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! ;-)

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PERSONAL GROWTH SPECIALISTS ZARA GREEN AND ALFRED EDMOND JR. TO HOST GROWN ZONE WEEKEND RETREAT NOV. 22-24 IN CHICAGO

Alfred & Zara

Alfred & Zara

Personal growth specialists and social-media power couple Zara Green and Alfred Edmond Jr. will be in Chicago to host the Grown Zone Self Love and Healthy Relationships Retreat, November 22-24, 2013, at the Welcome Inn Manor, a sumptuous urban bed-and breakfast inn. The weekend retreat will provide in-depth teaching and interactive guidance, in a relaxed and intimate setting, to those seeking a framework to recognize, prepare for, attract and maintain healthy relationships, romantic and otherwise.

The Grown Zone Self Love and Healthy Relationships Retreat kicks off on the evening

Cameka Smith, BOSS Network

Cameka Smith, BOSS Network

of Friday, November 22, with a reception/mixer hosted by Chicagoan Cameka Smith, founder of The BOSS Network. A full day of seminars and workshops led by Green and Edmond will begin on Saturday, November 23, including “Self-Love: The Foundation of ALL Healthy Relationships,” “Making Better Decisions” and “What A Healthy Relationship Looks Like.” The retreat will conclude with a wrap-up session, including open discussion and Q&A, on Sunday, November 24. Registration, which is limited to 45 participants, includes a Friday evening reception/mixer; breakfast, lunch and evening cocktails on Saturday; and a Sunday brunch. For more information about the retreat and other Grown Zone offerings, go to www.GrownZoneA2Z.com. Register for the Grown Zone Self Love and Healthy Relationships Retreat at www.gzchicago.eventbrite.com/.

Welcome Inn Manor

Welcome Inn Manor

The Welcome Inn Manor (www.WelcomeInnManor.com), the host venue for the Grown Zone Retreat, is located at 4563 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago and co-owned by husband and wife Mell and Angie Monroe. Located in the Lakeshore South neighborhood, the Welcome Inn Manor is about a 1 mile walking distance to Lakeshore Drive and a few blocks to several El train stops. Street parking is free and garage parking is available.  A Queen Anne historic home built in 1893, with cozy and uniquely appointed rooms, themed in tribute to the likes of Nat “King” Cole, the Welcome Inn Manor is an ideal location for an intimate and luxurious weekend getaway. Named a 2012 Top Vacation Rental in Chicago by TripAdvisor’s FlipKey online reservation site, the Welcome Inn Manor also enjoys a top TripAdvisor Traveler Rating, based on traveler reviews. Those registered for the Grown Zone retreat can secure special room rates at the Welcome Inn Manor by calling 312-493-2953 or e-mailing to mell@welcomeinnmanor.com with the promo code: Grown Zone.

Life and business partners Green and Edmond are co-principals of A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises, a media company focused on the creation and delivery of personal development products, communications, content and events. The company is best known for the Grown Zone, the mission of which is to teach the difference between adult choices—what people have the right to do—and “grown” decisions—those choices that honor the Grown Zone principles of “Self Love, Better Decisions and Healthier Relationships.”

“The Grown Zone is our response to repeated requests from our social medGrown Zone, Header croppedia friends and followers, particularly over the past year, to share our principles of self-love, better decisions and healthy relationships in order to achieve a happier life,” says Edmond. “As much as we both love social media, live events allows us to do this in a deeper and more engaging and personal way than we can on Twitter or Facebook. So we were thrilled when we were invited to bring the Grown Zone to Chicago.”

“Our goal is the same whether live, social media or traditional media,” Green adds. “We are both excited by and committed to the mission of helping people make better decisions that lead to better outcomes for their lives and relationships. We want to help people learn to distinguish, embrace, accept and respect their individual differences, and to require the same of others. By accepting self and others for who we are, and taking responsibility for our choices and outcomes, we can achieve our true, common purpose in life: to love and grow.”

Green and Edmond are recognized, especially on Twitter and Facebook, among social media’s most popular and respected power couples, known for their unique combination of “heat and light” and “cool refreshment.” They are host and co-host, respectively, of the weekly Grown Zone on BlogTalkRadio, every Saturday at 12:00 noon EST. Green and Edmond also host a Grown Zone Live discussion series in New York City, and have garnered the attention of other media, including the Tom Joyner Morning Show, which featured the Grown Zone “Love and Money” series during Financial Literacy Month in April 2013.

Green is an author, speaker, trainer and former broadcast journalist specializing in personal growth, resiliency development and individuality advocacy. She is best known for helping others to understanding individual temperaments as a key factor of healthy, productive life management, in order to empower them to make their Next Decision Better™.

She is also known for her popular Grown Is Sexy™ and PooNannie Principles™ content and products, which focus on teaching healthy relationship choices founded on love of self, respect of others, and taking personal responsibility for securing both. For women in particular, Green has garnered a passionate and local following for her teachings on helping women to proactively make H.E.R. ™—Honor, Esteem and Respect—a non-negotiable priority in order to secure happy and fulfilled lives.

Edmond, best known as an award-winning journalist, editor and media executive with Black Enterprise and host of the nationally syndicated radio feature Money Matters for American Urban Radio Networks, is a widely recognized expert on personal finance, entrepreneurship, mentorship, leadership development and the practical application of faith in daily living.

A highly sought-after public speaker, Edmond is also known for his A Grown Man Knows™ content on the values and behaviors of responsible, life-affirming manhood. Well known for his sense of personal style, Edmond is also co-designer of a signature line of bow ties, the Alfred Edmond Jr. Collection, in partnership with Nashville, Tenn.-based Windsor Neckwear.

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Embrace Time Alone Because Returning To Your Ex Is Like A Dog Returning To Its Vomit

Take My Broken HeartShe/He is your EX for a reason! I’m not a bible-thumper but for these reasons this passage of scripture is so apropo, “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly“:

  • The act of the dog eating its own vomit is potentially poisonous
  • Foolish acts/behaviors are often out of fear not intentional folly

And if they left you, you’ve got to question why you’d allow them back. “I love him/her” is NOT a sufficient answer. People go back to what they knew, even when it wasn’t good because they don’t know how to be alone and fear it. Time alone is purposeful. If you’re allowing them back then you’ve likely not used the time alone properly.

Time alone is to review the last relationship for patterns in your selections and then to understand WHY you chose them to begin with. Not just what you liked about them, but also what voids in you they filled? When you can answer that you’ve identified YOUR deficits. And when you are aware and FIX THAT IN YOU, you can make your Next Decision Better.

That process won’t usually lead you BACKWARDS!

For your information: The scripture leading into Proverbs 26 says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

And then the verses in Proverbs 26 leading up to the 11th & 12th verses are all about foolish behaviors (“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.  Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him”).

NEXT it's time to move forwardDon’t be a fool! Be wise. Personal growth should never stop! Learn from every relationship. Take time between each one to learn more about you so that you can get better as an individual. Otherwise you run the risk of attracting and choosing the same kind of person, thus the same kinds of experiences and instead of getting better (with your choices and experiences), by default you’ll grow bitter.

You deserve better than that but you won’t get what you deserve necessarily, you’ll get what you choose and accept!

You’re invited to Enter and LIVE in the Grown Zone.

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Sex Gets Too Much Credit As Basis For Loving Relationships

Everybody, not only wants love, but needs it. There are times throughout life when you may be more focused on school, career, parenting or your own personal growth – all great reasons to not be boo’d up –  but there will come a time when you’ll want a consistent romantic relationship; somebody to share your life with.

Sex and loveBut too often, women who desire somebody to love them all life long are settling for those who only want to love them all night long. And make no mistake, loving you all night long multiple nights is not the fast track to being loved all life-long.

Men are not exempt! They too get caught up in one-sided relationships based on sexual compatibility and later realize that he’s given far more than he’s gotten because they are not compatible in areas that actually keep couples together (NO, it ain’t sex!). Only then, he’s in deep (money, property, children) all because the sex was good; he didn’t get to know her before committing to her.

Nobody should EVER accept #f-ed up, unloving choices and/or treatment as part of “being in love.” Because in these cases love has nothing to do with it. It never does.

Ladies and gentlemen: don’t confuse sexual availability with a long-term desire FOR you and certainly not a commitment TO you. And don’t confuse one’s willingness to allow you to financially rescue them (sponsor/benefactor/pay a bill/buy a purse/trips/…) as love for YOU!

You are invited to ENTER and LIVE in the Grown Zone where we help folks to make their Next Decision Better.

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My Daddy Is A Fatherless Son But Not His Father’s Choices

Daddy In The 70's

Daddy In The ’70s

My father only had one directive for all of us – do better than I have. But let me tell you, even with only an 8th grade education and his being an abandoned child from the racially segregated deep south of rural Louisiana, those are some big shoes to fill.

Abandoned 3 Year Old Boy

As my father tells the story of the day his mother left him with his father, you can still hear the pain. He was crying and begging her to take him with her. Holding his baby sister on her hip and pushing him back into the screen door repeatedly she said, “You have to stay. I can’t take both of you.” She moved out of state.

My grandfather was far more interested in womanizing than he was parenting. Daddy was often left by his father to fend for himself, or with women who mistreated him. He knows what it is to be hungry, forgotten, alone, and to be unloved. His father has never, in his entire life, given him anything, not one dollar. And although Daddy forgave him (not that his father asked for it) and took care of him up to his death at age 97, he still never got his attention, affection, nor approval.

Daddy decided early that he would not be to his children what his father had been to him. He decided that he didn’t have to live out his father’s choices.

Self Reliance Was Expected

My father was ultimately raised by an uncle and his wife (who couldn’t have children). They believed and taught my father that educated or not, a man  was to use what he had and be innovative about how to multiply and make the most of it. All of the men on that side of the family worked and provided for their families well. Never dependent on others, all practiced self-reliance.

My father is no different. Daddy has always worked hard and smart! He’s a military veteran – a Navy man – and naturally curious, with a photographic memory. As a result, he’s been a student of life and made the most of every place he docked and lived all around the world. A reader and a history buff, he loves the Discovery Channels, so when you experience him – especially upon learning all he’s accomplished – you’d never know that his formal education ended at the age of 12.

He knew that he had to earn and has always been more focused on what he could do then on what he couldn’t do. And he has never – even in the segregated south of the 1950s and ’60s – concerned himself about who could stop him.

His uncles taught him that a man is defined by how well he provides for his wife and children.

Side Note: Daddy was (and in many ways still is) an excellent provider to his children. And on top of that he’s never missed a game, recital, award ceremony, graduation or any of my surgeries. When I was in need he showed up!

How He Did It With Little Education

As a young man he bussed tables while going to barber school. He met and married my mother during that time. As a young barber, he rented a building which had an apartment attached; it became his barbershop. He rented chairs to other barbers, rented the apartment and used a back room as a TV repair shop, for which he became a certified technician. He started a pest control service and had a truck hauling service. That’s just the beginning of the legitimate businesses (hustles) he’s had that eventually earned enough to buy the building he worked in; the first of many real estate properties which enabled him to provide for his family and many others in the community.

The Best vs. Your Best

Daddy ingrained this in me: You don’t have to be the best, but you do need to always do your best. My father is not a perfect man, nor was he the perfect parent – no parent is. But he was perfect for me.

In my adult life, one of the things that I’ve learned to appreciate most about my Dad is that he has lived unapologetically! He knows he’s not perfect – has never professed to be – nor is he striving for perfection. His goal is to always be better than he’s been. I love that! And I’ve lived it.

Though he started with so few resources and so little support from his parents, he didn’t let that define him; instead he decided to do the best he could. While he knew that he might not ever be the best, he always gave his best. And even when he failed miserably, his best was always sufficient for him.

I’ve  learned as much from his flaws as I have his successes. When I’ve done my best, even if it’s not enough for others, it’s always enough for me. In those times, I’m unapologetic for my decisions and certainly for me – who I am – because I’m always enough for me. My goal is always the same, to be a better me.

Thank you Daddy for being a constant example of courage and commitment. I love you, Sam Green, Sr.

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Get Better At Severing Ties: Amicable Breakups

I wish people understood the power in severing ties when they’re no longer aligned with the people in their lives.  People-possession is dangerous. There are a gazillion people on the planet and there’s nobody that you can’t live without.

Having ended many relationships (romantic, business, friends, and YES relatives) upon realizing that continuing as we were was not healthy for me,  I’ve been better off every time!

Breakups don’t have to be hostile and you should develop the skills to move on. In fact, you should approach every relationship the same and while in them keep this at the forefront of your mind: reason-season-lifetime

Reason. Season. Lifetime.

As a grown woman, I’ve never returned to a romantic relationship (they ended for good reasons and I don’t allow myself to forget why they ended). I’ve rarely done business again with business partners after a deal has gone south (with the exception that it was to no fault of either party) . I don’t revisit friendships that end because I’m okay when we grow in different directions and there are a gazillion other friendships to make that will bring me a gazillion other experiences (although I do still have a handful of childhood friends whom I cherish). And although I always acknowledge relatives, I am very clear that all relatives are not family!

Most relationships you have will be for a reason.

Fewer for a season.

And less than you ever imagined, for a lifetime.

When you realize that the reason you’re alive is to become more of yourself everyday then your view of life’s experiences will change.

You’ll begin to accept what is, embrace whatever life throws and know that every challenge is purposeful and you’re built to endure it but be sure that the opposite is true too: if you don’t realize that the reason you’re alive is to become more of yourself everyday, you’ll try hold onto yesterday and your view of life’s experiences will not change; you will not accept what is, rather continue to resist; you won’t embrace whatever life throws, you’ll cry woe is me; you won’t ever know that every challenge is purposeful, nor will you ever build resilience to endure challenges, instead you’ll cave.

You’re not here to be defined by the experiences you choose to have. You’re here to be refined by how you handle the experiences life chooses to give you; big difference.

Life is an evolution. Change is Inevitable. Decide to change with things that change around you and to make changes in your life when things no longer serve you. Make your Next Decision Better.

That’s living in the Grown Zone! Here we GROW…Grown IS Sexy! 😉

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Drama Queens Have Nothing On Drama Kings. Recognize And Avoid Them!

Ladies, Raise the Bar Card w Quotes for webDo not buy into the myth that choosing drama is a female thing. Drama queens ain’t got nothing on drama kings.

Like drama queens, drama kings inspire strong emotions, which can initially pass as intoxicating passion and sexual chemistry (what some describe as “catching feelings”), but ultimately spirals into an endless cycle of wreckless disruption, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. Both drama kings and drama queens use seduction, bullying and blaming as weapons of manipulation, keeping you dizzy and disoriented on a roller coaster of constant confusion, guilt, fear, sexual tension and anxiety—all of which they’ll insist is caused by you, not them. And to the degree that you allow them a place in your life, they will be right.

If you are serious about living in the Grown Zone—which means you are committed to better choices, more self-love and healthier relationships—you must recognize and steer clear of drama kings and queens (actually drama addicts) at all costs. Do not try to cure them or fix them, or help them solve their problems. Just maintain as much distance as possible, and whatever you do, do not become intimate with them or allow them to become involved in your life beyond being just an acquaintance.

Since people typically associate drama with females, it is often missed or overlooked in males. It’s important to educate yourself so that you know a drama king when you see one. This is not an all-inclusive, exhaustive list, but here are some reliable signs that a man is a drama king:

Violence and its potential are his constant companions, whether he is victim or perpetrator—and, often, both. Not only is violence the drama king’s preferred means of dealing with conflict, but he seeks conflict to create opportunities for violence. The violence embraced by drama kings is often, but not necessarily (and may even exclude) physical, but verbal and emotional, and is often passive aggressive.

Drama kings do not hold themselves accountable for the outcomes of their choices. They blame others and refuse to share responsibility. Drama kings always present themselves as victims: of women, of their upbringing, of discrimination, of society, whatever. Anything will do. If you even hint that he bears primary responsibility for his life and choices, you either just don’t understand, or worse, you are a traitor and a hater. Watch out for men who have nothing good to say about their family, their exes, other women, other men or “them” and constantly talk about what “they” did or are doing to him. Drama. King.

When drama kings speak, it’s a consistent narrative of good intentions and bad outcomes. Their conversation is filled with wouldas, couldas, shouldas, and was aboutas. (Also, if onlys.) Drama kings are all potential and no performance.

Drama kings are vampires—they can be handsome, seductive and dangerously attractive. Also ready, willing and able to drain the life out of you. Ladies, it’s an act of both self love and self preservation to recognize drama kings before allowing access to your body, home, money or heart. Always remember: Like vampires, drama kings are counting on you to invite them in. That’s why they can be so irresistibly sweet, funny, sexy and just perfect for you at the beginning—they will be and do anything you need them to be and do to con their way into your life and sink their teeth into you.

Recognize drama kings when you see them, and avoid them at all costs. Don’t go by appearance—go by behavior over time. Ladies, this means no spontaneous intimacy or allowing instant access to your home, money, body and heart because he’s just so damn fine—or charming, or in need of love or just somebody to believe in him (all cons drama kings use to get you to let them in).

And gentlemen, if you see one in the mirror, it’s your job to conquer, dethrone and slay him. A drama king is the exact opposite of a grown man.

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