Confessions of a Goal Digger

Monday, December 7, 2015

I am a dreamer, a dreamer with goals galore. You can call me a “goal digger” if you’d like. I even have the T-shirt. My writing, blogging, and business goals are usually the last things I’m thinking about before I fall asleep at night and typically the first things on my mind in the morning. I’m constantly brainstorming ideas for blog posts, articles, and personal essays. I’m constantly pondering ways I can grow See Jane Write, my membership organization, and consulting service for women writers and bloggers. It’s probably not inaccurate to say that I am obsessed with my work. Is this healthy? Is this normal? I’m not sure that I care if it is or not.
Because of my goal-digging ways I spend the month of December ready to pop. I’m bursting with excitement for the New Year. And yes, I am one of those people who loves New Year’s Eve. In fact, I’d be fine with fast forwarding through the stressful and obscenely expensive holiday of Christmas and skipping right to Dec. 31.
Yes, I am one of those people who create a long list of goals and resolutions for the New Year and, yes, I believe in magic. I believe that the act of hanging a new calendar on my wall will give me all I need to keep these resolutions of mine and to bring my dreams to fruition. I know it’s silly, but I am unfazed. However, a highly successful blogger that I truly admire recently reminded me and her other fans that when you have big dreams you must respect the process. Don’t stay constantly fixed on your destination, she said. You must learn to enjoy the journey.
I especially need this reminder in December; otherwise I’ll spend the entire month counting down to midnight of January 1. But how do we goal diggers do this? How do we set our aspirations for the next year and look forward to 2016 yet still enjoy the final days of 2015?...
Read this entire article at

November Intentions

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Can you believe November is already here?!
2016 is just down the street, around the corner, or however the saying goes. 
I like to begin each month setting goals for the weeks ahead.

Talking About Money Makes Me Sick

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Talking about money and personal finance makes me sick -- literally. I once threw up before a trip to H&R Block to get my taxes done. And I typically get a refund! 

When I was growing up my parents had very little money. We were no stranger to eviction notices or having the gas or electric services turned off. And money woes often led to heated disagreements in our household. 

Today I am a proud homeowner and my bills are always paid on time, and yet I still don't want to talk about money -- EVER. 

Enter Tracie B. Threadford

Tracie B. Threadford, my money makeup artist

An Open Letter to My Body

Monday, October 19, 2015

I should have seen this coming.

For weeks I pushed you to the brink, getting an average of 4 hours a sleep each night, not making time for exercise, eating whatever was most convenient.

I should have seen this coming.

5 Things That Made Me a Happy Feminist This Week

Friday, October 16, 2015

1. Sisterhood is alive and well, even during a zombie apocalypse.

image via Bust

What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid to Fail?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What would you do if you weren't afraid to fail?

Last Thursday I walked into the Clubhouse on Highland and was greeted with handshakes, hugs, and a hot pink sash. "Inspirational" it read. I draped it across my body noting the nice contrast with my grey dress. I smiled as my proud husband took my photo for the obligatory Facebook and Instagram posts.

But I felt like a fraud.

Writeous Babe Returns!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

On July 1, 2015 I decided to abandon this blog and begin posting regularly at my portfolio site

But now I'm back.

I'm moving -- again!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A month ago I announced on this blog that my husband and I had bought our very first house. And I'm happy to report that we're all moved in and slowly getting settled.

But now I'm moving again -- at least virtually that is.

In an effort to streamline my life I'm merging this blog with my portfolio website, Eventually all previous Writeous Babe posts will be there and both and will take you to the same place (because if you think I'm letting go of my URL you're crazy).

Until that process is complete I ask that you would join me over at for new posts. I've decided that I'm going to publish a new post every single day in July. Head over to to find out why.


Javacia a.k.a. Writeous Babe

Michelson Laser Vision Helped Me See Business In a New Way

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Having fun with the B-Metro blog team!
Disclosure: I received monetary compensation from B-Metro magazine for covering the Michelson Laser Vision open house event, but all opinions are my own. 

I often find inspiration in the most unlikely of places. 

About a week ago I covered the grand opening of Michelson Laser Vision's new facility for B-Metro magazine. 

My eyesight is pretty good right now, so I hardly need vision correction surgery, but I left that event seeing more clearly nonetheless. 

Learning more about Dr. Marc Michelson made we want to be the best at what I do. 

Dr. Marc Michelson with his assistant Maragaret

Dr. Marc Michelson has been the recipient of the "Best Doctors in America" award for 15 consecutive years. He performed the first myopic vision correction procedure in Alabama (photorefractive keratoplasty or PRK) in 1991. Dr. Michelson is recognized as a leader in the field of refractive surgery and has been ranked in the top 1 percent of refractive surgeons in the country. 

As I build my blog coaching business I want to be counted as one of the best coaches in the country. 

Dr. Michelson has the only WaveLight EX500 Excimer in the state of Alabama. This platform is the fastest excimer approved by the FDA in the United States.

As I build See Jane Write and seek to make it a national network I want people to say it is the best network in the country for female writers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs. I want the programs of See Jane Write to be cutting edge! 

And just like Dr. Michelson I want to help people see things differently. 

Lance Taylor of WJOX 94.5 FM with Dr. Michelson

At the open house event I had a chance to chat with Lance Taylor of WJOX 94.5 FM who had LASIK surgery at Michelson Laser Vision 12 years ago and has had 20/15 vision ever since! Taylor describe the change as going from a regular to HD television. 

I want to help people see themselves and their writing, blogging and business dreams in high definition. I want to give them confidence and clarity. 

Perhaps the best treat of the night was chatting with Dr. Robert Morris, president of the Helen Keller Foundation, who Dr. Michelson a copy of a collection of Helen Keller quotes that he helped publish. 

As someone who loves quotes, I wanted Dr. Morris to share some of his favorite Keller quotes with me. 

Here's one that stuck with me for the rest of the night and probably will be with me for the rest of my life:

I left the event knowing that more than anything I want my business to create joy. 

Do you need vision correction surgery? Mention B-Metro and get the following deal at Michelson Laser Vision:

LASIK/ PRK- $2000 per eye instead of $2500 per eye
12 Months Follow up Care with Doctor
Enhancements - $300 per eye during post op period, if needed

Moving On Up!

Monday, June 1, 2015

In case you missed my big announcement on Facebook, my husband and I bought a house! 

In my "Life Event" Facebook post I explained why I once believed I'd never buy a house. 

I’ve always felt that buying a house is like marrying a community. It’s like saying I’m with you for better or for worse, till debt due us part, or something like that. For most of my adult life I’ve feared this kind of commitment. I’m a gypsy at heart. I get bored with places in a flash.
But the Birmingham area -- mostly because of See Jane Write -- has changed this heart of mine. She’s making an honest woman out of me; she’s convinced me to settle down.

So I guess you could say my husband and I put a ring on it – metaphorically at least. We're homeowners!

We're calling the house Bowsers' Castle, which you'll appreciate if you were a gamer back in the day (or now). 

But that Facebook post only told half the story.

Honestly, there was a time when I never thought I could buy a house. When I was younger saw homeownership as something reserved for folks from wealthy families. I come from a family that never had much money. Even though my parents worked very, very hard they always struggled to make ends meet. They weren't able to purchase a house and we were no stranger to eviction notices taped to the front door.

But on December 31, 2014 I declared that 2015 would be the year I would go after all those things I once believed were beyond my reach and now here I am a proud homeowner.

What about you? Are you making the same mistake young Javacia once made? Have you convinced yourself that a dream of yours is impossible and out of reach? 

As we enter a new month, I want to challenge you to take on a new mindset. I want to challenge you to believe that you can make your wildest dreams come true and then I want you to develop a plan to do just that. Remember a goal without a plan is just a wish and nothing will work unless you do, so let's get busy! 

If you need help with your plan, let's chat! I'm now accepting appointments for one-hour consultations via Skype. Click here for more information. 

Join Me at Michelson Laser Vision

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How would  you behave if you were the best in the world at what you do? 

This is a question business expert Marie Forleo once asked and it's a question I ask myself often.

On Thursday, May 21 I'll be on the B-Metro social media broadcast team covering an event celebrating one of the best doctors in the world. 

Michelson Laser Vision is moving to a new location at UAB Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue South, Suite 501. Join me Thursday at 5:30 p.m. for a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house. There will be complimentary appetizers and drinks, live entertainment, and a chance to win door prizes. Free valet parking will also be available. 

Dr. Marc Michelson has bee the recipient of the "Best Doctors in America" award for 15 consecutive years. He performed the first myopic vision correction procedure in Alabama (photorefractive keratoplasty or PRK) in 1991. Dr. Michelson is recognized as a leader in the field of refractive surgery and has been ranked in the top 1 percent of refractive surgeons in the country. Dr. Michelson has the only WaveLight EX500 Excimer in the state of Alabama. This platform is the fastest excimer approved by the FDA in the United States. 

Bladeless LASIK Eye Surgery is the most common type of vision correction surgery performed at Michelson Laser Vision to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

Dr. Michelson is also Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Medicine.

Learn more at

Disclosure: I am receiving monetary compensation from B-Metro magazine for my time, but 

all opinions are my own. 

My May Mantra

Friday, May 1, 2015

What's your mantra for the month?

For daily inspirational quotes, follow me on Instagram at @writeousbabe.

Hips Don't Lie: The Myrtl Routine

Thursday, April 30, 2015

It's all in the hips, Alex Morrow told me. And, no, Alex isn't a salsa dance instructor. He's the founder of Resolute Running Training Center in Birmingham and president of the Birmingham Track Club

This year I hope to run three half-marathons, begin training for my first full marathon and I hope to log 1200 miles by December 31. When I first had a chat with Alex I asked what I should do to avoid injury since I plan to run so much this year. 

"A lot of recent research says that 90 percent of injuries no matter where they occur are related to imbalance in the hips," he explained. 

Think of the hips as a bowl of milk, Alex said. If that bowl doesn't stay balanced milk will spill and wherever it lands you can expect an injury. 

That metaphor gives a whole new meaning to the idea of crying over spilled milk, huh?

Dancing to Shakira songs in my living room (Just Dance for Wii, anyone?), unfortunately, is probably not enough to keep my hips happy. 

My running coach, Ann Thomas of Resolute Running, recommends the Myrtl routine. The Myrtl routine was developed by Jay Johnson, a coach based in Boulder, Colorado. The Myrtl routine gets its name from its focus -- your hip girdle. All the exercises in the Myrtl routine either strengthen or help provide greater range of motion in this area. 

"The Myrtl routine helps ward off injuries by maximizing flexibility in the hip girdle area and strengthening the glutes," Coach Ann explained. "The routine was also designed with the assumption that most of us spend a great deal of time sitting, and it should address any asymmetries in your hips."

The video below will help you add the Myrtl routine to your workout regimen. 

The Success Checklist: How to Evaluate Your Blog Like Advertisers & Influencers Do

Monday, April 27, 2015

Guest Post by Jennifer Brown Banks


When I got word last month that my site had won a “Top Blog” Award, I was doing the happy dance here. It was the third consecutive year in a row I had managed to garner professional recognition, for what began as an experiment of sorts. Not to mention, when it comes to promoting my site through the social media scene, I admit to being somewhat of a recluse.

But as they say, “three times is a charm.”  With this last one, there was more than a warm and fuzzy feelin’ and a validating experience. I had what Oprah often refers to as an “AH-HA” moment! It dawned on me that when it comes to this blogging business, I might know a thing or two that would actually be “marketable,“ in terms of helping others to get the recognition they desire and reap a return for their sweat equity.  

Though the path to success may have varying routes, as it applies to other genres of writing, blogging tends to be more straight and narrow. Accordingly, I offer the following checklist for those of you seeking to encounter fewer detours on your journey. 

Is your blog poised for success? Here’s how to objectively assess where you stand based upon what advertisers and influencers often look for in a blog.

If you’re on board, let’s look at your blog through different lenses.

Here are a few factors on which they‘ll likely focus. The more of these you can check off, the more you’re on point!

Does your blog have a logo, slogan, or tag line? 

Not only does this enhance your site’s appearance and establish you as a professional, it helps to solidify your brand and distinguish you from the crowd.


Do you have an “About Me” page that identifies who you are and the purpose of your site? Is it written in first-person, and in a conversational tone? How about a head shot in a prominent place that reflects who you are?

Does it convey what readers can expect to “take-away” in exchange for their time? Contrary to popular opinion, an effective “About Me” page is not really about you; it’s about your audience.


Can visitors easily determine your blog’s theme and intended readership? Or do you have topics from art to zoology addressed in your posts? Do you have tabs and labels for easy navigation? Or once there, are readers trapped in a virtual maze? Keep in mind that many times advertisers are trying to strategically target a specific demographic with their products and services. If they can’t figure out yours in the first few minutes of visiting your site, you’ve lost them in more ways than one.


Social proof can come in many forms. It can be written testimonials from satisfied customers, or a gadget on your site that reveals how many Tweets you have from your “peeps."  According to’s marketing blog, “Your product or service could be the best in the world, and it's okay to lay that claim -- it's just that people may not believe you unless they hear it from other people, too. And that's exactly what social proof does.”


Though good writing can sometimes be subjective, one of the best metrics for blog success is how your words resonate with readers in the way of feedback. How active is your blog community?  Do readers respond to your posts through questions, suggestions, ongoing discussions and thoughtful threads? These are things to consider.


A regularly updated site shows discipline, commitment, and consideration for your blog followers. Bloggers who are here today and gone tomorrow confuse readers, come across as amateurs, and lose the potential opportunity to build a solid platform and a supportive fan base. Do you blog on a regular schedule? Or is it typically whenever the mood hits you?

Sporadic blog posting can be counterproductive, and cause bloggers to work “harder, not smarter.”

If you’re looking to “win friends and influence people” these factors are crucial for future blog success. Incorporate them in your strategic efforts to reach new heights and new goals.

Jennifer Brown Banks is an award-winning blogger, ghost writer, and relationship columnist. For more than a decade, her work has appeared in print and online publications such as: Today's Black Woman Magazine, Honey, Pro Blogger, and Women on Writing.

Let's Take Flight Together (or My 7/11 Special)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Do you dream of seeing your byline in your favorite publications?

Do you have an idea for a blog or business, but you're not quite sure where to start?

Maybe you already have a blog or brand, but it's not getting the attention you feel it deserves.

Or perhaps you've written a book but you just can't seem to sell it.

If any of these sound familiar, I'd like to help you get unstuck and soar. Let's take flight together!

As founder of See Jane Write, a Birmingham-based organization for female writers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs, I used very simple but very powerful strategies to grow a small writing group into a network of hundreds of women. And this network has helped me start an award-winning business and land the paid writing opportunities I once only dreamed about. You can use these same strategies to build buzz for your blog, book, brand, or business. 

I want to share these strategies with you and answer any other questions you may have about writing, blogging, or business

For the next seven days I will be taking appointments for 11 one-on-one coaching sessions.

I'm calling this my 7/11 special. No, you can't come to me and fill a pot with your favorite flavor of Slurpee, but I can fill your mind with what you need to take your next step.

If you live in the Birmingham area and would like to meet face-to-face for more hands-on help, you can get a one-hour session for only $99 (usually $125).

If you live outside the Birmingham area or simply just need to chat, we will meet on Skype and your one-hour session will only cost $75 (usually $100).

This offer ends April April 18. 

Here's what one of my clients had to say after we spent an hour chatting at her favorite Starbucks:

My one-on-one session with Javacia was more than I expected. She not only listened to my goals and aspirations, she provided me with practical next steps to help me accomplish each. She was friendly, yet very professional. I left with an ambitious to do list which is now my roadmap. She followed up, as promised, with websites, worksheets, and tons of information to help advance my dreams to write, get published, and speak professionally. I now consider her my writing mentor.

-- TiJuana W.

You see, after we meet I'm not going to check your name off my to-do list and forget about you. I'm going to follow up with information and inspiration to keep moving your closer and closer to achieving your goals. 

If you know you need guidance, but you're not sure this is right for you, simply email me at with any questions you may have.

If you're ready to fly click here for a face-to-face session or here for a Skype chat and then email me at for next steps.

Let's do this!

Hello April

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I often tell people that it is physically impossible for me to run without listening to music. I usually say this with laughter but I'm not actually joking. There have been times when I've been out on my favorite trail and I ended my run early simply because my iPod's battery was drained. But yesterday I did a 5-mile walk/run with no music. All I had was the sound of my breath, the wind, the nearby cars, and the occasional notification from my RunKeeper app that was helping me keep my pace.

And this is no April Fools' Day joke.

As I finished my run I began to think about other things I've once declared I couldn't do -- either jokingly or not -- and I decided that April would be the month I declared that all things are possible. I'm challenging you to do the same.

Turning my calendar to a new month has always given me a sense of new power and new hope. I wish the same for you.

What goal will you conquer this month?


Do you have big plans and bold dreams but you're not quite sure where to start? Let me help. I am now offering one-on-one consultations via Skype for readers. Get a one-hour session for only $97. Email me at for details. 

Move On Faith

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"I want a new testimony," I whispered to God. Then I suddenly realized that perhaps I don't have a new testimony because I haven't shared my "old" testimony enough.

When my husband and I moved to Birmingham, Alabama in 2009 it was so I could take a teaching job at my alma mater. My husband journeyed to the my hometown with me even though he didn't have a new job waiting for him. We were taking a leap of faith. Little did we know, God would soon ask us to leap again.

Because my husband didn't have a new job, we moved in with my parents when we relocated to Birmingham. The plan was that we'd get our own place once hubster got a new gig. But a month passed and despite my husband's relentless search for employment nothing worked out. Meanwhile, living in my parents' home became more and more challenging.

Then one day my husband and I went to a church service in Montgomery while visiting my cousin. The co-pastor gave a message about miracles. She talked about her mission trips to developing nations. She'd met children born with a missing arm or leg and seen those missing limbs restored through prayers of healing! I got goosebumps listening to her stories.

She said she believed that we hear more stories of miracles in developing nations than in countries like America because believers in developing nations have no Plan B. They truly and fully rely on God. She urged those of us listening to let go of our Plan B and to stop relying on our own wisdom, resources, or strength.  She urged us all to "Move on faith." She kept saying those words over and over again. "Move on faith!" she said. "Move on faith!"

While driving back to Birmingham from Montgomery I turned to my husband and said, "I think God wants us to move on faith -- literally. I think God wants us to move out of my parents' house." My husband confessed that he'd received the same message from the sermon.

We needed to move on faith; we needed to move into our own place before my husband found a new job to show that we really trusted God as much as we said we did.

And so the apartment hunting began. We found a new place and on October 15, 2009 we moved in. And on that day as we were carrying boxes into our new apartment my husband's cell phone kept ringing. Once we were all moved in my husband checked his voicemail: He had three job offers.

We looked at each other, smiled, and simply said: "Move on faith!"

Right now I'm praying prayers that are big and bold. I'm asking God for quite a lot. I'm asking God for a miracle. I'm asking for miraculous growth in my business and so much more. But lately I've been getting a bit discouraged. I've been doubting that I can actually make my dreams come true. And you know what I've realized? I can't make my dreams come true! At least not within my own wisdom, resources, or strength. It's time I stop worrying about Plan B. It's time for me to fully rely on God.

For a while I thought that maybe my dreams were too big, but then a friend of mine reminded me of something my pastor once said: "Let's live our lives so big that it couldn't possibly happen unless God shows up."

What testimony do you need to share?

Slow and Steady Wins More Than the Race

Monday, March 9, 2015

When Resolute Running clients achieve their personal best time during a big race they pin their bibs to this wall at the fitness center. This year I'm determined to see my name on the PR wall!

Yesterday I ran 9 miles and afterward actually didn't feel as if I'd been hit by a car. And I really do know how that feels, but that's another story for another day. For a little over a month I've been following a training plan developed by Coach Ann Thomas of Resolute Running Center. Yesterday's run was a strong indication that Coach Ann's plan is actually working. 

Sure, I've run more than 9 miles before. I've completed two half marathons. But each time I pounded the pavement for those 13.1 miles I felt terrible by the time I crossed the finish line.

My hope is that after my next big race I'll be able to enjoy a celebratory brunch with my hubby (who's always waiting for me at the finish line) instead of just collapsing in his car.  

When Coach Ann gave me my first running plan I was confused. You see when it comes to running I am definitely the tortoise, not the hare. I'm so slow that sometimes I feel like I shouldn't even call what I do running; it's more like jogging or better yet slogging. 

So imagine my surprise when Coach Ann told me she wanted me to run slower! In fact, she wanted me to run at a pace that's even slower than my walking pace! 

We need your body to make certain physiological changes that only occur when you are running at about 65-79% of max heart rate," Coach Ann said when I asked her why she wants me to run slower even though I'm already slow as molasses. "Running slower (sometimes, substantially slower) than race pace elicits this response.  Muscle cells increase in number, size, and distribution of mitochondria.   Your body also builds more capillaries in the exercising muscles which distribute more blood, meaning more oxygen.  Both of these changes enable the muscle to fire efficiently, so you can run farther and faster with less effort." 

Coach Ann constantly says to me and other clients that she's not just training us so we can run a race this year. She's training us so that we will be able to continue to run 10, 20, even 30 years from now. 

"Runners often think that if 5 miles is good, then 10 is better, and that if running at a 9min pace is good, than 8min pace is better; this is not necessarily true," Coach Ann said. "Increasing mileage too quickly greatly increases the risk of injury.  High mileage can yield great results, but the increase needs to be done slowly and with care.  Running all of your runs at race pace just burns out your legs.  For best results, you need a variety of paces, including slow runs to achieve the cellular adaptations and speedwork to increase VO2 max (a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use)."

If you're a runner in the Birmingham area looking for a coach to help you train for next big race (and a running lifestyle), visit to find the right trainer for you. 

How to Move a Mountain

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Anyone who knows me well knows I love TED Talks. I show TED Talks to my students at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. When I'm in a long line at the pharmacy I open up the TED app on my phone to see what new talks have been posted online. And last year when I had the opportunity to attend TEDxBirmingham 2014 I was as giddy as a kid on Christmas Day. I literally skipped from the car to the front door of the Alys Stephens Center where the event was held. It would be my first time attending a live TED event. The theme was "Rediscover the Magic "and that I did. I left inspired with a new love for my city, a renewed determination to make it better, and an even greater passion for TED.

Things were different this year. TEDxBirmingham 2015 was just as fantastic, perhaps even better. But this year I felt the giddy girl of last year's event being asked to grow up. She was being asked to move a mountain.

"Move Mountains" -- that was this year's theme and it was quite apropos. The topics broached this year were as heavy as looming rust-stained rock of iron ore that we in Birmingham call Red Mountain. Human trafficking, our country's broken health care system, and environmental degradation are just a few of the issues this year's 12 speakers forced us to face.

When Sunny Slaughter's 7-year-old daughter was raped years ago by her own husband, Slaughter was filled with a rage that no one would have blamed her for acting on. But she used that fire to fuel the work she does today working as an activist working to end human trafficking. Slaughter hit us with the statistics of the the number of girls sold not just in other countries, but also in America and even Alabama.

In closing, she said, "I'm not trying to shock you. I'm trying to scare the hell out of you."

But how are we to move a mountain when the sight of it shakes us to our core?

The speakers covered that, too.

"Fear is great soil for growth," Tracey Abbott said during her talk. "The purpose of life is not to be comfortable but to grow."And despite her fear, Abbott recently quit her corporate job to found Culture Relay, a social enterprise dedicated to empowering high school girls through cross-cultural exchanges.

So feel the fear and face that mountain anyway. And here's how you can move it:

Shift the way you see that mountain. Be willing to look at everything in a new way. You make think that our country's obsession with sports will lead to its demise. But Andy Billings, professor of sports media at the University of Alabama, is using sports to delve into issues of race, gender, and more. Yes, it's true that very few Olympic swimmers are black, but why is that? Are black people just not good at swimming or could it be that blacks once had little to no access to public swimming pools and thus black parents were hesitant to encourage their children to learn to swim knowing they couldn't help them do so? And what kind of important conversations about gender can we have simply by looking at how women are portrayed on the covers of Sports Illustrated magazine?

Be willing to be radical. When Venkata Macha was only a sophomore in high school he asked a radical question: "Why isn't there a urine test to help detect cancer?" Then he did something even more outrageous -- he emailed renowned researchers all over the country asking them the same question. The result: he spent the summer before his junior year working in a lab of a Harvard University professor doing research to develop a bioelectronic chip for immediate, non-evasive cancer detection. "Radical approaches could have extraordinary results," Vekata said.

Your radical idea may be to tunnel through your mountain. If so, just dig and keep digging. While chipping your way through you will be discouraged. But so many speakers urged attendees to see failure only as a detour, not a dead end.

Or maybe you'll decide that moving the mountain isn't the best way to get to the other side.

"Sometimes it's more efficient to climb the mountain than to move it," civil rights activist and advertising executive Shelley Stewart said during his talk.

Strap on your boots and let's do this.

Kent Stewart is climbing mountains literally. He is on a quest to hike the Seven Summits -- the highest peaks on each of the world's continents. He only has one, Mount Everest, left to summit.

"What's your Everest?" he asked the crowd.

To become the first woman to qualify for the finals of American Ninja Warrior Kacy Catanzaro didn't have to climb an actual mountain, but she did have to scale a 14-foot warped wall and she had to ignore all the voices that said she couldn't do it.

Remember that moving this mountain isn't all about you. Kent Stewart can't climb Mt. Everest without a team of people supporting him. You need a team to climb your mountain, too.

And ask yourself why you want to get to the other side of your mountain in the first place. Shelley Stewart urged us to be mindful of our reasons, relationships, and reputation.

"What's the reason you really want to overcome this obstacle?" he asked. "If your motive is right your goal is more likely to be accomplished. Relationships are important, he said, because "you can't effect change by yourself."

And you shouldn't do it simply for yourself.

You have the power to change someone's life simply by clearing the mountain in your path -- whether you climb it, tunnel through it, or blast it to bits, you will change the life of another person.

How I Get Stuff Done

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Yesterday morning I once again had the honor of being featured on ABC33/40's Talk of AlabamaI was on last month discussing how I managed to exercise every day for 365 days. This time I had the chance to promote my e-course How to Write and Have a Life. (For a limited time, you can view my segment here.)
People constantly ask me "How do you do it all?" because I juggle managing See Jane Write with teaching full time, freelancing part time, blogging, exercising daily, being active in my community and church, and spending time with my husband, family, and friends. And so I developed this e-course to show people exactly how I get stuff done.
TOA tips
Yesterday I offered four time management tips to Talk of Alabama viewers:
Multitasking is ruining your life.  Many people believe that multi-tasking will help them get more done and that’s actually not true. You can get more done and in a shorter period of time if you simply focus on one task at a time. Whether I’m grading papers, writing a blog post or cleaning my apartment, I can do those things in half the time if I focus on doing just one thing. And in my e-course I share a technique that I use to help with focus.
The magic is not in your planner but in the planning.  People always ask me, “What kind of planner do you use?” And I always tell them “The magic is not in your planner but in the planning.” To get more done you must be intentional about how you spend your time. In my e-course I show you have to make to-do lists that will help you set priorities and even plan out each hour of your day when you are especially busy.
Remember that "No" is a complete sentence.  Even though I do a lot, I believe in taking a day off. Each week I set aside a day when I do no work and I just relax or spend time with family and friends. If you’re consistently unable to take that day off, then you’re doing too much. In my e-course I write about the importance of realizing that "No" is a complete sentence. And when trying to determine when to say "No" it’s about vision and values. If something doesn’t move you closer to your vision for your life and doesn’t align with your values, ditch it! In the e-course I walk you through exercises to help you determine your vision and values.
Stop sleeping through your life.  I am a believer in the old saying that the early bird gets the worm. Getting up early is a great way to get more done, especially if you are a parent. If you wake up before your family does, you can have time to yourself to work on that book you always wanted to write or update that blog you’ve abandoned.
But to be honest with you, my #1 secret to getting stuff done isn't something I can teach -- it's simply gumption.
I'm not feeling well right now and didn't get much sleep the night before my segment.  Snow was in the forecast for yesterday (which as you know for Alabama is a HUGE FREAKING deal) and thus there was a chance my segment would be canceled. A part of me wished that it had been because I was so exhausted that morning. But then I stopped being a big baby and stopped feeling sorry for myself. And sometimes this is exactly what we need to do to make the time to pursue our dreams. Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and do the work!
Stop making excuses and just do what needs to be done.
Click here to enroll in How to Write and Have a Life today!

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Monday, February 23, 2015

A rising tide lifts all boats.
On Thursday evening the Birmingham Business Journal celebrated its 2015 class of Top 40 Under 40 with an awards ceremony at Iron City. I was among those honored, chosen for the work I do through See Jane Write. The evening was nothing less than fantastic.  I walked in the door and was greeted by several people I'd never met before who wanted me to know how much they loved my picture -- the one that ran with my article in the Birmingham Business Journal, the one I was once insecure about because I'd opted to wear a trendy Olivia Pope-inspired outfit instead of a traditional black or navy business suit. "Your picture was hands down the best," one fellow honoree said to me. This was a great lesson in daring to be different and daring to be myself.
A rising tide lifts all boats.
A table with my name on it and people stopping and asking to take my picture all made the night feel surreal and unreal. I tried to soak it all in. I tried to figure out what I would write in my blog post about the night ,but I just kept hearing the same thing in my head over and over:
A rising tide lifts all boats.
As each honoree received his or her reward, a video recorded the day of our photo shoot was played for the crowd. I'll be honest -- we were all dreading this moment. Seeing yourself on camera is bad enough. Seeing yourself on a larger-than-life screen while hundreds of other people look on is much, much worse. In the video we were each asked what helped our career take flight. Again, I dared to be different. My answer wasn't about a partnership or promotion. Instead I spoke about getting over my impostor syndrome and self-doubt. I talked about the importance of believing you deserve success and I declared that if I want people to take me seriously as a businesswoman I must do so first.
As the ceremony continued several women made their way over to my table to thank me for what I said in my video, to thank me for saying something they believed all women needed to hear.
Ironically, even though Thursday's ceremony was in part a celebration of me, it was also a reminder that my successes aren't about me. In fact, that's why I call my organization See Jane Write, not See Javacia Write. It's not about me. It's about empowering all Janes and all Writeous Babes; it's about empowering all women writers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs.
A rising tide lifts all boats.
An expanded version of this post appears on the See Jane Write blog

Like a Boss

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Last week the Birmingham Business Journal announced its Top 40 Under 40 class for 2015 and I am proud to say that I am among the young professionals chosen for this honor. What makes me even prouder and even happier is that I recently learned a group of women who have in some way been inspired by the work I do through See Jane Write teamed up to nominate me for this recognition.

This time last year I didn't even consider myself a real entrepreneur and now here I am being featured in the Birmingham Business Journal! This wouldn't have happened without the support of that group of women (or the support of my sweet husband who helps me with every See Jane Write event). But I also believe this wouldn't have happened had I not decided to change my attitude last summer.

Back in July Megan LaRussa Chenoweth's keynote address at the See Jane Write Bloganista Mini-Conference inspired me to start taking myself seriously as a businesswoman. As a result, I revamped the See Jane Write website and weekly newsletter, started working with a business coach, and started signing up for every webinar on business building that I could find.

As I state in my article for the Birmingham Business Journal, "My career as an entrepreneur started to take flight when I overcame my self-doubt. Once I started to take myself seriously as a businesswoman, other people started to as well."

For that article, each honoree was asked to answer a slew of questions and obviously not all of them could be used. If you live in Birmingham I hope you'll pick up a copy of the latest issue of Birmingham Business Journal at a local bookstore like Little Professor Book Center. But I thought it would be fun to share with my blog readers a few of my responses that weren't used in the article.


What keeps you up at night? 

Ideas keep me up at night! I always have so many ideas for lessons I can teach, programs I can offer, events I can host, and things I can write to inspire my students, my clients, See Jane Write members and other women in my sphere of influence.

What's the first website you visit each morning?

What book has influenced you most in your career? 

The book that has influenced me most as an entrepreneur is Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In. It pushed me to overcome my impostor syndrome and to start believing that I am good enough and smart enough to do what I want to do.

What inspires you? 

Women inspire me more than anything on this planet. My mission in life is to empower women and girls to find their voice and share their stories. That drives nearly everything that I do.

What important lesson have you learned that has helped your career? 

I've learned to embrace and be unapologetic about my femininity and to never see it as a liability.

What's the best advice you've received? 

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Your turn! I'd love to read your answers to these questions, too! Leave them in the comments.