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 #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.

Living Fabulously Fierce SPOTLIGHT:  The Fabulously Empowered…

Kai Y. Lopes-Stovell

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Senior Hair Stylist/Educator/Image Consultant

What does Living Fabulously Fierce Mean to You? To me, living fabulously fierce is all about learning to live each day to my fullest.  As stated in the LFF mission and description, it is the same for me-I live each day trying to inspire women and young girls around me.  Each day, I am determined to help women own their beauty.  While in my day to day this is usually in the form of their hair, for me it is much deeper than their hair and that is why, no matter the age, we talk about diet, spiritual health and of course that is connected to the best hair you can have. I want my clients and the young women in my life to walk away from me changed from the inside out.  It is my mission to elevate women and girls confidence permanently!

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

This is such a hard question.  I would choose so many words to answer this, but

the top 3 are ministry, authentic and empowered. I have been given the power and abilities to encourage women and I can’t do that without including GOD, who has saved me.  Small discussions about having faith, and accepting the beauty that was GOD-given are just snippets of our talks.  My approach is what allows women to feel empowered to attack and conquer the next task, or negative mindset with courage and confidence.

I am authentic about who I am and where I’ve been and what I’m still working on.  This makes the women I speak to feel as if they can face their challenges and not be ashamed of what their past and present are made of.  The future is a few minutes from that moment and can be different.  I’m vulnerable so that they can see we all have a testimony and sharing it can facilitate change in others!

How are you intentional about your personal brand? Each day, I have to pray, meditate, love me intentionally and faithfully.  The intent is always there to do that, but the consistency is difficult and has to be done or I move further away from my goals. Loving me, allows me to love my clients and young women in my life more intently as well.  I also do small things like compliment women every day, smile and say hello to women passing just to set an example.  I intentionally try to look the part of a stylist, dressed well, just enough make-up, great accessories, and of course my hair is always done or that would be an incredibly mixed message.

How do you live it? 

I pray, workout, meditate and live intentional to my purpose.  I try to not let the small things change the course of my day.  I try not to let ANYone or ANYthing steal my joy and change my course for the day ahead.

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

Wow, absolutely!!!! That is like an essay question. Haha.  I would love to own my own salon which would be all about building my brand and reaching the masses of women I dream of reaching! That is coming!!!

Greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment is still yet to come!  I’m happy to share that I am pregnant and GOD-willing, my pregnancy is a healthy one and goes to full term, and a baby is born, he/she will be my greatest accomplishment thus far.  Next on that list is definitely opening my own salon and growing from there.

Biggest Challenge that you’ve overcome?

My biggest challenge thus far has been learning to truly love myself physically, no matter my size.  Loving me and all GOD has placed in me that HE didn’t put in anyone  else.  Believing how uniquely I was created and not comparing myself to anybody else!

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

favorite pastimes are singing, working out, cooking and spending time with my husband!  Singing is something that frees my soul and causes people to listen when I open my mouth.  It’s a blessing from GOD.  Working out is an absolute in life, to feel good and live the best life I can.  Cooking is also therapeutic, and I love challenging myself with new healthy recipes.  And last, but never least, I love spending time with the best friend GOD created for me! He is the best ending to my day!

How do you recommend other women stay true to themselves and live their authentic personal brand? Never stop learning who you are and embracing it.  Love yourself more each day and smile at challenges.  Pray, and be grateful for all you have and believe more is on the way. Don’t allow naysayers to deter you and be compassionate to those who are lost and trying to figure out so many things you already have!

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?

When I speak to young women and girls, I see myself.  That automatically gives me a level of compassion that reaches the true depths of my heart.  I want them to know that the greatest power is loving yourself as you are! No one can take that from you, so you have to learn to take the best steps in choosing friends, food and fun!  Make those times help uplift them and change them positively.  If they have more moments like that then, the possibilities of living fabulous fierce are so  much greater!

One of my favorite love thyself quotes is “To love yourself as you are is a miracle, and to seek yourself is to have found yourself. For now. And now is all we have, and love is who we are.” -Anne Lamott

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.