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Category: Be Authentic

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,

Aww. How Sweet. The Answer is Still ‘No’

Aww. How Sweet. The Answer is Still ‘No’

This week I received an email from one of the parents on my oldest daughter’s middle school PTO asking me to consider joining the board for the next school year. She gave plenty of reasons why it would be a great idea: I’m passionate about my daughter’s education (true), I’m very organized and creative (true and true), I have a GREAT working relationship with the principal (also true) and she REALLY believes I would be great at it (yeah, also probably true…but). While compliments are nice, they are also the “suck you in” tactics folks use when they have no clue or don’t care how full your calendar already is. Like seriously, I will put myself in timeout if I add one more thing to my plate.

How many of you are dealing with well-intentioned folks who see how awesomely magnificent you are and want you to share all that awesomeness and help them with something? They will give you plenty of reasons why you should….Oh, it will only take a few hours a month. All of our meetings are by conference call. There’s a rotating schedule so you won’t have to do it all by yourself. I’ll be here to help you. Listen, while all of that sounds really great, the truth is, you should only commit to doing something based on your schedule and allotted mental bandwidth to take on something else. Will they be disappointed? Yes. Will they possibly give you a little bit a side eye the next time they see you? Maybe.

You, my dear, are the ruler and protector of your precious time. Don’t let sweet words and promises take you off course from managing your 168 and using those hours for what really matters and makes you happy.

With love,

 

 

 

 

P.S. How many of you tried the mind mapping exercise I shared with you last week?

A Woman Without A Title

A Woman Without A Title

It’s National Women’s History Month and this year’s theme is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business”. The theme honors women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force. But just for a moment, let’s just forget about the titles that women hold. Let’s think about the fact that you are a woman first and forget about the fact you might be running a multi-million dollar corporation or you might be on your third startup or you just sold your most brilliant idea to a company that wants to pay you seven figures. Let’s forget about the fact that you just gave birth to twins or you just got married to your high-school sweetheart or you’ve decided to go back to school or you finally got that promotion that you’ve been working for. Let’s just forget about all of that. Take a minute to remember that before all of that you are a woman. Being a woman requires extraordinary strength and resilience because there are times when your womanhood will be questioned or others make a juvenile attempt to define it for you. Being a woman requires patience and I’m not talking about patience with others. We need to have patience with ourselves. We are prone to being Type A…we want things to be perfect…have everything in place…all our ducks in a row…dot the “i” and cross the “t”.  And because of the way we are wired, we have a tendency to be extraordinarily hard on ourselves when gentleness is required. Understand this, no one called you to be superwoman. I don’t know who started this foolishness. Let me say it again, no one called you to be a superwoman. No one said that you had to carry the golden lasso of truth or wear the golden, bullet reflecting cuffs. Take the damn cape off already. 

Your title at work doesn’t matter. It doesn’t if you’re running your own business. It doesn’t matter if you won ‘mom of the year’ and your kids are on the honor roll and your husband places you up on a pedestal. It doesn’t matter because of the end of the day when you close your eyes you are still a woman and everything about being a woman is amazing. 

With love,

 

 

 

 

Registration is open for the 4th annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference. Register today at www.wyp2017.eventbrite.com.

 

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,

3 Lessons from History Makers

3 Lessons from History Makers

Katherine Johnson – an extraordinary mathematician who calculated the trajectories for Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission and worked on the Apollo and space shuttle programs. (Photo: www.nasa.gov)

My family and I saw the movie “Hidden Figures” starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae over this past weekend. The actresses portrayed three remarkable women who made history at NASA…Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. These women were the brains behind one of the greatest engineering feats in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. I took my daughters to see the movie, hoping that they would be inspired and encouraged and maybe just a little bit intrigued about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). I didn’t expect to walk out the theater with three lessons…for myself.

Lesson #1 – There will be times when you will be the ONE in the room. Being the ONE can be many things – the only woman, the only person of ethnicity, the youngest, the oldest or the smartest. Being the one in the room has a myriad of challenges to include feeling isolated and heaven forbid inadequate. You might even ask yourself, Do I really belong here? The answer is YES. Often times the other people in the room didn’t have the influence necessary to keep you out of the room. You are there to be a brilliant, strategic, witty, compassionate and a problem-solver. You aren’t in the room by chance.

Lesson #2 – Just because they love you don’t mean they will understand your “why”. Your love ones mean well, but let’s face it….they will not understand your “why” especially if they don’t have one of their own. Listen, a woman who is driven and focused can drive the average man insane. When you know you have purpose for your life greater than what is right in front you, you will seek that purpose as that purpose makes room for you to excel and be extraordinary. That type of focus can be hard for the people who love you to understand. Don’t lose focus. Keep going until to you make history.

Lesson #3 – Folks will try to limit your elevation based on their insecurities and prejudices. There are some of you reading this right now who are doing a job that your aren’t being paid for but are expected to do. You are managing major projects, you are managing a team, you are nurturing crucial client relationships, you are saving the company millions…but you haven’t been recognized for it. This is what I know, when you consistently showing up and deliver your best, your talent will make a way for you in the most unexpected ways. That promotion you keep asking for and rightfully deserve might not come to you in the way you expect. The people who have the power to promote you aren’t always the people who supervise you.

So what did my girls learn from the movie? They learned that you can do anything you put your mind to no matter what someone else may say or if they try to stop you. They learned that putting a man in space requires lots and lots of math. They learned that when women work together and look out for each other, good things happen. Out of the mouths of babes, but truer words have never been spoken.

With love,

 

 

 

 

Registration for the 4th annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference is open: www.wyp2017.eventbrite.com

 

 

9 Questions To Make You Think

9 Questions To Make You Think

Have you ever been asked a question that stumped you and you were unable to give an answer? Not a question that is technical in nature. I’m talking about the type of question that forces you to dig deep and do some introspective searching to find the truth. The questions that when you finally realize the answer you are either pissed off or excited.

Here are some questions to help you think about the lessons you have learned during 2016 and what you need to do to make 2017 better:

  1. If you were given an extra hour a day, what would you do with it?
  2. What would you do if you had unlimited resources?
  3. What are you trying to prove to yourself?
  4. What would you try if you knew you could not fail?
  5. Is what you are doing helping you follow your joy?
  6. If your money could talk, what would it say to you?
  7. What is the experience you are looking to create?
  8. What small steps can you take to get you closer to your vision?
  9. What story do you most often hear yourself telling?

Schedule some quiet time with yourself to answer the questions and be honest with yourself. You might be surprised by some of the answers. My hope is that your responses spark action and gives you a head start for the coming year.

With love,

 

What Is Your Friendship Level?

What Is Your Friendship Level?

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One of my favorite retailers is Nordstrom. Why? Their customer service is legendary. Just this past summer I visited the store in Delaware was helped by Sandy in the Encore section. When I told her that she looked familiar and that she might have helped me before, she asked me what I purchased. Now I will be completely honest with you, I thought this was just flatout bs. Seriously, how the heck would she remember what I purchased two years ago. Well Sandy proved me wrong. After I told her one item of my purchase, not only did she remember what else I purchased, she remembered my preferred silhouette and fabric. I was completely floored. Sandy knew me. Out of the thousands of women she must have assisted at the location, she remembered me. Mind you, this was after I was assisted by Conrad in the men’s department who asked for my brother’s color palette for his wardrobe because it would help him select some choices for a watch. And this was before Diane, who had the eye of an eagle and the patience of Job, assisted me with some much needed shape wear. That my friends is unforgettable customer service.

Does your friendship to others have the same level of service? When your friends think about the pivotal moments in their life, were you front and center or did you have to hear about it after the fact? Can you recall conversations that you’ve had with them a couple months ago? Do you know what makes them tick? Do you know what excites them? Do you know how motivate them when they are ready to throw their hands up in defeat? Do you know how to make them laugh when they would rather cry? Being that type of friend requires a level of customer service that many of us are not willing to give and then you wonder why you don’t have any meaningful connections. Stop wondering why you don’t have a shoulder to cry on. Stop wondering why no one wants to listen to your latest rant of who did you wrong this week. Start figuring out how to be a better friend and up your level of customer service.

There are levels to friendship. Are you offering basic or premium? Here’s a hint, premium friendship leads to the right people being on your personal board of directors.

With love,

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Jesse Williams Didn’t Need An Award

Jesse Williams Didn’t Need An Award

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If you haven’t heard by now, Jesse Williams, an American actor, model, and activist, best known for his role as Dr. Jackson Avery on the ABC Television series Grey’s Anatomy set the entire stage of the BET Awards ablaze during his acceptance speech for receiving a humanitarian award. When the camera panned over to him during his introduction, the look of determination and “I can’t wait to get up on that stage” was imprinted on his face. He was so ready to speak that he didn’t even wait for the introductions to be over. He had heard enough of his accolades. He had heard enough of about what the general public already knew about him. He was busting at the seams and ready to speak his truth and the truth of so many others. He had been given an opportunity and a platform to speak and he didn’t want to waste a single minute. I’m convinced that his acceptance speech was not rehearsed. I’m convinced that if you ran into him on the street or saw him at the coffee shop and asked him how he feels about the racial divide and inequality in this country, his response would be just as intense and passionate, if not more.  At his core, he is an educator. He once shared in an interview that becoming an actor just kind of happened. Something tells me that that even if he was still a teacher, he still would have found a way for the world to hear his voice.  He is authentic in his truth and he doesn’t need validation from anyone to continue work for what he knows he was called to do.

Are you authentic in your truth? Are you looking for validation? Are you waiting for someone to give you an award to tell you that you are doing an amazing job at work, in your community, in your church or other organizations? Are you waiting for standing ovation? Are you waiting to trend on social media before you realize that what you are doing actually matters to those who are benefiting from your passion?

With love,

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