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Category: Life

What Were You Thinking 3 Months Ago?

“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” – John Green

The future always is pleasing and attractive. Full of promise for better. However when we arrive there it’s something all too common. Challenges, frustrations and problems still abound.

We worked for that promotion believing it would bring contentment and financial gratification. We pushed for to acquire that business loan hoping to be free from a 9 to 5 that stressed us out.

It never truly works out exactly how we pictured it to be. That’s because the future tends to always be perfect without fault. And we come to realize the present is imperfect and has many flaws. Which then leads us on another pursuit for perfection.

The cure: gratitude. Only gratitude for the present will end this cycle. It involves continually taking your mind back to when you pictured the future you longed for and being aware that you’re in that place today.

In other words gratitude can be summed up by asking yourself: What were you thinking about 3 months ago?

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Venturing into the Unknown

Advancement and promotion comes to those willing to venture into uncharted territory.

Taking such a step displays a willingness to fail. To look weak. To feel inadequate and ill prepared to face what’s coming.

It’s also a confirmation to the important decision makers that you’re committed to growing and increasing your value to the organization.

At a deeper more social level, venturing to the unknown can look like being open to objective conversations with those who hold an opposing point of view.

When we continually open ourselves to learn, understand and discover the world beyond the knowledge we currently have, we are saying yes to a richer life experience. Tangibly and metaphorically.

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Some Extremes Are Good Us

“Too much of a good thing can be bad for you”.

Really? Is that really true 100% of the time? Or does it relate to what exactly that ‘good’ thing is?

An over indulgence of menial or trivial pleasures can lead to serious heath problems. Pizza is ‘good’ and ‘enjoyable’ but high cholesterol isn’t.

You know what we can never get enough of? Justice, equality, human rights, anti-racism, love. Too much of this can and never will be bad for us as individuals or collectively as a community.

As a matter of fact ‘too much’ of the things we need might just solve a plethora of the social issues we’ve been dealing with for decades. So no, not all extremes are bad. Especially the ones that tend to be less self focused.

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Get Comfortable with being Uncomfortable

As I write this humanity is going through a phase of uncomfortable growth. The realization of systematic anti-black racism and how deep it flows in society today is only now being recognized by many.

That realization is coming at the expense of our comfort zones, regardless of who you are. If you’re a non-person of colour, having to unlearn some ideologies that you once assumed isn’t easy. And you shouldn’t assume otherwise.

As a person of colour, understanding that getting the attention of the ‘the powers that be’ is only the first step. Staying the course to see real lasting action and change take place is the real work.

Both mindsets require a level of pain tolerance through the process. Change and growth in anything is uncomfortable because it takes humility to learn what you do not know and endurance to keep the pace when you feel like quitting.

Whether in business, education or standing for social issues it’s all the same. We have to fall in love with being uncomfortable in order to accomplish something of significance. Pain and gain aren’t mutually exclusive of each other.

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Pause, Step back and Recalibrate

We all set out with good intentions. We read, strategize, and put 3, 6 and 12 month plans into place. We have no idea what will happen tomorrow but we plan like we do.

Sometimes unfortunate events force us to pause and really reassess what’s really going on outside the bubble of our lives.

The death of Ahmaud Arbery caused us to pause. The death of George Floyd caused us to pause. The death of Breonna Taylor caused us to pause.

The world hasn’t been the same for a month. Add Covid-19 to the mix and it’s 3-4 months. It’s pushed the true necessity and weight of our so called plans to the test.

You need to still write that book, but what’s the new direction going to be? Is the subject original matter still relevant? Is that business idea still in high demand or is there another immediate need that has been uncovered as a result of above recent events?

Traumatic events, especially global ones, are cause for pause to recalibrate our life’s intentions. When what we thought we knew about this world blows up, its time to allow new thoughts and ideas to take residence in our lives.

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Creative Loyalty Doesn’t Exist

Giving your word to someone and keeping is standard practice for maintaining your integrity throughout business and in life.

The same doesn’t apply to your own personal pursuits. Contrary to popular opinion, quitting or giving up can actually be a good thing.

Since 2010 I had launched and subsequently took down several online blogs. While I know there could have been some benefit in continuing with even just one of them, I was honest with myself about how much passion I really had for the project.

Each time I quit I opened myself to experience something new, while adding what I learned from my past experiences to help me excel.

There are those who are okay to continue working on something to uphold the moral code of ‘not quitting’ and ‘finishing what you’ve started’.

You don’t have to be that person. Feel free to quit and start something at your leisure. You’ll come to realize trail and error is the gateway to longterm success and growth.

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Tell Your Story Often

Blogs became popular in the late 2000’s because of the innate ability to provide a platform for sharing personal stories.

These stories were often reflective. Individuals detailing unexpected challenges and how they eventually conquered them. Sometimes it was just about being in the challenge and not knowing how to get out of it .

They were (and still are) appealing because they were personal. Relatable. These stories put us at ease because in that monument we realized we weren’t the only ones facing daily challenges.

Personal blogs have been replaced by content marketing strategies. Companies that do this well are good at sharing stories that touch us on a deeper level than just letting us know why their product or service is the one we should buy.

Whether in business or life, telling your story often is more beneficial then not telling it. Sharing the bad as well as the good reminds us all that journey to success is not without times we’d rather forget.

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Purposeful Connections

It’s impossible to believe that every contact we network with will turnout to be a key contact down the road.

Not all good conversations translate into beneficial relationships. Some may be just for a moment, brining enlightenment to the vision you have for your life.

Other connections will be for only a specific amount of time. A week, a month, maybe longer.

And then, there are ones we decide not to follow through on and that’s okay.

We are not built with the capacity to make every connection a long term one. The key is to watch actions, consistent achievements and actions towards others as an indicator beyond just words from a conversation at a networking event.

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Master the Day

When contemplating success we often think and focus our attention on the destination only. What do we really want to accomplish? What place do we want to get to? How happy will we be when we get there?

It’s partly not our fault. Companies spend millions every year on marketing techniques that will make us feel unfulfilled until we buy their products and services. We are sold on faster, quicker, easier because we desperately seek our destination over everything else.

There’s no short cut to daily mastery. What does that mean? Mastering the day should be our single most important focus, well, daily!

What action will get us closer to our goal than we were yesterday? It’s an important question to ask ourselves, but we must quantify it accurately. Writing 200 words today for a 30,000-word book gets you closer to publishing that book than writing zero words. It may seem like a small achievement but in 7 days that’s 1400 words. In a month its 6000 words. In 5 months of writing only 200 words a day, you’ll have at the very least your first draft done!

This can only be accomplished by Mastering the day. Our mind has to let go of yesterday and the things we couldn’t complete and focus on the day ahead. We also must not put much of our thoughts into future days in front of us.

Mastering the day is a sole focus on the present. Yes be mindful of the days ahead and the goals you’ve put in place, but the practice of being present and completing small actionable items every day is the secret to seeing long lasting success in our lives.

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Hobby, Not a Hustle

Not every creative pursuit needs to be a side hustle

If we’ve learned anything from the current global climate its to take time to enjoy the many facets of our life. Hobbies allow time for mental wellness healing away from the daily grind.

Be intentional about taking time for creative hobbies. Writing, painting, building, teaching, even charitable work like missions.

It’s unrealistic to believe we can work, hustle or grind every minute we’re awake to achieve our dreams.

Holistic balance is part of the equation to achieving long term success.

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