THE GRIND ISN'T ALWAYS GLAMOROUS

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It's been a minute since we had the Conquer Your Year Webinar Part 1 & 2, and I wanted to  check-in and see how my tribe was doing on their goals. I hope you're still using your Conquer Your Year ebook to keep you on track.If you still haven't purchased the Conquer Your Year Ebook, it's not too late. Purchase it here. I promise it will change the way you set and accomplish your goals. 

Since we are 40 days into the new year, now is the time you should be doing a check-in to make sure you are on par for your Q1 goals. 

I know for me personally, January kicked my a**. I hit a lot of goals, but I missed a lot too. Between coming off of the holidays, hosting my first event, planning a second event, on-boarding a new person to help me out with @TheBisForBoss and Super Bowl with 13 clients for my 9-5 (read 9-8), I had a busy month. Unfortunately, I didn't get to dedicate as much time to several of the goals I sought out to do outside of my job.  

However, the beautiful thing about goals, is that you don't have to throw the whole goal away. Sometimes you just need to adjust the timeline.

Last weekend I made a choice, I sat down and did a progress report to recalibrate and see where I hit my goals and where I fell short last month. It was a humbling exercise but very necessary. I was reignited with some of that new year excitement I had just 4 weeks ago to crush my goals. 

Comment below and let me know how you have been doing on your goals? What were your BIG wins in January? What's been challenging these first 40 days into the new year? Accountability? Feeling Uninspired? Time Management? I want to hear from you.

Also, if you have any questions you would like to ask me live, I'm bringing back Tea With My B's and I've revamped it and I am adding in a IG Live element to make it more interactive. Join me each and every Thursday at 8:30pm EST.
 

10 MORNING AFFIRMATIONS TO SLAY THE DAY

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I've been on quite an affirmation kick this month. I think it's partially because of the New Year but also because I've truly had so much going on, that I have had to depend on the power of a healthy mind now more than ever to stay encouraged, focused, and filled with energy.

The other day I shared with you how I reached my goals last year, so this morning, I felt empowered to share with you 10 of my favorite morning mantras to help you slay the day.

Here are the affirmations I use each morning to get up with a sense of gratitude, inner-peace, and serious ambition:

  1. I am so excited about what this day will bring and all the opportunities I am about to create

  2. I will not stress over things I can not control.

  3.  I will begin my day with clarity, confidence, and faith

  4. I feel healthy, sexy, strong, and beautiful in my body

  5.  I get to choose the woman I want to be today

  6.  I feel grounded and centered today

  7. Today I will give love and spread positivity to those around me. I get to make people's lives a little better

  8. I always make the best decisions and I trust my gut because she knows what's up!

  9. I am always guided and I know that what is for me will not pass me

  10. Today I wake up filled with gratitude and light. Today is about to be the best day of my life

I hope you ladies have a powerful day. Please feel free to use these affirmations or even better - create your own!

Your mind is your best asset. Use her wisely ;)

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How Poor Listening is Keeping You from Your Dream Man and Dream Job

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We've all done it. We've nodded our heads in agreement while our girlfriend, parents, or even significant other is speaking. Half the time, we're going through our wardrobe to figure out what we're to wearing tomorrow night. If you have a hot date, you’re rearranging your schedule so you have time to get an outfit that will leave your crush drooling.

Guess what?

You're not actively listening. Most recently, I finished this incredible book called How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. If you haven't read it, get it today.

What was most surprising to me is that the author talks about the simplest ways to influence people. It's really not rocket science. What I realized that it all boils down to being a genuinely good person.

Carnegie said something that struck a chord in my psyche. He told a story about a man who was just going on and on. At the end of the conversation, the man paid him a compliment that he was the best conversationalist he'd ever met. Carnegie barely said five words during the whole interaction. The lesson is "To be interesting, be interested."

As a dating coach, I am constantly trying to find out why a person is struggling to find a relationship. Sometimes it's a psychological problem that needs work, or it's simply the person does not know how to listen.

Women are the biggest proponents of talking about ourselves. We love to be complimented and have our ego boosted. Most of the time this happens when we are searching for compliments on what we are saying. We are looking for opportunities in the conversation to interject how amazing we are instead of listening.

Switch up your poor listening to active listening

In any of our relationships, you will benefit from actively listening. Imagine having a conversation with a crush. You begin asking questions. Getting to know you questions like ‘what did you do this past weekend?' or ‘what do you do in your free time?' Your crush then begins to go and on about a particular hobby. You, as an active listener, create interest by asking him more about this hobby he can't stop talking about. You have now created interest. He really feels like you're listening to him. Then you'll get the infamous line, "You're different than other women." And you're in!

Business conversations happen the same way. Imagine being on an interview. Most of the time, you’re doing all of the talking. When it’s time for you to ask questions (you should ALWAYS ask questions at an interview), it's your time to shine. Start listening intently for cues. You never know when the interviewer will give you a tidbit of information that will allow you to elaborate on the conversation. Listening shows you are invested in the interview and you are guaranteed to be in the running for the position.

Being a great conversationalist is simple

When I first started the book, I sincerely thought I was going to learn complex tactics to influence people. But in the end, I learned that being genuine, remembering someone's name, actively listening, and remembering small details will put you ahead of the rest.

Filling empty silence is a nervous habit. People speak to avoid dead air, so they aren't alone with their thoughts which in some cases are downright disturbing. That's partially why we can't get away from our phones for two minutes. The act of not doing anything is uncomfortable especially for those who are addicted to technology. You know who you are. Put your phone down and listen to your date.

Going above and beyond to influence people and make friends is as simple as being a great active listener. Try it for a day and notice the difference in how people treat you.

About Valerie Rivera

I am a dating and relationship coach, podcaster, and blogger for ValsBytes.com based out of Orlando, Florida who is in love with falling in love. I feel my calling in the world is to help those get through the tough times and to celebrate the wins. All with a hint of positivity. My content is dating, and relationship related ranging from getting into the dating world to balancing your marriage when you are attacked with outside distractions.

I am currently married and a dog mom to an American Bulldog named Rosco.

Keep up with me on social media, my blog, or my podcast

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5 Reasons Oprah Would Make A Great President

Unless you are living under a rock, you saw that last night Oprah declared her bid for Presidency in 2020. Okay, not really...but it sure felt like it. Last night #Oprah2020 trended on Twitter and for good reason. In less than 8 mins, Oprah managed to address uncertain times, condemn tyranny, champion journalism and free speech, and, most powerfully, crusade for justice for women and people of color who are marginalized, silenced, and denied justice. She was political, but universal.

What makes Oprah so damn good? Reese Witherspoon summed it up nicely as she introduced her last night at the Golden Globe Awards: "There's only one person whose name is a verb, an adjective, and a feeling. And that is Oprah."

Here's our five reasons we think Oprah would make a great President.

She's self-made.

Oprah is shaped, but not defined, by an incredibly difficult childhood. Her road to prominence as a network chief, producer, actress and philanthropist began with a rocky childhood that caused her to consider taking her own life. Everyone loves a good rags to riches story, and Oprah's is filled with way more than any one person should have to endure. From growing up poor, being moved around from her grandmothers, to her mothers, to her fathers and back again -- to being raped at nine, and sexually harassed/molested many times thereafter by multiple people, to a miscarriage at 14. A baby that was the product of rape by her Uncle (which she often credits as her second chance). Then of course the and racial and gender discrimination she faced throughout her career, which is really just skimming the surface.

Yet, through all of that, here she stands sixty-three years later, worth over 2.5 billion dollars, with a legitimate empire. 

She's genuine.

Nothing feels more real, than hearing her stories like last night when she recounted the story of "sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother's house in Milwaukee" in 1964 watching Sidney Poitier win the Oscar for best actor. Winfrey goes on to say: "I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people's houses."

In that moment, we ALL are sitting on that floor with Oprah in 1964. Few presidents have felt real. Felt human. How many billionaires make you feel like you're besties? Oprah does that.

And if you're a super fan, like myself. I literally "watched" Oprah get ready for the Globes. Her new Instagram feed is one to die for. All of the B-T-S footage, literally adds to her realness. From watching her get her hair done, to trying on her dress and finally telling her bestie Gayle she needed lotion on her elbows, Oprah is just so real

She's a woman.

I mean obviously Oprah's a woman, but after last year's election -- we all feel it. We all want it. Well, let me not say all -- because 53% of white women voted for Trump, but who is counting? I don't know the age demographics within this set of women, but I'd make an educated guess that the majority of them are not millennial women.  Nevertheless, many women, young and old feel robbed after last year's election. It was like we were so close to making history and society reminded us -- that even if you are the most qualified woman, we still live in a day and age where the last qualified man can beat you out for a job that you spent your whole life preparing for.

It was gut-wrenching. It was a hard pill to swallow. To realized that we still lived in a country where that could happen. But America needed that. We needed that mirror to hold up to us and see all the things that are wrong so that we can to truly seek to change for the better. But wouldn't it make a great "ending" if after that heart-crushing lost in 2016 that we could be rewarded with Auntie "O" in 2020?

She gives a voice to the voiceless.

Most presidents have a way words. It's like the par for the course to be president of the United States. However, not only does Oprah have a way with words...when she speaks, people listen. And she uses her platform to tell the stories of those who never had the chance or may ever have the opportunity to speak their truth. Perhaps it's her decades of experience in media or perhaps that no matter how much money she's worth -- she has a way about her that makes you feel like your best friends. 

Last night, she used her platform to tell the story of RecyTaylor and it literally gave me chills. Recy Taylor's name was trending because Oprah was the first black woman to win this award and during her moment, she chose to use her platform to tell her story instead -- along with the stories of many women who were never allowed the opportunity to do so.

She inspires people to take action.

For decades her words have inspire us to action. On her talk show, in her magazine, on her network, in her movies, plays, you name it --  Oprah has always provided a blueprint. Be better, here's how, and I'll do it with you.

What other reasons do you think Oprah would make a great president? And if you can't get enough like we can, her full speech below.

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Building Your Network - When You Know No One

In April 2017, I said goodbye to family and friends and headed to the airport with 2 suitcases. I was doing it. I was traveling abroad for the very first time. I was moving across the world and I didn’t know anyone.

As a person that’s really big on relationships, it was more alarming to not have any connections than it was to be moving overseas and away from familiarity. Taking a lesson from our girl Issa Rae: "it's not about networking up, it's about networking across" - I focused on connecting with people that were 'in the trenches with me, struggling with me and just as hungry as me' (no, seriously, LOTS of lunch and dinner dates). Here are 4 strategies to build your tribe in 2018, the same tactics that helped me build a tribe in a country where I knew no one:

1. Tap into your network.
Start with your circle: ask your company for introductions, reach out to your family, friends and professional contacts.

Shortly after being offered my teaching role, I proposed to the hiring manager that I would start and manage a FaceBook group for new hires and current teachers. He was thrilled. I created the group and in a few days - it slowly grew with people from all over the world planning to move to Bangkok. We connected. We all shared our doubt, excitement, and advice. And we made plans to meetup in town as everyone flew in.

Within the first 2 hours of arriving, I was walking out of my Airbnb to the skytrain to meet people from the group. (Shout out to Bangkok for the WARM welcome: literally and figuratively). I am still very close to this circle and we’ve had many experiences together. From Khao San Road (good times) to island hopping, the memories are priceless.

2. Network online.
Connect with people on social media and forums.

  • Join FB groups - Recently, I posted in several expat groups searching for a swim instructor. Enter my new friend, Mimi, that was also looking for a swim instructor. We compiled research together, all via FB Messenger and a Google Drive spreadsheet. A week later, we met for the first time at a pool for a swim lesson. That's insane to me. Mimi and I immediately connected and supported each other throughout the swim lesson. We even made a bet - whoever comes up from underwater first buys the first drink! The world is truly beautiful.
     
  • Start conversations on IG - I love shopping. I knew that shopping for curvy sizes, and American sizes period, would be a challenge while living in SE Asia. So, I searched for industry contacts on Instagram. I connected with two plus size bloggers and brands and I continuously nurture the connections. This has also helped me leverage these connections for future collaborations and opportunities.
     
  • Comment in forums/blogs - I asked several questions on different travel forums such as Trip Advisor. I’ve found relatable contacts that understand issues like shopping for hair products (the struggle) and I get random contact requests via different forums.
     
  • Connect with professionals in your industry on LinkedIn. One of my best roles I've had as a Digital Marketing Manager at Texas Instruments (TI) started as a simple LinkedIn message. I connected with someone from my alma mater (Hook 'Em!) who had just been hired at TI and asked her how she found the opp and about her experience thus far. I had no expectations. Yet, that simple message led to me being flown out to Dallas for interviews as well as 2.5 years of great corporate experience - all without even filling out a job application. LinkedIn provides a platform to connect with hundreds of millions of professionals all over the world for FREE - take advantage of it. 
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3. Get out and make in-person connections.

  • Go to networking events. I’m all about attending conferences, professional happy hours, etc. We all know the pros of in-person networking. Before even moving to Bangkok, I had RSVPed for an upcoming American Chamber of Commerce happy hour. I now have a few corporate connections in different industries from different parts of the world.
     
  • Join meetup groups and actually go to the events. Going to large networking events isn’t for everyone but meetup.com provides a space to find intimate groups with people that share the same interests ranging from book clubs to hiking. There’s a group out there for you. And if there isn’t a group for your interest, create one (see tip #4).
     
  • Volunteer. A couple months ago, I emailed an Opera organization to manage marketing and PR, on a volunteer basis. Because of one email, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the CEO of a top PR agency that has offices in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. Volunteering also allowed me to attend events where I was introduced to Ambassadors and members/associates of the Thai Royal Family. Golden.

4. If all else fails, create your own small community.
Before moving, I searched for a space for Black professionals living in Bangkok to no avail. So, I created a group on meetup.com that now has over 50 members and has created so many connections, both socially and professionally. We’ve had great times together, shared professional advice and collaborated with each other at planned networking events. I’m looking forward to what 2018 brings us!

About Tori
Tori moved to Bangkok 8 months ago as an English teacher because she was eager to explore other parts of the world for a year. Before moving, she was a PR and Marketing Consultant helping to promote startup companies as well as high profile events and clients such as FoxTV via press releases, red carpet media interviews, social media and press conferences. 

She has also worked in corporate marketing, radio and as a Media Buyer for an advertising agency. After living in Bangkok for a couple months, she grew in love with the city and decided to settle in for a bit. She is now working at a marketing agency and venturing into arts and media in Bangkok with plans to launch an online shop and blog, ToriTalks, in 2018.

       

 

 

 

 

2017 RECAP: 7 LESSONS THESE BOSS BABES TAUGHT US THIS YEAR

We are officially less than 48 hours away from 2018, which means it's almost time to turn the page on the past year. But before we wind down and reflect on the successes, heartbreaks, triumphs and failed resolutions, I wanted take a look back at all the lessons some of our fav Boss Babes taught us is this year. From Issa Rae, to Cardi B, this was definitely the year of the FEMALE (as is every year)! 

From watching women find their voice and come together to take down some famous creeps in Hollywood, to the glorious ascend of Cardi B,  2017 saw a lot of fierce women redefining the "B" word.

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RIHANNA

LESSON #1: Rihanna taught us an old aged adage -- It’s not about who does it first. It’s about who does it BEST. 

With billions of makeup products and lines,  like Kylie's Lip kit, Kim Kardashian's contour pallets, to  Maybeline, CoverGirl, MAC and the list goes on. It appeared that the makeup industry was crowded. However, in true Rih Rih fashion, she combined her edginess and down to earth REALNESS to serve us a billion dollar makeup line, because she found a niche and made it her own, all while meeting a specific need (a variety of shades when it comes to makeup ---thanks Rih!). So next time you're doubting that business idea because the next girl is doing it, remember... what would Rihanna do? Don't let "crowded" spaces keep you from shining bright! You are YOUnique, that is your gift to the world.

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THE MILLIONS OF WOMEN WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE WOMEN'S MARCH

Lesson#2: When women come together with a collective intention -- it is a powerful thing.

The Women's March was a worldwide protest on January 21, 2017, to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women's rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers' rights. Most of the rallies were aimed at Donald Trump, immediately following his inauguration largely due to statements that he had made and positions that he had taken during his campaign. It was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history

While we are still a long way from where we need to be, I felt hope on that day. I felt powerful. I felt the power of the #BOSSTRIBE truly come together. And like Madonna said...

"The revolution starts here...It is the beginning of much-needed change," but, "change that will require sacrifice, people, change that will require many of us to make different choices in our lives. But this is the hallmark of revolution. So my question to you today is, are you ready?"

YASSSSSS WE ARE READY!

ISSA RAE

Lesson #3: "It's not about networking up, it's about networking across"

This year, the above clip of Issa Rae went viral and for good reason. So many of us have huge dreams of working with the Oprahs, Beyonces and Mark Zuckerbergs of our industries and we are ignoring the people  right next to us. The people that are grinding just as hard as we are, that can help us. Look for collaboration, not a hand out when you're trying to build you career, business, or brand. Chances are the person that's within reach is not only accessible but happy to help in work together. There is so much power in networking across. 

Below is a snippet, but I'd recommend watching the full clip above:

"We have a tendency to try to.. network up and it really is about networking across -- like who's next to you? who's struggling with you? who's in the trenches with you?who's just as hungry as you are? Those are the people that you need to build with..." - Issa Rae

 

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ASHLEY GRAHAM

Lesson #4: The reward for HARD WORK...is more work.

Ashley Graham is all about style AND substance: a supermodel turning heads as a role model.

She made history in 2016 as the first "plus-size" model to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. In her 2017  memoir, “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like” the supermodel talked about how being a Sports Illustrated cover girl was unreal. “[It proved that] anything you want can happen...[it] means that size diversity is here, and it’s real" and it’s not a trend.

However, in 2017 and beyond, Ashley has been on a mission to put a new twist on the term plus-size and encourage people to not put all curvy women in one limiting category. “I think that when you use the word ‘plus-size,’ you’re putting all these women in a category: ‘You don’t eat well.’ ‘You don’t work out.’ ‘You could care less about your body.’ ‘You’re insecure.’ ‘You have no confidence...and that is not [me]...I'm having a moment, but I've been having a moment a little while right now, and I'm so thankful for it. Not only are you seeing women who have my body shape, who are bigger, who are smaller, whatever; you see the industry changing right before your eyes. 

"You can have an 'it' moment, but you have to know how to continue to move this movement into something that's bigger than yourself."

SLOANE STEPHENS

Lesson #5: It's not about how you start, it's about how you finish...

 (..and it's ALSO about SECURING THE BAG!)

After having foot surgery in January with plans to return to the tour in summer, Stephens was granted the opportunity to be a broadcaster for Tennis Channel. She was featured as an off-court personality, showing activities around the grounds and conducting player interviews in Indian Wells, Miami, and Charleston.  Stephens started her comeback at Wimbledon, but fell in the first round to Alison Riske and again in the first round in her next tournament at the Citi Open.

Entering the US Open with a protected ranking, Stephens defeated three different opponents before advancing to the semi-final, where she defeated Venus Williams in three sets, reaching her first final in a Grand Slam tournament.She then beat Madison Keys in the final for her first Grand Slam title. 

Above is my fav clip of Sloane Stephens after a reporter asked her how she felt about the money and continuing to play tennis after she won.

This last section is for the newcomers in 2017 or what I liked to call the "Rookies of the Year". It happens every year-- an unexpected celebrity, influencer, or athlete has a breakout year -- the world never sees it coming. These are the stories and lessons we live for. These people feel REAL to us. And this year, we saw TWO that caught our attention. These ladies should remind you that next year could be YOUR breakout year, so always give it ALL you got. I present to you, #THEBISFORBOSS 2017 ROOKIES OF THE YEAR. 

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CARDI B

Lesson #6: YOU WIN WHEN YOU ARE AUTHENTIC

Cardi B's personality is as undeniably big as it is controversial. With so many people having mixed feelings about this stripper turned reality star, turned record breaking female rapper, there is one thing that is undeniable -- She's as REAL as it gets.  She's not biting her tongue and she's not taking no sh*t. And there's something you can't deny about someone that is unapologetically themselves.

The other thing you can't deny, is that when you hear "BODAK YELLOW" you can't help but bob your head and mouth "I ain't gotta dance, I make money moves..." and whether your love it or hate it -- this underdog definitely finished off 2017 on top. From an engagement to her famous fiancé, Off-set to beating out Taylor Swift's record on the Billboard 100 story, this unlikely hero made her way onto every chart, blog, and national tv segment and is ending the year with countless awards, a ring on her finger, red bottoms on her feet and coins in her accounts.

You go Cardi B! Let's all make 2018 our Cardi Year. 

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TIFFANY HADDISH

Lesson#7: Hustle everyday like you're homeless -- your pay day will come.

Tiffany Haddish has had a hell of a year after starring in “Girls Trip” and becoming the first black female comic to host “Saturday Night Live.” But none of that would have been possible without the lessons her childhood bullies and being homeless in her thirties while pursuing comedy and not breaking out until she was almost 40 taught her (and us).  

When talking about her slow rise to fame, Haddish stated "I’m so happy I’ve been accepted finally after all these years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears,” the Girls Trip breakout star said she feels “like a foster kid who’s been in the foster system for a long time and they turn 16 and somebody adopted them and said you can go to college, you don’t gotta pay for student loans or nothing..."It’s what I’ve been working for for 19 years now,” she said. “Just really been putting in all this work and the fruits of my labor are really starting to show.”

She even had time to write a book this year, to continue her rise to fame. We can't wait to dive into Tiffany's first book, The Last Black Unicorn and uncover more lessons from this rookie who is equally—humble, grateful, down-to-earth, and funny as hell.

So next time you're feeling like you are "BEHIND" in life and everyone is reaching success before you, keep hustlin like your homeless. Because whether you are 22 or 42, if you put in the work, the payoff will come. 

 

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