peace is a choice aiming for more

Peace is a Choice

I’m sure I’m not the only person that has asked God, “Please Lord give me some peace on this day.” I would expect God to rain down some peace particles from the heavens that would put my worries and fears at ease so that I would carry on about my day. I would relax in my prayer time of doing so but sure enough not even an hour later would I be wound up again on edge wondering where my peace went.

It wasn’t attend I attended a service at my home church, The Life Church, that Pastor John spoke about peace and there was a moment that he said something that really hit me. He said that peace is a choice. If you want to keep peace in your life, then choose to have it.

I had to stop for a moment and let that sink in. Wait…so I must own the fact of whether or not I’m in a state of peace? Can’t be. But when you think about it, it’s true. We choose to worry. We choose to be afraid of something. We allow ourselves to wallow in these emotions and wait on God to pull us out. But you have to put in an effort to pull yourself up. You want peace? Ask God to help you have a peaceful mindset and then make a decision to be peaceful. Don’t allow anything to rob you of your joy. Don’t allow anything to make you full of anxiety. Choose to be at a state of peace.

Easier said than done. I know, I know. But it can become easier the more you practice it and the stronger your faith is in God. You see, I trust that God is always in control. I may not understand why everything happens, but I know that God does. I have to rest in my faith to allow God to work things out that I can no longer control. And no I’m not saying that because some preacher said that. I have gone through things in life that has proved that having the faith to trust in God to take care of things that I don’t have control over will yield me the peace and energy I need to move on and continue to be productive in life.

Now reread that and noticed that I said with things that I have NO control over. Because for some situations there are many things that I can do to make my situation better. By putting in all the action that I can, I can rest in knowing that I’ve done what I could, and it’s now God’s turn to take the baton and make things happen in His right timing. I tell God what I need and I let it go from there. That can help me to hold on to the peace that God can give me to choose to walk in. I must do my part and allow God to do the rest with a peaceful mindset. (John 14:27; Philippians 4:6,7; Isaiah 26:3)

For example, I use to have to pray for peace everyday when I worked at one of my past jobs. I hated this job, and I would wait in my car until the last minute before I had to clock in just so that I wouldn’t have to spend not one extra minute in there. I prayed for peace in my job, but I allowed others to rob me of it every day. It wasn’t until I chose to be at a stable level of peace and joy that I started having better days at my job. When someone came at me wrong, I chose not to let them get to me. I remembered that this was simply a situation where this person wanted me to be upset and wanted to rile me up. I began to refuse to fall into their trap to give them the satisfaction of being powerful enough to bother me and break my good mood.

It’s funny that when I started doing this, I either saw one of two actions:

  1. Anger. They would get so frustrated that it would build and build until they started doing irrational stupid stuff just to try to upset me. It made them crazy that they couldn’t get to me like they use to, and other people started to notice it too. Pretty soon other people would call them out on it as usually I wasn’t the only person they were trying to provoke at work.
  2. Confusion. They would just stare with a stank look on their face wondering why they couldn’t change my mood. They would quietly go back to what they were doing while still looking at me funny. Eventually they gave up on bothering me because they found out that they couldn’t get to me anymore. Some even started to change their attitude completely and started being nice to me.

Remember that some people are just miserable. We all know that misery loves company. When you reject that invitation to be miserable with them, you are keeping the peace the God is giving you. You’re keeping the joy that God has placed in your heart. And as you practice that daily, it’ll become easier and easier to not let things in life put you in left field so quickly. Then there’s also situations and circumstances that may steal your peace and joy. Remember that nothing last forever. This too shall pass. One day you’ll look back and no longer feel any emotional turmoil from it and only as a memory of what you came out of.

So choose peace. Ask God to help you have it and keep it. Then make the decision with every hour that goes by that you will continue to be peaceful. Don’t allow your emotions overwhelm you to the point that you can’t make this decision. You can’t control everyone else, but you can control yourself. Exercise that self-control and live a more peaceful life.

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reset aiming for more the journey 6

Reset – The Journey 6

This past week was what I called Reset week. I actually took a week off from work to try to reset mentally, spiritually, and physically. Lots of me time and just trying to get myself refocused on what I value.

So what did I do during my reset week? Mainly just tried to check off things on my to do list that has been loitering there for a while. Although I didn’t get everything done, I had a lot of progress on my goal list.

Speaking of my goal list, I actually did some major revisions. Having the time I had, I was able to really think about what’s important to me RIGHT NOW to get done. What are the things that if I don’t do, I’ll feel stagnant? What are the things that are within my scope of accomplishing at this point of my life? When I really pondered this, I realized that my goal list was all out of focus, a bit upside down, some extremely random, and some that was in need of revisions of steps to accomplish it all.

I made revisions and placed it in a chart format. On the left column are all my goal descriptions. The next column describes the start date and the one after that is the end date. These just gives me an idea of when I will begin working towards that goal and when I hope I will complete it. After that, I have columns labeled Early Nov, Late Nov, Early Dec, Late Dec and so on and so forth. In these columns I write down the step that I plan to accomplish towards that goal in the early part of November (the first 2 weeks of Nov) and the late part of November (the last 2 weeks of Nov). This way I give myself time in case something comes up to still complete the step. As I complete tasks, I strike through them.

Altogether I have 12 goals. Out of those 12 goals are 5 major ones: 1) Mentor 4 high school students in 2017 with my TAP curriculum. 2) Complete 9 full interviews for TiWiK to be used in TAP. 3) Master use of equipment for TiWiK interviews. 4) Master use of Adobe Premiere and After Effects to create the TiWiK videos. 5) Have 100 articles written and a thriving interactive circle of readers by Dec 2017 for Aiming for More blog.

TiWiK is a special project that unfortunately I can’t give full details about yet but it’s coming and I’m extremely excited about it. There’s a lot of prep work that I’m doing for it, but I’ve begun to push it up on my goal list along with mentoring and this blog.

So there’s my goal revisions at least the top ones. I’ve been paying attention to what doors open for me while which ones seemed to be jammed especially for the mentorship and TiWiK project. I don’t believe in coincidences so I’m trying to stay prayerful of whether God is leading me into a different direction or not. With some of my goals, it seems like I was yanking at the door to open and it just refused to do so. For me the worst thing to do is to waste energy trying to pry a door open that God wants to stay shut because he’s trying to protect me from what’s on the other side. That’s why I have to step it up in my daily prayer time to make sure I’m not making mistakes. I feel like I’m on the right track but even if I’m not by the slightest bit, I have faith that God will help redirect me.

I strongly feel like God wants each and every one of us to thrive in His purpose for us. That outside our personal career goals, we should all have service goals of what we want to do to help others leaving our mark on the world to make it better than what we left it. I want to encourage all of you to dig deep and figure out what those service goals are. We were not created to just work, pay bills, have kids, and die. So what can you do to make this world a better place as a way to honor God and truly make your life matter for others?

death of a pet

Good-bye Cookie – The Journey 5

This past week as been incredibly hard for me and as a result I completely got derailed from my goals. It’s because this past week I had to put my 12 year old loving little beagle, Cookie, to sleep.

Long story short, Cookie was paralyzed 2 years ago due to her falling off the back steps of my house landing on her back. I paid for 3 acupuncture sessions since it was a cheaper route than an expensive surgery/rehab process. It was HARD trying to help Cookie back on her feet. I had to squeeze her bladder to help her pee in the beginning 3 times a day. I also was constantly cleaning my house when they switched her meds that made it impossible for her to hold it. My house smelled horrible all the time. But I stuck through it and eventually Cookie could walk again. Problem is that parts of her bottom and tail was still paralyzed as they told me that the sessions just wouldn’t be able to fix that. She couldn’t always hold her bladder or bowel movements so she would always have accidents without even being aware of it. There was many times I would let her outside in the back yard, bring her back in and she would start to poop as she walked in. It was frustrating but I loved my dog so I just dealt with it.

But after a bad flea infestation at my house, her tail became half bald and she actually punctured it pretty bad to where I had to take her to the vet to bandage it up. I had been giving her meds from the vet already to help her tail heal but nothing was working. That’s when the vet told me that she suspected that she may have to amputate her tail because her tail wouldn’t respond to the meds. We gave it one last try with meds and bandaging her tail but last Thursday the vet gave me the sad news that she was showing early signs of gangrene (a very painful condition where tissue dies from lost of blood) and her tail was black. She would need amputation before the infection got worse to spread deep into her body. But the vet told me that with her not being able to control her bladder/bowel movements, the presence of cataracts slowly taking over her eyes, and some internal bleeding that neither one of us was sure of where it was coming from, and the fact that she was getting pretty old, she recommended that I put Cookie down.

That was probably the most difficult decision for me to make…to let go. I knew that Cookie wasn’t going to last forever. I knew that it was getting harder to take care of her. And I knew that my credit cards couldn’t take anymore as my student loans from undergrad and grad school are coming for me next month.

So I said good-bye to my baby Cookie. I held her in her last breath. I felt her body go limp as the injection flowed through her body. And I heaved and cried with all my lungs and tears that my body could form. I was a mess that day but I knew I had to make the right decision for her. My grandma told me that dogs can hide pain pretty well and that I was doing a good thing for Cookie. That Cookie may had been ready to go and I didn’t even realize it. I received a lot of comfort and prayers from family, co-workers, and friends which is where I owe the strength that I have now. It’s still weird for my home to be so quiet. To no longer have caring for Cookie be a part of my morning routine. And to not have her as my personal vacuum whenever I cook. To not have her to alert me when a squirrel was outside in the yard. To not stare at me with those big eyes and floppy ears whenever I ate something. It’s an adjustment.

Anyway, that’s why I have completely been off my goals this past week. I’m trying not to be impatient with myself with letting go of Cookie, but I know that this too shall pass. Today has been a good day so far. Not as many valleys. And when I do feel them, I allow myself to fully feel it instead of stifling it. I think that’s what keeps people from moving on because they stifle it or repress it. Doing that only makes it worse in the long run. I’m giving myself permission to mourn as that’s the only way to move forward.

I plan to be focused again this week meaning I’ll have a better update next week. I’ll also share the new goals I have that are better fleshed out as my priority level is shifting a bit. Thank you guys for reading, and my advice is that if you’re going through anything, don’t hunt for a shortcut to get through it. Feel it. Embrace it. Accept the emotions that you’re feeling. The best way to get over something is through it. So I’m going to apply that and my other getting past it advice as well as continuing to speak positive things over myself. I’m going to be ok, and I’m going to get back focused. Rest in peace, Cookie.

 

5 tips to getting a job after graduations because a degree isn't enough

5 Tips to Getting a Job after Graduation (because a degree isn’t enough)

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I’ve seen memes like this floating around the internet. I read comments of people saying how much their degree didn’t do them much good, and all they ended up with was debt and fancy paper to put on the wall.

I know how frustrating it must be to put in so much work to get a degree, only to not have much to show for it at the end. Yea you graduated, but now what? Suddenly you don’t have enough experience to qualify for any of the jobs in your field. But how are you suppose to do that if no one will hire you to help you get experience? It’s the weirdest unbreakable cycle that you feel lost in.

But really the problem where a LOT of people go wrong is that they think that all they have to do when they’re in school is just go to school, and go home or work. Once they get a degree, everything is suppose to just fall into their lap.

No.

That’s not how this work.

At least not anymore.

Maybe it USE to be that way but it most certainly isn’t like that now.

So if you’re still in college and you’re starting to panic of if you will actually get a job after graduation, I URGE you to do a few of the things I list here to put yourself in a better position for life after college.

  1. Get a leadership position in a student organization and excel in it.

Ok hear me out. Companies love to hear that you have leadership experience PLUS a lot of those experiences you have as a president of this club or a committee chair in that club can be used in behavior based interviewing questions that will be used. If you led community service for your club and was able to raise $5,000 for a nonprofit, that shows you can bring results to reach revenue goals. If you were a tour guide that helped during freshman orientation where you interacted with various students of all different backgrounds and walks of life to help them feel comfortable, that shows that you’re open to diversity and inclusion of others. If you was president where you lead a team of 12 to get various events and projects done in a group, that shows great leadership, delegation, and communication skills. See where I’m going with this? So get involved in a variety of things and go hard at it so that you’ll have experience to draw from when they interview you.

2. Get an internship.

You need experience. Internships gives you experience while you’re still in college. In fact academic internships will not only give you experience, but it’ll also get you college credit. That’s a win win! Find organizations that will allow you to get experience in your field via an internship. If they don’t have a posting for one at the time, call their HR department anyway and inquire if they have any coming up. It never hurts to ask. That experience can give you the nudge you need on your resume, and you can rub elbows with people that can help you get your foot in the door with a job right after college. I saw this happen a lot with people I knew in college that had something waiting for them just because they did an internship. And even if they can’t offer you a job at the moment, keep your connections alive with them. They can be great references, or they can be sure to remember you later to bring you on when something does become available.

This happened with me as I had an internship while I was in grad school for two semesters that gave me credit hours. I learned a lot, and my team loved me so much that they created an entry level position just to get me on the team. Talk about feeling wanted! I’m so grateful that I did that internship. Best decision I ever made.

3. Network!!!

Ok I hate networking but I swear the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know and who knows you” is SOOO TRUE. I got my first full time job because I knew someone who working in HR of the company I worked at. I never had to struggle with giving references because I formed good relationships with university staff that could vouch for my ambition and work ethic. I had professors that loved me enough to write fantastic letters of recommendation for me. Rub elbows not just with people you meet in organizations but at your school. See if the company of your dreams have events that students can attend to network or gain experience. Network with your professors. Network with advisers. Network with your own college peers! Think about it. You’re surrounded by other people who are determined to make something of themselves in a variety of different fields. Who knows when you may need them in the future? Get involved in organizations to get to know these future leaders. Network with as many people as you possibly can because the very connection you need make come from the most random person.

4. Join associations that are related to your field.

I design e-learning for a profession and do a lot of stuff with technology and learning. So I’m a member of the Association of Talent Development. Practically every field out there has an association related to it where professionals can network with each other and learn more to further their career. Find out what associations are out there, join it, and get involved. A lot of them have discounted dues for students or would have you start a club on campus to represent them (see tip #1!). If you can’t find one specialized to your field, find a general one for young professionals like yourself. There’s always something out there you can be a part of.

5. Volunteer at a nonprofit.

I know, I know. You want PAID work. Or at least academic credit like a internship. Well trust me with this one. This particular tip blends 2 of the above tips. 1) Job experience. Find a nonprofit that needs your skills to help them. By helping them, you’re gaining job experience that you can put on your resume. 2) Networking. Hello? These are community leaders that you’re working with by volunteering your time. They can be great references when you need it. They may know people that can help you get a job. Rub those elbows! Get to know them. Be dedicated in your service. You can impress them to where they would love to help you in any way they can. Now of course, work with a nonprofit that you are passionate about their work so that you don’t come across fake but still just keep in mind that there are many great benefits that you can reap from your volunteer experience as well.

So those are my tips of what to do while you’re in college to align up something great for yourself after school. Trust me, you can’t just go to school and go home. You need to actively work outside of class time to get the job of your dreams. I did it and was able to get the job of my dreams at 25 that I can see myself retiring from. Not many people can say that, and I feel very blessed to have it. (high fives Jesus!) I urge you to try these tips. It may be hard to balance at times, but it’ll be so worth it so that you won’t feel like your degree was a complete waste of time.

Did I miss any tips or did any of these tips work out in your favor? If so, comment below!

15 Truths of What to Expect When Going Natural 2

The 15 Truths of What to Expect When Going Natural – Part 2

You’ve already read part one right? Good. Let’s jump right in to Truths 8-15.

 

Truth #8: Practice new styles despite your experience level.

Flat twists? Braids? Marley twists? Cornrows? The thought of us doing it yourself can make you shudder. And yea it can be nervewrecking at first attempt but what I want to encourage you to do is to just try it. Do it on a day where you have a bit of time to just practice and if it eventually doesn’t go as you thought then do your go-to style. But don’t let it intimidate you out of trying. You may surprise yourself after pushing yourself to practice enough. I never would have thought that I could do a bomb flat twist as my early ones were a complete flop but I’m getting better and better at it. So can you if you just try!

 

Truth #9: Retention is just as important as hair growth.

We can become so obsessed with massaging our scalp, moisturizing our scalp, and taking supplements that we forget how important it is to make sure we are retaining our length. Take care of the ends of your hair. Keep them moisturized too. Try to tuck them away as much as possible. Cover your hair at night or use silk pillowcases. What’s the point of growing your hair as much as you can if you don’t do much to retain it? That’s why many women feel like their hair doesn’t grow. It does! They just aren’t doing enough to retain their length. Your ends are just as important as the roots of your hair.

 

Truth #10: There will be people who criticize you.

Lawd. I can guarantee you that there will be that one person that will side eye you about going natural. There will be negative comments asking why you’re doing it and about how much prettier your hair was when it was in ____ style.  At the end of the day, block out the negativity. This is YOUR hair. YOU’RE the one taking care of it. And unless these people are about to pay to have a beautician to do your hair every day, then you shouldn’t have a care in the world about their opinion. I’ve had people including family members that brutally criticized my hair only to come back later asking me how I do my twist out so well because they’re going to try it themselves. It happens all the time. So let the negative comments roll of your back. For many of us, we’re just now learning how to do our hair while there are women of other textures that have been knowing how to do their hair since they were kids. Cut yourself some slack.

 

TRUTH #11: THERE WILL BE PEOPLE WHO WILL WANT TO TOUCH YOUR HAIR.

Cue Solange. Don’t touch my hair. You do NOT have to allow people to touch your hair. It’s your hair and no human needs to be petted. You can be polite about it (I’m sorry, I just don’t feel comfortable with people touching my hair.) or you can be unapologetically real about it (Um no I don’t know where your hands been. Do I look like I’m a part of a petting zoo to you? *look up, look down, side eye, and walk away*). I will leave your decision of your response to your discretion. There is a difference between a polite curiosity yearning to be educated and downright rude. You’ll know the difference, Queen.

 

TRUTH #12: YOU MAY GO THROUGH A SUPER NATURAL PHASE.

It’s normal, trust me. Suddenly it’s like you become obsessed. You’re buying a bunch of different products without even allowing enough time to see if it’s working for your hair. You’re watching youtube videos into the wee hours of the morning. You’ll be putting every kind of pantry item in your hair from yogurt to honey to vinegar to bananas and looking for new ones. Saturday literally becomes wash DAY as in the whole day is practically dedicated to you trying new stuff on your hair and 15 step regimens. You take way more selfies than you use to just to show off your hair. You may even catch yourself preaching to other women about how they should go natural. It happens…and that too shall pass because…

 

TRUTH #13: YOU’LL CALM DOWN AND REALIZE IT’S JUST HAIR.

Something will go off in your mind to realize that you’re stressing out over hair. HAIR. That’s all it is. It will grow no matter you do (see truth #9). That doesn’t mean you should be neglectful but that also doesn’t mean that you should put your life on hold for your hair. Make your hair regimen fit YOUR schedule. Who cares if that girl likes her relaxer better than wearing it natural or cuts her natural hair off just for fun? Let that girl be great. You don’t want anybody putting you down for being natural so why make her feel bad about not having a relaxer or getting a hair cut? You will eventually chill all the way out and just learn your hair to just do what’s needed to keep it healthy without having an anxiety attack over it. There’s much more to life than having long hair. (But the selfie thing mentioned in Truth #12 may not go away…just saying.)

 

TRUTH #14: BE PATIENT BECAUSE IT’S WORTH IT.

This is the only time that I will say that going natural isn’t for everybody. If you don’t have the patience to change your regimen so that you can have healthy natural hair then it may not be for you. And that’s okay. Nothing wrong with that. It’s your hair. Decide how you’d like to wear it. But if you decide to go for it, know that it’ll be worth it. You’ll look back at all your lessons learned and be proud of how much more knowledgeable you are about caring for your hair yourself instead of relying on somebody else to do it. You’ll be happy that you can pass down the knowledge and experience to your own daughter so that they’ll know from the jump what they need to do with their hair. It is worth it! It’s frustrating as hell sometimes but it truly is worth it.

 

TRUTH #15: EMBRACE THE HAIR YOU HAVE.

Like I’ve said before, there’s only one you. Your hair is unique. Embrace it. Love it. Show it off. Do not hunt for a perfect product that will make your hair look like someone else’s. You’re wasting your time because there’s no such thing as a non-permanent healthy chemical product that can change your hair texture to a different natural hair texture. Instead embrace what you have. I use to ambitiously hunt for a product or way to have Traci Ellis Ross hair. I had to stop and realize that my hair is will never look like hers because our hair genes are just different. With all the time I wasted hunting for a magical product, I kick myself for being so naïve. Lesson learned and now I rock my 4b/4c hair like no tomorrow!

 

So those are the 15 truths I’ve learned about going natural. Did you learn any of these truths yourself the hard way as well? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments section and share with your curlfriends =)

15 Truths of What to Expect When Going Natural 1

The 15 Truths of What to Expect When Going Natural – Part 1

Right now I have my hair in mini twists and by doing so it has taken me back to when I first went natural. I was struggling to find styles that I could work with and felt confident with doing. It wasn’t until a friend of mine that was also natural suggested that I wear mini-twists and she was the first person to do them on my hair. And omg I fell in love with them. Thus my pixie twists style was born.

Natural hair in mini twistsNatural hair in mini twists

Now I’m back to one of my first natural hair loves and it’s made me reflect on some truths that I learned the hard way when I went natural. So if you’re considering going natural, let me share the real with you so that you know what you’re getting into it because it ain’t all rainbows, fairytales and unicorns, honey…

And for the record, I have split this posts into 2 parts. Not because I’m trying to get post views but just because I don’t want you to look at how much I wrote and think “this girl talk too much, never mind”. Lol maybe if you like Part 1, you’ll stay tune for part 2. I just don’t want to overwhelm you!

 

Truth #1: It’s going to be challenging.

TRUST ME you will NOT have a perfect twist out style the first time after watching those youtube videos to whatever time in the morning you was up. You’re about to start a journey of trial and errors with PLENTY of failed attempts and bad hair days to come. Accept it. Embrace it. Decide what your simple go to style will be when it does fail (for me it was a simple pulled back puff).

Truth #2: You’re going to want to revert back so have a go to protective style.

I have yet to personally meet ONE natural that said she never ever glanced back for a second after having a failed attempt at a hair style. There will be days that you will think about having your relaxer back. There will be days you’ll want to straighten your hair with no cares of if it gets heat damage. There will be days, my love! And it’s only temporary frustration. So when those days come, have a protective style that you like and can get done so that you and your hair can take a break. Sometimes you just need to breathe and not be worried about hair before you make a permanent decision altering your hair. That’s normal.

 

Truth #3: Having a hair twin is a myth.

There is no such thing of having an exact hair twin that has the exact same hair as you. Even if you have the same texture, that doesn’t mean you have the same hair porosity, the same hair density, or the same hair strand thickness. All of those things matter with your hair care regimen and how your hair styles will turn out. Now of course you can hunt for someone who has very similar qualities. Maybe 2 of the 4, or maybe if you’re lucky 3 of the 4. Bottom line, don’t have your hopes too ridiculously high when you find a natural hair blogger online. Yes, they can provide great tips and tricks, but don’t forget the differences that your hair may have with them so that you don’t have unrealistic expectations.

 

Truth #4: Expensive doesn’t mean better.

You may feel the urge to find the PERFECT product for your hair. And in that mad dash of shopping where you evolve to a product junkie, you’ll wonder if that $35 conditioner is worth it. Yes we’re taught that you get what you pay for but trust me, your hair really isn’t THAT picky to only like high priced products. What I’m saying is that don’t think your hair will only do great with the $40 gel and not the $5 ECO styler gel. My advice is to start low just to get your regimen set. From there, you’re welcome to explore and splurge, but don’t trick yourself into think expensive means a better product. I’ve had plenty of expensive products in my hair that my hair snuffed it’s nose up at.

 

Truth #5: Not everyone is an expert.

WordPress. Weebly. Blogger. Youtube. It takes all of maybe 5 minutes to start a website. You can write whatever you like and post it on the internet for the world to see. But that doesn’t mean that you’re an expert on what you speak on and the same goes for anybody else that you look up. Now there are a lot of very knowledgeable and experienced natural hair bloggers and vloggers on the internet that are great resources. But my urge to you is to not read one post and think that it’s the gospel truth. Do some good research with multiple blogs and sources. Read books and articles. Talk to knowledgeable beauticians. Like seriously, do real research. Everyone has an opinion but that doesn’t mean that it is the best thing to follow for your hair. Refer back to truth #3 that your hair is unique so not everything will work for you no matter how long your hair idol’s hair is.

 

Truth #6: It will be harder to find a beautician.

Bruh.

It can be hard to find a GOOD beautician that genuinely cares about your hair and not just a stylist that wants your hair to be perfect. Stylists try to make your hair look good even if that means sacrificing your edges or your ends. Good beauticians care about the health of your hair to protect it while it’s in the style. Health should be your number one priority (that’s a big reason of why many people go natural in the first place) so be picky about who you allow to do your hair. Get recommendations. Read reviews. Look at photos of past clients. Go to someone with GOOD customer service (which is such a rarity these days but I digress). And most of all find someone that is knowledgeable about natural hair. You’re putting too much work in your hair to just let anybody touch it so select the right beautician for you.

 

Truth #7: Get ready to get out of your comfort zone.

Some of us have had straight hair since day one so it seemed. So to do such a switch to wear your hair naturally can be an overwhelming change. It’s a change that will take time to adjust to. Some people zoom through it as they love a variety of styles anyway so it’s no different to them. While for others, it means they will have to learn to love themselves more of who they naturally look like. We are all across the spectrum of how we handle the shift to wearing our hair naturally so it may be a step of out of your comfort zone. Remember that this is you and there’s only one you. You may be uncomfortable, but that’s okay. Your natural look will start to feel natural more and more like you after awhile.

So that’s truths 1-7. Stay tune tomorrow for Part 2 of this post. Did you experience any of these truths for yourself? Tell me about it in the comments section! And don’t be afraid to share this post to spread the truths to others!

Fears, Distractions, and Excuses aiming for more

Fears, Distractions, and Excuses – The Journey 4

The three biggest enemies to your goals is a paralyzing fear, distractions, and excuses. Fear, distractions, and excuses will guarantee that your goals will never reach fruition and all too often we ALL have been caught up in them.

What’s the difference? Well first, there’s fears. These are situations that your mind has made up being the creative organ that it is of things that it suggests could happen. You play these little scenarios out in your head in rather creative ways that ends up discouraging you from pursuing your goals. The key thing to remember is that these are made up scenarios, not real life that has occurred. And allowing fears to get in your way can in itself become the biggest mistake of your life. No one likes to regret not doing something solely because of what they made up in their mind to talk themselves out of it.

Then there’s distractions. Distractions are meaningless activities that just hogs up time and energy. There are distractions like scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Distractions like spending too much time on youtube or watching tv. Meaningless distractions are things that you do that you will barely even remember a month from now. I don’t remember what was on my Facebook timeline one month ago, so was it worth it to spend so much time on it?

Then there’s excuses. These are like distractions but they’re usually significant not meaningless. Like maybe the reason you didn’t go to college was because you had a child young and you’re not feeling confident that you can balance the both. Or maybe the reason you didn’t take the other job that you would enjoy doing is rather than the one you tolerate is because you’d take a pay cut and although you can still pay your bills, you will have to pinch pennies for awhile. Or maybe the reason why you’re not working on that hobby you have is because you spend more time going out after work and the weekends to blow of steam. Or maybe your goal will require you to get up earlier in the morning and you’re not a morning person as it is. All of these excuses make sense. But how can you ever reach your goals if all you do is snuggle up to your excuses? You won’t reach your goals by just thinking about them. It takes action. The question is are you willing to sacrifice the energy and time to put in the effort to create a life that’s balanced with your responsibilities AND actions towards your goals?

At this point of my life, I feel like I have more distractions than anything. No real paralyzing fears anymore, and I’ll talk about that a later time. My excuse of school is gone since I graduated in May. So my challenge these last two weeks is eliminating my little distractions in my life. For me that has been social media and TV. I would come home after work and first thing I would do is turn on the TV and scroll through Facebook. Another distraction would also be…sigh…Cooking Dash. Yes, shamefully I will admit that I’m addicted to that little app. I have to collect my gold, upgrade the pumpkin and the oven so that I can collect more coins to reach 5 stars on the 13th level in Season 3. So yes, between social media, TV, and phone games, time flies by and before I know it, it’s time for me to go to bed and I haven’t done much to further my goals.

First step is to acknowledge the problem so I’ve done that. Check. Next step is deciding what I need to do about those distractions. What I’ve done is deactivated my social media accounts and I’ve limited my TV watching down from being on at my house for 5 hours (the moment I get home until bed) to 1-2 hours mainly on when I’m cooking and eating dinner. I want to have a balance of doing some things towards my goals every week AND getting some rest from work. I’ve also limited playing the games for only when my TV is on.

So far so good. I’m doing pretty well with avoiding these distractions. I’ve slipped up a little bit, but I’m committed to staying on track. I feel that with social media I could limit it to the 2 hours as well but for now I’d rather to leave it deactivated. Maybe later I will pull everything back up to do during that 2 hour time again but it won’t be now. I want to make some significant progress because I go back.

Anyway, I say all of that to say that you have to do what you need to do to dedicate time to your goals. If you need to actively eliminate some things that are distractions then do it. If you need to stretch yourself to work around the excuses then do it. If you have fears, remember that you shouldn’t let that imagination of yours dominate your life. You are in control of your own time not the other way around. You must motivate yourself to make the time you need to make your goals happen. Keep reminding yourself of the end result and how great you’ll feel once you get there. Breaking down my goals to weekly tasks as I suggested in my last post, helped me tremendously. Not only did it help me to not feel overwhelmed, but I feel more at peace with welcoming a balance to doing other things that relaxes me or that I have fun doing. Sometimes you need a break and that’s normal. What’s bad is when that break goes on for too long and you don’t do anything productive.

Challenge yourself. Do what you need to do. Because in the end, you won’t remember that friend’s status that you liked 4 days ago. You won’t remember the joke your friend made at happy hour last Friday. You won’t remember that snapchat video you watched 2 weeks ago. And you won’t care about what secret was revealed on that reality show you watched last month. But you will feel restless today wondering where the time has went and why you don’t feel accomplished as you hoped to be.

practical goal setting aiming for more

Practical Goal Setting: The Journey 3

At my job, we have an online project list. At the end of each week, you log in information about what you’ve done towards your projects. Everyone can see this list. Like EVERYONE, from the head honcho VP down to your co-worker. Although it was created as a way for us to all have open communication about what we have going on, it also puts in this extra kick to ensure that you’re making meaningful progress towards your projects. The worst thing is for all your projects to say No update. You might as well just say you’ve been chillin’ all week.

I’m keeping this in mind as I continue my “The Journey” posts. This is a way to help me hold myself accountable with how I’m progressing in my goals. Because the thing is that when you have goals, you can’t put the responsibility solely on others, you have to take accountability for yourself as well.

So for me this is twofold:

  • One, if I’m not making progress then I won’t have anything to post about.
  • Two, as my readers aka my accountability partners, you have the right to call me out on it so that I will shamefully but quickly get back on task!

But of course all of this starts out with the goal itself. So let me back up a bit to describe my process of creating and achieving a goal. It’ll kind of remind you of SMART goals, but it’s my own informal take of it. Read through it and give me feedback in the comments section if you think I may need to tweak something. I’m always open to feedback!

  1. Create Big But ATTAINABLE Goals.

Simple right? Actually, not so much. There are times where people will create only goals they feel that are small and easy solely because they don’t feel confident that they can achieve challenging goals. But you’ll be robbing yourself of an opportunity to achieve great things if you only stick to little goals. You need to push yourself. Stretch yourself. Do something that is going to make you work harder than you have before. Something that you can’t easily slide by doing. Now of course, be smart about it of making it an attainable goal. Like I can’t make it a goal to own 20 businesses within a year. But maybe I can have a goal of to have started one business of my own by Dec. 2017. That’s more realistic.

  1. Break it down.

Ok you have this great goal. You’re nervous about it, but you’re excited at the same time. Perfect! Now you need to break it all the way down. Like down to digestible weekly pieces. It may seem like it’s hard to do, but it really isn’t. Start with the end in mind. By when do you want to achieve this goal? Okay now break the goal down by month. Good. Now break it down by week. Perfect. So now you know what you need to accomplish each week to reach your end goal.

This will take some time to do. However, the good thing about this is that it makes it more realistic to you of how you can achieve your goal. The goal you have doesn’t look so much as a mountain anymore. Instead, you have a hill or two to climb each week and before you know it, you’ve hit the summit! People give up on their goals because it seems overwhelming to them, and they fill their mind with negative thoughts that they can’t do it. By breaking down your goal, you’re setting yourself up to eliminate that kind of thinking.

  1. Have a visual timeline.

This step is pretty similar to break it down. The only difference is that you’re placing it on a calendar. If you’ve already broken down your goal into weeks, this step should be rather easy. If you skipped step 2 thinking it didn’t matter, then HA now you have to do it! (You thought you were slick huh?)

So look at your digestible pieces and place them on your calendar. This calendar can be the one on your phone or on a paper calendar hanging on your wall. The good thing about your phone is that you can set up reminders to prompt you to work towards your goal every day. The good thing about a paper calendar is that you can see your goal every day when you get up to keep it fresh on your mind. If you can’t decide, do both! It’s up to you. Whichever works. But make sure that you’re setting time aside each day to complete what you need to get done towards your goal.

  1. Do it.

Ha seems like this is an unnecessary “step” isn’t it? Well trust me as a person that have made PLENTY of timelines and plans, it’s not all that easy. The do it part is the hard part for me. There has been countless times that I’ve made this elaborate plan and felt all good about it to only fall off on it within a few days. What’s the point of planning if you don’t push yourself to do it? This is where you have to exercise your discipline muscle to just do it. This is the part where I fail at the most but I’m determined to stay focused this time around.

 

So now that you know my process, here’s the actual plan. I’m starting off with trying to make some new habits along with a few projects. I have many more goals but these are most important to me to achieve for now. All of these I’ve tried and failed many times, but I’m ready now to buckle down and tackle them!

Create big but attainable goals.

  • Read at least one book once a month.
  • Be consistent with praying and reading my bible.
  • Finish creating my Take Aim mentorship guides so that I can begin mentoring high school students.
  • Have a regularly updated and successful blog.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

    Break it down.

    (To give a few good examples, I’ll just take one goal and one project from above to break it all the way down.)

Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

One of my favorite water bottles is a glass one with plastic around it. Fill it up in the morning and follow this schedule as I refill. To remind me and help me keep track, I’ll use the app Done to log when I drink my water.water bottle aiming for more

  1. On the way to work
  2. Morning to lunch time.
  3. Afternoon to driving home from work.
  4. Evening to bed time.

By then I would have drunk 72 oz of water which is over my 64 oz goal.

 

Finish creating my Take Aim mentorship guides so that I can begin mentoring high school students.

End goal is to finish creating the mentorship guides by end of 2016 so that I can mentor 4 students in 2017.done aiming for more

Split up each section (Content, Design, Clean Up) to finish one topic every 3 days with a catch up day on Saturday. Connect with a friend of mine to discuss evaluation methods in January to fine tune it that month. In February, post on Facebook to ask if anybody would like free virtual mentorship for their high school student to find my 4 students. Set up timeline to go through program with each student and have it completed by the end of 2017.

So for this week, I will work on lessons 2.3 and 2.4. Each day I will focus on the content, design or clean up of these two lessons. If something comes up where I run out of time this week, I’ll catch up to finish it on Saturday so that I can stay on task for next week.

Create a visual timeline.

I use Outlook for my calendar, and it gives me a notification of when it’s time to do each task.

Do it.

Welp let’s see what happens. Hoping for the best!

 

So what are your goals and how are you planning to achieve them?

Do you have any feedback for my plan of attack of my goals?

Leave a comment!

Restless and Lazy Ambition by aimingformore.com

Restless and Lazy Ambition: The Journey 2

That’s really the best way that I can describe it.

I want to accomplish some things on my list. So many goals and dreams that sometimes I wonder if I’m crazy thinking I can do it all.

But then for various reasons, I run into excuse after excuse (or how I’d like to call it a “reason” instead of “excuse” because the word “excuse” sounds like I don’t care but I do) of why I can’t make real progress in them.

After graduating with my master’s degree this past May, I was so determined to finally carry on with my life of all the goals I set before myself. I felt ambitious. I felt determined. I felt anxious to get started.

I feel into a rut.

Weird.

How could I feel so amped and ready to go but then fallen into this ditch of a rut?

Now granted I did have some shifts happening in my personal life that may have had some influence on it. Going from engaged to single can be a quite a transition. So maybe I should cut myself some slack.

Nah can’t do that.

Because I expect more out of myself. These are dreams and goals that I’ve had for YEARS. Nothing should get in the way of that. I should be amped and ready to go. My relationship status doesn’t define who I am. I define who I am.

But these reasons *ahem* excuses kept rearing up their ugly head and I just kind of paused. I began to roll with the punches. And before I knew it I looked up and found that I was just floating. Passively living.

I don’t like that. Life is too short. There are people MY age that are dying every day (RIP Ray). I can’t get to heaven tonight and know that I haven’t done nothing down on earth that has positively left an impact on my community and others (at least to the extent that I want it to).

I think we all get to a stage like this. I refuse to believe I’m alone. That there are other people my age that go through this. Where we get through a huge defining moment of life and then our momentum just stopped. We find ourselves in a rut. We start passively living day to day without much real direction.

We settle.

And one thing I don’t like doing…is settling.

“Aim for more, because settling isn’t an option”. That’s the tagline I gave this blog a long time ago.

So perhaps that’s where my restlessness is coming from. I’m settling into the day to day life without much direction. Just standing still only to bend a bit when life throws something my way. But you thrive best with a plan, with a vision, with goals that are structured to challenge your next steps. It’s best when you’re moving and not just standing still waiting for things to happen.

I’ve made cute attempts at creating a stable plan in moving forward, but they would only last a few days or maybe a week if I’m lucky. It was all because I wasn’t dedicated to it.

But with today, I must do better. I must be better. I must expect better. Settling for anything less than an extraordinary life is not worth it. I want to be everything that God intended me to be and use all the talent and skills He gave me to the best of my ability. Life doesn’t just fall into place. You have to take over the controls and be in control with God directing your path.

I don’t know what you would call this moment. But this is a moment for me to make a shift.

It’s time to shift.

I want to encourage anyone that is feeling restless knowing good and well that they should be out here thriving. Push through!

You may not have much energy and you may feel apathetic due to many different reasons but God never intended for you to just live a life where you just chill. I believe that God has called us all to live an extraordinary life full of purpose and meaning that is not defined by our earthly careers and paychecks.  You were not created to just live, work, pay bills, procreate, and die. There’s so much more to life than that.

So let’s make this journey great and move forward. I’m going to begin putting my full effort and I’m always up for having some accountability partners. If you’re interested,  leave a comment so that others can see your commitment and email me (rchlanderson[at]outlook.com) to be a part of a group that I’m creating (more details later). A part of my accountability is just simply blogging about it. I’m not too worried about page views and likes blah blah but more so to push myself and push others to do the same with their lives.

Let’s make the most out of life.

Let’s be our best selves.

Let’s aim for more.

Rape Culture…Yes, It Does Exist

This post is inspired from a conversation that I had on Facebook. Now normally I try to avoid the comments section of chiming in because people just like to troll and argue because they’re bored. I don’t feel like there’s a point in my comment if it’s not going to change anything anyway.

But this time, I bit the bullet. The conversation was about rape culture and whether or not it existed. One man responded to me directly saying…

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