Carla’s Cues

03/29/15 *Carla’s Cue #10 Push Past Your Comfort Zone

Something Different

I must admit.  I was shocked to see Michael and his friend so willingly compelled by Lucille’s Chef Chris Williams to taste the raw radish after promptly plucking it from his restaurant’s garden.  After all, what 9 and 10 yr. olds do you know that would believe this was the most sumptuous item to try?  It didn’t matter.  They were willing to push past their comfort zones to experience the unknown.  The one who invited them took the leap with them, an act which made it that much easier.  Well…take this leap with me.

It took an insightful conversation with remarkable photographer and videographer Emile C. Brown to help me realize that pushing past our comfort zones is not just a trite cliche.  For adults, it extends beyond “trying new things” into reforming our thinking; redefining our standards; reexamining our expectations – and what we deem is no longer acceptable.

As you contemplate where you want to go in life and exactly how you intend to get there, don’t cling so intently to your old ways of thinking that you squander the opportunities that may seem foreign to you.  Never expect greatness to thrive in a world of mediocrity.  If you don’t like the flavor of the soup, it’s probably time to find a new kitchen. #pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams

03/22/15  *Carla’s Cue #9  Find the Beauty

Beautiful Frog

One of the wonderful things about sunny weather is that it heightens our happy feelings.  I saw many pics today of families outside, soaking up sun rays, playing games, and spending quality time.  The thing is – we don’t do it nearly enough.  While talking to a friend last week, I couldn’t help but notice the glowing green leaves saturated with sunlight.  I pointed out the soothing whistle of the wind coupled with the gentle touch of the breeze.  I closed my eyes just to forget about all-things-work and opened them feeling intoxicated…with beauty.  The best part is that the cost was:  $ nothing.

We often believe we must spend many dollars to find the perfect setting, flawless abode, unbelievable view, or incomparable ecstasy.  However, the world around us is filled with majesty – even in the smallest pockets of soil.  Look around, but look closer; at your world, at your loves, at the wonders beneath your nose that you overlook every day.  If you stop for just a moment to enjoy them and spend them with the ones who matter most, you’ll be amazed at the relaxation that fuels your best performance.  This picture is by the artist who doesn’t know she’s an artist.  I was mesmerized by it because even without trying, she found the enormous beauty in two of the smallest things of all.  Find what’s (or who’s) beautiful to you…and savor to your heart’s content as often as you can.  #findthebeauty, #sootheyoursoul

Anonymous Artist:  Colored Pencil on Blackboard #isntshegrand

03/15/15  *Carla’s Cue #8  Get It Together

Take out the Trash

It may be apparent to you that you are not destined for the road to entrepreneurship, but that doesn’t mean you are bereft of goals.  Maybe your goals entail moving up in your company; taking on a new hobby; strengthening your relationship; developing (and sustaining) a healthier lifestyle, or changing your financial status.  Whatever it is – clear the clutter.  Not necessarily the kind you can see with your eyes, but the kind you can see with your mind.  Our lives can be filled with the type of clutter that interferes with the realization of your goals.  I call it T*R*A*S*H:  Things that Really Aren’t Significant or Helpful.  If you have relationships, situations, hang-ups or doubts that are getting in the way of you achieving what’s within your grasp, cut your losses!  Get it together.  Take out the TRASH.  There couldn’t be a better time for you to catch those dreams.  Your future awaits… #pursueyourpassion

03/08/15  *Carla’s Cue #7  Be Your Own Brand


Although my average student is only 7 or 8 yrs. old, I’m highly emphatic about the quality of their work.  One of their first vocabulary words for the year is “mediocrity” because they learn that Mrs. Brown won’t accept it.  I tell them everything they put their name on is a reflection of them, and it’s important that they learn to do their work in such a way that it is distinguishable from the work of everyone else.  The same is true of adults!

Whether your work occurs primarily in a personal or professional setting, written or oral, how you do what you do is associated with who you are.  What does your finest say about you?  When others hear your name, there should not only be a positive association, but an immediate reference to unsurpassed quality.  Make sure that whatever you do is so amazing that people could unlikely expect it of anyone else.  It’s your trademark.  Be the brand that they won’t want to live without.  #buildbrandloyalty

03/01/15  *Carla’s Cue #6  Be Good to Your Body


So we know in the new year, there are lots of resolutions to eat better, live better, do better…but we have to follow through on the “do”!  Truthfully, healthy habits are so easy, even kids are doing it – and you can, too.  Technology puts tips and quips at our fingertips to give us a wide variety of ways to live healthier that do a lot less damage to our pockets!  Not only does this increase our energy and positivity, it has wonderful long term benefits.

There will be no pursuing of the passions if we can barely roll out of bed.  So let’s take a lesson from the kids.  Healthy choices make healthy voices, figuratively that is.  We want to hear (and see) your passions.  So take care of yourself.  Your body will thank you more everyday.

Try This! 

02/22/15  *Carla’s Cue #5  Take a Closer Look 


How often do we pass by the same things everyday, despite their uniqueness, and look at it the same way?  I’m almost positive there’s something in your life that could be significantly changed for the better – if you take a closer look.  Maybe it’s your relationships; your finances; your career; your goals; your health, or your spirituality.

We may be a couple of months into 2015, but it’s not too late to take a fresh approach to a happier you.  Whatever you’re investing your time and effort into, take a closer look to ensure the return is worth it.  You’re the primary beneficiary.  Invest in your success.

02/15/15  *Carla’s Cue #4  Unleash the Power of “No”


Are you one of many who feel compelled to agree to maintain the peace?  Do you consent to keep from hurting people’s feelings?  Find yourself saying “Yes,” to be politically correct?  Well this may be costing you time, money, and sanity!  That “no” that you’re shying away from could actually add quite a bit of positive to your life when used properly!

Often we find ourselves agreeing to things that extend us beyond our ability.  You owe it to yourself to eliminate the unnecessary (that which you could do without) and invest in the essential (meaningful goals and those who are closest).  Dr. Wayne J. Riley, President and CEO of the Meharry Medical College said, “Stress is what we experience when we perceive we don’t have the resources to accomplish a task.”  Truthfully, we create stress that can be avoided.

If you have difficulty deciding when to say no, ask yourself the following questions:

1)  How much time will this commitment cost?

2)  Will saying yes to this person or task take away from my top priorities?

3)  Are the benefits of declining greater than the impact of accepting?

If you can answer these questions with a clear conscience, choosing to say, “No” can add time to your schedule, strengthen your most important relationships, and put you on a swifter path to goal realization.  Don’t buy into the hype that “No” is taboo.  The power to say “No” can put the freedom to choose where it belongs – in your hands.

02/08/15  *Carla’s Cue #3  GOAL REALIZATION?  IT’S A R*A*P

Company Logo

I often talk to family, friends, and colleagues who get frustrated when trying to reach their goals because despite their best efforts, they seem to fall by the wayside.  I compared their efforts to my own (good and bad) and that of successful clients and (even successful family members), and noticed a few key differences.  Those who plan effectively have a RAP:  a goal that is “Readable; Achievable, and Perceivable.”  Now before you discard this as another cutesy acronym, consider the implications.

Years ago, when I first started working with clients, I helped a guy who made a small income figure out how to keep more of it.  Bereft of organization, he kept coming up short at the end of the month.  We organized his bills, put a system in place that he could maintain, and with structure and discipline he ended up with cash in hand on a regular basis to his surprise.  Why?  We established a RAP.

Step 1 – Make a Readable plan.  One that you can see – not just in your head.  Put on paper what you’re trying to accomplish and make sure you can reference it and tweak it as necessary.  What’s seldom measured is seldom achieved.

Step 2 – Make it Achievable.  I’m not planning to make it to the moon next month, because one, it’s not likely nor necessary, and secondly, it isn’t in line with my primary objectives.  I know the moon is an outlandish example, but so are some of the other things that are on our important list that are better suited for a bucket list.  Ultimately, your goal should be within your span of actualization.  If you reach higher than your means, you set yourself up for the avoidable disappointment that comes with missing an unrealistic mark.

Step 3 – Make it Perceivable.  You can have a plan on paper and have the ability to do it, BUT you have to believe that it can happen.  If someone else is trying heavily to convince you of your own path to success, you’re starting at a 50% failure rate.  No one can accomplish a goal for you, whether they cheer you on and provide the resources or not.  If you approach it half heartedly, you won’t invest what’s necessary for its full realization.  Own it or blow it.  There’s little room for gray.

When I got my dba for my company, I named it with the vision I had for every challenge I’d take on.  I’d aspire to do my best until I reached the point of excellence.  aspirExcel reiterates my vision for how I’ll move forward and it governs each project I accept and every client with whom I work.

Case in Point:  Goal Realization goes from company boardrooms to personal promises.  You have to ask yourself how badly do you want it?  If it’s meaningful enough, it may be time to refocus your approach.  Make it Readable.  Achievable.  Perceivable.  Write your RAP.  #pursueyourpassion

Steve Jobs

02/01/15  *Carla’s Cue #2  SEIZE THE THIEVES

Want to get more done?  Find those sneaky little thieves that steal your time.  And get rid of them!  One of my favorite clients, Sydne St. Roix, owner of The Social Butterfly Collection told me years ago, “Carla, your most precious commodity is your time.  Once you spend it, you can’t get it back.  So use it wisely.”  Here are my top 10 tips for maximizing your most productive moments well.

1. Be efficient.   Failing to plan means overspending your hard-earned minutes.  Save ’em like pennies.

2.  Keep it short.  Casual conservations have their place, which shouldn’t be at the expense of your productivity.

3. Stay on point.  Agendas are meant to be followed.  Digressing in dialogue means deducting precious minutes.

4.  Plan ahead.  There’s always a better way.  Explore it early to avoid the “I-Wish-I-Would-Have Syndrome.”

5.  Say, “No.”  It’s not personal (against you).  It’s personal (my commitment to me).  Decline to be overextended.

6.  Be tactful, but direct.  Time really is money. Avoid ambiguity so you can quickly move to the next task.

7.  Combine simple tasks.  If you can do two-three things without making a mess, why not? 2 birds. 1 stone.

8. Don’t procrastinate.  Under 5 min.? Do now.  Important? Do next.  Other? Do ASAP.  Skip the last-min-drama.

9. Make “Me-Time” mandatory.  You’ll achieve more when relieved from the daily grind. Schedule relaxation.

10. Stay healthy! Sick people should be in bed. No productivity there.  This puts you behind. So take care of you!

Though challenging, these are tried and true.  They work. Hope this eases your schedule as much as it has mine.   Do you have time savers not listed here?  By all means, please share!   Happy goal-realization!  #seizethethieves, #getyourtimeback, #pursueyourpassion

My Journal

01/25/15   *Carla’s Cue #1  JUMP ON YOUR JOURNAL WRITING!

You know all of those great ideas that keep rolling around in your mind? If you don’t write them down, they’re going to roll right out.  Write it out instead!  Step one of pursuing your passion is to first INVEST IN A JOURNAL!  Put all of your ideas in one place

I’m a journal fanatic, and I write whenever I can.  On the left is the cover of my last journal that I filled from beginning to end!  On the right, my thoughts, ideas, and even prayers – sticky notes and all!  Notice at the bottom left corner on the inside the time of 4:52 a.m.  I date and time everything – and capitalize on every moment.  It’s a great way to help me self-monitor my progress and helps me follow through on next steps (which is crucial)!

I spoke with an educator tonight who’s contemplating consulting – and she has a WEALTH of opportunities because of her skill set.  Our agreement when she got off the phone?  To get a journal.  So she can stop losing those million dollar ideas and start turning her potential into profit.  Go forth and journal! #pursueyourpasssion



    1. @ Dr. Mary Holt Ashley, I wish I could take all the credit! However, I was molded and shaped by the best. Genius begets genius, and I am constantly inspired by those who paved the way for me. Thanks for reading!


  1. WOW! I have finally found you! Over the years I have wondered, “Where is Carla Brown? What is she up to?” I saw Mike’s profile on LinkedIN but couldnt find yours. But here I am! I am so happy for you, it looks like you are still in love with writing… I chuckeled at the sticky notes! I remember all of your sticky notes while working together! I am proud of your perserverance and accomplishments! Erica Irvin Harris

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Erica Irvin Harris! You are with me in more ways than you know. I never put on make up without remembering the one who really showed me how. On countless days I saw you as a big sister and deeply appreciated your kindness, thoughtfulness, and ridiculous wit! The funny stories and unconventional viewpoints on life made me laugh and made long days disappear. I learned many life lessons from working together with you. I hope you and your family are doing well…You are one of a kind. BTW, I’m on FB!


  3. I must admit I’m usually waiting on pins and needles to experience the bells and whistles your posts give. Subtle truths that make you think about life and the things that surround you. Keep’em coming Turner-Brown. Love you beyond the moon.

    Liked by 1 person

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