Happy Birthday BLCNY!

Three years ago today, I went into labor. Sweaty palms, racing heart, a lump filled throat, with contractions that were less than a minute apart. I was so scared! There I was, in a room of about thirty people, who I selected to bear witness to this next chapter in my life, and I was scared to death. Can't you tell by the 'hurry up and take this picture before I puke" face, in the picture above? The music had stopped, food had been consumed, and the champagne had already been poured. There was no turning back. It was time to give birth. I stood at the podium, fighting back the tears of nervousness, self-doubt, and fear. At the same time, my heartbeat was that of a warrior. Full of vision, leadership, accountability, and pride, I felt incredibly raw and vulnerable, yet unstoppable and brave all at the same time. I took a deep breath and pushed for the first time and began to crown and out came the head of my speech. I pushed again, and out came the body before I knew it my baby, Better Life Choices of New York was born.

As the mother of a one-year-old, I've learned so much, yet still, know nothing. This year has been such a consistently, inconsistent adventure of discovery, sleep deprivation, awakening, shifting, frustration, joy, 'ah-ha's,' 'oh no's,' 'uh-oh's' and 'thank you, Jesus,' in no particular order. My brain hurt and ached so many times in the last year; I thought my head was going to explode. I hadn't flexed my mental muscle, this much, in so long, and it made me realize that for too long, I was disrespecting my intelligence. I learned, implemented and executed things that I seriously though my G.E.D. IQ could never. I defied my self-doubt and the limiting, burden of beliefs that I wasn't smart enough to be great, articulate enough to be taken seriously or stable enough to educate. I locked eyes with some of my demons right in the eye and said "F*CK YOU, YOU DON'T OWN ME!" And took my power back. It wasn't easy; it certainly wasn't pretty and trust I broke down, cried, quit, came back, changed my mind, quit again and annoyed myself and others in the process. But hey, as I've stated before to the untrained mindset, this growth thing has limited to no appeal or sexiness. You can quote me on that. I had no indication on 10/17/15 that you and I would be here together. That I would have clients, speaking gigs, blogs, vlogs, and that weekly, I'd have a standing date with you via I SAID NO!, and that the words I say, and write, would provoke your thought, encourage, inspire, and motivate you to participate in your own rescue and life.

My blueprint didn't have any of this in it, but I'm proud of the open minded mindset I chose to adopt this year, which gave me enough wisdom to let go and allow God to have his way. Thy will be done. This mindset has personally and professionally opened my world up in ways I couldn't see with my limited vision. I have had the honor of plugging into some of the most generous, shining, gorgeous, beaming souls on this planet. Your stories, your openness, your energy, your desire to make Better Life Choices, has truly shifted my being. There were times I didn't think I deserved any of your generosity but I am now aware and comfortable knowing and declaring that I've earned your eyes on my words, your trust in my space, and my voice in your ears. I earned this ambition, this feeling, this moment, this confidence; and I will continue to work to maintain all above and gain more.

Here are just a few important lessons I learned, and re-learn often, that may resonate with anyone in business, beginning, or in the midst of a growth chapter in life.

  • Show up prepared. Be it personally of professionally, preparation, professionalism, awareness and kindness never go out of style.

  • Your goals and mind will change. Let them. Flexibility is a major key in evolution. I had a set blueprint of what I wanted, and how I wanted to accomplish it. The "how" completely changed and so did the "what." If I hadn't adopted some form of flexibility, I would not have been able to add Podcaster and Media Personality to my resume. Weekly, I am able to reach show people my skills as a Life Architect, Empowerment Speaker, Host, etc., do to flexibility.

  • Perfections is an unattainable, unrealistic burden. Corrupt audio, misprinted business cards, late clients, canceled events; bounced checks, broken promises, just life, whatever it is, shit happens. Even with all the preparation in the world, things can go 'wrong.' Limit the dwelling, and punishment you put on yourself, learn from it, apply the lessons and move on.

  • You can't afford to hang out with people who don't inspire, motivate, support, uplift, love, educate and respect you and your purpose. You will lose people along the way. If they want to go, hold the door open for them and set up their Uber ride. Enough said.

  • Limit your expectations. Often, people are full is sh*t! Some don't mean to be or even know they are. You will hear A LOT of talk about working together, booking you, buying your product, showing up, and various chit-chat about support, love, and business. Drown out the noise, don't believe they hype, and focus on those who have similar intentions, and are about actions and productivity.

  • Patience is beyond necessary. This was and at times is still a struggle for me, because I want everything when I want it! But I am learning that what is for me, is for me. And nothing rushed can be well-done. Stay tuned...

  • Continue to study your craft. There is always something new to learn in every field. Never allow your ego to tell you that you don't need to evolve, and know what's current and happening in your industry.

  • You don't need to know everything; you just need to connect with people who know everything you don't. Don't be afraid to ask for help, or fail (see failure blog here).

  • Trust yourself, and your vision. No one knows what you envision for you, your life and business, better than you do. While other people can be a big help at times, other times, they can be a hindrance. Yes, I mentioned help and connection above, but you must remain in tune with your inner voice and purpose, ALWAYS!

  • Remember to take time for yourself. This is the most important lesson of them all. Unplug, recharge, rejuvenate. You can not pour from an empty cup. Self-Care = Self-Love.

Know that every single email, DM, listen, inquiry, booking, "likes,"comment, share, tag, @, retweet, Skype, or in person moment, brings me to tears of gratitude EVERY SINGLE TIME! Your presence matters sooooo much.

My day 1's and day 365's, who go above and beyond to hold the light to my candle, so that I can continue to shine...the ones who hide and nurse me when I need shelter and need to receive the care that I give...DK, Hype, La Familia, My Girls. Thank you. Gracia. Gratitude.

My beautiful soul unicorn's, look at the transformative greatness we accomplished together in 2016. Honey, we are going to light 2017 up! Are you ready?

Stefanie, Life Architect


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