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!

Living Fabulously Fierce SPOTLIGHT: The Fabulously ‘Me’…

Brenda Patnaude

Brenda

Human Resources Manager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice do you have for young girls, our up and coming fabulously fierce, around being their best selves or anything you’d like to share with them in particular?
The greatest leaders and most successful people are the ones that did not try to be like everyone else. Be yourself. Always. The difference you are is your gift – no one else has it but you. Cuddle with it. Flaunt it. Grow it. Keep it. Know it is your power to share as you please. This is the key to your confidence and success….don’t forget.

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

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #55-Sharing the Spotlight with Others

After a month of intentional spotlighting of others, I am even more grateful for this platform than ever before!!! It has been an amazing month of collecting different nominations of those to be spotlighted along with their stories and the wisdom they sought to share with all of us. Truly, truly a blessing and I hope you were as enriched from the women who were featured as I was.
And just when you thought we were wrapping up our spotlights, as many of you have reached out to ask if you can nominate someone or if you could be featured, I’ve decided we’re going to let the spotlight continue to shine. So, don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know you’re game (FarahBernier@gmail.com)!!! Looking forward to continuing to collect and share your stories.
As for our Factor #55, it would be a total miss if I didn’t hone in on this with you. Simply put, I think we really have so much we can all gain from sharing the spotlight with each other! No, I’m not saying we all need to go ahead and create our own individual blogs and feature different women at different times. What I am getting at are the everyday opportunities we have to let another woman know how phenomenal we think she is and/or give her permission, coupled with undivided attention, to share her story, highlighting what made her who she is.
So, what’s the action? Well, when it comes to the factor of sharing the spotlight with others, there is quite a bit to consider:

  1. Express your respect, admiration and appreciation. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t appreciate someone sharing a “hey, I think you’re fabulous because….” or “I don’t think I’ve ever told you, but I really appreciate you and all that you are” or anything along those lines. This week, let someone, or a few ‘someones’ know how you feel! I found these cards a few months ago and I’ve decided that this week, I’m going to write out five to five different fabulously fierce women in my circle to express my respect, admiration and appreciation of them                                                                      . unnamed                                                                                                        Find your own unique way to express your sentiments to your own five.
  2. Nominate/Reward them for something. Daring isn’t it! Professionally, as women, we don’t do as much as our counterparts do in the way of credentialing. Why? Well, research shows we’re just not as comfortable tooting our own horn. No sweat, that’s why we have friends! I’m not taking away from the fact that we have to be better at this, but in the meantime, we can appreciate when others do the tooting for us. So, this week, identify one woman and awards relevant to her and yup, go ahead and nominate her. And if she’s super uncomfortable with it, do it anyway and blame me (hehehe).
  3. Thank them. Sharing the spotlight requires that someone allows herself to experience a level of vulnerability that can be quite daunting. I can’t tell you how many of the women who were interviewed for the spotlights shared how nervous they were or how great the questions were but so hard to really answer and be ok with their answers. Sharing the spotlight is one thing but accepting it requires a real level of bravery. Be sure to thank her for that.

There, Factor #55….nothing to it!!! To a fabulous week ahead of spotlighting the fabulously fierce!!!!

Soundtrack of the Week: I love sharing music as I truly believe we’re always building the soundtrack of our life but this week, I had to share this clip with Ms. Jennifer Garner!! Enjoy, be inspired, inspire!

Living Fabulously Fierce SPOTLIGHT:  The Fabulously Fearless…

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 Allana Taranto

Photographer, Educator

What does Living Fabulously Fierce Mean to You?

For a long time I was a ‘Why’?  Over time, I became a ‘Why Not’? For me this means living honestly. It means embracing the continual process of self-reflection.

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

  • Authentic
  • Lyrical
  • Eternal

How are you intentional about your personal brand?

I try to be thoughtful about the experience I create for my clients, and the images I make for them.  I feel, deeply that the responsibility of creating images of women that are empowering, and give their subjects agency.  For me it’s about making images that are celebratory and honor this moment.

How do you live it?

I try to acknowledge that much of life is performance, and enjoy that performance.  I try to be thoughtful about what I do, and how I move through my life.

If there is anything you could do to either reinforce or enhance your brand, what would that be?

Shoot more. Share with more people.

Greatest accomplishment?

I always feel wonderful when clients return for another shoot, or invite me to document the next special and momentous time in their lives.

Biggest Challenge that you’ve overcome?

Getting out of my own way.  I overthink everything. That’s the continual battle.

Interesting Fact/Interests/Hobby/Something you think the LFF World to Know

My 2015 goals are to fill up my sketchbook, cook my way through all of my CSA boxes, complete a personal photography project and to focus on community building. It’s quite a bit to tackle in addition to running my business, but I’m up for it.

How do you recommend other women stay true to themselves and live their authentic personal brand?

Have patience with yourself. Forgive yourself. Enjoy yourself. Pursue yourself.

What advice do you have for young girls, our up and coming fabulously fierce, around being their best selves or anything you’d like to share with them in particular?

Finding yourself as a woman, defining what that means to you and learning to live that, takes time.  Being brave takes practice.

Living Fabulously Fierce SPOTLIGHT:  The Fabulously Empowered…

Kai Y. Lopes-Stovell

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Senior Hair Stylist/Educator/Image Consultant

What does Living Fabulously Fierce Mean to You? To me, living fabulously fierce is all about learning to live each day to my fullest.  As stated in the LFF mission and description, it is the same for me-I live each day trying to inspire women and young girls around me.  Each day, I am determined to help women own their beauty.  While in my day to day this is usually in the form of their hair, for me it is much deeper than their hair and that is why, no matter the age, we talk about diet, spiritual health and of course that is connected to the best hair you can have. I want my clients and the young women in my life to walk away from me changed from the inside out.  It is my mission to elevate women and girls confidence permanently!

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

This is such a hard question.  I would choose so many words to answer this, but

the top 3 are ministry, authentic and empowered. I have been given the power and abilities to encourage women and I can’t do that without including GOD, who has saved me.  Small discussions about having faith, and accepting the beauty that was GOD-given are just snippets of our talks.  My approach is what allows women to feel empowered to attack and conquer the next task, or negative mindset with courage and confidence.

I am authentic about who I am and where I’ve been and what I’m still working on.  This makes the women I speak to feel as if they can face their challenges and not be ashamed of what their past and present are made of.  The future is a few minutes from that moment and can be different.  I’m vulnerable so that they can see we all have a testimony and sharing it can facilitate change in others!

How are you intentional about your personal brand? Each day, I have to pray, meditate, love me intentionally and faithfully.  The intent is always there to do that, but the consistency is difficult and has to be done or I move further away from my goals. Loving me, allows me to love my clients and young women in my life more intently as well.  I also do small things like compliment women every day, smile and say hello to women passing just to set an example.  I intentionally try to look the part of a stylist, dressed well, just enough make-up, great accessories, and of course my hair is always done or that would be an incredibly mixed message.

How do you live it? 

I pray, workout, meditate and live intentional to my purpose.  I try to not let the small things change the course of my day.  I try not to let ANYone or ANYthing steal my joy and change my course for the day ahead.

If there is anything you could do to either reinforce or enhance your brand, what would that be?

Wow, absolutely!!!! That is like an essay question. Haha.  I would love to own my own salon which would be all about building my brand and reaching the masses of women I dream of reaching! That is coming!!!

Greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment is still yet to come!  I’m happy to share that I am pregnant and GOD-willing, my pregnancy is a healthy one and goes to full term, and a baby is born, he/she will be my greatest accomplishment thus far.  Next on that list is definitely opening my own salon and growing from there.

Biggest Challenge that you’ve overcome?

My biggest challenge thus far has been learning to truly love myself physically, no matter my size.  Loving me and all GOD has placed in me that HE didn’t put in anyone  else.  Believing how uniquely I was created and not comparing myself to anybody else!

Interesting Fact/Interests/Hobby/Something you think the LFF World to Know: My

favorite pastimes are singing, working out, cooking and spending time with my husband!  Singing is something that frees my soul and causes people to listen when I open my mouth.  It’s a blessing from GOD.  Working out is an absolute in life, to feel good and live the best life I can.  Cooking is also therapeutic, and I love challenging myself with new healthy recipes.  And last, but never least, I love spending time with the best friend GOD created for me! He is the best ending to my day!

How do you recommend other women stay true to themselves and live their authentic personal brand? Never stop learning who you are and embracing it.  Love yourself more each day and smile at challenges.  Pray, and be grateful for all you have and believe more is on the way. Don’t allow naysayers to deter you and be compassionate to those who are lost and trying to figure out so many things you already have!

What advice do you have for young girls, our up and coming fabulously fierce, around being their best selves or anything you’d like to share with them in particular?

When I speak to young women and girls, I see myself.  That automatically gives me a level of compassion that reaches the true depths of my heart.  I want them to know that the greatest power is loving yourself as you are! No one can take that from you, so you have to learn to take the best steps in choosing friends, food and fun!  Make those times help uplift them and change them positively.  If they have more moments like that then, the possibilities of living fabulous fierce are so  much greater!

One of my favorite love thyself quotes is “To love yourself as you are is a miracle, and to seek yourself is to have found yourself. For now. And now is all we have, and love is who we are.” -Anne Lamott