LOVE, LEAD, AND LIVE WELL

Published On March 8, 2016 | By Janet M. Brooks

Girls Coffee Break Talking Chilling Concept

March is Women’s History Month and today is International Women’s Day. Let us honor and recognize amazing women in our lives and history, and their profound impact as entrepreneurs, engineers, movers and shakers, inventors, CEO’s, community activists, teachers, mothers, daughters, and friends; each contributing a special flavor to the mixture of life across the world.

I can look back and see a part of many women who contributed to my personal and professional growth. These women are strong markers in my life. I would not be who I am today if it were not for their wonderful insight, love, support, constructive criticism, and ability to stretch beyond themselves to reach others. One woman in particular taught me a valuable lesson of love and friendship when we were just children.

When I was 11 years old, I met someone who became a lifelong friend. I am blessed that God put her in my life for a lifetime. When we first met as children, I was irritated by her need to follow and imitate who I was. I told our mutual friend I did not appreciate or like her. Well, needless to say, that friend went back and told her what I said. Even at the tender age of eleven, her wisdom and humility taught me true sisterhood. Cheryl came to me and said, “You should be honored that I want to be like you, I think highly enough of you to want to be your friend and be like you.” I will never forget the humiliation I felt for being such a mean girl. She taught me as a young girl to cherish friendship and sisterhood in the most valuable way and not to take it for granted. She has been my heart friend for 50 years.

We teach each other true sisterhood and how to become kick-butt leaders and movers and shakers. It is not enough to arrive to your point destination of being at the top.  The top is just the beginning of a responsibility of your success. We as women have an indomitable spirit combined with fortitude, which drives us to success. Do not strive to just reach the top; the top is not necessarily success. Success should always include compassion to make a change for the better.

Learning to “make it happen” takes talent and guidance. We tell women you can do whatever you desire, and you can, but no one makes it to the top without a springboard from a helping hand. There is a plethora of difficult decision-making we as women face. We have learned to weigh entrepreneurship and leadership, career and children, and family and business, and are moving with a complexity that forges new ground and impacts the world. We are conquering a new terrain of heading our households, decision-making, companies, and refusing to accept the status quo.

For our new group of millennial women who are born out of the digital generation and have never known life without the Internet and multimedia content, brace yourselves! You are living in a marvelous time. The potential of technology supports your framework of learning skills that include communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. You are setting the stage for future generations of women. Harness the power of caring and the entrepreneurial aspects of business. Be a savvy risk taker and always reach back for someone as you move forward. As Gloria Steinem, a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer says, “Imagine we are linked not ranked.” We are working together to make a change and open up opportunities for all women across the globe – not forgetting our sisters who are oppressed, enslaved, and murdered because their culture does not value women. Remember their struggle!

We can have it all, just don’t become greedy and indifferent. Do not bite off more than you can manage. Whatever you do, do it with passion, integrity, honesty, and professionalism. “When in doubt, look inward before your look outward, God will guide your steps,” great words from my mother. Do not make excuses for what you do not know, go learn it, master it, and come back and make it happen!

Please read at least one of the books below. I have enjoyed reading each one, and each one gave me a piece of advice I could use in my day-to-day life as well as my business. Great reads!

  • Loving on Me!: Lessons Learned on the Journey from MESS to MESSAGE by Katrina McGhee
  • Get Rich, Lucky Bitch: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Daring & Disruptive: Unleashing the Entrepreneur by Lisa Messenger
  • The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte
  • The 4-Hour Work Week-Timothy Ferriss
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16 TO 61: BEAUTY AT EVERY AGE

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Women in America experience tremendous pressure to look beautiful, stay in shape, and look as young as science will allow. Youth and beauty permeate advertising and marketing strategies to sell cars, food, and furniture; you cannot watch a commercial without a young woman selling something. In response, many older women buy into remaking themselves through Botox injections, implants, face fillers, and other physical enhancements. We get caught on the youth train, and forget that life is constant change, and reinventing begins on the inside, and moves outward.

Aging well takes talent, the talent to relish life and its beauty. Age is truly just a number. In my mind, I am still 16 preparing for my first date with my first boyfriend and feeling butterflies in my stomach, because I am crazy about the boy who finally noticed that I am alive. Life’s emotions never leave our spirit; we are grounded in the hope of a new day, new joy, or a new love to sweep us off our feet.

Sixty-one is my sixteen and I love the transition.  Even with all the changes the body takes you through, the mind is still young and full of fervor, ready to move into the next season of life God has allowed. To feel good in your own skin also takes talent. I know that I am good enough. I feel beautiful and sexy and have no mountains to climb to prove a point to anyone; I have learned to be.

If you are single in the later part of your life, consider that you are alone not lonely. Just because you do not have a mate does not mean life is over. It is wonderful if you find the right person to share the rest of your life, but if you don’t, that is okay too. You can spend time with you, and learn more about life through travel and meeting new and interesting people. Better to be alone than chained to the wrong person who diminishes your very being. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Take hold of good choices that yield great returns. Invest time and love in God, family, friends, and people. It is clear to me that life is full of promise, and we should enjoy the gift of life, because it is a gift, at any age. So be ageless, live free, and pour out your love and talents on the world; we walk the path of life once on this earth. Make it count.

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Wellness at Work in DeSoto, Texas’ Police Department

The City of DeSoto, Texas’ Health Coaching Program (Desoto’s Finest) has been a blast. We at Fortitude Health & Wellness, Inc. are enjoying working with DeSoto’s Police and Fire Departments to educate and inspire them to optimal health through self-care and developing healthy lifestyles.Desoto Wellness Workshop Pictures.jpg

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KISS THE GIRLS: THE ANATOMY OF A TAKEDOWN Published On October 27, 2015 | By Janet Brooks | Lifestyle, Loving On Me

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According to the Urban Dictionary, negs or negging are, “low-grade insults meant to undermine the self-confidence of a woman so she might be more vulnerable to advances”. Although women sometimes neg, men corner the efforts. During early flirting efforts, this is a tactic first described by pick-up artists (PUAs). There are several explanations for the tactic; however, they all employ some sort of backhanded compliment, which temporarily lowers the target’s self-esteem while leaving the speaker blameless. Theoretically, this lowered self-esteem in the target makes the speaker seem more attractive by comparison.

This crazy phenomenon might be new to you, but in diverse forms, it’s practiced as a seduction technique around the world. Negging, in a nutshell, is a trick tactic. Its total purpose is to undermine a woman’s confidence by making backhanded or snide remarks – give a compliment with one breath, and take away with the other. It is control, allowing the man to be in charge of the situation and interaction by driving the woman to work for his approval.

“Negging” and the pick-up artist were born on internet message boards in the early ’90s, and became a vast subculture, with varying strategies and tribes. It became a global phenomenon following the publication of a book by Neil Strauss, The Game.

I heard the term a few times, but never thought much about it until I experienced it on a date. Negging happens all the time and usually it is a man negging a woman. Men use this on women they think are pretty to reduce their self-esteem. It is a takedown tactic because the man doing it does not think he can get the woman without breaking her down. Negging can be subtle and most of the time you do not detect the mild insult. Make no mistake, it is an insult.

These covert insults are intentional and meant to undermine the self-confidence of a woman to make her feel vulnerable to advances. Given the research, temporary insults that lower self-esteem may indeed make an individual more receptive to romantic advances and more compliant with requests. I think this is something a decent man would not attempt, but idiots are armed and dangerous.

Ever hear the term “seduce and reduce,” well this is exactly what is happening when a man approaches you and says something really nice and then backs it up with a subtle insult. Everywhere there is an insecure pretty girl, there is some insecure guy negging. The point of negging is to score with someone you find extremely attractive, someone out of your league, who you otherwise wouldn’t have had a shot.

For example, a pretty woman is sitting at a bar alone, a man saunters up to her and says, “You have the most beautiful blue eyes, are those contact lenses?” Then we have through the backdoor Sam, “You are so beautiful, I love your hair; I even like your receding hairline.” She’s thinking, excuse me, did I just hear him correctly? Now she is confused. Let’s not forget Mr. Weight Watcher, “I love your slender body, are you anorexic? She looks around, confused. Perhaps she misunderstood what he said. And if she is anorexic, her self-esteem just dropped to the floor. These men are usually nervous and unsure of themselves with palms sweating. He is not a Romeo or a looker, usually, just a plain John or nerd trying to get to first base and make the woman work for him by playing on her insecurities, because verbal negativity equates to sexual success. The sad part of these scenarios is they are real approaches recommended by websites such as seductionscience.com, one of many websites for men giving advice on negging and pick-up techniques.

It appears these tactics work, especially if you are feeling vulnerable and lonely. Women think, I am smart, beautiful, and intelligent, so I should have thrown a drink in his face when he insulted me; but instead, I was charmed and chased him.

And yes, negging can work on men. If your end goal is to get the good-looking guy in the room interested in you, then yes, using a neg as an opener will make him eager to prove himself. But do you really want a guy you had to implement an entire confidence takedown in order for him to be interested?”

Flirtation is not a battle requiring logistics and tactics for a takedown, or a con. It should be a part of our human interaction and how we interact with each other on a natural level. When our way of communicating to the opposite sex becomes covert, manipulative, and deceptive, then we truly have a problem.

Remember ladies, a man who wants you is coming to “that theatre near you.” He does not need to break you down to feed his insecurities. This especially includes cheaters who lack self-esteem, and need many women around to feel good.

If you’ve experienced negging, we’d love to hear from you. Share your story in the reply below, and encourage others on how they can kick these manipulators to the curb for good.

PS – If you want to know more about negging check out The Stuff of Thought by Harvard Psychology Professor Steven Pinke. It’s an excellent read.

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LET’S END FOOD INSECURITY, ONE DAY AT A TIME | Published On September 24, 2015 | By Janet Brooks | Lifestyle, Loving On Me

http://lovingonme.com/2015/09/24/lets-end-food-insecurity-one-day-at-a-time/

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Self-Independent: What’s Your Claim to Fame? Published On July 21, 2015 | By Janet Brooks | Lifestyle, Loving On Me

Most of us would like to think we are independent and driving on the highway of life with our own suitcase of mantras. Wrong! Self-independent is defined as, “One who is independent and not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, thinking or action for oneself; an independent thinker is not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction, autonomous, and basically free.”

This definition would probably include 20 percent of the population in America because it is hard to pursue and truly produce independent thought or action. It is not popular, it is priceless and rare. One does not need to be an intellectual or educated to think independently.

As a culture, we strive to fit in and become a part of the whole. This path really begins when we enter grade school and are taught to think a specific way, and it is fortified when we complete college. Many of us leave with an assembly line mentality that drives us to become like everyone else. Get a high paying job, a great car and a house with a two or three car garage, and we have arrived. Not much attention is paid to what is happening in the society, and if it is, it is just to make a comment, not get involved to drive some change for the betterment of the society.

We think we are one of a kind, but when we dig deep, our surface exterior may be the only thing that is different. Humans, on average, tend to be followers and do not like to “buck the system.” I have watched people close to me change in an instant when they reach a position of authority and influence. They seek approval from people and groups they deem powerful and influential. They will leave you hanging in a second and treat you with disrespect, ignore you and talk to you as if you are beneath their new found status. You think, “Is this my friend or foe?” The sad part about these people is that they do not even know who they are, and you do not bother to convey to them what they have become because they are living in illusions and delusions of grandeur. If they cannot see themselves for whom and what they have become, it is hard to become that mirror to reflect. We tolerate their inconsistencies and love them because they are our friends.

In our society, we confuse self-independence with self-reliance. Self-reliance is based on one’s own capabilities, judgments, resources and decisions. It does not set you apart as an independent thinker. I challenge everyone to begin to think! Think about the society you live in, how you treat people and what contributions you are making to add value to your society and environment. We cannot make change through posting on Facebook or blogging when societal ills and infractions take place.

Self-independence drives us to be different and take a stand without caring about what others think of us. It drives us to make an impact by doing something, whether it is social justice, civil rights, equal pay for women and the poor, providing affordable health care, or plain old change from the status quo. To think independently is to be free to make change. Free your mind to think independently and the rest will follow.

Thinking independently opens up a world of great possibilities and opportunities.

Try it by using some of these steps:
1. Disconnect from conventional thought – think for yourself first and pay attention to what you absorb.
2. Experience perspectives that conflict with your own – seek out new experiences different from your views or dogma.
3. Look at the world’s processes from a distance; sometimes it is good to stand still to view yourself through other’s ideology.
4. Practice pause-belief – do not trust every thought put forth even though it might be valued as conventional wisdom and a societal truth. Reserve all judgment for the reality behind the logic.

Free Thinking PictureIn the famous words of Susan Sontag, “It is not the position but the disposition.”

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