Tuesday: Top 5 Quotes I Loved On Pinterest Last Week

Each week, I like to save some of my favorite quotes to Pinterest boards for motivation and inspiration. It’s easy to take in a lot of negative messages on social media, so I enjoy taking the time to internalize something positive.

These are my top quotes last week from Pinterest.

What do you think? Comment below which quote inspired you or touched you the most. 😋👇🏼

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Sunday: Constant Feedback

As an Amazon bestselling indie author, I have to publish my books, read reviews and manage social media and email which exposes me to a near constant level of feedback. Everyone has something to say about every step of the journey. Intuitively, the more you handle likes, comments, emails, etc, you realize there’s something abnormal about the way our society is not only exposed to constant feedback, but people are encouraged to give constant feedback. A negative mindset naturally leads to feedback being equated to criticism for most people.

Can there be any kind of balance in a world where we feel the need to constantly judge or in a world where we are constantly receiving judgment? In either case, I like to remind myself that I can’t control what other people do, but I can control what it is that I do. This means that if other people give “negative” feedback, I can’t control them and I don’t try to do so. What I do is if I feel the need to throw my “opinion” into the ring, I focus and highlight the positive.

These days, opinions have been exalted to a near god-like status. Many people think that the “First Amendment” is carte blanche to be a complete asshole to strangers. It’s only their “opinion” — not verbal abuse, cyberbullying or being a dickhead. What purpose does it serve to constantly share your negative opinions? I think it’s a fair hypothesis from the trends associated with heavy social media usage, that this negativity encourages a negative cognitive bias where you interpret information in your environment in a more negative way.

Maybe our “opinions”, judgments and feedback create an unnatural environment where we are overly critical of ourselves and others. This kind of environment makes it difficult to be a mentally healthy person. What do you think? Have you noticed more negativity when you focus on the negative on social media or have you never given it a second thought? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday: Am I Ready?

Creatives love the excuse of “not being ready” to start something. We will go over in our heads hundreds if not thousands of times the many ways we need to improve, change and lead all before getting started. Fear paralyzes in these occasions and we convince ourselves that we “aren’t ready” and back this up with every excuse under the sun that we can think of.

How do you know that you are ready to start something new?

The idea of failing is what holds us back. We don’t want to pick up the paintbrush because we fear that what we create will be ugly. We consider this to be a failure. But what we consider failure doesn’t have to be viewed this way. “Failure” is just information — it’s data guiding our next move. Creativity is an iterative process and “failure” only represents one iteration of many. You’re “ready” once you accept this!

You’re ready when you’ve allowed yourself creative space to define your value. Another fear creatives internalize is the fear of disappointing others. As social creatures, it’s natural for human beings to seek some approval. If for example, you strive to create content online, approval can be a literal measure of your value. However this unhealthy belief equates one measure of value with overall quality and your personal value. Approval of any kind is information too.

Fellow creatives and social media experts give advice to content creators that doesn’t help either. Telling someone to “add value” to their audience is meaningless since everyone defines value differently. You are “ready” when you acknowledge that social approval and “likes” are not the sole determinants of value. Other forms of social approval can be equally unhelpful — the feedback of naysayers and envious people comes to mind.

You are ready when you can “let go” of the outcome of your creative process. This doesn’t mean not to plan or to abandon outlines or anything of that nature. Letting go means accepting the ups and downs of the creative process without allowing it to push you off your path. When you are ready to never give up regardless of the outcome, you’re ready to dive into a new creative pursuit.

We all need these reminders as some point or another. If you’re a creative, author, content creator, poet, dancer or artist, what advice has helped you best tap into your creativity? Post in the comments below. 👇🏼

Thursday: ❌ Thoughts On Boundaries 💭

Like most of my Thursday posts, this one will have a less formal structure even if I’m talking about a BIG topic which women everywhere can stand to improve on — yes even me. Saddle up divas and hustlers, we’re going to learn why our boundaries suck and how we can fix this so that we can:

  • Get what we want

  • Feel less guilty

  • Gain confidence in sticking up for ourselves

OK, let’s get started. 💖

  • I talked about this in my assertiveness blog post but boundaries aren’t a zero sum game. You can have great boundaries with friends but let your partner get away with murder. How do you identify your weak spots?

  • Recognize that there are six different boundary types: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, material & sexual. You may have stronger boundaries in one area than in another…

  • Boundaries are often conflated with being “mean” or “bitchy”. If you think “no” is a bad word, you may have trouble setting boundaries and if you don’t change that, making progress on your boundaries will be difficult.

  • One thing that will guarantee you suffer from poor boundaries is not knowing what you want. As a woman, you want to be crystal clear on what you want so that anything that doesn’t match up with the way you deserve to be treated gets eliminated from your life. This includes how you treat yourself. Poor boundaries can mean treating yourself poorly too.

If you want to save my boundaries cheat sheet, use my 📌 graphic and pin to your favorite board on psychology, motivation and self-help.

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Tuesday: Top 5 Trends That Will Be Embarrassing In Five Years

Remember low-rose pants? Apple bottom jeans? The courage of Uggs and the infuriatingly damp and stinky knock offs that ensued? Crackle nail polish? If you do remember, I bet you’re desperate to forget or at least cringing internally at all the clothes you wore that you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing today. That’s the problem with trendy style vs classic style… trends come and they go and they keep you chasing after an ideal intended to remain unattainable.

Here are my predictions for the top 5 trends we are going to loathe in a few years that are dangerously popular right now…

1) Overly sculpted eyebrows — my least favorite trend by far. I thought over plucked eyebrows were rough but these... Their days are numbered.

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2) The “ugly but cute” sneaker trend — I actually don’t always hate this trend, but I don’t think it’s going to last either. Most ugly sneakers are ugly and once the shiny glow of a new item wears off, I bet most get shoved to the back of the closet.

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3) T-shirts with “cute” phrases — your sense of humor isn’t as evergreen as you might think. While some shirts like this are tasteful, fun and you might get a lot of wear out of them, others are clearly not going to make it into 2021.

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4) Over-lined lips — this particular beauty mishap seems to only afflict a certain group of people but at some point overlining your lips looks foolish and everyone can tell. I’m not really in favor of anything that “alters” your natural features, especially when it does a piss poor job.

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5) Fanny packs/bum bags — give it a rest, they’re never coming back. I’ll never know why these made a comeback, but just like they went out of style before and looked totally dated, the same will happen again. The double G won’t make a difference. Not to mention they’re bulky, impractical and remind me of my father’s fashion sense. Hard pass.

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Do you agree with this list or do you think I’m totally out of line? What fashion trends do you want to see die a miserable death? Comment down below. 👇🏼

Monday: 7 Assertiveness Tips For Women

Many women struggle with assertiveness. In the patriarchal society that we live in, women smother their needs in favor of more passive and less effective forms of communication. When “niceness” is a greater priority than confidence, honesty and directness, it’s no wonder women struggle with standing up for themselves when the time comes.

We all do this in some way or another and assertiveness exists on a spectrum. You might feel assertive with your family but not your friends, with your friends but not your partner. These tips can help you bring a little bit more directness to your interpersonal relationships…

1) Face problems right away

The longer you wait before approaching someone with an issue, the more time you have to get in your own head, lose track of the details and build up a lot of excuses for not taking the direct and assertive approach. Deal with issues in the moment they happen to you. If someone says something inappropriate, you may be tempted to stew before approaching them. The assertive approach involves dealing with the problem right away before there’s any bad blood.

2) Get your facts straight

One of the best ways to improve your assertiveness skills is to feel confident in what you are saying. Stick to the facts of a situation rather than character attacks. Of course, your feelings are important too but when you know exactly what you want, sticking to the facts of the situation makes speaking up for yourself easier. When no one can cast doubt about a series of events or your feelings about those events, you can better assert your needs in a situation.

3) Know what you want

This is an addendum to the second point. You have to know what you want not just as it pertains to a situation but in general. You decide what kind of treatment you will accept. When you know what you want, you can ask for it in a clear and direct manner.

4) Practice assertiveness

As with any skill, you can improve your assertiveness through practice. Start small. Do you struggle to send drinks back when someone makes you the wrong order? Start there. Find the easiest place to make improvements in your assertiveness and start there.

5) Identify your weaker spots

Once you start practicing assertiveness you will realize where you are incredible at sticking up for yourself and where you need a ton of help. Start noting moments where you have been successfully assertive and areas where you wish you stood up for yourself. What pattern do you see? Find your weaker spots and give those areas extra attention.

6) Eliminate black and white thinking

There is no one who is 100% assertive or 100% a doormat. This isn’t a zero sum game! Stop thinking of yourself as either one or the other. Assertiveness is an ongoing process and it takes time. If you fear “backsliding” or making mistakes this can slow down your progress. Assertiveness takes time and it takes practice. You don’t have to be perfect to consider yourself a strong, assertive woman, even if you’ve made mistakes in the past.

7) Surround yourself with assertive women

Are you surrounded by people who guilt trip you into being “nice” as opposed to supporting your growth as a person? Many of us have friends who encourage us to “take the high road” and enforce the notion that a woman standing up for herself is akin to a cardinal sin. Sometimes, you have to switch up your friend group. No, I’m not saying dump all your old friends. Simply add a few more positive relationships to the mix by interacting with women who support your journey to become more assertive and to express your needs. You shouldn’t be afraid of judgment from your closest friends, so if you need to, surround yourself with women who understand how important assertiveness is for all women to become truly empowered.

When was the last time you wished you were more assertive but it didn’t work out? Can you remember any thoughts that went through your head? Comment down below if you can. Every comment matters because it’s an opportunity to spark conversation and discussion.

If you liked this list, don’t forget to use my image below to 📌 pin this to your favorite board for motivation, inspiration and STRONG women. 💪🏼

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Saturday: Assertiveness & Conflict

Women are trained from early in life to avoid conflict. We are the ones who make peace, the ones most often tasked with forgiveness. The labor of virtue falls on women while men, who are still upheld as more virtuous since Eve are the apple and all that, are allowed the freedom to leave that box of politeness and engage in both assertiveness and conflict.

Despite our conditioning, women must survive in a world where a lack of assertiveness can kill you. Just read The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker for first hand examples of assertiveness saving women’s lives while “politeness” and a fear of being disliked became some women’s undoing.

I would love to live in a world where women didn’t have to expand a Herculean amount of effort not to get trampled on. Yet that’s not the world we live in…

Where can women draw the line between assertiveness and aggression? Should our primary concerns be drawing this line at all before we have achieved our full potential of assertiveness?

Being a strong and assertive woman comes with so many labels. One of my favorite women who speaks about some of these labels is Tabatha Coffey, celebrity hair stylist and entrepreneur who has reclaimed the word “BITCH” which has been weaponized against her in a male dominated world. Her philosophy is that a part of assertiveness is being unapologetic about who you are.

If women spent more time asserting ourselves instead of hiding our needs and fearing being disliked, would our lives be any different? Would your life be different? Assertiveness saves women’s lives. Assertiveness empowers women in a real way to take control of our lives and embody the true strength which comes from self-efficacy in looking after your own interests.

Are you an assertive person? What scares you most about being assertive? Drop a comment down below. Seriously, every comment makes a difference and I want to hear your thoughts. Don’t worry about having something “good enough” to say, your opinion is enough.

📌Pin my “assertiveness reminder” graphic below to your favorite Pinterest board for motivation. 💪🏼 Us strong women can only make progress by sticking together and talking about these issues.

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Wednesday: My Remote Work Routine - 5 Tips For Digital Nomad Productivity

I travel back and forth between the United States and St. Lucia a few times a year and in the past two years I’ve been to Martinique and Barbados during times when I’ve also had to work. Since I’m a full-time writer and I run my business from home, I’m a kind of “digital nomad” so my office comes with me wherever I go.

I have five tips for remote work that I always incorporate into my remote work routine when my office is on the road…

1) Noise-cancelling headphones

These are a must for traveling and working since you can turn any environment into a workspace and really get into the zone. I also use noise-cancelling headphones to wear on airplanes, and for help falling asleep. Currently, I’m using this brand of PLT headphones which work really nicely and can transition from wired to wireless so even if you lose your charge, you can still use them. The only thing I don’t love about them is the fact that I need an adapter for my iPhone but it’s a minor issue. I’ve tried a lot of Bluetooth headphones in the past and these have the greatest range by far out of any cheaper options I’ve tried.

2) Schedule work that doesn’t require an internet connection

This tip I don’t use within the United States as much, but when I work on flights or when I go to countries with notoriously bad internet connections (like Martinique!) I plan ahead this way too. Since as a full-time writer I balance writing 3-5k words a day with marketing and social media tasks that require an internet connection, I use this to my advantage. Before I travel, I schedule all my social media posts and emails so I can focus on writing the old school way — just a word processor, no internet connection.

3) Book a place with dedicated workspace

I have had some great workspaces in my recent trips, including a Capitol Hill studio in Washington DC as well as a my brief one night stay in the Crystal City Hilton. I require a table for focused work and I make it a priority to book a place that’s business friendly. Traveling is usually business related, and I rarely stop working when I am traveling, so it’s a priority to have a dedicated space. Working from couches or from bed really throws me off so I avoid that if possible.

4) Pick optimal work hours for the situation

I prefer working a typical work day, but on the road I have to be discerning about when I get my work done. If fitting 6-7 hours of creative work is impossible, I hit at least 4. If I’m visiting night owls, I schedule my hours in the morning as usual so I can go out at night. If I’m on a family related trip, or traveling with my fiancé, I schedule later hours to accomplish daytime activities. Just because I’m working during the trip doesn’t mean I have to miss out on enjoying the blessings and opportunities traveling has to offer. Making adjustments to my schedule sets me up for success.

5) Plan activities outside of work to look forward to

I always plan something to look forward to whether I’m traveling to Upstate NY or Martinique. I can’t focus on work 100% of the time and balance is so important to me. I always plan specific activities I can get excited about and “work for” during my trips. I like doing this because it keeps me focused and working on a tight schedule with greater efficiency.

The great thing about my remote work routine is that none of it is rocket science. Simple changes make a big difference and these easy adjustments allow me to enjoy both work and travel when I am working and traveling.

Do you ever work when you travel? Let me know in the comments. Pin the image below to save these remote work tips to your favorite board for travel and entrepreneurship. 👇🏼

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