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!

PAUSE: Free Flow Forum

“How do you stay so positive all the time?”

“You are always just a joy, don’t you have any down days?”

 “Everything must be perfect for you!”

“I wish I could be on a 24/7 high on life like you!”

So, we’re going to take a little break from the factors this week.  I had some really, really good stuff planned (even gave a little preview on my sister Sharon Brewster’s, Founder of the Outlet for Women, Facebook page) but there was something going on this week for a lot of people because I got a ton of inbox notes including the questions and commentary above.  I even met up with a friend who shared that someone asked her “Is Farah really as happy as she seems to be on Facebook?”  What really came out of all of this for me is that we, you and I, have more of an opportunity to learn more about each other.   So, consider this pause from the factors just a little free flow forum, more so than the usual, where you get more insight into who I am.

Now, to get to the question of am I as happy-go-lucky as you experience me here via LFF, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, in person?  WITHOUT A DOUBT YES!!!!  Is it a 24/7 happiness?  C’mon folks, I’m the founder of LFF but I didn’t lose my humanity in the process.  Yes, Farah Bernier is human!  Shocking, I know.  Here’s the deal though, what I’ve learned, and I have to thank good ole Boston College Half-Time Retreats for this, happiness is temporary-to be enjoyed, appreciated, and held on to for as long as possible.  Joy, however, is the key to the 24/7 experiences of happiness one of my more senior followers expressed desire in.

The reason this distinction between happiness and joy is so important to understand is that one thing with me is that I really am an “in the moment” kind of individual.  I love life and all that it brings, yes, even the challenges and the pain because they actually bring growth and strength.  I don’t know if this is a skill or just part of how I’m built, a long time ago, I just learned how to focus in on what is in the moment and appreciate every ounce of that.  So right now, I am truly, truly happy.  Blogging with a focus on helping others develop, reflect, and progress, however they define it for themselves, while growing in the process, myself, just makes me so happy.

Joy though, that’s when you can step back from a moment, look at your whole life picture, se the highs, the lows, the clarity, the incomprehensible confusing and rest in that it is truly all working out for your good and you are totally ok in all of it, built for it in fact.  See it?  Yup, that’s joy.

And yes, I definitely have my lows….still questioning?  Well, here’s the deal; by now, you know, or I think you know, I’m pretty obsessed with personal branding.  Those of you connected with me on Facebook may have even seen a recent post by superstar Veronica Chapman (CEO of My Crowning Jewel…check check check check check it out) where she noted Donald Trump needing to take one of my workshops J  Because of my passion around personal branding, I really do try to live and operate in a way that reinforces and strengthens my brand.  The key to that is consistency in the experiences others have with me.  No, no, no, this is not about putting up a front or a façade in any form or fashion!   Just as critical as consistency is authenticity (trying sooooo hard not to get into personal branding teaching mode right now).  Essentially, you just have to be true to who you are…just be real. What personal branding is about though, is being humble and strong enough to,(ready?)….brace yourselves, get over yourself and whatever is going on in your life, and focus on creating positive experiences that others can leave from you after an interaction and feel lifted up, not weighed down or diminished because of your choice of reveling in your problems.  Heavy, I know.  I’ll even say it, OUCH!

So about my lows?  Most definitely I have them, just like everyone else.  See you wouldn’t know that I recently had to say goodbye to my Uncle who’s gone on to be with The Lord and all I keep thinking about is his grand stature and his ever-gentle, subtle reassuring smile.  You also wouldn’t know that I was recently hurt by one who I really believed was a trustworthy and dear friend, whom I now have to confront about how I’ve felt slighted.  You also wouldn’t know that I have many around me who are going through some heavy stuff and there is nothing I can do to help accept just be there to help them laugh, give a gentle hug and believe for them that it’s all going to be ok when they can’t believe for themselves.

Am I hiding all of this? Not at all.  Do I just bottle everything in and not express any emotion?  Absolutely not.  My inner circle has been working overtime as I’ve needed a few “I just need to get this off my chest” sessions.  All that I am doing is balancing.  See, with my Uncle, for me, he’s gone too soon, but I am overwhelmed with joy just knowing that he is sooooooooooooooooooooooo happy right now.  I just know he’s up there and that smile is literally stretched ear to ear.  It actually warms my heart.  With the hurt from my friend, what are relationships but experiences across the spectrum of fabulous and downright painful?  The benefit there: I’ve got wisdom, and now can test how strong I really am in determining whether or not I’ll be an adult and have the conversation or cower and punk out because it will be a tough conversation.  As for the struggling around me, well, quite frankly, I just don’t get some of the things I have to watch folks go through-cancer, divorce, depression-I just don’t get it.  One thing that I believe though is that there’s a reason this is all around me and it must be because God sees me as able, even when I don’t, to lift their spirits when needed and spread the joy that He’s already given me.

Finally, just to be completely real with you, I am one who really operates under a faith that has never been disappointing.  No, this doesn’t mean that I just pray for everything, believe, and I get everything that I want.  What it means is that I believe that The One I believe in, always gives me what I need, when I need it, even when my when isn’t lined up with His when.  Yup, there are things that I’ve prayed and believed for that just haven’t come.  But all in due time and because of this, though sometimes disappointed and annoyed quite frankly, I know that it’s all working out for my good.  There are things that I asked for at 21 that I know that I know that I know that if I received when I was 21 or even just a little older, I’d be a hot mess!  One of my Pastors, Robyn Reese (remember that name because you’re about to hear about her in some pretty influential circles) once said to me, “Sweetie, if God showed you everything He has in store for you, it might literally kill you because you just could not even handle it.”  But with everything in due time, man oh man is this life turning out to be pretty fabulous!

So, yup, that’s me.  Hope this shed a little more light on who I am, what I’m about, how happy I really am, and how in the world I can be smiling all the time. And since I denied you a factor this week, I’ll leave you with a preview of the next: Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #16: Accepting Happiness and Committing to Joy.  More to come on!

Soundtrack of the week:  So, I’m not a singer, but I’m giving you a little bit of me today.  Enjoy!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #15-Saying What You Mean and Meaning What You Say

I have always been a lover of words.   Growing up, inspired by the likes of Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou, I could read for hours and hours and hours.   Visiting my mom recently, I  found a book of poetry I’d won scholarships for in high school.  Behind all of this, I think what I really loved was the power to convey thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences through words, both simple and complex.  Also, I just always had a lot to say, but, as surprising as this may be for you, I wasn’t always comfortable speaking my thoughts.  I found more comfort in the power of written words over spoken words….my, how things have changed.

Connect with me for five minutes now and you’ll learn that I’ll talk to the wall if the wall will talk back….seriously.  I just love speaking with people, learning their story, coaching, and most of all, I love speaking on important aspect of personal and professional development.

DSC02773I just have a passion for using my voice and the words I choose to move people to action.

Now we all know that passion, without direction or purposeful intent, can be dangerous…it can get us into trouble .

So when it comes to words, the fabulously fierce understand the importance of saying what you mean and meaning what you say.  One of the best reinforcements of this important factor I’ve ever heard is

“I think words matter.  It’s worth the time to try to convey with precision, what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling.”  ~Massachusettes Governor Deval Patrick

The reason this is so essential is because we are relational beings and everything we say either adds value or takes away from the positive experience others can have with us.  There really can be no question to this. This is especially important as you also learn to discern your audiences.  What I mean by this is there are just a few that I can lay my guard completely down with in terms of how careful I’m being with what I say.  I love the reality of this because it’s so important.  The reality however, is that my inner circle (picture of inner circle) is really small but with them, I really can just say whatever is in my heart, whenever, however, and not have the risk of being misunderstood.  With others, not as close, again, discernment comes into play, which is totally ok, and actually, less about being guarded, and more about being intentional of getting across exactly what you mean, and yes, because we have to own our words, meaning what you say.

So, do you have something to address with someone, to communicate to a group, an email that you need to send that needs to be clear so nothing is misunderstood?  If so

1-Take the time to really think about what it is you are trying to get across?  What’s behind what you’re trying to get across…what do you mean?

2-What words do you know may be taken the wrong way if you are not clear with context and/or your intent?

3-What words do you know resonate?

4-What exactly will you say…yup write it, type it, practice saying it.

Then, just do it!

Be Fabulous! Be fierce! Say what you mean and mean what you say.