Archives for May 2012

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One of the most highly sought after and highly regarded attributes in our society is courage. It is something we are taught at a very young age through parental exhortations like, “Don’t be afraid,” and, “Be brave.” A friend of mine recently told me that she taught her five year old daughter the meaning of the word courage to help her earn the next belt in karate. Although we won’t ask you to memorize the definition of courage, we do want to highlight courage this month as one of the key attributes of leaders and businesses that succeed.

Many people experience fear and anxiety as a part of their daily lives. They are very common in both our personal and professional lives. We have all learned different coping mechanisms for fear and anxiety, but it all boils down to having courage —courage to keep going when you just fell flat on your face, courage to ask for a raise or a promotion, courage to share something painful with someone else, courage to trust, and courage to take risks.

Courage can reveal itself in all sorts of different ways. To be an effective leader, we must remember that every decision we make impacts others, regardless of whether it is in our communities, churches, athletic teams, or our workplace. Decisions at work usually impact us at three levels – individually, teams, and organizations. For example, if you have an opportunity to take on a huge project beyond the company’s current comfort zone, backing away because of fear will demoralize the person or people that saw the possibility, the team that could have stretched and grew in support of it and the organization’s future potential and growth. There is one thing we know for sure—not having courage and backing down at every opportunity outside of our comfort zone will result in unfulfilled potential. This lack of courage can wear out confidence and take us to the empty place of complacency.

Take a stand today to be courageous! You have skills and gifts. Please share the full potential of them. If you are good with kids, you should be serving in your community to help kids. If you are a good coach, you should be working in some capacity to coach others. Realtors often say, “Every no gets me closer to a yes”; this is courage to ask for the umpteenth time for the sale! Have courage and become what you have been designed to be.

In your organization, who shows the most courage? What do you feel about that person? Are they respected and rewarded? If not, they should be. What can you do to influence a culture of courage? Now, we are not encouraging you to take uncalculated risks within your company. Instead, we are encouraging you to embrace the vision of what is possible! See what has potential beyond your current comfort zone. People with courage are willing to “go where no man has gone before” and are not afraid to experience some setbacks to do so. If you are not the “forger of a new path” in your organization, be the person who supports courageous vision and leverage your talents alongside theirs to discover a new frontier. Courage is about believing for something beyond our comfort zone and embracing the talents of others and our own to take hold of that destiny.

Courage is a choice. The reward is greatness!

Worldwide Copyright TJ Associates, LLC Alane Taylor

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I‘ve been musing about gratitude lately. I have a habit of observing people in trial and tribulation, as I’ve been there myself. I have many close to me that are suffering from loss, pain, infertility, aging, unemployment, diagnosed illness and discrimination. Although I haven’t felt every one of those personally, I do know what it is like to be broken and feel lost. It is in those times, everyone needs compassion. Speaking from experience, one important step on the road to recovery is finding a safe space to express our disappointments, losses, and hardships. It is important to want to see things in a better light, even if the tunnel seems exceptionally long in the moment.

Navigating life successfully requires facing difficulty with authenticity. In fact, we grow the most at these times. Hardship builds muscles of compassion, empathy, intentionality, persistence, will, endurance and faith. These strengths enable us to climb the mountain of life successfully in both good times and bad.

Having acknowledged that reality, there is another truth that rings equally true. Gratitude is the antibody in the face of disappointment! As Oprah states, gratitude looks toward what we have, rather than what we don’t have.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey

The choice of what you allow to fill your heart ends up being what you fill your mind with, and eventually your soul. Making conscious choices about whether to fill our heart with gratitude in recognition of the goodness and blessing in our life, or with complaints about what we do not have determines the attitude we have each day and how we impact others. Everyone has a choice, in each trial to be either a carrier of vitality and positivity or a carrier of regret and negativity. Which do you want to contribute to your life and the lives of others around you?

I have witnessed people that face hardships and still manage to flow positivity. What makes the difference between that and the less ideal alternative? I believe it is intentional focus and gratitude for what we do have instead of comparing and wishing we had different. Although at times life seems difficult, the choice is not that complicated – what we focus on gets transcribed upon our heart and flows like a river out into the world.

Out of heart flows the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

So, how do we build gratitude on our life?

During some of my greatest trials in life, I learned to keep a gratitude journal. I started each day recording at least 5 things I was thankful for that day. My gratitude journal often includes some of these entries:
• My health
• My family
• My friends
• My home
• My faith
• Opportunities to create
• Freedom
• Hot shower
• Choices at the grocery store
• Nature walks
• The ocean

It is amazing what recording your thanks and gratitude can do to improve perspective on life. In my worst of times, I needed the compassion, encouragement and love of those who could pour their support into me. At the same time, taking stock of the good things in my life helped me to put my trials into perspective. Hardships don’t define us; we define them by how we decide to respond to them.

Worldwide Copyright TJ Associates, LLC Diane Kucala

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