“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Unknown
I only wanted to take a few weeks off to regroup and recollect myself before I published my next post. But what I thought would take me a few weeks turned into a couple of years. When they say time flies, they literally do mean it has wings.
With the advent and consistent growth of social media, especially as a blogger, it is so very easy for anyone of us to get caught up in the likes, comments, and emojis. At times, I found myself posting on any platform and waiting for those likes, comments, or the newest emoji – I had to check myself immediately! What the heck was I doing? Putting my time, value, or worth in the remarks and opinions of others based on their point of view of my picture or video. In this social media age, it is easy to waste time, let your mental health go down the drain, or be suffocated by the social hype of what is the media – the constant curiosity of what someone is thinking, doing, wearing, traveling to next, and the thoughts could go on and on. And if one is not careful, it could definitely affect the relationships and human interactions we have with others.
Over the past two and half years, I took the time to further grow and nurture myself not only mentally, but more importantly spiritually and in my career. I found [even more so than ever before] how important it is to pay attention to your thoughts and what you listen to, as well as what others are saying to or around you. It’s not only important to be cognizant of what you’re taking in, but to also be alert about what you put out (garbage in, garbage out (for all my techies), right?).
As we grow and consistently mature into who we want to be, here are five ways to get you on the fast track of that path:
1. Prioritize your non-negotiable daily activities.
There are things you do daily for yourself that is not up for debate with anyone. Whether it is reading a book, exercising, blocking off a group of hours to focus and get work done, there is something you deem important enough for you to be productive within a given 24 hours. [For me, it is studying the bible and praying every morning (we’ll dig into what this looks like in a future post).] Identify and create a list of your non-negotiable activities you must do daily that is not up for debate. As you build a healthy lifestyle for yourself, that should include your time and activities. After all, time wasted is time you will never get back, so be sure to invest your time wisely.
2. Dismiss empty relationships and/or friendships and nurture those that are life giving.
For some of you, this might be a big whammy. You could spend countless, mindless hours with people who have absolutely no interest in helping you live your best life and are absolutely draining the good you do have in yourself. You invest your precious time into people who yield you no return on that investment. Beware: this could come in the form of intimate relationships or friendships. The reality is that these people could be childhood friends whom you have known all our life or college friends whom you have bonded with like no other friend. But as you age, grow, and reshape your life goals to fit into your real life, you may outgrow and outpace some people. Separate yourself from people who are constant naysayers, Debbie Downers, or straight poisonous to you leveling up in life. If you’re the type of person who needs this type of human interactions or only have relationships like this, you really need to check your own motives. Do invest into people who bring you genuine joy, challenge you to better tomorrow than you are today, and won’t be the yes woman (or man) type of friend.
3. Own your flaws and hone what you’re flawless at.
One thing your early/mid-20s/immediate post-college days does for you is show you how good or not so good you are at things. You no longer have the cushion or bubble of school to shield you from reality, and that is quite alright. People often say spend time developing the areas in which you need further improvement. But what if you took more time to perfect what you are already good at and become an expert at what you do well…? You would function at a much higher rate. Now of course you can work on the skills you’re not so good at or simply want to improve for your own preference, but your primary focus should be to further sharpen your good knacks. Use your [various] experiences within your job and personal life to identify what you are good at and perfect those skills.
4. Know when enough is enough.
It is awesome to be involved in activities outside of your everyday job. Church departments, local intramural sports teams, side hustles – they are all great. But know your limitations and when to say, “No.” Being effective does not mean you have to take on everything that’s asked of you, but rather devotion, ability, and availability is what you need to be valuable to those around you. Don’t stretch yourself thin trying to be everywhere and everything for everyone.
5. Take care of yourself – first!
As a woman, it is easy to brush your wellbeing under the rug until everything and everyone else around you is okay. But being sick or lacking the energy you need to get the job done only sets you back because you will not be able to perform at your top level. Oftentimes being sick and lackluster can be self-induced. Take the time and the approach you need to unwind, destress, and unload all your “extra weight.” Exercise regularly, learn something new (like a language), or get a massage (my personal fav). Do something for you first and have no regrets about.
I am wearing a maxi Ankara dress sewn by Ismarh Couture (check out my Instagram page for details). I found this material and just knew I had to have it and use every inch of it – the colors and print are super lively and just make me happy.
I would love to hear how you care for yourself. What are you currently doing to nurture yourself to be the best you?