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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, live fabulously fierce!!!!

Soundtrack of the week: A Double Header 🙂

 

Advertisements

Bernier Brand Building: Phase 1-Self Discovery (Continued)

Hello Hello!!!

I hope you’ve all been doing well!  I gave you a little extra time to answer the questions I listed for you in the last post.  At this point, you’ve gotten closer to the answer to the question “Who Am I?”.  I trust that you’ve done some inward digging to better understand who you are, where you come from, what makes you tick, what makes you sick, and glimpses of what makes you fabulously fierce.  So now, it’s time to delve into part two of the self-discovery phase: Leveraging people and tools to identify key components of who you are.

I actually started to do a little bit of this, this week, with the team of the UK’s Unleash, with members in their UK and Barcelona offices.  It was amazing.  Honestly, watching folks go through this process is totally my high.  So, I’m absolutely looking forward to you doing the same!

Jumping right in…

Leveraging People:

When I talk about this, what I mean is really going out and getting feedback from those in your circle.  I never get tired of highlighting my circle…let me tell you, I’ve got some pretty amazing individuals in my life who will always tell me when I’m doing well, when  I’m not doing so hot, and when I absolutely need to get my act together and get back on the fabulously fierce track!  Love them love them love them love them love them.  Yup, if I’m ever messing up, just reach out to the Aundrea Cline-Thomases and the Veronica Chapmans of my world, just to name a couple,let them know, and they’ll get on me.

Believe it or not, you’ve got your own Aundreas and Veronicas in your life.  They may not be as bold to give you feedback, even when you’re not asking for it, like these two, but you’ve got them.  What you may need to do is reach out and give them permission to give you feedback.  What do I mean?  Well, it’s really simple.  Just go out, let them know you’re actively working on your brand, investing the time and energy in yourself in this way and you need their help…their candid, open, honest help.  Then, just ask:

  • If you could only describe me in three words, what would those three words be?
  • What would you say is the absolute best thing about me?
  • What is the one characteristic about me that could be eliminated or improved?
  • What truly makes me unique from your perspective?
  • What do you think keeps me from being my very best?

Yup, seriously, go out and get it. AND DO ONLY THAT.  DO NOT:

  • React positively or negatively
  • Ask any probing questions…not yet.

This will help you avoid the chance that you might roll your eyes, suck your teeth, or give the head roll in response to any feedback your don’t necessarily agree with.  C’mon, you know how some of us can get.

Then, while your friends, coworkers, mentors, your mom (only ask her if she’s like mine and will totally tell you the truth, not just say “oh baby you’re perfect the way you are”) your siblings, your boo…etc, are pulling their thoughts together for you, I need you to dig deeper into your own personal skills and capabilities leveraging some assessments.

Leveraging Assessments:

Some folks get leary of assessments or just freak out because they think it’s about exposing things in them.  To that I put forth a REMINDER: in this phase you’re just focusing in on increasing your self-awareness….assessments help do that.

In the world of assessments and inventories, there really are so many that you can take that are credible.  The most commonly used one is the Myers-Briggs indicator which just highlights how you see the world.  In addition to this one, I’ve also taken the Whole Brain, True Colors, DiSC and Strengths Finder Assessments.  I’ve been fortunate enough to work for various organizations that covered the cost of these.  While I always encourage personal investment, I always support doing so strategically..ie finding ways to avoid having to pay directly out of pocket.  That being said there are enough assessments out there that won’t cost you too much and are still quite valuable.  So, I’m going to ask that you go out and pick up the book, Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath.  It includes a unique access code for you to take the Strengths Finder 2.0 Assessment and gives you access to the website where you can dig deeper into understanding what your resulting strengths say about you.  Do it, do it, do it.  When we come back to this, I’ll share mine….I’d love it if you’d share yours and then we’ll move into how we can leverage the feedback you get from your circle and the results of your assessment to start the second phase of self-definition.

Since we’re all in the process of just getting better and better and watching things get, as my Pastor would say, “gooder and gooder,” I hope you know that truly your best days are ahead of you.  So with that, this week’s soundtrack is Tamela Mann’s Best Days, which also happens to be the adopted theme song of Living Fabulously Fierce!  Enjoy!

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #20-Making Decisions You Can Live With

Hello Hello My Fellow Fabulously Fierce!

I have had an incredible weekend so I am on an incredible high yet incredibly fatigued!  If only I had the super power of never needing sleep!!!  Ah well.

One of my weekend activities included participating in the Babson College Black Affinity Conference!  It was great!  Friday’s segment involved a great discussion around Black hair.  Gennifer Miller of Healthy Textures, Shariffa Barnett Author of 5 Hair Archetypes, and Dr. Tina Opie who I wish was a professor when I was there, were incredible panelists! The session was slated as a two-hour conversation, which went on for three and it only ended because security had to shut the building down…and couldn’t do so with the 50 or so women in attendance still in the building.  All this being said, this is not a post on Black hair…I’m sure one day soon that will be a topic for us here in some form or fashion, but what everything boiled down to in Friday’s discussion was nothing more than decisions and the ability to make and own your life choices…whether it has to do with hair or, what I’d like to really broaden it to, the various life choices we all have to make.

We’ve spent a lot of time here at LFF addressing the aspect of vision.  Many of you have actually taken my recommendations to illustrate your vision, prayerfully sought the wisdom to know which steps to take, and actually started to take some major steps.  I love hearing from you about what’s new and exciting in your lives in the way of being the fabulously fierce individuals that you are.  This bring me to the point of free will.

When thinking of free will, we can absolutately take it “old school” if you want and in my case, that would be first communion class in the second grade where I learned that God gave us all free will (I still get hung up on Adam and Eve…really, you just had to have that apple?).  Truly, free will is actually power.  Really, pause for one minute and just think about that….try, just try to grasp that The Most Omnipotent Soveriegn Being, The One who made you…in His likeness and image…in the face of wanting you to be every bit like Him, gave you and I the power to decide what we would do in this life and what we would not do!  That’s some serious power given to us.

The thing about power though is whatever we do with it, by way of choice and decision, we actually have to be able to live with the decisions we make as well as the impact.  Now I’ve worked in corporate environments my entire career and I will tell you, a career limiting move I’ve observed in many is consistently failing to just make a decision.  I would submit that people are actually not afraid to make decisions, they are actually afraid to have to deal with any repercussions of the decisions made…even if the impct is good!  Let me clarify with an example: A young woman recently shared with me that she was trying to determine whether or not to apply for an opportunity in an area of business in which she has absolutely no experience.  I NEVER see that as a limitation by the way, but definitely more of an opportunity to highlight a different lens…take a look at my career…half my jobs I’ve really had no business being in if we were going by experience…but I digress.  So, this young lady spent 15 minutes walking me through the ‘what ifs’….you know…

  • What if I apply and I don’t get it?
  • What if they see my resume and think I’m crazy for applying?
  • What if…yada yada yada

All to which I said…”and what if you apply, and it actually works out?”  Her response: “But then I’d have to move and leave all my friends behind” etc etc etc.  See the reality is, she didn’t want to make a decision that might just cause her to have to live with the need to deal with change, and make new friends, and get accustomed to a new city…the list goes on.

Another example?  Sure…and of course this one has to do with a boy 🙂  So, another youg women recently shared that she was in a relationship with a young man who she knew just was not for her.  She waited for months but finally broke it off, very maturely I might add, and let brother man go.  And she is totally ok with her decision.  Totally ok with it.  This doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt and her heart didn’t have to go through the breaking we are all too familiar with.  It just means, she made the decision that she could actually live with.

Here’s the deal, every day we make decisions.  I had the pleasure of meeting an incredible decision maker this weekend in Dr. Tina Opie.  She is a  model of confidence in who she shares who she is, even in just introducing herself, which involves highlighting some life decisions shes’ made.  She left an impression on all who were in her presence that she is totally ok with who she is because she makes decisions that she can live with.  Now does this mean we are not to make mistakes? ABSOLUTELY NOT!  What it does mean is that  because I know who I am, I will make decisions that are best for me, more often than not, positively impacts those around me, and even when I don’t make the “best” decisions, the consequences don’t impact others or myself in a way that is detrimental.  What does this boil down to…branding…personal branding.

So, here’s my assignment for you this week:

Think about what three factors play the most significant role for you in guiding the deicisions you make every day.  For me, mine are that

  • I am a Christian woman guided by Christian principles, the most important, being the love of everyone around me/treating everyone as I would want to be treated
  • I am focused on legacy, seeking to leave a positive impact not only in the world in the future, but in my day-to-day and the people I interact with every day
  • I extend my vision from the here and now and into what I believe will be my future, not limiting my dreams and aspirations by the limitations of my current wallet, status in life, etc

Once you identify your three, post them on your mirror (feel free to share here too via comments) where you can see them every day while brushing your teeth (yes, I just made a decision for you…if you are not brushing your teeth every day…YOU WILL START NOW), and remind yourself every morning that whatever decisions you make, they will be guided by these three important aspects of who you are.

Agan, there will be mistakes, but the decision-making process, leveraging the free will that you have, is a process nonetheless, and so makes it ok.

Soooo, next steps here on LivingFabulouslyFierce is delving into the personal branding space moving forward.  Get ready to be introduced, and for some of you reintroduced, to the Bernier Brand Building process of self-discovery definition and distinction.  Get ready get ready get ready.

Soundtrack of the week: Damita’s, No Looking Back

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 #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.

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #10: Committing to the WIP Process

Yup, Farah’s Got Her Groove Back…..or just some inspiration!

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve written…a little over a month to be exact.  One thing that many know about me though, is that I don’t just do things to do them.  If I’m going to do anything, anything at all, it’s got to be something that meets a standard of excellence.  That way, I’ll be more confident of it’s potential impact for someone else.  It’s basically the principle of not just showing up to show up, but showing up so that others know you’re there, thereby leaving your mark.

All that to say, I’ve finally gotten some inspiration to get back into the groove here:  Preparing for the closing of Chapter 2012 and the opening of Chapter 2013!

This time of the year is always very interesting to me…the time between Christmas and New Year’s.  Growing up, this was the time we were scrubbing down the house, cleaning every nook and corner, cleaning out closets, getting rid of some of the old, and excitedly getting ready for the new year.  Prayer has always been a major part of our New Year’s celebrations.  I actually can’t think back to a New Year’s that I wasn’t in church.  Of course, as an adult, this all carries over.  So, for the past few days, I’ve been scrubbing down my house, cleaning every nook and corner, cleaning out closets, starting to pray about what I’m expecting for the upcoming season…etc etc etc!  It’s so refreshing given how much of a neat freak I a (yes, I admit it), this whole process has been soooooooo therapeutic for me.

When cleaning, I end up thinking about quite a bit.  Of course I started reflecting on how, in addition to the above mentioned New Year’s preparations, as I got older, the whole bit of New Year’s resolutions came into play.  We all know the standards that we hear or make for ourselves:

  • Lose weight (somehow this is always at the top of the charts)
  • Eat healthier
  • Exercise more
  • Be more financially responsible
  • Spend more time with family

The list could go on and I actually found a Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions List.  After we all make these resolutions, within a month or a little thereafter, I hear from different people about how they’ve given up on some of them…

  • “Girl, I didn’t know what I was thinking.”
  • “Ugh, I started traveling for work and things just got too busy all over again.”
  • “I need a workout buddy to really do this…..”  And they never actually ask anyone…
  • “All these sales, I just got sucked in…again.”

Look what else I found: Top 10 Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolutions.

Now that you’re probably thinking I’m going the route of “why bother”, let me be very clear: I am all for goal setting, being accomplishments-focused and the like.  What I have learned however, is this whole process of focusing on January 1, 20whatever to set goals of “All the way or no way”…you know “Lose ‘X’lbs or bust” ..is just not productive across the board.  Some of us do work that way and it’s fabulous.  But when it comes to being fabulously fierce, you’ve really got to be one who can look at herself as a WIP-work in process and

  • Appreciate AND celebrate wins as they come
  • Leverage the wins, and even some of the losses, as motivation
  • Focus on the mindset of “ever to excel”

The WIP Factor

In an interview with Vogue, our fabulous First Lady said,

“I never consider myself a finished product.”  Never say never, right?  But here, it’s true and quite critical.  It’s so simple, but it’s such a motivating call.  If I can focus on never considering myself a finished product, my focus then just becomes taking one step at a time to becoming better and better at just being me.  I don’t need to try to be like anyone else, I don’t have to be anything others want or require me to be.  I just have to look at me and know that every rising of the sun is just another opportunity for me to be a better Farah than I was yesterday.

Where I am today, right here, right now, it’s really about me being better about not being so hard on myself.  Truth moment: I’ve probably taken my focus on being smart, successful, trustworthy, healthy, being a good daughter, sister, auntie, friend, best friend, business woman to the extreme of trying to be perfect instead of just being a WIP.  That being said, I know I’m not alone here so it’s time for all of us to accept the process!

Appreciating and Celebrating Wins:

I love my friend Dionna.

336_52699996264_8609_n

As I’ve mentioned before, those who are closest to me are really the ones who can tell me about myself whether it’s something good, not so good, or if they need to just say, “Farah, I’m really just going to need you to get it together on this” (I won’t name the person being quoted here, but you know who you are).  So, just the other day, D and I were talking, and of course we landed on the “wow, we’re really kinda grownups now” convo.  As I was talking about some of the things that I’m grateful that I’ve been able to do, I actually said of one of my accomplishments, “Now I know anyone could just get up and do this, but…” and she cut me off.  That’s when she said, “actually, that’s what you don’t realize, is um no, not everyone and anyone could just do that.”

This really made me pause.  I actually, in that moment, realized that she was right and yet, I had NEVER, NEVER, NEVER celebrated that win.  It was just part of the game for me, if you will, and I just kept moving.  This was something that happened yeeeeeears ago but has had such a positive impact on my life and I dwindled it down to “just something else I had done” that “yeah anyone can do that”.  Thank God for my friend who had no problem just telling me to shut up for a minute and think about that.

And so, my lesson: I’m going to be doing a whole lot more celebrating moving forward….notice, I didn’t say, this year….I said moving forward….yup, shifting from a 1.1.20xx mentality to a WIP mentality.  I’m not talking about an “everyone gets a trophy/award” mentality and patting myself on the back from every little thing that I do. What I mean is, I’m going to press, what I’m now calling, the “Dionna Pause Button”

as much as I can, and just celebrate my wins so that I don’t miss these opportunities as easily as I have in the past.

Leverage the wins, and even some of the losses, as motivation:

This process of leveraging is all about determining whether to keep the eye on the ball and keep moving, or evaluate if the ball may need a little bit of an adjustment-maybe more air, maybe even a whole new ball-before continuing to play the game.  As human beings, we are all wired to operate under motivation.  It is part of what really fuels or drives us to do the things we do…or don’t do.  So, let’s get a little technical here…

Wikipedia tells us that:

Motivation is the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal directed behaviors. It can be considered a driving force; a psychological drive that compels or reinforces an action toward a desired goal. Motivation elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal-directed behaviors.

That being said, we’ve always got to stay attuned to what really drives us, what gets us to do the things that we do?  When we figure this all out, we then have to determine if there’s been any change to that driving force for us.  When I first started my career, my motivation was really just “getting to the top”.  I just wanted to climb the corporate ladder, get to the top of it while helping others of course, but that was it.  I even developed my own career plan over the span of 10 years to ensure that I’d get to “the top”.  I wrote that plan, which was really just a checklist when you boiled it down, at 21 and I was on my way.  Now, you can imagine, what motivated me at 21, although not completely gone, has transitioned into so much more these many years later.  The cool thing about that…it’s totally ok and actually more normal that being a super-type A, 21-year old who thinks she can figure out and plan her life on a sheet of paper, all based on only corporate realities.  Thank God I’ve gotten revelation that I can, and actually should be driven by so much more than that.  Hence, Living Fabulously Fierce, my coaching with professional women, and my work with young girls…all in addition to actually being farther up that ladder than I would have thought possible at this point in my life.  How cool is all of that?!?!?!  All because I took the time to evaluate, not only the ball I had in play, but the actual game I was playing.  I had to shift my mindset from corporate success to personal legacy-building which encompasses so much more for me.  Love it!  Even more importantly, especially now with my pause button in play, I will be even more proactive in looking at my wins in different aspects of my life, to continue to build more wins no matter what I’m doing.

And of course we’ve got to be honest…not every action leads to a win.  Along this journey called like, there are definitely a few losses that come into play.  The different between the ordinary and fabulously fierce, though, is that the latter, we look at those losses as opportunities to learn, apply what what we’ve learned, even in the midst of frustration with circumstances or ourselves, and move on!  Leverage, leverage, leverage!

Focus on the mindset of “ever to excel”:

Every Boston College prospect, student and alum knows (or should know) this motto.

images-1It’s actually what led me to determine that BC was definitely the place I needed to be (along with the wonderful scholarship package they offered…let’s just be real).  That motto is a clear call to action no matter who you are, where you are, what you’re doing, how you’re doing, and/or why.  It’s all about keeping things moving.  Focusing on being better than you were and most importantly, not for your own gain, considering yourself, of course, but for the impact of your excellence on others, on the world, whatever role you play.  For the impact of not playing can be greater, in the negative, than contributing, at any level, to impact, in the positive.

Yup, this one was a long one, but the inspiration was in play so I hope you’ve gotten just a little something to spark your transition to being a WIP, never considering yourself a finished product, but always committing to just being better than you were, no matter what.  Cheers!

Soundtrack of the week: Beyonce’s, I Was Here