purpose

Kick Fear Now and Choose Life

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Have you ever felt like you just are just existing?

Do you know what I mean?

You feel that you have no goals, dreams or ambitions.

Your life lacks motivation.  You see no sense in going on.  In fact, the future looks pretty bleak from where you are standing.

Many people feel this way after experiencing a devastating loss.  The loss of a loved one – a spouse, child, parent, sibling, close friend, partner – can leave you so numbed that you can’t do anything.

What now?  Who will be there for you?  The one person, that filled a big place in your life, has suddenly gone.

Any type of loss is overwhelming.  The fear of living again almost always follows that loss.  Days, weeks, months, and even years go by and you just can’t find the willpower to get back to the act of living.

Yet, live you must, even if only one day at a time.

You have to find the determination that moves you forward to your future.  Your loved one’s greatest request is that you carry on living.  It is not easy, but you can be happy again.  You can have dreams.  You can set goals and you can pursue high ambitions.  Even if you never fully accomplish them, they will allow you to feel again.

To get you on the process of being again, find like-minded people who have also experienced loss of someone close.  Find a group that you feel comfortable with and start to attend their gathering.  If a group does not work for you then find one or two close friends to share with.  There is nothing more comforting than sharing stories and communicating your feelings to get you through the grieving process.

When you are ready move on to the next process of doing something that reminds you the world has not stopped turning.  This could be something small like going for a walk, attending a social function, or reviving a “put on the back burner” hobby.  It could be something big, like learning something new or going someplace different.

The key is to keep the momentum going.  Don’t stay stagnant and whatever you do don’t lock yourself away.

Cherish the memory of your loved one by living your life, to the fullest, one day at a time.

You are not forgetting them.  Rather, you are choosing to embrace life for you — and for them.

Kick Fear Now and choose life.

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Graduates, Get Ready to Soar

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The graduates are coming!

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One by one they walk up the steps, move across the stage, and accept their diploma.

The time it took to accomplish this wonderful goal, whether 2 years, 4 years, or even more, will now be fully sealed and secured by this rolled up piece of paper.

All those late nights, tests and papers, essays and presentations are now behind.

No more pulling your hair out or burning the midnight oil while you guzzle down cans of energy drinks.

The hard work is done.  Your labor was not in vain.  The years of sacrifice is evidenced by this beautifully embossed diploma.

Some graduates walk across the stage looking very serious. With determination and purpose, their minds are already mapping out the next five years of their lives.  Others walk with a smile on their face, a little bit of disbelief still in their eyes. They are pleased with their accomplishment, yet unsure of what to do next.  Nevertheless, they are satisfied with a job well done.  Then there are those that strut across the stage, big grins on their faces.

One turns and looks at the crowd, pumps a fist in the air and lets out a big “Yes”.  A cheer comes from where family and friends are seated.  It was a rough ride, so victory is all the more sweet.

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Many of you have wanted to give up along the way. The assignments were hard, the pressure too high, and the setbacks just never seemed to stop.

For you who stayed the course and did not throw in the towel, you have earned this milestone celebration.  You are people on purpose.  Fear once held a big place in your life, but not now.  You will accomplish anything you set your mind to because courage is now a part of who you are.

For you who stepped off for a moment, but stepped back on, I’m proud of you. You’ve come a long way in keeping unrealistic fear from taking its grip and hold.  You have truly earned your diploma.  You are a champion because of your determination and perseverance.

For you who have stopped and started, screamed and shouted, thrown in the towel and picked it up again to complete this course. I salute you. Go on and raise your hands in triumph because you did it.

Now, my question to you is – What’s Next?

Well, I say that it’s time to expand your vision, raise your sights higher, and move to the next level. Chapter 2 is about to begin.

You have your plans and goals, your dreams and visions. It’s all about moving forward courageously one action step after another.

Now, with that degree in your hand step triumphantly off the stage.  It’s time to step forward to success — your success!

Watch out world!  The fearless Graduates are getting ready to soar.

Curb Your Dog – Curb Your Fear

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Only You Alone Can Do This

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“We can aid each other in the independent visions God has given us, but we each as individuals have our own mountain to climb, our own journeys, and our own accountability to God.”

Tonia Renee Lee, Live Inspired, Not Bound!

Weathervane or Lighthouse — Which one are you?

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“It’s easy to act as if you are a weathervane, always changing your beliefs and words, trying to please everyone around you.  But we were born to be lighthouses, not weathervanes.  Imagine a vertical axis running through the center of your heart, from your deepest roots to your highest aspirations.  That’s your lighthouse.  It anchors you in the world and frees you from having to change directions everything time the weather shifts.”   Robert K. Cooper, The Other 90%

 

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Fear in Sheep’s Clothing

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When you are on a mission to eliminate fear from controlling your life, you will soon realize that unrealistic fear has no problem putting on sheep’s clothing if doing so will help it accomplish its goal.

Many times it will use the person closest to you to paralyze you. It could be your spouse, knocking down your idea about going back to college to earn a degree. It could be a sibling, reminding you of all the things you tried and failed at when you were young. It could even be your so-called best friend, who tells you how much they love you until you decide to do something different and extraordinary. Unfortunately, it’s often those people who think they know you, and what’s best for you, that push the fear button the hardest.

Jonathan Johnson, author of A Fighting Chance, is our guest blogger today and he has some words of encouragement for us on this issue. 

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God doesn’t make trash…..He hears your cry!!!!

This blog post is for those people who lost hope…..

This blog post is for those people that were told they wouldn’t amount to anything….

This blog post is for the CHAMPION in all of us….

Living life isn’t always the easiest task. Sometimes life can beat us down to the point that we don’t want to get back up. A lot of times we pray, and we feel that God doesn’t answer our prayers in a timely manner. The one thing that we have to understand is that our time isn’t God’s time, He moves when he’s good and ready. In this life, we ALL have some type of dream or goal that we want to achieve. Through the process of reaching our dreams, we encounter people who will do anything to stop us from getting to that point. And a lot of times, the people that we embark on are those closest to us…crazy huh? But it happens. A lot of times it’s those that are closest to us that don’t have a clue of what God is trying to do in our lives.

The good news is the storms that we endure are simply a test. Sure a lot of times we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. That light is indeed there, we just have to keep pushing towards it. You must understand that God is GREATER than any PREDICAMENT that we are faced with. There are times when people tell us that our dreams are stupid, childish, or even phony. That’s fine, let those other people talk…after all, God has the final say so, and the beauty of it is that God gives us control of our own destinies…it’s just on us to walk into what’s ours. So, instead of complaining…start claiming.

At the end of the day, we are all champions; we just have different roads to our titles. Never forget that God is a bridge builder, so when you’re walking in your darkest hour, trust that God won’t leave you hanging. Granted we might sin daily, which is why Jesus went to the cross for us. So, when others come against you and your dreams don’t fret…just keep pushing. Those people are just misguided…

“When the world brings you down to your knees…you’re in the PREFECT position to pray”

When Setbacks Come, What Will You Do?

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“Our circumstances can either take us under, or we can fight and rise above everything and everybody that attempts to hold us down.”
                                                      Jonathan C. Johnson, A Fighting Chance

Last weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with some wonderful authors at the National Black Book Festival in Houston, Texas.  As a first time author I knew I was stepping into a new environment and was a little bit apprehensive.  Needless to say that fear was soon kicked out the way so that excitement and enjoyment could take its place.

I was amazed at the different stories that each person told as to why they decided to write and get their story published.  I was truly inspired by the courage they used to put it all down in order that others who are facing, or have faced similar experiences, can find strength and determination to go through the challenge and live their life to the fullest.

One such author was Jonathan C. Johnson, a humble, quiet, young man who has overcome so many obstacles from birth all the way through his teen years.

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Born to a 15 year old mother, he was conceived through rape. Due to a head injury, he was quickly taken from her at six months old by Children’s Protective Services.  Placed in a foster home, he was not the perfect adoption candidate.  He was considered to be “slow” with a head and feet that were larger than normal for a baby of his age.  Thankfully, he had a foster mother and foster siblings that loved him.

It was this love that made his foster mother tell her friend, who was looking to adopt a child, about the little boy.  It was love that made the friend want to take him as her own.  Despite the adoption agency telling her the child was not a “good fit”, she did not stop until she adopted her little boy.

Time would fly as the little boy grew in his new home, but soon illness would come and disrupt everything.  First, a heart murmur, then breathing problems and finally chronic kidney failure.  All before he had reached the age of fifteen.  Here’s what he said.

“While my classmates were out having fun, I was at home thinking of ways to improve my situation.  When you’re faced with a life-changing situation, it’s on you to sink or swim.  I decided to swim as hard and as fast as I could.”  Jonathan C. Johnson.

I’m going to stop here because I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of the rest of the story.

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Jonathan’s story is told in his book, “A Fighting Chance.”  It is a story of strength and courage that everyone should read. He also continues to encourage and inspire through his tweets at Kidney Kronicles.

I was so inspired by his book that I invited him to do a guest blog.  He graciously said that he would.  I know you will enjoy his post next week.

In the coming days I will tell you of other writers I met who chose to use their life story to inspire others. Instead of letting their setbacks and struggles leave them fearful, they chose to share and give hope to others. I believe that each one of them faced their fears and kicked it in their own way.  I hope their stories will help you too.