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How do you face your FEARS after the age of 30?

How do you face your FEARS after the age of 30?

In our teens we had all the right answers.  You know, when we turned 18, we were smelling ourselves.  Everything that our peers, and parents wanted us to believe or say we rebelled.  Some of us…

The twenties are the time when you’re finding yourself, or the period of risk taking. Right?

Well, what do you do after you turn 30?

You can either decide to play it safe, or GO FOR IT!  Risk it all, or nah?

Traveling with my sister who’s now apart of the 40/40 club, I couldn’t help but glance over to what she was reading on the plane ride.  It was a book challenging self to set and complete bucket list tasks.  I began to think while on our trip how could we put this book to use.

When we spotted a zip line at a local art & wine festival, my sister had the perfect idea.

“Let’s do it, it’s on my bucket list.”

We joked before about zip lining at the zoo but it was over the bears, and we had seen the Katt Williams skit with the lions.  This route seemed a lot safer.

She said it was something about turning 40.  She reached the point of being unapologetic, and understanding that “No” is a complete statement.  I can’t wait until I get to that point. What I did realize in that moment is that the only time that things shifted for me was when I stepped outside of my comfort zone.

Growing up my sister and I used to love a good rollercoaster at a theme park, but the older we got we found ourselves playing it safe.  I was surprised when she suggested that we take on the task of flying over festival patrons.  Why did I do it?  I trust my sister, and I know that we are stronger together than going solo.  Even with all of my projects she is either the EP or Editor.  She has challenged me in ways that she may never know.

It’s so important to have a tribe to reassure you when you’re right, and CHECK YOU when you’re wrong.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, and overcome those fears.  If there is something that you’ve been waiting to do; put a plan in motion and do it.  Don’t waste anymore time.  You got this!

XOXO,

RJ

 

When you realize that your GIFT can take you places…

When you realize that your GIFT can take you places…

My past is more lit than the SOLAR ECLIPSE.

Well, it’s not exactly “blinding” but I can say I have been exposed to some pretty dope opportunities.

I believe I told you before from time to time I “Google” myself.  I need to know what’s out there, and the narrative that is being shared about yo girl.

I’m going through the images and even though I don’t have a common first name I share it with fellow dope brown girls like myself.  One of them has the same first and last name (Impeccable Faces by Ronnika) and she’s KILLING it.  Check her out!

Anyways…

I’m going through the images, and I come across a picture that I didn’t recognized at first glance.  Has that ever happened to you?  You run across a picture that you don’t remember taking.  The picture was taken three years ago during a research competition.  The platform allowed me to discuss my time as an Archives intern at the Museum of Confederacy, and improve public speaking skills.  I placed 2nd in the competition, and that experience was mind-blowing.  Who knew that learning to transcribe 19th century manuscript, process an archival collection, and speak in front an audience about my findings would lead to a career in archives, or even a children’s book!

I’m continuously amazed by the blessings that can come from following the calling that is on your life.  Even typing the post for today I was reminded that the “art of storytelling” kept me out of a lot of trouble.  As a little girl, to distract the individuals from bullying me I began telling stories about my family to get others around me to laugh.  No, the stories weren’t always funny, but they were true.  I have always loved a good story, but I had no idea that my love for archives/history, and storytelling would lead me to a place of publishing books, documentary projects, or even this platform of #MotivationalMonday on this site.

It’s unbelievable what can happen when you let go, and let God.  The opportunities are endless, if you truly believe that your gift can take you places that you only imagined in your dreams.

I’m owning that my gift is storytelling, and working everyday to perfect that craft.

What gift are you sitting on?  The world is waiting for you to share it. 🙂

Until next time…

XOXO,

RJ

The Season of Shift: Change is GOOD!

The Season of Shift: Change is GOOD!

One would say that all good things come to an end.

Don’t worry, I ain’t going nowhere. Lol.  I’m just observing some things that’s going on around me.  My boss deciding to resign, and the CEO of one of the largest corporations in the world stepped down in the same week, same city. Organizations impacted, and the only thing we can focus on is how will their departure affect us?

When I heard the news about both of them I instantly thought that their time had come to an end, and God is still in control.  Another chapter for them is another chapter for us as well, right?

The older I get the more I realize that change isn’t always good.  Then I thought, change is not good only if we choose to not embrace the shift.

There are two changes that we can expect every year:

  1. Birthdays
  2. Seasons

Do you find yourself upset or resisting the shift of the above events?

I didn’t think so.  When people decide to move on, we should look at the opportunity to embrace change within our lives too.

I was on the highway last week thinking about how the first six months of 2017 has flown by, and July begins on Saturday.  For the last 9 years there has always been a shift in my life during the month of July: beginning and ending a job, relocating, school, or completing the first book in my children’s book series.

Change is inevitable.

Let’s remember that it’s all good.  Seasons change, and a shift in our life is an opportunity to embrace something amazing on the horizon.

XOXO,

RJ

 

 

Rites of Passage: What I learned 15 years after my high school graduation…

Rites of Passage: What I learned 15 years after my high school graduation…

Early morning calls and late night text messages would sum up my last week.

It’s been fifteen years since I walked across the football field at Benton Harbor High School.  I was honored to witness the class of 2017 enter the ramp to participate in the graduation festivities.  Embarking upon an unforgettable experience.

It was a beautiful day, and the bleachers were packed with loved ones waiting to celebrate the annual event.  I stood on the bridge looking over greeting the seniors and some that I had the privilege of working with over the last six months.  They were entering the ramp for the last time as seniors, and would return to the ramp after commencement as alumni.  What a feeling, right?

I watched the students march down the ramp, and thought to myself they will never experience this moment again.  I hope they embrace everything that this moment has to offer.  For many of them they didn’t believe that this moment would ever come, or if they would live to see this day.  They will now make the decisions of pursuing a collegiate experience, military, or entering the workforce.

I had many takeaways, but I’ll list a few:

  1. Embrace every special moment.  Some times it takes years to prepare for one day.  A day that you will never forget.
  2. Take risks.  Pray about it first,  because sometimes the risk is worth the reward.
  3. Don’t apologize for your journey.  It’s yours, and no one else’s.

To my 2k17 babies and all the graduates of 2017, YOU GOT THIS! Greatness is ahead, go and get it!

XOXO,

RJ

Sorry…Not Sorry

Sorry…Not Sorry

When is the appropriate time to “disconnect” from your social media, and take a break?

Well, after the last week I’ve had the time has come for me to take care of self, and shut off all communication with social media.

I’m not able to put into words my level of exhaustion.  What I do know is that I need to take some time off.  At times I can over exert myself with my 9-5, and the other projects that I have going on.

I can remember when I resided in North Carolina, I would recharge by visiting my hometown (Michigan).

I plan to spend four days relaxing, and reconnecting with my purpose.

I’ll be back next week to share new revelations, and what activities I participated in during my days of disconnect.

Until then, check out this article on Bustle that features yours truly! <3

I’m dedicated to the #NoBlueMondays movement, so it is necessary that I take some time away from it all.

XOXO,

RJ

 

Be Careful, Be Conscious, Be Consistent…

Be Careful, Be Conscious, Be Consistent…

That has got to be some of the most succinct advice I’ve heard in a long time.  Thank you Pastor Clark!

Be Careful.

Be Conscious.

Be Consistent.

I can apply this everything that I have going on with the brand’s that I manage across multiple social media sites.  People are looking for consistency, and something (someone) they can trust.  With that being said…

Be careful of what you post. We are living in a day and age where people are constantly on social media. They are connected, and when you think no one is watching they are. 

At times we see that the negative behavior gets more attention than the positive. Sad but true. When we’re upset the first thing we do is run to our social media to air out our dirty laundry. Makes no sense right. Why would you put anything on the close line that isn’t clean?

Do you get my drift?

Working with young people I am very aware of what I post on social media.  They are watching EVERYTHING that Ms. RJ does.  Children will often times adapt to consistency, and if I constantly produce positive behavior/content they will eventually attach themselves to that characteristic.

Don’t get me wrong we have those moments of transparency when we are able to share our shortcomings with others in order to assist them with not repeating that mistake. But, let’s be real, people are laughing because it’s entertaining. You’re depressed and angry, but they are amused at your situation for all of 48 hours and then it’s on to the next. 

Don’t constantly show your hand. Protect your personal life like it’s your hand in UNO or Spades. You are a brand. Whether you’re in business or not, you are a representative of everything you stand for.  When the urge hits you to act out on social media, pick up your journal and declare that you are over the petty stuff. 

Another reason why I enjoy going through my TimeHop memories are the reminders of how far I’ve come.  Dedicated to consistent growth, and you will begin to see the results.

UNO…AND OUT!

Xoxo,

RJ

P.S. Check out my feature in the U.S. News & World Report article —-> #FaveArchivist

Dear Breakthrough, Where are you?

Dear Breakthrough, Where are you?

If I could describe today with one emoji it would have to be the upside down grinning face.

I struggled with writing this post today.  Quite frankly I was in no mood to motivate myself or others.

My sleep pattern has not been the best lately, and I’ve been functioning on fumes for the last three days.

Have you ever felt as though you’re not being appreciated.  Your work is in vain?  No one is noticing your progress.

YOU NEED VALIDATION?!

I’m not receiving the feedback that I need.  I want to live comfortably.  I need this partnership/sponsorship.  Will my true love come, and scoop me up?  Debt…well I won’t touch that one.

I NEED MY BREAKTHROUGH!

Within the last week I’ve had two conversations, and they both resulted in my purpose driven lifestyle.  What am I doing for my brand?  What is my brand?  Can you easily answer those questions?

Some days I can; somedays I can’t.

Twenty of the last seventy-two hours were spent on Highway 31 and 65.

What am I doing?

I feel as though I am in the waiting room; has my number been called?

I’m still waiting.

While I’m waiting, I’m still working.  Those moments that I ask myself what am I doing this for?  No one is reading these motivational Monday post?  Are they encouraging myself, my followers, the masses?

And then I was asked to read my book to a classroom full of 6,7, and 8 year olds.

They were delightful, and eager to learn more about The Missing President

Granted this wasn’t a breakthrough that I imagined, but it was a breakthrough with my FIRST book reading for an elementary group.

Our breakthrough may not always come in the form that we imagined.  ANDDDDDDD they don’t always have to be the huge/gigantic breakthroughs that we once assumed would happen in such a grand way.

I must realize that a lot of things will not happen overnight.  I must stay on the path to my breakthrough, because Lord I know that it’s right around the corner.

 

XOXO,

RJ

 

What happens when you find your own “Yellow Brick Road?”

What happens when you find your own “Yellow Brick Road?”

I decided to take the advice of an old friend and clean up the photos folder on both my phone and computer.

Let’s just say that was exhausting, but I ran across the featured photo.

A picture that I took about 6 years ago while visiting Richmond, Virginia.  It was before I began my first year as an intern, and I was taking in historic sites during a weekend getaway.

This picture reminded me of no matter how beautiful we think the path is, there will be a level of uncertainty along the way.

Even though the view at Maymont was absolutely immaculate, I had to reflect on the road that it took me to get there.

Seven months prior to visiting I was in a hospital bed attempting to process a grease burn accident that could have ultimately ended my life.  The road to recovery wasn’t easy, but in order to get back to my old self it was going to take some hard work.

Road blocks can pop up at any time on your journey.  That particular road block came in during my second semester of graduate school.  There were plenty of do overs, but trust me I needed the extra time to get myself together; mentally and physically.

In my own journey I’ve experienced loss of money, resources, and loved ones, but I’ve gained an awareness of self, strength, and a degree.

The road leading to what you truly want is never easy.  The main thing is that you continue on the path to achieve what you want out of this life.  You know the easiest thing to do?

QUIT.

I’m not here for that option though, and you shouldn’t be either.

I spent most of last year preparing for when those moments get shaky, or uncertain, cause trust me those moments will come.  That’s when you tap into the strength, and resources that God has blessed you with to keep chugging along.

We may have setbacks, road blocks, and detours but we can all learn a thing or two from, “The Wiz, or Wizard of Oz.”  It ain’t EASY, but man it is worth it.

We all must seek our own yellow brick road.  No matter how hard it gets you have to keep going.

Here’s to something beautiful at the end of our own yellow brick road!

XOXO,

RJ

BYE 2016! Bumps, Bruises, Heartaches, and Lessons Learned! ;-)

BYE 2016! Bumps, Bruises, Heartaches, and Lessons Learned! ;-)

What have I learned in 2016?

You can’t do it all by yourself.  As much as we think we can, we can’t. We need a team or a tribe to hold us accountable and essentially help with bringing the bigger picture to life. 

I have items on my vision board that didn’t come to fruition this year, and you know what. That’s okay.  

Vision Board 2016 vs Dream Catching in 2017
Vision Board 2016 vs Dream Catching in 2017

Add on to them or change them.  New Goals, New Year!

I took some trips this year that allowed me to connect more with my purpose. I connected with family members that I never knew existed, and reconnected with some people during unlikely circumstances. 

I overexerted myself in some areas, and simply loss the grip on some in my personal and professional life. 

But. Hey. That’s life. 

I started a new career path, in order to give back to my community, and find peace within my current journey.

I learned that you can be unqualified for a powerful position and still secure the job. It takes guts, and you have to be willing to put yourself out there. You will have naysayers, or as the millennials say “haters” but you can’t worry about them. Do what’s best for you. 

I had to get back to me this year. I’m going to focus more on what works best for my sanity. People won’t always understand what you’re doing, but for those that trust you they will support.

2017 will be a huge year of branding for Steele Lens and what falls under the umbrella of the company. 

The first book in the Adventures of Alleykats series was released, and the support has been EVERYTHING.  Looking forward to releasing book 2 in 2017.

Alleykats Club 2016
Alleykats Club 2016

The Final 48 Project continues to prove to me that the documentary and photography campaign is necessary.  Honestly, take a look at your timeline.  A lot of your friends have suffered a significant loss this year.  We need love and support from each other more than ever.

The annual #SteeleThankful Challenge will be bigger and better and that’s thanks to you all. You trusted me, participated, and we all learned so much about ourselves.

I will continue to keep the faith, and believe that God has some amazing things in store in order to make this world a better place. 

Throwing Glitter and Lots of Love going into 2017!

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Xoxo,

RJ

Day 7: Foundation #SteeleThankful Challenge

Day 7: Foundation #SteeleThankful Challenge

I’m #SteeleThankful for my foundation.

Becoming first generation college graduates was important to my parents, especially my father.  The goal was that all three children obtained a college degree. Often times I believed it was forced upon us to go to college, but now that I’m older I understand the foundation that was instilled in us.

It wasn’t about an education, it was also about the life experience.  It was problem solving skills, friendships, relationships, and preparation for the real world.

My parents always wanted better for my siblings and myself.  Their strong foundation is the reason why I will always strive to want better for myself.  Settling for mediocre is not an option.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

Steele Thankful 2016