Category Archives: Work place

SPEAK UP MUCH?

I have a mentee that will periodically text me about a subject matter she wants to see addressed and the second I saw her note this morning, I knew I would be right here writing about it..

Buckle up and hold on..

In recent weeks, I found myself traveling and commiserating with folks from around the country and in usual form, I am open, kind and share my thoughts as needed. Well the one evening, we had to all get in formal wear  for an event and the minute I strolled through the door, my friend saw one of the attendees throwing all kinds of “shade”  my way by rolling her eyes and whispering something to the person next to her.  I didn’t see her because I have learned how to block that kind of negativity from my line of vision.

I knew what her issue was  though.

Name Every -ism women face, and she had me pegged for it. My boldness and bravery made her feel inadequate and she then tried to transfer that feeling to ripping me to shreds with condescension. She didn’t realize that though. She thought she was within her rights to be jusgemental.

How do I know this? It is what I am told by women all the time who often try to coach it around offering “advice.” 
Aside from this being a total waste of energy and space, it is counterproductive to fall in line with them so they can feel better about themselves.

My response? Maybe if we were not so conditioned as women to “know our places,” not be “overly confident” for fear of being seen as bragging, or being labeled as “bitchy” when we dare to speak up for ourselves, we would see the benefits in speaking up and out.

As a direct result, women often lose sleep about demanding a position they are clearly over qualified for,suffer heartburn at the thought of requesting compensation that befits their value, minimizing the ones who step out on the ledge in an effort to find financial freedom and seeking to destroy the few who dare to do what they won’t.

I can’t even begin to discuss how it messes with personal relationships across the board. We hold on and fester about things we can and should discuss, until it becomes toxic and explodes the wrong way from us.

What do you have to lose but your sanity in trying to fit in to what society deems we should or shouldn’t be? Here are a few things that worked for me in removing the “do as I told ” models from my head-

  1. Speak your truth kindly but firmly and do not waver with eye contact. Prep yourself with calming deep breaths.
  2. Trust yourself. No one will trust you more than you. Your gut instincts are there for a reason.
  3. Be okay with not having a ton of fearless people with you as this is often a singular journey of faith.
  4. Celebrate the wins and extract the lessons from the losses.
  5. Keep the naysayers out of your ears. Lord knows they will try too. People who worry about all that could go wrong, never see what could indeed go right.
  6. Find mentors who have already walked the path you are on and heed the advice that feels right to you.
  7. Authenticity is worth more than silver and gold. You may not be appreciated on the moment, but you will be respected long term.
  8. Know when to step up and pull back. Everything doesn’t always have to be a battle.
  9. Collaboration works wonders. No one is an island. Learn to be okay with saying “I was wrong.” Pride goeth before….

All of that and a few more will give you the freedoms and joy to simply BE..
Dueces and mad love.

DivA

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And we STILL don’t do this enough.. to our own detriment..

On the advice of my wayward friends, I decided to skip “adulting” today after what was a long and stressful week and not being able to detach myself from the bed no matter how hard I tried this morning.

That is a sign from my body that I am overdue. So I made a few calls, plotted out the adult feee day and off I went to run the first errand.

As I walked to the cash register to pay for my items, I noticed the cayutest  wine rack on sale that I could use to store the bottles I have at home and got excited until I noticed the thing needed some assembly. 

Sitting beside the boxes however was an already assembled one so I turned on my biggest smile, flipped around , set my sights on a sales associate, and sweetly beckoned her nigh my dwelling.

Me: morning lady. Do you think I could buy the already assembled rack pretty please? I don’t have time to assemble anything before the holidays and I need this badly.

Her: morning sis. Hold on and let me ask for you. 
She ambles over to the boss, asked, he looked at me grinning with puppy eyes and said yes!! Praise Gawd!!

The lady came back and helped me put it in a cart and I couldn’t thank her enough!

Me: you rock! I so appreciate your helping me to get this!

Her: real talk lady? It was YOUR kindness that made me go the extra mile  for you. We never give away our displays unless it’s the last one and so many customers have such entitlements when they ask for something, I shrug my shoulders and wish them good luck in getting it with their nasty attitudes.
And just like that, she affirmed the lesson my mother taught me as a child- kindness will open doors all the money in the world won’t with a nasty attitude.
I took my purchases and skipped out the door!! 

Now, should I make my husband believe I worked hard and  put it together or tell him the truth?ūüėāūüėāūüėā

I may have to mull on that one.. ha!!
Dueces and mad love,

DivA.

Delayed is not denied….

When I think of how much my life has changed in the last 20 years, I can safely say I’m beginning to grasp the concept that delayed doesn’t mean denied and if we trust the process we are in, we will see it was all for our good long term.
That job you thought you had to keep because it pays your bills but you got laid off and was surprised to see it was designed to happen just that way because you wouldn’t have otherwise stepped out on faith and become even more successful?
Delayed is not denied
That man you just KNEW God sent for you and you scratched and clawed to keep him even as his actions said otherwise. It finally ends and you mourn him thinking there isn’t another soul worth having only to meet someone who made this Other person seem like a joke?
Delayed is not denied
Those days when you could barely scrape the rent money together, you had no car to drive and small children to take care of in the middle of an awful Divorce only to look up years later and life is good?
Delayed is not denied.

In order to turn the corner from life’s tragedies, you must first be willing to do your own work to healing and that may mean forgiving the people who hurt you, learn from the mistakes, choose wisely, be open to taking risks and have faith.
The alternative is staying mired in the hurt and disappointments only to look up and realize your delay did indeed become your denial because in the end you can’t change anyone but you and nothing grows in a stagnant state.

Ya dig?

Dueces and mad love,

Diva

Purpose in a sea of discomfort 

The annual Pennsylvania women’s convention  was held recently in Philadelphia and 9 thousand women from all walks of life converged on the PA Convention center like hungry butterflies seeking connections, validation, love and confirmation among other things.

This is my  5th year attending and aside from the awesome keynotes which are always huge draws for the attendees, I was on a personal mission of my own as I was standing on a precipice of achievement, getting ready to leap and sought confirmation in either word or deed that I wasn’t crazy.

And I got it in spades.

After making my way through the throngs of women in search of my DISter friends (a group of ladies I will write about very soon,)  I found the first workshop on “Personal Branding” that had none other than Luvvie Ajaay as one of four panelists. If you don’t know awesomely Luvvie, I need you to get your life and google her because it’s worth the cackles for your entire soul.

As I listened to these women discuss how they took their fears in hand and followed their dreams to fruition,  I felt my soul lift and my body tingled  at the possibilities! I have long said to people that being your authentic self, is way more rewarding than a facade no one can identify with. The nuggets that came from That workshop ranged from using your social media spaces properly, finding your niche that others identify with and not allowing the imposter of self doubt to keep you from moving towards your goals.

I was front and center in the room and was able to get the first selfie with Luvvie before the sisters converged on her and that book of hers sold out!


I left that session feeling pumped and hauled my assets across the convention center to find the next one which featured motivational speaker and author, Lisa Nichols. If you don’t know WHO she is, I again suggest you google her then beg for forgiveness from the ancestors for such egregiousness that would allow the folly in you for missing out on this phenom!

She stepped in the stage, opened her mouth and I was immediately transported to the possibilities in front of me. Her speech? She was there to DISRUPT to norm in our lives, push us off the ledge of comfort so we can be uncomfortable in the challenges that would elevate us to our true paths in life.

Yes YES!!! I vacillated between being on the edge of my seat and taking copious notes that confirmed Much of what I had been hearing in recent days.. seated with me in this session, were 3 women who turned to me and said ” you better be ready because we are taking over your life and this is how we are going to help you get where we see you going.”

We left that session a few minutes early to get in line and meet these two women who would sign our books. As I stood there playing around with a few things, I bought new domain names online and just as I pressed “purchased” Lisa Nichols stretched out her hands to sign my book. I told her what I just did and she grabbed my hands in glee and screeched!! This is her below on stage and after signing my book.

I was so pumped after all of that, I barely touched my lunch or spent the usual time with my friends because I was on a mission. I went back to the exhibit hall, found a space to sit and began investing in myself  after learning about some tools I would need.

Amazon became my friend because I searched and bought as I was instructed to.  Talk about psyched!!

My last stop in the convention? Walking around to meet a few of the vendors as supporting women means the world to me. I floated until I saw something that grabbed my attention- a young mom who was so concerned about new mommys losing their identity after childbirth, she created a line of inspirational and hot looking Tshirts that would boost their spirits. I was so intrigued, I bought 4 and as I was signing for my purchases, I noticed she had years in her eyes as she thanked me. When she disclosed this was her LAUNCH day and that I bought the most amount of merchandise thus far and

It encouraged her that she was truly on to something, I hugged and wished her success beyond her wildest dreams!! Meet Ashley, the owner and creator of “Haute Moms..” did I say 10% of her proceeds go to support surgery for babies with cleft palates? I love her vision!!


Chile…. what was a diva left to do but bottle up ALL that inspiration and take it home in an Uber??

My hope is that your reading this will inspire YOU to leap off the ledge of comfort and face the challenges on your road to your purpose in life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!
Dueces and mad love,

Diva

The “June Bug” and “Snarky” debate

Lord ha mercy. This here election season has been fraught with disbelief, anger, weariness, and yes, hilarity.

Up until 18 months ago, I was floating in the breeze of ” no politics on any of my social media pages,” and then one fateful morning, I saw what looked like June Bug from the ‘hood- you know him right? The dude that ran things with threats, and had no trouble breaking legs etc, to get his way because he owned the streets ¬†with no mercy or a conscience. That June Bug. ¬†The thing about June Bug is that he has a loyal following who swears he is the second coming of the ghetto and everything must be approved by his royal wretchedness.

This June Bug though, is running for President.

Of these here United States.


IMAGE CREDIT: Craig’s List Ad of the day

When he first hit the stage with his announcement to run, folks snickered and said he would never be taken seriously because he didn’t have a Clue¬†and America was smart enough¬†to see through his facade. A whole football team of men and one woman all lined up to trounce what they called June Bug the clueless thug, only to realize, much to their dismay, good old JB had a massive following that began emerging from the shadows like thirsty , over looked mummies whose leader had finally arisen. These followers became emboldened by the over-the-top JB who finally opened the gates of no-respectability and allowed the spewing of free speech like never before.
Meanwhile- strange fruit began hanging from the poplar trees across the country. Farmers began screeching that their farms matter and they were being marginalized so they can become extinct. They took to the streets in protest to fight for their rights.


IMAGE CREDT:¬†“From the hanging tree to strange fruit”-Susanne Collins
Then there was Snarky. You know that person right? The one who feels it’s their turn to be in charge of the free world and feels they are too super qualified to be overlooked by the masses yet again. After all, snarky had put in her time and played the game and made ¬†her deals like a savvy politician should. And not to be out done, snarky is also trying to create history. The kind that would make you First Snarky, Senator Snarky , Secrteary of State Snarky and now President. So Snarky began lining up delegates that would persuaade¬†people into being with her and touted all her wonderful accomplishments to date.


IMAGE CREDIT: publicdomainpictures 

Slight problem. A good majority of folks found Snarky to be untrustworthy because of her ties to certain corporate structures, her less than stellar attitude when questioned about, well, questionable things and she has been caught in a net of lies.

Snarky had a competitor too but she wore him out with her super delegate counts despite what many among the masses asked for.  What snarky wanted, snarky got and  she now walks around with a perpetual smirk while  working harder to connect with the commoners in her wake.

What is a beleaguered  nation to do?

So here we are, less than 60 days away from choosing a new Commander In Chief, and we settle down for the first debate.

A mess.

A whole stale pot of collard greens kind of  mess.

June bug threatened to start wars for simple things, does random counting because his estimated wealth is so “bigly”¬†he’s always being audited and he was smart to not pay income taxes on millions earned, while he lamented about the horrible infrastructure that NEEDS our tax dollars to work well.
He’s sniffling constantly, didn’t answer a single question appropriately and we are left to wonder What DOES he know and even ¬†better- who CARED, that had already decided he was their man to make Anerica Great again.
Snarky meanwhile, is asking JB to release his taxes as he hollers back when she releases the thousands of emails she erased, reminded her she was a bigot too for the laws passed by her husband that has led to many strange fruits in prison rotting away, and her desensitized behaviors to the farmers lives matter movement all around her until she was told, she was gonna need the strange fruit votes too.. 


If this hasn’t begun to sound like utter madness to you yet, the I don’t know what will. ¬†All this talk about foreign threats when the folks stateside are crying for tax relief, good health insurance, jobs, a decent way to live.
Watching that debacle of a debate only served to remind us that we are all in for a rude awakening- no matter who wins.


And then. This happened. As my friend Mr. Mann Frisby would say, “why sway?” Clearly, Snarky had no real clue who she was or just wasn’t fully moved by the what amounted to the “strange fruit spiritual” in mixed company.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/mary-j-blige-hillary-clinton-933029

Lawd, Lawdy, Lort.

Start storing those rainy day nuts now- I get the feeling between these two,it might be raining for a long time to come.
Deuces and mad love,

Diva



The millennial minimalists in our midst

I have often been a harsh critic of the my generation for not taking millennials under their wings to mentor so that they can have a solid foundation to stand on as we eventually stand down.

It was in that spirit, that I decided along with some accomplished people in my network, to begin fully mentoring young people in their mid to late twenties, with the hope of staving some of which they have been craving from us.

I have been in this process for a few years now and something has become glaringly evident; a few of these new leaders are becoming the very system they spoke out against by looking out for their own interests and not helping to lift each other up. It leads to lying and pointing fingers at others in an effort to detract from the real issues at hand.

Added to the madness, is the minimalism. Some are so busy trying to promote their names and organizations in headlines, they forgot there is actual work to be done. When asked to produce some work, I get minimal to no effort with a bunch of excuses attached.

Quality work, when done consistently, is the backbone of real success so when I watch those who aren’t producing what is written on paper, while looking for the next place to have their names recognized, it gives me serious pause and speaks volumes about what hidden deals may be done, in an effort to keep giving shoddy results.

There comes a time when a name is just not going to be enough to keep one afloat and if it is thought you can be ” bought and sold” for ego, then you will be.

Are you willing to work while others yet sleep? Are you willing to learn the key ingredients for presenting oneself- that is, grooming, speech and preparedness?
At you willing hold fast to the ideology around your work without cutting corners? Are you willing to listen to sound advice from those who were there before you?

Then you are ready to do what it takes to succeed. Everything else is just window dressing clothed in laziness and a recipe for disaster.

Stand for something. Be about something other than yourself. Have some integrity and be your brothers keeper because you can’t rise alone. Treasure the time and efforts of your mentors and work hard not to burn bridges.

Most of all, leave the minimalism at the door so you don’t become a younger version of more-of-the-same.

You better believe, people are watching and nothing destroys a reputation faster than word-of-mouth by key powerful individuals who know real success when it’s presented to them.

Who are YOU calling a B&?!@???

Today told me for certain that I have indeed found my calling in life..

I was asked to speak to a group of young people at a local high school
(That will remain nameless for now) who were suspended and a part of their plan for getting reinstated was to sit and listen to people who looked like them about what it took to be successful in life.

Oh yeah, their parents had to accompany them.

I knew I was in Oz when I got to the school and as the young people were leaving, all I heard were words not worthy of printing. I cringed inwardly with sadness but kept going and eventually found the room I was to be in.

The folks started coming in and the attitude was downright hostile. Parents arguing they don’t have time for this and some of the girls were saying things like

we in here to listen to this Bitch? My momma going to cuss her out and we will get to leave.”

Clearly, they were in for a treat.

I waited until they settled down, pulled up a chair in the center of them, opened my mouth and laid them all out so flat, not only could you hear a pin drop, the parents were asking to be mentored along with the kids.

The Principal walked in an hour later thinking he was going to have to keep order and his mouth fell to the floor.

He said one of the toughest judges in the city walked into that school and gave up and walked out. He was shocked at what he found.

I’m going back there. Every Tuesday that I’m in town for the entire school year. Those young people needed support and they needed to know I was not the Sista to run game on..

We have got to expect more of ourselves no matter how low we may feel in life.. Everyone left respectful and said thank you after the girls asked for these sessions to keep going…

Say what now? ūüėú

That was by FAR, the toughest experience I ever had with young people and parents but what I know for sure is this, no matter how crazy a situation seems, if you command the respect with your presence, miracles can and will indeed happen.

I bet you not one of them will call me a bitch anymore AND they will think twice before they use it carelessly among themselves too..

Enough said.

When you feel the “Tea” AND “shade” coming your way…

As a mother, entrepreneur, friend and community activist, I find myself dealing with all kinds of folks from all walks of life on a regular basis. As life would dictate, sometimes we run into people who, for no apparent reason at least to us, that are just hell bent on throwing angst our way. In the black community, we call that throwing “tea” and “shade.”
It takes a serious case of maturity to ignore and not internalize angst being thrown your way, but sometimes, one must take more than a deep breath and count way past ten, so you can see clearly enough to respond. Or not.
I have been challenged by some of the most unlikely people, in some of the most unlikely places but it took my standing fully, all five feet ten inches of grace and determination with no apologies, to make folks understand that I meant business. At that crucial point, I have either been labeled aggressive , a bitch or the best one- intimidating.

So here’s the deal; when you walk fully in authenticity- living a life of purpose that is healing in some way to those around you, no matter what comes your way, do not give up. “Tea”and “shade” have been thrown at anyone who dares to believe in the power of their dreams and are leaders in every sense of the word.

If you remember that a box was designed to contain, you will never stay in any that was designed for you. Here are a few simple things to do when faced with containment;
1). Always affirm what you do by remaining grateful even for the smallest of things.
2). Choose to be happy because nothing lasts forever.
3). If you feel it is needed, simply ask the offender if they need to have a conversation with you as you are picking up “vibes” they may not realize they are emitting with you. Be clear if said conversation happens, to walk away affirming that you were heard and you listened.
4). Learn to “read” why you are being targeted because it is often that you possess something naturally that the other person lacks.
5). Do not carry that angst around like a bag of flour. Leave it right there and walk away after discussing it with someone you trust.
6). Meditate. It will make things come fully into focus and leave you clear not only on your next move but give you peace.
7). Choose kindness and love. Every time. You never know how or where you will cross paths with people again.

A few years ago, some team members and I attended a national conference fully ready to learn from other participants and impart what worked for us in our neck of the woods.

We were all peers and so when asked to give an example of what worked for my group, I stood up and in true diva fashion, regaled the room with an instance that gave me pause, much to the delight of the entire conference. Except these two sisters.

As we all spoke and shared, they rolled their eyes, refused to speak when spoken to except who they deemed important, and was condescending in their comments each time I added something to the process.

I paid them no attention as I was very clear, they were insecure about the perceived power I carried into a room and they looked for ways to negate what came naturally to me.
My team members and others were perturbed, but I reminded them the behavior was a reflection on those women, not me.

I never lost my stride and kept being kind until they realized folks noticed what they were doing.

That was the last time I saw them at that annual conference, and I was later told they had such a hard time working with anyone, it became impossible for them to remain effective.
They threw Tea and I sat comfortably under their Shade sipping grace, good manners and love.
The rest is history.. Watch your behavior; you never know who is picking up and making a note of it, to your own detriment. If you dislike working with others, choose a different path. And learn the lessons that come your way or you will continue to be life’s teacher of what not to do.