Bouncing Back After Failure (My500)

Day 6 of the 500 Word challenge. Tell someone else’s story.

From the outside looking in, Peter is a quiet smart college student from the suburbs. He doesn’t seem to let much bother him except when someone tries to make him share his food. Making memories has become his mantra at the insistence of his mother because she knows the pain of missing the opportunities to do so.

Peter has a strong inner circle but he doesn’t always use the strength of that inner circle to help him brain storm through his challenges. He usually waits until it’s too late to ask for help when the problem has grown past the helping stage but his last challenge proved to have more consequences than he expected.

While all of his friends received multiple scholarships to attend college, Peter only received two and they were only to his back up colleges. As if he didn’t feel bad enough, his mother reminded him at every turn how he had been told since he was old enough to talk, that he needed to get a scholarship to go to school because his parents didn’t have money to send him.

It’s like his mother couldn’t stop driving that point home over and over. Guilt, frustration and anger were just a few of his emotions that he experienced over the following months after graduation. His mother’s constant reminder became a sore spot for him so much so that it affected his first semester of being away from home or so he thought.

Adding to what seemed like a new trend of disappointment and failures, he went from being a straight A student to a C student. Peter was used to being a high achiever. He was valedictorian of his eighth grade class and almost salutatorian for high school all while participating in multiple afterschool activities. He was dependable and punctual. He served consistently at his church and volunteered at a shelter for abandoned pets.

Thankfully during this low period in Peter’s life one of his friends, Thomas, checked in on him and asked how things were going. He shared how tough his first semester was going and how he couldn’t understand it. He told him how things were so bad that he just wanted to go home and start all over. He continued to share how he has never failed this badly before at anything that he set out to do.

His friend listened intently as he shared what seemed like years of frustration and feeling overwhelmed of performing at the level that he had. Thomas told him that he was having a similar semester and that he went to his college advisor to help sort things out because he was seriously considering quitting school, too. He shared that the counselor helped him understand that this was just a growing pain for him.

Thomas told him that the last 12 years of their lives had been planned out by someone else. Their parents, teachers, counselors and mentors all had a hand in telling them where to go and when to be there with the expectation that they would follow through. He told Peter that they were now responsible for their own lives with support from that same circle of people.

Peter knew Thomas was right because his mom had just said the same thing in their weekly call. He knew that he had to get his act together so he made a plan to get back on track. He still decided to leave school but he applied to a local college closer to home and applied for scholarships like it was his masters thesis. By the time he returned to school in the fall of the following year, he had enough money to cover almost the entire school year. He worked part time jobs to pay for the rest with the help of his parents. He had a few bumps along the way but he did what was necessary to readjust and get back on track.

Peter is now the owner of his own production company that supports independent film makers. He has written, directed and starred in a few productions that have all won awards in his field. He has written several scores to a few popular movies and a few popular streaming networks shows. Peter also volunteers to work with high school students and their parents to teach them how to apply for scholarships for college. Peter decided that he would help as many families who share his story as possible. He and his parents have also begun a foundation that provides scholarships to students after their first six weeks of college or in cases of emergency funding.

Here’s to Peter finding his way back after what seemed like an impossible situation with the support of good friend.

Just another day’s journey of learning how to bounce back after failure.

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Discovering Indepedence (My500)

Day 5 of the 500 Word Challenge. Today, I am supposed to share a memorable moment. Although it has been a source of tension in my marriage, it still stands out as being one of the most significant trips of my life. My former job had yearly conferences in which my husband had attended. This particular year, I reluctantly went alone.

I remember making a big fuss about having to go alone and threatening to stay in my hotel room the entire time. I think that I may have considered not going because beyond going away to college, I had never gone anywhere by myself. My husband was unable to go because he had started a new job. He encouraged to me not only take the trip but to enjoy all that the city had to offer just as I had when he traveled with me.

I don’t remember much about the flight. I’m pretty sure that I was on the plane with many of my colleagues that I knew from our semi-annual meetings. When I landed in my host city for the conference, I remember looking at the airport with a new pair of eyes. I was more present and observant of my surroundings. The airport seemed small compared to the airport that I had left. It seemed more relaxed.

Still apprehensive about being on my first trip alone, I rode in silence pouting. I checked in to the hotel and called home to let my family know that I had arrived. With more coaching from my husband, I decided to make the best of my solo trip and take a little time to discover the city on my off times during the conference.

I intentionally did not set up times to meet up with my colleagues. The first day, I walked to an indoor two story mall not that far from my hotel where I grabbed something to eat. The calming sounds of what I thought was a waterfall greeted me at the door as I entered the building. I remember that familiar salty sweet food court smell calling me down the hall to discover something unique to the town that I was in. As I sat and ate my food, I remember watching how relaxed people walked through the small food court. The couples who walked through the mall with miniature versions of themselves taking four more steps than them because of their height was the most comical thing that I could see in that moment.

I was missing my family in that moment but decided not to call home to check in.  A short walk away from the food court was a comedy club. Puzzled and curious by it’s placement in the mall, I decided to go in. Even though the space was not that large, I was careful to not sit too close to the front but not so far were I would draw attention to myself since I was alone. I decided that I would fully enjoy myself so I ordered some fruity drink that satisfied the two drink minimum. I don’t remember the comedians but I do remember leaving satisfied which means that they had made me laugh. A perfect beginning to my first day.

The rest of the week seemed to be a repeat of solo adventures where I learned to enjoy my own company. I went to a wax museum and even took some themed pictures with a fake shotgun in an old saloon. That was so much fun. I took the local bus to the larger mall outside of the comfort of the downtown area where my hotel was. I strolled to an outdoor museum or exhibit of the Alamo. That was a very serene and surreal visit for me. I realized as I read the different sections how close my national language could have been Spanish, had we lost.

To think that I almost sat in my hotel and pouted about taking a trip by myself makes me laugh. I would have never experienced the Riverwalk by foot or boat which made me fall in love with San Antonio. I would have never eaten in public alone or strolled through the city alone. I definitely would not have sat in a comedy club alone. I would have never had an opportunity to fall in love with a city that essentially opened the door to my independence.

I didn’t realize it then but that trip taught me that I can have moments to myself and not feel guilty. I also learned that traveling alone can be a blessing because of all the many gifts that I received on that trip. I don’t know that I would have experienced the city in the same way if I had a companion. There was no one there to point in a particular direction from their perspective. Every experience was my own and chosen by me. Maybe I will return to the city one day on another solo trip.

Here’s to taking a chance on a solo trip for you!

Just another day’s journey of discovering my moment of independence.

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Have You Finished What You Started? (My500)

Last year an admin from one of the many groups that I am a part of asked a question that I soon regretted and savored answering. The question was, “If you hadn’t given up on IT, (whatever it is), where would you be today?” I was having a pretty bold and transparent moment, so I shared the following 7 things.

  1. I would be a licensed marriage and family therapist.
  2. I would know how to swim.
  3. I would have maintained my 4 pack.
  4. I would have finished writing my play.
  5. I would have submitted my pitch for a sitcom.
  6. I would have finished baby blankets for few people.
  7. I would have ran my first 5k last year. (2016)

When sharing my list of things, it never occurred to me that I would be challenged to go after my list and complete the tasks. The admin had the nerve to challenge each person to go after each goal and to complete them all by the end of the year. Ha! She had to be joking, right? All 7? Well she wasn’t joking. She challenged me to complete 6 out of the 7.

For the next few minutes, I cursed her for having the audacity to do what no one else in my circle had been able to do. Challenge me to finish. This challenge sparked something in me that I needed and had no idea that was there.

Not more than a week later I scheduled my training app for “beginning 10k.” In my crazy thinking, I figured if I had trained and quit the 5k training that I would do the 10k training. If I quit, I would be mostly ready??? No I didn’t realize this at the time but I suppose I trained to quit.

That following Sunday night I laid out my clothes that I would run in, set my alarm and went to sleep. Monday morning may have been the day that I hit the pavement but that Saturday, July 29, 2017 was the day that I made my mind up. I didn’t share my first day of training with anyone. Only my family was aware that my alarm went off at 5:00 am and walked to the park to begin my journey.

I was on to something and decided to share through video with my group the importance of keeping your commitments to yourself. I was careful not share my running journey because I wanted people to attach meaning to their commitment.

I don’t fully remember the moments after finishing my first run but I am pretty sure that I felt accomplished. I told myself that I would begin my journey and I did. Those weeks of training that followed were emotionally and physically grueling. There were days that I asked myself, “What the heck are you doing?” Well maybe, I said it with a little more color. I learned so many lessons along the way.

The biggest lesson that is echoed each time I hit the pavement is that I am worthy of keeping my own commitment for me. This journey to finish was not about anyone else but me. It doesn’t matter what was on my list. Some of those things, I am no longer interested in. Some, I am still interested in but it doesn’t matter. I chose me in this journey even when things weren’t going right in my life. I chose me.

Through challenges in my marriage, finances, business, personal and professional relationships I kept training. I kept running. I kept pushing for me. The pavement taught me that none of those things matter while I was out there. No matter how tough it was move to the next level, all of my challenges stayed the same. The only thing that changed while I was out there was my perspective.

I chose to fight through with tears in my eyes, pain in my side and a heavy heart to achieve my goal and it was worth it. I finished each time with a new lesson and sense of accomplishment that made my heart soar and ask for more. I am grateful for the challenge to finish and look forward to seeing what other lessons are on the pavement.

Here’s to more lessons and completed challenges! (Still no major edits ahhhhhh)

Just another day’s journey of challenge myself to finish what I started.

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Prioritizing the Important Things (My500)

Day 3 of the 500 Word Challenge.

Today’s Challenge was to get up early to write. I guess this is as early as it gets for me since my priority is to hit the elliptical, first. Much like my commitment to this challenge, I made a commitment to myself in July of last year to keep my commitments to myself in running.

Nothing and no one will keep me from that including this challenge and that’s huge for me. As I shared yesterday, I used to put a lot of people and things ahead of me. I chose them first in my priorities no matter my discomfort and then would wonder why I felt so unfulfilled and empty.

Today’s challenge is a reminder to me that even when we set new goals to make sure that we prioritize them. I could have started writing at 5:00 am this morning while I ate my banana in preparation for the work that I would do on the elliptical. I could have begun writing instead of reading my devotionals that I read while enjoying my pre-workout snack but I chose to keep the order.

In the grand scheme of things, did it really matter? Not really but I did what works for me. There was no love lost or gained as a result of writing after my workout. I chose to do both because I love them both AND I prioritized the order.

In the past, I would have chosen the order requested without considering what was most important to me and then been upset with myself for getting lost in the new priority. That’s not me anymore. I get to choose AND everyone is still standing.

It’s funny hearing those words coming from me since I have been an advocate others doing the same. I think in some way I was really encouraging myself all these years through my clients, friends and associates to prioritize their healthy desires. I finally heard AND accepted my own advice.

This morning’s challenge has also taught me the importance of beginning early enough to not feel rushed. Not just in my daily writing but in life. Since this is a challenge to write daily, writing early in the day takes the pressure off of completing the task before midnight.

My pastor’s wife mentioned this in one of her messages a few years ago. She shared with us that when you prepare or start early that if things go wrong or plans change, you are less stressed.

The last lesson learned is true of what Jeff Goins suggested. Once you accomplish your task, you get to run off that sense of accomplishment for the day. I will be cautious to not celebrate too long, as the vice president at a company that I work for shared. Celebrate AND move on. I have more to do and certainly more to write.

Here’s to prioritizing my tasks, beginning early enough to not feel pressure and celebrating along the way. (no edits ahhhh)

Just another day’s journey of learning to prioritize the important things.

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Don’t Take Life for Granted (My500)

So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12 NKJV

 

Day 2 of the 500 Word Challenge. I am enjoying this return to daily writing. I must admit that it’s a little intimidating with my past of starting and stopping but this is what I signed up for. 🙂

It seems that even biblegateway.com has conspired to help me write with the daily scripture. I really needed this scriptural reminder to not take life for granted. Each moment is to be treasured and cherished including the challenging moments. There are lessons to be learned in everything and if I am too busy moving on to the next thing, I might just miss the lesson.

Recently, I have started doing yoga with one of my favorite YouTubers, Yoga with Adriene. Yoga teaches you to be present…

I forgot that this is supposed to be brain dumping right now without edits, right? J I will get back to the lessons from Yoga with Adriene, later. Just know that my little 24 minute workout was serious today but worth it. I think that I like yoga and running because I can measure my progress, right away. Oh yeah. I run. That story is coming soon, too.

This feels so wrong and right at the same time. I am tempted to scrap this and go a totally different route but I am committed to this for me. I guess I can let you in a little why keeping this commitment is so important to me.

For the majority of my life, I haven’t always numbered my days so to speak. I have taken my journey through life for granted. I have chosen the opinions of others over mine even if it made me uncomfortable or unsatisfied. I didn’t see it as people pleasing. I only saw it as making others happy or comfortable. I chose them over me.

See, my 500 Word Challenge is not just about writing 500 words a day. It’s about keeping my commitment to myself just as I have been keeping my commitment to me with regard to my running. It’s about keeping my commitment to things that bring me joy and peace. It’s about rediscovering or discovering the true essence of me.

What are my true likes and dislikes? What are my true disappointments and joys? What are my true opinions about life, love, and living? The 500 Word Challenge is me finding a way to number my days through words and choosing to share my process with someone else unfiltered, unedited and uncovered.

Hopefully by the end of this challenge I am doing more than just free writing that encourages, empowers or challenges others. I will have a rhythm and awareness of my love of writing that will be more intentional in doing what I love with the most authenticity that I can muster up to share. No apologies. Just me.

Here’s to another day of freewriting and sharing the journey.

Just another day’s journey of learning to number my days and gaining wisdom along the way. Peace.

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Back to Basics (My500)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

It’s so funny to me that because I decided to use the scripture on Biblegateway.com as a guide for me to write, that today’s scripture talks about being a new creature. I have joined one of my favorite virtual mentors, Jeff Goins, challenge of writing every day a minimum of 500 words. The only way to become better at something is to do it. We are supposed to just write without editing at this point. I can’t tell you how much of a challenge this is. I am not much of a grammarian but I love writing and I love to share.

I know that I am all over the place but trying to get to 500 words without a plan is a challenge. For now, this will be a brain dump for me as I re-acclimate myself to writing daily. I have no idea what I am going to write. Well I do know what I am going to write but this is not the time to share that. This is exercise is helping me to get there without forcing the issue.

This journey is important to me because I began it a few years ago and walked away without a good reason. I was consistent and fought through the typical writer’s block to arrive at an end result whether good or bad. I walked away from my voice because I was looking for someone to tell me that what I chose was good and valid. I forgot that it was already validated by Someone more important than the person who I looked to tell me I heard correctly. That was so unfair of me to put that person in that position without all of the facts. I realize that now and have apologized to them for that.

What I hope to get out of this 500 word challenge is confidence to be transparent again to be able to share all of my story without apology. Yes. I hold back and there is so much more to my journey that I know that I need to share with the people who are meant to read my blog.

My prayer is that when you come here that you are encouraged, empowered and/or challenged to do. No matter what “do” means to you at the moment, know that I am not mirror but the message that I share is. Choose to see yourself and how you can become more of who you were created to be while learning about my ups and downs and how to overcome challenges. I hope that you also learn that not every challenge is overcome in one sitting like our favorite television shows or books. It’s not all a happy ending AND there is always a lesson.

I have tried my best not to edit and just write. I even chose to not remove the scripture that I planned to use. I suppose it has a purpose, too. Here’s to new beginnings and going back to basics.

Just another day’s journey to starting over with a Fresh Start in the New Year.

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Follow Your Dreams

My son has loved all things acting since he was 2 years old. I took him to his first musical play when I was still a case manager along with my other clients. He sat there quietly and attentively watching every move from start to finish. The dark theater never bothered him nor did the sudden change in sounds from quiet to loud. He loved it.

Fast forward to junior high school to high school years. He took a love of engineering while still loving the thought of acting professionally. We sent him to engineering camp but somehow I think sending him to a theater camp would have sent him over the moon. Despite all of that there was still an internal battle of which road he would take after high school.

He had been the star of each show in junior high school but high school was a bit more challenging. He never was the star of the show but he always played a part. He did anything from set design to playing supporting roles. He even took a job two summers in a row that allowed him to get paid to do exactly what he loves, acting.

When it was time for college applications, they all had engineering as the major. We never thought about or considered that acting would be a major. It was never discussed. One Sunday at church, discussing the merits of HBCU’s compared to the Ivy League colleges he desired, someone talked about following your passion. A lightbulb went off for him and changed his course from engineer to acting.

We initially tried to tell him that he could still major in engineering and do acting at the same time but that advice fell on deaf ears. As a parent I was disappointed and frustrated not because I didn’t believe in him but because of the struggle that I knew that he would endure. I wanted to protect him but technically, he’s an adult now. It’s his decision.

Unfortunately, because we didn’t have the money for college he only spent one semester away. This reality fueled his passion for acting even more. I supported the decision but still mourned for the loss of my college educated child. I defended his decision to come home and fight for his dream because I knew how I felt fighting at my age with a boatload of responsibilities for my dreams.

I almost forgot why I am sharing. Sorry. I am sharing all of this because my son and other kids like him get flack for choosing non-traditional majors under the guise of it’s not transferable. After having a conversation with a relative, I realize that is a crock. A lot of majors are not transferrable. Pre-med, pre-law, nursing and education. If any of these people decide that they don’t like the profession or the profession does not love them, they still have to get another degree or figure out what’s next.

The truth is that there is some crazy stat that says the average college degreed individual is not working in the field for which they have a degree. I know several people that graduated from my college who are working in a totally different field. Did we all go get degrees for which our parents and society thought was acceptable or did we get a degree that we had chosen on our own?

I salute my son for following his dream. As a result of staying focused, he will play a role in Sister Act this weekend. He has not given up on his dream and is actively pursuing it. He also has been reapplying to colleges and making sure to complete scholarship applications. Prayerfully in the fall he will be attending Columbia College following his dream. He is doing everything he knows to do to follow his dream. Will you do the same?

Just another day’s journey of learning what it really means to follow your dreams.

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I Choose Me!

I Choose Me!

We are taught in school to raise our hands quietly and wait for the teacher or speaker to choose us. We are taught not to blurt out the answers or run to the board first. We are taught to wait for one of our classmates to choose us to play on their dodgeball team. In junior high school and beyond, we are taught to raise our hands to volunteer for roles that we choose to do for leadership, fundraising or any other activity that needs people. The problem is that all this conditioning teaches us to not choose ourselves.

My lesson this week is learning to choose me not just as an entrepreneur but in every area of my life. We are taught that it is selfish to choose ourselves over our friends and neighbors. We are taught that if we give too many answers that no one else will have a chance so we are conditioned to back up, shrink and quiet down. I realized that it is not selfish for me to choose myself or to give an answer that I want to share with others. It’s actually selfish for me not to choose myself.

I choose me every time I sit down to eat my meals at reasonably scheduled times instead of working through my meal times. I choose me every time I take a needed break from a challenging project that has me puzzled. I choose me every time I follow up on call to a prospect rather than waiting for them to call me. I choose me every time I schedule date night instead of waiting for my husband to do it. I choose me every time the doctor tells me there are no more answers and I ask another question. I choose me every time I ask a question about something that I don’t understand. I choose me.

I will not wait for someone to notice my hand has been raised waiting to be picked to do something that I feel ready to do. I will not wait to eat when I am hungry because the project is not more important than my health. I will not wait to take a break when I see that I am approaching my breaking point. I will not wait for someone to call, text or email me back when I have the ability and presence of mind to do it. I will not wait for date night to be planned for me when I can make the plans for us. I will not wait for the doctor to find an answer when he says there are no more answers. I will not wait quietly and patiently to be chosen when I have the ability to choose myself.

I choose me. Who will you let choose for you?

Just another day’s journey of learning to choose me.

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Running My Own Race (Late Post)

It’s been a long while since I have posted. Partially because I was waiting for something spectacular to happen first and partially because I hadn’t made sharing my journey a priority. My plan is to share with you a minimum of twice per month on Mondays. I may occasionally post more but twice is what I can commit to at this time. Be encouraged and enjoy.

 

In December of 2015, I hung up my hat as a Case Manager to take a change in career as an entrepreneur. I don’t know what I thought back then about my choice other than it was necessary. I would be lying to you if I told you that it was easy and that I have excelled in every way possible. The truth is, that this has been the toughest yet rewarding year of my life.

I have been stretched in ways that I would never allow myself to be stretched before. I have failed repeatedly, got up and asked for more in the midst of frustration and disappointment. Some would say that my actions are crazy but they don’t understand that it’s necessary for me for me to grow. See, in the past if I faced a challenge where it seemed that I would fail, I would quit. I would convince myself that it was not a good fit and move on to the next thing. I have learned that I was chasing perfection not progress.

There are days that I get up and wonder what the heck did I get my family and myself into? I also asked, who am I to think that I can actually be an entrepreneur? It’s competitive and I don’t like the idea of competition. I wondered if I was alone in my thought process and then I remembered that I have heard other successful entrepreneurs like Steve Harvey, Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran have asked similar questions in their journey. Then I realize that the only difference between them and me is the fact that they kept going. They kept running their race despite the walls of doubt or discouragement not to mention, real life happening during the fight for the dream.

Fighting through real life financial challenges, sickness and frustration will make anyone reconsider the dream until you consider the alternative. I actually got a call from a former supervisor, who I love to life, in the past few months to consider taking a position as a case manager. I will be honest. I thought about it. With two graduations and preparation for a new college student, I tried to convince myself why I should return to work temporarily. I even considered offering it as an option to her that I would take the position on a temporary basis but I knew the truth. If I went back to a 9 to 5 this time, I would not return to trying to make being an entrepreneur work no matter what lie I told myself.

Thank God for an awesome husband who was my voice of reason. Despite the financial stress on his shoulders, he told me to keep going and not to look back. He noted the difference in my approach to life as a result of this new journey. I have become more optimistic about the future and can see beyond our present circumstances. I have hope again that God’s promises are for us, too despite what it may look like, now. He helped me to see all of that and I am forever grateful.

The journey has not changed but what I think about the journey has changed. I hope to be able to share my lessons along the way with you as transparently as possible to help encourage another person who may feel stuck or giving up. Keep watching and let’s stay connected.

Just another day’s journey of learning how to run my own race.

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Will you be known for your love?

image

http://bible.com/114/jhn.13.34-35.NKJV

When I think about what has happened in the media since same-sex marriage was “made legal” it makes me sad. I am not saying that Christians shouldn’t have an opinion about the decision. I am saying that it is not the principle matter. Jesus called us to go and make disciples for the Kingdom of God and that comes through relationship.

The Bible is not meant to be a weapon wielding it’s contents on unsuspecting people – people who do not believe that it is true. It’s a guide book for those who believe. It’s a guide book for those who are in relationship with God who desire to know more about Him. It’s been abused by believers and non-believers alike to prove a point that the two will never agree on.

Love is left on the side to defend itself.  Yes #LoveWins but at what cost? What are we doing? Bible study is for those who believe. How can we make disciples by having unsolicited bible study out of context and out of order? When Jesus taught the multitudes, His message was one of hope and love but growth came long after the lesson.

Would you rather win souls for the Kingdom of God with love or through misguided intentions that only wins the attention of men?

Just another day’s journey of checking to make sure that I am known for God’s love.

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