So You Want to be a Leader?

Growing Pains. #Throwback

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This is a Throwback Thursday post… this post originally appeared in my blog in 2013 when I first started blogging.  Funny how things sometimes come full circle and God SMACKS you on the head!  I hope you enjoy this:

No, this is not a blog about the 70’s sitcom. It is actually about a God moment that I had during church. The sermon in a sentence was: If you are going to grow, the ministry MUST be shared. WOW! I thought this was a message just for me – a personal smack in the head from God! On the surface, I am good with change but deep down in my core – I don’t like it. I mean who does, right?

Pastor Al shared this “people in our lives are making our parachutes, God puts them there for a reason and sometimes only for a season”. He was talking about all of the changes that took place in our church over the last several months. Change is good, it shakes things up and gives us a new perspective on life. With growth sometimes comes conflict, it is inevitable. So here are some tips on dealing with conflict that I am going to apply to my business and personal life.

Here is what NOT to do when there is a conflict:

  • Don’t play the BLAME game. GUILTY! When there is conflict, I have found myself talking (venting) to other Directors, family and friends about the situation – blaming the other person without taking responsibility for my part in the conflict.
    Don’t be part of the “team split”. As my team grows, there is going to be a natural team split – in a good way. To squash conflict – don’t feed into the team split with the “blame game” or “I am going to take my ball and go home attitude”. Don’t make team members take sides.
  • Don’t try to stop the growth. Growth is good! Don’t try to slow it down by not recruiting or sharing your companies opportunity with others.
    Don’t lose focus. Remember your personal “WHY” and what your personal goals are instead of focusing on the conflict. God has a plan for you, personally and professionally, so do not let others steer you off course.
  • Don’t overlook the needs of others. Leaders lead differently. Some team members may be attracted to the style of others which is different from yours. Does that mean your aren’t a good leader? CELEBRATEENCOURAGE – REWARD everyone despite the conflict. WOW! This was a double smack because I tend to take things personally!

Here is what you should do:

  • Reaffirm your calling. What is God’s plan for you? Are you willing to forgo his plan while you “sit on the pity pot” during a conflict.
  • Affirm the value of everyone even the negative Nellies on your team. They are your team for a reason – it may be help them or it may be the sandpaper that you need to help YOU grow. Everyone matters.
  • Finally, attack the problem rather than each other. Determine what the problem is and work to find a solution to the problem.

Thank you God for using Pastor Al to get my attention. This is an area that I need to work on and these are some great tips. I know that the original message was meant for the members of the congregation but it definitely hit home with me. Are you suffering from GROWING PAINS – professionally or personally? We would love to hear from you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge, Unclutter Your Life

Embrace Life

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“Work smarter not harder”

Wouldn’t we all like to do that?  Wouldn’t it be great to get to the weekend and just embrace it?  Would’t it be nice not to worry about the work that didn’t get done during the week, or have a list of to do’s a mile long?  I envy people who can shut off work and just embrace the weekend (or their days off).  I figured they were better at time management or had a hidden stash of money so there was no stress in their life.  Crazy right?  Remember I am a struggling, recovering workaholic.

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Over the last few weeks, I learned a little bit about working smarter, not harder.  I found that despite the brain fog as a result of health issues, I have been able to focus more, enjoy time with friends and family, and have some clarity in my work and my life.  For the first time in a LONG time working from home, I have put down the computer (and the phone) to watch a movie, do some household chores and actually read a book.

Did my business fall apart?  NO!  Did customers care that I didn’t answer their emails/messages right away? NO!  The truth is, my business kept moving forward.  The best part was that I didn’t feel burnt out, exhausted or stressed.  Did it happen overnight? NO!  It is still a work in progress?  YES!

It has taken weeks of trial and error, hard work, and paying attention to what feels good and what doesn’t to be able to get to this place.  The best part is that I have been able to change my schedule around so that I get to be present in my life.

Here are some things that have helped in the process

Embrace Three:  I have been working with Desiree Wolfe who routinely reminds me to make a list of 3 things that need to get done each week.  Then break down the tasks so that they are accomplished.  I also read parts of Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism, which talks about only doing what is most essential.  Of course, there is also the need to get crazy comfortable with the word “no” which is still something that I am working on!

Setting boundaries around my routine: This is a tough one for me.  Protecting my time in the office is key.  I plan out my week based on what I need to get done, then I stick to the plan.  When someone says “what is on your schedule?”, I now gladly share that I’m working from X to X.  By setting up a schedule, I have been able to accomplish more AND break away to embrace life.  I mean wasn’t the whole idea of having your own business to have flexibility.

Building a business that aligns with how I work and live best:  This has been my goal ever since I started my business.  I wanted to find a way to blend my work (my passion) and my life.  With harmony in both, I am able to thrive.  I mean if momma’s not happy, no one is happy, right?

Losing the guilt: WOW!  This one is HUGE for me.  On the days that I do this, I’ve been able to work smarter, not harder.  I’m don’t feel guilty about being in the office for a few hours on hubby’s days off.  I’m don’t feel like I’m being lazy and complacent when I am reading a book or watching a movie. Fighting the inner gremlins of guilt and learning that self-care is important to not only embracing life but also to building my business.

No matter what your journey is, you need to know that it doesn’t always have to feel like an uphill battle.  You have permission to seek out how to work smarter, not harder.  It will take time, BUT the only way to get there is to start shifting your routine, schedule, and mindset.  Even baby steps will lead you to where you really want to be.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

No More Shame

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I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.            Isaiah 61:10 NIV

Debbie’s paternal grandparents had both a housekeeper and groundskeeper who lived in their basement apartment. Nina and Silas were like part of the family and had lived with the grandparents for as long as Debbie could remember. On many occasions, when Debbie’s parents and grandparents went out to dinner, she and her older sister were left in the care of Silas and Nina. The girls’ parents had no idea that Silas was molesting their precious children time and time again.

From the time Debbie and Beth were three and six years old, until they were ten and thirteen, Silas fondled and sexually molested the girls in the basement apartment lit only by the black-and-white television blinking in the background. While Silas ravaged Debbie’s body, her sister held her face in her hands and told her stories. Together, the girls escaped to a land faraway while the worse nightmare imaginable was played out before them.

Silas warned them, “If you tell anybody, I’ll hurt your brother.” So the girls suffered in silence.

When Debbie was ten years old, she and her sister spent the night with her maternal grandmother while her parents were away on a business trip. The elderly grandmother paused at the opened door to watch her precious granddaughters kneeling beside their bed. With arms wrapped around each other they began to say their prayers.

“Dear God, thank You for Mommy and Daddy and Kevin, and Grandma and Grandpa Wilson, and Grandma James. We pray You will protect us from Silas and keep him from hurting us and touching us in private places. We pray…”

The stunned grandmother clutched her heart, rushed to embrace the girls, and sobbed uncontrollably. The rest was a blur.

A few hours later, in the wee hours of the morning, their parents came back from their business trip…two days early. The girls could hear their parents crying in the next room, but nothing was ever mentioned about Silas. All they knew was that the next time they went to Grandma and Grandpa Wilson’s house, Silas and Nina were gone.

Years passed with little mention of the years of abuse by Silas. Like old war veterans who never mention the horrors of battle, the girls never mentioned the molestation again. However, the chronic pain of the past was an undercurrent to their total existence. Debbie felt dirty, used, and cheap. She felt like damaged goods.

Debbie accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior when she was a small child, but she had a difficult time believing Jesus could accept her. She didn’t see herself as a precious holy child of God dressed in robes of righteousness. She saw herself as a dirty orphan dressed in tattered rags. Then one day, she went to a Bible study and heard for the first time about her identity as a child of God.

“I didn’t feel like a holy child of God, but that’s who the Bible said I was,” she explained. “I read and reread that list of who I am in Christ. The more I studied about my new identity and the truth that sets us free, the more I began to accept it as true. I began to realize it was Satan who held up the picture of Silas and what he had done to me to remind me of who he wanted me to believe I was.

“But that was a lie. God took the truth and massaged it into my broken heart like a healing ointment. He placed a crown of beauty on my head and washed away the ashes. He gave me the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and dressed me in a garment of praise instead of despair. No longer was my identity determined by what happened to me as a child. My identity is determined by what happened in me through Jesus Christ.”

Debbie accepted her new identity. It was there all along, like a cloak waiting to be placed on the princess’ regal shoulders. She received the robe of righteousness and now walks with the confidence of a dearly loved child of the King.

This devotion may have been difficult for you to read, but it is very important.  Have you accepted your new identity? Are you ready to start believing the truth? Are you ready to put off the ragged robes of shame and put on the robe of righteousness that Jesus purchased just for you with His own life? He’s holding it open for you right now. Slip it on. It’s just your size.

Thank you Sharon Jaynes

MS will Not Define Me

How To Have Less Stress

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” – Theodore Roosevelt

TGIF!  Thank God it’s Friday… that is the chant that I hear far and wide?  This week has been a challenge for me on so many levels.

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I have been stomping on the inner gremlins of fear and doubt all week.  I have been struggling with stepping out of my comfort zone.  I have been worrying about pleasing people around me – doctors, family, friends, my team and my customers. I have had doubt about business decisions.  I have had fear when it comes to finances. Lots of stress.

Since stress is a key trigger in my MS, I am always on the hunt to eliminate it.  The thing is that many times, I don’t know that I am feeling stressed.  You know what I mean, right?  You think the day is going just fine when someone asks “are you okay?” or someone says “you sound annoyed (or snarky or angry)” or better yet they ask “why are you so stressed”?  Or worse, you SNAP at something someone says.  SMACK!!! This is when I know that I’m stressed.

Here are some things that have been helping me to eliminate stress personally and in my business:

  • Honoring my boundaries: Being a recovering people pleaser, setting boundaries in both my work and my life is a big deal.  Then top it off with trying to honor them.  Can you say stressful?  So, I have been planning out my days in my planner and sticking to my schedule.  That even means scheduling time for social media, sleep, office hours and even meals.  Maintaining boundaries and learning to say no relieves stress and the inner gremlin of guilt.
  • Getting outside:   I am so excited about the weather changing so I can go outside for just a few minutes to bask in the beauty of day.  Yes, I love being my own boss and working from home but then I get a little stir crazy.  I need people contact.  I’ve found that getting out plays a huge part in reducing the stress.  I love the idea of working from a local coffee shop or taking a walk around the neighborhood at those key times when people are walking their dogs.  I don’t have a dog to walk but it gives me a chance to engage in conversation with people.  It’s easy for me to stay inside and get lost in my computer but when I break my routine and engage with people,  I am happier, healthier and less stressed.
  • Finding joy, fulfilment, and creativity outside of my work: This is actually tough for me – a struggling workaholic.  I get obsessed with work – or the busyness of work.  This is why setting boundaries are so important.  My diagnosis of MS has been a blessing.  I am forced to STOP and take time for other things.  Why fight it, right?  The truth after a break, when I return to my desk/office, I am more creative and energized.  Scheduling time for lunch with hubby, spending time with friends and family or just working on my puzzle clears the head and brings me joy.  In other words, letting myself be instead of obsessing over work and the responsibilities that come with it is a stress reliever.

As the warmer weather approaches and life changes, stress creeps back into our lives.  I’m sure that I’m not the only one needing less stress and more joy in their life right now.  I am always surprised that as I prioritize  others joy and their wellbeing; I give myself permission to do the same.

What will you do this weekend, to reduce stress while creating more joy in your work and your life?  Share with us your best tips.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

 

Gives Program

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence.

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, or other factors.  Did you know that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime?  Did you know that most acts of domestic violence take place between 6 pm and 6 am?  Did you know that more than 60% of the incidents of domestic violence happen at home.

You may wonder why women (and men) would stay around.  You may wonder how could anyone put up with the verbal or worse physical abuse from someone that says that they love them.  Victims believe that they are to blame.  That if the hadn’t done XYZ, then their significant other wouldn’t have had to yell or hit them.  The truth is that NO victim is to blame for any occurrence of domestic abuse or violence.

Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Women ages 18 to 34 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.  The stats that scare me the most are these:

  • More than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year.
  • Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates (30% to 60%).
  • Children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems, including becoming sick more often, having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and lethargic.
  • Children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death.

Children are the silent victims.  I was one of those children.  Middle class family with two parents.  By all appearances happy and successful.  But alcohol addiction created a monster that lead us being one of the stats.  I was the child that watched the abuse.  I was one of those children who tried to intervene.  The memories live on and haunt me as an adult.  Forgiveness has lead to healing but the memories linger.  Do I think that witnessing those acts of violence affected me – YES!  I was a victim of verbal abuse for many years. I struggled with relationships.  I struggled with self esteem and confidence.  I struggled with addictions.    Children learn by example.  Remember the line “Do as I say, not as I do”.  Well, chances are children who have been exposed to domestic violence will subject themselves to the same kind of treatment.

#1 FACT: Most domestic violence incidents are never reported.

Help change the facts. Speak up, speak out, and make a difference for victims of domestic violence.

Do you know someone or suspect someone has been a victim of domestic violence?  Here are some resources that can help:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

NJ Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7): 1 (800) 572-SAFE (7233)

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!