Around this time of the year, I always find myself in deep reflection mode. I am thinking about my life, my journey, and all the lessons that I have learned along the way. If you have followed my work for any length of time, you know that I believe that life is a classroom that always teaches us important lessons and provides us with invaluable insights if we would only pay attention. I hope you are paying attention to the important lessons that life is teaching you in this season. Just a year ago we were all in lockdown and dreaming of the great days of summer. This year we have been blessed to be able to travel, spend time with our loved ones and even enjoy the beach. In all the busyness of summer, I hope that you will take time to get still, pause, find your center and reflect on your path. Life is too precious to just allow it to pass you by. As you read this piece, I hope that you will be inspired to unlock the power of reflection in your life.
- You must guard aggressively against being distracted. I know that we are in the final days of summer. Everyone is enjoying vacations, children are getting ready to go back to class soon, and we are all about to get back into the fast-paced rhythm of our lives. From over three decades of living, I have discovered that there is a huge difference between being busy and being productive. We live in a culture that flaunts busyness as a strength. However, as I have matured I have learned to see extreme busyness as a weakness. A lot of people are hiding behind being busy because there are things that they are avoiding about their lives. Yes, you may have filled your schedule with many activities but you are still empty because you are not fulfilling your assignment. Distractions may bring us a temporary sense of satisfaction. On the other hand, distractions can never compensate for the emptiness in our souls. Distractions divide our attention and distance us from our assignments. It would be a travesty to go through life entertaining distractions but never embracing your destiny. Stop trading your time for activities and instead start investing the treasure of time into your assignment. Distractions are nothing more than barriers to us becoming everything that we were born to be. If you are not careful, you will construct an alternate reality for your life and never align with your real mission. You guard against distractions by protecting your focus. Whatever you focus on is deciding your future.
- You must learn how to slow down. As someone that has always been an overachiever, I had a real wake-up call years ago that changed my life. I had allowed myself to get so stressed out that I was having a panic attack. More importantly, my anxiety was so high that I was showing signs of what felt like a heart attack. How could someone so young be so stressed out about life? Thankfully, I was okay and I was not having a heart attack. However, that is the moment that I made a non-negotiable decision to make my life back. I was not going to pour myself into everything and leave nothing for myself. In other words, I was not going to give so much of myself to everything and everybody that I lose myself in the process. That day I got accountability partners, I stopped glorifying being busy and I decided that I was going to slow down. Slowing down is not sitting in a rocking chair and bringing your life to a crawl. Slowing down is finding the right rhythm to your life. This means not pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion and burnout. Slowing down means taking breaks, knowing when to walk away, and continually hitting the reset button on your life. Slowing down for me meant enjoying vacations and not using them as another opportunity to get absorbed in more work and projects. In addition, slowing down meant not getting my fulfillment out of my work or the accolades of other people. At the end of the day, we often cross bridges for people that would not even cross the street for us. Love yourself enough to know when to say no and to be comfortable enough with the fact that every opportunity is not for you. You do not need to compete or compare yourself with anyone else. You need to learn that it is okay to rest. More importantly, rest is the master key to your restoration and renewal.
- You must learn to love yourself unconditionally. As I get ready to celebrate another birthday, I can truly say that I am at a place in my life that I once never imagined I could be. I lived a lot of years trying to measure up to the expectations and opinions of others. However, as I did my work and learned my value I experienced a breakthrough in my life. I discovered that authentic freedom is when you are liberated from the opinions and expectations of others. There is nothing more powerful than making the decision that you will not live another day of your life as a people pleaser. While I will admit that it was not easy, it was the most powerful decision I ever made. That decision restored my joy and my peace. In the process, I learned how to love myself unconditionally and to never discount my value. People will come and go. I always say that people are always entering and exiting your life but it should never have the ability to influence your emancipation. While we should love people and serve people, we were never created to live in slavery to the opinions or expectations of anyone. Learning to love yourself unconditionally means learning the power of no, establishing clear boundaries, finding your authentic voice, and embracing your uniqueness. Furthermore, loving yourself is reaching a place of soul maturity where you realize that you do not have to prove yourself to anybody. All you have to do is protect your peace and own your power. When you learn to love yourself unconditionally, you will stop speaking from a place of pain and you will start speaking from your place of power. You will know that you are loving yourself unconditionally when what once shook you no longer has the power to shape you.
- You must learn the revolutionary power of reflection. As I get ready to celebrate another birthday, I have learned that reflection is not only good for the soul but a powerful tool for transformation. I have been looking back at my life and my journey. The things that once brought sorrow to my heart no longer affect me because my soul is healed. What once trapped me I have now allowed to transform me. Additionally, what tried to devastate me has all aided in my development. Reflection is important because it gives you the ability to look back. We do not look back to build monuments to old memories in our lives. We look back to see how far we have come and to celebrate who we have become. Also, reflection gives us the ability to study our journey. We do not study our journey to rehearse our losses. We study our journey to reaffirm the liberty that we have gained. Moreover, we also reflect not to nurse old wounds but to nourish the wisdom that we have acquired through the maturation of the spirit, development of the soul, and evolution of the mind. Reflection is a success principle that causes us to give thanks for the past, honor the present and embrace the future possibilities of our lives. Reflection is the ability to explore the soul, expand the spirit and embrace new realms of success and prosperity. Reflection is revolutionary because it gives us the ability to bridge the gap between history and destiny. Reflection examines our adversity, growth, development, maturation, and evolution on the journey of becoming the greatest expression of who were created to be. Reflection brings gratitude for the process and ignites in us the passion to realize our greatest potential. Without reflection, we will live our lives in reverse. We cannot grow without gratitude and reflection. More importantly, anything you cannot learn from will cripple your liberation. Everything on your path can be engineered for purpose!