The Grown Zone Has Moved

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Oh, what a difference a year, consistency and a commitment to serve makes! The Grown Zone has grown and now, the Grown Zone is moving! This will be the final post from this URL and soon it will be going away, but don’t worry, the content is moving too.

We started the Grown Zone with just a Twitter page in November of 2012. In January of 2013 we started Grown Zone Radio, a half-hour show that we do LIVE every Sat at 12 noon, EST. The same month we started a monthly LIVE Grown Zone Discussion Series in New York City.

We’ve since taken LIVE Grown Zone on the road which led to a media/content partnership with JET Magazine and, in addition to our own blog, the Grown Zone has a blog on JETmag.com that we post to every Monday morning.

We’ve been busy and our Grown Zone baby is growing, and we couldn’t be happier, prouder or more excited about it’s future!

What’s next? There’s a lot of demand for it so the first Grown Zone book is actively in the works and it’s shaping up beautifully; it will be published this year!

Grown Zone’s New Home:  www.GrownZone.com; a new site, new things burgeoning and we’re buckling down for the ride.

We’re grateful for you and we thank you for joining the Grown Zone army, and for your continued support and encouragement. Stay with us as it grows and lets keep loving ourselves more than ever, making our Next Decisions Better™ and intentionally creating healthier relationships! Let’s continue to Live In The Grown Zone!

This is the last post from this blog, but get ready for even more! And when you visit our new site, please help us refine it! If you see anything that will make it better please give us your feedback.

Sincerely,

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Love and Money: Stop Giving Them To Strangers and Dependents, Part 2

Stranger Dependent PartnerToo many people pay dearly, both emotionally and financially because they insist on treating love as a form of currency, like the yen or Euro, with an exchange rate convertible to U.S. dollars. We share examples of this in Love and Money: Stop Giving Them To Strangers, Part 1. To graduate from exercising your adult right to engage in financial and romantic foolery, to making Grown decisions as relates to love and money, requires you to ask and honestly answer two questions, and operate accordingly: Is this person a stranger, a dependent or a partner? And would I make the same financial choices if this person were not a love interest?  If the only or primary reason you’re considering making a financial decision or commitment is your desire to get or keep a relationship, don’t do it. And if your love interest is a stranger or a dependent, you absolutely shouldn’t do it. And if he or she is not ready, willing and able to accept full, joint responsibility for a financial purchase or commitment, again, the answer is no. Let’s explore these concepts further.

Strangers. The reason you shouldn’t be giving, spending, investing or otherwise allowing access to your money to strangers is the same reason they shouldn’t have access to your body, home or heart: no matter how cute, sexy, funny, smart, fine, “Godly”, well-dressed (yada-yada-yada) he or she is, you do not know them. Paying the bills, taking on joint financial obligations or buying overly expensive gifts for people you do not know is not Grown.

Dependents. If an adult is unwilling, disinterested or not yet capable of supporting him or herself, he or she is not Grown—period. Only Grown people—complete, self-supporting, whole, healthy and happy all by themselves—are capable of sustaining healthy relationships. Grown people do not need to be saved, rescued or believed in to achieve their potential, make progress toward their goals and to be generally productive. (They’re not working toward any goals? They’re definitely not Grown.) Adult dependents are not qualified to engage in healthy, sustainable relationships. Furthermore, Grown people do not financially support dependents other than their minor children.

Look at their track record. If they’re happiest when someone (mom, dad, their ex, the government, whoever) is financing their wants and needs, and they view actually having to earn money to support and advance themselves as a grave injustice, do not get involved with them, especially financially. Ladies, if he is not committed to taking care of his children by other women, don’t allow your ego (or your belief in your own sexual wiles) to convince you that he will turn into a different person and take care of you and yours. Dependent men can’t support other dependents when they can’t depend on themselves. Gentlemen, if she is accustomed to love interests who pay her car note, rent, and other expenses as proof of love, back away—unless you really want to support an adult dependent over which you have no parental authority. (And if you’re the one with the dependent mindset, you need to get serious about your personal growth, before you do real damage to your life as well as to the lives of others.)

Partners. If a person is not a dependent and no longer a stranger, then this person must show that he or she is partner material. (A dependent, by definition, cannot be a partner.) Not as in marriage, but as in: Can I trust this person with my money? Can we do business fairly with one another? Does this person honor their agreements? Do they pay their debts? Do they pay their bills on time, or whenever it is convenient for them? Are they responsible with their finances, or do they live beyond their means? What did they learn about handling money from their parents, family and culture? You should be looking for the same qualities that a bank or credit card seeks when determining someone as a financially responsible, fair and trustworthy person. Again, the fact the person is attractive, religious, smart and nice is immaterial. Understand: If he or she is a poor credit risk, can’t or won’t pay their bills, see paying back loans as an optional exercise, and is generally unreliable when it comes to money, they are not suddenly going to become conscientious, income-earning, money-savvy and credit-worthy because of your loving ways. If they can’t afford to buy what they want or need, they won’t be able to afford to pay back money you loan to them to get it. If they’ll stiff, cheat or avoid financial obligations to others, they will not make an exception for you, no matter how special you believe your relationship is.

Here’s a real litmus test for financial decision making for any relationship outside of marriage (which is legally a joint financial partnership in most states): One or both of you is unwilling to create and sign a written agreement detailing terms and a schedule for repayment of a loan or other financial favor. If this is the case, such loans or financial favors should not be granted. Grown people do not loan each other money without a written agreement spelling out repayment terms, with signatures from both partners. They accept that any monies shared outside such an agreement to be gifts or part of the shared expenses of the relationship, with no expectation of repayment. If you can’t afford to make such gifts, do not do so in the name of love.

Too many people refuse to deal with these questions until after money has changed hands, loans have been extended, authorized users have been added, purchases have been co-signed for—which usually means drama, conflict, break-ups and broken commitments are in full effect. On the other hand, Grown people never give access to their money to strangers, nor do they finance the needs and desires of dependents other than their minor children. Grown people only allow financial access to partners—as defined by capabilities, habits, values, character and track record, not romantic feelings, hopes and promises.

Women: You do men (and yourself) a tremendous disservice when you move them from their Momma’s (or Daddy’s, or another woman’s) house into your home. A man who hasn’t proven he can provide for himself/make his own living is incapable of doing the same for you. If you move a man into your house from his Momma’s house, who’ll provide for you when your back is against the wall?

Men: You’d do well to take the same advice, because a big butt and a smile may stroke your ego and fulfill your fantasies, but can’t do anything for your soul or be a help to you in periods of challenge and adversity. The P-word you need to value her for is Partnership, not that other word that causes penis-led men to turn off their brains. When you’re financially challenged, you will want to know she won’t bail on you, but can and will support and challenge you to find ways to continue to contribute to your partnership.

Ladies and gents: Two smart, mutually supportive, loving, productive people, working together in partnership (not co-dependency) make the sexiest of all couples! That’s love and money in the Grown Zone. You can’t lease it, rent it, or buy it. But you must accept nothing less if you seek healthy, sustainable relationships.

For a daily dose of Grown, Join us in The Grown Zone!

Connect with us on these platforms:

Twitter: @GrownZone

Facebook: /GrownZone

Blog Talk Radio: /GrownZone

Instagram: @GrownZone

Google+: +GrownZone

Love and Money: Stop Them Giving to Strangers and Dependents, Part 1

Buying LoveAdults are messy enough when it comes to love, sex and relationships. But for real rachetness and foolery, add money to the mix. Too many people pay dearly both emotionally and financially because they insist on treating love as a form of currency, like the yen or Euro, with an exchange rate convertible to U.S. dollars. For examples of the relationship disasters that result, just look at television court shows like Judge Judy (one of our favorites for observing adult-and-messy thinking in a controlled environment). For love, people will make totally not Grown money decisions, including:

  • Spending lavishly on gifts, travel and food (with money that suddenly become “loans” after the break-up)
  • Paying the mortgage, rent, utilities and other bills of healthy, able-bodied, yet unemployed adults (even when those paying have their own children to feed)
  • Co-signing on credit cards and mobile phone service for people who can’t get  them because of horrible credit and/or a checkered employment history. (Meaning the payer is taking a financial risk that a major bank or national cell phone provider wouldn’t take)
  • Buying or giving unfettered access to cars, including paying for insurance and even gas, for another adult (who may or may not have a license) to drive
  • Posting bail and paying the outstanding balance on child-support owed (for the children of another woman) to get a person out of jail

One of our most basic human needs is to be loved and, unfortunately, some people try to buy it. There are many negative relationship consequences as a result. Besides episodes of clothes bleaching and car keying, here are just a couple:

First, using money to lure a person in hopes of getting them to love you, or otherwise change or control their behavior, sets up an unhealthy, sinister, premise: that you have “purchased” the right to own or control another human being. This is what’s at play when a man feels entitled (or a woman feels obligated) to have sex or otherwise commit to a relationship based on how much money he’s spent to be in her company. This possession consciousness is also what’s happening when a woman doggedly holds on to her man because she doesn’t want to lose years of “investing” in him. (And she’ll be damned if the next woman is going to reap rewards of her hard work.) Watch cable TV channels like Investigation Discovery—people kill over this stuff!

Second, to be Grown is to be clear on the difference between being loved for what you look like, what you can do or what you have, and being loved for who you are. When you use money or other financial incentives to drive or define a relationship, you condition others to value you for what you have, not for who you are. Once this idea takes root (even if they really don’t want you for your money), the emotional security of your relationship is compromised, usually by suspicion, jealousy and possessiveness, because of fears that any decrease in your financial capability, or chance meeting between your love interest and anyone with more money than you, can result in you losing him or her. And if he or she really is “all about the Benjamins”, you’ll be right. When your money runs low, they’re out—or you may wish they were!

A Grown person would never allow him or herself to be bought; the adult who would allow it deeply undervalues their own worth and, therefore, is ill-prepared to engage in a healthy relationship. A Grown person, without question, expects to do for him or herself. Even when Grown partners decide for whatever reason that one will be the main bread winner, the other is not at home couch-surfing with remote controls or out shopping at the mall (or out entertaining outside relationships); he or she remains financially accountable to the relationship.

To graduate from exercising your adult right to engage in financial and romantic foolery, to making Grown decisions as relates to love and money, requires you to ask and honestly answer two questions, and operate accordingly: Is this person a stranger, a dependent or a partner? And would I make the same financial choices if this person were not a love interest?  We explore these concepts further in Love and Money: Stop Giving Them to Strangers and Dependents, Part 2.

For a daily dose of Grown, Join us in The Grown Zone!

Connect with us on these platforms:

Twitter: @GrownZone

Facebook: /GrownZone

Blog Talk Radio: /GrownZone

Instagram: @GrownZone

Google+: +GrownZone

Build Resilience: It’s The Only Way To Grow

Breakthrough cardThe difference between those who thrive regardless of conditions and those who fold under most conditions has everything to do with how they handle life’s circumstances. I’m not talking about surviving. People survive all kinds of things to no credit of their own; cancer because of treatment, disasters because of FEMA, and abuse because of stupidity. I’m not talking about doing what you’re told, tolerating conditions or getting through them because of others’ good will.

I’m talking about when you find yourself in a space (familiar or not) that is uncomfortable and/or detrimental to your well being/progress and won’t change until you decide to thrive – make the decision to be free.

Here’s what happens in that moment: an almost unbearable churning in your soul! Everybody who’s ever considered doing something they’ve never done knows that feeling, but only those who step out regardless of the fear know what comes next.

Resilience is not about bouncing back or recovering, rather forging through. -Zara Green

When you respond to that scary, uncomfortable churning with action that takes you from the familiar, your soul (your very being) is being transformed. You are becoming more of yourself – learning how to live in what will become your new normal – you are rising above that situation, a new creature. In this space you’re not concerned with what won’t go well, only with what you need to do to make sure it goes better – that’s your responsibility whenever you’re in a tough spot; Next Decision Better™!

It’s YOUR life!
Choose it – just as it is.
Own it – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Change it – as long as you can breathe and learn it can get better. -Zara Green

Building resilience takes courage. You were created with the ability but you must CourageUP™ and follow your churning to increase your capacity.

Here we GROW…Grown IS Sexy! ;-)

For a daily dose of Grown, Join us in The Grown Zone!

Connect with us on these platforms:

Twitter: @GrownZone

Facebook: /GrownZone

Blog Talk Radio: /GrownZone

Instagram: @GrownZone

Google+: +GrownZone

It’s Healthy To Challenge Your Beliefs

Religion can be a BEAST; it saves and imprisons. Beliefs are purposeful but they are not intended to remain the same. If your beliefs aren’t changing/evolving, you’re not growing.

Prays Well With OthersIf you’re still stuck on the spiritual beliefs of your parents we challenge you to intentionally learn something new. Challenge your beliefs.

If you believe that your religion is the only way, we challenge you to intentionally learn something new. Challenge your beliefs.

If conversations about what others believe make you uncomfortable, we challenge you to intentionally learn something new. Challenge your beliefs.

If you believe that there’s a hell, an opposing force or that you are somehow favored by “The Creator”, we challenge you to intentionally learn something new. Challenge your beliefs.

We’ve learned to not only embrace, but to appreciate it when our beliefs are challenged. It’s how we grow.  We believe that it is AS important to UNlearn something everyday as it is to learn something new.  

If you are unwilling to challenge your beliefs then by default you’re resistant to change, and without change you can not grow. If you’re not growing it’s impossible to have a healthy mindset as life delivers it’s unavoidable challenges.

If you can’t look over the course of your life at the things you’ve thought, believed and done and see a damn fool, you’re still one! And if you think you have all the answers you need for the challenges ahead of you and that you don’t need to learn anything new you’re affirmatively, a damn fool! But there’s hope, even for you. Enter and LIVE in the Grown Zone!

Here we GROW…Grown IS Sexy! ;-)

For a daily dose of Grown, Join us in The Grown Zone!

Connect with us on these platforms:

Twitter: @GrownZone

Facebook: /GrownZone

Blog Talk Radio: /GrownZone

Instagram: @GrownZone

Google+: +GrownZone

Jet Magazine Joins The Grown Zone

Senior Editor Marcia Talbert to be featured speaker at Grown Zone Self Love and Healthy Relationships Retreat, Nov. 22-24, in Chicago

Jet magazine (JetMag.com), America’s No. 1 African American newsweekly, with more 7 million readers, has agreed to a media partnership in support of the Grown Zone Self Love and Healthy Relationships Retreat, set to take place November 22-24, 2013 in Chicago at the Welcome Inn Manor, a sumptuous bed-and-breakfast venue.The Grown Zone Retreat is a production of A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises, owned by Zara Green and Alfred Edmond Jr., best known for their Grown Zone multimedia personal growth initiative focused on moving beyond adult rights to healthy “grown” decision-making.

The Grown Zone Retreat weekend will consist of seminars led by Green and Edmond, who will show attendees how to lay the foundation for healthy relationships and to recognize unhealthy behaviors detrimental to such relationships, while providing a reliable framework for making better relationship decisions, rooted in principles of self-love.

Jet Senior Editor Marcia Wade Talbert will be a featured speaker at the Grown Zone Retreat in Chicago, Nov. 22-24.

Jet Senior Editor Marcia Wade Talbert will be a featured speaker at the Grown Zone Retreat in Chicago, Nov. 22-24.

As part of Jet’s media partnership, the newsweekly’s Senior Editor Marcia Wade Talbert will be a special guest speaker at the Friday evening reception to kick off the retreat. In addition, the Grown Zone will contribute blog posts on healthy relationships to JetMag.com, beginning during the week leading into the Retreat Weekend.

The reception will be hosted by Cameka Smith, founder of The Boss Network, an extensive network of successful career professionals and entrepreneurs. A screening of the film Still Standing: In Spite Of It All, Our Marriage Still Stands, produced by Tyler New Media, will also take place during the reception. The DVD of the film will also be available for sale during the retreat weekend.

For more more information and to register for the Grown Zone Self Love and Healthy Relationship Retreat, go to gzchicago.eventbrite.com. Also, for additional updates via social media, check the hash tag #GZRetreat on Twitter, Instagram and other platforms.

FAQs: The Grown Zone Self Love and Healthy Relationships Retreat

What, exactly, is the Grown Zone?

The Grown Zone is a multimedia initiative produced by A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises, a media company owned by Zara Green and Alfred Edmond Jr. focused on the development of products, events and communications to inspire personal growth and better decision-making. The mission of the Grown Zone is to help you to shift your focus from what you may have the absolute adult right to do—destructive as those choices may be—and what is in your best interest to do—grown decisions—in order to achieve honor, esteem, respect, prosperity, health (mental, physical and emotional/spiritual), good relationships and self-loving behaviors for your life. In the Grown Zone, we believe that our common purpose as human beings is to love, learn and grow. Loving nourishes personal growth, and personal growth increases our capacity to love. Anything that blocks our capacity to love and personal growth is unhealthy.

Who should attend the Grown Zone Self Love and Healthy Relationships Retreat?

GZ Chicago updated JETAnyone—male or female, single or married, divorced or “booed-up,” and especially those in “complicated” situations—who wants healthy, respectful, emotionally secure, sustainable relationships should join us in Chicago, November 22-24, for the Grown Zone Retreat. Over the course of the weekend, we will teach you how to lay the foundation of a healthy relationship and to recognize unhealthy behaviors detrimental to such relationships. Best of all, you will leave the retreat with skills, action items and a guaranteed framework for making better relationship decisions, rooted in principles of self-love. The valuable information you will gain includes:

How to assess the worthiness of potential relationship partners before making choices with lifelong consequences. Is that the light of love at the end of the tunnel? Or the light of an oncoming train wreck? At the Grown Zone Retreat, you’ll learn to tell the difference before your life is devastated by poor choices that you may have the adult right to make, but are not in your best interest—not Grown!

How to recognize and reject unhealthy relationship choices and behaviors—many of them endorsed by parents and other family members, friends, church (yes, church), as well as television, movies and books—that are keeping you from identifying and sustaining healthy relationships.

How to understand temperaments and individual priorities, in order to progress from stressful, dysfunctional and destructive; to happy, healthy and productive.

If you’re seeking a relationship, deciding whether to commit to a relationship, or looking for ways to restore health to an existing relationship (or a framework to decide whether such an effort is even worth it), you need to be with us in Chicago, November 22-24.

You can get additional details and updates via social media by searching the hash tag #GZRetreat on Twitter, InstaGram and other platforms.

What does the retreat registration cover?

Each registration is all inclusive for the weekend, covering all of the seminars led by Zara Green and/or Alfred Edmond Jr. on Saturday and Sunday, as well as all seminar materials (including pens, notepads). It also covers the Friday evening reception; Saturday breakfast, lunch and evening cocktail reception; and Sunday brunch.

Is lodging included?

Welcome Inn Manor

Welcome Inn Manor

Lodging is NOT included with registration. To get the special rate for Grown Zone Retreat attendees to stay at the Welcome Inn Manor, host venue for the retreat, please speak to Innkeeper Mell Monroe directly at 312-493-2953, and use the Promo Code Grown Zone. You will not be able to reserve rooms at this rate via the Welcome Inn Manor web site; you must speak directly to Mell. As Welcome Inn Manor is a bed-and-breakfast inn, not a hotel, not all retreat attendees will be able to lodge at the Manor. If there are no vacancies at the Manor, there are many conveniently located hotels in Chicago. In addition, Mell can also make recommendations for lodging options.

Who else is supporting the Grown Zone Retreat? How are they involved?

Jet Logo_single-01-01We are proud of and grateful for a number of key relationships that will make the Grown Zone Retreat a truly power experience for those in attendance.

JetMag.com is a media partner of the Grown Zone Retreat. Senior Editor Marcia Wade Talbert will be a special guest speaker at the Friday evening reception. In addition, the Grown Zone will contribute blog posts on healthy relationships to JetMag.com, beginning during the week leading into the Retreat Weekend.

The BOSS Network is a supporter of the Grown Zone Retreat. Founder Cameka Smith will be our host for the Friday evening reception, in addition to providing social media promotion for the event to the group’s extensive network of successful career professionals and entrepreneurs.

We also enjoy a fruitful friendship and budding partnership with Lamar and Ronnie Tyler, the founders of Black And Married With Kids (BMWK), the top African American marriage and parenting blog on the web. The Tylers have also been promoting and endorsing the Retreat to their impressive network. In addition, we will feature a screening of the film Still Standing: In Spite Of It All, Our Marriage Still Stands, produced by Tyler New Media, during the Friday reception. The DVD of the film will also be available for sale during the Retreat.

When you say “healthy relationships”, what do you mean? What is “healthy”?

In the Grown Zone, we believe that all people, though each person is unique, are created with one universal purpose: To Grow and To Love. Love produces growth, and growth increases your capacity to love. Anything that prevents your ability to love and grow freely is unhealthy for you. A healthy relationship is one in which each person is committed to loving, strengthening and supporting the growth of the other. This defines all healthy relationships, not just romantic ones. Healthy relationships cannot be achieved without an uncompromising commitment to self-love (i.e. an unwavering commitment to your own health, security and growth), as well as the lasting, sustaining qualities of compassion, fidelity, loyalty, emotional security, discipline, accountability, respect and unconditional acceptance. By contrast, what most of us are taught to seek and value in a relationship—physical/sexual attractiveness, shared religious beliefs, family background, social status, fame, wealth or earning potential—have little or nothing to do with a person’s capacity to commit to and sustain healthy relationships.

In a healthy relationship, to paraphrase Stevie Wonder, “He/she doesn’t use his/her love to make him/her weak, he/she uses love to keep him/her strong.” Unfortunately, too much of what passes for “love” in adult relationships promote and embrace the exact opposite: emotional drama, reckless sexual behavior, betrayal, infidelity, possessiveness, and other neglect and abuse of self and others. (You know: rachetness.) If you are tired of that and want to do better, you want healthy relationships. You need to be at the Grown Zone Retreat.

I love the Grown Zone. I listen to your show on BlogTalk Radio every week and follow the @GrownZone on Twitter and all of the other social media platforms. What will I get at the Grown Zone Retreat that I am not already getting?

On Twitter and other social media, we can tell you WHAT to do. In our Grown Zone blog at GrownZone.com and on our BlogTalk Radio show, we can tell you WHY you should to do it, and even what happens when you don’t. But there’s a difference between telling and teaching, just as there is a world of difference between hearing and learning. It takes face-to-face engagement, away from distractions and with the ability to address questions directly, for us to effectively teach, and for you to learn, HOW TO DO IT. What and why are important, but you can’t make your NEXT DECISION BETTER if you don’t know how. At the Grown Zone Retreat, we will teach what is impossible to learn from tweets, status updates and blog posts: How to achieve and sustain healthy relationships.

Register HERE

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