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Vivid Talk™ Radio | Sanya Whittaker Gragg

I Set Out to Create a Positive Vision for Our Boys

I am Wife. Mom. Social Worker. And now Author. I’m Nashville native, and I have always had a passion for working with and inspiring kids. I hold degrees from the University of Memphis (Bachelor of Arts, Marketing), Georgia State University (Master of Science, Sports Administration) and the University of Southern California (Master of Social Work). I have worn many hats including nearly 10 years in marketing, public relations and athletics working for NIKE, the Detroit Pistons and the University of Michigan Athletics. I have also served on the board for an Ann Arbor homeless shelter for families and advocated in the courts for foster children.

My work in the community and with families prompted me to pursue my Master’s degree in Social Work. This led to my working in Tulsa Public Schools as a school based therapist and social worker. Over the years, I have also taken breaks in my career to be at home full time supporting her children with their many activities, as well as supporting my husband with his demanding career as an athletic director.

Vivid Talk™ Radio | Sanya Whittaker Gragg

I also now have a 3 year old “Tulsa surprise” who is keeping me busier than ever, but raising two black sons (now young adults) actually prompted me to write my debut book, “Momma, Did You Hear the News?” Its purpose is to give parents a way to have what’s known as “The Talk”. Unfortunately, it’s a conversation nearly all African-American parents have with their children–more specifically, their sons.

“Momma, Did You Hear the News” is centered around 10-year old Avery who is disturbed by yet another unarmed black man being shot. This prompts his parents to sit down with him and his brother to talk about what to do if approached by police officers. Their Dad references a catchy chant taught to him by his mother to help remember the five things to do to come home ALIVE, “A to the L to the I-V-E! Come home ALIVE…That is the key!” Vivid Talk™ Radio | Sanya Whittaker Gragg

I make a point in the book to stress that “all policemen are not bad”, and we should “pray for those in blue”.

My past experience working with kids taught me that when you add music or song and dance to a lesson, young people are more likely to engage, and more importantly, they are more likely to remember. Each letter corresponds with a reminder. For example, “V” is for VISIBLE hands always! The book encourages readers to Memorize the 5.

I know this book will not guarantee the end of unarmed black male fatalities. Our community will continue working to educate our kids on “The Talk”, but we need law enforcement to continue working to educate and train officers too. I make a point in the book to stress that “all policemen are not bad”, and we should “pray for those in blue”. However, as long as unarmed black men are disproportionately killed by the police, my debut self-published book will be one of the ways that we can give our boys a positive vision for their futures to do what we can to make sure they come home alive. It can be purchased now on Amazon. Click here to listen to my interview on Vivid TalkRadio.

Vivid Talk™ Radio | Gabrielle Johnson

I Had to Believe Again

It’s funny how when you’re younger, you take risks so easily.  Think about a baby. When the dad is playing and throws the baby in the air, the baby is usually having the time of his life. The baby laughs hysterically, probably while the mom is having a nervous breakdown. And of course the dad does it again and again, just to hear the baby laugh and giggle. The baby doesn’t know to fear. The baby never thinks the dad will drop him or her. The baby just has faith that the dad is going to catch him. The mom fears the baby will get hurt, but the baby is having a wonderful time.

I seemed to always have faith as a child. As a young person, I would speak something and it would happen. I would desire something, and it came to pass. I never really thought about it not happening. Just child like faith, I guess. As an adult, I knew I wanted to be a scriptwriter. I studied screenwriting in college and just believed it would eventually come to pass. I was asked to write a stage play that would give hope to a hurting people. I did so, and with the Fishers of Men ministry, we produced the first show in December 2000.

I went on to produce the show several times after that first one. Some did well, some did not. Over the years, I started looking for an Executive Producer, someone to invest in the show in order for us to take it on tour. At one point, I spoke to a producer, and he told me he did not want to review the show on DVD. He wanted me to stage a live production. I did so, at my expense of course, but he didn’t show up. Another time a pastor wanted to support the show, so he said. I sent him my only copy of a show we did in Alabama. I told him that it was my only copy and that I needed them to review it and get it back to me. He never got it back to me, and he never helped produce the show. Another time we did the show, it was by invitation only. We invited producers, investors, businessmen, etc. It was very classy, and we laid out the red carpet for them.  We got a lot of interest and people that just wanted to see the show for free. Each show we thought, “This is our moment. This is the time. This one is going to be our big break.” 

The show had an excellent storyline, great music and the best actors and acting this side of heaven. I say that because I couldn’t understand why it didn’t take off. Why wasn’t the effort and work we all put into it getting the rewards it deserved? Not Tony’s or Emmy’s, I’m talking about the big-break-type rewards. Each time we did a show, no matter how it did, I always went home and started planning the next one. I would dust myself off and start again. I had such an awesome cast, and we were in this together. We vowed never to give up, and at some point somebody would pick up the show. We had faith to believe it would happen. Each show, after the very first one, I funded myself. One other person that truly believed in me and absolutely loved the show, invested in the show as well. He believed the show would be a hit and that eventually we would get the investors needed to take it national.

Well, we did the show some years back and had an excellent turnout. I went forth believing this is the one that will take us over the top. The box office didn’t do well. I couldn’t pay my actors. Again. This time I went home and felt defeated. I didn’t have the zeal to get up and try again. I realized I was actually angry at God. I was embarrassed. I was exhausted and just could not understand why. I knew God gave me the script. I knew He anointed the unbelievably talented actors, and I knew He gave me the message. So, why God?

Even when the show wasn’t as successful as I would have liked, I still tried again and again. Years went by, and I was still kind of down. I had so many projects come to mind, and I would get excited about them, and then stop. I would be so excited about a creative endeavor, start doing the research, and stop. I did this several times. I would start a book and wouldn’t finish it. I would start a stage play, screenplay and project and just stop writing. I was depressed. I was frustrated, and some days I didn’t want to get up in the morning. One thing I know about myself, if I’m not creating, I’m not living. 

I didn’t understand what was happening to my faith. I didn’t understand what was happening to my zeal. I went to God and admitted I was angry with Him. I believed what I was doing was what He told me to do, so why wasn’t it successful? Of course, He’s God, and He knew I was angry with Him. He knew I was hurt. Failure is a part of success. Was I doing the shows for fame and glory? Or was I doing the show to truly minister to the lives of hurting people? That’s where my true frustration came from. 

When I repented and humbled myself before God and admitted I was angry at Him, He showed me. He showed me some things in me that He was pruning and purging in order for me to go to the next level. He showed me that where He was taking me, my character needed to be able to sustain me there.  It was at this time that I finally realized why I would start things and wouldn’t finish or wouldn’t have the excitement I used to have when I started a new project. It was because, I was afraid to believe again. I was afraid to get my hopes up again. I was really afraid to let myself get lost in something and see it die with me. I didn’t have the energy or the faith that I once had when God would give me an idea. I had lost hope. I knew what I went through was still to grow my faith. God had to get me to a place like Abraham. The Word says that Abraham believed beyond belief–when there was no evidence and no reason to believe. Abraham believed beyond hope. So, I brushed myself off and began again with my new swimsuit line that I mentioned during my guest appearance on Vivid Talk™ Radio, knowing that everything is working for my good–knowing I will trust and believe God–even when I can’t see any reason to keep believing.

Vivid Talk™ Radio | Host, Gwen Witherspoon & Keith "SirKeithington" Reed, Jr.

Visionary Profile: Keith “SirKeithington” Reed, Jr.

One day a couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling randomly through my Instagram feed when I discovered fashion stylist, Keith Reed, Jr. His Instagram handle is @sirkeithington. The name caught me first. Then, the pictures. Then, his posts. It was evident that this man is a visionary. I had to talk to him, and I was delighted when he accepted. This is a visionary profile of Keith Reed, Jr.–or better yet–SirKeithington. I feel like I should greet him as, “SirKeithington, Dah-ling!” 

Q: You describe yourself as an ordinary guy with an unordinary vision. Tell me about that.

Gwen, I mean…I’m just your average Joe, a kid that lives in New Jersey. The vision and the dreams that I have are only things that I know that God can do through me. I know I wouldn’t be able to accomplish any of those things that are in my mind and that I really feel in my heart without His power and control. What I mean by “ordinary”–it’s because of the fact that I know they’re so big, I can’t do them alone. That’s exactly what I feel and what I see in why I believe I’m sent here on this earth.

Q: So, tell me about A Gentleman’s Journi.

A Gentleman’s Journi is a personal consulting/styling services company. What we do is we save people time so they can spend time doing the things that they really love to do–like spending time with their family and their friends. And then, we save people money. Of course, that’s another big thing so they can put it towards things that actually mean something in life at the end of the day for the future. And to have people looking and operating at their best. When it comes to blue collar, white collar, creative projects, music videos, photo shoots, even movies–we facilitate those services to cater toward whatever category or lifestyle that person or company needs.

Q: Have you always known that you’re a visionary?

Yeah. I’ve known that since I was a kid. Even in preschool, I would always daydream a lot. On my progress reports, my teachers would say, “Keith. He’s in the room, but he’s not in the room. He’s always looking up into the sky and daydreaming.” Even when it comes to what my dad has been doing for 35 years. Seeing him do and travel across the world, I’m thinking in my mind, “I want to do that, but I want to do it like this and like that.” I was always dreaming with the end goal in mind.

Q: So, tell me some more about the vision. What’s the big picture?

The big picture, Gwen…The way that I see the company that my brother and I have been blessed with is that this isn’t just a company about fashion. This company is made and designed to pour into people’s lives on an internal level. In the industry, some people use fashion and clothes to cover up. It is our job, and one of our passions, to make them express through clothing who they really are. And that’s not hiding anything. When it comes to digging deeper and developing that character and making sure that the inside matches the outside. That is the overall picture. When it comes to the influence that we’re going to have, we are going to be all over the globe, not just via fashion, but when it comes to mentoring kids, when it comes to having different programs across the globe when we’re giving clothes and giving resources to people that don’t necessarily have the means to have them. We are going to be developing different relationships that puts us on different platforms that allows our light to shine on these platforms where darkness is. Being recognized as one of the most influential fashion consulting brands in the world, if not the one. It’s going to be something epic that only God is going to be able to do. In a nutshell, that’s it.

Q: How does attention to detail in styling parallel attention to detail in life?

It’s the little things that really count and really go the long way. I’m a big, big advocate of being my best self in private so that I may be able to be the best person that I can be in public. And just the little things when it comes to doing what you’re doing in private–when you wake up in the morning, what is your routine? What are the little small things that people don’t necessarily notice if they don’t have that eye, but they have a big impact on your life later on? When it comes to what I do when I wake up in the morning, when it comes to how often I am praying and meditating, and when it comes to being an advocate for things that I really, really am passionate about, in private–not so much on a major stage. When I translate these different things into fashion, it’s the little small things like the handkerchief in your pocket, or the pin on your lapel, or the cuff on your shirt–even the cuff in your pant or the small little color in your shoe that goes with the collar of your shirt, that brings the outfit to life. Little things like that really go the long way, and they make the difference.

Q: Tell me more about the “journi”. What’s this visionary lifestyle like for you?

Well, it’s tough! It’s not easy. There are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes, especially when you’re alone. You start to feel insecure about different things. You sometimes get distracted by other people and what they’re doing and how much success they’re having. Those things play a part in making you question, “Maybe I should do it this way?” That in itself, that is a job. That’s an 8-hour situation all by itself. But when it comes to really locking in to–number one–who you are as a person and what you know God has put inside you, submitting to what He has for your life, and allowing Him to lead it. That definitely brings a different perspective of peace and relieves the anxiety from your shoulders at times, if not all the times. Those little small things, Gwen, they can really have a massive impact on somebody’s life–or on your life, or my life as an individual, if I’m not conscious in identifying, “Why am I feeling this way?” At the end of the day, if we don’t identify why we feel the way we feel, it’s going to end up hurting us in the future. It may even hold us back from what we’re supposed to be doing.

These questions cover only the first 12 minutes of “Visionary Profile: Keith ‘SirKeithington’ Reed, Jr.” Click here to listen to the full interview.

 

 

Vivid Talk™ Radio | Felicia Phillips, The Pinkpreneur Network

I Almost Lost My Life Self Diagnosing with Dr. Google

I share the complete story of my recent health scare on Vivid TalkRadio. I’ll tell you some of the back story here and let you know what I learned. After suffering with uterine fibroids and anemia for over two decades, cold, headaches, fatigue, and pain were common. The truth of the matter was I was dying a slow death and did not know it. I was too distracted to notice.

As soon as I stepped in, I blacked out, but I remember saying, “I do not want to die here. Felicia, get up.”

I was a speaker at a weekend conference. I showed up. Popped a few pills. And hit the stage. I had started, what I thought was my cycle. However, I was actually hemorrhaging, but thinking, “I’ll go to the doctor on Monday.” When Monday came around, I had gone through 45 overnight pads. I stepped out of bed, took two steps, and everything inside of me fell on the floor. I panicked, but my assumption is my adrenaline was flowing. I heard my heart beating in my head. Later I learned that my heart wasn’t getting the blood that it needed, so I was headed for a cardiac episode.I had gone through 45 overnight pads over the weekend. My body was responding to a case of severe anemia. My son was at home, and I didn’t want him to see the scene, so I managed to clean it up and get in the shower. As soon as I stepped in, I blacked out, but I remember saying, “I do not want to die here. Felicia, get up.” Somehow, I kicked the shower door open, crawled out, and called out to my son. He found me, got me together, and rushed me to the hospital.

Miraculously, I walked into the emergency room under my own power. My palms and the insides of my eyes were snow white. Turns out my hemoglobin was at 3 (12-15 is normal). My platelets were 8 (of 145-450). The doctor informed me that an emergency blood transfusion and an emergency platelet transfusion were required to literally save my life. She could not understand how I was conscious or even talking.

If you’re reading this, and you’ve been self-diagnosing, I want you to make an appointment because this is not a game. There are too many of us dying still young.

I spent a week in the Intensive Care Unit. If I never heard the Holy Spirit, if I never knew what God has for me, he set me right on top of my purpose. He made me sit there and think about it. He said, “I’m entrusting you with a vision. But I can’t even communicate with you because your temple is sick, and I cannot live in it.” I think what we miss as visionaries and leaders is where the vision came from. We miss that in order for us to get to the level of success that God has planned for us, we have to take care of ourselves. God needs our temples to be in order. If you’re reading this, and you’ve been self-diagnosing, I want you to make an appointment because this is not a game. There are too many of us dying still young.

If we don't have the physical, mental, and spiritual capacity–as leaders and visionaries–to carry out the vision, we won't be a true representation of God.Click To Tweet

The first thing you have to do is make a decision that you want to live and see all of the hard work come to fruition. You want to be around to see how your legacy impacts others. You want to be around to see how the vision that God gave you made others’ lives better. You want to see that happen. Everything about your body is scripturally based. God says in 1 Corinthians, “Don’t you know that your body is a temple? That the Holy Spirit dwells inside of you? You don’t belong to yourself because I had to pay a price for that. So, here’s the deal, since I paid a price for that, it doesn’t belong to you. I’m entrusting you to take care of it.” This tells me three things: 1) You have to make a decision, 2) You have to become informed about who’s you are and who you are, and 3) You must move forward in the change. We’re always evolving. We’re always growing. We’re always learning.

In that hospital bed, I had to make a decision. I was clear that the decision that I made there would affect the rest of my life, and it would impact the vision that God had given me. He was asking me, “Can I trust you? I’ve given you the warning. I need to see that you’re adhering to it.” So, I’ve made a decision. The Bible says that God worked for six days, and on the seventh day, he rested. I find it interesting that he put that in the same chapter as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). If it was that important, wouldn’t that mean that you should be doing that too? God places a high level of importance on rest because we are judged by the fruit that we bear. If we don’t have the physical, mental, and spiritual capacity–as leaders and visionaries–to carry out the vision, we won’t be a true representation of God. I’ve made the decision that I’m not going to tell someone to do something that I’m not doing. I’m going to rest. I’m going to take care of my temple. I’m going to make the changes that I need to make so that I can be pleasing to God, and he can help me carry out the vision. I want to hear him and do and live in my purpose. When God drops you on top of your pain, there lies your purpose, and that has changed my life.

When something is extremely pain–like a near-death experience–that means that you’re right on top of the purpose that God put you here for. Let me tell you how God had to deal with me on that. I’m 46. I was raised in a time when my parents said, “What goes on in our house, stays in our house. We don’t let everybody know our business. You have to put a strong front up because if you appear weak, people won’t trust you. They won’t want to do business with you.” Though I was raised with that thinking, now I’m an adult. I can change that way of thinking. God dealt with me and said, “This is your purpose, so I don’t need you to do what you would normally do. When people look at you, they see one thing, but I need you to speak out because I need them to see me. I need them to see the work that I’m going to do and how I deliver you because so many of  my children are doing the same thing that you were doing. I’m charging you with speaking out.”

That was the hardest thing. Trust me in this moment. I have never felt so sure about something than what we’re talking about right now. As I began to educate myself, I see that 1 in 4 people self-diagnosis. Over 60% of those self diagnoses are wrong. You have to realize that the Internet is not the gospel. You have to know the question to ask the Internet. If you can’t ask the correct question, your answers will be questionable. Now, you’re stressed (over your incorrect conclusion), buying over the counter remedies that are just applying a bandaid, and getting worse. You must wake up.

Make the distinction between “a” vision and God’s vision. Proverbs 29: 18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” It’s talking about the revealed knowledge of God. What is he revealing to you about him, about you, about the life that you should be giving yourself to? What has he put you on this earth to do? Go hard after that. Part of it is owning businesses and having the wealth to invest in each other and in the kingdom, but you have to be clear about where your vision is coming from.

We’re so distracted. Everything is at our fingertips. I want to encourage you to shut everything off for just one day. That day needs to be your day of rest. You need to completely unplug. Hear some birds chirping, be one with yourself so that you can think. If you’re constantly surfing social media, on the Internet, or watching your favorites shows or entire seasons, unplug. Give yourself priority. I’ve never been more serious about anything in my life. In that quiet moment, so much can be revealed to you, but if you do not take the time to be still, you will never hear the promise. You will never hear the next step. You will never understand where the open door is coming from because you’re distracted by the trappings of the world.

Dr. Jada Moore-Ruffin

You have to decide to be well before your vision kills you.

If you’re working yourself to death, you and your vision are being killed. When you die, it dies. Your purpose has been designed and assigned, and you have to be available physically, mentally, and emotionally. You have to be present for it to happen.

On Vivid TalkRadio this week, our guest, Felicia Phillips, shared the gripping story of her near-death experience with uterine fibroids after developing a habit of self-diagnosing. In the case of fibroids, it is possible that you may have a genetic predisposition. I recognize that sometimes our ignorance about our bodies and our health is just that–a lack of knowledge. You may know that there’s a problem, but not understand the full depth and breadth of that problem and what it could lead to. We in the medical community have a responsibility to ensure that we’re communicating at a level that really explains what you’re working with. Whatever the case, I want to empower you to take doctor visits to the next level for your own sake. Why not ask, “What does that mean? What could that mean? What would happen if I just take the wait-and-watch-and-see approach? What signs should I look for? Is there anything that I can do?” A lot of times you relinquish your power because you just don’t know, or you haven’t taken the time to take responsibility for your health–and then take action.

In the African-American community, fibroids are widespread–even asymptomatic fibroids (ones without symptoms). Even given that fact, we have to empower ourselves so that we’re good stewards over what God has given us. Often, fibroids will progress to symptoms–outward notifications that there is a problem. We have to make sure we don’t explain them away and dismiss them too quickly, “I just like ice.” You have to make a decision that you’re going to get to the bottom of the first signs, even talk to someone who can help you do that. We can miss an opportunity to cultivate wellness because we’re waiting on the symptoms of an illness to further manifest.

Just because your mother, sister, friend may have all had hysterectomies, realize that there was a very long process that lead to surgery. Surgery is not the only option. You can change our diet and your lifestyle. A lot of health issues you may be experiencing–whether fibroids, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, skin disorders–are largely preventable and oftentimes very manageable for the sake of longevity and a better quality of life. The foods that you’re eating, and I’m not even advocating that you should only eat organic or raw foods, but I do want to bring to the forefront that a lot of what you’re consuming is just poor quality foods. Many are not even food. They are food products, especially fast foods, foods that have been prepared for the shelf and in restaurants for heat and serve. They contain by-products and preservatives to improve their shelf life. The body sees these as foreign, and it’s unable to digest something that it does not recognize as consumable. So, it has to figure out what to do with it. This is how we categorize a toxin. These buzz words are out there in there air, but this gives you some context. These foreign items get into your blood systems and digestive tracts and begin to alter how your body functions. Thus, creating a dysfunction in an effort to try to process something that it does not recognize.

Do you spend more money on your car than you do on your body? Even your car gets premium gas. It boils down to priorities, education, and making a decision.

The introduction of toxins into your body can be the root of many auto-immune disorders, many inflammatory diseases–all because our bodies are trying to do something they just weren’t designed to do. Our bodies are smart. They want to work on our behalf. They want to do a good job for us, and they will continue to try to do that until they hit a wall. Let me tell you how Cancer works. We all have Cancer cells. However, there are modulators that turn them on and off. When we consume things, lead lifestyles, or are subject to stressors–whether from the environment, the products we’re using–that tell those Cancer cells to turn on. That’s what causes the overgrowth of cells that were never designed to be activated and multiplied to that degree.

The good news is that we have a say-so in a lot of what we’re experiencing in our health. We just have to gain the knowledge and then adhere to what we learn. Food is purposely being created to induce an addictive response. It’s being perpetuated, but we have to wake up. We’re so focused on what we want to do and achieve, that we’re ignoring the signs as we see them. That vision that we think we’re going after really could be influenced by other factors, like toxins that we’re putting into our bodies because we’re not slowing down and paying attention. Carrying an extra 30 pounds of weight has a profound negative impact on our brain function. So often, the investment in our health, in ourselves is absent. Studies have shown that 1 in 4 people self-diagnose, and 60% of them are wrong. We are driving around in BMWs and Land Rovers. How many people would venture a guess about that random sound or issue that is causing their engine lights to come on? Better yet, how many Mercedes do we see in the drive through at McDonald’s? Do you spend more money on your car than you do on your body? Even your car gets premium gas. It boils down to priorities, education, and making a decision.

You have to make a decision to be present and functioning and healthy and whole to actually see your vision come to pass.

Get a vision for every area of your visionary lifestyle

I have this unique ability to see big, giant, colossal, ridiculously huge projects–equal parts artist and architect. There is the most intense level of satisfaction as a big picture is defined and comes to life for others to understand and embrace. I’m a visionary. If there’s a problem to be solved, I’m like a moth to a flame. I have to try to solve it. I’m a visionary. Whenever I’m asked, “What are you working on?” I have to giggle before I respond because I realize that if I tell the truth, most of the time it will sound preposterous. Imagine the comfort I derived from the definition of the word visionary.

ADJECTIVE: given to or characterized by fanciful, not presently workable, or unpractical ideas, views, or schemes; NOUN: a person of unusually keen foresight; a person who is given to audacious, highly speculative, or impractical ideas or schemes; dreamer – dictionary.com

Ambiguity is my friend. Possibility and Purpose are her cousins. Even if you can’t agree with those sentiments for yourself wholeheartedly, the Bible clearly says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” So, that tells me that if I am not happy with any area of life, it’s because I don’t have a vision for better. I like the part of the definition that says “not presently workable”. Your vision, by its very nature, will not be workable this very moment. That’s why it’s a vision. It’s a big picture.

Vision gives you the spark you need to endure any test, trial, or trauma. In every life, there will be many. Click To Tweet

You can say, “I want a better job,” but you have to define what “better” is. It’s that blurry picture way out on the horizon. I imagine those dream sequences in movies. They are glowing and idealistic. So, even though your vision is impractical, it serves a vital purpose. Habakkuk 2: 2 says, “Write the vision, and make it plain.” Vision gives you the spark you need to endure any test, trial, or trauma. In every life, there will be many. Statistics for business success tells us that only 20% of new businesses will make it past their first year, and after five years, half of those will go out of business (usatoday.com). That tells me that there’s more failure than success, and any entrepreneur can attest that they are changed in the process.

This has proven true in my own life, and I have seen it in the lives of entrepreneurs around me. What’s most astounding is that those same people (me included) keep going and going and going. It’s truly a way of life–the visionary lifestyle. That’s the reason for Vivid TalkRadio, a featured Blogtalk Radio Show, Vivid TalkLIVE, a live streaming video show, and Vivid Magazine, available in print, digital, and online versions, to cultivate the visionary lifestyle. You need to get a vision for every area of life. We have summed it us as your inside, your outside, and your surroundings. Making your vision “plain” is a process. I have defined it as the V.I.V.I.D.Model for growth and development. It serves as the foundation for everything we do, and we are bringing together other entrepreneurs and visionaries to coach you through the process.

As the Principal of Adam Red, a branding agency, and Better Life Coach, I am most concerned about the core–your inside. You will find me talking about faith and identity as a foundation because without a vision of who we are and where we ultimately come from, success will be fleeting. Dr. Jada Moore-Ruffin and I connected through a women’s network. After 20 years in family practice, she launched REAL Weight Loss + Wellness, and as a Wellness Coach, she wants to help you get a vision for your outside. You need a vision for the physical body that carries you through this life. Katherine Jordan and I met through The Pinkpreneur Network. She is the owner of The Savvy ID where she is the Creative Director offering home staging for real estate agents and interior styling for female entrepreneurs. Katherine will help you get a vision for your surroundings. The environments that you create for yourself matter in this visionary journey. We decided to collaborate so that we could create, execute, and sustain something bigger than ourselves. Hear about our visionary lifestyles here, and tell us about yours for a chance to win Vivid swag!

Dr. Jada Moore-Ruffin

The Entrepreneur’s Struggle Boils Down to a Decision

The precursor to our first episode of Vivid TalkRadio was my answer to Co-Host Gwen‘s question, “How are you doing?” I was at a point where I was seriously feeling the pains of being a new business owner. The overhead at my startup, REAL Weight Loss + Wellness, seemed to be taking over, emails coming by the page full, employee out sick, and I’m like, “Really? Is this gonna work out after all? What would happen if I gave up and went back to the ‘safe and steady’ world of getting a job?” My ego would eventually recover, but so much more was at stake. The debt I incurred would most certainly require a REALLY good gig. My family has sacrificed so much already. I have other people depending on me for their livelihood (my great team, who has not missed a step in this visionary journey). But most importantly, the decision to give up would mean I would never get to see the vision God intended when He planted the seed and started this meager bumper garden. At that moment, I didn’t have a choice. I had to make a decision.

I said to myself, “Look, you gotta make a decision. Either you are going to lose, or you are going to win. It’s up to you.”

Choices are options waiting for selection. Chocolate or vanilla? Tie or no tie? Burger or salad? We make choices every day–often without much contemplation. However, a decision very often requires you to create your own set of options or surmise possible outcomes. If I decide to go back to school and get that advanced degree, that may allow me to earn more income to meet a personal goal. If you decide to go to counseling in an effort to save your marriage, your kids could get to live with the benefits of both parents in their lives each day. Obviously, decisions take way more contemplation than a choice because we have to determine what’s at stake.

'I never lose, either I win, or I learn.' – Nelson MandelaClick To TweetSo, after much self-talk, cheerleading, mantras and serious prayer, I had a revelation. I said to myself, “Look, you gotta make a decision. Either you are going to lose, or you are going to win. It’s up to you.” This was not a choice, because I knew deep inside that either way there was going to be some type of aftermath. So no, the choice thing was not about picking. It was about determining in my mind that my decision would result in an intended outcome. Now, just how that looks, only time will tell. So, that day I posted on Facebook Live. (I make rare appearances when really compelled and the spirit hits me that somebody else may need this too.) I gave a little bit of me to the universe. It was a declaration that I had decided to win.

When that happened, things began to shift. The problems, setbacks and annoying issues didn’t stop (no they did not), but my approach was new. I decided that no matter what, I am winning. I am a winner. I am often reminded of my favorite quote, by the legendary, Nelson Mandela. It goes like this, “I never lose, either I win, or I learn.”

Is it time for you to make a decision? What decision do you need to make to take your life and your vision to the next level? Reply in the comments section below.

Plan and Publish Your Content Like a Pro with Coschedule

After working around the clock to relaunch Vivid TalkRadio and developing every imaginable asset to effectively plan and publish the content necessary to also launch Vivid Magazine and Vivid TalkLIVE, I have to ask myself, “Why is it that the most important things for us to do are the hardest to complete?” Of all the hats that entrepreneurs wear, the hardest may just be writer–even for writers. It’s true for me, and it’s worse for my clients. I’ve been actively seeking tools to help me help myself and my clients for five years.

I’m kind of embarrassed to discover that I was first introduced to Coschedule almost a year ago (yikes), and it was a first meeting that made my heart sing. As an agency owner, I have a list of marketing projects and social media accounts that is daunting to say the least. I am the first to recommend that one of my enterprising friends writes a blog. Advice abounds as my inner Coach rises up to save the day, yet getting beyond the stops and starts of my own blogging cycle has been nearly impossible. The search for a content calendar has been a 5-year journey that always led me back to Google Calendar. At least I could get a digital overview of what was in my head, schedule content ideas, keep a list of tasks, and share them with others. Google apps made it possible to edit from multiple devices. Perfect. Right? Not if you add all of the other programs, apps, and services I needed to keep the whole thing running.

You can find apps to help you make graphics, post automatically, and even give you analytics, but you have to do the inner, strategic work first that gives them something to build on. Click To Tweet

In comes Coschedule to save the day! Only I had to lift my head up from the work. As the Process Queen, it has taken all of those twelve months to expand my circle to get to know all that Coschedule has to offer. I would love to give you a thorough, step-by-step overview or tutorial…and even a testimonial of my success using Coschedule. However, this post is mostly about what Coschedule has forced me to come to terms with. That nagging inner voice, “Gwen, you are having trouble publishing consistent content because you don’t have a plan or a process.” But, I have a process for everything! And planning is practically my middle name.

When I looked around at my friends and my clients, I realized that we all have the same problem. Since I am surrounded by what I suspect is a disproportionate number of doers than the average person, they have formed a bit of a “focus group” for me (only because it’s so much easier to analyze others, than yourself). I don’t see anyone publishing consistent content. They seem to fall into two categories: 1) those that publish randomly, and 2) those who “hire” someone to do it. Now, if the stone I just threw made you holler, “Ouch,” hang in there with me.

Let’s talk about “hiring” someone. You can’t farm out your content entirely any more than you can pay someone to raise your children. Sure. You can employ someone else to help you with the mechanics of raising a child–picking them up, dropping them off, making them meals, etc. But they are no replacement for you–your heart, your soul, your values. You’re the only one who can impart that. So it is with your content. You can find apps to help you make graphics, post automatically, and even give you analytics, but you have to do the inner, strategic work first that gives them something to build on. Otherwise, they might get you to the front page of Google, but when visitors click, they are introduced to someone you don’t even recognize.

Finding your voice. Sharing your unique message. Offering value. That’s publishing content–not just for publishing’s sake, but for long-term growth, development, and relationship building with your customers, clients, and audience. And what Coschedule has done for a YEAR in my inbox is coach me…not just on how to use their product, but how to get a plan and create a process. I know who I am and what I have to offer, but sharing all of that requires a foundation, a platform. Coschedule has slowly pushed its way through the crowd of tools, and I’m ready to finally master it…and myself.

Coschedule Calendar

Coschedule’s Calendar gives you a color-coded, topline view of all of your marketing projects and who’s working on them.

Nathan, Kat, Garrett, Julie, Ben–they’ve all been coaching me through their emails and demonstrating why offering consistent value matters. And even why doing it when it doesn’t feel like anyone’s listening matters even more. I’m the perfect example. When I began writing this post, I thought I’d been introduced to Coschedule nine months ago, only to discover that it’s been almost twelve–requiring a very quick edit. (Surely, I’ve destroyed any sales funnel they could have created.) If every lead took this long to make a decision, most companies would be out of business. Yet, what they have done is demonstrate the power of publishing consistent, relevant, useful content. As much as I suspect I’ll love Coschedule as a tool, what I appreciate even more is the instruction, the lessons, the training. When I search my email for “coschedule”, the subject lines read like a master course in content publishing. I am literally going through them one at a time, searching for nuggets as I am getting started with Coschedule.

Here’s my top-line list of what really did it for me.

Concepts – 10x growth, 4, 6, 12 month planning

Getting Organized – Marketing projects, social media, blog posts, content marketing, podcasts, videos, and more

Team Management – Contributors, contractors, and employees

Templates – Social templates, posting schedules

Support – Every question answered via webinar or email

Coschedule

Coschedule gives me the opportunity to start and manage all of my marketing projects in one place–from concept to completion.

I am currently managing a dozen in-house and client brands and over 50 social accounts–posting primarily around events or account startup. Getting blog content from a client can be like pulling teeth (with the patient’s mouth closed). My graphic design roots make me cringe every time I release the responsibility for managing social media to anyone else. I always regret it. So, the ability to upload images, videos, text, post concepts, project tasks, and the like to Coschedule for collaboration with the entire team is almost too good to be true.

In addition to overload and the need to change my way of thinking about content, price was a factor in my procrastination. At first glance, Coschedule is more expensive than all but one of the other tools I have used. However, writing this review and referring others will reduce the cost. In fact, I have marked this as a “Sponsored Post”, not because Coschedule is paying me directly, but because I will be actively involved in helping you and others purchase and master their service. It’s what I do. All my friends know that when I find a tool that works, EVERYONE will know about it. I’ll keep you posted on what I learn.

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