Figure Out What’s Really Important

Figure Out What’s Really Important

 

Dr. Carmen April

 

When you figure out what’s important in to you in this life, it’s easy to let go of what’s not. I can’t be everything to everybody and still be happy with myself so I’ve learned to focus on what’s important and let everything else fall into place as they may.

Where do your priorities stand? Do you feel pulled in many different directions and finding that you aren’t at peace with where those paths are taking you? If so, it’s time to make some changes! Make a list of the things/activities/roles in your life that are most important to you. These reflect your CORE desires. These are the big rocks you put in the bucket 1st. Everything else, the smaller rocks and the sand, fill in AFTER your priorities are taken care of. If you fill your bucket with the small rocks and sand first, there will be no room for those things most important to you. When you learn that you can count on yourself, nothing else counts!

 

Dr. Carmen April          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Reiki Master, a Law of Attraction Practitioner, and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

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She’s Got That Girl Boss Hustle

She’s Got That Girl Boss Hustle

SHOULD

WOULD

COULD

DID !

Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

“Little Girls With Dreams Become Girls With Vision”

          I’ve always been a dreamer, dreaming the extraordinary, dreaming about things so grand they seem unbelievable to some and flat out crazy to others. I’m a fierce go-getter and not easily discouraged. I believe in the power of my dreams and know, for a fact, that if I can believe it…..I WILL see it!

          My husband surprised me with tickets to see Misty Copeland perform with the American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City last month (que my happy dance!)!!!! He knows how much I admire Misty as an AMAZING ballet dancer, the very first African American principle dancer for the American Ballet Theatre!! Her performance in Don Quixote was nothing short of amazing and I’m so blessed to have been able to see her do what she was born to do. Misty Copeland is the definition of a #GirlBoss!  While we were in NYC, one of my fave get-a-way spots because of the lively energy of the city, I had an idea for an impromptu photo shoot right outside our hotel, a block away from Times Square………… and with my Hubby as the photographer 🙂

 

           Y’all know I’m about lifting others as I climb and I think it’s important that women entrepreneurs share stories of our journey, inspiration and encouragement along the way! Its the reason for this blog – to share inspiration, motivation and encouragement on a regular basis to those looking for inspiration while following their dreams.

          I’m big on inspirational quotes because they are simple enough to memorize quickly. When I need a bit of inspiration and encouragement in my life, they are easy to recall, but pack a powerful punch! So, here are some pearls of inspiration for the #GirlBosses , #BossLadies , & #WomenOnTheMove !

 

Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

God never gives you a dream that matches your budget. He’s not checking your bank account. He’s checking your FAITH!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

Allow Possibility To Feed Your Soul!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

I stopped waiting for the “Light at the end of the Tunnel” and lit it MYSELF!

 

 

 

 

 

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You did NOT wake up today to be Mediocre!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BE the game changer!Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Carmen April

 

 

 

Make your passion your Paycheck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m on a mission to build an EMPIRE and leave a LEGACY”Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just BLOOMS.Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Carmen April Girl BossBe THANKFUL for what you have. Be fearless in what you want!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BE the Game Changer!Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Investment: YOURSELF!

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

Motivation gets you started. HABIT keeps you going.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I LOVE my Boss.” (P.S. – I work for myself!)Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

If you wait until you’re “READY”, you’ll be waiting the rest of your life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Do You!Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You had a purpose before anyone had an opinion!

 

 

 

Once in a while, honey, blow your OWN mind!Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be afraid, be inspired! God gave us talents and He wants us to use them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#GirlBoss : She knew the power of her mind and she programmed it for success!Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t downgrade your dream just to fit your reality. Upgrade your conviction to match your destiny!

 

 

 

 

 

EXPECT AMAZING!!!!!!!Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Carmen April Girl Boss

 

 

 

 

“When life gives you lemons, don’t just make lemonade. Build a lemonade stand and make a profit! #GirlBossMindset

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Carmen Aprl Girl Boss

“Don’t give up. Normally, it is the last key on the ring which opens the door.” – Paulo Coelho

 

Dr Carmen April Speaker

           Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

My Gratitude Box

My Gratitude Box

Gratitude Box

          My Theme/Word for 2016 is GRATITUDE! I’m Grateful for Life, Love, following Christ and for living a life with more experiences, opportunities, and wonderful people than I deserve. Life is so very precious and I don’t, for a second, take that for granted. Every day that I wake up and step foot out of my bed with a sound mind, is another opportunity to be thankful and express my Gratitude for it all!

          A practice that I’ve been doing for a couple of years now involves using a Gratitude Box to hold my notes of Gratitude to God/Universe. Point blank……..you find less to complain about when you focus on all you have to be Grateful for!! That’s not to say that I don’t have my human moments throughout the day when things tick me off OR have a mini “spazz-out” session or two, because I do lol! However, when the dust settles, as the old gospel song we sing in church says, “And I think things over…..all of my good days, outweigh my bad days, and I won’t complain!” #Hallelujah!

          One of the reasons I use a Gratitude Box such as the one above more often than a Gratitude Journal is because I physically add small trinkets that represent things I’m grateful for to the box in addition to the notes and Gratitude cards I place there. Once that box that sits on my night stand is “full of Gratitude” (I Love how that sounds!!!), I empty it into a bigger box that sits in my closet and start filling up the smaller box on my nightstand again.

Thank You cardsGratitude Cards I fill out and add to my Gratitude Box on a regular basis

Interesting Note: These photos of me were taken last year before I was married…..or engaged for that matter….and it’s a bit “strange” to see my left hand without my engagement ring and wedding band on it lol! The interesting thing about my Gratitude practice is that one of the things I repeatedly wrote a Gratitude/Thank You note to God for was this ———> My Husband….BEFORE I ever had one OR even knew who he would be!!! I have plenty of Gratitude notes in my Gratitude Box thanking God IN ADVANCE for my husband! #TrueStory

Thank you cards

           I physically write out the things I’m grateful for in greeting/thank you cards then place them in my Gratitude Box because the Bible says “Write the Vision and Make it plain” (Habakukk 2:2) There is power in writing down your desires, requests, praise and words of GRATITUDE! P.S. = I kind of have a small obsession with all things paper and beautiful greeting cards so this method of using pretty cards and fancy letterhead to fill the box also feeds that obsession of mine 🙂

Gratitude Journal

          Gratitude Journal – Another way to perform this practice is to write your words of Gratitude directly into a Gratitude Journal. This works well because it keeps everything in one compact journal, keeps the entries in chronological order and can be taken with you when you travel, etc. Once again, you are activating that special power that comes from physically writing down the words!

Gratitude Journal

          My Gratitude Expressions include everything under the sun and the Heavens above  – Literally! I include expressions of Gratitude for the love I have for my family to an appreciation of my favorite color, green, simply because it makes me happy! I express Gratitude for the food that I am blessed to eat everyday and for the farmers who grew that food in their fields, to the truck drivers who delivered it to the grocery store and the cashier who rung it up for me when I bought it! There is an unlimited abundance of life experiences to be grateful if we just take the time to sit down and really concentrate on them 🙂

          Choose the method that works for you, but my all means…..DO IT! Express your Gratitude!! The more you express Gratitude to God/ The Universe for the things you are ALREADY blessed with, the more the Universe will open up it’s channels to pour out MORE blessings and MORE things and MORE opportunities and MORE experiences and the right people in your life to be Grateful for!

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Take Risks

Take Risks!

 

Take Risks

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

          I was speaking to a group of students recently and was asked a question about some of the characteristics that entrepreneurs have that make them successful. One of the first things that came to my mind was that entrepreneurs like myself are not afraid to take risks even when we know failure is a potential outcome. By its very nature entrepreneurship is very risky. The majority of small business fail in the first year or two of operation. You can’t really play it safe when you’re an entrepreneur because you must constantly evaluate what your customers/clients need, what you can deliver and how to find your way of doing that in a unique way in your industry.

            Some of the risks I have taken as an entrepreneur have turned about better than others, but I would never know the success of any of those risks had I never taken them in the first place!

            I frequently read business and entrepreneurial stories and one of the best parts about any success story is learning about the risks individuals take at the very beginning of their entrepreneurial journey. Those risks are usually the ones that become total game changers for them!

           Simply stated, the main reason people are afraid to take risks is because they become consumed with the monkey-chatter in their heads telling them that they may fail. Sure, you may fail, but you may also succeed. What is guaranteed, however, is that you will never know unless you try.

           A little note about failure: Failure isn’t always a bad thing. Remove the negative energy you give to the concept of failure. Instead of looking at it as a bad thing, realize that failures are nothing more than learning opportunities and a chance to begin again with a new perspective!!

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader Award (NELA) Winner, 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 and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

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

There is Power in What We Think About and Thank About

There is Power in What We Think About & Thank About!

Think About Thank About

          Plainly stated,  expressing Gratitude is one of the most important things you can do everyday to live a successful, victorious life!

            When you are truly thankful for all the things that allow you to live and breathe and have your being each and every day, you allow less and less room for dissatisfaction and complaining to take root in your mind. God/Creator/Universe honors gratitude and sends more of those things you are appreciative of your way!

When you change your thinking, you change your life!

When you are appreciative, your life changes!

Sounds like a win-win to me 🙂

Dr. Carmen April          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, 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 and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

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

“God is Within her. She will not fail”

“God is Within Her. She will not fail” – Psalm 46:5

          Today’s post is really simple. The verse featured as the title of this blog post was on my heart and I wanted to share it.

          I set the intention of succeeding at everything I do, but honestly, some of the tasks that are before me initially appear to be overwhelming. However, I have to often remind myself that “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me”, “If God be for me, who can be against me?”, and specifically on today – “God is Within Her. She will not Fail.”

           Taking a little time to sit down & meditate on all the blessings I experience and posses, reminds me that I can and WILL conquer the day victoriously!

Dr. Carmen April

Dr. Carmen April          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader Award (NELA) Winner, 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 and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

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

Be Brave in Leadership: 5 Tips for Initiating Crucial Conversations

Be Brave in Leadership: 5 Tips for Initiating Crucial

Conversations

 

              There are often times when leaders are tasked with having Crucial Conversations with members of their team. Crucial Conversations are those conversations that can be uncomfortable because they involve risky, emotional and critical topics. One definition of Crucial Conversations states it this way, “A crucial conversation is a discussion between two or more people where (1.) Stakes are high (2.) Opinions Vary, and (3.) Emotions run strong. The outcome greatly impacts the lives of those involved.”

                Crucial Conversations should not be avoided and should be addressed with planning and clear intention. Mastering the art of initiating a Crucial Conversation is a key Leadership Skill. Here are 5 tips to help initiate a Critical Conversation:

1.) Create a safe environment –  Crucial Conversations are best when not had in public. I learned a long time ago to “Praise in public and reprimand in private”. Most people, when feeling like they are being criticized, become defensive. This can intensify if done in front of others. Instead of focusing on the subject at hand, the person on the receiving end of the information may begin to focus more on defending themselves and their dignity than on being fully engaged in the conversation.

2.) Be prepared for a number of responses from the other person(s) in the conversation – When planning to have these types of conversations, we often play them out in our heads the way we expect the other person(s) to respond. Well, what happens when that other person gives an alternative response? How will you redirect the conversation? Remember that the person you are having the conversation with may be either (1.) fully receptive, (2.) genuinely confused and caught off guard about why they are being approached in regards to the situation, or (3.) may become defensive. Be prepared for your response to various scenarios.

3.)  Approach your Crucial Conversations using the Sandwich Method – Imagine you have a fabulous cheeseburger with all the fixings in front of you. The major components of the sandwich are the bun, top and bottom, and the beef patty. Crucial Conversations are best structured with offering some sort of positive reinforcement about what the team member has done well (top bun), followed by the sensitive issue that needs to be discussed (beef patty), then followed up again by positive reinforcement (bottom bun). Essentially, you are ‘sandwiching’ the hard part of the discussion in between some positivity.

4) Remember that mutual respect is important for the accurate transference of information – Most adults don’t like to feel “talked down to” by anyone, including their boss/team member, etc. As the Leader, you must remember that the “fight or flight instinct”  kicks in when people feel threatened. These Crucial Conversations can easily go left if a mutual respect is not had by both parties. I did not say both parties had to “like” each other, but mutual respect is important here.

5.) Stay in control of the conversation – Stay on task with the conversation at hand. Keep emotions in check. Deal in the facts and not conjecture and remember the initial goal of the conversation.

How will you handle your next Crucial Conversation at work/community organization, etc?

– Dr. April

Crucial Conversations

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.