Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.

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Who am I, if not this?

For those of you who have found yourselves changing careers or taking a new path in life – such as myself – you might be feeling a bit off. You may be feeling like several layers of your identity have been stripped away. This is completely normal, and in some way, it is true. You must let go of that which no longer serves you and forge ahead. You are stripping away the layers that no longer align with who you are, and while it might be sad to say goodbye to that which is familiar, it’s an important and necessary step forward.

Whether you are starting a new job, taking on the stay-at-home-parent role, or retiring, this change can be unfamiliar and, frankly, a little scary. I encourage you to embrace this new change of course and enjoy the ride. In some ways, it feels like an identity-crisis and you find yourself asking, “Who am I, if not this?” You are exactly who you are. Your values have not shifted, but you might be attempting to better align your values with your life purpose. I applaud you. It takes courage to make a bold change. Stay the course.

Even if you’ve found your way, and you’ve already forged ahead (Go you!) but you find yourself hitting a bump in the road or experiencing a lull, remember what John c. Maxwell says about the power of pause, “Understand what this experience is trying to teach you and change course if necessary.” What is this moment teaching you?

If you’re on a path, like me, and you’ve left stability and the mundane for uncertainty and joy, but suddenly-worrisome moments hit you like a brick from ten-stories high, remember that you are in control here. You are creating change, and while it is scary, it is empowering. Recall the motivator behind this transformation… was it to pursue passion or make time for family or self? Maybe it’s as simple as you’ve put in your time and now you’re done and ready to move on. Whatever it is, you’re in the driver’s seat and you’re in control of your destiny, your thoughts, your outcome, and your emotions about all of it.

Knowing this, how will you now proceed?

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt


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Don’t Delay Your Happiness

I want to talk about procrastination this morning. I’ve found myself in a bit of a slump, putting off chores, not feeling excited about a particular work project, and delaying exciting new endeavors that could bolster my career and future.

When I delve into why I’ve been procrastinating, I come up with a number of reasons to include how time consuming this new endeavor would be; how I’d have to give up doing something more enjoyable (not everything worth having is enjoyable and rewarding at first); having distractions from my girls since school is out for the summer; the idea of not knowing where to start, and the un-worthiness chatter: Who am I to take on something like this? 

Before I go on, I want to point out one thing… the simple definition of procrastination.

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing something. 

The act of delaying or postponing something… WOW, that landed hard with me, considering what I was delaying or postponing: joy, happiness, success, fulfillment 

I realized, in that moment, that I had to get back on track. I had to focus and figure out how to get passed the slump. I had to find the drive to accomplish what I originally intended. I had to recall why I wanted to begin this new chapter in the first place. What was my motivation? I would need to determine what short-term compromises I would need to make in order to achieve my long-term gains. It was time to get comfortable knowing that it would take some long days and I might have to decide between fun (short-term satisfaction) and future (delayed gratification).

This would require me to prioritize all projects (household, work, and otherwise), and dedicate time to focus on what’s most important (THINK: return on investment) without any distractions, both internally and externally.

This dialogue in my head started to spark excitement again. Recalling my why gave me a nice kick-in-the-rear.

Have you been putting off something that you know is important; something that will increase your happiness, finances, success, career, or otherwise? Go through the steps: 1) identify what’s  been stopping you/what excuses or limiting beliefs have been holding you back, 2) recall your motivation and the long-term gains, 3) make it a priority, 4) schedule it in – whether you need to schedule time in your calendar or set daily reminds.

Whether your delay is caused simply by inaction or maybe because of indecision… No more excuses. Get crackin’.

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious decision.” – Henry David Thoreau


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Take Agency in Your Life

Agency: (noun) – The office or function of an agent; the capacity or state of acting in a position of power; a person or thing through which power is exerted or an end is acheived; ambassador; “a contract of agency.”

I am overwhelmingly happy to discover that more and more of my peers are starting to manifest their dreams, taking control in their lives and over their circumstances. I love to see friends and colleagues forging their own paths towards happiness and finding their power to make dreams a reality. Nothing pleases me more than when I see someone finding agency in their own life.

It’s all too easy to feel like we are a small pebble in a wide and fast-moving river; to feel like we don’t have control or that control belongs to some other force. It’s easy to feel oppressed in the world, or feel subordinate to an employer or colleagues. It’s easy to find ourselves cowering to, or just accepting what is in our personal lives. Everyday we find outselves subject to someone else’s decisions or overall vision – and feel that we are merely a small pixel in the “bigger picture.” So, how can we take agency in our own lives? 

You have to step up, and step into the role. You have to take (and accept) full responsibility for your life, actions, and circumstances. This is where the real power lies. You are responsible for manifesting your own happiness and well-being. If you know this and you accept this role, you can expect your life to unfold the way in which you would have it. Don’t hand off your agency to someone else, don’t shop it out, don’t give it away, don’t let someone borrow it for a day, and don’t expect someone to step into the role and manifest your dreams. Take agency. Own it. Be proud of it.

Don’t just be here in your life. Be HEREMake a bold choice to be present in your life, be firm in your decisions, accept responsibility for the outcomes, celebrate your wins, and own your faults. No one else can claim this power.

Be the No. 1 Ambassador of your life. Speak up for and act on behalf of you.

Much love. ❤

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Women’s History Month

I decided to kick off Women’s History Month by starting a dialogue with my closest female friends, family members, and colleagues. I wanted to share with both of my girls the importance of Women’s History Month, the contributions of women in society, and to dissuade them of any notion that may arise as they get older and become more integrated in society as young ladies. You see, these two girls are my world. They’re only 9.5 and 8 years old… they still have so far to go and before their minds are shaped by the thoughts and opinions of others, I wanted to get in ahead of it and provide them some real context. #realtalk

Yesterday morning, I began messaging over 40 women, ages ranging from 23 to 76, to ask them various questions on women’s rights, women’s history and movements across the nation. I asked them what it meant, in their opinion, to be a woman. I asked what qualities a woman needed to have in order to make further progress in women’s rights. I asked them what advice they would give to my two little girls, and all the other beautiful young ladies – most of whom aren’t being educated on the women’s rights fought for by all the strong and courageous women before us and among us. I thought it was important for the girls to hear about this, not just from my perspective, but the perspectives of the strong females who they also know and love… their grandmothers, aunts, friends’ mothers, etc.

Let me first say that I was moved by all of the women who responded. My questions were met with enthusiasm, and several turned into dialogues. I was impressed by the time that was taken to respond and the knowledge and power that these women held. If I needed a dose of inspiration yesterday, there would have been no shortage… So, thank you to all of you lovely ladies who took the time to respond to me. I am so excited to share your words below. ❤ I am so proud to know you.

I was so excited to introduce this topic at the dinner table… to kick off Women’s History Month with my two beautiful littles and teach them about what it means to be a woman, the history of what women have and still overcome, and how to live in a society that seems to be regressing… it was a privilege. While I shared this two-page spread of information, I am proud to say that Adam sat next to me, engaging in the discussion with the girls, chiming in on important dates and supporting me in this discussion. I was impressed that they listened, engaged, asked questions, and even echoed their own knowledge of women in history and what they believe it means to be a woman. I heard my 9.5 year old use words like strong and proud. I could see her being inspired and empowered. I wondered if my 8 year old was paying attention at times, but when I revisited the discussion while tucking her into bed, I asked her what she learned… and to my surprise, she recalled some important and profound bits of information. It’s a start, I thought. I can’t wait to hear how their perspectives and input changes year over year.

I didn’t share with the girls my own countless experiences of being disrespected as women, passed up on job offers and projects, paid less than my male counterpart, silenced and talked over, discriminated while pregnant (and then some), stalked, cat-called, objectified, feelings of fear and vulnerability in certain situations merely for being a women, and all the in-between… but I do plan to share this with them when appropriate in the years to come because I think it’s important to draw off the stories and experiences of others, being called to expect higher standard than those who came before us, and stand in the privilege of being a woman.

With that, I will leave you with this quote, “Empowering women empower women.”… and young ladies…

On behalf of all my lovely ladies for sharing their thoughts and stories, I hope you enjoy their inspiring words (below) as much as I did!

You favorite highlights & monumental moments in history:

  • Women’s Right to Vote
  • Rosa Parks, 1950s civil rights activist (not just as a black woman, but a woman) who fought to dissuade the notion that women were to “be seen, not heard.”
  • Fair Wages – in the US, women are still paid less than men for the same job. Women’s rights activists are working, to this day, to change that.
  • Equality for all individuals, to include equal rights for women. The right to work and the right to get an education

Attributes required to take steps forward in women’s rights:

  • Strength
  • Courage
  • Inspiring
  • Natural nurturers
  • Motivator
  • Resilient
  • Vulnerability
  • Hard-working
  • Perseverance
  • Visionary
  • Vocal
  • Admirable
  • Empower
  • Leader

Advice from other strong women:

  • A woman should always stand up for her rights, and never allow a man to define her worth.
  • Women have to remain strong and active in their beliefs, and not be afraid to be different.
  • You have to work harder than men, but it will make you a stronger person.
  • Every woman should learn and understand the true meaning of “women’s suffrage.”
  • Don’t listen to the naysayers… keep moving forward.
  • Women have the right to work, get an education, and receive equal pay as men for the same job.
  • As a women, you deserve to be respected and regarded as equals to your male counterpart.
  • Never let your voice be silenced because you are a woman. Women are not meek, or inferior to men.
  • Throughout history, women have learned over and again that we will always encounter barriers to reaching our goals, more barriers than most men. Women have learned over and again that we will often be judged and doubted in the face of our goals. Throughout this history, women have persevered. We have conquered those barriers, overcome the judgements and doubtful friends and strangers, and we have become the women we once looked up to because of all the wonderful achievements of the women before us. We are teachers, presidential candidates, artists, activists, scientists, mothers, engineers, astronauts, environmentalists, flight attendants, pilots, economic developers, and so much more. So, whenever you feel doubt or judgement, and whenever you’re faced with a barrier, remember one thing: You are standing on the strength of all of the women before you and together we can do anything!
  • Women have had to fight harder to be heard – not just in countries where equality is just a pipe dream, but here too. We have an obligation, as women, to make our voices heard for those who do not have a voice.  During Women’s History Month- this is what we celebrate! Those that inspire, those that empower, those that educate, and those that sacrifice. Be like Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Supreme Court Justice – when something is wrong DISSENT – don’t be afraid to disagree – be strong in your convictions. Be like Malala Yousafzai- Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize winner – advocate for those around you who are not as strong.  Stand up for you, stand up for them. Be like Amelia Earhart – First female to fly solo across the Atlantic- forge new trails, do the things that you aspire to even if – especially if -people tell you that you can’t. Be like Rosa Parks – Civil Rights Activist – don’t let where you start or the things that happen to you determine where you will go or the impact you will make. Be like Wonder Woman – Fight like a girl and remember that you are stronger than you know, and braver than you believe. The most amazing women in the world think entrepreneurially- they know that they have the power to create their future, and make the future brighter for those around them.

What does “being a woman” mean?

  • Being willing to work very hard to improve the lives of not just ourselves, but everyone around us.
  • Being strong, kind, capable of making mistakes and rising above them, and having the ability to multi-task.
  • Being able to generate new life.
  • Being able to express feelings of joy, sorrow, happiness and sadness, and not be embarrassed to be vulnerable and talk about it.
  • A woman is a hard-worker who never gives up on her dreams and knows that she is capable of achieving her goals.


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Coping with Tragedies

There’s one notion that I can’t seem to let go unchecked… it’s been weighing on my mind so heavily for the last few days. This is the notion that we can be shamed into not talking about the tragedies that happen in our communities, our neighboring communities, our “grandmother’s best friend’s mom’s community.”

In the wake of what is happening across our nation, in our schools, and within our kids’ minds and hearts, we cannot be afraid to speak up or ask questions. On Valentine’s Day, we all learned of the tragic event that took place in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Growing up in south Florida – although never attending this particular high school – it hit close to home. Parkland is a small, beautiful and affluent community. I have several friends that have attended this high school. So, reality set in that this tragic event can happen any where and at any time and to anyone. Being a mother of two school-aged girls (8 and nearly 9.5 years old), this was a scary feeling. I had lots of questions: Why? How did this happen? Like… How was he allowed on campus when he is no longer a student? How did he get an AR-15 into the school without anyone noticing? Why hadn’t anyone voiced serious concerns when he posted such things on social media? How do you prepare children – especially young, innocent-minded children – for something so violent? How do you even begin to have such a heart-wrenching conversation?

Mulling over all of these questions and reading the Facebook posts of some of my south Florida friends and families, I came across a few seemingly shaming posts about how we shouldn’t make this event about ourselves, or how everyone “is trying to find some connection to this shooting.”

Listen up, the problem sits right here in those very statements. We are being shamed out of talking about difficult topics. We are being told that we can’t relate to this event – or feel deep sorrow and compassion about what took place in our own communities. Hell, I even saw a comment linking this to mental illness and assigning judgement to it. The mere fact that we are shaming people about mental illness or ascribing judgement to individuals who suffer from mental illness, in my opinion, should be a sign of mental instability – or at the very least fear or ignorance about it. There have also been several articles, social media posts, and comments laying blame to a political party because of access to guns. At this point, it’s beyond political. It’s personal. My readers: the next victim – or suspect – could be your child, your niece, or your best friend’s son. It could be your childhood teacher.

I think as individuals and parents it’s our job to ask these questions, to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It absolutely is our business and we should make this about ourselves and our own children or else we will be facing the same horrifying events as other parts of the country. Don’t let others silence you or shame you into speaking out and asking questions. Ask all the questions. Get involved. Talk to your kids. Talk to your child’s school administrator. Ask how this happened and how can we prevent it from happening again. A 19 year old walked into a school he wasn’t attending, with an assault rifle, without being detected. He took 17 lives. He crushed the hearts and souls of parents across the world. Let’s ask the questions.

My heart goes out to the families that were affected. ❤

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Happiness is a Moving Target

If you’re an introspective person, at some point in life you’ve asked yourself the question, What do I want?

What do you want out of life? For over a decade, when asked what I want out of life, my answer has always been “happiness” and inevitably there’s a follow up question about what happiness looks like to me or what will bring about happiness for me. This has lead me to modify my answer over the years to be, happiness… whatever that looks like. Kind of like saying, “whatever’s in my cards…”

Not many of us can truly articulate what will bring about happiness and for each individual, that answer is different. Quite often, we don’t really know what will bring about our own happiness. We merely guess towards objects or goals that are ultimately attainable such as a clean house, a better paying job, or a boat. But what happens when you’ve obtained that goal or item?

What I’ve come to learn is that I am not really seeking happiness… I am searching for joy.

Joy is the feeling of jubilation, a sense of renewed energy, and a feeling of safety and security (emotionally, physically, financially).  Joy comes from moments of happiness like celebrations, good news, or acts of love and kindness.

I’ve modified my answer to truly express what feeling I want to aim for each day because happiness itself can be a moving target from day-to-day. What might bring about happiness today (like tackling something heavy on your to-do list, getting a pedicure, or buying that gadget) may not promise you happiness tomorrow. It’s like the dream job that you’ve been chasing… once you obtain the job and assume the role, you are forced to then redefine happiness by whatever that next level of achievement will be. 

And while joy can fade in and out as you do your dance with life, your target will always remain the same… a feeling of pure and overwhelming jubilation.

~ always in search of joy ~

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The Leap

This time last year, I was doing one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I left a stable government job in a management position providing me a high salary, paid time off, and health insurance to realize a life-long dream of starting a consulting firm. It was one of the most free-ing but frightening things I’ve ever experienced. I felt a rainbow of emotions over the weeks leading up to handing in my resignation and the weeks following my actual departure… feelings of uncertainty and joy, worry and excitement, relief and possibility.

In the beginning, it took an unspeakable amount of courage and vulnerability on my part and the unwavering support on behalf of my loved-ones to keep me from getting “cold feet.”  It would take faith in myself, sacrifice, a few learning curves, mentorship from a brilliant-minded colleague, friends and family talking me down from my own fears, some late nights in the office, and some moments of sheer pride and joy.

Not everyone could understand my decision, and I think that’s quite normal, but we all have moments when you just know what you need to do, like a gut-instinct that you’re cut out for something greater or different. That moment for me was an almost constant nagging feeling during the last six months of 2016. I found myself in situations where the longing to make the leap tugged harder on my heart. I was presented with scenarios that filled me up with a sense of fulfillment at the mere thought. I was put in unfortunate positions that made me question my current role, my actual impact to the community that I served and the lack of ability to get anything done due to the proverbial government “red tape.”

It has been my experience that such a huge life-transition comes with a lot of highs and lows, and requires certain life skills, such as the ability to allow time for introspection, exercizing emotional intelligence, and creating professional boundaries. I suffered some blow-back from delivering the news of leaving for another opportunity, which made it all the more difficult because I am the type of person who takes on the responsibility of another person’s feelings. Not everyone was happy for me and, in fact, some made my last few weeks quite unbearable. There were moments when I didn’t feel safe in sharing my plans going forward. Unfortunately, delivering the news would lead to my final weeks being some of the most stressful and heart-wrenching moments in my career. I felt an obligation to my staff, my clients and their projects… and in some way, I felt a sense of guilt as though I was giving up on everything I worked hard for. I later learned that my leaving felt like a betrayal, which was not my intention. It took time to come to the realization that it was not my responsibility to carry their burden, because staying meant a betrayal to myself and my own dreams.

The month of January 2018 marks one year since I decided to finally make the leap, eventually handing in my resignation, and transitioning from public-sector (everything I’ve know in the last 15 years of my working life) to private-sector. I can’t say it has all been unicorns and rainbows but it has been fulfilling, exciting, freeing, and much more relaxing that I thought it would be. I’m only one year in, and while I spent my first year building up my business, identifying who I am as a brand and what I can offer my clients, these next few years will be focused on creating more opportunity to generate more joy, income, and quality of life while my girls are still young.

Is there something that you’ve been wanting to do, but you haven’t had the courage to take the leap? I want to hear from you in the comment section below!