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.
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
Did you watch The New Edition Story on BET last week? I sure did! And I enjoyed every second of it. After the finale day, I went to sleep and, as my mind tends to do, I started thinking of the strategic lessons to be learned from Ralph, Ricky, Bobby, Michael, Ronnie and Johnny, and so I thought I'd share them with you. So here they are: image credit: Variety.com ONE. Let your fear drive you to find another way. We have Bobby to thank for this one! Remember when he competed in his first talent show and caught a killer case of stage fright? He could have decided right then and there that the showbiz life was not for him. But, instead, because he knew deep in his heart that he was an entertainer and that he had a gift for the world to see and hear, he got creative. Bobby rounded up his boys to create a group so that he wouldn't have to face the stage alone. Not only was that extremely strategic on his part, but he also was acknowledging his own shortcomings and giving himself a way to get around that roadblock. Little did he know, a musical sensation of a group was about to be birthed thanks to his roadblock. And? once his confidence was built up and he got to a place where we was comfortable in his skin, Bobby went solo. And that was all she wrote! Apply it! Is there something you're scared to do in your life or your business right now? Try taking a step back and looking at the challenge creatively. What other ways can you take in order to get to your goal destination? It will take some soul searching and being honest with yourself, but if there's a will, there's a way. Tweet it: How can I conquer my "stage fright"? Bobby Brown started a group. What's my fear and the creative solution? #StrategyMagic by @justicefergie TWO. You can't go it alone. Find the RIGHT person to help you win. What's the first thing the boys did once they decided to make their singing dream happen? They sought out a manager. Once they were under Brooke Payne's guidance, they began to take structure as a group and he was able to negotiate opportunities for them to advance their careers. Not only was Brooke there for them on a professional level, but on a personal level, too. So much so that their later record label hired Brooke to come back to work with New Edition when things were getting rocky. Even at a young age, the boys knew that they needed someone with the expertise and connections to help them along. As young adults, that same person would prove valuable to keep them on track. Apply it! Maybe you don't need a manager, per se. But do you have a mentor? An advisor? A coach? Someone to provide guidance and to open doors for you. Think of yourself and your gifts as "the talent" - what kind of "manager" could you benefit from? Tweet it: Don't underestimate the power of a mentor, advisor or coach in my business. I can't manage my talent alone! #strategymagic by @justicefergie THREE. Persevere. In the mini-series, we had a front-row … [Read more...] about Three Entrepreneurial Takeaways from The New Edition Story
I'm not even going to talk about the election. If you are Facebook friends with me then you know that I shared myself silly with articles and think pieces about how the end is near. I took the results pretty hard and I think my hyper-productive personality kicked in its protection mechanism in order to save me from shriveling up into a ball. [Stacey isn't at all dramatic. Said no one, ever.] That protection mechanism manifested itself in the form of launching a new business out of thin air in a matter of days. TBH, I had thought of the idea of creating specialty gift wrap before, but it was always just a fleeting thought because (a) who has the time, (b) I have zero experience in this lane, and (c) WHO HAS THE TIME. After hearing Arsha Jones' workshop during the Blogalicious Weekend 2016 VIP Mastermind Day, I started hearing a little voice that said: "just do it." And so I did. Check me out on Shopify. I'm having such fun with it and the reception has been fantastic. Case study on how I made it happen coming next... … [Read more...] about When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Creative: Introducing Fetti Wrap!
Doesn't it seem like every public figure is writing a book these days? From Arianna Huffington to LaLa Anthony to T.D. Jakes to Steve Harvey. It's hard to know which ones are strictly publicity stunts and which ones are truly worth your time and money. After catching T.D. Jakes on Oprah's Lifeclass last May sharing his experience writing Instinct, I literally bought the book that night. He was down-to-earth and inspiring and completely sold on the concept of intuition, in which I am a firm believer. I brought the book with me when we traveled to Miami and read the entire thing in 2 plane rides. I found myself highlighting passages left and right and feeling like the book was written for me. There are so many smart concepts in the book - none of which are rocket science, but all of which make perfect sense as applied - but one in particular did it for me: The demand isn't as significant as your purpose. When I read that it was a standstill moment for me. The demand isn't as significant as your purpose. I'm busy. I'm overextended. I burn the candle at both ends (and often in the middle). I constantly feel like people are pulling at me from all directions, wanting and needing things from me. Kids, friends, clients, parents, followers, team members, WHOMEVER. And it's easy to get stressed out and exhausted and to contemplate throwing in the towel and getting a job at the mall. [Go ahead and laugh. I'd be the best damn retail associate you'd ever meet. But I digress.] So when I read those words, I had an immediate shift in perspective. Yes, I may feel like I'm always 'in demand' but that stress is not as important as the reason why I'm here. My purpose will always outweigh the pressures of the work. Wow Pastor Jakes. Ok, I hear you. My response to all of that stuff is what really matters. The other thing about that excerpt? It literally sets the stage for brand building: chart your course (create your blueprint/plan of action); stabilize your process (research, test and implement systems); organize your assets (play to your strengths; use what you already have; get prepared). These are the things leaders do. Everyone else? Complains and misses out on the opportunity presented. Ouch. There are oh-so-many gems in this book. Give it a read [disclosure: affiliate link] and let me know what you think. … [Read more...] about Smart People: T.D. Jakes and “Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive”