For a long time, I’d look in the mirror and never actually see… me.

Sure, my face beat was on point, the kinky curls were just the right degree of askew, there wasn’t any food stuck in my teeth, and my OOTD represented inspired fashion outsiders well. I was diligent about surface level checks.

After all, presentation is everything.

But deep down I knew what that uncomfortable internal tug was about whenever mirror time ran longer than usual. I knew.

The polite smiles I offered my reflection so easily were nothing more than head mushes to feelings I resisted. My spirit was disturbed by the constant push aways, and she fussed at me about her displacement.

I was seriously wronging her. She was hurt.

I’d been in my birthday suit countless times, but I’d never been completely naked and alone with my essence. Naked and afraid was more like it.

She was packed under daily obligations and the pursuit of what I thought was a happy life. The blind chase of success left little room for heart and soul contemplations – I tortured my truth with disregard.

She rebelled. Peeking and poking all up and through the obviously defined roles I catered to – mother, daughter, friend, employee… functions that coordinated with my wardrobe, car, and associations.

Physically and emotionally, it felt like my spirit was hell bent on making sure the entire world saw our disconnect. I couldn’t sleep and was extremely ’touchy’ (it took very little to irritate me). The disengagement made me reactionary instead of proactive. It was difficult to feel satisfied about most things.

But one morning, I decided that being full was more than a desire, it was a very real need.

All of a sudden, my unsettledness became a beautiful reminder of the devotion my truth required. Being honest inwardly was terrifying, but necessary.

Like renowned empowerment coach and life strategist Sheri Riley shared during a recent Podcast conversation with me, the spark of realization will be different for everyone. According to her new book, Exponential Living® – Stop Spending 100% of Your Time on 10% of Who You Are (Penguin Random House), the intentional seeking of more joyful living is in fact the key to… more joyful living.

The decision to choose YOURSELF changes the game.

finding myself finding my purpose

Sheri’s journey to exponential living has been a curvy one, with the exhilarating highs and debilitating lows of rolling hills.

A successful career as Senior Director of Marketing at LaFace Records afforded her all of the perks we’d expect anyone with an A-list clientele roster of some of the biggest artists of all time including Toni Braxton, TLC, and Usher to have. But even six figures, luxury cars, and bottomless expense accounts could not fulfill her.

She had the career of her dreams, yet still felt empty.

She was spending most of her day, every day, chasing a great career when what she really wanted was a great life.

Reaching her greatest potential – peace, clarity and courageous living – required leaving that glamorous world behind. And she did.

Today, Sheri’s clients are still the who’s who of the world. However, her focus is now on helping them figure out how to make choices that cultivate more enriched and less stressful lives. For Sheri, “peace is the new success.”

Thanks to her new book, the entire world can now achieve their best success as well. With a passionate foreword by Usher and features by Ludacris, Will Packer, Bert Weiss, Boris Kodjoe, Nicole Ari Parker and other notables, it is jam packed with inspirational gifts.

cover APRIL 2017 NIAMAGAZINE.COM Book Club selection

My dynamic discussion with Sheri was an open expression of happiness.

A true rebel with a cause, Sheri emphatically lives the principles she promotes. Although I’d been in the process of improving my self-care, I’d been criticizing both my efforts and results. Sheri’s outlook encouraged me to approve of myself; give myself more credit and recognize my greatness.

All of the perspectives about my own life were elevated.

The morning after our call, I jumped out of bed because I couldn’t wait to get started on the steps outlined in the book. I felt triumphant and was ready to keep working.

This time, in a way that was kinder and gentler to my spirit.

Sheri’s passion for exponential living reminded me that I couldn’t afford to stop. I also felt like I had an entire cheering squad behind me – tucked sweetly within the pages of her book.

Listen in on my intimate discussion with Sheri Riley.

A few inspiring takeaways from our ‘girl talk’.

  • Answering the question “Who Am I” is often a frightening feat for us, but it is a crucial first step in the process of discovering your best life.
  • We’re taught to become the best roles – mom, CEO – but understanding our truest identity ensures that we live “…a life that encompasses [us}, not just includes [us].”
  • Living in your power is a choice.
  • Exponential living is the journey. Joy is the lifestyle.
  • Drive is what gets you to your desired destination. Confidence is who you are when you arrive.
  • We honor our power by deeming our needs worthy. We must make time for ourselves.
  • Women must embrace the beauty and strength of authentic friendship. Coming together to share, laugh and nurture one another enriches our living.

Learn more about Sheri Riley at

Stop Spending 100% of Your Time on 10% of Who You Are @sheririley 

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