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 SPOTLIGHT:  The Fabulously Fearless…

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 Allana Taranto

Photographer, Educator

What does Living Fabulously Fierce Mean to You?

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

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

  • Authentic
  • Lyrical
  • Eternal

How are you intentional about your personal brand?

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

How do you live it?

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

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

Shoot more. Share with more people.

Greatest accomplishment?

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

Biggest Challenge that you’ve overcome?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living Fabulously Fierce SPOTLIGHT:  The Fabulously Empowered…

Kai Y. Lopes-Stovell

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Senior Hair Stylist/Educator/Image Consultant

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you live it? 

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

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

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

Greatest accomplishment?

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

Biggest Challenge that you’ve overcome?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KAREN HINDS

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 Leadership Mentor for Milennials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #54-Choosing and Being Confident

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!   2015 has definitely gotten off to an incredible start for LFF and I’m super excited about all that is in store for all of us moving forward.  It’s interesting.  It’s been a few weeks, and I hope you’ve missed our “catch-ups” here as much as I’ve missed writing.  Jumping right in, I’d really like to hone in on the factor of choosing and being confident.

As I said, 2015 has gotten off to an incredible start with a number of calls for me to represent Living Fabulously Fierce at different conferences, women’s groups, and high school programs.  I’m now booked  with different events through November…and we’re not even yet through January!!!!  #SuperExcited!!!!  That being said, what the requestors would really like me to drive home on given the needs of their audiences, especially with groups of high school girls, consistently, across the board, I continue to hear the desperation in others’ voice around the confidence factor for women and girls.  It’s as if they’re asking , “You know, if you could come with a few confidence pills that would solve everything an then you can continue with the LFF Branding Process you coach on.”  Now here’s the reality, is going to take more than a workshop, a coaching session, and or a loving conversation for those close to us to really get us to the level of confidence that we are all seeking in our professional and personal development.  That being said, it all boils down to steps and practice.  It truly ties back to the Bernier Brand Building Model of self-discovery, self-definition and self-distinction….the steps really, and putting into practice the self-awareness gained, and commitment to believing that you are worth the confidence you are welcomed to and should walk in.  So with that, how can you not love this quote from Miss Gabourey?!?!?!

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I’m not going to sit here and try to sell you on a roadmap, prescription, or step-by-step process to building and having self-confidence.  What I am compelled to do, though, is stress, and remind you how important it is to understand that confidence tarts with one simple step: Giving yourself the gift of confidence in being whatever it is you want to be.  Deciding to be beautiful, smart, witty, intelligent, remarkable, outstanding, remarkable, truly one-of-a-kind, sanctified, blessed beyond measure, unique, valuable, gifted, anointed, amazing, fabulous, fierce……you name it!  Decide what it is, whatever it is.  Accept that it and you are more than enough.  Honor yourself and that decision of what and who you are. Then, after you’ve decided, just be…..and be happy with who it is, what it is, that you’ve decided to be as confidently as you will allow yourself to be!

Soundtrack of the week: Angie Stone’s I’m so Happy Being  Me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #19-Keeping Your Faith without Fear

CAUTION: Spiritual content ahead.  Brace for blessing and impact!

Happy Easter!!!  I hope your Resurrection Sunday has gotten off to fabulous start!  Easter happens to be my favorite holiday for many reasons but the most important being it is a reminder, for me, of the importance of faith.

I identify faith as it is defined in Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Someone recently asked me how do I stay so hopeful and happy about everything when I don’t have everything I would like in my life.  I quickly added, “yet…..I don’t have it all, yet,” and explained that I really do believe that what I am seeking and aspire for is in line with what God has for me and as a result, it’s just a matter of time before it comes to pass.  That being said, I do have a confidence in what I hope for, an assurance in what I do not see.  This is what it means to have faith without fear.  Essentially, I have a vision, am definitely a praying woman who seeks wisdom in everything, and I don’t let circumstances or changing life seasons determine my level of faith in the vision that I have.  Simply put, there is so much good that I what to do in this world- sooooooooooooooooo much-and my vision incorporates so much that in order for me not to focus on current limitations, I have to pray and seek the wisdom needed to take the right steps toward this vision.  Most importantly though, I’ve got to maintain a confidence in the things that I hope for that is not stirred by wind (challenges), rain (moments of frustration), or any distracting “noise” (those to my left and my right who may not be able to see what I see and therefore not be able to support, and actually detract, unintentionally or otherwise).

That being said, my hope for you today is that you will

1-Take the time to consider your vision.

If you’ve been with me since the vision board exercise early on, (LFF#2) go back to that.  Remember how I stressed just laying things out not worrying about what might not “make sense”?

  • What were you able to depict for yourself as a result of taking the limits off of your own thinking?
  • Have things changed?
  • If you’ve minimized your vision, why?

If you haven’t laid out your vision, ok I’m going to be a little tough here…chop chop! If you’ve expanded your vision, fabulous!

2-Seek the wisdom to determine what next steps are needed to get closer to realizing your vision.

Be open to the fact that wisdom may actually require that you sit still for a bit.  This is the place in which I currently am, and am actually baffled.  See, we live in a society in which we’re taught that to “get, get, get we’ve got to do, do, do” and often times this only results in a whirlwind/hamster wheel effect.  You know, going around in circles and not making any progress whatsoever.  Sometimes, to make progress, we really may need to just sit still or keep moving, but just a bit slower than we’d like, all for the purpose of making sure any moves are actually in the right direction.

3-Maintain your faith without fear.

I’m a big believer that life is all about seasons.  There’s an old adage that if you’re going through something right now, know that you’re just a breath away from coming out of it…and if you haven’t gone through something, brace yourself because you’re going to need your strength as you’ll more than likely be going through something of your own very shortly.  C’est la vie.  That being said, maintaining your faith without fear and with strength requires that you maintain a “seasons perspective” while also maintaining a level of faith that is not shifted by the ups and downs of the life.

Happy Easter folks!  Get your vision on! Maintain your faith!  Let go of fear!

Sound track of the week: Mary Mary’s I Just Can’t Give Up Now

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #18-Surrounding Yourself with Good Company

Of all the things that may change in life, a few key things remain the same, including the fact that some days are easy and some are hard, but with good company, it can all be pretty fabulous!

When it comes to good company, I am truly blessed beyond measure!  I’ve got some pretty remarkable people in my life that I truly count as blessings, gifts really, because I never once asked for them and here they all are, playing a role in Farah Inc.  That being said, there are a few key things that are common of those I keep company with that I think are pretty important for all of us.  These include,

1-We’re friends, not because we’re perfect, but indeed in spite of our imperfections.

Not a single one of us is perfect in any way, shape or form.  We’re just right, the way that we are, in whatever season that we’re in, always growing and developing.  But perfect, nope, not one of us.  True friends are those who can look at you and appreciate all that you are and all that you’re becoming with a love for you despite the fact that they know you’ll never be perfect, whatever that may mean anyway.

2-We have real expectations of each other. 

My friend Ivy and I were chatting once about some of the “interesting” people that we come across in this life.

Ivy and I with Zo! from Foreign Exchange

Ivy and I with Zo! from Foreign Exchange

And when I say interesting, I mean….you know…hmmm, how do I say this…well, the folks who if someone gave you the option of either hanging out with for five minutes or running a marathon on a blistering hot day, well you’d go and get your sneakers and start running.  And know that all of us are that “interesting” person for at least one person in this world at one point or another.  It’s all good.  Anyway, I digress…Ivy and I were chatting about one of her “interestings” and she said, “I knew we really couldn’t be friends because she just had absolutely no expectations of me.”  What this was really all about was the fact that this individual did not hold Ivy accountable to be the best Ivy she could be.  She and I on the other hand, however, we have “best-self” expectations of each other and really won’t let the other slip too far from meeting that expectation.

3-We know when to heavy-handed and when to be heavy-hearted, maintaining a balance of both.  

Sometimes, I really have a hard time with this one because don’t we all just want a hug or someone to tell us, “everything’s going to be ok” or “oh, you’ll be alright, you’ll be fine”?  As much of a tough cookie as I can be, sometimes, I really want 90% heavy-hearted and 10% heavy-handed and all I get is the exact opposite…because that’s actually just what I need and fortunately my friends often know better than me.  I will definitely say no one in the Farah Bernier Circle will ever baby her.  What I am grateful for though is that I am never at a loss of the needed “I need you to get your act together” or the needed “I’m so sorry, I’ll bring over some dessert and we’ll cry this one out or just watch a good movie.”

4-Through it all is love

Speaking of good movies, I recently saw Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself again

and at one point Mary J. Blige’s character sings

“I don’t need no one to put me down, I’m on the ground can’t get no lower. And I don’t need no one to hang around an make me frown…”

I think this points to the fact that the best thing for all of us from the company we keep is love. This makes me think of Job, let me tell you, if I’m ever where he was, I’m pretty certain I don’t need anyone in my crew like the friends he had.  They didn’t show him love.  It was really all about pity and the perspective that he must’ve done something wrong to warrant him going through what he was experiencing.  Job needed love and he didn’t get as much as he needed.  Again, grateful that even if they needed to give me a swift kick in the pants, no matter what, it would be in love.

This week, I’m actually going to write, yes actually write a few cards to those in my company just to let them know they’re appreciated and that when it comes right down to it, although I am soooo not a mushy person, yup, I love them.

So, as for you, are you keeping good company? Do the folks in your circle add,
encourage, enlarge your territory, love and have expectations of you? Do they have the same expectation of you and how are you measuring up to that expectation?  Are you sowing into their lives as they are yours?  Answer these questions, just for you.  Finally, this week, in whatever way you choose, reach out to at least three people in your circle with a simple “Hey, you’re pretty fabulous and I’m grateful for you.”

Soundtrack of the week: Mary J. Blige’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #17-Never Wilting Under Mischaracterization

“If you know who you are, then what somebody calls you is just so irrelevant…  If I wilted every time somebody in my life mischaracterized me or called me a bad name, I never would have accomplished all that I have to date.  You know who you are, so whatever anybody else says is just interesting fodder.” ~Michelle Obama, 2008 Essence Interview

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I could just stop right there, huh?  How fabulous is she?!?!

Jumping right in, I’m pretty sure all of us have heard some things about ourselves from others that took us by surprise.  I know I definitely have.  Fortunately, 99% of the folks in my life are those who I can truly have a heart to heart with when things like this come up and what it usually boils down to is almost always misunderstanding.  This really takes a good level of self-assuredness and confidence.  It’s often so much easier to just sit in hurt over what others say about us, especially when it comes to the situations in which it’s the 1% who are actually just talking to talk….it happens.  It takes strength not to wilt and stay focused on what you know about who you are.

So, by now you’ve probably guessed it.  The most critical aspect to not wilting under mischaracterization knowing thyself.  This week we’re going to focus on a few self-reflective questions around this.  Get the journals out folks.

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1-What two most valuable truths do you truly know about you, that no one can every persuade you otherwise on?

2-What about yourself are you most sensitive about?

3-How do you usually most productively get over hurt?

4-Who is your ace-someone (s) you can go to and totally pour out without any fear of judgment or any other potential consequence.

Because I’m all about modeling the behavior I expect of others…here goes…

1-First, every day I am focused on being the very best me that I can be and living a life that is honorable based on my Christian values.  Second, I have a heart that extends to others in their pain and genuinely celebrate with them in their joy! (Ummmm, did I mention Dre got an Emmy!!!!! That Dionna is on a cruise with her mom this week!!!! And I’m not ashamed to say that there have been moments that I’ve actually clapped for the Jeopardy winner!!!)

2-Ugh so let me explain this one (already sounds like defense doesn’t it) so, I am totally ok with being single…for now as I do look forward to being in a relationship but trust, I am thoroughly enjoying this season.  HOWEVER, over the past few weeks, too many people have been asking me the question “so why are you single.”  The woman who threads my eyebrows even asked me, “Why you don’t have husband….you don’t like men?”  Really? And….oh if you knew the stories that are getting back to me about why I’m single…from folks who don’t even know me…it’s nuts!!! Kinda funny at times. So yes, as that itty bitty rant shows, today, in this season, that’s what I’m most sensitive about, not because it is my season, but because of others’ assessment of it.

3-The way I most productively get over hurt is to have a conversation with the source of the hurt to make sure that I’m actually seeing whatever the situation is through the same lens as them and understand their intention.  When that doesn’t or can’t happen for whatever reason, my other option…real simple….pray, and move on.

4-No naming names here but I actually have two usual suspects that I go to when I really just need to let it all out.

Whew!  Breathe!

Why is it important to answer these questions, well, when I identify and spell out my most valuable self-truths, starting with just two to get the ball rolling, well, then nothing that comes my way to contradict those truths will get me to move away from these because I know that I know that I know these truths about myself.  The are part of who I am.  If I know my own sensitivities and can get to the root of them to understand what’s behind them, no one can use them against me.  It’s like one of our Partners recently shared, “I know I’m fat, you know I’m fat, can we just move on or do you need to put in another joke to make you feel just as good about you as I do about me regardless of how I look?”  That’s an “in your face” statement if I ever heard one.

For as long as we’re living, we’re going to experience pain and hurt from others.  It’s just reality, but as Rick Warren says, “God never wastes a hurt, but uses it for a purpose in your life and the lives of others.”  That being said, as long as you know how you get through hurt, you’re better prepared to employ that strategy once things come up.  Finally, we all need someone with whom we can be totally transparent, who will know when to hold our hand and cry with us or tell us to get over ourselves, stand up straight, get in line, and keep moving.  To my aces, you know who you are, Thanks!!!  Love ya!!!

Since all of this requires the fighter in all of us to come out, the soundtracks of the week are

“Fighter” by Christina Aguilera and Gym Class Heroes

 

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #16: Accepting Happiness and Committing to Joy

Hello Hello Friends!!!

The past two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind on the LFF front but all this means is that there is a lot in the works for the Fabulously Fierce Followers to experience beyond the blog.  For now, let’s carry on!

So, in the last post, I highlighted the distinction between happiness and joy.  Remember, happiness is the moment, joy is the overview of the ups and downs in life and appreciating it all because it brings about the fabulousness that is you.  Now it’s time to get into the actual process of accepting happiness and committing to joy.

Accepting Happiness.

I recently had the chance to watch the Pursuit of Happiness again…

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it just happened to be on and it reinforced my moment and overview perspective.  In the end, Will Smith’s character shares:

“Now this part of my life, this little part is what I call happiness.”

Though the scene was of him and his son walking, in his voice you could hear a kind of “resting” tone on his reflection.  I believe that is the start to the process of accepting happiness.  So, my recommendations…

1-Rest in the moment.  Literally sit back and take in the moment that is bringing you happiness.  So many of us get to a moment that brings us happiness and we almost instantly focus in on trying to answer the question “ok, so what next?” or “ok, how do I make this last?”  In their recent conversation, even Oprah and Beyonce admitted to this challenge of not taking in their moments.

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Oprah, with her experience, actually seemed to even be begging Bey to “please, please, please take it in.”

2-Let go of your own mental models that keep you from actually enjoying it.  As I coach more and more women, unfortunately, I find that we are the biggest factor in limiting our own happiness because for some reason, we don’t think we’re actually deserving of it, that we haven’t earned it or that if we’re happy and enjoying something, someone else must be at a deficit of happiness and that’s our fault.  Cut it out!!!  Seriously, there is enough happiness in the world for those who will choose to embrace it.  REPEAT: THERE IS ENOUGH HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD FOR THOSE WHO WILL CHOOSE TO EMBRACE IT.  You taking in your happiness creates no deficit for anyone else.  Allowing yourself to be guilty in your happiness, however, over time, that creates a bitterness that no one wants to experience or be around….remember your brand, the experience you foster for others to have in engaging with you.  I’ll take into my circle a happy person any day over guilt-fostered bitterness.

3-Share it.  This requires nothing more than saying something as simple as, “You know, this is great!”  or “This is really, really, nice!” or “I’m just so happy right now” or “Now this part of my life, this little part is what I call happiness.”  You can almost start a happiness movement in just the simple act of sharing your own.  This is one the strengths I observed in the last person who had my heart (fancy way of saying the ex).  He was sooo good at sharing his happiness.  Whether we were just sitting by the Charles and talking or arm wrestling because I was determined to beat him at least once, he never failed to take a quick few seconds to say “you know, this is really nice.”   When we do this, it just increases the happiness factor in this world exponentially!

Committing to joy:

This, this is the long-term view folks, and it’s especially helpful when we get to those challenging or down times in our lives.  I once read that

“Joy is like the sun, always shining even when night falls or clouds cover it.”

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I love that!  Think about all those trials, difficulties, perceived limitations and the like.  Just look at them as clouds and give them their chance to pass, always remembering that they will pass and your sun is always going to be there either way. So,

1-Take on the “seasons perspective.“ This means that let your life be your life and your seasons be seasons.  Basically, no matter what, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are created to do some pretty remarkable things on this earth in your lifetime, and yup, you’re fabulously fierce.  That’s your life!  That is the reality that is your life!  Now life, it will have some seasons of rain, unbearable cold, frustrations, even hurts.  But, the remarkable thing…it changes nothing of who you are!  Live your life, let seasons play their part, and keep it moving!

2-Name your challenges.  The more specific you are about your challenges, the better positioned you are to stand in the midst of them and focus in on your life, not allowing your seasons to define it.  Example: One of my current challenges is that I don’t have as much time as I’d like to commit to my entrepreneurial endeavors and as a result, things just are moving as quickly as I’d like them to.  This does not change the reality that there are some pretty incredible things that are going to come out of LFF Enterprise.  It just means that I have to have more patience to keep focused on progress.  I’m still focused on the end game though and this helps me maintain required patience.

3-Schedule a recurring joy summit for 1.  All this is is setting aside a time of significant reflection.  I suggest monthly where you just take the time look at your vision board again with the end game clearly.  My joy summit usually takes place mid-month and always involves Pinkberry, soaking, and a review of what I’ve outlined for Farah Inc.  It helps me keep my focus and look at whatever I may be going through as just part of my story.  My friend Aundrea and I were catching up this weekend…

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and we talked about an issue we’re actually both facing and ended kind of laughing at what a great story we’re both building for an incredible book we’ll each write one day.

That’s about it.  No matter how much I try to keep these shorter than usual but I love to share.  So, I hope these points continue to help you on your fabulously fierce journey.

Soundtrack of the week: Stevie Wonder’s Uptight….because, Stevie helps make things better!