Monday, May 23, 2022

Living a Life of Proactive Evolution

One of the hardest things to articulate to another human being is the depth in which evolution occurs in a person. I really believe the reason this is so difficult to articulate is because we are so pre-wired to communicate in a way that impresses the person we are talking to...

You see, real life evolution is deeply personal.

And what maybe a huge life shift to you may seem boring or mundane to the person hearing about it. 

So that really got me to thinking: do we choose to evolve because of real personal life satisfaction or is our real motive how impressed we think the people who learn about or know about the evolution will respond?? 

There's a difference. 

And we must challenge ourselves to know the difference because that motivation in our intentions is critical. 

I have been repeatedly challenged with asking myself the motivation behind my personal aspirations to evolve because like everyone, there are so many triggers, information and dialogue we're exposed to that subconsciously steers our minds towards outcomes. 

There's nothing wrong with being inspired but if the inspiration to evolve comes based on envy or jealously (of another person's giftings, skills, access or any other perceived advantage) , the real outcome of an evolution will never be achieved. 

So in that way, we all have to be proactive in seeking our personal evolutions so that it's not inspired by defaults of other people's lives. And therein will give you the deeply important drive to continue when it gets tough because every evolution is tough. It requires something more deep in you than what you've ever been required to have to do, think and behave. It's mental focus can't be over emphasized. 

So then why would someone choose to evolve, proactively? 

Because the only other choice is to choose to stay the same, in the safe harbour of life while also feeling like you are not living a life on purpose, with purpose, by your own design. 

In other words, you will never know what it means to live a life of fulfillment. 

And that, is worth it all. 

Be proactive. 

Live your life. 


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Is Black History Month Still Relevant in 2022?

I was raised in the South (or, some people consider Texas Southwest) so my upbringing was filled with both some of the most inspiring and miraculous accomplishments of African Americans while also being always reminded of the cruelties and barbaric nature of our country's history from slavery to police brutality today. 

 This duality has shaped my lifelong thoughts on how at any given point, no matter what you are experiencing in life, it can be both amazing AND be littered with hardships, some completely outside of your control.
black dancers in hopeful stance
So when I think of Black History through the lens of this viewpoint, I really think it's sad that our American History, which has been so richly shaped by innovations and contributions by African Americans despite such a horrible past, has to be carved out so that those contributions aren't white-washed or lost...or worse, ignored in the name of ensuring that only one race gets credit for the vastness of America's greatness.  

And it has not only been just African Americans. 

The contributions and impact of immigrants in building some of America's greatest and most pioneering products, services and technology can't be ignored because without it's highlight, we'd have to erase the very inventions that have made our modern day American lives brilliant. 

And I don't proclaim to know or understand the divergence of Critical Race Theory because in my world of arts, culture, business and food, there is not the polarizing negativity of race, politics, and religion. Diversity is apart of invigorating discourse of these cultural communities. 

But what I do know is that to not envelop the contributions of all who have made our country the model of hope, we are only telling a segmented part of our history. And unfortunately, the only way to ensure that the full story is told, is to highlight segments along racial lines. Thus, Black History seems to be as needed and prevalent today as it was when first added to America's bicentennial (1976), which, ironically, is close to my age. 

My question is: will there ever be a time when Black History Month will be considered an antiquated idea because, dare I say, full acknowledgment of the full history of America will not be buried, but will be given it's full, truthful spotlight and while parts maybe ugly, what will hopefully overshadow the dark will be the hopeful light of an America of (all) the people for as our Ancestors desired, "We, the People..."

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Stay Open, Continually Discover

Life discoveries never end if you stay open. 

Life is fun like that if you let it be. 

Last night I discovered that I actually do like raw oysters. 

I’ve covered many food events and every time I tasted an oyster it was huge, grilled and packed with a bunch of stuff on top. 

Last night I tried a small oyster in its simplest element with nothing more than lemon juice and a teeny bit of horse radish. It was dynamic. 

Stay open my friends.

Keep discovering.

It’s the quintessence of life.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Freedom of “Not My Problem”

Last year, while the world went through an unprecedented virus that killed so many globally, we were also dealing with waves of racism, sexism and overall uncertainty with the economy and jobs.

Like most people I know, I felt the brunt of the weight of every issue directly effecting me. And like normal, I wanted to reach out to help as many as possible.

But it became too much.

So as I sat back to assess my own place and health, I realized that I have a historical problem of assuming other people’s problems. 

It wasn’t just during the pandemic. The pandemic caused me to have to face the truth: I was carrying too much. And in carrying too much, I was declining.

We hear all the time the saying “put on your oxygen mask first” but it was so normalized to me to carry other people's burdens and neglect myself that it took a pandemic for me to say to myself STOP.

So I came up with a saying “Not my problem”. Stephen Covey has referred to intentions like this as the 8th Habit.

The 8th Habit of Highly Effective People have two central themes:

#1 Your freedom to choose is the biggest gift you were born with. And in choosing, you have to build in space between the triggering event and the choice you make. It implies that your end choice ends up not based on dysfunction or an emotional reaction, but is based on a free choice to do what's best based on experience, variables, understanding, etc.

#2  You empower others by giving up control and handing them responsibility. Over the years I upgraded the latter part to “…handing them their (own) responsibility.”

You see, anytime you have a dysfunction that is not helping you thrive, you have to build in space that reframes your old habit.

Just asking myself constantly in all situations: “Is this my problem?” has resulted in an immense sense of self empowerment. Can’t really explain it further because it’s been so life shifting that to articulate it in words is difficult.

And please don’t let your take-away be that we all need to be selfish in our life. That is NOT what I’m saying. 

Of course, helping/supporting is great. But keep it in perspective and balance. Because guess what, when I’m carrying too much, I am not fully showing up with my gifting for the creative work I do. Being overburdened and creative do not coincide. 

Let me give you an example of how this came up for me again this morning: I saw a ticketing agent ticketing six cars at once while I waited for the train. I knew everyone in the adjoining restaurant was going to have a bad day when they all finished eating. My habitual response was to go inside the restaurant and let the patrons know they are all being ticketed. Buuut, I asked myself, “Is this my problem?” I replied “No”. So I didn’t do it. And guess what, the train was running early and if I had gone inside the restaurant, I would have missed my train and also missed my first meeting.

And guess who would have had a bad day that day? All from me assuming a problem that had nothing to do with me. I was already nervous about my meeting and so missing it would have added a problem that I didn’t even need to have.

Let me give you another example...last Fall, as the world was aching to come out of the pandemic, I went to an outdoor restaurant for the first time in months. Seated near me was a Dad and his two children that included a teenage son that was treating the waitstaff like they were not worthy of respect (saying it nicely). It was an awful sight to see.

The Dad caught me glancing their way a couple times. The Dad then loudly inquires of me "This generation is crazy right?!? Can you come tell my son how he should be acting in public to wait staff?" I flat out said "No. That's your problem, not mine." The Dad seemed absolutely shocked in regards to my response.

To me, there is no way I was going to let a man who didn't discipline his own kids get in the way of me enjoying a beautiful Sunday during my first restaurant outing in months. That was my time. I needed it. And I wasn't going to spend it disciplining someone else's kid. No thanks.

In summary, you are put on this Earth to make impact with your gifting. Don’t be distracted and overburdened with other people’s problems and get side tracked.

The world needs you fully. Truly.

And everyone's problems is not yours to bear. Decipher. Because it's not (all) your problem.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Does Clarity Precede Support (and Failure)?

Woman Asking Questions
I've had the most interesting morning. On one occasion I reached out someone about opportunities and based on my understanding of their passion projects was what lead me to reach out to them. 

In this case, I knew a lady three years ago who I remembered was extremely passionate about children's yoga. She is the only person I've ever met who does yoga focused on children to help them deal with anxiety, stay active and meditate. When I saw a LinkedIn job post from Calm about children's meditation, a groundbreaking new role, I immediately thought of her. And ironically, her cell number was still in my phone. 

I call her up and she was ecstatic that I mentioned this new Calm job opportunity I had seen. She's going to apply, creating a win-win for both her and an app that I have adored for years. 

I'm writing this post because based on my understanding of the passion/work of the individual played a huge part in me remembering them and sending helpful information. 

This got me to thinking: what if I wasn't clear about her passions/projects/work? Would I have thought to contact her? 

The short answer: No. 

Let's sit back from this...have you ever gave some mental time to how well you are communicating to your network what you do, leads you want, connections you want to be made? 

Like, really. Think about it. 

Are you being clear, consistent and specific? If you can't answer that with an easy Yes, then perhaps, just perhaps, the reason why you aren't getting leads, gaining traction, have a full pipeline, meeting your goals, evolving, etc is because of YOU.