How The Word “No” Taught Me When to Say “Yes”

dreamstime_s_30035137I have a hard time saying no. I admire those who can say “no” straight up, with zero hesitation and zero guilt.

Saying “no” has been on my list of goals for the past two years, and I have improved. People pleasing and doing things out of obligation instead of desire are two areas where I am practicing this art of “no”.  Years of patterned events, behaviour and customs for us “people-pleasers” can take its toll, and the joy of serving others is replaced with resentment. Now I carefully choose with whom I spend my time, and I am thrilled to have such a diverse group of family and friends.

Who wants to spend their life feeling and doing things strictly out of obligation? I thrive on joy, love, fun and excitement. For those of you who’ve received an email from me, you may recognize this quote from Rumi, which used to appear in my email signature and is my personal motto:

“Set your life on fire; seek those who fan your flame.”

The real magic begins with saying “yes.”  Are you confused yet? 🙂 First I tell you I am practicing saying “no” and now I tell you saying “yes” is magical!

Here is the difference:

Say ‘no’ when you are suppressing an eye roll to an invitation to spend time with people who are simply not in line with who you are, where you do not want to spend the evening with a fake smile and head nods.

Say ‘yes’ when your heart skips a beat, when you think “I can’t do that” because it is far fetched – be crazy enough to give it a shot!

Being open to new experiences, adventures and people is saying “yes” to what makes my heart sing. Yes is magical. Yes is scary. And yes opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

So what do you have to lose? Try saying yes to something new this week and see what difference it makes in your life and in the lives of those around you! Here are some suggestions:

Say “YES!” to…

  •  Trying new foods!

Life is far too short to spend it eating meat and potatoes every night! Be brave: order something new the next time you are at your favourite restaurant or try a new recipe!

  •  Volunteering in your community or at a fundraising event!

Meeting new people with a common interest/goal and giving back is a win/win. I have made amazing personal and business relationships through volunteering.

  •  Signing up for a physical challenge!

Whether it is a 5 km fun run, mud run, marathon, bike ride, yoga or tai chi in the park, the energy and excitement are amazing.  Registering will keep you on top of fitness goals and the accomplishment will make you proud!

  •  Doing business in a new way!

I never expected my business to expand virtually through Skype the way it has, but I said ‘yes’ to trying. Likewise, with new partnerships, public speaking – which I had no experience doing, but said ‘yes’ anyway.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained – and I have gained a lot thanks to being open to trying something new.

  •  Something that scares you a little (or a lot)!

Like zip lining, tree topping or a midnight skinny dip, doing anything out of your comfort zone heightens all the senses. It is invigorating and freeing!

Practice saying yes to opportunities TODAY by grabbing one of my complimentary Style Success Sessions. I’m opening up just 6 spots on my calendar for these 20-minute sessions, and they’re first come, first served for the first 6 people who book one. When the last session is booked, I’ll be closing my calendar. Click HERE to schedule yours now!


Perfectly Imperfect

perfectly imperfectThe t-shirt arrived on my doorstep as a gift from my good friend… and I find it “perfect”. I wear it with great pride, and it is what I am wearing in the cover photo on my personal Facebook page.  Our joke regarding the phrase began while she and I decorated my home on two separate occasions: once for a baby shower and another for a Mardi Gras party. We both like the house to look perfectly imperfect when staged for an event!!

As a type A personality, Virgo and self proclaimed perfectionist, I began to think and have a silent chuckle at how many times over the years I have spent endless hours decorating our home so it looks magazine worthy, yet not so perfect to be on display in a showroom all matchy-matchy. Or countless formal styles or updo’s I did as a hairstylist, making my clients look gorgeous with an effortless elegance, yet spending an hour and cursing silently with a bobby-pin in my mouth to achieve this. Or how I balance a client’s outfit to look elegant, sophisticated and yet approachable and fun.

I had to ask myself the question: Why? Why am I, and others, obsessed with this “perfectly imperfect” style?

I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because we are all perfectly imperfect; flawed in ways that make us unique and more attractive to our family, friends and clients.

All of us were born into this world as beautiful, perfectly unique humans. I encourage all of us to embrace those imperfect traits we possess, whether it’s those freckles, the gap in your teeth or your carrot top. Learn to love that which makes you different!

I have found that the quirky little traits we own and perhaps shun ourselves, are usually the same traits our friends admire about us most, or don’t even notice. I used to be terribly self conscious about my toes, they are spread wider apart than the average person (kinda creepy), so what? I am not average, so why should my toes be? My thighs rival most men’s for thickness, but they are strong! And I have this obnoxious loud cackle – yes I said cackle! – and the occasional snort slips out as well, it’s horrifying! Yet, more people have told me how much they love my laugh and how infectious it is!

Let the perfectly imperfect YOU shine on!

In a world where Photoshop and filters serve to enhance our pictures, let’s keep those enhancements subtle, real, pure and fresh.

To end I will leave you with a quote to ponder.

“There is nothing more rare and beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me that is the true essence of beauty.”

~Steve Maraboli

Victoria Baird works with women in life transitions to discover their personal style, develop their personal image and brand, and build their self-confidence around their own natural beauty. Ready to kick your image up a notch? Schedule a complimentary Style Success Session with Victoria here.


Turn That Frown Upside Down!

I have a confession to make.

I am not always a happy camper. Actually, I don’t like camping at all.

Joking aside, I get angry, sad, frustrated and, at times, resentful.

Last week was a really crappy week for me! It was one of those weeks where nothing seemed to go right and my normally good attitude went down the drain, too: I stained a brand new blouse, burnt a batch of cookies, mixed up two of my own appointments (thankfully not client appointments!!) and then got nailed with a hefty,unexpected expense.

Seriously, as the saying goes when it rains it pours.

So why am I sharing this with you?

In my role as Image Branding Expert and Coach, I set a goal to intentionally inspire, motivate and keep you accountable for your own goals. I like to lead by example. I am a happy, fun outgoing and optimistic woman!

But, I am also human.

I have days where my head is just not in the game. I get down on myself and then the domino effect of crappy events happens, just like it did last week. The difference now is that I’ve learned how to snap out of the pity party I give myself and get back on track. Re-adjust my attitude and get focused, quickly.

4 Ways to Turn That Frown Upside Down

Here’s what works for me:

1. Acknowledge how you feel

I find accepting the emotion – whether it be anger, sadness or whatever – is best. Let it out. Have a good cry, scream into a towel or write it out in a journal. Expressing whatever I’m feeling, when I’m feeling it, has had such a cleansing effect for me. It’s like wiping the slate clean and starting again.

2. Deep breath in….. exhale…..

Intentional deep breathing is also very cleansing.

Sit, close your eyes and inhale through your nose, let your belly expand, feel your chest rise, slowly count 1-2-3….. Then, release and exhale out the mouth, slowly.

Repeat until you feel more grounded or settled.

3. Laugh until you almost pee your pants

Laughter truly is the best medicine! I have a stash of funny clips on my phone or on my computer handy for those days! Sometimes just hitting up YouTube for 20 minutes of funny video clips can turn my whole day around. Consider the wise words of Charlie Chaplin:

“A day without laughter is a day wasted”

Laugh until you almost pee your pants, then laugh some more!

4. Keep a gratitude journal

A daily entry into a gratitude journal puts life into perspective.

Every day, jot down 5 things you are grateful for. No need to over-think or over-analyze what to be thankful for. Did you have hot water for a shower? Did you have food for lunch? Was the sun shining? Did your child hug you?

It is life’s simple daily pleasures that create a happier life. As I was packing boxes during our move a few months ago, I came across some old journals of mine. For over 10 years I have kept a gratitude journal! It was pretty neat reading some of those entries.

Choose just one of these four strategies and start implementing it within the next 24 hours. Let me know which one you pick by leaving a comment!


3 Easy Ways to Exercise That Will Make You Better at Your Job

Being great at your job requires stamina: mental, physical and emotional. Plain and simple, exercise is the #1 habit you want to incorporate now to have increased stamina for an improved work and home life.

Regardless if you are a bank teller, sales clerk, brick layer, real estate agent, talk show host, chef, account executive etc, etc, this one habit, in my opinion, can change your entire life! Don’t just take my word for it. Inc.com recently released an article, 30 CEOs Reveal the Daily Habits Responsible for Their Success.

Four of the CEOs directly spoke about how their exercise habits aided their success. And let’s not forget about Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Madonna, Darren Hardy and Doctor Oz, to name a few more people in the public eye that repeatedly attribute exercise as a key habit!

Why Exercise?

Exercise releases endorphins into your body, that’s why!

Endorphins are what create that euphoric feeling. They’re nature’s happy pills! All you need to do is get active in order to feel their effects.

Endorphins also regulate appetite, release sex hormones and increase immune function! Seriously ladies, who doesn’t want all these benefits?!

Exercising regularly, 3-5 days a week for 30-60 minutes, will automatically make you feel better. This is because a positive domino effect occurs: you start craving better healthier food, you start getting a better night’s sleep, your stress response lessens, and as a result – all your relationships are enhanced.

I Didn’t Always Love Exercise

I am a fitness junkie, no doubt about it! I love exercise as much as others despise it, but I wasn’t always this way. I hated those fitness tests we had to do in school as a child; they left me feeling inadequate.

In my late teens and early 20’s when I was in full-on lazy/party mode, exercising for any reason was out of the question (unless of course dancing at a night club counts!) I no longer rode my bike to hang out with my friends; we all had cars or access to a car. I gave up on team sports; my competitive nature was redirected to other activities such as over indulgence with food and alcohol!

It wasn’t until out of necessity that I came back to active living and I realized not only that I thrived on staying active, but that I was a better person all around.

I had moved from my small town to the city and I no longer had access to a car. Sure there was public transportation available, but after getting on the wrong bus a couple of times I decided I wanted to save myself the embarrassment of being late again and started walking to work, instead.

It didn’t take more than a week before I began to notice several changes!

Overall I felt good, I had more energy, my body felt stronger, I enjoyed the fresh air and the “me time” where I could process my thoughts during the 30 minutes to and from work. The benefits just kept coming!

Fast forward 20 plus years, and I can without a doubt in my mind, tell you exercise is #1 reason highly successful people thrive in business and in life. Here are 3 easy ways for you to incorporate exercise into your routine and your success!

1. Keep it Simple

If exercise is new to you, commit to 3-5 days a week for 30 minutes of walking or bicycling, or some other activity you enjoy and don’t need to purchase a membership for. Although memberships and monies spent can keep you accountable, I suggest setting up the consistency in activity first.

2. Use the Buddy System

If you have a hard time dragging yourself out of bed or off the couch to exercise, find a friend to work out with. The chance of cancelling on your friend in less-than-ideal weather is lessened; you may want to bail on yourself but you won’t let down a friend!

3. Keep it Fun

Ready for something more than walking? Find something you enjoy. There are clubs for just about every type of activity, and people of all shapes and sizes enjoy these sports! Don’t be shy. Ask around or get online to research. From rock climbing to mud races, get out there and find what you like, make some new friends and get in shape!

Does this still sound daunting to you? Part of my work as a Style & Image Coach includes helping my clients achieve their health and wellness goals. Schedule your complimentary Style Success Session with me here, and let’s make your goals a reality!