March 20, 2014
All Aboard, welcome back fellow passengers! Kick it!
Today I finish my rant on how to use your pain to YOUR advantage. I’m a passionate advocate for reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues, and I started my whole journey of learning about personal development and emotional resilience because of my own battles with stress-related illness.
I help people find joy, passion, and a sense of purpose in life and that’s undoubtedly because I spent so many years in a relationship that didn’t suit or that where I didn’t feel I was making a difference in that person’s life.
I’ve also struggled in jobs that really did not suit me because I didn’t know how to handle the stresses and challenges that some positions can bring. I didn’t understand the importance of asking for help, having strong support networks, actively managing stress, and making sure I wasn’t mentally giving myself a hard time too often.
Having to take a break due to burn out and stress felt horrible at the time it happened to me. But during that time out I studied, trained, and read—a lot!
I realized that resilience is a practice, not some innate skill that you either have or you don’t. I learned how to develop my own resilience and that made me immensely driven to help others do it, too.
My dark times also forged my sense of empathy, a key skill I bring to my work. If I’d had the “charmed” life I’d originally wanted, would this have been the case? Somehow I doubt it.
All of the lessons I’ve learned led to wisdom that can only be gained through experiencing life’s ups and downs.
Hard lessons learned are deep lessons. They shape us. Most of us are familiar with the term post-traumatic stress, but did you know there is also a phenomenon called post-traumatic growth?
It’s the ability to grow through adversity—to come out the other end stronger, clearer, and with a renewed zest for life.
I think that’s what many of us fail to recognize in ourselves, that those dark times, far from diminishing us, can give us the most profound of gifts—the gift of recognizing human life in all its messy, painful, courageous glory.
We can take those gifts and use them to be a beacon to others to say, “It’s okay. I’ve been there. This too will pass.”
And that surely is a real gift worth giving…
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!
March 18, 2014
ALL ABOARD!!! Kick it:
Hey passengers it’s becoming a tradition for me to hand you a black and white business card as you board. Today’s card reads:
“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.
Don’t hate your past. No matter what it contained or what it did to you, the past shapes who you are, not just for the things you felt damaged you but for the lessons you can take from it.
I love working with the people I call the world shakers. They’re the people who want to make a difference in the world so that they leave it in a slightly better way than they found it.
I love these types of people because they’re so driven by their heart and passion for others. They’re kind. They value people. You can find these types of people at our online ministry: www.Praying4you.org
You know what else these people have in common? They have empathy for others and a desire to make the world a better place. Not in a showy, “give me the Nobel Peace Prize” kind of way (although a bit more showy-ness wouldn’t go amiss!) but in a gentle, modest way.
Do you know what really amazes and inspires me about world shakers? They’ve had their own hurts, challenges, and heartbreaks but instead of letting those things harden them and make them brittle, they’ve allowed themselves to stay open and vulnerable.
They’ve taken those things that have wounded, battered, and pierced them and transformed the experiences into fierce empathy for others.
They can’t walk past the person who’s struggling because they know how it feels to struggle. They have a way of recognizing the human condition in all of us.
They turn it outward and use it as a learning experience, one that enhances their ability to empathize and drives their conviction to change things for others.
It could be the mother who refuses to pass on the cycle of abuse she experienced to her own kids, or the teacher who bans the world “stupid” from her classroom because she can remember how much it crippled her to hear it as a child.
It could be the man who gives coffee to the homeless guy every day because he can knows what it’s like to feel like no one cares about you, or the recovering addict who works with troubled teens to try and save them the pain of his experiences.
World shaking is often driven by a need to make things better because of the pain we’ve suffered ourselves.
Still, I still have to catch myself when I bemoan the things that have happened to me over the years. Like everyone, I’ve had my share of unpleasant, difficult, and down right heart breaking experiences.
For the longest time I was angry at the world because I’d experienced them. I hated the mistakes I made. I berated myself for my screw-ups and stupid choices. I felt defined by them—embarrassed and soiled—like I should be wearing a T-Shirt with the words “Damaged Goods” on it.
One day, a very wise person said these words to me:
Everything that has ever happened to you is the perfect preparation for the person you’re destined to become.
And everything flipped.
Those things that I had regretted so much had shaped me. What’s more, I had a choice in it. I had inadvertently used those things that had happened to me as things that drove me forward. Many of the things I’d become interested in, my passions, and my values were driven by those very experiences. Thursday is therapy Thursday here on the Train. Hop back aboard for a little LifeTrain Therapy in Part II of Using “PAIN” To Your advantage. Posting this Thursday…Part II.
ALL ABOARD! The LifeTrain!!!
March 13, 2014
All Aboard! And welcome to Therapy Thursday…Kick it (the music):
As you board the Train today i’m passing out a business card to each of you which simply states:
“No one will ever love you as much as you can love yourself”.
If all you want is to be loved, you need to understand that no one will ever fulfill that feeling as much as if you wholly and completely loved yourself. Many of us have grown up with movies like Jerry Maguire that promise a perfect person who will complete you.
It may seem radical, but what if that person was you? What if you acted as your own true love? Choose love for yourself over the fear of being alone and realize your own power.
No one is worth sacrificing your values for.
We all sacrifice a certain part of ourselves for others, whether it’s deciding not to get a cat because your significant other is allergic, or getting up early every Saturday to drive your child to football practice. These sacrifices are a way of showing we care about another person’s happiness and well-being.
But anyone who cares about your own happiness and well-being with never ever want you to sacrifice your values. Our values are what define us as human beings. To deny them is to deny our very essence. Stay true to them and to yourself.
There is always something to be grateful for.
Just as in my darkest moment (divorce and the loss of my mother) I saw how truly beautiful this world could be, so can you find something to appreciate.
Take time out every day to witness the wonders that exist not just around you but within you. From the way your body allows you to run and jump and dance and sing, to the sunshine and fresh fruit on a summer’s day.
If you take the time to notice it, life is really very wonderful.
Spending time alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely or bored.
When you spend time alone you learn more about yourself than you ever could in a crowded room.
By being alone you can determine your own likes and needs without any external influences. You can discover passions you never knew existed, and when you don’t have to worry about what other people will think you are able to pursue them wholeheartedly.
There is always something new waiting to be discovered. Seek it out and become your own best friend.
When you say no, you open yourself up to more meaningful yeses.
By being a people pleaser and saying yes to every opportunity that crossed your path, you may have thought you were doing yourself a favor—that people would appreciate you more. But without creating boundaries, you give people an opening to take advantage of your generous nature, and risk becoming burnt out and resentful.
Instead, learn the power of no. Take time out for yourself so that when you do say yes, it’s sincere and meaningful.
Change and grow a little each day.
No matter how much you feel you’ve lost yourself, you can always instigate change and rediscover who you truly are. It’s okay to start small. Try a new hobby, go on a vacation, do something you’ve always wanted to try. Expand gradually. Learn a little more each day.
By putting yourself first you can discover who you truly are and form an identity separate from any other person and unique to you.
By forming a loving, happy, confident base to work with, you teach others to respect you as a person. When you become a whole and complete individual it doesn’t matter what storms appear in your horizon; you will have the strength to weather them.
March 10, 2014
Merry Monday Passengers. To help you get the week off to a great start I’ve invited one of my heros on board to speak with you my fellow passengers (work with me here!).
Seriously though, the following is a piece delivered by General Powell that I think is just awe AWESOME…and a great piece to read as we hop off at our individual station stops today to get our week started off right.
Bridging the Gap – General Colin Luther Powell:
American Statesman and Four Star General in the United States Army and Former Secretary of State.
The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people.
As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where theyare…
Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.
Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life.
You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere…
With some people you spend an evening, with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you
associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.
“A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.” The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those
with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.
Note: Be not mistaken. This is applicable to family as well as friends. Yes…do love,
appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they will always be your family no matter what. Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria above.
“In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us. In Adversity We Know Our friends.” “Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them.” “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude..”…Colin Powell
Fellow Passengers…I “really” hope you got as much out of that as I did. Now…Go forth! Charge! Make it a great week. Oh and remember:
“An army of sheep led by a lion are more to be feared than an army of lions led by a sheep.” – Chabrias, 370 B.C.
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!!!