All For One!

The phrase “it takes a village” didn’t come from nowhere. This video warmed my heart and filled me with so much happiness! When one person succeeds around us, we ALL succeed. This beautiful South African community GETS it.

 

So often, even the kindest and more considerate of us gets bogged down with the “me, me, me” of life instead of the “we, we, we!” It’s easy to get lost in the demands of our own lives or just think about “me and mine.” I know I do! But, when I see a scene like this one, it’s just a reminder of how shortsighted and selfish that mindset is, not to mention isolating. We are all on this planet together, a beautiful way to be!

Love,
El

Grads Without Gigs

It’s graduation season which means I have had a lot of conversations recently with young women I mentor lately, either formally or informally, about their careers and their futures. But today, I had the opportunity to speak with a young woman who graduated last year and still hasn’t found a full time job, much less one in her chosen field. Seeing this new crop of grads heading into the workforce just reminded her of the anniversary of her own graduation and her former feelings of hope this time last year turning into frustration now.

We had a good conversation, and of course, I offered her words of encouragement and practical approaches to the job search that she said helped, but still, I could tell this was difficult for her… in part because of her own self-imposed limitations.

“I can’t move where I want to because it will be too expensive.”

“I can’t look for a job too far away from where I live now, because the commute would be crazy.”

“My field is not common in this area. The gigs are rare and not coming up.”

All valid points, by the way. She wasn’t just making excuses or being lazy. But – all those reasons struck me as having the same theme: MOVE!

In this case, it really is likely a “move” in both locality and mindset needs to take place, but for many of us – especially new grads – it may be one or the other.

FEAR HANDCUFFS US! We tell ourselves that we can’t do something and back it up with ‘credible’ reasoning saying that whatever we want to do doesn’t make sense or that it is too risky. We end up short-changing ourselves and the rest of the world from the people we are supposed to be as a result.

This is something that I have to remind myself about to be honest, because the older I get – especially now with a husband and child and dog to consider – I have become much more risk adverse. Once I realized that, I began to make it a habit to try and do something that scares me regularly, like keeping up with this blog, indoor skydiving, recently taking Amharic classes, or trying [solidcore] for the first time (which I am now addicted to, by the way, and go three to five times a week!). Doing something you are afraid of keeps you YOUNG, keeps you SHARP, keeps you EXCITED! It’s super important to remember that as you grow older, but it’s also important to remember when you are indeed young.

If you are feeling stuck, think about what you really want, where you really want it, and how you really want it, and then MOVE your mind, body, or both and take the first step. The first step is the scariest, but then… it’s just another step on your path to actualizing the gifts that are you. Do something new, out of your comfort zone, and STOP DOUBTING YOURSELF. No more excuses. You got this. We got this!

Love,

El

 

Smile of the Day

True acts of surprise and friendship have truly been moving me this week. First, via a surprise party for my hubby for his birthday where a handful of close friends gathered to give him quite a shock when we walked in our house and secondly, this video from Improv Everywhere known for “causing scenes of chaos and joy in public places.” True to form, this video did nothing but make me smile a big ole cheesy grin when I saw it. It’s the little (and, sometimes, grand) acts of celebrating the people who mean most to us that carry us through and make life worth living. Creating moments really is magical.

Love,

El

On The Grayest of Days…

My alarm just went off reminding me to blog today, since I am just recommitting, but the timing is almost comical. Not even an hour ago, I found out that a dear friend and colleague, THE Mr. Tony Boler passed away in his sleep and right now I can hardly see through the tears.

Tony Boler was one of several amazing men of character, discipline, humor, and talent that became my family at WDKX in Rochester, NY. Just graduating and starting my first TV Reporting job at what was R News, I was asked to start filling in on the morning radio show at WDKX. Little did I know that even after a move away from Rochester, it would be WDKX that brought me back to the city. My damn colleagues had found a way to become my family without me even knowing it and Tony was the slyest of them all with that. I would walk into the station on weekend mornings (when I didn’t work, mind you) like an expectant toddler who knows her favorite uncle is right behind those doors with a triple-scoop ice cream cone just for her! Tony just oozed comfort, and fun, and support, and JOY! And THAT voice! Y’all! If you haven’t had the honor of hearing his voice on the airwaves, you have missed out and better catch some reairs, because his voice – his deep, buttery voice – would make Morgan Freeman, Isaac Hayes, and Mr. Darth Vader himself just say, “F it! I had a nice career, but Tony Boler just sunned me so I’m out.”

When my parents came to visit me in Rochester, WDKX was the first place I took them to so they could meet my new Rochester family and Tony and owner Dre in particular. I wanted to show off my ‘new uncles’ and show that I was in great hands, which, from their smiles you can see they knew it to be true.

When Kuti and I had our daughter, we hopped in the car for a what-was-supposed-to-be 6-hour road trip (it wound up being nine thanks to weather) with a 4-month old for the station’s 40th anniversary. My family grew so, of course, my Rochester peeps needed to meet her as well. Tony was right there – proud and congratulatory with a huge, proud smile.

Tony had a loving wife and amazing children he loved and thought the world of. I’m ancillary to this whole thing. His family is devastated, as are his close friends. I surely am not trying to make this about me and my grief at all, especially when, like kids in families do, I moved away and we really only relied on Facebook for updates for a long time. Still, this hurts in a very acute way, especially since that time in Rochester and WDKX in particular holds such a huge, pivotal place in my life. I would NOT be here – professionally or personally – without the people who occupied those DKX walls. Period. That’s the truth.

To make this news worse, not only does this come on my husband’s birthday (what was supposed to be the subject of today’s blog), but it comes the Monday after spending my Friday in Alabama for a quick flight in and out of Birmingham on the same day to bury my aunt RenĂ©e, my closest cousin EbonĂ©’s mother, who died far too young as well.

You want to talk about voices? RenĂ©e’s voice was that of a quintessential Southern woman… Like the thickest of honey. Growing up, when she would say my name (“Liz” back then and while I was reporting as well, actually), it was more like, “Leeeehhzzz” and I loved it. Anyone who could make a one syllable name sound important enough to drag it out for three instead, was more than ok in my book. She doted on my cousin EbonĂ© in the sweetest of ways and took so much pride in seeing her become the amazing mother she did. Her love of my uncle was palpable and their commitment to each other over decades was unmatched. Our family won’t be the same without her and it’s a new normal I don’t think any of us are ready for.

So… There you have it. One of the grayest of days. Death… And then more death. So how the freak do we make this a “great day?”

By living!

By speaking LIFE into people!

By crying it out and feeling the pain, but swimming through it, not drowning in it.

By taking the emotions as they come, but welcoming momentary distractions that bring in humor or unrelated observations of awe.

By sitting still and enjoying nature, the breath in our lungs.

By being a friend… Always.

Forget tomorrow: TODAY IS NOT PROMISED. This ish could all be over in a matter of moments. What have you done to change your circle and your world for the better, your ‘family’ for the stronger? If you can’t think of anything, it’s time to get to work… And it’s time to get to work now.

I’ve had a commitment in my heart for a year and a half now, one that I finally spoke into existence this weekend. The minute I did, I was filled with elation, purpose, excitement, and a weight lifted off my shoulders – and this at the BEGINNING when I should be scared and frightened and nervous about the road ahead because it’s so big. Nope. And the news today? Tony’s passing? It’s just confirmation that there is NO time to waste. He didn’t. I won’t either.

If you have something on your heart to act on, I encourage you to get over any fear, any doubt, any worry, and just act. The hardest part is starting and/or outwardly expressing your intention. You know when you have waited long enough and you know when even legitimate excuses are not strong enough to give you pause anymore.

You can be great… IF you allow yourself. I’m ready to be great and I am so thankful for the examples that the people who have passed before me have left.

R.I.P. Tony Boler

R.I.P. Aunt Renee

Love,

El

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