Duquesa D. Dean's Blog

#vision #purpose #emerge #stronger

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Yes yes I know.  We’ve been conditioned from very young to seek someone to complete us. 

As a part of our play routines, we played with tea sets, dolls, and watched happily ever after fairy tales.

We were taught how to cook, to sew, to clean – essentially all the things that “people” thought were required to snatch a good man.

As I sat, at eight years old, literally affixed to the television, watching the fairy tale wedding of the century, I committed to finding my prince in shining armor.  As I waited for the wedding procession to arrive at the church along with the millions of others either watching via television or who were lining the route of the procession, I imagined my own wedding in great detail.

My dress would be white.  It would be filled with sparkling gems.  My veil would adorn my head as a crown sitting upon it. 

There would be beautiful white roses filling the church.

My prince would be standing at the altar in his black tuxedo, watching me with the brightest smile as I walk toward him.  Tears would fall out of his eyes because he’d never have seen someone so beautiful.

The music would be so moving that the filled church with people would feel our love and be overjoyed by it.

I can remember it so vividly.  Sighs........

And so, there I was in my pajamas on this Saturday morning in July of the year 1981. 

My entire family was crammed in the living room.  It was hot and stuffy with all of us in there, but nobody complained.  This was THE event, and no one wanted to miss it.

The television’s volume was on at its loudest. No other sound could be heard in the room.

As the procession arrived at St. Paul’s Cathedral, goosebumps popped to the surface of my skin.  I was so excited to see that a common girl could marry a real-life prince.

I was glued to the television. 

I watched as Diana, exited the car, walked up the church’s entryway with a twenty-five foot trail attached to her wedding dress. 

She was the essence of beauty; white skin, beautiful eyes, blonde hair and a smile that warmed the hearts of many.

When Diana left the church after exchanging wedding vows she was no longer Diana Spencer but Diana. Princess of Wales. A REAL life princess!!!!!

I vowed that I too would find my prince and live happily ever after.

Are you laughing here?  I certainly am.  Happily ever after?  It certainly wasn’t what I found. 

To make a long story short, about twenty two years after watching the wedding of the century, I found myself broken in ways I never expected to be.  Heartbreaks, domestic abuse, unhappy jobs – and so much more had me so disillusioned.

The truth is, I’d worked so hard on loving others so that they would love me back that I’d neglected loving myself.  As a matter of fact, I’d neglected myself so much that I’d depleted everything in me and thought that it would be better for me to die.

It was at this point, that God saw it fit for my mentor to find me. This is the person who would guide me from the darkness into the light.

My mentor taught me many valuable lessons.  My mentor helped me to stand up again; to learn to love myself in ways I never even considered.  My self-esteem and self-value were non-existent when we started working together but that changed within our first year of working together.

I learnt how to really affirm myself, how to identify my strengths and to get involved in activities I was passionate about. 

I learnt how to sit in silence and allow my mind to relax. 

I learnt how to detach from toxic people. 

I learnt how to honor my “gut”. 

I traveled, exploring new countries and cultures which gave me a greater appreciation for life. 

I learnt how to love me and to LIVE not just to exist or not be focused on finding a man to complete me.

Sister, a love like this is possible.  The love that we long for from external sources, is available to us if we open our minds and hearts to being good to ourselves. 

We can love ourselves.  We can treat ourselves just as good as we treat those we hope would love us back in return for how good we love & treat them. 

When we learn to value, to love and to be kind to ourselves we just glow differently. 

This glow is indeed a magnet; a magnet for all good things.  It is because I know what it feels like to live in the light, to not be burdened by the heaviness of the darkness that comes from chasing love to fill an internal bottomless void, that I am passionate about helping other women come through to the other side.

Sister, the greatest love of all is already inside of us. 

Allow it to attract the love of those around us.

I’m your sister in love ready and waiting to support you as you STAND UP AGAIN.

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The evil Queen in the Snow White fairy tale stood in the mirror every day and asked the question “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” 

For years, the mirror replied that the Queen was but one day the mirror responded that Snow White was. This enraged the Queen. She ordered a “hit” on Snow White’s life to eliminate her as a threat.

Well, it’s a long story but the paragraph above is what I’m basing today’s blog on.

Many times we work with leaders who want to be seen as “the fairest of them all”. 

These leaders do whatever is necessary to remain on their thrones. This includes treating employees like slaves and sometimes they make life so frustrating for their super star performers that eventually they leave. We’ve all heard it enough. People leave people.

This is the type of leader who feels threatened by the talent around them. They are afraid that someone smarter, wiser, younger, more talented, will take their jobs so they essentially put a hit out on those employees. 

We could refer to that hit as blacklisting the employee who will never get opportunities to really use his/her talent to help the organization progress. It’s a lose lose situation for both the employee and the organization.

A better way to use the mirror would be to take a good look at your reflection. Leaders who are able to assess their leadership styles know how they need to improve so that they can connect with their teams and really drive team performance.  A leader is on a continual growth journey.

What are your strengths? What are your core values? How do you value people? How do you recognize and reward team members? How do you hold team members accountable? Are you fair or is there favoritism in your camp?

Allow the mirror to show you your strengths; this is where you place most of your time and emphasis. When we work in our strength zones, we are happy, more efficient and more confident. We feel good about ourselves.

Allow it to reveal your areas of weakness; this is where you place the person on your team who has this area as his/her strength. 

By doing this two amazing things happen. 

The first is, the person on your team who is now operating in their strength zone, feels a sense of purpose, they are confident, they are passionate, they feel like they contribute, they are more productive, etc. The second this is they make you look good.  Together you fill the gaps.

Allow the mirror to provide you with an accurate reflection of who you are as a person. Use it to identify the characteristics that others associate with you. If any of those need to be improved, work on becoming a better person.

Using the mirror in leadership, allows leaders to have a reflection of how they are leading and of how their team members view them.

Leaders of teams, achieve results through people.  

Instead of asking the mirror who is fairest of them all, brag to the mirror that your TEAM is the best of them all.

Remember, "There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others." – George Shin

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It's been proven time and time again that most people who leave jobs do so because of "bad" managers.

Bad managers create cultures that result in employees tapping out, doing the bare minimum, calling out from work, getting sick, dread showing up at their jobs, etc.

Do bad managers know that they are bad? Some of the times they do and some of the times, they don't.

Some people who have been promoted to supervisory or management roles have only had the examples of poor managers to follow. People do what people see.

A stimulating discussion starter is "Are Managers Born or Made".

It's quite a debate in my training sessions. The fact is managers are both born and made.

They become better though by continued development regardless of the side of spectrum they are on.

To develop as a manager, a proper foundation has to be laid. 

When a person's leadership foundation is faulty symptoms of those cracks appear.  Things like lack of team productivity, absenteeism, ineffective communication, poor employee morale, disunity, less revenue and so much more impact the organization.

We do a disservice to newly appointed supervisors and managers when we do not inspect the foundation their leadership skills are built on. 

We fail them if we do not provide the reinforcement that will help them to be successful in their roles.

To fix any cracks identified, a repair service is needed. 

Learning how to connect with their team members, laying out clear and concise goals. delegating, rewarding and recognizing their team members, proper conflict resolution, effective coaching, understand budgets and financial planning are all aspects of leadership that are crucial skills for a leader.

The reality is, as a team leader, success comes through driving team performance. How exactly is that done? Through people.   

Within the right culture, one where managers factor in the importance of treating employees like they matter and appreciate them for their contribution, employees willing give more of their talents.  Have you ever noticed how some managers can get their employees to willing take on additional workload, work longer hours and perform outside the scope of their regular duties without asking for additional pay?

When managers care about their employees just as much as they care about profits,  view those they lead optimistically, seek advice from their team players, actively listen to them, reward and recognize their efforts, employees give more effort towards helping the manager achieve his/her goals.

Effective leaders connect with people in a way that makes them want to contribute to the organization's success and these are all characteristics that can be learnt.


Duquesa D. Dean is a Certified Trainer, Speaker and a Transformation Coach. She is an Associate Trainer with the International Board of Certified Trainers and a certified Coach, Speaker & Trainer with the John Maxwell Team.

Duquesa is the author of three books "Chase Your Dreams", "Sister, Stand Up Again & "Bruised But Not Broken".

To book Duquesa, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 242-424-6012

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