Finding The Will To Finish Strong

The Will To Finish (2) 0 mds blog

Have you ever felt guilty for giving up? Maybe you were on the other side of the coin and tasted sweet victory after you contemplated throwing in the towel.

For me, 2016 is my year to achieve the impossible. This year, I pushed past fear in order to birth a miracle, our son Kingston. Yet, along the journey I was tempted to waver between faith and fear, hope and despair, love and loss.

It was December 22, 2015, I received the word that I was pregnant. However, I was warned to patiently wait as the pregnancy had to progress through stages to ensure it was viable.

He makes everything perfect in its season. Ecclesiastes 3:11

At that point, we made a decision to believe we would see our miracle from conception to healthy delivery. This was my goal at the beginning of 2016.

According to Scranton University, more than 40% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions but a mere eight percent actually accomplish them.

Maybe it was your best laid plans to get fit and ditch those bad eating habits. Possibly, you thought you had the courage to say enough is enough and walk away from that dead-end relationship or job. Maybe you were going to stop living in fear and start moving in faith to believe something positive would happen to you.

What I just shared might have been a picture of your intent at the start of 2016. Now, we are less than 3 months until the end of the year. How are you tracking on those goals and intentions?

No matter where you are, it doesn’t matter as long as you finish strong.

I’ve learned this the hard way. The journey to motherhood, marriage and entrepreneurship are all different facets of me but all required the same process for me to achieve my goals.

 

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It started with having a vision for what I wanted. The vision has to be rooted in an expectation of hope. It is a dream of something that is worth pursuing and believing everyday despite the circumstances. This is often the hardest part when you have dealt with disappointment but it is also the most rewarding. You will rise up to your expectation so why not see something great!

Next, it takes more than vision, it must move to action. How are you putting actions to your vision? What can you do daily? Can you commit to 30 minutes of workout time? Can you write for 15 minutes each day? Suddenly each paragraph becomes a page, becomes a chapter and suddenly you have a completed book. You will have to commit to take action in order to move beyond the vision.

MDS Quote - October Blog

Finally, you must recommit to the vision and do something daily. Don’t get overwhelmed with the details. It will paralyze you. Attach an action to an existing routine to make a new habit. Once it is a habit it is solidified as a way of life.

The best news I can share is that 2016 is not over. You still have less than three months to finish what you started. I hope that this message of resilience and reclaiming what is yours will motivate you.

I want to invite you to join me as we talk more about this topic. I’ll be sharing more about this opportunity for us to connect live soon!

Our Fertility Journey: Lessons In Letting Go

What happens when there is no explanation? There is only one word… “why.” Why did my son get murdered? Why did my marriage end in divorce? Why was I denied the promotion?

Hard questions demand answers, right? I’ve often thought I was in control and in my book, there’s always an explanation if you worked hard enough to get to the bottom-line. What if the only answer is … surrender? Sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is how to let go.

I woke up groggy and drugged from an unexpected, urgent surgery. The room faded from blurry to clear, I heard the doctors say, “Mrs. Simkins your surgery was successful but we have something to share with you. We discovered that you will not be able to have children naturally.”

“What did he say?” I looked at my husband in despair. “Wait, that was not the reason for my surgery and definitely not what I expected to hear.” The wounds from the surgery would eventually heal, but those words attempted to scar my memory for years to come.

Instantly, I joined the millions of women who silently struggle with fertility. We are nameless to you. We show up at work, do our jobs, run our companies, manage our homes, post on social media and do it ALL with a smile…publicly. While very few know the deep, private pain we live with each day.

My fertility journey went from what I always anticipated would be a natural experience that would happen for me at the right time to an inconvenient struggle. I was just a few months into my new marriage and this was the last thing we needed hanging over our newlywed bliss.

After an emotional meltdown, I realized this struggle was no different than any other obstacle I had faced before. In the words of Ms. Janet Jackson, “Don’t let nobody tell you what you can’t do…shut that down automatic.” I looked myself in the mirror, wiped my tears and resolved to fight. I would have to learn how to war for what I wanted.

For with God Nothing Shall Be Impossible – Luke 1:37

This has become one of my favorite scriptures. Immediately hope came into my heart. Each day it was my mission to kill all doubt that would creep into my thoughts.

We started our journey through in vitro fertilization (IVF). A world totally unknown to us until that time. It was expensive, overwhelming and a test of endurance.

Our journey over a couple of years would be a rollercoaster ride. Now, from the outside, you would never know. We we were working, traveling, laughing and loving one another. In fact, I launched Women In The Spotlight’s Brand Leadership Institute during the time of trying and waiting. It was a therapy for me to use my pain for a greater purpose to inspire and encourage other women.

Privately, we were declaring, praying, journaling, meditating and encouraging each other with scriptures and believing that God could do the impossible.

I came to a place of peace only after realizing my best choice was to surrender to His will. I had done my part. Now it was time to let go.

Surrender and trusting in His will had been a big struggle for me. God has a sense of humor in that I end up marrying a man named Will. My husband literally is the Will of God! His presence and prayers gave me comfort and strength. God knew he would be a rock that I could lean on when everything around me felt fragile and uncertain.

I didn’t have the answer nor did I have the assurance that anything would change even after going through rounds of IVF. I declared and prayed the first time but despite my own efforts, the call came with words I never wanted to hear, “You are not pregnant.” The video below documents the day after we got that horrible news in May 2015.

Like a championship team, down in the final seconds of the game, we would re-group, re-charge and go for it again. This time I resolved that no matter the outcome, I was grateful for the journey and I was going to surrender and let go.

I surrendered my will in exchange for His and determined that regardless of the outcome I was going to live a beautiful life. My faith, still choose to believe all things are possible even though we were down and I was getting older.

At the end of 2015 after yet another try, I heard the words that I had been dreaming to hear…“Congratulations Melissa, you are pregnant!” Instantly our lives changed forever.

My story isn’t original but it is my testimony. I know many women who are going through a similar struggle and yet their outcome is not like mine. Maybe financing IVF is out of reach or, you have tried without success.

For anyone who has dealt with empty attempts in your journey to be a mother or father, know that God is with you. If you have been struggling with why, know that there is peace that can happen when we learn to let go.

He knows exactly what you need and I pray our journey gives some hope and encouragement to you. You are not alone. God is faithful to hear your prayers.

Our greatest challenge is to believe in the face of doubt and trust that He has a bigger plan.

If you know someone…anyone struggling with letting go of ANYTHING, please feel free to share this post. Our struggle is always for someone else.

There are tons of lessons I learned and practical things and resources that I learned about on my journey that I would love to share with you at a later time in my blogs.

For now, I’ve never been so happy and overwhelmed with gratitude to share this amazing moment. We are thankful for IVF but we are in awe of God! He gets all the glory!!!

Thanks for stopping by to share in our journey. NOW…let’s get this party started…Little Simkins will be making his or her debut in just a few short months!!!

#choosefaithoverfear

Wait …What Am I Doing? Face Your Fear And Doubt

This year I celebrate 10 years of entrepreneurship. October 2006, I walked away from my cushy, corporate six figure job and title to start my branding firm, Velvet Suite. I started from my living room without a big contract or brand recognition. Wait…What am I doing?

Before we pop bottles and send a confetti emoji…let me be clear. Birthing a business is the hardest work I have ever done. Many called me crazy. “Are you sure? You have such a good thing going with your job. How are you going to make money and maintain your lifestyle?”

There were many days when I cried to God and said… “What have I done.” “I have no life!!! How in the world am I going to (fill in the blank)?” Let’s see…pay my car note, pay my rent, get the business line of credit, get enough sleep, oh and find a life partner who will understand this madness called my life!

In these moments you come face to face with your fears and doubts. Yet, I learned to trust God with what I could not see and to give to Him what felt impossible to me.

Over the years the nature of the challenges has changed. From survival to scaling and from building a brand to building teams, from being driven to being balanced and now to establishing a legacy for my family…all of the impossibilities were designed to grow my faith muscle. As an athlete I know muscle isn’t made it is built. It takes exercise, repetition and tearing it down to build it back up.

At the time, my motivation wasn’t money. It was freedom. Could I get paid for doing what I love? Could my true and authentic purpose make room for me in the world and could my existence make a difference from my little living room in Cincinnati, Ohio?

The answer was NO. Knowing your purpose and being passionate was not enough. Owning your purpose and being committed to do the work around building your passion into a profitable enterprise is what it takes to achieve freedom. Building a scalable brand will sustain your legacy.

It took many years of painstaking trial and error. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. But everyone can be entrepreneurial. You can build where you are, create, design and own your own work. Patent your ideas and develop your own place of worth in the world.

I’m on the other side of that journey and my business baby is now 10 years old. No, my life by no means is problem-free but I don’t have the same issues I had when my business was an infant.

On the other side of enduring 10 years, I have impacted more lives, done more of what I dreamed and made more money and experienced the most freedom in my life. It came at a price. The cost was my comfort.

I had to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I realized that I had become a slave to fear and doubt. This two-headed monster tries to pop its head up still but I’ve learned to look at impossibilities differently.

The impossible is only impossible until someone makes it possible. Walking on the moon was impossible until Neil Armstrong. Now it is possible. It was impossible to be the fastest man alive until Usain Bolt defied that reality. Today, someone else is working hard to be the next fastest man alive.

I’ve learned to love impossible situations because it gives me an opportunity to take my impossibilities to the one that makes all things possible, God.

One of my favorite verses – Luke 1:37 – For With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible.

Many people will look at my story from the outside and say, “Wow, you have done so much and you actually made your dream a reality.” Yes, I have done some things but I vow not to romanticize my past. I’m grateful but I believe the best story has yet to be told.

I encourage you to journal your impossible situations. What has you feeling stuck right now? What keeps you pacing the floor at night? Write it down before God. Journal your journey.

When I write down my fears, my failures, my doubts, I can record how I’m feeling but then I can give it to God and leave a blank space for Him to answer.

When I can look back over those posts and those writings, I get encouragement and I build my confidence. I see He worked it out and I made it through!

Remember, an impossibility is simply an opportunity for you to work your faith muscle and take it to the next level. It’s time to FLEX!!!!

I’d love to hear how you have overcome the impossible. Please share with me and our community below.

Be Grateful For What You Have Achieved

It’s easy to get wrapped up and disregard the journey that has brought you to where you are, but it’s important to display gratitude for everything that has shaped you. I’ve come up with three steps to make sure that I am always grateful for what I’ve achieved.

The steps are reflect, recognize and soak up the present. Following these steps will give you a greater sense of self-awareness and a better insight into what has shaped your journey.