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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“What If I Let you Go?!”

During our downtime at home, my husband and I usually gravitate towards the den room where we spend our time watching T.V. etc. It was a Friday afternoon in early September 2017. We along with hundreds of other families had retired to our homes, now hunkered down awaiting the impending hurricane Irma which was scheduled to make landfall in just under forty-eight hours. Most of the local necessity stores, banks, private businesses, and government agencies had already closed their doors until further notice, all awaiting the fate that lay ahead. All U.S. and local networks had dubbed this hurricane as one of the largest and most dangerous natural disasters to ever hit the Caribbean islands. To say that most people were concerned is an understatement.

We anxiously watched the weather updates flashing across the television screen as I sat in the living room’s recliner chair holding my then nine-month-old son in my arms. Of course, as with all growing little baby boys, he never keeps still and every opportunity is an adventure or exploration! So he proceeded to lean over the armrest of the reclined chair in an effort to get to the ground; now tipped over the side of the chair head facing the floor he struggled and fought to loosen my grip around his waist. And as any responsible parent, I held on to him pulling him back from the danger that he clearly could not see…needless to say he remained focused on trying to release my grip to meet the floor. It was then that I firmly said: “What if I let you go?!” And at that very moment, reality and revelation collided!

In my mind, I had already fast-forwarded into time and saw the numerous unfortunate scenarios that could have resulted in me releasing my grip and allowing MJ to have his way. I saw him falling head first unto the cold hard tile floor, while we frantically tried to console a now inconsolable hysterically crying baby. I saw him not being able to move his neck without screaming out in pain, unable to articulate exactly what he was experiencing. I saw us having to fight through deteriorating storm weather to the hospital, which was a good distance from home, since all nearby private and public clinics would have already closed by now; staff members nestled safely in their homes with their families awaiting the impending storm. I saw us in the hospital’s ER waiting room for what would seem like forever to receive some sort of medical attention that would assure us that there was no serious damage done to our little one’s sensitive little head and neck. I saw us possibly having to wait overnight for x-ray results because of the other “more pressing emergencies” that the already overwhelmed medical emergency team were attending too. I saw what every concerned and first-time mother saw before it could happen.

Michael Junior at the time was completely unaware of the approaching storm, nor was he aware of the inconveniences and dangers that would have resulted from me simply just letting him go. At that moment in time, his main objective and goal was to get down off the chair…head first! Many years from now, MJ will not remember that day but I would hope that if I was to recount this very simple story he would be grateful and appreciate the principal it holds and that is- despite his fight, I did not allow him to have his own way, I did not let him go.

It is my belief that this is what God is saying to us regarding many of our desires, prayer requests and failed pursuits- “What if I let you go?” How many times have you wanted something so desperately, thinking that the very thing that you were pursuing with such intensity would somehow bring you the comfort, security, peace or success that you have always wanted? You strive for it, you prayed for it, sometimes even fasted for it- only to be disappointed because “life” pulled you back into what at the time felt like a never-ending struggle to fulfill this dream.

I don’t know if you can relate but I have had a few experiences where I wanted and pursued jobs and relationships. I mixed prayer with works and faith, hoping that my efforts would somehow land me that dream job just to be disappointed with letters of rejection. Then to find out years later, the company would suffer public embarrassment, bankruptcy or downsizing. I have pursued relationships, doing my part, praying and preparing to be that Proverbs 31 wife hoping that my efforts would somehow eventually lead to marriage, only to be disappointed and suffer heartbreak because God would allow the other person’s heart to become hardened or allow the relationship to somehow come to an end. Years later I would see that it was for the best. I would come to see from a distance, unfavorable characteristics in that person that I could not see before or perhaps find that our destinies took completely different paths. It was then that I reflected back and thanked God for not letting me go, for not answering my prayer by giving me what I wanted.

As a parent now, I can almost hear God saying to us sometimes “What if I let you go!?” “What if I allow you to get that job?” “What if I allow this relationship to get to the next level?” “What if I allow you to go that route?” And while we are pursuing our desires that are out of God’s will for our lives, we never see the dangers that we have been protected from until long after…We kick and fight and sometimes become angry with God for not answering our prayers.

Little did we know he has in fact answered. I read some years back that God gives us three answers to our prayers “Yes”, “No” and “Wait”. This philosophy has held true for me and brings me a sense of comfort when faced with disappointments.

We are usually elated when He tells us yes, that we can have what we have been desiring; but when He tells us “No, that is no good for you, it’s not my plan for you, or I have something better” we don’t accept that very well. Sometimes it’s not that God is denying us of our desires altogether, sometimes He is simply saying “Wait, you are not ready for that yet, you won’t be able to handle the level of responsibility that comes along with that position or I am still preparing you”.

Now almost a year later, my son can almost do summersaults off of the same recliner and without reservation, I gladly release my grip and allow him to roam free because he has gained enough strength in his legs to hold his weight and walk independently. He has completely developed his motor skills and is able to stand on his own two feet without me worrying about him falling and hurting himself. Sometimes God is allowing us to build momentum and character before letting us go. He sees every possible unforeseen circumstance that can result in prematurely granting us the “desires of our hearts” when we want it.

Paul said it best in Romans 5: 1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Perhaps there is a situation that you have prayed about and you see that the odds are not currently moving in your favor; maybe God has a different plan for your life and you cannot see it clearly yet. You have to possess the kind of faith that says “Even though I cannot see you moving I know that you are in control and you won’t let me go.” Maybe God is telling you that what you want is not what is best for you right now. Maybe he is telling you that He has something so much better in store, that when you get it, you won’t have any regrets. Maybe he is preparing you for a much greater position than you can see with your natural eyes. Remember that you serve a God who is omnipresent which means that he is present everywhere, he already saw what we couldn’t see. He is also omnipotent which means He is all-powerful and supreme, he has the ability to change any circumstance to suit his favor if He so desires.

How about we take some time out today to focus on the characteristics of God. Let’s learn about His nature so that our faith will be stirred up and when disappointments arise we have an eternal hope and confidence that says “God I know that you won’t ever let me go!”