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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Work From Home They Said with John H. Howard


I am a very stubborn and impulsive person. I always have been, and I probably always will be. And, although these attributes serve me well as an entrepreneur, they make me one horrible employee. I mean, I am an exceptionally bad employee… managers worst nightmare, hard-headed and contrary. I believe in doing things my way, and on my own time, and my past employers frowned upon this attitude. I remember walking around one job telling people what I wasn’t going to do for $10.50 an hour. I would proudly proclaim that I’ve done enough work for that price and if they wanted more out of me, they would have to produce a few more dollars. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed to work from home, and for myself, so I would quit my job every couple of years and start the journey to self-made millions…

I was so delusional…


Not about the millions, trust me… I’m going to make millions. I was delusional about my ability to work from home. It is such a romantic idea. You wake up, wash your face, make your coffee, sit down at your desk and then proceed to change the world.


The problem was, I had no fucking discipline. I was so easily distracted by social media, Netflix, cartoons, my family, puffy clouds, and all shiny objects. I could not pull it together enough to get things done. I miss deadline after deadline. I would market sporadically and barely promote my work. Weeks morphed into months without me making a substantial amount of money to take care of home. It was depressing, and it was so dysfunctional.


When I worked for other people I would never be home, so my house stayed relatively clean. I can't say when I turned into a slob, but my house frequently looked like a tornado laid waste to it. Eventually, I would have to go back to work. I would clean up my place, wash and iron all my nursing scrubs, and clock in at a job I hated. This cycle would continue for years until I finally had enough. I began binging on business and self-improvement books. I logged onto youtube university and watched everything I could about successfully working from home. Here is one of my favorites. 




Learning how to focus and be self-disciplined helped me immensely on my quest to work from home, however, my bad habits didn't hinder my friend and fellow author, John H. Howard's quest to work from home had an entirely different nemesis. 


After more than a decade working in retail and management, I came to the realization that, as an introvert, working directly with people wasn’t the best choice for me. It was draining, exhausting. But I was inspired by a friend who worked part-time from home in the medical transcription field to pursue something closer to home. So I made the commitment to make it happen for me. After three years of self-guided study — in between relocating multiple times, changing jobs more than once, buying a house, and starting a family — in 2005 I made the transition to medical transcription myself. By mid-2006, I was working from home full-time. Finally, I was living my dream! Of course, that was when reality hit.


Working from home has obvious benefits: Saving on gas, vehicle wear-and-tear, and your clothing budget; you can work in your pajamas and scratch those hard-to-reach places without worrying about shocked looks from your coworkers; most at-home jobs have a fairly flexible schedule; and, naturally, when you’re finished with your work day, you’re already home. The commute time can’t be beaten!


The flip-side to that (of course there’s a flip-side) is that some work-from-home jobs take all these perks into account and adjust your pay accordingly. Also, you have to be extremely focused and be able to shut out all those little distractions that interfere — personal email, social media, text messaging, non-work related phone calls, etc. In addition, working from home requires a lot of training — not only on your part but also on that of your family and friends. Because naturally, when you work from home, you’re always available. I once had a friend call me unexpectedly during my shift and, despite repeatedly explaining that I was on the job, kept me on the phone for a solid three hours (I got really good at not picking up the phone after that). I’ve also had family members say, “If you had a real job…” Never mind that my job pays real bills, puts real food on my table for my family, and puts real gas in our car. Maybe the single-most challenging aspect of working from home is setting firm and clear boundaries.
In the end, despite some of the inherent challenges, making the decision to work from home was one of the best career choices I ever made and one I’ve never regretted. It has moved with me through living in multiple states, I can take the job with me when I travel, and it’s flexible enough that when I have to rearrange my schedule, I usually can. It’s certainly not for everyone, but for anyone with strong dedication and focus and who thrives on working independently, an at-home career might be the right choice.
Here is a video on setting boundaries for family and friends 


 In short, working from home isn't a cakewalk. It takes discipline, focus, and firm boundaries. I hope this helps anyone thinking of leaving the rat race! Now let's dig into John's writing business. I absolutely love learning about other writer's processes. 
How would you describe your writing process and did it change after you published your first book?

Generally, I’m not the fastest writer. Sometimes, it takes a long time for a concept to incubate before I start working on it. On the other hand, sometimes an idea hits me over the head and won’t stop bashing me until I write it down. Once I devote myself to a project, though, I basically just sit down and start writing, keeping my major plot points in mind as landmarks. I’m very much a seat-of-my-pants writer because one thing I enjoy most about the writing process is letting the story take me where it wants to go. My technique hasn’t changed substantially since being published, but the one thing I want to work on going forward — especially since I have several projects on the docket for the next few years — is to start outlining a story in advance to speed up the process.

What are you currently working on, and do you want your future book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Right now I’m in the final editing process for a contracted novel entitled “Black Sheep Chronicles: Shadow Dogs,” the first of a three-book science fiction series, which is a new venture for me. After that, I plan to revise and self-publish a YA fantasy short story that appeared in the “Ladies and Gentlemen of Fantasy 2014.” I’ve hired an illustrator to add some images and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Each of my works typically stands apart from one other, but I do have a few stories I plan to continue within their respective universes.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Seeing a project through to the end.

What does literary success look like to you?

My vision of literary success is the same as my view of success in any field — being able to earn a living off of your passion. I’m not there yet, but I’m hoping one day I will be.

I invite you to read my novella, “Ordinary Heroes,” available in print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.

You can find me on the Interwebs in the following places:
Learn more about me and read an excerpt of “Ordinary Heroes” at my website, johnhowardbooks.com.

Follow my Facebook author page at facebook.com/authorjhhoward.

Finally, find my blog, which chronicles what’s going on in my life, my current projects, and just random thoughts, both deep and not so much, at johnhhoward.wordpress.com.

Facebook author page: facebook.com/authorjhhoward.
Twitter: @jhhoward

Health And Wellness

If you work from home you have to get up off your ass on the regular to keep your heart as healthy as possible... I like to do little 10-minute work out videos for good circulation.



Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Aspire To Inspire with Cynt B. Free



I published my first book in June 2008 and I've had much success and much more failure. Through it all, I aspire to inspire people never to give up on their dreams.

People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.
Zig Ziglar

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes. Before I encountered it, I thought that something was wrong with my drive. I would get very excited about a project in the beginning, but I would quickly lose steam once I was in the thick of it. I would often lose sight of my why, and give up because I didn’t think of motivation as an ongoing thing.

In enters Zig Ziglar, and a host of other very wise folks who taught me that motivation isn't a constant. You must have a strong reason that pushes you to finish a task, and then you must remind yourself of that reason every day.

Here is one of my favorite videos on the subject. No one articulates this better than Eric Thomas the Hip Hop Preacher.



Finding out my why took some really long looks in the mirror. I had to ask myself some serious questions and confront some ugliness I had in myself. What do you really want, Julia? What do you need, and is it really important? I skipped past the easy answers like I want and need a million dollars, and I think that’s pretty fucking important…

 I had to really dig deep.

I knew that I was abused as a child, an adolescent, and an adult. I knew that the abuse fostered a victim mentality that I covered well with my wit and charm (and my modesty lmao), but I grew tired of acting. So, I decided what I needed to do most is heal. I needed to take care of me and my broken pieces. I started to pray more and work on strengthening my faith. Meditation and breathing exercises helped a lot with this process. A clear mind creates a vacuum for joy if you let it. I stopped stressing so much and started noticing more little things that made me happy.

DON’T GET ME WRONG

It sounds all mystical and magical, but this is real work. And I didn’t always do it consistently. I would begin to work on myself, start feeling better, and then stray away from the work. I would repeatedly fall back on my old habits. I would start to lose faith in myself and have to get validation from my peers. Which never helped a situation, I just ended up with more folks in my business not solutions to my problems. Driven by my ambition, I would get super busy with chasing a good life that I would forget to live and quickly get discouraged and depressed.

It reminds me of a yoyo diet. You go hard in the beginning, lose a ton of weight and then stop working out, and start wandering through various drive-thru windows to bury your woes in burgers.

I kept failing. And the failures were starting to break my heart. I wasn’t failing forward. I wasn’t taking the losses as lessons. Oh, I was saying it. I was posting it, but I wasn’t living it. The last time I fell on my butt, and let it break my heart the climb back to my feet was hard. I poured into books by Eric Thomas and Grant Cardone. I read a ton of self-help books and realized that my why was too small and my routine was broken. I started the process over and found that I wanted the millions to be of service to my family. I wanted security. I started to expand that to service of people in general. I wanted to be helpful. I wanted to be joyful. I wanted to use my gift to be entertaining and empowering. This goal was strong enough to help me make lasting changes. But falling off and back into my old habits taught me that I really needed to feed my spirit daily. I came across Admiral McCraven’s viral speech. It has helped me to practice motivating myself daily. Check it out.

In Short. If you aspire to inspire. Do the hard work on yourself. Learn to be kind to yourself. Feed your spirit. Don't take failures to heart, and make your bed every day! 


A few years back I met a wonderful young woman who lived her life in service of others. She reached out to me on social media when she read that I was struggling with diabetes. She was always extremely kind and supportive. I was happy to bump into her again at a networking event and overjoyed to learn of her new radio show. So I asked her what motivated her and found out about her why!


Cynthia Peoples, also known as Cynt B Free was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She was 8 years old when she realized that she had a love for music. Every Sunday her mother played WDAS 105.3 fm while she cleaned and cooked from 10am until the sun went down. She grew up listening to different radio programs from Tony Brown and the Starship at night, to Carter and Sanborn in the Morning. This was her daily influence in life.

What motivates you? What puts a damper on your motivation?

            The freedom and ability to be creative with ideas in the midst of mess or chaos is what motivates me. Given the opportunity to put things in an order that runs fluently and productively, gets me excited every time. When someone comes up to me and says, “I need help,” it makes me happy. I get that butterfly, enthusiastic feeling in my stomach. Then my cranium starts producing ways/ideas to resolve the issue at hand. It recently has been brought to my attention that I tend to connect or bring people together. That explains why it excites me when someone has a need and I have a resource to suggest to them. It also motivates me to support people, groups and organizations that the public may not be aware exist in Philadelphia.
I’ve found that a lot of times people just need a platform to say, “Here I am!” I know a host of people who all do different things, have different services, make different moves and only their particular circle knows who they are. I’ve also paid close attention to how Philadelphians have to move to other cities/states/countries to get proper recognition for their craft. There is no “real” platform for our people (meaning Philadelphians) to showcase who they are and what they do. That’s my motivation in creating the Philly Unleashed Radio Show. A platform for the authentic and normal Philadelphians to showcase themselves and be heard.
            The biggest way to dampen my motivation is to be sneaky, lazy and unmotivated. You ever ask someone what they want to do, and the answer is always, “I don’t know, or I don’t care,” that’s the best way to describe the Debbie Downers and people that don’t want to help. The mood you are in plays a huge part in how things work. Bad attitudes produce bad outcomes. Positive attitudes produce positive outcomes. If I am in a not so good mood, I try to stay away from people until I get myself together. When in a good mood, I’m trying to make everybody happy. Who wants to push a car that has a full tank of gas with nobody to help them? Not me! I’m trying to move this car effortlessly and easy. It’s the same concept when ideas are formed like I stated earlier when I talked about creating a platform for people and their crafts.
It also dampens the motivation in creating for me is when you see your work on someone else’s platform. Morally it bothers me when I see someone use something they didn’t create or think of and not give credit or homage to the creator. Now don’t get me wrong, people use ideas and concepts from people all the time, but for the most part, acknowledgment is given in some way, shape, form or fashion. There are a lot of people and ideas in the media industry that I admire, from show topics, give-a-way ideas to voice characters, but I would not intentionally take their creation and claim it as my own. If there’s something I like that fits my character & style, I may implement pieces into my own idea/concept but give credit for being inspired by that influence.  It’s like the radio personalities that I grew up listening to have all in some way inspired my sound on air. But, I didn’t take who they were and revamp it into who I am. What I did was learn from their styles, how to create who Cynt B Free is. I am an addition, not a copycat, to the many radio personalities on air to this day.


Let's talk about Philadelphia Unleashed Radio. How did you get started?

Philly Unleashed Radio Show, where authentic is normal, is a platform to introduce Philadelphia natives who are doing things in and around the city and want people to know who they are. I was talking to a good friend about how much talent and gifts are in the Philly that don’t get recognized and supported by Philly. It really hit me that with all the different platforms in Philadelphia, we don’t show our support locally before Philadelphians careers take off. We acknowledge them once they have left and gotten established somewhere else. We support them once they are “known” elsewhere. I’ve seen were we acknowledge and support others not from Philly faster than we do that for our own. It’s important to know and understand the culture of Philadelphia so that we can authentically pass along the culture to the following generations. That same good friend challenged me to do something about not having the kind of platform that would allow that opportunity. So, the idea of Philly Unleashed Radio Show was created. After two years of development mode, writing down different concepts for the show and really thinking about how to brand the show, it is now time to make this idea a reality.
The things that motivated me to make this happen are the very things I’ve always wanted to do. My intentions after high school were to either produce music or be on the radio as a host. I actually went to school for Communications. Life happened and I was distracted from continuing on with that particular career path, but with how technology has improved over the years, I can now make my dream job a creative reality. I am so excited to get the feedback from listeners/viewers. I want people to know about the people they don’t know.
 When does the show air, and on what platform?
The first episode of Philly Unleashed Radio Show will be aired on YouTube, January 16, 2019. Twice a month after the 1st episode. Just be on the lookout for a post on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube blasts on when the episodes will be uploaded. All the episodes will available on my YouTube channel: Cynt B Free.
  What is the show’s format? Do you interview guests? And if so, how does someone go about being a guest on your show?
The show’s format consists of talking about what makes the guests on the show unique as a Philly native. We want to know what it is the guests do from singing, writing, dancing, entrepreneurship, etc. The guests would be interviewed and the show would be edited and aired on a specific date. If someone wants to be a guest they can send there request to cyntbfree@gmail.com with their name in the subject line. If people are interested in getting to know more about the show, they can check out my social media handles – Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube at Cynt B Free. Folks can also check out my website at www.cyntbfree.wixsite.com/cyntbfree.
 What are your future plans for the show?
I would love to see this show go to a level of syndication on major stations, possibly even a 30-minute television show. I hope to see this show transform the way we support and respect our Philadelphia culture.
Health And Wellness
 Here's a wonderful way to begin meditation




Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Suicide And New Life Resolutions




I want to start by saying I no longer feel like stir fried shit. okayyyyyyyyyyyyy I would say that my health has improved to warm poop. I'm working my way up the bowel meter. Yes!

If you follow my health journey on my #bravegirlology pages, then you know it started to go in the toilet late 2017. My first dalliance with the dark side was "Romancing the Stone." My kidneys had nothing better to do than calcify salt and sugar into painful little-jagged rocks that rip through your body like Zeus lightning bolts. The pain is unique. It is exquisite. It is constant, and for added fun, it induces waves of nausea and projectile vomiting vis-a-vis the exorcist.
This condition led to a series of health maladies that brought on severe bouts of depression that pushed me to the brink of Suicide
As I stated earlier, I posted about my ordeal a bit, but I didn’t really explain how all the things I went through affected my emotional and mental wellbeing. It was a gradual descent into despair with subtle changes in my mood and way of thinking. I hid it as best I could, and that was my biggest mistake. So, I am writing this blog to give voice to my pain and redemption, and I am hoping against hope that it will help give voice to someone who might be experiencing the same thing.


Romancing the Stone…
I started to feel sick around September of 2017. I would get sharp pains in my lower back accompanied by nausea, and extreme fatigue. I ignored it. I couldn’t afford to be sick. I had too much going on. My family’s media company was really starting to take off, and I was anxious to reignite my writing career; all while working a full-time job and maintaining a household. I was fucking Wonder Woman, and I had zero time for that bullshit. So, instead of listening to my body, I chose to push forward.
The pain started to intensify, and I hid it as best I could.
It started to get harder to walk in October of that year. I was in constant pain. I couldn’t keep food down, so I stopped eating in front of my family. I couldn.t focus enough to complete my many projects, and I remember feeling so ashamed. I was always tired, and always pretending to be okay, which was exhausting in an entirely different way. I think my spirit was tired. My tank was empty, and my world had become constant pain. I left work in November, I could no longer do my job. I collapsed on Christmas and was admitted to Mercy hospital with kidney stones. My thought process had become negative and toxic during my stay. I was angry. I was depressed and ashamed. Anemic, I was given a transfusion and flushed around the clock with fluids. the kidney pain stopped so they told me my kidney stones passed. They didn’t administer any test to check if the stones were gone, and I didn’t press the issue because I was so happy to be leaving. I thought that the dark thoughts were just hospital blues, and I would feel better emotionally once I was home with my family.
I was so wrong!

Little Flight of Horror…
 On Jan 31st Iflew my fiancĂ© to Georgia to see his favorite cousin for his birthday. My mom’s birthday was a day before, and I spent the day in the casino with our family. The pain had returned but I hid it. I desperately wanted my family to think I was okay. I had spent the last few months feeling like a burden and a failure. I was afraid if they knew I wasn't well they would feel the same way about me. So, I partied like a Rockstar with my mom, and then went halfway across the country with my man. We walked around Savana sightseeing, and I chewed painkillers like they were skittles. I became severely ill on the flight home.
I threw up several times. I experienced the worst torment in my life thirty thousand feet in the air. I couldn’t stop screaming as a kidney stone ripped its way down my ureter in mid-flight. I was rushed to Jefferson hospital as soon as we landed. They found multiple stones in my left kidney and one in my urethra. They performed emergency surgery but could not get the stones. They placed a stent in my kidney and scheduled another surgery to remove just the stone in the urethra. While waiting for my procedure my Insurance changed. Jefferson didn't take the new insurance and refused to see me to remove the stent. I couldn’t find a doctor to help me. I was in constant agony. Urine backed up in my left kidney enlarging it, and I just wanted it all to be over.
I want this to be over.
I want it all to end.
I want to end.

Hope Floats...
Tired of being in the house in constant pain, I went for a drive. God led me to the Health Annex. I went there in tears and begged for help. My new Dr. was an angel. He hugged me, prescribed a slew of meds and scheduled me with a Hahnemann hospital surgeon. She removed all my stones, and I actually started feeling better. With my kidney stones in the rearview, my new doctor set out to tackle my anemia. He said my heavy periods were the culprit. He scheduled me with a gynecologist at Penn who was to give me a hysterectomy. However, they refused to do so. They said my fibroids were too small for surgical removal.  They gave me an IUD instead. The IUD made me feel crazy. (crazier)
I didn’t know that my thought process could get any darker. I was wrong. Thoughts of suicide became vivid and more pronounced. I couldn’t dismiss them, but I was too embarrassed to tell anyone about them.  I started to gain weight from the steroids in the IUD. My mood swings were vicious, and the pain was starting to return. When I went back to my gynecologist to relay my concerns, they dismissed them completely. I asked if they could just give me the hysterectomy like my primary doctor suggested. They declined. They told me that a hysterectomy would be too risky because of my weight. "You need bariatric surgery," they said, and I reluctantly started the process.

Hope Dies… SUICIDE
Meanwhile back at the ranch, money was tight because I hadn’t worked in over six months, and I wasn’t promoting my books or my business. My mom’s health started to fail, and my depression had swallowed me whole. No one really knew how bad I was doing. I gave Oscar-worthy performances every damn day. I can’t really tell you when the thought of suicide stopped being background noise and turned into the ultimate solution. But I think it happened around the same time that I started identifying myself as the problem. I thought that If I was gone everyone would be better off. The alarm bells went off when I started to think of ways to do it, and the endgame plan started to form in my mind. At this time, I knew I needed help. I reached out to a friend, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell her the whole truth of my state of mind. She was great and said all the right things, but none of it helped. I mean, how could it? She couldn’t provide a solution to a problem she knew nothing about. So, I buried my depression under my discomfort and went about my day to day as if nothing was really wrong. This lasted for about two weeks. I pretended to be okay. I buried my feelings deep inside, and then it all came crashing down. My thoughts of suicide became a reality and I left my home one sunny day in the summer determined to end my life.

But God…

I pulled the car over and started to pray. I prayed hard, and I cried. I called the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255 and unleashed eight months of frustration, pain, and fear. The man on the phone played a big part in saving my life, and I can’t even tell you his name, but I am certainly in his debt. He listened to me for hours, and then he convinced me to call my mother. My mom talked to me until I got home. Then she just rocked me and sang to me, like she used to do when I was little. I slept peacefully for the first time in a year.

;;; ICONTINUE ;;;

New Life Resolutions
A lot more happened leading up to my breakdown. Although I couldn’t fit it all into a single blog post, I’m sure I included the important parts. I pushed myself to hard, and I stopped taking care of me. I allowed my emotions to rule my decisions, and my pride caused me to keep pretending. I thought… this wasn’t me, couldn’t possibly be me, and when I finally accepted that something was wrong with my mental state, I let shame bar me from seeking help.

Welp, to hell with that bullshit!!!

My 2019 and beyond resolutions are as follows…

Use your voice. Rest. Ask for help. Go to therapy and be honest with your therapist. Get second and third opinions on all diagnosis and prognosis from your doctors. Be proactive in your health care. Be kind to yourself. Play as hard as you work and write your ass off!

That last one has a lot to do with this blog. I plan to breathe life into my writing and blogging is a great way to get started. Every blog has a theme... self-esteem, motivation, cooking, entrepreneurial experience, love, sex, pedicures (it's a lifestyle blog so the topics are infinite). Each blog will have a short editorial, an interview, and a health and wellness section.
This could not be possible without the wonderful talents of Cynt Bfree John H Howard Sylvia Hubbard-Hutula Julia Mallory Phette Fee Ett Hollins Jennifer Caress stay tuned... oh and if you would like to be featured hit me up at info@jpsimmons.com



Work From Home They Said with John H. Howard

I am a very stubborn and impulsive person. I always have been, and I probably always will be. And, although these attributes serve me w...