new situation

When was the last time you celebrated you?

Posted on Updated on

It’s finally here, the time of year when we see if we have staying power or not.

image

Twelve days of January have gone and those who set big resolutions are asking themselves, “What was I thinking?”

Those, like myself, who didn’t even think about resolutions, are breathing a sigh of relief and celebrating the season for what it really is, a time of reflecting and rejuvenating in order to approach 2016 with new vitality and focus. Now is the time to make the first two or three months of this new year really meaningful.

Here is one thing that should get you geared up for a successful 2016.

Honor yourself.

You made it through 2015. Things may not have gone exactly the way you planned, or maybe they did. Still you made it. Give yourself a pat on the back. This is the time of year to pause and celebrate the person you are today. Yes, there are still changes you want to make, but for now, celebrate and honor you.

For those of you who journal, take the time to memorialize what the past 12 month journey of 2015 was like. Write about the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs, the setbacks and steps forward. Embrace it all. Those experiences have allowed growing and excelling to take place.

What about your expectations, goals, and aspirations for 2016. Yes, now is the time to write them down and plan out what it will take to make 2016 the year of expansion and accelerated growth.

For those of you who blog, then share your story with us. Teach us how you did it; what you learned, and show us how we too can achieve great success through, dare I say it, hard work and determination.

Share your stores of how important it is to be kind and generous, thinking of others as much as yourself. Let us know where you came from and how far you have journeyed. Yes, it doesn’t hurt at all to remember your roots.

Finally, tell us who gave you love and support during this time of change or growth. Who were those influencers and supporters of all you accomplished? Hey, having an attitude of gratitude can propel you way faster than you ever dreamed.

Indulge yourself. You have a full year ahead of you. Take this time to focus and plan. You owe it to yourself.

“Let go of the past and go for the future. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Change is Inevitable

Posted on Updated on

I wanted to share these words of encouragement from a fellow blogger whose mission is to inspire and motivate those who land on their page.

Change is our biggest fear, but it is also a part of living.  At the end of the day change is going to come. How we react to that change will determine the outcome. It will be positive if we embrace it and negative if we fight it.

Courage means taking action.

Aminellie says when change comes, “Do not crumble” and “Hold on“. I am in total agreement with that.

Now then take these words of inspiration and motivation from Aminellie and Kick Fear Now.

Curb Your Dog – Curb Your Fear

Posted on Updated on

You know what makes me angry, people who don’t curb their dogs. Believe you me, I don’t have anything against dogs or their owners. Dogs are wonderful companions.  Many a pooch has passed through my life at one time or another.  In fact, at one point we had 4 of them at home, all running around and causing havoc. No, what gets me mad is dog poop.

IMG_8979

Yes, you got it, dog poop. And not just dog poop, but dog poop that is in the middle of the sidewalk. You know the kind, dog poop that you have to dance around or jump over in order to get to the curb without stepping into it.  I get even angrier if I’m not looking down and step right into a pile of dog poop.  Oh yes that has happened to me. Why don’t people just curb their dogs as the sign says, and — because it is the law.

Unrealistic fear, like dog poop, gets me real angry.  That’s why I wrote the book Kick Fear to the Curb: 5 Action Steps for a Courageous You.  Fear used to get in my way of doing the things I wanted to do and you know what, that made me angry, so angry that I decided to do something about it.

In her book, Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion, Carol Tavris explains that fear and anger aren’t that different. She says that “any event that is unfamiliar, intrusive and compelling – and that potentially requires you to respond – will stimulate the production of adrenaline, and, to a varying extent, noradrenalin as well.” What differs, she informs us, is each individual’s reaction and behavior.

I don’t know about you, but stepping in a pile of dog poop is very intrusive and so is living a life filled with unrealistic fear.  Poop and unrealistic fear need to be curbed, out of your way of moving forward.

cropped-kickfearnow-banner1.jpg

Why did I choose the curb as the place where unrealistic fear should eventually end up? The curb is an edge built along the street to form a gutter. It’s a raised edge that is meant to confine or strengthen the sidewalk. The gutter is recessed underneath the curb.

Anything that gets to the curb will eventually end up in the gutter.

There are so many of us that allow fear to be the center of attention in our life experiences. Every time you’re ready to do something, be it great or small, here comes unrealistic fear. First, it triggers your memory to search for a similar, long ago experience.  Then, it forces you to dwell on the bad feelings that took place with that situation.  Next, it uses those same emotions to put doubt and fear in your mind.  Before you know it you are hesitant, reluctant to take that chance of feeling that way again. But, this should not be how you react.

Just like bypassing that dog poop, with unrealistic fear you have to take action.  Do everything possible not to allow it to throw you off your path.  Move around it, jump over it, dance if you must, just don’t let it stop you from moving forward.  For me, I put unrealistic fear where it belongs — below, not above; underneath, not on top.

You should be the one looking down and gloating at fear, not the other way around.

So, if you are ready for a change and unrealistic fear is blocking your way, kick fear now and keep on stepping right into the life you always dreamed of living.

 

In the Face of Adversity are Windows of Opportunity

Posted on Updated on

“There is a window that is now open to you. All the gloom, despair, sadness, and other things that are negative will not be available in this window because you made the choice not to let them in.” ~ Sheila Lee

LEE_PHOTO_SESSION_008

I met Sheila Lee at the National Black Book Festival that I attended in Houston, Texas during November.  It was her voice that caught my attention as I listened to her speaking to another author alongside of me.  It was so soothing and calm.  As she spoke, I felt this was a woman at peace with herself and not only that, but she must bring joy to those people who often hear her voice.  It was not until the following day, when I attend her workshop, that I heard her story and realized that Sheila’s peace had come with a great price.

Sheila Lee was 34 years old when her husband of 11 years committed suicide.  She was devastated.  The man who she had planned to spend the rest of her life with had left her alone with a 10 year old child to raise by herself.  Despite the fact that this man, that she had loved so much, had abused her mentally and physically throughout their entire marriage, she was grief-stricken.

It would take time, but eventually Sheila would realize she had been released from a relationship that could easily have seen her being the one ending up dead.  She laughs about it now, but she told us that many times she proudly professed that she would “die for him.”  That’s how much she loved him.

Sheila has penned the book, Window Hood Not Widow Hood.  She wrote the book to give encouragement and hope to others who may have experienced a devastating loss such as hers.  She realized that there are windows of opportunity to be found in the face of adversity, you just have to get past the hurt to see them.

window hood med

Sheila kicked fear to the curb in her own way.  With perseverance, determination, and patience, she took one action step after another. It was hard work.  Nevertheless, with time and the positive attitude that she possesses, she felt it was important to share her story.  I for one am glad she has.

Today, along with the message in her books, Sheila gives comfort and solace to those who listen to her radio program “Morning Joy.”  If you want to can catch Sheila’s soothingly, pleasant voice just listen to WRVS 89.9 FM, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. – 9 a.m.  It is a great way to begin your day.

Sheila is currently running the Morning Joy Book Nook Marathon. From December 2 through December 13 she will be interviewing more than 30 authors to discuss their books and the reason why they wrote them as well as give some words of encouragement to the listeners.   On Thursday, December 12, 2013, 8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m., EST, I will have the pleasure of being interviewed by Sheila.  The highlight of the Book Nook Marathon is the free gift pack of books from the many authors.  There will be 12 winners of a drawing being held during the same dates.   What a great Christmas gift.

Sheila will be streaming and the interviews can be heard at www.ecsu.edu/wrvs or tunein.com on a lap top, desk top or tablet. Try to listen in and let me know if you were a winner.

What is this thing called courage?

Posted on

Courage is being stupid enough not to realize the danger
Involved to yourself
Smart enough to know you don’t have a choice,
But to take immediate action,
It’s a reflex action in the face of danger.
It’s something you have to do
And there is not enough time to wait
For another to make that decision

Jackie Logan, Pen-sanity

What does it take to be courageous? 

How do we move from wanting to run and hide to standing our ground and taking action?

Many times it all boils down to making a choice.

Let me share what I mean.

A few years ago I worked for a wonderful lady, Jean Taylor Jackson.  She was a trust and estates lawyer who, at that time, was one of the few female practitioners in this field.

One morning I arrived at work only to find her in a pool of blood.  Sometime during the previous evening or night, she had suffered an aneurysm.  She was lying in the kitchen, next to the stove.  A small pot had boiled dry on top of the stove, and the tiles of the floor gleamed brightly against her blood.  The raw smell of blood, mixed with the heat, was strong and repulsive.  What made things worse, I cannot stand the sight of blood, any blood.

I knew that within seconds I was going to get into a cold sweat, start heaving, and possibly vomit.  Although this wasn’t something I wanted to be confronted with first thing in the morning, I also knew that I had to deal with the situation.  I had to get medical help.  I also had to somehow reassure her that I was not going to leave her alone.

I closed my eyes and started to take long, deep breaths.  I also told myself to stay calm, to just deal with the immediate situation.  It was very difficult trying to ignore the sight and smell of the blood.  It quickly rose up to my nostrils.  The warm room only compounded the situation.

Things got worse when the paramedics had trouble lifting her onto the gurney.  To move her, the three of us had to lift the dead weight of the body.  It was hard.  She was heavy and the blood was now getting on my clothing and my hands.  Despite how I felt at that moment, I had to remain composed and focus on the problem at hand.

It took courage to get the situation under control so that it no longer provoked an emotional reaction within me.  It took even more courage when, a few days later, I was faced with the decision of whether to take this once beautiful, vibrant woman off life support.

You can choose to fear or choose not to fear.  You can exercise restraint or react without thought.  You can choose to focus on your limitations or choose to look at your strong points and work on improving them.  You can dwell on the bad or excel with the good.  It’s really up to you. 

Now it’s your turn to share.

What is the most courageous think you have ever done? How did you feel when you first started out? Was their anxiousness, fearfulness, trepidation or were you filled with anticipation and eager to do this thing you had never done before?

++++++++++++

This post is dedicated to Jackie Logan and Jean Taylor Jackson, two beautiful woman who departed this earth way too soon.

Blow Your Own Trumpet and Toot Your Own Horn

Posted on Updated on

One thing about the holiday season is that there are plenty of messages that will inspire and motivate us to action.  Last night after I came out the movie theater from watching the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I decided to walk along 34th Street before catching the train home.  As I looked around at the bright lights, decorations, and people doing their last minute shopping, my eyes were drawn upward.  High above the crowd, on the façade of Macy’s Department store, lit up in bright yellow lights and large enough so it could not be missed, was one word — Believe.  A simple message, but a powerful one nonetheless.

Inspiring messages are all around us
Inspiring messages are all around us

Don’t be afraid to dream big dreams or believe that they will come to pass. Just remember that you need to take action steps to make sure those dreams become reality. Of course, this is not always that easy to do but that does not mean you stop dreaming, believing, or doing. So you didn’t keep all your 2012 New Year’s resolutions and you did not do everything you wanted to do. Well, guess what, that’s okay.

You know, at the beginning of this year I set some big challenges for myself. In other words I dared to dream big and I believed that they would all happen. Well the year is almost over and I have not crossed every one of those goals off my list. I am sure that is also the case for many of you. Despite this fact I still believe I will be successful at them. This time, I have not resorted to feeling sorry for myself.  I now know better than to allow fear and doubt to take control. Instead, I have congratulated myself on the things that I have accomplished and given myself a pat on the back.

The little things are often the most important
The little things are often the most important

It is so easy to look back over the year and say to yourself, “I haven’t accomplished anything” but how wrong you would be.  This holiday season I strongly suggest that you take some time for you and list all the things that you have accomplished this year. Please don’t forget the small things.  Sometimes we overlook these little successes and they often are the most important.  Think of what you have done, how you did it, and what the outcome was.  Give yourself feedback.  Use this information to build upon and define what you will do next.

Toot your own horn
Toot your own horn

Now give yourself a gift for all your successes.  If you dare, take time to bask in your achievement. Celebrate.  Blow your own trumpet and toot your own horn.  Why?  Because it is the holiday season and you deserve it.

Decisions, Decisions

Posted on Updated on

shutterstock_85942999

“Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

There is a story in the Bible about four men who suffered from leprosy, a slowly progressing, incurable skin disease. Because they were lepers these men were ostracized and separated from the rest of society. Furthermore, they had to wear mourning clothes, leave their hair disheveled, and keep their beards covered.

As they moved about the place those with leprosy had to cry out “Unclean, Unclean!” so that people could keep away from them. Any contact with a leper defiled the person who touched him. These four lepers were confined to the outskirts of the City of Samaria, away from its citizens. They could be seen standing outside the city gate, no doubt begging for something to eat.

During this time we are told, the city was under siege by an enemy army. The longevity of the situation had caused the city to experience a great famine. In fact, the city had been locked down for so long that people were resorting to selling their children for food. The lepers knew that their chances for survival were slim. They looked at their situation and knew that without food they would soon die.

Alternative 1 – There was no food in the city. Staying put meant eventual death by starvation.

Alternative 2 – The city was on lockdown. No one went in and no one could get out. Staying where they were, outside the city, was pointless. They would definitely starve to death there.

Alternative 3 – Go where they knew there was food in abundance. Take a chance on the Arameans having pity on them by throwing them a few scraps; it was certainly worth a try. The benefit far outweighed the risk. The worst that could happen was death.

“Once a decision is reached, act!”  Dale Carnegie

This decision was not an easy one to make for the four lepers. The risks were high. Nevertheless, they weighed the alternatives, none of which were by any means palatable, and made a decision. They decided to take action despite their circumstances. It took a lot of courage, but their need for survival pushed them to face their fear of death.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson.

When fear and doubt are in control, every situation that requires change will automatically trigger a flight or fight response.  Fear does not know the difference between reality and perception, but you do.  Your job is to look at what is in front of you and assess the situation.  Think of all the possible outcomes before deciding whether to run or stay and fight.  Remember, a decision will always be made, even if that decision to do nothing.

As for those four men, well, the story tells us that they did reach the enemy camp and to their surprise they found it deserted of people. Instead, they found food to eat, clothes to wear, and lots of other valuables. Their bold move set in motion a chain reaction that allowed them to have a good outcome.  Now, its your turn to Kick Fear Now.