Career, Life Coach

Power of the Sistrenhood

The two young ladies were huddled together, holding on to each other for dear life. No we weren’t outside in arctic weather but rather in a conference room filled with professional sistahs. My split second decision to break away from an acquaintance and make a beeline for them was definitely not instinctive but rather a God-thing.

Introvert self-talk begins.  Smile with your eyes Delphine. Reach out your hand. Give proper eye contact and add some soprano to that alto voice of yours. And then connect. What happens next is yet again a God-thing. 

The young ladies had shared earlier to the group that they were just out of grad school. Infants. First real job in the professional world. Toddlers. And scared to be in this great big world about ready to make yet another career move. Preschoolers. So I know they were nervous as hell to be in a room of accomplished women who were there–not to embark on their first journey, but some on their third or fourth. You’re talking married for 20 years. Going through a divorce. Just got married. How does a 23 year old complete with all of that?!

I took less than ten minutes to say what I wish someone my age would have told my younger self back then. I had to first tell them my age. Because apparently being shorter and appearing younger doesn’t carry as much weight as a greying woman in four inch heels. Le sigh…

Disclaimer. I’m about to be 41. Yes I don’t “look” like 40 (whatever that is) but I do have one gray eyebrow to prove it and a morning backache that makes me think twice about wearing heels these days. Lol! 

To my younger sistrens I say …

Don’t be intimidated. Seasoned Black women are a force to be reckoned with.  You put us all in a room and gale force winds begin to swirl while animals scurry about.  A mere turn of our heads and the room is at attention. A slight head tilt and the world moves on its axis. Remember when the black male anchor said “This is an earthquake” and ducked for cover? That was no earthquake! That was a black woman walking in the room. Head high. Hips swaying. And what?

It’s like I read their minds because the head nodding commenced and they were like “Yeah, so many of you are like…wow!” Black sistrens have that effect. 

Lean in and learn. We’ve got some years under our belt younger sistrens. Don’t hesitate to acknowledge (and all hail respect that). Then decide what you want to glean. One of my mentors is a 71 year old retiree. We met on the job. I would take every available free moment of my work day to just hang out with her. She was on that Bal Harbour, Coco Chanel, Hermes status. I’m on that whatever I can get at Burlington Coat, Marshalls/Ross/Target, and Macy’s Clearance sales status. But she never made me feel like a second class sistah. 

Once I got past the facade that others tripped over when they first met her, we became fast friends. I can call her anytime, bounce some ideas off of her and check in as needed. She helped me refinance my home. She helped me message my approach to my husband without getting into a huge tete-a-tete. She’s a wise soul with a take no prisoners attitude. I love her! 

We want to learn from you too. Youthfulness is refreshing. It signifies all things new. Aging tends to take us from a place of motion to stagnancy. For those seasoned chicks who have some more living to do, we know that relevance doesn’t come from talking to our 40-something year old friends all the time. I have some girlfriends who are younger than me doing some crazy, sexy, cool things with their lives right now.  I’m always inspired by younger women (at least the smart and forward thinking ones) who can teach me a thing a two. No, I’m not interested in learning a new dance from you but I would like to know more about IPO’s, the latest productivity app, or leadership movement that’s right around the corner. 

Younger sistrens, you’ve got a lotta learning to do. Don’t be afraid to step out, spy out the land, and make those intentional relationships happen. As long as your motives are right, God will make room for you to grow. 

Career, Life Coach

Getting Ready to Get Ready

I jotted down oodles of notes from a recent women’s leaders conference, gave up trying to type on my IPad. I realized earlier on this was no business meeting and my typing couldn’t keep up with all the knowledge dropping that was taking place this day.

Being back on social media has been a lesson in humanity’s funny way of doing things. Barely have we gotten through Thanksgiving and I see the #2016 hashtags popping up. I’m guilty of having my own–#goaldigger 😆. Go ahead and steal it!  I know I did.  Right off Pinterest. I sho’ did. 

We’re psyched! Who needs to talk about prepping for a weekend with family we rarely see, when we can talk about all the things we want to do come January First.  Poster boards flying off the shelves while we prep for Vision Board parties; leaving the 20 pound turkeys behind in the freezer. We are gung-ho. Applying for jobs, calling our trainers (oh the shame!), buying up all the books on self-help. All in the name of getting ready. 

Then the speaker stops me cold, hard in my tracks with this thought. We get caught up in the business of getting ready to get ready. Screech! Stop! What say you? Say it ain’t so! Yep. It is. 

Getting ready to get ready is procrastinating. You’ve been talking about writing this Great American Novel and haven’t placed pen to paper or fingers to laptop. You’ve been talking about going back to school to get that much needed certification but if asked which colleges has that program, you can’t pull it out your… well you get the point. You’re ready to start a family but haven’t found a reputable OBGYN to consult with. Genetics counseling? Huh? Pregnancy planning apps? What’s that? 

Getting ready to get ready is operating in fear. When you can’t move beyond a bunch of Facebook posts and Pinterest likes, to the actual “doing” of what you wish to do, it’s an indicator that something or someone is holding you back. That someone can be a parent, child, friend–husband/wife (gasp!) but that person usually ends up being you. You holding yourself back from getting down and dirty in the planning. You holding yourself back from getting in the muck of researching your competitors and developing that business plan, first draft, or portfolio. 

Getting ready to get ready is being lazy. Reality shows have  an entire generation and a half of another one believing you can call yourself an entrepreneur without putting sweat, blood, and tears in the game. I’m from the World Book Encyclopedia and card catalog generation. It meant I had to go somewhere to get what I needed. Real work takes elbow grease, not copying and pasting what you find on Wikipedia. It doesn’t have to be a college degree (although a four year degree never killed anybody) but it does mean taking some classes, getting a certification, and learning a new skill.  It doesn’t have to be leaving your current job, but the side hustle sure can’t hurt until that glorious day when you strike out on your own. Inhale. Pray. Leap. Exhale. 

John Maxwell, the guru on all things leadership says it best. “Intentional living is all uphill.” 
So let’s move from the getting ready to get ready to the business of doing what you are more than qualified and ready to do. Drop kick that spirit of fear! Say ciao to that spirit of laziness! Turn your back on that spirit of procrastination!  It’s the enemy’s way of holding you down. Last I checked believers don’t operate with a fearful mind yet rather in the confidence that the lamp at our feet only moves when we do. 

Life Coach

This Year I Will

Me and a group of unlikely bookmates are gearing up for the new year by getting some reading in and some personal plans of actions in place. No two reader is alike. No two vision and purpose is alike. M.J. Ryan’s “This Year I Will…” got our vote on book to get our mental juices going. Got my mind going on this whole New Years Resolution thing we are sometimes so hard pressed to invoke. 

It’s the week before Thanksgiving and your anxiety level is taking a quick spin on the high side. It’s not the family dinner preparations that’s got you nervous but the countdown to the new year that’s got you sitting on edge. Once you’ve made it through the Cyber Monday hype, there’s a temporary lull before the holiday rush begins. Somewhere in the middle of all the chaos is the nagging reminder that this year flew out like Patti’s Pies off Walmart shelves. You can’t take it back. No matter how badly you want to. 
Rather than look at the dwindling year with dread and trepidation, it helps to frame things in a way thats palatable. After all, who says you had to enter the new year with pomp and circumstance? Who says you have to host a vision board party (although I’m having two myself)? Who says? Here’s really all you need to bid Father Time farewell and kiss the New a Year Baby. 

Keep an open mind. Be prepared to receive God’s personal best for you in the coming year. If you’re closed off to trying new things or meeting new people, imagine how short changed you will be. It can’t hurt to try a new hobby. You don’t want to go back to school. Fine. Try your hand at some local community ed courses. You have a weight loss goal. Well let’s try kicking sugar out your diet and picking up some new favorite veggies for your foodie repertoire. Boot camp can come later. Right now you need to lose some inches and wait out the New Year rush to the gym.  

Don’t compete. Life isn’t a race but rather a well thought out marathon. Pace yourself. You should be your only competition. Your friend is getting her Ph.D. ?Congratulate her!  It’s her student loans not yours. Colleague moving on to another job? No pressure. She’s got some dreams to chase that have no bearing on your here and now.  Celebrate her departure and get back to the business of living. Leave that petty behavior for the kindergarteners on the playground. 

Trust the process. Rome wasn’t built in a day people! And judging by your long laundry list of things you want to accomplish, neither will you. Reality TV have folks believing that you buy your house today and remodel it tomorrow. Balderdash! There will be peaks and valleys. You left a good paying job to strike out on your own. Good for you! That also means less Starbucks trips and more Thrift store trips. It won’t be all good days. But those good days will sure  make up for the bad. 

So yeah. It’s countdown for the new year. Instead of avoiding it like The Plague, let’s take the time to embrace the fullness of it all. Confirm the commitment to being your best self. Place one foot in front of the other and move. 


Faith

Accountability: The Burden Of Truth

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17

Our “War Room Life” Group study is on week two of five lessons. Lesson One delved into living a lukewarm life. No one likes their water, tea, juice or coffee lukewarm. Especially God. This week, we move from pleasing God with our lifestyle to studying on the importance of accountability.

Confronted with a message that says we must be vigilant to be accountable one to another; many begin to squirm at the thought. Who among us wants the spiritual flashlight shined in the dark recesses of our heart? Who among us enjoys a rousing conversation about what we should or should not be doing, or how we should or should not be living?

Even I, a self-proclaimed “keep it real or go home” believer, do not exactly relish having to speak “challenging truths” to my friends in the faith. Never mind trying to be on the receiving end! Glad to know that the Word of God isn’t filled with suggestions though. It’s all for the benefit of the Body of Christ.

It breeds growth.  Stagnancy will be foreign to the person who is open to hearing what needs to be said about them and for them. The wounds of a friend will serve a greater purpose than the kisses of an enemy (Proverbs 27:6). It can be as simple as veering your girlfriend away from buying that one more purse she doesn’t need to encouraging someone to live out their dreams or moving on from a hurtful relationship.  The first keeps money in her bank account. The second brings about personal success. The third heals a heart. All a means to a fruitful end.

It yields spiritual maturity. At day’s end, when you speak in hushed, gentle, yet firm tones with your brother or sister, feelings and emotions have to be the last thing considered. Rather it is the condition of your soul that will matter when we meet our Savior. You can’t be worried about offending when their soul is in peril. You can’t be worried about losing a friendship if it will mean them seeing Jesus one day. It is the toughest pill to swallow. The one that goes against the grain. Yet is is the necessary thing to do.

It makes for a better you. Holding each other accountable brings about healthy and transparent relationships. The days of “yes men” relationships are over. If I can’t speak to you in honesty and truth and expect the same in return, then this relationship has met its demise. Only when we surround ourself with like-minded souls are we truly able to see progress in our walk with Christ.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Family, Life Coach, Random Thoughts

Beware Of The Daddy’s Girl

The father’s toast to his future son-in-law at their engagement party started like this “I already showed you the gun… here’s to taking this last expense off of my hand.” I hollered! 

It reminded me so much of the one time both my dad and then boyfriend/now husband both accompanied me to buy my first new car. They haggled on my behalf. Both standing on each side of me protecting me from this salesman’s pitch. I will never forget the look on my boyfriend’s face when he saw the five one-hundred dollar bills that my dad pulled out. I didn’t miss a beat and took the cash to handle the transaction. Boyfriend talked about that for weeks. He would soon come to learn in our pre-marital counseling sessions that I was a bonafide Daddy’s girl. 

Daddy’s Girls are a dangerous species in the human race. They come with a long list of instructions and warnings attached. Like, she buys shoes every two weeks and because her dad paid for her prom dress (though she was working), she kinda expects you to spend your money first before she spends hers. She doesn’t like bare pantry cabinets. She doesn’t like buying one toilet paper at a time. Costco is her favorite spot and she likes to buy things in bulk. 

She’s sorta, kinda impatient. Her daddy gave her field trip money every time and extra just in case. He was always waiting after her shift ended and she’s since hated having to wait for anything or anyone. No isn’t in her vocabulary because much to mom’s chagrin he could never say no to his baby girl. 

Daddy disciplines but would secretly cry after for doing so. When she is old enough to understand, she can cry you a river and you will never know the difference. Beware because she’s only gotten better at this. Lol!

Daddy reminds his baby girl that men are a dime a dozen and her self-fulfillment comes first. Get your education. Get your own money. If you found someone you could see yourself being happy with, then and only then would you consider putting them first. When this joker doesn’t work out, have a good cry and get on with your life. Remember Daddy taught you to have your own anyway. 

Daddy’s Girls don’t take no for an answer. As they get older they accept the no, but not before trying to find a way to make it a yes. She’s determined and tenacious. She’s a natural born leader. She doesn’t need anyone to tell her she’s cute or smart or the ish. Daddy always told her. So the blah blah compliments and yada yada commendations will always fall on deaf ears.  Daddy already beat them to it. 

Beware of Daddy’s Girls! We, ehem, I mean THEY, are hellions in heels. They run organizations. They run households. They run DIS! And lawd forbid you come across an only Daddy’s Girl. You know the one who had a josue full of brothers, one brother, or no siblings at all?! There’s no competition in a house with the one girl.  There’s no competition other than herself in life for her either. 

Prayers now being accepted for my husband. LMBO! 

Family, Life Coach, Love & Marriage, Uncategorized

Luv Is Not Love 

I can be down with the word abbreviations and slang every now and then. “Turnup” being one word instead of two. “On fleek” used as much as you use hot peppers on your submarine sandwich–very sparingly. Fo’ sho instead of for sure has a nice clean ring to it. It’s definitive, it’s fo’ real. Yet my mentor brought up a good point the other day in our conversation about one word you just shouldn’t fool with. Being in love and being in “luv” are two different things. 

“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking…”

In luv means one person is in it for the benefits, and the other is in it hoping the benefits will lead to commitment. Being in love means you have both decided to throw your gifts, talents, faith, time energy into this thing called a relationship. There is no me and mine at this point. There is only ours. You ride the waves of life as a unit not as one person waiting for the other to fail. You look good, we both look good. 

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

In luv there’s plenty of room for manipulation and deception. If cell phones are always in pockets and purses, Houston we have the beginnings of a problem. If there is this unspoken agreement to live separate lives and connect only when necessary (for sex, paying bills, going to church on first Sunday together) well you could have just hired an escort two weekends out the month! Being in love, is about transparency and acknowledging faults and failures in each other. Hiding your true intentions in a relationship is just delaying the inevitable. 

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

In luv means it’s ten years later and you’re still stuck with a person that’s not hungry for the things you are hungry for. They’re stagnant in their faith, their life goals, their way of thinking. You’re stifled in this muck called a relationship drowning every day. In love means, you’re growing together and when one stumbles along the way, the other is there to encourage, console, or just be there until the rainy weather ends. 

Don’t be fooled! That luv mentality has found its way in dating life and dare I say even marriages. Only difference is one couple didn’t spend gobs of money to sit in some hot mess of a failed relationship! One of you can walk away. One of you well…that’s a blog for another day. #HowToDivorceADeadBeat (jk) 

It is the complacency that comes with settling. Settling for a life without Jesus at the center of it. Settling for two-bit excuses about why he or she won’t just do right by you. Settling for mediocrity.

Moving from that luv to love mentality isn’t easy. It takes some serious soul searching to identify the whys and how in the hell did you get here type of self-analyzing. It takes some special kind of praying to be released from the bonds that threaten to choke you.  It takes you sitting on someone’s couch and bawling your eyes out in between gasps of finally telling your truth.  It takes you realizing that yes you screwed up but there is still hope of redeeming your sanity, of redeeming your life. 


Career, Life Coach

Comes With The Territory

Acts Chapter 6 opens with the church growing in leaps and bounds. There’s a little dip in the road. The church leaders need to find capable men to help with the serving of the food. Ya’ll know food could make or break a church! Even back then. 

Stephen is asked to lead and he’s got what it takes to make things happen. 

“And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.”

Is that hate I see on the horizons?

“And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.”

They found “witnesses” and all to promote their personal defamation agenda of Stephen. We already know how this ends. 

God’s people should remember a few things when it comes to leadership. 

Start Off Small. Stephen was given the job of leading the food ministry! It doesn’t get more menial than this. He didn’t turn his nose up at the opportunity to bless the widows and those in need. Rather rolled up his sleeve and got to work. 

Expect Opposition. You don’t get anywhere in life with people patting you on the back for a job well done. It’s a false sense of reality that can cause one to get complacent. Those of us who are value driven will face contention at every side. It comes with the servant-leadership territory. 

God’s Got This. We spend way too much time wondering what people are saying about us and less time wondering what God is saying to us. He knows what’s best for us. He knew before your birth that you would be placed in circumstances that would stretch you beyond your own imagination. He also knew that there wasn’t any curveball thrown your way that you couldn’t catch. 

Here’s the clincher people! Your naysayers, haters, whatever worthless word you choose to ascribe to people who shouldn’t matter one bit to you–well they will end up the sidelines of life wondering “what in the what?!” 

“And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.”

You aren’t the first nor will you be the last to walk through that tunnel called life, running along the way, walking sometimes, and dare I say even crawling. Keep your chin up and just shine.