I am Tiffany Nicole 

The Beginning

SinceI was a child, I’ve always dreamed big. I never thought that there was anything that I, or anyone else, couldn’t accomplish. I wasn’t raised to consider what was stable or safe. My father was the number one influence in my life. He was a pioneer and a serial entrepreneur. He didn’t believe that it was up to anyone else to determine your worth. He taught me that I had the power to control this life, my life, and it could be whatever I made of it.
Mistakes of my youth left me confronting the reality of being a teen mom. I realized that there was so much more involved to life than just simply ‘dreaming big’. Just a year out of high school and I was juggling toddlers, daycare, bills, multiple jobs and my sanity. I found myself lost in the day-to-day regimen of keeping a roof over our heads – a far cry from the life I had dreamt of as child. But what my father had instilled in me was deeply rooted and despite the hardships that I faced, I never lost the burning desire to do more with my life. Much more!

“For a long time, I struggled with trying to fit all of my interests and desires into one distinct career path. I had to accept that there wasn’t ‘one’ singular thing that I wanted to be in life.”

I spent years figuring out where I fit as a new mom and young adult. I was envious of people who already knew exactly what they wanted to be in life.  I had to stay focused on just maintaining a job. Finding employment came easy to me, but believe me, I was also a pro at losing it! My husband once asked how many jobs I had had, I stopped counting after about 20. The look on his face was like having a real life smh emoji!!! It was embarrassing, but what I realized all those years ago, was that I didn’t like the idea of doing just one thing for the rest of my life.

For a long time, I struggled with trying to fit all of my interests and desires into a distinct career path. I had to accept that there wasn’t ‘one’ singular thing that I wanted to be in life. Yes, I was exceptional as a manager and corporate executive, but what  I ultimately realized, about myself, was that I loved helping people, sharing knowledge and most of all I wanted to be able to have a lasting impact.

I began to understand that my particular set of skills (yeah, Liam Neeson ain’t the only one), my knowledge and my ambition were my strengths, not liabilities… and that I was meant to do more than clock 40 hours a week.

Fast forward a few years, to my early twenties, I was a young newlywed, with a family, even more bills and another job that I hated –  and no you can’t call it a career either because it wasn’t going anywhere. I was an assistant to a top producing Realtor at the time. I was confused and overwhelmed; and I felt defeated every day. One night, following a brief disrespectful after-hour phone call from my boss, my husband had had enough. He told me to grab my keys… that I wouldn’t be working there anymore. Just like that, I was working for myself full-time. {Side note: Always choose to be with someone that believes in you and supports your dreams. I could write a whole book on this. Maybe one day soon}.

The Feast

Wehit the ground running and built a booming real estate business fast, really fast! My first year, I worked more than I ever had – not harder but more. When I started in May, I had one goal, to repay my husband for his support and resign him from his dead-end job – so that we could build our business together.  I know what you’re thinking… yes, it was a lofty undertaking but I never doubted that it could happen, I simply got busy and by November we were working side-by-side. The end of that year, I was also recognized as Rookie of the Year – and had earned two and a half times what I was previously making annually (in just 7 1/2 months)!

The next year, I remember sitting down with one of my brokers, who was like a mentor to me. We had a discussion about 4th quarter goal setting, where I was trending to end the year and what club level (based on net income) we should expect. He told me that we had already achieved the highest rank for the company, President’s Club, but that even though we were a team, only one of us would receive the award; unless we each reached the club level separately. That was completely unexpected. All I could think was that we had worked so hard and that was a lot of additional income to earn… and it was already September. But, we made a decision that we would both make it. And we did!!! December 31st, we were both in the President’s Club – crossing the finish line by a few dollars. I believe that was the moment that I truly understood what ‘intentional living’ really meant.

Even as our real estate business continued to expand, we were itching for our next big project. I wanted to do something meaningful, that would impact women. I just wasn’t quite sure what that was. While out shopping, I came across a print publication that caught my eye and I rushed home to share it with Melvin. He had a marketing and media company, at that time, and I knew that he would understand the vision that I had for our next venture. That same afternoon as we lay across the bed brainstorming ideas and concepts, Sugar and Spice Magazine was born. Just like that! Within 6 weeks we were in print and distributed to every major grocery store in the city! It was amazing. We were watching our dreams come together right before our eyes.

The Famine

Wewere riding high, until the economy decided otherwise. The recession of 2008 didn’t actually take us down… initially. Our business colleagues and associates started to see a slowdown in their business early on, but we weren’t seeing the same effects. Things seemed to be going along as normal. We built solid businesses – because we were in it for the long haul – and throughout 2008 it showed. But the effects of the recession slowly started to erode away at our revenue.

Our real estate clients wanted to buy, but couldn’t get mortgage or investor loans. Melvin’s marketing customers began to order reproductions in lieu of new designs or campaigns. And our magazine advertisers all faced shrinking marketing budgets and cut backs or stopped advertising all together. It was devastating. Halfway through the following year, we had to close the doors to our businesses. It was gut-wrenchingly traumatic, but I never lost hope and somehow, through it all, I also held onto my dream of entrepreneurship.

I spent the next few years completing my business degree and half-heartedly launching a couple of businesses along the way. These were some of the most difficult years of my life. A few months prior to my college graduation, my father passed away. He had struggled with illness for years, but his death was sudden and for me, unexpected. It took a long time for me to come to terms with his death. I had seen my father bounce back so many times that I had not truly processed how devastating losing him would be.

“These were some of the most difficult years of my life.”

A year later, still grieving the loss of my father and trying to find myself, I decided to do something different… I got a job. I knew very quickly that I had made the wrong decision, but I was struggling with self-doubt, so I talked myself into believing that it was what was best for me. That same year, I was challenged more than ever. My mother’s health was rapidly declining and I wanted her with me.  We decided to care for her during the final months of her life. As a family, we made some hard choices. I checked out from life, took a leave of absence from work and she became my sole priority. It was a true labor of love. It was so special to have spent that time with my mother. To have had the opportunity to tell her all the things that I had wished that I had said over the years. In the final moments, I was able to be there, holding her hand and telling her that I loved her… as she passed away.

“Every morning I wake up with one purpose: to build!”

The Resurgence

When the time came for me to return to work, I decided I needed something fresh. I found a position in a new industry, which at the time, I thought would be a better choice for me. I was wrong… again. Although, my knowledge and work experience landed me opportunities with lucrative salaries and benefit packages, I never felt truly connected to my work.

In fact, I realized that I was instead connecting with the people around me. Every day, I was pouring into my staff, colleagues and even clients; helping them to discover their purpose in life and identifying what they were passionate about. I was coaching them – with phenomenal results.

I watched many of my mentees launch businesses, blogs, e-boutiques and even pursue other career paths with what I was teaching them. I was showing them how to live with intention and how to see past their current situation. I was becoming the builder, giving them the tools to build bold, beautiful and brilliant lives. I had found myself… I had found my stride again

Needless to say, I needed to be doing what I loved as well. I needed to take my own advice and ‘coach’ myself back to a place of intentional living. I did just that. Now, I am focused, I am determined and I am relentless. Every morning I wake up with one purpose: to build!

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