#SWAAYthenarrative

How a Life-Size Cutout of Myself Changed My Life

3min Read
Career

When you first hear that I have a life-size cut-out of myself, I know what you are thinking.

Is this woman nuts? Who does that? Is she full of herself?

Yes, these are normal questions, but once you understand why I have it and what I use it for, you may find yourself ordering one too!


Almost a decade ago, I was Executive Vice President running the sales division for a radio company with markets across the United States. Part of my job was to travel to the various markets and meet with my teams ensuring they were delivering on goals, remained aligned with company strategy, and focus them on agreed-upon initiatives among various other things. As a single mom, the level of travel that I did was a challenge. I was either traveling every week or occasionally every other week; however, it was never enough. It seemed I was always missing a big event or important employee recognition party or an opportunity to address a large advertiser. My employer was constantly asking me to travel more. I challenged myself to come up with a better plan. Leaving my son each week and flying all around the country could not be the most efficient way to do my job effectively.

That is when I had the idea of creating a life-size cutout of myself. I ordered my first one and fell on the floor laughing. This would absolutely get my team's attention. The cut out would remind them of corporate initiatives as well as it would remind them that they had my support, and they would know that I was there in spirit. The first time I sent one to a market, I immediately got a phone call from the team. I received so many pictures of everyone posing with it, and I also heard that they knew my travel was tough, and they empathized with me. This was a home run. I was able to do something different, get their attention and focus, and they empathized with me. The cutout was a godsend.

I began sending the cutouts to clients that wouldn't meet with me or vendors that did something great as a somewhat face to face thank you. After I was fired in 2017, I began using the cutouts as a way to get myself booked on different TV shows.

You see, one of the biggest challenges we have in this world is getting someone's attention. Everyone is so busy, and while they may mean well when you are out of sight, you are out of mind.

One instance that comes to mind is when I met with the EVP of the Steve Harvey Show. Our meeting went fantastic, and he agreed to have me on as a guest. He let me know that I would hear back from him shortly. I have learned to make multiple touch points to ensure follow up, so I also connected face to face with his assistant. After a month with no communication, I began following up via email and voicemail and nothing. Crickets. I hate crickets. It had been two months, and I hadn't even received a response to my email or phone calls. I was frustrated. I figured I had nothing to lose. I sent the cut out with a note that read:

"Hi! Do you miss me yet? I miss you! Can't wait to see you on the show! I promise I am a lot more fun in person, although this cut out will have to do until you let me know the date you want me back for. Can't wait to see you, and THANK YOU!"

I immediately received an email from the EVP's assistant, letting me know I would be coming on the show as a guest in January. They loved the cutout, and I had found a way to separate myself from the hundreds of other prospective guests. At this moment, the cutout allowed me to stand out. But that is not the only thing I use the cut out for.

If you have seen my new TEDx talk, then you know what I am going to share with you next.

After having been bullied at work when I was back in corporate America, I took it upon myself to launch a personal ad campaign to elicit confidence within myself and stand up to the bully. This was scary, but I felt I had a strong campaign to run, and I believed it would work. You see, I had been in media and advertising for two decades, and I knew the 5 step process to launch a successful ad campaign:

  1. Identify the ideal platform to run your campaign.
  2. Choose powerful messaging and run it with frequency because frequency sells.
  3. Select a song or jingle that will elicit emotion and memory.
  4. Implement a call to action.
  5. Choose a visual component to really take the campaign to the next level.

My personal ad campaign to elicit confidence within me was no different.

  1. I chose my mind as my ideal platform as I spent more time with myself than anywhere else.
  2. I chose: I am powerful, I am confident, I slay all villains, I choose me – 7 times a day.
  3. I chose Kendrick Lamar I love myself as my theme song.
  4. My call to action became: I see fear as a green light that means go and go faster.
  5. My visual component that I would use would be my confident life-size cutout.

I used my life-size cutout as the image I would look to while I ran my ad campaign.

That cutout represented strength, my unique personality, and confidence.

If you are wondering if my ad campaign worked, I can tell you that it did. I stood up that bully, and I was able to choose me. I hope you run an ad campaign for you to elicit confidence within you. You don't need a life-size cutout. You can use any image that represents confidence and has meaning to you.

However, I highly suggest launching your ad campaign and standing up to your villains. If you want the whole story, check it out here and please share if you want others to know that they too are not alone thank you.

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PS: If you haven't watched my TEDx yet, click the link below. I promise it will be worth it.

https://youtu.be/rZtAJxvgGYw

4 Min Read
Career

Using COVID-19 To Build Emotional Intelligence

COVID-19's impact on the world economy was virtually impossible to predict and fully prepare for. Governments balancing citizens' immediate health and safety vs. their financial needs resulted in emergency regulations that have hurt businesses worldwide. Today, the cannabis industry is considered essential, but as we entrepreneurs know, operating any business is a challenge. The entrepreneurial spirit burns brightly in tough times as we constantly look for ways to survive and improve our business while overcoming hardships.

But how do we do it? Especially with the growing rate of anxiety and depression?

Resilience and Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional intelligence means the ability to adapt to the stresses, tragedies, and discomforts that happen in everyday life.

Lao Tzu once said: "Strong is he who conquers others, but powerful is he who is able to conquer himself." Being an entrepreneur is liberating but at the same time requires great responsibility. Being emotionally intelligent will help you think rationally, make clear decisions, and deal with people better. Being smart in the emotional field is a skill acquired over time. It takes consistent practice and dedication. It's similar to building a fit body through exercising; you will realize that the more you exercise, the more you are able to achieve your aim. The steps to building emotional intelligence include:

1) Understand what it means to be emotionally intelligent

You cannot achieve what you don't know. Before training to be emotionally intelligent, understand what it means and why it is important.

Emotional intelligence means the ability to adapt to the stresses, tragedies, and discomforts that happen in everyday life. Being emotionally intelligent does not mean that you will not suffer or be upset, rather it means that you will be able to recognize and evaluate your feelings and others' feelings and plan on how to deal with them. It is also important to understand that achieving this is a gradual process and that people learn in different ways. Regular practice is necessary.

2) Think before making decisions

A lot of times when we are pushed to the wall or completely stressed out, we tend to act irrationally and end up regretting our actions. The best way to address this is to think before acting. Thinking before making decisions bring clarity about the situation and helps to avoid conflicts and unnecessary regrets.

3) Be empathetic

Everyone is in the same boat, and we never really know what's going on with the others around us. It is important to know how to put yourself in others' shoes, try to understand their behaviors, and always be open to new ideas!

4) Learn to relate to people

Good leaders are characterized by their good relationships with people. Having a genuine interest in people and encouraging their growth creates happy environments, and happy people are naturally more productive.

Seek not only to speak but to listen to people and try to understand what the other person is saying. This might be difficult, but it is a skill that produces a long-term benefit when you learn it.

Be open to receiving feedback and accepting diversity. The best way to grow professionally is by investing in relationships, as no one is or does everything alone all the time.

The entrepreneurial spirit burns brightly in tough times as we constantly look for ways to survive and improve our business while overcoming hardships.

5) You are in control of your reactions

Everyone has feelings, and we feel different things every day. The key is to know how to act on those feelings.

For example, I can feel angry and:

  • a) Keep it to myself
  • b) shout and attack someone
  • c) understand the reason for the anger, express what I'm feeling and why I'm feeling it

In all the reactions listed above, what triggered them is the same - anger. The reactions show that you might not be able to control what life puts in front of you, but you will always be in control of how you react.

6) Act with intention

Be in control of your focus, understand what is happening, and take action consciously. Mindfulness helps you focus on the present without letting the past or future affect you; it helps the mind to become healthier and happier.

7) Identify your strengths

Make a list of your best strengths and qualities and read them aloud. Remember that knowing your qualities helps you to become more focused and confident. This helps to increase your strength and emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is a process. Give yourself time to practice these steps, and gradually you will see improvement in your business and personal life with each day that passes.