It’s January of 2014! A new year, new goals! I hope all ladies have taken a step beyond the customary “New Years Resolutions” and have actually started the task of re-evaluating your personal assessment plans- meaning that you have identified and are able to articulate short-term/long-term goals. But, don’t dare stop there- hold yourself accountable. Wake up each day with a sense of purpose to meet the goals you’ve set for yourself.

As a female in 2014, what does it mean to be visible? I think you (myself included) must first accept the fact that you’ve probably been invisible for a period of time. Understanding that you’ve been “showing up” but only to be seen rather than valued for what you can contribute. For me, once I made that stark realization came the determination to set aside time everyday to do something for Tiffany that is directly tied to my personal and professional goals, i.e. my written plan. I’m a nurturing female by nature- and I indeed get satisfaction from helping others. It’s a female thing! We want to be the wonderful wife, extraordinary mother, supportive best friend, attentive daughter, etc. but often ignore the most vital part of self-preservation: OURSELVES. We forget that none of the relationships that we build with others thrive unless we are at our best- so first start the task of learning to become your best self. Others automatically reap the benefit of that conscious decision to be a better you.

When you board a commercial flight you’re given this advice regarding a potential emergency situation: “…put on your own mask first before assisting others.” That speaks volumes because many of us are in autopilot- the Monday through Friday workweek, looking forward to the weekend to catch my breath, daily routine of life. It’s no secret that since February of 2007 my first responsibility has always been to my children. The joys of motherhood coupled with the pains of labor taught me unrelenting love, love beyond measure. I’m blessed to have wonderful, healthy children so at a minimum it’s my duty to make sure they are clean and fed right? (Most moms can relate and admit that’s an accomplishment for each day in and of itself!) Beyond the basic necessities comes the realization that I’m now fully responsible for these little people- every aspect of their lives. And I take care of them well– because I’m superwoman, or supermom in this instance. I do things such as homework, laundry, reading bedtime stories, taking care of sick babies, etc. with little hesitation and without much thought. Head Mommy-In-Charge: I can do it in my sleep and still wake up flawless (yes, I love Beyonce!). Now, let me not give the false impression that I’m trapped in the house, with a scarf on my head running behind my children everyday- although that has happened at least once (lol). I have always been an advocate of “me time”- that escape where you do whatever it is that you want to do for relaxation (and sanity!). For me, that usually includes a trip to the spa. I love massages, manicures, pedicures, the hair salon, etc. And I indulge in these pleasures regularly. So, that’s a balanced life right? Life is good.

Wrong! We’re still invisible ladies; still not taking care of our bodies and our health; still not excelling in the outstanding ways that we are capable of in our professions; still failing at relationships, friendships, spiritual connectedness; still not performing at the ultimate level of excellence because we’re wearing make-up and smiles pretending life is good. So, in this New Year I encourage you to spend time working through a personal assessment plan. Reward yourself for those amazing goals you accomplished in 2013, but also be brutally honest about those areas that you overlooked or could have made more progress in. Are you nurturing the things that will sustain you when employment statuses change, kids grow up and friendships grow apart— because life happens…But, when you’re consistently putting on your own mask first you survive these changes and you’re no longer invisible.

Tiffany’s PEARL (lesson learned): when you try this “self-first” approach and do it the right way, you’ll find that you’re so busy working your plan that you have no time left to sabotage another female’s plan. You know your worth and also value and respect the success of others.  It’s a beautiful thing!

Cheers to a year of visibility and endless possibilities as you work through your personal and professional plans for your life!