Would I be willing to Stretch?

images

Over the weekend I attended a fabulous Woman’s Event where we were encouraged, even challenged, to stretch beyond our comfort zone to make a difference the world around us.  Our speaker told stories and gave statistics of the incredible needs abounding in the USA and abroad. As a passionate person I initially felt that I needed to make a difference, do something, in every area she expressed a need!  Then I started to feel overwhelmed!  I really can’t make a difference everywhere!  There’s just not enough of me to go around! So where does God want ME to focus my attention, finances, and time?

During our round table conversation we discussed the question:

  What is my unique calling?

The answers around the table were rich as each woman shared their area of passion and committment. One was called and heavily involved in the fight against Human trafficking, one was involved in reaching out and supporting widows, one was a speaker/ writer with a passion to help women become the “warriors of the faith” that God has called us to be, another was an art teacher who builds confidence in children and adults alike. There was a precious gal who felt called to focus on her family; pouring into the next generation, and for myself? I am presently called to invest in the hearts and lives of women in leadership to empower and support them to lead and influence well.  I loved the diversity at our table!  I loved that each woman was fully invested in what they felt God was calling them to do in this particular season! It’s really important to know our uniqueness as part of the Body of Christ.

But then there’s the challenge to stretch out of our comfort zone to create fresh impact along with our calling: mentoring troubled teens, funding woman across the globe to become independent and fruitful, working with a Pregnancy Resource Centers, or supporting those who are in the middle of the fight against Human trafficking! Would we be willing to ask the Lord if there might be something fresh that He wants us to step into along with our unique calling? Perhaps with our prayers, maybe our finances, or possibly our time.

You may have recently read a powerful book, listened to a moving podcast, or have attended an impacting Woman’s event like I have and have felt a stirring in your heart; maybe God is calling you and I to stretch our efforts to have greater impact on those in need. Would we be willing to ask?

Parker Palmer wrote a wonderful book called Let Your Life Speak that directs us to discover and live a life wherein our God-given design intersects with what the world needs. I think a life lived operating in the gifts God has given us—and mindful of meeting the needs of others—is a life that beautifully reflects the person of God. The world could use more people like that.

Let’s be those people! 🙂

Important Conversations!

” The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

images

I have heard this quote numerous times, I find it incredibly profound every time.  It is never easy to have a difficult conversation.   No one ever wakes up in the morning eager to jump into a discussion that could have an uncertain outcome. No one naturally wants to feel uncomfortable or to create possible conflict. If they do, frankly, then may have other personal issues that need to be dealt with. No~ no one really enjoys a “Crucial Conversation”.

In the Book “Crucial Conversations” the term in the title of the book would be defined as a discussion between two or more people where the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong.

In order to navigate relationships in your family, workplace, community, or place of worship there will be times when the need to have a direct conversation will be clearly evident, left unaddressed gaps in relationships, teamwork, or productivity will be the result.

Have you ever gotten a phone call or email that you simply ignored because in order to move forward there would need to be a conversation? Have you ever walked “around” a teammates office so that you could avoid a tough conversation? Have you ever abandoned a friendship because having a hard conversation seemed too challenging?

I have to say YES to all of these situations. In trying to asses “WHY” I would have avoided challenging conversations I would have to discern that it was because I assumed I wouldn’t fare well; that I would cause more trouble.  But often these types of conversations can bring fresh understanding, resolve conflict, and relational rebuilding.

 In considering a crucial conversation we have 3 possibilities:

1.  We can simply avoid them.

2.  We can face them and handle them poorly.

3. We can face them and handle them well.

I feel that most of us would choose either #1 or #3.  Assuming  you have picked #3, I would l like to offer a few suggestions that I have learned in my years of being a Leadership Coach. (I am not an authority by any means; I continue to be a learner!)

Prepare yourself for  the conversation.  What is the end result you desire?  What is the temperament of the individual you need to address? Are you angry? Have you already indited this person?  Can you see your part in the challenge? What words will you use to clearly communicate? Are you prepared to listen?

Set a quality time/place for the conversation. Timing is key when addressing a challenging topic.  I always tell young brides that it is NEVER wise to address challenging topic with their spouse after 8:30-9:00!! Two tired people addressing conflict will rarely provide a positive result!  Does this conversation need to be in private? Do you need a 3rd party present for accountability?

Follow up within 24 hours. It is important be sure that your crucial conversation truly created the clarity needed between every individual involved. Do an understanding check as well as a relational check. Your conversation may not result in complete agreement but see if it has cleared away the intensity of emotion or misunderstanding.

Difficult conversations are necessary as we grow in every area of our lives and the results of having them successfully will empower us to be brave enough, kind enough, and wise enough to address them well.

Are the conversations you’ve been avoiding? Situations that need to be addressed? Relationships that need reconciling? Gaps on your team at work?  Instead of focusing on how negative a crucial conversation could be, consider how much fruitfulness is to be gained. 🙂

It starts with a ” Yes!”~

Last weekend I got to be part of a beautiful group of women who had a vision to bless those experiencing life challenges: a Day of Pampering.  The incredible woman who initially had the idea that this would bring value and blessing to many is not devoid of challenges of her own.  However, when the idea (need) was birthed in her; she said YES!

index

Out of her “YES!” she was able to passionately involve numerous other women to share their gifts and talents to bless and encourage others; it was impacting on us all.  It started with a “Yes!”.

Two weeks ago Greg and I had the joy of heading to Louisiana to spend time with a courageous group of men and women who are dedicated to pursuing their faith.  All of them, at some point in their lives, were faced with the challenge of whether or not they would say “YES!” to their calling.  The “Yes!” has meant hard work, willingness to learn, and a life spent making a difference in the lives of their communities.  Due to their ‘YES!” they have impacted the lives of thousands for the good; bringing hope, healing, and faith to many.  It started with a “Yes!”

images

This week we had the honor of spending time in Nashville, TN with the Cutco/Vector Company and learned again of the value of “Yes!”  The President actually took over a failing company, invested all he had, applied ingenuity and creativity to build the strong, sustainable company they have today.  The greatest impact of the “Yes!” however is not only their world class product but rather, the incredible impact on young people.  Their sales force is built on college students whom they teach to sell, public speak, lead, and live life and leadership with intentionality!  This great company has impacted and continues to impact thousands of young people to grow and learn skills they could never learn in the classroom!  It all started with a “YES!”

images

Saying “YES!”  always has some risk attached; some personal cost ~ time, finances, a move, willingness to change, etc.  Yet, if we look at some of the greatest people, greatest ministries, greatest companies, there is a legacy of someone who was willing to be brave and say “YES!”

What about you?  Do you have an idea burning in your heart? An opportunity on the horizon? A dream still unexplored?  Need a tipping point that will drive you to a brave “YES!”?  Focus on the impact of your choice! Lives that will be changed! The legacy you’ll birth!

It starts with a “YES!”  🙂

Lessons From Misery Ridge~

As a Coach I meet so many wonderful people. Janelle is one of them. Janelle lives in  Canada and after a year of coaching she came to Bend to visit with me. I wanted our time to be full of fun, good conversation, and activity; yet also inspirational.

After pedicures, shopping, good food and laughter, it was time to venture out!

Misery Ridge!!

It was early as we loaded up with water bottles and headed to Smith Rock. I told Janelle the hike would be challenging yet the view from the top would be well worth the climb. I think she believed me until she actually saw Misery Ridge and recognized just how difficult it would be.

944714_10153030073825013_20949567_n

When we stood at the base of the mountain I told Janelle that we would break this hike into thirds and that we would think about different life challenges we were facing as we headed toward our goal to reach the top; imagining ourselves successful in facing those challenges as we conquered each phase of our hike!

We started out at a fairly fast pace; excited about moving forward! It wasn’t long before the altitude began to labor our breath. I asked Janelle if she wanted to turn back; we had made some good progress but were still far from the top. Should we go on or turn back?

7498047602_5c3e363423_z

We discussed the value of the ultimate goal of reaching the top yet we realized it was going to be a greater challenge as the path got steeper; the footing more unsure.  This second part of the hike would require us to pace ourselves, to take longer breaks to catch our breath, and to be intentional with where we placed our feet. Off we went! Partway through this phase of our hike a big snake slithers out onto the path catching us off guard! Do we turn back?

Finally we reached place where we would begin the third part of the climb; the steepest part! Janelle was amazed at how far we had come yet still feeling caution about where we needed to go. Do we continue? Do we turn back?  Was this view really worth this effort?  After some good discussion we committed to the goal of reaching the top and pressed on.

images

During this last phase of our “journey” the altitude was making it hard to breath and the shale on the path caused us to feel our feet slipping. We realized that this last push would require extra sure footing, that we would need to hold each others arms to prevent us from falling and getting hurt. Slowly and intentionally we made our way up the switchbacks towards our goal. Closer and closer, steeper and steeper! With a final push we rounded the corner and gazed at the glorious view from the top! Amazing!!  The success was thrilling! We were seeing a view from the top that many people will never see! We did it!!

1043990_10151472557086513_1781550928_n

Our lives are a lot like a hike up Misery Ridge.  You start out full of excitement, goals, dreams~ ready to take on the world!  You can imagine your goals, you can visualize  conquering your challenges. Yet life starts to get hard, to required more stamina, or make you feel uncomfortable and there is a desire to abandon the very goals that mean so much to you.

As challenges come it’s important to pace yourself; catch your breath. Often times we expect so much of ourselves not recognizing the impact of “climbing higher”. We forget to nourish and replenish ourselves so that we can press on….one foot in front of the other. Often times, just like our surprise snake, obstacles make come out of nowhere~~Do we abandon our goals because of them?

I wonder how many people get to the last third of the Misery Ridge hike and turn back because they are too tired or afraid to climb higher? Right before they have the joy of that unprecedented view!!  How many of us get so close to reaching our personal goals, facing life long challenges, creating healthy relationships, or stepping into fresh dreams, and abandon them because it just feels impossible, right before we see success?

As Janelle and I learned; as it gets closer to the top, as the challenges get harder; you need the support of your fellow “climbers” to keep you from losing your footing, to encourage you to keep climbing; to press on! I would never climb Misery Ridge alone for that very reason!

I have to say that the BEST part of the climb is the celebration at the top! The joy of reaching the goal and the satisfaction that we didn’t quit!  Every person I have led to the top of Misery Ridge has been so glad that they didn’t turn back before seeing the view from the top!

Do you have dreams, goals you want to attain, challenges you must face? Are you halfway there? Turning the last difficult corner? Or have you just begun? Remember these few lessons from the mountain:

Pace yourself, stay hydrated, place your feet carefully, catch your breath, stay committed to looking forward; not back, and surround yourself with fellow climbers (healthy support systems) who can hold your arm if you slip and celebrate your WIN at the top!

You’ll never know what you’ll miss if you are afraid to “climb”.

8000_10153030073880013_971788515_n

AARRGGH! Sometimes I just don’t like you!

Ever met anyone who you seem to dislike for no known reason?  Every time you are around them you feel a little irritated, defensive, or critical? Are there people on your team at work, or even in your family that frustrate you whenever you are around them?    What would you think if I explained to you that it’s possible you simply don’t understand how they were created?  Let me explain.

images

Throughout most of my life I “disliked” strong, aggressive people-male or female. I saw them as arrogant and self serving. I indited them simply because of their “alpha” personality~Type A.  I liked the peaceful type–the fun type–and for most of my life I surrounded myself with people I liked….people just like me! 🙂

As a Life and Business Coach I have been trained on an assessment tool called the DISC.  This assessment breaks down behavior styles into 4 quadrants:  Driver (D), Influence (I), Steady (S), and Conscientious (C).  Each behavior style is different and though we have a portion of each of them in ourselves, we do have 1 or 2 that are more dominant than the others.

As I began to learn the high value of the different behavior styles I started to understand why it is so important that we understand each other, give grace, and learn to communicate according to what we understand about our differences.

Today I am not irritated by a Type A (D-Dominance) personality from the get-go!  I understand that they have a need to focus on getting tasks completed, that they can be impatient, be a little blunt, and talk forcefully. But that does not mean they do not love deeply and care about those in their lives.

images

As a high I (Influence), I love people, my life is highly connected relationally, I like to have fun, love to laugh~ but I’m not so great with details and I probably talk too much!!  I can frustrate people too!

For the S (Steady) change can be a upsetting, they may stay in a challenged situation or relationship longer that needed or is healthy because they are so loyal. However the S dislikes conflict and may do all that is possible to avoid it while the D jumps right in to conflict unafraid!!  See the amazing difference?

The C (Conscientious) likes to know what the rules are and wants to be sure everyone is following them!  There is a right way and wrong way to do things…period. So imagine their frustration when an I , like myself, chooses to create my own rules!A high C does NOT want you to mess up their organized desk! Do not use their stapler without asking!!  LOL!

I say all this as a reminder that we have all been created differently. Scripture says we are fearfully and wonderfully made!!  Love it!

So I challenge you, as I challenge myself, before you indite or decide you dislike someone~~ Step back and think, are they a D  I  S  C???  Then seek to understand them the best you can! To help you in this quest, feel free message me on Facebook and I will send you some tools that will be a great source of understanding.  I firmly believe that the more we seek to understand about how someone is wired up – the great success we will have in those relationships!!

🙂

Dr. Desiree Margo~~

This past weekend my family had the pure joy of watching my amazing sister receive her Doctorate!  We are all so proud of her! At graduation we shouted, hooted, and clapped with all our might to show her how proud we are of her. Following the graduation we gave Dr. Desiree Margo gifts to further show how proud we are of her!

988655_10151501892893857_1577201620_n

However, the graduation ceremony was only a tiny reflection of the cost of earning this degree! The work, commitment, sleepless nights, numerous papers, and the dreaded dissertation required every ounce of energy she had.  While accomplishing this goal, Desiree also worked full time as a school principal of a thriving elementary school!

Why is this significant to me?  Attaining goals, especially big goals, requires commitment and sacrifice!  To move toward a fresh milestone in our lives we may have to assess our current commitments and allow ourselves to say “no” to some involvements for a season!

I am certain that late at night while working on her degree my sister must have wondered “what have I gotten myself into?”! Yet, the look on her face at graduation made it was easy to see that it had been worth the work to receive an honor given to only  1% of the population.

What about you? Are there goals you want to achieve but are afraid of the “cost”? Could focusing on this new goal (s) force you out of your comfort zone for a season? Whether attaining education, building a quality marriage, starting a business, getting healthy, writing a book, or any other goal that would be important to you; there will be adjustments needed.

Oh, but the JOY in accomplishing your goal will be so worth it! Once you begin; stay your course, dig deep, lean into your support systems, and celebrate every WIN!!

What milestone is ahead of you? No better day to get started than today! Thank you Dr. Margo for you inspiration. 🙂

970556_10151438210376513_1314568020_n

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”  C. S. Lewis

What would it be like to work for YOU?

Soon after Greg and I married, we headed to Modesto, CA for a teaching role  Greg had been offered.  Teaching, having his own classroom, & getting to know the kids was really enjoyable! However, the school principal was really difficult and uninspiring.He lead the school with and iron fist and left the staff continually discouraged.

index

Since that time we have worked with and for many different types of leaders; we’ve learned a great deal.  Under certain types of leaders we have flourished, under others we’ve have experienced discouragement.  Leaders can vary from person to person.

Not too long ago we started our own company and had to ask ourselves the question “what would it be like to work for us?”.  What kind of leader caused us to feel inspired and purpose filled? What kind of leader left us discouraged?  How can we take our experiences with leaders and do our best to build a strong, vibrant team?

In a recent article by Geoffrey James, he gives a quick list of the traits of inspiring leaders, and the traits of uninspiring leaders:

Inspiring leaders are motivated by helping their team to be successful.  Uninspiring leaders are motivated by their own personal satisfaction.

Inspiring leaders feel an obligation to “give back” to their team and the community. Uninspiring leaders feel no real obligation to “give back”; rather their focus is on having more money/buying physical objects.

Inspiring leaders are grateful people; they appreciate the opportunities they have and the people who have worked alongside them.  Uninspiring leaders are fairly self-satisfied.  They secretly believe their success is a natural result of their clever, smart work.

Inspiring leaders are people of deep convictions. They don’t necessarily wear them on their sleeve, but their beliefs affect everything they say and do.  Uninspiring leaders are opinionated about what they believe and expect others to adopt their beliefs as well.

Inspiring leaders care about people. They look for ways to impact those in challenging circumstances.  Uninspiring leaders have a tendency to find people challenging, even irritating.

Inspiring leaders share the credit, uninspiring leaders spread the blame.

Most inspiring leaders have many, if not all, of these traits.

Do you lead a team (or a family)?  What kind of leader are you?  Do you inspire others? Does your leadership style cause your team to say “Gee, I’m sure glad I work here!”  Aspire to be a leader others want to follow. 🙂

Lead well.