I’ve been staring at the proof of my first book for about a week. Today I decided to check Amazon to see if my book was even listed yet. Much to my surprise, it was and I felt an overwhelming desire to share it with the world. As I’ve mentioned previously I’ve attempted to write a book more than once. About three years ago I wrote a book of poetry that I never published. Every so often I come across the document and vow to self-publish it but I never did. In the past, somehow I couldn’t wrap my mind around the self-publishing steps. I read books and articles but couldn’t get beyond the first step. This time was different. The time was different because I am different.
Now more than ever I feel I have nothing to lose by doing what I want. I don’t answer to anyone. I don’t have to explain my intentions or wait for approval. I’m operating from a different place that is both familiar and unfamiliar. I’d wouldn’t describe it as 100% fearlessness but I’m probably operating at 80% fearlessness. There are moments I still get nervous about what the future holds. Other days I know with clarity that success arrived the moment I took the first step. Holding this book in hand is proof that the life I used to know is no more. A thought I had years ago now lives physically in my hand. There is no going back.
I’ve used affirmations for years, however, I knew moving in a new direction required more than just knowing the definition of an affirmation. It became necessary to go beyond repeating a one line phrase. Affirmations reminded me that I was making the right decision and moving in the right direction. I started to incorporate them in my life like never before. It was my way of talking through my own fears. It was written for me to move forward scared or not. I stood somewhere between proud of myself and scared shitless. I found comfort in my affirmations.
After I left my corporate job, it came to me that I needed to share my affirmations with other entrepreneurs. Seemed simple enough but it took about four months think though the concept and put it on paper. I wanted to go beyond just a one line affirmation. I wanted to share a series of positive statements that could be read, contemplated, visualized and spoken into existence. I divided the affirmations into categories that I thought were most important for entrepreneurs on their journey. The affirmations speak of love, courage, vision, success, abundance, and entrepreneurship. This book begins with love because you have to know regardless as to what happens next you are loved. I spent years working on self-love and that love has been reflected in the family and friends who continue to step forward to support me. Glancing down at the cover, an overwhelming sense of peace finds me. Today I present to the world the gift that continues to push me along as I create my imprint on the world. Affirmations and reflections continue to work in my life and I hope they work in yours as well.
Click the link to get your copy of 60 Affirmations & Reflections for Entrepreneurs.
Peace and Blessings
I recently took a four-week break from networking to evaluate my experiences and to come up with a new strategy. Being new to the game and trying to get my feet off the ground, meant I spent the first 90 days going to any and every event. In retrospect, this was not the most effective approach because I found myself burned out and reluctant to continue in that way. Although I was meeting great people, those individuals weren’t always open to the services I provide. I quickly discovered that networking without a defined strategy is draining.
After a few weeks of rest and relaxation, I was able to redefine my networking target and niche. My intention is to focus on partnering with companies that are interested in providing mindfulness in the workplace options for their employees. I decided to take it a level further by creating a list of three specific professions to focus my efforts on including human resource, accounting, and health care professionals.
Human Resource professionals from a health and wellness standpoint are the gate keepers to benefits programs offered to employees. Beyond that every year human resource departments gear up for annual enrollment. Annual enrollment is when employees are added to the insurance plan for the upcoming year, the process usually starts in the fall and ends after the new year. This timeframe is very intense for benefits department which means a mindfulness practice can decrease burnout and improve overall mood.
Accountants on the other hand gear up for year end followed by audit and tax season. For accountants, December through April tends to be a highly stressful time of the year t since all three activities tend to overlap and have competing deadlines. This is also the time when most accountants work late nights and weekends, a mindfulness practice can increase clarity, concentration, and alleviate tension.
Last but not least I want to focus on health care professionals who are constantly on the front line helping to ensure the well being of others. Health care professionals are tasked with making difficult decisions quickly. A mindfulness practice would be a great way to manage everyday challenges, increase resilience and improve coping skills associated with the health profession.
By deciding to use my knowledge of corporate departments and also tapping into the expertise of close friends who work in these environments I was able to create a better strategy. If you are currently seeking a networking strategy here are ten steps to consider in your plan.
- Evaluate your target market and niche
- Choose 3-5 areas to focus on
- Define what successful networking means for you
- Create a metrics to measure your progress
- Every quarter evaluate your strategy and adjust it as needed
- Get involved in the community by joining causes and associations you believe in
- Volunteer at events that tie into your interest and business
- Attend a lot of events to increase your confidence, practice your approach and study the crowd
- Have fun and be fun to be around
- Drop expectations and trust the process
These steps should get you off to a great start. As you find your footing, more opportunities that are in alignment with your higher goals will appear. Stay positive and stay the course.
Peace and Blessings
I recently had a situation that brought into my awareness the concept of boundaries. Boundaries in the sense of who you allow into your personal space and your life. In some aspects, boundaries are a necessary part of life that distinguish between where we began and end. When we create mental, emotional and physical boundaries it also establishes what type of energy we will allow in and around us. The flip side of boundaries is if left unchecked we can start to create boundaries that imprison us mentally, emotionally and physically. We began to develop a general mistrust of all things and all people. There may even be a tendency to assume everyone you meet has the intent to harm you in some way.
This area of boundaries is one very familiar to me. I did not have the traditional upbringing. My environment and how I was raised bred me to believe that everyone had a motive so it was my responsibility to look for the motive. Trust wasn’t awarded, at first sight, it had to be built and mutually fed. As I get stronger in my spiritual walk I have learned to move away from general mistrust to a curious discernment. Curious discernment means I am able to perceive if in that instance a boundary is needed. Almost like looking at something through a window glass with my head cocked to the side with my eyes partially squinting. I’ve learned not to look at life with my eyes but rather to hear it, sense it, smell it and feel it. I learned what I see in front of me with my two physical eyes is not always the truth or the authentic version. So I squint them to increase mental focus. I hear the sprinkles of one’s inner workings as I tune out their actual voice. I am searching for the truth in what’s in front of me.
What I’ve learned that most boundaries we create are a false sense of security. A faulty door that just has to be walked around. There comes a time when we have to take an honest look at these false borders that keep us from being fully present and engaged. It’s time to extinguish the borders that keep us from believing that a truly magical being stands before you with no expectations and no hidden agenda. A being that has learned to discern her way through the life she is creating and truly believes there is no such thing as coincidence. The only thing that is real is our understanding of the experience that stands before us.
I am not in the business of breaking down other people’s barriers but hope only to demonstrate that there is a freer way to live and love. Willpower and choice push you to get up despite betrayal, hurt, pain and ill intentions that may occasionally skate pass your door. This also means that we have a choice in the boundaries we perpetuate in our life. Boundaries are healthy and serve a purpose but stay open to surrendering them for a moment to trust what stands before you. Be willing to close your physical eyes and open the one in your brow center. For most of us boundaries were learned or created as a result of what was seen as a bad experience. Take a moment to review your boundaries and determine if they have to be one size fit all or if they can be softened when faced with new experiences. Be open to shifting and creating new ones.
Peace and Blessings
I am officially 90 days into full-time entrepreneurship. Like all areas of my life I spend so much time being obsessed with the activity that I lose sight of the reflection. When an impending burn out pops on my radar, I halt all activities to regroup. So for the last three weeks, I settled into my quiet routine to rediscover my center. I’ve spent the last few weeks being out in nature, reading and reflecting. It seems like so much has changed in the last 90 days, my experience has been good so far and here are some of my accomplishments.
- Lots of feedback from class participants. I love when I hear about how something I taught in class my students are able to use in their real life. My students report back how they felt prompted to slow down and breathe. Some of them will also share that they “heard my voice in their head” telling them to breathe. I love feedback because it lets me know that I am making an impact and heading in the right direction.
- Overwhelming request for me to continue. I teach several corporate classes. Usually, the initial contract is only for a six to eight week trial period. This gives time for both client and myself to determine if there is the partnership is a good fit. What I offer is not a fit for every company, my higher focus is on if the energy is a good match and if the students are engaged and receptive. Across the board at the end of each trial period, I have received an overwhelming request to continue. One Human Resources Manager said, “I don’t know what you are doing in those classes but please continue to do it”. She had apparently received an outpouring of calls and emails at the end of the trial period and was in a rush to get me back in the office to continue.
- For the first half of 2017, I have touched at least 150 souls. Over the course of my corporate, private and group classes, 150 individuals have signed up and attended at least one of my classes. 2016 was only about a third of this amount. Of course, I’m more out in the open now and actively networking to bring more awareness to what I do. It’s just amazing how quickly life has changed in the last 90 days.
- New ways to incorporate and expose students to mindful moments. Some of my students have been with me for at least a year. It is my intention that as I evolve as a teacher so does my teaching style. My focus is slowly transitioning from just teaching one how to breathe to a more holistic approach to living a mindful life. Mindfulness is about awareness. Awareness allows you to live in the moment. When you are living in the moment you are more likely to react with clarity or change how you react to others. Now more than ever we need more compassion for ourselves and others and mindfulness can lead the way. I want my students to live a more mindful life and to be able to share our experience with others.
- New possibilities have opened up. The first half of the year has been good to me and it has also put me in unfamiliar territory. As I attend more events I have become more accustomed to sharing what I do with others. In addition to finding my voice as a wellness advocate, I have developed an interest in public speaking and coaching. Both seem like a natural extension of what I am currently doing. I look forward to exploring these new interest.
- Writing has become a central part of my life. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I’ve been able to find an outlet as a blogger. I currently manage two blogs Return of Eros and Jaiona’s Yoga Closet. About a month ago, I was asked by a fellow blogger to be a contributor to her site. I felt honored to be considered and gladly accepted the offer. I am now a contributing blogger for Get Inspired, a lifestyle blog for the everyday woman. I have learned so much from her editing style and perspective. I have been able to use the feedback to make my other blogs better. I have also been able to build relationships with a host of other bloggers in the Atlanta metro area.
- Happier and successful. I have made a major accomplishment by trusting my intuition. My stress level is low and overall I feel more upbeat. There are times when I’m living too far ahead or calling forward a memory from long ago. However, I’m learning to constantly redirect my thoughts to focus on the current moment. In the current moment, I realize what I am faced with but I am also able to solidify that happiness is a choice. Redirecting your life is a choice. Once you get past the fear of the unknown, you can live the life of your choice.
My life has changed dramatically over the last 90 days. I have had some great adventures so far but I’ve also had some challenges which I will share in the coming days. I continue to receive an outpouring of love and support from my friends and family which gives me the courage to stay the course. I am forever changed by making the decision to follow my intuition and I look forward to what is to come.
Peace and Blessings
How did you know when it was time to leave your 9 to 5 to focus on your business full-time?
This is a continuation of the previous post Leaving Your 9 to 5. If you are thinking about taking that leap, here are nine things to consider beforehand.
- Create a realistic plan with multiple versions. I seriously wrote out a plan A- E. I considered all my what if situations. My plan E involves going back to corporate full time. It’s only a few months in and I’m still on plan A.
- Create a financial plan. My financial plan is similar to my realistic plan but it focuses solely on money. I looked at all my savings, IRA and 401K plan. My savings would get me started. I also decided I was willing to tap into my IRA and 401K if needed. I feel that strongly about what I’m doing. Consider both your business expenses and your personal living expenses. I made the conscious decision not to downgrade my life at this time. I believe that my future earning will allow me to maintain my same lifestyle. Of course, I have to cut back on shopping and dining out but I’m ok with that.
- Create a spiritual and/or self-care plan. Consider how will you connect with your inner self when times get tough. Entrepreneurship requires courage and self-motivation. Start to surround yourself with the things that will feed your spirituality. We all have different belief systems so there is no one size fits all. Even if you do not believe in a higher power, surround yourself with things that motivate you. Keep handy anything that brings you peace and allows you to find clarity.
- Put yourself in the rooms with other entrepreneurs. You need to surround yourself with like-minded people. In my experience entrepreneurs are the most supportive. It’s like you are joining a community and they are all giving you that nod of approval. You will learn from some and others you will teach. Know that at some point it will be your turn to pass the torch to the ones coming behind you so learn all you can.
- Ask questions about other people’s journeys. I personally do not want to learn the hard way on every aspect of entrepreneurship. There will be some challenges that are specific to you, your energy and your industry. For everything else learn quickly from other people’ mistakes. Find inspiration in their journey’s.
- Identify your support team. There are people who will support you to the ends of the earth with no questions asked. There are people in your life that will challenge you to be the best version of yourself. Then there is everyone else. Identify who is who and if for any reason you are lacking a support team this is your opportunity to create one. We are born into a family but we all come here with a tribe. It’s time to find your tribe.
- Become aware of your inner critic and be able to identify it when it shows up. Your inner critic can take many forms get to know him or her. Be vigilant and wary of the messages he/she brings. Find the tools to face your inner critic.
- Know that at any time, you can make another decision. We are never stuck and we have choices. At any point in this journey, it is your right to make another decision. Usually, the only people questioning your decision-making are the people sitting on the sidelines anyway so why are you listening to them? Thank them for their service and send them on their way. Then refer back to your plan A- E and adjust it according to what’s in your own best interest.
- Trust your process. Your experience is unique to you and will be determined by the summation of your thoughts, words, and actions. On your journey, others on similar journeys will be revealed to you. We are always in the right place at the right time.
It’s a lot of planning but it’s necessary to think of all areas that might impact you on the front end. This is my list but evaluate and add to it as you see fit. Good luck.
Peace and Blessings
How did you know when it was time to leave your 9 to 5 to focus on your business full-time?
I hear this question very often. It’s amazing to me to hear entrepreneurs tell prospective entrepreneurs not to leave their job. Maybe I’m too new in the game to understand. However, I don’t think there is a one size fits all response. The decision to leave your 9 to 5 is very personal and each person’s journey will be different. To date, I’ve only heard one entrepreneur say trust your instincts. This lady was one of five panelists at an event I attended. The other four warned against it but she smiled and shrugged then shared her story. She worked in corporate for nine months then one day fate stepped in and she never looked back.
I understand why entrepreneurs warn against it. Starting a business requires money and often times the first five years may require out-of-pocket funding. In addition to funding your business, you have to be able to maintain your lifestyle and keep a roof over your head. It might be a little hard to concentrate and allow your creativity to flow if you don’t know when your next check will come. Your other option is to trust completely and tap into your spirituality which is a feat in itself.
Trusting requires courage, knowledge, and patience. It is no cake walk. There are days when my inner critic steps forward and I have to regroup physically, mentally and spiritually. I’m getting pretty good at confronting my inner critic but it too is a learning process. Every time I hear her, I entrench myself in positive affirmations to that all is possible through prayer and meditation. I’ve pulled out all the tools that got me here. The road is not always easy but it is my job to feed my mind and surround my life with the things that empower me. I attend a lot of empowerment events and each time I gain more inspiration which drives me to stay the course. Some days you can’t see the light st the end of the tunnel or hear your higher guidance. Those are the days you have to seek what you need and remind yourself why you chose this path. No one can really tell you when is the perfect time especially without knowing your journey. Some entrepreneurs will make your question about them. It might have taken them years to take that step or get their business off the ground but only you and the power you believe in can guide you on what’s best for you.
This is a two-part series so stay tuned for my follow-up a list of 9 Things to Consider Before Leaving Your 9 to 5.
Peace and Blessings
In one of the many events I’ve attended over the last few days I met a former yoga instructor. She spent a lot of time talking about how she transitioned from yoga to specializing in pain management. She also spent a lot of time explaining to me why she was no longer a yoga instructor most of it centered around how it was somewhat beneath her now. She’s advanced her career so much that now she was a paid speaker. Listening to her rant didn’t have me convinced enough to go look for her events. Clearly we talked about what we do but she was set on tell me how their was no money in my industry because people didn’t value the service. Much like any uninterested party I began to tune out her message. It didn’t apply to me and I had no need.
The next morning her words began to echo in my head. Then it came to me that maybe the people who came to her didn’t value her as an instructor because she didn’t value her own service. It’s also possible that she started down a path to get her somewhere else. Meaning her experience was part of the journey but not the destination. Instead of having an awareness, she was projecting on to me her unsuccessful experience. Projecting ones’ experience is an unconscious coping mechanism used to deal with unhealed emotions and unresolved experiences. Rather than acknowledging our own fears, feelings and wounds we make them someone else’s problem. Or we provide them with a platform on how that person should expect to a similar outcome, uncertainty or fate.
We are the sum of our experiences. It seems to me she changed vocations but hadn’t changed her mindset. In fact her message of empowering others through awareness of the body was similar to my own. The only difference is I value what I do. I find purpose in my message. I find purpose in helping other people create a purposeful life. I find purpose in hearing other creators’ stories. We are all creating something whether we are conscious of it or not. I find purpose in being supportive and positive. When I learned to myself and my experiences, I found purpose in my thoughts, words and actions. I learned to value my gifts and experiences. Therefore the people attracted to me will have the same qualities.
When someone is projecting their experiences, fears and uncertainty pay attention. As you hear the message determine if it’s positive and uplifting or negative and unuseful. Become the observer and listen for the underline message. Notice the messengers’ body movements and facial expressions. Think about the following
- Does the person seem to be a subject matter expert?
- Is the focus on their view of their experience? Did they have a positive outcome?
- Does the person seem comfortable with their experience?
- Is the person self-absorbed? Is the person even listening to you?
- How is that message tied into the messengers experience?
- Is the person explaining what you should expect?
- Is the message about protecting you from harm or preventing you from making a mistake?
- Are you being offered unsolicited advice on how to run your life and/or business?
- Does the message seem logical or anyway tied into what you have already experienced?
- If still in doubt after you leave the person does any part of their message resonate with you?
- Did it inspire you forward or bring you to your knees in fear of the what ifs?
If you are still unsure find a quiet place and ask your inner self if this was a projection of the speakers fears and how can you learn from the experience. Then send love to and thank the messenger. That person provided a crash course in how to deal with unsolicited projections from other people.
Peace and Blessings
I’m learning how to work effectively on the go. I spend a lot of time in my car going from class to appointment to an event. My hours get sketchy based on my schedule but the in between work still needs to be done. My in between work includes everything from checking emails, recording expenses, returning calls, following up on leads or looking for creative spaces to host my classes. I’m actually writing this while sitting in traffic.
I’m a fan of 90s hip hop and I never fully understood the concept of selling CDs out the trunk until now. This was an artistic way of describing the life of a mobile entrepreneur. These entrepreneurs had to travel to be heard. They couldn’t wait for an opportunity to show up at their door. They had to go out and find opportunity. Their vehicle became their office or an extension of their workspace. Symbolically your car is a natural extension of who you are at the moment. It is a reflection of how you get from place to place. Metaphorically not only does it reveal how you are moving through life but it also reveals the direction you are taking. Ironically I like my car I feel like it represents agility, strength, and power. I started to put in the car everything I would essentially need to run my business from behind the wheel. I have yoga supplies, extra heels, suit jackets, workout clothes, car snacks, water, extra phone chargers, plenty of books, pens, and paper. There is nothing worse than getting across town and realizing you have to head back before intended. Also, some appointments end early or get canceled but it might not be feasible to travel from the area if you have other appointments in that same vicinity. It’s easier just to park somewhere and work on what you can from where you are. My car is not only my workspace but also my central access point. I can unplug from the world and take a few moments to meditate.
What I learned is your workplace is where ever you are. Working in my car is no different than working from the office or working remotely. I find my solace in my mini office. My life can exist from the trunk of my car. I create my life where I need to. I am a mobile entrepreneur.
Peace and Blessings
I attended a series of events on Day 7. The first was the Atlanta Women’s Expo and the second was Quiet Thoughts on a Canvas. The expo was a big event with rows and rows of vendors. I wasn’t a fan of the crowd. Everyone seemed to be walking on top of each other. The overall flow of the event was ok but half of the vendors seemed disengaged and just sat at stared back into the crowds. It took about an hour to get from one end to the next. I didn’t spend much time checking in with myself I was mainly trying to get from one end to the other to get a feel for if this could be a potential avenue for me to use at a later date. The only thing I could think to say when asked was that it was clean. Needless to say I probably won’t be back to the event. It didn’t leave any kind of impression for me to reflect on.
The second event was a mental health awareness event which I thought was a great topic. This was a live painting event where five local artist created a canvas in reference to a mental health issue many people face today. The artists focused on a specific topic and worked to create their version of it on canvas. The topics ranged from depression to schizophrenia. I honestly thought it would be a great event to network at because there are a series of mindfulness techniques that deal with depression, anxiety and stress reduction. What I teach is definitely not meant to replace anyone’s medical needs but rather to enhance and complement. There was also a live singer and vendors. The vibration of the room was very laid back. There seemed to be a little cloud and not everyone looked upbeat. The hostess was great, she walked around consistently to chat with people. However, the actual attendees seemed a lot more reserved and just kind of there. I loved the concept but just couldn’t get a good feel for the room so I left within the first hour.
What I learned was that a great concept means nothing if the crowd isn’t that into it. I struggle with critiquing other people’s ideas and events because I never want to be that person. I feel like people get enough negative responses in everyday life so I’d like to be the one to bring a little light to the subject or find the good in the experience. I think it takes a lot of courage to create and host these events so to flip things around in the coming weeks I’ll be asking organizers and host for feedback on their events. I think this will give a little more insight into how it works on the other side.
Peace and Blessings