Disappointment

One of the potential consequences of being one who is always looking at the brighter side of challenging situations, seeking out silver linings in dark clouds, setting intentions of looking for the good or positive and staying hopeful even where there is evidence enough to just move forward with experience-filtered lenses, eyes wide-open is the reality of disappointment.  It’s real.  

We go through life with expectations of how things will work out, how we will progress and move throughout our journey, and, what potentially is most taxing, the hope that those who we believe should treat us as valuably as we do ourselves, and them, will reciprocate.  I mean it’s only fair that if we treat others as we seek to be treated that they would offer us the same respect, honor, love and basic human kindness.  Reasonable.  Beyond reasonable actually.  And then there come those moments, multiple moments, where others fail us.  When they fail to meet our expectations or more basically, meet us at least at our own level of giving, being, existing with and for them.  Yeah, not everyone operates at the same level of this mindset that we do.  And because of course our worldview, values and perspectives must be right, the door is swung wide open for the grand entrance of disappointment.

We all go through this.  At one point or another, someone we’ve cared about, loved, been there for, you name it, is present and able to do the same for us but is actually unwilling….and flat out tells you or shows you so.  Disappointment is actually defined as the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.  It is totally ok to have expectations of others.  This is actually how we hold each other accountable and to a level of esteem that elevates humanity…at least to a degree.  But if we’re honest about disappointment, it really has almost very little to do with others’ failure to meet our own hopes and expectations.  Debatable yes, but what I think is less debatable is the truth that often, we refuse to let go of our expectations of others, consciously or unconsciously.  Then, when we get to that final straw, we’re almost broken because we can’t even fathom the reality that when someone has the opportunity to simply show up the way we have for them, they wouldn’t.  From there, we start to , if we’re brave enough, reflect back to other instances in which their behavior demonstrated the exact same thing you’re experiencing with them now.  Quite frankly, as they’ve maintained more consistency in their failures to show up for you than not, they’ve don’t nothing “wrong”.  But you still hold out hope.  

We point to different things that would talk us into moving forward from distrusting and/or limiting our expectations of others, believing, surely he’ll do this for me…..of course she’ll support me in this….why wouldn’t they let me____?  I let them do the same when they needed. And then their consistency shows up again…and the punch to the gut.  

I shared the following recently:

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What I would submit is that instances of disappointment are seasons for us to make a decision to stop giving folks opportunities they have absolutely no interest in.  Accept it….productively.  Don’t begrudge them…just move on, wisely. Refuse to

  • offer your expectations as opportunities
  • position yourself for frustration, unreasonable surprise…and disappointment
  • keep investing in him…her…them…expecting a return that will never come

I’m not for the “this for that” mode of living with others but there is something to be said for moving away from generosity that requires unsuitable sacrifices around your logic and willingness to accept truth.  It kind of boils down to the saying that “when someone shows you who they are, believe them.”  I’d add to that, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them, and stop setting the stage for their encores….draw the curtains and get some tickets to another show.  You’ll save a lot more in the end!”

Pssst…..

Sooooo, I’ve got a little secret to share…..

Ready….

I still struggle….

I struggle….

Sometimes…

Ok, almost always, I struggle with asking for help.  I know-shocker!  Here’s the thing, I’m not one of those “I can do anything and everything on my own so I don’t need anyone’s help” kinda gal.  What I am though, is the kinda gal who just figures so much out on her own, on the day-to-day (life is such a puzzle sometimes) that I fail to recognize opportunities for help.  I literally don’t even see them.  Until…someone sees me…and says, “can I please help you?” and I realize oh yeah, that would make this so much easier!

Picture this, my mornings are pretty much hustle and bustle getting myself together, out the door and then into the office…..Then as soon as I’m there, it’s jump right in mode.  I always stop and get my breakfast though…two boiled eggs (just the whites), oatmeal with flaxseed and shaved almonds (missing the days when I could add all the honey and brown sugar that I wanted…but ya know, #FitLife), and of course my cup of coffee.  Usually, I’m one of at least a few grabbing stuff and heading to the elevator.  For some reason though, this day, I was only one of about three and I was ahead of the other few folks, so I’m leading the way in holding the door open, pressing the elevator button to let us on, and then….once we got on, I was going to hit my floor and whatever other floors folks asked be pressed.  Now remember all that stuff I’m usually carrying?  Yeah, hands full.  Farah’s solution: just put the coffee cup in your mouth and hold it by your teeth for the quick few seconds you need to press the elevator buttons.  And then, before I get to put the cup in it’s holding spot, this gentleman chimes up, “can i please help you?”  Silence…you know, from me being stunned that I hadn’t even thought of it…he says “Please?  What floor?”  Chuckle and I ask him to hit five.  He just says, “I mean, it totally looked like you had but…I mean…” and we both just laughed.

I then immediately thought of my friend Alesha.  A while back she was in on my fitness journey, helping me in the lifting space.  I remember she had me set up for some bicep curls with what I thought were ridiculously heavy weights.  She stepped up to help me with the last few reps and I said, “no, you can’t because you’re not always going to be at the gym with me….I need to try to do this.”  She sasses me….with that annoying friend eyeroll too…you know which one…you have friends who do that too…post-sass, she says, “yeah, but I’m here now.”  Duh!  Cray, I know but this is what I still struggle with…and I know I’m not alone in this!

See so many of us spend more time preparing for having to do things on our own, either because we actually really want to or because we blindly just don’t even perceive that there can be help for us…and a myriad of other reasons in between.  Here’s the thing about help though, it’s not just for you.  It’s also for the helper!

See, we all have different things to offer each other,  Helping others, helping each other, is just one way through which we offer up our gifts and make space for better, for enhancements, for ease where possible, for peace, for love, for all the good stuff.  When we try to just do things on our own, we not only limit ourselves, we limit the impact of others and quite frankly, also limit their strength in being able to ask for help from us as well.

So what?  So glad you asked.  Well, as you can see this is a persisting challenge for me.  The reason: I actually don’t practice giving others space in which to help me.  Someone usually shows up (blessing, favor, mercy, grace…always on my side) but there’s still space for me actually asking for, welcoming and embracing help.  In addressing anything in our lives that needs some adjustment, it just takes practice.  So, this week, join me in leveraging help!

  1. Identify two things that you need some help with.  Just two so you can stay laser focused.
  2. Get really granular about what help you actually need.  Specificity is what positions you for the win here.
  3. Identify who can help you!  It may actually be more than one person.
  4. Reach out!  Let them know you need them.  Yup, get vulnerable. It’s takes bravery but it’s not a matter of life and death so….just do it!
  5. Watch the abundance that comes for you and your partners!

And then…..CELEBRATE!!!!!!

1.1.2017-Wherever you are….Whatever you’re doing…..

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Wherever you are-physically, mentally, spiritually, etc….whatever you’re doing….it’s a given, you’re in the season of a new beginning…..and that. Is. phenomenal!!!

 

Just breathe that in, mull it over, think about it.  The season of new beginning…beginnings.

 

Truth:  I actually get a bit annoyed with what I think of as new year’s hype.  I know, I know..a little debbie downer but, please don’t get me wrong…..I just feel that every morning, each and every morning we have the blessing of taking in another breath, opening our eyes, and starting another day, that is what we should really be all hyped up about.  Waiting for the one big day of the year to celebrate the opportunities that come with starting fresh and starting anew….I just wonder if we’re missing out by not having the same focus the other 364 days of the year.  Whew!  Got that off my chest….

 

Now this: the truth still remains..this day, is part of a season in which we all collectively, for the most part, come together to celebrate new beginnings, starting over, embracing a fresh slate, charting the course of the year with new goals, aspirations, challenges, hopes, dreams, you name it.  And why not?!?  So, while we’re getting to all the doing- writing things down, sharing new year’s resolutions, signing up for new programs, memberships and the like-let’s also be encouraged that wherever we are with all of these goals and aspirations, whatever we’re currently doing to achieve them, however we’re approaching them all, we’re actually right where we’re supposed to be.


There’ll be plenty of time for vision exercises and vision boarding and celebration checkpoints for milestones reached, but now is the time to commemorate the starting line.  It’s often overlooked until we get to the “finish line”.  Then at that point we just think “wow, I came pretty far”, missing the celebrations around the start.  Don’t miss it!  We are all more than enough even right now….we only move, not for perfection, but because we know the best is yet to come!!!  Because we know our latter can be better than our former if we just believe and put in the work!!!  With that!!!  Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing…Happy New Year!  Cheers to the season of new beginnings!  Celebrating the starting line with you!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #67-Employing Your Extinguisher(s)

“We misuse our mental faculties by barely using them at all. We have the means to extinguish our fears, but we lack discipline in using it, like having the extinguisher in our hands as our home burns but choose not to use it because we’d have to aim.”-Brendon Burchard

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m so grateful for the people in my life who will just tell me what I need to hear, whenever I need to hear it.  Nope, I’m not talking about telling me what I think I need to hear, but indeed what I truly need to hear.  There is a difference between the two and this quote by Mr. Brendon Burchard sounds exactly like something we all need to hear sometimes.  

It’s tough love, reminding us that for almost everything we seek in our lives in the way of change and/or progress, we actually have to get up and do  something.  There’s no sitting back and watching and waiting to see what happens.  That’s exactly how your house….and everything else with it… will burn to complete and utter nothingness.

Ok, so what am I getting at here?  Essentially, it’s no secret that we are all always dealing with fear in some form or fashion.  I’m not talking just shaking in your boots fear that can make us feel weak and powerless when facing something significantly major.  It may be something like the fear of public speaking, actually applying for a dream job, walking up to that guy and daring to ask him out, buying a home, moving across country…the list could go on and on.  Whatever it may be, it’s all relative too, right?  Where speaking in front of a room of 3,000 people would make most of my friends crumble to pieces…it excites me BEYOND MEASURE!!!!  And where mentally I cannot fathom the actual process of another human being coming out of my body, almost all of my friends who are parents chuckle a little when I share this as one of my major fears and essentially say, “that’s nothing to be afraid of….your body will do what it needs to do.”  Ummm, yeah but I’d still be deathly scurred.  #allrelative.  

In any event, when it comes to having to address fear, most of us would more readily embrace the fetal position than the warrior pose. More often than not, our tendencies may be to embrace ease and comfort instantly letting go of the opportunity to seize a challenge and embrace our capabilities as conquerors.  Did she just say opportunity to seize a challenge?  Yup.  I really do believe that, challenges are actually opportunities just to see how friggin fierce we actually can be…and just a little reminder, the she who said it is also the one who never in a million years thought she would leave a home and go a distance of 3000+ miles to face a personal challenge and seize a life changing, future redefining opportunity.  Seriously, do you know what I’ve learned about myself in just a little over two months?!?!?!  No, but that’s not important.  What’s important is what you have to learn about you by employing your extinguisher(s)-your means of putting out your fears, doubts, and mental blocks.

Yes, so you want me to elaborate on these extinguishers?  Cool. Simply put, these are things, mindsets and mindshifts, the people or squad that motivates you, your faith, the personal affirmations and confessions, your playlist that gets you amped to face whatever challenge you’re facing, your mom!  The list can go on and on but now you get what I’m getting at here.

Action plan for the week:

  • Identify one thing that scares you…anything, big, small, you name it.  
  • Describe how you feel when it shows up and comes over you.
  • Describe what it would feel like to stand up to that fear.  

Now, get your warrior on and decide two things do you need to do to just start to stand up to it…what extinguishers are you going to use?  Prayer, talking about it to a friend? Having your sister, your brother hold you accountable to address it?  Whatever it is, get up. Stand firm. Look the fire in the face. AIM!

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Soundtrack of the week: Janelle Monae’s, Tightrope…whether you’re high or low, brave or battling fear, even tip toeing is a start in the right direction!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #66-Being Unapologetically You

Ego-trippin’, Nikki Giovanni

I was born in the congo 
I walked to the fertile crescent and built the sphinx                                                                            
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star that only glows every one hundred years falls into the center giving divine perfect light                                                                                                                                                                          
 I am bad
I sat on the throne drinking nectar with allah                                                                                                                            
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe to cool my thirst                                                                                                    
My oldest daughter is Nefertiti                                                                                                                                                
The tears from my birth pains created the nile                                                                                                                          
I am a beautiful woman             
I gazed on the forest and burned out the sahara desert                                                                                                  
With a packet of goat’s meat and a change of clothes I crossed it in two hours                                                              
I am a gazelle so swift so swift you can’t catch me
For a birthday present when he was three                                                                                                                                  
I gave my son hannibal an elephant                                                                                                                                          
He gave me rome for mother’s day                                                                                                                                            
My strength flows ever on
My son noah built new/ark and                                                                                                                                                        
I stood proudly at the helm as we sailed on a soft summer day                                                                                            
I turned myself into myself and was jesus                                                                                                                            
Men intone my loving name                                                                                                                                                          
All praises All praises                                                                                                                                                                           
I am the one who would save                                                                                                                                                          
I sowed diamonds in my back yard                                                                                                                                            
My bowels deliver uranium                                                                                                                                                        
The filings from my fingernails are semi-previous jewels semi-precious jewels                                                      
On a trip north                                                                                                                                                                                      
I caught a cold and blew                                                                                                                                                                 
My nose giving oil to the arab world                                                                                                                                             
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off the earth as I went                                                                              
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid across three continents                                                                    
I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal I cannot be comprehended except by my permission
I mean … I … can fly                                                                                                                                                                       like a bird in the sky …

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Confidence.  Authenticity. Brilliance.  Inspiration.  All of this is what comes to me when I read this poem.  It, and it’s author-the incomparable Nikki Giovanni, were first introduced to me at eight years old during summer camp at Lena Park.  I had to memorize it for the show we would put on at the end of the summer. I recall getting it and just soaking it all in…it took nothing to memorize it because every word hit me with a stroke of inspiration that I can’t even describe.  I actually remember standing up a little straighter…  I was “taller”  after reading it for the first time in the library of the building we were in.

Today, much older than eight years old,  as I read these words and also reflect on actually meeting Ms. Giovanni just a few weeks ago, it reminds me of the importance, the critical need in this world for each and every one of us to show up as our most authentic selves and to be unapologetic about all that that we are.  In this world full of social media that presents us with standards and expectations that we should emulate and try to meet, it appears that more and more we’re called to be the same, leaving distinctions behind.  With that, it sometimes calls us to “apologize” in many different forms for who we are, how we show up, not meeting others’ expectations of us.  

Earlier today, I read a Huffington Post on the challenges of being Afro-Latino which presented this challenge of being unique yet not meeting expectations and then having to, on some level, “cover” just to ensure access, further challenging the opportunities to show up as unapologetically authentic.  We all face this challenge in some form or fashion.  That being said, what are we supposed to do?  It’s actually quite simple-just. be. you.  Yes, I’m saying it’s simple because quite frankly who else can you or should you be?  The answer is very, very simple.  Just be unapologetically you.  

See, it’s actually not this-being authentic, being you, unapologetically- that’s hard.  What’s hard is not giving into the noise, the environment, the world, that tries to put you in a box and not welcome or accept the  beauty of our flaws.  Therefore, the challenge is really with us to decide to just be ourselves regardless-imperfections and all.  Yes, we have to stop pretending we’re flawless! Stop pretending we have it all together.

Let’s start accepting the beauty in our imperfections, internally and externally.  Accept the things about us that continue to keep us from being the same as others.  Accept the challenges that come with just being who we are as well as the blessings!!!  And just be you.

No there’s no multi-step process this week.  Just a challenge to accept who you are, how incredibly fabulous you are, how unbelievable fierce you can be.  Now here’s the active part…be, unapologetic about it.  Next time you walk into a room, do so as your whole self, not feeling or showing regret or shame; not apologetic for who you are, how you show up, and the fabulously fierce energy you bring!  

Soundtrack of the Week: Who You Are, recognizing someone who is definitely unapologetically herself, Jessie J

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #65-Thinking of and Embracing the “Impossible”

“Sometimes, I think of as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”  -Alice, Alice in Wonderland

Impossibilities vs Possibilities.  I think of these as two sides of a coin:

Though they have their own distinct definitions, it is pretty clear that the distinction is pretty simple: What can be and what can’t right?  The impact may be significantly grand, but the distinction, that’s pretty simple.  

So when we think of what we should focus on in our day to day, in our commitments to being and living fabulously fierce, wouldn’t it make sense to focus on what is possible instead of what is impossible.  I mean, if I have the option of focusing on what is possible, eg spending part of my Sunday afternoon writing my next post, instead of what is not possible, eg picking up and joining the Alvin Ailey Dance Company to be a part of this year’s tour, what am I going to do?  You see the fruits of the option I selected.  So why, why in the world would Alice focus on six impossible things every morning?  Why on God’s green earth would I focus today’s conversation on embracing the impossible?  Well, because truly the difference between what is impossible and what is possible is nothing more than our mindset.

Before you start to counter right off the bat, please indulge in a little walk down memory lane if you will.  Please?  Ok, what was the last thing you did that you thought, at one time, just was not possible.  Think really hard if you need to?  At some point, we all face certain things, experiences, that really challenge us because we’ve not yet faced them.  We’ve not yet envisioned experiencing them, let alone obtaining a sense of accomplishment in that experience. Then, opportunities to choose show up.  We get to choose if we will face what we think is impossible and entertain the potential of possibility in the impossible and there, there lies the most critical difference.  One perfect example is my friend Riem’s little girl right now, just starting to learn how to walk.  You should see this little munchkin.  Right now, walking is actually an impossibility for her.  She’s never done it before.  Every day though, every day, she’s getting closer and closer to trusting a little legs, her own ability, and embracing the fact that it may actually be possible.  Her impossibility will soon be an unquestionable possibility!

The fierce Eleanor Roosevelt once said “All things possible were once thought impossible.”  Something FBA’s Mrs. Joseph shared with me when I was wondering how in the world I was going to pass that AP History exam that has stuck with me to this day!  And this is why Alice not only thinks of six impossible things before breakfast, she actually embraces those impossibilities as targets of potential possibility through her own shifted mindset.

So what does that leave for us to do?  So glad you asked ( you are all always so great at that :).  Well, we start, this week, going after what in our minds seems to be impossible.

Every day this week, before you even get out of bed, 

  • Specify one thing you’ve put into the “impossible” bucket
  • Engage in some imagination play.  Just humor yourself (or me) and imagine what the “possible” of that identified “impossibility” would look like. (I’m already at the Wang Theatre with the Ailey Troupe in April….in my head).
  • Describe, out loud and/or in writing, what experiencing this “impossibility” as a “possibility” feels like.
  • Embrace it by actually articulating it to just one person.  Yup, just one.
  • Seek. It. Out.  What would the the beginnings of that impossibility being a possibility require?  Whatever it is, go for it and do that!
  • Live Fabulously Fierce!!!!!

Soundtrack of the week:  Borrowing “AllauneBAlvin Ailey’s Audition video to share my “what would it feel like” step!  And of course, my ABSOLUTELY FAVORITE from Ailey, Revelations! Enjoy!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #64-Engaging in Squad Selection

“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.” Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

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I’ve shared much about all that is going on with me regarding my recent move, recent new job, and there is just so much going on.  Needless to say, everything is presenting a new season for me as 2016 really started of with an amazing bang and hasn’t really let up yet!  Absolutely loving it!

One of the major components of this experience for me is that of distance and time difference.  I am definitely the farthest away from family, friends, those dear to me, and even familiar colleagues than I’ve ever been, outside of time away for vacation.  I don’t want to say that it takes more work to stay connected to folks, but what I’m realizing is that it does require heightened intention to stay connected to those who I want in my life. At the same time, I’m meeting so many new individuals who are just amazing and fun and are already adding so much to my journey-it’s literally only been three weeks and I’ve been overwhelmingly blessed with the presence of these additional fabulously fierce individuals.  One of these people, just this week said, “no pressure but you’re already family…I feel like I’ve known you forever”  and another “soooo, where have you been my whole life?”  A bit weird in the how in the world have be built such a connection already but amazing in the how amazing that we’ve built such a connection already!!!!  See what I did there 🙂

The flip side of all of this is that I’m having to decide who really gets parts of me that those who have always been part of my journey get.  You see, things are going exceptionally well and as life would have it, there are many who are re-appearing, or showing up after being gone for so long.  Absolutely no harm done, no insult, no hurt but the observation I’ve made of the two sides of the journey for me have had me really thinking about the fact that I have to make the choice.  I don’t have to give away any part of me to anyone who isn’t there for me…just as me but instead for the highs of my journey.  I actually get to choose who’s part of my squad.  It sounds so simple, but let me elaborate just a bit more…I promise it’ll be good 🙂

Ok, so as of late there’ve been many posts about squads, highlights about who true squad friends are like the phenomenal Taraji P. Henson for Viola Davis moment….

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reminders of the blessings of squad time with the Mary, Kerry and Taraj apple commercial and a number of other things  That being said, it begs attention as an important factor in our lives.  So, with all of this, what does, engaging in Squad Selection actually entail?  As always, soooo glad you asked 😉

1-Define what it is you want and need from your squad: Again, this sounds so simple but it’s really important to know what you need and don’t need in your life.  Be very clear with yourself about what it is you want your squad to bring to the table of your life. And remember, this changes over time…this is why, as one friend once put it, you “graduate” from people, and it’s actually ok.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve gotten better and they haven’t, or that you’ve grown and they haven’t.  It just means life changes and circumstances, situations, changed perspectives and the like, lead to divergence, no hard feelings.  Just be clear about what you need for you.

2-Articulate what feelings your squad reinforces: Joy. Responsible. Confident. Accountable.  This is what I seek to experience with those around me. Let me be clear-this is not to say that they are responsible for how I feel.  I didn’t say that you should articulate how they make you feel.  You are responsible for how you manage your emotions, but others can either detract or reinforce those emotions.  For example, I am a confident individual and I am responsible for building and nurturing my confidence.  Those in my squad though, always reinforce this sentiment for me when I need it or in those “just because I love you girl” moments that come up so I don’t lose sight of that.  It’s important to be clear about what you want reinforced so that when anything outside of that shows up, you can call someone out on it.  For instance, you’ll notice fear is not on my list.  Hence, when this grandeur of all the change I was facing recently showed up, not one person in my squad even mentioned the factor of fear.  “Honey, you got this! I just know it” (thanks Su)…”I knew it! I knew this is where you would land….it’s just perfect for you”(thanks Jas)…”I’m really proud of you…really” (thanks John)….”No, you’re not crazy, you’re actually really brave” (thanks MC)…”You? Not make friends out there?  That’s funny!  You’ll be fine! (thanks Judith)……and I could go on and on and on.  But see the trend?  Yeah, that’s what I’m getting at.

3-Define your role….what it is and what it isn’t.  I learned very early in life that you teach people how to treat you.  You have to be clear about what expectations they can have of you and what they can’t.  I am definitely guilty of overextending in the past and even being a bit too loyal to those whom I call friend.  You live, you learn and this being true, the clearer you get about what you choose to let others leverage from you…and again, what they can’t…the better.   Boundaries….limits…they’re actually ok!  Set them.  At the same time, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable in your role either.  Especially when it comes to your squad, your sisters, you’ve got to be vulnerable and enjoy the benefits of that too!

4-Scout and/or embrace:  While I have my right handers in place, my aces, I’m actually in a place where there is room for more in this next level of my adventure with uncharted territory.  And so I’m definitely being open to new friends!  At the same time, remember that whole intention factor I mentioned in the beginning, I’m totally embracing (virtually) those currently in my squad.  Scouting and embracing is my balancing act in this season!  Join in.  And then….Party like it’s 1999….ok 2020 because, let’s just be honest, at this point it just sounds much cooler….maybe….just a little…alright, ok, just in my head..but not so much…just on paper 🙂 #CarryOn
Soundtrack of the week: Super cheesy but just seems so fitting-Count on Me by Whitney Houston and Cece Winans

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #63- Honoring Your Journey, Your Heart and Your Soul

Well, it’s been a couple weeks now since I made my move to the West Coast and I have to say, California is treating me pretty well!  Things are really superb and I  am truly enjoying every bit of it.  Absolutely true that there is no place like home so of course, I’m missing family and friends so thank God for the phone, FaceTime, texts, emails and even a few notes from friends–I seriously have the best people a girl could have in her life….which brings me to this week’s post (acting like I’ve been as diligent as I’d like with weekly post…hehehe, just let me have it :).

These past few months have been so revealing in terms of facing the test of really walking my talk, the people in my life, the desires of my heart, and the strength, well alignment of my soul with what I truly believe.  That’s a lot right?  So of course, I’m just going to break it all down here and try to be as succinct as I can….but you know me 🙂

Honoring Your Journey:                                                                                                                   In our day-to-day, it can be very easy to forget that we really only get one shot at this game called life.  That being said, though we may be dealt a particular hand that doesn’t always look like it can work in our favor, or the dice may not always roll the way we’d like, or we’ve got competitors, opponents, or even those on our teams who present challenges, our one job is to honor our journey, valuing each day as an ongoing contribution to the bigger plays we put forth.  No matter what, keep the game interesting, at least by being in it.  Sitting on the sidelines should never be an option.  You may not always have the ball, but you can always get in there and run, engage, contribute something.  Honor your journey……stay in it, make it worth it, unlock the plays that will yield a story you’re proud to share when the time comes.

Honor Your Heart:                                                                                                                             Of course for me reflection at this point as it relates to the heart has to do with a guy….another story for another day….but when it comes to honoring your heart, the best way I can articulate what I’d like to get across to you is that it is so important to treat it, to honor it, as the precious pearl that it is.  Give yourself the time to know what soothes it, what gives it warmth, what hurts and breaks it, what potentially causes it to writhe in that kind of pain you remember but soon forget once you open it up again.  Then, cherish it with a regard as diligent as that which you would have for newborn, yet as carefree and whimsical as that magical heat that lets hot air balloons soar to heights unimagined…accepting that at the end of the day, you don’t want to favor one strategy more than the other.  Instead, seek a balance that allows you to experience all that love and life have to offer, appreciating that it is the heart that has the strength to endure that act even when you don’t think you actually can.

Honoring Your Soul:                                                                                                                       The more I find myself in new and unusual places with new and unfamiliar faces, I experience more what I’ve always known to be true-We are first spirit beings before we are human beings.  What does this mean?  Well, essentially, long before we are formed in our natural state, we are souls, we are spirits.  Our soul is the resting place and launch pad of our values.  It’s the source through which we can measure alignment with our beliefs.  It’s where our desires take root and stem.  And yet, we don’t always do a good job at consistently investing in our souls.  A long time ago there was the Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul series.  To me, what that was a reminder of was the need for us to take pauses in our day to get in tune with our souls…you know a gut check, if you will.   We’ve got to nurture that part of our being.  My source is my daily scripture reading and intention setting.  We need this, the time that is, no matter what you believe, investing the time in reflection is so critical.  We actually crave it without always knowing how to articulate it.  For instance, I’ve only been here just two weeks and really only connecting with folks for the past few days.  Interestingly enough, I’m the newest person to the circles I’m engaging in and the other folks have actually been here for at least a year and most much longer than that.  Yet, consistently conversations have come to “needing to find a church”.  And no, I’m not the one actually bringing it up.  We all seek nurturing for our souls in some form or another.  Take time to honor that.

Remember, while our days are actually many, they’re not promised and so our time here will always be shorter than we desire.  That  being said, it’s that much more imperative that we

  • live every day to the fullest, honoring our journey overall
  • gift ourselves time to recognize what different life situations enhance or detract from the heart and foster what is good for it thereby honoring it
  • invest in our spiritual growth and development, honoring our souls

Until next time, live fabulously fierce!!!!

Soundtrack of the week: A Double Header 🙂

 

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

Hello Hello!

Hope you are all doing fabulously well.  It has been quite some time since I’ve reached out to you here and I’ll spare you all the details, but what I’ll call some ‘LFF Operations and Competition’ Management requirements has kept me away….but I’m back!  Brace yourselves!!!!  J

So while I’ve been “away” I’ve observed an increase in the number of conversations around coaching, personal brand building, authenticity, being fearless, being brave, and being fearlessly brave.  It’s been quite inspiring but it has also really pressed me to help increase clarity around the reality of personal brand building.  As someone with a passion for this area of focus, I am always attuned to conversations around this aspect of our existence, especially when I am questioned about what it means to me and how I incorporate it into my coaching practice.  So what’s my point here?  Well, I think this is a perfect opportunity to visit/revisit what personal branding really is all about and some keys to success in pursuing either the development of your personal brand or managing it after you’ve put in the work to bring it to where it is!

Ok, so in terms of what personal branding actually is, just google the item and you will find different answers, lots of advice, tons of programs and the like.  From an LFF standpoint, I really do try to keep it pretty simple.  Essentially, personal branding/personal brand building is nothing more than going trhough the truly personal process of self-discovery, self-definition and self-distinction to facilitate a positive experience  for all who interact with you, in a way that is consistent with your values….essentially your authenticity.  Check out a few of my previous posts on this for some additional insight into this:

Now, what does it really take to be successful in the process of personal brand building?  So glad you asked J  It’s really quite simple (don’t you love it when people say that…#eyeroll).  Ok, maybe simple isn’t the right way to look at it but I will say straightforward when coupled with proactive intention….how’s that  J  A couple of months ago I was asked to share a summary of “keys to personal branding success” with some Babson folks.  Here’s what I shared, with some additional insight just for you!

  1. Position authenticity as your guide and target

I think it goes without saying that you really have to stay true to yourself but so many find this to be quite difficult.  In fact, I would submit that we are all challenged by this, just to different degrees with some more so than others.  Ultimately, as you focus your efforts on your personal brand, always focus on staying true to who you are.  This doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to having the same characteristics of others that can be developed but just don’t limit your potential to imitation.  Instead, focus on authentic replication, as you see fit, but set priority on what you already bring to the table.

  1. Know without question who you are and that entails

It actually amazes me how many of us don’t really take the time to know who we are.  My path recently crossed with that of another and what is most impressive about this individual is his lack of question as to who he is.  He knows through and through who he is, what he brings to the world, what he chooses not to, how he shows up, how others may/do perceive him, what he’s comfortable with, what he’s not….I could keep going but ultimately, you get the point…he’s done the work to know his history, know how he shows up, and what his intentions are through and through.  There is no value high enough to place on this.  Go for broke on this one!

  1. Seek feedback, proactively

I am a feedback junkie like none other.  No, not just for compliments, but I can actually acknowledge that I may have a slight obsession with always learning how I can be better, where I can improve (ask my friends…they’re rolling their eyes as we ‘speak’).  The challenge is we reserve this idea of finding out what others’ perspectives are just for the workplace.  We wait for mid-year or final reviews to find out how we’re doing…how we’re showing up.  In reality, we should really be doing this as much as possible….or ok, just with a more regular cadence.  No, it doesn’t mean you’re obsessed with what others’ think of you.  It just simply shows that you’re interested in determining to what degree your perspective and intention on how you show-up actually is reflected in the perspectives of others.  You will always have a choice in what you will accept and what you will discard.  Gasp!  You mean I can actually just not care about the feedback?  Ummmm, yeah!!!  Totally up to you!

  1. Own your brand

Living in a world where you have to spend more energy not engaging in social media than engaging, you really have to be intentional about not only how you show up, but where you show up as well.  There isn’t enough time in the day to share the examples of where some of us have fallen short in managing our online profiles-linkedin, facebook, twitter, Instagram etc, so I’ll just say this…make it a priority to reflect who you are in the best light, with authentic intention wherever there may be a chance someone else can get even a glimpse of you.

  1. Employ and engage confidence

A bit cheesy but this point reminds me of the song you learn in Sunday school or private school…This Little Light of Mine…..All I will say here is let go of that bushel and let your light shine.  There is no benefit to hiding or even limiting the impact of who you are and all that you have to offer this world.  Be confident throughout your branding process and as you own all that you are.  There’ more to lose in a dim space than one well lit.

  1. Slate regular “brand checks”

Anything worth its yield requires at least a minimum investment.  This goes for branding and the first place to start is with time.  I absolutely LOVE my clients.  Yes, they invest financially in the coaching engagements they employ me for in their journey, but what is amazing is the time they invest in the coaching process, both when we meet or have a call…AND between our sessions.  Yes, I give them homework/assignments (seriously I do) but they actually do invest the time in their brand health to make sure they’re in alignment with their goals.  Whether it’s weekly, monthly, quarterly, whatever you choose, just choose and stick with it.

  1. Focus on impact and legacy of your brand

Branding for branding sake has very limited value, especially when compared to the value in the process when you decide what impact you’re really looking to have.  For example, I’m working with a client now who recently just took over a very large team…and this team, simply put…is just a hot mess.  She recently engaged me in her coaching journey to help her determine how best to show up.  What we had to also focus on was what would be most value for her as it relates to how she is engaging with this team.  She has decided to focus her brand on being a resilient leader.  What is the impact/legacy you want your brand to have?

  1. Build an army of advocates

Even Oprah Winfrey has advocates, including some of us.  My point here is to make sure you are not going alone in championing for your brand.  We all need those who will advocate for us when we’re not there to do so for ourselves.  Professionally, I always suggest starting with a mentor, sponsor, and peer advocate-those individuals who will speak up about you, your work, and what it’s like to work with you…positive reinforcement!

  1. Toot your own horn

This is one practice in which more of us fall short than not.  We have a very difficult time talking about our successes, strengths and areas of distinction.  I believe because we perceive this as bragging but what we have to recognize is, if we’re not tooting our own horn, we may go unnoticed, and the strongest brands are those that are noticed…for the right reason.

  1. Nurture the branding process

This is about more than just putting in the time…it’s also about putting in the effort and doing the required work to increase your personal self-awareness, committing to defining how you wish to be perceived, how you will show up, and proactively deciding what impact you will to have in all the circles in which you operate.

 

See, as promised….pretty simple…….I kid , I kid.  But in all seriousness, I don’t think this is something that is difficult but it does require a commitment and investment of time and energy.  So, hop to it!  And if you’ve got any questions you can always reach out!

 


Soundtrack of the Week:
Authenticity From the mouth of babes is what came to mind when I found this song by the young, Tiffany Alvord.  Enjoy!