Easiest is not always best

Doing what’s easiest is often times a part of human nature, especially when it makes the most sense.  But when doing what’s easiest keeps you from progressing in life, it’s time to do something different.  How often do you sit back and think of all the things you don’t like about your life?  How easy is it for you to mentally playback over and over again what you would’ve done different with your life, given the chance to do so?  Do you constantly compare your life to the lives of others and resent the differences?  It is always easy to fall prey to these pitfalls because negativity is always easier to present to yourself and to even accept from others.  A negative mindset comes with a false sense of justification for who you are and where you are in life and the justification becomes your comfort zone.  It’s very easy to ‘go there’ and even live there mentally, in the easy negativity, but what is it really doing for you and the life you want to live?  If it is much easier for you to list the things you don’t like about your life than it is to list the likes, you are most likely living in a negative mindset.  A negative mindset is the easiest life to live but it’s certainly not the best.

Taking the easy route to work everyday makes sense.  The ease of napping daily after work may not be the most productive.  Cooking your favorite recipe the easy way most likely saves time.  Dodging someone as a way out of a relationship is easy cowardly behavior.  Easy is not always the right way to do things and it doesn’t always produce the best results.  The sooner you learn when and when not to apply the easy way, the sooner you will experience the best, most productive results in life.  I think it is safe to say that when it comes to living your best life, there’s almost nothing easy about it.

Today, everybody wants to live their best life.  That is great but please understand that no one will become their best easily.  One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that being the best person you can be will always require some level of discipline, consistency and determination and there’s nothing easy about any of these.  If you find that you spend all of your time only doing what you want to do, there is most likely very little discipline in your life.  When it comes to discipline, there will be many things you want to do but you don’t.  You don’t do them because you know the ‘no’ will produce better results for that best life you desire to live.  The truth is it takes a special kind of determination to acquire the ability to apply discipline in your daily life.  I once heard the actor, Will Smith, say “self-love is self-discipline”.  What a powerful statement that is.  If you really want to know how much you love yourself, take a look at the level of discipline you practice consistently each day to achieve goals and make a better life for yourself.   How do you nourish your spirit?  How do you nourish your mind?  How do you nourish your body?  If you’ve made it a habit to do as little nourishing as possible, you’ve fallen prey to the easy way.  When you only want to do what’s easiest, you will never know your best.

The bottom line is not a lot comes easy when it comes to living your best life.  If you really do want to be the best you and live your best life, you must be willing to look beyond what’s easy to do and what’s the easiest way to get things done.  Instead, you want to first acknowledge what the best life is for you and then be willing to do what it takes to get there.  Be willing to challenge yourself to stick with a plan and to accept from the beginning that it won’t always be easy.  Instead of looking for the easy route, look for the most fulfilling route; the route that includes more growth, more knowledge and more success.  Although it sounds exciting to live your best life, the truth is everyday will not be exciting.  Everything won’t go as planned.  Everybody won’t understand your drive.  There will be days when you don’t feel like staying the course.  There will be days when you even wonder yourself, why you go so hard.  Be ready for these moments and always be ready to move beyond them with the why; because you want to live and give your best life.

Easiest is not always best so don’t allow the easy way of doing things and the easy way of living life mislead you.  Often times, it’s a short-cut that short changes you and negates your abilities.  Yearn for the most fulfilling way to get things done, to reach your goals, to live your life and go after it!  That is how you get to the point of living your best life.

 

Tawana R. Powell

Advertisements

Trusting God with your own

In a world full of options, opportunities, and opinions, it is vital that you know for sure, who you are and what you have to offer.  Because of all these options, opportunities and opinions, to be proud of who you are and of who you are becoming is often found to be one of the greatest challenges for some to conquer.  These challenges exist often times because too much attention is given, instead, to who somebody else is and what they have to offer.  Learning to place the many options and opportunities available and opinions of others in perspective is key to trusting God with your own existence and all that it encompasses.

With the access we have to one another today through the internet, social media, news media and cell phones, the act of comparing is at an all time high.  Because human nature sets you up to desire acknowledgement and acceptance, comparing has become a very important step, perhaps too important, in getting that stamp of approval needed to feel accepted.  But it’s not the comparison alone that could hinder your ability to trust God with your own.  It is what you do with and how you respond to feedback received from your audience or connections.

The danger in comparing yourself to others, especially unnecessary comparisons, is you may begin to form a distorted perception of yourself.  You begin doubting your own, what you already have, even what you have already learned to love and now discounting your own uniqueness.  What you once thought was a good thing, a good trait, about yourself, you can very easily begin to discount when you spend too much time comparing.  Relying too much on what others think or how they respond to what you choose to share can also contribute to a distorted perception of yourself.  Depending on the thoughts and opinions of others and their response or even lack thereof and comparing such to the responses someone else may get, can lead you to a place completely out of line with who God would have you to be.  Your desire to be acknowledged can allow the options and opportunities available to become much more enticing.  Self-respect can very easily be compromised when the opinions of others become more important than your own.  Not thinking of consequences that could occur later, possibly even years later, can very easily open the door to you doing things you never thought you would.  It is even possible that your need to compare has led to a state of desperation, to an unhealthy desire for attention simply because you’ve allowed the opinions of others to matter more.  But how do you keep from falling for this conditional love; a love solely based on how much of yourself you’re willing to share?

Trusting God with your own.

Anytime you open yourself to a need for acknowledgement, acceptance, and approval, you also open yourself to rejection.  Are you ready to receive any of these or maybe even none?  What does each one really mean to you? Sharing your life, your gift, and your services with others in the world of social networking calls for your ability to already know who you are and always on a journey of even more clarity; a journey fit for confidence-building.  An already existing awareness of your own comes through your ability to trust God with the way He made you, molded you and the way He has decided to present you to the world.  Already knowing you have His acknowledgment, His acceptance and His approval can alleviate a great deal of these needs from others.  Taking the time to address these needs within can help you get to a place where you already know.  Taking the time to really love the way you’re made and learning how to build on the intelligence that already exists will give you the stamp of approval that so many search for in all the wrong places.  Already knowing, accepting, and loving yourself, trusting God with your own, before you need it from others is how you keep from falling for the deception of conditional love.

Be careful with what you need from others, the attention you need, the acceptance and approval you need.  Get clear about the best ways to meet  these needs and understand how such acknowledgement can elevate your life and how it can completely deceive you.  An obsession with fulfilling needs of acknowledgment, acceptance and approval based on what others think can cause you to waste a lot of time and bring on lifelong regrets.  Such hunger can cause you to end up sharing too much of yourself and too much information about yourself over and over and over again, trying to fill something that can never be filled by others.  Trusting God with your own existence and all the beauty and strength it contains will help lessen your need for comparisons against another.  Already knowing and being sure about who you are and all the goods you have to offer will help you understand that the opinions of others is never a final say.

Acknowledgement, acceptance, approval…..when they all come from within, much less is needed from the outside which means you will have a much lesser chance of being misled about who you really are and how good enough you are.  Simply trust God so that you don’t have to compare and change and become somebody else because of those never-ending comparisons.  Learn to  trust your own and trust God as He works with you from within.

Author Tawana

Living with so much potential….when will you execute?

How many times have you said, ‘I will get it done today, I will start today’?  How many second chances have you taken for granted?  What will it take to see your potential through?  Are you one who is living with so much potential, yet may never see it through?  When will you execute?

The truth is nobody really knows the potential you have like you know.  Nobody can really understand completely, your deepest desires to achieve like you do.  Nobody knows, like you, your daydreams or your imagination of becoming the greatest and being the best at what you do.  Underneath all of the daily distractions you encounter and behind all of life’s worries, there lie your greatest potentials, the desire and the ability to truly succeed.  What will it take for you to execute?

There are three things that are a must in your climb to executing your greatest potentials; three things you must understand and fully embrace everyday.  These three things are faith in God’s plans for your life, the step-by-step climb, and a tenacious spirit.  Any potential you have to exceed in success with real substance will rely heavily on this kind of foundation.  Whenever you need to remind yourself of the reasons for your existence and you need to encourage yourself to see those reasons through, the combination of these three anchors will keep you on an upward journey.  This foundation will give you the courage you need to execute every potential you dream of living.

Understanding and embracing faith begins with knowing God always has your best interest at heart.  When you know this and believe it, you understand that everything about your life will work together to make room for you to pursue and execute any potential you have.  Strengthening your faith in God’s plans for your life will involve understanding that God is not out to bring you to disaster and it is never His desire to see you fail.  Instead, even with all the mistakes you’ve made, God has a way of bringing it all together, teaching you lessons, making you wiser, and presenting opportunities that will allow you to execute your potential.

The second anchor to help carry your potential through is your ability to have patience with the step-by-step climb you will experience in success.  Believing that every step matters will help you develop the patience needed.  Even when time seems to stand still or when your hard work and dedication goes unnoticed, keep climbing.  One of the most important lessons in life is understanding that you don’t have to have all the answers today.  When executing your potential, do what you can do today.  Take advantage of opportunities set before you today.  There is no way you could ever see right before your eyes, the plans God has for your life or the blessings He has in store.  Proof of your faith, the first anchor, is displayed in the step-by-step climb you continue to take.  When you look back at all the steps you’ve taken thus far, big and small, you will see the staircase God has taken those steps to create.  Keep giving Him something to work with because your staircase is not even close to completion.  Keep climbing.

It takes almost nothing to daydream and very little energy to imagine but these two places, your daydreams and your imagination, often house something very important and powerful in your life; your potential.  You see it, you feel it, you even draw energy from it, but at some point, you must execute.  At some point you must stop daydreaming alone and get to work.  Spending too much time, too many years imagining your life as such will only create a home not only for your potential but for you as well.  Have you been daydreaming so long that you are now living life in your imagination?  It has happened to many.  Make the effort to draw energy from the life you constantly daydream about and begin your step-by-step climb.  Stick with it!  The more you take chances, the more you grow.  Your consistency in trying will help develop your third anchor; a tenacious spirit, which will cause you to want more, to try harder, and to please God with your faith.  Remain persistent knowing that although you can’t see the life your potential can create for you, you know it’s there.  A tenacious spirit will not allow you to do otherwise.

So today, if you can get honest enough with yourself and bold enough to acknowledge the potential that lives within you everyday to be great, I challenge you to do just that.  Step out of the imagination you’ve been living in and begin to execute.  Waiting until everything is set before you is not an option.  Faith is available today.  Take it and begin your step-by-step climb, executing your potential.  You provide the steps and God will take them and form the staircase.  Stick to what you know is inside of you.  Instead of trying to look ahead for all the steps, simply start climbing and keep climbing.  From time to time, you will get a chance to look back at the staircase God has formed with the steps you’ve given him to create it, but only if you begin to execute the potential inside.  I dare you to get started!

Author Tawana

Growing from insecurities

Let’s get clarity on insecurities.  Insecurities are nothing more than opportunities to look within, grow and love yourself more.  Having the will to recognize and acknowledge your own insecurities is the first step in such growth and self-love.  Insecurities of your own are never meant for you to dislike others, wish bad on others, attack others, or even covet that of another, although these are the easiest, most comfortable, seemingly satisfying reactions.  Equally, it is imperative that you control the mindset of what actions are to be taken once you encounter insecurities of your own. 

Jealousy, envy, hate, and many other negative feelings never exist alone.  Instead, they are always attached to insecurities from within, plain and simple.  These feelings are always a reflection of what’s really going on inside of the heart and mind.  When you experience such harsh, negative feelings towards another, they say to you, there is a perceived lack in your own life, significant enough to cause you to somehow feel cheated, less than and even unimportant.  These beliefs, when internalized, can even lead you to wish bad on others, hoping they fail, and sometimes for some, wishing even worse; all because of insecurities that lie within, giving you a false sense of your own self-worth.

The good news is, with every insecurity you experience, there’s the opportunity for growth attached to it. Think about that!  Instead of always resulting to the easy response of negativity, jealousy, envy and hate towards another, it is possible and a much healthier response for you to develop the habit of recognizing and acknowledging any experience you have with insecurities and immediately begin to look within.  Question yourself.  What is this?  Why am I feeling this way towards her/him/them?  What am I believing about myself that is simply not true?  Where is it coming from? And most important, how can I fix me?

Anytime you find yourself comparing your life to the lives of others in an unhealthy way, measuring what you have or don’t have against what they have, you are simply feeding the energy of your insecurities,  giving credit to the displeasure within your own being and standing by the disapproval of what you have to offer.  When comparing yourself to others in this way, you feed into those unrelenting negative beliefs you have about yourself and the most beneficial question you can ever ask will always be, ‘how can I fix me?’.  In order to grow and find a deeper sense of self-love, you must gain control over your insecurities, no longer allowing them to be that secret scapegoat towards your jealousy of someone.  Confront your jealousy issues, your envy and even hate towards another, in the mirror.  Where is this coming from?  Where do I believe I’m lacking?  How can I fix me?  Instead of taking the easy route and spewing such negativity towards others simply because you perceive them to be doing better in life or having better, challenge your thoughts about yourself.  Experiencing insecurities in life are some of the rare times it is actually all about you.  Take advantage.

What a relief it can be when you truly understand that insecurities and feelings of jealousy, envy and hate are never, ever, ever about the other person or people; a relief in knowing you can take care of such awful feelings if you would just work from within.  When these feeling come about, it is your inner being’s way of calling out to you, to guard your heart more, to express your true being more sincerely, to love yourself more, to actually like yourself, and to work harder at what ever it is you have to offer in life.  Somewhere in your own personal life, you are likely lacking and simply need to catch up.  Any negative feelings towards another that are based on you ‘comparing notes’ between you and another are just a wake-up call for you to give more attention to something going on inside.  The more you run from and ignore your insecurities, you will notice your negative feelings only deepening and spreading towards even more people as time goes on.  But when you take the time to understand what is going on inside of you, become willing to address the lies and improve your way of thinking, you will continue to grow and be at peace with others living their lives to the fullest, as they should.

Should you ever find yourself experiencing a sense of jealousy, envy or hate towards another, know that it is never about the other person but all about you and insecurities within that need to be addressed.  Love yourself enough to look within.

Author Tawana R. Powell

New Year’s Blinders… Are you wearing yours?

Anytime you make a firm decision to set a goal and begin taking the necessary steps to achieve it, a certain level of focus is required and often times, adjustments are needed.  Although you may not always acknowledge the focus you take on, it is there.  When you are determined to achieve a goal, that goal is constantly at the forefront of your mind, with a level of importance above just about anything else you have going on.  That focus you have is what I equate to ‘wearing your blinders’, determined to keep all unnecessary distractions at bay until your goal has been met.  

Going into a new year is primetime for wearing your blinders especially if you are one to make resolutions or decide to change some of your daily habits.  It is a time to reflect and take notice of all the things that may have gotten you off course last year, how it happened and why you allowed such things to deter your focus.  Once you make note of all the things that caused you to lose focus and gain a determination to keep it from happening again, this is a good time to start placing your blinders on, helping to take your eyes off the things that waste your time and get you off track.  Learn to guard your eyes from the things that don’t matter.  Guard your attention from wasteful activity. Guard your ears from the doubts of naysayers.  Most importantly, guard your heart from anything that is not of God’s plans for you.

Put on your blinders to get the focus you need.  Your blinders are a representation of your determined focus to look straight ahead, blocking distractions, saying no when necessary, disregarding your own doubts and fears that will arise from time to time.  You have to be aware that these distractions will continue to come at you from every angle.  They are nonstop and can be extremely tempting.  They will always be there.  If the awareness is there ahead of time already expecting such temptation to occur, you have a better chance of being saved by your blinders and will be wise enough to keep your eyes covered and protected from straying the wrong way.  Instead of falling for the temptations of distractions, you will continue looking and moving ahead when you learn to wear blinders.

At some point, you must be willing to accept that it may be time for you to step away from some things and even some people if you are serious about making some changes in your life and reaching your greatest potentials.  Such accomplishments are never going to happen if you never make the conscious decision to see them through.  Be willing to accept that God is calling you to do some things with your life that are expected of no one else around you, just you.  Believe it or not, it is true.  Be willing to accept that it is time for you to step out on faith, not having all the answers, not even having everything you think you’ll need tomorrow.  What you have right now is all you need right now.  Allow your faith to cover the rest.  Be willing to put on  your blinders, blocking everything and everybody around you that stand to knock you off course.  You’ve already been knocked off more times than you care to remember.  At some point you and only you will have to be the one to change the course of your life.  Will you put on those blinders today or will you keep allowing wasteful distractions to rule your life? Get focused, get believing, and get going.  No one else will do it for you.

Happy new year to you!

Author Tawana R. Powell

Purging for the new year

Purging, cleaning out and second chances are some of the most liberating moments in life, as it is these moments that bring clarity and offer the chance to start over once again.  A chance to start over, to try again, to have in front of you that very opportunity to make things right, are like gold.  They allow you the chance to forgive yourself for past mistakes, past doubts and the many past excuses that have justified everything you haven’t done.  Fortunately, for anyone willing to take advantage, every year brings one of the most exciting holidays of its own, my favorite, New Year’s Day!

Although it is not set in stone, required or the only moment to start over, the beginning of a new year is celebrated in such a way, that it becomes at least one of the best times to regroup, to revisit, and get rejuvenated.  The newness welcomes a rise in adrenaline, excitement, a renewed hope, and the desire to reflect on the good and the not-so-good.  It is a time that many of us find ourselves thinking, perhaps a little deeper, about the many occurrences we’ve experienced within the year, especially the unexpected ones, grateful for the outcome of them all.  Closing out one year and heading to the next is a good time to recognize your strengths and acknowledge God’s grace because these together are what bring us through each and every year.

Purging is a much needed task in some areas of life that helps bring on a new determination to start the next year lighter, brighter, and with a renewed hope.  For some, it will only be a passing thought, a wish, or a seemingly unattainable goal.  For others, some form of purging becomes imperative with no exceptions because there’s no other way to start a brand new year than to release, clean up and make room.  There are what some call heavy loads, that sometimes meet us at the end of any given year; heavy loads on our hearts and on our minds, leaving many unanswered questions.  The end of a year is often found to be a good time to release and let go of some of these loads.  This is a form of purging that can help you renew your faith into the new year, believing that in all things, God always has your best interest at heart.

One of the more popular forms of purging lately has become that of eliminating the many social connections accumulated over the last few years.  Many have perfected such purging, even making it a daily ritual, especially if it means getting rid of any negative energy that could hinder even the simplest opportunity to progress.  Purging for the new year, however, is also needed in other areas of life besides our social connections.  There is a much needed mental purge that goes very well with welcoming a brand new year.  There is also a physical purging likely needed and most important, a spiritual one.

Taking the time to determine what information you have taken in throughout the year and whether or not that information has been beneficial, enlightening and uplifting is an absolute must in starting the new year strong and on a positive note.  Thinking about the fears you surpassed within the year and the challenges you actually overcame are two strength-builders worth making note of as you purge misinformation.  As the new year rolls in, making an assessment of where you are mentally; your thoughts, your concerns and your desires for the new year, can give you a mentally healthy start that is much needed to receive all that a new year brings.

Just  as important as your mental state going into the new year, is your physical space.  Although your surroundings alone do not determine your progress in life, it is important to assess the very things, circumstances and people taking up space in your daily life.  Understanding the importance of each will help provide the clarity you need to make it all work together in a positive way.  Making an assessment of your physical space can also help you recognize the changes that need to be made, not necessarily changing all in a day’s time but certainly working towards the changes on a consistent basis.  Whether your home needs to be cleaned out, storage space revamped, boxes removed, etc; purging throughout your physical space is vital to your success in experiencing mental clarity.  When you feel free in your personal space because of the people around you, because of your ability to work through circumstances, and because of the things you have, such freedom will allow you to see more clearly, from where you’ve come, where you are now, and to where you’re headed.  Your awareness and acceptance of your physical space and that which dwells within is very important in your ability to progress.

The most important of your purging for the new year will be that of a spiritual purge.  All year long, there have been doubts.  There have been fears.  There has been rejection.  Whether these came from you or someone around you, now is the time to acknowledge the power they actually did not have.  You’ve not only survived but also thrived in some areas of your life throughout the year in spite of those fears and doubts.  You can now look at the rejection as simply a rerouting instead.  Opportunity has been proven to exist in directions you had no intention of going.  Before you go into the new year, relieve yourself of anything that weighs your spirit down.  Even in matters you may not quite understand or in matters where you may be wrong in your thoughts about something or someone.  Relieve yourself of such, at least long enough to begin the year with a light spirit, a peaceful spirit and a renewed hope.  Life and time have a way of making everything clear to you at the right time.

So purging it is and the time to start is now!  Old, defeating thoughts, playing over and over in your mind, keeping you bound.  Purge!  Things and people keeping you closed off from the freedom of being an authentic you.  Purge!  Any negative energy, weighing on your spirit, day after day.  Purge!  Another old year is proof once again, that God’s grace is sufficient for  you.  Prepare to receive a new year as the gift it is by purging away the old and useless.  Free your mind, free your heart and go into the new year ready to give and receive the best.

Here’s to your 2017…

Author Tawana R. Powell

The Pit stops of Life; Is God in the driver’s seat waiting on you?

I believe too often we experience many pit stops in life that perhaps God has nothing to do with.  Because of His grace, He continues to press the brake pedal, still there with you.  Because of His mercy, the clock is still ticking.  At some point, every journey will run out of fuel and the distance you’ve traveled will speak for your life.  Hence a question worth pondering; how many unnecessary stops are you making along the way?  

Just as with any journey you take, the journey of life will always include some interesting and even enticing pit stops along your travel; some worth stopping for, some not.  Are you wise enough to know the difference?  There are pit stops for learning and nurturing your craft.  There will be stops available for you to give someone else a hand or to lift them up.  You will also come across pit stops reminding you of those before you who have succeeded in a journey somewhat or very similar to your own.  Be sure to check out these pit stops when you can, as they are a representation of giving you the fuel you’ll need to continue moving forward.

However, there are also pit stops along the way designed to distract you in any negative way possible.  You will often come upon those that offer you big free bags of doubt and fear about what may be up ahead in your journey.  You can also be distracted by pit stops called Gossip, that will make available to you, information about others that can cause you to have a skewed and distorted view of who they really are.  Such misinformation can cause you to miss out on some of the most valuable connections available.  There will even be pit stops ahead to inform you of those who didn’t make it much further than that particular milestone with a list of all the reasons why you won’t either, trying to encourage you to simply give up.

Then, there are the pit stops available only at night, allowing you to engage in activities that are meant only for the dark.  These activities can include backstabbing, destroying the character of others, engaging in relationships and friendships not pleasing to God and many more.  These activities show up only for you to negatively impact the lives of others.  Unfortunately, these night-time pit stops fail to inform you that, more than anything else, your behavior in these moments is most likely leading you into actually digging a hole for yourself and your own personal journey.  Along your journey, you may even experience what appears to be a dead-end.  These will be some of the most pivotal moments as you will now need to make decisions that could possibly determine the outcome of your life altogether.  Is it really a dead-end or do you need to regroup and try again?

Pit stops in life and along your journey will happen all the time.  The most productive ones are when you take the time to learn more about your service and how you can better your ability to somehow change the lives of others.  When you stop and take the time to reflect on the progress you’ve made and recognize the strengths within which have contributed to such.  These are the moments you want to visit from time to time.  The negative pit stops you experience are more mental than anything else.  The times you stop to worry about the things that don’t really matter and have no power in your destiny.  The times when you try to figure out more than you need to know at the present time.  When you  find yourself dwelling far too long on mistakes of the past.  These are the pit stops you want to avoid as much as possible.  Not only do they hinder your progress and keep you from growing.  Most importantly, they keep God, your driver, waiting on you to get back on your journey with Him where you can continue moving forward.  God is always waiting but don’t keep Him waiting so long that your fuel runs dry and you miss out on all that life really does have to offer you.  Pit stops.  Know which ones are worth your time and know which ones to bypass.  Your own judgment of these moments will determine how far in life you go.