I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND.

I will never understand what it’s like to be a little girl and turn on the TV and not see anyone who looks like me or my family, except for two shows a week after 8pm (if I’m lucky)

I will never understand what it’s like to walk into a store to buy a birthday card and not see anyone who looks like the person I’m buying it for in the drawings

I will never understand the feeling of going to work after washing and combing the hair I was born with and being told I have to go fix it because it doesn’t look professional

I will never understand the added fear of having a son - outside of the fear that he might fall and break something or the cops might hold him overnight for getting caught with pot (and we will laugh about it after and tell him it's fine, because it will be)

I will never understand being underrepresented on magazine covers and movies

I will never understand being called a terrorist because of how I look or because of my religion that I hardly even practice (who knows, maybe I'll get back into being Catholic one day)

What I do understand, is that I will never understand. That is okay and I am not meant to.

I also understand that to many, my voice is still listened to first - so when will I use it?

To use when people I love make remarks that don't serve us because they don’t want to admit that they’ll really just never fully understand.

To say that if you don’t understand that none of what’s going on in the world right now is NEW, but is only getting more exposed because of our technology, then it’s time to broaden our understanding of the people who are in pain and LOVE HARDER.

This has got to hit a point where more people who will never understand are going to say ENOUGH- I am not a stand for this.

I understand that sometimes it takes tragedy for people to get their shit together and that is how it works. But how many years do we need?

I understand that I need to turn off the news and actually TALK to the people that DO understand. To ask questions and be curious.

And I understand that it’s pretty damn simple to tell what feels right, fair and humane and what feels wrong and archaic.

So please, for love, try to understand just ONE person today through your assumptions.

It’s okay to not fully understand.
- 7/7/16

I'll Love Myself More Fully - For You

For every woman in my ancestry who got married young because you had to & not by choice - I will love myself more fully for you.

For every woman in my ancestry who wasn’t sure she could survive on her own - I will love myself & my independent adventures more fully for you.

For every woman in my ancestry who kept her dreams quiet because you put everyone else’s dreams first - I will love myself more fully for you.

And when I am graced by a man who loves himself more fully, who is determined to be a stand for a life he wants and knows is possible…

When I am graced by a man whose love builds on top of mine such that the only thing left to do is share it…

Whether it’s tomorrow, in two years, or in ten

I will love myself, and him, more fully - for you.

For your beliefs, your stories, and your dreams are in me.

And today, I let them go. So that I can love myself more fully - for me.

- Rachael Lynn 5/1/16

On Loving Without Judgement

I had a beautiful conversation with a friend of mine yesterday. For the first time in 4 years, he had fallen in love with a girl, and experienced something with her that left him heartbroken.

This is the type of man who, when I met him, had the same walls up that I was personally familiar with. Who made jokes instead of expressing his feelings. The kind of man we all know hasn’t cried in years and considers that a badge of honor.

In a way, when we first met and I recognized what he was doing, I hurt for him. I remember being exactly all of those things. I remember how closed off I was to the kind of human connection that is possible when we let it be.

But as I sat with him, with his head in my lap because of the heart ache he was experiencing, I couldn’t have been more proud of him.

HE WAS FINALLY ALLOWING HIMSELF TO FEEL THE PAIN.

And something finally clicked for me.

WHEN YOU GIVE YOURSELF THE SPACE TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, AND TO LOVE YOURSELF DESPITE ALL THE SHIT YOU’VE DONE – YOU GIVE OTHER PEOPLE THE SPACE TO BE WHO THEY ARE WITHOUT JUDGEMENT OR ATTACHMENT.

You give men the space to reveal strong, intense, or difficult emotions without feeling ashamed.

You give friends the space to share the darkest parts of themselves without feeling judged.

THIS IS MY PURPOSE.

That is why I’m here. It’s why we’re all here – to experience human connection without judgement.

When I was younger I didn’t know how to harness this energy and not lose myself in it or the other person.

Especially with men – I thought that every time a guy said “you understand me like nobody else does” that clearly meant he was supposed to be in love with me.

Today I know we are IN LOVE – and love takes many different forms. He doesn’t have to be my boyfriend or my future husband for us to exist in a space of love together.

And I’m not here to fix or change anyone – only they are in control of that.

I’M JUST HERE TO LOVE THEM ANYWAYS.

Love is not selfless devotion to try and help someone out of their misery. We are not saviors or martyrs.

Because when you love yourself first, it’s much easier to know when it’s time to hold someone,and when it’s time to empower them to step into who they’re meant to be on their own.

LOVE IS WIDE OPEN FREEDOM TO EXIST EXACTLY AS YOU ARE.

Because when you love another person for exactly who they are, then and only then will they be inspired to grow into a better version of themselves.

And the greatest thing I can do to help them is challenge MYSELF to grow just a little bit every day – lead by example – and love them anyways.

xoxo

5 Things My Tinder Dates Taught Me About Business

TINDER = AMAZING BUSINESS LESSONS.

I know right? Who would have thought. I’m not talking about the business of pimping yourself out (although I’ve heard that spam accounts on Tinder are everywhere). I mean your actual entrepreneurial venture.

I don’t even know if I could call 5 pictures of myself and no description on my Tinder account a dating profile.

But, as of February last year, there it was. I was ready to try it out.Translation: I was bored, curious and a little bit lonely.I’ve since moved from NYC {I’ll save that for another post} and turned the app off. But I learned a lot along the way about myself and dating, and why it’s really not that different than business.

HERE’S WHAT TINDER TAUGHT ME:

1) I KNOW RIGHT AWAY IF I WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH SOMEONE.

Every. Single. Date. I went on, I knew in my gut by the time I got home (and often within the first 10 minutes) if I cared or wanted to see them again. I’m all for giving yourself time to open up and get to know someone. But if there’s something pulling at you that it just isn’t right, it usually isn’t. For me, that basically meant not seeing most people again after the 1st date. The more I started to listen to that right away, the less in my head I became. I wasn’t upset if I never heard from them again or wondering if I did something wrong.It was mutual, and trust me, the gut feeling only gets louder the longer you ignore it.

Biz translation: If something feels “off” about the client or the project, trust it. It’s a lot harder to do when there is income involved, but the long run payoff is your sanity.

2) I WAS GIVING PEOPLE I KNEW WEREN’T WORTH IT A CHANCE BECAUSE THEY WERE HOT.

I’ll call this: “OMG – he’s talking to ME?” syndrome. You know, the super hot one you show your roommate before they even say more than “Hi”.Then they say something stupid, but you keep engaging because maybe they’ll make up for it?

I tried it out a bunch of times. They never did.

Biz translation: Sometimes the big client with all the money, or the job you’ve been fangirling over for the last 6 months, really isn’t that awesome. It’s cliche I know, but when someone shows you who they are, trust it. Do your research, vet them as much as you can, and check in with yourself if you’re wanting this because it looks good, or if it really feels like a fit.

3) SOMETIMES YOU’RE JUST USING EACH OTHER

As a small caveat to the first two, maybe you’re just tired of being alone. Maybe you’re lonely and want someone to take you out so you have an excuse to dress up. Maybe you just want to hook up.

This happened with me in one case. We talked upfront on our second date about how we couldn’t actually be together for various reasons (aka Rachael stop dating international guys).

I was okay with that and we kept seeing each other for a few months. It was super fun and even a good distraction at times. There were no hurt feelings or awkward conversations. We shared how nice it was to connect with someone and feel comfortable, and that was that.

Biz translation: You might just need a client for the money. You might hate the company that hired you but it looks really good on your resume. You don’t want this to happen a lot, but sometimes it DOES. That’s okay. What’s important is that you’re honest with yourself about why you’re doing it, and if at all possible, upfront with the client or other people involved. Sometimes, they just want to use you too.

4) OWNING WHO YOU ARE UPFRONT SAVES A LOT OF TIME AND ENERGY

I stopped drinking at the beginning of January. As I was phasing into it, I remember telling a guy who asked me out for drinks that I was up for hanging out at the bar but just warning him I would probably only have one drink if any at all. His response: “HAHA you mean one bottle right?”

No.

A little while later, I went out with a guy who didn’t give me a hard time about it, and I drank my soda and lime while he enjoyed his own drinks. It was probably the best date I’ve had in a long time.

Biz translation: If a potential business partner or client is asking you if you do X service (like VA services when you’re more of a Manager, or one-off projects when you want long term) you have a right to say no and let them in on what you CAN offer for them. Do this from the gate so you don’t start resenting them later when they start asking for something outside your scope of services. You didn’t let them know, so they’re going to try.

5) YOU COULD MEET YOUR NEW CFO (AKA DON’T KILL THE RELATIONSHIP BEFORE IT REALLY STARTS)

The guy I went on my very first date with turned out to have a bunch of mutual friends and went to the same University as me. We got along super well and had really honest conversations about what we were looking for. We weren’t a long term relationship match, but 10 months later I hired him to take care of my biz finances and consider him an awesome friend.

Biz translation: This kind of goes with #4, but specifically when you’re “ending” something with someone, client, partner or even a job, stay KIND and honest. Even if you might be hurt at first. This way you can walk away with no resentment. You never know what can come of it. They could come back later and it’ll be the right time, or they could refer you to an even better prospect.

In summary, it’s all about experimenting, like everything in life is.

But when you keep an open mind and are in alignment with who you are and what you will or won’t do with someone, stress and weight is lifted off of your shoulders.

And you can meet some really awesome people along the way. In business and in life.

Have you had any online dating experiences that were teachable or interesting? What tools do you use to help keep you honest in relationships, business and personal? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear.

xoxo

PhotoCreds to PicJumbo