“If only I had the time…”

A few days ago, I got a chance to have coffee with an old friend. As we caught each other up on our lives we joked around about never being bored anymore. In talking about our endeavors, we shared how there was never a shortage of ideas or ways to continually innovate.

Time is a precious thing. It is finite. Different for each of us. We never know truly how much we will have. At some point it will end. And because of this, we should be purposeful about never wasting it.

Lack of it seems to be my common excuse for not getting more accomplished. There are plenty of people that I talk to who share the same sentiment.

Often, I have even heard plenty of us use the excuse of our day job being what robs us of our time to do what we truly care about.

But I think at some point there has to be a moment of taking some personal responsibility.

This is our life, right? Therefore, every moment associated with the timeline of my existence, belongs to me, correct?

It should, anyway. We create value. We select what is most important, kind of important and not so important.

Our intentions are much greater than our actual outcomes, though, often due to distractions. I wake up 3 times a week, with the intention of getting out some content for the blog. It may actually happen about 1-2 times a week. It seems as though as soon as I turn on my computer, if I do not go straight to my journaling application, I get sucked in to emails, Facebook, Amazon; basically everything BUT what I set out to do.

It’s the same at our places of employment, I am certain. Want to know how I know? My blog traffic is the highest, Monday through Friday, 10am-2pm. Which is the time most people I know are at work.

So not only are we robbing ourselves of productivity, but it also appears that we rob our employers too.

We’ve all done it.

I love the internet. But I spend way too much time on it. I’ve realized, though, that we can’t waste all of our precious time searching the internet to achieve our dreams. I’m not going to google my way into my destiny or create the ultimate status post that make all my dreams come true. You won’t either.

It’s time to get back to real life. Do real work. Work that really matters.

Let’s make our time count.

“Pardon my dust, I’m under construction.”

A couple months ago after a few doctor visits, it was discovered that I had a hernia. Yes, me, a 5’1” 110 pound woman with a hernia. stupid. I know. I wasn’t too concerned about it until my Doctor told me that I needed to have surgery. And by concerned, I actually mean extremely annoyed. My annoyance stemmed from the fact that I would have to put my entire life on pause, because Agnes (my hernia) decided that she just didn’t want to stay inside my body anymore.

Not only am I a habitual do-er, but I consider myself to be a pretty active person. I run or cycle almost daily. I enjoy going outside, getting exercise, seeing the world and getting some fresh air. It’s my “me” time. My processing time. And also the means by which I am capable of reasoning with myself into consuming a high volume of burritos and tacos.

If you’re life is jam packed with busyness, like mine (I’m certain I’m not the only workaholic out there)you would understand that I don’t have time for things like hernias or surgeries. heh.

To some of you this may sound absolutely insane. Why WOULDN’T I want a decent excuse to be on a break from my chaotic life? A week of recovery to lie in bed and cat nap all day long? Not have to even walk outside where it is above 110 degrees outside? Or catch up on the Walking Dead and binge watch the new season of Orange is the New Black?

I know. I know. Something is seriously wrong with me. I love to work. I love to learn. I love to connect with other humans.

Either way, I did it. I had the stupid surgery (removing not just one, but TWO hernias) and here I am with my messy hair and my 3 new incisions in the middle of my abdomen, sitting at home, waiting to heal. You could say I am currently under construction.

But in going through with all of this, it has put some things in perspective for me.

What if I would have just kept going, full-steam ahed, not taking care of myself? I would have eventually run myself ragged with exhaustion and probably ended up sick, needing time off anyway. Even worse, these 2 hernias (in the same location) could have caused some serious issues and I could have eventually ended up in the hospital.

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I shouldn’t be ashamed to take care of myself. And really, that’s the truth. I tend to think so big picture and want to pursue a bigger purpose that I often push things off that don’t seem to have as high of a priority…like complications of a hernia. :/

What I am saying is, it’s ok to be under construction. It’s ok to stop, take a step back and assess the blueprints every once and a while to make sure everything is on track, and that I am not getting ahead of myself and trying to put up walls prior to laying the foundation.

It’s so easy for us to feel the need to get ahead of ourselves. I do all the time. Because of just that; time. It’s so precious. So we go go go. And we try to stay ahead of everyone else, or just keep up. We constantly compare where we are at with where others are and than harshly rebuke ourselves.

It’s not healthy. 

Construction or even re-construction is necessary. It gives us time to not only assess but also to innovate. A home built in the 70’s probably will need a few upgrades by today’s living standards. Are we giving ourselves opportunities to innovate? Without shame and harsh judgment upon ourselves? We need to innovate to our own standards, without comparison and without striving towards an unhealthy level of perfection. Pause is ok. Even necessary.

Where we don’t want to land is absolute abandonment.

When I ride my bike through my neighborhood, there is an empty and abandoned lot that I pass by. Where the ground was once leveled out and the skeleton of a brick wall resides amongst overgrown weeds, desert brush and dirt. A community that was supposed to be that never came to fruition. A desolate place that was once an idea.

Moving too fast and not looking ahead is probably what caused that to come to a screeching halt. A hard no after one too many yes’s.

Construction also has the potential to become too overwhelming. Too many decisions to make with so much information presented. We can become paralyzed and lose sight of where to go next. That’s when you might see a half built house on the side of a road that never saw completion. Inspiration had run out, potentially along with funds.

What do we do when we are under construction and the inspiration is gone?

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, she shares about the magic of creativity. The hard truth she shares is that, for the most part, we are not going to be doing our work while simultaneously burning with inspiration. We have moments of inspiration, or spurts, if you will, and then the rest of the time, we are just trying to get the work done. Her point is that the work needs to be done either way. We must finish the thing that we had originally set out to accomplish. The thing must still be built, created or crafted. The gift, the art, or the message, still needs to exist.

At the end of the day, it may come down to our level of commitment. Or even our mentality around our level of commitment. Are we mature enough to go under construction and to still come out of it? Why are we so scared to lose momentum? Am I so concerned that I may (in a 2 week recovery period) lose my sight of why I choose to live an active lifestyle and not spring back from this? Am I too concerned that if I take a week away from the work that I do that it may completely lose it’s purpose? If so, it may be time to re-evaluate my why and why I do what I do.

Construction is messy. It’s inconvenient. But at it’s end, should result in something better than before. Let’s not ignore hints from life for when it might be necessary. Then let’s make sure we come out of it even better than before.

Are you currently under construction? Are you ashamed to take the time to pause and evaluate where you are? Have you abandoned your project completely? Please share your story in the comments below.

Because. Dad.

When I was about 8 years old and obsessed with Mariah Carey, I would attempt to sing her songs as loud as I could. Often, trying to hit her infamous “whistle-tones.” Anyone alive in the 90’s knows what I’m talking about. In my garage, as I basically just shouted very loudly in a singing voice (as I still often do), I told my Dad I wanted to sing just like Mariah Carey. He looked at me and said, “You will.”

I may not sing like Mariah today (but I’m pretty confident I’ve successfully hit whistle-tone status several times), that moment between my Father and I stuck with me for the rest of my life. It is one of the 1st, “I believe in you” type of memories I have from my Father that I could actually comprehend.

And he did. and still does.

This man taught me integrity from an early age, probably beginning with the time he found writing on the wall. When I emphatically denied and than he read the transcript aloud, “dom-i-n-i-que,” I received my due punishment. Most of things I accomplished in my youth, I hoped would make him proud. As I got older, I learned the value of these early life lessons and then began to learn to do things for myself.

When I was younger, I mostly remember my Dad as a very stern individual. But I am sure he had to be, I was a rather unruly and wild kid with whom most of my teachers would ask me, “Are you an only child?”

But truly, my Dad taught me wit an humor. Even though, he’s pretty reserved in public, my Dad gets crazy during a round of Yahtzee. So much so that he been known to break the pieces after screaming yahtzee, and then smashing the die cup. Basically, he knew when to work and get shit done and then when it was time to have fun, he is the craziest sober person I know.

Speaking of crazy, I remember thinking he was insane (when I was a teenager who knew everything), especially after the time I found out that he “stalked” me in church. Looking back on moments like that, I realize that he was a Dad who actually cared about what his daughter was up to and making sure I wasn’t getting into trouble…or even worse, getting involved in some crazy cult. He gave me the freedom to do my thing, but checked in on me every once and a while, as a good Dad should.

The most incredible thing my Dad has done for me is let me be myself. He never tried to make me into something I was not. He never forced me to do things I didn’t want to do and whole heartedly supported me in the things that I did (except getting tattoos. I don’t think he’ll ever be a fan of that). He DID teach me to do things to the absolute best of my ability. To strive to be the best at whatever I do, no matter what. He challenged me to have my own brain with my own thoughts. (I am sure sometimes he regrets that when he needs tech support and I begrudgingly help him because I hate doing tech support, even for myself. Sorry Dad).

He even gave me my first self-help book when I was barely a teenager, and that is probably why I am such a junkie to this day.

The older I get, the more I realize I am more and more like him everyday. And I am ok with that. He is one of the most loving, fun, and ethical humans I have ever known. I am tremendously lucky to call him my Dad.

Is it time you paid your 18-year-old self a visit?

I don’t know about you, but when I was 18, the world was my oyster. I was working a full-time job that I enjoyed, going to school full time, making music with my band and ready to take on the world.

Little did I know that only a few years later, I would allow circumstances of life to completely derail me from my original plan. I hadn’t suffered any huge losses yet. Failures hadn’t convinced me to give up on the future I had mapped out.

I was fearless. Bold. I didn’t give a shit about what people thought and I was going to change the world.

Self-Doubt wasn’t a thing, because up until that point, my main influencers had only built me up to believe that I could accomplish anything.

I had many late night conversations with friends about how we would travel and change the world. We somehow convinced others of the same.

Until more recently (and I am 31 now), I had shoved that person into a dark corner and told them not to come out and play anymore. She was a blind and naive person. One who allowed a lot of pain and suffering to be brought into my life. She allowed me to experience moments of being stripped completely raw of my identity and to feel completely ashamed and embarrassed because of rash decisions.

And because life didn’t go at all the way that she had mapped out, she was revoked the privilege of being able to make anymore future plans.

Is it time you paid your 18-year-old self a visit?

Here I am, in my 30’s, wishing I would have allowed her to escape that pit much sooner. That I wouldn’t have allowed failure and disappointment to snuff her out as much as it had. But merely taught me caution; not complete avoidance of aspirations. Only small glimpses of her have been seen over the past 7 years.

A few days ago somebody told me they recognized her. They used the word “courage” to describe me. I knew it was her that they might have caught in a rare moment.

The truth is, I need her. Even more so than ever before. Mostly, because now I know that I am able to overcome. I am able to continue moving forward. I can get up after a fall and dust myself off. I can learn to love again after heartbreak. She does not need to be silenced. Rather, she must be heard. She can continue alongside the fear and alongside the hurt. Because, regardless, those other things will continue to exist. It’s just time now, to discover how they will all work together.

In response to my friend who called me “courageous,” I said, “thank you, but most of the time I actually feel really scared.”

Scared that people won’t hear my message. Scared others will misconstrue my tone. Scared that all of my efforts are in vain.

But as I have shared in a previous post, I have learned to “do that shit afraid.”

Courage is NOT the absence of fear.

And so I will reach out to my 18 year old self a little more often, and let her remind me that the world is still my oyster. This is still my life and I can control it and do whatever I desire, regardless of my age, life experiences, let downs, set backs or failures.

She has a lot to teach me. I just need to be willing to listen.

*What about you? How often do you visit your 18-year-old self? If you haven’t in a while, what would they remind you of today? Please share in the comment section below.*

MORE THAN DREAMERS MEETUP – 6/25/16

Hello friends! We will be hosting our next meetup at Dominique’s house in Las Vegas @ 2PM on Saturday, June 25th.

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.

This month we will be discussing discovering your unique potential. It’s possibilities. What to do with it and how to apply it to your life! Come ready to be inspired!

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

The harsh truth.

If you are going to live for something, it’s not going to be easy.

You’re not going to wake up one day and all of a sudden be living out your dream.

It’s going to take work. It’s going to take disappointment. It’s going to take plenty of failure.

It’s going to take you flipping the bird to people who are going to tell you that you can’t do it.

It will never be easy.

If you have dreams, but no backbone, you better find one.

Somehow deep down inside you have to convince yourself that whatever it is that you are going to pursue will be worth it. Because it won’t be to anybody else. Nobody will understand why you choose to do what you do. You don’t owe them an explanation.

So if you’re not convinced, you may as well give up now.

The reason there aren’t a ton of people out there who are the BEST is because there are few willing to put in the time. the effort. the sweat.

They have questioned their sanity, their worth, the point. you should too.

If you’re not, your dreams probably aren’t big enough.

But maybe you’re ok with life being easy, coasting and just getting to the end.

If you’re like me, you’re probably not.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had moments where your heart was shattered, your ship sank and your hopes were crushed. Most of us have. What separates the elite from others is a deep down obsession to continue the torture. Because they believe there is something greater.

You can’t ignore it. It wakes you up at night. Pulls you out of bed in the early morning.

Brokenness is necessary. Rebuilding yourself is necessary. Restoration reminds us that we can continue after destruction.

Being complacent, stagnant, mediocre; too many are already great at that. Be different.

Settling is a time suck and there is no place for it in history makers.

If you question yourself, good. At least you are thinking.

If you don’t even know what I’m talking about, wake up. Stop drifting through life. You are wasting it.

Don’t tell me you can’t. Plenty have and continue to do so.

That which you believe, you will achieve. So if you believe you suck, you will.

If you believe you will change the world and have something to contribute, you will find a way.

But, again, it won’t be easy.

Commit now to doing whatever it takes.

Get up. Make a plan. Do.

We need you.

Why other perspectives matter.

Today, I was out on a bike ride (mostly because I am a pansy and can NOT run in 100+ degree heat, as much as I love to run). While I was riding up a hill, I was lost in my thoughts and not looking ahead. When I finally lifted my eyes to see the road in front of me, I noticed several large rocks in my direct path, only about 5 feet away. I quickly maneuvered as best I could to dodge the rocks and somehow managed to come out of it without a wreck or a flat tire.

But that is not always the case in life. And sometimes, we are not always lucky enough to have discovered the potential hazard from our own view point.

We like to see ourselves in a certain way, often not taking into account how others perceive us. Both are relevant. (you may be thinking, “But Dominique, aren’t we supposed to be ourselves no matter what and not care what other people think?” the answer is both yes and no.)

Here’s an example from my own life. I love people. I have dedicated my life to helping people pursue their dreams. I will give whatever resources I have; time, money, blood, sweat, tears. BUT, I have been told over and over again, throughout my entire life, that I am intimidating. This naturally lends to being perceived as “un-approachable” and because I try not to care about what people think, I don’t even realize it. I go about my day, get down to business when necessary and have fun when it’s time to have fun. The problem is, if people think I do not care about them and are too scared to even approach me, I have lost my opportunity to even be of service to them, to do the very thing I hope to do with my life. And so, good people that I have known throughout my life have let me know, with love, that I am intimidating and it reminds me that I need to soften up sometimes. This is something, I have to be very deliberate about, for the sake of my life’s big picture.

So long story short, yes, it is important to keep into account the perspective of others when it comes to many things in life, including your persona. Especially if the things you are hoping to accomplish with your life, involve interacting with other humans. In most cases, that’s all of us.

Asking for clarity

A great time to seek out additional perspective is when you may not personally agree with a decision.

I mean, you could always do the easy thing, and grumble about it in public, get others to agree with you and then become a cancerous plague in your environment. Or, you can humble yourself and seek understanding so all can move forward. But it’s up to you.

I get to work daily with an incredible team. Yesterday, one of our Supervisors approached myself and another Leader and shared that they didn’t understand why we had set certain expectations recently and asked if we could give additional perspective. They were asking for 2 reasons. 1. For their own understanding and 2. (and most importantly) so they could successfully lead the team in this initiative and not cause division by potentially over-aligning with them.

It is 100% ok to ask for help for better understanding. When your intentions are good, you will naturally come across as somebody who is on-board but wants to know why so you can better communicate it to others. Also, it’s just not wise to follow people blindly. So, please, ask questions.

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Asking for help.

Seeking additional perspective in moments when you have found that you have become stagnant at whatever it is that you are doing or have been doing, is a wise decision. If your growth has stopped and you are just going through the motions, you may need to reach out.

This one can be tough. A lot of us naturally want to internalize any frustration, or even blame others for the positions we are in. Both are no good. This is when it is time to find somebody you truly trust and can share your thoughts with. Our biggest battles are generally fought between our two ears. We get caught inside our heads and convince ourselves of things that could be far from the truth. In these moments, it is up to us to take action towards resolution. These are moments where, if not addressed early on, can lead to a long pattern of negative thinking and create a deep dark hole we will have to claw our way out of.

Having a mentor (AKA a truth-teller) is one of the best things one can do for their life. Someone who can say to you, “Dominique, I think you’re looking at this wrong.” or “I think it’s possible to look at this differently.” and even better, “Here’s what I see…”

Generally when some more light is shed on a situation, you can get through the clutter and decide on what is now necessary to move forward. But this is the important thing, something MUST be done in order to move forward. Self-development, growth, learning, etc; it MUST continue. It must be deliberate.

Becoming stagnant basically means you have allowed yourself to get hung up on some formality and lost focus of the big picture. We’ve allowed ourselves to become the passenger of our lives and not the driver. Because truly, we can always continue growing.

So where are you? Are you currently the Mentor? The Men-tee? Do you need fresh perspective? Can you help others see additional perspective, but in a loving way? Is there an area you can be more deliberate with? Share your story in the comments below.

The myth behind “Work/Life Balance.”

A few years ago, I was driving home from work. I left about 20 minutes past the time I was originally scheduled to be off. I clearly remember driving home and feeling that I was “giving my life away” to that place. At the time I was also in a bitter season in my life. One where I had forfeited my personal dreams and aspirations. I had no hobbies outside of playing video games and having a drink or two in my off time. Needless to say, my life didn’t have much to look forward to. The easy out was to blame my retail job for robbing me of my time to do other things with my life.

And often, companies set themselves up for this by offering this term we all have heard on numerous occasions, “work/life balance.”

But the truth is, before and after this phrase became popular, the expectations between employee and employer were the same. It goes something like this, “I will pay you X amount of money for X amount/type of work, do you agree?” and we are all exactly where we are at because more than likely we replied with an emphatic “Yes.” We may have agreed to working Full Time (approximately 40 hours per week) or Part Time (anywhere between 16-30 hours per week, in which, most cases, the employee controls when they are available).

Now, if you are working an insane amount of hours, more than you ever agreed to or what was initially expected of you, then yes, it’s time to partner with your employer and work out a way to get some of your life back. But truly, for most companies today, overtime is not a free-for-all, it’s the exception and not the norm (Unless it’s your own company, and that ends up being an entirely different story all together).

As time goes on, excitement of a new job wears off and eventually its time for vacation. That’s about when we may begin to use the phrase, we “need a little more work/life balance.” Or perhaps we feel we are working too much. But in reality, we are working 8 hours a day…kind of (actual productive hours is questionable in most cases these days).

The myth behind “Work/Life Balance.”

Let’s get back to that phrase from earlier. “I give my life to this place.”

Sure, I spend more time with my co-workers than my family…mathematically, thats how it tends to work out (between sleep, exercise and drive time).

So when we feel that “All I do is work.” and are where I was a few years ago (no hobbies, no creative outlets, no further aspirations), this statement is probably true.

The myth.
The big part of the myth is that the employer is the one in control of whether you have work/life balance. But the reality is, if you have nothing going on outside of work, outside of the 8 hours of your 24 hour day that you knew was already committed to receiving payment for, than you are just working. There is no balance. You aren’t giving your actual LIFE part an opportunity.

If you are getting up, going to work, coming home, eating, watching tv and then going to sleep and repeating it all again the next day…then work is the only thing your life has to look forward to. If you do it long enough, it can become a bitter, dark place (I know. I’ve been there.).

Give your life something more to look forward to. Don’t blame your job. That’s too easy. And remember, you agreed to receiving the money for a certain type of work for a certain amount of time. You also have the choice to break the agreement and leave any time to pursue something else that suits your needs better. We all do.

First, however, I would encourage you to find something else to give your life towards, outside of your job. Something of purpose and deep meaning to you.

The benefit of somebody investing in themselves outside of work is extraordinary. If we are living out balanced and fulfilling lives, we are happier humans. Happy humans also happen to deliver great results. So not only will you be happier, so will your peers and your superiors. Because they will enjoy being around you and the great work that you do.

So let’s all do ourselves a favor and stop pushing all of the responsibility of “work/life balance” on the place of employment, it’s your choice to decide what to do with the other 16 hours of your day. Now go out and do it. Your life deserves it.

Have you ever fallen into the “work/life balance” trap? What did you do to get out of the funk? What did you discover that gave you more meaning and purpose outside of your job?