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…

 

Forgiveness, Healthy Living, Healthy Mindset, Godly Living, Mental Wellness, Uncategorized

Once Bitten…

We all know the expression “Once bitten, twice shy”. Well I don’t know about you but personally that saying had become a mantra in my life at one point. For years, I walked from one year into another bound by the spirit of unforgiveness and felt justified in walking in it because I felt that I was the victim. Little that I knew, in attempting to move forward with that mindset, I was actually delaying my own progress and subsequently giving even greater power to my offenders. It took some time to come to the realization that I had gone from being the victim to now creating my own self inflicted wounds.
In this post, I would like to talk about forgiveness, letting go and moving on. First things first. Let’s establish God’s take on Forgiveness.
In Matthew 6: 14-15 it states:
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins.”
If we sit and think about the magnitude of God’s love towards us, that He would go to the extent of sending His beloved son in human form to suffer through the beggarly elements of this worldly system, to be ridiculed, abused, mocked, beaten, humiliated and suffer the most brutal death under the hands of men just for our sins. To have gone to such an extent just to save us from eternal death, then turn around and say “Yes, I did all of that for you but if you do not forgive the people that hurt you then I won’t forgive you.” Now to the human intellect, this doesn’t seem reasonable but you must understand that God is a God of principles. If we are to walk and act as though we are made in His image and likeness, then we must reflect His nature and character even when it hurts to do so.
Ok, I know what some of you may say “You have no idea what he/she did to me!” “You have no idea what I had to go through because of them…” No, I don’t know your personal experience, but I think we can all relate to being hurt by someone.
I know all too well how it feels to be hurt not just by random people, but by family and those I considered to be friends. My experience of emotional and sometimes even physical abuse go as far back as childhood. And in many of those instances, it was usually perpetrated by those that I allowed myself to become vulnerable to.
As I got older and began to establish my adult relationships, I began to notice a pattern though. I realized that my introverted personality helped me to master the art of suppressing my pain and anger. And what I would do is allow the pain of what people would say or do to me to fester without openly addressing it. So, I never really released from my heart, the people that had wronged me. In the blog post, “Clean Hands, Impure Heart”, I talk about coming to terms with this realization during a teaching by my late senior pastor. He talked about “iniquities” which were the hidden sins of the heart. He said, sometimes we see people that appear to be living a Holy life; to the natural eye they appear to have it all together as far as their Christian walk is concerned, their hands are by all intent and purpose “clean”. However, hidden in their hearts are unresolved issues such as pride, bitterness, envy, jealousy and unforgiveness.
I discovered years ago, that harboring unforgiveness is like drinking a cup of poison with the expectation that the person who has hurt you would feel the effects of it. Rather, your holding on to that resentment, bitterness or pain hurts you more than it hurts the other person that you hold in contempt. In most cases, you will find that the other person has moved on with their lives, and you are left trying to fight through those internal battles resulting in sleeplessness and generally an unhappy life with unhealthy relationships as a result of not being able to let go.
Sometimes we are apprehensive to forgive because we feel that others might interpret our forgiveness as a sign of weakness or vulnerability. One might even feel as though forgiving the other person would indicate validation of their actions towards you, or in other words “I am ok with what you did”, but it doesn’t mean that at all.
Forgiving the other person actually magnifies your strength and maturity. It puts you in control of the situation and in control of your own emotions. Forgiving means “although I do not agree with what you did, I make a conscious decision to be the bigger person and release myself of any negative thoughts or emotions that is causing me my peace and could possibly hinder my relationship with God and my emotional wellbeing.”
Forgiveness for some does not come easy and the process to get through it is often times determined by the severity of the offense. Some of us are holding onto unresolved issues with a superior, coworkers or just an acquaintance. While some of us have gone through years of repeated emotional and even physical abuse under the hands of a guardian, significant other, family member or close friend. Whatever the depth of your scars, I have jotted down a few steps that have helped me to get through my process of forgiveness.
1. Understand the “Why”: It is often difficult to come to terms with “what” someone did to cause the hurt, discomfort, inconvenience or loss that you experience as a result of their bad judgement or actions. However, in my experience with working through the process of forgiveness, I have found that when I took the time to properly analyze a person’s behavior towards me, it made it easier to process. Being able to work through why a person does what they do helps to put a lot of things into perspective and it helps you to see things from a different vantage point as oppose to seeing it through the lens of the victim. BUT Simone, what if I never find out their “why”? Good question! Which leads me to the next point.
2. Understand the Season: Very early on in my adult life I was introduced to the concept of seasons and relationships. This has helped me a great deal to be able to release people from personal expectations. Some people come into your life for a specific purpose and season. Knowing the role that they play, the lessons you should learn from them in that season and when the season has ended will free you up from feelings of resentment and bitterness when the relationship begins to take a turn for the worse. Sometimes it means that there is merely a breakdown in communication and perhaps issues can be resolved by simply sitting down and talking it over. Of course disagreements are inevitable and necessary for any healthy relationship but you must recognize the signs of when a relationship is coming to the end of its season. I have found that once you begin to see a continuous or habitual trend that is associated with negative behavior and a lack of peace, then that is most likely an indication that it is time to move on. Understand, not everyone is meant to play the role of loyal longtime confidant in your life. And this does not mean that you have to completely cut people off. Its ok to re-categorize relationships without throwing them completely away. Relationship categories can change over time but you have to know at what point the shift has taken place or you will find yourself becoming angry or disappointed by the other person’s actions or lack thereof because of misplaced expectations. Once you are able to decipher between seasons, it will make life a whole lot easier for you. Carrying someone or something into one season that you should have let go in a past season can and will create unnecessary stress. Dare I say, moving into a season with what you should have left behind in another season can contaminate and poison your vision for the new season. Whether it is a job, a business, a community, a plutonic relationship or otherwise, it is very important to know when to let go. Disclaimer: This point is NOT intended for married couples. Please seek professional counseling before making any life altering decision concerning your marriage; especially if children are involved.
3. Take back Control: the longer you allow what they did to affect you emotionally, the more control you continue to give them over your emotions. Rather, choose to redirect that pent up energy in a more productive fulfilling way. Investing your time into an activity that adds value to your life will help to take your mind off of the negative. What have you always wanted to do but never could find the time to do it? Maybe it’s taking a course, starting a new business, completing a project, joining an organization, making an investment, going on a trip somewhere you have always wanted to go. Whatever it is, channel some of that energy and fill up that mind space with self-improvement/self-empowerment activities; you will be surprised at the positive outcome. It is important to note that whatever you choose to do, it is with the right motivation though. Do it because it is something that you truly want to do and not to get back at the other person or to gain revenge. Make sure that your heart is completely in it. If not, you would have defeated the purpose. Busy yourself with making your life better instead of focusing on what the other person did or is doing. You will find that once you become so caught up in “doing you” that you will be too tired to think about anything or anyone else. By the time you’re through embarking on your journey, you would have created new lasting positive memories. And the memory of the last season will be a distant one, with no emotional strings attached.
4. Protect your Health: I am a firm believer that the quality of one’s life is not determined by any external factor, but rather by the condition of their heart. Nothing or nobody is worth the value of your inner peace. The longer we hold on to unforgiveness, the more the seed of bitterness grows like a cancer; thus making us vulnerable to both physical and mental malfunction. Proverbs 14: 30 (AMP version) states “A calm and peaceful and tranquil heart is life and health to the body, but passion and envy are like rottenness to the bones.” You have to deliberately make a decision that your health is more important than holding on to bitterness. Proverbs 13: 12 says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” As mentioned in point 3, it is very crucial to your healing that you release the weight of disappointment which comes from the expectation that you have placed on others. Unresolved disappointment will steal your joy and peace! The best way to move pass the stage of disappointment is to take on the mindset that besides God, YOU are the only person in control of your inner peace and mental well-being. Everyone else, regardless of who they are, are never obligated to making you happy; that is too great a responsibility to give any human being.
5. Close the Door: Last but certainly not least, this (in my opinion) is the most important step to overcoming unforgiveness. In order to truly be delivered from the stronghold of unforgiveness it is important to talk to God about how you are feeling. In your quiet time with God, be completely honest about what happened and how it made you feel. In some cases, you might have an opportunity to confront your offender and express yourself the way you want to but this is rare. What better way to release all of that than during your private devotion? Allow the Holy Spirit to begin peeling back the damaged layers of your heart until you look and sound more like Christ. And remember forgiveness is a process but once you get through it, it is important not to keep revisiting the past. You have to let it go! Close the door and never reopen it again except as a point of reference when to help others through their process.

So there you have it. These steps have helped me with overcoming unforgiveness and I hope that this post will assist someone in moving into 2019 with a renewed heart and mind. Blessings and Love!

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” Bernard Meltzer