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.

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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 ‘Me’…

Brenda Patnaude

Brenda

Human Resources Manager

What does Living Fabulously Fierce Mean to You?
Waking up each morning with a smile because you have confidence in who I am and what I can do. It means not comparing myself to others and not focusing on my shortcomings. It’s staying forward thinking and positive, finding the opportunity in every moment. At work it’s about being true to my core values, leading the way I would want to be led, making work just a little more fun and easy for those around me while always providing the highest quality. At home, it’s about being present with my family and leaving the workday behind (one of my biggest challenges!). Some days are easier than others – but it’s the challenging days and getting through them that ground me and give me the strength to try again to be even better the next day.

If you had to describe your brand in three words, what would those three words be?
• Authentic
• Fun
• People Addict (ok that’s 4…).
I’m the real deal: what you “see” is what you get. I believe life is too short not to take the opportunity to make a positive impact on those around me and for all of us not to find a little fun in everything we do. I believe each person is extraordinary, special and has something great to offer; and that my mission is to help them find it and to be confident in who they are. My best day is a day where I have an interaction with someone that leaves them feeling more clear/happier/important than they did before.

How are you intentional about your personal brand?
This is a great question and something that is a continuing work in progress for me. Here are a few ways:
• Ensuring I am aware and actively living by my core values throughout each day.
• Remaining confident: believing in myself-that I am good enough, smart enough and that I can make anything happen that I want to.
• Staying focused on what’s important: the big picture life priorities and balancing those with the “in the moment” priorities – ensuring that the in the moment/short term priorities aren’t given an unbalanced amount of attention for too long.
• Taking care of myself so I can be the best me for others: eating/sleeping right, taking the time to do those important things that re-energize me, ensuring I make myself a priority that is as important as work and others.

How do you live it?
I like to create positive energy: making my colleagues laugh at work, making up songs about silly things with my daughter, singing in the car alone… I work hard. I am a lifelong learner. I treat others with respect – their views, their talents, their diverse personalities. I am honest with myself – I know I’m not perfect and I reach out for help when I need it. I live comfortable in my own skin and I’m happy to be in it.

If there is anything you could do to either reinforce or enhance your brand, what would that be?
I recently completed formal training to become a certified professional coach and started work with clients that struggle with confidence and want to take their professional skills to the next level. This was my way of reinforcing my brand – by expanding into this new way of impacting others. To enhance my brand, I could advertise this more and expand beyond clients at work.

Greatest accomplishment?
My children. I know…. that sounds very cliche. But seriously – what a fine privilege it is to be given the opportunity to leave a positive fingerprint on the world by raising “good humans”. I have a son and a daughter; each very different in personality and age but both full of love, creativity and deep respect for each other and their family. My son is 24 years old and now has a life of his own. I don’t have words for the pride I have for the wonderful man that he has become. He had a difficult time as a teenager, but despite many challenges and roadblocks along the way, the values that were core to his childhood were the ones that drove him to success: hard work, respect, love.

My daughter is 12 and is an ever present light: always smiling, caring, also hardworking and respectful. She is extremely in tune with my energy which challenges me all the more to ensure I am living my brand and taking care of myself to keep my energy up.

Biggest Challenge that you’ve overcome?
Single motherhood. Even though it was my biggest challenge, it was also one that I am most thankful for as it made me who I am today. I learned a lot about myself and what I truly was capable of. And my son could not have been a better teacher.

Interesting Fact/Interests/Hobby/Something you think the LFF World to Know.
Art, writing and music are my escape, my re-energizer, my peace. When my energy is dragging, take me to an Art museum or play my favorite song and watch me transform. An “aha” moment for me was when I visited The Met in New York last year after not visiting an art museum/painting/writing for some time. I was excited to view paintings “in person” that were done by some of my favorite artists hundreds of years ago. When I finally got in front of them, I was overwhelmed with emotion and realized then how much art is an important part of my life and something I need to make time for regularly to feed my soul. I had been away too long, and clearly it affected me. It taught me that we all have to find time for the things that energize us at our core – it shouldn’t be treated as an “extra”. It’s a priority and a must.

How do you recommend other women stay true to themselves and live their authentic personal brand?
Remember to stop and take pride in yourself and your gifts. Check out the wear and tear on those shoes that you use every day for running or chasing your kids or walking to work. How about the pots and pans you use to cook for your family? The keys on your keyboard? Or the wheels on that suitcase that you roll from home to airport and back again. What does that wear and tear represent to you and what you have accomplished? When is the last time you watched your children and took note that they are actively using a word or behavior you taught them that positively impacts others? We have so many things around us every day – simple things – we can use as a reminder that represents our brand at work. Take time to look around and notice often. Celebrate what you find.

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?
The greatest leaders and most successful people are the ones that did not try to be like everyone else. Be yourself. Always. The difference you are is your gift – no one else has it but you. Cuddle with it. Flaunt it. Grow it. Keep it. Know it is your power to share as you please. This is the key to your confidence and success….don’t forget.

Anything additional you’d like to share?
This is all a journey – nobody’s perfect, no one has the perfect answer on “how to be” and is the perfect representative of their brand all the time. Everything I have written above is a continuous work in progress. That’s what makes life fun 😉

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 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.

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!