Disappointment

One of the potential consequences of being one who is always looking at the brighter side of challenging situations, seeking out silver linings in dark clouds, setting intentions of looking for the good or positive and staying hopeful even where there is evidence enough to just move forward with experience-filtered lenses, eyes wide-open is the reality of disappointment.  It’s real.  

We go through life with expectations of how things will work out, how we will progress and move throughout our journey, and, what potentially is most taxing, the hope that those who we believe should treat us as valuably as we do ourselves, and them, will reciprocate.  I mean it’s only fair that if we treat others as we seek to be treated that they would offer us the same respect, honor, love and basic human kindness.  Reasonable.  Beyond reasonable actually.  And then there come those moments, multiple moments, where others fail us.  When they fail to meet our expectations or more basically, meet us at least at our own level of giving, being, existing with and for them.  Yeah, not everyone operates at the same level of this mindset that we do.  And because of course our worldview, values and perspectives must be right, the door is swung wide open for the grand entrance of disappointment.

We all go through this.  At one point or another, someone we’ve cared about, loved, been there for, you name it, is present and able to do the same for us but is actually unwilling….and flat out tells you or shows you so.  Disappointment is actually defined as the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.  It is totally ok to have expectations of others.  This is actually how we hold each other accountable and to a level of esteem that elevates humanity…at least to a degree.  But if we’re honest about disappointment, it really has almost very little to do with others’ failure to meet our own hopes and expectations.  Debatable yes, but what I think is less debatable is the truth that often, we refuse to let go of our expectations of others, consciously or unconsciously.  Then, when we get to that final straw, we’re almost broken because we can’t even fathom the reality that when someone has the opportunity to simply show up the way we have for them, they wouldn’t.  From there, we start to , if we’re brave enough, reflect back to other instances in which their behavior demonstrated the exact same thing you’re experiencing with them now.  Quite frankly, as they’ve maintained more consistency in their failures to show up for you than not, they’ve don’t nothing “wrong”.  But you still hold out hope.  

We point to different things that would talk us into moving forward from distrusting and/or limiting our expectations of others, believing, surely he’ll do this for me…..of course she’ll support me in this….why wouldn’t they let me____?  I let them do the same when they needed. And then their consistency shows up again…and the punch to the gut.  

I shared the following recently:

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What I would submit is that instances of disappointment are seasons for us to make a decision to stop giving folks opportunities they have absolutely no interest in.  Accept it….productively.  Don’t begrudge them…just move on, wisely. Refuse to

  • offer your expectations as opportunities
  • position yourself for frustration, unreasonable surprise…and disappointment
  • keep investing in him…her…them…expecting a return that will never come

I’m not for the “this for that” mode of living with others but there is something to be said for moving away from generosity that requires unsuitable sacrifices around your logic and willingness to accept truth.  It kind of boils down to the saying that “when someone shows you who they are, believe them.”  I’d add to that, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them, and stop setting the stage for their encores….draw the curtains and get some tickets to another show.  You’ll save a lot more in the end!”

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 #62-Proactively Living in Expectation

Expectation

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!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #59-Living Purposefully WITH COURAGE!!!!

I decided a long time ago not to give speeches, but to give testimonies.” ~Viola Davis

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A few years ago, I had the incredible opportunity to hear Ms. Davis speak at a conference hosted by Bryant University.  It was just a few months, maybe weeks even, before I was to take the stage in a local play for the very first time!  So the timing was so fabulous for me and then walking out, I was just in awe to be walking right behind her…..riiiiiiiiight behind her.  Ok, so what’s my point?  Well, Ms. Davis left everyone in the room with so much wisdom, inspiration and, without actually verbalizing it, a call to action to live purposefully.  I mean, she was standing right there, right in front of us as a perfect example of the results of living on purpose…..intentionally…..with courage….in the face of fear, doubt, question, limited confidence etc….a true living testimony.  AND ALL THIS, YEARS BEFORE LAST WEEK’S EMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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It is clear that she has been living purposefully for years long before we even knew her name. See, she made a decision long before she even understood what that actually meant (I really encourage you to look up her story and learn more…wish I could share all the notes I took from her speech….testimony).  So what does this all mean for us?  Well, as we continue to develop in our commitment and ability to live fabulously fierce, we have to identify, own and live our purpose without wavering, and with relentless perseverance.  How?

Well, I am not convinced that there is any secret sauce or anything like that to this practice that we call living.  What I do believe is that there are certain truths, realities if you will, that add value to the experience of living and make it feasible to make all of it our very own.  Hence…yup, I’ll say it again, the importance of self-discovery, self-definition and self-distinction to the entire branding process…the process of living authentically….living fabulously free.  Quite frankly, it is the focus of self- distinction that is most directly tied to the call of living purposefully.  Remember, self-distinction is all about the footprint you’re intending to leave behind, the impression you want made that lives on in others long after you’re gone (not just from the earth but even from just a room you’re walking out of….what do you leave behind?

The connection to living purposefully is simply the very definition of what it means to live on purpose: living with determination, resolution, full of meaning, with significance! So again, how do we do this?  Well, just a few recommendations here for you:

  • State exactly what your purpose is. To begin living purposefully is to know what purpose you are seeking to fulfill, to meet, so that your legacy is a reflection of just that. Using myself as an example-my clients always hear, ‘I will never ask you to do something I haven’t done or won’t do,’-I know that part of my purpose on this earth is to reflect the truth that one candle loses no light by lighting another.  This manifests itself in how I seek as much as possible to elevate other women and serve as an example to young girls….hence Living Fabulously Fierce as the method through which I intentionally live my purpose.  Are things exactly where I want them to be in this endeavor?  Nope (if you only knew how much is in my heart for all things LFF related!!!!!) but anyone who knows me and know what I’m about knows in some for another what my purpose is…because I do.  So, what is it that you believe you’re here to impact? To leave a positive impression on, as a legacy that will impact others for endlessly?
  • Take one step toward living on/toward your purpose. Decide today what one action would lead you just one step closer to either beginning or continuing to live purposefully.  Write it down…with a date next to it that notes when that step will be taken (dare I challenge you to note it as within the week?!?). Take that step!  Once this is done, it’ll be much easier to take steps 2, 3, 4, etc.  Then you’ll find it’s not even about the steps any more…it’s just about the living.  It becomes your natural mode of living.  And don’t think of this as something that needs to be so huge.  Think about it, how did you learn to walk?  I know we don’t remember this early part of life but we can all be certain it wasn’t by taking huge leaps, jumps or anything of the sort.  No, crawling to walking, walking to running, and look at us now J  For me, when I first looked at all of this many years ago, it was just a matter of deciding on my own personal mantra if you will.  The question was “how can I describe the way that I live that serves as a reflection of who I want to be and the impact I wish to have?”  Lo and behold…..fabulously fierce….living. fabulously. fierce.  What’s in a name?  Well, apparently a whole lot to drive a lot more action!  What’s the one step for you?  When will you take it?
  • Develop your strategy for addressing fear by acknowledging it and moving past it. Earlier this month, we make September the month of Courage for Living Fabulously Fierce.  Those of you who’ve been tracking with us via the LFF Facebook page have inboxed messages around how you’re developing courage, how you’re facing fear and how you’re really pushing yourself.  Interestingly enough, our shares, likes, and retweets this month have been the highest they’ve ever been!  Yes, I think I’ve shared some pretty cool quotes, messages, even songs/videos about courage. But what I think has also driven this uptick is the reality of how so many of us live in fear.  I don’t even mean an all-encompassing fear, but fear in one area or another in our lives that keeps us from living life to it’s very fullest, especially as it relates  to us living more purposefully.

I’m recently obsessed with Brendan Burchard’s The Motivation Manifesto.  He has a full chapter on addressing fear                and I can’t help but share the details of just the first chapter with you here…then GO GET THE BOOK!

        Fear rips us from freedom.  It is the destroyer of greatness.  We know this, and we should tame our mind in order to             defeat fear.  Yet look at all the adults who act like powerless children and avoid the life they want because of fear.                 ..the self-oppressed say, “You don’t understand.  I can’t chase my reams because I might fail-I might not be good                   enough.”  These are the debilitating thoughts…..that should we wish to live a vibrant life, we must transcend and look             fear in the eye, recognizing it as a mental construct that we alone fuel with small thoughts that betray our magnitude…..         our distinction, our purposeful living, our ability to live fabulously fierce

We don’t always have the courage to live purposefully in the fear of doubts and the like.  That being said, we have to             devise some way, a strategy around what we will do when these fears start to creep up.  For some, it really is just                   taking a deep breath and carrying on.  For others, it’s a process of dancing with logic through a series of questions:  If I         really put myself out there, will people judge me or am I just thinking this up?  If they do, do I actually care?  Would I              rather play it safe with no progress, or push myself in the direction of fulfilling my purpose? What’s the worst that can            happen if I just take the first step?  So, what strategy will you use for addressing fear?

  • Daydream, envision, vision board. The value of visioning is beyond measure.  When addressing goals with my clients, we ALWAYS use some form of visioning.  Decide what the best way for your to actually “see” yourself living your life in line with your purpose and use it! I’d encourage you to use even allow yourself some time to daydream, yes in the midst of all the hustling and bustling we have to do!  Do it do it do it!
  • Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive!!!!!!!! Need I say more 🙂

 To living purposefully, with courage!!!!  Thank you, Ms. Viola Davis for the example!!!!

Soundtrack of the week: A repeat….Beyonce’s I was Here!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #57-Accepting Compliments and Accolades

Compliments….for whatever reason, for so many of us, they can be difficult to take.

There really isn’t much more to say about this except for the fact that many of us hear a compliment and it just makes us uncomfortable.  I’m actually working with a client now who struggles to hear good feedback.  It’s come up in her most recent performance review as an area for improvement.  Also, even in our coaching journey together, when I congratulate her for work well-done on something or showing progress in a particular area in which she has really been focusing, she immediately reflects it back to me.  Well, it’s because I have a great coach… Oh it wasn’t that hard… I mean I could’ve done more…..etc and I could go on and on.  Of course I call her out on this as needed, and she’s actually getting better at it but it still is an area of opportunity for her.

Interestingly enough, she is not the only one.  Just this week one of our followers, Angie ImBlessed shared the following which reminded me of this reality

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Many of us, (if not all) including me, have challenges from time to time accepting the simplest of compliments or even accepting accolades and credit for work well-done.  I mean, think about it, really think about it.  When was the last time someone offered you up a compliment and you offered up a self-loathing response or totally minimized it or even just totally changed the topic.  I know for myself, a really bad habit is when I get a compliment on something I’m wearing, I have this quick response of just telling them where I got it from and how it was on sale….like that’s the big win!  A friend actually just called me out on this.  He gave me a compliment on something I was wearing, and now I don’t really remember what I said, but his only response was “Farah, how does that have anything to do with the fact that you look really nice in the dress?”  I had no response so I just said, “You know what, you’re right.  Thanks!”  FYI-if you didn’t know before that I’m totally on this Living Fabulously Fierce journey with you and not preaching at you, my transparency here definitely tells you that now!

So, what do we do about this?  Honestly, we each have different, potentially very deep reasons for our knee jerk responses to compliments.It takes some self-reflection to identify what yours are and start to address them.  For now though, one simple item—I know, I always say it’s simple..but this time, I soooooooo promise—Ready?  Just. say. Thank you!  Boom!  No, no, you don’t even have to pay the person a compliment back….seriously, it’s ok.  Just say thank you and if you’re really struggling with leaving it there, I totally dare you to take it a step further…..The next time someone says,

“You look really nice”….just say, “thank you…I felt like this outfit looked nice too.”

“Great job on your presentation”…..just say, “thank you…I felt like I did a really good job.”

“Love your earrings”….just say, “thank you…..I decided to treat myself.”

“You really turned that project around!!!”…”thank you…I committed to doing my very best.”

So, what’s the Compliment Acceptance Formula (yup, totally just made that up):

  • Option A: Thank you=thank you……and stop
  • Option B: Thank you +Positive agreement reinforced through sharing how you felt (eg “You look really nice”….just                        say, “thank you…I felt like this outfit looked nice too.”)
  • Option C: Thank you+ Positive Action you took that warranted the compliment you received )eg “Great job on your                        presentation”…..just say, “thank you…I felt like I did a really good job.”)

Now, ladies, there are too many options available not to have this work for you….or at the veeeeeeeery least, just try it out.  Just pick one and try it out this week!  I dare you!  And while you’re at it, don’t forget to offer up a compliment to another.  That’s what being fabulously fierce is all about, losing no light in your candle by lighting another’s! #ShineBright!

Soundtrack of the week: Some Soca from Ms. Patrice Roberts-a fab recommendation from our follower, Jasmine T.

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #56-Eliminating Internal Barriers

This past week was incredibly busy and truly phenomenal.  Things that have been put on the back burner for a little bit with work are now well-positioned to be picked up given that our official “busy season” is wrapped up.  Also, this week included a full slate of scheduled coaching clients with a variety of items/topics to be addressed.  Across the board though, one item continued to come up across the diversity in age, culture, experience, etc of my clients…..love.

For those for whom love is a “missing” component…not yet evident…you know, my single ladies, I had a few sessions where we focused on what was really at hand (oh the irony).  What I had to address with each was what internally was keeping them from the love that they wanted to experience.

One piece of wisdom that I had to offer as I was reminded of a quote was the following:

“Your task is not to seek for love, but to seek and melt all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it….Love is everywhere. Melt your barriers and you will have love in abundance.”- Unknown(really, really wish I had the source to give cred)

There’s much more to this quote as I have it captured in a notebook of mine but this is really the core of what I was getting to with a few folks this week.  Sometimes, and naturally so, as human beings, we focus on potential external factors that may be limiting our ability to obtain the desires of the heart.  We seek to identify potential external factors that may very well be the “culprit(s)”.  Instead, what I would submit is more productive, would be to challenge ourselves to pause and consider what internally may be limiting us, positioned as barriers in our perspective, our openness, our truth and honesty with ourselves.  Ok, I guess I’ll just go there….we have to be daring and comfortable with the uncomfortable process of asking what are the deeper issues within that are challenging us to be open to, not only the potential but the prospect of love and any other experiences that may not be present in our life experiences that we so wish were?

Yup, this gets to some seriously deep stuff, but it’s when we embrace the deep that we get the depth in all the positive things we seek.  Yuck, I know.  One of my clients even warned me “Ok, I’ll go there with you because I need this but it’s just not going to be pretty.”  I’m gave if you’re game!  So, where do we start and what is the process?  I’m always so happy with our inquisitive you are J

  1. Accept the “ugly”. Yeah, this process is not pretty and that’s totally cool.  Who wants to just be pretty when you can grow into beauty?  Sometimes to see how extraordinary you are, you have to accept that the process getting there is going to involve blood, sweat and tears or at a minimum, feelings of fear, anxiety, pressure, anguish, emotional pain….all, just part of the process.  Accept what it will look and feel like, knowing that it will not be forever.
  2. Embrace the reality that you have some barriers that you are the “culprit” in building. It’s absolutely ok because you’re human and so what if you’ve created some blocks.  More than likely these were built for good reason.  Life is not a matter of just simple, independent activities but more valuable, experiences in which we decide how to react.  Safety or self-protection is always a good option in the moment when we feel threatened or in a position to be on guard.  It’s just never a long-tern, eternal solution.  That being said, accept that you may have appropriately built some walls, if you will, and as for good reason, there’s no shame in it, just opportunity for acceptance.
  3. Call your barriers out-Make it plane to yourself by being specific in identifying your barriers, internal blocks, and walls. Use whatever channel you need to to express what they are.  In identifying them, they have no hold over you.  Instead, you can call them out and be empowered to address them as needed.
  4. Show them the door, giving yourself time to facilitate their permanent exit-I don’t think I could say this more plainly. Let go of the walls, the barriers, the guards…and be patient with yourself in the process of letting them go forever.
  5. Welcome in what you desire-Enjoy and bask in the desires of your heart that are bound to manifest!

Living Fabulously Fierce SPOTLIGHT:  The Fabulously Fearless…

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 Allana Taranto

Photographer, Educator

What does Living Fabulously Fierce Mean to You?

For a long time I was a ‘Why’?  Over time, I became a ‘Why Not’? For me this means living honestly. It means embracing the continual process of self-reflection.

If you had to describe your brand in three words, what would those three words be?

  • Authentic
  • Lyrical
  • Eternal

How are you intentional about your personal brand?

I try to be thoughtful about the experience I create for my clients, and the images I make for them.  I feel, deeply that the responsibility of creating images of women that are empowering, and give their subjects agency.  For me it’s about making images that are celebratory and honor this moment.

How do you live it?

I try to acknowledge that much of life is performance, and enjoy that performance.  I try to be thoughtful about what I do, and how I move through my life.

If there is anything you could do to either reinforce or enhance your brand, what would that be?

Shoot more. Share with more people.

Greatest accomplishment?

I always feel wonderful when clients return for another shoot, or invite me to document the next special and momentous time in their lives.

Biggest Challenge that you’ve overcome?

Getting out of my own way.  I overthink everything. That’s the continual battle.

Interesting Fact/Interests/Hobby/Something you think the LFF World to Know

My 2015 goals are to fill up my sketchbook, cook my way through all of my CSA boxes, complete a personal photography project and to focus on community building. It’s quite a bit to tackle in addition to running my business, but I’m up for it.

How do you recommend other women stay true to themselves and live their authentic personal brand?

Have patience with yourself. Forgive yourself. Enjoy yourself. Pursue yourself.

What advice do you have for young girls, our up and coming fabulously fierce, around being their best selves or anything you’d like to share with them in particular?

Finding yourself as a woman, defining what that means to you and learning to live that, takes time.  Being brave takes practice.