You Are Precious — Letter to My Younger Self by Kim Fredrickson

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It is wonderful to hear from women who believe in using their words and stories to help others. I was recently contacted by Kim Fredrickson, a licensed marriage and family therapist, with a beautiful story and a desire to spread her message of self-compassion. Kim dug in and below you will find the newest Love Letter to grace LORE. I am delighted to include her voice.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Kim Fredrickson –

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Dear Kimmy,

You are a precious little girl. You have such a bright future ahead of you. You are likable, delightful and have a very kind heart. You are smart, hard-working and a very good friend.

You have many wonderful experiences ahead of you, enjoying life and making an impact on your world. You also have some hard times ahead, just like we all do. I’d like to encourage you to spend your time and energy on things that matter and will help you on the road ahead.

Have Fun!

Enjoy life. Do things that you enjoy, energize you and give your life. Try new things, seek out new experiences, and enjoy each day to the fullest!

Draw Close to God

God loves you and will be by your side no matter what. He created you uniquely, and He is so proud of you. Take time to get to learn about Him in the Bible, and through prayer. No matter what happens in your life, you can draw near to Him. He will help you and never leave you, no matter what.

Cultivate Your Friendships

Your friends will be a second family to you, and they will be your lifeline through thick and thin. You will have many fun and meaningful experiences with them, that will fill your heart over your lifetime. You will have struggles and misunderstandings with some friends which is normal. Do all you can to talk things through, and apologize for your part of the problem. If you feel repeatedly harmed by a friend, despite trying to work things out, you may need to say goodbye to that friendship. This is normal. Some friendships are for a season, and some for a lifetime.

Work Hard

You are very bright, and catch on quickly. Work hard at school and your future jobs. The sky is the limit for you. There will be times you will feel like a challenge is too big for you. It isn’t. Take it one piece at a time, and you will grow and succeed. The world needs what you have to offer. God has given you abilities, a compassionate heart, and a message that He wants you to share.

Work Through Your Emotions

You will go through difficult times, and have many confusing emotions. This is normal. Seek help to process your emotions, regulate them, and learn to soothe yourself when you are distressed. These skills will help you make wise decisions and stay connected to yourself. Friends, books and counselors can be great resources to help you work through the normal emotions of life. Don’t hesitate to get help when you need it.

Face into Conflict

It can be scary and difficult to deal with conflict. That’s normal. The reality is that every relationship, job and friendship will have conflicts. Learn what you think, feel and need, and share with others in ways that don’t harm you or the other person. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable during these conversations. You can work through conflict most of the time. Learn to negotiate, and stand up for yourself. You don’t deserve abuse, and can remove yourself from situations and relationships that are harming you.

Grieve Well

You may be surprised to find out that grief can be your best friend. It is God’s answer to processing loss, pain, and disappointment. You may be afraid of these intense feelings and can’t believe they are good. I know. But they are. God is an expert at grief and transitions, and He completely understands. He doesn’t expect you to have your grief processed within a certain amount of time. He is faithful to love us through difficult times.

Being able to grieve throughout your life will be a big part of getting through difficult times. Grieving difficult times will help you feel the emotions, adjust to reality, and eventually adjust to your new normal. Even with times of loss, there are still wonderful times to come.

Learn How to Forgive

Life is full of well-meaning imperfect people who will hurt you, and whom you will hurt. Work through the pain of what has happened, grieve what you are going through and seek comfort and help as needed. Learn how to forgive yourself and others. Lack of forgiveness will keep you stuck in the past and will keep you imprisoned in your pain. You’ll need to learn to forgive yourself too. It’s normal to make mistakes and hurt others and yourself in the process. You can be a good friend to yourself by forgiving yourself for being human.

Be Your Own Best Friend

The way you treat yourself has more impact on you than any other relationship in your life. Learn how to treat yourself with kindness, as you would a dear friend. Don’t allow an inner critic to be your companion. Learn how to acknowledge your mistakes without beating yourself up. Listen to your instincts and speak out about things that are important to you.

In conclusion, you are a delight! You are a precious creation with so much of life ahead of you. I know you, I know what you are made of, and I know your kind and tender heart. I hold you close to my heart, and encourage you to hold you close to yourself too.

Love Always,

Kim

Kim Fredrickson is a licensed marriage and family therapist of thirty-plus years. She loves to teach others about the power of self-compassion from a faith perspective. Kim believes that learning to advocate for yourself with kindness and compassion, just as you would for a good friend, makes living life a little easier. She is the author of Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend and Give Your Kids a Break: Parenting with Compassion for You and Your Children. She recently retired from her counseling practice when diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a terminal lung disease that developed as a rare complication from the chemotherapy and radiation she received for breast cancer.

After being diagnosed with a terminal illness, she decided to write Give Your Kids a Break as a way to have a positive influence in the lives of her adult children and their future grandchildren. Kim wanted to help them with the challenges of parenting, when the time came. She knew she wouldn’t be around to hold her grandbabies, and help her children raise them in person. Originally it was only going to be for them. As Kim wrote, she thought others might benefit as well, so decided to self-publish it.

Kim has been married to her husband, Dave for thirty-nine years and they have two grown children. Learn more and read her blog at www.kimfredrickson.com She also writes a weekly patient column for Pulmonary Fibrosis News, Just Breathe…Compassionate Help for the PF Journey. Thousands of patients and their loved ones read her column all over the world.

You can find Kim on IG @kimfredrickson, Twitter @kimfredrickson, or Facebook

“Love, Me” featuring Emily Nolan

The Love Letters project began a year ago with Jessica Moore’s letter to her younger self. I found that as I got to know the writers I was privy to insights and gems readers were not. I had questions about their struggles and how they overcame, which they very openly shared. I wanted to make the experience more dimensional for everyone involved and began filming interviews over the summer.

We had fits and starts as we worked through storylines and production, but the result is gorgeous. I am so excited to debut the very first “Love, Me” webisode featuring model and author, Emily Nolan. We sat down in Phoenix in August to discuss her love letter (see below) and I was taken by Emily’s willingness to be vulnerable and her deep faith in something Divine. She was a few weeks out from a breast explant and spoke so openly about her lifetime struggle with body dysmorphia and what she hopes to share with every woman and girl.

**Please see submission guidelines if you are interested in sharing your love letter**

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Emily Nolan –

Dear Emily,

You are eighteen years younger than I am and you’re already so incredibly smart, strong and beautiful inside and out. You are the greatest gift God’s ever given the world and you are perfect just the way you are. You were born to be a brave leader. And, most importantly, you’re a fierce lover. You lead with love so divinely well; it’s a special gift you’ll always had unlimited access to. Use love as much as possible.

Dear warrior, use your bravery to listen in to who you are throughout the years. There will be challenging moments that make your heart break, sadly, and you’ll need to be there to love yourself fiercely. You’ll need your friends and family, too, to lean on for help, because you can’t do everything, always. Sometimes you’ll need help. Everyone does.

Those moments of listening to yourself feel like “listening to your gut,” and choosing not to believe in a bully or someone else’s unremarkable opinion of who they think you should be or what you should look like. Later in life, you’ll know those brave moments to be God’s grace. Which is also your own divine grace.

You’re a child of God, Emily. Your parents’ divorce and the bullying at school, and other moments to come that might make you feel icky and sad inside, they do not decide your worthiness. God does. You do. And because you get to decide what a miracle you are, continue to be brave enough to listen in and honor your own inner voice that says, “I’m awesome!” This way, no one will be able to rent valuable space in that precious little noggin of yours. You are a holy vessel. Be brave enough to always believe that. It’s not arrogant to think your God’s greatest gift, its love. And remember, love is what you’re best at.

You’re strength is in being bravely unique. You’ll feel that looking like everyone else is boring and has very little divine purpose. Like, what in the world are we accomplishing here by trying to look pretty? Aren’t there bigger fish to fry? Like who’s on second base and how we’re going to get the third out?

Your fierce bravery will be a rising tide that lifts all boats. Most of your girlfriends are waiting for you to make the move, to feel good enough, just the way that you are, and to allow them the same feeling by being brave enough to own it. They’ll thank you for your courage and permission to be beautiful, just the way they are. And they will support you immensely in the years to come. That bravery you own will make you feel full and good and happy. You’ll say things like, “I’ve never felt closer to God. I’ve never felt closer to myself.” Little me, you were born to be pretty brave.

Being an athlete has taught you that your body is a tool to be used for movement that’s fun and life-giving. Your body is not meant to look a certain way, it’s meant to work! To be useful! Being an athlete makes you a leader; leadership and teamwork will be as important to you as going to school and learning. All of the leadership training you’re getting now, by wearing heavy catcher’s gear every weekend, shouting directions across the field to your teammates, committing to team goals, attending every practice, calling the signals and telling your teammates what to do when the ball comes to them, conflict management with girl drama, all of these skills will be absolutely necessary in your life.

One day, you’re going to have enough courage and leadership skills to believe in yourself. You’ll believe that you can teach women and men and girls and boys that they’re great enough, just the way they are. You will share your love with them in so many kind and gentle and generous ways.

I also want you to know that you’re brave enough now, to ask Mom for help, whenever you need it. Bullies, diets, body image, questions about your body, questions about boys and friendships, ask Mom; she wants to see you win, not suffer in silence. She wants to elevate your bravery, lift you up! That’s her medicine, let her support you. Never feel ashamed to ask her questions. Talking to Mom is always going to help you and you’ll feel so good you did it. Your thirty-year-old self promises.

You are a remarkable young woman, Emily. I love your pigtail braids, dirt smeared across your chin from your catcher’s mask, and your fierce bravery, going onto the softball field shouting out positive affirmations to your teammates. You’re going to use all of these lessons in the next eighteen years as tools to inspire and motivate others to keep moving forward on their own journey until they find the light, which is essentially the love, for everything and everyone, including themselves.

You’re a complete magic trick—how could your precious, pure spirit be so perfectly tucked into that beautiful, capable Earth Suit of yours? I just love you so much. You are a miracle. How could you not be, Emily? You’re a child of God. And you are perfect, just the way you are.

I love you forever,

Emily

Emily Nolan is the author of My Kind of Life.com. She’s also a model and the founder of TOPLESS yoga. #TOPLESSbyemily is a bras on, bellies out self-confidence event used as a tool for self-love. This event is about exposing vulnerabilities by practicing radical self-acceptance.

Emily’s effort to share what is real and authentic in media was the catalyst for the #HealthyBellySelfie social media project contributing to the global conversation around body image.

Emily publicly speaks about her journey through 10 years of disordered eating, plastic surgery, body dysmorphic disorder and shame. She believes that honesty in conversation can spark individual transformation. 

Emily is on Instagram and Twitter @iamemilynolan and Snapchat / Periscope @MyKindofLife_Em

Dear Lil’ TK by Tania Katan

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Tania Katan doesn’t take the stage. She becomes the stage. She also becomes the inspiration for those who have the privilege of watching her shine as they sit breathless wondering, what’s next? Few have such a gift.

I met Tania at Girls For Progress 2016, a conference for girls. It was created by the very talented 12 year old entrepreneur and philanthropist, Aleena Valdez. Aleena asked both Tania and I to speak and what came next was pure magic. Tania very quickly achieved rock star status for the 12-17 year old girls that lined up for an autograph and a selfie with the lady wearing a cape that gives them hope. She is the brains/soul behind the #itwasneveradress campaign. I now see signs of her influence wherever I go. I recently spoke at Kaia Fit’s Annual Konference, which was hosted at South Lake Tahoe High School, and stopped short on my way to the girl’s rest room. Even without the official #itwasneveradress swag, girls across the country are inspired by this amazing woman.

I asked her to write a love letter and send in a photo of her younger self. Of course she sent me a shot of her as SuperGirl at age 4.

We call this foreshadowing in the writer world.

 

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Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the very unreal Tania Katan – 

 

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Dear Lil’ TK,

You come from a long line of outsiders; people who didn’t, and would never, fit in. Suckiest DNA ever! Especially because, right now, the ONLY thing you want to do is fit in. I know. You want parents who pack snacks for you, who have ordinary jobs, who eat dinner at a certain time, who own a freaking dining room table! You want to live in a home, with married parents, not a shitty little apartment with one parent and the other parent on the lam. You want a mother who isn’t a French citizen, doesn’t make you look up words in the dictionary because she doesn’t know English. You want a father who went to school and knows the nuances of his native language, English. You want some other 8 year-old to learn phrases like “ends meet” and “Section 8 housing.” You want a mother who doesn’t throw parties with belly dancers and stinky French cheeses and artists and joy. You want a father who doesn’t have “BIG IDEAS” that compel him to bet on horses and get-rich-quick schemes. You want friends. You want normal. You want consistency and you want it NOW!

Well, I gotta tell you, Lil’ TK, it’s BECAUSE of your outsider birthright, not in spite of it, that you will do—and be—some amazing things!

All the times you eat lunch by yourself and wish you had friends so instead you write skits, plays, jokes, and funny operas in your notebook; all the ways you rewrite poverty, how you use humor to reframe a crappy-and-routinely-magical childhood. These practices will create a foundation for you to leap from.

Eventually, you’ll realize that the same parents who embarrassed you by being themselves are delightfully idiosyncratic, which in turn, inspires you to be delightfully yourself. You’ll realize that your single-mom worked two jobs and took care of three unruly kids (you, included), and yet somehow managed to take you to every arts festival, event, and space under the sun! And even though she had trouble making ends meet, Mom always found a little cash (usually stashed in her bra) to buy art supplies. Mom will show us that commerce can be a creative pursuit with the Barter System. To this day she still pays the guy who fixes broken stuff around her house with homemade quiche!

Dad also found creative ways to provide for us, namely, gambling. Once, Dad found himself down to his last 100 bucks. Instead of getting a job, Dad gambled his life savings on a craps table in Laughlin (couldn’t even afford the real Vegas). Within 20 minutes of rolling the dice, Dad turned his misfortune into a $500 jackpot. One could say that Dad was the outsider pioneer of the “work smarter, not harder” movement. Or one could not. It’s a fine line.

Our parents inadvertently taught us how to be creative, value creativity, gamble and have fun! Which are pretty much the hallmarks of arts, innovation, and everything else worth doing/being in this world!

You will go to university and study Theatre. You will meet other outsiders in Theatre, the freaks and geeks who compete in Speech and Debate, write plays and stand upstage left—which is really to the audiences’ right (still confusing). You will finally feel like you fit in, just in time to jump into the workforce. Don’t panic! You will have many jobs, most of which won’t make any sense to you or your employers; that’s ok, it’s part of what makes you awesome later in life.

You will spend years selling crap, bagging groceries, serving pizzas, slinging coffee. You will wonder how you can be creative while working in non-creative fields. You will write plays and stories and even books that will be performed and read and published all while working day-jobs.

In your thirties you will realize that when you hate your job, it’s because you’re not doing your work. You will start doing your work, the work of a creative, even in places that aren’t designated CREATIVE. This shift in consciousness will lead you to your calling, your vocation, which is sneaking creativity into all the nooks and crannies of work and life, even when people and places say KEEP OUT or NO SOLICITING or NO TRESPASSING, you will go inside with all of your outsider skills. You will call this Creative Trespassing.

So, hang in there little tiger, keep writing, observing, and performing because you’re gonna win awards for your writing, travel across oceans to perform, and help create a campaign that millions of people around the world will embrace as an emblem that celebrates outsiders everywhere!

Love,

Me

Tania Katan is an award-winning author, keynote speaker and creative trespasser who believes in storytelling at all costs! Katan has performed her stories at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, NPR, Comedy Central Stage +. Her work has been written about in the New York Times, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed +. She has been a featured speaker at Business of Software, S.H.E. Summit, TEDx +. As Brand Evangelist for B2B SaaS company, Axosoft, she cut her teeth on Agile + Scrum methods. She holds a degree in Theatre, is a graduate of Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program and is certified as an Anti-Bias & Diversity Trainer. As a Speaking Coach, she works with best-selling authors, TED speakers and CEOs empowering them with the tools and techniques to engage and inspire audiences. Katan is a whiz in disruptive marketing strategies, audience engagement and radically activating spaces online and off.

You can find Tania at www.taniakatan.com or on Twitter @theunrealtaniakatan.

 

Dear Younger Camille by Camille Di Maio

 
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When we first introduced Love Letters I was concerned that I wouldn’t have enough content. I wanted to post a letter every week. Just like having a child, your babies have a way of telling you how to raise them. I’ve learned to let the letters come when the writers are ready and the result? Stunning.

Each writer has dug in and I’m so humbled that LORE is entrusted with such heartfelt missives. It is as powerful for the writer as it is for the reader.

Big, beautiful thanks to the gracious Camille Di Maio.

She dug in.

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Dear Younger Camille,

It will take you months to write this letter. Not the actual words. You will type those out in minutes. But, it will take longer to commit to them, curate them, share them.

Because it’s not a simple thing to bleed on to paper.

I will tell you the end first, or at least the end as it sits here at forty years of age, which once seemed like an unimaginable ancientness to you. The end is good. Very good. And, you’ve only found two gray hairs, so four decades really isn’t as decrepit as you think.

But, if there were more, you would have earned them.

You won’t have a friend until you’re fourteen. You will have vampire-like teeth and Coke-bottle glasses and be picked last in gym class. The girls in seventh grade will write a public declaration of dislike. You’ll become the reclusive kid who spends all the time in the library. Your friends will all be fictional and their names will be Nancy Drew and Anne Shirley and Jane Eyre and Christine Daae. You will live in their worlds, pouring over their words.

You will fall in love with a guy who tells you that he slept with someone behind your back because he “couldn’t wait for you any longer.” You will spend years convinced that you are only worth the sum of your female parts.

You will love the theater, but you will be cast as a chorus girl time after time. You will accept that you are not the one with the most talent, and enthusiastically support the show with your bit part contribution. Until one day, you will audition for a lead role, and your performance with your partner will be so moving that the other people auditioning will give you both a standing ovation. And yet, neither of you will get even a small role in the production because of the director’s personal friendship with the eventual leading lady. (Who, by the way, grimaces when she has to kiss the leading man.)

You will be assaulted by someone you tried to be nice to when no one else was. He will wait until you are alone and he will press you against a wall and try to force something on you that you don’t want, even rubbing hundreds of dollars in cash against your cheek as an offering. You will get away, physically in tact, but emotionally scarred. You will tell the police, who will say that they can’t do anything since there is no evidence. It will be more than a decade before you can hear the words “Dominican Republic” without shuttering because that’s where he was from.

You will move across the country after a devastating unemployment. You will be hospitalized with a serious illness in which you almost lose your unborn baby. You will be threatened by someone who tells you that he is going to kill your children. You will mourn the suicide of someone in your family. You will have a chronic health issue that often makes your days painful.

You will emerge so very strong.

The bullying will teach you to be kind. The cheating will teach you to be loyal. The loss of the lead role will teach you to never give up. The attack will teach you to know how to defend yourself. All of it – every moment that seemed bad at the time – will be a lesson that will build character, fortitude, and faith.

And, there will be good moments. Oh, will there ever be. You will ride on a camel in front of a pyramid. You will meet Mother Teresa and a pope and a Beatle. You will eat oranges under the Eiffel Tower and step on the cobblestones of Pompeii and swim under a waterfall in Hawai’i and straddle two continents while sailing in Istanbul. You will co-found a very successful business. You will sign book contracts for the novels you will write.

But much more importantly, you will find genuine love with a man who treasures you. You will delight in four children who bring immeasurable fulfillment. You will have friends that outnumber the stars. And you will discover that every sorrow and every joy is part of a plan for your life by a power higher than yourself. A plan that has meaning and purpose shaped by its highs and lows if you only keep faith as everything unfolds.

You will be given a platform to encourage and inspire others to overcome their difficulties.

Because that’s what it’s all for. None of it is about you. You are an instrument. You can choose to play the sour notes of negativity and self-pity that will compose a cacophonous dirge. Or, you can play the sweet notes of love and the robust notes of determination that draw people to something good, something eternal. And, in that eternity, there will be a joy beyond your comprehension and an absence of all pain.

Until then, chin up, shoulders back, use sunscreen, lay off the Diet Pepsi addiction, and wash your face every night. Forty is closer than you think, and it will thank you.

Camille Di Maio lives in San Antonio with her husband and four children. She’s traveled to four continents and most of the states, and is always planning her next trip. By day, she is an award-winning real estate agent, and by night, she is an author. She does pretty well with little sleep.

Camille loves belting out Broadway tunes at a moment’s notice, shopping at farmer’s markets, and will try anything that doesn’t involve heights or roller skates. Her debut novel, The Memory of Us, is available on Amazon.

Her second novel, Before the Rain Falls, will be released in spring 2017.

Find Camille on Twitter @camilledimaio, Facebook and Instagram or at her website, www.CamilleDiMaio.com.

Be My Valentine: LORE Turns 1

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LORE was launched Valentine’s Day 2015, and I am astounded at how far we’ve come in one short year. Just like my own daughter, who changes every few months, LORE has grown into something I couldn’t imagine when I was scribbling down blog ideas. I realized this has become more than what I’d originally intended when I was recently introduced to another woman. Our mutual friend suddenly looked confused as if she was searching the air for something she couldn’t find, “She has a blog.. It’s not a blog. No, what is it… It feels like more than a blog. It’s a something…”

I smiled from the inside out, It’s definitely a something.

We have become less blog and more a platform for women. I definitely don’t feel like a blogger. I sat back the other day and realized I’ve become a curator. I’m curating pure, unashamed, unfiltered beauty. I am so humbled and grateful that women entrust me with their words and their Love Letters and articles pop into my inbox as I reach out for content. Women tell me they look forward to our weekly offering of raw, unfiltered, woman to woman love.

I haven’t met a mean girl yet.

So, in the vein of Valentine’s Day, and a nod to our signature feature, LOVE LETTERS, I thought I’d write a love letter to those of you who have built LORE.

Dear readers, thank you for your continued emojis, exclamation marks, likes and comments. Your responses and support help me build out content that is meaningful and that I know will resonate each week. Please continue to like us, Tweet us, double tap us on Instagram and share our articles so that we can understand what it is you like to read and how best to keep you engaged. Tell us, too, if you have ideas or suggestions. Without you there is no LORE and I appreciate you from the bottom of my very humbled heart.

Thank you.

Dear contributors, thank you for trusting me with your words. Thank you for opening up, letting people in and sharing the unexpected journey you experience when you have to do a little soul searching, and only because you want your letters to be meaningful. You do the work to keep others from having to, and that in and of itself, is genuine and brilliant. It is such a treat to hear back from you as you receive personal messages from readers who have been touched by your vulnerability. I love your shocked faces, surprised emails and texts. You changed someone’s day. It feels good, doesn’t it?

There is always room for you here.

Because of the collective YOU we will be bringing on more contributing writers, more content, more letters and you will see the look of LORE change to become more easily accessible and with curated content. I’m also toying with the idea of sending out a weekly Love Note in which you will find a link to the article for the week as well as a word or phrase of intent to start your Monday in a lovely frame of mind. Give me your feedback. What would you want to see in a Love Note?

To be honest, I wanted to go fetal when I had to learn basic HTML code to build this thing over a year ago, and yet here I am having meetings with web developers and figuring out 7000 efficiency apps. I’m all in, but I am learning things that are stretching my brain, so you will see small fits and starts as LORE becomes a toddler. At this very moment I’m sitting in a ski lodge with my laptop and what should equate to TECH FOR DUMMIES while my kiddo attends ski school.

Side note: She hates it, so she can’t see me on the mountain or there would be much crying and an avalanche. So, I just link profiles, figure things out, cry a little on the inside and then sneak glimpses of her out the window. Her body language says temper tantrum later.

Pray for me.

As for you?

Big, mushy, loud and glittery thank you. May your Valentine’s Day be filled with love and if you don’t have someone to smooch, please consider me your honorary Valentine.

You ladies are definitely mine.

Xo,

Jeanette

Letters From Readers: Alyse Ellman

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Every few days or so I receive an alert that I have mail in the Lore and Little inbox. I always open it, curious. The Love Letters project is still relatively new, so when it turns out to be an unsolicited letter I immediately get that, he likes me, he really likes me, kind of feeling. A few weeks ago it was from Alyse. We met in Maui at a mutual friend’s wedding and while Facebook friends, haven’t talked since. Her note made my day:

Because we are Facebook friends, I have the wonderful opportunity of reading your posts and it prompted me to write the letter you will find below. I wasn’t planning on sharing it, I wrote it for me, but there’s something about sending it to you that makes me feel like it may travel back in time and get to my younger self, sort of in a way you would want your Christmas letter to actually get to the North Pole.

I’m all about trying to make magic happen, so whether this letter travels back in time or makes a woman nod her head in agreement, we owe it to ourselves to share. I told Alyse that I truly appreciate her acknowledgment of both our relationships with men and our own bodies. I don’t know that we’re always willing to tackle those head on and we don’t talk about them enough, yet every woman thinks about both.

Thank you, Alyse, for your love letter. I hope it inspires more women to share.

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Dear Younger Alyse,

First, and most importantly, you make it out alive and not only with a heart beat, but with a beating heart that is full of love and happiness. You should know this immediately. I share this important message with you because I know you don’t think this will happen. You avoid a plan almost certain you won’t live long enough to see it through. You are lucky in that the universe seems to provide for you by putting opportunities within your reach in mysterious and exciting ways. Your job, my younger self, is to listen, be open, and act.

Depending on your current age reading this letter, you will tempt fate and take risks that you should not. You are probably thinking that you will not live to see 30, but you will, at least 43, with no signs of stopping. Please don’t abuse your body and your mind. Both will be so important to you when we get older, and since we’ve already established you have a long life ahead of you, keep those things sacred.

Listen to mom. When you get older, you will actually have a healthy and supportive relationship with her. She will be your rock in many ways that you cannot imagine. Stop testing boundaries long enough to appreciate her. You’ll thank yourself later.

Also, you are not fat. You will struggle to appreciate your body, your curves, your big boobs. You are beautiful and you will be told this again and again. Please believe it every time you hear it.

Be wary of men. This is your weak area. Attention, excitement, acceptance – all things you crave, and lets face it, we always have. You will enter relationships and they will tear you down and you will have to build yourself back up several times. Its ok, its how we learn. But, please, for our sake, protect your fragile heart.

Last, and I know this will come as a shock to you, but your strongest and most meaningful relationships are with women. You will meet and become long-lasting friends with some of the most amazing women who are creative, intuitive, passionate, caring, and you love them dearly. They are your support system and you could not survive without them. Covet these relationships.

Younger Alyse, you have so much to look forward to in life. I can’t wait for you to see that for yourself.

Regards,

(Not So) Older Alyse

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My name is Alyse Ellman and I am originally from New York. I’ve lived in Boston, NYC, Las Vegas, and now Chicago. I most recently left Wynn Las Vegas after twelve years and now work for United Airlines in Chicago. Change is constant in my life and I’ve come to accept that, which is where some of my advice to my younger self comes from. I am single and travel frequently both personally and professionally. I have wonderful friends and a terrific supportive family. I am a lucky girl.

 

A Letter To My Younger Self by Jamie Little

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I met Jamie Little when she was pregnant with her son, Carter, and she is one of the most badass women I know. I am so honored that she wrote a love letter and while I knew many of the things included, there is something about the written word that crystallizes the strength you see in a woman. I once told Jamie that if there is any type of apocalypse, Zombie or otherwise, I’m coming to her house. She laughed, “We would survive.” She is afraid of very little and has such a strong sense of self that I’m so thrilled she can share this side of herself with you too.

Jamie asks us not to allow ourselves to be labeled and it is such sage advice. Had she allowed labels to stick she may not be the first female pit reporter for the television broadcast of the Indianapolis 500, the first female to cover a televised Supercross and Motorcross event, and one of the first female reporters in X Games history.

Ladies and gentlemen, the badass Jamie Little –

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I was a strong minded only child raised by a single mom. For some reason, I always had gumption. I was always brave and never feared. Maybe it was growing up in the outdoor paradise that is South Lake Tahoe, California. Maybe it was having a strong mom who never took no for an answer. Maybe it was not having a father around to give me the idea that I NEED a man to do things for me. Whatever it may be, that strong, independent spirit has never let me down. It’s led me astray at times, gotten me in trouble a time or two but it always brought me back to the “right” path. With that, here’s a letter to my younger self, a list of explanations you could say. This is for the girl who loved horses, loved boys (at a very young age!), never settled for no, loved her mom to a fault and missed having a father, her father, more than she could accept until much later in life.

Dear Jamie:

DON’T BE ASHAMED that you don’t have a dad around. Most of your friends at your young age still have a two parent household. It’s ok to have the love of two parents wrapped into one. You’ll use that void left by your father to fuel your passion to succeed in a male-dominated world such as motorsports television. You’ll yearn to have acceptance by men for your character, hard work and accomplishments. You’ll get it.

THAT LOVE FOR RACING ISN’T WEIRD. Your friends and classmates won’t understand why, in High School, you started bringing dirt bike magazines to class. Your mom will be shocked one day to discover all of your precious, innocent horse posters have been replaced by dirt bikes, racers and autographs. Just because you don’t have a brother or father around to promote something like dirt bikes, it’s ok. One day everyone will understand your love and passion for something so rough and “unladylike.”

THOSE TEARS, LONELY NIGHTS ON THE ROAD AND SMALL PAYCHECKS are all part of the plan. Suck it up and keep your eye on the prize. The more you endure and the harder you work, selflessly, the bigger the reward. It’ll all lead to true happiness, but it’ll be a long road. Keep digging.

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF and trim the fat while you’re at it. Your stepmother may have “taken” your father away and tried to keep you out, but being angry, sad and disappointed won’t help. Just accept your relationship with your father for what it is; surface conversation between two blood acquaintances. Ironically, the day will come that you are all your father has. You’ll end up burying his wife. That will leave him alone, broke and depressed with nobody but you to lean on. Take it as “God’s work” to be there. Don’t judge, don’t walk away. Be there. You’ll be your father’s shining light in his darkest days. Funny how life works out sometimes.

YOU ALWAYS WANTED A BABY BROTHER OR SISTER. Although it won’t happen, one day you’ll have the chance to hold, love and care for a baby of your own. It’ll be hard to fathom while you’re keeping your head to the grindstone, hardly coming up for air, but it’ll happen. Just be sure to open your heart, enjoy dating, don’t take yourself so seriously. In the end, it’s not ALL about your career or becoming wealthy, although that’s nice, it’s really all about the circle of family you create around you. So, don’t wait too long, but don’t settle either. Oh and don’t keep people in your life just because. Cut those who are toxic, drama or who zap your energy. Life is too short. Keep your circle tight.

DON’T BE LABELED. In life, people will want to characterize you into a category. “She’s a pretty girl. She’s a tomboy. She’s a hard ass. She’s a classy lady. She’s a partier. She’s a country club-type of woman.” Don’t be afraid to be ALL things. You can and will be a woman who can wear a dress, heels and interview anyone on TV. You will be a country girl who loves her country music, cold beer and swearing. You’ll like riding dirt bikes and you’ll enjoy golf. You’ll hang with millionaires while sipping expensive red wine. You’ll also wear your sweats and feed the homeless on D Street or walk homeless dogs in the impoverished part of town. Be ALL things. Life is so much more exciting that way.

RESPECT YOUR MOM. She’ll drive you crazy, you’ll drive her crazy. You’ll be angry at her and hold grudges for things she did as a parent. Let it go. The only things that’s important is that you have each other. She’ll be your number one fan your whole life. She’ll be your cheerleader when you call her with self doubt and disappointment. She’s done it all. She’s your best resource. Stay close to her always. Help her in times of need. She’ll need you in a big way. The husband of hers that you call “Pops” will see the bitter side of life. He’ll one day look at death in the face, but his attitude and the love of you mother will steer him away. It’ll end up being the biggest challenge in all of your lives. Stick together. It’s the ONLY way.

Love,

Jamie

Veteran motor sports reporter Jamie Little joins FOX NASCAR in 2015 for its 15th season, bringing 13 years of broadcasting experience and a lifetime of racing knowledge to her pit reporting duties in the NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES and NASCAR XFINITY SERIES. Her assignments also include select additional races and special events throughout the year.

Prior to joining FOX, Little spent 13 years at ESPN/ABC as a reporter for NASCAR (2007-’14), IndyCar Series (2004-’14), Winter X Games and Summer X Games telecasts. Her television career began in 2002 as a reporter for ESPN immediately following graduation from college. She also has worked for SPEED, NBC and TNN.

The move to FOX after multiple years with ABC and ESPN represents a “homecoming” of sorts for Little. She covered a variety of motor sports events for FOX Sports’ SPEED in 2002 and 2003, including the network’s live coverage of Daytona Supercross, which marked her live national broadcasting debut.

She was the first female pit reporter for the television broadcast of the prestigious Indianapolis 500 (2004), the first female to cover a televised Supercross and Motorcross event, and was one of the first female reporters in X Games history. Little has covered 11 Indianapolis 500s and eight Brickyard 400s and has hosted a variety of non-racing sporting events ranging from Paintball Championships to the Great Outdoor Games, in addition to live announcing roles in Motorcross and Supercross.

Little credits her lifelong passion for the sport and affinity for dirt bikes as the springboard for her entry into television. While still in college, she reported on various motor sports for ESPN2 and also served as a live announcer in Supercross.

The Las Vegas resident is well-rounded outside the four corners of a race track, as well. In 2013, she released her first book, entitled Essential Car Care for Women, and has worked the red carpet for the ESPYs, in addition to hosting numerous NASCAR events away from the track. Furthermore, the popular racing video game “MX World Tour Featuring Jamie Little” bears her name and likeness. She also held a cameo role in the 2005 feature film, Fantastic Four, and Supercross the Movie starring Channing Tatum.

Little spends her free time volunteering at The Animal Foundation, Nevada’s largest animal rescue shelter. Her first solo charity project is a 2016 calendar titled “Las Vegas to the Rescue,” featuring Las Vegas celebrities, such as Wayne Newton, Carrot Top and NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan, posing with homeless pets from the shelter to promote adoption.

A graduate of San Diego State University with a degree in Journalism, Little grew up in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., and currently resides in Las Vegas with her husband and son.

You can follow Jamie on Twitter at @JamieLittleTV.

 

Love Letter to My Younger Self by Chelli Wolford

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I’ve bit my lip in anticipation of this post.

Chelli estimates that she’s rewritten this love letter 27 times. We’ve had approximately 7.3 conversations about it and she’s watched one documentary that inspired at least one quick overhaul. We had one drink each while we chatted about it on New Year’s Eve. It took one voicemail, three texts and three emails to confirm that this post would go up today.

All big stats and for bigger reasons.

It’s important.

1 in 3 women will be sexually or physically assaulted in her lifetime. That’s your girlfriend at the end of the table. A man recently heard this statistic at a conference and approached the speaker, stone-faced, “I have three daughters. All I could see was their faces when I heard that stat and wondered which one it would be. What can I do?”

1 in 4 college women will be the victim of sexual assault during her academic career. That’s your neighbor next door, the woman you share carpool with and the lady who underwrote your mortgage.

It may even be you and if you are triggered by such topics, please note that this is a message of hope. Of awareness.

I shared the above stats with one of my close girlfriends one night and she paused, giving me the fortitude I needed, “This is important. These are our friends.”

I’m making the decision not to avoid hard topics because they’re uncomfortable, but instead embrace them because they should be brought into the light. What I adore about Chelli is that when she reached out to say she knew what she wanted to write about, it was so clear that it was a message of hope for every little girl, every teen, every woman. It was so soul-baring and earnest and in her own words, “I don’t want it to be dark.”

I called her this morning after reading it, “I’m so proud of you.”

These are our friends.

Ladies and gentlemen, the brave and beautiful Chelli Wolford –

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My Dearest Chelli-Belly:

(This nickname is going to stick – you will eventually find it endearing.)

First, and I need you to really get this, like in your cells, know this: It’s not your fault. Your Mother leaving you when you were just a baby. Being molested when you were a child. Getting gang-raped your first year of college. None of it was your fault. It will be easy for you to blame yourself, to shame and convince yourself that it was somehow your fault, that you were being punished, that God forbid, you deserved it. Sweetheart, it just wasn’t your fault. Stop asking why and start looking to transform your pain into a purpose. This is how you will eventually find peace and become of service to the world.

Learn to forgive like it’s your job. Forgive those who have hurt you, forgive yourself for those you have hurt. Forgiveness is freedom. The older you get, the less you will have to forgive yourself – it will take you longer than you like, but you will learn to live intentionally. Everything will fall into place.

“When people show you who they really are, believe them the first time.” ~Maya Angelou
You won’t learn this quote until your early- thirties and you won’t fully grasp it until your late-thirties, but please, for your sake, breathe these words in and live them. People will give you all the information that you need to make decisions about whether or not you should allow them into your life and heart. Not only will they show you, sometimes they will also tell you, don’t think you can “love” them better, you can’t. Don’t justify bad behavior.

Marry that kind guy that you think is too good for you. This will change the trajectory of your life. Having a supportive partner who will assist in your “becoming” will be everything. Trust me on this.

Some things are never going to make sense – and that is okay. Your Mother not choosing you is going to perplex you most of your life. Instead of asking why, just know that she did the best she could with the tools she had. You will do better because you know firsthand what it feels like to be left behind. It will take you a little while, but eventually you will see it as a blessing. Your worst days will become the best days that shape you into the woman you are today. I promise.

You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. Full stop.

There will be this moment in your late twenties, when you are talking to your Granny and she says to you: “You know you were your sister’s security blanket, right? I don’t know what she would have done without you.” That moment is going to give your life meaning and be your purpose. Doing and being for others what you always wanted is going to be a driving force for you, don’t change it. Ever. (It’s also going to serve you well when you become a Mama).

I’m not going to lie to you, the first several years are going to be challenging, but my love, it’s going to get so sweet. The darkness will diminish. You will only see the light. Your heart will grow bigger. You will laugh way more than you cry. You will experience things that you cannot even imagine right now as you lay in your bed in a junkyard in Ohio dreaming big dreams for yourself. Hold on. It gets so much better.

Finally, thank you for being a brave, bad-ass, risk-taking young girl. You got me here. But now I got you. I’m holding you so tight. You are safe and you can trust me completely. You can be vulnerable and soft and feminine. I will not judge you. Cry if you need to cry, say your scary things out loud, be your most authentic self. I will be with you every day until the day we die and I will forever be your biggest fan. You saved me. And I saved you. It will take you a few years but you will realize, I’m the love of your life. Now go share that love.

So much love & light to you,

Chelli

Chelli Wolford is a Strategic Business Consultant combining over 20 years of experience in the military, business and entertainment worlds. Chelli was the youngest and only female Retail Sales Manager for Sprint PCS when she moved to Las Vegas at the age of 24, building 5 retail stores for the Las Vegas market and managing nearly 100 employees. She quickly advanced, managing several different sales channels within multiple organizations and became known as a “fixer” turning around flailing sales channels through key position hires, team building and lead by example style of management.

After leaving the corporate world Chelli was chosen by international superstar Pitbull to join his team and help take his organization to the next level. Chelli created processes for vetting business opportunities, delineated clear roles for team members within the Pitbull organization and worked closely with Pitbull aka Armando Perez to ensure his brand was consistent throughout his social channels and that he had a direct, authentic connection to his fans to ensure channel growth. It was during this time that Chelli Co-Founded Acento Digital Media, a company that supported and connected music artists and brands in aligned, mutually beneficial relationships. Acento’s revenue grew to half a million in less than 4 years of business.

Chelli recently moved back to Las Vegas after 8 years in California and is focused on empowering women entrepreneurs to achieve their goals through her new company, Illuminated Moxie.

You can find Chelli on Twitter @illuminatedmoxy

 

 

You Are So Powerful: A Love Letter by Jessica Leigh Lyons

 

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A few have asked if I’ve written my letter yet and while it is in my heart, it hasn’t hit paper, it’s complicated.

As I’ve tried to figure out what I want to say I realize there is too much. I find myself hoping that the collection of letters will scratch some of the topics I’d like to cover. You see, my letter wouldn’t just be to my younger self, it would also be to the girls that grew up in my poverty stricken neighborhood. While I was raised by a minister, the girls across the street weren’t so lucky. My letter would be to the women and girls who were trafficked out of my neighbor’s houses. It would be to the women who were beaten and choked when they got too mouthy.

I would tell them they are not where they came from and not the things that have happened to them even though they can’t imagine deserving anything more.

I would tell them they are not the person described to them by those who have taken ownership of them.

My letter would be to all the little girls who don’t yet believe in themselves, and may not, if they’re not guided to find the squeaky little voice inside. This is why Jess Lyons’ letter below resonates with me.

I hope someone who does not have access to the women writing earnestly each week stumbles across this site and realizes there is so much more. It is like a viral hug from women that hope you figure it out much earlier than they did.

Please send your love letters to loreandlittlethings@gmail.com

I reached out to Jessica upon finding her Twitter feed filled with positivity and girl-centric messages of hope and asked her to write from her heart.

She did that in spades.

Ladies and gentlemen, Jessica Leigh Lyons

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A teenager blew me away this weekend.

Sitting in a circle of women at a workshop, a 16 year old woman shared her thoughts on power. She spoke about the girls at her school. She watched as her girlfriends changed themselves to be like the boys; joking like boys, tearing each other down. They changed their dress, their makeup, their hair. The girls actively morphed themselves into some contortion of what they thought boys wanted.

This young woman looked each of us — 30-somethings and 40-somethings — in the eyes as she spoke.

This young woman was courage — unafraid to be in the wrestle.

Women of my heart, I cried.

I cried for my younger self who knew about my deepest heart’s desire, which I contorted to fit into my surroundings.

I cried for the journey of my 20s — finding myself, losing myself, selling everything, traveling, moving, and returning home.

I cried for the tears that I had spent, for the shame-talking I had engaged in.  

I cried because in this space, I could. I was surrounded by bad-ass women who grieved the losses of their younger selves and had risen stronger.

I cried because this young woman is so beautiful–in her deep knowing, in her courageous wrestle, in her coming of age.

I cried because she will go on her journey, too.

I cried because watching her, I deeply wanted to reflect back …

You are so powerful.

I shared this reflection with her.. I wrote her a letter which doubles as a reminder to my younger self AND to my future self; for those moments I feel as though I’ve lost my power.

It is this:

“I know you will be afraid that you are doing the ‘right’ thing. There will be angst because you must walk through YOUR OWN LANDSCAPE. The first time will be difficult and you will not know what to bring. But the second time will be easier, you will have more tools for the journey. And finally on the four-hundredth time, you will speak lovingly to yourself even through the difficult passes.”

And you must distinguish your truth from what women are told and what women are not told.

We are told to get it together, figure out your life, your passion and your purpose in order to achieve fulfillment… yesterday.

We are told that you are only worthy of success if you figure it out on your own.

We are told that we must stay happy and positive in order for others to love us.

We are told to say yes to what comes along because we might not get what we really desire.

I do not believe what we have been told. Rather, I’ve found my truth in what we are not told.

WE ARE NOT TOLD that OUR POWER COMES from FEELING, from SHARING, from BEING SEEN.

WE ARE NOT TOLD that TRANSFORMATION COMES from being with, from expressing our deepest emotions & letting them run their course through us, from emptying so that we can be full again.

WE ARE NOT TOLD that WE MUST CRY-LAUGH in a cycle, surrounded by women and their curves, and their fierce, and their nurturing in order to experience deep healing.

WE ARE NOT TOLD that we can BE WITH ALL OF EACH OTHER AND THEREFORE ourselves.

WE ARE NOT TOLD that anyone can handle you IF you want to be handled.

WE ARE NOT TOLD THAT WE CAN BE WITH ALL THAT IS AND THEN SOME because we are powerful just by being.

To all the 16 year olds, and the 6 year olds, and the 56 year olds: your truth is your power. This is an invitation to share the story of your journey and proclaim your power.

It is only by being SEEN — in the struggle, in the wrestle– by speaking what is true for ourselves, that we heal.

You NEED NOT KNOW YET for what purpose.

You, my sweet, wild, fierce, courageous woman, are powerful regardless of your knowing.

Please trust in your path. Please ask, seek, beg, open, receive, and create the support you desire. We are here to bear witness to your power.

In so much love + deep healing belly laughter,

Jess

Jessica Leigh Lyons is a life coach dedicated to liberating women from their stories of self-doubt and creating the biggest boldest vision of themselves. She leads an event called Storybowl, a place for women to gather and speak truth, which she is taking around the country in April 2016.

In addition to her private practice, she regularly leads training on mindfulness and happiness at Bossed Up Bootcamp, a workshop to create sustainable success and she is the Director of Desire, Goals, and Planning for Inner Glow Circle, a powerful sisterhood of possibility and personal development.

Jess can be found on Twitter @JessLyons_ and Instagram @JessicaLeighLyons

Dear Young Amy Jo by Amy Jo Martin

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Every love letter seems as if it was written to or for me, arriving at the moment a question arises within or another idea regarding content is tucked into my iPhone Notes. The thing that makes my heart soar and shine, however, is that every single woman that has approached me has found a letter that resonated as well. Over the course of the past several weeks I have had people approach me at work functions, charity events and holiday parties to say, “Kimberly spoke to my heart,” or, “I use one of Jessica’s points as my daily mantra,” or, “Tracy was in my head!”

Forget Marc’s. His went viral and was picked up by God Updates.

The magical part? I am having conversations with people I don’t know about how we are all connected. We are talking about failure and freedom, why don’t we believe in ourselves more?

Another thing I’m finding that I didn’t expect is that letters are promised, but delayed. Every person that wants to share insists their words be meaningful, “I know what I want to say, but I have to get to a place.” There is a vulnerability and an openness that speaks, but it can be a scary journey.

Be scared.

Fear is the fraud, not us.

We are lighting the way for others; inspiring, impassioning, incandescent.

Send your love letters to loreandlittlethings@gmail.com 

We’re waiting.

I reached out to Amy Jo Martin after seeing a few of her empowered posts, but was blown away when I watched her Inbound talk, THE RENEGADE FACTOR: EVOLVING “PRETTY” TO “PRETTY DAMN RAD” FOR THE NEXT GENERATION. MEN REQUIRED.

When I received her letter I was sitting in my car outside of my daughter’s school having just dropped Olivia to her teachers with a hug and a kiss and a promise that swim class is tomorrow night, don’t worry. Preschool conversations, share day and my next meeting fell away as I read Amy Jo’s words, nodding my head, eyes watering.

This is good stuff, y’all, and I love Amy Jo’s voice. It is math brain meets soft soul.

Ladies and gentlemen, Amy Jo Martin

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Dear Young Amy Jo:

I write this letter to you on a plane as I fly back to U.S. soil after spending time in Asia. As I boarded the plane in Hong Kong, yet another mass shooting in the U.S. topped global news. The more we’re exposed to in this world, the more we realize how little we know or understand. That said, please take what’s useful from this advice and leave behind what is not. You will create your own journey which makes you unique.

Btw, we’re quite stubborn and it’s possible you won’t listen to the advice below. Regardless, you will still live a fulfilling life (at least until you’re 36). And, we think in bullet points and absorb content best in the form of bullet points so here goes . . .

  • You’re going to experience some amazing things. Humble yourself or the universe will do it for you. The world is much bigger than us and it doesn’t revolve around us. The people we respect the most, including our mentors, are the humblest people we’ll ever meet.
  • We can’t bank sleep. Meaning, we can’t deposit and save up hours into a fictitious sleep account and withdraw rest when needed. This strategy simply doesn’t net out well regardless of what grades we earn in math. After averaging 4-5 hours a night for several years, our 36-year-old version has finally learned to respect sleep. She guards it fiercely. I encourage you to protect your sleep at a younger age. (PS – math is one of our sweet spots. It’s our jam. We like black and white answers and scenarios. This poses challenges for us. Read on.)
  • Learn to push your own buttons. Inspire yourself. Everyone else is busy. It’s wonderful and convenient when others inspire us but there will be droughts between the supply and demand. Subsidizing with a self-sufficient supply of inspiration serves as our safety net. This is how we make inspiration sustainable and scalable. Personally, our strongest source of inspiration is nature – being outdoors.
  • In third grade, you will be put in a ‘special’ reading and writing class because you’re not quite performing up to par with your classmates. Accept, listen and learn. We will apply these skills years down the road when we write our first New York Times bestselling book. We must always appreciate the opportunity we are given to slow down, listen and learn. Timing is everything. Trust the process.
  • Where purpose, passion and skill collide, bliss resides. This sounds like fluffy BS but it’s your reason for not worrying about knowing what path or profession you want to choose when you enter college – just be open, try everything and listen to how you feel. Purpose. Passion. Skill. Collide them. (Heads-up, they change so don’t get too comfy)
  • Don’t let other people rent space in your head for free. That’s valuable real estate. What other people think of you is none of your business. Be you and let go. Repeat. This is a tough one for us. It requires constant practice. We struggle and trip over this one at times.
  • Learn when to make things happen vs. when to let things happen. When you’re feeling strongly about one or the other, move confidently in that one direction. Down the road, if you don’t like that path after you’ve given it a red hot go, then simply choose again. If you are torn on whether to let something happen or make it happen then sit down at the fork in the road and pause. Hint: We have a tendency to make things happen (force it) at times. Ease up, sister.
  • Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is extremely powerful. It takes daily practice. Take risks. When in doubt, ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that could happen if I try ____? And then what? And then what? Also ask: Is ____ safe enough to try?
  • Read. Read. Read. Make it a part of your day, your world. Surround yourself with people who also love to read. Give books as gifts. The benefits are unmatched.
  • Travel. Even if it’s an hour from where you live. Exploring will open your mind. If you have an opportunity to travel due to your career, take the ticket and explore while working – especially while you’re young and have less geographic anchors. Don’t spend 36 hours in Australia for the first time because it’s a “quick work trip”. Add a few more days and explore, chances are that nobody will question the request. Hint: You just have to ask.
  • Words matter. With all relationships, exchange “we” vs. “me” as much as possible.
  • Try not to worry so much about: your career, your weight, your finances, your future, etc. It all works out. We are warriors, not worriers.
  • Your career is going to take off, but please, please don’t get caught up. Make family a priority. I didn’t attend my grandmother’s funeral because I had a business trip that was “critical to my career.” We are one of 19 grandchildren and only two of us didn’t make it to the funeral. To this day, I don’t remember what that very important “career-altering” opportunity was. Show up for family. It matters.
  • Be kind and smile. It’s good for the soul, it’s a mood-changer, it’s contagious and … it attracts. Kindness and a smile are the ultimate positive boomerangs.

I love you and hope you learn to love yourself at an earlier stage than I did.

Ajo

Amy Jo, author of New York Times best-seller Renegades Write the Rules, founded Digital Royalty in 2009 to help corporations, celebrities and sports entities humanize their brands online through social communication channels. Amy Jo has worked closely with world-renowned brands such as Hilton Worldwide, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal to successfully humanize their presence. Her motto is, humans connect with humans, not logos.

Amy Jo herself has a social media following of more than a 1.1 million people and was named the third most powerful woman on Twitter by Forbes. She travels the world to speak about the latest trends in innovation, the future of social communication and women in business.

In 2012 Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, and Baron Davis, NBA player, invested in Amy Jo and her company. After a successful seven-year run as the Founder & CEO of Digital Royalty and growing the business globally into ten different countries, Amy Jo recently exited the company.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Amy Jo began working for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns during their 2005-06 season. These were the wild wild west days of social media and there were no rules or regulations in place. After asking for a lot of forgiveness instead of permission she became recognized as a social media pioneer while trailblazing through this new unchartered territory.

As a young female building her career in male-centric industries, Amy Jo has developed a passion for helping women thrive in business leadership. She is currently spending her time investing in other female entrepreneurs so they can reach their full potential.

Amy can be found at www.amyjomartin.com or The Guild Agency. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AmyJoMartin.