ISSUE NO. 6 | JUNE 2019
It Is Above Me
A Father’s Love
by Elisa Grady
or Not to App...
Behind the Scenes
BEHIND THE SCENES AT UNCAGED PHOENIX
une is here! June is finally
here!! Can you tell that I
am excited?! If not, I may
need to say it two more
times…June is here! June is here!!
My love for June may be a little biased—as
it is my birth month—but when you look at it’s
calendar position and generally [not every year] the
weather, what is there not to love?! In June you are
able to look back and acknowledge the fact that you
have survived. You may not be where you want to be,
you may not have gotten close to achieving your goals,
but during this month there is no judgement.
June is a month for rebirth, perfectly positioned to allow
you to look back at the reality of how far you have come,
all while taking the necessary steps to move forward.
Not everyone makes a fresh start in January; we all don’t
begin the race at the same time. Some of us—especially
me—require a burning bush and a few shooting stars
before we can position ourselves to get going.
In this month’s magazine we are going to provide you
with the motivation to move forward. With a get up and
go attitude, you can put the critical changes into play to
take your life beyond the dreaming and planning to
the implementing and realizing. This is the month
where we learn the sound and power that
exists within our voices and why it is
so important to release it into the
In honor of Father’s Day, our feature
article, A Father’s Love by Elisa Grady, is definitely
one which takes a fresh but well needed look into the
powerful bond shared between a father and child. This heart
pulling article sheds light onto the reality that can exist, even
when life’s circumstances aren’t perfect. It is definitely a must
read and one of my favorites to date!
Don’t forget to check out this month’s challenge and your
personal printout; both skillfully crafted to give you a leg up, get
you refreshed and prepare you to get up and get going.
Enjoy this month’s magazine and never forget to let your whisper
shake the ground!
une is the mid-point…the month of reassessment. It is not a destination month. Rather,
let’s consider it a launching point. I know everyone loves to focus on January for fresh
starts, but don’t ever limit yourself to one day, one month or one year. For June, you
have to get up and be willing to move. Some of you may not be where you want to be and
are thinking that, at this stage, it is better to acquiesce, pause for a moment, and maybe
try again next year.
Although I am in full belief that there are periods where we need to take a break and
(perhaps) step back for a bit, are you sure this “momentary” lull is for rest or are you
simply hiding? For those of you who may not be taking respite but are in fact hiding from
yourself, others or the world…it is time to get up. I know it may be scary and thoughts
of rejection and judgment may cloud your mind,
but I am going to need you to try. You see…the
world is filled with enough darkness and it is
screaming out for your voice, your energy, your
business, your love and your essence. Your
dreams are not too small. Even though you
may think that it doesn’t matter if you get up
or not, the truth is…you matter! And, therefore,
your voice, energy, business, love, essence and
dreams all matter! So…get up!!
It is time for you to let go of the excuses. All they
have done is left you motionless; standing on
what may appear to be solid ground, but which,
Your dreams are not too small.
Even though you may think that
it doesn’t matter if you get up
or not, the truth is…you matter!
And, therefore, your voice,
energy, business, love, essence
and dreams all matter!
in actuality, is sinking sand. Just as everything changes and evolves, so too must your
approach and efforts. Holding on to the past and all of the twisted, warped excuses that
you fed yourself—or allowed others to feed you—is not going to sustain you in the future.
You are going to have to get up.
What does it matter if you are not like everyone else? You were never meant to be! Your
goals and your purpose were created for you. All of your experiences, natural abilities
and circumstances are for you and your path. Don’t compare yourself to other people
and where they are on their journey. They may be able to swim towards their destination;
some may be able to walk on the bridges created by others. But have you ever considered
that maybe—just maybe—God already knew who you would be and where you would be,
and designed you to walk to yours, even if it meant walking on water?
Limiting yourself to following the course set by others robs you of the opportunities to
learn what really lies within you. There has to be a reason why you are here, and it may
not be for the same reason everyone else is here. Some people start in January, some
have to wait until June. No matter the period, the reason or the path, you cannot allow
yourself to become comfortable with hiding behind the myriad excuses for why it is not
the right time. It may never be the right time, but the time you have is now. So…get up!!
et’s do something a bit different over the summer... For the next few months, we are
going to put the apps down—we are going to put everything down—and head back
to the basics. The kids are out of school, the place is hot as heck, and though we
are still out there trying to do everything and be everywhere….it is time to have some
fun. For June (my birth month) we are gonna go way back and play a little with some
of the basic ways of having some old fashion, belly-laughing fun.
Recently, in the midst of school exams and work deadlines, my kids brought out a
simple deck of cards. I personally can’t even remember when we bought the cards
but somewhere between cleaning or looking for something else, they found them.
Right now, you are probably thinking I have lost my mind and can’t be suggesting that
you go buy a pack of cards… No, I have not lost my mind, but I am telling you to get
up and buy/order/find yourself a pack of cards today.
Should I have listened to my daughters when they proposed playing a game instead
of focusing on my deadlines and making them finish their studies? Maybe I shouldn’t
have, but time is so short, and everyone needs to take a break from the norm to
reconnect with loved ones. Could we have just turned on Netflix and watched a movie?
Yes, we could have…and we have many times. But when my daughters challenged me
and told me that they would beat me, the competitor in me instantly came out.
Just a quick word of caution… If your children or loved ones challenge you to a game
you have never played before, do not let your ego drive you to betting that you will
win. Don’t be like me! Humble yourself, learn the game and walk in your lane. My
kids introduced me to the Speed game, and my 40+ year old fingers and mind were
annihilated over and over again. Clearly, I did not heed my own advice early enough
and after diving in headfirst with my ego, I lost five games in a row! Through each
of the whopping defeats they handed me, we laughed and rolled rollickingly, while
making fun of each other and of my constant screaming for them to slow down. With
each loss, I hackled and fussed like a big baby.
A simple unbranded pack of cards revealed that we could take our focus off of
everything and, very inexpensively, enjoy a moment together. Too many times,
as adults, we believe that giving our kids and loved ones expensive
items demonstrates our love for them. But at the end of the
day, hearing my children’s laughter and seeing their joy each
time they won was priceless. It became even more valuable
when I understood the game to the point where I was able
to turn the tables and finally win a few rounds.
Take my advice...for this summer, break out the simple, old
school, fun ways of connecting with the people around you.
Blend your old games with their new games, invent new ones
and show your kids the beauty in having fun without apps and
r N t
hroughout the past twelve months, whether it has been through
our monthly blogs, e-magazines or planners, we have promoted the
significance of self-love. We believe self-love is and will always play a vital
role in living an UnCaged life. But did you know that you cannot truly love
yourself if you keep your voice muzzled?
Remaining silent behind your fears—or the opinions of others—robs you
of your purpose, and the world of your voice and impact. You cannot fully
experience true self-love if you are unwilling to uncage your voice. Whether
expressed through sound or action, your voice is an integral part of your
being, as it serves as a faucet through which energy is released. Vocalizing
your thoughts and ideas is not just about being heard [this is not a popularity
contest], it is about telling your truth and allowing your energy to take its
rightful place within the world. You may not have Oprah’s or Beyonce’s
Vocalizing your thoughts and
ideas is not just about being heard,
it is about telling your truth and
allowing your energy to take its
rightful place within the world.
marketing teams, but this does
not mean that you don’t have
something valuable to say or
do. Your voice has value, and
this is why for the remaining six
months of the year, I am asking
you to take care of and unleash
your unique sound. Together,
we are going to deliberately
make the effort to share our
voices with those around us
and with the world.
Whatever the medium—writing stories/books/blogs, engaging in discourse on a
podcast, creating objects/opportunities/videos or organizing events and activities—
let your voice be heard. There are six more months left in the year. Leaving your voice
to die inside of you isn’t healthy. It may not happen today but at some point, it will
haunt you, slowly nagging your mind until you reach to the point where you can no
longer feel satisfied staying silent. The bitter taste that previously remained in your
mouth after one-sided debates will no longer be physically or spiritually
palatable. As your mind and body starts to reject the encompassing
negativity, you will discover that the time for sharing your
thoughts and ideas is long overdue.
Not only will releasing your voice help you to reduce the
intake of negative words and energy into your own space,
it will also give you the opportunity to share with others.
You may not think that you know enough to have an
impact but guess what…we will never know everything.
Life is a journey that should be spent learning, sharing
and growing. People who say and think they know
everything are lying to themselves and to everyone
else. The fact that you are willing to be honest
regarding what you do or don’t know takes your voice
to another level. It simply makes it your truth and
How are you going to raise your voice for the next
What you do want to say?
What are you passionate about?
o often we hear the phrase,
“There is nothing like a Mother’s
Love.” How about a Father’s Love?
A father’s love is one of the most
powerful things on God’s earth.
I should know. I experienced
it even though I came from a
divorced home. While my father
wasn’t there in the home with us
physically, his love for me never
waivered. My father’s love was
Even though my parents were
divorced, my mother never spoke
negatively of my father. Instead,
she made sure my father was a
part of my life. She nurtured our
relationship. She made sure we
were a part of each other’s lives.
When it was his weekend, we would go
fishing, play basketball in the park, eat
burgers at the Woolworth, and sit on the
porch when the sun went down, just looking
at the stars drinking Big Red. I’d be so
excited when it was Dad’s weekend because
I would get to visit my other grandparents,
cousins, aunts and uncles. It was so many
of them and they loved to talk. I would sit
and quietly listen to them. Taking in all my
history. My father would watch me soaking
up all his family history. My big bright brown
eyes would be focused on whomever was
speaking. Daddy would give me a loving
smile, and nod or wink when I would look his
way in pure amazement. I learned so much
about the other side of my family—like how
their forefathers were sharecroppers. I had
uncles who had traveled the world protecting
our freedom and serving this country. I had
aunts who worked full time jobs and owned
small businesses. My father made sure I
knew those things. I would always talk to
my friends about my Dad. Tell them about
him being a marine and sharing all his stories
with my friends.
wisdom and family history with them as I
attentively looked on. My father’s love was
I’ll never forget the call I received that my
father was sick. My Aunt called and told me
to get there as quickly as I could. It was close
to the Thanksgiving holiday, so I packed the
girls up and headed in that direction. When
I arrived, there sat my father. He looked
so fragile. He could barely lift his arms to
hug me. He looked at me and smiled but
it was his eyes. His eyes told me he was
afraid. They told me that this was serious.
The diagnosis was not good. CANCER. My
father’s response: “Time to FIGHT!!!!”
I took vacation days to drive the 3 hours
down the highway for surgery, Chemo and
Even when my mother remarried and moved
us some 3 hours away, she made sure that my
father’s love was always with me. She’d make
sure we talked on the phone. She sent him
pictures of me as I grew up over the years.
Every summer, I would go to our hometown
to spend time with my mother’s family, but
she made sure that everyone knew I would
be spending half my visit with my father.
As I became a young woman, my father made
sure he was there for every milestone of
my life’s journey. Graduation, marriage, the
birth of my children, as well as the loss of
one of my daughters. He was right there.
He would travel the 3 hours to come see
his granddaughters when he could. I would
make sure I made the 3-hour trip with the
girls in tow to see him. He would share his
Part of life is understanding love comes
in many forms. Just because people
love you different from the way you
think they should, doesn’t mean they
don’t love you. Things will never be
exactly the way you want.
to get back on the road and head
home. I kissed my father and told
him not to get up…just rest.
My father passed away 2 months
later. When he passed he stopped
by to see me in a vision. He
looked at me, smiled and then he
was gone. I awoke to the phone
ringing. It was my mother with
the news. The 58 years of my
father’s life were a blessing to me.
His love helped shape me into the
woman I am today.
Radiation treatments. I would get the girls
off to school before I hit the road and I would
make it back most nights before they fell
asleep. When my father was feeling good, he
would call me some nights and say, “Do you
think you can take off tomorrow and come
have lunch with me? I want a good burger
with extra pickle.” I’d say, “Wouldn’t miss it!”
Those were some of the best days of my life.
It was Memorial Day, and my family and I
had been on vacation. We made the stop
in my hometown to see my father. He was
in the yard grilling. The girls ran up to him
screaming, “Big Daddy! Big Daddy!” He
beamed that smile that only he had and with
open arms welcomed all that love from his
baby girls. Later that evening my father
started complaining of pain and decided to
go lay down. I went to check on him with
the girls hot on my heals. They jumped up on
the bed and I sat on the bed next to my father.
He began to drop small nuggets of wisdom
on all of us. That day he taught the girls
the importance of saving. He told them to
save all their loose change. In the end those
pennies made dollars. He told me to always
remember you can’t help who you love. He
said, “I may not be with your mother, but I’ve
always loved her, and I always will.” As he
grimaced with pain, I told him we were going
I’ve shared this story with so many young
men and women who have been at odds with
their fathers. Some hadn’t spoken to their
fathers for years. They want their fathers to
be perfect. They’re angry because they didn’t
feel like their fathers were there for them the
way they thought they should be. They feel
like their fathers didn’t love them or show
them love the way they thought they should.
I simply say, your father loved you the best
way he knew how. Give him a chance. Stop
and pick up the phone. Call or send that text.
One day you won’t have a father to visit or
call. I then share these words from one of
my favorite YouTube shows Giants.
Part of life is understanding love comes in
many forms. Just because people love you
different from the way you think they should,
doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Things will
never be exactly the way you want.
Forgive those passed hurts and move forward
in your relationship with your father. Time
for you to experience A Father’s Love.
Elisa M. Grady
H E P D B L Y K I Y E D T N S T R G I T I B W D I
V L R E E B I S F C T D Q I A E A G G H A I N G A
O B O M Q L D T N Q E I T E S Y I V A G B R B U X
L A C F V R I E W D R Y C P C B S Q D I F T T K R
H R R N G U S V H X G E O I O I V A N S W H C G I
U E A C F E T V E J L N Y E T J T O Y H D D E D W
E V S P R R T G J R S F S A Z N I C S E D A S I E
C I T P I H S N O I T A L E R T E A A S R Y I A D
F L I X O H B X B K M I X G C P M H A R X S C N D
P E N N A H U I K J J P F E Q X W R T K P G R S J
B D A F J P L O W C J F N F P E R I J U C L E W J
K R T Y K I P V O B Y N Z N C Z N S F O A D X E B
C M I X T I H U X Y O J U I Z B C P W P W C E R Y
V C O Y N C R J P C D C O F V K S C A I P U I S R
H C N I N A A P E M W V D X V K W Q P U R P O S E
U C O L G F I B G A N Z A L I F L V I C L C X M G
E N R E P X I B E E X I Q L J M W A I W V P E V X
S D Q I X U V K X F K K A A B P H P D F J D R J S
W P R R M E S N E Q B S J F G M B I L S M A S Z R
S F X O B H T I F R E T J I H D E H F D C U I I G
E C U D O R P O J I D Q J W C E Z T L M E Z P Q X
K P Y I N A L P E M A G M S W A F T K G P M R O Q
N H S P T Q U F S R G D H D J Q M W R V U U Q N U
P M I N E C X M D Y G E F J F V W U X Y G M T X S
W G R Y Z A G W P J B G P E R F E C T I O N H A C
Letter Tile Puzzles
Unscramble the tiles to reveal a message.
Answers on page 21.
ou may have
seen the recent
viral video of the
Holiday Inn Express
employee who, when
confronted by an
alleged racist woman,
calmly explained to
her: “I understand
that, but it’s above
me now…” He was
referring to upper
decision to deny
the woman a room,
based on her alleged
behavior. When I saw
the video, it drove me
down a rabbit hole
where I had to take
a look at my own life.
This video reminded
me of the myriad
times I had been
placed in negative
strangers, loved ones
or business associates.
In all transparency,
when faced with a
obstacles in my past,
my clap back game
was strong. After
I realized that I did
not handle many of
those situations with
enough clarity and
peace of mind. I took
For this month’s challenge, we are going to take our lives to another level. Rather than
merely reacting to the situations we find ourselves in, we will step back, appropriately
assess and then respond accordingly. We are going to challenge ourselves to apply
this practice with our families, on our jobs, in our business dealings and during our
encounters with strangers (i.e. every relationship and situation).
Note: IT IS ABOVE ME does not remove your ability or responsibility to act or speak. It
does, however, allow you to realize that some situations are really not even about you
but more about the other person. The IT IS ABOVE ME challenge will reveal that you are
stronger than your primitive responses. You will me required to look at your past and
your present, all while preparing for your future.
For the rest of this month—and hopefully for the rest of your life—we are going to
take an IT IS ABOVE ME approach. From this point onward, we will take the following
steps when we find ourselves trapped in situations that are either toxic or distractive
to our purpose.
Try your best to temporarily take yourself out of the situation, even if mentally.
Yes, there will be times when there isn’t a pause button. Not everything comes
to us as an email, message or letter where we can put a strong pause on our
response. In some instances, we may be placed right in the middle of toxicity
without warning and without much time to breathe. Nonetheless, whenever
possible, try and slow down your response. It does not mean you are weak if you
choose to delay or ask for a few minutes to respond. Stay silent, request time,
walk away if you can. Allow yourself the time or space to assess the situation.
1Ask 2yourself if this is even about you. I have been in so many situations
where other people have deflected their own short comings and fears onto
me. Not everything is about you, but the way you choose to respond in those
moments says a lot about you. Try to think with an empathetic mind instead
of rash emotions. Seek to understand where the person is coming from. They
may be scared, sleepy, hungry, or brought up by fools; there are many factors
that make someone act and think the way they do. Does it make them right?
No! However, having the understanding that some confrontations may not
be based on you personally, but by something triggered on a sore point or on
a bad day for them, will make it easier to find a solution.
long-term and not short-term. Even though you may feel
wronged, offended or hurt by the person or the situation, your first
response may not be the best response. Your friend may have done
something to hurt you and you want to hurt them back... Would that
help you or them in the long run? Yes, it may feel good in the moment
to get revenge, but does it really help you?
3Know that everything does not require your response. Clapping
4back and ‘handling the situation’ does not always require your direct
handling. There will be occasions where you will have to stand up
for yourself (in a respectful manner). In other circumstances, you
may need to elevate the problem to another level and let someone
else take charge. This allows the situation to be managed without
it taking a biased and personal slant. Then there are the instances
where you are just going to have to walk away and let people stay in
their muck. Some individuals don’t want to know better or do better,
and nothing you do or say will help their tragedy. Taking your time
and energy to battle with them will only leave you depleted. When
faced with these moments and people, walk away and leave them
to wallow around in their own filth alone.
ave you ever taken part in an interview where the applicant
characterized themself as a perfectionist? Perhaps you have
portrayed yourself in that way? Early in my career I thought that
this was the perfect response to give to a potential employer
when asked “How would you describe yourself?” Up to this day I
still wonder why employers even ask this question. I mean…who
really confesses to a potential new boss: “I would always be more
committed to my bed in the morning than any job you could
offer!” I don’t. Posed with this question, I would always tell them
the partial truth and not the whole truth of being a perfectionist.
Then quickly follow up with a play on words to show that I would
be that employee who would pay attention to every detail, even if
it meant staying overtime. Shockingly, even with this half-truth
and messy admission, for the majority of interviews I attended, I
was always offered the job. Nonetheless, now that I am older and
have been blessed to hold positions where I have been on the
other side of the table to interview others, I wonder why anyone
would ever hire—or go into business with—anyone who proudly
claimed to be a perfectionist.
I am in no way promoting that you shouldn’t want to do
things the right way, as I have never believed in doing
things halfway or just enough. But claiming to be an allinclusive
perfectionist isn’t really a good thing either. In life
and in business you have to know that neither holding out
for perfection or delivering halfway should be a constant
means of existence. For example, you don’t want to be so
focused on every microscopic thing that you don’t get your
job done. If you are waiting for the perfect time, perfect
financing and perfect shift in the market for you to start
your business, then you will be waiting for the rest of your
life. On the other hand, if you are rushing to do something
just because everybody else (and their mama) is doing it,
then you are going to go half-assed and not put in the
required work, research and prayers to do it right.
To help you figure out which approach is best, take the following into consideration:
1. You have to consider your resources—including your access to those resources—
and, if applicable, your deadlines when deciding if it is best to aim for perfection
or to just do the best you can in the moment. For some situations you will have
ample time to try every- and anything in the aim of finding the best approach.
While in others, you will be given a short amount of time and limited resources.
Both situations require different responses and you have to be willing to adapt.
2. Ask yourself if you are really aiming for perfection or if you are just procrastinating.
Hiding behind the façade of perfection sounds a lot better than saying that I am
dilly-dallying. Be honest with yourself and try to figure out why you are trying to
delay the outcome. Hiding because you are afraid of making mistakes will make
you very risk-averse and prevent you from growing.
3. Is ‘just enough’ really always enough? Would you want your mechanic to fix your
car’s breaks just enough or would you want them to make sure that everything is
working properly? If you know that you can do better and that the receiver of your
effort deserves better, then do better.
Always do the best you can do within your given restrictions. You may not be a
superstar in everything you do, but make sure that you are doing your best in the
moment. Realistically, this may require analyzing what tasks can be delegated or
postponed to allow you to do your best. Remember, your best may not be perfect but
at the end of the day, doing nothing is not really an option.
LETTER TILES PUZZLE ANSWERS:
PUZZLE #1: I LOVE MYSELF ENOUGH TO NEVER ACCEPT ANYTHING THAT DEVALUES ME OR MY PURPOSE
PUZZLE #2: YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM SHOULD WANT YOU TO CHANGE AND GROW
“Most people don’t aim too high and miss. They aim too low and hit.” - Bob Moawad
Reevaluate & Reassess
It is time to reevaluate and reassess what we want for ourselves for the second half of 2019 and
beyond. Yes, it is great to have 5-year vision plans, but it is also important to have actionable
goals and steps where we are able to achieve forward movement. By choosing to be intentional
for the rest of the year, we are made accountable for doing better in our own careers, businesses
By reminding ourselves of our purpose we can take advantage of opportunities while successfully
navigating the obstacles that are part of our journey. At various points in our lives we should
reassess our previous goals to see if they are actually empowering us or if they are limiting us
from aiming higher.
1. What goals have you held on to because they would make other people see you as a success?
2. What are some things that you personally consider to be signs of success? Be honest with yourself
as to why you see them as goalposts to success?
3. What goals do you think are unachievable? Why?
4. What things do you dream about or admire in other people [things you are afraid to say aloud?
5. Who are the people you can surround yourself with to help keep you accountable to your goals?
6. List six things you are still procrastinating on in 2019.
7. Take two items [that are important to you] each from questions 2, 3, 4, 6 [for a total of 8]. Write
down six actionable steps for each item that you can do over the next six months to get you closer
to being successful for each item. This can be daily steps, to do lists, etc. (Note: This is not where
you simply state dreams. This is where you write down how you are going to achieve them.)
8. Get up and Do it! “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just
the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”