Monthly Archives: April 2011

Question #10 – Is This How Winning Feels?


After weeks and months of perseverance, you’ve successfully crossed your personal achievement finish line. You’ve completed your course or received that promotion; lost those 12 pounds or submitted the finalized manuscript. There were nights when you thought you couldn’t do it. Days when you didn’t want to go on. But you did – and that’s what matters.

One of the most important aspects of the goal-setting process is allowing yourself to actually experience what it’s like to succeed! What better motivator can there be for setting and achieving future goals than the positive feelings you experienced when you achieved your last goal? By rewarding yourself, celebrating with supportive friends and family or developing a success ritual you not only give yourself something to look forward to next time. Allowing ourselves to actually feel our success recharges are batteries, so we’re full of new energy when it’s time to accomplish our next goal.

So, how do you feel now?

Are you:

  • sailing high on an adrenalin rush?
  • feeling a little stunned by the enormity of it all?
  • raring to go off to tackle your next objective?

Being a good winner is an art form!

Unfortunately, many of us weren’t taught how to be graceful and constructive winners. We neither learned to celebrate our achievements in a way that is emotionally significant nor to afford ourselves the luxury of simply savoring what we’ve accomplished. Instead we were – consciously or subconsciously – taught one of the three following lessons about winning:

  1. It’s arrogant to openly celebrate your own victories, because your winning means someone else lost.
  2. Whatever you achieved wasn’t really so great, so get over yourself.
  3. There’s no time to dawdle – get back out there and conquer the next dragon!

Before you go on to your next goal, sit down and call up the images of the steps you took towards reaching this goal. Think about your initial surge of energy and excitement as you started out. Remember your confusion and frustration as you adapted and adjusted your plan along the way. Relive how you felt when you were aching to give up, as well as how you felt when you decided to get back on track – and did.

Most of all: let yourself really feel what it was like to be able to mark this process



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Question #9 – Am I There Yet?

By now you’ve already invested quite a bit of time and energy into achieving your goal. You’ve begun taking the class to improve your professional skill set or thoughtfully revising the manuscript for submission or diligently networking with other business professionals to make much-needed new contacts. Not only that, you’ve even seen first signs of success. Congratulations! But as the days and weeks wear on, one question pops into your mind with ever-increasing frequency:

Am I there yet?

Somewhere in the last quarter of the race we just want things to be over! We’re tired of being focused and disciplined. We’re no longer so eager to put in the extra time or regularly add two or three more tasks to an already full to-do list. As illogical as it may seem, many people give up on a project or goal somewhere in the fourth quarter. They’ve already proven to themselves that they can make (some) changes and they’ve already seen (initial) success. But now – quite frankly – they’re getting bored with the process.

Sure, they still want to achieve that goal, but they’re tired of regularly doing what it takes to actually make it happen.

What can you do to avoid falling into this enticing “partial achievement” trap?

  1. First of all, simply admit to yourself exactly how you feel! It’s not illegal to be frustrated and tired and impatient. By facing up to your feelings, you’re taking the first step towards successfully dealing with them.
  2. Secondly, give yourself permission to take a time-out. Unless your goal is extremely time sensitive, there will be a window of time for your to take a break. Even if it’s only an afternoon dedicated to self-care (if your goal is really that time-sensitive), allowing yourself time to rejuvenate and recharge your batteries will make it easier to take that final lap.
  3. Lastly, get back on track! Don’t misuse your time-out as an excuse to segue into giving up completely. Even if the break you take turns out to be longer than you originally planned, that’s no excuse to avoid getting back in step with your action plan.

Finishing late is better than never finishing at all.

Even though I originally planned to whip off these eleven posts in just eleven days, realizing just how unrealistic that plan was in the context of everything else I need to do doesn’t mean that – in the end – this list of eleven questions and tips can’t be completed, does it?


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Retreat Poll: What a Difference a Date Makes

The original date for the retreat is fast approaching, and – now that more information about the agenda is available – I’ve received some feedback that there simply isn’t enough time between learning about the details and actually committing to attend. So much feedback, in fact, that I’m seriously considering a 2nd date option.

But before I kick the initial date to the curb, I’d like to know what you think!

If you are truly excited about the idea of attending a retreat especially for women of African descent living in Europe, how would having one more month to plan influence the likelihood that you’d sign up and attend?


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On the Radio: Retreat Warm-Up Call

Planning for the upcoming retreat is at a fever pitch. If anything, because I am thinking so much about the rôle and significance of stories and storytelling, everything I touch seems to be related to the subject in one way or another.

Have you already had a look at the retreat flyer?

Of course, there have been lots of questions about the retreat. And I have answered them as they’ve hit my inbox. But instead of handing out the information in bit and pieces, I want to give as many of you as possible the opportunity to have your questions about the retreat answered, as well as to meet the triumvirate of coaches who’ll be facilitating the program.

That’s why this month’s On the Radio will be dedicated to that topic.

Join me along with Lillian and Jemitra as we fill you in on the details of the retreat:

  • Why the topic of storytelling is so compelling for each of us as women of African descent living in Europe
  • What each of us brings to the table to make this retreat a truly memorable experience
  • Additional details about some the sessions

To be a part of the conversation, either dial in or sign in to the live chat:

Topic: “Empowerment means telling my own story” – The Retreat

Special Guests: Lillian Ogbogoh and Jemitra Hairston

Date: 12 April 2011

Time: 7.30pm CDT

Dial-In: 1-724-444-7444 (Call I.D. 95377)


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Greening the Ghetto

I was first turned on to Majora Carter when I discovered her TEDTalk. As an activist from a troubled urban setting, she witnessed first hand how civic decision-making negatively impacted the health and safety of the poorest of the poor, and set out to do something about it. Far from looking for benevolence or hand-outs from the powers-that-be, she was looking instead for allies. People and organizations who were enlightened enough to realize that they didn’t need to “do for” people in oppressed areas as much as they needed to “do with” them. Because the people not only have their own stories to tell about their lives as they are now, but have insights to possible solutions that would put them back on the path towards their dream: living in safe, friendly and productive neighborhoods.

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Empowerment means telling your own story: Spring 2011 Retreat

As the weather grows milder and the days longer, I’ve been busy working together with my sister coaches Lillian Ogbogoh and Jemitra Hairston to finalize the details for the first Uncaged Birds Retreat: “Empowerment means telling your own story!” (Info)

If you are in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, the UK or Denmark, you are invited to take part in this experiential event!

Why – of all the possible subject for a retreat – did I feel so strongly drawn to this on? Because as I’ve said in the presentation:

Inhabiting someone else‘s story about us is like catching a glimpse of ourselves in a funhouse mirror. Everything may seem familiar, but also foreign and distorted. Every thought we have or action we take based on that „outside story“ leads us farther off track instead of closer to our authentic goal. That‘s because someone else‘s story always reflects their agenda, never our own.

Because we want to make this first encounter as powerful and enriching as possible, we’re keeping the group small.

Are you going to be there?

We look forward to seeing you!

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Every mouthful tells a story of its own…

All of us grew up hearing stories around a specific meal or recipe. Whether it‘s Aunt Mary’s signature dessert or Uncle Matt’s special barbecue sauce, we soon realize the story isn‘t so much about the dish itself. It‘s more about the love and effort that went into preparing the dish and what was going on in someone‘s life when it was served.

In one of her books, Maya Angelou tells the story of being very much in love as a young woman. Soon, though, she suspected that “her” man was also seeing another woman. Maya went to the other woman‘s house to catch them both inflagranti. And she did.

While she there, though, she also spotted a half-eaten pan of banana pudding – apparently made as a snack before lovemaking. What was left didn’t look very appetizing. The meringue had separated from the runny pudding mass. The bottom of the pan was filled with a watery dark liquid.

Though she may not be able to keep that man, Maya knew she could make him a much better banana pudding. So she did!

  • What do you think Maya was trying to say by making her man a pan of banana pudding even though he had cheated on her?
  • What do you think Maya must think/feel when she’s served that banana pudding since then?

How about you?

Do you have a food-/recipe-related story you’d like to share? Tell us who is the creator of this specific dish, when it’s usually served and why it has such a special significance for your family or for you personally!!

Oh, by the way, here’s Maya’s banana pudding recipe!

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 eggs , separated
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups vanilla wafers
  • 4 ripe bananas , thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large saucepan, combine 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt; stir until blended. Mix in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and boiling. Boil 1 minute, then remove from heat. 

In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, then whisk in about 1/2 cup of hot custard until blended. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan of custard; cook over medium heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in butter and vanilla until blended.

Place vanilla wafers on bottom of a shallow 2-quart casserole dish. Top with layers of banana slices and custard. Repeat layering, ending with custard.

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar at low speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar; increase speed to medium and gradually beat in remaining sugar. Beat until egg whites hold stiff peaks.

Spoon meringue over hot custard immediately, making sure that meringue touches baking dish on all sides (this prevents it from shrinking). Transfer to oven and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove pudding from oven and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.



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