Living life out loud on purpose

Give it time

Water your seed and give it time.

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My last post highlighted a segment of conversation I had with my father about two weeks ago.

In that same conversation, my dad talked about how he was so thankful for the Lord allowing him to lose his job through the dissolving of a company. My dad talked about the fiscal lessons and great journey he traveled during that season. I remember that season vividly too. Both my mother and dad lost their jobs within months of each other. They both had given years of dedicated service to have my mom’s role phased out and my dad’s company be sold off (hostess).

Being laid off helped my father become very frugal. The lay off also helped my dad shift. He claims that this is the best thing that happened to him because his perspective changed. My dad spoke of the lazy financial mentality that sometimes comes with knowing you have predictable cashflow. It’s different when you are in the “wilderness.” I reference the “wilderness”(thank you TD Jakes) because that is a great descriptor for the transition from working for someone to working for yourself (chat for another day).

My parent’s journey prepared me for my current path. I am able to stand on my feet and rise up daily with hope because I know there is life after ‘comfort.’ It’s over time that I watched my parents transition from employment to unemployment to employment and eventually homeowners. That short cycle manifested during their time of discomfort. Being unable to rely on the ‘used to’ made my parents regroup and propser in the long run.

I’m proud to say that same drive has been surfacing in my own life. The very moments that make me want to quit one moment serve as the catalyst for deeper revelation and steps towards my biggest dreams. I’d be lying if I said every tough moment instantly inspires my soul. Far from it. I resist progress within the first five minutes of detecting it,  just to surrender my will and pick up the journey (just ask my inner circle) yet again.  But the most powerful lesson from this journey is the concept of ‘time.’

It takes time to reflect and gather the details to build the big picture. It takes time to learn how to get out of your own way. It takes time for these lessons to take root and slowly, surely usher you towards your destiny. Simply put no matter how microwave like or impatient I or you become—the journey takes time. Yet, the rewards are so magnificent.

Numbers don’t lie

numbersdontlie

Had a funny but great conversation with my Dad on last Thursday.

Somewhere in the middle of our conversation, Dad turns a corner on relationships.

Dad advises that anyone can act, pretend, or run a script for a year.

“It’s after that first year and as years go by that you will begin to see more of the true person.”

My Dad had my half sisters while in High School and the rest of us girls during his marriage to my Mom (still married). In my opinion, he knows a thing or two on relationships. Although his words may not fit all situations-he is spot on about getting to knowing others.

It takes time to see below the surface. It takes time to fully and mutually earn one another’s confidence/trust.

So, if anyone reading this nods in agreement or understanding, then please riddle me this: why do people have 90 day rules?

What a person does with their life-is their business. However, I have seen people diet or fast for a specific period and revert back to the very reason they are dieting or fasting.

Won’t the same end result surface for those aiming at a specific time to engage in physical intimacy? Does the 90 days tell you something different from the first day or 180, 360, 420 days?

I asked this of a friend and we chuckled. Chantal mentioned how people will lose the lesson in being “legalistic.”

I think the lesson lost whether the ‘how’ behind the decision is congruent with the ‘why.’

Setting an arbitrary 90 day rule regarding anything doesn’t determine if you are living healthier, surrendering habits, or whether you really know someone. So, if the 90 days rule isn’t congruent with what you ‘truly’ want, then what purpose does is it serve other than to make us feel better by being less than honest (with self)?

Truth about Supervision

Just the other day, I was blessed to receive a call from one of my Graduate friends. My friend and I talked about upcoming plans and some of the progress notes we have made thus far in the new year. Somewhere along the way the conversation took a turn towards supervision. In particular, someone who I briefly met felt some type of way about my leadership style. In all truth, the person really did not have much to go on. I chuckled part way through that conversation point because I realized this person was new to leadership and is still wet behind the ears.

However, I did enjoy that the information was brought to my ears because it helped me journey back down memory lane to some of the mistakes that I have made in supervision over the years.

Here’s a highlight reel of the ones that come to mind:

  • Not always making enough time for staff vs. tasks
  • Not saying “No” more frequently
  • Not always realizing when I am not respecting someone’s time (specifically my co-supervisor)
  • Using a 1:1 for my own vent session (yikes)
  • Stopping others from abusing or hi-jacking my calendar (which put my staff at a disadvantage)
  • Not developing my emotional intelligence sooner (thank you to all my supervisees who responded with grace)

Not to mention the challenges that come with supervising:

  • “Nothing is ever enough”-supervisors are the funnels for complaints above and below them
  • No regard for the things you do well and the time it takes to complete them
  • Constant resistance towards development from above and below
  • The need for one or more versions of yourself for the tasks lying at hand
  • The vast amounts of resiliency that you must absorb to function at high levels daily

By now most of you are resembling ‘bobble heads’ as you nod in agreement along the way. The world of supervision is both taxing and rewarding at the same time. I believe the number rule of thumb is that you have to give your self a margin for error. You are going to make mistakes, hurt or misunderstand others, and lose some valuable lessons along the way. In stark contrast, you will shape the lives of others for a lifetime, you will develop the potential in employees that will lead to a better tomorrow, and you will learn more about yourself through the mistakes that you make.

You have to make the mistakes to grow into the developer you are meant to be. But, you also have to be willing to respect the past, make no excuses for today (own your own ish), and constantly be open to the innovative offerings of tomorrow. So, I still chuckle at anyone who blames another supervisor, colleague, boss, etc. for what they wrestle today. That’s the largest clue that you are an amateur supervisor. Anyone that has been around the block long enough will tell you that there is no ‘one size, fits all approach.’ However, there is always the opportunity to learn from those whose style and work challenges you out of your homogenous sip of tea.

Words from Lloyd

Just wrapped my 3 volume series on self-acceptance which was just in time for the Cupid week of love. Funny that this very week, I wrestled heavily with my own acceptance. I kept re-hearing Lloyd. Lloyd is an old colleague of mine that questioned me once upon a time. He questioned my broken record of “I’m just rough around the edges.” Others never payed me mind when I made that statement. Others perhaps used that statement to their advantage. Not Lloyd. It was a Summer night in 2014 and we had arrived back from an outing in Anderson I believe. For some odd reason, I wrapped a sentenced with “I’m just rough around the edges.”

Lloyd called it out. Lloyd asked had soneone told me I was rough around the edges.

I was shocked, taken a back. I actually had to think back-and I had no answer. For years, I felt like I was perceived as an angry black woman or misunderstood at every opportune moment. So, somewhere along the way I took on the insecurities or labels others had bestowed upon me (real or imagined). And for the first time, Lloyd asked for the origin of my broken record. He told me in fact that I was anything but rough around the edges. I was direct and very “tell it like it is.” But, no where in his mind was I “rough around the edges.”

That moment of affirmation did so much for me. A year or so later-I find myself repeating a different broken record. I caught myself mentally assuming a similar statement. I realize the more that I repeat certain things in my mind and heart, it simply takes root and shades my vision of self/others.

Today, I mentioned a similar story to a friend and it was refreshing. Refreshing because I am taking time to hear what I say and question my lens. I am learning to reject flawed speech and the inability to believe myself to be enough. I’m rejecting the inability to ask for what I need and want. I’m rejecting any broken records that do not conincide with my truth.

I absolutely adore the Union of Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy!

The two currently share a show together on A&E. The show is a blessing to watch as you see their blended families navigate daily living. You can google the steps leading to their romance (it’s adorable and will warm your heart). What I gather the most from watching their show is the unconditional committment that it takes to thrive in a relationship. Today’s media is saturated with content that shreds the fiber of monogomy and commitment. Naturally, it’s refreshing to see two individuals that daily put in the time it takes to love and accept each other as whole beings.

I also value Jenny’s honesty in the show where she discusses at some point becoming re-committed to self. I talk a great deal in some of my posts about self-love. I discuss the topic frequently, because for some of us it’s the hardest thing to do. But as we mature and grow, the clearest point of most lessons is having the ability to show up and be. You cannot show up and be if you are dong the following:

  • Ripping your mistakes to shreds
  • Comparing your life to another
  • Wishing away each day you are given
  • Hiding and camouflaging until you can be something or someone else

peekaboo

Again, I find myself impressed by the honesty in which both the couple shares their moments with us and each other. It is that very honesty that will allow us all to let go of the need for a perfect moment or the perfect expression of self. Once we let go of the false pretenses, the door to healthy regard and self-acceptance can allow the great people we haven’t met yet to come on in.

Some time ago, I found myself laughing and processing simultaneously with my beloved Chantal. Chantal and I go way back to the days of Undergraduate studies at West Ga. Over the years, we have managed to stay in touch and chronicle our journey from proclaimed “struggle buddies” to “sisters in Christ.” We have seen health changes (scares included), promotions, upside/right side family situations, and much more. It’s common for us to call once a week (at a minimum) to share some bellyaching story only to end up processing a deeper than life topic.

This particular night from January of 2015 was no different. It was dinner time and I was tasked with the journey of picking up some inventory for a store where I work. My body was a wee bit more exhausted than I estimated so I phoned Chantal to help me remain mentally alert during the drive. Our conversation began with the pleasantries of updates. One update in particular surrounded relationships and expectations.

Someone indirectly connected to me had the fortunate experience of being surprised by her husband with a jaw dropping gift (no details needed). By this point of the conversation, I was near Buckhead in Atlanta (navigating the wet roads). Chantal, suddenly, took the conversation in a direction that I had not forseen. We doted on how great, sweet, amazing the husband’s gesture towards his wife. But, then Chantal began speaking on the power of coming to expect to be admired, respected, and well treated by your partner. Chantal made mention of someone she knew that never experienced a partner that would do things “just because” ( helping with errands, initiating chores around the home, maintenance, etc). I was a bit shocked and amazed because I never really thought about how many persons may be in relationships where they are a loner. There are people involved with partners that do not score well in the teammate/contribution area.

Quickly, we both began to throw out theories and basic fundamentals of life. I ended up relating my thoughts to Maslow and the scarcity/abundance mindset. Chantal and I built our own pyramid involving Maslow and the basic food groups. Yes people! We simultaneously began processing how people can end up in starved mindsets and relationships based on choice. The way we over-consume sugars and starches is relatable if not identical to our approach to love. We will knowing consume undercooked meals, outdated content, or over saturate our diet in sugar knowing the impact is negative. Well, in our fever for romantic fantasy/fiction-we bargain for warm bodies  regardless of the quality (or lack there of) interaction. We sacrifice self-exploration for getting lost within another’s life. We even bargain away self-respect at the hands of abuse (verbal, mental, physical, sexual, emotional, etc.) or worse just to appear to have it all in place by way of a “Boo thang.”

Do not get it twisted though, this scarce mindset trickles up/down to careers and finances as well. When you begin to consume the wrong things albeit financial, emotional, physical, etc. your choices reflect desperation. When you are starving, there is no moral judgement on the source of money. When you are starving, there is no discernment on the characters that you entertain. When you are starving, anything will do to fix the need to ‘eat.’ This is why sometimes we see people who appear to have it all attempt self-harm or even leave this Earth with the total opposite being revealed about their quality of life.

You can make all the money in the world and live poor if your mind is not right. That line is courtesy of my friend and mentor Tisha who works in real estate and sees the scarce mindset manifest in decision-making related to finances. I have another friend Emma, a licensed counselor that works daily online and through professional sessions with individuals who find themselves bankrupt on the inside due to the poor habits/relationships in which they are connected. Lastly, I have spent the better of 5-7 recent years, helping individuals rewrite a new narrative after consuming what they wanted (fill in the blank as you will).

Towards the tail end of my conversation with Chantal that night, we created our own love related hierarchy of needs.

  1. The base began with self-awareness/identity. Getting to know yourself is not an option. If you skip this step, don’t get mad when others define “you” for you! Awareness requires observation of thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes.
  2. Acknowledgement. After you observe your patterns, roots, and truths-decide how you feel about them, what they mean, and your next steps. You are declaring your narrative at this point.
  3. Accountability and support. The things you love about self-keep doing and add new things in the mix. The things you want to leave in the past-find a healthy way to transition. Find people doing what you want to do as well as professional/informal support to help you maintain your journey.
  4. Exercise and become active. You are not exercising for a particular goal unless you want to. But, there are positive rewards for generating those positive endorphins which will come in handy when undergoing change. Yoga, dance, art, recreational outings, bowling, boxing, film. etc. Take your interests and use them to build an active life.
  5. Self-acceptance. No matter how life changes and things manifest, you have to be willing to forgive self and start anew. This routine never ends. It’s not about excuses. It’s about giving yourself grace, giving self a chance.

cupid

image courtesy of Google images

Yes, can you see it people? That’s right, love is in the air. Albeit artificial or authentic, we have entered allegedly the season of love. February has a commercial week set aside to recognize the relationships we have in our lives (platonic, family, and partners). Fortunately,  I grew up in a celebratory family that always finds an excuse to celebrate on another. I especially love that my father used to do the sweetest things for my sisters and myself as we were growing up. I believe in doing so, my father planted the seeds of self-love within each one of us.

Let’s pause for a quick second so we can take note of the title of this post and the fact that Vol.1 is listed. Yes, we’re going to chronicle together some important truths about love as we reach February 14, 2015. These posts will not be limited in theory to Valentine’s day activity. My purpose is to reflect on love and life lessons that can help us all attract love 365 days a year.

So, I start here with the issue of identity. Yesterday, while engaged in work, I thought back to a friend of mine who typically has the capacity to attract some great people into their life. I was arranging items on a shelf when my spirit zeroed in on a something. Suddenly, I began to question in my thoughts, “why didn’t any of those situations (potential relationships) work out?” Then the spirit rose within and softly answered, “because your friend loves chaos”. Eek! The messenger always receives the message first. Caution! This post is not about the life of someone else. Friends of a feather flock together. The shoe and the glove fit, so I had to take the next minute to wear my own accessories so to speak. The spirit went on to reveal old comments my friend would make about a person not having a spark, chemistry, or being boring. Yet, the relationship they would choose in comparison (that always failed or flopped) was typically connected to a drama filled, insecure, unstable, or unavailable, person. Ouch!

Please do not scream at the computer or begin laughing. There are folks right now wagging their fingers at the screen with the following thoughts:

  • I told you nice people finish last
  • Yes, people prone to chaos chase what’s familiar/comfortable
  • Mmmhhhmmm-bad boys, bad girls always break your heart
  • Some age-old adage about dating

Trust me when I say, I hear you (roger that)!

However, when you have an identity crisis–you have no clue that this is happening to you. You are not even questioning your habits, choices, or the lies you support within your own head.

How do I know, because if I can see it in a friend-I have probably done the same thing myself.

Honestly, this revelation is an awakening for me. I actually chatted with one of my best friends shortly after and we processed our paths. It wasn’t intentional but it surfaced in conversation as I realized, for a long time I had labeled careers, people, or ideas as boring when I actually neglected the following:

Boring actually meant for me:

  • I’m used to dysfunction and chaos and find familiarity in hurt people
  • I’m making healthier choices but sometimes if it is too quiet I’ll create or look for drama
  • The roller coaster ride of unreliability and co-dependence is normative in my world
  • I felt a need for thrill seeking to feel alive inside (sounds and smells like depression)

Thankfully, I am now at a place where I am healthy enough to realize that people, ideas, or places were not boring nor lame. I am now in a place where I am ready to slow down and desire healthy, meaningful interactions (relationships). I no longer need a spark, flame, chemistry, fire, or a blaze to feel connected to others. I have the tools in my box to build lasting relationships. I, like a lot of others floating around, just had a case of mistaken identity. Labeling something unhealthy with a more pleasing phrase.

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