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Life Advice

Girl Interrupted: How to Cope When Life Gets in the Way

By October 24, 2012 Life, Life Advice
Me

Life happens. To the best of us. Things change; we lose a job, move to another city, break up with a significant other, lose a loved one. And when life comes crashing down or sweeping in sometimes you have to take a step back to regain your footing. Being sidelined by life is never easy but it is natural and it’s imperative that you take time to get yourself back to 100%.

Case in point: Things have been a little slow around here lately. For this I do apologize. My recent move to New York and getting acquainted with myself in this new place has taken a bit of the gust out of my sails. Between packing, moving, commuting, working, commuting, reading and writing there hasn’t been much time in life for well life.

It beeeeeeezzzzzz like that sometimes.

So what do you do when life gets in the way of doing the things you love?

Freeze. Have a Seat. Reset

Freeze

Stopping can be the most beneficial thing you can do when  good or bad fortune befalls you. It may seem nullifying or like you’re stuck in quicksand but stopping can prevent you from spinning your wheels, messing things up due to lack of focus, even burning yourself out. When I moved I made the conscious decision to give myself some time to just stop. It felt horrible and I missed writing for you guys but doing a half-arsed job was not an option.

When life is happening and your focus shifts it’s okay to hit the pause button and tend to the things you have to do. Your work, personal health and well-being are your top priority.

Have a Seat

After you’ve come to terms with stopping (or considerably slowing down) have a seat. Not a literal seat, but a figurative seat. Get your bearings straight and try, TRY, as you might to keep your mind off of the world going on around you.

Sometimes taking a break can feel like you’re taking a step back or conceding defeat but don’t fall into the mind trap. When you have to get your bearings straight that’s the only thing that matters. And instead of worrying about what you’re missing our on or what other people are doing, focus on what you can do to restore yourself and get ready to return to your normal routine.

Read lots of books. Watch movies. Spend time with family and friends. Reconnect with yourself. Personally, I’m taking this time to focus on areas of my life that I’ve neglected like my health, finances and other creative endeavors.

Reset

Each stop is an opportunity to reset ourselves and prepare for the road ahead. By resetting your mind, body and spirit you are allowing the lessons to sink in and propel you forward.

But how will you know when it’s time to get on with your life as usual? You will know. The path will be clear and there will be space to do the things you need to do. You will be able to get back to your life and plans with more knowledge and a renewed spirit.

Sometimes we’re heading down a path and life comes in and interrupts our journey or puts us in an uncomfortable place. Don’t begrudge these changes, roll with them. Embrace them and let them teach and propel you to the next stop on your destination.

Have you ever been interrupted by life? How did you manage? Please share! We can benefit from each others’ stories!

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Motivated Monday: Time, Our Precious Commodity, or Why I Don’t Watch the Steebie J Show

By August 6, 2012 Empowerment, Life, Life Advice
Time

“Know how to live the time that is given you.” ~ Dario Fo

Love and Hip Hop Atlanta is all the rage. It’s fodder for talk around the water cooler and if you’re on Twitter while it’s airing you might as well be watching the show yourself.

Except… I’ve made a conscious decision to not watch the latest reality sensation. Why, you ask? I watched most of the Real Housewives franchise when it was hot and Nene was my gurl! But Love and Hip Hop Atl gets a stiff arm and side eye from me.

Aside from most reality television being exploitive and nonsensical, Love and Hip Hop Atl has caused quite the stir among black people. “It’s degrading to women”, “Why do they (the media) only show us in one light?” While these are valid questions, they aren’t the main reasons I refuse to watch the Steebie J show.

My time is valuable. And not in a pretentious, I’m fake-busy way. But in an I’m trying to accomplish something and do positive things with my life way. I discontinued my cable subscription for the same reason. In a world, where we’re running, working hard to accomplish our dreams, an hour of time is precious and how I choose to spend that time directly relates to what I accomplish.

This isn’t to say that I’m a workaholic robot (some days) devoid of a ratchet bone in my body. Oh I know ratchet. But the time I would spend watching LAHH I could be answering emails, writing or hanging out with friends. I have my entertainment, mostly things that inspire me with their creative value and artistic vision.

And LAHH isn’t the only thing that I question. I wonder if my love of Big Sean and other misogynistic rap music is detrimental or if social media is distracting me from other pursuits. The jury’s still out on those. But what I know is our time is precious and minutes turn into hours, hours into days, days into weeks, weeks into months and months into a lifetime.

For some it’s blocking out blasphemous music or partying. For me it’s Love and Hip-Hop. Pick your poison wisely.

What do you think? How you guard your time?

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Motivated Monday: Seeing the Glass Half Full

By July 30, 2012 Empowerment, Life, Life Advice
Glass Full

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”  ― Oprah Winfrey

There is a well-known question “do you see the glass as half empty or half full?” The premise behind this question is to help identify if the way you see the world is typically through negative or positive lens and it’s a big part of what I use to readjust my thinking. As life moves forward and brings challenging situations or unfavorable circumstances, it is very easy to place focus on what seems to be wrong instead of taking an accurate reading of the complete picture.

Take a step back to reevaluate your journey, focusing on what you have accomplished thus far and then set your eyes on where you want to go. Something I’ve struggled with in my own life has been the hunger for instant gratification. The problem is that I’m rarely satisfied when things don’t happen quickly and I find difficulty noticing the beauty within the process.

Toba Beta once said “There are many realities hidden behind a wall of perception.”

Looking at the amount of money you don’t have may be the source of motivation for a brief period, however setting a goal to make more money may open your eyes to see opportunities and new business ventures.

The trick is in how you train yourself to see the world. Perception, simply put, is the way that we experience the world and the elements around us. Positivity and optimism is key. Now sometimes stuff happens and our positivity gene just doesn’t come to the rescue. When you’re feeling the doldrums, know that it won’t last. Allow yourself to feel what you feel but remember that feeling down doesn’t have to keep you down.

The energy we exude energy but we attract it as well. Keeping a positive attitude plays a big part in what you will focus on and how you will move throughout life. Ask yourself; is darkness scary or an opportunity to have a candlelit dinner?

What the mind expects, it finds. Although times may be fairly rough right now, history shows that we all have the ability to choose resilience instead of defeat.

How you perceive it, is how you believe it!

Do you see the glass hall full? How do you stay positive?

Tiffany is a  licensed therapist, writer and motivated chica! Check out Tiffany’s motivated thoughts here and be sure to visit her at Motivated Thought and follow on twitter @motivatedtht!

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Terry’s Tweets: 25 Inspirational, Motivational Tweets from @MsTerryMcMillan

By July 24, 2012 Advice, Life, Life Advice
TERRY-MCMILLAN

In high school, my favorite author was Terry McMillan. Waiting to Exhale was one of my favorite books, I devoured Mama and Disappearing Acts and to this day Disappearing Acts is still one of my favorite screen adaptations. If you were a black girl in the 90s, Terry McMillan was your girl.

So imagine my delight when my writing inspiration came to life on social media. If you follow Ms. Terry, you know she is a no-nonsense, tell it like it is tweeter. She’s full of real life gems and straight from the horse’s mouth advice. There’s nothing woo-woo about her.

Inspiring, motivational and sometimes a smack in the head, I would retweet all of her tweets, if that weren’t consider swagger-jacking. Instead I’ll recount here 25 of my favorite tweets from Ms. McMillan.

25. When you feel overwhelmed or overworked, take a nap

24.  Bitterness weighs a ton. Forgiveness makes you feel weightless

23. If loving someone exhausts you, you’re loving the wrong person

22. Be leary of people who take credit for things they didn’t do

21. Sometimes, you don’t know who you live next to. And sometimes, who you’re even married to

20. Reading can make you smarter, more compassionate, and worldly

19. Have a thoroughly thoughtful and thankful Thursday everybody. Thrill or be thrilled

18. Whatever you do this week, I hope it’s positive. And, that you see progress. Smooches to all!

17. Nothing like a long hot shower with lots of suds. Wash your hair. Deep condition. Brush teeth. Lotion. Smell good. Chill. Dance. Read. Pray.

16.  Live to your own beat.

15. It’s healthy to slow down long enough to see what you’re really doing. So you have time to change lanes or make a U-Turn.

14. Try to be encouraging. And you, too, will be encouraged.

13. We are all stronger than we think we are. Look back on difficult times. You made it through to now.

12. More often than not, some things you just need to let go. Or be drained by it.

11. People who do wrong, know they’re doing wrong. Which is a sign that something is wrong. With them

10. If you think something is impossible. Then it’s impossible

9. Have a sip of something that soothes you. Then chase it with the same thing

8. Some people tell the same lie over and over and over until dumb people believe it. Smart people only need to hear it once to see through it

7. I do not apologize for how I feel or what I think. Especially on Twitter

6. I’m not just interested in when your new CD is dropping or where you’re going to be appearing next. If you’ve got power, use it for others.

5. Sometimes, you need to snap your fingers to your own beat and not worry about what other folks think.

4.  Some people give bad advice. Know who not to take it from. One way to tell: look at their life.

3. If every time you drink, you get drunk: you’ve got a drinking problem.

2.  I don’t like the idea that other people can change you. I subscribe to the idea that when you change yourself, that’s called growth.

1. Some things are worth remembering. Some things are worth forgetting. One lightens your spirit and the other weighs a ton. Your call.

Such jewels and flat out advice. If you’re not following @MsTerryMcMillan, do so right now and get ya some of Terry’s thoughtful tweets.

Do you follow Terry on twitter? Who’s your favorite follow?

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How to Deal with Burnout

By July 19, 2012 Career, Career Advice, Life Advice
How to Deal with Burnout

“To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.” ~ Mother Teresa

You’re spent. You have nothing left. You’ve been working feverishly at your side business, new job or project. Sleepless doesn’t begin to describe you and frankly you’ve had enough. You’re in the troughs of burnout and if you don’t do something fast, it’s not going to be pretty.

Burnout is a real and serious condition. You’re exhausted and the thing you once had such gusto for, is a distant thought. Early last year, I was on the receiving end of a serious case of burnout. I was working full-time, doing WordPress design and setup on the side and my roster was filling up, quick! I probably did something like 15 websites in the span of 6 months. Ker-azy!

I’d stopped working out, was lucky if I got 4 hours of sleep each night and was a general ball of emotions. I managed to finish what I promised people but after it was all said and done, I didn’t want to look at another piece of html code or set up another website.

I restructured my time and cut a lot off of my plate. I worked regular exercise back into my daily activity and started eating healthier again. I’m much more careful about what I commit to and saying no has come much easier. If you’re dealing with burnout or tethering on the edge here are a few tips to help you come off the ledge and restore your health and sanity.

1. Tie Up Loose Ends

If you’re working on a project and going full throttle, it’s not easy to just give up. If you have commitments, try your best to honor them and get things finished and off your plate. The sooner you complete things, the sooner you can worry about yourself.

2. Take a Week (or Two) Off

Do absolutely nothing. I mean go to work and stuff. But if you’re burnt out on writing, then don’t write. If you can’t look at another oil painting, then stop. Do sleep, get lots of sleep! Veg out, relax and don’t feel guilty. It’s your sanity or work. Always choose yourself.

3. If you can, Get Away

Preferably somewhere with a beach and serene water. You want to get away from obligations and responsibility. This is your time to restore yourself and I can’t think of a better way than with sand between my toes and the hum of the ocean in my ear.

4. Get Back to Health (& your other interests)

When I was overworking myself I let my love of fitness fall by the waist-side. I stopped working out and eating right. Once I took time, I made a commitment to get back in the gym and eat better. I vowed that I would never neglect these areas again. Whatever brought you joy and keeps you balanced, get back to it.

5. Learn to Say No

Burnout typically comes from over promising and over committing ourselves. Learn your limits. Burnout has a funny way of showing you your limits. Reevaluate your priorities and your goals and make sure what you’re doing is aligned with them. Say No, a lot!

6. Make a Vow to Yourself

Learn from your exhaustion. Take heed when you feel yourself floundering or being overwhelmed. Make a promise to take better care of yourself and treat yourself with care. Your light is too bright to burn out.

(Image Source)

Have you ever experienced burnout? How did you restore yourself back to greatness?

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One-Size Does Not Fit All: Can Women “Have it All”?

By July 17, 2012 Empowerment, Life, Life Advice, Opinion
Having it All

In our ambitious world, more and more young women are wondering, “can we have it all?” The question isn’t can we but what exactly does have it all mean to you.

When I was a young girl I imagined that my life would go something like this: I would be a Nobel Prize winning author, a professor at a prestigious college, have a fabulous husband and be a mother to twins, a boy and a girl, so that I could get two kids for the time and effort of one. Ah what a delightful picture that was.

Fast forward some odd 15 years, and while I’ve received no calls about my Nobel Prize, I do have a great and fascinating career, an amazing circle of friends who support and love me, a fabulous family and….. well the jury is still out on the fabulous husband and 2 kids.

In our driven society, it seems that the idea of women having it all is still a pretty pervasive one. A recent article in The Atlantic titled “Why Women Can’t Have it All” has once-again brought the idea to the forefront.

In the piece writer Anne-Marie Slaughter writes how she left her position as first woman director of policy planning at the State Department to go home to New Jersey to be closer to of her husband and teenage sons. Fine choice Mrs. Slaughter. She writes that “having it all” is a myth and that feminists have sold young women a fantasy.

My thoughts:

While “having it all” in its basic idea may be a fantasy, let’s back up a bit. What does “having it all” really mean? I guess by normal standards it means having a successful career, a great love life and a family. In our post-feminist world, it astounds me that we’re still relegating having it all to one thing in particular. What about women who don’t want kids? Or women who want to be stay at home moms? Sorry ladies, you’ve missed your chance at having it all.

We see these illusions of celebrities and otherwise rich women (cough cough Beyonce), having the wildly successful career, husband, baby and “getting back to bizness” and we feel bad for not being able to secure the same sorted fairy tale version of having it all.

I’m young, tirelessly working toward my dreams and watching them unfold before my very eyes. Should I feel bad because I don’t have a husband and an infant hanging from my tit yet? No. But the having it all mentality wants to make me feel that way.

To me, having it all means going after what you want, whether that be a high powered career with a cushy corner office or a play date with the other moms in your neighborhood or both. The idea of having it all should really be re-framed as “have whatever the hell you want.”

If I had a dollar for every women I knew who has juggled kids, marriage and career, I’d be rich. Has it been easy for them? Heck no! And for every woman who juggles, there are women for whom juggling is not ideal. The one size fits all idea of happiness is a lie and the sooner we take hold of what happiness looks like for each of us, the better off we’ll be.

What are your thoughts on “having it all”? What does having it all look like for you?

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10 Things To Stop Worrying About Today!

By July 17, 2012 Life, Life Advice
Diane Keaton by Annie Leibovitz

We’ve all been there. We make a mistake and spend hours, days and sometimes weeks worrying about our snafu. We spend precious time sweating over things we can’t control and for what?!

According to famed life guru Wayne Dyer, “It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there’s nothing you can do about them and why worry about things you control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized.”

In addition to keeping us stuck, constant worrying is linked to higher levels of stress, anxiety and serious health problems like heart attack.

Now while worrying about the big things in life like bills and money may not vanish at the drop of a blog post, there are a few minor things we can officially stop worrying about. Here are ten of those things.

1. Your Follower Count

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever social media site you’re obsessed with today. In the grand scheme of life, how many followers you have matters as much as whether Kim K and Beyonce become friends. It’s a non-mfing factor.

2. Other People’s Business

We are a society obsessed with each other. It’s part of the reason social media has become so popular. We love knowing what the next person is doing, wearing and buying. But honestly, these things rarely have any bearing on our own lives and worrying or dedicating your time to others is something you can stop today.

3. Who your Trashy Ex-Boyfriend is dating

He’s your ex-boyfriend for a reason. And if he mistreated you, should you really care who the next chick is?  If you must, get a good look at her and then move on. Chances are he hasn’t changed and you’ve got bigger and better things to worry about: namely yourself!

4. Whether your bra & panties match

On “special occasions” yes matching lingerie is preferable but on an everyday not so much. I know women who obsess over this and in a perfect world, my unmentionables would match every day, but sometimes it doesn’t really work out that way. Making sure they’re clean is about all I worry about.

5. That Typo in your last blog post/work email/etc…

We’ve all been there. We craft a great email, post, tweet and press send only to find out it has a glaring typo. Doh! Before you get your unmatched panties in a bunch, realize one thing: the message is already sent. Unless its something like your client’s name spelled wrong, move on. If it happens to be a big blunder; correct, apologize and move on.

6. What *Insert Reality TV Star* is wearing/dating/basically anything they’re doing

This goes hand in hand with #2 but a level deeper. Reality stars are the new influencers but waiting on their every move is ridiculous. Stop worrying about what the latest TV star is doing, wearing, sleeping with because tomorrow there will be another show to focus on. It’s a conveyor belt that we should get off.

7. The Oh So Distant Future

Caring about your future is important, obsessing over it is not. Make plans, put in work and let God do the rest. That’s pretty much all you can do.

8. The Far Away Past

Your past doesn’t have to be your present, unless you make it that way. Leave the past in the past.Take time to examine and learn from your mistakes. Take strides to avoid making the same mistakes and close the door, matter of fact slam that sucka shut, never to reopen!

9. The Moves Others are Making

It’s easy to get caught up in the successes of others. Avoid lamenting others wins and becoming green with envy. Instead turn inward and see how you can accomplish your own goals.

10. How You Look to Others

Caring about your appearance and how you present yourself is great. But don’t let that care dictate who you are and what you do. Worrying too much about what others think of you is detrimental to your autonomy and individuality.

How do you deal with worrying? What advice would you give to stop worrying?

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Motivated Mondays: Bringing Your Sexy Back

By July 9, 2012 Advice, Empowerment, Life, Life Advice
Feeling Sexy

Life is short, wear your party pants! – Loretta LaRoche

Let’s be honest ladies, we don’t always wake up feeling like the sexiest woman alive. Some days we have to work hard at feeling and believing that we are sexy and beautiful. Like everyone we are flawed but truth is, often we are our own worst critics and defeat ourselves mentally before we have the chance to reach our full potential as Sexy Goddesses!  We all hit a wall at times and need a sexy tune up, so here it is, 3 fun and simple tips you can try today!

1. Change Your Look

Hitting a fashion wall or feeling like your makeup lacks spice is a confidence killer. You may not have the money to buy all new clothing, but when you’re feeling like your femininity lacks luster, mix and match your garments or wear something a little sexier than your normal comfort zone usually allows. This could mean something as simple as wearing a bold lipstick instead of of your usual lip gloss.

2. Fall back in Love with Your Body

Vanity is not a bad thing! Take time in the morning to look at yourself naked in the mirror. Re-learn your body, accepting its flaws and loving the good parts. Give yourself a nice massage with your favorite scented lotion and if you have nowhere to go, skip the layers.  Studies show that women feel sexiest while naked no matter the body type as it promotes a sense of freedom and being natural.

3. Get Moving

Even if you believe you are in fairly good shape, exercise is a great way to boost your confidence and feel more appealing to the eye. Setting new goals each month not only improves your appreciation for your sexy body, but is healthy as well.  If you dread the gym, try something fun at home, like dancing in front of a mirror, to get your exercise in. “Moving your body to your favorite music not only burns tons of calories, but is also a great way to get in tune with your body and its rhythms to channel your inner sexiness “says Lifescript.com.

~Always remember that you are beautiful even if you don’t feel that way today.

How do bring your sexy back?

~ Tiffany, Motivated Thought

Tiffany is a  licensed therapist, writer and motivated chica! Check out Tiffany’s motivated thoughts here and be sure to visit her at Motivated Thought and follow on twitter @motivatedtht!

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