A game-changing book for professional women on how to navigate love and career from relationship expert Charreah Jackson.
Essence Senior Editor and international dating & career coach Charreah K. Jackson answers the never-ending question for women: Is it truly possible to have your dream career and be part of a fulfilling, satisfying, lasting romantic relationship? In this relatable, entertaining, and confessional guide, Charreah weaves through the complicated world of dating and career, showing YOU how to be a Boss Bride.
With advice ranging from dating like a pro and how to go hard AND go home, Charreah gives you the insight and inspiration to become a Boss Bride – a powerful woman who manages the many roles in her life with pride and enthusiasm, demands her worth, lives in the moment, and prioritizes love. Packed with tips, tricks, strategies, and testimonies from women across America, Charreah shows you the path to getting the corner office and walking down the aisle – and how to stay a Boss Bride for life.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Charreah K. Jackson is a global ambassador of love and the Lifestyle and Relationships Editor for Essence, empowering the brand's audience of 13 million. As the creator of Boss Bride, an advice site for women and book, she is committed to helping women discover love and success. Charreah is a featured expert on CNN, NBC, and Sirius, and her stories have been featured on Time, Fortune, Good Morning America, and The Today Show. The Atlanta-native lives and loves in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
YES, YOU ARE A BOSS BRIDE
My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry, to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.
— DR. MAYA ANGELOU
So let's get this straight: You are a Boss Bride.
I don't care what your job title or relationship status is. It doesn't matter if you have sworn off marriage or have never managed anyone in your entire life. It makes no difference if you are still finding your footing or recently retired. If you picked up this book and made it to this page, your spirit has acknowledged you want the best out of every area of your life and are ready to embrace your inner Boss Bride.
"And what exactly is a Boss Bride?" your side eye asks. She's a woman that fuses the characteristics of an effective boss — focused, strategic, delegator — with the best qualities of a bride at her wedding — happy, charming, and living in the moment.
Whether you've been working it for years or are unsure of your next step, you can adopt the Boss Bride mentality to achieve harmony in a hectic life, to be unbound while pursing your fullest potential with passion. Being a Boss Bride is stepping past your relationship status and job title to become the star of your own life. It is to treat every day like the best day of your life.
* * *
"Charreah, you have cancer," my doctor said two days after Christmas. I was nineteen and devastated. My parents drove me back to DC to pack up my dorm at Howard University and return home to Atlanta for six months of chemo followed by a summer of radiation. As I adjusted to this unexpected curveball, I was determined to not let a diagnosis crush my dreams. On my last day of radiation I walked out of the hospital to a packed van: my parents and I drove back to school that very same August day. I was the new managing editor for The Hilltop, my college newspaper founded by Zora Neale Hurston, and I had a job to do. I jumped back into school and took extra classes to graduate on time — and was grateful I did with Oprah Winfrey as our graduation speaker. Four days after her speech I moved to New York and my cubicle after flipping my summer internship into a job as an editorial assistant then magazine editor, my dream job. I was paying my rent by interviewing celebrities and sexy men.
"Your position is being eliminated," I was told in the height of the recent recession. That was about a year after learning I was the other woman in a new relationship, thanks to Google.
This is when I first became a powerful woman. To own that my happiness is always up to me and what looks like a failure can be an opportunity to grow. My setbacks taught me early to define and decide what my life would be. Now each sunrise, I tell today that it will be a good day, instead of letting the day decide my fate.
This is your opportunity to take a step back in your busy life to get clear that yes, your desires are yours for the taking. You came into this world with a mission to be your very best self and to enjoy enriching relationships that make it all worth it. It's time to get in the game and go for what you want!
I adopted the Boss Bride mentality and now wake up to a life I love. I have a powerful connection with my creator, get paid to make the world better, magnetize incredible opportunities (for example, I'm currently editing this chapter on a plane from South Africa), and have a community of friends, family, and soul mates who keep me smiling.
The first step in owning your rightful place in the world is to own that YES you are a Boss Bride. With that come inalienable rights to enforce. Read the following out loud.
Boss Bride Bill of Rights
8 Permission Slips for Me, a Modern Woman
1. I have the right to define joy and success for myself and actively seek them. I am responsible for my own happiness. I can live and love on my terms and can change my mind at any time.
2. I have the right to prioritize my personal life without sacrificing success. Who I spend my personal time with is just as important as my career. I can go hard AND go home.
3. I have the right to put caring for myself at the top of my todo list every day. The better I take care of me, the more I have to give to the world.
4. I have the right to demand my worth in every scenario. I am worthy of respect at all times, the pay my talents merit, the relationships my heart craves, and anything else my soul desires.
5. I have the right to be vulnerable, which is a strength, not a weakness. My truth is my power.
6. I have the right to create boundaries in every area of my life and to teach people how to treat me.
7. I have the right to ask for help whenever I need it. Life is a team sport and I will actively seek support and community.
8. I have the right to live in the moment. This very second is one I will never see again so I will soak it all in.
* * *
Getting clear on your own power is essential in creating and maintaining a life you love. Every day we are teaching the world how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. Let your rights guide you as you commit to creating a life you love every day. And be honest, did you follow the instruction to read them out loud? That wasn't just to make you feel weird, but an opportunity for your entire body and the world around you to be reminded of your rights. Put the universe on notice on how you are to be treated. And get used to speaking up! The world needs your voice more than ever.
As Boss Brides we get to write our stories and make our own rules. Inside our Boss Bride Tribe Facebook group at bossbridetribe.com, women get real as we each carve out our own version of happy, and remind each other we always have options.
* * *
Identify the key people in your personal and professional life. Fill in the blanks:
_________________ is my boss.
_________________ is the love of my life.
Finished? Well, if either of those answers were not you go back and scratch through the name listed and put yourself.
YOU are your own boss. You may have managers and clients, but you are the ultimate decider of what industry you are in, how you make money, and how (and if) you work.
YOU are the love of your life. You are the only person you entered this world with and will spend every day with until you transition. You may have beautiful connections with others and a sexy soul mate to share your life with, but you will always be your first love.
The first and most essential step in changing your life is to realize it is up to YOU. Don't like something? Change it. Take control of your role as the CEO and love of your life.
Now that we've confirmed you are a Boss Bride, it's time we acknowledge something else: You are a powerhouse.
You are an unprecedented force unlike anything the world has ever seen. There never was anyone on this planet with your unique experiences, skills, and talents and there never will be again. You came to the world with a purpose and vision only you can fulfill. Every Wednesday in the Boss Bride Tribe we have Winsday, where we acknowledge what we've accomplished. In my coaching sessions with clients we explore what they have already accomplished before we jump into what they want to achieve. We often have a to-do list and need to add an it's done list to our routine. In your workbook (get your complimentary copy at www.bossbride.com), please take a moment and complete the My It's Done List and celebrate your incredible accomplishments so far. This is not a résumé recap but a real look at what you've achieved. Reflect on how powerful and badass you are. I've had clients who have bought multiple houses before the age of thirty, run marathons around the world, started businesses, published books, and saved lives. So why is finding a suitable partner and building a family so out of reach? Think about many of the things you have accomplished.
Some of our proudest moments are how we respond when adversity strikes. It's not the awards on my bookshelf that come to mind when I think of what I'm most proud. It's rebounding after losing my job, battling cancer, walking away from a relationship, risking falling in love again, and moving to a big city to chase my dreams. I was a bold badass with heart. And so are you.
How are you feeling? Seriously. In this moment. How do you feel? To be in tune with your feelings gives you access to true power. People who FEEL powerful create joy and transform the world. And people who don't FEEL powerful look past the power they have and spend their time trying to grab power. My It's Done List reminds me of my power in moments of self-doubt.
You Are Contagious
We all know someone who kills the mood whenever they join the party or that friend everyone hopes comes to brunch because it's always a good time when she's there (that's me — hey, gotta believe in yourself before anyone else does). The truth is every room you are ever in is impacted by your presence. Some people make us happy when they enter. Some people make us happy when they leave. Being a Boss Bride means being mindful of the impact you have in every scenario and every relationship. If something is missing, you have the opportunity to bring it into the room. Want more camaraderie at work? Take charge on connection. Wish your new boo took you on more dates? State your desires and make a Google doc of your dream dates for the season and hit that share button.
Once you get clear of just how amazing you are, you are in a position to better see ANYTHING is possible. We live in an abundant universe. Everything we enjoy was all once just an idea. The best thing you do for your future is to breathe into your biggest dreams.
What Do You Desire?
Write down your dreams for your life and explore the following prompts in your playbook.
What I want to achieve
Where and how I want to live
Relationships I want
Places I want to visit
Experiences I want to have (e.g., skydiving, performing, teaching, making jewelry)
Items I want to own
It is critical that you dream in detail and declare your biggest desires out into the world. Your vision for your life is your anchor and your guide. Each year I make a list of goals for that year to get me closer to my big dreams. I also make a twelve-month calendar grid listing all my tasks and big goals for the year. It helps me to not become overwhelmed and to have a big picture of my commitments so I don't overextend myself. For 2017 I added a TBD box and listed "Meet Oprah." The summer before I'd had the chance to meet the mogul herself, Dr. Oprah Winfrey, at an Essence Festival cocktail reception for the series Queen Sugar. Because I had never acknowledged I wanted to meet Oprah, it did not occur to me to make sure I met one of my biggest inspirations. When I got home and looked at the picture of Oprah on my wall, I realized I'd missed my shot. Originally in this book the next line read: I won't make that mistake again and by the time you are reading this I will have made the connection happen. Well, on April 18, 2017, my clear intention was supported by the universe and I met our Auntie Oprah. It was at the after party for the HBO film The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which she stars in. She came out of a corner I happened to be near. I walked right up and introduced myself. And she one-upped me by holding my face and saying "You are luminous." I don't remember what she said after that, because Oprah. I debated not washing my face ever again. It happened because I got crystal clear that I wanted to meet her and actively pursued opportunities for that to happen — and the universe handled the rest.
In addition to my big goals, I have a life plan of where I hope to be in the next few years. Having a life plan helps me integrate my personal and professional goals. I probably won't go on a busy book tour the same year I hope to have a baby. And knowing I want to have a baby helps me have important conversations with my doctors (which we will get to later in this book).
Stretch for Your Dreams
To have what you've never had you will have to be willing to do what you've never done. To fully embrace being a Boss Bride you will have to leave the confines of your comfort zone. Your dreams will require you to stretch. It was uncomfortable waiting to introduce myself to Oprah Winfrey and absolutely worth it. Right now fling your arms out and stretch your limbs. Move your neck around. Feel the muscles in your body move.
That's what happens when we stretch in our actions and thoughts. We work out the kinks and build our muscles. My biggest inspiration for stretching is my favorite animal: the giraffe. What I love about giraffes is their regal appearance and ability to rise above it all, which wasn't always the case. The tallest animal wasn't always tall with a long neck. In fact, one of the giraffe's closest relatives is the okapi, a short horselike animal with zebra-striped legs that stands around five feet tall.
So how did giraffes get to be so much taller than their shorty cousins? By stretching beyond their comfort zone. While in Orlando World for the Disney Dreamers Academy, where I've taught journalism for the last few years, I got a chance to visit Disney's Animal Kingdom. I learned there that giraffes grew longer necks over time in response to heavy competition for food in the savanna. Being hungry pushed them to evolve and grow taller to reach food. The okapi didn't face much competition in the rainforest and didn't grow over time. It was adversity and a willingness to persevere that grew giraffes over time. Like a boss.
To have new opportunities and experiences, you will have to stretch new muscles.
Ask for What You Want
I bonded with one of my favorite Boss Brides Niecy Nash at a sex toy shop a few years ago. We traveled around Los Angeles for a video series in partnership with the Fifty Shades of Grey film, exploring ways women can tap into their sexy — from role-playing to getting a few pleasure products. And that day happened all because Niecy was willing to stretch. Fifteen years ago the Emmy-winning actress was answering phones for an airline. After marrying in her early twenties, Nash then welcomed three young children to their family. But the young mom knew there was an entertainer in her busting to get out and be on TV. She went to her husband with a request.
"Can you give me nine months to make it work for this dream? I've given my body over three times to another human being for nine months. Can I have your support for nine months for me? If I can't make it work, I'll go back to work full-time and we won't have this discussion again," she said. He agreed to hold things down as she gave her dream one final push. Over those months Niecy went to auditions all over Los Angeles, sometimes taking her young children with her and turning the lobby into an impromptu daycare when a last-minute callback happened. As she neared the end of her nine months she still hadn't landed any work. Then within two weeks she booked her role as host of Clean House, which went on to win an Emmy, and a starring role on the Comedy Central show Reno 911. "I was right to bet on myself," Niecy said, many roles later, as we ate breakfast in New York's Meatpacking District. "God doesn't put a dream in you not to use it." I was interviewing the star for her first cover of Essence to promote her new TNT series Claws, which has become a bona fide must-see.
* * *
Stretching beyond our comfort zone is where the magic lives. And one of life's biggest stretches is to allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to experience the magic of love.
As I shared in the introduction, the same day I received the contract to write this book, I walked away from a long relationship that had been heading to marriage. It was my biggest Boss Bride move yet: to do what was best for me and not focus on how it could look or impact others. We didn't break up over one major infraction. Over our time together I'd continued to grow and so did my needs. I evolved to look at myself and life differently. I could see the cracks in our relationship that I had been avoiding; the slowing of our communication and unaired grievances. I realized our relationship had run its course. It was my own self-fulfilling prophecy. Two years before I had walked into 30 Rock to be a guest on The Meredith Vieira Show alongside the cofounder of Tinder Sean Rad and sexologist and TV host Logan Levkoff, PhD, to talk dating. A woman in the crowd asked when do you know it's time to move on. I quipped, "If you are asking that question it may be time to move on." Well, I was right. It was time I moved forward. I trusted that everything was still happening the way it was supposed to, though it wasn't all easy. It was a process to let go of what I thought was my future. I spent the summer falling in love with myself and giving my heart permission to dream again.
A few months after my breakup I met a guy. More like my spirit collided with this magnetic soul housed in a six-foot-two dark frame. My roomie Kelly and I went for dinner at 67 Orange Street, a sultry bar in Harlem around the corner from our duplex. We danced in our seats as this tall man danced on the floor. Then he danced his way to our table. After the song cut off, he started to walk away. I stood on the bar-stool rung and yelled to him, "Really?" My southern sensibility was offended he would shimmy and not say hello. He came back and introduced himself.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Boss Bride"
Copyright © 2018 Charreah Jackson.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 Yes, You Are A Boss Bride 9
2 Priortize Love 37
3 Date Like A Pro 71
4 Go Hard and Go Home 115
5 Mind Your Business 145
6 Manage Your Many Roles 173
7 Tend to Your Ticking Clock-and Sex Drive 201
8 Unleash Happily Ever Now 227