Lessons we were taught that may not be true

Life lessons

 

The other day my oldest daughter (7 going on 17) said “Mommy, may I ask you a question?” I gave her the go ahead and she said “Why do you always say we are getting on your last nerve? It seems like every time you say that you end up with a new one”.

Yes. I laughed. And rolled my eyes at the same time.

But that conversation sparked my own curiosity. Yes, I do tell my children “ya’ll are working the very last nerve that I have…” knowing good and well that I will be saying the same thing the next day. So why do I say that when I know it’s not true? And if I am saying that to my child knowing it’s not true, are there other things I say to them that don’t hold up? And what statements or life lessons did my parents (or other adults) teach me that may not be all the way true? And I guess the bigger question is, does it really matter?

Well, I believe it does matter. Whether we understand this or not, our core beliefs about success, love and our self-worth were shaped by lessons we learned as children.

Yes, that’s right. Whether you are 30, 40 or nearing the golden years, the core of who you are was shaped very early in your life.

As a therapist I teach my clients to intentionally challenge their core beliefs, because only when we challenge what we believe, will we get to the root of why we are where we are (good or bad) in our life.

With that in mind, let’s explore 4 lessons many of us were taught very early in life that may not be true. Let’s also consider how those ‘lessons’ are impacting our lives in a not-so positive way.

Lesson # 1: It doesn’t matter what people think / say / believe about you.

Wow. If this isn’t so far from the truth I am not sure what is. If you are going to find long-term success in your platonic, professional or romantic relationships, it absolutely does matter what people think about you. Your reputation speaks much louder than any words you may use. Being careful about how you present yourself to the world (the “world” meaning the realm of influence God has given you) really does matter.

If you have found yourself saying “I don’t care what they think….” Or “I don’t really care about what folks say about me”, I would like to encourage you to re-think either of those statements.

The Bible tells us that: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches….” (Proverbs 22:1). Even Forbes Magazine shared research that indicated that 85% of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering”.

So, yes, it absolutely does matter how you connect with others and therefore what people say or think about you. However, I think what our parents were trying to teach us is that while having a good reputation is important, you should not allow your dreams, goals and desires to be stifled by the views of others. Just because someone doesn’t like you or believe in you, doesn’t mean that you should stop doing what you believe is right for you to do.

The take away: Your reputation and social skills are critical to your success. How you engage and connect with others must be managed effectively. But your life is not dictated by random, unfounded opinions or views. Be selective when it comes to receiving accolades, feedback and even correction.

 

Lesson # 2: You are THE most beautiful, talented, smartest (use any adjective you want to use) person in the world!

I literally took a real deep breath with this one. I am so guilty of this. Not because I really believe my children are better (smarter, faster, stronger, etc) than other children, but simply because I tend to be over the top in how I express myself.

Long before I had children, I would heap excessive, over the top praise on my nephew. One day his mother (my sister –in-love) said “girl stop it! I heard that all that praise wasn’t good”. I literally laughed and said “how in the world is telling him that he is the best 2-year-old that ever lived bad for him”. Fast forward several years, a profession change (leaving full-time ministry and entering into the field of psychology) and I learned that she was right.

Dr. Steven Meyers, a professor of psychology at Roosevelt University, was recently quoted in a Huffington Post article. He said “In general, children with low self-esteem are more risk averse because they fear failure. This can be triggered by parents who use excessive praise.”

Ouch.

Our parents (or grandparents, aunties or godparents) meant absolutely no harm when they told us that we were THE best dancer ever…or THE best reader ever….or THE best artist ever. But they unintentionally set us up to be gravely disappointed when we learned that we were not always THE best.

The truth is there is always someone better, faster, smarter, or more talented than you. But it doesn’t matter. We aren’t in competition with others. We are only in competition with our best self.

Now. With that said I can’t promise that I won’t stop this all together. But I think I’ll tweak it by saying: “Ryann you are the best singer….Reagan you are the best gymnast…Riley you are the best…ummm…cooer, in our eyes!” (I wonder if that’s any better?)

The take away: While you might be a beast in your area of influence, there is always someone who is out performing you. Focus on out doing yourself on a daily basis and that is where you will find your greatest success.

  

Lesson # 3: There are no limits…or…you can be whatever you want to be.

I struggled with sharing this lesson because I know that life coaches and motivational speakers will struggle with this one. I am both of those things and even I struggled with it. But let’s think about it. What if I told you that I really want to supersede Mariah Carey in album sales? Would you encourage me by saying “go for it! There are no limits!” or would you look me in the eye and say “ma’am. Dream another dream”.

If you are my friend I hope you would tell me the latter. Especially since I can’t sing a lick.

Many of us were told by our parents that we could be whatever it is we wanted to be. But the truth is there are times that our big dreams are just not feasible.

I know. You are shaking your head at me. But hear me out.

My daughter Ryann desperately wants to drive right now but she can’t. She is limited by her age, the law and her height.

I would LOVE to be a background dancer for my girl Bey, but that’s not going to happen.

Jennifer Hudson wanted to be the American Idol, but America didn’t vote for her as the winner.

The Miami Heat wanted to win this last championship but they didn’t.

I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer, but the truth is there are times in our lives where there is a limit…and we might not obtain “whatever we want”. And for those of us who are Believers, we understand that many times that’s a good thing. Sometimes what we want isn’t what God has for us, and so trusting His plan is always the wiser choice.

Listen, like many of you I too believe the SKY is the LIMIT and once you hit the sky, push through the clouds and go even higher. But I also believe that we should strive in the area that God has called and gifted us. We shouldn’t identify random goals or dreams that are not in accordance with what we were created to do.

Again…our parents had the best of intentions, as we do with our children. But sometimes telling someone there are no limits actually sets them up for a huge let down.

Also, if we are going to tell our children (or ourselves) that there is no limit, we should at least make sure we include the other half of it…the part that talks about sacrifice, dedication and unrelenting focus to reach our goals and surpass them.

The Take-away: While there will be times that you are striving for something that you may not attain, the journey is always just as important as the destination. And when you are open to God’s will for your life, He will guide you towards what is TRULY for you and what will bring you the truest joy and fulfillment.

 

Lesson # 4: If you treat people right, they will treat you right.

This is another tough pill to swallow but if you’ve lived beyond your naïve years, you have learned that this statement is not always true. There will be plenty of times in our lives that we will do good to someone who does not do good to us in return.

Be it an ex-boyfriend, former employer, or even your blood relative, most of us have experienced a time when we have treated someone well but have in turn been hurt or disappointed by that very person.

Does that mean it doesn’t matter how we treat people and should therefore do whatever we want? No not at all!

While our decision to treat others well, does not guarantee that specific person will do the same towards us, it does lead to us being treated well by others overall.

Whether we call it sowing and reaping, or Karma, what you put out, you get back. The challenge is when we expect (or demand) it to come back through a specific vessel. And remember, the boomerang affect goes both ways. If you choose to dishonor or disrespect others, you will find that same energy showing up in your life as well.

The Takeaway: Our goal should be to not only treat others the way we want to be treated, but to treat others according to what is congruent with our value system. We should live our lives in such a way that we truly glorify our Father in Heaven. Despite whether or not others are doing the same.

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I would love to hear from you. Can you think of a lesson that our parents taught us that just might not be true? Share your thoughts below.

Published in: on August 25, 2014 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Use What Works For You

Published in: on August 8, 2014 at 3:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Is it time for you to quit?

quit

If you were to walk up to either of my 2 oldest daughters and simply prompt them with “The May’s never….” they would quickly finish the sentence with “QUIT!”. Since they could talk I have repeated that mantra to them! “The May’s Never Quit”! If they are having a hard time with a school project, can’t figure out how to get the moves to a dance they are learning or playing a game on their tablet, when they show signs of frustration and are ready to give it up, I say “The May’s Never Quit”.

It was my intention (and still is) to instill in them a desire to push forward regardless of how difficult a task seems. It is in line with what psychologist call a GROWTH mindset vs. a FIXED mindset. Understanding those two mindsets could be a blog itself, but basically a growth mindset sees difficulty and wants to move towards it while a fixed mindset does the opposite.

So while I truly want all 3 of my daughters to grow up with a tenacity that doesn’t allow them to give up easily, there does come a time when you have to know when to quit. In the words of Kenny Rogers … “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, Know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away, Know when to run…”.

Not a Kenny Rogers fan? Well maybe you are a fan of King Solomon and he taught us that there is a time for EVERY activity under the sun. Look at these scriptures in particular:

There is a time for every activity under the sun:

…A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

…A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

…A time to search and a time to quit searching.

…A time to keep and a time to throw away.

In other words, King Solomon agrees with Kenny Rogers.

Many of us, in an effort to not be a quitter are staying in situations longer than we should.  During a recent tele-seminar (Click HERE to listen to the replay) I taught the three indicators that will tell you when it’s time for you to let go of that job, let go of that friendship, let go of that organization or even when to let go of the mindsets that are hindering you from being the person God created you to be!

Are you ready?

Indicator Number 1: Your core values are being comprised.

In the group I lead that is focused on empowering women (Friends with Vision), each week I post what I hope are intriguing discussion questions. A few weeks ago I shared a list of over 100 values and encouraged the women to look through the list & identify ten values that truly resonated with them. I then encouraged them to narrow that list of 10 down to their top three. It is a challenging exercise but one that really helps you understand your core values. This is important because our core values should guide our decision-making. It should help us know what we can say yes to and more importantly what we should say no too. If you are in a relationship (be it personal, professional or romantic) and you find yourself consistently compromising your core values, it’s time for you to either make a drastic change or “quit” that situation. (TWEET THIS!)

Indicator Number 2: The investment you are making, far outweighs the reward

I think this may be my favorite indicator because I think many of us take this for granted, especially those of us who are Christian. I think we are under the false impression that if we love God we should just do things “just because” it is a good thing to do. But remember, every good thing is not a GOD thing. I could give you scripture after scripture to support this but my favorite is in 1st Samuel. If you remember from your vacation Bible School days, David was just a scrawny kid who was bold enough to come against the Giant who’d been terrorizing his people. But before David decided to participate in this battle, he said ““What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel?”. In other words, David was saying “is this even worth my time?”

I had to ask myself that same question recently. I found myself really irritated by someone and I was ready to have a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with them, but I stopped and said to myself (well…actually to one of my best friends…) “is this really even worth my time”. I had to decide if the investment of my time and my emotional energy was worth whatever I was going to get from having an intense encounter with this person (Oh…in case you were wondering…it wasn’t so I let it go!).

God wants you to be a good steward of all the resources He has given you. That includes your money, time and even your emotional energy. If you are making a constant investment with no worthwhile reward, it is time to reassess whether or not it is fertile ground in the first place! (TWEET THIS)

Indicator Number 3: God gives you new directions

This should be simple enough. In order to determine if you should move on from a situation, you must be in tune to God’s voice. It’s important to know how He speaks to you so that you won’t miss it when He does. Again, think back to your Sunday School days. Do you remember the story of Abraham and Isaac? You can read it in Genesis 22, but let me go ahead and spoil the ending for you. Abraham took his promise (his son Isaac), laid him on the altar to sacrifice him but because he was in tune to God’s voice, he stopped just in time! God gave him new direction! If Abraham had been too busy scrolling through Facebook, too busy monitoring his twitter feed or too busy watching Reality TV, he would have missed God’s new direction and would have killed his promise.

Many times God has already left a situation, but because we aren’t quiet enough to hear His voice, we are staying when it is time to walk away. (TWEET THIS)

Remember the Bible says God orders our steps. The scriptures even teach us that God will tell us whether to go to the left or to the right (Isaiah 30:21). But you have to hear if He gives you new direction…remember if Abraham had not listened to God’s NEW direction he would have killed his promise.

If you are going to be a powerful and purposeful person, you must realize that it takes perseverance and commitment. You must develop the ability to stick and stay and have the fortitude that is required to keep pushing when everyone else has decided to give up. But at the same time, you must be wise enough to know when it is time to call it quits! Keep these 3 indicators in mind so that you can use them as a guide as you continue to live your life intentionally and fully engaged!

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Now, I want to hear from you. Have you stayed in a situation longer than what you should have? Have you quit a situation when you should have stuck it out longer? Share your thoughts below!

Ladies, if you want support in finishing this year strong and even learning how to use these three indicators in your life, join me for L.I.F.E Circle – a 4 month accountability program. I will be personally walking with a group of women for this time! Starts August 2014! Click HERE to sign up today!

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Published in: on July 15, 2014 at 3:03 am  Comments (1)  

What do you do, when what you do, doesn’t work for you?

What do you do when what you do doesn't work for you FLYER

 

Teachers teach.

Encouragers encourage.

Ministers’ minister.

Leaders lead.

But what do you, when what you do doesn’t work for you?

If you’ve never been at that place, trust me…it can be best described as confusing, frustrating and even emotionally debilitating. How in the world can you do a great work in the lives of other people but those same results seem to be elusive for you?

Again…what do you, when what you do, doesn’t work for you?

Maybe you know you have been called to help people in the area of their finances. For years you did the work in your own finances and you were able to sustain a level of success and now you are helping others in that same area. But what happens when you go through a season where the same advice that is liberating others financially no longer seems to be working for you?

What about a preacher of the Gospel who God uses to speak life into people on a daily basis. What does that preacher do when it seems like the message God gives him/her resonates so strongly in the lives of others but seems to fall flat in his or her own life?

Think about the doctor whose remedies and procedures have helped others so profoundly, but that doctor (or that doctor’s family member) continues to struggle with a health issue they just can’t seem to shake?
What do you do, when what you do, doesn’t seem to work for you?

I know I have been there. I know intimately how it feels to encourage others to live abundantly, to soar, to embrace God’s plan for their lives and to see those people do that very thing! It is an amazing feeling to hear others share how the very work God has called you to, is actually working in their lives! But while I know that great joy, I also know how it feels to see that manifestation in the lives of others, while secretly wondering why the very thing that I am speaking to them, somehow just doesn’t seem to be working in my own life.

Maybe you know how that feels too. Maybe you have seen great results as a teacher with your troubled students but for some reason your own child continues to struggle. Or maybe you’ve seen God use your gift of song to deliver others but you can’t seem to shake free from your own burden. It is such a difficult place to be when it seems like your calling works for everyone else but you. Maybe you are a prayer warrior who sees God answer your prayers for others but He seems silent on the prayers you pray for yourself.

If you’ve ever experienced this it can leave you feeling like a fraud. How in the world can you speak life into others, teach others, encourage others, help to liberate others, but yet you are unable to do the same thing for yourself? Isn’t that the very definition of a fraud…or a hypocrite?

But the truth is, you aren’t being a fraud at all. You are being human…and there IS something you can do, when what you do doesn’t seem to be working for you.

But before I share that with you, let’s be clear. If you are going to teach others in a specific area, you need to have experienced some measure of success in that area. In other words, it would be difficult for me to teach you how to earn a million dollars if I’ve never earned a significant amount of money in my lifetime. It is unwise to try to teach, lead, speak on an area that we haven’t been tried and tested. But…there comes a time in your life, where it seems like you’ve hit a brick wall and you aren’t experiencing what others are experiencing through you. So what do you do?

#1. Tell yourself the truth!
It’s time for you to have a “come to Jesus meeting” with yourself. I recently read a quote by Virginia Wolfe that said “you can’t tell the truth about someone else if you haven’t told the truth about yourself”. Almost a year ago I wrote a blog and reminded you all that if you are going to be purposeful and powerful you can not bury your head in the sand. This is the same premise. You must tell yourself the truth. Do not live in denial. Be honest with yourself about what is not working in your life. Once you are able to be completely honest, you will then be able to make the necessary adjustments. The truth really does set you free.

#2. Don’t try and eat your own fruit!
We live in a world that celebrates independence and self-sufficiency. I am personally guilty of being at times rigid about handling “life” on my own. Despite all the support and love that I have around me, it is very easy for me to fall into the “me, myself and I” syndrome. But the truth is that I can’t eat of my own fruit. I am passionate about encouraging women and couples to live the life God has called them to live. I am fortunate enough to be able to walk out my purpose through speaking and writing. But those avenues are often my way of pouring into others, but God uses the speaking and writing of other people to pour into me. In 1 Peter (chapter 4) we are encouraged to “….Use your gifts well to serve one another.” In other words, your strengths, gifts, calling are not for you. They are there to be a blessing to others. And as you bless others, in return God will place people in your life to bless you.

#3. Take a chill pill!
If you can get past the terminology I used from the 80’s, I am sure you get the point! You need to chill-out! Many times we push ourselves to the point of burn-out. We are seeking some indication that “we’ve made it” without realizing even if we hit the target, it will very quickly move again. We go from project to project, seminar to seminar, client to client, church service to church service, with very little down time. If you are starting to feel like the very thing you are called to do, doesn’t work for you, that may be an indication that you need to hit the pause button. In one of my favorite books, “18 Minutes: Find Your Focus,, Master Distraction and Get the Right Things Done“ the author teaches that in the Jewish culture there is what is known as the “Shabbat” which is the Jewish Sabbath. Observant Jews consider the Shabbat as their rest day once a week. During this time they shut-down from all work, no travel, no computers, no phones, no TV, no twitter or Facebook. They use that time to pause and be present and see life as it is. I think that all of us can learn from that. We may not do it weekly, but we should take time to shut down from the rat race and be still (and quiet) long enough to hear God speak.

#4. Don’t be afraid to reassess!
Speaking of hearing God’s voice…many times we need to create a space in our lives to hear if God is giving us different or new instructions. This can be difficult because re-assessing may mean a major shift. And many times when you’ve invested so much in one area, it seems foolish to move in another direction. Think about it. When you have invested time, money and sweat equity in one area, but you are sensing it is time to move into another area that can feel scary. But the truth of the matter is that you don’t want to be anywhere that God isn’t. If you have lost traction in one area of your life, maybe it is because God wants to redirect you somewhere else. Don’t be afraid to reassess where you are to be clear that you are where He wants you to be.

#5. Remember who you really are!
One day I called a girlfriend and told her that I was having an emergency. Of course she quickly became concerned and asked me to tell her what was going on. I explained to her that I was losing it because I had no clue about what I was supposed to be doing in that particular season of my life. I was surprised when she actually started laughing and said “wait! Did the purpose coach just call me and tell me she didn’t know what her purpose was?”. She then went on to remind me of the season God had me in, the many roles I was playing and pushed me to look at myself beyond what I do for a living. Her ability to make me laugh and at the same time remind me of who I really am was so helpful!
Many times we get so caught up in our professional titles that we forget that we are so much more than what we do. But when your work is more than a paycheck…when what you do is truly a calling, it can be difficult to separate…but you must separate. Whether you are a teacher, a preacher, or a lawyer…who you are is so much more than what you do. And in those seasons when what you do, isn’t working for you, it may mean that you need to remember who you really are…beyond the title that you have been given.
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If you are feeling stagnant or feeling as though the very work you do for others isn’t working in your life, consider employing these 5 steps in order to experience a fresh perspective and strength for your journey. Now it’s your turn. Have you ever experienced this dilemma? If so, what steps would you add?

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Published in: on June 4, 2014 at 12:42 am  Comments (2)  

The Truth about Perfectionism

Perfectionism2

 

I know. Simply the title of this entry has some of you already defensive. I am defensive about it and I am the one writing it. The idea that striving for perfection may be unhealthy or counterproductive is hard for many of us to accept. I mean clearly we were taught to be the best, to strive for the top, to excel in all things…so of course we should strive for perfection right? Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Too soften the blow I have added the word ‘extreme’ when I describe perfectionism because again I know this idea is hard to accept. But let me help you as I help myself. There is a stark difference between striving to be the best you can be and striving to be perfect. Being the best you can be means that you consistently put your all into your efforts. Striving to be perfect means you don’t allow room for mistakes and ultimately growth.
I use to see extreme perfectionism as a badge of honor. I now understand it is often an indication of hidden fear. I will explain what I mean, but first, do you mind if I put on my clinician hat for a moment?

In my field the idea of ‘perfectionism’ can lead to serious challenges in our ability to live our lives freely. Perfectionism demands that an individual be without any error, it places unrealistic expectations on one’s performance and it leads to emotionally damaging self-criticism. It also puts too much weight on the perceptions of others. Lastly, and this is the one that really concerns me…it leads to the person striving for perfectionism to be judgmental of others who don’t always get it right.

I know! I know! You are saying “Come on Robin…it’s not that serious”. But if a need for perfectionism is high on your radar I don’t want you to so quickly dismiss this information.

If anyone has followed my work longer than a month you know that I love Oprah. Within the last year I was introduced through Oprah (like we are friends…let me keep my fantasy world in tact please…) to my new obsession and her name is Brene Brown (this woman is amazing). Brene Brown recently said this when it comes to the idea of perfectionism:

“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”

I could do a church shout on that! Please re-read it! Perfectionism gives us the false belief that we can “….avoid or minimize feelings of shame, judgment and blame”.

Remember I said that I now understand that striving for extreme perfectionism is an indicator of unspoken fear. We are afraid to be judged, afraid that we will not ‘measure up’, afraid that someone will see our flaws and imperfections, afraid that if we are not flawless we will not be deemed credible.
Of course when we are being logical we know that most of that doesn’t make sense and even if it is true it shouldn’t be…but again that is when we are being logical and most times ‘perfectionism’ is driven by our emotions and not our logic.

So what is the real truth about perfectionism? Instead of it pushing us forward, it actually holds us back. Below are 3 facts I have learned about perfectionism through my own journey…check them out and let’s free ourselves…

Perfectionism…

1. …Stifles your creativity
Being able to truly create and dream requires mental freedom. Perfectionism literally stifles your ability to be FREE! Who can be free when they can’t make any mistakes? If you want to truly be your best creative self, intentionally schedule time where you can create without an expectation of doing it all right.

2. …Suffocates your confidence
While you might long for perfectionism, it is illusive and you can never fully meet that standard. And so then what happens? Well over time you begin to subconsciously (or maybe even with full consciousness) beat yourself up for not being perfect…for not getting it all right! In order to limit the self-esteem draining impact of perfectionism, remind yourself (audibly if necessary) that you are amazing not because you are perfect, but because you keep going even when you don’t have all the answers or when you make mistakes.

3. …Sabotages your growth
I know you think that demanding perfectionism will increase your professional and or personal growth, but it does the opposite. First of all it creates stress for you and carrying stress long-term has consequences. Secondly, it can hinder how people connect with you. On a personal level, your friends and family can not measure up to your unspoken (or for those of us who are really out there…spoken) demands. You may think you aren’t putting your pressures on other people but it happens often without you even trying too. You raise the bar so high that your friends, family or even your children just can’t meet it. And professionally, your need to be perfect in your delivery causes you to be overly analytical, unable to go with the flow and it may even cause you to miss deadlines because “…I can’t turn this in until is perfect”. In order to stop the sabotage, get feedback from people you trust. Ask them to hold you accountable. Let them know you want to maintain your standard without limiting your ability to connect and produce.

Again, I know that this is a challenge for those of us who have found our identify in doing and being right. And to be fair, striving for excellence should be everyone’s goal. We should not live our lives haphazardly and not give our very best at all times. But there is a difference between excellence and perfectionism. One leads us to be at the top of our game and the other leads us to be controlled by the game. Finding the right balance will allow you to live intentionally…it will allow you to fully engage!
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I want to hear from you. Do you struggle with perfectionism? How has it hindered you personally or professionally? Have you found ways to overcome the need for perfectionism?

Published in: on April 1, 2014 at 3:59 pm  Comments (2)  

Who is riding with you?

passengers

I am not sure what it is about me and flights but a pattern is starting to develop. More often than not while on a flight a situation occurs that leads to a life lesson for me.  Recently while flying from Dallas back to Atlanta, it happened again.

Let me set the scene for you.  I attended a women’s gathering a few weeks ago with 3 of my girlfriends. It was an amazing time, not just at the conference but connecting with my sister-friends. We literally stayed up till 3am moving back and forth between laughing & crying as we shared and encouraged one another.  But like most women, while I had a great time, I knew I needed to get back home to attend to the needs of my family

***Lesson #1:  It is critical that we don’t play the “martyr” role.  You don’t have to sacrifice time for yourself…or time with friends just because you are a wife & / or mother (or a father/husband for that matter!)  But you do need to make sure you prioritize your time wisely.

One of my friends who attended the gathering also lived in Atlanta so we traveled together for the entire trip.  We were both anxious to get back home so we got to the airport in plenty of time to catch our flight.  Unfortunately, there was no need for us to rush because our plane was delayed.  But because I understand that we sometimes have to trust the delay, I took a deep breath and decided to get some work done while we waited.

***Lesson #2:  Trust the Delay. Click DEVOTIONAL SNEAK PEAK_Week 50 to read an excerpt from “Live Intentionally. Fully Engage” (another “in- flight” life lesson)

After a while we were able to board the plane and my girlfriend and I settled in for what should have been a pretty uneventful flight.  The flight attendants went through the normal spill and the plane began to taxi away from the gate.  About 10 minutes later the pilot announced that we had to return to the gate for an unexpected ‘situation’.

We returned to the gate and sat there for another 10 minutes.  The pilot never explained what the ‘situation’ was, but luckily for me (or maybe it wasn’t luck…maybe God wanted me to hear what I was about to hear for a reason), the person in front of us just couldn’t stand the suspense.  She rang the bell for the stewardess and asked her what was going on.  The stewardess’s response was eye-opening for me.

***Lesson #3: Not really sure this should be included, but I just couldn’t resist.  It’s important to be surrounded by some nosey people who are willing to ask the questions you aren’t. Again…not really a life lesson but I was so glad she was nosey enough to get the information we all wanted to know!

The stewardess shared that there was a passenger on the plane that was being disruptive, would not follow the rules/regulations set by the airline, and was creating unsafe chaos for both the employees and the people sitting around him.  She went on to say that they had to make an executive decision to return to the gate and escort him off of the plane because they could not risk getting off the ground and him creating a distraction that would put everyone else in serious danger.

Do I even have to share with you the 4th lesson? I am sure that you got it…but just in case, let me give it to you!

***Lesson #4:  You are destined to SOAR! God has amazing plans for your life.  But you MUST be careful about who is riding with you! You do not want to “take-off” to higher heights towards your purpose and find that someone connected to you is “creating a distraction” that is putting you and everyone else in danger!

Can I elaborate a little more on this?  What is amazing to me, is because my friend and I were towards the middle of the plane, we had no idea this disruption was taking place!  It was truly reassuring to know that the flight crew was on top of it! They were looking out for us and handled an issue without us even having to deal with it!

*** Lesson #5:  Make sure you have people in your life that have committed to looking out for you!  Surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid to make some executive decisions on your behalf.  Whether it be through prayer (I have a team of people who have committed to standing in the gap for me and my family during this season of our life), or through delegating tasks, you need a team that can have your back!

Again, I am not sure why I keep getting this “in-flight” life lessons, but I’ll keep listening…and sharing!

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Let me hear from you! Which of these lessons resonates the most with you?  What is one action step that you can take today from one of these lessons?

*** Ladies, I want to make sure that you are connected to like-minded women as you travel your life journey.  Join me for the 3rd Annual Celebrating Sisterhood Luncheon.  Click HERE to get your ticket!

Published in: on February 25, 2014 at 2:40 am  Leave a Comment  

What is YOUR plan?

plans

Recently I attended a working session that challenged the participants to hash out the first 100 days for their businesses.  The event was awesome and it is something I think all of us should do.  Even if you aren’t focused on entrepreneurship, you should take time to plan out the first 100 days, first 3 months or even the first 6 months of this year when it comes to every area of your life.

Planning out your year is critical to you making this year count.  You’ve heard it before and I know it may sound corny…but if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

If you’ve been connected to me for anytime you have heard me talk about the importance of living your life intentionally.  When you live intentionally that means you are not living by happenstance.  You are not waiting on life to happen to you, but you are making your life happen.

My husband often says that those who are reactive will always serve those who are proactive.  That’s a pretty profound statement (and not just because my honey said it!).  It is a powerful truth because those who are proactive in life are at the table where decisions are made.  Those who live reactive lives are left to go along with the decisions that have been made for them.

It’s time for you to be PROACTIVE! It’s imperative that you P.L.A.N so that others aren’t planning for you.

Let’s talk in more detail about why having a plan is so important.

When you have prayerfully strategize your plan for the year, you will then be able to:

Prioritize:  When a horse is in a race, the jockey’s often put blinders on the horse so that the horse isn’t distracted by what is going on around it. Your plan should serve as a “blinder” for you.  The blinder (your plan) allows you to be very clear about your priorities.  One of the powerful things about identifying your priorities is not only does it help you know what you want or need to do; it also helps you to know what you should not be doing. And many times knowing when to say NO is just as important as when to say YES!

Leverage: Being clear about your plan puts you in a powerful seat.  In order to fully walk out your purpose you cannot do it alone. You need ongoing support but you should have something to bring to the table as well. Being clear on what God has called you too and making the appropriate plans will allow you to know what you can leverage as you seek to build relationships.

Anticipate: Your plan should be clear enough that you can be prepared for what is to come in that specific area.  For instance, if your plan is focused on improving your finances, then you should already know what to expect. Ladies, you know that a special shoe sale is going to come up that will cause you to get off focus, what will you do to handle that?  Fella’s, you know you are going to want to hang with the guys so what is your recreational budget?  Your plan will allow you to anticipate what is to come so that you can be as prepared as possible.

Normalize: When working with clients I use a 3 part process to help them move forward from where they are to where they want to be. One of those steps includes ‘normalizing’ how they feel about the changes or challenges they are facing.  Your plan will allow you to do the same thing for yourself! As you move forward towards your goals there will be moments of doubt…there will be times that you want to walk away…there will be opportunities to give up.  However…if your plan is clearly defined (meaning you have also included the reason WHY you are doing what you are doing), when the challenging moments happen, you will be able to normalize your feelings, process them and keep moving forward.

I really want you to take a moment and review the importance of a P.L.A.N., and then give yourself about 30 minutes this week to either start writing out your plan, or to review the plan you already have for this year.

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I want to hear from you! Choose one of the pointers above (Prioritize, leverage, anticipate or normalize) and tell me your take away!  Let’s stay on this journey together!

Also, ladies, take a moment to check out the video below:

Published in: on February 5, 2014 at 2:50 am  Leave a Comment  

3 things you can do THIS week to make it count

3 things you can do this week

Are you ready to make this week count? Here are THREE SIMPLE STEPS you can take to move from being passive to productive!

1.  Be still &  be quiet

Instead of waking up, rushing into your day, coming home, rushing to get your “stuff” done as you prepare for the next day, how about taking a minute to slow down and be quiet? Whether you do it first thing in the morning or before you retire for the night, take a moment to be still. Turn off the phone, the TV and anything that would distract you, and quiet your mind and your soul.

Initially this activity may be difficult for some people.  The idea of being still seems unproductive and maybe fruitless. But stillness is quite the opposite. Stillness is the key that helps us to realign our mind, body and spirit so that we can function effectively.

Seek refuge through prayer or meditation and watch how this one commitment will make you more productive and purposeful.

2. Reach out

This action is two-fold. We’ve all heard the adage “we have not because we ask not”.  This week think about any support you need to move forward in your life (personally or professionally) and then humbly ask someone to assist you.

Most of us have people in our lives who want to support us, they just don’t know what we need. This week, make your request known.  Remember, when asking someone to support you, make it as easy as possible for them. Are you seeking professional mentorship from someone? Consider volunteering for their organization so that you can watch and learn.  Do you need a recommendation? Write the recommendation yourself and ask the person to approve it.  Make your “ask” as easy as possible so that the person isn’t taxed by your request.

But don’t stop there.  Think about someone in your life that you know needs support and reach out to them. Ask them how you can be of service to them and if possible do what you can to help.  When we give or serve out of the goodness of our hearts, we will never be left empty.

3. Take a step

I don’t know what you are hoping for this year, but this week, take one step towards your goal.  Are you seeking financial stability? Then sign up for a financial class.  Are you hoping for a promotion? Express your career goals to your boss.  Do you need to process a situation in your life that is hindering you? Reach out to a therapist or spiritual advisor.

This week, take a step towards your goals even if the step seems small. Each step will move you closer to your goals.  Remember our comfort zone is never stagnant. It is either growing or shrinking.  Inactivity lulls you into being stagnant which keeps you away from the abundant life you’ve been promised.

 

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Let me hear from you.  Which of these steps do you think you can do TODAY?  Remember, your tomorrow is simply a result of what you do today.  Make proactive choices daily so that you can have the life you want to live!

Published in: on January 22, 2014 at 5:02 pm  Comments (1)  

Is the door locked?

Door knob_Opening Door Knob by sixninepixels

The other day I sat in my office waiting for my 9am appointment to arrive. I began to think she was going to be a no-show because as I looked at the clock it was 9:15am. But finally, the receptionist let me know she was there and we got settled in my office to begin our session. Before we could get started she says “Robin, I have been here since 8:30am!” I immediately got frustrated with the front desk staff because I thought they’d forgotten to let me know she’d arrived. But I quickly realized they were not at fault.

My client said that when she got to the front door of my office, there were 3 people waiting outside. As she walked up one of the women said to her “the door is still locked. We are just waiting for someone to come open the door”. My client said she stood there for about 5 minutes and then decided she would go back to her car and wait for someone to come and open the door.

Fast forward about 20 minutes and she returned to the front door. She assumed the staff had arrived because the people who’d been waiting outside were no longer there. She said as she came in the office, one of the people who’d been waiting outside said to her “guess what! The door has been unlocked since 8am! After you went to your car, someone else arrived and before we could tell him the door was locked, he walked up to the door, turned the knob and walked in”. The person went on to tell her that the woman who’d been telling everyone the door was locked, just hadn’t pushed the door hard enough! It had been unlocked the entire time!

As my client shared this with me, she started laughing because she could see the wheels turning in my head. That story is the stuff life lessons are made of! Think about it! My client had a scheduled appointment to see me. She got to her appointment early but as she prepared to enter the office, she was told that she could not gain access because the door was locked. My client listened to what someone (that she didn’t even know) told her and returned to her car. She later learned that the information she’d been given was wrong, but because she didn’t try for herself, she was actually late getting to her scheduled appointment. If she’d waited any longer, I would have had to cancel her appointment and reschedule her for a later time.

Can you relate? Has that ever happened to you? Flow with me…move past my client and this appointment. I want you to think about how many times you have turned back, not turned the knob yourself, or walked away from an opportunity, simply because someone else told you that you couldn’t get in!

Even as I write this blog I can name several situations that I have counted myself out of, simply because I thought the door was locked to me. Whether it was because I didn’t have the education for it, I didn’t have the right connections for it or….(and this is hard to admit)….I didn’t have the courage to try the door for myself!

This year I want to challenge you to ignore what others tell you. Despite your fears, despite the potential embarrassment, despite the possible rejection, I want you to walk up to the door and turn the knob yourself.

It doesn’t matter if there are 3, 6, 12 people standing outside of the door telling you that you can’t get in, try it for yourself.
This year, don’t you dare “…go back to your car…” and simply wait until you think the door is open, or until someone else tries the door for you! I want you to move past your reservations and try the door yourself!

Let me warn you! Just because you muster up the courage to try the door doesn’t mean you will definitely gain access. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but sometimes the door will be locked. What do you then? You simply refocus and reassess. You ask yourself the tough questions:

1. Is this opportunity really meant for me? (Of course you asked yourself this question before you ever tried the door, but it is important to revisit it! You don’t want to be anywhere that isn’t for you, no matter how good you think it looks.)
2. Is there something I need to do to be better prepared? (If it’s worth having, it’s worth preparing adequately for.)
3. Is this the only way to gain access? (Just because everyone else goes in a certain way, doesn’t mean that’s your route.)

Once you’ve answered those questions you can decide if you should try again.

The bottom line is that this year, you will make the decision to not be turned away because of your own intimidation or fear. This year, you will push past the war-zone going on in your mind and you will fully embrace the open doors that are before you! Go ahead…turn the knob…great opportunities are there waiting on you!

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I want to hear from you. Do you have an example of a time where you didn’t try for something but in hindsight you realized you should have? Is there something you want to do this year, but have been hesitant to go for it? What is one thing you can do, TODAY as a step towards “opening the door” to that opportunity or goal?

If you are a woman seeking to live your life with intention and direction, consider investing in my latest book, “Live Intentionally. Fully Engage”. This devotional is your weekly plan for intentional living! Click HERE to get your copy!

Published in: on January 12, 2014 at 5:36 pm  Comments (1)  

Are you pregnant?

Pregnancy

As we close out this year, I pray that you are able to look back over the last 12 months and see God’s grace towards you and your loved ones.  My year has been filled with many many (did I say many?) surprises.  My family has had to make major adjustments to accommodate the many changes but I believe we just might be getting a grip on our new normal.

One of the greatest adjustments is that my husband and I are expecting a new baby! Dealing with being pregnant (particularly at this age!) has been interesting.  As I am going through this last pregnancy I have been surprised to really see how much of life can correlate to what happens during pregnancy.  As you read this, I want you to consider if you are also pregnant.

1.  During my pregnancy I have been extremely exhausted, sick, and frankly uncomfortable.  But part of what has helped me get through all of that is knowing that an amazing blessing is on its way.

Isn’t that just like what happens to us in life?  Many times when God has something great in store for us, it gets really rocky, scary and downright uncomfortable for a while.  But if we can ride the waves, hang in there and get through it, we will experience an amazing blessing that we could not have orchestrated on our own!

2.  The other day I was chatting with my husband on the phone.  While talking to him I of course got tired so I laid across the back of the couch in some strange position. I should have known better. Because once I finished talking to him and tried to get up from the couch it was almost impossible. I struggled for a while to get up on my own, but it just wasn’t happening. I had to yell for my daughters to come and help me because I just couldn’t get up by myself. Next time, I won’t make the same mistake.

Many times as we are going through experiences in our lives, we find ourselves in situations or positions that if we are honest, we knew better than to get involved in.  And once we are there, we try to get out of the situation on our own.  But the truth is, we need help. Yes, we got ourselves into the situation, but we need support from someone we trust (hopefully they are older than 6 years old!) to help us get out of the situation.  And once we are free, we’ll know better than to go down that road again the next time.  Hopefully.

3.  The food I eat, the exercise I am supposed to do (clearly I am telling on myself), every time I listen to my body and rest….it’s not just for me.  Sure I may enjoy the food…and folks say that exercising will give me more energy (who knows if that is true)…but the reality is that those things don’t only benefit me.  All of those things also benefit this precious human I am growing inside of me.  So even when I don’t want to eat right or exercise I must remember that my decisions not only impact me…they are impacting the life I am carrying.

This is true for you too! The very gifts that are residing in you…your ability to sing, your gift of service your call to preach.  All of that is not for you! Your gifts are for the people who God has connected to you! So when you choose to stifle you gifts…when you choose to live beneath your full potential…when you choose to ignore the gift that is growing inside of you, you are choosing to hinder someone else’s growth and development!

Maybe you are not pregnant with a human.  But you too are pregnant with a calling.  And I hope that as the year closes and we prepare for the next, you will truly live intentionally and that you will fully engage!

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What a nice segue to share with you my new book project: Living Intentionally. Fully Engaged! I would love for you to get your copy and start a year-long journey with me! Click HERE to get your copy!

3D Devotional Set Image-1

Published in: on December 17, 2013 at 3:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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