Purpose, Passion & Positivity

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I wrote this post over a month ago as I sat on a plane to California. For me and many others today is a sad day and as I sit here and reflect upon life on this earth I found this post extremely suitable. A reminder to us all that life is but a fleeting moment. Grab that moment and make sure it is worthwhile. Make sure that the time you spend in this moment is fulfilling and leaves those you left behind with a positive memory of you.I am so grateful for those around me who lift me up when I am down, please keep doing what you’re doing, leave the world a better place ❤

The 3 P’s: Purpose, Passion and Positivity.

I can’t help but come to the ultimate conclusion that we, as an entire human race, lack these three traits. I’ve also concluded that this is why so many of my friends and I are still single. When did I come to this realization? Well, when I found myself surrounded by individuals with a plethora of these traits, when I was surrounded by people with purpose, passion and positivity to the point that it was literally oozing out of their eyeballs. If you do anything with your life, especially in your 20’s I would say it would be to find these three things:

Purpose:

Recently I attended an off-site team building event with 50+ people from one of the IT teams here at my job. One of the speakers, Valorie Burton, was talking to us about Purpose. How many of us have even found our purpose, or truly gone in search of it? Purpose is a great thing to have, I think we should all have a purpose. I mean, why else are we waking up each day? If you don’t have a purpose you might as well stay in bed forever. #AmIright? Valorie told a story about a woman whom she swore her sole purpose in life was to bring joy to others. She said the woman sat front and center in an audience when she was speaking and kept smiling and nodding her head at Valorie as she spoke, egging Valorie on with an infectious smile. Valorie said this woman brought her so much joy as she spoke and put her in good spirits. She then turned a question on our team and asked, “is there any one here who feel their purpose is to bring joy to others” without skipping a beat my director and manager pointed to me. I was absolutely flattered. People always joke that I have a constant smile on my face no matter what the situation is. It was still a shock to see that others felt I could have that kind of impact on them. But I mean, we can’t all be joy bringers. There have to be people to balance the optimists with some realism. (More on optimism later). If we sit and really think about what our purpose is then we are more likely to have more productive, fulfilling days. I encourage everyone to really go out and seek their true purpose in life. I am still not positive what mine is but it’s an adventure in itself to pinpoint exactly what it could be. If you’re really having trouble determining your purpose a great practice is to ask those around us what they thing your purpose is or could be; from there build on it and make it your own. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Passion:

I won’t say that this is the most important of the three but this is something that I have really noticed is lacking in my life and in the lives of those around me. I could blame it on the fact that so many of us have become emotionally numb or I can blame it on the fact that we all suck. Let’s stop sucking guys. A few weeks ago I sat down with a colleague. We talked about work, life and our families. The conversation was really fulfilling because our goals and passions closely aligned. However, I noticed something really interesting. When he spoke about his children I noticed this undeniable twinkle in his eyes. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then it came to me. It was passion I was seeing in his eyes. He was so passionate it was literally contagious. He had this immense amount of love and passion for them that I couldn’t help but find myself smiling as he showed me his daughter’s basketball videos and the funny twitter posts from his other daughter. I came to a conclusion after speaking with him: When people are passionate it not only shows in their eyes and their voices but it reflects onto us. A friend recently told me that she loves speaking to me about social media but she loves how passionate I get about it and how my eyes light up. I have a passion guys. Isn’t that exciting? We should all have a passion. Let’s do more things we are passionate about so we can twinkle and shine on.

Positivity:

An undeniable phenomena is that positivity is absolutely positively (see what I did there) contagious, infectious and one of the best character traits someone can encompass. Positivity literally makes you a better person. Don’t believe me? Think of your top 3 favorite people, are they positive? That’s what I thought. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer or Negative Nancy. I find myself always looking for the bright side to situations. I think this really shows in my personality. (actually I know it does, because my friends, colleagues and sometimes even acquaintances tell me I’m super positive). I guess you could say I am little Miss Sunshine. (Someone has called me that recently too, I’ll take it). But really, the next time you find yourself complaining I want you to try something. It’s called “re-framing”. Something negative happens: your car won’t start in the morning and you have an early meeting in the office. Re-frame this situation by realizing that the universe (and God if that’s your cup of tea) have conspired for this to happen for a reason. Your car isn’t starting but, did you get into a terrible accident and harm yourself or someone else? No. Do you know what we just did there? We re-framed our negative situation into a positive situation. ta-da! For the sake of my own mental well-being I’ve stopped responding to people who complain or reflect negativity. I could be a pretty emotional person and can’t help but feel down when those I care about are down. I’ve realized however that I can’t save everyone. Sometimes people need to save themselves. With this realization I’ve decided to counteract negativity with positivity. If my friends and loved ones want to eat up the positivity I’m spreading then so be it. But if they don’t then I will not allow them to drag me down and beat me with the horrid negativity stick. I do not have room in my life for that. You shouldn’t either!

Pulling it all together:

The other week I had to present to all the IT directors at work. Not nerve wracking or anything right? The Purpose of the presentation was to highlight the work I’ve done in the past year. Instead of boring my audience with a dull presentation I decided to include things I am passionate about. I told my “story” aka the work I completed in the past year through pictures. I included pictures of my family, of cupcakes and of my students. I knew if I wanted to get my message across I could would be most effective if I could convey to them the Passion I had for the projects I worked and the best way I could do so was through pictures that told the story. I started the presentation by asking everyone to tell me one positive thing that happened to them that day or week either at home or at work. In the year I had been in my role I brought this practice to our weekly team meetings. By starting my presentation with Positivity I literally felt the air in the room get a little lighter. People were laughing and smiling within the first two minutes of the start of the meeting and that positive air continued until my other two colleagues presented after as well. Not only did this make me more comfortable but it also allowed everyone in the room to reflect on a positive aspect of their day. How many times do we recognize positivity in our daily lives and reflect on it? We will literally become more appreciative and all around happier if we practice this simple task. Right now. Think of three positive things that happened to you this week. Close your eyes. Show some gratitude. Do you feel better? That’s what I thought.

 Now, make a promise to yourself. You’re going to seek your purpose, put passion in all that you do, and reflect on positive aspects in your life. Do it.

I must-ache you a question, how cute are my cupcakes?!

I must-ache you a question, how cute are my cupcakes?!

Don’t forget to share on social media, follow this blog, take the silly poll, comment and like! Follow me on Instagram for a constant feed into my life: @Hodagram

Xx H

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The importance of failure and defeat.

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This post is more so a reminder to myself rather than a public service announcement. Please excuse any typos as I wrote this in the notes of my iPhone after a mild breakdown where I decided I needed to do some serious soul searching. This relates closely to my last post. If you didn’t read that one, check it out, fool.

Sometimes life and love will drag you down to extreme failure and defeat. It’s how we shine through, how we grow from these failures and defeats that make and mold us into the person we are truly destined to be. We have all been there. Felt absolutely and completely defeated. Like there was no way of picking up the pieces and starting over again. Whether it was from work, a relationship or school, we have all been there. But miraculously and by the will of God we made it through, and now we have the stories and scars to show for it.

I once, as a naive, wise-ass, little girl, asked my older sister what the point of practicing was if practice makes perfect but nobody’s perfect. She answered so perfectly that to this day I won’t forget her response: “nobody is perfect” she said, “but you can practice and be perfect at one thing, so it’s always worth practicing.” And just like that. Life made absolute, perfect, sense.

I’ve noticed that the worst times in my life where I have felt absolutely and completely defeated are what shaped and molded me into the woman I am today. I am proud to say that I have known defeat and failure in every single aspect of life. Personally, professionally, in school, in relationships and in friendships. Every single failure and defeat in all these aspects has always been a blessing in disguise. It showed me how absolutely strong and how much of a true warrior I am. I needed this reminder more than ever the past few days. And so I am sharing this in hopes that if someone is down in the dumps this can be a reminder to them as well.

There have been so many times where I wanted to give up but something inside of me would switch on. Something like survival mode I would say. I would remember that I have something to prove. Not to anyone else, to myself. I always have to prove to myself that I can pick up and start over again or else I will have a true mental breakdown. I think those of us who have experienced the worst times are the strongest and most beautiful (wait, did I just call myself beautiful? Yea. I did #yolo). It’s always good to reflect and remember where we came from and how much we have endured to be where we are today. Even when defeat is facing us head-on we can always find a way to overcome it. Every time I want to throw my hands in the air and call it quits at work I remember the all-nighters, the acne breakouts from stress and the emotional breakdowns and remind myself to keep pushing, that I did not do all that in vain.

Story time. The fall semester of my sophomore year of college is one of my most vivid memories of failure and a story I always reflect back on. As an honor student in high school I thought I had my shit all figured out. Going into my second year of college with a 3.7 GPA I thought I was absolute hot shit. Wrong. I was not. I took an extreme course overload, a new part-time job that took up all my free time, a booming (irrelevant) social life and I was barely able to keep my grades from slipping.

Then there was my epic downfall. The most awful class: Statistics for Business. A requirement I had to take that would get me into my beloved business school, a (naive) goal of mine in undergrad. As I took my final for this class on that cold December day I knew I had two options. Take a D for the course and not be able to replace it, only average it (a ridiculous Rutgers policy) or ask the professor to give me an F and retake the course to replace that grade. My first F of my life and I asked for it. I asked my professor to give me an F. I asked for failure. After that semester I pleaded with one of the academic deans to wipe that whole semester off my transcript. I rambled on about how I was in mental and emotional distress and that I needed a redo. He told me there were no redo’s in life and at the rate I was going I wouldn’t make it into business school. He was right. And that was the absolute best advice and decision I had made, I kept that F, had a W and a C in other courses (as well as an A and a B+, there was still a little genius nerd inside me somewhere).

That spring I decided business school was not going to be for me, I just literally could not keep up with all the naturally, statistically and mathematically inclined students. I switched my major to  something I was passionate about. Technology. Ever since I was in middle school I would use HTML to make corny websites with glittery images and quotes about love. I should have known after a Computers class I took freshman year that this was my true calling.I mean, how many people have seen me glued to my Blackberry/iPhone/Android, how many times have I rambled to my uninterested friends on the impact of social media and the importance of SEO?

That spring semester I redeemed my slipping GPA and retook the statistics course the following summer. During that summer I landed a dope IT internship at J&J and fought off a virus that had me miss two of the stats summer course sessions, I still managed to do much better than an F. It’s worth noting that I still had the other part time job too #hustler. That failure that defeat was the reason I changed majors, the reason I landed an awesome internship and the reason I learned I had to prove to myself, above anyone else, that I was a fighter. And a damn good fighter too. It took tears, stress, anger and angst to figure out that I would be so much stronger as a person, a student and a professional from just one bad semester in college.

I think to win a race we have to be in it. This means, don’t mentally check out when you think there’s no way through it. There is always a way through it. Because, like they say, if God brings you to it, He will surely bring you through it. This world is really freaking hard guys, if you want to get on top you have to fight like hell. Don’t give up. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, there always is.

Peace and love friends.

Anyway, whatever. Here’s a pic of me dancing in a sombrero.

Anyway, whatever. Here's a picture of me dancing in a sombrero.

Don’t forget to share on social media, follow this blog, take the silly poll, comment and like! Follow me on Instagram for a constant feed into my life: @Hodagram

Xx H