Prioritizing Life, Positivity, Wholistic Living, Self Evaluation, Life Lessons, Self Improvement

The Power of A Positive Attitude

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure” Henry Kissinger

Howdy do friends! Its been some time since I have posted to this blog page! I feel horrible for having neglected the few faithful followers for so long.  Anyway, I’m here now and hope that all is forgiven, so let’s move forward. I celebrated my 36th birthday this past week and thought it a fitting opportunity to bring you guys up to speed with what’s been going on with me these past few months. Life has been extremely busy! Between early morning traffic, day care drop offs, pick ups, working overtime, house chores, and all of the other responsibilities of adulting and motherhood it became difficult to post substantial material on a consistent basis. BUT that is no excuse! I made a commitment to share my journey, how ever far and few between in an attempt to inspire or encourage anyone willing to read.

…So anyway, I’ll jump straight into what I wanted to share today.

I have been meditating for weeks on the power of maintaining a positive attitude in my daily life. And how applying some of the principles that I am about to share with you has impacted the outcome of my decision making, which has added to my over all growth and development this past year.
In my last two posts I shared about my journey of being laid off and how I was able to cope through that season of self evaluation through positive meditation, self affirmation and prayer. Well in late January after being home for over nine months with no foreseeable way forward concerning my career, I received a call from my husband who in turn had gotten a call from one of his friends who worked for a local financial institution.  The company was seeking someone to complete a temporary project that their Human Resources Department was undergoing. Now, going from a well paying job with ample flexibility and amazing benefits to becoming a contractual worker, making half the salary, no benefits, and more work which involved a large degree of manual labor was not exactly what I had in mind for my next move. However, all things considered, I had to put everything in my life in the right perspective in order to move forward or remain in the same immobile place that I was currently in.  Although, for the most part, all of my basic needs were being met, the reality remained, with a very young growing family, my husband and I were not yet in a position for me to comfortably take on the role of stay-at-home wife and mother.

Here are some of the principles that I applied in my move from stay at home back to the regular hustle and bustle of an everyday working woman.
(1) Put things in the right perspective: It is important to keep the main thing, the main thing when making decisions that ultimately affect the direction of your life. It is always a matter of perspective, your point of view or thought pattern controls the trajectory of your life. When I was offered the temporary contract to assist the company’s HR Department on their uniform project, I gladly accepted. The way I saw it, taking the job was better than sitting at home doing nothing. It was a step in the right direction, no matter how small that step appeared to be at the time. Best case scenario, I would do so well that it would lead to a full time position in the company with an increase in salary and worthwhile benefits. Worse case, at the end of the 3 month contract I would have gained some experience to add to my resume and at the very least saved up some pocket money to get some much needed things done on my to do list. I had to think beyond the scope of my own ambitious desires for the next glamourous well paying job or new aspiring entrepreneurial venture. Above anything else, I had a commitment as a wife/help mate and a mother/provider first.

(2) Perform with a Spirit of Excellence: Anything that you do, it is vitally important to do it to the best of your ability.  After all, your work no matter how big or small is your trademark.  My superiors in HR were impressed with my work ethics and the positive approach that I took each day while carrying out my duties. The task ahead of me was no small undertaking. With a deadline to meet and attention to detail being critical, there was little to no room for error. The project involved me unpacking cases of the company’s new uniform order, systematically sorting through the hundreds of pieces to ensure that the orders were correct, re-boxing, labeling and then distributing them to the company’s 400 plus employees at the various local branch locations as well as ensuring shipment went out to the out island locations. It wasn’t a glamourous job but someone had to do it and I just happened to be that designated someone. And if I was going to do it, I needed to see it as more than what it appeared to be in order for it to be done properly. My reputation was at stake, I didn’t know who was watching and taking notes. My thinking everyday was that this small opportunity could potentially open bigger doors for me. So putting pride and high heeled pumps aside, I picked out my comfortable flats and jumped into full gear!

My greatest inspiration during that season was my husband, Michael’s journey. He had gone from self made boss/entrepreneur of a successful medium sized business back to a full time nine to five job following the closure of his ten year old mobile and electronics store back in 2013.  I pulled on the strength of his faith in God and his positive outlook towards the entire situation. Fortunately, he was able to go back to the company for which he worked ten years prior before moving into his own business. After one meeting with the company’s Managing Director, without reservation, they gave him a job. That in a nutshell spoke volumes, not only to his commitment to provide security for his family (above his need to protect his image or save face) but also to the level of confidence that the company must have had in the quality of his work to hire him back on the spot.

Every morning, I tapped into Michael’s voice that said “work as unto the Lord”.  It is a principal that we had been taught by our spiritual fathers. It doesn’t matter what the conditions are around us, we have a commitment to God and our faith to reflect the standards of the Kingdom in whatever we set our hands to do. Not one day since Michael went back to work did he come home depressed or sad because of some of the tasks that he had been assigned, regardless of whether he felt that they were beneath his abilities. Why? Because he understood the concept of seasons and the principles of going through the process. Also, he has always been confident in the fact that God would honor his faithfulness to perform each task in a spirit of excellence.  And on that admirable note, I took a page from his book.

(3) Think Seasonal: As I mentioned earlier, the project involved a large degree of manual labor but I could not base my decision on what was presently being offered. I had to shift into tunnel vision, putting things into the right perspective that taking on this project was just the beginning of a process that would lead to something more meaningful and rewarding for me and my family. Well, long story short, at the end of the three months, I had successfully completed the project in record time and was offered an extension to work on a project that was well underway in another department within the same company. That project held a lot more weight in terms of the level of “importance” of the task that I had been assigned in the grand scheme of things to the company. It required me to now go from working solo to now working along with a team to complete a client based regional initiative. Somehow, the skills that were required was exactly what I had acquired during my tenure in the full time job I had been released from just the year before.

This was a perfect opportunity to make my mark and prove my worth, and I think I did.  It was a lot of work, a lot more challenging in nature than the last one. Some days, my colleague and I did not even have time to break for lunch, sometimes working hours past closing time to meet weekly deadlines, knowing full well that we weren’t going to be compensated for the extra hours because it was not apart of the temporary contract agreement.  We could not look at it from that perspective though or we would lose focus of the end goal or risk compromising the quality of our work. The work needed to be done and there were people relying on us to do whatever it took to get it done in a timely and efficient manner.

So each day I approached my task with a renewed mind, remaining focused on the end goal, not just on a corporate level but for me it was personal. Now, looking back I wouldn’t trade one good or bad day of that part of my journey, because the value I got from that three month experience far outweighs the fifteen years of career training I received in my area of discipline.  It was like a three month boot camp course, only I was being paid for it. LOL! It was worth it…

Can you see the whole process unfolding so far? Keep reading…it gets better.

(4) Kick the Victim’s Mentality: Going into any environment, whether work or otherwise, the worse thing you can do is go in with a defeatist mentality.  Having that kind of thinking will also translate into how you view yourself through someone else’ lens and how you interpret everything, including other people’s response toward you. When working as part of a team, where there is a vast diversity of personalities and histories, conflict is inevitable.  However, this opportunity from day one allowed me to overcome those hurdles for which I once tripped over.  This is the part where I had to consciously work all the more to ensure given my last experience that I wasn’t being hyper sensitive at any given time.  Accepting, dissecting, analyzing and interpreting constructive criticism, as well as delegated instructions no matter the form in which it was given was under my control how I chose to respond to it.   I made a very deliberate attempt to take personal responsibility each day for my reaction towards the actions of others.  I had to level up in this area in a major way in order for me to maintain tunnel vision.  Putting my personal feelings on the side to perform at the optimum level was paramount. There were days when I felt like responding to situations based on my emotions but I knew that if I did, the outcome would have been unfavorable.

Each morning, prayer and self affirmations helped me to stay grounded and focused, taking all  things into perspective rather than interpreting things done or said by others in a negative light.  I was there to perform a duty and in return receive compensation; any other additive was simply a by-product of the experience. I was determined not to take it on. Therefore,  I took a very wholistic approach in every situation, whether I was interacting with a colleague or a disgruntled customer. I read a quote a few days ago “An unhealed person can find offense in pretty much anything someone does.  A healed person understands that the actions of others has absolutely nothing to do with them. Each day you get to decide which one you will be.”  That is the mindset that will help you get through difficult days not just in the work place but generally in life.

(5) Adopt a Heart of Gratitude: This point right here should be penned by Michael really! He has mastered the art of rising every morning from the day we said “I do” with this attitude. After 2013, just months after our nuptials the decision was made to officially close the store. I was devastated! After packing the last box, I sat in the empty store and broke down in tears. One would’ve thought that I was there from inception, but I was more concerned for our future. I also felt sad for him. I knew that he was an awesome, prudent responsible business man. So why was this happening to him? Why was this happening to us…now? BUT he maintained his composure through it all! If he did cry, I never saw him do it. Rather, he consoled me…imagine that? LOL! Explaining again, the principles of seasons.  We had entered a new season.  It was a new beginning for us, I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy but nothing worth building ever is right?

Anyway, back to the present…After being unemployed for nearly a year, getting a phone call at all was like a flicker of light at the end of a very long and winding tunnel.  So to say that I was grateful for the opportunity was an understatement.  Although the salary and job description did not match my ideal job, being able to independently make some cash was a relief. I had to maintain this same mindset that Michael did nearly six years ago when he had lost far more than I did. So on days when I felt completely exhausted after working long hours, barely able to get out of bed to get dressed for work, I had to recall the same mental state that I was in when I accepted the position. I was thankful to God for providing a way for me, it was like Abraham’s ram in the thicket.

(6) Stay Humble:  So fast forward to now…right at the brink of my last few days of the 2nd contract I received a call from another institution.  I had applied for a position nearly a year ago with them. They had called me in for an interview in late 2018, followed by a 2nd phone interview  but after further consideration decided to fill the intended role internally instead. Needless to say I was disappointed at the time, because it would have been a perfect fit for what I had in mind.

Now more than six months later, the interviewer calls me back to ask if I would be ok with her releasing my CV to an independent consultancy company looking for a candidate to fill a role for which she felt I would be suitable for…My response “most definitely!”

I started with that company two weeks ago and get this, the required knowledge for the position is exactly what I had acquired during my 2nd contracted project at the financial institution.

What if I had failed to go through the process? What if I had said “No” to the initial job offer to pack uniform boxes because I felt that it was beneath my abilities? I think the lesson in all of this is very clear.  Maintaining a positive attitude and remaining humble through every high and low is a powerful method for success. I left that company on a very good note I might add, especially since my contract was due for an extension had I not opted to take this job.  My direct supervisor provided very good feedback on my work ethics at the end and even promised to put a personal recommendation into HR to rehire me should a suitable full time position become available in the future.

Its true what they say, “your attitude determines your altitude”…nothing could be more true!

Tried and proven…

 

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I’m NOT Coming to The Party!

Some time last week, I was having one of those days where I was feeling down and sorry for myself. I was thinking about all of the things that I had not yet accomplished and how far fetched my aspirations all seemed in the grand scheme of things. How everytime I took 10 steps forward, I was being pulled 5 steps back because of circumstances I could not control. I wasnt where I used to be but I was far from where I wanted to be. I was looking at the glass half empty instead of half full. For a good few minutes I began to throw myself a pity party, inviting self doubt and anxiety in to join me. Before I knew it, depression was trying to get in too. …Even caught myself asking the question “Lord, is anyone praying for me?” Dumb question right? I know! In that very moment, it was as if God came in the room and whispered in my ear “I am always with you. You are never alone!” Then He reminded me of His promise in Jeremiah 29: 11. With that said, I knew that fear and faith could not coexist in the same space- I had to choose. At the end of that little conversation in my head, I had no other choice but to leave the party!

If you are not careful, the enemy will try to catch you off guard, he waits for the opportunity when you’re most vulnerable. All he needs is a foot in the door of your heart and he will begin setting up! Don’t give him the attention! Slam the door in his face; tell him he’s not welcomed in your space! AND you will NOT be attending his pity party!

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Faith Versus FUD

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.  People often become more committed to a familiar discomfort than they are to an unfamiliar new possibility.” Lisa Nichols

Today I want to address the issue of fear, which has so many dynamics that it would be nearly impossible to cover it all in one blog post. After meditating on the topic for this post, I referred to google to see if my initial key phrase actually made any sense. In my search I came across the acronym FUD meaning “Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt” which was a term used in the early 20th Century to describe the marketing strategy of the well-known IBM computer company. It is speculated by its first competitor, that this strategy was used by IBM’s sales team to instill disinformation in the minds of potential customers who might be considering a new competitive product.
American software developer, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
“The idea, of course, was to persuade buyers to go with safe IBM gear rather than with competitors’ equipment. This implicit coercion was traditionally accomplished by promising that Good Things would happen to people who stuck with IBM, but Dark Shadows loomed over the future of competitors’ equipment or software. After 1991 the term has become generalized to refer to any kind of disinformation used as a competitive weapon.”
I am convinced that just as it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual realm. Isn’t it interesting how the adversary uses fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) as a competitive weapon against the children of God? He plants seeds of doubt by creating the illusion that the obstacles or setbacks that we can see are more real than the promises that God has spoken over our lives through His word. I guess he knows that in our finite human intellect, it is a lot easier to believe in the tangible (seen or proven) over the intangible (unseen or unproven). His ultimate goal is to replace our faith with FUD. If he can get us to believe that staying in the comfort or safety of what we know will protect us from unforeseen failure, then he has successfully created fear thus producing stagnation. And the enemy knows full well that that is not a spiritual environment conducive for our faith to thrive.
Trust me, I speak from years of experience in this area but I am about to tell you how I was able to conquer my fears, uncertainties and doubts.
One of my favorite writings by the Apostle Paul is found in Hebrews 11. Whenever I need a boost in my faith I go there, it never fails! He outlines the precedence of some of the greatest miracle stories in the bible to sum up faith in action, but the part that resonates most with me is verse 6 when he said:
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
So if our faith pleases God, and the absence of faith is fear, it suggests that the enemy’s plan has dual purpose! He knows that once he can get us to become doubtful of God’s promises, fearful and uncertain of the unknown, not only do we ultimately derail God’s divine plans for our lives, we also displease God by the very presence of our fear. I can guarantee that there is nothing the devil loves more than to feel like his plans have succeeded over our trust and confidence in our Heavenly Father.  Let me remind you  that his strategies are as old as time; he has been using FUD since the very beginning of mankind. Case and point: Adam, Eve and the apple!
I think Paul recalls the stories of all of those ancient saints to prove to us that God’s plans always prevail once we put our faith into action.
Let’s look at verse 7 and 8:
7 “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.”
Wow! So here we have a man who in holy reverence to God builds this massive ship on dry land proclaiming to his family, neighbors and friends that a flood was coming. Now bear in mind that this floating vessel was the first of its kind back then. They knew nothing about The Titanic or Royal Caribbean’s Symphony. Additionally, their world had never experienced a flood before so I’m pretty sure to his native people, Noah looked like a walking talking lunatic! He came up against incredible opposition during the building process of this boat. I would imagine as a normal human-being although he maintained his faith, he still went back to God a few times just to verify that it was really God’s voice that he had heard. After weeks of building, with no sign of rain, he was probably tempted to give up. However, after being laughed at, scorned and ridiculed, his character beaten down and his self-esteem completely deflated, each day that he woke up to make his way down to that building site he made a conscious decision to maintain his focus on completing the work that God had entrusted to him.

Needless to say, the flood came and it not only solidified Noah’s confidence in his ability to hear God’s voice; it also reassured his faith in God’s protective and redemptive power because he and his family survived the storm and God eventually restored everything that had been destroyed. As for the mockers, sadly enough the flood proved to be dooms day for them because of their disobedience and lack of faith in a God they could not physically see.
8 “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”
Now here is another phenomenon that required much faith. Here is a man that left everything that he knew to go to an unknown place under the instructions of God. Imagine leaving the comfort of your birthplace to wonder around in a strange land in hopes that you will eventually reach this never before seen “promised land”. With no map, compass or directions, travelling thousands of miles on foot, horse and donkey as a means of transportation, this scenario would’ve definitely spelt disaster and defeat for most of us living today, but not Abraham. He had tunnel vision to continue on his journey in hopes of reaching Canaan; BUT his path was by no means clear cut. It consisted of many unexpected detours, obstacles, and opposition along the way that would’ve otherwise create FUD. In the process of travelling to Canaan, he had to overcome exile, abuse, hunger, family disagreements, and the list goes on.

This is the same man whose wife, through a promise made by God, did not bare him a son until they were both well in their 80s. Now if that isn’t faith in action, I don’t know what is! And to top it all off, God later challenged Abraham to sacrifice the very son that had been promised and given to him after 80 years of waiting! Though saddened by the strong possibility that he would have to kill his own son out of obedience to God’s instructions he goes up into the mountain still believing by faith that God would provide a way out. And just in the nick of time God steps in to save Abraham’s son from death by his own father’s hands! Can you imagine what level of faith it must have taken for Abraham to come so close to killing his own son all because of His desire to obey and please God?

So in essence what Paul was telling us is that with all of what Noah and Abraham endured and still maintained their faith, then it gives us more than enough ammunition against the tactics of the enemy!

Nowadays, we are no longer restricted to a horse or a donkey with only the stars as a guide if God gives us instructions to move. The advancement of technology has given us computers, navigational systems, cars and airplanes to make the process a whole lot easier. You may say, but what about the resources needed to do what I need to do? Like Abraham, it is important to see beyond the limitations of our present circumstances, to block out all doubt and dispel the fear by activating our faith to action. Sometimes making the first step though small it might be, could very well be the step in the right direction to seeing those plans come to fruition! The resources may not be readily available yet but perhaps writing the vision will lead to the next step and then the next until God makes the provisions or the way clear for the next level.
I can attest to the fact that every time I faced an obstacle, whether it was the loss of a job, a broken relationship, a failed endeavor or a disappointment from derailed plans, God always provided a much better outcome than I could have ever planned on my own. I have seen God provide for me in the most unconventional ways. He has used people and avenues that I would least expect to come through for me during my times of need. So as time progresses, it becomes easier to handle each setback or curve ball with a degree of grace because my faith stands on the foundation of the last miracle and the one before that. I had to train my mind to interpret every single obstacle, detour or delay simply as a temporary setback for a permanent set up.

Now with that being said, I have also come to realize that sometimes our greatest battles are not the illusions (external factors) created to look like failure, rather they are delusions (internal wellbeing), battles of the mind, which is of far greater concern. Delusions are internal beliefs, that have been proven to be wrong but is still maintained by an individual. How you view yourself, those around you and the world at large can create a degree of fear, uncertainty and doubt. This kind of obstacle, in my opinion can be considered as a strong hold that requires both fasting and prayer to break free from this mindset.
It is also very important to create an environment that in conducive to growing your faith. You cannot meditate on the words of pessimistic, negative people and expect to maintain a healthy faith life. Remember the enemy also uses people’s opinions as a target to destroy your faith. Whether you are receiving those opinions directly from family, friends or foe or indirectly through various media streams, be mindful and vigilant of Satan’s craftiness. Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with those that will provide encouragement and solutions rather than ridicule and unfavorable outlooks. Feed your spirit with positive and uplifting material that flush out any thoughts of fear, uncertainty and doubt.
I encourage you today, that whatever obstacles, detours, setbacks or oppositions are staring you in the face, know that it is only an illusion to what is ahead. It is up to you to remain focused, obedient and prayerful. Remember that having faith without action is just as detrimental to our growth as having FUD. See those setbacks as an obstacle course if you may, allow each disappointment, delay, or set back to build the endurance that it takes to push past the fears of the unknown, building up your spiritual muscles and bringing you closer to the finish line.  Make the first step in the direction of your desired outcome, practice patience, learn to be sensitive to God’s voice, so that you know timing, when to move and when to be still. With these components, I am confident that in due course, God will reward you for your diligence.