5 Ways To End 2017 With A Bang

The other day I looked at the calendar to check my availability for a speaking engagement. I’m a little old school in that I use a hard copy planner along with my phone calendar to keep me organized. As I flipped all the way to reach November, it hit me…this year is practically over! The “planner” in me caused my anxiety to rise because I then mentally began to list all the things I want to accomplish before we ring in the new year and things I want to set in motion for 2018. I don’t have a sad story about 2017, this year has been beyond amazing for me and I’m believing God to do it again.

I complied this short list of a few things you can do to end 2017 on a high note, no matter where your current dial on the happiness scale is:

  1. Create a gratitude list

Come on, I know you can think of at least 10 things you are grateful for. Reflect on 10 answered prayers you received, even if it was as small as no cars in the Starbucks drive-thru on the day you were running late. Possibly you lost a few pounds, saved a few coins, or got a chance to spend time with your aging grandparent. Bottom line, God is too good for you not to say “Thank Ya!”

2. Pick up a book

Ok, not just any ole book, but a book that will challenge your thinking, level of faith, and current lifestyle. During your selection process consider the areas you are hoping to grow the most in 2018. For you 2018 may be the year that you finally get your money right, consider Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover or my girl Patrice Washington’s Real Money Answers for Every Woman book. Or maybe you want your dinner table to have more of a variety than the usual spaghetti, tacos, and baked chicken.  You’ve got to check out Ayesha Curry’s The Seasoned Life. This year the ministry leaders at New Life read through, “The Emotionally Healthy Leader“, this is a great read for someone who is seeking emotional wholeness. Ok, ok, ok, one more…looking to get your faith on fleek?? ANYTHING by my boy Mark Batterson is going to help you get your whole life. Bottom line, I want you to stretch yourself.

3.  Make a mends

People are going to be people, so let them be! 2018 is not the year to bring drama with you. It’s time to put on your big girl panties and forgive that person for every shady thing they did to you and said about you. Confiscate that energy and invest it somewhere else. Did you know that unforgiveness wears on you? It occupies mental square footage where love and positivity could reside? Whether they fess up or not, take your happy with you into 2018 and leave the offense behind. For a little relief consider taking the time and write a letter to the person. You don’t have to give it to them, at least you have released the hurt and expressed your feelings about the situation. Watch how liberating it will be once you release and make a mends.

4. Do something you have never done before

I like this idea because it’s a challenge, well all of them are but you get my point. For one it will make you sit and think about what has yet to be in your life. Then it will cause you to have a new experience to stick in your 2017 memory book.  Now this decision doesn’t have to be brain surgery, it can be as small as writing a check for $1,000,000 to yourself (see how that feels :), ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, research your family tree, or try a new hair style. Be sure to live your life and not just exist. I’m thinking about adding some color to my hair, maybe auburn or blonde highlights? You never know, you might just start a new tradition.

5. Bless somebody’s socks off

Making someone’s day has an innate way of sending warm fuzzies right up your spine. This action of love will cause you to be thoughtful and utterly used by God. Think of a person who you know has had a rough year. Consider an elderly neighbor or family member to bless. Maybe your child’s teacher could really benefit from a cash gift. Take some time to pray about it and I am certain the Lord will direct you to the exact person whom your actions will become an answered prayer.

It’s nearly 11 weeks left in 2017, enough time to check off all five of these items from the list. I’d love to hear what you plan to do and what you have come up with on your own.  Come on, let’s end this year with a bang!

Please share your comments below.

Lessons Learned

Just a few days ago I traveled a little over 150 miles to my college town of Fresno, CA . The trip was for the first stop on my Dream Chaser Book Tour. I was extremely excited to take the message of my book on the read, engage with reads, and inspire a few folks. As nearly every experience does, it teaches you something. Either about yourself or others. Here are a few lessons I learned from the trip.

 

1. Don’t be cheap
Ok, I have to admit, I can be pretty cheap sometimes. Now I don’t like to compromise on quality, but if I can find it for cheaper or cut a corner I just may. What can I say, I like to save a dollar here and there. At times it costs me in the end, whether in time or money. But let’s just say “I’m learning”. Long story short when I placed a reorder for my books I opted for the regular shipping instead of paying an additional $40 for the expedited. But come on $40 is alot of money…right? Plus the last time I placed a reorder of my books, they arrived around 3 days quicker than what was quoted. I was certain this order was going to follow the same schedule. To my surprise when I received the tracking information, it read that my package would arrive on Saturday…in Oakland. Did I mention my event was in Fresno? At that moment I wished I would had sent it directly to the venue, but there was still no telling what time on Saturday the books would arrive. After numerous calls to UPS, it came down to the fact the package was already on a truck and it could not be rerouted until it arrived on Saturday.

 

Can you guess what was now my only expensive option? Yes, to place yet another order of books and have them shipped Next Day. Needless to say the second order ended up costing me twice the amount of the first. I took it all in strides like Dream Chasers do, promised myself to never risk it again and went on to have a successful book discussion/signing. The books ended up arriving in Fresno on Friday night so, hey at least the mission was accomplished.

2. God knows what you need
The original plan for the Fresno stop of the book tour was to leave in the morning since the event didn’t begin until 2pm and have someone accompany me. After my husband expressed his desire to attend as well, the thought of my boys for once being able to see me in action crossed my mind, and an offer for breakfast in bed from a Soror my plans changed. One of my dearest sorority sisters texted me saying she would love if my family could be their overnight guests. Her and husband have a 5-year old son so it worked perfectly for the boys. Plus, we were in need of some good old fashion family fellowship. When we arrived she had dinner prepared, Wii setup for the boys, our guest suite outfitted as if we were staying at a hotel, and did I mention we got to sleep in while the kids watched TV in their PJs while she flipped pancakes? In my mind I wanted to come to Fresno do the book discussion and hit the road. But isn’t it like God changing your plans and giving you what you need. Needless to say, I was grateful for the hospitality, laughs, and rest. Thank you sweet baby Jesus!!

3. Power of partnership
While I know many people in Fresno almost 60% of the attendees were guest of my event partners; Seasoned Trends (the host venue) and my sorority sister who acted as my event coordinator. The sad truth is sometimes those that know you feel like “they know you and know your story”. Having a fresh audience was a great opportunity to grow my following and support of the book. I can be honest and say if I had went at this event independently, it would not have been as successful. When you are able to reach out your hand and collaborate with the right people the results can be outstanding. I was thrilled to see the familiar faces in the crowd, but our collaboration expressed one of the very elements I support full heartily and that is women empowerment. The women who just so happened to walk in for an eyebrow waxing was exposed to the inspiration within Dream Chaser. This is why the proverb “two is better than one” is so true.

5. Define success for yourself

Some people define success by many measuring sticks. Originally I had in mind that success meant selling every single book I had hauled into the venue. While I was left with just about a dozen or so on hand, a win this time was answering a question someone had been wrestling with. Success meant helping others see the barrier that was preventing their dreams to come true. Success was having my husband and boys with me supporting the work that I do. No longer will my bottom line always be the bottom line. I was given another opportunity to share my gift, practice my craft and be a blessing. And that my friend is a SUCCESS!!

What life lessons have you learned lately? Share below…

Next Steps

 

Whether you attended The Power of Her Brunch or not, we all need to be equipped with action steps once we’ve encountered such great inspiration and positivity.

I’ve heard from many of you by way of social media, personal encounters, or the survey how amazing the brunch experience was for you. I want you to use that momentum and energy in a positive way the yields real results. Because in the end if inspiration doesn’t lead you to action the experience becomes more of an emotional high than a life changing experience.

So I want to encourage you to take action in any of the following ways so you can put your dreams in motion.

 

#1 Create a vision board

While I know this isn’t a new phenomenon, many times our vision has to be reignited and realigned. But be real, do you actually have an updated vision board visibly posted where it can motivate you daily? When you heard the guest speakers speaking or witnessed the plethora of small businesses in action in the vendor room. Did you envision yourself being there? Did you visualize the products or services you’ve been wanting to launch displayed on a table. Sketch it out. Find pictures. Re energize your passion so you can create some forward movement.

 

#2 Check Your Tribe

In my new book, Dream Chaser, I’ve dedicated an entire chapter to this notion. When going after your dreams you can not do it alone. More importantly you have to take inventory of those around you. Are you the only one in your circle that is striving for more? When you suggest to attend life giving events instead of Happy Hour do they turn their nose up at you? When you voice your dream and ambitions are they more pessimistic or encouraging? Not only do you need peera on your level, I highly suggest you find a mentor who has been there and done that.

 

#3 Recap Your Notes

I never sit in an audience without my pen and pad or taking notes on my phone. You never know when something profound or enlightening will be said. My dad always says, “It’s better to have a long pencil, than a short memory.” So if you took notes, go back and review what you wrote down. Was it the debt busting tips from Naseema? The time wasters I mentioned. Or how about when Ryan said, “since I couldn’t get a seat at the table, I created my own table.” The statement confirmed exactly what I have been considering.

#4 Follow Up

Hopefully you weren’t playing it shy, but took the initiative to meet someone new at the brunch. Before names dissipate from your memory, be sure to connect on social media with someone you met. One of the greatest comments I hear from attendees is how all the women present were so nice and friendly. You never know who is in the room and might be the missing link to your next step. If you haven’t joined our Facebook Page click here to join and see who you will meet.

In it all my hope is that you had an amazing experience at The Power of Her Brunch 2017. I pray fear from taking action steps was silenced. I hope your vision was reignited and that you better understand the power of women coming together to support one another.

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Until next time!

 

 

 

Why Vision Matters

Helen Keller, the blind American author, political activist, and lecturer once said; “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Ouch! How sad is that? The thought of going through life with the ability to see, but you can not see any further than what meets your eye?

When a woman has vision she is able to see beyond her current circumstances. When vision is alive in the lives of people hope can be ignited. I will go out on the limb and say, the day you stop being a visionary is the day you die. When you see with vision you view life with expectation. You are expecting things around you to change. Vision not only aides the person seeing, it also brings hope to those around you. While your brother may only see himself as unemployed and undereducated your vision for a better life for him helps him to create a new portrait for his life. Your vision is so powerful that it has the potential to change the lives of others.

So, let me ask you a question. What area of your life are you not utilizing vision? Does your job seem exactly that, just a job? Or do you view your role as a stepping stone to your next place of achievement. Do you envision the work you do to be life changing and making a difference in another person’s life? Do you have a vision for your family? Or have you limited your legacy to the mere letters in your last name. We have all heard the popular proverb, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

For this reason, I wanted to gather as many women as possible to The Power of Her Brunch to help ignite and fine-tune your vision. It’s amazing because many of the vendors that will be onsite, I remember when their businesses were just ideas. The panelists’ stories of success and failure will be motivators for you to believe in the vision God has given you. Another one of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 27:17  which says, “iron sharpens iron”. You can not expect to be a sharp piece of steel if you only associate with brittle wood pieces. It brings me joy that the brunch draws like-minded women who are supportive, encouraging, and are all aiming higher to reach their destiny.

Today, I want you to begin articulating, penning, and stretching your vision. When vision is burning in the inside of you, you will never settle for what life throws at you. Visionary women will use the little they have and make it much. They will gather what resources and ideas they have to fulfill their purpose. Be encouraged to know the vision that lies inside of you is bigger, deeper, and more powerful than what you could imagine on your on.

Leave your comments and visionary stories below.

Why I’m Crushing on Ayesha Curry

I’ve always admired Ayesha Curry from afar, maybe first because she’s a visibly supportive wife to a high profile athlete and as a pastor’s wife I think there is a similar burden we carry. Of course mine shrinks in comparison, but you get my point. The requirement to gracefully walk along side a man in the spotlight that has influence, equally sharing in their highs and low moments, unhealthy expectations imposed onto our families, and the weight of the public eye.

Yesterday I got the pleasure to attend a talk with Ayesha about her newly released cook book, “The Seasoned Life” which you should run out and get. It’s more than a cookbook, but holds personal stories and recipe inspiration. The event was interview style hosted by an award winning chef/restaurant owner.  Audience members were able to be a part of the conversation by submitting question for Ms. Curry to answer. Can you guess whose question she answered first?? MINE!! Not only did she answer it, but inquired with the audience to see who asked the question. Loud and proud I stuck up my hand and bamm…we dialogued about cooking foods that children enjoy, how to get them excited about food and including them in the process. She said, “messes can be cleaned up” which is so true and one of the reasons I keep my 5 and 7 year old out the kitchen. The memories and life skills I’m engraining in them is way more important than the occasional pool of oil that finds it’s way on the floor instead of in the mixing bowl.

Some might say I’m star struck, but there is more weight to the story and for the following reasons, I’m crushing even harder on Ayesha Curry:

1. She left her comfort zone

Let’s be real, being the wife of a two-time NBA MVP and National Champion with endorsement deals up the ying yang, can offer a pretty comfortable lifestyle. A life where private chefs, exotic vacations, weekly spa visits and anything your heart desires can become the norm. Something has to be said about a woman who can venture out on her own path to fulfill the passions’ of her own heart, knowing she really doesn’t have to lift a finger for the rest of her life if she didn’t want to. In a world where women clamor for wealthy men to “wife them up” in order to have the good life it’s amazing to see her venture out and carve a path of her own, leaving the shores of comfort for something greater.

2. No one gave her anything

I don’t know every detail of her life, but what I can appreciate is that it’s not like Ayesha is riding on the coat tail of her husband. She is standing on her own two feet and has made this journey a process. It didn’t start with a book from the gate, but began as a simple blog and occasional YouTube videos, just like many others grow their audience and share their gifts. She remained true to her passions and what gave her life. In a world where people are famous for no reason besides having a bad body, starring in a sex tape, or the external, it’s great to see a woman who is rightfully earning every one of her stripes.

3. She’s being a light

It’s funny because this week I’ve been spending extra time meditating on the scripture Matthew 5:16 that talks about letting your light shine for God. It reads, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Wanna guess the name of Ayesha’s blog?? “This Little Light of Mine” 🙂 That is what it’s all about letting Christ shine through us so people can be drawn to Him. She candidly shares about her faith and always points all the glory back to God. We live in a culture that esteems being “self-made” and credits everyone but God, so seeing someone confess the opposite is a beacon of light that I think God is pleased with. I believe their family has been trusted with this amazing grace so God can be glorified in them. When you can so easily answer questions with a political undertone or render a safe answer, Ayesha rides for the King!  Remember this post game interview, when trying to explain Steph’s stellar performance that night? Her single answer, “It’s God!” This is something we as believers should feel confident and empowered to do all the time. Let your light shine brighter and brighter especially when darkness is all around you.
 4. She’s a Proverbs 31 woman

No, she isn’t the only Proverb 31 woman walking around, but it is refreshing to see a mainstream public figure possess qualities of the virtuous woman noted in Proverbs 31. For starters…

v. 11-12 & 28 She is a blessing to her husband (it’s so cute when Steph publicly thanks Ayesha)

v. 13 She is skilled (the girl can throw down, that cook book is filled with gems!)

v. 25 She possess strength and dignity (You’ve got to when dealing with critics and nay sayers)

v. 24 She’s an entrepreneur (olive oil, books and even a restaurant in the works;)

v. 30 She’s a God-fearing woman (unapologetically)

v.31 Her gifts are making room for her (the world is her oyster and I’m so happy to see the beginning of something great)

Now I’m not into making people into idols, but we need positive examples of womanhood in our society. Join me in rooting Mrs. Ayesha Curry on to continued success and the protection and blessing of her family. Now, if I can just get her to be a part of my 2017 The Power of Her Brunch!

Please comment below!

#teamcurry

Your Dream is Worth the Work

Isn’t it funny how teachers, counselors, well meaning adults and even some of our friends would enthusiastically ask “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or, “Tell me about some of your dreams.” That question was probed with possibility and exceeding hope. The inquirer probably saw something hidden within you or suspected you were formed with greatness in mind. Whether you listed off the most impressive professions, the occupation of your parents, or stretched your mind to see yourself as a trailblazer or pioneer, the fact remains that it costs you NOTHING to dream, but the work to achieve your dream has a price tag. Everyone has a dream, but the question remains, is everyone willing to put in the work to see that dream into reality?

Many of you are working and don’t even know it. Work is not always merely the act of which you perform to make money. The work God is looking for you to undergo are sometimes in the following ways.

1.Rejection

Sometimes “the work” comes in the form of enduring a ton of rejection. No after no after no you must persevere through until you receive that one YES that could change your life forever. Have you ever wondered how many times our beloved Kerri Washington heard the words “No”, “no thanks”, “not this time”, “maybe next time”. It’s time to grow some thick skin and get out there so you can push pass the no’s so you can arrive at the right “yes”

2. Humility

That’s right…get low! Going through the process of humility isn’t always fun, but those experiences prepare us for the greatness which is ahead and strengthens our testimony. I learned years ago that, “you grow to LOVE what you suffer to achieve.” It is in those humbling moments when you have to ask for help, live with family, scrape together money to partially pay all the bills, but it’s also in those humble situations that you get creative with coming up with a plan. The bible clearly shares the blessing of humility; promotion, riches, wisdom, honor, and life! Take a look at these scriptures that will surely encourage you that your pain is only for gain. James 4:10 Proverbs 22:4 Mark 9:35

3.  Sowing into others

When is the last time that you’ve supported someone’s dream? Have you paused to sow a word of encouragement to a friend who is working hard on launching their business? Have you purchased something from another small business owner, or do you always want the hook up? Sowing is a spiritual law that always has dividends. I want you to find at least three people who you know are working on their dreams and sow something into their lives. You may offer to watch their kids while they attend class, maybe you can sow a financial seed to help with start-up costs or send a note of encouragement letting them know you respect their hustle and it’s only a matter of time that the flood gates of heaven start pouring down. Proverbs 11:25 Luke 6:38

May this post be of encouragement to you that your dreams can become reality as long as you’re willing to endure rejection, remain humble and sow into the life of others. I’m looking forward to seeing your dreams realized!

Please share your comments below!

With Love,

Lady Jenn

Take Action

To many the reconstructed Bay Bridge is a great visual treat and 8.4 miles of engineering genius. It’s definitely a few notches up from the dilapidated bridge that sits to its right built over 70 years ago. The Bay Bridge daily allows over 270,000 commuters to get to work, experience both the East Bay and San Francisco day in and day out. Not too long ago there was a bridge closure which prevented drivers from crossing the bridge. This caused drivers to find alternate routes. Bridges are great connectors and allows access to a final destination which is on the other side of an obstacle, in this instance, a large body of water.

The biggest barrier between you and your dreams are not like the issues of those on “bridge closure day”, your barrier between your now and your then is the choice to TAKE ACTION! Many times we so desperately want what’s on the other side, but our lack of action keeps us from obtaining it. Faith without works is dead, believing, but not pursuing is insanity, this is a common issue for many.  Taking the first step of submitting the application, opening up your mouth to ask, and writing down your vision are the small action steps needed to reach dreams.

 

Take Action

Hesitation leads to devastation, because if you’re too paralyzed to move you’ll stay stuck. I’m writing this blog to encourage you that…

  • Your dream is worth the work

Whether your dream is to be a millionaire or simply to graduate from school, every goal begins with an action step. There will be times when you doubt yourself, want to give up, and believe you’re insufficient. The moment you divorce those thoughts and take action of posting about your new venture or reserving your domain name, creates momentum so you can succeed to the next level. So do the work that is necessary, invest in yourself and your brand, grow in your learning and expertise. It will be all worth it in the end.

Use these 5 ways to TAKE ACTION towards your dreams:

  1. Write them out
  2. Find an accountability partner
  3. Create a 30-day work flow schedule with deadlines
  4.  Register for the Dream Chaser Empowerment Workshop
  5. Reward yourself when you reach your goals