Live Love Out Loud: A 2016 Year in Review Post

This last post of the year is a quick review of the ups and downs and “meh” moments from 2016. It’s a personal reflection, a public display of vulnerability, and most definitely not a “how to review your year and plan for the next” type of post. My hope is that through my personal experiences you gain some new insight and perspective.

glasess and hearts

As I’ve shared before in previous reviews, I center most of my intentions for the year around 6 areas or slices of life: Spiritual, Personal, Social, Physical, Professional, and Financial. Though I have come to believe that spirituality is the foundation of the pie and personal religion is the slice. It’s easier to keep it as is for now.

I also usually have a word and/or theme for the year that gives me a focal point for all the desires, intentions, commitments and goals I set for the year.

My word for 2016 was…actually I had 2 words this year Produce and Manifest

“Manifesting is practically translating your purpose, (purpose being loosely defined as your unique expression of love in the world) into an actionable blueprint for the next phase of life’s work which you are uniquely designed for”.

( I honestly cannot remember how I came up with that definition but I know it’s not my original wording; it simply coincided with my thinking, so I put quotes around it. )

My personal theme was: Live Love Out Loud

At the start of the year I identified that my theme was about my personal experience with love,  and the “out loud” part was about getting my thoughts on paper so to speak.

Throughout the year and by the end of the year I had documented out several guidelines and principles (instead of a “How-to” manual or set agenda)  to express what I was recollecting about love, and living with love as my foundation and personal religious practice.  The guidelines became clear to me as I looked to my intentions for each slice of life.

For instance, in my Social Slice (and as I reflect it touches into personal and spiritual as well)  I focused on relationships with men. One way I addressed this focus was through romantic type relationships. I had set out to get back into the dating scene after a much needed hiatus. I thought I’d find myself in a loving committed relationship, but instead I found great disappointment and yet another learning experience.

While I wanted to blame that disappointment on something (someone) outside of myself, I can only reflect on where shadow resided within myself that still needed to heal.  A major shadow area I had  to take a deeper look at was how I wanted to show up to relationships and most importantly, my perception of who was loveable and by whom.  My ACA/ACOA background planted a lot of negative messages in my head that I hadn’t realized still played on repeat. Choosing to be alone; to avoid relationships would not, and did not address those tapes.  Continuing to devour media that I know is purposely meant to make you feel “not enough” so you can buy something to “fix it” also did not help the situation. While I said I was looking to date, I realized later I was looking to confirm my perception of the dating landscape and how men perceived me as a black woman in an era of “black girl magic” coupled with protests about racial and social injustice.  *hint* It wasn’t a very positive outlook.

Let’s just say the whole dating experience triggered the mess out of me.

However, when I wanted to give up completely on the notion of being loved and shutting down that piece of my heart forever, I found that I couldn’t, because I wasn’t bitter and I also didn’t fully believe my negative perception anymore. The love I’d been researching, practicing, and blogging about actually became graspable by how fast I was able to bounce back from let down after let down.  I began to understand that love was always there for me and all I needed to do was reach within so I could perceive it better when I looked out.

I knew I had a right to be mad, (thanks for the reminder Solange) but still, I found compassion, and forgiveness. I sought to heal specific areas of my psyche that I hadn’t thought to analyze and build up coping skills for. And when I wanted to embrace my deepest fears and stay stuck, I chose love that extended beyond myself for true growth; love that sets healthy boundaries and not because a professional told me to have them but because I believed I was worthy of someone who would respect them and that having healthy boundaries would position me for joyful living. I chose love with standards that were no longer based on learned survival mechanisms from the helplessness of childhood, but the kind you discover when you’re realize the hidden power inside.

And when you are no longer concerned with the uncomfortable you feel about putting yourself and your needs 1st you understand that there is no one on this planet that is worth sacrificing your self-esteem over. I re-learned that people who honored their own boundaries, could honor mines. That people who are loving could act loving because they had it to give in the 1st place. And as I remembered what it felt like to be genuinely loved, and cared for (not simply tolerated, or grudgingly accepted) I began to encounter more and more people who showed me love, care, and respect for my boundaries.

I saw how these concepts translated into my professional slice. And knew I needed to let some things go this year that I could no longer carry with me into the new. One of those things was A & D Media. After “A” left the business to me, I hadn’t felt right about continuing it the way I did. Still I pressed on and did the best I could do to stick to the original plan and mission. We had set out to be a social media marketing firm, but as time went by I felt that a firm or even a small agency was not what I really wanted to run, especially when I had to do it without my business partner. After subcontracting with both an agency and a firm, that feeling was confirmed. So I felt a bit stuck for awhile and stopped actively marketing my business.I hid behind client work, I focused on side projects and ignored what helped make those side projects even possible and in turn I made me miserable.

I could not preach out loving yourself loving your business if I was not loving my own. I knew I’d be making changes and I knew I needed help doing so. I began working with the amazing Anastacia Brice of AssistU. I had met quite a few virtual service providers who had worked with her and I admired their confidence, realness, skills, and fire so I was excited to work with an industry pioneer but most importantly someone who claimed that, “Loving is my calling, my honor, my absolute joy, and at the center of everything I do professionally and personally.”

Throughout the year we worked together on a lot of my mindset issues and began developing and documenting business standards and modes of operating that represented how I could make love visible through my work; through a business that represented my strengths, my personality, my aptitude to learn and grow, and my ready and willingness to embrace and embody my authentic self, it would reflect more in how I showed up in my work practices for my clients.  I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve learned a lot of important foundational things along the way. For one, even though I can and do delegate and even partner up from time to time on special projects, (like mental wellness web series, and mental health healing circles) I’m a solopreneurial type of “preneur” and will be rebranding my business to reflect that in 2017.

Between working with my coach and helping one of my clients set up her amazing free make money your honey makeover challenge,(starting January 9th) I had the courage to take a good hard look at my numbers, not estimates, but the true costs of running a business that is sustainable and profitable. It was a wakeup call that if I wanted to remain in business, a mutually beneficial business, I had to stop allowing others to define the worth of my profession and my role in it.

As I look back over the last 12 months, all of this year felt like a set up and preparation for what was to come next. And there was a lot of learning about how I wanted to show up to my personal practice of love along the way. I encountered many circumstances that called for me to step out of my comfort zone, from traveling for work conferences and retreats, to saving a friendship even if that meant sacrificing income, to figuring out how to be an empathetic big sis towards my younger siblings who lost a great deal this year, to learning what it takes to build true community by learning what NOT to do. And I documented as much as possible to reference along the way. Some of these documentations were gathered for the book I’ve been working on about mental health and entrepreneurship which I’m planning to publish in 2017 (This is more concrete now that I have finished my 1st draft) while some of these documentations were meant just for my eyes… for now.

At the start of this post you might have noticed that I underlined actionable blueprint and work. I did this because I noticed one led to the other, so while this year it was about producing this actionable blueprint, next year is most definitely about the work and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to it.

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Dior Vargas

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 5 – Featuring: Dior Vargas, Mental Health Activist, Speaker and Movement Instigator

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/YavTuZVykEg

About
dior-final
Dior Vargas is a Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist. She is the creator of the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project, a response to the invisibility of people of color in the media representation of mental illness. Dior is the recipient of numerous awards including The White House Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations. She lives in New York City.

How You Can Help

If you’re interested in being part of the People of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project
please submit a photo of yourself holding a sign saying “I’m [your name] and I have a mental illness (or the exact type).” To http://diorvargas.com/poc-mental-illness/

Resources mentioned

National Alliance on Mental Illness

*Bonus* Dior has some great resources linked on her Wikipedia page including Project UROK and Progressive Women’s Voices, definitely worth taking a look.

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Fabian Brown

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 4 – Featuring: Fabian Brown, Hunger Relief Champion, Jazz Musician, and Entrepreneur

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/QuWsDXC5TgQ

About
fabianbrownFabian Brown brings professionalism with everything he does. “I’m nobody special. The secret to my success is finding the best person in any particular industry and studying their moves. I am a life learner, so each day my goal is to be better than I was yesterday. A better husband, a better father, a better musician, a better entrepreneur. I have just humbled myself and networked with people who are better than me so I can learn from the best.” Throughout Fabian’s career he has demonstrated success in the music industry, education, and business. He has also participated in various campaigns and volunteers frequently to charitable organizations. “There is a lot of go-getters out there, so I took on the possibility of being a go-giver. It’s important to support and give back to people and organizations who do not have the means and sometimes just simply need a little help. The result is seeing my children following in the same foot steps and taking on volunteering as a part of their lives.”

How You Can Help

Help Fabian pay it forward by supporting hunger relief through Project Feeding Kids.

Resources Mentioned

Heights in Progress
Student of the Year Campaign
The Tony Robins Podcast
Cause Marketing

Until Next Time…Peace!

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Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Stephanie Lampkin

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 3 – Featuring: Stephanie Lampkin, Entrepreneur, Tech Innovator and Engineer

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/XkqL2KQ8Fn0

About
stephanielampkin
Stephanie Lampkin is the founder & CEO of Blendoor, merit-based matching, a mobile job matching app that uses a blind recruiting strategy to circumvent unconscious bias and thus facilitate diversity. With a 13 year career in tech spanning companies like Lockheed, Deloitte, Microsoft, and TripAdvisor, she is all too familiar with the difficulties faced when one doesn’t look like the prototypical engineer. Through technology and data, her mission is to reduce bias and challenge the assumption that homogeneous environments are a meritocracy. Stephanie holds a BS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from MIT Sloan.

Stephanie has been honored and featured in numerous publications including Forbes, NPR, NY Times, Tech Crunch, Huffington Post, Tech.Co and Black Enterprise. She has spoken publicly on a myriad of topics from the future of work to hacking unconscious bias at MIT Media Lab, Dreamforce, SXSW, and more. Most recently Stephanie graduated from Stanford StartX (a top 5 startup accelerator); the first Black woman founder/CEO accelerant in the program’s 5 year history. In response to the discovery that there are only 13 Black female startup founders in the world that have raised $1M or more in venture capital, Stephanie organized an elite cohort of Black female founders with high-growth ventures. Stephanie’s mission is to effectively demonstrate that investing in diversity yields positive returns socially, financially, and technologically.

How You Can Help

Help break down unconscious bias one swype at a time… Become a Beta user at http://www.blendoor.com/

You can also connect with Stephanie via social media

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanienlampkin
Twitter: https://twitter.com/blendoor

Resources Mentioned

Slack team communications
Women Who Tech
Bonus Resource: What is STEM?

Until Next Time…Peace!

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Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Jardana Peacock

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 2 – Featuring: Jardana Peacock, Author, Leadership Consultant and Activist

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/dKGKVAUQd3A

About
Jardana PeacockJardana Peacock is a leadership consultant, author and trainer working at the intersection of healing, leadership and social justice. Her research has uncovered that when we center wellness as foundational for how we live and work, change work becomes more effective and sustainable.

She is based in the Southeast and has been featured in the Huffington Post, Feminist Wire and other online publications. She has studied traditional yoga and holistic healing for over fifteen years and worked with hundreds of change makers and organizations around the world. She facilitates an online community and platform to bring together new healing methodologies, change making, creativity and art at Radical Well. Stay connected at http://www.jardanapeacock.com.

How You Can Help
Jardana is all about EMBODYING AND ENACTING HEALING FOR CHANGE.
Join her and her fellow change makers at their virtual meeting space, Radical Well where they explore the intersections of social justice, wellness and leadership.

Resources Mentioned

Article on the Elephant Journal about showing up for racial justice http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/07/how-white-folks-can-show-up-for-racial-justice/

The hashtag stream to Practice Show Up #PracticeShowingup

Businesses with Social Change Models Mentioned in Interview

Thistle Farms
Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative

Until Next Time…Peace!

Did you enjoy reading this? Awesome! I’d like to invite you to sign up here to receive new blog posts in your inbox when they update…

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.