Leadership & Intentional Parenting

“Everything rises and falls on leadership” – John C. Maxwell

Leadership truly embodies everything we do. You may hear some people say that they just weren’t cut out to be a leader. The thing is if you think way, you’re right! No one is born a leader. Some personality traits make leadership more desirable to some people (in their own personal opinions), but in actual fact leadership is learned. As a new mom, I will focus specifically on leadership as a parent. But please think and apply this to your own life; perhaps to your job, your business or your relationships. Its all the same information, just apply where necessary.

Becoming a parent is something we should not take so lightly. Today’s society is an all about “me” kind of world. Not great for children to come into and not great support for new parents; new parents who are overwhelmed and overtired at that! What I mean is that parents are told to calm down, relax, let kids be kids, etc., etc. No discipline, no manners, no responsibility, no good eating habits and no values. But don’t worry there is lots of brain-washing media and technology that will give you as a parent “the freedom you deserve”. Ha! I am almost entirely sure the definition of being a parent doesn’t allow for as much freedom as some parents take advantage of these days.

Leadership is tough. So is being a parent. Like everything, if you take a stand to do what is right you will be criticized. Afterall, you’re making the other parents (who have satellite TV as a babysitter) look bad! Before you can help another person (in this case your child) learn and grow you first must start with yourself. The best way to do this is through reading and listening to positive books and audios that encourage growth and also by associating with people who have “fruit on the tree” in the area you are seeking. Next, start implementing everything you are learning. A great book I would recommend to start with is Personality Plus. This book outlines the four different personality types. This will help you identify your own personal strengths and weaknesses as a parent and give you areas to begin working on. A better you means better leadership as a parent, which in turn means better, more respectful and mature child! If you don’t feel you are worth it, look the two steps ahead, because your child’s future counts on it!

 “Transformational Leadership influences people to think, speak, and act in such a way that it makes a positive
difference in their life and in the lives of others.” – John Maxwell

I feel this is very suitable when talking about parenting. A parent is essentially influencing their child to think, speak and act in ways that will positively impact their future growth. First, you have to want to make a difference in your child’s life. Second, you need to determine what kind of difference you want to make in your child’s life; not just a wish or desire, but something concrete that you can really work with. To change your child’s behaviour you have to start from the inside out. Therefore, you have to work on the values within them that are behind the behaviours you want in your child.

“When opportunity comes, its too late to prepare.” – John Wooden. 

There is no time like now to start preparing for the “terrible two’s” or those “dreaded teenage years” (labels given strictly by society). Two things will help in these situations. 1) Do prepare. Educate yourself on these stages of development. Seek advice from others who have gone through these stages with your desired results. 2) Have a positive attitude of expectancy. Give your child a chance. There is nothing that says EVERY two year old is terrible and EVERY teenager will wreak havoc on you. You get what you expect. Expect the best, afterall, that is what you want for your child isn’t it?!

Dream Big,
M

Keep Your Coins, I Want Change!

keep-your-coins-i-want-change-meek

“Change is inevitable, but growth is optional” – Laurie Woodward

We can be assured we will experience various changes throughout our lives; it’s up to us whether we choose to learn and grow, or resist in our attempt to maintain status quo. However, when we stop and take a look around, there is definitely at least one thing we could get better at. Maybe it’s being a better friend, maybe it’s being a better wife or mom (or husband or father), maybe it’s committing to better health, maybe its learning to relax a little more, worry less and enjoy the ride. No matter where we are in our journey, we can always get better. This is not to say that where you are right now is not good; it’s just to say we all have the opportunity to embrace a journey to excellence – should we choose to accept.

Dr. Anthony Campolo completed a survey with fifty people over the age of 95; one question that was asked was as follows: “If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?” There were three common answers that we should acknowledge and accept as advice from the minefield of life, (take note they did not wish they had made more money!) these were:

– If I had to do it over again, I would reflect more.
– If I had to do it over again, I would risk more.
– If I had to do it over again, I would do more things that would live on after I am dead.

Personally, when I am 95 years old (with a very wrinkly pink VW Beetle tattoo I should add) I want to be proud of the life I have lived to that point. Sure I will have an abundance of advice to pass on, from mistakes made and lessons learned, however I do not want to have any desires as strong as those stated above running through my mind when presented with this question. Kudos to these surveyees for their courage and honesty!

To reflect can be defined as to “think about.” And if you have ever read a book (or even a chapter) by Dale Carnegie, John C. Maxwell, David Schwartz, Robert Kiyosaki or many other amazing authors on the topic of life, faith, success, people, leadership or business, you know the key to everything is the way you think, what you think and how you train yourself to think each day. Now, maybe we can appreciate the significance of the subtle advice from our elders and learn to reflect more, after all these days are the journey; why race to the destination? Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously – as they say – you will never make it out alive.

Risk has become a four letter word in today’s society (pun intended). No one is up for “taking a chance.” Everyone hunts for that safe and secure job, car, home, friend, everything. Don’t get me wrong, safety is of high importance; however a false sense of security is not. For example, the days of pensions taking care of us in our golden years are over. A smaller generation cannot possibly fund a pension for a larger retiring generation. Pensions were created for the Baby-Boomers and that is who will see them. We have all followed the fallacy of go to school, get good grades, get a good job, keep your nose clean and work until you are 65, then retire on the beaches of Florida with golf club in hand (you might as well run on the beach in the soft waves holding hands in the sunset too, while you’re at it!). This worked great in the Industrial Age for the Baby-Boomers. Now that we are in the Information Age, things are different here. No longer do you “need money to make money.” So, we need to step up and choose a risk that has a possibility for betterment in our lives; because rest assured, we are jeopardizing more by not risking than we ever could by “taking a chance.” Everyone will do the work of a millionaire from the neck down. Why not take a risk, and work on personal growth from the neck up! What do you have to lose?

To do more things that live on after one has passed may sound like a very heavy undertaking. However, perhaps it is helping someone in need close by or far from home, maybe it is developing as a leader within the community, workplace, church, country or even family; creating a following and respect that is unheard of these days, and will last a lifetime. To me this is the “Make a Difference” in life, you choose where your “difference” will focus. Don’t be left with regrets wishing you made a bigger impact. Think of the next generation and leave something that will make a difference after you are gone.

Personal weaknesses are hard to admit. It can be easy to pass judgement on others’ faults without even thinking twice, but this is not effective living. We will have to be courageous enough to identify an area to work on personally. We can look to many areas for something we need to change and improve. However, relationships are the root to life and if we don’t have strong, loving and respectful relationships with those closest to us we can be certain problems will arise. The first step is identifying a relationship in our life that needs work then seek education. (Such as Five Love Languages, Love & Respect, Grown-Up Girlfriends or Wild at Heart; and countless others.) We cannot just read one of these books and place a check mark in the box, we have to apply the contents; this may be the most courageous thing you will ever do. But the “Slight Edge” effect will last a lifetime.

Keep Dreaming,
M

“Baby Brain”… my excuse

Becoming a Mom has been amazing. No doubt about it. However, it did bring with it some brain-fuzz (baby brain I guess “they” call it) I could have done without…that’s for sure! Since Oliver was born I have started to write probably about 10 to 15 blogs posts here. Started being the keyword! If any of you had my password you could have some great reads in my drafts section. Lots of half-inspiring unfinished thoughts. Things happened. I lost my train of thought. A diaper needed changing. The laundry called my name. Tons of excuses I could go on and on about. Some very “legitimate” and real, some…well, not so much.

Which leads me to this post. Enjoy. Long overdue, for sure.

Among my drafts there are various working-titles. Varying widely from friendship, marriage, character, adversity quotient, parenting, the past, sacrifice and so on. All great topics, had I finished them. But for now I will work on excusitis – the failure disease. I recently started re-reading The Magic of Thinking Big. This is where chapter two comes into play; excusitis. Those of you who have read the book understand, the rest of you should pick it up the next time you are looking for a book that can change your life for the better (one of many).

In The Magic of Thinking Big, author David J. Schwartz, Ph.D, outlines the four most common forms of excusitis as: Health, Intelligence, Age and Luck. Each of which engulf our every excuse-related thought. Think about the last excuse you made (or in your mind its probably the “reason” why you did or didn’t do something). 

Let’s overcome excusitis together. How you ask? Take action, refuse to worry about things out of your control, talk positively, find the bright side of everything, reframe your thinking. Try it with me. It won’t be easy, but I assure you it will be worth it!

Stay tuned for upcoming posts that are more inspiring and thought provoking. 

Keep Dreaming,
M

 

Oh, the Places You Could Go… If You Only Knew Your Purpose!

Perhaps a play on famous words from Dr. Suess; but true nonetheless. Have you ever just “stopped to smell the roses” and suddenly realized you are in the middle of a crossroads? There you are, you had no idea it was coming and now you have to make a decision… Or maybe for some of you it was/has been a little less obvious. You question things now and then but never really give much thought to it; or at least not long enough to make you change anything in your life. Well, my friend, the time has come. YOU need to determine your purpose.

Crossroads1

Orrin Woodward describes it well in his best-selling book Resolved:

A purposeless-life is similar to a rimless basketball game – one can hurriedly dribble up and down the court; however nothing of any consequence seems to get accomplished. Doesn’t this describe the majority of people in the game of life? People running frantically back and forth in no particular direction, having no purpose, meaning or significance.

Orrin proceeds to describe how then, once a rim is added to the game of basketball, everything becomes much clearer and there is now a purpose for the game to be played. Much like our lives. We all have a purpose, something we live for, a source to our happiness, or our ambition in life. Autonomy, mastery, and character must come into combination in order to determine your purpose. Autonomy is having a desire to direct our own lives. Mastery is wanting to strive to improve in something that truly matters. Character is having integrity, courage and moral/ethical quality; being honest. Purpose can only be achieved when the three of these are combined. Purpose is doing what we do in greater service than for ourselves.

Orrin also describes a great way to aid in you determining your own purpose in life. By determining your passions (your motivation), potential (things you are great at – your strengths) and profits (your economic engine) you can then find the intersection of all three to be your purpose.

crossroad-signs

I like this photo. A crossroads, unmarked, no destinations for you to choose until you, yourself, sit back and contemplate where it is YOU want to go; where you want to be in five or ten years. Maybe you have never wondered what you are truly meant to do; maybe you are content working at something you kind of like for money that “pays the bills.” And that is fine, if its your honest choice, and something you are happy to live with each and everyday. However, I believe we truly give up the right to complain about our situations the minute we choose to not pursue our purpose with our whole heart. Afterall, what would really give anyone the right to complain about something they CAN change but are just UNWILLING to change?!

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” – John F. Kennedy

Still having trouble understanding purpose? I know I am still learning and trying to nail mine down more concretely, so here are a few definitions that may clear the muddy waters for you.

“The reason for which anything is done, created, or exists.” – Dictionary.com

“A target, an aim, a goal, a result that is desired; an intention.” – Wikipedia

“Something set up as an effort or end to be attained; an action in the course of execution.” – Merriam-Webster

Based on your own personal belief system, your purpose can come from philosophical, scientific or theological background/basis.

A great way to finish this up is leaving this poem for you to think on.

Our Deepest Fear 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God.

Your playing small 
Does not serve the world. 
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking 
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, 
As children do. 
We were born to make manifest 
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; 
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, 
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 
As we’re liberated from our own fear, 
Our presence automatically liberates others.

-Marianne Williamson

Keep Dreaming,
M

Long-term Vision, Pregnancy and Positive Thinking!

I’m no expert… Afterall, this is my first pregnancy. However, I have definitely learned and experienced a few things in my 8.5 months thus far. Now I know all you old, new and seasoned moms (maybe even dads) are all sitting there chuckling and saying “she ain’t seen nothing yet” or “pfftt, this girl thinks THAT’s bad?!” But, this is my blog 🙂 (the smile makes sarcasm more polite I’ve been told).

Pregnancy. Hmmm, so before I became pregnant my view was definitely… different. I thought it would be all “wine & roses.” That it would be eat anything you want, feel like a million bucks and look awesome in the process. Not so much…

Try: tired, like sleep on your keyboard with total comfort; sick, like throwing up in a grocery bag in your car is a totally normal and acceptable procedure even though you are not 6 years old anymore. Crying becomes acceptable in situations where anger or strength once sufficed. Public outbursts directed at semi-innocent ladies for stealing a parking space are also acceptable. Food allergies and adversions dictate what you and everyone around you can eat; so although you may very well crave ice cream, pizza, pasta or chicken that’s just too bad unless you want to be sick. And at the end of the day when someone questions your day/actions you say “I’m pregnant, leave me alone.” And they do.

Now all you guys and gals who have no babies yet are probably scared. Sorry. But my point here is that the 9 months of pregnancy can easily be compared to our everyday LIFE. We commit to things everyday some things small, others bigger and more long-term. Much like pregnancy, the knowledge that its possible you will encounter unwanted experiences is known when you commit to things daily. What I have found funny (for lack of a better word) is that YOU know where you’re going when you make the decision in both situations. That is: you know you will have a beautiful baby that will complete your new family and make everything you went through easily forgotten; much like when you achieve a goal you have set, it will make all the struggles along the journey that much more worth it.

We all set goals, plan pregnancies and set out on new ventures regularly. We know there are going to be struggles, but during those struggles if we commit to a good attitude we will make it safely and happier to the “other side.”

The difference from an outside view in these situations is another “funny” thing. Family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances are all very encouraging while you are in the ups and downs of pregnancy. “Think of the why,” “It’s going to get better after the 1st trimester,” along with other encouraging words. BUT, where the disconnect in support begins is when you are running for a personal or business/career goal; YOU know the end result, just as you do in pregnancy, and so do they; but when things get tough this time, they instead say “what if things don’t line up for you, do you have a plan then?” or “are you sure its really worth it?” and “you seem to be out a lot”  And other “well-meant” words. They would never consider saying these types of things as you face the struggles of pregnancy though, would they?

“If you have a Plan B you have convinced your subconscious Plan A isn’t going to workout.”

This has got to be one of my favourite quotes. Choose your path, stick to it and with vision in your heart and a great attitude in your mind nothing will stop you!

Thank you for following my blog and I hope that my journey as I relate my new experiences to Life, Leadership and Relationships will inspire you, even in some small way.

Keep Dreaming,
M

New Blog – Change is inevitable…

Well, the time has come… I have switched over to a blog that seems to be more technology-friendly. Personally, I love blogger.com; however discovered Blackberry Apps and more exciting things with wordpress.com that I couldn’t find/use with blogger.com.

So here I am starting this new blog. Feel free to check out my older posts at www.melissadrover.blogger.com if you may not have read them before. But from now on I will be posting all new ones on here. Also, don’t forget to subscribe (see right side bar) to have an email sent when new posts come out.

Thanks for following 🙂 New post coming very soon!

Keep Dreaming,
M