Archive | July 2016

How to Make Mistakes

Why should you learn how to make mistakes, dear reader?

Because there is absolutely no avoiding them in life.  You will, without a doubt make many of them, no matter how successful you become.  Trying to dodge them is a waste of your time and energy – it is better to simply learn how to handle them gracefully.

 

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey

 

Making mistakes or not making them isn’t the point, however.  It really doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you understand how to use them, how to not get stuck on them, and how to respond to them in the best way possible.

 

Frances McLaughlin-Gill's vivid fashion image appeared in the April 1952 Glamour.:

 

First of all, realize that absolutely everyone makes mistakes and if someone is judging you harshly for being imperfect that is more about them than it is about you.  It’s important to admit our mistakes without getting defensive, and sincerely apologize to people for the consequences of them if necessary, but beyond that excessive blame and dwelling is not helpful.

In a turning point of the movie The Shawshank Redemption, one prisoner, Red comes to this point where he is able to admit his mistakes and find the inner strength to realize that while yes, he made those mistakes, he will never be able to go back and change the past:

 

RED
I know what you think it means. Me,
I think it’s a made-up word, a poli-
tician’s word. A word so young fellas
like you can wear a suit and tie and
have a job. What do you really want
to know? Am I sorry for what I did?

– —–

MAN
Well…are you?

RED
Not a day goes by I don’t feel
regret, and not because I’m in here
or because you think I should. I
look back on myself the way I
was…stupid kid who did that
terrible crime…wish I could talk
sense to him. Tell him how things
are. But I can’t. That kid’s long
gone, this old man is all that’s
left, and I have to live with that.
(beat)
Rehabilitated? That’s a bullshit
word, so you just go on ahead and
stamp that form there, sonny, and
stop wasting my damn time. Truth
is, I don’t give a shit.

 

Of course, your mistakes are probably not that extreme, but the point remains.  A lot of times, the mistakes people can’t move on from are the mistakes they knew were mistakes when they made them.  It doesn’t matter.  You regain your independence from the mistake when you stop trying to hide from it, when you stop denying it.  Plainly admitting it and really understanding that there is nothing to feel self-conscious or lesser about once you do that is what sets you free.

 

French bathroom.:

 

Second, it’s important to not use your mistakes as an excuse to why you can’t accomplish what you want and be who you want in life.  And no matter what sort of mistake you may have made, it is exactly that – an excuse.

You need to switch your frame of mind to understand that mistakes are normal.

They are normal because you do not know everything, and you never will know everything.  Sometimes people are wrongly influenced by those around them and become blind to the fact that the direction they are going isn’t a good one.  As long as there is something you don’t yet understand, there’s a good chance that you will try and experiment and sometimes choose incorrectly.  The key is to be honest with yourself and admit when it is you’ve done so, so that you aren’t stuck in the same pattern indefinitely.

 

 

 

 

Serving vs. Being Servile

There is nothing wrong, dear reader, with being of service to others.  In fact, you will not succeed in life if that isn’t your mentality, or you don’t know how to serve.

However, there is an equally fatal counter to that and that is being servile.

In colloquial terms, that is what we mean when we say someone is a “doormat” or a “pushover.”

Oftentimes, these two concepts will get confused and many well-intentioned women who are trying to be of service will end up being disrespected, looked down upon, and even used because they end up being servile instead.

“It’s easy to think that people will like you more if you do whatever they tell you to do, but it’s quite the opposite. People don’t appreciate pushovers – they use them.”

 

To be of service means that you have matured to the point where you understand that it is not all about you; this is what is meant by that phrase “the world doesn’t revolve around you.”  It means that you get that other people come from different perspectives and viewpoints, and that what is most important to you personally is going to be different from what matters to someone else.

 

lilac:

 

For example, if you were planning on going out together, but your significant other has an important meeting or exam the following day, you are mature enough to respect that and not take it personally.

It also means that you use your talents, gifts, and abilities to lift others up.  In your career, that may mean you serve your clients by providing the most timely and quality service that you are capable of.  It may mean that you make sure things run smoothly in your office and that those with whom you work can say that you make their jobs that much easier.

Being servile on the other hand, will get you no appreciation or respect, and it will only drain your own energy and feelings of self-worth.  This is a quick indication for yourself – if you feel good about the contributions you are making, you are in the realm of service; if you feel resentment, you are in the realm of servitude.  

 

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An example of what servitude may look like:

You have told your significant other many times that you’d like help around the house; on a day when you are particularly tired from other commitments, you continue to contribute more than your “fair share” and don’t ask for what you need.

You have previous family or other obligations to meet, but you agree to put those on a lower priority when your boss asks you to stay late.

 

There is a remarkable difference. Service is next to godliness. Service requires respect, attention, devotion. Servers give aid or assistance, cooperatively, to someone in need, such as a guest. Those in service are subordinate only in the sense that servers watch over and preserve the activities that need to be directed by careful attention.

Servitude is completely at the other end of the spectrum, when the ego is under the thralldom of another against the will. Servitude is more akin to slavery or bondage. This distinction between service and servitude is elemental to the essence of hospitality and understanding the difference is key to successful service delivery.

How to Focus on Yourself

Not focusing on yourself is a major roadblock for many women, dear reader, and it comes in several forms.

First, to clarify what is meant by this – it’s not being self-centered or egocentric or losing your empathy and concern for others.  It’s focusing on your own path, your own work, your own unique mission in this world, rather than giving your time, attention and energy to other people or sources.

 

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This can be one of the toughest practices to master – being selfish in the sense that you feed your own spirit and soul by refusing to give away your time, energy, and attention to anything that doesn’t serve that.  In contrast, being “selfish” in the negative sense is feeding your ego – it’s pouring attention and energy into your persona.  This is always a mistake.  Your persona is simply a conduit for your purpose and spirit, it is never the end goal and any energy that ends up feeding it will have an ugly end and turn people off.  This comes off in any number of forms, including arrogance, “bitchiness”, and even body image insecurities.

Many women half-learn this and glorify the image of themselves as the “bitch” but if they were fully honest with themselves, they’d know that something still feels off.  Focusing on yourself, this sort of selfishness, once you master it, will never result in any sort of “bitchy” or harsh confrontations, because you will be acting out of your soul and spirit, not your ego.

 

happy.healthy.hot:

 

What’s important to remember is that your personality, your body, etc. are there to serve your purpose in life, not to get in the way.

And for the record, (though this issue has nothing to do directly with attracting men), men do not love bitches, counter to what impressions that best-selling title might have given you.  They love the boundaries and the ability of these women to say no to others when it doesn’t serve the best interests of their life purpose, soul, and who they are as a woman.  They see that the woman knows how to value her own unique self, and the divine within herself.   They may tolerate it until they find someone better and more evolved, but they don’t love the abrasive or nasty tendencies of the “bitch.”  And, yes, you can achieve one without the other with a bit of practice and by becoming aware of the problem (:

 

We listen to other people’s ideas of what is self-destructive without ever looking at whether their self and our self have similar needs.  Caught in the Virtue Trap, we refuse to ask ourselves, ‘What are my needs? What would I do if it weren’t too selfish?

There are powerful payoffs to be found in staying stuck and deferring nurturing your sense of self.  For many, the belief that they must be nice and worry about what will happen with their friends, family, mate if they dare to do what they really want will happen with their friends, family, mate, if they dare to do what they really want to constitutes a powerful reason for non-action.  Many sabotage themselves most frequently by making nice.  There is a tremendous cost to such ersatz virtue.  Many of us have made a virtue out of deprivation.  We have embraced a long-suffering anorexia as a martyr’s cross.  We have used it to feed a false sense of spirituality grounded in being good, meaning superior.

We strive to be good, to be nice, to be helpful, to be unselfish.  We want to be generous, of service, of the world.  But what we really want is to be left alone.  When we can’t get others to leave us alone, we eventually abandon ourselves.  We have checked out.  Afraid to appear selfish, we lose our self.  We become self-destructive.

 

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What will be tough about this dear reader, is that saying ‘yes’ to yourself and what you really want will first involve you first being honest with yourself about what you really want, and then require you to say ‘no’ to others, over and over again, with no apology.

If you are not used to this, the people around you will likely give you some difficulty:

 

Mary knows the same thing as she agrees to round five of baby-sitting for her sister so she can go out.  Saying no to her sister would be saying yes to herself, and that is a responsibility that Mary just can’t handle.  Free on a Friday night?  What would she do with herself?  That’s a good question, and one of many that Mary has used her virtue to ignore.

 

If you are in such a habit, to break it is going to require time and courage.  Be gentle on yourself.  You will fail in certain instances after you make this resolution, go back on your intentions, and then want to get angry at yourself.  To make the matter even harder, you need to fight not only yourself, but the protests and resistances of the people whom you have been giving your power away to.  However, once you gain clarity and fully see the problem, it will become natural.  You will get there.

 

Healthy, Happy, Sexy, Wealthy:

 

Another form of this comes in putting your attention into others you do not even know,  perhaps sports personalities or celebrities, whether that be admiration or jealousy.  This is unnatural and misplaced.  These people are simply entertainment and professionals that have mastered their craft.

Instead of pouring your own unique energy and talents into your dreams and life purpose, you pour them into these figures and make them otherworldly gods and goddesses in your own mind.  This sort of idol worship needs to go if you are to reach your full potential – see them for what they are, other human beings who have worked very hard to get where they are, but nothing more and certainly not greater or less than you or any other human being on the planet.

 

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Any feelings of competitive jealousy need to go as well.  Their vast success isn’t stopping you from achieving your potential – what’s stopping you is that you aren’t focused on yourself and getting to where you are supposed to be, who you are meant to be.

“The world needs you!  It needs your heart, ideas, and most importantly, your unique perspective.” – Jetaun Davis

 

How to Stop Allowing Your Past to Hold You Back

Unfortunately, dear reader, many women are still held back by things that happened to them in the past, choices they made in the past, or who they were in the past.

In addition, they can be deterred or made to feel less about themselves by naysayers who bring up these topics.

The day you realize, dear reader, that you are never obligated to be the person that you were, that you are never chained to who you were in the past, is the day that none of that can have any power over  you any longer.

 

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“It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from; all that matters is where you’re going.  Never allow yourself to be slowed down or held back by events that have occurred in your past.  Learn from them and let them go.  Resolve to keep yourself focused on the future and where you are going.  Because your future is limited only by your imagination, there are no limits to what you can achieve in the months and years ahead.”

 

The first step to take is total ownership and responsibility of who you were.  You can do this now because you understand that accepting and admitting the reality of the choices you made, the things that happened in your life does not mean that that is who you are now and who you will be.  It is no longer you.  It is who you were.

 

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Once you learn how to separate your sense of identity from that, you stop being defensive.  You let go.  You don’t try to hide or lie from whatever happened in the past, and you are able to move forwards.

And when you move forwards, there is no longer any need to analyze those events, over-think them, try to figure out what could have been done differently, or constantly talk about them with whoever you think can help you.

You have dealt with the problem by making the decision on an identity level.  All you really must do, dear reader, is state to yourself, and believe it, “that’s not who I truly am.”

 

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Stop Waiting to Be Rescued

The feminine woman of excellence, dear reader, has learned one important truth in life, and that is no one is going to come to her rescue.

What this means is that she understands that no one is going to come along and give her what she wants in life, whether that be her ideal job, ideal man, ideal home, or ideal car.

 

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She realizes and fully accepts the responsibility that she is going to have to go out and make those things happen, for herself.

For instance, if she is unhappy with her current job or social life, she doesn’t sit around and wait or pray or hope for it to miraculously get better.  She takes some time to figure out what it is that she does want, and then plans and takes actionable steps to move towards that.

Many women, dear reader, will complain about certain aspects of their job for example, and say things along the lines of “I deserve better”, “I deserve more money”, or “I am capable of much more than this”.

 

Black and white outfit:

 

A feminine woman of excellence has learned that this is in fact a form of dependency, and she eschews it.  She understands that dissatisfaction can be an important first step in any sort of change – after all if you don’t come to terms with your true feelings and be honest with yourself first, you won’t be empowered to do anything – however she doesn’t get stuck there.

She takes steps to change her situation even if those may be small at first.
She realizes that small actions taken or any sort of planning is better than doing nothing at all.  So she spends 10 minutes updating her resume.  And then the next week she looks at a few job posts and talks to several people in her network whom she trusts about what else she might do.

And gradually over time, these small actions will build up to larger ones and end up in her getting what it is she wants.

 

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The same applies in a relationship.  If she is unhappy with her current relationship, she doesn’t lie to herself and tell her that things are fine or will miraculously get better if she simply sits and waits patiently.

She figures out what specifically she doesn’t like and addresses those issues openly.  A grown woman in charge of her destiny does not sit back – she opens her mouth and verbalizes exactly how she feels and is prepared to handle the consequences whatever those may be.  This is often scary for many women, because to do this means that you are risking what you have – having an important discussion on this level can result in wonderful changes to your relationship for the better, but it also means you need to take that risk.

 

 

How to Build a Network, and Why You Need One

The intelligent woman of excellence, dear reader, builds a network.   As a child you were probably taught that you needed to make friends, but that’s not necessarily true; even more important to your health and wellbeing is your ability to be smart and build a network.

To clarify before going in depth as to how to develop a network, first it is important to understand what a network is and is not.  A network is not the people you would simply consider friends to hang out with casually, go for drinks, or share stories with, though these people might be part of your network.  In other words, it is possible for someone to be a part of your network and also simply a friend, but not everyone in your network is necessarily someone you would call a “friend” in the traditional sense and not every friend makes a valuable connection that you would want in your network.

 

Lily Aldridge  Front Row at Michael Kors [Photo by Steve Eichner]:

 

A network is also not the group of people you are connected with on LinkedIn, Facebook, or another other platform, though the same applies – they may exist in those places.

network is a compilation of contacts that you have collected over time.  Many people approach networking with the mentality that you simply reach out to potential employers or potential clients.  However, this is far too limited.

The contacts in your network should also include people that may play a part in your life somewhere down the line as employees, investors, advisors, mentors, other networkers or extremely well connected people who can connect you to others.

 

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Everything of worth that has ever been accomplished, dear reader, has been done so through the help and support of many other people.  There is no such thing as a “self made man” or a lone success story.  The wonderful and progressive accomplishments in life will not happen without a well-developed network.

This is something that has been too misunderstood and mistakenly interpreted in a number of other ways including “social climbing.”  Social climbing, for instance, implies that you are seeking out contacts to advance only yourself and that you aren’t really concerned with any larger goals beyond yourself.

 

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That’s not what true networking, good networking looks like.  Generally, those intentions come across fairly obviously and tend to block any meaningful connections anyhow.  Good networking is done out of the spirit of authenticity – your purpose is greater than yourself; you want to accomplish some larger goal or dream for the good of humanity, and you know there are others out there that will be willing to support that same goal or dream.  It may be something you have in mind now, or it could be something you develop in the future.  It could be anything from the simple desire to have a particular sort of job so that you can develop your own self and contribute value to a company and the economy, or it could be that you’d like to solve a larger problem for society, perhaps a social issue, or a technological problem, and would like to start a company to do so.

Networking is by far one of the best investments you can make as a feminine woman of excellence; in most cases it is completely free, and it can be a great way to meet and make friends with the high-quality people who care about society and are pushing themselves to grow as well, even if nothing ever comes to fruition with them in a purely business sense.  Moreover, you yourself will become a more interesting, engaged, and well-informed person if you do this.

 

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Now to transition into how to network.  This is also important because many people get it wrong.  Perhaps the one most important thing to understand is that networking is about you learning from others that you meet.  It is an opportunity to find out what they do, what sort of business they are in, what motivates them, what key issues they are facing, and any number of other topics.  The key is to step back and listen, and to get them talking.  Be curious and genuinely interested!

Of course, when asked about your goals, aspirations, and current projects you should be confident and be able to clearly state what defines you, but one of the worst ways to shoot yourself in the foot while networking is to walk into a room full of people and leave with a sore jaw, yet no additional knowledge or real information about the people you’ve met.  You must make a meaningful connection.  Think of it a bit as you would dating, however here the end goal is not to meet a future spouse but people to do business with and friends.

Some great places to start are your local chamber of commerce, local seminars, conferences, or community and business events.  Many events are listed under Eventbrite, as well as your city’s major newspapers and business publications.

Happy networking! (:

 

 

 

Limits

This topic, dear reader, is a powerful concept and it touches every single aspect of your life, from your relationships, to your financial status to your health.

We all grow up believing in some sort of limits.

 

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For some of us, those limits were more constricting than that of others, but they were still there.  And most women tend to unconsciously carry the limits they grew up believing with them into adulthood, not understanding that most of that was simply taken on faith, without examining those beliefs or thinking through them critically.

Let’s take relationships with men, for example.

Many women come to truly believe any number of limiting concepts including that men only want them for sex, men will use them, men will try to control them, men will only give them gifts on holidays, etc.

 

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Financially, unless you are one of the few born to wealthy parents, you come to believe such concepts as “money doesn’t grow on trees”;  you come to believe that money is something difficult to come by, something that must be struggled for, something that is used as a tool of control over others.

The idea that none of this is even true, that they are simply self-imposed limits that serve to cause self-sabotage to success, happiness, and fulfillment is so foreign a concept that it most likely never crosses your mind.

To see the truth of this, begin with a young child you know.  Tell her with conviction (this is important – if there’s no conviction in your voice it will not work) that she’s beautiful, intelligent, and that one day she’s going to be very successful.  Watch how she changes her behavior in ways that fulfill your words (:

 

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