Powerful i AM

I have often shared my story of how I left an abusive relationship. I have many, many stories inside me about how this affected my life, and the lives of my kids.  Today, I am going to share parts my Powerful i AM talk, which I prepared for High School girls.

It’s been almost five years that I left my 23-year, verbally abusive marriage.  My girls were the reason I stayed, and ultimately why I also left.  Financial independence, or lack thereof, is one of the most pressing reasons why women stay in domestic violence.  I was no exception. I didn’t think that I could make it on my own. To be quite honest, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to make ends meet, that I would be always living below the poverty line.  Well, I’ve done that for many of those solo years since leaving. I survived, and I definitely would shake the image that most people have of how poverty looks. That is for another blog!

I stated that I also left because of my girls. Towards the end of my marriage, the two children that were still at home would beg me to leave each and every day. I’d work the 2-10pm shift, and when I came home, they would come out of their rooms and say, “Mumsy, can we leave tonight, pleeeese?”  Or I’d call home on my breaks, and there would be some incident that happened between their father and them.   It truly was mayhem on steroids! One of the biggest driving reasons that cemented my decision to leave was my eldest daughter.  While she was at home, she was the one that got the angriest when her father would yell at me. Yet, despite the fact that she hated what her father did to me, she, too, chose to enter into a verbally abusive relationship.  To make matters worse, she was now pregnant, and determined, like I was, to make her family work.

The knowledge of this, and the stress from my own situation, sent me into a breakdown just before I left. This “meltdown” was extremely hard to go through, as I could not show my ex-husband that I was leaving. So I had a strategic breakdown. Work gave me 2 weeks to get my act together. I sought therapy, and allowed myself to mourn. I gave myself permission to feel the pain of staying in a relationship so long. I grieved the wasted time.  I felt the guilt of exposing my kids to a bully, and therefore setting them up to be bullied~or to be a bully. I journalled my feelings and sobbed and belly-wept.  It was interesting that during this time, I went to places that I once feared~like the park areas above Niagara Falls, which was near my home, and other places with swift-moving waters. Then I went home and held it all together.

After I left the relationship, there was just one thing on my mind: “Get my Baby Girl out!”  There was a motto at the shelter that the Counsellors would tell us: “The longer you’re in, the longer you’re in.” It may not make any sense initially when you read that. I KNEW that if I didn’t convince my daughter  to leave soon, it would be harder later. It became painfully clear to me that Children Learn What They Live, and my daughter had learned from the master.  Here is the poem that I now share with people:

Words of Wisdom…

And I’ll add:

If a child lives with abuse, they learn how to abuse, or be abused.

This is my grandson. He is a beautiful little boy, and smart as a whip!

Ethan Posing

He has a Mother, two Aunties, a Meamah and a Grandma, that are behind him to make sure he is a polite and courteous little boy~and I’ll tell ya, this has been a challenge!. We make sure that he treats women exceptionally well. Why? Because his heritage has flaws in that department. And there is no way that any of the women in his life will stand by and let this little life be ruined!  His mother made it out!

Instead of one person learning how to live after abuse, there were four. My eldest daughter and I went through programs to help us cope with the emotions of living with abuse.  I still take courses and training to improve my mind, and make me a better human being.  The one thing that I have learned which, is a common thread throughout each program is: You have the capability of changing your destiny with the words:  i AM.  You can climb mountains, you can be an entrepreneur, you can make millions, and you can bounce back after abuse. I learned that:  i AM Powerful!

i AM has helped me retrain my mind.  As I was recovering, I would tell myself, “I am amazing”; “I am beautiful”; “I am a good friend”; “I am an All-Star”; “I am successful”!

i AM can shift your destiny!  It can put fire in your belly, and help you up from the crumpled heap that someone may have left you in.

Fill in the blanks for yourself…i AM:

Amazing                               Vivacious

           Unique                                 Blessed

Fantabulous                                  Bold

Extraordinary                                 Strong

                     Smart                               Joyful

                      Brilliant                               Courageous 

My beautiful daughter graduated from college as a Fashion Designer. She is stunning, smart (h’mm, I see a trend here), and an amazing aspiring Designer.

Stephanie & Family-67

(Holla all you Fashion Peeps that can hook a Sista up!)  Yes, it took her a little longer to finish school (ok, a LOT longer).  She was determined that she would re-write her future with the words i AM.  She can tell her own story.  I know that the words i AM changed her destiny!

YOU ARE POWERFUL!

Stephanie, Now the Renaissance Queen

Pursue Your Passion & Live A Legacy

~~~~~~~~~~~

When I created the talk for High School girls, I designed a logo to go with it.  Today, I release the t-shirts that go with this talk. The logo says Powerful i AM, and you can get any empowering word (that is not offensive to race, gender or creed) added to it. I hope you enjoy the ones that I have designed already. If you have an idea for a word that you don’t see (and there will be lots), please e-mail me at programs@createdtoexcel.ca, and I will be happy to get it done for you.

Courageous

Go here to purchase the tees for $20. Thank you, in advance, for your support.

~S

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The Game Changer

Every now and then, something happens in our lives, and we are changed forever.  It can be the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a divorce, the birth of a child…It seems like we constantly come across things that challenge our very existence as human beings.

Yet, isn’t that what life is made of?  Isn’t life made up of the birth of children, the graduation from college, the marriages, the divorces, loss of jobs, and finally death?  Why, then, are we so unable to deal with life?  Or is it that some events affect us more than others, and knock us over the head like a two-by-four?

I deduce that it is the latter.  I believe that sometimes an event affects us so deeply that it becomes a Game Changer in our life.  Game Changer is defined as: an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current way of doing or thinking about something.  Say that three times fast!  Sometimes, I believe that Game Changers don’t even have to be huge.  It can just be the realization that you do not want to do things the same way anymore.  So, how does one get past the Game Changer life event?  I believe that there are many ways, and I’ll touch on a few of them here:

  • Stop, Drop & Roll:  Analyzation can be the first step in getting past the Game Changer event.  What brought you to this place in time?  Was it preventable?  What can you learn from the event?  What are the steps that you now wish to take now to remedy this situation?  Having a plan can often be half the battle won.
  • Gratitude:  Holla!  I know when I am grumpy, what to trace it back to…un*grate*ful*ness!  It seems like such a small thing, but gratitude can bring about a huge change in a person’s life.  I have been journaling for most of my adult life in one form or another.  I have been solidly gratitude journaling for about 5 years.  When I am not grateful, I become critical of my life, as well as other people. I also become lethargic, and I lose my joy.  There are many different ways to do gratitude journaling, but that is not the jist of my writing today.  The idea is to write!  Being grateful for three things each day will start to shift your negative head space.  You may not believe it, but it is very true.  Try it before you go about your day, or if you are morning-challenged like myself, use a few minutes before bed to get your gratitude fix.  Before long, you’ll find things to be grateful for besides your family, food and shelter!  😉
  • Share The Load:  there are people somewhere who have been through what you have.  I am a consummate stuffer.  I keep my feelings to myself, don’t like to talk about my problems, and I’ve grown up with the mantra of “people don’t have to know yer business” ringing in my head.  Although some things need to be kept private (or shared only with trusted close friends), sharing some of the things that you are going through helps lighten the load.  If it is a serious Game Changer, you may wish to reach out to a counselor.  Emotional health is end goal. The best people that I have ever reached out to are coaches (not just because I am one).  When I work with a coach, the accountability factor helps me move forward past the event, and on to accomplishing my goals in record time.  Consider getting a Coach to help you, and if it’s not possible, reach out to an accountability partner or group.
  •  Pursue Passion!  Often, just the event alone will open ones’ eyes up to the fact that you were just going through the motions…doing the same-old same-old, living numb.  Why go to a job if you are not passionate about it, or do anything if we are not putting our all into it?  When given a chance to examine our life, we realize that we have let much of our life slip away without embracing it, without doing what we really wanted, without Living a Legacy or being Passionate.

This is precisely what happened to me, except, I had a series of Game Changers (lucky me!).  I had things that I went through that opened my eyes to the fact that half of my life had passed, and I had not embraced it.  I had not done many of the things on my bucket list.  To top things off, I certainly wasn’t living Passionately, much less Living a Legacy (see previous blog posts).

My Game Changers showed me that a change had to be made.  I decided that life was to be embraced!  I chose to have only good days.  I enjoyed people, food, nature, events~whatever came my way, I found a way to get the good out of it.  Yes, even a car accident!  I started connecting with people through hugs (and became known for them), and mindfully getting past superficial chit-chat to finding out what was their bliss.  Along the way, I researched what made me tick, what made my heart sing, how I wanted to give back to my community, and what I wanted my Legacy to look like.  I discovered that forgiveness is a huge factor in happiness, and I wrote a manual to help my Coaching clients work through their own forgiveness issues.  Over the course of 4 years, I created a program that I now call Passion Posse, and started embarking on my Preferred Passion Path~the final piece of living Passionately.

And it’s a Game Changer!  To show some of the steps that I took to get on the Passion Path, ladies (guys can join, but I am focusing on lady problems!), I invite you to join me on December 11th, 2013, as I present a webinar called:  Dumping the Numb:  7 Steps to a More Passionate Life.  Who is this webinar for?  It’s for the professional woman, either in business or an entrepreneur.  Maybe you have been superwoman for a long time.  Perhaps you have a family, maybe you are single…either way, the passion has gone out of your life.  These 7 Steps will help give you some tools to help put some pep back in your step.

I am releasing details about this webinar today because it is December 6th, a very significant day here in Canada.  I am a survivor of Domestic Abuse.  I want to honour the fallen women from Montreal who died senselessly so many years ago on this date.  I will also be revealing a partnership with three organizations connected to DV~December 6 Fund, hEr VOLUTION and World Vision~ but you’ll have to get on the training call to know the details!

You can register for the webinar here.  If you miss it, you can get it on replay, but you have to be registered to get the replay.

Remember:  Pursue Your Passion & Live a Legacy

Stephanie

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Porcupine Pie

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  As I naturally lean theologically, this one came to me today.

Yesterday (June 12th, 2013), my eldest daughter graduated from college.  Although the journey took a circuitous route, my daughter is now “legally” a fashion designer.  There are so many metaphors in this single occasion.  I’m going to zero in on one.

As you can see from the pic below, me and my daughter rock “natural” hair (as do my other 2 daughters).  This can be a big issue for the woman of colour.  Some prefer to go through the trials of having relaxers, weaves or wigs.  My girls and I are NOT to making a statement.  We are NOT proving that we are better than anyone.  We just prefer our own hair, as it comes out of our scalp.  This has been a bone of contention for my former partner.  He is of the belief that “something” should be done with hair for black women.  Either way, I believe that there is no place to push your views of how you believe someone should wear their hair.

After her graduation ceremony, my daughter went to greet her father.  The first thing out of his mouth was, “When are you going to do something with your hair?  I’ll give you some money.  Oh, congratulations, by the way.”  He served up an unwanted piece of Porcupine Pie.  Little did he know, this diss allowed me the freedom of enjoying the reception at her commencement.  She fully made no effort to find him in the crowd after that.  I hung out with my daughter’s friends, took pictures and gave hugs.  My daughter and I were then were able to enjoy a leisurely afternoon together, walking through downtown Toronto.

Later that evening, my daughter did connect with her father.  He now lives alone.  His words have pushed away the people who are supposed to be the closest to him.  It truly is a sad thing.  Yet, isn’t life about relationships?  Isn’t is great to be in the company of another human being, having conversation and connection?  I know what it was like while I was in the abusive marriage.  I wished that I could talk to people.  I wished that I had a friend.  I wished that I wasn’t so alone.

The thing is, the choice is ours.  It is up to us whether we give love, or Porcupine Pie.  I now choose to give big to the people I come in contact with.  I choose to have deep, meaningful conversations with lots of people, especially 20-something year olds.  There are many youngsters who call me Meamah or “Mrs. T.” even though they are not my own child.  If someone willingly chooses to call me an endearment such as that, what an honour to be thought of so highly!  I choose to hug lots and lots of people.  I believe that when you love on people, you will never be alone.  My arms and my heart are big enough.  So at holidays, my house is full of people who may (or may not) have family nearby, and they want pleasant company.  At any given moment, my kids may say to me, “Mumsy, my friend(s) are coming over”.  They weren’t able to to that before.  I will guard that freedom like a hawk.  There’s no joy greater than knowing you have influenced someone positively.

Proverbs 15:1 says:  “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. [NLT])  Or, it turns away a whole family.  And there is a saying by Elbert Hubbard:  “In order to have friends, you must first be one.”  H’mmm…interesting.  Porcupine Pie anyone?  Not a chance.  I’m learning to be that which I desire.

May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Stephanie, Emerging Princess

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Yes, there actually IS a song called Porcupine Pie!  (Don’t ask…)

Foodie Friday~03/08/13

In honour of International Women’s Day, today’s Foodie Friday post is “Food For Thought”.  I saw this quote by Steve Harvey, and I really thought it paid homage to how many women love.  Enjoy!

“Nothing on this planet can compare with a woman’s love—it is kind and compassionate, patient and nurturing, generous and sweet and unconditional. Pure. If you are her man, she will walk on water and through a mountain for you, too, no matter how you’ve acted out, no matter what crazy thing you’ve done, no matter the time or

Image cropped from original on Flickr. Origina...

Image cropped from original on Flickr. Original description is “Christina & Steve Harvey” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

demand. If you are her man, she will talk to you until there just aren’t any more words left to say, encourage you when you’re at rock bottom and think there just isn’t any way out, hold you in her arms when you’re sick, and laugh with you when you’re up. And if you’re her man and that woman loves you—I mean really loves you?—she will shine you up when you’re dusty, encourage you when you’re down, defend you even when she’s not so sure you were right, and hang on your every word, even when you’re not saying anything worth listening to. And no matter what you do, no matter how many times her friends say you’re no good, no matter how many times you slam the door on the relationship, she will give you her very best and then some, and keep right on trying to win over your heart, even when you act like everything she’s done to convince you she’s The One just isn’t good enough.

That’s a woman’s love—it stands the test of time, logic, and all circumstance.

Well, I’m here to tell you that expecting that kind of love— that perfection—from a man is unrealistic. That’s right, I said it—it’s not gonna happen, no way, no how. Because a man’s love isn’t like a woman’s love.”  ~ Steve Harvey

May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Stephanie, Emerging Princess

www.createdtoexcel.ca

Imagine That…

Image

Tying It All Together (Part V)

It has been a few days since my last post…

I have literally worked backwards with these last few blogs! To be quite honest, I am a very spontaneous kind of person. I love a good challenge. Working these posts in this order has been a bit confusing, but here is the summary:

Live Your Life Lightly. Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Live Your Life Liberally. Step out of your box and live a little!

Leave a Legacy. Leave a positive imprint on our world!

We are all given a small time on this earth. There is not enough time to hold grudges. It is actually a waste of precious time and energy to do so. Life is to short for you not to enjoy it. That doesn’t mean that you should indulge in things that are detrimental to your health. However, occasionally taking part in something different will really put some sizzle in your life. And while you are doing that, Leave a Legacy. Volunteer in you community or give back to mankind in some way.  It will change your life.

Hopefully, these three suggestions will nudge you to make some small, positive changes in your life!

To wrap things up, here is the actual blog, in presentation form, which I presented at a recent MoMonday Event:

Living Liberally (Part IV)

So far, I’ve talked about Leaving a Legacy and Living Lightly.  The middle part of my speech, as I said before, is Live Liberally.  In addition to being the opposite of “fundamental”, I try to also think of the word Liberal as a synonym of free.

What have you always wanted to try, but your thinking has limited you?  Have you always wanted to jet ski?  What is stopping you?  Is it a secret desire of yours to go to Australia for a vacation?  What is stopping you from setting the plans in motion?  Have you begun to check things off your Bucket List?  Do you have a Bucket List?

For over 20 years, I have not been in a pool, nor have I owned or worn a bathing suit. I was terrified of the water.  This problem began when I was a kid, in the West Indies.  I found myself on a “homemade” glass-bottom boat in the middle of the Atlantic.  Visions of the boat coming apart, and the passengers drowning were very real to me at the time.  And this has lasted through much of my adult life.  As a result of my Bucket List, I was determined to buy a bathing suit, and get into water. I set my plans into motion. On a whim, I volunteered to go on someone’s sailboat to “help” man the sails. It is a good thing that I forgot about my promise until the last minute, or I would have probably backed down. When I told my youngest daughter what I was doing, she reminded me that I was afraid of the water. “Not any more”, I replied and ran off for my adventure. I decided that I could do it. I let go of my inhibitions and I sat~or stood~on the edge of a sailboat at a 45⁰ angle to the water at times. I had a blast! My conclusion: You need to be buff to man a sailboat!  Since then, I have also been able to get into pools, and have even gotten into the ocean several times over the summer (despite my major surgery). I am not a great swimmer, but I got into water, AND I own a bathing suit!

There are so many wonderful things that you can try.  The world is full of interesting places to go and remarkable people to see.  Even the mundane can take on a new spin by changing one or two things.  Going to and from work the same way every day causes creativity to go dormant.  Maybe you could try a different route, if not there, then on the way home.  If that is not possible, try something else that you can change without creating too many problems.  Even getting onto a different car on the public transit system can drastically change the events of your day~and the people that you meet..

Life is so very short.  The mundane can make a person stir crazy (but it is so easy to slip into it)!  When I think of all the things I have yet to try, I wonder how I’m gonna fit it all into my schedule sometimes.  If your life has gotten dull and boring, try pepping it up by injecting a dose of Living Liberally!

May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Emerging Princess☺

Living Your Legacy (Part II)

To continue with my last blog, not only can one Leave a Legacy, but you can Live your Legacy as well.  That can be done in three ways:

1.  What Do You Want To Create?

Is there something that you want to be known for in your professional life?  Are you a great negotiator?  A fair leader?  Maybe you are known as a peacemaker?  Or perhaps you are the one who brings the doughnuts and treats to the office.  You are known for something, and if you don’t like what you are known for, change it!  We have the power to do that.  Create something more memorable!

2.  Who Do Want To Emulate?

There is a world of people out there.  Somewhere, someone has done what you are doing now, or attempting to do.  Who is this person?  Google can help here.  The person doesn’t have to be famous.  However, they can be a means of insight and information for the path that you wish to take.  Remember:  Success leaves tracks.  When you choose a mentor/hero, I suggest finding someone who is/was not addicted to a substance, and didn’t die an untimely death.  There is not sense emulating someone who is a known alcoholic, or who died early in life.  Lastly,

3.  Where Do You Want To Spend Your Time, Talent and Treasure?

By this, I mean your time outside of work.  What organizations or agencies do you want to give back to?  Can you sing?  Maybe you can volunteer at a senior’s home and cheer up the residents with your music.  Do you own something unique?  I bet you would have your local kindergarteners, or other pertinent group, awestruck.  Maybe you are blessed financially, and can support a project or initiative of a local charity.  Volunteering is so under-rated.  Giving to an organization that will probably not be able to give you financial returns can be extremely rewarding.  I know that when I do, I feel a great sense of accomplishment.  I feel like I’ve taken my mind off my problems, if even for a few hours.

When we take the three steps described above, I believe that we can take steps to not only leave, but Live Your Legacy.

May Your Cup Always Be Full!

Leaving Your Legacy (Part I)

In Toronto, we have a great motivational evening of speeches called Motivational Mondays, affectionately known as MoMondays.  It’s a great practising venue for speakers, and aspiring speakers.  I spoke last night, and the speech I gave reminded me of a few blogs that I did based on that speech almost a year ago.  I am re-blogging them.  The first one is the last part of my speech, but the most important:

I was at my favourite bakery last fall, purchasing a pastry when the phone rang. Apparently, someone who was close to the employees of the store, had passed away. My server became very flustered, and in her shoes, I would have been also.

As I left, I ruminated about one of my keynote speeches, The Power of 36. In that speech, I encourage people to do three things.  “Leave a Legacy” is one of the things I encourage people to do.  The lady who had passed away did so suddenly. What was her legacy I wondered?

I take the public transit to most places in our city. In my area, we have several bus drivers. Most people that take my bus route do not want to get one specific driver because, no matter what you do, she has to find something to complain about when you get on the bus. She has a Legacy of meanness that goes before and after her. Yet, there are drivers who are known for their Legacy of pleasantness and good manners. All the drivers started out with the same options available to them.

Since I started a new life a few years ago, I have been striving to leave a Legacy. We all have the capabilities of writing our life stories. We have the choice to smile or frown, be pleasant or sour. As a Coach, I encourage people to live life to the fullest and learn how to shake off bad situations. If people know me for anything, it’s that: 1. I am a thriving survivor, and: 2. I do not have bad days; I have bad moments. Teaching people that they can turn a “bad day” into “simply a bad moment” in their day is eye-opening to so many! We humans love to say things like “I’m having a bad hair day” or “This is just not a good day for me”. By doing so, we limit the happy moments that may come our way each day.

My Legacy, then, is teaching people to have good days. If I teach 100 people this concept, and they GET IT, and pass it on, so many lives would be touched. That , I believe, would be an amazing Legacy to leave behind!

Next time, I will share with you how to Live Your Legacy.

May Your Cup Always Be Full!

Excuse Me…Part 2

Excuses are the things that we keep telling ourselves as to why we don’t do something. In the previous post, I talked about FEAR. One of the underlying reasons why we don’t act, is summed up the word excuses.

Excuses are lies, plain and simple. We may blame somebody, something or ourselves, but they are lies. I’ll give you an example:

I have an issue with time. I have been late many times in my life. Sometimes it is only a few minutes. However, for family functions, it could be as much as an hour. For appointments, I could use the excuse that: 1. The subway had a delay, or 2. There was a traffic jam. For the family function, I could inform them that they wanted me to bake bread, after all. It takes 3 hours to make bread, and 1 hour to make no-bake cheesecake! Riiiight. Well, since I brought these topics up, let’s find the holes in my excuses, cleverly disguised as “reasons”.

When I am late for an appointment, do I leave with extra time, or do I time it to get there without a hitch? I leave time for the “without a hitch” scenario, of course! Why would I want to sit in a reception area for an indefinite amount of time? To make a good impression? Yeah, I frequently am running out the door to catch a bus, or sitting in traffic wondering why there are so many people on the road.  Upon arrival at my destination, I find myself running to the appointment to get there with 1 minute to spare. Sweaty face and palms…Good impression!

Now to the baking of the bread thing: Baking bread does take time. However, it is also very methodical. The great thing about bread is, even if it was baked that morning or the night before, it will probably still taste quite fresh. Shot down, yet again!

The truth of the matter is that I never budget enough time. Before recent events, I never gave allowances for getting to appointments on time. My previous coach said that I actually wanted to be EARLY. Yeah. Early has a nice ring to it.

In my blogs, I have often referred back to my healing process. While recovering from my relationship, I was also studying Neuro-Linguistic Programming. One of the presuppositions of NLP is that there is always a payoff for every action. For me, I believe that I hate wasting time. Sitting and doing nothing (although I never, ever do that), seems like such a waste, in my eyes. I feel like I have control when I get to an appointment “just in time“. Am I giving up control by being early? Hardly.

What excuses are you telling yourself for your actions? Things like, “We’ve always done it like this”; “I don’t know how”; “It’s too hard”; and “What will people say?” are all excuses. We may call them reasons, but given a few simple questions, I’m sure you can also poke holes through each of the above comments, too!

Whether it’s change or something familiar done in a different way, trying something new is inevitable in this life. We might as well ditch the excuses and learn to stretch and grow in your new life. The alternative is familiarity and conformity. You know what they say about familiarity… 🙂

May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Emerging Princess

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Water For The Journey

Book Release PartyOctober 25th, 2013
The long-awaited release of Water For The Journey: 156 Days To Freedom. All day givaways and book release party!
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