2017 Vision Board

A couple weeks into the new year, I finally refreshed and updated my entire vision board. It has been one of my favorite things to do for the last few years. Related posts: The Upcoming Year is for You so What’s Your Vision? and  A glorious mess of Mission Statements and Vision Boards

I’m looking forward to achieving more goals and challenging myself to grow this year. 

Here are some of my fave 2017 vision board statements:

  1. Find Your Peace of Mind
  2. Live your magic and free your spirit
  3. Resolve to worry less
  4. “If my spiritual life isn’t bigger than my outside life then I’m out of balance.”
  5. Changing Lives
  6. “I don’t want to be unhappy. I don’t want to be unproductive. I want to enjoy my life, enjoy my time here because I know how important it is, how special it is. I know life is fragile.”
  7. Skip the Stress
  8. Global Empowerment 
  9. “I want to inspire people to live in their truth. We all get lost but we don’t have to. We’re all in this world together.”
  10. Engage. Envision. Empower.
  11. Refresh. Restore.
  12. Return to what you love most: travel and education 
  13. Grab your Passport
  14. Beat Yesterday
  15. Stay Woke.

Never Too Late

It’s never too late to make life what you want it to be. 

This week I had a great privilege to do some public speaking as a guest for two different events. Both great opportunities for me to continue in professional career development but also a chance to do what I love best…coach others by sharing experiences, stories and advice. 

One of the events was an invitation for me to do a “Lunch and Learn” with a group of male and female staff at the University of Chicago. They asked questions about my career journey, how to network, what to look for in a mentor, how to break the glass ceiling in the workplace, etc. It was fun and insightful for both sides in the conversation. 

When I arrived they shared a short list of questions to have me think about. The meeting ran more like an impromptu interview with questions shot my direction from anyone in the room. 

One question on the list that no ome asked but I wish they had. ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’

When I first read that question I got chills because it made me so happy. I am just 5-6 weeks from being 30 years old and totally LOVE that I can still be asked that. To me that means I don’t have to have had it all figured out by now in spite of what societal pressure tells me. 

I mean by some standards technically I’m behind the ball if I’m not in my lifer career, married with kids, owning vs. renting and the list goes on. But screw that because I am happy and free. 

Earlier today I was online and saw this great post that I wanted to share about where others were when they started success. Some of the most successful people started on that path late in life. 

No don’t use that to create excuses for what you are capable of creating and controlling NOW but think instead, it’s not too late if you haven’t figured it all out. It’s not to late to make changes in your life and create the life you truly want if you’re dissatisfied in even some small way with the one you have. It’s never too late. 

Whether you’re 18, 25, 30, 50, 75, 90 or anywhere in between. When was the last time you thought about that question. Have you made it to where you want or is there more to come for you. What do you want to be when you grow up? 

I will leave you with this other food for thought:

At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.

At age 24, Stephen King was working as a Janitor and living in a trailer.

At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.

At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.

Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at 40.

Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career to pursue acting at age 42.

Samuel L Jackson didn’t get his first movie role until he was 46.

Morgan Freeman landed his first MAJOR movie role at 52.

Louise Hay didn’t launch her publishing company, Hay House until she was 62.

This was also in the post and probs my favorite part.

“If you haven’t found your dream career yet, it’s not too late. You aren’t a failure because you haven’t found fame and fortune by the age of 30. Hell, it’s OK if you don’t even know what your dream career is yet. 

Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it.

Never tell yourself you missed your chance.

Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough.

Whatever you were born to do, You can still do it.”

I am so grateful to have people in my life who encourage me to dream big in that way. 

Me with one of my Professional Mentors, Laura Hoke

Unleash your Power for Purpose

A little over two years ago I read an Essence magazine that talked about creating vision boards and really declaring what you want in your life. I cut out lots of words and images of encouraging and empowering reminders of the positive things I wanted to attract more of in my life. 

After one year, I was totally a believer in the power of vision boards. They created the exact effect I wanted. The vision board itself didn’t make me achieve goals and hit milestones though, it provided visual and mental reminders of where I wanted to be. I still think the craziest part is I started seeing my vision come alive from year to year. 

I created a new one last year and just 7 months in, I’m amazed. Now, my life is not perfect. I am not perfect. The world around me is not perfect however when you can flip the switch to get what you want and need out of life, it feels good whenever there is a chance to celebrate the big and little moments. I have been blessed and fortunate enough in several areas to celebrate. It helps then when other areas seem to fall apart or begin to rip at the seams. I know there is something beyond the mountains of life. 

When I look at statements on my 2016 vision board like…“Write the Next Great Chapter in Your Life Story” and “Enhance Your Career” and “It’s time I make a bold move and Own it,” or “Choose Love” and “Find Your Own Paradise,” it just gets real when I consider what is happening in my life these days. 

I have enhanced my career and made fun life moves along side the man I love. I am full into the adventure God has for me. 

I may not have my life exactly planned and my purpose may not always be clear. Perhaps you have felt the same when you are not sure the ‘why’ for what is happening around you. Living in our world right now, there feels the need to perpetually ask, “Why?” 

But in partnership with that question, I also must ask, “What can I do better to live in my purpose?” My decisions and my realm of influence can open doors and minds and opportunities for who knows what. Part of my purpose is to be light and share love which can drive out darkness and hate and all the unwanted. Being in my purpose I can attract positivity, success and the right kind of challenges to prep me for my next level. It may not always be easy but it can be worth it. 

I am a couple decades into creating my legacy and determining how I will leave this earth better than I found it by owning my purpose in my own way.

I hope for you that you have the courage to be who you are meant to be and the consistent inspiration to dream, provide, advise, explore, confess, organize, support, dance, laugh, love and love again as you move through life and unleash your power for purpose. 

The Upcoming Year is for You so What’s Your Vision?

The activity that excites me most in this last week of the year, is creating my 2016 vision board.

I drank the kool-aid on vision boards at the end of 2014. I took the project seriously and clipped pictures and words that inspire me. I chose things that were in my mind but could actually come to life with a little effort.

I picked easy, medium and stretch goals to accomplish for the year. I have never been faithful to New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe I just always felt the pressure to pick something but somewhere 3-6 months in I would often give up on it.

Vision boards hold a little more weight to me than New Year’s Resolutions. New Year Resolutions for many are outrageous new commitments that sound good but take more sacrifice than people are willing to make. Resolutions are often short lived unfortunately but a vision is not constrained by time.

It is bigger than one year. It may include some of the same items your New Year’s Resolutions have but the mindset must be purposeful to keep your vision from fading like a trend or fad.

It builds on the concepts of past vision boards to achieve your best version of life. It can also completely switch directions throughout the year as you actively live your life. It is yours to control, create, change, update, add to, subtract from or scrap completely when needed. If you do it with the right attitude, working on your vision board will be fun, exciting and get you amped up for what is to come.

It can be about your health, finances, family, career, relationships or all those things and then some.

I want to list for you some the items from my 2015 vision board first then later will share some things that have made the cut for my 2016 vision board.

2015 Vision Board
Be Prepared • Give • Live Gloriously • Make Today Fun • Noteworthy Style • Communicate Desires Clearly • Empower the Soul • Walk Your Talk • Smart is Beautiful • Roads Less Taken • Stop Stress Before It Stops Me • Dream, Plan, Go • Relax and Reconnect • Do Something For Yourself • My Career • Dream Trip • Love My Body • Live With An Open Heart • 2015 is Mine • More Together Time • Go on, Indulge • Relax and Retreat •

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2015 has been the most fulfilling year of my life for so many reasons and I feel I owe a lot of it to creating a vision board. It sounds cheesy but I really mean it. I don’t think I would have started blogging, created Life Untangled, taken a dream holiday to Hawaii with my (no longer long-distance) boyfriend because he moved to my city this year — yay! and my family for Thanksgiving or lastly, raised enough funds to take an unexpected trip to London, England on scholarship for a Leadership Conference without a vision board this year.

I met this year with intention and I intend to continue on in my new favorite tradition.

My hope is you can use ideas from me to help you start figuring out what direction you desire for your life to head. If you don’t know where you’re going, how would you ever know if you have arrived?

A vision board can help you with that and it can roll over for however long you choose. Vision boards also make it easier to verbalize to others what you want.

2016 Vision Board
This Year is for You • Remodel Your Commute • Live Life Luxuriously • Write the Next Great Chapter in Your Life Story • Natural Girl Magic • Be Adventurous • Be Miles Away From Your Daily Routine • See the World from a Different Perspective • Namaste • Dive In Headfirst • More Than Happy • Gracious • Get Completely Lost in the Moment • Be Somebody to Lean On •

I believe that if you share your vision for your life with others, it is more likely to happen. It becomes more comfortable to talk about.

You may find yourself doing what I did this year…subconsciously look for more opportunities to fulfill parts of your vision. Others can hold you accountable and help you look for ways to achieve your vision.

With the introduction of a new year that symbolizes a fresh start for so many of us, now is the perfect time for you to start your vision board process.

I hope you’ll join me. I would love for you to share your vision boards with me. If you have any questions about what to do or how to get started, please send me a note. I am happy to help untangle things for you.

See you in 2016!!

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The Fourth Quarter: Final Countdowns on 2015

I happen to be a young lady with a fierce passion for pro football. So for sake of Sunday Night Football and my fantasy football team winning this week against a challenging opponent, embrace the analogy.

With the last 11 days left in 2015, I’d like to think of this like the 2 minute warning in football. We have had four quarters in 2015 to push our hardest.

Like me, you probably scored some touchdowns by accomplishing goals. You may have lost some yards by making mistakes or not giving your all when could have given a little more. Maybe you suffered a few too many unwelcome interceptions or turnovers when you were expecting life to be more smooth. Most importantly we all learned lessons to carry on into the next year.

Whether you feel like you’re winning or losing at this stage in the year, just remember, there will be opportunities in the new year to change the outcome if you find yourself dissatisfied. In the same breath, there will be more opportunities in the new year to be bigger and bolder than you were this year.

You will undoubtedly cycle back to some of the same opponents you battled this year and most likely will face a few new ones. Rely on those around you for support and at times you may have to dig deep and carry yourself.

When 2016 starts, it’s like kick-off all over again. You get four new quarters to make work for you. You will have an opportunity to show your strength, smarts, flexibility, independence and stamina.

The important thing in these final 2 minutes is finish strong. We have all seen those athletes who ease up off the gas right at the end because they just know they’re going to win. Then someone sneaks up in the final seconds to take the glory. Don’t Relax!

2016 is yours to command because it hasn’t happened yet. Right now you control the narrative to how this year ends and the next one begins.

May you set and break great records in your upcoming 2016 season.

See you next week to talk vision boards.

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Tailgating before Chicago Bears game

Wake Up and Live

It is a great week to give thanks. I am especially thankful for the holiday to spend with my loved ones. We decided to take a vacation for the holiday this year. More on that next week.

This year has been full of fun, adventure, challenge and change. I have taken on a lot of mottos this year. I have lots of resolutions. I have set and accomplished many goals. I have set and failed at others. All lessons learned with grace and an open mind.

Wake Up and Live is an important one. It is so valuable to be a person of action.  It is much better and far more rewarding to actively live this life we have instead of passively waiting for life to happen for us.

Monday evening signals the beginning of my vacation. I get to take a break from the regular rhythms of everyday life. It will be a mental and physical vacay. It is so timely and welcomed.

To enjoy life, we have to get out of our own way sometimes. We have to chill on the status updates and work emails. We have to give ourselves a chance to live the fulfilling life we actually desire.

I plan to re-energize, relax and recoup this week. Each morning is a new day to wake up and live. What will you do with it?

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What Would You Love To Achieve As A Trailblazer?

The definition of a trailblazer according to the Webster dictionary is “1. A person who makes, does or discovers something new and makes it acceptable or popular. 2. A person who marks or prepares a trail through a forest or field for other people to follow.”

When we think of trailblazers our minds rattle off names of people throughout history who made humongous impact.

We then compare and always feel to fall short of those pioneers but the reality is it is possible to trailblaze in your everyday life. Creating consistent impact in the day-to-day is how you eventually make humongous impact in your legacy.

I know for me I have always said, I too, want to pioneer. I want to trailblaze. What I have begun to realize is that I am trailblazing by creating goals and dreams and being brave enough to follow them.

People shy away too quickly from the term trailblazer because they think they need to be more or do more.

I say if you find yourself in a forest or a field and you are marking a trail for people to follow — welcome to the Trailblazer club.

In June of this year, I was fortune enough to win scholarship and attend a conference in London on Trailblazing Leadership. Dr. Sam Collins of the Aspire Foundation broke down Trailblazing Leadership for us women in the audience and made it believable and attainable.

I have now been blogging for 6 months. I began in April as preparation for the international leadership conference where I knew I would gain even more tools and ideas.

Having entered into the final quarter of 2015, I have taken additional inventory on my vision board accomplishments.
I am taking stock of what I have done and looking ahead to what new goals can I create.  In another month, I will begin putting together my vision board for 2016.

There may be some things that roll over and some fresh goals. For example, I know that I want to travel even more and help more people on topics of self-awareness and self-love through my writing and speaking. I also want to help my talented family with the business plans for their personal entrepreneurial projects.

How can you become a Trailblazer?

1. Be an activist of your own life

2. Be an activist of your own career

3. Know you can make a difference

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Make Your Story Legendary

I was inspired to write this post by an advertisement in Essence magazine. It made me really think about the value in having drive for the future big picture.

Sometimes life gives us flashes that don’t make sense separately but when you start piecing them together, the picture gets more full. I finally seem to be making out the image in my own life’s puzzle. I still have a ways to go but every day I approach with purpose becomes a solid day.

Have you ever sat with a puzzle that has so many pieces you do not know where to begin? I always start with the edges and pieces that seem easiest to fit (not force) together. Even when I know that the pieces will indeed make the big picture I saw on the box, the work is tedious and sometimes seems impossible.

Life is like this. We have all these pieces that we are in the middle of figuring out. Sometimes confidently, sometimes tentatively hopeful that the picture will begin to make sense soon.

I have found myself with puzzle glimpses into my future – professional and personal. The puzzle is still hazy but increasing the list of dreams is actually comforting. If I can dream it, I can make it a reality.

In Essence and Real Simple, I read several articles this week about ambitious, accomplished women. I have been talking with and hearing from many women I know who have made major decisions recently to follow their dreams. I was cleaning out my cabinets as an extension of a post I wrote a couple weeks ago and came across a book I had forgotten about climbing the career ladder in stilettos. I have refreshed my mile-long book list to include this forgotten one as well.

It gets me excited to read about, hear from and talk with these women. Success reminds me about what I am capable of. Stories of success used to remind me of all the things I was self-concious about having not done yet. I had to grow out of that if I wanted to live the life I truly want.

Here are 6 ways you can find your drive too:

1. Get Revved Up
You have to get excited with where you are going. If you don’t know where you’re going but you have written dreams and ambition, trust the puzzle to come together. There are still people making tremendous impacts in young and old age — certainly everywhere in between. You have to do the work but get excited about the work so you can get others on board too.

2. Embrace The Journey
The journey may not always be swift but I hope you deem it worth the work and worth the wait.

3. Pave A New Path
Sometimes it is important to think outside the box. Sometimes I do myself a disservice when I think I need to create an idea that is SO far outside the box. It can be just one step outside the box and it is still outside the box. I was reading about a young lady who created her own stainless steel water bottle that keeps water cold for 24 hours. She came up with the idea on a hiking trip after pulling out her plastic water bottle full of warm water because it was such a hot day. She developed the product, found people to help her and eventually landed a big customer – Crate and Barrel. She was smart enough to take a simple idea and turn it into reality.

4. Fuel Yourself
There may be times along the journey where you need to refuel. A support system and network is important here. Pay attention for when you might be running on empty.

5. Accelerate The Positive
When you find yourself in a good momentum, use it to your advantage. It is important to learn from mistakes and failures but… Don’t forget to celebrate the wins.

6. Be Ready For The Ride

What in this post was helpful for you? 

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Dream, Plan, Go: Why your goals need you to make moves now

In two weeks, I board a plane to Europe. It is more than just vacation, it is an investment in myself. I think that may be the coolest part. For my very first trip to London, I am taking on a personal and professional development opportunity with other women from all over the world.

I applied for & received a scholarship to attend the Trailblazing Leadership conference for women in London, England in June of 2015. My attendance at the conference was covered but I needed to cover travel and accomodations. If a hopeful, young Chicago woman like myself wanted to go to London & be forever changed by this dynamic and influential experience, I needed financial help getting there.

The conference is being hosted by Dr. Sam Collins, Founder & Director of the Aspire Foundation. I attended the “International Women’s Day Trailblazing Leadership” webinar hosted by Dr. Collins in early March of this year. I created a vision board for the first time this year. One of my visions for my personal and professional life was to establish a lifestyle blog to help individuals be the best versions of themselves because I have learned we are worthy of the best life has to offer…in all aspects of our personal and professional lives. So I loved the trailblazing webinar and felt motivated and inspired to further achieve my personal & professional vision. I live-tweeted the webinar, virtually connected with inspiring women around the world and applied for an opportunity to attend the conference. I received notice April 1 that my application was selected and I was awarded a scholarship to attend. I was thrilled to receive the news of course but then began the brainstorm for funding my trip so I could attend, be safe and bring my leadership back to my life and various communities in Chicago.

At this upcoming Aspire ‘Trailblazing Leadership’ conference, I can celebrate the inspiration, support and strength that women give to others around the world. I can share ideas, network and learn. It is an opportunity to highlight the power and strength of women, like myself, to be dynamic leaders in this world.

By attending I will:

1. Gain practical tools and ideas to achieve my biggest aspirations for life, work and the world.

2. Think bigger, vision even bigger and go for it – overcoming obstacles and fear.

3. Be inspired by like-minded women leaders and increase the visibility of inspiring women around the world.

4. Evolve my skills as an intrapreneur (entrepreneurial mindset inside my organization), entrepreneur (within my own business) and altrupreneur (in a charity or social business).

5. Learn how to stand my ground and have a voice at the leadership table at any age, level or background.

6. Network and share best practices among women globally.

I realize more and more that being myself, standing out and wanting to make a difference is fundamental to success. I want to be an authentic and real role model for the next generation, empowering and supporting women and men around the world.

I am making a dream into reality. But it didn’t just happen. Sometimes we want what we want the easy way but things worth having in life don’t always come or stay easy. The things worth having will challenge you, expand your mind, encourage your growth and demand action out of you.

And just because something isn’t easy doesn’t mean it’s bad either. It just means if it is worth the work, you will put in work for it — love, family, your personal health & happiness, career, spirituality, etc.

I have not always put that “it may not be easy but it will be worth it” philosophy into practice right away. When it came to London, I was excited to have the opportunity then immediately put myself under stress and pressure. How was I going to make this happen?? I wanted to go but wanting to go would not purchase my plane ticket or do the research I needed to plan the trip. I had to take action. I had to ask for help and accept the help offered. I had to make moves.

I took advice on cheap but safe accomodations and booked my first AirBnB. I signed up for airfare watch websites to find the cheapest direct flight possible. My friends helped me search for flight deals. I created a GoFundMe account, after a friend’s suggestion and was able to raise money to help me afford this trip I would have otherwise not been able to afford. I stopped being shy and started telling people about my goal and they wanted to help me. It has been the most affirming yet humbling experience.

On the scholarship application, I answered a question about what I hoped to get out of attending the conference I discussed this blog that I had not yet created. I talked about creating this blog, gaining ground on my vision and learning from the experiences, challenges, obstacles and triumphs of the individuals I will meet in a few weeks.

I have been unsure for too long on how I would make my dreams come true instead of wait for them to come true. Though still finding strength in my voice, now that I am at least speaking up, it feels amazing to have people affirm my vision. The late and great Maya Angelou said, “Nothing will work unless you do.” It is a supreme truth and I’m a believer in it.

What dreams and goals do you need to make a move on?

A glorious mess of Mission Statements and Vision Boards

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – James A. Michener

In 2012, I created a personal mission statement. Have you ever thought of doing such a thing? I originally got the idea long before 2012 from a church boy I knew. He carried it around in his wallet to remind him of his goals and values whenever he needed to make a decision concerning his life. It was a sort-of GPS to keep oneself on track. The idea works the same as business mission statements. I thought it was such a good idea but of course I didn’t do it right away. I wasn’t even sure where to begin. In 2012, one of my favorite bloggers, Rosetta Thurman of HappyBlackWoman.com, broke it down. I just had to list my values, the things I appreciate, who I really am and what I want to do on this earth. The great thing about creating a personal mission statement is that it can change and evolve as you do. It can also be as long or short as you want. Mine is long.

My personal mission statement says: “I value education, love, community, God, public service, creativity and diversity. I truly appreciate laughter, good food, music and poetry in my life. I value my independence and love for myself and others. In my time on this earth, I want to make a positive impact on the world for young people, women and people of color. I am a leader, Christian and woman of color who will use my life to help others work on their self-image and advancement. In my consulting efforts to guide others towards confidence and independence. I will also continue to reflect on my use of wisdom, integrity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, compassion and self-control in doing so. I will not ignore my own family, friends, finances, health or spirit. I will give my loved ones the authentic love and respect I would ask them to have for me. I will remember that my actions are just as important as my words and live accordingly.”

In 2014, I sat through a life-changing personal development seminar. During that seminar I created a personal vision around my finances (Be debt free from student loans and credit cards), my fitness (Practice self-care and stay fit as I age), my family (Be a more active family member), my friends (Be a more active friend), my work (Future goals to own a magazine and run a television network around the themes of my current blog) and my fun (Have more fun by living intentionally). I attached SMART goals and tasks to each which I am sure I will discuss in a future blog post. I also told my closest friends and family about it in order to hold myself accountable. I was planting the seed for what has come this year.

In January 2015, inspired by Essence Magazine, I created my first physical vision board. I clipped images and words around travel, relationships, rest, leadership, women I admire, empowerment and fun among many other things. Ever since I created that vision board and put it up inside the cabinets of my bathroom mirrors, I have seen so many more of those goals happen. It sounds like magic but I’m serious, it works. It creates a secret drive inside you to look for opportunities to make those things happen. For example, in April 2015 I found out I was a recipient of the Aspire Foundation scholarship that I applied for after seeing a dynamic webinar by their foundation on Trailblazing leadership. Come June 2015, I will be attending their Trailblazing Leadership conference for women being held in London, England! That alone achieves several of the goals I had on my vision board. It is truly amazing.

Fast forward to today, I have been inspired by so many of my experiences to write this blog. I have been driven by what I have learned about myself through mission statements and vision boards. I have arrived at a new exhilarating experience moving forward to fulfill these visions that I have been developing and editing over the years. I am writing my blog away from dreams and drafts into reality. I am investing in myself and giving up on all my familiar excuses. What tired excuse is it time for you to let go of?

My new mantra: Don’t think so hard while trying to master the art of living well. I welcome you to untangle your life with me.

What personal or professional vision do you want to come alive in your life?