Need help starting? Consider what Nike & Bishop Paul Morton have in Common…

I was recently listening to an old favorite gospel song and for some odd reason one line in particular echoed through my mind: greater is the ending of the thing that is beginning!

As I sat and pondered that line from Bishop Morton’s song ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’, I thought about the merit of it. It makes sense, doesn’t it… think about how awesome you feel when you complete something, when you cross that finish line. “I made it!” you might shout! However, if completion is so awesome, what is the stumbling block holding most of us back?

It would seem that the greatest stumbling block is the actual starting of the thing…

Psychologists often say that the anxiety/fear of doing something is often greater in the anticipation of the feared experience, as compared to actually going through the feared experience. In other words, as so aptly stated by former president FDR: “there’s nothing to fear but fear itself”.

This all leads me to ask – So what great ending are you denying yourself because you’re afraid?

If you would challenge yourself to push past your fear, you might discover a new experience that is worthwhile, fulfilling, and eye-opening.

So get going! Or as the Nike slogan prompts: JUST DO IT!just-do-it-bbb

And I’m not just giving you advice – I have actually pushed myself to do the same that I am suggesting to you…

One year ago (2014), I made the decision to write a children’s book. Although I have worked with youth my entire career, writing a book for them – was unchartered territory… Naturally, there were moments of doubt, uncertainty, and FEAR.

“What if I’m not good enough?” queried a small negative voice from within. However, I pushed past the negativity and fear, and today I sit here with a proof of my soon to be published children’s book in my hand!

Gives me chills!

I hope you find the courage to begin… so that you might experience the thrill and satisfaction that comes will completing something that you started. Greatness awaits YOU!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

How to WIN: Tired, Weary, & Faint of Heart

Don’t grow weary and lose heart

Have you ever started a new venture? And thought aaugh! I’m in over my head! Well that’s me lately… Wondering what do I need to know? Who do I need to know? Where do I begin? Why do I feel so far behind? Questions, questions, questions.

The new venture is my journey to write and now to publish my book. It can be a lonely and daunting process, so much so that a gazillion times I’ve contemplated GIVING UP!

And to add salt to the open wound, the process requires you to expose yourself to judgment and critique from agents, publishers, and other writers. It’s enough to make your head spin…

While staring at the to-do list that seemed to stretch to infinity, I found myself feeling overwhelmed and overstressed. I decided to reach out to a good friend who reminded me “Donna if this is your purpose, trust that.” His comment took me somewhat aback. What did he mean by stating that I needed to trust? This wasn’t about trust… This was about manuscript submissions, snippy agents, and nonresponsive publishers. I sat baffled for a few minutes and then the realization came crashing down like a bolt of lighting. I was trying to work overtime to make things happen, forgetting for a second, that since God placed me on this path – God would be the one to make it happen! And that’s when I remembered a bible verse my pastor repetitively recites: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 4:6).

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe we are accountable for our actions and we need to make decisions that move us towards a goal. However, I also know that at the end of the day life often happens in a serendipitous way. We can’t line everything up, sometimes it just happens and we have to allow it to do just that.

So now, I will remind myself from time to time, to step back, take a deep breath, treasure the present moment, and trust that the life promised to me shall unfold in time.

For a moment I started to grow weary and lose heart. I allowed doubt and discouragement to slip in. But I’m back on track. The spoils go to those who persevere. I look forward to the finish line, but will also allow myself to enjoy the race!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Spring Anticipation, Patience, and Strength…

Most of us look forward to the spring season because it’s a time of renewal, new growth, and FLOWERS! However, spring is also the time of rain showers and the dreaded pollen that blankets the southeast!

For the past few days I’ve been struggling with these awful headaches, which I’m thinking, are pollen induced. So I was semi glad to see the rain that came this weekend because it would clear the air and wash the pollen away… So there I was laying around on one of those damp, overcast Saturday mornings feeling somewhat restless and out of sorts. I was reflecting on life and wondering when the metaphorical rain would come to wash away my struggles, disappointments, and the depression that often blankets my happiness.

I’m tired of waiting, tired of striving, tired of feeling I’m not there yet…

I needed something to motivate me, something to encourage me to keep going – so I turned to music…

And there were two songs that seemed to champion my cause of pushing towards the finish line… Here are a few of the lyrics –

Doubt by Mary J Blige:

I’ll keep getting up

Cause that’s what I’m gonna do

I’m gonna be the best me

Sorry if it kills you

 I am a conqueror by Estelle:

Got a vision that no one else sees,

Lot of dirty work, roll up your sleeves,

Remember there’s a war out there,

So come prepared to fight!

You never know wherever the road leads you,

Not everyone’s gonna believe you,

Even though they’re wrong, don’t prove them right

After hearing those two songs, I felt encouraged to keep forging ahead, even though my tomorrow is still a day away. My hope was returning… And just like that the depressed feelings receded away and I was left feeling recharged, refocused, and ready to tackle the day! My spirit felt so renewed that I found myself dancing around to ‘Just watch’ by Mark Ronson. As I grooved to the beat, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror thought you doubt the future that is coming, and as that thought floated through my mind, I could hear Mark Ronson croon: “don’t believe me just watch”! The timing of that brought a smile to my face.

So what’s the moral of the story? Anticipation can be hard sometimes. But I do believe that in the end, the fruit from my waiting and working will be worth it!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

No… it’s NOT too late! So get Started & Don’t Quit.

Do you ever stop and wonder about some of the decisions you’ve made?

This weekend I turned 40… this momentous point in my life found me reflecting on the highs and lows of the previous decades. As I considered past decisions and choices, I realized that I have learned, grown, and gained A LOT of knowledge. As that realization set in I began to wonder how life would have been if I had the knowledge I have now, back then…

If 20-year-old Donna knew what 40-year -old Donna does, I could have saved her a lot of heartache and headache. I guess that’s why they say: “youth is wasted on the young”. As I sat thinking I began to feel a bit glum about what on the surface seemed to be squandered time. I asked myself: What if I hadn’t and maybe I should have? And I even considered IS IT TOO LATE? Did I wait too long to “wake up”!

But then I reminded myself that the wisdom I gained came from the mistakes, the wrong turns, and the detours, so none of it was in vain.

And not only was it not wasted time, but I was reminded that it’s not too late…

My reminder came while listening to Steve Harvey on the radio. During the morning show he mentioned that he was homeless at the age of 30. Although I knew he had been homeless, what caught my attention, this day, was his age. 30 wasn’t that young, so I decided to Google his bio and discovered that many of his great accomplishments occurred at an age others might deem as “old”. He didn’t get his television show until age 39, Kings of Comedy didn’t happen until age 42, and he didn’t begin writing books until age 52. And at his current age of 58, he continues to evolve and achieve new things.

Reading Steve’s bio was the reminder that I needed! For though I am now 40 and I wonder what would have happened if I had been living my purpose since age 25, I can’t get the past back. But I can purposefully live my present and my future, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. By the end of the next 40 years, I’ll be able to look back and admire all I was able to accomplish.

I share this with YOU to encourage you that no dream is ever too late! Each new day of life is another opportunity to go after your heart’s desires.

As Fitness guru Jane Fonda would say: “It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.

So waste not another minute of your life!

I’ll leave you with this quote from Journalist George Eliot: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.

Life According to ME,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Intentionally Living My Purpose

  • What’s makes me SPECIAL?
  • How I am I different?
  • Why will I SUCCEED when so many want to and haven’t?

These are the questions that float through my mind as I DREAM about and VISUALIZE making my desires a REALITY…

During the last 7 months, I have found myself crossing paths with authors such as Ron Clark, Elizabeth Gilbert, Steve Beecham, and Susan Breen, politicians such as David Belle Isle, sports announcer Ernie Johnson, and educators such as Dr. Susan Crim McClendon. They each had a dream that they visualized and made reality.

I was able to make contact with them because of the various new ventures I’ve engaged in, all for the purpose of getting out and meeting new people. Why am I doing this? Well, because I am preparing for my children’s book that will be released this upcoming fall.

The fall seems far off, yet I know it shall be here soon enough, so I am planting seeds that I believe will germinate into something awesome for me. And though I continue to take the steps and risks necessary for success, that doesn’t address the questions I started off posing at the beginning: what makes me special?

Well it’s been estimated that less than 10% choose to live out their dreams!!

So I guess I’m special because I am intentional in wanting to be in the group of the 10%!

And if that statistic isn’t enough to bolster my confidence, I remind myself that only I can be the best me there is… so that means there will never be anyone else who can leave the unique imprint that I was specifically designed to leave! And the same goes for YOU. ONLY you can be YOU!

I leave you with this quote by Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson:

“I have a personal philosophy in life: If somebody else can do something that I’m doing, they should do it. And what I want to do is find things that would represent a unique contribution to the world – the contribution that only I, and my portfolio of talents, can make happen. Those are my priorities in life”

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Find and Work your Purpose

Purpose is the reason for one’s life. It’s often said that our purpose on earth is to help one another. There are an infinite number of ways to help. But we are all different. Therefore, our unique purpose is identified when we find our individual way of helping others.

Purpose is such a central piece of who we are that most of us spend life trying to identify our purpose.

Do you know your purpose?

Do you know what special contribution you were created to do in order to help others?

If you’re wondering how to identify your purpose, the first place to start is to consider your gifts. For when we find a way to use our talents to help others, we have discovered our purpose.

Here are a few quotes on the idea of purpose:

  • The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others – Philosopher Albert Schweitzer
  • I believe that God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us. When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe that you’re a person of influence and a person of purpose, I believe you can rise up out of any situation – Pastor Joel Osteen
  • I believe that if you don’t derive a deep sense of purpose from what you do, if you don’t come radiantly alive several times a day, if you don’t feel deeply grateful at the tremendous good fortune that has been bestowed on you then you are wasting your life. And life is too short to waste – Author Srikumar S. Rao

I mentioned earlier that identifying one’s purpose is an important part of life. Not only because it allows us to help others, but also because with purpose we experience an increased sense of fulfillment, joy, and peace – in day to day life.

So are you willing to discover your purpose? If you’re needing a resource to help you figure it out, take a look at this quiz from Oprah’s website: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Who-Are-You-Meant-to-Be-Self-Assessment-Quiz

This year, may you endeavor to find more fulfillment, joy, and peace in your life!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Tap into endless Creativity

I am a new blogger. Or at least I view myself as new, considering that I began consistently blogging about six months ago. For years I contemplated starting a blog, but just never got around to it. I made excuse after excuse.

I didn’t have the time

I didn’t have the energy

And even scarier, I didn’t have enough to say…

Or at least I didn’t think I’d have enough to say. I wondered things like “how will I know what to post?” or “what if I run out of topics to discuss?”

However the amazing thing is that as I write more I find increased motivation and inspiration. The more I blog, the more I have to blog about. This is the wonderful cycle I’ve found myself in…

And the best news is that creativity is infinite! So there was no need for me to fear running out of things to say. Poet Maya Angelou eloquently captured the endless fountain of inspiration in this quote: “you can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have”.

So what’s the moral of this message? If you want more, you have to do more. If you want to be inspired, you want to achieve success, and you want to tap into your creative abilities, you just have to start. You just have to use them!

If you’re wondering how to start… just take the first step by doing something different, something new. Take a look at this quote from motivational speaker Denis Waitley: “A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown

And if you’re wondering where your creativity lies, remember that we are all creative, just in different ways. As educational advisor Ken Robinson states: “you can be creative in anything – in math, science, engineering, philosophy – as much as you can in music or in painting or in dance

So as I end this post, I want you to remember that creativity is infinite, we are all creative, and we tap into our creative potential by stepping out and doing something new.

I am excited about life and have renewed purpose as I delve into my creativity within the areas of writing, teaching, and speaking.

What is your creative ability and what new things will you do with it this year?

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna

Forget Perfection, Be Persistent

I recently gave a presentation that went really well until… I made one mistake. I hesitated but quickly regrouped, attempting to gloss over my error. On the outside the misstep was probably not noticeable but on the inside my stomach was in knots and I continued to replay the blunder, over and over and over, in my head. While reviewing comments from participants no one seemed to notice the error, even when I pointedly asked: “so how obvious was my stutter?” No one heard it.

It was confusing, why was I fixated on something that others didn’t even seem to catch? Maybe because somewhere in my mind I have the false notion that success is equated with perfection.

However, the funny thing about success is that the “accomplished” individuals achieved their position not because of perfection but often in spite of their imperfection. For it was their mistakes that provided exposure to valuable experiences and necessary lessons.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at a few examples:

  • The American Negro Theater initially rejected Sidney Poitier. He was later was accepted into the theater and went on to become the first African American male to win an Oscar for a leading role.
  • The University of Southern California (USC) Film School denied Steven Spielberg’s application. Years later he was chosen to become an honorary alum by USC.
  • Michael Jordan’s high school varsity team rejected him when he was a sophomore.
  • Twenty-seven publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book.

And these snippets are just a few! There are many more stories of individuals who achieved greatness, only after an initial failure or setback. Their testimonies were the reminder I needed that excellence comes through persistence not perfection.

So in the end I needed to get over my mistake, and instead focus on the positive experience that I gained from doing the presentation.

How might this post help you? I hope it inspires you to persevere even when you face setbacks on the road to bringing about all of your dreams.

I’ll leave you with a final point, a quote that I came across:

“Good things come to those who work their Asses off and never give up!”

Note: if you want to read a few additional examples of successful individuals who overcame setbacks, here is the link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/kimberlywang/extraordinarily-successful-people-who-failed-miserably-be#.ndBOb500j

Living my Dreams… Courageous, Determined, and Patient

I was in the midst of writing a new blog post and ran across these three quotes. Although the quotes were off the topic of the post I was crafting at that time, I had to save them and decided to share them now:

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties – Erich Fromm, Psychologist

When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go – Carol Burnett, Actress

When you have a dream that you can’t let go of, trust your instincts and pursue it. But remember: Real dreams take work, they take patience, and sometimes they require you to dig down very deep. Be sure you’re willing to do that – Harvey MacKay, Entrepreneur

All three quotes resonated with encouragement to continue pursuing my dreams! However they also provided the reminder that my dream chasing would require courage, determination to never let go, and patience. Ah patience… definitely not my strongest character trait. But at this stage of my life I am so certain about my purpose and so adamant that I am destined to make an important contribution, that I will patiently and persistently keep knocking on doors until my dreams come true.

Some may say I’m hardheaded…

Some see me as defiant…

And both are probably spot-on, but I see it as I was made for a purpose and it’s my job to bring that purpose to life.

Back at the start of 2014 I created an online vision board. There were many images that I included but one in particular I wanted to share. The picture says: “I am a social emotional leader”. Which is kind of funny, because at the time of creating the vision board, I didn’t consciously think of myself as a leader in my profession, nor did I have any idea how I was going to manifest that outcome. However, they say that there is power in the tongue! So because I not only spoke but also acted in ways to support what I was speaking, doors of opportunity started to open. And now that picture doesn’t seem so far-fetched. In fact, it seems to be a foreshadowing of what’s to come. Go figure!

So that somewhat explains why the 3 quotes at the start of this post grabbed my attention!

But a question remains… will YOU be courageous, trusting, persistent, and patient enough to follow your heart’s desires? The choice is yours…

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Your Gifts and Talents… Get to Work!

I sit here reflecting on a recent sermon I heard in church. The pastor spoke about the importance of “working your gift”. I thought this title was quite fitting and a bit ironic because earlier that same morning I was singing along to the contemporary gospel song “The Gift” by Donald Lawrence and Company. Both that song and the sermon expressed three important points:

  • We are each “gifted”
  • No one else on the earth can exhibit our gift the way that we can, for we each are divinely unique
  • We have to work our gift

Although all of the above points resonated with me, it was the last that I seemed to fixate on… the importance of working the gift that we’ve been given…

That third point held a lot of weight because it reminded me that although we are given talents and gifts – it’s not until we do something with the endowment that we get to see and feel the power of the blessing.

How many of you have talents that you are just “sitting” on? Gifts that are going wasted because you feel you’re too busy, tired, or afraid to step out on faith?

I can relate to your reluctance, for at times I too want to shy away from using my gifts, for with gifts comes responsibility.

For even the bible talks about this greater responsibility in Luke 12:48: But what about the servant who does not know what his master wants? He also does things that deserve punishment. But he will get less punishment than the servant who knew what he should do. Whoever has been given much will be responsible for much. Much more will be expected from the one who has been given more.

And with increased responsibility, comes increased pressure. Sigh. Yes, pressure!

However, despite the heavy load of responsibility and pressure, I know that I can’t not walk in and make use of the talents I’ve been given because there’s always this little push or voice from within that keeps propelling me forward. And more importantly, I know that my gifts were meant to be shared, to be a blessing to someone else. Or in the words of the pastor delivering the sermon: “the gift is given TO us but NOT for us… so be not prideful and be not a hoarder…. Bless the world around you.”

I hope you find the inspiration and the courage to share your gifts and talents with others, knowing that we each have something valuable to contribute to this planet we call Earth.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna