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"A Bad Day is Not a Bad Life:" Star Jones On Reclaiming Her Fifties

People

Star Jones, ESQ, seemed to have it all in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The former Senior District Attorney for the City of New York was a co-host on the popular ABC chat fest The View, newly married and down more than 150 lbs after weight loss surgery, but it all changed in the blink of an eye.


She stepped away from the View's co-host table on her own terms in 2006, divorced her husband in 2008, just three years after they wed in an over-the-top ceremony and was diagnosed with heart disease soon thereafter.

Jones spent years trying to rebuild her self-esteem and her career, and learned quite a bit along the way. Today she is in a really good place. Jones, now 55, recently wed Ricardo Lugo and is devoting much of her time to empowering women to be the best that they can be. She caught up with SWAAY and shared sage counsel on how to start over no matter where you are in your life.

"My passion today is helping women succeed professionally around the world."

"Speak up! Women are likely to "put their heads down" and "make no noise," believing that hard work alone will pay off. This is not accurate. If you want to be noticed in the workplace, you have to speak up and lead."

What are you up to now?

My passion today is helping women succeed professionally around the world. As the President of The International Association of Women, I am working with corporations, human resources professionals, and business leaders to fight for diversity in the workplace and establish a strong talent pipeline to provide access for all talented women to have the opportunity to earn positions in the C-suite.

It's 2018 and we know women have made their way into the workplace, but we are not seeking mediocrity we are seeking top leadership and executive positions.

You have said, “You can have financial strength, professional strength, emotional strength, but for me, without spiritual strength, none of the rest of it matters." Can you tell us how spirituality has helped guide you and comfort you in the past?

I believe in the total woman! For me, my health, spiritual life, and the security and comfort I have in my personal life all equate to my success. I have been a successful professional for over 20 years, but without faith and health, none of it matters. In the past, my faith has carried me through heart disease, career changes, and reaching my desired milestones and goals.

But faith without work is dead so although I am a woman of faith, I match it with a solid work ethic and I am not afraid to work [hard] and encourage other women to do the same!

"It's important to remember that a bad day is not a bad life. More importantly, be solution focused." Photo Courtesy of EURweb.com

How do you stay healthy?

As a volunteer for the American Heart Association and a heart disease survivor, this topic is dear to me. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in America, and in many cases, it can be prevented with exercise and a healthy diet. My motto is to eat less and move more. And you don't have to be a fitness queen to take care of yourself! You may not run a marathon, but making even small daily choices to eat better and be active will decrease your chances of becoming obese or getting heart disease. Taking care of ourselves and eating and sleeping well is imperative for all women. We are often the center of our families and if mama ain't happy no one is happy!

How do you cope with a bad day?

It's important to remember that a bad day is not a bad life. More importantly, be solution focused. You have five minutes to cry and complain and then you have to think like a boss and move on! I always ask myself, “What caused my expectations to fail and made today harder for me?" Next, I come up with a solution to prevent the same mistakes from happening again. Bad days truly are learning experiences that pave the way for great days!

Can you share some power moves for female execs and those who want to become female execs?

“Speak up! Women are likely to “put their heads down" and “make no noise," believing that hard work alone will pay off. This is not accurate. If you want to be noticed in the workplace, you have to speak up and lead."

I also suggest the following:

-Work solo when possible versus participating in group projects where there could be disorganization and unclear roles.
-Go beyond your job description. Those who get noticed at work are those who approach each day with wide-angle vision. They see through a lens that extends well beyond their job description.
-If you want to be a leader, lead! Helping your colleagues succeed is a sign of self-confidence, self-trust, teamwork and collaborative leadership.
-Stay far away from the underground conversations because you never know when you may get associated with the negative dynamics (even if you are not involved).

If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

I don't hold life regrets just learning experiences. However I will say, I am thoroughly enjoying empowering women to advance their careers and live their best lives. I would have loved to be in the position I am in now sooner in my career. I am a tremendous believer in women supporting other women. Helping women to rise, dream, and lead has been the highlight of my career.

2 Min Read
Business

How I Built My Business From The Side Of My Daughter's Hospital Bed

It all started when I began documenting my daughter's 436-day hospital stay on Instagram.

She was a perfectly healthy 3-year-old and out of nowhere had a ruptured appendix made worse by a failed immune system. Sepsis began to consume her body and talking about it on social media was my way to cope with the fear of the unknown.

The doctors saved her life that night in January of 2018, but it was touch and go for a while until the doctors decided she was ready for a bone marrow transplant.

By then my daughter Theresa and our family had gained attention locally and nationally because of the rarity of her disorder. It doesn't even have a name. People would comment day and night on my Instagram posts wanting updates about how she was doing and wanting to see her on video.

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436+ days in the hospital with Theresa taught me how to prepare to be productive during shelter in place . When you really couldn't go anywhere often while in the hospital . Not like there was anywhere TO GO... just waiting day in and day out for answers that took a long while . Didn't want to venture out much because didn't want to get Theresa sick . It feels VERY similar to now. Little within your control no matter how much you'd panic and worry . You realize you can see this as an opportunity for growth or an opportunity to let fear and worry consume you . . Let me give you my best advice on how to tackle shelter in place, from someone who gets it all too well . . 1️⃣ Develop your new routine: some may say to keep your normal routine but chances are we've gotta adapt things, like training schedules and coaching calls to fit with the fact the kiddos are home 😅 . 2️⃣ Fill your cup first: get an iced latte, take a walk, take a nap, whatever you gotta go to feel your best before you pour into working on your new project or content . 3️⃣ communicate: talk to your spouse and kiddos and ask for their support in your balancing life, family and work. Ask what they need from you right now and share how they can best support you . 4️⃣ Create as much as you consume: it's easy to get sucked into scrolling and the next thing you know the sun has set ☀️ set a timer ⏱ to step away from your tiktok for you page (just me? 😂😂) to write an email or post to your IG feed . 5️⃣ dont try to do it all alone: it's a crazy time and your feelings are valid. You don't have to navigate this by yourself. Ask for help, reach out... you know I always have your back❤️. . . Comment below: what are you up to this weekend?
A post shared by Kayla - LAUNCHING EXPERT (@kaylaybanez) on Mar 21, 2020 at 4:04pm PDT

It was in the Fall of 2018 when people started to ask me how I was doing certain things on Instagram. I didn't realize how good I had become at utilizing hashtags, posting easily digestible content and building up a loyal community around my daughter's journey to health.

I realized that the months I spent learning everything I could about using Instagram the way I had been, gave me skills that small businesses and online personal brands would pay for. For the longest time this was a way to make myself feel normal (because living in the hospital for over a year isn't normal) and now, people were ready to pay me. It was a surreal experience.

I started by offering one time consultations and the more demand increased, the more I realized that I had a very specific niche in mind. I wanted to help online business owners use Instagram to make genuine business connections without spamming or "cold messaging" them.

I made it my personal brand to "stop the 'hey girl' messaging movement," which is essentially the unfortunate standard of small business owners randomly messaging anyone they cross paths with online and asking them if they want to purchase their products.

Especially while we were in the hospital I would receive dozens of spam messages a day from people trying to sell me their products without even taking a moment to look at my page to see what my family has been going through let alone learn my name. That's where the "hey girl" comes from, because they couldn't even be bothered to look at the name on my page.

I called out these sleazy business tactics because I believe social media is meant for true relationship building and connection.

My message took off! My personal brand has become instantly recognizable because I am speaking out about things business owners feel but have been afraid to talk about because nobody else was talking about it — as a result, my business boomed!

I went from focusing on working with people 1:1 into working with more group coaching. This allowed me to scale my business to the point of making over $300,000 in revenue since I started in the fall of 2018, all from a system and strategy I created while in my daughter's hospital room.