Lovin’ The Skin I’m In

It took me a long time to love the skin I am in! I don’t need to cite horrid details of world history, this is personal. While several industries such as the beauty, movie and advertising make millions telling women why they are inadequate and this next wonder product will make them better; my issue went deeper. I felt unworthy and undeserving. It has taken years to overcome these negative feelings and discontinue the negative self talk. The negative thoughts are a work in progress, which is progressing.

I am imperfect. Permanently and inevitably flawed. I am beautiful – Anonymous

We all have to play the hand we are dealt and our bodies are what they are. They may be scarred, or bruised or not but they are our bodies. My skin is a healthy serving of chocolate and I wouldn’t want it any other way!!! There is history in my skin, there are stories and legends passed down to me through my skin. Stories of pain, and triumph. My skin ushers me into an awesome, awe inspiring community of human beings who know pain like no other, who are the epitome of resilience and the indomitable spirit.

 

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I hold my head high and wear an easy smile.

My heart sings with pride when I see us excelling on the track, in the pool, in the studio, on the stage, in concert,in the theater, in the hospital, in the white house, in the court house, in the classroom, in the lecture hall, in the magazine, on the television, on the radio, at the Emmy’s, at the Oscar’s!

We are inventors, creators, we are….

I am a black woman, who is proud to be black. Born on an Island that is known for its tenacious people. I hold my head high and wear an easy smile. This is my skin and I’m lovin’ this velvet glove I’m in!!

Until next time remember – “You can be the lead in your own life.” – Kerry Washington

 

 

Photo credit: Leroy Armstead - Chaseedaw

 

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Take Care to Stay Here

I am willing to bet most people don’t know why they were born. Some will say the answer to that question is your reason for being…your purpose. Either way you are alive and each day you wake up is gift. Whether or not you have figured out your purpose, each moment is a chance to get closer to that answer.  In order to create more moments you have to take care of you; your mind, body and spirit. I will share five ways you can take care of you.

Eat right

You are what you eat.

 

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A healthy diet gives your body the fuel it needs.

While it might be a cliché; a healthy mind in a healthy body is true. Your body needs food to survive, heal and repair itself as is needed. Food science and biology will tell you what nutrients, vitamins and sustenance your body needs to function.  Having a healthy diet and achieving balance and moderation is critical to feeling and being well. There are several apps, websites, blogs and meal prep options that can make meal time a relatively easy activity. Some of these apps include:  Pepperplate and Paprika. For other articles about meal prep apps you can read The 5 Best Apps to Make Meal Planning Easy and 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily. If you are not culinary inclined then use a meal delivery service such as Fuel Foods and read The top 10 prepared meal delivery options in Toronto for other options. You only get one body, so do all you can to preserve it.

Rest easy

As an ex-army officer I appreciate the saying “the only cure for sleep – is sleep”. Rest and more importantly sleep is when the body gets to heal itself – just ask doctors who induce comas in patients who have suffered sever injury and/or trauma. Rest also involves taking a break from your routine to engage in self care, relax and rejuvenate the mind and body. This is why studies are conducted to support vacation and breaks from work. You need to recharge; you are more productive when you return to work/school/obligations when you are refreshed.  According to Take A Vacation: It’s Good For Productivity And The Economy in the Forbes EMagazine “he benefits of taking time off from work include: higher productivity, stronger workplace morale, greater employee retention, and significant health benefits. So if you wanna enjoy all the hard work you put in, take a break. As Nike said “Just do it”.

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live – Jim Rohn

 Move it or lose it

I was never a fan of exercise; even when I was in the army. I could see and feel the benefits but that didn’t mean I enjoyed the process. Exercise is great for a couple of reasons:

  • your muscles get the work out they need to develop, so they don’t atrophy.
  • you can relieve stress and tension through exercise as endorphin is released in your body. You are happier – how can you be happy in pain – the irony!
  • your strength increases; a healthy mind needs to be housed in a healthy body.
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Weight lifting is a great form of exercise

 

Life  is a gift! So enjoy it! Have an attitude of gratitude and relish the idea that you get one more moment to do all the wonderful things you enjoy doing. These moments are precious and oh so fleeting but if you take care of your body, your mind, your spirit and you are just a little kinder to you. Those moments become more than a few.

Until next time remember – “You can be the lead in your own life.” – Kerry Washington

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: "summer’s here" (CC BY 2.0) by EladeManu
Photo credit: "angie" (CC BY 2.0) by greg westfall.
Photo credit: "Salmon Niçoise Salad" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by sherrymain

Filtering The Filth

It might be cliche to say but no man is an island. We are social beings and we need human interaction and connection. The need for human interaction will vary with each individual. Each path taken on this journey called life; shapes each of us in different ways and unfortunately some of us become poisonous and toxic to others.

When people show you who they are, believe them – Maya Angelou

The toxicity of someone is not readily apparent. But you can recognize the signs based on the things that are said – intentionally or unintentionally; the things that are done – intentionally or not and most importantly how people feel. This saying is very true – people will forget what you said, they will never forget how you made them feel. So have you ever spent anytime with someone and afterwards you felt exhausted; just utterly drained? You my friend suffered from toxic exposure. I want to share five tips that can help you filter the filth and protect yourself from exposure.

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Toxic people can drain your energy.

Spot ‘Em A Mile Away

Before you can filter, you have to know what you are filtering and why. According to Dr Travis Bradberry in his article 10 Toxic People You Should Avoid At All Costs there are 10 kinds of toxic people!! He talks about each kind and explains why they are different.  The signs vary and you have to be able to tell the difference between people who are annoying and those that are just toxic. You can spot the toxic people if they create drama, strife, conflict, unnecessary issues and most importantly stress. If each encounter with an with this person leaves you utterly stressed and emotionally drained – that is a toxic person and you should avoid or reduce how often you have to deal with them.

Be selective about your inner circle

Your inner circle should be made up of people who would take a bullet for you or give you a kidney. They should be your ride or die friends. If you can’t call them at 2am because you are in a crisis, then you need to reconsider their place in your circle.  Only special people should have access to that magical place. Exposing yourself to someone who means you no good is dangerous and increases your chances of becoming like them. Toxic people are destructive and are miserable! Allowing someone like that into your inner circle will only amplify issues in your own life and become emotionally draining.

People inspire you or they drain you. Pick them wisely.  Hans F Hansen

Become Emotionally Intelligent

Emotionally intelligence is the ability to identify different emotions and label them correctly. You can do this for yourself and others. To become emotionally intelligent requires great self awareness and does take practice. The benefit of this is, you are able to clearly express your emotions and handle your relationships with empathy and wisdom. As you improve daily, you will better recognize toxic people and their effect on you. This recognition will help you define and manage your relationships.

Avoid exposure

Avoiding toxic people is necessary to protect you from being poisoned and becoming toxic also. This might be difficult if these people are family, friends or colleagues. You can avoid toxic people by setting boundaries, distancing yourself and reducing communication. To set boundaries means to articulate what you are unwilling to tolerate during interactions with this person such as consistent complaining and negative talk. Be firm and explicitly express that you will not engage in such conversations and they are unappreciated. By setting boundaries, toxic people will know that you are not an enabler of their behavior, they may ignore your boundaries or they may respect them. Keep restating your boundaries and walk away from such  conversations until the message is received.  To distance  yourself means reducing your availability and accessibility. Become occupied with friends, family or colleagues who build and support you. You don’t need to offer an explanation. To reduce communication means to lessen the frequency and duration of contact time with the person. Lessen phone calls, messages, in person conversations, emails and social media. Avoidance may seem cowardly but it is necessary so you can maintain emotional health.

Detox

This becomes necessary if you deal with a toxic person. According to Dr Carmen Harra in 5 Ways to Detoxify From a Dysfunctional Relationship;  the goal of any relationship is to encourage an uplifting, nurturing, supportive and positive human connection.  Relationships that do the opposite should be avoided because they drain you of your energy and joy and rob you of your peace. To boost your spirits and restore emotional equilibrium you will need to do one or all of the following:

  • surround yourself with positive supportive people who can lift your spirits
  • do an activity you enjoy so that you can flood your body with endorphin
  • practice self care – which means getting a massage, getting a manicure, meditating anything where you are showing yourself some special attention and care.
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Self care can help you detox.

Interacting with toxic people can cause harm to your well-being.  You can protect yourself by learning how to identify, how to avoid and how to detox them from your life. Filtering the filth is the only way to protect yourself, so that those who truly love you can enjoy you for yours to come.

Until next time remember – “You can be the lead in your own life.” – Kerry Washington

 

 

 

Photo credit: Cozy This One 
Photo credit: "massage" (Public Domain) by Ayurvedic India
Photo credit: "Atrapada en la red" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Dani_vr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fly Your Freak Flag High

Who is a freak? Are you a freak? Are you ashamed to admit this?

I had the pleasure of attending a work shop with Leslie Ehm hosted by Ad Lounge in preparation for the amazing Next Gen Dinner Series. She was the bomb dot com!! She gave us a lot to be think about and left us feeling really excited to be alive and that much better for meeting her. Her authenticity is effortless – the way its suppose to be! Her sincerity is genuine – you can’t help but like her and you want to listen to her. She was a ball of energy, her passion was palpable, her excitement was contagious and she had the room buzzing! If you ever want help developing your brand and a life changing experience all in; she is the person to call!! Leslie shared 5 lessons on freak flag flying and with each lesson she dropped truth bombs. These lessons are timely and I wanna share 3 of these lessons with you.

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Leslie Ehm – President and Chief Fire Starter at COMBUSTION TRAINING

Lesson 1 – Don’t worry about how they will react; worry if they don’t!!

Be proud of who you are! Celebrate your personality and don’t be preoccupied with the acceptance of others! Find out what makes you unique and own it. At the heart of this lesson is the principle that a reaction from someone means you have their attention. There is something interesting or intriguing about you, that is worth noticing. Even if the reaction was less than ideal, it means you are memorable, your task is to ensure that you are memorable in positive way. No reaction means, you aren’t worth the space in their memory. You are as exciting as a can of white paint! Think of creative ways that you can get the desired reaction from someone; be it a prospective boss or a love interest.

How can you get them to react? Ponder that question as you read on.

Lesson 2 – It’s better to stand out than it is to fit in; but standing out is harder.

It is better for you if you stand, for the obvious and not so obvious reasons. To stand out is to differentiate yourself from the crowd.You will be noticed more, you will gain the attention of the persons you want to notice you and be interested. Standing out means you have something no one else has, and that makes you indispensable! If you stand, let it be for something extraordinary, so for something good!  It means being your authentic self and maintaining who that person is all the time. The demand for a strong sense of self is high. You must know who you are and what you want. Be firm about that and be proud of it! Be the one wearing red in a sea of black!! It won’t be easy, especially when societal influences are so overt and covert in their messages. If you don’t know what makes you stand out; you need to spend some quality time alone in a quiet space and in a non judgmental way; think about who you are and what you bring to the table. How would a company benefit by having you as a member of the team? When you have this answer be able to use 1 word and also 1 sentence to communicate this quality.

Is it really better to stand out and how can you do this? Mull this over as you read on.

Lesson 3 – Swag is everything; be the swag you want to see in the world.

Your answer should be reflected in your style, deportment, choices and what you stand for. To have swag also means have you unshakable self belief and self confidence. You rise to the occasion and you are comfortable in discomfort. You know that challenges are designed to help you grow. Swag should move beyond the realm of fashion, and impact your interactions. Your swag is finding something you believe in and are passionate about and taking it a step further by adding your voice.  Whatever you think is deficient in the world, offer that – be that! You should also ask yourself, will this make me employable and if so, how? How can you add value wherever you go?

What does swag mean to you?

Whatever swag means, what ever standing out means, whatever needs to be done to get a reaction all comes down to you! Do you, because no one else can do it better. Find your unique quality –  work your quirk!! In doing so, your most authentic self will emerge and when you find that person, hand them a flag so they can wave it high!!

Until next time remember – “You can be the lead in your own life.” – Kerry Washington

 

 

 

Photo credit: Ideasicle
Photo credit: Fly Your Freak Flag

 

It’s A Conspiracy!!

In 5 years I will be the Olivia Pope of the Ad industry!! Now some may say that is a bold statement…because I am not even in the industry…yet…but who wants to live any other way?? This declaration is perfectly in keeping with who I am…this is the same girl who wanted to join her country’s Defence Force when she couldn’t do one push up! It’s the same girl who wanted to serve in the Coast Guard because she didn’t want a boring desk job…and she couldn’t swim! Well I would be the first to tell you I was not a girlie girl; I wasn’t a full fledged Tom boy either. Sure I loved to climb; especially mango trees; (my mom has the photographic evidence) but didn’t every little girl? Joining the Army was an easy decision for me…it brought excitement, challenges, it was a daring career move, I would be in top 5 careers in the nation so why not?

I served for 8 years and in those 8 years I learnt some tough lessons and some of them I learnt the hard way. I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience because it shaped who I am today! The sand in the oyster is there for a reason – how else would we get pearls? So I am thankful for my pearl moment in the Army. One thing is for certain….

I march to the beat of my own drum!!

So my drum beat had me marching to Canada to start all over. I want to get in and make my mark on the Industry; so I turned to my Integrated Marketing Communications professor. She had a huge impact on me in my 3rd semester and I value her opinion. When she told me about the Next Gen Day Ad Week 2017  and  Next Gen Dinner Series 2017 I was sold. I spent the day at Mediacom and it was a fantastic experience! The Universe kept conspiring to bring me good things!! I applied for the Next Gen Dinner Series 2017 and was short listed. I was ecstatic to learn I was in the top 100 marketing students in Toronto!! Oh that was a huge confidence boost for me and I was pumped to do the interview! I brought my A+ plus game. Then came the hard part; the waiting, If you rule under the zodiac sign Aries you will agree and can attest to this…we don’t like waiting, patience is not a virtue we possess. We will try but we don’t like it.

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Meditating helps train the mind to focus

In a morning meditation session I learnt if you really want something you have to let it go. It made absolutely no sense to me, why would I want to let it go, I want it so….I must have it. This principle asserts if you think about things you want to often, you begin to offer thoughts of resistance towards it. Resistant thoughts can delay or deny what you want, hmmmm ok…so let it go you say? I did just that, I knew I wanted to be at this dinner I had outfits envisioned already but I stopped thinking about it so much. Guess what – I got it!! Now offer any justification you want, it doesn’t matter, I just know I will be having dinner with key players in the Ad Industry and come March 21st, 2017 there is no place else I would rather be!

So if you believe: in the power of hard-work, in the power of desire, in the power of God, in the power of the Universe that is great!

Just believe in something and DON’T let fear rob you of the joy in just having a desire!

If the Universe conspired to give me what I want; I am totally happy with that! That’s a conspiracy theory I can live with. You get one life to live and if you make it to your allotted years in life – don’t you want to have good stories to tell??

Until next time remember – “You can be the lead in your own life.” – Kerry Washington

 

Photo credit: "Universe" (CC BY 2.0) by Caroline Davis2010
Photo credit: "meditation" (CC BY 2.0) by Spirit-Fire