Monday, December 25, 2017

Don't Just Call Me Stubborn

When I read the word "stubborn" I quickly contemplated whether I should be on defense mode and come quick with a rebuttal. In an effort to remain calm I decided to breathe and actually read her full message rather than focus on this one word that jumped out of the screen. But she called me stubborn

The word "stubborn" was a trigger word. It carries a negative connotation making us immediately think of someone who is hard headed and not necessarily tough minded. Here's a quick dictionary definition:



having or showing dogged determination not to change one's attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.

But her calling me stubborn was a good thing. My dear friend and long-time client said these words to me that lifted my spirits and shifted my perspective:
"I was thinking about you and how you are so stubborn about your faith and pursuing what God has for you...and I gingered myself up. Thank you."

My heart melted. See 2017 put me in such a position that forced me to become more tough minded than I have ever been -- about my faith and about what I just know God has spoken over me. When life throws curveballs at you from every angle, when God gracefully but firmly places you into a fiery furnace, we have two choices:

  1. Give up quickly and let go of everything you've ever believed. Get. Out. Now.
  2. Be stubborn; let the fire help you to develop tougher skin and an even tougher mind. 
Time and time again option number 1 has looked like the easier and more seamless choice. Of course giving up is easy (especially if the situation is definitely looking like you miiight not win). You no longer have to fight. You no longer have to show up every day, no matter how bleak things look. You no longer have to believe that what you are waiting for will come to pass. That's easy! And who doesn't want a simple and carefree option? You'd be free to live you life no longer waiting.

But let's talk about option 2. Being stubborn. When God allows you to be in these seasons that require your attention, strength, and resiliency, He matches your circumstance by equipping you with the mental and spiritual fortitude to withstand. He allows you to become stubborn; never forgetting His promises, always clinging to that strand of faith that screams out "God is faithful! And He will do it in His time!"

But being stubborn in spite of your seemingly hopeless circumstance requires more than just a tough mind. It requires grit. Stubbornness commands an attitude of courage: that is, stepping out in action in order to match your perspective of faith. 

After I re-read my friend's message I settled on her description of me. I was happy with it! But I soon snapped back to reality. I don't want to be known as just stubborn. I want to described as someone who has grit (that is courage, boldness, resolve, and strength of character).

Can we agree on something, dear reader? Let's drop options 1 and 2 real quick! When we're placed in situations that require our attention and challenge our faith, let's respond with more than just a stubborn attitude. Let's approach every circumstance stubborn and courageous.

Next time I want them to say "she is stubborn and has grit". They won't just call me stubborn.


Tuck Seam Blouse: Topshop (shop here)
Cropped Wide Legged Trousers: Topshop (shop style here)
Rose Gold Strapped Heels: Primark
Joy Brushed Silver Mesh Watch: Kapten & Sons (shop here)

I wore this ensemble to a Nubian Skin brunch event I attended. I had the pleasure of working closely with the founder/CEO, Ade Hassan and assisting my dearest mentor Connie Jackson on the day. Be sure and check out the brand, Nubian Skin ladies!



Monday, December 11, 2017

Branding for Beauty: How to Wear All Black Like a Boss & 3 Ways to Build Your Community

Lately I've been really into monochromatic looks, trousers, and all black. I went on a shopping haul a few weeks ago (okay when I say "haul" I mean I bought 2 items because my bank asked me to calm down). When I picked up these wide-legged trousers from H&M I couldn't wait to pair them with this Forever 21 black turtle neck. As a petite girl, all black makes me appear more slender, and the wide-legged trousers gives me the appearance of "legs for days!" To complete, the monochromatic look, I carried a berry red handbag for the final pop of color.

How to wear all black? Confidently and with a pop of color.

In light of adding some sass to your wardrobe, let's chat about adding value to your community, shall we!

I recently had dinner with a friend of mine (in my all black ensemble but of course). He recently moved to another state for work and we got on the subject of making new friends, and rebuilding community in his new home. In conversation, he gently asked if I were part of a community. See, I pride myself in "doing bad all by myself." In my ability to balance counseling, entrepreneurship, and a "social life" (aka lack thereof). So coyly, I shook my head "no" to answer my friend's question.

Then more stern this time, my friend emphasized the value of being a part of one. This question really made me think -- about the importance of community, my community, and the greater question: how to build a community.

In the Bible, we read several scriptures highlighting the importance of community. In Genesis 2:18, God points out that "it is not good for man to be alone;" Hebrews 10 discusses the importance of encouraging one another; and 1 John 1 advocates for having fellowship with one another.

As Christians we are called to support, love, and grow...together. We're called to blend our lives, not balance busy. We can't do it alone.

Now when building your brand (or even developing yourself as an individual) the essence of community is not to be overlooked. Community is encouraging, life giving, and helps to strengthen.
I've shared 3 tips below on ways to build your community (which can be applied to your brand or your personal life).

Always (actively) engage: 

  • As a brand, you likely use social media to reach your target audience. In order to build community in this space, be sure you are actively engaging with your audience/followers. Be present; express your thoughts by not only liking photos, but also writing comments. It goes a long way to also reply to comments posted under your product photos. The goal is for followers to see that you are present and that they are visible.
  • As an individual: it's likely that there are people around you who reach out to you! Avoid isolating yourself and try saying "yes" to a dinner party invitation, or one on one coffee dates. While you're there, be present. Do you best to carry conversations, and show that you care by listening and responding.

Collaboration is key: 

  • As a brand: A great way to ignite more conversation is through collaboration. Find a blogger/brand ambassador/influencer that mirrors your values and pair up! Curate a giveaway or a blog post. Team up to charter a social media campaign. Collaboration lets your audience know that you are plugged in and care about the greater mission that's backing your brand's story. Also, its a fun and easy way to build buzz around your brand!
  • As an individual: The festive season is upon us! This is the time of year for not only celebrating, but also giving. Team up with friends and family to give back to the community. (Hint: gathering your small group to feed/give to families in need?) Work together to celebrate the reason for the season by organizing a holiday party. It's true that two heads are better than one!

Be inclusive (and kind): 

  • As a brand: Strive to make people feel like they can be a part of something special. Take a look at your target audience personas and make sure each person is being reached in your messaging and imagery.
  • As an individual: Invite everyone! (Well, not everyone...keep it safe, y'all). When in conversation, make an effort to make sure you've included everyone you're out with. Spare the one-on-one conversation for duo coffee dates. If you're the shy type (like me), make an intentional effort to approach a (small) group of people and get involved!
What have you tried when building your community? Let's get engaged! Share with us in the comments below! :)


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