Success, with Style

Posts tagged “relationships

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.

Summer of Study – Pt. II – Lifestyle Tips

Posted on June 17, 2014

DeathtoStock_Creative Community9

The second installment of the Summer of Study post will focus on the holistic “lifestyle” aspects of studying for major exams like the Bar Exam, the LSAT, the GMAT, etc. The first installment can be found here.

Avoid relationship drama.

  • Don’t start a new relationship. The newness/honeymoon phase, for some, is addictive and all-consuming. You want to learn everything about the person you are dating and you simply don’t have time to do that. If you’re going to date, just KISS (keep it simple, stupid).
  • Try not to end a relationship. Of course, if it is bad, get out. You cannot control another person’s actions. Hopefully, you have kind and considerate people around you who will try their best to avoid troubling you with relationship drama. I realize, however, that there are people who will stir up trouble just for kicks and giggles. Smh at those people.

    I had a “friendship” end right around my birthday, June 20.  Compounding the final deterioration of an unhealthy relationship (friendships are a form of “relationship”) with living in Indianapolis without family or any type of support system, and studying for the Bar Exam, resulted in a very emotionally and mentally strenuous week or two while I mourned the end of that relationship. I had to pull it together to keep studying, but that was very difficult. If I could make the choice again, I would not have placed myself in the circumstance of that weirdly unbalanced and unhealthy relationship, and assuredly not while studying for the Bar.

    Don’t give up or neglect your hobby.

    You will need a distraction from studying. Now is as good a time as any to start or continue running, cycling, swimming, kickboxing, painting, knitting, drawing, taking photographs, etc. Believe me, you will need the physical and creative outlet because you will become overwhelmed and frustrated, if you haven’t already.  You may begin to feel defeated or as though you are not progressing in the way that you should be.  Nothing says “I am ahhmazing” like going for a run or kicking and punching the hell out of a heavy bag.  Hit some tennis balls, go to the batting cages.  Knit, sew, draw, paint. Allow yourself a creative, physical, and/or meditative outlet.

    Do not deprive yourself of your needs.

    I moved to Indianapolis the day after I graduated from law school. The other new associates who were starting at the firm with me were taking a different bar study course and I did not see them all summer. I did not know anyone in Indianapolis and I did not have a car to get around. However, I knew that I needed the love, laughs, and comfort of close friends and family. Therefore, until July 4th weekend, I was on a Megabus to Chicago 2-3 times per month while I studied for the July Bar. I studied on the bus and while in Chicago, but I also got to see my newborn niece and had home-cooked meals from my mother and sister.  I believe that going to Chicago to see family and friends helped keep me steady and fulfilled enough to pass the Bar Exam that summer, and on the first try.  Whatever your needs are, try to fulfill them in the healthiest and least destructive ways possible.

    Eat healthfully and drink water.

    You need all the energy and concentration you can get. If you don’t already know, fried foods and simple carbs slow you down. Whether you call it “the itis” or a “food coma,” avoid the foods that cause it, especially when you know you need to study after your meal.

    Get help.

    I cannot emphasize this enough.  If you become frustrated or unsure of yourself, reach out to someone.  Help may come in the form of a friend whom you confide in about your frustrations, a mentor that you call to assuage your fear of failing the exam, or a therapist that provides perspective and insight into your feelings and actions during your summer of study.  Help may also come in the form of spiritual guidance. If church is your thing, then make time for church.  Make time to take care of yourself, period.  Not even the Bar Exam or the GMAT is more important than receiving the encouragement, tranquility, and fulfillment you may receive from your church home or from your therapist.  What ever form of support you need, go out and get it.

    Leave a comment or send me an email if you have a particular questions about studying, or anything.

    Best of luck!!


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