These words here…
>By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
Some of us strive for excellence only in our personal lives content with the belief that at least there we have some control, since we have none at out Just-Over-Broke Situations. Then there are those of us who are more focused on prosperous careers and we could care less if we have a hodge-podge relationship, dating a handful of people (and probably being dishonest to all of them), or running through life single and alone.
I believe that you can be successful in both love/family and career.
What’s the sense in having a prosperous career and you have no one worthy to share your accomplishments and setbacks with, how is that a successful life?
I strive for excellence in every aspect of my life and I truly believe that I can have both a successful personal life and career as long as there are two things constantly present that I’m focused on: God, and that I BELIEVE even when I’m scared, and especially when no one else does (or they are too self-absorbed to care).
I believe that I can be the wife who cooks, cleans, stays up late helping my husband meet deadlines or work through issues; the wife who loves him to the level (and intensity) that makes others jealous; that I can be the mother that other children wish were theirs (and my children soak it up); that I can have the loving, respectful, supportive husband, and the well-mannered, giving, caring, highly intelligent and gifted children- all nestled in our warm, inviting and beautiful home (with a well-manicured lawn, my Land Rover LR4, and a happy dog). Yes, I believe this with every fiber of my body.
At the same time I believe that I can have that demanding yet rewarding career doing all of the things that I love doing, and getting paid handsomely. I also believe that I can do all of this and still serve the least of God’s children around the world…
It all requires balance. It requires believing in myself and believing that I’m NOT doing this alone. There is a greater power out there- God- helping me along the way- opening doors, windows, vents, and more so that I can walk, jump, crawl, or wiggle inside and make a difference in my life and the lives of others.
We must be about action. There is no limit to what we can or can’t do. We can either make things happen and DO something, or we can spend our lives coasting by TALKING about our dreams. You can find your calling at any age between 20 and 90, but it is up to you whether you do what you are called to do or waste the time making excuses why mediocrity is the best you can produce.
We must remember that there IS a time limit on life; tomorrow is not promised- so we have to seize the moment and learn each day to LIVE OUR DREAMS!
They say that imitation is a form of flattery. Hmmm well to those who spend many moments imitating me I would say, “look close then do what I do…you own thing, and be unique doing it.” There is a difference between looking at someone we admire and modeling their behavior that led to their success or their sense of confidence- but it is quite another thing when we begin to assume their identity on some level; when we start dressing like them, acting like them, speaking like them, assuming positions and roles identical or similar to theirs, picking up their hobbies and so on and so forth.
You lose yourself when you’re busy trying to be like someone else. Soon you will grow to hate yourself (more) and ironically (and subconsciously)…the very person you imitate.
The same is true in competition. You should be concerned with what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Your biggest competition is yourself so stop looking around you and start looking within. Live your life purposely not reactionary. Don’t do something because you see me doing it and you think it will make you look better or smarter. Sometimes the things that others do that seem so effortless are the very things that you will fail at repeatedly as you discover that it takes great effort, hard work, and a diligent thought process- they just make it look easy.
Look at how much time you wasted trying to outdo or be like someone else when you could have ran your own race, took care of your own needs, and found your own ‘self’- by your own set of rules.
I write because it is a God-given gift, because it makes me feel good and is my way of releasing and letting go. Just like music, I have loved writing and the written word since I was a small child. I began reading at the age of two, and words and books have been a major part of my life since. I was editor of my high school paper, wrote for the city paper and the Los Angeles Times, and found a way to continue writing in other environments since.
There will never be a point in my life where I look at a piece of paper and pen, my laptop, or any other instrument that I can use to express myself and say, “I’m through with this nonsense“- I can confidently say that until I take my last breath I will be a writer, and I will share my work with the world. I say that to say, my passion may not be yours- so why imitate me?
My other passions are music, business, fitness, education, working with the under-served and underrepresented, and working with women and children who struggle for the right for self-empowerment and self-sufficiency. All the days of my life I hope to be blessed enough to continue working for and within these areas that bring me such joy and completeness. I would not consider stretching my arms into other realms because in my heart I believe that I am where I am supposed to be and doing what I was called to do…not imitating someone else!
If people stuck to what they do best and did it consistently every day they would be the most successful person in that area. Instead, people start hop-scotching into other areas that they are only vaguely familiar with- or out of envy they pursue because they see someone else succeeding at it- then they scratch their head and kick the dirt in frustration when they are mediocre in the same role.
I have mentors but no idols. I mentor women and young girls- but I don’t want them to be just like me. I worship one God and follow the examples of His son, yet I embrace my fellow brothers and sisters of different faiths regardless of our differences because I know that we are more alike than not. So at the end of the day I look within myself to motivate, push, and compete with- not at the next woman…or man. There’s me, myself, and I…and that’s a lot to handle for one person, and I don’t have the time, inclination, or low self-esteem to be concerned with what another person is or isn’t doing.
So I say to those who would imitate me or others…do your own thing and be unique doing it!
Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
>I had a conversation with a dear friend Tuesday night while we ate dinner. We were discussing my past, past loves, past hurt, the lessons learned and the blessing of humor that helped keep me sane- without it I’m sure I would have been on the first episode of the show “Snapped“.
He told me, “wow Tasha you have been through a lot“. That would definitely be an understatement. One thing I can say after years of much-needed healing, and through this process of growth and rebuilding- I don’t regret what I have gone through because it has definitely made me stronger and wiser. It has also made me more conscientious in my dealings with others and with how intentional I am in my commitments- in thought and deed. When you have been duped once it’s a “shame on them” moment, but as many of us soon realize- the second time is a definite “shame on me“. So the third time you get played (or play yourself) you need a psych evaluation…and in a hurry!
|Photo Credit: marriedmysugardaddy.com|
In these short 35-years I have lived an oxymoronic ‘long life’ as I grew up very fast; partly because of circumstances and partly because I wanted to be “grown” so I could do what I wanted when I wanted. Lord, God has an amazing sense of humor because not only do I miss my childhood and the freedom I took for granted, but I have grown to learn that I can’t do what I want whenever I want- those darn things called bills and obligations keep pestering me. I have also learned as my friend John Hope Bryant frequently is heard saying, “Want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans…” and with that I have spent more than 30 years telling God what I was going to do, who I was going to be with, when I would marry and have children, when I would have a successful career and personal life, and a long laundry list of other things I thought I could naively control.
An amazing thing through this journey that I have also stood firmly in is my reality that I am not damaged goods. I am not hopeless or helpless. I am not a victim. Hard-headed…yes, but I don’t need rescuing. In my strength there is a vulnerability. Inside of me is a desire to love and be loved fully and intentionally. Inside of me is a warrior princess looking for the opportunity to help the masses of people whose hope is waning. I want to help those both inside and outside of my culture and community; the voiceless, the fearful, the wise who are overlooked and overshadowed; and the disenfranchised, under-served and underrepresented. I want to be a true ambassador of goodness and dignity. I want to give more because I have been given so much from God. I want to teach others to ‘fish’ and bake, and not simply give them fish and loaves of bread.
Since I was a small child it has been my lifelong mission to save the world one person at a time. I have never been concerned with how I could benefit from a transaction, deal, or experience – I always wondered how I could help others in the process. It is not my desire to acquire wealth just for self- but to find ways to provide resources for others to learn, grow, and then pay it forward. I don’t want to rule over others and call myself a ‘public servant’- no offense to politicians- but I would rather continue serving the least of God’s children for free and be wealthier, wiser, and more powerful than any government official could ever be…and sleep with a clear conscious each night!
|Image Credit: Matt Groening
I have worked hard and diligently as a Business and Entertainment Consultant, a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, a PhD student, and as a child of God who happens to be a woman and Black. There is only one source for these successes (and the others I humbly and modestly refrain from listing) and that is God. Call Him what you want- He knows who He is and His role in your life (or lack thereof). We all should be putting our faith in something greater and better than us and that is what matters most. In this new year my focus is on Him first, and keeping my ears, eyes and heart open to the possibilities and opportunities He has planned for me- because I realized something- I have not pushed myself through the threshold, and through hell and back in a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, I have worked hard- but I haven’t worked to exhaustion and then kept going. I know how this feels and last year I didn’t reach that point. My knuckles, face and knees weren’t bloodied, and because of that I didn’t see the pay off I should have. Lesson learned.
|Photo Credit: zazzle.com|
This year I must face my fears in business and in my personal life, and shatter the lies that I have allowed to hold me hostage. I want to give my all in everything; no half-stepping, no game playing, no rationing or rationalizing. I want to see things through and give 100% effort in every aspect of my life. When we learn life’s lessons the purpose is to then move forward to the next lesson, not sit back and ponder endlessly the how’s, when’s, why’s, and what’s. I have also surmised that the people we have in our lives is an important factor in our overall success- because let’s be honest…most people who are successful in business suck rotten lemons in their personal lives. Show me 10 successful business people who have successful marriages, families, and personal lives. I will wait….
It is possible to have a successful career and personal life. It is possible to be an incredible business person, husband/wife, parent, and friend. But do you know what the majority of people are missing? What we are missing is the valuable link of a spiritual foundation. Not religion- but spirituality. Take out the formalities, the rituals and traditions- and get to the root- your Creator. When you put Him first in all decision-making, in all relationships, and situations then you are no longer thinking of self first, you are surrendering all to a higher power. When you put Him first you never think twice about emotionally or sexually cheating, juggling multiple partners, misrepresenting yourself to others, or playing games when it comes to matters of the heart. When you put Him first you never walk over business associates, or casually evict a struggling family trying to live paycheck to paycheck.
Get past the simple thinking of ritualistic prayer (and at convenient times only) and get centered on having a spiritual foundation and reference point every second of every day. When we realize that we can’t control much of anything and finally let go of the ‘steering wheel’ and focus on our roles and responsibilities, we will be able to clearly see how to balance our segmented ‘worlds’ within the grand scheme.
This year I will let go and move forward. This year I stop trying to prove myself to people who really don’t matter (when you think about it) and just express myself genuinely and humbly. The rest will always work itself out- and with it will come the balance we all truly want and need. With that comes a successful, honest, loving, and real marriage and family. With that comes a successful career surrounded by people who respect you for how you treat them not just because of your title and the perceived power you have over them, or because of what you can give them (or help them get). With that comes people who know that I am more than a pretty face with a cute figure. This is something many women are struggling to overcome- the ‘brains over beauty’ battle. We have grown to find our best assets aren’t the ones tucked away in our heads, but rather the ones that should be tucked away under clothes.
So this year I will continue weeding out those people who are only leaches. I will weed out those people who want to hold on to me but don’t want to be loyal to me. I will avoid relationships with people who don’t walk in the light that brings healthy growth and spiritual prosperity. I will avoid people who would have me compromise my morals and values to satisfy their selfish needs. I will remove myself from situations that are infectious, and I will only associate with those people who truly want the best for and from me, who bring out the best in me, and give me their best for no other reason than because they are revealing what is inside of them- goodness, dignity, honor, and love.
What will you do with the lessons you have learned thus far? What values are you representing and standing firmly within? To paraphrase an old saying, “a person who won’t stand for something will fall for anything“. This is your moment so seize it!