7 Habits

7 Habits: Character Above All

I joined a virtual book club with a few gal pals. We span about three states and are in various seasons of our lives. Our ultimate goal: fill our spirits and minds with something more than a quick Facebook post. We voted on the Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This book has been on my radar for some time but life happened and here we are. Twenty-six years since its original publication (I was a freshman in high school when this book was first published), I am long overdue. 

In the first section, Covey identifies the Character Ethic versus Personality Ethic paradigm. For the first 150 years of this country’s existence, literature relied heavily in discussions and ideas about the essence of who man is. It’s only been in the last 50 years that thinkers have deviated from valuing the merit of character and leaning more towards how personality and subterfuge can yield better results. 

Make people like you. Pretend that you like them. That’s how you influence and change your environment. Just as long as you get results, it doesn’t matter how you get it. By hook or crook. Forget your personal values. Forget your faith and relationship with God. Forget Galatians 5:22 (fruits of the Spirit). 

Covey states, “Secondary traits alone have no permanent worth in long-term relationships. Eventually, if there isn’t deep integrity and fundamental character strength, the challenges of life will cause true motives to surface and human relationship failure will replace short-term success.”

Simply put, your five dollar smile and charming ways will only get you so far. When you are long into your dentures and that twinkle in your eyes has faded, it will be your character, your essence, your true self that people will remember. 

  

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Life Coach, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

Elephants Don’t Belong In The Room

I have always been a tad bit of a claustrophobic. I will wait ten minutes rather than enter an elevator brimming with bodies. It was never my thing to go to large events/functions. I’m good for spotting all the exit doors for an easy getaway five minutes upon arrival. So having the proverbial elephant in the room is the least of my favorite things. 

Elephant in the room. That thing, that thought that has been left unsaid. People tip toe around IT. They set up chairs and sit around IT. All the while ignoring the reality of IT. Besides knocking down furniture and running amuck, there is a reason why elephants do not belong in a room. 

Elephants are harmful. Failure to acknowledge anything that is weighing down on the collective brings about stress for the parties involved. Marriages where people fail to speak on the sensitive subjects of finance and unhappiness are the marriages that end with broken homes. Workplaces where employees feel stifled and helpless are the workplaces where the door continues to revolve or the work culture declines. It is important for people to understand that one’s sanity and health is at great peril when tough topics remain unaddressed. 

Elephants are deceiving. Your elephant may have opted to take a seat at the dining room and hasn’t moved for some time. You think that just because that problem has not moved an inch means you are okay. The fact that it’s trunk is swinging around and dishes are being dashed to the floor doesn’t faze you. “As long as my problem stays put, I’m good.” While its “staying put” your problem is festering and you find that you are bleeding out internally. You will never see when that sneaky elephant rears its head. Keeping our problems at bay doesn’t mean they won’t come back around. It becomes a question of when, not if it comes back your way. Never get comfortable with your problems. No one should live in a state of hypervigilance waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

Elephants can be removed. This great beast has found a home in your life. It has been there for years. Thus it will not go quietly into the night. You will have your work cut out for you in identifying that issue, that problem that has consumed your life. Confrontation is the key to it all. 

Acknowledging and yes even embracing your elephant is the first step in removing it from your life. Who among us enjoys identifying the very thing that is holding us back from a life that is meaningful? Who among us enjoys having to face our fears? I daresay none. It is a necessary work. A work requiring our stronger self , our better self, our wiser self. 

That elephant deserves the boot! He doesn’t go well with the decor. No elephant belongs in any room. 

A woman’s approach to removing the elephant in her room at  http://youtu.be/wcLuVeHlrSs

 

Uncategorized

Mommyhood: Not For The Faint Of Heart

The cool thing about being a mommy-in-waiting is being able to have a front row seat in seeing how others raise their children. I have mommy-friends that span the mothering continuum. From newborn to grand-parenting. And as varied as the life styles, cultures, backgrounds, or values are, there are some underlying commonalities that thread their way throughout. 

Motherhood is a full time job. Be ye a stay at home mom or business owner, your role doesn’t stop when you drop off Little Johnny to school and commence when you pick him up. Mothers are always thinking of ways to approach this whole idea of parenting. My friends have all demonstrated to me that with every fiber in their body, they are thinking of ways to parent better. 

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. From parenting a child with disabilities to parenting a familiarly strong-willed child, there are no breaks! I have seen mothers of ill children do things to heal their children that would make grown men gag! The teas, the poultice, the enemas, the ointments that are administered in the oddest of places. You do it without a second thought. 

Motherhood is fun! I’m so glad I have friends who are creative and always thinking of new ways to encourage their children to be dare devils in life. From the rock climbing toddler to the mom who will say farewell to her Euro-soccer playing son, you have molded children who think outside the norms. You have exposed them to libraries, museums, the outdoors, all things to stimulate a healthy upbringing. 

Kudos to all my mommy-friends who make it look oh so effortless.  

Life Coach, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

Making The Case For Solitude 

I joke with my husband that he’s lucky to have a wife who is perfectly fine being by herself. It’s a introvert trait that his extrovert self truly appreciates. Leave me with a project, good book, or a tv series and I can go for days without communicating with anyone. I realize it’s a luxury some may fear to even   experience. 

We live in a mad dash world where the faster you move the blurrier your life gets. People who slow down to smell the roses get run over. Those who take  their time to make decisions are looked upon as feeble-minded with no backbone. Those who deviate from the pack are brought up on charges of being a hermit and a recluse. 

Yet the benefits of resting in solitude outweighs the name calling and side eyes. 

Spiritual Solitude. Countless of men and women in the Bible whether they chose it or not, found purpose after time spent away with God. We deserve a mountain to climb to get away from the din! We deserve a garden to escape to in order to recharge. For every person God led to the desert, garden, and mountain, He sent back a person ready and refreshed for the next season in his or her life. 

Physical Solitude. We get so caught up in work, family and obligations that at day’s end we lose ourself in it all. Married couples deserve a break from each other. Parents hands down need some time away from the kiddos. Employees return with a better sense of purpose when there is time spent away from work. 

Emotional Solitude.  I can’t speak enough on the importance of pressing that off button. I knew when my mother passed away, that I had to set aside the expectations others had for me and collect the expectations I needed for myself. I could have continued at optimum speed and never missed a beat last Spring.  After all, I am a go-getter extraordinaire! I make things happen in half the time it takes some folks to think about doing it.  But I knew that in the long run, it would figuratively and literally be the death of me. 

Projects to propel my personal aspirations–on hold. Commitments to my church–on hold. Commitments to organizations I served in–on hold. Commitments to friends and family–on hold. I would learn that in some cases I was expendable, hell, even replaceable! You know what?  That was alright by me. Whatever didn’t get done is still left undone. Egad! The earth is STILL moving on its axis! 

To the person whose fighting with every fiber of their being to stay in the rat race with bruises and scars they need to manage–get off at the nearest stop. To the person whose very life depends on them slowing down, now is the time. To the person whose pride will not allow for being still and knowing that He IS GOD, you will learn the hard way. 

Make a commitment to yourself. Embrace the quiet. 

A bonus for my natural born introverts. Author Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” is a study in the power of introverts. Here is her Ted Talk:  http://youtu.be/c0KYU2j0TM4

  

Family, Grief And Loss, Uncategorized

May Is The Month

A casualty of being a Pastor wife is the whole living in a glass house with popcorn eating spectators on the other side. On a day like Mothers Day when folks stopped asking about babies and after losing my mom nearly a year ago this month, I opted to skip Sunday Service altogether. Didn’t feel like putting on a show for non-paying customers today. So thankful for a husband who doesn’t want a shell for a wife, but a happy wife. 

Am I wallowing in bed this Mother’s Day weekend? No. Am I soaking my pillow case with tears? Sporadically. Am I making the best of this first Mother’s Day without my mom? I’m trying. Having my darling husband silently stand in our bedroom doorway, waiting and watching for the next episodic “miss my mom” fit is touching and somewhat funny. God bless those who have to live with the grieving!

Asked for the day off two months ago. Told my boss I needed a mental health day. I was sane and in my right mind when I filed that request. But I knew better. And whether I needed it or not, I deserved it. I enjoyed breakfast with my dad and my mom in law with hubby and his brother yesterday.  Just the five of us. No fan fare. Just casual conversation and hanging out with the parents I have left. Finding my mother-in-law a new wig and buying her clothes and summer sandals. Highlight of my day. She’s a headache and half. And her for sons are only too happy to send her off to me to do all these girly things. I don’t mind. My momma raised a good girl. 

I went somewhere all by myself yesterday. No “super star” hubby at my side. No instant recognition. No one is looking for a Pastor wife in a pair of red converse anyway! I moved from friend to classmate to church acquaintance and back to being by myself. That was fun. I wore myself out good and tired like a toddler. To fall asleep without much thought of contemplating for the day ahead. 

I’m gonna hang with my friend today. She lost her mom mere months after mine. Love my friends dearly but I kinda wanna be with someone who gets me on today. No pretences. Just some good food, great mimosas, and good conversations. 

May was the month my mom was officially diagnosed with cancer. May was the month she went back to the hospital for the last time. May is the month I lost her. May is the month I have to sludge through making new memories along the way.