It has been a couple of weeks since I attended the Maxx You workshop with T.J. Maxx in New York City and I could not wait to share everything I’ve learned!
To catch you up to speed…
What is the Maxx You Project?
Earlier this year, T.J. Maxx invited their female customers to head online or to select stores to share their unique dreams and aspirations for an opportunity to win a weekend in New York City. During the submission period (April 25, 2017 – May 21, 2017) women could visit www.maxxyouproject.com or attend select in-store events to answer the question “How will you Maxx You?” by sharing their lifelong aspirations via video or photo, along with a unique and personal story.
From T. J. Maxx:
“Last year we uncovered hundreds of incredible stories from the women that shop our stores about their unique hopes and passions. We were so inspired that we wanted to find ways in which to help them pursue these aspirations,” said Jillian Rugani, Manager of Marketing, T.J. Maxx. “Our hope is that by launching The Maxx You Project and continuing to provide women with a unique selection of merchandise, we help them stay true to themselves in everything they do.”
If selected, these women will receive support, guidance, and real-life resources to help make their dreams come true during this weekend workshop hosted by boxing world champion and #Momboss Laila Ali and Shark tank investor Barbara Corcoran.
The Right Place at the Right Time
So rewind to May 5, I just happened to be shopping at T.J. Maxx in Beverly Hills and was approached by a store employee to share a personal aspiration or lifelong dream that makes me unique. I hadn’t even heard of the Maxx You contest, but this chance encounter prompted me to sit down for a LIVE taped interview where I shared my story, including my aspirations, my setbacks, and ultimately my life goals with a producer and a film crew they had set up for this ONE day in store.
I entered the contest without much pretense or knowledge of the prize package. All I knew was that 80 winners from all over the US would be selected to attend a weekend workshop hosted by Laila Ali and Barbara Corcoran. The workshop would include mentoring sessions, real-world resources, and the motivation to help those selected pursue their lifelong dreams. Furthermore, of the 80 First prize finalists, T.J. Maxx would pick 3 GRAND prize winners to receive customized support and one-on-one mentoring sessions with either Laila or Barbara to fully realize their ultimate dreams.
On the Hunt
After receiving thousands of submissions, T.J. Maxx went on the hunt for 80 of the most unique, diverse, and powerful women to support. Fast forward four weeks later and I received word that I was selected as one of the 80 winners of the #MaxxYou project! They flew me out to New York on my birthday (7/14/17) to attend the 3 day/2 night workshop where I hobnobbed with the other AMAZING women who were all there to maxximize their efforts and turn their dreams into a reality!
T.J. Maxx designed this #MaxxYou program to help women celebrate their individuality and launch their businesses so I couldn’t be more grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! What I hoped to gain from the experience was a clear strategy on how I can empower others using my creative skill set; After all, what good is having all this design knowledge if I can’t learn how to effectively share it with the world!?!
But what I got, was so SO MUCH more guys!!
The Maxx You Project Workshop
The #MaxxYou workshop is all about letting your individuality shine bright, believing in yourself, championing yourself, and most importantly, accepting that you, yourself, just as you are, is ENOUGH. The workshop lasted for a full day, with speaker after speaker sharing helpful tips, strategies, and insight into furthering our existing businesses and pursuing our ultimate dreams.
I learned so much from this incredible panel:
Laura Berman Fortgang for oozing light and love while coaching us on defining our unique dreams and how to achieve them. Barbara Corcoran for her delightful humor and lessons in developing our business plan and how to effectively pitch them. Laila Ali for instilling confidence and sharing tips on conquering our fears. Angeline Martyn for proving the power of non-profit programming and how we can help fund our causes. Peg Fitzpatrick for her simple but brilliant social media strategies (which I’m implementing now, thanks Peg!).
Top 10 Lessons I learned from the Maxx You Project Workshop
- Defining your unique dream takes a lot of patience, a lot of introspection, and most importantly a LOT of honesty with yourself. What you are meant to do in life is usually what you catch yourself thinking about all day long. Listen with an open heart and mind and you will be one step closer to finding your true calling.
- Match your aspirations to your gift. Once you have a clean, clear objective of what this unique combination is, start finding ways to implement them towards your big dream! Have the gift of gab? Don’t just relegate yourself to written blogs or online discussions to share your story, instead think about vlogging on YouTube or attending public forums to show off your speaking skills!
- Market what makes you unique. Find an angle that supports your strengths and build your brand with a clear mission statement, a consistent logo and color palette, and 3 brand seeds that define you.
My 3 brand seeds are: Interior Design | Fashion & Style | #Girlboss
Therefore everything I share with the world through my blog and social channels should support and showcase those 3 seeds.
- Brand yourself and your mission, NOT the product. Brand loyalty comes from how well consumers connect with the person and their ultimate goals for their company. There are thousands of products that do virtually the same thing. The ones people buy into the most are the ones with a clear brand that elicits an emotional connection from its users.
- Confidence comes from preparation! The more you plan and prep, the more confident you will appear when discussing your business and brand.
- Surround yourself with the best team you can find. If you want to bring positive energy into your life and business, do not hire negative people who don’t share your vision for success. Growing your brand? Find a partner who does what you don’t! Successful businesses depend on a well-rounded foundation.
- Tips to delivering the perfect elevator pitch: Keep it simple (under 1 minute), Use every day language, no industry lingo or big words (imagine you’re talking to an 8-yr old), speak with conviction (passion plays a huge part in whether or not people believe you), and finally, Look the Part! Dress for the job you want, not the job you have, right?!
- Develop a MASTER list of things you’ve always wanted to try. Conquer your fears and start finding creative ways to check items off this list, week by week. Since these “lists” can sometimes get out of hand, tackle the hardest task first and everything else will seem like a piece of cake once you’ve got the hard one out of the way.
- Priorities need to be put in place! Caring for yourself comes first! Whether it’s your weekly mani/ pedi or your morning meditation, do NOT compromise this invaluable “me” time to rest and recoup.
- “Fear is just excitement without the oxygen” – Laura B. Fortgang
Learn to listen, learn to breathe, and learn to face those fears by turning them into challenges that you can manage and ultimately conquer.
The BEST part about the entire program???
I WON THE GRAND PRIZE!!!!
Wahhhhhh!!!!! Seriously this is so unreal, someone pinch me!!!!!
As of now, I don’t have the complete details of my grand prize package but what I do know is that I am one step closer to fulfilling my ultimate dream!
What is that dream you ask??
My dream is to host my own makeover design show guys!!!!
Starting with YouTube, building my empire, and hopefully one day getting a syndicated show, with the help of T.J. Maxx I’m headed back to TV y’all!!!!
It was truly a whirlwind of a weekend as T.J. Maxx absolutely outdid themselves with this Maxx You program! Having returned home from what I can attest as the start of an entirely new chapter in my book, I am MORE determined than ever to grab hold of my dreams and never let go!
Thank you again to the T.J. Maxx team for creating the Maxx You program, sponsoring this New York retreat for 80 deserving women, and for connecting with your customers in a way I’ve never seen any other brand do! You have gone ABOVE and BEYOND the call of a major retailer and for that, you have my loyalty for life! THANK YOU for seeing something in this 37 year old dreamer!
Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you
Calling all Boss Babes! Any crazy dreams or lifelong aspirations you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them! Comment below!