This Goal-Getter Got Another One: I’m Now a Certified Life Coach!

I DID IT!Aww yeah! My goal-getting just won’t stop. I have wanted to make my life coaching gift “official” since 2008, when I first became the client of a life coach in New York City. She was the one who encouraged me to write my first book. Fast forward 7 years of personal and professional obstacles and achievements later, and now I am a professional certified life coach!

I earned my certification from the Georgia Certified Life Coach Academy.
I earned my certification from the Georgia Certified Life Coach Academy.

I took my practicum this past Saturday and passed. I am over the moon with pride and gratitude to all of the people who have ever coached me, encouraged me, or supported me in word, prayer or deed.  In my heart I always knew I was a coach; only now have I made it official with all the back-to-back projects I’ve taken on over the years. Everything on “the back burner” is now off, so now my “stove” is empty.  And I will keep helping others reach their goals, too.

That includes you, my dear reader. You have been so loyal. Thank you for continuing on this journey with me. I have a lot more to give and I am ready to serve.

Keep pushing towards your goals! It’s not just a trite cliche; you can do just about anything you set your mind to–no matter how long it takes.  🙂

Join Me During National Journal Writing Month #NaJoWriMo

Do you journal? Does it seem daunting, useless, or just something writers do?
It doesn’t have to be.

najowrimo-oct_2015
From the NaJoWriMo Website: October 2015 Theme – Unleashing Your Creative Mind Through Journal Writing

I’m a little late to the party, but Bakari Chavanu created NaJoWriMo at the beginning of this year as a practice to concentrate on journal writing for 4 months of the year.  I’ve been an avid journaler since age 11 (when I called it a diary), and back then, I didn’t know that journaling would help me write my first book.

Journaling is for everyone–it doesn’t matter how old you are, what gender  you are, or what you do for a living.

There are lots of reasons to journal. It has nothing to do with whether you have the talent to write for a living.

Continue reading “Join Me During National Journal Writing Month #NaJoWriMo”

What I Learned From: “Going Natural” (And Why I’m Back on the Creamy Crack)

I don’t regret “going natural” 4 years ago. I mainly did so to teach my daughter to love herself as she is.

She’s worn her natural hair all her life. I started “relaxing” since about age 13 for manageability, independent styling (Mom was no longer braiding me as a teen), and to fit in.  20+ years later, I bravely did the big chop.

When I took my daughter to the airport to visit other family members for the summer of ’13, she sternly told me not to cut my hair while she was gone. “You should let it grow back and get long the way it used to be,” she said.

She missed my long straight hair, and honestly, I did too.

Continue reading “What I Learned From: “Going Natural” (And Why I’m Back on the Creamy Crack)”

The Not-So-Average Black Girl: April 2014 Highlights/Recap

Since I spent this month in journal-mode, I didn’t mention notable things I saw or did. So here goes a few highlights for the month:

 

  • I had 3 interviews about my new book (including one tonight)!
  • I celebrated my one-year “Runnerversary,” clocking 535.45 miles (up to that date), including 1M, four 5Ks, 6K, 8K, 10K, and one 15K races. I did another 5K a week ago, so that makes 10 races total! My next race will be in Boston at the Runner’s World
  • I was nominated for Most Versatile Blogger by Brandi Hawthorne

 

The Average Black Girl is Not So Average

Two really cool things I saw in pop culture this month:

 

A spoken word performance by Ernestine Johnson on Arsenio Hall on 4/10/14, entitled “Average Black Girl,” which I SO relate to. She gave me life with this poem!


Standards of beauty have long been “light” in Hollywood. The breakout star of one of the most important feature films of 2013, 12 Years a Slave, changed all that.

Enter Ms. Lupita Nyong’o.



This month she was named #1 on People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful Peoplegiving long-overdue validation to colored girls who rarely see their dark skin celebrated on the big screen.

 

 

 

 

Do You Let Yourself Fail Enough?

(Throughout the month, I’m blogging 20 questions from this month’s feature article in O magazine.) 

 

QUESTION 19 – Do I Let Myself Fail Enough?

 

We’re coming down to the home stretch here with these 20 questions of the month. This question goes hand in hand with allowing yourself to say Yes more often.  Making mistakes or getting something wrong is often how you get closer to figuring out what’s right. So-called failure is necessary for personal growth.

 

 

I have made some not-so-prudent business decisions when hiring people to help produce my first book, for instance. I’ve relocated a few time and spent years in new cities where I had almost no family or connections.  My marriage failed 10 years ago, and I have experienced devastating financial setbacks. I have done many things in my adult life that are very brave, but I also see areas where I play it safe.

 

My speaking career has not flourished the way would have liked since starting that investment and pursuit in 2008 with Toastmasters and then various mentors and coaches thereafter.

 

It doesn’t mean I’m going to give up. I know the talent and gift I have, and that it’s needed.

 

I could probably stand to get out there more, make more cold calls and face potential rejection.   Or potential exposure. But neither is failure.

 

What task or project do you need to take a leap of faith on?

Are You Strong Enough?

(Throughout the month, I’m blogging 20 questions from this month’s feature article in O magazine.)



QUESTION 14- Am I Strong Enough?


I’ve endured a lot of things in my 30’s so far.  People say I’m strong, but at times I don’t feel strong.  It’s the God in me that helps me get through.  I don’t need to question my strength because I can rely on His.

What does it mean to be strong?

 

Being strong means knowing when to ask for help, and not being afraid to.

Being strong means facing your fears–doing it afraid.

Being strong means moving forward  based on faith and wisdom even when circumstances tell you otherwise.

Being strong means doing what’s right even when everyone else tells you you’re wrong (or you can get away with it).

Being strong means speaking your truth even if it’s not popular with the masses.


Being strong means that you remain kind and not allow evil people or ugly situations get the best of you.

Being strong means walking in your purpose.

And now, a few fitting words from a devotional I just read:
A person who is truly confident of his or her strength does not need to parade it. A truly brave person does not look for chances to prove it. A resourceful woman can find a way out of a fight. A man of endurance will avoid retaliating. Foolish people find it impossible to avoid strife.
Men and women of character can. What kind of person are you?

 

How do you show your strength?

Have You Accepted Your Body?

(Throughout the month, I’m blogging 20 questions from this month’s feature article in O magazine.)
 QUESTION 13- Have I Accepted My Body?

 

Although this O article is geared to women, today’s question is the first one that I think is really meant to be applied to just women–men care about their looks, but in this society, us ladies are all too vocal about our hangups with our physicality.

 

Last weekend, I attended two book signings, and at one of them, I was introduced to read a section of the author’s book. I read an excerpt that I first published on this blog five years ago about how I tried to emulate the hairstyles and looks of stars in music videos.

 

Over the years, I’ve made peace with my body size and shape. I’m a “pear” and I like it.  Been wanting to do a tummy tuck for a long time (it’s been 11 years since I was pregnant) but everything else is pretty good. Aesthetically, my favorite body part is my lips. Their shape and size are perfect, and are closely related to my speaking talent.

 

If you dislike something about your body, there’s no point in rehashing it or uttering it to yourself or around others. Remember–it may a flaw to you, but to someone else you it might be an asset they wish for.

What Are You Afraid Of?


(Throughout the month, I’m blogging 20 questions from this month’s feature article in O magazine.) 



QUESTION 11- What Am I Afraid Of?

In the past I’ve been afraid of being left out from what was going on with the cool kids. Lately I’ve been afraid that I’m missing out on enjoying my life, if I just base it off of emails of happenings and various Facebook posts.  It’s one of the reasons why so many people get hooked on social media. “FOMO.”

 

But the fear I’m going to address here is literal. You may want to ask yourself this question two or three times each time you answer it to get to the root.

 

What are you afraid of?
But then what are you really afraid of?

 

I love families and I love mine. I don’t want to lose my parents–not so much afraid, because I know someday it will happen–its just that I’m not looking forward to living without them.

 

I hope that I will not be alone when my daughter grows up– there’s no guarantee that I’ll get married again.

 

I’ve been afraid that the one that I care about so much doesn’t really care much about me.

 

Sometimes I think I’m afraid of success. Other times I’m afraid that I’m not as good as others that do what I do. Or that I’ll be overlooked even if I am.


Now that you know what you are afraid of, what are you going to do about it?

 

The 4-Letter F Word

In 2012, I recorded a few of my speeches with the idea of making them available on my speaking website for anyone that wanted to hear my message. But after all this time I still haven’t listened to them. It’s not that I can’t stand my voice, but it is weird to hear–sometimes they play first automatically when I launch my iTunes on my computer (sorted as “Artist: Daree Allen”).

I’ve been working with a marketing consultant for the past few months, but now the talking is done. I need to start doing the grunt work: cold calls and other tasks to implement my marketing plan.

The last edits of my book were completed earlier this month and now its time for me to approve the final text and begin layout. That means finality (no more text changes without a hefty price). No turning back, and no “I forgots.” And this is the point with my first book where my layout person quit (even under contract).

I’m afraid.

Audio and video editing is such a time-consuming task, especially when you’re not terribly good at it. I have literally been trying to avoid this for months but the time is come.

I don’t like calling people I don’t know and trying to convince them that I’m good at something. That’s why I no longer pitch or freelance.

I never feel like my writing is never perfect when it’s time to submit it; in hindsight, there’s always something else I could have at it or should have done differently. I know that I’m going to get some criticism from book reviewers and others who think I should have done things a certain way (even though I asked for help and advice on the front end but didn’t get it).

I’ve been letting that ugly four-letter F word get in the way for far too long.

Fear.

fear-liar

It has paralyzed me. It lies about me and tells me things about myself that aren’t true. It makes up stories about what is going to happen that haven’t  happened before, and may never happen at all.

But I have to just do it.

fear-inaction

There are lots of people that like my voice. They want to hear what I have to say. Someone NEEDS to hear what I have to say. Couples will have better relationships because of what I wrote. Teens will not go down the wrong path because of my testimony.
I’m going to feel so much better when I’m done. The antidote to conquering fear of the unknown is to just get started.  I’m going to try to think of it as steps instead of a big project. Hold me accountable to finish. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What thing have you been fearing for a while but you’re going to tackle? An unpleasant confrontation? A breakup or cutoff that needs to happen? Make that move, and you let me know how it goes,okay? Then we’ll hold each other accountable.

Take that, Fear. You no longer have any power over us.

Now let’s get started.

Columbia Pictures' After Earth (2013)
Columbia Pictures’ After Earth (2013)

Doing the Most: Unstoppable Action

This post is comprised of my notes from Chalene Johnson’s “Being Unstoppable” presentation at Camp Do More (CDM) on June 18, 2013, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  [Note that some of my commentary is in brackets. Chalene took a picture of us standing behind her before she began.]
Do more of the right things. You can do anything, but don’t do everything. Do the things with the most impact. Learn to take action in smaller steps. [This is related to her to-do list practices as discussed in her book, PUSH! Here are the steps to becoming unstoppable:

Source: Time Management Ninja

Step 1 – Know where you’re going. Have you ever been busy all day and then felt like you didn’t get anything done? You need specific targets. Pick one small thing you will do each day.

Step 2 – Tell people you’re on your way. Create accountability by telling people what you’re going to do. Give yourself a fast approaching deadline. [My goal was to make Lifetime with WW a few days after returning home, so while I’m in Vegas I decided that I’m not going to overeat every day, or indulge at every meal. Even though we are working out, you can’t out-train a bad diet. I’m too close to my goal to mess around.]
Step 3 – Identify detours. What distracts you or causes you to procrastinate? Address how you will handle those situations. [For me, it’s too many tabs open, phone, TV, internet, and Facebook. For me to get creative and/or productive, I have to shut out the world.]

Continue reading “Doing the Most: Unstoppable Action”