One Step.

One Step.

Forward. Onward. Going. Progress.

It requires action. Forward momentum.

It could take one step, or several.

Either way, you must start.

Stories don’t begin in the middle.

Yours will need a beginning.

Excuses, roadblocks and naysayers will try to paralyze you.

The great news, they don’t have that type of power unless you hand it over to them.

So stop waiting. Stop pondering.

You won’t get there unless you start.

Get going.

One step.

Today.

“You’re better than that.”

Recently I was pondering a relationship that I have with somebody where we haven’t always seen eye to eye. It’s inevitable, to come across other individuals in the world who do not think the same way that you do.

I talk a lot about belief in others and even my life mission statement of “being a catalyst that propels others into their destiny through a foundation of belief.” But the truth is, I still fail.

I found myself placing somebody that I know and truly care about, in this box that I have kept them in for many years. Labeling them, putting particularly negative expectations on them, ensuring they would meet them.

And the sad fact is, they always will. As long as that is what I am constantly expecting and looking for. I won’t see the great things they have accomplished or the hurdles and difficulties they have overcome. Because I have chosen not to. I’m looking for the bad, the upsets, that will prove my point correct.

It’s not ok.

When I was 18, I had my first corporate job and still had a LOT to learn. One day I called out “sick” because it was my boyfriend’s birthday and I wanted to spend the day with him…not work. I was young, carefree and, well, stupid. Since I was 18, I rationalized in my mind that I was an “adult” capable of making my own decisions and having to give no explanations to anyone. So I got up, got ready, and headed to my boyfriends house.

I went through my day, having a great time until I received a phone call from my mom asking me where I was because she was told that I was sick. This is where I made a bit of a mistake. I forgot my Mother and Step-Father were good friends with my boss. So when my boss called them to say hi and see how I was doing, they had no idea anything was wrong. At the time I lived with my Father on the other side of town. So my mom assumed perhaps I was sick and would reach out to me to find out (and probably offer to bring me some chicken soup).

When she found out that wasn’t the case, that’s when she called my Dad. (Dun Dun Dun!)

I remember walking through the door and my Dad saying he wanted to have a “talk.” My Dad is a man of few words. So when he wants to talk and has anger and rage in his eyes, I knew it was not good.

He asked me why I lied about being sick (sidetone: If there is a phrase that you’re Father is known for saying to you throughout your entire life, my Dad’s was, “I HATE liars.”)

I gave him the whole, “I’m 18 and can do whatever I want.” shpeel. He wasn’t having it. I told him I didn’t understand why this was such a big deal, “so and so” does stuff like this all the time. I didn’t do anything crazy.

That’s when he taught me about expectations and how I have always set high standards for myself, and so others expect me to hold to them. So when I fall, I fall far. He used all of the Dad phrases in this conversation, you know them. Phrases like, “What were you thinking?” and “I’m disappointed in you.” but the one that really got me, was “You’re better than that.”

Needless to say, being the devastated over-achiever I was, I went to my room, locked myself in, mapped out a life plan, set short term and long term goals, re-evaluated all of my personal relationships and taped a daily focus statement to my bedroom door (I’m not even kidding).

I never lied about being sick again. I almost never call out even when I am sick. I have to be deathly ill not hold to my commitments. But why? Truly, my 18-year-old self could have just said, “Ok, dad. Whatever you say. I’m an adult. I’ll do whatever I want.” and I think sometimes I did (but you know, respectfully).

The wise Father.
The wise Father.

But there was something in that statement that hit me hard. So, lets take a minute and unpack it a bit.

“You’re better than that.”

  1. He believes in me and believes that I am better than the behavior that I have exhibited. He expects more.
  2. Who I am and the thing that I have done are 2 separate things. My mistakes are not associated with my identity and who I have determined myself to be. He recognizes that and calls me out for it.
  3. This statement is rooted in love, because he chooses to believe the better in me, regardless of my mistake.
  4. He is sharing the reality of his perception of me not meeting my own and his expectations of me.

I’ve lived this. And, as mentioned previously, not lived this.

I’m guilty of not always expecting the best in others. We all are. The important thing to remember is that if we want their best, we need to expect their best and have enough courage to let them know if they aren’t living in it (but STILL expect them to).

People naturally tend to reside within the realm we have created for them. They either feel that they will never be able to please us and forfeit even trying, living up to our poor expectations of them, or realize that someone other than themselves, thinks they are capable of more and they want to achieve those expectations.

Obviously others have expectations on us as well. As my Father had on me. One thing I want to be VERY clear about is what we choose to do with the negative expectations that others have placed on us. Yes, we naturally tend to live within these expectations, however, we DO have a choice. I have worked for a boss that I felt I could never please. No matter what I did. So, I grew stagnant. I personally consider that season as one of my greatest failures while being in a position of leadership. Stagnating my growth was MY doing and I blamed somebody else for it while wasting my own time. It’s YOUR life, live it as such.

We should be doing everything we can to ensure others know and feel that we believe in their best. This is the way we cultivate growth. Let’s treat people that way.

Is there a time somebody believed better for you? Did it change you? Is there a time somebody had low or poor expectations of you? What did you do to overcome? Please share in the comments.

More Than Dreamers Meetup – 5/28/16

Hello friends! We will be hosting our first meetup at Angel Park in Las Vegas @ 2PM on Saturday, May 28th.

This will be an opportunity to gather and discover your life’s passions and dreams, then build a plan to achieve them within a community that helps keep you motivated. It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams.

To RSVP, please go to our Facebook page: Facebook.com/MoreThanDreamers!!

 

We look forward to seeing you there!

dominique

The one rule to unlock and discover your life’s passion.

In my previous post, “How do you live your dream if you haven’t discovered it yet?” I shared a lot of my personal journey of self discovery through trial and error.

The thing is, there is no room for discovery or error, if there is no trial. Lack of trial seems to be a common thing these days.

I get to work with a lot of young people. I’m lucky to help them with their development in the work place and sometimes it might even influence their personal lives.

These individuals are truly some of the most intelligent and creative people I’ve ever known. Filled with infinite potential and destiny. In some of our sit down conversations, I often ask, “What are you passionate about?”

So many of these incredibly talented people just don’t know.

That’s ok.

A lot of them are fresh out of high school or still in college, trying to figure out who they are and what they like. Some of them are still living out the plan their parents had for them.

But few have their own plan or hopes and dreams. Mostly due to not having any specific passion to give them direction.

So what does one do when they find themselves in this place? How does one take action before you are 35 and realize you have been going the wrong direction for more than a quarter of a century?

I’m quite confident that by the time you are 35, you will definitely begin thinking about what you might have done differently, earlier on, to get your life in a better place (and by “better” I mean more fulfilling and possibly more financially secure). I’m not even 35 yet and I already think about that stuff. Not in a “have regrets” sort of thinking, but a realistic, self-assessment, how can I do better sort of way.

Truly, I would say 25 is a good time to start getting serious about pursuing what you are passionate about (If you started your journey even younger, even better). This means you’ve had at least a quarter of a century to figure it out. But what if you haven’t? What if you’re 45 and still haven’t? That’s ok too.

So let’s get down to it. How does one become serious about finding their passion?

Well, I think it’s by not taking things too seriously. This seems counter productive, I know. But, if you don’t take things too serious, you can be adventurous.

Going on adventures requires courage, optimism and grace for when you mess up. The great thing about our early twenties is that we are still ignorant enough to be reckless. We still don’t quite understand true consequences of our risks that we take. Which I believe to be a very valuable attribute.

We don’t quite understand huge failure yet, because we probably haven’t had much of it. So without these points of reference to hold us back from risk and discovery, we are still free. Free to explore. Free to find ourselves. Free to choose whatever we desire.

If you don’t consider yourself a “spring chicken” anymore, again, that’s ok. We just need to be very intentional about not allowing fear to hold us back (check out a previous post on fear, here).

I consider myself very fortunate to have been raised by parents who taught me to believe that I could do anything that I wanted. So they let me be who I needed to be to discover that. They allowed me to go on adventures and just disappear to pursue life to my heart’s content (But of course, I still needed to be home by 11PM curfew).

Going on an adventure of life discovery requires one very important thing.

Saying “Yes.”

If you have a random idea, say “Yes.”

Another person has a random idea, and asks for your involvement, say “Yes.”

If you have not yet invested in other things, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Insight, wisdom, knowledge, and experience.

Over time, each adventure will allow you to discover the things you are passionate about and the things that you aren’t. Often, it will end up being things that were right in front of us, all along.

It’s never too late.

So, get up.

Start your life’s adventure now by saying “Yes.”

What have you been reluctant to say “yes” to? What’s an adventure you have always wanted to go on? How has saying “yes” helped you discover your passion? Please share your story in the comment section below.

How do you live your dream if you haven’t discovered it yet?

Recently I reached out on Facebook, asking who out there felt they were doing what they were “meant” to do with their life.

Out of my several hundred “friends” I only received a response from 2-3 people who said that they felt they were doing what they were supposed to be doing with their lives. There were several others who disputed the wording “meant to do” because they felt that we can all do whatever we choose. So, then I guess the follow-up question would be, did you choose to do what you are doing now?

I think the obvious answer is yes. We all have jobs that we chose to walk in and apply for. But, did we think we would be doing something different? Are we still at place that we told ourselves we would only be at temporarily?

In another post, I asked people what was the biggest thing holding them back from pursuing their dreams or what they are passionate about? There was overwhelming response (Which led me to believe that the Facebook algorithm was not to blame for the lack of response to the previous question). We have an awful lot of excuses for why we have settled with where we are at.

Out of these responses, though, were a tremendous amount of people who were just unsure of what they were actually passionate about. And that made me wonder.

Why? Why don’t they know what they are passionate about? How does one not know the thing that makes them come alive? How does one get out there and discover the things that make them come alive? That’s exactly it, I guess. Get out there.

I am 31. I am still fairly young. But I like to think that I have done quite a few things. Things that have helped me discover things I am passionate about and things that, for the sake of getting through life, I merely tolerate. Here are a few.

Most of you are familiar with the fact that I used to play music. Music was what made me come alive. Performing, specifically. Playing drums will always be something that I enjoy doing. It was something I had always wanted to do, even before ever touching a real life drum set. It was always just a desire of mine. One that never left. And so I did just that. I started playing when I was 14. If you do the Math, I have been playing drums for longer than I have not. However, drumming is not a passion that I want to make money doing (I have one stipulation, actually. If Paramore knocked on my door today and said, we want you to drum for us, then maybe I would go play again and come out of retirement). A few years ago, I started playing drums in a band again. Thinking it’d be like the olden days of touring and performing and meeting incredible people. The problem was, it was not. It was playing in dive bars, late at night, hauling a gigantic instrument around in the hot and in the cold, and fending off drunk people. It just isn’t something I am passionate about anymore. Today, I need deeper connection with people, sunlight, sobriety and more sleep. I still enjoy playing drums, but in the comfort of my own home.

animal

 

After walking away from my band of 7 years, I got a crazy idea to screen print shirts for people. At the time, I knew a lot of people who needed “band shirts” and shirts for other random causes. So I saved up some money and bought a screen printer. I made some pretty decent money doing the t-shirt printing and had fun coming up with design ideas and learning design software. Outside of that, though, it was a ton of hard work. Not sure if you know the process of screen printing, but for a tiny 5’1” tall, 105 pound person like me, it was intense. Lots of chemicals, heat guns and paint. I needed something a bit more simple. That’s about the time I sold all of my equipment and bought a camera.

It was the necessary creative outlet I needed since I wasn’t writing and performing music anymore and that part of my brain just didn’t know how to shut off. I loved it. I would sneak away out of the house and grab my buddy and we would go on random adventures to get photos in. That was the best. The memories that were created. I later had the idea to start charging people for photos. Worst idea I ever had. After shooting a wedding for 12 hours and not being fed, I put the camera down and never picked it up again. Literally. Sure, it was my lack of business knowledge and having stipulations in a contract, but either way. That was enough. I love Photography, but it’s not what I am meant to do…or make money doing, I should say. I’ll take pictures again in the future, but on my own terms.

A few other things I truly enjoy doing are running, cycling and planning out finances. I exercise near daily and it is an important part of my life, but I have no desire to be a fitness coach. The exercise, I do it for me. Same with finances. I love budgeting and spreadsheets and balancing my accounts, but I don’t care to be anybody’s financial advisor. I don’t mind sharing advice and tips, but I have no desire to get paid for it.

There are even plenty of things that I have done that I discovered I just absolutely dislike doing altogether. Clothing retail (Old Navy), please kill me before I ever consider another job like that. Serving food. My mother was a waitress for 14 years or something crazy, what an incredible woman, bless her heart. I hated it. The smells, how particular people are, the terrible tippers. Just no. I worked for a season at my Step-Father’s Interior Design company. Not for me either. I don’t care about different fabric patterns or carpet colors or backsplashes. My mind can’t wrap around why people get so crazy about a table or chairs. Tech Support. Eeeeek. I made decent money, but dealing with crazy people who have no idea why they purchased what they did and can’t remember their passwords…no thank you. My family knows it is a bit of a point of contention with me. They often want to use me as a resource for their tech questions, but sadly it’s rare that I can maintain my composure long enough to help them with their issues.

So, with life experience came knowledge of what I like, what I don’t like, what I love doing and what I am passionate about.

Out of all of these things, there is one thing that I know I am passionate about.

Helping others pursue their dreams. This was discovered while I was in my first band. The true reason I loved music. The connection. People would meet me, write me or reach out to me in some way and ask for my advice or help on how they get going with their own music. Convincing others to believe in themselves and their dream is by far, my favorite thing to do in the entire world. I will willingly waste my life doing this. If I can find a way to get paid for it, cool. If not, either way, I will still have fulfillment.

band help
Photo credit: Calvin Rutherford

Had I stuck with any of those other things I had mentioned, I wouldn’t be living out MY dream. I would have forced myself into a mold in which I do not belong. Which so many of us do. I am not saying that you are too good to hold any other job, other than your dream job. Because I also believe in hard work and the necessity of having multiple jobs so that you can pursue your dream. Because sometimes your dream is not a money maker. My Dad loves fishing. He takes his boat out every weekend. To support his dream, he has a great job working for a company that pays him well.

So don’t just go run out and quit your day job because it’s not your dream. Rather, do what needs to get done in order for you to have a way to discover what it is that you are passionate about. For years, I waited tables to pay the bills while I pursued music. The bills still have to get paid. Don’t neglect your adult responsibilities and don’t neglect your dreams. Both are vitally important. Create a means to allow yourself to discover. Don’t be a slave to adulthood. Because we all have to take care of our responsibilities. Don’t make adulthood your excuse. Because it’s a bad one. There are plenty of others out there, getting through adulthood AND living out their dream. I’m convinced you can too.

What is something you have always wanted to try but haven’t? What is a step you can take today to discover your passion? Although you may have a day job, are you intentional about having an outlet for your life’s true passion? Feel free to share in the comment section below.

3 ways to establish relationships that help you achieve your dreams.

My best friend has been watching a show recently called, “60 Days In.”

It’s about 7 innocent people who volunteer to go to prison for 60 days undercover.
While incarcerated, these volunteers are treated just like prisoners. Nobody, other than the Producers, the Sheriff and Captain of the prison, know about the program and the volunteers. So, if a volunteer commits criminal acts while incarcerated in the program, they have to pay the consequences.

One of the young volunteers, Isaiah, ends up making friends with another young inmate who is a known trouble-maker. Isaiah eventually finds himself in a predicament where he is covering for his friend out of loyalty, who is stealing from other inmates and committing crimes.

Isaiah will have to suffer the consequences of his actions committed out of loyalty to his friend.

This happens all too often and in so many different settings. We forfeit aspects of our lives and even our dreams for the sake of keeping friends around. Somehow, we even portray this as the right way to live. Hollywood loves the story of the hopeful underdog who finally catches a break and then ditches either their friends, family or other close relationships and then by then end, they have chosen to give up everything they worked for in order to maintain those relationships. Because these relationships are what’s most “important.”

For some reason, it’s rare that life wants us to achieve our dreams and keep our friends too.

There are some fundamental and necessary approaches we can take to avoid or resolve this problem.

Surround yourself with like-minded people.
My friend, Drew, has this quote he likes to share, “You are who you will be five years from now. The only difference is the books you read and the people you meet.” I believe this statement to be true, at least, to the extent that we are willing to be changed. There are people who I have run into throughout life who have inspired me to take action and others with whom, I enjoyed being around but we did a whole lot of nothing at all. The latter, I kept around for the same reasons as Isaiah, camaraderie and loyalty. We all do this. It’s in our nature; the need for others and to be loyal to each other.

The thing is, if we aren’t surrounding ourselves with like-minded people, nobody is going to challenge us, or remind us what we are living for. In fact, they may do just the opposite, distract us from our purpose.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you shouldn’t have fun every once and a while. I am just saying there’s more to life than getting high morning, noon and night while screaming at each other, like my neighbors who live behind me. (I still wonder how they pay their rent).

You may have heard the saying, “You can’t soar with the eagles if you hang with the turkeys.”

Set boundaries.
I have a friend who recently came to me for some advice. She has been in the works of putting a design company together. She is young, talented and filled with ambition. She shared with me how her best friend recently decided she also wants to be involved in this company and help with the administrative side of things. Initially, my friend was excited about it. She would be the creative and her friend could manage the administrative tasks. Not long into it, she discovered that her friend was tearing down her creative ideas and they weren’t working well together. My friend doesn’t have the heart to tell her best friend, that she wants to do this project on her own.

As she was telling me her story, I felt like I was re-living my early twenties with my best friend.

It didn’t end well.

I encouraged my friend to set some boundaries. It’s easy to want to do everything with your friends. There are some things, though, that we may be meant to do and others may not. It’s ok to do things on your own and have healthy collaboration. But when somebody else begins to dictate the direction of your dream, there needs to be boundaries.

Don’t put your life on hold for the comfort of others.
My friend, she really has 2 choices.
1. Put her dreams on hold to keep her friendship in a comfortable spot and avoid conflict.
2. Be honest with her friend, with the risk of hurting feelings, so that she can pursue her dreams. If her friend is truly her friend, while she may be hurt, she will still support her and stick around. If not, she may be better off.

As I shared with my friend and have said many times over and over again to my readers and to people I get to speak with in the flesh, you have one life.

One life to whole heartedly go after the things that are burning deep inside of you. One life to leave your stamp. One life to give us all you have to offer.

Surround yourself with others who want to do the same. Who pull the best out of you.

10 years from now, you don’t want to be in a place of regret that you didn’t do things differently.

So what about you? When you envision your current circle of friends, are they people who are pursuing their dreams and encouraging you to do the same? Would your friends describe you as somebody who is pursuing their dreams and supporting them in their pursuit? Is it time to find a new tribe?