THE VIP PARTY
There was a VIP party going on, that even the hottest New Years Eve party in Las Vegas couldn’t compare to. The scene looked similar to how older disco heads described Studio 54 in NYC back in the 70s – of course minus the insanity. This party was full of so many amazing celebrities, influencers, fashionistas, style icons, and culture vanguards – that I was in complete awe. They knew how to show up and show out! They were innovative, creative, and downright genius in showcasing their passions, authentically engaging, and successfully monetizing their influence as well.
You want to know where this party was taking place?
For four years I would scroll on Instagram, hours out of a week, looking in admiration at other influencers and boss ladies living their best lives – making boss moves. They were the life of the digital party on a social media platform transforming our entire culture. More importantly, it looked like they were activating their passions and living their best lives. The more I scrolled on IG, the more I also wanted to rock out at the party of influence.
But just like a timid kid poolside, I was too scared to even dip my toe in the water. I doubted if I could elevate my platform on IG beyond the uncalculated presence I had created for myself. I was too afraid to get on the Instagram dance floor with my dream moves and actually shake it – or if in keeping theme with Studio 54, “Get Down & Boogie.” When it came to becoming an influencer and blogger, I had one big question plaguing my every move, or lack thereof:
CAN I DO IT?
All my actions, or more so inactions said “Naaaaa.” I doubted if my look was enough to be a thriving beauty influencer. I questioned if my waist was thin enough to be a vanguard fitness influencer. I doubted if my perspectives were intriguing enough to be a true thought leader. I doubted if my life alone – outside of my husband who played in the NFL for 11 years – was impactful and fly enough to be a lifestyle influencer off my own merit.
Now I knew there was something interesting to my story. Being born in a refugee camp in the Sudan after my parents escaped a civil war in Ethiopia, my miraculous journey of coming to America with my family, marrying my college sweetheart, having a heart attack at 23 years old – six days after giving birth to my first son, and being a special needs parent for my son with Autism – is not the kind of story you hear about every day.
I knew I had a story to tell. But I didn’t know if anyone would care. I would ask myself “If I wrote about my story and day-to-day experiences as a mother and wife and fitness enthusiast and chef and make-up stylist and Autism … would anyone even care to read about it?
My life was a scattered puzzle in my mind, and I doubted if I had the wherewithal to put the pieces together to show a compelling enough picture for people to want to see… like, click, comment on, share, and one day be influenced enough to purchase in some product form. I didn’t know how my story made sense and translated to something as meaningful as becoming a lifestyle blogger and influencer.
WHERE WILL I FIND THE TIME?
The other big issue I had was where would I find the time to entertain those who would like to read my blog regularly. I’m at heart a people pleaser. So, to say “Hey I’m a blogger” but then turn around and quit would be devastating. I also have a husband and two boys, eighteen months apart. Finding a quiet space to blog with three other males is tough to say the least.
I take pride in being a great mom and wife. I put everything into getting the boys ready for school, helping them with homework, being the loudest soccer mom on the sidelines, and Lord knows I put my soul into cooking up the best meals known to mankind (you’re probably thinking where was this confidence several years ago when I was pump faking on launching my blogger brand on IG right?). But there was a guilt I felt about having to be away from my family. Plus, what if I started it and hated it? Then it would be a waste time.
But you know what? I’m going to be 1000% honest…
THAT’S A BUNCH OF BS! 1000% BS!
It’s BS because it’s fear.
KILL THE FEAR!
Fear is a paralyzer. That’ why you must fight with every inch of your mind, body and spirit to kill that fear living within you. It will put an indefinite pause on every dream requiring you to leave your comfort zone. If we let that fearful voice takeover, we will allow it to tell ourselves “No” before anyone else can. I was constantly questioning my ability to be a successful influencer – asking myself “Can I Do It?” This was all out of fear. This fear is a self-inflicting crime. Whenever we allow fear to take over our ambitions and voice, we’re doing ourselves a disservice, in addition to those who may need our story. It’s quite possible some very important inspirations in this world will never happen, unless you go through whatever it takes to do them.
Fear also appears in the form of PERFECTIONISM. I’m such a perfectionist. I never try to start something unless I can complete it. I like to have a plan A, B, C, D and then I want a backup to those backups. Fear was influencing me to believe if I haven’t mastered the art of blogging, why would I even start it. Just wait until everything is set up perfectly. It’s easy to tell myself “No I Can’t Do It” because I have to wait until all the stars are aligned, the moon is full, the ancestors are chanting, my pinky toe is straight, and everything is perfect. But that’s so unrealistic. You don’t walk into the gym and become a master at weight-lifting, you just start. The same goes for musicians, painters, and yes even bloggers.
THE TRANSITION: WATCH ME DO IT
Sometimes we think this epiphany grand moment is going to happen where the angels fall down and tell you exactly what to do, how to do it, and fly you threw the sky so you can do it with ease. But the truth is I just gradually came to the realization that “I have got to start living my own truth on purpose” by launching a platform to be me, while seeking to inspire others on an elevated level.
I looked at the people I had shared this vision with, and the resources I had already empowered myself with including what would become an incredible team – and said “Shoot Sara, just work with what you got – which is more than enough.” Kick this life thing into overdrive and say “No” to any illusion stopping you from becoming the woman you want to be.
I asked myself “Am I really ok with being in the shadows, not having an impact, and nobody hearing what I had to say?” “Am I really ok with sitting on the sidelines?” “Am I really going to miss out on the greatest party on 54321 Living My Best Life Avenue?” Or am I going to “Get up off of that thang” and dance… “with the chances that I’ll feel better?” BTW – s/o to James Brown… the hardest working man ever in show business!
And yes, pursuing any dream worthwhile is hard freakin work. But your drive has to outwork the work. For me it came down to “Do I really want to show my kids I’m a bad mamma jamma or not?” Bad Mamma Jamma it was! Hardest working Momma in the glow business is what I was aiming for. And to that I said, “Hey World…WATCH ME DO IT!”
IF YOU SET YOURSELF ON FIRE…THE WORLD WILL COME TO SEE YOU BURN
I never knew people would care about my fitness workouts, my favorite cooking recipes, my Mommy/Wifey adventures, my beauty tips as a make-up stylist, my Autism advocacy and fights to provide more resources to special needs education, my girl trips and all other things miscellaneous – but I just began telling my story, unapologetically. And guess what? People were interested.
I became motivated to wake up early and set myself on fire every day, not just for my kids and family, but for me. I told myself, “What do I have to lose?” Light the match, lay the foundation, and you have all the room in the world for improvement. Soon I found that as I continued to set aflame my influencer desires, I became more inspired with this internal flame to share, and followers actually became more eager to engage.
The more I embraced the life and daily responsibilities of an influencer of all kinda crazy sorts, the more I discovered I have a voice. And there is power in my voice that resonates with many. People listen, comment, DM, email me and tell me every day they are touched and inspired. That there is enough for me to cry tears of joy at the levels of a thousand rivers for a thousand days. It makes all the hard work well worth it.
FIND YOUR LOVESTYLE
I ultimately called this diversity of passions I was on fire about a “Lovestyle.” Hence Sara Lovestyle the personal brand was born! As I found a social media rhythm and began building a team to help me curate a method to the madness of my numerous areas of influence and lovestyles – I began leaning in to where I had the most engagement: Fitness & Cooking.
I learned posting a series of reps – leg pressing 580lbs, followed by an IG story of me lip syncing to a Mariah Carey Christmas song while baking my signature Christmas cookies is – Instaworthy after all. Those few likes and views I first started getting on IG started turning into hundreds, and then thousands. In less than two years later my Instagram account grew from 5K to over 56K-plus.
Believe it or not, purpose and passion are not synonymous. Passions change, but your ultimate purpose that guides you remains constant. If you’re anything like me, you can try your hand at 100 passions, and it’s ok – it doesn’t change your purpose. When you tap into a passion that lights up your spirit, to an extent that others are inspired by your glow up, it can drive your purpose – which is what happened to me.
To be able to wake up and work on my Lovestyle passion every day, with thousands of women in very special spaces and places rooting me on while being inspired to pursue their own dreams upon their own journey – is a highly rewarding feel good like no other.
During this evolution I not only found my voice, but was propelled to overcome another fear…blogging.
God has a way of sending the right message, through the right person, at the right time to move you to action. For me this occurred earlier this year on two occasions. One was at an event where a blogger told me “Even if no one is reading your blog, keep writing it. For 1 year nobody was reading my blog except my Mom and Dad. If that happens keep writing anyway!” Eventually she became a top lifestyle blogger in two years. On another occasion, I attended a Boss Women Media Pop Up in Atlanta. I was inspired to launch my blog website after blogger extraordinaire Mattie James stated, “Build your own platform beyond social media, because you don’t own Instagram.” Guess what happened a week later? Instagram crashed – which is my main platform. That lit a fire up under me to get www.saralovestyle.com up asap!
Two months later my very own website was launched, and I had written and curated 15 blogs to start with. At the end of this year it will be six months, and I’ve committed to a weekly schedule where I have over 40 blogs up.
JUST DO IT!
People quit when it gets too hard, when its boring, or when they just don’t feel like it anymore. But when you are aligning your activity with your purpose – it’s so different. Regardless of the challenge or resistance, you know what you’re doing is for your highest good – as well as others. So…you JUST DO IT! DO IT ANYWAY! You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take! There’s also always a lesson in anything you do. It’s not a loss, it’s a lesson – which means as long as you apply the experience to your highest good moving forward – you always come out a winner because you always learn.
What did I learn from my Lovestyle journey? I learned that for one…I’m nuts! My dreams are sooooo big that even if no one else understands it, I do and know I can make them happen. Maybe not in the time I imagine, but it will come into fruition because I’m capable of all I envision. I’m willing to work my behind off for it too. You will be surprised how in sync the universe is with supporting you in manifesting your every dream when you overcome your fears and get at it.
I realized I have no ceilings, nor any permanent way to fail. This is because I realized my fear was of something that did not exist. Nothing is so challenging that it can stop me. And this wasn’t just my theory, I began racking up proof. I would execute and manifest one initiative, which gave me crazy momentum where I would say “Dang I can do it.”
I decided to put together a luxurious fine dining Pop Up in just four weeks. It was for 50 influencers in a mansion in Atlanta, where me and two other fabulous cooks prepared the meal. And guess what? I pulled it off. The following week I released my very first signature cookbook followed by my soulful cookies cookbook.
Now did I get any sleep during the bulk of those 4-5 weeks or avoid running myself ragged…no. But I proved I could pull off my wildest dreams to create unforgettable moments – and you can to!
FAITH IT TILL YOU MAKE IT
FAITH IS EVERYTHING! In times of doubt, fear, and when things hit the fan – I go to my FAITH. Faith gives me confidence that I can do all things. Faith that I’m more than enough, and good enough, and I don’t need to be someone else to be great!
There is also power in BEING STILL. You don’t always have to be a fast moving freight train. When there’s too much clutter in motion in your head, you can’t hear anything. But when you’re still and silent you can hear all the answers and reinforcements of your power.
Also remember “faith without works is dead.” You have to put the work in. But you don’t lose anything, it’s all an investment with a positive return. I’m sooooo different from who I was two years before I began my Lovestyle journey. I’m more courageous and wiser. I’m scared of nothing. I still have thoughts of fear that pop into my head – but now I’ve built a powerful Lovestyle Warrior within me that takes over and says, “I’m Strong, I’m Brave, I’m Unstoppable – and I’m a better mother because of it.”
I’m everything I hoped I could become, and everything I was afraid I couldn’t be!
AND SO ARE YOU!
I want to leave you with these three tips to overcome any self-doubt and transform your mindset from a “Can I Do It” question, to a “WATCH ME DO IT!” exclamation:
- SPEAK life over yourself
- PLAN! It doesn’t cost anything to plan the life you want.
- EXECUTE – to manifest those dreams
Strong start, strong finish! Ask yourself “Do you want it or not? Do you want to break out and dance? If so, 2020 is the time to party all day and all night long, dancing your way through your passions and purpose! The time is always now. Let’s Get It!