by Carla Helené Ezell
We live in a world where success and failure are relative. There are many sides to the truth. One’s perspective plays a larger role in the definition of what is real and what is not more than ever before. And in this altered state of reality, understanding how a “yes” versus a “no” can be murky waters.
Success is not always being told “yes” just as failure does not always evolve around a “ “no”. After all, we cannot control outer stimuli or others’ actions. All we have control over is our reaction or response to the things that happen around us and to us. No matter what one’s lot in life may be, rejection will always be a part of it. But being rejected does not always mean one had failed. The only true failure is giving up. Persistence is therefore, the key to success. What a person does when rejection knocks on the door is what will determine how truly successful they person will be.
Below are five healthy ways to cope with rejection.
1. Recognize it for what it really is. “No” does not always mean no. Sometimes it means, “not yet”. Sometimes it means “no, but...” Learn how to read the situation for what it really is. Is that “no” meant for you or is it some small part of a bigger picture that needs to be brought into better focus with minor adjustments? Are there aspects of the situation that can be changed or compromised to create a “yes”? Ask questions, which leads to number two:
2. Examine the situation. Why did they say “no”? Was it something you said? Was it something you did? Was it something you ate?
Understanding the “why” behind the “no” will open a wealth of other information up to you so you can make well informed decisions and move forward toward achieving the goal you have set for yourself.
3. “It’s not you, it’s me.” Let’s be honest here, this statement is a cop out. It is a classic break-up line used through the ages to supposedly spare the break-upee’s feelings. But when it comes down to it, this statement really is the truth.
A person who uses this excuse to say no is being less than forthcoming with the details despite their reasoning. And if someone refuses to be honest with you, you really cannot build anything of substance with them. Move on.
4. Self reflection. Take a long, hard look in the mirror. How much have you changed over the years? Are these good changes or bad changes? What about you has stayed the same? Are you happy with the person you are today? If you are satisfied with the person you are becoming, by all means, rock on. If you feel less than stellar about who you are, you do not have to continue on the path you are on.
The wonderful thing about being alive is that every moment is yours for the taking. Change. Decide in this moment what your new goals are and start heading in that direction. The only “no” here is the one you tell yourself.
5. Let it go. Move on. Don’t let a rejection determine your final outcome. Life happens to us all and sometimes life hands us a rejection. But the beauty of this is that a “no” in one area can lead you to a “yes” to something even greater. Failure is only failure when you refuse to continue. So shake the dust off your feet and keep moving.
By Carla Ezell
“Then the Lord told me: ‘I will give you my message in the form of a vision. Write it clearly enough to be read at a glance. At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time but keep on waiting — it will happen!” Habakkuk 2:2-3 (Common English Version)
God has given you a promise. While you wait for it, do these seven things so you are ready when it arrives:
1. Pray so that you are open to hear it when God shows you what He has planned for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 19-20 says “...never stop praying. Don’t turn away God’s Spirit or ignore prophesies.”
2. Learn His voice. In John 10:27 said “My sheep know my voice...”
Spend time listening and studying the Bible so you recognize when God is talking to you. Learn to recognize His voice over every other voice. Tune in to the frequency of the channel He is using to speak to you. Listen to that channel non-stop so you do not miss the message when it is delivered. This will also help you to tune out other voices that are not from God and might lead you astray. Stay focused on His voice so you do not get distracted and miss out.
3. When the promise is given, write it down. Clearly document it. Do not mince words. Be clear and concise. Write it down so you do not forget it.
Get a journal and write all your prayers, notes and promises in it. Let the entries be visual reminders when you get impatient or bogged down with day to day living. Look back over old entries to remind yourself where you started. Let it also keep your victories fresh in your mind. Remembering how far you’ve come boosts confidence and helps your faith remain strong.
4. Trust God. Proverbs 3:5 says “With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgement. Always let Him lead you and He will clear the road for you to follow.”
Trust that His Word is true. Believe that He would never lie to you. Have faith so you do not give power to doubt when it tries to creep in. Speak positive words of affirmation over your mind and life to help you stay strong in your faith. There is power in the Word. Speak the word over your life every day to activate God’s authority and diminish the grip of other forces and influences.
5. Wait for it. “...we hope for something we have not seen and we patiently wait for it.” Romans 8:25
Sometimes things take longer than you expect them to. Sometimes God has to work some things out before your promise can actually be fulfilled. Do not give up. Know that God’s timing is perfect and when everything is ready, what He promised you will happen.
6. Get ready. Prepare yourself while you wait. Build your character. Get your finances right. Learn whatever lessons you need to learn. Lay the foundation to build on it with the fulfilled promise.
7. Receive it. When you see your promise start to actually happen, step out on your faith and receive it. Claim it and allow it to be fulfilled.
Sometimes the fulfillment of God’s word in our lives does not look like we expected it to look. It may come in a different package than we thought it would come in or from a different direction than we assumed it would come from. That is okay. We do not know everything God knows. We do not see all sides of the equation like He does. We are down here on the ground and can only see from our point of view but God is everywhere and His viewpoint is vast. He sees angles we can not see. He sees around corners and what is still to come while we can only see the moment we are living right now.
By Carla Helené
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable does not mean you are a victim. In fact, being vulnerable is a sign of the exact opposite. It takes a strong person to show their weaknesses. Here are six ways that vulnerability is actually a sign of great strength and fortitude.
1. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable means you are real. Being vulnerable shows you are strong enough to be your true, authentic self, regardless what others think. When you no longer are concerned with how others see you, you have reached a very high level of independence. Being unbothered by peoples opinion of you is achieving true liberty from peer pressure and and people pleasing.
2. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable means you have a healthy self esteem. Allowing others to see your weaknesses is difficult. Doing so means you are self assured and confident in who you are. This does not mean you have it all together. It simply means you know yourself and trust your instincts enough to let your guard down around others.
3. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable means you have a realistic understanding of who you are. Vulnerability helps us see our own growth points in ways that hiding your weaknesses never will. Once you reveal and accept these areas of your life, you more effectively can work on them.
4. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable means you have strong relationships. Trusting someone else the power to harm you is an earmark of a solid relationship. Weak people do not trust others easily because they still live in their hurts but strong people let go of the poison inside the hurts they have received, allowing true healing to take place.
5. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable means you are not afraid to take risks. Risk taking can pay off big sometimes but it can also inflict great damage. Being willing to put it all on the line means you are strong enough to take the chance of losing something important in hopes of gaining something even better.
6. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable means you are brave. Bravery is not action in the absence of fear, but action despite fear’s presence. Willingly taking off your shield when it could be dangerous to your wellbeing with the hope of creating a positive outcome is one of the bravest things anyone can do. Giving power to someone else means you have great inner strength. Power belongs to those who give it away because it is always theirs to reclaim.
By Carla Helené Ezell
Everyone has dealt with it at one point or another. It's part of being innovative. It's part of being successful, no matter the venture. It's part of life. To what am I referring?
Sometimes people don't like you. That's okay because many people don't even like themselves. So they transfer their feelings of dissatisfaction onto you, instead of dealing with their own issues that are keeping them from living their best lives.
So what do you do when someone throws shade your way? Here are four ways to cope:
1. Remember that you were not created to make the world happy. You will never be able to do that anyway because you are not ice cream or pizza, so why bother trying? Other peoples' opinion of you is none of your business. What IS your business is how you handle YOURSELF! That's it!
2. Ignore the haters. Don't sully your good name and energy to set the record straight or even waste time giving the haters a piece of your essence. They are not worth the effort and you really should not have any time to grant them anyway because you are too busy building castles and progressing toward your goals. When you are focused on your goals, you will find that chasing down rumors and trying to correct unworthy peoples' opinions of you is a total waste.
3. Focus on YOUR tribe. Remember, life is too short and precious to spend it on two faced people. Save your energy for the people who act right toward you behind your back. Those are the people you should be focusing on. Those are the people building kingdoms right alongside you and cheering you on toward your wins. THEY are your tribe.
4. Keep it moving and keep it positive. You will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks! Keep your eye on your prize and in the midst of a shady grove, keep the sunshine in your smile bright. Some things are best said with an eye roll or a click of the ignore/block button. Your vibe is worth protecting. Keep it positive and keep it moving.
What are some ways you deal with shady people? Share in the comments below and lets discuss it. 💋
By Carla Helené Ezell
A disciplined life is a balanced life. While we can not always control our circumstances or experiences, what we can control is our responses to the things that happen to us. Below are 10 ways to develop a healthy lifestyle of self discipline.
1. Create good habits. Replace bad habits with positive ones. Start with small actions and intentionally repeat those actions until you no longer have to think about doing them. When you catch yourself doing the behavior you are trying to eliminate, make a mental note of it and change your behavior to the new habit you are creating. Hold yourself accountable for doing these actions on a regular basis. If necessary, enlist an accountability partner to help you stay honest about your progress. It takes time to create new habits but with a little planning and conscious thought, it is completely doable.
2. Eliminate distractions and remove temptations. Declutter your work space. Turn off your social media notifications and mute your phone for a set amount of time. Close all tabs in your browser that you do not need open. Give yourself a time frame where you focus on the specific task at hand. It is easier to focus on one thing for a shorter period of time than it is to try to stay focused for hours upon hours. This exercise will help create a mindset of discipline in every area of your life.
3. Take small breaks at regular intervals. Stopping for a few minutes every hour or so and resetting your frame of mind is an efficient way to accomplish more over longer periods of time. It also trains you to stay on task better as you adjust and come back to what you were doing after a short break. The activity of picking up where you left off builds mental muscle and stamina over time.
4. Stop procrastinating. Figuring out why you are putting a task off until later is the key to changing your procrastinating attitude into an action attitude. The why is a powerful answer to change your behavior. Once you understand why you are doing (or not doing) something, you can address the real problem, not just continue managing the symptoms of the problem. Time magazine online has a detailed article about this. You can read it here.
5. Set deliberate goals. If you have read any of my other posts in the Living With Purpose series, you know that this is a theme in the Living With Purpose series and in life in general. Setting goals helps keep you focused on what you want to do.
6. Get organized. Make lists. Start by identifying what you want to do, then create a plan to do it. By breaking your overall goals down into smaller, actionable steps you can accomplish immediately will help you to reach your goals effectively and efficiently.
7. Stay committed to your goals. When we are in the thick of it, it is easy to get discouraged. This is when sheer willpower comes into play. Keep going.
8. Be accountable. Hold yourself responsible for the plan you have created. If you need outside help, enlist it from a trustworthy friend or mentor. Accountability partners are excellent for reminding us of our commitment to change when we are trying to modify our behaviors because you do not want to disappoint them. This is the same concept as AA sponsors. Someone to encourage you along the way and help you stay strong when you want to give up is always a good for morale and achieving success.
9. Reward your wins. When you do something right, give yourself a treat to build your confidence. This action is like putting money in your savings account. Once you see the money begin to build up, you feel more accomplished. This exercise builds security because it visually and mentally reminds you that you have wins under your belt. Rewarding yourself is enjoying the moment in a tangible way.
10. Forgive your failures. The only failure is failing to try again. Take responsibility when you fall short of your goal but do not beat yourself up over it. Cut yourself some slack too. The process of developing self discipline takes time. You can not rush through it. Give yourself space to grow organically so the changes you are making become permanent aspects of your character.
Resources & Further Reading:
Psychologists Explain Why You Procrastinate And How To Stop
By Jamie Ducharme
How To Eliminate Distractions
By Emma Johnson
The Power If A Good Habit
By Rebecca Vodola
10 Ways To Remove The Distractions At Work That Keep You From Doing The Beat At Work
By Sylwia Rytarowska
Life Designer University
How To Set Intentional Smart Goals
By Janelle Brown
By Carla Helené Ezell
One of the worst things we can do is get to the end of our lives and look back with regret. The should haves, could haves, would haves that plague us even now are indicators that we are not living the best lives we possibly could. Sleepless nights and troubled m, restless days tell us something is inherently wrong. Life is short but so often we take the hope of tomorrow for granted even though it was never promised to us.Thus we find ourselves giving death bed confessions and trying to spend our last moments making up for past mistakes.
Below are five ways to help eliminate (or at least severely reduce) death bed confessions and carrying regrets to the grave. Instead of worrying how things work out in the end, I challenge you to enjoy your life for all it has to offer before it is too late. Here are some tips on how to do just that:
1. Live in the now. Every day, every moment, be conscious of who you are, what you are doing, where you are, who you are with, what direction you are heading in.
2. Take control. Do not just let life coast by and happen to you haphazardly. Decide who you want to be, what you want to do, and how you want to do it. You use your power of choice. Think of the consequences of your decisions BEFORE acting on them. Question yourself, “will this decision better my life or worsen it?” Only do the things that will better your life. Weigh your options FIRST. Think BEFORE acting.
3. If it doesn’t evolve you, it shouldn’t involve you - this applies to relationships, working environments and every aspect of life, really. For example, stop living for office gossip. It is negative and I it brings division among your co-workers and others involved. Quit wasting time doing negative things. Only positivity will bring good things to your life. The universe is waiting for you. What you put out into it is what will return to you.
4. Challenge yourself. Arm yourself with knowledge and then use it to become a better version of yourself. Iron sharpens iron. Read. Expand your mind. Listen to podcasts. Work on your self development, not with the goal of getting something good but with the goal of becoming someone good. Increase your knowledge base so you have better things to offer the world.
5. Get busy. Use time wisely. Stop procrastinating. Be about it, don’t just make lofty goals. Plot a course to accomplish the things you want to accomplish. Get busy falling in love with your process and your life and the results will take care of themselves.
By Carla Helené Ezell
Time is short. We are busier now than we have ever been before. And in the hustle and bustle of life, it is easy to get pulled off course, distracted or overwhelmed with to do lists. But this does not have to be the final result of our lives. In the middle of chaos, we can find balance. Below are five principles to help bring everything into check when life is moving faster than you can keep track of it.
1. Create routines. Spend 5 min prepping the night before by creating a to do list for the next day. This helps you organize your tasks more efficiently and will give you peace of mind. You will sleep better at night when you do not have so many unchecked things hanging over your head. In the morning, as soon as you wake up, pray. Praying before your feet hit the floor will put you in a better mood and promote a ‘can do’ mindset. This exercise will set the tone for the entire day and give you a head start on everything you have to do. When your mind and heart are in the right space you are released to work smarter and more efficiently.
2. Get organized. Break down tasks so they aren’t looming large and overwhelming you. Tackle your now smaller tasks one at a time and give yourself a time frame for each item on your list. When you do get something done, reward yourself. Positive affirmation boosts confidence. Your reward does not have to be anything really big. Even an M&M here or there or five minutes of unplugging while playing Solitaire are a excellent treats for a job well done.
3. Ask for help. If you have a lot on your plate, and it’s overwhelming you, delegate the things you can assign to someone else so you are more free to do the things that only you can do or things that you enjoy most. This does not mean it is okay to dump all the unpleasant tasks you have to do onto someone else. But learning how to spread the work out so it is not more than you can healthily manage alone is a healthy skill to master.
4. Eliminate distractions. It is so easy to get side tracked especially when we are busy. You start one thing and see something else that needs attention, then you jump to that thing and forget about the original thing you were doing. Stop it. Focus. Having a to do list is one of the best ways to eliminate distractions because it is tangible and makes it easier to stay on task. Turn off your ringer so friends don’t distract you with random texts and calls when you are trying to get things done. Stay focused.
5. Accept failure. Don’t hold yourself to such a high standard that you cannot achieve success. No one is perfect. Accept that you are human. The beauty of being human is that you know your strengths and shine in them and also accept your growth points so you can work to strengthen those areas. Acknowledging you are human means that you are free to be human. Once you accept this about yourself, you can forgive yourself and subsequently, give yourself permission to try again tomorrow. Now that you have allowed yourself some space to be human, get back up and keep moving forward.
By Carla Helené Ezell
In the hustle and bustle of life, it's easy to forget how amazing you are. So here are some ways to pamper yourself because you really do deserve to be treated like a diva. And who is better suited to love you than yourself?
1. Go shopping. A little retail therapy is a quick way to lift your spirits. Buying new things, whether it be clothes, makeup or just a new perfume can give you a swing in your step.
2. Go to the movies. Who says you need a date? Treat yourself to some alone time and entertainment. You deserve it.
3. Sleep in a few minutes or go to bed a little bit early. That extra rest really can be refreshing. You owe it to yourself.
4. Eat out somewhere new. It doesn't have to be that new expensive Ethiopian restaurant in town unless you want it to be but treating your taste buds to something new not only makes you feel special but it opens your mind to new ideas and concepts too. Win/Win!
5. Listen to some new music. Music that is different from your normal listening patterns opens your mind to new possibilities and can be relaxing or energizing (depending on the style you choose).
6. Go dancing. Grab the girls or a date and treat yourselves to a night at a dance studio. They often offer introductory classes that don't cost too much (or are possibly free) plus you'll be giving yourself a fun workout while meeting new people too. Check out Groupon.com if you're looking for a studio. There's usually something listed there with di$count$!!
7. Get a haircut. You don't have to make a drastic change like I did last month, but a little pampering is good for the soul and healthy for your tresses too! So get a trim, lose the dead ends and bring your hair back to life in one fell swoop!
8. Go for a walk. While you're enjoying the view, take your camera or use your phone camera to capture the sights. It doesn't have to be anything spectacular either. Even clicking a pic of the neighbor's flowerbed can bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab photo album. Plus, it's fall! Celebrate with some changing leaves shots.
9. Take a drive. Get in your car and drive for a few hours. You don't have to have a specific destination in mind, just go where ever the road takes you. Roll down the windows, open the roof, turn up the music and cruise.
10. Have a wine party. Invite the girls over and pop the cork on a new blend you've wanted to try. Savor the flavors and company. And if you want to be fancy, pick up some expensive cheese and jams to really raise those pinkies.
11. Take a bubble bath. Make it a long, hot one too. Relax those tired muscles and enjoy some smooth jazz and candles while you're at it.
12. Eat something sweet (or salty) and refuse to feel guilty about breaking the diet. Everyone deserves to indulge now and then.
13. Read a book, magazine or blog. Escape from life a few minutes each day by enjoying the fantasy of a good story with great characters.
14. Take a trip. Save a little each week so you can splurge on a quickie getaway. Stay overnight and experience life at a different pace for a change.
15. Unplug from the Internet for a couple of days or a weekend. Turn off your cell, tablet, laptop, etc. Don't answer your email or texts/calls during this time. The world can afford to lose you for a day or two but you can't afford to never take a break. Your mind will thank you for it.
16. Get a massage or facial. Find a local spa offering discounts through Groupon (this is so my fav way to find new places). Then indulge in some self-love with a rub down, deep cleansing treatment or even just a manicure and pedicure.
17. Call an old friend or family member you've lost touch with. Rekindle your friendship. Walk down memory lane together. Remind yourself why they were in your life long ago. Oftentimes revisiting a memory will clarify future goals and dreams.
18. Sing in the shower loudly. Don't worry if the neighbors hear you either. It's your time. Stop thinking about how you're going to run that meeting next Friday or where you're going on date night. Just pick a song and let her rip.
19. Plan a picnic. What other activity is better to celebrate the changing weather?
20. Take a yoga class. Stretching and strengthening your muscles while clearing your mind is a wonderful way to feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
21. Cook your favorite meal. Then savor every bite. You don't even have to share it with anyone... unless you want to.
22. Visit an art gallery or museum. Spend an afternoon just sitting (or standing) in silence, and let the colors and patterns speak to you.
by Carla Helené Ezell
Philadelphia. July 23rd, 2018. 4:40 pm.
They gathered in front of City Hall, dressed in red robes and white bonnets. There were almost 100 women... just standing there... silent... non-responsive to passerbys and evening commuters. And although no sound was heard from any of them, their united voice was as clear as a bell. Resist Fascism and stop the current presidental administration’s move away from “Humanity First” toward “America First”.
Vice President Mike Pence was in the building across the street, attending a fundraiser for the Republican Party and mid-term elections while discussing tax cuts over wine. A sea of blue surrounded the square, poised to suppress any unexpected outbursts. Yet, there was an heir of humor in their voices as the police force chilled under the pregnant skies, just a few steps away from the gathering. Whether they agreed with the protesters or not, duty called and they served in calm kindness.
The visual poetry was breathtaking. Silence speaking volumes about what will not be tolerated. Several organizations united as one behind the movement: Refuse Fascism and Philly NOW to name a couple. I had a front row seat to all the action and speeches (my first attendance of a protest of such magnitude) as the volunteer photographer for the organizers.
In a nation where Freedom of Speech is the first amendment, we are encouraged to make our voices heard. What we often forget is that while we have the right to speak our minds, the consequences of our vocalizations and actions are also ours to own. Nevertheless, silence is compliance.
The point is this: whatever you believe in, stand for it and accept the resulting consequences because at the end of the day, it will not be our words that are remembered but our neutrality when called upon to take a side. This is not Switzerland. This is America, the land of the free and home of the brave. So be brave. Stand.
By Carla Helené Ezell
Sometimes life gets difficult. Things don't go according to plan. Mistakes happen. People don't act right. Parking tickets appear on your windshield. Relationships fail. The list goes on. Whatever challenges you find yourself facing today, here are five things to remember:
1. Just Breathe. "Breathe. It's only a bad day, not a bad life." Johnny Depp
How right my friend (in my head), Johnny is! A girl friend of mine once told me, everything will work out in the end; if it hasn't worked out yet, it isn't the end. This is not the end. You are still here so you still have a chance to try again.
2. You are only a failure if you fail to try again. Success is not about winning without ever losing. It's about wining despite your pass losses. Failing to try is the only true failure so do NOT quit trying. Nothing worth doing or having comes easy. You will have to put in some work if you want to win big so keep going.
3. Take stock of where it all went wrong. If it was something out of your control, realize that there was nothing you could have done to stop it from happening. But if something you did brought undesired consequences, you have the power to never do it again. This is your power of choice. Which leads to the next thing to remember:
4. Choose to do differently. Albert Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."
If you want different results, you have to take different actions. Think of ways to modify your way of thinking and behavior so you do not find yourself in a pattern of repeating the same failure over and over again. Learn from your mistakes and failures. Use them for fuel to grow and become better.
5. Do not rush the process. Realize where you are today in your progress and then continue to move forward every single day. This not always easy, but it is always necessary. We live in a microwave society where patience is low on the spectrum of character lists and fast results are measured as success. But here's the deal; progress, no matter how small, is still progress. Every thing you do that moves you closer to your goal is a step in the right direction. So do not rush through the steps to get to the end of the journey. Savor each moment. Let it wash over you and develop you as it will. You'll be a more centered and well rounded person if you let challenges develop your character.
Just because unexpected challenges come your way, you should not give up or quit working toward your end game. A mistake is just proof that you're willing to try and if you're still trying, you're still breathing. We can not control what others do, only ourselves. Life happens. And if it stops happening to you, around you, it means you are probably dead. Be grateful for the alternative!
So, cut yourself some slack. Whether it be in your natural hair journey, your employment situation, finances, relationship, small (or big, for that matter) business endeavors, or what have you... You are a work in progress. In those moments of stress, when it feels like everything is going wrong, or maybe just a small thing has given you reason to scream, scream. Then take a deep breath, get back in the game and move forward. You can't win if you stop playing.
Like what you read today? Check out the entire Living With Purpose series. Sign up for the RSS so you never miss a post and please consider sharing this post with someone who may need encouragement. Thank you for rocking with me. Carla Helené ?❤️
My name is Carla Helené. I am a cheeky naturalista, serial entrepreneur, speaker, educator and self love advocate who encourages women to embrace their truth, love themselves and make margaritas out of life’s lemons. Is there a recipe for this? I’m not sure I but I know we can figure it out together.
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