But You’re Doing It

On Friday, I went out for a night on the town with my good friend, Chavonne, founder of Blended Family Bliss. We’re both knee deep in building our businesses and a bit introverted (me more than her). As a result, we don’t always connect as much as we should, but we’re working on it. Right, Chavonne? 

Anyway, I was telling Chavonne how much I had going on – painting and cleaning a rental property and working with three different contractors to get it ready for the next tenant (this was unexpected as the tenant broke her lease), an usher ministry meeting at church, going through the first round edits from my upcoming book, plus a date with a guy I met on a dating app (trying to get my love life together). My weekend felt jam packed and overwhelming.

Chavonne so nonchalantly said to me, “But you’re doing it.”

She was right. I was doing it and that’s what matters. There’s a lot going on in this season of my life, but I’m showing up and handling my business. That’s what counts.

Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed (such as now) I repeat to myself the mantra, “Successful people make sacrifices.” Yes, I have to sacrifice some money right now. I’m sacrificing sleep. I’m sacrificing mental rest. But it’s worth it. It’s for my success.

If you find yourself buried by your to do list, I say to you what Chavonne said to me, “But you’re doing it.” That’s the important thing. If everything on your to to list is critical (right now) to creating the life you want and you’re doing it, you’re on the right track. You’re slaying the game. Hang in there.

If on the other hand you’re not doing it I say, “Successful people make sacrifices.” Make the sacrifices you need to make to create the success you desire. Success doesn’t happen any other way.

And if you have someone to support you on the journey remember to stay connected!


Be Oblivious to How You Measure Up

One of my rental properties is vacant. The tenant who was previously in the house hired the guy next door to mow the lawn. When she moved out he left me a note asking if he could cut the grass until another tenant moves in. I agreed.

What started out as cordial conversations about the lawn and flowerbed began to bleed into a whole other conversation.  I was at the house Monday waiting for a carpet installer to come by to get an estimate on replacing the carpet. While waiting my neighbor homes over to chat.

“I notice things, but I don’t be wanting to say anything,” the neighbor said. “See I can tell you don’t have anyone to wash your car for you.”

I literally laughed out loud. Sure, my car can use a cleaning. I thought he just wanted to make some additional money by washing my car.

He then goes on to tell me about his past relationships, his age(47), why he doesn’t have a job, why he lives with his grandma, and that he has no kids and has never been married. He also mentions he was called by God to preach (see previous statement about lack of job).

So now I’m thinking. “Where’s he going with this?”

“Sometimes I think I move too slow, but I don’t want to move too fast. I don’t want to talk myself out of anything either,” the neighbor continued. “I just want you to know about my situation. That’s why I’m telling you this.”

“Carpet man, where are you? Please hurry up and get here,” I cry inside my head. I’m now panicking, hoping he doesn’t ask me out. I keep glancing at my phone and looking down the street to see if any cars are coming. “They said they’d be there in 45 minutes. It’s been about an hour now.”

The neighbor proceeds to tell me he has been dating a woman recently “but that ain’t nothing” and that he’d like to have a kid one day.

“Carpet man! Wherefore art thou?!”…..”Ah, yes, carpet man is here!”

I tell my neighbor we’ll have to talk later.

Now my neighbor has no job, no home of his own, no car and is 15 years older than me. Yet, he had zero qualms about pursuing me. In fact, he is still pursing me.

He is completely oblivious to the fact that he may not “measure up” to me. I’m the opposite of him. I have a job. I own three homes. I live alone.

The only obstacle he saw in his pursuit of me was a man. And by looking at my car he decided I had no man. All systems go. He should pursue me.

Yet had it been me (and maybe even you) I would be thinking, “There’s no way she (rather he) is going to be interested in me. I don’t have my own place. I don’t have a job or a car. I’m not good enough to date her. I don’t measure up.”

I think it’s impressive that my neighbor gives no thought to if he measures up. I don’t get the sense that he was intimidated or afraid to approach me, but found the courage to pursue me anyway. Even now as he continues to call and text I don’t think he gives any attention to if he’s “good” enough. I don’t think it even crosses his mind.

I think he’s oblivious.

Now, I’m not saying he’s not good enough for me. I’m saying we’re not equally yoked. And that doesn’t concern him the least bit. Not only does it not concern him he isn’t concerned with if it concerns me. He didn’t say his situation was temporary or that he was working on it. He simply said, “I just want you to know my situation.”

And while I have no intentions in dating him I’ve learned something powerful from him. I’ve learned that sometimes we should be oblivious to if and how we “measure up”.

Stop measuring how well you stack up.

Stop worrying about if you’re good enough.

Be oblivious to the fact that anybody might think those things of you.

When you count how well you measure up you may just end up counting yourself out. You might talk yourself out of it. You might decide there’s no use in moving forward. You see too many insurmountable obstacles in your way.

When you’re oblivious there are no obstacles.

Obviously sometimes being oblivious is not a good thing. But when it comes to pursuing those things that interest you practice being oblivious. Move forward like there’s no possible reason you would not end up successful. Move forward as if there is zero possibility that you don’t measure up.


Always Be Willing to Start Again

So, I haven’t blogged in almost a week despite my pledge to blog daily during the month of July. And I haven’t been checking in on my Daily Discipline Challenge. I went to Kentucky for my uncle’s funeral so I missed a few days because of that. After that, I couldn’t summon up anything meaningful to blog about. Usually, my blog posts flow freely. I felt like I was trying to force it last week so I was marinating on my ideas before sitting down to write. On top of that I’ve been working on getting my rental house ready for the next tenant and I received the first round of edits for my upcoming book.

In other words, a lot has been going on and I’ve fallen off the bandwagon particularly as it relates to blogging and checking in. I do still walk my dog, read the bible, and drink water daily. I’m still getting my exercising in and attending church.

Falling off the bandwagon is no surprising event. I’m sure you have fallen off of your own bandwagons many times before. The problem is we all too often fall off the wagon and stay off.

I’m here getting myself back in the game. I’m getting back on my wagon, the 31 Day Challenge I’ve aspired to. One – because I still believe in the power of discipline. I also believe that discipline is more powerful in the long run as opposed to the short run. For example, it’s more advantageous to be disciplined in your eating over the course of a month even with slip ups here and there than it is to be perfectly disciplined for five days.

People tend to experience a setback or neglect their goals for a day or two and then give up, but it’s more powerful to stay the course over time. Even if you haven’t done a thing towards your goals for an entire week at the end of a year that week won’t matter. That is if you start again.

The other reason that I am starting again especially here on the blog is to show that there is nothing wrong with slipping up. I’m human. You’re human. It’s bound to happen, but it doesn’t have to seal your fate. Your setbacks only keep you back when you decide to stay back. When you decide to start again nothing can stop you.

This is what it takes. It’s what the greats do. They are always willing to start again. And often times they start again with more passion, fervor, and tenacity.

Have you fallen off a goal? Did you let a cheat meal turn into a cheat month? We’re halfway through the year. Are there some New Year’s Resolutions you’ve given up on or forgot about? If so, know that it’s never too late to start again.

Always be willing to start again. That’s how you win the game of life. That’s how you accomplish your biggest goals.

Are you willing and ready to start again? I know I am.

Let’s get it.

 


Quotes From Successful Black Women

There is no shortage of successful black women to look to when I need a little inspiration. After all, black girls are magic. Here’s some of my favorite quotes for successful black women in their respective fields. What quotes inspire you?

Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/venuswilliams

“Some people say I have attitude – maybe I do… but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there.” – Venus Williams

“I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger.” – Serena Williams

“I’m always interested in challenging myself and pushing, and seeing how.” – Taraji P. Henson

“You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.” – Oprah Winfrey

“There’s always something to suggest that you’ll never be who you wanted to be. Your choice is to take it or keep on moving.” –  Phylicia Rashad

“I didn’t know I had it in me. There’s more to all of us than we realize. Life is so much bigger, grander, higher, and wider than we allow ourselves to think. We’re capable of so much more than we allow ourselves to believe.” – Queen Latifah

Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/michelleobama

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.” – Michelle Obama

“Power is nothing unless you can turn it into influence.” – Condoleezza Rice

“When I’m not feeling my best I ask myself, “What are you gonna do about it?”I use the negativity to fuel the transformation into a better me.” – Beyonce

“Never dull your shine for somebody else.” – Tyra Banks

“I didn’t learn to be quiet when I had an opinion. The reason they knew who I was is because I told them.” – Ursula Burns

“Be you and do you and you’ll go a long way.” – Tamera Mowry Housely

Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/tiamowry

“Nobody’s life is perfect and in the grand scheme of things, life is short. I think it’s so important to live life to its fullest and choose to smile.” – Tia Mowry Hardrict

“You just have to be yourself, and go full with confidence, and be courageous.” – Gabby Douglas

“Sanaa Lathan: “Being strong can be also feminine. I don’t think feminine equals being weak.” – Sanaa Lathan

 


Time Is An Ingredient

Success leaves clues they say. There’s a recipe for success. The recipe calls for the right skill set, a specific mindset, grit, and perseverance. If you follow the recipe you will bake up success.

Yet, time is also an ingredient required for such success. I’m not referring to the amount of time you put it. I’m not talking about working out for an hour everyday or working on your business for five hours every night. I’m talking about the time you don’t control.

If you plant a tomato seed today, tomorrow you will simply see dirt. Perhaps you will water the dirt and put down some fertilizer. The following day you will yet again only see dirt. Time is an ingredient. And you don’t control time.

You cannot make a seed sprout into a plant nor can you make a plant break ground. You can create the right environment for it to do so, but you can’t MAKE it. You might be thinking, “I can MAKE a seed turn into a plant and break ground by watering it and fertilizing it.” Again I repeat you alone cannot make a seed turn into a harvest. Some seeds are duds. You plant them, water them, put them in the right amount of sunlight and nothing happens. How do you explain that?

You have to give the seed what it needs and trust that it knows how and when to sprout into a plant and break ground. But you don’t control what the seed nor what time does.

Let’s say the tomato plant needs a gallon of water every week over the course of twelve weeks in order for the plant to grow. If you try to rush time by giving the plant twelve gallons of water in one day or even one week it will not work.

Time is an ingredient. And you simply do not control time.

If you have put together all the right ingredients: skills, knowledge, mindset, action, grit, discipline and yet you still do not have success it is probably because time is not done baking.

That’s why I don’t fall under the philosophy of “grinding” or working 20 hours a day. Doing what? Watching the scale to see if it’s going down? Should I be staring at my web analytics or refreshing my download stats every five minutes? It’s as silly as watching a cake bake or staring at the dirt covering the seed waiting for the plant to sprout up.

Of course if you have specific, value-add actions you can be taking do it. Grind. But if you are working simply for working’s sake – stop.

Time is an ingredient. Unlike the cake box there is no predetermined baking time in life. Perhaps there’s rules of thumb that you can leverage depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, but you simply cannot control time. You can influence time. You can hurry it along a bit, but you don’t control it.

I saw a conversation on social media where a woman said she needed to monetize her blog asap or else she risked being homeless. A man replied and said something to the effect of, “You cannot monetize a blog overnight. It takes time and money and generally more time than money.”

He said basically what I’m saying here. Whether you are losing weight, saving money, or building a business time needs time to do its perfect work. Time is an ingredient you cannot leave out nor substitute.

 

 

 


You Deserve Some Credit

I often see coaches and online gurus saying what we’re not doing right. We’re not grinding enough. We’re not investing enough. Our thought life is screwed up. We’re not growing enough. We’re not committed enough. I get it. Sometimes we need some tough love. A good coach or motivational guru will call you out on your stuff. Let’s not pretend we have it all together and there’s no room to grow when that’s clearly not the case. The tough love stance is necessary.

But it’s also equally important that people are given some credit. We’re doing some things right. We’re growing and stretching. We’re believing and pursuing. I don’t think credit is given nearly as much as it should be.

So allow me to be the good cop and let you know that you deserve some credit. To give credit means to acknowledge one’s accomplishments and efforts. It means, “I see you taking action, making moves, and handling your business.” It means what you’re doing or have done is simply amazing.

You deserve some credit for all that you have already accomplished. You deserve some credit for holding things together when they were on the verge of falling apart. You deserve some credit for believing in love again, for believing in happiness again, for believing in dreams again, for believing in wealth again, and for believing in life again.

I know you want more out of life. We all do. I’ve said many times before that our vision is a blessing not a burden. Wanting more means we’re still alive physically, mentally, and spiritually. The desires of your heart mean you’re still an active participant in this thing called life. That’s a beautiful place to be because so many people have checked out. They’re walking zombies, but not you. You still have dreams and desires.

And you deserve some credit for that.

You deserve credit for all that you do. Sure, you’re striving for more, but you deserve credit for what you’ve already created. You deserve some credit for the life you’ve built up onto this point. You deserve some credit for the house, the car, and the kids. You deserve credit for the weight loss, the business launch, the relationship repair, and the debt you’ve paid down. You deserve some credit for all your effort.

You’re doing a lot. You’ve achieved a lot. No matter how far you still have to go you deserve some credit for how far you’ve come. No matter how many times you’ve fallen off the wagon you deserve some credit for the many times you’ve gotten back on. No matter how many times you’ve passed up an opportunity to invest in yourself you deserve some credit for the times you have invested in yourself.

I just want you to know without a shadow of a doubt that you deserve some credit for all that you are, all that you’ve done and all that you will do and will become. Please never forget that. Never forget your accomplishments. Never downplay the effort you’ve put in.

Trust me you truly deserve the credit.

 


July Daily Disciplines: Day 13 Check-In

Today is Day 13 of my  31 Day Challenge to be disciplined in key areas of my life. Read the background details here: Daily Discipline 31 Day Challenge.

My uncle Sidney passed away this past Saturday. I was thinking about him while I was walking my dog today. I was thinking how I wish I had one more chance to see him alive and to hug him. I was thinking how I’m looking forward to going to Kentucky this weekend to pay my final respects and lay him to rest. And then for some reason I looked up at the sky and saw a rainbow.  The day he passed my mom called me crying to tell me the unfortunate news. I jumped in my car to go be with her. On my way there I saw a rainbow.  I don’t know what it means if anything but I feel a bit comforted.

Here’s my Day 13 Check-In:

Read the bible everyday – ☑ I continued in Matthew today.

Walk the dog at least once a day – ☑

Drink at least 64 ounces of water everyday – ☑

Blog once a day – ☑ Check out the blog I published earlier today titled “What Practicing Discipline Taught Me About Self Care.”

Eat healthy –  ⚠️ Better than yesterday!

Exercise on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday – ☑

Participate in Church Services Sunday/Monday/Wednesday – N/A


July Daily Disciplines: Day 12 Check-In

Today is Day 12 of my  31 Day Challenge to be disciplined in key areas of my life. Read the background details here: Daily Discipline 31 Day Challenge.

Here’s my Day 12 Check-In:

Read the bible everyday – ☑ I continued in Matthew today.

Walk the dog at least once a day – ❌  I took my dog to day care today. She had a lot of fun and was exhausted when we got home. We did not walk today.

Drink at least 64 ounces of water everyday – ☑ Just finished!

Blog once a day – ☑ Check out the blog I published earlier today titled “So You Better Do The Right Thing Like Spike Lee

Eat healthy –  ❌ Not the best day. We’ll just leave it at that.

Exercise on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday – N/A

Participate in Church Services Sunday/Monday/Wednesday – ☑ I was a bit distracted here and there. Will try to watch again tomorrow to catch what I missed.

Just because my dog is cute as all get out! Pictures from her day at daycare!


July Daily Disciplines: Day 11 Check-In

Today is Day 11 of my  31 Day Challenge to be disciplined in key areas of my life. Read the background details here: Daily Discipline 31 Day Challenge.

Here’s my Day 11 Check-In:

Read the bible everyday – ☑ I continued in Matthew today.

Walk the dog at least once a day – ☑

Drink at least 64 ounces of water everyday – ☑ Yay! Rebounded on the water intake.

Blog once a day – ☑ Check out the blog/podcast I published earlier today titled “How to Rediscover Who You Really Are.”

Eat healthy – ☑ Eating pretty good today. Not low carb, because I had a panini (half for lunch and half for dinner).

Exercise on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday – ☑ I almost didn’t. Today was really a struggle to accomplish all I committed to doing, but I pushed through. That’s what discipline is about. Pushing through when you don’t feel like it.

Participate in Church Services Sunday/Monday/Wednesday – N/A


Don’t Judge Death

I previously recorded a podcast episode titled “Don’t Judge Life“. This is actually one of my top downloaded episodes. We have a tendency to judge everything that happens to us as either good or bad, right or wrong. And we carry those labels around with us which often times prevents us from fully showing up to life.

My uncle Sidney passed away yesterday unexpectedly. He died of a stroke. He would be turning 57 this Saturday 7/15 which is the day he will be laid to rest.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how we (I) tend to judge death. We think that life has cheated some people or that death stole them right beneath our eyes. Death steals lives in the middle of the night or at the break of dawn. It snatches them in their sleep or while they’re driving in their cars. Death is a sneaky little thing that many despise and fear.

But what if death like life is not to be judged? Who’s to say when is the right or wrong time for someone to leave this earth? We all have to go sometime. Who am I to decide when life has cheated someone or when life gave favor to another?

I like to think that death is like a remembrance, similar to a dream on the tip of consciousness. When the dream finally comes into awareness there’s a, “Oh yeah, that’s what it was. I remember now.” I think when you die you come into remembrance of who you are and where you come from. You remember that you were first a spirit and you are now simply returning home.  I think any agreements or assignments you took on before coming to earth are remembered. And I don’t think the soul is surprised by death, only the body is.

I also like to think that when people die they were ready. They had completed all their tasks and assignments. It was simply their time to go. Although 57 seems like a young age to die my uncle was blessed in that he raised all his children into adulthood. 9 in total (I think). He had the chance to meet and play with his grandchildren. He was surrounded by the love of his family. He was so blessed in those 57 years.

My human mind doesn’t understand death. It doesn’t understand the afterlife. How can I judge that which I know nothing about? When I hear about a tragic death, young or old in the future, I will refrain from judging it. I will choose to believe that that person was blessed beyond measure, they gave everything inside of them to give, and their steps were ordered by the Lord. I choose to believe that their soul is at peace, not regretting or feeling cheated of anything.

Even as I write this I still hope and pray I’ll live to a ripe old age. I think as we remove our judgments of death it gives more meaning to life. Sometimes death teaches us what life is. Everyday that we are alive we know that there is still more for us to experience and do and give. And we know that there’s a deadline. We don’t know when it is, but we know enough to try to make the best of life.

My uncle has passed but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Of course those he has left behind will mourn for him and miss him. But in due time we will all meet again just as he has gone on to be with his parents and younger brother. I can only imagine what a blessing that is for him. He’s reunited with loved ones he hasn’t seen in decades.

Uncle Sidney loved big and always had a big smile on his face. He had such a jolly personality. I had recorded Facebook live videos on practicing gratitude and he saw them and called me. That was the last time I talked to him. That was such a funny call, but I was glad to hear from him. He said he was going to try out the 5 Day gratitude challenge!

I’m grateful that we had that chance to connect that day. I’m grateful that he was and is my uncle. I know he loved me and his other nieces and nephews. I’m grateful that his life was full of love.

Rest in peace, uncle Sidney. Love you and always will! <3