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

Friday Funday

Haven’t blogged in a few days.  Feeling a little haggard lately.  I saw this sweet diagram about love, and thought I’d pass it on.  Hope you enjoy it!

If the pic doesn’t show properly on your computer, here is the link:

http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vs1hk

Pursue Your Passions & Live A Legacy,

Stephanie

10 Things I Learned About Business From Failed Romances

I’ve had a few failed romances over my lifetime.  I’ve been burned, badly, by a few of them.  Here are 10 things that I have learned, and how they apply to a business.  These views are mine!

1.  If You Don’t Treat Your Business Like Gold, No One Else Will.  Find the best products—that you can afford—to aid your business.  We all start somewhere, but using crappy methods will cause you to have to do things over.  And, as the saying goes, “If you don’t have the time to do things well the first time, when will you have the time to do it over?”

Likewise, if you don’t love and treat yourself like GOLD, people will treat you like aluminum foil, crumple you up, and throw you out for recycling.  You have to stand firm for what’s important to you.  Realize that you are Tiffany quality, and let the dollar-store people go!

2.  Be Proud Of What You Do.  Shout it from the rooftops.  Use Social Media.  Tell the world  about what you are bringing to the marketplace.   You’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this endeavour.  Make sure it showcases well.  (I do understand that you may not want people to know about an initial planning stage due to dream-stealers.  Yet, this does not mean that you are not proud of the business you are embarking on.)

Your romantic relationship should also make you proud.  When you love a great guy or gal, you want the world to know that this is your special person.  Secrets breed mistrust, and show that you may not be fully committed.  In the end, secrets will come to light…when you least expect it!

3.  Make Your Business A Priority.  Be Passionate about your business.  Put your heart and soul into it.  If you put part-time effort into it, you will get part-time results.  Your business should be a priority in your life.  When you put things before your bottom line—like browsing the internet, cleaning the office, or procrastinating on tasks that will help propel your business forward—you will suffer financially.  I know.  I’ve been there!

When you are in a serious relationship, your special person becomes a priority in your life.  If you are not passionate about seeing your mate, spending time with them, or making them a priority, you will lose them.  The question then is, “Why are you even in the relationship?”  Eventually, they will even come before your kids (if you have any).  I believe however, it should be after God (or whoever is your Higher Power).  God first, then relationship, business/kids/family (you sort out that order).  Points 1-3 seem like they are the same thing, but they are not.  They work hand-in-hand.

4.  Your Values Matter.  If you want to have weekends off, don’t start off working on weekends, unless you know for sure it’s only for a season.  Bending the rules, “just this once”, can lead to a myriad of chain reactions that you may regret.  It’s too hard to backtrack once you have bent the rules.

Don’t compromise your values for love.  When you compromise your values, you will be out of alignment with your moral compass, core and driving needs.  You will become unhappy.  It’s just a matter of time.  If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything!

5.  Reward Yourself.  When you have accomplished some milestone, give yourself a gift.  I mean really get into, and FEEL joy of receiving the gift—even if it’s something small when you start out.  This action will help you remember the positive vibes of accomplishing the goal.  You will want to recreate that feeling—and accomplish more goals.  One success begets another.

Reward your partner for kind deeds.  When they do something nice for you, tell them so.  If you see something that they like and you can purchase it, do so.  Who doesn’t love an unexpected gift?  (Again, I stress that you HAVE the finances to purchase it!)  I have yet to see someone who is unhappy to be spoiled and doted on (I didn’t say smothered!)  We love to be rewarded.  Nuff said!

Courtesy Free Digital Downloads

Courtesy Free Digital Downloads

6.  Honesty Is The Best Policy.  No one likes a crooked business(wo)man.  Keep everything above-board, and you will have less to try to hide at tax time.

Honesty is the best policy in relationships as well.  No one likes a cheater and a liar.  And if it’s you, stop!

7.  Get the Family Involved.  In both business and your relationship, when you are getting started, you may need to enlist the help of your family.  If your family is not on side with your business, they will sabotage your efforts.  It may not be openly.  If you are spending long hours working your business, or if you have moved into another income bracket, resentments may also arise.  How dare you leave them behind?  If you need to spend a season on a project, and it will affect your significant other, or your family, make sure they know beforehand.  Arrange a reward for the completion of the project.  Save face before you have to kiss feet.

8.  Get Help.  It sucks to do business alone!  It’s lonely, and you end up living in a vacuum.  Reach out to others in your same field through associations, or Linkedin/FB Groups.  Coaching is THE best way to catapult your business forward.  The accountability has a way of getting your butt in gear!

Before you need help with your relationship, I think it’s helpful to connect with other successful couples.  Conversely, reading about how the opposite sex operates is also helpful.  I have been reading about successful relationships for a while.  Each bit of information gives more insight as to how relationships work.  And I’ll never “arrive”.  That knowledge alone keeps me wanting to learn more.

9.  Give Back.  You started somewhere, and it probably wasn’t at the top.  Before your business is even at the million-dollar mark, start giving a little here and there.  It can be time or finances, but there is never an over-abundance of volunteers.  I have yet to see an organization say, “Please don’t help us”.  What is your pet charity?  How can you help them now?

I believe that volunteering couples help keep selfishness at bay.  Volunteering can strengthen a relationship, and bring a couple closer together.  (Providing there are no hidden agendas.)  Emotional experiences strengthen bonds, and leave a lasting impression on our lives.

10.  It Won’t Be Easy, But It Will Be Worth It.  Anything worth having is worth fighting for, in business, and in love.  If you believe in the business, (or the person you love), you are in integrity, and it is worth fighting for…FIGHT!  We humans—myself included—give up way too easily!  Fight for what you love!

I learned these things the hard way.  My hope is that you glean some nuggets of truth from these points.

Pursue Your Passions & Live A Legacy!

Stephanie, Emerging Princess

www.createdtoexcel.ca

Monday Motivation: Actions Express Priorities

Said by the famous peace-maker Ghandi, this saying has been etched into my brain this last week. It is a screen-saver on my daughter’s computer, actually. I am glad that I exposed my girls to motivational sayings early in life (and I believe they are too!). This simple phrase has pierced my core, so that I have started examining my life. And as “Socrates” said, “An unexamined life is not worth living”.

Digging deep and examining…Do I really want to go there? There will be many things that I do not want to see! What if I examine my business? Am I on Social Media more than I am doing the important things? Am I really going after my goals with gusto? Can I do more? Am I dreaming big enough?

What about my personal life…do I tell my kids “I love you” every day? Am I hugging and kissing them? And my special relationships…do I give what I want? Am I letting people know how special they are to me? Am I keeping my word? Or do I brush people off with a “waddevah meh!”? Am I holding on to the past, and not allowing the future to have a chance? Am I living and giving with passion?

Shall I stop there? I think not~I’m on a roll! If I say that I want to be wealthy, do I read up on what makes wealth? Am I saving money? Am I investing? If I can’t say “Amen”, I gotta say “ouch”! My actions express what is the priority in my life. And what of my health? Do I say that I want to shed weight, and exercise is not part of my routine, nor do I even buy fresh foods? Then, doing things that hinder weight loss is my priority.

I’m on a mission to create a passionate life. One of the most wasted things on this planet is time…we waste time on Social Media, watching TV and playing video games, then complain that we don’t have enough time to spare. In our relationships, we waste time holding on to bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, and a need to be right, rather than happy. Then we wonder why we are alone. Wasted time…a window into priorities.

I’m awake now, what about you?

Pursue your Passion, Live Your Legacy!

Stephanie, Emerging Princess

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

1008462_10200103750578518_201977483_o

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

Theological Thursday: 04/04/13

This is a quote from one of my favourite Facebook pastors, Mark Pothier.  Don’t shoot the messenger!  If you can’t say “Amen”, say “Ouch”!

“Dating Tip… Men…

There will always be the guy who is better looking, has more money, bigger muscles, with the big house, and drives that nice car. But what a woman finds really attractive, is a man who fears God, reads his Bible and LIVES it… a man who will pray with her everyday and be her covering. The guy who loves God more than her. That’s the guy she will choose. And if she doesn’t, you had no business with her in the first place.”

couple-holding-hands-5-black

 

Nuff said!

May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Stephanie, Emerging Princess

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!

Of Mice And Men

In my last blog, I made mention of changing my perspective on failure.  To be quite frank, I didn’t have a choice!

In May, things looked different for me.  I had just finished a project with one of my favourite charities.  If things went as planned, my book would be released in the fall.  I had some challenges, but things were looking bright.  Then, somebody moved my ball!  With my unplanned illness, I was faced with several facts:  1.  programs that I was hoping to implement would have to be postponed, and  2.  my book would have to be pushed back~again.  Of Mice and Men…

The programs were not a big deal.  I didn’t start major advertising for it anyways.  But my book…THAT was my baby!  I started my book 2-1/2 years ago.  It was a spontaneous creation, taking about 6 weeks to create.  I have since tweaked and rewritten parts of it to be more in line with who I am today.  From March until my illness, I had contacted agencies that I wanted to be involved with.  I had created a sponsorship drive, so there were businesses that I had been in negotiations with.  I had picked out the location for the book launch, chosen my photographer…And I had to let all these people know that the project was on hold.

My associates were very understanding.  My heart, unfortunately, wasn’t so forgiving.  Will anything ever go my way?  Will I ever catch a break?  were the cries of my heart.  I was grateful to be alive, yet very disappointed by this apparent “failure”.  I believe that this reason was why I couldn’t wrap my head around my business.

When I was able to, I got into my “quote pile”.  I collect quotes that I see on billboards and the like, and I delve into it when I need a lift.  One of my own quotes is “Don’t let your current circumstances interfere with your vision for the future”.  Did the fact that I got sick mean that my book would never be released?  Not at all.  I kept digging in my pile.  Robert Schuller wrote, “Failure is never final”.  H’mm, “there is hope”, I think.  My hands invariable find Mr. Hill’s words.  Napoleon Hill has helped me through many a tight spot, and today was no exception.  Here are the ones that spurned me on:

~  Eddison failed 10,000 times before he made the electric light.  Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times.

~  No man is ever whipped until he quits in his own mind.

~  Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.

~  Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.

~  Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.

Ironically, it was the following quotes that helped me change how I looked at failure:

~  When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound.  Rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal; and

~  The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.

I believe that may be why, as humans, we think that we have failed (or are failures).  We are stuck on the method or plans that we created, not the destination.  With my history of a “failed” marriage, “failing” in other areas of my life really bums me out.  When I believe I have failed at something, I would sit on my behind looking at the broken pieces around me, and cry or mope.  That time could have been better spent regrouping with new plans that incorporate the broken pieces~or not.  It is not failure~it’s life re-organized.  With that knowledge, one can, like Eddison, keep working at a new method until one day~the lightbulb finally turns on!

I guess I can come up with a new book release date!  🙂

May Your Cup Always Be Full!

The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes

156 Days To Freedom

Today starts the countdown to my book:  Water for the Journey: 156 Days to Freedom

This has been a longer-than-anticipated trip.  When I started writing the book, 2 years ago at about this time, I thought that my book would have been published by that fall (2010).  I submitted it to a publisher, was accepted, and was faced with two huge challenges:  1.  publishers keep 90% or more of book proceeds, and 2. they refused to publish my book in colour.  My book, my baby, needed to be printed in colour.  I had water imagery from all over the world in it.  Black and white just didn’t cut it.  I turned down the publisher and decided to self-publish.  (As time went on, I realized that getting a publisher to say YES was a huge accomplishment.  Call me naive!)

Self-publshing takes a great deal of money.  So my book sat for the better part of 18 months, waiting for the right moment.  Then, in November, it started to crawl.  I set the wheels in motion again, thinking that it would be possible to get it out by May.  As I work better under pressure, I even rewrote the main storyline in less than a month.  However, when we got into February, it became apparent that May was not the time, either.  It  was heartbreaking when I came to the realization that I had to put the book off again.  This time, the difference is that I now have much more in place than I did last November.

The storyline is a difficult one.  Anyone that knows me, knows that I deal with Violence Against Women.  This book takes that one step farther, as the heroine is going through her abuse while living as a Christian.  Will I get flack for that?  I hope so.  The problem of abuse in the church is huge, and I have no qualms about talking about it.  What I hope the most, though, is that I can help one woman who is suffering in an abusive relationship right now.  If I help one woman, then my work on earth is complete.  All others are icing on the cake.

At present, I am working on getting sponsorships for the book.  It is a unique concept, especially in the Christian community.  Advertisers who align with the theme of the book, will have the opportunity to sponsor a chapter.  When I go to events to speak, I will also promote my sponsors.  When you consider that a book lasts a lot longer than a print or TV ad, it can be a very inexpensive method of advertising.  The clincher is getting sponsors to “bite”!

I will be updating my page and blog regularly with the status of the book.  I know that my book’s graphic designer, Hensher Creative, is longing to get this project done.  (I think that the cover is fantastic, but maybe I’m biased!)  Closer to the book release date, I’ll be having contests to build momentum.  The day of the book release, I will also have a contests to build momentum.  I intend on having a bestseller!

Please “Like” my page so that I can get up in ranking!  This should be a stellar summer!

My book release date is September 14th, 2012, exactly 156 days from today!

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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