By Debra W. Gould, MS
Third Article In The Four-Part Series
Making sure you have a foundation you can build on.
Falling in love is one of the most glorious experiences in life. It feels like a miracle to find that person who makes you even happier and stronger than you are on your own. That person who inspires you to be your best self.
There is no doubt true love is a force of nature, one to be protected, exalted, and sanctified by commitment.
But before you take the step of making vows, you may also want to consider the many hard lessons learned by couples like Joe and I who have been married for decades. These are lessons that can help you avoid pitfalls that can derail even the deepest love.
In my experience, the number one thing you have to know before you get married: yourself.
You must know who you are, why you are like you are, what you want from life and, just as importantly, what you don’t. Understanding yourself, your priorities, and your motivations – the good and the bad – will help you know whether you and your partner are truly right for each other.
Once you fully understand yourself at this stage in your life, you can move on the next foundation of commitment: shared values.
It doesn’t matter if your partner likes a different kind of music, a different kind of food, or has an old friend you don’t care for. More important is whether your partner sees your life together the way you do. Make sure you have similar attitudes in all the important areas: money, faith, children, and family. You need to know that you’re both envisioning the same future and believe in the same goals -- otherwise you may never reach them.
And finally, the thing that all relationships should be based on: respect.
Speak with respect, listen with respect, treat each other with the patience, generosity, and kindness that show respect. This is what will keep love alive, especially through hard times.
I promise you, if you do all three of these things, you will lay the foundations for a happier, healthier, more supportive marriage.
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success.
Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org and
By Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
In this fast paced, ever changing world where we must learn to do more with less, we must be grounded in who we are. To cope with the changing world of work, diverse customers and employees, the generational divide, rightsizing, downsizing, whatever the term used, we must have a strong sense of self.
Developing a better you requires recognizing that everything begins from within. We must remind ourselves of the unique gifts we possess that make us special. Too often, we focus on our failures and forget the successes we have had in life. Our failures help us grow because they challenge us to find a way to persevere until the victory is won. Our successes propel us forward to continue to run the race before us because we have what it takes to succeed.
1. Believe in yourself.
You must know that you are unique and decide to validate yourself. You must have positive self-talk and recognize that failure is not final, merely a steppingstone to greatness. Commit to measuring yourself with yourself and not someone else. I once read you can be a first rate you or a second rate somebody else. Affirm today, I am confident, courageous, and capable.
2. Surround yourself with positive people.
People with negative attitudes are energy draining and when your energy is zapped, you have to go and get recharged. Is it always easy to have positive people around? Absolutely not! We must continue to help others by suggesting sources of inspiration such as self-help books, motivational tapes, and spiritual literature. Then we must challenge individuals to be willing to take charge of their life and the things they can change. Often, you will find yourself spending less time with persons because you can see they really do not want to change. These negative people are often dream busters and if you let them, they will chatter your dreams. Be careful who you share your dreams with and do what you must do for yourself to remain focused and positive. Each you must decide to embrace life with an attitude of gratitude. Affirm today, I will focus on the positive things in life.
3. Visualize success.
In order to visualize success, you must see your dreams and goals with clarity and have a plan. Steven Covey states you must begin with the end in mind. The Bible states where there is no vision the people perish. Is it so important to have a blueprint to guide and direct your path as you work towards achieving your dreams and goals in life. Commit to developing a plan for the dreams and goals you have set for yourself in your personal and professional life. Affirm today, I will take one positive action that will lead me one step closer to reaching my goals.
4. Welcome and embrace change.
How many of you love change? Most of us resist change because of uncertainty and the risks it brings. The only constant in life is that things will change. Our ability to cope with change will help us reduce the stress change often brings. Many of us our currently facing some form of change in our lives, empty nesters, taking care of aging parents, family crisis, jobs being downsized or eliminated, mergers and acquisitions and the list goes on and on. It is vital we find ways to embrace and welcome changes that will take place on our personal and professional lives. Change allows us the opportunity to expand our boundaries and grow. Affirm today, I will welcome and embrace change.
5. Celebrate successes everyday in your life.
When you achieve a major milestone in your life, how do you reward yourself? Start a happy file, smile file, or success journal today. When someone sends you a note, an e-mail message, or a letter that lets you know they appreciate you, put it in that file. Start to focus on the nice things people say and do for you and help them begin their happy file by sharing with them in written form, a note of appreciation. When you start recognizing the successes and strengths of others, it is amazing how much more people start to recognize yours. What you send out to others returns to you. Begin the habit of rewarding yourself for the milestones that move you closer to your goals. These milestones may be big or small. It really doesn’t matter the size only that you recognize them. The important thing is to celebrate because small successes lead to big successes. Affirm today, I will start my happy file.
6. Love Yourself.
What kind of self-talk goes on in your head? What do you say about yourself to others? Learn how to look in the mirror and declare that you love the reflection you see. There is no one else like you in the universe. You are special and always remember that. Love you for the wonderful person you are. Affirm today, I value and love myself.
7. Maintain a winning attitude about life.
Life may not always deal you the hand you want, but learn how to play the hand you are dealt with a winning disposition. Maintaining a winning attitude means that when challenges come, you recognize there is a miracle in your struggle. When you are able to maintain a winning attitude about life, you draw people and circumstances that will be a blessing to you. In life nothing happens by chance, everything is divinely orchestrated. So go forward and keep your winning attitude about life and watch your garden of greatness grow. Affirm today, I will maintain a winning attitude about life.
Nancy J. Lewis is the president of Progressive Techniques, Inc. based in Fayetteville, Georgia where the theme of her company is
“Developing a Better YOU."
Nancy can be reached at (770) 964-5533 or email: email@example.com or website: www.progressivetechniquesinc.com.
Your Comments Are Welcome.
Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
In today’s world of business, it requires you redefining your process, redesigning your process, retooling and reframing how you do business. It is no longer business as usual, but rather business as unusual. So get over the way things have always been done and don’t think outside the box; throw the box away. One thing is certain, you must understand the VIP effect to propel your business or career forward in these challenging times. So here are my pointers on the VIP effect.
V-Visibility is key. You must may sure people know who you are and what you do. A friend once told me the first rule of networking is you must show up; but once you show up what happens next. You must learn the art of connecting. Find ways to get your name or company name in the spotlight. It might be in newspaper articles, blogging, volunteering, etc. just get visible in ways that work for you.
I-Image is key. What kind of image do you radiate to others and does it represent the authentic you? You must make sure you are true to yourself and the image you project to others. How you dress, talk, act are apart of your image.
P-Performance is essential. Once you are visible and have the right image, you must be able to perform the job in the spirit of excellence. No excuses will do as you must autograph your work with excellence. Perform so people will tell others about how great you are.
Go for it and create a winning VIP!!
Your Comments Are Welcome!
By Michelle Porchia
We have four to five generations of women alive right now. In the workplace we have supervisors, mangers and leaders in their 20's responsible for staff that are older and have much more work experience. When I was a corporate trainer, I often advised more senior workers (work wise and age wise) on how to work effectively with their younger supervisors and colleagues.
This is not about generations though. I want women to understand the value of encouraging, teaching and sharing your experiences with younger women. Conversely, more experienced women can learn from the younger women as well.
I have had many mentees and our relationship has been mutually beneficial, as I would hope all mentor/mentee relationships would be. I’ve asked them what they wanted me to share with them, I shared what they wanted and more. I also learned tremendously from them. One thing I learned from my INROADS advisees was to lighten up. I have stayed in touch with all my mentees and many of my INROADS advisees. Several of them have brought me in to their organizations and/or companies as a speaker or trainer. They’ve also referred people (not just women) who became my coaching clients. When I moved to North Carolina, many gave me names of people they knew to network with.
I conduct workshops for youth. My two oldest granddaughters have given me ideas, information and helped me to understand so much about high school and middle school aged behavior and their thought processes. I have learned so much from my granddaughters and I have a great deal of respect for the two oldest. I have imparted much wisdom, knowledge and experience to them and I have gained so much from them. Again, during my transition to NC, when I was grappling with some things, my oldest daughter reminded me of some of the philosophies I have shared with her over the years.
There are more women in higher positions, in different industries and trailblazers than there were when I was growing up. In fact, when I was growing up, the only women I saw were actors and actresses. I was blessed to have good role models about life. My grandmother was even-tempered. My aunt Gerri taught me the importance of the image I projected by the way I dressed and took care of myself. My aunt (by marriage) Joan showed me that you could be assertive and graceful. She was (is) beautiful, worked in corporate America, had a great sense of humor, was (is) a wonderful cook and was able to stand up for herself. I still look to her for advice. My mother, though I struggled with our relationship as many mothers and daughters do, taught me the importance of education, having a strong work ethic and taught me about accepting cultural differences and exposed me to so many cultural aspects of life. My mother was a concert pianist and an opera singer who never realized her dream. She was a civil worker in Detroit and I don’t remember her ever missing a day of work for illness. I have developed wonderful relationships with some of my younger cousins and continue to learn from them. One cousin has pursued many of her dreams with much success. She has been a news anchor, a director of diversity and now is the president and founder of her own company, Lothery and Associates. Another cousin of mine is a cancer warrior and survivor. She was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in two areas of her body. She has gone through all the treatment, fought the battle and is now cancer clear. She did it all with style and grace and a smile. She now speaks to
women who have been newly diagnosed with cancer. The nurses and doctors couldn’t believe how she always came to treatments looking glamorous and with high energy and a positive outlook.
We have a responsibility to mentor, sponsor, and guide, encourage and support the women that are following in our footsteps and creating their own paths. We also, even as the older person, can learn from them as well...it’s not too late. We are our sisters’ keeper.
Your Comments Are Welcome
By Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
Authenticity is a key to building sustaining and meaningful relationships whether in professional or personal settings. Authenticity is about being genuine and true to your core values no matter what. In today's world, often times we have difficulty in being authentic and transparent because it can come back and impact your career. Sometimes authenticity is not appreciated or celebrated because things are being done or said that make other uncomfortable. Consider the following questions on authenticity as it relates to your world:
1. Does the culture of your organization support and embrace authenticity?
2. Are people encouraged to bring their whole self to work?
3. Are leaders authentic in your workplace?
4. How is failure viewed in your organization?
5. Can authenticity and transparency be a reality for your organization?
Something to ponder as you realize the value authenticity can bring to your company. Authenticity has been linked to better work performance, engagement, and total wellness of employees. That is a good enough reason to create a culture that is open to employees being able to be authentic in the workplace.
We lose creative ideas, develop silos, and polarize work teams when we fail to embrace this important but elusive attribute.
I want to share five things to remember about authenticity.
1. Authenticity is about doing and saying the right thing even when it's not popular.
2. Authenticity is about being consistent with who you are no matter where you are.
3. Authenticity is about knowing what the non-negotiables are in your life.
4. Authenticity is about encouraging others as you operate from the abundance mentality.
5. Authenticity is about knowing how to lead from your heart.
Strive to live an authentic life as you move forward to greater success, peace, and love. One of the phrases I say a lot is, "Do you because everybody else is taken."
Your Comments Are Welcome.
By Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
Leadership is a vital link in effective and successful organizations. Strong leadership is essential to moving organizations from mediocrity to greatness. As companies struggle with downsizing, rightsizing, capsizing, and resizing, leadership must be demonstrated to navigate the winds of change in the workplace. Cornerstones of leadership are integrity, respect, and accountability.
Integrity in its simplest form is walking the walk and talking the talk. It is about keeping your promises and doing the right thing ever when it is not popular. It requires making tough but fair decisions in difficult situations. Leaders must be willing to walk in integrity to lead, motivate, and retain a diverse workplace. It is not what you say that people remember; it is what you do.
Respect is a quality leaders must demonstrate when interacting with employees and colleagues throughout the organization. It does not matter what position, title, or rank employees hold, leaders must practice this attribute. It is about esteeming others and showing honor to them.
Accountability means when you mess up, miss a deadline, you own up to it, without making excuses or blaming others. You focus on solutions and review what needs to happen so this mistake does not occur again. There is no humiliation in failing as long as you learn from your experience. Leaders must understand through failure we grow and expand our comfort zones.
Cultivate an environment where integrity, respect, and accountability are the core essentials for building and sustaining a successful organization.
Your Comments Are Welcome
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