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I Felt Naked, But Not Afraid

Have you ever allowed yourself to be so vulnerable that you felt naked? That’s what happened to me while I delivered the closing keynote at my fourth annual Work Your Package Women’s Conference. I spoke on the topic, “Your Life. Your. Story: What to Do When You Have a Story to Share”. It was the second time that I had spoken on the topic. The first time was for a webathon hosted by Lucy Brazier, the editor of Executive Secretary Magazine. However, this time was different. This time I wasn’t alone in a conference room with my laptop. This time I was in a room full of women that I am honored to serve and affectionately and proudly refer to as “Mavens”. These women have their own stories to share but there I was sharing mine. And I felt naked but not afraid. Sharing my story was cathartic and allowed me to be unapologetic about who I am. Being vulnerable is liberating because it erases any preconceived notions of perfection or lack of challenges. Being vulnerable is an act of acceptance of oneself. In the article, “Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable” by Daniel Wallen, here are the benefits of being vulnerable:

1. You will learn to appreciate the quirks that make you unique. Being vulnerable will help you embrace the strange (interesting) and quirky (unique) things that make you special. While you might call certain personal characteristics are “awkward,” they are only awkward if you don’t accept yourself, and consequentially feel uncomfortable in who you are. We are all crazy in our own ways; and if you’re going to be weird, you might as well be confident about it.
2. You will make peace with troubling memories from your past. Being vulnerable will help you get rid of pent-up baggage that bothers you. While it isn’t easy to deal with painful memories, it is better to confront your past than it is to hide from it. We all have made bad decisions we regret, so don’t even think about judging yourself; search for a lesson or takeaway that will help you prevent similar mistakes in the future and let it go.
3. You will attract the right kind of people into your life. Being vulnerable will help you understand what types of people you can most relate to. While you might be tempted to hang out with whoever crosses your path, it is better to choose your friends carefully. We all have made the mistake of telling something personal to somebody we shouldn’t have, and ended up getting hurt due to backstabbing or betrayal; it is good to love all people without question, it is best to only put total faith in true friends worthy of trust.
4. You will find it easier to empathize with the struggles of others. Being vulnerable will help you develop empathy for others. While it’s easy to throw a fit when something terrible happens to us, it is a lot harder to demonstrate compassion for the struggles of another person. We all have been guilty of getting so caught up in our own lives that we forget the world doesn’t revolve around our needs; before behaving like an upset infant, remember that many people face hardships that you couldn’t begin to imagine.
5. You will earn the trust of people at work. Being vulnerable will help you grow closer to the people in your workplace. While you might think you deserve a raise just because of your hard work, you need to remember that no amount of book smarts can make up for a complete lack of emotional intelligence. We all have complained about getting “passed up” for a promotion; before assuming you’re “under-appreciated,” take an honest look at your ability to communicate and work together with your fellow co-workers.
6. You will strengthen your bond with your romantic partner. Being vulnerable will help you bond with the person you love most. While you might be afraid to reveal your deepest and darkest secrets due to a fear of judgment, doing so will put your mind at ease. We all have put up barriers to protect ourselves from getting hurt; but if you hope to spend the rest of your life with a particular person, don’t you think it would be best to be forthcoming with the important truths that they would like to know?
7. You will humanize yourself in the eyes of others. Being vulnerable will help you demonstrate that you are an approachable person who is kind and considerate. While it isn’t easy to find the courage to reveal our true nature, there is no better way to encourage others to accept themselves. We all have fought with a lack of esteem at one time or another.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity.

Dr. Brené Brown – Daring Greatly

With love,

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Life Lessons I Learned From Cutting My Hair

Earlier this year I decided to do something different with my hair. Not just new style but something COMPLETELY different. Like cut it all off and wear my natural curly hair instead of wearing it relaxed, weaved and sometimes hidden under a wig. Up until the minute I picked up the scissors and cut off about 4 inches of my hair I had a multitude of excuses of why I procrastinated with my decision:

  • It’s too drastic of a change…
  • It will be too hard to manage…
  • What if I hate it…
  • What if my family and friends hate it…
  • I have no idea what I’m doing…

Take a minute and think about something that you know you need or want to change right now but you are giving yourself 3,000 excuses why you can’t. Excuse me sir or ma’am, you can make the change if it’s important to you. Here’s what I learned from cutting my hair:

  • Change is inevitable but growth from change is optional. Don’t get so caught up in the fear of change that you forget to take advantage of the possibility to grow.
  • Stop saying something too hard to do if you haven’t even tried it. Change is hard when we resist it or ignore it in hopes that it will go away. Change is going to come one way or the other. Stop resisting it.
  • You don’t know if you don’t like it if you don’t try it. That’s what my husband says when it comes to trying to new foods. Amazing how that same philosophy applies to life.
  • So what if your family and friends hate your decision? And for a point of clarity…if you have a solid board of directors, they are not going to discourage you…they will be CHEERING you on from the sidelines and ENCOURAGING you to succeed.
  • So what if you aren’t completely sure about what you are doing. Would you rather waste more time being stuck in the land of indecision or learning as you go along?

I played around with the thought of cutting my hair for months. I thought that it would look horrible. Come to find out, I get more compliments about my hair now that I ever did with relaxer hair, weaves or wigs. If you haven’t figured it out, it gave me a HUGE boost of confidence. The same holds true for writing my book. I procrastinated for months before I decided to write it. I had no idea the book would open the doors for me to host an annual conference, speak to audiences and encouraging them to use what they already have to be extraordinary and to serve as a life coach to people ready to face and embrace change. What if I ran away from the fear or second guessed myself? None of those opportunities would have been possible.

Stop procrastinating and do the one thing that you have always wanted to do. You will be amazed by what you learn about yourself.

P.S. My clients know that I’m completely transparent. I see no reason why I can’t be transparent with you. Here’s my natural hair journey in pictures from February 2015 to May 2015…


Big Chop Collage (3)