Finding Your Rainbow in 2020

Niagara Falls August 2002 by Naj Writings – Natalee A. Johnson

Like many people, I also started 2020 by making a list of goals and planned three Vision Board parties from the months of January 2020 to March 2020. The March Vision Board party was canceled due to the pandemic and the rental facility closing. For so many of us, we are unsure of what the remainder of 2020 will be like. To be honest, no one knows. We can only hope for the best. If we are honest with ourselves, many of us, will admit, 2020 has not been the best year so far. Take for instance, my example, although I run a small business Passion 4 Dreams Inc. I started a part-time job in January in hopes of paying for my student loans. Well, that part-time job laid people off, including myself. I had to revisit my goals to pay my student loans off based on my deadline. I also had to find alternatives options for the part-time job that I was now laid off on. I did all my calculations in January and had a great plan to tackle this student loan. Higher education comes with a cost, as we all know. What I decided to do, is focus more on my small business Passion 4 Dreams Inc. and begin a plan for online delivery of services. I had no choice, because the part-time job, I thought I had secure, was not secure due to Covid-19. However, I became highly creative and researched what I could do for my small business. This is my example, as I said, I planned everything out Jan.2020 but things did not go as I planned. I had to look at other options and be flexible.

I know 2020 has not been the greatest year for many of us. I have decided to try and make the best out of what 2020 has given me and I hope you will too. I have been focusing on all the positive things in my life. This picture reminds me, that if we look deep enough, even in our situations, we can find rainbows. I do not know what your 2020 has been like thus far but maybe you had plans like I did. Every year I go through my goals and revise, and cross out what I have achieved. This year is a bit different, I have committed to learning as much as I can as it relates to business, financial education and reading books of different genre, as well focus more on my writing. I do not know what is next in 2020 and neither do you. There has been a shift and the shift will continue. The pandemic has brought on many challenges. But what will w do to make the best of 2020? There has been wins and possible more disappointments than we bargained for in 2020.

If anything, I have learned, is that there is only so much that we can control when it comes to the universe. For some of us, we made many new years resolutions. We made a few goals and revised the other goals we were working on. However, things have slowed down. Some of us are not working, while others are working from home. We have learned that even our careers can and are temporary based on situations beyond our control. It has been a year. Unprecedented times for many of us, with uncertainties. I want to encourage you, do not give up. Whatever your dreams and goals were for 2020, you may have to revise them, and that is okay, do so. But do not give up. Keep on pushing forward. Have hope, walk in faith, and expect only the best. While your doing that, encourage others in your networks and be encouraged yourself.

Our lives have changed due to the pandemic. Our routines have changed. Our mindsets have changed. We have learned that we can plan, and planning is good, but things do happen, that is beyond our control. We cannot do much, but we can control our thoughts, actions, and behaviors and how we respond to situations. Here are a few tips to manage through 2020:

  1. Continue to be responsible and practice social distancing
  2. Think positive thoughts
  3. Be grateful for what you have and show gratitude daily
  4. Encourage others in your networks
  5. Ensure you are around others that can encourage you during this time
  6. Do not give up on your goals and dreams, revise them if you must, but don’t give up
  7. Focus on what you can control and not what you cannot control
  8. Make it a habit to find something to smile about
  9. Be intentional in what you do
  10. Declutter

Find the rainbows in your situations. Going forward let us focus on what we can control today. Remember 2020 has been a year of uncertainties but continue to have hope, walk in faith, and do not give up on your goals and dreams. Think positive thoughts. Be positive and find the great things in life to celebrate. – Naj Writings. © 2020. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy and Terms of Use

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What Do You Do, When Life Gives You Lemons?

How many of us have been given lemons throughout life? What do we do? “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” is a powerful proverbial phrase. One of my favorites, that remind me that things are not always perfect. Our plans do not always go the way we want or expect. In that case what can we do? What do we do? Well, the proverbial phrase makes it clear, that when things get bitter and sour, we can make the best out of the situation. The phrase speaks to the realities of life. We encounter difficulties, things may not always work out. As I reflect on this phrase, my thoughts go back to Stephen Covey teaching on the Circle of Influence. Which relates to what we can control, as per the Circle of Concern (What we cannot control). Our decisions are based on the choices we make daily. The lemon represents many different situations that may go wrong in our lives. However, the lemonade is our response to receiving the lemon. What matters is not the fact that we have received lemons? What matters is how we use the lemons. What matters is how we respond to receiving the lemons. We either accept the lemons, complain, wish for better or we move forward. One thing I have learned over the past years, is the power of mindset. Our mindset will determine how we respond to receiving the lemons. Our mindset will determine how we respond to our situations. In the context of the proverbial phrase, we would respond by making lemonade. Which represents having a positive attitude, being optimistic and despite what we have been giving, we try to make the best out of what we have. It is not what we receive, it is how we respond to what we have received. It is our reactions to our experiences. As per the proverbial phrase, which has such a strong meaning, let us make lemonade out of the lemons we receive. – Natalee A. Johnson – Naj Writings. © 2020. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy and Terms of Use

“Queen”

So why are my new designed Queen T’s important to me?

Queen let you light shine and you do not need to apologize.

My new queen T-Shirts remind me of the journey I have been on as a woman and mother. The journey is never easy and many will never see the roads you had to travel on to get to where you want in life. I also know from my experiences, that we don’t always understand everything we had to and have to go through. That’s why it was important for me to find my “why”.

Life is about learning. I strongly believe that learning happens daily. We receive what the universe wants to teach us, only if we are open to receiving. I know from my personal experiences that going through situations are not always easy. I also know that there are many things we have to go through in life, and we can come out victorious. What’s more important than coming out victorious is what we have learned from a particular situation or experience. Let me remove the filter. What have I learned after separation? What have I learned from my experience of being a single mother? What is next? What did I learn when I was a Black youth labeled as an at-risk youth growing up in priority communities in Toronto? I was labeled and at-risk youth living in the inner-city, in neighborhoods tattooed by crime and violence. As a teen, I did not care for the label, nor did it bother me, until I went to college and started to learn about at-risk youth. In college, I was learning how to support at-risk children and youth in the Early Childhood Education Program. Apparently, I was fortunate that I even made it to college but as a child, I always wanted to attend college and university. As a teenager of course, like many teenagers, you sometimes get distracted. I got a distracted but my goal to attend college and university never left me. My mother drilled higher education in my schema from a young age.

In college, everything, I learned intrigued and piqued my interest, I wanted to absorb more information and learn. That is how I knew I had signed up for the right college program. While in college, I was never bored and always passionate to learn about children, youth and families. I was always learning, which allowed me to further develop. I learned that a label is just a label. It does not define your life. It does not mean that one day, you will not be able to peel that label off. I was able to peel the label “at-risk” off my life by accessing resources that could help me and having mentors, that helped me to become successful. As I mention the word successful, I want to make it clear, that in my view, success looks differently for everyone. For some people based on their circumstances, success is getting in college and graduating with a diploma, or university degree. That is okay, because success for each of us is different. So, I never try to define what success looks like for others. I know my perception of success is different, especially noting I was labeled an at-risk youth. Where I am today is only through the grace of God and the many people that rallied around me to support me, which sometimes, I had to seek out those persons. What I can tell you, from my experiences, is never allow other people’s opinions of you to determine who you should be. Never allow society to label you, where you give up your dreams and goals. Never allow others to tell you that you are not good enough or that you cannot achieve something. What you can be and want to achieve is in your control, you have to find a way to make it happen. It does not mean the way will be easy. It will not be easy, but I believe in possibilities.

Now that I have shared that I was an at-risk youth, you are probably wondering what relevance does my Queen T’s have? Well, the Queen T’s remind me that queens travel on journey’s too. Our journey’s can sometimes break us, or they can build us to be stronger and better. I have gone through many journey’s, like many other people. At times, some of the difficult situations allowed me to doubt my own ability. Yet, I could not give up. I found my why, my son. Each person, must find their own why and hold on to their “why”. Going through our journey’s is not always easy but to overcome, we have to go through them. It wasn’t easy to go to university as a single mother, on one income, but I had to do it, again because my “why”, was my son. I saw the long term benefits of completing university. As I wear my Queen T-shirt, I am reminded of my journey, strength, resilience, perseverance, and the ability to overcome. Again, I am not saying anything I have been through was easy. It was not. I dedicate this peace to all women. You are a queen. As you reflect on your own life and journey’s, you have to find your “why” to motivate you and keep going. Regardless of what you are going through or have been through, I want you to know that you are a Queen. Do not quit. Keep on going and when you get through and you are able to, build another Queen by encouraging her. Queens hold each other up. Queens are not afraid to share that things are not always perfect. Queens are not perfect, because none of us are. Queens speak up when they need help. Being strong is asking for help. Queens understand that everyone grows at their own pace. Queens are non-judgmental. Queens walk in love. They get back up when they fall. Remember you are a Queen. Wear your crown. Share your glow.

– Naj Writings. © 2020. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy and Terms of Use

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