this is why Alice not only thinks of six impossible things before breakfast, she actually embraces those impossibilities as targets of potential possibility through her own shifted mindset.

So what does that leave for us to do?  So glad you asked ( you are all always so great at that :).  Well, we start, this week, going after what in our minds seems to be impossible.

Every day this week, before you even get out of bed, 

  • Specify one thing you’ve put into the “impossible” bucket
  • Engage in some imagination play.  Just humor yourself (or me) and imagine what the “possible” of that identified “impossibility” would look like. (I’m already at the Wang Theatre with the Ailey Troupe in April….in my head).
  • Describe, out loud and/or in writing, what experiencing this “impossibility” as a “possibility” feels like.
  • Embrace it by actually articulating it to just one person.  Yup, just one.
  • Seek. It. Out.  What would the the beginnings of that impossibility being a possibility require?  Whatever it is, go for it and do that!
  • Live Fabulously Fierce!!!!!

Soundtrack of the week:  Borrowing “AllauneBAlvin Ailey’s Audition video to share my “what would it feel like” step!  And of course, my ABSOLUTELY FAVORITE from Ailey, Revelations! Enjoy!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #64-Engaging in Squad Selection

“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.” Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

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I’ve shared much about all that is going on with me regarding my recent move, recent new job, and there is just so much going on.  Needless to say, everything is presenting a new season for me as 2016 really started of with an amazing bang and hasn’t really let up yet!  Absolutely loving it!

One of the major components of this experience for me is that of distance and time difference.  I am definitely the farthest away from family, friends, those dear to me, and even familiar colleagues than I’ve ever been, outside of time away for vacation.  I don’t want to say that it takes more work to stay connected to folks, but what I’m realizing is that it does require heightened intention to stay connected to those who I want in my life. At the same time, I’m meeting so many new individuals who are just amazing and fun and are already adding so much to my journey-it’s literally only been three weeks and I’ve been overwhelmingly blessed with the presence of these additional fabulously fierce individuals.  One of these people, just this week said, “no pressure but you’re already family…I feel like I’ve known you forever”  and another “soooo, where have you been my whole life?”  A bit weird in the how in the world have be built such a connection already but amazing in the how amazing that we’ve built such a connection already!!!!  See what I did there 🙂

The flip side of all of this is that I’m having to decide who really gets parts of me that those who have always been part of my journey get.  You see, things are going exceptionally well and as life would have it, there are many who are re-appearing, or showing up after being gone for so long.  Absolutely no harm done, no insult, no hurt but the observation I’ve made of the two sides of the journey for me have had me really thinking about the fact that I have to make the choice.  I don’t have to give away any part of me to anyone who isn’t there for me…just as me but instead for the highs of my journey.  I actually get to choose who’s part of my squad.  It sounds so simple, but let me elaborate just a bit more…I promise it’ll be good 🙂

Ok, so as of late there’ve been many posts about squads, highlights about who true squad friends are like the phenomenal Taraji P. Henson for Viola Davis moment….

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reminders of the blessings of squad time with the Mary, Kerry and Taraj apple commercial and a number of other things  That being said, it begs attention as an important factor in our lives.  So, with all of this, what does, engaging in Squad Selection actually entail?  As always, soooo glad you asked 😉

1-Define what it is you want and need from your squad: Again, this sounds so simple but it’s really important to know what you need and don’t need in your life.  Be very clear with yourself about what it is you want your squad to bring to the table of your life. And remember, this changes over time…this is why, as one friend once put it, you “graduate” from people, and it’s actually ok.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve gotten better and they haven’t, or that you’ve grown and they haven’t.  It just means life changes and circumstances, situations, changed perspectives and the like, lead to divergence, no hard feelings.  Just be clear about what you need for you.

2-Articulate what feelings your squad reinforces: Joy. Responsible. Confident. Accountable.  This is what I seek to experience with those around me. Let me be clear-this is not to say that they are responsible for how I feel.  I didn’t say that you should articulate how they make you feel.  You are responsible for how you manage your emotions, but others can either detract or reinforce those emotions.  For example, I am a confident individual and I am responsible for building and nurturing my confidence.  Those in my squad though, always reinforce this sentiment for me when I need it or in those “just because I love you girl” moments that come up so I don’t lose sight of that.  It’s important to be clear about what you want reinforced so that when anything outside of that shows up, you can call someone out on it.  For instance, you’ll notice fear is not on my list.  Hence, when this grandeur of all the change I was facing recently showed up, not one person in my squad even mentioned the factor of fear.  “Honey, you got this! I just know it” (thanks Su)…”I knew it! I knew this is where you would land….it’s just perfect for you”(thanks Jas)…”I’m really proud of you…really” (thanks John)….”No, you’re not crazy, you’re actually really brave” (thanks MC)…”You? Not make friends out there?  That’s funny!  You’ll be fine! (thanks Judith)……and I could go on and on and on.  But see the trend?  Yeah, that’s what I’m getting at.

3-Define your role….what it is and what it isn’t.  I learned very early in life that you teach people how to treat you.  You have to be clear about what expectations they can have of you and what they can’t.  I am definitely guilty of overextending in the past and even being a bit too loyal to those whom I call friend.  You live, you learn and this being true, the clearer you get about what you choose to let others leverage from you…and again, what they can’t…the better.   Boundaries….limits…they’re actually ok!  Set them.  At the same time, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable in your role either.  Especially when it comes to your squad, your sisters, you’ve got to be vulnerable and enjoy the benefits of that too!

4-Scout and/or embrace:  While I have my right handers in place, my aces, I’m actually in a place where there is room for more in this next level of my adventure with uncharted territory.  And so I’m definitely being open to new friends!  At the same time, remember that whole intention factor I mentioned in the beginning, I’m totally embracing (virtually) those currently in my squad.  Scouting and embracing is my balancing act in this season!  Join in.  And then….Party like it’s 1999….ok 2020 because, let’s just be honest, at this point it just sounds much cooler….maybe….just a little…alright, ok, just in my head..but not so much…just on paper 🙂 #CarryOn
Soundtrack of the week: Super cheesy but just seems so fitting-Count on Me by Whitney Houston and Cece Winans

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #63- Honoring Your Journey, Your Heart and Your Soul

Well, it’s been a couple weeks now since I made my move to the West Coast and I have to say, California is treating me pretty well!  Things are really superb and I  am truly enjoying every bit of it.  Absolutely true that there is no place like home so of course, I’m missing family and friends so thank God for the phone, FaceTime, texts, emails and even a few notes from friends–I seriously have the best people a girl could have in her life….which brings me to this week’s post (acting like I’ve been as diligent as I’d like with weekly post…hehehe, just let me have it :).

These past few months have been so revealing in terms of facing the test of really walking my talk, the people in my life, the desires of my heart, and the strength, well alignment of my soul with what I truly believe.  That’s a lot right?  So of course, I’m just going to break it all down here and try to be as succinct as I can….but you know me 🙂

Honoring Your Journey:                                                                                                                   In our day-to-day, it can be very easy to forget that we really only get one shot at this game called life.  That being said, though we may be dealt a particular hand that doesn’t always look like it can work in our favor, or the dice may not always roll the way we’d like, or we’ve got competitors, opponents, or even those on our teams who present challenges, our one job is to honor our journey, valuing each day as an ongoing contribution to the bigger plays we put forth.  No matter what, keep the game interesting, at least by being in it.  Sitting on the sidelines should never be an option.  You may not always have the ball, but you can always get in there and run, engage, contribute something.  Honor your journey……stay in it, make it worth it, unlock the plays that will yield a story you’re proud to share when the time comes.

Honor Your Heart:                                                                                                                             Of course for me reflection at this point as it relates to the heart has to do with a guy….another story for another day….but when it comes to honoring your heart, the best way I can articulate what I’d like to get across to you is that it is so important to treat it, to honor it, as the precious pearl that it is.  Give yourself the time to know what soothes it, what gives it warmth, what hurts and breaks it, what potentially causes it to writhe in that kind of pain you remember but soon forget once you open it up again.  Then, cherish it with a regard as diligent as that which you would have for newborn, yet as carefree and whimsical as that magical heat that lets hot air balloons soar to heights unimagined…accepting that at the end of the day, you don’t want to favor one strategy more than the other.  Instead, seek a balance that allows you to experience all that love and life have to offer, appreciating that it is the heart that has the strength to endure that act even when you don’t think you actually can.

Honoring Your Soul:                                                                                                                       The more I find myself in new and unusual places with new and unfamiliar faces, I experience more what I’ve always known to be true-We are first spirit beings before we are human beings.  What does this mean?  Well, essentially, long before we are formed in our natural state, we are souls, we are spirits.  Our soul is the resting place and launch pad of our values.  It’s the source through which we can measure alignment with our beliefs.  It’s where our desires take root and stem.  And yet, we don’t always do a good job at consistently investing in our souls.  A long time ago there was the Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul series.  To me, what that was a reminder of was the need for us to take pauses in our day to get in tune with our souls…you know a gut check, if you will.   We’ve got to nurture that part of our being.  My source is my daily scripture reading and intention setting.  We need this, the time that is, no matter what you believe, investing the time in reflection is so critical.  We actually crave it without always knowing how to articulate it.  For instance, I’ve only been here just two weeks and really only connecting with folks for the past few days.  Interestingly enough, I’m the newest person to the circles I’m engaging in and the other folks have actually been here for at least a year and most much longer than that.  Yet, consistently conversations have come to “needing to find a church”.  And no, I’m not the one actually bringing it up.  We all seek nurturing for our souls in some form or another.  Take time to honor that.

Remember, while our days are actually many, they’re not promised and so our time here will always be shorter than we desire.  That  being said, it’s that much more imperative that we

  • live every day to the fullest, honoring our journey overall
  • gift ourselves time to recognize what different life situations enhance or detract from the heart and foster what is good for it thereby honoring it
  • invest in our spiritual growth and development, honoring our souls

Until next time, live fabulously fierce!!!!

Soundtrack of the week: A Double Header 🙂

 

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #62-Proactively Living in Expectation

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My oh my has it been quite some time.  By now, I trust that you know when I get a little quiet….ok, a lot quiet…on the blogosphere, it is evidence of quite a lot going on in my personal efforts to live fabulously fierce.  This time it is definitely no different.

A few short weeks ago, I shared on my Facebook page that I am embarking on a huge change, personally and professionally.  In just a little over a week, I will be heading to California to start a brand new opportunity in the D&I space with Google!  Now to date, I haven’t really been as transparent about the specifics of what I do and where I work with the simple intention of staying focused on the messaging of personal branding, living authentically and all that I believe goes with all of that.  I still want to adhere to this personal standard, but given Factor #62, I hope you can see why I am sharing so much now.

Here’s the deal, my life over the past few years has been pretty amazing.  Personally, professionally, financially, health-wise, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually, things have been off the charts!  Have I continued to have opportunities for growth, improvement and progress?  Un. Doubt. Ed. Ly!  No question about it.  But where I was, mentally, I guess, was that if things just stayed as they were, honestly, I was good….great, actually!  This was all the result of just operating from a place of gratitude and sincere thanksgiving in everything.  And so, I have to admit, while there were things I still desired, experiences I identified as wanting, again, if things didn’t change, I was all good.  Soooooo, I really wasn’t proactive in living in a way of maintaining higher expectations.  I hoped for more.  I desired more.  I looked forward to more….but again, no complaints.  I didn’t get complacent…I promise….but, I was truly satisfied.

And then, within the same week earlier this year, I got a few calls on a number of opportunities with two peaking my interest the most.  Then, to make a long story short, with one brave ‘Yes, I accept,” my whole world is about to change.  I had no expectations of any of what has come and is continuing to come my way and lo and behold, a lot of incredible things are happening and taking shape, even before my move.  So, the lesson for me has been that when you’re thinking things are just incredibly fabulous, and you’re living as fiercely as you can, and you just can’t even imagine how much better things can get as you sit back in awe of all that is currently in front of you…..brace yourself for the unimaginable and then so much more.  Live as if there is always another door preparing to show itself with an opportunity in perfect in alignment of who you are, what you’re continuing to become, and the unfolding of your unique journey.

So, as we’re in the season of kicking off the new year, while I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, I am all about setting your intentions around continuing to live fabulously fierce as well as you can in your authenticity.  Thus, my encouragement for all of us in 2016 and beyond is to proactively live in expectation of even greater, even better, even more extraordinary, even more fabulously fierce.  Our stories never get old, they don’t cease to unfurl many new twists and turns, as long as we continue to be open to the next chapters

Happy New Year!!!

Soundtrack of the Week: Tori Kelly’s Daydream

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #60-Daring to Ask for and/or Accept Help

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You’re not going to believe this, I know you’re not, but as smart as I am, there are some lessons in this life that I need to be taught over and over and over….and over again.  Shocker, I know!  Those who have been following long enough and those who know me really well are either smiling or rolling their eyes at the sarcasm here….and I’m ok with either J  But here’s the truth of the matter, I continue to struggle with asking for and accepting help.  Yes, I totally know why…thanks to the self-discovery process and a few complimenting self-assessments but it is something I still struggle with, though I’ve gotten muuuuuuuuch better.

Living fabulously fierce means that you are one who knows that you really can’t handle everything on your own or at a minimum, if you can’t see that, you’re strong enough, well wise enough to know that when others are offering their help, maybe they’re seeing something you’re not….that you need their help.  Let them!

So here’s a bit of self reflection that I’ll be hold enough, vulnerable enough,  to share:

  • Earlier this year, my fabulous friend, Alesha Barnes, you know the fitness competitor, started coaching me on my workout routine. We were on Arms Day and I was trying to complete a set of presses and she helped me get through the last few reps but I told her “You’ve gotta let me just do it because what am I going to do when you’re not here?”  Her response, “Well, I’m here now so I’m helping you!”  Essentially, shut up and let me help you!
  • Last weekend, I was traveling with my mom to Miami. It was a quick weekend trip so we didn’t have too much in the way of luggage but you know, enough for the both of us.  At one point, we’re running through the airport….yup, totally cut the time super close to boarding because we were having so much fun….and I just took all the bags.  My mom looks at me and says “Farah what are you doing?  Give me one of the bags!”  My response, “Mommy I do this all the time when I’m traveling for work.”  Her response, “you’re not on a work trip, I’m here, give me the bag.”
  • This past weekend, prepping for our Living Fabulously Fierce Coaching Party at LFF Headquarters, my sister, Judith, jumped in on a number of pieces including running errands and picking up some items.  I asked her a few time, “Wait, where did you get these from?…..How much did that cost?  How many of these did you get?  How did you do that?”  Finally, Friday night, she looked at me and said “stop asking me questions”.  It was kinda funny to see her at her wits end (hehehe) but she was essentially saying, “shut up, let me help.”  Seriously though, you should’ve seen her face..if I was a pic, the caption would’ve read “for the love of God, shut up.”  🙂

And here I am. not even realizing that this is really a pattern for me and I need to focus on progressing from viewing asking for help as a challenge to choosing to leverage the ability to ask for help as the ability to demonstrate wisdom, discernment, and bravery…until now.

So what does it me to dare to ask/accept help?

  • First it means, finding peace in the truth that were never meant to be here operating and executing completely on our own. As human beings, we are designed to lean on one another and provide a safe space for leaning.
  • Second, it means redefining what it means to ask for help. Some of us have been taught to view the need for help as a weakness, a deficiency….more about looking at what you’re not able to do on your own than what you’re able to accomplish by leveraging others….a true strength.  Take the time to redefine what it means to ask for an accept help.  For me, it reminds me that I’m not alone.  That’s huuuuuuuge.  See some of us have this self-sufficiency mode of operating because for one reason or another we’ve just had to figure things out on our own so when help shows up, we can’t even accept it for what it is…confirmation that you’re still self-sufficient but you’re just no longer solo.  Choose your definition.
  • Third, it means stepping back and letting others be a blessing, showing your what they can do, elevating their own strengths, skills, and areas of expertise. This basically boils down to getting over yourself and sharing the spotlight.  Sharing the platform or giving others the opportunity to show you there’s.  What a loss of an opportunity for you and for them if you’re just note smart, brave, daring enough to give them that opportunity by asking for or accepting their help.  That’s totally not in alignment with living fabulously fierce.

So, think about it.  My challenge to you this week is just to think about “help”.  Really take the time to think about what that means to you?  Do you have negative thoughts around asking for/accepting help?  Why?  Is it something deep or is it really just your pride (ouch!  I know, I totally went there).  Whatever it is, just call it out.  Then, agree to go through the process above and start tackling the challenge of asking for and accepting help.  You’ll be amazed at how much gain comes from it, both for you, and those positioned to help you!

Soundtrack of the week: No one’s done this better than Erica Campbell in her song Help.  It’s a Gospel song so really focused on that special faith-based help.  Never the less, you can hear the need in the words, the song, the message.  Let go, be strong, be vulnerable, be positioned for the help you need…the help you deserve!