I AM Where I AM Supposed to BE

It is easy to say that you are in the right place at the right time when you are in a positive position.  We can easily declare that we fought our way to be right here or sacrificed enough to achieve a certain status when things feel great, but what about the times when we find ourselves in a valley.  Many of us pat ourselves on the back for our successes and beat ourselves up for our failures.  We should not do either.  Our success is not always triggered simply by the things we have done recently, but usually manifestations of seeds we planted long ago.  Our failures are not always a result of recent missteps, but a bump along this road called life.

We can easily look at ourselves and say we deserve to be where we are, except if we are in a bad place.  Although we may not deserve it, many of us need to go through that valley to be prepared for the next level. The glory of our greatness is balanced by the reality of our limitations.  We can only be great as the weaknesses we recognize and work through.  It is easy to highlight our strengths, but it takes courage to expose our weaknesses and transform them into foundational characteristics that lead to a better us.  We excel naturally through our strengths, but we build character by  converting our weaknesses into lessons of power.

Accept that you are in the right place at all stages of life.  Learn all of the lessons the first time around so that you are always moving forward, even when you are going through growing pains.  I am where I am supposed to be right now and I was where I was supposed to be weeks ago when I was in a dark place.  I had to go through that tunnel to get to the light.  The tunnel taught me how to focus, how to fight, how to listen, and how to learn even when it feels like I am stuck.  I never want to go back there, but my next tunnel will be full of new lessons and help me to be better than I was before I entered it!

I am enjoying the light and preparing my mind for my next valley or tunnel.  I want to grow and reach greater heights and I know this will take me through many valleys, over many mountains, and through many tunnels.  Basking in the glory of His goodness and accepting that the days behind me helped me be where I am today.  I am blessed.  I am grateful.  I am where I am supposed to be.

Your steps are ordered.  Live Excellently.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

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MY Plan to Change the World

Over the past few years I have been trying to hone in on the direct changes that I want to see and how I am going to make them happen.  I am very passionate about so many things and I know that I cannot change everything, but I can make a major difference somewhere.  So today I decide to write down my list and work on them constantly.  This is my plan and I do not expect anyone to join me, but I know along the way I will find kindred spirits who can help me build on this foundation.

Here are my goals:

  1. Educate the community on their legal rights. 
  2. Engage and encourage the community to participate in local politics.
  3. Support Black owned businesses that invest in their local communities and eventually build an association that has the power to control the Black spending power in America. 

Writing down your goals and plans helps the universe center the resources you need to make those things happen.  I know that everything will not happen overnight, but eventually I will find opportunities that align with my goals.  When I set my focus on something, there is little that can stop me from achieving positive results.  I cannot tell you how I am going to get it all done, but I will.

I am not asking anyone to adopt my agenda but to create one of your own that empowers, educates, and encourages a generation to be DOERS! Many hands makes for light work. We need all hands on deck at this pivotal moment in our lives.  We need everyone to use their talents, gifts, and passion to change the course of the current path we have been on for a very long time.  If you are passionate about art then take a weekend to teach some children how to express themselves artistically.  If you are into fashion, volunteer at organizations that help the less fortunate to prepare for job interviews.  If you are into math or science, find an organization to tutor with and inspire children by example.  Whatever if is that you have to give, please share with the world.  You cannot take anything with you and your talents will be better used here and now.

Fight the good fight.  Fight the power.  Power to the people.  Be you. Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Believing I Am Beautiful

I remember being teased a lot for many different reasons.  I was teased for being a church girl, not having a perm, my hair being short, being dark, being chubby, not wearing the flyest clothes or having a boyfriend all the time.  Do not feel bad for me.  I did my fair share of teasing and it was not just in defense of myself, but as a way to mark my territory.  I was very good at hitting you where it hurt and laughing about it loudly in your face.  Despite being teased all through primary school, I think the words that always hurt the most were those that came from my father.

My father would say things like, “I hope you don’t think you are cute, because you are not?” or “You are so fat.” or “No one will ever want you.  You are going to turn out just like your crackhead mother.”  or  harsher words that cut much deeper and left internal scars that took years to heal.  Looking back at my pictures, I was actually pretty thin.  I was in ROTC and the marching band, which forced me to workout a lot and we never had a lot of food to eat, so it wasn’t like I over ate.  He said those things to hurt me and to control my perception of myself.  His words always stuck with me.  When I looked in the mirror I saw someone who was ugly, fat, and never good enough.

I was the late bloomer.  I was shaped like Taylor Swift my freshman year of high school but the following summer the Lord saw fit to allow me to blossom.  As I started to become more shapely, my father’s words became harsher and cut deeper.  By this time, my stepmother had moved back to Connecticut and I only had my girlfriends to help me get through these fragile years.  Thankfully, many of them had older sisters and their words of wisdom helped me to appreciate the young woman I was becoming ,but that only helped on a superficial level.  I understood that I was physically changing for the better but my self-esteem remained the same.  Low.  The foundation of your self-esteem is built at home and my home was filled with destructive words instead of words of love and power.

I never realized how hard I was on myself until my sophomore year of college.  I cannot pinpoint the moment or the exact set of events that led up to my epiphany, but I remember being in the car with my friend and she turned to me and said, “You look different.  You look very pretty.  I don’t know what it is but you look good.”  I remember that moment so vividly and I looked in the mirror and there wasn’t anything different about me except the fact that I had decided to just be happy.  I made the conscious decision to stop being so critical of myself and pointing out all of my flaws because I wasn’t going to change.  I learned to accept myself and find the beauty in my being.

My journey towards a happier me was slow and riddled with pitfalls, mistakes and setbacks.  I reached a pinnacle of happiness the year I prepared for my friend’s wedding.  I set a weight loss goal and focused on cleaner eating.  I worked hard at my job but I was also having the time of my life.  That year was amazing from start to finish and I vowed to only go higher from there.

When I look in the mirror I still notice my flaws but I don’t use them to deconstruct myself down to the studs.  I see an issue with my skin, I go and find a treatment regimen that will clear it up.  I don’t like how I look in my clothes, I prepare a workout regimen or set a running goal and stick with it.  If I am ever unhappy, I try to get to the root of the problem and deal with it accordingly.  This is the new me.  The me that arrived in 2005 and believed that I was beautiful because I am.

Our words changes lives.  Our words empowers.  Our words destroys.  Use your words wisely.  Build up yourself and those around you.  Be proud of who you are and work hard to be better each day.  Believe that you are beautiful.

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.

How to Achieve Your Goals: #12goals and I AM Statements

I made and shared this video 3 weeks ago but it is something I remind myself of monthly. Another month is coming to an end so it is important that you assess what you have done, what you could have done and what you need to get done. On top of being organized and prepared, write down statements proclaiming who you are. I AM powerful. I AM loving. I AM debt free. These types of statements force things in the universe to move and make provisions for you so that you can be who you are proclaiming to be. Everyday won’t be perfect but you will appreciate your good days and see how much they outweigh your bad days and you will make the most of the good and the bad. Be you. Do you. Tell your story. On your own terms.