First, Thank you.
Simply thank you! A few days before Christmas I started a 52-week writing challenge with hopes that it would encourage me to post at least one blog a week. As a perfectionist who normally has to run her work past at least 3-5 people for feedback and edits before it reaches the Internet, this was a very vulnerable but necessary experiment for me. Your emails, texts, and comments on this newsletter as well as your shares on social media mean the world to me. It’s like that cheerleading squad I didn’t know I needed. It’s re-awakened my creativity and my passion for blogging.
So thank you again! I am forever indebted.
Over the holiday break, a sweet spirit sent me the password to her Disney+ account with the words “You’re welcome.” It was my invitation to watch Pixar’s new movie Soul.
Now, animated movies really aren’t my thing, especially the way my attention span is set up. I’ve never watched a Pixar film before and I don’t think I’ve watched a Disney movie since Beauty & The Beast (1991). (I know, terrible!) But there was something about the plot and all the tweets raving about the film that captured my attention. Not to mention, it was the first time a Pixar film had a black lead. It stars Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner, a middle-school jazz teacher who accidentally dies after landing the gig of his life. Read that again: He dies after landing the job he has been dreaming about his entire life.
I won’t get into specifics, but the movie literally snatched what was left of my edges within the first 30 minutes. By the time the credits started rolling, I was re-evaluating my entire life, and I had to watch it a second time, this time with a notepad and pen.
Here are six profound quotes in the movie that literally came for us all, and how I interpreted them.
“Is all this living really worth dying for?”
We’d only be able to answer this question if we were truly living. Are you truly living?
“They say you are born to do something, but how do you figure out what that thing is? What if you pick up the wrong thing, or someone else’s thing and you are stuck.”
Is the thing you are doing right now what you were born to do or did you somehow get re-routed due to life obligations, fear, the wrong relationship, what your family wanted for you, or too many unsolicited opinions?
“He’s just criticizing [you] to cover up the pain of his own failed dreams…”
Your biggest critics will be the people who have never been where you are trying to go. Those are the people who will tell you what you can’t do because it’s too big of a reach for them. But newsflash: you have a different capacity. Your mindset is different. You move differently. You know that there is a world out there for you that’s bigger than the life you are currently living. If you let these people dictate what you do in life, you’ll live in the confinements of the walls they’ve built for themselves versus who you were called to be.
“Lost Souls are obsessed with something that disconnects them from life.”
Could that obsession be social media? Remember the days when we could actually choose who we followed and what we wanted to see on our timelines? Now, almost every single platform has implemented an algorithm so that they can control what you see (most of the time it isn’t the people you chose to follow), and they’ve put measures in place to keep you glued to your computer screens for as long as possible. The result is people losing themselves in endless scrolling, endless comparisons, endless watching others, and endless posting in an effort to keep up. Chile, the exhaustion of it all.
I remember I took my first vacation out of the country in 2010, a weekend getaway in Jamaica with one of my best friends. When I came back, my sister said to me, “Did you really have to post the entire time you were there?” I thought her comment was very rude at the time, but she had a point. 7 years later, I went on an amazing all-expense-paid trip to Thailand as part of a deal with an airline. We stayed in a $2k a night luxury pool villa in Phuket complete with cooking classes, spa visits, and morning yoga, and we captured some of the most beautiful vacation photos I’ve taken in my life. Looking back, a lot of my days were filled with making sure we got the right shots, and I came back with just that, a lot of beautiful pics, and very few memories.
Now, when I go on vacation, I have to ask myself, are you allowing moments to organically happen, or are you forcing and pausing moments for the sake of capturing content that you can later post on your social channels? If every vacation or gathering requires a shot list, you ain’t living!
“I’ve been waiting on this day my entire life, I thought it would feel different….”
Joe standing outside that club after a stellar performance wondering why success was hitting different than what he’d imagined is all of us at some point. There is nothing like manifesting, huge, incredible earth-shattering things into our lives. But what happens when you get them, and still feel empty and unfulfilled? You got your dream career, now what? You got the man of your dreams, now what?
I’ll tell you a secret here: This year, I found myself on a call with the COO of my company uncontrollably sobbing. “I’m not happy!” I blurted out. “And I don’t know what it will take for me to get to happy.” After a deafening awkward pause on the other end, I continued, “I feel guilty and a lot of shame that I feel this way. I’ve dreamed of this moment all of my life. I manifested this. But it feels different than what I thought it should.” That revelation was a hard pill for me to swallow, especially with young women looking up to me and wanting to follow my path.
It wasn’t my COO’s fault that I wasn’t happy or anyone’s fault in my company. I had the best business acquisition that anyone could ever ask for. One that afforded me a lot of freedom in brand direction and I’m working under people who have amazing clout in the industry. But with the announcement of my acquisition came the activation of my imposter syndrome, the need for perfection, the need to constantly prove that I was worthy of something so major happening in my life, and in the midst of that, life has felt rather chaotic. I’ve found myself on a huge hamster wheel year after year, as I tried to mold myself into and keep up with what I felt the founder of a media empire should be. I created this scenario in my life, no one else did and there is nothing he or anyone else on my team could do to make me happy. I am in control of the wheel and my happiness lies within me.
This leads me to the last and final profound line I picked up from the film…
“Your purpose and your spark are different. Your purpose is found in how you serve others, but your spark is living. It’s your passion. “
This line made me realize that the key to your happiness doesn’t always lie in finding and living out your purpose. It isn’t in some huge publicized deal, awards, or a large following. Your happiness is in the spark. What makes you feel alive. What makes you excited to get out of bed every morning.
In my particular case, in the midst of me building my brand, leading a team, creating brand extensions, and things that would make the company profitable, I lost my spark.
Unlike the character 22, who spent the entire movie trying to find her spark, I know what my spark is. I feel that spark when I’m writing and creating from my most vulnerable and authentic place. I’ve been writing since I was 16, and my mom used to find half-written novels hidden in boxes in the back of my closet. It’s no coincidence that I became a blogger.
Sometimes to find your spark again you have to channel your inner child. You have to channel who you were before the world told you who you should be.
I’m finding my spark again, and I challenge you in the New Year to find yours.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the film if you’ve watched it! Do you feel like you are truly living? And have you found your spark?
Until next time…
Happy New Year!
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