Ready is Relative

“Great people do things before they’re ready”. Simple quote, but yesterday morning, during my daily wake-up ritual of opening up social media (don’t judge me), it was the first one I saw, and it hit me hard. It ended up shaping not only the course of my day, but it also impacted my interactions. Maybe there was something in the air, but a lot of my friends and colleagues seemed to have awakened with a restless motivation. You see, the status quo didn’t, and doesn’t seem to working anymore, and being just to be is no longer good enough. So many people expressed that they were living, but aren’t actually alive. The realization that there is more to life hit them just like that quote did for me. Are you feeling it too? Because here’s the thing: that restlessness is a clear sign that you are ready and in need of a change, and that change is imminent.

Train Tracks

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

Maybe you work in corporate America, and you spend the majority of your days attending mindless meetings. You know, those meetings that aren’t held out of necessity, but more so because you had an empty spot in your calendar? And you end up spending those meetings daydreaming, unfulfilled, disenchanted, disillusioned, and disengaged. You find yourself starting to wonder what the point is, and whether there is truly more than what you wake up and do, day in and day out. You have ideas, you have dreams, but you don’t feel like it’s the right time to go after them. So instead, you sit in your meetings and push the daydreams out of your mind, because you know, security and responsibility and all of that. But of course, when you’re ready, then you’ll make the right move. However, at which point do you decide you’re ready?

Corporate Cat

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

That’s the issue many struggle with. Everything has to be done at the “right time”. I’ve realized though, that the right time doesn’t really exist. Tomorrow isn’t promised, yet we constantly push everything to that day. Recently, a friend of mine who was jaded in her corporate role, decided to take a chance and follow her passion. She was afraid, even terrified at times, and she needed somewhat of a push. She definitely wasn’t ready, but she decided that not being ready wasn’t a good enough reason anymore. Don’t get me wrong; she does admit it can be difficult at times, but the most important part is that she’s happy, fulfilled, and feeling as if she’s being true to herself and her heart.

Photo Girl

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

If it scares you, yet thrills you…if it makes you want to curl up and hide away in a safe comfort zone, but the thought of NOT doing anything is more daunting, then chances are, it’s time for you to explore it. Maybe you can’t take the risk, maybe you’re afraid to jump, but if you take that approach, you’ll fail at it 100% of the time. Sometimes, the fear of trying is trumped by the fear of never knowing. Make today the day you try.

Series Finale

As I begin to write this, I’m a little hesitant, because, you see, in the past, I’ve tried very hard to stay away from political and social issues when it comes to my blog posts. I’m not someone who pretends to have all of the answers, or even someone who pretends to know about everything that occurs in our country and world. What I’m realizing though, is that I can’t be expected to be silent, and then in turn, become outraged at the results of my silence and inaction. On this day – a day a friend of mine characterized as “…growing up in the [19]60’s…”, I am grieving. Not because Hillary Clinton lost (sorry Hillary supporters, I wasn’t on the #imwithher bandwagon…more so #imnotwithim), but because of what we were losing. No, I’m not talking about losing Barack Obama (that in itself is an essay for another time), but what we, as American people, have lost holistically.

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Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

I look back over the last year or so, during the campaign, and I want to say that, above anything else, we lost our minds. More importantly though, we lost that false sense of security we were led to believe existed. Somehow, we lost our sense of reality of what has occurred in our country for hundreds of years. Oppression, hatred, misogyny, racism – we somehow have behaved like Columbus and claimed these things as new discoveries, blindly forgetting that they were already simmering below the surface. We lost the understanding that those prejudices and biases didn’t magically go away with the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act was similar to how people with terminal cancer are treated. They’re given medicine to help ease the pain and suffering, but the cancer still remains, and unless there is a breakthrough, they won’t be healed.

snow-bridge

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

Lately, there has been heavy discussion in many groups about the importance of organizing and mobilizing, and that is a beautiful thing. Because you see, we allowed our obsession with the Kardashians and the filtered world of social media to keep us uninformed and complacent. We’ve spent the last 50 years in this ocean of information that kept getting shallower and shallower with each passing decade, and now it’s barely deep enough to wade in. Even for the last four years, we remained apathetic and disconnected from reality, instead of remembering that we only had four years to focus on getting it right. I’m frightened that it has taken the election of the monster society created to snap out of it. And unfortunately, many people are still living in their land of Instagram likes and followers, unable (or unwilling) to face the fact that we’ve lost.

plants-in-window

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

So what do we do now? How do we reverse this social media culture of information overload that has bred ineffective people who lack basic critical thinking skills? Is this the potentially catastrophic event that will cause people to turn off their phones and turn on their brains? Is this what begins to make us think, to read, to care? If you are not preparing for the next four years, then you shouldn’t complain about what occurs after it. If you are really outraged, if you are really disgusted, if you really care, then you have no choice but to take action. Now is the time we decide if the network is picking us up for another season, or if this is the end.

blue-sky-walls

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Set Goals, Not Resolutions

One week of the new year down, and what have you accomplished? Many of us create beautiful vision boards that we tuck away and ignore all year. Some of us make elaborate lists with lofty goals that becoming more and more intimidating as the days fly by. Even more of us keep the ideas we have and things we want floating idly in our minds, with a silent promise of, “I’ll start tomorrow” lingering in the cobwebs. Did you know that almost all of the people (91%) who make resolutions never succeed at reaching their desired outcome? With a week down, have you thought about what side of that coin you’re going to land on?

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I always tell people that I don’t make resolutions, and that’s the truth. Part of it is because I hate doing what other people are doing, but the bigger part is that I know that I’ll fail at them, because they’re just words. My daily goal is to always be better than who I was yesterday, and that encompasses not just my actions, but my internal growth meter. Of course, that is a pretty vague goal, so I follow-up that vagueness with brainstorming specific actions I need to take to meet my micro-goals that enable me to be a better version of myself.

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Effective planning is probably the most integral part of my goal setting strategy, because honestly, how can you get to the end if you haven’t thought about the journey? You would never (hopefully) travel to a new place without doing some sort of research, and you’d more than likely pull out the maps app on your phone to help guide you to your destination. In order for your goals to be realistic and accessible, making a clear plan HAS to be your first step. Of course, I didn’t really think about this in the past. I would just go through my days, fitting things in on a whim or when I had what I considered to be a spare moment, and as a result, didn’t get much done. I’ve taken to planning out my week on Sundays, to make sure that I’m doing at least one thing per day to reach specific goals. It doesn’t have to be big, but it has to be consistent and with intent.

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Consistency and intent are in the top five of my relationship priority list, but they’re also at the top of my goals planning. I always have grand ideas that seem impossible, but I’ve learned that working towards them daily is what brings them to fruition. I set aside time each and every day to work on a particular goal, and this set time is non-negotiable (save for emergencies). Even if I’m just reading something that relates to my goal, I make sure that there are no distractions and that the time is sacred. It may seem as if blocking out time is restrictive, and that we don’t have enough hours in the day, but how often do we start scrolling on social media (me) and look at the time and realize we’ve been doing it for 30+ minutes (also me)?! If you have at least 20 minutes a day, that’s enough to add a drop to your goal bucket.

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Finally, accountability is a huge step for me, and one that keeps me on track. My friends and I will frequently share our goals with each other, and schedule routine check-ins to make sure we’re doing what we vowed to do. I talked about the steps towards your goals not having to be large, and this has resulted in a daily habit I share with my friends. We will text each other in the mornings with one to three micro-goals, and then follow-up in the evening to make sure we’ve accomplished them. One thing I hate is appearing unprepared or like I’m falling behind, so I make sure I’ve done whatever it is I said I’d do.

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After the excitement of creating resolutions and goals has worn off, they can turn into pretty daunting things that are easy to cast to the side because they seem difficult, but they don’t have to be. Staying focused on your vision is the most important aspect of goal-setting, and can be easy if you plan smartly for it. One of my favorite books that discusses this in more detail is the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey. For planning, I purchased the Passion Planner this year, and it has helped me plan my days down to the half hour. We’re only a week into the new year, and it’s not too late to focus on making this your best year yet. Don’t be the 91% who didn’t follow through.

 

 

When One Moment Ends, Another Begins

2016. The “awful” year that seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye. I don’t mean this in the same depressing memes and posts I’ve seen, in which everyone is lamenting about 2016 being the year of pain and suffering, about it being the worst year ever. It wasn’t a horrible year. A trying one, yes. One that engulfed many in heartache, most definitely. But I’ve been viewing it mostly as the year that the wool was lifted from the eyes of many, where the reality of life and the world finally seeped into the forefront of the social media circus, permeating the shallowness of so many with a hard dose of truth. The idealism that we may have felt on 12/31/15 has been chipped at a little, but it doesn’t mean that the year was lived in vain. Some of us attained knowledge of self and others, in ways that made us question everything around us. It was a year of growth – uncomfortable growth – that served the purpose of revealing our strengths, and our weaknesses.

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As I reflect on all of my experiences throughout the year, I feel accomplished, and at peace with everything I’ve gone through, good and bad. I traveled a lot – including my first trip to Europe. I met my favorite hip-hop artist/activist, David Banner. I saw Beyoncé give an amazing concert in my favorite city of all time, NYC. I took a chance with my writing, and although the dream hasn’t come to fruition yet, I am a step closer to realizing it. I rekindled precious friendships that I believed were all but lost, and I came to terms with the fact that some are sadly lost forever. I learned patience, and loving even when the love isn’t returned in the way I desired. I realized that kindness should always be the first choice, and when it’s not an option, then silence is best. And most importantly, I learned that I am not for everyone, but it doesn’t make me any less unique and beautiful.

aer-lingus

Tonight, as you get closer to the countdown, I urge you to give a little reflection as well. Many of you will be out partying until your hearts’ content, but before you do, be thankful for all that you have gone through this year. If you were the same person you were this time last year – hell, if you’re the same person you were yesterday – then you have failed your goal of living and evolving.Be kind. Be loving. Be positive. You made it through, and if you made it through with scars, remember that they can still be healed. Make some real plans – not resolutions, but goals that you can etch away at each day. Look forward to everything that’s ahead of you, because it will be an amazing time. Every day is a gift just waiting to be unwrapped, so make sure you’re present for every moment of them.

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Sharing is Caring…Literally

I grew up in a household with five other siblings, three being younger than me, and I can recall despising the concept of sharing. I would look at the adults and think, none of THEM are sharing – why do I have to? I would go to school and balk at the kids wanting to borrow my crayons, asking for my loose-leaf paper, eating my candy. I had to share my time, sometimes my bedroom, even my money when I was old enough to get a summer job. I relished in the times I had to myself, the moments I could open up a pack of Now and Laters without a hungry glance from a younger sibling, the moments when I could sit in a park and write uninterrupted (save for the attacking pigeons). I detested the concept so much that I carried my disdain over into adulthood, even in my friendships and unfortunately, in my marriage.

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Now, don’t get wrong. I was a very giving person, and I still am. But that giving was always on my terms, under my control. I love nothing more than to help someone in need, to donate to a cause, to give my time and energy to something I believe in. However, when I was younger, if you told me you needed my sharing, my stubbornness and deep-rooted aversion to it would take hold. Even if I succumbed, it would probably be half-heartedly or with resentment. The more I was faced with compromise, the more I stood my ground, feeling that if I bended and shared, it would be akin to weakness. Nothing exemplified this rigidness more than my marriage.

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We were married as teenagers, a time where you are still trying to find your way in the world, when you’re still trying to understand who you are as a person. And no one (NO ONE ) is more selfish than a teenager. Without the guidance of those who had been on that ride before, we fumbled through the relationship, without a clear path in mind. If he wanted to go left, I would probably go right. If I wanted to criss, he would probably want to cross. Compromise (the biggest form of sharing in a relationship) was a constant battle, and one that neither of us seemed to ever win. Instead of actually sharing, we would find ways to ensure our independence was intact, behaving in ways that destroyed the purpose and beauty of marriage. Even when it was breaking, it still wasn’t enough for us to attempt to mend it, because you see, we were both still viewing ourselves and our relationship from a selfish teenaged point of view.

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For me, it wasn’t until after I was far removed from the relationship that I could clearly see that the cracks were really breaks. Hindsight is always 20/20, and knowing that a lot of the issues could have been solved, had the intention to actually share and compromise been at the forefront, was eye-opening. Some say people never change, and I believe that to be true. You should never change who you are at your core, because your uniqueness is what makes you, and you should never compromise your moral standards. But experiences – those should push you to grow, to evolve, to elevate yourself to a higher standard. I’ve learned that sharing isn’t a bad thing, and when done correctly, and bring the most amazing people, experiences and most importantly – love – into your life. I realize now that maybe – just maybe – our kindergarten teachers had the right mindset.

 

(All photos courtesy of gratisography.com)

In Transition

There are moments in your life in which you’ll feel lost, unfocused, unmotivated, unambitious. It will seem like everything you want and dream of is always just out of reach. You will be filled with indescribable pain – pain that doesn’t radiate from a clear point, but is felt intensely just the same. Your appetite will begin to fail you, and every sunny day will have a permanent cloud floating within it, directly above your head. And in those moments, there will be nothing easier than for you to feel as if you have failed, and in effect, allow yourself to stop living. Not necessarily physically, but spiritually, emotionally, mentally.

Laundry

Every single disappointment that is felt – every failed career move, every failed relationship, every failed diet and health endeavor – every supposed failure will begin to take its toll on your soul. The heaviness will feel immovable, and you will feel immobile and stuck. Almost as if your feet are covered in cement blocks, and you’ve been thrown into a vat of quicksand. When you’re in quicksand, you’re told to refrain from fighting, because you’ll make it worse, and that’s true. But some fights don’t require physical strength. It seems counterintuitive, but in those moments, your focus should turn inward, and you should seek wisdom to help calm you. These are the moments that are most crucial, because those moments are called transition. 

Which Door

So many of us hate the thought and feeling of transition. It is uncomfortable, because it is stretching us, pushing us towards a life that is unfamiliar to the one we currently have. We want desperately to hold on to what we have now, even if it is not serving us well, because the thought of the unknown is far worse. As humans, we are creatures of habit, because habitual behaviors enable us to multitask and get through our everyday life rather seamlessly. Our habits are a gift and a curse, and they can pin us down into situations and experiences that should be changed. We settle for less than what we deserve and what we want, because we put in our minds that something is better than nothing, and something familiar is better than something new. If we continue to hold on to that mindset, we will never experience growth, and lack of growth is akin to death. Would you rather be dead inside than to try, just a little bit?

Strength

Our cycles of growth are cyclical, and we are given the opportunity to evolve every few months or so. If I want to keep it one hundred, I would even argue that those opportunities are provided to us every day, the moment we open our eyes. When you’re going through those transitional growth periods, your biggest tool is to be present, to pay attention to what is occurring within as well as around you. It is when we’re at our lowest points that our biggest seasons of change are revving up. I’m personally experiencing my own growth cycle, and damn, it doesn’t feel good at all. And I’ll be honest; I don’t want it – I don’t want to deal with this battle. But I know that I need it. Some of us walk into the storm, but others hunker down deep in the basement of their minds. If you’re feeling paralyzed, be introspective and figure out why it may be happening. Cut down on the distractions and begin the process of internal de-cluttering, but most importantly, don’t be complacent. There is something so much greater for you, but you have to be willing to go through the changes to get there.

(All photos courtesy of gratisography.com

 

 

 

The Happiness Factor

The other day, I had the most amazing discussion with an older woman, in her early 80s, named Joyce M. I met her at an alteration shop, and she watched as I tried on my bridesmaid dress, waiting to be pinned. She told me how beautiful it was, and we chatted about her wedding, and the colors she made her bridesmaids wear. I joked and told her that I already knew what colors I’d have for mine, and that I couldn’t wait to get married again (this is actually true, even though I currently don’t have a boyfriend nor actual prospects). After I was all changed and ready to go, we stepped outside, and continued to converse by our cars in the sweltering July sun. I told her that, although marriage would be great, I was currently focusing on myself, and how to become more like myself everyday. She indicated that my focus was coincidental, as she had attended a family reunion the previous weekend, and her nephew had given a presentation on the pursuit of happiness.

Pancakes

He discussed a study, the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which is considered the longest study ever (75 years and counting). The study follows 724 adult men throughout their life, examining their experiences and quality of life, but the crux of the study essentially investigates what happiness is and was for each of those men. What was coincidental on my end is that just a couple of hours prior, I had a great discussion with a friend on this very topic, about what happiness is and what it looked like for us. Many times, people comment on the way you live your life, and interject their feelings of disapproval, because they aren’t in your specific situation. They find it mind-boggling that your version of happiness isn’t reflective of THEIR version of happiness. The thing is…your happiness is your responsibility, and no one else’s. You aren’t responsible for their happiness, their relationships, their careers – that is something they ultimately have control over. What we make of our lives is a direct result of our own decisions, and in those decisions, practicing mindfulness and self-guidance.

Kitty Mail Slot

The discussion was so timely, because although I consider myself fairly content, I’m not sure if I’ve yet attained that goal of ultimate happiness. It was as if the Universe was speaking to me, and causing me to be mindful of my present, instead of focusing too heavily on my past or future. Joyce mentioned that her nephew presented a book during his presentation, by Dr. Seuss, entitled, “Oh The Places You’ll Go!”. How many of us have not even bothered to glance at that book, because it appears to be a children’s book? But oh, it’s definitely not, and it’s filled with a variety of advice on how life’s ups and downs will halt us, spin us around, even bring us to extreme moments of despair, but we have to keep moving. We can’t let past failures cloud our futures and our pursuits.I’m learning to be open to new situations and people, and to be careful to not close myself off because I think I already know better. Sometimes we have to start giving new and different experiences a chance, because we won’t know unless we actually try.

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I would often talk about finding love, and wanting to be in love, but at the first sign of viable interest, I would close my heart’s windows and shut the blinds. After a failed marriage, there was nothing in me that could even consider trusting another human again. If once upon a time I had a love so deep and intense, but one we both could ultimately dispose of so callously, what hope was there for something equal or better? There were days and nights that I could do nothing but cry in emotional and spiritual pain, unable to verbalize the exact cause of my hurt. As a result, I made sure that my walls were reinforced with iron and industrial grade concrete, and every once in a while I would make sure there was a steel gate to slide across that wall too!

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In the past couple of years of self-reflection and self-actualization, I’ve learned that while it’s quite alright to be cautious, sometimes you have to make space in that wall for a door too. I realized I was only going to receive the joy I longed for, the spiritual and mental peace I craved, if I took the risk of being open to change. Of course, the catch-22 is that no one else can determine what those risks will entail, because they can’t define what my happiness looks like. I’ve had to make the conscious decision to search for and create my own contentment. It has been difficult, because it has taken a lot of effort, and extreme soul-searching, but it is possible. I’m now living by the words of the famous Seuss, every day I wake up: “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!”

 

 

 

It’s Better to Heal…Than to Hurt

It’s very easy to run away from and avoid the reality of our lives. It’s even easier to harbor hatred and feigned indifference, than it is to examine ourselves and determine the role we’ve played in the demise of something that was once deemed important and beautiful. Hatred is not a clear-cut emotion, but is typically a mask for something deeper, usually deep-seated pain and hurt. When people hate, it is because they are too emotionally immature to deal with the heartache they’re experiencing, the hurt they believe is caused by another person or situation. In actuality, no one can make you feel anything you don’t want to feel. Your emotions are your responsibility, and you ultimately have the control over how they are expressed. But how do we wade through our insecurities and elevate ourselves in a way that causes anger and hatred to be fleeting emotions, that aren’t allowed to take up residence in our souls?

Pinata Murderer

Practice self-love. This sounds so simple, yet so many people don’t know how to accomplish this. I sometimes blame it on our modern society and the new cultural expectations we seem to have. We are so dependent on the acceptance and love of others that when we don’t have it, we feel empty inside. We constantly seek the approval, the love…the admiration of others, and when it’s not reciprocated, we tumble down the rabbit hole of despair. You, and only you, have the power to create and manifest your own happiness. How much you love yourself should not be contingent upon how much someone loves you.

Self Love

Do NOT mirror emotions. This is a difficult one for me, personally, because I am an empath by nature – meaning I sense and feel the emotions of those around me quite easily. If I walk into a room and there are people being jovial and lighthearted, my first inclination is to do the same. On the flip side, if I’m sitting next to you, and you are angry, chances are, I will find myself slowly getting angry as well. My soul tends to be a little emotional sponge that wants to share in the experiences of others, even when those experiences are detrimental to my well-being and alter my mood. You have to be extremely cognizant of this in yourself, which I am still learning to be. It takes a LOT of extra work, but if I’m being attacked with negativity, I actively remind myself that I have control over my feelings and cannot allow infiltration by the hurt party. Count to ten if you have to, but do NOT match their emotional level. Your spirit will thank you.

Twin Horses

Be aware of your feelings. Pain can be a confusing place. Someone says or does something we perceive to be cruel, and the first thought an emotionally immature person has is to “get back” at them. Did you know that the more supposed revenge you seek, the more negative energy you bring on yourself, and the more horrible you feel (Unless of course, you are a completely narcissistic person who is incapable of taking responsibility for your actions and their resulting consequences)? There’s supposedly a very thin line between love and hate, but that’s because the line is a fallacy. Hatred does not exist without love, period. It is just the level that reveals itself when you are unable to cope with the pain that occurred within that love. Instead of dealing with the underlying feeling that is making you lash out, you instead blame any and everything in your life on the person you thought caused it, and you try to hurt them to match what YOU feel inside. Meanwhile, because they’ve matured and actively practice the art of self-love, they’re just deflecting all of your attacks with grace while continuously praying for your peace. Stop attacking and become aware of what you’re really feeling. If necessary, see a therapist.

Bloody Radishes

I realize that a lot of this may seem simpler than it is, because the level of passion behind the emotion you’re feeling may seem larger than life. Unfortunately, the truth is, you can’t run from your feelings, no matter how far you try to escape. Continuing to try to cause hurt to others, instead of focusing on your own healing, tends to hurt you more in the long run. Or, in some cases, you end up causing residual hurt to those around you, and those closes to your targets – and then they begin to build resentment within their hearts. Stop trying to actively breed a home of negativity – if you continue, you may wake up one day and find there’s no one left to lash out to.

 

Life is For Living…

I wish I were one of those people who could get up early in the morning and feel like they can take on the world. You know who I mean. Those people who rise at five, do a little meditation and yoga, sip some coffee, ponder life and the like. The truth is, I’m not one of those people. One of my many faults lies in the fact that I am a dreamer by nature. I would rather sleep in, and hold on to my amazing dreams that give me the pleasure of escaping from the reality of the world. My fantasy seems to be so much better than my reality could ever be. But I suppose that’s the problem. All too often, we allow fear and complacency to make us believe that what we are today, what we have at this moment, is all that will ever be true for us. I’ve realized that it is in those moments that we have to push through and make the conscious decision to NOT give in to mediocrity, that we cannot allow our dreams to become wistful memories.

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What is it that you truly want out of life? What are your dreams made of? How will you make those dreams come to fruition? These are the sorts of questions I ask myself, when I find that I’ve spent too many minutes viewing the falsified lives of others on social media sites. Depictions of grandeur, of steak dinners and golden tickets, when the realism is more ramen noodle and shut off notices. I’ve been smart enough to remove television from my life; so much so that, I probably watch not more than an hour a week, if that. Yet somehow, I have a harder time blocking out the social media chatter. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not a coveter by any means. And social media gives me great ideas about what I need to be doing. The one thing it doesn’t provide me with is the actual motivation to get up and do it. I get sucked in the 30 second video montages, and I find that I am unwittingly wasting my life, one view at a time.

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So how do I begin to become one of those people? The early riser, the go getter? At one point, I fit squarely in that category. I was unstoppable, ambitious, creative. And somehow, I’ve let the bullshit take over and turn my mind into the malleable clay that media and society is so desperate to capitalize on. I’ve realized that I need a break. A true break. I need to refocus on living, experiencing, being present. We spend so much time proving to everyone else that we’re living our lives that we forget to prove to ourselves how to actually do so, never realizing that we truly aren’t. What’s important to me right now though? Living in this moment, regaining my creativity and drive, loving myself and those around me, but in an intentional, not half-hearted way. Too many of us are alive, yet refuse to live. I have no desire to be a drone, a clone of everything that is wrong in our shallow world, a person who is incapable of formulating their own opinions and feelings without first checking in on the popular consensus. Today, I choose to wake up; what will be your wake up call?

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Prepare for Greatness

One of my very best girlfriends sent me a wonderful, inspiring short video this morning. It was a video of Steve Harvey, and in it, he was discussing how important it is for us to decide to step out on faith and take that “jump” towards fulfilling our purpose in life. I loved it so much that I shared it with other friends, who immediately stated that it was just what they needed this morning. For Millenials like myself, life can seem like one endless sequence in “Groundhog Day“. We get up, we slave away at work (usually without taking a lunchbreak or any sort of break), we stay there well past quitting time, we rush home, cook dinner, get some gym time in, shower, fall into bed, and prepare ourselves to do it all again the next day. We comment on how quickly the days, the weeks, the months, the YEARS fly by, and lament on how we don’t feel fulfilled. How if, we just had more time, or more money, or more focus, we would be living the life of our dreams. We stare lifelessly at our work computer screens, we feel our souls dying with each meeting request that pops up on our Outlook to fill our day, and we complain. And we make excuses. And we do nothing. So how do we begin to get out of this sick cycle?

Mini Man

I believe the first key is to start taking just a little bit of time for yourself each day. No, I don’t mean that you should take thirty minutes to scroll aimlessly through your Instagram feed, admiring the false lives of others (that’s called procrastination and distraction). I mean really take that necessary “me” time to get to know yourself. Start by making a list. What is it you would do if money and time weren’t an issue? What makes you sing in the morning? Do you get excited when have time in the kitchen to really put something amazing together? Maybe during all of those meetings, you’re sketching amazing pictorials on your notebook. Or you’re active imagination is creating a telenovela of the fictional lives of your coworkers. Essentially, where does your creativity seem to be sparked?

Open Land

After you’ve taken this time, and made this list (or, if you’re like me, your visual guide), start figuring out how you can begin to fit these things you love into your daily life. Maybe, instead of taking your cell phone in the bathroom with you at home (we all do it, don’t be coy), you bring a notebook to start outlining your plans for your new interior design company. Set real goals for yourself – S.M.A.R.T.E.R. ones – that are attainable. The key here is to get everything down in writing, so, when you feel unmotivated, you can have your own positive words written down to reignite your passion. For me, it was easier to map out my yearly goals on my vision board, and then I could figure out which ones I could expand on and tackle first. Your priority is to be intentional with what you want out of life. The things you want aren’t just going to appear out of thin air, no matter how much wishing and praying you do. Prayer means nothing without action, so you MUST ensure that you aren’t just sitting there hoping for miraculous deliverance.

Live Free

 

And finally – and this is the most important part – share your plan with someone you truly trust. My friends and I are very good about motivating and encouraging each other on a daily basis. Of course, positive reinforcement is great, but what’s most important is that it makes us accountable to the goals and aspirations we have set. One of my friends had a great idea last year to text each other one small goal we had for the day, and at the end of the day, we either checked in to say we completed it, or the other friend would check in to find out if the goal was met. Life kind of got the better of us and we fell off a bit, but it helped us to feel accomplished even when the days weren’t going the way we wanted. It is essential for you to connect and engage with like-minded people, because negativity is a poison that will hinder you from your progress.

Waterfall

It’s so easy to blame others for the lack in our lives, but no one is responsible for you but you. You are the only person who has ultimate control over your progression and your destiny. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to stop the blame game, and to accept responsibility, whether good or bad, for the choices I’ve made in my life. When you begin to see the light in every dark place, you gain power and understanding in reaching your ultimate purpose. Like Steve said, sometimes you’ll make that jump and the parachute won’t deploy immediately, but sometimes trying is better than not trying and never knowing how strong that parachute could have been.