I Am Enough

It’s such a simple phrase but the power behind it is such a game changer.  I was watching The Biggest Disease Affecting Humanity: I’m Not Enough, an A-Fest video on YouTube by Marisa Peer, and it is her goal to spread this message. (click here for video)  I never realized that as much as I clear out the old messages,adding in this one message would change everything for me.

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Everyday we wake up and look for validation from everyone but ourselves.  I remember as a teenager I looked at models in magazines and found everything wrong with me instead of everything beautiful about them.  I find myself judging therefore I expected to be judged.  I myself worried if I was lovable, am I doing everything right and if I am worthy of my own existence.  That’s a lot of worrying!

Instead of waiting for someone else to give me a gold star, now I’m giving myself one.  Actually a few.  I’m the first person in the morning to tell me I love you.  I’m the first one to forgive me for anything I’ve done.  I’m the one to tell me that my butt doesn’t look big in my jeans.  I am the one responsible for validating me.  I and I alone.  That was something I was willing to accept.

In the Be+Do+Have paradigm, we are taught to Be first in order to Do.  Be the person you are setting a goal to be.  Don’t wait for the goal to happen. If you are operating from a state of being, and not “faking it”, then you will do whats needed from the correct mindset to achieve the results you want.  A.k.a. the have.

I bring that up to say this.  Stop waiting for permission to love yourself and be yourself.  Be you.  Simply, be you.  I’m a 9-to-5er chained to a cubical for 38.75 hours per week.  I operate from the mindset of an entrepreneur and a writer.  I work on my craft during my holy hour and during my breaks at work.  I get asked if I’m doing homework, or I get shunned because I’m not participating in the political conversation.

I can say this now because in the beginning I felt awkward being different.  I worried that my dreams and goals were so different from theirs, that I would be alone.  Now I cherish that alone time.  Three hours of my day are dedicated to my goal of that exit interview.

As Marisa suggested, I wrote I am enough on my mirror.  I also have my son reminding himself when he is facing the challenges of his Audio Processing Disorder.  Sometimes we all need to remind ourselves that it is not the opinions of others that decide who we are.  It is still our responsibility.  Face your challenges telling yourself you are enough.  Your energy changes.  Your confidence rises.  Write it on your mirror.  Say it while you are in the shower.  Now go create the life you want.  Permission not required, but if you did need it, here you go.

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The Art of Yes

Whenever I step back and feel like I’m stuck, I know it means I’m not saying yes to something.  If my plan isn’t coming to fruition, I revisit my feelings and ask myself what’s not working here.  It usually comes back around to something I don’t want to accept.  Something that I am afraid to change.

We, or maybe it’s just me, pray for an answer.  “Guide my steps” is how I like to ask.  However, there are times when the answer comes and I am like, no, I don’t like that answer or,I don’t want to do it that way.  Or, my all time go to, I’m not ready yet.  Change can be scary when you are shifting from point A to point B.  Sometimes, even overwhelming.  I reached a period where it was time to change that belief.  Midway through August, I challenged myself to a week of yes.

In that week, I spoke up and offered my opinion in two different forums, I went to a party and spoke to people I didn’t know, and I conjured up the courage to send my novel to the editor.  (It was really hard to let it go.)  Since then, I was asked to join another forum, invited out to lunch by a co-worker and invited to another party.  For this introvert, these were baby steps.  My point, though, is I’m pushing the comfort zone a little further out each time.  I feel my heart racing, my temples pulsing, so I take a deep breath and then an extra step.

I’ve changed my perspective to first ask myself what am I not saying yes to.  I also ask myself if I’m in a position to receive.  After sitting with those two question I become more open to hear an answer.  I’m more confident in accepting the solution.  The first moment I feel my heart ready to jump out of my chest, I know that means go.  Think about your first school dance.  Were you a wall flower?  Or did you just go for it?  What about that first job interview?  Do you remember wondering if your perspective employer could see the sweat on your palms?  Yeah, that’s what pushing that line of comfort feels like.

Just don’t forget to be authentic in your process, and travel in the direction of your goals.  I’ve learned that if I cannot prove that it’s not going to work, then I have no excuses to not try.  It is only by doing that we learn if it will work or not.  And only by doing can we learn what needs to be improved, kept or deleted.  And, through doing,we gain knowledge and growth.

You’ll always hear me tell you to stop and take a deep breath.  It’s because when you get present in that moment, that’s when you should ask yourself, have I truly tried everything.  Be honest with yourself.  There is something you are not saying yes to.  Don’t forget, be + do gets us to our goals.  This life is for the living, so say yes along the way.  What will you do to push your comfort zone a little further out this week.  Let me know in the comments below.

A Cog in the Machine

When I was a kid, my imaginary friend was a music mogul.  He owned the largest music company in the United States Southeast with offices also located in London, Italy and Japan.  He continually had number one albums on the Billboard charts.  He was close friends with the likes of Ted Riley, Jermaine Dupree and Madonna.  His wife was a rising star in the financial adviser industry and they had two kids.  Why was my imaginary friend not a pink bunny fairy princess, but instead a grown black man in the music industry?

MTV was new back then.  Michael Jackson and Prince were becoming the hottest artist showing up on the cover of every magazine.  The lyrics of the top ten songs were abut being yourself and dancing until the bombs went off.  The music industry was my biggest influence.  However, my desires were not with becoming a singer, a musicians or any kind of performance artist.  I wanted to be the one running things.  Even back then, I knew the stars were not the decision makers.  So my imaginary friend was Robert Rosenblaum, aka Rob Rose, owner of Rose Records.  Unfortunately, back then, the decision makers were still predominately male.

Why my walk down memory lane?  I came across this quote in an email I received that seem to sum up that last few years of my life.

“All of your suffering in life is from saying we want one thing and doing another.”  – Debbie Ford

It made me realize I had taken my eyes off of the prize.  I was busy trying to make a living instead of just living.  I had come to accept that making money was not something I necessarily had to enjoy.  I just had to provide for my family.  I had become a cog in the machine suffering in silence.  Now that I know better, I’m doing better.  My day time job is my investor and my night time hobby is my future.  Memory lane reminded me that I wanted to be one of the ones that impacted the world.

My motto for this year has been Be+Do+Have.  In living that, I’m excited that today I finished my manuscript.  I still have to edit, but the actual typing part is done.  I’m that much closer to my goals.  Rob Rose was a reminder that I was not wired to be part of the crowd, “the machine”.  I’m a writer.  A creative one.  We always manifest our own paths in our own worlds.  I’m ready to swap places with Rob.  It’s my turn to be the mogul.  And one day, one of my employees will do the same thing.  They will wake up and realize they are not where they belong.  I look forward to being their investor.  But in the meantime, keep being.

 

Failing Better: Stuck in the Wilderness

I was watching a commencement speech on YouTube and the speaker told his audience that 20 years from now the person you don’t want to disappoint is your 18 year old self.  When you look in the mirror who does the 18 year old see looking back at you?  Do they smile at you or do they shake their head?  Would they be impressed with what you have accomplished?  In failing better I’ve done a lot of “looking back” to see where I settled and what I need to do now to change.  I’ve come to realize that I’m the one holding myself captive in my wall.  The second mistake of my lesson was not being truthful with who I am.

I carry a lot of baggage behind this wall that I have built.  My secrets show up in the 80 lbs. of  extra weight, the abusive speech towards myself, my ability to give up so quickly because I think I don’t deserve anything, and all the excuses I make up to hide from what is really going on.  I wanted to make everyone else happy.  I wanted to get the good job and not be the artist who would have her paintings and photos in a museum one day.  When the kids came along I wanted to make sure they had stability and the best schools in the area.  I worked extra hours so they had nice things and I would chase my dreams after I helped them reach theirs.  I wanted to make sure everyone liked me.  I lied to myself and decided I would be happy if I fit in.

If this story is familiar to you, then you know that I am not happy trying to fit in.  The dreams inside of us have a way of keeping us feeling uncomfortable.  So, out of frustration I was quick to say I’m here to do my 80 years and then I want off this planet.  How I hope I have not doomed myself to only 80 years.  Heartache can bring on hopelessness.  Hopelessness can bring on depression.  Depression can make you long for better times and rush what should be taken slow.  There is a process, and within the process there is pain.  Don’t worry though, within the pain is growth.  Missing any steps can lead to you repeating that same lesson once again.

It’s a question you have asked yourself before: Why am I here again?  Gold is refined by fire.  You have to keep putting it to the flame to bring it to perfection.  I’m still learning that I am worth fighting for.  At times, I may only want to go into the flame twice, but twice might not be enough.  Trust the process I remind myself.  That refinement is usually related to your purpose.  Our purpose isn’t always the easy road.  It’s that lesson you have to learn that you were sent here to teach.  Not the downfall itself, but the bounce.  Do you allow the downfall to define you and anchor you to what you see as your problems?  Or do you allow the downfall to teach you how to get back up better than you got up before?

That’s failing better.  Learning to ask yourself what will I do different and what can I take away from this lesson.  Control what you can and let go of what you can’t.  Ask for help if you need help and don’t beat yourself up about it if you do.  Practice acceptance.  And  to sum that up in five words, Let go and let God. (or Goddess, whomever you prefer.)

Most of all, don’t forget to practice gratitude.  Gratitude will lead to happiness.  Happiness will lead to you moving forward.  You are not defined by your situation, only by your bounce.  Bounce my friends.  Bounce.

 

Failing Better: Lesson One

I didn’t set out to be an expert on failing.  I looked over the last 20 years  and I see scenes of mostly struggle and few ups thrown in there.  From a different perspective, it would be called living.  Nobody, I suppose, lives a life of all ups.  You would never know good if you never had bad.  However, right now it feels like I could use some of the good.

This time I choose to fail better.  The pattern has shown me that the ups don’t stay.  I’ve learned that life offers no guarantees.  I’m examining the mistakes and looking  for the lessons.  I’m taking notes and making a plan so as to bounce back a little faster.  I’m putting the fears to the side because I have learned that they are not real.

One of my first mistakes were not being truthful with myself and accepting I needed help.  I wasn’t open to receive out of fear of being vulnerable.  I was holding onto the pain of the times when I was vulnerable.  I convinced myself that building a wall would be the easiest thing for me.  Truth be told, building that wall around me was even more painful then allowing people to come in.  For years I tried to do it all on my own.  My confession: I can’t.

We need a tribe.  A tribe of like minded people.  A tribe that will support us and keep us accountable.  Too many times we get comfortable with people that we know we should move beyond.  We become afraid of being alone.  I can say from experience that when your eyes are opened and you look around and don’t belong, but where you are trying to go seems out of reach, settling is only going to hold you back longer from your goals.

Your tribe will come.  You do have to meet them where they are at.  That requires you putting yourself out there.  Social media has made it easier.  Apps like Facebook, Meetup and LinkIn have helped to narrow down what groups you belong to.  My Facebook page feed is splattered with grammar memes and positives quotes, and my groups include professional writers, networking with professional women and how to build a business gurus.  The same goes for my bookshelf, websites and television.  What and whom you invite in does matter.

Who do you surround yourself with?  Who is lifting you up?  Who is holding you accountable?  When you sit down and visualize your life now, and where you want to go, who’s at the dinner table?  What’s the conversation?  These questions will push your compass needles towards your tribe.  It will require action on your part.

Step Off Mom, I’ve Got My Own Personality

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As a mother, I want to teach my kids history, science and all the things that are exciting to me.  But hold up.  Step back.  They don’t actually like what I like.

Several months back we visited the gallery that was showing all the artist from the 80’s.  Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, which all happen to be from childhood.  They walked around and were fascinated.  I felt proud because I gave them the experience to say they saw these paintings in person.  Then, one night, family movie night, sitting there watching Guardians of the Galaxy, and Star Lord mentions that his spaceship would light up like a Jackson Pollock painting, and my son turns to ask me: “Mom, who is Jackson Pollock?”

I reminded him of our visit to the gallery.  He shrugged his shoulders.  It didn’t stand out to him.  I felt defeated.  Then I realized, a day or two later, that it didn’t stand out to him because it was not important to him.  He could not name any of the artist he saw at the gallery that day.  He remembered a couple of the paintings and exhibits, but not enough to give you any detail.  However, if I had taken him to Comic Con, he would have light up and told you every character, scent, word spoken, etc.

He looks just like me, but he is not me.  He is his own person with his own ideas.  I have to step back and not get angry when he does not like what I like.  I have to learn that I’m sharing an experience, not building a mini me.  We did go back to the gallery, because he actually does enjoy looking at the art.  There was still a Jackson Pollock there.  I showed him.  He said, “Oh, okay.”  That was it.  I smiled and accepted it.  Later we went to the shop in the gallery and they had a host of anime displays in there.  He lit up.  He touched everything and read everything.  He was himself.  The same expression on my face when I stood in front of the Jackson Pollock.

Change Happens on a Dime

It started with a well laid plan.  Sometimes plans don’t fall through.  The unexpected will happen.  That is where resilience comes in. Being able to handle your world as it spins out of control and not jump off the edge of the Earth for relief.  But, at 45, the last thing I want to do is start over from scratch.  However, here I am.

I’m telling my story online instead of in a journal because I know someone else has gone through this.  I know my story will lead to someone else’s story of how they survived and thrived.  I’ve invited anyone who is starting over, or just looking to achieve a goal, to walk with me through this journey.  Believe. Goals. Rituals. Action. Visualize.  From down here, I can only go up.I’m confident that change will happen for the good Continue reading