PVH Consulting Blog

BLOG POST: Fear– What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

One of my favorite gospel artists is Kirk Franklin, who is an amazing song writer with lyrics that are genuine and current. For me, his song entitled “Hello Fear” is one of the best he’s ever done. It’s really very simple, based on the concept of a person sitting down to have a conversation with Fear. During that conversation, he basically says to Fear, that, well things have changed since the last visit and that it’s no longer welcome. And oh by the way, can I get back what you took from me along the way—hopes, dreams, positive outlook?

I love this song and the simple but powerful message that it conveys. How often do we let our fears drive the direction of our lives until one day you hit a speed bump and you’re like— ‘what was that and why?’ The AHA moment when we realize, oh my goodness, I’ve been letting this thing/person/situation control my life, and for what reason? FEAR.

What are we so afraid of? Negative feedback, lack of support, lack of resources, success, failure, ourselves. But so often, these are not actually things we should be afraid of as much as they are excuses for not pushing ourselves to the next level. There will always be a Negative Nellie waiting to weigh in, cousin Curt has never really supported anyone, and when do we ever have “enough” money and help?

We cannot let our success or failure be held hostage by an imaginary Debbie Downer. Think about it. That’s what fear really is—the nasty little voice inside your head that is repeating or recreating what someone else or some situation has presented as a reason why you can’t move forward. And yes, I included failure in the same breath as success because the only bad failure is the failure to try. All other failures actually are stepping stones to achieving your goals and dreams. So don’t be afraid of them, embrace them!

Have you had a conversation with YOUR fears recently? Well, if you are tired of being tired and ready to achieve the next level of your destiny personally or professionally, you may need to borrow a line from Kirk . . . “Hello Fear, before you sit down there’s something I need to explain . . . “

For more information on Patricia’s leadership and personal development offerings, visit her at www.patriciavhayes.com

Are you in building or tear down mode?

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

What relationships are you taking the time to build? It’s a commitment, but so is anything worth waiting for. Author and inspirational leader T.D. Jakes states in his book  Destiny, “If y0u can’t build relationships, you are being torn down. Building relationships takes time that people often aren’t willing to devote, partly because time is a limited resource for us all.”

In our microwave, Snapchat society, we often overlook the value in spending time to ask someone about their family, to forward that article that your colleague would enjoy, to write a REAL thank you note. Yes, these things take time, but remember, if you want to grow and move forward in your own life, the best way to put that growth on warp speed is to spend a little time investing in others.  An investment in others is an investment in yourself.  Have a great week! #investinYOU

jakes quote 2.1.16 (1)

Clear Your Plate:Knowing When to Say “When!” in Life and Work

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

It is the close of the school year and all the usual chaos and craziness that ensues for those of us with children– dance recitals end of season sports tournaments, endless school parties and graduations galore.  Those of you without kids are not spared. You get invited to all of the above mentioned craziness, plus the pressures of May deadlines before the summer ghost town phenomenon of vacations, retreats, and sabbaticals begin. In the midst of all this are the ongoing issues and concerns that have remained for the last few days, weeks or months and they are piling up.  At some point you realize that you took on too much, or that you should have thought before you agreed to take on that extra piece of work from the boss or client.  In any case, it has all become too much and now you need an out!

Does any of this sound familiar? We all experience this overwhelm at some point in our lives and most of the time we can muddle our way through successfully.  Every once in a while though, the water appears to be rising over our heads more quickly than we realized. It is at that point that we have to learn to stop, breathe and clear our thoughts so that we don’t make poor decisions in the midst of a stressful situation.

Step Away from the Situation. While it may be common to advise someone to “push on through”, this actually could be counterproductive during moments of overwhelm. Even if there is a deadline looming, it is always helpful to clear your head if only for a minute.  This can be done quickly and effectively by stepping away from the problem/situation, taking a quick walk outside, calling a friend or colleague to vent, or simply closing your eyes and turning on some music for five minutes. If more time is warranted or available, engaging in your favorite hobby or watching a movie may be just the distraction that you need.

Allow Yourself to be Distracted. It is during this time of “distraction” that we give our brains a break and the opportunity to re-boot, to deal with the issues we are facing.  My personal favorites are chocolate and a good non-business magazine.  The more pretty pictures, the better! And now that I can reflect with a little more calm and perspective, I can be honest that it is time to “clear my plate” because there are too many items on it and trying to do so is causing more stress than enjoyment or pleasure.

Time for Reflection. I am generally not good at leaving a project unfinished, personally or professionally, and thus find it difficult to even advise anyone to do so.  However, if your health and/or safety are at stake, then all bets are off and you simply need to do whatever is necessary.  “Clearing your plate” can take on many forms– from delegating to complete deletion, it is basically giving yourself permission to let go of those 20% items that are taking up 80% of your time and causing you that tickle of anxiety every time you think about it.  It is amazing how freeing it is to look up one day and realize that you are not clenching your teeth, dreading the phone ringing or the sound of a “ping!” from your email.  But instead you can actually– breathe.

Follow Through. Recognizing when we need to step away from the madness– and then actually doing it– is an important step not only in self-preservation, but to making you a better spouse, parent, manager, friend. And once it’s done, we realize it was not as scary or as hard as we first thought it would be to do.

So, what items do you need to clear off of your plate today? Mid-year is a good time to ask this question so that you can be prepared for what the remainder of 2014 has to offer!

Making Ideas Happen

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

I just started one of the many books piled up around my house. This one is called “Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality” by Scott Belsky, Founder and CEO of Behance. The introduction is very thorough and a great set up for the rest of the book. Here’s one of my favorite lines so far: “Even more powerful than the obstacles around us, however, are the obstacles within us. The most potent forces that kill off new ideas are our own limitations.” Looking forward to gaining additional insight from this piece!

Getting Off the Worry Slide

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Planning art projects for vacation bible school.

Organizing the “non-party” event for a friend’s birthday.

Pay the bills.

Plan next week’s summer activities for the kids.

School starts late August . . . and oh yeah, I have got to do those follow up notes from last week’s meetings!

Does any of this sound familiar? These are the constant flurry of thoughts that are currently sending my brain through mental gymnastics as I start to fret over how it’s all going to get done. And the downward slide into the worry world begins. Instead of completing the slide down and being done with it, I find myself trying to walk up the slide to “fix” the problem.  When was the last time you tried to walk up a slide?  Not as fun or as easy as when you were a kid, that’s for sure!  In life, we have downward slides, just like you can’t have mountains without valleys.  But, we are not meant to live in the valley, just as we aren’t meant to stay stuck on the slide going down.  At some point, you are supposed to get off!  So, apparently I have forgotten a few key things about letting go and having “powerful thoughts” to direct my day, and need a reminder or two about how to get off the slide, get up, brush myself off, and walk to the next activity.

Reminder #1:  All you can control is you, at this moment in time and in this place

So why am I fretting about what may or may not happen next week or next month? Because some of us (!) have issues with control, and when it looks like something is out of our control, we have to figure out ways to make it come within our control. Huh? You know that makes perfect sense!  There is a very accurate biblical reference to the fact that “sufficient for the day are the evils thereof”– so why are you making yourself crazy over a day that isn’t here yet? Good question.

Reminder #2: Over 90 percent of the things we worry about never come to fruition.

Think about it. How many time have you worked yourself into a tizzy over some issue (great and small) only for the event to be canceled, your friend gets sick, your coworker quits. Imagine what fun and fulfilling things you could have been doing instead of fretting about something that didn’t really matter anyway!

Reminder #3: No matter how bad it seems, trust me– someone, somewhere, is worse off than you

I was reading one of the parenting magazines last week ( looking for activities to keep my kids busy of course!) when I came across this article that said that 1 in four children in the United States goes hungry every day, and the number of families/ people who are “food insecure” (a term indicating not knowing where next meal is coming from) number in the millions.  Wow. Really? Yes, really.  http://www.strength.org/childhood_hunger/.  And to think I was worried about whether my family had enough of the snacks they liked to make it thru this week.  Definitely time to refocus!  There is a great little proverb that says “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet”. In today’s challenging economic times, it is important to keep our priorities straight or they could get “straightened out” for us. So why complicate things by worrying about the inconsequential?

Reminder #4:  Worrying about the mundane (and not so mundane) eats away at our energy, diverts our focus and blocks our view of gratitude

We all have things to be genuinely concerned about.  But as Dale Carnegie wrote in his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, concern and worry are not one in the same. Concern involves acknowledgement and letting go; worry entails a consuming obsession that controls your every waking thought and action.  And when you are consumed by worry, you certainly can’t see anything that you should be grateful for. Gratitude requires a positive outlook, a moment of quiet reflection and faith that tomorrow will be better because of the great things that happened today. Worry ditches any thought of today to focus on how horrible tomorrow might be because yesterday was bad too. That sounds even worse in writing! So would you rather spend your life looking backwards miserably to what was, or looking forward excitedly to what can be?

So back to the slide.  Are you going to fight against the tide and try to walk up the slide, or are you going to finish your turn on the slide going down so you can hurry to the next great activity– like flying high in the swings? The choice to be a more powerful you is all yours!

Press the “Mute” Button on External Chatter

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

So, after much self-chastising, I have returned to continue the conversation promised on the issue of developing a more powerful you by focusing on your thought life and process.  So much for gaining control over the little voice, right?

Well, as much as we want to hush up the “little voice” in our head, more often than not, it’s not the little voice that needs to be silenced as much as the many big voices that we hear day in and day out all around us.  Too often we are spending too much time trying to be in control of the wrong thing. Instead of focusing on the messages sent to us by the external chatter group (let’s call them the “ECG”), we should be listening to our internal chatter and determining what is legitimate or not that we are hearing from our own “little voice”.  Who/what is included in the ECG? It can include your husband, wife, sister, brother, best friend, co-workers, gym buddies, the media—anything and anyone that influences what you think about and as a result, take action on.  Sometimes these influences are good—there are those times that we need that good swift kick in the rear end to get ourselves in motion.  But more often than not, we allow the “naysayers” to influence us, even if it is unconsciously.  It’s the random comment from your running partner about how difficult it was for his sister to finish her business degree that may cause you to think “That’s exactly why I can’t go back to school and finish my degree, it’s going to be too hard”.  Or it’s the outright “are you crazy” look that you receive from your uncle when mention that you have a great idea for starting a business that causes you to put the idea on the back burner for the tenth time. 

Well, it’s time to take back control and to do so you must start with you! It’s time to press the mute button on the ECGs. Other people and entities will always be there to offer their unsolicited words of advice or caution.  But that does not mean that we should automatically internalize everything we hear and presume the worst.  Be more conscious on a daily basis of what you internalize from external sources.  As you become more self-aware, and actively engage in and control what you are thinking, you will be amazed to learn that we are too often internalizing the negative influences of our ECGs.  As author Cindy Trimm states, “Act intentionally rather than react unconsciously.”  Watching what we internalize  must be a conscious practice that is incorporated into our daily activities until it becomes a habit—a good habit!  Once we rid ourselves of the negative influences of constant external chatter, imagine the power and freedom gained which results in a more creative, more thoughtful, more powerful you!

Rearview Mirror Driving

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Are you starting off the year with regrets already?

The new year is well under way as is (or should be) our goal planning for this year. But honestly, how many times already in the last two months have you reverted back to thinking about what happened last year or worse, what didn’t happen? Then the vicious cycle begins– you get caught up in all the points and counter points as to why and how you let those things happen. And just that quickly you have lost focus and gotten stuck in yesteryear.

Have you ever tried driving forward while looking in the rearview mirror? ‘Well of course not!’ you say, ‘you will get yourself killed doing that!’ Common sense tells says that you cannot drive forward safely while constantly looking backwards; that’s how accidents happen. Exactly. So why do we try to move forward into a new year while still hanging on to what happened in the past? It will certainly lead to an accident of some sort– professional, personal, financial– leaving you frustrated and confused because you were certain that you only took you eyes off the road (your future) for just a minute.

Let’s be proactive in 2011 and consciously watch where our thinking takes us this year. While an occasional glance in the rearview mirror may be warranted at some time, let’s not affix our vision there for too long as it will distract us from the wonderful future that lies ahead. In keeping with that thought, I will be exploring in the coming weeks the issue of the power of our thoughts, how they affect our actions and ultimately determine the level of our success. I look forward to sharing my own thoughts and experiences in this area as we work toward achieving our goals. Here’s to being accident-free in 2011!