Often times I am asked how do you know you are doing the right thing in life? I mean for each person this is going to be different. It’s difficult for me to narrow everything down as though your day to day life experiences don’t really matter. For some, it’s believing in a higher power. For others, it’s in the words spoken over your life by a trusted spiritual advisor, pastor or prophet.
“Do more for the world than it does for you.” – Henry Ford
Understanding that our time on this earth is defined with every moment we breathe. Every time we open our eyes and make a decision, we will impact someone, somewhere and that impact will have a lasting effect, be it positive or negative.
You have to accept that in life we are here to be servants of the land the Lord has graciously given us dominion over. Be that your family, community, and most importantly ourselves. For a long time, I lived a very selfish life. I felt like I just needed to get my “piece of the pie” in this American dream. I was constantly trying to outdo my co-workers, instead of collaborating with them. The crabs in a barrel mentality as it’s sometimes called. I was always looking for the next big thing that would make me superior to other people, especially in my family.
Certainly, I’ve considered myself the black sheep. Always have been and while I wore it as a badge of honor, sometimes that gets lonely. So I set out on a path of self-discovery that led me to look deep within any pain I was carrying in my life and discovering a way to help other people with this same pain. But in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
I began studying to become certified with children who have been sexually abused. As a survivor, I know exactly what it feels like to live with guilt, shame, and disbelief of how others will sacrifice your well being for their own personal gain. I had to figure out what I could do to leave the world a better place and working with youth who have been abused was it for me.
“Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.” – Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is seriously someone any person in the media field will undeniably say is an innovator in this field. I remember the first time I enrolled in college, it was because everybody else was doing it. Then I remember failing the entire first semester and calling my boyfriend (at the time) and going on and on about how I was a failure. He assured me I wasn’t and told me to dry my eyes that everything would be fine. A year or so later, I tried again. This time on my own terms, more dedicated.
I worked full time in retail hated it went to school, hated it, got pregnant, needed to work, became an event planner, hated it, got pregnant again, went back to work full time and to school full time, graduated, still found myself unfulfilled, went to culinary school, started a business (remember this one), and had the nerve to go back to school for a Masters and now a Doctorate.
Here is what I learned in that back and forth, ping-pong, type of life. I never had enough. I never had everything I needed when I needed it so I kept jumping to something else trying to find what I was looking for. Starting my company was no different. I took project classes around town to craft my skills, I took online classes and ultimately I ended up in culinary school to really hone in on my skills. Sis, I had all the training in the world. I was NOT self-taught, I was not self-made. I paid for all of it. Every bit of becoming who I am was carefully planned.
I started where I was and continued to add to the learning I’d mastered. Later, I began teaching others. I learned how to make money with what I had. As I look to the future of what I want to be, I know “future” me still needs more training. To be the CVO (Chief Visionary Officer) of a fortune 500 company I know there are some other things I want in my arsenal!
That means I’m preparing myself now for what I want. I’m using the skills I’ve mastered to invest in my future. Even if all you have is an idea, begin to cultivate the land with which the seed is planted. Change your friend circle. Get a mentor. Further advance your education. Notice I didn’t say run out and get a loan? Run out and add more debt to your currently unstable life. Nope sis, listen, use whatcha got okay!
“The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two
feet.” — Shunryu Suzuki
Accepting who you are is when you know you are living your life on purpose. Now that sounds super simple, right? WRONG! Listen, finding yourself will involve you accepting all of who you are. It involves you being okay with being alone. Do you ever meet people who are ALWAYS in a relationship? Always surrounded by other people? Can’t sit in a coffee shop alone? Yea, they haven’t reached this point, and if that’s you, I’m sorry love.
Truly being one with yourself means you wake up every single day content with who you are and the person you are becoming. You extend Grace to yourself and others when it’s needed. In the words of my BFF Sarah Jakes Roberts, You are drinking your water and minding your business!
You understand that the only way you can complete your assignments in life is by truly focusing on the goals set ahead. Now listen, I know sometimes that’s hard. Like for real, it’s hard. It’s hard not to get caught up scrolling on Instagram and Facebook. Child, don’t get caught up on black twitter OK! I get it. I understand.
But here’s the tea.
If you calculate the amount of time wasted playing on social media as opposed to spending that time to improve your mental, physical, spiritual, financial or emotional health you would be amazed at much different your life would be.
During lent people often give up social media. I did that once before I started my business. I felt so refreshed. Now as an entrepreneur, I have limits set on my screen time. While I can’t fully pull off social media I decided to add reading to my daily schedule. I have to read 4 books over the Lenten period this year. I finished the first book in a week and cracked open the next one. I’m filling my time with things that will catapult me to living the life I want to live in five years, instead of focusing on the social media content people want me to believe is their real lives now.
Girl, take a breath! That was a lot, wasn’t it? Bottom line:
Accept where you are in life, use the materials and tools you have currently while building your toolbox. Do something for somebody else without expecting a return and begin to love yourself on a level you never imaged possible.