Archive for the ‘Achieving your Goals’ Category

Serena with comforter
I wanted to give you an update on the fundraiser you donated to for Serena’s college supplies. Jillian and I did finish the 5K in about 40 minutes. I attached the video of her running and juggling. We raised about $1,200 for Serena thanks to your tremendous response.
This past weekend was tax free weekend so we went shopping and it was an amazing experience for Serena. She was able to buy her first pair of name brand tennis shoes. She has a retail job where she stands for long periods of time and needed shoes that wouldn’t hurt her feet.
In her dorm room, she’ll have a bed to sleep in for the first time so she was able to buy bed sheets and a comforter as well as all the items she needed for her dorm room. She was able to get under garments and clothes she needed as well as a scientific calculator for her Pre-Calculus class.
She was overwhelmed that people she didn’t know would help her so she would have what she needs for her 1st year of college. Thank you so much for your generous support to help this wonderful young woman that has persevered over many obstacles to get a full scholarship and be the first in her family to attend college.
Advertisements

 

Serena

I heard a story of a remarkable young woman named Serena that I wanted to help.

Serena’s parents immigrated to the US from Laos and then they had her and her younger brother. After her parents separated, they went to live with her mother. The state removed them from her mother after she attempted to kill her and her brother and placed them with their father. By this time her father had remarried and had two more children.

She worked 30 hours a week and tried her best to provide dinner and other necessities for herself and her younger brothers and take care of them while her father and step-mother worked second and third shifts.

She always wanted to be the first person in her family to go to college but knew financially that it wasn’t possible. With all of her responsibilities she never gave up and worked hard to maintain a 3.75 GPA and passed the state certification exam to be a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant and received a Presidential Scholarship from Tennessee State University.

I teach a class called Connect with your Calling, where we help people discover their gifts and guide them towards fulfilling their life’s purpose. One of my students, Jillian Quilty works as a Caseworker for at-risk youth.

We decided to run the Nashville Rock and Roll 5K together on April 29th, 2017 to support Serena’s college dream and raise money for some of her other college expenses. Jillian has a special talent of jogging and juggling so she’ll be juggling during the 5K.

Throughout Serena’s whole life adults made it seem like she wasn’t meant to be successful so she worked hard to prove to people, friends, and peers in similar situations that it doesn’t matter where you come from or where you are, if you work hard and make the most of where you are then you can achieve your life’s purpose.

Serena wants to major in English and earn her ESL (English as a Second Lanuage). After she graduates she wants to teach in Thailand and help builds schools and believes she was put on this earth to uplift and serve others who are less fortunate.

We want Serena to be able to focus fully on her college studies and would like to raise money for things her scholarship doesn’t cover like college books, school supplies, dorm room items such as bed sheets, and money for her transportation costs riding the bus.

Please support our Go Fund Me Page at https://www.gofundme.com/we-support-serenas-college-dream. I’m using the hashtags #WeSupportSerena, #RNRNashville and #ConnectWithYourCalling. I’ll continue to post updates about Serena’s story on this blog.

I’ve discussed in previous posts about how to advance your career by figuring out how to be an asset to people who can open doors of opportunity for you professionally. I would like to elaborate on some specific ways to accomplish this. If people see you as an answer to their problem, you’ll be considered as a resource instead of a burden.

  • (WHAT) Know what you bring to the table

I believe every person has something they do great in a unique way that differentiates them from anyone else. I’ve recommended Gallup’s Strength Finder Assessment if you need some guidance to figure out your top strengths. Your abilities and gifts will be WHAT you can do to be the answer.

https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/Purchase/en-US/Product

  •  (WHY) What problems do you want to solve?

You should be passionate about what your called to do. If you’re not interested in fixing the problem then that’s not your calling. This should be your motive as to WHY you’re motivated to do something.

  • (WHO) Who’s the person that you can help?

This is where you have to do some research on WHO you want to help by talking to your connections to figure out their needs. Also, you may want to start serving people where it doesn’t benefit you so you can gain experience using your abilities and later help people where it does benefit you as a strategic career move.

  • (HOW) How can you use your skills to fix the problem?

Once you know who you’re helping then you can customize your approach on HOW to use your specific abilities to be the answer to their problem.

As you continue to build a reputation for being the answer doing what you’re called to do, opportunities will start to present themselves.

So what happens when you gave your goals your best shot but nothing much has changed? I personally have been going through a period of stagnation and have learned how to deal with it from a healthy perspective.

Last year I did everything possible to advance The Connect with Your Calling Project. I was able to help a few people get connections to advance their careers and I’m grateful that some are making progress. With one client in particular we went through the casting process for 2 national TV shows and almost got selected both times but then towards the end we were cut. Needless to say this was an emotionally draining process and very disappointing.

We haven’t given up and decided to keep moving forward but we’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. I’ve made a conscious decision that I’m not going to let my happiness be dependent on whether or not we achieve our goal. I’ll be thrilled to help my client get her product on national TV but the outcome is not under my control. I’ve decided to be content regardless of the outcome to maintain my peace and happiness.

Going after your dreams is a bruising process so here are a few suggestions that came from an article written by Bishop Joseph W. Walker III.

  1. Find contentment. When you know you’ve done your best and given your all, you can live with no regrets.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. Visualize where you want to be this time next year and come up with a strategy with small measurable steps.
  3. Set realistic goals. Don’t overdo it. Recognize that you are only one person and it’s better to do a few things well than do many things horribly.
  4. Be intentional about prioritizing. Failure to do so may lead to unnecessary compromises that may set you back.

I don’t know how to play poker but from the people that I’ve watched that are good at playing poker, I’ve observed that they know how to turn a bad or mediocre hand of cards into a winning hand. The same applies to all of us. When we’re born, we’re dealt a hand of cards.

(This information came from Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and author of the Purpose Driven Life.)

5 CARDS

  1. Chemistry (DNA) – Chemistry is our DNA, hair type, eye color, ethnicity, intellect, athletic build, etc.
  2. Circumstances- Where we’re born, financial status, educational opportunities, health conditions, etc.
  3. Connections- family, friends, co-workers, spouse, etc.
  4. Consciousness (What we believe about ourselves) – self-esteem, worldview, etc.
  5. Choice (Wild Card)

So how do you change your life to go in a positive direction if you’ve been dealt a bad hand? In life, we have the wild card called CHOICE. We can’t change our DNA, the circumstances and the family we were born into but with the choices we make every day we can change the hand we were dealt. Here’s how you can take the cards you were dealt and start to turn them into a winning hand.

Generally speaking, make better choices:

  1. Seek to improve yourself by making intentional choices daily.
  2. Search for opportunities to change your location to a better environment that offers better educational and career prospects.
  3. Use service towards others as a way to connect yourself to productive people that are making a difference in the community and remove yourself from the people that are bad influences.
  4. Challenge incorrect thoughts and expose yourself to elevated ways of thinking.

In today’s culture there’s an emphasis on achieving success which I think overall is positive but the downside is that happiness becomes contingent on reaching the destination instead of enjoying the journey along the way.  I recently heard some advice from Bishop T. D. Jakes about how to be happy while you’re in the process of pursuing goals that has helped me.

1. Own your own happiness

We shouldn’t continually blame others or circumstances for our unhappiness. At some point, we need to make the decision to move forward and take responsibility for our own happiness. This means that since we can’t control other people, we can’t base our happiness on what other people do or don’t do. We have control over how we respond to situations and can make the decision that our happiness is not dependent on people or certain outcomes.

2. Challenge your story

Challenge inaccurate beliefs that could be holding you back. For example, any negative event that happened to you that has caused you to believe that the situation will never get better. The only way past experiences can prevent you from being happy is if you continue to allow it. Even when bad things happen, we don’t have to continue to be a victim. We can use what we’ve gone through to make us stronger and/or use what we’ve learned to help others that have been through similar situations.

3. Enjoy the journey

The journey to reach big goals will have highs and lows. We can’t wait until we reach the destination to have joy, we’ll be happier if we learn to enjoy every step and appreciate what we learn along the way. Find something today that gives you joy in the current moment (celebrate the small victories) instead of focusing most of your energy on being preoccupied with the future.

4. Make every relationship count

I’ve discussed in previous posts how much meaningful relationships add value to our lives. Many memorable moments come from enjoying time with those that bring out the best out of us. Also many opportunities come from building quality relationships that align with our gifts and talents.

5. Balance work with play.

Our bodies need to be rejuvenated in order to stay happy and healthy. We can’t work so much that we forget to take the time to smell the roses. Happiness comes from having a balance between doing meaningful work and taking the time to enjoy the pleasures of life.

During the course of the day there are so many things that we have to get done. Studies show that we spend 80% of our time doing other things and 20% of our time doing what we’re effective at producing. If you want to create more opportunities, you should aim to spend 80% of your time doing what you’re naturally gifted at producing.

Rearranging my schedule to spend more time geared towards my strengths has been difficult for me because something unexpected comes up demanding my attention. To overcome these challenges, I have to be intentional by tracking where my time is going, figure out what things I can cut out or cut back and create boundaries to protect this time.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned there may be several things I’m good at but I needed to determine what my best gift is. I have a gift for administration, event coordination, leadership, strategizing, and coaching. I was getting frustrated because I was putting my efforts into some of these gifts but I wasn’t getting any results so I invested my time into discovering that my best gifts are coaching and strategizing.

When I stopped dividing my energy into the other things that I was pretty good at and focused on what I’m the best at, I finally started making progress. So if you find that you’re putting the time in but not getting anywhere over a long period then I would suggest that you take the time to reflect and confirm that you’re putting your energy into your best gift. Then once you determine your best gift, rearrange your schedule to prioritize your time to develop it in order to create the opportunities you’ve been striving for.