I saw this quote from Gordana Biernat a few days ago on Twitter and it resonated with me… 


Many people are held back from greatness because they believe that someone else is responsible for their setbacks or think that someone is the key to getting them where they need to be. 

The reality is, we are ultimately responsible for our successes and failures. We are responsible for seizing a moment or sabotaging one. 

This is not to say that someone with greater power and influence cannot block your path, stab you in your back, disenfranchise you. That too is true. But when and for how long do you fight back and look for other options and opportunities? If you never do then how can you expect positive change? When do you learn the rules and start using the game to flip things in your favor? The game is over only when we give up. But if you never even made an attempt, then what do you have to say for yourself? You can’t possibly know what “could’ve been” because you never really tried. 

I know what it’s like to have someone sabotage your dreams and goals. But why in the world would I give them all of my power by giving up my pursuit of what I want most in life? They may have thrown a wrench in my plan but they don’t determine my destiny. My reality is what I make it, what I concede to. I’ve learned to go back to the drawing board, rethink the strategy and reassess my resources, and then try again. 

I can say that I also know what it feels like to have someone use you for your skills and “brilliance”—where you step away from your path to help someone with theirs—or you’re just walking on your path and one day find them hanging on. I know what it feels like to have human leaches hanging on in hopes that the ride will get them to their desired destination, or close enough. 

Hitching your wagon onto someone else is not the best plan for success. That horse will stop walking. Eventually it will buck. It will just be you and your wagon. Stuck. 

There’s a difference between getting help—a boost, a sling—and then there’s blatantly relying on someone else to get you to your version of the promised land. 

Your success should not be tied to another person’s efforts or vision. What is in their life plan is for them. What is in your plan is for you. Your reality changes based off of your actions or lack thereof—don’t place expectations upon others. Your ability to identify their genius does not grant you the right to tap into it and milk it for what it’s worth—especially if in return you aren’t compensating them what their worth. 

Collaborations are one thing. Latching on to someone as though they will rescue you is something entirely different. There’s a sense of equality in the former and imbalance in the latter. Collaborations are about all parties giving. Latching on is about you taking. Collaboration is your active participation in changing your reality. Latching on to someone else is about you manipulating them so that they can hopefully change your reality. 

Every day you need to be actively pursuing ideas and opportunities that allow you to use your strongest skills to perform work that will positively change your reality. You have to put in the work—not expect someone else to do the work for you to enable you, so that you get what you want.

Change requires you to deliberately act. It starts and ends with you. Good or bad. Slow or fast. Bumpy or smooth. Your efforts. No one else’s. 

Thank you Gordana for this quote on change and for the inspiration of this post. 

~Natasha 

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day”

~Jim Rohn

We all have good and bad habits. I’ve shared with you about my procrastination issue that I’m working to minimize. But I also have some good habits that have been beneficial in my career as an entrepreneur and college professor. I like to look at successful people and study their habits and routines, to see what I can implement in my own life.

As I’ve said countless times, the most successful people aren’t afraid of failure, it’s inevitable. They are afraid of giving up and never trying again. There’s absolutely no progress when you stop trying. You don’t know what “could have been” if you give up. That is death in so many ways.

When you think of the best athletes and musicians around the world what do they all have in common? They keep practicing their disciplines, routines, techniques, and movements, over and over and over again until it becomes like muscle memory. Their practice becomes their habit and every time their efforts have a positive result, they have reached the pinnacle of success. Then they go back and try it again. What’s interesting is that many of these same habits have an imprint in more areas of their life than just their professional lives. They learn to apply them elsewhere because success oftentimes breeds more success. What works one place has a higher probability (with the right conditions) to work elsewhere.

Think of your past and present successes.

What are some of the habits that you have that helped you become successful in those areas and instances? Where can you “tweak” some things to make you stronger in weaker areas? When you think of other successful people, what habits do they possess that you would like to replicate and begin applying in your own life?

Make a list and then set out to replicating and implementing these good habits in your daily “walk” professionally and personally. I would love to hear back from you in the upcoming weeks and months about any positive changes that you have witnessed.

~Natasha

Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved.

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting the rest of our lives”

~Daniel Handler

I’m a procrastinator. There I said it. I’ve said it before but with all of the “e-clutter” in our lives I’m sure that by now you have forgotten that I shared this vital piece of information about little ole’ me. Procrastination is a nasty little habit that can grow into a huge monster waiting to gobble up precious time and life-altering moments.

I want you to think (and be honest with yourself), is there anything that you know for a fact you have been avoiding to start or finish?

I announced at the end of last year that I would finally be writing my first book, a spiritual one associated with my Breaking Bread With Natasha blog that I’ve been curating since 2009. I avoided starting the process for two years, ignoring the requests from my readers to “write a book Natasha“.

Right before I made my year-end announcement I was hit with some personal life craziness, and then weeks later I found my 2017 blindsided by the unthinkable (well at least for me), and my book and pretty much anything that didn’t have something to do with my survival, was placed on the back burner–temporarily. The crazy thing is I couldn’t avoid it. This book is staring in my face and people are frequently asking me “how’s the book coming along?”

Darn those public announcements! I knew that it was important to announce this huge step publicly, because if I didn’t then who would hold me accountable and when would I ever write and publish this book that people say they really want and need? The answer is “no one” and “probably never”. So two weeks ago I made the decision to push past my personal life “junk” and jump back into this book that I started working on last August, picked back up last December, and tried my best to ignore ever since.

There’s never a “perfect” time to do anything. When are we ever truly “ready” to become a parent? You can’t go based on other people’s experiences, you have to find out for yourself. No one knows what they are up against until that baby enters their life.

The same is true in business. For every entrepreneur out there grinding, hustling, and slaving away to make their dreams a reality and their goals accomplishments, their company is their “baby” and sometimes they are blessed to have multiple “babies” throughout their lifetime. But if you ask an entrepreneur “how did you know you were ready to launch your company” and I know that the vast majority of them would say something like, “I didn’t. I just took the leap.” For the most part, entrepreneurs are action-oriented. We can be a little scatterbrained, flighty, and what some medical professionals might label as sufferers of attention deficit disorder. But I like to think of it as a passion to seek, find, explore, test, try…right now. Yeah right now!

If we wait for when we’re ready, if we wait for the perfect time, we may find ourselves empty handed with a bunch of “shoulda, woulda, coulda” thoughts floating around, or worse–we don’t live long enough to have those thoughts haunt us.

I shared my 2017 goals with everyone on January 3rd of this year, and knowing that we’re already in the month of May, I see that I have a lot of work to do to make up on the four months that I’ve allowed to slip past me. I can’t afford to let anyone or anything distract me to the point that I don’t fulfill the things that God has called me to do.

What have you been avoiding? In what ways and in what areas are you procrastinating?

Stop it!

Take action this week toward starting or finishing whatever goal or goals that you have yet to achieve. It’s your life and from what we can tell, we only get one to live out these experiences. So stop wasting precious time waiting for ready and perfect to show up. They aren’t coming!

~Natasha

Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved.


I’m not sure the original author of this quote. I ran across this online and it touched my heart, so much so, that I had to share it, and share my reflection of what it means to me. Will you join me? 

Live Without Pretending” 

Many of us are living pretend lives. We put on a show displaying the person and the lifestyle we want people to buy into. Social media enables this behavior. We need to be authentic, genuine, honest, honorable, respectful, and transparent. Stop pretending to be someone you’re not. Stop pretending to have things you don’t. Stop pretending and start living. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming and dreaming big. There is something wrong with distorting the truth, misleading others, and blatantly telling lies. Stop pretending. Once you do, you will notice that a huge weight will be removed from your back and shoulders. 

Love Without Depending

Many of us love with a dependence on others loving us back. It’s an expectation that for us to give love we must receive it in return. It’s selfish and the very reason we’re not full and fulfilled. 

We also shouldn’t love and depend on that love to change a circumstance or a person. Once again, that’s selfish. You’re supposed to love with no strings attached. You’re supposed to love without conditions. Manipulation is not love. If something is meant to be, it will be. If it’s not, embrace the moment, and then move onward down your path–because you still have an interesting journey ahead. 

Love is free in all forms, shapes, fashions, contexts, ideals, lenses, and points in time. Stop distorting it. 

Listen Without Defending

This is one of the hardest lessons I’ve been trying to learn in life. I can easily get on the defensive, feeling as though I’m being attacked and I need to defend myself. Even if I’m being attacked, listening to defend rather than listening to understand and possibly empathize, is always a strategy for disaster. I process information pretty quickly, the problem is that I draw conclusions even quicker, which means I can jump into the deep end of the pool when I should still be on the steps. 

Maybe you can relate in some way…

Do you find yourself waiting to respond, or worse, interrupting the other person so that you can respond and get your point across? 

You’re not listening and relating. You’re hearing and plotting. 

I have to keep telling myself this. Hindsight is 20/20 and boy howdy do I get hit with it between my eyes after a situation has gotten intense and exploded. It’s one reason why I don’t like ironing out disagreements in writing. 

As a whole, the human race has gotten sloppy, lazy, and inconsiderate with our writing skills. We try to cut straight to the point, use figures of speech and slang, and we’re too rushed and too busy to do someone the honor of fully explaining ourselves until our message is clearly received, as we intend. 

Text messages, instant messages, emails, mobile apps—can all be a disaster vehicle waiting to crash and burn with us in it. There’s nothing like sitting down and speaking voice to voice with someone. You can actually communicate faster, more effectively and efficiently, through voice to voice communication. Now let me add, that this also includes sign language for those who communicate primarily and entirely through signing. It’s the same—immediate feedback and clarification. 

Our next issue is our listening skills. 

Listen with openness. Listen with the goal of receiving. Listen with the goal of sharing, uplifting, and being loving and respectful–always. 

Listen, taking into consideration the other person’s feelings, positions, fears, frustrations, and desires. Even if they are attacking you, how would you want them to respond and treat you if the roles were reversed? Try to respond and treat them accordingly. 

Take the time to truly comprehend what is being said, not how the message is being delivered. Take a moment before responding. Try not to interrupt. If you need to, take notes, so you can gain clarification later. But don’t turn your note taking into a battle plan. Your notes are to be placeholders to help you remain in tune with the sender of the message, so that you don’t interrupt them and cause disruption, and so that you don’t make assumptions about what they are saying. You’re supposed to listen to gain understanding. 

So don’t listen defensively or offensively. Just listen. 

Speak Without Offending

I pretty much covered this concept in the section above. But let’s go deeper.  

When we stop listening defensively, we will stop speaking offensively. We will place more care in the words that we use, taking into consideration how we want words used towards us. 

This is another area I’m working on, because my words can slice and dice you on a bad day–especially when I’m feeling or actually being attacked. Since I process information quickly, my retort is lightening fast. When I’m being humorous, it’s called “great comedic timing“. When I’m being mean and spiteful, it’s just called what it is, venemous and hurtful. 

I can speak with a sarcasm that cuts deep and spreads wide. When it’s laced with profanity, then it can be suffocating. The primary purpose is to keep the conversation short and to silence the one I’m speaking to. 

How selfish is that? Very selfish, I admit!

At that point in a conversation, I’m listening both defensively and offensively, just waiting for my chance to pounce and strike. I’m not then treating the other person how I want to be treated. I’m instead projecting onto them my own insecurities. 

Jeesh, how Christianly is that? Not a bit. That’s definitely more devil than Christ. 

I’m a work in progress. I admit I’m not a great communicator. I’m better than I used to be, but still too far from where I need to be. So now you can see why this quote on living, loving, listening, and speaking hit me so hard. It’s my reminder, “Hey Natasha. This message is for you sweetie!”

Living, Loving, Listening, and Speaking in a healthy manner require high levels of self-control, self-reflection, self-respect, self-worth,  and self-esteem. When these are low or non-existent then all you have in your life is chaos and disruption, negativity and destruction.  

You have to have humbleness to have a sense of humility. Humility is the byproduct of a humble person. How can you live fully, authentically and on purpose if you are not humble? How can you love without dependence?  How can you listen openly and speak respectfully if you are not humble? 

It’s time to free ourselves from these shackles that have us bound to negative things, people, and experiences. It’s time to free ourselves from our insecurities and fears. Stop worrying about other people trying to control and change you. Focus more on controlling and changing yourself. Throughout our journey we should seek and embrace change, so that we can see and track our growth. Wisdom only comes through change. True wealth only comes through our change. 

Live without pretending. Love without depending. Listen without defending. Speak without offending.


~Natasha Foreman Bryant 

Copyright 2016. Natasha Foreman Bryant. 

I wrote a piece on my Paradigm Life blog entitled “Don’t Try to Impose Your Values, Beliefs, and Ideals Onto Others, and Please Leave Scrooge Alone“. 


If you’re dealing with a Scrooge at work, at home, at your place of worship, at the gym, or any other place—exit stage left. 

Why are you wasting valuable time and energy with this fool and their foolishness? 

They will get it together, or they won’t. You can’t save someone who doesn’t want saving and doesn’t know that they need saving from…the person staring them back in the mirror. 

Read my post, take it all in, and then do yourself a favor and exit stage left.

Love,

Natasha 

Source: https://theparadigmlife.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/dont-try-to-impose-your-values-beliefs-and-ideals-onto-others-and-please-leave-scrooge-alone/

“Sometimes you have to keep your dreams, goals, setbacks, and frustrations to yourself because you are the only one walking in your shoes, and not everyone sees and experiences what you do—besides the fact that they have their own goals, issues, and needs—so they may dismiss, patronize, belittle, ignore, or make light of what you are focused on—-instead of allowing that added energy to get you down, separate yourself and then pour yourself into your work, project, or plan. When you have reached your goal it will seem effortless to the rest of the world!” – Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2013. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.