Friday, August 7, 2020

OVERCOMING LIFE'S HURDLES

When we see these highpowered athletes moving at record speed along the track, and clearing hurdles with the grace and experience of a skilled dancer, we marvel at such magnificent quests. We rarely stop to think about the time and commitment it took to create such a level of confidence and competence. Is there an everyday message in what we see in them, a message we can learn from in our everyday experiences? You can be sure there is.

Having a commitment to excel when you are trying to accomplish something produces great results. When you keep in mind that your intention is to produce high-quality in your work, in your home life, in your relationships, you can have a rewarding outcome. Athletes don't generally approach their goals with dire results in mind. They have committed themselves to do well, and even if they lose a race or a game. We can often achieve greater accomplishments with this kind of mentality. Living in a constant mindset of commitment to do well can change the game of life for many of us.

You've probably heard this comment stated frequently "if you stay ready, you don't have to get ready." Can you even imagine what it would look like if an unprepared athlete came out of the blocks and headed down a track toward several hurdles on the path to the finish line? It probably would not be as exciting or as enjoyable to watch as an athlete who had put the time and effort into perfecting their ability.

Unpreparedness shows. It shows in our thinking and in our doing. We can't possibly be prepared for every hurdle in life, as many of them "appear" unexpectedly. However, consider the possibility of having a level of thinking that tells you that with time and effort that you can get over the hurdles. Consider the kind of preparation that is laid through a foundation of faith, that gives you the confidence to know that hurdling over obstacles in life is doable. Consider that your own experiences and the experiences of others has "trained" and taught you that you have the mental and emotional skill and competence to lift yourself higher, stretch yourself further, increase your focus, and then journey yourself faith-filled over any hurdles on your path. 

You can't always see a hurdle coming, but these are some of the ways you can be prepared. Everyone faces them. Be committed to getting over them. Be committed to getting past them. Be committed to overcoming them. ~ S.R.F.

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Friday, July 10, 2020

SEE NO EVIL

One of the most difficult things to do in a crisis is to ignore the panic and problems that come along with it. Whether it's of a personal nature or a worldwide situation such as the one we are currently in, our own personal strength and stamina has to play a huge role in maintaining a sense of sanity. How in the world do we do that? Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Turn a blind eye to the gloom and doom messaging. Facts are one thing. Accuracy of a message is relevant. Projections of "the worst is yet to come" must hold truth to support it. If you take a moment to look around you, you'll see that not everyone is intimidated by those "messages" that are scaring the beejeebees out of you. Pause, and realize that seeing beyond where you are right now may not be filled with doom. And, if you do happen to reach a point where you fall first, make every effort to see yourself getting back up and getting going again.

2.See your potential.  Even if everything you have hoped for, prayed for, and dreamed about has come to ruin, you are still YOU. Your potential is not lost. Whatever you had strived for and gained, that same intelligence and greatness is still in you. See yourself as capable of starting new, starting over, starting again. You may not feel that confidence and strength at the moment, but it's there inside you. You can build again.

3. See the realities. Life is a series of highs and lows for most everyone. Finding yourself in a low place is not the end of the world. It may have ended some important things, but it's not the end of all things. There are a gazillion stories of personal and professional comebacks. Don't wallow forever in the dust of your issues. See your self making the comeback that's necessary. Slowly and surely you will.

Don't give up hope. Don't lose your vision. When you can see your future through the eyes of faith, you'll know that whatever it is that you need to do, it's possible. ~ S.R.F.

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Friday, June 5, 2020

LEARNING TO COPE

Haven't these times we're in emphatically forced us to maximize our ability to cope with life on a whole new level? Like it or not, we are there.

What exactly does it mean to cope? We're not talking about mere day-to-day issues like running late or being stuck in traffic. We're talking about being "stuck" in life. Our normal movement and flow has been interrupted.

When the "stay at home" orders were issued, I was like 'stay at home?' What in the world does that mean? It didn't take long for me to understand that whatever that meant for my life, your life, our lives, we were being commanded to shelter in place. However much I didn't like it, I had to make the adjustment to live in a different way, and we are still doing that to a great degree.

Coping with such swift and strange change has challenged our psyche and strength, both of which we had no choice in deciding to do or not to do. But, let's take a closer look at that:

C: Creative change. I don't mean creative in the sense of being "artsy". I mean that unusual times open up opportunites for us to think creatively in the sense of doing things in a new way, and maybe even in a better way. We have to search for ideas that work for us, and that will bring the results we need. Perhaps, we had never considered certain changes before, but now they make sense for our lives and livelihood.

O: Opportunities abound. We are either going to be overwhelmed, or we are going to seek out opportunities to make life work by any means necessary. Every opportunity isn't necessarily a gateway to a big success, but it can be a short path to meet the needs of the day, and tomorrow. Right now, even the little wins are big wins when you're making the effort to manage through difficult times.

P: Patience is a must. This morning I saw a live news story where hundreds and hundreds of vehicles were lined up to get food baskets. It was a picture of patience at it's best and worst. Individuals and families waiting for food, and I imagined waiting even more so for life to change and get back to some kind of normal. That was only one scene among the many deeply painful and personal stories happening now, requiring us to wait out the uncertainty but finality of the pandemic. It's going to take all of the emotional intelligence we can muster, and inner strength that we've never drawn on before. Our patient levels are being pushed to the maximum. It's a muscle we must develop and make stronger for our own health, wealth and well-being.

E: Endurance. When I think of endurance, I think of the perseverence and prowess it takes to win at anything that's tough. Are we going to be winners at coming through a crisis that has entered our world and is testing our very existence? We can be, if we commit to doing so! Coping means that we put our best effort into arriving at the finish line, regardless of where we are in the race. That finish line will look different for everyone, but remember: coping means staying in the race until you get there. Endure! ~ S.R.F.

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Friday, May 8, 2020

WHEN YOU LOSE EVERYTHING


Losing everything could be the pathway to finding everything.
Down to nothing.
I've been down to nothing. In fact, more than once. The first time it happened, it felt terrible. I felt like I had truly failed severely. The pain and disappointment lasted a long time, as well as lingering feelings of defeat.

The Awakening.
I eventually awakened to the fact that sometimes we have some hard falls in life, and I happened to be a case of it. Through a lot of reading, praying and self-talk, I realized that even though I felt devastated, it was not the end of the world. After a long while of contemplation and planning again, I got myself together and got moving again. Remaining stagnant, in self-pity and grief is the killer of dreams.

It happened again.
Other times later in life, I realized that there was no need to feel that same kind of defeat, especially since it wasn't my first time proverbially falling on my face. I knew my value. I knew my skills. I knew my worth, so hitting a hard place never could put me in a frame of mind where I felt down and out again. My "fight back" game was tight. I knew how to get up and stand up, and fight harder each time.

That's life.
I began to understand that life is often a series of rising and falling episodes, regardless of who you are or what you do. None of us are immune to the problems we can come face-to-face with in life, business, relationships and other stuff. Although I may have thought that I was the only one who could "fail" so miserably, I was dead wrong. Most everyone I knew was in some kind of challenge as well. We fail. We fall. We falter. We get back up and fight.

Don't buy in.
When you are down to nothing, don't be fooled by the thought that there is nothing you can do, that there's nowhere to go, and that it's all over for you. Not true, unless you buy into those thoughts.There's plenty you can do. You have to get up and go find out what and where it is. It's not over for you, regardless of how grave your issues are. Losing everything can be the pathway for finding everthing you think you've lost and more. I know this. ~ S.R.F.

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Friday, April 10, 2020

SHOCK WAVES

We're living in a time of uttermost surprise and uncertainty. Who knew a crisis could impact us worldwide, and so very personally at the same time? Well, it has, and the only thing we can do is maneuver through it and figure things out along the way:

What do we do when a shockwave hits us?
We're shocked. It seems as if the pandemic morphed into a humogous monster overnight, so rapidly that we hardly had time to think about what it was going to mean. It seemed that all of the thinking was being done for us, and that in itself was a difficult concept to wrap our heads around. Stay home. Close your business. No sports. No school. Jesus! So what do we do with all the trauma and the shock?

We have to do the best we can. When life has hit us with a severe sucker-punch such as this, we must allow ourselves time to recover from such an unexpected blow to our lives, and to our livelihood. Unfortunately, we have to let time and the process heal us. Does time heal all wounds? We have to wait and see.

Sink or swim? We won't have all the answers to current affairs, all we can do is try to keep moving forward, treading the waters as we go. As challenging as the uncertainty is, we have to know that if we keep swimming, we will eventually get to the shore. Keep swimming through the craziness.

Keep the faith. For many folks, seeing land seems impossible. This is the hardest you've ever been hit, and all of the confidence, happiness and hope for the future that you once felt, has dissolved into your pool of helplessness and tears. Don't lose hope. We can lose a lot of things that can be easily and eventually replaced. When that happens, your confidence and happiness will be restored again, too.

We learn our greatest strengths in adversity. We discover how well faith lights our way in times of darkness. Even though all of this is truly shocking, ride the wave of it. It appears that there is no end in sight, but there is. When you can't see it, you have to believe it. ~ S.R.F.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Are You Optimistic?

Colorful, Optimist, Motivation, Creative, Optimistic
There's an upside. It's optimism!
Optimism is sometimes frowned upon because it seems sort of whimsical to some people. What I mean is, optimism is looked at as a "fake" way of dealing with life, an "unrealistic" approach to things. Well, I differ from that train of thought, and I'll tell you why.

The most workable definition of optimism is "being hopeful and confident about the future."

First of all, optimism is not pretending to be happy about everything or pretending that everything in life is okay when it isn't. Instead, it's an everyday, realistic approach to things with an attitude of confidence toward the outcome or results. It doesn't mean that you always get a good result. It means that you keep your attitude and actions working in a positive and productive manner however things are going.

Secondly, optimism means re-learning how we assess stuff. We easily buy into negative narratives and find ourselves speaking it and acting on that belief, whether it's true or not. Negativity is much easier to internalize because we don't take the time to investigate the truth of it or the non-value of it. When we learn to spin our thinking toward positive truths, we can start to look at life with more hope and confidence, even when things aren't going well.

Lastly, optimism represents a point of view. When life has knocked us down and out, our perspective is going to be critical. If our point of view from that place is unhealthy, we may never get back up. However, if we change our point of view to getting UP, getting THROUGH, getting OVER, getting OUT, and moving FORWARD, we've changed the game plan. That kind of optimism opens doors, windows and pathways for the future.

Are you optimistic? Remember, it's a mindset. Optimism will always make headway for better things. Try it. ~ S.R.F.

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Friday, February 7, 2020

Represent Yourself Like a Boss

You are your CEO in life. Take charge!
There's a certain "something" often associated with winners. Do you have it? Do you want it? Here's a few key tips for showing up in life like a boss:

1. Boss attitude. Real "bosses" are often keeping their best face forward. Keep a smile on your face. Practice interacting positively with others. Have an authentic level of professionalism while at the same time being personable.

2. Boss actions: Be assertive and intentional about who you are and what you do. It doesn't mean you should be "pushy." It means that you show up in your own personal power and belief in yourself. You know what it is you want and you plan to get it.

3. Boss appearance: Show up like you know where you're going. If you have plans for sucess and prosperity, look like it. Your image doesn't have to shout designer labels, but you may want to look like you understand the power of how you put yourself together. It really does matter.

Whether your goals are personal or professional, how we show up can make an impacting difference in our lives, socially and in business. Be confident. Be bold. Be a boss. After all, at the end of each day, you are the CEO of your life. Show up strong!  ~ S.R.F.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

EXPECT IT AND WAIT FOR IT

Wait. It's coming.
It's 2020! I won't dare say all of the usual stuff we say as I speak my encouragement to you for what lies ahead for the next 365 days. You know, the"out with the old, in with the new" "New Year, New You" razz-matazz. We know the ropes already. We will either hang ourselves with our lack of dedication to our resolutions or we'll grab hold of those ropes in a game of tug-of-war to win. Here's what I say about getting there:

Keep your faith strong and focused. The other day on a flight to Chicago, we experienced a moderate amount of turbulence. I never like it, but whatcha gonna do? As I pondered about it, I thought about how the plane keeps moving forward, strong, powerful and focused, piercing through the winds with it's own designed fierceness to maneuver it. And, I thought: That's exactly what we should do. Achieving goals and success doesn't usually come so easy. The winds of fate and faulty situations are constantly coming at us. We have to stay fierce and focused, knowing where we're headed, just like those planes. We must stay on course.

We must carry expectancy in our minds and hearts, even when things feel crazy and confusing, and when you're not sure at that moment exactly what to do. After my return flight back to Houston, I retrieved my car from the parking lot and headed home, first stopping at the grocery store to pick up a few things I needed. I had a lot of stuff to remove from my trunk when I got home after shopping, a small carryon, my purse, my laptop and groceries.

When I got inside and started taking things out of the grocery bags, I didn't find the loaf of bread I just had bought. I grabbed my keys and headed back to my car, but I discovered I must have not picked up the bag with the loaf of bread in it. It wasn't in the trunk, so I headed back inside. It was my favorite bread, so I planned to go back to the store first thing the next morning. I would now have to wait to enjoy the delicious sandwich I had planned to make for myself that night.

Well, to my alarm and surprise, I realized that I had picked up the wrong set of keys. I have two sets, both have keys to my car and to my apartment, but only one set has the fob to the lobby of my apartment building. I was like "okay, this is going to be interesting. It's 11:00PM. Am I even going to see anyone going through the lobby and be able to get their attention?" I didn't panic, but I wasn't sure how and when I would be able to get back inside. Maybe someone will come out to walk their dog? Maybe someone will be leaving or coming and I can get in? I am not sure what to do now or how this was going to go. I just knew I was stuck outside needing to get in.

I went back to may car and sat there thinking. I can't leave because I need my fob to get back through the gate. So now what? I finally decided to park near the entry door with my emergency lights flashing. I thought maybe someone would see and come and check to see if there was an actual emergency. No, that didn't happen immediately. I sat there almost two hours. Just after 1:00am, I saw a lady peek outside with a look of curiosity and then duck back in quickly. I jumped out of my car as fast as I could, hoping she was still nearby the doorway because I could no longer see her. I knocked on the glass door and thank God she did hear it and came and opened the door for me. I don't even have to tell you how grateful I felt afterwards, having sat in my car that late at night. I had resolved to sleep right there at the door if I had to, but I'm sure glad I didn't have to.

Here's the thing: I pay much attention to life and quirky things that happen. While I sat inside my car, I prayed for a while, of course for someone to show up to help me get into the building, but I also prayed to know if there was some kind of "message" in all that was happening. I clearly heard the word "expectation" come to me. I thought, yes, for sure. God was showing me what it's like for us when we are waiting for something to happen, and when we are not sure what, when, how, where or who will bring us the answer, we just know it's coming somehow.

I knew that eventually I would be able to get inside my building, I just didn't not know how or when, but I knew it would happen. I never panicked. I didn't stress. I didn't complain. I didn't tell myself that I should have paid attention to which set of keys I was grabbing. I said absolutely nothing negative, nothing.

And, this, my dear readers, is the best way we can live and thrive in our periods of expectations for many things. We have to just know that certain things are gonna come, particularly when we know that our only choice is waiting for them to come. We can't always know how a thing is going to work out, we just have to know that somehow it will. Yes, that's how it goes. It takes patience for sure.

I pray your year is filled with grand and positive things! If you have to wait for some of it, I pray that you can do it with poise and patience, knowing that it's definitely coming. ~ S.R.F.

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