Guess who’s back… back again.

Wow. To say “It’s been awhile” is an understatement… but I’m baaaack. And hopefully to stay this time.

For those of you that used to read my last blog, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve changed the look and name. I changed the look because I wanted it to be a little more feminine… and I changed the name because when I thought about all of the areas God has been working on me over the past year, it seemed like a majority of them started with the letter “F”. (Plus the name is a little sassy which I think accurately reflects my personality ;).)

To start off, I plan to do a blog on each “F” and sort of fill you in on what has been going over the last year or so and then we’ll jump in.

So yes. Here’s to picking this up again and to seeing where it goes! Hopefully you’ll stick around for the ride!

xx

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It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor

A couple of weeks ago the Women’s Network at work hosted an event called “Envision Your Best Year”. The Women’s Network hosts many events each year and sadly, I never jump at the opportunity to attend. It wasn’t until my manager sent out a note asking if anyone wanted to join her that I decided to give it a shot. I’m so glad I did because it made me realize a few things that I want to improve about myself & my life.

One of the first things the keynote talked about was how, in a lifetime, women make about a million less than their male counterparts. Some of the reasons she mentioned are that:

1.  We never “brag” on ourselves.  Rarely do women complete a project or milestone and stop to take a few moments to pat ourselves on the back- we tend to move right into a new project. Even when we do take a minute to recognize our progress, we tend to downplay the accomplishment. Men, on the other hand, are sure to let everyone know.

2. Women never ask for the things they want (for instance raises or promotions). We think that if we deserve a promotion, it will get noticed on its own or that it will make us look greedy to ask for one.

When she mentioned these points, I started to cringe because I know I am definitely guilty of both.

I am definitely my own worst critic and never give myself enough credit. Rarely do I stop in life to celebrate my accomplishments or pat myself on the back. Instead, I’m always looking for the next new thing that I think needs fixing.

I also feel like I had the mindset of “If I’m doing a good job, other people will notice”. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago when I was talking to a friend and she mentioned how in her 10/10s (weekly development meetings with your manager), she would make sure to call out the ways she has improved since her previous 10/10. At first it seemed so odd to me. I felt like calling out accomplishments was “bragging” and that it seemed cocky, when in reality, its important that we recognize progress and take pride in our accomplishments (within reason). I decided to start taking her advice and I feel like it has helped me in many ways.

First, it helps me to keep myself accountable. When I first started full time, I didn’t mind playing a backseat role and was always afraid to speak up. Even though my team is very supportive, I was always afraid of messing up or saying something stupid so I kept quiet. Once I made the decision that I wanted to be able to report back to my manager on my progress, it helped me to push myself out of my comfort zone. I speak up more and make offers to do tasks that I’m not necessarily comfortable with which has not only helped build my confidence, it has helped my team to see me as more of a leader.

Doing this new technique, also shows my manager that I’m listening to the feedback she’s giving me and that I’m making an effort to improve. While I don’t know that I would ever feel comfortable straight up asking for a promotion/raise, it has helped me to be more transparent about what my goals are as well as solicit feedback from her about what she thinks can help me perform at the next level. So far,  it has been very motivating to see the things I can be capable of when I stop holding myself back and is very encouraging to hear from my manager that she sees a difference as well.

Another point that the keynote speaker brought up is that we seldom take the time to assess our life satisfaction. While I actually think I do this fairly regularly, she did help me to realize something new. She made us write down all of our goals for the next 5 years. A lot of mine were things that I have already discussed in previous posts but there were a few were new ones such as “pay off car” and “get promoted”.  She asked what things we realistically thought we could accomplish this year if we had more time… and surprisingly, many  of them seemed reasonable. Next, she had us fill out a spreadsheet that asked how many hours per week we dedicated to different activities (Work,  Friends, Family, TV, Fun, Exercise, Service, etc). It was shocking to me to see how much time I wasted during the day. There are 24 hours in a day- even if I sleep for 8 (which rarely happens) and work for 8, there are still 8 more hours left… When I think about the things I do in those extra hours- I’m embarrassed… Too much of that time is taken up by meaningless activities such as watching Trashy TV or stalking people on social media (dont act like you dont do it too :P). It also showed me how little hours I put into “Service/Volunteer” (zero to be exact) and realized something needed to change… I want to do more meaningful things in my life and not spend half of it watching the Real Housewives of Every City.

Soooooo that being said, I have decided to join more extracurricular activities. Last week I signed up for the “Community Engagement” committee for our African American Network and am hoping to leverage that to get involved with CHOICES. I have also signed up for the “Development” committee for the Women’s Network and the United Way of Greater Richmond’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. Along with signing up for more extracurricular activities, I have decided that I will start to limit the time I watch TV to 1 hour a day. After that one hour, I am going to force myself to find something else to do… whether its call a family member/friend, clean my room, blog, go to bed earlier, etc. I also want to read more so I am trying to read a chapter each night before I go to bed. Currently, I am reading a book called “It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor” which talks about ways in which women hold themselves back from advancing in the corporate world. Ironically enough, I won it at a Women’s Network event back in 2011 when I was interning. (Yes, I’ve had it for two whole years and never cracked it open. After the event a couple weeks ago, I figured it was time :).) I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my progress as well as celebrate any accomplishments ;).

In the meantime, I challenge you to evaluate how many hours you currently spend per week in each of the categories (Work, Commute, Spouse, Family, Friends, TV, Fun, Service, Exercise, Chores, Self-Care, Sleep, Spiritual Practices, Learning, Other- the hours must add up to 168). How many hours would you ideally like to spend in each of the categories? What are you willing to change to start moving towards your ideal? For those of you that actually take the time to do this, I would love to hear what you learned about yourself…

Until next time…

xx

Resources: It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor: Free Yourself From the Hidden Behaviors Sabotaging Your Career Success by Rebecca Shambaugh

Week One Recap

When I decided to start this journey… I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I didn’t really think it would be this hard. It’s only been one week and I already feel like I’ve been slacking on some of my goals.

Here is my week one update on my goals:

  • Health/Fitness: Take vitamins everyday and go to the gym at least 4 days each week
    • I took my vitamins every day except for Saturday
    • I only went to the gym 3 days: Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday. On Wednesday, I drove all the way to the gym to find out that they had closed early due to the snow storm (darn you weather!)… Long story short, I ended up doing a quick workout using OnDemand :(… let’s hope I don’t have to do that again haha. This week, I have only gone 1 day so far but I plan to go Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday as well.
  • Spiritual: Spend time with God daily
    • I was so good about his earlier in the week but as soon as I left for Nova, everything went out the window. I either need to learn to be consistent even when Im away from home or stop leaving home as much haha! I am hoping to be fully caught up with the pages in my book by tomorrow.
  • Hair: Research ways to maintain healthy relaxed hair (#blackgirlprobs) & buy hair products
    • I officially scheduled my hair appt! It is going to be this Saturday at 4:30. Now that I have a date set, I am excited yet nervous! I expect my hair to be healthy but I’m nervous about how long it will be. I just want to feel like these past 21 months really did something.
    • I also spent 5 hours tonight re-reviewing how to properly take care of my hair and jotting down what I will need to buy. I am hoping to get everything on my extensive shopping list tomorrow. I will be sure to post a pic once I have everything :).
  • Life: Pay off credit cards & create a budget
    • So far, I have paid off one credit card. I have the money for the other credit card but am waiting until as close to the due date as possible. I don’t know if that is a good idea or a bad idea- haha.
    • I still haven’t created a budget yet but technically I have a few more weeks in March so maybe that will be my focus for next week.
    • Minor setback: My friend Jessye introduced me to eBay this weekend -_____-. Let’s just say I’m a little addicted. I have already bought 5 things (I’ll post pics once they arrive)! I have decided no more impulse buys and am now forcing myself to wait at least 24 hours before buying anything. Usually that is enough time to knock some sense into me.

Hopefully this week I can get on track.

Until next time…

xx

Goals for March

Goals for March

At work when I set goals, I have things to hold me accountable: my manager, performance reviews, paycheck/bonus, etc. In my personal life, I feel like I’ll set goals, work towards them for a few weeks, and then fall back into old habits. I think a lot of this is due to the fact that I have nothing to hold me accountable. Like most people, when the new year started, I created resolutions. They are probably the same as everyone else’s: save money, eat better, exercise, go to church, etc. I started trying to do all of them, all the way, all at once… Needless to say, I was very overwhelmed and failing MISERABLY. Thankfully, each day is a new day. That being said, today marked my new “day one” for the goals I’ve set for myself… This time I decided to break them down into more manageable chunks. There are 4 main areas of my life that I have set goals for: Health/Fitness, Spiritual Health, Hair, & Life.

Goals

  • Health/Fitness: Take vitamins everyday and go to the gym at least 4 days each week
  • Spiritual: Spend time with God daily
  • Hair: Research ways to maintain healthy relaxed hair (#blackgirlprobs) & buy hair products
  • Life: Pay off credit cards & create a budget

Health/Fitness:

  • Take Vitamins every day (pretty self-explanatory)
  • Go to the gym at least 4 days each week: Back in 2012, I was doing a great job of going to the gym. I was going anywhere from 4-6 days a week, I had healthier eating habits: I was so disciplined. Even when I went to Florida for Christmas, I made sure to bring my healthy food with me so that I wouldn’t be tempted. All of that changed when I went to nova for New Years. The combination of crappy food, late nights and no exercise completely derailed me. When I got back to Richmond, I was so depressed from having to leave Nova that I had no desire to get back on track… 2 months in to 2013, and I have maybe gone to the gym 3 times… So today, the journey starts over. I went to cycle this morning at 5:30am- Calories Burned: 529. (I knew I had things to do after work and didn’t want to mess up on my first day). Since its my first day back, I also decided to retake my measurements :(. (As much as I hate that part, it always gives me something to measure against). Today’s Measurements: Bust-33.5; chest 28; waist 27.75; hips 36.75; Weight: 122.0

Spiritual: Spend time with God daily

I have struggled with this for so long. I’ll try to do them in the mornings but I can’t pry my eyes open so then I’ll try at night but I have so many things going on in my mind that it seems so inauthentic. The last devotional I had been reading was Joyce Meyer’s “New Day, New You“. While I loved it, I didn’t feel like I got to know Jesus any better. I felt like it was more of a reflective devotional. Yesterday, I decided it was time to go get a new devotional. When I checked the family book store hours I found out it was closed on Sundays so I decided to try Barnes & Noble instead. Most of the devotionals I saw were like the “New Day, New You” one- more about words of wisdom.  As I was heading out of the store, I passed a table that had many books on them. I happened to come across a book called What On Earth Am I Here For?, written by Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life. (For a while I have been telling myself that I was going to ready that book but have never gotten around to it). I decided to pick it up and on the first page it said this “Before you were born, God planned this moment in your life. It is no accident you are holding this book. God longs for you to discover the life he created you to live – here on earth, and forever in eternity”.  While it could just be a brilliant sales ploy, it worked, and I bought it :). Over the next 40 days, I am committed to reading this book as my quiet time with God. I plan to write about it on here so if you’re reading this, go grab a copy so I’ll have someone to share with :).

Hair: Research ways to maintain healthy relaxed hair (#blackgirlprobs) & Buy Hair Products

I have decided that at the end of this month, I am going back to my hair… aka no more weave. (Ill pause for a quick second for all of the white people who are shocked that the hair they have been seeing on my head for the past two years hasn’t been mine- haha).  In the Summer of 2011, my hair had gotten severely damaged by a relaxer that was left on too long. When the stylist went to wash out the relaxer, clumps of my hair were falling out with it. I tried to make do for the summer but finally in September 2011, I decided to give my hair a break. I haven’t had a relaxer since May 2011 and haven’t had any heat on my hair since September 2011. For a while, I was contemplating the whole natural thing but quickly nixed that idea after my new hair stylist had to brush through it at my last hair appointment. Since I have decided to go back to the “creamy crack”, I decided I want to educate myself on how to properly take care of my hair. I spent an entire day this past weekend reading blogs online and watching YouTube videos and want to continue to do that so that I feel prepared once I get to “D-Day”. (I feel like im preparing to take a baby home…. Haha). My ultimate goal is to have bra-strap length relaxed hair so we will see how that goes :).

Life: Pay off Credit Cards & Create a Budget

  • Credit Cards: pretty self-explanatory
  • Create a Budget: Right after I graduated college, I made a budget that I told myself I would follow when I started working full-time. Everything seemed good in theory but I never accounted for all of the expenses that are required for getting your life started. Instead of creating a new budget, I just decided to spend whatever. Because of this, I haven’t been actively saving. My goal for this month is to create a new budget based off my current circumstances so that I’ll have a plan to better actively save.

Wish me luck!