Carla M. Brown |Speaker| Writer|Educator|Coach|

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Try Breaking the Ice Like This…

  • niceice

Ever been on an ice rink?  With ice skates?  It can be challenging.  Ever been on an ice rink, without ’em?  They have.  Don’t worry.  They didn’t desecrate the rink, we made sure to get permission.  Invited to a private party, these boys took advantage of a rare opportunity to do the unexpected.  While there was a previously determined mode of operation, they struggled a bit.

But while many others went with the standard, they broke out of their comfort zones and considered the possibilities.  What a way to break the ice! What transpired next could be only be categorized as relentless excitement; pint-size, but pleasant pandemonium – and an adventure to remember.

So often, we find ourselves in situations that may be foreign.  Perhaps, your background is not the same as your peers or associates.  There are certain elements that you recognize, but maybe you struggle a bit.  Perhaps your challenge lies in the fact that you haven’t considered the possibilities beyond face value.  Maybe there’s another way you could look at it, that would still give you the leverage to excel.

Am I saying break the rules?  No.  I’m saying, explore your options.  Think differentlyPursue diligentlyStrategize incessantly.  Sometimes it’s not asking questions that matters.  It’s the questions that you ask!

I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with a friend on yesterday whom I’ve known since elementary.  He’s a passionate, prolific family man who has a wonderful career and a beautiful wife and children.  While he’s done considerably well in his profession, he’s pursuing another lifelong passion that he placed on a back burner while life happened.

Unregretful of his decision to table it earlier, he’s now ready to pick it up and move forward. So he’s preparing!  My favorite part?  He’s conditioning himself mentally for his new pastime/future career in a manner parallel to how he prepared himself as a middle school, high school and college athlete.  He’s molding his mindset.

He’s allocating designated time to dedicate to the development of his craft.  He’s researching, studying and practicing for perfection…because he has an end goal in mind.  I’m convinced he’s going to get there…because he’s not afraid to step out of his comfort zone and get on the rink with an approach that perhaps others – haven’t seen yet.

If you take a moment to consider success stories you’ve seen and heard, rarely do they achieve the unthinkable by majoring in the mundane.  They think differently.  They pursue diligently.  They strategize incessantly.   I’m positioning myself to do the same in order to catch my dream.  Are you ready to catch yours, too?  Break the ice…and Leap with Me.  Adventures await… #imsmiling

#pursueyourpassion, #betheone, #catchyourdreams, #Leap2017, #breaktheice

Caption:  Brown Boys shattering the status quo.  Mommy Brown to follow suit…

 

 

 


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Don’t Stop Here…

dont-stop

It was a clear message.  Beautifully adorned.  Simply written.  Unable to be misinterpreted.  You were not to park in this designated space.

It didn’t pertain to me so much, as I wasn’t driving.  I was on my sabbatical – walking, perusing, relaxing, but as always…deeply thinking.  And as I stared at the sign, I had “A Beautiful Mind” moment, where I saw less of what was immediately in front of me and more the analogous layers of complexity that nestled beneath this sign.

“No Parking” for me holds a different message.  It’s an admonition for those who are going into the upcoming year with all of the baggage that weighted them down in months prior.  It’s a declaration for others who are planning to be sidelined because of obstacles they’ve encountered and battles they’ve already conceded.

It’s an expectation for those who are determined to realize unachieved goals.  It’s a declaration to those they insist on bringing along.  Their encouragement is for more than themselves, and they won’t allow the naysayers to be the dreamslayers.

As I hear about (what seems like) another death everyday, I cannot help being thankful for each breath of life.  The year is not yet over, and there are many who still won’t see 2017.  Who’s to know who will be counted in that number?

But if it isn’t you or me, then what?  What do we do with the precious lives we have left to live?  Spend it wisely!  Live it loudly!  Do what we love the most!

Among my self-determined expectations is to ensure that I submit to “No Parking” in areas where I need not stay put.  I won’t park in depression, dismay, delusions nor disdain.

I’m not going to park anywhere that’s going to deter me from my focus, shifting my energy to draining instead of gaining.  I am going to plow forward; work fervently; learn greatly and fight passionately.

Reflectively, 2016 has certainly been the most trying of my life.  I’ve cumulatively lost some of my greatest loves, which has shaken  me to my core.  And unforeseen obstacles in people and places have also left me spinning, shocked at how calamity can be so rampant in what was perceived to be community.

I’ve hurt in ways that I didn’t know was possible, often angry at myself for having human emotions.

Nevertheless, I will not wallow.  I will not wish.  I will want it (my dreams) badly enough to make it happen, and when I can’t find the way I want, I will find another way, like so many amazing achievers before me.

I will draw from the strength of those who loved me most, and  I will listen to what my family, friends, readers, and clients need before I consider what I’ll say.

I am confident that as I Leap into 2017, there’ll be no idling for me.  Time is of the essence.

Let’s get ready for this road trip.  Where are you going?  Send me a map.

#noparking, #joinmeonthejourney, #journalchallenge, #catchyourdreams, #pursueyourpassion, #betheone

 

Caption:  A reminder that I’m scheduled to ride a road to remember.


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Magic & Memories

 

memories

I almost did it.  I almost took her home.  Forever.  Because her grandmother said I could have her.  I thought about all the little men running around the Brown home and how much I am madly in love with my tribe, but I couldn’t get away from that subtle  inclination to have that pinkness in my house!

I loved the lace dress.  The blue-green eyes.  The tiny tights.  The diamond earrings and the clinging that she did for what felt like hours, but I floated back into the realm of reality and finally conceded to letting her go.  Nevertheless, I realized that even if I didn’t take her home, I’m still on a path to potentially impact her life.  I’m making magic and memories – for everyone…

I’ve received more texts and phone calls and emails than normal lately, particularly in reference to my renewed interest in charging ahead on catching those dreams.  I’ve been most delighted though!

In a weekend conversation, I learned that one Dreamer has already started journaling and planning to develop a portfolio for future intentions of becoming a model.  Another Dreamer wanted to develop a specialized curriculum that they hadn’t seen in any of the Districts surrounding them.

Another Dreamer on a path that parallels my own has been in the planning stage of consulting aspirations and found herself being pursued by interested clients that she never expected to meet.

An enthusiastic Dreamer from last week relayed the unveiling of a project that he and a partner have worked on for two years.  Overflowing with ideas, we’ll be meeting soon to determine a timeline to help them makes those moments of innovation into milestones of reality.

My favorite responses?  Those that have been contacting me to let me know that they’ve already gotten started on the homework assignment from this weekend!  I’m trying to contain my own excitement because I’m thrilled that I’m able to share this journey with others who are ripe for realization.  Which gets me back to the future Dreamer in the picture.

We too often forget how the reality of our dreams affects others.

For every story I hear of those that are ready to leap, there are ten more that share why they just can’t do it.  Some cite time, money, or support; but, I remind them that their decision isn’t limited to changing their world, it can change the worlds of others.   That’s the magic.

Touching others with your tenacity!  Inspiring them to dream because they see yours coming to fruition!  Making memories that make history…and move others to do something great…

That young lady who wants to become a model is choosing a new segment of the industry that focuses on unconventional beauty and steers away from the status quo.

She’s considering in part because of many teens who have already expressed how they look up to her as she defies what beauty was perceived to be and defines, in her own right, what beauty is.  She’s ready for the next step.

That educator, who met the clients she wasn’t expecting, almost didn’t attend the meeting she was invited to.  She thought age gaps might be a factor and that others may not have enough in common with her in spite of her efforts.  She fought those feelings of doubt and pressed forward to that meeting, contending that it was one of the best experiences of her professional career.

I’ve toyed with the idea of penning a book for years.  And after starting and stopping, starting and stopping received a post two days ago that said, “Have you written any books yet? If so, let me know. I would love to read any you write.”  #confirmation…

If you’re still sitting on those ideas; those passions; those goals, those unrepentant, untapped, unfulfilled dreams.  Stop squelching them!

Because you don’t live and operate in isolation, those inclinations – whether they are within your current profession, a part of your personal goals or something that could impact communities within and abroad – they’re yours; stamped with your originality and authenticity.  Who better to do it than you?

If you extinguish your fire, you won’t be the only one who suffers from the loss.  So will those around you who could be greatly benefited by your best efforts.  This is the season of giving, right?  Give us your best.  We’re dying to see what’s in store.

My dreams are on the horizon…  Watch me leap…

#catchyourdreams, #leapofgreat, #betheone, #pursueyourpassion, #leap2017, #somethingsbrewing, #beadreamer, #staytuned

Caption:  I might convince her to be a Dreamer tomorrow if I catch my dreams today.

 


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When Decadence and Diligence Danced on My Plate

Decadent and Diligent

I almost shamefully admit that I’ve become quite sugar-addicted somewhere between my last trimester and my current motherhood moments.  I think about dessert daily, and I am making an extreme effort to exercise moderation, of course!  Nevertheless, when one of my oldest (and favorite) Nursing clients from the College of Nursing at Prairie View A&M recommended we meet at Grace’s recently (which I’d passed many times, but had never been), I couldn’t help but indulge in the decadent chocolate cake that peered seductively at my table.

It was perfectly molded.  I could see from a distance that the sponge like texture had just the right resistance, and the aroma was intoxicating.  Warm, chocolate ganache cascaded over its luxurious crown, accented with ripened raspberries that were gently kissed by herbaceous mint leaves.  When I finally took a bite, I was in disbelief.  Its deliciousness was unparalleled, but I expected less – because on the menu, it was deemed “flourless.”

Like many of my contemporaries, I’m from the era that feels items with traditional ingredients missing taste slightly different; at times, a little off, at others not quite right, and at worst, simply sub-par.  Nevertheless, I recalled that there are occasions when flour yields rather undesirable results for a significant part of the population.  Apparently, it created enough of a dilemma that certain individuals were determined to create an admirable option – tantamount in culinary delight.

Their diligence is delectable.

I realized that often, the things that we don’t like are what encourage us to make changes.  Should they not? In the workplace, we call them evaluations.  We weigh them against our standards to determine if the results are the best.  If they’re not, we try again; use different approaches, re-examine procedures.  In our lives, we opt to work harder; use greater insight, seek wise counsel.  Why?  Because we are convinced that improving our efforts will lead to a better situation.  And when we do that with consistency, I call that diligence.

Through the diligence of a patient pastry artist unknown to me, a flourless chocolate cake emerged that tastes perhaps even better than its predecessor.  The quality of this taste for me, was more than a sweet treat, it was a delicious reminder that diligence is its own reward.  If you have a goal, a desire, an objective – that hasn’t quite turned out like you wanted just yet – don’t stop trying.  If necessity is the mother of invention, displeasure is the father of innovation.

Let your challenges catalyze your dreams.  #catchthemwhenyoucan

Caption:  A double dose of sweetness, decadence and diligence.  #howsweetitis


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Search, Seize, Savor: Rekindle Your Professional Passion

Search and Seize

When I walked into the room, I couldn’t help but gasp at the pillow that looked dipped in chocolate.  Subtly accented by the accompaniment behind, it seemed to be espoused by a billow of rose petals tied together with care, further accented by silk and satin that begged to be adored.  My then co-worker was giving us a tour of her cute and quaint condo, both simply and elegantly designed – and with every corner that I turned, I was increasingly delighted.  It was divine!

What I didn’t know is that the expert I’d spent so much time with in our profession on a day to day basis was secretly in love with a completely different industry – interior design!  Her face was luminescent as she begin to describe how her passion for perfection with every home essential began when she was a little girl.

As a frequent traveler with military parents, she’d marinate for days on exactly how she wanted her new room to look – and execute it within hours, flawlessly.  Her childhood hobby had fully bloomed into an adult sized admiration – and she was exceptional at it.  Nevertheless, what she truly loved the most – was somehow what she was doing the least…

Have you spent recent hours working in one place, but daydreaming about what you’d really like to do somewhere else?  Are you one of millions whose thoughts often lead them to what they wish they could do – if they only had more time?

Make the time!  To write your book; pen your poetry; make your music; design your app… Whatever it is that you perhaps started long ago and no longer watch the embers glow – or maybe you never blew on the flame – it’s time to rekindle it!

It’s not so late in the year that you can’t make a Spring Resolution.  Spring into action – and pursue what you really love!  Quit your job?  Not necessarily.  Never make life changing decisions on the spur of the moment or as a good friend once told me, under duress.

I say nurture your natural gift and desire to choose to do that which is fulfilling… And if it just so happens to be profitable – with benefits that outweigh the liabilities – then perhaps you should consider making a career change!

Now I will say that I’ve had some readers who expressed they are not necessarily in need of career movement, but they are still repressing a desire to delve into something they’d love to do, but haven’t.  And to them I say, “What are you waiting for?”

Life can throw us a few unexpected curves.  Sometimes, it’s wise to table things that need our full attention for the sake of greater priorities.  However, we can place obstacles in our own path in the name of procrastination, failure to follow through, or strangely – even fear of success.

I’m reminded of a song I heard on the radio yesterday on the way home from church.  Tickling my fancy, I realized that the commercially professional debut I was listening to I first heard and saw on FaceBook – as an uploaded video, beautifully recorded acapella – in the artist’s bathroom.

In one of my earliest conversations with Erica Shaw Wiley, she’d expressed that while she wasn’t exactly sure of how her music career would play out, she couldn’t squelch her desire to pursue it 100% any longer.  She’s since received rave reviews, celebrity endorsements, and outpouring support from a growing number of fans – and this is just the beginning.

*           *       *           *          *           *

When I reflected on my co-worker’s condo, I saw something very different than the other guests.  The “S” that branded her work for her was a reminder of her name.  For me it symbolized, Search, Seize and Savor.  Search for whatever it is that fills your heart with satisfaction on end, and seize the opportunities to throw yourself into it!

You should wake up in the morning, fanatical about the day ahead – because you know what you’ll do is something that you love – like Bakers Lane owner Tiffany Bell, whose hobby has now transformed into her profitable culinary delight.  With every miniature milestone and actualized achievement, you should relish the fact that you are doing what you do best.  Savor it.  It’s yours!  And the world around you will know you’re the best person for the job.

Time’s a wastin’.  #pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #bethe1, #seizetheday

Caption:  A simple reminder that seizing the day yields the best satisfaction of all


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Live, Leverage, and Learn…

Pursue the Possibiltiies

As I sauntered across the brisk, brightened lawn I was mesmerized by the light show that had been so meticulously designed for me and countless other observers.  The enormous tree was strewn with lights that looked like falling rain, so replete with luminescence that the house behind became hidden.  I admit, I wanted to pretend I was eight and run underneath the branches, swinging my hands between the dangling bulbs, pretending that I was in some type of fantasy land.

Like others, we took our share of various pictures, boys with mom,  boys with dad, and we forbade the children from running under so as not to disturb the perfection of the moment for other visitors to follow; but, my most memorable picture came as I walked the farthest away preparing for my departure.  When I turned around and saw the darkened shadows against the incessant brilliance of the lights, I was compelled to take out my trusty camera.  It occurred to me that the picture would capture my first epiphany for the new year.

So often, our lives can be quickly overwhelmed with issues or obstacles that we didn’t anticipate.   Like massive trees with heavily laden branches they can seem to be fixtures in our lives – difficult relationships, troubled finances, confusing situations, lingering ailments, or sometimes just perplexing decisions.  However, when I reflect on my own challenges from the outgoing year, I can’t help noting that some of my most agonizing dilemmas gave way to many of the brightest moments of my life.

Difficult relationships led to new bonds with old friends.  Financial conundrums paved roads for fortified decisions that I would not have considered had I not had the then unwelcome hiccups.  Confusing situations mandated that I take a necessary step back – to focus, question, and clarify.  I was unwillingly initially of course; but, when I did, my future seemed incessantly lit with possibilities.  I later became thankful for all of the insight that came with those heavy boughs of burdens.

If you’re anything like me (or perhaps know someone who is), you join the millions of people who make promises to themselves to be, do, and live better at the onset of the new year.  I love New Year’s Resolutions, but as I’ve become more “vintage” (because I’m clearly not getting old [smile]), I find myself beginning those resolutions towards the end of the outgoing year.  I consider what was successful and what went awry, but I endeavor not only to learn from my life, but the lives of others.

I have a renewed interest in health – not just physically, but spiritually, mentally and emotionally, financially, and professionally.  Often, I think we target a single area assuming that we can’t address multiple areas of our life.  I contend that we can.  Noting the many lives lost of those I’ve known and those I didn’t, I’m constantly reminded our lives are short and our moments are precious.

What is my sage advice for everyone?  Live well, with every fiber of your being!  Take care of yourself from the inside out!  Leverage the knowledge you gain, whether with family, friends, or formidable foes because everything that happens in life is purposeful.  Finally, learn from your lessons.  They extend far beyond the realm of academia.  If you think about them conscientiously, you’ll realize their benefits with greater ease.

You owe it to yourself and those you love to maximize the opportunities you’re so often presented.  Pay attention to the gems that are awaiting your arrival.  I have my eye on quite a few treasures, and most of them can’t be held in your hand.

#preparingtocontinuepursuitofmypassion, #catchyourdreams, #betheone, #happynewyear, #staytuned, #whatswaitingforyou

Caption:  The lights that lit my fire again.


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Shock Yourself: Turning Inhibitions into Inspiration

unleashyourinhibitions

I’m forever lost in my own thoughts of what I want to do next; why are my endeavors important, and how will my work be meaningful.  I realized of late that some of the most important things I may ever achieve are often among the things that I shy away from – because they require me at times to do things that feel…uncomfortable…because they’re different.

Interestingly, I find myself dabbling more in the daring and different of late because I find the end results to be quite in alignment of what I’m hoping to obtain – a sizable positive impact that stems from my best work, and that got my wheels working.

It was a recent invite to speak at a church that first prompted me to update my photos.  The signature piece that I’d used (It’s Time to Take out the Trash)” was adorned with a picture that was almost a decade old.  I intended to take a quick pic and call it a day, unaware that my adventure would blossom into a full blown photo shoot; but, while I was there – something happened.  I was prompted to try some things that made me – uncomfortable.

Different make-up applications were unlike what I’d known in my day-to-day routine.  Different outfits weren’t like what I saw in my own closet.  Jewelry and polish weren’t what I’d find in my own accessories.

I went from remembering what it was like to pose in the bathroom mirror as a little girl to attempting to channel America’s Next Top Model in front of a very real professional camera.  It was initially nerve-racking!  Yet there was something intriguing and mesmerizing about it all.

When I saw myself in the digital pics I was quite shocked.  I thought, “Do I know this person?”  But the answer was a resounding, “Yes.”  Undoubtedly, I ended up enjoying myself far more than I expected, but for me such moments only send me deeper into reflection.

I realized that despite my angst about finding that other part of Carla beneath the surface, the one who actually liked all things fierce, what I was initially afraid of (i.e., not being able to summon the confidence to be unafraid of a “photo shoot”) was surmountable if I’d just relax.

In fact, being honest with myself about who I could be inspired me to work harder at giving it the same energy as other tasks I approach, even when walking in unfamiliar territory.  So I decided to brush in broader strokes…

Since then, I’ve taken on a number of new projects – also in unfamiliar territory – and I have to say, I’m feeling the fondness factor over and over again.  In the education industry, I poured my passion into students this summer unlike my status quo  of before and found it to be the most rewarding of my assignments in academia.

Partnering with an eager entrepreneur and philanthropist, I’m now an integral part and presenter for a cultural heritage festival that’s the first of its kind and on track to engage, educate, and entertain nearly 10,000 attendees in less than a month.

Cultivating relationships with a diverse array of associates, I’m also slated to assist in promoting a premiere wine festival, strengthening businesses ties and alliances that I could never have anticipated.  And my favorite – I’m finally authoring the book that’s been ten years in the making – and I am elated!  Stay tuned for that one!

I list each of these in particular because firstly, they are all undergirded by my passions:  speaking, writing, and food (smile).  But they share another common thread:  I almost talked myself out of all of them due to constant doubts that danced in my head about why they wouldn’t work.

In order to push past my self-induced (and sometimes externally fueled) obstacles, I had to shock myself by doing what I thought I couldn’t…including blogging.  Initial thoughts in that regard?  “Well if I write, what will I write about?”  “How will I figure out enough stuff to say?”  And my favorite, “Who would read it?”  Now nearing 5,000 views over the course of roughly 6 months, I’m happy to say I’ve answered all of those questions!  I’m still…shocked (smile).

Take Away:  There are so many things we are or could be great at that we don’t allow ourselves to thrive in.  We cut off our potential before we even get started because we assume that we wouldn’t get very far.  Sometimes – we’re wrong.  I encourage you to shock yourself.

Count your costs, use your reasoning, and be sensible – but…do something positive that you’ve been longing to try – just to see how it comes out!  If it ends up better than you expected, it may be time to move that inhibition to inspiration.  What’s the age old adage?  “You don’t know until you try.”  I say give it a whirl.  I’m loving my ride…  You might enjoy yours as well…

#shockyourself, #catchyourdreams, #pursueyourpassion, #bethe1, #tryitnow

Picture:  The behind the scenes look that put me in front of the camera with confidence.