Dare to Ask Yourself the Big Questions

Dare to Ask Yourself the Big Questions

 

For as long as I can remember, I have tried to follow the “right” path and take all the “right” steps. I took school (very) seriously. Never got in trouble. Filled my plate with extracurriculars.  Everything society tells you is important was important to me. Maybe too important. This led to a lot of accomplishments but concurrently, a life of anxiety and stress…and not necessarily happiness.

 

I kept myself busy, always going, always moving forward to the next thing – college (4 years), grad school (4 years), then the next logical step, pursuing licensure…another 2 years minimum. Passions of mine like dance and theatre got pushed aside because they weren’t realistic options and the opportunities weren’t there where I grew up in Florida. Plus, I was good at school.

 

Upon graduating with my M.A., I was offered an incredible full-time job at Rollins College, my alma mater and dream school. No way I could pass that up. Additionally, I was offered part-time work at my counseling supervisor’s private practice where I could begin accumulating hours toward licensure with supervision included. I’d be crazy to pass that up, right? And just like that, my schedule consisted of a 8:30am-5:00pm full-time job, rushing to see clients at the private practice (almost running over Paul McCartney but that’s a story for another time) from 5:30-9:00pm, shower, maybe an hour tops to unwind…and up early for 7:00am boot camp if I wanted to get a workout in.

 

It was too much. But I had essentially been working like this since birth. Told that hard works pay off. But when? I had a lot going for me but I was not happy and started to question what I was even working toward anymore. Lost site of my end goal. Pushing forward without asking questions had just become second nature. When I finally stopped to breathe and ask the big questions, it dawned on me…life is short. I didn’t want to get stuck. We only have one life to live and I wanted to fully experience mine.

 

I started thinking about where else it might be exciting to live. Apart from a small stint in London for a semester study abroad in college and that time my family almost moved to Belgium when I was 8, I’d never lived anywhere other than Florida. I didn’t want to live a life with regrets, never knowing what could have been. That sounded much worse to me than any alternative so, I leapt. I gave notice at my jobs, cleared out the apartment I’d lived in for 10 years (including all the awards I’d racked up and thought were so important over the years), packed up my (small) car with whatever I could fit, and drove to NYC, without a place, without a job, without knowing anyone there. And it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

 

I made the move with a lot of unanswered questions and blanks to fill in (and spoiler alert, though I don’t want to say too much because there’s a whole book on this to come) but it all came together, one day, one step at a time. I’d be lying if I said it was easy. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life and I experienced all of the stages and emotions but it was worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears. People will think you’re crazy. You will start to think you’re crazy. But don’t let that stop you. Grab ahold of your life strongly with both hands. It’s about more than your job, your house, your car, your possessions. None of it means anything if your quality of life isn’t there. Is something missing? It’s never too late. Sure, it’s scary. I get it. But that’s half the fun. You will figure it out, I promise.

Angela is an actor and influencer in NYC. She graduated with her B.A. in Psychology and her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. Angela toured the U.S. as bassist and vocalist for alternative rock band SMB Project and is passionate about advocacy and activism. She is a lover of fitness, music, the beach, breakfast, traveling, and thrift store shopping. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @angelabelcamino

Meet Dawn Falcone, The ‘Chaos Liberator’

Dawn Falcone: The Chaos Liberator

 

Dawn Falcone is an Expert Mentor in the She Is Fierce! Membership community!  

This January, she shared an challenge with our members on how to organize and find peace in your home office… clearing the clutter, creating systems and finding a space that brings you joy!

Get a sneak peek at our intro video with Dawn below!

 

Watch a video interview with Dawn here…

 

 

When did you first learn about that organization could be turned into a career? What called you to it?

I’ve always had a love for organizing things even as a kid. My mom was a bit messy (chronically disorganized) so I spent many a rainy Saturday organizing her closet or the kitchen cabinets. It was good practice!

I didn’t realize it was an actually a business until a friend pointed it out to me. I would help set up newly married friends  homes as a gift. I had no idea you could get paid for the service. My mind was blown the first time I saw the show Mission Organization.  My reaction was, “I can sooooo do that!”

 

What led you to launch your business and become The Chaos Liberator?

I’ve been in business in NYC for 10 years. I began branching out into the world of virtual organizing at the start of 2016. I LOVE helping women clear clutter all over the globe.

My son was the driving factor in me launching my biz 10 years ago. He’s also the reason I decided to start working virtually last year. I wanted to spend more time with him and meet him at the bus when he got home from school.

I became The Chaos Liberator a few years ago. I was tired of just referring to myself as just a professional organizer when what I do with my clients goes so much deeper than just the physical stuff. The Chaos Liberator came up after brainstorming with a friend. I immediately loved it because it all encompassing, powerful and freeing.

 

Dawn Falcone: The Chaos Liberator

 

Why do you believe that organization is such a necessity in every space?

What’s your number one tip for keeping some peace in your personal and professional spaces? I know firsthand how clearing clutter can change lives. Clutter is stuck energy after all, so once you move through that and get organized, things can truly shift in your life.

You’ve got to have a maintenance plan in place to keep your space organized. I wish there were magical fairy elves who could perform this task for us, but until someone invents that  set a day/time weekly or bi-weekly to deal with things like mail & paper, your desk area, etc. You don’t need to devote a ton of time and once you do it regularly it will become a habit.

I also think it’s important  to look around at the physical stuff surrounding you every once in a while, and ask yourself some questions. Do you like the stuff? Do you use it? Does it work for you and make your life easier? Do you feel guilt or are you keeping something out of obligation (gifts you don’t like from your m-i-l can fall into this category)? If you have things that do not support you and make you feel good, let them go. Or else that stuff will own you over time instead of the other way around.

 

How has taking the leap and starting your own business changed you?

I think it’s made me more apt to take risks and not play it safe. I was a bit of a control freak before but since starting my biz, I now can go with the flow more. You have to flexible as a business owner. Some ideas will work and be well received and others may flop, but you just have to be consistent and keep going.

 

What is the biggest overall lesson you learned in running a business and what was the best piece of advice you were ever given?

There is no one way to make it as an entrepreneur. You can follow a guru’s plan for success to a T and may not end up with the same results. The difference is you. You are unique and have your own voice, skills and energy. Learn from the best in the business and then infuse your own authentic self into it. And trust your gut. It will not lead you astray.

 

Dawn Falcone Family

 

How do you find a healthy balance between work and family with such a busy schedule?

This is something I still struggle with sometimes. It’s so tempting to constantly be at your computer working on your biz, especially if you work from home. There are certain times when your business will demand more of you like when you’re launching a program, but I started time batching in 2016 and that’s made a difference.

Time batching is grouping together similar tasks that require similar resources to maximize concentration and function. So instead of checking emails whenever throughout the day, you set blocks of time (1 hr at start and 1 hour at end of the day) to solely focus on that. I’ve become a better time manager because of it, which in turn means I’m on my computer less, which means more family time.

I also set some self imposed computer restrictions that have helped shift the balance more towards my family. No computer between 3-6pm weekdays. When my son gets home from school, my focus can be on him. No computer at least 2 hours before bed. Not only has this helped me sleep better, but now that time is more about reconnecting with my husband instead of working on my biz or Facebook surfing (this girl loves to surf!)

 

What does success mean to you?

Success to me is being able to make a difference is someone’s life, from my wonderful clients to my son and family.

 

Reframing the Family Portrait: Putting the Focus on Mothers

Refocusing the Family Portrait: Putting the Spotlight on Mothers

Kylie Bodiya created Moving Lives Photography to empower women through luxury portraits. She was led to use women as a focal point of her photos when she started to realize how many mothers would rather remain out of the frame and just have pictures taken of their children. Kylie decided enough was enough and that it was time for mothers to get in front of the camera and FEEL beautiful about themselves.

 

Her story actually starts with the birth of her daughter. Kylie has a 4-year design degree, but when her daughter was born she started expressing her creativity through the lens of a camera. It started out just for fun, but suddenly, she was doing it more and more and found a love for the “before and after” of a portrait. She worked with children doing family photography for a bit to build her portfolio, but started enjoying the post-editing process more.

 

Kylie was inspired by the famous photographer, Sue Bryce, and began searching out women who needed a chance to feel good about themselves. She now creates timeless portraits to empower women everywhere!

 

When did you first learn about your field of work? What called you to it?

I began to get into photography after my daughter was born three years ago. I was on maternity leave from a very creative career and my mind was restless. I found a creative outlet in taking photos of my beautiful baby girl. I was TERRIBLE at first!

 

Luckily my husband had a great camera that I could learn from. I began to simply watch online videos, tutorials, reading more and more. I have a degree in design already, so the composition, ideas came naturally. I simply needed the technical expertise to back up my ideas!

 

As I began to grow as a photographer, I was photographing everything: children, families, newborn, maternity, etc. I thought I wanted to do it all, but I quickly realized that I needed a focus before I could find my style. I found Sue Bryce, whom I’ve come to look up to, aspire to be like, and just simply adore her work. Her fearless mentality and mantra of empowering women inspired me. So I started painting my backdrops, gathering clients and found a niche in the glamour portrait arena. I love how I can tell a story through the eyes. I also love that I can make women who think they are completely un-photogenic and make them LOVE their portraits.

 

When women want family portraits done, they always say “just take photos of the kids, I don’t want to be in them!” and I am so sad by that statement. Those children are going to want portraits of their mother someday. I want every woman to LOVE their portraits and have a timeless keepsake.

 

kylie5

What was the best piece of business advice you were ever given? 

The motto “it takes money to make money” is completely untrue. Someone very close to me taught me that you CAN learn and be creative on a dime. 

 

 

What is the biggest overall lesson you learned in launching your photography business? 

That finding your style is imperative, but also one of the most difficult things to do. I have restarted my Instagram page THREE times because I didn’t like the look/feel, flow, consistency. I think it came down to not having a true niche, but once I found the niche and honed myself into a specific portrait category, I found my style came slowly, but much more easily. 

 

What is your personal or professional motto? 

Always have a goal. Whether you have daily goals, weekly, monthly. Just work towards each tiny little goal and look at them as accomplishments in every way.

kylie2

What is your favorite aspect of your workspace?

That I have it decorated with portraits that I’ve taken as well as quirky details like a canvas of llamas wearing ugly sweaters. I have girly stuff that’s gold and edgy stuff that’s white. It just works.

 

Name a woman, past or present, whom you admire? 

[Photographer] Sue Bryce, everything about her.


What characteristic do you most admire in other women? 

I think I am drawn specifically to other mothers because they do it all. They find time for themselves, their families, and can balance it all. 

kylie3

See more of Kylie’s gorgeous portfolio shots at www.movinglivesphoto.com.

Meet Letti Bozard: Vice President at Bozard Lincoln

Letti Bozard

Photo Credit: St. Augustine Social Magazine

 

You are a female leader in an industry commonly associated with men.  What is that like?

 

It has presented its challenges over the years but I have always seen it an an opportunity to grow versus something I just have to deal with.  I have worked with men in this industry that have accepted me, supported me and taught me invaluably so I feel grateful for those experiences much more than i feel burdened by any of the negative experieces I may have had.

 

You’re very involved in the community as a board member and through your own personal outreach; what does it mean to you to give back?

 

My Grandparents and my father were all extremely involved in this community in different ways as I got to witness that growing up.  They never pushed me or my brother to follow in their footsteps, but rather lived a life that they were proud of and let us see it.  It is hard not to learn from those types of examples and want to follow in their footsteps in some way.  I feel like it is my responsibility to contribute in whatever ways I can, in return for the opportunities that other provided to me along the way.

 

Letti Bozard

Photo Credit: St. Augustine Social Magazine

 

How did growing up in the car business shape your childhood?

 

Well, it certainly shaped my view on cars.  I always said that if your father was a dentist you would have the straightest and whitest teeth….so it’s pretty normal to hear me say that my windshield washer fluid is empty so I need a new car, haha!  But seriously, this business provided for a life full of opportunities for our family, we were able to travel as well be rooted in a community that we all cared so much about.  It was a very fortunate childhood.

What’s your favorite car you’ve ever owned? 

 

My all time favorite car was a Lincoln MKT.  they don’t make them any more but it was what I called my first “grown up car”, all the bells and whistles, big engine and looked amazing.  It was the first on in the this area when they came out so I got to be one of a kind for just a little while!

 

Letti Bozard

Photo Credit: St. Augustine Social Magazine

 

You focus heavily on employee appreciation and involvement, including a wellness program and group runs and activities and your dealership was recently voted the # 1 dealership to work for – an honor you received from your own employees.

What does it mean to you to run a positive business?

 

It means a lot to me to run and continue to find ways to run this business promoting a positive culture for our employees, our vendors and our customers.  The bottom line on that is I don’t personally want to work in an environment that isn’t that way so how or why would I expect anyone else to.  It’s kind of a golden rule kind of concept.

 

You have two daughters – a 19-year-old and a seven-year-old – what’s your parenting philosophy… How do you approach parenting girls in two different phases of their lives?

 

I will gladly admit that I am a “winging it” mom!  Every morning I am running through the house trying to get us out the door like ground hogs day. Have two girls at different ages has sometimes made that part of me harder to manage over the years but they have helped me to grow just as much as I have helped them, if not more.  As for parenting philosophy, I am all about openness.  In my house the rule is, we can talk about ABSOLUTELY anything as long as it is spoken respectfully.  If you are mad or frustrated, happy or curious, not matter how taboo or difficult, I am open to talk about it as long as we all respect each other while we do it.  Because after the conversation is over, we are all going to still be a family, that’s one thing that will never change!

 

When you were growing up, who inspired you?  Who do you look up to now?

 

Growing up I really looked up to my Grandmother.  She was strong and independent yet traditional and loving… an amazing combination in a woman.  Now, I gravitate toward people with passion, that are finding ways to make their lives and the lives of other better in creative ways!

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

 

Being independent and strong willed can produce a lot of success but it can also create conflict when others don’t know how to take you.  I was told once that when you are angry or think you are right about something that has been done wrong by you and you want to fly off the handle and respond harshly, to write it down.  Write the letter, type the email, type the text, whatever it is…proof read it to make sure you made all your points….then delete it or throw it in the trash.  And then go figure out what you really want to accomplish because many times proving you are right doesn’t get you the end results you are looking for!