The Struggle of A Christian Entrepreneur Part 2

God v business

If you haven’t read part one you can do so here.

Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint hearted, especially when you are in the minority. The majority of the population are living according to the world’s system, which says a 9-5 job is the best and only way to live and have security.  Now, before you accuse me of bashing those that work a 9-5, take a breath. I have worked since the age of 14 doing various jobs including cleaning, retail and silver service.  I would be up at 5:00am ready to go and clean offices and toilets, with my aunt, for two hours every day before heading to school.  I understand what it means to work, and for all of my adult life I have worked a 9-5 job; I’m definitely not against hard work. However, I am against working hard at a job that you are not passionate about or that has nothing to do with what you are passionate about, for the sake of having security or out of fear. If you are doing a 9-5 job, you love it, it’s your dream and you believe that it is what you were put on earth to do, then wonderful! I truly mean that, keep doing what you’re doing. I just know that a 9-5 is not for me, I need the time and financial freedom to do what God is calling me to do and I know that a 9-5 job is not going to allow me to do that.untitled (8)

You see, just because we (entrepreneurs) don’t stand in a pulpit or quote Bible verses on Facebook, does not make us any less spiritual or passionate about our relationship with God.  If anything because of this my relationship with God has deepened; I recognise my need for him even more and my responsibility to keep him first and a priority. Like I said, if you have known me long enough, you will know that my purpose and passion has always been to do missions work and to encourage women all over the world.  The fact that I now have the opportunity to do so, and self-fund myself as an entrepreneur with this company, is an open door from God. The fact that I can also bless my friends and family by saving them money on 4 & 5* dream vacations/holidays, if they choose to take advantage of it, is a bonus.

How do I balance everything?images (2)

1) I Make time for God. I wake up every morning at 5:00am to spend time seeking God and then I plan my days activities. The network marketing industry in particular, is tough and can be self consuming.  This is the most important part of my day. God first!

2) Spend time with family and friends when possible. When you are focused on your dream everyone won’t understand the amount of time you put into it and may even think you don’t care about them anymore.  Yes, work hard and stay focused but do your best to also make time for those you care about even if it’s one day. If your family and friends really know you they will understand and even support you.  Keep the doors of communication open.

3) Surround yourself with people on the same mission as you and with those that encourage and believe in you;

4) Manage your time wisely. If it’s not taking you closer to your purpose or dream becoming a reality, why are you doing it? As I write this I am going into my second week of watching no television (a big sacrifice for me lol). However, me watching television is not getting me any closer to my dream. This applies to relationships and any other social activities.

5) Have a day off (even God rested);

6) Stay focused, NEVER quit and work hard.

I appreciate that not all of my followers are Christians. This post is really to encourage all of us to make sure that whatever we’re doing we are doing it for the right reasons. Whether you have a faith or not, the intention of every human heart should be to serve and give to others and not for selfish gain. Even if our purposes differ we should respect and honour the call of God on each other’s lives and even go a step further and show support and interest. Ultimately everything I do is to bring glory to God. That is, and always will be, my first intention and goal.

imagesK6DX36A3If you’re an entrepreneur, I salute you because it’s not easy. If you are a female entrepreneur, big kudos to you for doing everything else that is expected of a woman and still finding the time to run a business. If you are a faith-believing, female entrepreneur, in the network marketing industry, I bow down to you lol. If your experience is anything like mine, I know it’s not easy. But I commend you for going against the tide, being brave enough to stand alone sometimes and committing to the purpose, vision and dream God has placed on your life.

Are you a female entrepreneur? Do you find that there is conflict between your faith and your Network Marketing business? Has your experience been positive or negative? How do you balance everything? I’d love to hear your feedback, please comment below.

Leancia 🙂 x

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Pretty ME vs. Real ME

Now, I’m not a huge fan of Beyonce; yes, she’s a great entertainer, artist and any other musical connotation you want to throw in the mix, but I appreciate her gift from a distance. I think I only have one CD of hers from when she was part of Destiny’s Child…say no more.

Yesterday I watched Beyonce’s new video ‘Pretty Hurts’ for the first time.  I must admit as I watched I felt very uncomfortable, sad and quite emotional. Why? Because the struggle is very real, what she portrayed in her video is a reality for so many women (I’m sure men too), including myself.  This is what I took away from her video:

There is no room for imperfections. If you aren’t pretty then basically you have no place in this world.  The Student Becomes the Teach wrote about this saying: “Too often, our culture over emphasizes external beauty which is commonly subjective over internal richness of character.”  I totally agree! I personally know a number of aesthetically pretty girls/women but their character is on a whole other level (there is grace, we can’t have it all or can we?) In her song Beyonce’s sings: “perfection is a disease of a nation…it’s the soul that needs a surgery.” This is truth! A friend of mine said that she has a problem with accepting how she looks.  Now this woman, in my opinion, is both aesthetically beautiful and has such a beautiful spirit.  For her to say that she is struggling in this area, makes me realize that there is something much deeper in our society that is not being addressed.  The souls of men and women really do need a surgery.

Being ‘pretty’ isn’t enough. If your character is jacked up and you are not happy being pretty means absolutely nothing. Too many people, women and men, rely on their looks to get them ahead in life and granted for some that has worked.  But, they have no aspirations except to be pretty and hopefully marry a rich man so they don’t have any worries…shoot, make your own money!  Let’s get something straight, being ‘pretty’ or having lots of money does not equate to a happy life or that you are better than anyone else because you have either or both of these.  If you believe that lie, you will be very disappointed…don’t believe the hype.  I have a problem when people think that these things are more important than being a good person; I’d rather have five “ugly” (no such thing in my opinion) friends who don’t pick and choose if they like me from one day to the next (based on what I look like) and that love and accept me, over 100 “pretty” friends any day.

Over the past month or so I have deliberately done things to address my own issues of feeling inferior or simply, not enough.  For example, I don’t wear makeup everyday or I’ll only wear mascara.  I realized that I was wearing full on makeup to cover up acne scars that I felt made me look not so pretty.   Now, I am not against anyone wearing makeup, if it makes you feel more comfortable and confident go ahead, there is nothing wrong with that at all. I love makeup. For me I was using it because I didn’t want people to see the Au natural Leancia in all her glory because I didn’t think the Au natural Leancia was pretty. So, I faced this issue head on and decided to start wearing little or no makeup at all.  Was I worried about how people would react and treat me, sure I was but more importantly I needed to be convince myself of the truth, that who I am is more significant  than how I look.  I wanted to intentionally go against the status quo of what is deemed as popular in our culture in order to embrace my imperfections and not be afraid to let the world see the real me.  The thing is if I don’t accept my own flaws and imperfections a) I give power to someone else to use against me, b) I become critical and judgmental of other people’s flaws.  As a culture and as women we are so quick to point out or notice external imperfections in other people instead of looking at who people are and accepting them flaws and all.  When we realize and I mean really live in the truth that none of us are perfect, we will be a lot more benevolent to others.

Most Beautiful Woman 2014 – People Magazine

I was so happy to read that Lupita N’Yongo was nominated as the most beautiful woman in the world by People magazine.  Seriously, seeing this woman own who she is and not change herself is truly inspiring to me as a dark skinned black woman.  Previous winners included; Gweneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry and Nicole Kidman.  You can read what she thought about this tribute and what her mother would say to her growing up, here.  This leads into my final point.  Parents, don’t focus ONLY (note I didn’t say, don’t reaffirm or tell them they are not beautiful), on your child’s external beauty so much so that they feel like that is all that’s important or all they have to offer the world.  The culture we live in already does that without your help and added pressure whether consciously or unconsciously.  I know that when I have a child (particularly a girl) I will not only reaffirm their external beauty but I will also inform them that it’s okay to be something other than a reality TV star, a WAG or a model.  That working hard, valuing people and making a positive contribution to the world, not only makes the world a better place but will also have an even greater impact on their own soul.

So, I’ve decided that the real me is the pretty and beautiful me, that I refuse to hide whether people accept, approve or validate.  It would be great if more of us did the same.

Leancia 🙂 x

 

 

 

I am NOT beautiful: part 2

Beautiful women

I have become more aware of the triggers that heighten those feelings of not feeling beautiful and I have had to actively say and do things to counterbalance those feelings when they arise. I understand that comparison is a killer to the human soul.  I have learnt the importance of self talk and what I say about myself and what I allow others to say to me.  I find it very interesting that when you speak highly of yourself how uncomfortable people feel.  Because I have spent so many years not thinking highly of myself, I now not only think so but say so too; I have had to change my confession. Why? Because I don’t want to get my validation from anyone else or wait or rely on someone else to tell me truths that I should already know about myself.  As David did in 1 Samuel 30:6 when he ‘Encouraged himself in the Lord’. I need to be able to know and call out the greatness and strength within me when I’m feeling discouraged or not beautiful, before I seek that from anyone else. What is surprising and what I’ve noticed is that you don’t always get a positive or encouraging response from people when you do this. The reason for this, I think, is because we don’t feel like that about ourselves. Before we jump straight to the negative we need to stop, think and examine what is being said and who is saying it and consider how we can continue to help and call out those truths that people are recognising and calling out of themselves.  I make no apologies for speaking about myself how God speaks about me.

I heard a saying once that goes something like ‘beauty doesn’t need to declare it’s beautiful, it just is’. I love this statement because I use to and sometimes still catch myself feeling the need to perform or make myself be seen. Now when and if I ever feel this happening I sit down and take a seat, I don’t mean literally but it can be that too. It’s that feeling of wanting to show up, not show up in the context of being vulnerable but to show up and show off. In those moments I remind myself ‘you are beautiful you don’t need to declare it’ or ‘you are good enough you don’t need to prove it’.

I do not want to marry a man as good looking and funny as Will Smith (I love that guy lol) but is selfish, has no character, and doesn’t realise that the content and intention of my heart is more important than how I look first thing in the morning. As much as I take value in my appearance and health, my priority is first to ensure that I represent Jesus well and love others as I love myself.

Understand there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself and making yourself look presentable, I am all for that, I am talking about making that the basis and primary focus that we first judge people and make decisions on i.e. she’ll make a good wife or he’ll make a good husband, without making getting to know them the first priority.

In closing, ladies you ARE beautiful!  In my opinion there is a difference between being pretty and beautiful. I would rather be beautiful because it not only talks about the external but truly speaks of the essence of a person.  Your beauty is not determined by the length or texture of your hair, the shape or size of your nose (or any other body part for that matter), or whether you wear Armani or Primark clothes. This is not an excuse to dress drab unless you want to of course; this is an encouragement and rite of passage to be your own kind of beautiful. Just because you do not fit into society’s norm of ‘beauty’ that does not make you any less beautiful. This blog is a message to ALL women to value, love accept who you are and know that you are worthy of love and belonging.

My confession is no longer I am NOT beautiful. My confession is ‘Body and soul, I am marvellously made’ (Psalm 139:14 – MSG). After all HE created me and he’s my Lord 🙂 xx

I am NOT beautiful

Beautiful women

Part 1

This post is going to be honest, real and possibly a little controversial.  My intention is to share my experience from my perspective. I am not arrogant enough to speak on behalf of the whole black, female cohort; this is my story.  I imagine that some people will disagree and that’s fine, my aim isn’t to get everyone to agree with me, this is simply me showing up, being vulnerable and being willing to be seen at the risk of people disagreeing and even viewing me differently. However, fear is no longer an emotion that I will choose to entertain; the fear of not been liked, fear of not getting any likes on Facebook *rolling my eyes* or fear of worrying about what people might think. My goal is simply to get us all to think about our own thoughts, ideologies and even prejudices around the topic of beauty.

The sunset, the ocean, flowers and a nice view are all visually beautiful to look at. If you ask people what ‘beauty’ looks like in the context of people you will probably get a standard response based on the external. The same premise we apply to beauty in nature we also apply to people, this premise being if it’s beautiful to look at it must be good. Well, Lucifer was beautiful to look at and most of us know how that story ends. Anyway, in my experience this has not proven to be true; just because something is beautiful to look at does not mean it is necessarily good.

Growing up I struggled with wanting to be what I deemed was ‘beautiful’ whether that be like my friends or the people that I admired on TV.  I often felt that I did not fit into the ideal of what beautiful was and I wanted to so badly.  I would change everything about myself to be anything but who I was because I didn’t think I was beautiful. As far as I was concerned what everyone else perceived and said was beautiful, was the total opposite of me.  Let me explain what this idea of beauty is that I’m referring to: The White European version of beauty. Yes, I said it, don’t shoot me.

This was my norm; this is what I saw on TV the majority of the time. White, size 0 women with long flowing hair (I’m being very extreme here to make my point, Black women with long weave also fit into this category). I do not blame the media entirely; yes, they have a role to play, but until we decide to change we can’t expect anything around us to. As Mahatma Ghandi said; ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. So, because this was all that I saw as being deemed as beautiful, I was devastated because I did not fit into that mould. I was, and still am, a 5’1 (give or take a few inches), dark skinned Black girl with natural 4b/4c hair texture. I didn’t think I was particularly pretty despite getting quite a lot of attention from boys.

As a society we focus so much on the external and very little on the character or heart of people. Beauty is subjective, so for one group of people to determine what beauty is and then force it on the entire female population is quite obnoxious. Who are you or I to say what is beautiful based on something that is as superficial as whether a woman has small nose, or whether a guy has a six pack like David Beckham?

Men, please understand the weight of what you say to your female friends and family. Taking responsibility for yourself is exactly that; YOUR responsibility. Granted you are not responsible for how we as women receive what you say.  However, you can help us by being consistent and neutral in your observations and comments about women. You cannot say in one breath that you find all women beautiful when you only publicly acknowledge the beauty of women that are stereo-typically thin, wear make-up and wear the latest designer clothes. I am not talking about personal preferences either, we all have those.

Ladies, we can help each other too. I’m just going to say this; women can sometimes be mean, both to ourselves and to other women. Growing up I was so mean to myself and the expectation I put on myself to fit into the ideal of beauty I would also put on others. Here I was wanting to be beautiful and I was judging other girls using the same measuring stick that I couldn’t live up to myself. Just because we have nice things, the latest designer clothes or we fit into society’s idea of beauty that I described earlier, it doesn’t mean we are any better or any more beautiful than the woman who has scars on her face after being in a fire or the homeless woman on the street, or the woman in Africa who’s hands are calloused because she’s been working in the hot sun. These women are just as beautiful even though they don’t fit into the typical idea of ‘White European’ beauty. The sooner we all understand that beauty comes in different colours, shapes and sizes and is so much more than the external that we place so much value in, the better.

Click here for part 2