Be Your Best Where You Are

Hello from North Carolina. For real.   Shannan

I’m here in North Carolina trying on a new life. It’s been a pretty incredible journey so far. Lots of emotional changes: from excited and passionate to nervous and questioning to confident and comfortable.

Going through weeks of what felt like a monk’s dedication to study–I literally had to take one day at a time and unpack every single moment for what it was worth–I realized something. Or more so, a question arose:

What if life is more about HOW we do things than WHAT we do?

I do have to admit that this question came up because I found myself in a place that looked completely different than where I thought I would be at this moment, but I think it’s a valid question. I think we take so much effort and time searching for things–looking for a place, a person, a job, etc that is different/better/more important than what we have–that I think we sometimes miss the forest for the trees. I’ve never really understood that saying until just now. Think about it: we can get so caught up in the minute details of life and people that we miss out on the beauty that life is, and the joy and love that God wants us to have and to share.

Be your best right where you are.

Everyone knows my background and passion is in entertainment, specifically dance. I recently felt compelled to move myself to North Carolina to work for my sister at her real estate company. It’s a great career opportunity that honestly has nothing to do with anything I’ve ever done. I say I chose to move, but I cooperated with God. Things just weren’t working out monetarily the way that I wanted them to in New York, and I believe I made the right choice to cooperate with what will have a lasting positive effect on my career, family and personal life.

Even though I’ve never been here before, or thought I would ever be here, I choose to be my best right here. Being my best means that I am fully engaged with my work, with the surrounding community and with myself. I had to look at what I had in my hand, and then choose to work it. I haven’t stopped dreaming or given up, but I am taking care of myself and taking actual, successful actions that become steps to where I really want to go. I feel like I am building now instead of sort of dream-coasting.

Where are you in life right now?

Since my move, I have committed myself to being more present in each moment. I used to think that each moment was a time to learn something new or to adjust, but I am more interested now in taking in each moment and experiencing the ever-present beauty, uniqueness and potential awesomeness. I believe that in the past I have missed out on some pretty incredible moments trying to make them perfect, or wanting to rush to the end (college years anyone?).

Where are you in life right now? Can you slow down and actually experience what’s happening? How can you be more present and offer your best even if you are in a place that you never imagined you’d be?
Love you! I really do-ooo!!!

Practical Resource Corner:

Inspirational Thoughts:

“Quit worrying about how everything is going to turn out. Live one day at a time; better yet, make the most of this moment. It’s good to have a big – picture outlook, to set goals, to establish budgets and make plans, but if you’re always living in the future, you’re never really enjoying the present in the way God wants you to.”
― Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

“It’s vital that you accept yourself and learn to be happy with who God made you to be. If you want to truly enjoy your life, you must be at peace with yourself.”
― Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential


Dump the Delusions


Throughout your life, were you told that you could be anything that you wanted to be? Yea, I bet you were.  I was told the same thing too, but I think I got the wires crossed because I now know that yes, I can be anything I want to be, just not everything I want to be.

Put a bit more clear: Be honest with yourself about your limitations.

Think Nate Robinson (it is NBA Playoff season ya’ll;
and no, I’m not a Bulls fan,
I’m from the M-I-A!! Go Heat!). Nate Robinson stands about 2 feet shorter than his teammates
I’m sure someone told him that he could be anything that he wanted to be, and against all odds he became an NBA powerhouse (him being 5’9 when the average height of a basketball player today is cited in Wikipedia as 6’7).  Nate didn’t abandon his dream, Nate got clear about his limitations in order to realize his dreams.  Nate isn’t working overtime trying to dunk on Shaq or screen Kobe–he’s honest about what he can do, and has cultivated great 3-point shots, shooting over the entire league’s average (oh, what a girl can find on!).

My point is this: Figure out what you’re NOT good at (don’t settle into your potential–woulda, coulda, shoulda, anyone?), and learn how to work that to your advantage.

This could mean that you aren’t very good at math, so you sign up for a refresher course to get really good, or you instead you pivot completely to seek out opportunities that play to your skills in writing and design.  This could also mean that you finally realize that  as much as you’ve studied, practiced and auditioned, that you’re just not going to get the role; so you pivot toward makeup design; something else that you have skills in that allows you the opportunity to really grow and succeed (go Alexandra!).

This has all surfaced for me because I am thinking of moving out of New York for good(ish)–NEWSFLASH! I have been around the Big Apple mountain many times before, producing the same result each time: a slew of small/temporary (but really cool) jobs or projects, not a lot of cash, separation from family and an anxiety about how to plan for the future.  As I sit here, writing from SC, I realize that I have been fooling myself about where I am in life in relationship to what I want out of it (and being this much closer to 30 isn’t helping).

The limitations that New York places on me (living with roommates, piecing together jobs to survive, being 4 hours from my next of kin, etc)  don’t settle with my actual visions of owning a home on the coast of NC, living close to family, saving money and starting my own family. By dumping the delusions and pivoting toward something that makes more sense for me (cutting costs, paying down cc debt and saving for a home), I expect to experience an actual presence and development in my life of the things that I dream about.

Have you been fooling yourself about something? Someone? Some place?

Get clear. Be honest. Dump the Delusions.

Love you! I really do-ooo!!!

Practical Resource Corner:

Inspirational Thoughts:

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” 
– George Bernard Shaw

“I gave myself permission to suck. And I felt free.”
Mastin Kipp 

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.”
Eleanor Roosevelet

More Interesting Reading:
Know your limitations
Don’t follow your passion, follow your effort
‘Follow your passion’ is crappy advice
The power of diligence
In choosing a job, ask yourself what you are willing to get good at

Cultivating Play and Rest

Cafe Work

While reading the free sample of the book  (thank you Kindle Whisper Sync) entitled, Daring Greatly, a book suggested to me from a member of my Lean In Circle, I came across something that made me go “hmmm….”

In her research, Brené Brown, the author of Daring Greatly  (link to video) discovered 10 guideposts for living Wholeheartedly (a way of living by people who live vulnerable, resilient lives and who believe in their worthiness). Number 7 on her list is the idea of Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth. 

Whoa!! hmmmm…. what?!?

This idea is so magnificent and layered and actually came to me a few weeks ago while riding the train to a café that I was about to set up shop in for the day.  I realized something in that moment on the train–that I was about to embark on a journey (ok, a day of tasks…) toward my dream that would not take me all day–and I felt anxious about that.  Somewhere inside me, I felt like something was wrong; that I wasn’t doing enough/was failing since I wouldn’t have enough work to fill my day for the prescribed  8-10 hours of a “regular” work day.

Then I had to SNAP myself back into reality and remember that I asked and planned for this lifestyle–a lifestyle where I can work from anywhere I want, and have the flexibility to set my time, and actually get things done without all of the crazy (and ABSOLUTELY unnecessary) meetings, check-ins, calls, Skype chats, performance reviews, blah, blah, blah that fills the office 8-hour day. That being EXHAUSTED at the end of the day is exactly what I DIDN’T WANT.  That I am making a strong effort to have time to actually LIVE; to explore, take time for myself, and have time for friends and family.  That time to live life is my desire, and therefore should be my symbol of success, status, and productivity.

It’s an interesting battle to have with yourself once you realize that you have actually been holding exhaustion as a measure of success.  I mean, why do we feel that being tired all of the time is some BADGE OF HONOR?  No thank you!! I want to be lucid and energized for my life.  I want to engage in activities and work that bring me energy, life and that edify and support me. Yes, Yes, Yes!!

What do you think about that?

Practical Resource Corner:

Inspirational Thoughts:

“Don’t compare your struggles to anyone else’s. Don’t get discouraged by the success of others. Make your own path and never give up.” ~ Farrah Gray via @ashanimfuko

 “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly…”   ~Theodore Roosevelt

“What’s worth doing even if I fail?”    ~Brené Brown

Gabrielle Bernstein at TEDXFiDiWomen Conference on How to be a Miracle Worker

Clarity is Key

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want and how to get it.  I recently realized that what is most important isn’t necessarily what I want, but that I have set a goal to achieve something and that I stay focused on achieving it.  For instance, those goals I’ve been setting for myself everyday have become a source of satisfaction and disappointment.  How can that be? Well, when I set a goal and move toward it, even if it’s something like “Go to the grocery store” I feel overall accomplished, motivated and amped to tackle something else.  But when I don’t complete that task or goal, I feel overwhelmed and disappointed in myself that I didn’t get it done.  When I scale that thought (as I blow up most things in my mind), I can see this as something that happens in life in general: it really doesn’t matter what you set out to do, it’s more about whether you embody the discipline and persistence to accomplish your goal.

This is where CLARITY enters.
In order to accomplish anything, you have to set a clear goal, clearly identify the task or walk the 5 blocks to the store. I mean, for real.

Author Brian Tracy says, “Clarity is everything. To perform at your very best and double your productivity, you must be absolutely clear about what you want to accomplish.”  He goes on to say that a clear goal “must be believable and achievable, specific and measurable.”

So creating everyday tasks is the right idea, but I think we must also take this as an overall ideal for our life. What do I want to accomplish in the next 5, 10 , 15 years?  What will I want to tell my grandkids that I did?  Thinking like this helps me get clear about career, but also opens my heart and mind to other awesome goals like volunteering, traveling, and crossing some things off of my bucket list (i.e. driving across country–anybody up for a road trip?!?)

When I get clear about what I want to accomplish, I get less scared.  I currently feel more assured about myself than I ever have before.  This knowing what I want to do helps me be better at saying ‘no’ to things that don’t fall in line with my goal, it helps me budget my money and begin to plan for the future.  I am settled in the fact that there are no explicit right or wrong choices (regarding life paths people!), but just chances to make clear choices that groove with our soul and our God-given talents.

Dance is my passion. Period. No more wiggling around. I’m here. This is what I am doing.

What can you shout out loud? What are you sure about? I’d actually really love to know. I WILL find you some sort of resource/connection that will be helpful to your journey. It’s just what I do.

Practical Resource Corner: I found this blog about making cold calls/emails helpful this week. I set out to connect with a NY dance agency to give feedback on my new site. Using Marcy Twete‘s method I got a response! Check out the blog here.

Love you! I really do-ooo!!


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Believe in Yourself

Believe in Yourself

So, I am currently working on launching my own business.  As many of you know, I have been toying around with ideas for years; settling on things that resonate with me in the moment, but then switching up and trying something else.  I really feel like Denise Huxtable from The Cosby Show, changing my direction every few years, and never really setting on someting.  What I realized recently, is that deep down inside (I mean way down deep) I’m not sure that I believe that I can accomplish what I am setting out to do. And that belief actually connects to this idea that I need to accomplish something substantive, not necessarily for myself, but for outward recognition and reward.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who dreamt as a child about being a teacher, lawyer, astronaut, or doctor.  I even entered undergrad as a Bio/Pre-Med major! When I look back I realize that I chose my major out of thinking it would look good to other people, not necessarily how it would feel to me. I’m proud to announce that after many changes (including leaving undergrad to dance in New York, then re-entering as a Poli/Sci Major and THEN crying to my parents once I realized I wasn’t being ‘authentic’), that I graduated with a Theater and Dance degree.

But that’s not the end of the story. I’m not settled into what I want to do. I’ve done about 7 other things since graduating college, and I believe that this goes back to not truly believing in myself.

That is the work that I am doing, starting with launching my business.  I have read many articles and blogs that say that the key to self-esteem and confidence is ACCOMPLISHMENT. Readthis for more info. So, I am on a quest to set out goals each day, and working on accomplishing those goals (this email was one of them).

I’m interested in moving forward, and not continuously going around and around the same mountain, and I believe that choosing self-confidence is my way out.

Watch Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love tell you why your excuses are BS here.

Will you join me on this journey?

Let me know if you liked this by replying AND subscribing to the list for more inspiration!

Love you! I really do-ooo!!