Tag Archives: change

Who are you following?

A few weeks ago, someone on Twitter asked the question, “what qualities do you think a leader should have”? And well, I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I think many of us don’t really think of ourselves as leaders because we’re, “Just Mom’s”. But guess what, that’s so far from the truth. In fact, we’re the first leadership example that our kids will see and frankly, we need to start taking that more seriously.

When you think of a leader in your community, what are the first things you think of? I hope that the words hard-working, diligent, intelligent and gracious come to mind. More often than not though, that’s not what we think of. We usually think things like impersonal, unapproachable, power-hungry, etc. For me personally, I think that’s a shame but quite often, it’s a reality.

We need to do better. We need to recognize the roles that we hold, and honor them. I truly believe that whatever we choose to do, we need to do it to the best of our ability. Our choices should be made with purpose and consideration. Especially when it comes to times and situations where we’re influencing others, such as our children, friends, colleagues, etc.

If you’ve been elected to public office, you need to remember that your job is to represent the people who you serve. You are not in that position to bring glory to yourself or your office. You were elected to that role, take it seriously and do your stinkin’ job.

If you’ve been blessed with children, you need to remember that you are their leader and that those little faces are following your example. C’mon, how many times have we caught ourselves saying the exact same phrases that our Mothers said to us? Our children will become “us”, never forget that. Ever.

If you have a job outside of your home, there is always someone looking to you for help or instruction. These are the moments that make strong leaders, don’t let them slip by. Even if you’re on the bottom of the so-called ” corporate ladder”, there will always be a situation that can be used to encourage, promote or stand-out.

When you’re out with friends or family members, and you see that they’re being treated unjustly or are being the aggressors themselves. Stand up and say, “that’s enough”. We can never become our best if we’re being torn down or tearing others apart. Being a good example is an excellent place for leadership to begin.

We are leaders at work, in playgroups, at church, while we’re driving down the road, or posting on Facebook. Leadership opportunities are around us ALL the time, embrace them and use them to make a change in the world around you.

Being a good leader has nothing to do with being a tyrant or bossing people around. Don’t ever fall into the trap of believing that the louder and more aggressive individual is the one that should be leading the way. That doesn’t work.

Instead, look at leadership as an opportunity to lift up the people around you. Leaders look at the strengths and qualities in the people around them, and encourage them to use them to their best of their abilities. Leaders bear the brunt of responsibility while quite often letting the glory go to someone else. Leaders sometimes say No, but they don’t belittle or demean. Leaders treat people with grace while remaining humble themselves. Being a leader is NEVER easy, but it is always worth it.

I’m in no way saying that we shouldn’t work hard to achieve great things, so please don’t think that. Push forward for promotions at work, enjoy awards that you earn, and be proud of everything good that you do. Just always honor the journey that you took to get to the top, those struggles, trials and people left behind are what helped you get there. As a leader in your field, use these opportunities to show grace and thankfulness.

Leaders challenge people to become better. To step out of their comfort zone. To shine. To grow. Leaders make a difference. They leave a mark. Their absence leaves a hole. They change the world. Leaders are normal, everyday people. Leaders are you and me.

Please don’t EVER think that you are not a Leader, just make sure that the trail you’re blazing is worth following.

leader

2013 – The Year of Better

Change. That’s what this year is going to be about. I need a lot of change to occur in my world and I know that many of you are in the same place. Big changes, little changes. Outwardly apparent ones, and ones hidden deep within our heart. We don’t have to share them with each other or we can shout them off the rooftops as a declaration.  It is time to be true to our hearts and minds, and make this year count.

I don’t think this year should be like all of our other years of resolutions and goals. It needs to be about something bigger, something better. We are more than “someone who needs to lose weight, or should stop smoking or needs to give up coffee”. 2013 needs to be greater than that. I’m going to make this year count and push myself in ways that I’ve never done before. I am going to change, and I’m hoping that some of you will be joining me.

changeIf you’re wanting to hop on my train of change, my challenge to you is this …. Be the best YOU that you can be.

Take responsiblity for your words and actions. Remember that your words have the ability to lift someone up or knock them flat on their face. Choose words that make people think as opposed to putting them on the offensive. Picture yourself in their shoes and how it would feel to have the things you’re speaking, spoken over yourself.  Don’t think of yourself as a judge and jury, there’s enough condemnation in this world already. If someone shares something in confidence, honor that gift and shut your mouth. If you speak unkindly, apologize. If you’re mistreated or treated unfairly, take the high road and be the bigger person. Your “character” needs to be more important than your appearance or your social standing. Focus on what really matters.

Take care of your physical body. For some of us, that means we need to lose significant amounts of weight and make some huge changes in our lives. But for others, it means that we need to get off the couch and go for a walk. It’s time to eat better, and make healthy choices. It means getting enough sleep, and not living on coffee and energy drinks. We all know what we need to change to make our physical bodies better. Do that.

Guard your heart and mind. Do not be so quick to give “yourself” away to people who aren’t willing to do the same for you. Be a good friend, be helpful, be kind but be realistic. Don’t give people all your power and the ability to tear you down. You do not need to share every thought and feeling that you have with the whole world, unless you’re ready for the consequences and/or judgement that comes from that. Don’t use Facebook as a diary because frankly, many of your “friends” really don’t care all that much about “you”.

Accept that you don’t always need to be “right”. It’s okay to passionately believe in something or someone, just as it’s okay for others to believe the exact opposite. Different opinions are what keep our world turning, interesting and fun. People are going to hurt you. They’re going to question your beliefs, and ideas, your thoughts and your dreams. Sometimes it’s worth fighting for and other times, it’s not worth your time and energy. Watch for those moments and choose your response wisely. Sometimes being “right” means turning the other cheek and walking away. I would rather be known for being quiet, or full of grace than as a person screaming “I’m right” from the corner. I know my truths, and that’s good enough for me.

Be a living example of what you want the world to be. If you want bullying to stop, stop bullying other people. Quit laughing at inappropriate jokes and joining in on “harmless teasing”. If you want your children to be confident and kind … model that for them. Don’t talk about being fat or ugly or making hateful statements in their presence. If you want change to occur in your community, go out and volunteer or lend your voice. If you see someone who needs help, help them. Open doors for strangers, let people with smaller loads of groceries go in front of you in line. Shovel the neighbours sidewalk, help a senior citizen get to their vehicle safely. When someone cuts you off in traffic, smile and let it go. Buy some food for the food bank, even if it’s only a single box of macaroni. Small things make a huge difference in our world. Each simple act of kindness can spark a chain of wonderful and that is what our world needs now more than ever.

Honor the important people in your life. Don’t just talk about how much you love and appreciate the people around you. Show them. Be a helping hand or a listening ear whenever it’s needed. Don’t just show your love with gifts or money, share your time and energy. Be thoughtful. Be present. Recognize and honor your loved ones in the same way you want them to honor you. The people who you consider important enough to call your loved ones are special, don’t let pride or disagreements stop you from enjoying them.

Be what you say you are. If you’re someone’s best friend, act like that. Defend them and lift them up. If you’re in a relationship, honor that. Don’t share your partners shortcomings or faults with others. Try to be happy more often than angry or frustrated. If you’re a parent, be a parent, not a best friend. Our children need us to teach them, not treat them as equals. If you have a job, work diligently. You may hate it, but if that’s where you need to be right now, why not it approach with joy instead of dread. If you’re claiming to be christian, respond with grace and love and understanding. You are not God, stop trying to be him. Stop saying all the right things just to make you or your situation look better. Truth will always find a way, and if you’re hiding behind lies or bad will, you are not going to like the outcome.

As you can tell, a lot of my “changes” for the better involve “me” changing. It’s so easy to get caught up in blaming others for whats wrong in our lives, that we quite often forget to look in the mirror. I truly don’t believe that change can happen if we’re not willing to look at ourselves first. I’m not expecting you to compromise yourself, what you believe in or to take abuse of any kind. What I’m wanting you to do is … do better. When we change, the world will change around us.

I’m done expecting the world to make me happy or get better in spite of my choices or lack of motivation. I’m done with “waiting for something better” while continuing to do everything the exact same way that I’ve always done it. It starts with you. It starts with me. And that’s exactly where I’m starting. I am changing ME.

ghandi

Want to stop bullying? Then stop it.

I’ve written a couple of different blog posts about bullying … one explaining my take on the situation and another one showing how I’ve tried to deal with it in the past. In both of them I talked a lot about building our kids up so that bullies don’t have to power to take them down. I still wholeheartedly believe in that but I think it’s time that we as a society stand up and take responsibility for our part in perpetuating this insanity. Children look to us to lead them and guide them. They copy what we do. We are their guides and leaders. We need to take that more seriously. Now.

I’m thankful that people are finally really acknowledging bullying and the horrific ramifications that it brings about. What makes me sick is that it took the death of a young girl to make people take notice. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first death as a result of bullying. We should’ve taken better notice a long, long time ago. My hope is that these same people who have jumped on the “bullying is bad bandwagon” will actually do something to make a change and not just use this event as a way to make themselves look righteous. Please let that be what happens.

If you want bullying to stop, we as a society need to stop bullying. Stop telling and laughing at fat jokes. Quit pointing out “gingers” and making ignorant comments about them. Stop commenting on buck teeth, freckles, greasy hair, pimples, etc, etc. Quit pointing out the faults of everyone around you and/or laughing along when someone makes ignorant remarks.  Next time you get the urge to call someone fat or ugly, picture your daughters face on their shoulders. Not so appealing now is it? Grow Up.

Don’t post on Facebook how upset you are by bullying and how awful it is, and then go and post ignorant “jokes” or pictures. Don’t say that bullying is terrible and then start all of your sentences with “I don’t mean to be rude”, or “no offense”.  Don’t shove people out of your way in the grocery store, don’t butt in line, don’t belittle people in lower positions than you. Be respectful. Be polite. Be a decent human being.

When your children make ignorant comments about peers or people in their world. Correct them. When they tell inappropriate jokes. Correct them. When they comment that someone is poor or stupid or ugly. Correct them. Please don’t agree or laugh with them. You are their example. When the opportunity to teach your children arises, use it. Talk about how we’re all different and that it’s okay. Discuss how some people look different because they can’t help it. Teach them about money, and how not every has as much or has more than your family. Explain to them why they’re being corrected. They’ll get it sooner than you think, and their bad habits will be replaced with kind and compassionate ones.

Really teach your kids their worth. No one should ever think that they need to lift their shirt and bare their breasts to make someone like them. Teach them that they don’t need the approval of others to be valuable. Show them that they don’t need to be “sexy” to get attention. Teach them that the number of friends they have on Facebook or the numbers of TBH’s they participate in, is in no way reflective of their value. Kids need to be built up and reminded DAILY of how awesome they are. If they are getting approval and encouragement at home, they’re not going to seek it out everywhere they go. Kids still want to fit in and belong, that’s never going to change. But if they feel secure and “know” their worth, it’ll be a lot tougher for someone else to take advantage of them or beat them down. Period.

Teach your children that they don’t need to share every little piece of themselves with others. Facebook , Instagram and Twitter are not diaries. Pictures and words are forever, help them understand that. Talk to them about online predators, and REALLY talk to them. If you’re going to allow your children to use social media, take the time to figure out how it works. Learn what texting shortcuts mean. Never assume that your child is smart enough to know when they’re being lied to or scammed. And on the flip-side, don’t assume that your child would never behave inappropriately online. Kids that are normally shy or quiet will quite often open-up online because it’s so anonymous. They can hide behind a fake persona and become anything their minds can imagine.

Consider setting up a “fake account” with a picture of someone cute. Pretend to attend another local school, pick common “likes” to your kids – food, sports teams, video games. Then send your child a friend request and see what happens. If they don’t initially accept it, try again. Add a note to your request saying something like, “we used to play ball together” or whatever.  Once they befriend you, starting asking questions. Will they give you pictures when asked for them? Will they tell you where they go to school, share their phone number, address, etc, etc? If you invite them to an awesome party, will they agree to go? Maybe your kids will surprise you and will never accept your request but if they do, use this to show them just how easy it was to get them talking. Predators do this EVERY DAY.

We need to change what is normal. And what is expected. Children aren’t sexy. Physical appearance doesn’t determine your worth. Money does not equal power. Domestic Violence is not cool and should not be ignored. Movie stars, pop icons and their lifestyles are not reality. Please figure out a way to help your children see that and believe it. We need to set higher standards for our children and ourselves. Stop accepting wrong behaviour as normal.

Frankly, we as adults also need to recognize the power that we have. Our words bite just as much as those of a teenager. We are just older and “smarter” and a little bit braver. We somehow find ways to justify our behaviour because we “know” that we’re right. We’re educated, churched and have lots of life experience. Quit mistaking those things as “rights to abuse or bully”.

Politics, religion, ideals and opinions will always be fodder for bashing. Instead of joining in on the bandwagon of crazy behaviour, listen. Hear what people have to say, and then agree or disagree. If you have a concern or you don’t understand something, ask about it. So many of our “fights” are a result of mis-information or blatant gossip. Before you make a judgement, make sure you have all the facts. Agree or Not, doesn’t really matter. Your response is what’s important. Hatred should never be an option.

Bullying is a horrible, horrible thing but it’s just a symptom of something bigger. As we all move forward, working towards change, please think of this one simple word. Respect. Respect for yourself, and respect for the people around you. If we could all just focus on that, the world would be a much happier and safer place.

U is for Up

My summer has been rough. It’s been a time filled with unknowns and some pretty scary stuff. It has become tiring and monotonous and blah. So today,  I’m moving on and changing my focus. No more looking at my circumstance, no more looking down, no more looking back …  it’s time to look UP.

If you’re in the same place and feeling the same things as me, please feel free to jump on my rainbow train. It’s time to ignore the crap and nonsense in your life and turn your eyes to the skies. Who’s in?

Now let’s all celebrate our new way of thinking with a Shania Twain dance party.

 

This post is Day 23 of the Summer Blog Challenge – 31 posts in 31 Days

Please visit my fellow challenge bloggers and read their stories.

Meaghan at Magz D Life
Tam at Tam I Am
Liam at In The Now
Jessica at2plus2X2

K is for Kick-Off

Today is the day that I start. I’m kicking off my new way of thinking, my new way of eating and my new way of living. Today I’m putting me first. Something that I’ve never done before.

I’m not going on a diet. I’m not doing anything drastic. I’m not starving myself. I’m not getting caught up in the numbers on the scale. I’m just going to live.

Today I’m going to make healthy food choices as opposed to the obviously bad ones. I’m going to drink water when I’m thirsty. I’m going to make myself take all the vitamins and pills that my body so desperately needs and I constantly forget to take. I’m going to go for a walk with my husband everyday. I’m going to go to sleep before 2 am. I’m going to take time to shower and brush my hair, every day. I’m going to choose to be better.

I’m looking forward to this change in my thinking and this change in my life. I know that some days are going to be awesome and that some days are going to royally suck. But this time, the bad days won’t defeat me. They’ll just be a trigger to try harder tomorrow.

Who’s joining me in this journey?

This post is Day 13 of the Summer Blog Challenge – 31 posts in 31 Days

Please visit my fellow challenge bloggers and read their stories.

Meaghan at Magz D Life
Tam at Tam I Am
Liam at In The Now
Jessica at2plus2X2

E is for Exercise

Yes, you may have noticed that there is a theme happening here and that I’m obviously at a place of change. Or wanting a change. Or something.

Letting go of baggage and giving up on dieting can only lead to one place and that’s exercise. Which I hate. With a passion. Which should actually be considered an F word as far as I’m concerned. (I actually considered saving this post for “Letter F Day”).

I hate it for many reasons and I’m going to share them with you. Please feel free to whine along with me as you read my list of excuses valid reasons.

1. I hate being hot. CANNOT STAND it. Makes me feel like crap, gives me a headache and flat-out makes me sick. I’ve felt this way my entire life.

2. I don’t like being outside. It’s either too hot or too cold. When the temperature is just right, there are bugs. And pollen. And weeds. And grass. And furry little animals. All of which make me itchy and sneezy. Mother Nature hates me.

3. I’m too out of shape to do a whole lot of anything, so whenever I try, I almost die. Like really die, laying on a sidewalk, can’t take a breath, heart pushing its way out of my chest die.

4. I look terrible in shorts and tank tops, and exercising in normal clothes gets too hot. (See excuse reason Number One).

5. It’s boring.

6. I truly am content and happy doing absolutely nothing. I have zero desire to go outside and enjoy the sun, or go out and explore the world and see the sights. I’ve tried to find that desire deep down inside of myself, but it’s just not there. Don’t know why, but it’s not.

7. I’m lazy.

8. I like TV, the internet, Twitter and Facebook much more than I like leaving it.

9. I cannot justify buying myself a gym membership, gym equipment or even a pair of running shoes for that matter.

10. I’m okay with being out of shape and unhealthy.

As I write all of my pathetic  reasons down, it makes me sad. How in the world does someone get to the place where they don’t give a whoopty-doo  about how they look or feel? How exactly does that happen? More importantly, how does someone change that?

I think that I’ve spent so many years being a Mom, a wife and a friend that I’ve forgotten about myself. My health has now taken me to a place of many limitations, and I’m almost being held hostage by things that I may never be able to change.  And that will be where my challenge begins … fighting through the thoughts in my head telling me that “you’re never going to get better”, “you can’t do this” and “just accept it”. I need to turn my “excuses” into motivators and turn my life around. Just the thought of that kinda makes me want to barf though.

So where do I begin? I’m thinking that it’s just going to start with one foot in front of the other. Faith and the promise of something better will have to be what pulls me along.  Who wants to join me?

 

This post is Day 7 of the Summer Blog Challenge

Please visit the other fabulous bloggers and their stories.

Zita at The Dulock Diaries.

Meaghan at MagzD Life

Natasha at Natural Urban Mamas

Aramelle at One Wheeler’s World

 Jessica at 2plus2X2!

Apologize. It’s the right thing to do.

Picture Property of 20th Century Fox.

I’ve let my kids down and I’ve let my friends down. I’ve made some really bad financial decisions. I’ve spoken very mean words and have given many mean glances. I’ve not delivered on promises that I’ve made and I’ve forgotten to do some very important things. Do I wish that I could go back in time and have a do-over? Without question. But instead, I’ve tried to learn from these things, and I’ve always tried to apologize and rectify my mistakes. When I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I hate that I’ve let these things happen, but I own my part in them.

Everyone has screwed up and made a mistake in their life at one point or another.  Many of us make those same mistakes over and over and over and over before we even consider change. Just as many of us refuse to accept any responsibility for our part in these problems. Instead, the blame gets placed on others and that is wrong. People are going to react when you make a mistake. Why in the world would you expect anything different?

Instead of being so stinking melodramatic and trying to draw attention away from YOU and YOUR mistakes, just suck it up, deal with it and move on. If you need to apologize, do that. If you need to change your behaviour, do that. If you need to make amends or pay someone back, just do it already. Stop wasting your time and energy defending an error, and quit trying to justify it with excuses.  

Our past mistakes do not predict our future if we don’t let them. When you’ve done something wrong, apologize. Always try to take the high road and be an example of the right thing to do. Admit your mistakes, make a change and move forward.

“I’m sorry” are some of the most freeing words that you’ll ever use. Try saying them some time.