Don’t you just hate it when someone throws cold water on your dreams? When you’re really excited about the direction that you’re going in, but a well-meaning Negative Nancy tries to throw a roadblock into your path? I hate that too and I’ve fallen victim to unintentionally letting others dampen my excitement, which ultimately led to me second-guessing myself and what I really wanted. There are ways in which you can protect against that, and I’d like to share a few of them with you today.
Get On The OffensiveThe most important thing to do in order to guard your dreams from outside negative attack is to get your story down pat. When you sound doubtful or confused when people ask you questions, they will be doubtful and confused about your vision. For example, if you’re in the midst of switching careers and your current job is perceived as a ‘good job’, people will wonder why you are switching and how you can leave that money behind. To prepare for the inevitable questions, work out in your mind what your response will be. If you just say “I’m following my passion”, you’ll likely sound flaky and unrealistic. But if you have a succinct, logical story about your vision you’ll fare better when questioned about what you’re doing. You could simply say “I’ve always been passionate about creating gift baskets, and I’m finally doing me and starting my own business”.
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Poor Mama. She never complained or lost patience with me when I did this. I guess she just saw the pattern before it developed and braced herself not to get annoyed with me. And when I sounded so convincing (maybe I only sounded that way to myself), she’d just agree and give whatever input I asked for. This went on throughout high school and most of college, until she made a casual remark to me one day. I was babbling on and on about the difficulty of making a decision when she said, “just decide”. That was it. That’s all she said but it became crystal clear to me that it could be that easy.
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I was so inspired this morning to read Marelisa’s most recent post over at her Abundance blog. Marelisa tells the story of Roz Savage, a woman who seemingly had it all but left a charmed life to create a life of adventure. Roz completed an extreme rowing challenge, coming in last in the 2005 Atlantic Rowing Challenge [the same year as Hurricane Katrina, a record year for tropical storms in the Atlantic]. Now if that sounds like a failure to you, don’t take it that way at all – Roz rowed for 103 days and faced many challenges alone at sea. How many of us can say we faced our fears, jumped in head first, and completed the enormous task that we set out to meet?
Roz’s story really inspired me for a few reasons: she is attempting to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean [starting in San Francisco and ending in Australia, she will have rowed over 8,000 miles cumulatively, made over 3 million oar strokes, and spent over 312 days alone at sea on a 23 ft. rowboat]; she left an idyllic, seeming perfect life and followed her heart to live an extraordinary life; but mostly because she changed the story in her head from one of limitation to one of empowerment.
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My personal progressI had several intentions at the beginning of the year – namely to lose weight and incorporate healthy eating habits into my life, take my business and blog to the next level – become my own boss, write an ebook for Motivated Sista, start a committed relationship, and improve my cooking skills. I was supposed to focus on weight loss first, but that was the goal that fell by the wayside. I feel that I’m in a good place with growing my blog audience and learning effective ways to generate enough income from other online ventures to become my own boss. I made several Sunday dinners to improve my cooking skills. And I’ve been slowly and surely working on my ebook.
But I didn’t make much headway with regard to changing my eating habits, working out more or dating. It was easy to make excuses for not going to the gym, blaming my lack of progress on having issues with my car, or not knowing what to eat to be healthy, on and on. The excuses don’t really matter, its how I react to the realization that I’ve been making them that’s important.
One huge setback I had was during the snow storm we had back in February. I indulged myself in vacation-mode thinking during that time, to my detriment. The difference between a vacation and those days we had off is that when you’re planning a vacation, you plan for your absence and know the precise duration that you’ll be away from your tasks. What I did, however, was immerse myself with unproductive habits for an indefinite period of time. As a result, I derailed my fitness and healthy eating habits, my sleep pattern and even my writing flow for Motivated Sista. Even though it was only a week and a half, that mindset definitely wreaked havoc on my goals. Now it’s time to get back on track.
Faith, Focus, Persistence and Determination.
Since I felt uninspired to change my eating habits, I relied on meal plans from Oxygen Magazine. There is a 3-month series that promises to change your body and the way you eat. This is the end of my first week on the plan, and so far I’ve been doing great. This shows me the importance of not only relying on the expertise of others, being open to ideas that don’t sound appealing, but also to make things easier for myself – in essence, ‘work smarter not harder’.
Multi-tasking doesn’t work for me. I need to fully focus on one goal at a time. Because what ends up happening is distraction – the goals that are not currently in front of me get forgotten as I’m fully absorbed in the tasks that are before me. And I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with that, I just need to work with my unique personality and habits to get to where I’m trying to go.
As far as dating, that’s a goal that has a few layers for me. I’m not timid about going out by myself, but I feel anxiety when among a group of people. It doesn’t matter if I know the people around me or not, group settings rattle my nerves. But I have to get over it if I’m going to succeed in meeting new people. The advice I constantly hear is “do what you love and you’ll meet people that way”, so I’m planning to attend new events to not only participate in activities that I’ve been dying to participate in, but also to meet new people outside of the circles I’m already in.
So how is 2010 shaping up for you? Take an opportunity to review your progress on your goals, improve the areas that need improvement, and pat yourself on the back for the progress you’ve made so far. How will you revise your approach to reach your goals, based on your self-reflection?
We often don’t believe that we can accomplish a goal, because we simply can’t see ourselves doing it. But the visions you have for your future can take you from the realm of wishes to tangible, achievable goals. This is especially important when you have a burning desire that others call impossible to achieve. Call it wishful thinking, call it daydreaming, but whatever you call it, visualizing your goals can be one of the best things you can do for yourself.
From Vision To Reality
I always had a passion for flashin’~ Kanye West, Good Life
Before I had it
I closed my eyes and imagined, the good life
You may not be a Kanye fan but his lyrics are a great example of my point. In his songs, he talks about how he used to work at The Gap, lived at home with his mom and was so poor that he and his girlfriend had to split the buffet at KFC. Yet he’s one of the most popular (and, admittedly, controversial) artists out today; he’s won 12 Grammy awards and has his own label, which is home to Common, Kid Cudi and John Legend. You may think his rise to fame was largely a product of luck, but I beg to differ. He was on his grind and made things happen for himself, but during those dark, lean days, he held his vision in his mind long enough to get him to each next step.
This example is a great template for us to follow. Click Here To Continue
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a posse at our backs during our quests through life? You could assemble your best friend, a wise elder, 2 or 3 fighting dudes and your love interest, and set off for parts unknown to make the world right again. Wouldn’t that be great?
Man, it’d be even better if we had a real-life posse that had our backs, but such is life. We can’t all be the questing hero, going from innocence to experience over the course of a movie (or really long book, in Tolkien’s case). And we’re lucky if we have a few friends to support us when we want to do something that others don’t believe in. Everyone will not share your vision; everyone will not support your quest.
The Posse Doesn’t ExistMy grandmother had two sayings: “you were born alone and you’ll die alone (and occassionally she’d add, “and you’ll get this whippin’ alone”, but I digress…)”; and “the only thing I have to do is stay black and die”. Those two sayings are pertinent in my message today, because they support my view that you have to stand alone. This choice is not always made because you want to, but because its absolutely necessary. Because the only person who has to support you is you.
We often hold ourselves back by waiting for the approval and support of others. Well, what will you do if that support never comes? If your parents never approve of the career choice you want to make, mate you want to marry or dream you want to pursue? Will you deny yourself because you don’t have anyone to travel on your quest with you? Or will you pack your necessities and travel that road alone?
Our friends and family have a funny way of innocently condemning our choices, but holding themselves back out of fear as well. So in their estimation, nothing would be achieved, because you shouldn’t follow your dreams and they won’t follow theirs either. Well where does that leave you? Forget about where it leaves them, put yourself first.
(caption: Believe in yourself when all around you may doubt you. Inner strength is the root of confidence.)
Your family is only responsible for your upbringing and once you’re an adult you’re to take it from there. Everything else isn’t a requirement. And we all know people who weren’t blessed to have one or both of their parents growing up, so I’m not suggesting that we take their presence for granted. But its just that – their presence – meaning the leadership of your life comes from you. That’s why I call you a Motivated CEO – you are the chief executive of your own life. Will a CEO poll other CEOs, and only act in his company’s best interest if the other CEOs say so? Even if your family serves as your board of directors, that’s the limit of their role; they’re your advisors, its still your ship to run.
So run it with full knowledge that you are the only one required to be at the helm. It’d be great to have the support of others, but if you don’t, then be prepared to forge ahead on your own. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
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.