Living Fabulously Fierce SPOTLIGHT:  The Fabulously Genuine…

Cori Tadrus!!!

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Author

What does Living Fabulously Fierce Mean to You? Constantly challenging yourself to be better. I think a lot of us tend to get too comfortable with ourselves, too set in our ways, so we aren’t able to grow and experience the joy that growth can bring. One small, kind of silly thing I’ve done that made me feel a little fiercer is learning to drive a stick shift. I really wanted this particular car, but couldn’t afford it unless I bought it in a standard transmission. I had tried a few times before to drive one, but could never figure it out. Well, being as stubborn as I am, I bought the car anyway, and my dad had to drive it home for me. I practiced driving it up and down my driveway for weeks, through tears and the smell of a burning clutch, but eventually I mastered it. In the end, I had that car almost 100,000 miles, and absolutely loved driving it!

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

  1. Sassy – My book, Flawed Happiness, reflects this as it has a lot of funny, fierce female characters.
  2. Soulful – I think that music has the power to speak to and empower you in so many ways; to bring a smile to your face, a pang to your heart, or a warm sensation to your soul. I try to emulate this soulful, connected feeling in my writing.
  3. Self-discovery – Flawed Happiness is about finding happiness from within. It’s a reflection of me.

How are you intentional about your personal brand? I strive to live consciously.

How do you live it? I put a lot of thought into the everyday things — like eating good foods, surrounding myself with positive people, being kind, and using words and actions that set a good example for the type of woman I want my daughter to be.

If there is anything you could do to either reinforce or enhance your brand, what would that be?  Work on not being so much of an introvert. I’m not naturally a social butterfly, so getting the words out about my brand has been a (good) challenge for me.

Greatest accomplishment? Being at a place in my life where I am genuinely happy – with myself, with my work, and with the family I have created.

Biggest Challenge that you’ve overcome? Definitely the ability to listen to my inner voice over the roar of the outside world. Not that I don’t value the input of others, but there was a point where I was making decisions, especially regarding my career, based solely on other people’s standards of success. But now that I’m confidant in where I want my brand to go, something I have yet to overcome is finding balance between the desire to achieve and living in the moment.

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

I love to explore different cultures. I was an anthropology major in college, and went to Namibia, Africa as part of an exchange program.

How do you recommend other women stay true to themselves and live their authentic personal brand? There’s a Walt Whitman poem that I love that says to “dismiss whatever insults your own soul.” This is awesome advice. Whether it’s an old pair of tight jeans lingering in the closet, or a relationship that makes you feel less than whole, I think letting go of the things that weigh us down allows us to become the happiest, most authentic versions of ourselves.

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? Don’t let anyone discourage you from being you. Your uniqueness will always be your best asset.

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Living Fabulously Fierce SPOTLIGHT: The Fabulously ‘Relentless’…….

 Ykyttra Jones

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Human Resources Specialist

What does Living Fabulously Fierce Mean to You? Living fabulously fierce means taking the difficulties that life often brings and using them as a launching pad for your success!
If you had to describe your brand in three words, what would those three words be? Why?   

  1. Nurturing – Giving back is something that is important and truly makes me who I am.
  2. Loving – I’ve grown up believing that love covers a multitude of sins. Being able to love people, regardless of their ‘offense’ is also just part of who I am.
  3. Warrior- Even in the hardest of times instead of giving up, I fight to overcome.

How are you intentional about your personal brand? By being involved in various forums that allow me to give back and sow into the lives of others. I am the proud mother of a child who suffers from mental illness and there are many parents out there who have lived in my shoes and have not had access to the resources that I have been fortunate to have. So being able to reach out and help in this capacity is how I intentionally live my brand daily.

If there is anything you could do to either reinforce or enhance your brand, what would that be?   For me this would be to continue to be visible and accessible to parents and children with special needs in any capacity that I can.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?  Being a single mother of two wonderful boys is my greatest accomplishment!  I find that no matter what accomplishments I have achieve, none compare to the joy in simply being mom and experiencing anything but “simple” rewards in this.  The rewards are truly immeasurable…hence, my greatest accomplishment.

Biggest Challenge that you’ve overcome?  Not letting life circumstances or the views of others dictate how I feel about myself.  I have learned that low self-esteem will rob you of your joy if you allow it to.  Purposing to speak positive things about myself daily and surrounding myself with people who challenge me to be the best me I can be is how I have overcome this challenge.

Interesting Fact/Interests/Hobby/Something you think the LFF World to Know.  In additional to my day job, I am also an advocate for children with special needs, a special education surrogate parent and a volunteer “cuddler” at Boston Children’s Hospital.  I don’t let anything stop me from doing what I set out to do.

How do you recommend other women stay true to themselves and live their authentic personal brand?   By truly accepting who they are and embracing their uniqueness. Most importantly, not letting anyone or anything deter them from reaching their goals and fulfilling their purpose. Nothing is impossible!

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? Stay focused and surround yourself with people who can pull out the best in you.  Ask for help.  Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness but a true sign of strength. I would also like to encourage them to truly love who they are… flaws and all…those are truly the things that will make you Fabulously Fierce!

Living Fabulously Fierce SPOTLIGHT:The Fabulously ‘On Purpose’…

KAREN HINDS

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 Leadership Mentor for Milennials

So we’re still preparing for our March Spotlight Campaign, accepting submissions and nominations but we just couldn’t wait to start sharing some of the wisdom and insight already coming in to Living Fabulously Fierce from you incredible women-10 women already confirmed for next month!  So we’re giving you just a bit of what all of March will have in store.  Enjoy our Spotlight on Karen Hinds this week!!!!!

What does Living Fabulously Fierce Mean to You? Living fabulously fierce means living with purpose…with purpose and having fun.

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

  1. Risk taker-If I have an idea, I just go after it!
  2. Excellence-I make sure to do everything with excellence for myself, for my clients and family.
  3. Fun-well, you have to enjoy life!!!

How are you intentional about your personal brand? I set regular dates with “thinking time”.  This is time during which I simply sit down on a regular basis and evaluate myself on how I’m doing, what I’m doing, and being accountable to myself around asking  “am I living according to my personal and professional goals . Honestly, I am constantly evaluating  myself overall, and  specifically, my brand.

How do you live it?  I’ve started my business, started conferences internationally, written a book all in the face of inexperience.  In terms of fun, I am veeeeery fun.  At home, we’re constantly laughing and pranking each other.  In terms of excellence, I take my work very seriously.  I truly believe, how you do anything is how you do everything. This doesn’t mean I get it right all the time, but believe me, I try.

If there is anything you could do to either reinforce or enhance your brand, what would that be?   Focus on visibility.  I think everyone who experiences my brand really enjoys it, but I’ve got to extend the exposure of it.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?  I can only pick one?  Ok…I would absolutely say my family.  See, once you have that, you can duplicate the beauty and benefit of it into anything else.  I’ve been married 20 years and my son is 16.  I am really proud of all of that.

Biggest Challenge that you’ve overcome?  So, I’m a risk taker and I’ll do whatever I believe needs to be done. That being said, the truth of the matter is there is always this little nagging voice that gets me, just like everyone else, that tries to get me to second guess myself and all that I’m doing.  So, this actually isn’t the biggest challenge that I’ve overcome but it is the biggest challenge that I’m constantly overcoming.  I intentionally try to limit the power of that voice and make sure I don’t set limitations for myself.  It’s an ‘in progress’ overcoming.

Interesting Fact/Interests/Hobby/Something you think the LFF World to Know.  I love food, so the most interesting food I’ve eaten were grasshoppers….It was a crunchy dish.

Tell me about Brand Karen Hinds as Living Fabulously ‘On Purpose’.  When you hit 44 you realize you just move and live for you and what you want.  I just live on purpose and don’t waste any time.

How do you recommend other women stay true to themselves and live their authentic personal brand?   Women first have to get to know themselves because we throw around the word brand and people really don’t know who they are.  It’s like setting someone in the kitchen, telling them to make something, and they don’t even know what ingredients they have in the kitchen to use.  So know yourself, define you, and then live authentically because you already know who and what you are.  Then you’re no longer trying to be something or someone that you think someone else wants you to be, but instead you’re choosing to live on purpose.

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?  Open your mind, guard yourselves, your emotional selves, ask questions and always ask for help… always.

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #49-Making Your Life Spectacular

 

When I learned of the passing of Robin Williams, I just paused and time kind of stood still with a “really?” kind of thought in my head. Following the news, as the hours, days, and weeks passed by, naturally, we all heard so much more of him than before. You know, the standard information that usually comes out about people after their leaving the earth-how wonderfully brilliant, kind-hearted, gentle, etc they were. Robin Williams wasn’t someone that I had as much of a connection to, if you will like many other celebrities. It has nothing to do with liking or not liking him or his work. He just wasn’t someone who resonated with me as much as others…I remember watching Mrs. Doubtfire at camp and again with my family, but honestly, that’s all. When I saw the following though, it really put into perspective for me the significance of this individual:

MAKE LIFE SPECTACULAR

See, this shows that he did live a life that was spectacular. Yes, they are lines from a script he memorized and performed. When you boil it down though, how art does indeed imitate life. My goal at the end of my days, when I get to the pearly gates is to hear God say to me, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” It appears from this that another goal would be to be able to say that “I lived a life that was spectacular.” It just sounds so enticing…and actually feasible. So how do we do that? Well, in his own brilliant way, and with a legacy that will life for all of eternity, Mr. Williams lays it all out for us:

  • Don’t worry so much. While I worry significantly less, SIGNIFICANTLY LESS, than I have in the past, I intentionally check myself about the different things that come to mind for me and occupy what I call “worry space”. There is no value in worrying at all and the truth of the matter is that life is way too short for us to spend any time worrying. The reason I worry so much less than I have in the past is because now I’m at a point in my life where I can look back on the points in which I worried and it yielded absolutely nothing because in the end, everything always works out for my good…even when the worrying was about not getting something or achieving something that I desired, it turned out to be good because it wasn’t meant for me and/or in reality, it wouldn’t actually be good for me and/or something better was in store. When we look back, we all realize that yes, life if fleeting and as such, worry should not have any opportunity to occupy any space or time in our existence. Don’t worry so much.
  • Cast your eyes to the summer sky. There’s a song that I love, a gospel song, Total Praise. I especially loved it when we sang it in Boston College’s Voices of Imani. It starts off, Lord, I lift up mine eyes to the hills from where cometh my help. It’s essentially Psalm 121. There is something about just looking up when worry, anxiety or concern abounds. See, it’s about not giving weight to the distractions to your right or your left, in front of you or behind, but about keeping your head held high, looking up, and connecting with your Source, expressing gratitude for what you have and where you are, and moving forward no matter what. Look up!
  •  Make a wish. One of my coworkers has a personal tagline that if you know her for even just three minutes you will learn- Wish out loud. Are you specific about your wishes? Have you specified the hopes and desires in your heart? Are you diligent in the prayers from the depths of your soul? If not, why is that? It can’t hurt to make a wish, articulate hopes and desires, boldly pray and believe. If you are, keep on wishing on!!!

Make. Your. Life. Spectacular. Every day, just focus on making life, whatever it entails for you in the immediate moments, whatever the days bring, however they unfold, commit to not worrying, staying focused on the things above and wishing and you’ll find that in the end, you too, like our departed friend, you will be able to say, “make life spectacular….I know I did.”
Soundtrack of the week: It’s unquestionable that the way Mr. Williams passed was, to say the least, just very sad. It only seems appropriate that this post is more about reflection and introspection than anything else and in my own farewell to him, Bring Him Home is the best fit. Enjoy

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #48-Serving as a Light

This past week was my first full week at work since the week before Father’s Day!!! Yes, my travel this summer has been pretty intense. I have racked up some serious frequent flyer miles and hotel points. And just when I started to make even slightest bit of noise this week to a coworker and friend, saying “you know, sometimes my life can be just a little overwhelming”, without even a pause, she said “yeah, but man, your life is pretty friggin’ awesome!” And you know what she’s right! I just needed that reminder to focus on the blessing of it all and not the challenges that come up every now and then.
Besides this reality check from my peer, the time at the office this week also allowed me to have more time with some of the folks that I work with and to some extent coach and mentor. This included a long overdue check-in with the same coworker and friend. During our “check-in”, I was bringing her up to speed on a few different things and sharing with her some opportunities I was going to set her up for. I did notice this slight glazed look on her face so I ask, “ok usually you tell me if I’m going to fast but I think your face is doing the job today…do I need to slow down?” Then, she just looked at me and asked “Why do you look out for me so much…you know, making sure I’m not missing out on things?” I wasn’t sure how to answer…so all I had to give her to her question, was a question of my own…”Well, why not?” Then she just smiled at me and said, “one day, one day you’ll realize and accept you’re really not a normal person…you’re much, much more than just normal, and I appreciate you.” And because I’m soooooooo not the mushy type and I felt like either a deep mushy convo was going to get started or she was going to hug me, I moved us on to the next point (haha).
I thought about this a lot after our conversation and what kept coming to mind for me was the truth that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. Really pause and think about that for a second. Imagine walking into a dark room lined with candles against each wall. Say there’s a hundred of them and you walk in with one lit candle…it could even be half the size of the others. Are you going to just walk throughout that room with you one candle, with its possibly “sufficient” light and check out the scene, maybe there’s art on the wall, or are you going to take just a few quick minutes to light the 100 other candles (yes, safely, of course)? Any sane person would go forth and light the other candles-unless you punk out being afraid of the dark and run in the other direction…I know one of you was thinking it . And what happens when you do that? Not only do you have light, you have warmth, ambience, and there’s a je ne sais quo about even just a few candles that bring peace. All of this from one little candle…half the size of the ones being lit!!!! OH AND WAIT!!!! The candle that did all the lighting, is it’s light gone? Is it even dimmed? NOT ONE BIT!!!! How fabulous is that?!?!?! And this, my friends, this is how we are to operate with each other. It’s the “why not?”.

So what does it take to be that light? Honestly, nothing. You actually already are the light that you need to be to impact others. It really is just a matter of recognizing it in yourself and not holding back on the sharing of it. If I had to put a process around this, it would entail
1-Recongition of your light. There really isn’t anything more to this part except the acceptance that you have light to share. My friend helped to remind me of this when she told me how abnormal I am (I’ve always said, my friends totally keep it real with me).
2-Being confident and secure in yourself. She the reason I am so comfortable helping others is because I know that I know that I know that it takes nothing away from who I am, what I need, opportunities that I seek to do this. Here’s the reality of this, yes I have been burned….a few times, but there’s one major thing that I’ve learned from my mom that keeps me staying the course in my confidence and self-security, “What others do to me, or think they do to me, has no impact on how I operate. I am Eva whether you’re good to me or not and the only person I really absolutely need to be good to me is God.” Need I even say more?
3-Operate in the spirit of sowing and reaping. So here’s the deal, I don’t go around seeking to do good in order to get a return on that good. BUT, even when I haven’t sought anything, some way, somehow, I am constantly reaping some blessing….unexpected, unanticipated, unrequested blessing. It is just how this all works. Hence, at this point in my life, I honestly am not phased by the “invested light” I’ve passed on to others that may result in a burn because at the end of the day, remember, I haven’t lost anything.
So, this week, I encourage you to get your light on!!!
Soundtrack of the week: Mary J Blige, feat U2, One.

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #46- Being Authentic

“We all have to tell our truth. That is our highest calling, to be authentic.”
~Senator, Corey Booker

I honestly can’t believe that with all of the factors that have been presenting and our “conversations” about branding, I have yet to set a factor on being authentic! I think it’s simply because I see this characteristic as one of the primary foundations of living fabulously fierce that I’ve taken for granted its influence and significance on everything else.

So, authenticity….what is it?  You know…being our highest calling and what not. Well, my trusty Google search led to the following find:

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*LFF Interpretation:

  • Exactly what is claimed-showing up as you truly claim you are. 
  • *Being fully trustworthy as according with fact-building and maintaining credibility.

Participating in the Multicultural Women’s National Conference this week, we spent a great deal of time talking about personal branding as I led a session on executive presence and moderated a panel on communications and nurturing connections. Of course during these conversations I spent a great deal of time stressing the importance of staying true to who we are, being authentic, while exhibiting agility and the ability to flex without losing ourselves. For some of us, this comes very naturally. We’ve figured out this balancing act and get through it quite seamlessly. For others of us, it really is a skill we’re developing and honing, mostly because we don’t yet see that we can actually do both without presenting a contradiction. In time, it will be more seamless for us as well. How does this happen? Of course with time, but what else? Well….

  • Staying true to who you are is really all about knowing who you are, what you stand for, what you have to offer this world. When it comes to the professional side of things, no matter what our focus area (s) may be, this is directly tied to our unique proposition value and how that stands out and above the rest. So, this requires a great deal of self-awareness that guides our mode of operating.
  • Exhibiting agility and the ability to flex without losing yourself is where the balancing act comes into play. On some level, this is really all about “when in Rome….”, we all know how it goes. But what it is more about is the skill of flexing your style to operate in a way that draws in the audiences you’re targeting and influencing, not to change who you are, but to leverage the platform you’ve been given to share your authenticity.

Ok, so what does this look like? Here’s what is the most simplest example that we often talk about: being an employee with more of a creative flair in style and dress who operates in a more conservative environment, professionally on the day to day. Being authentic means that I have to
completely change who I am between 9 and 5 and then be more of myself after any times outside of those hours. NOT!!!! What this means is that you just have to flex your style to leverage the platform of a conservative environment to show your authentic brilliance, while not losing yourself to what may feel like uncomfortable conservatism in the process of flexing. Again, a balancing act indeed!

Authenticy: Truth…Agility…Flexing. How will you take on this challenge?

In the spirit of sharing just a bit of what I got to experience at this week’s conference.  Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour’s picture below really captures what I’ve just shared: Balancing Truth with Agility and the ability to flex…. A Fighter Pilot (FlyGirl) now leveraging the motivational speaker platform with corporate audiences.  It doesn’t get much better than that in the game of authenticity.-4

 

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #43: Processing-Accepting “Ugly” to Revel in “Beauty”

This week I came across an Instagram post of one of the fitness accounts I follow that really struck me “

“You have to sweat like a pig and work like a horse to look like a fox.”

I wish I could remember what account it was so I could give cred, but I totally forget. There were a few reasons why this stuck with me including my own challenging efforts with personal fitness goals, goals I have around my career, entrepreneurial endeavors, and just life in general. I really like what this quote is getting at because it actually gives you a slap in the face while simultaneously encouraging you.  This is  what I really take away from it:

Listen, if you want to be fabulous and fierce, you have to accept that the being is actually becoming, becoming is a journey, and not every stage of any journey positions you to look or feel your best all the time…but if you stick with it, the process that is, you’re going to be amazed by the outcome!!!!”

So, this is what I’ve got for you today-a recommitment opportunity. We all have different things that we’ve previously committed to that we started off really well with and then, because it got “ugly” and we weren’t seeing results as quickly as we wanted or we didn’t achieve a goal by the time we determined we would, we just abandoned the process.  For me this has included the process of becoming a runner, going natural (with my hair for those of you that just got lost a bit), losing weight, learning how to golf.  Yup, I’ve got things that I need to go back to.  After three attempts, I did finally go completely natural four years ago.  I’ve had some success with weight loss but have newer goals in that area.  I have tried multiple times to get better at running and this past month, for the first time, even though I really have been ready to quit because it truly is not always cute, I haven’t.  I’m totally committing to the process.  In fact, today, I hit run #31!!!  I’ve NEVER been that consistent with that process….and I’m actually getting better.

So, here’s what I’ve got for you today-a recommitment opportunity….an opportunity for each of us to revisit a process we’ve walked away from in the past or select a new one. Basically pick a goal: Going back to school, losing 10 pounds, doing a workout program…the whole way through, something. Now:

1-Determine the process of reaching your goal: For me, I’m going to stick with my commitment to running.  I’ve determined that for me, I need to be consistent in getting at least four 5ks in per week-basically 3.1 miles.  I’ve actually been doing more than that but that’s the process I’ve identified. What is your determination-your process?

2-Make a commitment however you need to. My commitment making has taken the form of me having the Nike Running app Coach as my “partner” in this process.  And let me tell you, it’s no joke…it really pushes and encourages in a very effective way.  Commitments take different forms.  Sometimes, all it takes is stating what you’re going to do or become.  When I finally decided I would never go back to relaxing my hair…it really was just a simple decision…and let me tell you, as I was figuring things out, not every day was a good hair day.  Other times, all I needed to do was write down my goal in my journal or on a sticky note that I posted somewhere that I would see every day.  As it relates to weight loss/management, I had to commit to only picking up seven different items from the grocery store and doing meal preps on Sundays.  This week, one of my friends actually posted her commitment to her selected process on Facebook.    Whatever it is, you just need to decide how you’re going to actually make the commitment. How will you make your commitment?

3-Accept that there are going to be some “ugly” days. Here, all I mean is that you are not always going to be cute in whatever the process you’re selecting is because the process itself, if it truly is one that is going to lead to transformation, development and growth, is just not going to be cute.  Accept that and know it’s totally ok.  During one of my runs this week, I was totally struggling.  It was just a tough day and I was hoping and praying no one say how I was pretty much dragging my steps during the last mile of the run.  NOT cute.  But, I know there would be days like that before I even started the process and I just accepted it….so I didn’t let that stop me.  I let it propel me toward what I’m headed toward…success in this area. What do you already know may be “ugly” about this process for you? Just put it out there so you know that you already knew it ahead of time and can’t use it as an excuse to quit.

4-Keep the “fox” in mind-the success, the “beauty” of the process. This is all about keeping the vision up front and close…really making it…well, real.  What do I mean by that?  Well, I am n where near being a “runner”, or the runner I want to be, I should say.  But, I’m much closer to it now than I was on day one of the process, and you better believe that every time I head out the door, with every step that hits the pavement, every breath I take to push just a little bit more, I’m envisioning myself at the finish line of some race-sometimes, another 5k, other times, yup, the Boston Marathon.  I know what my “fox” looks like.  What I look like as the “fox”.  In order to be able to get here, I had to think about what all of this was, again, before the activity part of process even began.   What’s your “fox”-The end game?   What do you look like at the end of the process?

5-Get ready, set, go!!!! All that’s left is to mentally prepare, set yourself up for the process, and go forth and conquer.  I had to get new sneakers and a few more workout pieces.  I had to also get the running app.  Then, I just had to get out there and go.  And guess what, that first day, it rained like crazy!!!!!  But I had determined the process, I made a commitment, I had envisioned success…so there was only one thing left to do…so, I did it…I went…and I’m still going!

So, how about you? Do tell.  What process are you going to commit to and begin accepting the “ugly” that may be involved, determining to move forward and keep going until you reach your goal….at least until you reach your goal?

Soundtrack of the week: Because you can’t rely on your momma for this one…and it’s just a really good song, Paramore’s Aint It Fun!