What is it that you want out of life? Have you given any consideration as to where you see yourself in five to ten years from now? Do you have a a future outlook, or goals that you what to achieve? Have you ever considered creating a plan as a means of getting what you want out of life? What about a vision, can you see yourself moving in the direction that you were meant to go? If not, then now is the time to get started. One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is have something that we are working towards.
It’s one thing to aspire to do something, but it’s very different when you have an idea or an active blue print for how you plan to accomplish what you desire to do. Blue prints are a great resource as it allows you to make adjustments and changes as needed. Life will throw you curve balls and when that happens, you have to be able to adjust and shift with it, and not give up. The blueprint is just a roadmap for giving some directions on how to reach your goal, but it’s not designed to state that this is the only way to do do it. I don’t want to talk in circles about this, but I just want to share with you the importance of setting yourself up for greater.
Too many times we fail to get to where we want to be in life because we allow things to get in the way. I call this blockage. It’s so much easier for me to come up with all the excuses as to why I can’t do something, but when it comes to identifying the reasons that I should I struggle.
Well, no more. It’s time to Level Up! for me Leveling-Up means that what I dream and aspire to be inside my head, need to be consistent and congruent to what is happening outside my head. Ok, let me say that differently. It’s time to bring my visions and my thoughts into my reality.
Here I am thinking and talking like I have the Mercedes, yet and still I’m driving around in the Kia. Yes, I’ve laid the foundation, I’ve done the work, I’ve even mapped out the game plan, but I keep making the excuse for why I have not yet graduated from my kia to the Mercedes. Now granted, I can hear a few of you saying, there’s nothing wrong with a Kia and infant its a smart and economical investment. I won’t disagree with you there, but what I am suggested is that if you think small, you’ll stay small - but if you think big, then it’s time to move on to bigger and better things, and get this - your substance will compliment the Mercedes and Driving a Kia just won’t do it anymore.
So are you ready to level up? Are you ready to step out of the mindset of stating what you can’t do and start, moving forward in what you know you were gifted to do? If the answer is yes, then I would encourage you to take these few steps:
Morning reflections sang from my soul
I suffered so long just to feel whole
Never knowing which way I should go
I never gave up this you should know
I pushed, I cried, I labored long
Sometimes feeling like I could no longer hang on
Because I refused to give up
I can now say what -
This journey of mine has truly done
It has created a warrior, a queen
A voice of reason, an image to be seen
It made fear my footstool
And my enemies my ladder
Now I rise high,
Now I’m much better
Better than the naysayers
And yes much Better than my haters
I’m using all that evil for good
Creating world changers
There’s no stopping me now
The Dragons been unleashed
I’m doing what God created me To do
And that is to slaughter the beast
Ride with me now or step aside
This here battle is do or die
I’m a doer so I fight to live
I fight so hard because I got much more to give
I’m a wife, mother, servant of God, professional, daughter, sister and friend. I wear many different hats throughout the course of my day. My focus and goal is to help others and to bring joy to their lives. I make many sacrifices and uphold several commitments, all to care for others. What I often fail to do is care for me.
Self care is a necessary and vital part of our emotional and mental wellbeing. It’s not something that just happens, but it is an intentional act of your will. It’s not an activity you’ll find yourself doing naturally, rather, it’s something that you must make a priority, be deliberate about, and participate in on purpose. You must make time to practice self care, and to be present with yourself and live in the moment.
We’ve all been there where we ended up getting an afternoon nap, not because we planned it really , but because we were so tired that we couldn’t do anything else but rest... it’s not that dinner date with you friend that me that you got caught up in because they were pressuring you to come. No these events are not considered self care because in truth, when you really think about it, is not what you really wanted to do.
Self care is defined as: any necessary human regulatory function which is under the individuals control, it is deliberate and self-initiated. Self care is one of the best survival skills you can learn. Self-care involves participating in activities you love, on a regular basis. Practicing self can can only reduce stress and help you maintain and enhance your health and well-being. So what’s stopping you and getting in the way of you, taking care of you? If it’s because you just don’t know how - let me help you:
The following are some important basic self-care strategies that can keep you functioning at your best, and ready to handle life, when the challenges come.
1. Get Enough Sleep
2. Maintain Proper Nutrition
3. Exercise Regularly
4. Meditate and/or practice yoga
5. Maintain Social Interactions
6. Find a Hobby that you enjoy
7. Treat Yourself to something nice
8. Keep Your Mind Sharp
9. Stay positive and keep a healthy attitude
10. Make routine appointments for physical and dental exams
~ I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent; caring for myself is an act of survival. Audre Lorde~
When you see or hear the word self esteem, what actually comes to mind. I bet you begin to think about various types of names, or concepts such as self worth, self value, self respect or self confidence. The word Self esteem is generally thought of in these different ways.
When people talk about self esteem, it’s easy to think along the lines of what is that person like. One will begin to think about their character traits, personality type, or the persons overall disposition. Your self esteem plays a big part of who your are, and what you believe to be true about yourself.
In psychology, self esteem is described as one’s overall sense of self worth and personal value. Self esteem is thought to be a measurement of how much you like and respect yourself. It’s sad to say, but not many people hold themselves to be in high regards. I think a big part of the reason this is true, is because people don’t want to believe that they are actually good enough or capable of doing something wonderful.
Far too many times we are reminded of our short comings or the things that we can not do. This self defeating belief may have come from someone in our lives telling us this, or it may have come from our own experiences, where we didn’t make the mark, or we felt like we didn't measure up to something that we actually thought we could handle. Wherever that seed of negativity was planted, and however it was planted, I am here to tell you, that belief you hold about yourself is untrue.
Having a healthy sense of who you are, and strong level of self worth and self value is very important. Believing in yourself and your values are the difference between being successful or just average. I believe we were all born with greatness inside of us. We all have something unique and special to give and share with others. That unique talent is what lies at the core of our very soul. In order to pull that out, you must believe in yourself and know that you are valued, your life has worth and meaning, and that everything you do in life is working for a greater good, which has an even greater, expected end.
So I say this to you, if you want to get to that place in your life, you can achieve it just by making some slight adjustments to your thought processing. The key is stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself to share your innate talents and abilities, and to stop thinking negative about yourself. It’s time to turn that negative thought into a positive belief. Focus on building your self esteem. That is your level of self worth, self respect and the value you hold for yourself.
In order to build your self esteem, you need to be able to do a few things. Let me give you 10 valuable ways to start that process:
Know that your gifts and skills makes you uniques, special and valued. They make you who you are. Your life matters, and you make a difference. Now go get what's yours! ❤️💪🏾
Don’t be reactive but be a conscientious thinker. Your future and your destiny is determined by how you think. I believe that we were place here on this earth to fulfill a destined purpose. Have you discovered what your purpose for being is and what gifts and talents your were given to help fulfill that purpose?
I believe that we have been given our own unique gifts and talents. Some people know what their gifts and talents are and they have claimed it to be rightfully so. While there are others who have not made that discovery as of yet. Are you one of those who have not yet tapped into what you were naturally created to do?
My understanding of a gift is when someone gives you something just because they want too. There’s nothing you did to earn the gift. It was given to you freely. Gifts are given because the gift giver wants to give you something they believe you should have. That’s what makes it a gift.
You always have a choice to either receive the gift, or decline it. In my experience, when someone gives you a gift, you’ll generally accepts it. Not only do you accept the gift, but you become extremely anxious about unveiling the gift to find out what it is. I said all that to say, have you accepted the gift that has been given to you? If you haven’t already done so, I challenge you, to dig deep inside yourself to unveil what gifts has been placed in you.
Know that the gifts and talents you have can only help you move forward into your destiny. It’s those gifts and talents that help us to become who were were truly meant to be. Upon learning about what gifts and talents you naturally have, don’t waste it in doing nothing. There are people who lives can be influenced, renewed and changed as a result of the gift and talents that lies within you.
Yes, this is true, what you have inside of you, was meant to be shared with others in such as way that they too can begin to enact their talents and help others become better too. I live by the motto, “Building Better Lives and Inspiring Hope for tomorrow.”
If I inspired one, and give hope to another then I did what I was created to do. Have you used your gifts and talents today? Will you make a difference in the life of another by sharing what you do naturally and well? I surely hope so. If not I encourage you to join me as I continue my mission to, “Build Better Lives and Inspire Hope for tomorrow.”
I keep finding myself going through transitions. From one stop to the next, and sometimes I feel like giving up. I know that I’ve worked hard to get to where I am in life but when I see the challenges that lie ahead, it’s easy to start doubting myself.
But who would have thought five years ago that I’d be sitting here at this very moment, thinking an operating as a business owner and entrepreneur. I always knew that I had it in me, but five years ago this task seemed to be out of my reach. Nevertheless I made it here, and I’m three years in.
So in light of all that I may be feeling or even experiencing right now, it’s just another phase in the growth and development process. I know some people are thinking as they read this, “Why be afraid?” “Fear is not good and you should not speak it into existence,” but I say to you, “Much like Anger, Fear is relevant, and it can be a positive emotion, if it’s processed appropriately.”
I guess you’re wondering why would I even say that “Fear is relevant?” Well, it’s quite simple. For me, I see fear as being motivational, a form of protection, and a source of guidance. When I’m place in a position that I feel like “I can’t,” or “I’m afraid too,” Fear prompts me to overcome it, just to prove that I can and I’m very capable. Yes, I’ve turn what could have been an immobilizing disaster, into an positive, self motivating factor. So the way I see it, Fear is relevant and it has a place in my success, and here’s how:
1. Fear motivates you: Instead of retreating, Fear has a way of pushing you forward and it dares you to believe. No more staying stuck and feeling intimidated by what you thought you could not do. Let your Fear motivate you, and prove to yourself that you are more than capable, and that you can do, what you thought was not even possible.
2. Fear protects: It puts you in a position to be vigilant, on alert, and self aware at all time. It helps you to take a look at things from all angles, and it prompts you to be conscientious about the choices and decisions you have to make.
3. Fear Guides you: It compels you to think and process before reacting to any situation. It informs you about the choices you make, and makes you aware of the consequence (positive and negative) that can impact future. It helps you to think critically through each step you take, as you recognize that where your headed, is on a journey that will change your life forever.
When you’re looking to grow professionally and develop into what you know you could be, and when your working hard to read your maximum potential, just know that you will experience moments where fear will creep in. But I say to you, that’s ok. Remember, Fear has a place and it’s relevant in the growth and development process. How you process and navigate through your fear, will determine the outcome you’ll experience. Fear could immobilize you, or catapult you into becoming the best version of yourself, imaginable. I say execute the power of Fear and let it motive you, protect you, and guide you into your destiny.
Bridgette N Montgomery
MSW LCSW MSNPM CSOTS
Today was a difficult day for me. After nine years of caring for my cat Diggy, I had to make a heart breaking decision to euthanize him. I thought I would be able to handle the process because I would be helping him to move past his misery and find peace in the after life. But, I quickly learned that there was no easy way to say goodbye. The pain that came along with letting him go was so intense.
I am grateful however that I got to be there with him as he transitioned. I got the chance to hold him In my arms, tell him how much I loved him, gave him one last kiss as I watched and listened to him take his last breath. I chose to believe that he is resting well and is in a better place. I will have a ceremony for him upon receiving His ashes, because I feel like it's the proper thing to do. He wasn't just y cat, but he was an intricate part of my family and he had a role and position here.
To all pet owners out there. Continue to appreciate and cherish the unconditional love that your pet brings to your home and to your family. Always be mindful of showing them ovenin return. Yes, they can be invasive sometimes, but that’s only because they love you so. Our pets are more than just animals that we bring in our homes to protect us from unwanted things, They are our family and they provide us with so much love, joy and companionship and enrich our lives for the better. My sweet Diggy is now resting peacefully. He and I made it through one of the hardest days and nights of his life; but today he rest and I say, so long for now!
Jan 2009. - Jan 15, 2018
Test taking is not something that comes easy for me. In fact, I down right dread it. When I see multiple choice questions, instantly I panic. So yes, you guessed it, the ASWB Licensing Exam was no different for me. Upon learning about the licensing exam, and all that it entailed, fear and anxiety over took me. I asked myself, “How am I suppose to take a test to show the ASWB that I am a competent Social Worker? What would happen if I fail this test? How will I ever get ahead, if I don’t have the credential to show that I have the Knowledge, Skills, and Ability to perform the duties of a competent Social Worker.” These questions and many more, bombarded my mind. So, in order for me to make peace with it all, I had to research and explore for myself, how best to approach this exam, so that I could achieve my goal and earn the license that says, I have Mastered the core competency Skills needed to be a competent Social Worker.
Before I took my ASWB exam, I thought nothing of it. I had no fears or anxiety in regards to taking the exam. I honestly believed that I was capable of passing my exam, simply because, “I’ve been practicing as a social worker for many years.” Well, to my surprise the ASWB Licensing Exam was not that simple. I quickly learned that the ASWB was not interested in how well I practiced as a social worker, rather they were interested in knowing if I had the knowledge and Competency Skills, that are at the foundation of who we are as social workers.
Being in practice for many years, some things got away from me. What the ASWB Licensing Exam did for me, was challenged me to a level of remembering why we practice as we do, and it re-enforced and strengthened my critical thinking skills. Once I changed my mindset and approach to taking the ASWB Licensing Exam, taking the test became something other than just trying to pass it. It became a way for me to solidify who I am as a social worker and to establish myself as professionally, competent in the field.
Simply put, in my opinion, changing my mindset towards taking the exam is what helped me achieve my goal. Im sharing this with the intent of helping you develop a new way of approaching the Licensing Exam. Too many people fail the exam because of the pressure to pass it, that we place upon ourselves. Yes, you are preparing to earn a license that will show that you have master the (KSAs) Knowledge, Skills, and Ability to perform the functions of a competent (Clinical) Social Worker, but it does not define who you are as a professional.
So as you prepare to study for and take your exam, remember, YOU ARE COMPETENT and you’re a great Social Worker. You practice these skills daily and many people lives are changed as a result of the work you do daily. Learn test taking strategies, and apply it with the skills and knowledge that you have. Remember the Social work process to help you navigate through questions. Find a reputable study program to assist in your learning process and you are good to go. There was a time when I thought that I would never be able to pass this exam, but after changing my mindset, my will and ability to achieve my goals change to. Good luck and happy studying. Now Go Get What Yours!!!!.
Are you able to adapt to new surroundings, new expectations or someone’s renewed frame of reference (way of thinking)? For many, change tends to be a very difficult concept. What makes change difficult is that it challenges you to cross over into the unknown. It seems to be paradoxical that something so stressful can end up being so necessary.
If you can, identify at least one thing in life, that doesn’t change. That exercise may be quite difficult to do because beside death, change is one of the only things destined to happen. So when you think about change, is it something that you can keep from occurring? Not so! Change will come upon you whether you invite it or not. So why is it so difficult for many, to adapt to this concept of change?
Most people struggle with change, because they tend to respond better to routine, structure, and consistency. These concepts serve as a safe boundary for many. Consistency, routine, and structure help people to feel comfortable in their environment. They love when things are predictable and reliable. When situations fall outside of what is considered to be predictable, reliable or dependable, that becomes a recipe for disaster, and could lead one into a catastrophic situation.
I know this to be somewhat true, because I love structure. I love when things are consistent, reliable, dependable and predictable. But unfortunately things don’t always work out that way, because situations change. If you view change as being all bad, then adjusting to it will not be an easy thing to do. Just know that change is not always a bad thing. As stated previously, in some cases, change is necessary. Sometimes we need things to shift in our lives in order to matriculate to the next level.
Without even recognizing it, you can become stuck in your routines if you are not careful. Being stagnant and not growing can also be very disabling. If there’s no flexibility in your structure, you may cut yourself off from the various opportunities that change may bring about. Being so structure and routine, with little flexibility for change can limit you from reaching your fullest potential or achieving more in life.
Don’t let your routines keep you comfortable and stuck. If you want to grow and become better, be open to all the possibilities that come about with change. Be open and willing to try new things, and stretch yourself past the boundaries that you’ve previously established for yourself. If you fear change, or fail to accept change, you growth and development will be stunted. Let go of the need to be in control of the situation, and embrace the possibilities of your surrounding. Change is inevitable. It will happen even when you chose not to have it occur. So instead of fighting it, fearing it, or rejecting it, the best thing you can do is open yourself up to it, accept it, adjust when change takes place.
What is it that got you feeling stuck? Are you trying to get ahead, but it feels like you’re not moving? What’s stopping you from buying that new car, or that brand new house? Why haven’t you stopped into your boss office to request that pay increase that you deserve? There are some many reasons why we fail to take the next step and grab a hold of what is intrinsically ours? What happens when you think about reaching further? Do you feel anxious or overwhelmed? How about when you think about confronting that issue that got you feeling bound, do you experience similar emotions? Many of us will remain in unhealthy relationships and stay on a job where we are not growing, because of this internal emotion called, Fear.
Fear can be a very debilitating emotion. It is one of the feelings that can immobilize you if you allow it to. What produces fear, is when you don’t know what to expect, or when you don’t have a clear understanding how your life might change as a result of stepping over, onto the other side of your situation. Fear is one of those emotions we often feel, but never discuss. Stressful situations tend to generate fear within us. It is the stressful event, which is also known as the “triggering event” that causes the brain to respond, sometimes, in negative manner. The stressful event sends a signal to your brain, telling you, that what’s happening outside of you is not good. That stress then, translates into something you’ll feel or experience.
When stress comes upon you, you may feel it throughout your body. You might experience physiological responses such as the releasing of chemicals that can cause your heart to start racing, palms grow sweaty, Knees get jittery, head starts throbbing, the rate of your breathing increases, or your muscles are energized, just to name a few. These physiological changes can be extremely un-easy for some, because it may take you into a very unfamiliar place, emotionally speaking. Whatever you do, don’t avoid what you are feeling, or experiencing by shutting, instead learn effective ways to manage the stressors that are a part of your life.
So how do you deal with the negative side of this emotion, called fear? You live! Fear happens when you refuse to live your life as it happens. Fear lives in the very thoughts that you tell yourself. So stop telling yourself negative things and spending all your time worrying about what’s going to happen next. When you do this, it suggests that you are planning to living for what hasn’t even occurred yet. As you know, with everything, there are good and bad, healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with situations that occurs in your life. Knowing what you can control vs. what you can’t control is one way to manage your fears. You will come upon things in life that you have no control over, and there’s not much you can do about it. But, when it’s a situation that you can control, set your mind to make a change, do something different; reach for what you ordinarily wouldn’t reach for. If you do nothing, you will feel defeated. That defeat will then be replaced by fear which will paralyze you and keep you achieving your goals in life. So, why stress over the thought of, “What hasn’t happened yet?”
As I bring this to a close, I want you to ask yourself this question, “Do you want to experience living life, or avoid living life? If you answer experience living life, then you must extinguish fear. Don’t let the thought of what could happen, paralyzing you from the experiences of what is happening, right in the “here and now.” You’re experiences whether good or bad, are meant to develop you and build character in you. You will experience the beauty of life, when you allow yourself to live the life you have been destined to live. Your experiences will only be negative, if you accept it as such. Even when things don’t turn out the way you hoped they would, you can always walk away from that experience with new information and a different understanding on life.
So, I leave you with this, you can plan for tomorrow, but you can’t live tomorrow, today. So, stop planning to prevent what might happen, and start preparing to live what is happening “Here and Now.” There is no real security with living life. So instead of living to prevent, prepare to live. Leave Fear behind.
I'm a licensed Clinical Social worker, license to work in the State of Pennsylvania. I have over 19 years experience working in the Mental Health Field as a Child Welfare Worker, Administrator, Consultant, Educator and Clinician. I'm dedicated and committed to the work I do which includes impacting and changing lives. In my spare time I like to write poetry, watch movies, and share my thoughts through blogging.