Motivation

8 Daily Affirmations

Blank-Sheet.jpg

Sometimes it’s tough to “stay positive.”

Some days it’s easier to stay in bed rather than face reality.

Sometimes you just want to grab a tub of ice cream and stay on the couch and watch the Harry Potter series all day. 

Okay, it may not be Harry Potter for you. Maybe it’s Disney movies or Real Housewives of Atlanta. And maybe it’s not ice cream for you. Maybe it’s pizza or candy. My point is that it’s hard to stay positive every single day. 

Zig Ziglar once said, “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.”

How you start your day is extremely important. And what you tell yourself each day shapes the direction of your life. If you can think positively on a consistent basis, you will train your mind to find the good in every moment, even the moments when it seems impossible to do so.

I decided to hit up my lady and compile a list of the daily affirmations that help us get through our days.

With that being said,

Let’s get into it ! 


 

1)   I WILL - Get up and show up 

You’re going to have to pay your dues.  Anything worth having is going to take time to get which means there are going to be times when your emotions get the best of you.  Some days you’ll be more tired than others; some days you won’t feel as creative or as productive as other days.  But no matter how you feel, pick yourself up and show up for that day.  Whatever tasks you have to tackle, find the strength to make it happen.  Get it done.  Because one thing I’ve realized is that the days you don’t feel like doing something are the days when you probably need to do it the most, especially if it’s going to get you closer to your dreams, goals and aspirations.  Do your best not to count the days; focus on making each day count. 

2). I am IMPORTANT  

Do you know you’re here for a reason?  Every single person on this planet has a purpose, including you!  Yes, YOU.  You may not feel like it.   You may not know what it is.  But I need you to understand, and I mean REALLY understand, that you are important. You are here to accomplish something no one else in this world can accomplish.  The very fact that you are alive right now reading this means God is not finished with you yet.  You matter. I don’t care what anyone else has told you, or even what you’ve told yourself.  From this second moving forward, I need you to know you are special. SO special.  There are gifts, talents, visions, ideas, goals, and dreams inside of you ready to unfold.  Take the time to figure out what they are.  Please!  The world needs what you have to offer. 

3). I MUST – Breathe

Sometimes we forget to breathe.  You might say, “How do we forget to breathe when that’s literally what gives us oxygen?”  What I mean is that we breathe for survival but not always to analyze our next move.  Oftentimes, life can become a lot to handle.  Oftentimes, life has a grip on us and we’re just trying to hold on, just trying to keep our heads above water and catch our breath.  I’ve realized that in the midst of these chaotic moments, if we can find a way to breathe, we eventually calm down and can figure out a solution to our problems.  It’s kind of like quicksand.  The more you fight, the quicker you sink.  But if you calm down, it takes the sand longer to overtake you. Don’t let life overtake you.  Take a deep breath, analyze the root of your problem, shift your perspective, and find a solution. 

4). I am LOVED 

Another way to say this affirmation is, “I love myself.”  Self-love is crucial.  CRUCIAL. You cannot receive or give love to others until you first learn to love yourself.  How do you fall in love with yourself?  By working on the second affirmation- I am important.  If you repeatedly remind yourself that God has a plan for your life; that you are here for a reason; that there is greatness inside of you; that you are amazing and special; that YOU ARE IMPORTANT, your self-love will slowly begin to grow and grow.  You can tell when you REALLY love yourself because everything about you changes. Your swag is different.  Your confidence is on a whole other level. You talk different.  You walk different.  You don’t care what other people think about you.  You don’t need compliments from other people to feel good about yourself.  You don’t need likes and comments under your Instagram posts to feel validated.  You don’t settle for less than what you deserve. You eliminate the people and things in your life that are distracting you from your purpose.  Because when you fall in love with yourself, you realize you deserve to live the BEST life you could possibly live.  Mannnnnn, let me tell you.  Do not take this affirmation lightly!  Work on it until you start to see some changes.  Self-love is not going to happen overnight, but it is SO worth the process.    

5). I WILL - Fully commit to it 

I’ve always been a forward thinker.  I’m always thinking long term, which has its advantages and disadvantages.   One advantage is that I can see my vision very clearly.  The dream. The final product.   I see it as clear as day.  It’s so clear I can grab it!  However, the disadvantage to this is that I often overlook certain steps.

I don’t believe starting is the hard part.  I think having the right emotional state and the right people around you will give you the boost you need to start whatever it is you want to do.   The hard part is finishing.  It’s hard to finish anything.  Not because we can’t, but because when we embark on a journey, life has a way of happening.  The moment you make up your mind to do something, life is going to test you to see how bad you really want it.   And it’s not always easy to fight when you have no fight left in you.  It’s not always easy to get back up when you’ve had countless setbacks.

Doubt and fear are always near us.  But you owe it to yourself to see how far you can go in this life, not for anybody else but yourself. You need to finish whatever it is that you’re doing.   It’s not even about the destination.  It’s about who you are as a person day in and day out.  Your character will always overshadow whether you reach it to the top or not.  I’ve climbed many mountains and fell short on a bunch of them.   But no matter how many times I fall short, I’ll never stop climbing.  I owe it to myself to finish whatever it is that I start. I dare you to finish. I dare you! See it all the way through, and watch what it does to your character along the way. 

6). I am STRONG

“But Chanelle, I don’t feel strong.”  I get it. Trust me.  I get it!  Life has a way of making us feel weak.  Tragedy, disappointment, pain, suffering, trial, tribulation- we all experience difficult circumstances.  And sometimes the burden feels too heavy to carry.  Job loss, a death in the family, a bad health diagnosis, financial hardship, marital problems, a disobedient child- the list of challenges we experience is endless.  But guess how I know you’re strong?  Because you’re here right now reading this.  When life knocked you down, you got back up.  Being strong doesn’t mean you won’t ever fall.  Being strong doesn’t mean you won’t ever feel like quitting.  The true sign of strength is getting up when everything in you wants to throw in the towel. The next time life throws you a curveball and you don’t know how you’re going to make it through, remind yourself of all the things in your life you’ve overcome.  You’ve gotten stronger and stronger because of everything you’ve been through.  Your strength is at a higher level than it was a few years ago, a few months ago, a few weeks ago, even a few days ago.  Stop believing the lies that you’re too weak to get through whatever you’re facing, that you can’t handle anymore hardship.  You CAN and you WILL. 

7). I MUST - Do better when I know better

I remember when I finished university at 22, and I had just written my first book.  After I got the physical copy of the book and saw all the mistakes in it, I thought, “Wow, I had no idea what I was doing.”  See, I didn’t get a professional editor.  I was trying to save money so I went with someone I knew had been an English teacher for decades.  Even though she did a good job editing my book, she didn’t have that professional eye for book editing, and that showed in my end product. 

For my second book, I hired a professional editor, and the result was a night and day difference.  All I did was make one small adjustment, and it made a huge impact.  Am I a genius?  Heck no.   I just learned from my experience.  I knew better, so I made a better choice.  It’s okay to make mistakes.  It’s okay to get it wrong.  We’re human. That’s going to happen.  Very few times do we ever get it right the first time.   Don’t take it to heart.  Progress with the knowledge you have.  Make better decisions with the lessons you’ve learned.  Once you know better, do better. 

8). I am BEAUTIFUL 

This affirmation is a little cheesy, but it’s one of my favorite, probably because it’s the one I struggle with most.  I have a hard time looking myself in the mirror and saying, “I am beautiful.” Like most people, when I look in the mirror, I focus on my flaws.  I focus on everything about myself I wish was different.  But recently I got fed up with myself.  “Chanelle, wishing you could change certain things about yourself is such a waste of time.  You are beautiful just the way you are.”  And I’m going to tell you the same thing:  You are beautiful just the way you are! It’s hard for us to recognize our own beauty because we are constantly comparing how we look to how other people look.   Nowadays, the comparison trap is so easy to fall into with social media.  It’s SO important to remember that another person’s beauty is not the absence of your own beauty.  And, this may sound a little cliché, but true beauty is found within.  A woman can be the most beautiful person in the world on the outside, but if she has a nasty personality, she’s ugly in my book.  Imagine a young boy coming up to you and asking, “Why am I so ugly.”  What would you say?   I imagine you would tell him he’s not ugly, that everyone is beautiful in their own special way, and that true beauty is determined by how you treat others.  I think it’s time for all of us to start taking our own advice.

  

Maybe you have some affirmations of your own. I would love to hear about them and see what type of thoughts get you through each day. Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know! 

Co-Written with Chanelle Price

 

 

 

Find the Collateral Beauty

 

I woke up one Saturday, sat up in bed, looked at my night table, and glanced at my phone’s display clock.

“3:13 a.m.”

One hour and thirty-five minutes before my alarm was set to go off.

 3:13 a.m.?  What a strange time to wake up.

 I tried to force myself back to sleep for a little longer, but I made it to 3:20 a.m. and said, “Well, I might as well get up.”

 I turned off my alarm and started my normal morning routine.

 Around 7:00 a.m., I opened my window and looked out only to see it was snowing.  This was interesting because the weather forecast did not call for snow that day. But then again, Calgary weather is often unpredictable.   I really don’t mind the snow, when I’m inside that is.

 I said to myself, “Well, if it’s snowing, I don’t plan on going outside today.”  I decided to find a movie to watch.  From the title of this piece, I’m sure you’ve guessed what movie I chose.

 It’s funny how you never really know you need something until after you receive it.  Collateral Beauty-was a much-needed reminder for me on this particular day.

With that being said, here are a few of my favorite moments from the movie.

hero_Collateral-Beauty-2016-2.jpg

 

1). “I’m time.  You wrote me because you need me.  I’m a gift, and you’re wasting it!”

collateral-beauty-will-smith.jpg

 

This was a conversation Howard (the main character in the movie) had with “Time” who he’s been writing.

 

Meaning:

 Time. 

 

It’s the one thing we can never get back.  It’s the one thing we should cherish every moment of.  Yet, it’s not always easy to appreciate time, especially when we are going through trials and tribulations.  It’s important to evaluate where and how we are spending our time and energy.

We can always find time to do something depending on what we prioritize.  The things and areas you prioritize are what your time and energy will flow toward.

Like Solomon wrote in the bible:

There’s a time for everything. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

 

Someone once told me: “Time is currency, and it will put you in debt if you don’t appreciate the voices when they are there.”

Whatever season you are currently in, take a moment to figure out what your priorities are and where your energy is going. 

 

Time is only wasted if you don’t find the value in what, who or why you’re spending it. Just going through the motions of life is not the way our time is meant to be spent.

 

 

2).Brigitte: “People write letters to the universe all the time. Most don’t get a personal response, but you are.”

Howard: I don’t want this!

collateral_beauty_will_smith_helen_mirren_still_h_2016.jpg

 

 

Meaning: 

Be careful what you ask for.  

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve prayed to the good Lord for some huge asks; things I know wouldn’t make sense to the average person; things that may seem impossible to some, but are more than possible to Him. 

Maybe you’ve asked for more patience, and then someone or something comes to stretch your patience. 

Maybe you’ve asked for a financial breakthrough, and then you get a notification that your credit card limit has been increased. 

Maybe you’ve asked for a huge amount of success in one area, and then you have to pick something in another area to sacrifice.

The point is, in order to attain what we ask for, we first have to go through certain tests. These tests develop our character and prepare us to keep what it is that we asked for.  

Continue to pray and ask for the things you desire; just make sure your motives and your heart are aligned as one.

 

 

3). Madeline: [to Howard] “You’ve been given a gift, this profound connection to everything. Just look for it, and I promise you it’s there, the collateral beauty.”

b2216d5c8f29a24d1eb20a763bfb8320.jpg

 

Meaning:

 

We all have a God-given gift.  Every single one of us.  I’m not sure who’s going to read this today, but you have a gift. It’s hard to notice your gift when it’s not clear to see.  How do you find your gift?

 


Start with these three questions:

1). What’s the one thing I’m good at that comes easily to me?

2). What makes me different?

3). What’s the one common comment my friends/close circle say about me? (sometimes you don’t know what you’re good at until someone tells you)


 

I’ve heard so many people say, “I don’t have a gift.”

 

 I’ve never liked that statement.  Just because it can be hard to find something doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent. So, if you’ve said that before, don’t say it again.

 

Finding your gift will take time and patience.  Cultivating your gift will take effort and discipline.  I believe we are all called by the Creator to do something, and in order to operate in our calling, we first have to seek and find the gift inside of us.  When you find your gift, you will be called to leave a place of comfort.  In discomfort is where you truly figure out what you’ve been called to do.

 

The seed of my gift was planted when I was thirteen.  My gift became apparent when I was twenty.  I stepped into my calling at twenty-six.

 

Keep searching, keep listening, keep digging.

Your gift will make itself apparent in due time, if you haven’t found it already.

 

So... what is the meaning of collateral beauty?

 

 

I think it means no matter what goes on in our lives, if we search deep enough, there is always something to be grateful for, even when it hurts.

If you’ve seen the movie, What are some of the scenes or quotes that stuck out to you? Comment below and please let me know!

-Akeem

Blog Edited by: Chanelle Price

Figure It Out

The truth is we’ll never have it all together.  We’ll never have all the answers no matter what age we are. We just get a little more experienced each day and become better equipped to navigate life through the application of our knowledge and wisdom we’ve gained over the years.
— Akeem Haynes
akpicJPG.JPG

 

I’ve always been a thinker.  I spend a lot more time in my head than I probably should. I’m always searching for the meaning behind certain things in an attempt to define them for myself.  Being open minded towards everything allows me to gain different perspectives.  My beliefs and values are different from most people.  People may not agree with mine and vice versa.  But I’ve always been intrigued by other people’s thought processes.

 

You see, a person doesn’t have to agree with me because at the end of the day we are all entitled to our own opinions.  Nevertheless, it’s important to understand how others come to their different conclusions.

 

I like what Marcus Aurelius says in the book Meditations:

 

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”

 

Life is about searching and digging deep within yourself to find your truth.  No matter how many opinions you may hear along the way, dare to define what life means to you.

 

Let’s begin, shall we.

 

Experiences + Knowledge + Wisdom + Application =

Every year there’s a special day we celebrate- the day we were born.  When we hit a certain age, our birthday becomes less about celebrating and partying and more about reflecting (nothing wrong with doing both of course!).  While on this day most people think about their success and accomplishments, I spend equal time thinking about the mistakes, failures, and lessons I’ve learned over the years.

 

It doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge where I am.  I just spend more time acknowledging the fact that I’m not where I once was.  I realized at an early age that you will learn more about life through your pain and hardships than your success will ever teach you. I’m not saying success doesn’t have its advantages. Everyone wants to win.  I’ve never wanted to lose at any point in my life.  We all want to be on top. However, I am saying the mistakes and hardships we experience offer invaluable lessons that we could learn no other way.

 

Have you heard this saying before?

“When you know better, you do better.”

 

It’s crazy when you really think about it.  We are all just trying to figure it out as we go, even if it may seem at times that we have it all together.

 

Let’s do this:

 +

Think about the people who raised you- your parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, the Gorillas if you’re Tarzan, whomever.  As a child, we probably said to ourselves, “Man those people there, they got all the answers.  They know how to cook.  They clean after me.  They give me snacks.  They know how to speak eloquently.  They read words in those things called books.  Man, they are super people.”  And it may seem as so until you get older and you realize how easy they made it seem to “have all the answers.”

 

The truth is we’ll never have it all together.  We’ll never have all the answers no matter what age we are. We just get a little more experienced each day and become better equipped to navigate life through the application of our knowledge and wisdom we’ve gained over the years.

I had a conversation with a young man who was just about to go to university and he said to me:

“These years are going to be great.  I have everything figured out.   By the time I’m finished man, things are going to be booming!”

 

I smiled and asked him his age.

 

He answered, “Nineteen.”

 

I then said:

 

“Man, the cerebral cortex of a human being isn’t fully developed until around the age of 25.”  (I went to school too, man.)

 

He said, “Wait what?”

 

Learn what you can.   Take that knowledge, mixed with your values, beliefs, and the experiences you’ve had, and go define your truths.  Then, just do your best to make well-educated decisions and solve problems.  You may not have all the answers now, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never find them.  

 

After all, we are all just trying to figure out this thing called life as we go.

- Akeem

Blog Edited by:Chanelle Price

Motivation Monday

monday 3.png

 

Last Monday, I was at the gym getting my swole on, right.  And in between sets I was taking my rest and trying to remember what I had in the fridge to eat once I got home. And my trainer (Drew Robertson) came over and we were talking (probably about food) and then another person come over and said, “I just can’t get going on Mondays, do you guys have that problem?”

 

My immediate response:

 

“Nah.”

 

But to be fair, I’ve never really thought about it until he mentioned it.  To me, the hardest day is Friday because your mind can be set on weekend mode and you can clock out Friday morning and end up not doing a single thing productive that day and waste it.  (I had a teammate in college who was the master of this.  Dude would clock out Thursday night!)

 

It can be dangerous because the weekend can slow up your momentum.

 

Like the man above, maybe Mondays are tough for you as well. So here are a few Monday Motivation tips that will hopefully improve your Mondays. (By the way, how many is a few? Because the other day I asked my little sister for a few of her skittles and she gave me like 2.  Did I get disrespected?)

 

But any who, let’s get into it.

 

 

 

Monday Motivation Tip #1

 The moment you wake up, try saying three things you are grateful for.  Then, after you say them out loud, write them down on a piece of paper and let it sit in a space where you can see it.  Then, before you head out the door, grab the paper and say them out loud one more time.  Doesn’t matter what day it is, no day will ever be the same.  So, appreciate the day that you have and make the most of it.  Don’t take it for granted. 

Monday Motivation Tip #2

Wake up on time and start with a good breakfast.  Don’t rush the morning.  Statistics show that in 2011 alone, 31 million people skipped breakfast.  I’m not the biggest breakfast person myself, but it does make a difference and you can feel it.  When you fuel your body with quality food, your mood will change throughout the day. People out here be ogre-ish when they don’t eat.   Don’t be an ogre anymore. 

Monday Motivation Tip #3

Start your day with something positive.  Listen to a podcast, listen to a talk, watch an inspirational video, listen to your favourite song, read a book, do something that pours into yourself.  Once you walk through the door, you can’t control what happens.  Along the way, something might disrupt your day, so you need to fill yourself up with so much positivity that if you do get disrupted, you’re not even sweating because you have all this positivity in you.

Monday Motivation Tip #4

Don’t check your phone first thing when you wake up.  Don’t even do it. Because once you do, you will be hooked to it.  And I’m telling you, the worst thing you can do for yourself when you wake up, is invest and look at somebody else’s life when you haven’t invested in your own life. Put the phone away and just take 20 minutes for yourself.

Monday Motivation Tip #5  

Why are you getting up?  No for real, ask yourself that.  The other day I woke up, glanced over at my watch on the dresser, and the time read 5:15am. The next time I glanced over, it said 5:50am. You might be asking, “What were you doing for 35 minutes?”

(Insert deep answer below)

 

I was looking at my ceiling….

 

I was like, “Man, I’m not feeling today.  This is stupid bruh. I should probably just throw in the towel and stop investing in myself like this. What’s the point?” 

And I remember those things going through my head, and then in walks my little sister, half asleep stumbling into the walls.  She came over and gave me a hug and said, “Good morning Akeem”.

 Immediately I told myself to give it a rest.  Suck it up and let’s conquer the day.

 Life has a way of reminding us the many reasons why we need to push through. 

 

Monday Motivation Tip #6

Whether you like Monday or you don’t, it’s still going to come.  It’s always going to be a day that is part of the week.  While you might wake up on Monday upset and mad at the world, Monday is all smiles and sunny and ready to go.  If your competitive like I know you are, you won’t let Monday shine brighter than you. Even if you don’t like Monday, you better compete with it and dominate the day so later that night you can say, “Monday, how does coming in second feel? ;)”

Monday Motivation Tip #7

Monday is the tone-setter.  If you start the week off in a bad mood, chances are Tuesday is going to be a write off as well, and unless your writing off your taxes, skipping a day doesn’t do your life any justice.  Momentum and energy is a powerful thing.  Set the tone early in the week.  Your days are more meaningful when you are intentional with each day.

Monday Motivation Tip # 8

Spread encouragement.  Start a group chat with some of your friends every Monday, and make it a habit of putting positivity in there.  Matter of fact, make that a requirement in order to enter the group chat. Your environment will change you long before you can change your environment. If your environment is already booming with positivity, it’s hard to be negative. Even the Grinch celebrated Christmas when he changed his environment (even if it was to ruin it initially).


Motivation doesn’t last so you need to find different ways to stay motivated. 

You may have heard about that cliché saying:

Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

Cliché statements are often the honest truths.  

 


Monday.png

If you have a Monday Motivation routine, leave a comment below and let me know. 

 

 

 

-      Akeem Haynes

10 Things They Don’t Tell You Before You Graduate (University Addition)

uni this way.jpg

 

The other day, I went for a walk to my usual spot.  I call it my “thinking spot.”  When I got there, I sat on my bench and after five minutes started laughing. 

 

Now, before you call me crazy, hear me out!

 

 I was laughing because I was listening to a podcast and heard the individual say, “The moment you graduate, everything will fall into place because you will have a degree.”

 

HA! I’m sure you’re laughing too.  Or you’re just waiting for me to get to the point.

 

This point is this- that statement couldn’t be further from the truth!  A degree, in my opinion, is like a passport.  It has the ability to open different doors.  However, it doesn’t mean those doors will ever be opened.  And if they do open, you better seize the opportunity quickly! 

 

I graduated from The University of Alabama a semester early, and one thing that stuck out to me from my whole university experience was when my English professor said:

 

“You will learn more about life experiencing stuff than you will reading this English textbook.”

 

After my trip down memory road at my “thinking spot,” I made my way home.  When I got inside, I picked up my phone and hit my guy Ian.  I asked if he wanted to jump on this post with me.

 

I’ve always said I wish someone would have told me about university before I got there.  I would have done my best to take advantage of certain things a little bit better.

 

For those of you reading this who are about to enter that chapter in your life, I hope you write these down and keep them in mind...

 

Let’s begin.

 

 

 

stack_of_books_1.jpg

 

 

1). Saving Is More Important Than Earning

 

When you graduate college, the only thing on your mind is making that paper for the first time. What they don't tell you is that it doesn’t matter how much you earn, it matters how much you save.  Getting into the habit of saving is not about being rich. Saving money keeps you sane.  It grows your self-control.  And it allows you to have money ready for when opportunity strikes.

 

If you get a $20k raise, and you spend $20k more, you end up with more stuff but your bank account looks the same way. The key is when you start increasing your income, try and live like you are still a broke college student for as long as you can.  Doing this will allow you to build up a financial cushion.  And you can make much better choices with $20k sitting in the bank compared to having nothing.

 

 

2). Get Around Like-Minded People

 

It’s imperative that you get around like-minded people as early as you can. University is the one place where the majority of people get into debt, but very few people get out of that debt.  So, you might as well get around some people who actually want to pay off that debt. Why? Well because those people probably have some type of plan.  Those are the people that are going to make sure you think outside of the box, and they will start by holding you accountable.

 

It is hard to make friends once you graduate from college.  Your whole life can easily be spent with coworkers or your family.  You have to make an effort to build with like-minded people to have in-depth discussions with. These are the people who will challenge you to be better than what you currently are.  It is not easy to find people who challenge you because when most people see you messing up, they are happy about it.   They now have a chance to step their game up. When you are trying to advance your way of thinking, you need to be around people who think like you do in order to stay sane.

 

3). You Have To Do More Than What You Are Paid T0 Do

 

Do more than you are paid to do even when it hurts and it seems that life is unfair. Doing more than what you are paid to do is how you ensure you are always needed and practically irreplaceable.  There are not many people who will follow this.  Look for more opportunities to help and to give. If you want to receive more, it is imperative that you give more.  If you only look to do what your job title says and never anything more, you make yourself dispensable.

 

Do the extra.  When you do what others won’t do, you will get more than they get.  I’m not even talking about finances.  I’m talking about creating a lifestyle and building a character that gets noticed as soon as you walk in the room.  I think the one thing people forget is that you make money.  Don’t let the money make you.  When you make yourself non-disposable, you’ll always make money.

 

4). Knowing What You Want Matters More Than Working Hard

 

It does not matter how hard you work if you have no direction.  Before you do anything else, you have to decide exactly what you want from life.  What do you want, when do you want it, why do you want it and what is your plan to go and get it?

 

Doing this is like setting the destination in your GPS.  If you don't set a destination, how can you know the path to where you are going? School teaches us to drift.  It makes many people feel like it is okay to not have a plan.  It’s why people going to college “undecided” is perfectly fine. The message is, “Wake up and have no idea what you want to do!”  That’s fine as long as you can pay that $28,000 college bill :).  

 

“What if I don’t know what I want?”

 

Let me slide on this one Ian.

 

You know what you want.  Whether you say it out loud and believe it is a different thing. Everyone has an idea of what they would like their life to look like. For example, the moment you say,  “I want...” you have an idea.  You just aren’t being intentional with the description of that idea.  And If you don’t know the description and how you can make that idea manifest, you’ll get lost in-between your other ideas.  And you’ll just continue to answer.  “I don’t know”.  You do know.  Just take a little more time and be descriptive.  Write down your own personal goal dots, and then connect them.  (See what I did there?  You know, connect the dots?  Like the game?)

 

5). That Childhood Imagination Is The Worst Thing You Can Let Go Of

 

The computer I am typing on, my iPhone, your favorite app are all things that came from the imagination.  Someone had an idea that they took action on to create all of these products.  When you’re in school, you are taught there is an absolute path you must follow.  The people who are remembered in history never follow the same way. They walk to the beat of their own drum, letting their imagination and “out of the box” thinking lead them.

 

I feel you bro, but it’s Android phone and Mac computer over here! But listen, if you don’t realize the endless possibilities of what the mind can create, you aren’t dreaming enough. People have a way of downsizing your dreams, so don’t even sweat that.  They don’t see what you see, or believe what you believe.  People would rather tell you what you can’t do and belittle your ideas and aspirations rather than give you hope so when you fall the first few times, you’ll have the courage to get back up. So, if you’re reading this today, and you have some big aspirations, I believe in your idea. Whether you succeed or fail is up to God.  That’s his realm.  But if you don’t ever try and give your dream oxygen, it’ll never live.

 

6). You Have T0 Believe In You First

 

If you do not believe in you, no one else is going to.  Your new boss is not going to give you pep talks about how he thinks you can do it. Disney Land is Disney Land, and real life is real life.  Don't get them confused.  When you believe in yourself and put in massive action, you’ll produce results over time and others will slowly begin to understand.

 

You have to believe you are already at the table before you even sit down.  Know that you belong anywhere you so choose to be.  If you don’t think your worthy of something, you’ll never fully grasp it. 

 

7). You Have To Start From Where You Are

 

Imagination is great, BUT you still need to be real with yourself about where you are today.  Social media has made some people delusional because it’s cooler to act successful than it is to actually obtain success.  Look yourself in the mirror and understand that where you are today is the result of the choices you made yesterday.  If you don't like where you are then make some different decisions.  You can build an accurate roadmap to greatness if you don't have your current destination correct.

 

Everything that you do, or don’t do, has a positive or negative reaction. Look, I know your tired some days, but isn’t it worth being tired from giving everything you have towards progressing further?

 

8). Experience, Experience, Experience

 

This will probably be something you hear a lot about. 

“You’re not experienced enough” 

or 

“You lack experience”

 

It’s funny, you can go to school for a billion years and when you graduate, certain companies won’t even give you that “experience” you need in order to succeed in that particular field.  How do you gain experience?  Well, be aware and be open to what’s around you wherever you are.  Create your own experiences.  Things have evolved so much.  Nowadays, you can search and find some type of contact information to send an email to the companies and people you want to be involved with. The worst thing they can say is, “No.”  But if they are willing to have you there, you’ll be able to gain that experience.  Don’t wait until you graduate to find out you’re not qualified. Leave no stone unturned.  And if they won’t give you the experience, try to create it.

 

 

9). It’s better To Be Productive Than To Be Busy

 

According to everyone you meet, especially after you graduate, they are “busy.” “Extremely busy” at that.  But you know what I’ve realized?  Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive.  Sometimes people confuse busyness with clutter. It’s not the hours you put in, but rather what you put in those hours.  You could be busy on paper for 15 hours straight.  But of those 15 hours, if only 4 of them were productive, you just wasted 11 hours.  People who are productive and efficient with the time they have will always overshadow those who grind all day.  Be careful not to confuse the two.  Being busy doesn’t always mean progress.

 

10).Work Harder On Yourself Than At Your Job

 

School is always teaching you to work hard.  The message engrained in your brain is that if you work hard at your job, great things will happen.  It reminds of the story of the two men who went to cut down trees.  One worked his butt off sawing down the trees for six hours.  The other man spent one hour sharpening his saw, and then spent only two hours cutting down the trees.

 

When you decide to work on yourself, you are like the person who sharpened his saw first.  By learning about yourself, reading, growing, forming positive habits, and a building a solid character, you give yourself better ingredients to succeed with.

 

*

 

I hope this has helped in one way or another.

 

Use your time wisely.   You will not be able to do everything, but you can spend time doing and investing in the right things.  And start by investing in yourself.

graduation2.jpg

Life experiences are what make our journey so much more meaningful.

 

*

 

You can find Ian by clicking below:

Twitter

Instagram

Website

App

 

- Akeem

Four Things To Remember When Life Gets Tough

Life is unpredictable. 

 

You just never know how quickly the tide will turn and change the trajectory of where you were going.  

 

But at the same time, the things we go through are meant to create a stronger and much improved version of ourselves.

 

To never struggle is to never grow.

 


 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

— -Proverbs: 3:5-6

 

 

1)      Find Your Path

 

Be honest with yourself.  And that can mean many things and go many different ways.  But you have to be honest with where you are right now. Speaking from experience, this can be extremely eye-opening and discouraging. 

 

When I was 16, I wrote down about 10 things I wanted to accomplish by a certain age.  I would look at that paper almost every day, and to this day, out of those 10 things, I’ve achieved 2 of them.  A mere 20 percent!  Nevertheless, I’ve accomplished some things that I didn’t expect to.

 

Sometimes the initial path of our journey gets redirected to where we need to go, not where we want to go. 

 

What does that mean?

 

Well, it means that just because you aren’t where you want to be doesn’t mean you won’t end up back on the initial path you started. 

 

 

Ok, let me break it down mathematically really quickly.

1+3 = 4

2+2 = 4

0+4= 4

6-2 = 4

 

Pathways.jpg
There is more than one way to find the answer.  There are many different ways to get to where you want to go.  But if you don’t develop the skills you need along the way and learn how to get back on that path, you will continue to lose sight of the way.
— Akeem Haynes

 

 

 There is more than one way to find the answer.  There are many different ways to get to where you want to go.  But if you don’t develop the skills you need along the way and learn how to get back on that path, you will continue to lose sight of the way.

 

 

 

 

Embrace where you are.  Stay the course.  Try not to get discouraged.  Develop what you need to on the path you are on.

You will find your way back.  Just don’t stop walking.

 

 

*

 

 

 2) Watch Your Self-Talk

 

No, for real.  You’ve got to watch the things you say to yourself on an everyday basis. Especially when it gets tough. There is no way you will make it out of the hole if you keep digging it deeper.  Adjust what you say.  Don’t play with your words.

 

I never agreed with the saying, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”  That’s a lie. Words are powerful.  Because eventually, if you tell yourself something enough times, you will start to believe it, and your words will slowly begin to manifest physically.

 

Cat to Lion.jpg
If you are going through a rough patch, tell yourself you’re going through a transition stage and you’re almost finished.  If you’re going through some financial stress, just say you’re in between funds right now and you’re about to be financially stable.  If you had a bad day, remind yourself that there really are no bad days, just character-building days.
— Akeem Haynes

 

 

If you are going through a rough patch, tell yourself you’re going through a transition stage and you’re almost finished.  If you’re going through some financial stress, just say you’re in between funds right now and you’re about to be financially stable.  If you had a bad day, remind yourself that there really are no bad days, just character-building days.

 

Change the things you say to yourself.   Speak life into yourself.  If you want to see change, you have to not only work for it physically, but you’ve got to put it out there in the universe.  

 

 

 

Words by themselves don’t hurt us.  Only when we give them meaning do they gain their power.

 

Watch what you say.

 

 

*

 

 

3) Trust Your Preparation To Pass The Test

 

When I was in school, up until about my last year in university, I would do well on the assignments and homework and projects.  But as soon as a test, mid-term or final exam came around, I wouldn’t do too well.  Not all the time, but for the most part, I just didn’t do well.

 

And the more I think about it now, straight up, I just didn’t prepare as well as I could have.  I’m not saying I didn’t study or take it seriously.  I just didn’t prepare as well as the other students who got the high scores. And because I didn’t feel confident in my preparation, my brain would be all over the place, and I’d second guess myself every time.

 

But I learned from that experience, and I now apply that lesson in my everyday life.

 

You can’t control everything, but no one can take away how hard you practice and the effort you put toward your craft and developing your all-around skillsets.

 

And when you feel like you’re ready for a breakthrough, that is when you will be tested to see if you are going to revert back to your old ways.

ALI.jpg
When you haven’t prepared and prepped yourself for what’s to come, you may pass the assignments, but you’ll never pass the most important tests.
— Akeem Haynes

 

 

When you haven’t prepared and prepped yourself for what’s to come, you may pass the assignments, but you’ll never pass the most important tests.

  

 

 

*

 

 

4). Take The Good With The Bad

 

This is such a powerful statement.  You are still here.  You are still here.  YOU are still here. You are here for a reason, a purpose, a specific reason that God has intended for you.

 

Despite everything that you’ve been through, and might be going through at this moment, you are still here. That’s not by accident.  That’s not by chance.  Sometimes when we go through things, it’s not for us.  It’s to show someone watching that they can get through their own situation too.  Sometimes God doesn’t need us to preach a miracle.  He needs us to live in the present as an example of one.

 

Nothing goes unnoticed.   Sometimes we need to fall down in the fight of life so we can learn how to get back up on our feet.  That breakthrough you might be looking for is probably taking its sweet time, and I mean really taking its sweet time.  But that’s the reason you’ll appreciate it so much more when it does come.

 

Without the darkness, we wouldn’t appreciate the light as much.

 

If it didn’t rain, we wouldn’t be able to see the rainbow.

 

If we didn’t go through the bad, we wouldn’t truly appreciate the good. 

lutherKing_Malcolmx.jpg
Life has a way of findings its balance. Things can change at one glance. Your moment will come when you least expect it. But what you do while you wait will make the biggest difference, always.
— Akeem Haynes

 

 

Life has a way of findings its balance.  Things can change at one glance.  Your moment will come when you least expect it.  But what you do while you wait will make the biggest difference, always. 

 

 

 

Grow through it, you made it this far, don't stop progressing now. You've came to far. You've got this.

Stick with it. Push through.

- Akeem

The Lessons I've Learned From The Airport

x9ijf.jpg

 

Airport Layover

 I dislike travelling as a whole. I enjoy new cities, and scenery, and culture and different atmospheres I enjoy that part, but I dislike actually flying, long road trips. All of that, its super quiet for me on that aspect.

Like if your trying to go on a road trip and you need someone to go, I’m probably not the best person to ask. However, I’ll come along, providing we are loaded up with snacks.

 

Matter of a fact I’m writing this at the airport as I’m waiting for my connecting flight.

 

Kind of ironic honestly, simply because of how much it relates to being patient.

 

 

 


Delayed

 

I’ve always somehow been portrayed as this patient person. And Truth is, by nature, I’m extremely impatient. I don’t like to wait. I’m a very punctual person, and the value of time is something I try not to waste or take for granted.  

 

But what happens when you have no choice but to be patient? 

 

I remember when I was coming back home during Christmas time when I was at school in Kansas, and on this particular trip my flight looked like this 

 

 Wichita to Houston, Houston to Edmonton, Edmonton to Calgary.

 

On paper I guess it doesn’t look that bad? however, I had a 4-hour layover in Edmonton, and the flight from Edmonton to Calgary was maybe 30 minutes once you’re up in the air.

 

I was beyond annoyed, tired, and all the above.

 

But It taught me a valuable lesson that day,

You don’t know how patient you can be, until being patient is all you can be.
— Akeem Haynes

 


 

 

Taxing

 

In 2016, on the way to the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, if memory serves me justice, I believe we had a night flight. After boarding the flight and putting my bags up. I sat in my seat and waited for the magical words. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are ready for take-off”

 

 I was already tired from the week of training and travelling back from London earlier in the week. So that made everything that much sweeter, I had everything planned out in my head. I was going to kick back and watch a couple movies, and let the movies tire out my eyes and I’ll be in deep REM sleep and when I wake up I’ll get there.

 

*Doses off*

 

10 minutes later….

 

I opened my eyes and realized I was still on the dang runaway!

 

My trip was ruined, I ended up staying up half the 9-hour flight. 

 

But in the midst of the stress, there was a lesson to be learned from it

 

Don’t get too ahead of yourself. 

 

 

*

 

 

plane in the sky.jpg

 

Sky High

 

This is the one part you have no control over whatsoever. Literally, all you can do is sit and occupy your time and let the pilots and steward & Stewardess do their job.

 

There’s always that stage in life, where it seems like you’re just going through the motions. You’re working towards something, but it can often feel redundant. Sometimes it can feel like you’re not making any progress. And as humans, we strive off progress, that’s what keeps us going.

 

When you’re in the air flying, and you have a long flight, it doesn’t feel like you’re moving or really covering any ground, until you get to your destination and you realize is was the complete opposite.

 

Here’s the lesson here:

 

It’s not how many hours you put into what you do, but rather what you put in those hours.

 

 


Landing

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Prepare for landing”

 

Those are sacred words when it comes to flying. It means the trip is almost done! 

 

I wish there was that announcement from the good Lord above that told us that our time was about to come. I imagine mine would go something like this.

 

“Aye akeem, just stay strong for two more weeks and then it’s your time my guy! the next week and a half I got to make tough, but don’t worry, you’re good, stay strong. Two weeks!”

 

See, that way I’m prepared. I know in exactly, two weeks I’ll be good!

 

But when you’re sitting in the sky on the plane, you don’t control the landing, you just got to have faith that you’ll get to the ground safely.

 

But you know what, 

sometimes the unknown is our strongest weapon. You don’t know what you don’t know, so you’ll just have to trust what you do and know that you are prepared for what’s to come.
— Akeem Haynes

 

 

 

-      Akeem

Always Bet On Yourself

I think a lot of people believe in themselves, but very few people are willing to risk everything, and put everything on themselves.
— Akeem Haynes
win-risk-lose-bet-yourself.jpg

 

 

It’s one thing to believe in yourself, but it’s another thing to bet on yourself. One is talk, and the other is the real deal. We’ve all heard that cliché statement “Put your money, where your mouth is.” In other terms, if you’re really about it, then be about it.

 

 

I think a lot of people believe in themselves, but very few people are willing to risk everything, put everything on themselves. 

 


Here’s the difference:

When you bet on you, you truly invest in yourself. Your faith is fortified because you found a way to see the light in the darkness. You know what you’re capable of because of the work and effort you put into everything you do. You don’t sweat what people say, because you live your truth. You don’t worry who’s against you, because God is with you.

 

You don’t worry about what you can’t control, because you’ve controlled your preparation. You don’t worry about falling, because you’ve fell so much you’ve learned how to get back up.

 

There’s a difference, and that difference, is that no matter who is against you, no matter the odds, no matter the logic, no matter how hard it can be and will get, you are still willing to bet on yourself to overcome it and find a way to progress forward with a positive attitude.


If you are reading this today, Always be willing to bet on yourself, through the highs and more importantly the low’s because no matter what project you are working on, you will always be your greatest investment and lifelong project.

Bet on you.

 

 

dice.jpg

-Akeem

 

 

 

10 Things to Stop Wasting Time on

 

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

“If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing." 
~ Margaret Thatcher”

 

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

Last night I laid in my bed in the dark with my windows open. For twenty minutes, I just let my mind wonder and take me where it wanted too.

 

I started to think about a time when I was younger, my grandfather would always take me to go and fill a bucket with mangos after church. And during that time with him he would tell me stories of when he was a younger, he would tell me stories about how he met my grandmother, and how his dad use to take him to get mangos when he was my age. As a young kid your focus really isn’t on the stories but more on the mangoes because lets be serious, I was trying to get as many mangoes as I could I didn’t have all day. And as a bonus, he would let me eat as much as I wanted too that day as soon as we got home. I would eat mangoes until I started to feel sick.

However, I always listened even when he thought I wasn’t paying attention. Instantly I started to smile because those are the moments that will always stick with me. Good or bad, those times that bring us a moment of joy will always last a lifetime.

Often times we overlook the small joys of life that bring a smile to our faces and souls, we sometimes waste time on things that we really won’t remember a month from now, let alone a year from now. That’s what gave me the idea for this post.

 

Here are some things that helped me in my own exepreinces:

 

 

 

1). The desire for everything you don’t have. – No, you might not always get everything you want, but oftentimes if you take the time think about the things you do have, you will see that you have more than you need. We all have wants, but let’s not forget that there are lots of people in this world who don’t have what they need to survive everyday life, but you do. You might not have a lot right now, but nonetheless you should always be grateful for the things you do have.

 

2). Worrying about what everyone thinks and says about you. – Don’t take things too seriously. If you take the things people say about you too seriously you will be offended for the rest of your life. People are going to say what they want to say, and think what they want to think, at the end of the day, their words and opinions are just that, opinions. last time I checked opinions aren’t facts.

 

3). Everyone else’s definition of success and happiness. - You simply can’t base your idea of success and happiness on other people’s opinions and expectations. You have to decide what’s important for you, and what keeps the fire inside of you burning. No one can keep that flame alive but you.

 

4). Trying to impress everyone. – Truth is, no matter how you live somebody will be disappointed. That’s just the reality of what it is, one of the most liberating things we learn in life is that we don’t have to like everyone, everyone doesn’t have to like us, and that’s perfectly OK. Live YOUR life for you, and appreciate the ones who support your authenticity.

 

5). All the fears holding you back. – The only way to move past your fears is to face them. Whatever you don’t confront will find new ways to aggravate you over and over again. Oftentimes the best way to gain strength and self-confidence is to do what you’re afraid to do. Breakthroughs happen when you can find the courage to step outside of your comfort zone and step past your fears.

 

6). Holding on to Grudges – Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something.  Forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on. Holding on to something you have no control over will continue to weigh you down

 

7). Thinking the perfect time will come. – If you always wait for the perfect timing you will miss out on the life you dream about. One day you should be able to look be and say “I really did live life” and not “I wish I would have done that”.  Perfection is a myth, time doesn’t wait, neither should you.

 

8). Regrets – try and do everything you said you would do. Before anything can happen, you must decide that you’re going to try. What will happen will happen along the way, but don’t sit back and watch life happen in front of you and you not have a say in what happens next. Leave no stone unturned, try every possible course of action in order to achieve something. No Regrets.

 

9). Past mistakes – Without a time machine there is no way we can go back in the past. Until one is built, don’t let your past mistakes have you doubting your present and harm your future. We all make mistakes and we all have flaws, the only way to figure out life is to make choices and act on our decisions. They might not always work out, but that’s something we have to live with. At the end of the day life goes on, use your mistakes to help you grow and hopefully help you make better choices for the future. Even though we may make mistakes along the way, we don’t have to be confined by them. Live, learn, and keep it moving.

 

10). Distractions - Be wise enough to walk away from the nonsense around you.  Focus on the positives, and soon the negatives will be harder to see. Always remember that what you pay attention too will grow. Be careful what you give your attention too.

 

Its On You..

Truth be told, time is something we can't get back. What you do with it is on you, but the fact that we cannot get it back should speak volume.  What do you need to prioritize in order to progress? What are you giving more time to that you shouldn't?

Leave a comment below, and share your thoughts.

 

Daily Rituals

 

We are what we do repeatedly, not what we say we will do. That's why having a routine is so imperative to any individuals success. I pretty much do the same thing every single morning and night. I’m sure many of you have your own routine whether you know it or not. Some of you may wake up, and lift your pillow, lift your blanket, then get up and flip the other pillow, then slowly look around and notice that your phone fell off the bed and landed on the floor. Then after you grab your phone you might scroll through the gram or twitter or check the sports news. Something along those lines, and if your smiling saying (he don’t know me) then chances are your right. But next thing you know its 8:30 and you’ve been awake since 7:30. And you haven't done anything to help get you in the right mood to start your day. What you do in that first hour can make a big difference on how your day goes.  I’m a big believer in using your time wisely and efficiently. Every morning I get up, I say a quick prayer, and then I grab my book and start reading for a minimum of forty minutes. I usually go over that, but I set that as a minimum. Before I go to bed I do the same thing. If you are looking for a good positive way to start your day off and dominate the week, here are some things that might help push you in that direction.

 

. . . 

 

 

 

 1). Find an interesting book and read it  

 I love reading, you can learn almost anything in books. There is so much knowledge and great stories in books, or if you need a spark of inspiration there are many books out there that can assist that (Including mine, just saying). Charles William Eliot says "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers". Start your day with a good book.

 

 

 2). Make A List  

Make a list of the things you need to do and get done for that day, I believe that if you physically make the effort to write it down, you will try a little harder to follow through with what you’ve written. When you write down anything, those words now travel to your subconscious mind and informs you that you need to get it done. It’s not a coincidence when we say, “I know I was supposed to do something, but I can’t really remember what.” That’s your mind trying to tell you to get back on track. Make your list, and work through until you complete what needs to be completed. 

 

3). Start experimenting with your passions

  Don't let anybody tell you that you can only be good at one thing. We are all capable of being great and many different things. We all have different passions and similar paths. When my first book came out it was made up of small notes I would make on my phone, or notebooks, or sticky notes or wherever I could write. I had no idea that it would turn into a book, but writing is something i'm passionate about and I made it into a habit to do this daily. I've now written two books and working on two more for the future. My point is, feed your passions, if your a writer, or painter, or artist, or singer, or song writer or whatever it is that makes your heart feel good, indulge in it every single day, even if its for five minutes out of your day. If you don't have five minutes to invest in yourself, you don't have a life. Don't let the clock run out, live in your passion.

   

4). Meditate/Lay and Relax

I’m not a big meditator I’m still working on this one, but my mind runs a million miles a minute, so I try ways to slow it down. This is one way that I do, I will usually put on a podcast, lay it on the bed beside me and I will lay there (usually in the dark cause I’m a vampire) and just zone in on the words. Usually I’m listening to a Ted Talk, or a speech or interview while I’m doing this so I can truly tune in on the message. When you shut off all other distraction and senses and focus on just one thing, usually your brain will be able to focus on that one thing, even if it’s for ten minutes. The positive intake that you can control will go a long way. 

 

5). Practice Gratitude

Gratitude in my opinion is one of the most over-looked virtues. It’s human nature to always want more, to want something better, to want this, to want that, we’re always moving forward and thinking about the future. I’ve been guilty of this myself, we all have. We compare lives, we compare situations and circumstances, we compare our stories to others and from this we sometimes intend to overlook the good things we have going for ourselves. Along my own walk, I’ve realized that, God won’t bring any new favors in your life until you show him your grateful with the things you do have already. Just because you might not be where you want to be, remind yourself that your a lot further than where you once were before. Water your own grass, feed your own mind, walk your own path, and know that your time will come, some people’s times comes sooner than others, some people have to wait longer than others, but don’t get discouraged, continue planting your seeds and no matter if your glass is half empty or half full, be grateful there is something in it.

 

6). Self-Evaluate

Make it a habit to self-assess yourself daily, weekly and monthly. It’s only through honest self-assessment that we get an understanding on what we need to improve on. For example, we talked about making a list, when you get home and started to unwind for the night, recheck your list, and start to acknowledge what you completed and what you didn’t complete. Then after that, write down how your day went, write down what you didn’t like, and then take a breath and write down all the good things that happened that day, some days you might write down more than other days, but get in the habit of finishing on a positive note.

 

. . . 

 

Now it’s on you....

 

If you already have a routine that works for you, then by all means continue doing that, but if you don't then I  challenge you to create your routine. One that works for you, you don’t have to use any of my points above, but it might help get your started on your own, but always put something positive in your head before you step out that door.  Remember, motivation is temporary, which is why you must be consistent with positive intake, every single day of your life.

 

 

If you have few moments to spare, let me know what you think of the post and I would like to hear some of your own daily routines and how they have benefited you. Feel free to share as well.

Have a great day,