New Year, New Plan

Image Courtesy of Pintrest

Happy New Year!!!  I cannot believe that we are already in a new year.  I now understand what my grandparents meant when they said the older you get the faster time goes by.  It’s like you blink and you have traveled months into the future.  One thing for sure that never seems to stop is time.  You may stop, but time continues on.

As I approached this new year, I did what most people do, and I reflected back on the past year.  I was excited to actually see the evidence of what I had accomplished throughout the year.  You see when 2015 came in, my husband and I sat down and took one area of our life that we wanted to focus on and set goals for.  Honestly, the paper we wrote everything out on somehow got misplaced, and forgotten about.  In cleaning up some old paperwork recently, I found the paper. Interestingly enough, although the paper was lost and forgotten about, we still managed to accomplish every single goal that we placed on that paper by the end of 2015.  Wow, it was like once we wrote  our goals out they somehow embedded in us, and became the soundtrack we moved to throughout the year.

As I began to think about 2016, I received an email that encouraged me to set a plan for every area of my life for the year.  So I asked myself, if this is what I did in 2015 with a plan for one area, what more can I accomplish with a plan for multiple areas of my life?  I talk a lot about my goals, dreams, and aspirations, but I realized that lately that’s all I do is talk.  I have some how become more of a talker than a doer, and time just keeps passing by.  Not this year though.  This year, I am going to do as I did last year and establish a plan of action, and work to accomplish my goals. While I can’t stop time from progressing, I can control what I do with the time I have. I’m going to do like Frank Ocean says and, “Work Hard in Silence, and Let Success Be My Noise!”  I love that!  I encourage you to try making a plan of action for your year.  You’ll be amazed at what you can get accomplished.

As always, I thank you for stopping by and remember today is a great day to make a positive impact in the lives of those around you, so Be Friendly, Show Favor, and Give Love! 

Unplug

As a true INFJ, I have discovered that it is of the utmost importance to have some Introvert time on a regular basis.  Now yes it is true that I do have some Extrovert tendencies, but at my core I am an introvert.  About a year ago, I decided to make some changes in my life and lifestyle.  My husband and I embarked on a journey to be healthier and fit.  Since that journey began, and has been tremendously paying off, our lives have taken a serious upswing in our social and family activities.  I LOVE it, especially the ability to participate in more activities with my kids.  The only problem I have had is that with all of this social and family activity, I seem to have people around me “extreme extrovert style” on a regular basis.  OMG, I have NEVER had this many people this often in my space.

I had to take a moment to step back and unplug to figure out why I felt so drained, moody, and seemingly unhappy.  What I found was while my new social life has truly been fun, it had become very draining for me.  I know it sounds like I just contradicted myself, but I really didn’t.  See, I get most of my creative thinking, ideas, meditation, and problem solving done during my quiet introvert time.  I absolutely love my family and friends, and I most certainly love to spend time with them.  However, when I don’t take time to feed my introvert I yet again render myself unproductive and ultimately unhappy.  So the solution I have discovered is balance.

It is necessary to have a social life and to reap the benefits of networking and connecting with others, but it is also a necessity to incorporate regular downtime to recenter and focus.  It’s ok to unplug from people and things from time to time, but I do not suggest you make being unplugged a permanent way of life.  There is something special about the human connection.  Now, what that human connection becomes once made depends on what we choose to make it.

As always, I thank you for stopping by.  Remember today is a great day to make a positive impact in the lives of those around you, and don’t forget to Be Friendly, Show Favor, and Give Love.

 

Life Plans

 

Photo Courtsey of wellinla.com

We must let go of the life we have planned …. To accept the one that is waiting for us.
– Joseph Campbell

 

When I was a child, I dreamed of the day that I would become a truck driver.  As I got older and found that I was really good at physics, I dreamed of the day that I would become an engineer.  Then after sitting in the hospital as a teen by myself for hours while my mom’s life hung in the balance, I vowed that I would become a doctor.  I kept up with the Doctor dream well into college, and if you were to talk to a few of my doctor friends they will remind you that I have a great medical mind and it’s not too late for me.  In the background of all of these “dreams,” unbeknownst to even me, there was one that was brewing and had a fiery passion behind it fueling the flames.   It was my love and passion for creating, writing, and telling real good stories.

When I finally discovered this love and passion for myself, I dreamed of becoming a screen and television writer.  For a while, my life was right on track to bring this dream to past. I had my screenplay and tv specs ready, my contacts in place, temporary housing secured, and I was on my way.  Then unexpectedly life happened.  Rather than sticking to my plan, I chose to stay and deal with life at least for that moment.  The opportunity came again.  This time I cashed in my 401k for some added security, and I was on my way yet again, or so I thought.  Unfortunately my plan was deferred once again.  Was this a sign that I should let this dream go?

Over the past couple of years I found myself becoming very angry and unhappy.  I was angry, because to look at where I was in life and where I thought I should have been were two very different places.  I felt trapped, unproductive, and most importantly like a failure.  Marriage yes, kids yes, but working a straight 9-5 with very limited upward mobility in a field that stifled my creative growth, absolutely not.  At times, I felt so trapped that I temporarily convinced myself that maybe I should just settle for the way my life was. Now don’t get me wrong it’s nothing wrong with living a “normal” life. The life where you go to a job for  8 hours (or more) that you don’t like but it pays the bills, you come home  get in what little family and tv time you can, go to bed, rinse and repeat.  It’s just that at the heart of my core I was not designed for that.   I am creative and designed to live outside of the box.  For a person like me it is not only important that I love what I am doing, but it has to stimulate my creative passion and yield fruit (evidence that I am making a positive impact).  My Pastor always reminds us that when you die it’s not about the day you were born, or the day you died.  It’s about what you did in the middle during that dash.  Are they going to talk about the problems you caused or the problems you solved?

Nevertheless, my frustrating time came to a point where I had to realize that by solely focusing on what I felt like I hadn’t accomplished by this point in my life, I was missing out on some of the joys and moments of life that were right in front of me.  Missing out on opportunities to be creative and impactful right in front of me.  No, it isn’t the same as working on a movie or TV set, but it still gives me a chance to write, be creative, and make a positive difference in the lives of those that I encounter.  So if life isn’t all that you had planned it to be, take a moment to step back and really assess and embrace where you are.  There may be some unique opportunities right under your nose that can be just as fulfilling and impactful as the life you planned.  Nothing hardly every goes exactly as planned.  At the end of the day it’s not about how you start but how you finish.   Nope not contradicting, because what you do in the middle determines how you finish.

As always, I thank you for stopping by.  Remember today is a great day to make a positive impact in the lives of those around you, and don’t forget to Be Friendly, Show Favor, and Give Love.

Tis’ the Season… To be Thankful

 

Courtesy of Psychologytoday.com

 

Yesterday was the kick off of the winter holiday season.  At least that’s what I call it.  For the first time in many years I was excited to celebrate Thanksgiving.  I spent the day making great memories with my family.  It felt good cooking side by side with my beloved mother and children; watching the kids work together on their dessert dish, and watching my son help my mom prep the mac and cheese.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to make memories like this.  It’s something I hope to do for many more years to come.

With all that is going on in the world these days,  I feel that it is time to get back to the basics.    I don’t know about you, but sometimes I take advantage of the small things not even realizing it.  This holiday season I want to take some time to create memories of love and laughter with my family, while blessings others along the way.   The only thing is I want this attitude of gratitude to carry forward beyond this season.  I want to make it a way of life.

You notice at the end of each post I remind you toBe Friendly, Show Favor, and Give Love.  Why, because that is a part of having an attitude of gratitude.  It’s not just what we receive, but it’s what we give as well.  Let’s not just think of the homeless, and less fortunate families during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.  Let’s remember them throughout the entire year, when most people aren’t thinking about them.  Let’s remember to gather with our families for more than just funerals, and the major holidays.  Call a family dinner just because.   Let this season of gratefulness, caring, and sharing spill over into your everyday life.  I promise the reward you will yield will be far greater than you imagine!

As always, I thank you for stopping by and remember today is a great day to make a positive impact in the lives of those around you, so Be Friendly, Show Favor, and Give Love!

Comfort Zone

Have you ever had something that you just couldn’t bring yourself to part with?  I mean like that old pair of worn out tethered jeans, that holey pair of socks or T-shirt that you know should have hit the trash months, if not years ago.  How about that friendship, relationship, or job that you know isn’t fulfilling and not at all contributing to your personal growth?  There are so many things in life that we hold on to simply because they are comfortable.  They really don’t serve a purpose in our lives anymore, they are just comfortable. 
I was watching TV the other day, and I came across this quote by Neale Donald Walsch, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”  I took that in, and had to chew on it for a little bit.  As I pondered how this potentially applied to me, I realized that I have really gotten comfortable with some things in my life.  I mean some things honestly I should have pulled the plug on a while ago.  I have gotten comfortable with the routine of waking up, going to work, coming home to homework with the kids, games on my phone, and TV until I fall asleep.  The only problem with that routine is I have goals I have set and must accomplish.  Where did my workout/gym time go, or my brainstorming and creative time?  Where did my writing time go?  Oh wait, it got lost between games on my phone and watching TV until I fall asleep.  There once was a time when I would literally come home and not change my clothes until I got everything I needed to accomplish for the evening done.  My husband would ask, “why haven’t you changed your clothes yet?”  My response was always, “because if I change my clothes I’m going to get too comfortable and not get anything else done this evening.
Today I am reminding you to snap out of the trance, and step out of your comfort zone.  There are so many good opportunities and connections waiting for us, if we would just take a leap of faith and step out of our comfort zones.  Now my daily routine is a light example of stepping out of your comfort zone.  Please don’t misunderstand, I know that there are more challenging comfort zones that some have to tackle.  You could be in a bad relationship.  You don’t like it and know you deserve more, but you’re comfortable because you have accepted the way things are, and have come to know what to expect.  It could be a job or career field.  You’re not fulfilled or challenged, but you’re comfortable because you can do it with your eyes closed and it pays the bills.  You could be grieving a loss you encountered many  years ago, and have become comfortable in your grief and afraid to move on with your life.  You know what your comfort zone is, and you know what you need to do to change it.  There’s a whole life of new adventure and accomplishments waiting for you.  The question is are you willing to take the step? 
As always, I thank you for stopping by.  Remember today is a great day to make a positive impact in the lives of those around you, and don’t forget to Be Friendly, Show Favor, and Give Love. 

10 vs 90

Life has truly been interesting for me these past couple of months.  I have embarked on several new adventures, and I must say a few of these adventures have been mind blowing.

 

One of the new adventures I embarked on is a new job.  While it still isn’t my ultimate  dream career, it is something that will allow me to gain a new valuable skill for when the time does come for me to take possession of my ultimate dream job.  Yes, I know many of you may feel like I am being very vague, but in all fairness if you have read any of my other post you should know that my dream job is to be a full time writer.  Although I must admit my actions don’t always indicate that as my dream. 

 

One of my favorite audibles right now is Steve Harvey’s, “Think Like A Success, Act Like A Success.”  Although I have the book as well, I love the audible because I can listen to it while in traffic, which helps to reduce my stress and road rage significantly.  Anyway, one quote that Steve often says is, “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% what  you do about it.”  Chew on that for a minute.  Now think about the various things that have happened to you and made you feel like that was the end.  What did you do in response?  Did you take the outcome as the end, or did you figure out how to move past that moment and make the best out of the situation? 

 

I will admit, at various times in my life I have in fact been that one who felt like things kept happening to me, and there was nothing I could do about it but accept what was dealt to me.  It often triggered me to expect and accept far less than I should have.  Then I blamed everything that happened to me on everyone and everything else.  It was always someone else’s fault why I didn’t get the promotion, why my finances weren’t in great shape, why I kept choosing the wrong mate for relationships, and why I wasn’t able to really move forward in life the way I wanted to.  Then I was introduced to the word accountability. 

 

Sure there were some unfortunate things that have happened in my life, and it wasn’t all someone else’s fault.   Some things I actually contributed to, but just because it didn’t work this time doesn’t mean that I should give up.  Maybe it wasn’t the right opportunity (job, relationship, car, etc.), or maybe it simply wasn’t the right time.  Most successful people fail many times before they make it to their “big break.”  When they fail they simply dust themselves off and get back up and try it again.  It doesn’t mean that their failures didn’t hurt or disappoint them.  It simply means that they got back up and tried again. 

 

So today ask yourself, is my life being controlled by the 10% that happens to me, or the 90% that I am doing about it? As always I thank you for stopping by.  Remember to be friendly, show favor, and give love!

The Season Is Changing

Today is a great day! The wind is in my hair, and the sun is shining on my face. The season is changing, and I’m not just talking about the weather. I have been silent for most of the past few months, and honestly it wasn’t on purpose. It’s just before I knew it days turned into months, and nothing had been written. Today that is changing.

 

For the first time in a very long time, I actually feel like myself again.  I actually feel free to be me. I don’t know about you, but sometimes circumstances and situations can make you feel a little off balance.  I’ve been in that place for a while now, survival mode. That mode where literally you keep your nose down to the grind so much, you don’t take the time to look up and take in what’s happening around you.  The seasons are changing and you don’t even know it, because you are focused on surviving.

 

Surviving what you ask? It could be surviving financially, emotionally, physically, or mentally.  For each person, their “survival mode” could be different.  I’m sure almost everyone understands the financial survival.  You’re basically just trying to make ends meet.  As my former Pastor would say, “You got more month left than you do money.”  Now I think emotional and mental survival go hand and hand.  Emotional survival can make you play Jedi mind tricks on your ownself sometimes; and sometimes you can get so emotionally over whelmed that you feel like you are going to suffer a mental break.  Then there are times when mental survival simply can stand on its own.  Sometimes you can be emotionally stable,  but have so many things coming at you at one time, that mentally you become stressed and overwhelmed, again feeling like you may suffer a mental break.  So to avoid all of the above you go into a numb place called, “Survival Mode.”

 

Today though, I am making a conscious effort to stop, look up, and take in what’s going on around me.  I’m so glad that I am, because the season is changing in my life, and I don’t want to miss it.  I don’t want to miss the chance to breathe easy.  I don’t want to miss the opportunity to see just how much my children are growing and blossoming.  Most of all, I don’t want to miss the chance to experience my own growth and development.  I want to live and truly enjoy what life has to offer me.  Despite how close or far my life seems to be from “my ideal” dreams, goals, and accomplishments, I am grateful for my life and the blessings that I have received.  Could somethings have been done differently, absolutely!  Could somethings have been better, absolutely!  But, it doesn’t change the fact that I am still blessed.  I can now say for sure that life is what you make it.  There is an up and down side to everything, but its up to you which view you choose to focus on.

 

As always thank you for stopping by, remember as you go through your day to Be Friendly, Show Favor, and Give Love.

 

Do Your Part

The other day, I sat and watched as Baltimore City experienced pure chaos, wondering if my friends and family that lived there were ok.   Many of the areas affected, I have been through at various times during my visits to the city. I can only imagine the heart break the residents were feeling as they watched their neighborhood businesses be looted and practically burned to the ground.  I was glued to the TV unable to disconnect.  I watched as some expressed their anger, others their dismay, and others take a stand against those rioting and looting.  I listened as this one woman cried out, “Where are the community leaders?  Who is in charge?  Why aren’t these community leaders down here?”

 

The interesting thing is toward the end of last year, I found myself saddened as many of the few remaining civil rights activist passed away.   A lot of the history, determination, and civil fight went with them.  I thought to myself then, “Who is going to pick up this torch now?  Who is going to lead us through the next wave of the new civil rights movement?”   In this day and time, there seems to be a huge disconnect between where we’ve been, and where we are going.  I remember once reading a quote that said, “If you don’t know your history, you are bound to repeat it.”  With this disconnect, I feel like we are finding ourselves repeating some of our history.  There are lessons and wisdom that should be passed down from generation to generation, but some where along the line some of these very vital bits of information got lost.  And please let me be clear, when I say “we” and “us”, I am talking about we the American People. 

 

While I realize I am definitely not destined to be a community activist, I do have a role and a major part to play in bridging the gap.  What is my part?  Educate, mentor, counsel, and nurture those who come across my path, especially those of the younger generation.  I was so relieved and inspired when I saw how much of a difference one day made in Baltimore.  Religious leaders of all different faiths, community leaders, street leaders, all came together to try to bring peace and educate those who were angry and eager to get their point across.  I loved that they opened their doors to bring people in and show them, this is how you protest, this is how you keep the conversation on the heart of the matter.  Other cities are joining in and protesting in their own home towns.  Now, we are rising as a people, an American people to say, “Enough is Enough!”

 

So what is the point of today’s post?  The point is do your part.  You may not be the lead, the understudy, or the co-star.  You may be a prop or a stage hand, but whatever  you are, you are a part of the supporting cast.  Find your place, and do your part.  Our society and children need you.  As always thank you for stopping by, remember as you go through your day to Be Friendly, Show Favor, and Give Love.  

Looking Forward…

As another year comes to a close, I look back to see how much progress I have made.  My goal is always not to find myself in the same place as I was the year before.  I can honestly say that I have seen some growth.  There are some things I wish I had improved on a little more, but hey those things can be the focus for the new year.  
I said when I first started this blog that I was looking to make lifelong changes, and that’s exactly what I have been working on.  However, lifelong changes don’t usually happen overnight.  Over the past month or so, more often than not, I hear my Grandaddy’s voice ringing in my ears saying, “It’s not about how fast you get there, it’s that you get there.” So I have been finding my pace, and moving along the way.
This past year for me has really been about my dreams and purpose, but it was the foundation that was the main focus.  I can’t tell you how many people I have encountered this year whose focus was on living out their dreams.  I can’t say that I achieved my dream, but I can say that the wheels are turning and I am headed in the right direction.  I honestly had to reacquaint myself with my dreams and purpose.  I had allowed myself to get in settlement mode about to settle for far less than my share of the pie, all because of a few disappointments and what seemed to be missed opportunities.  
I’m so glad I came to my senses, because that would be a miserable life. At the end of the day I realized that I have to stop making excuses and pursue with all that is within me. By pursue I mean take “wise” advantage of the opportunities that are placed in front of me. The bible says, “All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial.”  I want to take advantage of the opportunities that are beneficial. 
So in 2015 I strongly encourage you to work toward your dreams as well.  Please don’t let them die.  Let’s not find out what happens to an unfilled dream.  Until 2015, Happy New Year, and dream on! Thanks for stopping by, and Remember to Be Friendly, Give Love, and Show Favor.

Who’s In Your Way?

I had the pleasure of guest speaking on a motivational conference call a few days ago, and it was amazing to find that almost everyone on the call could relate to the topic I was sharing.  What I realized half way through the call was that I was not only talking to them, but I was talking to myself.  I based my talk on my blog post, “Getting to Know You,” but the talk itself took a turn that I wasn’t expecting.  I found myself being more vulnerable with this group of people that I barely even knew, than honestly I was comfortable with.  Nevertheless, it was good for me.
In changing courses with this group, I was required to take a trip down memory lane.  I had to revisit some places that not only provided me with some triumphant moments, but that also dealt me some devastating blows; the very places that caused me to question whether my vision was really my purpose & destiny, or simply an illusion.  As I continued to share my personal testimony with the group, it became clearer and clearer that the vision really was my purpose and destiny.   I also faced the truth that I had very much played a role in sabotaging my own success through my lack of esteem, insecurity in my abilities, and unconscious fear of what success would be like for me.
For years people told me that I had a fear of success and that I was the only one in my way; and for years that just didn’t make sense to me.  I mean why wouldn’t I, of all people, want me to succeed?  That could only work out in my favor right?  Yet, as I shared my story with the group, I saw where every time I would get to the point of take-off, I, not anyone else, would find something to deflect with, and talk myself into why it wasn’t a good time to move, or why I should do the opposite of what professionals in my field would mentor and advise me.  All of this clearly flashed before my eyes, as I was leading a call to encourage and inspire others. Wow!
Well today I have road rage on the express way to my purpose and destiny, and I am honking and yelling at myself, “MOVE!  GET OUT THE WAY!  I HAVE SOME WHERE IMPORTANT TO BE, AND YOU ARE MAKING ME LATE-R! YOU CAN SUNDAY MORNING DRIVE ANOTHER TIME!”

As always, I thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have enjoyed today post.  Remember, today is a great day to make a positive impact in the lives of those you come in contact with.  As my Pastor always says, Be Friendly, Show Favor, and Give Love… Mission 33!