It’s March 21, 2021. Just over 1 year since the United States shut down and wearing face masks became a mandate, not a preference. Some of us have been impacted by furloughs and salary reductions. Some of us have had family and friends contract the virus. Some of us have bought a house and earned job promotions. Yet all of us have spent the last week or so reflecting on how this global pandemic has changed our lives forever.
And so have I.
Over the last 12 months, I have:
- Paid my car off
- Brewed 2 beers (Amplify Black Voices and Support Black Businesses)
- Created a podcast (Follow @WalkWithTFB on IG and Twitter!)
- Launched a business
- Started my PhD in Student Affairs at UMD
As I reflect on these accomplishments, I am both amazed and proud. Amazed because the above mentioned items were only dreams 24 months ago. Proud because I trusted the God inside of me and walked in my purpose without always knowing how I would make it happen. After struggling with unproductivity for the first two months, the pandemic truly helped me direct my energies toward achieving goals I was saving to pursue for when I thought I would be ready. And for that I am thankful.
I’ve done a lot. But who have I become in the process?
I’ve been reflecting on this question heavily leading up to the celebration of my 28th birthday. I think about all of the awards, honors, and recognition I’ve earned since graduating high school in 2011. I reminisce about the states and countries I’ve been fortunate to visit as a tourist and craft beer enthusiast. I get chills looking at pictures of my first keynote presentation (s/o to Millikin!), the moment that I realized that my gift is in my story. But none of these passport stamps and awards can help me fill the void to the question I continue to ask myself: Who am I?
Let me be clear. I know I am Timothy Ford Bryson, a child of God.
And though this is one of my daily affirmations, I haven’t always believed this to be true. Because if I did, I would dream bigger. I would see with more faith. And I would expect more. Over the last few years, I have worked on being more disciplined to structures and systems that yield purpose driven thoughts and behaviors. I’ve also practiced being mindful of how I invest energy into myself and my relationships with others. And I have embraced availability – actively creating space for God to fulfill His promises both for me AND through me.
Yet I continue to fall short. Because I know there is more.
Not more to be done, but more of who I am that I have not uncovered yet.
I am focused more than ever on deliberately learning, understanding, and loving myself. Yes – I started this with Tim’s 10%. I even discussed it again when I started reclaiming my time. But I am at another inflection point in my story where I will not allow external appreciation distract me from elevating, again.
And so 28 is personal.
No more excuses. No more distractions. No more waiting.
Internal peace, wholeness, and joy is the mission.
I know my purpose. Now it is time to protect it at all costs.
Encourage somebody to be great today!
Future Dr. TFB