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Archive for the tag “Inspiration”

Breaking the Study Wall

I hit a wall of walls yesterday, trying to study for the GRE.
The panic and anxiety were setting in that at this point it was a week away.
As the days inch closer, I ain’t gonna know, what I ain’t gonna know and the reality of that is settling in.
So I’m trying my best to get really good at what I do know and ride that till the wheels fall off.
It’s so much information.
It’s so overwhelming.
So after staring at the study books, and staring. I decided, I’ll go to the gym.
And that helped. Then I went to the grocery store and got some veggies and a cookies and cream candy bar and ate the joker in my car on the way home.
Did I negate my hard work at the gym?
Possibly. But that wasn’t the point. I needed motivation I needed to physically do something to get my juices flowing.
And they began to flow.
I took out some poster board that I use for my vision boards and I began to write.
I wrote the school I was going to attend. I wrote my March 2014 start date for my program.
And in very large letters I wrote my graduation date and new fancy title. Masters of Public Health.
I wrote things like, “Change the game.”
“Shape Policy” “Create Access”
“If you do your best, let God do the rest.”
Then things changed in my spirit. I wrote things like calm.
Redefine success.
Then I started writing the names of women who inspired me. And they started out as celebrities, singers, artists, dancers, great thinkers and writers, and women in politics, educators.
Then it started to get personal. I listed mentors, and old women from church, women who passed on, and then I wrote the names of my contemporaries, my friends, my sister friends.
I found myself praying for them, praying for their strength to keep on doing what they are doing. I was proud of them.
I found myself thanking God for the women who were no longer with us on Earth and their influence on my life. Just the writing of the names, the speaking of the names was giving me an unexpected strength. I even thought of my ancestors. Women who didn’t have very many choices. My great, great, great-grandmother, who according to some records had no name but negro woman, who bore my great great-grandfather. What a world.
To know what I’ve come from.
I realized I had no choice.
I couldn’t sit and get upset because I’m not great at math. I just had to pick myself up and keep working.
I spoke to the only person I knew who would get it. And not think I was crazy for writing down the names of all these women and feeling some spiritual connection and feeling overwhelmed and humbled and blessed, just by taking time to acknowledge.
The friend told me it was a wonderful experience I had.
She reminded me that I wasn’t like everyone else and that I was far too talented and creative and gifted to just sit down and claim mediocrity as part and parcel of becoming an adult in this world.
She told me, this is my time.
This is my time to study and research and be at the table in terms of helping people with mental illness. The world needs someone like me, who looks like me, who has experienced what I’ve experienced, who knows what I know to go forth and take my place at the table.
These were powerful, yet true words.
My wise friend told me to shut out the noise. To not live in the bubble and to fully and truly follow the path I feel deep down inside of me and not abandon that.
I managed to study for a little more before going to bed. I didn’t log several hours, like the previous day.
But the spiritual boost I had from her, from my prayer and from going to the gym, proved to be just as essential.

Impromptu Poetry: Introduction to Trouble

When we first met, I said I knew you were trouble.

You asked me, how did I know?

I said I felt it in my bones.

You said, what does that feel like?

It feels like a splash of cold water to the face and hot coals on my feet all at the same time.

It feels like standing in front of a speaker and letting the baseline pulsate, vibrate and jump up and down inside your chest and loving the vibration.

It feels like lying to your mamma about why you came home so late, getting away with it and not feeling guilty.

It’s like stepping outside of an air-conditioned building and being smacked in the face with brutal, stifling heat.

It’s refusing to change your sheets after the earth-shattering love you made has long left the building.

It’s lusting for someone in the middle of church. Holding your legs together tight, and not praying for forgiveness.

It’s claiming someone else’s kid on your taxes and spending the refund on something outrageous that only satisfies and makes sense to you.

It’s leaving the last damn swallow of milk in the carton and putting it back in the fridge.

It’s laughing a bit when someone trips and falls.

It’s laughing so hard, you’ve peed a bit.

It’s having one more slice of tiramisu so, you know, it won’t go to waste.

It’s pretending you weren’t that drunk and just calmly excusing yourself to go throw up and return as if nothing happened at all.

It’s doing something you know you aren’t supposed to and deciding the ass whopping to come when you get caught will be as equally justified as it was worth it.

Yup.

You’re trouble.

And he said.

“Have a good day.”

“That’s how you respond to good-ass poetry?”

Connecting Others to Their Purpose Seems to Be Becoming My Purpose

It is no secret that I am a cheerleader for my friends and loved ones.

If there is something you want to do, I generally believe you can do it, even when I’m lacking confidence in my own life.

One of my closest friends has been struggling to find a job, as a lot of people are in these times.

I’ve always said what she has needed most is a great, well-connected mentor.

I’ve been looking and looking, and I think I found her the perfect person. I reached out to this person a few days ago. We hadn’t talked in years, but this woman had an impact on my early in my career. I sent her a very humble, yet passionate email describing how much I love my friend, and how I think that her mentorship will do my friend a great deal of good and point her in the right direction of entering a related field.

This well-connected woman reached back out to me, said she totally remembered me and appreciated the fact that I wanted so badly for my friend to succeed and was so ready to advocate on her behalf. She said she’d be delighted to contact my friend and help her in any way possible.

I have been over the moon about that this morning, because I do believe this interaction– which is now up to my best friend to knock out of the park, can set in motion just what she needs to get her to where she’s been wanting to go.

That moment inspired me greatly.

Right after that email, I saw another from a company I applied with over a year ago and went on an interview for.

They said according to my qualifications in their system, they suggested a position. Normally, these suggestions are way off, and well below my pay requirements.

I’ve been comparing salaries in this area, and this job could potentially make me happy. So I’m going to apply.

I was talking to my other friend I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, a lot about purpose and wondering if as a writer, professionally, I’ve been drifting further and further from what I originally wanted when I set out to be a world-class journalist.

Maybe I did drift, and maybe being a writer for newspapers may no longer be a desire of mine, but I will always be a writer.

But something else has been happening with me. Writing this blog, gives me the opportunity to still do what I love and I love writing this blog and I love the positive feedback people give me.

The other piece of my heart and purpose now really is advocacy. I think this job I’ve come across has the potential to do that. I said several posts ago, I’ve accepted my lot at my current job, and would only apply to jobs that really move me, instead of applying to jobs for more money or to get the hell out.

I’m learning to listen to myself. And I’m listening.

So let’s give it a go.

I took this a step further and decided to write myself a mission statement. If companies and organizations can write them to establish goals and organizational culture for groups of people, why can’t we do this personally? Individually?

I will use my talents and experience as a professional communicator to be an advocate and cheerleader for health, education, the arts, women and girls, and the disenfranchised.

 

I will connect people to resources that will lead them to achieve optimum mental and physical health, and identify and utilize their own creativity, skills and talents in positive and powerful ways.

 

I will use my gifts to empower others.

 

Creativity is my guiding force and inspiration, I will continue to seek inspiration and challenge myself in my creative pursuits– through literature, music, visual arts, technology and entrepreneurial endeavors.

 

Today, I challenge you to really think about the things you love, the things that inspire you and make you feel good and think about your talents used and unused, and the skills you use every day as well as the skills people are always asking you to use. Create your own mission statement and post it someplace to remind you of who you are and what REALLY drives you.

Posting this in my cube has already given me a new feeling and a sense of greater purpose. I’m saying it out loud and whoever comes by my desk will see it too. I’m giving my thoughts real power and standing behind it and challenging myself to live up to it.

Inspiration, Inspiration, Inspiration. PLAY!

This image is one of the most popular for Nina Simone on Pinterest. I do not know where the photo came from to give it proper credit....This image is what I recreated this weekend.

This image is one of the most popular for Nina Simone on Pinterest. I do not know where the photo came from to give it proper credit….This image is what I recreated this weekend.

I’m a little tired, but I’m on an inspiration high.

One of my super talented, awesome, amazing friends came to visit me for like 24-hours and it was the shot, boost everything I needed as of late.

Our time was short, but we managed to pack in some serious chats about life, our past, our mistakes, hurts and what’s ahead.

My friend is a brilliant photographer who I’ve talked about in previous blogs, who was the creative force behind the insane tee-shirt photo shoot I had in New York for my company.

She asked me if I was down for sitting for some photographs and I was.

Our travels led us to an abandoned bus sitting in the back of a parking lot of a random Dominican restaurant… all the way to an old Maryland textile Mill.

We shared a meal at one of my favorite restaurants and then she photographed me channeling Nina Simone– wearing a little black dress, head wrap and heels, burning incense instead of a cigarette and drinking my wine from a Mason Jar.

Then I threw on a wig and shiny shirt and transformed in to a rocker girl from the early 90s who seemed to be having a ball at someone’s house party.

I just felt super creative in the presence of this friend, who was kind enough to bring me a massive amount of prints from the amazing tee-shirt shoot.

In return, I supplied the wine and some sweet potato pie.

I’m always telling you folks how much I love my friends. The lift me up.

If you don’t have any friends who lift you up, who you can be absolutely silly with in one moment, and can cry with the next, inspire you to be a better person and point out when you are being an ass, you need to fire the friends who don’t do this, or put them on probation until they improve.

I’m serious.

The people in our circle matter.

Period, point-blank. They can push us to greatness, and they can provide a safe, safe place for us to truly be ourselves.

In this world, you have to have a safe place you can go. It’s too hectic, it’s too filled with madness and ridiculous things that will induce migraines and anxiety attacks not to.

Take the time to be silly.

Please. I didn’t realize how much that reduces my stress. I was playing dress up in my own house and running around with my friend climbing on things and posing for my dear life and at one point she said, “You are not playing, you are not getting eliminated tonight!”

She broke my serious model face with that. And I said, “I sure won’t, Tyra. I sure won’t. I will not be packing my belongings! I am still in the running to be America’s Next Top Model.”

We should never be too cool, or too grown, or too sophisticated to let ourselves go and be our silly, corny, uncool selves in the presence of our dearest friends and family. It is one of life’s simple joys.

During Christmas I had so much fun playing in wrapping paper with my best friend and posting the pics on Facebook, people cheered us on. Then we took it even further and built an old school fort out of furniture, pillows and blankets!

We are 31.

It was awesome and I had so much fun. I mean, we got serious about this fort. It was hilarious. We ended up bringing joy to other people on Facebook that night, because they saw the love, they saw we didn’t take ourselves so seriously, and they saw our friendship and how we love and honor and support each other.

Please do me a favor.

Do something silly and uncool.

Start out just doing it alone, in your house and laugh at yourself.

Then add in a friend, who you trust. Do something seemingly silly together and you will feel lighter. You will feel joy.

And it will be a lasting feeling and you will have created a wonderful memory and will have opened the door to keep having those kinds of memories.

I’ve realized, the closer I am to people, the more silly I can become.

It is a form of intimacy for me, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

Play.

Inspiring Transformations, Thanks Chrisette Michele

I get inspired by people, music, books, art, fashion, like all the time.

It’s one of the things that reminds me that life is beautiful. Like really, really beautiful. And being different, and weird and smart and funny is awesome. It’s just fantastic.

So, in today’s post, I want to give a shout out to the supremely talented Chrisette Michele. I’ve seen her numerous times live, and there’s a part of me that feels very compelled to be proud of her because she is basically from the next town over from mine in Long Island. So to see someone so close to home make it, similar in age, etc. it’s already encouraging.

Anyway, Chrisette is my muse today. I’m listening to her latest mixtape inspired by Audrey Hepburn. Chrisette, has gone through some changes yall. You can see that she’s moving in a different direction, and you can hear it in her music. It’s pretty refreshing.

I love contemporary artists who have studied music. They bring something else to the table and they are always trying to elevate the craft, and if you love music too, you can pick out certain nuances, or see where they made a nod to something in their work. To me being able to see and hear those things is exciting and a testament to my own growing knowledge.

She’s lost some weight (I believe 30 pounds she said in a video she posted), she spent extensive time traveling, and she’s rocking a range of hair styles and has a number of tats and a nose ring.

A total departure from the sugary sweet girl image from her first, heavily Jazz-influenced, “I Am.”

In a video interview, she said she didn’t want to sing sad songs anymore because she wasn’t in that place any more. She’s opened herself to love, and she’s just generally happy.

She’s clearly a woman on a journey and she’s enjoying the ride.

For some reason, we give celebrities the pass to go and change their hair, or take a break and travel and change up their style.

I’m a firm believer, regular folks can do the same.

I’m tickled that one day I’ll rock a bun, or a curly wig, or my fro, or twists. My co-workers seem to be waiting to see what I’ll do next.

I’m strongly considering some braids in the summer. Why not?

I realized I have a busy weekend. Tonight I’m going to a Wizards basketball game with my homeboy.

Friday, going to see one of my favorite musicians, Bilal. Saturday, I’m going to check out an art exhibit on graffiti art with a new meetup I’m joining. And then one of my dearest friends is popping in on Sunday.

We have to keep striving for new in our very contrived, average days.

That’s why I need to read books and seek out independent movies, or see shows and take in live music.

I need this stuff like air.

I must have intellectual and ridiculous conversations with people who stoke those interests.

I need to meet new people.

These things make you feel alive.

These things inspire me to create. Maybe I’ll finally finish writing my damn book or come up with a new t-shirt concept.

It’s all out there.

The old, the new.

Old movies, movie stars, music, books. Rediscover them. Then marvel at how human nature never changes. Examine how old writers complained of the same things we complain of today.

What struck me most was when Miss Chrisette said plainly in the interview, “I didn’t want to be an angry, black woman anymore.”

It was so simple, and it was a thought I had the other day.

Believe it or not, it’s easy as hell to fall into that dreadful stereotype. But can we be honest, for a moment? There are a lot of angry women of all colors, not just black.

There are a lot of just angry people out there.

But for some reason, black women tend to hold up the banner and wear our anger and our ability to live with and accept anger as a lifestyle so effortlessly, like badges.

And that, I believe is what Miss Chrisette, and myself are trying to escape.

I’m going to work on smiling more. Just smile.

Even when I force myself to smile during a workout, it actually helps me get through it. I think I look stupid, but it doesn’t matter, because it actually helps.

Impromptu Poetry: As the Smoke Unfurled

As the smoke unfurled,

I found myself laughing. Smiling.

We talked about love, we talked about sex, we talked art and argued politics. We talked about the things in between.

What was left?

You said I was uptight.

I said you were too unserious, and what a pity. What a mighty man you could be.

All that mattered to you was the moment.

All that mattered to me was the future and being ready to meet it.

As the smoke unfurled you showed me how to slow down.

You slowed me down.

Slow down, just listen to the music.

The smoke surrounding me, you told me to just breathe slow, listen to my heartbeat.

And soon, you couldn’t tell me that sound wasn’t one in the same.

In sync with yours.

You taught me to play poker, the kind for clothes.

I was a quick study.

You were down to your socks and a smile.

I, in a bra and some jeans.

You may have lost on purpose.

You had a tendency to never show me your hand.

Our time was short. Intense.

As the smoke unfurled, we’d sit and let the music play and intertwine with the funky fog. I hated the smell, I liked you and the feeling more.

It was a habit I was never really fond of, but for whatever reason with you it was kind of sexy.

With you, I got to be the bad girl I knew I always was, deep, deep down.

Your lips were rich with my secret.

When the smoke left my lungs, stung them with the burn, I was someone else, yet so familiar.

Exhale.

Free.

Exhale.

Another me.

You saw that other me I refused to show.

You saw that other me I refused to know.

You made me do it.

Nah, I went willingly.

I wanted you to take your art more seriously.

You showed me I didn’t take fun seriously enough.

I miss you now when I hear certain songs play or smell that smell in the air. Sometimes I even get a craving.

I think it’s more you than the smoke and the connection I’ve made between the two.

The sensory memory is insane, like smelling an old sweatshirt or cologne or shampoo, but when I smell the ooh wee, it reminds me of you.

Our paths have diverged.

Fates forever changed.

I went for the sure thing, and that ruined me in the end.

When the morning would come and the smoke would clear, I was back to my old, uptight self.

I was again impatient, you weren’t what I thought you were supposed to be and as usual, you were doing it on your own damn schedule.

We’ll never return to those hot sticky, smoke-filled nights, with scattered playing cards on the floor. Our games left unfinished, but somehow we both managed to win.

I’d like to think I helped you grow. I sure hope you haven’t lost your light.

Because when I see smoke unfurl at night,

I remember I still have mine.

 

Good Things Come to Those Who WORK!

I’m pumped up today.

Not just because it’s Thursday and there’s a new Scandal coming on T.V. tonight.

I’m in great spirits because I had a great, challenging workout with my blog world-turned-real world friend.

She is a hard worker in the gym and in life and I totally respect that.

I was thinking in general of how I have really hard-working friends who inspire me, just off of their ability to set their minds to doing something and just doing it.

2013, I’ve decided is the year of “doing something.”

Sometimes, just doing something can be awfully hard to do, especially if you’ve failed before, or are in a funk, or diagnosed as depressed. As I always say, “Mental health is real.” You can quote me.

I have one dear friend who is unemployed.

She job hunts as if it is her job. Job hunting IS her job right now. Nine-to-five, everyday she is sending out resumes, revising her resume, custom tailoring-cover letters. I’ve seen her do it. She is constantly trying to figure out new ways to stand out and connect to the types of jobs she wants.

By happenstance, I recommended to her that maybe she should look into a condensed version of a particular program that may help her chances.

Not only did this friend find an online certificate program, she started it the same day and hardly a week later, she’s on her way to completing it and will add it to her resume.

Now, I don’t know if my hard-working friends work so hard out of fear, or an intense hunger or necessity, or because they are innately this way, or if it is a combination of all of the above, but it’s inspirational to me regardless.

The other friend, who is a killer in the gym–can’t state this enough– worked hard and lost a significant amount of weight. She doesn’t only inspire people by working hard and being an example, she helps others too. She smiles and cheers people on in classes, she gives them high-fives and her energy is contagious. When she jumps higher, others will follow and instead of grunt, they’ll smile. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

I do hope that one day she creates some major fitness franchise. She’s off to a great start with her Facebook fitness group, where she shares tips on eating and exercise along with inspirational sayings with an emphasis on Bible scripture. I honestly think she should get with Heather Lindsay and do a health and fitness workshop at her next Pinky Promise convention. 2014! Do it, girl… I know you’re reading. 🙂

I often mention how my friends inspire me to be a better person. They each have talents and gifts that are unique to them, and I’m thankful I can see it and try to apply my own variation of it to my life and if I get off track, I have their example to show me how it’s done.

My unemployed friend is going to get a job, and a great one, because she’s working on it. Day after day. It has to happen, because you can’t put that much energy out there and not get a return.

My fitness diva friend is going to accomplish whatever goal she is seeking in the fitness world, professionally, and in her spiritual walk, because she works at all of those things, EVERYDAY.

These chicks taught me in a very real way that you can’t let up. You have to do something toward whatever your goal is EVERY DAY.

EVERY FRIGGIN DAY.

Because I’m tired of looking at all the extra I have around my waist and thighs, I’m going to do something EVERYDAY. It also did not help that one of my friends posted an uber sexy photo of me from South Beach in a bikini from 2003 recently, for “throwback Thursday.”

When I think about negative eating, and not working out, and gaining 30 pounds, I was great at it. Why? Because I was doing it EVERYDAY.

There were some days where I almost ate McDonald’s everyday, and maybe even twice a day.

Sweet tea? Always.

TV on the couch as soon as I got home from work? I had to watch my hour of Divorce Court to unwind!

EVERYDAY.

Missing breakfast?

I would do that EVERYDAY.

So from the way I see it, it takes a certain level of commitment, even if subconsciously, to even do negative things EVERYDAY.

Let’s take smokers shivering outside in the winter for example.

COMMITMENT.

Eating an entire pizza by yourself. (Which I have done) Couldn’t just stop at three slices. Oh no.

COMMITMENT.

Killing a family sized bag of chips during a one hour t.v. drama. Just not satisfied until it’s all gone.

COMMITMENT.

Staying in bed an extra hour instead of getting up to work out in the morning.

That takes commitment. It does.

Hell, I’m about to make a list of all of the negative things I have been committing myself to and next to it, I’m going to put a positive thing that I’m going to replace that habit with. At least five. I’m almost kinda perfect as you all know, but I think I can come up with five.

I think that I want to do all of the positive things for just one week to start and see how my life changes. Let me know if you try it out too! I’d love to hear your thoughts and feed back, especially if good things started to “magically” happen during or after your week.

WORK.

Because I am ridiculous and silly and an 80s baby, I bring you, Hot Sundae, from Saved By the Bell. Hmmm. I’m listening to the words. This song ain’t got a damn to do with working out. The hook ain’t got a damn to do with the rest of the song either… Enjoy anyway.

Trouble Sleeping

I can’t sleep. I’m writing this post all riled up. I guess my bout of insomnia is a mixture of things. I was off today for Columbus Day and I basically stayed in my house since Friday evening.

I’ve managed to at least feel like I did something constructive, by getting some car repairs done and applying to two more awesome jobs. One of the jobs is with an organization I’ve applied to about four times now. Geez.

The anxiety of job-hunting is maddening. As the days go by, I find myself getting more and more antsy. More and more dissatisfied. My faith is wavering. I’m trying to pray more. My heart beats faster as I try to sleep. I’ve been sleeping with low classical music in the background to calm my psyche.

Something has to give soon.

Anyway, with so much time to myself, it’s horribly easy to get into a funk, ask yourself questions about what you’ve done wrong in life and watch “Dirty Dancing” then almost killing an entire regular can of Pringles over the course of two days.

I’ve been thinking over a bunch of things.

My career/path.

My romantic life. Ironically, one dude who I turned down last year has popped up to ask me how I’m doing. Another sweetheart of a guy, but I just didn’t feel that chemistry on my end.

Was it a reminder that I’m shallow and ridiculous and destined to be alone I am because I keep relying on that feeling I get (the same feeling I knew I felt but still wound up hurt in the end).

It made me revisit and text the guy who makes my blood boil, yet toes curl. He was still up for a little fun and the exchange of dirty messages.

But as I edge closer to a year of no physical lovin, I want it to be right. I don’t want it to suck. I don’t want to get emotionally reckless with the handsome, intelligent, toe-curler, who sends me mixed messages.

One of my good male friends sat in my living room last night, determined to help me at least get out of the house and see a movie and told me, my expectations for awesome sex after my hiatus is a horrible idea.

He’s probably right. I’m also glad that he brought a bottle of champagne. His champagne and conversation did help make me feel better. I returned the favor by making ribs and chicken.

I also thought to myself, I have a couple of close male friends I love dearly and I’m super comfortable with them. I can say anything and they are accepting, they see me as a lady still (I can be raunchy) and they always laugh at my jokes. They get me.

If only the men I’m attracted to were like my close male friends.

Back to the other stuff.

I feel like everything is changing around me so quickly, but the optimism I had as a young 20-something who can take on the world, has certainly subsided.

You couldn’t tell me no. I saved rejection letters from publications I dreamed of writing for.

Because I knew I’d show them all.

And there are some accomplishments I’ve had that totally certified and validated me and I’m so thankful for them. What a ride.

But what’s in me right now? What is inside of me?

I keep trying to push, but it’s been tough. I feel worn out. I don’t know if it is me getting older and jaded, or if that thing in me that motivated people to say yes, is gone.

How did I get people to say yes?

Do I have to start lowering my salary requirements?

I shouldn’t have to. I’ve worked so hard for years. I deserve what I’m asking for.

Can I find a balance between money, career, the business I want to nurture and grow?

Who are my allies? How do I build new ones?

Who and what inspires me? How do I ramp up the inspiration?

I was a little girl who told people I’d be president and I’d be in the White House one day. I did it as a reporter while an intern in college and then later on with another news organization.

I’ve got to find that person again. No is never an option. I say I’m going to do something I will.

In my high school yearbook, my footnote for my senior photo said, the world was going to read my words. They have.

Something has to happen. While I’m disillusioned with mainstream journalism, I have to believe my job that blends writing and health advocacy is just around the corner and that one of these several jobs in that area will choose me. It has to happen.

That’s been the pattern of my life.

About six years ago, shortly after wanting to step into four lanes of traffic because I wanted a few days in the hospital and not wanting to go into a job I hated, an opportunity presented itself. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted a break. I watched the cars whiz by, and I was so tempted to just step in. Folks think I’m so strong.

And when I tell that story, they are shocked.

But that’s just it. We all get tired. We all feel like our problems, our inadequacies, they are all too much. And even though fighting through it is the “right” thing to do, and what we’re supposed to do, sometimes the effort it takes to just stand, keep our eyes open and even ball our fists takes everything you have.

Sometimes the most absurd thing like stepping into the street and getting a few days in the hospital sounds like peace.

We all think these thoughts in some kind of way. It may not be as far as self harm or suicide. It may be staying in bed with the covers over your head and not going to work. It could be ignoring your crying kids, or eating fast food in your car alone. Sometimes, we just get tired. We don’t want to be responsible, we want to be selfish, because fighting through is too tiring. It’s too tiring.

When another job seemed to be too much but paid too little, and I paid for my gas with couch change and I went to sleep hungry because I had to use my entire paycheck for rent, an opportunity presented itself.

I’m not in as dire a situation as the ones I’ve mentioned, and I certainly don’t want things to get that bad, but each and every time, just before I was at the very end of my mental and emotional rope, a window was cracked and I got out to the other side.

I’m hoping that the way I feel right now. This weariness, this tiredness means I’m toward the end of the battle and that the change I’m looking for, the bright side I’m aching for is just within reach.

Dream, Plan, Execute, Celebrate, Elevate, Repeat.

Dream, plan, execute, celebrate, elevate, repeat.

That came to me this morning when I was getting out of bed.

I was thinking about the business I’m working on, the creative process and success.

Dream.

Man, my dreams are big. My dreams involve a lifestyle brand involving clothing, eventually a perfume, a social networking community, blog, internet radio show and internet t.v. show. I already have planned out a photo shoot, the models, the themes and what my website will look like.

I know what my brand launch party will look like, and even the very cool space where I want to have it. I see the appetizers and people sipping on drinks and video and photos from my shoot enlarged, projected on the walls as loud music pulsates through the room. Family and friends are there, I’m being interviewed by bloggers and local media. People are buying my products.

I dream about visiting a new city and seeing strangers wearing one of my shirts, stopping them to take a photograph to put on my website and being blown away.

Plan. 

I enlisted help. I am enrolled in a program geared towards grooming female entrepreneurs and the classes are intense. But it’s totally worth it. They also offer other networking functions where you get to meet other women business owners and exchange ideas and find mentors. It’s a supportive environment where I can actually see my project off the ground in a realistic way, acknowledging my own shortcomings and where I have to grow or put in more work. They have me crunching numbers, doing research, market research, establishing my target customer, figuring out who my competition is, etc. Refining my idea, going back to smaller goals and attacking those one-by-one.

Execute.

I’m executing my plan by being enrolled in the course. By working on designs and making samples, wearing my samples and getting feedback. Working on the concepts for the blog, t.v. show, securing my models and a photographer and planning my photo shoot for the summer. I write down any and every idea and I’m constantly looking for inspiration. I study people/brands who are doing things similar to what I’m trying to do at the smaller levels and I’m studying companies doing it on a much larger scale, seeing where I can grow.

I saw the best quote ever last week. This one business owner said, that you should love the business you have started and should be working harder than your friends with the so-called “real jobs.”

So in addition to my real job, I have to put in the time on my business. My day doesn’t end when I leave my real job. I should still be working on ideas and making decisions and plans and studying.

Celebrate.

When my samples show up, I celebrate. When the photo shoot happens, me my models and photographer will celebrate. When I launch the site and make my first sales, I will celebrate. When I actually turn a profit, I will really celebrate. I enjoy seeing my ideas come to life and it makes me feel I am one step closer to the entire dream happening. As a journalist, seeing my byline in print never got old. Mini celebrations all around. If you don’t celebrate accomplishments great and small, you are going to put a lot of pressure on yourself and the distance between you and the bigger picture is going to seem a whole lot farther away.

Elevate.

After you celebrate, it’s immediately time to look over what you did and figure out how to improve upon it. Can I make this better? Is there something I see now that I didn’t see before? How can I save myself time and energy and money the next time around? Who else can I ask for help who knows a particular area very well?

Repeat.

Go back to the dream state. I always go back to dreaming about that launch party, dreaming about the photo shoot and dreaming about how the web site will look. I dream about eventually being able to use the philanthropic arm of my company to visit young women in middle and high schools and talk about dreams, their talents and about the planning and execution of their dreams. I dream about giving stand-out girls and women scholarships and internship opportunities, and jobs to support themselves and their families.

When I imagine myself as a kick-ass business woman, I envision myself giving a presentation like this someday, just for the hell of it. Love this scene from Charlie’s Angels.

Inspiration: Look no further than your highly motivated friends…

I just finished having an online chat with one of my dear friends who is living the life teaching English to adolescent South Korean boys. (I’ve decided, next year I’m using my entire tax refund to kick it with her in the Spring.) It was beyond ballsy for ol girl to up and leave the U.S. to live in a totally different culture where people are speaking a totally different language. She’s doing it and she’s loving it. And yes, I’m jealous. In a good way, though.  

While my own personal life has been in a kind of rut, I’m excited and impressed with my friends (most of whom are almost 30 and 30+) who are just going for theirs right now.

A number of friends and aquaintances have just secured advanced degrees, started small businesses i.e. making tasty treats or have picked up freelance work for major magazines. I’m proud of them all and admittedly jealous… in a good way.

But why should they have all the fun? It’s high time I get off my behind and think about the things I’m good at, the things I enjoy or the things I want to learn and just go do them.

Here’s my motivation: I’ve noticed a certain glow of satisfaction in all of these people because they set out to do something and they did it and did it well. They didn’t have to, but they dug deeper, and did something extra to give their lives a little more umph. And now, they are reaping the rewards.

There’s a book I love, called “Repositioning Yourself” by T.D. Jakes. In his book, he talked about the kinds of people you surround yourself with and how they can make or break who you are and who you are going to be. If you have friends with no goals, dreams, or aspirations then it’s going to be even harder for you to strive for what you want, or get the support you need from those friends to even accomplish it.

I’m glad I have friends in my corner who challenge me to be better not only in their words, but their actions. Instead of shaming me into success because of a vain need to “keep up” or “one up” them, they nurture me into it by example.  

Now that’s grown.

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