A Question I Couldn’t Ignore~

 

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I spend a great deal of time in my career as a Leadership Coach asking powerful questions to help leaders gain greater perspective, vet out limited thinking, and to help them to see their leadership in a fresh way.

Recently, I was faced with a challenging question from an unexpected source! I have the  privilege of having my granddaughter come to my house every Thursday for an hour for her “lessons”. For the first 30 minutes we learn to draw and to paint, for the second 30 seconds I try to give her piano lessons on my keyboard. It’s a sweet time as you can imagine.

This past week, as she silently painted, Scout put her hand on my hand and asked me a profound question: “Mimi, you will be at my wedding when I grow up won’t you?”( she is 4 1/2)

I just turned 60 about a week ago so that was a poignant question. I could tell her I hope so, I could tell her I want to, or I could tell her I will do everything I can to make sure that I can be there!

I told her the latter. With that promise from her Mimi comes a real responsibility to do just that ~ to do EVERYTHING I can, in my power and decisions, to be here for her.

Certainly, there are things that catch us by surprise in our health and circumstances; some things are beyond our control. Yet, when this little darlin’ asked me that sweet question I realized I needed to shore up some areas in my life to fulfill my commitment to her. She is depending on me to be there.

I am committed to be sure to get the check ups I need , watch what I eat better, get needed exercise , work on getting a good nights sleep, using my time well, and taking richer time to pray and ponder. Those are things I can control.

What about you? Are you precious to someone who wants to you be in their life over all the seasons? If you were asked a poignant question just as I was would you be challenged to make some changes to do all you can do to “be there”?

Let’s do all WE can for those who are counting on us!

 

Oops!

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It’s going to happen.  It’s inevitable. At least once in your life you are going to fail at something.  Everybody has failed even if they refuse to admit it. Interestingly enough, some of the greatest success stories were born out of some form of failure: Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, even Oprah.  C. S. Lewis said it best “Failures are the finger posts on the road to achievement.”

Failure can be a real opportunity!

  1.  You can learn a great deal from failure IF you choose the to.  For all of us there is room for improvement; failures can bring those needed areas to light and give us the chance to grow!   Hindsight is, indeed, a great teacher. A failure can become a defining reference point when faced with a similar challenge or opportunity.
  2. Failure can make you stronger.  When some people fail they throw in the towel, give up.  Others fail and they seem to find a deep strength within to learn from it and do better next time.  Though it feels really bad in the moment but it shouldn’t stop or break you.  Getting through a challenging failure; in business, a relationship, or experience should help us to learn how really strong we are!
  3. A failure may lead to new opportunities.  Sometimes a failure can lead to a necessary ending; a new direction.  A failure can help us assess if we are on the best path for our lives. A failure, as painful as it can be, might lead you to considering fresh avenues for your life.
  4. Failures simply make the successes so much sweeter! To have grown and learned from a past failure and having  fresh success in a previously challenged area is the best feeling in the world!  The learning and hindsight gained somehow makes the challenge worth it.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm”  Winston Churchill
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
 
Learn from failures, forgive yourself, stand up tall and move forward with fresh resolve.

Pardon Me!

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We have all experienced it…..at least once in our lives.  We have all faced situations where there has been misunderstanding, hurtful indictments, poor communication, and decisions made that we may not have agreed with.  These experiences can be within our families, in the workplace, in our churches, or in our community involvements.  But I think I can safely say that we all get to walk through that experience at least once!

The real challenge comes when we try to navigate these situations that cause us to feel offended, hurt, misrepresented, and misunderstood.  Most often our first response is to want to “be right”, to defend ourselves, and to let the walls start to build between ourselves and those we feel have treated us unfairly.

In the early years when my husband was a young pastor, we experienced hurtful situations that caused us to feel disrespected and offended numerous times.  We were young and truly didn’t anticipate these kinds of relational challenges.  We could feel resentments causing us to change from positive, caring people to reactive, offendable people and that’s not who we wanted to be.

Over the years we have had to learn to let the outcome of these situations go .  As we  have chosen to PARDON those with whom we have felt disrespected and indicted, even when the offenders have not acknowledged any wrong-doing,  even when we haven’t been able to justify ourselves ~ We have been able to move on and flourish!   We’ve had to start with the choice to forgive; the feelings have followed over time.

Another choice we have to make is to pardon ourselves for the part we have played in the conflict.  We are never 100% right so there is always something that we have contributed to make the situation more challenging.  If we can own our part, learn from it, and forgive ourselves we can move on in an emotionally healthy way.

Here’s an interesting paraphrase from John 12:24 ” Let your expectations go.  You took a loss.  You’ve complained and grieved.  To hold onto it any longer is counter-productive.  It’s time to let it go or you will remain stuck.  When you let it go you will get your life back and you will prosper.”

Have you walked through situations that have left you wounded?  Have you let your emotions remain intrenched in your hurt?  Is it time to get free?  Is it time to pardon both offender(s)  and yourself? Don’t let offenses change you into a version of yourself that even you don’t like.  You be the hero and hand out the first pardon today.

“…and forgive us our debts AS we forgive our debtors.”  (Lord’s Prayer)