The Worst Postpartum Advice I Ever Received

When you are pregnant or newly postpartum you get a ton of advice. A TON. You get advice from friends, family, coworkers and strangers. Even people like the grocery store clerk and the bank teller will try to "advise" you on best practices for you and your baby. 

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During my first pregnancy, I read all of the books and I listened to all the advice. Now I realize most of it is awful. Seriously, people's opinions are total crap. The advice helps a little when it's your first child because you aren't really sure what to do. However, by the time the second baby (or in my case babies) comes around you feel more sure of yourself and you listen to your instincts. Your instincts are almost always right! 

The Worst Advice I Got

1. Try to lose all the weight as soon as possible. This advice stressed me out to the maximum. I kept hearing that if you didn't lose the weight right away, it was yours for life. Terrifying, right? I spent precious moments of my first child's life in complete anxiety because I couldn't get to the gym fast enough, didn't do enough cardio, didn't do enough ab work to make a difference, etc. Instead of being totally present my mind was busy with self-doubt and disappointment over my postpartum size. NO MORE. This time around I didn't worry about exercise until I was given the ok by my Dr. to return to the gym at 6 weeks. I spent all 6 weeks loving on my twin boys and taking short, leisurely walks. I spent ZERO of it worrying about weight.

2. When you go back to working out, take it easy. Here's the thing, you want to gradually work back up to your former fitness but I used the "take it easy" concept to eat crappy food and give myself breaks whenever I was tired. Boo. Terrible advice. I would say ease back into things over a period of 2-3 weeks and then GO HARD. Don't just do cardio; lift weights. Push yourself! You are already working out; why bother to take it easy on yourself. It's hard to find time to better yourself so when you get the chance go ALL IN! I can't say it enough...LIFT WEIGHTS. Focus on being stronger than ever, not skinnier than ever.

3. Breastfeeding means you're still eating for two. First of all, you were never eating for two. That's always been a lie. When you nurse, you do need 500 extra calories (around 1,000 extra for twins) but they can just be more healthy calories. The first time around I let myself have whatever foods I desired and I regretted it. This time around I'm eating 80% healthy, real food and I feel amazing. I eat 20% ice cream and cake bc my sweet tooth is out of control. Oh well, I'm far from perfect.

4. Doing things you love helps you feel like YOU again. Nope. This didn't work for me. The truth is, nothing can make you feel like the former YOU again, because pregnancy changes you. You are deeply and irrevocably different. You will like some of the same things and enjoy some completely different and new things. You will feel like a fish out of water half of the time and that's ok. Most of us need to give ourselves the time and space to discover who we have become. You won't look totally the same. You won't love the same. You won't work the same. Every cell in your body has been replaced and your brain has literally changed bc of the pregnancy. It will take time to find the new you. So breathe. Communicate with the people around you what you want, like and need. Be patient with yourself. The new you is better, more lovely and stronger than you were before. 

The Best Advice I Got

1. Don't compare. This advice seems easy but it is the most difficult thing in the world. When all you do is sit around with your babies you feel like the whole world is moving forward and you are just standing still. Everyone's social media shows them drinking a margarita and laying on the beach. Everyone's getting a work promotion. Everyone's running marathons...enjoying the best parties...rocking the dopest outfits...having the flattest stomachs. It's TOUGH to not size yourself up by what the rest of the world is doing. It's even difficult not to compare yourself with other women who've just had their babies! But seriously...DON'T. You are unique. You are normal. You will have fabulous vacations again. You will be happy with your body again. You will sleep again. You will thrive in your work again. Just don't waste time sad that you are not in that season right now. Water the grass you have in front of you. Enjoy every single moment with your sweet baby and your mummy tummy because these things shall soon pass.

My Bestie Came In Town for One Day Only!

There is no love like best friend love. My best friend of 20 something years is the world's most wonderful human and I'm totally obsessed with her. I wish we could spend all of our time together but sadly, she lives in LA. She has an important job working at the Getty so she only had one day to come in town and meet my twin boys. One day is better than none. 

We vlogged the whole day so I could re-live it over and over like she lives in Nashville. I'm lame. I know. But at least now you can live this one perfect day with me. 

The Inspiration Deep Within

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I'm getting there one step at a time!

When I finally "make it" in the business world I am going to have A LOT of stories to tell. The entrepreneur life is a difficult one with so many false starts, rejections, failures and lessons learned. I think it's sad that people only tell their story from a place of hindsight. For instance, people generally only tell you about the hard times in life once they have passed. 

I get it. It is scary to put yourself out there in the middle of the storm. It's terrifying to raise your hand and identify yourself as the person who doesn't have all the answers and is not always sure of the best path forward. But to tell you the truth, that's me! I have to raise my hand and say I don't know everything and I'm working it out as I go along.

Today was one of those really difficult moments when nothing seems to go my way. In fact, everything seemed like a set up for me to fail. We ALL have those days. They make you wonder if you are even doing the right thing in life or if it's time to throw in the towel.

It is moments like these that make me the most proud of myself. In these moments I get a chance to see how strong and resilient I really am. I can get through "nos", employee and partner drama, financial woes, let downs and frustrations. I can take each crappy moment of the day and make it into a lesson learned. I can turn every sour moment into the very thing that catapults me forward and ensures my ultimate success. That's pretty cool. I'm a woman and I'm amazing! 

This is not meant to be a self congratulating post. I just had a crap day and I'm still pushing forward. I wanted to take a moment and share because I believe that we all have inner strength we can tap into when things get tough. I tap into Jesus and lean on Him for wisdom and strength. He makes me so much more than what I could be on my own and I think that is something worth celebrating.

Champagne please! And a nap. And a Barbara Streisand movie to really make it all better. :)

Desparate to BLOG

I feel like I have a million things to say and no time to say them. Does anyone else run into this problem? If so, how do you deal with it and still find time to do what you like/love? Everyday I think of at least one subject I want to talk to the blog world about. I even give myself a voice note or Evernote or iPhone note. But by the time I have a second to write I'm exhausted and all I want to do is chill with my husband and baby. 

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Am I just lame or am I just normal?

Feature on Nashville Entrepreneur Center Advisor Spotlight!

This was way too cool to not share! I'm honored to be a part of the Advisor team for the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. As an entrepreneur myself, I've been gifted with advice, connections and partnerships by those who have gone before me. I love the opportunity to give back in any way possible!

Danielle Kimmey Torrez Advisor Spotlight

You can check out the full article HERE.

Will I Ever Live Up to My Potential?

There is no doubt that if you aim high enough, you will meet resistance. But no matter how tough the opposition may seem: Have courage and persevere.”
– Madeleine Albright, an ENTJ

Basically My Life...

Basically My Life...

I don't know about you, but my life feels a lot like this picture sometimes:

  • Unsure if I'm going up or down
  • Risking great heights with no idea when I'll actually gain ground
  • No clear path set by someone else for where to go next

I went to an Executive Briefing with Leadership Healthcare Council today. The speaker was Steve Flatt, the CEO of National HealthCare Corporation. His life/work story was so interesting! In his career, he moved from industry to industry with ease. He's funny. He's charming and engaging. He provided thought leadership and our brains wanted to follow. He's just an all-around insightful leader who knows how to run an organization and move the ball forward. It was the best Executive Briefing I've ever been to.  

It made me think, my story doesn't sound even close to as fluid as his! My story feels like bumps in the road, setbacks, perseverance, failures, wins, losses, clarity, confusion, rich and then broke and then back again. I have had people tell me that my life is easy or that I was born to lead so it's not as difficult for me. That's simply not true! I wake up to the same challenges as everyone else and I have to choose to have a positive outlook, work my hardest and trust God for the very best outcomes. I'll bet anything that even though Steve's story (when told in only an hour) sounds easy, it wasn't. I bet he faced insecurity, feelings of failure, losses, dad guilt and much more. But because of faith and perseverance, over time it's clear that all the risks paid off and the rewards were greater!

So that brings me to my thoughts on potential. As an ENTJ (Myers-Briggs), failure is just not an option. The idea of falling short of my goals is one of the most upsetting fears I hold. I can't stand the idea of pushing and trying and having it all fail in the end. In fact, not living up to our potential is the top fear for most ENTJs. We don't want to live an ok life. We want to live a huge life and make maximum impact. I want to be the best wife and mom, the savviest of all the business people, the most insightful thinker and the biggest philanthropist. And to be honest, none of this ambition is for selfish gain or for money. I am literally hardwired for complete maximization of every area. 

If that sounds exhausting, it's because sometimes it is. I set the bar high, so on a bad day, reaching my own goals feels almost impossible. The good news is, with God all things are possible. So once again today (and again tomorrow and all the days after that), I'm going to take a deep breath, strategize, believe, and hustle. Eventually, my mountain will be climbed.

Living for the Weekend

Yesterday I asked 3 random people, "Hi, how are you?" 2 out of 3 said, "I wish it was the weekend so I wouldn't be at work." Listen, I get that everyone likes time off and vacations and rest. But life is too short to spend Monday - Friday just getting through it and then really living for the weekend. If that's where you find yourself today, please take a moment to think about what you're truly passionate about and begin pursuing that path wholeheartedly. NO EXCUSES. Just go for it.

Living for the weekend

One of our Experience Global Trainers, Phillip Duncan, said it best. To loosely quote him, he said, "Your passion is linked to your purpose and it should be what gets you a paycheck."

I couldn't agree more. But I also know how difficult it can be to step out of your comfort zone and do what you love. It's so much easier to have a regular paycheck and security. The problem is, a regular paycheck and security are more painful in the long run when you look back and realize how many years you have wasted doing things you dislike. 

Top 3 Reasons People Stick with Security

  1. Laziness. You thought I was gonna say FEAR, right? Nope. I think the number 1 reason people don't follow their dreams is because they don't have the motivation. Motivation is tough to come by on this large of a scale. Motivational reading can help you perform for a day, but it won't motivate you to change your entire life. The motivation you need has to come from inside. You have to weigh the cost of living a life outside of your purpose. I think realizing how much better your life could be if you were doing something you love is a huge motivator.
  2. Fear. Okay there it is. Fear of failure, rejection, opposition, betrayal and even fear of success can really limit you. Fear is a lie. Fear is just faith in the wrong source (a quote from Dr. Rice Broocks). Don't listen to those fearful voices. Do whatever it takes to silence those voices and speak truth and positivity over your life and your dreams.
  3. Money. Ugh. I hate this one. Lack of money is so real in our economy. This cannot be your excuse for not pursuing passions. Again, passions lead to purpose which lead to paychecks. I think it was Mark Cuban who said, "Eat beans and rice for 2 years if you have to, but save money and invest in your dreams." I took him seriously and followed that advice when starting my fashion marketing company, All Most Famous. It worked! 

I'm gonna try to do a Part 2 and give advice for pursuing your dreams next week. If I don't release it soon, just send me a DM and remind me! I might be busy pursuing passions, finding purpose and hopefully collecting paychecks. ;)

To Be Me or To Be My Brand

The question on seemingly everyone's mind these days is, "How do I build my brand?" I live in Nashville which is a community of musicians, creatives, thinkers and writers. Most everyone has an active thought life and is at least moderately interested in getting their thoughts out on a platform. If I had a dollar for every time I came in contact with someone who was torn between being themselves and being their "brand," I'd at least have a couple hundred more dollars than I have now. 

I hear it daily. Here are everyone's top concerns:

  • How much of me should I share?
  • Is it better to have a public page or a private one?
  • Will being open on a blog mess up my business brand or my level of professionalism?
  • Does anyone care what I have to say?
  • How can I find the time to create that much content?

These are the answers I give to everyone - including you - including me:

  • Be yourself. If you don't want to talk about your private life, don't. But never put on a persona that isn't YOU. Present YOU to the world, just leave out whatever you want.
  • Public unless it's your social media account or you have some weird double life you don't want anyone to know about.
  • You are your business. When you choose to present a false image for the sake of "professionalism" it will end up being exhausting and you won't get as far as you could if you present yourself authentically. If you're not professional enough, just work on that. You don't need to invent a whole new avatar.  No one cares about fake you, they care about you.
  • See above point. I'd also add, yes. Everyone can have an audience of like minded people. The more authentic your brand, the more people will identify with you and want to listen.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk said something pretty mind blowing and game changing for me. He said, "Document, don't create." Sounds too simple to be helpful but it's not. All he is saying is don't create content. That takes too much time and thought and you'll end up posting once a week or less. Just document your life as you go and bring people along with you...and do it often. 

I'm preaching to the choir with this blog because I've been in the public eye most of my life. People are harsh, argumentative, disagreeable and judgemental. Putting your true self out there for the world to see and judge is terrifying. But people can also be receptive, supportive, lovely and truly wonderful. You can't be scared about how you'll be received.

I am a woman, a Christian, a wife, a mom, a former singer, a music business professional who has pivoted into the healthcare world, I'm mostly professional but not always, and even though I'm a CEO of a corporate company sometimes I dye my hair blue.

My best advice is always strive to be more YOU and never to be a bigger brand.

Communicating with God...With a Baby

Is it just me, or is trying to spend time with God one of the most difficult things about Christian motherhood? For my non-Christian friends and readers, maybe it's trying to find time to think or meditate, work out, or self-care. For me, it's trying to find time to pray and read the Bible. What's even more difficult is to find the SILENCE and stillness to hear God. 

I have a really difficult decision to make this morning. So like most every morning I put some toys on the bed to distract my daughter, my husband grabs me a coffee (he's amazing), and I pick up the Bible from my bed stand. Now comes the crazy part. I open my Bible. Total chaos erupts. My daughter has noticed that she no longer has my full attention. My legs and arms turn into her personal jungle gym. She starts crawling and leaping and kicking. She's panicked. When that doesn't stop my reading she starts assaulting the Bible directly. She crinkles the pages, slobbers all over it and then tries to close it so I can't read anymore. It's a disaster. 

Today I skipped that whole song and dance and tried to pray. Outside of the time I spend in my car and the shower, prayer is not happening much these days. But I really need to speak to God about some serious business. So I get out of bed and walk around the room holding Aya. I pray out loud so she starts talking too. I ask her to shhhh and I start again. This time she's louder. I try a third time and now she's yelling at the top of her lungs. She thinks this is so fun and I'm totally miserable.  #momlife

Basically, I got no prayer in. I have not opened the Word. Aya is currently head banging while listening to Baby Einstein and yelling along to a song called "The cows give us milk." It's the most distracting thing ever. 

God called me to be a mom. I think it would only be fair that He would give me some sort of spiritual shortcut that let me hear from Him daily in the 1 or 2 minutes I have of silence. Sometimes He does! There are moments when peace cuts through all the noise and He fills me with wisdom and grace and patience and it's lovely and amazing. Then there are days like today when I'm purposefully letting Aya weep in her chair because I want to finish this one last blog paragraph.

The Anxiety of Waiting

The hustle is my friend. Hard work, the fight to the top, and strategy for winning have always been "my thing." For the most part, you can tell me any business problem and I could give you ideas for turning that "problem" into an "opportunity." This is not a brag; I'm gonna tell you how my biggest strength can also be my biggest weakness. Making things happen and getting stuff done is the easy part. 

The Hustle Life...

The hard part is waiting. Once you have put all those seeds into the ground and you've run hard and worked smart, there is still a time when you have to wait for what you've sown to develop. Sometimes the wait is short and sometimes it's very long. No matter the length of the wait, it is always excruciating.

You can read about Seedtime and Harvest in the Bible: Genesis 8:22, Luke 6:38, Mark 4:26-29, Galatians 6:7 and more. The principle is that what you sow (meaning what you give, what you work towards, how you treat people, the words you say) will return to you. If you sow bad things you reap bad things. If you sow good things you reap good things. Some people call this Karma. I call it Biblical truth. 

I have a love/hate relationship with the concept of seedtime and harvest. It is second nature for me to sow good things. I love God, people and work. Why wouldn't I give those I love my very best?! The problem comes in the middle of seedtime and harvest. It's the waiting zone. Some seeds spring up quickly and some take FOREVER.

I don't feel like I have forever to wait and that's where the anxiety kicks in. I want things right now. So instead of trusting God and his principles, I often just jump ahead and start trying to pull my seed out of the ground. I stress my mind and heart trying to think of actions I can control to make my desired outcome. It's a battle! I think, "maybe if I beat the ground...or drench it with water...or throw some more seed on it and just see what happens...or...whatever."

Clearly, none of those things work. I end up making myself nuts. And then I breathe, trust and let go. I hate that it usually takes me a minute to surrender to this foundational principle. I want to learn to trust faster. But isn't that the problem? I even want to build character and integrity on the fast track. Even the wisdom to wait takes time to grow within us!!!

I don't have any answers with this post. As I promised, it's just a real commentary on where I am as a human. I'm in the middle of waiting for several things and I have a new grey hair that popped up because...waiting is a real struggle.

 

Blogging - My Commitment To You

Let's face it. There is absolutely zero reason for me to have a blog. There are a million reasons to NOT blog actually: I'm stinking busy with mom life - wife life - work life, I'm not trying to build a brand for myself, I dislike fame and would like as little personal attention as possible...I could just go on and on with reasons. I'm not even sure people care what I have to say!

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When I was in the music business people were always asking what I thought, they wanted to know my viewpoint about everything from other people's music to fashion, to God, to theology to sports to current events. It's not that people no longer ask, it's just that people aren't lining up to interview me and broadcast my point of view over the radio waves and in the news. 

So why blog? I feel like a piece of me is lost without it. There are so many random thoughts that go through our minds daily. The vast majority of them pass without any real acknowledgement, they just kinda come and go. Then there are the thoughts that stick with you, and you can't stop ruminating about them, but you don't really have anyone to tell. Maybe I'd be embarrassed to say them out loud...or maybe I just ran out of my 10,000 words for the day and I no longer want to speak. But I can still blog. I can tell the blog world the things in my head that keep me up at night. 

I want to blog about things that matter and don't matter. I want to blog so people can hear my voice and know there are other people who think like they do. I want to blog so people can disagree with me and spark purposeful debate! I want to blog so I can document all of the things of substance, big and super small. I want to blog so my head can get cleared out and stop giving me so many ideas that I don't have time to do anything about. I want to blog to share me.

So I commit to blog. It won't be all the time and it may or may not be consistent. But I'll be here and I'll be writing and it'll be true and raw and messy and me. 

September 11, 2001

On 9/11/2001 I was at an early morning dance rehearsal. My sisters and I were weeping too hard to dance because our great friend Trent (husband of Tammy Trent) had gone missing in Jamaica. We were trying to figure out how to be there for Tammy in her desperate time of need.

Then the planes hit. 

As the day went on, the sadness all around me was overwhelming. I didn't know how to handle anything. I remember the shock and pain like it was yesterday. I remember random hugs from strangers and free coffee from Starbucks bc everyone was looking for a way to love their fellow man despite the hateful actions of those who would come to kill and destroy.

No announcement was made that church would be open that Tuesday night. I just went there, to Bethel World Outreach Church, knowing that my family in Christ would somehow end up gathering. When I arrived the sanctuary was full. We all mourned together and made a plan to reach out to the city of New York hand in hand. It was a precious moment in one of worst days I'll ever know.

Tonight we gather again, this time not to mourn but to Worship. Because no matter what trials and difficulties come, we know that our God is in control.