Living Life Purposefully

Where Purpose Meets Passion

Monthly Archives: September 2013

You’re Not Exempt

You know what really rubs me the wrong way? When people comment about something you said as though you can’t have an opinion on the subject because you don’t fit a certain category.

A short list of this includes:

  • “being the single friend who gives advice to a friend in a relationship”
  • “commenting on ‘parenting techniques’ even though you’re childless”

Now I get folks’ concerns and there is that general notion of “you don’t understand because you are not in the situation.” However, MOST people who get upset about what you have to say fall into one of two categories: people who do horribly at whatever task is in question OR people who ask for (good) advice and refuse to take it.

I’ve had the opportunity to observe people and I consider myself a pretty good judge of character. Most other folks consider me a good judge of character as well because they ask for my thoughts. What offends me the most is being brushed off with a “you don’t get it” because I really don’t understand, condone, encourage or write off shitty behavior.

And there are TONS of people who engage in shitty behavior and habits who HATE being called out about this.

Now, I’m not saying that you are a horrible person if you aren’t a good partner/spouse or parent. No, I’m just saying that you’re not that good at that particular task and if multiple people point out the same thing, it really isn’t them…it really is you. You’re not exempt from critique because I’d like to think that most people who offer it up do so because they want you to be better. Yet, in this age of hyper-criticism and “I’m better than you because I have edges,” folks do not want to believe that they can be critiqued. This is especially true on social media platforms.

While I believe that people shouldn’t criticize others, I will say that if you happen to be a highly critical person, you should definitely expect it. Just because you think you are the bees-knees, you should know that you are not exempt from criticism.

Impressions of Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
-William Ernest Henley

Have you ever heard something that touched you at your core? I have. It’s always how I feel when I read this poem, it becomes personal.

In all my years of reading it (since I was 15 to be precise – thank you “Bat Shit Crazy” English teacher), I’m reminded of the will to keep going, often during times where everything else in me has given up. Where does that need to move forward and become better come from? I’m not sure but many people share the belief that it is from a Source more powerful than ourselves. An outside force, if you will.

But I’d like to believe that it comes from a memory.

In this day and age of competition and achievement, people of my generation (Generation Y, I believe) have been pushed to be all that we can be. We must be excellent at everything that we do and success is measured by some imaginary, and often unfair, metric that was around for our parents and grandparents.

“Grow up. Be smart. Earn great grades. Be athletic. Be well-rounded. Go to college. Graduate and get a job. Everyone can do this but you will have to do it amazingly well AND in a way that makes everyone around you comfortable.”

But what if what inspires your soul makes everyone uncomfortable? That’s what I think about now when I read that poem.

For 27 years, I’ve been groomed and meticulously conditioned to play the game using conventional rules. This is the way to “success.” But like so many of my peers, I’m disconnected. Success, to me, isn’t what it is to everyone.

Success to me is happiness. And happiness to me means that I’m comfortable and not triggered by situations that will lead to my depression. I’ve been there before and I hate going back.

Because when you’re covered in darkness, you’re never really happy. Lately, I’ve come to change my stance that depression is darkness. Instead darkness for me has been the dimming of my dream to meet the expectations (and comfort levels) of others. I move forward now and adversity is no longer an exercise that I liken to strength training. It just is and I been busy reteaching myself a spiritual truth – I am in control of my destiny.

This post is just a short post…a letter (or plea) to others like me. Let your soul wake up & let passion be your guide as you walk these roads in life. For it is the only thing that will let you be the Master of Your Fate and Captain of Your Soul.

But At Least You Tried!?

I have got to be honest with y’all; I’ve always hated that phrase. When I share with someone that I’m afraid of failing at a task and they respond, “But at least you tried,” it makes my whole soul itch. Imagine Satanic Mosquito biting your soul on your ass?

That’s how I feel when I hear that phrase.

Now would be a good time to mention that I’m slightly a perfectionist. I’m totally not “all-in” on that particular trait because I also procrastinate. To top it off, I dislike doing anything more than once (twice if everyone has to do it multiple times). Why? I don’t know but I’ve told myself since I was six that doing something right once meant I wouldn’t miss any part of Captain Planet. That combination is as scary as being in the middle of bear country with a bag full of fish while you’re smeared in honey. From what I’ve seen on CSI:Miami, bears dig that combo as much as I dig holes of self-pity.

Anyway…the other day, I was feeling stuck about life and I shared that with my friend. Now before I get to her precious response, let me say that I deeply value my friends and understand that sometimes we are at a loss for words. With that said, let me say that I was offended by her generic response. It was like her brain was on auto-pilot and I took that to mean “I’m not listening to you because your problems aren’t my problems.” Cool but not cool. So I share my issues and she says to me, “Well go for it anyway because then at least you can say you tried.” (What it?! There were several its damnit!) Here’s the thing about failure — I’m of the Michael Jordan school of thought. Sure! You’ll know I failed but only after I win some championships.

Because then I’m technically not a failure.

In this day of mediocrity disguised as ingenuity, I want us to bury this phrase right next to where the NAACP buried nxgga. PLEASE! Or at least come up with a new saying that’s as colorful as a Lisa Frank pencil and stationary combo.

Is this too much to ask?

NOTE: I basically wrote this post because I wanted people to laugh a little bit (if you didn’t laugh, thanks for the page views but you don’t count). Most importantly, I want y’all to understand that when your awesome friend shares they are in a rut do NOT encourage them to “try” so that they feel better after failing.

DOUBLE NOTE: No friends were harmed in the making of this post. Also, my (professional) self-esteem was left in bear county drenched in honey and tied to a pile of fish.

Introverts and Other People

On Sunday, I did something that I would normally never do. By never, I mean that I would hesitate on making a decision until it was too late to make a decision in the affirmative. Any way, this decision was to hang out with people that I love and I didn’t set a “leave” time. This is something other introverts can identify with – we feel completely out of our element when we are around people too long so we always develop an extra strategy. So our exit strategy is to always have a “leave” time set in stone. You know? Because our favorite shows coming on at a specific time is an actual emergency and even though we DVR it, there’s no feeling quite like watching it at the time it’s supposed to air.

Whew! Being an introvert is a challenge. Trust me.

In true introvert fashion, I became a bit overwhelmed while I was having fun and being “social.” At one point, the energy in the room was so thick that I practiced a technique of reflecting while in a crowded space. In hindsight, I really think I was only overwhelmed because of that long delay in the Saints vs. Buccaneers games. During a particular moment, I came understand something so simple about myself, but it was profound.

My realization: – I’m personable but I’m not a people-person . . .and I’m completely okay with this.

Why is this such a big thing? What does it mean to understand this distinction? How will I move forward because I get this now?

To be personable means that you are “having a pleasant appearance and manner” but to be a people-person means that you are “a person who enjoys or is particularly good at interacting with others.”

To answer that first question, it’s a big thing to realize because many people don’t understand that there is a BIG DIFFERENCE THERE. I now understand why people assume that I’m a people-person and this is something that I have to get over (it’s also easier to get over because I can explain this now). On the other hand, people need to understand that being personable does not mean you love interacting with people. I can now explain why this assumption is incorrect in a way that isn’t off-putting. The biggest obstacles I continue to run into is that people will say to me, “WHAT! You’re such a people-person!” The reality is I want nothing more than to stay home and read a book because interacting with people gives me the heebie-jeebies. The take-home point: being personable means you are nice.

I can finally understand how to explain to others that they perceive in a way that’s different from my actual reality. I’ll no longer get upset when people say to me, “Oh! I would never think of you as an introvert” or suggest that I can’t be an introvert because I come across as being comfortable around people. Since humans are creatures that judge how others experience a situation based on their own experience, I feel more confident about engaging with others. I can essentially control the experience a bit more and exert some influence after the fact in a way that’s comforting to me.

*takes deep breath*

In all of this, I am now looking forward to sharing how I continue to work the “challenge” of being an introvert in extraverted spaces.

“I Wouldn’t Have Done It That Way.”

We’ve all heard this phrase and more importantly, we’ve probably all said it at one time or another.

On the surface, the phrase is like any other that lets others know there could have a been a different way of going about doing something. But what about the times that it means more than “I approached that situation differently”? Because more often than not, when we deal with each other and  use that phrase, it means way more than what that statement implies.

Today while meditating, a thought flashed in my mind of an interaction that happened earlier this week. Harmless really…but I couldn’t put my finger on why I was so annoyed by it. So while I was supposed to be silencing my mind, my mind was busy trying to dissect this annoyance. Then it hit me — I was mad as hell about the “little issue” (the issue itself is not important but what I understood next is). As I thought about the issue, I asked myself, “Why are you angry?” and I acknowledged that it was because I wouldn’t have done it that way. To some, this may signal that I had an expectation in this situation but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that wasn’t it either.

When I asked myself why would I have done it differently, it hit me that it was because I cared about the person’s feelings because they TRUST me.

You see, when dealing with people (you think) you know well, there is a level of trust there. When you trust them with a small role in something significant and they carry out the task in a way that hurts you (whether they intended to or not) and don’t tell you, the issue isn’t how they did it. The issue is that you trusted them to do it in a way that you wouldn’t experience it negatively.

So when does this become a problem?

It is an issue when others can’t acknowledge that you were hurt and leave it at that BUT it becomes a problem when you tell yourself that you will bury it and just “move on.” After all, that’s what they expect you to do anyway.

As a Woman with trust issues, I realize now that most of my hurts stem from people I trust (which is huge) doing things in a laissez-faire way and not acknowledging that maybe, just maybe, it was a bigger deal to me than it was to them.

Bottom line, if a person asks you to do something and you can’t come through in a way that you would want someone to come through for you, just don’t do it.

Living Fully

WHOOOOOO!!!! Before I get into this post, let’s talk about the fact that I have 100 posts on my blog! After three years (I think), I finally buckled down, got disciplined with my writing and hit a goal. This is actually post 101 and I think it’s appropriate since it marks the start of something “new.”

For the past few weeks, I’ve been intentional about being present and fully aware with how I’m feeling and with what’s going on. In the past, I’ve usually bottled up everything. While it’s freeing, it’s sometimes a bit weird to see the reactions of others because I know they think I’m losing it. One moment, I can be sorta great or at the very least good. The next moment, I’ll see or read something that frustrates me or makes me sad and instead of packing it away and pretending I’m fine, I acknowledge what I feel.

This has been new not just for me but for those around me. I don’t have outbursts but I’m no longer pretending to be okay. I’m also becoming more mindful of how ignoring something has an impact on people around me because I’ve learned that I’m one of those personalities that can’t hide anything. I CAN NOT TELL A LIE!!! in real life lol.

The one thing that I’m proud of is that this “living fully” is trickling into other areas of my life. Some exciting things are coming up (and I’ll be sure to blog about some of them) and I’m looking forward to all of it.

It’s amazing what being completely honest does for you and your mindset.

You Get More Flies With Honey

I used to not understand this saying…but I got it! When I did, it really was an, “Oooooohhhhh! That’s what that means!” kind of moment.

I had to laugh.

So what sparked it? I’ve sorta taken an impromptu break from actively tweeting from my twitter accounts (if you followed me during #31WriteNow, my bad). I had to do this though. Not only did I find myself losing valuable time, I found myself getting angry. Mostly at people I don’t know, have never met, probably won’t ever meet, and who don’t pay my bills. And when I say “angry,” y’all need to know that I mean just that. ANGRY! So I logged off around 9:00pm on Sunday, September 8th and I haven’t really been back.

Save for the occasional logging in to schedule some tweets.


Now what does that have to do with flies and honey and whatever else? I’ll tell you. On September 11, 2013, I logged into Tweetdeck to schedule some tweets because I’m a businesswoman with a promotional contest going on and I wanted to let the people know about it. Within twenty seconds, I saw no less than four tweets that made me say, “You get more flies with honey. Didn’t ya Grandma ever tell you that?”

That’s when it hit me!

I finally got it and why did I get it? The tweets I saw spoke of a certain group (feminists) with a particular attribute (natural hair) in a less than flattering way. While I got what the commentators were trying to say, I really understood that even the people and things we don’t like deserve to be spoken to in a nice way. Who cares if they come across as undesirable to you? That’s not YOUR issue. Your duty is to treat everyone as you’d want to be treated (Golden Rule) and I’m for damn sure that you wouldn’t want anyone to share anything with you that leaves you with a bitter after-taste?

Then again, that could be your “thing” and if it is — carry on.

The fact remains, that’s not everyone’s thing. People appreciate honesty and tact. People don’t want to be told anything in a rude manner because you “tell it how it is” and you’re just blunt. No. You are rude and your Mama probably should have put you in timeout for that. See? That wasn’t nice to read was it? Not at all. Which makes my point. Be nice to people.

Even flies like honey.

*Promotional Contest: Like my company’s, Professional By Design NOLA, Facebook page and follow us on Twitter during the month of September. For every 50 likes and followers, one person will win a free resume overhaul ($100 value). Professional By Design NOLA offers a personal touch to professional development.

Gratitude as an Act of Kindness

On Wednesday during Day 2 of the 21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey, I had an epiphany! As the organizers of the mantra meditation journey prepared listeners for Day 2, which focused on Inner Peace, they asked the question, “What does peace mean to you?” My first thought was that peace meant being able to focus on a given task with no distraction and if you are distracted, then you don’t punish yourself for being distract. Then I thought that peace meant I would have loving relationships and that those who loved me, like family and friends, would support me.

But then something sorta weird happened and I thought, “Peace is helping my Mom with tasks now because she helped me when I was younger. It’s my way of saying ‘Thank You’ for what you’ve done and recognized in me.”

Peace is gratitude. Gratitude is an act of kindness towards oneself that you express because some other Energy has recognized something amazing in you.

You tell the Creator (be it God or the Source or however you choose to acknowledge it) thank you through acts of gratitude toward yourself and others because the Creator has blessed you with certain gifts. These gifts allow you to give back. When you compliment someone, it’s an act of gratitude because you recognize something in them that another source of energy recognized in you. When you give chance to a homeless person with a good spirit and good hard, it is an act of gratitude. Why? They recognize that you have a source of energy that allows you to manifest wealth in a way that makes you comfortable. You “pay” your gratitude by giving away your excess (sidenote: this thought on wealth is something that I learned about while listening to a 45 minute talk given by Bob Proctor who shared that we only need wealth for two reasons: (1) to become comfortable and (2) to give in charity to others).

I will share that I was astounded at how simple this realization on peace and gratitude was and as I went into my meditation, I actually FELT different. My energy was stronger and less anxious. My breathing was slower. My heart wasn’t beating out of my chest and for possibly the first time ever, thoughts weren’t running through my mind at the beginning of a meditation period. The feeling in this particular session was almost blissful and even when I was done, I still felt the same.

It was great.

“The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.”

-Eckhart Tolle

Click here if you would like to learn more about this particular journey or if you’d like to join the 21 Day Mantra Meditation Journey.

Easier to Think

I’ve been in a brainstorming frenzy for the past three days! I attribute that to the clearing of my mental and physical spaces. Just wanted to share a quick update because I’m excited about the different areas in my life that I’m taking to the next level. Scared…but excited.

Professionally, I’ve started thinking of ways to market my skill set to companies and writing down my goals.  I’ve also thought about how I could take my company, Professional By Design NOLA, to the next level. The BIG realization — there will be some sleepless nights and I might devote two “work days” a week to planning for it.

Personally, I’ve even seriously considered dating (WHAT?) and that’s funny. That actually makes me laugh and who knows, I may have my own little highlights from the interesting things I see and experience while dating. My awkwardness and ability to make something funny (that might not be funny) could turn that into a fun thing. We shall see though.

I will say overall that I’m more open to facing my challenges head on and really embracing who I am.

This was just a short update to let y’all know what’s going on with me.

Be sure to LIKE the FB page for my company, Professional By Design NOLA. Stay up-to-date with product offerings and how we can solve your professional challenges. 

Honesty Is the ONLY Policy

The past nine days have been intensely emotional. That’s the sentence that captures exactly what I’ve been going through. For the past three years, I’ve been on a personal journey to clear myself of negative energy and release toxic emotions from my being. It’s not easy and at times, this process of clearing energy moves way slower than I want it to.

On Sunday night, I had a particular experience that led me to watch a recorded episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass (this one had Bishop T.D. Jakes as a guest and took place at MegaFest). After about 17 minutes, I found myself asking, “WHY DID I THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?” While the focus was on “fatherless children,” there was something that struck me about the pain of having an absent parent. For a while (and this is a story I won’t get into — gotta save something for my tell-all autobiography), I’ve buried the pain of being the child that was overlooked and abused and forgotten about. The thought that came to mind about why I’ve remained wounded in life was that, “Even if people do the best that they could have done, it doesn’t lessen the hurt.”

That statement is true. It doesn’t lessen the sting of being at a Family Reunion (on my Dad’s side) and having to be introduced to family members only to overhear one of them say, “I thought he only had one daughter.” To be an outsider was hard.

And I have spent the majority of my adult life trying to feel the opposite of that. I’ve found myself in situations where I’ve essentially done things because I knew that for a fleeting moment, I’d be the one that they (my parents) would have to pay attention to. Then I read something on Monday morning that talked about letting go of hurts and the biggest impediment to doing so. Before I got to the end of the paragraph and had a major “AHA!” moment, I was sure that the impediment was going to be something like, “We can’t get over our hurts because people won’t acknowledge that we can feel the same way.” That thought process is something like, “You want me to extend my empathy to you but you can’t do that for me.” That’s blaming. That doesn’t work.

That was also NOT the answer.

The biggest impediment to getting through our hurts is that we ask the question, “Why?” The answer is very simple, “Because they could.” It doesn’t mean that they meant it intentionally. It doesn’t mean that they thought less of you. It doesn’t mean that they set out to contribute to the misery in your existence. It just happened. And it happened because they behaved in a way that they could.

With that being said, I’ll share that this realization brought about the biggest sigh of relief and then the largest cloud of panic I’ve been engulfed in since I watched an apartment burn to the ground. For me, I felt good because it suddenly clicked that I’m amazing and that I’ve always been amazing. On the other hand, it was absolutely terrifying because I realized that (1) I haven’t been living in my fullest potential AND (2) if I live in my potential and embrace the amazing and succeed, it would mean that I was the reason life has been so difficult in the past few years.

I decided to call this post “Honesty is the ONLY policy” because it means that I can do things that I’ve always wanted to do because I approach life with a zeal and understanding that I deserve the good things. And that’s okay. But I also realized four things:

  1. I am at an exciting time in my life.
  2. I choose to stand in my authenticity.
  3. I am all of that and MORE!
  4. My past gave me the foundation to be great. Not mediocre. GREAT!

With this new policy, taking on my baggage doesn’t seem as scary. I can only come out better anyway.

Have you had a moment that changed the way you thought about yourself? If so, share in the comments.