Posts Tagged ‘personal development’

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

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!

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!