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Forward by Lillie Mae ................................................................... 5 Kenya Rena .................................................................................. 6 Montrece McNeill Ransom ........................................................... 8 Shawnette Sapp ........................................................................... 10 Nicole S. Mason .......................................................................... 12 Tyra S. Gardner ............................................................................ 14 Veleta Jones ................................................................................ 16 Maxine Johns ............................................................................... 18 Salma Sheriff ................................................................................ 20 Alesia Rhodes ............................................................................... 22 Shanna A. Jefferson ..................................................................... 24 Chandra R. Felton ......................................................................... 26 Eugenie Nugent ............................................................................ 28 Jenni Steele .................................................................................. 30 Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell ............................................................. 32 Joy Dobbins-Bostick .................................................................... 34 MeShun Vann ............................................................................... 36 Sherkica Miller McIntyre .............................................................. 38 Shakeema Bouyer ........................................................................ 40 Ann-Marie Appiah ......................................................................... 42 Nisha Hopkins .............................................................................. 44 Erica Bryant .................................................................................. 46 Nicole Wilson ............................................................................... 48 Angelique J. Hamilton .................................................................. 50 Daphne "Butterfly"Huntley ............................................................ 52 Melissa D. White ........................................................................... 54 Rachel Noble ................................................................................ 56 Jameelah Anderson .................................................................... 58 Charnelle Charlestin...................................................................... 60 Andrea Lynn ................................................................................. 62 Tera Carissa .................................................................................. 64
FOREWORD "The Process
Leads to the Promise" - LILLIE MAE
Around June 2014, life was lit. For the first time in my adult life, I felt that all of my dreams were on the brink of coming true. I was newly engaged to my college sweetheart, business was booming AND I was filming a BET Reality Show Pilot. In fact, a major highlight of that summer was us filming a scene during my book release soiree for "The PR Code" and all of Atlanta’s "who’s who" were in attendance. The event was a huge success and left me feeling like I was on top of the world! Fast forward to June 2016 — I called off my engagement, BET dropped the reality show pilot, I was tipping the scale at over 200 lbs (when normally I was around 150) and I felt stifled professionally. My 35th birthday was approaching and I was nowhere near the life that I envisioned for myself. Where I once had friends to enjoy spontaneous travels and excursions with.....most of them were now married, having kids or relocating across the country. I felt like God intentionally allowed me to get to this space of isolation and I grew very frustrated about it. This was the start of a very tough season for me…..what many would call my “process”. This process led me to explore heightened spiritual practices, re-evaluate the decisions I’ve made, and face the areas of myself that needed to be improved. It also included tears and tantrums, because I am a very impatient person. However, when you become truly in-tune with the fact that you are an extension of God, you begin to see everything with greater clarity. We can’t allow any situation, disappointment or person to make us forget about our inner divinity and power! I created this book compilation to inspire you to keep pushing through, no matter what giant you have to slay. I chose to have other women involved to share their particular story of triumph so that every reader could see a glimpse of themselves throughout these pages. Certain obstacles are a part of your journey to help grow you and push you into your destiny. Instead of fighting it, yield into this facet of your journey to find out what lessons you need to learn. The sooner you embrace the process, the quicker you will reach the promise! (Connect with me on Instagram!! @iamLillieMae / @GlambitiousIAM)
"Many times, we delay our healing because the face that stares back at us in the mirror scares us" - KENYA RENA
THE START Although childhood molestation is very prominent in today’s world and is being more exposed now, that wasn’t always the case. In my case, being submerged in the pain and agony of child molestation for years led to what I once disguised in the latest pair of pumps and 12-count pearls: depression and suicidal thoughts. I was a victim of being exposed, uncovered, and stripped of my innocence repeatedly. However, I buried this secret for many years. In 2015, I confided in my father. The heart of a sexual abuse survivor wants to speak their truth. We want so badly to be stood up for. That’s not how it went for me and the betrayal and abandonment that I felt years ago left my heart in shambles. I was led to express my truth to my father, but when I didn’t receive the reaction that I thought I would get, I felt my body go numb. I was a victim, yes, but this time around I chose to be a victor. Before I became a victor, I was a villain that found my peace in causing dysfunction and agony in the lives of others. Hurt people hurt people. THE DOUBT I remember like it was yesterday, where I wrote suicide letters to my mom. I remember when I wrapped a belt around my throat, adjusting it as tight as it could go. I always tell people that my mom saved my life, along with the power of God. The power of God and my mom didn’t let me digest those pills. The power of God and my mom didn’t allow me to throw my life away with drugs. I was at a point where the stressors of pretending, had gotten the best of me. Many times, we delay our healing because the face that stares back at us in the mirror scares us; we’re the only ones who you can see the scars, the bruises, and the hurt that life has put on us. Thus, we are very reluctant to think that we are worthy of anything – love, happiness, or freedom. I self-sabotaged great opportunities and relationships, because to me I wasn’t worthy. Those individuals were on the outside looking in. They could not see the pinned-up anger, the overly emotional side of me or the times where I would shut down because I dreaded the company of others. I would question myself: “Why would someone want to be around me?" Then again, I was desperate to have someone look at me and see who I was at my core - not to accept me, but to help me heal.
THE PROCESS: They typically do not show you the pruning process... the process that God takes you through to prepare you to walk in your purpose. Rarely do we hear of the process one has to take to learn to die to oneself and not resort back to what caused us to be in bondage in the first place. Ofcourse, my process was unlike any other. I wanted to stay in my little box, but the more God began to prune me, I had to learn to trust Him. I had to trust that He would be right there holding my hand through it all and He was. How did I know this? I knew this because, with every moment I had to face something or someone that once triggered me, I didn’t feel the need to hide my face in shame. Healing is a choice and I made the decision to get up every morning and fight for my happiness. I made the choice to change my mindset. I made the choice to allow God to have His way with my life. Was it easy? Ofcourse not. The reason why is because like so many, I had undergone so much betrayal and abandonment that I almost conditioned myself to get control, keep control, and not let anyone in. I thought God was going to come in and make things worse than it was because of the pruning, but the pruning process proved that God loved me too much to leave me broken. MY WIN: I mentioned before that I once looked in the mirror and couldn’t fathom loving me or having someone that wanted to interact with me. God dealt with me profoundly. I finally concluded that I was worth it. I’m still worth it. You’re worth it. While going through the pruning process, I learned that no matter what happened or how it happened; I was going to come out of it. I started to trust the process because I wanted for once in my life to win. I was tired of allowing stress to win and my past to devour me every single day. There was no more room for depression, anxiety, and blame because I allowed God to fill me up and for that reason, I won! I’m still winning! THE LESSON: I know it can hurt. I know it can be challenging, but the choice is yours ladies. I have many lessons that I could spare, but one that I would share is to learn to protect your peace by any means necessary. I know if you’ve gone through child molestation or another trauma, there is no easy way out. It’s going to be exhausting and you’re going to want to throw in the towel, but don’t. Your life and your purpose are worth fighting for. The quote I want to leave with you is from 2 Corinthians 12:9 and it says, “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Ladies, you’ve read my story. It’s possible! It’s possible to live your life in peace without being constantly overtaken with thoughts that because of what you have experienced, it is what you must settle for. I didn’t settle for being the victim because God wouldn’t allow me too. My purpose wouldn’t allow me to. Decide today to choose peace. Make peace within yourself again. You deserve it! You can connect with me on social media. Instagram: @pumpspearlsandpurpose Facebook: www.facebook.com/pumpspearlsandpurpose
"Discipline beats motivation every time." - MONTRECE MCNEILL RANSOM THE START I am a lawyer, blessed with a fantastic career. My undergraduate degree is in communications and I also have a Masters of Public Health. I am a commercial and corporate actress, having had the opportunity to be in national and regional commercials, and I have a burgeoning voiceover career. I teach college courses, and I help manage my daughter’s music career. I also love to travel--both professionally and personally. Not to mention, I run 2-3 miles most days of the week, regardless of what city or country I’m in. On the weekends, you might find me partying, white water rafting, or hiking...or all of the above. I live in the spirit of yes! I want, and literally try, to do ALL the things! People often tell me that I’m living my best life. I remind them that this is my ONLY life, and I intend to live it to the fullest. Sometimes they ask, “How do you do it all?” What I’ve learned is I can’t rely on motivation. It’s a rare occasion where I am motivated or inspired to respond to a flurry of emails at work, or grade papers. My life has taught me that motivation and inspiration are fleeting. Discipline is how I get it ALL done. THE DOUBT After I graduated from college, I became a single mom. I worked full-time “selling money” for a finance company. But, knew I wanted more for myself and my daughter. I would tell people that I was going to law school. But, it took two years for me to start the actual process of studying for the LSAT and applying to schools. As a single mother, working full-time, I had all sorts of excuses for putting it off. But, the truth is, after completing one degree, I simply wasn’t motivated to study for the LSAT or go through the law school application process. I kept telling myself that I needed to be in the mood. And, a lot of this had to do with fear and self-doubt. To get out of my rut, I had to force myself to take action. I got intentional, bought a notebook, and created systems of accountability that made me do one thing - big or small - toward my goal of law school each day. I ordered brochures from schools and kept them around my house as a visual reminder of my goal.
I created vision boards and shared my goal with family and friends, who would periodically ask me how the application process was going. After a string of days (some successful, some less so), this mindset started to become automatic. It became a habit. My discipline muscle began to grow. THE PROCESS I would not be able to accomplish as much as I do without discipline. By choosing discipline, I have given myself the power to prioritize the choices that are right for me. Developing disciplined habits has allowed me to intentionally evolve and grow into the woman I want to be. While everyone is different, my process focuses on three key components: 1) intentionality, 2) visual reminders, and 3) accountability partners. My experiences have taught me that real motivation only shows up after you take action. And, when you have a life as busy as mine, taking regular consistent action requires disciplined habits. THE WIN Within three months of beginning the application process, I was accepted by 6 law schools. I chose to attend the one that offered me a full-tuition scholarship. And, as a law student and single mother, I found that my discipline muscle continued to grow. But, this experience reinforced for me that discipline means doing the things you don’t necessarily want to do now, so that you can do and have the things you really want later. Today, for me that means going for that run, so that I can look good and feel confident in my swimsuit on the beaches of Miami, or getting those papers graded because I know my students are depending on me—and teaching is how I’ll pay for that last minute trip to Miami! THE LESSON The lesson is that discipline beats motivation every time. When it comes to creating the life I want, I have learned that whether I feel like doing something or not is irrelevant. No one arrived at the place of their dreams or goals by sitting back and not taking action. Motivation relies on a feeling that often dissipates, and relies heavily on external forces. Think about it - people tend to be highly motivated to workout at the beginning of a new year. Gyms are full during the first few weeks of the year...mainly because of motivation. But remember, motivation without discipline is fleeting. I’m hoping my words motivate or inspire you to identify a goal, and be intentional about doing something every day toward it. Action leads to confidence. So be deliberate, plant visual reminders, and create accountability partners--so much so that even YOU wonder what you’ll do next. You have ONLY one life to live and it’s up to you to make it your best. www.Montrecespeaks.com | Instagram: @montrecespeaks | Montrecespeaks@gmail.com
"Whatever you do, do with all your might, because things done by halves are never done right." - SHAWNETTE SAPP THE START When you have a calling on your life, it has a way of drawing you in and holding you captive. At first, I tried to ignore it. Then I tried to make excuses. At times, I dismissed it. Finally, one day, I gave in and allowed God to create a path for me and open doors for me. My name is Shawnette Sapp and I am an event planner. The revelation became clear after reading the expression, “Event planning is the creative art of engineering.” It allowed me to embrace the duality of who I am -- a right brain and left brain thinker. It allowed me to embrace my creativity while also embracing the fact that I have an Electrical Engineering degree. Upon acceptance of the calling, I reflected on the ever-presence of event planning in my life. In my primary years, I created elaborate tea parties for my baby dolls. I recall putting demands on my older sister to prepare teacakes, sneaking into my mother’s stash to make the most delectable tea and sewing fancy outfits for each baby doll because they had to be exquisitely dressed. While in college, I fondly remember being appointed to various event committees, whether it was being the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) events committee chair or a Black Student Union event committee member. After graduating from college, the demands for my event planning expertise continued with local organizations, churches, private requests and more. To catapult God’s calling on my life, Pink Sapphire Events was created, which is a full-service event planning and management company. Our motto is “It’s not only an event; it’s an experience.” My engineering education and experience coupled with my passion for Event Management generates a unique strategy and design for my clients, keeps me abreast of the competition and ensures a spectacular experience is achieved with every event. THE DOUBT Being an entrepreneur can present challenges. The main challenge I experience is balance. As I continuously stimulate my right brain and my left brain, the thought always come up -- can I continue to have it all? Can I have the icing and the cake while being: • a full-time Product Manager for a Fortune 500 company • a supportive, nurturing mother to two academically and athletically gifted children
• a thriving wife to a retired professional football player, and current football coach • a student pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Miami • an actively engaged Executive Board member of Off The Field Players’ Wives Association My dear friend, a licensed psychotherapist, says women can have it all if and only if there is balance. As Pink Sapphire Events continues to grow, the thought of balance comes up. As I continue working on the latest and greatest technology, the thought of balance comes up. THE PROCESS For now, I will continue to grow forward and maintain the technical and creative balance I need to thrive. With over 17 years of software development life cycle expertise, I transferred that knowledge into the Pink Sapphire Events event planning life cycle and created a repeatable process that always equals SUCCESS. I have been able to combine technical experience and creative passion to fulfill the objectives and goals of my clients. Whether planning a memorable social or corporate event, engineering has been at the root of my success with event planning and management. It has allowed me to produce comprehensive events that are memorable for our clients and attendees alike and it has allowed me to develop an event management company which is distinct from the norm. THE WIN Throughout life, I have always felt you either win or you learn. Pink Sapphire Events has had some learning experiences along the way and several wins along the way. Pink Sapphire Events is recognized across the nation in places like St. Louis, Louisville, St. Thomas, Atlanta, D.C., Dallas and San Francisco. Pink Sapphire Events has created dynamically diverse events: football camps, corporate events, birthday celebrations, baby showers, events for non-profit organizations, graduation celebrations and so much more. Our most fulfilling event is Pamper Me Pink, a girl’s night out for a cause during which we pamper eight breast cancer survivors. Our biggest win is being the exclusive event planner for a wealthy executive. Winning the business of such a prominent business woman speaks volumes about the consistent and memorable experience received from Pink Sapphire Events. The win subdued doubts and reinforced my belief in my gifts. The win showed me I can be an Engineer as well as an Event Planner and that I can truly conquer both. THE LESSON Achieving entrepreneurial success with Pink Sapphire Events didn’t come easy. Balancing the demands of corporate America, being a mother of two, sustaining a marriage, being an entrepreneur and having a life is a worthwhile challenge that oftentimes makes for long days and even longer nights. When I find myself becoming exhausted and weary or wanting to rush through a task, I recount the African proverb, “Whatever you do, do with all your might because things done by halves are never done right.” That proverb challenges me mentally and pushes me beyond my fatigue and reminds me to attend to not only the major details, but more specifically to the minor details of everything that I do. That proverb is the mantra behind my life; it fuels my desire to give my all in everything that I do. That proverb is also the mantra behind the Pink Sapphire; which inspired the motto - It’s not only an event; it’s an experience. Pink Sapphire Events can be reached on the web at: www.PinkSapphireEvents.com | Instagram @PinkSapphireEvents | Twitter @PinkSapphireLLC.
"When the world says no to you, say yes to yourself." - NICOLE S. MASON ESQ.
My name is Nicole Mason, and I am an attorney, entrepreneur, coach, wife, mother, and preacher. THE START As I entered the room of first-year law students, I could literally hear the faint gasps for air. I was five months pregnant and so excited to be in the room. What separated me from many of the students in that room and what they couldn’t see, was the fire of determination and fortitude burning ablaze down on the inside of my belly – both literally and figuratively! (LOL) THE DOUBT I wanted to be a lawyer since I was 9 years old, but, hen I applied to law school, I was rejected a total of nine times! I was beginning to doubt whether this was the path for me. However, my personality and spirit of advocacy wouldn’t let me take no for an answer. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I sure wasn’t going to let the fact that I was pregnant stop me. And, I certainly didn’t care about folk staring at me, because I was on the journey to fulfilling my dream of becoming a lawyer. THE PROCESS I was born with a spirit of advocacy it seems. I remember very vividly being chosen by my 3rdgrade classmates to go into the teachers’ lounge to ask our teacher, Ms. Elmoree Davis, if we would be able to make pumpkin bread the following year. When I opened the door to the lounge, all eyes were on me. I stepped in with my bold spirit and began making our case. Ms. Davis agreed to help us make the pumpkin bread the following year. That was one of my earliest victories advocating for others. I developed a reputation for standing up for others. There was a huge misunderstanding about what “standing up for others” meant to some of my classmates. Their interpretation of “standing up for others” meant I would “fight” for others. I did not want to fight anyone, but word spread around the school, and people were putting my name in all kinds of situations and circumstances. I didn’t sign up for this kind of advocacy! But, I had to deal with the misunderstanding the best way I knew how. I’ve come to know now that I started networking with other students who had skills I didn’t have – fighting skills!
Eventually, I would have to fight for myself. Initially, I didn’t win any of the fights. I was good at making a verbal case, but fist fighting was not my strong suit. I would run home from school it seemed like every day, in an attempt to avoid a fight. Apparently, I had run home too many times in my grandmother’s mind. On the day that my fear turned into courage, is a day I shall never forget. I was running home from a family of sisters. My grandmother could see me coming up the street with a crowd of people behind me. She met me at the front door. Their family was big! You know the family that everybody hates to have a confrontation with because they all fight together?! So, my grandmother gave instructions for the fight. What?! She told them that I would fight each of them one by one. ( I’m looking at her like she had gone mad.) When she turns around to go inside, I’m on her heels right behind her. She pushes me back, closes the door, locks it behind her and stands there watching me. I bang on the door and plead with her to open the door, and she just stands there looking at me. As I turn around and look at the crowd behind me, things seem to go in slow motion as the first sister steps up and hits me in the face! I’m too stunned at the events that are unfolding right before my eyes, and she takes advantage of my shock. After she hits me for a while, the second sister steps in and she starts swinging. I look back at the door, and my grandmother is still standing there but doesn’t say anything. After a while, I feel something brewing on the inside. Confidence and courage were building down deep. After the 3rd sister beat me down, confidence and courage had reached a boiling point. When the 4th sister stepped up, I unleashed a beat down on her! I started jumping around like Muhammad Ali and talking “smack” like him too! All the while, I was keeping my eye on the door to make sure my grandmother was still there. Yep! She hadn’t moved! My momentum was at full throttle! I asked the crowd, “Which one of you is next?!” When the next sister stepped up, I beat her down too! By this time, the crowd was going wild. They were seeing a real live comeback right before their eyes. What they didn’t know was a burning inferno was being ignited on the inside of my soul! When the family realized I wasn’t scared anymore, it wasn’t so much fun for them. My grandmother knew she had to teach me to stand up for myself in more than one way. Lesson learned! THE WIN From that day, I haven’t been afraid to fight for what I believe is right and/or for what I wanted in my life. So, when I walked into the law school five months pregnant, with a due date near final exams, I was prepared to fight for what I wanted. I finished law school and passed the bar exam. My dream has been fulfilled. THE LESSON Giving up on your dream is never an option! When the world says no to you, say yes to yourself. www.nicolesmason.com | email@example.com | @nicolesmason
"Be choosy with who you invest your time with, wasted time is worse than wasted money." - TYRA GARDNER THE START Choosing to go private practice was a decision I made in April 2014. At the time everyone at my job was resigning and before I knew it I was the only one left and there were many problems on my job due to not hiring new staff to replace those that left and the shortage had become unbearable and so did the increased stress. I began searching for a way to make a change in my career and that’s when I was presented with the opportunity to obtain my National Certification in Anger Management. I have been employed as a Counselor/Technician/Therapist and have worked with numerous patients with anger issues but never thought about embarking on a career with this as one of my specialties until this moment. I immediately enrolled in the National Anger Management Association Certification program and fulfilled my new goal within 2 months. This was the beginning of what I found to be my newfound freedom and the time in my life when I was named Tyra The Anger Lady. THE DOUBT I began to doubt myself for choosing this new specialty because it appeared that I could not find ways to market myself that I deemed to be proper. I had my certification for over a year and still nothing was happening, I signed up for two business groups: one to help me with the proper way to handle my business and the second to develop my brand and market my business. Both of these groups were good however when I began spending more money than I was earning which began to further increase my doubt. Questions I would ask myself: 1. What are you doing? 2. What are you gaining from hiring a brand strategist? 3. Where do you see yourself professionally in the next 12 months? 4. How bad do you want success? These are questions that business owners should ask themselves when making major business decisions especially when hiring coaches, brand strategist and other professionals. THE PROCESS The process was rocky initially because with working with a brand strategist it opened my eyes to conducting thorough business research; understanding myself as an entrepreneur and understanding which direction I would like my professional career to go.
During this process, I spent over 15k on bad business decisions from vending in venues that did not compliment my product to attending networking events and having products not sell at the rate I was told to expect. I learned during this time that the only person I can trust is myself when it concerns my business and I cannot expect others to have the same respect and confidence in my business if I do not. I took a slight break to focus on other avenues of my business which led me into becoming a Speaker on various Mental Health Issues such as Grief and Loss, Depression, Anger, Conflict Resolution and Mediation. When I started the Speaking component of my business, I felt like I found my calling because many people were contacting me for bookings, which I accepted. Conducting workshops and speaking to professionals is something that I love to do. However, the game changed when the ultimate opportunity emerged in my career; Adding media and becoming an Expert Contributor to various outlets including Daily Mail, Women’s Health, Slay, Today.com, and TMZ. Another addition to my brand is Business Mentorship for aspiring entrepreneurs. This is something that I hold dear to my heart because from my experiences, I want to help others obtain their dreams and avoid the common mistakes that are made when starting a business. THE WIN My first win happened in August 2016 when a Public Relations friend inquired if I was interested in pitching myself to media and offered to assist. I was so excited and felt as if I had now found my voice in a different realm. The first project that I worked on was Daily Mail. I was unfamiliar with this publication until I was asked to come to New York and film for a segment on Arachnophobia and Therapy. Everything happened so fast and I was very receptive to this new title as an Expert Contributor. I now find myself providing insight to many news outlets. As I worked on expanding my brand and adding the titles of Speaker and Expert Contributor, I met another public relations professional who provided me with additional opportunities that have been great including a chapter in this book. Being open to change and embracing all of the opportunities available to me as a Psychotherapist has been truly remarkable. The win for me happens daily when I am able to help people adapt to change whether in their business or personal lives. THE LESSON Lessons I learned: 1. Always be prepared for the unexpected. 2. Always be open to change. 3. Never take anything for granted. 4. Be choosy with who you invest your time with, wasted time is worse than wasted money. 5. Be humble “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek”. Barack Obama Tyra Gardner, PhD(c), MS, MEd, BS, CAMS-II | www.Tyrasgardner.com Tyragardner1@gmail.com | 855-855-2151 | 484-278-1342 | Instagram: angerDr.Tyra
"Every heavenly assignment is for us to help change the world and help the next person level up." - VELETA JONES THE START I am so glad I wrote a book and became an Author. Nothing can stop what is truly for you except you. Baby steps? Nah. Back to crawling? Nah., I went in head first. Hold up! Stop what you are doing! THE DOUBT Let me rewind back to 2010. It was a hot scorching day and I was told prophetically to “write the book”. My first action included me calling all of my friends to tell them the good news. But the more calls I made the more my smile turned into a frown. I then started to question God to ask why me? No one will buy my book. What would people say? You see I started out defeated before I could even start the book writing stages. Self-doubt, doubting God and doubting others all in the same day weighs more than a Semitruck. It is just heavy on any person's soul. Do you ever see a flower competing against another flower? At that very moment I started to come up with several excuses about why I wouldn’t be a good author. I never knew that writing was my actual calling in life until I started writing more frequently for no reason. To me, it is an outlet for me to pour my everything out on paper. THE PROCESS As the weeks went by I ignored my prophecy, but it was tugging on my spirit; Like how my daughter does when she throws tantrums when hearing the word “No”. Life is so funny because it has a way of talking to you when you don’t want to talk back. When it all boils down every heavenly assignment is for us to help change the world and help the next person level up. THE WIN I finally started to watch videos on how to write a book, how to get published, how much will it cost, and so forth. At this point, I was so confused because everything I thought I knew about book publishing wasn’t necessarily wrong, but there were several ways to do it. I am against the word “Stuck” because that word exists only if another avenue hasn’t been taken.
I am all for simplicity and seamless processes. I then took the initiative to just write my book then edit later. I heard God say clear as day to JUST WRITE! I struggled so many times to come up with a book title and get the meat of the book on paper. I was so lost and I didn’t have a clue as to what I was going to write about. Months started to go by then one day in a deep sleep GOD told me to write about forgiveness. I was open to do this because I knew that forgiving was something that used to be hard for me to do and to talk about it was not hard for me. Little did I know that GOD was preparing my heart to forgive something really big in the years to come. How many of you know that sometimes in life we don’t know how far we will go or what we may do in a situation until the bridge comes for us to cross over it? I wanted help with putting this book out, but strangely GOD gave me every detail, every step of the way. I began to teach myself how to copyright my book, how to layout the chapters, how to pick the genre, focus on target markets and I even went through a self-publishing company. I chose a self-publishing company because by the time you design a cover, edit and format the book, and do the copyrighting, the cost starts to add up. As I began to write my first chapter, I was so in tune with the flow of it, that I started to visualize the characters in my book. This book took only 36 hours to write and one of the great things about it was that I wasn’t rushing at all. This was 12 hours in a three-day period to be exact. Although I had no idea who would buy my book I still knew I accomplished an assignment from GOD. I felt empowered and at that very moment I knew I was a game-changer After I answered the call to write books, other things opened up for me. THE LESSON Never give up on your dreams. Always follow the rainbow. Your walk in life does not have a twin. Remember....birthmarks are there to kindly remind you that we all bleed red and as long as there is blood running through your veins, there is a yellow brick road that is laid out for you. Make new friends, get out of your comfort zone, choose a different parking space, cut your hair, get a massage, say hello to a new person every day, give compliments, test drive a Tesla (or your favorite car), thank GOD and pray every day. Everything starts with an idea. “You are possibly five people away from striking it big” ~Author Veleta Jones.~ It will be an honor to connect with you, Veleta Jones | Blogger(Lifestyle+Influencer) | Author | Writer | Ghostwriter Instagram:@konfidentagent Email:firstname.lastname@example.org www.kisforkonfident.online
"Remember the importance of who you are and the imprint your life is making on this world every day" - MAXINE JOHNS
THE START Meeting my husband Peter was the most unexpected, whirlwind experience of my life when I walked into a hip-hop nightclub in Sydney on July 4th, 2005. I was not looking for love with a tall, dark and handsome US naval sailor, but I guess God had other plans the night he brought us together! There we were, a 30-year-old South African born, Sydney raised female Hip Hop DJ and music journalist at the top of her career in the urban music industry and a 29-year-old American Aviation Engineer devoted to the US Navy in a then 12-year strong commitment. Two different worlds colliding with a mutual love of music and each other. After a two-year long-distance courtship which involved many phone calls, emails and of course travel between Sydney and Japan, where Peter was based, we got engaged in Tokyo Japan on July 4th, 2006. After a yearlong mission to Iraq for Peter and three wedding date changes later, we were married on November 4th, 2007 and moved to a naval base in Sicily Italy, two weeks later calling the island home for the next four years. I put my urban music career on hold and embarked on a journey with my new husband into a world that was foreign to me. All I could do was say a little prayer, close my eyes and jump into the great unknown of my new life as a US Military Spouse! THE DOUBT The first few months of married life were intense. I arrived a few weeks before Christmas to the freezing snow-covered island of Sicily, with nothing other than my suitcase and a new husband I had never lived with! It was during this time of doubt that my self-confidence started to break down. I felt less Maxine aka Ms. Hennessey and more Maxine aka military dependent and I started to panic. Everything I worked so hard for in my hip-hop career back in Sydney, was being erased in this new world of stay-at-home wives with traditionalistic views on marriage and family. Environment and surroundings mean everything when you are a creative and I just couldn’t get motivated to write for a community I was no longer immersed in. God must have heard my cries as he sent me a job that would allow me to combine my love of writing and radio in the shape of base entertainment coordinator through the military marketing office.
I began writing informative pieces in the base entertainment book and many other writing roles including an info news segment on the morning radio show (AFN), where I would talk about the awesome events on the base and play music for the morning military commuters... it was amazing. This writing job and the small exposure on Navy radio was just the boost I needed to shift my head space from the small depression it was slipping into. Those first few months of adjustment to not only married life but military life were the biggest game changers in my life and changed my perception about my role as a wife, mother and ambitious woman all in one! THE PROCESS The balancing act that was my life was in full flight as I began settling into my role as a military wife on the Sigonella US base and starting our family with the pregnancy of our first son Baylian underway. I refused to be defined by the title of just a military dependent and began to pen my first book, “How to Live for Love & Hip Hop”, which has now been published through Nobility Press. It was also during this time that I realized I could take my love of writing about hip-hop anywhere in the world. Word began to spread on base that I was a writer/DJ and curious minds began to inquire. I was soon approached by a group of active duty naval officers who were running a DJ crew on base and they asked if I wanted to join them. I jumped at the chance, became the only female DJ in their squad, and once I adjusted to how Sicilian nightclubs were run I was in my element. I secured two residencies as a DJ in the town of Catania for the first two years of my time on the island, playing to both the locals and the Americans on base. I’d never felt more alive making people dance halfway across the world. THE WIN As always, when you are at your most comfortable in life God throws you curveballs to shake things up a little…and the biggest curveball was being thrown our way in the shape of Afghanistan. Peter was to leave us for 12 months to attend this mission in one of the worst combat zones in the world, so I decided to return home to Sydney and start to create a normality of life for our son. I also decided to start a blog based on intimate and honest conversations with music artists, creatives and academics under the hip-hop umbrella. Things evolved from there into one of my proudest achievements - Ms. Hennessey Speaks Blog, Conversations in Hip Hop and beyond; an adventure that would open my world as a writer more than I could ever imagine! THE LESSON The lesson I got from Sicily was to not let go of my passion simply because I was in a new and challenging environment. I fought hard to stay true to myself, my dreams and my goals. One by one the walls broke down and I got to be me…. authentically! I sit here now as a #1 Bestselling published author, a proud wife of a retired US Navy Veteran who is home safe with us and a blessed mother of two sons. I am extremely grateful for this life that is full of purpose, love and success. It is important to be like water and ebb and flow in this constantly changing world and to always remember the importance of who you are and the imprint your life is making on this world every day, no matter the challenge! For more on my journey, my book and my career please follow me at: www.mshennesseyspeaksblog.com | Instagram: mshennesseyspeaks Book link: How to Live for Love & Hip Hop (Nobility Press) / www.amazon.com
"It's OK to FAIL, but it’s not ok to Quit" - SALMA SHERIFF
THE START: Like every woman, I had a dream to achieve something big in life and to make my family feel proud. To achieve this, I was strong-minded to make it happen and it all started during my postgraduation. During college, I was introduced to the world of blogging & how people share their area of expertise, interests and the ideas with the world online. This gave me the inspiration to start a blog of my own and to share my ideas with the online community who is still looking for something interesting and wish to learn. I started a blog sharing my craft and DIY (do-it-yourself) ideas with tutorials along with crochet products for free. Soon, I started selling my products due to demand among my friends and readers. Apart from the blog, I started selling digital planners online which helps in organizing and streamlining your daily tasks and business responsibilities. This is where I would say I took my first steps of my entrepreneurial journey. The blog was well received and bestowed me with several accolades and recognition. This made me realize the importance of "Strong Online Presence" if you want to become a successful business owner. With this clarity and realization, I decided to merge my passion and my education (Master of Engineering in Computer Science) to start my own Branding and Web Design Studio in October 2016, to help other bloggers and passionate entrepreneurs build a strong foundation online via brands that connect and websites that convert. I am also helping entrepreneurs build and uplevel their online business through Business strategy and Brand identity. THE DOUBT Although I didn't have any doubts about starting a business, I did face a few struggles once I stepped into it. Since I started this as a hobby and turned it into an Online Business, I needed to learn more on the topics of Online Strategies and Marketing & Visibility strategies on the Internet, to get myself out there to the world and get sales. The biggest struggle I faced was finding my first client on the services provided by me, when I transitioned from a product-based to servicebased business owner. (Although I still do crochet, I feel more connected in helping people and teaching them strategies to develop their online business).
Initially, it was going smoothly but when you want to progress and level up, you need to put in some hard work. Although I knew that I am very good at technical stuff and teaching, I felt I was stuck at that phase for quite some time with no improvements financially. THE PROCESS The moments that I considered as struggles, I never actually considered as dark moments or took a step back. It was a learning phase, as it helped me to realize who I am, what my purpose in life and business is, what my goals and focus should be on and what areas I need to work on to get to the next level. Once I realized this and started implementing the strategies that I needed to uplevel my business, it helped me move forward and reach my goals. One thing I kept reminding myself, is that I was set on a journey to achieve something and I was never going to go back. Whenever I feel low or pushed back, I always come back strong. I always have this in mind, "It's OK to FAIL, but it’s not ok to Quit". During this journey I Invested in learning (not a lot, but I did). I invested in a few courses to up-level my skills so that I can implement the new strategies in my business. THE WIN During this journey, I also received various accolades and recognition, which included: Top Blogger in India, nomination as a Lifestyle influencer by Better Homes and Gardens, India, Woman Achiever Award, Young Entrepreneur of the month in 2016, and I was also featured on various other websites across the globe. I was also invited to be a co-author of two books and I was featured as a Guest Expert on Podcasts and in several Facebook groups. I have an online Community with over a thousand passionate women entrepreneurs and I share my knowledge and expertise every day, encouraging them to come forward and make a strong impact online. Every time my clients come back to me with a happy note and a good testimonial, I feel proud that I can help them grow and that I have inspired them in a positive way. I also feel proud when my clients are working hard to achieve their goals and creating their own success stories. THE LESSON Always have a positive mindset, connect with like-minded business owners or people who support you and let go of the negative energy that pulls you back. You do not need a fancy office and agents to promote your work. When you have the right mindset, a positive attitude and the passion to achieve what you truly desire, you will get there. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman www.salmasheriff.com | email@example.com | Instagram: @salmasheriffdesigns Facebook: /salmasheriffdesigns
"Everything you need to make life great is already inside of you. You are enough." - ALESIA RHODES
Many of us have experienced a time in life where doubt, fear or tragedy has shaken us to our very core. I would like to share with you my story of tragedy to triumph. THE START I came from a strong middle-class family with two supportive hardworking parents. My mother was a licensed marriage and family therapist, and my father worked as a mechanic for our regional airport. They taught me at a young age strong work ethics, the importance of education and how to be a leader. Because of my parents and the village they created for me, I entered the lifestyle of a wife as a 23 year-old educated woman with strong faith and a solid support system. My future was bright. My husband and I were ready to live happily ever after. But life gave me a hard blow and I begin to experience what I call my Job experience. THE DOUBT Let me give you a little background about Job just in case you have never read his story. He was a faithful man, husband, father, hard worker and was faithful to God. However, Job had a life-changing experience. He lost everything! Wife, children, and possessions. Yet Job never gave up his faith or hope for restoration. Well, when my Job experience came, I certainly was not prepared. My husband and I found ourselves facing bankruptcy, infertility, foreclosure and unemployment all at the same time. How did our perfect life go so wrong? I was overwhelmed and felt my faith failing. My hope was being depleted. Every negative word I'd ever spoken about myself played over and over in my mind. Lack of confidence and low self-esteem were becoming my best friends. Everything that I knew to be the image of a successful woman was gone. The hole of depression became so deep that I could no longer see the light. I began to buckle under the pressure. My parents and support system could not provide any solutions. This was something we had to figure out on our own. But how? When there is so much to take on at one time, where do you begin? I had to go through a process of mental, emotional and financial healing to raise up from the darkness and live life again. THE PROCESS I began to strengthen my faith. Morning and night, I read words of encouragement, prayed and sought God for direction.
I knew if I could get my spirit and mind uplifted then I could begin to strategize and address the other issues in my life. I reached out to my support system for encouragement not solutions. Every now and then, we need to hear words of encouragement and motivation to help us make it through the difficult times. Every time I received a call of encouragement, I noticed I was able to solve another problem. Encouragement was the gas that fueled my ambition. My ambition fueled my courage and my courage fueled my mind. Ideas came to me like a flowing river. The more I wrote the more I received. I slowly began to move past what others thought or said about me and found a place of peace. Things began to come together. My husband and I overcame the sorrows of losing our home and filing bankruptcy. We were blessed with something greater. THE WIN Everything we lost came back bigger and better! My new “job” was a six-figure business that allowed me to stay home with our newborn baby. Yes, the baby that the doctor said we would never have. My new home was larger than the home we had before. My low self-esteem turned into a high Godly confidence that allowed me to excel in all areas of life. THE LESSONS Those years of trials and doubt taught me a few things that I want to share with you: Lesson 1: You are enough! Yes, I know we have all heard that before. However, I must tell you that with all the letters before and after my name; I still experienced hardship. For many years I believed that motherhood, status and possessions determined success. I was so wrong. I was enough without all of that. My degrees, experiences and possessions are not what makes me great. I am great because I was made from greatness. I was born with a creative mind, gifts and talents just like you. Everything you need to make life great is already inside of you. You are enough. Lesson 2: The Works of Faith. During my trials, I had to believe that there was a greater purpose. I have to put my faith to work. I activated my faith by taking action steps to create solutions for each problem that I faced. I learned that faith + action = success. You can’t find success with one of those pieces of the equation missing. Even those who do not have a spiritual belief system, understand that faith allows you to visualize your next level. When your vision is followed by action, you find your sweet spot of success. What have you activated your faith for? What action steps do you need to take to in order for you to go to the next level? Stop waiting! The time is now to rise up, overcome and succeed. “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which he has overcome. -Booker T. Washington” Alesia Glass-Rhodes, MSM | www.alesiarhodes.com | Instagram: @alesiaglassrhodes
"We must Transcend Adversity and Achieve Greatness.” - SHANNA A. JEFFERSON THE START My journey from doubt to destiny and from surviving to thriving has endured many stages and phases throughout my life. Through it all, I stand and proclaim that I am more than a conqueror. I am Greatness! While in graduate school, I commenced my journey in the mental health field working in various capacities. I worked for several agencies as I educated myself on the importance of being a mental health advocate and learned the implications of mental illness by providing direct services in homes, schools, offices, and communities. I positioned myself to improve my knowledge, skills, and abilities in anticipation of establishing my own mental health practice. I worked seven days a week seeing clients, attending seminars, researching best practices, and meeting with a consultant at the Small Business Center. The culmination of my experiences working for other agencies and educating myself led me to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in North Carolina and South Carolina. I took my entrepreneurial endeavors to the next level by establishing my mental health agency Destination Greatness where I help individuals and families to transcend adversities such as low self-esteem, depression, life stressors, grief, and other mental health challenges - by first shifting their mindset so that they can live a fulfilling life. THE DOUBT During my quest for Greatness, I began to feel burnt out, stuck, lost, and I wanted to give up. I asked myself, is this worth it? I was so consumed by the intricate details of building Destination Greatness that I had to put my doctoral studies as well as other obligations on hold because I was managing business operations in Durham, NC, Columbia and Greenville, SC. The challenges were compounded on multiple domains. I was fighting insurance companies for reimbursement leading to inconsistent cash flow, which is imperative for the sustainability of any business. The skills I learned prior to establishing my business seemed fruitless. The feelings of doubt began to mount with me questioning if I could sustain the business operations amidst the chaos and uncertainty. The challenges I endured also contributed to feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, and periods of unknowingness. However, as the motto of Destination Greatness states, we must “Transcend Adversity and Achieve Greatness.”
THE PROCESS With the multitude of challenges I experienced as a business owner I prayed to God to ensure I maintained a sound mind, inner peace, and integrity. In overcoming the struggles, I had to become a recluse, meditate more and pray for discernment. And being who I am, I knew that the Most High, the Alpha, and the Omega would provide. Eliminating distractions, letting go of people toxic for my business, expanding my network of likeminded individuals, and going back to the drawing board to streamline the process of business operations were all critical steps I took to ensure a solid foundation for the next level of Greatness. I also incorporated many tools for success which later became the content for my 2nd book, The Greatness Toolbox: 33 Tools For Success. Some of the tools I utilized included self-care, positive affirmations, faith, and detox your life. During my self-discovery, I learned to focus more on harmony as opposed to balance, as the balance often forces us to ensure things add up to say 100%. Whereas, harmony is the notion just as in music, where you create the life you want that has that pleasing effect for you. In harmony, everything works together regardless of what the balance may look like. THE WIN The process of overcoming challenges contributed to me being blessed with greater self-discovery, transformation, and elevation. I took a life-changing step on my Greatness journey when I walked into greater obedience by setting my footprints in Atlanta, GA. Not to live in the traditional sense, but to continue my life purpose of being an agent of change by helping others live their best life. Atlanta is the official birthplace of my personal brand. The personal brand of Shanna A. Jefferson is constantly evolving. Products and services include books, merchandise, speaking engagements, business consultations, and psychotherapy. The win is furthered revealed when I receive powerful testimonies from those I’ve helped discover their purpose, unlock their potential, or understand the importance of speaking to their pain. Following a speaking engagement titled “Unleash Your Greatness”, I receive the following testimonial: "Your speech has given me some motivation to want to go back into the world and start living again, instead of just existing…Keep being the light, where darkness resides. " The enjoyment of helping others transform and elevate their life to the next level of Greatness is certainly the ultimate win." THE LESSON I am grateful for the lessons and blessings of entrepreneurship and business ownership. The sacrifices of time, energy, money, and relationships can take a toll. However, hard work and dedication pays dividends. I had to remain focus on my vision, trust the process, have faith, and surround myself with others striving for greatness. The power of obedience, believing in you, having faith, demonstrating perseverance, never giving up, stepping out of your comfort zone, and giving credit to the Most High is life-changing. Shanna A. Jefferson, MSW, CFSW, LCSW | CEO of Destination Greatness | Mental Health Therapist Motivational Speaker | www.shannajefferson.com | Instagram @ShannaJefferson
"Believe that Victory is the Only Option" - DR. CHANDRA R. FELTON
THE START: The start of my journey began at the very moment my life originated. On January 16, 1977, I made my grand entrance into the world; however, it wasn’t a joyous occasion or a time for celebration. It was actually a time of great concern and uncertainty. I was born prematurely, 2 months prior to my scheduled due date. Doctors assured my parents that I wouldn’t survive through the night and they should prepare to say goodbye. God had other plans! I'd just won the fight of my life, literally and figuratively, that would set the trajectory for the remainder of my existence. I am sure my mother shared this story with me as a child, but it wasn’t until my 27th birthday that it pierced through my ears and made its way deep into the fibers of my heart. It constantly replays in my mind every single time I’m faced with a challenge. It is a faithful reminder that victory is the only option and now serves as the backdrop to everything I do and sets the stage for the theatrical production known as my life. THE DOUBT: I have always been overly confident and passionate about everything I am involved in, therefore I wholeheartedly believe I was allowed to live on that faithful day to win and accomplish anything I desire that is in line with God’s will; however, DOUBT IS REAL. Doubt is a sneaky little fellow and knows the right time to come for a visit to persuade you to question what God has placed in your heart and the power you possess. Two of the most difficult things I have done in my life, to date, are earning my Doctoral degree and starting a business. I went into these ventures super enthused, knowing that I would be victorious because I knew God gave me the visions; however, there were moments when I didn’t feel like a champion while in the mist of. While working towards my Doctorate, I constantly pondered why I would put myself through this torture. However, when I thought back to my life’s testimony, I was reminded that this was only a test and I could pass it if I really wanted it bad enough. In addition, with starting my business, I often felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and I had to figure out each step of the process on my own with little or no guidance; therefore, I felt lost.
THE PROCESS: We constantly hear the words "trust the process". Trusting the process is certainly easier said than done. In fact, it is probably what causes me the most concern in my life, because being patient is not my strong suit. I must admit, I am a control freak and therefore trusting the process, and waiting patiently has always been a growing pain for me. Recently I realized that if I am in control, I am getting in the way of what God is doing in my life and therefore, He cannot take me towards the blessings he has prepared for me. THE WIN For me, winning is not all about prizes or possessions -- although I do take delight in tangible prizes, from time to time... who doesn’t? Although I don’t have all that my heart desires, I know that I have already won and the prizes will be given to me at an appointed time when I am ready to receive them. In other words, victory is mine, my desires already have my name on them; they are just waiting for me to get myself together and get to the right level of maturity so that I can be a good steward over them. Just like when I began to set things in motion for my business. I went into the venture knowing that I could do it, but allowed my lack of patience and doubt to get in the way and cause me to second-guess the vision God gave me. Once I calmed down, pushed out all negative thoughts, followed the plan I put into place and began to take things one step at a time, I started to see eminent progress and here I am 5 years later with a flourishing business that I built from the ground up. No... things are not perfect and I definitely have a lot of room to grow; however, I am confident that I will get there if I stay focused and continue to use my life’s testament as fuel. There is not a day that goes by that God does not send small little reminders that He allowed me to live that day.... to be victorious in every sense of the word! THE LESSON The lesson is that God placed us here for a purpose and He has a plan for our lives. He did not allow us to live to be defeated. He wants nothing more, than for us to succeed. However, we have to trust his timing and his will. As stated in Jeremiah 29:11 “I know that plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future”. He has a plan and it is better than anything we can ever imagine, so TRUST him and continue to listen for his voice as he provides us with visions we should boldly run after. I am grateful for the many amazing life accomplishments God has granted; however, I have not even come close to the halfway mark of where He is going to take me. If I just be patient, trust the process and remember his promises, then surely VICTORY is the only option. Contact Info: Dr. Chandra R. Felton Dr.firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram: @fashionstylebyajenae www.byajenae.com
"Pray. Meditate. Listen. Then Move!" - EUGENIE NUGENT
THE START I've had a GOOD life! Yep... until the recession hit me like a brick in the form of being tossed from my job of over ten years, which landed me flat on my a$$. When I got to work on that hot August morning, everyone was summoned to the conference room. Although I was privy to their descending net worth and knew staff cut was a possibility, I had no idea it would come so soon. As the CEO began speaking, I looked around the room and it was obvious that I wasn't the only one dreading the outcome of this sudden information which could derail people's lives. After a bit of digging, I found the list and there I was - 1 of 10 senior staff and 1 of 50 staff members to be cut. The sense of loss that swept over me was overbearing, but although I knew I was in a storm, I also knew that there would eventually be a calm. On my way home that day, I resorted to the only short-termed solace I knew – pampering self-care. I already had a full array of wines and ample supply of my favorite bath goodies so everything was set for a calming evening. THE DOUBT 2008 seem to go by slowly, but my savings dwindled away quickly. Ofcourse I searched for jobs! Nobody was hiring. Everyone was clutching their purses, hoping that the recession would pass without any major disruption to their financial and economical well-being. But like many people, I was barely equipped to experience any unforeseen turmoil, let alone hold on to what I had and not spend. Within 6 months I was more than halfway to depleting my savings, and I was literally entering the panic zone. THE PROCESS I'm into meditation, and if you're not into it, you should try it. It's amazing what clarity can result from isolating yourself and just being still." One morning during my meditation, a whole line of events appeared to me. I was there like scenes in a movie, doing for many, what I had done for my one job. I had my aha moment as Oprah calls it, right there in my meditation session, and it was time for me to use what I had to change my situation. So I set out to see what this new revelation could mean for me, and the response was astounding!
I was elated to be signing up many freelancers, solopreneurs, and small business owners of all facets!I knew I needed to form a proper business and start hiring, but I needed an office space. The money coming in was being channeled into paying off some debt I had incurred. I needed funding quickly. So I researched funding sources and submitted my application to one of the two I zoomed in on. My credit back then was not as good, and because of that, the interest rate offered to me was enormous. I opted to bypass funding. I'd been funding myself since graduating high school…and so here I was looking to accelerate my new found plan but no funding source to kickstart it. I was feeling somewhat despondent, but I knew there had to be a way, and I knew I had to find it. So I did in another meditation session! THE WIN I set up a secure online office space, employed my first 3 employees virtually, and everything exploded from there. Now I have over 300 clients in NYC alone, and I’m just getting started. So grateful for technology and fate for intervening! What would have happened had fate not intervened? I'm sure, like many of you, I would still be stuck in my 9-5, enduring the limitedness that comes with it and not unleashing my full potential. Now, because of the huge success I've had with my first business, I've started my second business which has always been a passion of mine; sharing what I know that has worked for me, and helping others live the lifestyle they truly desire and rightfully deserve. Today, I’ve more than tripled the income I was earning at my 9-5 job, and I’m able to share the wealth by employing others. I make money while I’m on vacation or even asleep, but the best part for me is being able to wake up in the mornings without rushing – instead taking the time to pray, meditate, and watch the beautiful sunrise over the horizon with my hot cup of tea. THE LESSON(S) 1) As long as there is life in you, the option for change exists. 2) Pray. Meditate. Listen. Then Move! Praying, meditating, and being quiet opens the door for clarity. Moving without being clear on what you want, will get you lost and wasting time. 3) Start where you are with what you have! Allow NOTHING and NO ONE to keep you from accomplishing your goals. Go after them and NEVER give up. 4) Do Great work! Referrals have been the driving force that allowed my business to skyrocket to the pinnacle it's at right now. Your work will speak for itself. 5) Setup protocols, establish boundaries. Implement checks and balances! Don't be the one to look back 10, 20 years from now with regrets of not having persevered - in spite of obstacles. Be the one to look back at where you've been, the hurdles you've jumped, and the goals you have accomplished - because you persisted. I'm a firm believer in predestiny! But I also believe that people can get off the path of their destiny, but they will eventually get back on track, and although it may take a while longer, they will get to what was destined for them. Pray. Meditate. Listen. Then Move! God’s got you! www.eugenienugent.com | Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Google+/Youtube @MyBloomingBiz
"What is for you will not pass you" - JENNI STEELE THE START I turned my pain into power....the day I became a voice for the next generation. As a teenager, I found myself in an unhealthy relationship, unaware of what I was in, with no proper guidance or support systems outside my family for my age group! I had a personal agreement with myself and God that when I came out of it all and started to rebuild my life, I would do my best to own every part of that journey and somehow create an awareness for others. Nobody will ever understand the strength it took for me to unlearn everything I thought to be normal and love myself through that process. I raise my three children, breaking family cycles so that we all have a chance at success. THE DOUBT Giving up on creating change was never going to be an option. My determination was real and continues to be real. When I think back.... I had no idea of the journey to greatness I would take or how I was going to get there. In reality, I was on the path already and didn't even know it. After being told for years that the Healthy Relationships education program for young people that I created, was not a priority time and time again, I realized that I could be ahead of my time and that I would have to stand alone and keep digging deeper into myself. It was a lonely road that I was on and I needed to meet people that believed in my vision. The hardest thing in life is when nobody understands why your vision is so important to you. All I knew is that if I had a second chance in life, it had to have a purpose no matter what!! THE PROCESS Finding that one person that understood the value of the work I'd created was a breakthrough. It took one person to believe in my work, one teacher who gave me a chance! I shined like a light. Through this opportunity I became a National Ambassador for Domestic Violence UK -launching campaigns, raising awareness and raising fund. Up until 2013, I was in a part-time role raising my three children while trying to push this program. Social media became a great way to network with others working in this field not just in London, but around the globe.
Traveling outside of the UK, I became a co-author to further get my solutions and principles out to the public. This was a bold and brave move for me and it encouraged me to push myself even harder. THE WIN In 2016 I started looking for job roles in this field and nothing came up! A charity was looking for specialized support for their staff to work with young people with complex needs and this was the beginning of my sweet pot! In 2017 in exchange for my support, I took myself back into education, partly funded and supported by Juvenis Youth. Whilst delivering my program, I qualified as an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor, Young Persons Independent Domestic Violence Advisor, and an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor. The sweetest part came in September when the funding bid went through for YANA support services to launch! I could finally see the seeds sown from the last 10 years finally sprouting roots. The stress and late nights completing assignments were more than worth seeing the birth of my dream project come to life. If someone would have told me that I would be here celebrating one of my biggest dreams after pushing myself for so many years just before chapter 45, I would have said it’s not possible. The toughest and most challenging year of my career, yet the greatest achievements of my career all in the same year..... is that possible I hear you say? It sure is. Life has a funny way of switching up once you take up the opportunities and accept the challenges. As when you step up a level, you are going to need a better version of yourself to get through. THE LESSON Looking back on the last 10 years I realize "What is for you will not pass you". If you are focused, consistent and passionate enough with an open mind, you will be all that you aspire to be and more. In your own time, anything is possible. It’s important for us to understand that life does not give us the things we want and pray for at the time we want and pray for them. We must go through struggles and hard times as part of the growing process and even then, we may hit challenges along the way. Surround yourself with action people. To connect with the movers and the shakers in your field, you might have to step outside your comfort zone to find them! You better believe it will be worth it. STAND WITHIN YOURSELF FIRST Be willing to stand for yourself within yourself so that you can surround yourself with the things that honor who you are. It’s easy to stand in a crowd, but it takes courage, strength and a lot of energy to stand alone. Instagram @OfficialJenniSteele | Jenni@projectyana.org.uk | www.JenniSteele.net
"We are our Sister's Keepers" - LYNITA MITCHELL BLACKWELL
THE START I have been very blessed to work with some of the most outstandingly generous and creative people God placed on this earth. I very much attribute their gifts of talent, support, and encouragement to my success. Some of these wonderful people have worked for me, with me, and some have led me. We have experienced together extreme prosperity and frightening lack, but we always had each other’s back, no matter what. As my mom always taught me, we had, “Plan A, plan B, and plan C formulatin’ on the mind!” Plan A was my law firm. The firm brought in money, and when my other ventures were getting off the ground, I leaned on it. Plan B was my other ventures – publishing magazines and books, and serving as keynote speaker. Those took more time to get up and running, and sometimes cost more than what I put in, but I knew that was my calling and purpose, so I persevered. Plan C was my success coaching. I love helping others to take their God-given gifts and make them into profitable businesses, but it took time to establish the reputation and recommendations to build that business. I thought I had more time to do that, but then the economy went south. THE DOUBT My firm suffered just as many people’s businesses suffered. Plans B and C were thrust to the forefront and forced to help cover not only “The Next”, but the NOW! Things that I used to take for granted had to be scrutinized ... “Do I REALLY need THAT?” had to be explored. I hated it. I was resentful that I had to ask and answer that question, particularly when it came to my people and how I would help them during this sour economy. But it was part of the process. THE PROCESS Growth requires pain. Sometimes it is so slight you do not feel it, such as getting taller through adolescence. Other times the pain is so great you can’t catch your breath for trying to keep up with it, such as when I was trying to keep everything going with $10 as if I was still making $50. I asked advice of people who were in pain themselves, and as the old saying goes, “Hurt people hurt people.” You really have to watch who you listen to…
One of the worst bits of advice I have ever received was that one of my employee’s living situation was not my responsibility. As I was going through the financial pain of the economic crunch, one of my assistants was going through an even worse time. I was not able to use her as much as I used to, and it really caused a strain at home. I did not know that in addition to the financial burden, she was also dealing with domestic abuse and her adult child’s mental health issues who also had a child (her grandson). All this stress led to her living situation becoming unstable and she lost her home. She was living with friends and sometimes in her car. When I found out, I was torn. What could I do? What should I do? I had my first home. We’d just gotten a really bad renter out and it was in tatters. I could fix it up. It would require a withdrawal from our retirement to do it (it was really THAT bad), but I could. I asked a friend what she thought, and she told me that my assistant had made bad choices and that it was not my responsibility to take care of a grown person, or to put myself in a pickle to do so. That did not sit right with me. This was a person who had sacrificed to get me where I was in my career. She worked sometimes when the money did not come in. She'd given good parenting advice (as a new mom, I needed all the help I could get!). She NEVER tried to talk down on my success and stayed ridiculously late helping me finish projects that were not hers to finish or a part of her “job description”. I had to do what I could, so that I could be the person I encouraged others to be: the Leadership Champion. So I spoke with my husband and we agreed to make the retirement withdrawal. We fixed up the house, and my assistant moved in. She was able to get out of that abusive relationship and get her family straight. THEN she was able to focus on work and man did she WORK! THE WIN She focused all of her attention on me, even though I could not afford to pay her. I began speaking all over the place, my coaching business grew, and as God does, a new business came to be: an accounting practice focused on assurance work – audits and reviews for companies that had to have them to keep their funding. This was huge because businesses based on regulatory requirements are almost totally recession proof! So when the economy recovered, we did not just survive, we thrived! We had the law firm (Plan A), speaking and publishing (Plan B), had the EXPERIENCE needed to build the coaching business (Plan C), and a new business with the accounting (Plan X)! Look at God! THE LESSONS 1. We are our Sister's Keepers. If my sister is struggling, I am struggling. If there is something I can do, then I need to do it. 2. If a person is working for you, you are their Keeper. How in the world do you expect them to give you their all, if they are worried about where they are going to sleep that night? 3. Walk the talk. What kind of person would I be if I call myself the Leadership Champion and I am not leading in the most basic area of human dignity? Charity really does start at home. Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, Esq., CPA, CCLC CEO Leading Through Living Community, LLC and BOLD Favor Media Group, LLC www.BoldFavorMagazine.com | Instagram @LynitaMB
"The setback is a setup for something great" - Joy Dobbins-Bostick THE START Fire is a powerful, destructive force. I’ve seen fire ravage an entire home in minutes. It eats through the beams, the walls, the furniture, and the personal accents until there’s nothing left behind but heaps of ash. For a home to remain standing after that or to come back from that type of damage is not an easy task. You can rebuild, but the scars remain. You can add layers of protection, but there is still worry. And you can assume that the home is in the clear because it’s already burned once, but you’d be wrong. You have to salvage any remains left behind and start new. Fire coursing through a house is an apt analogy for the path my life has taken through the years. I started with a strong enough foundation. I grew up a part of a loving family in the suburbs. We weren’t rich, but we had plenty. But for whatever divine reason, lots of fire and struggle continuously reeked havoc on my foundation. Perhaps the struggle found me because I needed to be strong or maybe it found me because I needed to see for myself that nothing could keep me down. Whatever, the reason, I had to dig deep for strength when I thought there was none left or else risk ending up a heap of ash myself. THE PROCESS As I sit back and think back on my life lessons, I wonder have I really learned what God wants me to learn to be able to grow and understand his purpose and plan for my life. I have had several challenges that were placed in my path to what I thought were issues too ultimately destroy me. A young teenage mother trying to support her son with the assistance of a loving mother and father. I had to go from reading school books to changing diapers. I wanted to finish school and give my son what my mother and father gave me. That child gave me a purpose in life and not just to be another societal statistic.
I had to provide for my son, and I needed any career that could help me do this. It wasn’t about what my dream was in this moment; it was about doing what I needed to do to take care of my son. So, I decided to train for the fire department. I had to persevere and get through the rigorous training from day to day. I went home crying every day with the fear that I would not be able to make it. During the first year after I made it onto the department, I lost my father and my best friend. My father had been doing better with his emphysema for the past few years. He even got his wish of coming off the ventilator and was doing well but finally, he was called home to his final resting place. After the death of my father, I knew that I had to continue to push forward because he believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Every test that came my way, I had to challenge and embrace the change. After my father's death, I got married and was abused mentally, emotionally, then physically. I knew that this wasn’t right. I never saw my mother and father fight and I knew that I had to get out of the situation. I separated from my husband and continues to pursue a career as a nurse. During the long days of studying, while having a young child to raise, I wanted to quit, but it wasn’t about me any longer. THE WIN I persevered and ended up on the other side, stronger and wiser because of every joy and every pain. Bitter waters truly are a blessing in disguise and the setback was a setup for something great. I wouldn’t trade the path I took for an easier one because then I wouldn’t be the person I am right now. I wouldn’t have that extra bit of fight in me. I wouldn’t have that extra touch of compassion with my patients, and I wouldn’t have that resilience that is my foundation. It just wouldn’t be me, and that would be the worst tragedy of all. JOY DOBBINS-BOSTICK, MSN, RN AGACNP-BC, NRP | JOYASTEP@HOTMAIL.COM
"If God be for you, who can be against you?" - MESHUN VANN
THE START The truest act of self-love is letting go of things that do not serve a purpose to your growth. It hurts to leave and let go of the familiar people and places, but as you suffocate within yourself – they only want more. You must make a firm decision to live or to silently die. Not following the path for YOUR life is a slow, silent death – the calendar changes, but you do not. It has taken me a while to make the only rational decision – to live abundantly. I’m sorry, let me introduce myself…I’m MeShun, professional makeup artist and hairstylist, podcast host, Virgo, strict follower of the rules, always coloring inside the lines, humble, critical, ambitious and selfless you will find me behind the curtain in the wings supporting. I have lived a martyr’s life, sacrificing myself for the “good” of others, only causing myself great anxiety and stress. I’ve lived like this since I was a child. I am burying the martyr mindset to live abundantly in power. The Bible says, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” Sometimes obedience is the sacrifice. THE DOUBT I experienced my first bought of stage fright in the 3rd grade, I won a reading contest with the final reading being at the Panama City Mall. I panicked, ran and hid, I couldn’t do it. In high school, I was supposed to sing “Imagine” John Lennon by way of Tracie Spencer, but I chose another song at the last minute, because I didn’t trust the amazingness of my voice. My rehearsals were awesome, but I didn’t trust me…It was a disaster. Being before people is a portion of my purpose – it has long been time for me to step on the stage of my life. Will I ever get past my fears of rejection, imperfection and negative self-talk to walk in my purpose, live abundantly, speak in my purpose as in influencer, exalting others on a public platform? YES, YES, YES and a million times YES THE PROCESS The plumb line is a straight line that distinguishes balance, center of gravity and placement. There is a pivotal moment in your life that tests your plumb line – it forces you to answer will you allow people to continue to take from you or will you freely give yourself away?
I share the secrets of my heart with a few people that I trust. Like peeling an onion, there were tears, my story stunk but as I released my onions into the fire, the aroma of my speech changed, my story is changing, I’m creating a new story … my life is becoming more salient and savory. In loving myself, I’m learning I don’t have to hide behind the smile. Self-love, for me, was about facing and accepting myself. In 2016, while working on a personal documentary I went back to the mall in Panama City to make amends with running from what could have been a monumental moment in my life. I forgave myself. I love you MeShun. THE WIN “If you send speaking engagements, I will say yes.” Shortly after this prayer, calls began to come in and I accepted everyone. I still get nervous, but it's for a greater purpose than just my own. People are now searching for me to share my knowledge. I own my voice now, I can watch myself on camera without hyperventilating. I have a great team of people in my corner that appreciate me. I’m taking an online public speaking class, learning to edit and produce video. I’m writing a chapter in a book! The win is that everything I do, I do with love, but now I feel my own love. Without further ado, please allow me to reintroduce myself….I AM Me’Shun owner of Me’Shun Vann Atelier, editorial beauty & style company, host of Behind the Lapels (be my guest), balanced decision maker that loves herself, fearing less and lives in abundant power. A refining blaze, free, creator, child of The King and prolific storyteller. In the infamous words of Rep Maxine Waters, “I’m reclaiming my time.” THE LESSON Trust YOURSELF, Trust the God in you, trust what was put in you!! Share your glamour and trust your ambitions by sharing your story on my podcast, Behind the Lapels, where we get to the heart of your endeavors. Make the decision to live your life, love yourself and do it BIG. If it serves no purpose, LET IT GO. Every experience doesn’t deserve a replay or place in your life now. Forgive yourself. It’s never too late to start again. Romans 8:31 If God be for you (say your name) who can be against you? The answer is NOBODY!! www.MeShunVann.com Instagram: XOXOLoveMeShun Email: MeShunVann@gmail.com
"Whenever you feel you can’t move past your doubts, remember everything you need to achieve is already within you" - SHERKICA MILLER-MCINTYRE
THE START Coincidence to some, but Divine positioning to me, it was a “panty run” that changed the course of my life. Fifteen years ago, while on my lunch break, I stopped at the mall for Victoria Secret's annual sale. Walking out of the store with my arms filled with pink bags, I noticed a flyer on a kiosk. Are you ready to invest in Real Estate' asked a smiling, vaguely familiar black woman on the flyer. Yes, I am, I thought to myself as I quickly read the sign and continued toward the exit. When I reached the exit doors, it hit me that I actually knew the instructor hosting the advertised event! Mrs. Amy Phillip-Davis had been one of my supervisors when I was an operations analyst for a major financial institution. She was one of the most intelligent, classiest women I'd ever met. She was also the only other woman I knew with a hyphenated name like mine. I returned to the flier to gain more information regarding the event. After attending her workshop, I learned that Mrs. Phillips-Davis had recently left Corporate America to start a real estate brokerage firm. She had created a division within her firm dedicated to teaching others how to invest. Mrs. Phillips-Davis became my family’s real estate broker as well as my mentor. She helped me understand the benefits and opportunities ownership in real estate afforded. Most importantly, Mrs. Phillips-Davis helped me uncover my passion for helping others learn and take intentional actions to achieve their own real estate goals. THE DOUBT Everything moved swiftly as my husband Gary and I began buying houses to retain as rental units. During this time, my interest in having a career in real estate grew as my corporate ambitions shrank. With encouragement from my mentor and husband, I enrolled in the required real estate course to obtain my sales license. I was seven months pregnant with my second child when the course began. Based on my due date, I would have just enough time to complete the course. To everyone’s surprise, our bundle of joy arrived three weeks early. Determined to complete the class, I had my baby on a Friday and was back in class the following Tuesday to take the initial classroom test. To my shock and dismay, I failed my test by a mere two points. I remember feeling lost, defeated and extremely discouraged.
I put my hopes in passing this class in order to avoid having to return to Corporate America once my maternity leave ended. I'd even reluctantly placed my newborn in the hands of a friend so I could finish the class. In that moment, I felt as if I had not only let myself down, but my husband, my baby girl and my mentor. Maybe a career in real estate was not for me. I tried, however I couldn't get my mind focused or my heart back on my aspirations. I felt as if I didn't just fail, but that I was a failure. THE PROCESS With maternity leave ending in a few days and my vacation days exhausted, I was not ready to leave my child and return to a nine-to-five with what I considered a purposeless position. Looking in the mirror, I realized I had two choices: Either wallow in self-doubt or pull myself together and refocus. At that moment, I thought about what I truly wanted: personal freedom, the opportunity to control and elevate my income, and to build a family legacy. I wanted to give others the same sense of accomplishment I'd felt as a first-time homeowner and the pride of being a real estate investor. My determination to be someone who controlled her own destiny suddenly returned. I retook the real estate course, passed the class test and applied to take the state exam. THE WIN On December 14, 2004, I became a licensed sales agent and within five months I was a licensed Broker. Two months later, I was asked to be the Broker in Charge of a boutique property management firm. The opportunity thrilled and terrified me. I had minimal property management experience outside my own portfolio. After prayer and Godly counsel, I stepped out on faith and accepted the position. The firm opened its doors July 1, 2005, with 12 accounts. By the middle of 2008, we'd grown to 150 accounts. Although I was proud of the role I played, I still felt as if I was working to build a business for someone else. I began to pray and as always, God heard my silent desires. One day, the owners unexpectedly approached my husband and I with the opportunity to purchase the firm. On December 30, 2008, Gary and I became the sole owners of Carod Properties. I was not only the Broker in Charge, I was now the Broker-Owner. After 12 years of experience working with thousands of landlords, applicants, buyers, sellers and investors, I decided to further pursue my passion with the launch of Divas Doing Real Estate Consulting. I empower DIVAS to shift their mindsets and breakthrough financial strongholds enabling them to achieve financial freedom, create wealth and build the communities in which they live, work and play. While still committed to my brokerage firm, I have found joy in this venture of helping women pursue their real estate dreams. THE LESSON The one that resonates most is: You can never doubt what you don’t already have in you. The concept of doubt is defined as a feeling of uncertainty. If you didn’t already possess the ability to succeed you could not doubt it was there. Remain focused, driven, intentional and prayerful. www.divasdoingrealestate.com | email@example.com
"What do you do when you’re tired of everything, but you don’t want to give up? You pray." - SHAKEEMA M. BOUYER THE START My name is Shakeema “Keema” Bouyer and I am a wife, mother, full-time employee and part to fulltime public relations professional. Sometimes, I don’t want to be any of those things. Sometimes, I don’t even want to be me. As I entered 2017, those feelings became more and more real to me. I had almost come to the end of my rope and believe that I had really become depressed. I know that I can’t just quit being a wife, mother or employee. Well …. I could but … no. When I was nine my parents divorced. My mother chose her new family over my siblings and I. As much as I had thoughts of leaving my family, in my mind, I reverted back to my nine-year-old self and knew that my past couldn’t be my present or future. I couldn’t do to my husband and son what my mother had done to me. In time I forgave her, but the memories don’t just fade away – not even 30 years later. I couldn’t just walk away from my job. It’s not my passion but right now it provides the means for me to provide for my family. My passion is the work that I do as a publicist, but entering 2017 I was tired of it too. But, I couldn’t just walk away from it either. THE DOUBT What do you do when you’re tired of everything, but you don’t want to give up? You pray. You write out your goals. You communicate. That’s what I did. I decided I had come too far to turn back now --- in everything. I had been married for ten years. My son was five. I'd been on my job for 16 years, with a recent promotion, and had recently celebrated four years as an entrepreneur. All of these aspects of my life weren’t just checklists. They weren’t people or places where I just existed. They were not and are not disposable. These were parts of me that without one, the others would fall out of place in my life. The transformation for me began when I came to the realization that I wasn’t going anywhere … literally. A few late-night talks with my aunt put a quite a few things into perspective for me about my marriage.
I begin to look up different scriptures that related to how I felt and I would send the text to my husband. I would send him links to different articles. We didn’t really talk about the messages but I knew it was received and he knew that I wasn’t giving up on us. And I prayed. Now to be completely honest, sometimes I felt like the more I prayed the worst our situation, became but I knew that the more I prayed the better it would be. THE PROCESS I applied the same thought to my business. I prayed and looked up scriptures that were related to success in business. My passion is in seeing others win and creating brands that can last. Because I also work full-time, I often did not value my work when I presented a proposal to a potential client. I would present a low-price tag and then became frustrated when the client wanted way more than what they were paying for. But I had no one to blame but myself. As business owners, we want nothing more than to be successful in every area of our business. To fail in business is almost like being put under a microscope by the people closest to you – family. As I had been through quite a few downs last year, I recalled a conversation where a family member told me that maybe being a publicist wasn’t meant for me. That hurt my heart because for that moment I felt like my whole family was watching to see if I would be successful. At that moment I knew I couldn’t walk away from my business. As many people that we were just watching me, there were many more people cheering me on. I had become unhappy with my brand because of what I had allowed. I had to separate from clients and projects that were not a representation of the hard work and dedication that I have always committed to. After a few strategy meetings with my mentor, I began what was called my “brandsformation”. My business went through a complete change – name, colors, logo, target audience … EVERYTHING!! Just like I had prayed about my marriage … I prayed about my business. THE WIN Since that time, I have been presented so many different opportunities. My brand visibility has increased and I am making so many more connections. A friend of mine also told me that she could tell just through my social media that my brand was happier. I didn’t realize that even through a post that people could tell that I needed to make a change and I am so happy that I did. As I finish out this year, I look back on where I was and I thank God that I have started to move into where he wants me to be. Not there yet – but God is still working with me. THE LESSON My transformation isn’t over. There is more to be done. As a wife, mother and full-time employee praying to transition to a full-time entrepreneur, I know that what got me through this year of transformation will get me through the next phase. I purpose daily to be a better me. I purpose daily to charge what I am worth and not feel bad about it. I can’t wear heels like I used to, but I am ripping life’s runway purposed and unbothered. Shakeema Bouyer | Mattie Clay Branding & Public Relations | www.mattieclaybpr.com firstname.lastname@example.org | FB, Twitter, IG, SC @mattieclaybpr
"Preserve through the Process" - ANN-MARIE APPIAH
THE START Thank you for applying to Emory University. After completing a careful review of your application and supporting credentials, our Admissions Committee has concluded that we are unable to offer you acceptance to the university. I couldn’t even finish reading the rest of the email. As tears burned my eyes, I put my phone away and continued to move in the line for United States Customs and Border Protection. My siblings and I were returning to Florida from our annual winter holiday vacation in Ghana, West Africa, where we had visited our family for two weeks. My younger brother, A.J., and sister, Amaris, could immediately tell that I was fighting back tears. I told them I had been declined from the seventh and final school I had applied to for a Masters in Business Administration program. How could this have happened? THE DOUBT So now what? It suddenly dawned on me that I never had a plan B. I never even considered that I wouldn’t get accepted anywhere. I had programmed myself to believe that an M.B.A. was what defined success for me. For the first time, there wasn’t any concrete plan for what I was going to do next. I saw myself limping into the new year of 2012 with no more stamina for the race ahead. That evening in the silence of my room, self-doubt, disappointment, and embarrassment clouded my thoughts. “Maybe I’m not good enough…Maybe I’m not cut out for academia." This experience forced me to review the original blueprint of my life and start over again from the last success. Was I truly trusting God to direct my life? Was my life aligned with His plan for me? I knew the answer was no. I took a very transparent look at my day-to-day and I discovered that my current job was rooted in my lack of passion. I was very unfulfilled at my entry-level administrator job and could barely pay my bills. And then the pain in my left breast started its cycle again. At first, there was panic and uncertainty. I did some tests. The biopsy and mammogram showed two lumps in my left breast. Though the diagnosis came back negative for cancer, there was still this undertone of something being wrong with me.
THE PROCESS Rejection from my applications and having to live with my undiagnosed breast pain challenged my sense of pride and self-worth. After lots of prayer, I built up the courage to change the course of my life. I quit my job in Orlando and moved back home with my parents in Tallahassee, Florida. Coming home was symbolic of coming to a place of rest and rebuilding my foundation. My mom was such a guiding light and my biggest support system. She reminded me to not fear my weakness because this was when the power of God could perform more brilliantly. The first choice I made was to become a proponent for my own health and take preventative measures from breast cancer. I got a lumpectomy to remove both lumps. The recovery process took about eight weeks but, ironically, the breast pain didn’t come back after the surgery. During this period, I found out my Auntie Baby, my mom’s youngest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. She became my source of strength and inspiration to inquire more about the link between breast health and women of color. I began to think of the many young women in similar straits who were unsure of the next step. I knew then there was a need for a voice for young women to learn about breast health and I trusted God to use me as that vessel. My mind shifted from a narrow view of life, according to the world’s standards, to something bigger than myself. Over the next two years, I birthed a non-profit organization, Painted Pink Inc. During my exploration of the subject, I noticed a severe lack of resources and outlets available for young adults to advocate for their own health. I realized I never wanted another young woman to feel as alone as I did. I initially began fundraising with the support of just my family and friends by inviting them to charity luncheons that I privately funded. I also partnered with local hospitals and clinics for resources and added financial assistance. The cause grew into its own identity and mission that is dedicated to educating every millennial on breast health. Since its inception, we have raised over $40,000 providing financial assistance to breast cancer warriors in Atlanta. THE LESSON I have internalized so many lessons that have preserved me through this process and brewed my passion for breast health. I know now that everything that has happened to me is a part of God’s plan. Even what may have looked like a giant setback in being rejected from the M.B.A. program, was an opportunity to pause, re-evaluate my life and realize my true direction. This was the space I needed for quiet reflection to be completely honest with myself. This was where my true purpose in life with Painted Pink would be ignited. There was victory in my testimony and there was a gift in my breast pain, but I had to make it to the other side first in order to discover it. God wasn’t breaking me; He was reconstructing me. In order to be transformed, sometimes we have to be inconvenienced. For me, taking my time building Painted Pink is what sustained me through the dry seasons of life. I now know that peace is more than a feeling; it’s also knowing that everything is going to be alright because God is in control. Pushing through life with peace can be uncomfortable because you are relying on faith alone but, if you honor the process, then the harvest will show why it was all worth it. God is already proud of you. He qualified you when He created you. Nothing you truly want begins until you honestly believe that it is going to happen for you. www.PaintedPink.org | Instagram @PaintedPink4BC
“When you can’t change your circumstances, you must change yourself.” - NISHA HOPKINS THE START I’ll be the first to admit, motherhood isn’t easy. When I became a mother, I sacrificed everything for my child including my time. Work was a top priority in my life. I knew I had to do whatever it took to provide for her. That included trading my time for a paycheck. Due to my limited mindset, I missed moments of my daughter’s life that I can never get back. I missed her first steps, I missed her being potty-trained, and even her first day of school. As a mother, I am not proud of this, but the truth is I was loyal to my job. Which only meant I was loyal to being miserable. I disliked my job more than anything. I looked forward to Fridays and I hated Mondays. I forced myself to believe I had to stay, because of my child. THE PROCESS As bad as I wanted to quit, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It wasn’t until I got to work one day and was given a pink slip that I knew things had to change. Although I wasn’t fired, I couldn’t return to work until further notice. I was lost, confused and scared. I didn’t have a plan b and my savings were slim to none. At that moment in time, I had no idea how I was going to make it. The only sense of financial security I had ever had was gone without warning. My greatest fear had always been not being able to provide for my child and that’s exactly what was happening. Everything that I had worked for was gone. I knew I couldn’t sit around and feel sorry for myself so decide it was time for me to take control of my life. I registered for whatever free class I could find and even decided to hire a life coach. I began to reevaluate everything that was taking place in my life. Now that I was home more, I was able to become a present parent in my daughter’s life as well. I started reading more and even took the first steps into starting my own business. I overcame my greatest fear without realizing it. My entire life I led myself to believe financial security came from holding on to a job. When in fact there is no such thing as job security.
If I wanted to take control over my finances I had to create new opportunities for myself. I started applying everything I was learning to my life. One of the most challenging things I had to do was give up my limited belief mindset. I knew if I wanted to change my life I had to be more intentional. I started praying more and really strengthened my relationship with God. The ultimate turning point for me was receiving PayPal notifications in my sleep for my business services. I knew at that moment investing in myself was the best decisions I could have made. I was able to travel to three different countries within a year and finally live my life on my terms all while still attending every ceremony and ballet recital for my daughter. The life that I created for myself and my family is one that most mothers want but fear taking the necessary steps as I did. This is the main reason I created Motherhood: Next LEVEL which is a network and support group for single mothers. We celebrate each other wins and encourage and educate each other throughout our motherhood journey. As a mother, your top priority should always be your child. Being a provider is something you can’t get out of, therefore you must discipline yourself in your relationship with time. If you’re looking to become mompreneur include your children in your business. Show them the work you do on a day to day basis. This will give them a better understand of what you do and give you a chance to bond and connect with your child. If I can leave you with one lesson it would be to always have back up funds. I don’t mean your emergency funds or savings that are being funding by your 9 to 5. I mean create additional income streams for yourself. I understand that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, however, a side hustle should be, especially if it means extra coins for your household. “When you can’t change your circumstances, you must change yourself.” www.prettyinpower.info Instagram: @prettyinpower_ Email: email@example.com
"God is within her, she will not fall” - ERICA BRYANT
THE START I have been ambitious since birth. One of the first memories that my great-grandparents (who raised me) shared with me, is the story of how I learned to walk. A child not too much older than me, came by me and started walking. I then stopped what I was doing, watched him intently for a few minutes, and that was the day I learned to walk. This method stayed with me; I have always “taken the steps” to accomplish my goals and dreams, even when falling down was a possibility. A little over a year ago, I started to feel as though my life was in a rut. Many people refer to it as a “comfort” zone. I was living in Dallas, TX and had a routine. My life was great – I was well degreed, good job, abundant support system, physically fit, and had a church home... so why did I feel so restless? Why was I creating problems, when life was “perfect”? I had become stagnant and had completely stopped taking steps. At this time, I remember constantly seeing a scripture my great-grandparents had written down for me, nearly ten years prior, Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths”. Later that year, I had the opportunity to move hundreds of miles away to have a new start, in Houston, TX, and I struggled with uprooting myself from an effortless lifestyle to one that opened the real possibility of failure. THE DOUBT During this time, I became very vulnerable and reliant on other people and their opinions. I began to have doubts and wondered if I was going to make a mistake that would ruin my life. However, my core group of friends supported me. They reassured me that I was headstrong, determined, resilient and that if things didn’t work out, I could always come back. That thought embarrassed me. What would people say about me if things didn’t work out? I prayed to God and asked Him for direction. I was anxious, but He granted me the peace that always comes to me when I am walking in His will. I knew Houston was where I needed to be, so I made those arrangements.
I couldn’t see the outcome of my move, and just had to rely on faith that something good would come out of me following my intuition. It was at that time I took those tentative first steps and began to open myself up to embracing the idea of failure. THE PROCESS The idea of being a failure is not an easy one, especially to a person who has spent her entire life unwavering on achieving success. Nevertheless, the first month of Houston I felt like a failure. I missed the familiarity of Dallas and didn’t feel as though I was making any friends. Everything seemed so lackluster and questioned my move. I was frustrated. I turned back to that scripture my great-grandparents gave me and asked God to direct my paths and to help me to uplift Him. I prayed that if He would give me the courage and open the doors for me, I would step through them boldly, and do everything with excellence. Psalms 46:5 states, “God is within her, she will not fall”. With that level of assurance, I began to aggressively go for everything I wanted. I started to take the risks, even if the outcome might be a “no”. My motto became, “Why tell yourself no before you give the other person the chance to respond? You may get a ‘yes’, but are ruining the chance before you get it, by not believing”. THE WIN That year, not only did God open the door for me, but he smashed the windows and blew off the roof. Every step I took, God was with me. I decided to become bold and seek experiences I had always wanted to try but did not have the courage to pursue. One such day, I went as moral support to a play audition and while there, decided on a whim to audition as well. I told myself, “What’s the worst thing I can do? Fall? Be told no? Do it anyway!” The result? I was casted in that play. I'd been giving students scholarships for high school, with funds out of my own pocket. I decided to turn that into a non-profit organization, entitled, “It Takes A Village Educational Foundation”. I never saw myself as a pageant queen, but worked hard to learn the craft and went on to win the national pageant title, even when it seemed as though the odds were not in my favor. That year I accomplished even more than I can dream of listing. I garnered awards and accolades. I volunteered constantly. The more I gave back, the more I internally received, and I developed a strong passion. Overall, the quality of my life has been even better, once I took the steps toward living my best life. I have received amply everything I thought I left behind. THE LESSON Sometimes, you have to make moves in silence, and you cannot tell everyone, everything. Know how to discern between people who genuinely want the best for you, and others who want to hold you back because they are too fearful to take risks to accomplish their own dreams. In my journey, I learned to trust in myself and in my Creator, and forget the critics. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” – Martin Luther King, Jr. Follow me on Instagram at: Erica_antoinette8
“With Christ all things are possible to him that believes.” - NICOLE WILSON
THE START Coming up as a broken child from physical and mental abuse caused trust issues. I lost trust in so many people that were connected to me. It isn’t easy to forgive others that betray you; however “With Christ all things are possible to him that believes.” Matt 19:26. I had a relationship with Jesus, he taught me how to forgive those who hurt me. In essence, it was good that I was afflicted. My affliction taught me humility and forgiveness. I began to build my prayer life and start a dialog between God and his covenant. God then began to show me things. I was astounded by the revelation, I received. My God cares for little old me! God desires that we may prosper and be in good health. THE DOUBT Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that the” Lord knows the plans he has for us, which is to give us a hope and a future.” On December 28, 2012, I fell very I’ll. I thought I had some nasty cold. I would normally catch a cold maybe once a year. I noticed my breathing began to get shallow and I began to shake and shiver. I could hardly breathe. I had several layers of clothes and could not get warm. I figured it maybe bronchitis or the cigarettes. I was born with chronic bronchitis, and yes…. If your thinking the enemy tried to take me out early, you’re right! I was placed on oxygen machines and in an incubator when I was born. But, to God be the glory!!! The weapons may form but it will not prosper! The enemy lost!!!I now realize that I have a divine calling and purpose on my life. The molestations, the physical abuse, the verbal and mental abuse, the betrayal and the backstabbing was all apart of me elevating to a purpose in which God has called me too. THE PROCESS So, now here I am. I can hardly breathe, my husband rushed me to the hospital. I was checked in immediately. The doctors began to run a test, take X-Rays and EKGs etc... After frantically waiting about forty-five minutes, the Doctor returned with unexpected news. Mrs. Wilson, you have a very severe case of pneumonia in both lungs. You can’t go home the doctor implied. I said "please sir, write me a prescription for it and send me home so I can be with my family. The new year is approaching."
"Mrs. Wilson you are very sick" he replied. "If you deny treatment you’ll have to sign a waiver and release form. If you go home you may die." I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I began to panic and fear. I was terrified, but then I remembered a scripture. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power love and a sound mind.” 2nd Tim 1:7. Immediately, I felt better. I had hope. I asked my husband to go home and get my Bible while I was being admitted to stay. While being transmitted to ICU, I remember calling on God and ushering in his presence. I knew it was a life or death situation. I chose to live. I had to completely trust God! My faith shifted immediately. My husband returned with my Bible, I opened it after praying for revelation. Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” That’s it, I thought to myself. I’m in Spiritual Warfare. I began to plead the blood of Jesus and pray intensely. I began to bind and cast down every negative word spoken over my life and bind every, witch, warlock and devil in Jesus name! God has given me the same power that raised Jesus from the dead if I believe in him. Ephesians 1:19-20. I stood on the word of God. I was at peace, knowing no weapon formed against me would prosper. The doctor returned to me and informed me that my lungs were filled with fluid and that COPD was the cause. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. I returned that diagnosis back to the pit of hell. I’m healed by his stripes and no sickness and or disease shall come near my dwelling. THE WIN My family and friends came to see me and gathered around my bedside and we declared total healing. I’m amazed when I look back and visualize all the faith-filled beings that were in my room at my bedside. Over the next day or so, my health did a 360-degree turnaround. The doctors and nurses couldn’t believe it. My respiratory therapist said to me, “I’ve been doing this for quite some time and I can see death in a patient's eyes." He said he saw death in mine in the beginning. After spending nine days in ICU I was finally released. Weeks and months later I had taken several Pulmonary function test. I am thankful and grateful to say I don’t have COPD. Glory be to God! It was by God's grace & Mercy and by my faith and family and friends prayers that I was healed. THE LESSON In life, we must learn to forgive. Forgiveness opens up doors to blessings that already belong to you and I. You can block your blessings by harvesting resentment, hate, jealousy, envy, and unforgiveness. Today I am the CEO Woman With Purpose, walking into my destiny and calling! I chose to be the CEO of my life. Forgive, don’t forget. You need no one’s approval but remember....there’s nothing too hard for God. Today, I ask you to examine your heart. Renew your mind and be ye transformed. Don’t be carnal-minded, but kingdom-minded. Let your actions, your deeds, and your response speak for you! God isn’t looking for a perfect one, but a willing one. Are you a willing spirit? In the name of Jesus, I pray that for each one reading this that your faith is increased. May you be filled with the holy spirit. May your cup overflow with God’s goodness, Amen!
"Doubt can stop many things. Just don’t let it stop you!" - ANGELIQUE J. HAMILTON, MBA THE START As a child, I loved coloring books. The bold colors and pages excited me. I would take out my 64 crayons and color in my coloring book; often going outside the lines. I was taught never to color outside of the lines, stick within the margins and do my best to make my page look good. Little did I know that life is like a coloring book. You have a choice of many options. Yet, we often stick to inside the lines. We limit ourselves by not chasing those things that we are passionate about. We operate our lives on autopilot and remain doing things that are considered “safe” or “normal”. We avoid taking risks and extending ourselves outside of established boundaries. We are afraid of seeking what is beyond the line or status quo. There is much the world offers beyond what we can see. The possibilities are limitless. We regress to a connect-the-dot living or live according to someone’s expectations. This is where the greatest roadblock in life enters called “DOUBT”. THE DOUBT Doubt enters our personal realm by having us second guessing what we should do or who we are. You must understand you have to live your life for you. Doubt gets in the way of you achieving your goals. You will encounter individuals whose sole purpose is to destroy your hope and dreams. These individuals are also known as “dream killers”. You may hear statements like, “why are you doing that” and “you are making a mistake”. Isn’t it your life to try something for the first time and learn from your mistakes? We take these judgmental statements as fact and fail to live by our own advice. Have you considered that these “dream killers” are here to derail you and may fear what you are capable of being? Dream killers will manipulate your train of thought to silence you. You don’t need validation from them.
You’ll find yourself leaning on others to help with your decisions. Reliance on another person in that way is counter-intuitive to your personal vision. It is a sure-fire plan of destruction to your plans. As a person of faith, I have relied on God to help me during difficult times. When someone has told me that I couldn’t do something or literally scoffed at my personal goals, I have made it a point to prove to them that I could. I ‘ve taken what was said to me as their version of what should be and not what it is. I surround myself with individuals that have supported me and offered constructive feedback. You need a personal cheering section to be encouraging in those dark times when you feel defeated. When I felt like I couldn’t make it, or my goal just seemed impossible, I’ve sought prayer and guidance from God. He has given me the needed direction and clarity in my decision making. He has directed me according to His purpose and will. I personally have always been good at establishing goals. It’s the second part – the goal attainment that is a different story. I have doubted myself at times and underestimated my potential. I find myself asking questions such as, “am I good enough”, “can I really do that “, and “what if I fail”. These statements have no actionable intent and are “goal bombs”. Goal bombs are statements we drop on the regular and can stop any progress we make. I make it a practice to not drop “goal bombs’. I have halted negative thinking. If a negative thought enters my mind, I’ve learned to re-frame my thinking. Adopting a positive logical approach to accomplishing a goal instead of a doubtful one, helps with training your response. Everything I do is thought of in a future sense that it will happen. I believe that anything is possible. If someone hasn’t done it before; then you become the innovator and do it. Your talents are God’s greatest gifts to you. You are meant to use your talents with purposeful intent and share them. Sometimes, those talents fall into the background if you are in a corporate culture. Working in a corporate environment sometimes can be cantankerous and doubt often resurfaces. It is difficult to balance your personal plans with your company’s plans. You’ll find that the office environment is a battleground of defining who you are and what the company wants you to become. As a person of color and as a woman, I can tell you the struggle is too real at times. THE LESSON You must remain the best version of yourself by not losing your identity. Your leaders including those who manage you; want what’s best for the company. They may even lose sight of what you can do and the talents you possess. Losing who we are, makes our talents invisible and hidden. You know what you want out of life. Demonstrate and put your talents to use. You will be more valuable to yourself and the company when others get to see the real you. Success will come by believing in yourself. You can do anything. Doubt can stop many things. Just don’t let it stop you! Being you and living a life that you are content with is what is most important. Angelique J. Hamilton, MBA | Chief Life Evangelist and People Culturalist, HR Chique Consultancy Group | Instagram:TheCultureChicCEO | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram: @theculturechicceo
AFFIRMATION “I am a Magnet for Peace, Prosperity, and Abundance, in all areas of my life." - DAPHNE "BUTTERFLY" HUNTLEY
THE START I was well positioned going into 2017. At the end of each year, I challenge myself by making a series of “Power Moves” aimed at getting a head start to the New Year. My theme for 2017 was “Get Shit Done 2.0”. I have always been strong and confident because I can admit who I am, what I have done and love myself for who I have become. As a down-home country girl born to teenage parents, my grandma use to say people from small towns are known to do big things. She called me her “bright” granddaughter and it took me until I was in my 20’s to realize why she gave me that name. Success was expected in my family and it was stressed to me that I was to remain humble and treat everyone the same. That principle shapes the core of who I am today. After graduating from college, I took the corporate world by storm setting my intentions on getting that big job. With hard work, sacrifices, and disappointments, I received the desires of my heart. THE DOUBT During the latter part of 2016, I had come to the fork in the road with my career. Miserable does not even begin to describe how I felt going to work every day. I had officially entered the backside of my career. For months, I thought about my next move and entrepreneurship was something that I had always desired. I had visions of leaving the corporate world and starting my own business. During thoughts of doubt and fear, I asked myself the question: could I really step out on faith and do this? I was scared to death just thinking about it- and fear is not something that I practice. In order to live the life that I wanted, it was time to get Strategically Uncomfortable. THE PROCESS I set the date of my jump for June 19th – 8 months of plotting and analyzing was long enough. I knew that I was worth the gamble and gave myself 6 months to get it done. Being Strategically Uncomfortable is designed to make you move outside of your comfort zone and stretch yourself in ways that can't be described. To get to a new level, one must be strategic and the uncomfortableness is an indicator that you are on the right track.
Most importantly, being Strategically Uncomfortable forces you build your faith. I was fearless however something pulled me back and my jump date was moved to year-end. On June 19th, I showed up at work feeling some kind of way....Shortly after settling in, I was called into a meeting and informed that I was being let go due to budget cuts. I felt relieved and after gathering my things, walked out a free woman. The next day, I hired myself and started to activate my plan of working my ass off for the next 6 months. Life is about timing and the stars were perfectly aligned. It’s amazing how everything fell into place which was confirmation. Our dreams are nothing more than a sneak preview of what is to come. A week after my job ended, I was on a plane to Dallas TX for one of the largest spiritual events in the world serving in a much larger and visible role than I anticipated. After that trip, I hit the ground running taking classes, relationship building, and showing up to see what would happen. My pitches were not all perfect but my determination and hunger were so strong and spoke for me. Things were looking up, but somewhere along the way fear and doubt set in again. During the one and only time that I got scared, it dawned on me that I was out here doing this all on my own. "Girl, what in the hell have you done"- I said to myself. I was officially uncomfortable- and it did not feel good at all. What if I use up all of my emergency savings-yes you need one- I thought to myself. All sorts of things went through my mind. One day while meditating in the park, it came to me that this is what I wanted; I just needed to trust the process. Not knowing what is around the corner is a scary place to be- after all I am human. While focusing on the big picture, dots were connecting, and divine opportunities were aligned. Suddenly my deepest fears vanished. That day, I came up with a new affirmation: “I am a Magnet for Peace, Prosperity, and Abundance, in all areas of my life." Still repeating it daily... THE WIN September was the month of refocusing. I had a few things coming up- a beach trip, spiritual retreat, and deadline for making a life decision- to move or stay put for now. Then three days before the end of September, I received the offer that I had been waiting for. As I relished in my victory, I thought about the past few months and how my thoughts created the other side. I really had stepped out on faith, got uncomfortable and things turned out as expected. To my surprise, two days after the spiritual retreat, I received a bigger offer. In just over 3 months, my annual salary doubled. Faith, hard work, and belief in myself paid off. I gave myself 6 months and saw it happen in 3 months- Get it girl! THE LESSON To think, all of this began with a thought. Getting strategically uncomfortable has given me a new life- one that I was not even looking for. Remember “YOUR biggest wins in life come when YOU create strategically uncomfortable situations for YOURSELF”. Get it Girl! Daphne “Butterfly” Huntley, MBA, PMP, CSSGB Principal Consultant & Business Strategist | The Daphne Huntley Agency, LLC Email: email@example.com | Instagram/Twitter: @daphnehuntley
"Every Season is Your Season." - MELISSA D. WHITE
THE START (Awareness) “Welcome to Your New Life!” These were the words that crossed my mind the morning I woke up to my current Season of Surrender (Keep reading. I’ll explain in a moment). I must start at the point when I became aware that I was off balance and caught up in doubt and disappointment. It was when I was at the apex of my professional career and at the valley of my personal life. Saying, “it’s your season” is synonymous with saying that it is your time to win and manifest all that you have worked for. What should have been “my season” according to the standards of others was the place where I was in the most pain. I became aware of what felt like personal failure amid my corporate success, and I could not live that way. Seasons when it appears we are not winning, slaying, conquering and mastering it all, is a true moment of awareness. In Awareness, be clear about what you do not want while focusing on what you do want. In discovering what I do not want, I learned to pay attention when others made their declarations of “do not wants.” This was the beginning of learning the cycles of my life and understanding others. I paid attention to the cycles of the things I do not want, and if I was making decisions to cause it, so that I could adjust my choices. Identifying what you do want and how-to achieve it… well that leads us to The Season of Discovery. THE DOUBT (Discovery) My 20s were all about doubt and discovery. I was confident in the things I excelled at, and I often volunteered for new challenges. I was oblivious to the seasons and cycles of my life until I noticed that every job and promotion I received were not preexisting positions and roles were uniquely created based on my individual skills. I started to see that every job I ever had was divinely strategic in bringing me to my purpose. Unbeknownst to me, a pattern was forming in my life all along. Stop to observe the patterns in your seasons. Opportunities appeared at the place my talents and abilities met the needs of others. In Discovery, evaluate what questions people ask you the most, and what area do people most engage with you. Begin to track all the areas where you impact change. Start journaling in the Season of Discovery.
I looked for parallels and patterns in every area of my life, and I documented them.It was the awakening that to excel, I needed a scalable process to implement change. I needed to be prepared. THE PROCESS: (Preparation) The world is a noisy place, and the biggest challenge is finding and hearing your own voice in it. I allowed others to define what my voice sounded like according to where they felt I was most needed, particularly in my career and personal relationships. I possessed a special set of skills in sales and marketing, and this allowed for great opportunities to be a trainer and troubleshooter. After experiencing great professional success, I begin to document the process I used to troubleshoot problems and help others get out of their own way to succeed. Remember what I said about knowing what I do not want and understanding that in others? That was the core of preparing the process. The irony is that the more professionally successful I was, the more I struggled personally. I loved my career, but I longed for creativity and struggled in the balance between my profession and purpose. It became clear once I saw the parallels in the training and development and how it impacted how I operated in my purpose. I hit a place when the processes were set and there was nothing else I could do to open the doors I desired. At the place of getting back up from being knocked down by no’s. I finally reconciled that my life was changing whether I was ready or not, and I yielded in full surrender. THE WIN AND THE LESSON: (Surrender) Your new life is the Season of Surrender. It is the season that our desires change and align with God. In Awareness, I was fatigued from the disappointment of trying to figure it all out and be good at everything, and I threw up my hands in surrender. I came to a place where I dropped to my knees and cried out to God, “I’m tired! I surrender!” My businesses and my blessings manifested while in surrender. Discovery and preparation will deplete you if you are pouring into things not connected to your God-given purpose. Things we pick up and run on our own will cause us to function only in part of our gifting and drain us. You have hit your stride of surrender and purpose when you are operating in the fullness of your gifts and being replenished. You are someone’s solution. You are an answer in the earth. You are the originator of a process divinely given to you from your unique experiences. The more clear you become in this season of your life about who God says you are and how it is connected to purpose, the more you will be grounded through the seasons changing. It gives you roots and establishes your laurels as people revolve through your life. They will move; you will stay planted in purpose. Surrender is your anchor. It’s an act of obedience that opens doors. Surrender aligns all seasons and make every season your season. Surrender equals obedience, and obedience fuels you to do what you are called to do. It is the propellant that launches you into your new life. Every season is your season because they work in concert to get you here. So, congratulations on all of your seasons, and Welcome to Your New Life! Melissa D. White | www.melissadwhite.info | IG: @melissadwhite
"Trust the process and allow God to see you through" - RACHEL NOBLE
THE START I remember back when I first became an entrepreneur!! I was 27yrs old. My husband had already started the business 6 years prior and I continued to build my career in Corporate America. I thought that becoming an owner of my own business would be an easy process. There would be zero issues, everyone would understand what I expected from them and I would have the liberty of selecting my own hours. Oh goodness!! I was so very wrong!! I went in “head first,” only thinking about what the potential outcome would be and never reflected on any “what if’s”. My background was groomed from Corporate America and with my husband already beginning the business, my plan was to just come and add more “Sparkle” to the brand. I did not think about the private pay health insurance, business taxes, personal taxes, immediate breakdowns/ repairs that couldn’t wait, the high turnover of employees, complaints from customers or the frustrations it took to gain clients! I believed because I was successful in my life and career so far….I would have no problem continuing the dream of slaying my goals. It was not until I received a visit from a Licenser (example, a Business Inspector) that my overall thinking changed forever! It was not that the Licenser wanted me to fail, but rather give light to what I needed to do in order to be successful in this particular industry. You see, there was never anyone who had the educational means to inform or coach me on what to do. I went in blind, thinking I knew what was best. I went in thinking I could not fail. I went in trusting God; however, not seeking what He was telling me. THE DOUBT After the Licenser left with a laundry list of “Non-Compliances,” I felt completely defeated. I walked dreadfully to my office with a brave face, closed the door and began to cry. I cried because this was the 1st time I felt I did not perform. I did not shine. I did not know my worth. As a result, I slipped into a mode of self-doubt and pity. I began to tell myself that my business would not grow and that the next visit will result with my Business in shambles. When beginning or growing a Business, you may find yourself in a doubt, a lot.
You may not comprehend exactly what to do 1st, 2nd or 3rd. You are not given a handbook on “How to Be Success”- for REAL. You surely are not beginning with $1Million budget to help offset your start-up fees (at least, I wasn’t). I doubted the fact that my business would grow and I believed that NO ONE would be there for me and help me with this business venture I WANTED for my family. It seemed I was not making the money I wanted, I was stuck and I corrupted my inner psyche to believe that this venture just wasn’t for me. After reading a scripture in the Bible that read: “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:6-9 NIV. I immediately prayed and realized that this was all I needed to hear! THE PROCESS As time went on, I began to put my pride aside and stopped believing that I knew everything there was to know about Business. Simply because you hold a Master’s degree in Business does NOT mean, you are knowledgeable in all there is before you; however, it will help you into understand and communicate effectively. I learned that I needed to educate myself more about what was expected of me, in order for my brand to succeed. What did that consist of? Training Sessions - Conferences - Reading Material - Personal Development Courses for myself and staff members - Advertising & Marketing Development And so much more! You see, it took for me to humble myself within the situation and learn what was expected of me. I was no longer an employee of a Multi-Billion Dollar company, I was a Boss of my own domain. THE WIN As months turned into 14 years later, I now run my own company. I have over 30 Staff Members who report to me and I have Assistants to help me keep myself sane! My business has developed a growth spurt over the past few years and is consistently growing. I am convinced; however, that this is not the only Win for me. I have bloomed into an awesome Business Owner with my own rules set before me. I no longer allow a “bad day” to ruin all that I have worked for and I certainly am proud that I know what it takes to get exactly what I want. THE LESSON As I continued to grow and develop my business I am willing to help others do the same. The lesson that I learned is to trust the process and allow God to see me through. I have now taken the wisdom I have developed over the years to build a Coaching Brand and currently helping strong women to do the same! Mrs. Rachel Noble, MSM | Business & Branding Coach | She's Ready Inc.™ For Business www.shesreadyinc.co | Rachel@ShesReadyInc.co | Social Media: @shesready.forbusiness
"Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint." - JAMEELAH ANDERSON
THE START I started my first business at 25 after praying to get fired from my job. As a matter of fact, I truly loved my work. I was born to teach, educate, empower and speak to audiences. However, that workplace environment was horrible. After being fired, I rolled up my sleeves to dive into the world of entrepreneurship. Because of the impact I’ve had with motivation and self-esteem, I knew I wanted an all-girls program. I am a certified life coach and I'm a beast at helping people recognize and achieve their highest potential, so the thought of bringing that to young girls pumped life into my mission. However, as word began to spread, everyone turned into a business advisor. People were telling me to call the girls scouts, to create a program with the state, not to bother starting a program because folks don't have money to pay for it, etc. THE DOUBT The recurring advice I received was to find a grant. When I inquired for sources and probed for more, no one ever had deets on the benefactors of said grants. Now I know better: if they were giving out grants like free bread, wouldn't everyone have one? Why create a business to wait on someone else to give you money to fund your dream? THE PROCESS Without hesitation, I got started! I created my website, printed business cards, and started passing out flyers. My husband and my children would go to fairs, festivals, game nights, open houses, anywhere were families were present and pass out hella promotional items. We promoted so hard, we got kicked off of church grounds for putting flyers on cars. Don't judge us! What's crazy is that the whole time I was promoting my program, I didn’t even have a building or an actual 'business'. All services, processes, lessons, curriculum, outlines were in my head. Yet I was on a mission, fully armed with the sugar and spice potion! A week before my open house, we leased a space and opened.
That girls program, Project Bella was the love of my life. That first summer over 100 girls enrolled. But every week it became harder and harder to walk through the doors. Why? All of my energy was draining right on out of my body. The workload associated with running a business was unbelievable. As the sole founder and operator, I had to do EVERYTHING. Truth be told, I'd never worked that hard before in my life. I’d literally went from 0 to 100, from responsible for just myself, to now being responsible for over 100 girls and a full staff..... by myself. Phew! The last week of camp knocked the last bit of energy right out of me. Working early one morning and checking girls in, I was attacked by the cleaning lady. She drug me to the back of the building where there was a two-story banister and threatened to throw me off. One of the tenants heard me, immediately came to my rescue and called the police. That experience sent me into a deep depression. I wondered if this was God saying that I wasn’t supposed to be doing this work. I started questioning my life's purpose and talked to my husband about going to school to become a paralegal. After going in for therapy, my therapist diagnosed me with PTSD. It took me a full two years to release those emotions and get back on my feet. But it gave me a real life behind the scenes understanding of the entrepreneurship marathon.The biggest lesson I've learned is in business: YOU NEED SUPPORT. We're a new millennium of go-getters, doers, movers and shakers. The concept of doing it yourself makes absolute sense to us. We've been taught that there's some nobility and/or honor in 'the struggle'. But why? Why work yourself to death trying to build a plane to travel to New York when airline companies exist? Why take the longer, harder road when there is a smoother road directly next to it? Be willing to INVEST in knowledge. The do-it-yourself mantra costs us a lot of time and burns even more energy. Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. Using all your energy watts early on will leave you burned out and depleted. THE WIN When I healed my mind, my body and soul , I made a pledge. I decided to offer support for women entrepreneurs. I upgraded my mission to include girls and women. I am now a life coach for lady leaders. I entered the field of coaching entrepreneurs in 2015 and have been teaching my clients how to win the entrepreneurial marathon ever since. My clients have transformed their lives through Tighten Up, a 8-week life coaching course designed to show you how to accomplish your goals and become the person you were created to be. (Details are available at jameelahanderson.com) THE LESSON Caesar didn't build the Roman Empire by himself. If there was only one lesson you could change the game with as an entrepreneur, the lesson is clear: get support, get help, get guidance, get GOING. "Don't let a whale teach you how to fish". If you want to fish, learn from a fisherman! My mission in life is to show women how to overcome any and every obstacle that may arise on the adventure to fulfilling their potential. For tips on improving your life and growing your business, check out my blog jameelahanderson.com.I'd love to talk to you! Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Remember you are a woman of strength and honor. Don’t you ever forget it." - CHARNELLE CHARLESTIN THE START “No matter what you are going through, you will survive”. I always felt like people looked at me or viewed me as the girl or woman that had no problems, no worries, no pains, no anguish. I use to ask myself why are my problems and or burdens any less than yours? Is it because I don’t boast or make a public display of myself? Or is it because, through it all, I am able to hold it together? I prayed for strength and mercy behind closed doors and in front of it all; I smiled in faith that God hears and answers my prayers. Was I always this way? No! There was a time I thought I was worthless, ugly and undeserving. I thought that no man would ever want me. I felt like an outcast among my own family. THE DOUBT I was mocked about how I talked, dressed, looked and how I even carried myself. I often wondered why God? Why do they judge me and not themselves? Why was I accepted and not judge by the ones I expected and judge by my least expected? Why Father? I didn’t hear a response right away, not until I surrendered full heartedly. Not until then, is when I heard from God. THE PROCESS He answered, continue your path that I have set you on Charnelle, do not let those that are not there to help you distract or hinder your progress. Yet, surrender your heart to me and I will take care of the rest. From that point on, I stopped trying to make a point to defend misconceptions about me. Instead, I focused on becoming a better me. I turned my pain into freedom by forgiving those that ever misunderstood, violated, lied, cheated, stole, hurt, abused, and/or manipulated me. THE WIN I used that pain and I released it. Turn your pain, into freedom NOW! Forgive that friend for not returning your call, that family member for violating you, that former significant other for betraying you.
It will take time, progress, determination, and most of all desire. You have to want this change, you have to want the progress, you have to want to be free of the hurt, the pain and the victimization. Forgive them, Forgive them all, and move on. Turn your pain into freedom by releasing yourself from the cage you have set yourself in. Forgive and Let it Go. Oh, yes, you are thinking, easier said than done. You are absolutely Right! It is! THE LESSON I’m a living testimony, that through faith all things are possible. I have survived being molested as a child, domestic violence, being ridiculed by loved ones, mocked for the way I talk and look. I learned that I have the power to control my life and today I empower you to control yours. It all starts with the Lord, who is already within you and a few habitual steps below. 10 ways to Freedom and building a new life for Yourself in 2018. 1.It starts with the Lord. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 2. Love yourself. No one on this earth can love you better than you can love yourself. In order to love yourself, you must know who you are. What are your likes and dislikes? What makes you happy? 3. Daily Positive Motivation. Each day you must spend at least 20 minutes on listening to or reading something positive. I admire speakers such as Allen B. Jackson, Devon Franklin, Heather Lindsey, T.D Jakes & Joyce Meyer’s to name a few. 4. Sustain A Healthy Life Style: Eat & Drink To Promote Healthy Living! No, it doesn’t mean a diet, it means eating for longevity. 5.Being Thankful. For ALL that you have, by speaking through your prayers, as you are waking up, while you are driving, etc. Praise him, Praise him, Praise Him! 6.Create A Vision. What motivates you? What is your passion? Allow me to help bring that out in 2018. 7.Giving Back. Join a local charity, volunteer at your local church, library or summer camp. 8. Realize your success is already within you. You don’t have to go searching for validation, a degree, a stamp of approval, an audience. You are more than enough. If God instilled it within you, reach for it with faith. He brought you this far, he will bring you through it. 9. Accept Change. Change is necessary for progress, embrace it. 10. Help someone along your path. Give a helping hand to those in need. My motto: “Do what you can, when you can”. As an author, coach, speaker, mother, wife and survivor, I am here to share my story and inspire you to continue yours. For bookings and inspiration, you can email me at email@example.com or visit https://charnellecharlestin.blogspot.com
"Winning in personal growth as an Entrepreneur, is in graduating to a business owner." - ANDREA LYNN THE START I’ve always known two things: I wanted to go into Education, and I wanted multiple streams of income. Education isn’t the field that you choose if you want to make a lot of money. It is a choice that you make because of a calling. My entrepreneurship roots and calling for Education came naturally. My great-grandfather founded and taught at the School of the historic Panama Canal for children of the West Indian people who were building the canal. My second goal of multiple streams of income came from knowing that my calling of teaching wouldn’t provide much in terms of income. My start came when I took a leap of faith and opened a large student membership center for tutoring. I wanted a center that could be a one-stop shop for all college prep needs. I thought the learning process ended when I opened my doors in 2007, but it had just begun. THE DOUBT When the excitement passed, the glamorous Grand Opening wore off, the doubt began to set in. The center was huge. Perhaps too big. With two levels and 10k+ square feet, it could have easily been utilized as a small school. I began to doubt that I could ever get enough students to fill the center and began to think of other multi-stream options to stay afloat while I built a client base. I struggled through tough periods before I began to rent the upstairs to other businesses, which later led to a second business resource center that I created as an additional stream of income. Without realizing it, I was starting to slowly go into the balance that I wanted of having an Educational Business (base of income) with other multiple streams of income. The take away from this phase is, to understand that it is as natural as the mistakes you’ll make in the process of perfecting your business model. Expect it, and don’t get discouraged by it. It is after the honeymoon excitement phase of starting a business and you will learn how to tweak your business for greatness. If you’re too top heavy, you can’t grow quickly. See what you can take away from your expenses and still meet your goals without watering down the quality of what you offer. Adjust your business model as needed.
Finally, don’t be afraid to diversify while you’re going after your primary business goal, as long as it doesn’t take up too much of the most valuable thing you have..... your time. THE PROCESS After my doubt phase, I identified how I could quickly grow without a large overhead. A school that was pleased with our center’s tutoring, offered for us to teach a test prep class at their school. We did so successfully and began to reach out to other schools to place our program. Next, I seized an opportunity to place my program on the district level out of state and our expansion started from there. The process continued by expanding through grants for private tutoring, which raised our income level by 200%. With this business model, we very quickly spread to working with schools in multiple states. I was able to put the tough, unstable times during my top-heavy period behind me. I never forgot the early hard-learned lesson of diversifying for stability through multiple streams of income, to be able to handle any mistakes along the way. I decided to use how well I was doing in my primary business, to invest in other projects which including purchasing a coffee mart/store in a shopping mall, and investing in large-scale events and real estate projects. While I was adjusting my primary business model for growth, I was also building and automating residual income. Both endeavors led back to the mutual goal of most Entrepreneurs..... freedom. THE WIN The win came in the form of balance. Nine years later, my primary tutoring business is expanding nationwide and we have worked with over 200 schools through both statewide grants and private contracts. We’ve expanded to have three educational brands in the tutoring family, without heavy overhead during expansion. Our real success is in having a successful track record in being a true assistance to students, which is always the biggest win for me! Winning in personal growth as an Entrepreneur, is in graduating to a business owner. As a business owner, your business should make money for you - with or without you. My win in each day is in running a successful, nationwide business and still having the time and financial freedom for the real things that matter. This is why I teach how to automate business growth and create diversified passive income. This combination will make it hard for you to ever lose! As an Investor, my residual income portfolio has grown to include multiple strong streams to provide security from the unknown pitfalls in running a growing business. Most entrepreneurs have weathered the storm of borrowing and know how rough it can be to pay back while trying to stay afloat or grow. With residual diversification, you can float and invest in yourself. I create customized passive income models using formulas and tools that I break down and teach to others at www.buildandautomate.com. If you can create your own business and passive income models- you’ll never fail because no one can take the know-how away from you. I’ve learned that freedom of time and finances is the real win. If you have both, you’ll stay winning!
"Do not despise small beginnings." - TERA CARISSA
THE START Though I knew I was called into the ministry and empowerment arena at the age of 16 while growing up back home in Mississippi, things really took off for me in 2009, post-college graduation while living in my current hometown, Atlanta. By this time, my faith-based blog had attracted massive attention on Myspace and my Twitter account was growing exponentially, alongside my Facebook page. Conference and seminar invites were beginning to pour in, along with radio and television opportunities. I credit 80% of my speaking engagements in 2012 to Twitter alone. Literally, just about every invitation that came in, came in based on someone saying, "I read a tweet from you that changed my life". At first, I was taken aback. But, upon reflecting, I've been writing since I was a little girl, with my first published article making the front page of my hometown newspaper at age 16. Being able to inform, impact, inspire, and empower others through words, is God's gift to me. However, as my faith teaches me, to whom much is given, much is required. In a nutshell, every gift comes with a responsibility. Sometimes, that responsibility is learning how to manage how you respond to people's reaction to the favor bestowed upon your gift and the doors that are opened to you because of it. THE DOUBT I have never doubted myself or my life's purpose when it comes to ministry or empowerment. However, jealousy and competition from others can make you doubt the sincerity of your colleagues in ministry and how you relate to them rather quickly. Who knew ministry was really industry? Who knew people try to get ahead by competing, comparing, copying, and attempting to tear you down? Welcome to the industry of ministry! It's the place where everyone wants God's favor. However, if people feel you're "too favored," their thought process is that your favor can't be coming from God. It must be due to something you're doing wrong or a compromise in your integrity. Jealous people have to believe the worst about you to feel better about themselves. The exposure of just how rampant jealousy is in the ministry and empowerment arena, birthed my first e-book, UnApologetically Anointed. In it, I parallel the Bible character, David and his trials and tribulations due to King Saul's jealousy of him, to our everyday life.
THE PROCESS The process of navigating jealousy in ministry has been a journey for me. One of the greatest lessons I have learned and taught on this journey is everyone is not for you. Titles, talents, age, and capabilities mean nothing. There are people who will come alongside you to befriend you or study you for the sole purpose of tripping you up due to jealousy. This is why Jesus said, you will know them by their fruit; how they treat other people. The old saying is true, misery loves company. We've all had ups and downs that could cause us to become jealous of others, but people who are healed don't mind seeing someone else win. In the Bible story found in the Book of Ruth, Naomi has lost everything. Yet, in her nothingness, she encourages Ruth to look her best, be her best, and go get her best. Naomi is a prime example of someone who could have been jealous, and given bad advice to Ruth to trip her up, but was healed enough not to. A life tip I share with people I coach is to ask your mentor, can you stand to see me do better than you? If they can't, they are not your mentor. Something is wrong if your mentor wants you to have the same bumps and bruises as them. Jesus told His disciples, greater works than me shall you do. If Jesus didn't mind his disciples doing greater works than him, your mentor should not be bothered by you doing greater works than them, despite what their journey has been. THE LESSON The key to overcoming jealousy and competition from others, is to stay focused and to keep it moving, no matter what. Observe your life's journey, ask questions of yourself, take notes, and learn from every experience. Ask: What did this come to teach me? When you do this, every day is a win because you're learning, growing, and evolving. Bottom line, lessons are sent to help us not hinder us. THE WIN As I reflect on my life thus far, I can't think of one winning moment I am most proud of besides any moment that reflects when the odds were stacked against me, and like a flower blooming in the middle of concrete, I grew through it. Faith in God, myself, my purpose, and the power of redemption--knowing you can come back from anything, provided you learn from it, can be credited with that. Keeping in mind that your future is greater than your past, and knowing it's never what you've been through that defines you, but who you choose to become, are key. No matter the pain, the loss, the jealousy, or any negative experience, there's just one letter difference in the words bitter and better; that letter is "i". That means, you decide if you become bitter or better. Never forget that. The power of choice is your superpower. Connect with me via www.teracarissa.com www.twitter.com/teracarissa | www.facebook.com/speakteracarissa www.instagram.com/teracarissahodges
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30 Powerhouse womenpreneurs share stories of triumph in their personal and professional lives! Visit GlamBoss.org for more inspiring reads!
Published on Feb 9, 2018
30 Powerhouse womenpreneurs share stories of triumph in their personal and professional lives! Visit GlamBoss.org for more inspiring reads!