Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Hug a Porcupine and Squeeze a Skunk

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Thank you KAREN EHMAN for today’s message..15200-ephesians-4-2-3

I once worked as a substitute teacher. While that evokes images of chewing gum stuck to chairs and strategically placed “Kick me!” signs, this was not my experience. Sure, many of the kids were squirrely, but I never had an ounce of trouble with any of them.

Until one day.

That was the day the principal told me, “In third hour you will have a student named John Smith. Just send him down to the office before class starts. He’s known as Big Bad John, and he’s never successfully made it through even one hour with a sub. He will disrupt the class, bully others and try to make you look stupid. I want to spare you any confrontation.”

I knew exactly which student he meant and really wanted a chance to reach this troublemaker. So I petitioned the principal: “May I attempt to keep him in class and then send him to the office if he causes trouble? I’d love to try, if you don’t mind.”

“Be my guest,” he laughingly replied. “I’ll expect him shortly after class begins.”

Just before third period, a towering, husky student appeared in the doorway. He had on ripped jeans — before they were fashionable — and a soiled light blue T-shirt. I could tell from the way the students stayed back that his odor was as unpleasant as his appearance and personality. I shot up a quick prayer and greeted him.

With a smug look on his unwashed face, he boldly declared, “I suppose you’ve heard ’bout me. I’ll bet the principal told you to send me right to the office ’cause ain’t none of you subs able to handle me.”

“Nope,” I replied, just as quickly and confidently. “I heard you were going to be in my class, and I also heard you are a great kid. Do you mind helping me pass out these papers?”

Big Bad John wasn’t sure what to do. Some he threw on the floor. Another he used to play a game of keep-away with a girl in class. I followed behind him, corrected whatever he did, picking up the papers or gently taking one from his hand to give to a student. I thanked him when he was through, making no comment on his behavior.

Next, we watched a movie, and John began to act like his nickname. He was disruptive — not just talking but also taunting other students.

I walked over to his chair, squatted down, looked him in the eye and firmly but gently said, “Hey, look, John. I know that you have a reputation of never being able to make it through an hour with a substitute teacher. But I say today we show the principal a thing or two. I know you can cooperate. I know you are a good kid deep down inside. I’d love for that good kid to come out today and for us to be friends. Are you willing to give it a try, just this once?”

His countenance softened. For the last 15 minutes of class, John actually watched the movie without incident. After class, the school’s office staff buzzed with the news that this school bully had made it through an entire hour with a sub. After that, whenever I had John in class, he behaved well. In fact, when he saw me out at a basketball game or the grocery store, he smiled, waved and hollered, “Hi, lady.”

It’s easy to love those who are lovable. It’s a breeze to be kind to people you like. But to truly be patient and gentle toward someone who acts unloving or unbecoming is an altogether special assignment — one Jesus not only taught, but modeled.

He spent much of his time on earth with the not-so-popular people. He touched the leper. He granted dignity to the prostitute. He welcomed children and the tax collectors and those whom society rejected. Jesus modeled upside-down living and loving. And He urges us to do the same.

Let’s make it our aim not to just love the easy-to-love, but to hug the “porcupines” and squeeze the “skunks” in our lives, reaching those whose behavior and demeanor usually pushes people away rather than draws them in close.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks

Are You a Bull Dog in the Rain?

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Interesting, right? A Thirty One coach told the story about her bull dog sitting in the rain. The bull dog went out in the rain and proceeded to sit at the end of the walkway in a downpour. Alright, some dogs may like the rain but this bull dog, sat looking up at the sky and because of their facial structure, the water dripped down his throat and made him gag. Did he stop looking up at the sky to avoid the rain? NO! Even when tempted with treats, food and his favorite toy – he continued to sit looking at the sky, gagging as a result of the rain running down his throat. When did he stop and come in – when HE was ready. No amount of coaching or incentives could change his mind until HE was ready.

So what does this have to do with anything?  Whether you are a mom with young kids at home or are in direct sales with a growing, we can all learn a lesson from the bull dog.

Kids and our teams are like bull dogs. No matter how much we try to inspire them or  motivate them, it is something that happens on the inside.  As leaders, we need to lead by example.  No one person is BORN into leadership. Let me tell you that I was glad to hear that because I never really thought of myself as a leader.  There are traits that are common to ALL leaders and if you have at least one or two of these traits – YOU are leadership material. This was an AHA moment for me. Cast those doubts aside and let’s see if you have any of these traits:

  • Do you share the vision? Can you share the vision of the company, your upline and your personal vision?
  • Do you see the potential in others? Are you always looking for the positives in others? Do you encourage them?
  • Are you humble in whatever role you have?
  • Do you DREAM BIG knowing that no idea is crazy?
  • Do you believe in yourself?

Here is one more way to visualize yourself as a leader – consider the people who have made a positive impact on your life, who have inspired you, who have become a mentor for you. Write them down along with three of their personality traits. What are some of the common traits that they had – kind, strong, independent, positive attitude. So, as I look to grow my team this year wider as well as deeper, I am going to look at my ENTIRE team to see if I am missing any potential leaders.

 “Failure is an event not a person and can change at any moment”.

So, TRUST your instincts, TAME your inner bulldog and DISCOVER the leader in you! So, who is ready to GROW into leadership? Remember that the greatest leaders seek the advice of others and don’t have to have all of the answers!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Traits of a Great Leader

For those of us in direct sales, we know that the best way to grow your business is to recruit, right?  When you recruiting numbers are down, or when your team is not interested in promoting, do you wonder if you are a good leader?  Don’t be discouraged, you can turn things around.

We have heard a million times that “If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourselfLeadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills and opportunities you offer as an owner, as a manager, as a parent. Jim Rohn calls leadership the great challenge of life.”

How do you become a good leader?  Here are traits of a great leader courtesy of Success magazine

1. Learn to be strong but not rude. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It’s not even a good substitute.

2. Learn to be kind but not weak.  Kindness is a certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell somebody the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in delusion.

3. Learn to be bold but not a bully.  To build your influence, you’ve got to walk in front of your group. You’ve got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, discover the first sign of trouble.

4. You’ve got to learn to be humble but not timid. You can’t get to the high life by being timid. Humility is a grasp of the distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling that we’re part of the stars. So humility is a virtue, but timidity is a disease. Timidity is an affliction. It can be cured, but it is a problem.

5. Be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride to win the day.  But the key to becoming a good leader is being proud without being arrogant.

6. Develop humor without folly. In leadership, we learn that it’s OK to be witty, but not silly. It’s OK to be fun, but not foolish.

7. Deal in realities. Deal in truth. Just accept life like it is. Life is unique. Skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another. But the fundamental skills of leadership can be adapted to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the community, and at home.

These traits can be learned or fine tuned if you already have them.  Some you may already have while others you think you will never possess.  Are you doomed to not being a good leader, if you don’t have all of these traits – NO!  You may need to work a little harder but you can still be a success.

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Whose life will you influence today?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!