Monthly Archives: February 2016

Your Personal Brand

20160227_123608A funny thing happened on the way to the Mrs. Arizona Pageant . . . I have been studying and researching like crazy, because that’s who I am – a researching queen geek.  One tip that I have heard is to think of three words that describe you. I realized that this applies to much more than being in a pageant. It applies to your personal and professional lives as well.

What is your brand?

What do you want to portray when people look at you? Now, maybe this is different for your personal and your professional life, but I find that – for me – I want to be the same person and viewed as the same person regardless of what setting I am in.

The tutorial that I watched (from Kirin Christianson) recommends selecting one adjective for each your personality, history (life), and visual. Now she has 5 pages of adjectives, but being the reading freak that I am…no need. She also recommends picking 20, then narrowing to 10, 5, then 3. And also look up synonyms in a thesaurus to see if other words work. There are other incredibly valuable articles, too, such as this one and this one, although some build more from a purely career perspective.

My three words – authentic, passionate, and bold. I keep wavering between brilliant and bold, but bold is more visual than brilliant – and brilliant sounds like bragging. I also keep wanting to throw in charming or sparkling (okay, more charming than sparkling) or driven (but it seems to carry a negative connotation according to my beloved daughter and I kinda agree). So for now, let’s go with authentic, passionate, and bold.  Have you thought of your three words, yet?

Now – bounce them against your professional life. Are you still happy with them? I am. I want to be established with my privacy experience and knowledge, but I think it is more important that I am at my core authentic, passionate, and bold.

Next step. What three words do you think others would think of when they think of you? This is actually easier. I believe others think I am quirky, perky, and smart. Those come up almost instantaneously. What three words do you think come to mind for other people when they think of you?

Why don’t these two sets of words match?  In a way, I don’t think they DON’T match (if you’ll pardon my freedom with all the negatives).  There are definitely other words that I would use to describe myself, but not what I would consider my personal brand.

So now that you have your three core, essence words that form your personal brand, put it into play. Be those three words. Live those three words. Be true to those three words.

If your brand is sophisticated, loving, and ambitious; be sophisticated, loving, and ambitious. Act on them. Live them. Don’t be a hater. Don’t be lazy. Don’t be a sloppy dresser. Sure, you can be all of those things (hater, lazy, sloppy) in spurts, but if you want to protect your personal brand, then you need to live up to the promise of your brand. Otherwise, what you are selling is not living up to the product. Don’t fool yourself. It is okay to be ambitious in what you want your brand to be, but act on it.

If you are optimistic, funny, and stylish – then be optimistic, funny, and stylish. You get the point.

Cross-check yourself with a honest view of what you really think you are and can be as well as what you think others see in you.

No one can protect your personal brand but you. And no one cares more than you about your personal brand. Establish yourself. Perhaps look at it as marketing – underpromise and overdeliver.

Build a brand. Be the brand. Protect the brand.

Essential Oils

I tried essential oils, three different types. I rubbed them on my swollen knees for two months- no change. Essential oils were a bust for me. Some people swear by them, and maybe they do work for some people and some things, but my personal experience was ineffective.

Mrs. Journey: Everything starts with the first step

The first step to the Mrs. Arizona America pageant was deciding to do it – speaking to friends and family.  Do they support me? Why would they support me to do this? Why do I want to do it?  There are lots of reasons, but one is to make a new memory to replace my nightmares. Another is to demonstrate that people with disabilities can do this. Also, if I can do what I do to inspire people to step up, stand out, volunteer – imagine what I can do with a public forum….

The next step was to submit the application for it. I guess, technically, the next step was to review the application packet and work up the courage and excitement (the latter of which came easily, the former not so much). I called the director, Ms. Diane Ritter (oh my goodness she seems so fabulous), to ask lots of questions and she was so patient with everything I asked.

                                                                                And ya’ll know me, there were lots of questions.

So application filled out, including current sizes and measurements – if that doesn’t humble someone that is 47 years old, nothing will. Not to mention, I am on a fitness plan with exercise and food (back to non-processed) – this ol’ body is gettin’ in shape, people – and not just a round one. Did I mention there is a swimsuit portion?!

And now, I have to own this. There is no being self-conscious about doing a pageant at my age. I will be proud and be loud. Regardless of whether I become the next Mrs. AZ, I will be Mrs. Something for the next year and need to represent! I will have an experience like no other and hopefully meet friends and be part of a camaraderie that simply cannot be beat.

So I start here (paid the deposit, submitted the paperwork, sent a headshot) and next I will need to seek sponsors/supporters to help me achieve my goal. Then comes hair, make-up, brows, nails, dress, body in shape, nails, shoes (yea, more shoes!) and not in that order.

Today: 151 pounds. Accountability and Transparency (was 154.5 at the start of last week).

As long as I am accepted, then we have 3.5 months ( 14 weeks) to transform a body to match the inner me. And the inner me wants to claim to be beautiful, kind, generous, amazing. But, the inner me doesn’t feel that way – let’s see if we can change that!

From a Nightmare to a Dream

For years now, I have had a recurring nightmare. And sometimes, in the words of Ronnie Milsap: I have daydreams about night things in the middle of the afternoon.

nightmaresWhen it happens, I wake in the proverbial cold sweat, gasping for breath, maybe there are tears involved. I have learned to flash a huge NO sign in red neon over and over in my mind to stop the cycle. It’s bad enough that with Fibromyalgia, I don’t sleep well anyway….don’t I deserve nice dreams?

I have to consciously put new thoughts in my head. Kinda like when you see those TV commercials about abused animals – and you have to purposefully think about something else to get the images out of your mental eye.

My personal nightmare relates to the only pageant I have ever done. I had the wrong dress, at the wrong length, which mortified me and then I forgot the words to my talent…and said so on stage in front of the audience. My family must have been just as mortified watching me. I was just way out of my league and my comfort zone. I could not seriously compete with those girls. Yes, girls. It was our senior year of high school, so I was either 16 or 17.

I never had the confidence of my youngest daughter, Charis. She has taken on the goal of competing in the Miss America scholarship program (the Arizona level) and is undauntable and unstoppable. She has competed now in multiple local competitions and does a phenomenal job, but the judges have not yet selected her. It’s her first year and she has done an amazing job and is still going. My respect for her is tremendous as is my faith in her.

She has inspired me. And one of my best friends has “challenged” – she claims she has not used the word challenge, but I swear there was some “double dog dare you” in there somewhere. Maybe I dared myself. One point she made was excellent and resonated with me completely – replace that nightmare with a new memory.

Also, with the volunteerism I do and my values about serving others, she pointed out that if I could inspire people with what I have already done and continue to do now, imagine what I could do with a bigger audience and a forum.

So I did it. I submitted an application to the Mrs. Arizona America pageant. There is no talent portion, but there is a swimsuit portion. Good googli moo. I don’t even wear a swimsuit in front of others on my cruises.

I will replace that nightmare with a new memory. And to keep me honest, I will share this experience with the world – whether the world wants to know it or not!


Let’s play Spot the Health Coma Day….


Everyone has their own way of dealing with things- to be cliche, everyone walks their own path, and are at different points in that journey. I tell myself that everyone has issues and their own personal deals and difficulties, and my lupus isn’t special and doesn’t really make me that different. I don’t need support groups and I don’t cash in on extra resources (to the immense and ongoing frustration of my mother). I believe there’s a certain strength to my resolve, to my perspective, and it means I get slightly uncomfortable when people want to talk about my issues like it makes me different. And, for a long time, I held other people up to my same gruff, immovable “walk it off” emotional standard.

It was wrong of me to do that, and my teaching classes have really helped me appreciate other perspectives in general. People handle challenges and emotional roadblocks in different ways- of course they do! People are different, and that’s beautiful! So don’t be a jerk just because you feel someone is being too flamboyant about their disability, or too stoic. Don’t try to talk them into your view.

This is a basic idea we’re taught as children, but it becomes especially relevant when the conflict is close to us, and- whether you’re open about it or not- a physical or mental disability is usually a sensitive area. So try not to judge how other people handle theirs.


The movie Love and Other Drugs with Hathaway and Gyl… Gyllen-whatever is about a woman with early-onset Parkinson’s dating a dude. I loved and loathed it because I connected to it in many, many ways and on several levels. I think about it often, and I recommend it to you. 



The galumph that crushed my footsie

(you can’t have him, he goes back to his momma in June)


I’m fostering a Great Dane, got him Saturday. This 149 lb cow stepped on my foot three days ago, and my foot still hurts.

I don’t know what’s normal and what’s lupus, because lupus IS my normal, but three days doesn’t seem normal-normal.

please keep in mind that your normal may not be… Normal-normal. If you have issues, there’s a conflict: you have more physical problems and pain, but also a higher tolerance to pain (and probably structured layers of denial).


2 mm: Outstanding or Overcoming?

Recently, I have been watching motivational videos and one really struck a chord with me – go two millimeters more to be outstanding. I cannot explain it as well as Tony Robbins does, bImage_1455039881331ut I can explain what it means to me.

In short, we live in a world of high expectations. Doing a good job no longer sees good results. One must do an excellent job to get good results.

So then how does one get excellent results?

Do an outstanding job.

The difference between good and excellent is huge. Like a world of difference. But the difference between excellent and outstanding – 2 mm. About the size of the head of a sewing pin. Which made me think of the classic question – “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”

I understand what it means to put that little extra oomph into everything you do, or at least the things you want to have excellent results. That impacts different things for different people – work, school, hobbies, family, etc.

but… what does 2 mm mean to me/for me?

As discussed in the Spoons post, even what most people consider as nearly-automatic processes require me to consider what energy I need for sitting up in bed, walking to the bathroom, standing for a shower, raising arms to wash hair…I have to consider every small step within larger processes.

2 mm

It may take me more than the next person to achieve 2 mm. But not see any greater results from it. Maybe it’s like volume and mass – my 2 mm may be more dense, but the volume is what is measured for excellent results.

On the other hand, perhaps good results is good enough for me. Perhaps I learn to lower my standards and expectations. Perhaps I learn when and where to give in order to get somewhere else. Perhaps I learn to prioritize. Perhaps I learn to slow down. Perhaps perhaps perhaps.

Although I would love to be a little snarky and say perhaps not, I cannot in good faith claim that I have not learned to give a little in one area in order to see gains in another. If I don’t slow down, the body fails and I am forced to slow down. I am thankful the brain doesn’t fail, but if I did – would I know?

At one point, everything I did was for my daughters. Being a single mom meant we were really close and remain close to this day. Yes, most moms are close to their kids, but I can honestly say that neither of my girls ever told me that they hated me or that I was ruining their lives. I make sure to brag on that in front of them so it remains true. We have fought while hugging. So we are close. I frankly think I only survived at some points because of my daughters. My time to dedicate to the corporate world is now, after they have left home and established their adult lives. I think I did it backwards, but I was also 42 when the youngest left home – not sure I could’ve done it any other way.

So 2 mm to me seems a lot more effort. But I see the same results as anyone else who goes that extra 2 mm.  So the results have to be valued enough to merit that effort.

                                           R = V(E)

And it means I have to be willing to lose (or not achieve) in another area.

Will I still go that extra 2 mm?

                                                                                You bet your purple painted pinky toe I will. 






- How much do you know?

at the Heart of Privacy

K Royal (@heartofprivacy)