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What does diet have to do with pursuing your passion? Some may say nothing, I say everything. How you think, your self-image, and your motivation are all directly tied to what you put your body and how that makes you feel and the choices you make. Put in bad fuel, and you may feel depressed and unmotivated. On the contrary, good fuel, can brighten your spirits and give you the energy you need to push on towards that finish line. Below is a post I wrote last year for Abiola.TV about pursuing your passion that I am finally sharing on the blog. It’s three months into the New Year, but its never late to set a new goal, reinvigorate your passion, and last but not least, EAT TO LIVE. -XoXo Raw Girl
1. Discover It.
Some people come out of the womb knowing what they are meant to do. There are countless stories of young prodigies or people who say that even as a child they showed some inclination towards a particular passion. On the other hand, there are also people who discover their passion later in life, or have absolutely no clue what their passion is.
Not knowing at all is definitely not the end of the world. If you don’t know what your passion is and you haven’t been led to it yet, you must simply cultivate the desire in yourself to find it. If you pose the question, the answer will come.
Leave yourself open to trying new things, going new places, and trusting your gut instinct no matter how silly it seems. You’ll find it, eventually, and you may also have a lot of fun stories to tell in the end.
2. Nurture It.
So now you know what your passion is? You’re excited to wake up every morning and do that particular work or expression. Now it’s time to put in the work. As the saying goes, you reap what you sow.
All of the greatest artists, innovators, entrepreneurs started with their raw talent and passion but they usually found training, or got life experience that allowed them to deepen their craft and cultivate discipline. Your passion is like plant. You have to make sure it has the right nutrients and nourishment to flourish. Every person is different so figure out what works for you, and get started RIGHT NOW.
3. Make a Committment.
When things go awry or get difficult, it’s easy to throw in the towel. There are countless examples of innovators and personalities who found that passion, but then had to face years of rejection. Bestselling children’s author Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers. Twenty seven rejections! In a recent video entertainment mogul Tyler Perry spoke of six years in his life when he was promoting shows and no one would come.
The only way to continue following the passion even in those times when it feels like the passion for doing the work is gone, is making a commitment. You must decide now, that come what may, if the roads are smooth or rough, you will prevail. When you do this, you can surmount obstacles and rejection much easier because your eye is on the prize, the bigger vision.
4. Find Your Cheerleading Squad.
You are now super excited to be pursuing your passion and so you want to run and shout it from the mountaintop! You get there grinning, sweating profusely, panting, and full of all this positive energy and sometimes you find a really somber audien
ce staring back at you. Some of these people may be your family or even close friends. Even worse, you may have someone flat o
ut tell you that your passion is absolutely crazy and that you will never reach your goal. Your grin quickly melts to a frown, maybe even a grimace.
Every successful person needs someone that they can call on, who will be their number one fan. We all have doubts, some days we feel brilliant and others rejection may make us feel less than. The key is choosing to get back up again.Having a cheerleading squad that is genuinely excited for our triumphs and helps us put into perspective our low moments is a key element in staying the course to living a passion filled life.
5. See the Vision. Have a Game Plan.
Having a passion is one thing, but sustaining the pursuit of it can be another. In order to have a destination, you need a vision of where you are going. Not just any vision, but a specific, juicy, mouth watering, heart thumping vision that really puts you on edge. You think about achieving that thing and your heart flutters a little bit.
Once the vision is clear, then it’s time to make a plan. You’ve got to take some action. This action plan isn’t rigid at all. Depending on your type of personality “plans” may freak you out. That’s okay. I’m a firm believer that with the vision in place, you can be led and even draw the things you need to you, but you have to be open to them.
“Coincidences” surrounding your vision may happen, and you have to be there ready to notice and act on them. Perhaps that’s partly what the saying means: “luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” Prepare yourself by seeing the vision, cultivating your talent, and knowing the specifics of what you want.
6. Work Hard. Persevere. Be Flexible.
Most people who love what they do say it doesn’t feel like work at all. It doesn’t feel like work and because of that they may work all the time! Working hard when you are pursuing your passion should be like breathing. It’s not something you have to force yourself to do. You become engrossed and you want to do your best because it’s what you love. Then there may be moments that are trying where you may have to call your cheerleading squad or recommit to your purpose, but you must stay the course.
You must persevere. Flexibility is key. Sometimes you are lead one way that isn’t at all the way you planned but leads you straight to your goal. Joel Schumacher, now an award-winning producer and director once upon a time ago was a costume designer who wanted to be a director. He started there, then wrote scripts, but kept his eye on his goal of directing. Sometimes to start just getting close enough to observe the thing you want is enough.
Don’t assume it’ll be hard, and don’t assume it’ll be incredibly easy either. Some paths are long highways, and others are short alley ways. Just have your vision, stay on your particular path, and enjoy the ride!
7. Celebrate the NOW. Propel Into the Future.
Accept that wherever you are right NOW is perfect. It’s exactly where you should be. It’s so easy to get sucked into the trap of comparing our journey to other people’s journeys, or holding ourselves up to cultural or societal standards that make us feel like we should be, should do, or should have done already.
Focus on the NOW, where you are, and do the best you can. Live in this moment and love what you can do today, what are doing right now, and that energy will help propel you along your path. Every passion needs revisiting and sometimes reviving.
The beauty of being alive is that each moment we have the gift of creative imagination, we have the ability to desire and pursue. If you’ve found it, don’t take your passion lightly. Treasure every single moment you get to be alive and do what you love, and you will truly LIVE.
It’s December already! This month and next are probably the best months for new gym memberships, nutrition plans, and health classes because of all of the enticing discounts that hope to get you to commit to a healthier version of you in the New Year. We all say we want to make changes come January, but then what happens? For many, by mid-year their resolve to stick with that new diet or workout regimen is completely gone and they are back to square one, right before bikini season. Below are a few thoughts on how you can make some resolutions that you will stick with in 2013. -XoXo Raw Girl
- Use Whatever Word Works for You. I personally don’t like the word resolution. I usually set goals for the New Year. Having a goal for me, is more activating than having a resolution. That’s just me and how the words affect me psychologically. Figure out what works for you and use the word that motivates you to make something happen, rather than just dream about it. Here are some other words you can use if you don’t like resolution: goal, objective, target, intention. Many people are afraid to even begin the process of resolution setting because they accept defeat from the beginning. Give yourself permission to dream but obviously don’t make your goals too far of a stretch so you don’t loose heart before you begin.
- Make The Resolutions Measurable. Avoid the tendency to set vague intentions for the New Year. Don’t just say, I want to lose weight, say I want to lose 10 lbs and decrease my body fat percentage by five points. Use numbers, use a time limit if you want, just make sure your goal can be easily quantified. If you want to go raw or eat more raw, maybe you set a goal to eat completely raw three or four days a week. You get the idea. This is super important because without the specifics you cannot know when you’ve reached your goal and should be celebrating, or what numbers or data you should be tracking on a regular basis to obtain the goal.
- Find Someone to Hold you Accountable. It’s so much easier to fall off the healthy bandwagon if you have a goal an no one else knows about it. Then you can slip right back into your bad habits with no one to shame you but yourself. Having someone hold you accountable, whether it be a workout buddy, a trainer, a nutritionist, or your bestie may help you feel more motivated to stick with the plan. The trick here is that the person must be understanding but tough enough on you when you fall off so that you feel the need to get back on track. Don’t pick friends who will listen to your lame excuses for missing the gym for two weeks and tell you it’s OK.
- Have a Plan. As the saying goings, vision without perspiration is hallucination. Don’t say you are going to loose 10 pounds but not have a strategic plan. Write down in detail what you need to do daily and weekly to see that goal through, and be willing to seek advise of someone more seasoned in whatever area you are trying to change if you need pointers on how to go about it. Having your plan is also a way to hold yourself accountable to whatever actions are outlined in it. It saves you from being vague and missing your mark altogether.
- Write it Down and/or Visualize It. Apparently most people skip the essential step of writing down their goals. There is magic in writing it down, it starts the process of creation. It’s just on paper but its a start, now you can work from there to create steps to achieve it or even better let them come to you. As someone who is intense about goal setting, I have learned that it is possible and perfectly OK to have the goal and have no idea how to make it work. Just holding the intention can be magical and you will run into the right people or situations that point you to yor final destination. However, that can only happen when you have a clear, written objective. You can also do something I love to do and vision board it. Cut out images that correspond to your resolution, collage them, and put them in a place you will look at daily. I love the Vision Boarding application through Oprah.com called O Dream Board. It lets you make vision boards online using your images and stock images, collage them and make a jpeg image of the board. I made mine and then uploaded it as my desktop image on my computer.
- Track Your Progress. So you have the goal, you wrote it down, you visualized it, and maybe you also have a game plan. You are way ahead of the crowd, but still in danger of waking up mid-year wondering where the resolution went if you do not track your progress. A personal example I can use, is that I have workout goals I am trying to meet, so I track my workouts weekly and monthly. I have a calendar in my room and for each day I workout a sticker goes on the day with a brief description of what I did. This gives me a very visual evaluation of how I am doing. If I look at the calendar and its virtually blank by weeks end I’ve missed my mark. Find whatever methods of tracking work for you and make sure they are fun and not obsessive. For me the sticker on the calendar thing is fun and I feel awesome when I see a month where I really put in work.
Sometimes it really feels good to reset and revamp. It’s not like setting the clock back, but more so starting from where you are and undergoing a process of renewal. I’ve been feeling like in many areas of my life this process of going “back to one” is happening, and thus, it felt like an awesome time to take on a cleanse. As the end of the year approaches (can you believe how fast it went by) cleansing allows us to rejuvenate our bodies, while letting our minds and spirits reflect on the time that has passed and our next steps.
I chose this time to take on a gentle two-week full body herbal detox in a box that cleanses my skin, liver, lungs, colon, kidneys, blood and lymphatic system. Also combining this with a parasite cleanse and seven-day liquid fast so that I can move into the new year, with my body reset and full of vitality, and mind ready to take on new tasks.
Just as I am resetting my body through fasting and detox, I find that the New Year is a great time to reset my mind. It’s important to me to spend adequate time ruminating on the goals I accomplished, and also look at where I fell short to examine what new approaches or what character flaws may be standing in my way. Most people make resolutions that lose their legs by the second month of the year. In order for us to set goals that stand the test of time, we have to examine our motives and really connect to how our goals will increase the quality of our lives and also touch others.
We also can change the way we look at our goals and ourselves, by not only focusing on where we want to be, but also who is it that we have to become to get there? That shift in thinking alone, made me realize that in order to get to where I am going it won’t be through just daily actions, but also continuous self-evaluation and development of my character. Below is a list of New Year’s back to one actions that may inspire you to get “Back to One.” – XoXo Raw Girl
- Create a vision board for 2011 in all important areas of your life: finances, spiritual, career, relationships, health. Place it in a visible place and look at it daily.
- After you’ve created this vision board or wrote down your goals spend time visualizing how achievement of these goals will enhance the quality of your life and those around you.
- Write a letter to yourself that describes in detail what goals you would like to accomplish in all areas of your life and what kind of person you have become at the end of 2011. Seal it and do not open until the end of 2011. (I did this last year and it was amazing!)
- Take on a Fast or Cleanse. Fasting can be as simple as abstaining from certain foods you are trying to cut out of your diet or going full-out and doing fresh juices only, blended food only, or even raw food only periods.
- Clean House. This one feels really good. I hate going into the New year with too much baggage. Taking a day or however long to reduce the clutter in your life not only make room for more good to come, it frees up more mental space!
For more on juice fasting, check out these previous posts:
Tips for a Stress Free Fast
The Benefits of Juice Fasting
I was listening to the radio last night, and the announcer was talking about people in your life that are “frenemies,” (enemies masquerading as friends). You know the energy vampires, the backstabbers, or even the cheerleaders who deep down don’t really mean the praises they shout in your direction. I think we all know some of those. He was saying that letting go of people or situations in your life that no longer serve you can take you in new more fabulous directions. In addition to that, I believe letting go by learning to surrender is one of the fastest way to move forward and reach your goals.
To emphasize the first point, I will share some tidbits from my new read for this month is Focal Point by Brian Tracy. As I began to delve into the book, one of the first things he emphasizes to become more powerful in all aspects of your life is letting go of habits, activities, and situations that are not giving you the most bang for your buck. Businesses have quadrupled their revenue and productivity by focusing in on their most lucrative clients or services instead of catering to all. I’m also sure that many families and relationships have been saved with readjustment of habits and commitment to real communication. All successful people establish a goal with laser focus and work towards them. The thing that I personally am working on, and this book is assisting, is prioritizing what it is exactly I want and what actions are most important for me to focus on in this moment. Just like you do when your on a “diet.” I have been cutting out the excess and noticed that as soon as I have let go of the old activities that sap my time and give little return for my energy investment, I have become doubly productive and had more impact. All that said, letting go sometimes isn’t easy. We all love comfort and familiarity and can get trapped into habits, situations, and with people who are hampering our full potential because we don’t have the courage to let go.
The other meaning of letting go related to surrender, is learning to go with the flow; finding a balance between trusting that your visions will come to pass without working yourself into a frenzy to accomplish them. In the past, because I am a go-getter who loves to accomplish my goals, I would create task lists and dream up new things to do to get me where I wanted to be. Living like this, left me drained, seemingly “productive”—but worn thin emotionally and physically. After a major adjustment, I learned to hold onto the goal or vision, but to trust that unexpected divine ways to accomplish it would fall right into my path. Julia Cameron, an author who I love, says in many of her books on creativity that we can rely on synchronicity. It’s not that you don’t do anything at all, or that you neglect to plan, but rather you aren’t trying to force moments or make anything happen. Its almost like active listening—but more like active being— you know what you want, so you are ready and alert to it when it arrives. When the right opportunity or idea falls into your path, and it will, you are there with your energy conserved ready to take efficient action.
There is something about surrender in this way that allows us to be a magnet for what we want. If you believe that like attracts like, then consider that when we are worked up and working hard to invent ways to get something or somewhere we are inhabiting an energy of lack. We need this thing bad, and the universe responds by showing us, that yes, indeed we do need it. In this space, there is no room for what we want to show up. But when we give in to the act of surrender and we are no longer desperate or worried, our energy shifts to that of receptivity. It is right there, that I have experienced that the tide begins to turn.
Take a look at your life today. What are your main priorities? Are you focusing on them? What can you let go of or improve so you can use more of your energy to get you closer to where you want to be? Are you trying to control how a certain goal will be accomplished? Perhaps you can make sure your goal is clear, and give yourself permission to let go and hand the dream over to the divine.
Taking a Raw Girl Vacay this weekend to shoot a film. Be back on Monday will more fuel for your raw fire.
-XoXo Raw Girl
I’m not sure exactly when it started, but I have always had an extreme fear of heights. I couldn’t handle walking to the top of the bleachers in the high school gym or auditorium, and even to this day when I am on a roof top I stay several arms lengths away from the edge, just in case. Now that I am regularly in Georgetown, every other day I have to climb a very steep and long escalator, that rises from the Rosslyn metro out to the street level. To the other commuters, it was an escalator, but when I looked up, I saw a mountain. I remember the first climb, I was clutching the railing, half praying and holding my breath as I took cautious steps up the moving escalator, sure that any moment might be my last.
Fast forward to the other day…I was astounded as I effortlessly climbed up the escalator at a brisk pace, and reached the top with not even a glimmer of my past fears. Where did the fear go? Day by day, taking each step, moving a little faster, somehow, I had conquered it. This experience reminded me that all too often we can look at our personal “mountain top” or goals and feel paralyzed with fear. The dream may seem too big, too ambitious, almost impossible. That’s why our daily steps towards our goals cannot falter. Each day, moving through our fear, taking a step a little quicker, a little slower, we inch our way towards the top. It’s important that as we climb, we give ourselves permission to go at a steady pace, maybe to stand still for a moment and regroup when setbacks arise, and to allow sudden bursts of courage to cause us to take a leap. However we make it to the top really doesn’t matter, as long as we don’t get off our path.
What tasks can you do today, to work towards your “mountain top”?
We artists have a tendency to get lost in our art sometimes. We are so good at creating, and finding inspiration, and can get so caught up in our work that when we finally awake from our hibernating haze we realize the rest our lives have fallen to pieces. Bills aren’t paid, relationships are on the fritz, or we simply haven’t had the time to do our hair. As artists, and when I say artists I mean everyone because everyone is creative, we forget somehow that our creative power that brings us such success in professional lives can also be wielded to create success in all areas of our lives. Vision Boarding is a tool I began using years ago to begin using my imagination actively in my life.
I first bought a notebook and cut our images of magazines, and collected inspiring images of role models and quotes I loved and compiled them into a “dream diary” of sorts, where I was allowed to envision myself already living the life of my dreams. I found myself doing it regularly, and sometimes forgetting about it, only to find one day when I opened my journal that I was living into the life I had envisioned. This is a powerful tool that is a great companion for general goal setting and new years resolutions. It’s an active way of tuning your subconscious to the frequency of the life you want to be living.
If you are the type who likes to compartmentalize you can create a vision board for every area of your life: Spiritual, financial, relationships, career, travel etc. Or you can be free form like I am and just start to gather images as the ideas come to you. There’s no wrong way to do it. I used to cut and paste from magazines and paste the poster up on my wall. Now I opt for a slightly lazier method of grabbing images from the internet, and creating a collage which I post on my computer as a screen saver. This way, I am programming myself daily to focus on my goals, because as soon as I turn on my computer, it’s right in my face. Give it a try, you’ll be surprised to see what doors open when you put your creative imagination to work!
How To Create a Vision Board:
1. Write down a list of goals or dreams in all areas of your life. This can include: health, travel, relationships, spiritual life, money, career etc.
2. Get specific. For example: I want to live in a condo is not as specific as I want to live in a 2 BR condo in a Georgetown elevator building, laundry and full gym in the building, with a great view of the water, and walking distance from a yoga studio. This is not time to be polite or compromise like you are sometimes with waiters and ignore what you want and later regret it as you pick out the olives that you hate from your salad. I have noticed, when spending time with really dynamic, energetic people, renown artists and business men/women alike…they never settle. They ask for what they want and don’t faintly wish that it will be delivered, they demand and expect that it will. The universe is giving you a menu for your life, if you don’t tell it that you don’t like fourth floor walk-ups and prefer an open kitchen, you may just have to be grateful for the fact that your quads are getting toned from all that stair climbing. The key point here is ASK for exactly what you want, don’t SETTLE.
3. Find or Create Images and Build your Collage. In this age of computer wizardry, we have the opportunity to photoshop ourselves into any scene we like. If you can’t go to that extent, then you can make copies of photos or yourself and paste yourself into a scene from a magazine. Be creative, and try to make sure you include your own image in as many of your images as possible.
4. Follow up. Make sure you make your visions more concrete by doing some research. For example: do you want to study fly fishing and you have this fantastic image of someone doing it on your board? Then do some research just for fun on where you could study and how much it would cost. The universe can deliver so much easier when you get as specific as possible and when you prove that this dream isn’t just a passing fancy. You must be committed, interested, and dedicated to hold onto the vision until it becomes a reality in your life.
Yesterday I was inspired on my morning drive into Georgetown, by Steve Harvey, the comedian, who signed off his daily radio show with a powerful message: “Never, ever think you have arrived,” he said forcefully. “When you believe you have arrived, you’ve reached a dangerous place, because you stop growing.” He then emphasized that there are different “zones” one can inhabit. The Challenge Zone, the Comfort Zone, and the Coasting Zone.
People in the Challenge Zone, are men and women with visions, who continue to strive for their dreams, attack new obstacles, and have the faith to step out and take action in spite of fear. We all know too well, the Comfort Zone, this is where you go day to day doing only what you’ve already done and fully know you are capable of. No risks, no surprises. The last zone, the Coasting Zone, is where a lot of people live, and don’t even realize it. People in this zone, don’t even do what they know that they can do or have done in the past. This is the zone, where you gave up or didn’t follow through even through you knew you had talent or an exciting prospect, but you convinced yourself it was too hard to try and have settled comfortably into giving the bare minimum.
This conversation was incredibly powerful to me, because I have seen it at work in my life. It is astounding that when I do something that scares the living crap out of me, it always leads to greater and greater success. Success is most definitely NOT a destination, it is more like a dynamic evolution. Nothing about true success is static…yes, positive habits can be formed to make success a way of life, but at the end of the day true success is being willing to truly live your life on the edge. That means taking risks, jumping full-fledged into your passions, having the grace to be a beginner again and again, and harnessing the power of a vision.
What zone are you living in?
We all know dream-killers. These are the people also known as playa-haters, jealous drama queens and kings, or staunch conventionalists who cling the holy grail of mediocrity and expect that you should too. The dream-killers that come in those forms are loud and ostentatious, but the worst kind are the silent dream-killers. These agents work with stealth, they are your peers, your family members, your close friends sometimes, maybe even your mate who slowly and methodically erode your dream with doubts by allowing their own personal discontent or jealousy to poison your ambition, by discrediting or comparing your brilliant progress to other “more successful artists”, or by responding to your enthusiasm with a shrug. Both kinds of these species are equally dangerous, but the latter, can enter and leave your world in so much of a tailspin that you can’t find the driven, positive person you once were staring back at you in the mirror. Or if you escape in time, like I always do, you may find a startling sense of creativity unleashed by the release of that negative influence in your life.
As important as fasting via food consumption is for the benefits it has on our mind and body, we can’t forget that certain kinds of life crises and stumbling blocks demand a spiritual fast, in this case a dream-killer fast. That means just as you would put that Twinkie down before you ruin your diet, you decide to not pick up the phone and call that “friend” who wallows and whines, makes you feel like a victim when you know you are powerful, or who throws a sarcastic comment your way whenever you mention your “crazy goals.”
In this dream-killer fast, you make a conscious choice to avoid people and situations that you know are spiritually toxic, and you choose to work on the person who is most often your worst dream-killer, you. That’s right. Weren’t you the one who decided you were too old to take that interesting art class, or stopped playing the instrument you loved cause you don’t have time for hobbies? Maybe you once dreamt of taking a leap of faith and starting your own business, or changing careers. Perhaps you have resigned yourself to a life devoid of passion, slaving away each day at a job you despise and have forgotten than once upon a time you had a real zest for life. The good news is, today is a new day. And it just might be the day for you to start fasting.
When embarking on this fast proceed with caution. Dream-killers are known to be ruthless, and have a keen sense for when they are about to be kicked to the curb. So kick hard, fast, and run for cover.