What Chains Are You Breaking

There is always something keeping you from taking that big leap of faith. Is it fear, lack of faith, bills, or not remembering why you even started this work in the first place? We sing songs that say that we want to break free from our chains or that we just want to be free, but we have not identified what we want to be free from. You have to be direct about your intentions and free yourself of the bondage that may be holding you back.

I know that I can start my own successful business right now. My apprehension comes in when I start thinking about all of the money I have invested in past projects that have not reciprocated financially. Additionally, I have a large amount of student loan debt looming over my head, heart, and handwork. So when I get energized to move forward in my personal projects I forget about those things, but when I see how much I put out every month to pay my students loans, I lose that fire and start thinking of ways to work harder and not smarter.

We have to recognize situations that drain us and not allow those things to control our thoughts and actions. At the end of the day, no matter how hard I work,  I will never pay off my student loans. The only way that I can ever rid myself of the debt I incurred to get two degrees is to work smarter and not harder. I cannot let the idea of defeat resonate in my mind and drain me of all of my energy every month. I have to pay it and let go of the idea that I could use that money to build an empire. Without my education, I would not be where I am today. I may not see the full return on this investment right now, but eventually I will.

Identify the chains that need to be broken. Name them. Decide that you will no longer be controlled by the thought of these invisible strongholds. Move forward in being excellent. 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.

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.

Why I Am Perfect

Job hunting in a recovering economy is a job in itself.  Many of my classmates have worked diligently and found positions that will lay the foundation to their career.  Then there are the people like me: the one who passed over many positions instead of just applying and starting somewhere, to find a position that is idealistic.  I left my last career because I wanted to make a greater impact on people and patients outside of a hospital environment.  But over the last few months I have realized that there isn’t a job out there that encompasses all of the things that I desire to do, so I need to put my idealism to the side and find a job.

The hunt is on.  I am open to opportunities that will help me grow as a young attorney, while still giving me a great work/life balance.  Those two things I cannot compromise and will clearly express them in my interviews…when I get one.

One of my favorite questions is,”What makes you perfect for this job?”  As I enjoyed my moment of peace today, I started thinking about what makes me perfect for any job.  As we have progressed professionally, many of us have forgotten that degrees, resumes and life experiences alone don’t make a person perfect for a position, but their chemistry, their personality and their drive is what people are going to look at once they are at the table.

So for me, when I answer this question, I am going to speak to all of the things that make me perfect.  I am dedicated.  I have always taken the time to learn the necessary skills to be a great employee at every job that I have ever had; from Shop Rite, to being a server, a teller all the way to my job as a nurse.  I love being right, so I am going to do what is necessary to make sure that I am doing my job to the best of my ability.  I show up early, stay late and go above and beyond because I know that it is necessary for my growth.

I am a fast learner.  I love being right (clearly), so I try to learn my job, as well as other people’s jobs just in case I have to step in during a time of need.  When I first started as a student nurse at Hopkins, I was in Urology (shout out to the best team at the Johns Hopkins Hospital), and I learned all of the skills I needed to do those surgeries and took any opportunity available to learn from other technicians and nurses who worked in other specialties.  I enjoyed the challenges that came with learning new things.  My first weekend out of orientation as a nurse was one filled with trauma and emergencies, and no one could tell that was my first time at the rodeo.

I love to learn.  I love challenges.  I love people.  I love to be right (just in case you didn’t know, now you do).  I am perfect because I invest my all in everything that I do, which makes me right for any job that I am applying for.  These characteristics are not written on a resume, in the descriptions of any of my positions or clear through my transcripts (grades aren’t everything so beat it).  I am perfect for any job because of who I am.  My genuineness. My fortitude.  My passion.

This is a reminder to us all to look beyond what we have done and start to expressing who we really are outside of the obvious.  We are greater than the sums of our applications or any individual accomplishment or failure that we have experienced.  Our distinct differences are what makes us great people to be around, to learn from, to grow with.  We are all perfect in our own respects.  As long as you are only trying to be the best you that there is, there is no real competition out there that can challenge you or step to you for that title.  In a busy city setting, we are so used to passing out business cards, but we are immune to getting to know who people really are.

As we enjoy the sweet weeks of summer, challenge yourself to get to know people beyond their business card, job title or financial status.  For those of us mounting up to get back on the saddle and ride to our dream job and for those who have been on that road too long, know that you are great and all you need is an opportunity to get to the interview to tell them who you really are.  When asked this question, make sure you are not harping on just your experiences, but those unique details that set you apart from the rest.

Be perfect. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.