Don’t Lose Yourself During A 10 min Storm 

I woke up today on a mission to center myself. I want to get back to my maximum productivity level and make some major leaps by the end of the week. So I woke up today and completed task after task, but half way through my day I saw the storm clouds forming. I knew I could make at least one more stop before the rain hit so I raced from seeing one patient onto the highway to see another. 

As I jumped on the highway I received a phone call that threw me off and put me into auto-pilot. I turned onto the wrong highway and only realized it 2-3 exits in. I immediately jumped off and turned around, but by this time it began to drizzle. My worst fear was slowly coming to life: being stuck on the highway in a torrential down pour between trucks and fast driving people. 

I got onto the right highway and only had a few miles to go when the rain started. It was not just side winds and rain, but the blinding, “I can’t see the car in front of me” type of rain. I turned on my hazards, slowed down, and began to pray. As I started praying I saw the sun right at the exit I needed to get off of, but the rain was still coming down. I took a deep breath and calmed my sprit. I prayed, “God I do not want to die in a 10 minute storm.” God replied, “Well calm down and stop focusing on the current storm, but instead focus on the sunshine just ahead.” I immediately knew this lesson was bigger then me freaking out while driving, but instead a lesson to be applied in life. 

Your day may start off perfect and a passing storm may come through, but it is up to you to stay focused and pass through this storm with grace. Recognize the short storms, settle your spirit, pray and keep progressing. Do not lose yourself over a 10 minute storm. 

Keep driving. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms. 

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Just BE

How many of us are living the life that has been defined by someone else? How many of us are breathing stale air and reminiscing on forgotten dreams? I continuously question my purpose, my passion, and my place in this world. I decided to stop chasing after the “American Dream” and to focus more on being. Being present, being passionate, being happy, being grateful. I am no longer here to operate in the narrow halls of societies definition of life, but to expand my presence to cover as much space as possible.

We get so caught up in trying to obtain something that we miss out on the experience, the lessons, the journey. We wish for the end at the beginning and refuse to appreciate the process.  The struggle is real, but it is also the place where we grow the most. We plant a seed and we want it to grow right now, but in reality there is an entire process that has to take place before the seedling can even breakthrough the soil.  Even after seedlings have broken through the hard ground, they are not ready to be harvested.  There is still more cultivation of the crop that has to take place.

The work that it took to prepare the ground, till the ground, and protect the crop is tiresome.  If any steps are missed, all of the handwork that you put into the harvest will be wasted.  At every step of the process it may not seem that the work that you are putting in is worth it, but you have to remember why you even took the first step down this road. Be where you are. Be in that moment. Be aware. Be awake. Be engaged. You are here for a reason that is greater than this moment. Just BE.

Every step may not be easy, but every step is worth. Make sure you are walking in the right direction and not going backwards because you cannot see what is next. Take a moment and be grateful. Count your blessings. Express gratitude for your today.

Just BE. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.

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.

Trying to Focus

When you are not settled and going through so many changes, it is hard to focus and blog.  I have started so many blog posts and had so many ideas, but I can’t find my flow or the rights words to finish them.  My best blogs have popped up in my head and flew off of my fingers, so I am slow to post ones that take a lot of energy to complete.  I am in a transitory period and I am not in touch with my balanced and centered self.  My heart is South Carolina with grandma and my soul is in Maryland holding down the fort.  The most important pieces of me are not close and that leaves me feeling very imbalanced.

This adjustment period was necessary and would have been so much harder with my son.  I needed the time and energy to make good decisions and to find a rhythm.  My son won’t be coming into chaos but a mom who is settled in at work, settled into a new apartment, and has set up his new educational experience at a center close to our house.  I hate that I cannot see my little boy and I miss him terribly, but these past few months have shown me how much he needs consistency.

I want to blog when my heart is totally in it and I can relay the message that I know is needed.  I do not have a quota to fill so I am going to focus on quality and not quantity.  When something hits me and I can put out a few hundred words I will, but bear with me until I get the pieces of me back together! I am learning so much about myself and my purpose and I cannot wait to share the lessons that have been revealed to me over this rough summer, after making a huge move, and after seeing my failing bar results.  I have grown more in the past month than I have in the past year! 2014 has been rough but I will not let any of it be in vain.

Do not force your greatness.  Do not pre-release your wisdom.  Let your lessons be a natural light.  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.

Law School. Check. Bar. Check. Job…

Everyone has their life planned out in their head to work out perfectly at every stage of their life.  Once we finish high school we plan to get into the college of our choice without having to worry about how to fund our education.  After we finish college we plan to land the perfect job that pays great and makes all of those late nights, exams and stressful moments worth it.  We plan to grow at our jobs or obtain all of the skills we need to get a better job and build our career.  After enjoying our early 20s we decide we want more and go back for an advanced degree to open even more doors.  After obtaining our post-graduate degree, we plan to walk into our dream job, make a difference and save the world.  Many of these plans work out but we are never prepared for the bumps along the road.

Many of these things were possible pre-recession and actually happened for a lot of people who are only a few years my senior.  Those of us entering into the market post 2008 experienced many unplanned bumps that derailed many of these well-intentioned plans.  Throughout undergrad, I was able to obtain jobs fairly quickly and build up my resume.  I  landed my dream job out of college.  I left that job and immediately started another job in DC.  I went back to law school thinking that we had passed over the roughest part of the downturn and we have, but the market will never be back to the pre-recession glory of jobs and opportunities galore.

I left my job as a bedside nurse so that I would have more autonomy over decisions that were being made in healthcare and for my patients.  I loved my job but I did not like the politics.  Politics in healthcare harm patients and undermine the mission and values of the healthcare industry.  I left my job because I wanted to be happy and I decided that my next job would be something that I loved, doing what I love and building up to my forever job.

This mindset kept me from applying to just any job, taking just any salary or just doing something to get a check.  I made great money coming out of undergrad, so I know that I cannot make any less than that, but additionally I know my value.  The issue is getting others to see my value and getting the position that will allow me to use my skills while growing as a health care advocate.  I just want to be happy and to grow within an organization.  It sounds simple but I know that it is so much more complex.

Everything does not work out as planned but that does not mean that we made any missteps or should have done anything differently.  We have to believe in the good times and bad times that our steps are ordered and the desires of our heart will lead us to the right place.  I am not here to just build my resume but to actually achieve my goals of changing the world and improving the healthcare industry.  This time is just a test of my patience and to see if I will stick to my guns or fold under pressure.  I know the right opportunity is coming and when it does, I will be glad that I waited.

Throughout life we can plan with the best intentions but bumps will come, foreseeable and unforeseeable.  Through these moments we have to hang on tightly and stay focused on our end goal.  Having a support system in place is vital and helps to maintain your sanity, stay encouraged and stay the course.  After you have checked off all of your goals and one remains, know that the last check is coming in due time.

Focused. Check. Patient. Check. Grateful. Check.  Job…soon to be checked. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Job Seeker (Entry level risk management, healthcare policy, healthcare advocacy, healthcare law): www.linkedin.com/pub/irnise-fennell-williams-jd-rn/52/304/b60/

6 Month Goal Check-In

At the beginning of this year I started a campaign entitled 12 Goals.  The purpose was to simply inspire myself and those around me to think of at least one goal a month that would help them get to their long-term goals.  I have a hard time following up on the goals that I create in the new year because I write them down in my new journal, on a fresh page and tuck them away.  But now I am on a 30/31 day deadline; I am forced to constantly reevaluate my goals and check back in more frequently.  I have used each month to create micro goals that will lead me to my macro goals.

So today I decided to check in with myself.  See where I was at the mid-way point.  From a broader perspective, this year has been extremely productive but focusing on the past few months, I realized that I allowed myself to fall back on old habits. I started to focus on my long-term goals instead of the goals that I needed to achieve  to make meaningful steps instead of struggle leaps. The hectic time of graduation and transitioning into Bar Prep mode created the perfect excuse for me to neglect what has helped me be successful thus far.

So today I decided to gather my thoughts, take a walk in the warmth of a beautiful day and figure out my primary goals.  For me, nothing matters but passing the bar.  For the next two months my daily focus will be reviewing information, translating this information into essay format and answer weirdly worded questions.  That is the only thing that matters, so that is my goal for the next two months.

Having one goal that you work on for a few months is better than having many that you never achieve.  The most important thing is not the number of goals you cross off the list, but the fact that you are navigating through life with a purpose and constantly focused on the big picture.

Take a moment and analyze your successes and any regrets.  Things you may have put off that could have actually been done.  Whether you have achieved the things you set out to accomplish or made a bed of excuses to lay in and complain about.  Decide today what you need to do to get to the next big step! In December you should feel accomplished at all the little steps forward you made and maybe even those that lead to confident leaps.

Reassess.  Reorganize.  Refocus.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.