Developing Leadership Through Sharing Wisdom

Developing Leadership Through Sharing Wisdom


               Maya Angelou was such a wise woman – an inspiration for us all. I was so sad to learn of her passing a couple of weeks ago. She was definitely a woman who left her mark on this world and that is truly wonderful! I came across this quote of hers and couldn’t wait to create a blog post around it because I couldn’t agree more!

               There is so much wisdom that can be gained from listening to the stories of other people. Hearing the personal successes and struggles of others can give you the courage and the strength to overcome obstacles. It can be that extra “push” you need to take a big step or make a major decision. It call pull you out of feeling isolated when you are dealing with some of the heavy blows life sends our way sometimes.

                 On my Dinner With Nerds Food Blog, I created a series of interviews with people for this very reason! My “In The Kitchen” and “At The Table” series are interviews I conduct with professional, successful people over dinner/coffee/lunch. I believe we learn more about others in more laid back environments over dinner/coffee/lunch than we do in an office setting or stuffy board room. I know the value of learning from others – their mistakes, successes and journey’s along the way.

               Take the time to invite someone for coffee or lunch and invest in learning from their life experiences. We are more alike than we are different! There are common themes we all encounter in everyday life that can be used as inspiration for each other. Let the experience and wisdom of others help you to develop your Leadership skills today!

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series


              Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril


The Power of Ideas

The Power of Ideas


Leadership Ideas


               We all have ideas. Everyone can dream. However, the sign of an effective leader is being able to take those ideas and put them into action! Try. Experiment. Yes, you will fail every now and then and that’s fine. Failure is an opportunity to begin again with more insight and direction!

             In 1985, when Steve Jobs was just 30 years old, he was fired from the company he co-founded – Apple! He had revolutionized personal computing and had built the company into a billion dollar empire! Jobs didn’t let that set-back stop him. He came back from that defeat with ideas that have completely changed the way we use computers, smart phones, music devices and TV! The process of Steve Jobs taking a tiny idea and putting it into action has changed the way the world operates!

What ideas do you have today that should be acted upon to produce change?

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.

15 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up from a Day that Sucks

15 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up from a Day That Sucks



             Just admit it. No matter how “together” we try to run our daily lives, there are days that just plain suck! I had one of those days last week . I woke up with the best intentions for my day going great. I prayed to God for a good day before my feet even hit the floor that morning. I had a delicious breakfast and even snuck in a couple swigs of Mountain Dew (it’s my equivalent of coffee) before I left home for my office. So how in the world did I feel totally defeated by the time the clock struck 5pm???

            I have several ways of dealing with this type of day and I’m sharing some of those with you below. Some are things I’ve actually done, some are things that I’m mustering up the courage to do the next time a bad day rolls around and some are things little birdies have stopped by to tell me they’ve done (LOL). I’ll leave it up to you to decipher which is which 🙂 Here it goes:

1.) Find the best 90’s R&B Satellite Radio Station, turn it up, stand in the middle of a room that echos – hairbrush in hand as a microphone, and sing like you’re one of the last 3 contestants standing on American Idol!

2.) Buy the largest container of Vanilla and Salted Caramel Gelato in the grocery store freezer section and eat half of it before you even leave the grocery store parking lot

3.) Flip to the On-Demand station of Comcast and watch the past 3 episodes of  your favorite TV show, the same ones you’ve seen twice already

4.) Head to the nail shop to get your toenails painted, even in the dead of winter. Sit in the massage chair for a full 30 minutes after your nails have been polished. Don’t judge. Those massage chairs are awesome!

5.) Drink a glass, or two of a great white wine…….in the extra-large Olivia Pope style wine glasses!

6.) Retail Therapy – Set a budget though. Retail therapy while you are feeling ‘some kinda way’ can have horrible consequences

7. )Put on your best pair of running shoes and hit the pavement with no set destination in mind. Just run for exercise until you get tired…..

8.) Call it a night around 6pm. Lights out………………………………

9.) Have a glass of wine, imagine yourself as a character in a romantic novel………then call it a night around 7pm. Lights out……………………………….

10.) Read a really good book from cover to cover

11.) Go for a ride in a really wealthy neighborhood and imagine what it would be like to live there. If you already live in one of these neighborhoods……never mind.

12.) Cook a huge pot of pasta, preferably Fettuccine Alfredo! Throw in some chicken and Broccoli. It’s a great comfort food.

13.) Have a really good cry about the day that sucked 😦

14.) Pack a bag or two, book a flight, and leave for the Bahamas to enjoy some sun for a day or two

15.) Blog about 15 ways to cheer yourself up from a day that sucks!

Tell me, what do you do to turn a horrible day around??

— Dr. April

Your Playing Small Does Not Serve The World

“Our deepest Fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest Fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that scares us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? You are a Child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically LIBERATES OTHERS.

— Marianne Williamson

Your Playing Small Does Not Serve The World

Your Playing Small Does Not Serve the World

                       There is so much good teaching going on in this quote that I have to marinate on it for a while and break it down into little, bitty pieces! What I’m focusing on is the part of this quote where Marianne says “Your playing small does not serve the world”! Let me let you in on little something, I literally just got up and did my happy dance right here in my office! I wholeheartedly believe that we starve the world of our gifts when we play it small! it takes the same amount of energy to ‘think small” as it does to “think big” so why in the world do we waste our time on things that ultimately don’t matter and don’t help to make our lives or those around us any better.

Fear is one of the main reasons we “play small”. We are afraid of what others will think, we are afraid we wont be good enough to accomplish our goals. When we can’t put all the pieces together from the get-go and can’t see the end in sight, we get nervous.

                        Peer Pressure, the desire to conform, is another big reason people often ‘play small’. I speak to a number of youth and high school groups on the topics of life skills, career choices, etc. I’ve had young ladies come up to me after my workshops/lectures and express that parents, family members and friends discourage them from their goals essentially because they perceive them to be ‘too lofty’. I encourage these ladies to be careful of taking advice from ‘any ole’ body’ because people too weak to follow their own dreams will often find a way to discourage yours. They may not understand the gift God has placed in your heart because God gave the insight to YOU, not them! Those not privy to the information will not understand it. Most of the visions that God has ever placed in my heart all started out sounding really crazy because of how GRAND they were! But, I serve an Extraordinary God! He doesn’t do anything half-way or pint-sized! What’s even more awesome is that when my dreams/visions manifested, they turned out much greater than I could have ever imagined and God gets the glory for it!

                        Be aware that peer pressure is not limited to school age children and youth. Adults experience it as well and sometimes to a much greater degree. I’ve talked with adults who are apprehensive about being proactive in the workplace for fear of being perceived as ‘too aggressive’. I’ve known women who “dumb-down” when dating men because they don’t want to “scare” men off. That’s crazy. What happens when the flirtation phase of meeting someone starts to fade and the individuals’ true character emerges? A man who can’t recognize or appreciate a woman who is using her gifts to Glorify God is not a man I want to be in a relationship with….Period!

                          What purpose does an unopened gift serve? Absolutely NOTHING! The giver of the gift is not pleased, the recipient of the gift can never experience the joy that comes from it and the gift itself goes to waste and never gets to shine. The people who feel insecure by your gift will feel insecure whether you use it or not because………. that’s just how insecure people are and you can’t change that. You were not born to make God look like an “ok” God that crates mediocre people. Not at all! God creates us to be wonderful, excellent manifestations of His love and to use the gifts He has given us!. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if working for God and not for man.” Never play small to satisfy the insecurities of others. I serve a God who is much BIGGER and BETTER than that! Those who are intent on feeling insecure while I do the work God has set out for me to do, can have a seat, sit back and watch me work!

What steps can you take, starting today, to live life in a more bold and intentional way???

— Dr. April

When Do The Stars Shine?

My parents live out in the country where it is beautiful, quiet, and serene. At night, it’s really dark outside because there aren’t tons of street lights, fluorescent fast food restaurant signs, etc. Nighttime in the country is awesome because you can see the stars shining so bright!

When do the stars shine?

“You may not always know the details of your Journey or clearly see where the trail is leading, but God will always give you enough light to take the next step”

Let me pose the question…when do the starts shine? Most people will answer that the stars shine at night. However, the correct answer is that the stars actually shine all the time! However, in order to see the brilliance and beauty of the stars it has to be dark outside. Sometimes, we have to go through seasons of darkness in order to see God’s light shine through in our lives. Those dark times are usually very uncomfortable and can cause us to fumble haphazardly because we can’t clearly see what is going on around us. We can often feel alone and nervous. Sometimes, it’s downright scary because we can’t see what’s in front of us. However, focusing on that little glimmer of light that comes from those stars is enough illumination to light our path. What I have found to be true out in the country at night is that if you stand still long enough to let the pupils of your eyes dilate (become larger to let in more light), you can actually start to identify shadows and objects and can see the stars more clear. 

A plaque my mom gave me in college states the following:

You may not always know the details of your journey or clearly see where the trail is leading, but God will always give you enough light to take the next step.”

Glory!! How awesome is it that God will always give you enough light to take the next step as long as you have the faith to keep moving! Just Keep Moving!