Living In My Truth: Life of a Hyphenated Hustler

 

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Majority of my focus last year was on building my wellness business, I decided to shift gears in the fourth quarter to dip my foot back into the accounting world. Actually, once I made up my mind that I would be leaving my corporate job, I immediately created Luellen Consulting Services LLC which of course provides accounting services. I made this decision for several reasons a) I have an amazing skill set and a wide range of experience b) I have always been mindful of not burning bridges and maintaining good work relationships c) I am professional and relatable. This means I allow others to see my authentic self and others can connect with it. I can see a task to completion and not be afraid to recite trap music while I’m doing it. I can run a department and share a funny story about my perspective on life. Years ago I thought you could only be one way at work and you had to hide your true identity until after hours. Transparency requires you to live both lives at the same time.

Transparency has no parameters, it’s freeing to the spirit. It’s, even more, freeing when you can share your story about balancing your real life journey. My current journey involves me being a hyphenated hustler. I am a full-time entrepreneur that on occasion works a corporate 9 to 5. I am a planner and like to think ahead. I maintain a certain financial threshold that I consistently check to make sure I am on track to keeping a roof over my head and being able to run a business. I also know as a new business owner, which means everything you make the first couple of years has to be reinvested immediately to ensure longevity. While I made pretty good income from my business in 2017 ($40K), it was a bit inconsistent and I had to use some of my savings. Prior to 2017, my business income never surpassed $10K so I’m proud of my progress. I would also like to keep the momentum going and gain more consistency. In order to do that I have to keep my business funded. Funding will allow me to continue advertising, marketing, and networking to keep my brand relevant. Needless to say, I had to think about what can I do to raise a lot of money to sustain my wellness business as I go into 2018. The answer was of course to moonlight in my old vocation.

I initially had mixed emotions about it. I was concerned about how I would balance full-time entrepreneurship with a corporate 9 to 5. I have gotten used to a more open schedule but I reasoned with myself that it’s short term so I could push through the fear. I spend the first 2-3 hours of my day working on my business before I head out to the 9 to 5. I also work over lunch and after work to keep things going. When you are passionate about something, it’s hard to sleep without pursuing it. I do my best Monday through Friday then use the weekends to do everything else.

Mindfulness

I was also concerned about how others would view my choice. Here I was planning a Quit Your Job Conference but working a 9 to 5 to help fund the event. The truth is all of my decisions are related to staying in business. Rather than go out of business due to pride, I had to let my fear go. I could either temporarily balance the two or deal with the consequences of not surviving and having to permanently go back into the corporate world. The lesson learned was most people judging my decision have probably not ever stepped out into entrepreneurship and would only understand once they had the experience. Living your dream is a process and very humbling, yet every step is rewarding and takes you out of your comfort zone into the unknown. The beauty of consulting is I still have the option of leaving once my goal is met without creating bad ties or burning bridges. I also have the option of working with the same company at a later date if I choose. In a full-time position sometimes your soon to be former employer take your decision to leave personal and will shun you because they are disappointed or upset. Being a consultant says my time here is limited and I don’t have to hide it. You also earn a lot more per hour as a consultant. My ultimate goal from a consulting standpoint is to hire a couple of people and eventually only serve as manager. Therefore, the connection I am making today, I can use at a later date as well. As a hyphenated hustler, you always have to think five steps ahead. I’ve made peace with my decision and I’m looking forward to 2018 being better than 2017.

Peace and Blessings

 

 

 

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A Father’s Love

I never go home in December. I’m from the Midwest and the winters can be miserable. However, the potential of new life pulled me for my first December home in about 10 years. I left Atlanta excited and in great anticipation of what was to come. I fell in love with those first few days and then winter showed up both literally and figuratively. In the midst of my shifting mood, I decided to do what I had not intended which was go to my source. This trip wasn’t about seeing what already existed, in my mind it was about finding and creating new life. However, when things fall apart the source can be the light at the end of the tunnel.

When I arrived he was there alone. The source I refer to is my dad, the waters from which I came into physical form. One third of the equation so to speak. The Creator and my mother also had their hand in the pot. I honestly didn’t think anyone would be home so I was just planning to sit in my car. I had a lot on my mind.

I’ve always had a great relationship with my dad. He has taught me a lot about life, love and relationships. Once I seen his truck, I immediately got out of my car. We rarely got our time alone. Normally when I go home everyone is there. My dad has had an interesting life and has always taken a special interest in sharing his story with me. I still remember our rides in the car. It would be only us and I don’t think we had a true destination but the conversation was always fascinating. I still quote some of his best advice.

A woman with no man, can never tell a woman with a man how to have a man.

Stay focused on your education because the same men you see today will still be around after you take care of that.

You probably will meet hundreds of men in your lifetime so don’t get caught up with the first one you meet.

He always talked in riddles but I was quick on my feet in the translation department. I listened with my soul and I understood in my heart that he was warning me about being derailed from my path too early in life. He had high hopes for me and saw pieces of himself in me. He made a lot of mistakes but those moments in the car was his opportunity to rewrite his future (me). He was always very candid about his mistakes and he didn’t want me to leave his home without knowing how the world might be once I faced it on my own. I learned from him the value of a man and how I could create healthy relationships with men without feeling the need to take off my clothes in return. A great relationship with your father teaches you that you have more to offer to the world than just your physical form. I learned to rely on my intuition but also on my bullshit barometer. He taught me to look for motives and I learned on my own how to combine the two theories. Blind faith with a keen eye for bullshit. I became a silent observer of people but I also learned to call people on their bullshit (from my mom of course). It doesn’t take long for me to figure most people out but I learned from him to allow people to reveal themselves to you as well. ‘Once you know what you are dealing with then you can respond accordingly.’ My translation of his life lessons.

As I’ve gotten older, I wondered away from him. The amazing thing about the source is they come to understand that your wondering will always lead you back home. So they just wait with open arms, prepared to dust you off, kiss you on the cheek and send you back out in the world. This time was no different. He spoke first and my eyes widened as he spoke about what was on my mind without me needing to verbalize it. At some point I realized he was being spoken through so I listened. We talked for two hours standing on opposite ends of the kitchen. My mother arrived about an hour in but she must have recognized the sacredness of that moment and she allowed us to continue. That day my father said everything I needed to hear. It dawned on me that he knew me in a way most people will never get to know me. We are forever bonded in a way that words can never express.

As I returned back to warmer climates I realized that I still need my father. I also know we are never far apart. Your source will always know exactly what you need. Sometimes they are just waiting for you to ask….

Peace and Blessings

Resting For The New Year

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I’m pretty sure I have officially hit my burn out stride. This week has been intense on so many levels. My energy level been off and I’ve been feeling the need to bury myself under some covers with my feet up. I had a semi full schedule planned for this week. Yesterday I decided to cancel or reschedule most of my plans. Often times our bodies and minds will speak to us before we reach complete exhaustion. I’ve been so consumed with the upcoming year that I haven’t given myself much time to reflect on the closing days of the current year. I also started a short-term contract position which is further propelling this need for a disconnection from the real world.  So I apologize in advance for my shadiness in the coming days.

 

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On a brighter note, I decided to get back into ballet. Although I’m still at a beginners level, I felt like an old pro my first day back. Ms. Lauren, the instructor, yelled my name at the end of the class. She couldn’t believe I had returned. It’s been almost two years since she last seen me.  Ms. Lauren is my favorite instructor because she’s so patient and nurturing. I could feel her eyes from the front mirror checking my plie, a ballet posture where the dancer bends and straightens the knees with the heels together while the feet are turned out. I wasn’t even sure if she would remember me. It felt good to be back home. I have been feeling this overwhelming sense of bringing back some of my adventures from 2016. I spent a majority of 2016 taking horseback riding and ballet lessons. I felt very happy and centered that year. Those experiences actually pivoted me to find the courage in this year. I had no experience in either at the time. There is something about staring an 800-pound horse in the face and showing up to a class with no experience that teaches you really quick about courage and facing the unknown.

 

I was in such a good mood afterward so I stopped by my favorite bookstore on the way home and got much of the same response. The employees were happy to see me and wanted to know where I’d been. It felt good to be missed and to reconnect with old friends.

If I combine the best of both years and sprinkle in the newness of 2018 then the incoming year should be amazing. I deserve a streak of good years especially after recovering from a series of pretty tough ones. By the time I started this blog, I definitely had my share of heartbreak and disappointment. I open my arms to receiving more of the goodness that was intended for my life. The only caveat is I can only reach full capacity with some rest. So I’m figuratively canceling December with the intention of getting some rest over the next three weeks. My intention is to fill my days with self-care, meditation, reading, ballet and hopefully a little horseback riding if the weather permits.

 

Peace and Blessings

Reflections of You

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There comes a moment in time when the old you has to face the new you.

I am thankful for being shown spiritually how I show up in relationships with other people. I noticed that every insecurity from every failed friendship and relationship still exist somewhere in my energy field. It’s that dull cloud that hovers over you, but you don’t notice until it raises to the surface. As I enter new territory in life and love I have been noticing this insecurity bubbling to the surface. It comes from a very self-serving space. One totally absorbed in its own want. In the past, I’ve allowed it to grow to an unmanageable size and allowed it to validate my need for building walls and putting more barriers between myself, loved ones and the outside world.

There is this saying that we get stuck at a certain age in our childhood.  So even as an adult when things don’t go our way, we react in the way we would at that age. It’s our inner child, the piece of us that learned how to interact with people around us. In a perfect world, what we internalized as children revolved around a perfect sense of who we are with healthy boundaries and examples to validate that. Unfortunately, that is not always the case and a lot of people are walking around with an unhealed sense of who they are and how they fit in the world. Relationships are a perfect reflection of where we stand and what else needs to be done for us to find balance.

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Don’t get me wrong I’ve done all my homework and I’ve prayed to be in a space where I can attract the most loving and healthy relationships to me. I often speak freely about my time with a therapist because it was eye-opening and I walked away with a new perspective on how to manage my fears. However, what I’m noticing is remnants of the unhealed version of my inner child. It’s a version of myself that is scared, ridiculously demanding and unreasonable. I also know the only way to resolve what I feel is to confront it head on so that I can show up as a holistically healed, open, and available woman. I am responsible for making a conscious decision on how I want to show up in life and relationships.

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I’m discussing myself in split terms to make my point. The truth is there is always a conscious and unconscious part of ourselves interacting with the world around us. The conscious is clearly those characteristics that we own and know to be true about ourselves. Whereas the unconscious is those patterns that we haven’t identified with or those characteristics that others use to describe us in the heat of the moment. For example, if enough people say you are selfish or inconsiderate it might be worth at least taking a moment to reflect what actions are creating that response. Always pay attention to the source because some people use derogatory terms as a form of manipulation. Once you’ve validated the source, then take a moment to determine if it applies. Acknowledgement is always the first step in healing. For example, hi my name is Tiffanie and I can be an asshole when things don’t go according to how I see them in my head. Now that I’ve acknowledged it, I can put it in perspective to see if my reaction is necessary. I can dig into what triggers my response and come up with solutions to resolve it. I can then take it one step further by verbalizing how I feel and releasing my attachment to the other person’s response. It is a necessary act of self-kindness and self-love. My journey into happiness includes a happy and healed inner child.

Peace & Blessings

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The Season of Gratitude

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It is officially turkey day and never before have I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I am pretty sure this blind faith mindset has a lot to do with my feelings of gratefulness. I have always believed myself to be a spiritual person but like most I believed my Creator could cover me until… Until can be any limitation you think is bigger than what is possible for your life. What do I mean by that? I mean that in my mind I put limits on what was possible because of the things I had seen or not seen happen in other people’s lives. For a long time, I didn’t make the connection, that the Creator operates from a different space and has a different set of plans. I also learned that just because you want something or think you deserve something does not mean it’s always for your highest good. I think you are always provided with your highest good. The seeds you have sown also play a role in your harvest. In some instances, there are some things you have to learn to be properly equipped to maintain that harvest. Once the harvest comes if you have no means of transporting or storing the rewards, then it becomes wasted effort. Since the Creator’s vantage point is better than mine, I have to trust the process more often than not.

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A month ago I created a list of all the situations that at the time I didn’t know how I would resolve them. I immediately had 8-10 examples of situations which worked out better than I could have imagined.  The moment I stopped worrying and start allowing, forward movement occurred. That’s not to say those things happened overnight.  When I look at my pattern, my resolution timeline is up to two years. That means from start to finish, it can take up to two years for a resolution to appear. Most situations clear up in less time than that but rarely has it been over two years. Patience and gratitude come in handy in the stillness.  I’ve learned to take up my ‘do nothing’ posture while the universe moves mountains on my behalf.  My prayers and meditation are reaching the ears of those capable of helping me to bring forth what’s for my highest good.  When I’m praying I try to end it with some variation of “whatever is of the highest good for myself and all those impacted by this request”. There are times when I am afraid that these things won’t appear.  There are times when I get impatient. There are also times when I remember to just be thankful for, however, it turns out.

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As I create my vision for 2018, I am also reminded to just be thankful for what already exists.  I am reminded to take a moment and reflect on all the good things that have occurred thus far. I also reflect on those areas that were truly meant to teach me a lesson. I can now reflect on the times I got it wrong.  I try not to see negative experiences without reflecting on the positive aspects of them. When you interpret an experience as negative only, you miss the bigger picture and will most likely repeat that experience. Repetition creates a pattern and patterns can lead to stagnation. Purposely being thankful for the season is what attracts more things to be thankful for in the coming seasons.

 

Peace and Blessings

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A Sister Siesta: Mental Rest in a Safe Place

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A Sister’s Siesta: Mental Rest In A Safe Place is a monthly platform for connecting women of color to discuss relevant issues in our workplaces and other settings. Every month is a different theme to tackle.

I attended my first A Sister Siesta event last night which was an open discussion on our accomplishments for 2017. I honestly didn’t know what to expect but it ended up being the most empowering two and a half hours of my year. I sat at a table with Jasmin, Certified Professional Career Coach and at least fifteen women. We were tasked with taking some time to write out our accomplishments in the following categories; professional, spiritual, physical, relational and emotional. Although at the end of the year I write out my accomplishments, it never dawned on me to break them out into these categories. However, Bianca K. Hughes, Associate Professional Counselor, and facilitator pointed out most people only focus on professional accomplishments while the other areas remain in the shadows.

As I was writing I realized I had so many first in 2017 and all of my accomplishments for this year were a direct result of having the courage to quit my job and step out on faith. My family and friends have been overwhelmingly supportive and share how proud they are of me, however, this was the first time I actually sat down to take inventory of my success.  I came from an era and culture where sharing your accomplishments was seen as arrogance.  As a woman, I also learned to dim my light to keep other people from feeling uncomfortable.  This is an old mentality that no longer fits who I am. I want others to know that finding your path and purpose won’t allow you to stay hidden from other people. I’ve gotten into a space where I want to tell anyone who will listen and my truth has nothing to do with anyone else’s life.  My truth is meant to reach, inspire and motivate those that look like me and anyone who aspires to find their happy. Our ‘happy’ might not look the same but it only takes one person, message, or thought to inspire change in someone else. If my courage and journey only help one person then my work here is done.  My legacy is forever etched at this time because I had the courage to follow my spiritual promptings and walk out into the unknown.

So when the facilitators asked who wanted to share their accomplishments I damn near stood up and pushed the table over.  I was that excited and I wanted to be heard.  In my head, this task was all about me.  I’ve gone from hardly sharing anything to wanting to authentically sharing everything. That alone is an accomplishment.  Below is a partial list of what I shared with this group.

Professional

Spiritual

  • Actively practiced walking on blind faith and pushed through my fears in 2017

Physical

  • Increased self care regimen and feel more rested.

Emotional

  • Gained insight on areas I still need to heal especially as it relates to my immediate family
  • Allowed my family and friends to support me, previously I was very private and wouldn’t ask for anything. Now I chose to share my journey with them. I choose to be open to them supporting me spiritually, mentally, emotionally and financially.
  • Connected more and for longer periods of time with family and friends

Relational

  • Reconnected with someone from the past. I am open and available for love. I am able to verbalize what I want and need and this person has been open to meeting me where I am.

So 2017 has truly been a good year for me.  Last weekend I was up writing my vision for 2018 and I got so elated about the possibilities.  Everyone must attend an empowerment event like A Sister’s Siesta, it might change how you view who you are.

Peace and Blessings

Conscious Curosity: Experience Is Not Always The Best Teacher

Self Love

 

Recently I have been in contact with someone from the distant past. Some things have surfaced as a reminder to remain consciously curious and vigilant about not allowing past experiences to take the fun out of getting to know someone.  Experience has taught me to initially keep my guard up and look for a motive. As I observe my interaction with this person, my normal response seems to be nonexistent as if the guards have somehow gone on lunch break. I find myself tilting my head to the side with conscious curiosity as I try to figure that one out. Conscious curiosity means I slow down long enough to observe my own words, thoughts, and interactions in each situation.

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Spirituality has taught me

  • There is no such thing as coincidence. People appear for a reason, a season or lifetime. I do believe there is a storyline (purpose) that we agreed to prior to coming here. I also believe part of the journey is discovering or reconnecting with that purpose. The people who appear can either take you closer or further away from your purpose and it’s up to us to stay attuned to who is who. It is up to us to ask the question, what am I supposed to learn from this person? I don’t think everyone you meet you are supposed to continue with. I can call to memory at least one lesson from every major relationship I’ve had with other people.

 

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  • Change only comes from awareness. It’s hard to change what you don’t know exist. For years I walked around in a cloud, a protective cloud of ignorance. It was the best thing for me at the time. Some days I wish I could go back to my blissful ignorance, but you can’t make yourself unconscious. You can ignore your conscious, but I’ve learned it only creates conflict that shows up as stress and sleepless nights. I know there are patterns I have repeated and roles in relationships that I have agreed to with my silence. While I have no regrets, I also know that it’s now my responsibility to make different choices in relationships. I have this 60-day rule. The guardian’s post. Where I don’t let an inch of my guard down until I can gauge your intention. Once I know it, even if I don’t like it I know how to handle the situation. I know what category to place the individual in. I never really named them before but I’ll label them as follows; potential, friend zone and not an option. About 80% end up in ‘not an option’. 19% in the ‘friend zone’ and a small 1% end up in ‘potential’.  That means if I meet 100 people only 1 I will consider true potential. On occasion, friend zone occupants can make a leap to potential but sometimes the conversion is rocky. The catch is friend zoned is a necessary evil. It’s rare that upon first introductions you go to the top-tier.  Some see friend zone as the death zone but that’s not always the case with me. ‘Friend zone’ is where I go to make an assessment of your character and true potential.

 

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  • Experience stifles possibility. Sometimes our experiences can leave such a negative imprint that we vow to never repeat. The only catch to that is, it requires us to block all potential. People can show up with really no agenda other than to love you completely. However, pain from the past or an attachment to the possibility of pain can stand in the way.  We stop allowing the impossible to be possible. If I can’t authentically communicate what I need, then I run the risk of never allowing another to step up to meet the need.  When I can’t authentically be myself, it’s hard for me to stay engaged with another because I’m always hiding a part of myself. This is where prayer and meditation have been my ally. Conscious curiosity has become my state of mind.

 

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The last six months I’ve seen glimpses of past experiences as well as the potential for the future. Some experiences were definite deal breakers while others opened my eyes to new possibilities. I trust that my sacred prayers are being received by the universe and each experience is my confirmation.

Peace and Blessings