I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that things happen for a reason. Lately, I’ve been having so many conversations with people about pursuing your dreams. This is a topic that I’m constantly talking to my mom about as well. I’m actively working towards my goals every day. I’m always in a situation where I’m helping other people identify and achieve their goals too. 

I recently had another conversation with two incredibly smart women (you know who you are) regarding the topic of pursuing your purpose in life and how to motivate employees to explore having a side hustle/side passion.

It was a really good conversation. One of the comments that resonated the most with me was the idea that so many people don’t pursue their dreams or think about having a side hustle or side passion project because they don’t think that their companies will support and/or allow them to pursue their endeavors.

This comment really shocked me. I would never in a million years wait or seek for someone, in this case, a company, to give me permission to pursue my dreams. It truly was interesting to me to learn that there are people who find themselves in this dilemma. 

I’m not wired that way. When it comes to achieving my dreams, I’m like Nike. I just do it.  I will always shoot my shot. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to invest in yourself. Quite frankly, no one else is going to do it for you. 

So I asked myself, “Why would anyone whether it be intentional or unintentional seek permission to pursue their dreams?” I came up with four reasons. 

FEAR

The reason why people feel the need to seek permission to pursue their dreams is fear. They don’t have that internal drive to motivate them or they don’t have that external drive of having someone in their corner to push them.

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Click here to click for the conversation between my mom and I regarding this topic.

“I’m tired of not having enough,” is a statement that you would hear from someone who has internal drive. When you get sick of not having enough that internal fire inside of you is going to prompt you to want something more out of life. When you want more, you won’t feel compelled to seek permission because you’re tired of waiting. I’m going to get it myself. Then you go out there and start pursuing your dreams. 

If you lack an internal drive then you will need an external drive. Meaning, a loved one to push you outside your comfort zone. 

Some of the most ambitious people I know either came from a childhood where they didn’t have any money or they came from a childhood where they had someone to push them outside their comfort zone. Again, you’re either in a fight or flight mode or you have someone in your corner rooting for you. My drive would be considered external. I was blessed to have a very loving childhood. We weren’t poor, but we definitely weren’t rich; yet, all of our needs were met. 

If you want to take it one step further, even though we weren’t wealthy, we were blessed to have two loving parents who shared their knowledge with us. You can’t put a price tag on knowledge. My mom taught us about God and Jesus at a very early age and she was always putting us in extracurricular activities that she felt would develop the talents she identified in us.

Mom and me 🥰

The reason my mom did all of those things is due to the fact that she had a horrible childhood. She lived in the projects and swore to herself that her children would never go through what she went through as a child. She is an excellent example of having an internal drive. Her inner strength did not allow her pain and suffering to be in vain. My mom didn’t have any money, she didn’t have loving parents, she didn’t have a single soul in her life helping her, but she had that drive to have a good life. She knew that you had to have a balance in life. 

She wanted to work hard to get the things she desired in life. My mom channeled all of that negativity into something positive because she didn’t want us (my sister and I) to grow up the way she did. She broke the generational curse of living a mediocre life. My mom wanted us to be better than her. We were able to stand on her shoulders. I’m so grateful that my mom started developing me to have confidence in myself at an early age because it gave me the strength and preparation to endure the obstacles that I would later face as an adult.

Even when you have a “just enough lifestyle” as I did, you still need someone to push you outside of your comfort zone. My mom’s parenting style was very similar to that of an eagle. She made sure that when it was time that she would give us that much-needed push outside of the nest so we could fly on our own.

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COMPLACENCY

If you lack the internal or external drive to pursue your dreams you become complacent. You start to believe that your circumstances dictate the level of success you can achieve in life. This is simply not true.  This is why people who overcome adversity are oftentimes the happiest and most people in life because they earned their success the right way. They didn’t let life’s detours cause them to give up. They just kept going. I don’t care how long it takes for me to achieve my dreams, I will die happy knowing that at least I tried rather than leave this world with a warehouse of unfilled dreams. 

The pandemic has further heightened my aversion to complacency. My mom blessed me with the gift of discernment. This may sound harsh but it really doesn’t take me long to know whether I’m going to get along with someone. My number one pet peeve is people who complain. 

My mom taught us at an early age to be grateful. She would share stories about her childhood compared to ours. She taught us the value of money. When I was in high school, it fascinated me how many of my classmates were just given cars for turning 16. I knew for a fact that wasn’t happening to me. The main thing that I noticed was that many of them didn’t appreciate their car the way I did when I saved my hard-earned money and bought my own car. 

I treated my little Mercury cougar like it was a baby. Why? I paid for it myself. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a Burlington Coat Factory. For those of you not familiar with that store, it’s like TJMaxx. Anyway, it was a Saturday afternoon and when I went in line to pay for my stuff, I noticed that the line was crazy long. People were angry. They were complaining. 

Again, I hate when people complain. Either shut up and stay in line or just leave. It never ceases to amaze me that the people who complain about long lines are often the folks who never worked a day in retail in their lives. Trust me, the folks who work in retail have no desire to be there either. Who wants to put up with Karen/Kens all day long?! Not me!

I worked in retail all throughout high school and did a little bit of it again when I was laid off a couple of years ago.  Folks who work in retail and grocery stores will always have my patience. I’ve always believed that if everyone was forced to work in retail the lessons they learned in patience would teach them lessons in respect. 

Getting back to my story, I was going to wait in that line no matter what because I finally found the workout resistance bands I had been searching all over the place for. The line was moving at a snail’s pace and as I finally made my way closer to the counter I could see there were only two cashiers working at the counter. These two women were not only ringing up merchandise but they were also handling returns. It made my heart go out to them even more so. The folks in line were complaining over the fact that these two cashiers weren’t ringing people up fast enough when they should have been thanking them for even sticking around in the first place.

When it was finally my turn I made sure to thank the cashier. She was so grateful and then proceeded to tell me that everyone called off from work that weekend. She had literally been working since 6 am. Now mind you, it was like after 1 pm when I was at the store. This woman had been unboxing inventory and straightening up the store before it even opened and now she has to deal with these angry customers. Are you kidding me?! 

I couldn’t thank her enough and completed the survey at the bottom of the receipt. I wanted to make sure that she received the credit that she deserved. I left that store feeling angry because when I thought back to the folks who were in that line with me, they had a “corporate world vibe” and looked like they worked from home. 

This is why whenever I hear people or read stories about people complaining about working from home, it takes every fiber of my being not to roll my eyes or go off on that person. I wish they could have switched roles with those cashiers.  They would realize what an absolute blessing it is to work from home and not have to deal with miserable people like themselves who take their anger out on other people. Trust me, those essential workers, many in the corporate world claim to care so much about would gladly switch paychecks and places with you in a heartbeat. 

These are things that you don’t think about when things are constantly given to you. You lack empathy. You expect the world to revolve around you. When you finally realize that it doesn’t you don’t know what to do. You feel lost and start to complain. Now, this is going to sound even harsher, but complacency is contagious. The corporate world is filled with complacent people who wish to steal the joy they see in others who didn’t succumb to complacency.

LACK OF BOUNDARIES

When you allow yourself to become complacent, you don’t establish boundaries in your life. When you live a life without boundaries, you’re further jeopardizing your ability to accomplish your dreams. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but how and who we choose to invest our time will vary. I have a very good work/life balance. The main reason why is because I keep those worlds completely separate. I learned early on in my career that not everyone who smiles in your face is your friend, and to do my best to develop multiple income streams.

Depending on where we meet and how comfortable I feel with you, will determine the level of how much I share. When I go to work, I’m there to work. I view my 9 to 5 as a job that funds my life but is definitely NOT my life. I think so much of the friction that occurs in the workplace is because people project what they want onto other people and get disappointed when that person doesn’t act the way that person “expected” them to. Again, we don’t have to be friends in order for me to get my job done. If a friendship naturally develops cool, but just let it happen. I know this may sound harsh, but I have enough friends. 

In order to achieve your goals, you have to protect your time. It’s one of the reasons why I’m fiercely protective of my schedule. I will not waste my time participating in activities or spend time with people who don’t add value to my life or will cause me to feel uncomfortable or stressed.  Listen, a happy hour is not going to change the fact that we have absolutely nothing in common. If anything I’m going to be irritated because I’ll be thinking of the time lost to working on one of my passion projects. 

I know some people may be like, “How do you know if you don’t go?” I’ve never done drugs and I know that’s not good for me either. It’s the exact same concept. Not everything in life has to be experienced. Some experiences can be avoided by learning from other people’s mistakes. Plus, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know if you have things in common with someone. 

Again, having clear boundaries with my work and personal life allows me to create a schedule that enables me to work on my side hustles. I make the most of my time. I’m even productive during my lunchtime! I either go for a walk to get in some exercise, I practice Spanish with my Spanish teacher online. My mom is taking Spanish classes too now, so I practice with her sometimes.

My Voice over studio 🥰
Thrilled I finally have my own home studio!!!🙌🏾🙋🏾‍♀️🥰

After work, you can find me consulting with other individuals teaching them how to create their own website, podcast, or marketing campaigns, doing voice-overs, or thinking of topics/lessons for my English classes. Again, I make the most of my time. Contrary to what some believe, I am human. 😂 So when I’ve made the mistake of sharing some of my extracurricular activities with those on the job, the complacent folks are quick to say things like, “Aren’t you doing too much?” Or some other comment that they feel comes across as concern when I really know it’s jealousy.

My schedule reminds them that they aren’t doing anything at all or not doing enough of the right things to make them happy. 

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LACK OF REST

Since I’m good at establishing boundaries, I know that getting enough rest is an important role in pursuing your dreams. Now the rest I’m talking about is mental and physical. You can’t dream if you’re constantly tired. I’m a morning person.

I prepare myself for the day by reading something in the Bible that aligns with the emotions that I happen to be feeling at that point in time and then I go exercise. I either go for a run, a bike ride, work on the elliptical machine or do an Afrifitness video. I’m in even more of a position to do these things because I work from home. I don’t have to waste time commuting because everything I do is online.

Morning run: A sweaty hot mess, but I got in my 5K. 🙌🏾
I run a 5K at least 3 times a week.
Lunchtime: Went for a walk near the beach. Couldn’t pass up that amazing natural light. No makeup or filter on this photo. Just my oily skin and Afro puff. 😂

Anyway, everything I just described is even more important to do if you work in a toxic environment or with toxic people. Those suckers will drain your energy. When I was working at dead-end jobs, I made sure to go for walks during lunch so I could decompress. I didn’t want that negativity getting in my soul. I would meditate on God’s word and listen to uplifting podcasts during my lunch. That small break gave me the much-needed motivation to get me through the day. 

By the way, I would never tell anyone to quit their job. Those bills aren’t going to pay themselves. When you make time to put God first by strengthening your mental and physical health you are going to see things start to change. This is when you’re really going to start to identify or start tapping into all the other gifts that God’s given to you. We ALL have talents, but it’s up to us how long they lie dormant.

I know how important it is to rest. Another one of my favorite ways to rest is to teach dance fitness classes. I can’t wait to get back to teaching those again. You have to have an outlet that allows you to rest so you can dream. 

I taped this video last year (2020). I thought I was going to be teaching again at the gym again. The gym I worked at ended up laying off the group fitness instructors. 😢 I remember being dead tired taping this video (I had just finished working out with my mom), but it had been ages since I did this routine. I created the choreography for this song and wanted to see if I remembered it. 😀

If you find yourself feeling fearful or complacent, what are you doing to create boundaries to place yourself in a position to dream? It may be scary, but take the first step to address what it is that is holding you back from pursuing your goal. Believe me, the return on investment is worth the risk, so make time and use whatever resources you have at your disposal to bet on yourself.

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