Keep Going

Written on: August 20, 2012.

Today I had the idea to begin writing letters to myself and setting the publish date so it would be anywhere from 3-6 months in the future. Not sure how this is going to play out yet, and I’m a litte nervous about how my “future” self is going to take what my “now” self says, but I’m all about experiments. So let’s try this and see what happens!

Dear Alana,
You’ve been working really hard to figure out what it is you want to do with your life. You’ve been bashful and shy because you feel like you need to have it all figured out, especially because you are claiming you can help others figure their lives out. Well, the truth is. You won’t have it all figured out. At least that’s what Michael Good says. If that’s the truth, then WOW! You’ve been putting a lot of unneeded pressure on yourself.

I know you are frustrated right now. You sometimes wonder if all that you are doing is worth it. Do people really care what you have to say? Yes… and if they don’t care. Guess what? They still need to hear it. You, my dear, are an incredibly gifted woman. You put yourself out there and share vulnerabilities that many would be unwilling to even expose to themselves.

Today, I want to tell you to keep going. I believe in you. It doesn’t matter how many people are following your blog, how many people are commenting or interacting. It doesn’t matter if your business has exploded and you now have a long list of people who want to talk to you, be your friend or do business with you.

What does matter, is this: Are you continuing to learn how to love yourself? Because really, that’s all it’s about. Loving yourself and then sharing that love and teaching others how to love themselves too.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today. You have what it takes. Believe in yourself. You will do great things.

Love,
Your past self

Being Who I Am

Note from Alana: This is strange. Josh and I both wrote our posts on this topic within a similar time frame. Each not knowing the other person was writing about the same theme. I’m intrigued by how many 30-somethings struggle with their identity… and perhaps people of all ages do, but it’s the 30-somethings that are beginning to speak out. You can see Josh’s guest post here.

Alana Mokma, you are OKAY as you are.

Just be you.
Just be you! It sounds so simple. Yet for me, this is really difficult. To be honest, it’s embarrassing. Especially because I’m putting myself out there as a person who can help you identify who you are. I can help you identify your strong spots, your weak spots, your passions, your talents… but… I’ve been struggling to do this for myself.

Two weeks ago, I realized why: Continue reading

Frumpy Turtlenecks & Little Black Dresses

Frumpy Turtleneck

Whether we like it or not, the way we dress affects our moods and self-confidence. Okay, maybe I should re-phrase that, “Whether I like it or not, the way I dress affects my mood and self-confidence.

I’m taking a class on “Creativity” and recently I’ve been intrigued by a couple of the assignments.

1). Open your closet. Throw out – or hand on, or donate- one low-self-worth outfit. (You know the outfit.) Make space for the new.

When I saw this task, I thought “I know the outfit? Not really… I don’t dislike any of my clothes that bad.

The other day I threw on this turtleneck and vest to wear to work. Throughout the morning I kept looking at myself in the mirror and felt like something was off. I didn’t like the way it looked. I ended up switching it out for a different top before leaving the house. Later that day I realized this is just one of those outfits that makes me feel crummy. One reason is because it makes me sweat. Ew gross. I KNOW!! And for some reason I keep it. Why?

2). Wear your favorite item of clothing for no special occasion.

Yesterday I determined I would wear my little black dress to work. Mostly because a few of my classmates coaxed me into it during class – although they didn’t really dare me, I took it as a dare to make it more adventurous.

I was nervous about what my coworkers would say to me, “What are you wearing??” then followed by, “Why?”

But I did it anyway. Turns out the day was pretty uneventful – no one said a word. However, I realized two things from this: 1). Taking risks aren’t always as scary as they seem. If I can do this, then what other fear can I conquer? 2). I look pretty darn good in a little black dress.

Little Black Dress

How to Get What You Want: Tip #2

"My Brand" from Alana's Vision Board

#2: Know and Embrace Your Brand.

Problem: Sometimes people don’t get me. I’ve been told I’m too happy, optimistic and talkative. Easily Excitable. Scatterbrained. I’ve been laughed at for the way I dress. I’ve been told I am stubborn and bossy. I’ve definitely been teased for asking too many questions.

I have taken these messages and internalized them to believe that I’m a wacky dressed weirdo who people don’t want to be around because I run my mouth and tell them what to do.

I don’t 100% believe all these things all the time, but they have certainly shaped my self image. Through various events and interactions, I have come to believe that people don’t really care what I have to say, so I trip over my words just trying to get my story out fast enough before losing my listener’s attention. Have I lost yours yet? Okay great! You are still with me.

Last week, my husband and I were in Georgia at a public speaking boot camp hosted by Kent Julian. I had two specific interactions with Kent where I spoke to him out of my insecurities. We were discussing what my “message” would be. Timidly, I said, “I don’t think people want to hear what I have to say.” He immediately put me in my place (thanks Kent!) “Alana, you have got to get over this. You have a presence about you and people are drawn to you. People will want to hear what you have to share.” Later that evening I contemplated his words. I realized, if I don’t value my own opinions and my own voice how can I expect others to value them? Whoah. WHOAH!

Now, back to the importance of Knowing and Embracing Your Brand.

Solution: We all have a brand. Your brand is who you are – your personality, your strengths, your weaknesses, your passions. My brand in one word is “Challenger.” I challenge the status quo. I challenge current fashion trends and HECK YES I challenge the people around me by asking penetrating questions so that I can understand.

My husband Josh wrote his second blog post on “branding.” You can find it here. A few of the questions he asks are: What are you known for? What do you hope to be known for? How do colleagues and relatives describe you? If someone had to describe you in one word, what would be?

I encourage you to not only know your brand, but to embrace it. You are YOU for a reason.

What is your brand? Leave a note in the comments below and check out Josh’s post about branding at joshmokma.wordpress.com.

These ladies know how to embrace their brand:

TV show “Glee” sparked my passion

I’ve always been jealous of the people who have been able to find what they are passionate about in life and go after it. I would ask myself, “How did they know that is what they are passionate about?” I can hardly think of many things that get me really riled up or extremely excited. However, yesterday I had one of those moments and knew immediately that it triggered something deep inside of me.

I gotta say. I love the tv show “Glee.” Yes, I get sucked into their stories of high school drama and I actually enjoy it. Maybe it is because this resonates with how I experienced high school. I see these young students struggling to find their identity and then have moments of epiphany where they take another step into becoming who they were created to be.

This particular clip is from the Glee episode, “Asian F.” I watched this music video probably seven times in a row on Saturday and at the exact same moment each time, I cried. At the 1:13 minute mark there is a character named Emma Pillsbury who begins to groove to the music (she has red hair and is wearing a black and white polka-dot sweater). Emma is typically shy and reserved, but in this short moment you can see that she is excited about the dance and can’t help but move a little herself. Yet, she still holds back. Later in the video, at 2:09, she can’t hold back anymore. She just HAS to get up and join in!

I get so pumped when I see women who are not confident in who they are, suddenly bloom into who they were created to be – when their eyes flash and you know they mean business.

I’m not sure how my passion for women to know who they are created to be is going to play out, but I do know that it is going to be radical.