Success, with Style

Posts tagged “love

What To Do When You’ve Done All You Can

Posted on March 2, 2015

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things that I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

I usually stagger, and sometimes fall, on the first part: opening myself up to accepting the things that I cannot change. When you’ve grown accustomed to leading, creating opportunities, changing unsavory situations, and encouraging others, sometimes you want to buck against those circumstances that you actually cannot change. You want to find the loophole, the break in the chain of command, the weak link. You want to force a square peg into a round hole. It is then that you, and I, experience the most discontent. It is when I know that I have done all that I can, yet I continue to find a way to alter the outcome, to sway it in my favor. This is the moment that is the hardest: knowing there is nothing more you can do, yet wanting to do more.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

Serenity is not enough. Serenity is the first leg of the race. Faith is the finish. You get through those anxiety-ridden moments when you don’t know the outcome by having faith in yourself and your God that, no matter what, you will be okay. You will continue to move forward. You will rise, and in the end, you will conquer.

You ever notice that you feel least in control when it seems the outcome is in the hands of another person, when you are not in control? For instance, you’ve submitted your resume, you’ve interviewed exceedingly well, and sent you handwritten thank-you notes. It seems you did all you can do. Yet, you still find yourself biting your nails and pacing, trying to figure out what more you can do to land your dream job. That is where serenity and faith must show up. When you’ve done all you can do and you simply have to wait.

I’m not good at waiting. I’m better at serenity and really good at faith, but waiting…eh, not so much.

I’m waiting to hear back from a few more graduate programs and a couple of fellowships. Depending on how much coffee I’ve had, I find myself stressed and anxious while awaiting the outcomes of my applications. That is, until I realize that I have too many other things to do instead of wait and worry. Those outcomes are no longer in my control. What I can control, however, is my work, my blog, and how I operate in my relationships. I can control the effort I put in at the gym and the food I put into my body. Once I reaffirm that I control certain events and outcomes, the waiting becomes less difficult. I have to remind myself that I am, in fact, equipped with the wisdom to know the difference between the things that I can and cannot change.

Most important, however, is that I also possess the courage to change the things that are within my control, and so do you.

Are you Really Ready for 2015?

Posted on January 16, 2015

Some of us reside in the now, but revel in the past. The past represents the shoulders upon which we stand, it is not the ladder upon which we climb. As we proceed through 2015, if you haven’t already done so, take some time to reflect on the last year, and to prepare for this year. A Chicago-based non-profit helped me and about one hundred other people engage in this practice this past Saturday.
(Affinity Community Services is a social justice organization celebrating its 20th anniversary that works with and on behalf of Black LGBTQ communities, queer youth, and allies to identify emergent needs, create safe spaces, develop leaders, and bridge communities through collective analysis and action for social justice, freedom, and human rights. )

Affinity Community Services is a social justice organization that works with and on behalf of Black LGBTQ communities, queer youth, and allies to identify emergent needs, create safe spaces, develop leaders, and bridge communities through collective analysis and action for social justice, freedom, and human rights.

Affinity Community Services hosted its annual Burning Bowl ceremony, an affirmation ceremony that has two main components:

(1) constituents write down the feelings, experiences, and circumstances that they will leave in 2014 – this is the “burn;” and

(2) constituents write down their affirmations for 2015 and then place their affirmations in a self-addressed envelope which Affinity mails to them in June 2015, allowing  constituents to check-in and measure their progress for the year.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to engage in your own burning bowl. You’ve heard of vision board parties. Well, you all can also do a burning bowl.

How to Have a Burning Bowl: 

  • Get a small group of close friends together at someone’s home.
  • Note: Of course, you can host a solo burning bowl. 
  • Provide Paper and writing utensils
  • Provide refreshments to guests (potluck style is always an option)

The Burn:

  • Think about what you will leave in 2014. Write that down. And then let it go.
  • Example: From 2014, I will burn the negative and hindering feelings associated with rejection and self-doubt.
If you can safely burn the paper, do so. The goal is to never engage in those experiences, painstaking moments, and negative feelings, again. Release it. Burn it; let it go. If you cannot safely burn it, shred it. Ball up the piece of paper and pass around a wastebasket for everyone to pitch their “burn” list. Immediately take the garbage out. Whatever your method, your “burning” is a symbolic release.

The Affirmation:

  • Write down what you want to affirm in 2015.
  • Example: For 2015 – I affirm love in every aspect of my life, ruthless prioritization, and fearlessness.
It’s best to write your affirmations on a single sheet of paper, front-side only. Don’t overwhelm yourself with the action items right now; start with feelings. How do you want to feel in 2015? We all want to feel happy. What is keeping you from feeling happy? Are you dissatisfied with your employment? Your affirmation may be that in 2015, you will affirm your work experience for the lessons, learning, and mentoring. You may also affirm your ability to advance in your profession.
* Note: You do not have to share your burn list or affirmations. However, you might find it incredibly liberating and affirming to do so.


  • Set calendar reminders for your affirmations
At the end of each quarter, check in with yourself on the progress of your affirmations. For instance, you might ask yourself whether you have been kind to yourself, whether you have made your health and wellness a priority, whether you have allowed fear to stop you from pursuing a goal, or whether you have engaged in the process of determining your passions.
We have reached the middle of January 2015. Time will move on regardless of whether you are prepared for it. Isn’t it better to be prepared?
Wishing you a successful year ahead,

Redefining Success

Posted on January 4, 2015

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.”  ― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”
― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

Lately, I’ve had to have conversations with friends explaining where I’ve “been” and why I’ve been “absent.” I’ll offer that explanation here too.

First, I love blogging. The creative outlet of freely expressing my thoughts on subject matter that appeals to me, and that I believe will impact others, is a process and product like no other. Every time I publish a post, I have produced a work-product. I have an end result that I can look at to gauge my level of activity and my progress. Publishing a blog post is akin to the feeling I get whenever I go to the gym: a feeling of success. It’s a wonderful experience to feel accomplished every time I do small things like go to the gym for 30 to 45 minutes, or publish a single blog post. Now would be the time that I say that I have not been working out as regularly as I would like, nor have I published to the blog regularly, or, at all in the past 6 or 8 weeks.

Yet, I still feel successful.

Over the past three months, I have accomplished goals and lived experiences that produced feelings of happiness and sadness, peace and conflict, fear and insecurity but also boldness and confidence, and love and severe dislike. I have lived.

I just completed the third month of my dream job. I have worked harder and learned more in the last three months than in the last three years, and I am so thankful for the experience.

Fulfilling a goal that I’ve carried with me for the past three years or so, I also submitted seven applications to Ph.D programs in Sociology. I feel good about my applications, but I also realize that there is nothing more I can do about whether I am accepted. I pray on the outcome, plan for the event of rejection, and remind myself to live in the moment – and, in this moment, my applications are submitted and my focus is on my job and my personal relationships.

Another reason why my focus has not been on publishing to The TJ Way is because I have been nurturing a new relationship. This is completely new to me, and I have been overcoming a learning curve. But, it’s been the best learning curve I have ever experienced and I’m looking forward to every new experience that my relationship brings.

Even though I have not gone to the gym consistently over the last 3 months or so (…or more like the last 9 months), I hired a personal trainer in mid-September to help me get back to the physical condition and endurance level that I once had. Due to my schedule, I have struggled to make it to the gym 3-5 times per week, as I would like. But when I do go, I maximize my time with my personal trainer.

I also completed two photo shoots and am eagerly planning the publication of those photos.

I have been writing. A LOT. I just haven’t published here. Also, I’ve been talking about writing. Recently, I served as a panelist for the Young Lawyers Committee of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago to discuss how to use writing to market and brand yourself within your profession.

In sum, I have been responding to life’s opportunities and manufacturing my expanded definition of success, for this moment in my life. Rather than continuously degrade myself for not publishing to The TJ Way, I decided to intentionally consider the other things that I have accomplished, the experiences that have not resulted in readily available and tangible results, but instead represent the planting of seeds for future success. And when I engage in that process, of expanding my definition of success and reflecting upon the experiences that have been successful, I can say without a doubt, that I have been AMAZING.

I encourage you to reconsider your definition of success and to applaud yourself for the things you do – big, medium, and small. Leave a comment letting me know what you’ve accomplished lately.


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