How Setting Goals Almost Killed Me

Happy Sunday Conglomerates! Today I would like to introduce you to another Guest Inspiration that has a story to tell, Candice Kelly. Candice is a radical rule-breaker on a mission to change the world through media. As a certified coach and the host of the Mental Cement podcast, she provides a no BS approach to personal development that cuts through the noise. Candice leverages the power of story to create visceral lasting transformation for her clients. Her signature program “How to Start a Badass Podcast” is a fast track to mastering new media and self confidence.   Feel free to reach out to Candice on Facebook @MentalCement.

 If you pick up any book on personal development, self-help or anything that’s trying to help you live a better life, the first thing they say that is you need to set goals. You have to be crystal clear about what you want and the type of life that you want to live, otherwise, you will never get there. I mean goal setting is taught in schools, how to set S.M.A.R.T goals. Often times the first thing we ask successful people is, what goals did you set and how did you reach them? I think that’s a great way to begin your journey. The problem is that man we are often never stop to question the purpose of the goal. 

I am a recovering over-achiever. In school I was the kid who would type 7 pages if the minimum was 5, just so the teacher would notice my hard work. My drug of choice was execution, I loved to get things done. But after getting straight A’s and looking the part of someone who “has it all together” a self-harm cry for help led me to months of therapy for anxiety and depression. I got all the trophies. I won all the medals. I was admired by my peers. Yet on the inside I never felt good enough. I felt like no amount of achievement could make me feel worthy of the praise I received. 

After tons of inner work, I came to understand that I had been placing myself in a lose-lose situation. If I failed to hit the bullseye’s I set for myself, it would confirm that I wasn’t good enough. If I did reach my goal, I would push the benchmark even further and delay my happiness and celebration until I got the new goal. It was an endless cycle. I kept trying to predict what “thing” would make me happy. Losing 10 lbs, making more money, gaining more publicity. But no external reward could fill the internal pain I was causing myself. 

So, I decided to do a little experiment on myself. I decided to stop setting outcome goals altogether. Instead, I would complete a set of tasks every day and force myself to celebrate immediately after completing the task. I would channel how I wanted to feel when doing the task. For example, one task is moving my body in some way every day. After going on a walk or going to the gym I would take a nice bath or allow myself an hour of Netflix. What I found was that I ended up feeling happier, more energetic and more of myself after only a few days. Because I could reach my “goal” every day, it allowed me to bring my joy and celebration into the now instead of waiting until I hit some arbitrary target that society says is what I should aim for.

My challenge to you, dear reader, is to do some reflection and see if you are setting external goals in order to fulfill an internal need. If so, I invite you to consider adding one to three tasks to your daily routine that would move you towards your destination. Reward yourself immediately after completing your task and bring your joy into the present and see how much more you can accomplish without the goal.

…I decided to do a little experiment on myself. I decided to stop setting outcome goals altogether…

Empower Women

Although women are coming forward encouraging & advocating for themselves in ways that have not always been so prevelant before, it has always been important. For a long time, women have been an oppressed population. From employment opportunities, to policy changes put in place to hinder & dictate our actions – the oppressive intent is evident. As a result, we must be up in arms, always. At this point, if you hurt one, limit & restrict one; you have hurt, limit & restrict us all. Because women empowerment is more than empowering & encouraging women. It is about empathy, relation, understanding, encouragement & awareness, etc. Women empowerment is love. However, many times, the things that are occurring to us & around us encompass everything but the ability to empower women.

To get to the point that policy change happens based on the true necessities & demands of women, we can start small so that we can move bigger. We want better treatment but fail to exhibit better treatment amongst ourselves. Therefore, we can empower & encourage all women, whether we know them or not, consistently, with the intent to spread healing amongst other women. We walk by many women on a regular basis; however, we are more inclined to judge her before telling her she is bomb. We are less likely to empathize with a woman who is having a rough day without knowing her story first & we look at women individually instead of as a contribution to what they are to us as a group.

Each woman represents something for us individually & as a whole- the ability to grow, overcome adversity, create & maintain life (whether from their flesh or not), & the ability to survive & thrive. We need to begin to treat each other as valued treasure before we can expect anyone else to see us the same way. We need to stop comparing ourselves to other women to determine the traits we have that makes us a better woman. We need to look for opportunities to heal each other so we can sustain each other. Women fight many battles but it should never be a battle that we are fighting amongst ourselves. Regardless of the story of the person who receives these messages, it is important that we remind them in various & creative ways that we all are loved, capable & not alone.

From Victim to Victor

We have all had our own fair share of pain. We have also had experiences that were set up to take us out. Although pain from person to person is not comparable; it is extremely important that we recognize when we have given it too much of our energy. We must identify when we have allowed that to force us to have a victim mindset instead of the mindset of a survivor. In a day & age where women are constantly undergoing scrutiny when it comes to our bodies, our rights, our perspectives & our choices; it is imperative that we maintain the will to keep fighting & do not adopt a victim mentality that will use up all our fuel that will propel us to success.

There is perseverance that comes from affliction, victory from suffering & persistence from exertion. But in order to endure, we must have the right mindset to overcome such hardships. If we sit back, idle & unable to move past what hurt us, we will remain there; stuck. That is not the intent for our lives. We were created to live fruitful, victorious & prosperous lives. There are not enough negative experiences or bad encounters that are deserving of taking from us what is rightfully ours. We have to take the flames of our hell & mold our resilience. This is war, love. We need to fight like hades for our victory; for our sanity. It may seem hard, but there is nothing, on this earth that can truly take us out- if we mold our mindset in our favor. If we fail to do so, we will stay chained to our oppression & will fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel– once that happens, we have already lost. But the victory is here. We are no longer victims, we are the victors! Justice will always be victorious.

Roses From Concrete

Growing up in the city of Camden, unlike others who have not, I am familiar with the stories of the individuals that call Camden, New Jersey home. Instead of hearing about the positive, empowering & inspirational stories of the people within my city’s perimeters we are influenced by the constant reminder that crime & drugs plague the community. Misconceptions & media coverage fail to shine a light on some of the things that really matter– the amazing individuals that live within the very zip codes of my city & all other inner city communities throughout the United States. Partly due to the negative stigmas associated with the crime rates & “bad blood”, so much of the creativity & talent within city borders goes unexplored due to a lack of resources geared to cultivate & catapult the creativity of these individuals. Inner cities are full of unfulfilled dreams evolved into bitter spirits that now contribute significantly to some of the crime rate & dependency of substances. Shattered dreams, forgotten hopes, abandoned aspirations & a lack of resources can manifest & lead to the destruction of a community.

Much like the talent of our ancestors, our oppression opens the door to creative expression that is undeniably remarkable but often ignored & disregarded. As a result, there are many actors, athletes, musical geniuses, mathematicians, scientists, culinary artists & creative writers that will forever be chained to the stigmas associated with the city they come from. Chained because they lack the resources that can propel their future as children so they can make a difference in the world as adults. Due to the failing system that avoids sifting through the weeds (stigmas) to get ahold of the roses restricted by the oppression of concrete, there is underrepresentation in high revenue, well known employers. This is a clear indication of the lack of resources that are not readily available to our youth early on.

We cannot continue treating inner city communities with the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. We need to begin investing by creating programs that teach our youth to love science, technology, language, math & art.  We need to stop cutting creative arts programs that allow children to express themselves through creativity & look for other ways to meet budget requirements instead of removing the only form of expression some of these children have. Let us build the city up block by block so that they know that their only options is not a weakened educational system that is a topic of conversation but often abandoned. Let us show them the luxuries their talents can afford them so that they never give up & revert to relying on the very drug cycle we frown at. Let us not make this a project but include it in the culture. It is about time we draw attention to what matters. What matters is them. We must not give up on them even when they want to. We have to show them that they are worth it because realistically, people are not always receptive to receiving things they are not use to receiving. So it starts by ensuring they have the same resources & opportunities available that mirrors the suburbs. We should give the city something to be proud of, something to openly brag about; something to look forward to. Teach them to go after more & never settle. Appreciate their way of expression & show them that despite where they rise they can still thrive. They are the roses that have grown from concrete, & how beautiful they are– thorns & all.

Anointed to Profess & Receive

Last week I have come to the hard realization that in order to truly be my best self & represent Nickkie&CO. in excellence, a hiatus was needed. Other than posting these memoirs, I have turned myself off from all social media platforms, answered less phone calls, engaged in less draining conversations & just wallowed & embraced what I needed to to ensure that I can get my mind right. Although, I am still processing much of what I have been feeling, this hiatus has allowed me significant time to reflect, re-wire & process what I have been feeling & what I plan to do about it. As of the past few months my well of overflow has been draining tremendously (significant life changes tend to do that to you), & I recognize how much more difficult it is to function in a world where you want to give but are feeling too empty to do so. However, I know how important it is to me to make a difference, sprinkle a little kindness through out the world & practice loving everyone without conditions. Therefore, despite how I have been feeling, I still find it important to share my truth & reflection while offering transparency. 

It was not until I took this hiatus that I realized that despite what I have been advocating for– I have been recently guilty of this too– most of us are living a life to just live it & we have not put much thought into how we do it. We have been just striving to survive. We get out of bed everyday without wanting anything more than to get through the work day, provide for our families & start over the next day. Many of us have not given ourselves much more to look forward to aside from the weekends. That is unacceptable. We should & are capable to want more than that because the truth is we are not limited to only having what we have but in fact, we are entitled to have more. We should want to get up with the intention to leave a legacy behind that is worth talking about when we are gone. We should strive to profess things out of our mouths that will come to pass & we should be comfortable wanting more so that we never get comfortable settling. This coupled with the kind of energy we put out into the world is a definite recipe to success. 

Life is not about just scratching the surface of survival. It is about obtaining the prize & then sharing that knowledge with those who have not learned this effective way of thinking. So many of us go through life just accepting what life has dealt us instead of recognizing the power we have to influence what is going on around us. We are divine beings put on this Earth to do more than just create an impact for ourselves. Our success is significantly influenced by what we think, how we speak, what we listen to, what we read & how we spend our spare time. There are 24 hours in a day which gives us 24 hours to do something effective that can propel our lives in a completely different direction. Unfortunately, we all have our vices, but none of these vices are significant enough to keep us out of the race. We have to claim & strive for greatness, whatever you give out into the world is guaranteed to be returned to you. So be positive, be productive, be kind, be empathetic, & be impactful. There is not one thing on this earth that can resist you if you claim it for yourself. There is not one thing on this earth that you are not deserving of & there is not one thing that you have learned that you cannot teach someone else.

I have done amazing things by professing out of my mouth the things I want to claim over my life. I have claimed healing on parts of my body that have been hindered, I have professed overflow of funds when my finances have been at stake & I have professed happiness over the lives of others when they were in a dark place in their lives & I have seen them all manifest. There is nothing we are not capable of because we are truly mighty. There is naturally an anointing over our lives that make this mindset effective if we follow through with action. Therefore, starting today, I challenge you to do more than just live. Strive, profess & confess what is yours & what you plan to do about it. With positive energy & a positive mindset there is not one thing that can be kept from you. It may not work out in the timeframe that you want it to but I can guarantee it will be yours if you claim it.

April Showers…

This week has been a specifically hard week for me. Actually the month of April is always a bit much for me emotionally. I spend much of April being mindful to stay busy so that I do not sit around idly thinking about why April is so difficult for me. However, this week, I was forced to slow down a little & address emotions I have spent the past 6-10 years avoiding. April signifies a sad period for me. Every year I am faced with the realization that in 2009 & 2013 I have lost 2 people very dear to me to gun violence. Both were too young to not be walking this earth so many years later. Although they were not perfect or without sin, they both were overall amazing people. Neither one of them lived a life that was expected to turn out this way; however, both lived a life that was left behind for those who loved them to mourn over. As often as I have tried to move past it; oddly enough, the recent death of an impactful visionary, rapper & community activist opened up the wound of emotions I had barely scabbed over all these years. To be honest, the passing of a loved one is always hard on those left behind but there is a different type of emptiness & vulnerability when the person is murdered. It is as if someone has robbed you of more time, more memories, more interaction– a feeling that never goes away. I would never wish what I feel on my worst enemy because although life does go on; so do the unanswered answers to questions on how it could have been prevented What is crippling though, is that this violence that often leaves families in mourning, children without parents, lovers without love & parents burying their children will never end.

My heart aches.

There are not enough rest in peace t-shirts, social hashtags & media posts to erase the reality that too often there is “another front step with flowers” & too many premature tomb stones to be visited. Despite this, the message does not appear to come across clear enough that we must stop killing each other. This violence has to stop. Someone’s life is being taken as easily as it is for most of us to wake up & breathe each day. There is no regard for the lives of others or those they leave behind. We are losing each other for things that can be settled outside of irreversible violence & definite ends. There are too many egos and broken spirits walking around, sharing & spreading that energy. We are a broken generation that only knows how to be broken & to pass it on. When a life is taken there is a continuation of generational misfortune– the children of the murderer & murdered both have to experience their lives without their loved one, which forces them to be influenced by other examples that are not their parents; both sides of the family lose someone to gun violence whether the people directly involved were the victim or perpetrator. Why does this keep happening to our babies & our families? Why must this be the example set for our communities? It crushes me to my core that the only solution to correcting a disagreement has been to take someone’s life. Someone’s life, no matter how sh***y they have chose to live it, is still valuable.

Oh, so valuable.

I can assure you that the people left to mourn for them agree. Because my goodness, the riches I would pay just to bring them back to live their lives the way they were supposed to has no max. I would pay the financial price, if I could– even if it put me in debt. Unfortunately though, there are no shortcuts in heaven & someone decided to take it upon themselves to send them there early. This continues to happen. I am disgusted that this is what it has come to. I am discouraged because no matter how many “stop the violence” messages are shared, the impact of these messages are temporary. I mourn because as my life continues, there is another part of their lives that they will never get to see. I thank the lord that this is not an experience I have felt often, but others are not so fortunate. As this continues to happen more people are faced to live their lives without someone they never imagined they would have to live without. Yet some how the realization that we are oppressing ourselves continues to be missed. We cannot take a moment for granted. We have to pray hard over our loved ones because they will never tell us everything they experience, the interactions they may or may not have or the people they encounter on a day-to-day that can end up being the reason we have to say our goodbyes. The ache I feel as I write this weakens me. I struggle because the realization settles in reminding me that this behavior is not going to get better. People are barely even living their lives before seeing the inside of a casket & we act as if this is the normal. This is a disgrace! We should want more! We deserve more! They deserved more!

As a people, we have more to do with our time on this Earth. Yet, some are not even allowing people to get into their purpose or make the impact they could before deciding their time is up. We have to diligently encourage others to do better- to want more, to make strong impacts while they are here. We have to remind them that their life is not only for them but that — we, as their loved ones, live for them too. We need to work on generational healing– depression, poverty imposed hardship, PTSD, toxic masculinity, deep rooted aggression, failure to recognize worth, egocentric desires— by promoting — talking about our issues, seeking help from capable professionals, & reminding each other that it is ok to love & walk away.

Most importantly, we need to understand that all actions do not require a reaction, especially reactions that are so definite.

Rest in Heaven:

Sergio Rivera
(2009)
&
Alvin Tyree Cushion
(2013)


“They hope the example I set ain’t contagious”- Nipsey Hussle (2019)

I am sorry that someone did not value your lives like the way we, who loved you, did. You deserved more than what you received.

Move in Silence

One of the most powerful lessons I have learned through out my life has been that everyone does not need to know my every move. Some things are really better left unsaid. It was a hard lesson, but the fact is, everyone is not ready for the things you are ready to show the world. Either they cannot envision your vision or their ego can not take it. Because of this, you must be mindful to identify these people around you– protect your dreams & ensure that you never, ever, ever become one of those people– if by chance you are one of those people, it is time to make some changes.

Your dreams & desires are too valuable to leave the fragile details in the wrong hands of the wrong people. Sadly, the story is the same– aspiring dreamers have expected support for their vision & in turn were disappointed because it was mocked or taken from them. You do not deserve that. You do not deserve for a mockery to be made of your goals. You do not deserve to lose motivation for something you believe in. You do not deserve to second guess because someone told you it was not good enough & you surely do not deserve to feel betrayed because someone went on & made a replica of what you outlined for them. Your vision is your treasure & it is the action you put into that vision that puts it in fruition. Remember that & act accordingly. People will spend their lives trying to do what you do therefore, the people you trust with the gems of your dreams should be chosen wisely.

You inspire someone every day & people will not gracefully tell you. I cannot tell you the amount of people who did not want to support Nickkie&Co. However, I did not give up on what I believe this brand could be. Once they saw what the brand was capable of, I have been able to recognize who has been inspired by their actions & statements, whether they mean for me to know or not. I have said before & I will say it again, people’s behavior will tell you clearly who has been watching & who is inspired (whether negative or positive). Therefore, keep dreaming & investing but protect it with all your might. Your dreams are your seeds to plant into the earth, it is up to you to harvest it. Although it is not a competition, what you dream up is your investment & yours alone. Protect it.


Claim Your Power

I have always been considered an emotional person. To some degree, I can agree. In both my personal & professional life I tend to be an emotional thinker with a high likelihood to respond the same way. As of recently, I have learned the importance of taking a “chill pill” & processing situations accordingly. One of the most important lessons I have been learning is that my reaction to anything that happens is my responsibility & my responsibility alone. There is skill in learning to be a master of your emotions. However, despite how much progress I have made, that is a goal I know will take a lifetime to fulfill & I am ok with that.

I lost so much time being angry at people who have offended me; thinking I was proving a point. In fact, the only person who lost was me. They went on with their lives, forgetting how I was feeling while I was left losing time I will never get back. I want us all to consider this as we encounter new people & situations that may be less than ideal. We cannot control other people’s behavior but we can surely control our own. Many of us do not work for ourselves, but work for an employer who dictates the terms & arrangements of our employment. In this relationship, we often find ourselves with little-to-no-say in how it effects us. Therefore, the sure thing we can promise ourselves is checking our emotions at the door while remaining empathetic to those around us. People will do & say things that will get us out of our element, but it is up to us to ensure they do not know the power they have to effect us & influence our behavior.

We have all reacted in ways that have given people power over us. Whether we were mad, sad, angry or depressed— but it is important that we bare in mind that no one is deserving of that from us; especially not for an extended period of time. If we can lose time festering on horrible experiences & horrible people, we can surely invest the time on other productive things like empowering ourselves out the experience & motivating others who find themselves in similar situations. After all, it is true what they say, “life is too short to be anything but happy.” Therefore, the first step to ensuring we remain that way is to control what we can & let go of the things we can’t. It is not up to us to change people but it is our job to change ourselves.

Put The Idols Down…

Our day-to-day activities can be influenced significantly by the phone in our pockets, unlimited access to the media & the our personal pursuit for wealth & “nice” things. We have gotten so caught up in this that we have become distracted by the influence these things have on our lives.  We work endless hours, we lose out on time with our loved ones, we lose time for ourselves, & put our spiritual pursuit on the back burner believing that it will all be there when we see riches. The thing about riches is that once they are obtained, the grind MUST continue in order to keep them. So in pursuing such goals, the likelihood that the things we neglected will still be there diminishes as time passes. Therefore, today my question to you (me too) is what has our full attention? What is serving as a distraction that inhibits us from having unforgettable moments with the people we love the most? When did we start idolizing our cellphones, cash & cars before we have taken the time to care for ourselves? At what point do we decide it is too much & it is time for a break? 

The sad truth is that we have come to idolize material things over taking the time for ourselves, our families & our spiritual growth. We are desiring more for our lives but fail to take a moment to step away & fast from the things that are distracting us. Idolizing is not limited to worshipping a false God but is anything that is over consuming our time that does not allow us to grow in other aspects of our lives. So today, I challenge us to recognize what may be crippling us from doing better & taking precious time away from us. Whether it is our phones, our jobs, our cars or what we aspire to have, we must do something about it. There is no way we can truly be our best selves in all areas of our lives if we become slaves to the things we have & don’t have. It is totally normal to want & strive to have nice things but we must aspire to have a healthy balance. The time we don’t lose is worth so much more than having all these things with no one to share it with.

The older I get, the more I realize how short life is. I reflect on the people I lost & wish life gave me more time. More time to tell them how much I love them, or to spend one more hour with them. Loss is inevitable but lost time due to distraction can be prevented. So, let us put the phones down a little more, go on social media hiatuses or plan a staycation with our families. Whatever it is, enjoy the moment, time is of the essence. We can not afford the distraction.

Reset & Recharge

Emotionally, this week has been extremely trying for me. It was not until a few days ago that I realized that I have been walking around suppressing frustrations & functioning in a whirlwind of disorganization– for months. I did not realize that I was barely functioning until a snowball of unideal situations presented themselves in front of me & I lost control. I could barely grasp or articulate what it was I was feeling & I struggled to understand what was happening. The only way I could express myself was in tears. Instead of taking time to address what I was feeling initially, I continued to push what I was feeling aside under the pretense that it will pass- eventually.

Despite how true that may have been, things do not usually pass unless you deal with them. This time, I was forced to. So, although there is character built through adverse situations & functioning outside of our comfort zone; it is extremely important not to get so caught up in what is happening around us that we fail to take a moment to assess & address what is going on within us. Self care, as cliche as it has become, is taking the time to check in with ourselves & acknowledge when we are are not doing ok. It is easy to forget what we are feeling while neglecting that we need a day or two to disconnect & recharge. I was forced to come to that realization this weekend & the overflow of emotion was severely overwhelming & crippling. But it forced me to do what I was avoiding – accept, reset & recharge.

See, life has a way to force us to deal with things even when we do not want to. So I encourage staying in tune with what our body is telling us. If we need more rest, we take it. If we need to cry, we cry. If we need a break, we take all the time we need. We were not created to be on GO, continuously. Empty vessels are just that… empty vessels. We can not pour into others when our own well has run dry. We cannot be who we need to be to our loved ones if we do not take care of ourselves first. So, if you need a moment to recharge, take it. You work too hard to just be moving through life barely functioning. You do not have to be perfect always but YOU do have to be YOU. So the best thing you can do for you is to take care of YOU.