Keep Moving Forward

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It’s currently 12:45 am ET as I write this. I want this post to serve as a reminder to everyone grinding toward their dreams. No matter how far behind you think you are in life, don’t give up. Every morning you arise is another opportunity to reach your dreams.

Don’t be concerned with those around you who belittle your ambition. Keep grinding away and those same people will  eventually be watching from the sidelines as you march toward victory.

The race is not given to the swift, but to the one who endures. Don’t worry about how long it takes you to get to the finish line. Just get there.

Outside Your Comfort Zone is Where the Magic Happens

 

It’s amazing what can be achieved by taking risks. We live in a world where we’re conditioned to conform to a standard set of rules for just about everything.

We go to school, graduate, and maybe go to college or technical school to earn an advanced degree. We get a job in our desired field and work until retirement. We watch the same television shows, eat the same food, hang out with the same coworkers, sit in the same seat at church, and generally try not to do anything outside of our safe zone.

On a bigger scale, we often do what others think is best for us, or what comes easy, instead of what is best for our own personal growth.

I’ve spent most of my life playing it safe in so many areas. Sometimes I’m scared that pushing myself to try new things will result in me having to work harder or look plain stupid.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by one of the ministers at my church to participate in our Easter Sunday skit. I mainly stick to ushering duties at church. My thought process is to stick with what I know best.

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I answered yes since the minister is someone I greatly respect. I was a bit hesitant, but I wasn’t going to flat-out refuse. Though I was a little uncomfortable when I started attending practice, I found myself getting more into the role and started having fun. Well, the big performance was yesterday and I nailed it!

Multiple church members congratulated me on my performance following service. I never knew that acting was something I’d enjoy so much.

As I was leaving, I bumped into another church member who told me that I seem to thrive in situations that force me to go outside of my comfort zone. I never thought of myself in this manner. I think I’m quite the opposite, but perhaps their words were conformation that it’s time I stray more outside of my creative, professional, and spiritual boundaries.

In what ways have you been able to step outside your comfort zones?

Chase Your Dreams

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I spend a lot of time writing about dreams on this blog. Not the actual dreams you experience while sleeping at night, but the short and long-term dreams you wish to achieve someday.

I feel it’s my duty as a blogger to inject some level of hope and optimism into my writing.  If someone takes the time out of their busy schedule to read my blog then I owe it to them to write something that will make some kind of an impact on their life.

Dreaming is such an important part of life. No matter how big or small, you should always be striving toward something. My eventual dream is to write a book. I’m not exactly sure what kind of book it will be, but I do know that it will be inspirational in tone to some extent. Every encouraging blog post I write gets me closer in that direction.

If you don’t have any dreams then I encourage you to grab a sheet of paper and jot down three things you’d like to accomplish. Keep it practical, but don’t be afraid to launch out into the deep. Then begin working to mark each one off your list by a set time. Putting a timeframe on your dream is crucial as it will help you remain focused in reaching key benchmarks along the way.

Don’t let another day pass without working toward your dreams.

Embrace Your Flaws

This world is full of phonies. Far too many people are concerned with being a carbon copy of others instead of embracing their individuality.

You were created as a one-of-a-kind being, flaws and all.

Speaking of flaws, now is a good time to discuss retired WWE superstar AJ Mendez Brooks, better known to fans as AJ Lee. In her new autobiography, Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules, Mendez Brooks goes into ample detail about living with bipolar disorder.

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“But the interesting thing about flaws is that they truly are in the eye of the beholder. Weaknesses can turn into strength with just a simple shift of perspective. One day I made the choice to stop throwing myself a pity party. I would embrace what society taught me to shun. What was once my shameful secret was now going to become my secret weapon, she writes.”

She elaborates further.

“When I harnessed its seemingly uncontrollable might, I realized bipolar disorder’s powers could be used for good. My diagnosis didn’t have to be an affliction. That is the gift that being bipolar gave me. I used my gift to take myself from being homeless to being an athlete and entertainer on international television.”

You may think there is something wrong with you because you don’t look or act a certain way. What if you were created this way for a reason. The very flaw you think is holding you back could be what elevates you to a higher level of living.

How are you making your flaws work to your benefit?

As Mendez Brooks writes, “embrace your ‘crazy,’ your ‘weird,’ your ‘weakness,’—the things that others will mistake as flaws but will end up being your greatest strengths.”

Freewriting: Vision

A person without a vision will never reach their intended destination. Vision is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful. It helps you attain believable goals on a daily basis as you march toward the completion of your dream. It keeps you motivated during rough times. Those without vision wander through life aimlessly. Grab a vision for yourself and begin working to make it happen.

Don’t Be Afraid To Create

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We truly live in a “do-it-yourself” culture.

A long time ago, aspiring musicians shopped their demos around to record executives in order to secure a deal. Writers submitted their manuscripts to numerous publishers in the hopes of being accepted.

The rules have changed.

Musicians can now get the attention of major labels through the content they upload onto their personal You Tube channels. Writers can cultivate an audience through blogging or self publish their works.

Technology has changed the entire dynamic on how anyone can get their message across. It’s easier than ever before to cultivate an audience for your niche. No topic is too obscure.

If you’re passionate about something then don’t be afraid to create the content you want the world to see. It may take a while for others to catch on, but don’t be discouraged. Just remain persistent and others will soon follow.

 

People Don’t Enter Into Your Life by Accident

tumblr_mpd92gfsMj1qjm9bpo1_500Have you ever heard the expression that some people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime?

I sense that my coworkers fall into each of these three categories.

I’ve felt a very strong connection to many of my coworkers lately. In the five years I’ve been at my job I can’t recall a period where I’ve meshed as well with so many others. A big reason is due to the infusion of new blood into our office. We’ve made several new hires to our team over the last few months.

At first, I was a bit reluctant to get close to my new coworkers. As I loosened up and became more comfortable I discovered that a good portion of these people fit my personality to a tee. I enjoy discussing life issues including the challenges we face on the job. It’s always a good thing when you can be honest in sharing your insecurities with others knowing they’ll offer positive solutions instead of just complaining.

My relationships with the more seasoned members of my team have taken on a deeper meaning as well. There has been a renewed connection even with the people whose paths I cross from other departments. I’ve caught the revelation that there is a greater purpose for all of us being together for 40 plus hours per week.

Work is a big part of life. It’s a blessing to spend this time around people I genuinely like.

Mistakes Will Happen

Everyone makes mistakes.

I tend to get down when I mess up, especially at work. I’ll begin to think that I must be incredibly stupid at times. Whenever these thoughts cross my mind I try my best to shut them down immediately and replace them with something more optimistic.

No matter how badly I mess up I must remind myself that the workday will eventually end. I’ll get a fresh start tomorrow. The key thing is that I learn from my mistakes and improve in that area.

I may even mess up the next day, but at least it won’t be as bad as before.

Selfishness Will Get You Nowhere

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If you can do something to make someone’s day a little better, by all means do so. Don’t be so consumed about yourself. I’ve learned from personal experience that selfishness won’t get you anywhere in life.

This doesn’t mean that you should never think about your own needs. You should never be a doormat for anyone. Selfishness only becomes problematic when you constantly put your own needs above those of everyone else around you. If you only desire the best for your immediate family then you’re missing the boat. You should want your friends, coworkers, extended family, and everyone else in your circle of influence to be successful.

The Wrestling Match of Life

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I’ve been a wrestling fan for most of my life. Although I don’t watch as regularly as I used to I still consider myself a diehard fan.

When thinking of something motivational to write, I thought that wrestling would be a good starting point. After all, a wrestling match is a good analogy for the situations we face in life.

Hear me out.

The typical rules of a match dictate that two opponents fight each other in a ring. Let’s say you’re competitor A. Competitor B could be any type of adversary—fear, depression, a rowdy coworker, etc. A wrestling match is decided when you pin your opponent’s shoulders to the mat for three seconds.

However, let’s say that you’re up against an opponent who is too tough to handle on your own. You need reinforcements.

Well this is exactly what a tag team match is for. The rules are the same with the only difference being that each opponent has a partner to assist. But there are multiple variations even within this style of match. You can have a six, eight or twelve-man tag. There are even handicap matches for those who really want to stack the deck in their favor. Every battle in life isn’t fair so you have a right to level the playing field to your advantage.

Just like life’s situations, a match can really get out of control. Wrestlers will start inside the ring only to end up in the crowd, backstage, or even outside of the arena. I’ve seen so many different kinds of matches: falls count anywhere, no holds barred, tornado tag team, lumberjack, last man standing, ironman, steel cage, scaffold, ladder, triple threat, fatal four way, battle royal, and even a casket match. The possibilities are endless.

A wrestler may use whatever weapons they have at their disposal to inflict punishment on an opponent. Over the years, I’ve seen several unique weapons utilized in wrestling: tables, chairs, brass knuckles, fire extinguishers, kendo sticks, trash cans, forklifts, etc. If you can name it then there is a good chance its been used in a match somewhere. The same goes for life. Use whatever tools you have—friends, family, the bible, prayers—to tilt the fight in your favor.

The goal of any wrestler is to stand in the center of the ring with their hand raised in victory after a long, hard-fought battle. You can be up against drug addiction, family problems, or issues on the job. No matter the challenge you must do whatever it takes to emerge victorious.

Life is the one match that none of us can afford to lose.