The Fearless Female

Truth has power.
Change requires focus. 
You have the capacity to employ both.
Be truthful to yourself and others.
Focus on changing for the better.
Changing for a healthier version of yourself.
Changing for a greater impact in the world. 
Be fearless in all of your endeavors. 
-THE FEARLESS FEMALE 

This past week, I had to really walk in my truth and tap into my power. On Monday, I was super excited. On Tuesday, I was calm cool and collected. On Wednesday, I was a little anxious. On Thursday, overwhelmed, pissed, and disappointed. On Friday, I was drained, but relieved. On Saturday, I was ready and refreshed. On Sunday, I was feeling unstoppable and strong enough to withstand any obstacle standing in my way. On Monday, I was FEARLESS. This past week actually resembled they way I have felt over the last few months. I am sharing my emotions with you because I want you to know I am human too. 

Everything is not perfect. Things rarely go according to plan. But, regardless of how you feel, you have to finish what you have started. Not only do you have to finish it, you have to finish strong!!!!! I went into the retreat knowing I would never do another one. Because the execution was a little more blood, sweat, and tears than I bargained for. But, I stayed the course. Quitting was not an option. I could not start creating a habit of unfinished business because I am a finisher. It is my nature. Not only am I a finisher. I am a child of the Most High. Every time I wanted to panic. I prayed. I prayed. And I prayed. Guess what??? He heard my cry and He delivered exceedingly and abundantly above what I could have imagined. The supernatural occurred. The retreat was not a success because I am so smart or such a great planner. It was a success because I continued to walk by faith and not by sight. I did not allow my fears to stop me, but rather my faith in God to push me closer to the finish line. 

Thank you all for your wishes, prayers, and support. Your words of encouragement were the fuel that kept my tank from becoming empty. 

Get ready for THE FEARLESS FEMALE RETREAT 2020!!!!!!!! #thefearlessfemaleretreat

Becoming… An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama

My hometown of Dallas. Michelle Obama. Becoming. Family. Friends. What more could I ask for? Monday night I cashed in on a once in lifetime opportunity, to sit in the same room with America’s and Black America’s Forever First Lady, Michelle Obama. I arrived in Dallas on Monday evening. After checking into our hotel, my mother, assistant, and I quickly dressed and met my aunt who resides in Dallas downstairs to go to the event. We were just four women together ready to hear the former first lady speak in person about her book, Becoming, which has taken the world by storm.
As the music and clips and pre-show narrations set the stage, my excitement increased. Then, as she began to speak and expound upon question after question, it happened. I became mute, paralyzed, and in complete awe. This was more than a typical book discussion; it really was an intimate conversation with Michelle Obama.

I listened in quiet as the other guests clapped and whistled and hailed praises. I did not want to miss one word in mid-clap.
Michelle spoke frankly about her marriage to Barack Obama and their relationship. She initiated marriage counseling to correct his flaws. Counseling was very helpful in correcting the flaws, hers. While she thought he was the concern, it was actually her. And that resonated with me because my husband and I were on that same avenue about 6 years ago and like Michelle; I was the concern. I entered the session wanting the therapist to fix him. I left furious because I needed the fixing. 

There were so many other parallels between our lives which led me to know she is authentic and true to herself and core values. Recently, I was asked what sets me apart and one attribute was my ability to create and maintain positive relationships. Michelle’s value of friendship and relationship is much like my own. Connections with people are innate for me, but I never take them for granted and apply a great deal of effort to cultivate those worth my time and energy.

My maternal grandmother often spoke of my boldness and said I had a slick tongue. Even at a young age, I was focused and clear on what I wanted. Michelle Robinson was too. She even shared the same sassiness I did and I recognized myself in her story about her conflict and strong-willed personality in a confrontation with her aunt.

Often in her brother’s shadows, she was told by her senior high school counselor she was not Princeton material, the same school her brother attended. My daughter, Jada, was subject to this same type of discouragement in her senior year as she began to apply to
colleges and set her sights on Clark Atlanta University. Jada is dyslexic and the counselor was wrong about it inhibiting her acceptance. She was accepted before graduation! 

I continued to feel more and more body parts grow numb while my adoration for Michelle grew more and more. It was like being in the scene of The Color Purple when Celie saw Shug Avery for the first time. She could not move or speak. She just needed to lay eyes upon her and I needed to keep my eyes and ears on Michelle.

Amidst ridicule, fame, stress, publicity, adoration, and hatred in areas of her life including roles, status, and profession, she was and is always the constant and true to herself. I love the fact that she is clear on who she is, her principles, values, beliefs, and desires. The thing that I love the most about her is she is so REAL. I felt like she was a friend or family member talking. I’m sure everyone in the arena could relate to her in one way or another. 

As the event began to end, I slowly regained the feeling in my body. Michelle Obama thanked the crowd and said farewell. My senses came back together. Blood flowed through my veins again and my heartbeat returned. But, I was not the same NaKeitha I arrived as.For the first time in my life, I became a super fan.

Empire State Of Mind

There are 13 songs titled New York State of Mind and of course we all have heard of Jay-Z’s version of Empire State of Mind and there are 6 other songs with the same title. It just may be one of the most referred to cities in music. New York City is one of the cities I have visited most. It has a spirit of movement and hustle to it. NYC is a place where you cannot resist being inspired just by walking down the avenues and blocks and riding by sights unseen and seen. So, what led me to The Big Apple this time? It was my last city to host Dinner & Dialogue this year.

An early Sunday morning flight landed 5 ladies on an interesting Uber ride from Newark to NYC learning about local eateries and places to visit. Although I have visited so many times, the Uber driver spent the entire 25 minute ride with all sorts of secrets about shopping and entertainment and anything we could think of. He talked and I eagerly jotted notes in my phone. With an early Sunday arrival, we had lots of time to play. We started at brunch at a local diner suggested by the concierge. It was so good. The portions were Texas sized and it was well worth the wait. 

That evening, we went to my favorite steakhouse for dinner and cocktails. I actually fell in love with Del Frisco’s in New York during Spring Break 2012. Every time I visit the Big Apple, I have to dine there. It is a ritual now. After dinner, we went to Babylon, a hookah bar to hear music and really let our hair down. Sunday came and went. Monday meant business. I had a few business meetings scheduled, while the rest of the ladies explored and shopped. I met a group of six for lunch. Our group had grown to 7 as two other ladies arrived later Sunday. Brandy was celebrating her upcoming 40th birthday, so a celebration was definitely in order. We dined and explored the local night life with libations and uninhibited fun! 

Tuesday had finally arrived. Dinner was supposed to be the highlight of the day. But, visiting the Wendy Williams Show was the highlight of my day. Wel to be honest, I am not a fan and it was not on my must do list. As a matter of fact, everything on my must do list was not done. That is what I love about plans. They can be made, but life is not a plan. It is an adventure worth living and experiencing. Anyway, back to Wendy. As I said, it was not on my list, but we all were in! And we all were so glad we went. It was worth the experience. The best part was the “party” during the commercial breaks. It was like a pep rally and day party rolled into one. The dj and hype man were a perfect pair. They kept the audience engaged and pumped up. The celebrity guests for the day were Toni Braxton and Eva Marcille. We were lucky to be present for both since Eva could not come on her original date, so we were the audience for her segment. 

I was full of energy and my momentum was flowing from the Wendy Williams experience. It was the perfect boost to my day. I have to be in great spirits the day of my dinner. It really sets the tone for me and the dinners.  I never know what space the guests will be in, so I am very intentional about creating a great headspace for myself. And I needed it. This NYC dinner was set with the intention of forming new business networks for my brand. I was in contact with several prominent women in varying industries and received great feedback from them even if they were not able to attend. The weeks and even days leading up to the dinner, the guests that were scheduled to attend contacted me with regrets of commitments. 

The Future is Female

The future is female… That has been the trending theme for a few years now with the progressive rise of feminine movements. What does that really mean though? In a nutshell, there is a major power shift with female leadership and influence at the forefront.
Our girls and young ladies are in the midst of seeing #GirlPower and #BlackGirlMagic every day now. Which is exactly why I love “The Future is Female”, but walk in the reality of “The Present is Female”. Just this week here in Houston, Harris County voters made remarkable history by electing 19, yes 19, Black female judges! 19 seats were open and 19 were filled with melanin of all shades!
What in your world is going through a shift? Why is being a female during this age so important? It really is not any different than being female decades or even centuries ago. Or is it? Over the course of the years, the power of the woman has been first realized, recognized, and revealed. A seed is still a seed and shall remain a seed until it is planted and watered. Once a seed is planted within a woman, it is she that nurtures and provides the necessary care for it to flourish and grow into what it was designed to be. The power of the woman creates a manifest destiny that cannot be denied.
What is your destiny that awaits your nurturing and care?
This week’s podcast featured Carla Lane of Lane Staffing and This Woman’s Work non-profit mentoring program. Carla stated during the podcast, “Women are, in my estimation, the moral compass. We are the steadier. We are the compassion. We are the nurturer.” What are you doing now to guide and give stability?
The work we put in now is the harvest and increase we can expect. The present is female because the right now work is needed to yield results. We are leading the charge and accepting challenges while modifying the game.

Fearless at 40

“Move ***; get out the way” is a perfect line from Ludacris’ song to describe the shift in my world right now. I am moving out of my own way, stepping out of my own box, and making a bold mindset shift.

Today is my 40th birthday and with conviction and flair, my declaration is being FEARLESS at 40! Fearless at 40, huh? Well, let’s talk about being 40 first of all. Turning 40 is nothing more than a milestone to me and a measuring gauge for my goals. I do not feel old nor am I having a midlife crisis or any of the typical sentiments people seem to have at this age.

Now, the fearless part… Some major life and business revamps and evolutions have begun to take place for me. I intentionally made these decisions based on what I want my future to look like. My ultimate goal is to transition from standing behind the chair by 50. I know. I know. Hold on. I know what you may be thinking, “NaKeitha, you are hair. Hair is you.” You are right. To an extent, that is. Yes, I have been a hairstylist for the past 25 years since my teen years assisting my mother and obtaining my own license and opening my own salon, two be exact. But, I want more. Hair has definitely been my bread and butter and it is so fulfilling. It has also been a platform for me to rise up and flourish. Behind my chair, I hear words from women about being stuck, seeking advice about what’s next, and making bold moves. From behind the same chair, I offer encouragement and empowerment. Now, I want to walk in the same power shoes I encourage them to wear.

Being fearless is about taking risks. People take risks at 40, right? For the most part at 40, your risks are safer with evidence and more of a guarantee that the move about to made will be successful. The risks I am venturing into are the complete opposite. I am shifting into a complete reversal of being a stylist and transforming into consulting. On the road to 50, there will be a gradual decline in my time behind the chair and an increase in my consulting business. The shifts and preparations include knowing a pay cut will be involved (just for a while anyway), investing into the unknown (there goes those risks again), and relying more on what God has placed in me (using my faith to maximize my talents and gifts).

I have created a platform for women titled “The Fearless Female Forum”. This platform will give women the tangible tools, networks, and authority to make a shift or shifts in their own world. I have planned and scheduled a retreat for March 2019. By that time, I will be 6 months into 40. The NaKeitha today will not be the same NaKeitha at 40 and a half. My mindset will be on the incline of growth and power. I am getting out of my own way. And as Ludacris went on to say “causing confusion, disturbing the peace”, I will be a disrupter and breaking up the monotony of life. Find out more about the retreat at www.thefearlessfemale.org .

Pretty bold? Too bold? Not at all. Along with those risks and fearless mindset comes a shift in my relationship with the only One who can make all of this happen for me. I walk boldly into His promises and His light with anticipation of being blessed in return. God cares for me and never said I, or any of us for that matter, have to do one job or task our entire lives. He has designed life for our growth in order to shift us and shift others around us into higher spaces. Think about that. Have you ever gotten something, a job, a new position, or a gift because there was a shift in line and the blessing came to you? Without growth, shifts cannot happen. So, my spiritual journey is on the increase also. It is the core of everything I have set out to do. It will be the strongest part of my life and show its evidence in my relationship with my husband. He is beyond supportive of me and my aspirations and we can only attribute that to our faith in God and that our marriage is centered around Christ. With our marriage being God-centered, it allows our household to be also. Our children will have the legacy and foundation of life we are aiming for them to have. We are setting them up for success through exposure to options we never knew about until our adult lives. And this spiritual relationship with God has also allowed my heart to open more and become a mother to my young sister, Tasha. Talk about shifts in the atmosphere! That’s another blog though.

Fearless at 40 is also embracing my health and financial well being. I am about 10 pounds away from what would be a healthy weight for me in terms of numbers. A healthy body is so much more than numbers though. My body looks great. I feel good, but I am a new sufferer of genetic hypertension. With this discovery, I have to be more deliberate about my lifestyle and choices. Which rolls right over into being more financially fit as well. Remember that pay cut I talked about earlier on? Well, I recognize my investments need to be stronger and deeper and my spending needs to decrease. These fearless and power moves will set my plans to work for me to lead me to my goals.

For me, Fearless at 40 all about being Fierce at 50! You work backwards in life. Set your goal and then plan backwards of how to accomplish it. At 50, I will be a source and force to be reckoned with. Here at 40, I am releasing fears and taking risks to make that happen!

Happy 40th Birthday to me and Happy 9th Birthday to my greatest birthday gift, Jeremy B. Ross, whom I am honored to be his mother to and share this day with.  

New Beginnings

I will record this day in history! And this statement means more than just writing down something. Today, I recorded my first podcast and also went “Live” on Facebook for the first time! It was impromptu, yet planned at the same time. My plans to begin recording podcasts were already set for today, but my voice had other plans and was terribly hoarse. So, I decided to do a walkthrough of the studio and familiarize myself with the logistics. But when I walked in, a spirit spoke to me and it pushed me to record anyway.

My agenda then became to introduce “The Fearless Female Retreat”. It is a two-day retreat designed to identify and release inhibitions we as women have and present and apply tools to be successful despite our fears. My business strategist and the retreat’s title sponsor, Kyra Hardwick, was present and without any set list of topics, I just started talking with her as my first guest. The conversation was so organic and it flowed effortlessly.
So, a little background about all of this! I planned and scheduled my first podcast to be August 22, but I pushed it back. And again today, I tried to. I keep getting in my own way of what it is next for me. Today definitely showed me I have to keep pressing forward past my fears. I am so glad I did not let a little hoarse voice stop me from moving forward. The immediate response was phenomenal! People from all over the country tuned in and commented on the impact the podcast was making already with just our words. Our three major topics were mindset, affliction, and motivation.
Each week until The Fearless Female Retreat I will feature a different guest. Next Wednesday’s guest is a long time friend and entrepreneur, LaShonda Pierce of LaPierce Designs. We will discuss the topic “Divine Assignment”.
Tune in to my Facebook Live on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, at 1 p.m. I am looking forward to chatting with you!

Little Miss Sunshine

When I not wearing my hat of wife, mother, entrepreneur, friend, daughter, and everything in between, I have on my I.C.O.N. hat. I.C.O.N. is the non-profit women’s organization my friend, LaShonda Pierce, and I co-founded in 2010. Our missions to educate and women and youth. Sunday, July 22, 2018 was our 9th Induction Ceremony. This is a luncheon that welcomes and inducts new members into our organization. This past year, we took a year of sabbatical for new memberships. But, we did induct 10 new P.E.A.R.L.S. They are girls 5-18. Our induction ceremony also included our scholarship recipients. It was such a high spirited and positively emotional day.

The members of our organization are the backbone and driving force of our community service efforts. I love induction because we highlight their work and service on a grand scale. We start off our Founders’ Weekend with a community service event. This year we went to Sally’s House, a transitional housing facility for victims of sex trafficking and also former prostitutes. As always, we went to empower and left encouraged. Following the service, we gathered together for some sisterly bonding. Nothing is better than gathering with kindred spirits to love and celebrate great times with each other.

Back to Sunday, we began the day with worship and then proceeded to Maggiano’s for the luncheon. When I tell you I felt great! I felt great! Thinking back over the past 8 years of service and growth and sowing and growing with the organization, I realized one finger can point the blame, but when ball those fingers up into a fist, they can strike a mighty blow. And that is exactly what I.C.O.N, intends to do. Strikes blow across Houston, Texas, the nation, and the world.

Actually ATL

Actually, Atlanta is like a second home to me. I love the city, people, culture, and social scene. I could pick up and move to Atlanta tomorrow and feel right at home. Being a Dallas native, it is ironic that my connections and relationships in Atlanta exceed my network in Dallas. Maybe it is because Atlanta is the city that I have visited the most within the last 15 years.

Atlanta is a city where I’ve learned a lot of lessons and cultivated many valuable relationships. This city is extremely special to me. It was very instrumental in developing me into the leader and businesswoman that I am today. I did not realize the influence and impact that this city had on my life until I was able to sit at the table with 14 wonderful women on this past Sunday. As I looked across the table at each one of them, I realized the majority of these ladies are deeply connected to me in some form or fashion by way of Georgia’s capital city.

How did this connection occur? I have never lived there or attended college there. Why has Atlanta been so impactful to my life? Design Essentials is how and why. Nearly 15 years ago, I joined their educational styling team. At this time in my life, I did not travel much and nor did I know many people. I certainly did not know many professionals or millionaires. But, Design Essentials changed all of that.

Within the last 15 years, my travels have taken me to over half of the states in the union and to visit places that I had never heard of before. And this connection afforded me the opportunity to teach at least ten thousand hairstylists and cosmetology students by way of Design Essentials. I strengthened my communications skills and became a better public speaker. Even though I have a degree in communications and marketing, I better understood the principles of sales, marketing, and management after working for Design Essentials.

In the midst of learning and growing, I was able to fall in love with some outstanding people that will always be apart of my life. The ladies that joined me at dinner was a perfect composition of my personal and professional relationships. Some of the most amazing women I am connected with reside in or near Atlanta and were at the table, in addition to those that traveled to Atlanta just for the dinner. It was so surreal sitting at the dinner table on Sunday and realizing my life would not be the same without Atlanta. For this reason, I will gracefully wear the title of “Georgia’s Peach”. Atlanta has made my life more fruitful and abundant.

Third Quarter

Can you believe half of the year is over?

This month I encourage you to check in with yourself, goals, and your business for a mid-year review. It’s so important that we are constantly reviewing what we’ve done, what progress has been made, and what needs to change.

Don’t be so afraid of admitting when something has not gone quite according to plan. Now is the perfect time to figure out why things did not turnout out the way you thought they would (or should have) and make sure you are making changes to stop it from happening again.

It is so important that you step back and celebrate your wins! Life seems to move at a million miles a minute sometimes. And it is easy to overlook what you have achieved and accomplished.

So, set aside some time on your calendar and sit down with yourself or your team to have your mid-year review. Be sure to write it all down. It is always a great practice to keep a record and document everything. Three months, six months, and twelve months from now you will be able to see progress.

Keep on rocking!!!!!!

Overwhelmed

OVERWHELMED?????? How often do you experience this feeling? How do you deal with it and try to decompress? I must admit. I feel overwhelmed quite often. Which is okay, somewhat. I know I take on too many roles, responsibilities, and commitments. Last week, probably was the most overwhelming week of the year.

Monday started off shaky and the week got progressively worse. By Thursday, I could not take it anymore. I went into work at 2 pm. That morning, I got waxed. Then, I went to Barnes & Noble and just walked around for an hour and a half. It was so therapeutic and relaxing. That resulted in purchasing 8 books. Then, I went to Forever 21 and experienced a little retail therapy. After that, I walked around my neighborhood for forty-five minutes and enjoyed God’s natural creations. I love Snooze AM Eatery. It’s on my way to work. I had a late breakfast at 12:30 p.m. alone. Just me and my thoughts. It was delicious as usual.

When I arrived at work at 2:00 p.m., I felt so revived and refresh. Even my client noticed it. She said, “You look so easy breezy today.” That’s when I knew my mission was accomplished. I needed that “me” time. Time to myself to relax and clear my head. My brain was mentally exhausted. Seeing two celebrity suicides in one week will definitely bring some attention to mental health. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. And in actuality even more important. Our bodies react to the mental and emotional stresses we feel. We can’t ignore the warning signs.

Be sure to take care of all you! How will you do that this week?