Pruning Season

For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in an apple orchard, and every spring, my dad would start the grueling job of pruning the apple trees. Pruning is the process of removing dead,unproductive, and obstructive branches from a tree to help promote new, healthy growth! Although it is a difficult process, in order for our trees to produce large, beautiful apples, it must be done every year. I used to hate to see my dad out there on the ladder cutting down all those branches from the trees, but in the fall, when the trees  would be full of big, red and yellow apples, I knew it was all worth it to him!

Let’s pretend you all are trees.

Think of yourself as an apple tree for a minute. Are there any branches on your tree that can possibly prevent you from growing? Maybe one is that bad habit you have of making excuses for why you can’t pursue your dreams. How about those friends of yours with their bad influence and negative attitudes. Perhaps one is your inability to stop wasting money buying frivolous things.

Everybody got their list? Let’s grab those pruning shears!

If there is anything in your life that will or already does prevent you from achieving growth or pursuing your dreams cut it away! Whether it be a bad habit, bad situation, or even a friend or family member, if it’s unproductive, obstructive, or just straight up dead, it’s time to remove it from your life. I know this process may be hard for some of you to do- especially when it comes to friends and family, but in order for you to grow, this pruning must be done. The picture above shows the apple trees at my house before, during, and after pruning. In the first picture, the trees are filled with a bunch of crazy branches. The middle picture is during the pruning process, and as you can see, the trees are already starting to blossom. Of course, the last picture shows the tree full of beautiful yellow apples after the pruning process is complete.

From the picture it is evident that the process of pruning produces beautiful results that not only can be applied to plants, but to your life as well! This week, I challenge you to start your pruning process. Find all of the dead branches in your life, whether they be people, situations, or parts of yourself, and cut them away. Although the process may be a little hard, you will start to see the results not after the process is complete, but during the process as well. You will start to see growth, and by the end you will be flourishing with success and happiness!

Remember, you don’t have to be average, you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock, you can be a diamond! Start your pruning season now!

-Kayla ❤

 

 

 

 

 

Something Worth Dying For

“I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a pillar of passion, who stopped at absolutely nothing to grant freedom and foster unity for the people of this country. For years, he marched, protested, and campaigned on behalf of the African American community  in hopes to eradicate segregation, racism, and inequality that permeated our country. Although trials and tribulations met Dr. King many times during his time, he continued to endure, continued to fight,  and continued to pursue his dream. . His dream was so big, and he was so passionate about it, that he was even willing to die.

“If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Think about the things you are passionate about. How many of  you can say you are willing to die for them? How many of you can say you are you willing to sacrifice your life and your happiness if it means that you will be doing any and everything you can to make a dream or desire a reality? As I mentioned last week, everyone has passion, and everyone is passionate about something. You all have a vision, a dream that you wish to see come true. However, it isn’t going to come true on its own- you have to make it happen. You have to want it so bad and desire it so bad, that you would do anything to achieve it- even if that means losing some friends, going through some trials, or even dying. That’s the type of passion you have to have. If you have a dream or desire to do something with all of your heart, it has to be something worth sacrificing for. It has to be something worth dying for. People do it every day.

When a mother doesn’t eat for three days so she can feed her children.

When a teenage boy wears the same beat up shoes for a year and gets bullied because he’s saving up to buy a guitar.

When a young girl gets two jobs and does her best to make it on her own because she  lost her trust fund and is kicked out of her house for wanting to be a missionary and not a doctor.

When a little boy is brutally beaten by his alcoholic father as a result of  protecting his little sister from sexual assault.

When a man is subjected to violence, jail time, ridicule, and murder so that the peace, freedom, and victory can reign within the lives of his people.

When a man dies on the cross to save a wretch like you and me from the sins and hatred of this world.

I encourage you all today to be so passionate, so determined, and so courageous when it comes to your dreams that you would be willing to make the sacrifice. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was willing to die for his dream, but today his legacy and dream still inspire, motivate, and live within so many people. Make your dreams something worth dying for. If you don’t, you may as well already be dead.

-Kayla ❤

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

There’s Power in Passion

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you had an awesome week, and I also hope you have been enjoying the past few posts! If you haven’t been following along, (shame on you!), we have been talking about the different obstacles that hinder us from making the shift in our minds that is necessary to fully pursue your dreams, grow, and have a satisfying life! Today, we will be discussing the importance of finding your passion and how doing this will eradicate every obstacle that stands in between you and the dreams for your life! Think about your dreams. What’s the driving force behind them? Is it financial freedom? Is it a better life for yourself and your family? Is it just an innate desire or calling that you have? All of these are amazing reasons to want to pursue your dreams. However, if you don’t possess one very important thing along with those reasons, it will be very easy to have your dreams ripped right out from under you.

Passion.

Passion is the driving force that is necessary for anyone to be successful in pursuing their dreams and accomplishing anything in life. Suppose someone asked you to jump into a pit full of snakes. If any of you are like me, the answer would be simple- NO WAY! For someone who is afraid of snakes as much as I am, nothing would get you to jump in that pit- except for maybe your family or loved ones. That would be your driving force. If one of your loved ones or something extremely important to you was in that pit of snakes, you would jump in their without a second thought. You would be so determined to get your loved ones out of that pit that nothing would stand in your way.

The same goes for your dreams-your passion is your driving force.

When you are truly passionate about your dreams, there is nothing that can stop you from pursuing them. Sure, you may want to pursue you dreams for financial freedom, to have a better life for your family, or to fulfill an innate desire, but without passion backing those reasons any small thing can and will get in your way. The past few blog posts have talked about some of the reasons why so many of you can’t shift into the mindset you need to pursue your dreams: fear, investment, putting in work, and the opinions of others. Your passion has to be bigger than your fears,bigger than the investment, bigger than the amount of work you have to put in, and bigger than the opinions of others. When you have passion, you don’t look at those things as obstacles, you see them as part of the process. If your passion is strong enough, you will be able to make that shift into the mindset you need to pursue your dreams, not because you have to, but because you want to. There’s so much power in passion, so much promise. So where are you going to get it? Within yourself.

Passion comes from within. It is something you are all created with- you just have to find it. How do you find it? By believing in yourself, by feeling good about yourself. Passion can be found by seeing yourself as someone deserving, someone capable, someone important, someone worthy. You have to see yourself as a diamond. This weekend, I challenge you to find your passion. Remember, you don’t have to be average, you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock, you can be a diamond!

See ya Monday with a special edition blog post!

-Kayla ❤

The Mind Shift Part 4: The Opinions of Others

Social Influence is the phenomenon of changing your behavior or thoughts based on how you think you are perceived by society or people in general. Within social influence are three sub phenomenons, conformity, compliance, and obedience. Conformity is the notion of changing your behavior in order to be more like those around you. Compliance is the notion of doing what others tell you to do not necessarily because you want to, but because of the social reward or punishment that could come as a result. Lastly, obedience is the notion of doing what someone tells you to do because you see that particular person as an authority figure and feel that you have no other choice.

Sorry to take you all back to school, but Social Influence, which I learned way back in my Intro to Psychology class was the first thing I thought of when I chose the topic for today’s blog post. Most of you have fallen victim to social influence many times in your life- we all have at some point. To be honest, most of you fall victim to it every day.You all want to fit in, gain approval from those around you, and be accepted by society. Whether it’s in regards to the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, or the school you choose to go to, there has always been someone else influencing what you do, how you think, and how you live your life. In fact, most of you believe it’s inevitable . 

Not when it comes to your dreams.

If you look at them from society’s perspective, most of your dreams are going to seem unrealistic and unattainable. If you look at them from your friends’ and family’s perspectives, most of your dreams are still going to seem unrealistic. Unfortunately, the people you’re around and see everyday are going to be the main ones telling tell you that you’re crazy or risky for chasing your dreams. Why is that?

You’re courageous.

Leaving the safety of societal norms and expectations can be scary for a lot of people. So when someone (such as you) decides to step out of society’s safety zone and pursue their dreams, people are going to have a negative, non-supportive opinion of it. This is not because you are doing something wrong, but because you are doing  something they aren’t. You’re courageous. You’re stepping out of society’s norms, are doing things that family and friends may be against, and you’re not afraid to do it. As a result, people ridicule you because they wish they could do what you’re doing and know deep down inside that they should be doing it. However, because they are afraid of being rejected or being different, they don’t. So, really, when they are negative and skeptical about what you’re doing, they’re only reflecting the negative feelings they have about themselves onto you and your dream.

Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.” -Les Brown

Even if your friends and family don’t see your dreams as normal, or rational, they’re still your dreams. You can’t give up on them because someone else doesn’t think they makes sense.That’s their opinion. Not everyone is going to see your vision. Not everyone is going to understand your passion and desire, but that’s not a reason to stop pursuing; that’s not a reason to stop striving; that’s not a reason to stop believing. You can’t continue to comply, conform, and be obedient every day of your life just to please somebody else, be accepted by somebody else, and be like somebody else. Your dream is yours, but as long as you continue to let the opinions of others hinder you from pursuing it, you might as well be living their dream. Don’t stop being brave. Go get your dream. Dare to be different, dare to be the first, dare to be a diamond. Eventually, everyone else will follow your lead.

See you on Friday with my next blog post, “There’s Power in Passion.”

Remember, you don’t have to be average, you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock, you can be a diamond.

-Kayla ❤

The Mind Shift Part 3: Putting in the Work

Tomorrow, it  will be a month since I have graduated from college!!! Although I miss my dorm room, friends, and extra curricular activities, I will not miss any of the school work- especially not those dreaded group projects. When the term “group project” is mentioned, I’m sure the first thing all of you think of is that one group member who did absolutely nothing. I know it used to drive me insane when I would work my behind off to get a good grade on a group project while other group members put in little to no effort. They weren’t willing to put in the work, but wanted to get a good grade on the project. Sure, they were there to help make plans for the project, but when it was time to do the actual work, they were gone. Luckily for me, most of my group projects were based on everyone’s efforts. If you didn’t put in the work, you didn’t get the good grade.

Honestly, many of you are probably like those other group members when it comes to your dreams and goals for your life.Take a moment and think of all of the great ideas you have had or things you have wanted to do, but didn’t pursue them past making plans? I’m sure for a lot of you, that list is more than you can count on one hand! Why didn’t you ever complete those things? Too little time? Too little resources? Nope- too little effort.

“Everyone wants to be a Diamond, but very few are willing to get cut.” -Tishina Anderson

 I’m sure a lot of you have had great intentions when you first start putting your dreams into motion, but when it’s time to move past the planning and brainstorming stages, you aren’t interested in putting in the work!  It’s very easy to confuse “activity with productivity” and “movement with achievement”. What success coach Darren Hardy meant when he said this was that people often confuse the talking, planning, and brainstorming phase of achieving a goal or pursuing an idea with the actual execution phase. Yes, you may be “busy” planning and brainstorming your idea, but that’s all you’re doing-planning and talking about it, not making it happen. When you AIM AIM, AIM, AIM, and NEVER FIRE, you’re not going to achieve ANYTHING. There has to be an execution at some point! Plans are part of the process. That means that something else must be done to complete the process-you have to move past the talking and start the doing. With that being said, let’s figure out what else is stopping you from moving to the next stage of pursuing your dreams.If you’ve been reading all the blog posts in this series you already know the answer…

Your mindset.

When you think of a new idea or a dream you want to pursue you get excited- we all do!! You start thinking about what your life will be like when you’ve finally achieved that goal, or when you’ve finally made your dream come true, and there is nothing wrong with that! Like I said on Friday, it’s great to see value in your dreams and to know that your dreams can be a reality, but you can’t just focus on that and forget about the most important part- putting in the work to get to that point.You get so caught up in the “when” that you forget “what” you have to do to and this causes a distraction. You want to see the end results and achievements RIGHT NOW, and when you don’t see them right away, you get discouraged and quit. However, dreams and goals take time and effort to achieve. Everything requires an investment-whether it be money, time, or hard work. Unfortunately, you won’t see that you have to make that investment if you’re too busy focusing on the outcome and being impatient. Use the outcome as a motivation, not a distraction. If you want to achieve your goals, pursue your dreams, or be the best you can be, focus your mind on the work and time you have to put in. Otherwise, all you’ll be doing is looking and thinking about your dreams and not living them!

Remember, you don’t have to be average, you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock you can be a diamond. However, the only way to become a diamond is by getting cut- you’ve got to put in the work!

Be on the lookout for my next blog post on Wednesday,  The Mind Shift Part 4: The Opinion of Others.

-Kayla ❤

 

The Mind Shift Part 2: Investing in Yourself

For the past two weeks, I have been using my old Dell laptop that I purchased in 2011. It’s pretty beat up to say the least, but while I’m in the process of updating my new computer, it will have to do the job. While using this old beat up Dell, I remember when it first started giving me trouble, and how I wasn’t willing to buy myself a new computer. The battery was faulty so I had to leave the laptop plugged in all the time or it would die in 15 minutes; it would randomly disconnect from the internet at my house if I sat in a certain room; it had a habit of randomly shutting down (still does), and lastly; it was falling apart! Pieces of the frame would fall off, and I would keep taping them back together.  I knew the Dell was a hot mess and that I knew I needed a new computer. In fact, I wanted a new computer! I always had a thing for the MacBook Pro and really wished I could have one of my own. However, I didn’t want to invest the money to buy one.

A lot of you have this same problem when it comes to investing in yourself- investing in your dreams. You claim you are passionate and serious about something you want to do, achieve, or possess, but when it’s time to spend a little money on those things, you suddenly lose your passion and find this reason for why you cannot invest in yourself and your dreams:

 “I don’t have the money to invest in my dream right now.” 

Not having money is not a reason to not invest in your dreams- it’s an excuse. If you’re really determined and passionate about something, nothing should stop you for pursuing it-especially not money.

If you really desire to do something, you will find a way to do it, and if you can’t find a way to do it, you will make a way.

Take a look in your closet- how many pairs of designer shoes and purses do you own? Do you really wear and use all of them? Do you really need all of them?

Maybe you could sell a few.

How many times a week do you buy take out?

Perhaps you could save money by cooking at home a few more nights.

Turn on your television. Do you really watch all 500 channels in your cable package?

Making a change to your plan might be a good option.

There are so many creative ways for you to save and obtain extra money! So..what’s really stopping you from investing in yourself? Your mindset.

You have to make the shift! Start seeing the value in your dreams and what you want for your life! Start knowing that your dreams are real, that they are important, and that they deserve to be invested in! Once you start believing in your dreams, you will want to do everything in your power to achieve them, and that want is exactly what you need to be successful! Cutting your cable package, selling those cute “Red Bottoms”, and taking the time to actually cook something rather than eat at your favorite restaurant three times a week may sound a little irrational. However, when you are hungry for something, determined to do something, and see the value in something, you will do whatever it takes to make it happen- even if that means living like a pauper for awhile. As long you’re not on the street and got food to eat, you will be fine. That’s what it takes. That’s the mindset you have to have- Finding a way, and making a way. 

If money is the something that is hindering you from investing in yourself and dreams, I challenge you to take some time this weekend to figure out what sacrifices you can make to eradicate that hindrance.Remember, you don’t have to be average, you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock, you can be a diamond.

See you on Monday with The Mind Shift Part Part 3: Putting in the Work

-Kayla ❤

The Mind Shift Part 1: Fear

Hello everyone! It’s Wednesday- the week is half way over and I hope it has found you in great spirits so far! Today, I’d like to introduce you to The Mind Shift Part- a four part series of blog posts that will cover the reasons why people fail to make the shift in their minds necessary to pursue their dreams. Now, when I first started thinking about how to structure this series of posts (specifically today’s post) I had no idea where to start! Sure, I had a lot of content that I wanted to include, but I was still having a hard time figuring everything out. This afternoon, I was Skyping with my boyfriend, Caleb, and after an interesting conversation that we had, I finally figured out how to start off this post- a personal story.

Two summers ago, I was put into a situation  where someone that I thought was my friend hurt and betrayed me.  Unfortunately for me, when it came to this individual’s attention that I knew of their actions, they thought it more convenient for them to pretend as if nothing happened. Because of the complexity of the situation, I was unable to properly address the individual and their actions against me. So, for a year, this individual pretended as if nothing happened, and attempted to go about their interactions with me in that manner-as if nothing happened. I was always cordial and polite, but  every time I interacted with this person, I was reminded of what they did. Like I said, I was nice, but it was very obvious to them that the relationship we had was different. Naturally, the individual often became indirectly frustrated and angry with me because they  wanted me to brush the situation under the rug as they did, but it was very difficult for me to do- especially without the opportunity to properly address the problem. .

Earlier this year, circumstances in my life made it so I was not around that individual anymore, and things have been a lot better for me. For the most part, I thought I was finally feeling closure with the situation. However, after having that conversation with my boyfriend earlier today, I realized that I am still pretty upset about what happened. Thanks to that  conversation and some “self-evaluation”, I finally knew what I had to do. I learned that in order for me to find peace with the situation and be happy, I had to change. I had to make a shift in my thinking and feelings about the situation. I had to accept that this individual was not going to admit to doing anything wrong, probably never would, and that I wasn’t helping myself by continuing to be upset. The situation isn’t going to change- it’s still going to be negative, so who has to change? Me. I have to change. I can’t wait for that person to come make things right anymore, and I can’t continue to let them be in charge of my happiness- I have to make the shift.

Making the shift can be hard when it comes to taking a step off the normal path of life and pursuing your desired lifestyle too. You’re taking everything you’ve learned about life from society (and maybe your family)  and challenging it.  As a result,your mind starts to play tricks on you and you start thinking of every possible thing that can go wrong, and how irrational you sound. Then, you psyche yourself out and stay in the situation you’re already in- feeling upset or dissatisfied with your life. Why does that happen? Fear. When I was thinking about my situation and the change I had to make, I started thinking of every bad thing that could possibly occur by making this shift. In all reality, nothing bad is going to happen by making the shift, but because I am afraid, I start second guessing myself. Let’s stop doing that. Let’s stop second guess our desires to be happy. Yes, sometimes, it  feels safer to stay in a situation or mindset because you fear what will happen if you “rock the boat”. Honestly. the only thing you are doing by staying in the situation is settling for your dissatisfaction and letting your fear get the best of you. For example, you may hate your job at McDonald’s, and your real desire may be to open a clothing boutique. However, because you fear what will happen if you try to pursue that desire, you stay at McDonald’s. You stay dissatisfied. Plenty of people have successfully made the shift that  I have to make and the shift that you have to make. Have you ever stopped to think about those millions of people in the world who have successfully transitioned from following society’s life plan to following their own? All of the people who quit their jobs at McDonald’s and opened their clothing boutiques? Of course it was probably scary and of course they were probably afraid, but they went for it anyways because they knew that the end result would be abundant with happiness and better than where they were before.

If you really want to change your situation, you have to make a shift in your mindset. You can’t let your fears of the “unknown” or the “atypical” tie you to situations and lifestyles that you don’t desire. You can’t wait for society, your family, or anyone else to help you pursue your dreams and desires for your life. You can’t wait for your situation to magically change for the better because chances are it won’t. You have to do it yourself. Be in charge of your own happiness. It’s normal to feel nervous and afraid in the beginning, but like I said, even the most successful people felt that way. They didn’t just make the shift and instantly become brave. They made it through those initial stages, and once they did, the results were extraordinary. Sort of like the process of forming diamonds.

Diamonds are formed deep within the Earth in the upper mantle. It’s very hot in the upper mantle, and there’s a lot of pressure from the weight of the overlying rock bearing down. That combination of extreme heat and  pressure is what’s necessary to form diamond crystals. Like creating diamonds, making a shift in your thinking can foster a lot of pressure from everyone around you and invoke challenges within yourself. However, the way heat and pressure change the rock in the upper mantle into beautiful diamonds, is the same way the uncertainty you have and challenges you face will transform you into a diamond! This week, I challenge you to make the shift in your life that is necessary to further help you pursue your dreams, design a plan for your life, and be happy! I will be challenging myself to make the shift I need to make regarding my situation too! Remember do not be afraid, we’re on  this journey together! On Friday, be prepared to share your progress so far and I will share mine! Remember, you don’t have to be average, you can be extraordinary. You  don’t have to be a rock, you can be a diamond.

See you on Friday with blog post The Mind Shift Part Part 2 of 4: “Investing in Yourself”

-Kayla ❤