On yesterday, it was full of obstacles but I made it to my destination and accomplished the initial goal. I used to pray for opportunities to travel and get paid for something I love doing. I like being around genuine people and finding new ways to love the same person over and over. It is important to expose ourselves to different parts of the world and to new experience and cultures so that we can change out our lenses. It’s important to surround ourselves with people who help us grow and bring out the best versions of ourselves. In this life we can’t take anything for granted. Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. Even when the odds are against you. Fight for your dreams. Even if you have to invest a lot of time, and your income. Do whatever is necessary to achieve your goals. On your personal journey, you will face many obstacles along the way. Your family and friends may turn against you in the process. Those you love will think you are crazy but don’t give up on your dreams.As we are approaching Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentines. It seems appropriate to think about what and who are we committing to in the new year. Are the people in my life helping me become a better person? Are they helping me grow to my full potential?
Dr. G’s advice:
Yesterday, I was on the plane, and I met this guy named, Micah. We talked on the plane from DC to ATL. During our conversation, I found out that he was an Engineer originally from Memphis. He has lived in New York, Washington DC, and now residing in Clinton, MS. He also expressed that he has been trying to get his family to leave their hometown and branch out to new cities, cultures, and meet new people. We also talked about some of our similarities and how we love to travel and respond to new people.
I remember when I turned 18 I felt like I was an adult. One day I told my grandmother that I was grown. She looked at me and asked me, “what happens to a rose when it is fully bloomed?” I replied that it opens up beautifully and it eventually dies. She reminded me that we are a lot like a rose and when we are fully bloomed then it is time for us to die. Until that time comes we are constantly growing and in transition to the next phase of our lives. If we are not growing, we are dying. It is important as humans that we are always in the form of construction. I want you to start stepping outside of your comfort zone and take a chance in getting to know someone new. Start new conversations you normally would not. Having the conversations, we’ve never had so that we can build a relationship we’ve never experienced before.
A few weeks ago I was talking with one of my good friends, and colleagues about traveling beyond her regular destinations to meet someone with a different mindset and ready for a serious committed relationship. Traveling doesn’t necessarily mean going overseas. Maybe traveling means venturing off to the west coast, or the east coast, and exploring new activities, and adventures while you are on vacation. In the days to come, and new year I challenge you to challenge yourself to explore new adventures, destinations and become curious to the unknown. To not just react to what is being presented, but rather to try to understand a person’s story, and their logic about things before judging them.
I want you to focus on the many different aspects of wellness and look at areas that you have room to grow. As a professor, and therapist I hear all the time from individuals about their frustration with their family, friends, or partners about them telling them to pursue their dreams or passion. Examine the different parts that make up you as an individual. Let’s connect to the parts that bring us joy.
1. Who are the people in your circle?
2. Do you have quality people in your circle?
3. Do they bring out the positive attributes within you?
4. Do they challenge you for greatness?
5. Do they lift you up?
6. Do they bring out the better side of you?
Shift your group around so you are aligned. We should be inviting people in our circle to enhance and advance us as an individual.
As a marriage counselor, I am always challenging my couples to be active and present in their relationship. That means their relationship is a job and they are making sure to devote time and emotions into it.
Ask yourself on a monthly basis how can I show my love for my partner.
Am I working on being a supportive partner?
Am working hard as an individual to inspire and motivate my partner?
How are my communication skills in my partner?
Remember we were created to share our gifts and talents. Also, you have been set up to make somebody else’s life better. Somebody needs what you have- your smile, touch, love, support, and encouragement. Committing to loving our partners over and over again and finding new ways to support, cheer, and stand by their side.
The biggest lesson that I have learned this year is being mindful of how much I give of myself. There are givers and takers in every relationship. The best friends and partners understand the importance of balancing the two. To be able to fill someone else’s cup when yours is overflowing is a beautiful thing. If you never set boundaries with family, friends, and your partner or find someone that recognizes when you need to receive you will just end of empty and shattered.
Happy holiday’s from Dr. Gatson & family
This week I celebrated my 7th anniversary from when I submitted my first research proposal and presented at NASW-LA in Baton Rouge, LA. This week I presented at the NASW-MD Conference on Suicide Among Active Military Personnel and War Veterans. My first time I was introducing the information from my article I published with NASW, and I was very comfortable and not feeling nervous at all. I had an altercation to happen between two of the participants. I feel that I handled the situation very well. During my presentation, I provided a group assignment. One of the participants would play the therapist, and the other member would be the patient. While they were working on their task, I met a lovely retired neuropsychologist who greeted and congratulated me on passing my oral defense. We had a pleasant exchange of the work I have been doing with the VA and in the community.
After the group assignment was over, I had everyone provide their feedback. One of the participants was a newly licensed social worker and MSW graduate who expressed being nervous and not confident in the role of a therapist. I provided her with a little feedback. I explained it is important to speak with authority and conviction when you are speaking to people. As a therapist, it is important to know when to be silent. There is a great wisdom and illumination in both. When you are confused and nervous, ask your heart which is the best approach for that moment and proceeds with confidence. Practice being present with others. Listen, rather than just thinking about what you’re going to say next. People can sense when someone is listening to them. Being grounded and present is a gift to yourself and others.
I finished presenting and met with a few people afterward and exchanged information. The newly licensed social worker came up to me later and had several questions about my journey as a social worker. I explained to her that I have a strong support system and great mentors. She wanted to know how to gain confidence and getting her career started as a social worker. I explained to be generous in the giving of yourself. Even if it’s just for a moment. You could be the person who makes all the difference.
Trust the process of your life. On the journey, there will be some bad things happen along the way but having faith that something good will always come out of the situation. It may take a while to see the blessing, but eventually, you will. If I appear to be strong, it is because I have been weak before. If it seems as I am fearless when I am answering questions from participants it’s because I have been afraid in the past. When I am in front of other medical professionals, colleagues, or students, I always take the time to recite “for in him we live, move, and have our being.” I shake out all the fear and nerves that I am currently experiencing, and take a few deep breaths, and remember who is in control, and I began to feel myself returning to my center.
Life is a journey, and as we will all travel along, and we will run into several challenges along the way. When you run into those challenges along the way, it is important to have a strong support system, and mentors to help provide support, encouragement, inspiration, and insight. It will come a time you don’t have a clue of the destination, but if you trust God, follow the desires of your heart, remain humble, and believe the desires of your heart then each step will lead you. You will begin to realize that the steps you are making in the right direction on your personal journey.
No worries every heartbreak, mistake, or experience will teach you something valuable. It will be your trip that nobody else will travel, and no one can judge. Friends and family will accompany you part of the way, and you’ll walk the rest by yourself, but you will never be alone. You will learn that people will want you to do good but never better than them.
Trust the process. Act as if you already the person you dream of becoming courageous, self-expressed, and compassionate. When you get anxious, nervous, or fearful, ask yourself, “How would the ‘I’ whom I want to become an act in this situation?” Then do it. You will be amazed how much you already are the person who you desire to be. As I continue my professional journey, I am learning that real success comes in small portions day by day.
There comes a time in every adult’s life where they must be honest and in tune with their true feelings. A couple of weekends ago I was having a pity party for me being in class on Saturday, and Sunday taking a CBT certification course. Next weekend I will be working on speaking engagements and the weather is getting warmer, and everyone is enjoying, and I will be working. I started thinking when will I get the chance to enjoy my weekends and after work, and sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labor. During this same class, I was texting with one of my friends, and he asked me the question are you happy? You are always working. I had to take a few seconds to think about his question before answering. I replied to him “are you asking me if I am happy because I have a lot of things I am currently working on at the moment.” I explained to him that my goal in life is to make sure the work I have done speaks for who I am as a person. When I leave this earth, I want to ensure I used my entire God given talents.
After really thinking about his question I realized that I am taking this course because more certifications, equals more opportunity. Growing up my parents instilled in me the importance of working and having multiple strings of income or as my dad would say “multiple hustles.” Then I also realized I am enjoying the fruits of my labor. I have a home I love, and the potential to take care of all of my needs, and the majority of my wants. The horizons are high, and I will be able to enjoy other things even more once I set myself up for the future, but fruits are currently being enjoyed. Celebrating yourself is important!!! Don’t limit your radiant self-expression. You encourage others to shine brightly through your examples. There will be haters and people telling you can’t accomplish things. My favorite one was when people told me I would never pass through army boot camp. I am going on four years in the Army as an officer. I have learned over
the years I can’t share my joy with everyone but only with people whom I know will celebrate with me. Then there are times when I am working silently and systematically on things, and I share my joy with God by being grateful for happiness!
To have success, we have to be willing to sacrifice late nights, early mornings, and weekends. As we mature and we tend to have more associates, and our circle of friends becomes smaller.
Recently my coworker encouraged me to apply to be a speaker for a company. I thought about it for a while, and then I started to doubt myself. Having thoughts, I have not been in the field long enough to compete on the same level as the other presenters. I had to remember why I started this journey. I started presenting seven years ago because I started complaining about hearing the same boring styles of presentations, and I wanted to see and hear something different. I submitted my proposal several places and presented for no charge for several years before I started receiving compensation. Then I began to think about what my support system would tell me in times like this.
• God did not give you the spirit of fear
• I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me
• Stay humble but always ask God for your wisdom
• Always remember God placed you in that position so that you can deposit seeds into others.
I know that if I’m operating at my full potential, there is no one better than me. I’m the expert on my research. When you trust your skills fully then no one will be able to intimidate you. I decided to send my information and apply for the position. A week later I received an email about setting up a phone interview to discuss my research proposal I recently submitted. The phone interview went well, and they want me to proceed with the hiring process.
Utilizing your entire God given talents is necessary. I have several projects that I am currently working on at the moment. Don’t let any of your skills, goals, or dreams go to waste. It is important to put everything that was placed inside of you back into the universe. Whatever it is you are scared to try: writing your first book, becoming a makeup artist, getting your masters, or Ph.D., the opening of your private practice, opening a boutique, starting your own business. Your greatness could be wrapped inside. Bloom where you are planted and stop waiting for the right time. There is always someone who will be watching how seeds grow into beautiful flowers. In reality, whatever skills, or goals that have been planted inside of you was not for you, but for someone else. A few people are taking notes, copying, and looking up to you but will never tell you. You have an audience! Your story is the key that unlocks someone else’s prison. Share your testimony with someone. You will never know the power you possess until you release it into the universe. How we spend our time determines if we are moving toward or away from our goals. You might have an 8-4:30 job, but you can still allocate time towards your goals, dreams, and talents.
I think I missed a couple of daily inspirations on last week due to my schedule. I am back and with a lot on my mind. I am currently learning that it is okay to not know sometimes. Sometimes we think we want, the next best thing, or what we think our lives will look like down the road. That’s okay. If the answer is I don’t know, then say it. Sometimes the reason we don’t know is that it would be too difficult, too confusing for us right now. It would take us out of the present moment, cause us to worry and stress about how we could change, or control it or what we have to do to make it happen. Knowing would make us afraid. Sometimes our hearts know, but it’s just not time for our conscious minds to know yet. Sometimes knowing would take us out the experience we need to go through to discover the answer we’re seeking. And sometimes the process of learning to trust, the process of going through an experience and coming to trust that we ultimately discover our own truth, is more important than knowing.
Clinging to the lessons, people, and feelings from yesterday will keep you tired, stressed, confused, and afraid. If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.
Make sure you don’t become a servant to what you’re trying to master ~Michael D. Gatson
I had a conversation with a friend/mentor last night, and I shared that there are a few things I’ve been trying really hard to master lately; one of the things is my dissertation. I have been asked the question several times when are you graduating. I will be graduating when all three of my committee members sign off on my dissertation as complete. I have been working on my dissertation while maintaining a full-time federal career, serving in the military as an officer, and traveling to teach and consult on various topics.
This dissertation is something that I have given a life of its own. Somewhere deep down I have maintained a secret belief that it is too hard, too big to master and true to my own beliefs. It continues to elude me. I have never worked so hard on anything in my life as I have on this. Never disciplined and focused myself as much as I have on this. I admit I have thought about quitting the program and focus on my career 100%. I received my paper from my committee with 346 individual comments. I am not 100% happy about all of the changes, but I am willing to do whatever to finish this goal and have a masterpiece published. I want it with everything in me, and I have been told “if you want it bad enough, it will come to you.” Why is it still so far when it’s so near, when it’s so within reach?
This weekend I had a light bulb moment: I have been giving it too much attention, I have focused on it too hard and too long, I have fantasized and imagined of how hard it must be, and I have blown it so out of proportion. For the first time, I have understood that what you focus on grows, literally. I had to remind myself you know whom you are, and you know how to produce your best work while wearing multiple hats and you know what’s good for you. For me, allowing stress to control or consume me is not how I get things done. This weekend reminded me of the simple things that restore me. This past weekend I was able to take time away from my hectic schedule and just relax. It’s not often that I get the chance to sleep in late, and not respond to calls or emails. I had the opportunity to eat all of my favorite foods, get a massage, attend a Boys II Men concert, and attend church on Sunday.
We all have our own definition of what simplicity is for us. For me, just being myself is the highest definition of simplicity. It’s the point where I have surrendered the need to control everything. It brings me back to the truth that simple truly is beautiful. Simple is not laziness or complacency. Simple is handling everything with grace, its poise, and its class that no one can take from you. Simple oozes confidence all the time.
This journey has not been an easy one, but the pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered there is an opportunity for growth. All growth depends upon activity. One thing I am learning that it is not in my time but in God’s time because his time is always on time. In three, weeks, I will start traveling to present on various topics I am so thankful for the opportunities God has blessed me with and I am going to take time to embrace, enjoy, and be grateful for all of his many blessings.