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Don’t Let the Likes Fool You

We live in an age where social media is prevalent. It’s not going away no more than the Internet it lives on is, and everyday it becomes larger than the previous day. Social media is truly embedded into our culture and how we communicate with each other. That can be both good and bad. It can be good because social media allows us to communicate with people that we may normally have not had access to because of distance and language barriers. There are also many other benefits to social media; such as the ability for businesses to reach a global consumer base and relatives to stay in contact from miles away.

Unfortunately, one of the down sides to social media is the impact it has on individuals and their self-esteem. A lot of people, adults included, use social media to validate their self-worth in society. Many people only have interaction with others by way of their social media accounts and the strive on a daily basis to make other people “like” them. What they fail to realize is that some of those people liking their content, whether it is photos, memes or statuses, don’t really know or like them as a person and would not ever support their endeavors in the real world where it matters.

For instance, being a radio show host I offer independent artists the opportunity to have their music played on my show. I did this because I was constantly receiving messages with links to YouTube videos from artists asking me to watch, like and share their videos. However, many of those artists weren’t generating revenue from their video content on YouTube. So what’s the point in me liking your art when my ‘like’ is not helping you to make money from your art? To me it was a waste of time. So I offered artists another, more traditional method, by which they could be heard, not just liked. A many of them have stated that they have seen an increase in the number of PAID downloads of their music as a result.

Artists and musicians aren’t the only people impacted. Aspiring models, actors and others are in the same boat. People love the way they look on Instagram and like their pictures on Facebook, but that doesn’t help if those same people aren’t going to see the actors in plays, movies or aren’t watching their television shows, and…. well…. everyone wants to be an Instagram model nowadays, so you can imagine how stiff that competition is. Getting a lot of likes on Instagram doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be booked for the next Dolce & Gabbana, or Macy’s campaign anymore than for the local county fair at this point.

Part of the issue is the façade that big brands portray to consumers as well. When big brands seek partnerships or endorsements, outside of professional athletes and well-known celebrities, they often seek individuals in large part due to the quantity of their social media following more than the quality of their followers, the person’s power to influence those that follow them or their own loyalty to the big brand as a consumer.  This makes everyday social media users and those with dreams of success and stardom believe that they only way to be successful is to have a huge following on social media.

What’s the use if your followers can’t be converted into consumers?

For instance, reality show stars are now being cast in movie roles that actors/actresses fight and train for, simply because they have a larger social media following, but they don’t actually do anything. The movie studios do this because they hope that the reality show star will give them free advertising for their movie. True enough, the advertising is free, but what movie studios fail to realize is that everyone that follows that reality show star on social media isn’t really a loyal fan who would buy a ticket to see them star in a movie.

Being in media has afforded me the opportunity to hear what everyday people honestly think about others. I don’t know what it is but me, but people love to talk to and confide in me. I hear it all the time “I just follow them because I think they are funny/I want to see what people are saying about them; but I’d never spend my money going to see them perform/sing/dance, etc.” And that’s the hard truth that a lot of people don’t know when they have dreams and goals of Instafame.

Consider the newest social media darlings, The Westbrooks. They are being called the black version of the Kardashians. I wouldn’t consider that a compliment personally, but maybe they do. They have millions of combined followers on Instagram and a reality show on a popular cable network. On the show, we get to witness the sisters attempt to do what their father (a successful businessman), suggests they do; monetize their social media following. We also get to see their friends either support their attempts (backyard pool parties) or try to use them for their own attempts at gaining clientele (club openings). Which is probably where the Kardashian comparison comes into play. It seems that the “power” their wield over their social media minions could be used more productively than to endorse hair extensions and pop bottles in nightclubs. They all seem to be intelligent young women, with guidance from their hardworking parents, who didn’t always have it easy, so they understand building success in a more traditional way to acquire longevity.

So why shouldn’t The Westbrooks be able to do something bigger and more impactful with their branding than what everyone else on Instagram is doing?

Time will only tell when it comes to how far things will go for The Westbrooks. They’ll either make change, make waves or be replaced by the next hot group of pretty sisters on the internet. In the meantime, I hope that they serve as a lesson on how fleeting and intrusive Instafame without strategic preparation can be. I also hope that at some point we move away from the façade of what makes people successful and show examples of more men and women using their influence on social media for more than monetization. Those people exist. They may not have millions of followers, but they have quality followers, who are positively impacted by them, myself included. Big brands aren’t paying attention to those types of social media influencers….yet. But that is something that I also hope will change so that being attractive isn’t the only talent left for people to have in order to become successful.
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The Gift of ME

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to YOU! 

Happy Birthday to ME! 

I am so happy to be alive to celebrate the many achievements I’ve had over the years. First, a moment of transparency: I didn’t give any Christmas gifts this year.

From where I sit, I AM the GIFT.

I have given my friendship, loyalty, knowledge, encouragement throughout this year to others, without expecting anything in return and often without any reciprocation from the receivers. I have invested my own personal funds to provide opportunities and programming for the community in which I reside. I have volunteered my talents. I have given of my time and had it wasted, and I consider my time to be very valuable. I have done a great deal more and sometimes I haven’t even been told ‘thank you‘. In spite of whatever I did or didn’t receive in return, I keep doing for others because I believe in being a blessing to someone else, because I have been blessed. Even those who have been ignored by me were being given the Gift of ME.

As a society, we have gotten so accustomed to working hard all year-long just to put ourselves in debt to make other people happy, that we have lost so much of the meaning of Christmas in the process. Yes, it’s nice to give, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to give on one day a year. If you give of yourself throughout the year to others, whether you know them personally or not, you have done well. I have literally watched people operate under pressure as if they absolutely must buy someone in particular a gift and it must be wrapped and in their hands on Christmas day or the world will come to a screeching halt. I refuse to live my life that way. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate the Gift of ME, doesn’t have to be bothered with me. To me, it’s really that simple.

When you decide that you’re not going to spend your hard earned money for the sole purpose of making others happy, a few things will happen:

1. You’ll have more money 

2. You’ll find out who your true friends and loved ones are

3. Because of 1 and 2 you’ll have less stress in your life 

4. Because of 3 you’ll be happier and healthier

You’re more than welcome to continue to brave the malls and stores throughout the month of December in an effort to get the best deals, if that is what you want to do. I actually have some investments in those stores, so I thank you in advance for your contribution to my dividends. However, before Christmas comes in 2014, I encourage you to examine more closely WHY you spend the money on the gifts you buy and the people you buy them for. If the purpose is to say ‘thank you’ to someone, there are cards for that and I’ve heard some people are very partial to hearing the words. If the purpose is to impress others, please understand that they may not be impressed or like you because you bought them something anyway. If the purpose is to make yourself feel good, you won’t be feeling so great when that credit card bill comes, or an unexpected bill comes and you don’t have the funds to pay it because you spent money on gifts to give to others.

The best gifts I ever received were items I actually needed, could use to make my life simpler, that would save me money over time, or related to an experience I wanted but might not have had the money or time to get for myself. When shopping for someone next year, keep that in mind: What do they need? What could they use to make their life better or save them time? What might help them save money over time if you buy it for them? What would they like to experience? Gifts that make people’s lives better or even saves them time could be you hiring a house or carpet cleaner for that person. A closet organizer (person or system) is also a great option. A example of product that a person can use to save money would be a drinking water filtration system for someone who buys bottled water or an at home soda machine for someone who drinks soda. I have both and they work great. I love gifts that provide an experience. A gift certificate for the movies, tickets to a play or concert tickets are thoughtful gifts because they provide an experience for a person and often don’t cost a lot of money. Your time is a great gift to give to anyone. Because we have such busy lives and so much technology at our hands, we often let time rush by us and use ‘quick’ means to communication. Calling someone instead of texting them so that you can actually have a conversation with someone is a great gift to give. It shows that you took time out for them and that they matter to you.

I’m 39 years young today. I almost didn’t make it to this age. So I’m thankful just to be here and hearing ‘Happy Birthday‘ is an awesome gift to receive for me today. Today also marks my personal countdown to my next milestone birthday in 2014 when I turn #FabLife40. I don’t want any gifts then either. I just want some of my friends and family to celebrate with me in St. Maarten. Those who can attend, will. Those who can’t attend will miss a fabulous Christmas celebration full of margaritas, palm trees and sandy beaches. Either way, next Christmas, just like this Christmas, everyone will receive the Gift of ME.

By the way, Super Woman Productions and Publishing is the official Media Sponsor for Finding My Way Home on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at Royal Oak Library.

Why Does a Dog Lick Himself?

When I was growing up and I’d ask my aunt a question like “why do boys do stupid stuff?“, she would answer my question with this question ~ “Why does a dog lick himself?” Of course, I’d say “I dunno”, and she’d say “Because he can… and that’s the same reason boys do stupid stuff.”

As I’ve gotten older, the question remains. And it is still the same answer. In relationships, people have forgotten some basic fundamentals. One in particular is honesty. People use lying as a reason to save a person’s feelings, because they believe telling the truth is more damning. The truth is that lying damages trust and creates fractures in the foundation of the relationship that never heal. Telling the truth may hurt someone’s feelings, but it does a lot less damage in the long run. Telling the truth might mean the relationship ends, but that’s better than having an unhealthy relationship full of anger, deceit, resentment and betrayal.

I bring this up today because too many people like living a lie in their relationships and it’s both unnecessary and unhealthy. Personally, I’m tired of seeing it, hearing it and having it walk up to my front porch uninvited and unwelcome. Unfortunately, it is true that more men lie about stupid things they don’t need to lie about, than women do. Men lie about where they are going and who they are going with. Men lie about who they love and who they want a relationship with. They lie about the color of their socks. Men lie about what they do for a living and how much money they don’t make. Men seem to lie about a lot of things, both big and small, for no reason at all. And they get away with it. Sometimes because women will say “oh, he’s just confused, but I can change him“. You can’t change a person who doesn’t want to change themselves.

Why do men get away with lying? The same reason a dog licks himself. Because they can.

Men get away with lying because so many women accept and tolerate the lies, even when their instincts tell them not to. It’s usually desperation and fear of being alone that causes women to ignore common sense, women’s intuition and the clues that a lie is being told straight to their face. Men only do to a woman what they are allowed to do. Men are well aware of this. Steve Harvey even talked about it in his book. Men understand and value loyalty and respect over love.  If a woman demands honesty from a man, that man may not want a relationship with her, but he’ll respect her more than he respects a woman who puts up with his lies. That doesn’t mean he won’t lie anymore. It just means he’s aware of who he can’t lie to and get away with it. I’ve always preferred having a man’s respect towards me more than his attention or admiration. Which is probably another reason I’m single. But it’s worth it to have my peace of mind.

Women: If a man is constantly lying to you and you remain in a relationship with him, he will not stop lying to you. If anything, he will just lie more often and get better at it. And why should he stop lying to you? His lies got you. His lies are keeping you. He gets everything he wants by lying to you and there aren’t any consequences or repercussions handed down to him when lies are told. Every time he lies, he gives an apology (another lie), and a reason for lying in the first place (another lie) and follows it with a promise to never lie again (another lie). That’s too much lying for me right there. But I see it more and more in relationships.

So many women seem to be accepting of this disrespectful behavior. I say disrespectful because anytime another person takes the time to deceive you, mislead you or takes away your ability to make an informed decision for your life based on truth and facts, they are disrespecting you. A self-respecting person never likes for others to disrespect them in return. The same women who allow men to needlessly lie and accept it, contribute to a cycle where that same man lies to the next woman he meets, and the next and the next, until he has a come to Jesus moment. That come to Jesus moment is usually something extremely dramatic, like a paternity lawsuit, his car being keyed, his house being burned to the ground (ala Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Andre Rison circa 1994), or something else that takes a lot of money out of his pocket. I’m not condoning doing these things to men, I’m just saying that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. These types of acts also aren’t necessary to get revenge against a man. The best revenge is to be fabulous; which means being able to walk away from that man leaving him without the privilege of your time, energy or intimacy.

Men often don’t consider what they might lose by lying, they often are only looking for something to gain when they do so. Whatever happened to the truth setting someone free? When did telling the truth become so hard that a person would go through the trouble of creating an entire story about something that never happened, that includes people, places and conversations that didn’t take place, to avoid telling the truth? When did a lie become one of the building blocks in relationships?

I remember a time when a man lied or cheated and was greeted with hot grits in return.  Have the women of the 21st century become such weak doormats that they would rather be with a man that constantly lies to them than be happy, healthy and single? Being single isn’t a bad thing. Particularly since it’s so obvious that a lot of people have no business being in relationships in the first place because they lie. When a person lies all the time they are often referred to as a pathological liar. This was once thought to be a mental illness, but for many it’s just a bad habit that they get away with maintaining and are never held accountable for.

All of the energy that is put into cultivating a lie can be used for many more productive ventures. Instead of lying, why not be an adult, tell your partner the truth and move forward – whether that means the relationship ends or not. A relationship based on a lie is never worth maintaining. It’s a parasite and the only purpose it serves is to drain you dry. It’s a time waster. It’s a dream killer. It’s utter fuckery at the core of it’s existence.

Of course a dog will lick himself because he can. A man will lie to and disrespect the woman he can. Just like a woman will abuse and emasculate the man that she can. I’ve never liked a liar – man or woman. I do my best to avoid anyone who lies to me, male or female. I’ve always believed that a person who would lie to me is a thief and a killer. Neither of whom should hold a position of power in my Super World, personally or professionally.

Integrity. It’s a word people forget and no longer practice. Integrity means doing the right things, even when no one else is watching you. It means being trustworthy. It requires honesty.

Women, please remember this in your relationships no matter what: a man who lies, will cheat; a man who cheats, will steal; a man who steals, will kill. Don’t settle for lies out of fear. If he lies to you, he’s not honest with himself. A man with integrity will always be honest, even when it’s hard or painful for him to do. A man that truly loves you, shows it and will always consider your heart before he does anything that could hurt you. 

Why does a dog lick himself? Because he can.

Why does a man lie to you? Because you don’t demand more from him and let him get away with it by staying with him.

Life is too short to live connected to someone by a lie. If you wake up everyday, fearful that you’ll be alone if you end your relationship with a liar, so you stay in the situation, I have news for you: You’re already alone… you just don’t know it yet.  

~ If you’re a man reading this and you feel like I’m man bashing, too bad. Stop lying to yourself and others and you won’t feel that way. When you know better, you do better.

 

New Year, New You!

Every New Year, people make resolutions dependant upon habits they had the previous year. Statistically every year, those same resolutions last approximately until February 1. Making resolutions for New Years is a tradition passed down through our culture. The issue is that the ability to keep those resolutions has not be passed down as well. Personally, I don’t believe in making resolutions of any kind. I believe in making changes, making money and making a difference. As a result, every year instead of making temporary resolutions for my life, I make permanent improvements. I refer to it as my New Year, New You Personal Campaign©.

How do I do this? I self assess myself, my situation, my finances, my life and then I make firm decisions on how to correct the things I do not like and know that I have control of. I make changing things a realistic goal. Then I put an effective, realistic plan in place to achieve my goals. Sounds easy. It can be, once it is put into practice repeatedly. That’s the first key – putting it into practice. Being a person who talks about what you’re going to do is easy. Being a person of action is a little more difficult because it actually requires action on your part.

Many of my goals are related to each other or have other goals dependant upon their achievement. One of my permanent improvement goals include getting into better shape. Not that I’m overweight, but I know that I have to maintain my health and that the better I look, the better I will feel and vice versa. Plus clothes cost too much to replace them if I gain weight. I’ve been there, done that and refuse to do it again. Therefore, my regimen begins immediately. Not tomorrow, not next week – IMMEDIATELY. That is the next key –  NOT procrastinating and making excuses for putting off making those changes because you’re too busy. I know all about being busy. After all, I am Super Woman.

I’m a goal setter and go-getter. Two things that work well together. Living purpose driven is a lifestyle for me. It’s what I do and it’s something I want to pass on to others. Everyone’s purpose is going to be different, I don’t expect everyone to aspire to be me or anyone else. I expect everyone to be their best self. It’s finding your purpose that is most important and making changes in yourself is necessary to do this. As with anything new, it has to be introduced in stages. So if you’re willing to learn, I’m willing to teach. These are the steps to begin journey to a New Year, New You.

Step 1 – Self Assess:

Step 1 is the root of the tree. What things about yourself do you know you need to work on? This is often the hardest part for anyone because it requires that you be completely honest with yourself about yourself. It’s the only way to be successful on this journey. Are you overweight? Do you smoke or drink too much? Are you depressed or lack self-esteem? Are you in an abusive or unhealthy relationship? Do you have a poor attitude? Are you difficult to get along with?

Once you have clearly self assessed yourself, write down the things you recognized about yourself and acknowledge they exist and need to change. Once you have done this, guess what, you have achieved goal number one: ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. Acknowledgement is everyone’s first goal to achieve in this process.

Step 2 – Serenity: 

This step requires prayer. There is a prayer many of us know, but often fail to pay attention to. In Step 2 you need to ask God to grant you the strength to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know they difference. You need to add this to your prayers on a daily basis. Why is this important? Because I’m willing to bet you wrote something down in Step 1 that you have no control over and left out something that you do. Example, if you wrote down “get married” or “get a husband” as something you want to change but you’re not even dating or in a relationship, you haven’t properly self assessed yourself. Instead examine why you want a husband or why you want to get married. In Step 1 if you wrote down that you want to get a better job, but didn’t write that you need to go back to school or develop a skill to get a better job, you haven’t properly self assessed yourself. If you wrote down that you want to start a business but didn’t write that you will research business models, you haven’t properly self assessed yourself. Remember Step 1 is the root of the tree. It’s the foundation for achieving. If you didn’t write anything down, I’m here to tell you that you are in deep denial. No one is perfect and many of us aren’t striving to be. But there are at least five things we all could improve upon in order to become better individuals.

Step 3 – Identify the positive:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every negative, there is a positive. Once you have self assessed and began to practice serenity, you can clearly identify positive behaviors to replace any negative ones you currently have. I know you’re thinking that you’ve done this before, but I guarantee you haven’t. Identifying the positive can sometimes be difficult because we spend so much time being one way, that we don’t know how to be another. Complainers complain because they don’t know how not to. Liars lie because they don’t know how to tell the truth. Over eaters overeat because they don’t know how not to. However, just like a negative behavior can begin, so can a positive one. A lot of it is about our own choices. This step may also require that you lose some friends. As much as we like to believe that everyone likes us and wants what is best for us, that just isn’t true all of the time. During your journey to a new you, there will be someone who says something negative to try to dissuade you from continuing. They will give you many reason why you won’t succeed and if you listen to them, you won’t succeed. Those people may have to be dismissed from your life, either temporarily or permanently, in order for you to reach your goals. This is another time when Step 2 will come in handy if you put it into practice.

Step 4 – Become a person of action:

Don’t talk about it, be about it. This is extremely crucial in being successful. Once you have identified the changes you can make, separated out the ones you have no control over (usually other people and their actions or inactions), you can began to seek help and start putting the positive actions into practice. Write the goals down. Put them in you iPhone, iPad, Blackberry… wherever you need to as a constant reminder. But be bold enough in your desire to achieve and take the plunge. People who run marathons started out by taking a walk. Then they made a decision to run. Next they set a goal to enter a marathon and discovered they needed to train. The same thing can be true of anything you want to change or improve in your own life. No excuses. No complaints. Treat it like Nike and just do it. Get into “training”. Train your mind, train your body, train your spirit and change your world.

Step 5 – Have fun with it:

Change doesn’t have to put a gray cloud over your life. Change can be enjoyable, adventurous and fun. Nowhere does it say that a person can’t enjoy change. Change can be hard, but change is GOOD. Without change, there is no growth. I’m speaking from experience when I say this. Keep in mind that just because you are changing doesn’t mean you have to shun others who are not. It may just mean you can’t spend a lot of your time with them. And eventually, those people may no longer remain a part of your life because their season has ended. But if someone sees that you are having an enjoyable time embracing your change instead of crying in a corner, that person might just ask you how you did it. Then you can share these steps with them and the two of you can support each other. You have now become a beacon of light in someone else’s world.

Which leads to the last step…

Step 6 – Get support:

I don’t expect any of you to achieve these goals overnight or even in a year. I’ve been doing this for years now so I can tell you it isn’t Instant-Fix-Your-Life-Mix *just add water. I don’t even want you to read this and believe that. This is a long-term plan and should be repeated every year, or as often as necessary, until you are where you want and, more importantly, need to be. Therefore, if you get stuck on any step in this process, ask for help. Get support and discuss with other like-minded people. In fact, for anyone who is bold enough, I will help you personally. If you put together your Self Assessment and email it to me at ask@superwomanproductions.com I will personally help you set goals and be a supporter of you achieving those goals.

Periodically, through my website I’m going to share with you my New Year, New You Goals and Achievements to help keep you motivated. I will show you that I live what I speak so that you will be encouraged to do the same. Anytime you see an infinity symbol on a page of my website or in a blog post you will know that was one of my goals.

The infinity symbol looks like this: ∞   

◊Happy New Year… Happy New You!