Build Yourself Up For the Journey

Recently, I had an encounter with someone I really care about. This person is quite vocal about their strong belief in a limited path to success. I was not in a position to escape the conversation, so I heard everything they had to say. 😩

Cropped image of someone walking a path of dried straw. Text states: Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist "FIND WAYS TO FORTIFY YOURSELF INTERNALLY FOR THE JOURNEY."

It was painful and awkward, and honestly, what they were saying would have rocked my foundation last week, when I was experiencing some frustrations. As I reflect on the convo, I realize how valuable it is to find ways to build ourselves up internally. My meditation practice earlier that day was phenomenal, and had been all that week. Thank gawd because it really saved me. I was able to hear their perspective and not apply it to myself. Their words didn’t make me feel bad about where I am and what I’ve yet to achieve. I was able to stay grounded in my truths. I was able to remember all the evidence to the contrary of their opinion.

Sometimes we find ourselves in environments with people who have strong opinions. Their words can be hurtful. Maybe you haven’t achieved what society says you should have by now. You know your goals and intentions and you’re doing all you can to stay hopeful and keep working your plan. It can be challenging when people say things that rub up against our areas of insecurity.

The thing that saved me from… immediate depression… as they talked was all the testimonies I’ve filled myself with over the years, of people who relate to my journey and are now so successful. People who had more to overcome and still made it. People who were older when they started on the path, and are now leaders in their fields. I build myself up by seeking out stories of people who’ve successfully done what I’m looking to do. (YouTube is great for this.) I allow their testimonies to encourage me and show me what’s possible.

This speech by Les Brown is one of that I listened to many times. It empowered me when I was at my lowest. It still empowers me now.

We have to find ways to build ourselves up while we’re on the journey to what we desire. This is one of the many ways that I do it.

Just thought I’d share this word of encouragement for anyone who needs it. Don’t give up. Build yourself up. Feed yourself what you need to sustain the journey.

Blessings! I’m placing the video below, as well. It’s a REALLY good one. #LesBrown

Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist

Opinions Are Like….

A lot of people hold their parents’ opinions of life, how things work, and of themselves, as complete facts, without ever questioning them… especially opinions toward the negative.

Image of the rear end of an elephant. Text states: Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist "Perspective is everything. From the back an elephant doesn't even have a trunk."

The reality is that giving birth, co-creating a child, conception, adoption, fostering—whatever you want to call it—does not automatically endow parents with knowledge and wisdom of all things… not even when it comes to their kids.

Parents are human. Parents get stuff wrong. Parents have opinions formulated by their consumption of other people’s opinions. Parents have perspectives skewed by what they’ve seen, heard, experienced, and imagined. Parents don’t automatically hold the keys to all things factual.

If my momma told me, “You’ll never amount to anything,” that’s not a fact. That’s her opinion. She hasn’t been to the future. How does she know? I could make choices that same day that completely shift the trajectory of my life. (My momma never said that to me, by the way, so don’t be calling my momma. I’m just making a point. 😂)

Sometimes it’s not even what they said about us, it could be something that was a rule in their house, or a belief that they preached. I was watching a man in his upper 60s, struggling to finish his meal. It was clear that he was already full, but he was still forcing in those last forkfuls. Being me (always perceptive and occasionally slightly too honest 😅), I looked at him and said, “You know your momma’s not here? You don’t have to clean your plate. You’re grown.”🤣 (Lawd, help me. I was born this way. 😂) The look of initial surprise on his face, followed by a wave of relief, was priceless. He took a second, scooted his chair back, and went to scrape out that plate. He didn’t want that food. That moment freed him.

So much of what we do, and so much of what we think, has nothing to do with us! It’s from old stuff someone taught us, old standards we were conditioned to abide by, and old beliefs we were exposed to. Periodically, we have to check in with ourselves and ask questions like: “Is that a fact, or an opinion? If it’s an opinion, do I agree with it? Should I live my life based on this? What do I CHOOSE to believe about this?” And then we get to go on with our lives CHOOSING to be guided by aligned beliefs. We get to believe and evaluate things by what works for us.

There are some things we’ve thought or believed our whole lives that hurt or hinder us—things that someone else said or taught us. Consider that maybe what they thought was just their opinion, and not a fact. And if it’s an opinion, we can question it. Maybe you can be successful at that. Maybe you can be the exception to that rule. Maybe doing it your way works out just fine.

Another important thing to realize is that just because you can see evidence to support someone’s opinion, doesn’t automatically make it a fact. It’s possible that if you observe the same thing from a different perspective, or hear of another person’s experience, you’ll be able to formulate a completely opposite opinion. I mean, from the back, an elephant doesn’t even have a trunk….

Let’s begin to question our habits of thought, beliefs, and behaviors that work against us. Let’s recognize that negative opinions are, just that, opinions. We can let them go and CHOOSE to guide our lives by what we prefer to believe.


Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist

Procrastination & Criticism

What if your fear of failure is really a fear of criticism? What if you procrastinate because criticism is too painful?

Image of a wire trash can with balled up pieces of paper around and in it. Text states 'Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist MAYBE WE PROCRASTINATE BECAUSE WE'RE TERRIFIED OF CRITICISM. MDILLONDESIGNS.COM

Have you ever met someone who is so full of talent that you can’t understand why they don’t move forward and make that thing their main focus, or source of income? Have you ever wondered why some people start, but don’t complete what they start? Have you ever wondered why you were once so excited about a fun project, but then left it alone for days, months, or even years?

Fear of criticism is one of the major causes of procrastination that I never hear people talk about. We hear about “fear of failure” and even “fear of success,” but what about the crippling fear that so many experience when they think, “What if I do it wrong?”

Let me say this. If you are a parent, teacher, or one who has children in your care, criticize less. Let them try things and feel the joy of it being good enough for them. Nitpicking about how the eyes on their drawing aren’t even or that they misspelled “grandma” on the card they made and the countless other times that you unnecessarily criticize them, is what creates that increasing distance between when they want to share their work and when they feel safe to.

I didn’t realize that the countless times that I was corrected about the stupidest things had such an impact on me until I was in meditation early. I would not be surprised if, for every time I was criticized, I added an additional minute to how long it would be before I felt my work was ready to show the world. It really feels possible that for every criticism I went more internal, that I came to feel it necessary to prepare a little longer before I show anyone what I’ve got. I needed to get it a little more right. I needed to like it a little more. I needed to shield myself from the criticism.

I believed that if I got everything right before I shared I was less likely to feel that gut punch. But after years and years of feeling it anyway, I delayed presentation longer and longer. I went from seconds, to minutes, to decades of preparation to avoid the sting.

I realized this morning during meditation that I am STILL dodging the words, “You’re doing it wrong,” and it’s twin, “You did it wrong.” These messages that I have heard since childhood—that I thought I overcame, mind you—are still finding new ways to delay my progress.

It’s possible that you can relate. It’s possible that you are a serial procrastinator and you don’t even know why. People delay progress for many reasons, but I want you to consider the possibility that it’s not because you’re lazy, and it’s not because you’re too busy, and it’s not because you’re afraid you’ll be too good at it to handle the success. What if the thing that you’re avoiding is criticism?

Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist

I feel like I’ll share more on this as it flows to me (possibly in my upcoming book, You’re Being Catfished). Just sharing my initial thoughts. Sending blessings and prayers, if you can relate, or if you are a teacher/parent who realizes you’ve been overly critical of your children. It’s not too late. Awareness is so key. It’s hard to continue doing something hurtful once you’re truly aware of the impact of what you’re doing. Just that awareness causes a decreased likelihood. Hugs to you and yours.

Breaking News: I Now Offer Coaching!

Image of a new broadcast. Small photo of Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist as news topic. Text states "Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist now offers one-on-one virtual coaching. Stay tuned for more details."

Recently, in a group, I was asked to state what industry I’m in. I came up with, “Empowerment speaker (4th-9th grade girls), online course creator (positive parenting), inspirational blogger, songwriter, transition coach.”

That “transition coach” really got me. I thought about all the people I’ve helped with 1-on-1 coaching and realized that I am called in at the times that people are in transition. I am guided to support them, often people I don’t even know, and I work with them and come alongside them until they are fully on the other side and then our time is over. We continue to remain connected but that urgency that came over me, to be there for them through that time, it just disappears as effortlessly as it showed up.

I have followed so many coaches and have been connected to so many coaches and I realize that what I am is something different. There is a spiritual aspect that guides me to those who are meant to work with me and I am following the urgency to show up more in that area. I knew when I was in school for counseling that I was meant to coach and that therapy, although powerful and necessary, was not my route. I was meant to coach, and those who’ve come into my life through various means and routes —and I’ve been blessed to help so many— I now, see and accept that I get to do this and give as well as receive.

I have been coaching people for free for decades and now I walk into this new area of my life where I charge my worth. I know I am worthy, and that I have a gift. I am excited as I reflect back on all the people I’ve helped, all the people I was led to help, and all the ways they are better for it. I am grateful to step into this area of my life and allow all the old beliefs to swirl away and to accept that I now get to be more and do more and show up more in my life. I have desired this for over a decade. And now I am saying, “Yes. I am ready. I am Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist, your Transition Coach.” If you feel led to work with me, I am open to a conversation. Message me on my Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist page. Details coming soon.

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