The turtle wins… Do something, not nothing.

Last Sunday, I did a 5k run/walk for the first time in over 6 years. I was the turtle…. Slow. I walked a few times but I mostly tried to jog it however slow I was. And… I did it.

Now, you don’t have to do a 5k like I did. We all have our own races we choose or challenges that we face. Our own goals. Our own lives. We can do nothing or we can do something. The choice is ours. No matter how slow or how small, if we do something then we’re ahead of choosing nothing.

It’s easy and can feel comfortable to do nothing, but we don’t overcome, challenge ourselves, or change if we don’t do something. Don’t choose nothing.

The turtle wins. Do something, not nothing. Live by the famous line by Nike… Just do it.

Time to smell the reality flowers and stop smelling the turds of imperfections… my people.

For many years now, when it came to starting a business of my own and creating action towards my entrepreneurial passion I’ve had since high school, I have sat in my own head creating endless loops of thinking and overthinking. Downing myself and putting away this passion as something that’s just not for me. Literally any excuse I can create for myself or hear from others, I’ve allowed to dictate my movement forward. I’ve finally decided…. I can do this and be this and I don’t care what my former self told me as true or anyone else for that matter, and I need to get out of my own head and move forward.

For years, I have sat around and thought and thought and thought and thought and thought about business ideas and written endless business plans and gotten excited and then, sadly, torched my own beautiful fires.

Mostly, it’s been myself entirely… my own insecurities not allowing myself to move forward with my own thoughts of myself. But, it has also been the people I’ve told my thoughts to over the years who have helped me to add to my list of endless excuses and crutches with moving forward.

There have been VERY FEW people in my life that have encouraged me and I mean really encouraged me to go after my entrepreneurial passions. They say, “Take the safe road, you’re not ready, you don’t understand the work involved, you’re an accountant – you aren’t going to be good at sales & marketing – why do you think you’d make it?, just wait – you’re young, laughing at me for my creativity for my business ideas because apparently they think this is just some funny shit to add to their entertainment and not something serious, that’s not good enough of a career for you, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc”. Mostly, I haven’t thought I actually WAS listening to them and taking those things to heart, but I was indirectly as much as I wanted to think I wasn’t. I figured, hey great they want to say what they think and offer me little golden nuggets that I can choose or not choose to use in my life. (Yea, I still think that’s true…. but what the bad part is about it is coming…)

What listening to everyone with all these crutches concerning moving forward did to me was that it slowly crept into accepting those truths about myself and they gave me endless excuses for myself even in ways my own mind couldn’t….. it just added to all the misery that kept me away from passionately and positively pursuing my own gems in my life.

I’ve been stuck in my own head… examining those worries or allowing them to be truths for too long. So, recently I decided…. you know, nobody – including myself – can stop me. I don’t care if I fail at this or not – I’m doing it. And I don’t care about perfection anymore.

People, including myself if I let myself, can hold onto every imperfection they see or think, or even smell from afar as a turd even if it truly smells like a beautiful flower in reality. Time to smell the reality flowers and stop smelling the turds of imperfections… my people. Go forth and get out of that head and everyone elses’s head too!… GO FORTH!

(Yeppp… Got into my real crazy, nutty writer’s head here on that last paragraph! LOL!!)

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Thank you to the Young Man Cleaning Tables Today – Good Reminder of Doing a Good Job & Being Proud of It

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Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash

I went to a restaurant by me today for a bowl of soup. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather. There was a young man about 15 years old or so cleaning tables.

He didn’t miss any detail and was fully emersed in doing his work the very best he could. Nothing else mattered while performing the task and he was happy to do the work. No spec of dirt missed. As he finished every table, he’d look it all over and smile so proudly and humbly. It meant a lot to him to have those tables clean and tidy and do a good job.

This impresses me and makes me think of the little things in life that are so great. You don’t have to have a fancy job to do a job well and be proud.

Do things well and complete to the best of your ability in all you do no matter what that is. Be proud and humble too.

Thank you to the young man cleaning tables today. You inspire and teach us all very valuable lessons.

Audio Clip I recorded 10 Years Ago on My College Leadership Experiences, Goals, and Life Lessons from Humble Beginnings

Dear Readers,

I found this audio clip from years ago (probably recorded around 10 years ago) where I recorded about my college leadership experiences, career goals, and shared some of my life-story and lessons learned. I thought this might be inspirational for some even though not a typical post. I hope you enjoy.

Sincerely,
Aleesa

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Focus and You Shall Succeed… Summer I Shall Return.

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Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

I’ve been trying to do too much lately. It’s tough to start a blog, put it on social media and other public outlets, and think of myself as worthy enough to continue this hobby in the public light that I’ve been doing lately. I wanted this to be easy and simply me sharing my heart and creativity, but in all honesty, it hasn’t been that easy for me ever since I started my blog website and have been posting my articles to social media, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and creating! What’s hard is starting my blog’s Facebook page and only having 14 people (Thank you so much to my 14 followers!!) like my page. 14 likes, and I have over 175 Facebook friends… I personally invited every one of my friends but 14 is what I get so far! I guess I shouldn’t feel bad about this, but I do. Asking my social media friends and family, who I like to think are some of my biggest fans in life, only to get 14 people after personally inviting seems like a smooth kick in the behind! It really does. Makes me wonder who is honestly caring? Or perhaps it’s because I have the word “beautiful” in my blog title and hence that keeps some people away because maybe it’s too flouncy and bouncy!?!? Boy, the mind can surely go everywhere, can’t it? 🙂
And that’s just it… my mind literally has gone everywhere. 🙂 It’s time to focus. Right now, I have a personal goal that I’m working on that is a mountain of a goal (I’m sorry, I cannot share what that goal is.). I need focus. I need clarity. And I need the discipline to reach this goal.
I’ve given a lot of thought, and what I would like to do for the time being while I work on my goal is to let my blog have a break. I already have as I haven’t posted since the new year, but I wanted to officially share my plans. I will be back with more articles this Summer. I may write on my own, non-publically during my hiatus, and then share these pieces with you in the Summer. We will see!
Thank you for all of your support again. Good luck to all of you in your goals as well. Focus and you shall succeed.
Sincerely,
Aleesa

Paint Your Mona Lisa Dream

(Photo by Eric TERRADE on Unsplash)

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” – Leonardo da Vinci
 
Paint a vivid picture and implant yourself in your Dream. What does it look like? 
What’s your Mona Lisa Dream? 

 

One of the first steps to dreams is to go beyond simply saying you will do something or be something at the surface level. It needs to run deep and truly be something you can visualize yourself doing and being. You want to paint a picture in your mind that’s as detailed as you can possibly imagine. Make your dreams a reality in your mind. Envision yourself living your dream. Imagine everything about yourself and also note who and what you are around. What’s different than your current life and what’s the same? Dream this as well. You want the Mona Lisa painting of your dream! What will this dream of mine look like in the most detail I can ever imagine? Paint a vivid picture (your Mona Lisa Dream) and implant yourself in it. Now look around, imagine, and create in the most intricate detail you can.
Some people do this by writing, talking, creative outlets such as vision boards, or a combination of these three or countless others. The key is to do whatever you need to do in order to paint the picture of your dream in your mind. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Everyone is different and that’s what makes us unique and in turn our dreams unique.
Now, when you paint your dream… please do not implant in your dream people who are criticizing you in your dream including yourself! This limits the detail and beauty you can create the first thing and you may not even get past the dream stage. Remove these barriers. Paint your dream (your Mona Lisa Dream) in detail without negativity.
Many people always say that you can get ahead of yourself with thinking too much. I certainly do not think this is the case in the beginning. There’s a fine line later on, but in the beginning… think with all your might, paint the Mona Lisa version of your dream and implant yourself in it. It’s later on that thinking will get the best of you. Start by creating your Mona Lisa Dream in vivid detail.
 
Create Lasting Inspiration, Confidence, and Enthusiasm while Sparking Creativity
 
Painting your Mona Lisa dream does a wonder on creating lasting inspiration, confidence, and enthusiasm. If you don’t do this level of dreaming or cannot do so, you stand a chance of easily moving onto the next dream instead of making anything a reality, giving into poor criticism that just isn’t true or negativity by those around you or yourself, and you simply have nowhere to turn back to once you hit a wall or a hard spot with your dreams. This painting will also spark creativity. It does so by allowing your mind to not be bound by the present (where your life lives without making your dreams a reality) or by negativity. It allows you to think with a fresh sheet of paper for your mind. You’ve created this and it is truly beautiful. The sheet of paper was blank before you dreamed and now it’s so lush of reality and beauty. So much so that you are confident and passionate about your dream entirely more than ever before this.
You have it in you to create…Remember this, always.
Paint your Mona Lisa Dream.
Hold your Dream in the Corner of your Mind left Untouched and Put Away but Easily Accessible
 
Now that you have painted your dream (your Mona Lisa Dream) and implanted yourself in it, you need to hold that dream in the corner of your mind left untouched and put away but easily accessible! This is the point where if you continue to think and think and think about your dream, you will hurt yourself. You still must pull your picture out, but it has to have a time and a place. Pull your painted dream out of the corner of your mind when you need to. You should regularly pull it out, but not so much that it overwhelms your ability to take action and make progress. Every person and even dream might differ in how much they can go back to their painting and dream stage. The key here is that you want to be able to make your dream a reality by creating action yet you still want that painting to fall back to in order to remind yourself of your dream and to keep you mentally fresh and creative.
Act and Plan and Be Open to Change
 
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Now, you’re in the action phase. Start by making a plan, however, if you haven’t yet. Even if your plan is not all entirely fool-proof, you act. Then, perfect your plans, if needed. Be open to change. Take that picture you created (Your Mona Lisa Dream), and make it real, step by step.
Progress towards your dream.
 
There’s a reason the word act is before plan in the above. You must be open to change. Change involves taking action by tweaking your painting as you make your dreams become a reality. Please never lose sight of or throw away your original Mona Lisa. You pull it out when needed.
You enhance it, perfect it, and let its beauty shine through even more. Continue to work on your Mona Lisa Dream.
You can do it!

(Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash)

Old Treasures can Spark Memories of our Inner Passions and Help us with our Future

Today, I was sitting at a local coffee shop flipping through an old folder on my computer full of pieces of writing I started years ago. I found a book I started drafting about my life that I started writing about 9 years ago (when I was only 20 or 21 years old!) but I never finished. 
Even if you don’t read all of the old scribbles that I share below, my intent with this post is to share a simple, positive message…We’ve had it in us all along to create and follow our passions even if we don’t necessarily think we have. Our past can reveal a lot about ourselves and our inner passions, and in turn, can even help us with our future. 

Right before I ran across this writing draft today, I read an article about something similar. (Ironic, huh?) If you have the time, I highly recommend this article titled, “To Find Your Next Act, Look Back To Your Childhood”. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/10/29/to-find-your-next-act-look-back-to-your-childhood/#10c251365376

Below I share the few pages of unedited writing I started around 9 years ago for a book called, “Life of Aleesa”. 

What should you do when you have faced many battles to get to your future? This is a question that is reoccurring in my mind each day. When I came from the ground bottom, and I have fought hard to make to where I am now, I feel as though I should spread my experience to others in a community serving – life-touching way. My story is a challenge that I hope to enlighten others to forgo so they will see what life will bring them. Go the distances and do everything you can to make your goals and dreams in life a reality.

I grew up in a single parent, poverty-challenged lifestyle. It wasn’t evident to me until I noticed in the lunch lines in elementary school my lunches were registered differently than other students. Why was I unable to get the ali-carte lunch menu? I noticed something was different about me. Every weekend my mom and went to the local panty to receive our box full of the necessities we needed to make it through. For many years at Christmas time, remembering faintly, I remember walking into a small corner room connected to a downtown business building. Inside it was like the North Pole before Santa made his deliveries, in my mind that is. Why did I go to an unfamiliar building for Christmas presents and not my apartment? It was hitting me that I was different.

I was told at young age in a settle way that college was important. My grandmother made me a unicorn bank when I was born which was placed on a tall shelf in my bedroom throughout early childhood. My mother would put a few pennies in the bank and say leave this here and keep adding to it throughout your school years and maybe just maybe you’ll have enough money saved to go to college.

It was always there inside me after the realization that I was different than others that I had to be different than most children. I would detain from my friends and talk to grown ups as though I was all grown up. I wanted to change the way things were. I told my mom I would find a job so we could get a house when I was only nine. I was unaware that no one would hire me. I know now what she must have felt. I learned the greatness of charity and donation at a young age. The nearby Christian Summer Camp named Kimble Camp always seemed interesting to me, but my mom would always say it was too much money. One year the camp offered students to come to the camp for fundraising efforts. Walking door to door around the community and standing just inside by the doorway at a local gas station named Eddie’s I raised all $700.00 to attend camp that summer. I felt great! I knew hard work meant you can receive something that’s great. I continued fundraising to attend for five years after. School was important to me growing up. I was told again and again by mother I could do anything and be anything. I was going to make it happen.

I was the nerd that everyone wanted their homework answers from. I was the unfashionable queen who sat with the “Dirty Ball Crowd” and wore those ugly nylon, stretch around the foot spandex. I was the band geek. I was the National Honor Society member. I was person who respected everyone. I was the news nerd that watched c-span and news reports because that’s the only channels that would come in without cable. I was the one who wore elf ears to help with Santa’s Workshop. I was the shy girl scout. I was the young volunteer who stood outside Walmart in zero degree temperatures ringing the Salvation Army bell. I was the girl who’s family bought food at Save-A-Lot.

LIFE, A FEATHER, AND DREAMS

I want to live the dreams that have been in the back of my mind for many years. I feel an odd calmness, unlike anything that I’ve had in many years. I would almost describe as this: I feel like a feather with a sense of passion and direction, but without anything to get in the way allowing it to float freely and travel where it wants, unbound by anything. I think about my dreams of visiting huge cities but also roaming through open nature filled fields without a single worry in life and only a sense of wonder and curiosity. I want to walk around barefoot and smell the earth and feel the dirt between my toes. A fresh breath of crisp air and sense of being. I want to teach others, read, learn, people watch, and experience. I want to live simply and decluttered and clean. I want to show off my fashion and beauty and creativity. I want to inspire others to do good and be all that they can be. I want to listen to music and enjoy the fruits and talent of others and see the special side to them that makes them unique. I want to run and I want to walk. I want to see the joys of life and experience all there is….
LIFE. It is so beautiful.

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Photo by Jenelle Hayes on Unsplash

(Originally written on: 04/16/2015)
Medium.com version of this post can be found here: https://medium.com/@aleesatoman/life-a-feather-and-dreams-fbbd97f3b5d7

Life’s Simple Pleasures

LIFE’S SIMPLE PLEASURES❤

Sometimes we can forget the simple things we like and are passionate about in life. This can even be as detailed as the smells, sights, and foods among many other simple and sometimes overlooked details in our life that evoke happiness and joy. Inspired by an exercise in a book I read (see details at the bottom of this post), I put together an evolving list of my life simple pleasures. I encourage you to do the same sometime. It doesn’t take too long, and it’s a nice refresher of your inner self-passions and often-times overlooked details that add value to your life. Hope you enjoy. ❤

My Life’s Simple Pleasures

  • Hearing the birds and other animals chirp in the morning with the smell of freshness and life. 🙂
  • Walking around barefoot even outdoors in the grass and dirt.
  • Sipping tea or coffee
  • Reading blogs and other short articles from news or other reputable sources
  • Reading about other people’s lives to get ideas
  • Pondering things. Especially life, human nature, morality, and personal growth.
  • Going to the salon to get my hair, nails, and other things done to make myself feel even more beautiful and trendy.
  • Travel
  • Driving in my car listening to music and singing with it just awfully but not caring at all. Lol
  • Being around old people. Especially older couples still completely in love and older couples & groups of elders having dinner conversations about life and current events. I want to do that when I’m old! I’m inspired!
  • Taking a walk in my community
  • Taking a walk in nature and usually observing the animals.
  • Going to museums and art galleries
  • Going to instrumental musical performances
  • Eating a really healthy, full of different veggies salad, raw veggies, and mixed fruit.
  • Having moments of reminiscing back to great memories of the past. This might involve traveling on occasion to my once favorite go-to restaurant or city where I used to live for a small moment of history but delight of what I love and have loved.
  • Spending time with my family doing very special things with them like going to a restaurant, eating, a concert, a play, a movie, or other events. I also enjoy simple things like talking with them and spending time with their loving pets.
  • Having time to just sit and have no obligations before me so that I can do whatever I want to do.
  • Keeping my apartment decluttered and clean.
  • Spending time with animals.
  • Buying new or used clothes, shoes, and accessories that show off my style.
  • Eating chocolate or other desserts and reallyyyyy enjoying them.
  • Reading books that I find interesting like the Simply Luxurious Life, Thirty Chic Days, The Leadership Contract, Minimalism Books, Zen and other Buddhism lifestyle books.
  • The smell of freshly cleaned clothes and blankets.
  • Being a part of a group that is working together to make something better. I like feeling apart of something and enjoy being around those that inspire and motivate me to be my best self and in turn, I can do the same for them also.
  • Going to a coffee or tea shop and just sitting and doing homework or reading or playing on the internet.
  • Listening to live music at coffee shops or sophisticated bars
  • Occasionally going to see a movie out while eating my kids sized popcorn combo. Lol
  • Laughing and finding humor in the little things.
  • Trying new things to see if I like them… getting out of my shell a little at times to do something different.
  • Talking to people about their hopes, dreams, and goals. I want to really know what motivates people and what their pleasures are. Who and what they care about and love. What they’re passionate about.
  • Running, playing tennis, playing softball.
  • Understanding what’s going on in the world and in my community. I like information.
  • Observing artists in action and/or seeing them with their pieces of art and/or craft so that I leave so happy and satisfied that these people are doing something special and following their passions in life.
  • Writing. Especially my goals in life.
  • Waking up warm and cozy and never wanting to get out of bed because it feels soooo good. Lol
The inspiration for this writing and brainstorm of my life simple pleasures came from the writing exercise found in Shannon Ables book, “Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman’s Guide”. You can read more about her and her blog here: www.thesimplyluxuriouslife.com
(Originally written on 08/26/2017)