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Wednesday
Jan162013

Begin With the End in Mind:Do You Really Want to End up a Mule?

Our first seven posts of 2013 are about Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People .  Look folks, I’m working these habits myself- so I’m no expert. I just want to improve and take you along with me. Hop off the bus at any time- everyone isn’t ready!

Last week we covered the First Habit- Be Proactive- Ignorecotting Baby Kimye. Some of you were resistant to the idea of letting go of your Kim Kardashian obsession, but guess what- your obsession with all things Kimye is within the Circle of Concern- so not my problem. I have come to convey and NOT convince. My final word on Kimikins is that she is neither the knife nor the wound--- she is merely the salt. Moving along...

Finally! The Second Habit: Begin With the End in the Mind! Woot! Woot! Woot!

Stephen Covey places a great deal of emphasis on  idea that in life there are always two creations: the mental and the physical. You are either living a life of design or a life of default. Where people screw up is in the first creation. They walk through life like zombies- subject to the whims and plans of others or slaves to their own temporary emotions. If your life doesn't look the way you want it to look, it's probably because you haven't spent time thinking about it. To help clarify the "design" of your life and your values, Habit 2 encourages you to write a personal mission statement. - And this is where the challenge for Black women looms. 

 

Far too many Black women live a life of chattel. We belong to the “community”. The mere thought of imagining what you want your life to look like at it’s end is foreign, confusing, SCARY! But that’s what we’re gonna do! Oh yes we are!

We start the chapter by imagining that we are at our own funeral. YAY! I look fabulous in that urn! 

We’re asked to imagine remarks from members of our family, friends, professional associates and someone from church or a community organization.  Then we’re supposed to ponder what we would like each of these speakers to say. Well an easy way around this exercise would be to prepare remarks for each of these people in advance- but I digress.

What would you like them to say about you?

What Kind of spouse, child, sibling or parent would you like them to remember?

What kind of friend?

What kind of working associate?

What was your character? 

What were your memorable achievements?

What difference did you make in their lives?

The answers to these questions are to help you identify the fundamental values that help you define the boundaries of your Circle of Influence.   By knowing what you want the end of your life to look like, you have a reference point to examine every aspect of your life.

I think the reason it took me so long to write about the Second Habit: Begin With the End in Mind is two fold A) it’s 50 pages long and B) the opening exercise reminds me that my life is not in perfect harmony with my principles and values. That sux!

Once you know that your life is not in harmony with your values, you kinda sorta have an obligation to make changes because otherwise you’re a lazy coward and who wants to be a lazy coward? Oh but my comfort zone is so nice and warm and cuddly- i just want to lay in my comfort zone--- it’s so comfortable. But no dice! Doing what I’m currently doing will not get me to the eulogy of my dreams. 

Create the life you want in your head- write it down and it serves as a blue print. This tangible manifestation of what you want your life to look like makes it easier to weed out the nonsense. 

 

As it relates to blogging- I don’t want to be remembered for the following:

 

  • The Blogmother- She really knew how to go awf!
  • The Blogmother - She told it like it was! *please don’t ever say this to me in person- it annoys me greatly*
  • The Blogmother- She successfully predicted the apocalypse! She said it’d be bad-she was right!
  • The Blogmother - She really knew how to call someone Da’ Debil
  • The Blogmother - Her favorite sayings were Chile’ BYE! Gurl STOP! Have 5 Seats! You Need more People. Regime of Bullets Booty and Bling, Civil Rights Industrial Complex, Black Elite Establishment. Obfuscation and Redirection!

 

 

I want to be remembered for this *cue gospel music*:

 

 

  • The Blogmother - She left an enduring legacy that served as a beacon of light to little Black girls everywhere. Not only was she a cybercrusading warrior princess, but a creative genius!  Walt Disney himself, were he still alive, would weep at the marvelous works she would unleash upon the souls of Black womanity. Activist,  author, film director, multi-media  mogul, marathon runner- she was a woman born for the digital age and she moulded  every dream which tap danced around her imagination into tangible form which now live in the hearts of little Black girls around the world FOREVER!  and EVER and EVER Amen!AmenAmenAmeeeeeeen! Yeah yeah yeah yeah! mmm hmmmm! FROM THE MOUNTAIN TOPS! 

 

See what I mean about this exercise sucking? That’s a lot of work! I’m tired just reading it and I wrote it. The part about tangible form is really important to me- so I’m working on it. Though not as much as I should. Hence why this exercise works- every time you spend your time talent and tools on something that is inconsistent with your imaginary eulogy, it mocks you! 

Anywhoo- after going through the macabre funeral exercise, you’re supposed to write a personal mission statement. You really should sit down and do it because it really does highlight the hypocritical mess your life may have become. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean that’s what your soul longs to do. Just because it’s easy or comfortable doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be doing it.  And the only way to figure that out is to pause and listen to yourself. 

Many of us were raised to believe that our lives are not our own. We were born with a purpose, mainly to be the footstools and backbones of a community where our needs- heck our humanity were marginalized. We’re here to be a stepping stone for everybody else. 

Let the musicians call us b*%&(% and #$*U%# because these “young men” need to feed their families. Let the preachers ignore our GAPING wounds, both physical and spiritual,  from the pulpit- just keep on tithing to a church that isn’t ministering to you because that’s what your mother and grand mother and great grandmother did. Become the family ATM or hotel/motel, crisis manager because if you didn’t do it, the whole family would collapse into pieces- that’s a lie by the way, they’ll be just fine. Be the support system for some no-count manCHILD because life’s been hard on HIM.

 

Quite frankly the idea of not being a community mule is terrifying for many Black women because who would you be if you weren’t being used by a bunch of ungrateful, obtuse, predatory people?

So when you do the exercise, don’t imagine what other people would want you to imagine. Don’t limit yourself to the role that was foisted upon you at birth. Don’t be shackled by the anti-Black woman propaganda that tells you that to the extent that you have value, it is solely for the use and utility of others. 

 

And if your current decisions don’t line up with where you want to be at the end of your life----- be proactive- make. different. decisions. Because life is a choice. And you always have a choice. 

Here's Stephen Covey talking about the Second Habit:Begin With the End in Mind

Monday
Jan072013

Be Proactive: Ignorecotting Baby Kimye

I received the following message on the WAOD Facebook Fan Page about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West and it’s an excellent demonstrative example to kick off our series on the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People . The first habit of highly effective people is BE PROACTIVE. 

I want to ask you if i'm trippin for being so disgusted by this kanye kim baby all over the media. i dont expect anything more from her, but it hurts to see him and the media validate her in front of young black girls. basically hes sayin anyone, even an uneducated, incestuous, porn star is better than every sista on the planet... after he repeated tried to make himself the spokes person for black people. and nobody seems to be offended by this stunt but they were so outraged over his other antics. its like im in the twilight zone. am i trippin? Concerned WAOD Reader

Thank you for your message concerned reader. It provides all of us with an excellent opportunity to use this to work the First Habit: Be Proactive

Being “proactive” doesn’t mean what you think it means. It doesn’t mean being a woman of action. In some cases, it calls on you to be a woman of great restraint. What being proactive means is being responsible for your own life. Instead of reacting to circumstances and how you “feel.” A proactive person is driven to act or “respond” based on a set of core values. Doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, how you respond is based on what you believe.  A reactive person however, twists in the wind responding to every change in circumstances, conditions and environments. 

Too wonky for you? Another way to say this is being proactive means you stop letting life happen to you. You stop being a zombie. You stop being a victim, and you stop being a slave to your feelings.

Based on this email, it is clear to me that Kim Kardashian OWNS YOU. Her very image has the ability to alter your mood. She occupies so much space in your head that you have gone so far as to conclude that Kanye West is sending you a direct message just by dating her. 

But what would Steven Covey tell you to do based on the first habit: Be Proactive.

First, he would tell you to examine the Kim Kardashian/ Kanye West “problem” in terms of your Circle of Concern and Your Circle of Influence.   

Proactive people focus on their Circle of Influence- those things that they can control. 

Reactive people focus on the Circle of Concern- those things over which they have absolutely no control.

Your challenge is to identify those things you have control over and separate them from the things you have absolutely no control over and then adjust your expenditure of energy accordingly.

So let’s return to Kim Kardashian and your note.

Your main points were:

 

  • "it hurts to see him and the media validate her in front of young black girls"
  • "hes sayin anyone, even an uneducated, incestuous, porn star is better than every sista on the planet" 
  • "after he repeated tried to make himself the spokes person for black people" 
  • "and nobody seems to be offended by this stunt but they were so outraged over his other antics"

 

Let’s look at your Circle of Influence and Your Circle of Concern.

Circle of Concern- You can’t control who Kanye West dates or impregnates. You can’t control what bloggers and the media choose to cover. After all, the “media” that you complain of decided to shove television cameras in the faces of first graders in the immediate aftermath of a gunman mowing down their teachers and classmates- expecting responsible behavior out of this group is a stretch. You can’t control what meaning other people give to their relationship.  You can’t control what Kanye West says- though I have yet to hear him make a statement that Kim Kardashian is better than every sista on the planet. You can’t control who appoints themselves as a representative of all of Black America- nor can you control whether someone is idiotic enough to conclude that Mr. West is a spokesperson for all of Black America.  You can’t force people to be offended and outraged over something they cannot be offended and outraged about 

Your Circle of Influence- You can control how “hurt” you are by Kanye West’s dating and mating activities. If you can’t figure out how to ease your “hurt” then I suggest seeking professional help with working through why this “hurts”  you. I believe you when you say this hurts you and I don’t in anyway want to minimize your hurt. It’s real.  HOWEVER- back to your Circle of Influence - 

There are young Black girls who are in your immediate orbit that you likely have never had a conversation with about Kim Kardashian-I suspect you have not attempted to use your influence to counteract the alleged influences of Kim Kardashian on these young Black girls. 

You have 100% control over who you think is “better” than you or any other Black woman. Black men can say and do whatever they want to do- they already are- they don’t have the ability to make me think ANY other woman is better than me. Sorry, ain’t gonna happen. Especially not some drug addled, mentally unstable, man-child with poor impulse control, horrible fashion sense and a proclivity for pouting and petulance. This is a man you have allowed to dictate who is better than you? No bueno!  I won’t let Kanye West tell me how to cross the street let alone who is better than me?

If you in fact believe that Kim Kardashian is a great scourge who wants to devour the souls of little Black girls, then have you done everything within your immediate circle of influence to combat the alleged threat of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West- I’m gonna take a HUGE guess and say you haven’t even tried. 

You’d rather focus on things you can’t control like  “the media” and imaginary messages from Kanye West than say- “Hmm let me take a group of Black girls out to brunch and then let’s go see an afternoon performance of the local Black ballet company”. How many Black girls have you taken out on a cultural excursion of some sort so they can see diverse images of Black women? How many dollars have you donated to organizations who are presenting a different vision of what it means to be a woman in society?

But let’s say that all of this is a bit much for you. You didn’t intend for me to come up with a to do list. You want a simple answer.

Are you tripping? YEP.

Little baby Kimye is headed your way and there’s nothing you can do about it, so I suggest you be proactive by instituting an Ignorecott. Unlike a boycott where you direct all of your attention on letting the world know that you are unhappy with Kim Kardashian, you ignore her. She doesn’t exist. Neither does baby Kimye.  Every year millions of babies are born and you have no idea. Why is this baby any different. 

But but Blogmother- the news is everywhere! No it’s not. if you avoid gossip and entertainment blogs, you miss about 95% of Kimye coverage. 

But what about the CHILDREN? WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN! What about the Black girls being influenced? My answer is that until you exhaust all of the options that are within your direct control to reach Black girls in your immediate circle of influence, worrying about mythical, undefinable masses of unidentified random Black girls is being REACTIVE!

So if you want to combat the Kim Kardashain effect, the 7 Habits say you ignore her and focus on things you can control.  You don’t like the images of Kim Kardashian, then offer Black girls another image.  And according to the 7 Habits- an amazing thing will happen as you focus your energy on things in your circle of influence- your circle of influence will grow.  

What Kim and Kanye do isn't nearly as important as what YOU BELIEVE and what you value. 

Kim Kardashian doesn’t bother me. She doesn’t entertain me. What entertains me is the way Black bloggers have manipulated Black women in to Pavlovian heart palpitations by baiting you over and over again with her various relationship exploits. 

I don’t envy her fame-I’m an introvert and love being incognito. Don’t envy her relationships- all of her boyfriends and ex husbands are grade A jerks- the first one allegedly beat her- Ray J pimped her out- Chris Humphries won’t let her out of her il fated marriage, and Kanye West is an emotionally unstable, narcissist, with horrifically bad impulse control - these are NOT the characteristics of a desirable mate.   To the extent that Kim Kardashian has removed Kanye West from Black women’s dating pool, we owe her an award- not contempt. 

There is nothing that Kim Kardashain has that I think I’m entitled to. Not even her ability to enter the mainstream after shopping her sex tape.  That’s not an achievement I envy.  

I know. I know. Everyday the world wages war on the images of Black women and girls. If it wasn't Kim Kardashian, it would be something else. She's just your trigger. We all have other triggers. She's not the problem, she's the pain generator. Getting rid of her doesn't heal the underlying "hurt." In a sense, she is doing you a valuable service by identifying an area you need to work on. 

I suspect that the reason you are focussed on nameless faceless Black girls being influenced by Kim Kardashian is likely because seeing her brings up deep wounds that other people, likely Black folks, inflicted upon you. The 7 Habits say you are responsible - response-ABLE for your own happiness now. I don't know who hurt you. And it sucks that they did, but the life you have now will very much be determined by YOUR CHOICES and not those of Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and "the media." Ignorecott!

If you would like to submit your commentary for our series on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Black Women, send me a message via the Facebook Fan Page or use our contact form. The next habit is probably one of my favorites: Begin With the End in Mind.