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Self Love tattoo

Image by artnoose via Flickr

My mother used to tell me that I should be my own best friend. When I was younger, I did not fully understand what she meant. But, the words stayed with me.

I have learned over the years that loving one’s self is hard because we have spent a lifetime listening to negative messages that have made us feel that we don’t deserve love. We constantly have tapes in our minds that speak to our unworthiness, and the sad thing is that we listen to them and start believing.

These negative messages keep us from acting in our own best interest. We allow others to take advantage of us and control our lives. We cease to be our own best friend.

In order to unhook from the cycle we must take deliberate steps to affirm who we are and take positive steps to loving our selves. It is up to us to be the person we want to be.

The power is within. Begin to tap into it with these steps:

  1. Make a firm decision to put yourself first. Make yourself a part of your equation. Put yourself into your life.
  2. Start to turn off critical or negative voices inside your head. You don’t have to buy into negative messages.
  3. Plan to spend one-hour with yourself every day to focus on you – go for a walk, take a bath or put on soothing music and relax. This will help you clean out the cobwebs in your mind.
  4. Write down all of the positive things that happened to you today. Count your blessings, don’t block them. Just waking up every morning is a blessing!
  5. Get negative people out of the front row seat of your life. Surround yourself with positive people.
  6. Buy a bunch of fresh flowers every week. They speak to you silently and powerfully about how special you are.
  7. Look in the mirror, into your eyes, and say out loud, “I love me some me!”

by Lisa Guillot, Step Brightly Creative Group

Part 2 of the Step Brightly Creative Women in Business Series Interview
with Ladon Brumfield, Director of Girls Rule!

Our favorite radio station, V103FM highlights “Views from the Heart” with Hermene Hartman, editor of N’Digo Magazine.  She shares her thoughts about Girls Rule and their list of 101 things a girl should know before she enters high school. Step Brightly’s favorite: #99 Pick friends who enhance your life.

Ladon Brumfield continues…

How do you continue to learn, evolve, network and find work/life balance?
It really is challenging! For entrepreneurs who are either building a business or working diligently to sustain or grow it, maintaining work/life balance is always a challenge. I think it’s an even more challenging balancing act for mompreneurs. I am no exception. I have to work extra hard to adhere to specific work hours so that work and life boundaries don’t become skewed. Sometimes I’m successful. Other times, I fail miserably.

I carve out time each day…ok, in reality, it’s just couple of times a week, to read articles from other professionals in my field. I also belong to several online community groups for entrepreneurs where I may network and share what I’ve learned while learning from others. To ensure that my programming continues to evolve, whenever possible I facilitate my own workshops so that can keep a pulse of and better understand the changing needs of the young ladies Girls Rule! serves.

How do you stay true to yourself as an individual in the business world?
I focus on purpose. I am not doing this work by accident, but by appointment. For me, Girls Rule! is a purpose driven work that I have been specifically prepared and crafted to do for this season. My spiritual, social and professional purpose and skill-sets are aligned…finally.

Many persons don’t know that initially, I primarily lived <read more>

Mother and daughter

Mother and Daughters Building Positive Self Image One Step at a Time

Question: How do I help my 12-year-old daughter increase her self-esteem when my own is not that great?

Answer: Even though life experiences have not enabled you to feel positive self-esteem, you still can help others to build a positive image:

1. Compliment your daughter on the decisions that she makes. When she has a problem, help her to search for ways to deal with the situation, rather than taking over the problem and telling her what she should do.

2. Help her analyze her poor decisions so she can identify her mistakes and chart better courses of action.

3. Encourage your daughter to take positive risks such as trying out for a sport, attending a club, or volunteering to work on a special project. By taking these risks, she can gain the attention from others who can support you in your efforts to make her feel significant.

4. Teens feel most confident when they know they can make a difference — that they can help others. Seek opportunities for her to show what she can do and where she can earn compliments from others, not just from her friends or her parents.

It’s never too late to begin to find out just how great we really are. Make a list of your own strengths and find ways to use them more. Others will notice and value your contributions. Soon you’ll be on the road to building your own self-esteem.

A southern Indiana school district drew fire after telling a teenager to sing the national anthem their way – a more “traditional” way.  Since then the teen, Shai Warfield-Cross has received a formal apology from the school principal.  He also promised to personally introduce her to the audience the next time she sings the song, which she’ll be allowed to sing her way. <more below>

What Happened?

Shai, a 16 year old sophamore student at Bloomington High School North, has performed “The Star Spangle Banner,” at school sporting events for the past year without incident.  However, a big flap was caused when she sang her interpretation of the national anthem before a game in Marshville, IN.

Bloomingtion High School North’s principal, Jeff Henderson reprimanded the teen for her interpretation of the song after receiving complaints from some who found the melody to be unrecognizable and others who felt the rendition was disrespectful to both past and current members of the United States military.  

Do you think the National Anthem is up for interpretation?  Should we inspire girls to blend out – but only in ways that make others feel comfortable?

Ladon Brumfield
Girls Rule! Inspiring Girls to Blend…OUT!
www.girlz-rule.org

Have you ever shared your intent to pursue your life’s dream, purpose or passion with someone and had them squelch your spirit?  Maybe you shared your vision to write a book, open a business, or to start a community serving organization or program and the person in whom you confided said, “That’s good.  Just have a plan B lined up.” or questioned whether your vision was “realistic.” 

Well, it’s important to remember that one’s vision is uniquely their own. Everyone won’t be able to see where you are trying to go.  Don’t give up or get side tracked. 

Together let’s affirm that… 

 “I will not loose sight of my vision simply because others can’t see what’s on the horizon.”

 Ladon Brumfield
Girls Rule! – Inspiring Girls to Blend…OUT!
www.girlz-rule.org

2010 New Year Dawn

Image by Big Jobs via Flickr

Well it’s just about that time folks!  Here we stand on the cusp of ending one amazing chapter of our lives and beginning a new and exciting one.  
 
 As we transition from one year to the next and begin to think about all of the wonderful changes we’d like to make in 2011, I invite you to spend an equal amount of time and energy taking stock of the many wonderful blessings, accomplishments and challenges you overcame in 2010. 
 
Why?  I’m glad you asked! 
Sometimes during our life’s journey, when we experience trails – either in the business or personal realm, we forget how much road…how much tough terrane we’ve already traveled!  We forget all we’ve survived and those moments when we bent, but didn’t break.  
 
So go ahead!  Write down the changes you’ll make in 2011, but don’t forget to log the challenges you overcame 2010, because after all… you ARE a CHAMPION.
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
 
Ladon Brumfield
Director
Girls Rule! Inspiring Girls To Blend…OUT!
Winners of Chicago’s Philanthropic Social Enterprise of the Year Award
http://www.girlz-rule.org/
 
" Without your love, a love I need, it’s ...

Image by Parvin ♣( OFF for a while ) via Flickr

I’ve begun to receive many questions from educators, social service workers and parents about the best way for them to discuss puberty with tweens – kids ages 8-12.  This prompted me to pull this great article developed the Academy of Pediatrics.  Please feel free to read, share with others and even print for distribution to young people if necessary.

Puberty Basics

Understanding Puberty – For Boys and Girls 

What is Puberty?

Puberty is the time when your body begins to change from a child’s body into an adult woman’s body. Boys also experience puberty although they’re usually a little older when their body begins to change. For girls, puberty usually begins between the ages of 9 and 13, while boys experience their changes between the ages of 10 and 14. This is why girls are often taller than boys are during puberty and why girls sometimes feel uncomfortable about their bodies during puberty. Don’t worry if you’re taller than the boys are, before you know it, the boys will be the taller gender. Puberty is nothing to fear, in fact, it’s the beginning of your own independence. Puberty gives you more freedom because you’re maturing and are able to begin to make responsible choices of your own.

What Causes Puberty to Start?

Hormones are the reason that the physical and emotional changes of puberty begin. For girls, the hormone that starts puberty is estrogen; the production of the hormone testosterone begins puberty in boys. Estrogen is the female hormone, while testosterone is the male hormone. However, the fact is that women produce a small amount of testosterone and boys produce some estrogen. Another hormone that plays an important role in female reproductive health is progesterone. You may also hear these hormones called sex hormones. These are the key reproductive hormones; however, the body produces many other hormones that work together with other parts of the body, such as the thyroid, to keep us healthy.

What Happens During Puberty?

When puberty begins, one of the first things that happen is that your monthly menstrual cycle starts. The start of your periods means that you’re a woman now and pregnancy can occur at anytime that you decide that you’re ready to have sexual intercourse. Think carefully before you decide that having sex is worth the risk of becoming pregnant.

Don’t think that because it’s your first time having sex that you won’t get pregnant. That is simply not true. There is no “safe” time to have sex without getting pregnant. If you’re thinking about having sex, talk to your doctor about how you can protect yourself from an unplanned pregnancy, as well as from sexually transmitted diseases or STDs.

Other changes that occur during puberty include:

  • Breast changes. During puberty, your breasts will begin to grow larger. You may feel a small, sometimes painful, lump just below your nipple when your breasts start to develop. This is perfectly normal occurrence in girls. 
  • Body hair. This is the time when you’ll start to notice soft hair beginning to grow in your pubic area; overtime this hair begins to grow thicker and you’ll notice hair growing under your arms and on your legs. If you decide you want to shave this new body hair, make sure to use clean water and a new razor. Never use anyone else’s razor. Sharing razors may cause other infections to develop. 
  • Body size and shape. The size and shape of your body also changes during puberty. Your hips widen, while your waist gets smaller. You’ll also develop extra fat in your stomach and buttocks. Don’t worry, you’re not getting fat; you’re body is developing the curves that grown up women’s bodies have.Another change to your body is the lengthening of your arms, legs, and the growth of hands and feet. Often, these changes occur more rapidly than the changes in the rest of your body. Sometimes girls feel uncomfortable at this stage of development. Fortunately, these are temporary changes and you won’t even notice them when the rest of your developing body catches up.
  • Emotional changes. You might think you’re going crazy sometimes during puberty. You’re not. Many girls and women experience these feelings around the time their period comes each month. These types of emotional ups, downs, irritability are most often due to the fluctuating hormone levels that happen during the menstrual cycle. You might notice that sometimes you feel great, and before you know what happened, you may suddenly feel horrible emotionally and physically.

If your emotions become too intense, talk to your doctor. You might be experiencing premenstrual syndrome or PMS or another condition. Your doctor may be able to prescribe some medicine or lifestyle changes that may help improve your mood swings. Regular exercise and dietary changes are often effective ways to treat PMS or other emotional changes during puberty and throughout your life.

Talk to your mom, an older sister, or another woman you feel comfortable talking to about how the physical and emotional changes of puberty make you feel. It’s often easier to deal with these changes when you have someone that you can talk to about your feelings.

Ladon Brumfield
Girls Rule!
www.girlz-rule.org

Today, a strange thing happened. Out of the blue, the young ladies at today’s kickoff meeting of the  Girls Rule! / Gompers Fine Arts Option School program, asked me about a workshop I conduct called “The Power of Words.” Apparently a teacher had seen it on NBC and mentioned it to them.

Their questions prompted a brief conversation about how sometimes people use words to bring you down, because they are jealous of a valuable quality you possess, or for various other reasons.  At the end of the discussion a 6th participant said,

“Hmmm….Sometimes people pick on what you think is your weakness, because it’s really your strength.”

How sussinct. These 12 and 13 year olds learned a lesson it takes some years to learn. Girls really do Rule!

Ladon Brumfield, Director
Girls Rule!
Inspiring Girls to Blend…OUT!
http://www.girlz-rule.org

Question: How do I help my 12-year-old daughter increase her self-esteem when my own is not that great?

Answer: Even though life experiences have not enabled you to feel positive self-esteem, you still can help others to build a positive image:

1. Compliment your daughter on the decisions that she makes. When she has a problem, help her to search for ways to deal with the situation, rather than taking over the problem and telling her what she should do.

2. Help her analyze her poor decisions so she can identify her mistakes and chart better courses of action.

3. Encourage your daughter to take positive risks such as trying out for a sport, attending a club, or volunteering to work on a special project. By taking these risks, she can gain the attention from others who can support you in your efforts to make her feel significant.

4. Teens feel most confident when they know they can make a difference — that they can help others. Seek opportunities for her to show what she can do and where she can earn compliments from others, not just from her friends or her parents.

It’s never too late to begin to find out just how great we really are. Make a list of your own strengths and find ways to use them more. Others will notice and value your contributions. Soon you’ll be on the road to building your own self-esteem.

Ladon Brumfield, Director
Girls Rule!
www.girlz-rule.org

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The Etiquette Imperative Workshops

The Know Your Destination Etiquette Series.

The Etiquette Imperative, as featured on The Evening News with Katie Couric, Chicago's NBC 5 and in other media outlets, provides an organized opportunity for discussion of the rules of etiquette in an age appropriate fun and engaging manner.

Access to these esteem building, critical life skills help girls to successfully navigate social situations, enhance their communication skills and serve them well as they transition in to adulthood. Learn more!

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