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How do you get to the breakthrough?

My eyes are about to fall out of my head.

I can’t do much more of this homework for tomorrow.

But I really needed to blog.

I met with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and she congratulated me on my new job and all of that fabulous good stuff.

Oh yeah. I finished my first module of grad school with one A-, B and a B+. I think that’s darn good for full-time employment and not being in school for ten years! Patting myself on the back.

But getting back to the point. The friend sighed and said, “What did you do to get to the breakthrough?”

Her question totally threw me off.

While great things are happening to me right now, I still feel overwhelmed a lot of times, nervous and anxious that I don’t want to screw it all up or disappoint myself or not excel to the point where I come short of the blessing of it all. So I’m busting my hump, and I’m not doing a whole lot of sleeping and I’m waking up early.

But her question also gave me great perspective on what I put out there.

I’ve been vocal that my life ain’t been no crystal stair, but it hasn’t been just some long, difficult traumatic experience. I’ve never been abused, I’ve never really gone without and I know successful people who have been in those situations. And they blow me away.

So I sat and thought about it. And I gave her this list.

I made a conscious decision after not getting another really awesome job that fine, God if I’m supposed to stay at my job, you have a reason why I’m supposed to stay here and I accepted that.

Now that did not mean I thought I didn’t deserve better or I should just stay there forever. But I decided to pick out the 16 things that I was thankful for and decided there were advantages to being where I was at the time.

Which led to the decision to get a master’s degree.

Which led to getting the information and having really aggressive admissions officers strong-arm me into taking the GRE and making admission deadlines.

Before I knew it, I was putting my energy into something real instead of coming home every day and vegging out. Man, I miss free time!! I have a deeper appreciation even for my Target runs or times I can go out with my friends.

So once I accepted my situation and started being conscious about telling God thank you, it opened me up to do new things.

Then at work, new opportunities happened where I could try new things and impress folks and that was awesome. It boosted my confidence. I got a chance to lead and I decided to use those opportunities as practice for whenever the next phase of my fabulous life was going to begin and require that level of confidence and aptitude.

Giving up online dating and stressing over finding a man, and even giving into urges to have meaningless flings and being honest with myself that I deserved more and deserved and really desired intimacy, it was easier to ignore the late night “are you up?” texts from men I normally couldn’t resist.

Sometimes you got to give some stuff up.

I was praying more.

But not those formal prayers with all the extras. I started talking to God like anyone else and I was talking to him when I studied, when I was driving to and from work and saying what was really on my mind. What I was afraid of, how grateful I was for everything I had, opportunities, comforts. I told Him about things that upset me, things I didn’t think were very fair or people who pissed me off. I was getting way more real.

I was working on being more transparent, getting more comfortable with who I am and giving myself more credit.

I was constantly writing down things goals, dreams. I daydreamed again about things I’m interested in, the things that make me happy and things I’m passionate about and I wanted to place myself in close proximity to those things. I wanted to keep my thoughts on those things.

I shared with people how much I valued and appreciated them. I agree that an attitude of gratitude can change things. Opening yourself up to people, finding ways to help other people and do nice things for people just from your heart can do wonders.

Appreciating the small things and being happy for other people when good things happen to them and being that way for real. Not in a phony way.

There’s no one way to have the “breakthrough.” You have to break through and that requires work. It requires a bit of risk-taking and stepping out to really examine what’s in your heart, what’s important to you, what your values are and what you believe in and doing things that bring you closer to that. It seems like the rest follows from there.

Being grateful for what you have right now and realizing that you’ve already got a lot and have what you need puts things into perspective. If you are never satisfied, you will never be satisfied. There’s nothing wrong with setting new goals and wanting more, but you should take time to take inventory of what’s good right now and how far you’ve come.

Another friend this week mentioned that I tend to have a positive outlook on life. Once again, it threw me off, because I know the times I felt like I was swirling around the toilet of life. But I take it all as a compliment and a blessing and if people can see a positive light in me, I’m blessed.

The original friend who asked me about the breakthrough, I asked her about what she was passionate about and I encouraged her to pick up the phone and volunteer for an organization that supports what she loves. She may not be getting paid for it now, but an opportunity could come later. We all got to pay bills and that’s real, but I keep learning when there’s something burning in your heart, if you take a step in that direction and do some of the inconvenient, uncomfortable work, you will get to where you want to be.


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5 thoughts on “How do you get to the breakthrough?

  1. I love this post. I’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately and this made me feel so much better. Thank you!

  2. Really great post. I wholeheartedly agree about expressing gratitude. I was texting with my best friend last night and I actually told her I felt like I was having a problem with this — truly appreciating all the good things in my life, something I feel like I usually do with ease. Not sure if it’s a symptom or the cause of the problem itself, but I’ve felt more directionless lately and rather down in the dumps. So I got up this morning determined to get myself together — get off Facebook and stop feeling envious and focus on all the good in my life. Your post has further inspired me. Maybe you should be a life coach! Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! It’s easy to fall in a rut and to not see all of the things we should be thankful for. We take A LOT for granted. Normally, until we are threatened by poor health or unemployment or we lose someone to death, that’s when we start taking inventory. Difficult times are inevitable, just as awesome times are. So in the inbetween time, when we are on what seems to be autopilot, or when nothing really good or really bad is happening, it’s just harder to see the daily, little blessings.

    Facebook will kill your self esteem. I tell people all of the time it’s PR for regular folks. Everyone is out there controlling and manipulating their story. You can’t believe everything you see. So you should never find yourself comparing yourself to other people on Facebook. Even when awesome things are happening to people, you best believe the journey to that period of success and happiness came at a cost. There was hardship and difficulty and sacrifice in some form prior to that.

    The things that give me hope during the crappy time is life is cyclical. Balance is going to happen. Things will even out, that’s why even in good times, I’m even more thankful, because it goes and comes in cycles.

    I bet right now, if you really think about it, you can think of like 5 or 6 things right now that you are totally thankful for that other people wish they had or could be!

    Life coach? Hmmm. Who knows? Maybe that would be cool in the future. It feels good to help people and share!

  4. That’s a good point about “the inbetween” and being on autopilot. That’s exactly where I am right now — nothing great or out of the ordinary and nothing horrible. At times I’ve been extremely anxious when things are going well fearing that the next shoe will inevitably drop. Gratitude always helps with that, and even in really hard times in my life I’ve felt more spiritually connected inspite of the pain or whatever. Thanks again for such a thoughtful reply. You’re a wise woman.

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