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Ashley Lamothe started working at Chick-Fil-A when she was 15 years old to earn money for her first car purchase. Little did she know that she would become the youngest franchise owner in the history of Chick-Fil-A at the age of 26.

“Chick-Fil-A has been a part of my life since high school, so I don’t feel like I am making history,” Lamothe told a news outlet. “That said, it’s really cool that so many people have been inspired by my journey and that feels like a huge honor.”

Lamothe was selected to open the first restaurant location in Los Angeles. Then, she opened her second location in downtown Los Angeles. With nearly a decade of experience as a franchise owner, Lamothe is focused on building a team of great leaders. Her mission is to help others obtain the same support that enabled her to tap into the possibilities of being a franchise owner.

Creating a Foundation for Success

Lamothe started her journey at Chick-Fil-A as a team member in Atlanta. She continued working at the restaurant as a director on the leadership team while attending Spelman College.

“At the time, I thought it was just a great job to have while pursuing my degree in theatre,” Lamothe shared on the company website, But working at Chick-Fil-A became a window into her future. One day, her restaurant Operator inquired about her long-term goals and recommended she consider leadership opportunities. This interaction inspired Lamothe to change her major to economics so she could build a solid foundation in business.

Lamothe adds, “I’d never considered it. Sometimes you just need someone to help you see your potential,”

After college graduation, Lamothe participated in the Chick-fil-A management and development program. Three years later, she achieved her goal of becoming a franchise owner.

Lamothe shared her best advice for other aspiring franchise owners with Rolling out; “Gain work experience at a local restaurant. A lot of people say they want to own a franchise but have never worked in a restaurant. It’s hard, hands-on work and you really have to know what you are getting into.”

Increasing Chick-Fil-A Franchise Owners

According to Lamothe’s website, she has traveled all over the world speaking to women about economic empowerment. In 2013, she traveled around Europe delivering business education on behalf of Chick-Fil-A. A year later, she led one of the first female-focused business retreats for franchise owners.

Lamothe continues to be a resource for individuals seeking to become a franchise owner. She serves on the Chick-fil-A Operator Support Council and provides tips on social media and her website.

Although Ashley doesn’t shy away from sharing the challenges of entrepreneurship, she also wants others to know that it’s possible to achieve their goals. “Sometimes, you have to just step out on faith. You’re never going to feel 100% certain about your readiness, you’ve got to just go for it,” Lamothe posted on Instagram. “I can’t emphasize enough that your journey isn’t going to be a straight path, but the results will be worth it in the end. I’m living proof that entrepreneurship dreams do come true.”

Source: Blackenterprise.com

Dr. Roshawnna Novellus raised over $600,000 to fund her college education. For most people, it’s hard enough finding money to pay for one college degree. But Dr. Novellus used her crowdfunding skills to cover the cost of four degrees, from bachelor’s degrees to a Ph.D.

Now, the Atlanta-based entrepreneur is helping more women gain access to capital through her platform, EnrichHER. It was one of the first technology platforms in the U.S. to receive regulatory approval to help women secure funding and grow their business through an accelerator and Funder Matching Program.

Raising Money for Education

When 15-year-old Novellus witnessed her mom working multiple jobs to ensure she had everything she needed, she knew she had to create a strategic plan for college. Novellus decided to reach out to over 200 companies to inquire about scholarships. Her persuasive pitch worked, and companies decided to invest in her educational goals.

With $600,000 in funding, Dr. Novellus was able to pay for 11 years of higher education. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of California, Santa Cruz. In addition, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management Economics from the same University.

Then, Dr. Novellus went on to earn a Master of Science in Information Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 2007, she finished her Ph.D. in Systems Engineering, with a minor in Finance, from The George Washington University. To top it off, she achieved Summa Cum Laude in each degree program.

Dr. Novellus conquered her first major financial goal when she escaped the student loan debt statistics that many have to face. She shared her best piece of advice with Business Insider: Be specific about what you want and why you want it, always follow up with those who grant you funding, and reach out to big and small companies and organizations.

Investing In Other Women

Dr. Novellus knew her story of obtaining $600,000 to fund her education was rare. She also realized that these same financial struggles impacted women-owned businesses. After hearing constant stories about the gaps in capital access for women of color, she created an organization to redefine the narrative.

Dr. Novellus is on a mission to fund underinvested women so they can enrich their communities. Reports show that women of color receive less than 2% of venture capital funding. Dr. Novellus is seeking to put over $50M into the hands of businesses seeking to get to the next level.

In 2017, Dr. Novellus founded EnrichHER by gathering 50 organizations in Atlanta to test her idea. The full program launched in February 2019, receiving applications from 3,000 women-led businesses. Overall, the company invested $3M in 2019 and seeks to continuously grow that number.

Visit the website to learn more about how you can get involved as an investor or join the EnrichHER 

Source: Blackenterprise.com

Mariam Balogun identified the burden of inadequate funding of the Nigerian healthcare sector which consequently leads to poverty as a result of huge out-of-pocket medical expenses of an average patient.

She decided to do something about it. Mariam, in 2018, founded LifeFund Support Initiative to cater to underserved patients and communities by providing access to quality and affordable healthcare. The organisation’s vision is to help create a nation where cost is not an hindrance to quality healthcare for everyone.

Every month, LifeFund embarks on hospital visits to underprivileged patients on admission in selected hospitals and cater to their healthcare and other essential needs.

LifeFund’s work also involves raising awareness on the importance of health insurance as well as advocating for robust and adequate healthcare financing policy and its efficient implementation.

Mariam is currently a Pharmaceutical Officer at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and is a LEAP Africa Social Innovators Programme fellow (2019/20). She holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Lagos as well as certificates in healthcare funding and management.

We celebrate Mariam for providing healthcare financing support to Nigerian citizens and we’re rooting for her!

Source: Bellanaija

Being demotivated is arguably one of the worst feelings in the world. You feel as though you have no direction and, despite the fact that you are not getting any enjoyment out of getting nowhere, you feel no urgency or drive to make the effort to change your situation.

While this may seem like a bleak situation, fret not!

Motivation is like money; even if you have none of it at the moment, you can always get some more!

If you’re reading this, you have most likely run into a wall of demotivation. If this is the case, let’s dive right into the reasons why you may be experiencing this and what actions you can take to get out of it.

1. You Are Working Without Purpose

The biggest reason why someone may be feeling demotivated is that they are living their lives without goals or intent.

If you’re living a life without purpose, you are bound to go through the motions without any sense of direction, feeling as though you are doing things simply for the sake of doing things rather than to work towards something that you want.

Sounds familiar?

Fortunately enough, demotivation that is caused by a lack of life purpose can be easily fixed. All you have to do to work on this demotivational factor is to figure out what it is you are looking for out of life and to establish specific, bite-sized, achievable goals that can help you to get there.

With a life plan you are passionate about, you’ll feel motivated in all aspects of your life quite quickly once more

2. Your Lack of Motivation Stems From Fear

When we fear progress, we refuse to move forward, becoming stuck at a certain point in our lives that allows us to only achieve so much on a daily basis. Whether this is an obstacle you have created for yourself in your professional life or your personal life, it becomes more difficult to break free of this cycle as each day passes. This, in turn, manifests into discontent and demotivation.

So, what can you do about this fear when it affects your motivation levels?

The first thing to do is to take note of the fact that you are putting off progress because you are afraid of a certain outcome.

Next, it is important to ask yourself what you are afraid of hearing in relation to your situation and whether or not that fear should really be stopping you from moving forward.

Finally, you need to start chipping away at that fear step-by-step until you face it head on and conquer it.

True that life can be scary at moments. But is there anything scarier than missing out on opportunities and not living your life to the fullest?

3. You’re Doing Things for the Wrong Reasons

Our body knows how to react in any given situation and the lack of motivation that has you down may be a direct result of what you are doing.

Ask yourself, is everything I do done for the right reasons?

Say, for example, that you are currently working a job that pays well but isn’t truly fulfilling. You know you are working for the financial stability and this keeps you there but it is not truly what you want to do. This slowly wears you down and, because the position provides no purpose for you, you don’t have any real motivation to continue on with the position.

This concept is applicable to all areas of life and, if you feel unmotivated, it is quite possible that you are doing things for the wrong reasons instead of doing things that fulfill you.

4. You Take on Too Much and Are Overwhelmed

It’s great to be ambitious and it is also perfectly fine to take on quite a bit of work and achieve as much as you can during the day. However, when you take on too much, you stretch yourself too thin and become burnt out rather quickly.

If you’re too overwhelmed by the many projects you are pursuing, you are less likely to want to do them. If you fall behind, you lose further motivation and you wind up not enjoying the tasks you are supposed to accomplish and lose the drive to see them through.

The key to staying motivated with anything is to take as much on as possible without making it unenjoyable. Being able to get through your day without feeling stressed and pressed for time goes a long way in helping you to keep your purpose and motivation intact.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is important that you learn better time-management skills and more about your limitations in order to craft a better schedule for yourself immediately.

5. You May Be Dealing with Symptoms of a Mental Illness

Although mental illness symptoms are easy to spot for some, others can deal with a mental illness without ever suspecting it.

For example, there are plenty of professionals who deal with dysthymia for years, which is a low-grade form of depression that leaves the individual able to engage in their day but still provides the classic symptoms of fatigue and lack of motivation.

You may also be dealing with full-blown depression, which can result in hopelessness and a lack of enjoyment in daily activities. It also carries more severe consequences if left untreated.

If you believe that you may be dealing with a mental illness, it is important that you seek for mental health assistance immediately to help reduce the severity of the symptoms and learn how to properly cope with the condition.

You are worth it!

6. Your Goals Are Too Big

Having goals is necessary to leading a purposeful life. However, it may be your goals that are actually at the source of your current motivation problem.

Do your goals look like this:

I want to launch my website and fill it with 100 blogs by the end of this year.

Rather than this:

I want to launch my website by the end of next month and write one blog each week for my new website.

The difference between the two goals is that one is far too large and vague while the other one is achievable and specific.

Think about your to-do list. Is it filled with endless tasks that seem impossible to tackle or is it filled with small steps that foster achievement and excite you when you finish them?

If your goals are too large and you are expecting too much from yourself, you are not going to motivated to chip away at that goal on a consistent basis. Smaller steps are much easier to accomplish and will keep you motivated to achieve the larger end goal.

Break it down and keep it simple!

7. You’re Engaging in Self-Sabotage

Perhaps you feel that you don’t have the skills to see it through. Perhaps you think others don’t think you’re capable of achievement and are purposely sabotaging yourself and prevent yourself from moving forward.

In either case, your lack of motivation may be due to your desire to stunt your growth rather than to unleash and prove your greatness to the world.

Why do you feel that you aren’t capable of what it is you seek to do? If it is the other way around, why do you feel as though others don’t think that you are capable?

Sit down and write down a list of your accomplishments, skills, and strengths. Once you see it written down, you can easily begin to see your own value.

Whether it is to prove someone wrong, to prove yourself right, or to simply shine, breaking through self-doubt or self-sabotage can help you to regain your motivation that is lost under these circumstances.

8. You Believe You Should Have Accomplished More by Now

With the exception of a rare few, a lot of people put pressure on themselves and put themselves down because they think that they haven’t accomplished enough out of all of the time that they have been alive.

It can be easy to get into this state of mind. But the past is the past and the only thing you are in control of is the future.

When you allow yourself to indulge in the past, you fall into the habit of giving up and going through the motions. This habit strips you of motivation and prevents you from making any progress whatsoever.

As the old saying goes,

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

You can’t expect to meet your life goals instantly. Instead, work hard each day and measure your progress. Each step forward is a step in the right direction.

Don’t give up!

9. You Have a Habit of NOT Doing Anything

It can be hard to hear but some people are just one of those individuals who do absolutely nothing on a daily basis.

They have plenty of tasks and potential but they choose to not do it simply because they don’t feel like it. And when they finally sit down to take responsibility and move forward, they wonder why they feel demotivated and have such difficulty getting things done.

The truth is that getting your life together is hard. You are going to have to do a lot of things you don’t enjoy to get back on track and live the life you want.

Sit down, show up, and do what you must in order to get to where you want.

BONUS: You’re Settling and Refusing to Push Your Limits

On the opposite spectrum of overwhelm is underwhelm. Underwhelm begins to set in when you are settling on accomplishing less rather than pushing your limits and doing what you know you are perfectly capable of handling.

This choice to not do what you are able to and push your limits can cause a lack of motivation as you are consciously deciding to settle for less and stay in mediocrity rather than moving forward and accomplishing more.

It’s something that we all do when we start to feel a little lazy or tired but it is up to you to hold yourself accountable.

If you can make it happen, it is up to you to make sure that you follow through.

Final thoughts

Even the best of us become demotivated but it is necessary that we get back our drive to push forward and live our best lives.

Cheers to finding strength to smash those goals.

Habits are the things that we are used to doing on a daily or a weekly basis — or, basically, whenever there is an action that repeats itself in regular intervals.

After living a quarter of your life or so, you may think that what you’ve developed in your childhood is what will define you for the rest of your life. Even if some of the habits and personal traits that we’ve developed are holding us back, our mind often chooses to ignore the damages and to resist any kind of change that might usurp the status quo.

After all, the fast-paced life, having (or not having) children, and a regular job can have you wanting for a routine that will define you and help you cope with everything. However, if the routine is damaging to your mental health and your self-improvement, maybe it’s time for a change.

The routines that we develop and our immediate surroundings (people we see every day or on a regular basis) can sometimes even hold us back and prevent us from fulfilling our life goals. It’s imperative to recognize these poor influences and elevate yourself above them, and the first step towards it is to realize that you are stagnating. There are some definitive signs of stagnation and here I will try to present them to you and (hopefully) show you how to tackle them.

Negativity

Have you ever started planning something that is supposed to change your life/make you rich/perfect your skills, only to have the mental piece of paper with the plan crumpled and thrown to the back of your mind because “it would never work”? This happens a lot to people. The current global situation (which, actually, has never been better), your material situation, or a lack of will can all keep you pinned in place.

There is no reason to think that something will fail because “it would never work.” You cannot know until you’ve given it a well-planned try.

However, negative thinking is not entirely your fault. It can also come through…

Negative Environment

This starts with your friends and family, but is not limited to them. Oftentimes, it will be your friends who will poke holes in your plans because they want to try and keep you in the status quo. They will not do this because they have ill intentions, instead, they will see it as doing you a favor and being honest with you. People like the status quo and do not like to see it changed. It will threaten their comfort zone (more on that later) and put them in situations they have not prepared for. Of course, none of this is on the forefront of their logic and most of the time they are not even aware of this fact.

While this is no reason to abandon your friends completely and sever all ties to them, sometimes a change of environment can do a lot of good. Have a new hobby? Start hanging out with people who have the same one.

Or, sit at a bar or café alone and try to find someone interesting to talk to. Talking to new people brings new perspectives on life. Sometimes, that is all you need to push ahead.

Inability to Make a Plan and Stick to It

When you do finally make a plan, the hardest part is actually sticking to it. For example, you want to improve your physical wellbeing by going to the gym. You’ve found a program that will get you fit and help you improve your conditioning. The plan involves daily exercises.

You may do it for three or four days and then skip one — because, hey, you deserve a break. Or you just start procrastinating from day one, thinking how you’ll work twice as hard tomorrow, or something like that.

This will effectively prevent you from making a change. The most important part of every plan is sticking to it. This may take a lot of willpower, but the change will be worth the mental effort. You can do it and you can do it today. Not twice as much tomorrow, not in a couple of days, but today, as it is the only day when you can fulfill what you planned, and it’s all up to you.

This part may also include doing away with some things, like…

Your Comfort Zone

It is a popular saying nowadays that “you can’t make a joke in 2016 without offending anyone.” Everyone has their “safe space,” which works like a bubble of your beliefs and habits which comfort you, telling you that things are alright and nothing needs to change. Stepping out of it, sometimes even for a moment, brings about anxiety, panic attacks, or just a flat-out denial that there is anything good on the outside.

If you wish to change, there will be a lot of things that will lie outside this bubble. It will involve doing things that you have never done before or even heard of. And it’s always easier to default back to the comfort zone and feel content with what you have than to step outside of it and feel outright lost. But it has to be done. It is the only way to achieve personal progress.

No one is good at everything at the first try. The whole history of mankind is a trial-and-error process and, without it, we would never get to where we are today. It’s not about “I can’t do this,” but about “I’ve failed now, but I know what not to do next time.”

Also, living in your comfort zone almost always leads you to feeling like you know it all, and to…

Not Identifying Your Weaknesses

Habits and routines developed during childhood and teenage years slowly take over your life. We are all looking for stability. Once you are buried in your routines, you will not see that some of them are, actually, your weaknesses.

Have you, perhaps, developed a habit that is hurting your health (mental or physical)? Do you have work to do, but you’ve decided to Netflix and chill instead? You’d think that these habits simply help you to relax, take your mind off things, or just help you get the job done, but they will also prevent you from seeing how they are hurting you.

Realizing that you have a weakness is the first step towards improving in that field.
Scrolling social media feeds, for example, may relax you, but it will also keep you lazy and can even leave you unmotivated to do anything.

Alcohol may be good as a social lubricant (by far the best description of it that I’ve seen in my life), but drinking everyday, even binge-drinking, can become a habit.
You think that everything is normal, but it actually heavily influences your decision-making and, in the end, can ruin your life. It is essential to see things for what they are, not only for the good that they bring you.

Once you’ve realized that you have a weakness, you can choose to rectify it yourself, but this is not always possible.

Conclusion

Some habits grip us hard and they (or we) do not wish to let go. That’s when it’s the time to talk to a professional and get some advice.

Basically, habits can hold us back. The world is in constant change and we must change, too, in order to stay on top. There is no recipe for a perfect life, as much as you think you’ve found it.

Challenge yourself at every step and step out of that comfort zone. After a while, you’ll feel that it was all worth it and that life has meaning again.

One of the biggest traps that us self-improving humans fall into again and again is the pursuit of perfection. This includes trying to cultivate a mind that is free of negative thoughts, or starting a new endeavour in our lives. Sometimes if it isn’t perfect, we feel like it isn’t worth doing.

Because perfection is the goal for many people, that means that whatever stands in the way of perfection is an enemy to be eliminated. That might be other people, other obstacles that you encounter, or perhaps most tragically, yourself and your own flaws. Not only this, but being a perfectionist has been shown to be terrible for your health.

There are two facts that you must know that, although they may seem obvious, are actually incredibly slimy and make you believe they aren’t actually true.

The first is that everyone has flaws.

The second: perfection doesn’t exist.

Therefore, if you plan on functioning as a relatively healthy human being for the rest of your life, it is probably time to come to terms with these facts. Unfortunately, a guide on how to be perfect full-stop doesn’t exist because perfection itself doesn’t exist.

Instead, here is a guide on how to be perfectly imperfect, especially if you feel ashamed of your flaws.

Why Perfection Is an Illusion

It can be a surprisingly difficult thing to accept. Hopefully, you had a decent childhood where you would watch Disney movies, cartoons, and play with your favourite heroes and heroines.

Humans tend to find these sorts of things entertaining because they are easy to follow and give us some sense of purpose and direction. You rarely find a conflicted character in a Disney film: there is the clear good, and the clear bad. There is the extremely perfect hero and the extremely imperfect villain.

This idea of perfection is something that you subconsciously cling to as you enter adulthood. The world is immensely strange, complicated, and downright impossible to understand. Things are a lot easier to deal with when you make things black and white. Good and bad. Perfect and not perfect.

This is a common mistake and one that holds many people back. There is no one perfect policy, political party, action to take, or partner to be with. Every action ultimately involves a trade-off with another action. Even inaction comes with its own set of costs.

Even if you believe yourself to be taking the perfect action in a certain situation, you don’t know how that action will affect someone else, the world, or even yourself down the line.

Waiting for the perfect partner might lead to a life of loneliness and an existence far from the happiness that you set out to achieve. Accepting the imperfections of a partner might lead to a life of happiness and, ironically, a life closer to “perfection.”

There is no perfection in this life, only trade-offs that you have to make. The simple act of recognizing this can take you extremely far.

The Consequence of Pursuing Perfection

In one word: unhappiness.

As we have already established, perfection is an illusion, and therefore trying to chase it is a mistake that will only lead to misery, restlessness, and discontentment in your life.

Pursuing perfection is the same as kidding yourself that you will be happy when you find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s a moving target that doesn’t really exist but is quite often nice to think about.

As famous, modern-day thinker Naval Ravikant said:

“Desire is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.”

The same can be said for happiness and the pursuit of perfection. Too many people force themselves to be unhappy until they reach a vain metric — sometimes perfection — before they will allow themselves to be happy

You have a natural desire for more. You have a natural desire for improvement. You have a natural desire to be a better person. Everybody does. But improvement and the journey itself is the whole thing. There is no magical destination that will solve all of your problems.

Perfection doesn’t exist. Don’t ever fool yourself and trade in your happiness thinking that it does. It’s a lousy, foolish pursuit.

Embracing Flaws Is the New “Perfection”

You’ve probably tried hiding your flaws  from other people or maybe even from yourself. Everybody has at some point. Maybe you feared being judged or rejected, or were worried about the opinions of other people, or were too afraid of what you might think of yourself if you dug too deep.

You’ve also probably revealed some of your flaws to close friends and family. This is part of life and where vulnerability is healthy. As you get to know people better, you start to open up, get comfortable, and effortlessly allow your true self to shine forth.

Think back to that awkward time you met your best friend and how silly you are together now. Think back to the awkward first date with your partner that is now a key part of your life. Think back to a time when you were extremely embarrassed about something and your family brushed it off like it was nothing. Because after all, it was nothing, really.

During all of these instances and many others in your life, you have had flaws that you were self-conscious of, parts of you that you weren’t particularly proud of, or hang-ups that you could never seem to completely shake off.

But look at where you are now. Look at how many of these things haven’t even mattered in the end. Most likely, you were pulled even closer to those that you love in your life after you revealed your flaws to them, rather than feigning some sense of perfection that was never really there.

The same is true in reverse, too. You are touched when a friend opens up to you and asks for life advice. You feel great when you can help out a family member who has asked for your help with one of their flaws.

Despite what you make of them in your own head, flaws and openness and acceptance are all key parts of life and bring people together like no form of perfection ever could. You are perfectly you. Nobody has the complete “you” package like you do — strengths, weaknesses, and all.

When you become who you are and not who you think you should be (or who someone else thinks that you should be), life gets much better. Your relationships deepen, people like you (or don’t) for who you are, and you know that the ones that are sticking around are there for you, not a façade that you sometimes call “you.”

Embracing flaws is the new perfection. They bring people together like no perfection ever could.

What to Do With Your Flaws?

Now that you are starting to understand that maybe perfection isn’t so great and that maybe your flaws aren’t so bad, it can still be difficult to know what to do with them. After all, flaws don’t just magically disappear overnight. Here are some of the steps that you can take to reset your relationship with your flaws and say goodbye to the myth of perfection forever.

1. Accept Them

Perhaps the most straightforward and most effective path that you can take is to start accepting your flaws. This is the ideal route to take, especially if everyone else is pretty chilled out about them apart from you.

Most likely, your flaws will only be minor things like how your tooth is a bit wonky or how your walk is slightly strange. Most people’s flaws are things that only they see and that no-one else really pays attention to. Therefore, for your own peace of mind, it’s usually best to just accept them for what they are.

If you are surrounded by good people, they tend to love you because of your flaws, not despite your flaws, so why worry?

2. Change Them

You never need to seek perfection, but if your flaws are standing in the way of your mental health, physical health, or relationships and accepting them isn’t doing anyone much good, then the next step is to try and change them.

Like with any change, though, it is important to not expect too much too soon, and to continue working towards the change in small steps, day by day. You wouldn’t expect to become a pro-golfer in a matter of weeks or even months, and this skill is no different. It is perhaps even more difficult.

3. Forget Them

If you can’t accept your flaws for whatever reason and are unable to change them, then a viable last resort is to simply do your best to forget about them. You will have had plenty of moments in your life where you weren’t thinking about them and felt completely happy. Maybe somebody told you a funny joke. Maybe you were in awe of a shooting star. Maybe you had an essay that had a creeping deadline.

These moments of not dwelling on your flaws, not being worried about perfection, and living in the moment have happened to you. They’re real. If you can’t stop your mind from focusing on your flaws when you are at rest, then take your mind off them by doing something else.

Build up enough of these “tactical distractions” and you might begin to realize that you can actually live your life despite these flaws, and then, paradoxically, they start to either become accepted or fade away altogether.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, throughout this article, you have come to realize that perfection isn’t a real thing and that the pursuit of perfection is a sure-fire way to live a life of misery and never feeling good enough. Perfection is shiny but made of nothing substantial.

On the other hand, flaws are something that you have, just like everyone else. If you don’t think that somebody has flaws, you obviously don’t know them well enough. However, flaws are nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, they are something to be celebrated. They bring you closer to the people that you care most about and are a part of your whole essence. Flaws aren’t shiny but are made of something whole and pure.

Perfection should be shunned. Flaws should be celebrated.

 

Where Does Your Gut Feeling Come From?

Your gut is often considered to be your second brain. According to mindfulness-based psychotherapist Lena Franklin, the cells in your gut carry memories from your past and sends these signals to the brain – even if the thinking mind can’t identify the specific memory.

Because of this, the gut is often what people refer to when they have a ‘sixth sense’ about something or when they use something called their ‘intuition’. These subliminal messages about whether things are right or wrong, whether you should or shouldn’t go ahead, often bypass the logic of the brain and you receive the signals at a much deeper level.

Depending on how spiritual you want to get, many people believe that the universe, God, spirit (or whatever terminology you want to use) communicates through your inner body, rather than places like your head.

Should You Trust Your Gut Feelings? Why?

There is always a lot of debate when it comes to whether or not you should trust your gut. We live in a society where mind and logic rule all and the power of gut instincts has been left for the past or for crazy mystics that live in the mountains.

This is one of the main reasons why we even need to ask the question about whether or not we should trust our gut feelings. For most of us, they are a completely foreign concept, so no wonder we have trouble knowing whether or not we should trust them.

The truth is that your gut feelings are just as important as your mind, if not more important. If you know how to use them correctly, gut feelings are rarely as incorrect as the mind is.

Your gut feeling communicates in more subtle and truer ways than your mind, and it speaks closer to who you really are – rather than going through the filter of your negativity and overanalyzing biases in your head.

Like with any skill and habit that is worth training, listening to your gut can be very difficult to learn to begin with, especially if it is something that you have never really tuned into before. With a bit of practice though, your mind and your gut can work in tandem to help you manifest your best possible life.

5 Gut Instincts That You Shouldn’t Ignore

Mastering listening to your gut and intuition can take months and even years of practice, but it is certainly a worthwhile path to lasting inner peace and happiness.

However, for now, there are five gut instincts that you shouldn’t ignore, and these are ones that you are probably already familiar with:

1. I’ve Done This Well Before.

Everyone comes across particular stumbling blocks in their life. Sometimes there are obstacles that when looked at objectively and from a zoomed-out position, you can’t believe that they are obstacles because they seem so small. Yet here you are on the ground level, falling again and again at the same place.

The mind can always get in the way and ironically, the more that you allow the mind to step in during those crucial moments, the more power it gets whenever you re-enter those crucial moments – leading to a negative cycle

The only way out of this is to trust your gut feeling. Be aware that your mind will want to step in and tell you that you should do this and should do that. You might be tricked into thinking that it is helping you, but it isn’t.

Be still. Be aware. Let your body and instincts take over.

2. I’m in Danger.

This is probably one of the most powerful gut instincts that you will have experienced. Our survival instincts are arguably our most powerful set of instincts and are always on standby, waiting for us to need them.

These feelings often come from deep within your body and can be anything from a mild tingling that something isn’t right to something more extreme like a sharp pain. Either way, it is worth tuning in to your body and realizing that something is probably up.

However, it is also important to consider the other side of this gut instinct. Because danger often relates to life and death situations, it is extremely important that you don’t just factor in your intuitions. This is one of those cases where the mind should still be there in the background to make sure you aren’t missing something obvious.

Similarly, if your ‘I’m in danger’ feeling goes off inside of you frequently, it is probably faulty. The reason that this intuition is so powerful is that it is reserved for those very rare (sometimes never) events that can occur when your life is in danger.

If you frequently believe that your life is in danger, it might be time to review how much you listen to this intuition and why it is going off when it doesn’t need to.

3. I Feel off With This Person.

One of the most common intuitions that almost everyone has experienced at some point is the gut feeling of ‘feeling off with someone’. It is that small but noticeable shift in your energy field that tells you that something is not quite right when you are interacting with someone.

Just like with most gut feelings, this particular one is there to be noticed, not immediately jumped on. After all, it can be difficult at first to distinguish between a shift inside that signals something positive versus one that signals something negative.

If you just assume that something is wrong whenever you feel a shift, you are going to be running away from so many situations that could be great for you.

Notice the feeling, remember the feeling, see what your mind has to say, and let everything play out over a bit of time. As long as you notice initially that something is ‘off’, you will be more aware and present. In this state, your judgment is clear and you can decide whether you want to follow through on your initial gut feeling or not.

4. I Feel I Need to Show Empathy.

A positive gut instinct that is prominent within our lives is the instinct or intuition that we feel when we feel that someone might need our help. Because showing support and compassion for others is always a good thing, this is definitely an instinct that you will want to listen to.

You may feel it when you are at a group gathering and you see someone shy on the edges. Your intuition may tell you to invite them in. You may feel a shift when you see someone you care about facing a difficult time. Your intuition may tell you to comfort them and see how they are.

Notice that many people think that these sorts of actions come from the mind when they don’t. “I should go over there and make her feel welcome” comes after your intuition has already pushed you in that direction. Your mind might even push back insisting that she is fine and doesn’t need your help. It is your gut instinct again pushing back saying that you should show empathy.

Whenever your gut instincts are telling you to be empathetic, it’s a good idea to listen.

5. This Is Special.

If you ask anyone about some of the greatest decisions that they have made in their lives, whether it be marrying the right person, jumping at a scary business venture, or deciding to write a book, most people will have the same explanation: it just felt right.

The mind is the perfect tool for making small-scale decisions that only involve a few variables. When it comes to the truly meaningful and life-changing events in this world, intuition is what it’s all about.

The human experience is deeply engrained with a greater sense of ‘knowing’, far beyond what the mind can ever comprehend. This is what people talk about when they say something didn’t really make sense, but it felt right.

It is one of the most important gut instincts to listen to. It symbolizes a potentially pivotal moment in your life. As soon as you notice it, you just have to take the final and most difficult step: will you go against your thinking mind and trust your gut? If you can, you will find joy and happiness beyond your wildest, mind-based dreams.

Conclusion.

So there you have it. These aren’t the only gut feelings that you can and will experience in your life – there is a broad spectrum that will gradually open up to you – but these are the most important and noteworthy ones.

If you start to listen to your intuition more and give your thinking mind a back seat role, your life will completely open up to so many amazing possibilities.

2020 ended leaving me feeling emotionally exhausted , even while I consciously detoxed at intervals through out the year, When  I laid my head on my pillow on December 31st ,  I felt I used up all my energy, and I could hear  my body screaming “Slam the brakes, Esther”. I listened….only to wake up on January 1st to the sad news that a friend passed away due to Covid19.

This is my situation, but truth is we all get emotionally exhausted at some point in our lives. It is normal to experience an overdose of one emotion or another and deal with their hardship and struggle, and only through this experience can we truly see the beauty of life. But when the emotional exhaustion turns into a perpetual experience of negative emotions, it isn’t healthy anymore.

Emotions are the driving forces that build our character, and they give flavor to our lives. The more we understand emotions, the better we can deal and nurture them. The ability to deal and nurture our emotions and the emotions of others is called emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the capacity for identifying the signs of emotional exhaustion. It is natural to be emotional, show emotions to oneself, and share and express them to others. It is a crucial part of the individual’s personal and social development.

But can we really recognize our emotions in a way so we don’t get entangled by them—in a way that we get emotionally exhausted?

The Meaning of Emotional Exhaustion

Emotional exhaustion is the state when negative emotions overwhelm the present moment—in any aspect of life—over and over again,. Today, emotional exhaustion is closely linked to emotional labor, which when poorly managed results in being burn out

However, emotional exhaustion can also be an outcome of social, familial, friendly, or intimate relationships.

Regardless of the source, when you repeatedly feel the following:

  • Worried
  • Bored
  • Anxious
  • Unworthy
  • Unhappy

This increases the emotions of becoming even more:

  • Frustrated
  • Fearful
  • Doubtful
  • Angry and
  • Annoyed

And you reach a state of being emotionally exhausted—a state of dullness, confusion, and tiredness.

“Repeatedly” means daily. Every day, deep inside of you, there is the feeling of one or few of the above-mentioned emotions, overwhelming your present moment, playing a part in your daily activities—robbing a significant amount of your physical and mental strength and vitality.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms are subjective or objective indicators that you feel within yourself. The first symptoms feel mostly like:

  • Tiredness – a subjective indicator that you feel somehow exhausted (physically or mentally), which at the same time might also be true that you’re not if your statement has the inclination of complaining.
  • Boredom – an objective indicator that gives you the unpleasant feeling of not knowing what to do—being disengaged from positive emotions, feeling dull, and empty.

Further symptoms would be the constant feeling of being unworthy of the things you do or unhappy with the things you do, regardless of your accomplishments.

Feeling constantly tired (physically) and disconnected from what is going on around you is a symptom that you’re emotionally exhausted. These symptoms lead inevitably to a behavioral pattern that evolves into a chronic habit of complaining. This leads to the objective signs of emotional exhaustion, which impacts professional and social life.

What Are the Signs?

The signs of emotional exhaustion can be detected through speech, tone of voice, body, and facial movements. Normally. they are to be detected by an outside observant like a professional or a loved one—any trusted person with an understanding of how emotions work.

Here are two things we need to do to identify the signs (as well as the symptoms) of emotional exhaustion:

  1. Improve self-awareness for more precise detection of the signs (the same goes for the symptoms as well);
  2. The openness to share our situation, feelings, and emotions with a trusted person—an observer with enough competence on the subject matter who can inform us about any signs of emotional exhaustion.

3 Signs of Emotional Exhaustion

The signs of emotional exhaustion are hidden in your emotional expression, and they show through your mood and the way you react and manage your emotions.

When lacking self-awareness, the most efficient way to identify the signs of emotional exhaustion is to seek professional support or ask your loved ones to have a closer look at your behavior, your reactions—like body posture, facial movements (micro-expression), and verbal or non-verbal expressions.

I know, it is not easy to share such personal feelings and weaknesses with others. But one thing that we must understand is that we are all interconnected, and our personal growth is dependent on communication and interrelation with the people around us. And that applies especially when things go wrong.

If you don’t open to your closest, how can you nurture your positive emotions and express positive qualities and virtues to others?

Self-awareness detects emotional exhaustion. As a meditation teacher, it is my daily business to analyze, study, and share my opinions about emotions. The meditation as the fundamental element of reviving the self-awareness can help to manage this whole subject matter.

My research in this field has proven that we can detect signs of emotional exhaustion once we objectively experience the following moods:

1. You Feel Tired Very Quickly and Very Often (Physical Exhaustion)

It is nothing but natural to become physically exhausted after performing physical activity. After a rest, the body recovers, recharges strength, and replenishes energy. Usually, in this condition, you have the stamina and the resilience to absorb many of the below-mentioned signs. But once the physical exhaustion becomes chronic, the body cannot replenish its energy that easily. That’s when you will feel fatigued.

2. You Lose Interest in Engaging in Daily Activities

Chronic tiredness results in a mood that expresses demotivation, idleness, annoyance, and frustration. These are signs of emotional exhaustion—showing no motivation, no vitality for engaging in or exploring new things in life.

3. You Feel Insecure, Incapable, and Unworthy

The need for isolation arises and you reach a mood where you feel insecure. Doubtful and anxious, you begin to question your capabilities and your self-esteem sinks lower and lower. The cocktail of these feelings and moods creates so much confusion, resentment, and sadness up to a point of complete emotional exhaustion—a state of burn-out.

How to Prevent or Get Over This Exhaustion?

One organic way to recover from emotional exhaustion: Meditation. I meditate alot .

  • Prevent the development of emotions—in other words, learn to identify the emotion before it arises and cut its process of evolvement. For example, the feeling of boredom leads to annoyance, and that leads to rejection, irritation, frustration, and so on.
  • Once a negative thought arises and creates a destructive feeling, it is a sign that negative emotion is about to erupt. The idea here is to disrupt the creation of this process and exchange it with a constructive mental and physical activity.
  • As emotions are the result of the unconscious repetition and acknowledgment of feelings that are supported by the constant creation of thoughts, it is imperative to understand that the root cause of emotional exhaustion is found in the creation of these thoughts.

Final Thoughts

One thing worth remembering is that no human being is spared from the turmoil of emotions. You, me, and everyone else suffer and enjoy the effect of the emotions that we create for ourselves.

The above technique sheds light on how you can identify, understand, and move through the whole spectrum of emotions to get over the emotional exhaustion and achieve emotional balance. This way, you can safely experience being the victim as well as the beneficiary of your various emotions.

Know that emotions are there to be analyzed and understood, not only to be enjoyed or avoided. Embrace them, handle them, and don’t get lost in them.

Stay Safe, Stay Safe and keep your thoughts positive in 2021!

I’ve activated my ‘recruiter super-powers’ and collated some red flags you can look out for to spot a fake job advert, so that you don’t even bother applying.It’s no news that there is a high rate of unemployment in Nigeria, which has resulted in people looking for creative ways to defraud Nigerians. Companies involved with multi-level marketing like GNLD, Neo-Life, etc. now create ‘job vacancies’ just to bring people together to ask them to pay a fee to join their distribution network.

This is a scam, because it lures people into applying for a role that doesn’t exist. If the intention was clearly stated in the job advert, then it won’t be a scam. Some adverts out there are worse, especially those pushed out by kidnappers, corporate robbers, and fraudulent people. Therefore, young graduates need to be more careful when sending out CVs that contain personal details like ‘home address’.

I’ve activated my ‘recruiter super-powers’ and collated some red flags you can look out for to spot a fake job advert, so that you don’t even bother applying.

No website or online presence
If all the results that come out on Google are random job adverts on job boards with no website where you can read more, it’s likely to be fake. Any serious company will have an online presence like Google My Business, VConnect, or any other verified website – even if they cannot afford a good website. I advise that you search for what others are saying on Nairaland, because as scammers rebrand, someone comes to Nairaland to update others.

No experience required
Some genuine job posts do not require any experience, but when you see a job that offers lots of juicy packages that ideally fit a senior role, and does not require any experience, then it is a sign that they are not genuine. Do your research very well! If they don’t have a functioning website, then how do you expect them to meet up with all that was stated?

Unprofessional E-mail address
A company that can afford a website will most likely use an official email for recruitment. What I mean is that their email address usually ends with ‘@(the name of the company.com (or the domain address)’. So if you see an email address that says recruitment@careerlife.com.ng, their website would most likely be careerlife.com.ng. I know of genuine recruiters that use Gmail to collate CV’s, google them first! See if they have posted adverts with the email and what people have said. Any serious recruiter won’t use funny email addresses like sexyrecruiter15567@yahoo.com.

Your results don’t add up
Sometimes, I see some fishy job adverts and after searching it, the email address provided is not related to what’s on the company’s job site. E.g., if it includes someone’s name attached to the email, check the person out on LinkedIn to see if the person really works there. I see a lot of Shell and Chevron vacancies being shared on Whatsapp. It is important to note that these companies don’t even use email addresses for their vacancies. Even if they do, the email address provided isn’t the same template with what they really use, so that’s a big red flag.

The job description is sloppy
When you see a job advert that barely contains proper information about a role or the job title is entirely different from the job description or there are a lot of grammatical errors, this should deter you from applying. Be very wary of those adverts from big multinationals that are poorly written. Most times, they are not from the recruitment team. Structured companies have a good HR Team with quality checks in place.

Life goals are just as the name suggests: Goals that can play a major part in shaping your life.

Some examples of life goals include:

  1. To get fit
  2. To build a circle of supportive friends
  3. To become a thought leader
  4. To learn a new language
  5. To write a book
  6. To become debt-free
  7. To take up a new hobby that you’ll enjoy for the rest of your life

Of course, there are no limits to what life goals you might choose. We all have our unique experiences and skills, so what works for you may not work for someone else.

Choosing Your Goals

The trick to choosing life goals is to spend some time looking at all areas of your life.

Analyze specific areas of your life to see where your strengths and weaknesses are. The six life aspects are a good place to start this journey:

1. Physical Health

If your health is below par, your energy and drive will be affected, too. This will hinder your ability to achieve your aims. The good news is, however, that through simple changes, like improving your diet and exercising more, you can transform your health.

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

  • Losing weight
  • Building muscle
  • Increasing stamina
  • Learning how to relax

2. Family and Relationships Fulfillment

Our success and well-being depend heavily on our relationships. Negative people can knock you off track, while positive people can help and support you throughout your life. It’s also important that you have a partner or close friend that you can share your fears, dreams, and goals with.

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

  • Spending less time with negative people
  • Spending more time with positive people
  • Being grateful for your loving and supportive relationships
  • Widening your circle of friends to increase your influence

3. Work and Career Prosperity

Who doesn’t want a rewarding job or career? However, many people do not have these things. They feel miserable at work every day. However, life doesn’t have to be like this. You can break free from this trap by setting clear and realistic targets.

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

  • Getting promoted
  • Changing careers
  • Setting up your own business

4. Wealth and Money Satisfaction

Not having enough money to do the things you want to do is frustrating, but for some people it’s even worse — they have debts that keep increasing every month. Clearly, money management is a vital skill and one that should really be taught in our schools.

However, it’s never too late to get your finances in order. Your focus should be on offering a service to the world. If it’s something that people need, then you should charge fairly for it and enjoy the rewards.

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

  • Becoming a master of money management
  • Paying off your debts
  • Finding ways to earn more
  • Learning how to invest your spare income

5. Spiritual Wellness

Many people take comfort in believing in a power greater than themselves. It allows them to be humble and to keep their lives in perspective. It also offers them strength in times of difficulty. In my experience, spiritual wellness will definitely help you with your physical, emotional and mental wellness.

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

  • Learning how to meditate
  • Joining a spiritual group
  • Reading (and contemplating) classic religious and philosophical books

6. Mental Strength

If your mind is weak, you’ll also be weak-willed. This means that you’ll find it hard to achieve the things you want. But if you can develop mental strength, then you’ll have focus, drive, and conviction. You’ll go from being a wishy-washy non-achiever to someone who gets things done!

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

  • Building new habits
  • Developing your skills and knowledge
  • Playing games like Sudoku and chess
  • Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone

I suggest you take plenty of time to think about the six life aspects. Hone in on the areas that you are weakest at, and make these your starting point.

For example, if your health is holding you back, then set life goals that will revitalize you. These could include things like: waking up early, cutting back on caffeine and sugar, and going for a daily walk, run or cycle. (Ideally, you could set a goal to do all these things.)

Putting Life Goals Into Action

Of course, it’s not enough to choose some goals that you’d like to achieve in your life — you also need to make a plan to achieve them!

My recommendation is that you pick just two or three small goals to start with. Set a date to accomplish them by, and then write down the necessary steps you’ll need to take to make the goals a reality.

For instance, if you’ve lost the “reading habit” but would like to rekindle it, you could set yourself a goal of reading one book per month. The steps to achieve this would be:

  1. Choose a book you’d like to read
  2. Purchase or lend the book from a library
  3. Check the amount of pages the book has
  4. Calculate how long it will take you to read each page
  5. Calculate how long it will take you read the whole book

Once you know how many hours it will take you to complete the book, it will then be straightforward to plan how many times a week you should set aside for reading and how long each reading session should be.

If it’s been a while since you’ve read a book, then the first month might be hard for you. But after that, you’ll begin to build the habit, and you’ll have no problem reading one or more books per month.

If non-fiction titles are your thing, you’ll be able to learn a tremendous amount over the course of a year. If fiction titles are your thing, then imagine the journeys you’ll go on!

When you accomplish your smaller goals, you’ll be ready to choose bigger and more substantial goals.

The secret behind being able to accomplish big goals is to break then down into bite-size chunks. This will make the goals easier to achieve as you’ll have clear steps to take you all the way to the end. Plus, at any point in time, you’ll be able to see how far along the path you are.

Final Thoughts

If you fail to have life goals, you’ll likely fail at life.

They is a big difference between just hoping that something good will come along and having a clear picture of what you want and then taking definite steps to get it.

Once put into action, life goals will transform your existence. You’ll be happier, healthier, and more successful.

Now, you just need to make a start. As Lao Tzu once said:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”