Can’t LIVE Without…A Dream Team

I don’t know about you, but whenever people say that they made it  to where they are by themselves, I tell them they’re lying. NO ONE makes it in life alone. In fact, what I have found is that the most content and successful people in life are people who have what  call a dream team. A dream team are people who help you actualize your dreams. They may be the people that help you with your look so you get the dream interview, job, pr professional connections you need. They may be the people who help you stay physically, mentally, and spiritually fit. They may be the people constantly cheering you along as you go back to school, start a business, or end an unhealthy relationship. As I celebrate my birthday this week and think about where I am and where I want to go, I know that I simply Can’t LIVE Without a Dream Team. 

The Body

 Photo Courtesy of Stephen Lovekin/ Getty Images

For the past eight years there has been one woman that I’ve counted on to help me step up my pretty game- my hair stylist. I don’t hesitate to call her when I need a full proof gorgeous fail proof look. I schedule time weeks in advance of the event, photo shoot, interview, party, or trip because when it comes to looking my best, she is the best. She comes to my place, brings her tools, opens shop and works her magic. She’s colored my hair, cut it, curled it, added tracks,  you name it, she’s done it and I have the pictures to prove it. 
I also trust brands like Lush, MaryKay, and Sephora when it comes to my skincare and beauty needs. Between the three brands, especially LUSH’s fresh fruit face masks, my skin maintains a constant glow. 
Finally, my sister has been amazing in keeping me on track regarding staying physically fit. She  is constantly sending my healthy recipes and although she is a busy mom on the go she makes time for some type of physical exercise which helps me stay on top of my own workout routine. 
Then there’s my doctor whom I’ve had since I was a id and my gynecologist. They help to make sure my body is functioning as it should. If the insides aren’t up to par there’s no hairstyle, zumba class, or face mask that’s going to make that go away. 

The Mind

Photo courtesy of Dan Sherratt

I am a counselor by education, career, and experience and guess what? I see a counselor for my own personal needs.  I absolutely love my counselor. She’s a great sounding board, reminds me of what I have dome and do well, and does not for one second let me back down from pursuing my goals. She has been ridiculously supportive in my work towards creating healthy boundaries, acknowledging my limitations despite my intentions, and keeping unhealthy relationships at bay. 
If you find a good counselor, you too will find that they help you to become mentally grounded, increasing your capacity to make sound positive life changing decisions that allow you to be increasingly like the person you hope to be.
Seeing a counselor doesn’t mean you’re crazy, it means you’re healthy enough to know without their support you just might go crazy. You can’t LIVE without your sanity honey bunny 😉

The Spirit

Photo courtesy of

While I can say that I have seen religion’s booty, and it ain’t cute, I can also say that my faith as a Christian is extremely important to me. Living in grace and doing my best to extend the grace I’v received to others matters deeply to me. Given that is so important it is even more important to me to nourish my spirit. Sometimes the nourishment comes from attending church. Sometimes it’s reading my Bible, meditating, and praying. But we’re talking about  a team right? So, that means I have people in my life who are fellow Christians, committed to living out the same faith as me the best they can. There are  women in my life, a few who are older than I am, that I pray with and seek wise counsel from, who I go to when discouraged, and who quickly remind me that God loves me, and despite current circumstances always has the best plan for my life. There are also some pastors and writers who have a robust presence in my library including TD Jakes and Joyce Meyer. And then there are some blogs, like Redemption’s Beauty, that I enjoy and have enjoyed email exchanges choc full of prayers and encouragement from the blog’s writer, Shelly Miller. 

The Goals

Photo courtesy of Nike 2009

What’s a dream team without folks committed to your goals? My goal dream team is primarily comprised a a few good men. One who was in my small business development class at University of Penn a few years back, another who I randomly met at a Starbucks, and then there’s my dad, brothers, and former supervisor. These fellas are constantly checking in on my goals and dreams. They send resources my way, take the time to review things I have written or designed, challenge me on decisions that seem to be a detour to my dreams, call me out when I am giving way to fear etc. 
We need people in our lives who desire to see our dreams flourish. We need people who ask the tough questions, help us process next steps, tell us a design or article was just “no bueno,” etc. We need people who can offer this insight because they too are pursuing dreams. 

The Money

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

I don’t subscribe to the belief that money will make you happy, but it sure can alleviate stress. While I have a great credit score, have never maxed out a credit card, pay my bills in full and on time, tithe, give to charity, and save….I am not above utilizing a financial adviser. I am still growing as it pertains to money and  how to wisely invest it. We usually check in quarterly to assess where I am with goals like relocating, buying a home, and paying off student loans. Sometimes our meetings are awesome because  am right on target. Other times…I splurged on something I shouldn’t have. However, my financial adviser doesn’t guilt trip me. She points me back to my goals and getting on track. 
Dreams take financial backing. And unless you have a Daddy Warbucks, that benefactor will be you. Educate yourself about finances and seek out the assistance of a financial adviser. I work with Christy Barilotti  of Barilotti Wealth Strategies. You know how much I heart small businesses and women owned ones at that. 
Check with your financial institution or employer about free or inexpensive financial management programs they offer. Fund your dreams!

The Career

Photo courtesy of

While I have yet to decide if I want to be a clinical counselor for the rest of my life, I find it valuable to have someone who does know counseling is what they want to do for the rest of their lives to serve as a career guide. For me it’s my aunt who is a licensed clinical social worker and has her own practice. As I continue to discover things within the world of mental health and counseling that I really enjoy like supervising, women centered education/training/program provision, as well as cultural competency development training provision, she is a great person to talk to about these things and whether or not there is room within the field for my passions, or if I need to consider a closely related field and utilize all that I have learned from education and practice as a clinician. She’s also who I go to with ethical dilemmas as well as recommended resources so I continue to learn about best practices in my field. 
Invest in building relationships with people who are living your dream job. Heck, build relationships with people living your dream life. Don’t stalk them. But if you really want to be a great mom, build relationships with folk who seem to be amazing mothers.  Seek to learn about their own journey and seek for receptiveness to you sharing your own journey. 

The Relationships

Photo courtesy of Larry Marano

Finally, I have folks on my dream team that help me keep my relationships in check. You probably think that this is where my friends come in. They do…sort of But I won’t lie, I have some friends and family  who are well meaning but have supported my engagement in unhealthy relationships. That is muy mal chica. 
Instead, the folks who are a part of the relationship dream team subcommittee are the people that have no problem telling me I might want to assess the health of a relationship. They are good at recognizing when I may be inviting people in my life that are leeches disguised as humans. They are also good at reminding me to look over my short list of non-negotiables for my relationships, and by short, I mean short, i only have 5, and if the person doesn’t make the list these people are good at giving me the side eye, head shaking, and “Ahyana just stop.” 
LIVE-ing requires people in our lives who are bold enough to tell us when we are headed the wrong way, especially regarding our relationships, and by relationships I mean professional , romantic, non romantic, or otherwise. LIVE-ing demands people who don’t mind pressing the pause button for us and will stand by us even if we push play instead of stop and eject. 

What does your dream team look like? If you don’t have a dream team what do you think you need to develop one? Let me know in the comments below! xxoo

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