What I Had to Go Through

People see you at various points of success within your life, but very few people see you in the midst of the process.  They see you as you enter into a challenge and many times won’t see you again until you are exiting that challenge. All of the tears, late nights, self-doubt, and conversations of quitting are not put on a display for the world to see.  Based on the images of the beginning and the end, many people assume that you have something special about you that others may not have.  Despite this perception and misconception, the only thing that makes me different from the next person is that I went through what I had to go through to get where I wanted to be.

Many times people ask for something and as they enter onto the path to get what they asked for, they self-destruct.  People turn around to go back to their comfort zone at the first sight of handwork, adversity, or stress.  Every person that is extremely successful today had to go through some dark moments.  Even those who we think woke up and had it all, still had to endure life to get to a place of peace, joy, or love.  We measure the success and happiness of others based on the materials that they possess instead of the characteristics that they have obtained.

I try to be as open as possible on here to share that this process is not always pretty.  Many times you try to smile through the pain, but it becomes overwhelming.  I am not perfect, my life is not perfect, and I am not done going through rough times because life will not stop because you remain stagnant.  Although I am in a happy place right now, this place has come with its own set of challenges and sacrifices.  I have wanted to turn back and return to my comfort zone, but my calling and my amazing support system has forced me to push through.

If you are truly yielding to your internal instinct and living life to the fullest, you are going to have to endure some painful moments.  You can never prepare for these moments, but you have to believe that they will pass.  If you get stuck in the middle of your journey, because you feel that your current state is your future state, then you will never make it to your next destination.  We assume that life will wait on us, but know that if a seed is placed in your life and you do not care for it, God will take that same seed and sow it into someone else’s life.

What I had to go through may not be what you had to go through, but we both had to go through something.  As we fight through this life to get to the next level, build people up as they navigate through their journey.  When you tear another person down when they are struggling to get to the next level, you are only removing the rungs from your own ladder and hindering your own progress.  You may never see what  I go through, but just know that I had to go through some things to get where I am.

This thing is bigger than me and because I am only a piece of the bigger picture I must remain diligent and steadfast.  Don’t focus on everyone’s picture perfect beginning and end, respect that there was a process even if you did not see it.  Don’t criticize what others have when those are the exact things that you want.  Get off of the side lines spectating at everyone else’s success and do what you have been called to do.

Your success is waiting on you. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

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Successful People Dream and Never Stop Dreaming

Before I moved, my husband and I spent the last few days prior to my departure looking at beautiful homes all over Houston.  Many of them were over $400,000, but they had everything that we ever wanted in a home.  My husband started to name the things that he wanted in a house and I just listened and smiled.  He would text me random listings or toys that he wanted when we finally moved into this futuristic new house.  Although I was equally excited about the move, I was apprehensive about drooling over new homes that we may not be able to afford.  These past few months had turn me into a practicalist and very rigid.  I had stopped dreaming and because I was not dreaming, I did not want him to dream either.

After a few days of this excited exchanges, I stopped him and said, “We aren’t going to be able to afford this anytime soon.”  The look on his face and sadness in my voice made me wish that I had never said those words.  I realized in that moment that I had stopped dreaming of the impossible and began existing only in my current reality.  That was why I was so depressed and stressed out.  I allowed my life to be driven by the right now instead of the what if.  I decided from that day forward that I would dream again and my entire atmosphere shifted.

Success is not living in today but working towards tomorrow. Dreaming keeps you from being so hard, callous, and stagnant.  From my own experience dreams do come true.  I am much happier now that I am dreaming again.  Our list of DREAMS are already turning into a reality.

Keep dreaming.  Dream about the impossible.  Write it down and watch you check it off your list.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Buy Black #BlackFriday now #BlackDecember

Invest in our community.  Support our own.  Black Friday is an opportunity to show businesses the power of our pockets! Check out these sites, apps, and organizations that #support #blackowned #businesses:

 

Apps

Around the Way App: Find Black Owned businesses in your area

This app is not very good and I hope that it either improves or someone comes up with a better option.

 

Lists

List of Black Banks across US

Houston Directory of Black Owned Businesses 

Black Dollar Project (Houston)

Huffington Post Article, Old but still relevant: Buy Black Friday 

Another list of Black Businesses by Nerdy Girl Swag 

40+ Black Owned Businesses to Support

101 Independent Black Owned Businesses to Support

Mad Black Girls List of Black Owned Businesses  

38 Black Owned Businesses in Nashville 

Blackout Black Friday List of 12 Fab Boutiques by Mommy Noire

25 Black Owned Online Stores for #BlackonBlackFriday   

Organizations that Support Black Owned Businesses 

Support @ablacklifeLLC: They market and support black businesses.

PurchaseBlack.com 

DC Black Pages 

 

Organizations that Actively Support the Community

Concerned Black Men (DC) 

 

Products

B Nude Essentials: Natural Spa and Bath Products

Eden Body Works

 

Apparel/Accessories 

Ingenio BoutiqueUnique woven items

Coliseum Apparel: Quality HBCU and other Apparel

Black Girls are Magic Tees/Sweatshirts

Superior Co., DC based business Apparel and Accessories 

Abysnia: Beautiful handmade jewelry with a unique touch:

Because of Them We Can 

 

Services

Photography 

Wana Image LLC: Amazing photographer and videographer in the DMV area

Wedding Vendors 

Pantora Bridal  by Andrea Pitter, NYC (Brooklyn)

The Flower Guy Bron, Richmond, VA area

Legal

The Law Office of Steven E. Bullock, Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Corporate/Business, Entertainment

 

MORE TO COME

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.

The Pieces of Me

As open as I am, I am equally cautious to exposing too much too soon.  This blog is my muse.  A place for me to express my inner most thoughts and to get somethings on paper that I have been holding in.  I come here to educate and to memorialize my feelings at particular moments.  I go back and read some of my own passages as if I wasn’t the person who wrote those words.  Once I release something onto paper, I usually forget about it and move on.  I have 14 drafts of posts that I have not completed or have chosen not to share.  I am telling my story, the best way I know how, but I know that the world will never know my full story because I am only comfortable with sharing certain pieces of it.

A friend posted a question about successful people on Facebook.  He asked if successful people were honest and transparent or calculating and cloaked.  I responded by saying that successful people are calculated and cloaked because being honest and transparent can leave you vulnerable for an attack.  This is something that I have learned in life and I did not understand as a young professional. I started my first real job out of college prior to graduation.  I was young, optimistic, and extremely outspoken.  I hid very little and commented on way too much.  I  build relationships easily through conversation, but towards the end of my 3rd year, those relationships started to bite me in the behind.

People judged me off of the relationships I had with many of the people on my unit.  The doctors felt comfortable enough to talk to me in a way that extended beyond professional etiquette.  My plans to progress were stunted because they didn’t want my voice in a place of influential power.  I reminded them of so many people who had come before me and they openly told me so. I could not understand why people would not want me to progress.  I came to work everyday, I stayed over, I worked anyones off-shift, I picked up extra hours often and actively loved what I did.  I realized many years later that I shared too many pieces of me and for that, I was punished.

I want to come onto my blog and share so much, because I know that it will help someone who is where I am or is where I was.  But I desire to be successful, so I have to always be truthful and extremely real but in my sharing, I must be calculated and cloaked on my content.  I have received some backlash for a post that I wrote, but I knew that post would elicit such a reaction and I did not care.  My strategy is not one of dishonesty but of planned progress.  This blog will go as far as I allow it to go, but I will not let anything that is shared here be the tool used for my demise.

Be two steps ahead and know your opponents well.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Those Who Deserve Credit Don’t Have to Ask For It

I always post about how appreciative I am of my amazing family, friends and others who have helped me along the way.  I have been blessed to be in the presence of Gods many angels He has planted on this earth.  Despite many of the things that I went through growing up, God allowed me to see his grace and mercy through the actions of those around me.  I have personally shared with each person in my life who has been my rock at some point, their importance in my life through conversation, emails, text or cards.  None of these people have ever asked to be credited for my success or accomplishments.  When I achieve something, it is as if they achieved something because they were apart of the process.  These amazing people never say that I owe them anything, even though I feel that I am indebted to them. These amazing people never attempt to discredit me or tear me down in any way, even if they could.  These amazing people continue to push me through my next dream because they have never left my side.

So for anyone who feels that they deserve to be credited for my success but not my failures; for that person who may feel that they deserve to be credited for my accomplishments but not my missteps; he who wants to be applauded for being the battery to my drive or determination; the one who may feel the need to yell to the heavens that they are the only reason that I am where I am, I am who I am, or I have what I have but forgot that I never forget, here is my message to you:

I will never forget the decisions I had to make my senior year of high school in order to graduate and go to college.  I will never forget the attempts that were made to destroy my life or reputation. I will never forget the times when I reached out in distress and was dismissed and degraded.  I will never forget the disrespectful lies that continues to be shared with others about things that you don’t know about and aren’t even remotely true or accurate.

So, when you are making a scene about the credit you deserve, make sure that you are taking credit for everything.  Not just the good but the volcano of a mess that your words and actions have created.  Be careful when you speak because the same words you use to hurt will return to you and your life will reek of all of the negativity you put into the atmosphere.

This is my story.  I will tell it my way.  I will give credit to whom its due and ignore all others.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

If I Listened to Society, I Would Have Never Succeeded

Children like me are not supposed to graduate from high school early.  They are not supposed to go to a great college or university.  They are not supposed to finish and get their dream job.  They are not supposed to get dissatisfied with their career and go back to a great college or university for a second degree.  They are supposed to have a baby out-of-wedlock but they are not supposed to marry their child’s father.  Children like me are not supposed to own a home, complete a second degree and have opportunities to choose from.

If I listened to society’s message about being black, motherless, fatherless, poor or a mother before I planned, I would have never succeeded.  If I listened to society’s message about the value of an education at HBCUs, I would have never fought to stay at Howard every semester and would not have went back to Howard, declining scholarship opportunities at other law schools.  If I listened to society’s message about balancing a family and your dreams, I would not be investing all of my free time into making my dreams turn into a reality.

Society has a way of shaming, demeaning and humiliating women, mothers, poor people, minorities, working parents, those who are not sexual conformists or sexual purists, and anyone who attempts to advocate or speak up for these groups.  The messages that are highlighted in mainstream media, backed by “policies” and shown through biased images oppress, silence and discredit these groups. The instant and ease of access to social media, video recording and outlets that connect millions of people together have only begun to shed light on the truth of who we really are and who we can become.

YouTube videos, blogs, Instagram and Twitter hashtags have connected people from different walks of life who have endured similar experiences.  These mediums have allowed us to see that many of us are more alike than we are different, that we are powerful and we are beautifully complex and interesting. We have been exposed to amazing people with unique backgrounds, survivors of horrendous crimes and minorities who are making a difference in their communities locally, nationally and internationally.   We are beginning to accept that poor people are not the enemy and breastfeeding in public should be supported and not shamed.  We are applauding working parents, stay-at-home moms and dads and those who chose to do what makes sense for their own families at that time.  We are beginning to accept that civil rights should be equally applied to everyone despite who they love.  We are respecting the talent and value of a person despite their sexual identity.

The exposure to the possibilities of life and the truth of our existence has transpired because we have stopped listening to society.  We have taken control of our stories, the images we consume and strengthened our power by rejecting the limited scenarios that we have been offered to choose from.  Our power is to be feared.  An open and aware mind cannot be controlled.

They said I would never make it.  They said I should not go to college.  They said I would not finish college.  They assumed I would never find a job.  They thought I would become like my mother.  They wished that I would give up.  They hoped I would stop believing. Their words, thoughts and wishes did not work against me because I did not listen to them. I have succeeded because I did not allow them to define my success.

Stop listening. Succeed.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Why Me?

This is the question I used to scream in the darkness of the night as I endured abuse, neglect and hunger.  The question I asked God right after my father would tell me that I would never be anything when I grew up or that I was fat, stupid or dumb.  A question that lingered every birthday, Christmas or major event my mother was never present at.  I used to ask this question time and again but I would only hear silence in response.  I never received an answer until I stopped asking.

I asked Why Me while in pain and many times while experiencing joy.  I never felt that I should be where I was, good or bad.  I felt that I should be somewhere else, that this life was not my own, that I should not have to be going through this or too unworthy to be experiencing that.  But then one day I woke and stopped asking Why Me and started to live in the moment.  I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I stopped apologizing for my past, present or future and I stopped feeling worthless.  I was supposed to endure and survive, I was supposed to excel and succeed, I was supposed to be an example to others.  Asking questions is great but your questions may prevent you from hearing the answer.

If you are not happy where you are, do not ask why me, but instead watch, listen and learn.  You are there for a reason, you are there for a lesson, and you are there for someone else.  So many have sacrificed their lives, livelihood and their safety so that we may be where we are today.  It is not an easy concept to accept but it is a truth we have to live, own and use to empower.  Instead of asking the Creator Why Me, ask yourself Why Me and you will see you are the only person prepared for the job.

I am using my past, pain and purpose to change the world. That is why he chose me because He knew I wouldn’t give up, I wouldn’t back down, and that I would take this world by storm! I only heard the answer when I stopped asking the question.  Be you.  Do you.  Live in your truth.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.

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