Second Act, Second Chance

Blogging My Way to a Better Life

Mission Statement. Manifesto. Mantra.

February is coming to a close (although it’s exciting that we get a Leap Day this year!) March is the last month of the first quarter of the year, how are you doing on those awesome goals you touted about in January?  Just to be clear, this is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. This post isn’t to haggle you about your goals, I’m just checking in and to possibly present a solution that my help.

The other day I came across a wonderful quote while I was reading that stated:

“Respect your life enough to pursue a meaningful mission. Respect yourself enough to give yourself something to do.”  -Iyanla Vanzant     

This quote really struck me because often we just drift through our lives working, paying bills, working, paying bills, working, paying…well you get the gist.  And every year you vow to do it differently and yet we somehow slip right back into our safe and unproductive zone.  We were definitely created to be more than worker drones. I’ve referenced Beyonce’s song I Was Here before and if you’ve never heard it I suggest you give it a listen.  This isn’t a command from a Bey-hiver (I like a few of her songs, but that’s as far as it goes) however it is worth the listen to ingest the message of doing something significant to show the world you were here. It would be a shame to have lived and no one knew it.

To help you leave a mark on this world it would help if you had a mission, something you you want to pursue. It would be even better if others were well served by your mission. So let’s start with a mission statement, which is defined as “a formal summary of aims and values for a company, organization or individual”.   This statement identifies your mission, briefly describe how you will carry it out and who will benefit from it.  This mission statement can be for a company you’re starting, a book you’re writing or simply a statement by which you’ll govern your life. I co-founded a non-profit for single parents and our mission statement is “R.O.K.S. – Raising Our Kids Solo is charged with assisting single parents by providing emotional support and tangible resources to help them manage family life without a partner.”  Short, sweet and to the point. It states who we are, what we’re doing and who benefits.

Next is your manifesto. This is the emotional counterpart to the mission statement. It talks about your core values, emotional priniciples, what differentiates you from what others are doing, what you believe in and what you’re willing to invest to accomplish your mission. It’s basically a written pep rally created to excite, ignite and get you energized about what you’re trying to accomplish. Dig deep for this but have fun with it.

The last thing is your mantra. This is your statement or slogan that you repeat to keep the mission before you. Don’t be overly clever with this, make sure it’s clear, concise and impactful.  For example, the mantra for my single parent non-profit it “Single by circumstance, Parents by choice”.  Straight and to the point.

So whether you’re starting a revolution or rebranding your life, come up with a mission statement, manifesto and mantra to help you get clear on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.  Type them up on pretty stationary, laminate them and post them prominently where you see them every day.  Don’t waste another minute not working on your “I Was Here”.   Pursue a purposeful mission. Respect yourself enough to give yourself something to do.

 

 

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The waiting is the HARDEST part, and here’s the reason why.

Waiting picture

In 1985 the group Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers made a song called The Waiting. And in the bridge of the song they sing “the waiting is the hardest part”.  Truer words have NEVER been spoken.  Have you ever waited patiently or impatiently for something? Of course you have, we all have.  We’re still waiting.  It’s a diabolical holding pattern that I am currently in and it’s making my life miserable, or rather I’m making my life miserable by concentrating so much on waiting on this thing.

When you pray for something, our microwave mentality thinks that it’s suppose to come right away.  With the snap of our fingers and a click of our heels that job, that money, that spouse, that car, that house, that WHATEVER you’re waiting for is suppose to show up immediately.  Who wants to wait?!  But alas that’s what we end up doing. You pray and put it out in the universe and then you wait.  My absolute favorite quote in the whole wide world is by Ralph Waldo Emerson that states “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”  So you’ve made a decision about something, you pray for this thing, the universe hears it and now it goes to work. That’s why the waiting is the hardest part because the universe is preparing the path. No one said the answer was coming in the next second. Now the universe is preparing you and the thing to come together. This may take hours, days or even years. Talk about a suckburger.

I’ve personally been praying for something for eight years….EIGHT FRICKING YEARS!!!!! (trying really hard not to curse). I’ve cried, cursed, yelled, screamed and have worried myself to exhaustion because I’m thinking now the universe won’t answer this prayer. And you know what REALLY sucks (ass)pirin? (told you I’m trying not to curse) Seeing people all around me getting with what seems great ease the very thing I have been on my face pleading for.  I know life isn’t fair, but daggone it life just isn’t fair! There’s a saying that a delay isn’t a denial, but if we are real with our impatient, often bratty, imperfect selves we know that a delay feels like a denial. Who wants to hear that it may take 15 years for your husband or wife to show up after you’ve prayed for marriage? Who wants to hear that five more people will get promoted ahead of you before your promotion comes?  Who wants to  hear that your manuscript will get rejected 167 times before it’s published?  NO ONE!!  But it’s part of the process of the universe preparing you. It SUCKS, but if God has put it in your spirit you have to trust with every fiber of your being that it will come to pass.  You have to keep calling that thing into your space even when it seems like it’s not going to show up. At times you’ll pray through clenched teeth and crocodile tears but you have to keep calling it. You have to get on your face and pray God’s word over it. And after you do that you have to go on with your life. It’s going to be hard but you have to do it for your sanity’s sake!  You can’t keep checking on it, peeking at it or making sure it’s still on God’s checklist.  You have to let it go and let God work.  You don’t like people micromanaging you right?  What makes you think God likes it? He created the universe and all that’s in it, I’m pretty sure He can what handle you give Him.

So make your decision, pray about it, nine times out of ten you’ll have to wait on it. So why not go get some ice cream, take a walk, catch up with friends or take a much deserved nap. Before you know it you and the thing will be happily dancing cheek to cheek.

Happy Leap Day!

Clock

Guess what?  We all get a 24 hour bonus this year!  That’s right, it’s Leap Year!  Isn’t that exciting?  No?  Well I think it is.  Every four years we get an extra day in February called Leap Day to do whatever we wish.  A extra day to celebrate, reflect, start spring cleaning, register for a class, start writing your book, have a long overdue conversation with someone, renew your driver’s license, go to the spa or whatever else you can think of. Some people rarely pay this extra day any mind because they consider it “just another day”.  But’s it’s an EXTRA day!  An extra 24 hours gifted to you, you need to get excited about that!

Think about all of the times when you said “I wish I had more time.”  Well here it is! This comes around once every four years and here is the answer to your constant time prayer. So circle February 29th on your calendar in big bold colors and take some time to seriously think about how you’re going to leap into your Leap Day.

 

 

 

 

Tell your inner critic to F*CK OFF!

I'm a winner pic

Who are you?  What do you want to be? What do you want to do? How do you want to change the world?  Around this time when the year is still kind of new and fresh, these questions often ring blaringly in your head.  You think of all of the things you want to accomplish, you write them down, outline your goals and how you intend to upgrade your life and the lives of those around you. Then “it” comes.  That sinister malevolent whisper known as the “inner critic” that immediately comes to destroy your plans.  It starts running down a litany of false charges against you making you think you can’t do whatever it is you want to do.  Let’s run down some of these “charges”:

  • You’re too old/young
  • It’s too late
  • No one is interested in what you have to offer
  • You don’t have a degree
  • You don’t know what you’re doing/you’ve never done this before
  • Not talented enough
  • It’ll never work
  • Who do you think you are trying to do this?

Do any of the above sound familiar?  Of course they do.  Anyone who has tried to do anything worth doing has heard at least two or more of these.  So what do you do when that toxic talker invades your productive space and starts to run its mouth?  You tell it to f*ck off that’s what!  Not to sound cliche and corny because this has been said a billion times before, the world needs whatever goodness you have to offer.  Whatever gift you have whether it’s singing, writing, break dancing, origami or walking on your hands five feet at a time.  Whatever your thing is you need to share it and share it often!

I came across an article regarding this and it gives seven steps to stop second guessing yourself.  My favorite step is to “give yourself the title”.  Say who you are and what you do and stand by it.  If you’re a writer, say you’re a writer!  If you like walking dogs, say you’re the best dog walker in your town!  Even if you’re doing it on a small scale, you still have the right to claim that title.  And don’t dumb it down by adding “aspiring” to your title.  That’s a crutch to keep you from actually DOING. You can aspire yourself right to your grave, and who wants that?  So what do you want to do? How do you want to change the world?  And who are you to do that?  You’re a winner winning at this thing that’s who!  So with that, go tell that inner critic to f*ck off then do the dab courtesy of Cam Newton.

 

 

Hello 2016…

Flower bloom

The bloom of a new year has descended upon us.  A clean slate, fresh start, new beginning. And every January 1st we create all of these wonderful and lofty goals to create a “new you”.  What was wrong with the old you?  Maybe you had some bad eating habits, you carried around a few extra pounds, you people please too much, you never make up your bed in the morning, your credit sucks/your money is funny or whatever is making you feel like your life is a dumpster fire and needs a complete overhaul. And instead of breaking down your “makeover” into bite size pieces, you dump the entire kit and kaboodle on yourself in one day and wonder why by the time the second week of January comes it’s a bust.

The lure of a new year makes people think it’s time to “start again”, when actually you can start again anytime.  January 1st shouldn’t be the permission giving wizard that dictates when you decide to make better choices for your life.  Do it now! If you’ve been given a new day then you’ve been given another chance, so don’t blow it.  Yes the new year is sexy, sleek and clean with all the possibilities in the world, but a new day, another set of 24 hours is just as sexy, sleek and clean, so do something amazing with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not snubbing the new year at all.  I’m just saying you or I shouldn’t wait until January 1st rolls around to get our sexy back. And with that….Happy New Year!

 

 

Sometimes it just sucks.

Life.  Sometimes it just sucks.  Nothing new. Woke up this morning and felt pretty good. Then I saw something that just gave me a a gut punch. The wind was completely knocked out of me. Quite stupid actually, saw something that made the green eyed monster erupt inside of me. I started crying, the ugly cry, and starting saying how my life sucked, how it’s never going to change, and how everyone else is happy and progressing wonderfully except me. Drama.  It’s really a matter of letting go of one thing in hopes that something better will come along. I don’t feel like being optimistic right now, I don’t feel like thinking everything will be ok.  I don’t have the strength for that type of idealism.  Right now I will cry and wait for this to pass, because like they say….this too shall pass.

Stop Starting Over

If you noticed the date of my last blog post, it’s September 2nd.  That’s 26 days ago.  I said when I started this blog that I was going to commit to writing it every Monday. Well as you can see this didn’t pan out.  I am lazy. I am fearful. I am a chronic procrastinator. I have relegated myself to a life of miserable mediocrity.  I take full responsible for it.  I get into these bouts of self loathing, tiny glimpses of depression and an occasional reveling in self doubt.  Then after a few days I rouse up a motivational speech to myself and how I am going to take on the world and all who get in my way do so at their own peril. Then after a few weeks that old sour puss shows up, grabs a seat and some popcorn an settles in for a few days. Then this whole thing starts all over again. Why?

I am tired of stating over.  It’s very exhausting and counterproductive.  For all the times I’ve started and stopped, I could have really been further along and accomplished something significant. Yesterday at church, my pastor’s sermon was titled “The Enemy of Progress…Doubt”.   This struck a cord with me because I doubt myself a lot, and it is crippling.  I look at what other people are doing and I compare myself to them and figure that I won’t be able to measure up.  But a scripture in the bible has given me comfort.  It says “Each one should test their own actions.  Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else” Galatians 6:4  I need to explore who I am and the work I have been given and not compare myself to anyone else.  I have been given the gift of writing and I haven’t been doing a great job of it because I keep comparing myself to more accomplished authors.  Pretty silly to expect me to be on the level of Stephen King when I can’t manage to carve out 15 minutes a day to write. God gave me the gift of writing and yet I don’t use it. How disrespectful of me to not relish in a gift God has given me!  If you gave someone a gift and they just let it sit in a box in the corner in the basement of their house, you would be pissed!  That definitely puts it into perspective.  To change this dumb thing around I must get up every morning, look myself in the mirror and say “Self! You are a brilliant and talented child of God. He gave you the gift to write and have people be moved by your words. He gave you this gift because you have something IMPORTANT to say!  So you better use it before you lose it!”

I read an awesome quote and I unfortunately can’t remember who said it, but it said “You won’t continue the cycle of starting over if you never quit.”  I will just leave that right there to marinate.