Staying the course

There is promise in consistency, in faith, and in your own personal strengths if and only if you learn to stay the course.

How many times do you hear about the importance of staying focused?  Especially today, with so many distractions, so many invitations, and so many bandwagons to jump on, the ability to stay focused is almost the only way to succeed in whatever it is you’ve embraced as your life’s dreams.  Staying the course, in spite of whatever else may be going on outside of your primary concerns, is a must if you ever want to see your dreams manifest into reality.

Not everyone, however, will stay the course of their own path.  There become too many temptations to jump ship from what their own heart desires.  Paying too much attention to how good it looks for others who are on their own course will cause some to completely abandon their own personal strengths and their own power that lies within.  It is even more challenging to stay the course when you don’t have a strong belief in and respect for your own intuitions, your own gut feelings.  Too often, too many people find themselves, if they’re honest, placing more value on what others think about them and even on what others see in them, when in many cases others often have no idea what lies within that heart, that soul, or what entails in those deepest desires.  Don’t let that be you!

There is so much power in learning to appreciate the Godly desires which lie within your own being.  Different though they may be than those around you.  Different though they may be than those whom you deem happy and successful.  Placing a higher value on someone else’s journey is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your lifetime.  The world can never receive your best when you try to take on the journey of another being, simply because you’ve somehow been coerced into believing another life is better than your own.

If you struggle with believing there is value in the dreams you have or that there is value in the difference you want to make, pray.  Ask God to show you and give you clarity on the special being He’s made in you.  Pray for guidance, confidence, and an everlasting discipline that will all help you stay the course into becoming who God would have you to be.  We live in a very noisy world.  Until you find the discipline to tune out many things and many people, you may find yourself always hungry for another man’s journey.  But when you trust God and continually ask for His guidance, you will eventually see and connect with your own personal strengths and learn to tie them to the services you were meant to provide to those around you and even to the world at large.

A lot of time is wasted, wanting to be who someone else is, wanting to have what someone else has, and in wanting to live the life others are living.  Until you trust that which lies within, always speaking to you, also grabbing for your attention, you will never know the power you have or the difference you can truly make in a lifetime.

There is promise in consistency, in faith, and in your own personal strengths if and only if you learn to stay the course in your own journey.

Author Tawana R Powell

Creating a habit of positive energy

Imagine living a life in which you are always positive; positive when it comes to personal challenges, positive when others can’t see their way, positive when none of your plans unfold, and positive when disappointment arises.  Sometimes you have to think and imagine your way to the reality of such wishes.  Once you imagine it, believe it, and breathe it, then perhaps you can live it. 

People often say they can feel your energy before you even speak or before you enter completely into their presence. Sometimes that’s really good and sometimes it’s not so good.  There are parts of you that play a significant role in the energy you bring such as your demeanor, your facial expressions, and even the tone in your voice.  Because it is impossible to control every single instance of each of these all the time, it is important to work on having a positive mindset as often as you can, towards all that you can.  It is important to have the positive mindset because what you are thinking will very often play out in your demeanor, in your facial expressions, and in your tone of voice.  Taking time to take notice of where you are mentally, on a consistent basis, is what will help you create a habit of positive energy and spread such energy to those around you.

Positive energy can also cover your entire being when you have faith that everything about your life is working in your favor.  When you’re mature in your faith enough to know that setbacks are not God’s way of punishing you but are instead, opportunities to learn a lesson or two and to strengthen areas in your life where you may fall short.  Understanding and accepting that everything and everyday will not always be without challenges but those unexpected challenges can be overcome much better and possibly sooner when you’ve created a habit of carrying with you a welcoming energy that is positive and hopeful.  Faith and negative energy do not work together.  Always looking for the bad, expecting bad, and even hoping secretly for the downfall of others, all help display the negative energy you may think you have hidden so well.  Having a sincere faith about your own life, however, is what helps you grow into a demeanor filled with positive energy.  Having a sincere faith about your own life will show in the way you carry yourself and in the way you are heard.

Creating a habit of living with positive energy everyday is not only possible for the imagination.  It is a way of living that can make a major difference in the way you relate to others and in the way others receive you.  Your energy will also play a major role in your own personal growth and in your ability to achieve.  Positive energy will cause you to create a habit of looking for the good that others achieve instead of looking for their setbacks or downfalls.  It will also allow you to have hope, not only for your own successes but for the successes of others.  It’s a good feeling to be positive, to think positive, and to have a consistent expectation of God’s goodness manifesting in your life.  It’s all a matter of choice and self-respect.  The energy you allow to carry you through each day and the energy you bring to others both say a lot about what you want for yourself and know that you deserve.  Make it a habit to love on yourself, learn to like you, think loving thoughts about yourself, and treat yourself well, so that this same energy will spill over into the contact you have with others.  It is true that the way you relate to others is a true reflection of what you think of yourself.  Even the unwarranted sour feelings you have towards others reflect what you believe and feel about yourself.

So get into a habit of living with positive energy!  Wake up with it.  Think with it.  Greet people with it!  Defeat everything negative with it.  Positive energy is your connection to God’s goodness which awaits you every morning.  When you learn to have positive energy towards yourself and your own life, it automatically reciprocates the same towards others.  Because of all the blessings that flow through a positive mindset, living with positive energy is what you call real living.

The Mentality of always ‘Putting it off’

When you take a look at the daily habits you encounter on a consistent basis, do they invite you to a lifestyle of ‘getting it done as soon as possible’ or ‘putting it off as long as possible’?  One or the other can usually be seen as the typical way your thinking occurs in a majority of the decisions you make everyday, leading one to be the overall mentality by which you live.   

Both ways of thinking can be seen in habits ranging from how you pay bills to goal-setting timelines.  When it comes to paying bills, the convenience of having a due date can very easily trigger a desire to put off making the payment as long as possible.  There is often the belief that more important matters need to be taken care of at the moment; a belief which can quite possibly be true more times than not.  Also, paying bills by a due date is certainly much better than making late payments and paying by the due date doesn’t necessarily lower your credit score.  More important than any of these, however, is recognizing how this habit of putting it off as long as possible can spill over into other areas of your life.  It is the need for a due date, which becomes dependent upon, that can sometimes hinder success.

Whenever you take your clothing to a seamstress to be fitted, one seamstress may ask ‘when do you need it?’  In other words, when is my due date, while another seamstress will simply give you the day your clothing will be ready.  Two different mentalities, likely for various reasons, but which do you think is closer related to putting things off as long as possible?  Which do you think makes more money?

When a college student takes a self-paced course, there’s only one due date, which is at the end of the semester.  Some students will complete the requirements in half the time allowed, despite the end-of-semester due date.  Some will use the full semester, putting off some of the work as long as they can.  Although both ways can lead to the best grade possible, it is more important to recognize the lifestyle or mentality that develops or has already been established within each strategy.

Due dates are not at all the enemy here.  In fact, they give you the opportunity to work with your finances, balance your responsibilities and they help you create order.  They can also open the door to a sense of accomplishment when you meet their expectations.  It is when due dates are given by others, rather than yourself, that they tend to control other areas of your life, including the way you think, the habits you develop, and even the level of success you achieve.  The habit of working towards someone else’s expectations or someone else’s due date, will keep you spending more time thinking about and working towards their success.

Although most of your responsibilities will come with a due date of some sort, a more driven mentality is practiced by the one who sets their own due date within the date already set.  Instead of expending all the time you’re given, a more driven mentality gravitates towards getting things done as soon as possible as opposed to putting things off as long as you can.  Creating such habits as paying bills as soon as they arrive, setting your own due date standards as a seamstress, and completing self-paced college courses sooner than required, will find you more prepared when grand opportunities present themselves.  Such habits will give you the control over your life rather than your life being controlled by every due date that comes your way.  Instead of planning towards when the due date is, decide instead, how soon you can get it done.  The ‘get it done as soon as possible’ lifestyle brings on a sense of control that allows you to determine what you are capable of achieving.  The ‘put it off as long as I can’ mentality allows others to place limits on what you can handle.  The more you control your own due dates, the more mentally prepared you are for your next challenge and the more excited you will be about your next achievement.

The ‘putting it off’ mentality can take away so much valuable time, especially when you put things off just because you can.  It forces you to live by last-minute standards and can often cause you to miss valuable opportunities.  Over time, living by the ‘putting it off’ mentality too often becomes a way of thinking that will determine your journey, your level of success, and your contributions to the life given to you.  I challenge you today, to examine at least one area of your day-to-day living where you can improve upon the timing you either complete a particular task or pay what is owed.  Incorporate your own due date within the one already established for you.  Each time you exceed what is expected, it will strengthen your desire to exceed expectations in other areas of your life as well.  Before you know it, you will begin to build on the mentality of getting things done as soon as possible, rather than putting things off as long as you can.  Such progress in your life will be the key to the preparation needed to reach more goals, especially in a more profitable manner and it will give you the confidence needed to accomplish anything you set your mind to achieving.  Take a chance.  Set your own due dates and take control so you can experience all that life has in store for you.

Author Tawana R. Powell

‘The Biggest Devil Is Me’….Whitney Houston

If we’re honest enough, these are five words we can all attest too. But just because we say it, recognize it and even acknowledge it, doesn’t mean we’ve taken control.

The death of any individual is never meant to be an opportunity to scrutinize and state all the should’ve, would’ve, and could’ves about that individual’s life, but is instead an opportunity to explore all the lessons we can take from that life and implement into our own. So instead of only wishing things could’ve been different for Whitney, let’s see what we can learn from her life for our own good.

Once an individual can recognize that ‘the biggest devil is me’, they now have the opportunity to change so many things within their own life. To recognize such a claim can mean so many things. It means you now understand that any decision you make is yours alone no matter how many people it might affect. It means you understand that you have the prerogative to make those decisions, even if it’s a last minute decision. Some of the most impacting decisions we make are the ones we make at the last minute. It means that you have just released any and everybody from being the responsible party for all your mistakes and all your failures. Most importantly, it means you recognize the God-given power you have and the free will to do as you please.

Having all of these epiphanies might sound like you’ve just won the battle, but the truth is to actually act off of what you’ve just learned about yourself is ‘alot easier said, than done’. To act off of such an awareness means alot for not only yourself, but also for those around you. If and when you do act in your own best interest, based on this simple belief, it could mean saying no to alot of things people want you to say yes too. It means you find a way to express what will and will not be for you, hopefully in a way that doesn’t offend anyone, but more importantly in a way that is clear and concise. To act off of this belief also means that you are constantly ‘checking’ yourself consciously in regards to everything you take part of, what you think about yourself, and how you present yourself. The most important action you learn to take is to stop blaming anyone else for the state you’re in.

But knowing ‘the biggest devil is me’ doesn’t mean a whole lot if you don’t act upon this belief. It sounds good and may be perhaps your greatest epiphany but at the same time, your greatest demise could be to know and not act accordingly. The hardest part about living by such a notion could mean that it will force you to establish a relationship with yourself that many cannot handle because it entails accepting alot of blame, possibly chastising yourself for making bad choices, and even having the courage to make last minute decisions. It’s a constant battle of doing what others want and doing what’s best. The truth is it’s a claim that many already know about themselves, choose to live with, but never really own it.

So whether you choose to recognize yourself as your biggest devil, your biggest stronghold, or your biggest roadblock, it is most important to recognize that you are yours and only you can do something about it. If you’ve ever wondered why you’re never really pleased with who you are and may have even experienced some level of self-hate, perhaps not recognizing that ’the biggest devil is me’ is the root of such confusion. It takes guts to own such a claim but to do so can also mean winning many battles within. Whitney knew that about herself but is that where it ended for her? Just knowing? The biggest lesson we can learn from her life is we can do more than just know it, we can ACT ACCORDINGLY.

Tawana R. Powell

Are we really in an uproar about Beyonce’s Inaugural performance?

What’s really going on? January 21,2013 was Martin Luther King, Jr holiday, also the day of a 2nd Inauguration for President Barack Obama, where Beyonce sang the national anthem of our country. For me, this day clearly said, ‘You can be anything you want to be”. For many others, there became an uproar and criticism about Beyonce lip-syncing her rendition of the national anthem. Really?

It’s very interesting that recent news articles have verified that lip syncing at major events is not a new thing. Articles even list other celebrities who have done the same. Are we now going after the others? No, we’re not. It’s something about Beyonce, and only Beyonce, that causes an uproar when something like this occurs. Why is that? I guess people really do hate to see you at the top. But what are we so afraid of?

What I’ve learned is, even when we choose to compare ourselves to celebrities, the more genuinely happy we are with ourselves, the less need we have to quickly criticize others. The less we have a need to see others fail, make mistakes, or show that they are not perfect. True, it’s very easy to comment about celebrities, criticize them, and laugh when they goof because after all that comes with the celebrity territory which makes it ok, right? Wrong. When you find yourself feeling relieved and even satisfied, or secretly excited, because somebody has shown their imperfection or because they made a mistake, our response has nothing to do with the individual but has so much to do with us. Whether or not you realize the importance of that revelation is perhaps another article, another day, and unfortunately for some, another lifetime. But let’s try anyway, to recognize the importance today.

I’ve also learned that the ability to have a genuine happiness for another individual is much more liberating than the feelings of envy, jealousy, and hatred. Not only are these feelings three of the worst to ever experience, but they lead to so many devastating consequences from violence and death to mental and physical ailments. If you never become wise enough to recognize the connection, shame on you.

When we underestimate the power that our tiny little criticism has about someone, we devalue our own power and keep ourselves at the bottom of the barrel. Yes, have your opinions if you must, but out of respect for yourself, be truthful with yourself about the root from which those opinions come. You will very likely never meet Beyonce or anybody you easily criticize and they will never know about your crab mentality, but even if one of those things actually did transpire, still worse than that is the truth of your choice to live such an unproductive life. I know. I know….But everybody does it? It’s the best part of social networking? No…its an unspeakable waste of the most delicate existence of this world….life. Perhaps we should get a real one and be the Beyonce at what we do, because truthfully, if you can stand to admit to yourself, Beyonce is one of the best at what she does. And even if you don’t think so, it’s still okay to simply be happy for her and others anyway. Keeping negative comments to yourself and simply being happy for others in their success…it’s not as painful as you think. In fact, it’s the one healer of the many ailments of this world.

How long can you go without a negative comment of someone else and instead use that energy to address who you see in the mirror? Now THAT’s where the pain comes in. Something to think about.


Better Learn to Say ‘No’

Anybody who is successful in life can tell you that it comes with a price. It would be nice if we could in fact have it all, be all to everyone, and engage or participate whenever we simply felt like it. The truth is, however, that if we’re ever to see a true sense of progress in our lives, there will be many times that the word ‘no’ will make a world of difference.

When you finally get that one priority in the right place, it becomes clear what you must do to stay on the right path. You realize that decisions you make will not only pertain to progressing in your purpose, but just as important, will also include the ability to say ‘no’. It is never possible to detect all that will come your way as you go through life’s journey, and life is sure to present some things and people who are impossible to ignore. But when determination is at its peak, the ability to say ‘no’ can and will make the difference between those who progress and those who don’t.

And exactly what is it we must learn to say no to? It is the times when you want to spend money you don’t really have. It is the times when you want to indulge in relationships that demean your own self-respect and respect for others. It is the times you choose to please others and appease their desires rather than stand firm on the better decision. Not only do these pits distract you and become a priority but they also become the bread and butter of what you are soon to reap. There may also be friends and/or family who will always be available to matter-of-factly inform you that you need a man/woman, you need to take a trip, you need to hang out and socialize, you need to make time for yourself. Do yourself a favor and not only listen to them, but more importantly, look at their lifestyle. Pay attention to the connection between their own decisions and the outcome of those decisions. Sometimes it’s almost laughable but mostly, your instinct to take notice will actually present the moment where your response hinges on either your ability to stay focused or will hinge on your weakness and inability to say ‘no’.

Lacking the ability to say ‘no’ on a constant basis will always keep you from progressing and succeeding. A weakness not to be ignored, there’s no way around the fact that it must be addressed. The need to please or impress, the need to fit and be a part of, the impulsive need to belong, the need to be better than others, and the fear of missing out, are all defects in and hindrances to a productive way of thinking. Also, it is in your immediate circles where a lot of your weaknesses will unfold, especially with friends. If you are not wise enough to realize that your journey is most likely not to resemble that of a friend’s journey, you will continue to fall into the trap of always doing things alike or even together, failing to recognize and appreciate individuality and the gifts there of.

Those who succeed can show you a list of all the things and people they’ve had to say ‘no’ to. Those who continue to struggle don’t say ‘no’ to much. It all falls under the expectation of self-discipline and there’s no such place known as strength in your life where self-discipline doesn’t dwell. Your ability to say ‘no’ at the right time, to the right people will always determine the make-up of your priority list. Your priorities almost never hear ‘no’ because priorities are that and who you cater to the most. If you have a hard time understanding why you can never say ‘no’ to something or someone, the reason is simply because there lies your priority. If you don’t like the priority, change it. Rearrange if you must, but such will never really happen if you never find strength and wisdom to simply say ‘no’. Friends don’t need to understand. You need to understand what your priorities are, friends just simply need to know. Be determined to stay on your path and be honest enough with yourself to know when to say ‘no’. Your ability to do so will make the difference.



Do You Learn the Lesson or Manipulate the Lesson?

It is always refreshing when life is in flow with the greatest life lessons. When there’s no need to make excuses because you are indeed doing what’s right, you praise the lesson and allow it to shine in your life. But when the lesson is in conflict with what you choose to do or how you choose to live, your instinct may be, instead of learning the lesson, to manipulate the lesson, so that you find comfort in your decisions.

Over the course of even the last few years, we have gravitated more and more towards some of the greatest life lessons in order to find peace, make peace, and honor our truth. We’ve learned that the goal is to be satisfied with the way we choose to live. Most importantly, we’ve worked towards the bottom line of peace or the appearance of peace in our own hearts. Some of those lessons we now choose to live by are ‘to only focus on the positive’, ‘to wait on God’, ‘to know that it’s our season’, and the greatest one of all, ‘to do what makes us happy, do you’.

To only focus on the positive seems like the perfect world to live in and we should try to do just that. But in order to focus on one thing, you must at least be aware of the opposite of that which you choose to focus on. And to be aware means you cannot completely disregard the opposite. Yes, focus on the positive, but not in a way that causes you to believe the negative doesn’t exist. Be aware of the negative so that it doesn’t sneak up and blind side you. Become keenly familiar with both so that you can know the importance of where your focus should lie.

It also seems that we have mastered the task of ‘waiting on God’ and there’s nothing better we want to hear than it’s our season! Waiting on God is a very wise thing to do but we must understand that this is the one time where waiting is an action verb. Unfortunately, more times than not, waiting has actually become the perfect excuse to use when we know our part has not been done, and yet we still believe it’s our season. It is better to understand that this act of waiting is found in the midst of the work, right in the midst of taking step after step, while working without becoming weary, and listening to hear from God that you’ve reached the right one, the right time, and most important, His expectations. But never should this form of waiting mean to sit by and do nothing, while having the audacity to believe ‘it’s your season’.

And the one that top’s them all, do you and do what makes you happy. Sure, that is what we all should do. But before you do, know that the challenge is not in doing just that, but it is in having clarity about that which does make you happy. Know why such fulfillment encompasses your soul if indeed it does. Does it align with what God wants for you? Sometimes we can confuse true happiness with the determination to prove happiness and such determination can become the mere reason with exist. Happiness is more beneficial when you incorporate respect for others while deciding to do what makes you happy, not just simply doing what makes you happy with total disregard for doing right by others. As part of the human race, it is much more beneficial to all when we are determined to respect one another, even those we don’t know, when deciding to ‘do me’. To live a life knowing it is never only about ‘me’ offers a much greater chance to learn the lesson and make better decisions instead of manipulating the lesson to find comfort in what we do.

Living a life of conviction without fear rather than a life of comfort without conviction makes it possible to learn rather than manipulate life’s lessons. It leads to a much greater and rewarding life. Always take the time to question, ‘What do I need to do better?’ and you’ll find that there’s even pleasure in learning more so than manipulating.