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Category: Transparency

Your Scars Are Your Credentials

Your Scars Are Your Credentials

Exhausted. Irritated. Overwhelmed. That was me last week. Multiple responsibilities from home and work collided and I was left feeling defeated and depleted. I had nothing else to give to anyone or to myself. I didn’t feel like working any of my “packages” and felt guilty about it. I shared my feelings online and received permission to be still. Understand this, I didn’t need or ask for permission. What blew me away was that the people who told me it was okay for me to take a day or several days off were the people who I serve. The people who have attended Work Your Package conferences, have bought the book, read the weekly blog and double-tap my images on Instagram. It was confirmation that I could be vulnerable and transparent to the people I was created to serve without being viewed negatively. Additional confirmation came in the form of a sermon preached by Pastor Battle of Zion Church. The name of the sermon was “A Wounded Witness”. Here are some of the lessons I learned from that sermon:

1. Your wounds are a witness.
2. Some of the stuff you’ve been through, you can’t hide.
3. Being transparent is one thing, being touchable is another. (Reminds me of Dr. Brene Brown’s teaching on vulnerability)
4. Sometimes you have to reopen a wound in order to help someone else.
6. Stop giving a censored version of your wounds.
7. Wisdom, grace, life, compassion come out your wounds.
8. Don’t ask why you went through what you did. Ask why you survived it. It’s your credentials. You’ve been to hell and back so that you can help others.

It looks great on social media to appear like you have everything together but behind closed doors that facade is exhausting and eventually, the truth will seep out and your authenticity will be in question. It’s okay to say that you are tired and feeling overwhelmed. Sharing the challenges of life doesn’t diminish who you are as a person, tarnish your “brand” or your effectiveness as a leader. Wounds lead to scars and scars lead to lessons that will help others.

With love,

Write Your Story

Write Your Story

How many times have you talked yourself out of taking the path that would have led you to something extraordinary? I have a friend who has a story that needs to be told to the world. I don’t say this because they’re my friend. I say this because when they told me a small part of their story, a piece of my heart wept and then I was in awe at how they were still standing. Recently I asked my friend when they going to tell their story. They told me they were too young to tell their life story and they were going to wait another 20 years. Insert major eye roll right here. My friend doesn’t know if they going to live another 20 years. Do you know the best stories ever told and the best advice that fit your exact situation are six feet under at the cemetery? If you aren’t ready to tell your story, find a way to document it. 

You are too young to do that. Who would want to learn from you? You haven’t lived yet. You are too old. That is an old-fashioned way of thinking. Write a book? No one would buy it. Go back to school? It’s not like you’ll get a promotion when you finish…if you finish. Lose weight? Haven’t you tried to do that already? Vacation by yourself? Are you crazy? Buy a house? You’ll never get approved for a mortgage. Start a business? Do you know how many fail in the first year? You aren’t doing anything original…

These aren’t the lies that other people tell you. These are the lies that you tell yourself.

Lies hold you hostage. Denying the potential positive impact of sharing your imperfect life serves no one. Lies keep you stagnant. I believe you are more resilient than a lie. But it doesn’t matter if I believe it. Do you?

With love,

From Point A to Point B

From Point A to Point B

How can you get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you are right now? While coaching an amazing woman, I asked her, “Where do you see yourself a year from now?” The question stumped her. So I asked her a basic question based on her current circumstances. “What are you really good at?” Again…crickets. When using your GPS for driving instructions, it needs your current location in order to give you directions for your destination. Getting to know yourself is the starting point on the GPS. If you are unsure of where you are, here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What are my strengths? What are you known for? What do people call on you to do frequently?
  2. What are my short-term and long-term goals? You don’t need a complicated plan. Take some time and mind map it.
  3. What am I ashamed of? If you haven’t read “Daring Greatly” by Dr. Brene Brown, I highly recommend it.
  4. What new activities am I willing to try?
  5. What am I worried about? What is keeping you up at night or keeping you from making a decision?
  6. What does my inner critic tell me? We are our worse critics. Listen to what it is saying. Is it really true or a lie that someone told you that you keep replaying as truth?
  7. What do I do to practice self-care? This is a big one. If you don’t take the time to take care of yourself. No one is going to give it to you
  8. What am I passionate about? 
  9. Am I an introvert or extrovert? Did you know you could be an outgoing introvert? Transparent and vulnerable moment….I’m an ambivert. It took me years to figure out why I get so mentally exhausted after being around a large group of people for an extended period of time. I love to serve others but I now know when I’ve met my threshold of being sociable.
  10. If I wasn’t afraid, I would______. Some are able to complete this statement immediately. Some may take a few minutes or even days to think about it. However long it takes, answer it and then ask yourself, “Why am I afraid?”

When you are unsure of where you are, the road ahead can seem daunting. When you know who you are, you can chart your own path.

With love,

Need Clarity? Get Rid of the Clutter

Need Clarity? Get Rid of the Clutter

When you hear someone mention how much clutter they have, you might assume they are talking about physical stuff like magazines they don’t have time to read, clothes that no longer fit or wedding gifts that they will never use. The sentimental, “what if’s”, and things you have inherited can take up precious physical space and create unnecessary clutter in your home or office. But there is also emotional clutter such as pent up hurt, disappointment, anger, and resentment. Left unexpressed, these feelings repeatedly come to the surface and will not allow you to move forward.

How long are you going to hold on to that grudge that you should have let go of days, weeks, months or YEARS ago? How long are you going to replay that argument in your head? How long are you going to blame someone else for your unhappiness? How long are you going to blame yourself for something you had no control over? How long are you going to let your flaws define you instead of strengthening you? All of that emotional clutter is keeping you from seeing the big picture. It is clouding your judgment, causing self-doubt and keeping you from being your authentic self. That ‘clutter’ is keeping you from fully articulating and demonstrating your life’s work and purpose.

What clutter do you need to let go of?

With love,

Don’t Quit When You Are Looking At the Finish Line

Don’t Quit When You Are Looking At the Finish Line

Here’s the truth, planning a conference or any live event can be hard. While they can be emotionally rewarding, they are also a pain in the ass to plan and execute. As you know, I’m in the midst of planning the third annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference. In the past two weeks I’ve said that I’m going to cancel the conference. I’ve said it at least 10 times. I’m very serious. I didn’t care about the money I had to refund, the money I would lose or the money it would cost me to honor contracts. I just wanted out. Then I had a “come-to-Jesus” meeting with myself….

I haven’t cancelled the conference. Why? Because I believe in it. I believe in the value that it offers to professional women who are rocking it out at their corporate gigs and have a passion and purpose outside of their profession that feed their souls and heart. These women, don’t give up. They don’t throw in the towel. They don’t put up both middle fingers and say, “Screw it”. They take a step back, shift their plans and mindset and then they get the job done.

Here’s what I’ve learned during this leg of my journey:

  • Your Friends and Family Will Not Always Support You. It’s not that they don’t like or love you (or maybe they don’t, maybe it’s jealousy…whatever) but if you are in the habit of giving all of your awesomeness away for free, they do not feel the need to pay for it. They are privy to all your greatness on a regular basis. They are accustomed to seeing you make a dollar out of fifteen cents and have absolutely no frame of reference for how much it costs in time and money to plan a successful event.
  • Don’t Take It Personal. Seriously, don’t. There are some people who will support you no matter what.  Then there are some who never even sign up for your newsletter. Don’t take it personal. Don’t waste your mental bandwidth to entertain their “why”.
  • It Takes A Village. You cannot plan an event by yourself. Had it not been for the input from my committee, I would have been up the creek without a paddle at this point. You need other eyes, additional insight and sometimes a dose of real talk to keep both you and your event on track.

The 3rd annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference is going to be awesome. Not because of the quantity of attendees but because of the quality. The women who are attending are some badasses in their respective professions. It’s my job to make sure the conference is an amazing event for them.

When you are passionate about something, quitting is not an option.

With love,

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Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

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It’s more than just feeling blue. It’s about no longer being the person you once was and not having a concrete reason why. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and according to NAMI  (National Alliance of Mental Illness) 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime and every American is affected or impacted through their friends and family.

Prevalence of Mental Illness

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—10 million, or 4.2%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.2
  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.3

Consequences of Lack of Treatment

  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.15
  • Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.16

Mental Health Screening Tools

101 Self-Care Suggestions for When It All Feels Like Too Much

Self-Help Tools

For helpful articles and information, follow The Green Dress Project, Inc. on Facebook and Twitter @TGDProject.

Sources: NAMI, MHA (Mental Health America)

With love,

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Stop Shining So Bright

Stop Shining So Bright

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Know-it-all, cocky, arrogant, always trying to be number one and the center of attention…

If you’ve ever been told that you display one or all of these behaviors, depending where you are on the confidence and maturity scale, those words can hurt and do some serious damage to your confidence. When you are told that you are a “know-it-all” and 99.9% of the time you really do know the answer and the answers solves challenges for others and it is done with good intentions…it might be difficult for you to comprehend how and why it is viewed negatively. It’s a triple-edged sword. If you share information, you are a know-it-all. If you keep the information to yourself, then you aren’t a team player. If you play dumb, then you are doing an injustice to the natural skills and abilities that you were blessed with. So what do you do? The desire to help everyone unfortunately can be viewed as an attempt to steal the shine from others and there will come a day when you will be told to stop shining because it’s offending others and making them uncomfortable. If you are waiting for me to tell you to turn off your light so that other people can be comfortable, keep waiting. That’s not going to happen. Not. Ever. Your light is yours and yours alone. Don’t you dare turn it off.

I want you to think of your “shine” as the various lights you find on a car. Depending on the time of day or weather, you have to use different lights while you are on the road towards your destination. Your daytime lights for the everyday, routine stuff, the stuff that you can do without much thought. Your headlights are for when you need to provide unorthodox suggestions to resolve a problem. Throw on the high beams when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and have been asked to lead a major project. Your fog lights are when you need to weather the storm of adversity, ignore the naysayers, listen to the little birdie and achieve a goal that you might think is impossible. Use the interior lights when you need to take a moment to step away and focus on yourself. Change the type of light you use, sweetheart, but never..ever..turn it off.

With love,

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Be Proud of Your Battle Scars

Be Proud of Your Battle Scars

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In Dr. Brene Brown’s New York Times best-seller book, “Daring Greatly” she opens the book with one of the most poignant passages I’ve ever read. Taken from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic” which was delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on April 23, 1910, the passage reads:

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

The book “Daring Greatly” is all about how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead. There are joys and pitfalls of being vulnerable. The joy is that you feel free to be yourself, imperfections and all and present them to people around you hope will accept them and love you anyway. Or to paraphrase Dr. Brown, “be able to carry the weight of your story”. The pitfalls include being judged, ridiculed, ostracized and talked about based on presumptuous assumptions based on hearsay.

The one thing I have found to be true is folks will talk about you and they have never been in the arena. Hell, they have never been on the block of the arena or better yet don’t know the name of the arena. They criticize you but they have never done what you are trying to do. Your critics don’t matter. Your critics do not know what defeat feels like because they don’t have the courage to go into the arena.

If you are in the arena, I applaud you. Continue to shine bright even when others wish, hope and pray for you to dim your light to make them comfortable. While there are naysayers standing on the outside of the arena criticizing you, there are also people watching you go in and fight, come out battered and go back in the very next day who are inspired by your determination and focus. To quote a wise friend, it doesn’t matter if you throw glitter or shade, there are some people will never like you. And that’s okay. Your purpose and achievements do not require applause or the approval of people who never have and probably never will step one foot into the arena.

With love,

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My Haters Are My Motivators

My Haters Are My Motivators

Haters are my motivators

The MOST ridiculous phrase ever created. Usually said by self-absorbed, self-centered, arrogant, cocky and insecure people that have the nerve to say that foolishness with pride. I’m going to pause right here….Are you kidding me? Let’s get something straight, everyone who doesn’t agree with you, congratulate you on your achievements or jump on your bandwagon is a hater. They just aren’t buying what you are selling and see you for who you are. And if your motivator is negative energy and people hating you, I feel sorry for you. Would you still be motivated to do something extraordinary if you were respected and admired?

If you can’t be real with yourself, you can’t be real with anyone else and you are setting yourself up to be alone and therefore continue to perpetuate this nonsense that you have “haters”.  Here’s a newsflash, no one wants to be around narcissistic opportunists. No one wants to be around a someone who uses other people to get  ahead and constantly changes alliances depending on the benefits that may come by association. People can smell unauthentic actions and words a mile away. If you find yourself without meaningful and soul-nourishing relationships and you are constantly using  that pathetic phrase to explain why, then it’s not them, is you. If one person tells you that you have a green tail, that person is crazy. If two people tell you, then is may be a conspiracy. Honey, if seven people tell you, I need you to go find a mirror and go look at your tail.

Genuine actions yield genuine results and relationships. Don’t try to fool others by saying you are genuine. Words mean nothing when your actions are contradictory.

With love,

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Masks Are For Masquerade Balls

Masks Are For Masquerade Balls

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I have a secret. I’m an avid people watcher. Not the creepy, stalker type of watcher but the observant, “I don’t miss much” type of people watcher. Do you know what I’ve noticed? The old saying “fake it until to you make it” has trapped a lot of us into wearing a mask 24 hours a day. Oh, you don’t know what I’m talking about? I’m talking about the mask that says, “Everything is great!”. The mask that says you have it all together. You know, the mask that tells everyone your family is perfect, your finances are stellar, your job is amazing and your company is thriving. But in reality…

…you wish you could run away from home

…you are one paycheck away from not being able to pay your mortgage

…you and your significant other are fighting like cats and dogs

…there isn’t a day you don’t mumble under your breath “I hate this job” at least five times

…the amazing idea you had to start your own business is starting to feel like the dumbest thing you’ve ever done 

Sounds familiar?

There are two huge disadvantages to wearing a mask. Remember when you wore a mask for Halloween when you were a kid? Remember how the holes that were cut out for your eyes never lined up properly and your vision was impaired? The same thing happens when you wear the “everything is perfect” mask. Your vision of others become blurry. So instead of seeing circumstances for what they really are, you try to make them into what they should be based on the mask you are wearing. Secondly, when you are wearing a mask it is impossible for people to have an authentic relationship with you.  Two people trying to have any type of relationship while either one of them is wearing a mask can be catastrophic. It is essential to meet people exactly where they are. When you don’t show up as who you really are, the other person may feel the need to pick up a mask they had no intention of wearing. They feel obligated to put one because you were wearing yours and the deception continues back and forth until…

Communication breaks down…

Trust is broken and lost…

Relationships are damaged…

Amazing opportunities are missed…

All because of the stupid masks we wear because we are afraid to show the world who we really are.

Take the mask off.  Someone needs to see your real emotions, pain, struggles and success. Your journey has the power to inspire someone move beyond accepting a mediocre life and propel them to being absolutely extraordinary. You never know who you might encourage to take off their mask when you show the courage to remove your mask first.

 

With love,

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