January is an obvious indication that first-quarter has officially begun. This is my favorite time of year because it sets the tone for how 2nd, third and fourth quarter will roll out. I like to compare my journey to a marathon (definitely not a sprint). I start off strong and steady, maintain momentum throughout the middle and pick up the pace through to the end.
Never slowing down.
Never peeking over my shoulder to compare myself to another.
I find a steady rhythm that feels right to me.
My preparation stage begins in December. When the holidays approach, I use this time to shift my mindset, organize my goals, create a new vision board and really narrow my focus.
New Girl On The Block tip: When you narrow your focus, it’s a lot easier to silence the noise – and by noise I mean haters.
This year, like every year, I spent a lot of time alone – when I wasn’t stuffing my face or celebrating with loved ones, I took myself to the movies, my favorite restaurants, I even locked myself in my bedroom for several hours at a time – no communication via phone or social media. Some may think this is extreme, I say it’s extremely necessary. Distractions will set you back. Sometimes you have to go out of your way to escape from the rest of the world so you can focus on your goals. Last year I wrote a great piece about How To Turn Your Goals Into Daily Habits. Most recently, my friend Courtney aka Think and Grow Chick wrote a piece on Breaking Down Goals Into Do-able Steps <— great stuff.
So I trust that you are well equipped with how to create a map for 2015, but let’s talk about how to avoid feeling overwhelmed, overworked or intimidated by success. The kinda stuff that most people hide because they don’t want to seem weak or lost to friends, family and colleagues.
I will be the first to raise my hand and tell you that I’ve been there – more than once.
Primarily because my goals are pretty damn big. And as confident as I am now, there was a time when I’ve looked at my vision board and was like, “Seriously, Pauleanna, how are you going to become a best-selling author, purchase a home, go on vacation, or jump-start that new business program?” I knew in my heart it was possible, but the hard work I anticipated was what would trigger the anxiety. I started comparing myself to everyone else who seemed like they were moving and shaking – a lot faster than me.
But then I had to check myself before I wrecked myself and remember one of my favorite quotes: “Every great artist was once an amateur.”
Yes, girl, even Bey had her days. I am sure of it.
But once you find your rhythm, it’s not so bad. I believe that’s the quality that separates good from great. Entrepreneurs who’ve found their rhythm are able to dance around life’s biggest challenges. We move to the beat of our hearts and never stop – even if it rains.
New Girl on the Block tip: If you slip or stumble, keep going. Every time you take another step, you become a better version of yourself.
I’m going to share 5 tips that have helped me keep moving during those times when I have felt overwhelmed, overworked or intimidated by success:
1. Find the soundtrack of your life
And by this I mean – what does the music of your life sound like? A few years back, I was reading Forbes magazine (girl, you know I love a good business magazine) and stumbled across a cool article, called What Is The Soundtrack of Your Life?– For a moment I was stumped. It actually took me an hour or two to figure it out. For instance…
Count On Me by: Whitney Houston and Cece Winans. I always (not just sometimes, life fo’ real always) tear up when I hear this song because it reminds me of some of the hardest times in my life when I wished I had someone I could’ve leaned on. I start off feeling heartbroken and really vulnerable, but in the end I’m left with a sense of hope and understanding that God had my back all along.
Losing You by: Solange Knowles. I went to her concert earlier this year and every beat and lyric filled me with life. I had the best musical experience I’ve had in a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, I love bey, but my rhythm is more of a Solange-type vibe. Crazy-Sexy-Cool (yes, I quoted TLC, but whatevs). I remember hearing this song, closing my eyes and dancing as if I had lost my mind. Didn’t care who was watching. I was totally in the moment. That feeling right there is the feeling I chase – constantly. I want to feel free – in every sense of the word.
Hustle Hard by: Ace Hood. I love to listen to hip hop in the car or when I’m working out (lately it’s less of a work out and barely a walk – but trying to do better). The lyrics in this song motivates me so much. “Same old shit, just a different day, Out here tryna get it, each and every way, Momma need a house, Baby need some shoes, Times are getting hard, Guess what I’m a do – Hustle, hustle, hustle, hard. Closed mouths don’t get fed on this boulevard.” It reminds me of my struggle and all the sacrifices I’ve made to get here.
Skyscraper by: Demi Lovato. My ultimate anthem.
No Scrubs by: TLC. Do you remember riding in the whip with your girls and blasting this song? I do. TLC was the girl group who taught me not to chase waterfalls, not to date a guy who’s ‘hangin’ on the passengers side of his best friends ride’ and what a red light special was way before I should’ve have known.
I love going back in time and recalling the different types of music that remind me of an experience which has shaped me in some way. Find your rhythm. Rock to the beat that makes you come alive. Live in a manner that feels authentic to you.
2. Plan your ideal week
My friend Alisha, put me onto Michael Hyatt’s best time management secret. Read his recent blog post called How To Better Control Your Time By Designing Your Ideal Week. In it he says, “You have a choice in life. You can either live on-purpose, according to a plan youâ€™ve set. Or you can live by accident, reacting to the demands of others. The first approach is proactive; the second reactive.” I’m a natural-born planner. My parents are obsessed with structure and routine so I am fortune to have witnessed this growing up. I also have to be organized because I have my hands in A LOT, between my staff, my businesses, my personal life – if I’m not, my brand may crumble. And ain’t nobody got time for that. If you aren’t accustom to having structure in your life, baby girl you’ve gotta create it. Plan your ideal week. Not only is this a good time management practice but will help you develop discipline and simplify your life.
3. Manage your electronics
When was the last time you unplugged?
I was recently browsing Best Health Magazine where I read that Rockefeller Universityâ€™s Bruce McEwen, Ph.D., calls our electronics and social networks â€œa wholly artificial sense of urgencyâ€ on us. I’m afraid I have to agree. Being so accessible is not necessarily a good thing. Tweeting or Facebook-ing every moment of your life is likely to make you feel like you need to always compete and compare yourself to others. Ease up. Try to remove yourself from the social arena for a minimum of 30 minutes daily and shift your energy to an activity that doesn’t make you feel so tense such as exercising, writing, playing relaxing music or sleeping. Take a damn break – if only for a moment.
4. Three-count breathing
On that note, this sounds weird, but sometimes I forget to breathe. I get so tight and frustrated that my breathing patterns are all over the place which makes it very difficult to gain clarity. I still have panic attacks from time to time. What has helped is when I drop everything I am doing to inhale for 3-counts, hold for 3-counts, then exhale for 3-counts. This simple technique helps within seconds.
In addition to breathing, I also give myself constant reassurance that this too shall pass.
“I can manage.” “There is no emergency.” “I am able.” “Jesus take the wheel.”
Sometimes you have to go through your worst to arrive at your best. Always remember that you are a work in progress. Any setbacks in your life is actually preparing you for a major comeback. But if you don’t allow your struggles to open you then you will never experience your breakthrough. Your mindset is at the heart of your success.
Peace & Love,