All posts by Phoenicia

How to face your challenges

Given the choice I would like nothing more than a comfortable, straight forward life where everything is as I want it to be. Who would have it any other way?

I often think about staying at home working on projects that I enjoy which fit nicely around dropping and collecting my daughter from school. The reality is leaving my home early and returning late, having managed my blog and online business whilst on my long commute.  I know this is for a season and I remain focused on my goals, one of which is to work entirely for myself.

We are well aware that challenges are inevitable, therefore it is important that we find strategies in order to deal with them. Often, once I overcome a challenge, another one is waiting behind it to greet me! I am sure many of you can relate to this. 

Below I have placed challenges into three categories;

1. Challenges that we cannot control such as an illness in the family or the way in which we are treated by others. These challenges are the most painful as we know there is absolutely nothing that we can do to change the situation. We cannot make an illness disappear or change someone’s attitude towards us. 

2. Challenges that are for a season such as working in a job that we do not like. Although this challenge will not be long term,  it can be hard to manage whilst going through it. 

3. Challenges that we can change immediately but do not (feel we) have the strength to do so such as removing ourselves from a toxic/damaging relationship. Others may advise us to leave but when you have bound yourself to another, you will need to be willing to experience a loss. 

Reflect on the following question;
Do I have any control over my situation?

If no, you can seek support and advice to assist with coping either day-to-day or long term. Many charities exist to provide practical and emotional support to those who require it. 

If not at present, you can learn to accept your situation until you are able to change it. Do what you can to make life more bearable. Perhaps give yourself a weekly ‘treat’ day.

If yes, be willing to step out into the unknown. You will be scared but do it anyway.  Do not stay in a situation through the wrong belief that this may be the best that life has to offer you.  

How do you face challenges?

Have your coping mechanisms changed compared to five years ago?

When are you at your most productive?

By nature I am a night owl. I love nothing more than to be working on my tasks and projects when nobody is around to disturb me. I admit to using the late evenings to reflect and unwind when I should be sleeping. As an introvert, I crave the space to hear myself think. I can tell you it is much needed after a long day at work or a hectic day with my children! 

I come alive at night while my husband begins to wind down. I am buzzing around the house while he completely slows down. Once there is quiet in my home I can focus on just about anything late into the night. I use this time to do all house administration and church ministry administration, work on my blog and my make up business. 

During the day, there are far too many distractions and other things that demand my time. Some of which I have little control over – responsibilities in my full-time job, cold callers, children vying for my attention and so on.

Listed below are a number of advantages of working at night;

1. Working in the stillness of the night means you can focus entirely on your project with no distractions. You are more open to creative thinking and innovative thinking.

2. Working in isolation means you are not required to consider and meet the needs of others during this time.  

3. You have set goals which you intend to meet.  You are focused and determined – hence the willingness to lose sleep. 

4. Consistency  – night owls are almost guaranteed to have a greater level of consistency.  Once you have identified that you work best at night, there is very little that can hinder you from doing so.

Listed below are a few disadvantages;

1. Health problems – when we sleep, our brains are at rest.  Reducing your sleeping hours means you may have periods of sleepiness during the day along with low concentration levels.

2. Tiredness. It does catch up with you. By Friday evening I am exhausted but I then follow the exact routine the following week!

To round up, there are many benefits of being a night owl. However, I understand that it may not be easy for some to make such a transition.

When are you most productive?

Have you adjusted anything in your life to accommodate better productivity?

Five reasons why you need a mentor
A mentor could be someone you know personally or a key figure in society with great leadership abilities whom you can learn from.

A mentor is likely to be operating on a level which you are aiming towards in a similar field to yours. They are likely to display characteristics of a noble person with integrity as well as a spirit of perseverence.

In the Oxford Dictionary, mentor means:

1. An experienced and trusted adviser

2  An experienced person who trains and counsels 

With a mentor in-person,  you will have the opportunity to meet with them and possibly shadow them to observe the way in which they work. With a virtual mentor, you will invest in buying their books, CD’s and attending their conferences (as and when possible).

I have a virtual mentor, someone that I connect with. The first time that I watched one of Joyce Meyer’s teachings, I resonated with much of what she spoke on; her insecurities, challenges and character flaws. My husband already owned many of Joyce Meyer’s books and tapes which came in handy! The ‘Battlefield of the Mind’ is one that I hold very close to my heart.

What a mentor will offer;

1. Keep you focused – distractions will come, life will ‘throw things at us’ but we need to remain focused on reaching our goals. A mentor will assist us with this.

2. Encouragement – there will be times that we will become discouraged due to obstacles and challenges. We may even question whether we made the right decision. A mentor will remind us why we chose to take this path and help push us through the ‘dry’ season.

3. Valuable experience – walking side by side with someone who has already been down the road that you are travelling on. We might like to think we can do it alone but that is sheer pride.  

4. Honesty – A mentor will remain honest as;
A. They are unlikely to have had a prior relationship with you and therefore their advice will be unbiased.
B. They are unlikely to be paid for their service therefore they are not conditioned to tell you what you want to hear.

5. No room for excuses – we have a tendency to justify why we have not completed a task or goal. It does not draw us any nearer to achieving our goals but simply gives us ‘rest time’ when the going gets tough. A mentor has the ability to see through our excuses and will not condone procrastination as they know how much it will hinder us.

Have you considered seeking a mentor?

Perhaps you already have a mentor – please share your experience.

Why you need purpose in your life

Purpose is what keeps us going when fatigue and challenges arise. When we would prefer to relax in the evenings but understand the need to prioritise spending time on our business/ project/book.

Purpose keeps us focused and striving towards the dream that is deep rooted within our hearts.

Purpose brings meaning to our life. Without it, people can go on to seek fulfillment in all of the wrong places. Before discovering my purpose, I recall feelings of great discontentment and frustration. I knew I wanted to give more of myself but was unsure to whom and how.

Purpose exists for each one of us but some are so consumed by the trials of everyday life that they give little or no time to pursue it. How many people have you met with such wonderful giftings but no actual desire to do anything with them?

As humans, we long for acceptance (some far more than others) and to feel that we have made a difference whether in someone’s life or within an organisation. Having a purpose reminds us that we have something specific to offer, that we have a mission to complete which will impact on this world in some way.

Over ten years ago, I read a book called ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ written by Rick Warren. It completely changed my perspective on identifying and fulfilling my purpose. Please click the link below for a summary:

Have you identified your purpose?

Are you determined to fulfil your purpose – no matter how much it will cost in terms of your time, finances and energy?

What does integrity mean to you?

Integrity is undervalued in today’s society. Many are willing to undercut and do the bare minimum for what they feel is gain. Many are willing to lose their soul for fame and fortune, stepping on the very people who were supportive when they had little.  The world has become entitled, losing it’s morals and values in the process. 

Three scenarios:
On starting a new job, you notice your colleagues take well over an hour for lunch. It appears to be tolerated. Do you follow suit?

The sales assistant hands you extra change in error, on realising do you return to the store or walk away with glee?

You find a mobile phone on the train, do you hand it in at the train station or keep it?

This quote sums it up;

From a young age most of us learnt to shed blame and use others as scapegoats i.e. “Jane did it so I thought it was okay to do it”.  It is only when our parents stepped in to correct us (mine certainly did!) that we took an element of responsibility for our actions. 

We should not use others as a measure for the way we live our lives. We should set high standards for ourselves. We may not always meet them but the importance is that they exist in the first place. 

We will always be tested, on a daily basis in fact, it is entirely down to us to choose to do the right thing even when it costs.  Our word carries far more than we can ever imagine.  Our yes should mean yes. If we are unable to meet a need or complete a task, we should be honest and say so rather than committing and then backing out. 

Do you demonstrate integrity on a daily basis?

How important is integrity, to you?

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses

As adults the majority of us are well aware of our strengths and weaknesses.  We can put on a good show and even fool others but we cannot lie to ourselves.  We may choose not to admit the weaknesses to others for fear of appearing weak or vulnerable.

Your weaknesses should in no way hinder you but be a work in progress. Especially if you need to develop on your weakness in order to excel in your field or if it is having an unhealthy effect on the way you view yourself.

Starting with the positives first, my strengths are;

1. Consistent

2. Loyal

3. Articulate 

4. Organised

5. Problem solver

My two weaknesses (I deliberately chose just a few – trust me, there are more!)

1. Perfectionist 

2. Self-critical 

I recall studying mathematics at secondary (high) school.  I was able to do general calculations but anything like complex algebra went way over my head and to be honest it still does. I accepted defeat and felt an element of shame that I just could not grasp it. Do you know I even retook the following year to receive the exact same grade – who does that?!!

At times it niggles at me that I do not ‘get’ complex mathematics and on occasion I have questioned my intelligence because of it.  I am slowly learning that I cannot expect to excel in everything. I remind myself that I have major strengths in other areas. 

This quote by Melchor Lim sums it up;

“Every one of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, it is only when you accept everything you are and are not, that you will truly succeed”. 

Can you easily identify your strengths and weaknesses?

How important is it for you to work on your weaknesses?

How comfortable are you in discussing these with others?

Four points to consider when working towards your goals

Your goals in life may be personal, family or career orientated. Whatever they are, you should be working on these daily. 

I have a number of goals for my family, career, small business and church ministry. A few are over ambitious but I feel it is important to set goals high. If you aim for 60, you may hit 50/55 whereas if you aim for 100, you may hit 90/95. Big difference!

I love this quote by Don Lancaster;
“Most ‘impossible’ goals can be met simply by breaking them down into bite size chunks, writing them down, believing them and then going full speed ahead as if they were routine.”

This quote resonates with me on so many levels. It reminds me that reaching my goal is simply a process that I must follow consistently and diligently. 

So, the four things to consider;

1. What is your purpose?  What expected outcome are you hoping for? There has to be a reason for setting your goal.  This reason will keep you motivated and focused when tough times come (and they will!)

2. How much are you willing to sacrifice?
Desiring to achieve goals is not enough.
You will need to pursue then daily. You may need to brush up on your skills, read books, network at events. All of which will monopolise on your time. 

3. When do you want to achieve this by?
There has to be a set end date to ensure you meet the deadline. You can then plan the steps you will make to meet it.

4. What impact will this have on your family? It is far better to have the support of your family. Will striving for your goals eat into family time? Communicate with your spouse and children at all times. Balance family life and work/project life. I know this may not be for everyone but I sacrifice a few hours sleep to work on my goals.  I can then focus my time on my children during the day. 

Do you have defined goals?

Do you work towards these on a daily basis?