November 23, 2011

Grateful Me

READY… “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” -William Arthur Ward

AIM… I have been participating in a Facebook challenge to post something you are thankful for every day in the month of November leading up to Thanksgiving. Each day I wait until bedtime to review my day and recognize what I was most thankful for that day. I must admit, this week, I am SUPER grateful for my friend Mike who geniusly brought my computer back to life. After a week without my technology, I felt vastly deprived. Such is the way of our world these days, my friends. Computers…you can’t live with ‘em; you can’t live without ‘em! THAT is why you missed out on an Arrows message last week. I desperately tried to send it from my iphone, but alas, my AOI distribution list was on my beloved hard drive. Needless to say, we are back in action and I am most appreciative and thankful for modern technology that allows me to continue to inspire excellence and integrity into the lives of us all.

So…what are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? The most common answers (as well they should be) are usually God, family, good friends, warm houses, food, clean water, etc. Beyond that list, what invokes your true feelings of gratitude? As you ponder, I will share a few of my favorite thankful things.

* I am thankful for coffee chats with my girlfriends. Nothing fills my soul more than a good cup of warmth and a healthy dose of uninterrupted, quality time connecting.

* I am thankful that my children still want to snuggle with me on the couch and ask for extra hugs at bedtime…even after the lights are out and I’ve left their rooms.

* I am thankful for the days I don’t have to cook at home, and we can enjoy a meal in a restaurant where the servers love what they do and offer excellent service as a result…and with a smile.

* I am thankful to live in a small city where there isn’t much traffic; the downtown is always decorated beautifully for the holidays, and the gals at my bank know me by name…even before they see it on my checks.

* Truly, I am thankful for all my loyal Arrows of Integrity readers. Your words of encouragement and support never go unnoticed, and, in fact, keep me motivated to continue writing each week. No matter what I write about, these divinely inspired messages always seem to touch at least one person with the message you needed to hear. Thank you for your continued love and desire to keep the Arrows coming.

May you all enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving with hearts full of gratitude.

FIRE! There are 86,400 seconds in every day. Use at least ONE of them to share your gratitude this week of Thanksgiving. Surely, you can find someone with whom you are grateful!!

Be Excellent!

November 8, 2011

Life Isn't Fair

READY… “Life is not fair; get used to it.” ~ Bill Gates

AIM… I hear this complaint come up in conversation over and over again; “People in today’s society think they are entitled to _____________.” You may fill in the blank with whatever applies to your situation. Some folks think it’s a generational problem. Some people think it’s a parenting issue. I don’t know the answer or the solution to the problem, but perhaps we can shed some light on a few theories and help retrain those young, impressionable minds around us.

One theory I’ve heard about entitlement is that young adults think they should just get what they want because their parents GAVE them everything they wanted. It’s a parenting thing. Parents want their kids to have a better life than they had. This causes them to give their kids anything and everything they say they want. I think in another life that would be called “spoiling.” Needless to say, those kids are growing up not knowing how to work hard in order to receive their rewards. Sadly, they expect to make loads of money in order to support their outrageous lifestyle right out of school. Reality check: hard work + good attitude + responsible attendance = a pay check!

Another theory is that at some point, everyone felt badly for the child who lost the party game. Suddenly, we are ALL winners, right!? I think there is a place and time for this theory; however, it has created a bunch of sore losers who don’t know how to deal with rejection and encourage their peers. Again, because they were always dubbed a winner, when the reality sets in and they lose out on a job interview and get passed up for a better candidate, they don’t know how to cope or keep their eyes on the prize. Ultimately, this all falls back into the faces of the families and everyone else receives the backlash of the disappointed, entitled person….because we all know, “Life isn’t fair.”

I’m not really sure how to change an entire generation or population of entitled people. However, I do know that by taking a special interest, in one or two close people, perhaps you can be a good influence, demonstrate what a good work ethic looks like and teach how to deal with life’s disappointments. It’s tough, but hey, “Life isn’t fair.”

FIRE!   Is there a younger person in your life who you can agree to be a good role model and mentor? Take the time to get to know him, develop a relationship and begin teaching and leading by your example of excellence. You will receive intangible rewards of satisfaction while watching this young person grow and blossom.

Be Excellent!

November 2, 2011

Setting Boundaries

READY… “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.” ~ John C. Maxwell

AIM… October must have been a weird month. It seemed that nearly everyone I talked to was feeling overwhelmed, stressed or just plain out-of-sorts because their lives were so crazy busy. The strange thing is that people could not even put their fingers on one particular area of stress. It appeared that we were all simply busy with busyness!

If you’ve been feeling like your life is getting out of control, like you are simply overextended or burning the candle at both ends, it’s time to set some boundaries and reevaluate your commitments. Your personal and family time is very important to your well-being. Setting healthy boundaries means sometimes just saying “no.”

Granted, saying “no” is not the easiest thing to do. However, when we respect our own “no” then others will too. God did not call us to be everything to everyone. We place that demand upon ourselves. I think John C. Maxwell says it best when he says, “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.” If we are saying “yes” to everyone about everything, then we can’t determine what the best use of our time and talents is and we WILL get burnt out quickly. There is a real freedom and a strong confidence in saying “no.” I can’t wait for you to trust yourself and be free.

FIRE!   Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.” Create white space on your calendar this week by saying “no” to at least one request. Allow yourself time to feel the freedom and relief of establishing a healthy boundary. Yay, You!

Be Excellent!