How to Get What You Want: Tip #1

Alana —  October 18, 2011 — 11 Comments

Sassy Ladies: Alana's Vision Board

My next four posts will share what I have learned over the past year about success… and how to attain it.

#1: Set Goals

Problem: I have a tendency to make goals and write them on random pieces of paper. I stick the paper in my pocket, or in my purse or in a notebook and by the time a week has passed, I have misplaced the paper or even completely forgotten that I wrote the goals down.

Solution: Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a class on How to Make a Vision Board. What is a Vision Board? It is a visual representation of the things you want in life – the things you want to do, have or be. The purpose of the board is to activate the Law of Attraction. This law states that “we attract into our lives anything that we give attention to, regardless whether it be positive or negative.” [1]

My Vision Board has images of sassy women, a section titled “What I love about Me” with words like “making waves” and “breakthrough leader” listed under it. There are other words listed such as “budding beauty,” “community” and a phrase that states “One drop changes everything.”

I plan to hang this board in the bathroom I use to prepare for my day. Every morning, it will be a visual reminder of who I want to be, what I want to do and what I want to have. I cannot wait to see how these things begin to play out in my life!

You may be thinking right now, “Seriously Alana? Just setting goals isn’t going to change my life.” Well, I challenge you – If you don’t know what you want, how will you know when you have attained it?

Creating collages not your thang? Try writing your goals on a sheet of paper and taping them to the wall beside your bathroom mirror, on your car dashboard or next your computer monitor. I bet you’ll begin to see changes within weeks.

1. The Law of Attraction. Webring, Inc. 2007.

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.


"Lists" by Alana Mokma (click to enlarge image & back arrow to return to blog)

Everyone gets 24 hours in a day, yet some people seem to accomplish so much more than others. I am always feeling behind the 8-ball.

Today is Sunday and I have a long list of things I need to accomplish by Tuesday: Laundry, pack, homework, find paperwork, pick up a few items at the grocery store, etc. etc. However, in the bigger scheme of things, are any of these super important? Yes, they need to be done… but is the world going to end if I don’t finish them? No.

Earlier this week I made a commitment and then today totally dropped the ball. I was feeling overwhelmed and made my problem theirs by canceling plans. I’ve learned the hard way that overcommitment is worse than saying “no” in the first place.

I have a tendency to take on too many responsibilities at once; whether it is because I want to experience as much of life as possible or because I am afraid someone will get mad at me if I tell them no. When I look at my priorities, they are not what I want them to be.

1). Everything Else
2). My relationship with my family
3). My relationship with God

What I want them to be:
1). My relationship with God
2). My relationship with my family
3). Everything Else

The first step is to recognize I have an issue. But I can’t only recognize it and do nothing about it. For years, I have known I had a self-destructive behavior of taking on too many tasks. Now it’s time for change. I know what I want my priorities to be, so I am going to live them.

For a fantastic resource on ways to say “No” without burning bridges, check out Kent Julian’s post from today at The post is titled, “‘NO’ is Not A 4-Letter Word.”

Tribute to Steve Jobs

Alana —  October 6, 2011 — 2 Comments

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” [Steve Jobs – Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

(This quote was recently posted in a newsletter from Dan Miller)


Start Now

Alana —  October 6, 2011 — 22 Comments

"2014" by Alana Mokma (click to enlarge image & back arrow to return to blog)

Three years from now I will have written my first published book, inspired 1,000 people through my blog and spoken publicly to a crowd of 2,000 eager listeners. How do I know this? Because these are my goals.

In January of this past year, Josh and I hired Career & Life Coach, Kent Julian at I had no idea at that time how it would dramatically change my life.

We finished up our last session with Kent on August 10th. I remember feeling particularly discouraged and like a major loser that night, because I assumed that eight months after coaching I would have been off and running in my new career. “Is there something wrong with me?” I asked. I had three interviews during this eight month period – two with the same company – and thought for sure I had the job. Quick side note: I had only actually applied to two companies, so in reality, I was batting 100% with my hit/miss ratio. I was certain I had the perfect natural talents and corporate beliefs, not to mention a fiery passion for what this company represented. Then finally, almost four months after the initial interview, came the Rejection E-mail. Ugh. Seriously? How could this happen? Maybe this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.

During our meeting that night with Kent, I shared my frustration and expressed uncertainty in moving forward with this idea of finding the work I love. Kent responded with this question: “Alana, are you willing to do the work to get to your ideal vocation?” I thought for a second. Yeah, it is a no-brainer. “Well, yeah.”

Kent: “What if it takes two years to get to your ideal occupation?”
Me: “Well, two years is longer than what I was hoping for. I wanted to be there
now, but I can handle two years.”
Kent: “What if it takes three years?”
Me: “Three years? Hmm… okay. I really don’t want it to take three, but
if I can end up where I really want to be in three years, I guess that would be okay.”

We continued this conversation, 5, 10, 15 years. What if it takes fifteen years to get to my ideal vocation? Am I willing to do the work?

Holy crap. That’s a long time. Then came Kent’s response:

“Alana, fifteen years is coming no matter what, so why not work toward your ideal occupation? Why stop just because it will take too long to get to what you want?”

Ouch. He was right.

I am currently reading the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. At one point, she shares how she encourages her students to give themselves permission to be a beginner. “By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one. When I make this point in teaching, I am met by instant, defensive hostility: ‘But do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to really play the piano/act/paint/write a decent play?’ ‘Yes… the same age you will be if you don’t. So let’s start.”

So here I am, working toward my goals. Who knows how long it will take to get to my dream occupation, maybe just a year, maybe seven years, but I have begun the first steps of setting goals and moving forward. Fifteen years is coming no matter what. Are you working toward your ideal life?

To My Fellow Creatives

Alana —  October 4, 2011 — 9 Comments

“I am the least creative person. Anything I do creatively looks like it was done by a kindergartner.”

I was dumbfounded. I was sitting across the desk from my coworker and had just asked her, “What would you like your coworkers to know about you?” I was interviewing – we’ll call her “Sheri” – for our next company newsletter. First of all, here is Sheri’s chance to say something really great about herself and she chose to highlight something she viewed as negative. Secondly, the least creative person? What does that mean?

Today, I challenge the definition of Creativity. I am assuming Sheri meant that she does not have skills in drawing, painting, writing, dance, music or the like.

But are those really the only things that are considered Creative?

I’d like to pose that Creativity is wanting to purchase an expensive bicycle and doing everything you can to figure out how to get the money. Whether it is selling items you no longer use, doing extra chores for a friend or taking on a second job.

Creativity is driving on your way home from work, getting stuck in traffic and maneuvering your way to find a different route.

Creativity is having a certain gentleman catch your eye on your first day of class and going home and picking out the perfect outfit, perfect hair and perfect makeup that will be sure to grab his attention the next time he sees you.

Creativity is spotting a shy person in your dance class and finding topics that will get her to open up and engage in conversation.

For a long time, I have struggled with my own creativity and how good I am at being Creative. My father and sister are both incredibly talented artists and I have always fought the feeling that my creativity level does not – and would never – match theirs. When I attempted to paint or draw, those skeezy voices would kick in, “Wow. Nice try. Your sister’s drawings are much more realistic,” and “That took you how long? Your dad could have had that done in ten minutes.” Only recently, have I realized that Creativity shows its face in many ways. I possess a knack for engaging others in conversation and getting them to feel comfortable with not only me, but also with themselves.

Looking back, Sheri was an incredibly creative person. She had a mezmerizing way of sharing stories. I just wanted to sit and listen to her talk because I enjoyed her inflections, silly phrasing and gestures. I wish I would have told her that day because she no longer works with us.

Creativity is so much bigger than the word we seem to narrowly define.

Thanks Luke Simpson for your drawing! You can check out his mad skillz at:

"Creative" by Luke Simpson @

Mammaw does it RIGHT

Alana —  September 30, 2011 — Leave a comment

Typically I will only be posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays but once in awhile something will stand out to me that I just have to share. Check out the video post by my friend Ivan Bickett at A Better Way of Business. I think it ties directly to yesterday’s post of finding your strengths and then using them. Thanks for sharing, Ivan![youtube=!]

Hey! I’m Smarter Than You Think.

Alana —  September 29, 2011 — 5 Comments

Hey! I am smarter than you think.

The past couple of years have been rough for me in my work place. It’s not that my working conditions are horrendous where I am forced to move 100 lb. boulders all day long from over here to over there, or that I have people screaming at me that I suck and they wish I would die, but these past couple years have still been rough. And this is why: I have learned the difference between working on tasks in my weaknesses and working on tasks in my strengths.

I was hired by my employer to do Interior Design. At this company, it means producing commercial floor plans, elevations, site plans and selecting interior finishes for mostly office and manufacturing buildings. I have learned that although Interior Design is what I went to school for, I am only decent at it; I am not great at it. I have found myself feeling more and more dumb because I don’t get the technical aspects of design. Although the project managers have been so kind as to teach me endlessly how roof pitches come together and why a building needs a concrete fire wall on one end and not the other, I just don’t get it. I started to feel guilty and think, “Man, did I pull the wool over their eyes! What did they see in me? I suck at this.” But then I realized, “I’m a great sales person. I’m awesome at selling people on ideas and getting people excited to take action!” I sold my employer on the idea of “me.” At the time, I believed in myself too, so I wasn’t necessarily selling a false product, but I sold them on the idea that, “Hey, if you hire me, I will make you happy and this is why…”

Over the past year, I have begun to learn what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are. I’m great with people and developing relationships. I’m not great at putting together price quotes for carpet goods. I’m great at having a vision for the future and inspiring others to come alongside me and take action. I’m not great at dissecting a website design and putting it all back together again.

If you have that voice inside of you shouting, “Hey! I’m smarter than what you think. I really can do a lot of things well!” I encourage you to take a look at your job or marriage or schooling and really discover where your strengths and weaknesses lie. If you can define your strengths and find a position that really utilizes those strengths, you will experience success.

“Awesome, Alana. You make a good point, but I have no idea what my strengths are or how to begin to find out.” Here’s a great resource to begin with: Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

Does this resonate with you? Why or why not? I’d love to hear from you!

Also, if you would like to receive an e-mail notification of new posts, please fill in your e-mail address in the grey box on the Home Page and click “Sign Me Up!”


What’s in it for me?

Alana —  September 24, 2011 — 13 Comments

At age 14, wearing my favorite Above the Rim t-shirt and plaid flannel shirt. Awesome.

Hi peeps. This is my first post. Kinda scary. Actually a LOT scary. If you have not yet read the “About” page, let me give you a short synopsis of why I am here and why you are here.

I have lived for many years under the message cloud: “You are not good enough.” I really don’t know exactly at what age it started, but I can remember back to junior high when I was the awkward girl with B.O., braces and a literal “crater face” (after my bout of chicken pox). I wore thrift store clothing before it became cool. My best friend was the most popular girl in our class and when we went to the mall, I’d often get overlooked by the random boys who flocked to her side. If I did get their attention, it was usually a quizzical glance that seemed to ask “Why are you here?”

Despite how I sell my sob story, there were also a lot of people who liked me and as I developed into a high school student and then a college student, my friend base grew larger and larger. But I still could not shake that abusing voice, “Alana, you’re pudgy. Look at your butt, it barely fits in your jeans” and “You may have big dreams, but you are never going to reach them. You never finish anything you start.”

I have lived with these voices my entire adult life. I’m done with it. I’m stepping up, recognizing these words for what they are (lies) and proclaiming truth over my life.

Now we come to, why are you here? 1). Probably because I invited you to come check out my writings (thanks for stopping by). 2). This is my desire for you as you read through these pages: That you will find a renewed sense of hope. That you will realize for yourself, “I matter. My opinions matter. My decisions matter” and lastly, I wish for you to experience renewed energy and new perspectives.

If one person feels alive again because of the words I share, then this blog will have been a success.

However, I am still scared. What if no one comes to my site? What if they only come once, yawn, and never come back? Well, this is my way of fighting back against those voices. I’m just going to keep on talking.

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