I hope everyone had a great Spring Break! We ventured down to Carlsbad Caverns in southern New Mexico which was an adventure to say the least! This U.S. National Park is truly spectacular and I would say is a must see in a lifetime! Well worth the visit!
On our long drive down to the Caverns, I was able to catch up on some reading. I AM THAT GIRL, How to Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose and #bethatgirl by Alexis Jones was the first on the list and a book I fell in love with from the moment I read the introduction. Alexis writes, “I decided to start a nonprofit whose sole mission is to remind girls of their innate and immeasurable self-worth…This book is an imperfect collage of tips sprinkled with wisdom, inspiration, and a little practical advice reminding you that you are awesome exactly as you are, that your dreams are possible, and when you shine the brightest you make the world and those around you better…This book is a reminder that you matter, that what you think is important, what you say is powerful, and who you choose to be is sacred…Somewhere along the way we girls forgot just how exquisite we are and how to help each other live our magnificent and unique lives. We forgot that we are on the same team and instead started being mean to each other and breaking each other down. Worse, we started being mean to ourselves…If ever there were a time for our generation to step up to the plate, to carry the torch of the women who came before us, to wreak havoc, to ask ourselves, “Why not us?”, it’s now…We can’t just talk about it, tweet about it, or post it on one of our many social media outlets, we have to BE it. This book is my attempt to inspire that girl in you: the girl who has the potential to create magic, to ignite change, and to inspire the world.”
This first chapter just captured my heart in an instant and there is so much from the book I want to share that I can’t possible include it in just one post so it will probably take me a couple of weeks to share it all with you!
In the first chapter, it starts with a quote by Harriet Tubman:
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
This chapter is all about discovering your passions, conquering your own fears about yourself and how to pay attention to the clues that surround you in life that will lead you to your passion(s).
What I learned from Chapter One:
- You have to try and discover new things. Don’t just sit at home expecting your passion(s) to find you. You have to go and try!
- Is there anything in your current life that seems to come effortless to you? For me, it’s singing! I love, love, love to sing but I have to let you in on a little secret, I am a terrible singer. I really can’t sing any song in tune or get the lyrics right – ever! Oh believe you me, I try like the best of them to belt out a tune or two every time I am in the car much to the dismay of my family and dog! Oh how I love it but man, I’m not ashamed to admit, I’m really bad! I think that is a sign…I should move on to the next “effortless endeavor”! What I can tell you though is that it is something that fuels me and makes me happy so I sneak it in whenever I can because I know it lifts me. Try and do the same but don’t let fear stop you. Think of Elaine shamelessly (and awkwardly!) dancing in the classic Seinfeld episode or Cameron Diaz in the movie, My Best’s Friends Wedding, taking a daring crack at karaoke! No fear!
- Don’t be afraid to fail. It stops most of us in our tracks. Be willing to fall, tell people about it (probably the most important lesson of all – to share your failures) and then get back up (just like me trying to sing!). Really, what’s the worst that can happen? Our minds will come up with every excuse in the book not to try something but do yourself a favor, at least try. It’s how we all learn. A lot of people walk through life going down the path of least resistance thinking that it will make them happy ‘cause there is a simple ease about it. It may be easy at first but at some point you will begin to feel stuck or living a life without purpose. Choose differently – walk through difficulties and see how much better you feel after you have walked through it. You will feel a strength and power within you that is priceless and can never be bottled, only felt again by pushing yourself through discomfort.
- Disney movies of fairy tales where young girls wait to be rescued have done a disservice to our society. To expect anyone to ’save’ you and make you happy is completely wrong. It has to come from within and from day-to-day choices. In the book, Alexis goes on to say, “This is your life, your dreams, your love story and your greatest adventure. So what do you really want?…When you don’t know what you really want, all the options look good: whether it’s college, a significant other, a career…” so you will jump at anything thinking it’s the answer without ever really questioning your values and beliefs.” Ask yourself, are you putting in the work or waiting for someone to do it for you? “You can certainly get by in life – most people do-without a single original thought. But then you are left living out someone else’s dream, someone else’s destiny – chose not by you but for you.” This kind of self-discovery path takes work and it’s all too tempting to fall into the trap of traveling down the easy road. Ask yourself the hard question of what path you are on?
- “You are so much more valuable to everyone around you and to the world if you begin every day knowing exactly who you are and being the best, brightest version of ourselves.”
- “When you discover your passion, it’s as though the world all of a sudden makes sense, colors get brighter, a part of you awakens, and quite frankly, you’ll never be the same again. If you don’t know what you want, it’s hard to know what you’re passionate about. And never discovering your passion is a dull and hollow way to spend the gift of your life…This is, after all, your life, and you only get one shot, so it matters what you choose to do with it.”
- Too often, we are taught that our self-worth and our identity is wrapped up in what we do. Alexis challenges the reader, “ to focus on who you are being, not what you are doing. It’s a slight distinction, but a vital one.” I remember hearing the quote, “It’s not who you used to be, it’s who you are going to be.” I have used this one so many times in my life. I was a high achieving student and athlete in high school and college and rode that wave for many years. Then went out in to the business world making my way up the proverbial corporate ladder, to once again rely on the attention and acknowledgement from others by a given title. Leaving that fast paced world of constant acknowledgement to becoming a stay-at-home mom was quite a change. It was as if someone had just hit the brakes on life and all came to a screeching halt. Where is my self-identity going to come from if I am not being acknowledged by the rest of the world? This was a long hard lesson that took me many years to grasp and ultimately came to realize that it is about how you are “being” in the world, not what you are doing. Are you a kind person, are you giving, are you helping or are you miserable, mad at everyone and everything, always complaining? Pay close attention to what comes out of your mouth. It’s your choice. If you find and discover value in how you spend your time being, the “doing” falls into place and is no longer your scorecard.
- She ends the chapter with this quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald that I just had to share: “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or , in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
There was so much more in the first chapter that I wanted to share. Now that you are getting to know me better through these posts, you will see that I ramble and I often have to keep myself in check by just stopping so I am stopping for now and will pick up more on next week’s “Life” post with more from her book! I want to delve into the topic that really struck me and ultimately something this author wants us all to stop: girls hating on girls, women hating on other women. It’s a show stopper and requires change on all of our parts. Stay Tuned – it’s powerful stuff!