Bold Beautiful Perfect
Stephanie, Bay St. Louis
“I spent years trying to be what I perceived the world wanted me to be, but authenticity is the most beautiful thing about us.” – Stephanie
On July 20, 2014, I received a text message that would remain unseen until it was too late to respond. I did not read the text because I was “busy.” While busy can be productive, most of the time it is just that: busy.
2013 ended and I was organized and excited about the goals I had set for my company. We were going to break records! I was also going to serve as president of the Gulf Coast Association of REALTORS®, an organization I cherished. My 2014 planner arrived. I spent a few seconds admiring the clean pages void of obligations and quickly began to fill it up. There was much to accomplish and little time. I quickly added a legal pad to the mix to keep up with a running “to-do” list that just would not fit into my calendar. There was no room for error or the unexpected.
It was July 25, 2014. While sitting in my office, rewarding myself with check marks for completing tasks and reaching goals, I received a phone call. The voice on the other end informed me that my younger brother had passed away in his sleep. Shocked by the news, all I could think of was everyone else, especially my mother. Having no children myself, I could not fathom what this loss would do to her. Days went by with phone calls, text messages and emails. It was by going through text messages trying to regroup that I found a text from July 20th. It was short and sweet: “Just wanted you to know the last pic I saw of you, you look great, proud of you and I love you!” It was from my brother. I had been too busy. It was overlooked and I never replied.
Days passed and my obligations were met. My 2015 planner came in the mail and this time I did something different. I embraced the clean, white, empty pages. I paused and reflected on the lessons learned the last 11 months and I vowed to make changes. I made time to review my 2014 planner & legal pads, and before making any commitments for 2015, I made another list: my not to-do list. If I was going to ditch old habits, I had to forget about finding value in being “busy.”
While there are many books written with practical tips for making the most of your time, reflection is the only true thing necessary for refinement. Once you are aware of the world around you, you can clearly find your place in it.
Today I operate with a clear understanding that time is the currency of life and you must spend it as carefully as you do dollars. I allow myself a “power hour” daily, it is my time to read, reflect & plan. I have stopped comparing myself to others and realize true progress when my head and heart are aligned not when all of the tasks are completed.
How did you come to understand your own beauty?
I discover it more everyday. I first realized it after the tragic lost of my brother. In order to cope, I spent a lot of time alone and did a lot of personal development. My unique set of circumstances allowed me to drill down and recover. Today, I share the areas I focused on and attempt to help women shift their focus when the unexpected happens.
I have come to realize that authenticity is the most beautiful thing about us. There is a 1 in 30 million chance you share the same gifts of another person. Once I was comfortable with myself, I could extend that grace to others. It really is true: be the change you want to see in the world.
This project is all about inspiring women to see their beauty. What parts of your story can you share to help women to understand their own beauty?
I spent years trying to be what I perceived the world wanted me to be. The sooner you get to know yourself (and more importantly accept yourself) you will realize that is the shortcut to happiness. I learned a lot going to a writer’s workshop, an art retreat, and just a regular self guided reading and reflection period.
Tell us about your experience with the photo shoot.
I was over the moon to be selected. Any platform to empower women to be their authentic self has my support! We hear often that our beauty shines from within; I want people to see that and experience it through this project.
The photo shoot was lots of fun! It wasn’t until working with Brandi that I realized I have so much energy and passion that I move even when I am sitting still! I love that she could capture that in the shots. I do not strive for perfection and I was nervous about working with Brandi because her photos are flawless. We were able to communicate our way through our perceived differences and learn from each other.
Are you ready to feel like a supermodel for a day?
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