It’s Tough, but You Got This!

I have recently discovered that my mind is capable of taking me places that I do not want to go. More specifically, my mind has told me that things are tough and I am not going to  get through it. My thoughts have also said it’s going to take years for me to conquer the challenges before me. I have decided to challenge that voice that has put limitations on me. Is it going to be tough? Absolutely! Will I want to quit here and there? You know it! However, I am reminding myself that anything worth having is worth fighting for. I know it sounds cliche and you’ve heard it quoted a thousand times, but it is true. Take a second and reflect on your current obstacle. If you’re thinking – I wonder if Starbucks will be open when I get there or I really need to get this paper finished on time – you’re staying on the surface. No, I want you to think about that thing that has been a pain in the butt. Consider the thing that keeps you up all night running through scenarios and options in your mind. The thing that makes you anxious or want to (insert strong action) when it comes to mind. Yeah, that thing!

Do you have it in mind yet? I am in no rush, I can wait. (cues background music)

Now that you have it, read the next sentence slowly. It will not defeat you and you will get through it. If you don’t believe it for yourself, that’s fine because I will believe it for you! I have faith that it is going to work out and if you need to borrow or even take some of my faith for the journey, take it. Now, I am not saying that everything is going to work out the way you want it to, but I am saying that you’re going to get through it no matter the outcome. And getting through it doesn’t mean you’re not going to struggle with it, be indecisive at moments or cry about it. It is completely normal to deal with an array of emotions, maybe even some setbacks, when dealing with a serious situation. Getting through it just means that you have perspective. Perspective manifests in two ways: 1) you know that you’re going to make it to the end end and 2) you’re committed to learning from it.

It’s easier said than done, but try to learn the lesson from the struggle and not just the pain or frustration. If you want to grow as a person, I admonish you to ask yourself: Who was I when/before this started? What have I noticed about myself in this?  How do I want to be different at the end of this? I cannot guarantee that things will miraculously change as a result of focusing on those three questions, but I can tell you that perspective is more powerful tool and can drastically change how you go through situations.

Is it tough? Yes! But do you got this? (insert answer -hopefully it’s a yes)!

 

 

Five Quick Leadership Tips/ Reminders

I have been in a leadership role, and have followed others, for some years now. It amazes me how I still have different experiences almost daily. While driving home one night, I began to reflect and these five tips/ reminders came to me and I wanted to share.

1. Don’t be afraid to let your team shine. A leader is versatile, sometimes they lead in front, other times they lead in the back. At some point, leadership will require you to stand in the shadow and receive instruction from the leader at the moment. Be willing and be supportive; don’t power trip. There is no need to upstage anyone. If you’re effective in your leadership everyone already knows who you are.

2. Support your team member even when you do not agree. Every idea that will be carried out doesn’t have to be your idea. Give your team creative freedom and support them. Provide your thoughts and give feedback, but if a team member wants to go in a direction that is not your personal preference and it could be advantageous for the vision and mission at hand, give your blessing and let them run with it. If it is a success- great! If it fails- great! Don’t use it as a moment to reaffirm your position, instead encourage them through the process and coach them on what can be done differently next time.

3. Encourage and allow the team members to be themselves. You don’t need a bunch of yous. Your focus shouldn’t be on duplicating you, but building better individuals who are adequately equipped to fulfill their mission and assignment. Celebrate the diversity on your team and appreciate their strengths. Great leaders know how to properly apply their team’s strengths to the vision.

4. Provide timely feedback. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you have to share it. This is particularly true in moments where your team is overwhelmed. Feedback should be timely and well thought out. Yes, you’re the leader, but that doesn’t mean you have freedom to say what you want. Feedback should be on time, not on your time.

5. Celebrate and give praise when warranted. Don’t hold back praise, especially when it is earned. When someone does something exceptional, tell them. If you’re apprehensive about giving others credit, your confidence in yourself may be more feeble than you think. True leaders celebrate their team’s accomplishments, especially when they posses a strength that is greater than your weakness.

What’s YOUR Definition of Love?

What’s YOUR Definition of Love?

 

In preparation of Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be best to share an article I wrote for the Purpose Drive Women Magazine. Whether you believe in the day of love or not, the article is still a good read. Learn about how you can take your relationship(s) to the next level by being more cognizant and articulating what the three words, “I love you” mean to you. Enjoy :).

What’s YOUR Definition of Love?

Her name was Olivia

I can’t stress enough how important is is to show compassion for others. While grocery shopping today, we came upon this woman and her mentally disabled daughter. The daughter saw me and wrapped me in an embrace and attempted to lick my face. For those who know me, I’m not too keen on being touched by strangers, but the hug didn’t bother me (I moved my face so I didn’t get licked). I hugged her back and you could tell her mom was relieved that I didn’t lash out. Her mom said her name was Olivia and told her to “make good choices”. She let me go and smiled, but then hugged me again. Her mom apologized for her behavior, but I really wasn’t bothered by it. Her joy and smile was so contagious. I imagined a mother trying to have some normalcy while out of the home and hoping her daughter didn’t do anything to offend or bother others. After getting about 5 high fives, I walked away from that encounter smiling. I was grateful to have met Olivia and her joy. I learned today that joy is not measured by your circumstance, but in how you DECIDE to deal/ handle your circumstance. Thank you, Olivia. Until next time, make good choices.

Accept the Challenge, I Dare You

Accept the Challenge, I Dare You

If you’re like me the New Year has you thinking about what is going to be different. I am making a declaration that this year is going to be one of my best years yet! I am not talking about making some resolution that will fizzle out in a couple weeks to a month. Neither am I talking about making some half-hearted decision.

I have realized that true progress and transformation takes time. It’s meticulous. It’s specific. It’s sure. And it’s strategic. My church is doing a 90 Day Transformation Challenge and I am so excited about it. I could have registered on January 1st as expected, but I couldn’t. I had so many thoughts and possibilities running through my head and I couldn’t make a decision. I knew I needed to get organized.

Instead of just reacting and making an impulsive decision, I went into action. I assessed my life and the goals I set for the year. I bought a planner and made note of all my current commitments. I looked at what was on my plate and had to make some hard decisions. I picked up a new adventure and had to put a few things down. I am not interested in having a lot to do, rather I want to do a lot of what I love and what’s going to fulfill me.

After making some decisions, I had to be realistic about where I can accept challenge. You know, changing too many things at one time can be disastrous! I recently decided to go for another master’s degree so I’m taking a class. Instead of having sporadic devotion time with God, I decided to do it every morning. No longer am I going to bed whenever I want, I’m on a schedule. And there are a host of other changes that I am balancing and implementing with wisdom. Not all the changes will happen at once, but they’re planned so they’ll be sustainable.

Now that I have a few things settled and have a routine. I decided it was time to solidify my 90 Day Transformation Challenge. Some people think routine is boring, but there are certain seasons in your life when routine is needed to maintain progress and success. Last year was a season of spontaneity, not this year. Know your season! That’s another topic for another day! So what’s my challenge? No sweets (help me, Jesus!) and make healthier decisions in all areas of my life.

Spiritually– be more intentional and consistent in my devotional time and protect it

Physically– be mindful of what I put in my body and make better food choices and stop making excuses.

Emotionally/ Mentally– be aware of what I allow to affect my emotions and thoughts, ultimately my day. A dear sister of mine said, “Pick your thoughts like you pick your clothes. Ask yourself, do I want to wear this?”

I decided this year I am going to conquer and love with intention. I don’t want things to be happenstance, but I want experiences on purpose. Give it my all at all times and not just when it’s convenient.

What’s your challenge? How do you want to transform the first 90 days of 2016? The 90 Day Transformation Challenge is really just to get you started for a lifestyle change. It’s not too late for you to accept the challenge. Join me, I dare you! Register your challenge today to make it official and know that people are praying for you to succeed. Surveymonkey.com/tgcctransform90

Puzzle Progress

Puzzle Progress

It amazes me how God will use the simplest things to bring clarity to your life. I set out on a task at the beginning of my winter break and learned a couple good lessons. They are simple, yet powerful.Picture of puzzleMy husband brought home this puzzle before the winter break. I set my mind to complete it before the break was over. I was ecstatic about the challenge.Picture 1I fished through and found all the edged pieces and completed the border. In the process of me putting the border together, I came across other pieces and put those together too. The border alone took about two days. However, I remained extremely optimistic!Picture 2At this point, I felt like I should have had more progress, even if I was only devoting a couple hours a day to the project. Sure, I had other things going on, other commitments and responsibilities, but I wanted this task to come together so I sacrificed some of my nights, staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning! Picture 3I then begin to realize I needed to get organized. How I organized things changed based on where I was with the puzzle. I realized that I was not going to just find the right piece out of 700. So I decided to create goals. I broke the puzzle up into sections. First, I focused on getting the tower and the mountain outline completed.Picture 4My next goal was the sky. OMG, the sky was super challenging! The colors kept changing – light blue, dark blue, purple, yellow, etc. To help, I changed my organization method by putting the sky pieces into piles of similar shapes. This sped the process along, but it was still very tedious.

Although I have made more progress since this picture, I have not completed the puzzle. However I did learn a few things along the journey that I would like to share:

  1. Don’t be afraid to do something that appears challenging. If your heart is in the right place, trust that God is going to lead you along the way. Leaders understand the importance of growth. That growth comes from getting out of your comfort zone and/or doing something that you’ve never done before.
  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t be discouraged if you walk the journey alone. The puzzle was first presented as a family project, but I quickly learned I was the only one who was truly interested. And that’s fine. My family helped with some pieces along the way, and I asked for a second and third eye when needed, but I was determined not to quit because their commitment wavered. My conviction wasn’t their conviction. Leaders understand there are some tasks and journeys you have to walk alone. Just remember to share it with others when it’s done.
  1. Break the task down into steps and focus on one area at a time. Being a big picture person is great, but there comes a time when you have to focus on the details. You may even find that by completing one area, it’ll help you deal and solve some others. Leaders understand that you have to take challenges, and even success, in stages. Handling details can be exhausting, but it’s necessary to make sure the end goal is achieved.
  1. Stay positive and celebrate the small victories. There were times I wanted to give up on the puzzle completely. I walked away frustrated several times, but I was committed. Every time a piece fit, I celebrated. I would step back and look at the puzzle and see the progress. Leaders understand that there is going to be discouraging and frustrating days, but commitment and devotion with give you the strength you need to keep going.
  1. Don’t be afraid to tweak it. It wasn’t until I was down to two pieces that I realized I had placed two others in the wrong spot. You would think I would have noticed, but I didn’t. The wrong pieces actually fit (that’s another sermon for another day). I was able to identify my error and I corrected it. And you know what, it felt good! Leaders understand they are not perfect and can always learn something new and grow. There is nothing wrong with revisiting an idea or vision to improve it.
  1. Lastly, be flexible. I expected to be done with this puzzle this past Sunday night, and I am not. But you know, I have peace with that. I recognize that our timelines are not always realistic. And life surely doesn’t say, “I’ll leave her alone while she completes this task. I’ll throw some distractions and other things at her later”. Nope, doesn’t happen that way. Leaders understand deadlines, but strive for quality as well. A true leader knows how to navigate changes and setbacks.

Happy New Year.

I Decided to Believe Again

I Decided to Believe Again

While at church for a meeting, the Lord visited us and spoke to our hearts. The words were simple but powerful – I decided to believe again. These five words summed up 2015 for me. I have had a lot of wonderful things happen this year, but I have also experienced heartache and loss. I had some exciting days and some exhausting days. I’ve smiled some days and I cried on others.

It amazes me how strong and overpowering some negative experiences can be. These soul-shattering events cause us to forget about all of the other great things that have happened. The bad days take you on a journey and plant you somewhere on a desert island and if you’re not careful, you’ll stop hoping for a search and rescue and will just adapt to your surroundings. You watch life pass you by and even though you yearn to be a part of it, you can’t. It’s like an invisible chain anchored in the earth that keeps you from moving.

If you have felt this way at any point this year – I understand. I have been there. And what I can tell you is that regardless of what you’re experiencing (or have experienced), it will get better. And your recovery is not going to start with an apology. It’s not going to start with the wrong being righted. It’s not going to happen with retaliation. No, it’s going to start when you realize you are better than that. It starts with you realizing you are deserving of great things; you are stronger than you appear in the turmoil. And you are destined for greatness, despite of it.

Heartache and loss often cause us to erect walls around our hearts and our emotions. Sometimes, we don’t even realize we’re doing it, other times we do. These walls hold in forgiveness, bitterness, resentment and eventually hate. If you’re not careful, the vortex of misery with suck you in and pull you to places you did not want to go and make you do things you do not want to do. You may find yourself in situations that are out of character, all because you decided to avoid, rather than deal, with the situation at hand.

So, my friend, it is my prayer that today will be your day! Today is the day you let go of him, her and it. You can do this. Is it going to magically happen? No, it’s not. But it’s going to start with you deciding to believe again. It starts with you wiping the fears and doubts away. It starts with you squaring your shoulders and declaring you refuse to be an outcast in your own life. It starts with you finding your voice and letting it be heard. And, it’s going to start with you, trusting that God will work everything out.

What do you need to start believing in? What have you lost faith in? Regardless of how big or small the circumstance is, it all starts in you believing in yourself. You have to make the decision to believe you can and will be better.

Lord,

Thank you for my friend who reads this message. You said we’ll find rest for our souls when we cast our cares on You for Your yoke is easy and Your burdens light. We are so thankful for Your promise and your care for us. We pray that as we enter into 2016, you will make room in our hearts for You to dwell. We pray that Your peace will cover all of our worries, doubts and fears. You said that You’re able to do exceedingly and abundantly, above all we could ever ask or think. We take You at Your word and we receive the healing that You so freely give. Show us how to release all things that are contrary to Your will for our lives. We ask all these things in your son Jesus’ name, amen.

 I love you with the love of Christ!