Why Pushing Yourself is Worth It

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the best), are you pretty satisfied with life?

Wherever your gauge lands, I hope you’re somewhat content, because the fact that you’re breathing and able to read this is a sign that there’s more to do and be and experience.

Whether you’re in a season of 1 or 2 on the scale (life is really hard right now) or clicking on all cylinders (10 – couldn’t get any better), the reality is that all of us experiences ebbs and flows, ups and downs and swings of the pendulum that leave us struggling to get by or enjoying bounty beyond measure.

With each shift, however, comes an opportunity to be grateful, and in the process, an opportunity to grow. May sound trite, but it’s also true.

So today, assess where you are and where you’d like to be. Instead of beating yourself up (or gloating), challenge yourself to be braver or kinder or more strategic or more laid back.  Don’t stop when you find yourself uncomfortable, afraid or tired. Winners push through, and I believe you’re here to win.

Here are some tips that you and I both can practice until we hone them….

  • Don’t let your motivation to do well or do the right thing be driven by what others do or don’t do. Be excellent and operate with integrity regardless of how it’s received.
  • What others think of you truly is their business; respect yourself while respecting their choice to choose.
  • Lead with love, because this is still what we all need most.
  • Remember that what you see isn’t always what it is. A fleeting perception or assumption about someone or a particular circumstance could be completely wrong. Base your opinions instead on that person’s repeated actions and attitudes, because who they are will spill out over time. Accept that truth whenever it’s revealed, and be okay either way.
  • Choose joy. Life is too short to let grudges, gossip, guilt, greed, jealousy or the like derail you. Joy is the secret sauce that keeps you going and gives you hope.
  • Speak your vision for your life and prepare for it. Instead of wishing your circumstances were better or different or easier, embrace what they are currently and trust that the better experiences of which you speak will someday become your reality. Then get busy creating a better, different, more meaningful life for yourself and your loved ones.
  • Have fun and go for gold; but don’t “get yours” and leave others to fend for themselves. When you open your heart enough to care about and make sacrifices for the benefit of all humanity, you’ll enrich your own world more than you could have imagined.
  • Decide to get uncomfortable enough to try something new. You never know what opportunities, blessings and growth are just waiting for you to show up.
  • Take time to be kind or to simply be available. You are the gift someone needs today.


When Change is a Gift

Research shows that most people dislike change so much that they’d rather stay in unfulfilling, stagnant or unstable circumstances rather than risk the unknown or stretch past what feels safe. It’s human nature, it seems, to “go with what you know.”

Over the course of my personal and professional journey, however, I’ve become convinced that the different or the uncomfortable (or even the heartbreaking) can sometimes be a sacred path to purpose.

For it is on this fresh course and in unfamiliar territory that we learn more about ourselves, discover strengths we might not have otherwise realized, and connect with ideas, skills and relationships that are meant to play pivotal roles in our destiny.

Yet, if we’re not open to change, or avoid accepting its unexpected arrival, how will we ever know our other (possibly wiser, stronger, happier) selves?

This is my sentiment as I bid farewell to readers of Life Notes, the parenting column I’ve had the pleasure of writing since July 2007 for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Yes- more than 10 years! (Read my farewell column, in today’s newspaper, here.)

Life Notes was actually my second venture as a columnist for this daily newspaper in Richmond, Virginia: From 2000 to 2006, I wrote a weekly column for the Saturday metro section called Inspirations, which acquainted readers far and wide with the uplifting and resilient journeys of metro Richmond residents and with their explorations of faith and personal growth. It had a tremendous following, and according to Times-Dispatch reader surveys, was a primary driver for Saturday newspaper sales during that time.

Both columns were meaningful to me, as was my connection to their readers.

I retired Inspirations, however, when I “retired” from my daily journalism career to focus on penning books and freelance writing. Not an easy decision since I loved my work, but an exciting and necessary one, in order to fulfill the other dreams on my To Do list. I never regretted the choice.

This time around, with changes abreast in newspaper column inches and editorial direction comes the opportunity to take another leap that has long been on my To Do list: expanding the genre of books I write to include more nonfiction (in addition to my women’s fiction) and perhaps some young adult reads.  And while I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to blog for the Huffington Post, I look forward to penning more essays and profiles about the power of story and the relevance of our individual journeys for additional national publications. (Stay tuned!)

So yes, this is a goodbye of sorts to one platform for my writing, but a hello to all of the opportunities and open doors on my uncharted path. Will you celebrate with me?

I hope you’ll follow this blog to see where the written word takes me. Feel free to comment below and share ideas about what you’d like to learn about personal growth, matters of faith, living your best life, walking in purpose or writing your way to joy. I look forward to exploring these themes and more with you, and to growing with you.


Stacy Hawkins Adams ~ Author, Essayist, Journalist, Blogger

Why I Love: March and Welcoming a New Season

I love spring. My first name, Stacy, even means “of the springtime” in some translations and “Resurrection” in others. Both befit the awakening I feel within as this month slowly but surely ushers in warmer temps, blooming flowers and brighter sun.

It’s a transition that each of us can mirror, by taking time this month to reassess, recharge and refocus.

In the days between now and the first official day of spring (March 20) take in the wonder around you and recognize the lessons each day brings. Find some beauty where it seems lacking. Thank the darkness and coldness for the incubating space it has provided for this month’s beauty to form, grow strong and eventually blossom.

Then open your arms wide with welcome to all that awaits you, and don’t look back. Spring is coming.

Why Your “Do Something” Matters

Just days after images of death and horror from the mass shooting at a high school in Florida filled our  TV and digital screens, we are now being jarred by coverage of the funerals for 15 young people and the two adults who perished with them.

As Martin Luther III declared yesterday during a visit to Richmond, Virginia, the fact that such secondary trauma is now routine has resulted in a nation living with post traumatic stress, in perpetual fight-or-flight mode, with a desensitization to the taking of human life.

“Until we change the culture, we’re not going to address the issue,” Mr. King told a roomful of attentive listeners of all ages and ethnicities during a talk at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Yet, he went on to assert that it all starts with individual decisions to do what’s right, to listen to one’s conscious, to follow through with integrity.

As he shared his thoughts on human rights and reminisced about the special times he could remember spending with his father before losing Dr. King when he was 10, I couldn’t help but wonder how, 50 years after Dr. King’s murder, Mr. King maintains hope for a better  future.  He answered for me (and likely others) before the question was verbally uttered.

“I had to learn to hate the evil act and not the person. I’m thankful for the Spirit that teaches you to forgive.”

Even so, he called on each person within earshot to do something, whether locally, nationally or globally, to change their communities and the world for the better.

I too, issue that challenge, in my own way, through the words that follow:

We all can do something to make a difference. 

Speak up.

Stand down.

Listen. Be present.


Go out of your way.

Give others a chance. 

Be your sister’s keeper, 

your brother’s armor bearer.

Call a local official.

Start a petition.

Volunteer. Give. 

Lead. Teach.

Push through.

Laugh together, cry together.

Hug it out. Press on. 

Use your words for good.

Use your innate gifts for best.

Care more.

Love harder. 

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

All these things?? This is what a change for the better requires. Daily. 

Will you (we) embrace the call? 

Our world sure needs you (us). 

© Stacy Hawkins Adams

CCO Creative Commons Use.
SHA – Martin Luther King III, speaking at VCU.

Why I Love: Librarians

Throughout this week I’ve read quite a few posts on my various social media feeds about exciting national librarian conferences and about funding issues related to school librarians.

The conversations and concerns reminded me of Mrs. Horn, the sweet, silver-haired librarian at Sam Taylor Elementary School in my native Arkansas.

When she discovered my voracious appetite for reading and saw me zip through books in record time, she took this shy 2nd grader under her wing and not only helped me discover chapter books and excellent authors, but also challenged me to read books that stretched my imagination.

I didn’t get all of the nuances of the novel “Heidi” as a 7-year-old, but that didn’t really matter. What mattered was that Mrs.Horn thought I should try; and as a result, I’ve been nudging myself ever since to try new things, to push past my comfort zone, to be willing to make sense of experiences different from my own, while celebrating and valuing my own.

These days, I try my best to write from that place, too. (One of my first attempts was in 4th grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Owens, let me write our class play, which my classmates willingly performed.)

Thank you, Mrs. Horn (and Mrs. Owens) for being among my many elementary school champions. Your efforts helped shape my memories and my foundation.

What about you? On whose shoulders do you stand? What simple acts of kindness or unsung gestures helped shaped you for good?

Take a few minutes to reflect on this, then if possible, find those heroes or “sheroes” and say thanks. Regardless of whether you reconnect with them, you can honor them by paying forward their generosity of spirit.
~ Stacy Hawkins Adams


3 Steps to Your Next Level

Sometimes you have to

1) Let go to grow

2) Leave behind in order to find

3) Stand up rather than continue to sit

Is this easy? Rarely.

Is it worth it? Always.

For even if you don’t hit the exact mark you’re aiming for, you’ll come closer to being your most authentic, purpose-filled self, and that’s a treasure worth seeking.

When we’re able to release the habits, beliefs and actions that keep us stuck at average or below, the doors to our next-level blessings will slowly but surely begin to open.

Get ready and stay ready.

Got Goals? Refocus to Reach Them

Just a month into the New Year have you abandoned your goals or exceeded them?

Have you given up halfway there or talked yourself out of even trying? During this final week of January, take some time to recalibrate and refocus.
Stand up and start again.

Create your own brief list of tasks – not necessarily for what you want to DO this week, but for who you want to BE because of what you do. 

List your WHY as well as your HOW.

Say WHEN as well as WHAT.

Look yourself in the eye (in the mirror) and ask yourself, “Why not me?” Then go for it, with all you’ve got.

When you firmly choose the path you want to walk, your dreams and desires will manifest along the way.

~ Stacy Hawkins Adams