Friday, February 26, 2010

What's Your Thing (Part 5)

So here we go…Part 5. The final blog of the What Your Thing series…

Photography is something that I would say that I am ok at. I developed a love of photography working as a freelance makeup artist. While I was developing my portfolio, I would direct the photographers during shoots until eventually they would hand over the camera and say here you shoot it. One photographer in particular, by the name of Martin Kenneth, took me aside and said if you are going to do it, learn to do it right! He showed me a few basics and let me handle the rest of the shoot. It was a wonderful experience that sparked a new thing in my life. Now I wouldn’t in anyway classify myself as a photographer…not even with an amateur label attached to it. I just love to do it…so it’s one of my things.

The last category on our list consists of things that you are ok at. I wanted you to consider those things as being an agent of self development as well. Being creative and pursuing hobbies is a healthy way to build your confidence and relieve tension and stress. This is where having things that you are ok at comes into play. I use my interest in photography as an example of what I mean by things you are ok at. For you, it may be a sport or writing poetry. Take my husband for instance. He is a record producer and musician. He pretty much works around the clock creating music but when he is not working in the studio, he is in our kitchen baking something. Now he is not just ok at baking. He makes the best carrot cake I have ever eaten. People even offer to pay him to bake cakes around the holiday. For my husband, music is his thing and baking is the thing he loves to do when he is not creating music. That is how I want you to approach the things you are ok at.

Finally, as I said in Part 3, I realized two things about myself during my journey to discover my thing.
1. I wasn’t as complicated as I thought.
2. The things on my list are related.

This is how I do my thing

I am one that expresses me…through words that empower and lyrics put to melody. When I am not using my words, I am using my makeup brushes to define and enhance a person’s natural beauty. After everything is in its place, where ever that may be, I like to capture it in a photograph.

Of course, when I am done all of that, you can find me in the handbag section of Neiman’s.

To Blog...Nakeia

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What's Your Thing? (Part 4)

Most of you are in search of the thing that suits you best as a career. Today’s blog is for you…

The most difficult part of your journey to discover your thing is over! Congratulations! At this point, your list should be much smaller and you should feel much more focused.

Your list has been broken down into two categories:
1. Things you are good at.
2. Things you are ok at.

Of the things you are good at, is your current job one of them? If your answer is yes, that’s great. However the fact that you are still in search of your thing shows that just because you are good at something doesn’t mean it’s your thing. If your answer is no, there are only two explanations. You have not been true to yourself and you seriously lied during your interview.

Let’s take a look at your list. Read through it and put a dollar sign ($) in front of the thing you think someone would pay you to do. For example, makeup art was on my list. Not only did I think someone would pay me for it, I worked as a makeup artist for M.A.C. Cosmetics and was making extra money as a freelance artist. However, even if no one has paid you (yet) to do it, give it a $ anyway. Now of the things that earned a $, put slash through it if you would do it even if no one paid you. That slash signifies just how passionate you are about that particular thing. Doing something that you could get paid for doing…for nothing, is quite exceptional. There was one thing on my list that I would do for free. I would give advice and empowerment resources to everyone that needed it. I had actually been doing that for years. When I decided to make it a career, I used my friends as Ginny pigs. That was my opportunity to see if I was as good as I thought I was.

Now the next step is simple…make a choice. You know what you are good at and you even know how passionate you are about it. What is left is for you to decide. If you are still having trouble making a decision, you can try your hand at each one for a specified period of time, crossing them off as you go along. Then, go with the one that makes the final cut!

Some of you will look at your list and immediately recognize your thing. Some of you will decide after a week or even six weeks from now. The point of this series is to offer a formula for you to use to get the answers you seek. Knowing what you do best and actively doing it is the key to a life of purpose.

Save what is left of your list for the final blog of this series.

To Blog…Nakeia

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What's Your Thing? (Part 3)

Now that you have compiled your list of things you love to do, let’s get right to it. Scan over your list to see if your job has made the cut. If it has not, please take the time to write it down. This is very important because you spend more time at work than you do with your family. Eight hours a day is long time to devote to something that you don’t even like to do. Hopefully, at the end of your discovery, your job will still be on the list. Unfortunately, if you are one of those people that forgot to write the thing you do 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, 2080 hours a year down on your list, you are in for a long journey and we really need to talk!

Assuming your list is not two pages long, the next step should only take you a few moments. If something is on your list and you have not done in the last month, cross it off. I know that may seem drastic, but do it anyway. This series is for people who are really trying to Do Their Thing. There are people who go back-packing in Europe, for a year trying to find themselves; but you don’t have go so far and stay so long. You can find out who you are by understanding your habits. If you do something at least once a month, you probably really enjoy it and may be pretty good at it.

The next thing I want you to do is really important. Look at what is left of your list and give yourself a rating. Your choices are good, bad, or ok. Be your own judge. If you are really good at something put good next to it. If you only thought you were good until you did me a favor and started being honest with yourself, and now you are ready to admit you were never really good at it at all…put bad next to it. There are some things that you are just ok at, but there is room for improvement. Next to those things, put ok. Now here is the hard part. Cross off the things you have admitted too being bad at. Actually, if you now know you are bad at it, it should be obvious that it is not your thing. That’s not hard at all!

It was at this point in my own journey that I discovered two things.
1. I wasn’t as complicated as I thought.
2. The things that were left on my list were sort of related.

Now that you have narrowed down your list, take some time to do a personal inventory.
Read over your list carefully. If there is something that you feel you have missed, and it was not crossed off of the original list, add it. If there is something that made today’s cut, but you know that it is not a viable optional cross it off. Personal development is about being honest about who you are now, so that you can evolve into the person you were born to be.

Following the steps in today’s Blog puts you a few steps closer to discovering your thing!

To Blog…Nakeia

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What's Your Thing? (Part 2)

At ten years old I began writing everyday in my journal. I started making guest appearances as a speaker when I was thirteen. I discovered my love of makeup art at the age of sixteen. As a twenty year old college student, I landed my first leading role, as an actress, in a musical. By the age of twenty-five I had written the first single for an album that was nominated for a Grammy. All the while, I maintained a career in human services. At twenty-seven years old, when was asked what I did best, I had NO ANSWER. Unbelievable! Right? How can someone that has tried her hand at all those things not have a handle on any one of them? Is it necessary to chose one thing? Is it possible to be good at all of them?

I am sure you have heard of the phrase “a jack of all trades, but a master of none.” The connotation is you shouldn’t try to do a bunch of things good, when you can do one thing great. I ascribed to that notion until I quit doing everything I loved to pursue the one thing I liked a lot. I spent five years just concentrating on writing songs. I grew to love creating music. To this day, I can go to sleep with a thought and wake up with a song. It sounds like writing songs was my “thing.” Well it wasn’t. I missed being a makeup artist. I missed writing about my life experiences. I was completely confused about what I was supposed to be doing with my life when I realized that everything I loved to do had a place in my life. I was given certain talents as pieces of a puzzle that complete who I am. In my search to discover the “thing” I did best, I uncovered many things that I do well.

As you move forward with this series to discover the thing you do best, start with things you do well. Make a list of the things that you’ve always wanted to try, the things you’ve started and never finished, and of course the thing you do most.

Here is some of my makeup art!

To Blog...Nakeia

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's Your Thing? (Part 1)

Since I gave birth to my daughter, almost five years ago, nothing is mine alone. We share my bed, makeup, hair supplies, bubble bath, shoes, food, friends, jewelry, husband…everything! The one thing that we share that the “kid in me” secretly loves is the television. Because television programming has gotten completely out of control, she is only permitted to watch Noggin. It’s a wonderful station geared toward providing education and entertainment all in one.

Every afternoon a cartoon called “Little Bill” comes on. It’s our favorite! I credit my decision to pursue writing and speaking to one special episode in particular. In that episode, Little Bill was home one day trying to find something to do. He went to hang out with his grandmother “Alice the Great” but she was busy knitting. He tried to spend a moment with his father and he was busy listening to Jazz. Little Bill asked his father about Jazz, and he told him it was the “thing” he liked to do when he wasn’t working. He stayed with his father for a moment when he soon realized that jazz was not his “thing.” Finally, he found his mother. She was cleaning her camera equipment and preparing for a shoot. Little Bill asked her if photography was her “thing” and she answered “yes.” Little Bill set out to discover his thing. After asking the opinions of his family and playing in his room, he discovered that his “thing” was telling stories. He was so excited to finally uncover the thing he does best!

When the show was over, my daughter turned to me and said “mommy, what’s your thing?” I responded by telling her all of the things I liked to do. She then said, “but what is your thing?” I realized; I had no idea what I did best. I spent the next couple of days thinking about it. I asked my husband, my sister, and some friends. At the end of that week we all came to the same conclusion. I am good and expressing my written words verbally. Finally, I had uncovered the thing I do best!

This week make some discoveries of your own. Ask yourself “what is my thing?” Some of you may already know your "thing" and may even be making a good living doing it. Some of you have many things that you enjoy doing but are unsure of the thing you do best. This week I have put together a series of blogs devoted to helping you discover your “thing.” If you have been fortunate enough to have discovered it already, please share with us. I will share my story of discovery as well as the stories of some others who are doing their “thing.”

Friday, February 19, 2010

When Opportunity Knocks...

There is a story about a wealthy man who was dying from an incurable disease. He built his wealth from hard work and savvy business deals. He was an intelligent man that came from nothing, and created everything he needed to live the life he was destined to live. When asked about his secret to his success, he always answered “I was prepared to open the door when opportunity knocked.”

He was married to his childhood sweetheart for over fifty-three years when she died suddenly in her sleep. She was never able to bare children so there was no heir to his estate. When the wealthy man learned of his illness, he began his search to find someone to leave his riches with. To qualify, there were only three conditions; this person had to have come from his hometown, be of meager beginnings and be prepared to start working towards the fulfillment of their destiny immediately. This was an opportunity of a lifetime for a small town person with big plans and little means. Unfortunately, the wealthy man died; leaving his estate to charity. You see, he interviewed a lot of people who weren’t prepared to act on what they said they were destined to do.

I refer to the wealthy man’s story often. I encounter many hard working people with dreams of fulfilling their ultimate goals. Unfortunately, if opportunity ever knocked on their door, they would not be prepared to open it. Your thinking, how is it possible to be hard working, have goals, and not be considered prepared?
Humor me for a moment and answer your own question by doing this:
Think of the thing you believe you are destined to do. Is it to become a best-selling author? Is it to become CEO of a company? Now imagine receiving a call from a publishing house or board of directors informing you that today is the day that you can do what you’ve always wanted to do. You are a hard worker. You have goals. Now…are you prepared? Have you prepared your manuscript? Do you know everything you need to know to run a company? If your answer is yes, great! You are well on your way. If you answered no, start preparing today. It is important to be prepared for the “what” while you are waiting on the “when.” In other words, you may not know when your boss will offer you the promotion…but when he does, you better know how to do the job!

Preparation+ Opportunity=Success ~Sydney Poitier

To Blog…Nakeia

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Blame Game...

I had been a master at the “blame game” for years. No one was better at than I. My parents were to blame for my low self-esteem. My grandmother was to blame for my bad eating habits. An ex-boyfriend was to blame for every bad relationship I had after he left…well you get the point. I blamed everything on everybody!

Consider this obviously fictional example:

Can I “blame it on momma” when I get fired because on my way back to the front of a classroom full of five year olds, I stumped my toe on a desk and yelled “Oh sh-t!” Those of you who have hit your toe on a desk understand how that language can easily seem very fitting. If you are a kindergarten teacher, standing in front of a bunch of five year olds…not so much, even if your mother was a “cusser.”

By now, you see where I am going with this…I had to grow up and claim ownership of my life! Every experience life brings…good, bad, or indifferent was presented to prepare me for something. Everything I share, whether it is in front of attendees at a conference, in my soon to be released book, or in this blog, was bore out of my own personal experiences in some way. It took many years of working through my struggles to realize that blaming others takes the power to create my future out of my control and places it in their hands. I am responsible for me. Besides…if everyone else is to blame for all the bad that happens in my life; who gets the credit for all of the good?

Enough about me! What I want you to take from this is simple:

Own it! Every word you say. Every choice you make. Learn from the bad and live with the good. You may not have had control over who your parents were and what they decided to teach you. You could not control the outcome of a past relationship. You can, however, control and take credit for the person you are and the choices you make today!

To Blog…Nakeia

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Easier Said Than Done...

I have always wondered why people even use the phrase “easier said than done.” It is more than obvious that it easier to say something than to do something. Saying something requires little effort or thought. What you say doesn’t even have to be true. Most of us just open our mouths and let what ever come up…come out. Easy…right? On the other hand to actually do something takes at least minimum effort. It may require some planning…oh and God forbid…in planning you may have to actually think and then act. Most often, people use the phrase in response to another person telling them to take some sort of action.

Example #1:
“To loose weight all you have to do is burn more calories than you take in daily.”
(Response) “That’s easier said than done.”
Example #2:
“If your relationship is causing you grief, you should just end it.”
(Response) “That’s easier said than done.”

My point is…your decision to take action should not depend upon the level of difficulty involved. If you want results, you must act…no matter what!

Tiger Woods is “gulf’s golden boy.” I know that he is not so “golden” in the media these days. However, his personal indiscretions will NEVER trump his athletic abilities. Anyway, his stories have been shared by many motivational speakers, coaches, and now me…so just go with it…again.

Through pain from torn ligaments in his knee and two fractures in his leg, Tiger Woods went on to win the 108th U.S. Open. The news of his specific injuries did not come out until after the tournament. Prior to the breaking news, he played so well, his opponents accused him of faking the pain to serve as an excuse in case he didn’t win. Playing in that tournament wasn’t in any way easy for Tiger. A friend of Tiger’s reported that the doctor advised him not to play. In response, Tiger said “I’ll play and I’ll win.” Tiger’s desire to win overshadowed his pain. He wanted results, so he took action…no matter what! What he said was easy, but went on to do was far from it.

I don’t know about you but I have no plans to play in the next U.S. Open…not that it’s ever going to be an option for me. I do, however, have plans for my life that requires immediate action if they will ever be fulfilled. It has not always been easy for me to do what I say. But like Tiger, my decision to take action does not depend on the level of difficulty involved. I want results, so I will always act…no matter what!

To Blog…Nakeia

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Busy Work

There I was Ms. “Make it Happen,” reading blog after blog and book after book. I was combing through the pages of magazines, and on the phone with every peer that would listen, trying to discover inspiration for my own blog…for six months. What do I say? Who will read? Where do I start? Those were the questions I started my day with for the next six months. I was busy for a total of twelve months but nothing was happening. It wasn’t until my husband started asking me if I had launched my blog at the end of everyday, that I realized I had turned back into the person that I was in fourth grade.

Follow me to “Ms. V’s” fourth grade class. She is my favorite teacher to date; and of course I was her favorite student. Anyway, at least twice a week she would hand out worksheets that any second grader could do...on the first day of class. She would stand in front of the class and announce that she needed to finish some important paper work and asked us to quietly complete our worksheets before the end of the class. This was her way of keeping us busy…and quite…while she completed the work she should have been doing instead of going on uneventful blind dates every other night. I know about the blind dates because my desk was positioned right next to the door where she would stand tell all of her business to the other teachers (Sorry Ms. V. That is why you are known in the story only by your initial). That busy work may have kept my hands moving and mouth close while Ms. V was productive, but it did nothing to push me towards the ultimate goal of progressing to the next grade.

Here is the connection. Spending twelve months researching, reading, ranting, and questioning, kept me very busy. Unfortunately, I was no more productive then, than I was as a fourth grader juggling busy work twice a week in Mrs. V’s class. To be productive means to effectively bring about the “thing” you set out to do…especially in abundance. To be busy means to be actively engaged in an action BUT does not, in itself, convey anything about the effectiveness of the activity. It is very important to understand the difference so that you don’t end up like me. That is…being very busy, doing nothing.

Being effective in action should always be the goal. Before you start each day ask yourself if your plans will bring about or produce the things that will push you toward your ultimate goal. If the answer is no, then create a more effective plan. Be productive and not just busy.

To Blog…Nakeia

Sunday, February 14, 2010

To Blog...or...Not to Blog

For as long as I can remember, my mouth has always gotten me into trouble. I was the girl that the teacher had to move from one side of the classroom to the next because I would banter with the other students. My report card would read: “Nakeia is a bright student. She just needs to learn how to refrain from distracting the others during class”. Even in grade school, I thought that what I had to say was important…so important…it couldn’t wait until the bell rang! I am proud to say that I have grown up a bit. No more “talking out of turn”. Now, talking is a huge part of my career. I have put my words to music as a published song writer, written a book based on my experience in social work and belief in behavior modification, and as a personal development speaker and consultant.

Just like in grade school, I still believe that what I have to say is important. Words are my most powerful tool. I have spent years developing the way I use my words to empower people to change their lives. I have been encouraged to blog for years. I follow the blogs of some of my friends, the nation’s top speakers, and political analysts. I just didn’t think that what I had to say fit the typical format of a blog. Then, I started posting my day to day thoughts on some social networking sites. People I knew personally and some I had never met would comment and some would even send me a personal message asking for advice and encouragement.

Thus…my decision to blog. I have come to discover that not only the words I say in the form of songs, books and speeches are important. My daily bantering about life, love, and spirituality may be just as important to someone searching for encouragement, confirmation, or just something to think about.

So, as I venture into the world of blogging, you are welcome read, comment (good or bad), ask questions, and most importantly....think!

To Blog…Nakeia