- I want to be happy.
- I want to have abundance all around me.
- I want to be appreciated for who I am, not who people want me to be.
- I want to be loved.
- I want to be smart.
- I want to be carefree, at ease, content with life.
- I want to be healthy.
- I want to be free from the judgement of others.
- I want to be valued.
- I want to love myself more than I love anyone else.
- I want to make a positive contribution to the world.
- I want to life the best life I can, every day.
How do you plot the road map of your life? Do you assign certain goals for certain ages, for example: get married by 30, have kids by 35, etc? Do you think about what people will say at your funeral, and work your way backwards from there? Or are your plans based on the vision you’ve had for yourself since you were a kid?
Have you seriously thought about what destinations lie along life’s road for you?
However we develop our life’s plan, we all have goals and dreams that didn’t quite make it from our head to the real world. It could just be a matter of time before you begin work on those goals, or it could be that you don’t really think they’ll be a reality. Do you have certain goals that, no matter how thoughts of them make your heart race, you’ve tucked them into the corners of your mind, never to see the light of day?
A personal example of this: when I was in college, I dreamed of being an actress. This wasn’t the desire that burned brightest in my life – being a full-time novelist is. And I didn’t want to change my major from English to Theatre in order to pursue this dream. But I kept imagining myself on movie sets, practicing lines, being in front of a camera. You wanna know what happened? I can’t remember how it unfolded, but I ended up in a private acting class. I say ‘ended up’ because I didn’t consciously go looking for this class. It sorta just fell in my lap. But I never doubted my ability, never thought this was a foolish dream or that if I decided to pursue a full-time acting career that I wouldn’t make it. I never bemoaned the fact that I don’t look like Halle Berry, Gabrielle Union or Sanaa Latham. I didn’t compare myself to other, more experienced actors in the class, and I didn’t beat myself up that I hadn’t pursued acting earlier. I just focused on enjoying the class as much as I could and the fact that I was living my dream.
Perception vs. Reality
Is there a little voice in your head, telling you that you can’t succeed at your secret goals? Do you fear sharing these goals with your spouse, your family or your friends, because its not ‘realistic’, or you’re too old to pursue it now? Why is that? Who told you these things, and why are you holding on to these beliefs?
We all know at least one person who was told “you’ll never amount to anything”. And this person went on to defy the odds and make a success out of their lives, regardless of the ‘realistic’ opinion of others. Do you think they cared what others thought of them? And sometimes, people use this negative pronouncement from the naysayers to fuel their efforts. They think about all the people who look down on them, and when the going gets tough, they resolve to keep on going.
The only difference between this determined person who defied the odds and you is that you’re the only person saying that you can’t do it. Yeah, you have these other people jabbering in your ear, saying “why do you wanna do that?”, “aren’t you too old for that?”, “black people don’t do that“, “you wanna do whuh? Keep dreaming!”
Yes, keep dreaming.
I mean, what is life if not a big dream, where our pleasure comes from fulfilling those dreams? Did you dream about your children before you had them? Did you dream about your house, your car, your vacation before you had them? How are those dreams any different from the other dreams that you have, that someone has said “those aren’t practical dreams” and so discouraged you from pursuing them? What’s wrong with seeing things that you want in your mind and taking pleasure from those visions? And what in the world is wrong with you making those dreams a reality?
People doubt you because they don’t know you like you know yourself. I don’t care if that’s your mom, husband, children, teachers, friends, whoever. You are capable of anything if you decide inside yourself never to give up. You doubt yourself because you fear failing or you actually fear succeeding. But we discussed that fear is your mind’s attempt to protect you…from change. From shaking things up. From the pain of not being successful. But if we let our dreams die because of fear, what kind of life would we have? Imagine if all the successful, inspiring people that decided to pursue their dreams anyway, had held themselves back or let the negative opinions of others keep them from going forward? We wouldn’t have so many inventions, be entertained by so many talented people or be inspired by the leaders and businesspeople that we relate to.
How do you know you’re not that source of inspiration for someone else? How do you know that someone won’t look at your story and say, “if she/he can do it, I can do it too!” You’ll never know what’s possible for you unless you try.
Motivated Sista fans on Facebook. I wanted something catchy, something that made you guys feel good when I posted to the page. I came up with ‘Motivated Moguls’, ‘Motivated Boss Ladies’, and ‘Motivated Movers and Shakers’, but nothing really stood out to me as a good choice. For one thing, there aren’t just ladies who read my blog and are fans on Facebook. For another, I don’t want to call you guys ‘Motivated Sistas and Brothers’ because we’re not just black people.
So I think I’ll just refer to everyone as Motivated CEOs.
|Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox|
|Richard Parsons, chairman of Citigroup and the former Chairman and CEO of Time Warner|
|Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo|
|Daniel Vasella, CEO of Novartis|
|You, CEO of You, Inc.||
(insert your pic here)
You’re paying the cost to be the boss
A chief executive officer (CEO) is one of the highest-ranking corporate officers in charge of total management. It is the responsibility of the chief executive officer to align the company, internally and externally, with their strategic vision. The core duty of a CEO is to facilitate business outside of the company while guiding employees and other executive officers towards a central objective. A CEO must have a balance of internal and external initiatives to build a sustainable company.
Doesn’t that sound like you?
Who has more charge over your life than you? It is your responsibility to align your internal and external life with the goals, aspirations, people and activities you envision for your life. Your core duty is to enjoy life – facilitating that enjoyment by making sure that your central objectives are met. And you build your sustainable happiness by balancing your mental, spiritual, emotional (internal) health with your physical and financial health, career and relationships (external initiatives).
All of this authority comes with hard work and numerous responsibilities. But that’s why they pay CEOs the big bucks, right? Your pay is your level of health, happiness and fulfillment. What happens when the CEO is not leading a company like it should? Just like Enron and WorldCom, you fail. Your investers – your friends, family, coworkers, etc. will not be happy, and worst of all, you’ll be out of the best gig you’ll ever have. But you can rebuild your life from the ground up, by creating new dreams, new aspirations and goals, and employing a strong board of directors to advise and support you.
Time for you to preside
So often, people are not aware of the potential power they weild in their own lives. People just walk around as if they’re robots; they give their best efforts to their employers, families, and social groups, not realizing that they owe the best work to their own corporation. Your dreams comprise your corporate vision; your values are your corporate mission; and your goals make up your strategic plan. How much is your corporation’s stock worth? Its time for all of us to get on our jobs.
Reclaim Your Dreams: An Uncommon Guide to Living On Your Own Terms
by Jonathan Mead
Why I wanted to read this book: I came across an interview that the author did on IncomeDiary.com. The interview initially caught my attention because the book The 4-Hour Workweek was one that changed my mindset in terms of internet business; the subtitle of the interview is “Zero Hour Work Week Maverick Reveals His Secrets To Living Life On Your Terms”. So if Tim Ferris came up with the 4-Hour Work Week, and Mead claimed to be the Zero Hour Work Week Maverick, I wanted to see how it was done.
I found Mead’s interview to be very insightful and motivating – so much so, that one of his quotes on becoming your own boss hangs in my cubicle at work:
I personally believe the biggest attribution to making this happen for myself was knowing 100% without a doubt that this was going to happen. It was only a matter of time and I would do whatever it took and I would try everything that I possibly could try. I would fail over and over if that’s what needed to happen, but I knew that it was going to happen, that it was just a matter of time.
How inspiring is that?!
- Premise of the book: we’ve all been domesticated into settling for security instead of following our hearts and pursuing our dreams. Mead promised to show us how to get past limiting beliefs, get back to our authentic selves and pursue our passions.
- You should read it if: you want to cultivate a different mindset than the one held by mainstream society; you want to motivate yourself to change the way you think; you want to get closer to what’s authentically you and farther away from societal constructs of what life is supposed to be like.
- You shouldn’t read it if: you pretty much already know who you are, where you want to be and how to get from where you are to the end result.
Now you might be wondering why I gave this 4 stars instead of 5. The book is divided into 2 parts: part 1 is letting go of the thoughts that are holding you back and part 2 is making it happen. I read alot of material like this and of course write a bit of it here. So I didn’t find anything new in terms of motivation, but that doesn’t mean that the next person won’t. Its just that I’m already familiar, from my own way of thinking, of where Mead was going with the first half of the book. Also, I thought he should’ve gone into more detail about methods of changing one’s thoughts, instead of just explaining that you need to. Overall though, you might not find what I say as motivating as what he’s written in part 1, so I would encourage you to check it out for yourself. Besides that though, I really enjoyed this book, especially the ways in which Mead really prompts you to make this journey to authenticity a commitment to yourself.
As wonderful as I think the book is, one of the benefits of Mead’s book is that he now offers worksheets to go along with it. So you can follow along and complete the exercises as you go, and you can also use the prepared worksheets to answer his questions in the book and other supplemental questions that are a part of the worksheets. I thought this was a really cool thing to provide, because the majority of the time when reading books like this, you’re just absorbing the thoughts of the author with the intention to go back and do the exercises. The worksheets make that so much easier to do the first time around.
Points I took away from the book:
- Success is happiness in the present moment. “Realize that the winner in life is not the one that accomplishes most; it’s the person who enjoys their life fully that’s most alive.”
- Tips on how to remove the background noise that’s getting in the way of what really matters.
- Don’t follow the pre-made template of life if its not making you happy.
- We’ve been conditioned to doubt ourselves and seek security above passion and happiness.
- Be present in your daily life, make time for what you truly want and find more ways to get involved.
- Ways to change your mindset about work, so that you don’t dread it even when you’re doing work that you love.
I’ll end with a quote that I really love:
“If anything is a sin, hiding your light is. If anything is a crime, it is not flying.”
You can get Reclaim Your Dreams on Jonathan’s website, IlluminatedMind.net. You’re over there being scared, straddling the fence, not knowing if you should follow your heart or play it safe, and all the while time is ticking away. Do you know that tomorrow is not promised? Do you know that one day you’re not going to wake up?
I hate to get all morbid on you, but today I came to work and found out that a beloved coworker passed away a few days ago. He was nice, super friendly, and genuinely liked people. This was a guy who was definitely motivated to reach his dreams. He and I talked a few times about our aspirations, his family, his goals, and the end results he was working toward. He proudly showed me pictures of his infant son and his wife, and we all supported him when he lost his parents. And now he’s gone.
What happens to dreams when a person dies? Are they expelled from the body, like air from your lungs? Or do they wither and recede into the silent and still corners in your brain? You can’t leave them to someone else in your will. They’ll be buried with you. Meanwhile, all the reasons you haven’t reached them yet – the ministries you serve on at church that take up your free time and disposable income, the hours you spend in front of the TV, your mother’s disapproval, the financial worries, the insecurities, the analysis paralysis – these will all outlive you. When you’re in your eternal resting place it will be too late to start. We only get one life yet most of us fiddle it away mindlessly. Do you want this to happen to you? When you’re lying there, taking your last few breaths, what do you want to feel about your life? That you gave it your all, everything you had, and lived to the fullest? Or that you have so many things you wish you could have done, didn’t have time to do, would have done differently… or that you worked so hard for others and didn’t get the chance to truly live… or that you constantly lived in your head, afraid to just be, that time just slipped through your fingers?
All we have is today. Right now. This moment. We can’t go back and change the past, and sitting there worrying about the future is wasting the time you have right now. How are you using your time? How will your life unfold? Only you can answer that, but you’ve got to wake up first. While you still can.
- Marian Wright Edelman was the daughter of a Baptist minister and raised in South Carolina. He died when she was 14, and his last words to her were “don’t let anything get in the way of your education.” She went on to earn her undergraduate degree from Spelman College. While in undergrad, she traveled the world on a Merrill Scholarship and studied in the Soviet Union as a Lisle Fellow. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and went on to earn her law degree from Yale.
- Edelman became the first black person to be admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She represented activists during the Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964. Then she joined the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund in 1968 and moved to DC. While in DC, she also contributed to Martin Luther King’s Poor People Campaign and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
- Edelman founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and also became interested in issues related to childhood development and poverty-stricken children.
- As a result of that interest, in 1973 Edelman founded the Children’s Defense Fund as a voice for poor, minority and disabled children.
- Edelman served on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College, which she chaired from 1976 to 1987. She was the first woman elected by alumni as a member of the Yale University Corporation. She she served in that position from 1971 to 1977.
- She has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award.
- If all those accomplishments weren’t enough, Edelman is an accomplished author. Her books include:
- Portrait of Inequality, published in 1980
- American Children and Families, 1981
- Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change, 1987
- The Measure of Our Success: A Letter To My Children And Yours, 1992
- Kids and Guns: A National Disgrace, 1993
- Guide My Feet, 1995
- Stand for Children, 1998
- Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors, 1999
- The State of America’s Children, 2000
- I’m Your Child, God, 2002
- I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children, 2005
- The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation, 2008
- She is a board member of the Robin Hood Foundation (funds and supports innovative poverty-fighting organizations in New York City), the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (non-partisan research and policy institute working on federal and state fiscal policies and public programs affecting low- and moderate-income Americans), and the Association to Benefit Children (children’s advocacy group with an array of programs that provide services in education, health, housing, mental health and employment), and is a member of the Selection Committee of the Profiles in Courage Award of the John F. Kennedy Library, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
- She is married to Peter Edelman, a Professor at Georgetown Law School. They have three sons, Joshua, Jonah, and Ezra, two granddaughters, Ellika and Zoe, and two grandsons, Elijah and Levi (her husband is Jewish).
- Marian Wright Edelman is my she-ro because she used her father’s lesson that Christianity obligates one to service and works to serve children living in poverty and improve civil rights. But at the same time, she did not sacrifice her own happiness in life – she married and raised a family. She comes from a generation where injustice was all around her, and she raised herself up from her poor, Southern roots to accomplish so much. Now us 20- and 30-somethings should use Edelman as an example of a life where one can advocate for others, build up our communities, without being a martyr to the cause or sacrificing our happiness in the process.
In honor of Black History Month, I thought it fitting to write about ways we as black people tend to hold ourselves back. I find it ironic that after facing slavery, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, we find ways to keep ourselves and other black people from succeeding. If anything, we’d want to succeed to prove that racists are wrong about us, right?
1. Black People Don’t Do That
Have you ever wanted to do something adventurous, such as sky dive, go white water rafting, learn rock climbing or go camping? Were you studious as a child, and told that you ‘talk white’, think you’re a white girl or boy, or called an Oreo? Have you ever been told that something you wanted to do – such as visit Europe, learn a non-Romance language, eat certain ethnic foods or listen to music other than hip hop, R&B, blues, jazz or gospel – was something that only white people did?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to follow any pursuit or interest that does not harm another human being. I don’t care if you want to be a goat herder in the Swiss Alps. Who cares if its not something that black people traditionally do? One thing is that, if there hasn’t been a black person to ever do it, there would be such a sense of racial pride by you accomplishing that feat. Another thing is, what was the point of our ancestors struggling, protesting and dying for us to have equal access to education, any social arena and any economic opportunity, only for black people to bar the door for other black people? This is one thing that I was subjected to when growing up and it has never made sense to me. I was always told I could grow up to be anything I wanted to be… but then black people told me I couldn’t do certain things because black people didn’t do them.
We have enough work to do to stop holding ourselves back – I’m not going to anybody’s ideas, regardless of what color they are, of what black people should and shouldn’t do hold me back. And you shouldn’t either. Unless the purpose of your life is to satisfy the black race, instead of being happy and contributing to the good of mankind.
I got an email this morning from a Motivated Sista subscriber. This Motivated Sista wants to move abroad, but she feels that her ‘worst enemy’ is herself and her family. She asked me to write a post that would motivate her to make that move.
First of all, when I met this sista, I felt that she was one of the most fearless women I’d ever met. She has a strong and dynamic personality – she’s not afraid to say what she feels, to tell it exactly like it is and cut through the bull to the real point. I’ve also seen some of the work she’s done to promote issues that she believes in – she’s planned events, networked like crazy and traveled to DC to meet other like-minded women. So I was a bit surprised that she would be holding herself back. But, like she said, each person is their own worst enemy. We all have ways in which we hold ourselves back from reaching our full potential. And we sometimes have distorted images of ourselves, where we don’t see how great we really are and wonder how others can hold us in such high regard.
I can clearly see this sista being her bold, fearless self… in Paris. Très magnifique!
The Eiffel Tower, Paris
Why can’t you accomplish everything you set out to do?
Why can’t you be successful, inspired and motivated?
Why can’t you ignore the naysayers and show them who you really are?
Why can’t you move now, instead of waiting for everything to be perfect?
Why can’t you feel the fear, and do it anyway?
Why can’t you trust that everything you need is already inside you?
Why can’t you have faith that everything will work out in your favor?
Why can’t you accept that failure is a part of growing, and try again?
Why can’t you have an unshakable belief in your own abilities?
Why can’t you feel how loved, blessed and prepared you are?
Why can’t you see that right now is your time to shine?