Answering His Call

I have always been a sensitive soul – (I know, many of you would recommend that I don’t share something like that in such a public way) easily hurt, idealistic and passionate about the entire human experience. Longing to feel connected, valued and understood. Often feeling far from all of these.

Feeling ALIVE has really been the only goal I have known.  Most of the advice I was given growing up was to “toughen up” “stop worrying about what other people think” and “your skin is too thin, the world will eat you alive.”

At times, I felt like I wasn’t meant for this world. If I was going to succeed, I would need to change who I was – and that seemed like selling out and, well, pretty impossible.  So, I have continued to fight the good fight – claiming my space in the world and continuing to do everything I can to be human, in spite of the vulnerability and risk that brings.

Ironically, as I have become more comfortable with my thin skin, and by claiming and accepting my vulnerability, I have become stronger and more confident. I have also learned to use it as my shield against negativity and cynicism, I have discovered along the way, that there are many other people like me, who appreciate humanness. We are a growing army, and I love feeling the energy of all of you who shine your light on me with your kindness, and acceptance, love and appreciation of who I am.

This has been the greatest reward of being myself. To be met with the opportunity to connect and grow with you, my fellow journeyers – and that was why, initially, I embarked on my quest. To find you, and, if you existed, to connect with you in a very real, meaningful way. Because these connections make me feel alive, which is the only thing I have ever truly wanted!

This is exciting!  And yet, the most unexpected result of all has been to achieve success. To become a leader of a company, was never something I would have been able to envision. And yet, here I am. And doing a darn good job! 🙂

My journey has been – and continues to be – filled with challenges, which is to be expected. But I’m often struck at moments like this with amazement and awe of the person I have become.  And each time I allow myself an indulgent moment to pause and reflect, as I am doing today, sharing this message, I realize that God is here, shining His light and encouraging me to answer His call. He’s been doing this all along. My resistance to the idea that I must change who I was in order to succeed, has been Him. The voice in my head has been Him whispering; encouraging me to be myself and to lead with courage, confidence and openness. To listen and learn. To always love, in spite of the ugliness, and hate that fills the world, He has been nodding and smiling, encouraging me to keep being me. And today, I humbly and happily accept His request.

If there’s anything I can offer to you, the reader, it is this.  By shining your light, and sharing your love with the world, you welcome and embrace people like me. Love is magnetic. It pulls out others who love, and gives them permission to be themselves; to give their best; to forgive; to accept; to be human, and to embrace all that it means to be a child of God. So, please be that person.  Even when it seems like it’s not “right.” Even when it seems like you should care less.  Care more. Because that is what we need today.  It’s what we have always needed. We can’t give in. We are ONE.

You can be Better

excelsior_ever_upward_by_inspirationisjustapo-d3iimpv-300x225I really don’t care whether you believe me or not – you can be better than you are today. You can be more valuable, more consistent, more loyal, more kind, more considerate. It’s not what you say to others or behind someone’s back that determines how remarkable you are. It’s in your own beliefs that awesome lives.

If you are satisfied with yourself – that’s fantastic. Celebrate your success… then go figure out how you can be better and give a little bit more of yourself to someone who can benefit from your knowledge, experience and awesomeness. That’s what Awesome looks like. That’s the difference maker. ‪#‎EXCELSIOR‬ ‪#‎LeadwithLove‬

Gratitude

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There’s always hype when there’s something good.  But gratitude is more than hype. It’s a reflection. And we can never show enough gratitude to those who make a difference in our lives.  To show appreciation for those who help us “BE.” When we look back and see how much we have accomplished we must celebrate.  But once we have patted ourselves on the back, we must also acknowledge the people who have helped us achieve that success.  Today, I am filled with immense gratitude and the list is long, however, I need to say thank you in a very big way…

If you have ever sent me an encouraging word – via Facebook, text message or email,
If you have ever attended an event that I organized,
If you have ever shared something I have written,
If you have ever given me a hug,
If you have ever told me the truth about something that involved me, or something I was involved in,
If you have ever smiled across the room,
If you have ever sent me a card, or a newspaper clipping,
If you have ever thanked me for a referral, or for making a connection that helped you in some way,
If you have ever just listened to me, let me cry or allowed me to share my doubts, fears or insecurities,
If you have ever forgiven me for anything,
If you have ever complimented me, encouraged me or just shared kind words in my regard…

 

Thank you

 

You are the wind in my sails, you give me strength to keep going, doing, believing that there is greatness in the world.  You help me overcome the negativity, the cynics, the haters. You have been part of this journey and I would not be here if it weren’t for you.

 

 

 

Self-Help Books or Self-Hurt Books?

That Self-Help Book is Hurting You!

You read that right.  Books that seem like they should be helping, might actually be hurting us, especially when our purpose for reading is only to validate our feelings – and those feelings are not productive, or positive.

I was married in 2001 and looked forward to children following soon afterwards.  I am not going to spend a whole lot of time recalling the pain and, well, agony I experienced during my five years of marriage failing at conceiving.  I am just going to say I was a miserable person.  I was not a lot of fun to be around, and certainly no fun to be married to. I read books that were supposed to make me feel better, because I could find solace in knowing that others shared my pain.  It was a testament to misery loves company.

I was a failure.

Those kinds of books sell like hot cakes.  People who are in pain, hurting and seeking answers from an outside source will pay lots of money and buy lots of books to somehow feel like they are easing their pain.  The fact is, nothing was going to ease my pain, because I was focusing on my pain, and I was relying on something outside of me to make it better.  I was a failure.

But I didn’t have to be.  It wasn’t just the books I was reading, it was the actions I was taking, the thoughts I was thinking.  Instead of finding something productive to do, I chose to wallow in my misery and think about how unfair it was that my friends had what I wanted and I didn’t.  I wondered if this was punishment for all of my mistakes as a teenager.  I started to think I didn’t deserve to have a child.  You get the picture.  Because I was spending all this time thinking about what was wrong, I couldn’t see what was right. The books I was reading were fueling this fire and making it worse, not better.  I am sure the authors of these books had every intention of helping their readers, but the reality was, they kept me focused on what was missing and they didn’t challenge me to do anything!

Personal Development vs Self-Help

I don’t read Self-Help books anymore.  I don’t spend much time with people who are in that place I was in 8 years ago either – because I know they are stuck and nothing I (or anyone) can say will help them out of their rut.  It’s up to them and only them to decide they are going to change their focus and begin to look for things that will challenge them to be better.  It’s their job to identify within themselves their strengths and overcome their fear of failure.  Those so-called “self-help” books might be helping people stay stuck.

Reflect and celebrate growth and positive change.

This shift is something I have been thinking about a lot lately – I have made a lot of progress in my life.  I recently realized that my stack of books is different.  The books I read today connect me to a different mindset.  A mindset that has released me from my painful past, and allowed me to embrace today, and look for opportunities to improve myself.  The books aren’t the answer, but they have helped me discover my own answers and I encourage you to look at your stack of books and decide if they are helping you or hurting you.  If they aren’t asking you to be better.  If they just tell you it’s ok to be stuck, that others feel your pain, stop reading them!  Start reading books that will lead you to find the awesome person that is inside you.  You might not believe me, but she’s in there – waiting for you to let her out and blossom.

Below are some of the books that I believe have helped me find the path to AWESOME – it’s a path I am enjoying more than any other path I have experienced so far in my life. But I want whoever is reading this to know – no one can find the path for you, it’s easy to stray from the path, and it’s easy to listen to the voices and the conventional thinkers who believe you have to wait until you are chosen to qualify for AWESOME.  They are creating their own reality.  I am creating AWESOME and you can too!

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

Start Where You Are by Chris Gardner

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Start. Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average. Do Work that Matters but Jon Acuff

Which books have you read that have supported your journey to claiming your AWESOME, ignited your passion, or inspired you to break away from ordinary?  I’d love to add more empowering titles to my list!