Overcome your Obstacles

It’s Resurrection Month!

happy resurrection dayDuring the entire month I have experienced one stressor after the other. In fact, I think sometimes we forget just how challenging life can be.

On Monday, I attended an early morning meeting. On Friday, I was told that someone said I was dismissive of an administrative assistant at that Monday morning meeting. On Tuesday I was busy re-doing a plan that I had worked on almost the entire month of March. During working meet the deadline of getting the plane done, I had to get up, get in my car, drive to another building with 3-inch heels on trying to get from the parking lot to the elevator and up to another luncheon meeting.  On Wednesday my entire morning process was blown because I had to rearrange my morning to be at another meeting that lasted 4 hours. By the time I got to Thursday, things were turning around for the better and Friday would have been great had I not heard about my dismissive behavior to an Admin on Monday! I haven’t told you everything that happened last week either.

I share a glimpse of my week at the office, but I said nothing about home.  Because I was dealing with the news of illnesses on three different fronts, out-of-state and out-of-the-country.  Oh, did I mention I picked up either a cold or allergies? I was coughing profusely, with stuffy nose and headaches too. This week on for an entire week, the week before.  Oh, but this week my husband picked up the same systems. In the midst of chaos and stress, you have to stay positive and encouraging to others, especially when they share good news.  How in the world can anyone manage the ups and downs of life without faith is a question I always ask. Not only can life be challenging, it can be overwhelming!  What do you do when it seems as if everything is closing in on you? How do you handle a spouse’s blowup or a child’s misbehavior or a boss who has lost confidence in your ability to do your job? How do you handle what life throws at you?

I don’t think you have to have all the answers, you just have to know who the source of your answers is. Who do you turn to when life seems out of control? Many times we want to find a confidante to tell all our problems to.  There is certainly nothing wrong with sharing with a “trusted” friend, but even doing that can cause problems when they decide not to be your “trusted” friend anymore.

There is someone that you can trust fully and He will stick with you through thick and thin. He will never leave you and He is an expert on any topic.  The Word of God says in John 14:14, “If you ask ME anything in My name, I will do it.” So, during this past week, I had to go back to Jesus multiple times and ask for His help to get through personality changes, coldness, suspicions, and fear.  I had to “press-in” during prayer each morning and I had to wait.  During my time of waiting, I had to remind myself that He will hear me, but what was most important was I had to believe that He was going to do something. It didn’t happen right away, but what I prayed for eventually came. So I say to you, whatever is going on in your life; whatever stressors you are facing, pray, let go, and let God handle it through Christ. Remember John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

Happy Resurrection Day!

Passion & Purpose

passion and purposeI just released my 4th book. Yay! I never dreamed when I was a young girl that one day I would write books.  I am not claiming that my books are on the best seller’s list, that’s never been a dream, but I have always felt a need to minister, whether speaking to one person or to hundreds.

I want to encourage you to do the same.  Many times, people won’t do a thing for fear of being criticized that their work isn’t good enough or they don’t want to be the subject of scrutiny when others “like” something or someone else better. I say, So what? If you look at them, I wonder just how “successful” they are in their craft.

Look, dig deep inside of yourself. What are you passionate about?  Take that and dissect it and then tell me, does anything get your blood pumping? Okay, does it add value to others?  My new book, Passionate and Purposeful Work: A Biblical Perspective, was not written to move millions, but it was written out of a deep passion to see Believers do what God has called them to do where ever they are and especially at work.  My purpose? To continue to minister to others where they are. To help others by giving them tools they can start using right now. Today.

Can you do that with your passions? Of course, you can.  Maybe someone made you feel that you have absolutely nothing to contribute by sewing quilts, I say, yes you do.  Or you have little value cleaning offices, yes you do. Or you cannot be passionate about watching kids or spending time with the elderly. If anyone thinks that, they are dead wrong.  Whatever it is that you have a passion for, take it and use it for the glory of God.

God has a plan and purpose for you.  If you don’t know what it is, ask Him. He will reveal it to you. Don’t isolate yourself and listen to what the enemy tells you—which in most cases will be him reminding you that you do not have what it takes.  So, if you feel any of these…

Not pretty enough…
Not tall enough…
Not thin enough…
Not smart enough…
Not successful enough…
Not patient enough…
Not creative enough…
Not a good enough parent…
Not educated enough…
Not talented enough…
Not organized enough…

Remember, you don’t have to be more than God has called you to be, because God is more than enough and will work through you. Plus, Psalms 139:14 says…” we are fearfully and wonderfully made.” That’s good enough for me.

 

 

A Leadership Reality

reality-check-roadI have studied Leadership for a very long time.  Not only have I studied it, I’ve been in leadership since my early twenties.  When I was a young adult, I can recall thinking that I could do the job of those who were in charge. When I was a lower-level manager, I thought I could do the middle manager’s job.  When I was a middle manager, I couldn’t wait to be the senior level manager.  I remember climbing the leadership ladder as if it were yesterday.  Here I am today, with the same enthusiasm for leadership but a whole lot wiser than I was as a young manager.

I started this by saying that I have “studied” leadership for a very long time. I want to emphasize the word “studied.”  You see, what experience teaches you is that there is a big, big difference between studying leadership and actually “doing” it.  I mean leadership in real life can be a lot more than challenging. Leadership can be thrilling, but many days it is crazy! It is especially crazy at the top.

You may one of those people whose goal is to make it to the top of the organization.    There are two tops, however, and all organizations have them. One of the “tops” is where you are a senior leader like the other senior leaders and you deal with the daily grind of your division. The other “top” is where you are a senior leader who is an insider. That’s where all the wheeling and dealing really happens. When you are an insider, you are exposed to the true character and values of the organization. In fact, this is where your character will be exposed (if only to you) and your values will be tested.  It is here where you have to make a decision about what you will or will not do.  I know, you say you will never compromise your values, right?

When you are an insider, you are exposed to the true character and values of the organization. In fact, this is where your character will be exposed (if only to you) and your values will be tested.  It is here where you have to make a decision about what you will or will not do.  I know, you say you will never compromise your values, right?

Those who survive in the real world of leadership and maintain a positive attitude, as well as hold true to their values, are those who are grounded in the ONE who is greater than themselves.  Positive Faith comes from having an intimate relationship with your Maker.  When I get overwhelmed and feel that I am just about at the end of the rope, I turn to scripture.  Here are a few that may help you when you feel the pressures of compromise or when you all of a sudden look up and wonder what have you gotten yourself into.

Positive Faith comes from having an intimate relationship with your Maker.  When I get overwhelmed and feel that I am just about at the end of my rope, I turn to scripture.  I find that scripture helps me when I feel the pressures of compromise or when I, all of a sudden, look up and wonder what have I gotten myself into. These are a few scriptures that I would like to share with you:

  • Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. …
  • Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.
  • Nehemiah 8:10 Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength

I love leadership and I love being a leader. I have a lot of experience in it.  I want you to love it too and I want you to know how to prepare for days that may test your core. You can be the leader God has called you to be in your organization where being a leader may equal compromise. How? Be grounded in your faith and let that faith inform your values and ultimately your behaviors.

Dealing with Insecurity

If you are like me, it’s hard to be around insecure people. You know — the ones who always compare themselves to others. It is easy to spot a vulnerable person; they are the ones who continuously check you out. If you look away, they stare at you. If you look at them, they look elsewhere. Insecure people can tell you what someone wore to work today, yesterday and the day before. They can even tell you what you eat most days, or when you change the color of your purse or your shoes. Why? Because they take notice of anyone they believe they compete with.

Look, I know we all face insecurities in life. However, to live in a constant state of vulnerability is entirely different than feeling that way every once in a while. Why is it that some of us feel insecure some of the time while others feel insecure most of the time? It’s complicated. I do believe those who experience constant insecurity can track it back to something that happened in their lives along the way.

Are you insecure and don’t know why? Does it frustrate you to be that way? I bet it does. Insecurity is harmful, and if you don’t face it and deal with it, you will experience negative consequences. Those consequences can result in feeling you are a failure, feeling lonely, experiencing social anxiety, you can have negative beliefs about yourself, and the perfection you seek will never happen.

You may be insecure because you grew up with a negative parent, or maybe your spouse made you feel less than. Oh and don’t forget social media. Yes, social media can cause you to feel insecure. You see the beautiful lives others are living and you compare your experience with theirs. Please try to remember, in general, people don’t usually post their sad stories or hardships on social media. The person who seems to have it together could also be falling apart on the inside, but you don’t know that. The self-confident person will quickly tell you that they have days of not feeling confident, and the person who walks into a room and commands it will probably tell you that they had sweated bullets the night before as they prepared to enter some function.

I have offered many suggestions over the years on how to overcome insecurity; surround yourself with positive people, give yourself daily affirmations, interrupt the critical voice—vocalize your vulnerability and address it, and avoid people who make you feel insecure. However, I want to be clear about what I think of insecurity from a Biblical perspective. Insecurity comes from fear and fear is not from God. Therefore, if you feel like a failure, remember Romans 8:28, In Christ, every failure will work for an ultimate good. If you feel inadequate, God promises that His grace will be sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Finally, if you feel insignificant or unimportant, John 15:16 tells you that you were chosen by God to bear fruit that will last.

You don’t need to compare yourself to others; you are you, and that’s good enough because He chose you.

 

 

 

 

Positive Faith?

The early morning hours, I got up before dawn like I usually do, and just sat and reflected on Thanksgiving.  As is my habit, I got up to read my Bible and began to write in my prayer journal.  “What would I write today?  Don’t I thank God every day for my family, friends, and colleagues? Don’t I take the time each day and thank Him for protecting them? I always thank Him for so many things in my life.”  Yes, I do these things each day, but this time, I sat in deep thought, reflecting on my life.  I thought about the article I write each month for my column, The Power of Positive Faith, and asked myself “what does that mean?”

Many times people who write aren’t writing to sell books or to become popular. They write to share stories that they feel might make some kind of positive impact on the lives of others. At least, that’s what I do and believe others do the same.  When I share my thoughts about the Power of Positive Faith, I try to think of the things that I feel makes my life better because I choose to embrace the attitude of being positive in just about every situation that might frustrate or anger me.  I am not naive, and I recognize that it is hard to do and I think some people may think that when I write about being positive, I am not being realistic.

I have heard comments such as “you can’t always be positive” or “it’s not practical to think that you can maintain a positive attitude in all situations.” That may be true, but that may not be true also. Many people face difficult challenges and great hardships and, yet, are able to force themselves to look for the light in the dark tunnel.  They seek out hope, and they don’t readily give in to disaster.  Some people maintain the faith of Noah; even when they have to face huge uncertainties, they remain steadfast and sure.

What is faith if it isn’t positive? Faith in God is positive. Faith in humanity is positive. Confidence in yourself is positive also.  So, I see faith as being a positive characteristic.  If I look at faith through my religious belief, I also see it as having a positive connotation attached to it.  To me, faith means to hope, to be assured, to trust, and to have confidence. These words trigger positive images for me.  In a more personal context, my Bible relates faith as being positive. For example, a favorite scripture is found in Hebrews 11:1 which states, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Thanksgiving, gratitude, assurances, trust, and hope all come from a place of positivity. There is power in maintaining an attitude that helps us turn our darkest moments into moments of faith that today, tomorrow or next week will be better. For those who do that, tomorrow is better.

The Art of the Dance…

blackdancersOver the years of working in government and then in higher education, as well as the years I have lived on this earth, I believe I know of one sure thing that keeps people from being successful, not only at work but in life.  That’s their inability to get along with others. Like it or not, people skills are just as important, if not more important, than technical skills. In fact, you may not need any other skill when dealing with others than to skill of understanding how to get along with people. It amazes me when I see very smart people who find themselves isolated and wondering why. I have had such folks explain how they are feeling at work; they say no one includes them or they feel left out.  When I move away all the peripheral, it becomes clear that the reasons they may feel the waythey do are because they haven’t learned the art of the dance.

That Art of the Dance is a slogan I came up with after watching a few people at work who  said they felt isolated.

There was a person who was highly competent but he could not seem to gain the buy-in of his peers.  It wasn’t that he didn’t get along with one person, he didn’t get along withany of them!  I watched and determined that he did not set out to alienate them, but he did not have the emotional intelligence developed enough to figure out how to get them to accept him.  He was very professional, highly intelligent, very candid, and easily took prisoners as he entered into his counterparts’ areas.  It was his job to check on things; but he was checking on things in his peers’ areas.  He had a job to do and he did it and did it well.  What he neglected to think about was not what he had to do, but how he should go about doing it. Thus, he alienated himself from the entire leadership team.

Look, you may read this and think of someone you know who may have done the exact same thing this person had done.  I found myself doing the same. One day he stopped in my office and asked me how did he had done in a particular meeting.  It dawned on me that he valued input from someone he thought he could get friendly, yet candid, feedback from.  I thought about every response because he was seeking help. I talked to him for an hour and gave him plenty of feedback. Finally,  at one point,  I looked at him and said, “You haven’t learned how to dance with your partners.”  He looked at me and understood right away what I meant.

This is what I meant.  We all come to the party (organization) with different skills, abilities, and knowledge. I think we all come wanting to do a good job and yes, we even want to be recognized for our contributions.  The things we tend to rely on are those skills and abilities, sometimes never considering our delivery; never thinking about the benefits of having high emotional intelligence and most often never watching to see what steps our partners may be taking as we both dance around issues that need to be worked on together.

I don’t care how big we become; I don’t care how much we know, if people don’t think we care, we can ruin our ability to make an impact on them. If you haven’t figured out how to let others get pass your hard core that may come through in the way you speak, the way your act or the way you refuse to interact, they may walk off the dance floor and never return.

Before pushing your way forward, stop and observe.  Watch your partner’s steps and learn how to dance well together.

 

Attitude Changes Everything…

positiveattitudechangeseverythingYou ever watch people and wonder why some are successful and others are not? Lately, that’s exactly what I have done.  I am not talking about success only in terms of financial wealth or status. I am talking about how people deal with life, their jobs, families, relationships, or their personal goals.

I have met people who could find one job after another with no problem and others who were always out of work and when they finally landed a good job, they were immediately in conflict with their bosses and let go.  I have known leaders in organizations who were confident and candid, thought of as rude, yet quite successful and other leaders who were thin-skinned and passive-aggressive, who were thought of as nice, yet stuck in place. I have seen strong and independent types as well as weak and co-dependent types.  I think about the people who were genuine and those who were phony. When I think about different people, especially the ones that were not happy or joyful; the ones who were anxiety-ridden and those who were highly insecure, I believe I have found the reasons some people thrive in life and others do not–it’s their Attitude!

First, I believe there are physical and psychological problems people deal with every day. I do not deny that people have real physiological and mental problems. However, I also know that many times success in life has very little to do with a medical issue, it has everything to do with how people see their world.

positiveattitudesmileyfaceHow do you see the world? How is your their attitude towards whatever it is you are dealing with? Do you see the glass half-empty or half-full? Do you see your part in making sure your relationships work or do you rely on others to do all the heavy lifting? What kind of attitude do you have?

Quite frankly, if you are a Believer, I have never understood a “Believer” with a negative attitude.  I just don’t.  A positive attitude is foundational to a Believer. How? Because you have faith in Christ.  That faith translates to trust—you trust that “All things work together for good” or you trust that “If He is for you, who can be against you?” Faith and Trust = Optimism. Optimism is positive. Your positive attitude will not allow you to continue to embrace anger, bitterness, jealousy, anxiety, worry, or pride; which are all negative!  These traits will not allow you to live a successful life. What will help you live a successful life?  Being intentional, understanding that changing from negativity to positivity takes time, and by asking God for help. In Philippians 4:6 we are told: “Do not be anxious for anything, but by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God and the peace of God which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  We are also told in Philippians 4:8, “…whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” 

You want to be successful? Stop being the victim, stop blaming others for what’s happened to you, stop making excuses for not changing your life.  Remember, It’s Your Life, Own It.  It does not matter what has happened in your past, what matters is God can help you change your negative responses to situations to positive ones.  My question is, Do you want Him to help you?