Welcome to September 2020, a time of excitement, festivities, and adventure! I love September because it’s perfect all by itself, it shows up nine months in, and it signals autumn is coming soon. Usually the air cools down and the leaves prepare to brandish their fall wardrobe, and the roads again are filled with harvest machines the size of Texas.

I promise I’m not always looking for a reason to celebrate—ok, I might be, but life is short and uncertain so we might as well live in brilliant color while we can.  I’ve been reeling over the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, the 43-year-old actor who succumbed to cancer over the weekend. We weren’t friends but 43 seems so young to die.

His performances were powerful and memorable, and his quiet struggle with this disease is a poignant reminder to get our screenings and testing done early and donate to support cancer research.

This is International Enthusiasm Week and I pray you can muster some today to brighten the spaces around you. In my early 30s I took a Dale Carnegie self-improvement class and my favorite lesson from this life-changing experience was “If you act enthusiastic, you’ll be enthusiastic!” I discovered the truth to this philosophy and bought it hook, line and sinker and chose to live my life enthusiastically.

For me, that means every day I get to choose whether I will be joyful and positive or a Negative Nellie and whine and complain about any and every little thing. Having a week designated for enthusiasm is not nearly enough, so I suggest we build a little enthusiasm in every day and that way, we’ve got it stockpiled for the bad hair days.

September is also International Self Awareness and Self-Improvement Month. This will be my first year to celebrate these two but they’re worthy of contemplation. When I thought about it, I realized they go hand in hand—if you are self-aware, you understand that there are things you could do to become better.

Here’s an example: I had two friends with very strong opinions, and they couldn’t be in the same spaces for long before their negativity would poison the entire conversation. They both made this statement about the other: “I can hardly stand to be around ______because he/she’s so negative.” I’d just roll my eyes and make a mental note not to be with them together ever again. Neither had a clue how they were perceived and when I tried to show them, they never got the message.

In my self-awareness examination I realized that I have a hard time making a long story short—just call me Cynthia Ann Make-a-Long -Story-Longer Bond Hopson. I love details and this is probably one of the reasons I still read newspapers, but not everyone needs all the gory details. I learned that my husband wants the headlines only and I have about 32 seconds to share them or he’s off to another galaxy.

Further, I have discovered that even when I have good intentions, I need to scale back what I say/think I can do. Most of us take on too much stuff and too many things and if/when we stop and take inventory of all that we are and all we do, there will be opportunities both big and small to improve. I’m a big proponent for being on time but I still find myself rushing and late. This month join me in becoming more timely and being your best you yet. Happy September!

What are some of the best things to look forward to this September? I am all ears at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook!

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

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