Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Be The Judge...

American Idol has revolutionized the way singers go about getting discovered. It has surpassed Star Search and all of the other televised music competitions in its popularity by allowing America to take part in the fate of each contestant. Basically, the contestants that have only dreamed of becoming pop stars stand on a stage and sing their hearts out in the hopes of making it big. Then, when the song is over, they wait for the judges to critique their tones, notes, riffs, and overall presence on stage. Then if that scrutiny isn’t enough, they have to wait to see if enough people tuning think they are good enough to make it through to the next week. I must admit, as a song writer and plain old music lover, I am pretty tough on the contestants. I sit in the comfort of my living room and say what I would have done if I were them.

Now, before they get that far in the competition, they go through hundreds of thousands of really bad people attempting to sing. I mean people that make you think to yourself, they have to be joking. Then, when they finish their song and the judges tell them how horrible they were, they stare in disbelief and run out of the room in tears; and you find out they weren’t joking at all. I often wonder if after seeing themselves on television, looking in from the outside, do they say wow…I am bad!

Seeing things from the outside in often gives a clearer view. Think about all of the football games that you’ve watched from your sofa as you yell at the quarterback for not seeing a halfback that was wide open. You are able to see things that the players would never be able to see from the field. Sometimes that is the way you have to look at your life. Taking a moment to step back and take yourself, mentally, out of the equation can offer a more objective perspective. You be your own judge. No matter how great you are at your job, or how wonderful you are at creating new opportunities, you can always improve.

Today, take a moment to step outside of what you are doing and judge for yourself. Do you need to switch up your game plan? Having an objective view keeps you grounded and helps you strategize for maximum results.

To Blog…Nakeia

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Follow My Dust...

I was on my way to the gym yesterday morning, late as usual, when I was cut off, delayed, and utterly annoyed by traffic. This one car in particular, just kept weaving in and out of the lane that I was in. It was almost as if the driver couldn’t make up in his mind where he wanted to go…like he got in the car and said I have no idea what my destination will be, so I will just drive in every lane I see until I figure it out, oh…and annoy Nakeia while I am at it! Eventually I caught a break in traffic and passed the guy that was going nowhere fast. I got to the gym with just a minute to spare before my Spin class began. It took me almost all day to get over that guy in the white Honda…probably because I was sore due to the fact that I was too late to warm up before class (yes…I still need to warm up).

In life, you may be where I was yesterday morning. You know where you need to be, are taking the actions needed to get there, but you find yourself cut off, delayed, and sometimes utterly annoyed. If you fall in this category, you may need to pass by the people that are slowing you down. Unfortunately, there are some people that fall in the category of the guy in the white Honda. There are people that have no sense of just weave in and out of careers and relationships causing traffic jams along the way. These people may present themselves as friends, co-workers, and maybe even family members in your life. It is up to you to leave those people in your dust. This is vital in getting to where you need to be in life. If they are smart, they will follow the path that your dust leaves behind in pursuit of their own destiny.

Now…I am not suggesting that you isolate yourself from your friends and family. I am encouraging you to stay the course. I am suggesting that you control your flow in traffic by not allowing others to slow you down and prevent you from keeping your appointment with destiny. Take an inventory of the people that are in your lane. Are they keeping up with the flow of traffic or are they slowing you down?

To Blog…Nakeia

Monday, March 29, 2010

Love you some You...

Over this busy weekend I had the opportunity to chat casually with a few people and the theme of all three of those conversations was love…love of career choices, love interests…and the lack here of. Love is a funny thing. It can affect your character. It can motivate you to take action. It can be a source of sustenance. It is also the most misunderstood emotion…ever! Love shouldn’t hurt. It shouldn’t make you stay when you need to leave. It shouldn’t be conditional. You shouldn’t have to ask for it.

When most people speak of love, they are referring to the kind that is projected from the inside onto an outside source or from an outside source back onto them. As cliché-ish as it sounds...what about self-love? Self-love is taught in high schools and yoga classes. You can find chapters on it in self-help books and hear about it on Oprah. However, most people still don’t get it. We have been labeled a selfish society. We think about ourselves when it comes to money, houses, vacations, and other material things. However, when it comes to a genuine affection, devotion, admiration, and benevolence, we always think of others. We love our spouses, children, friends, jobs, and homes. We show our love towards those people and things by spending time with them, buying gifts for them, and taking care of them. We also expect to be showed love in return.

Well, today, think about how much time you spend with yourself. How often do you buy you a gift or take care of you? Do you show yourself love by avoiding toxic foods, drugs, friends, and words. Do you admire yourself or do you constantly project negativity towards the way you look, live, and feel. Do you tell yourself that you are not good enough by comparing yourself to someone else?

Self- love is the greatest gift you can give yourself, your spouse, your children, and your job. When you love yourself, you show it by developing your mind, body, and spirit. When you love yourself, you will not tolerate abuse, neglect, or rejection. When you love yourself you attract genuine love from others.

Today become passionate, devoted, and enthusiastic about you! Write a list of things you do well, features you love about your face and body, and characteristics you admire about yourself. Get rid of at least 3 toxic things or people you expose yourself to regularly.

Learn to love you…from the inside out!

To Blog…Nakeia

Friday, March 26, 2010

Prepare to Progress...

There are many ways that you can spend time preparing to further progress professionally. I chose to share three vital points that I have personal experience with. Today, I want to encourage you to prepare by revisiting your developmental stage. Go back to moment you decided to become an accountant, a teacher, or a clothing store owner. Remember your drive, your mission, and your desire to be as successful at it as you could possibly be. Now ask yourself this question…can I take this even further?

(3.) Prepare to progress.
As you may have read before, my grandmother (the reigning Mac & Cheese Queen) was a caterer (she only comes out of retirement for a select few these days). She was in that industry for over 30 years. She prepared great food for weddings, conferences, luncheons, and any other occasion you can think of. As she grew older, the rest of my family and I constantly made attempts at convincing her to expand. We suggested that she launch her own restaurant. I explained to her that in opening her own restaurant, she would have to be prepared to turn over some responsibility to others, actually write out her recipes (which is asking a lot of a southern cook who doesn’t believe in measuring anything), and she would have to close her catering business or open a restaurant that would expand into a catering facility. In my opinion, her opportunities were endless. At that time, she was catering some sort of occasion every week, but she was also getting older. I knew that she ran the risk of not being able to keep up with the demands of her business. It was a now or never moment for her.

Unfortunately, my grandmother spent most of her young adulthood working so hard that she did not prepare for the possibility of progressing into something that could potentially bring her even more success. Instead of launching her own restaurant/catering facility, she continued her private catering business until she retired at 65 years old. My grandmother had a very successful career. But…I can’t help but wonder how much further she could have taken it.

I believe in the principle of living full and dying empty. Most of us can’t even imagine the potential that is within us. There is always room for improvement, growth, and expansion. Be prepared to take it to the next level. Prepare to progress by continuing to research your field and maximize networking opportunities. Staying on top of the latest technology, equipment, and trends is also important for growth.

You have the ability to take things even further. Prepare to Progress!

To Blog…Nakeia

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Yesterday I gave you some homework. Hopefully, you have put at least some thought into developing your elevator pitch. If not maybe this will give you a push…

Without going into to much detail…today I was put on the spot! I placed a call to inquire about possible business dealings and I expected to be quoted a price. When I expressed my interest in utilizing the company’s services, the Director said he was on his way to a meeting but asked to hear a brief overview of my company and what we had to offer. I gave him my elevator pitch and he explained that he was looking for someone like me to call, and that there may be an opportunity for us to begin a business relationship at no cost to me!

That is the kind of opportunity that a person who pursuing his or her destiny must always be prepared for!

Which brings me to today’s point…

(2.) Be prepared to press go at a moments notice.
This point may be considered the most vital. I have met people that could talk themselves into future! I am serious…they talk a great game…point-by-point! BUT…when it’s game time, they can’t even catch the ball, never mind being able to run with it! Being prepared to press go at a moments notice is where talking stops and action starts! Whatever business you are in and whatever service your offer, you should always be ready for the first or next client to call. No one that is in need of a service should have to wait for you to get things ready. Most people will not wait.

I will never forget the first time I had to press go in the music business. My job in our music production company, Remnant Productions, LLC, is to write songs, record a reference for them, shop them to labels/artists, and act as business manager. Everyday, I send out emails and make phone calls to solicit work. A few years back, I was talking to the VP of A&R at one particular company almost daily, trying to get a break. One day he says to me…ok, I am finishing up an album right now and we need one more song, if you send me something hot, I will put it on the record. BUT…we need it right away! Now, for us, the process of creating music can be very fast or very slow. It really just depends on the vibe…as corny as that may sound…its true. Since no one can predict the vibe, it is best to write constantly and develop a library of songs that can be sent out at a moments notice. Because I was prepared, I was able to land a placement on that album, which was nominated for a Grammy! That song may have been the last one recorded, but it was the first single released…which is a pretty big deal!

Prepare to press go! If you are a caterer, have your produce, meat, and linen vendors on speed dial! Have great tasting, well- planned menus ready to be presented to a bride or a meeting planner. If you own a car service, have your vehicles detailed and gassed-up…after all it is wedding and prom season!

By now, you get today’s point…

Spend time today making sure that you are preparred to press go!

Chance favors the prepared mind ~ Unknown

To Blog…Nakeia

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Elevator Pitch...

If I’ve said it 1 million times, it wasn’t enough…we must be prepared to open the door when opportunity knocks! This is a lesson that I learned, the hard way, and have NEVER forgotten! In my lifetime, I have missed out on business opportunities, scholastic endeavors, and loads free stuff, all because I showed up unprepared. Then one day I missed out on an opportunity I REALLY wanted and made a promise to myself that I would not allow that to happen again…EVER! I am proud to say I have kept my promise. When I am not working in some capacity I am spending time preparing for some opportunity… I am writing songs to add to my song library in case a record label calls with a request for a song… I am writing blogs, which normally turn into seminar or keynote ideas in case a meeting planner calls with a request for my presence at his or her next conference…I am working out the details, putting things together, and making myself ready!

Don’t allow another opportunity to pass you by. Be prepared to open the door when opportunity knocks!

I will spend the rest of this week sharing some key ways you can prepare for your next opportunity…

(1.) Develop your elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a synopsis of what you and your business is all about. You should be able to share it in the time it takes you and a potential client or investor to ride the elevator to your respective stops. You should also have an elevator pitch if you work for someone else. You never know when you will find yourself on the elevator with the CEO, Vice President, or Department Head of your company. That kind of pitch should contain your title, your experience, and details about what you are currently working on.


Sensational Scents Candle Co.
I am Nakeia CEO of Sensational Scents Candle Co. At SSCO, we offer handcrafted, slow burning candles in various shapes, sizes and scents. Our candles provide an aromatic atmosphere of comfort, are great decorative accents for your living, dinning, and bathroom areas, and are a good investment because they are slow burning and will last for months.

That pitch provides the most important elements. I tell who I am, what I offer, and why you should buy it. I get annoyed every time I ask someone what they do and he or she rambles on for several minutes and never really answer my question.

Be prepared to sell your business and ultimately yourself, by being able to share what you in a precise and straight to the point pitch.

To Blog…Nakeia

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


There is this person, who shall remain nameless, that is always unhappy with her life. She calls me for advice, I give it, and she hangs up feeling good…then…calls me the very next week to complain again. I realized, years ago, that she does not understand the importance of change. Despite her apparent displeasure with the course of her life, she refuses to make the necessary changes to achieve what she wants. She complains about money, but refuses to cut back on her shopping sprees. She complains about her job, but rejects promotions because she would have to relocate. If what she wants involves doing something different, she would rather not have it! Believe it or not, that makes sense…technically. Your body, mind and spirit will crave what you expose it to the most.

I remember how difficult it was for me to get use to living in a new city, after living in the same apartment for 17 years. I was grateful to be able to leave that apartment…which…by the way, was located in the projects. However, I was so used to my old routine that I would often, subconsciously, drive in the direction of my old place after leaving church on Sundays. Eventually, I developed a new routine. Although the drugs and violence I was exposed to while living in that apartment motivated me to create the life I have now, I still remembered the few good moments I had there at 37 Maple Drive. I remembered my best friend that lived around the corner. I remebered the kick ball games my dad would organize in the field. After moving, I wished I could re-live those things. But...moving is what kept me away from the things that could have influenced me to live the life I vowed I would never live.

Change is not as difficult as people make it out to be. It is actually quite simple. It is just a matter of doing something different than what you have done before. In doing so, you will inevitably experience different results. Take the person I mentioned before for example. If she wants more money, she should spend less. If she wants a new job, she should take the promotion and move. Beside, she also complains about her house, her friends, AND she needs a man (in her own words). Moving to a new city will bring about a new house, new friends, and maybe even new a man!

You may have heard it said before that it takes at least 2 weeks to break a habit. During those two weeks, experts advise that you replace the old habit with a new one. That is what I ask of you. Think of one thing that you know you need to change and change it for at least 2 weeks. If you need to change the amount of money you spend, put yourself on a 2 week budget. If you need to change the company you keep, stay away from whom ever that is for 2 weeks. You can even take that time to reconnect with an old friend. Whatever change you need to make, commit to it for 2 weeks. I guarantee you will experience different…better results in your life!

When you are through changing, you are through ~ Martha Steward

To Blog…Nakeia

Monday, March 22, 2010

Inspiration in Unlikely Places

I speak often of getting started. I write about starting a business…starting to make better choices…starting an exercise regimen…starting to take the steps necessary to live a desired life…just starting something!

Well…I had a personal realization this weekend that you may find interesting...
Sometimes, I have trouble getting started. That is why I spend so much time developing plans and writing lists. If I understand what I need to do and how I am going to go about getting in done, I usually hit the ground running. However, every now and then, I come across things that cause me to become distracted, discouraged, and ultimately my progress gets delayed. It is at those times that getting started is not an issue, but staying focused is. When I have set a goal, developed a plan of action and maybe my time frame gets off track, or I have to take off my business hat and replace it with my mommy hat, I can not just abort the mission. I have to find a way to refocus.

This weekend, I found inspiration in the most unlikely thing…

Thoroughbreds are the most notable racehorses. They are considered hot-blooded horses because of their agility, speed and spirit. They are also referred to as Thoroughbreds because their ancestry can be traced back to 3 foundation sires, which is rare. That breeding brought about an animal which could carry weight with sustained speed, over extended distances. In training and racing, a blinker hood (also known as a blinder or visor) is used. Some trainers believe this keeps the horse more focused on what is in front of them. The trainer can use a half-cup, which allows the horse to see directly in front of him or a full-cup, with a hole drilled in the front.

Normally when you think of Thoroughbreds, you think of their purity, speed, and agility. Now when you think of them, also think of their ability to focus and go the distance! You are not a horse but you apart of a rare breed of dreamers and visionaries. You have ideas, concepts and inventions to create. You are not in a race but you are on a mission to fulfill your purpose. There is a place you need to be and a dream you need to realize. When things get distracting, put your mental visor on and focus. Cut distractions and discouragement out of your view by setting your sight on the happiness and success that is just ahead of you!

To Blog…Nakeia

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dream the Impossible...

From migrant worker to Astronaut, Jose Hernandez has a very inspiring story. Although he was born in America, he spent his childhood working half of the year in his parent’s native country, Mexico, and the other half working in America. He didn’t even learn to speak English until he was 12 years old. Although he came from a family of field workers, he was compelled to pursue higher education. He was later inspired to challenge himself after hearing the story of America’s first Latin American astronaut, Franklin Chang-Diaz. He heard stories of Franklin’s life and realized they had many things in common. It was at that moment that his journey to NASA began. Hernandez said in an interview …Hey, if Franklin can do it, why can’t I do it? After 12 years of applying, and many strides in the field of engineering, Jose Hernandez was accepted into NASA at the age of 41. Several years later, he became a mission specialist aboard the STS-128. He completed that 14 day journey in September 11, 2009. In another interview Hernandez said I just want people to know that it is ok to dream the impossible.

I agree with Hernandez. It is ok for you to dream that you can do, be, and experience the things that are felt to be incapable of being done, attained or fulfilled. Once you give yourself permission to dream about it, I want you to visualize yourself being successful at it. Then, I don’t care how impossible it may seem, I want you to develop a plan to make that dream a reality. If you would have spoken to Jose Hernandez one hot, summer day, while he was hard at work in a field in Mexico, and asked him if he wanted to be an astronaut he would have probably looked at you crazyespecially if you were speaking to him in English. Once he challenged himself to do what little boys and girls only dream of doing, the sky was no longer the limit for him! He took that spirit of hard work into the classroom and then to NASA and turned his dream into his reality!

Get inspired again! Challenge yourself! Dream the impossible…

To Blog…Nakeia

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wants vs. Needs

I sometimes find myself at odds with what I want vs. what I need. Like this new Badgley Mischka Platinum Label handbag…I really want it. However, I need to go to the bank and get a CD to serve as part of my soon to be five year old daughter’s college fund. Speaking of my daughter, everyday around 1pm I need to go over her daily lessons in Math, Reading, Handwriting, etc. However, I REALLY just want to take a nap (don’t judge me)!

What I want and what I need is often the same thing, except for when it comes to things that bring immediate gratification. Something that is immediately gratifying brings instant enjoyment or pleasure. In this infamously coined microwave generation, it’s no wonder we do not want to wait for anything. You can get an instant line of credit and walk away with a new car that you later scramble to make monthly payments on. You can get a quick bite to eat at any of the hundreds of fast food chains across America and think about the long term side effects that it may have on your health…later. These examples may seem trivial. But, doing the things that you need to do in order to enjoy the things you want to have, is an important lesson to learn.

I love what I do now. But, I use wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t decided not to become a psychiatrist because the additional schooling would have taken to long. What is really ironic is that I spent 4 years after graduating college, wandering around, trying to figure out what to do instead of psychiatry. It took four years for me to figure it out, but at the end of those four years, I learned that I was a writer, speaker, and a good business woman!

Here is the lesson:
Do what you need to do so that you can have what you want to have. Doing what you need to do doesn’t mean that you will not be able to have what you want. It just means that you may have to delay what you want until everything that you need is in place.

To Blog…Nakeia

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

From Strength...To Struggle

I heard someone say this week that you shouldn’t ask for life to be easy but ask for it to be worth it.

I use to believe that life was only difficult for those who made bad choices. That is true in some respect. If you make bad choices you should expect bad results to follow. But…what about those that do their very best to live a good life yet still struggle at the hand of sickness and misfortune? What about those that are struggling at the hand of this difficult economic time despite their college degrees and extensive work experience? I found the answers to those questions within the definition of two words… struggle and strength. To struggle is to proceed with difficulty or great effort; to make violent strenuous efforts against opposition; and a strongly motivated attempt. Strength is the state of being strong; capacity for exertion or endurance; power to resist force and attack; an inherent asset.

Life should be worth living, whether it is easy or not. Find strength in the struggle. After all, struggle has nothing to do with the circumstances you face and everything to do with your action toward it. Struggle denotes your level of effort against the thing that opposes you. This is where you will gain strength. Your power to resist is an inherent asset. You can only recognize and understand that power if you have need to exercise it. Your biggest strength should be your ability to struggle.

Next time something tries to oppose you, I want you to struggle! If life could just be easy, that would be great but wherein would lie your strength? Look for life to teach, fulfill, and lend time to you. Not to be easy to you. There is strength in your struggle if you see it for what it really is.

To Blog…Nakeia

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thank God...It's Not Just Me!

I had a very difficult time getting started. I have had so many ideas about life and how it should be lived. However, in the midst of my ideas was also my reality. I was struggling with feelings of rejection and depression. I have made some horrible life choices and still to this day I struggle with my attitude. How can I tell someone else to do what I had a hard time doing myself? In order for me to be effective, I had to live the life I asked everyone else to live. I had to be accountable and responsible. I work at it daily.

That is some of what I wrote in a response to an email I received the other day. I was contacted by a woman that was asking me how I did it. She wanted to know how I got over my past, how I decided on a career, and how I came up with all of my formulas to personal development. She said that she had tried everything she knew to get it right, yet she still struggles. Her questions were typical but her tone made me uncomfortable. At that moment I realized that people need to know that I live what I say. What I mean is that I have not arrived. This life is an eternal journey and not a road trip. The words that I say and the formulas I develop are at work in my own life. I try to stay the course but I to have had to take detours and have come across some bumps in the road, yet I stay committed.

She replied to my email this morning. The first line said Thank God…It’s not just me!

It is not just you! Most of what I speak and write about I have either lived through in the past or I am getting through right now. Knowing that is what keeps me empowered to empower you. If I stay the course and get through the difficulties of life, pursue my vision with diligence, and master the strategies and formulas I develop, I can come out on the other side ready to share my experience with you.

So, I encourage you to stay the course. Your path is your own, but you are not on a journey alone!

To Blog…Nakeia

Monday, March 15, 2010

Know Who You Are...

I was sitting in my social studies class learning about statistics when I had an epiphany. We were studying the environmental and economical effects on society. My teacher explained that statistics showed that children who were brought up in low-income households would more than likely grow up to be low-income adults; children would were born to teenaged parents would themselves become teenaged parents; and those who were over exposed to people who smoke, consumed alcohol, or abused drugs would more than likely grow up to do the same.

I sat at my desk in disbelief. I lived in a low-income household. I was born to teenaged parents. I was exposed to smoking, drinking, and drugs. I WAS A STATISTIC! According to my social studies book, I was destined to be who my environment and economic status said I would be. But, I didn’t feel like a statistic. I had no desire to smoke or drink. I wanted to become a lawyer or psychologist. My future seemed very clear to me. I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life. So, was I engaging in wishful thinking, or was my teacher and social studies book missing something…

Here is my epiphanyI determine who I am…not my household or my parent’s bad decisions. I can understand how ones environment can influence them, but science doesn’t explain everything. To come up with a statistic, you have to plug in a bunch of numbers to take the place of real people. There is a soul connected to every body. We are not robots waiting for our circumstances to tell us what to do or who to become. Circumstances can change!

So…know who you are…choose who you become! It is one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life. When you know who you are, no experience, job title, or current place of residence can determine your destiny!

To Blog…Nakeia

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Fun Factor

I had some interesting conversations this week. I spoke with some housewives about their desires to be able to just get away sometimes. I spoke with a guy who was feeling overwhelmed by his 9 to 5 and said he wish he could just go shoot some hoops. I spoke with a young woman who is a wife and mother with a career that was just not fun for her anymore. The hustle and bustle of life has sucked the fun right out of the lives of people I spoke with this week.

I am certain that at this point in your reading, you are already thinking of the fun thing you wish you could do. You are complaining in your head about how you are never able to do it. I will tell you what I told them. Do it! Have some fun! I mean really…what is holding you back? Kids…Work…You??!? If you can find time to talk to a friend on the phone, watch a television show, visit social networking sites, you can find time to have some fun. We all need a laugh, a moment of release, and time to just hang out.

So, once again…do it! T.G.I.F! What better time to have fun than the weekend? Make a promise to yourself to do one fun thing this weekend…Just One Thing. I am sure you can fit that in. Put the kids to bed early and invite some friends over. Wake up Saturday morning and go to the park. I am sure there is a ball game that will be waiting for you. If you can’t commit to a full day, just designate few hours. Do one thing this weekend that will make you laugh so hard, tears roll down your face! Then, make it a point to engage in other fun activities at least once a month.

Invite the Fun Factor back into your life!

To Blog…Nakeia

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mission Assessments

If you have not figured it out by now, let me be the first to tell you that I AM ON A MISSION.
There is a place that I need to be…a dream that I must realize…and a purpose that I must fulfill. I am one of those people. You know…the people that believe that everyone is here for a reason. People are not just furniture to dress up the earth. Flowers, trees, and beautifully positioned mountains do a great job at that. If you are in a body, you are occupying space. You can live your life being a useful agent of success…OR…you can choose to be wasted space.

To ensure that I am on task with my mission I do what I call a Weekly Mission-Assessment. At the start of my mission I wrote down a mission statement. A mission statement should simply state what you wish to accomplish and how you will go about it.

Mission Statement Example:
I will fulfill my goal of writing my first book. I will write for 20 minutes every night at 7pm until my book is complete.

Once I began the mission, I sat down every Sunday night to determine the rate of my progress. I compiled a check list and held myself accountable to it. What ever I said I was going to do I assessed whether or not I actually did it. Simple…right? My Weekly Mission Assessments keeps me on schedule, hold me accountable to my goal, and allows me to keep track of my progress.

Perform your own Weekly Mission Assessments. This will empower you to stay on task and ensure that you are not just wasted space. You have a purpose and you can fulfill it…if you so choose.

To Blog…Nakeia

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Show Up...

During my last year of high school I experienced the worst migraine headaches ever. I mean the kind of headaches that would make my vision blurred, my speech slurred, and leave me completely incapacitated. I saw doctors and specialists. I tried medication and meditation. Nothing worked. It was so bad that I missed over 20 days of school and was told that I may not be able to graduate. I kept up with my assignments but the school’s policy stated that students were not permitted to be absent from school more than a certain number of days. In order to graduate, I had to turn in a note of explanation from my doctors which stated my medical condition and detailed how it could leave me unable to attend class. That letter of excuse saved me the trouble of repeating 12th grade.

An excuse is, among other things, an apology, justification, or note of explanation for an absence. It is acceptable to offer an excuse for being absent from class due to sickness. It is not acceptable to offer an excuse for being absent from the possibility of success. When you decide to make excuses, you are deciding not to show up to open the door when opportunity knocks. This is another area of my life that was difficult for me to shake. I was often guilty of making excuses. I gave what I thought were pretty compelling reasons why I didn't complete something I started or for something that I simply never started at all. When I realized what it really meant to make excuses, I made a pledge to myself never to do it again.

Join me and make a pledge to yourself ,today, never to excuse yourself from life again. Make a decision to be present. To be present is to exist. No more excuses. Show up!

Your note of explanations will no longer be accepted

To Blog…Nakeia

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Do Something...

So yesterday was undoubtedly the craziest day I have had all year! I woke up tired and excited all at the same time. I was finally going to a Spinning Class! For those of you that have not heard of Spinning, it is an indoor cycling class. The concept of indoor cycling was introduced in the 1980’s by Jonathan Goldberg. Goldberg later teamed up with John Baudhum and developed Spinning. It is reported that one can burn between 400-600 calories in 40 minutes. It is a great way to work hard with “low impact”. I could go on and on but, I will spare you. Just know that I AM ADDICTED! Every since my first class 2 years ago, and the 2 dress sizes I have lost as a result of it, I have been hooked! Unfortunately, before yesterday, I hadn’t been to a Spinning class in over 6 months. You see, my family and I have recently relocated and the transition has been very tedious. Not only did we move ourselves, but we have moved our businesses as well. Anyway, since I had been unable to go to the gym, I decided that I would hold off on being active in everyway. No Spinning…No anything! I didn’t want to walk outside because it was to cold. I didn’t want to do any of the many home fitness videos I own because they didn’t work me as hard as Spinning did. Any excuse I could think of…I used. Those excuses came back to haunt me right in the middle of Spinning! My muscles were weak, my endurance was low, and I was just really out of shape. I made it through the class…barely. It was awful! I went from Spinning 3 days a week, in addition to resistance training 2 days a week, to barely making it through a 1hour class. Not to mention, my endurance, conditioning, and weight loss has stalled.

Years ago I developed the Do Something™ principle. After complaining about not being where I wanted to be in my professional career, I realized that doing something is always better than doing nothing. This principle is simple. Let’s say you want to open a bakery but do not have the capital you need to secure a building. You can choose to do nothing, stay at your current job, and continue to only dream of being a business owner. Or, you can do something like having a bake sale the last Friday of every month; selling baked goods to co-workers, friends and their co-workers, and other local businesses in your area. You may not have a building at the start but small orders once a month can lead to small business ownership in months to come. It is never a good idea to do nothing because you are not able to what you really want to do right away. Taking small steps towards your goals will lead to the fulfillment of that goal.

What you should learn from my Spinning debacle is this…

Do Something! Putting off actively working toward your goal will stall your ability to achieve it. If you do something you just might get the thing you want. I am guilty! I did nothing for 6 months. I wasn’t able to do what I wanted to do so I decided to make excuses and do nothing. Instead of getting closer to my goal of being fit and healthy, I got a back ache, muscle pains, and a sore butt (those of you who Spin know what I mean). Every muscle in my body hurts…I have been crawling up and down my staircase…BUT…at 9:15am…if you look for me, you will find me in the Spinning class at LifeTime Fitness! After all…I am ADDICTED!

To Blog…Nakeia

Friday, March 5, 2010

What and How...

When I first married 7 years ago, I struggled to find a place in my new life. In addition to being a new bride, I was also shifting careers. I took a huge leap from the world of psychology and human services to the world of music and business management. To say it was a struggle is an understatement…I was in a full blown war. It was the old me vs. the me that was to come. My largest battle was following through with what I started. I had so much to accomplish, with little time to get it done. You would think that my experience as a case manager for the state, handling more than 100 cases per year, I would have been prepared to take on multiple tasks. That wasn’t the case. Working multiple tasks in several different disciplines proved to be more than I could handle...or so I thought. I realized that I was going about it all wrong. I was one person trying to do the jobs of five people all in one day. That left me unfocused and many jobs undone. It took some time. Ok…it took some years, but I figured it out and this is how I did it…

First, I defined the principle roles that I was to play in our business. Once I knew my place, I stuck to the script. Second, I dispersed my responsibilities to span over the course of a week and I approached each task asking myself these questions: what do I need to accomplish and how am I going to get it done? Those questions were applied to every area of my life. I used them to get house work done and to schedule my husbands weekly sessions. I used them as I approached song writing and writing my business plan for professional speaking. Those questions helped me focus on the task at hand and served as my point of accountability. If I had no clear answer when approaching a task, I reserved the task until I did. It is better to hold off on doing something until it can be done right, than to attempt something that is improperly executed.

Many of you have been wondering why you are unable to get things done. It is probably because you have been working off your script. You may not have a clear understanding of what I expected, leaving you unable to focus. This technique has worked for me and several other entrepreneurs I have consulted with over the past few years. I encourage you to use it before attempting your next project. It will improve your quality of work and cut down on the time it takes for you to execute it.

As Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Managers, and just plain old employees, we all have jobs to do. Getting things done requires a clear understanding of what needs to be done and a plan of execution. If you are like I was and are having trouble focusing and following through, start with what and how. Ask yourself what do I need to accomplish and how am I going to get it done.

To Blog…Nakeia

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Must Haves...

Fashion experts such as June Ambrose and Nina Garcia have compiled their lists of Must Haves. That is, a list full of things that every woman must have in their closet. From the classic white button-down shirt to the crisp fall trench coat, those are the kinds of pieces the experts recommend to all of the fashionistas out there. Although most men do not share that kind of fashion sentiment, they do keep up with the latest must haves in golf gear or computer gadgets. Just google the thing that peaks your current interest and a list of things you must have will pop-up on your computer screen.

Well I have joined the revolution and compiled a list of things I recommend as Must Haves. That is, a list of things that every person must have to achieve and maintain a life that is balanced and productive.

1. An Active Goal.
You should always have something new to which you resolve to bring about in your life. When you direct your efforts toward an expected end, you increase your faith in yourself, gain a sense of purpose, and experts say you can add years to your life. When selecting a goal, make sure that is it reasonable and develop a plan that will help you achieve and maintain it.

2. A Book.
Reading a book expands vocabulary; improves spelling, memory, focus, and analytical thinking; and can empower you to change the course of your life. I recommend reading at least 30 minutes a day. You should select books written about your career choice; books that empower you to develop personally; and a books based on fiction or a hobby.

3. A Friend.
Friends are extremely hard to come by these days. So, if you can find one in a lifetime, you are truly fortunate. Having someone in your life that shares your same interests, offers an ear to listen, and provides an outlet for you to really be who you are, can be helpful in maintaining balance. This person should not be a “yes man”, but should offer objective advice. After all you will not be right all of the time and someone needs to be there to remind you of that fact.

4. A Mentor.
In addition to your friend you should have someone in your life that has mastered the art of living. It should be someone that is skillful in their career and balanced in their personal life. Your mentor doesn’t have to be someone that you know personally. You can follow the formulas of well known entrepreneurs such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Martha Stewart. You can find someone that has mastered whatever discipline you find yourself in. You can read the books they have written, follow the blogs they have published, and look in the archives for old speeches or interviews.

There you have list that every person looking to improve, develop, or change their life must have.

To Blog…Nakeia

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

All I Want Is To Be Happy...

Motivational speakers, personal development consultants, life coaches, and spiritual leaders all have one thing in common. They all have an audience of people searching for something. For many, the search for professional success, love, emotional freedom, and ultimately…happiness…is a never ending journey. What is the secret and what book, seminar, or spiritual guru will lead one to it?

At the end of a conversation with a friend last week she said all I want is to be happy. I asked her what makes her happy and she gave me answers that were contingent upon someone else’s participation. She needed her boss, husband, and father to make changes in order for her to be happy. I asked her what she would do if they didn’t make those changes and she had no answer. I will share with you what I expressed to her…

You are your happiness. I have heard it said by a host of other motivators. The truth is…its true…and THAT is the secret. Happiness is a choice. It is the state of being content or being well. To be content in your career and personal relationships is simple. You just have to know what you want and then do what needs to be done to get it. Who knows your wants, needs, and desires better than you? Who understands your pains, and pleasures better than you? No one can love or motivate you into being happy. It is not the responsibility of someone else to keep you content. Happiness is a state of being. No one else can exist for you. It is not a smile on your face or an attitude that one can project. It is the thing behind the smile. It is being ok with where you are in your life at this very moment.

Over the next 3 days, take a look at 3 things that you are unhappy about…in 3 separate areas of your life. Consider your career, personal relationship, and personal attributes. Find the one thing in each of those areas that you have been consistently unhappy about. Then choose to do what needs to be done to be happy. Do you need to work harder to be considered for a promotion at work? Do you need to reconsider the position a loved one holds in your life? Do you need a total body makeover? What ever it is…do it! Take on one thing each day and work at it until you are in a state of being content. You are at the center of everything in your life. When you discover the things that you need to be content and begin to work at maintaining them, you will experience happiness and the joy that accompanies it. This is another opportunity for you to take control. Make happiness a must have and not a option!

You are your happiness…choose to be happy.

To Blog…Nakeia

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Words To Live By...

I have 3 nieces and 3 nephews. They range from ages 10 all the way down to 1 day old (my baby sister just had a brand new baby boy!). I just love each of them! They are smart, funny, and I would argue that they are grown-ups in trapped in kiddy bodies! None the less, kids are very impressionable. One word from favorite auntie can live long after it is spoken. I try to shield them from as much negative influence as possible when ever we are together. That is exactly what I was trying to do when I told my oldest niece that she couldn’t listen to the radio one day. I explained to her that some songs were written with adult content…some stuff even adults shouldn’t listen to. Well of course, what I said stayed with her. Literally months later, I was minding my own business when a Beyonce song came on the radio. I don’t remember which one…but there was a point in my life when anything Beyonce would send me into a dancing frEnZy! I was just about into my second booty shake when my niece said auntie don’t you think this song has too much adult content in it…even too much for adults??!? I was speechless! I was being schooled by an 8 year oldwith my own words!!!

I remember hearing the phrase do what I say and not as I do. It didn’t make sense to me as a child and it doesn’t make sense now. Why would you tell someone to do something that you are not willing to do yourself? Further more, what you do is most often more important than what you say…and if you must say something make sure to use words that you live by.

To Blog…Nakeia

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mac & Cheese...Please

I have a loving, giving, low-maintenance husband. He would literally do anything for me…really…ANYTHING! He only had one request when I asked him what he expected of me in marriage. He only expected me to cook. He loves to eat good home-cooking. There was only one other thing attached to that request. He also needed me to be able to cook his favorite dish…macaroni and cheese. Not just any ole’ Mac & Cheese. Baked Mac & Cheese done southern style; with lots of cheese, milk and…you know what I’m talking about…soul food! Well this should have been easy for me. After all, my grandmother, Ms. Mae, is the queen of soul food. She is a caterer. Ask anyone in South Jersey about Ms. Mae and they will tell you she makes the best baked chicken, roast beef with gravy, green beans, candied yams, and of course her coveted Mac & Cheese! Not only had I watched her cook all of my life, but I had to help her prepare for all kinds of banquets. I came into our marriage with my mind, body, soul, and Ms. Mae’s secret recipes!

Anyway, once we were married and it was time for me to prepare my first real meal. I went for the gold and put Mac & Cheese on the menu! I had all of the ingredients (which shall remain nameless because I have been sworn to secrecy) in the pan and in the oven. What came out of the oven was NOT Ms. Mae’s Mac & Cheese. To this day I don’t know where I went wrong! I prepared it the way I had seen it done for years. My husband ate it anyway and never complained. I knew better! It wasn’t right! I had a new mission to complete. I set out to make the best Mac & Cheese he had ever eaten! When the next Sunday came around I was ready! I had conference calls with my grandmother all week. I purchased the brands she recommended, and prepared another batch. 40 minutes later, Mac & Cheese was on the table. It was ok, but it wasn’t Ms. Mae’s Mac & Cheese. Once again my husband ate it. Still I knew better. I called my grandmother to tell her the news and she said you probably didn’t put enough love in it. That is when I had an epiphany! It wasn’t lack of love, attention to detail, or even the brands I used. It was me…that is what was missing! I had been trying to make Ms. Mae’s Mac & Cheese. Other family members have tried for years to make it and never succeeded. Was it her love, ingredients, or her experienced hands? I am not sure.

So, another Sunday was approaching and I was determined to make the best Mac & Cheese my husband had ever eaten! I went out and purchased some the things my grandmother told me to use and added a few things of my own. I put the ingredients in the pan and into the oven. What came out was Nakeia’s Mac & Cheese. Of course my husband ate it and this time he spoke! He said now that’s some gooood Mac & Cheese!

Isn’t it just like life to teach us a lesson through Mac & Cheese? Too often we try to do things the way someone else has done it. It seems reasonable. Why reinvent the wheel…right? Well I say this. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel…discover new ways to maximize its capacity. To compare yourself to someone else is to limit yourself to their abilities. I want you to develop your stride…that is to always advance with your maximum competence. You will never realize your strengths if you rely on the strengths of someone else. My Mac & Cheese is not Ms. Mae’s. I am ok with that. Now, when ever there is a family dinner and my grandmother can not make her Mac & Cheese, Nakeia’s Mac & Cheese is in high demand!

To Blog…Nakeia