My REAL Motivation

Everyone is motivated by something. If you’re not motivated in life, you start to deteriorate.

In college, I was motivated by the prospect of successfully completing my degree. Then I was motivated by securing a job with a living wage. But once I was working full-time and had some experience under my belt, I found myself motivated by the paycheck I could count on like clockwork twice a month. Eventually, it morphed into a motivation for the weekend or the next vacation because the work I was doing didn’t drive me.

Looking back, I realize my motivation was constantly changing because I was looking for a reason to keep going. I targeted a tangible reward in order to psych myself into believing that what I was doing was fulfilling. I was like a horse chasing a carrot in vain.

About three years ago, I was convicted to start living with purpose. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it became the hardest thing I have ever done. Living each day with purpose meant that I had to approach every decision minute by minute, hour by hour, stop…think and ask myself, “Why?” before I said or did anything. It changed me as a persona and has made me more present in the day-to-day. It has made me a better wife and a more patient mother.

I learned how to say, “No” easily and without condemnation. Before my purpose-driven life, I was a people pleaser. I put my own priorities and goals on the back burner when I thought doing so would enable me to keep the peace. I compromised unnecessarily. I compromised a lot. I finally began to understand that what I was doing was stealing from myself.

“No, I cannot stay late and work tonight.”

“No, I am not going to bail you out of jail.”

“No, you can’t drive my car.”

“No, you can’t have that last piece of pie! I am planning to eat that!”

Dozens of emails I frantically typed that  full of emotion and passive aggressive language were never sent. There were phone calls I decided not to make and lies I chose not to tell, even though I thought the truth would hurt. It was difficult at times to be so honest, transparent and real in my attempts to be purposeful. However, I gained so much peace and comfort from it. I let myself off the hook finally and excused myself from the expectations of others.


In the spring of 2015, my husband and I welcomed our daughter. She was the child we had waited and prayed for. She was our first and is still our only. She became my motivation in a way that I never expected. She’s the reason I wake up in the morning with eager anticipation even though I’m not at all a morning person. She is the reason I choose to build businesses and leave a legacy that will carry on generation after generation. She is the reason I want to be a better person, a wholesome example and strong woman. She is the reason I want more than ever for my marriage to work even though it can be tough at times.

I don’t need any other reason. I will never again need a surrogate reason to live my life.

Whatever drives you shouldn’t be temporal. It should be something that takes your hopes and dreams beyond today, beyond the end of the week, beyond the end of the year. It should be something that speaks to your heart and the essence of what’s important to you.

If you’ve identified money as your end goal – what happens when all of your financial needs are met? What happens if the money stops coming in? Do you really think you’ll be on your deathbed and say to yourself, “I wish I had made more money”?

If you are motivated by beauty – what happens when the beauty fades? What happens if your health status changes for the worst?

If you are motivated by feeling wanted or loved – what will you do when the love is gone? What will you do when that person no longer meets your needs?

My daughter being my motivation means that everything I do is done with the purpose of making her life better. It’s a sacrifice that only I can make. I went through a rough pregnancy and recovery just to have her. I’ve sacrificed sleep and comfort to do the best I could for her. I put her first in my daily decisions so that she can have a healthy, happy and stable childhood. She can’t do anything to repay me. I do it willingly and without regret.

Failure is not an option.

Saying that, “I tried” will never be good enough.

I look into her eyes and know that she completely depends on, needs and trusts me. That’s the way it should be and that’s my motivation to be even better than I thought I could.



Declare Your Worth or Someone Else Will

I spent years trying to show myself worthy of the title I had been given on my business card. Not only did I work hard. I overworked. I came in early during the week, often getting there before my staff started their day. I left late, skipped lunches and put my personal life on hold. I worked weekends often and holidays. I alienated my husband at night so I could “get work done,” often staying awake into the late hours, pounding the keys by laptop light to the sound of him snoring next to me. I used vacation time to schedule doctor’s appointments, surgeries and overdue household maintenance. I had to feel like I was on death’s door to take a sick day. I never stopped.

I was like so many people, looking for meaning in all the wrong places. I expected that a pat on the back and “good job, girl,” at the end of the day would make it all okay. I expected to feel like I had accomplished something. I became a person who was not confident in my own abilities. I convinced myself that if I stepped away, took a breath or unplugged that it would all fall apart and the destruction would be my fault.

But when you are not operating in your God-given purpose, He has a way of putting a mirror in your face. He showed me to myself in the way that only he could. I had settled and made excuses for why I couldn’t move on. I saw others leave and chase their dreams and I was truly happy for them…and jealous. Why couldn’t I let go too? Why couldn’t I get off of the train?

Then I would go put out a metaphorical fire and say to myself, “Well, I can’t leave. I’m needed here. What would happen if I wasn’t here?”

It would be unfair to say that my so-called career was holding me hostage. No, I wasn’t being forced to do anything. In seeking constant approval and waiting to hear that giving my all was enough, I did that to myself. My personal relationships were suffering due to neglect and my marriage was a roller coaster of disappointments, miscommunication, anger and sadness. Marriages are like houseplants after all, if you don’t feed and water them, they die. I actually surrendered my two dogs because I no longer had the time to care for, walk daily, groom and take them to the vet on schedule. I chose work over everything.

So, one day I found myself in a bathroom stall at work, crying and struggling to breathe in between blubbering sobs. Someone had just made it clear that they didn’t value who I was. I felt crumpled up and thrown away. I put my emotional breakdown on a schedule. I had a meeting in 15 minutes, so I had to pull together by then. I wasn’t an emotional person, but I cried a lot in those months – in the car on the way to work, in the shower or pretty much anytime I found a quiet moment alone. I would tell myself to “stop it,” because nothing was wrong. I should be grateful. I had a job and others didn’t.

I covered my face and asked the question out loud, “I have done EVERYTHING for these people! Why isn’t it enough?”

I called my husband, expecting him to give me one of his speeches about how I would be okay, but instead he said to me, “Don’t worry about it. You won’t be there long.” He saw how hard I worked and what I sacrificed. He was empathetic, but I could also tell he was mad.

That was what I needed – permission. I was loyal to a fault. I would stick with someone or something with the optimistic hope that it will all work out, even when it’s toxic or no longer beneficial. But my husband let me off the hook. He let me know that all I had done was more than enough and it was time to gracefully bow out.

Over the months that followed, I continued to work hard, but I also let go. I let go of the worry I carried about not being liked, appreciated and acknowledged. I stopped caring about all of the superficial things that had kept me bondage. I began to pour my energy into my marriage and my husband, we took a vacation to Florida and I totally unplugged. I didn’t care if the building caught fire. I knew no matter what happened without me, they would figure it out.

My stress level was the lowest it had been in about 4 years. My husband and I discussed a timeline for me to resign and exit my job. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next, but I chose to trust God in guiding my steps to the next season of life. About two months after our vacation, I found out that I was pregnant after two and a half years of trying! So there it was…my purpose defined. I began to do research and plan for life as a homemaker and mom and I have never looked back.

I am a beautiful, creative, ambitious, intelligent and independent woman. I am not the type to walk into a room of strangers, shake a dozen hands and chat it up like a politician and that’s okay. I don’t care what people would like me to be. I know now that I am who I am meant to be. Never again will I put myself in a place where I work so hard to be like someone else.

We are who we are for a reason. I worked for eight years helping someone else fulfill their life’s mission before realizing how far outside of my own I actually was.

Life is too short to live it outside of my purpose.

The Day I Blew the Interview


I’ve taught it to staff in training who came to me straight out of college and I’m sure that many of you have heard or said these things yourselves – don’t chew gum, dress for success, take notes, have questions written down, make eye contact, have a firm handshake, etc. etc. etc.  I was cocky. I did all of these things and more, but I still didn’t get the job.

But how could they not want ME!?? (This is what I said to myself at the time)

I was wearing black designer slacks and stiletto heels.  It was mid-summer and very hot so I chose to don a white short-sleeved tailored blazer and ruffled green blouse underneath.  If I do say so myself, I was the image of perfection as far as interview candidates go.  I felt confident and ready.  I brought with me my leather bound interview folder with my name embossed in gold on the front.  I had read the organization’s web site and had my questions written down on a brand new memo pad.  I brought my own pen for extra flare – not the kind that comes in a pack of 12, but one with gold trimmings and a metal tip.

There was a panel about 4 that sat across the table in front of me, asking questions.  I could sense some skepticism, so I smiled and gave out my strongest dose of charm.  I had an answer for every question because I had already rehearsed.  I knew the right things to say and didn’t see a single curve ball that I couldn’t hit.

I walked out afterward, still confident and imagined how long it would take them to call me.  Would they call me the next day or play hard-to-get and make me wait?  I shuffled through the parking lot, dodging potholes on my way back to the car.  It was a rough neighborhood and I knew it, but I knew I would be making a difference and at the time, the prospect seemed to line up with the person I desired to be in the community,

But they never called. I don’t even remember getting a “we regret to inform you…and we appreciate your interest” email or letter. But in reflection, I don’t blame them.

In my eyes, I did everything right.  I checked all the boxes.  However, I forgot to do the most important thing… I didn’t CONNECT.  In hindsight, if I had worn a pressed blouse or polo shirt with trouser jeans or slacks and flat shoes, I wouldn’t have seemed so high and mighty.  I don’t believe it was because they doubted my ability to perform the job functions outlines on the job description.  I didn’t get called because they thought I wouldn’t be able to connect to the inner city youth they were sworn to serve.

What I learned from that is to know my audience and make it a point to connect, no matter what.  I can’t allow myself to be in a place where I don’t adjust to the needs, perceptions and expectations of those I want to serve.  Whether it’s a job interview, an internship interview, workshop, training or one on one coaching session, we have to CONNECT in order to be our most effective selves.  In failing to do so, we limit our scope of influence and stifle our opportunities for positive change.

Stay encouraged.  Never be too busy to stop, listen, look and CONNECT.