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

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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

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My oh my has it been quite some time.  By now, I trust that you know when I get a little quiet….ok, a lot quiet…on the blogosphere, it is evidence of quite a lot going on in my personal efforts to live fabulously fierce.  This time it is definitely no different.

A few short weeks ago, I shared on my Facebook page that I am embarking on a huge change, personally and professionally.  In just a little over a week, I will be heading to California to start a brand new opportunity in the D&I space with Google!  Now to date, I haven’t really been as transparent about the specifics of what I do and where I work with the simple intention of staying focused on the messaging of personal branding, living authentically and all that I believe goes with all of that.  I still want to adhere to this personal standard, but given Factor #62, I hope you can see why I am sharing so much now.

Here’s the deal, my life over the past few years has been pretty amazing.  Personally, professionally, financially, health-wise, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually, things have been off the charts!  Have I continued to have opportunities for growth, improvement and progress?  Un. Doubt. Ed. Ly!  No question about it.  But where I was, mentally, I guess, was that if things just stayed as they were, honestly, I was good….great, actually!  This was all the result of just operating from a place of gratitude and sincere thanksgiving in everything.  And so, I have to admit, while there were things I still desired, experiences I identified as wanting, again, if things didn’t change, I was all good.  Soooooo, I really wasn’t proactive in living in a way of maintaining higher expectations.  I hoped for more.  I desired more.  I looked forward to more….but again, no complaints.  I didn’t get complacent…I promise….but, I was truly satisfied.

And then, within the same week earlier this year, I got a few calls on a number of opportunities with two peaking my interest the most.  Then, to make a long story short, with one brave ‘Yes, I accept,” my whole world is about to change.  I had no expectations of any of what has come and is continuing to come my way and lo and behold, a lot of incredible things are happening and taking shape, even before my move.  So, the lesson for me has been that when you’re thinking things are just incredibly fabulous, and you’re living as fiercely as you can, and you just can’t even imagine how much better things can get as you sit back in awe of all that is currently in front of you…..brace yourself for the unimaginable and then so much more.  Live as if there is always another door preparing to show itself with an opportunity in perfect in alignment of who you are, what you’re continuing to become, and the unfolding of your unique journey.

So, as we’re in the season of kicking off the new year, while I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, I am all about setting your intentions around continuing to live fabulously fierce as well as you can in your authenticity.  Thus, my encouragement for all of us in 2016 and beyond is to proactively live in expectation of even greater, even better, even more extraordinary, even more fabulously fierce.  Our stories never get old, they don’t cease to unfurl many new twists and turns, as long as we continue to be open to the next chapters

Happy New Year!!!

Soundtrack of the Week: Tori Kelly’s Daydream

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #61-Accepting the Change in Seasons

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

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

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

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

Lately, I’ve consistently been heard things like:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #60-Daring to Ask for and/or Accept Help

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You’re not going to believe this, I know you’re not, but as smart as I am, there are some lessons in this life that I need to be taught over and over and over….and over again.  Shocker, I know!  Those who have been following long enough and those who know me really well are either smiling or rolling their eyes at the sarcasm here….and I’m ok with either J  But here’s the truth of the matter, I continue to struggle with asking for and accepting help.  Yes, I totally know why…thanks to the self-discovery process and a few complimenting self-assessments but it is something I still struggle with, though I’ve gotten muuuuuuuuch better.

Living fabulously fierce means that you are one who knows that you really can’t handle everything on your own or at a minimum, if you can’t see that, you’re strong enough, well wise enough to know that when others are offering their help, maybe they’re seeing something you’re not….that you need their help.  Let them!

So here’s a bit of self reflection that I’ll be hold enough, vulnerable enough,  to share:

  • Earlier this year, my fabulous friend, Alesha Barnes, you know the fitness competitor, started coaching me on my workout routine. We were on Arms Day and I was trying to complete a set of presses and she helped me get through the last few reps but I told her “You’ve gotta let me just do it because what am I going to do when you’re not here?”  Her response, “Well, I’m here now so I’m helping you!”  Essentially, shut up and let me help you!
  • Last weekend, I was traveling with my mom to Miami. It was a quick weekend trip so we didn’t have too much in the way of luggage but you know, enough for the both of us.  At one point, we’re running through the airport….yup, totally cut the time super close to boarding because we were having so much fun….and I just took all the bags.  My mom looks at me and says “Farah what are you doing?  Give me one of the bags!”  My response, “Mommy I do this all the time when I’m traveling for work.”  Her response, “you’re not on a work trip, I’m here, give me the bag.”
  • This past weekend, prepping for our Living Fabulously Fierce Coaching Party at LFF Headquarters, my sister, Judith, jumped in on a number of pieces including running errands and picking up some items.  I asked her a few time, “Wait, where did you get these from?…..How much did that cost?  How many of these did you get?  How did you do that?”  Finally, Friday night, she looked at me and said “stop asking me questions”.  It was kinda funny to see her at her wits end (hehehe) but she was essentially saying, “shut up, let me help.”  Seriously though, you should’ve seen her face..if I was a pic, the caption would’ve read “for the love of God, shut up.”  🙂

And here I am. not even realizing that this is really a pattern for me and I need to focus on progressing from viewing asking for help as a challenge to choosing to leverage the ability to ask for help as the ability to demonstrate wisdom, discernment, and bravery…until now.

So what does it me to dare to ask/accept help?

  • First it means, finding peace in the truth that were never meant to be here operating and executing completely on our own. As human beings, we are designed to lean on one another and provide a safe space for leaning.
  • Second, it means redefining what it means to ask for help. Some of us have been taught to view the need for help as a weakness, a deficiency….more about looking at what you’re not able to do on your own than what you’re able to accomplish by leveraging others….a true strength.  Take the time to redefine what it means to ask for an accept help.  For me, it reminds me that I’m not alone.  That’s huuuuuuuge.  See some of us have this self-sufficiency mode of operating because for one reason or another we’ve just had to figure things out on our own so when help shows up, we can’t even accept it for what it is…confirmation that you’re still self-sufficient but you’re just no longer solo.  Choose your definition.
  • Third, it means stepping back and letting others be a blessing, showing your what they can do, elevating their own strengths, skills, and areas of expertise. This basically boils down to getting over yourself and sharing the spotlight.  Sharing the platform or giving others the opportunity to show you there’s.  What a loss of an opportunity for you and for them if you’re just note smart, brave, daring enough to give them that opportunity by asking for or accepting their help.  That’s totally not in alignment with living fabulously fierce.

So, think about it.  My challenge to you this week is just to think about “help”.  Really take the time to think about what that means to you?  Do you have negative thoughts around asking for/accepting help?  Why?  Is it something deep or is it really just your pride (ouch!  I know, I totally went there).  Whatever it is, just call it out.  Then, agree to go through the process above and start tackling the challenge of asking for and accepting help.  You’ll be amazed at how much gain comes from it, both for you, and those positioned to help you!

Soundtrack of the week: No one’s done this better than Erica Campbell in her song Help.  It’s a Gospel song so really focused on that special faith-based help.  Never the less, you can hear the need in the words, the song, the message.  Let go, be strong, be vulnerable, be positioned for the help you need…the help you deserve!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #59-Living Purposefully WITH COURAGE!!!!

I decided a long time ago not to give speeches, but to give testimonies.” ~Viola Davis

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A few years ago, I had the incredible opportunity to hear Ms. Davis speak at a conference hosted by Bryant University.  It was just a few months, maybe weeks even, before I was to take the stage in a local play for the very first time!  So the timing was so fabulous for me and then walking out, I was just in awe to be walking right behind her…..riiiiiiiiight behind her.  Ok, so what’s my point?  Well, Ms. Davis left everyone in the room with so much wisdom, inspiration and, without actually verbalizing it, a call to action to live purposefully.  I mean, she was standing right there, right in front of us as a perfect example of the results of living on purpose…..intentionally…..with courage….in the face of fear, doubt, question, limited confidence etc….a true living testimony.  AND ALL THIS, YEARS BEFORE LAST WEEK’S EMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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It is clear that she has been living purposefully for years long before we even knew her name. See, she made a decision long before she even understood what that actually meant (I really encourage you to look up her story and learn more…wish I could share all the notes I took from her speech….testimony).  So what does this all mean for us?  Well, as we continue to develop in our commitment and ability to live fabulously fierce, we have to identify, own and live our purpose without wavering, and with relentless perseverance.  How?

Well, I am not convinced that there is any secret sauce or anything like that to this practice that we call living.  What I do believe is that there are certain truths, realities if you will, that add value to the experience of living and make it feasible to make all of it our very own.  Hence…yup, I’ll say it again, the importance of self-discovery, self-definition and self-distinction to the entire branding process…the process of living authentically….living fabulously free.  Quite frankly, it is the focus of self- distinction that is most directly tied to the call of living purposefully.  Remember, self-distinction is all about the footprint you’re intending to leave behind, the impression you want made that lives on in others long after you’re gone (not just from the earth but even from just a room you’re walking out of….what do you leave behind?

The connection to living purposefully is simply the very definition of what it means to live on purpose: living with determination, resolution, full of meaning, with significance! So again, how do we do this?  Well, just a few recommendations here for you:

  • State exactly what your purpose is. To begin living purposefully is to know what purpose you are seeking to fulfill, to meet, so that your legacy is a reflection of just that. Using myself as an example-my clients always hear, ‘I will never ask you to do something I haven’t done or won’t do,’-I know that part of my purpose on this earth is to reflect the truth that one candle loses no light by lighting another.  This manifests itself in how I seek as much as possible to elevate other women and serve as an example to young girls….hence Living Fabulously Fierce as the method through which I intentionally live my purpose.  Are things exactly where I want them to be in this endeavor?  Nope (if you only knew how much is in my heart for all things LFF related!!!!!) but anyone who knows me and know what I’m about knows in some for another what my purpose is…because I do.  So, what is it that you believe you’re here to impact? To leave a positive impression on, as a legacy that will impact others for endlessly?
  • Take one step toward living on/toward your purpose. Decide today what one action would lead you just one step closer to either beginning or continuing to live purposefully.  Write it down…with a date next to it that notes when that step will be taken (dare I challenge you to note it as within the week?!?). Take that step!  Once this is done, it’ll be much easier to take steps 2, 3, 4, etc.  Then you’ll find it’s not even about the steps any more…it’s just about the living.  It becomes your natural mode of living.  And don’t think of this as something that needs to be so huge.  Think about it, how did you learn to walk?  I know we don’t remember this early part of life but we can all be certain it wasn’t by taking huge leaps, jumps or anything of the sort.  No, crawling to walking, walking to running, and look at us now J  For me, when I first looked at all of this many years ago, it was just a matter of deciding on my own personal mantra if you will.  The question was “how can I describe the way that I live that serves as a reflection of who I want to be and the impact I wish to have?”  Lo and behold…..fabulously fierce….living. fabulously. fierce.  What’s in a name?  Well, apparently a whole lot to drive a lot more action!  What’s the one step for you?  When will you take it?
  • Develop your strategy for addressing fear by acknowledging it and moving past it. Earlier this month, we make September the month of Courage for Living Fabulously Fierce.  Those of you who’ve been tracking with us via the LFF Facebook page have inboxed messages around how you’re developing courage, how you’re facing fear and how you’re really pushing yourself.  Interestingly enough, our shares, likes, and retweets this month have been the highest they’ve ever been!  Yes, I think I’ve shared some pretty cool quotes, messages, even songs/videos about courage. But what I think has also driven this uptick is the reality of how so many of us live in fear.  I don’t even mean an all-encompassing fear, but fear in one area or another in our lives that keeps us from living life to it’s very fullest, especially as it relates  to us living more purposefully.

I’m recently obsessed with Brendan Burchard’s The Motivation Manifesto.  He has a full chapter on addressing fear                and I can’t help but share the details of just the first chapter with you here…then GO GET THE BOOK!

        Fear rips us from freedom.  It is the destroyer of greatness.  We know this, and we should tame our mind in order to             defeat fear.  Yet look at all the adults who act like powerless children and avoid the life they want because of fear.                 ..the self-oppressed say, “You don’t understand.  I can’t chase my reams because I might fail-I might not be good                   enough.”  These are the debilitating thoughts…..that should we wish to live a vibrant life, we must transcend and look             fear in the eye, recognizing it as a mental construct that we alone fuel with small thoughts that betray our magnitude…..         our distinction, our purposeful living, our ability to live fabulously fierce

We don’t always have the courage to live purposefully in the fear of doubts and the like.  That being said, we have to             devise some way, a strategy around what we will do when these fears start to creep up.  For some, it really is just                   taking a deep breath and carrying on.  For others, it’s a process of dancing with logic through a series of questions:  If I         really put myself out there, will people judge me or am I just thinking this up?  If they do, do I actually care?  Would I              rather play it safe with no progress, or push myself in the direction of fulfilling my purpose? What’s the worst that can            happen if I just take the first step?  So, what strategy will you use for addressing fear?

  • Daydream, envision, vision board. The value of visioning is beyond measure.  When addressing goals with my clients, we ALWAYS use some form of visioning.  Decide what the best way for your to actually “see” yourself living your life in line with your purpose and use it! I’d encourage you to use even allow yourself some time to daydream, yes in the midst of all the hustling and bustling we have to do!  Do it do it do it!
  • Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive!!!!!!!! Need I say more 🙂

 To living purposefully, with courage!!!!  Thank you, Ms. Viola Davis for the example!!!!

Soundtrack of the week: A repeat….Beyonce’s I was Here!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #58-Knowing Who and What You Want

A girl should be two things: Who and what she wants.” ~Coco Chanel

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Ms. Chanel was undoubtedly a fashion icon and her legacy lives on in that spirit.  What impresses me most about her though, much in the same way does Ms. Dianne von Furstenberg, is her level of self-awareness and commitment to authenticity.  In this statement, Ms. Chanel stresses the importance of self-awareness as a perquisite for accepting and expecting anything….or anyone, for that matter, in life.

It is undeniable that there is so much messaging to young girls in our world today and not all of it helpful or productive.  Truth of the matter is that there is much more that is focused on telling them who they should be more like and what changes they should employ to be less of themselves and more of what’s deemed “acceptable”.  I admit that because I really do have a passion in this area, I soak up everything related to my target audiences of women and girls…..so it’s not surprising that just this past week alone, I read over 20 articles related to what’s happening in the messaging to our up and coming fabulously fierce.  In short, here’s just a bit of the information I picked up this week so far, visually….

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And then in a midst of all of this, a reminder from Ms. Chanel that there is actually some simplicity in the path to just being you and being positioned to expect more of what you want in your life by starting with yourself…Know who you are……know what you want.

On knowing who you are…. 

This week I got to coach over 50 leaders through Energy Leadership. They were so appreciative of the insight gained from the assessment they took but what they stressed was how much more self-aware they were as a result.  Now here’s the thing, leaders are leaders because they already have a level of self-awareness that has positioned them to yield the success they have obtained so far.  The beauty, however, is that the learning never ends.  To truly live authentically and remain true to ourselves, we really have to commit to first engaging in the process of self-discovery (I know, I know, I always talk about this) AND living in a way that keeps you open to learning more and more about yourself over time.  Some may push back here and say “But I am very self-aware and I know who I am.”  And trust me, I believe that a good number of us actually do….just ask the people in my own personal circle.  The catch here however is that if we truly believe that we are always full of potential and always developing, which continues to increase our potential, then doesn’t it just make sense to engage in self-discovery on a regular basis?  Of course it does!!!  (love how I answer my own question and then am even so bold as to tell myself I’m correct :).

So what’s the point here? TAKE EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE!  I always suggest StrengthsFinders as a great resource for folks.  It’s simple, not really expensive, and the return on the investment is huuuuuuuuge!  Huuuuuuge!!!!  Everyone who starts the LFF Branding Curriculum with me starts here! Do it, do it, do it!

It truly surprises me when folks don’t at least take up opportunities in the space of self-discovery.  Jus last week, I offered a free coaching session to the first person who responded both on my personal Facebook page and one on the LFF Facebook page.  The LFF one actually included a free Energy Leadership Index!!!!  Someone signed up for the free coaching session but the Energy Leadership Index is still hanging out there….(hint hint….it’s still available for the claiming (LFF Facebook 8/22 Post).

On knowing what you want…

Yeah….guess what, everyone  thinks they know what they want, but I have to share that in my coaching and even in my own self-reflection, there are more of us who believe that we know what we want because it’s aligned with what we think we’re supposed to want!  Yuuuup, let that sink in for a minute….

We’ve come to be blinded by circumstances, situations, standards etc. And yes, I’m preaching to myself too!

I challenge you (well, us with myself included) to get into a mental space….clear your head….pretend this world actually doesn’t even exits as it is but you’re in your own perfect environment where you’re totally starting with a blank slate of what to create for yourself.  Without any hesitation, just spit it out:

  • What do you see?
  • What do you hear?
  • What are you doing?
  • Who are you with?
  • How do you feel?
  • What makes you love all of this?

Heart pumping yet?  Smiling a little bit?  Know why, you just created what you want!!!!  Now let’s show some courage….don’t look back….start making it all a reality!

Soundtrack of the week: American Authors’ Best Day of My Life

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.

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!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #56-Eliminating Internal Barriers

This past week was incredibly busy and truly phenomenal.  Things that have been put on the back burner for a little bit with work are now well-positioned to be picked up given that our official “busy season” is wrapped up.  Also, this week included a full slate of scheduled coaching clients with a variety of items/topics to be addressed.  Across the board though, one item continued to come up across the diversity in age, culture, experience, etc of my clients…..love.

For those for whom love is a “missing” component…not yet evident…you know, my single ladies, I had a few sessions where we focused on what was really at hand (oh the irony).  What I had to address with each was what internally was keeping them from the love that they wanted to experience.

One piece of wisdom that I had to offer as I was reminded of a quote was the following:

“Your task is not to seek for love, but to seek and melt all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it….Love is everywhere. Melt your barriers and you will have love in abundance.”- Unknown(really, really wish I had the source to give cred)

There’s much more to this quote as I have it captured in a notebook of mine but this is really the core of what I was getting to with a few folks this week.  Sometimes, and naturally so, as human beings, we focus on potential external factors that may be limiting our ability to obtain the desires of the heart.  We seek to identify potential external factors that may very well be the “culprit(s)”.  Instead, what I would submit is more productive, would be to challenge ourselves to pause and consider what internally may be limiting us, positioned as barriers in our perspective, our openness, our truth and honesty with ourselves.  Ok, I guess I’ll just go there….we have to be daring and comfortable with the uncomfortable process of asking what are the deeper issues within that are challenging us to be open to, not only the potential but the prospect of love and any other experiences that may not be present in our life experiences that we so wish were?

Yup, this gets to some seriously deep stuff, but it’s when we embrace the deep that we get the depth in all the positive things we seek.  Yuck, I know.  One of my clients even warned me “Ok, I’ll go there with you because I need this but it’s just not going to be pretty.”  I’m gave if you’re game!  So, where do we start and what is the process?  I’m always so happy with our inquisitive you are J

  1. Accept the “ugly”. Yeah, this process is not pretty and that’s totally cool.  Who wants to just be pretty when you can grow into beauty?  Sometimes to see how extraordinary you are, you have to accept that the process getting there is going to involve blood, sweat and tears or at a minimum, feelings of fear, anxiety, pressure, anguish, emotional pain….all, just part of the process.  Accept what it will look and feel like, knowing that it will not be forever.
  2. Embrace the reality that you have some barriers that you are the “culprit” in building. It’s absolutely ok because you’re human and so what if you’ve created some blocks.  More than likely these were built for good reason.  Life is not a matter of just simple, independent activities but more valuable, experiences in which we decide how to react.  Safety or self-protection is always a good option in the moment when we feel threatened or in a position to be on guard.  It’s just never a long-tern, eternal solution.  That being said, accept that you may have appropriately built some walls, if you will, and as for good reason, there’s no shame in it, just opportunity for acceptance.
  3. Call your barriers out-Make it plane to yourself by being specific in identifying your barriers, internal blocks, and walls. Use whatever channel you need to to express what they are.  In identifying them, they have no hold over you.  Instead, you can call them out and be empowered to address them as needed.
  4. Show them the door, giving yourself time to facilitate their permanent exit-I don’t think I could say this more plainly. Let go of the walls, the barriers, the guards…and be patient with yourself in the process of letting them go forever.
  5. Welcome in what you desire-Enjoy and bask in the desires of your heart that are bound to manifest!