The Journey and The Destination

I’ve been gone for a while on maternity leave from both the site and my job. I still found time to handle some business here and there, but I have really dialed-in on being somebody’s mother that has less than 4 legs. Time alone while Mr. is back at work and my once long and luxurious showers now need to be scheduled gave me time to reflect on my life.

I do my best to live without a bunch of regrets, and I’m generally careful about how I spend my time and the company that I keep. There are still some underlying boxes that I leave unopened in order to hold on to some sense of order and control. One of those boxes is buried in New Orleans and a discussion about the latest gaming craze, Fortnite, unearthed it.

This particular point of disappointment was odd because the good fortune that I was about to walk into wasn’t even on my list of wants. I had been selected for a government job by the man I had worked for over 3 years. He came down with Pancreatic Cancer (diagnosed is the better word, but I made a choice). He worked while he was sick and made time in his last days to get my final paperwork in, extended my security clearance, and passed away. Fortnite brought the memory up because we used to play Unreal Tournament at the end of the work day as a brain exercise and to blow off steam. Essentially, the guy was the best boss ever. Missing him was enough, but showing up to my orientation day after not re-enlisting only to find out that my position was eliminated due to “Cost of War” hours and miles away from anywhere that I considered home topped off the hurt.

Disappointment was at the end of that leg of the journey. Not so much about the job, but the fact that I allowed myself to believe that there was a happy ending. I had placed the fate of my future in the hands of a dying man. His intentions, well wishes and current influence puffed up my confidence to the point that I failed to hold on to my natural skepticism. Now, I could have remained hurt in that turn of events and decided that everything was bad because this situation didn’t end well. I lost a mentor and a job in one tsunami sized wave. However, because of my love for trying new things, I’d built some relationships in the nightlife industry and had a job within a week working Marketing for all the Hustler clubs on Bourbon Street.
As you can probably gather from some of my earlier pieces I’ve lived a life that required several points of readjustment. I got extremely used to not getting what I want to the point that I don’t talk about what I have going on until I’m certain that I won’t have to come back with bad news and be left vulnerable. I constantly have to keep that habit in check so that I don’t forget to be myself in the journey and not let any single path define my entire existence. I think that’s the secret to keeping a balance when we hit dead ends. Not everything that’s pursued is going to turn out the way that we have it mapped in our minds. It’s essential that we separate the journey from the destination and accept the end points as just that, the end of a line, not the end of it all.

That means keep chasing your dreams even when it looks like you’re stuck doing something that you don’t love. Try something that you’ve never considered if an opportunity presents itself. Live out loud, every single day. You never know which one of those things is going to help you turn a dead-end into a detour.

Stay encouraged out there and as always, meet me in the comment section and we can discuss.

-Black Maggie

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Life After The Big A$$ Deal

Here’s what they don’t tell you about life after you’ve hit a number of your goals:

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Just when you think you’ve made it out, life is going to draw back and hit you square in the mouth. The trick is, it’s not about the punch… it’s about how long it takes you to wipe your face and get back in the fight.  Because life doesn’t need a timeout, and it’s going to keep swinging. So while some may learn to block and weave, the ones that really “make it”, learn how to take the blow and just keep going.  It’s because they know that getting hit is inevitable when you’re trying to get the title. They aren’t surprised, they’re prepared.

If it hurts, that means you’re still here to feel the pain. Figure out what it takes to get you back in your stance and let loose on that #%. Now is the time to get comfortable with the fact that you have the power to turn a thought into a thing. It’s a strange pill to swallow. You can’t let that freak you out, and you certainly can’t look at this as the end of the road. There’s always something new that you can do. There’s always a next thing.

People always push you to dream big and chase after them, but nobody really explains that overwhelming feeling of “What now?”. It’s normal, and there’s nothing wrong with you, however that energy is going to bring into orbit a lot of people and situations that were once kept at bay when you were completely driven. Whatever you do, do not get back into the rotation of that low vibration nonsense.

I know that I started talking in “Shea Butter”, but follow me.

You do not have any obligation to get back into a toxic groove just because those people and things have been waiting on you to finally take your eyes off a prize. But here’s the trick…you only need something new, you don’t have to try and top the last thing, you don’t have to make a bigger splash. You just need to continue a positive and healthy path.

I finished my MBA and everybody’s like “When are you going for that Doctorate?”, but if I know that what I want out of life is to own my own business and help other people achieve the same thing, I know it does not require the next degree to make that happen. If I didn’t have a firm grip on what I’m trying to accomplish overall then I can see how I could easily fall into the what’s next trap of trying to achieve some undefined next level.

So back to the fight analogy.

Roll with the punches, stay in the fight, and know that endurance, strength and speed all have a place in the match that they need to be deployed. Very rarely is it all at the same time. Chill. You got this!

You are who you REALLY you are. (Reflective Opinion Piece)

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There’s an old saying “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell who you are”.

Lots of motivational speakers like to drop that line and make people feel like the power to push your life in the direction that you choose is up to the circle that you curate. While there are elements of truth in the transference of energy and the ability of friends to both open and close doors to an extent. The uncomfortable truth is. You are who you REALLY you are.

Let’s examine some things.
What do you value?
I have friends that I can call anytime, and I also have friends that have to call me… Among all of them the common threads are loyalty, kindness and solidarity. In all cases the diversity of my friend base has helped me learn to survive/thrive in many situations, from knowing what to do while staring down the barrel of an AK-47 (I’ll tell that story one day) to how to make a great impression at a country club fundraiser. If you surround yourself with people that care about you and want to see you live and succeed, then it doesn’t really matter how many connections they have that you can use. They love you and they do things for you because they feel like it.

I had a professor tell me that she curates her networking list to only people that she believes would do a favor for her. While I’m sure that she thinks that this is a very business savvy idea, she’s one of the most friendless people I’ve ever met. Out of respect for her I refrained from commenting but I wanted to tell her. “Don’t you know people don’t like you for real?” Her whole life as she’s described it is a series of transactions. She counts every thank you she receives and notes every let down. She values favor trades and not the genuine connection. Real friends couldn’t tell you if you’re even or not. In this case her friends may be seeking a genuine connection, but she’s undeniably a user.

Where are you going?
Life is a journey with highs and lows. If the only time that you show love is when you’re in the high points, you’ll find that time will take you and those that you’ve connected with to your own versions of low points. Just because a person is not doing what you are doing, doesn’t mean that they are not a positive piece in your life puzzle. What does any of their life decision have to do with your standing on your own principles and decision making skills? If you do things because other people do things then that just makes you a follower.

How do you see yourself?
There’s always someone better, and there’s always someone worse. If you have a hard time accepting this fact then this piece very well may define you. Being the person that lives on one end of the spectrum or the other is going to prove to be hard to find people that want to be around you. In those cases, real friends are the least of your worries, and probably few and far in-between.

If you only find your self worth in what others say about you, where you get invited or how many times you get picked over someone else, it’s really easy to help you figure out who you really are underneath everything shiny… a nobody or even worse, a slave to the favor of others. That means that nothing that you do is juts for you. Your inner art has been squelched by your need to be liked.

What’s the point?
It’s not that your friends define you, it’s that who you are determines who will be in your presence. So don’t even waste your time trying to solve your problems of how people see you with getting certain people out of your life. Concentrate on the one thing in this world that you have control of, who you really are. In owning up to how much of this equation belongs to you, you’ll find that you attract other responsible, accountable, and honest people while people that don’t mesh well with that energy will fade to black on their own.

… but that’s just how I feel about it. Tell me what you think in the comment section. I look forward to the conversation.