Posts Tagged With: Success

Small Victories



I am having a great morning and I look forward to having a great day at work, and an even better evening. I’m actually really excited about a date I have planned tonight with my boyfriend Scott, and would love to spend this time gushing about it, but that’s not how these blogs work.  I made a deal with myself years ago that I would write as my heart leads – as openly and honestly as I can manage. It took me a while to learn to listen to that still small voice inside, and she’s become clear and pronounced.  So, no boyfriend-gushing and onto the message of the day – Small Victories.

Lisa and I have been working hard over the past several months, staying faithful to our workouts and the workout goals we’ve set for ourselves.  These are not earth-shattering choices, but they’re important to the two of us; important to the choices we’ve made for our lives, and the goals we want to achieve in them. Yes, we are those crazy people that get up at 4am in the morning and then freely choose to abuse our bodies long before we start our work day.  I take it a little extra step and abuse my mind too – in writing these blog posts every morning.  But, is it really abuse? No – they are small victories.

Here’s the thing about small victories – they are the steps necessary to reach the big ones, and they are the things that give our lives their true value. I don’t know about you, but I don’t just wake up in the morning, grab my magic wand, and wave it around and all the things I want to achieve in this life and they just magically appear. Thank God for that.  Thank God that I have to work hard for the things I want, to provide for myself, to earn a living in order to reward myself with a vacation.  Thank God I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth or have had everything I ever needed given to me. Thank God I don’t have perfect genetics and a perfect body and have to work at it to keep it beautiful and functioning properly. Thank God I have weaknesses, and fears, and struggles.

I know some of you right now are thinking I’ve gone off the deep end, because NOBODY in their right mind is thankful for those struggles and pains, but I am – because chasing those dreams, achieving those small victories, working on those faults and insecurities, and pushing past the pain …those are the things that make me who I am and makes my life worth living.  It’s what creates in me a true appreciation for who I am, what I have, and pride for what I achieve.  It’s the “PURSUIT” of happiness that gives life meaning. It rising up from the ground after a failure that gives life purpose. It’s learning to breathe again after getting the air knocked out of our lungs that creates a gratitude in the soul. It’s learning to push through the adversity and finding the strength inside of ourselves to push a little farther, to push a little harder, to push beyond the pain and find our truth strength.  It’s learning to love again after getting your heart crushed. It’s all those life lessons that make us better people. We have an increasingly ungrateful society because we are not allowing our children to ‘work’ and ‘struggle’ for what they want and need.

Small and large victories are either won or lost at the moment of conception by our mindsets. No matter how strong we are, we are failures if we quit. We will quit if we have not already made up our minds that quitting isn’t an option.  I heard a phrase yesterday from author and Navy SEAL Jack Carr promoting his new book on Jocko’s podcast that struck a chord.  He talked about these tough, built, strong athletes that quit early into BUD/S training. He called them ‘fitter quitters.” These guys who trained for years to be in the best physical shape possible, thought they could succeed on strength alone, but they didn’t develop their no-quit mindset and that’s where they failed. They quit. They rang the bell.

We can’t develop a strong mindset without experience and training.  We are not born with a mindset that overcomes adversity. No matter how strong, beautiful, talented, or privileged we are, if we are weak-minded we will fail. My boyfriend told me last night to laugh at my pain and I’ll overcome it, because he understands the true struggle isn’t the physical pain but the state of the mindset when facing pain – that the mind controls my victory or failure.

So, my small victory this week is that I stayed faithful to my workout goals and I pushed through the pain, slayed all the available excuses, suffered through the struggle – keeping my eyes on the prize, knowing that my tribulations were temporary because I made up my mind before I began that I was going to succeed.  I wanted more of what was on the other side of my victory than what my body, mind, and senses whispered to me in the moment. It was a battle of will vs want.  It was a successful week – and I’m so proud of my small victory.

Ps. I’m also excited about my date tonight with my amazing boyfriend. LOL!

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Complicated frustrations, Conversations with a Friend., Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, Musings, Philosophy, Poetry, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Proactive Vs. a Reactive Life

Proactive Reactive


Regardless of any faith, there are some fundamental truths in the universe that help us succeed as we maneuver through life.  We only get one life (well, unless you believe in reincarnation).  We only get a small measure of time while we occupy some space on this big blue planet. We have to share that space with about 7 billion other people, animals, and other forms of life, but we only have one drop in the bucket of eternity to do something with the life we’ve been given. I’ve already been here forty-seven years and I’ve a learned a few things in my short time.  However, there is still so much to know. I often seek the wisdom of those who’ve come before, as I try to enjoy the present, to leave a legacy for future inhabitants. One of those bits of wisdom …its wiser to set a plan, count the costs, and then work toward a goal to achieve success – be proactive, than it is to live life by the seat of your pants dodging everything life throws at us  – being reactive.

Maybe it’s just because I’m an A-type personality that deceives herself into believing she has somewhat control over her life.  While, I am well aware that LIFE will always throw things at us that we didn’t see, didn’t plan, or happen to us beyond our control, I believe with my whole heart we have complete control over how we respond and allow those surprises or offenses to affect us. I believe in a higher power that I can’t even begin to understand with the limited knowledge and wisdom I possess, but I have faith nonetheless that Power within me and through me also affects me in many ways. But in everything else …my failure or success is ALL within my power, and responsibility of that failure or success lay with me – the buck stops here. Proactive is taking responsibility. Reactive is making excuses.

In my experience, I’ve obtained many, many successes.  None of them were just given to me. None of them came free.  ALL of them costs me time, energy, money, focus, and sacrifice to make them happen.  ALL of them. I was proactive. My failures in life also have a re-occurring trait, they were things I ‘reacted’ to either financially, physically, or emotionally. They were decisions made without planning, thought, or were even contrary to what I knew was right, productive, or beneficial.  They were ignorant decisions made in the heat of the moment, because I desired them, wanted them, or ignored the warning bells to have them.  I was reactive.

If we build without planning, then plan to build again, and again, and again, following failure, after failure, after failure, reacting to every change in the wind.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Philosophy, Spiritual, T.L. Gray | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



Everyone desires to succeed in …everything. No one faces their hopes, dreams, or responsibilities in life with the expectation of failure. That is one way that makes us all similar to one another.  Even from the depths of drug addiction, to the height of financial, educational or titled climb, to being surrounded and well loved by family, to invention, to achievement, to taking our first steps, to beating disease, to finding love – we all desire to succeed. Not one of us wakes up every day seeking ways to fail. Our differences come from our ideas of ‘how’ to succeed.

I’ve met many people throughout my life that have obtained great success, and I’ve met many more who have known nothing but one failure after the next.  One is no greater of a human being than the other.  In what we succeed or fail doesn’t shape our character or define our moral center, but “how” we go about succeeding or failing, makes ALL the difference and is the DNA of our character. You can tell me a million ways, until you’re blue in the face, until the cows come home, or any other metaphor you want to use, that you’re a good and kind person with good intentions, yet your actions are selfish and cruel, you are NOT a good person. If you blame others for your failures, or tear others down, you are NOT a good person. If in order for you to rise you must step on someone else, you are NOT a good person. I may not be perfect, and I may not always be to blame for everything that goes wrong in my life, but one thing I will never do is tear someone else down in order for me to rise. I will not do it to family, loved ones, co-workers, friends or even ex-lovers.  My God has taught me a deeper lesson than the one the world shows on a constant basis.

I am currently at my lowest depths when it comes to failure and success.  I recently lost my step-kids, my soul mate, my dogs, a life and a family I had chosen, and the only father I had ever respected and loved. I sacrificed many successful things in my life to choose them, but I would sacrifice those things all over again for them. I have no regrets of anything I laid down for them, because “they” were my success.  Loving them was my goal and my choice.  I failed.  Yes, I understand it takes two to make a relationship work. It was just as much their responsibility to love and choose me back. I can’t take responsibility for their choices, I can only take responsibility for my own. I made mistakes, but loving them and choosing them was not one of them.  They were far from perfect, but I will never tear them down in order to justify the failure of our relationship.  I’ve already lost them, what good would come from dwelling on their faults or failures? What good would come from tearing them down? What good would come from blaming them or hating them? How can I rise if my focus is to tear them down? I can’t.  I rise by looking up.  I rise by focusing on the love we had and shared.  I rise remembering the good.  That doesn’t mean I deny the pain, the truth, or the issues we all had. No – by no means.  There were issues, really major issues and I believe more than anything in this world that only facing the truth of an issue can anyone ever defeat and overcome them.  There’s a lot of denial of some major issues, and that denial caused a lot of damage and a lot of pain. I can’t change that – I couldn’t change it – I failed – we failed.  But, what I can change is how I let the pain affect ME. I want to rise.  I want to breathe, I want to hope for a better day a better tomorrow, and I know I can’t find that success if I’m too busy trying to tear someone else down.

I will not speak of EX negatively.  Yes, he has his faults, many faults, but it’s not my job to inform the world of them. I won’t deny the truth, even the ugly parts of the truth, but I will not tear anyone else down in order to justify myself. I will not blame HIM for OUR failure.  I love him. I will always love him. I love them and I will always love them. I don’t want them to fail just because I am not with them anymore. I want them to succeed in life. I want them to be happy. I want them to be healthy, and free, and loved, and be good people.  I want to be happy and successful and free.  So, maybe I’m odd and don’t swim like the rest of the world, but I want to rise out of this pain. I want to rise off this floor and fly once again.  My flight doesn’t require climbing over someone else, it only requires spreading my wings and looking up.  Spreading your wings makes you vulnerable, but it’s the only way to catch the wind and rise.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Dream, Faith, family, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Life, love, Muses, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, respect, Romantic, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Fall Back – Push Forward


I’m afraid of a lot of things, because life is filled with a lot of uncertainty and in the middle of adversity I have been hurt.  However, one thing I’m certain is that I walk through this world with my eyes and heart wide open and my observations and opinions, failures and successes, are my own.  Fear makes me cautious, but it doesn’t stop me. I’m not afraid to fail or get hurt; I’m more afraid not to try, not to learn, or not to experience.

I’ve been through a lot of changes over the years and my mistakes are countless, but there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, and that’s my authenticity or my devotion.  I’ve been wrong, I’ve been narrow-minded, I’ve been naïve, and I’ve been mistaken, but I’ve always been honest… to myself and to others.  This is dangerous because it allows my heart and soul to be exposed and possibly hurt, and I have been hurt – a lot.  Yet I can’t bring myself to live any other way.

I’ve been rejected, but I can’t allow rejection to stop me from trying again.  Someday I’ll be accepted.

I’ve been let down by those who should have been there for me most, but I can’t allow that to stop me from ever depending on someone else.  Someday, someone will be there when I need them.

I’ve watched portions of my dreams being shattered like glass, but I can’t allow that to stop me from reaching for more dreams or putting those shattered pieces together.  Someday I’ll walk in their fulfillment.

Not everybody sees the world the same.  Not everybody responds to the hurts, pains and disappointments with the same measure.  Our natural reactions to pain, disappointment, or failure are to close our eyes and build a tall wall around our hearts. Most often we cling to philosophies and opinions of others because we no longer trust our own decisions.  WE CAN’T DO THAT!

I’ve learned…

If you’re heartbroken …the best way to heal from that pain is to put your heart back out there, don’t hide it away. YES, you can make a wrong decision and it can get hurt again, but it can also get filled.  Hiding it away builds an unhealthy pattern and you can become rigid and spend your life alone and bitter, or going from one meaningless relationship to the next. It’s meaningless because you don’t allow your heart to become invested.

If you’ve failed at something …immediately start working on it again or jump into something new. Don’t step back and become afraid to try something else, because you can very well become too afraid to ever try anything again.

We’re often told to take a step back to give our hearts a chance to heal. Let me tell you, as someone who has endured a lot of pain, failure, disappointment, setbacks, heartache and abuse… I’ve never healed by stepping back – only by pushing forward.  I’ve never succeeded by sitting down after a defeat – only by grabbing the next opportunity.

And as for matters of the heart …I’ve given it my best shot, invested everything thing I had, loved openly and honestly and failed miserably… and the only way I know how to heal from that is to open my wounded heart to love again.  I WANT to build walls, push away and run like hell. I receive advice almost on a daily basis to step back, put up walls, set boundaries, to give myself time to heal.  I’ve spent the last couple of decades learning to love myself and open my heart… and I’ll be damned if I’m going to start closing it now.  Is that a mistake?  Only time will tell.

I’m moving forward… in my career, my passion, my dream and my heart. I apologize now for those around me who can’t do the same, because I may just have to leave you behind so you don’t hold me back. I can’t allow someone else to stop me from moving forward. I’ve just escaped that… and cannot allow it. This is ME seeing things in MY OWN eyes and feeling with MY OWN heart.  I may be wrong, but it’s my honest thoughts.  I may fail today, but if I do, I’ll get up again tomorrow.  You never know …I may just succeed.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Inspirational, Musing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Climbing the Stairs to Success

Success - No Elevator

Success is a difficult climb.  Someone who’s never had to work for it before, having things handed to them with little to no effort, cannot appreciate or understand the journey the way the rest of us, those who have to fight for every little step, can.


I’ve succeeded at many things. I’ve failed at even more.  Today, I find myself on another stairway facing a multitude of steps before me, but I start the climb …one step at a time.


I’m out of shape, out of breath, and it seems out of patience, but I’m full of determination.  As I start my climb, I feel the strain on my legs, back and butt muscles. With proper conditioning, a steady pace, and plenty of water, I’ll find my stride and take those steps one at a time.


I smile, because I have a slight advantage to the other climbers along these jagged steps… I’ve run this race a few times before.  I know the costs, but I also have tasted the victory at the top and remember it’s sweetness.  I also know …it’s not how I start, but how I finish.


Are you on your own set of stairs?  If so, pace yourself.  I wish you a wonderful journey.  Don’t forget to keep your eyes on the top, but every once in a while, glance around and see how far you’ve come.


Till next time,

~T.L. Gray


Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Inspirational, Musing, Writing | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Set Small Goals

Human beings crave a sense of accomplishment.  A defeatist attitude usually comes from not being able to meet the goals we set in our lives.  Often times, we give up when the pressures get too hard, and we feel like we spin our wheels, mercilessly, without any traction. 
Where we usually fail when it comes to meeting goals, is we often set them too big, especially if we’re a dreamer, or artistic in any way.  Creative people see no limit to the possibilities, and are open to most prospects, so we set our life goals in adherence to our dreams, regardless if they’re against the natural current.  Practical people usually shake their heads at this behavior, because they themselves usually opt for what is in their grasp, what they’re capable to achieve within reason, and don’t often fight the current seeing no sense in the action.  However, neither is wrong and the other right.  There should be a balance between the two. 
Dreamers should set impossible goals, because that’s where true dreams are realized.  However, we need to be practical in our application, and set for us a series of small goals along the way.   With each small accomplishment we achieve, we will also receive more confidence, more faith, and more inspiration to move forward.  If we constantly struggle against the current, without finding small pools of respite by the wayside, we’ll burn ourselves out.  We must be able to find small side-streams to rest and regroup, so that we will have the strength to make it all the way upstream. 
Your inspiration exercise today:  Think about what you really want out of life, and then try to think of at least six small steps you can take that will ‘lead’ in that direction, and then set one of them as your first goal.
Till next time,
~T.L. Gray
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