A Happy Place Poem

Today’s post features a poem I wrote a few years, my first ever attempt at writing a rhyming poem. I have long harbored a desire to be a poet among-st many other things and frequently draw from my all time role model poet, Maya Angelou whose words and poems have stuck with me and birthed a love for the beauty of words. Words are like honey to the soul, to be cherished, nurtured, ruminated over and absorbed for their immense power at conveying the deepest thoughts and feelings of humanity.

Hope you enjoy today’s lighthearted post and do leave me a comment! I love hearing from my readers.

A Happy Place

I go to a happy place
Where not a care exists
Feet bare
Wind in my hair
Running through fields of meadow
Colors bright
Everything feels right

In my happy place
The sun shines bright
Bringing forth its light
Defying time and space
Rays bursting through with grace
With sunshine hellos
Smile her heart glees
Now you can be free
Like poppies carried by the wind
Lay on the meadow

Be still beautiful one
Your heart is free
Caressed by the warmth
Radiant from her Lover soul’s

 

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5 Simple Steps to Overcoming Lack of Motivation

She sat at the living room for hours contemplating what she would write next. Her tablet was beside her on the sofa, beckoning to be opened. Words floated and faded through her mind like little white clouds of smoke, each one unfruitful and leaving her more frustrated than before. She thought to herself “this is not going well at all”. She was coming to the realization that it would be a lot harder than she had envisioned penning down the words she knew were deep inside her that needed to be heard. Yet she was determined to prevail. As she mulled over these thoughts, with the cool air conditioning system billowing above her head, she drifted off.

This is not a scene from a movie or a book, this scene is the reality of trying to pursue a passion and the often accompanying lack of motivation that comes with it. Too often we only see the glamorous side of accomplished public personas but we rarely get to see or hear the arduous, sometimes boring, demotivating journey to success. It is this demotivating obstacle that must be tackled head on if there is any chance of attempting and succeeding at anything.

I have often had conversations with friends who have said they lack inspiration, don’t have passion or know what their purpose is or they just don’t know where to start even if they know what they want to do. To them I say “welcome to the club”. My point to them is, you’re not alone. At the heart of it, it appears unseen forces conspire to prevent us at all costs, from accomplishing the things we want to. These unseen forces parade themselves as everyday distractions which can be seemingly harmless. They range from social media to television, work, friends, boredom etc. A bite sized portion of any one of these distractions is sufficient to bring plans to a halt.

Fortunately, there are a few tried and tested steps that can be taken to combat this issue.

1. Identify the culprit

There is a popular saying that “you can’t change what you won’t confront“. This holds true when applied to every area of life including demotivation. To be motivated, you must get to the bottom of why you’re feeling unmotivated. This usually involves a lot of self-reflection or meditation. Could the demotivation be stemming from self-doubt or negative thinking about your abilities? Or could it be the circumstances or environment around you holding you back? Do you need to make certain changes in your routine, time management, priorities or focus? Or perhaps you want to be inspired by something that will lead you to your next big accomplishment but haven’t found that inspiration yet? Taking some time to think about why you’re feeling demotivated can help you get to the root cause of the problem and begin to make positive steps towards changing your situation.

2. Dispel the culprit (self-therapy)

Once you’ve been able to identify the obstacle in your way, you can begin to take steps towards getting rid of the obstacle. If your lack of motivation is caused by self doubt, focus on asking yourself questions to identify why you doubt your own abilities? Could it be words people have spoken over you that have caused you to stop believing in yourself? Or a track record of failed attempts that have knocked your confidence? Recognize that these events are past events and may have served their purpose at one point but are no longer serving you now and have become a hindrance to your progress. Maybe your demotivation is caused by the need for perfection? Perfectionists have a tendency to reason that anything worth doing is worth doing well and therefore if a roadblock is encountered that could derail progress or completion, they are likely to not start or try at all. This kind of reasoning must be avoided and a perspective shift introduced. The primary focus should not be on the final outcome at this stage but rather starting. Small, incremental steps are expedient for perfectionists to overcoming stagnancy. If the obstacle is a distraction such as social media which can eat away at productive time, limit your usage by turning off your notifications for the app in question or discipline yourself to only go on social media at specific times of the day. Discipline is a key tool that must be applied at this stage whatever the obstacle is causing the lack of motivation. Another useful tool to apply is accountability. Find a trusted friend or loved one and share your idea with them. Give them permission to hold you accountable to it, prodding you gently along the way on your progress. Knowing that someone else is vested in your progress can be great motivation in itself.

3. Pace yourself

At this stage, setting realistic goals will go a long way in maintaining momentum and staying inspired and motivated. One of the biggest killers of motivation is having unrealistic goals that cannot be met for various reasons. It is more effective to set small goals and increment to larger goals over an extended period of time than one large goal that runs the risk of killing any motivation you may have when challenges are encountered. Think of this as a top down approach. The top down approach is a popular methodology in software engineering which starts with the big picture but focuses on breaking down, understanding and defining the smaller components which make up the big picture. It is important at this point to also relax expectations on yourself. Remember that your first end result right now is starting. You can focus on the final end result once you’ve comfortably started and gain some momentum. Again think bite sized pieces instead of a whole lump.

4. Celebrate the small wins

As you accomplish one goal and move on to the next, celebrate the small wins. We tend to only celebrate big wins in our lives but make no room for small wins, yet these small wins are the fuel which keeps the car running and moving. Without this fuel, the car will inevitably stop running and come to a halt.

5. Enjoy the process

It is far too easy to get caught up with worrying about all the things that can go wrong, worry about progress and get stressed about your goals. But what if we learned to find enjoyment every step of the way, even in the difficulties? The key to this again lies in perspective. No matter what you’re facing as you progress with your goals, you can enjoy and appreciate the journey when you realize that at least you are taking steps consistently. It may be baby steps and it may be fraught with lots of tumbling over, hurdles to jump and even fatigue but at least you are moving forward. Enjoying each step of the way is a surprisingly simple yet effective means of staying motivated.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, like, share or leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from you.

A Journey called Purposeful Living

Following on from my last post detailing why I quit my job, I’ve been overwhelmed by the responses and reactions I’ve received from friends and loved ones. The support and encouragement has been truly remarkable and I’m deeply grateful and humbled by it. Every comment was read and cherished. I’ve been especially touched by those who voiced similar sentiments about their jobs, finding their purpose and feeling a sense of unfulfillment. From the friend with three kids whose husband quit his job as a lawyer to pursue his dream of obtaining a masters degree, to the friend who took voluntary redundancy and went travelling through Kenya and Tanzania for four months or the friend who quit her job as a teacher and started her own learning company, it is always liberating to open yourself up and realize that you are not alone in your struggles, there are other people who have walked similar paths and ultimately there is very little that separates us in comparison to what unites us.

One of the recurring questions I’ve received over the past couple of days has been “do you know what you’re going to do next”? And the truth is, not entirely. Sometimes it feels as if I’m at a crossroads of some sort. A crossroads between familiar territory versus venturing out into the unfamiliar. The more I think about it, the more I’m compelled to explore the unfamiliar even if for a period of time or concurrently. I keep thinking about how I would feel when I get to the end of my life and look back on the things I did and accomplished and I get this sense of dread that if I don’t at least try, I would regret it. I don’t like regrets. They serve no purpose to me and therefore if I have the choice now to potentially avoid a regret, I would prefer to take that choice. Having said all that, what I do know right now is that I’m rediscovering passions and interests that have been buried by the vicissitudes of daily life, one of which is writing.

A good friend of mine also asked me an interesting question “do you think that each person must have some sort of talent or particular thing that’s called their purpose”? It really got me thinking about the term purpose and the human perception of purpose. I believe that talent and purpose are two different things which can exist independently of each other or coexist in unison. I can be talented at singing, enjoy singing but it does not mean that my purpose in life is to be a singer. Purpose on the other hand is the what you were created for, the thing that gets you out of bed every morning. There is a sense that yours and the lives of others depend on it so you cannot ignore it, try as you may. It is a nagging deep within to do more, be more and create more. There are many notable people whose talent and purpose appear to intermingle, such as Serena Williams and Bill Gates to name a few. These people have mastered the art of turning their talents into a purpose that supersedes personal interests.

We can find purpose in our everyday life. Take for example, the security guard that keeps office buildings safe or the air traffic controller that ensures airplanes land safely and without incident are both fulfilling purpose. Now being a security guard or air traffic controller might not be their passion, but it fulfills a purpose that goes beyond self to the greater good of humanity. Perspective matters in being able to find fulfillment and a sense of purpose in everyday living. If the everyday humdrum leaves you feeling depleted and wanting, then consider pausing for a moment and listening to the inner workings of your heart. The answers most of us spend a lifetime pursuing already lies within us. Ultimately, our willingness to let go of fear and take action is the key to unlocking those answers and living a purposeful life.

Why I Quit My Job

Sine Metu
Without Fear

Tuesday marked my last day in gainful employment. I promised myself this year would be a year of taking more risks, living more purposefully, stepping out and documenting my journey as much as possible. I’m unashamed to say I’ve failed woefully at documenting much of it until now. This promise to take more risks and live purposefully stemmed from what can only be described as my year of turmoil. 2017 was one of those years I will never forget, a year that in some ways changed my life and the events of which are still changing my life even as I write this. It was a year of growing a backbone and truly realizing that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. As a popular adage goes, it was a year of “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong“.

Continue reading “Why I Quit My Job”

Breaking the cycle of perfectionism: my personal journey

Nobody wants to hear the F-word, and I know what you’re thinking right now but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about failure. Nobody likes that word or wants to hear that they failed. Yet failure is a part of everyday life, in the same way success is. Some people might disagree with this and that’s okay. For a recovering perfectionist like me, it takes a lot to admit that failure is a part of life and whether we like it or not we are bound to fail at some point, the longer we live on this earth.

I grew up thinking there was no room for failure in life or in other words, failure was not an option. With that rule and mind-set in place, it meant that I would work my hardest to ensure I never failed at anything.  But it wasn’t just about not failing, I wanted to be at the top and I did just that. This served me pretty well until about my 2nd year, 2nd semester of university when failure came rearing it’s ugly head at me for the first time. I failed two modules and it felt like my world had literally come to an end. See, I’d never failed a subject before so seeing the letter “F” on my result was about as alien as swimming in the Atlantic ocean. I couldn’t accept it. I tried my hardest to get my lecturer at the time to re-mark my results, but all my efforts were futile. After much internal struggling, I resigned myself to my fate and vowed that I would more than make up for those grades during the next semester. So, I poured myself into my studies with a renewed vengeance. Every spare moment I wasn’t having a lecture or working on an assignment was spent studying. Needless to say, I aced the following semester with a 4 point GPA. 

Since then, I’ve had other encounters with failure – not necessarily of the academic kind but nonetheless just as unpleasant and traumatic in some cases. Failed relationships, driving tests and job situations. Each time I failed at something, it felt worse than the last time. A sea of emotions would overtake me and I would wrestle internally with not being able to understand why I couldn’t just succeed at whatever it was, after all I was accustomed to excelling at most things. It never occurred to me that even the best of us fail sometimes and that’s normal and part of navigating life. Finally, my epiphany about failure came when I realized I’d attached my sense of identity to my ability to succeed. This meant that whenever I failed at something, my entire identity was questioned and nestling on shaky ground. I no longer felt like the ground beneath me was stable and I was worried I would not be able to overcome this unfamiliar feeling. It has finally taken me a string of failures and a lot of deep reflection to truly understand and even come to appreciate what failure can do for me, if I allow it. We’re told we must work hard to succeed, but nobody ever tells us that even though we work our hardest, sometimes failure is just inevitable. Nobody teaches us that failure in itself is a teacher. I’ve come to realize that success, whilst rewarding and exhilarating teaches very little. Failure however opens up a whole new world of opportunity to learn about ourselves, our world and even challenge previously held views and beliefs. Failure can be the catalyst to enjoying a kind of success borne out of true humility, maturity ,wisdom and experience.

A wise quote put it succinctly “failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success”. Take for instance, I have failed my driving test 6 times. Now some might think I must be a terrible driver to have failed a mere driving test that many times, but believe me when I say that I am actually a very good driver. In fact on two occasions after taking the test, the examiners have commented on how well I drive even though they still failed me. Human logic would reason “if I’m such a good driver, why am I failing”? Well, that’s a good question but the problem with that question is that it assumes that good drivers never make mistakes. Every test I failed allowed me to continue learning to drive and correcting the mistakes in the first place that caused the failure. So while I may not have a licence to prove my road worthiness as a driver yet, my experience of spending more time learning has greatly improved my skills, arguably more so than some who may have passed the first time. My point is, my encounter with failure allowed me to continue the journey of learning and in the process, build experience. My driving success is no longer defined by the plastic card I long for, but by the experience I have garnered behind the wheels and by the strength of character it has built up in me to brush off disappointment each time and keep going. 

I am no longer afraid of failure. Failure is just another word that has no control over my emotions or my identity. It is just another step on the journey to a life well lived.

Where’s my coffee??

Have you ever felt the nagging frustration of waiting for something that seems to elude you? You thought by now you’d have what you wanted, be where you wanted to be or received that long overdue promise. With each passing day, you feel like the clock is ticking away and that once thriving, hopeful burst of energy and anticipation has now been replaced with hopelessness, sarcasm, frustration and fear of the what ifs and why? You may not say it out loud for fear that putting it into spoken words will somehow be the confirmation that all is lost and it will never happen? Yet within you lingers that nagging fear and growing anxiety and you can’t seem to shake it off. Continue reading “Where’s my coffee??”

The growing whisper

There’s a whisper in my soul…one that grows louder with each passing day. It starts out very quiet, first as a random thought so unusual and illogical that it is quickly replaced by the mundane, normal thoughts dominant in my rapidly active mind. But then the whisper comes back more firmly and more resolute only this time not just with random thoughts but visions of a life different from what I’ve grown accustomed to. With the realization that it is more than just a whisper comes the sobering questions – what next? how? why? Suddenly life as I know it no longer seems enough. It seems to be a whisper carrying with it a desire for more and a push to seek  and walk a different life. The discontent in my spirit is not linked to the need for the acquisition of personal and material things. But rather to give and maximize potential beyond what I can ever ask or imagine. Is it a discontentment at dreams and aspirations not yet lived? Have I been born for such a time as this? What am I here for and am I fulfilling my mission? Is my life carved out for something so different beyond my wildest imaginations? Beyond what I’ve known and have come to accept?

This growing whisper has becoming a nagging in my conscious that has refused to let go. So unsettling is it that the normal routine holds no appeal anymore, but rather it is breathing and igniting a desire for radical transformation and change! But yet, I wrestle. Wrestle against developing those thoughts and giving life to it. Why? For fear of what it will mean, because it is like threading into unknown waters. The familiar is comfort and seeming certainty – while the unfamiliar represents discomfort and uncertainty. Who in their right minds would want to knowingly walk into discomfort and unknown territory?

But another more terrifying thought forms and even as that thought forms, I shudder to think of it. “Can you look back at the end of your life and be content with unfulfilled dreams?”. It is not a question I want to answer because I will not let fear paralyze me. I know in my spirit that I was born for such a time as this. So I have made a decision – with each passing day I will allow this growing whisper get louder and I will listen and trust Wisdom to guide me in the path she has prepared for me. I do not know what that path is, but I know that it is one filled with  light, honor and glory, impact and change. It will leave it’s mark and not be a silent dream and aspiration waiting for it’s time to go six feet under. It will reverberate for generations to come and He who made me will be glorified in it for in Him all things hold together.

I have a dream and it will not die.

~Weekend Quotes #3~

“I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God”.

King Solomon

After what has been a busy, stressful week…. It’s time to kick back and enjoy the fruit of one’s labour. Whatever that may look like for you, remember that all is vanity and grasping for the wind so you might as well enjoy it while you can.

Joie de vivre!

One of a kind love

Today I thought I’d share a poem I wrote a while ago when I was pondering the meaning of true love. It came from a time of confusion and despair when I couldn’t understand why certain things happen in life. Whether that’s the disappointment of a love lost, shattered dreams, broken promises, whatever it may be, there is something in the human spirit that yearns for love – to be loved and to love. When promises are broken and life happens, it can leave us feeling dejected and perhaps rejected, without hope and excruciatingly disappointed. But maybe, just maybe…the kind of love we long and hope for isn’t real love? Maybe we’ve confused the fairy tale love and romance of Hollywood and Disney movies for real love, pining for the happily ever after story.
Continue reading “One of a kind love”