2011 Oh What A Year!

This year has been something else to say the least! I went from feeling all kinds of stuck in quarter-life crisis mode, to stressing myself out trying to keep busy so that I wouldn’t become a couch potato, and finally …hopeful, ready for more focused and strategic moves in my life. 

In January of this year, I drew up a blue print to point out the direction I wanted my life to go, and although things didn’t work out exactly as planned, some pretty awesome things happened along the way.

I decided to break this post into 2 parts so I don’t overwhelm you guys.

Start A Blog: I knew that I wanted to become a writer, and build an online presence, so I decided to start blogging. Although I’ve been a blog lurker for years, I still had no idea how to begin or what I wanted to blog about.  When I finally started my blog, I actually only shared it with a small group of people because I was ashamed of my terrible writing skills. The biggest reason I decided to market A Summer Moon was because I began to find really helpful resources along the way that I didn’t think was fair to keep to myself. Since then, I’ve gained an awesome community of support, been offered paid blogging opportunities, and have even received a blog award! I still wish my writing skills were much better, but I believe I’ve improved and will continue to improve with time.  I’m also proud to say that my 1st blog anniversary is fast approaching in January. I’m really excited to see where my blogging will take me in the New Year.

Get A Job: I should’ve been more specific when I wrote this one down. Honestly, at the time, I wasn’t sure if I still wanted to pursue a career in substance abuse (my previous field of work) let alone nonprofit. When I initially put my passions together with career change options I thought the only thing I could do well was eat, and figured maybe I should become a restaurant owner so I tried to get a restaurant job (let’s just say epic fail and I came back to my senses).  I also wanted to grow network marketing business and stay working from home, but I eventually learned that due to the circumstances, (job loss after return from surgery, after divorce, and so much more) that led me to this point in my journey, I am going to have to become a side-hustle Jedi master (Star Wars fan is in the building) so that I rebuild my financial life. So onward with the job search!

Grow My Business: Whew! This is my most exciting accomplishment. While originally, I set out to grow my network business (which I did), I became obsessed with growing a passion based business. I knew my more practical passions circled writing, empowerment, and community development, but I needed to put the pieces together somehow.  I started mapping out where I would like to see my entrepreneurial endeavors go, and it led me to taking my social media hobby to another level. Somewhere along the road, I ended up receiving paperwork that said I was legal business in N J, securing trade name, and signing a legal agreement for a general partnership. A & D Media was born! By the way, thanks to the small business course work I took along the way, my business goals are much more specific than just “grow my business.”

Look for the continuation of this post next week!

Until Next time……. and Merry Christmas !!!!!

Butterfly Story

One day a man saw a butterfly shuddering on the sidewalk. It was locked in a seemingly helpless struggle to free itself from its now useless cocoon.

Feeling pity, he took a pocket knife and carefully cut away the cocoon to set the butterfly free.

To his dismay, it lay on the sidewalk and convulsed weakly for a while then died.

A biologist later told him, “That was the worst thing you could have done. A butterfly needs that struggle to develop the muscles to fly. By robbing him of the struggle, you made him too weak to live.”

What I love about this story is that it speaks about empowerment, strength, and building character. When we think of struggle, many of us only see how bad our circumstances are. If we only see our present circumstances, we lose hope and stand still, not realizing that a beautiful transformation is waiting on the other side. There have been times in my life where I experienced major losses and major gains. As much as I miss the great things I had in a previous lifetime; gaining it all back plus some after working my tail off and knowing how to honor my gifts, will make this victory even sweeter.

It is through struggle that we find strength we never knew rested dormant inside. We soon find that our will to survive kicks into hyper drive. It is our driving force that enables us to explore where we come from, understand that our present is temporary, while we act on our vision for a better tomorrow.

What speaks to you about this piece? Do you think that if you didn’t work to get all that you’ve accomplished, life would seem meaningless, maybe kind of boring?

Advice For New Graduates

Before you read any further I want to give you a heads up. This post is mainly geared towards college graduates however; the resources I reference are applicable to anyone still in college, graduates of college looking for some fresh inspiration, and even high school aged teens who want some real world practical advice. In some instances, I get information overload. Therefore, I’m not going to overwhelm you with a whole bunch of reading that’s going to make you crazy in the head.

I happened upon this 42 page FREE ebook (and some of the pages are not anything more than a quote or two) of practical and down to earth advice for graduates. If you don’t find it useful, trust me, someone you may know will. The book highlights the experiences of graduates who have found their calling and those who are still on the battlefield searching for a job or trudging through that Master’s program. I found the tips quite inspiring and useful.  Truth be told, it was comforting to hear from people who had to take fluff jobs they didn’t want due to circumstances yet continue to work on building their dream career rather than settling in mediocrity. In addition to the contributors of Matt’s ebook, if you are looking to start a career in nonprofit, I would highly suggest taking a look at the links on my page under Gen-Y blogs. Rosetta Thurman and Trista Harris have written an excellent ebook, “How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar.” This book really dives into the small steps you can take now to get in the door of a nonprofit organization. It also teaches you to build a foundation that supports your climb to the top, if that’s where you see yourself going.

Now, if you’re anything like me and you come from a very humble background aka you were born and raised in the “hood”, these books are still for you. Read with an open mind if you can and DO NOT compare yourself to these writers. We all have a path to walk and our journeys may not look the same. Trust me; I am the Queen of doubting myself, not believing that I have any marketable skills, and wondering if I will ever be good enough. Despite inner conflicts I keep trying, doing something rather than nothing at all, and building courage to do a little more than what I believed I was capable of accomplishing. Oh and if you don’t have a degree, Chanelle has testimony to share with you about thriving and surviving by using the constant learning without formal education method.

On a final note, I wish many Blessings to you all. Don’t lose sight of yourself, your hopes, and aspirations. If you do don’t fret, you can always find yourself on the right path paved just for you. Life can get hard and downright scary at times but know you have support. There are people in your corner when you don’t think they exist. I’m all about finding valuable resources to share, if you need help getting started don’t be shy to contact me.

A Nail In The Fence

Words can breathe life or death into a situation. I’ve often been advised to guard my words so that they may heal and uplift rather than inflict further harm and tear down. Admittedly, that is easier said than done. However, I do try to maintain positive thoughts about myself and the people around me so that when I do speak, (or write in this case) my words are sincerely from the heart and reflect optimism.  In an effort to train and renew my mind to think positively, I like to find inspiration from various sources. I try not to be stingy so of course I’m willing to share this beautiful piece with you all. Author is unknown. Enjoy!

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

 “A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.”

Dear Friends, please forgive me if I have ever left a hole.

Starting Over

 

Reclaim, Rebuild, Renew, was the theme I chose for myself earlier this year. I chose this theme and wrote out a goal list which I am determined to accomplish. I’ve learned, “Goals are dreams with deadlines.” One of the goals on this list was to start this blog and post at least once a week for a year. As I’ve stated in my about section, I decided to blog as a way to find my voice. I also wanted to share any positive experiences I encountered on my journey as I start over again after a divorce. Although my voice is of a young woman, I have already experienced major losses in life that many don’t encounter so early on or at all. Loss is not uncommon for a child from the city of Camden, NJ.  I was raised by a single mother, abandoned by an alcoholic father, managed to be the first in my immediate family to participate in a high school graduation ceremony, and graduate college by the grace of God. In my early twenties I had a promising career path. I owned a house in the “burbs,” I was married and life seemed perfect.

Divorce changes everything.  It doesn’t matter what age you experience divorce or who initiated the divorce, it can really devastate everything you ever believed about yourself and the world around you.  I felt like I was a failure. I had tried so hard to become everything I thought would make a respectable citizen and break the vicious cycle of never amounting to anything children born in poverty often embrace. I never realized the very ambition that helped me accomplish really awesome things would be the same ambition that would lead me to feeling completely empty inside. Although I wished I could have realized I wasn’t living authentically before I was married, losing what’s comfortable forces you to wake up and pay attention to life. I would be telling stories if I didn’t say that living life out loud is both scary and exciting at the same time.

When I first started trying to find my own path I often worried that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or talented enough. I worried that pursuing my passions would be a waste of time. I even felt intimidated by my sisters conquering their quarter life crisis who seemed so much bolder than me. I am now better at silencing negative Nellie, embracing my own special gifts, and believing that persistency prevails. Even if we fall down, we don’t have to stay there. Looking at failure as an opportunity to grow is truly a liberating experience. As a bonus, I’ve learned that some of our greatest industry leaders have come to the point of homelessness yet became the millionaires they are today. So even though starting over can get overwhelming at times it’s not too late to dust yourself off and try again.