Do “it” with boldness!

I have no idea who the man is in the photograph above. What I do know is he is walking with an air of confidence and boldness. His bright orange trousers suggests he has enough confidence to carry them off. I can imagine him walking into a room and completly owning it.

As part of the praise and worship team in my church, I recall a training session I attended some years ago. The voice coach, a wonderful woman with years of singing experience, advised us to sing out in boldness especially when we are leading a song.  She also added it is not the end of the world if you start on a wrong note if you do it boldly. I distinctively remember thinking if I made an error I would prefer it to be done discretely – clearly too conscious of how I looked to others.

I have watched many a music rehearsals, some online with secular singers and others in person with worship leaders. I have noticed when they start on the wrong note, they accept this and simply ask the musicians to start from the top with great confidence. No shame, no blame, no embarrassment.

Whatever we do in life whether in our careers, hobbies or church ministry; we should do it with boldness. Nobody gets it right all of the time but when we step out in boldness, we assure others they can trust and rely on us. If we appear unsure of ourselves, others will be unsure of us. If we openly doubt ourselves, others will doubt us.

Whilst we may not feel bold at particular times in our lives, we should aim to act bold. Nobody will know about the nerves and anxiety you have before giving a speech/presentation – not unless you plan on telling them and why would you?

I have found, the more you act bold, the more you will feel bold. If you are approached to take up a project, give a talk, though you may have fears this should not hold you back. If you are not keen on interviews, apply for several jobs of interest in order to enhance your interviewing skills.  If at the very least you are not appointed to the role, you now have a little more interviewing experience than before. Do not underestimate the lasting impression of a firm, genuine handshake. Let people know they have met with you.

A few tips to stepping out in boldness:

1. Say yes and learn how to later
2. Practice your skill at home
3. Remind yourself you are not and never will be perfect
4. Learn to laugh at yourself

Are you bold?
Was it self taught or have you always had this trait?
What advice would you give to others who struggle to act with boldness?

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Do you what you need to do, to be where you need to be!

Deep down we know what it is we need to do – be honest! The problem is we do not always want to do it. We want to do what is comfortable, what is easy, what is familiar.  Staying in our comfort zone (we all have one) means we very rarely move up to where we need to be – instead we coast along.  We are not entirely happy in our comfort zone but it is rather cosy. It is here that we convince ourselves we are fine as we are.

Take exercise or healthy eating (I refuse to mention “dieting” as long term we all know it is unsustainable). At first it is difficult to change your eating habits and adding exercise to your already busy life.  I came to a point where I accepted I am no more a 30 something and if I wanted to look and feel good, I would need to put the effort in. Well, that was a shock to my system. As a teen and in my early twenties I was as lean as anything and could eat whatever I liked without it impacting on my weight.

I knew if I wanted to see a change I had to make a change. There are no shortcuts as if there were, believe me I would have taken them. It actually feels liberating making conscious decisions in your life which you know will go on to benefit you and in some cases others.  Putting in the work whether physically, mentally or emotionally does not feel so great in the moment but the long term results far outweigh the temporary feeling of dread.

What do you need or want to do?
Pass your driving test
Study to work in a particular field
Take up a hobby
Work on your confidence, self-worth
Adopt a healthier lifestyle
Other

There is no reason why you cannot get the ball rolling today. Look online, make a telephone call, speak to a friend or colleague.

You are responsible for your own progress and development.  You can choose to do little or you can choose to do much.  However slow your pace, ensure you continue to move forward.

Have you recently stepped out into something new and challenging? What pushed you?
What advice would you give to encourage someone else to do so?

What is your motivator for reaching your goal?

In order for us to reach our goal and move forward in life, we need to have a reason or if you like, a cause. Our reasons and cause will ensure we hang on in there long after we are tired, bored or feel out of our depth.

My cause is wanting to make a difference in the lives of others-to make my mark. I have a passion to leave a legacy for my generations to come; both financially and spiritually.  What I do each day is not just for the benefit of me or my immediate family. I regularly remind myself there is a bigger picture and what I put in today will enhance tomorrow.

The well known saying “keeping your eye on the prize” rings true. We must remain focused on what we hope to achieve, the end result and NOT what we feel right now. Our mood can change from one day to the next depending on what is happening around us so is hardly a reliable source.

Our goals should be broken down into small chunks enabling us to remain encouraged when we have met part of them.  We can even go as far as rewarding ourselves along the way – food does not need to be involved, a new book, nail varnish or top is just as nice.

Of course there will be challenges along the way, obstacles which may or may not deter you from continuing on your journey.  It is entirely your choice. One must not make the mistake of believing facing challenges means you are on the wrong road. Life is never this black and white.  Explore your options if you must but do not give in.

The questions we should ask ourselves is;

How much do I want this?

Am I willing to take full responsibility in order to reach my goal?

What am I willing to sacrifice?

How much time and money am I willing/able to put into reaching my goal?

Let your yes be yes and your no be no

How easy it is for one to commit to a task and then bail out once they find it is no longer convenient.  How often have you put yourself forward without much thought then backtrack on realising just how much of yourself you will have to give? Have you attended a networking event, got a little carried away and signed yourself up to something you either have little interest in or you do not know enough about?

In order to be taken seriously and walk with integrity, you must deliver what you say you will unless of course there are circumstances in which you have absolutely no control over.  People will regard and respect you when they know they can rely on you once you have given your word.  In an organisation, it is highly likely that officers who “get the job done” are the first port of call when a task is required.  In the long run they may well do more than their colleagues but they will be recognised as being a team player and more likely to be considered for promotion and further development.

In our busy world, people tend to want answers quickly in order to move forward, however you have the right to give thought to a request before signing up to anything. In fact, going away and pondering over a new venture, a favour, a task puts you in better stead than the person who hastily says yes. Saying yes is pointless unless you are going to follow the task through until the end. Saying yes and failing to deliver is just giving others empty promises.

As a parent you must remain consistent, however hard it may be.  If you tell your children they cannot play with a toy, watch a programme, eat a particular snack then you need to stick with this.  My children are both strong willed – still trying to identify where they inherited this from!  There have been occasions I have given in (I know, I know), in order to have peace and due to feeling utterly exhausted. I soon realised I was making a rod for my own back.  Whatever you do not address now will continue to rear its ugly head until you do.

I have listed a few tips below on how to remain consistent;

1. Aim to follow through whatever you say you will. If for any reason you cannot, inform the other person in good time, explaining why.

2. Give time to consider what to commit to and what not to commit to.  Not everything that presents itself well is right for you.

3. Refrain from speaking out in haste and having to retract your words at a later date.

What are your personal experiences on this subject?
How do you ensure you keep your word?
How do you deal with others who do not keep their word?

 

How content are you?

Oprah Winfrey quoted;

“Be thankful for what you have, you will end up having more. If you concentrate on what you do not have, you will never ever have enough.”

Have you ever felt you do not have enough of something, whether it be time, money, good health, friends, hobbies, achievements, recognition, attention from close friends and family? We have all been there (at least I have) where we spend far too much time focusing on what we do not have and overlook what we do have. This overshadows our view and changes our perception of ourselves and life.  It can consume us and cause a great hindrance to our joy. I say joy as happiness is short lived. Happiness is temporary and tends to be based on a future event or an occasion such as a celebration or a holiday.  Once this is over, your countenance changes.

As a teenager, I recall thinking of my evening/weekend plans to get me through the day. I would even go so far as planning what I would watch on television.  I was deeply unhappy at school and constantly looked for reasons to feel happy.

We do of course have needs and desires and when these are not met (primarily our needs), it can cause us a great deal of stress.  As children/teenagers we had ideas of what life would be like as an adult; in my case it was the freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted.  It did not occur to me that being an adult would come with a great deal of responsibility.

Back to my point – our lives may not be what we envisaged due to a number of factors (this list is not exhaustive);

1. Decisions we have made
2. Circumstances that are beyond our control
3. Lack of choice
4. Lack of knowledge

We can go over what life could have been had we done x, y or z but this will not bring an immediate change.  We can be hard on ourselves which will only dent our self-esteem.

We can choose to look at the good elements of our lives and enjoy every minute of them. We can choose to stop in this moment and take in what is around us rather than stewing over the “gaps” in our lives. There is not one person in this world who does not have a need. Some refuse to allow this to dampen their spirits and enjoy life, others feel they cannot be complete until they receive what they desire. Which one are you?

Live life to the full today!

Do you have contentment?
Did you have to work at it?
What advice would you give someone struggling in this area?

How well do you deal with disappointment?

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I recently received some disappointing news. I will resist the urge to say the news was devastating- it was not, just inconvenient and it brought a costly implication. Nothing we could not handle as a family!

Disappointment is a fact of life. It will come in many forms whether we like it or not.  It is therefore our responsibility to build up a resilience to disappointment.  It is our responsibility to ensure disappointment does not ruin our day, week or month. Easier said than done I know, especially if it impacts on your family members.

I do not recommend that you plan for disappointment but that you operate with an element of flexibility.  Life is never black and white – there are always shades of grey.  However much we plan, life throws the odd challenge here and there. We must endeavour to throw them back.

As a child and teenager I handled disappointment badly and also found it difficult to cope in particular circumstances.  I recall receiving earrings for my birthday, I must have been 13 or 14 years old. One of the earrings broke as I was clearly too forceful when attempting to put them on. I sat and sobbed for hours. My mum tried to console me but I would not allow her to. I felt terribly sorry for myself and wanted to wallow in self pity.  I knew then I struggled emotionally but had no idea how to work my way through it so my dramatic reactions to disappointment continued into my twenties.

We have such different characters and thresholds for disappointment. Someone I know of booked a break for her and family. Her child fell ill near the travel date (not seriously ill) and they were unable to attend. They were not reimbursed so lost all payments. She was easily able to shrug it off and move on and I admire her for this. 

It is important we understand how we absorb information and news – good or bad. There are mechanisms one can use to reduce anxiety around facing disappointment. Whilst none are guaranteed to bring an immediate turnaround, they can serve as a starting point to you taking control.

1. Stop whatever you are doing and breathe easy.  If at work, walk away from your desk. If at home go to a quiet room to gather your thoughts.

2. Do not make any rash decisions. At times one may wish to quickly ‘find a solution’ in order to ‘make it all better’. This could bring further calamity.

3. Try not to blame yourself when life does not go as planned. Not every challenge we face is a product of our wrong doing.

4. Stop aiming for perfection – it does not exist and it is a tiring process living to prove your worth via work, family, hobbies etc.

I hope my mechanisms for facing disappointment have been helpful. Perhaps you can share your personal experience.

How do you deal with disappointment?
Have you improved on this over the years?

Are you a ‘night owl’ or an ‘early to bed’?

I find it interesting that some people need at least eight hours sleep whilst others can cope on four or five. We really do need to rest as our brains and bodies are working overtime during the day.

Wolson Mizener quoted;

“The average sleep required by a person is five minutes more.”

On waking in the morning, I am sure the majority of people would pay to have an extra 30 minutes sleep – I know I would!

I once read the late Margaret Thatcher (UK Prime Minister 1979 to 1990) slept for only four hours a night. I do wonder how she managed to function in such an elitist role on little sleep. Perhaps her body grew used to the number of hours she allowed it to rest. There are only so many hours in the day that one can actually be productive. After a while one will burn out.

I am a night owl but at the same time enjoy going to sleep. My bed is like a haven, when asleep the many thoughts and concerns that come on my mind during the day are no more at night. Around 10.30/11pm, I get a surge of energy which is odd as when commuting home (two hour journey) I can barely keep my eyes open. I have been known to type text messages whilst tired, accidentally erase them and retype them again!

My husband is an early to bed and early to rise  person. Come 10pm, he is nodding off. Occasionally I select a film on Netflix for us to watch and I can guarantee he will drift off and I wind up watching the film alone. Even popular TV shows that I plan to watch with him, I now go ahead and watch them back to back as I just know he will lose concentration if it is late in the evening.

My children will fight their sleep right until the end. They do not want to miss out on anything. Believe me – nothing exciting happens in our home on a weekday evening. My daughter reads and spends a little time on her Kindle before drifting off – before this she needs to use the bathroom, have a drink, discuss an event at school – whatever it takes to deter going to sleep. My son brings his transformer, fidget spinner and a few cars to bed and plays with them before drifting off.  I laugh at the sleeping positions I often find him in.

Are you a night owl or do you need your eight hours sleep every night?
How do your sleeping patterns affect your ability to function well during the day?
Have you changed your sleeping pattern in order to accommodate your lifestyle?

Light hearted tips and advice from an organised lady!

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