You have to change your mind.
Struggle happens where most things do. Between Spaces.
Aggravation, pain and suffering happens with resistance. If you want to stop the feeling of struggle, you have three options.
+ Change your circumstances.
+ Change how you feel about your circumstances.
+ Change your goals or desires.
Struggle looks like:
+ I want a better community but I don’t want to do the work or get involved.
+ I want to get slim but I don’t want to go the gym and I don’t like healthy foods.
+ I don’t have enough money for my current lifestyle but I don’t want to get a different/second job and I don’t want to live with family.
We become emotionally attached to our “buts” and our likes and dislikes. Likes and dislikes and even loves are not fixed feelings. They’re not part of our DNA. We just treat them that way. These things can be changed by simply changing our minds.
Struggle comes because you haven’t reconciled with the circumstances of your reality and you haven’t commited to the decision you need to make becuase of it.
If you intend to stop feeling bad, you’ll have to commit to a decision and find reasons like the decision you’ve made.
Struggle is a feeling. The feeling is resistance. Resisting trying to change unchangeable circumstances. Suffering happens where you are. It has nothing to do what happens outside you. You have to change your mind.
How to Stop Feeding the “Chicago” Narrative

A couple days ago shots Mr. Trump fired shots at Chicago from his Twitter feed. The man has a particular gift for getting people whipped up into a frenzy. He knows all the weak points. All the buttons to push. But this one made me particularly livid because it was a high profile, visible manifestation of what I’ve been telling people all along. We’re all complicit in Chicago’s “violence problem”.

I place that in quotes not because it isn’t a problem. But because the problem itself has become its own entity. A contained virus. A tool by which people leverage and measure their relevance or goodness in the world. Rappers use it to establish street cred. Politicians use it gain votes. Hipsters use it to sharpen their startup skills. Media to sell papers. Celebrities to signal to the world they ‘care’ about something even if they haven’t really worked in or been back to the Southside in years.

We’re all feeding a monster. And though I do my best, I’m no exception. Chicago doesn’t have a violence problem. We have a skills gap problem. An education problem. A segregated resources problem. A parenting/village/community problem. All of these things are exacerbated by our inability to keep our mouths shut about what we don’t want so that we can focus on what we do want. Simply put, we have the gift of gab for the wrong shit.

I’m not going to get into the statics about how per capita, it’s not that bad. Or how it’s isolated to certain communities because the fact of the matter is, any murder is unnecessary and preventable. If we stop making crime the soapbox upon which we stand, there’ll be less attention and therefore less energy for the people committing these crimes that can be diverted to deploying impactful positive change.

There are a thousand and one people down here who are working solutions. I mean really making an impact. Some of them seasoned and wise. Many of them young and hopeful. Working 70 hour weeks for $30k and they need your support. Every time you get on Facebook to complain or blame or point fingers, you’re throwing salt in their wounds; throwing them and the residents they serve into a kind of hopeless submission. You’re saying what they’re doing doesn’t matter. But it’s not because they’re not doing anything  you’re just not paying attention.

The law of attraction is real. Whatever you focus on will grow. It’s best we focus on the things already happening that are making the city great. Here are some ways to change the narrative:


The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock
I don’t invest a lot of my time in political drama. Watching the news, no matter who’s in office makes me a little queasy. And social media feeds are awash with content from questionable sources. That being said, it’s obvious, even to me, that things are changing at an incredible pace. Not only is there breaking news from Congress everyday, but rapid change is happening on the ground too. Many of the long standing organizations and leaders that I’ve grown to know here in Chicago are disappearing by the minute. New power-structures are being formed. Elders are retiring or passing on, many of them without successors to carry on their life’s work. The good news is, there are plenty of new and exciting leaders emerging as well.
That being said, our worlds are changing so fast, there’s no use predicting what will happen. So the only thing left to do is diligently prepare for the best and…less than the best.

Build your infrastructure. Immediately after the election we mashed the gas on building up our foundational structures. It was all about the back office stuff that got the white glove treatment. Accounting, cyber security, payroll, contracts and processes. This is the annoying little stuff that doesn’t have a major affect on your service or product but needs to be fixed. This is about finally taking time to put all your passwords in one secure place so that you can stop guessing them every time you log in. It’s the phone extension you haven’t changed in your email signature. The sticky door in the hallway. Spend time cleaning up little things that slow productivity and communication between members of your staff and clients/customers.

Plan for Major Developments. Do all the members of your staff currently have the skills to handle a project that’s a little above their current job description? If your star player leaves the company, can the rest of your team up to handle their workload? Are they confident enough in themselves to make tough decisions based on your company values? Look across the organization and check on your weakest links. What can you do to support employee growth and immediately begin making good on those promises. Now is also a perfect time for actively pursuing certifications such as MBE/WBE Status, Project Management certifications, etc. Any shortcomings that will keep you or has kept you from getting a grant or a contract in the past is a candidate for activation.

Re-evaluate your eco-system. Are you spending too much time with people who are not adding real support or value? Perhaps there are people you’ve been meaning to reconnect with but haven’t had the time? Now’s the time to tighten those connections. Ask yourself, if shit hits the fan, how can I help this person? How can they help me? Who are the tremendously valuable people my network that are being overlooked? Carve out some time to break out the old Rolodex and re-connect with people that you, 1. actually like (<- Important!) and 2. can build a mutally beneficial relationship with.

Our success as leaders in this country will depend largely on our ability to recognize that we’re all shipmates on the same boat. I’m calling for a compassionate ban on whining and complaining and excuses. As individuals, we have to become the leaders we’ve been asking for so that we can be stronger teammates. This next era will not only test us individually. It will also test our collective integrity, strength, and agility.
Mondays are Magical Too

Mondays are magical. At least they can be, they’re supposed to be. If your Monday isn’t Magical you’ve gone wrong somewhere. Perhaps you spent the whole weekend worrying or working or preparing for today. So, now you’ve just got today. And today, the whole world, being just as anxious as you are, is coming at you like with speed and indifference. Text messages, emails, notifications dinging and pinging all over the place. It’s all just a mad dash to nowhere.

And you can make it stop.

Make the world move at your pace. You are worthy as it is. You don’t have to work yourself into a frenzy. Monday shouldn’t mean anything. It doesn’t really. The whole thing, starting work or having to work on a Monday, is completely made up. There is still living to be done on a Monday. The world we live in is a fantastically magical place to be.

Drink your coffee a little slower. Really taste the flavors. Is that a hint of cherry in your Ethiopia roast? Turn on your favorite music. Look up, look around and notice how tiny you are in relation to the horizon. Smile and Breathe Slow down to speed up. Open your mind to new possibilities. Sight and sound and taste and smell and touch and…. feels. Ah, the feels. Know that you own your now and you are an incredible human being on a fantastic journey. You are a freakin’ genius and you live in a world that is positively pure imagination.

What are you trying to become?

About two or three weeks ago, a friend of mine shared a post from a lightworker that highlighted what he said would be a tumultuous Sagittarius season.

I scanned the article, ultimately rebuking it as just another horoscope. Fast forward a few days later and chaos ensued. Lost debit cards, bounced checks, broken dishes. All experiences I looked at as part of life, but the undercurrent was just so energetically full of frustration. I felt like physically, I couldn’t force myself to sit down and focus on my work. I would sit down at my computer to hash out a project. Hours later, I would look up and nothing would be accomplished. I felt like I was running underwater in a time warp and I was angry.
beckwithJust now, I stumbled upon a to-do list I’d made a couple weeks ago. My main goal? Self-care and planning for next year. Two things that I’d been resisting the last weeks because I thought “getting shit done” was more important. This whole time I’d been working against my own goals.
Meanwhile, I’m listening to Micheal Beckwith’s Questions to Ask the Universe. He touched on a question that made me realize that I had, in fact, been given what I asked for: What must I become?
In order for me to be the teacher and the business leader that I want to become, nearly every way I’ve been conducting my life needs to fall away so that I can create a new order myself and the business. To create that new order, I need time for self-care and planning. This whole time I’ve been trying to do, and it’s not the time to do. It’s time to prepare.
In the last few hours, I’ve stopped the busy-ness and surrendered to where my heart was leading.  I stopped trying to force things to go the way that I want them to, and magic has been happening the last few hours. My thoughts are free-flowing and I’m writing more than I’ve written all year. I’m creating and drawing connections to solve problems I’ve been racking my brain about for months.
What are you resisting in order to accomplish what you think you want to accomplish? What is life trying to tell you?
“What is trying to emerge in my life?”
“Behind every problem is a question trying to ask itself.
Behind every question is an answer trying to be revealed.
Behind every answer is an action trying to take place.
And behind every action is a way of life trying to be born.”
If you’re experiencing a severe sense of frustration in your life. Stop and ask yourself these questions:
“What gift am I to give to the world?”
“What is trying to emerge in my life?”
“What is my next step?”
And by doing so, we begin to nurture our ability to truly listen to what the Universe is trying to “birth” through you.
Belief & Imagination

imagination-themoonroseagency-com-ava-st-claire-1Some days you can’t tell if bad surprises are part of being in business or if God is singling you out. I’ve met people from all stages of business growth and success. Learning from them and my own experiences have taught me that the task of leadership is challenging for all of us. But the one thing that has given me perspective has having a growth mindset. Knowing that I am fully capable of learning what I need to learn to become the kind of CEO I would like to become.

The foundation of having a growth mindset is self-awareness and self-understanding. In order to grow, you have to know your own strength and what you’re capable of. We don’t know ourselves intimately so we don’t believe in our capacity to overcome the challenges that come with new information.
Instead, we’ve stitched our identities together with a bubble gum concoction of old news and bad habits.

New information tests our fragile identities so we push back. But there is no imagination without information. And we will never reach our greatest capacity without imagining new things.