Follow Through to the End

I have started so many amazing projects and allowed my focus on them to fizzle out. I picked up new projects and explored new ideas before I completed my other ones. I know that I don’t have the time or money to finish all of them, so I am going to sit back down, map out my projects, and decide what I can devote my time to. This is such a hard task for me because a new idea pops up and I am behind it until I start to hit roadblocks. Such is life. But that is no longer going to be my story.

I learn through my mistakes and I try to avoid those pitfalls the next time I encounter the same or a similar situation. Yesterday I could not sleep because I was energized to work on a project. I have been piddling around with this project for years, and I know that once I get the structure in place, it will all make sense. As I started working I realized that I was doing it again. I was picking up one project when I have so many other pertinent ones that need to be focused on today.

So, I am going to prioritize all of my projects and the steps that I can work on for each. I am going to follow through. I have completed many things, but I keep reaching a limit that is self-imposed. I am going to start my days by saying, “There is nothing that I can do. Stay focused. Follow through to the end.” Sometimes you simply have to motivate yourself and keep yourself focused. I hope that everyone can see the greatness within themselves and will take the limits off of their dreams and desires.

Be blessed. Be excellent. Follow through. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own story. On your own terms.

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Inspire Through Your Actions

There is a difference between those who are teaching the people as a leader and those who are teaching people to lead.  There are many people who can tell you from the pulpit that you can be successful, but few are willing to teach you how to be successful.  People are using their words to inspire instead of their actions.  Your words should be used engage and encourage, but your actions should inspire.

There is so much work to do and a shallow analysis of the current state of America will not change our tomorrow.  I am trying to balance my engagement and my action.  It is easy to sit behind a computer and say words that sound good, but it takes so much more effort to do the work that supports those words.  I am challenging myself to do less talking and more action.  I am working with grassroots organizations and personal initiatives to change the world, but I can do more. We all can do more.

I cannot tell you what your more is, because it is personal.  You have to tap into your passion and work hard at creating that change.  Life is going to be what we make of it.  We cannot leave it up to the next generation to make things better.  We have the power and we can change the world today.

Less talk.  More action.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Be Excellent at Being You

Think of how you feel when a person goes above and beyond for you.  Think back to a moment when a stranger paid for your meal or held the door open, even when you were walking slow.  Reminisce on a time when you received excellent service and how that made an impression on you.  Then think of all of the missed opportunities you had to change the trajectory of someones day or life by simple going the extra mile.  Many of us operate in mediocrity, but expect excellence from others.  You attract who you are and too many of us are operating below our capabilities.  There is so much more that we could be doing, but we are waiting for someone to tell us each step to take.  We are looking at everyone else’s material blessings and wishing for their life, without ever thinking about the sacrifice that they had to make to obtain those things.  We focus on getting more without giving more.

“Excellence is a continuously moving target that can be pursued through actions of integrity, being frontrunner in terms of products / services provided that are reliable and safe for the intended users, meeting all obligations and continuously learning and improving in all spheres to pursue the moving target.”  This summer was a life changing experience for me.  I woke up and realized that if I wanted more and if I expected more that I had to give more.  I had to step outside of my comfort zone and stop holding onto the things that I had accumulated over the years.  I had to release what I was cherishing as my current accomplishments and reach higher.  I realized that I had reached a level of mediocrity, but I still wanted a greater return.

Relationships are constantly evolving and even if the growth is not happening at the same time, one person cannot stop growing while the other person catches up.  I realized that I had to step up in my relationship and give more even if I felt that I always gave more.  It is easy to exalt our perfections while we magnify another person’s flaws, forgetting that we have things to work on ourselves.  Operating at a level of excellence means that the bar is always being raised, no matter how high you have gone.  I have to work on being a better mother, wife, friend, and family member.  Even where I am strong, I can be stronger.  Where I am weak, I can build and one day add that to my strengths.

Dream jobs are not always obtained but many times they are created.  Instead of seeking the perfect position, be excellent where you are and either continue to look for the next opportunity or create the opportunity in a place you love.  We are constantly disappointed by unrealistic expectations.  We expect our next position to be “the one” that leads to a magical experience and constant promotions.  We go in with a sense of entitlement, instead a willingness and openness to learn.  Even after being in a position for a significant amount of time, you still have to work excellently in order to show your consistency.  Never feel that you are above learning or beyond teaching.  People follow those who desire to learn more.  They follow those who have an ambitious spirit that is greater than their personal aspirations.  Be an excellent follower to show how you can be an excellent leader.

Never underestimate your value.  Many times we feel that we need to do more in order to have access to the perfect opportunities.  That is usually not the truth.  Many successful people simply get an opportunity and make the most of it.    They are calculated and strategic with their moves and leverage the opportunity to maximize its value.  Networking and connections will lead you to your dream job before obtaining all of the degrees in the world.  We have to believe that we have the capabilities to be the best and never doubt our skills, experiences, or our drive.  Strategy + patience + willingness to learn = success.

If you think that you are ready for the next level then keep learning, honing your skills, and showing how driven you are.  Make the connections and be ambitious, but never get too far ahead of yourself that you lose track of where you are going.  Let people know how talented you are, but never boast or become egotistical.  Stay humble through this process and watch the doors fly open.  Your time is coming.  Be patient and learn from those who are where you want to be.  Do not envy or question others success, but use their mistakes to guide you away from any future pitfalls and as a blueprint for your moment.

Be strategic. Be patient. Be willing to learn.  Be successful. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Set Your Own Expectations

If we became only what other people thought we would become, many of us would have never achieved half of our accomplishments.  Somewhere through the negative noise and circumstances, I told myself that I was going to make something out of nothing.  Some of this came from positive television shows that depicted the awesomeness of college and success, along with great movies that showed the underdog coming out triumphant every time.  Looking back now, that was a window out of my dark world and into an opportunity that helped create my ambitious spirit.  We become what we see around us.  I was influenced by more than just the images I saw on TV, but by amazing people who used their gifts to love and lead me.

An aunt that I grew up around always expected excellence from me.  My aunt spoke to me in a way that helped me to see the greatness in myself.  I always felt like she was my personal guardian angel, but she used her gifts to support and encourage her friends, family, and students .  Being around her always made me strive for more, despite anything that I was going through at the time.  The seeds of success had been planted by family and teachers throughout my life, but while I was in high school my aunt tilled and cultivated my intellectual, emotional, and social garden.  She did not allow me to make excuses or pity myself.  She helped me to see the lessons in my negatives and taught me how to use them as positives in my future.  She allowed me to speak freely, but did not allow me to retain that bitterness and anger that permeated my soul at times.

These important moments in my life taught me that no matter what others said I would or would not be, what others assumed I could or could not achieve, or whatever things I did not have were not determinative of my success.  When I went off to college, I did not have anyone pushing me to be the best.  The first semester I coasted through and ended up with mediocre grades.  I had to refocus myself, decide if college was where I wanted to be, and step up to the plate to prove to MYSELF that I belonged at Howard.  There were so many times when I wanted to give up, but I had to remind myself that I was built to win and the end result would be worth the sacrifice.

Many times we allow others to set expectations for us.  We live up to the standards that are set by those around us.  If the expectations are high and we do not achieve it or if the expectations are low and we exceed them, our success or failures could become a stumbling block to getting to our true purpose.  If you want the most out of life, YOU have to expect more out of yourself and follow your heart, not just simply achieving what others want for you.  People may see you working hard and admire you, but you know if you need to put in more work to get to the next level.  Outsiders may exalt you for what you have done, but you have to remain focused on where it is that you want to end up.  People may laugh at your failures and remind you of where you said you would be, but only bitter people measure your failures against their standard of success. Remain driven, passionate, and ambitious to not lose sight of your dreams.

Expect greatness from yourself.  Walk in excellence.  Speak positively.  Teach willingly.  Live in humility.  Give your all to everything that matters to you most.

Set your own expectations.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

No More Excuses Just Results

I was having a conversation with one of my soulmate best friends and realized that before I answered a question, I began with a list of excuses as to why I made the decision that I did.  Once I realized how much I was doing this, I decided to stop and just be honest with myself.  In my honest opinion, I do not do things that I do not feel like doing, don’t have time for, or do not deem worth my time.  I made a conscious decision to stop making excuses and either be clear as to why I did not do something or answer with my results.

When you are a self-proclaimed overachiever you feel like you have to say yes to everything.  You are constantly spreading yourself thin and giving of yourself without ever making time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate.  You have your hands in so many things because you are used to being busy, but you may not be as effective as you desire because your focus is spread over too many projects.  This year I started my blog, started doing Hangouts for Moms, amazing women, still working developing my business, and so many other small things. Studying for the bar allowed me to take a break from everything and prioritize each project.

My blog is really important to me and over the next few months I am going to improve, develop, and enhance the site because it is very therapeutic and will eventually be the center of my many projects.  I am also going to begin working back on each project one at a time so that it is of the quality that I want and can continue to grow into the vision that I have for it.  I am learning that I want to do a lot, but I want to do each of those things well.  Being a rookie in so many settings can make the beginning of all of these projects very bumpy, which makes it hard to have a long lasting effect.  Being conscious of your strengths and weaknesses can ensure that you aren’t making excuses for your failures but producing results.

Many people mistake progress for passion.  You can make progress in an area that you are not passionate about but when things begin to fall apart, you quit instead of regrouping and focusing. You can take the blue print of someone else’s success and still fail. Passion wakes you up in the middle of the night to write down ideas, create solution to problems, or to work on your projects. You want to invest into your passions and watch them grow.

You can be passionate about many things but you have to channel your energy efficiently. You want to be able to measure your success and have something to show for all of you hard work. I have to focus more on quality than quantity. I have to focus on structuring my projects and ensuring they are serving the purpose that I intended. I want to leave a mark and inspire by producing excellence.

Be excellent. Be extraordinary. Be organized. Be efficient. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.