Challenging times often find us resorting to prayer.
We beg and beseech because we are at our wits end and need change.
We often think that those amongst us not praying, have no faith yet a quote by Marianne Williamson comes to mind:
While we ask God to guide us out of our dilemma, we worry that relief won’t come fast enough or “in time”. We don’t realize that the very act of worrying is a form of prayer that attracts to us, that which we do not want.
To worship, to pray…we must go beyond words.
You can mouth the words of a prayer all day long and just waste your time, unless you also speak with your heart. And to speak with your heart means to embody first.
If you pray for love, be loving.
If you pray for wealth, be generous.
If you pray for health, practice health yourself.
The Peace Prayer
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Every day I say this prayer, and every day I fail, but like anything else, it’s a work in progress and I hope that eventually, I can sincerely embody it.
What is your favorite prayer? How can you begin to embody it?
When he was in second grade, Harry Truman came down with a rare bacterial infection that paralyzed his arms and legs. The boy who could hardly stand to be indoors was suddenly and helplessly bedridden. “That’s when he started reading,” Truman’s sister recalled. “He couldn’t do anything else.” He read so much that when, miraculously and abruptly, he recovered, it was recommended that he skip third grade.
The infection would never come back but the reading bug was incurable.
The greats, Truman concluded, were all “readers of good books, particularly books of biography and history…Not all readers are leaders, butall leaders are readers.”
We’ve become really good at matching memes to our current reality.
I’ve always felt that words expressed by others sometimes capture what I want to express so well, (as Ryan Holiday did in the opening paragraphs of this post) that I needn’t reinvent the thought nor rewrite the prose. So I am all for using memes to support us in sharing ideas around leadership, careers, business, digital marketing and optimization.
I watch the mastery of other writers in awe. I have to take in the words bit by bit, as if biting from a sugary treat, making sure that I manage overwhelm, with tiny nibbles, chewing and savoring, the taste almost too much to bear.
One such writer is Rachel Carson
In a review, Brain Picking’s author Maria Popova shared…As The Edge of the Sea alighted in the world, critical praise and honors came cascading, trailed by invitations for lectures and acceptance speeches. Always uncomfortable with attention and public appearances, Carson became even more selective, prioritizing women’s associations and nonprofit cultural institutions over glamorous commercial stages. When she did speak, her words became almost a consecration, as in a speech she delivered before a convocation of librarians:
Reading allows us to discover new worlds. Memes provide thoughtful sentences that give us the information we want to share, in a small, digestible chunk.
What happens after?
More than any book read, or meme shared, is what happens after the reading and sharing. Are we applying, learning, gaining insights, or practicing, in our lives?
Is the intention to ride the meme wave to popularity or cull specific memes that help us advance our philosophy and influence real change?
We must turn our words into work
From March, 2020 to March 2021, Samuel Thomas Davies wrote a weekly newsletter called “Words Into Works.”
In it, he shared one big idea from one of the best nonfiction books of all time.
Reading is a shortcut, a way to get where you want to grow without having to learn by painful trial and error. As leaders, what we’re reading is leading us.
And how you read matters.
Are you taking notes? Are you integrating what you read into your daily life? Don’t just fill shelves on the wall. The goal is to learn so that we can lead. What we are reading will eventually lead us.
We admire folks whose names we see in neon lights. We celebrate bestselling authors, athletes, chefs, ninja warriors, ordinary people showcased doing extraordinary things…yet we fail to picture ourselves as successful.
Countless people have asked me some version of – “How do I find my purpose, and when I find it, how will I know that it’s mine?”
Initially I subscribed to the “find your passion” philosophy but then many would complain that they had no idea what they were passionate about.
Then there was the whole “do what you love and the money will follow” movement. Still many remained confused as they loved many things but simply did not have an idea how to make money doing that.
More recently, exploring your ikigai has become popular. [If you’re interested in exploring this further click here for a workbook guiding you through Finding your Ikigai.]
The purpose of your life is to serve in a way that brings great joy to yourself and others. Don’t worry about finding it. Instead focus on serving a purpose and then your purpose will serve you, like it seems to be doing for Avalon Arscott who caught my eye this week with her tag line:
Breaker of Language Barriers. Speaker of French and Spanish
Avalon is the CEO and Lead Language Expert at The Language Boutique. She had a clue about her love for languages at the tender age of 9, where she imitated accents, while listening to Spanish tapes her mother would play in the car. Unconsciously she was gleaning a vital skill that would catapult her into doing what she does today. English is one of the hardest languages to learn and teach and so she feels well equipped to teach Spanish and French in a way that is practical, functional, engaging and inspiring.
In her book Yes Shonda Rhimes starts off with “Hello I’m old and I like to lie”. She makes things up because she has to. She enjoys making stuff up. It’s in her DNA.
“The very thing that had me on my knees in church during recess reciting the rosary for one nun or another at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Park Forest, Illinois, is an actual honest-to-Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph job.”
The only obligation you have is to use your abilities to the fullest. You’re here and that’s all the permission you need to be a success. Not sure what you’re bringing to the table? Start here…
That’s what legendary philosopher and founding father of modern psychology William James (January 11, 1842–August 26, 1910) addressed half a century after Thoreau’s famous words, in a superb speech he delivered before the American Philosophical Association at Columbia University in December of 1906.
“Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake… We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.”
This statement is still true today.
Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, better known as Reverend Ike, was an American minister and evangelist based in New York City. He made famous the following statement:
“YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO THROUGH HELL TO GET TO HEAVEN”
His newspaper ads proclaimed:
“UNLEARN sickness and know health.
“UNLEARN poverty and know prosperity.
“Learn how to break every limitation and solve every problem YOURSELF.”
In our search for success, what we don’t realize is that we are really looking for ourselves. Sadly most of us don’t realize it.
Most of us believe that in order to experience happiness, we must first go through suffering. We must suffer first, before earning our reward.
In his book ‘The End of Average’ Todd Rose shows that no one is average. Not our kids, not us, not our employees or our students. It’s a fact with enormous practical consequences.
While we appreciate that people learn and develop in distinct ways, these unique patterns of behaviour are lost in our schools and businesses which have been designed around the mythical “average person”.
It’s time to change that!
We must accept the challenge of using the tools and talents we possess. Abraham Lincoln said that “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Let our purpose be to make our lives as successful and as happy as we possibly can.
To paraphrase author, Keith DeGreen from his book ‘Creating a Success Environment’ – Let us view our existence, not from a mantle for suffering but as a dress rehearsal for the eternity of happiness we deserve.
You might be using up all your Chi on everything else BUT your goals. This may cause you to feel frustrated, discontented and probably angry at times. These emotions make it even more difficult for you to get back on track.
You need to gain control over your stress
For me it was giving up crazy expectations I had for myself and my life. Not only around thoughts like “I should be here by now’ but also around how much I could actually get done in a day.
Until I started to time exactly how long I took on specific projects and tasks I was lousy at guestimates. Something I thought would take one hour, in reality took four. I was mindful not to squander time while I was measuring. I worked with a timer and took breaks in between each hour spent on work.
It is important to guard our Chi, and also develop a ritual for renergization which might include a cup of tea, a short nap, a 15 minute walk, or just sitting doing nothing – staring into space for ten minutes.
Whatever you need, give yourself that creative nourishment
As you reexamine your goals, remember that your body is an energy vessel and you need to constantly fuel and rest to recharge.
Now might be a great time to get your annual wellness checkup. If you don’t have a regular doctor, check out one of my clients Dr. Ryan Rabilall at OMNI Total Health. He doesn’t know I’m writing this and I have no arrangement to receive any commission for referrals. OMNI is a client and I totally believe in their focus on the total you, not just your physical health. Phone: (868) 233-6526 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Although you may have a plan, keep yourself open to opportunities as they arise and be willing to go in another direction.
Not sure where you stand today? Click here to take this first step NOW!
The late and beloved rabbi of famed Temple of Shalom in Chicago, Louis Binstock said that often it is not the wrong start but the wrong stop that makes the difference between success and failure. To quit while we’re ahead would be silly; to quit when we’re behind is even sillier. It requires will to hold on a little longer. It requires wit to know that the measure of success is not the luck, the breaks of the game, but the conquest of failure.
The trouble with most of us is that we stop trying in trying times.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Hoover’s response to the Great Depression versus Roosevelt’s response in the context of what our nation needs to hear right now as we go through this pandemic.
Hoover’s response to the crash focused on two very common American traditions: He asked individuals to tighten their belts and work harder, and he asked the business community to voluntarily help sustain the economy by retaining workers and continuing production.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president in 1932. He immediately embarked on an ambitious plan to get the country out of the Great Depression.
America has seldom felt worse than in 1933, the depth of the Great Depression.With unemployment reaching 80 percent in places, people were desperate. Many lost their homes, and when the banks began to fail, their last dollar as well. The message from newly elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was bracing: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Roosevelt’s optimism created what Newsweek columnist and NBC News contributor Jonathan Alter calls “The Defining Moment.” Here’s an excerpt:
Addressing himself to the causes of the economic crisis and its moral dimensions, Roosevelt placed the blame squarely on the greed and shortsightedness of bankers and businessmen.
Roosevelt then turned, in the following excerpts, to the daunting issue of unemployment, which had reached a staggering 25 percent when he assumed office:
…the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.
More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.
Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously.
There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.
After touching briefly on foreign relations — “the policy of the good neighbor — the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others” — Roosevelt turned again to the economic crisis, assuring his countrymen that he would act swiftly and with determination.
In these times that we face in Trinidad and Tobago, we need to keep hope alive.
I am not saying ignore the facts. As Roosevelt said – Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of this moment. We cannot deny the realities of the COVID-19 virus but we simply cannot stop trying. We cannot lose hope and we must remain open that there is a way, even if that way has not yet presented itself.
Like it or not, you are EXACTLY WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.
Maybe you are unhappy.
Perhaps you are in a job you’re thankful for, but silently hate.
You might be out of a job now given COVID-19 and its effect on work generally.
You might be working but your hours have been severely slashed.
At this moment your future may look doubtful.
But this is your choice
Dr. Robert Anthony says that believe it or not, we would rather be in an unwanted situation than pay the price to change.
If I offered you the following options – the red door is the devil you know, the blue door is a new beginning, which door would you walk through?
Sure each situation is different. You might feel trapped where you are but don’t think that you can change now.
Regardless of our special circumstances, Dr. Anthony says that we have permitted the present environment to limit our thinking.
“By choosing to let a person, circumstance or condition dictate our happiness, you have abdicated your life to something OUTSIDE yourself. In effect you have declared that your situation is greater than the POWER with you to change it.”
If you want to travel, to go where you’ve never allowed yourself to go before, if you truly want to embrace being free then your thinking must control your limitations instead of your limitations controlling your thinking.
If you declare yourself a prisoner, you will ALWAYS be a prisoner
“Once you make up your mind to be free,” Dr. Anthony says, “and tell yourself you are sick and tired of being sick and tired you will be motivated to make necessary moves toward liberation and find a way to cease being sick and tired.”
Time is not waiting. Dorothea Brande says that in the long run it makes little difference how cleverly others are deceived; if we are not doing what we are best equipped to do, or doing well what we have undertaken as our personal contribution to the world’s work, at least by way of an earnestly followed avocation, there will be a core of unhappiness in our lives which will be more and more difficult to ignore as the years pass.
It is always scary to put ourselves out there for the world to see. Many writers, artists, singers, lego-builders, doodlers, cartoonists…sometimes remain in the closet because they don’t want to be judged.
Regina Brett shares that when someone points out her flaws it’s difficult for her to accept the ‘unseen order’ in her life because she wants to be perfect. Yet in reality, most of the blessings that come to her, and most of the blessings that come through her, come through the imperfect.
When asked what still fuels her love of Italy Mayes said:
From the first trip until the last one, I experienced exactly the same sensations – the feeling of being at home. Who can explain how you can sense a metabolic connection with a foreign place, when you have no genes, no ties? Colpo di fulmine – “love at first sight”. I travelled to Italy originally to see the art and architecture. I live there now half of the year for about 1,000 reasons, but the most profound: I open the door and say aloud, “I’m home”.
Maybe that was why Zucca’s tag line drew me in: the allure of Italy and perhaps the gift of being able to get a taste of Italy right here in Trinidad and Tobago…delivered straight to my home!
Necessity is the mother of invention and Tami needed an alternative income stream when because of Covid, she could no longer work as an aesthetician. Zucca was her answer to many of the challenges faced in these turbulent times and the consistent positive reviews keeps motivating her to make small batches of pumpkin soup daily.
Decadence in a jar was lock down inspired by a 17 year old Chelsea, in Chaguanas. She decided to put her love of baking to create a brand that helps her anxiety and channel her creativity.
In order to put together a good meal, cooks have to be constantly in the moment, adding ingredients, adjusting the heat of the stove and tasting their food to make sure everything will come out alright—all of which can be helpful techniques in treating some forms of mental illness.
“A lot of us turn to baking when we’re feeling low,” Melanie Denyer, the founder of the Depressed Cake Shop, a bakery designed to draw awareness to mental health conditions says.
Baking may not be a be-all-end-all cure for mental illness, but anyone in need of lifted spirits should consider pulling out the flour and warming up the oven.
In Chelsea’s own words…
Creativity sparks resilience.
What have you been too afraid to share, to let the world know about? Start today, and who knows – you might catch my eye!
I’ll be writing the stories of both Tami and Chelsea. In order to get those stories – subscribe here.
In July of 2011 Seth Godin wrote a piece called the arrogance of willful ignorance. He suggested that “If you’re doing important work (and I’m hoping you are), then you owe it to your audience or your customers or your co-workers to learn everything you can.”
I would add that it is our responsibility to teach what we learn but to appreciate that our audience may not initially be receptive when we first start delivering our “curriculum”.
Lester Wunderman believed that the curriculum theory of data-based target marketing had a far greater potential than any other form of advertising.
Advertising is a form of teaching that leads to selling, and the best way to teach is with programmed strategy. Curriculum marketing converts “suspects” to “prospects,” prospects to customers, and customers to repeat buyers.”
In 1980 Mr. Wunderman approached his friend, Dr. Hans Guggenheim, an anthropologist at MIT who was also an expert on learning theory and asked for his help in learning about learning.
Dr. Guggenheim explained that the teaching of any subject was based on a planned “curriculum”. The curriculum was designed y educators to teach an entire subject one fact at a time. It was divided into what educators called “chunks”, the amount of learning a person could absorb at one time. A curriculum was a planned learning program broken into “chunks” that were communicated, taught and reinforced one at a time, like putting together a string of beads. Each bead was different, but when strung together they made a necklace.
Wunderman then asked Guggenheim if he thought it possible to create a curriculum that could teach people to buy Ford cars.
This entire experience created what we now call education-based marketing.
As service professionals we need to remember that you will not be trusted immediately after your first ad, or first post, first blog or initial face to face visit with a potential customer.
We also need to keep in mind that even if someone wants to work with us they may not want to go ‘all in’…they may first want to test the waters.
Divide your service offerings into chunks and offer a fraction of your fully loaded menu. Once you gain trust on the small project, then your clients will e willing to take a greater risk is true.
Jennifer Lawler tells us that If you’re looking for a teacher or coach, begin with small things and if the teacher proves trustworthy in those small things, be willing to take greater risks and trust the teacher with more important and larger things.
Want help figuring out how to create your own curriculum marketing package? Start here.