Monthly Archives: September 2014

9 Steps to Determine Where You Are

Where are you in life both personally and professionally? Sounds like a very simple question, doesn’t it? But what exactly does that mean? First you’ll need to revisit the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. You’ll need to assess whether you’ve made great strides, been side-tracked or had to make adjustments. Once you determine that then you can answer the question, “Where are you?”

I’m sure you’re wondering why is this question important. For me I’ve always taken time at the beginning of the year to set goals for myself. The purpose of these goals is to give myself a road map leading to success. Many people do it at the beginning of the year. They call them, “new year resolutions”. The problem, however is that 80% give up on those resolutions before the three-month mark. I used to be in the category as well until I made a change.

That change started with me changing “new year resolutions” to, “committment” instead. Commitment to me meant I was taking responsibility and ownership for the plans I made for myself. This commitment didn’t allow me to easily give up should I fall short instead I was encouraged to make adjustments in order to be successful if my initial plans did not produce the results I hoped for.

Have you ever made a commitments to yourself? How did you go about setting those commitments? Do you take time throughout the year to assess where you are? If not may I offer the following tips:

Write it Down – Commitments or Goals are specific, measurable and time bounded. Write your commitments or goals so that they reflect all three components.

List Your Personal Benefits – Identify exactly “why” you want to achieve this goal.  List all the ways you will benefit personally.

 Analyze Your Current Position –  Success is information dependent. You need integrity in your information. Identify your specific strengths, weaknesses and opportunities as it relates to achieving this goal.

 Identify Obstacles and Risks – List everything that could possibly prevent you from achieving the commitment or goal you’ve set for yourself. Identify Investments and Sacrifices.  List everything, including time, money and sacrifices that you can anticipate.

Identify Knowledge Requirements – List what additional knowledge you need to acquire or have access to.

Have Support Team  List the people, groups, and organizations you may need help from as well as the specific role each one plays.

Develop Your Plan – List in chronological order each activity and their corresponding target date for completion. Use all the information gathered in previous steps to develop your plan.

 Set a Deadline – Determine on what date you will achieve this goal.

Reward and Celebrate – Identify your reward for the achievement of this commitment or goal. You deserve it! But don’t just rest on the successful completion, start again and make it even better. I can guarantee you won’t give up at the three-month mark.

For a test run you have 3 months remaining in 2014. Set at least 2 things you’d like to accomplish by the end the year then follow the above to see it to completion. This will set the stage for you to make a year long commitment in 2015. Go for it, you deserve to be the best you there ever was.


Shout NO More to Domestic Violence

DV WheelFor a couple of weeks now domestic violence has taken center stage in the news because of a high profile incident associated with a professional sports figure. It’s good that the light is being shone on it, however my question becomes what happens when the next story comes along? Will anyone remember or think about the women and children suffering every day? A part of my life story includes domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault and it began in my early teens. The affects lasted well into my late 20’s and early 30’s. Because of that I eventually founded Fresh Start for Women to be a beacon of hope and encouragement for a life after domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault.

So may I please implore you to not let this issue go back under the covers when the lights go off on the current case? Every 9 seconds a woman or child is a victim of these issues and the likelihood of a woman being affected is 1 in 3. This means you know someone or it could be you.

Today I want to dedicate this blog to share 8 signs that may indicate you’re in an unhealthy relationship. You don’t have to experience them all but it is highly likely if you experienced one then the possibility of another one happening is very high. These 8 signs don’t necessarily happen in a predictable way but is still part of a vicious cycle.

• Making you feel afraid because of how they use their words, gestures or actions
• Smashing things, destroying property or harming pets
• Displaying weapons or threatening to use them against you

Emotionally Abusive
• Putting you down or making you feel bad.
• Calling you names, playing mind games.
• Humiliating you or make you feel guilty
• Saying you caused the abuse/blame

• Controlling what you do, who you see and talk to
• Limiting your outside activities
• Using jealousy (though they may not admit it) to justify their actions

A healthy relationship will not use your children as a pawn in a game of control. Children should never be caught in the middle of grown up situations. They are not messengers, nor should they be used to deny visitation, demand support or threaten to be taken away.

A healthy relationship doesn’t promote male privilege as a means of leaving you to simply play the role of servant while all decisions are made by him and only him. It does not involve economic abuse, whereby your money is his money and his money is his money and you must give an account of every penny spent. The financial health of the family shouldn’t be a secret that only he knows!

A healthy relationship should not conflict, instead it should compliment. A healthy relationship does not use blaming or minimizing of your concerns in order to make them invalid.

I have to be honest with you, when I was going through this I mistakenly assumed I could change the person. Others may feel the same way but the truth is we can only change ourselves and how we react/respond to it. This realization was freeing to me and I pray anyone reading this will come to the same truth and make a change that is in their best interest.

Domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault are harmful not just to the women and children caught in the cycle but our communities suffer as well. Thus it takes a community (village) to say NO MORE!!!

Won’t you join me and stand up for those needing support, encouragement and real love!


Who is in Your Corner

If you haven’t taken the time since this was originally posted to examine the status of the people currently in your circle of influence then I encourage you to do so. Each of us in order to be our best self must have people who add substance in our lives. To have otherwise to diminish the effectiveness we have in our own lives let alone the ability to be a positive influence in the lives of others. No matter how much we may believe we don’t need others he opposite is the truth. In recent months I’ve concluded I need fresh insights that can only be achieved by making some changes in my associations. How about you?

Fresh Start Mondays

Oftentimes we find ourselves seeking a fresh start but somehow confuse it with needing to change the people in our lives to suit the new direction we want to take. This is a huge error and can only lead to heartache and disappointment. The “Fresh Start” is for you and as such it is not your concern about the people in you life. Why? Because it’s quite possible that the ones currently in your life may have to be let go. Let me say that again, it’s quite possible that the ones currently in your life may have to be let go. Now this doesn’t mean that as of this minute everyone currently in your life has to be let go. Not at all for there are 2 types of people that fall under the category of “Let Go”. Some must be let go immediately and others gradually. All of…

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While Renewing the Inside Don’t Forget the Outside

We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the inside. Reviving your spirit, letting go of things you’ve held on to that have caused you pain and harm has been our task for several weeks now. I encourage you to continue with all the good you’re doing for in the end the new you that emerges will be strong, powerful, positive, and determined. But in all this transformation don’t forget about the outside.

It’s easy to overlook because you may think “well there’s nothing wrong with the way I look”. Are you sure? Let me ask a few questions and then you decide.

1. When you give yourself that one last look in the mirror before you walk out the door are you smiling?

2. Do you look with excitement and anticipation to the day ahead?

3. Do the clothes you wear reflect the new you you’ve been working on?

4. Do you look up and not down when you’re going about your business.?

5. Do you greet people with a smile and/or a nod of hello?

6. Does the physical you reflect a person focused on being healthy as well?

I ask these questions because if there’s been a transformation on the inside it should reach the outside as well. The new you should exhibit an air of confidence and assurance that you know exactly who you are. At first it may seem strange and out of character bit why should it? Haven’t you worked hard to let go of things that have weighed you down? Then your new walk should reflect your new air of lightness. There should be a sense of purpose in every step and a determination that lights up your face.

I’ll never forget the time last year when the months of February through July were not kind to me. I was in a lot of physical pain and there were more than one day when it took everything I had to get up in the morning and make it to work. I had an ankle that put me in the hospital for three days only to still not resolve the issue. I’ll never forget the day I was at work and when I got up to go to the restroom I could barely move. A co-worker actually pushed me in my office chair to the restroom. Instead of feeling embarrassed I joked about it and laughed but made sure to thank her for her kindness.

I can remember what used to take me an hour to get dressed and ready now took an hour because with a shattered left wrist and a right side that was swollen, black, blue and green from a horrible car accident I struggled to do simple things like put on a bra or pull up my pants.  I was blessed to have a wonderful husband who helped me get through it all. Not only did he help me to get dressed but we went through my clothes to find things to wear that would require the least amount of effort. Then he’d take me to work and pick me up in the evenings, fighting Atlanta traffic 4 times a day.

During this time I had clients depending on me to encourage them as they made decisions to be safe and happy and in healthy relationships so I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I think the fact that I had so much to pay attention to helped me from falling into deep despair. Don’t get me wrong there were days I wasn’t sure I could make it but I was determined to not give in. So the outer person I presented to the world had to reflect that determination I had on the inside.

MY clothes were clean, even if I had to wear them more than once, my hair was always together and most important of all I wore a smile and it was one that reached my eyes as well. But it wasn’t just my smile; I have been accused of having a larger than life laugh and it served me well during my healing.

Why am I sharing this? Because I want all of you to prosper so if your thoughts and actions have changed then be sure to let the physical reflect the new you as well.  In other words if you used to dress provocatively but your inside is transformed then that dress code no longer works with the new you. Put it down and take on a new look.

If complaining, and feeling sorry for yourself used to be the norm but now you’re hopeful and full of joy then let shine in the new words you use and the new way you approach a problem or any situation. The old way is poison  don’t let it infect the new you.

Okay don’t worry, I’m not about to get on a soapbox as the older generation would say and start preaching but I am going to encourage you to do a few things:

1. Get some exercise – walk, bike or join a gym if you can afford it, either way don’t let money or the lack of money keep you from improving your physical health.

2. Eat more fruits and vegetables and drink lots of water while cutting down on sugar and empty calories.

3. Get a new wardrobe one that reflects the new you and again don’t let money or lack thereof prevent you from making a change. Use your creativity, you’ll be surprised what you can do.

4. Let the joy on the inside be reflected in the face you present to the world. Smile more and often, and greet people with a genuine look. Don’t be surprised if you get them back in return.

5. Make a promise to yourself to love you enough to give the above a real try.

Today is the last holiday of the summer enjoy it with family, friends and loved ones. Most of all I encourage you to enjoy it with the new you you’re creating from the inside out.