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 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 ‘Relentless’…….

 Ykyttra Jones

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Human Resources Specialist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice do you have for young girls, our up and coming fabulously fierce, around being their best selves or anything you’d like to share with them in particular? Stay focused and surround yourself with people who can pull out the best in you.  Ask for help.  Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness but a true sign of strength. I would also like to encourage them to truly love who they are… flaws and all…those are truly the things that will make you Fabulously Fierce!

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

KAREN HINDS

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 Leadership Mentor for Milennials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice do you have for young girls, our up and coming fabulously fierce, around being their best selves or anything you’d like to share with them in particular?  Open your mind, guard yourselves, your emotional selves, ask questions and always ask for help… always.

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #49-Making Your Life Spectacular

 

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

MAKE LIFE SPECTACULAR

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

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

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

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #46- Being Authentic

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

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

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

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*LFF Interpretation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #40-Living Life to the Fullest II

There has been so much going on for me as of late, more than I’ve ever imagined, and I am totally overwhelmed with it all, in the most positive way possible! I have wanted to share so much and actually have too many drafts of LFF Factor #40 to count and it’s all because I’ve tried to capture my next “soundbite” as perfectly as possible. What I’ve learned in the drafting process is that sometimes, it just takes a bit of rambling to get out the message we intend, and it usually results in an even greater impact than we could have hoped. So, let’s just dive into living life to the fullest.

I think the first time I was cognizant of this message that we are all familiar with was in high school. For whatever reason, I just remember so many of the adults in my life at the time stressing the importance of seizing opportunities, living in each moment, appreciating the season…living life to the fullest. I can’t honestly say that I did anything different than what I would do, but I do remember being on highs all the time. The highs of

  • connecting with people
  • experiencing new things
  • always feeling out of my comfort zone but being motivated by that, and
  • daydreaming like mad about what was next!

So as I reflect back and simultaneously look at all that is in the here in now, many years after being that high school kid, I realize that that is really what living life to the fullest is all about…..

  1. Connecting with people: Anyone who knows me knows that I would literally talk to the wall if the wall would talk back. I’m a story seeker. I love learning about others’ experiences and hearing what their interests are. I often picture our lives as movie scenes interwoven through unexpected connections. I love it! It adds a lot of flavor to life and I wouldn’t change it for the world! So, consider how you connect with folks. No, I’m not saying you need to make friends with everyone who crosses your path, but I have found that just listening to any piece of someone else’s story that they’re willing to share and sharing what I’m comfortable sharing has always improved a moment, a day, a week….life.
  2. Experiencing new things: Man oh man has 2014 already shown me the benefit of this point. So far, I’ve spoken to three new audiences that I would never have imagined being able to, set the goal of just auditioning for a fabulous play and then actually got the role that I auditioned for, and then was in the play (still baffled and truly grateful), and just this past Friday, I did a 5k with my friend Alesha. Sometimes, I seriously sit back and think “Farah, seriously, you’re doing this?” And then, I’m totally stunned by what I’ve done that I never even thought of doing. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “everything that is now possible was once thought impossible.” This has been enough motivation for me since my AP History Class with Mrs. Joseph junior year at Fontbonne Academy when I first came across this quote to be open to experiencing new things. This year has just been a more continuous revelation of that. So, what new things are you going to let yourself at least consider today?
  3. Stepping out of your comfort zone and being motivated by this: On some level this is a bit sick. I was just recounting to one of my peers at work that the reason that I took the job that I’m in now was because it actually scared the mess out of me. I’ve never operated in the space in which I’m in now and never had as high a level of accountability in such a senior role both locally and nationally. I “knew” that I didn’t have expertise to bring to the role but I also knew that that would be enough for me to be as driven and motivated to excel in it. The yielded results are beyond what I could have ever imagined. As I’m now getting comfortable, I know it’s time to start finding ways to get uncomfortable to maintain that drive. What’s your comfort zone? How are you going to get out of it and be motivated in the process.
  4. Daydreaming like mad: I have learned and experienced the power of visioning. Last year I was really diligent about taking golf lessons and one of the things I remember the most was how the coach would tell me to “take a practice swing every time, not just to practice but to picture the ball going exactly where you want it to go.” Every time I did that, the ball always went exactly where I wanted it to go….exactly!!! At the same time, I’m also seeing being in the role I’m in now as the result of daydreaming about being as successful as Claire Huxtable when I was eight years old…..about being on a stage when I was ten years old, even though I had to quit dancing because we just didn’t have the money to continue lessons, I just kept daydreaming about the stage, envisioning myself on it again…..about getting fit and focusing on being healthy and starting to get involved in more fitness-related activities even when I was the most out of shape in high school and not as involved in sports as I had been previously. And lo and behold 2014. Just yesterday I was coaching a client, “Rachel”, and she has had a goal of getting back into shape and being healthy. We didn’t start with what she would do today to start to get back on track. We started with “imagine what “Rachel” May 2015 looks like. Tell me about it.” As she started to daydream out loud, we acknowledged how much she liked that picture and she committed to that. Then we stepped back to determine today’s next step toward that. She’s taking her practice swings and I have no doubt her “ball” is going to land exactly where it needs to and I’m so excited about it. I belabor this particular point because I have experienced the power of it. So, what are you giving yourself the opportunity to daydream about?

I’d love to hear what you’ve got to share so much so that I’m still on a high from all the complimentary sessions I did last week that I’m offering one 30-minute complimentary session to the first person*to comment on any one of the four points that they’re going to commit to. Let me hear you!

Soundtrack of the Week: This was such a popular song during my high school years that it seems most appropriate here. Enjoy Green Day’s Time of Your Life

Bernier Brand Building: Phase 3- Self Distinction

Hello Hello, Friends!
Yes, yes, yes, it has indeed been a while!  While I wish I could simply say, ‘Well, I just chose to take the summer off,’ yeah not so much, and quite the contrary.  It’s been remarkably busy in the world of LFF!  A number of your have reached out with great questions and raised hands to “dig deeper” and I’ve actually had the opportunity to meet some of you…let me tell you, you LFF followers are pretty cool peeps.  I’ve also been working 1:1 with one person on the updated Bernier Brand Building curriculum and we’ve had a great time getting through all the phases.  That being said, I’m really looking forward to picking up right where we left off here on LFF and hoping you’re ready to get back in the branding game.

With that, where we landed last was our aspirational introductions…let me tell you, that really reset me ablaze with more focus on heading toward that intro.  I mean there’s been a lot of fruit already in the way of me setting action items for next steps including:

  • A few LFF Workshops being offered in Boston
  • Connecting with a local Stylist to do an event for entrepreneurs together
  • Identifying an organization that does mission trips and currently trying to set up a time with their founders so I can participate in a trip with them next year
  • Applying for a speaker role for the 2014 Phenomenal Women’s Conference
  • Upping my workout routines and watching what I eat (psst, clothes fitting better already)
  • Yup, even making moves on the man front and if things pan out well, I might just keep you in the loop on that too!

One outstanding item I do have is reconnecting with my high school, Fontbonne Academy.  I admit, I’ve been a really bad alum…no real connection but I’m going to get on it.

I share all of this because it’s time now to move on to the third phase, self-distinction.  This is all about focusing on legacy.  This might actually be the most critical phase of the personal brand building process because it is all about the footprint you’re intending to leave behind, the impact that you’re committed to having, the impression you want to have made that lives on in others-family, friends, admirers-long after you;’re gone.  It is completely tied to your purpose, to your reason for being in this world, the reason you’re still breathing…because you’re not done yet and the world still needs what you’ve got.

So, honing in on distinction, what is it that is unique about you?  While your momma was sure to tell you you were special, did you ever find out why…for you?  Now’s the time, yes, what makes you special.  What are your spotlight traits…the things that draw people to you and step aside from others?  Ultimately, what are three characteristics that set you apart from others?

And of course you’re doing all of this for you.  If you weren’t making this investment in yourself, for you, then I need you to go back to step one.  With that in mind, because I am one focused on service and helping others, of course the importance of being legacy focused in this phase is actually very inspiring to me.  So,

  • What is it that you know you’re meant to do here on this earth or in this season or at this time, whichever is easiest for you to answer in the here and now?
  • Who is it that you’re committed to making the world a better place for?
  • Who or what group is it that you want to feel the impact of what you do in the here and now so that when you’re gone they’ll be able to reap the benefits even more so?

Heavy, I know…soooo, that means it’s time to get back to work.  I’m not holding anything back at this point, so the bell has rung.  Time to get back in the ring and kick some destiny derrier.  It’s time for a new awakening and all it takes is you starting, just starting to put pen to paper on all of this.  #gettinginthegame

Soundtrack of the week: Beyonce’s “I Was Here”

Bernier Brand Building: Phase 2-Self Definition

Hope you’re enjoying this branding journey as much as I am.  I’ve been giving you quite a bit of “homework” and a number of you have let me know that’s it’s really helpful, so what choice do I have but to give you more!?!?!?  I kid, I kid…

So I trust that you’ve requested your feedback and as I’m still waiting for a few folks to get back to me, you’re probably waiting too.  I say for now, go with what you have.  A few of you have asked me to share more about myself on this platform, so, while I don’t find that to be the easiest thing for me, you know, talking about myself, I can appreciate that you want to know more about this F Bernier telling you to do this and do that.  So in true transparency, I’m going to share the feedback that I’ve gotten from my circle…the good, the not so good, and the ‘fine, I can take that’ feedback.

Below are the questions I suggested you go out with and the responses that I’ve got so far:

  • If you could only describe me in three words, what would those three words be?

                    §  Hardworking, Ambitious, Resilient

                    §  Determined, Smart, Focused 

  • What would you say is the absolute best thing about me?

                    §  You are such a great friend!  Always there when I need you 🙂

                    §  Your ability to balance (God, Family, Personal Goals and work)

  • What is the one characteristic about me that could be eliminated or improved?

                    §  Over-extending yourself/Over-booking yourself.  Sometimes it’s ok to just sit around and do nothing and not think.

                    §  You are already working on this- taking time for you 😀

  • What truly makes me unique from your perspective?
    • You are one of the most determined people I know.  You try to look at the bright side of everything so you don’t let anything stop you from achieving your goals. 
    • Your ability to see light/good/potential in others and to help guide them to see potential in themselves. You are not scared to call out someone who is living below excellence.
  • What do you think keeps me from being my very best?
    • Over-analyzing things (ahem, relationships).  Sometimes “it is what it is”.  It’s ok to follow your heart and gut even though sometimes they just don’t make sense especially when it comes to the matters of the heart.
    • I think you are striving and growing and therefore you are not kept from being your best.

Sooooo, yup that’s a little bit of me from my friends’ lens.  So grateful that I could give them extra homework and they actually did it!!!  Thanks KitKat and Erika!  As I get additional feedback, I’ll be sure to share.

The combination of this feedback and our answers to the first set of questions I shared with you…you know, the ‘Who am I’ questions, create a great start to just learning more about ourselves. See, now you have your own view and the view of others.  Honestly, the consistency across the board from my friends telling me to take more time for myself is very clear that, although I almost lost my mind two weekends ago because I had two full weekend days of absolutely nothing on the agenda,  I could benefit from doing more of that and just relaxing or not thinking…..it’s actually recharge time!  Feedback heard, received, and ready to apply.

Now moving into the assessments, I encouraged everyone to start with the Strengths Finder 2.0.  Where did I land with my Top 5 Themes?  So glad you asked!  Here goes:

  • Relator (Shocker!)
  • Individualization
  • Strategic
  • Ideation
  • Intellection

So spot on! I won’t dig too deeply into all of the points, but my top theme, Relator, points out that I

Enjoy close relationships with others, find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal, am driven by my talents, have people usually turn to me for plainspoken, easy-to-understand explanations, welcome opportunities to spend time with friends who enjoy thinking about the future…”

So check out that description and go back to my friends’ feedback….see the alignment? I totally can’t deny any of it right?  This is so important because having all of this information helps me understand how I can bring who I cam to everything that I do and be the most effective in my life, both personally and professionally.  Now I’m really ready to engage in some self-definition.

Self-Definition

Don’t worry, I’m not going to over do it.  As I promised in the beginning.  I want us to take this proces slow so that we really do the full exercise of becoming and being our best.

Self-Definition is really all about taking everyhting you’ve just gone through, the self relfection, the review of your feedback and whatever skills insight you got through whichever assessment(s) you used and starting to determine how you want to show up and who you want to be.  This is not about building facades as someone once misinterpreted my passion around personal branding.  This is all about what part or parts of yourself you want to exude, consistently in the interactions you have with folks.  Remember, personal branding is all about building a reputation.  What is the reputation you want to build and how do you leverage what you’ve just learned about yourself to define that repuation and essentially define who you are.

So, to complete this process, we’re going to do a vision exercise.  Imagine: You’ve been nominated and selected by your friends and family to speak at your High School as an alum.  Graduation is two weeks away and the school administration has asked that you submit a bio that will be included in the commencement program and used to introduce you right before you speak.  DO NOT write this as you stand today.  DO write this to reflect the reputation that you want communicated.  For clarification purposes, I’ll share that I am currently coaching an Executive Assistant on her personal brand and she keeps identifying herself as “just an EA.”  So I’ve asked her to start practicing her intro as she’d like it to be and we will, over time, bring that reputation to life.  This week, just write the reputation through this exerise, and we’ll go from there.

Soundtrack of the week: I believe it was Malcolm X who said that “Man only swears when he doesn’t have the vocabulary to express himself.”  While I agree with this, I have to appreciate Jill Scott’s Womanifesto as in this song she is totally going through self-definition and I love it.  My apologies if it offends, but if you can appreciate the exercise, I think this is a great soundtrack for the week!  Enjoy!