FROM BROKEN TO BELIEVING: STEPS TO REINVENTING YOURSELF

I remember feeling tired, just worn out. I didn’t feel like fighting anymore. It wasn’t worth it. She had won. She could replace me with someone, anyone she thought could do the job better. The daily struggle to prove myself, do my job, keep my staff inspired in a toxic work environment plus navigate her unpredictable bully tendencies of condescending, disrespectful, unwarranted jabs and humiliating comments in front of others, had taken its toll.

But, I wasn’t completely defeated. Despite the efforts of my boss, the president and his executive assistant scheming to get me to sign their pre-written letter of resignation, I refused. Not a chance. If you want me to go, then look me in the eyes and tell me. Say it! Say, “You are fired!” They didn’t have the courage to say it to my face; instead, my boss slipped a letter under my office door.

I laugh at that cowardly behavior today after reinventing myself, receiving a written apology from my former boss (that wasn’t slid under my door) and becoming nationally recognized for my work, but that experience was mental and emotional torture when I was going through it. It wasn’t a small feat to reinvent myself and design a brand that would catch the attention of major corporations, media outlets, and publishers. There were a lot of decisions I had to make before I could land my first gig, media interview or book deal.

Reflecting on that time in my life, I realized that I had already seen the vision that I’d be doing something other than serving as Director of Public Relations. I had written in my journal exactly what I believed God had spoken to me. Deep down I knew the truth, I just couldn’t own it at the time. The truth is, at that time, I didn’t have the courage and confidence to stake claim to my space in the world. Isn’t it ridiculously sad that we are so fragile? Unfortunately, we replace our God-given powers for our fragile insecurities.

All I had to do was say: Yes! to the vision, God had shown me for my life. Yes! to the possibility that the image in my mind and the feeling in my heart were the truth,  and understand that the doubts running through my head were a lie. Yes! to the belief that if I put myself out there, I’d be supported by the spiritual world. I’d meet people on my path that would appreciate what I was trying to create and help me, and I would appreciate and support them. Click the title to watch a video to understand what my trademark message, There Is More Inside is all about.

Remember, when I left my job, I was broken and feeling lost. Okay, maybe more intensely disappointed in a system that failed me than broken, but the point is this: they robbed me of my livelihood for no good reason–and didn’t care.

This is what learned as I navigated that challenging time and made my way to the top in the self-development industry:

  • Decide what you want to give the world. For me, I want every person to know they have the right to feel good about who they are and create the life they want by practicing spiritual principles and building a brand.
  • Write down your vision. I wrote my vision down in my journal years before landing the Director position. I knew I desired to become nationally known by writing and traveling the world teaching people spiritual principles and how to own their truth and courageously live it by being personally accountable for their life.
  • Put your pride aside. I earned great success during my 20s. In my early 30s, after being fired, I was without income, but I was trying to pursue my purpose. As a result, the debt was rising and my stress level increasing. I put my pride aside and took a job as an assistant manager at WalMart. Yes, people were asking, “What happened?” They were wondering what happened to me because I was on the fast track to success.

I didn’t explain myself. I stayed focused on my target. No good could come from engaging in conversation with people who would only keep a negative conversation going and give power to my doubts.

By staying focused, I created the spiritual space for me to work on writing my first book, There Is More  Inside: Personal Essentials to Living a Power-Packed Life.  This would’ve been difficult if I would impose more suffering on myself. 

  • Reflect on your life. By pausing and thinking about your life’s journey, you’ll notice themes and messages that allowed you to clearly see a marketable message that will resonate with people.
  • Crafted a brand message around your life challenges. I used my story and the lessons I learned to craft a message that related to national issues and solved problems. You can do it too.
  • Decide what image you want to project. As a former model and television talk show host, I understood the importance of image and how it influences people’s perception of you and how they respond to you. I wanted to make sure that when the spotlight finally made its way around to me, I would be ready to showcase and clearly communicate my value to others.
  • Attend workshops. You don’t know what you don’t know, but I knew it was important to find out what I didn’t know so I attended conferences and workshops, which gave me the opportunity to watch leaders in the industry, learn from them and make myself known to them–even though I was still marinating on who I was going to be in the marketplace.
  • Put into action what you learn at workshops. Attend workshops with the intention to learn and implement what you learn immediately. By doing so, this commitment served as the building block to my business and helped me to grow steadily.
  • Hire a coach. I hired a personal and business coach. I needed to understand what may hinder me from reaching my goals and identify any blind spots. You’d be surprised what can happen and how much you’ll grow from getting a proficient coach.
  • Launch your newly reinvented brand into the marketplace. In September 2005, approximately 3.5 years after being fired, I launch my business. In the last 13 years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with over 100 organizations over 9 industries (95 percent are repeat clients), coached approximately 300 small business owners and employees logging over 600 hours, be interviewed by some of our nation’s top journalists and signed two book deals.

The first was with Wiley, one of the world’s top academic publishers,
and the second was with Callisto Media, one of the fastest growing
online publishers. As the author of 5 books, I wrote and launched a
new book every 2.5 years. This helped me to remain relevant in the
marketplace. As a result, I’ve been invited to share platforms with
some of the nations most influential leaders.

What’s most important? I have been able to wake up every day and be used by God.

I’m not sharing this with you to impress you, but to impress upon you what can happen when you DECIDE you will no longer be filled with doubt, but fueled by faith!

How about you, what’s happening in your world? What are your challenges? What needs to change? What are you willing to change? Are you pursuing the vision God has given you? If not, why not?

© 2018 S. Renee

S. Renee is a Certified Professional Coach and a nationally recognized Self-Esteem, Branding & Communications Expert, Speaker, Coach & Author. She is the author of Self-Esteem for Dummies, 5 Steps to Assertiveness: How to Communicate With Confidence and Get What You Want, The Bridge to Your Brand Likability, Marketability, Credibility, Our Hearts Wonder Prayers to Heal Your Heart & Calm Your Soul, There Is More Inside: Personal Essentials to Living a Power-Packed Life. You can learn more at www.srenee.com

3 SIGNS YOU’VE OUTGROWN YOUR CURRENT SITUATION & IT’S TIME TO GO

I was 16 years old, a junior in high school. At a time when I should have been enjoying football games, Friday night pizza gatherings and sweet talk from the male cuties in my Math class–I was feeling empty.

For some strange reason, I felt like a misfit. It seemed like all my classmates connected. They talked about the same things and wanted to hang out in the same places. I, on the other hand, found myself thinking about what I wanted my life to look like “when I grow up.” From my teenage perspective, the thought of being an adult excited me.

I didn’t criticize my peers for having what I considered unimportant conversations and seemingly risky behaviors. In fact, it was just the opposite. I was wondering: “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I get with this? Any of it.”

Academics bored me. My classmates confused me. And the environment stagnated me. All of which lead to a C student who was called a nerd and labeled as too good to hang out with her peers.

Those were three signs that it was time for a change:

1. I was no longer challenged.
2. I could no longer relate to the people around me
3. My energy didn’t match the energy of the environment. 

One day, I was walking down the hall and Dr. Gilbert, an associate principal, as I remember her to be, yells, “Smith”! Most of the teachers and administrators referred to me as “Smith”. I have three older siblings so most often I was known by my last name, which came with clear expectations.

Wondering if, for some unforeseen reason, I was in trouble my heart started pumping and hands became clammy. I immediately stopped and turned around. She walked up to me and put her arm around my shoulders and casually said, “Hey, how are you doing?” Not clear on whether she really wanted to know how I was doing or if she was just getting cozy to see if I had a pass to be roaming the halls, I enthusiastically responded with my usual “Excellent!”.

Engaging me in further conversation she asked, “how are your classes?” At that moment, I surprised myself. I said, “Dr. Gilbert I don’t enjoy school anymore.”

Forgetting that I was on my way to class, she said, “Come, take a walk with me.” Continuing with the small talk, she led me into her office. After taking a seat she promptly asked, “Have you ever considered going to college or getting a job?”

I lit up! I felt my eyes popped wide open and I smiled broadly. I felt the energy of opportunity. I felt a boost of confidence when she continued, “I’ve noticed you, and you are quite mature for your age.”

Whiling trying to look attentive to the conversation, I thought: Wow! I’d love to go to college. As that thought past, the little bogeyman on my shoulder said: I wonder if she knows I’m a C student? They probably don’t let C students go to college. I wonder what grade point average I have to have to be admitted? This is probably not going to work. I was too embarrassed to ask and I certainly didn’t want her to look up my record. So I said, nothing.

I told her I’d go to the admissions office of the local college to see if I can enroll. Being true to my word, that’s exactly what I did. The next semester, while still in high school, I took Speech and Biology college courses. It was amazing. I found a new space where I could breathe again.

What’s in that experience for you?

Here’s how to take a leap of faith:

1. Listen and Trust Yourself. You know when it’s time for a change. Your body, mind and spirit will never lie to you. You aren’t feeling anxious, unsettled, unhappy and disconnected for no reason. If you take the time to stop, you’ll know exactly what you feel and why you feel it.

2. Open Up. You can choose to suffer in silence and pretend to be happy or open up and share with someone who can and will help you. Consider someone who can see options that you never thought of and with whom you respect.

3. Take Action. Opportunities are all around you! Doors with various labels are waiting for you to walk through them. Many times, you see them and even feel a tug to move toward them, but turn around and step back into your box.  Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen if I walk toward a worthy opportunity?

Copyright 2018 S. Renee Smith. S. Renee is a nationally recognized self-esteem, branding and communications expert, coach, speaker and author. For more information visit is www.srenee.com.