Nicole's Blogs (Return)
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I was listening to a podcast the other day and the host asked her guest what she would tell her younger self if she was able to talk to her. I waited for the answer I have heard so many give when asked this same question. I would tell her everything is going to be okay. I would tell him not to give up. I would tell her she is loved. I would tell her to love herself. These are just some of the more common answers I have heard when someone has been asked what they would tell their younger self. As I drove on the 405 freeway with the podcast blasting though my speakers I anticipated a form of one these answers to come out of the mouth of the guest. It caught me off guard when the guest said she would not tell her younger self anything because her younger self would not have listened anyway. Now that was an answer I did not expect. In a nutshell the guest explained that her younger self would not have reached a point in her life to really hear what her older self would have to say. She would have still been in a phase of life where she wanted to do what she wanted to do, how she wanted to do it, when she wanted to do it despite the consequences and that was okay. What stood out for me was her unapologetic acceptance of who her younger self was. Mistakes, tears, hard lessons, all of it was okay. I found this refreshing because I think there is an unspoken way of life that does not leave a lot of room for people to navigate their way through life without carrying guilt with them. People are expected to feel guilty when they make the wrong decisions. They are even expected to feel guilty if they enjoy those things in life that have been deemed “inappropriate” by some. Think of all of the people in the world who have not been able to embrace true happiness because they are still living with the guilt of something they did, something someone did to them, or something someone thinks they should have or have not done. I have had this conversation with my daughter on multiple occasions. She is growing up. She is developing as a person. It is okay to feel insecure. It is okay not to know what your next step is going to be. This is a part of life. There will be disappointments. You will excel at some things but not all things. Everything will not always go your way even when you have done everything right. It is normal and there is no reason to feel guilty about having normal feelings. The fact is who we each are is a result of the experiences in our lives. The good, the bad, the ugly. All of it has molded us into who we are as people. The good, the bad, and the ugly happened and will continue to happen and guess what? It is okay. There will be disappointments. You will not always make the right move. You will learn as you go. Do not hinder your walk in greatness because you have chosen to pack up your guilt and carry it along with you. Learn from your mistakes. Forgive yourself. Keep moving.

In 1989 I graduated from high school with 89 girls from St. Mary's Academy in Inglewood California. This weekend I am celebrating my 30 year high school reunion with my high school sisters. For the ladies who could not make it, we celebrate them because they are a part of our high school story. Present or not they are part of the memories. Throughout the years people have questioned me about what it was like going to an all girl's school. Like any high school there were fun and not so fun times. There were classmates we loved and classmates we may not have liked. There were favorite teachers and teachers we hated to see coming. There were fights and detentions. Best friends who were attached at the hip one day and mad at each other the next. There were tears because a teacher said what we felt was the wrong thing and laughter because a teacher said exactly what we needed to hear. We got through it together. As I have participated in the reunion festivities this weekend I am reminded of the importance of being able to establish uplifting positive bonds with people. I look at my classmates and see myself in many of them. Their walk in greatness is evident. It exudes an energy that cannot be denied. These women I shared such so many life changing moments with encourage me to continue strive for greatness without saying one word. Why is this blog worthy? Because we are in a time in history where the idea of friendship has been warped. Everywhere we turn the idea that people cannot maintain relationships without deceit is promoted. Deceit, and disloyalty seem to be the main elements of many of the relationships promoted on television and social media. This weekend the St. Mary's green tie class of 1989 has proven otherwise. Friendships have remained intact. Bonds have not been broken. I am sure there have been moments of forgiveness, but friendship has prevailed. True friendship is not some antiquated idea. It is real. It is needed. We each have a responsibility to not just ourselves, but the people around us to make being happy a life goal. It is a continuous effort that is part of the foundation of building relationships that are true. I promise it it worth the effort so work on it.
Be Careful of False Prophets

When I made the choice to expose myself to things that would contribute to my ability to lead a life rooted in building my mind, body, and spirit in a positive manner I started what I call a "personal spring cleaning". My personal spring cleaning involved me letting go of those things in my life I felt were not benefiting me mentally, physically, or spiritually. I literally started asking myself "how is this benefiting you or society?". Sounds crazy huh? Let me just say at the time I had to take drastic measures because a drastic change was needed. I ended up unfollowing alot of people on social media and refraining from watching television shows I felt promoted negative behavior or images. I also began to follow people I felt were seeking the same things I was. It was great! I would open my Instagram page and their would be posts about positivity, healthy living, fashion, and other topics that seemed to be aligned with my daily goals. But what I started to notice was an air of exclusiveness. Some of the same people I started following because of their positivite platforms started to come off very snobby and rude. Their conversations seemed to promote negative behavior towards people who did not live the same lifestyle or have the same demeanor as them. When I read the comments there was not much uplifting and empowerment happening. As a matter of fact there was alot of judgement and bullying going on. I found myself unfollowing people again. I am sharing this with you because when we start to consciously walk in our greatness it feels empowering. We want to align ourselves with who we believe are like-minded people. Be mindful of who you label as someone to lead or mentor you. We owe it to ourselves to align ourselves with people who exhibit the characteristics they promote, not just talk the talk and look the part. False prophets are real and in many cases they look good and say exactly what we want to hear. We have to look beyond what is right in front of us. We have to pay attention. Talk is cheap. How are you living your life? How are you treating people who do not live like you? Do your actions inspire others? These are some of the questions I ask of myself and of others. Have you considered why you choose the people you do as leaders/mentors?

It's Your Good Life..Claim It!

How are you so confident? Actress Gabourey Sidibe stated in a very empowering and inspirational speech when she is asked this question her answer is "I am confident because it's my good time, and my life, despite what you think of me". When I heard her make this powerful statement it got me to thinking about how so many people give so much power to what other people think of them. It is a good feeling to know people think highly of you, but do we put too much value in being liked and deemed beautiful by others?I cannot count how many times I have allowed the negative energy coming from someone steal my thunder. How many minutes in a day have you spent upset because someone treated you poorly? Those words Gabourey spoke seem so simple, yet are so hard to practice. Speaking for myself, the person who some align my demeanor to some times being coldblooded, it's hard to disregard mean spiteful stuff people come at me with sometimes. But what I know is we have to put Gabourey's words in to action. We have to claim our lives. When we claim our lives, we claim what will and will not break our spirits. It will be hard. Sometimes it will seem damn near impossible ( Whew ! ). But how can we claim our greatness if we do not take claim of how we allow the words and behavior of others affect us? This is another question we must consider as we consciously walk in our greatness. Have you claimed your walk in greatness despite what others may think of you?

Are you Really Listening?

Throughout my entire life I have attracted people who I have never met who will open up to me about their lives; what they are going through, their fears, their dreams, etc. This is important. A stranger confiding in you when they are feeling weakness in their mind, body, or soul. Wow! I understand the tremendous responsibility of being a person who can listen and not judge; therefore it is a must that I continuously work on my listening skills. This week I have been making an intentional effort to not just listen when people were talking to me, but to really hear the words they were speaking and the message they were trying to express. I'm talking about listening and not interrupting. Listening and focusing on what the person is saying and not what I feel about what is being said or what my response is going to be. It's hard, but it is important. Last week I asked you to audit your life. I asked you to make an honest attempt to identify the things you feel need to be done in your life in order for you to walk in your greatness. As I practiced effective listening this week it dawned on me that last Sunday I was asking you to listen to your inner self so you could make honest decisions about your level of happiness and what you need to do in order to improve it. But how can we do that if we do not have the ability to effectively listen? It is our nature as humans to judge and who do we judge worse than anyone? Ourselves. I hope that you were able to start your list this week (refer to last weeks blog entry ), but I think there is a detour that needs to be made as you look within to identify your happiness goals. That detour is acknowledging if you are effectively listening to yourself. Are you listening to yourself without judging? I know I have all kind of back talk going on in my head when I am self-auditing . Are you listening with honest intentions? Sometimes acknowledging the honest truth about ourselves is tough . Are you acknowledging how you feel in the moment? I don't know about you, but I'm good at making excuses about why I should or should not feel how I feel . These and many other factors affect our ability to effectively listen to ourselves. This week the challenge is to practice effectively listening to yourself and to others. I guarantee the results will be insightful. Continue to self-audit and write down the things you feel you need to do in order to walk in your greatness. How you feel about you effects every part of your life. Project You is real and is important. Just like we make plans for and work on other things in our lives, it is important to make a plan and work on ourselves. Instagram: @phenomenallyyoupodcast
"Everyday" 7.2.19

Everyday we walk out into the world and have no idea what will be thrown our way. Sometimes it's a great day and sometimes it's not. On those not so great days are the times when who we are as people are tested the most. How do you handle adversity? What do you say or do when you feel things are not going your way? What kind of person do you become when you feel someone has wronged you? There is a reason people are the way they are. The crazy part is when a person's life experience manifests negatively within them, the people around them are subjected to that negative energy even though 9 times out of 10 they have nothing to do with the root cause of the negativity. More simply put...sometimes people on you because they are full of and you happen to be there when the comes out (and vice versa...sometimes we are full of it too). It really is just that simple. Be concious of the enery you are emitting, the energy you allow in your space, and the energy in your space you have no control over. Sometimes it will be necessary to regroup and then continue walking in your greatness even when it seems like folk are intentionally try to run you off your path. I have found myself in circumstances that have forced me to stop and look within so that I respond in a manner that aligns with who I say I am; a person who supports, uplifts, and empowers. This is not an easy thing to do, but it is a must. Stand strong in your greatness...especially in those moments you are not feeling that great.
"Double Edged Sword" 7.7.19

Two of the greatest barriers to self-actualization are a failure to recognize you can be wrong and the belief that you can only receive reliable information and advice from someone who is from your immediate peer group. On the road to fully embracing yourself there will be a lot of questions you ask yourself, of others, and about different situations. Never lose sight that that anyone, regardless of their age, culture, race, socioeconomic status, educational background, etc., can offer information that can be useful. As you make your journey to fully embracing yourself you will make wrong turns, run into barriers, crash and sometimes just stop. You will make mistakes. You will not always do or say the right thing. This is okay; however, if you are not willing to admit when you are wrong, it will hinder your ability to get back on track. Yes! You are wrong sometimes too. As much as we want to think we are never wrong; we are. If you ask people are they ever wrong, they will quickly answer yes; however actions speak louder than words. It is one thing to say you are wrong, it is another to admit it. I recently finished reading Wake Up Happy; The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life by Michael Strahan. If you have not read it, I would suggest adding it to your must read list. Among the many things Michael talks about is what he calls permeability. The idea of permeability is acceptance of anyone as a vessel of knowledge. I know for a fact there have been times someone has discounted what I have to say because I was younger than them, or in their eyes, lack the life experience needed in order to have a valid idea or opinion. As a Black woman who was raised in Los Angeles, I have had people question my opinion because they think I am not from the “hood”; therefore there is no way I can have a valid opinion about something that is going on in their lives. I am sure if you think about it you can think of a time your ideas have been trivialized because of who someone thought you were. Everyone experiences this and it doesn’t feel great. When we limit our pool of knowledge we limit ourselves. We rob ourselves of experiencing great people and situations.
"Project You" 7.13.19

Every day people wake up dissatisfied with themselves. Their unhappiness is evident in how they treat themselves and the people around them. Yes, we all have those days that we just don't feel happy, but those days should not outnumber the days you wake up feeling happy about who you are. What I know for sure is time stands still for no one. It actually seems like the older I get the faster time passes. The relevance of statements such as "Don't talk about it, be about it" and "Why put off until tomorrow what can be done today" are more clear to me today than they were many years ago. Time really is precious which is why you must choose happiness today. Look within yourself with honest intent in order to figure out why you are not walking in your greatness. One of the hardest things I did was being brutally honest with myself about who I was as a person in comparison to who I wanted to be and the responsiblity I had in the type of life I had built for myself in comparison to the type of life I wanted. When I started living an intentional life of happiness it was not easy (it still isn't). I treated it like a project. I committed to choosing happiness every day. A major step for me was claiming happiness even when I was not feeling it. If a person asked me how I was doing I committed to answering, "Wonderful!" (smile included ). The more I said I was wonderful the more I realized I really was.