I'm bedstuymommy and this is my diary. If you've read my prior posts you know that this has been a year of change for me. As 2010 draws to a close, I'm still going through change but of a different kind. It's change that I've started myself as opposed to it happening to me and although it's still as scary as what I went through earlier this year, I'm excited about this leg of my journey. Now I look forward to what each day will bring instead of dreading it. I've been waiting a long time to start loving life again and I finally do! I'm loving this part and am even looking forward to all the hard work ahead of me. I'm ready to live again!
The Beginning of the Evolution
I can't tell you the exact day that it happened, but when I decided to take myself seriously and start living the lifestyle I envisioned, I realized that I needed to reorganize. I decided to treat myself like a company which meant that I had to layoff the part of the company not working (self doubt), rebuild and or revamp the parts that needed fixing (self esteem, self love) and push the envelope with the parts that were doing well (creativity & hard work). I needed to get serious about building my brand, bedstuymommy. Once I came to that realization and decided to consistently dedicate my time to it, my life changed. I was already living life as a single woman and mother and was now used to making all the decisions and living with the outcome, good or bad. Now it was time to move forward with the next step in my evolution and capitalize on my independence and begin living my life. So after months of self reflection, I'd fell back in love with myself: my personality, my looks and most importantly, my flaws. I decided what was okay to keep, what needed to change, where I wanted to improve, what the end result should be and started to focus on changing it. I liked who I was again.
I'm bedstuymommy. I'm a mother who loves being one and am proud of being a complex but not complicated woman. I love fashion, sports, music, socializing, shopping and living life to its fullest. Being a student of the School of Hard Knocks and having recently entered its high school, I learned that it made no sense to live in negativity so created positivity every chance I got. And that's what this blog's about. It's about self reflection, accountability and realizing your dreams. It's also a way for me to capture my progress while on my journey to both personal and business success. With this blog, I'm hoping to help as many women - moms or not - get in touch with what makes them tick and realize that we CAN have it all. But at the same time to also realize that having it all comes with very hard work, sacrifices and lots and lots of change. After completing the first leg of my journey, I'm happy to say that one of the biggest differences in my outlook on life is that I embrace change now more than I ever have. I've also come to terms with wearing my heart on my sleeve and being as passionate as I am. Where in the past I looked at that as a flaw, I've finally realized it's what makes me special.
So this summer, my attention was on building my brand and beginning to promote me, bedstuymommy. It was the first critical step in launching my business. I had to start living what I wanted people to buy which was positive parenting with no sacrifice to what you love (for me, beauty and fashion) while ensuring the love of self by not only being but living happy. So my focus was still on my 9 to 5, but the job was no longer my priority. I had to concentrate on me and the things in my life that were important to me. I had to be the woman I kept saying in previous posts I was working on becoming. I had to get back to having certain things as my center, my core.
The Mommy in Me
First things first. My top priority in life is my daughter so her needs had to be first and spending more time with her was essential. The most important thing in my life is being an awesome parent and loving mom. I wish more than anything that I could spend more time with her and be more involved at her school. So my focus shifted to how I could make that happen. I decided to really work on the kiddie entertainment business I'd been envisioning for the past year and try to make it a reality with the goal that it would be at a minimum 20% of my annual income by Q3 2011. To help me get there, I'm participating in the 16 Week Challenge, which is a motivational exercise to assist entrepreneurs achieve a business related or life goal in 16 weeks (http://16weekchallenge.com/). Through conference calls, a networking website and the leadership of Andrew Morrison, it has all the tools someone serious about change and making things happen can use to get started, succeed and maintain momentum well past that 16th week. The first call was on October 10th and was extremely encouraging. Lead by Mr. Morrison who is an entrepreneur, business coach and motivational force, the call gave participants information on the 16 week challenge, specifically why he created it and the level of dedication it would take to succeed. The call also featured testimonials by prior 16 week participants who had met their goals and were able to expand and grow their businesses after completing the challenge. Mr. Morrison primarily spoke about starting or expanding your business but I can tell you that his words can be applied to any of us that just need to be reminded that we are truly in control of our destiny and that once we let go of our fear we will achieve it all. The biggest lessons I came away with was to reach out to my business counterparts to gain industry knowledge, to be wary of the distractions that would present themselves and to surround myself with people that are truly willing to assist me. We were also charged with the task of confirming our 16 week goal and joining a mastermind group. Well I'm happy to say that after the call I immediately had the courage to move forward with planning my business.
So my goals are to (1) focus on kick starting my business, ChuggyBear Entertainment, which I've created to promote parties, trips and charitable events for children in Brooklyn, NY and (2) to successfully promote and produce the first party for ChuggyBear, the Winter Ball, which will take place in January 2011. To assist me with accomplishing these goals, I've joined the mastermind group, Success Hustlers, which is lead by Lawrence McCutchen of My Side Hustle (http://www.mysidehustle.com/). The Success Hustlers is a small team of entrepreneurs that will hold each member accountable for their weekly goals. It's an ingenious way to address an issue for most people which is dealing with life's distractions. My distractions came fast and furious and, of course, without warning. But I know now that I have a team behind me that will help me deal with them and stay focused on the end result. For the first time I know that I have the tools to succeed. It's a great feeling.
My other focus regarding my daughter had to be to get more involved with her academic development. She's really smart but I know that I could do more with her and that I needed to. It was definitely necessary since I was anxiously anticipating the kindergarten application process which would be in full swing right after the holidays. So I decided that no matter how tired I was on weekends or what errands I had to accomplish, we read books, magazines or whatever else was available, practiced writing her name, the days of the week and month, letters and numbers and did quick quizzes on sight words every free moment we had together. To help me along with keeping the momentum and taking her to the next level, is enrolling her in Kumon's math and reading program (http://www.kumon.com/). I have a bit more research to do in that regard but hope to get her started next year.
The Rest of Me
Next step was perfecting my packaging. I'd already altered my appearance by blowing my hair straight in the beginning of the year. Around March, I met THE hair stylist of life, Rueben, owner of Rueben's the Beauty Specialist salon in Manhattan (http://ruebensbeautyspecialist.com/) and got my 'It Girl' bangs. I haven't looked back since. I'm borderline obsessed with the way I look, but it's a healthy obsession for me given I've come from the opposite perspective of lacking confidence and having an attitude of nonchalantness with regard to my appearance over the last 5-7 years. Surprisingly, re-establishing my wardrobe and identity as the prissy lady my mother had raised was not as hard as I thought. With an insane selection of boutiques available in the Financial District, specifically on and around Fulton & Nassau Streets, I was able to pick up choice pieces to add to my wardrobe at least every two weeks. Then the close proximity of the mothership of all discount name brand clothing retailers, Century 21 (http://www.c21stores.com/), make it worth the walk from the office to peruse the selection with the already insane discounts and then even more ridiculous sale prices. Needless to say, mommy and daughter are fresh daily. Am I shallow? No, absolutely not. By no means is my worth defined by what or who I'm wearing but I do know that first impressions last a lifetime and am in the game to win. And again, a love of fashion and the fabulous is a part of me so I choose to express it as often as possible, if not daily.
Now to focus on sports. It was so important for me to get my sports knowledge back up to par. Sounds trivial, but sports helped my world go around for the last 15 years. It's as important to me as looking good everyday and I take it seriously so I'm no slouch. I like to argue sports and the only way to do that and win an argument is with vast knowledge of that sport. So having all the latest data about college football, pro football, baseball and basketball was key. Because of my work schedule and the court case earlier this year, I really lost track of what was going on with my teams (The Ohio State Buckeyes, the Raiders, the Yankees and now the Miami Heat since LeBron was playing with my favorite player, Dwayne Wade). So I made it my business to catch up on what the Yankees (http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/) were doing and catch every game I could, got prepared for a college football season where the Buckeyes (http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/) were starting it ranked #2, and prayed that the Raiders (http://www.raiders.com/) were not too embarrassing this year. My Yankees lost the ALDS and will need to get pitching solidified along with Joe Girardi's contract. The Buckeyes held the #1 spot for a week before losing to Big 10 conference rivals, Wisconsin but we're still in good shape currently ranked #10 in the BCS. Hopefully we'll get a good bowl game. And my Raiders, well look at them currently with a 4-2 record! I'm excited about college basketball starting soon and am looking forward to learning more about hockey this year. I'm as close to being back in full form as you can imagine!
I've also started making time to hang out with friends and family. Human interaction more than anything defines me and I'd been feeling lost due to the lack of it in my life. There was a time that my interactions at work were fulfilling but with the recent changes to the team and an overall loss of a familial feel, it was no longer an attractive place to go and spend most of my time. Having a new role at work this summer was eye opening because I definitely knew that I no longer wanted to work all the hours I did for someone else. If I were going to have those type of work hours it had to be doing something I totally loved doing at the very least. My job was no longer challenging and when it was, I didn't feel I received the support or recognition I deserved so why work the crazy hours. I injected myself back into my social network, reconnecting with friends I hadn't seen in a few months and making new friends and even a few business contacts. My wings are back in use and this social butterfly is content again!
Owning the Decision to Change
It was a scary and a risky decision for me to refocus the way I did. I found that all this reinvention was a full time job on its own and just about the same time I was close to contentment with where I was with each objective, I was presented an opportunity to have a career in HR. I'd been wanting for this opportunity for quite some time - a year or two, really - and now that it was the farthest from my mind, here it was right in front of me for the taking! What to do? I went home that night, spoke to my mother since she would play a role with taking care of my daughter when I worked late which I anticipated would happen often, prayed about it and went in the next day and accepted the role. But I also decided that I was being given an opportunity to have it all so while I would do a great job at the 9 to 5 I would continue to move ahead with building my brand. In the back of my brain, however, I wondered if I was crazy. I mean should I really be going out on a limb and believe that I could do what many others had? Could I make a living writing and throwing parties? I realized sometime in August that I had made the right decision when I realized that I would not be keeping my new position come October. But what that did was allow me to let go of the "easy answer" expectations I'd set for myself that I was still (if I were to be truly honest with myself) trying to believe as my truth. So I was now able to truly be free, to truly admit to myself that I no longer had to live in fear of living my dream. I was truly free to start on the next chapter of my life.
So I'm an entrepreneur, 100%. I live to build my business everyday and I'm focused on making it a success.
I said to a friend of mine recently that even though I was extremely disappointed with how things turned out with the day job I was happy because I was no longer carrying the weight on my shoulders holding me back from my true calling. This was the second time that I'd had an opportunity to start a career in HR and each time my efforts had been thwarted by outside forces. I believe these hiccups were God telling me that I was on the wrong path, that I knew what my true calling was and was ignoring it. Well, I would no longer ignore the signs. My future was at stake and I was no longer willing to take the risk of not trying. I owed it to myself and my daughter to try to fly.
I also know that having that new role was God's way of naturally building my confidence in my abilities to get things done. The opportunity was designed to remind me of my drive and ambition for greatness. To remind me that when given autonomy and set free to realize my true potential, I soar. God is truly good, wonderful and marvelous! So here I am, it's November and I'm in the throws of the biggest adventure of the year and of my life and it's all my doing! Damn, it's good to be free!
So now when I get up everyday, my to do list is all about my daughter, the business and me. When I get dressed, I'm representing my business, not my day job. When I make decisions about social events, it's with networking opportunities in mind. I'm not cutting corners, taking shorts or accepting less than what I want anymore. And, most importantly, for the first time in like 10 years, I am walking with a purpose. My auntie recently said that I've got this sway in my hips of a woman who is about her business. I smiled, blushing, when she said it to me, but now when I think about it, I understand that she noticed my confidence. And knowing that it's that visible to others is proof yet again that I made the right decision.
So I'll keep you up to date on my progress, the distractions I encounter and how I overcome them. I expect lots of both and to be busy trying to figure it all out while I live it - as usual. The difference this time is that it's now completely my choice and that's a beautiful thing! This is not a reaction to anything that's happened to me or the result of change that was forced on me. It is the result of all the soul searching that I've been doing all this year in the hopes of finding inner peace. I have found it and am now basking in it's afterglow after immersing myself in it's wonder and joy. No one and nothing can take it away from me; it's now a part of my make up, my being. I want to do nothing more than expand on it and share the feeling with the world. Come follow me as I do just that.
Hello, my name is Dyan Stephens and I'm bedstuymommy.