Success Secret #43: I’m becoming the person I want to be…

This may sound strange for some but for many, you are doing the victory dance with me!

For so many years, I struggled with liking me.  I struggled with accepting the person that I am because I thought I wasn’t enough.  It wasn’t the critiques or comments from others that created my insecurities but my own negative self talk.  I would look around at other people and pick parts of their lives that I thought should fit into mine.

If I had a man like him, I would be happy.

If my hair looked like that, I would be happy.

If I lived in a house like that, I would be happy.

If I could buy all the clothes I want, I would would be happy.

If I drove that car, I would be happy.

If I had more money, my life would be perfect.

I wish I could tell you how many years, I spent on this mental rollercoaster of internal anxiety.  It was exhausting!  I was never satisfied because all I could see in my life was all the things that needed fixing.

This part is going to sound really strange… I was on a call recently and the moderator asked the group how they dealt with insecurities and inadequacies.  I paused for a moment to gather my thoughts in case I was selected to speak and it hit me…

I got over it! [insert another victory dance]

I quit reading all the self help blogs, articles and books.  I quit looking for answers to my “problems” because I realized that I wasn’t broken.  We have this misconception that life is supposed to be perfect and that everyone is supposed to like us and that all things are supposed to be great all of the time but they aren’t and they never will be.  We see every problem in our lives as an obstacle to our happiness instead of a part of the process.

Some people think I’m arrogant or stuck up because I don’t walk around broken and defeated.  They think I think I’m all of that because I walk with my head held high, shoulders back and confidently placing one six inch stiletto clad foot ahead of the next.  It’s not because my life is perfect or because I have everything figured out.  I decided to get over myself and stop dwelling in my deficiencies.

All that I am not makes me all that I am…

Somewhere along the journey I developed a relationship with God and in every place where I feel weak, inadequate, insecure or beat down; he has allowed me to lean on him and draw from his strength.  I no longer feel like I need the STUFF to make me happy.  I don’t need the approval of other people to validate my decisions.  My happy place is simply doing good for others, being good to myself and seeing the good all around me.  I don’t see my life as an incomplete puzzle that’s always missing the final piece to become complete.  My life is more like a never ending game of Jenga – it has its high moments where all the pieces come together and the low moments where all the pieces crumble – and I’m ok with both.

I will never arrive…

In the title I declared that I am BECOMING the person I want to be because I realized that perfection is not attainable.  All of the pieces won’t ever fit neatly together.  Social media has distorted our concept of happiness because we spend so much time looking at the highlight reels from other people’s lives through their tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram pictures until we forget that there is actually life to be lived.  Outside the few moments captured in virtual time, there are the real everyday ebbs and flows, hills and valleys of life and you can’t think that one day its all going to be smooth sailing because it won’t. In my mind, the arrival at perfect peace is death and I’m in no hurry to get there.

key-to-happiness

I found the keys to my happiness.

  1. My relationship with God.  I can do all things through Him when I am in line with His will.  I surrendered my life to be a living testimony of God’s ability to do miraculous things.  I try to focus on asking for nothing but wanting to give everything.
  2. I learned to love unconditionally.  I stopped wanting people to be anything other than who they are.  Not everyone has a place in my life.  I can love some people up close but some have to be loved from afar but I refuse to allow any negative feelings about anyone to dwell in my spirit.  I forgave everyone who has hurt me, especially those who never apologized.
  3. I realized that being the person I wanted to be was simply a matter of doing the things that she would do… 

I hope and pray that you find your keys too!

Order your copy of Success Secrets for the Young and Fabulous today.  It features profiles of nine professional young adults who share how they found their keys to success.  Available on Amazon.com

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Follow Kimberlee’s My Money Matters Journey: Week 1

I am so grateful to all of the people purchasing My Money Matters workbooks and to the groups that are inviting me to their meetings to host My Money Matters Workshops!

A couple of weeks ago, I received a special surprise.  A fellow blogger, avid reader and friend posted on Instagram that not only had she ordered the workbook but she is also planning to blog about her journey through the 52 week program.

Kim taking challenge on instagram

Take some time to meet Kimberlee Stevens and check out week one of her journey – My Money Matters: Week 1

You can also check out the YouTube videos to hear me discuss tips for your money matters – My Money Matters Video Series

Finally, join our community on Facebook – My Money Matters – you can ask questions or post thoughts on your journey through the weekly lessons

Happy 35th Birthday to ME!!!

I remember growing up and thinking that 35 would be sooo far down the road…

Well, here it is!

The past year has had its share of ups and downs like most years but this year the valleys seemed especially deep and the mountains very steep.  For the first time, I was convicted, not criminally but spiritually, which put me on a path to a life altering change.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Luke 12:48

On my birthday last year, my aunt passed away and I was wrestling with my spirit.  I have always believed in God but I began to sense that He was calling me to a higher level of service. I didn’t think I was good enough, that I was prepared, that it was time… Let’s face it, I had a million and one reasons why I should not follow where He was leading me.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Romans 8: 28-30

As I labored through those valleys and climbed those mountains, I began to realize that there was a straight and narrow path that I could follow or I could continue the treacherous journey that I was on.  Needless to say, I surrendered it all.  As we began to usher in the bright flowers of spring, so was I ushering in a new phase of my life.  I still stumble here and there but the lows aren’t so low and the climb isn’t as high.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” 

James 1: 2-6

God has blessed me to see the calendar tick another year onto my life and I am grateful.  Despite whatever circumstances that I find myself in, I praise Him.  I thank each of you, my silent supporters and my vocal encouragers.  I’m nowhere near where I want to be but I thank God that I’m not where I used to be.  I have had to go through a lot to get to this point but… I am here, I am right where I am supposed to be…

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:11-13

Happy 35th Birthday to ME!

All that I’m not…

It’s easy for many of us to list our flaws, all of the things that we are not, all of the things that we want to be, all of the goals that we have yet to accomplish, all of the things that we haven’t done…

It’s easy to sit and remember our failures, the time that we fell short, the moments when we felt that we didn’t do enough or give our all, the people that we have let down, the times we have disappointed ourselves…

It’s easy to dream of what one day will be, to look to the future and imagine who we will be and what we will be doing and how fabulous our lives will be…

It’s easy to think of all that we are not…

It’s not always easy to think of all that we are…

All that I am not makes me all that I am…

Image from kaufmanpsychological.org

Sometimes you have to make it easy for yourself to believe in yourself…

You’re not perfect but your flaws are opportunities to grow and become a better person… 

Your goals, dreams and mountains of to-do lists are a part of your purpose for getting up and working through another day…

Your failures, setbacks and missteps have helped you to appreciate all of the  moments when things go just right or come close, those moments show you how strong you are, they are not signs of weaknesses but demonstrate your ability to persevere and keep pushing forward…

You will always disappoint someone, even yourself, but that is only because you have the set the bar so high for yourself and continue to strive for greatness, don’t be afraid of not hitting the mark, keep your eye on the heavenly prize and not earthly accolades…

All that you are not makes you all that you are…

Speak greatness and positive thoughts through your negative situations!

Want to read more about “Living Young & Fabulous”?

The power of your words…

Recently, I was conducting a workshop for a group of youth and the conversation turned to bullying and talking about people.  We began discussing how they felt when they were picked on and reasons they picked on other people.  Most of them said that it didn’t bother them but as we dug deeper, they began to acknowledge their true feelings about the things that their peers said about them.  They even began to understand how their words might affect those around them.

I reached a realization, as well… Not many of us understand the power of our words.  We use words so carelessly sometimes without realizing that those words are often replayed in the mind of the person they were spoken to, regardless of how many times you may apologize, you cannot take those words back.

You’re ugly.

You’re stupid.

You’re never going to be anything.

You’re clothes are ragged.

The kids admitted to saying some of these things in jest to their friends without realizing the power of their words.  It is even more heart breaking to hear a parent say negative things to their children.  Can you imagine your parent telling you that you won’t ever amount to anything?  That is a reality that many children are living with.

Many people who have this negative playlist in their head are able to overcome… Overcome… overcoming anything is hard.  When I think of overcoming, I think of a struggle, almost a battle within myself like the ultimate fight between good and evil.  Who will prevail… the good thoughts that I want to have about myself or all of the negative things that people say about me?

Let us for a second imagine that our words have the power to heal…

Do you believe that your words having healing power?

No, I’m not talking about the ability to heal a physical ailment or to speak cancer out of someone’s body but you have the power to heal someone spiritually or emotionally.  Imagine each day that you see a child, you tell that kid how great they are.  Imagine every time you talk to your friend, you tell him/her that you know they are going to do something great in their life.  Your positive words have the power to drown out some of the negative self-talk that many people hear as well as to take out of rotation some of the negative things that others have said.

You look beautiful.

You are amazing.

You are destined for greatness.

Thank you.

I see so many people posting affirmations on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest… a part of me wonders if they are posting to affirm others or if it’s an attempt to drown out some of the negative thoughts that are prevailing within their minds because sometimes you have to speak encouragement to yourself.  You cannot always rely on someone else to do it for you.  Sometimes you have to give your own words more power in your life than the words of others.

Wordle: The power of words...

I left the kids with this challenge…

If your friends decided to clean house today and remove all of the people from their lives that were not lifting them up, being a blessing to them, encouraging them… Would you make the  list?

Some of us need to ask the same thing.  Are we being a blessing to those around us or are we bringing them down with our constant complaining, gossiping about others and negative comments about the world around us?

Want to read more about “Living Young & Fabulous”?

Success Secret #42… Timing is everything

Being surrounded by greatness has many advantages…

You have inspiration to push you further, you have resources to make the journey a little easier and most importantly you have confirmation that achieving your dreams is possible.

On the other hand, being surrounded by greatness can present a challenge…

The other day a friend and I were talking about all of the great people in our networks and all of the great things that they are accomplishing.  Neither of us feel that we are where we want to be, even though we are where we are supposed to be (Success Secret #10).  It can become a little frustrating to see other people where you want to be.  Some people would consider it jealousy but I don’t think it’s jealousy if you are able to be truly happy for the other person while wanting the same things in your own life.

However, we have to remember Success Secret #42… Timing is everything.

Most of the time we have no idea how many years of work and preparation it took for the other person to get where they are.  We have no idea how much or what they had to sacrifice  to get where they are.

Does that mean that you sit back and wait for your time to come?  Heck no!  It means that you keep working and pursuing your dreams so that you are prepared for the successes that you are striving for.

Many people only achieve 15 minutes of fame because when their time to shine comes, they haven’t done the work to create a solid foundation in their personal or professional lives to handle the long-term success that they dreamed of.

For example, you say you want to be married but you haven’t dealt with the issues in your past that won’t allow you to have a successful, lifelong union.  Quit focusing on finding a mate and focus on becoming the person that someone will want to spend the rest of their life with.

Or you want your business to be featured in a major magazine or on a popular radio show but you don’t have the support staff in place to handle an influx of business.  Stop wanting to be at the top and if you still need to work on the building blocks in your foundation.

Success is not the destination rather it is a journey.  No matter how many goals many of us achieve, we will still look for the next challenge.  Don’t get caught up in trying to get “there” rather focus on continuing to push forward and savor each milestone achieved along the way.

Success Secrets for the Young & FabulousWant to read more of my “Success Secrets”?

At the end of the road…

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, work for it, pray about it or want it; things just don’t work out.

Everyone can tell you to just get over it, to just move on… they use “just” as if that makes it any easier.  But as you stand there at the end of the road, looking ahead knowing that nothing more lies ahead, that even though you want to blaze a trail forward, it will be futile, there is a temptation to look back at where you have come from and wonder if you could have done some things differently.  You may even be tempted to go back and try to make some changes, to try to produce a different outcome.

What am I talking about?

This applies to relationships, situations, professional decisions.  Actually, it can apply to any area of our life.

Many of us find ourselves in positions where we have reached the end of the road and that isn’t where we imagined we would be.  After all, conventional wisdom tells us these days that we can do anything.  That God will grant us whatever we want as long as we believe and pray.  That we will achieve any success as long as we work hard enough for it.  But deep down we all know that isn’t true.  Some goals, no matter how much we want them, pray for them and work toward them; will never be realized.

To me one of the cool things about reaching the end of the road is not looking forward into the abyss or turning back to retrace my steps (which inevitably gets me back to this place) but looking left and looking right knowing that I have other options.

Sometimes we get so focused on pushing forward or going backwards until we fail to realize that we have other options.

So things didn’t work out with this relationship, do you stick with it knowing you are at the end of the road or do you turn back and try to do things differently with the same person?  What about the options on your left and your right? (Relationship note: you can’t travel on this road and explore your options, you need to make a choice.)

So this job situation isn’t going the way that you want.  Do you focus on the darkness ahead?  Do you constantly look back at what could have been?  Or do you start roadmapping some options to your left and to your right? (Professional note: be wise and have your next trip planned before you announce you’re getting off this road.)

You may need to stand and look ahead for a few minutes to grasp the finality of your current situation.  Why not take a few seconds to look back to see how far you have journeyed to get to this place? You may even need to stand there as you decide whether to travel left or right but the important lessons are…

  1. Acknowledge where you are.  Stop trying to pretend that your situation is something that it isn’t.
  2. Look back just long enough to figure out how you got where you are so that you don’t make those same mistakes again.  But don’t get stuck in reverse.  You cannot relive your past, however if you don’t take the time to learn the lessons from your past mistakes then the probability is high that you will make them again.
  3. Forget about trying to change the past and focus on changing your future.  Everything that you have been through has created the person that you are and you should not want to change that.  However, don’t feel like you have to be defined by that person.  Every day that we are alive is a chance for a fresh start.  So often we allow others to define us by where we have been instead of us defining ourselves by where we are going.
  4. Know that life is full of options.  Sometimes we feel stuck and think that we don’t have any other options because all that we see ahead is the end of the road but that isn’t true.  We fail to acknowledge those options because most of the time they require us to change, to start doing something different.  Turning left or right means changing direction, not continuing down the same road we are used to traveling.

Lately, I have reached the end of the road with a lot of situations.  No matter how hard I tried to salvage them, there was nothing more that I could do.  That’s a hard pill to swallow because it is often masked as failure.  We think that by giving up on something that we want so badly that we are failing.  We are not meant to always reach the destination that we envision, sometimes we are just meant to make the journey and learn some lessons along the way.

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