Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.

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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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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!


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Comfort is the Enemy of Progress

Last night I went to see The Greatest Showman in theaters with some friends. First of all, let me just say this was an incredible movie! Whether the character was a true depiction of the actual man or not, P.T. Barnum is an individual that doesn’t give up on his dreams, no matter what unfortunate circumstances arose. He believed in his dreams, and in something bigger than himself. He didn’t give up on his pursuit despite what was considered unfavorable or unpopular. He believed in others even when they didn’t believe in themselves. He saw the bigger picture. And… he knew that what he needed to do in order to see his dreams through would require him to think outside the box and step outside of his comfort zone. After the movie, a quote from P.T. Barnum lingered on my mind, “Comfort is the enemy of progress.”

Stepping out of our comfort zone requires us to step outside of ourselves. If we are going to strive for progress, whether professionally or personally, we have to get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable. This isn’t easy for everyone. For someone like me, who is self-prescribed introvert, this can be difficult. Stepping out of our comfort zone requires extra effort, energy, and sometimes forced experiences. It requires us to set aside our fear and be vulnerable. We have to be willing to try something new, different, difficult, or even something that’s never been done before. We have to put ourselves out there – trusting in ourselves and trusting others with our most vulnerable self. It’s a frightening thought. What if we get it wrong? What if we look silly? Will it be worth it in the end? Will I stand alone? What if I fail? Oh but, what if I succeed and evolve? 

That feeling of fear reminds you that you’re still alive. The worry of not knowing what to do when you get there reminds you that you have more room to grow and learn. The frightening feeling of being exposed and vulnerable reminds you that you’re not alone and that you’re human. What’s more exciting than knowing you haven’t quite reached your full potential…. that this great state you already exist in is only just the tip of the iceberg… and that even as magnificent as you are right now, it is only a glimpse of the incredible potential still within you?

What are some things you have been avoiding because it’s outside of your comfort zone? What has fear kept your from pursuing? I’d love to hear from you, so leave a message below in the comments!




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Are you in the arena, or the stands?

When we decide to make some major quality of life changes, there will always be those individuals that don’t understand our motives, and even worse – criticize what they don’t understand. Here’s the thing: unless these critics are down in the arena with us, they can’t possible comprehend or appreciate the what and why of our strategy. Criticism holds no weight from the stands.

I’ve recently decided to make some hefty quality of life changes, starting with my place of employment. When you reach a point of little-to-no fulfillment, and can’t seem to find the joy in what you do, or begin to see people or places as toxic environments – then it’s time to think about making a change.

That’s where I found myself. I knew something had to change, yet I stuck around for about six months longer than I should have. I felt the desire to break free from the toxic and unfulfilling work environment, and to find a more meaningful direction. I didn’t need to change my career path, I just needed to shifted my focus… I needed to narrow-in on exactly what drew me to the profession in the first place. The people. The community. The relationship between the two.

So, I took the dive. Thanks to all of those who were in the arena with me. They got it. They understood my passion, and my drive. They had an appreciation for what I wanted to accomplish, and they stood behind me 110%. The support and encouragement that I received from those in the arena with me – setting out to achieve the same fulfillment and happiness that I sought – held more weight than those of the critics in the stands, who just couldn’t see my vision.

In addition to a more rewarding career, I wanted more quality time with my daughter, flexibility in my schedule, and time to focus on my health, which was taking a very sharp decline and fast. I’m only one month in and there are still some adjustments to be made, and still some fine-tuning to be done – but overall, I find myself in a more consistent and jovial mood. I’ve been able to focus on what’s important in life, and make my career align with my values. Even better, I have more control over my health and stress-levels.

So, stay in that arena, find your teammates, fuel one another and go for the goal. Pay no mind to the critics in the stands for they’re not on the field with you; they have no stake in the game.

(Helpful reminder: Judgement is just a mirror through which people see their own insecurities reflected back at them. When you find someone judging you, it might help to remember that they’re may be feeling insecure about the qualities they may lack, such as the courage to pursue the unknown.)

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Hey you go-gettin-son-of-a-gun!

Nothing stops you. You’re on a mission, a mission for change or advancement, or maybe it’s realignment with your dreams and desires. Nothing is going to stop you… If you can just figure out where to start.

Paralysis is a challenge we all face. We have a vision but we struggle to execute it. I’ve been there and it can be a long process, so let me offer a quick guide that I developed a few years ago.This guide has helped me quickly identify what I want, why I want it, and how to get there. 

Dive into the meat of your desires and chart your course of action by answering these ten questions. When you answer these questions, remember to dig deep. 

  1. What do you want? (The feeling you’re seeking: To feel love; to be happy; feeling of fulfillment)
  2. What does it look like? (How it translates into action: A new job; break up with that lousy partner; moving to a new community)
  3. Why do you want it? (What will it accomplish; how will it move you closer to achieving your desire? What will it mean for you?)
  4. How will you feel when you get it? (Accomplished, relief, free, happy)
  5. What’s holding you back? (These are typically emotional or resource-based: Money, time, support, fears, limiting beliefs)
  6. What are you tolerating? (List them all!! Is it someone, something, maybe even yourself?)
  7. What can you control? (Internal vs external – list only what you can control because these are the only areas you can effectuate change)
  8. What needs to change? (Identify what HAS to change to move forward, both short term and long term)
  9. What changes are you willing to make right now? (Incrementalism is key, so start with the easy stuff and work through the rest.)
  10. Who can you enlist for support? (Find at least one person who believes in you and your vision. Ask him/her to hold you accountable.)

The final step is take action

Don’t be a dud in a sky of fireworks. 

Much love. 

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For the love of people…

Love is blind.

Blind is the inability to see… things like hate and judgement.

Hate and Judgement stems from fear.

Fear is a lack of understanding or knowledge. Ignorance.

Fear is the opposite of Love.

The absence of fear leaves empty space.

Empty space is a void.

Space = more room for love.

Therefore, fill void with love.

Love without expectations.

Expectations is wanting to control an outcome.

Outcomes are simply experiences and lessons, neither to be perceived good or bad.

Perception is the choice to see things differently.

Choice is the ability to see other options.

Choose to see love.