My Thoughts

Liah’s Interlude

I’m not quite sure where to begin, but I’ve spent the last two months void of social media (except for FB, had to keep up with birthdays haha). I decided that I wanted to spend the first 60 days of 2018 grounded in who I am, who I wish to become, and where I would end up come May. Not to mention, I started my capstone for my MBA in January and it is with great pleasure that I announce I officially completed my MBA last night. It was by far the hardest 9 weeks of my life, but my celebration will be short lived because in two weeks I will start my second capstone for my MS in Science Management and Leadership. During that two week break I will be in Greece to visit 7 companies and learn about commerce in Athens. This trip and the experiences to come could not be more on time. I can say I’m ready to come from under my rock and reintegrate myself back into “society”, even if only for a couple weeks. I want to discuss some of my realizations that have come from my 2 month “interlude”.

In May I will be graduating and I’ve spent the last few months applying to jobs and networking, but things have not yet started to shift for me. I can definitely say that it’s been discouraging, but I have faith that God has a plan for me. With that being said, I was having a conversation with a friend one day about the pressure placed on us from society, and more specifically our generation. We are all learning how to “adult”, but it is no secret that most people have this notion that we should be in a certain place at a certain time. For me specifically, if I walk across that stage on May 12th and I don’t have a job I will feel like a failure, forget the fact that I’ll be 23 graduating with 2 graduate degrees. However, I’ve recognized that I’m only a failure if I allow this perception of who I should be and where I should be to permeate my life.

Recently, I’ve had many people I come into contact with say that I have this “glow”, and I’m always taken back by the comment because I feel as though the stress I was enduring had completely taken over. I could barely remember the day of the week, let alone comprehend where this “glow” could be coming from. However, I think it was a constant reminder from God that while you’re growing you could still be glowing. I’d like to compare it to a flower. A flower is still a flower, and is still beautiful even when it is not fully bloomed. So for everyone who is going through “it” during this stressful time of the year, continue to persevere. It doesn’t last forever and there are far greater things waiting for you on the other side. I’m glad I took the time to step away and focus on myself, and I’m truly ecstatic to get on this plane tomorrow to Greece. Make sure to follow my social media to see Greece through my perspective!

 

 

 

My Thoughts

“Chicago is Comfort…”

Yesterday as I was driving home I was having a conversation with my best friend that sparked the focus for this week’s blog post. As our conversation progressed, it fell upon the topic of where my life is heading upon finishing my graduate program in May. As always, the subject of where my new home will be brings me anxiety. While I was expounding on the remark, I made the comment “Chicago is comfort…” and I stopped myself in my tracks to process what I had just said. Chicago is on my list of places to look for a job, but I know that it comes from a place of comfort. Chicago is home to me, and it is where some of my strongest ties reside. However, that city represents a place of comfort, and in that type of comfort I don’t see growth. Now before I continue, I want to state that I am not saying there is anything wrong with moving back to your home city, I know plenty of people who move home because it’s financially responsible and/or their home brings the growth they seek. But these are my perceptions of my current situation.

From the beginning I never wanted to stay in Illinois, when applying to colleges I didn’t even apply to any within my home state. I’ve always felt that staying home wouldn’t challenge me in the ways that I sought out. So for undergrad I went to school out of state, and upon graduating I moved to another state, where I knew no one, to start graduate school. In the 18 months of living here, I’ve grown immensely and I’ve come to realize how much growth comes from being uncomfortable. It wasn’t until graduation that I truly pushed myself past my “limits”. I’ve began to face, and conquer, every doubt and fear that I tried to place on myself. I compare myself to the growth of a plant. As a plant grows, so does it roots, and that requires a bigger flower pot. However, the current flower pot is familiar/comfortable, but staying in that pot will stunt the growth of those roots, which stunts the growth of the plant. As the saying goes, A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am no stranger to falling into complacency at times. But I’ve also come to realize that it’s more difficult to fall into complacency when you’re constantly moving outside of your comfort zone. In order to incite growth, one must do something they’ve never done before. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? I will say that familiarity and comfort is not a bad thing, because it’s something we all seek and need at times, but be aware of the impact it has on the progression of your life. With all of this being said, whatever your “Chicago” may be, step outside of that and give yourself the push that you need. Invite change and unfamiliarity into your life. Embrace the new you that is waiting on the other side of comfort. Growth is a decision. It just doesn’t happen. You have to make the decision to change your behaviors, thoughts, and lifestyle.

 

My Thoughts

Peace; Protect It At All Costs

Like many millennials, I juggle a multitude of things on a daily basis. And quite often I want to post a sign that says “Temporarily closed for maintenance” in regards to my life. There is a constant battle of protecting my peace, and I’ve embarked on this new task of learning how to do so in a positive and effective way. I’m on a mission of making the rest of my life, the best of my life.

I want to say that protecting your peace doesn’t entitle you to be mean, rude, or to blow people off. Protecting your peace doesn’t mean that you no longer care for those in your life, it just means you’re taking extra care of yourself. I’ve come up with a few key points that ensure I’m making the right decisions, and have kept me grounded in the process.

  • If it costs you your peace, its too expensive
  • You have to take responsibility for the energy you allow to be in your space
  • You are just as responsible for the energy you bring into others’ space. This is one of the most important ones because it’s a form of keeping yourself in check. We all focus on what we want in our life, but are you cognizant of what you put out?
  • Peace over pieces

As I come to the close of my graduate program, I am forced with the reality of what lies ahead of me. Between work, school, a social life, family, and the “future” I feel overwhelmed. However, I have taken some pressure off of myself by no longer feeling emotionally and mentally tied to situations or people that do not produce a peaceful outcome. I want to make it clear that peace does not equal avoidance, it equals dealing with conflicts in a manner that yield a peaceful conclusion. You cannot dodge stressful situations, but you do have the ability not to give it the emotion/time that can be better used in another facet of your life.

You have two roles in the protecting of peace. Protecting your peace and allowing for others around you to protect their own peace. The next time someone around you may be distant, don’t immediately take it personal. Try to reevaluate the scenario without you as a factor. Maybe school/work or family life is affecting them, and the worst thing you can do is show up with more pressure. In a world where we have a million factors weighing on us, promise yourself that you will choose your happiness and peace over all of them. Promise to make the rest of your life, the best of your life.

My Thoughts

90 Days

Hi Everyone!!!

This week’s blog post is about my 90 day alcohol-free journey. YES, you read that right… NINETY days with no alcohol AT ALL! I am currently on day 78, so I have a little less than two weeks left. To put things into perspective, the last 78 days have included the Fourth of July, Labor Day, my birthday, close friends’ birthdays, multiple vacations, concerts, and countless social events. Initially I was going to wait until the full 90 days were up before I wrote about my experience, but I felt compelled to write this now because I have so much to share already. Also, I feel like why hold back my experience, when it could give someone the extra push they need in order to fulfill one of their goals.

So one of the first questions I get when I tell people about my 90 day challenge is “Why?”. There were a multitude of reasons behind this challenge, but the main one was in order to catalyze growth within myself. I’m a little over a year out of undergrad, but aspects of that social culture still lingered over my head. Aspects that are not conducive to the woman that I aspire to be. Therefore, I starved that entity of myself in hopes of shifting paradigms. Throughout the last 78 days, my mindset has shifted tremendously and the manner in which I perceive social settings has changed.

Not drinking has helped me deal with one of many people’s fears, which is social awkwardness. I can only speak for myself (but I know I’m not alone), but I believe social skills have dwindled within our society and we use alcohol as a way to cope with our social awkwardness. I’ve come to realize that our social interactions with people mostly incorporate alcohol. From brunch with your friends to dinner with your colleagues/boss, some form of alcohol is accessible and/or included. Now I’m not here to make generalizations about everyone, but I am referring to my personal experiences and what I observe around me. We have trouble interacting or having “fun” without having a drink or two. You ever wonder why you meet someone new or are networking and the meet up includes : “Want to grab a drink?” It’s because alcohol will give you whatever it is that you need to be the person you seek to be in those situations. Whether that be courageous, laid back, or more upbeat.

From this experience I have been able to build my self-discipline which has trickled over into other aspects of my life like health, school, and work. I don’t go out as much, or spend nearly as much money as I once did. The last 78 days have given me the courage to be the odd one out and not care how anybody felt nor what they had to say about it. I have not buckled under the peer pressure, and let me tell you, it has been a lot of peer pressure. Most importantly, I’m perfectly okay with telling people “No” and not feeling bad about it. I used to feel that need to be on everyone else’s “level” when going out, but now I’ve created my own level. It has added to my ability to stand up for what I believe and what’s best for me. I feel as though I sound a bit dramatic as I write this, but the struggle and growth from staying on track with this challenge has instilled this new person that I’m growing to love. The last 11 weeks have been TOUGH, but everyday I prove to myself that I can put my mind to whatever it is that I truly want to believe. Everyday I’m deciding to Live In My Truth. After my 90 days, yes I will drink again, but I’ll never truly look at it the same. I encourage anyone reading this to pursue a goal that they have been wanting to do, but have been putting off due to fear. This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for over a year now, but I feared the backlash I would receive. I’m thankful for everyone around me that has been supportive and if I had to do it again I’d jump at the chance. My friend said my next challenge should be not leaving St. Louis for 90 days, lol not a chance!

My Thoughts

“If everything is dipped in gold…”

My second (and final) year of my graduate program officially started Monday and it has left me with a range of emotions. I sit here writing this post only to take my mind of the intense syllabus I just read. I wonder how I’ll be mentally able to take 4 exams, write two 20 page papers, with weekly homework and discussion posts all in 9 weeks. And did I mention thats just for ONE of my two classes this term. However, I know my sentiments of being overwhelmed are similar to thousands of students who just started Fall classes this week, therefore I believed this week’s topic was fitting for this time of the year.

One of my favorite artists is Jhene Aiko and one of my all time favorite lines from her is “If everything is dipped in gold, then baby it will never grow…” in Stay Ready (What a Life). I take this line to mean that if everything went well or ran smoothly all the time there would be no growth. Essentially, it’s the failures and rough patches of life that bring us to greater heights and provide us with insight. So during times of turmoil, confusion, or even discouragement, the beauty in it all is what you gain from each experience listed above. I know many people are either entering or coming to an end in their program and the first is just as scary as the latter. However, with both I just want to encourage everyone to take each class, project, and assignment day by day and to embrace all that comes with the process of progression. The truth in it all is that victory is sweet, but overcoming a failure is even sweeter. I know that my classes will challenge me and I may have some failures in the months to come, but they will not define who I am as a person and what I wish to accomplish.

The full line in the song goes, “If everything is dipped in gold, then baby it will never grow. Everything sweet ain’t sugarcoated” and that is what’s important to remember. We are all fighting our own battles mentally and emotionally and what appears to be sweet or “sugarcoated” in someone else’s life may not actually be the case. Rip your gold off, and face the growth that is awaiting you.

My Thoughts

22 Things I Learned in My 22nd Year

In less than 72 hours I’ll be turning 23 years old, and my goodness has my 22nd year flown. I’ve spent the last year in a new city (that’s not so new to me anymore), learning how to balance graduate school and work, and pinpointing the next step of my life. As we all know, our twenties are definitely a whirlwind of mixed emotions, struggling to choose between good and bad decisions, and honestly just trying to make it from sunrise to sunset with out completely losing it. As SZA said, “Honesty hurts when you’re getting older”, and with that being said there were a lot of realities I’ve had to face in the last year. Therefore, I’ve decided to write out 22 things I’ve learned in my 22nd year. Writing this has given me time for some introspection on year 22, while allowing me to figure out my path of growth for year 23.

  1. It’s okay to take time for yourself.
  2. Sometimes you grow apart from people, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still care for them.
  3. Doing what’s best for yourself is not always easy, but it’s necessary.
  4. Waking up sad/depressed and not wanting to get up is perfectly okay. Don’t downplay the seriousness of your mental health. Depression is real.
  5. This leads me into my next lesson, having a therapist is not taboo and I encourage it if you need to seek help. Mental health should be a priority.
  6. Falling off a goal does not equate to failure.
  7. I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.
  8. Don’t take everything personal, not even the compliments.
  9. Exploration and traveling is good for the soul.
  10. The best things come when you least expect them, like love.
  11. It’s okay to not know exactly what you want to do in life, even when you’re about to graduate with two Masters.
  12. Nothing good comes from drinking (for me). Period.
  13. Knowledge is power, but knowing your fears is a super power.
  14. Being emotional is okay, and never let anyone make you feel bad for being that way.
  15. Family is important. Don’t let too long go by without checking in on loved ones.
  16. Restoration of relationships is tough work, but can be very rewarding.
  17. Don’t burn yourself to keep others warm. Putting your self first is not selfish, it is apart of self-love and self-care. 
  18. Saying no is okay.
  19. No matter how far I wander, I’ll always find my way back.
  20. Don’t compare yourself to others, whether that be someone’s body, their career progress, or their relationship.  You cannot compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
  21. Your thoughts are far more important than you’d like to give credit to. They become the blueprint of how you choose to maneuver through life. Simply put, everything stems from them.
  22. And finally, apart of writing this post is the result of one of my biggest lessons, learning to Live in My Truth, which consists of trusting my decisions and being honest with myself and those around me. 

I’ll end this with yet another SZA quote, “Good luck on them 20 somethings, God bless these 20 somethings”, and as tough as they may be, they’re some of the greatest times of our life. Here’s to another year of growth and prosperity. 23, bring it on!

 

 

 

My Thoughts

Living in Your Truth

This blog post is about Living in Your Truth. And if I’m being honest with myself, I’ve realized I’m a horrible blogger. This post is something that I’ve wanted to write for FOREVER, but unfortunately I’ve let the stresses of life keep me from it. Between school, work, trying to stay fit, and the copious amounts of traveling that I do, I’ve found it difficult to fit blogging in it all. And honestly, I’ve been afraid to write this piece, afraid that it wouldn’t be good or that I wouldn’t be able to find the perfect words to describe my innermost sentiments on this topic. When I initially decided that I wanted to create a blog, someone close to me mentioned that I needed to blog through the good and bad times of my life. Quite often, we hide our struggles from the world and put on a facade, but I believe being true to who you are and what you have going on is key to Living in Your Truth.

Yesterday I stumbled across an article that was titled “You Aren’t Lazy—You’re Just Terrified: On Paralysis and Perfectionism”, and boy did it sum my life up. There is this cycle of perfectionism, procrastination, and paralysis. And in this article I was able to relate, because just like the writer, I have my good days and I have my bad days. “At my best, I am an efficient and organized person… At my worst, I am flighty and frazzled”. I fall short of my expectations because of my fears of lack of perfection. Therefore, I spend more time thinking about what I want to do, than actually doing it. That leads to procrastination, which eventually leads to paralysis. And I say this all to say that its okay, because things “will never be perfect, but that does not mean that it can’t be good”. Just like this blog post, I may not be able to conceptualize my thoughts “perfectly” , but that doesn’t mean this post won’t be good or beneficial to someone.

I’ve become a firm believer that there is no shame in letting others see your struggle. It gives people something real to grasp in a world that has taken the realism out of life. How scary is it that we can pull ourselves together and portray to the world that we’re fine when in reality our world is crumbling; mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even financially. You may never truly know what those around you are going through. How scary is it that you can speak to someone everyday and not hear their silent attempts for help. Their silent pleads to Live in Their Truth. And I’m here to say that it’s draining, it’s such a draining task to live any other way but in your truth.

Living in Your Truth is not just about being honest with yourself, but more importantly it’s about being honest with those around you. I’ve challenged so many people in my life to live in their truth, on a day to day basis. If your feelings are hurt, then say that. If you care about something or someone, then don’t say “I don’t care”, why are you lying to yourself? If you want to send that text or make that call, then do it, don’t downplay your emotions. If you’re having a really bad day, week, or month, then express that. If you’re having mental/emotional distress then address it. And I don’t mean the meme’s and tweets that refer to mental health as “depression naps” or in a joking manner. Go see a therapist or a counselor. Find someone to fully express yourself to. Not only will you grow from it, but it will help create a better bond with those you love and care about. When you’re able to be vulnerable with those of importance in your life, it prevents miscommunication on so many levels. Everyday I’m learning the direction of my life and figuring out what my truth is. It’s not an easy road, but I challenge everyone who reads this to embark on the journey of Living in Your Truth.

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