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Be Passionate (Week 6) Featured Article

MandelaPassionate: having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling.

In the past two years, I have lost two friends, extraordinary women who were taken from us much sooner than expected. They embodied vitality, strength and a beauty so strong that it shined from deep within them for all to see. When I think of them and Nelson Mandela’s quote, I realize that with all that I have accomplished, I am still playing small and not taking advantage of the opportunities that are in front of me.

I think it is okay to be cautious; but to settle for a life that allows you to be less than your potential is not. Now I’m not advocating that tomorrow you quit your job and go save the world. But there is something – a dream that is deep within that should be explored. You know the one; it makes you smile every time you think of it. What would it take to pull that out of you? How would you celebrate that accomplishment?

So let’s make a list. I want to create a Passion List (because the term bucket list depresses me). Some of the things on my Passion List are in the works. For example, I enjoy art that advocates for a cause. So I have performed in the Vagina Monologues as part of domestic violence awareness. I am passionate about writing, so I have several projects that are underway that fulfills that passion. I am passionate about travel and I have a list of destinations that I want to visit in the US and abroad. Savannah, Hawaii, Greece, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Spain and Australia top that list. Ironically, I was with a friend of mine today who recently scheduled a trip to Tokyo. I asked her how she settled on that destination and she said they had a really great deal so why not? I like that spirit.

I am passionate about programs and organizations that empower women and young girls and this year, I have put that passion into motion through my community service. Arizona Foundation for Women advocates for women and children in the area of safety, health and empowerment and I am proud to serve on the board where we work to ensure that She Counts.

There are so many things I could list but I think you get the idea.

One of my favorite songs is Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.” It is a great reminder that tomorrow is not promised and life moves much too fast to always be cautious; to always wait for tomorrow or the “perfect” time to try. It’s time to do the things that compel you, that move you, that you feel strongly about.

It’s time to live the life you are capable of living… and live like you are dying.

Be Passionate – about life!

 

 

Be Fair (Week 5-ish) Featured Article

fair: free from bias or injustice; courteous, civil

This week’s BE is interesting for me to write, as it’s a topic that comes up in my various circles of girlfriends from time to time.

It has been said that I am quick to cut people off at the knees once we have experienced a major conflict. That’s not always the case (it can be, but not always). I have learned that people are in your life for a reason; and they can stay for season or a lifetime. Transition is good and sometimes it is necessary.

maya-angelou-quoteWhen people are no longer good for your life, it makes no sense to keep them in it thinking that they will change. As Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” You have to be the change agent.

But there are times when people are having a “moment,” a time in their life when their actions might not be a true reflection of how they feel but a result of the storm that they are in. It is in these times, that you must look at the situation through a different lens and give them some room and some support.

The challenge is to know the difference between toxic and troubled.

So BE FAIR! Be free from bias in your judgement and courteous and civil with your words. Know when to keep people close and when to let them go. Take people for who they are, accept them as they are and meet them where they are. Cut the toxic people out of your life and show compassion for those who are experiencing troubling times.

Strive to be fair in your judgement, your words and your actions and let compassion and civility prevail.

Be Honest (Week 4) Featured Article

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” William Shakespeare All’s Well That End Well 

This post is not about how we interact with others but how we interact with ourselves. Honesty, like love, starts with self. It sets the foundation of who we are.

No legacy (1)To me, being honest with yourself is the same as being true to yourself. Staying your course, not settling, know your value – those are all aspects of being honest or true.

Being an entrepreneur, one of the most frequent tips that you receive is to NEVER devalue yourself. Once you lower your value, it’s hard to raise it back up again with that individual or the people in their circle. But that advice is just as pertinent in our personal lives.

When we settle, when we compromise, when we shelve our emotions, we are being dishonest and untrue to ourselves.

So every morning when you’re preparing for your day, take a moment to look at yourself, really look at yourself in the mirror. See the value in you, the uniqueness of you, how extraordinary you are. You, and only you, know your thoughts, your talents, your limitations, your strengths… and your true worth.

Be Honest with yourself – your wants, your dreams, your fears and your desires. Own them!

Be Honest and build your legacy on that honesty…

…and this above all, to thine own self be true.

 

 

 

Be Unwavering (Week 3) Featured Article

My DreamsMy RealitiesNow before you think that I’m on a specific roll (bold, direct, unwavering), today I want to talk about dreams. When I dream, I dream BIG! Big, audacious, exciting dreams.

And then I start to question myself. Can I really do this? Is this the right time? What about this? What about that? In the litany of questions that arise, I have to remind myself that we dream for a reason. Our dreams remind us of the possibilities… possibilities that can be realities if we work for it, strive for it, pray for it and live for it… and share them.

So here is the challenge for this week. It’s a two-parter so try to do both, but if not, do at least one. My best friend shared this idea with me.

First:

Create a dream journal. Have a dedicated book where you only list your dreams. No thoughts, no complaints, no cheers or jeers. Only list your dreams.

Second:

1137814689-10935Take one of your biggest dreams and write it down on paper or find a physical photo of it. Place it in a stamped envelope that you have addressed to yourself. (You may want to use a forever stamp.) Send it to someone that you trust, who is accountable, with instructions to mail it back to you later this year. Do not ask them when they are going to send it and ask them not to tell you. When you get it, open it and see where you are on achieving it. 

So why do this?

We need to put a foundation to our dreams so we are resolute in achieving them. When we put something on paper it is more than words in the air, it is a plan. It is when we plan, that we become unwavering and we achieve our big, audacious dreams!

Dream big and BE UNWAVERING!

“Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.” ~ John Updike

(And if you need someone to send your letter to, let me know!)

Be Direct (Week 2) Featured Article

JANUARY 2013As women, I think we are taught to temper our directness. We are coached to be genteel, soft spoken and to wait for the right time (i.e. our turn) to speak. But when we suppress our voice, we are left with a bunch of could haves, should haves and next times that take up space in our minds and our souls.

Who wants that type of clutter taking up valuable mind space? I need that space for more productive activities! Think about it.

Now, I must admit, I have a very passive aggressive nature. However, that does not include my very direct and undeniable facial expressions… (that’s another post). When I choose not to stay true to my feelings, I end up feeling bad about it or working to make it feel right.


You probably feel the same way, right?

This week, call it “leaning in,” speaking up, shouting out or creating your own “Norma Rae” moment… whatever you name it, its time is now!

So BE DIRECT.  Let’s speak our minds, share our thoughts, divulge our opinions and stay the course.

Be unwavering in decisions, unapologetic for desires, uncompromising in dreams and secure in decisions.

Let our yeses be straightforward and our noes absolutes.

And our spirits shall be at peace.

Be Bold (Week 1) Featured Article

fortune-favors-the-bold-virgil“Fortune favors the bold.” – Virgil

Whenever I think that I can’t do something, I think of my grandmother. My grandmother, Alivee Harper, raised me. She was my first example of what a strong woman was. After raising her six kids, she and my grandfather took on the responsibility of raising a six-month-old.

It was my grandmother who sent me to college, who bought my first (and second) car and who kept every certificate and report card that I ever had. She was there when I received both of my degrees and when I became spokesperson for my first municipality. In 2001, I lost my grandmother to ALS. I was with her the night before she died. It was the most significant moment in my life.

Today, when I am faced with a challenge or possibility, I stop to think about what advice would she give me. I think about what great things would she achieve today had she had the opportunities that I have… opportunities that weren’t open for women in the 1960s and 70s. I think about what more she could have accomplished had she had more time to live her best life.

I am the heir of the strength, the wisdom, the grace and the spirit that she possessed. I cannot squander those valuable gifts that she entrusted to me. Therefore, I make the decision to be bold when opportunities present themselves. I will take road that may not be the easiest. I will go after that goal that makes my stomach jump. I will turn my deepest dreams into my most vivid realities instead of simply dreaming more dreams.

I will BE bold!

After all, fortune favors the bold.

52 Weeks of Being Featured Article

“According to most studies, people’s (2)February was the celebration of my birthday. I say February and not a specific day because I celebrate all month long. (Note: birthdays ending in 0 and 5 are milestone birthdays and they are celebrated all year long; this was not one of those years). At one point during the month, I was having a reflective moment.

What did I want to achieve this year?

I pulled out my journal and starting writing adjectives — various adjectives that I wanted to define my 44th year. Things I want to make sure to be. The list was long. When I was done, I had 25 so I decided to keep going until I reached 52.

So I’m starting this week. I welcome you to follow along. The adjectives will appear in the order that I wrote them. So tune in tomorrow for the first adjective.

See you soon.

Sincerely,

LT