Milestones

Ep.145 How will life’s detours help build your legacy?


 
 

Welcome to Hustle in Faith. This podcast is dedicated to helping you find your trail to a happier healthier you by discussing topics regarding Christianity, health & wellness, beauty & so much more! I’m your host Tosha Johnson.

Episode 145 How will life’s detours help build your legacy?

Anchor Season 4: Episode 15

I’m recording this episode the day before my birthday. So by the time you hear this episode I will be 39 years old. It’s so crazy to think how close I am to 40 . As I do every year, I took a vacation. More like a staycation but it’s all good because I have a ton of projects that I’m working on right now. I’m trying really hard to position my second act in life to be the most impactful. This year I did something that I never thought I would ever do…God blessed me with the ability to buy a home. It’s perfect for me. I never wanted a house. I always wanted a condo on the lakefront with a balcony and I finally achieved that dream at 38 years old.

Now although this is my dream home, that did not come with dream neighbors. I’m living in a building filled with Ken and Karen demons who just still can’t get over that I’m living here as well. God has given my mom and I both the patience, strength, and the resources we need to fight back. I kid you not, this situation I’m fighting against right now is like a made for TV movie. That’s an episode for another day, so stay tuned for that one.

Anyway, I know for a fact that I never would have gotten my dream home if I didn’t embrace the detours that life has thrown my way. I’m a fairly private person, so I’m not really big on sharing all my business. However, I want to share various aspects of it today, because I truly hope it will inspire others to keep going. It’s through the grace of God, my Christian upbringing, and my mom that I’m able to really enjoy where I am in my life. When I think about my life, I truly view it in seasons.

Winter: Winter is that period in my life where nothing seems to be happening. It feels like all my dreams have either died or been deferred.

Spring: Spring is when I see a little glimmer of hope and my dreams are trying their best to grow through some tough soil.

Summer: Summer is when I can finally see all my dreams coming true. I’m not just surviving, I’m thriving.

Fall: Then the fall in my life is when I start to feel restless or come against more obstacles than normal but can’t quite pinpoint the reason why.

Now that I’m older, I know that each season plays a special role in my life. The degree in how much success I can expect to enjoy depends on my attitude and approach to how I decide to handle each season. You don’t reach the top of a mountain without going through a valley first.

Right now, with the exception of these crazy neighbors, trust that is getting resolved as we speak, I can truly say I’m enjoying my summer season in life. I feel like I’m enjoying it much more than the average person would because of what I had to endure during my winter and fall seasons.

 About 5 years ago, I was laid off from my job that I was at for almost 6 years. I went through all of my savings which wasn’t much y’all because I don’t come from a wealthy family. My unemployment ran out, which caused me to lose my apartment. Thank God for my side hustle jobs because I literally had just enough money to move my stuff into storage. I went to live with a relative for two 2 ½ months. I have never prayed so hard before in my life to find a job! Honestly, that’s when I started this podcast because I didn’t want my down period in life to be in vain. Plus, little did I know that this podcast was a reminder to me to keep going while simultaneously building a legacy.

Anyway, I found a job one month into living with the relative, but I had to have 2 paychecks before I was able to move into the apartment. The apartment that I moved into was a 400 square foot studio apartment that had just enough room for my storage stuff. Like I knew that this place was a pitstop. A pitstop that ended up being two years, but I knew I wasn’t about to make this place home, so I didn’t bother buying furniture. For two years, I slept on a little pallet, but you know what? Every time I wanted to complain, I would catch myself because I knew that things could be worse. This was MY place. I may not have the money and prestige, but I’ve got my peace of mind. That studio apartment brought me to a whole new level of gratefulness.

I ended up being losing that job but found another one and that’s when things started to really take off. I ended up renting a beautiful condo that allowed my mom and I to have some space. It was really a miracle that we were able to move because this was during the height of the pandemic. During this time, God really was blessing me with my side hustles. I paid off my car a long time ago. My car still runs but I knew that I would need another one soon. I thought I was saving for one thing, but God really had me saving for something that I never thought was an option…my own home.

We’ll get into my reluctance to even dream about buying my own home in another episode, but God was leading me to this moment. However, it was up to me to decide whether I wanted to take the shot. I encountered some shady folks along the way that were supposed to be working for me but I later discovered were attempting to steal from me, but as Romans 8:28 says, God causes all things to work together for those who love the Lord. He kept me from falling into their trap.

Every adverse circumstance is why I’m able to write this episode from my balcony overlooking Lake Michigan. I don’t share this as a flex, but to encourage those who are going through their winter season in life to keep going until you reach your goal. The greatest definition of success that I have embraced to get me through the tough times was to accomplish the purpose God put me on this earth to do in the timeframe He’s has given me.   Just because you’re down today doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Every major milestone that I’ve ever achieved was preceded by a detour. Detours will challenge you but you have to keep going.

The longer the detour, the bigger the obstacle that’s strategically been placed between me and my dream.

Every detour that I have encountered —good and bad—has played a major role in my quest to build a legacy. But before God could position me to build a legacy that would count, He needed to ensure that I had the ability to handle the gifts he wanted me to have. Every detour God has led me through has taught me patience (one I still struggle with) and confidence, but most importantly that I can depend on Him as my Source.

The One thing God has really shown me over the past several years is that I need to dream bigger. With that said, I’ve got some REALLY big dreams planned for my second act. I know that I will achieve them but not without detours. At least now I know when I encounter a detour that the obstacle standing in front of me is only temporary if I choose to put God first and let Him guide me in how I can get to the other side.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. If you enjoy listening to Hustle in Faith and would like to support the show, please consider sharing it with your friends, leaving a review, donating, or making a purchase at  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!

Episode 138 Go For It! My Dream Home

I recently purchased my dream home! I wanted to share three major lessons that this situation brought to my attention.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. If you enjoy listening to Hustle in Faith and would like to support the show, please consider sharing it with your friends, leaving a review, donating, or making a purchase at  StarenguCrew, our fitness apparel shop.

Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who you may inspire. See you in the next episode!

Episode 120: What will your dash look like? Part 2

Sidenote: I never intended for this to be a two part series. However, his death got me thinking about my “dash” and figured that these episodes really belonged together (hence, the gap in the timeframe). Here is part one, but you don’t have to listen to that one first in order to understand this episode. 🙂 https://hustleinfaith.com/what-will-your-dash-look-like/

Before I jump into today’s episode, I want to take a moment to thank you for your support. I actually did something that I hardly ever do…I took a look at the analytics for this podcast. It’s crazy how much this podcast has grown. Oftentimes, it felt like I was talking to myself, but clearly I’m not.

I started this podcast solely out of trying to inspire and motivate people to never give up and to keep going, so it’s really humbling to see how much this podcast has grown despite the fact that I’ve NEVER spent money on advertising. It’s been purely by word of mouth. So if you’re enjoying this content, if you don’t mind, I would really appreciate it if you can pay it forward by leaving a rating and a review on iTunes because it will help other people to discover this podcast as well. I’d truly appreciate it and thanks again for your support.

All right. Whew. Where do I even begin with how to describe this past week…Yet, more protests have been happening. Athletes literally said enough is enough and did not play any of their games in hopes to draw more attention to the obviously clear double standards that exist in this country, by the way, more power to every last one of those athletes for using their platform. 

They are in a unique situation to drive change. These billionaire owners literally can’t do a single thing without the players. More power to these athletes in forcing the owners to pay attention by messing with their bottom line. I have always felt this way and loved it when I saw Jemele Hill’s article called, “ Why should a country that doesn’t value black lives get to be entertained by black athletes?” Team owners shouldn’t continue to benefit from your talent if they aren’t willing to fight for your right to exist in peace. 

Then on Friday, as if all of what I mentioned wasn’t enough we lost actor Chadwick Boseman at age 43 to colon cancer.

Learning about the news of his death really felt like a kick in the gut. He was the exact same age and had the exact same cancer my dad died from. He portrayed Jackie Robinson in the film 42 and literally the day of Chadwick’s death coincided with the day that Major League Baseball commemorated legend Jackie Robinson.

The thing that struck me the most was that this man filmed Civil War, Marshall, Black Panther, Infinity War, Endgame, 21 Bridges and Da 5 Bloods, that’s 7 films all while he was fighting stage 3 cancer. Chadwick truly was a real-life superhero. How he was able to film all those movies is truly remarkable. I remember accompanying my dad for the surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments. Everything that I just named leaves your body feeling incredibly exhausted and it takes every ounce of strength that hasn’t been zapped from you physically to keep you mentally sane.

I haven’t seen all of those movies that I listed, but you better believe the one film that I, like every Black person has seen Black Panther. I remember being so excited because I love comic book movies and when I heard that they were doing Black Panther I could hardly contain myself. 

I know a lot of people who are not Black may not understand this, but to see an all Black cast not in playing the token role of a sidekick, a slave, or any of the other demeaning stereotype roles we’re normally relegated to and incredibly tired of seeing reflected on the big screen was just so refreshing. I genuinely felt like a child watching that movie. 

I know many people held watch parties, people dressed up as their favorite characters, and everyone under the sun would jokingly greet each other the way they did in the film. When I was watching the film, I and countless other Black people that I would talk to about the film kept wishing that a place like this existed. Seeing a place like Wakanda on the big screen, allowed me for a short period of time to actually feel seen and represented.

Needless to say, Black Panther went on to make more than a billion dollars and proved to the movie industry something that we already knew…we can produce box office hits if given the opportunity and resources to do so. 

We have been fortunate enough to witness how talented and kind Chadwick was on and offscreen. He was visiting terminally ill children while he was fighting for his own life. Chadwick did more in his 43 years of life than some have with 100 years.

One of the stories that really touched me is Chadwick’s acceptance speech at AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Denzel Washington on the TNT thanking Denzel Washington for paying his tuition to attend the British Academy of Dramatic Acting in Oxford. Phylicia Rashad told Denzel that she had a couple of students that were accepted into the program but they didn’t have the money to pay the tuition. Denzel Washington anonymously paid all of the students’ tuition and years later Chadwick found out it was Denzel Washington who paid his tuition.

Chadwick’s death, hearing this story about how Denzel paid for Chadwick’s tuition, all of the chaos currently happening in this nation got me thinking about how we can be here today and gone tomorrow, that phrase, by the way, is also one of my favorite songs by Aloe Blacc.

Here Today Gone Tomorrow

The Bible also says in James 4:14 states that our life is like a vapor. I’m well aware that tomorrow isn’t promised, which is why I’m constantly asking myself, “What will your dash look like?” Many times when we look at an obituary or headstone, we look at their birthdate and date of death, but what about the dash?

That dash is more than just a line between our birthday and date of death it’s our life. Now, in case you want to learn more about how I shifted my mindset so I could position myself to get on the right path to achieving my dash check out episode 58: What will your dash look like?

Honestly, if your goal is to live an extraordinary life you’ve got to do the things that mention in Episode 58, but then after that, you’ve got to be willing to put in the work by addressing the following:

Time

People ask me all the time, “T or Tosha how can you find the time to do all the stuff that you do? When do you sleep? Here’s the thing, I’ve always been very protective of my time, but when my dad passed away even more so. Time is a scarce resource. Everything in life has an opportunity cost.You can’t get it back. This is why I’m fiercely protective of my time. If I spend my time with toxic people or working on projects/activities that do not add value to my life, I just wasted my time.  Everyone that is currently in my life and the activities that I choose to participate in are there for a reason. 

If you want your dash to matter then you’re going to have to carve out time to determine what it is you want out of life. I know many so many people stuck in dead end jobs. I totally get that feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day where you just want to go home and watch TV, but how is that TV show contributing to your future? It’s not. 

I’m not saying, you gotta work, work, work, work, but carve out at least an hour to teach yourself a new skill that you think will allow you to create an opportunity for you to experience success. Throughout my entire career, I have always carved out at least an hour for myself to learn something new and/or continue developing a skill set. My background is marketing, but I’m a techie at heart. I pick up software pretty quickly and decided to develop this skill. This is literally how I taught myself to build websites and create and edit audio and videos which enabled me to create a nice little side hustle doing something that I love. 

Successful people don’t watch a lot of TV and aren’t super active on social media. Why? Both of those activities are huge time sucks. This is precious time that you can spend networking with other like minded people who share your vision and may be in a position to help you achieve your goal. I make sure to donate my time to share the knowledge that I’ve acquired with others less fortunate than me.

Knowledge 

I’m a firm believer in acquiring knowledge that is going to enable me to create my own opportunities and not solely rely on a 9 to 5  to provide for me. I then go out of my way to share this knowledge with other people. Life is hard. We have enough hurdles as it is in life that we have to clear. My goal is to help you reduce the time that you spend doing so by offering solid advice. It brings me joy to be the shortcut someone needs to help them succeed. This is why I’m so passionate about education. Whenever I volunteer in the schools,  I make it a special point to connect with the Black and Latino students.

Many times, these students are dismissed, forgotten or worse forced into accepting society’s standard of what success looks like for them. Let me tell you…it ain’t pretty. School conditions many students to be worker bees. You can only achieve success if you have a 9 to 5 and climb the corporate ladder for the rest of your life. If you dare even attempt to fly away from this mindset then you’ve got to fight through an angry mob of bees that don’t want to see you succeed.

 I want these students to see that they can flip the script just like those NBA athletes. Stop playing someone else’s game. If people refuse to listen then take that as a cue to go create your own opportunity because people will not fight for your best interest.

(White people) need to be coached up and they need to be educated about what the heck is going on in the world,” Carroll said. “Black people can’t scream anymore, they can’t march any more, they can’t bear their souls anymore to what they’ve lived with for hundreds of years because white guys came over from Europe and started a new country with a great idea and great ideals and wrote down great writings and laws and all of that about democracy and freedom and equality for all. And then that’s not what happened, because we went down this road here and followed economics—rich white guys making money—and they put together a system of slavery, and we’ve never left it, really. It has never gone away.

“And Black people know the truth, they know exactly what’s going on. It’s white people who don’t know. It’s not that they’re not telling us; they’ve been telling us the stories. We know what’s right and what’s wrong, we just have not been open to listen to it. We’ve been unwilling to accept the real history. We’ve been taught a false history of what happened in this country, we’ve been basing things on false premises, and it has not been about equality for all, it has not been about freedom for all, it has not been opportunity for all, and it needs to be. This is a humanity issue we’re dealing with. This is a white people’s issue to get over and learn what’s going on and to figure it out and start loving everybody that is part of our country, and that want to our country, wherever they want to come from.”

Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks Head Coach https://sports.yahoo.com/pete-carroll-seahawks-white-people-real-history-racism-speech-nfl-032543213.html

The only thing that the corporate world has to offer is a mentorship program that are nothing more than an illusion to make someone like me *think* that I have a shot at making it to the top of the ladder, but I really don’t. In every company that I’ve worked at that had a mentorship program not a single one of them had anyone of color in senior management. It’s been this way throughout my entire career.

Why is this the case? If we’re being completely honest oftentimes many of the business deals that are made are made in places that are not frequented by people who look like me (i.e. golf courses, country clubs, etc). 

I’m not trying to say this to be malicious or desire pity, trust me I don’t need or want it, I’m simply stating this because it is a fact. I figured out fairly early on in my career that I wasn’t going to continue climbing a ladder that wasn’t meant for me and nor  did I want to find out that my ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. 

So I simply view my job as a means to an end—to fund the projects that I’m most passionate about in life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and the folks I work with have been pretty cool so far, but again my motto is  I work to live, not live to work. I channel my energy and time by sharing my knowledge so other people don’t feel like they have to play the game.

Strategy

You can’t create your own game if you don’t have a strategy. After all a goal without a plan is just a wish. What does success look like to you? Does your idea of success enable you to be a conduit? Meaning, are other people going to be blessed by you achieving your goals. 

So for example, one of my goals is to create an afterschool workshop to help Black and Latino kids get the business skills they need to create their own opportunities. My definition of success is to help out as many people as I can to achieve their dreams. I know for a fact that my time and knowledge is going to help out future generations. 

Phylicia Rashad and Denzel Washington had no idea that their willingness to go above and beyond in donating their time, expertise and generosity was going to produce a future king that would be admired throughout the ages.

I’ve been truly blessed. It’s an honor for me to be in a situation to help as many people as I can but especially those within my community. 

If you’re like me and you want your dash to matter it starts with making sure that you reclaim your time, gain knowledge to help you create opportunities and determine ways in how you can be a conduit in sharing your gifts and talents with others. When people see my dash I want them to know that my life represented Proverbs 11:25 “The generous soul will be made rich,

And he who waters will also be watered himself.” 

I already know that I’ve already watered quite a few souls and if you can’t say the same it’s not too late. Don’t overthink it and take the shot.

I want to end this episode by sharing two poems with you. With all the chaos in this world it seems like they both can be a good reminder to never lose focus on our dash.

Both of these poems were included in my dad’s obituary. 

Medieval Times

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

By Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

You’re the Cats

By  LaTosha Johnson 

You have always been there for me, and now it is my turn to be here for you, 

because you need someone to care for you too.

When I was small, you were always there to help me, 

Whether it was homework (I am past the “Alligator” situation), problems, and questions.

You are always there to give me advice, 

And since I am stubborn, I always need it twice.

You are the epitome of what a REAL father is and should be, 

I hope you realize how very special you are to me.

Please do not hesitate to ask me for help,

There is nothing too big that with prayer cannot be dealt.

You are always providing for us and our needs above your own,

With your love and guidance I wan to show you how much I have grown.

We are always buddies, and buddies help each other out, 

Especially when they are dealing with a troublesome bout.

You will be fine rest assured because we’re here to help you, 

And we will be with you through and through.

I wish I could repay you for everything you have and continue to do for me,

But there is nothing in the world that would amount to this you see.

I love you so much that my feelings cannot be expressed, 

I am so proud of you and appreciate everything you do which is why you are such a success.

You have accomplished so many things that many people only dream

But what separates you from them is that you made your dreams a reality.

You work hard and deserve to have us take care of you, 

So please relax and get some rest, 

Your love selflessness is what makes you Daddy the absolute best.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to take the How Well Rounded Are  You in Life quiz and check out  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating, purchasing a  Hustle in Faith journal  or an  item from StarenguCrew in order to help offset the cost of producing this show.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!

Episode 116: It’s My Birthday!

I’m 38. Let’s Celebrate!

Welcome to Hustle in Faith. This podcast is dedicated to helping you find your trail to a happier healthier you by discussing topics regarding Christianity, health & wellness, beauty & so much more! I’m your host Tosha Johnson.

Episode 116: I’m 38. Let’s Celebrate!

Well if you couldn’t tell from the title of this episode I’m celebrating my birthday! I’m now 38 years old. It feels so weird so saying that number. I remember when I was a kid how I used to think 40 was ancient. Now that I’m approaching 40 at what appears to be lighting speed, I can’t help but laugh; forty is not as ancient as I thought it was.

Needless to say, this will definitely be a year I know many of us will never forget. Not only was this the start of a New Year, but a shiny brand-new decade.  When this year first started, I had all these plans. I had already written out my short term and long term goals and was all set to work through my bucket list. 

Then the Coronavirus or as Black Twitter calls it, Rona came around and pretty much said, “Slow your roll, you’re not going anywhere.”  I was supposed to be celebrating my birthday this week in Toronto  And later this year. In December, I was going to celebrate my mom turning 60 by taking her to Costa Rica. Although I was really looking forward to taking those trips, I made my peace with having to cancel them; due to the Coronavirus. Sitting on a plane with a mask on is definitely not my jam.

The Coronavirus and Black people having to take to the street in protest is not what I had envisioned for 2020. I’m not going to get into these topics, but If you want to learn more about my thoughts regarding the politicizing of the Coronavirus and Black community check out episode 108 and if you’re interested in learning more about why protests are taking place and how to fight back against racism check out episodes 109, 110, 111, 114 and another episode called Random Thoughts Thursday: Homelessness & Gentrification

What part of Revelation are we doing today? 😂 😂 😂

It’s amazing to sit back and think that we are literally living through a chapter that will without a doubt be discussed and debated about for years to come. If you’re Black listening to this episode, I don’t need to tell you how exhausting it is to be trapped simultaneously within two pandemics…the Coronavirus and suffering through the not so subtle effects of systemic racism. 

What I want to remind everyone listening to this episode is that our lives are like a vapor (James 4:14). Our life is a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Life is short. If I had to choose a theme song that represented my life up until now, it would be hands down U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

I absolutely love that song and that group. I’ve actually seen them in concert twice. One time I was in the front row and Bono looked directly at me and smiled. I think he was just as surprised and pleased to see me there as I was to be there. Again, check out the lyrics to this song and you’ll see why I spent so much of my life unnecessarily searching for my place and purpose in this world.

U2 360 Tour

Despite all the chaos that is currently happening in this world, I almost feel guilty saying this, but this has been one of the best years of my life; apart from not traveling to Canada and Costa Rica. I can finally say, I found what I’m looking for. Peace and contentment. Now, there were moments in my past where I thought I found this dynamic duo, but I realize now that those events were meant to motivate me to get to the spot where I am now. 


2015| Me and my mom riding ATVs in La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano area in Costa Rica

I can TRULY 100% say that I have a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). I have never been happier than I am in my current life right now. I am satisfied with my life. Not many people can say this.  You know what? I can say this because I did not allow the hardships I have experienced go to waste. I know what it’s like to be broke; I know what it’s like to lose a loved one; I know what it’s like to feel like the world is against you and you’re left to muster what little strength and energy you have to fight back against what oftentimes feels like the wind. 

Now, I’m well aware that the majority of the people listening to this episode may not want to hear about my happiness, but just hear me out anyway.  I have been through a lot of ups and downs in my life. Emphasis on a lot. This is why I’ve learned not to allow my peace to be dictated by my circumstances. In other words, I do not let anyone or anything steal my joy. Don’t get me wrong this is much easier said than done. I am here to tell you that peace that surpasses all understanding is possible if you put Christ first and work toward that outcome.

My parents never sugar coated anything. I do not come from a rich family. Fighting for peace and success is something that I’m so blessed my parents instilled in me when I was a child. I knew early on in life that in order for me to experience success that I would have to work twice as hard and be creative in how I achieved success. People are quick to envy your success, but I guarantee they will think twice about taking the journey you took to get there.

I always wanted to mirror my mom’s life. My parents got married when they were 19 and shortly after had me and my sister. I envisioned myself getting married young and doing the same thing. I remember being so mad when I was in my early 20’s about not being married or having kids. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I find Mr. Right? The funny thing is I was the one putting all this pressure on myself, not my mom. My mom literally said, “Tosha, I love you but if I could do it all over again, we would not be having this conversation.”

My shero aka my mom 😂

She went on to share all the reasons why I should enjoy being single and childfree. I love the analogy she came up with to describe marriage. You’re wearing a beautiful dress. Marriage is like a necklace. That dress is going to be beautiful regardless of whether you decide to wear that necklace. She was brutally honest in sharing with me, how much she sacrificed for us and how she didn’t want me nor my sister to go through all the pain and heartaches she went through in trying to provide for us.

My parents were happily married, but it was a lot of work. Emphasis on a lot. It was even harder because neither of my parents came from good families. My mom literally had the worst parents in the world. Prayer and constantly seeking God’s guidance is the only way she knew how to raise us. She clearly listened to God. We had a wonderful childhood. We had the childhood my dreamt about but never got a chance to experience herself. My mom is proof that where you start in life does NOT determine the level of success you can and will achieve if you put God first. I am not just saying this because she is my mom, but her life story is absolutely fascinating. I’ll convince her one of these days to let me interview her. 😉

As I get older, I noticed from my own experiences and those around me that my mom was right about everything; not having kids and not rushing into marriage. Both duties are a lot of work. After watching my friends and others struggle with raising their kids or listening to them complain about their marriages confirm that my life is perfect “as is”.  Now do not get me wrong, I would still be open to the idea of marriage if I found the right guy. I’m so glad that I didn’t get married when I was younger. I was not complete; nor was I ready for that responsibility.

Looking at the divorce rate and others who remain in unhappy marriages demonstrates that they were not ready for the responsibility of marriage either. In order to have a successful marriage both people have to know who they are in Christ’s eyes. Honestly, I had got married earlier, I would have been bringing a lot of unnecessary baggage to the table. I was too insecure.  I was looking for a spouse to make me happy and give me fulfillment. With this weak mindset, my marriage would have been doomed from the start.

As I stated before, marriage and raising kids is a lot of work. I know how hard I had to fight to finally find peace in my life. This is one of the main reasons I know for a fact I would lose my peace and joy if I had kids.  Marriage and children would have derailed my life, not enhanced it. Thanks to me often seeking and appreciating my mom’s godly advice, God has blessed me with not only being able to find contentment in my personal life, but my professional life as well.

Speaking of my professional life, when I graduated from college and started my career, I had all these crazy ideas that working hard would move me up the corporate ladder. Good grief, I was so naive!  I seriously thought I was going to conquer the world. I legitimately thought I was going to make it to the top of the corporate ladder.

Due to my own stupidity, I ignored society subtle reminders about where my place was supposed to be on the corporate ladder…the bottom.  Although society kept sending me notices to stay in my place, if you know me, their notices were never going to be an option for me. I kept working my butt off for a dream that I soon realized would never materialize. There were so many times in my career I knew I was doing Director level work but never received the title nor the pay. Obviously, this isn’t fair, but it is what it is.  Again, super naive on my part.

I will be the first one to admit that I had bought into society’s definition of success. Again, I was super naïve.

My ethnic sounding name, my unwillingness to play mind games nor lose my dignity to get ahead, endure endless microaggressions and working with just flat out racist people had me questioning if this was the type of  “success” I really wanted for my life. Being unfulfilled with the corporate BS led me to question what success is, how to achieve it and why I even desired it. While I was searching, I discovered that what society deems as success was not real and it did not align with what God had in store for my life.

God knew deep down that I’m not the type to lie, cheat and steal my way to the top. He knows my motto is, “Work to live, not live to work,”.  This motto is something I deeply desire and live by.  This is true success for me.  In case you want to learn more about the steps I took to create my ideal life, check out the episode called What will your dash look like? The dash I am talking about is the one seen in an obituary or a headstone.  There are two dates. Your birthdate and the day you leave this world. In between those two dates, is a dash. That dash represents the life you led while you were alive.

My point is, I want my dash to matter. One of my biggest fears in life is to wake up one day and realize that I had my ladder leaning against the wrong wall (in this case that wall was the corporate world).  Challenging my fears led me to take a long hard look at my desires and aspirations.  All of which leads me to take a different approach with life. I now view life from God’s perspective.  After aligning my life with God, I can see that God gave me a 9 to 5 so I could use that money to fund my life, not be my life.

The money I make from my 9 to 5 enables me to fund projects and endeavors that bring me joy, promotes my creativity as well as allows me to be a blessing to others. As I stated before, despite all the chaos that is currently going on, this year has been one of the best years of my life. Here is how all this came about…

Back in the day, I spent many sleepless nights teaching myself how to create websites, use Photoshop, create voice overs, edit audio and create videos. Although these things were my passions in life, I often wondered if it was a waste of time and money. I remember I would tell my mom how much I really wanted to learn these things even though I knew I would never get to use them on my real (9 to 5) job. The thought of not utilizing my knowledge made me want to give up and quit learning.

Due to my mom being my biggest cheerleader, I kept going. She convinced me to stop focusing on the money aspect and just enjoy the journey. She continues to explain that the money will come later, and that money should never come before my passion. She was right again. It was not until I started truly taking her advice to heart that I started getting hired for the creative jobs I truly desired to do.

People have been hiring me as a business consultant; I am doing voice over work for anything ranging from company voicemails, small movies roles, video games, company tutorials and one of my projects that I’m most proud of is that my voice is being used for Virginia’s Department of Education online learning curriculum. Even right now, I’m literally working on yet another amazing project creating a suite of product tutorial videos for a company that found me on YouTube. They found me on YouTube guys. They literally said, “Hey, we like your teaching style. Can you do this for us?” I can’t make this up! My websites have opened so many opportunities for me that I never in a million years would have thought were possible.

I know there are times that you may feel like giving up but I’m here to tell you to keep going.  Because I took my own advice, I created this podcast during the second worst period of my life.  When it rains it pours.  I was unemployed for a year, so you can imagine what my bank account looked like. I went on a ton of soul crushing interviews. During this time in my life, I just felt so defeated.  After I was done throwing myself a pity party, I figured I would share my journey in how I wanted to create my ideal life by putting God first.

I wanted to share my experiences with others so that my knowledge  isn’t wasted.  Regardless of how hard a time I’m going through, I want to motivate others to keep going so they can define what success looks like for them. So in the event that you are having a hard time, one of the ways I shifted my perspective to focus on God was to express more gratitude. Learn to be grateful for what you have and not focus on what you lack. After all, why should God give you the desires of your heart if you’re not content with the blessings He’s already given you?

So several years ago I started this exercise, which I still do to this day. Every day, regardless of how bad a day I have had, I write down 3 good things that happened to me and then place that sheet of paper in a shoebox that my mom was so kind to decorate for me.  Now I’m not going to lie to you, some days are much harder than others to find something to be thankful for was hard work. There were days where I literally wrote, I have food, clothes, and shelter and that’s ok because you know what, I know that God appreciates our efforts.

Then at the last week of the year, I go through and read them all. I make a list of all the major events that I want to remember and write them in my journal. Obviously, you don’t have to do the last part, but it’s kind of nice having a Top 10 list to reflect on when you’re going through tough times in life. It serves as a reminder that you made it through then and you can make it through now. It’s just a matter of time before you will be back to living the high life again

If the exercise I just described sounds appealing to you, please be sure to download the grateful notes I created. They are a lot prettier than the post-it notes or a sheet of paper. This is an exercise that I’ve been doing for almost over 7 years. In the event that you are having a hard time, I want you to please download my free planner and grateful notes from my website. I can truly say that my desire is to have a well balanced meaningful life. I want to help others to do the same. With that being said, I want to share with you a couple of goals I have in store for the future.

So this year, I’m super excited to share with you one of my major accomplishments. I’m proud to announce my fitness t-shirt apparel shop called StarenguCrew

StarenguCrew is geared towards women who don’t doubt the power of a workout. Working out is a lifestyle. It is my honor to create designs that will celebrate your shine!

I’m super excited about finally being able to launch this project, so I hope you decide to support my shop.

I love teaching dance fitness and boxing. You don’t want to catch these hands! 😉

I’ m all about keeping it moving, so I want to share 3  more goals I have in store for the future:

1.) I’m in the process of studying for my certification in nutrition. My goal is to create a health and fitness show with my friend. You can learn more about this in Episode 115: How do all the pieces fit together?

2.) My goal is to create an afterschool program for high schoolers so I can teach them everything that I know about business. Oftentimes, students of color (primarily Blacks and Latinos) are not in a position to gain the skills they need to be successful in business. 

It’s amazing to me how many people express confusion in how to end systemic racism when an idea as simple as mine which seems to be glaringly obvious is overlooked or ignored. It frustrates me how school conditions you to only think about working for someone else. While there is nothing wrong with this, you should give kids choices.

3.) I’m going to teach myself how to build apps because I have so many ideas. The best way to make your dream come true is to build it yourself, so that’s exactly what I plan to do.

One of the greatest compliments I ever received was from my Spanish teacher. She said, “Tosha, when you say you’re going to do something, you do it. Like there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s going to happen.” Hearing that made me feel good because she’s right. Nothing irritates me more than empty promises. Actions speak louder than words. I know some of my goals will take a while to materialize, but just knowing that they will bring me great joy.

Again, my journey to peace and contentment is a daily constant battle that I must be willing to fight. If you’re wrestling with the same issue, please know that you are not alone. Let God take the wheel so He can reduce the time it takes for you to slay every obstacle that comes your way. I finally found what I’m looking for, so now the whole world can see that this girl is on fire!

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to check out the Prayer and Gratitude Journal for Men and Women of Faith that is available for sale on Amazon and StarenguCrew, our new fitness T-shirt shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating or purchasing a Prayer and Gratitude Journal for Men and Women of Faith or Tshirt from StarenguCrew in order to help offset the cost of producing this show.Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode.

What will your theme be in 2019?

In today’s episode, we will discuss why and how it is important to create a winning goal setting plan. I’ll also share what my theme word is for 2019.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter of by donating to help offset the cost of producing this show. Be sure to connect with us on our Facebook and Pinterest.

Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who you may inspire. See you in the next episode! 

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