January 2018

Snow covered treeHappy New Year!!! It’s 2018. I don’t know about you, but 2017 was an eventful year for me full of both positive and negative events. On the plus side, in 2017 I took a leap of faith and started my own business and this blog. Sadly, I lost my mother in November. As 2017 ended, goals for the new year began to fill my mind. Every year as I sip champagne and watch the ball drop, I write my resolutions for the new year in my journal. However, this year, I’m taking a different route.

Last year, I read two books that became game changers for me; Steve Harvey’s book, Jump, and Think and Grow Rich for Women, by Sharon Lechter. Both books caused me to change my mental narrative and deal with the fear that held me back from even attempting to pursue my dreams. While watching an episode of the series, Exhale, on Aspire TV, Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw revealed a startling statistic. The median net wealth for African-American women who are head of household is $100. As unbelievable as it sounded, I could attest to the truth of her statement, because at the time I had less than $100 in my bank account. Yes, I have a savings account, but that had less than $100 as well.

Earlier I mentioned resolutions. I’ve been thinking a lot about that word, resolute, so I decided to look it up and get a firm definition. The dictionary defines it as “firm in purpose or belief; characterized by firmness and determination.” Then I looked up resolution. Two of the definitions given are, “finding a solution to a problem; solving,” or “a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner.” Those definitions called to mind an enlightening statement made by my history professor. He said that education is a search for the truth. In educating ourselves we are searching for answers. Who Am I? What is my purpose? Why do I feel like I’m running in place? How can I make better decisions? Daily, we search for answers; because life is a continually quest for answers. Here’s the kicker – we don’t always have the answer. And when we don’t, we use the most abused phrase in the English language – “I don’t know.”

When you think about it, “I don’t know,” is the verbal equivalent of a shoulder shrug. There’s very little effort involved. But what if we swapped it for the phrase, “I don’t have the answer.” Wow. Now here’s a game changer. Finding the answer will require effort. In fact, it will require firm purpose, continuous action, and unwavering determination to find not just an answer, but the correct answer for you. Let me illustrate. On Sunday, January 7, the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints met in the NFC wildcard game. At halftime, the Saints were winning 21-9. Now, if you happened to watch the game (in case you haven’t figured it out already, I love football), you might have been tempted to tune out because the game seemed all but won – in the first half. However, in the second half things changed. The Panthers kept playing, and eventually, they came within five points of tying the game. In the waning seconds of the game, a completed pass in the end zone could win the game for Carolina. This game went down to the wire. Even though Carolina lost, they kept playing. So, if they lost, what’s the point? Just this, losing occasionally doesn’t negate the struggle to win. My mom always told us kids, “nothing beats a failure but a try.” When the opportunity to start your own business, buy your dream home or fill in the blank, presents itself, will you be in the game?

Holstee Manifesto
Holstee Manifesto, 2009

I found the Holstee Manifesto from 2009 in my Business Management textbook, and it hangs on the wall beside my bed. I see it every morning. It’s a constant reminder of the obligation to live my life to the fullest. I remember a conversation with my mom when I was about 18. I was afraid to learn to drive. Our town possessed a decent bus service that took me anywhere my legs couldn’t. In contrast, at 50, my mom had just learned to drive. Whizzing down route 78 at around 80 miles an hour (mom had a lead foot), she insisted I learn to drive. According to mom, driving equaled independence. And for her it did. My baby sister started kindergarten, and mom went to work. For the first time, she had her own money. When she retired, she had a pension of her own. Driving became an answer for mom. Once she decided that it would change her life for the better, she determined to make it happen. She threatened to quit along the way, but she kept at it.

On Page 236 of Think and Grow Rich for Women, Sharon shares a study published in Psychological Science. According to the study, a simple, easy way to rid yourself of negative thoughts is to: Just write your negative thoughts down and throw them away.

Can it really be that simple? This month I challenge you to give it a try. If you don’t want to waste paper, do this. Open your email and type in your negative thought. Send the email to yourself, but delete it without opening it. If you’re game, let’s take it one step further. Type your negative thought in the email, but underneath it, type a positive thought. Send it to yourself. Open this one. How do you feel when you see the negative and positive together? Does the positive thought minimize the negative? If that is the case, are you moved to act on the positive thought? I’ll share my results with you at the end of the month in Lemon and Honey, so be on the lookout. I hope you’ll try it and share your results with me as well.

As you go through this first month of the new year, make the resolution to find the answers you need to be your authentic self and live the best life possible.

All the best,

Brigitte

Firm purpose + Continuous action + Determination

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