Getting advice from Captain Hook…

Life is SUCH a roller coaster… or maybe it’s just my life… who knows… But as I sit here reflecting – there have been so many HIGH moments, on the one hand – and then there have been the LOWS! The moments where I doubt and I’m ready to throw in the towel! UGH! There have been many of those!

Here I am replaying in my mind the challenges I’ve faced to reach present day. And for a moment I am overwhelmed, because guess what – despite my long journey, there is STILL so much I desire… still so much I have to accomplish! Where will I find the energy? What will help me to keep going? I’m not sure but I know I can’t quit…

This determined spirit of mine reminds me of lyrics that have stuck in my mind, since going to see Finding Neverland this week. The play was awesome, inspiring, and it’s these lines (sung by the character playing the role of Peter Pan Playwright, JM Barrie) that I can’t get out of my head:

I’ve got to be stronger
Reach up higher
Must dig deeper
Find the fire

Feel enlightened
Can’t be frightened anymore

 

I can run now so much faster
Now defeat won’t be my master

For to conquer the demons
I won’t have to wait any longer
I’ve got to be stronger

 

So I just have to keep going… I have to keep proceeding forward until I see the results I desire. And in those moments where I wonder “how much further?”, I’ll just remind myself of the lines sung by the Captain Hook character:

You’ll see in time
You will survive
Too soon to run
Too late to hide
It’s your destiny
Every pace, every stride

 

What a journey!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

4th of JULY reflections – More than hamburgers, hotdogs, & fireworks!

It’s another 4th of July…

As I reflect on this day known for barbecues, time with the family, and being poolside, my mind wanders. Independence – freedom – the pursuit of happiness. It’s quite ironic that a few days ago I was reflecting on the season of life that I am in. It is a period where I am finally and truly open to change, growth, and releasing the past! So this year is a bit special. July 4th will not only be a time for remembering the freedoms fought for and that we’re still striving for, but it will also signify a turning point my life.

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Moving on to the new can be a very daunting and overwhelming task! Most may opt to remain with the familiar. However happiness, true happiness can only be obtained when we are free – when we allow ourselves the chance to seek the things that encourage our inner passions, creativity, and spirit.

This Independence Day I am channeling the sage wisdom and bravery of my ancestors to walk courageously into happiness!

So what is the first step on the path to happiness?

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It is letting go of the past hurts, pains, and even regrets… this first step is often the HARDEST but it is necessary!

I give myself permission to be happy

I give myself permission to be free

I give myself permission to be whole

I forgive those who have hurt me and …

I liberate myself from feeling any further self-blame that I allowed them to hurt me

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I am eager to see the amazing new things that will walk into my life because I am a new me. Marriage, babies, publishing books, and amassing wealth… an exciting time is on the horizon, indeed!

Well that’s my Independence story, what’s yours? What are you focused on this Fourth of July? Will you take a moment to reflect on what new pursuits will add flavor to your own life?

I hope you do!

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Amen”

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

GOD I’m TIRED… The Complaints of a Dream Chaser.

Sometimes life is such a lonely journey because you are the only one traveling your particular course… family, friends, loved ones can listen, empathize, and attempt to relate but have you ever had a moment where that was just not enough?

Well last night I was having one of those evenings…

I am in the midst of following a path that I believe I was destined to follow, but sometimes staying on the path is hard because of obstacles, challenges, and setbacks. Each difficulty seems to beg the question:

– Maybe you’re not on the right path Donna?

And the follow up to that question, is the thought:

– If you’re going in the right direction, why haven’t you reaped rewards for your efforts, by now?

Those questions, those doubts, the fears make it so tempting to give in, to turn back, and to give up. But if I did that then I would be sealing the coffin on my fate. Quitting is a guaranteed loss, whereas to persevere means I continue to put myself in position to win!

Yet I was still at a loss – my options seemed to be 1) continue to sacrifice and struggle while chasing dreams that seem so far-fetched and out of reach or 2) take the more realistic approach, play it safe, and take the well intentioned advice to give up my dreams…

Neither option seemed to be appealing and I went to bed with a heavy heart; a heart full of hurt that had no more tears because too many were shed during the day.

As I closed my eyes I had the final thought: “the advice they’re all giving won’t work because I’ve been doing it already. I’ve prayed. I’ve fasted. I’ve read. I attend church. I do self-care activities. I’ve waited. I’ve done everything humanly possible, so now what?” And then I remembered the line from Donnie McClurkin’s famous song Stand: “after you’ve done all you can, you just STAND!”

And as if to confirm that I am on the right track, this morning still needing some encouragement I decided to read another dream chasers story. Figured they too had experienced moments of doubt. Thought their story might inspire me. I Google’d ‘Tyler Perry and Quit Your Dreams’ and stumbled upon a 2008 post from him that said:

I am a dreamer and sometimes when you have dreams you are met with obstacles, and your dreams will start to fade. But what I’ve found is that when God has given you a dream, no matter what it is, when you want to give up and believing becomes hard, and when you can’t go any further, the dream itself will start to believe for you. The dream itself will start to carry you through with visions and hope and encouragement.

So, the new mantra for Tyler Perry Studios is “A Place Where Dreams Believe…” Don’t worry if you’re met with opposition on your path to your goals. When you’ve done all you can, stand and surrender. God will allow your dream to motivate you.

What confirmation for me that I was indeed on the right track. That others before me had felt the same moments of doubt and questioning. And to continue on my path means that in the end I will WIN!

So I intend to STAND.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

The Negativity Trap: Bitching, Venting, Whining

Accept Discipline

Do you ever find yourself wanting to complain about things gone awry? Doesn’t it feel so much easier to have a ‘bitch session’ focused on venting? I believe we’ve all been there, those moments where we need to ‘get it out’!

Emotional expression is healthy; it’s best to air the negativity instead of keeping it bottled up. However, it’s important to remain aware so that the complaining, whining, and venting doesn’t start to become who you are. When you find yourself complaining more than talking, venting more than appreciating, then you probably fell into the negativity trap.

How can you get out of the negativity trap?

Two things you can do – 1) just start to be appreciative for what you have right now. I know that it’s commonly said we should show appreciation, but I’ve never challenged myself to actively do anything about it.

So this morning that is what I did. I decided to create a list of things I am thankful for and things I am asking God for (waiting on/aspiring to). I have to admit that the right side of waiting/aspiring was quite long! However, what was even more surprising was the left side of the page. Can you believe that my list of thankful items was longer? Not only was it longer, it was two times longer than my waiting/desires list. It felt really good to be able to find reasons to smile, reasons for joy, opportunities for thanks.

The second thing you can do – 2) be encouraged in the fact that those very same things that are distressing have the potential to be used for your future gain. How do I know this? Well check out this verse from Hebrews 12:11 (No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it).

And if you need more motivation, take a look at a few quotes about discipline:

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment” – Jim Rohn

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind” – Buddha

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through” – Zig Ziglar

Get out of the negativity trap! Endure! Persevere! You CAN DO IT! You WILL make it, if you keep going!

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

Your BREAKthrough… Thrive…

Are you waiting on a BREAK through?

In the bible there is a verse that talks about God TRANSFORMING sadness. Psalm 30:11 states: You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.

What I LOVE about this verse, is that it reminds us of two important lessons.

The first lesson is that though life is often plagued with struggles and strife, we can find PEACE amidst the chaos. The ability to dance or praise in the middle of mourning or sadness, would suggest one has the ability to feel GOOD no matter the external circumstance. How’s that possible, you may wonder? Well… Our feelings are not caused by the things that happen to us instead our feelings are chosen by us in response to the things that happen to us. In other words, we have a CHOICE. We can choose distress or ease? We can choose anger or calm? We can choose sadness or happiness? We make these choices by deciding what to concentrate on and what to give our attention to. You want to feel good, you want a sense of peace – choose that, even when you find yourself in the middle of a challenge or adversity.

The second lesson is that all situations can be turned around. No matter how bleak or hopeless a circumstance appears, it’s not over until it’s actually over or you quit. So adopt an attitude of persistence and perseverance. Be ENCOURAGED that you will make it through and be ready to remind yourself of this, on those days when it just seems impossible! I personally have experienced many situations that seemed hopeless, yet here I still stand. And my ability to keep going motivated me to share my story in my soon to be published memoir (Shedding Perfection: A Psychologist’s Journey to Self-healing). However, we each have a story. We each can have the conviction to keep going, we just need to be reminded of it, from time to time.

I want to leave you with a final word from a song that I came upon by happenstance. I was at the gym, my usual Sunday spot since I am raising a boy that loves basketball! As we were preparing to leave I hear on the radio these words ”we were made to thrive”. I immediately stop in my tracks so that I can Google the source of the lyrics. It is a song by Casting Crowns. When you get a moment, you may want to check it out… It is a great reminder that in this life we are living – breakthroughs are possible! Joy is possible! Transformation is possible!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

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

Want Success? Then you must Ask and Receive…

How specific are YOUR requests?

In life we are each on a journey, and along the way there are various things we desire, dream, and want. However, when I look around I see that there are those who attain what they want, and those who seem to fall shy of crossing the finish line. I wonder, what is the difference between the people that make it and the others that don’t? Is it based on luck or chance? Or is it based on the idea that some people are just more fortunate than others?

Hmmm…. Well it can’t be luck or the idea that “some people are just more fortunate” because there are many who have been elevated to success but they started out from humble, meager beginnings. So what is it?

I wonder if the missing piece is that the successful are very specific in their requests. Let me explain…

The bible suggests that we should “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). I have often heard this verse, as it is commonly cited. So much so that even secular references have been made to this idea in books on the Law of Attraction. But I found something even more interesting when I went to re-read this verse. I discovered another translation of the Matthew 7:7 verse, it states:

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you – Matthew 7:7, New Living Translation

Wow… now this is really powerful because the key word in that verse is KEEP! Keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking…

So it would seem that the successful have attained that status because they kept on asking, seeking, and knocking on various doors until they found the very specific requests of their heart.

I am seeking from God: a book deal for my memoir, a job that is not toxic/constantly stressful, a supportive husband, a biological baby, and financial freedom.

What things are you seeking for your life?

In the Untethered Soul Michael Singer states:

“Does anything in God’s creation, other than the human mind, actually pass judgment? Nature just gives and gives to whoever will receive. Should you choose not to receive, it doesn’t punish you. You punish yourself because you choose not to receive”

My hope for you is that you find the courage to keep asking for, seeking, and knocking on the doors of your dreams. And may you be ready to receive the overflow when it comes!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

On the Job Stress! Brought to my knees…

I closed my office door, placed my forehead on the ground, and spread my arms open. I was lying in a prostrate position, before the Lord.

You may wonder what brought me to my knees…

I recently took a position that is highly pressured and predicated on making 1,000,000 + 1 on the spot decisions. I am used to being in a leadership role, but this one takes the cake! I am pulled in many directions, and tasked to do a host of things.

However, in the midst of it all I had a moment where I felt overwhelmed! The tasks appeared too great, the expected turn around time too short, and my patience too thin. It seemed that I would be unable to get through the mountain of tasks facing me…

I could feel the frustration bubbling over, my heart was pounding, my head was spinning, and the tears were on the brink of falling.

And then I decided to just get on my knees and pray. I was only there for a minute or so. But that brief moment provided me with a needed reprieve and it allowed me to step back from the situation. I had given myself the “breathing room” necessary to clear my head, revive my spirits, and get refocused.

What’s the lesson for you?

We may face challenges that appear insurmountable. However, the struggles APPEAR too difficult, but everything is not necessarily the way it seems!

So when your back is against the wall:

  • Acknowledge what you’re feeling – even if the thought is: “I’m in over my head”
  • Give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling – Emotions are never bad, as long as we don’t make important decisions based upon them
  • Once you acknowledge and give yourself permission to feel, then – just let it go. Literally breath out and expel the tension into the atmosphere

What these 3 steps will help you do is to step back and clear your mind. Once your mind is clear, you’ll be better equipped to tackle that difficult situation.

If you’re wondering how my day ended… after the breather where I was lying prostrate before God, I got up and felt galvanized. I reminded myself “I was built for this” and “I was made for this”, and then I carried on with my day. And do you know what happened – I was actually quite productive!

Stay encouraged! Believe in yourself and your purpose! Then go and do your thing!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna