Monday Motivation: Morale is Important

We understand morale in the sense of working with a team.  If you are at work and morale is lost it could be a number of factors that affect morale. It could be from not having an understanding manager, having to do other team members’ work, or from lack of incorporating fun activities into a work day. Either way, morale is important. It’s the heartbeat of how you move at work. How much more do we need to keep our personal morale going? We scroll through social media getting super hype over stories we see that is why we comment and argue with strangers. Yet when in comes to personal morale, we give ourselves whatever is left over.  Oh I’ll complete that maybe next year when this is supposed to be your year. You hype everyone else but yourself. This has to stop. I’ll hype myself past my own flaws. Meaning I own them so no one can ever use them against me and use that to disqualify a gift that is in me or being used to flow through me. That is lesson one in anything you ever want to do in life. Folks don’t have to like me in order for my gift to rise above a few folks that are walking in disagreement. Disagreement doesn’t cut off the gift inside of you. It only sharpens you to be better and walk better and to utilize discernment.

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Morale is the motivation to keep going. You know morale is the spice in to your why. You have your why.  Why did you take on that personal challenge. Why you decided to lose weight. Why you decided that this year you will travel. Why you decided to leave that relationship. Why you decided to change jobs.  Whatever your why, work at it and keep the morale going. It may come in the form of getting organized. It may be in changing your circle. You should know that matters. If you’re circle always has something negative to say about your ideas, it may mean they are attempting to sabotage the plan. Stop sharing things with them negative folks. Morale pushes you when you are tired. Morale pushes you when you hear a thousand NOs in the journey but you know what is in you to keep going.

Morale pushes effort. Think about a relationship. Morale is what keeps scheduling dates because you see how that time alone makes you adore your partner that much more. Morale keeps patience with your kids when they jump and back flip on that last nerve. Personal morale is the self-starter to anything you are attempting to accomplish. We however let morale get trampled on by energy that is sucking the life out of us. Days turn into weeks and weeks into months and months into years. You look up and can’t understand why you are stagnant. You lost morale. The joy of what you were trying to do has been taken on with life. You need a morale booster. You need to get some new goals. You need to refresh yourself. You need to find the happiness in starting that idea.

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When I started this blog in the beginning, it was so fresh and I was excited. After a year, I saw how my posts became less and less and I asked myself-are you done or do you just need a morale booster? I changed the layout of the blog, got a blog planner, and wrote. I keep myself motivated by never writing a blog that feels forced. When I write it pours out of me because I do what’s necessary to keep my personal joy. I write and sometimes re-write my vision. I keep my eyes open and I put permanent sunglasses on when someone in my personal circle says things like: “why did they choose you.” “What makes you so special.” These are actual things that have been said to me. Them sunglasses allows me to see and hear them but blur them as I keep going. I still get invited to the tables of places I hadn’t in my first few years of writing because I stay consistent. I had one PR firm tell I always come to your writing or reviews because you have a keen eye for what the public wants to see. That is a morale booster. Sometimes when the accolades aren’t coming, having personal morale helps to keep the rays of joy in what you love burning.

Do not let anything burn your candle of morale out. You have what you need inside of you to keep pushing and making it happen. Tune out and drown out the naysayers. Keep going! Keep the personal morale going!!

Remember morale is the discipline, enthusiasm, and confidence to complete your goals. Who caused you to lack the discipline to work late and get up early and prepare? Who took the enthusiasm to push past tiredness? Who attempted to knock your confidence while you are in the shift of change? No matter what the outside factor, YOU control your life.

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Networking is Scary At Times

So I wanted to talk about networking. It’s essential to what I do with blogging especially if you want to get out about. Your talent will take you in front of amazing people.  In order to stay you have to be able to talk to a few folks and learn the finesse of making relationships work.

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I met some of the most amazing people while on an assignment at various locations in Philadelphia. I can’t even imagine not taking the first steps which started out of paying attention to social media. Its more than getting caught up in the darkness of liking posts. It comes from searching hash-tags of areas you are strong in. I started looking at other lifestyle bloggers. From there I made sure to follow AND engage. You have to be proactive in what you are doing online. Once I made solid connections I always make a few promises to myself:

  • Blog an event within 24 hours of attendance-keep things fresh
  • Always know who the movers and shakers are and introduce yourself
  • Be sure to get the information in the blog right the first time i.e. names, etc.
  • Keep a notebook and a pen on you at all times or you your phone for notes

Here are a few things to understand Networking in 2019

  • Have a business card but expect to follow someone on the spot on your social media platform-people tend to follow immediately. I got 10 potential blogging events from immediate follows
  • Always send a thank you note. People love acknowledgement
  • It’s okay to be scared it’s not okay to wait for someone to approach you. Fear is debilitating but if you at an event, speak up
  • If you showed up to an event, show up for yourself in that you do the best job possible. I blogged an event I attended with my family, caught a PR’s attention and I have been rocking ever since.
  • If you RSVP, show up. I have only not gone to one event and had to bow out. Life happens but don’t make it frequent.
  • Treat your blog like a job in that not that you get into a mundane flow with it but make it priority. If and when others see that you do, they will take you seriously. I am a creator. I blog. I am consistent. People notice consistency and that alone will take you before amazing people
  • Make friends that are doing the same type of things as you network

One of the things I struggle with is not always wanting to get the shot with me in it. This is one of the things I changed this year. Do not be afraid since I tend to travel to events by myself to talk and ask someone to get the picture of you in it. Having a few pictures with you in the shot for a personal blog is personable and necessary. Treat it as if you were at an event with friends. The same excitement you would have you must take in order to get what you came for. I have had many high level executives thank me for how I approach their event and get the information. My job in my mind is how would a reader of my blog need to approach a restaurant, event, or social gathering. I take the initial hit so that a reader can easily flow into it when they attend.

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Also if you are being asked to attend an event of lets say a PR firm, act accordingly. Learn the art of socializing at an event.  Meaning if there are drinks and 9 times out of 10 there are, have a few without looking like you had a few. Learn to pace yourself. Learn to speak well of yourself. Always stay clear of conversations that will trigger bad behavior.  The last thing you want to do is to be found being the one that is labeled an issue. Smile. You weren’t invited to be grumpy. Always know the camera is on you. Most events I have attended there is always at least one if not more photographers on site so dress for the event!  If it’s a play that’s an immediate dress up. If it’s a dinner, if its black tie, dress to impress. It’s always business casual unless otherwise stated. If you are at an outdoor event, than always keep your gear clean and tidy and dress down for that event but keep it nice. All of this should come without saying but you will be surprised of the things you see when you are out and about.

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So networking is hard. But its necessary. I have had a great time getting to know my city and as I hope to expand, the only way to do so is speaking up, smiling, and letting my normal personality shine. I feel as if people are getting what they need from me by me being who I am to begin with. Remember do what you love it will take you places not just because you have ability but because you have heart!  So clear heart and mind, smile, and fun should be on your agenda. Also organize yourself so you present the best picture. I always pack my media bag the night before.  I get my lighting, extra battery pack, charge my phone, grab a camera, get your business cards, grab a notebook, etc. Being prepared will assist you.

 

 

How to Catch Creation

I had the honor of being invited to attend the opening show of How to Catch Creation. I actually withheld reading any reviews, or any the media write-up before hand because I love coming in without any thoughts of what to expect before hand. I was pleasantly surprised of this production. First of all the set was magnificent. I grew up in theatre so sets matter to me. Secondly the cast looked like me. I loved seeing all of the representation of pretty brown faces.  Third, the play captured my attention and gave me a whirlwind of surprises some subtle and some knocking me over.

Let me give honor to whom honor is due by saying that How to Catch Creation is coming off the acclaimed Kilroy’s list.  It’s a play about discovering legacy as well as what it means to create and how creation shifts during periods of life. Creation takes many forms from art, life, relationships, and how all of the loops come together. As a creator myself it definitely spoke to the hills and lows of life and watching my own work take dips according to what may or may not have taken off.

Christina Anderson, playwright, did an amazing job on capturing the experience of black queer feminist writer and how through her life, life has taken on turns that end up bringing the most unexpected people to unite. When you see the connection I found myself holding back in the audience try not to mess it up for someone who might not have. I laughed so hard during this play.  I loved at moments when the audience interacted right on cue without a notion. I also loved seeing Christina Anderson herself in the audience as well as the director, Nataki Garrett. Seeing them watch their work had to be amazing.

This play is for everyone. I do love how it highlights love and heartache for same-sex relationships.  To be honest sometimes society in my opinion forgets that they have an experience like everyone else. It’s not as easy even with society beginning to open up to what it means to be apart of the LGBTQ community and also be Black.  I enjoyed hearing prior to the show from Amber Hikes who is the Executive Director of LGBT Affairs for the city of Philadelphia. I didn’t even know there was a division first of all.  I also didn’t know that are only 3 other positions in the cities of the United States like it. There is definitely a need for all of us to be aware of what our city is offering. It was great knowing that the city of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s office is representing all walks of life.

So what were some of the themes presented:

Despair, from seeing Lindsay Smiling who played Griffin, try to work his way to normality after being wrongfully accused of a crime and incarcerated for 25 years. His struggle to want to have a child of his own as he learns about his mother and her past was incredible.

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Love, from Tiffani Barbour who play GK Marche a writer who falls in love with Natalie played by Shauna Miles and seeing who their love goes from incredible highs to the lows of breaking up and infidelity. Their love was priceless and unmatched until loneliness lead Natalie into the arms of another.

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Betrayal, Shayna Small plays Riley a young woman who has motivated her boyfriend, Stokes, played by Jonathan Bangs, who is losing his focus and rhythm.  Their beat is thrown off when Riley falls in love with Tami, played by Stephanie Weeks who is opening herself up to this forbidden love.  The beat is so off that now in order to get the rhythm back do they let go?  Do they go back to life before the betrayal? Can they co-exist?

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Explosive, fun, witty, and most importantly colorful are some of the best words to describe my experience. You are not going to want to miss out on this adventure. How to Catch Creation will be playing until April 14th. You can purchase tickets which range from $10-69 by clicking here

I would strongly encourage you to see the play and take some friends or family along as well. Thank you to the Philadelphia Theatre Company for as always inviting me and treating me above well. Thank you to Kory Aversa and Aversa PR for these opportunities as well. Thank you to the amazing cast of How to Catch Creation for such a wonderful time.  You all were professional and most gracious as well after the show.  Thanks to my personal team for always helping me get to these shows and for being the best caretakers for my littles!

 

 

 

 

Women’s History Month: Zulma M.

How someone treats you matters. It sets the tone for respect or disrespect. Often times we get upset but there are times we need to look in the mirror. How we respond to the treatment says continue or stop. If we are honest not being direct is usually the culprit. We are still talking about failures and sometimes the failure to not allow others to dictate out lives needs checked.

What is one failure you are comfortable sharing that taught you the most lessons?

One of the many failures that I will have to say that has taught me and continues to teach me is allowing others to dictate or control me.

Again the concept that in order to appear respectful its best to keep quiet or not to rock the boat. That is a misread. You have to be able to speak up and mean what you say but you don’t have to be mean when you say it.

From that failure, what other lesson have you learned?

The lesson it taught me is that I have a voice and I am light and once I saw that and owned that no one could tell me otherwise.  I have allowed the opinions of others dictate how I was to live, to behave, dress and how I was to be all around.  I would have rather pleased them and allow myself to fall into a sunken place because I wanted to be accepted and loved, but deep-down resenting myself.

As I stated I learned to love myself, to accept myself and work on changing me for me not anyone else.  I have learned that I am different and that is okay that is actually great, I learned that my voice matters, maybe not to anyone else, but it matters to me.

Wanting approval is one thing. Wanting approval above our own voice is not okay. You can love you and make others around you align themselves accordingly.

What are is the 3 things you would want to tell other younger woman in regard to lessons learned?

Learn to love yourself…it will be challenging at first, but it is sooo freeing.

Do not allow the things programmed in your mind dictate who you are.  So often we are subjected to the thoughts and beliefs of our parents, teachers, friends and loved ones and it is a battle of who we truly are.  What I will tell you is research, allow your heart to lead you.  We have all the answers within us, but are you open enough to hear.

Pursue your dreams – there is no limit to what you can do.  Whatever you feel in your heart do it.

We can take on the things that we are taught and add or subtract from it what we need to be the adults that we need to be. It’s okay to go against the grain especially if it will yield a happy, confident and well-loved woman in its place.

What are 3 goals for your future?

To complete 2 certifications – Neuroscience certification and my Life Coaching Certification

Release weight – physically, emotionally and mentally

Travel – I want to travel the world and be an international motivational speaker

If you could sit down with any woman past or present who would it be and why?

I would have to say -Harriet Tubman – she was(is) a hero (Shero) – the fact that she was a slave she did not have no support, but she found a way to escape and not only free herself, but she came back and saved others too.   She was selfless and I would love to hear how she overcame the obstacles, the hardship what drove her to do the things she did etc.

Harriet Tubman definitely was one strong woman to do the very thing of helping slaves escape knowing she could be put to death.  We won’t step out and blog, be a creator, or go after that job and our lives aren’t even on the line. Don’t hesitate to step out in life and do things for others as well as yourself.  You got this!

 

IF you have any projects that are coming up in the future, what are they?

I am going to be hosting a workshop for women in late spring early summer. Planning to host a part 2 Vision Board Event as well.

Zulma is also on the Marketing Team for TCP I have not doubts that anything you start you will finsih

What is the one thing as a woman that you feel helps or helped you make your mark in this world?

Learning to be me and accepting me for who I am and the fact that I desire to exude Love to everyone, even those that do me wrong.  Staying positive as often as I can and remember to.   I have learned that what you put out into the Universe it will return to you.  So I choose to remain positive through adversity, give love at all times.

Thank you Zulma for participating and we wish you much success as you continue to live life on your terms and branch out!

You can find Zulma on Facebook or Instagram

Weekly Update: Friday March 1, 2019

Blog Life

So it’s been pretty busy for ToiTime. If you missed let me recap this week for you. TCP help an event, Spread Love. It was a community outreach to service those who don’t have. It was an amazing event and I am proud to be apart of the TCP family, “we working over here.” Special thank you again to the Mayor of Lancaster, Danene Sorace and her team and family for their continued support. That was Saturday in Lancaster, PA; my hometown. Fast forward to Saturday and back in Philadelphia, I attended Variety’s Children’s Charity, “Let them eat cake under the stars.” All of the cake and drinks and helping children and their families who have disabilities so they can get the assistance to live independent lives. Have you seen my pictures of the cakes on my Instagram? Check it out. Monday along with my fellow blogging friends, PhillyFoodGal, LittleTeacherBigAppetite and PhillyDineout went to Bronze Table and Philly Scoop Deville. The food was super amazing. So as you can see its been a great but fulfilling week in every way.

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Saturday I will be attending Azuka’s Bob: a life in five acts, a play by playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and directed by Michael Osinski.  Blog will follow Sunday morning so be on the look out for that!

Fit Life

I am going hard in my workouts. By the way did you catch my blog on how I was questioned on my weight while at the event in Lancaster this weekend. I have blogged the highs and lows of losing weight and keeping it off. I finally at the best shape of my life and apparently being healthy and being a size 8, I am still fat if you compare it to what folks remember me from a kid. It happens. I got bummed out but I will never let another person’s opinion to stop me from achieving these goals. I got 2 races coming up. One in April, Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k and the Broad street Run which is a 10 mile, I got work to do. I can’t and won’t let a distraction stop me!

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Shout out to Philly Scoop Deville for this vegan vanilla ice-cream with peaches, strawberries and Golden Grahams-my own concoction

My new schedule is 4 workout days including weights, eat clean as I can, and do my practice runs on Saturday and Sunday. Thankful for a crew of women behind me who we keep ourselves accountable and we know there is strength in numbers. From video check ins during the week to runs together on the weekend, we going to take Broad Street Run and all of the other runs by storm. Send good running vibes as I prepare to make sure I have what I need for both races!

Kid Life

My youngest is registered for Kindergarten.  Oh time please stop. No more babies is real but scary. People told me when you have kids that the time speeds up and they weren’t lying.  I am proud of all 3 of my children to be honest.  The older two have some amazing grades. I can’t complain, I am blessed!  Also my oldest has a Girl Scout event this upcoming week.  She is singing and I can’t wait to show her my support. We are the ultimate Uber parents as I like to call us. We are the soccer parents, Girl Scouts parents and soon to be karate parents. We are their number one fans!

Personal Life

I am really trying to get my mindset together for everything I am doing. I am conscious of the way I deal with others around me. It takes more work because  it’s not as natural for me to take the time to stop and respond. I can be more reactive type. I think what I notice is that others aren’t really sure how to respond to the fact that I am just being still and cautious. I know that end of day its helpful for me to take accountability for how I react and that is my goal.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I plan to.  Have a great one and remember to find something that renews you!

Philadelphia Theatre Company Presents Bridges of Madison County

I had a wonderful time at the opening night of Bridges of Madison County.  This musical was not only engaging, it also hit on some questions in life.  The story involves an Italian woman named Francesca Johnson who married an American solider to flee the war in Italy. The story also surrounds Francesca family as they head off to the state fair without her. Who she encounters while they were gone, sets the many questions of what would you do.

What would you do if you found yourself in the company of a handsome stranger who woos you? In crossing the line you are left with the questions in your heart and mind of staying with the man you have built a family but not necessarily having the fire in your soul for or the man who with whom you just met who makes you feel alive?  How deep is your loyalty?  I attended this musical with my husband and it made for one great date night and an interesting conversation for the journey home. We talk in our society of men cheating but this woman clearly cheated on her husband and fell hard in love. Could she in the 1960’s just leave?  Could you in an unhappy relationship leave your mate now?  I think about all of the social and economic structure of that time and think about how staying definitely was more of a stable decision. To leave stability and your children is not only now but then unheard of. So of course my husband and I are talking about how life is different for women in a lot of ways with advancement in careers, etc but there are still women who are housewives who feel stuck in their current state. Now I am not condoning cheating in any way. Matter of fact, although stuck Francesca was actually quite wrong to cross the line with the photographer even if I understand it!

Did I mention that it’s a musical? I love musicals. Bridges of Madison County kept my attention and the front seats were probably the best part. I would highly suggest you getting to this show, opting for VIP seats if you can and by the way you can because there are many options to make it affordable.  This musical has romance, its funny, the music is A1, and it has drama and will have you talking well after you have left. If that isn’t the making of a good time?  I am enclosing the link for deals, like reduced tickets 3 hours before show time, ticket discounts if you are a SNAP recipient, group tickets, etc.  Tickets for all budgets and the ability to have one star-studded night.  So affordability for all is important and trust me when I say you are going to want to get out and not miss this masterpiece.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Theatre for a magical night. Thank you to the amazing cast you were above and beyond talented. Each of you have such a great gift. Thank you to Aversa PR for the invite.  Thank you to everyone who were involved in the reception afterwards for the reception. The brisket was divine! I felt like a celebrity with all of the star treatment.

Everyone get out and support Bridges of Madison County.  The show is located at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 215 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19107; 215-985-1400.  The show runs from February 8 to March 3, 2019!

 

Sunday Message: Controlling Your Triggers

We all have triggers.  Triggers are the things that we see, experience, or are around us that pushes an emotional response.  We all have to find a way to control them, handle them and most importantly address them.

Some people deal with them in healthy ways such as counseling, talking to a trusted associate or friend or acknowledge them.  The unhealthy way of dealing with triggers is hoping they will simply go away, drugs, sex, relationships, etc. I am aware of my triggers because I have had more times of not handling them right that I had no choice but address them.  I was tired of arguing, yelling, ready to fight, and being about drama to deflect what I hadn’t acknowledged.  It was too much to keep things going!  My tipping point came when I got into it with family and it spilled over into social media. I knew at that moment that I had to disengage, take a break, and handle the root of the issue. So instead of worrying who was wrong, I just dug deep into getting my life aligned. Now the issues that came up didn’t  disappear but with the help of my counselor I worked through!  Funny part I was in counseling and she told me that the situation was going to happen.  It was almost verbatim how she described it.  It’s funny now but then I was one split second from bail.

I have since seen a few family members since the whole breakdown and nothing on he inside of me moves. I hold no malice.  However there are other triggers that I still work through quite often.  For me they come out when I handle my children. My kids are good overall but they will every now and again make me tap into something and I find I have to work through some things. Parenthood in my opinion is sharpening me to be a better version of myself.  I owe it to my children to be the parent that they need and not the parent that is in constant fight or flight so that is why I have been in and out of therapy since I had my oldest and she will be 10 this year. I  have no embarrassment at all with saying that in order to control how I walk in this world is to have help. I want to spend my days being whole and not a whole mess.

How do you know that you are being triggered? Listen to yourself.  The things you speak about portray where you are.  If all you speak about is certain people or things that aren’t about building you to be your best, that issue you speak on still has life and you need to really deal with.  When I as having marital issues and not speaking and listening to my husband all I spoke about was negativity of our marriage.  I also would speak negatively about the imagery of other positive marriages. This is where the term hating does apply. I wanted my marriage to be a safe space.  I wanted it to be strong from the inside out and would take issue with others who appeared that way.  I wasn’t strong enough to be real about my part in my marriage. I never acknowledged how my triggers were not my husband’s to deal with.  I wanted him to be understanding and fix me while I acted a fool and hide behind “for better or for worse.”

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We are responsible for our own happiness. We want others to care about our triggers more than we are wiling to deal and handle them.  It’s not enough to be understanding as you watch a partner do nothing.  How about just regular folks watching you wallow in your triggers.  Are your friends supposed to carry your triggers and the bad behavior they often demonstrate?  They can love and be supportive but they are limited in making things okay. I blogged the other day about who my friends were present for my most colorful times with Marques in college. Looking back they should have raised the standard for our behavior in that if we wanted to hang the drama couldn’t come.  Triggers place distance between people.  Triggers is the cause of why hurt people hurt people.  It’s simply still not okay to contain hurting people and having expectations that your relationship, title, or age will grace you.

You need to speak for, handle, and show up for that inner pain and deal with it. You need to trust me it’s in your best interest.  Everyday I wake up even when the day before  might have allowed  a trigger to get the best of me and show up for myself.  It’s important for me to mirror wholeness to myself as well as my children. Also social media and triggers is real. I do not argue  with folks on social media. Debate is a thin line to fighting too.  I will debate you with maybe 2 exchanges and that’s it.  It also depends on the topic. The trolls will never engage me.  Also if its family or friends that I have personal numbers to, it’s a no automatically. First I don’t post too many subjective things and on top of that I think about whether or not its someone who has a front row or at least a few rows into my life for me to get hype and it has zero outcome.  Also don’t let what you think you see on Facebook. I knew of several males who made who dedications to their wives and was cheating the whole time using hashtags like couple goals.  Life is complicated and comparison will leave you  in self defeat! Don’t do it!

One last thing, in life we can’t always retreat but one of the things that can assist in healing is separation.  I was told when I stated I needed to separate from individuals that I was wrong.  I knew what I needed.  I knew I wasn’t going to be okay from years of mess by staying in the midst.  My counselor allowed me to see that the person needed me to stay and work things out because staying gave the other party to believe that things weren’t as bad as it was. I didn’t care if I was looked as wrong.  I no longer wanted to be right. I wanted to be free to live and love.  I needed healing from my triggers.  I needed to separate to walk in real wholeness and know right or wrong I was entitled to how I felt but not entitled to react negatively to it!  Working through triggers is a daily tussle.  However if you are overwhelmed or feel overtaken in your triggers, its time to acknowledge it and get help!