image credit: ei1.com Ahhh Fall. It's the season for comfy sweaters, fabulous boots, spiced lattes and ... coming down with a nasty bug. Don't try to deny it - it's the truth! With less outdoor activity happening, and more time spent cooped up without fresh air, the germ game is on 100. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Staples, more than 73% of people catch the flu at work. I wasn't expecting to hear this stat because I was certain that it was our little petri dishes (i.e. kiddos) bringing the flu home from school. Turns out, it's our colleagues and co-workers that are sharing the germy love. The good news is that you can fight back with a strategy that might come as a surprise: Feng Shui. For guidance on how the art of Feng Shui can help keep my fellow entrepreneurs, small business owners and me healthy this flu season, I had the pleasure of speaking to expert Susan Chan of Feng Shui Creative. Susan started out as a graphic designer and also working in corporate event spaces -- it was during that time that she really embraced how our surroundings can affect us. Let me know if you can relate to this: you're trying your best to meet a deadline or create a piece of content, but you're completely distracted by the clutter on your desk or the lack of sunlight or feeling cramped. It happens to me too. Once Susan started implementing the concepts of Feng Shui, she started feeling a change internally and externally. image credit: decoist Here's how we can think outside of the box and take a total wellness approach: It's All About Energy Feng Shui is based on the seasons and elements. This is the time of year when our energy -- or chi -- contracts, and so it's important to achieve that perfect balance of energy flow. I found this tidbit to be so interesting: if the energy around you is moving too fast, you can't absorb all of the good energy; on the flip side, if it's too slow, then the energy stagnates. To help out the flow of energy in your space: Make sure to open windows and doors as often as you can (to allow the energy to move) Practice yoga or Qigong (to keep your energy flowing) Position your desk in a quiet space (to reduce overwhelm) Use uplighting (it pushes the energy upwards) -- even better if you are using full spectrum lights Embrace the Elements This probably won't come as a surprise but nature has a lot of the answers. Bring plants into your workspace (even if you can only swing a small one), since they are natural air purifiers. Susan also recommends that you introduce the colors of green and purple into your office space, which are considered wood elements. Lush and healing, wood elements bring the energy of vibrant health, vitality and growth to a workspace. Adding in some pretty rocks to your decor can also boost the energy as rock are considered earth elements. The Basics Do Work Regular hand washing and disinfecting surfaces really do make a difference. Even actions such … [Read more...] about Feng Shui the Flu Away with Staples
You know that feeling when you're on borrowed time? Well, I've felt that way for about a year now when it came to having help for my coaching business. Year before last I had a great assistant who did more than "assist" me; she pushed me to see and create things that I may never have done on my own. I am forever grateful for Ashlee! And then, destiny called and she was offered the job of her dreams and off she went to follow the yellow brick road. Because I am #blessed, I had my right and left hand, Jazzy, to step in and stand in the gap. For about a year, she juggled this workload for me on top of all of her other responsibilities. It was great because of how close we are how well she knows me and my M.O. But guess what happened a few months ago? Yup, destiny called again and Jazzy was off to pursue a new chapter in her story. And that's when sh*t got real. I had been ignoring the inevitable and therefore not preparing for it. So, here I was, help-less (literally) and scrambling to keep all of the balls in the air while figuring out my next move. Luckily someone else that I am lucky to have on my team was able to send several referrals my way for virtual assistants. Between those and some other acquaintances of mine, I was able to interview 6 different candidates for the role. They all had a variety of experience and qualities that they brought to the table, and I was able to narrow the decision down to two. But here was the question: Hire the one with the most experience but whose personality didn't really connect with mine, although she was perfectly nice; or hire the one who was fairly green but whose good energy I could sense through the phone? I mulled this over and over and asked friends and colleagues their opinion. This was a big decision as I want someone to be with me for the long haul and I become very attached to whom I'm working with. I also didn't want to be naive about it and to make the right choice, business-wise. But in the end, I went with my instinct - it's carried me this far, and I've been able to trust my gut more often than not. I remembered hearing at a conference once: "Hire for attitude, train for skill." And so I did. I ended up going with the one who has only been working in this capacity for under two years. But there was just something about her personality and spirit that made me feel at ease. She is high-energy, and a self-proclaimed fast learner. Also, her somewhat limited experience is in exactly the area that I need. I'm feeling good about this new addition to my support team, and thankful that my intuition strengthens with each decision that I make. Whereas I used to see it as a vulnerability, using my heart in my business is something that I now proud to put first. … [Read more...] about Hire the Person, Not the Skills
A few months ago, I was attending a parent meeting at my daughter's school where the principal was explaining their approach to academic placement, homework, and the middle experience in general. He said that his philosophy was that children should experience what he calls: "Productive Struggle." On the one hand, we want our children to be challenged and pushed to maximum potential; on the other hand, we don't want them to be challenged to the point of frustration and overwhelm, which can cause them to become disengaged and lose confidence. The happy middle ground, he suggested, is where they are being challenged, but also being successful and making progress. This is what he identifies as "productive struggle." When he said this, bells started going off in my head! I thought it was brilliant, while at the same time, being such a simple yet effective approach to learning. Ever since that evening, that term has stuck with me. I've mentally applied it to my children's participation in sports activities, and even selecting books at the public library. It works when considering troubled relationships too. I surprised myself, however, when I unintentionally applied it to a fellow entrepreneur (and adult)! She was lamenting how difficult keeping her business running had become, and was questioning whether it was time throw in the towel. It made me think: maybe the way to decide when it's quitting time is to determine when the entrepreneurial struggle is no longer productive. Being an entrepreneur is the opposite of easy. The "hustle" is glorified these days and those who are pursuing their passions and are quitting their day jobs and are on #TeamNoSleep are championed through an incessant amount of colorful quotes on Instagram. The truth is, being an entrepreneur is grueling - mentally, physically, financially, emotionally and more. (The ones who are honest will talk about these aspects too - not just that one time they had a 5-figure month or when Usher posted a pic of himself wearing their t-shirt on IG). Let's be real: those of us on the full-time entrepreneur grind probably question our sanity about once a week. Tweet It: Let's be real: those of us on the full-time entrepreneur grind probably question our sanity about once a week. SN: I was joking (sorta) with a fellow girl boss over text last week that sometimes I fantasize about working at the soft pretzel kiosk at the mall. Clock in. Serve pretzels. Clock out. Sounds glorious. But you know what keeps us at it? The fact that our Struggle has definite moments of Productivity. The good outweighs the bad. We have that bang-up month after barely breaking even for weeks. We land that client that we've been courting for months. We finally figure out a sales funnel that converts. We get a book deal. A media outlet asks to interview us. And so on. It's when we are stuck in an endless, fruitless struggle that might be the clue to re-evaluate. What that looks like? Only you can … [Read more...] about Is your entrepreneurial struggle no longer productive? A perspective.
Early last year, my friend Nyasha told me that she was going to her home country of Trinidad for Carnival in 2017. It took me about 11 seconds to decide that I was going too. Playing Mas at Carnival was already on my Life List and I was turning 40 in 2017 - what better time to go? I had lived in Trinidad as a toddler and my Dad was born and raised there, so I've always felt a deep connection to my Trini side. I sent out an email to my closest friends inviting them to go with me and letting them know in no uncertain terms, that this trip was happening - no excuses. As it turned out, my bestest friend ended up being the only one who joined me - The Hubs. I initially was bummed but, in hindsight, the trip was exactly as it should have been. He's my road dog, my adventure mate, my companion - and so, it was he and I that hit De Road for one of the most exhilarating trips of my life. The Music For the last two months, I'd been prepping for Carnival by listening to THE hottest Soca mix of the year - DJ Private Ryan's Soca Starter. The day it dropped, I got about 25 messages from friends sharing the link with me. By the time we touched down in Port of Spain, I was well-versed in every single one of the road tunes for the week! My favorites are (of course) Full Extreme by The Ultimate Rejects - this was BY FAR the winner during Carnival; and Workout by Kes featuring Nailah Blackman; and Big Girl Now by Patrice Robert; and Carnival Good Morning by Peter Ram + KI The Band. I could go on - there are so many great songs. And they alllll made up the soundtrack for our trip. By the trip home, we were joking that we'd have to detox from all the Soca music - please know that it's been 6 days since we've been back and we're still sneaking on YouTube every other day to get our fix. The Fetes LISTEN. The fetes (or parties) during Carnival are no joke! Locals literally start partying after the December holidays and continue through Carnival into March. I spent several weeks lining up our fetes and purchasing tickets to all-inclusive events. There are some that are hot tickets - one of which I was able to snag - but all are big fun. Since TingZNice's blog post about her fete experience in 2016 was so helpful to me, I wanted to pay it forward and share that our favorite fetes were Phuket All-Inclusive and Soca Brainwash Heaven. Sunny Side Up was decent, but I'm guessing ValeVibe would have been more our style. And I would definitely skip ROAST Cruise. The Parade(s) Whew! By the time Carnival Monday rolled around, I was nervous because I was already 75% spent and I knew I had two big days to be on the road in the parades. But because we did J'ouvert Morning [channelling the nation’s history and folklore in what was once a rebellion against slavery] with Mudders International AND HAD THE FREAKING TIME OF OUR LIVES, we didn't get back to the hotel until about 11am (from heading out to J'ouvert around 3:30am), we were exhausted and decided to take a well-earned … [Read more...] about Playing Mas in Trinidad Carnival: Checking a Major Item Off of My Life List!
Tomorrow women around the world are being encouraged to make a statement by participating in the #DayWithoutAWoman movement through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity. The circumstances are unfortunate, but I am truly emboldened by the swell of empowerment happening amongst women as of late. Earlier today, thanks to my friend Claudia at TrendyLatina, I learned of another campaign - the #EmbraceAmbition initiative - launched by Tory Burch and her foundation. Now, you already know I am a superfan of Tory, her business savvy, and the work she continues to do for women and girls, so it didn't take but a minute for me to Take the Pledge and download my Ambition Guidebook. The premise of the initiative is to inspire women to: own your power, your drive and your dreams. Yes Tory! Yasssss. Part of taking the pledge includes the opportunity to create a photo with a word that defines your drive. There were several to choose from (and you can even choose your own), but I decided to go with "Visionary." Here's why... I'm an idea person. I mean, buckets and buckets full of ideas! Not only do I conceive oodles of crazy concepts, but I also endeavor to make them come to fruition. Back in 2010, I worked with a career coach who assessed my characteristics and concluded that I'm one of those rare people who is both a creative and someone who executes. There is also rarely a time when there is an idea that I don't think I can bring to life. Call it naive or insane, but whether it's a spill-resistant, stylish apron for moms or a business beach retreat pulled together in 8 weeks, I'm always up for the challenge. More importantly, I see the vision clearly and vibrantly. My work is all about helping women to embrace their ambition. From Blogalicious serving as a sisterhood and platform for multicultural women to elevate their media brands, to my coaching clients and Rockstar students via my Justice Fergie Lifestyle Media brand; my only goal is to help women design a life and career that they love and that makes them feel free. Over the last decade, I've been brave enough to leverage my gifts of event planning, relationship building, communications, and creativity to create brands and businesses that allows me to help women embrace their ambition, all while I'm embracing mine. Visionary. That's me. The word itself is a little pretentious, I'll admit. But we're being encouraged to own our power, right? So, I'm owning it. Visionary: a person with original ideas about what the future will or could be like. And boy do I have ideas. … [Read more...] about How I #EmbraceAmbition in Life and Business