What I Really Want

What I Really Want

It’s RARE I have a morning alone.  But today is one of those blessed days.   I mean, I love my kiddos and my man — don’t get me wrong — but the kids spent the night at Aunt Jessica’s (after a day of negotiating and some serious 10-year old manipulation.  That kid should be a lawyer!), and the husband had an early morning appointment with a pool.

So, I’ve had some time to study and plan and reflect (and clean) and the Lord has softly spoken to my heart and asked me to share.  I’ll make this quick because the troops will march back home any minute.

Jesus is my first love.  I don’t understand exactly how He has won me over, but He has.  By His grace.  Because heaven knows I’m self-centered and arrogant and without the grace of God I’d be a hot mess.  But His pursuit is real and the more I surrender, the more I change.  And this morning I can honestly say that more than anything in life I desperately WANT EVERYTHING God has for me.  I want to know Him.  I want to be used by Him.  I want to make a difference in the lives of people around me for His glory.  I really do.  My heart aches toward that goal everyday.  And I’m asking Him for it.  Finally.

Everyday.

I don’t always obey.  I don’t always get it.  I fail more than I even want to think about.  I’m so far from perfect and so far from being like Jesus I don’t even know how any of it is possible, but it IS what I want.

Here’s what hit me as I was watering some plants on my balcony: MOST people don’t.  My heart physically hurts this morning, burdened by the reality that most people I interact with on  a daily and weekly basis, at their core do not care about what God wants for them.  At least not enough for it to matter.

Many of them are Christians.  At least they say or think they are one.

It makes me so sad.  Sad is the best word to describe it.  Not like a “You’re so sad you make me sick” attitude.  No.  A genuine sadness born out of God’s love for others.  He so beautifully and willingly wants people’s hearts, wants to bless, wants to give, wants to have a relationship with them, wants to change them, wants to heal them, wants to give them a life of purpose and abundance, wants to LOVE them — but no.

People don’t want what God wants.  People don’t really want God.  They may want the blessings of God, but they don’t really want Him and they don’t want more than anything else the things He wants.

And I’m guilty too.

Which also makes me sad.

There are days that I MORE want success in business, affirmation from people and security in life.  Safety.  Comfort . The American Dream.  I want those things sometimes.  But, once God gets a true hold on your heart and His truth has penetrated your mind, you can’t really stay there.  You go back to Him and slowly but surely your desires change and you just want Him.

I don’t know how it all looks.  I don’t know how it all will work itself out. I just know that with every fiber of my being I want all God has for me and I want it for you too.

What do you really want?


The Ripple of Ferguson

As I sat watching the news coverage of the events in Ferguson, MO last night, I had mixed emotions and many thoughts.  Although I am not directly affected by the chaos, I asked the Lord to show me what I can learn and how I could be used to help — if that is even possible.  I want to share with you what He spoke to me.  You may not like it.

I really don’t want to address the death of Micheal Brown.  Yes, it is very, very sad.  However, I do not know what happened.  I was not there and the reports have not been released.  So, that’s all I’m going to say about that.

The issue I want to address is the issue of authority.  Where does authority come from?  Why do people really dismiss it?  And how does this include me?

As with everything else, the Bible has clear answers.  From the very beginning, the issue of authority has been at the forefront.  In the garden, Satan used the issue of authority to attack Eve and the chaos of sin entered the world.  Her creator had commanded she and Adam not eat of a certain tree.  The enemy planted a lie in her mind that went directly against what God had said.  Satan was really, really good at deception then, and he is really, really good at it now.  Eve usurped the authority of God and chose to be her own authority, as did Adam.  And therein lies our every trouble.   Virtually every problem you can imagine in this world stems from this event and this issue.  That is a huge statement, let it sink.  When Satan has his way, we always care more about ourselves than we do about God.  We always think our way is better for us and we are convinced we somehow deserve what we want regardless of what He says about it.  We usurp the authority of our creator and the enemy wins a battle in our life.  The Bible calls this sin, caused by our own pride, self-centeredness and unbelief in His truth.

Turn on the news and you will see the battle raging.  Satan has planted lies in the hearts and minds of people.  God’s word, truth, says this:  “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”  (Romans 13:1-2)  Check out the next two verses: “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”  In other words, if you do good, you won’t have any reason to be afraid of the authorities.  Really! Gee, should we be surprised at the Bible’s wisdom?   I’ve never in my life been afraid of getting shot by a cop.  Why?  Well, I’ve never been a trespasser or a thief and I would never show an officer disrespect.  If I have been the one in the wrong — like the time I ran a stop sign and the time…okay, times…I was speeding — I knew I had rightfully earned my tickets.  (Although, generally, I don’t get a ticket because I have also learned to earn favor and forgiveness by being extra sweet when policemen approach my window. :))

Now, I know some of you are saying, “what if the authorities are bad?”  Bad how?  Like if they begin to agree that robbing someone’s house is no problem and you should get away with it?  Okay, that is a bad cop.  Like if they allow your husband to beat you and your children, allow people to cook meth on your street and men to abduct and sell girls into the sex trade?  Okay, that is corruption.  We should rise up against it because the Bible never agrees with supporting and upholding sinful behavior.  But, if authorities are working to stop the bad guys and keep the good, innocent guys safe, submit to their authority.  They have reasons for what and how they do things.  Submit because they’ve gone through training and you haven’t.  Submit because they have the good guys interest at heart.  Submit because God, your ultimate authority, SAYS YOU SHOULD.

So how does this apply to little ole’ me.  Two ways:

1) I am a parent.  Are you?  This issue of authority begins early.  Do you remember when your child hit that 18 month mark?  (I realize you’ve tried to forget.) Do you remember telling them NO, them looking you straight in the eye and proceeding to do the bad thing anyway?  Did you teach them what it means to submit to your authority then?  As parents, we are the ones who instill this in our children and ultimately in our society.   I can’t fix what has been done in Ferguson, but I can fix what happens or doesn’t happen in the Rowe house.  I will, as my parents did, teach my children what it means to listen to and respect authority.  My first grade son just left for school less than an hour ago.  He knows it is his job to obey his teacher, to follow the rules and to submit to the authority of his principals.  Every rule in place is for his safety, protection and learning.  If I didn’t agree with the rules, then my child would not attend or I would work to help get the rules changed.  But, I won’t encourage disrespect or lead my child to believe they can act out because they are part of a “messed up, corrupt system.”   Whether I am with my children or not, they understand that they are children.  Being a child means you are not the boss.  They know that if I have entrusted their care to someone else, they can trust that person and that person has authority over them whether they are at school, church or in the big slide line at the fair.  Teaching children obedience is far from easy.  There are days I feel like I am talking to a brick wall and I have to pray the Lord will guard my mouth and give me patience to not lose it!  (Can I get a witness?)  But, I know this issue of authority will translate to their adult life.  If my husband and I, with the Lord’s help, can pull this off, our children will be able to work peaceably under a boss, they will be able to learn from those who know more than they do and they will be able to succeed.  MOST IMPORTANTLY, above all else, my prayer is that they choose to submit to the ultimate authority of God in their life.  They will heed to His word and His will because they will understand that they are not supreme.  The world does not in fact revolve around them.  They are not number one.  He is.

Not all parents operate this way.  MANY, by example, teach their children to disrespect authority.  Many teach their children that respect is earned and that they don’t have to respect or listen to people they don’t like.  This is a lie Satan has planted.  We should be teaching children that respect is not dependent on how others treat us, but on how we have determined to treat others.  As a speaker who has spoken to over 85,000 students, I assure you, disregard for authority and disrespect are a problem.  I’m trying to tell you this problem begins in the home and ultimately with the parent’s position and belief about a higher authority.

2)  I need to check my own life.  What God reminded me last night, is that I need to refresh my commitment to teaching respect for authority in my home.  I need to support my husband as he parents our children. I need to check my own heart and surrender my own pride.  I need to be the example by continually submitting  to the authority of God, knowing His great love for me and recognizing that He has my safety and learning on His heart.

So, I guess the question is this: Do YOU have an issue with authority?

The truth is, Ferguson impacts us all.


Insecure, I Think

God has been stretching me — pushing me to my limits spiritually, emotionally and mentally.  It’s crazy.  If I’m honest, the push should inspire, strengthen and grow me.  However, more often than not I’ve been struggling with insecurities.  I always thought I’d be most confident and secure in my thirties! Not so.  I feel the Lord expanding my territory, increasing responsibility and requiring more than I ever imagined.  Of course, nothing is possible without Him. That much is clear.

What else is clear is that I’m not going to make it.  I need Him.  I need the Holy Spirit to correct me and make me into the person He needs to live out His purposes.  Over and over again, the Lord is reminding me of the influence of my mind.  Our minds are so uniquely powerful.  How and what we think transforms us.  Romans says, “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Philippians gives us criteria for what kinds of things to think about. The list includes things that are:

  • TRUE
  • HONORABLE (NOBLE)
  • JUST (PURE)
  • LOVELY
  • COMMENDABLE (GOOD REPORT)
  • EXCELLENT (VIRTUOUS)
  • PRAISEWORTHY

Seems I might consider changing the way I think!  A fellow speaker and friend, Brooks Harper, always says “the most important conversation you have everyday is the one you have with yourself.” I need to speak TRUTH — not just to an audience — but to myself.  I need to be more intentional about filling my mind with God’s word, His truth, and allow it to transform the rest.

So,  along that line, over a year ago I read a book called “Self Talk, Soul Talk” by Jennifer Rothschild.  It was great.  Through my recent struggles, many of her ideas have resurfaced.

Thought you might enjoy this interview about the book.  There’s great insight here. Take a few minutes to think about what she says…

Q&A with Jennifer Rothschild

Author of Self Talk, Soul Talk

What is soul talk?

Over the years, I have gradually learned what to say when I talk to myself, and that has truly made all the difference in my life. After years of struggling beneath the weight of my own slander and lies, I have learned to speak truth into my soul. It’s what I call soul talk.

How does soul talk work?

Everybody practices self talk, but few of us actually take time to think about the things we say to ourselves. The process is so natural we don’t even notice it. Amazingly, much of our self talk is false. The words we say shape the way we think about ourselves. They influence our emotions, our thoughts, and our decisions. They resurface in our conversations with other people. They can spur us on to live meaningful, productive lives, or they can drag us down to lethargy and despair. Soul talk is about replacing the lies you may have been telling yourself with the truth.

What kinds of struggles with self talk have you had personally?

My steady flow of disapproving thoughts and self talk once formed a constant stream. I badgered, nagged, devalued, and said cutting words to myself. At times, all those dark, negative put-downs have felt like a raging river, tossing me mercilessly until I thought I might drown in my own self-condemnation.

What was the physical setback that you faced in your teens?

At the age of 15, I became legally blind due to a disease called retinitis pigmentosa. Even though I received that difficulty with grace and resolve, the extra challenges of the disability and the knowledge that blindness was inevitable brought even more opportunities for me to struggle with negative thoughts and destructive self talk. For me, blindness is a circumstance that opens the door to a host of other bewildering issues. One of the biggest daily realities I face is the stress of not being able to drive, read, or enjoy independence. 

What is the paradox of emotions?

If you try to think with your feelings, you’ll fall into all manner of false conclusions. Emotions are supposed to serve and strengthen us. Left to themselves, however, they enslave and deplete us. We need a thought closet well stocked with timeless truth, or we will clothe ourselves with the feelings of the moment.

How important is physical well-being including exercise and healthy eating?

Living a healthy lifestyle is so important to our mental well-being. Never discount the impact of physical wellness on our souls’ wellness. Feelings of despair might really be our bodies’ signal that we need to meet some basic needs. Your body needs adequate rest, healthy food, and moderate exercise.

How important is mental well-being? How can we stimulate this?

Brains like to be challenged. Your mind needs to have something to do, or it will create something to do—something that might not be so constructive. If you don’t fully strengthen your brain, it will wiggle and jiggle itself just to alleviate the dullness and find a channel for all its energy. Spend a few minutes each day reading something that interests and challenges you. Pick up a journal and record your thoughts and questions.  Join a book club or audit a class from your local university. Feed your curiosity and you’ll stimulate an enjoyable, insatiable hunger.

How important is our spiritual well-being?

Hopelessness, fear and depression often grow out of unsatisfied longings. C.S. Lewis said, “If I can find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” We can try to fill the longing with relationships, religion, volunteerism, or just being good. But the deep ache from the bottom of our souls can only be satisfied in a relationship with God.

Is it healthy to remember the past? What memories should we revisit?

The real power of any moment is fully realized when it is remembered. The experience might have been painful or pleasant, but its intensity and meaning grow when we remember and reflect upon it. Remembering is essential to the health of our souls. So we must tell our souls to look back often. Memories store great anthologies of stories that tell us who we are. They become intimate reminders of our personal histories. However, tell your soul to look back only at what is profitable. Profitable memories are those that add to your soul wellness rather than subtract from it.

How destructive can fear become in our lives? What’s the alternative?

We can’t ever side with fear, because fear is never on our side. And we can’t let fear and despair shake and intimidate us. Fear betrays; hope never does. Fear and despair make us quiver; hope makes us unshakable. Rather than giving into fear and despair, we tell our souls to hope. Hope will always be on your side, cheering you on and defending you. Hope anchors us because it provides spiritual grounding. Hope brings stability to every part of our being: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. We speak the language of hope when we tell our souls to look up.

How can we cope with our busy lifestyles? Where can we find time to rest?

Life is busy. The demands are great, and we seem to have no time for rest. So much of our self-talk is directed at revving ourselves up. Excessive revving up, however, only leads to petering out. Daily we must tell ourselves to chill out. Rest isn’t only for our tired bodies. Weary souls need it too—our wills, our minds, and our emotions. The choice to rest is ours.

How can we press on despite fear and failure?

Steady, small actions will slowly reduce the big feeling that is paralyzing you. Just because you have failed at something does not mean you are a failure. If you quit, the world will be lacking what you alone bring to it. If you continue to feed your feelings of failure and defeat, those dark emotions will grow, creeping across your soul like long winter shadows. But if you begin to starve those feelings, they will slowly die.

How can we become less selfish and “others centered”?

It’s our nature to lift ourselves up, to be egocentric. Looking back at my life, I can say for sure that the most miserable times of my life have been when I was the most self-centered, self-aware and self-promoting. When we tell our souls to get the spotlight off our own preoccupations and onto the needs of others, we reopen the potential for joy in our lives. Only selfless, other-centered people are truly happy. They have learned the all-important key. When we lift others up, we grow stronger, healthier and happier.

If you’re interested in the book, you can find it online at http://www.jenniferrothschild.com/.

Blessings!


Personalities and Love

Personalities & LOVE

Great relationships take work.  Accept the fact that relationships; whether they be marital, parental, companion or co-worker, are not always easy to maintain.  In fact, good relationships are hard to keep.  However, we should stop equating hard with bad.  Great relationships are worth fighting for.

Always, when I present the basics of personalities, people are curious about how personalities affect their relationships, usually with their spouse.  They want to know if “opposites attract” and what that may mean for their marriage.

I am pleased to report that my husband, Nathan, and I have a fantastic marriage.  While we certainly are not perfect people and we have our struggles, we agree that knowing personalities and understanding emotional needs gives us a unique perspective on our relationship.  We both have a rich appreciation for the strengths we possess as individuals, which helps us truly love and respect one another.  We are a team.  I encourage any married person or anyone considering marriage to study personalities.

Here is a brief overview of how relationships work based on personality type.

SHARED SPACE

The “easiest” and most common relationships seem to be when the couple shares some personality space.  In other words, you and the person you are in relationship with have one color or square of the personality chart in common, but are not totally alike.  Those commonalities in behavior and expectation make the relationship easier because you naturally understand certain things about one another and are likely to have the same reactions to life circumstances.  Having your secondary personality color or square differ provides just enough balance to keep the relationship interesting.

The Popular Sanguine Relationship (yellow) – FUN!  ADVENTUROUS!  SPONTANEOUS!  Need I say more?  When two sanguines get together, it seems the fountain of fun will never run dry.  However, as we all know, there are moments in life that are just not any fun.  When the fun fades, the sanguine relationship is in danger.  Sanguines must learn how to deal with the difficult times and the fact that adult responsibilities do exist and must be handled properly.  Sometimes, planning is necessary for success and decision-making.  Together, this duo must learn how to navigate and overcome adversity.  They must learn time management, what it means to commit and how to follow the rules.  They must learn how to have fun without money and when other “not-as-fun” people are involved.  If you are in a sanguine relationship that is struggling, go have fun together.  Act a little crazy and the spark will be rekindled.

The Perfect Melancholy Relationship (blue) – When the melancholy square is the shared space the relationship tends to be well organized and private.  Time spent together is well thought out and properly placed on the calendar.  As a couple, these two have plans for provision, education and vacation as well as a timely budget or strategies for the budget in place.  The home is neat and orderly and bills are always paid on time.  However, high expectations often put a heavy burden on the relationship and it may become difficult for either person to feel perfect enough.  It may be tempting to become critical of one another and difficult to forgive and forget when the other person creates a mess.  If you are in a melancholy relationship be willing to accept delays, mishaps and changes in the plan.  Work together, but be careful not to isolate yourselves from extended family and friends.  Take time away from your normal routine to enjoy one another’s company and your common love for the arts or nature, without any rules or expectations.

The Powerful Choleric Relationship (red) – Out of the way!  Two cholerics will be working to change the world, or at least their own.  This couple is on the move, going places, doing things, seeing people, getting things done…in a word; ACTIVE.  This couple will be goal-oriented and productive.  “Down time” is spent on the next project and together this team is unstoppable.  However, these two will find themselves competing for control and for one another’s time.  Working on any relationship is too easily put off for working on work.  Be careful not to become competitive with one another.  Focus on supporting and respecting each other’s ideas.  Make time to relax.  But, realize that most of your bonding will occur as you work side by side and see accomplishments come as a result of your hard teamwork.

The Peaceful Phlegmatic Relationship (green) – Two peaceful phlegmatics simply have it made.  They are generally at peace with one another and have a relaxed relationship.  They don’t tend to pressure one another to change or do…well…anything.   As a couple they are open to whatever.  However, the reality of life circumstances are often stressful and managing a home, children and careers can easily become overwhelming for this pair.  If you are in a peaceful phlegmatic relationship you must work extra hard on communication, planning and setting boundaries.  Naturally, conflict is avoided.  So, working through problems, making decisions and sticking to a plan are difficult at best.  Phlegmatic couples are a great example for the rest of us, though, on how to be accepting, content and satisfied in a relationship.

OPPOSITES ATTRACT – When no commonalities in personality exist.

If the relationship is Powerful Choleric/Perfect Melancholy with Peaceful Phlegmatic/Popular Sanguine, the pair is a nice balance.  Some common ground exists because both people are part extrovert and part introvert giving the couple flexibility and a way to connect.  Easily, the couple will recognize their differences and have great potential to really appreciate those differences.  This is the scenario where one truly compliments the other.

If the relationship is EXTROVERT vs. INTROVERT or Sanguine/Choleric with Melancholy/Phlegmatic, the work begins.  This marriage can be very successful and fulfilling, but requires tremendous understanding.  Remember, one person is turbo-charged and energized by people, while the other is sucked dry by people and wants to go home.  This relationship will take some serious negotiating from both parties.

However, when opposites do attract the couple has a unique opportunity to create a well-rounded lifestyle and relationship that other couples struggle to find.

TOO MUCH ALIKE 

Not as common, but occasionally, people of the same personality are drawn to one another, fall in love (basically with them self) and get married.  Interestingly, it seems these marriages or lifestyles often require more attention than others because of the lack of balance.  And, by nature, two choleric or two melancholy personalities in a close relationship may need the most work of all.

The marriage will tend to have an extreme tilt.  For example if two choleric people marry, there will likely be an “abnormal” amount of conflict.  In order to tilt the marriage back to a healthy or normal range, practicing good conflict resolution becomes crucial.  Usually, one person in this relationship will have to learn to relinquish control to make peace and they begin to look a bit less “choleric.”  On the other extreme, in a relationship where both people are peaceful phlegmatic, conflict is completely avoided and lack of communication may become a serious issue.  In order for there to be progress in the home, one will be forced to step into the role of planning, making decisions and being more productive than their natural tendencies.

I think in most relationships where both people share a majority of personality traits, one person, for the sake of the relationship and general lifestyle, will step outside of their natural personality and learn to take on new traits to compensate for what is naturally off balance.  As a result, some people may even transform into what seems to be a much different person than they were when you married them.  The transformation may be just what you hoped for or it may leave you feeling unsure about the person you married.  Recognizing why change was required will help you appreciate the way your spouse has adapted to living with you.  Remember, change can be a positive thing, but the original personality is still deep within and the corresponding emotional needs still apply.

SINGLE?  NO WORRIES.  For those of you who are single, you may wonder, “Do I need a significant other to feel complete and have balance in my life?  No.  Marriage is not the only relationship.  There will be plenty of other people in your life who create that balance you need.  A phlegmatic male will find motivation from his choleric mother.  A choleric female will be humbled by her boss.  Sanguine singles will eventually settle down and seek advice from a grandparent.  A melancholy man will learn to relax as his co-workers drag him to office parties.  Just living with family, co-workers and friends will make you aware of differences in personality and you will naturally experience the fullness personalities bring to all human relationships.  Thankfully, as human beings, we have the intellectual ability to learn, change and take on strengths of other personalities so that we can access our own reserves of hidden potential, single or not.

To summarize, what is important in our relationships: don’t try to change the one we chose.  We chose our spouse because there was something about them we couldn’t live without.  We loved that “it” factor.  The “it” factor, my friends, is probably their personality — who they are and how they are wired.  Amazingly, whatever the thing was that drew us to them in the first place is the thing we end up being most annoyed by later.  Accept your differences.  Appreciate what makes your spouse unique.  Work hard at giving them the gift of meeting their emotional needs. Speaking of…

In case you need a refresher, here are the basic emotional needs of each personality:

Sanguine  (yellow) : Attention from all, Affection (touching), Approval of every deed, Acceptance “as is”

Melancholy (blue) : Sensitivity to their feelings, Understanding, Space to be alone, Silence (no people)

Choleric (red) : Loyalty, Sense of Control, Appreciation for all their hard work, Accomplishment

Phlegmatic (green) : Peace and quiet, Feelings of Worth, Lack of Stress, Respect for who they are, not what they do

 

 

 
 

 

 

 


4 Secrets to Effective Communication

I am currently in the process of studying proper business etiquette through the American Business Etiquette Trainers Association (ABETA).  Today, the topic of training was on effective communication.  As a personality trainer, I was intrigued by how closely their perspective related to the topic of personalities and character development.

Remember, highly successful people, in all types of professions, know this information and apply it!

Here are the four secrets to effective communication.

1) Effective communication is not about you.  It is about others.  Learn to listen and to suspend your thinking and judgement.  ABETA calls this “self-forgetting.”  I like that.  However, this is easier said than done for me!  My trainer also said something worth thinking about, “the listener is the one in control of the conversation.”  If I can just learn to truly listen, I can turn and guide the conversation in a positive and productive way.

2) Effective communication is being aware of what other people understand you to say.  In other words, you are actively perceiving what others are hearing you say.  We have all been in a situation when our intentions or our words were misunderstood.  As the effective communicator, it is your job to make sure they are getting you.

3) Effective communication is knowing and applying a conscious repertoire of effective nonverbal communication skills.  Your body language, facial expressions, posture and gestures are ALWAYS saying more than your mouth.  This is a skill I teach as a speaker trainer and one I have had to learn as a speaker.

4) Effective communication is about self-control and self-awareness.  Surprise, surprise.  Everything relating to personal growth, spiritual growth, character development and maturity boils down to these two things.  One thing that stuck with me in the training today was that self-control and self-awareness are signs of a great leader.  Technical skills alone will not help you get where you want to go, but practicing self-control and being self-aware certainly will.

All summed up, effective communication is this: speaking THEIR language.  This is where being able to identify someone’ s personality and communication style is ever important.  I’ll be discussing the connection in my newsletter at the end of this month!  If you’ve never signed up, it’s totally free.  Just go to my personal webpage and complete the form on the contact page.

Until next time, start listening.

 

 


Bullying, Authority and Messed Up Kids

In a few days I will be speaking to 400 students at the junior high I attended in 6th-8th grade.  In preparation I asked the teacher/student council advisor to answer a few questions.  Her answers confirmed what I already knew; these kids lack respect for themselves and others and bullying has become a problem in my hometown as it has across the country.  While bullying has ALWAYS existed, since the time Adam and Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel, it seems to be intensified by our obsession with technology.

Today I was doing research and found a pretty helpful and well written website on this very topic. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/   It covers all types of bullying and has stats from years of research.  The bottom line for me, however, is that the problem starts at home.  As a parent of two myself, I would dare to say it is the most difficult, yet most rewarding job in the world.  Our effectiveness as parents translates to every area of our child’s life…including how they treat their peers…face to face and through technology.

The biggest trend in bullying is through texting or online messaging (facebook).  Kids (and adults) post ugly stuff, gossip, nasty pictures, all kinds of confrontational garbage just to make digs at someone they don’t like or want to cut down.   Of course the worst thing is the impact all the meanness has on the victim…low self-esteem, depression, suicidal thoughts, and worse.  But, I can’t help but want to scream…”if your child is being impacted negatively by online activity and texting gossip or sexting, TAKE IT AWAY!”  Your  11 year old child will not die without a cell phone or access to facebook!”  Children are not mentally or emotionally mature enough to handle what happens outside of your control.  Protect them.

However, over half of all students are bullies themselves!  If your child is the one posting the nasty pictures they take in a locker room, making digs at other kids and being mean, “TAKE THE PHONE AND THE COMPUTER AWAY.”  Easy fix.

I’ll end by sharing a true story, changing the names and circumstances to protect the innocent…or in this case…not so innocent.  A few weeks ago I was helping at a youth event and a teenager, I believe 8th or 9th grade, was jumping up and down on a pool table.  I, being at least 15 years older than this youngster, walked in, saw what she was doing and asked her to get down.  She  stopped, looked at me and then casually said, “no, we do this all the time.”  She then turned around and resumed her “play.”  I was stunned.  Had I EVER ignored, much less blatantly disobeyed an adult, I would have been in so much trouble!  The truth is, it never crossed my mind I even had the option.  Disregard for authority is a real problem.  Never leads to a road of blissful happiness.  I would guess a road of great struggle, difficulty and maybe even prison….really.

Take heart.  Kindness can reign.  People can be nice.  Children can learn to listen and respect authority.  IF we don’t give up and believe the lie that all is hopeless,  all is not lost.  God is in control.  He knows and loves each of us.  We just have to first learn to be obedient to Him and His authority and the rest will fall into place.  I pray my children will see and learn how to be obedient and respectful to authority not just because I “make” them, but because they see the example in me.

Here is the link to the bullying website, again.  Check it out.

http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/


4 Steps to Resolutionize Your Life

If you are new here, welcome!

This month, my FREE Personality Newsletter was about how our personalities affect resolutions.  This article offers great support for this topic

As I seek to grow this blog, one thing I’d like to start doing more is sharing good information I find.  This article was written by a fellow Personality Trainer and Life Coach, Kathryn Robbins.  Enjoy!

The Holidays have come and gone, and for some, so have our New Year resolutions. It doesn’t take long to fall off the wagon. Why is that? What are resolutions anyway?

According to a dictionary definition, resolution is:
1. the act or an instance of resolving
2. something resolved or determined; decision
3. a formal expression of opinion by a meeting, esp. one agreed by a vote
4. the act or process of separating something into its constituent parts or elements

Many times our “resolutions” are nothing more than good intentions, but if we look at the definition again, it gives us step for making real and lasting resolutions.

1.  The act or an instance of resolving. Before you can resolve anything, there needs to be a problem. This requires taking a good look at where you are, how you got there and where you want to go. Looking back over past years is not a bad thing even if it is a bit painful. Adjustments are harder to make and have a greater failure rate if you have no idea where you are or where you want to go. The Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland said it best, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” The truth of the matter is each year builds on the other, so it’s logical to look back and take inventory.

Get out paper and a pencil and let’s make a few lists. Look back over the past year. In a word or two, describe how 2011 was for you?

2011 was ___________________.

Make two lists for these next questions, one for your business or career and one for the personal side of your life. Be honest as you formulate your answers. False humility or over inflated ego will not serve you well in this area, save that for the Oscars.

What are you MOST proud of accomplishing in 2011? Make a list of at least 5 things. Go ahead; pat yourself on the back. Chances are you worked hard for it.

What skills did you gain this year? Make a list of at least 5 things. The moment we stop learning, we stop growing, so – good job. Be proud of your accomplishments.

Where do you feel you blew it? Here’s where we will find our problem to resolve. Thomas Edison tested over 3000 filaments before he came up with his version of a practical light bulb, so let’s not think of blowing it as failure. We can look at it the same way Edison did, each time he tried and missed, he knew he was one step closer to finding the one that would work.

Our resolutions don’t have to be the same old ones everybody makes; lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more, yaddi-yaddi-yadda. Resolutions can also revolve around personal growth or relationships. Here’s where it is a good idea to know your personality type’s strengths and struggles. Let me give a typical problem for each personality type and show how personality strengths can aid learned skills in resolving personality problems or struggles.Click here to see chart.

Playful Sanguine: Problem – time management. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a Playful say, “I really need to get my act together,” I’d be a rich woman. One of the strengths of a Playful is their ability to be creative – add today’s technology and a Playful can get a handle on their schedule. Most cell phones have an ability to set an alarm; they can even be set to repeat at the same time each day. A little ringy-dingy goes a long way.

Powerful Choleric: Problem – too brash. Powerfuls value honesty, but blatant honesty is like a laser blast to the eyeball – too harsh. A natural strength of a Powerful is their ability to fix almost anything, coupled with the learned skill of tolerance; you could have a wise sage on your hands, one who has the ability to see the solution and the maturity to say it in a way that is helpful.

Proper Melancholic: Problem – self-centeredness. Propers desire perfection or something close to it and people mess up their plans, so they like to go it alone, making sure their work is right and not becoming overly concern if others fail by their own inabilities. Their natural strength is the ability to analyze – think it through – do the research, unite that with the learned skill of assisting others and the world would be a much better place.

Peaceful Phlegmatic: Problem – procrastination. “I was just going to do that.” I’m thinking not. Peacefuls are known for their patience and long suffering, and if that is partnered with the skill of good work ethics, we would see a character worth its weight in gold.

Each resolution needs a problem. Review your blew it list, pick one struggle and work through the next steps.

2.  Something resolved or determined; decision. Now that we have taken a look back, let’s use that information to make a plan for moving forward. If we are lacking in resolve or determination about what we should do, or get talked into doing something that’s good for us, chances are we haven’t truly made the decision. It’s still just good intentions and the chance of success is greatly diminished.

Make an educated decision; know what you’re getting into. Be sure to listen to your heart as well, because our emotional needs will always win any power struggle waged in the subconscious mind. Feed the need and the rest will follow. Click here to see chart.

3.  A formal expression of opinion by a meeting, esp. one agreed by a vote.We all have a friend who at some time or another planned to do something stupid, and more than likely we tried to talk them out of it. When we bounce our thoughts and ideas off other people, we benefit from their experience and knowledge as well as our own. If most of the people in your life are telling you “don’t do it” or “go for it,” chances are they see things you don’t see. We either don’t see clearly, because we are too close to the situation, or we want what we want and there’s no talking us out of it. There really is safety in numbers.

For me, I have found group life coaching to be a great tool for making goals and decisions. The women in my group care about each other, but aren’t all up in each other’s business. This gives freedom to share, try, fail or succeed without embarrassment.

4. The act or process of separating something into its constituent parts or elements. Now we are getting to the nuts and bolts of a resolution – the plan. With each resolution, ask yourself, “What does the process look like to me?” If you can see it, you can do it. If your plan is fuzzy, the outcome may stay out of focus for a long time.

Any successful plan needs clear, measurable goals. For instants, let’s say I want to be less brash, (I hear the cheers) what does that look like to me. First, I need to identify what brash looks like to others, seeing my brashness is more offensive to them than it is to me. Be brave; ask them what kinds of things are offensive. Be prepared to hear things you won’t like. Remember that’s how change works, but if nothing changes – nothing changes.

Then I will have to monitor my behavior to see where I get myself in trouble. Do I say brash things when I’m upset or is it my sense of humor that hits people wrong? Tune in and pay attention to how people react. Once this is identified, I need to “own” my behavior, admit that I do it, without blaming others for my actions and reactions. This can be very painful and humbling, but worth the journey. Now comes the hard part, catching myself before engaging in the troublesome behavior.

Were you able to see the “parts” or steps to my resolution?

Step 1- What needs to be resolved? My brashness.
Step 2 – Do I care? My decision – yes, I care. I want to change in order to have better relationships.
Step 3 – Find consensus and support. I ask for people’s opinions – painful, but liberating.
Step 4 – Break it down into parts, so it’s not so overwhelming. For example: Q-What’s the first physical action I’m going to take, to move me from the problem to the solution? A-Only blurt out half the advice I want to say. In time I will work my way up to only giving advice when asked.

The first 30 days of a resolution are the most critical. It’s estimated that by January 2, more than half of the resolutions made on or before Jan 1, are broken. By January 3rd, another 10% will be abandoned and sad to say, by April 1st, 90 % of resolutions morph into half-hearted good intentions or regrets. It is vital to the success of any resolution to have clear measurable action steps in place during those first 30 days. In the immortal words ofThomas Jefferson, “Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.”The founding fathers of any nation had a huge resolution in front of them, follow in their “action steps” and change your world.

In a word, how do I see 2012? Resolutionary!

To your success!

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Kathryn Robbins, Certified Personality Trainer, Life Coach, Speaker and President of  Personality Principles LLC, who has helped hundreds of people find the missing pieces to their relationship issues, by understanding personality strengths, struggles and emotional needs. Kathryn is available for speaking and training events as well as private coaching sessions. Visit the website for more information www.personalityprinciples.com.
Take the FREE personality profile.

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Jaclyn Rowe is a Personality Expert and National Speaker.  Information on speaking topics and booking may be found at www.jaclynrowe.com.


What is wrong with people?!

I have been traveling this week and am utterly amazed by how many people obviously hate their job and, more importantly, appear to hate people as well.  Ordering a meal from a fast food restaurant, I didn’t know whether I should laugh, cry or start lecturing the young lady attempting to take my order.  She was clearly unconcerned about how I felt about her or if I ever returned to that restaurant again.

A few months ago, I joined a teleconference call  hosted by a so-called professional in my industry who makes the big bucks.  After a long introduction which included all of his impressive credentials, he had my full attention and admiration.  I was taking notes like crazy, so thrilled with the opportunity to gain his insight.  And then, with regret in his voice, he decided to tell the listeners that the best way to get into this particular speaking market was to lie on our cover letters.  Just lie.  Really?  Red flags starting flying and the internal dialogue began in my mind…

Was any part of that amazing introduction of yours true?  Are you  really speaking from experience and giving us valuable insight, or am I now involved in a big marketing scheme designed to convince me to purchase whatever audio or e-book you will surely have for sale at the end of this call.  Hang up, Jaclyn.

And so, I did.

If you have a desire to influence the world around you in a positive way, then please — for heaven’s sake — pay attention to what I am about to say.  The way you present yourself to the world around you matters.  Your attitude, your dress, your behavior, your character, all of it matters.

If you can master the art of proper etiquette, you will set yourself apart from the crowd of rude and crude people.  If you can establish a solid personal brand that rings true, you will earn respect and become a person others want to follow.  And if you can back up your acts of etiquette and your attempts at creating a personal brand with the aggressive and continual development of genuine character; now that would really be something!

Here are the three layers described, beginning with the most shallow down to the nitty-gritty.

1) Proper Etiquette – Just be nice.  For whatever reason, manners have become a lost art.  Many people, often it seems those working in public service, are painfully bad at using good manners.  I personally thank my mother and Grandma Beverly for teaching me to say “please” and “thank you” and to take turns and to smile and to do my best to make others feel comfortable.  And then, I thank Sue Thompson, the author of etiquettedog.com, a blog on the subject.  I met Sue years ago at a conference, and when she spoke I realized how true and how important behavior, image and presentation really are, regardless of how we feel about it.

Did you know there is a right way to present your business card, to introduce yourself and others, to write and send e-mails, to eat, to make conversation, to set a table, etc.?  Etiquette is not just an art, but a science that yields results.  People learn quickly to trust you and your business when you consistently practice proper etiquette.  And, the ironic part, since very few people still do, you easily set yourself up as the example.

2) Personal Branding – Who do others think you are?  Your personal brand is basically your reputation or what is left in the room when you leave.  You can easily determine your current personal brand by asking people what words they would use to describe you.  The four or five words you hear most represent your brand.  Scary thought?  The key to branding is getting people to say about you what you want them to say about you.  Now, here is the ironic thing about branding:  a few years ago, we wore different faces.  At work, we put on our work face and did the work thing.  At school, we put on the student face and the two could look very different.  For example, someone may have been a real jerk of a student and a great employee.  However, technology and this crazy thing called social media has changed all that.  You can no longer be different people in one body.  (I don’t recommend that anyway. How exhausting.)  You are you, period.

People who are business and life savvy, are the same regardless of where they are physically or online.  If you want a strong personal brand, the facebook “you” should match the work, student, mom, daughter, church worker, whatever, “you”.  As a rule of thumb, especially if you are an entrepreneur, young person or an out-of-a-job person, if you wouldn’t put it on your resume or job application, then don’t put it on the world wide web.  Protect your reputation, therby protecting your brand.

P.S. – For years I spoke for Monster.com, and one thing I’ll never forget learning and presenting to students is that employers work really hard and spend a ton of money developing their brand and company image.  The last thing they want to do is hire an employee who will taint that image.  So, if your image doesn’t really match up with theirs, forget it.

3) Character:  who you are when no one is looking.  Your personal brand may be who others think you are, but your character reveals the truth about who you are.  My pastor recently said, “character is who God and your spouse know you are.”  Without solid character, it won’t be long before the truth about how you fake etiquitte and present a fake image will surface.

Remember, you were not born with perfect character.  Think about how your sweet little baby decided one day to smack you in the face, and a couple years later lie to you about who put the doll in the toilet.  Did you teach them those things?  Of course not.  We are born messed up.  Character must be developed through conscious decision making and action.

A few years ago, I was introduced to a children’s character development book entitled, “Eight Keys to a Better Me.”  In the book, eight character traits are listed: Honesty, Respect, Patriotism, Kindness, Courage, Responsibility, Feelings and Self-Worth.  While written for children, I realized they still applied to me.  Which ones do you truly possess and which ones need some work?

The girl taking my order at Captain D’s severely lacked etiquette, represented the brand of her employer terribly, and therefore, I assumed — right or wrong —  she was lacking in character.  The “professional” hosting the teleconference clearly knew and applied proper etiquette and was a master at personal branding; I had cleared my calendar for this call and had a credit card ready!  However, he lacked character.  See, it takes a whole person who is real, authentic and full of purpose to truly make a positive impact.

As the new year approaches, I am taking time to examine myself, again, and see what else needs transformed.  I’m re-studying the timeless principles of etiquette, working weekly on establishing a solid personal brand and daily on developing the weaknesses in my character.  Transformation is tough.

So, to answer my own question, what is wrong with people?! We don’t want to look in the mirror and examine ourselves.  We don’t really want to change because we see don’t want to have to admit we are flawed, wrong, or messed up.  We don’t want to say, “I need to change this,” much less actually do it.

Listen — be ye transformed.