Finding Confirmation When The Dots Connect

When life comes at you, sometimes it comes at you hard…and fast and there’s never a way to be prepared for it. Some days you just have to say f**k it and let the waves carry you. Sometimes what you thought you were scared of and weren’t ready to handle actually turns out to be quite a beautiful journey and a story.

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This story is about connecting dots. A few days ago I was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. As usual, I was looking at the covers of the unorganized rows of magazines to see if there was anything interesting. So after checking out the food and bridal magazines, I saw tucked neatly near the register was a “connect the dots” book and I said wow I haven’t seen one of those in a long time. You know, the connect the dots activities where you have to find the consecutive numbers and trace them until what’s left is a picture. I thought about that in terms of my life.

At first glance the dots just look like a bunch of nothing. There’s dots everywhere and numbers everywhere and nothing makes sense. The 1 dot is next to the 50th dot and the 2 dot is next to the 30th dot but the more you connect the dots, the more clear things become and you begin to see the bigger picture.

I thought about why I had been so unhappy and why things just weren’t falling into place the way I wanted. I got lost in the jumble of dots and wanted so badly to leap from 1 to 40 so that I would be more than halfway there. There being my “destination.”

It wasn’t until I acknowledged the divine order over my life did I learn that fulfillment comes in the connecting of the dots. To stop looking to the future for my answers and instead be present. To peel away the layers to find the dots. They were there all along, as they are for each of us. If only we wouldn’t pave over them with messages of “I’m a failure” or “That was a big mistake” or “What’s next and where will I find it?”

What’s the moral of my story? Start at 1 and then 2 and then 3 and even if you have to erase a few lines and redo them…even when it feels like things are taking forever to make sense and even when things aren’t looking as neat as you’d like, just know that no matter how you began, life will come full circle because you can’t finish the bigger picture until you connected the final dot back to 1.

 

 

 

How to Position Yourself for Positivity

12342360_10153550358556997_1380704423291471423_nThis morning, I got an email from “Life According To Her” and the first line was “Deja, simplify what complicates your life. I thought it was a timely email because for the last week I’ve been in a really great place, but before that I found myself increasingly overwhelmed. I found myself having multiple breakdowns (the struggle got real) and I wanted to share a message with you all on positioning yourself for positivity because I literally had to remove somethings to tap back into that clear and free head space I felt slipping away from me. I just didn’t know how to articulate that message to you and I didn’t think I should until I had finally positioned my own self for positivity (gotta practice what you preach right?). So this post has sat in my drafts for a week now, but that email prompted me to open this and share it with you  through one of the most consistently complicated things in my entire life: math.

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I know you’re probably like where are you going with this Deja, but trust me…it’ll make sense soon. So math. You’re in pre-K and then Kindergarten and you’re learning your numbers. You learn how to count to three…and then ten and before you know it you’ve learned how to count to 100. Pretty simple right? But then you transition to first grade and then second grade and you’re learning how to add numbers together and subtract numbers from each other. It’s still pretty simple although you might stagger a bit on borrowing and carrying those tricky multiple digit numbers, but then you get to the fourth grade and you start to learn how to multiply and then divide those numbers and suddenly you realize things that were once so simple (such as counting) are starting to get more complex and complicated (imagine the person sitting in Calculus 4 right now). Well folks this is often the model for our lives as well. So in order to simplify those complicated things in our lives we have to use the order of operation. You guys to remember the order of operation right?

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So here is my Order of Operation to simplify your life:

Create a Morning Routine

I’ve never really had much of a morning routine in place. I’d usually just wake up when I did, and worked when I felt like it until I met my deadlines for the day. More recently, since I’ve begun school and work full time while juggling deadlines, I found that going to bed every single night at the same time is crucial. I trained my body to wake up with the alarm and even before the alarm in the mornings. If I’d like to have a chill and mellow day, I’ll throw on some acoustics to usher me into a relaxing day. If I’m looking to have a energized day, I’ll play some EDM and dance my way into the workday.

Having a morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day.

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Complain Less

There is nothing I hate more than someone who only texts me to complain about their day. Or someone who constantly complains about the job they applied for. Or someone complaining about whatever. Have you noticed that when you spend so much time complaining you’re actually stewing up negative energy that affects not only your entire behavior but the mood of the people around you? When you complain less, you become more optimistic. You become more grateful. So moving forward…here’s an activity whenever you feel the urge to complain about something, write it down and think about how you can turn that complaint into gratefulness?

School is hard y’all. This week of orientation has been extremely intense. The hours are long (8am-5pm), it’s information overload and full of cramming, but if I walked around constantly talking about these things people would look at me like well…why are you even there? Truth is, I’m there because I want to be, so should I be complaining about it? NOPE! Instead I should be grateful, optimistic and see the challenges as growth areas for myself.

Balance Out Your “Yes’s” and Your “No’s”

In January rather than creating New Years Resolutions, I decided to make 2016 my Yes year ironically, this was before I had a chance to even read Shonda Rhimes “Year of Yes.” I said yes to every single opportunity that fell into my lap and found myself burnt the hell out and I decided that sometimes…just sometimes…saying no isn’t always a bad thing. Learn to balance out your yes’s and your no’s. Not everything warrants a yes. If you don’t feel like doing something, say no. Saying yes, when you should say no will eventually lead to whatever you said yes to becoming a burden and what worst way to complicate your life than having something dangling over your head that you don’t even want or aren’t even interested in?

Less Time Online

Since starting this new job and school. I haven’t had much time online. Today is the first day in a week that I’ve actually opened up my laptop and it’s to complete this post. I realize that I have more energy and time for life when I’m not spending so much of it behind a computer screen. There’s less room for negativity to filter it’s way in by sifting through newsfeeds and timelines and dashboards. Now I’m not saying completely disconnect, but limiting time online definitely increases productivity in other aspects of your life.

Fill Your Life with Those You Love

As cliche as this sounds…and believe me it’s pretty cheesy, but love is why we’re here. It’s why we exist to spread and receive love. So surround yourself with friends, family, even things that make your heart full.

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Doing all of these simple things sets you up for a positive lifestyle. When you have less to complain about and more to love, when you begin each day in high spirits, and when you are able to find balance between things that benefit you and things that would just be a burden later, how can you not help but love the life that you’ve built?

 

Today’s Message is Brought to You by “Why”

FullSizeRender (19)If I had to sum my week up in a few words it would be stressful, anxious, exhausting, and exciting. On Wednesday, I accepted a job offer that required me to go back to school to get a second Master’s degree through a residency program. I immediately got excited because I’m one of those weird people who loves school and what’s even better is I don’t have to pay for it. BUT everything came at me so fast. So this week was filled with phone calls, signing contracts, filling out forms, requesting transcripts, tying up loose ends and preparing for my first day of classes on Monday. This week presented so many hurdles. The icing on the cake was damaging the screen on my phone to where it was unusable. Things were piling up. I was getting overwhelmed. I felt myself drowning, so I had to shut everything down and take a walk….multiple times this week. As I took those walks, two options wrestled in my mind. I can cut the stress, say bump this job and grad school or I could just stay exactly where I am now: juggling a million deadlines, losing sleep, working hard and still being broke, living at home with my parents. “Touching” thirty, that last option didn’t seem to appealing.

I thought about all the things the first option would afford me. For starters, it would give me the financial freedom that I need at 26 years old. It would help me comfortably pay my bills, enjoy my life and fund my dreams, but most of all make a direct impact on the next generation who’d be filling our shoes. I mean that’s all I talk about anyway right? I thought about why I had decided to do this and the stress started to fall away little by little. I just needed to remember why.

So today’s message is brought to you by the question “why” because the question why is the beginning of your soul searching journey, your curiosity, and your need for answers. It is one of the most important purpose driven questions you can ask yourself at any stage of your life.

German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche once said, ‘He who has a why can endure any how.’ Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living (are you living or are you existing). Indeed, only when you know your ‘why’ will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.

But what happens when you ask “why,” but haven’t received an answer? You start to feel like your life has no purpose. You start to feel like maybe you’re just here to exist because at this point, there is nothing extraordinary about what you’re doing and you have no idea what you even want to do beyond that. Well, I am here to tell you that you are wrong and that finding your “why” requires more than just one question, but it’s not has hard as you think…in fact it’s probably been right in front of you all along. So let’s clear up that vision shall we? 

In life we have the things that we want and the things that we need and there are times when they just don’t overlap. Sometimes they are completely on different wave lengths and you find yourself being stretched in two different directions, but they are BOTH contributing to your growth in positive ways. So naturally you’ll try to find some middle ground in all of it, but you still haven’t been able to figure out your “why.” I was in that same place a few months ago and there are times even when I’ve moved on, I’ll find myself back at that place.

Through all of that searching and questioning and thinking, I came across an article by author and leadership guru John Addison on “How to Find Your Why in Life” in Success Magazine. I wrote down all of the questions he ensured would help (you guys know I love questions) and decided to answer them for myself, but now I want you to answer them for yourself.

What is your definition of success?

Notice I said “your,” meaning what do you need to do and achieve in order for you to say that you have a successful life. I don’t want to hear what other people have or do that makes them successful because you’re not them. So if you’re about to tell me your definition of success is to have a Lambo, huge mansion, loaded bank account, I’m going to assume you’ve been watching MTV Cribs (does that still come on?). So think about that.

What are you passionate about?

I often come across articles and interviews with successful people who share advice and tips on how to turn the things they’re passionate about into their careers and the one thing that they all have in common is they never grow up…or at least on the inside…I mean dream wise. You get it. Remember when we were kids, we literally wanted to be everything even if it didn’t make sense at the time. We were innocent and naive and that’s what made our dreams so pure and vivid. As you get older, you realize you need that type of dreaming in your life again even if it doesn’t make sense to others.

You might be passionate about collecting a certain type of toy (like Treasure Trolls)…or you might consider yourself an candy connoisseur…they sound childish, but are they really? Anyway, the things that you are passionate about are literally compasses to finding your “why.” They’re pointing you in the right direction so pay attention.

If money were no object, what would you do?

In my last post, I talked about needing financial freedom in order for me to stop existing and to really start living. Money isn’t everything, but as a dreamer and someone with a load of passion projects cooking, having financial freedom would do a great deal for me. So if money weren’t an object, I’d be able to focus more on building my brand. What would you do if money weren’t an object for you?

Finding your “why” doesn’t have to be like climbing Mount Everest. It just requires you to pay attention to the things that you respond positively to and the things that make you happy. Trust me, everything ALWAYS comes full circle.

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