Hope for the Future

Sometimes I get saddened by the headlines I see.  I’m particularly saddened by what I hear and read about our young people.  If you listened to the news reports you’d believe that they are all murdering each other, dropping out of school, giving birth to children that they can’t afford to feed, abandoning children that they can’t afford to feed and about a million other pitiful things.

I was honored to be a speaker for Tau Nu's "The Apprentice."

I was honored to be a speaker for the Tau Nu chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s “The Apprentice” at The College of The Bahamas.

Don’t get me wrong.  These things are happening.  They are happening at an alarming rate.  But there are amazing things happening too.  Young people are quietly doing things that give us hope for the future.

The Tau Nu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc is an organization full of young women who give me a reason to hope.  The chapter of the sorority is brand new and was established earlier this year.  Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is the oldest Greek-letter organization founded by women of African descent, and is known world-wide for providing “service to all mankind.”

As a member of the organization, I was thrilled to see an undergraduate chapter established locally here in The Bahamas.  But I was also worried.  I wondered if the young ladies of today would honor the time-honored tradition of making the community better.  One look at their social media page just a few months after they were chartered told me that I had nothing to worry about.  Through Facebook, I could see that these young ladies were doing great things on campus and in the wider community.

I was thrilled and honored when they allowed me to join them as a speaker for a program they provided to the community.  The program called “The Apprentice” focused on educating future entrepreneurs on the ups and downs of business.  It was my pleasure to share just a few business tips that I’ve gleaned from my freelance writing business.  Then Debbie Bartlett, a Bahamian media mogul, shared valuable pointers.

The event was well-organized and well-attended.  And I was impressed with the questions from the students.  Tau Nu did an amazing job of providing a needed service for their peers.

Less than two hours with these young ladies gave me what I need to combat the unending headlines.  Hope for the future!

What gives you hope for the future?

Nuggets of Gold

This pen and pad have become my constant companions.  And I do mean constant.  I carry them everywhere — in my car, at my dinner table, next to my bed.  And those very rare times when this pad of paper is not with me are the exact moments when I come up with a new idea or a new angle to write from.  Since I’m a freelance writer, these new ideas are like nuggets of gold falling from the sky.

I love my pen and pad because to me they symbolize new ideas –a constant flow of new ideas that sometimes come so quickly that I can barely capture them.  I love my pen and pad because it wasn’t always this way.  A few years ago my mind was as dry as the desert when it came to new ideas.  I longed for fresh business ideas but all I could see was dust and tumble weeds.

Then suddenly I’d get an idea and I’d write it down.  And then I’d contemplate it, looking at it from all angles.  And I’d contemplate some more until I’d overanalyzed it and planned it to death.  But never, ever would I act on it.  And then it would be another three months before I‘d get a good idea again.  Back to tumbleweeds and dust.

I’d think to myself, “Why do some people always get these amazing ideas that result in successful businesses?”  I’d wonder if it was because of their great networking skills.  Maybe their ideas were generated from interacting with other people.  Or maybe it was from their specialized training.  After all, I didn’t go to business school and sure didn’t have the patience for a master’s degree.  Then one day I realized why my new ideas were rare and far between.

Ideas come from action.  My inactivity was sucking my creativity dry.  I believe that great ideas come from God.  So why would He keep downloading into someone who never made His ideas come to life?

So I got busy.  Every time an idea popped into my head, I’d write it down and (gasp!) act on it.  Even if it wasn’t perfect, I’d get moving.  I could work out the details as I went along.  And amazingly, as soon as I got moving, another idea would come along.  So I’d get moving again.  Soon the ideas were flowing as if the faucet had been turned all the way on.

Now that I’ve discovered the secret, I’m never at a loss for writing angles or business ideas.  I just keep moving and catching those nuggets of gold falling from the sky.

Do you ever have a problem generating ideas?  What’s your secret to keeping the golden nuggets coming?

Making It Happen

Every since I’ve been a mom, I’ve had two burning desires – to have my own business and to live a balanced life.  In my ideal world, I’d be able to use my skills to make a living on my own terms while balancing motherhood and family.  And every since I’ve been a mother, these two goals have seemed more elusive than world peace.The main reason that these goals were so elusive is simple.  I NEVER truly spent any time making them a reality.  Sure I’d talk about them and I’d fantasize.  I’d even toy with crafting a business plan or two.  But I really focused ALL of my energy on the 9-5 grind (which of course, was always much, much longer than 9-5).  I was a good employee, because I would give my body, mind and soul to my work.  But I was always a frustrated employee.  Frustrated because I was achieving someone else’s goals and not my own.  Frustrated because work always seemed to take precedent over my family and my sanity.  Frustrated because at the end of each long work day I had no energy left to make my dreams come true.But then life changed in April when I chose to leave my job to take care of my health and make my family a priority.  Although I knew that I made the best choice, it was a scary time for me.  Obviously it was scary dealing with a major health issue, but it was also scary to be facing unemployment.  Because no matter how frustrated I had been on the various jobs that I had, I’d always had a nice strong safety net underneath me.  And honestly, the safety net wasn’t just about money.  While I loved having my very own steady paycheck, the reality was that my husband could easily support our family.  The safety net was in knowing that my efforts resulted in something worthwhile and productive – something of value to the world.  Now for the first time I was without a safety net – just dangling over an idle sea of ”what ifs” and “hope you make its”.But I’m pleased to say that I didn’t dangle long.  Having surgery showed me how fragile life really is.  Tomorrow isn’t promised, and I want to live a life with no regrets.  After I recovered from surgery, I actually started hunting for freelance writing, editing and communications opportunities.  I ordered business cards.  I told my friends about my new business.  I outlined my target audience and started a business plan.  I even went online and inquired about opportunities with online magazines that I follow.  I actually put the time and energy into making my business a reality!

And shockingly, people responded!  Friends gave me writing leads, and I received responses back from my online inquiries.  AND I nabbed my first freelance writing opportunity!  Now that I’ve stopped fantasizing and spending my time building up someone else’s business, I’m actually on my way to having a successful business of my own!  I’m actually making it happen and I couldn’t be prouder of myself.

So what’s standing in your way?  What’s keeping you from making your dreams happen?  Are you frustrated enough to make a change?

Woman On The Move: Darcy Moss

This month’s “Woman On The Move” is someone that I truly admire.  Many of us make a difference in the business world or support the community, but Darcy Moss is making a big impact in both arenas.  Read on to learn more about this inspiring woman in her own words.

What makes you a “Woman On The Move”?  As a Marketing Manager living in the United States, I decided to quit my job and start designing jewelry, which I currently still do. Jewelry items can be found in a few stores locally here in Nassau, Bahamas or on our Darcy Antonia Jewelry & Accessories Facebook page.  In 2009, I began mentoring primary school children through a local church and saw that many of the kids were having a hard time keeping up academically in school.  From this the KPACE Afterschool Program was birthed!   We began our service to the children on March 15, 2010 and to date offer a full slate of programs, activities and projects.

In my opinion, I’m a woman on the move because I’m in constant motion.  Whether it is communicating with my clients, organizing events, fulfilling orders, planning activities, scheduling meetings, doing training or volunteering in varies areas — I’m always on the go.

What is your biggest challenge?  My biggest challenge is saying “no” and because I struggle in this area I also struggle with time management.  I thrive under pressure, but living on an island where everything is “laid back” doesn’t really help my time management challenges either!

How do you find balance?  Balance?  What is that?  Okay so I’m still trying to understand what that word truly means.   When I’m in full swing of a project, I have tunnel vision.  My focus is on the project…I eat little, sleep little and I make a mental note that when the project is done I’ll relax.  Unfortunately, after that there’s usually something else to work towards!

How do you get inspired?  In jewelry design I’m inspired by nature in all its glory and color.  I’m a color hog and love to mix colors to create new colors.  The little faces that light up with expectation when the volunteers and I arrive daily at the KPACE program inspire me.  It motivates me to keep going even on the worst days when fatigue sets in.

To support Darcy Moss with her efforts at KPACE Afterschool Program or to buy fabulous Darcy Antonia Jewelry visit their Facebook  pages.

If you know an inspiring “Woman On The Move,” email me at ydarville@yahoo.com.

Woman On The Move: Erin Brown

In my last post, I mentioned Erin Brown, an amazing woman I’ve met here in Nassau, Bahamas.  Her story is incredible.  And the timing for meeting her was great, because this month I’m launching a “Woman On The Move” post on my blog.  Read and be inspired!

Erin is the founder of the Erin Brown Foundation, a Bahamian based not-for-profit organization that provides assistance for people with disabilities through financial assistance, educational resources, vocational provisions and adaptive  equipment.   A mother and an amputee from bone cancer eight years ago, she is dedicated to Disability Sports, breaking stereotypes through promoting awareness, and creating opportunities for people with disabilities to enhance their community at large.  Here’s her story in her own words.

What makes you a “Woman on The Move”?  I am seemingly incapable of keeping still.  The fact that I’m driven to make a change in the future of persons with disabilities, no matter the risk, makes me a woman on the move.  What makes me stand out is the decision I made to leave the legacy ‘Being normal is overrated!’ and to always ‘Dream Big and Live in Color.’

What is your biggest challenge?  I have many challenges in my daily life. Time may just be my biggest challenge.  From mommy duties, taking care of an aging parent, training everyday and working against the grain; time is not a luxury.

How do you find balance?  Balance is a work in progress daily.  I redefine the term “balance” with every item I check on my list. To help me find balance I demand my quiet time each day, whether it is before everyone wakes in the house or when everyone is asleep!  I grab my moment and bask in it for it is dedicated to me, myself and I.

How do you get inspired?  I am easily inspired.  A smile, an item, a person, place or thing all these things inspire me.  I recharge through discussions, thoughts, ideas and anything outdoors that require movement or interaction with others. Simply put; having a dream come into reality keeps me inspired, no matter how small it is.  My dream is to be in the Paralympics 2016 in Rio De Janerio.  Pushing to make this a reality is my inspiration.

Know an inspiring woman?  Submit her story for inclusion on bahamamommyinc blog by emailing Yolanda Darville at ydarville@yahoo.com.