Tip Tuesday: Gratitude and Fulfillment

I recently finished reading “How to be a Bawse” by Lilly Singh (which was ah-making, seriously check it out if you haven’t already!). I listened to the Audiobook on Audible, which was read by ||Superwoman|| herself! I don’t care if you are absolutely in love with her YouTube channel or if you have never heard of her before, this book inspired the sh*t out of me, and without it this post wouldn’t be here.

First off, I listened to this book while struggling to decide upon a topic for NaNoWriMo. I do not definitively know what in the book helped me pick my topic, but I do know that it inspired me to try harder and write more. Hearing her talk about her dedication and love for her work inspired me to find something I was passionate about. It still took some effort, and some ideas that were thrown out, but I never gave up. Now, I have ideas for not one but two books.

I also found somewhat of a second wind at work. I was absolutely dead a couple of weeks ago. Last week I worked extra hours every single day so that I could take Friday off and travel home and spend the weekend with my family without worrying about a thing. Although I did still worry some, I was able to really relax and be present with those that I don’t get to see every day. On top of that, I felt really great about everything I had gotten done, and that was in part because of how hard I tried.

In addition to all of this, the one thing from the book that has stuck with me the most is how often we take things for granted. I’m sitting here typing this with a Bluetooth keyboard onto my 2018 iPad while watching the Green Bay Packers game on TV and the Milwaukee Brewers game on my phone. My house has a roof and heat, light and internet. I had a great dinner and bought foods that we eat just because we want to at the grocery store today. I have a husband that loves me and made sure the house was spotless before I got home. Even in my darkest times, they really aren’t that dark in comparison. It’s really hard to remember this, but taking the time to think about all the good and practice gratitude goes a long way.

You can have it all, just not all at once -Oprah

Another thing that has really stuck with me, was her discussion of discipline. I still feel like I don’t have enough time for everything that I want to do, but I also feel like I am fulfilled in the things that I have to do. I know that I could rearrange my day; I could try to figure out how to get by on less sleep. I also know that it’s not that big of a deal to me. If it really and truly mattered that I fit everything in every single day, then I would find a way. The important thing now is that I learn not to complain about not being able to fit everything in, when it would be nothing more than a different sacrifice if I decided to try. I need to be grateful.

Sensing a theme here? Gratitude and Fulfillment. I’ve written about gratitude in the past, but I haven’t really written about fulfillment much. At the end of the day, all of the little suggestions about finding gratitude in every day, ties into feeling fulfilled in your life. You cannot control every situation, but you can control your reaction. You can take the baby steps to work towards your goals. You can create a vision board with the things that will truly fulfill you. And, you can find happiness at each step. Understand that your journey is (1) yours and (2) a journey. Take pride in the fact that you are on a journey and keep going.

Have you read anything truly inspiring lately? Do you have a way to practice gratitude? Do you feel fulfilled most or every day?

No Dream Too Big

Clearly this is a break from your regularly scheduled WIP Wednesday to lay down a very important message: Nike isn’t racist and everybody claiming Nike is racist clearly doesn’t understand racism. Although I will try to be as diplomatic as possible, I do have strong personal feelings on this issue. Therefore, if the next sentence offends you, you may want to just stop reading and respect that our opinions differ. You cannot claim both that Nike is racist and that Kaepernick’s protests were anti-American.

The flag stands for freedom. We need to just agree on that; that is what I was taught and I truly believe that is what is true. This means that regardless of if I agree with the platform or the timing get, I have to look at the freedom that the NFL protests stand for. To me, that is painfully obvious. I am still unsure if it is so obvious because I am a black person living in America, or if it’s because I am a decent human being. I hate to say it like that, but if you see a protest, do you look at it and say “oh these idiots” or do you try to understand the reasoning?

I have had to learn, that even if I disagree with the way in which people choose to protest, it is to my benefit to try to understand what the protest is about. Most people don’t protest to hop on a bandwagon, or just for fun. For most people there is a deep rooted meaning behind their protest, and for many people the platform that they choose is what they truly believe is best. Which means, regardless of your feelings, you have to look at the causes. You can criticize all you want, but if you criticize without trying to understand them, are you growing as a person?

I was absolutely moved by the new Nike commercial and it has nothing to do with Colin Kaepernick. (It did have a little to do with Serena Williams, TBH.) The message that Nike is sending is that you need to try to do what other people tell you is impossible. If you want it, you should go after it. No dream is too big, wild, crazy, etc. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. Just because Nike chose Kaepernick to promote this agenda, does that make it less strong of a message? I hope not.

Finally, I do want to touch on the boycott of Nike. Nike is speaking to their money with this one. Have you watched that commercial? How many white people did you see? Nike knows what Nike is doing. So, if you truly believe that what Nike has chosen to do here is wrong, by all means, boycott Nike. Say your piece, let your voice be heard. You don’t have to agree with everything that happens in the public eye nor do you have to disagree with everything. Just stay in touch with your values and do what you feel you need to.

Are you feeling strongly about anything right now? Do you hope that you can make a difference in your community? Let me know in the comments- I would love to hear what your “impossible dreams” are!

(Accountability) Partners

In my previous post, I mentioned using accountability as a way to make sure you are working towards your goals. You can do self-accountability, which is largely what I do right now, with my bullet journal tracker. This does have some disadvantages because not everybody is going to be completely honest with themselves, and you have to remember to check in with your bullet journal every single day, because otherwise you might forget if and when something was done. Another popular way to tackle the accountability problem is to find a buddy.

This post is about finding accountability everywhere. My goal is for you to be able to accomplish your own goals, and intelligently choosing an accountability partner is the best way that I know how to help. If your goal is to write every day, choose an accountability partner that also enjoys writing. When I first decided to write a novel, I asked a friend to hold me accountable, but the reminders came when I couldn’t write. I ended up getting frustrated and just kept telling her “no.” It was true, I wasn’t writing, I couldn’t write during the intervals she was available, but on top of that, she wasn’t writing. Knowing that I was in it alone and she was just trying to force me to do something I wasn’t entirely sure I actually wanted to do, didn’t make for a good partner. However, once I made my goals more clear, her encouragement became critical to me finishing that first novel. (Hmm… perhaps I should enlist her help again on the editing journey).

Another area that you need to be really careful in is your diet. I am using the word “diet” here as in “what you eat on a day to day basis.” If you want to eat a diet of fried foods, do not engage with somebody who eats mainly salads. Likewise, if you are trying to switch to a plant-based diet, do not choose somebody who lives off meat (that’s me. I am not your girl if you don’t want meat. Sorry, not sorry). This also goes for anything and everything in between. Find a friend or colleague (this is really useful for lunchtime!) that has eating goals as similar to your own as possible, because watching each other make the same choices day in and day out will make it easier to stick to the plan.

The final aspect that I need to touch on regards my fellow business owners. So here’s the advice I was given long ago that at first struck me as, “oh my gosh, no way, I could never!” but has now turned into, “of course!” Ready? Here we go: befriend people who are doing the same thing as you, particularly those who have been doing it longer and/or are doing it better. Intimidating, right? But here’s the thing, you will never grow if you do not learn how to grow. This is an entirely new dimension of accountability in that you’re not directly asking for anything, but you are inherently asking yourself to be better and do better by watching others. We are naturally fueled by competition. It is true, that some people let intimidation get the better of them, and that is okay, as long as you learn how to work past it and use it to your advantage.

So, is there anything in life that you want to strive towards? Can you find somebody, whether it is a close friend, family member, or a distant friend, that can help you work towards this? Think about what you would say in your initial conversation. What are your specific goals, what is your deadline, are you initially focusing on quality or quantity? What types of check-ins do you need, and how often? Does anybody have any remaining questions?

Plan the work, and then work the plan.

She’s Got Goals

At the beginning of 2017 I set out a list of goals for myself to achieve by December 31, 2017. In working towards these goals I have learned a lot about myself. At the top of the list, I have learned that I have great ambition but sometimes I just do not have the hours in a day/week/month/year to achieve everything. Sometimes I do not have the tools to do everything. Earlier today I was part of a 90-minute session on strengths-based leadership. Forcing myself to think about my strengths and how they interplay with others strengths. As I sat at my desk this afternoon, I started thinking about those goals I had set for 2017 and where I stood with them. So, following are some of my goals that really taught me something, and how I have been working towards them. Most importantly, this post is a post about how I have learned about myself and my role in life, not just how I made a plan and some follow-through.

Finish Writing a Novel

I have not started. Fortunately, even though I listed this at the top of the list, I had always planned to participate in NaNoWriMo and begin brainstorming on November 1. I am very eager to get started with this tomorrow. I had originally planned on using my blog posts as a means to practice writing daily, and when I remember, I still do. However, I found that for a while over the summer writing just wasn’t interesting me (nor was reading), and it became a chore. Therefore, I had no posts from July through September. I still have drafts of posts that I promised, and I still promise you that they will get written.

Run a marathon

I registered for the Kansas City Marathon in May and I switched my registration to the Half Marathon the night before the race. Although I had a training plan and I had been running, I stopped finding the joy in running. I stopped caring about how far or how long I ran and only cared about when it was over. For many of you, that may be how you run. However, I love running. I love the feeling I get from the power of my own two legs. I love the strong calf muscles. I love the strong lungs. So, for me to be having legitimate anxiety about running a race I knew something was wrong. There were a lot of people (mainly people who had not run a full marathon before) who told me that I could do it. One day, I finally sat down with myself and realized that most everybody I know who had run a marathon was oddly silent. I realized that a lot of the people I talked to had run half marathons, but never full marathons. I realized that it just wasn’t my time to run a full marathon.

Now, for the fun part. I ran a half marathon in 3 hours 7 seconds. I walked on all of the uphill stretches in the second half of the race because I was just burnt out. My stomach was full of powerade and water, it was a little bit warmer than I would have liked, and as a slow runner anyway, I was surrounded by walkers for the majority of the race. But that was totally okay, because it meant that when I was running I was giving it my everything. I finished only seven seconds slower than what I wanted my maximum time to be. I walked away feeling proud, a bit sore (because 13.1 miles on concrete is a lot harder on the knees than I realized), and ready to run another (lets be honest, several more) in 2018. Maybe one day I will do a full marathon, but for now I love that I love to run, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Live healthier every day

This one had several sub-goals. I am going to include one thing that was not a sub-goal and one that was. First, there were a couple of weeks in October that I stopped consuming alcohol. One night I was drinking a beer I didn’t even like because it was all I had at home and halfway through I just stared at it and wondered what the heck I was doing. The next morning, I saw a post on Facebook reminding me that Sober October exists, so I tried it for a bit. I told my friends, and they were all really supportive. I think only one person asked if I was pregnant! But ultimately, I just needed to figure out why I felt the need to drink. At the same time, I wasn’t sleeping well, I was tired literally all of the time, and I just wanted to give my body some recovery time. Since then, I have only had alcohol I legitimately enjoy (red wine) and I have not felt drunk at all. While it still makes me somewhat uncomfortable to be confident in saying that I stopped drinking in excess given the environment that I am in, it also makes me really proud to know that I am keeping poison out of my body.

Second, the thing on the list, decrease my resting heart rate to 71 bpm. Why 71 bpm? Because I have a heart murmur and for as long as I can remember, my heart rate has been over 75 bpm, even when I was playing sports. I honestly did not think that I would be able to drop my heart rate below 70. Well, I am proud to say that 64-65 bpm is now a reality for me! Through hard work, a good diet (I would say low-fat, but I do not in fact know that that is the thing doing it), and exercise I have been able to surpass this goal.

Open a retirement account

So this one, I looked into it. I was totally ready to call somebody, then I needed a new car. So this is still a goal. If the money I could have put into a retirement account is the money I have paid towards my car loan, I would say that this goal has been successful. I still have plans to do this, and I recall actually telling my friend right after I bought the car that this was supposed to be my retirement money. In any case, I know the time to start saving is now, and once I feel like I have regained some financial security I will do just that. I hope that this will be very early into the 2018 year, and given that it is at the forefront of my mind I see that there is no reason for it not to get done.

Interactive portion

How are you doing on your 2017 goals? There are still two months left- over 60 days with which to work on achieving them, and another year ready and waiting to continue working towards them.