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Heading toward my dreams … or were those goals?

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own and you know what you know.
And you are the guy who will decide where to go.
Dr. Seuss

I had a lot of fun over this long holiday weekend. I enjoyed an insightful service at church, walked a mile after church, baked a few dozen cookies and went bowling. I recall a goal I set a few years back to bowl on the ABT (Amateur Bowling Tour). I once talked about it often, and really enjoyed bowling a lot more back then, as I prepared to be one of the Amateurs some day on one of those Vegas lanes.

It is beautiful to have a dream. It can also be wonderful to have a goal.
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This morning, as I set out to complete my daily writing goal (yay for keeping myself to a DAILY objective), it occurred to me that I have had many goals over the years, some I have accomplished and some I have not (well not yet) ;).

I re-directed my thought process to remind myself that goal-lists can help with my time management. It’s useful at this point in my personal growth. Today, though, I am looking at things quite differently with an entirely new perspective.

The difference between having a goal (like bowling in the ABT) and having a dream (like being a published author, screenwriter or publisher) is different. The goal, is just that, one goal with a definitive objective. When accomplished, it is done.

But, my dreams are like several goals that must be accomplished in some logical way or the dream just ain’t gonna happen. The dream is like goals without legs. They are really beautiful and I love my dreams, but without something in place, like an action plan, to move me closer to accomplishing them they will not be tangible. This is not a negative thing, on the contrary, it’s my seeing clearly and having a healthy perspective.
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My dreams are going to be one of the guiding passions of my life. I am clarifying them, laying out the details, and making them so clear that I can see them as doable and develop a plan for how I will get there.

Two cool things about where I am today: one, I know I will accomplish that ABT bowling tour. This is a fun goal I look forward to preparing for and I am finally seasoned enough to realize it is not a dream, just a childhood goal that would be a really cool accomplishment. And two, I have a really clear plan for moving closer to making my dreams a reality.

I’ll share my move-forward plan as I keep heading in the direction of my writing dreams. Perhaps my action plan can help you with your action plan. For now, here’s to all of your dreams becoming a reality!

God bless,

Necee

Stay positive … “aw go screw yourself!”

It was a well intended comment, “just stay positive!”

To which she received the prompt reply, “aw go screw yourself …”

Perhaps you can guess what happened next? I bet not, there was deafening silence then a slight roar of laughter. Yes, I said laughter. It was so stunning, really quite shocking that the laughter was a bit unnerving in itself. My personal response was silence, I did not comment nor did I laugh. I was merely one of many who overheard the exchange. I choose not to judge those involved too harshly, but rather try to learn something from the interaction.

I realize that it is hard to focus on the positive when positivity seems like nothing more than wishful thinking. In my work environment it feels like we are hard-wired to focus on threats, negativity and defending ourselves. Perhaps it comes with the territory. And I am still wondering if her response to the motivational comment to “just stay positive”, was defensive or just plain mean. Did she intend to hurt, shock or just be flippant?

Regardless of her intention, I am reminded that it takes effort to be positive. To be mean and sarcastic is actually rather easy in an inherently negative environment. But to refrain from expressing every negative thought that crosses your mind takes effort. To go one step further, to refrain from even thinking that negative thought in the first place takes discipline.

Why be Positive?

To begin with, pessimism is trouble because it has been proven to be bad for your health. Studies show that optimists are physically and psychologically healthier than pessimists. It has been shown that pessimists have higher rates of depression than optimists. So, maintaining a positive outlook is not just good for your health, it’s good for your relationships and your performance. But more importantly, at the end of the day you will simply feel better.

We all struggle at times with being positive, it’s a day-to-day process. So, I’ll just take it one day at a time and encourage you all to enjoy the journey.

Take good care of yourself,

Necee 🙂

Be rested and optimistic, then be relentless.

relaxDon’t give up.  Just get some rest and keep your head up.  Things look rather drab and downright hopeless sometimes when we are fatigued.  This week has been a sleepless one, exhaustion has been the name of the game.

First, the work schedule just ate away at my sleep hours, I think I managed 4, maybe 5 hours a night (interrupted). Then on the night when I thought I’d get in bed by 8:00pm I get a call from my friend who was in emergency after she was attacked by a homeless lady.  Fortunately, the lady ended up in jail and my friend survived the attack with only a nasty cut and large bruise on her forehead.

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I was thinking ‘all I have to do is make it to Friday‘ when for some odd reason, I kept attempting to get some writing done. I would plug in my thumb drive and open my novel only to stare at the page, to no avail – there would be no progress. My brain was tired, my eyes low … I really just needed sleep, but could not convince myself of this simple fact throughout the week. I think I was trying to stay determined and get that weekly writing goal accomplished.

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I stayed optimistic, though frustrated, I still managed to be positive.  Now that I am rested I realize it was pointless to keep trying to do something my tired brain and body would not be capable of doing.  This weekend, I have managed to get quite a bit of writing done, which feels good. I reflect back on this crazy-busy week and remain ever convinced of these facts … in times of trial, and during especially tiring times, we must remain positive and optimistic – even when we don’t get it done.

After all, once we get a little sleep things always look better, don’t they?

Be well, be rested and stay optimistic … and then when all is said and done, you can get out there and be relentless about your goals.

Take good care of yourself,

Necee

The Quieter Side

busylifeIt’s my fourth decade: divorce, kids, single parenting, teenagers, overtime and a whole lot of hard work and running around. This decade it feels like I’m doing it all. Of course, I am not. I think it is a direct reflection of being very tired at the end of each day.

In my 20’s I recall the feeling that life was moving along and I had to jump on the ride. I never felt like life was passing me by, just that as it moved I better get in gear too. I rushed to many parties, invitations did not get ignored. The second decade was a noisy one – full of music, sleepless nights, hung-over mornings and quite a few down right stupid choices. Yet, here I am today alive and well, just sane enough to be telling my tales.

Going into my third decade I gave birth to my second child. I knew then, like I know now, thatbeingmom becoming a mother was the best thing I could ever have done. Motherhood, along with all of the good and bad, has given my life great meaning, dimension and unparalleled joy. To have a child was a calculated and planned choice for me, down to the predicted day/month when my first would be born. And to date – the grandest choice I ever made, the most fulfilling accomplishment of my existence. If I am around a few decades from now, I am confident there will be no experience to match it.

Reflecting back, what is most interesting about my thirties is the self-confidence and self-motherhoodrespect that developed. Throughout my life, I had been a bit of a pushover, allowing friends and family to say whatever or do whatever whenever it pleased them. Never mind my discomfort or dissatisfaction with their choice. How it affected me was always secondary to their happiness. This also put my happiness second to theirs. This unhealthy behavior stopped when I became a mother. Suddenly people could not just talk to me any kind of way, nor could they drop by or call my house at any time (day or night) with their gossip, drama or world-of-woe stories (which I never appreciated anyway).
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I began to demand respect and courtesy, no more than what I had given to others my entire life. And it became more important to me now, because I was a mom and did not want to provide a weak example for my children. Respect me, respect my family, and respect my children. Do it now or leave. It really did become that simple.

As I stumbled into my fourth decade, I was single again after a painful divorce, which again was my choice. This too had become my experience, part of the life journey. Still ranking as the toughest walk of my existence thus far, divorce is something I survived, not a thing I ever want to go through again. It’s a tough thing to put yourself back together after divorce, after all – you had this long-term plan with another human being, and if your vows meant anything to you then, well, to be reworking the plan without a life partner would be a challenge. And indeed it has been.
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I am on the other side of that mountain now, and gearing up for the next few years to head into my fifth decade. I am grateful for these wonderful recollections. God has blessed me tremendously … I have no reason to complain.

Right now, though my busy lifestyle is always loud – somehow I am managing, with God’s grace to be enjoying a quieter side of life, by simply quieting myself. It is nice. It doesn’t have to be quiet; I am choosing this more subtle existence. Sure, I could jump off the wall at the Stratosphere, bungee jumping my way to the bottom like all of those other wacky and adventurous folks -but I choose not to. It’s here, in the latter part of my fourth decade that I feel quite comfortable sitting and enjoying the view as I plan my next adventure. Life is good indeed; I hope you are taking time to enjoy the ride.

Working through the tough stuff.

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People get sick. Arguments get out of control. Shit happens. Life gets in the way of your best laid plans.  What can you do? Yesterday I threw my hands up, and as much as I hate to admit it – when I tossed my hands in the air and threw my head back it was in defeat.

I am competitive, to give up is not a part my of foundation, but some battles are lost before you even get started. I cannot control others, I cannot tell people how to live their life. And I realized yesterday, a little late in the game that I was trying to do just that. Once I realized that I was trying to control another human being, I was a lot better off – because we cannot, nor should we try to control other people.

Just shy of tears I was able to regain control of my emotions and realize that I should only concern myself with the things I have control over and the things that truly matter.

Sometimes we need to re-define what truly matters. For instance, my children who are turning out to be fine young people truly matter. The fact that we enjoy spending time together and I really like them as people matters. That is only the beginning of my wonderful list of things that matter, and what a glorious list it is.

So, keeping a very long story short from the most stressful day (yesterday) that I’ve had in a long time, I’ve come back around to myself and allowed the stress to seep from my body, and I choose to be at peace.
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Enjoy your life, know what matters and allow joy to be a part of your journey.

To living your best life,

Necee

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Motivated to get Serious

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My daughter graduated from middle school a few weeks ago. She and her best friends drove us mothers crazy the night before. They needed this and needed that and couldn’t stop texting each other comparing notes. One would think it was the eve of their weddings.

I was surprised when her best friend showed up the next morning at 7:00 am, one hour before graduation, with flawless hair, as if she had just walked out of the salon. Come to find out, she had! I mean, just walked out of the salon that is.

After the ceremony her mom shared that she was able to get her hair done at 5am, because the hair dresser takes 5am appointments when needed, and actually on a regular basis. Wow! The night before graduation this woman gave her a 5am hair appointment and she showed up looking fresh and fab!  Now that’s customer service, but more so – I call that being about your business!

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It doesn’t matter what the business is, or what industry you want to break into – if you want it, you have be ready to do the work and serve up satisfaction to the customer. I wrote this post in my notepad on my phone last Saturday morning. Sitting in Ms. C’s chair at a lovely salon where lavender and ginger aromas fill the air. It was just after my shampoo and I was her 5am appointment that day. I just had to find out for myself, plus it was the only time I could go in quite literally, and she was willing to squeeze me in.  When I showed up she had another 5am client, and they just kept coming. This lady is in demand!

All of this reminded me that I have all these publishing and artistic goals kind of lined up for the next few years. I took a moment (just a short one) to beat up on myself as to why I haven’t been as successful as I would like. Truth is I have not been about MY business. I spend more time talking about writing (and why I’m not writing) than actually writing. So, enough of the life lesson – there’s time, I can do it!

We can all do it!

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There’s room and time for all of our dreams and goals. We just have to push forward and be about our business. So whatever you want to do, go be about it. I’m going to start by giving my writing the priority in my life that it deserves. Then start treating it like a business, so I can be about my business.

Here’s to hard work and big dreams becoming reality! 🙂

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Relentless – by Definition

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It has been a crazy month – sometimes, if I am being completely honest with myself, I feel like this is a crazy life, just my life.  I rarely feel down-and-out or beaten; I was blessed with an outlook that is most often fair and usually quite positive.  But every once in a while, life hits me in the chest with a brick, and I am forced to sit, quiet myself and admit that I push it too much and it takes a doctor to tell me to just rest.  That brick came whirling toward me, unseen, at the end of April with the news of a death.  Someone had to die.  A woman I had just smiled and laughed with, who appeared fine and happy was now dead.

I was already a little overwhelmed with promises.  A promise to my writing partner that I would write more blog posts, a promise to myself to complete more Chapters for my book; and countless promises to others that I will do that which I said I will do.  I was already behind the eight ball – then she died.  And in that moment, every little thing seemed like just that – a really little thing.  That finite, inescapable news comes, and for a moment life stops on a dime.

lifeOne week later, I would find out more than I ever knew about this beautiful relentless spirit we called Grandma Cheryl.  During her life celebration I would come to know that she led people, mentored many and was a great lover of a variety of things in this life. She lived what appeared to be a simple, God-centered existence, but it was more. It was a more life full of love, faith, laughter and family.  She left behind many who will miss her, as was evident from her funeral program and the number in attendance at her church ceremony.

To be relentless, by definition, is to be inflexible and unyielding – to be adamant and unrelenting.  Grandma Cheryl’s last few months of life were spent fighting; fighting for healthy days and slumbering nights. Some days were long and tiring, as fights for our health can be, but I was reminded by a family member after her service that no matter the fight, ‘you would never catch Cheryl slippin’!  She meant that Cheryl never spoke a foul word about cherylsloveanyone, never let go of her faith and never, ever came out of her room without hair done, proper attire and some nice rouge on her lips.  Best believe this – you would not catch Grandma Cheryl slippin’.  The last time I saw her was only a few weeks before she passed, she was behind the wheel of her car and pulled over just to say hello and ask how I was doing.  She looked colorful and bright, and sure enough had on lipstick, no one would know she was ill – and I am sure that is how she liked it, always the vision of a woman of God relentless about His business.

So, though it takes me weeks, sometimes months to gather my emotions and get a handle on life’s situations unfolding at a rapid pace – I sit in awe of the memory of Grandma Cheryl and the many relentless spirits that have gone before us.  And I am reminded to go forward, representing the best version of myself with positive thoughts and feelings about this life and every day we are all blessed to wake each morning.  Whether we choose to spend our days living what others define as ‘simple’ lives or pursuing big, complicated dreams, be Relentless about it, and enjoy this exquisite journey we call life.  For as far as we know, we only have one.

Stay Relentless 😉