Advice giving becomes challenging, when the receiver is not ready

Advice giving becomes challenging, when the receiver is not ready

You can’t take a lot of people with you, because some people are not ready to go. However, I am always willing to take them. I do this through sharing experiences, being open and honest in offering advice and being available to answer some of life’s most challenging questions when I can personally relate to it.

I do this by opening the book of my life to them, free of charge. I do it without expecting anything in return except for them to take what I give them when they ask for it. Or to respect my time enough to do not return for the same advice on the same situation that they chose to ignore and continue to ignore.

However, it’s important to know that some people can’t take what you give them because they do not have the space for it. They are consumed with what they want to do and what they think will work, void the fact that they have come to you for advice. They have not cleared the space in their mind, to receive your wisdom. This must be why people say that you can not help the man who is not willing to help himself.

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The problem I am finding is a lot of people want advice on overcoming a problem, where they can still take the problem with them. In other words, what they are really looking for, is a way to solve a problem that would also allow them to keep the problem. But unless you can turn that problem into a workable or viable solution, it will always be a problem.

When you are seeking advice, there is some work that you will need to put in, on your behalf. You must take the baby steps such as bracing yourself to hear something that you may not want to hear; getting prepared to follow through; being ready to move. This creates the space to receive the advice that YOU are asking for.

This should manifest in actions. Because if you want to get through it, you may have to do something that you don’t want to do. Are you willing? And are you ready?

Example: A woman who is finding it hard to leave a relationship with a man because she loves him. He treats hear badly and is abusive.

What is she ready to receive in her advice seeking?

She seeks advice on how to get out of an abusive relationship. The advice giver shares with her a rock-solid plan, over and over and wonders why she keeps asking how to get out. It’s because she’s only ready to receive advice on how to stay and make him just stop tearing her down. Do you see how this situation would change the advice? The Advice giver is telling her how to get out,  but she cannot receive that because she is really looking for a way to keep the problem and just make it better. You can’t give her that advice when the unchanging variable is that he will not stop. She must be the changing variable here, and she must want her outcome of “getting out” before you can offer that advice.

People in Front of Macbook Pro

A different example of when advice giving becomes hard:

They ask you what to do and how to do something specific, in which you may have done. But then, they don’t move as fast or with the consistency that they should. I am not speaking of minutes and seconds which could still make all the difference, but I am speaking about when an action needs to be taken in which they’ve had ample time to take, but they haven’t moved in years.

What are they ready to receive?

What they really want is advice on how to keep doing things their way, but to achieve the result that you achieved. You moved quick and swift, but they want you to tell them how to drag their feet and do it.

They continue to do things their way but come back to you over and over wondering why THEIR own plan to achieve YOUR results are not working. Tell them to come back to you after they have tried everything that they want to try. Because while there are several ways to accomplish most things, you cannot keep asking someone over and over, what to do or what they did, if after they have told you over and over, you are not going to follow through.

By allowing them to continue to return to you about their situation, one in which they are in because they will not follow through; you are enabling them to prolong what needs to be done. At the same time, they will want you to live in the idle moments with them, constantly reflecting or remaining immobile in their approach toward moving from their stagnant place. Remove yourself from their cycle of repeat behavior. When they can no longer count on you to help prolong the process, perhaps they will move. Or offer them minimal support but refrain from advice.

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I also want to be very clear that this advice pertains to things that someone CAN do something about. When they are the ones standing in their own way, they can move out of their own way and see the results they want. It’s much different from a situation where several factors weigh in on ones’ ability to move now. Real factors, not a false sense of fear or effortless actions to move on their own behalf.

One last thing: When advice-seekers give you the scenario and leave out keen details, they are looking for a response that will fit what they want to do. They are a part of their own problem. Sometimes they are showing you a false scenario and that’s why they can’t find the solution for themselves. When they intentionally leave out details, they too know that this is the real problem but until they are honest with themselves about it, your advice will not help them.

Be honest about your situation when you’re seeking advice. Otherwise, it’s counterproductive. Also, it’s not being considerate of the time of the person you’re asking advice from. Because at some point you’re going to keep resurfacing with the same problem because you’re applying advice in a situation where it doesn’t fit!

When you seek someone’s’ advice about how to handle a Caterpillar, but you’ve omitted the part about it being a Butterfly, the advice is different. If you can’t recognize that a Caterpillar is now a Butterfly, then you will keep treating a butterfly situation like the caterpillar.

Being dishonest and not forthcoming about major details that could alter the advice in your advice seeking is a sign that you are not ready to move from the situation.

Front Load Loader Beside White Dump Truck

Another Reference: Demanding someone’s time and attention to your urgent matter of getting across a bridge with an 18-Wheeler but you don’t want to share that detail with the person you’re asking, so you lead them to believe it’s a compact car. Here’s what happens: An 18-wheeler comes with a different set of instructions, which would alter the advice of the wheeler versus the car. But you take that advice based on a using a car and you attempt to cross on that bridge. What happens? You fall into a deeper more dangerous situation, thus creating an even bigger problem, dragging your advice giver with you.

The only solutions I can offer to the person in the position to give advice, is to stop or to study your subject more carefully and to gauge their readiness to receive the advice; so that you can preserve your time.

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It is necessary to add that this bold approach to stop giving advice is with consideration given to the fact that you have already been compassionate with them. You’ve treated them delicately, careful not to upset them, hurt them or kick them while they are down. You’ve been patient with them. You’ve tolerated all you can in watching them not help themselves and not be willing to take the advice. And when I say that people are not ready, I also speak of people who are not ready to hear the truth because to them, anything other than what they want to hear will come across as rude and unsettling.

I think that the only people who are equipped in handling some of these situations are licensed professionals and specialist who are trained to the nature of people in these areas, who can recognize the deeper, underlying issues, causes and concerns and remain unbiased in addressing them.

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Cultivating Lasting Friendships

It is true that everyone you meet in life will serve some type of purpose. People come and go. All are not meant to remain in your life forever. Some serve purpose for a season, a reason and once the time passes; they drift and the memories fade while the impact remains. If we are kind to ourselves, we will recognize each person for who they are and even when they were not serving, we will see purpose in the departure. We will have learned something from that alone.

A lucky few will find a diamond in the rough that we call friends. When we are so fortunate, we must adhere to the rules of cultivating a lasting friendship.

Sharon and I are living proof that friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said I am here for you and have proved it.

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We were two people in the same place at the right time when our paths crossed. I was doing my regular, which was sitting outside Crave Cupcakes; indulging in a half a dozen cupcakes by myself, as I basked in the sun. She, striding down the sidewalk in full, savvy business attire with a briefcase in one hand and cell phone in the other; the epitome of a Business Woman.

Strangers to one another, we exchanged hellos and compliments upon greeting each other. She then took a seat at my cupcake table and subsequently, in my life. We chatted for about two hours that afternoon and the rest was history. That day, she became Malibu Barbie and I, Jewel-Time Barbie.

In our recent girl chat, we were conversing about how we met. We laughed about some of the things we have been through and about how our friendship has grown over the years. It dawned on us that many people do not know what it takes to make friendship with another woman, work. So, we wanted to share what exists in our friendship and what we think it takes to cultivate a lasting friendship.

I think in our case, we both possessed a level of confidence in ourselves which allowed us to SEE each other, the day we met. Had we not, we would not have been able to pass on the compliments and have the exchange. Some people are not willing or are not able to interact with someone who seems to have it all. We saw one another as an equal. She had it all, I had it all-whatever that was!

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Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Here are some things to consider:

You can’t feel threatened by your friend: You can’t take score or count years and how much time it takes them over you, to excel or to reach a goal or to achieve things in life. While you can take inventory of your own life, you shouldn’t measure it by your friend success in such a way that you feel that you need to compete with them or keep up with them and always one up them to satisfy yourself.

Because when you do this, it’s not a motivation factor anymore. It becomes a rigorous competition. You will not be able to commend your friend at this point. Because you’re too busy pointing out to them what you did.

We congratulate and clap when the other person wins! We want to see each other win, succeed and be happy and healthy and we don’t just say it; we show it by being positive, motivating factors for each other

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Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

We’ve never been jealous of one another. We don’t compete

We feed off each other’s energy. We make friendship deposits in equal exchange

We uplift, inspire and encourage each other

We respect opinions and agree to disagree where compromise in understanding is not reached

We respect differences

We are eager to learn from one another: We KNOW that we can learn something from the other and we are open to learning without being intimidated

We trust one another: We can confide in one another without fear of our deepest secrets being repeated; which allows us to be open, transparent and vulnerable. We can vent without it being thrown in our face later.

We do not do things to intentionally upset the other and because of that, we never have to “get even”

We give each other the time and space that may be needed sometimes

We don’t just hear one another, we listen to one another

We offer solutions in our advice-giving versus opinions full of self-serving emotions

We show up for one another and are make ourselves available; We make ourselves available for emergencies – we also respect the other individuals time, where when it’s not an emergency we don’t require their immediate attention

I think all the above are the ingredients that make up our friendship and have allowed us to continue with the friendship that we have. Life can throw curve balls every now and again. It is my hope that you too, are able to endure those times with someone that you can call a friend. It makes it so much easier.

HOTEL SAFETY TIPS AND A MESSAGE FOR THOSE WHO TRAVEL ALONE

Traveling is something that comes with the territory as a businesswoman. Often-times, for the working woman and mother; this means traveling alone and in some cases with a family of small children. Then there’s vacations, extended vacations and overnight excursions which require check-in at Hotels or Motels for a temporary or short-term stay.

When traveling alone is the circumstance, it is important to take pro-active measures in addressing concerns accordingly. Especially when it comes to checking in and out of hotels in various or even foreign countries.

Article originally published at Bloggy Moms

Brown Wooden Photo Frame at Gray Concrete Wall

This advice doesn’t omit hotels that are in well-lit areas adorned with valet, spas, on-site shopping and parking garages and a hefty price. While it may be more rare for crime to occur in the nicer areas, stats have shown that they have their share of concerns as well. In fact, while I have felt safer in the hotels with cameras, I also discovered that those cameras more than half of the time are inoperable. So there’s really no way to determine a level of safety and security by the display of cameras.

Here’s what I would recommend:

  1. Check online at sites such as Trip Advisor for ratings and reviews of the hotel to see what other customers are saying about the hotel.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of  those who have made reviews. They don’t mind answering and it’s part of the reason they have provided the review.
  3. Upon arrival, be aware of your surroundings as you are exiting your vehicle and gathering your belongings.
  4. Drive a circle around the hotel upon checking in, to locate all the entries and exits. Use the one closest and most accessible to your room, to eliminate the time spent walking through empty or vacant and dark parking lots.

Here’s something to consider upon checking into a hotel:

  1. When traveling alone, make sure the desk attendant does not announce your room number aloud for other guest and strangers to hear.
  2. Ask him/her to provide the room number on the inside of the key card.

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I recall a time where I was checking into a hotel that I did not have time to research prior to arrival. However, I felt comfortable enough to book in the zip code. It was about 7 pm in the evening when I arrived, bags in tow and I was alone. At the time of my arrival, I was the only one in the lobby. I approached the front desk. About a minute or two into the exchange of information, someone else arrive. He approached the counter with a small bag and stood right next to me; so close in proximity that our elbows periodically bumped. The desk attendant assumed we were together. I moved over to the left, attempting to create space and distance, but each time I did so, he moved along with me. It was rather weird because there was more than enough room at the counter, not to mention the empty lobby which he could have entertained while waiting his turn in line. Also, I’ll note that it was not as if the lobby resembled a crowded concession stand where you can’t help but “accidentally” bump into someone or stand closer than your comfort would allow otherwise.

I asked the attendant to allow the man to go ahead and check in before me. I stated that he seemed to be eager to be first in line and I did not want to be the cause of his delay. The man then insisted I go first, so I turned and ask him if he would mind stepping over a few paces, as I was trying to secure my room. Then, I handed the clerk a note asking that he not announce my room number when he processed the transaction.

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And here’s why I did this:  Can you recall the times you have checked into a hotel, where when you’re all set to go to the room; the attendant says “OK. Mrs. so and so…. You will be in room 211, 2nd floor, first room to the left of the elevator right by the ice machine.” They say it loud enough for anyone and everyone standing in line as well as in the lobby. So, in effort to conceal my room number for my own safety and privacy concerns, I wanted to make sure that when I walked away, the attendant knew that I did not know this man. (The Erin Andrew’s story of her being stalked comes to mind. I too was on a business trip and had already disclosed all this information to the attendant, which in turn the customer who was braising my elbow, overheard.)

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On another occasion, I was standing at the check-in counter and had just been given my room key when the attendant announced my room number aloud. She then wrote it on the envelope, handed it to me and gave me and just before she began to direct me as to which elevator to take; The guy standing about a foot away from me commented, “Ohhh… you got room 2121? That’s the penthouse. That’s a nice room. I’ve been in that room. Do you need company?”

While the live Trip Advisor review standing in front of me could have just been offering small talk, I was alone and it was not comforting to me to know that the random stranger who just offered to come to my room, knew exactly what room I would be in.

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Keep this in mind: Hotel staff know about as much about their guest as you do. Which is not much. There is no criminal or background check required for checking into any hotel. Aside from looking at an ID if they are using a credit card, the attendants at the front desk know nothing about their guest. If you can afford a stay at a hotel and a room is available, you are eligible.

TIP: Ask the clerk not to say your room number aloud. Ask them to write it down on your room key, as they typically do, and that will suffice. If you need directions to your room, there’s always a map layout of the hotel available. When the hotels are larger in size, such as a resort; you can almost always find another representative who is standing away from the other guest, directing guest traffic and providing further instruction when you step away from the counter.

Article originally published on BloggyMoms.com at (Hotel Safety Tips and A Message For Those Who Travel Alone http://bloggymoms.com/hotel-safety-tips-and-a-message-for-those-who-travel-alone/ via @bloggymoms)

How Important is it to have a supportive partner and to be one yourself?

How Important is it to have a supportive partner and to be one yourself?

Having been in a relationship where I had the support of a significant other and having been in another one where I did not; I can say that for me at least, there was a significant difference in the dynamics of the relationship.

In my opinion, when partners support one another in their quest, feats, ventures… they develop a connection unlike one where being uninvolved brings distance and gaps in communication. A relationship where there is support for one another creates a unique sense of bonding.

I don’t think the fact that someone wants a supportive partner means they are being co-dependent and are not self-motivated; but rather being further driven by the presence of someone who supports what they do and someone who shows that they are playing for the same team.

Being supportive can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. A partner can be involved in the projects that their partner is participating in, to increase visibility of their brand, promote awareness of the brand and/or taking a hands-on approach in the grassroots production of the project/product or service being offered.

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If you watched the movie Brown Sugar, where the relationship between Sidney and Kelby……… played by Sanai Lathan and Boris Kodjo; do you remember the scene where she was sitting in the bleachers at one of his practice games? He couldn’t tell her anything about any articles she’d written, when asked; yet she was all in with what he was doing. It was a pivotal moment in their relationship-at least from the angle of the camera and the beat that was placed in that scene. And likewise, how Nicole Arie Parkers’ character did NOT support her fiancé, played by Taye Diggs. The two people who supported one another the most, loved and understood… are the two that ended up together in the end.

Remember the Movie, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, with Stella and Winston……. Played by Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs. Remember the scene where it was made known to the audience that he’d spent hours upon hours bringing her shop/hobby back to life after he saw that she had a passion that laid dormant.

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And then, let’s take some real-life examples: Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Magic and Cookie Johnson, Boris Kodjo and Nicole Arie Parker, Dwayne and Gabrielle Union-Wade, Ciara and Russel Wilson, Alicia Keys and Swiss Beats, Marjorie and Steve Harvey. Just to name a few. Hell, I didn’t know about some of the side ventures, such as Nicole Arie Parker’s sweat bands being sold in Target, until I saw it posted on her husband’s Instagram page. I didn’t know about Jada Pinkett Smith newest Facebook TV Show, until Will Smith posted it on his social media.

Don’t be afraid of seeing your partner, thrive, soar, succeed and be great. Get behind them and continue to motivate them. Especially when that is all that’s required. Sometimes they just need to know that their biggest fan is the one they are sharing their heart and word with.

Couple Under Garden Arch Surrounded With Flowers

Are you the type of partner who knows everything about what your significant other is involved in, who effortlessly allocates time toward supporting them in the simplest ways as making a social media post to tell them how proud you are of them or to inform others to help spread the word about what you are most excited about in your partners venture? Are you the type who will run a few errands to ease the load and assist in meeting production deadlines of a project they are working on? Do you collaborate with your partner on ventures, so that they two of you can maximize time together while showing your support of what they are involved in?

Or, are you the partner, whom when asked about what your significant other does or what kind of business they have; you are at a lost for words yourself because you have no clue- you’ve never asked, you’re never involved, you’ve never purchased their product for you or anyone else, you’ve never told anyone else about the product. That’s exemplary of someone who’s not supportive.

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Talk to your partner about your visions, your goals. Be open to criticism and constructive criticisms if they bring to the table a source of business knowledge that you have not been privy to. Be open to innovative ideas that would make it work. Share ideas and creative points on what you want to do and what you want to see. Write down the plan for them if you must and commit yourself to a time to meet again to go over it together to explain and make clear the mission and vision, so that they are able to see where they can fit in and perhaps fill in the missing pieces.

Sharing the passion in the purpose with your partner, lessens the amount of stress. It builds another highway in the relationship to a higher level of elevation. And maybe it’s just another kind of love altogether that I personally feel that you will experience, when you have shared a dream with your partner or have helped or have had the help and support from someone in this way. It’s sexy!

Don’t Sleep On Small Surprises

I have read many articles about how we are all trying to figure out this thing called parenting. And we can all agree that no one has it all figured out. That’s because each child is different, though they may share similar interest. I think we can all agree that at the end of the day, if we can hear our child say, “Mom, you’re the best” Then we are still winning. We are not trying to blur the lines between parenting and being our child’s homie…. And we want to make sure that there isn’t just a fine line in between either. We want there to be a noticeable difference so that we can establish boundaries and respect.

While parenting is not all about pleasing our children and catering to their want and needs like we are their servant, we still want to hear those words, Mom, you are the best, thank you mom, I appreciate you mom, I love you….To hear those words are encouraging to parents. They are inspiring. They are just what you need to hear on some days when you are pressing on to be the best parent you can be. The simple things in life… in exchange for something so empowering.

It is true that we doubt ourselves at times, even when we know that we are doing the absolute best that we can. We do this because we are constantly trying to make sure that our children have all the essential things they need to excel. So, when they even so much as remotely show signs of unhappiness, we are back at the drawing board trying to figure things out. If you are a parent, just remember not to beat yourself up.

My son reminded me that I was the best and for the remainder of the day, I felt as though I was wearing a crown.

It was last week, leading into Independence Day, when I was online searching for some fun in the city. Something local and affordable, where he would be able to watch a fire-works show among other things to maximize our time together. I found out that there would be all-day activities for kids; including an inflatable waterslide, discounted prices for Museum Entrance, face painting, bean bag toss contest, food, drinks and more along the waterfront at one of the local attractions. I began to plan for the event that would also end with a fire works show over the water.

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Upon our arrival to the park, the first thing that my son noticed was the inflatable water slide. His eyes widened, as I kept watch on his reaction. As we got closer and he was able to get a better look at it and saw the other children playing, he said ooh, mom! …then he said never mind. I asked, “What?” all the while knowing what he’d seen and what was going through his mind. He responded again, “Never mind… I would have to have swim clothes so it’s ok.” Just before we got to the water slide, I asked him to step into the bathroom. Once in there, I reached into my bag and pulled out his swim trunks and a tank. His face lit up! It was the highlight of my day. He said, “You the best mom!!!” These moments are what I live for. To surprise him with something so little and he be so grateful.

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Spending time with my child this summer has been most rewarding, even when out of spite one day he told me that my dress made me look fat. LOL. It was a funny story and I wish I could remember what exactly it was that he wasn’t getting his way with that day, which made him say it. But it reminded me of that sour patch kids commercial… (First, they are sour then they are sweet) Whatever it was, he had me standing in the mirror second guessing what I was wearing to church that day. I took it with a grain of salt and laughed because he wasn’t totally lying. However, he did take full advantage of the moment to make his opinion known.

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But anyway… We have a few weeks left in the summer. Here’s a few things you may want to keep in mind as you continue to make it the best one yet; while in the process, pull off a surprise of your own.

Always being prepared: Use your trunk for things like a cooler, an umbrella, one to two lawn chairs, a picnic blanket, a thermos for coffee or beverage of your choice and a cup for the kiddo. Take snacks with you to save on spending at fast food restaurants along the way or on expensive food trucks and food stands that are often set up at the park or venue and attraction.

Leaving ahead of time to give yourself ample time to arrive, park, make provisions for traffic and accidents which may have caused a delay on the highway.

Search for all the free or low cost local attractions and attend those rather than spending the bank on traveling away. Take advantage of what’s in the city.

Save on parking: If off street parking is cheaper than parking in a garage attached to an attraction, explore that as an option and use the time walking, to sightsee

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Checking ahead of time: This one depends on the attraction. I only thought about it because you have places like Urban Air and other trampoline parks where there are a lot of parties being planned on the weekend. If you have time during the week or earlier in the day to visit these establishments it may be worth it rather than going while they are jam-packed or when a party is going on where they will have certain areas blocked off for a party, limiting your child’s activities while being there during this time.

Taking one for the team: Being outside in that heat, turning three shades darker, sweating and sitting… consider this: Take an enjoyable book or earphones to listen to music. Talk to people around you who may be able to swap ideas on what to do.

Covering the basics here, is what sets the stage for you to pull off a great surprise!

A “GETAWAY” is Not Always About “Getting Away” From Something You Don’t Like

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Some of the best travel experiences I have had included Las Vegas, Nevada. Yup, right here in the United States. The first time I traveled there was in 2010, on assignment during the time I spent writing for Examiner.com. It was a media assignment to cover the Floyd “Money” Mayweather and “Sugar” Shane Mosley Boxing match.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley was a boxing welterweight non-title super fight, in which Mayweather won by unanimous decision with two judges scoring it 119–109 and one judge scoring it 118–110.

I visited again while writing for Examiner.com to cover another fight: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao, billed as The Fight of the Century, or the Battle for Greatness, was a professional boxing match between undefeated five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather.

While I had a strong interest in the sport of boxing, being in attendance for both the weigh-in and the fight, along with the activities and events that surrounded the weekend; it was the time I spent sightseeing in my free time that I was able to fully enjoy being in the city. So many things to do and so many things to see was what inspired my third trip simply because I couldn’t pack it all into the first two.

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Getting off the plane on that third visit to Las Vegas was majestic. It was hot as tamales of course, with temperature up to 110 when I arrived, but once I kicked the layers off, threw on some shorts, sandals, a tank top and tied my hair back, the rest was history. This time, I was still on assignment but was writing with a media outlet where I had more freedom to explore the city and share with my readers all that Vegas had to offer. So, while I was still working, I was having fun doing something that I loved to do. I had found a way to combine work with play.

Vegas is truly like one super-sized adult theme park on steroids! From the architectural designs of the buildings/hotels to the layout of the famous Vegas Strip. A sea of lights and it’s no wonder it’s called the city that never sleeps!

The highlights of my trip included:

The Mob Museum: Officially the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, is a history museum located in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas Observation Wheel: High Roller is a 550-foot tall, 520-foot diameter giant Ferris wheel on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, United States of America. It is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Freemont Street Experience: Sprawling 24-hour mall featuring a huge LED canopy, casino & restaurant access & free entertainment.

Aerial Photography of City during Evening

The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is a public aquarium located at and owned by the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Its main tank is 1,300,000 US gallons, one of the largest in North America

Madame Tussauds Las Vegas: a wax museum located in the Las Vegas Strip at The Venetian Las Vegas casino resort in Paradise, Nevada. The attraction opened in 1999, becoming the first Madame Tussauds venue to open in the United States.

The Grand Canyon Tour: Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters – This magnificent helicopter ride provides stunning aerial views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West. Additionally, passengers will experience an exhilarating landing at the bottom of the canyon on our private plateau overlooking the mighty Colorado River. Upon landing, guests enjoy a champagne picnic with refreshments and have ample time to explore the awe-inspiring grandeur that is the Grand Canyon.

Vegas Shows: Baz! Set in a modern and intimate cabaret, BAZ is a celebration, a mash-up of music, and moments from the greatest love stories imagined by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award-nominated director Baz Luhrmann. Theatregoers follow the romances from Luhrmann’s iconic films: Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and The Great Gatsby as the lovers discover whether fortune is in their favor.

Las Vegas Strip Signage

I encourage everyone to do a little traveling in their lifetime. Even if it starts with visiting the next state or over from them. There is so much more out there to see. But here’s why I think that part is important: It broadens your horizons. You meet new people. It connects you with people. You learn about culture. You become more versed in communication.

Being knowledgeable/aware of different things helps you understand different people and with that understanding, it organically generates compassion in the vessels of the heart. Depending on where you go or how far you travel outside of your comfort zone, it opens your mind to the things going on around the world, in which you will most likely relate to or at least have more insight into.

I came across a post on twitter recently, where the twitter user referenced “people who have to getaway” It read: “People are always talking about getting away and taking a getaway. If they didn’t hate their lives and were to create a life that they are happy with or if you were a happy person, there would be no need for a getaway. You don’t need to getaway if you are happy.” She then referenced hotel and vacation advertisements that use the word “getaway.”

Now, I am not fully sure of her understanding of a getaway and the purpose that it serves for most people, but on the surface; it sounded (at least to me) as if she was confusing people who are in an unhealthy situation who are always talking about one day getting away from a certain situation, with people who have a natural desire to simply want to getaway to a different place to broaden their horizons.

adult, book, business

I thought to myself that this was probably the most least profound thing that she could have said. Especially being a motivational public figure… (that’s the title individuals give themselves when they have a lot of followers on twitter) LOL

It’s not always about “getting away” from something you don’t like. And just because you take a vacation, (A Getaway: a place suitable for a vacation; a vacation especially of brief duration) doesn’t mean it’s so that you can leave a life behind that you hate. A getaway is just relaxing. For some, it’s therapeutic. For writers, it’s inspiring to have a change of scenery. Sometimes you just want the adventure of exploring new sights, sights unseen… going to unusual places because you cannot live in 100 places all at once.

Who doesn’t need a break from time to time anyway? Are you telling me that you can never go to enjoy the fruits of your labor because if you do, it means you hate your life? If you can show me someone who says they don’t want or need a getaway, I will show you a liar.

But for now, I digress. I would rather balance the universe by stating that it’s perfectly OK to want to getaway. It absolutely does not mean that you are unsatisfied with your life. It means that you are open to discovering the world and that you are realistic about the common day to day life that invites the idea of wanting a break to enjoy the other side of your front door.

Chapter 40: Gratitude Changes Everything (Still Standing)

Can I be honest with you? Do I have your permission to be vulnerable and transparent? Is it OK if I share something with you?

adult, blur, businesswoman

A few short weeks ago I came across a post on Facebook that one of my acquaintances posted which solicited participation from his followers and friends. The post asked that you post your age as the Chapter of your Life, (EX: 40) followed by the title of your chapter, (EX: Over the Hill). I thought to myself wow, this is going to be fun. However, after I typed in the number 40 and attempted to add a title- nothing came to mind. A deer in a headlight moment. Then a few single-word statements came to mind. None of which could be appropriated to my chapter 40, as it pertained to what I wanted it to say.

design, desk, display

I was finding it difficult to do something that I thought should be so easy for me since I have all this “self-awareness” about myself. The fact that I could not come up with a title as fast as I thought I should was nerve-racking grounds for a more solemn discussion to take precedent over the fun, Facebook activity before I could proceed. Now, I could have been over-thinking this moment and maybe I was, but it made me earnestly ponder the question of why I at a loss for words? I thought I had already reached the point of Self-Actualization, so what was the problem? Wasn’t this just an exercise that simply called for a reflection of the following questions: Where are you? Or, where are you going? And, where do you want to go? How will you resume and finish this story? I mean, seriously, this is how you write any book, right? Talk about a humbling moment!

Person Wearing Gray Long-sleeved Mini Dress in Front of Green Leaf Plant

I toggled a few more titles but still, none worthy enough to adequately described or depict what my title should be in CHAPTER 40 of my life.

I couldn’t summarize it in a Chapter title, so I bargained for answers with this approach: Niedria, do you even know where you are and what you want? What do you intend on doing at this point in life? That would be your chapter title.

I had to break it down: I began to focus in on the perfect title that would describe where I am as it related to where I have been and then consider what I want and where I want to go. (Side note: Sometimes we are so caught up in where we are trying to go and what we want, that we forget that we must acknowledge where we are first because that’s our starting point or our point of continuation) So having a complete, sound, embracive and merciful understanding of where I was, was important. Being transparent, forgiving and truthful with ourselves will open the avenue for this understanding to flow.

There’s nothing wrong with knowing where you want to go or what you want, but you must know where you are first.

I arrived at a title by telling myself to instead, first come up with a title that would speak to where I am at this moment which would address the question. In doing that, I would clarify some things for myself first. And so, I decided to use a statement to describe what I have learned, which I believe is helping me to live my best life in this present moment at 40, which provided dual-purpose in moving forward: Chapter 40: Gratitude Changes Everything (Still Standing) From where I am, all I can say is that I am grateful that I am still standing.

Woman in Blue Jeans Standing on Clear Glass

I came up with the title only because I considered where I was at 20, at 25, at 30 and at 35. (Being through a lot, but having done a lot of things) Just like any book, you want the next chapter to be an extension of the last chapter, expounding more on the story. So, you must know where you are in your book. I had to scan back over my life so that I would know for myself where I was. I am still standing. That’s where I am.

Since we are in a current and constant state of living, we know that life is an “on-GROW-ing” thing until we make our final departure. All we can do to make it better, is to make sure that we are “living” out our best life. Chapter 40 is not about one thing. It’s a culmination of things that I have learned and how I am applying gratitude, to make it my best life today in order to have fulfillment in the rest of my life.

With consideration given to where I am going, what I want and what I intend on doing; I must apply gratitude. What I have learned about gratitude and how it has and is changing things is that when we recognize the lessons and value the experiences we’ve had and are able to see the good in it all and be grateful that we were chosen for those assignments which made us stronger, better and wiser-it manipulates life by altering our mindset. This new set of lenses changes our lives as we are then able to elevate to a higher state of conscious awareness, acquiring the ability to then utilize everything we have learned and apply it to the next steps of life.

My life went from “You don’t know My Story” to “Let me tell you my story” to “This is my Story” to “I didn’t choose this story; this story chose me.” It’s only fair now that I’ve told my story, that you know that I am grateful for my story. That’s precisely what it is all about. So, I am grateful for the lessons, experiences, journeys, friends, family –and most of all, the good and bad of it all. I am grateful for those who told me no and those who said I couldn’t. I am grateful for those who supported me and were equally happy to see me prevail. That gratefulness and gratitude for those things is what enables me to eradicate mendacities spoken about me. That gratitude is what authorizes me to write the next chapter.

Woman Drinking Water Beside Mountain

Switching Gears: With that, this is what I think living your best life is: It is knowing where you stand today. Deciding where you want to go from here and what it will take. Deciding what you want, no matter if it is to live more of a healthy lifestyle, pursue a more lucrative career, go back to a more simpler life, embark on a new journey or pursuit and all around doing what makes you happy despite what anyone else thinks of it. It is taking your given set of circumstance and making the absolute best of it as you continue in life and expound into new territories IE: New Chapters. You must make sure it’s the best that you can do though. Have you done the best you can with what you are working with?

On a much broader note: Living your best life works best when you concern yourself with yourself. Be selfless when it comes to helping others but selfish when it comes to taking care of yourself. Focus on what you want, stay in your lane and take care of your business. You may not be exactly where you know and feel that you need and want to be. It doesn’t mean that you’ve done something wrong. You don’t have to settle in who you are today, but you can accept who you are now and still be determined to have more in your life and live more abundantly.

Sometimes we get tossed around in the wreckage of life (divorce, break-ups, lay-offs, illness etc.) where we get lost or set back. Other times, we get caught up in the wonders of the world while living the fab life (leisurely travel, marriage, children, promotions, new homes, business ventures etc.) Whatever life we were living, it’s quite possible to forget where we are at times. The need for awareness that life is still happening when those joys or heartbreaks become things of the past is a reality that we face one day when we are trying to determine where to next. To avoid feelings of displacement, a Full assessment and inventory of our life is required. If you remember that life is on-GROW-ing, you can make changes along the way that will be conducive to the lifestyle that you want.

Everything you have done and have been through (good and bad) in your life has prepared you for this moment.

Yesterday is a chapter of the past but even if it is still a part of your story, you can turn the page into something new and improved because now it’s time for the story to go on. What would be your title?

Article originally posted on SheSavvy.com and was recently selected First Place for the “Best Life” writing contest.