From birth we all have a desire to achieve the things we set out to accomplish. This doesn't have to be taught, it's an innate human characteristic. Have you ever watched small children trying to do something independently? They try over and over and over until finally they are able to do it with no concern for how many times they failed befored it was achieved. Somehow life experience teaches us that failure is a terrible thing and that we should avoid it at all costs. We're taught that we should feel ashamed when we fail and, after a few more unsuccessful attempts, that maybe we should just stop trying. If I surveyed a large group of people I'm certain the majority consensus would be that failure is a bad thing. However, a recent television interview gave me a new perspective on failure and I'd like to share it with you.
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, is one of the wealthiest women in the US and was named in Time Magazine's list of the most influential people in the world. In a recent interview Blakely was asked about her opinion on failure and she shared that while growing up her father encouraged she and her brother to fail at something every day. Every night at dinner her father would ask them what they failed at during the day and he would be disappointed if they had nothing to report. To Blakely's father failing meant that they had actually tried something outside of their comfort zones and Blakely attributed much of her success to this daily habit. Ultimately the lesson learned was never to give up, to never stop trying, to be comfortable in discomfort, to step out on faith believing that you can actually achieve what you set out to achieve. Somehow Blakely's father had figured out a way to help his children sustain their innate determination so they wouldn't have to accept the world's view of failure.
If you listen to the stories of most influential people you'll see this same trend. Almost all of them were faced with some opposition that they were determined to overcome. Their desire to achieve outweighted their fear of failure to the point that, like for Blakely, failure became a positive because it meant that they actually tried. I welcome you to join me as I also transform my opinion of failure and step out to achieve my personal and professional goals.
Let your legacy be a story of perseverence, not a tale of surrender.
Positive Thinking takes conscious effort as you retrain your mind to minimize negativity. Trying to see good in everything and everyone can be a struggle some days so I want to highlight small moments of positivity that I see as I live day to day. These moments are featured as "Heart Smiles".
It's been some time since I posted a Heart Smiles so I decided to share a recent experience.
I had some car trouble while I was at the post office which resulted in my car blocking half of the entrance to the parking lot. While there was plenty of space for others cars to get around my car I was still parked in an inconvenient spot. I saw the worst in people that day as some folks yelled and honked their horns. I also saw the best in people as many others came over to offer assistance. Despite all the help that was offered there was nothing anyone could do to help. Even the first tow truck that arrived was unable to tow my car because the gear shift was stuck so the car could not be sifted into neutral. One lady in particular came over to help and after I told her I had been sitting there for hours she offered to bring me lunch. I declined her offer so as not to cause anyone else any inconvenience however, to my surprise, she came back about 15 minutes later with food and a drink. I asked her about the cost and she waved off my question and wished me a merry Christmas. I gave her a tearful hug as I had long been pushing myself to stay positive while I held back the frustration of being in the way and having to explain the situation a dozen times as new people offered to help. My heart still smiles when I think about her gesture even weeks after it occurred. She embodied the Spirit of Christmas that day and I am glad she was able to share it with me,
In the hustle and bustle of life I missed the opportunity to wish you a "HAPPY ANNIVERSARY"! I made my very first post to this blog on November 10, 2015 and, I'll be honest, it has been a both a challenge and a blessing. Over the past year I've shared with you a few of my struggles and a few of my victories but, above all, I have been forced to look my own words right back in the face. I have truly had to ask myself if I really believed in what I post here and I was tested in every area of my life to see if I could follow my own advise. Well folks, I'm still here and the best is yet to come.
Cheers to the remainder of 2016. We have 18.5 more days, DON'T WASTE IT!
You have truly pushed me further than I ever imagined I could handle. I thought I had seen the worse that life had to offer me but by only the grace of God I'm still standing. Every tear, heartache, disappointment, and feeling of defeat challenged me to push a little bit further. The moments I wanted to be alone to sulk I was challenged to straighted up and act right. I was smacked in the face with the scriptures I quote, the advise that I give, the affirmations I proclaim, and my very own words to find out where my faith truly lies. For all of that I am thankful.
Thank you, 2016, for reminding me how imporant it is for me to walk what I talk. Thank you for slamming me down and forcing me to tap into the divine power placed inside of me to conquer all things that seek to conquer me. I now see better than ever that all things work together for my purpose...and I finally really believe it. On January 1st I expected you to be the best year of my life and when it all fell apart somehow you really were. You were the year that made me reevaluate everything about myself and led me to find that I am truly all that God says I am. The year that made me take hold of what was and declare over it what I am determined it will be. Never before had I been able to see the sun shine so brightly and in you I realized the only way I could see it was to be in the midst of clouds.
2016, I am grateful for everything you have brought me and look forward to the remaining days we have together. I will forever remember the things that you taught me and how you showed me that the battle is already won.
With great expectation,
This image is the new wallpaper on my phone. To you it may not look like much more than a dead leaf but for me this image is a reminder of things to come, a sign of hope in dark places, a trigger to set my mind on what I hope for instead of focusing on where I don't want to be. It's a beacon for me, here's why:
The image is of a dead leaf with the backdrop of a sky with a setting sun. A perfectly shaped heart is created by the broken pieces of
the leaf revealing a peek of bright sun that is lighting up picture. The sun rays peeking through the leaf causes the leaf to shine in the picture even though it is clear that the leaf is falling apart. All these elements combined create a beautiful image of a quiet moment in time.
I see hope in this photo because even as the leaf is dying it is foreshadowing the promise of a new day. Even though the leaf is broken inside it bends towards the sun as if it's fighting to shine up until the every end. And even as the leaf is dying it seems to be using the place where it is broken to give light to the viewer. This, for me, is the image of HOPE.
In a recent conversation I was forced to accept the fact that I don't have all the answers. I'm a very logical person by nature. I like to gather information and find evidence that supports my position so that by the time I make a decison there is little one can say to argue against me. As I've matured I've learned that there is always something I don't know and that there is always another perspective or point of view on a matter. I can accept that for most things but when it comes to issues concerning my personal life I always believed I should know everything. Accepting that I don't have all the answers about myself has proven to be a lifted burden. It's helped me see how much more I have to grow and made me excited about the journey.
A few days ago I revisited the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and found that my "new" insight is a principle in the book. Hill calls it the "Mastermind Principle" and he uses Thomas A. Edison as an example of how it works. Briefly put, Edison was a man of very little formal education, however, he was smart enough to realize that he could use the knowledge other people possessed to achieve his goals. Edison sought the expertise of people who were skilled in all the areas in which he was ignorant and, together, they created inventions that brought Edison great wealth. Edison recognized early on that he did not have all the answers and that he did not need them to be successful.
It may be difficult to see how this principle applies to personal development but it is necessary for anyone who truly wants to be their best self. In order to grow we must be humble enough to receive constructive criticism, mentoring, correction and guidance. We tend to be more accepting of such things professionally but they are also necessary personally.
Here's a challenge for you: ask someone who knows you well, and who you respect, to share one thing you could do to improve your relationship with others. Be open-minded, listen to the response, ask for examples, and don't be offended. You may be surprised by what you learn about yourself.