Sitting with the Hard Truths: Gazing Into the Abyss...and Moving On

At my core, I am a thinker. In the past, I sat until I was ready. I ruminated until I was satisfied. I mulled things over until they resembled something sensical.

That's a surefire way to get (and stay) stuck.

I always thought that taking time to consider all sides was a mark of wisdom, but as I got older, I came to realize that progress will sometimes require building as you go along. So, the other day, I thought about the aspects of my life that make me feel stuck...and began the necessary work of liberating myself by accepting some hard truths.

You don't have to make any "end all, be all" decisions right now. The Idealist Romantic in me likes to think that all things are charged with meaning, that ducks need to be ever in that holy row. I'm also someone that will watch Netflix for hours on end (for no reason other than to relax), have an entire portion of my budget for french fries (because #yum), and can live in the moment (see: quote Her Highness Beyonce) alongside the best of 'em.

I was making my life unnecessarily more difficult. Time spent enjoying "free" moments can also be time well spent. One you've had your respite, get back to the chess game that is life.

You can either make money off your skills directly...or have someone else make money and manifest their vision using them. I've got some skills in spades. I love to write. I enjoy fiddling with ideas. I find pleasure beyond words in designing programs and tweaking broken modus operandi. I've worked for other people and organizations for my entire life (and made a habit out of chomping at the bit to do so) - but my skills are my own.

While it's not great to be arrogant or haughty, recognizing that your value follows you wherever you go is key. Make a mental change. Stop defining yourself by which organizations you're affiliated with and identify the personal capital in your wallet.

There's only one first place ribbon. I'm an idealist, but I'm also wildly competitive. Blame it on the only child gene. I'm all about self-mastery and grasping at excellence. Whether you're someone that loves having a pace car or someone that loves to be better than they were the day before (like me), we don't aim for perfection because it's easy -

...we aim for it because it's worth it, and because there's an unparalleled beauty in successful execution and completion. Turn that stale air into steam.

There is no such thing as security. I left school early. I've been laid off. I've eulogized a parent. Whether you're working to attain tenure or disrupting and pivoting your way to the top, remember: ain't nothing sacred...or beyond the grasp of failure.

Whether you're on top of the world or struggling on the underside of it, it will spin madly on. Do what you can, when you can, in the best way you know how.

If you don't know, learn. If you know how, make yourself valuable by teaching.

Money is created and given value...but it is valuable nonetheless. Deal.Lots of aspects of our human condition are constructed - race, gender roles, language - it's unwise to go about life as if things that are constructed don't matter.

Act as if the quality of your life depends on it...because it does.

It's like some sage person once declared: "Money doesn't buy happiness...but let me find out for myself!"

Someone is literally making money selling "nothing". Don't you ever think you lack value. The philosopher in me loves the idea of a capitalistic country selling Nothing, but the recovering self-doubter couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that sometimes a lack of substance can be a meaningful commodity.

The better side of this coin tells us that it's all about how you spin things.

Somewhere, there is a mediocre person running something. One up him. Every time I open up a magazine or scroll through a blog, I find articles about how women can excel in the workplace, how Millennials can convince our predecessors that we're worth a damn, how Black folks can be successful without being abrasive and breeding resentment in the workplace.

I live in the space where those identities converge and have the insight, awareness, and ability to help design an inclusive workplace and critique old models by drawing on language and understanding gathered from lived experience in the world.

Old ways won't open new doors. Meet your new coworker, moi.

What feels effortless to you may be Herculean for someone else. If you can make money or increase your quality of life by sharing...do it. I'm introverted, but when I'm "on", I'm "on". I'm comfortable speaking in public, love finding creative ways to convey information, and am set on fire to do amazing things.

Not everyone is skilled in the same way, and we all have our own wheelhouses. I've loved toying with language and dreaming up stories since I was a child. I never matured (or was cultured) out of my sense of wonder - and those propensities pay off on a daily basis. The very things that feel like second nature to me can be insurmountable to someone else.

Pull a Prometheus and share that fire. Don't worry - that eagle is long gone.

I want amazing things...and if I work hard, I'll come to deserve them.In 1914, W.E.B. Du Bois sent a letter to his daughter Yolanda (then 13 years old), who was studying in England. I couldn't imagine the weight of expectations that come along with being the daughter of Du Bois, but if I know one thing, it's this:

People tend to rise in direct relationship to the care provided them, the opportunities afforded them, and the measure of hope they maintain in service of making a better life for themselves.

This applies to me, too. I can dare to dream, I can envision something new for myself...and if I put in the hard work, come to deserve it. I'm daring myself to do better, dream bigger, and put the foundation under my lofty goals as I go along.