It really is ok to Level Up!

ciara and russell

So a comment was made by a celebrity (Ciara this week), and folks are all up in arms. I am not 100% sure what the fuss is about. From what I have read she simply expressed her truth. She noted after she leveled up, started to look to God more, and really love herself the right man came along. This is her experience and who are we to take that from her. Before you all start the eye-rolling keep reading... I think the issue is because she said  “level up” and get the love you deserve. People seem to be super in their feelings because of the words level up. Even one of my friends said she took the comment as if you are single you have no standards. So it got me thinking…

Why are we so consumed with every thought a celebrity has? Sure they are in the light and people look to them and they decided to be in the spotlight but we are all responsible for our own actions. Just because she believes in leveling up you don’t have to.They are human just like the rest of us, and if your homegirl disagreed with you would you drag her like some do celebrities? Just my thoughts…

Let’s talk about leveling up. If I am correct it means to get your shit together in all areas of your life. This will look different for everyone. Some will lose weight, start their business, get a deeper relationship with God, carry crystals with you, start reading more books, whatever it is we all can agree it is an improvement on your life. So don’t you want to level up? Or is complacency the new in thing? When we apply for jobs we never say ok I'm entry level and I am good with this for life. I have arrived. No, we get in to learn the ropes and start looking for a raise, promotion, or the next job.

I read some comments saying she is using her marriage as a tool or weapon and I was again confused. #Howsway All she was saying, or how I interpreted it was once you focus on you, and get clear about what you want you can attract it. After you get so into you and realize what it is you actually want you will be able to waste less time with men who mean you no good. I know for me I wasted time and dated losers because I was dating to be dating at one time in my life. I didn’t really know what I wanted so I ended up not getting much of anything if you catch my drift. We can all agree like attracts like so why not improve yourself. The new and improved you will undoubtedly attract more than a man. You will get the bougie girlfriends you wished you had, the promotion you have been dreaming about, or even attract the client to your business because you have now become an improved version of our self. What is wrong with that?

Let me tell you a story… When I met my husband I was a single mom of one, working as a therapist (my previous dream job). I lived on my own and was doing my thing. Admittedly I was more together on paper than I was internally but I was actively working on it. So I guess at the time I met him I was like mid glow up lol (although I am sure that was not the term those years ago). The point is I was in a good place, and working daily to be better. THAT IS WHAT ATTRACTED THE MAN TO ME. For us, regular degular folks life ain't always peaches and cream. So what married minded man wants to marry a girl he has t fix up or who is bringing nothing to the table, not even a plate? Because if the shoe was on the other foot while women are more likely to go for the fixer-upper we are not setting out looking for him. We want a man with his ish together. We want the security that comes with a stable man.

I got off topic...Prior to my self-proclaimed glow up I was attracting broken men, with no jobs, mommy issues, emotional abusers, egos bigger than the Beyonce song, and all other foolery. I was attracting them because I was broken. I was vibrating so low that is what I picked up.  Did I need to level up? Hell yes! Is that the sole reason I got married? Nope, but it damn sure helped. I was happy and whole when I got married. I was not looking for anyone to love me because I loved and still love me. In fact, I was happy to just be me with my child. I had spent so much time dating idiots I decided to date me, and the moment I became ok with me things changed. I walked away from my job (I went back, but with a raise lol making just under what a LCSW makes without a license and in case you are not a counselor and not familiar with non-profits that's a big damn deal!). Nope, life has not been perfect but it has steadily been getting better. I have setbacks but I come out ahead because I glowed up.

So no this is not me using my life as a weapon or shaming tool. This is me telling you if I can do it, the girl who was pregnant at 19 by the way ole boy the sperm donor straight walked away you can too!!!!! I have been through so much and we all have a story to tell but unless you level up in some way your story is going to stay the same and we both know you don’t want that. Leveling up is not all about a man because some of my smartest most successful girlfriends don’t even see marriage as an accomplishment. However to live a life you love whether working a 9-5, being a housewife, having a side hustle, walking the red carpet, whatever it is will require you to level up. How will you level up today?

4 Ways to Make 2018 Great

New Year

As soon as the kids took off their Halloween costumes it felt like they were pulling out the Christmas tree lights, and here we are in 2018. Is it me or is time flying by?

Anyway, this is the time of year where everyone is reflecting. What went well, what went wrong? Some people will be shouting "new year new me" and while I am not a fan, I am a recovering member of the club. I am not quite sure why I thought I had to wait until the new year to change. Change is a series decisions you make and they are not bound by time or date.

However, I understand the concept. The new year brings about a refreshing sense of newness and it seems like the right time to lose weight or cut people off when really the right time was the moment you made the decision to be a better you. I get though we are all looking to win in some form or fashion. Whether it be finding that great love, buying our dream home,  booking a speaking gig, or landing a high paying client. Whatever it is we all want to be great. So this year, if you start losing focus on the resolutions here, are some habits to adapt to make sure this is your year.

  1. Be intentional. Whatever your goals are get aligned and make them happen. Once you are sure about what you want  to accomplish make sure you are constantly doing what you need to do to make it happen on purpose.
  2. Change your mindset. You can have everything you want if you think you can. Stop allowing our past, what you did last year, or the limiting beliefs you have to stop you. Trust me we all have had these beliefs and a lot of times they are inherited. How you were raised helps to shape what you think is possible but that is a lesson for a different day.
  3.  Stop setting goals without setting time to do the work. We all are like Ok I am going to lose weight this year, but what we fail to figure out is when we will meal prep, when we add working out to our already busy schedule, how many calories will we intake. Or better yet my clients say this is the year they will find a man, yet they never leave the house, don't know what they are looking for in a relationship, and sadly some of them are still in love with their ex. Simply setting the goal is not enough. You have to plan for the process.
  4.  Make your to-do list NON NEGOTIABLE.  I get it at the end of the day you are tired and just want to sit on the couch and watch the TV, or maybe you want to read a book. Either way, the to-do list is not a priority after work. You had the best intentions but by the end of the day, your determination fades. But this is where we mess up. This is how we stay stuck and never lose the weight, start the business, finish writing that bestseller or whatever the goal is.  If you are really serious you have to work even when you are tired and don't want to because that is where the real change happens. 

What are you going to do to make this a great year for you?

6 time management tips to help you have it all

We want it all if we are honest with ourselves, and in my opinion nothing is wrong with that. We want the family, career, money, cars, all of it. Now how do we get there? You have to begin telling yourself you can have it all and then define what “it all” is for you. This will look differently for every one. Figure out what your ideal day looks like. Does this include meetings, sessions, gym time, children, husband, work, travel? You have to know what you are working toward so you can get there. Then there is time.

Time, if we are honest we often waste away (social media, reality TV, sleep) and then complain about not having enough of it. Coming from my own past experience, watching TV instead of working out was much more fun. However, you could always find me complaining about my weight and saying I had no time to work out. Another old favorite of mine was using my children as an excuse not to clean. Yep I would say well I work every day the weekend is the time I need to be with them. When really I just wanted to avoid the laundry, scrubbing, and sweeping. Yes spending time with my kids is hella important but if one is napping and the other is reading how much time are we really spending together? Still, I would think geesh I really just need a day to clean... yes after wasting an entire day with excuses.

I was making a lot of excuses to simply do what I wanted to do (be lazy, although I called it rest) and not what I needed to do (everything else, cook, clean, etc.). I always found myself saying I want to do more, be more, and have more, but I was not putting in the effort. I was putting in the excuses.

Excuses are tools of nothingness (yep I am a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta- all my fellow NPHC Greeks feel me on this). Back to these excuses... making them was only getting me one thing NOTHING. The truth was I had time to get healthy, cook, start a business, and whatever else I wanted to if I used my time wisely. What I needed to do was to shift the way I thought about time. I had convinced myself I did not have enough of it when the truth is I had plenty. I simply had to use wisely.

Here are a few things I started to do to gain better control of my time.

  1. Protecting my time. Which really means setting boundaries, and saying no when I needed to say no and no longer feeling guilty about it.  I now refuse to allow my time to be wasted. It may seem harsh but it has really been beneficial for me and my family.
  2. I am intentional about how I spend my time. If I set out to spend time with my family, I make sure everyone is awake, present, and with limited electronic interaction. If it is time to blog or do other stuff related to my business I make sure I set the intentions to complete those task. It really is about a mind shift here.
  3. I plan for things. Part of being able to fit so many things into one day is knowing what must be done. If I know what I have to do, I can fit in what I want to do. I decided I wanted to put more effort into my own self development. So instead of having my own lip sync battle on the way to work daily I now make sure I listen to a podcast that will feed my growth at least 3 days a week on my way to work. 
  4. Prioritize. This is my best kept secret. If it can be done later I do it later and do something that cannot wait. Everything is not an emergency so it will not be treated as such.
  5. Practice discipline. It is easy to lay down because I worked all day. Then who is going to cook, clean, blog, talk to my clients, how will I ever get into shape. When I set my list I do it. There is no waiting until tomorrow because I have already filtered out what can wait so it is not on the current day’s to do list.
  6. I am flexible with my family. I know you giving side eye after reading 1-5, but I am. If my babies are sick things get shifted. My daughter is pushing 13 so her emotions and hormones are off the chain. If she needs some extra mommy time she gets it. Sometimes bae needs time and I am not here for the games so bae gets his time.

By doing all these things I am so much closer to my goal of having it all. I am able to be a great wife, mom, biz owner, and still employee. It is not easy but it can definitely be done.

 

How do you manage it all? Have questions? Shoot me an email mrstoyacarter@gmail.com I would love to help.

How I Make My Mr. and Money Machine Make Sense- A guest Post

Today we have the luxury of hearing from someone new. Erica H-Vincent is the Founder/CEO of EHV Consultants and lives at www.ericahvincent.com.  She decided to stop playing with her “side hustle” and walked away from her corporate position 4 years ago to build her coaching and consulting business full time. Erica is passionate about building her business around her life and love showing other moms and wives how to do the same! She is living in her element the most when she’s creating mompreneurs and wifepreneurs customized business strategies to grow their online serviced-base empire all on a shoestring budget! You can find Erica @ericahvincent everywhere but her primary hangout spots are Twitter and her private Lady Boss Levels community! Today Erica is sharing part of her love story with us...

This is the ultimate love month for me! February 14th as you and I both know is the obvious national love day but there are two additional dates in this month that hold very true and dear to my husband and that's February 9th and February 21st!

You see this year, February 9th marks the 4 year anniversary of walking away from my full-time (high paying) Corporate job and February 21st marks our 8 year wedding anniversary! Woot Woot!!! Now you may read this and think "Oh how awesome"! But let me tell something, the road to my "Marriage, Money and Mogul building quest has NOT being all sunshine and unicorns! Let me take you on a little journey of a man I "dissed" time and time again who ended up becoming my biggest cheerleader, business partner, and now husband!

So I was the picky type, you know the type who had to date a man of certain height, build, shade, economic, and education status! Yes! That was me! Preferably over 6feet and caramel complexed-skin if I'm being REALLY picky! My elders would call this being "young and dumb"! Fourteen years ago I was fairly new to my city (Milwaukee) and I was invited to accompany my mom to a party a friend of hers was hosting, so I'm thinking to myself "This is going to be boring as EVER" and my attitude wall went up immediately, but at least it got me out of the house for a bit! So you know the drill; boy meets girl, girl's not interested, boy sweats girl, girl STILL not interested, boy sweats girl more, girl gets flattered, boy and girl are in a trial dating situation! Now this was over the course of a 3 to 4 month time-frame of me playing what some would call "hard to get" before we even went on a date. This was partly due to my stubborn dating type (reference above) and my now husband was 5'8 and "high yellow" because he is bi-racial, mixed with Puerto Rican and African-American. So I gave him the hardest time! (I feel sooo guilty now!)

When my husband and I were "dating" I made it very clear what my goals in life were for both my children and myself. He knew being in a relationship fell dead last in comparison to my kids, job, school, and side business (at the time). I asked why was I self-employed as well and I looked him square in the face and said “because I don’t like to follow the rules”! I really thought my ambitious (and somewhat smart-mouthed) nature would scare him off but it was the COMPLETE opposite! He admired my independent and "gutsy" drive to succeed! I believe it called it "sexy" lol! I remember like it was just yesterday when he said “so what can I do to help”? I stopped and looked at him like a different person. Then I thought to myself “Damn, now THAT’S sexy” When you are a single mother with two little ones like I was carrying the full weight of the world on your shoulders, hearing questions like that gave me a whole new meaning to the words gratitude and respect. He knew I would move Mt Everest to ensure my kids were awarded a life of all things comfort, safety, and peace. So a lot of time had passed (I’m thinking a little over 6 months) before I’d introduce him to my kids, when I finally made the introduction it was more or less “show and prove” time. Without question he would jump right in, help around the house while I was cramming to meet class deadlines, going to business networking events, or taking care of VA contracted work for clients. In the first month or so I was thinking “this is too good to be true” but then I would receive phone calls from people he had referred to me for outsource work I knew something magical was forming right before my eyes. Fast forward seven years later, after living as a “blended family”, I finally got pregnant with my husband’s first son and then 11 months later our first daughter! So how did I make all of this work and still work all these years later you ask?

Simple…. I had hunger, drive, and a plan! I communicated my plan, execute my plan, and showed hubby the results from that plan. The hunger for me to always try, fail, and dominate my best self, paired with my competitive nature makes it really easy for me to share my aspirations with my husband. He can feel the passion and energy in my voice and can see it in my body language! As his wife, I too, must speak his language, a language that a non-entrepreneur can understand and digest as well. A language explaining how all strategic and marketing efforts lead to income and happiness! He could really care less about my list building goals, online-workshops, lead generations and all that jazz, all he really want to know is “how will your business help keep the lights on and food on the table”?. Once I shared my plan of action, I then said "this is what I need from you in order for me to make this happen". Which really boiled down to managing household efforts and running errands from time to time. So now when I say I have a webinar, or need to schedule tweets in buffer, or need to knock out a 1200 word blog post, he understands the potential outcome from these marketing efforts verses him thinking I'm just "playing around" on the internet all day!

We also have "business meetings" twice a month to see where things are financially for both house and business objectives. This will eliminate any money woes of "why didn't you say something before now" kind of talks. This also sparks a conversation of "Hey honey how was your day"? and I’d respond “Canva was down today to I couldn’t create my graphics for my blog post” or “I probably should do another webinar to promote my online course”, he will actually "get" what you're saying. It's all about clarity and communication.  Point blank period! There is no secret magic marriage sauce! When you and your partner are both fighting to accomplish the same goal of wanting to live life in being your truest self and fulfill a higher purpose, it’s soooo much easier to love your mate over and over again. I know my hunk of love has my back and he knows I have his always!

To sum it all up, I have a few take aways/tweetables for you to remember:

  • Know what you want and stand on it FIRMLY!
  • Let nothing and no one detour you from your dreams and goals
  • As long as you have mutual respect for one another, the love will always be there
  • Never settle nor compromise happiness for the sake of a relationship. Your spouse is supposed to heighten your level of happiness not hinder it
  • Your mate doesn't have to "get" what you do, if it's something you're truly passionate about they must respect it or they do not respect you!
  • Marriage is a contracted love business...treat it as such! Financial meetings can be sexy if you do it right!