Lessons Learned from My Climb

One of the things I learned from really taking a look back at my memoir was that I learned how to capitalize on my leadership skills. All the experiences I had and the obstacles I had to overcome led me to know that I wanted to be a courageous leader. The type of leader who was wiling to take risks; the type of leader who was willing to step out and ask for the success that I had worked for and deserved.

Henry Drummond said, “Unless a man undertakes more than he possibly can do, he will never do all that he can do”.

I choose to develop a strategy to lead. I wanted to do all that I could do. I had to be better than average, better than functional. The first strategy was personal development. I had to evaluate my education and experience. I knew that the success I wanted required that I get more education so I went back to school to get my degree. I capitalized on my experience by making sure to include all the skills I had learned over the years in my resume.

Next, I had to understand my leadership style. What kind of leader did I want to be? I had to ask myself if I could influence, motivate, inspire, or increase enthusiasm in others. These are the characteristics that I admired in leaders and these are the characteristics I wanted to display in my role as a leader.

Next, was to do an honest assessment of my abilities and goals. Where was I in this process? What goals haven’t I fulfilled? What or who was keeping me from achieving these goals? If it was me, then what did I need to do to move forward. I needed to be clear with what I wanted. I knew I might have to confront some uncomfortable truths along the way to get where I needed to be, but my success as a courageous leader was worth a little discomfort.

As a courageous leader, I needed to know that there was nothing that I couldn’t do.
I had to make sure I felt empowered to accomplish the goals I set. It was important not to put any limits on myself.

I wanted to be the one who also influences others to achieve goals
I wanted to be the kind of leader who leads by example
I wanted to rally as many people as possible to a better future
I wanted to be the kind of leader who inspires, motivates and increases
enthusiasm in others.

I also knew that it was important to be the kind of leader who
Has a passion for action
Remains focused on the goal
Helps others to succeed
Achieves personal excellence
Be willing to risk it all

I continued on because I didn’t want to be the person sitting around saying, “What if I had done this,” or “what if I had done that.” A life coach once said it is better to “fear regret more than you regret failure”.

What Do I Want My Readers to Know About “Worth The Climb”

What Do I Want My Readers to Know About My Book

 The purpose of my book is to help that person who has been blocked from reaching the next step to their success. My book talks about some strategies that I used when blocked from reaching the next level on my ladder of success. It details the obstacles that blocked me, and which strategy worked best. It talks about how I decided what excited me and why I chose to go after the success I deserved. In order to do that, I had to develop realistic strategies. Below are some of the strategies I discuss in my book.

Strategy: Do An Honest Self-Assessment

 When I was told I wasn’t qualified for a job, I had to make sure I knew myself.   The following strategy worked for me. I made a list of my skills and a list of skills required for the job I wanted. Now it was time to fill in the gaps. Does the job I want require more education or training? I was able to research the Internet and find job descriptions that mirrored the job I wanted. Now was time to fill in the gaps with education or training.

Strategy: How to Market Yourself:

Now that the gaps are filled in and you are qualified for the job, it is time to market myself for the job. Develop a thirty second-elevator pitch, which quickly introduces yourself and your skills. There are examples of elevator speeches on the Internet. Know who needs to hear your pitch. Get an organization chart of your organization so you know who you need to pitch to. Make sure to dress for the position you want and not the one you have. If your current job requires you to wear jeans but the job you want requires business casual then you should be wearing business casual every day in your current job just in case the opportunity arises.

Strategy: Challenge the Obstacle:

Don’t settle. Why can’t you have it all? “The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others. Set your goals and the steps required to reach your goals. Stay disciplined and focused. You want to think bigger and bolder. Be a risk taker. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and present new ideas. Just because they have always done it that way doesn’t mean there isn’t a better, more productive way to get the same or better results. Booker T. Washington said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

I want my readers to know that among the most important pieces of my personal definition of success were an inner sense of calm, resilience and the continued commitment to achievement at the highest level.

I want my readers to know that they are worthy of having all their dreams come true. Get moving. What you move toward moves you closer toward your goal.

I want my readers to know that Geoffrey Gaberino said, “The real contest is always between what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing. You measure yourself against yourself and nobody else.”

Overcoming Obstacles to Success: Lessons I Learned on my Journey

Many of life’s failures are people who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up.   Thomas Edison”

Can I be happy if I don’t feel successful?  Have I done everything I can to ensure success?  What are my short term goals? What are my long term goals?  Have I developed a plan to ensure commitment to my goals?  These were the questions I asked myself when I began my journey to become successful in Corporate America.  I didn’t want Thomas Edison’s words to be a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Looking back on my journey today I wished I had formed a strategy for success.  I knew what the end result should be but I didn’t plan for all the obstacles I would face.  As each obstacle occurred, my actions were reactive rather than proactive.  My first reactions were anger and bitterness.  It didn’t take me very long to determine that anger wasn’t a good strategy.  With the support of family and friends, I was able to push away the bitterness and anger and focus on achieving my goals.

Although I had grown up learning the sting of racism and expected to face obstacles as a woman and as a black woman even more obstacles, what I wasn’t prepared for was the religious discrimination I faced on my career path to success.  I wasn’t sure how to respond.  I didn’t want to betray my beliefs nor did I want to anger my college professor and risk failing the religious courses that were required to graduate.  I had always been an honor student so this posed quite a dilemma.  I decided to meet the professor halfway.  I would stick to my beliefs and receive a “B” instead of an “A” for the course.

Today I am happy with the end result of my struggle.  I was able to take advantage of the many opportunities presented to me.  Those opportunities allowed me to close one door and open many more doors of opportunities.  My new life is full of wonderful new challenges but I am armed with new skill sets to meet those challenges.

Lessons Learned

  • I am responsible for my success
  • I am responsible for the outcome of my decisions.
  • It’s hard to push forward if you are always looking back
  • It’s better to preserve and look for excellence rather than cling to anger
  • The decisions I make affect others so I must be careful with my choices
  • Keep striving to be the best I can be.  If It’s my best, it’s good enough

I invite you to share your experiences on your journey to success.  Feel free to comment below.

How Writing Meditation Method Affected My Writing

For forty years, I was a technical writer. It took me 10 years to complete my first non-fiction book, a memoir. But when I decided to write my second book as fiction and in less time, I was unable to even begin writing. Desperate to find some way that will help me write again, I frantically researched.  And I discovered the Mindful Writers Group. I did not know what to expect from the Group but had a strong inclination that if I join it I will overcome my writing block.

For me, reading is a great stimulant for ideas. I read voraciously to decide on a subject to write about. I searched for a topic for which I would not be criticized the way I was for writing my memoir, Worth the Climb. I looked for ideas that would be creative, informative and keep me disciplined and focused.

Equipped with a topic, I went to attend the Mindful Writers Group Wednesday meeting. Today, as I reflect on my first session of following the Writing Meditation Method, I wish I had learned it sooner.  That first morning as I meditated and wrote in my journal, I examined my thoughts and feelings. This was followed by several hours of writing my first draft.

Each week at our meetings, I wrote with such passion that I didn’t even know I had.  The Method allowed me to clear away anger that had a deeper effect on me then I had realized.  Fifteen minutes of Body Meditation and journaling helped me to reflect and write freely about my experiences. The practice seemed to give me permission to honestly write what was on my heart and mind. It unlocked a door and let my pent up feelings of joy, sorrow, happiness, fear, doubt and guilt stream out all at once.

At one of the sessions, during the fifteen minutes of journaling I was able to put my feelings in a letter to a friend who had been estranged from me for years. Here is an excerpt:

    When I awake from my dreams I almost feel guilty that I am so happy.  I wonder why I deserve this happiness.  What did I do to deserve it?  We traveled the same path, the two of us.  How could our lives be so far apart now?  What or who decided which path we should choose?  Why do you blame me for my happiness?  Why the anger?  Why the jealously?  I want you to be as happy as I am.  You deserve to know you have made a difference in my life.  You are part of the reason I chose the path I did.  Now you have chosen to run away from here, from this city, from this path, will it be any better for you elsewhere?  I hope so. But I have reservations. In my practice I have learnt that the change you seek has to come from within you.  All this stuff you hold onto only holds you back. It blocks you.

I was amazed at the sincerity of my emotions and the depth of my writing. I wondered how much of myself should I reveal?  Should I hold some back for later? But I kept writing until the bell sounded for us to stop. I had written with such intensity that my fingers felt cramped. I was so elated to complete the letter that I wanted to frame it and hang it in my office!

The practice of Writing Meditation Method has given me freedom to explore my innermost feelings and thoughts.  Such feelings are authentic which makes them original. The Method is a writer’s tool that is helping me understand myself. It teaches discipline to set short-goals with realistic expectations.

I know my current writing is the result of the beginning of knowing myself. It is awareness about who I am. This awareness is leading me closer to my real Self.  It is the result of examining my thoughts and feelings that the Mindful Writers Group practices. The Method has shown me that there is a relationship between writing and meditation. It has shown me how I can fearlessly express my passion. It has shown me how to experience who I truly am. And most importantly, it has empowered me so that I can overcome obstacles placed in my writing path.