Photo Credit: http://all-images.org/imagination-makes-our-days-much-more-exciting-and-interesting/
As a child I had an active imagination and as a teen that imagination turned into plain old grandiose dreams. I used to imagine myself as a singer and movie star and even as a teen, I would sometimes create fake television shows and videos in my basement. Well, only a few things have changed. I no longer dream of being famous, singing or acting. However, I am still guilty of getting lost in my imagination. These days I use my imagination to guide my work and voila……you have what I have coined “VISIONWORK” (trademark forthcoming).
The Aspire2Higher movement follows the precept that ALL your work should be VISIONWORK, meaning that your work should be steps, action items, or strategies leading to the development of your VISION.
HELLO A2H readers! I am back to share more stories about this entrepreneurial journey. These last few months have had me feeling totally overwhelmed and exhausted. All I remember about summer is that I was working with several clients on projects, job searches etc. and trying to plan an event. Next thing. I know, it was September, my kids were back to school and my full-time job was driving me crazy!
Then came November/December and I am feeling very disconnected from my journey. Being completely honest, I am doubting my ability to pull this off. Since school has kicked into gear, my MOM duties have been taking all of my time and energy. I have doubted my ability to be the type of fully engaged mother I want to be while also being an entrepreneur. Oh, and let’s not forget that I work a full-time 9-5 gig that requires a lot of thought, energy and engagement as well. What the hell was I thinking trying to start a business, kick off a movement and raise 2 children? Lately I just don’t know if it is possible to do what I am attempting to do.
This is new for me, I have not been here before. In fact, these feelings go against everything I know about myself, my goals and my vision. After all, this company and movement is called Aspire2Higher…and my job is to encourage people to aspire for more…no matter what! This movement was started based on my belief that once you have discovered your purpose and create a vision, you are destined for personal and professional success! This blog post is a testament to the fact that you will have bad days and rough seas. I am a testament that with your vision in place and through your visionwork, YOU are a captain and will stay the course!
I am realizing day after day that this is a very difficult road, but, I am determined and resilient. Yes, I doubt my ability to be a successful entrepreneur, author, educator and mother of two, but I still have a burning desire to be all of those things. My passion and desire to meet my goals outweighs the doubt every time. I have decided to remind myself that this season was just UNREASONABLE DOUBT.
One of my “mottos” is that exhaustion is a side effect of the hustle(also known as-visionwork). This has been proving true in my life lately especially as I have been ultra busy at work (the 9-5) as well as trying to create opportunities and more services for Aspire2Higher. In all of this, once in a while, I have an inclination to stop pursuing this dream of entrepreneurship.
Being exhausted after a hard day of work, accomplishing things, creating things, helping people is fulfilling in a way that nothing else is. That is career satisfaction. I once heard a speaker (Michelle McKinney-Hammond) say that ” you are supposed to be exhausted everyday if you are truly working hard I pursuit of your destiny”. This has stayed with me and I think of that EVERYTIME I feel like I should quit!
If exhaustion is a side effect of not just my hustle but my success, then I say BRING IT ON! I am speaking this truth into existence for both my success and yours!
I am writing this post tonight because I sometimes really struggle with balancing my career, my aspirations to work for myself and my personal relationships. This often leaves me wondering, “Does A Balanced Life Exist”? Another thing that led me to write this was my response when someone asked me, “How do you do it all”? The truth is I DON”T KNOW
Here’s What I Think:
The concept of balance works theoretically. However, I am not so sure that one can truly have a balanced life. I have also given up on the notion of work-life balance.
Here’s What Works For Me:
When people ask me how I manage to do all the things that I do, I am often confused…..because I don’t do much of anything else but WORK! I do not have a (social) LIFE, and in some ways, this works for me. I am not suggesting that everyone buy into this, but so far its how I manage having a challenging 9-5 while also running a start-up. So Since people often ask me “HOW I DO IT”, I can only offer you tips based on my own experiences (For my friends and family, this might be a little revealing about why you don’t see or hear from me for months at a time!)
- PLAN your evenings!
This is very important for me during the week especially, but I even plan how I will spend my weekend evenings. Most times, these plans change, but I ALWAYS go into the evening with a plan for how I am going to spend my time. Now don’t misunderstand me, I do not strategically plan every detail, sometimes my plan is as simple as, read or return A2H emails BEFORE 8pm so I can catch my favorite shows on Bravo or WE.
- Remember to tell yourself that small things count!
Now, we’ve established that it helps that I always come home from work with a plan, this second point is equally as important. My plans are not very grandiose. I keep things simple and realistic…..I come home to a 6 & 7-year-old every day, and their needs totally supersedes the plans! I remind myself often, that small daily deliberate actions, lead to staggering long-term results! I do something for A2H everyday, even if its scheduling tweets, reviewing my Facebook Insights, or just jotting down a few notes. I don’t feel like I have to build Rome in one day….and neither should you!
- Allow yourself to be flexible & creative!
Take tonight for example, instead of beating myself up about not going to the gym, I decided to just have fun and get creative. I worked out (following a trainer via my Ipad) with my kids in the living room. I killed 2 birds with one stone…. I needed to get some exercise in and I spent some fun quality time with my kiddies. Here’s what else works for me, some evenings, I make an effort to not turn on my television and I even hide my cellphone so I am not distracted by calls or texts. Many times, after I have put the kids in bed ( well at least the first attempt to put them in bed) I tune out everything else with some serious headphones, my music and my Ipad and next thing you know…..I am in a ZONE!
Well, that’s the best I can offer when people ask me “How do you do it”? It’s not rocket science folks, but it is about having passion for your goals!
Oh, and for the movie buffs out there, in 2011 there was a movie with the same title as this blog post that I found to be very funny, honest, charming and heart warming! If you haven’t seen it, check out the trailer below:
Yesterday I had lunch at my favorite spot….Panera. I went there to escape my office for a while, retreat into my food and catch up on some reading. As I tried to focus on my reading (and my soup) I couldn’t help but overhear a group of women catching up with each other. They were old friends and colleagues who shared many mutual connections. As they finished their lunches their conversation moved away from exchanging the usual pleasantries into work related updates.
All it took was one woman to say, ” Have you all heard what so and so is doing now? She’s freelancing as an interior designer!” The other ladies perk up and chime in. “Yes, I’ve received emails from her about it. I can’t believe she’s going out on a limb that way.” The women spend about 5 minutes discussing their mutual friend’s new business venture. One of the women says, ” I could NEVER do that! I just couldn’t go out on my own.” Another one adds, ” I mean its one thing to like creating things, but if you trained to be a banker, just stick to what you know. Banking is what I know how to do.”
The women left before me, and as I finished my lunch I was thankful that they weren’t my friends, co-workers or acquaintances! I also felt a sense of pride in myself for “stepping out” in my way. On the other hand, I also felt torn. I thought that I should tell them that they too could “step out”! We aren’t necessarily meant to ONLY be bankers, or teachers, writers or any ONE thing! My mind immediately recognized the lesson(s) present in this moment:
- People will judge: This is not always coming from a negative place, but it is going to be ever-present. When people don’t understand what you are doing….there will be judgement.
- People fear the unknown: This is where the judgement originates. Oftentimes (as in the example above) people will doubt, criticize or judge your actions simply because they just can’t get beyond their own fear of doing something considered “non-traditional”
One of the goals for the Aspire2Higher movement is to re-define traditional (careers) in people’s minds! The key take away from this is, not to allow your own fears (nor fear & judgement from others) to prevent you from re-defining traditional and creating your own success!
It’s funny the things you learn when you get out and treat yourself to a little lunch!