Lessons in the Form of Experiences (L.I.F.E. Series)Pt. 7 : IMAGINATION

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As a child I had an active imagination and as a teen that imagination turned into plain old grandiose dreams. I used to imagine myself as a singer and movie star and even as a teen, I would sometimes create fake television shows and videos in my basement. Well, only a few things have changed. I no longer dream of being famous, singing or acting. However, I am still guilty of getting lost in my imagination. These days I use my imagination to guide my work and voila……you have what I have coined “VISIONWORK” (trademark forthcoming).

The Aspire2Higher movement follows the precept that ALL your work should be VISIONWORK, meaning that your work should be steps, action items, or strategies leading to the development of your VISION.

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Lessons In The Form of Experiences (L.I.F.E.) Pt.6: Unreasonable Doubt

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That's Unreasonable!
That’s Unreasonable!

HELLO A2H readers! I am back to share more stories about this entrepreneurial journey. These last few months have had me feeling totally overwhelmed and exhausted.  All I remember about summer is that I was working with several clients on projects, job searches etc. and trying to plan an event.  Next thing. I know, it was September, my kids were back to school and my full-time job was driving me crazy!

Then came November/December and I am feeling very disconnected from my journey. Being completely honest, I am doubting my ability to pull this off.   Since school has kicked into gear, my MOM duties have been  taking all of my time and energy.   I have doubted my ability to be the type of fully engaged mother I want to be while also being an entrepreneur. Oh, and let’s not forget that I work a full-time 9-5 gig that requires a lot of thought, energy and engagement as well. What the hell was I thinking trying to start a business, kick off a movement and raise 2 children? Lately I just don’t know if it is possible to do what I am attempting to do.

This is new for me, I have not been here before.  In fact, these feelings go against everything I know about myself, my goals and my vision. After all, this company and movement is called Aspire2Higher…and my job is to encourage people to aspire for more…no matter what!  This movement was started based on my belief that once you have discovered your purpose and create a vision, you are destined for personal and professional success!  This blog post is a testament to the fact that you will have bad days and rough seas. I am a testament that with your vision in place and through your visionwork, YOU are a captain and will stay the course!

I am realizing day after day that this is a very difficult road, but, I am determined and resilient. Yes, I doubt my ability to be a successful entrepreneur, author, educator and mother of two, but I still have a burning desire to be all of those things. My passion and desire to meet my goals outweighs the doubt every time.  I have decided to remind myself that this season was just UNREASONABLE DOUBT.

Satisfied Exhaustion

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One of my “mottos” is that exhaustion is a side effect of the hustle(also known as-visionwork). This has been proving true in my life lately especially as I have been ultra busy at work (the 9-5) as well as trying to create opportunities and more services for Aspire2Higher. In all of this, once in a while, I have an inclination to stop pursuing this dream of entrepreneurship.

Being exhausted after a hard day of work, accomplishing things, creating things, helping people is fulfilling in a way that nothing else is. That is career satisfaction. I once heard a speaker (Michelle McKinney-Hammond) say that ” you are supposed to be exhausted everyday if you are truly working hard I pursuit of your destiny”. This has stayed with me and I think of that EVERYTIME I feel like I should quit!


If exhaustion is a side effect of not just my hustle but my success, then I say BRING IT ON! I am speaking this truth into existence for both my success and yours!


I Don’t Know How She Does It?

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I am writing this post tonight because I sometimes really struggle with balancing my career, my aspirations to work for myself and my personal relationships. This often leaves me wondering, “Does A Balanced Life Exist”?  Another thing that led me to write this was my response when someone asked me, “How do you do it all”?  The truth is I DON”T KNOW

Here’s What I Think:

The concept of balance works theoretically. However, I am not so sure that one can truly have a balanced life. I have also given up on the notion of work-life balance.


Here’s What Works For Me:

When people ask me how I manage to do all the things that I do, I am often confused…..because I don’t do much of anything else but WORK!  I do not have a (social) LIFE, and in some ways, this works for me. I am not suggesting that everyone buy into this, but so far its how I manage having a challenging 9-5 while also running a start-up.  So Since people often ask me “HOW I DO IT”, I can only offer you tips based on my own experiences   (For my friends and family, this might be a little revealing about why you don’t see or hear from me for months at a time!)

  • PLAN your evenings!

This is very important for me during the week especially, but I even plan how I will spend my weekend evenings. Most times, these plans change, but I ALWAYS go into the evening with a plan for how I am going to spend my time.  Now don’t misunderstand me, I do not strategically plan every detail, sometimes my plan is as simple as, read or return A2H emails BEFORE 8pm so I can catch my favorite shows on Bravo or WE.

  • Remember to tell yourself that small things count!

Now, we’ve established that it helps that I always come home from work with a plan, this second point is equally as important.   My plans are not very grandiose. I keep things simple and realistic…..I come home to a 6 & 7-year-old every day, and  their needs totally supersedes the plans!  I remind myself often, that small daily deliberate actions, lead to staggering long-term results!  I do something for A2H everyday, even if its scheduling tweets, reviewing my Facebook Insights, or just jotting down a few notes. I don’t feel like I have to build Rome in one day….and neither should you!

  • Allow yourself to be flexible & creative!

Take tonight for example, instead of beating myself up about not going to the gym, I decided to just have fun and get creative. I worked out (following a trainer via my Ipad) with my kids in the living room. I killed 2 birds with one stone…. I needed to get some exercise in and I spent some fun quality time with my kiddies.  Here’s what else works for me, some evenings, I make an effort to not turn on my television and I even hide my cellphone so I am not distracted by calls or texts.  Many times, after I have put the kids in bed ( well at least the first attempt to put them in bed) I tune out everything else with some serious headphones, my music and my Ipad and next thing you know…..I am in a ZONE!

Well, that’s the best I can offer when people ask me “How do you do it”?  It’s not rocket science folks, but it is about having passion for your goals!

Oh, and for the movie buffs out there, in 2011 there was a movie with the same title as this blog post that I found to be very funny, honest, charming and heart warming! If you haven’t seen it, check out the trailer below:

Vision Work: Part 2-Using Pinterest as a Vision Board

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We have now almost made it through the 1st month of the new year, and if you haven’t already….its not too late to create a VISION BOARD for 2013!

For any new readers/visitors to this blog, I shared one of my Vision Boards and suggested creating these boards to really focus on what I call your VisionWork, back in May of 2011.We are way overdue for re-visiting this habit. Just in case there are new readers who have not done this before, below is a quick description and purpose for vision boards:

What is a Vision Board:

vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Literally, a vision board is any sort of board on which you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.  It comes from the practice of visualization.  There are so many ways of doing this and tons of resources out there to get you started or keep your creative juices flowing if you are upgrading existing vision boards or making topic based or themed boards for other areas of your life.

What is the Purpose?

Your vision board should serve as motivation, visualization and a focal point that helps you to do the following:

  • Give life & clarity to your vision, dreams or goals
  • Provide you with daily affirmations.
  • Revive your spirit, rejuvenate you and get you excited about your vision!

This time I would like to suggest a fun, more visually appealing and even social way to create your vision board…….use PINTEREST!


Pinterest is one of the latest social media platforms to gain momentum. The thing that distinguishes Pinterest from the other social media is its creative visual display of ideas. You become attracted to it because of the pictures, and each picture is linked to a blog or website. Its awesome!

For those of you who are still fearful of sharing on social media, you can create what is called Secret Boards on Pinterest!


Well, I hope you have been motivated to create a new vision board for the year and to use Pinterest to do it!  Get to work…..share your boards ( if you are so inclined) and Happy Pinning!

Below are some additional resources for creating vision boards on Pinterest:

Secret Boards:

STOP Cross-Posting! Why content should vary across social media platforms

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I am of the belief that when using various social media platforms (sites) one should have clear and distinct purposes for the audiences on each site. Overall, your social media message, images and “digital footprint” should be consistent across all sites, but not all social media sites serve a “social” purpose and or audience.

Some prime examples of cross posting are:

1. That person who has linked their Twitter account to Facebook AND LinkedIn

We all know people whose tweets appear on Facebook and vice verse. Occasionally, this is understandable, especially if there is an important message or announcement to communicate to your audience/followers/customers, etc. However, if you use Twitter (or Facebook) as a personal site where you are trash talking, voicing your opinion and talking to friends while you are watching TV-perhaps those tweets and status updates should not be accessible to potential employers and recruiters on LinkedIn.

2.  The Self Promoter or the Over Sharer

Everyone also knows a person who posts on ALL their social media sites only things that are happening in their latest endeavors! Those who’ve started selling jewelry, or want you to attend their latest event or buy their new music and post those requests on ALL social media platforms without any creativity to draw you in.   There is also the person who shares all their thoughts and feelings on life and their day to day interactions on Facebook and carries on a conversation (or even argument) via Twitter! Do they not realize you can send Direct Messages to people in ALL social media sites?

The Rationale for My Rule of Thumb:

OK, considering that each social media site has a different description, mission and/or purpose, why would you use them all identically? Also answer this, would you speak to all your friends, relatives, colleagues, associates, co-workers, etc.  in exactly the same ways? I should hope not.  In order to use social media most effectively, you should be keenly aware of your audience across each social media platform.  When using these sites, you should have clear goals, even if those are goals are as simple as staying in touch with friends.  What’s even more important is understanding the use and functionality of each site you are on and how most others are using these sites. Why be one of the only people on Linkedin who is mindlessly sharing what you are listening to on your Ipod?

While some of my younger readers might not be ready to use social media professionally, its never too early (or late) to learn how to communicate professionally in person or online.  It is also never too late to begin cleaning up or clarifying your social media presence.   To help you jump-start your social media clarification process, learn more about the who, what when and why of social media sites and their users.

Below is a link to an article from leading technology and new media company The article, posted in early March, has a great Infographic of a demographic breakdown of all the most popular social media sites.

Here is a posting that gives a quick & dirty break down of all the most popular social media sites and who is using them and WHY?HOW you should use them.

And just for good measure……Aspire2Higher Personal & Professional Development Services does provide a Career Based Social Media Package!

Best of luck to those who are attempting to tell a clear, consistent and professional story on social media!

Lessons In The Form of Experiences (L.I.F.E.) Series Pt.5 : People Judge

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 Yesterday I had lunch at my favorite spot….Panera.   I went there to escape my office for a while, retreat into my food and catch up on some reading.  As I tried to focus on my reading (and my soup) I couldn’t help but overhear a group of women catching up with each other.  They were old friends and colleagues who shared many mutual connections.  As they finished their lunches their conversation moved away from exchanging the usual pleasantries into work related updates.

All it took was one woman to say, ” Have you all heard what so and so is doing now? She’s freelancing as an interior designer!” The other ladies perk up and chime in. “Yes, I’ve received emails from her about it. I can’t believe she’s going out on a limb that way.”  The women spend about 5 minutes discussing their mutual friend’s new business venture.  One of the women says, ” I could NEVER do that! I just couldn’t go out on my own.”   Another one adds, ” I mean its one thing to like creating things, but if you trained to be a banker, just stick to what you know. Banking is what I know how to do.”


The women left before me, and as I finished my lunch I was thankful that they weren’t my friends, co-workers or acquaintances!  I also felt a sense of pride in myself for “stepping out” in my way. On the other hand, I also felt torn. I thought that I should tell them that they too could “step out”!  We aren’t necessarily meant to ONLY be bankers, or teachers, writers or any ONE thing!   My mind immediately recognized the lesson(s) present in this moment:

  • People will judge: This is not always coming from a negative place, but it is going to be ever-present. When people don’t understand what you are doing….there will be judgement.
  • People fear the unknown:  This is where the judgement originates. Oftentimes (as in the example above) people will doubt, criticize or judge your actions simply because they just can’t get beyond their own fear of doing something considered “non-traditional”

One of the goals for the Aspire2Higher movement   is to re-define traditional (careers) in people’s minds!  The key take away from this is, not to allow your own fears (nor fear & judgement from others) to prevent you from re-defining traditional and creating your own success!

It’s funny the things you learn when you get out and treat yourself to a little lunch!