Muddy Waters

Trying to figure this thing out and how to go about it and coming up empty handed.

Feeling like I’m on the right path only to realize I have no idea where I have landed.

Looking back at the past thinking I have treaded muddy waters before and certainly came out clean.

Recognizing the present and hoping that my triumphant past will mirror my present and failure isn’t what my life will mean.

Glimpsing towards the future and imagining that things are better than they seem and this nightmare isn’t reality and simply a dream.

Thinking of the time I felt like a hamster on a wheel cause no matter how hard I ran I just couldn’t gain traction.

Then remembering how now I have noticed I’ve most certainly moved forward and it was not in vain that I gave action.

And yet here I am in muddy waters hoping it will all come out clean in the wash.

Here I am trying to calculate the damage and wondering what will be the final cost.

Will I breathe when this is over or will I expire?

I mean it feels like life or death cause the life I had before has certainly retired.

It’s something about a setback that makes you set back and think.

What am I, who am I, where am I, why am I, how am I ……

I am at the brink….

The brink of something new, something foreign, something unknown, unseen yet necessary.

Perhaps the bump in the road wasn’t sent to my by my adversary.

Maybe I called it forth knowing it was needed.

Perchance in the recesses of my soul I knew this task must be completed.

Could it be that stumbling block is the very thing I need in order to get to where I am going to?

Huh…

If I am honest had I known the valleys necessary for this journey I doubt I would really have agreed to go through.

I had to get thrown off course to be put on the right path.

I had to cry those tears and relearn how to laugh.

That collapsed ego, that frustration, that heartbreak, that loss, that grief……

Eww don’t you dare mention that grief that made me ache from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet

That grief – you know that grief that left me paralyzed….

Paralyzed in the pain that was of colossal size.

I had to hypnotize my mind, and numb the pain before I could even begin to realize….

Realize that my expansion could not come forth and I could not increase in size without what appeared to me as my demise.

My heart’s truth is that even with tears in my eyes I recognize the pain was mandatory for me to achieve my prize.

Battle fatigue from fighting in war after war.

Crying out “No, please don’t send me back to chaos no more!”.

That’s the thought echoing until a new thought forms.

In the time when they tell you, you got to fight once more.

You start crying but you realize you got arsenal in store.

So you start saying okay I’m going to make it out of here or die trying,

Cause last time I fell I spent way too much time crying.

Nah this time I’m retracing my steps and my lessons learned I’ll be applying.

Cause I ain’t spending more time than necessary to go from falling to flying.

All I know is what I know.

And I’m going to take that knowledge and from here I will go.

I will go to a place previously unknown.

Yet granted to me by past seeds I have sown.

This is my story, line by line.

Every period, apostrophe, grammatical error and broken rhyme.

Yeah them muddy waters are going to be treaded and where I’m headed I promise you I’ll come out clean destination unknown except in my dreams.

Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Discomfort vs Pain

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For a couple of months now I have been complacent and complaining about issues in my life that were bothering me without taking any action in order to make a change.

Day after day I would pick up the phone and talk to my loved ones complaining about my dissatisfaction with a variety of areas of my life.

And to take it further I found myself becoming physically ill from the environment I was allowing myself to maintain.

I was growing comfortably uncomfortable and settling for things that didn’t make my soul happy. But I thought maybe I just needed to push through. I mean we all face new things that we are not comfortable with. That doesn’t mean we should give up.

Or does it?

I tried not to complain about what I was experiencing because as the saying goes we need to have an attitude of gratitude.

And yet despite my attempt to suppress my dissatisfaction there I was sharing my negativity with others.

For “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”.

Sadly, I was complacent simply whining to others about my dissatisfaction and watching my energy levels decrease because I was no longer working to fulfill my life purpose.

I have the same 24 hour day as everyone else but for about 2 months now I was consciously choosing not to maximize it.

There I was knowing what I needed to do, but settling for whatever the day brought me.

I mean what happened to me having a plan?

I have made it no secret that I have to actively work not to allow my  eating addiction to shorten my life span.  And yet, I found myself making one poor dietary choice after another.

Also, I have not hidden from anyone that my journey to loving me has had setbacks. However, I figure that is expected to happen because I’m human. But just because setbacks are something that occurs doesn’t mean I should not try to get back on track!

Thankfully, I woke up on Friday and realized that the way I was living wasn’t putting me first.

I was so busy putting the lives of others above my own, out of my own volition and coming up feeling empty.

Why?

Perhaps because it served as a distraction from me putting in the work that would be necessary to get to where I want to go in this life.

And why would I do that?

Because bettering myself is hard work, so convincing myself that being a martyr made me a good person and also served to help me to distract myself from my purpose and fall into my pattern of finding myself in a codependent relationship.

I know that blogging brings me pleasure and yet it’s been months since I have. All because I was choosing to occupy my time trying to make others happy and neglecting myself.

Furthermore, I went from exercising 5 days a week to not exercising at all.

The result – I fell sick twice in less than a month to include a visit to the emergency room (no worries I am okay), I hurt the feelings of a person I love by ending a codependent relationship, I lost focus and ultimately I stop choosing me.

So what’s a girl looking to live life to the fullest to do?

-Get back on track.

I have often wrestled in my mind whether to push through the pain of life and believe for better or to see it as a signal that what we are enduring isn’t for us.

I have come to the conclusion that many of us are unnecessarily accepting devastating pain as normal. Which results in us settling for less than what life has for us.

I arrived at this by coming into remembrance of something I heard over a decade ago. At the time I was listening to physical trainer Jeanette Jenkins speak about pain experienced during physical exercise. She explained that while exercising may bring discomfort, it shouldn’t cause excruciating pain. 

And yet in a period of months my life had gone from being uncomfortable to being painful.

I was so stressed it hurt to turn my neck and yet I continued to ignore my body’s warning signal that the life I was living wasn’t for me.

I decided it was time to accept the pain for the warning signal it was and to start making changes.

And so I started taking steps to maximize those 24 hours I had been wasting away.

This included making better eating choices, exercising, taking my vitamins, being honest with myself that I was being codependent and in turn hurting both myself and the person I was enabling. And as evidenced by this blog entry I started back writing and taking other steps to fulfill my life purpose.

Allowing myself to be engulfed in someone else’s problem in an attempt not to take responsibility for my own isn’t something that is new to me.

I explained in a previous blog that I have used my relationships with other people to distract me from working on me.

Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with healthy relationships but for some reason when I don’t want to do the work of improving myself I will subconsciously find someone and try to fix their life while neglecting my own.

It never works but it’s a familiar practice.

When I opened my eyes to the fact that I was trying to save someone when I have full awareness that we can only save ourselves, I knew I had to be honest with myself and except that I was going in the wrong direction.

I don’t believe that we are called to forsake our purpose and live in discontent by enabling others.

I also don’t believe we are supposed to settle for a life that doesn’t make us feel fulfilled.

Many of us get up and go to work at a job we don’t enjoy and never question why week after week, month after month and year after year we speed so many hours doing something that doesn’t make us truly happy.

We stay in relationships that we know aren’t helping because we fear being alone otherwise.

We neglect ourselves physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally and just wait for the sun to go down and come back up again the next day.

And we forsake our childhood hobbies and our deepest dreams and go into doldrums and say, “that’s just the way life is”.

I have decided not to do that and to stop calling pain normal.

I can’t save anyone else, but I can save myself and I hope that you will choose to save yourself.

Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Blessing of Failure

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

 

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Photo Courtesy of Crystal Thomas Ashford

 

I can attest to the aforementioned quote by J.K. Rowling, that rock bottom is a solid foundation like no other.

Having life strip away everything that is unnecessary and leave you with the bare minimum puts you in a place where you can start afresh far better than you can from any other station in life.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t until life humbled me and allowed me to fail time and time again that I ironically gained traction in my journey on the road to success.

With each loss I discovered unnecessary parts of me that I had not realized were present until they were removed from me.

I had toyed with the idea of being an entrepreneur for several years.

But I was always too afraid to take the risk.

I mean what if I failed?

What would people say?

How would I recover?

So I never did it.

I allowed my fear to prevent me from venturing out on my own.

That was until I decided to do it – afraid.

I decided to invest all I had into myself and my business venture.

So I didn’t talk about my plans with anyone unless they were an expert on the subject. Because, I didn’t want to risk people who lived in fear to sow negative thoughts in my mind or talk me out of it. So I did my research, talked to experts in the field, studied the market and I took the risk.

I pulled all my resources together in attempt to start a business of my own and guess what?

– I failed.

The result of my six month business venture was $58.00 in income which was easily overshadowed by overhead costs. Six months of hard work, six months of trying, six months of being told no, six months of putting more in financially then I ever received out and I was blessed with $58.00.

So with relatively no income outside of child support and three teenage kids looking to me for provision I had a decision to make.

I had to determine how I was going to provide in a job market where I was told I was overqualified. So when I was turned down for the positions that I was fully qualified for, I did the only thing I knew to do. I took three low wage paying part-time jobs and I put them together.

With the help of my friends and family, child support and my three part-time jobs I was able to make ends meet. There were times when I would go to bed at night not knowing how I would provide food for my kids the next day but every single day I woke up and God made provision for us.

I can honestly say I know what it is to trust God for provision of my daily bread.

Prior to that time no one could have told me that I had the physical ability to stand on my feet for 12 hour days.

I suffer from chronic pain that makes it hard for me to go about my day.

But there is something about knowing that I am responsible for three kids that made me push through the pain.

And no one could have told me that I could work 16 hours in a day at two different jobs. Moreover, the concept that I would have to run to the bathroom and vomit due to exhaustion was inconceivable prior to me living that reality. But there is something about knowing that your kids need to have food to eat and not knowing any other way that isn’t illegal , immoral or unethical that some how miraculously gives you the strength to stand.

No one could have told me that I would see all of my needs met in ways that seemed to signal that divine intervention had certainly played a hand in taking care of me, but I lived through it. I have seen things occur in my life that definitely boggle my human mind and I can’t settle with viewing them as simply a small thing, when I know that if the money would have come one day later I would have been in a deeper hole.

Things definitely arrived for me just in the nick of time on more than one occasion.

As I was working part-time I would submit application after application and go on interview after interview just to be told, “no”.

I began to question if I was going the wrong way. I wondered if all the nos where life’s way of telling me to give up.

But I don’t think that was it at all.

The failure of my business, the failure to secure a job that would provide adequate pay, the struggle of working three low paying jobs in an attempt to make ends meet, the feeling I got when all I could afford to give my kids for their birthday was a cake, not being able to afford to provide the life my kids were accustomed to when their father and I were married, were the times that shaped and made me into a stronger version of myself.

Due to my knowledge that I have failed and survived before, I have become brave enough to try again.

I’ve leaped only to hit the ground hard and ultimately learn that while it is indeed very hard that it cannot break me.

So I’ve decided to use the lessons of my failures to help me to take the leap of faith to try again.

Because ironically the greatest lesson that my failure taught me is that I cannot fail.

Even when it seems, I’m going the wrong way I will ultimately end up exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Indeed I am my own limit!

Nothing can come between me and my destiny but me!

I recognize that by taking another leap that I could fall even lower than I did the last time, but whether I fall again or soar, I have decided to leap nonetheless.

I can’t say that I despise failure because I love the lessons she teaches me.

Just because I haven’t mastered how to win doesn’t mean I’m going to stop playing. I’m still in the game all the way up until the time the final buzzer sounds.

The way I see it is that I still have breath in my body and my dream has yet to come into fruition, so that means it’s my responsibility to keep on going.

Am I afraid? – ABSOLUTELY!

But I’ve decided to do it afraid.

I’m reading books on all types of topics to expand my mind. I’m sitting at the feet of people who have gotten to where I want to go and consider myself blessed just to be able to have direct access to them and for their willingness to give me advice. I’m stealing whatever time I can from the act of being lazy and diverting it to the action of honing my craft.

I have a vision in my head of what I will achieve and like a dog with a bone I’m not willing to let it go.

But there are some things that I will let go of.

I will let go of bad habits so new ones can unfold.

I will let go of negative thoughts so new ones can take hold.

I’m allowing myself to be comfortably uncomfortable trying new things.

And the result is that I’m hearing no’s again but I have the courage to keep asking.

I’m being told close but no cigar, so I’m determined to get closer.

I’m having the phone hung up on me, so I keep dialing.

I’ve ended the day without achieving my daily business goals and I used the sting of that failure to light a fire under me to overachieve for the next day.

I look at my check register and wonder do I have what it takes to make it or will I fail like I did the time before. Then I tell myself that my destiny lies beyond those numbers.

I have to tell myself to stop worrying about the people who are betting against me and to remember that what I think of me is all that matters.

I remind myself that as long as I don’t give up that I will achieve the results that I hope to achieve.

I am taking the lessons of my yesterday and I am applying them to my today.

For I have a choice, I can give this my all or I can not do it at all. There is no half stepping, no partial effort, it’s all or nothing and I want it all.

It is possible that I may fall all the way to the bottom. But we already discussed the benefits of being at the bottom at the top of this blog entry.

If I hit rock bottom I’ll still be breathing and that means I’m still in the game.

Yes, when you’re at the bottom people will judge you, but guess what they’ll judge you no matter what your station is in life.

Also you can’t learn how to truly appreciate what you have until you experience not having.

For almost three years I felt like a hamster on a wheel. I was running at top speed exerting a bunch of energy and I never seemed to get any traction.

And now I stand with the glimmer of hope that this time I can make it. I’m gaining ground and I like it.

It is my firm belief that this time I can achieve my goal but I am going to have to put in the work to earn it.

When it comes to our dreams in life no one is going to give us anything we haven’t worked for.

With that said I am going to keep trying to achieve my dreams and keep reaching for my goals.

I’m investing in me.

Before my failure I thought that obstacles were meant to destroy me.

It wasn’t until someone explained to me that life doesn’t put obstacles before us in the hope that we would fail but to the contrary, it does it in the hopes that we will succeed.

Because, much like a trainer sets up exercises for an athlete to enhance their ability, so does life set up exercises to advance us.

Life gives us hindrances and obstacles with the hopes that we will become stronger.

We need that strength for where we are going.

For that reason I am thankful for kids who ask why we live in an apartment when their friends live in a house.

And I give thanks for the guy who told me he didn’t want to continue seeing me because I was struggling financially.

Not because it made me want more money or because I’m some sort of glutton for punishment, but rather because I knew I was trying my best and from those comments I learned that only I know when I am doing my best and even if those I care about see me as a failure I have to know who I am for myself.

I have grown to value the eye rolls, scoffs, rejection and judgment as much as the love, kindness, support and care that I received from those around me.

I tell this story not as someone who has achieved my dream.

No I’m telling my story in the face of everyone and I’m saying it may not happen this year or even this decade but I have a dream in my heart and if I die before it manifests I want the world to know that I died trying.

Far too many of us become paralyzed by our fear of failure. But I’m here to say I failed and yet I am still in the game. I encourage you to try even if it results in failure because failure is indeed it’s own blessing.

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

All Too Familiar No

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Photo Courtesy of: Jamie Kathleen Haughaboo

There is something about being told no that can leave us feeling depleted.

When you have what you consider to be a bright idea and present it to someone only for then to inform you that they don’t think your idea is any good, it has the potential to stop many of us dead in our tracks.

Especially if we view the person as an authority on the subject matter.

There no can cause us to think that we don’t have what it takes to stand toe to toe with others or to be seated at the table with those who are at the place where we are so eagerly would like to pull up a chair.

But then we hear stories of people who were told no several times and then they finally hear that one yes that affirmed them.

There are always rumors of people who go from the bottom to the top, but those people are far and few between.

Nevertheless, those people give us hope.

But as I think of those people, I also think how can I be certain that I have what it takes to make it to the top?

I mean for all the people I hear of who made it, I know hundreds more who didn’t.

So am I one of the few people who will make it or am I one of the hundreds of people who will give up.

The truth is I don’t know. But I am going to die trying to achieve better.

I have to.

I owe it to myself to keep trying.

Because giving up on my dreams simply doesn’t work for me.

If I die a dreamer, I die a dreamer.

For, I would rather die a dreamer than die hopeless.

I arrived at this conclusion after literally being rejected over a thousand times in one year in an attempt to achieve one of my dreams.

So the way I see it is that when it comes to being told no, I am a master. For surely, I myself have become all too familiar with hearing the word no.

It was about four years ago when I realized that when it comes to my life that I have to stop settling.

I didn’t know how to stop but I knew I had to stop.

I didn’t know that decision would lead me on a path to hearing no repeatedly.

I am not confident that had I known from the beginning how hard this road would have been that I would have journeyed it.

It seems as if my whole life fell apart after deciding that I had to love myself enough to no longer settle.

But as they say, sometimes when it seems things are falling apart they are really coming together.

For example, it was at the height of me hearing the word no that I began this blog.

Who would have thought hearing the word no an overwhelming number of times would have propelled me to begin a journey of finally realizing that I have to love myself?

To that I say thank God for no.

I give thanks to the word no despite the fact that there was a point when its utterance caused me to jettison myself down to rock bottom.

I felt like life was never going to get any better.

No, I take that back. I knew that life would get better, but I didn’t want to go through the process of waiting for it to get better.

I am all for the mountain top experiences but I didn’t feel like enduring the pain that it would take for me to finally reach the pinnacle.

I was like those people who try to lose 50 pounds in a month. I didn’t want to eat right and work out and lose the weight in a year or two… No I wanted success right now!

I was also making the mistake of thinking that no meant never.

There I was sulking, feeling pitiful for myself and telling my sob story to anyone who would listen to it.

I became someone I didn’t know and didn’t want to know.

I think in many ways I lost my mind.

I am glad I lost whatever it was, because I am now clearer than I have ever been in my entire life.

I can now clearly see that all that rejection was not a judgment on who I am as a person, but at the time old me couldn’t recognize that.

Old me failed to see that no one in this world can define me, but me.

I was in such a poor mental state that I thought that if I went out on a date and it wasn’t a match that it meant that I wasn’t good enough.

I failed to see the obvious – it simply meant that it wasn’t a match.

My self-esteem was in such a bad place that I didn’t know that I was supposed to be trying to see if the person was compatible with me, not if I was good enough for him.

If I went on a job interview and was declined an offer I thought it meant I wasn’t good enough for the position.

I didn’t know it meant that there was a position that was out there that would allow me to better utilize my education, skills and experience in a way that would allow me to excel and grow in a positive environment.

When people betrayed me and hurt me I thought that said something about me, I didn’t know it was a reflection of who they were.

I was unaware of the fact that I am in transition and while in transition I am simply learning who I am and who I am not. I am learning what I want and what I don’t want.

Now is not the time to give up, now is the time to push forward.

I have learned that the reason I am being told no isn’t because I am not good enough, I am being told no because I am in the preparation period of receiving what is best for me.

Hearing yes prematurely would ultimately cause me more harm than good.

I see that now. However, there was a time when hearing the word no made me feel like something was inherently wrong with me and that I would never get things right.

I thought my life was some sort of cosmic joke.

I had to get a grip on myself.

The pity party had to end.

Thankfully, I was surrounded by friends and family who were there for me and who helped me to make my way through my darkest hours.

I wish this was a blog about how I have reached my mountain top.

But the truth is that I haven’t even reached flat land.

I still am in the valley lows.

But the thing is that I am no longer in the doldrums.

I think there is a time and a place for everything and that our experiences are necessary for our ultimate expansion.

So while I don’t regret my time being stagnant, I must tell you that I celebrate the moment that something inside of me clicked and I decided to let each no empower me to keep looking.

The reason that I was in the doldrums was because I allowed myself to become paralyzed with fear.

I was in such a bad place that I let the idea of hearing no keep me from even trying.

I would sit there on my couch in fear of everything.

But some how I got off of that dat burn couch!

Now a closed-door has become a signal that I am being pointed in the right direction.

I know it seems cliché but I truly had to become thankful for closed doors.

I had to work to overcome my fear of having a door closed in my face.

There are times when I think ‘what will people think of me’.

But I have come to a place where I realize that people are going to think what they want to think and for the most part people are far too self-absorbed to give much thought about what is happening in my life.

So if I fall in front of the world and the world laughs at me, I know I will have fallen trying to climb the highest mountain and I find comfort in that.

I have yet to even come close to reaching the top of my mountain, but I won’t stop climbing.

My door hasn’t opened but I have had windows open left and right.

I know what it is to be scared.

But I have learned to make it moment by moment.

I know what it is to not know how I am going to make it or how I will have my needs met and yet those same situations caused me to learn not to live in fear because I have not lived a day with my needs unmet.

There are times when I have been afraid to have hope, because having hope always puts me at risk of being let down.

No one wants to experience the pain of disappointment.

But who was I kidding, I was already disappointed.

I had nothing to lose so I may as well have hope.

The way I see it is that if I die without fulfilling my dreams and I never see anything that I want materialize how is that much different from being negative and still not seeing it manifest?

I would rather try and fail than not try and always wonder.

Like I said I wish this was a success story blog, but I surmise that some how in many ways it is.

It is my story of how I decided that I can hear no until my dying die, but I am not going to allow that word to measure my worth.

People can continue to reject me and it’s okay because I accept me.

I accept me flaws and all.

I will continue working to improve myself.

Not because I am not good enough, but because as long as I have breath in my body I plan to continue to cultivate myself into something better than I was before.

Ultimately I am the greatest benefactor of my growth process.

So, people can continue to tell me no and that I am too much of this and not enough of that.

And I will still be here, still standing, still breathing and still mountain climbing.

If I die never having reached the top I am okay with that.

What I am not okay with is me dying without trying.

This isn’t a platitude without any substance for I can truly say that I am thankful for all the times I heard no.

It was in hearing no that I was saved from being in toxic relationships with people who did not mean me well.

It was in hearing no that I was rejected for employment positions that I thought I wanted but through redirection I was placed in the presence of amazing people who I don’t think I would have met otherwise.

I can genuinely say that those encounters were well worth the no, for the value of those encounters is priceless.

If I told you that hearing no that much was easy I would be a liar.

My truth is that I spent a lot of time on my couch as I became familiar with no.

I would think this is too hard. Nothing is working, I can’t get any traction.

I felt like a hamster on a wheel. I was doing a whole lot of moving but I wasn’t going anywhere.

I was upset because I made the mistake of thinking that those no’s meant I would never hear yes.

Also, I wanted someone to come and save me.

Ironically, I think what was most bewildering to me were the people who would come into my life and offer to help me without me asking for any assistance only for them to disappear from my life.

I would sit there confused wondering what was the point of them interrupting me just to leave?

I felt like God was mocking me.

I thought to myself, ‘I was doing just fine at making it the best I could only to have someone dangle hope in front of me for the sole purpose of snatching it away’.

But I have learned God was not mocking me.

Those people let me know that there was no one coming to save me, if I was going to make it, I was going to have to make it.

I recall at one point being so disillusioned I actually got upset at the idea that once I finally do make it that people would come into my life and want to be apart of it.

I thought ‘if you don’t want to be here when I am struggling then when I make it no new people better not show up!’.

I was mad at people who I don’t even know and who aren’t even apart of my story because they weren’t there for me when I felt like they should be. – Yep I was crazy.

And I was mad at people for not being who I wanted them to be for me.

There they were, being who they were and I was mad that they weren’t who they weren’t.

Quite frankly, I was just mad.

Thankfully, I came to my senses.

I am now at a place where I hold no ill will towards the people who promised to help but didn’t. Because truth be told they offered me a much-needed glimmer of hope.

I smile at the thought of the people who will come when I reach my mountain top because I now realize they couldn’t possibly be here for me now, because they are busy mountain climbing there own mountain.

And I forgive the people who couldn’t be who I wanted them to, because the truth is it was never their job to be anything more than who they are. I accept them for who they are and I thank them for being authentic.

I also am thankful for those people who are here with me right now while I am in my valley cheering me on.

But oddly enough I am especially thankful for the hope danglers. This is because when I reflect back it felt good having hope. They helped me to see that being hopeful made me happier than being negative, so why should I let hope go just because they walked away from the table?

This quest of mine is between me and the divine alone.

The reason that I haven’t heard yes isn’t because I am not good enough.

I haven’t heard yes because the time has not yet come.

I am not prepared for yes.

If yes came before I was ready then my dreams would surely crumble before me.

So what do I do in the meantime? – I enjoy the meantime.

Yep that’s right I enjoy the struggle.

I embrace the lessons, I learn through the tears and I trust the process.

I don’t like grief, heartache and depression, because they are painful.

But I learn far more through the hard times than I do during the good times.

Does it hurt me when my hopes are dashed? – Not like it used to.

Because now I realize that it is simply redirection and not rejection.

But you want to know what hurts more than having hopes dashed? – Being hopeless.

Truly, all these closed doors are simply helping to direct me to an understanding of what I do want and what I don’t want.

Hearing no, doesn’t mean you give up on your dream.

Hearing no, gives you redirection on how to achieve your dream.

When things fell apart for me I thought I knew what I wanted.

Now I realize that if I received what I thought I had wanted I would never have uncovered the beauty of who I am and begun to unearth my true potential.

Thank God for no. Because it was all those times I heard no that has helped me as I journey on my way up.

So don’t be afraid of no.

Love,

 

Renata Nicole

Renata Pittman Smith, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Nicole with appropriate specific direction to the original content.

 

 

I’ve Gotta Plan

imageFour days ago I accepted my truth that I have been wasting time.

Getting out of the bed to face the day was an ongoing battle.

If I had nothing planned to do for the day I could easily lay in the bed for a good 10 to 14 hours. Not necessarily sleeping but definitely not working to achieve anything purposeful.

I am not sure if it was simply laziness, depression or a combination thereof, but I can tell you that the fire in me was most certainly out.

I mean I went to work, spoke with friends and did things with my kids but the sense of purpose was gone.

I was waiting on a break.

To be honest I was cynical about a break coming.

I talk and write about a break coming but somewhere in myself I wasn’t believing it.

Truthfully, when someone would tell me they thought things would get better for me – I cringed.

I would cringe because it seemed like every time I had an inkling of hope it would get dashed.

So for the most part I had given up hope.

Career and relationship expert Mel Robbins explains that the major reason that we don’t get what we want is because we have accepted where we are.

I can not speak for anyone else but I know that for me I had given up and started to go beyond being content with the scraps that I was receiving to actually being complacent.

Sadly, just getting by and having just enough was being accepted by me as normal.

To make matters worse I married that complacency with self-doubt and blamed God for my results.

As I have written before I have a bad habit of believing for other people but when it comes to believing for myself there is a disconnect.

But don’t fret I am working on it.

Thankfully, I have been blessed that my entire life I have been surrounded by positive teachers. Life has found a way of sending some of the best motivational teachers and speakers into my life.

For example, I went to school with Les Brown’s nephews. So at the age of 14 I had the opportunity to listen to him speak for free because he had come to speak at his nephew’s graduation who happened to be graduating the same year as my sister.

At the time I didn’t know who he was, but he impressed upon me that I could achieve greatness.

This is just one example of how I cut my teeth and was nursed on some of the most positive teachings out there, without even consciously trying.

But despite all of the teachings flowing through my mind, there I was laying in bed feeling broke, busted and disgusted and I realized that I was literally wasting my life.

I had allowed myself to believe that the reason that things were not working out the way I wanted was because God didn’t want them to.

I figured I tried and door after door had closed upon me.

I tried doing right and treating people right and I still had received what felt very wrong.

My line of thinking was I tried, so clearly the failure wasn’t on my part.

I was lying to myself.

God, the universe, life wasn’t failing me.

I was failing me.

I was sitting there waiting for life to happen to me.

I had forgotten the words of Henley that “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”.

And I had forgotten that “I have dominion on this earth”.

I had effectively given my power away and was laying in bed waiting to die.

When the phone rang or the email came and it didn’t carry the break through that I was looking for I thought to myself that God didn’t want me to have it.

Never mind the fact that I am not trying my best.

Never mind the fact that I am allowing fear to paralyze me.

Never mind the fact that I am sitting there in a bed of pity.

Joyce Meyer says “you can be pitiful or you can be powerful but you can’t be both”.

Joyce Meyer is right.

Sure I have had setbacks, hang up, bang ups, let downs and break downs.

But who hasn’t.

I have had people betray me deeply, I have lost loved ones to death in tragic ways, I have experienced a major health crisis and financial ruin and am still going, this is proof to me that I am made out of the stuff of champions.

So what was a champion doing laying in the bed waiting on life to happen to her?

I was waiting on life to pick me up.

I was playing the role of victim instead of a victor.

In my past doing a good job, treating people right and doing what I thought was right got me very far.

And so of course I thought that the same things that had brought me blessings would work again.

My line of reasoning was quite simple – I am a good person, so good things are supposed to happen to me.

But I have reached a new level.

While I do receive miraculous blessings which I am confident are stemmed from the goodness that I have I sown; I have also accepted that for me to get to where I am going it is going to require me to put in the work.

Because like my children – my dreams, my purpose, my destiny aren’t going to come easy. No they are going to be brought forth through labor pains.

Here I am spiritually pregnant and dreading labor.

I have to do the work to break her forth, because if I don’t nourish this dream inside of me I will miscarry.

Life isn’t going to hand me anything without me doing the work to get it.

For I know too much to continue to be treated with kid gloves.

Life has knocked me down and I waited for someone to pick me up.

I gave half-hearted attempts.

And when I couldn’t stand to my feet I blamed it on God’s timing.

Don’t get me wrong I do believe that for everything there is a season, but I can assure you that I have not given this thing called life my all.

I have been wasting time.

I was literally laying there as time continued to move.

That’s when I decided it was time I go back to basics because clearly what I was doing wasn’t working.

I started back listening to motivational teachings the way I used to in my past and while listening to motivational videos I ran into a theme.

Every teacher I would listen to would continually echo the same thing.

They all reminded me that I was wasting time.

24 hours – 1440 minutes – 86,400 seconds. That is how much time we all are given each day.

I believe time is relative. When I enjoy what I am doing, it speeds by and if I don’t, it drags by.

For the most part I had been living my life on cruise control. I let things happen to me and I sat idly by. I decided that it was time that I discipline myself when it comes to my time and how I am going to spend it. Every second – of every minute – of every hour – of every day counts. And I am going to count on myself to make sure that my life happens for me rather than to me.

I just figured it was about that time!

I am pretty familiar with the whole concept of having goals. When I was a teenager my uncle drilled into my head the importance of having goals and plans for my life.

But something was missing.

I had a goal but no real plan.

Thankfully, while I was laying in bed waiting for life to happen to me I was also reading a copy of Napoleon’s Hill’s Think and Grow Rich that a friend had sent to me.

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Napoleon Hill is big on writing out a plan.

This echoed teachings that I had learned from Earl Nightingale to dedicate a period of each day writing down ideas. His thought is that if you write down your ideas that eventually your mind will become conditioned to become an idea making machine. He explains it doesn’t matter if most of the ideas are bad it is about becoming an idea maker.

And when you think about it as Napole0n Hill says, “one sound idea is all that one needs to achieve success”.

So I proceeded to devise a way to achieve my goal, for the Bible says “to write the vision down and make it plain.”.

It was as if everything came together and I knew what I had to do.

The funny thing about planning on what I am going to do is that I don’t have much time to think about my bad habits.

When I execute my plan to exercise, there is no time to eat the bag of chips.

When I read positive literature as planned, there is no time to think about negative experiences from my past.

When I plan on how I am going to achieve my goals there is no time to lay in the bed thinking about how my life is a mess.

And I think it was the combination of the motivational videos, the feeling of something has got to change, feeling accountable to those around me and reading Napoleon Hill’s book among other experiences that lead me to become a daily planner.

I know for people who plan their day regularly this doesn’t seem like much but for me it was monumental.

I was a go with the flow kind of girl.

Sure, I planned things out in my career life but not for my personal life.

I was disciplined at work but lackadaisical when it came to myself.

And I was going to have to start caring more about myself.

I had things that I need to get done but for the most part I hadn’t really planned the execution.

So earlier this week I pulled out a planner that my daughter bought me last year that unfortunately I had never used. I immediately realized it was a monthly and weekly planner which is okay for jotting down things to do.

But my laziness was going to require a daily planner.

I had gone so far into the doldrums that it took quite a bit for me to muster up the willpower to spend a few moments of my day doing the simple task of planning the next day.

It was a sad place to be but it was where I was.

On the top of my list was planning my spiritual time.

For me that consisted of 30 minutes listening to motivational teachings, 30 minutes reading something positive and 20 minutes meditating.

I chipped out how much time I will spend sleeping, working, relaxing, socializing, driving, grooming myself, cleaning and cooking.

For some this may seem excessive.

But the excessive amount of sleep that was taking place in my household by me was getting me nowhere.

I mean sure I had some excuses – I am a single mom, I have chronic pain and I am a bit depressed.

But I decided forget the excuses!

There is no way in the world I came to this earth to lay in a bed and watch life go by and only engage here and there.

I had laid there in that bed long enough.

It hasn’t been long since I made the change but that one change of planning out my day did something inside of me that makes me proud to be me.

It caused me to live on purpose.

I have a list of things to do.

And I hate leaving anything undone when I have agreed to do it (even if I am the one doing the asking) because its my goal to “let my yes mean yes and my no mean no”.

Sure no one else sees the list, but I do and my conscience won’t let me consciously let myself down.

So I got a plan that I have got to plan.

Love yourself enough to know that if there is anything you want in this world you are going to have to work for it and believe it is yours for the taking. If you don’t know what your dream is think back to your childhood and remember what you wanted to be before people told you that you couldn’t or that you had to be something else and start there.  Write your dream down and start making a plan on how you are going to get there. Everyday work with definite purpose that you will achieve it. And know that ironically while you have a plan that life doesn’t go as planned. That is why I took my dream, vision, goal and plan and handed it over to God. I do my part and rest in the faith that the Father will do His.

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original con

On Purpose

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Photo Courtesy of: Nathaniel Witherspoon Jr.

In the summer of 2014 my sister and I were sitting down for lunch and I was telling her about my relationship with an emotionally unavailable guy that I had found myself drawn to.

My sister listened to me and let me express my thoughts and emotions as I dined on my vegetarian fajita and she on her Mexican desert.

You have to understand that my sister isn’t blunt, harsh or careless with her words like I am. No she chooses her words on purpose.

In that way she is very much my opposite.

She is one of few words and has a brilliant way of telling people the truth about themselves in a soft clear tone that if you aren’t ready for the truth you won’t quite hear the weight of what she says and skip right over it as casual conversation.

My sister has a philosophy on truth that I most certainly subscribe to.

She says that when you speak to people and you plant a kernel of truth in them it isn’t your job to make sure it grows – it’s theirs. She helped me to realize that if someone doesn’t receive the truth from you to never take offense because your purpose has been done by speaking the truth. What a person chooses to do with the truth is entirely up to them.

So my sister predetermined that she would not take it personally as to whether I would agree with the truth bomb she was about to drop allowed me to sip on my unsweetened tea and go on and on about how I really cared for a person who so clearly didn’t care about me, before she ever so gently told me my truth.

I remember exactly when she dropped the kernel of truth in the fertile soil of my mind. It was right after the waitress came to check on us that my sister looked at me and gently let me know a truth so powerful that I have never forgotten it.

She explained-

“Renata, you are obsessing over this relationship on purpose because you don’t want to deal with the fact that your career is not where you want it to be.”

That was a heavy thing to say.

But she said it so politely I took no offense.

I remember retorting something along the lines of “yeah…that could be true”. And then immediately proceeding to tell her all about my one sided relationship.

Thank goodness for a big sister with patience.

The thing is I absolutely heard her. And I knew she was a million percent correct. I just didn’t consciously know how to act upon what she said.

I wasn’t ready to focus on the fact that my professional life wasn’t where I wanted it to be.

I mean in the spirit of avoidance – why on earth would I do that when I could easily go about chasing rainbows that clearly didn’t want to be caught.

You see I could get my professional life back on track because I alone am responsible for that.

But I can’t change another person.

On both a conscious and subconscious level I knew full well that you cannot get a genuine relationship from an emotionally unavailable person but I was dead set on expending my energy on that as opposed to purposely utilizing my energy towards getting my career back on track.

That’s because I can blame someone else for being who they are but I didn’t want to take responsibility for who I am or where I am at. I wanted things to fall in my lap out of sheer emotional laziness.

I simply didn’t want to do the work of dealing with facing accountability for what I do have control over.

She and I had that conversation about 18 months ago and I can assure you that I heard her. I even understood her. I just wasn’t at a place emotionally where I was ready to purposely act upon what she was saying.

It wasn’t until I purposely decided to stop dating and put my relationship with myself first that I really looked around my apartment and thought –

Woah not only is my life is a mess but so is my apartment!

I now have nothing to distract me from the fact that things are most certainly out of order.

For one I don’t have dating to distract me and I have also decided that diving into a bag of potato chips due to emotional eating isn’t going to cut it so without those distractors there is nothing to do but focus!

I am currently facing the thing I didn’t want to 18 months ago.

Imagine it, there I was staring at my apartment and accepting that it was as disorganized as my thoughts.

So I grabbed a large trash bag and started throwing things away.

I realized that I have been holding on to things I don’t need out of fear that one day I might need them.

I am not a hoarder or anything of that magnitude nor would anyone walk in my house and feel the need to call child protective services but things definitely were not show room ready.

I needed to do a deep cleaning.

There were the surface things that needed to be tended to like the kids handprints on the stainless steel refrigerator.

Yeah that was easy to take care of, but for some reason it had been neglected nonetheless.

In the same sense that it was easy for me to give a little bit more attention to my body after I bathed by using that lotion that I had been skipping over because I was in too much of a hurry to get to work. For some how I had gotten away from pampering my body.

It’s as easy to wipe off handprints as it easy to take a few extra minutes to do my beauty regimine and yet I had neglected both.

And then while doing laundry it occured to me that some of my towels had several holes in them. Sure I could use them for spills or to clean with but the amount of towels I was coming across with holes was ridiculous.

So I threw them out.

I didn’t need them any more. Just like I don’t need relationships that deplete me and leave me feeling empty.

I looked on the dining room table and saw unclipped coupons that had expired. Mostly for things I don’t even buy.

And so I threw them out.

I threw them out the same way I am throwing out my desire to attach myself to things that don’t serve me but instead take up space for they too have reached their expiration date.

I went in my kitchen to clean out the cabinets and I found things I don’t need like a lid from 2003 for a glass dish that broke. Back then I thought maybe one day I might buy another container and the lid just might fit.

Yeah well it’s been 13 years and she ain’t found a partner yet so in the trash she went.

It felt good cleaning out the cobwebs.

Literally.

I got a broom and cleaned out some cobwebs I saw in my hall closet.

As I cleaned I realized that somewhere along the line I had abandoned me.

18 months later my career is still not where I want it and my finances are worse today then they were when my sister told me to focus.

I have no guy holding my attention and I have chosen not to eat my pain.

Without the distractions I am indeed focused.

I am not quite sure how I am going to get my career where I want it, but I am certain that it starts with me putting my energy into doing so as opposed to purposely distracting myself by wondering why my dating life is in a rut.

I will be honest a huge part of me just wants to lay on my couch 24/7, bury my head in the sand and just hope that money and success falls in my lap.

But life doesn’t work that way (and if it does please click the contact me section and message me with details on step by step instructions on how I can lazy my way through life).

No, all joking aside the same way I threw away unneeded items from my home is the same way I have decided to throw away unneeded thoughts and beliefs that stand as cobwebs cluttering my mind.

Out with the old and in with the new and in some areas lets just keep it completely empty so I can have some breathing room.

My life doesn’t have to stay where it is.

At one point I was working between 70 to 100 hours a week in order to make ends meet and I barely saw my children. I was mean, grouchy, tired and my career was still in the dumps.

I didn’t like who I was becoming.

That is why a little more than a month ago I made the decision to work between 30 to 40 hours a week so that I could stop killing myself, focus on being a better mother and also get my professional life where I want it.

It has been a month of no more than 40 hour work weeks.

My income has dropped but my mental clarity and physical energy levels have increased. I don’t earn the amount of money I would like but my children are happier that I have time to parent them. And I am able to clearly think about what I am doing with my life.

I am free to act on purpose as opposed to haphazardly.

I am not certain as to how I will get my professional life on track but I can tell you that I am no longer distracted from doing so.

After my divorce I relocated from Alaska and returned back to the lower 48 and despite a Master’s Degree and experience I was unable to gain employment in the career field that I wanted. I was told I was overqualified and possessed too much education (yeah I don’t know what that means either).

So I started my own business only to run out of savings before I was able to get it off the ground. That lead to me working several low paying jobs to make ends meet.

My work life was initially hard on the ego but I now see it as humbling which is truly a blessing.

You learn a lot about yourself at the bottom, at least I know I have.

I know to a greater degree what I like and what I don’t like.

I have learned that people are apt to judge you by what you do rather than who you are.

I learned not to be ashamed about where I am at.

I came to accept that somebody is always going to have something to say about you but all that matters is what you believe about you.

My level of faith increased as I learned that no matter what my daily provisions are always met.

I understand that worry is waste of energy. It is completely pointless. Why worry when everything always ultimately works out in the end?

I also found out that sometimes doing the best you can doesn’t yield the results that you would hope for but it will still take you somewhere unexpectedly good in the end.

I came to know that Napoleon Hill was correct in saying “every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

I learned that being told no repeatedly can make you doubt your self worth if you allow it to or it can also make you brave enough to try most anything because you become unafraid of the word no.

For with every no you come to understand what it means when someone says the worse they can say is no.

You stop worrying about what people will think of you.

You realize that people thinking positively or negatively about you doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when you look at the larger scheme of things.

You learn compassion for those who are having a hard time because you know what it is to have a hard time yourself.

If you have good sense you put your pride to the side and start networking and asking people for help.

You will have people tell you they are going to help only for them to never get back in contact with you.

If you are wise you learn to forgive people for letting you down because ultimately it isn’t their job to lift you up.

You meet amazing people who you most likely would have never met had you not been at your bottom.

Hopefully you learn not to be jealous of other people’s success for they are running their own race for which yours cannot be compared.

You learn who your friends are who your friends aren’t.

But most importantly you learn who you are.

I am at my lowest.

Could things get worse? – you betcha!

However, I have faith that I am on my way up.

And I have learned that no matter how bad things get I will still make it.

I have the desire and the ability to do better – so better will come.

My sister was right I didn’t want to deal with my biggest problem so I purposely used my love life as a distractor.

Yeah well, that resulted in my problem becoming even bigger.

I no longer have any guy in my life and I am not looking for a new one to come on the horizon. My decision to not date for a year resulted in something necessary.

It resulted in the fact that there are no longer any distractions.

And that is a good thing!

I knew I needed to focus but I had to decide to do so on purpose.

And as my early jump on my spring cleaning goes underway I notice it parallels my sense of mental clarity. I am not holding on to dried out relationships just like I am throwing away those dried out markers I found in my daughters dresser drawer.

I am letting go and sorting through the pain of my past the same way I am letting go of that paperwork that I was too lazy to sort through.

But most importantly, I am giving away love and kindness the same way I am donating the clothes that my kids have outgrown to charity.

Now that I have no distractions there is nothing to do but to clean my life up (to include my apartment and my car -yep the car needed some TLC also).

I have a choice. I can lay on the couch all day and I am most certain and eviction notice will follow or I can decide where I want my career and life to go and I can take the steps to get it there.

I choose to love me more that means I am getting off the couch.

I am taking the time to do the things I love, caring for myself mind, body and soul, talking with my kids about the things that are important to them, taking care of the material blessings I have been given, nourishing healthy relationships and tending to the big elephant in the room – focusing on getting my career on track.

Is there something that you are avoiding dealing with? Are you purposely distracting yourself from taking care of something you can control by focusing upon something you can’t?

Well I spent 18 months doing that and I can tell you it wasn’t my wisest idea.

I can’t make someone give me a career but I can put my energy towards developing one of my own.

I can’t make a guy love me for who I am but I can love me for who I am.

I can’t make everyone like me but I can nourish the relationships with the people who do.

And I can’t lay on the couch all day and expect my home to self clean itself but God in Heaven knows I really do want to live to see the day I can.

So there you have it, I can either spend my time thinking about negative things that I can’t control or I can be positive and actively work on the things I can (so I guess I will be  developing a career plan, taking better care of myself, nurturing healthy relationships and polishing some neglected furniture).

I love myself enough to be positive about the things I have control over and that is fulfilling my life’s purpose.

Do your self a favor and love you – On Purpose.

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman, Renata Smith, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

The Dream, The Belief, The Journey

Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Cave

Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Cave

Making the decision to be my unique self meant that I was doing things differently than everyone else.

Anytime we are striving to be ourselves we are working to achieve our purpose.

Thus, I am going down a path that others cannot relate to because it is my path.

Mine and mine alone.

Doing what I feel in my soul to be right means that it may not make sense to anyone else.

There are times when I have been called crazy by my friends and my family.

But I have the confidence in myself to know that I am not crazy.

Different? – Yes

Crazy – No

I made the decision to do things the way I felt in my soul to be right.

I question things and I choose to look behind the veil when others say why question it, lets just do as we are told.

Sometimes I get scared when I try to do what I think is best for me.

There are times when I have to press through with tears streaming down my face because I wonder if it will ever happen.

Especially when I can’t find someone to stand in agreement with me.

It isn’t always easy facing your fears when friends, family and loved ones cannot hear the small still voice inside of you telling you that you are going the right way.

And then there are the thoughts.

Oh you know the ones I am talking about.

Those thoughts of fear that tell you to give up.

The thoughts that tell you that this is too hard.

The thoughts that tell you that maybe someone else could do this but not you.

You are not good enough!

You are not smart enough!

You simply don’t have what it takes to achieve your goals!

You have to understand that that is fear talking to you. And as they say “everything you want is on the other side of fear”.

And to accompany the thoughts of fear are the words of the naysayers.

The people who laugh at you for trying and failing.

The folks who openly judge you whenever you come around.

The ones who ridicule you for daring to dream.

Those who roll their eyes at you and whisper when you walk into the room.

You have to recognize that many people want you to fail because your success makes them uncomfortable.

Your success means that the status quo of doing the bare minimum and going through life and accepting whatever comes and not putting in the work to strive for better isn’t the way to succeed at life.

Additionally, it is as Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist 

“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

So why listen the words of others regarding your life when they do not even know what they are doing with their own?

We listen because apart of ourselves believes the negative things they are saying.

I challenge you to stop believing the negatives.

Get to a point where the negative things they say no longer resonates with you and you are able to easily remove yourself from the chatter off the masses.

And you get to the point by deciding what you are going to believe.

Realize that you cannot control what other people say or do and you cannot control your thoughts.

People are going to talk and people are going to judge.

Random things will pop into your mind and you will not have an inkling where they came from.

But the good news is you can control how you feel about what is said about you and the thoughts that enter your mind.

You get to decide if you believe the voice telling you that you are worthless.

You get to decide if you cosign on the notion that you are a failure.

See when you cast out negative thoughts and replace them with positives ones, the voices of negativity get quieter while those of a positive nature will start to echo.

Be your own champion and your own biggest cheerleader.

I use positive affirmations, but here is the thing about positive affirmations – You need to reach a point where you believe the words that are coming out of your mouth.

Me saying statements without any form of belief is just me rambling.

When you speak positively about yourself do it with some level of faith, even if it is the faith the size of a mustard seed.

I dare you to believe in yourself.

Be your own advocate!

You have to come to a place where when people tell you that you cannot achieve the dream that is deeply embedded in your soul that you are able to dismiss it as rubbish.

Your purpose is here for you to fulfill, don’t let the naysayers keep you from it just because they are too afraid to fulfill theirs!

And then we have the hard times.

So let’s talk about the hard times.

Sometimes we step out on faith only to find ourselves falling flat on our bottoms.

I subscribe to the belief that the man that falls and gets back up has achieved far more than the man who has never fallen. This is because the man who has never fallen has never tried to push himself beyond his level of comfort and familiarity.

It is hard when you go through dark periods of your life.

You start to think that trouble will never let up.

And it is even worse when hope gets dangled before you only to have it dashed.

I know what it is to see light at the end of the tunnel and get excited only to find out that it is the headlights of a train flashing before me.

But I had to press through and keep going.

I know what it is to be tired and say this thing isn’t working and want to give up.

I know what it is to lay down my body and think that if I do not wake tomorrow that is fine with me.

But you must faint not and keep on striving to achieve greatness.

Keep hoping.

Keep believing that the dream of something better and greater than what you are currently doing isn’t just a dream but a reality that you are destined to walk into.

Stop listening to those who tell you that you can’t!

Sometimes you will feel as though you have no one to talk to who understands where you are at.

That’s the thing about trailblazing, you are doing a new thing so while some might be able to relate on a certain level they will not fully understand your journey because your journey is your own.

When I find myself in a position where I can’t find anyone who understands me I take this as a signal that I need to spend time alone with myself and to take some time out to talk to God.

I am aware that everyone doesn’t believe in a higher power and to them I say it is at this time that you need to be alone with yourself and dig deep within you and listen to the voice within you that you know to be true.

I encourage you to love yourself enough to continue pressing through and believing that life has more to offer than just getting up, going to work, paying bills and dying,

Life is more than eat and drink.

So LIVE!

I have heard people say that if you do things a certain way life is easy and you will always be happy.

I am not saying that they are wrong (perhaps they truly know a route I do not) I am saying that it has been my own personal experience that sometimes life is painful.

Sometimes life is filled with grief so heavy it can knock a grown man down to his knees.

I don’t have all of the answers, but I know that giving up is not the solution.

I know that listening to people who tell you that you can’t will only result in you walking away from your purpose.

You are going to make mistakes.

You are going to turn left when it would have been better to turn right.

You are going stumble and fall in the same hole repeatedly until you realize how not to stumble.

You are going to run when you should walk and you are going to move when you should stand still.

But that is because you are learning, that is because you are expanding and stepping into your purpose.

I previously used the word “should” but I want you to know that life has a funny way of using even your mistakes to bless you.

So be of good cheer and know that ultimately YOU CANNOT FAIL!

Now don’t mistake my statement that you cannot fail as a call to sit idly by and wait for success to fall in your lap.

That statement is a call to movement not one for you to be stagnant.

Recognize it to mean that if you are doing what you believe to be right and are trying your best that life will bless you even in your mistakes.

And while I do not recommend it, I have witnessed life to be so amazing that even when we go in what we call the wrong direction in purposeful defiance that even then our mistakes can be used to make us prosperous.

Life has a way of working everything out in such a way that your failure will be your success, if you just believe that your call to greatness is true.

The thing about the journey to greatness is that it is just that – a journey.

We like to believe that things just suddenly happen overnight.

But there is the quiet years that no one really knows about.

There is the hard times, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the feeling of loneliness, the loss, the grief and the heartache of feeling like maybe you will never make it. The work of casting out the thought that maybe you should turn back and give up and be like everyone else.

Dreaming that you can be better than you currently are is the initial step, believing you could actually achieve it is the next, doing the work it takes is the journey.

Love yourself enough to dream, to believe and take the journey to greatness. I will not lie and say it is easy. But I will tell you it is worth it. You have a purpose and I encourage you to fulfill it. Some people are going to laugh – ignore them. You are not going to get it right one hundred percent of the time – learn from your mistakes.  You may go through periods where people turn their back on you, they have a right to do that but please don’t turn your back on your dreams. If you have given up, you are still breathing that means your dream is still attainable – attain it!

Renata Nicole

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