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 #61-Accepting the Change in Seasons

Fall foliage on the Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA, USA

Fall foliage on the Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA, USA

Autumn is my absolute favorite season of all!  Living in New England, I really do get to experience all four seasons, with the biggest challenge being the winter.  Sometimes it creeps up earlier than expected and chooses to hang out longer than desired.  I’ll spare us a revisit the winter travails of Massachusetts last year.  What I note though is that not everyone looks at the changes in seasons the same way.  See, I find pluses and minuses of each.  Winter can be bone chilling cold but I love the days of snowfall so intense that all you can do is snuggle, warm drink in hand and watch a great movie from your couch.  Spring can take fooooooorever to show up but once it’s here, it brings with it the promise of even warner weather with so much to do outside.  Summer, need I say more?  Yes, some days can get waaaaaaaay too hot, but outside activities are limitless.  Autumn, brings the warning of colder days ahead but helps us transition with BEAUTIFUL foliage and opportunities for fabulous fashion!  And yet, some of us like one season and one only or simply despise another.  I could go on and on but this is also the case in life.

It is inevitable that as long as you’re living your life is going to bring with it different seasons.  Things can’t go well 100% of the time, but, they can’t go horribly wrong 100% of the time either.  It just can’t. Some seasons can be more prolonged than others but it is inevitable that there will be change.  Over the past few months, another theme tied to this that has been coming up for my clients is that of the changing seasons of friendships.

Lately, I’ve consistently been heard things like:

“You know, I was a little down because as I was going through ‘x-situation’, I realized the folks who have usually been there for me just haven’t been.”

“I’ve been noticing a shift in my group lately….folks are kind of falling off.”

“As I approach my 30s, I am noticing that not everyone is game for continuing my journey with me….it kind of sucks.  It’s like they don’t accept the growth in me, or at least that I’m feeling I’m experiencing.”

I’ve been through all of this before myself so of course I have to ask each of them “As you’re noticing some folks falling away or distancing or even just cutting off ties with you, are other people showing up?”  Consistently the response has been “Yes and totally out of the blue!”  Yup, see just like the old saying “God never closes one door without opening another,” I don’t believe you’re ever left with loss without some form of compensation for that loss showing up.  This is especially true since we as human beings are just not intended to be alone.  So of course other people are going to show up in your life…and they will probably be so much better for you since they’re showing up in a season where the value of their presence is beyond measure.  Accept it as time for new fruit.

So what is there to do in seasons of changing friendships?

  1. Acknowledge your hurt: There are so many ways we try to be so strong and so tough and so unaffected by people and circumstances that we don’t let ourselves hurt or at least we don’t think we do. See, if you don’t take the time to let yourself acknowledge that these changes are impacting you, the “dealing with it” will show up in other ways.  You’ll be arguing over something with your spouse that you know has nothing to do with them.  You’ll be short-tempered with the kids.  You’ll give your coworkers some unrelenting side-eye and it really has nothing to do with them and all to do with the fact that the change, especially if unexpected has really dampened your spirits.  Let yourself acknowledge it especially with someone who can give you perspective.
  2. Decide to move on: Don’t let yourself get stuck in acknowledgement. Once you’ve made note of what’s happening or happened, give yourself the gift of moving on.  Start by treating yourself to a party for one….may be a day of catching up on Essence reading, a day at the spa, just a mani and pedi…something.  Focus on you, even if just for a bit then…..remember…..NOT EVERYONE IS GONE!  You’ve still got others in your life.  Shift your focus from what’s changing to what’s…who’s staying the same and reach out, engage, move on.
  3. Accept the beauty of change: When you’re going through these seasons, always think of fall foliage.  It’s so beautiful and brings so much with it.  It can be hard but look at the beauty of it.  Change is usually an indication of growth, strengthening, progress, forward movement….though it may not always look and feel like it, there’s beauty in it.  Take note of it and accept it.  When you do, you’ll notice how truly breathtaking it and you are!!!!
  4. Live fabulously fierce: Being who you are is not dependent on who is in your life. Others compliment who you are and the best of friends help bring out the best of who you are.  But no on, no one, makes you who you are other than you.  Commit to continuing to live fabulously fierce or however it is you choose to live….fabulously empowered….fabulously strong….fabulously hopeful….you choose and LIVE IT!!!!

Final note: With the whole Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson  scene at the Emmy’s…which I will not get into simply because I know I just  will not stop once I start…..there has been an increase in consciousness of “who’s clapping for you”….who’s in your tribe…who’s got your back….etc etc.  It’s raising our level of awareness that we actually get to decide who comes into our lives and who’s influence we’re going to let impact us.  Know that this is actually empowerment.  You get to choose.  You get to choose.  Be empowered in that and know that you decide through your intentions, actions, and who you attract, who will be in your life.  Accept the change in seasons and engage in facilitating what the seasons will entail with those you allow to be part of your journey.  And…..It. Always. Gets. Better. And so do you!

Soundtrack of the week:  Count on Me.  Be encouraged-your new season of friendships will result in those who can sing this song with you and know that the truth of the lyrics run deep.

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.

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