A Slice of Happiness 

Happy Sunday! 

I have been around or at home for the past few weeks, so this weekend I packed up my car and took my daughters to go see my dad in North Carolina. This time of year is always difficult for my father. Today is his mother’s birthday and although it has been over 20 years since she passed away, he still feels the magnitude of her loss as he celebrates her life. Our family is also still reeling over the loss of my Uncle Alonzo this past June. My dad has several siblings, but they had an extremely close bond and his death has changed him in ways that words cannot properly describe. There is a spark missing from his eyes and a tinge of sadness that permeates through his laughter and smile. Uncle Alonzo meant so much to him and to all of us and I’m sure we will never be the same. I’m dedicating my book Orion’s Chains to him and fashioning a character in his honor. 

I spent most of last night and this morning talking and laughing with my dad about love, life, friendship, creativity, music, and so much more. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear his words of wisdom and encouragement. And, he was uplifted by my children as they told him knock knock jokes and giggled at the dinner table. He recently lost his beloved dog Tommy and he admitted to feeling lonely as he came to an empty home after work. His afternoons would be spent with his dog as he waited for my stepmom to get home. It was the last thing he needed to happen at this crucial point in his life and I was glad to bring him a slice of happiness during a turbulent time. 

I honestly didn’t think my presence could be beneficial to anyone at this moment. I’ve been caught in my own emotional storm as I battle my own mind and feelings of inadequacy. But, I have found a renewed sense of purpose and a burst of creativity and determination through spending just one day with my Dad.

This week, take a moment to pick up the phone and call or go and see someone that you love. It’s amazing how one great conversation can give you the boost you need to walk into this week with confidence. 

Love to all of ya and I’ll see you on Wednesday đź’• 
-Tai Gooden 

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Finding the Lessons in Frustrating Moments

The past couple of weeks have been frustrating. Last week, the area I live in experienced about 7 inches of snow. To my lovely Northern folks, this amount is a joke. But, for a Southern city, it quickly turns into a headache, especially if you have children. As you all know, I have a job outside of my freelance career in an industry that RARELY shuts its doors. Both of my girls’ schools closed for the ENTIRE week and I was irritated as I scrambled to find childcare and avoid burning unnecessary vacation time. Oh, the joys of not having a wide selection of trusted family/friends around for these crazy situations!

But, as I sat at my freelance workstation and watched my kids play and giggle, I thought about how things will be different when I make my transition to freelance writing. I decided to channel my frustration with juggling motherhood and work as motivation to keep striving toward my freelance writing goals. I also decided to take the opportunity to take a step back from my busy life with two careers and simply enjoy the unexpected time with my kids.

We all face unexpected bumps in the road. Frustrating events blindside us and we find ourselves groaning and complaining over something we cannot control. Instead of allowing our frustration to control us, we need to take a step back from the situation and find purpose in the moment. When we make a conscious effort to channel our energy toward our purpose, we will be happier and more productive.

Don’t let the storms rattle you! Stay strong and take it as a sign from the universe to grind harder 🙂

If you are having problems staying motivated, then check out  my article about ways to stay motivated EVERY DAY!

-Tai Gooden

 

You vs. Them: Stay Focused on YOUR Path to Success

Happy Saturday!

I have been grinding over the past few weeks! My days have been filled with conducting research on new places to pitch, writing pitches, and even writing a few articles. I saw a few freelance writing opportunities and I took the time to put in my application. I have yet to hear back but I believe I will secure the right opportunity when it comes along. Until then, I will continue to take a leap of faith and send my resume to potential clients!

Lately, I have had a message on my heart and I want to share it with you. If you are reading my blog, I know you are a doer and a dreamer. I know you are working hard toward your dreams and trying to stay inspired. I also realize how hard it can be to stay motivated when you look around you and see others success. You wonder why a person with less talent is outpacing you in your field. You see a person you admire continuing to make big moves and you wonder when YOUR time is going to come.

You are not alone. Sometimes, I find myself comparing my writing journey to others. I wonder when my moment is going to arrive. And as much as I try to avoid being envious of my writing idols, it happens.

But you know what? I don’t allow myself to stay in a negative space. I realize that social media only gives us a snippet of what it took for someone to achieve their dreams. Their glorious successes, accolades, and admiration are often the end result of YEARS of hard work, setbacks, frustration, and dedication. There was a time when these same people were newbies. They had to find their own path to success. And they built their brands by knowing when to keep their blinders on.

That is what we have to do. We have to keep our blinders on and focus on our own path. Constantly coveting another person’s achievements will not help us stay focused on our own journey. While we can learn from their words of wisdom and apply their solid advice to our career, we cannot allow envy to derail us from our dreams.

So, how do I avoid this dangerous trap? I take a step back and give myself some credit for the progress I have made. I stick to my quarterly goals and make sure EVERY move I make is going to help me achieve my milestones. I congratulate others on their success and I remind myself that my unique journey will not look like theirs because I am not them. And I realize that there is a writer out there who wants to make it as far as I have made it today!

I hope you decide to focus on the accomplishments you have made and keep your mind focused on your own path.

-Tai Gooden

When Your Tank is Nearly Empty

Life pushes and pulls us in a multitude of directions. We spend so much time working and trying to make a living that we often forget to truly live our lives. Our hobbies and dreams take a back seat to chasing the almighty dollar. And, by the time we are done with a workday, our tank is nearly empty. How do I know? Because I am running on fumes at this very moment.

I want to encourage you (and myself) to push yourself. If you want to get out of that cubicle and pursue your music career, you can’t do it if you throw in the towel every night. Don’t you think your ultimate reward is worth some temporary sacrifice? 

If you want something, you will force time for it in your life. Wake up an hour earlier or stay up a little later and plug away at your goals! If you don’t, then you are not entitled to complain when your life is still in the same space 10 years from now!

So stay encouraged. Work a little harder. Dream big. Find a support system. Post motivational messages all around you. And never, ever lose sight of your goals!

You got this!

-Tai Gooden 

Celebrate the Small Victories

Happy Sunday!

April has been a phenomenal month! I started working with a great writing coach, I have written a couple of solid pitches to publications, I finally have a website to truly call my own, and I am thisclose to having my first poetry book published. Later this week, I will have Amour Rising on the market and I will be a self-published poet!!! In my personal life, my 6 week old daughter is doing great and my family is happy and relatively healthy (even though I have an annoying sinus infection).

So today, I want to you to join me and take a few moments to celebrate our accomplishments and victories. Initially, you may not feel like you are making any progress toward your goals and dreams, but if you really think about it, I am sure you have done something toward your ultimate goal. Maybe you researched guitar lessons in your area or you went to the gym once this week. If so, then give yourself some credit!

We get so caught up with the idea of what we ultimately want that we feel like our day to day work is not important. Remember, to get to the top of the staircase, we have to actually take the steps. 

Enjoy the process and live in the moment. Your journey may not progress the way you envisioned, but it is worth the ride!!

-With Love,

Tai’sha C. Gooden