A Seat At The Table

 

 

o-WOMEN-BUSINESS-facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

I grew up experiencing many, many situations where I was the only woman. Where I was the only person of color. Where I was the only one that came from a working class background.

The only one.

Do you have any idea how awful it is to know that when you speak some folks think you are speaking for an entire community or race of people? I was never allowed to make a mistake.  I was being judged by different standards.

It was exhausting…but speak I did.

Walking in the room was not enough. I also sat my ass down at that table and got comfortable. I did not sit at any table, I sat at the big table. The table where all the decision makers were. I sat down like I belonged, because I did.

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Validation Is For Parking

validation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People want to be validated. All of us. We want to be seen and heard. We want to be thought about and thanked. We want to be understood. Validation makes us feel accepted and reassured.

The need for validation is powerful. It can result in us over-servicing, worrying, trying to please everyone, and not feeling like what we offer at any given moment is enough.

The desire for validation is one of the strongest motivating forces known to man.

The need to be acknowledged can guide our choices. It may help to dictate who we love, where we live, and how we carry ourselves through the world. Western culture puts a great deal of pressure on us to look a certain way, to follow specific metrics for success, and to live a particular lifestyle.

We sometimes let the noise of institutions and other people drown out our own voices. We do it on social networks. We do it in meetings. We do it at the dinner table. We look to others to tell us what we should buy, eat, listen to, and read. We do it to not make waves and to get through. We must “like” stuff to be a part of the gang.

External validation feeeeeeeeels gooooood! So, so, so good.

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Speak Truth To Power

speak-truth

 

 

 

 

Truth. Honesty. Candor

I have been described as wholly, honestly, and unapologetically me. I have been told I am straight talking, generous, and compassionate.

I have also been called a hard, evil, mean bitch.

Yep, I am all of those things depending on who you talk to.

I like to speak truth to power, and in certain circles that is not welcomed or wanted. I value candor and I cultivate it in my work environment, as well as in my personal life.

Let’s make our lives easier by calling “bullshit” when it’s needed. (Do you hear me politicians in Washington, DC?)

I want to speak truth, and more importantly, I want to hear truth from those around me. Those that I am in the trenches with. Those I love and care for.  Those that I donate money to. The communities I support. The CEO’s I coach.

I want them to know that I will always cultivate a space for growth, connection, and ideas to flourish. This place cannot be created without candor.

The kind of truth created in this such places changes a culture.

This kind of truth can only occur in an environment where trust has been built and banked for hard times. When you feel organizationally or emotionally bankrupt, this reserve of trust among your friends, partners, donors, and community will help you through any difficult situation. It will give you the strength to tackle and overcome any obstacle.

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Where The Hell Have I Been?

 

typewriter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where the Hell Have I Been?

That is the question.

I know it’s been 11 months since I wrote a blog post. 334 days of radio silence.
I went dark, but I did not stop.
I have been around, but I have been working. Working with organizations, speaking, supporting individual clients, and facilitating Mastermind groups and retreats. I have been growing my business and doing work that has transformed communities. Work that at its core has transformed me. I have been working a lot of hours. A lot. I am proud of every single one.

The price I paid for doing such great work was that I did not get a chance to write. I have to admit that I missed it.
I never refer to myself as a writer. I have too many close friends that love writing. It is what they are here on this earth to do. As little children they dreamed of writing books, while I dreamed of protesting and starting revolutions. They loved words. I loved speeches.

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Turning Point

2014-03-10 20.20.23

Life is always at some turning point.~ Irwin Edman

When is that defining moment in time?  THAT moment.  The one that changes everything.

You know you need to do something: save money, lose weight, start a new program, go back to school, etc.

You have done the research and you have all the knowledge needed to get the job done.

But you have not pulled the trigger.

You know that you should have quit your job three years ago, but you did not.

 

This is the point at which a significant change occurs. This is THAT moment.

How do you know this is the moment you have been waiting for?

You FEEL it.

I have heard this process referred to as See-Feel-Change.

When we FEEL the effects of our decisions, then we can change.

When we FEEL the personal consequences of a problem and we can point out the real people that may suffer from our lack of movement, then we change.

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Like A Boss

like a boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

 

Like A Boss is one of my favorite sayings. When I used “The Google” to research the origin of the phrase, I found the following:

Like A Boss is a catchphrase often used in image macros or GIFs that feature a person completing an action with authority and finesse. It was first used on SNL as part of a skit and went viral soon after. You can learn more here.

I always use this phrase when I see someone taking on a big challenge, pushing themselves in a new arena or doing something with amazing gusto and passion.

At the core of this phrase is an important life lesson: No matter who is paying us, we are each our own boss. Whether you are an independent contractor, a small business owner or a Fortune 500 employee – YOU ARE ULTIMATELY YOUR OWN BOSS. You are in charge of your career, your professional development, your continued learning.

We have to do it all – like a boss.

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hard-work-vs-talent-quote

 

Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work – and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.

Lucille Ball

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/lucillebal127077.html#VRew9aut2hT7Qt08.99

 

Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work…”
— Albert Einstein

 

 

 

I am not athletic. I don’t watch sports nor do I play any, but I am fascinated by the athlete mentality.

Athletes are amazing. Some have incredible natural talent and for various reasons  never live up to potential, while others are so-so  with the talent but go on to become legends. LEGENDS

How?

Athletes striving for success play the long game. They understand that the only way to achieve greatness is through the slog. There is beauty and grace in the slog. There is pain and disappointment in the slog. The slog of learning to throw the ball better, learning to shave points off of your time, practicing 1000 free throws every day.

Nobody is talented enough to not have to work hard.

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Work hard. Be nice

 

HARD-WORK

 

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.

-Sam Ewing

 

Work Hard. Be nice.  I first heard this phrase from the folks at the Knowledge is Power Program -KIPP.

My mom taught me this lesson in a million ways. Follow the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.  Karma.

But these 4 words “Work hard. Be nice” encompass how I want to live every day of my life and what I hope comes through clearly in my work. I understand this directive on a visceral level.

Work hard.  Be nice.

KIPP, a national network of free public charter schools, share a core set of operating principles known as the Five Pillars. They strongly emphasize character building in everything they do. They see the development of character as being just as important as learning geography or geometry. Character development is just as important to long-term success as learning to write code or use a video camera. Just as important as being an excel master or a good copy editor.

The smartest creatives aren’t the ones that sit alone, creating the perfect product. Whether they are writing the next great American novel or creating the next big tech tool, they create a strong community where they can test and learn – where they can release their work to the world. They create a lab of learning that allows them to finish what they start – even when it’s not perfect, and share it with the world – even when they don’t feel ready.

They SHIP constantly.  They SHIP consistently. They SHIP early. They SHIP often.

Are you willing to ship something 10,000 times before you get it right?  Thomas Edison was.   It requires incredible focus to remain faithful to an idea, and uncompromising strength to ship that idea 10,000 times!

Strength of character helps make this happen. It builds an attitude and mindset that is courageous and resilient. It is about the attitude that allows you to seek, strive, find and never yield.

So the importance of hard work is pretty obvious. But why do you have to be nice?

Being positive and upbeat can influence everyone around you, and so can being negative.  Let’s just be clear…mean people suck.

While you may not be able to help it if you are having a bad day or if you don’t like doing a particular task, changing your attitude changes everything. Complaining will only make time drag on when doing an unpleasant task. Being unpleasant while you are doing something that you hate makes it a million times worse.  No one wants to work with, collaborate, support, partner with or engage with an unpleasant person.

No one – no matter how much talent you have.

Being a pleasant person helps every day. It increases your energy and your community which helps increase your opportunities…so you can do more work. Humor, fun, laughter and kindness are the ultimate acts of creativity. Being nice helps you share your gifts and talents with a wider, broader, deeper audience.

 Work hard. Be nice. Love wins.

KIPP schools share a core set of operating principles known as the Five Pillars: – See more at: http://www.kipp.org/our-approach/five-pillars#sthash.3TLTp7F0
KIPP schools share a core set of operating principles known as the Five Pillars: – See more at: http://www.kipp.org/our-approach/five-pillars#sthash.3TLTp7F0.dpuf
KIPP schools share a core set of operating principles known as the Five Pillars: – See more at: http://www.kipp.org/our-approach/five-pillars#sthash.3TLTp7F0.dpuf
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When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.

John Lennon

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnlennon110323.html#XwRMH4sXd30W7H3a.99

When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.

John Lennon

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnlennon110323.html#XwRMH4sXd30W7H3a.99

When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.

John Lennon

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnlennon110323.html#XwRMH4sXd30W7H3a.99

“When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly helppleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me’ — you just scream.” – John Lennon

When was the last time you asked for help?

Take your time. I will sit right here and wait.

*Cue Jeopardy theme music*

Was it last week? Last month? Last year?

I know some of you are thinking — why is she talking about asking for help? I want to learn more about grit. Come on Desiree, teach me the secret to becoming grittier!

Here is a secret: One of the fundamental building blocks of grit is understanding that asking for, and accepting help, does not equate to weakness. It is really a strength. A strength that expands your network and opens you up to increased opportunities.

Movies, books and games teach us that a hero will gain the highest praises and glory if he or she faces “impossible” problems and magically overcomes them on his or her own. Slays the dragon…enters the dark cave…sails across the ocean. We should all be able to handle everything in life without help. Every aspect of our life should be perfect.  Our marriage, our jobs, our kids, and our home. “Look at the big “ S” on HER/HIS chest. They do everything perfectly.”

I call bullshit.

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The Net May Not Appear

Self-Doubt

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

Dale Carnegie

Doubt is that voice in the back of your head that tells you cannot do something. No one is immune to this voice; some just hear it louder than others.

 Doubting is a natural human response to any unfamiliar situation. But self-doubt is about us.

Sometimes self-doubt sounds like a former teacher or lover. Sometime it sounds like a sibling or a parent. Sometime it sounds like our boss or a colleague.

Most time self-doubt actually sounds like our own voice.  Doubt sounds like our past failures and our fears. It feels like self-criticism and self-judgment and it’s an old coat that we get incredibly comfortable wearing.

Doubt hurts our life. Because at the bottom of doubt sits one agonizing nugget—the fear of making a mistake. Or should I say the fear of making another mistake.  Somewhere along the way we made a mistake and society told us to never, ever do that gain.

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