Woman sitting on outside bench with laptop

Kick Yourself Out Of That Work Slump

We’ve all been there. 

And we’re likely to get there again. It’s the dreaded work slump and like burnout, it can sneak up on you.

Of course we all want to feel fully engaged in our 9-5 (and you can bet that your manager would love that too). There are so many factors influencing our work self and we ignore it, we will begin to wonder why we just can’t seem to muster up the courage to get on top of that ever-growing inbox.

So if you’re in a current work slump, here’s some tips on how to diagnose the root cause – and how to dig yourself out of it.

1. Are you bored?

It’s easy to look busy and get through the day without feeling excited about the projects on your desk. Every job has aspects of it that are uninspiring but if 80% of what you’re doing causes you to yawn the day away, it’s time to chat to your manager or volunteer to help out on some assignments that will bring some variety to your day.

2. Are you lacking focus?

Some organisations are better at setting clear goals and objectives for specific job functions than others. If you feel every new project and idea is being passed onto you (mainly because you can handle a lot and are able to get things done) but you feel like you are veering too far off your specific job function, then it’s time that you revert to your original job outputs.

The danger with carrying on with accepting amorphous assignments is that you will eventually be unable to meet your agreed upon key performance areas. And that is what you will be measured on at the end of the year. So make the time to have the discussion with your superiors and if the new projects are part of the core focus of the organisation in a particular year, then ensure that you adjust your work profile to reflect the new job specification.

3. Are you annoyed at something (or someone)?

People are people – and when you work with people, you are most likely going to rub someone up the wrong way (and vice versa). Depending on your personality, you either avoid conflict or embrace it. When something does annoy you, firstly assess whether it is work addressing formally or whether it is something you can let slide.

No one likes that colleague that is over sensitive and can’t handle any form of feedback – but if something bugs you for a particular period of time (especially if the situation/treatment worsens) then you need to address it in a polite and professional manner. Misunderstanding and miscommunication is common place – and a simple adult conversation can quickly remedy the situation.

4. Are you feeling stuck?

If you’ve been in a particular job for a few years, its normal to feel frustrated in your current role, especially if the work you’re doing hasn’t evolved to bring some level of variety. It is your responsibility, not the responsibility of the company you’re working for, to do something about it. Speak to friends and family about possible options. Make time to reflect on your career path and where you see yourself heading.

Then you will need to take some positive steps to help you chart a new path. Inquire about possible training opportunities available to you, or new positions in the department or elsewhere in the organisation. Think about where you see yourself five years from now. Nothing is going to change until you do.

5. Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Learning how to cope with constant work pressure, coupled with changing circumstances in other areas of your life, can sometime feel overwhelming. If you feel like your work is a bottomless ocean of tasks, deadlines and new projects that never ease up, you will soon hate your job – and your life.

No human being can withstand non-stop tension, pressure and stress without their health (spiritual, mental and physical) being affected. If this is where you are right now, drastic action will need to be taken to feel like your feet are on solid ground again. This is where you ask for help – take a step back and get some healthy perspective.

No job – no matter how amazing or well-paying – is worth your life.

 

Man in suit, looking overwhelmed, standing in the ocean

 

 

 

When you feel yourself getting into a work slump, what do you do? Would love to hear more tactics in the comments below.

 

Don’t Let Doubt Steal Your Dreams

image of a person in an iron mask

If the dawn of a new year scares you because you feel stuck in a private cycle of futility, then you could be letting self-doubt get the best of you.

Doubt is tricky to pinpoint because it hides itself behind so many other internal barriers. It’s easier to blame our lack of progress on our boss, or family background – or even on our own poor estimation of our capabilities.

Dictionary.com defines doubt as to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe. Every successful person on this planet talks about how the battle with doubt is a constant one. So there will never be a day when you get up in the morning and it will have suddenly disappeared. 

While you need to accept that the struggle with doubt is part of the human condition, you don’t need to accept its potentially debilitating factor in your life.

Doubt blinds you to your true abilities.

Have you ever witnessed someone excel in a certain area (like public speaking or problem solving or bringing a team together) and then hear them talk about how incompetent they said area?

It’s astonishing and mind boggling – and yet most of us paint over our full colour brilliance with the whitewash of doubt every day. It’s like we have an invisible apparition strapped to our backs of the hideous monster we think we are, compared to the generally ordinary person we present to the rest of the world.

If we really knew what doubt was costing us, we might be more willing to address it.

 

Five Ways Doubt is Stealing Your Dreams

  1. It causes you to hesitate and lets opportunities slip through your fingertips:
    • We lose so much of what could belong to us because we allow fear to snatch it from our hands. We don’t apply for that amazing job because we feel we’re not ready yet – or that we don’t deserve it. We say no too quickly and then live with that regret for too long. People who have developed confidence act quickly when a good opportunity presents itself because they have been preparing themselves for success behind the scenes.
  2. It gives you the perfect excuse to avoid the work to bring your best self to the world:
    • Are you allowing doubt to gnaw at your optimism and potential? At the root of doubt is fear. What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail? What if I really suck at something that everything things I’m good at? When we worry more about what people will think or say by any particular course of action we wish to take, we are choosing to keep ourselves enslaved. Blaming others is the perfect excuse to stop trying.
  3. It’s makes you wait for the day that never comes:
    • When we keep making others a hindrance and using them as an excuse for our lack of progress, then we are keeping ourselves in a holding pattern. “One day, I will go on my dream vacation,” we say… but never do the research of what it will actually cost and start saving. “One day, I will get the love I deserve…” but we keep making choices that prove the opposite.
  4. It robs you from relationships that help you grow:
    • The weaker your sense of self-esteem, the stronger your doubt will be. We might desire to have healthy relationships with strong individuals – but we’re often afraid of looking weak in comparison and so we never reach out. If relationships are only challenging you negatively, they will never be able to help you grow. We are all a work in progress – there are no perfect people out there. Once you can give up the delusion that you need to be perfect, you might find the courage to engage in relationship that stretch you in all the right ways.
  5. It breeds negativity that stops good things flowing to and through you:
    • When doubt has taken over your life, he invites his friends – Negativity, Defeat, Failure, Misery, Loneliness… all the people that makes for a great pity party. If you let doubt consume you, you will find yourself playing the victim card in every situation. Why does it seem like good things don’t happen to  people who are constantly negative? Well, the main reason is that they have a negative expectation. Bad traffic, lousy neighbours, too many bills – these are things they didn’t know they’ve been asking for.

The antidote to doubt is faith.

How do you start believing in yourself when you find out that you haven’t been?

Firstly, start taking stock. Look around – and be grateful for – all that you do have in your possession. Not just material things but also the latent gifts and talents that you can put to work to help you become prosperous.

Then, take the time to reflect on what your life looked like a year ago this time – five years ago, ten years ago. Even if there are still some areas of your life that could use a massive overhaul, you have made some form of progress over the years. I sometimes consider my current life and all the things that God has added to it and it astounds me.

I had lived in a place of desperation and fear for so long that I didn’t know what freedom would look or feel like. And now that I am growing in my understanding of the freedom available to me, it humbles and motivates me to keep going along this path, to see what else is in store for me if I stay committed to my growth. 

If you’ve tied yourself to the opinions and approval of others, you can untie yourself from it. You also have to be willing to face your fears and start seeing yourself in a new reality.

Don’t study the thing that is tripping you up – study all the ways that you can learn how to run into freedom. The thing that is tripping you up will take care of itself. What we focus on, grows. 

So if you focus on belief, instead of doubt, a whole new world of possibility opens up to you. Don’t you want to be free?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Image of a man hold his hand in front of a wall of images, depicting different options

How To Stand Firm In Your Decisions

Image of a man hold his hand in front of a wall of images, depicting different options

When last did you make a decision that was difficult to stick to?

I’m not talking about skipping the gym workout this week. I mean the more gut-wrenching, heart stirring stuff. Like ending a toxic relationship, choosing to look for a new job or moving cities.

Although we know that change is constant, we still tend to want to hold onto the familiar (even if it’s hampering our growth). If we want different results, then we need to make different choices.

While choice is defined as “an act of choosing between two or more possibilities”, a decision refers to a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration.

Making a choice is a preliminary stage of decision making. “I am going to redefine my personal standards of health and fitness”, for example, is a conscious choice.

You are making the choice between one version of reality in this area of your life, over another version of reality that you will need to create for the future.

There are various posts available online about how to make a good decision.

How do you keep choosing your choice?

Once you’ve made a decision, you have to keep choosing your choice.

When you are choosing something, you are saying yes to stepping into something new and you are effectively stepping out of something old.

That looks like change – and as much as we want to pretend that change is an old friend and we know how nothing stays the same, we actually take a while to adjust to it.

One could argue that we are creatures of comfort and habit, so working to actively shift your mindset will involve an active process of engagement.

If you’ve decided to move to another area, or to look for another job or to seek out more positive relationships, you should expect resistance to your new choice.

Do you find it difficult to stick to your decisions?

Once you’ve made an important decision – and you find yourself wavering – how do you keep yourself steady?

What is your reason for vacillating on your decision? Any of these sound familiar? (Remember that most of these will be subconscious objections).

1. Other people are not going to like this course of action.

2. I don’t know what the next step is.

3. Better the devil you know…

4. How do I know if it’s going to work out?

5. Is it really going to get better? Am I going to be able to change this?

6. I’ve tried this before and it hasn’t worked.

7. I haven’t figured all this out yet.

8. No one else I know is making the decision I’m on the threshold of

9. What if I lose?

10. What if I win?

We often allow ourselves to stay in situations which is hampering our growth because we justify our comfort. We avoid flirting with risk because we’re used to our predictable day to day process. Many people are so afraid of something new that they keep themselves captive because of the remote possibility of a negative consequence.

In order to stay on track, you will need to balance out the emotive drive with your cognitive drive. Just getting your mind right won’t help if you don’t keep your heart in check.

If the thing that you’re reaching for is going to help you grow your character so that you can be more of the person you know yourself to be, the reward outweighs the cost. 

If you’re stuck in a relationship where you and your partner keeps each other from growing, then letting go and focusing on your own growth might be the best thing that happened to both of you.

If your current job is good enough to pay the bills and keep you semi-engaged, it is still a poor substitute for finding and doing the work that makes your heart sing.

If the thought of changing cities scares you because that was never in your plans (but you have a slight inkling that it might be a powerful transformative experience), you’re keeping yourself from having experience you don’t know what will thrill you yet.

Don’t let fear rule your heart.

The way that you can prevent yourself from following your emotions blindly is to keep a clear reminder of your purpose or vision where you can see it everyday.

Create a positive expectation that will fill your heart with hope and provide the fuel you need to keep choosing your decision everyday.

Isn’t the life you want worth it?

Let The Pull Of Purpose Push You Into Greatness

Have you been pulled by your sense of purpose into areas of personal greatness?

What has been pushing you this year to reach the targets you set for yourself at the beginning of the year?

Was it your parents, your boss’s perceived expectations of you, your spouse, your own ambition?

And do you feel closer to where you wanted to be when you crossed the threshold of the year – or further away from it?

I ask you all these questions because I despise the almost obligatory reflection on the 31st of December every year. I want to know if I am on track, headed in the right direction – sooner rather than later, so that I don’t waste even more time going deeper into a purposeless abyss.

I want to live my life on purpose. I want to be intentional about my days.

Partly because I feel like a decade of my life has been stolen from me – but mainly because I really want my life to count for something. I want the fact that I have taken up a tiny portion of space to have mattered to the people that I have crossed paths with.

So when an evolving concept of “push and pull” behaviours began cropping up in a few conversations over the past few weeks, it began to intrigue me.

This is actually quite a deep topic to really delve into, so I’ll try and position it in the way that I am beginning to see the framework. The basic premise is: You will always feel pushed into something if you’re not pulled into it by a deeper sense of purpose. 

A retrenchment, a divorce, a sudden death. There are things that shove you into realities that you weren’t quite ready for (and don’t know how to deal with).

Circumstances that we find ourselves in, that are beyond our control, creates a negative kind of push. Another factor that we can’t control (that we often forget) is that we can’t control people.

Pushing others is not fun. Feeling pushed is no fun either.

It conjures up a sense of resistance. It makes you feel like you don’t have a choice. And then everything in you wants to do the opposite.

Have you been dealing with situations in your life this year that has made you feel pushed by external factors – and either caused you to respond defensively or rendered you passive?

When we allow situations or people to determine our state of action, that’s when we give up our power.

It might not always feel like we’re in control but the way we respond to a situation always is. If we don’t have a strong sense of why we’re doing what we’re doing, then we will always get caught up in the “what is happening around us” that can be a major distraction to your actual purpose.

No one is going to help you figure out your purpose. This is a process of discovery that we all have to embark on as solitary sojourners. And it’s scary.

So we often take a easy option and allow other people to decide the direction of our lives for us. Therefore if things don’t feel great, we can rail against the machine and blame the state of our lives on other people. “If my boss was just more… (fill in your magical wish list here)” or “If only I was married/single again/in a relationship/out of this one… then life would be ok.”

Finding your Beckoning Space

In a session with a coach earlier this year, she asked an evocative question: What is your beckoning space?

What is the place where you see yourself thriving, being fueled with passion, where do you see yourself coming alive?

I didn’t have to think too much about that question. I know what that answer is. I’ve known for years. It’s just taken a while for me to grow in maturity and character to be able to reach for the things that I know I’m wired for.

The thing is, we often get so fixated on fighting against our current realities that we don’t have energy to think about the any alternate realities that might make us come alive.

So yes, it will be a fight. Swimming upstream is not easy. Going against the flow, when everyone else seems content to wile their lives away on non-purpose related pursuits, doing the thing beating in your heart is going to take guts.

It’s going to mean that you have to be ok with other people not being ok with you.

What is pushing you? What are the things that you do on a daily or weekly basis that you feel propelled to take on because of a sense of duty or obligation?

On the other hand: What is pulling you towards the place where you feel a special kind of magic? What are the things that, when you do then, you feel a sense of wonder and excitement?

(You might want to write these things down and ponder them for a bit. Don’t ignore them… they will just keep lingering until you eventually pay attention to them).

Of course we can’t avoid all duty and obligation.

You might not feel like going to work some days. But maturity helps you to get up, shower, get dressed, and get your butt in your car. Once you’re there, you actually get things done and end up having a pretty productive day.

It might be a similar process with going to the gym. If you’ve had a long day (or week), everything in your body and mind is shouting at you to avoid the thing that won’t feel good at the outset but at the end of the session, you’re feeling pretty incredible.

Your strength of your inner pull will determine whether you will allow the right kind of push.

When I switched my gym visits from a place of beating myself up for not measuring up to some impossible standard, to now swiping my card because I understand how taking care of my health has a vital and direct result on my longevity so that I can live out what I believe my passion to be, what was previously a push action has shifted to a ‘pull choice’.

I still don’t ever feel like doing the session but there is less inner turmoil than a few months ago because my renewed perspective on this one aspect of my life has had positive knock on effects on other areas of my life.

So how do you allow the pull your of purpose push you into greatness? Here’s how it’s working for me:

 

 

1. Don’t be limited by your job title (or your salary)

You will have many job titles in your life, clocking in to a number of organisations and working in various office team environments. When we first start out, it’s easy to expect others to lay out the projected trajectory of our career – until we discover that just like life, our professional endeavours will not be linear.

Each job contains opportunities for you to learn particular skills sets and if you are open to that, you will be able to glean a lot of valueable experience that you might only realise 10 or 20 years down the line was actually extremely beneficial.

Therefore, do not despise humble beginnings and also don’t be limited by your salary. Explore what you can do to develop multiple streams of income. Job security is fickle. Don’t set anchors in sinking sand.

In this current shifting landscape of work, it still fascinates me how some people pin all their hopes on a job title (and it’s incumbent benefits).

I understand that not all personality types are comfortable with risk taking and not everyone will have a desire to start their own business. I do believe, though, that everyone needs to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, just to keep themselves relevant and flexible in a vastly changing job market.

2. Let your life purpose be your compass (and then step out)

There is a golden thread in your life that provides clues to your life purpose. As you begin to see this more clearly, it will help you determine what you will say yes, no more, no, or maybe to.

Something that has helped me to keep a clear focus on my life vision, is a printed list entitled “What I want people to say when I die”. I read this list of ten items that I have determined will be the cumulative impact of my life (and I can see it from this finite point) every morning when I’m brushing my teeth.

It often feels daunting but it also reminds me to appreciate the ‘small’ ways I’m able to live our my life purpose every day and every week. Some days, that just looks like being purposeful about meeting someone for coffee and encouraging them. Other days, it means sitting at my desk and (finally) writing that blog post that has been simmering in my brain for way to long.

Most of the time, it’s reminding myself to be present in the conversations I have with others or learning how to say no when I need to. Your life purpose should direct your steps and it should chart your course. After numerous iterations, my life purpose can now be summarised in the phrase “inspire hope in the hopeless.”

3. Make time to dream (and then plan your action)

Whose life am I living?

It’s important to ask yourself this question on a regular basis because sometimes our life scripts morph into what others expect from us without us realising it. Don’t forget the reason you’re living. Write down the vision for your life and then keep reminders of where you’re headed with you in places that you can see it.

Don’t get sucked into the subtle ways that you can ruin your life.

You get one life. And it comes with an expiry date.

Dreams only come to live when your drape your wishes around the skeleton of a plan.

Don’t blame others for you not taking the action that is within your power – right in this moment – to take.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture of a mannequin lying on the floor

Why Your Bad Habits Will Bankrupt Your Life

Habits form our character but our core beliefs form our habits.

No one needs to name and shame the bad habits in your life. You are keenly aware of it. Whether the crime is indulging in time wasters like binge series watching and mindless social media surfing, to more serious choices like staying in toxic relationships, you know what’s tripping you up in life.

You might want to protest that if you knew how to do better, you would. But the heart of the matter is ­- do you really want to do better? We all know that we need to exercise, eat healthy, increase our levels of focus to improve our productivity, etc etc.

The way that we make the switch from bad behavior to good behavior has more to do with a heart change than a head change. At the root of every bad habit is a high level of tolerance for the thing we know needs to change if we want to get the life we really desire.

Our motivation to reach for the things we really want is often thwarted by a lack of belief that we deserve the things that we know will give us a better quality of life.

We don’t know what the true cost of our bad habits are because we haven’t yet begun to taste what the opposite actions in our lives could produce.

The only problem is that until we really believe that we deserve to have the things we want, we will never be motivated to make the change.

When it hurts too much

John Maxwell says that “People change when they hurt enough that they have to change, learn enough that they want to change, receive enough that they are able to change.”

I’ve been struggling with my fitness targets for years. Writing the same targets year in and year out has led to despair. I felt trapped, like I was just fooling myself for even trying to make a change.

One day, while I was at gym, with my inner voice was shouting at me to finish quickly because I had so many things to do and on the other hand knowing that I would mentally berate myself if I hadn’t gone to gym in the first place, I knew that I had to stop the madness.

I hated myself if I didn’t go to gym – and I hated myself even when I was there.

I stopped the exercise I was doing and had an inner talk-in-the-corner with myself. “What’s really going on here?” I asked myself. Why am I continuing to keep going on this miserable-go-round cycle year in and year out?

I decided to run an experiment on myself, to get to the root of what was keeping me stuck in the proverbial mud when it came to getting my fitness to start moving in a forward direction. I decided to go to gym for one hour every day in the upcoming month and study (with a microscope) all the excuses and barriers that were preventing me from keeping my commitment to myself.

Once I challenged myself to figure out what was really going on with me, a friend who just happens to be a personal trainer offered his help and I was open enough to actually sign up for proper training sessions.

The day of my first session, I had a total freak out. I was scared, nervous, petrified even. The fear I felt made me realise that there was some deeper stuff going on that just forcing myself to get into workout gear.

I’d allowed all sorts of thorns to grow into my thinking about fitness, health, my own body image and what I can actually accomplish in this area. This is an ongoing process of change and challenge and my personal trainer surprises me every so often by taking things up a notch and pushing me further than I know my body can go.

But that’s the biggest hindrance to changing our bad habits: it takes work. You have to expend more energy and effort and focus to do the things you know will have a long term positive effect than just scoffing down the chips or scone (my personal nemesis) in the moment.

Working out regularly and eating better (just for a few weeks) has already had so many knock on positive effects. The small changes that I’ve seen within a two month time span helped me feel more confident when I finally did my first ever author talk.

That after workout feeling is also a pretty great high that really competes with the exhausted this-has-been-a-long-day feeling that makes me want to veg on the couch instead.

Oh yeah – and it’s freaking painful. There are days when I curse the stairs and feel the ache of muscles coming alive. I’m not at the point yet where I’m actually looking forward to the training sessions (that might come) but I keep showing up because I know that just doing the work is going to help me learn about what I am really capable of.

I ended up going to gym 28 days out of 31 (some days I opted to take a walk on the beach as my workout activity). My mini-experiment proved that actually, I had the capacity to change and finally prioritizing my personal commitments over the other areas on my life helped me feel more empowered to give my best to the world.

Small wins in one area of your life begin to inspire confidence in other areas of your life and eventually you find the small wins add up to a greater forward momentum that begins to build in your life.

Shifting from consuming to producing

When you shift from a consumer to a producer mindset, the things that used to be ok begins to choke your progress. I’ve mentioned before that I used to be a shopaholic… and that meant that I could literally spend hours in malls, being enthralled by all the colourful possibilities that I encountered.

And while I have to watch that I don’t get caught up in that cycle again, now when I feel myself wandering around the mall for a ‘must have item’, I’ve begun to notice that my inner voice is reminding me that I’m wasting time when I could rather be writing.

I’d been threatening my friends that I was going to publish a book for years. But until I started seeing myself as having something valuable to offer the world, I wasn’t acting on it.

If you want to make progress on the path of personal excellence, then you have to constantly break out of limiting versions of yourself. Having cheerleaders in your life that help you see the truth about your potential is also vital to breaking old patterns.

I finally did the work on my first book because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. People have been telling me for years how much my writing has helped them, has inspired them to get closer to God, how what they read came at the right time to help answer some questions they had in their heart.

And so I was being really selfish by thinking so little of myself and not enough of what I’ve been given the world needs.

YOU have something that the world needs. You may not have absolute clarity on it yet. You might not fully believe in your ability to bring it out yet but the seed is there.

The way to tackle bad habits it to deal with our toxic thinking. Thought processes rooted in incorrect belief systems will keep you stuck and silently settling for a mediocre life when you know in your spirit that what you truly yearn for is to be excellence and significant.

Thinking that is linked to deep seated beliefs are difficult to change. It involves an intentional process of catching yourself playing the silent tapes in your head – and then interrupting them and replacing them with new information.

In the days of VHS and cassette tapes, you could record new music or video by taping over the old. Rewiring the negative narratives that are tripping you up is not that easy – but it is possible.

It means that you will have to keep presenting yourself with new information every time your brain brings up the old evidence of how you will fail in this area. What has helped me in this process is connecting to my spiritual identity as a child of God and seeing myself as God sees me – as perfect and whole on the inside.

The more I believe that, the more it motivates me to mirror on the outside what I know to be true on the inside. I can see more clearly now the actions that are limiting my growth. It doesn’t make it easier to shift to positive behavior but having a vision for a higher life helps me with the resolve to allow the sandpapering of my daily experiences to refine the truth I am living within.

Because I am secure in my identity as being loved, I can grow through my experience and learn how to constantly tweak my understanding and perspectives so that I stay tuned in to the frequencies of growth.

I can apologise to my husband when I’m wrong, I can decide when to speak up or when to just let something go, I can choose to focus on the most important tasks in a day and ignore the constant distractions clawing at my consciousness (definitely an hourly struggle).

I want my life to be rich: with experience, with joy, with growth, with peace, with good health, with abundance, with grace.

I can say goodbye to bad habits because they don’t offer any of that.

 

 

 

 

Image of ad elipidated car

The Seven Slowest Ways To Ruin Your Life

Ruining one’s life is not something most people consciously set out to do. Most people want to achieve success in life. There is an inner drive to excel, to achieve your potential, to have your life count for something.

As you’re reading this, there are probably some thoughts and feelings stirring in your heart and mind. Maybe you’re remembering the things your parents want you to do with your life. Maybe it’s your own goals and ambitions that seem so far away. Perhaps you feel a tinge of regret over the things that failed and punctured your confidence to try again.

Regardless of what’s happened in the past, you most likely have a desire for life to work out well for you. You’re probably not getting up each morning thinking: “How can I ruin my life today?” And yet, ruin is a sneaky thing.

Because it’s invisible, it can be extremely insidious. It’s so much easier to pin our lack of achievement on circumstances we can actually see and people we can point our fingers to. We don’t actually think about the inner obstacles (of our own creation) that can impede progress along our road to success.

People who are angry and bitter, with multiple chips on their shoulders (we all know a few of them)probably don’t realise how, over the years, they’ve created their own version of quicksand and despite all their frenetic activity, are going nowhere slowly.

picture of a person trapped in quicksand

 

So how does one destroy one’s life, bit by bit, day by day, decision by decision? Decay usually sets in because of neglect. The proper care and attention is not applied appropriately and while it might not seem to be too damaging when you look at things over a short period of time, the tragic picture of ruination sets in over a decade or two.

  1. You lack vision: We weren’t born to just pay bills and die. You have been designed with a passion and on purpose and until you find and pursue the thing that makes you come alive, you will always be yearning for inner contentment. Success means different things to different people. You will feel like there is something missing from your life until you do whatever it is that fills you with joy when you’re doing it: whether it’s teaching children, running your own business or baking cakes. If you don’t write the script for your life, someone else will.
  2. You never take action: You keep talking about your dreams but you never translate them into goals and concrete plans. Successful people have turned wishful thinking into practical action. If you are not willing to pay the price, you will never lay your hands on the things you want. The things you like, you talk about. The things you love, you commit to.
  3. You never take responsibility: Someone else is always to blame for the things that haven’t happened yet in your life. There is no denying that some people have an easier start to life and have more privilege than others. And yet, there are countless examples of people who have experienced similar challenges and life circumstances as you. Once they took accountability for their lives, they managed to not just overcome it but to rise above their limitations and achieve phenomenal success. Find inspiring role models and ditch the scapegoats. If you haven’t learn how to receive – and grow from – constructive criticism, then you are bound to repeat the same experiences year in and year out.
  4. You stop growing: Your graduation day is not the finishing line of your learning. Great leaders are life long learners and successful people are constantly learning new things. Skill sets need to be tweaked and expanded in order to stay relevant in the market place. If you never really evaluate your personal progress and reflect on ways to improve and grow, you will experience regression instead of progression.
  5. You think you can make it on your own: A self-made man/woman is a fallacy. We need people to help us achieve more than we could ever accomplish on our own. People who have faith in the goodness of God and depend on His help experience a God-sized life as opposed to a life based on limited self-efforts.
  6. You live beyond your means: Talking yourself into unnecessary credit card purchases or ‘must-have items’ is a sure way to dig a deep hole of debt that will be a major impediment to living a whole, full life. Comparing yourself to others – and trying to keep up to someone else’s standards – is a sure way to drain the joy and contentment from your own life. Your finances don’t crumble in a day… but one bad choice after another eventually causes the ship to sink.
  7. You won’t diversify your friendship circle: If you’re constantly hanging out with people that look, act and think like you, you are robbing yourself from a rich tapestry of connection and understanding. Some relationships are like spiderwebs – keeping you trapped in a reality that doesn’t serve you and keeps you stuck. Most people never change because they are too afraid to allow their friendship circle to evolve.

What we don’t realise is that our fixed mindsets can act like a slow poison in our lives. Developing a growth mindset can help you galvanise yourself against the long-term, devastating affects of these soul-destroying decisions and behaviours.

Picture of a worn out car under a shed

This proverb has always stuck with me: “Wise people build their house with their own hands, but foolish people tear it down with their own hands.” There is no denying that you are entirely responsible for what your “house of life” currently looks like.

The truth is that even though there may be some areas that look severely debilitated right now, there is nothing so broken that God cannot restore. Once you are honest about the current state of affairs, you can then go about uprooting the roots of the things that are slowly but surely destroying your life.

If you don’t believe that you are a valuable person and deserving of living a whole, full, life – then you are not going to be motivated to stop the self-harm. I have swung on the pendulum of identity, living as a victim and as a rebel, until finally settling into the truth about my created value as a child of God.

When you see your worth and start living from a place of identity instead of for identity, the things you used to do to self-destruct become ludicrous patterns in your life. The great news is that if you are on any of these seven paths of death, you can decide to turn around and walk in the opposite direction into new paths of life.

I think that deep down, you really want to live a life that is full of joy, that is freeing and that frees you from the judgement, actions or opinions of others. Make the change today. If you wait another day, and another, and still another, ruin will come upon you and you will wish you could turn back the hands of time.

 

Finding The Fun In Your Work

We’re all tempted to press the snooze button one too many times on days we feel like we can’t face the office.

Work is challenging, it can be rewarding – but it’s not going to be something that makes you feel like you’re floating on clouds all day playing the harp. (Unless you’re a harpist – and all the best to you).

I cannot stomach work that is tedious and boring. I’m sure you’re not rearing to go in the morning to face another day of mundane, monotonous, unchallenged tasks. Yes there are people who avoid work like the plague and seem to get a high out of avoiding work like bullets flying at Neo in The Matrix but they’re probably not interested in reading a blog about taking responsbility for feeling engaged in your work space.

As an entrepreneurial thinker, I am always energized by improving processes, finding solutions to serving the client and harnessing stories to capture the impact of partnerships. Millennials, more than other generations, need to have fun in their work environments: https://goo.gl/eZeJhY

While many environments are evolving to embrace the new world of work, most are stuck in traditional patterns that can feel stifling at the best of times. So how does one stay engaged and motivated in environments that can be stogy and overly conservative?

Here are the five fun factors that help me enjoy the work I put my hands to:

1. Bring your own brand of fun: If everything around you is grey and dull, then think about ways that you can add some colour to your environment. Whether it’s playing around with colours and patterns in your work wardrobe or bringing some personal items to place on your desk or in your space that make you smile when you look at it, there is something you can to to bring a bit of your vivaciousness to the work environment. You can brand yourself as a carefree and fun individual without being too risqué.

2. Have lunch with a colleague whose company you enjoy: Some coworkers can be taxing on the mind and when it feels like you’re liable to head into an unhealthy emotional space, arrange a lunch date or coffee with a colleague whose company you actually enjoy. Someone who ‘gets’ you, a kindred spirit who you can laugh with and just be yourself around helps to take some of the pressure off a stressful day.

3. Schedule your week and try and have one thing you’re looking forward to every day: As much as it is up to you, spend some time at the end of each week to plan out what your week ahead will look like. Carefully consider the meetings you think is actually valuable to attend and as far as possible, eliminate time wasters from your schedule. Plan at least one thing that makes you feel a sense of excitement each day: either finishing up an overdue project (I know that doesn’t sound like much fun but you will be surprised at the relief you feel when you hand it in), or talking a walk around the office park that you’ve been wanting to do for a few weeks, or even that coffee with your kindred spirit colleague. Life is too short to hate your work days.

4. Don’t be a poopy head just because there is a ‘culture of stuffiness’: People may be older than you who have been working there for years – but just because there is a culture of conservatism, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to run for the hills. More than likely, your bright and cheerful spirit is just what’s needed to brighten up the place. At one of my former jobs, I was convinced that my manager despised my very existence. She was generally a negative person and would aggressively shrug off any encouragement I tried to lend to the situation. Imagine my surprise when she said: “I will miss your positivity”, when I finally tended my resignation. I wanted to say: “Fancy that – I thought you barely noticed it!” But being a professional I said something positive and encouraging instead.

5. Put forward that idea for a project that gets you excited: While there are some people who take a job with a retirement plan in mind, most employees are more concerned about training opportunities. Don’t let the sands of time pass without having a clear vision of what skills you want to add to your resume when you take on a new job. You’re there to make things better, so don’t wait for permission to present new ideas. Managers (secure managers) love initiators and those who don’t just get the job done but also bring life and energy to the office and take things forward. The proactive, productive employees will be those who learn and grow – and take on new opportunities, while the retirees-in-waiting will keep dodging bullets and wondering how people can actually have fun while at work.

You put a third of your life into work – why not try and find the life in your work?

 

 

 

 

Broken watches

Don’t Let Regret Eat Your Joy

As long as you are living and breathing on this planet, you are guaranteed to face regret.

To regret something is to “feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).” To be ‘repentant’ means to wish that you could go back in time to the moment when the regretful incident happened – and make an alternate choice.

I think of regret as death’s first cousin. Regret doesn’t respect age, race, nationality or a person’s favourite ice cream flavour. It comes as a consequence of things you don’t have full control over and lingers in the shadows of darkness in the corners of your soul.  (Ok that was dramatic. I think I’ve made my point).

Regret brings along a host of friends: disappointment, guilt, shame, embarrassment and fear. If we don’t learn how to wrestle with it in a healthy way – and win – regret will always be a handicap in our lives.

Identifying the causes of regret

At the basis of regret is that the outer world is not lining up with expectations of your inner world. Disappointment at the realities of our past can haunt us and limit our freedom to live in the world the way that we know we can.

Think about the things that you’ve been regretting over the past few months. What comes up as a constant theme?

1. Bad things that other people did to you: Is there something that happened to you when you were younger, that you couldn’t really control, that you still blame yourself for? Maybe you’re tormented with questions like: ‘Why didn’t I tell someone?’, ‘Why did I go there’, ‘I should’ve…’ Ruminating on all the ways that you could have changed the situation is hampering your confidence to make decisions in the present. If you have not sought professional help to deal with the psychological and emotional hurts that were inflicted on you by others, then you are keeping yourself in a private prison. Get the help you need. You deserve to live a whole, free, full life.

2. Bad decisions that hurt you: Sometimes, we unknowingly cooperate with others in perpetuating a negative reality. We don’t always have all the foresight and life experience that will enable us to make better decisions and then we get stuck (sometimes for years) in relationships or places that keep us from living authentically. When we finally escape that limiting reality and have taken time to heal, looking back on the wasted time can cause feelings of regret at what could’ve been. You also can’t help feeling like an idiot for what now (thanks to hindsight) is extremely obvious to you.

3. Actions you took that hurt others: This is a tough one. It’s easier to live life upset at the evil people who mess up the lives of others. But what happens what that person is you? It is extremely difficult to reconcile yourself with the notion of yourself as a “good person”, knowing that there were actions that you took that directly affected others negatively. You may not have intended that as a consequence but there is no way of disputing that you have caused pain to someone else. The redeeming aspect of this kind of regret is that you realise that people are fallible (yes even you!) and it helps you to have a deeper level of understanding. It might make it easier for you to forgive someone else for what they did to you because maybe they too didn’t intend for the bad consequence and we just doing their best. Remember that we judge others by their actions but we judge ourselves by our intentions.

4. Wishing you’d made a different choice: We all have cringe-worthy actions that we prefer no one ever knew about. Just this week, one of my major regrets came back to me, taunting me for the silly fool that I was. Instead of just giving into the usual self-pity and self-inflicted internal flogging, I pictured taking that regret by the neck (like lionesses grab their cubs) and looking it in the eye.

Yes I should never have done what I did, yes I hated the person I was at the time when I made that decision and yes, if I could go back in time to the moment when things went the wrong way and drag myself out of that moment, I would. But I can’t undo what was done. I can’t magically reverse my mistake. What I can do – and what I have to do each time this memory comes up, is to remind myself that the person I am now would never made the same decision today. So as ugly and painful as that regrettable time in my life was, it has taught me a lot about life, vulnerability and strength. You can only make better choices when you are strong enough and healthy enough to choose the things that will build you up, not break you down. We can choose to stay stuck in a private prison of regret or we can live uncaged. We hold the keys to our freedom.

 

 

Understand the spectrum of regret

Not all regret is necessary negative. There is a spectrum of regret that we need to learn to navigate. A spectrum is defined as “any range or scale, as of capabilities, emotions, or moods.”  

Regretting something you did in high school is not as painful to remember as when you messed up a project at work last week.  From saying something stupid to the person you have a crush on to a bad decision or the consequences of a character flaw, regret can become a tool for transformation. If we learn how to use it.

With the first two sources of regret, it will not help us to marinate in the stew of “why did this happen to me?” Staying fixated on things you can’t change is not helpful and will only keep you stuck.

Regret can help you learn from the actions and behaviours that are in your control (the second two sources). Sometimes a careless action, done in a moment of haste, can be easily rectified by a heartfelt apology.

Other things, like a prolonged pattern of behaviour in crucial areas like career development and relationships, take a little longer to rectify. In order to fix my flawed default emotional and psychological patterns of engagement, has taken a long time (and it is still a work in progress).

I use all the tools of personal development at my disposal (spiritual practices, mental techniques, journalling and reflection etc) to strengthen a growth mindset. But I need to be intentional about it.

When I feel the twinge of regret pinch at the corners of my conscience, I am learning how to place it upon the regret spectrum.

  • Invest in your now: When something new comes up into my self awareness about the way I responded to someone, or a silent thought that I have that is not entirely positive, this internal checklist usually helps:
    • Is this something I can change?
      • If no, I focus on the things that are within my power to control.
    • If yes, I consider the steps that I need to take to practise a new course of action the next time a similar situation arises.
  • Celebrate the growth: If a long-standing regret from a painful period of my life rears its ugly head, I take a moment to feed in a new narrative. You have to build new tapes to drown out the old ones. I interject the taunting “see how hopeless you were with “Thank goodness I’m not that person anymore” or “Thank God I never have to see those people ever again.”
  • Let go of the minutia: Sometimes, it’s just a simple ‘I wish I said that this instead of not saying anything to that person in that situation.’ Alas, the moment is gone and it doesn’t help to ruminate. I usually just tell myself to let it go and move on with my life.
  • Pay the price to get the life you want: If there are specific limiting behavioural patterns that I keep picking up (like talking myself out of going to gym more times than my feet actually make it on the treadmill, then more drastic measures have to be taken to get myself out of a rut (like finally signing up with a personal trainer). Less insanity (going the same things and expecting different results) and more proactive challenges.

The better you get with dealing with regret today, the less regret you will have to deal with as you get older.

We’ve all read about studies done on people in their death beds. The things we will regret at the end of our lives will be not enjoying or fully appreciating the things that money can’t buy. Things like friendship, family, genuine love, joy, peace of mind, meaningful conversations (etc, etc).

We’re gifted with life. Only we can decide whether we will cherish the present. The antidote to regret is gratitude.

Are there any regrets that you just can’t seem to let go of? Share your comments below.

Finding A Mid Year Check-In Mechanism That Works For You

Most people project their wishful thinking into a bucket of New Years Resolutions… which, if not followed by basic personal development skills, eventually falls out of the holes of could’ve, would’ve, should’ve…
But if you’re reading this blog, you’re not like most people. You care about your life and your future and understand that if things need to change in your life, you’re the one to make it happen.
So I’m making certain assumptions as I provide the following guidelines:
1. You actually have a set of targets in the critical areas of your life for 2017.
2. You currently have a personal development plan, with measurable outcomes in place.
3. You have been tweaking your introspection and evaluation tools.
I generally have to manage my anxiety levels when it comes to mid-year or end of the year. (Oh who am I kidding, I have to manage my anxiety levels every week because I don’t want to waste my life. One of the sessions with a coach, where she helped me see how little time we actually have, really freaked me out. Yes I know, I might be a little hardcore about this, hence the blog. Moving on.)

                            The amount of time – in weeks – we actually have (scary, huh)?

Last year, I realised that it works better for me if I do a mini-evaluation at the end of each quarter. This seems to be the pattern that has repeated in my life and so I decided to lean into it instead of adopting someone else’s system that might not be the best fit for my personality and the way I function. I later discovered that the ’12 week year’ is actually a thing. Lucky me.
I try to do a weekly evaluation but what’s actually been working for me recently is a daily check-in that I do before bedtime. It’s a simple spreadsheet that I update on my phone and over the past three weeks, this has become a habit. The days go by so quickly that we barely have time to appreciate all the life and love that we have been gifted with. So, as a writer, this has been a great tool for me because it forms a mini-narrative of my life and I can instantly look back on Tuesday last week and muse about what has transpired since then. (And I can bug my husband with the details).
At the end of last year, I spent a few days reflecting on my targets* over the past year and came up with an extensive list of targets in the following key areas of my life: Spiritual, Character, Health, Relationships, Career and Finances. These are the categories that have been the strongest areas of investment over the years.
I’ve had to simplify my targets. I was doing too much but didn’t want to admit that to myself (#Superwomantendencies). The targets that I expressed in writing would only realistically take place over a 3-5 (maybe even 10) year period. And here I was trying to cram everything into one year (and getting annoyed at myself for not making it happen).

So now, I have chiselled the Big Goals down into more doable, bite size pieces and have simplified targets in each focus area.If you haven’t sculpted your personal growth targets yet, don’t wait until New Years Eve to kick it off. Here’s a good list of questions (thanks to Valorie Burton) to ask yourself if you don’t know where to start:

1.What am I most proud of this year?
2. What is the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year?
3. What is the most meaningful milestone I can accomplish this year?
4. What would make it easier for me to reach that milestone?
Adaptive, not prescriptive
The key to developing an effective check-in process for yourself is that you need to design it to work for you. Anything that you try to put in place that will have you feeling like you’re working against yourself is doomed to fail. So be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself the space and time to reflect and adapt where necessary.
Here’s the guideline I use for my mid year (and quarterly) check-in:
  1. Is my system working?
    • Yes but needs tweaks
      • No, I need to change it
        • What needs to change in order to make information tracking easier?
  2. What has worked?
  3. What have I learned?
  4. What do I need to stop doing?
  5. What do I need to focus more on?
  6. What do I want to visualise as successes at the end of the year (or quarter)?

I have now chipped down my Mount Everest of personal achievement into tiny hills that I feel more confident at being able to climb every day. My targets for the next six months is broken down into daily, weekly and monthly intentions. It primarily serves as a reminder to “stave my distractions and feed my focus.” For me to take meaningful steps towards meeting my targets, means that I need to say no sometimes to social events and to block out writing weekends in my calendar (these words doesn’t magically appear in my sleep).

It means that I have to overcome my ‘internal downer voice’ that mocks me for trying once again to increase my fitness levels (I finally succumbed to signing up with a personal trainer – eat that inner critic!).

I’m also trying to teach myself to be more present in the moment – paying attention to the sound of gravel under my feet, or my husband’s voice while he’s talking (unrelated metaphor). If I miss all the beauty that life offers me today, I will always be chasing what I already have. This is why it’s so important to acknowledge all the baby steps you take along the way.

Celebrate the small wins

I was moaning at my dietician earlier this year about how stuck I am and how nothing I do seems to change. She reminded me that when I first went in to see her last year, I was eating a chocolate a day (that has stopped now) and was only getting to gym once or twice a week (it had since moved to three to four times a week).

The perspective of another person (albeit a paid professional) helped me to get the mindset shift I needed. I am a big picture person, so the vision of the future, the ideal, is to tangible and real that I constantly have to manage frustration at the ever-imperfect present). Yes, of course I wrote a blog post about my struggles.

There were many things that happened this year that came as a result of my intent (although not in the way that I expected). So I’m learning to recognise (and appreciate) the tiny signposts along the way that confirm that I’m headed in the right direction.

Then again, you need to know what direction you want your life to go – otherwise how will you know when you get there?

I hope this has helped to inspire you to a) get some targets if you don’t have any already or b) get excited again about re-aligning your daily activities so that you keep moving forward along your path of person greatness. Leave some comments/suggestions below 🙂

 

*A few years ago, I stopped having goals and started working towards targets. (This post on Linkedin by a local entrepreneur I respect inspired this shift http://bit.ly/2sDLGzt )

 

A Letter To The Fatherless

Father’s Day is not a joyous celebration for everyone. For many, it is a bittersweet, mostly painful reminder of what’s missing in their lives.

As people scroll through all the dad love on social media, there are many silent observers reflecting on what they wish they had. If Father’s Day causes you to feel numb, caused by years of disappointment and regret, then I wrote this letter for you. The effects of fatherlessness is scary (http://bit.ly/1D6Fi45 ) but it doesn’t have to wreck your life completely. (And it’s not just a local phenomenon: http://bit.ly/2rNadTc )

You don’t have to remain stuck in a place where you feel “less than” because you’ve never had a positive fatherly influence in your life. The parts of your heart that have become hardened needs to become soft again. It’s not serving you to pretend the void is not there, or that you’re “fine” because it’s been years and “you’re so over it”.

If nothing else, you need to acknowledge that your relationship (or lack of one) with your father has played a role in how you view authority figures, even in the workplace.

If you never received the nurture, care and acceptance you needed as a child, you will crave it as an adult. That’s just the way we’re wired. We’re wired for love. We’re wired for connection. Sometimes, when the internal wires gets crossed, or short circuited, we can’t function at our optimal level.

We will always be frustrated if we never fix the wiring.

 

 

Absent fathers

There is a pandemic of absent fathers in South Africa (http://bit.ly/2tEYqHM). If you’ve grown up in poverty and your father was never around to be a support, research shows that the odds are against you winning in life. This does not have to mean a death sentence. You can be one of the many exceptions and triumph over the adversity you have faced.

It does mean however that children who grew up with absent fathers have experienced the pain of abandonment. The silent (and imprisoning) message that you may have received is: “I am not valuable”, “I am not worthy of being protected or taken care of” or “I’m all alone”. Even if your dad was absent because of premature death, not choice, the reality of living without a father in the home has the potential to manifest the same psycho social effects of fatherlessness.

These subliminal messages led to inner beliefs and you may never make the connection that these long term feelings are linked to why you’re trying so hard to make your manager like you, or why you get so upset when you feel ignored by your boss. It is not their role to correct the historical context of your life’s circumstances. If you’ve identified that you might be dealing with the pain of abandonment, seeking help from a counsellor or mentor will help you heal and become whole in this area.

(If you’re a person of faith, you can lean on the truth of God being an ever-present help. He is a good Father who will never reject you or abandon you).

Let us not forget that fathers who have never been fathered don’t know how to father. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness that keeps you trapped in a cave of defeat. The only way you can move forward is to make peace with what was so that you can fully embrace the potential available to you in your present.

There are many good people in the world, who are willing to help and support others in need. Just because one person, who has pivotal to your growth and development, failed you, it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. You past may have shaped you but don’t allow it to define you.

Abusive fathers

Depending on the situation, having a father who is present in your life – but extremely abusive, could be worse than dealing with the consequences of an absent father. The long term effects of post traumatic disorder on someone who has grown up in a home rife with domestic violence has deep seated wounds that will only heal once that person is a safe environment and embarks on a journey of healing.

Trying to participate in “normal life” can feel impossible for those who have experienced the terror of watching their father (the man that is supposed to care and protect), threaten the lives of the people they love the most. Children from abusive homes live in a private hell – and are often unable to ask for the help they need because the fear of speaking up has becoming ingrained.

If you have experienced long term domestic violence in your childhood, unfortunately it will take longer for you to adjust to the workplace in healthy ways. You might find yourself prone to workaholism, as the office becomes a place where you can prove your worth. Yet we know that a life off balance can never produce healthy fruit and sooner or later, you will have to deal with the core issues.

You will also need to learn how to establish healthy boundaries, so that the abusive and manipulative parent no longer has a hold over you as an adult. Seek the help you need to learn how to speak up, how to work from a place of identity and not for identity. Also, remember to give yourself time. Sometimes it will feel like you are dealing with the same things over and over again – but as you mature and grow, you will need to overcome old demons in new areas. It doesn’t mean that you’re stuck again – it just means that you are moving up levels emotional and developing deeper maturity levels.

Children who’ve had abusive fathers live with a sense of obligation and duty, but not much affection and closeness. In many ways, you live with the shadow of the father you wish you had. If we are serious about not repeating the mistakes of our parents, then we have to learn to make different choices in life.

There is hope for you.

Even if you’re never been told that you’re worthless, that you’re nothing… that is NOT the truth about you. Seek a second or third (or 20th even) opinion about what your strengths are. The are others that see the positive aspects of your character that you’ve been trained to ignore because you’re not used to focusing on the negative. You can live a healthy, whole and free life – no matter what you’ve experienced in the past.

Present (but imperfect) fathers

No dad in this world is perfect. No human on this planet is perfect. So if you’ve been privileged to grow up with a dad who was not only present but trying to play a positive role in your life, chances are you’re much more well-balanced and stable in the workplace than your ‘fatherless’ colleagues. You are reaping benefits in your life that will take them a while to grow. If you have a great dad, then appreciate and cherish him. If you can, share him with someone you know could benefit from a fatherly figure in their own lives.

Using your father (absent, abusive or imperfect) as a scapegoat for the current state of your life is also not the answer. In order to fully own your life, you need to acknowledge the factors that have led to your current reality – and then own the ways in which you will move forward. I know that this is not an easy process (or a quick one). There are things that you may have blocked out for years and prefer not to deal with, hoping they will just stay locked away deep down in the hidden chambers of your heart.

The pesky thing about unresolved pain is that they tend to build into volcanic masses if suppressed for too long. So you are going to have to deal with them at some point – whether you like it or not. And how much better to deal with it on your own terms, instead of having to cope with the results of an unpredictable volcanic eruption that makes you want to quit your job or fall into deep despair at the myriad of ways you’ve succeeded in sabotaging your own life.

{Please leave a comment below – I would love to hear how you’ve overcome the challenges of your past… or how you’re dealing with them now.}

 

 

 

Special shoutout to the real dads loving in the real world

To all the men who have stepped into the role of fatherhood (biological or not): thank you.  Good men often have to fight the stigma that those who reject fatherhood have caused. Our families need you. They need your strength, your support, your love, your presence. Whenever I see an amazing dad who has his arms wrapped around his kid and is taking obvious joy from that encounter, it fills my heart with hope. An active and engaged father today builds secure and confident adults of the future. You’ve embraced fatherhood every day of the year, not just on the one day when the world decides to notice.