Necessary Solitude

Finding a quiet space when you’re a part of a large family can be difficult but necessary when you tend toward introversion. I have always been an avid reader; as a child I would take my latest biography and try to find a hiding spot where I could lose myself in someone else’s life.

Of course, I didn’t have the awareness to know I was an ambivert or the words to explain why I needed to be alone and I seldom had the agency to not have to explain. I just knew I needed time away from younger siblings, chores and homework and felt relieved when I had quiet time and frustrated when I didn’t.

Inhale Instinct, Exhale Hesitation…
Inhale Awareness, Exhale Uncertainty…
Inhale Action, Exhale Frustration…
Just Breathe


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To Be Accepted or Respected

Early in my military career, I was advised to lean toward earning respect and acceptance would come.

That doesn’t mean it was easy! As a commander, I took flack for some unpopular stances that reflected my core values…one in particular stands out because it had to do with another leader. In this instance, the leader had not completed the required actions to be eligible for higher-level endorsement on a performance evaluation.

I believe someone who raises their hand to lead has to do it from the front, not bring up the rear with excuses as to why he or she is not up front. I believed if I didn’t hold THIS leader to the standard, I couldn’t in good conscience hold ANYONE to the standard.

So despite some pressure from outside my organization, I stuck to what I knew was right and fair…and earned some (grudging) respect, even from the leader whose feet I held to the fire.

Doing the right thing entailed holding this leader accountable.

Inhale Courage, Exhale Timidity…
Inhale Resolution, Exhale Indecision…
Inhale Respect, Exhale Doubt…
Just Breathe


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All In

I am a Jalen Hurts fan. Despite losing the starting position he owned in 2016 and 2017, the Alabama quarterback has continued to demonstrate the type of leadership experts write about but we seldom witness, especially in one so young.

He has put team first.
He has celebrated his teammates’ success even when that success overshadowed his own.
He has demonstrated integrity while ignoring the external chatter.
He has stayed the course he committed to as a high school junior.
He has fully committed to the team’s goals even if it meant sacrificing his own.

He has embodied what it means to be all in.

Inhale Commitment, Exhale Disengagement…
Inhale Integrity, Exhale Indifference…
Inhale Devotion, Exhale Disloyalty…
Just Breathe


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Isn’t it true that when we most need the tools to quiet our minds, we convince ourselves we’re too busy to use them?

Yet it is only when we are in a place of peace, joy and love that we can accurately discern God’s voice amid the chaos, actually perceive our inner thoughts from the external noise and understand we don’t have be anxious about anything.

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10, NIV

Inhale Stillness, Exhale Anxiety…
Inhale Quiet, Exhale Noise…
Inhale Discernment, Exhale Confusion…
Just Breathe


Photo credit: Storm Crypt on / CC BY-NC-ND

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Ignite Passion

I often hear people say passion is not enough to sustain us in our relationships, in our work…in our day-to-day existence. But in my observation, the passion ignited when paired with the right person, or the right cause can fuel the journey infinitely…

“Our light is revealed as we strike our gift against the needs of the world…” ~ Mark Nepo

Inhale Passion, Exhale Passivity…
Inhale Sustainability, Exhale Depletion…
Inhale Lightness, Exhale Illusion…
Just Breathe


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When I’m helping my coaching clients discover their purpose, I frequently encourage them to keep a record of the things they get excited, emotional or enthusiastic about. Because the passion they feel can be a clue to identifying their purpose and once they find purpose, passion can help energize them on their journey.

Inhale Excitement, Exhale Disengagement…
Inhale Enthusiasm, Exhale Disconnectedness…
Inhale Energy, Exhale Detachment…
Just Breathe


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Compassion Inaction

There is enough abundance in the world to eradicate poverty, hunger and disease … if only there was enough compassion to take action.

“If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”  James 2:16

Inhale Plenty, Exhale Shortage…
Inhale Abundance, Exhale Scarcity…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Poverty…
Just Breathe…


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What Remains…

Whenever I recall the difficult days of my divorce, I can’t help but remember the kindness of family and friends.

I remember how my senior Non Commissioned Officers, Len Colello and Gary Haskins would take turns asking me if I had been to the gym, which always made me laugh … and go to the gym!

I remember how a friend took me to fetch my daughter after I walked out of my building to discover my husband had taken my car, leaving us stranded.

I remember how my grandmother gave me access to a low interest loan that allowed me to get a new car.

I’m grateful I no longer feel the pain of those memories…just the kindness which fills my heart with joy and even more gratitude.

Inhale Kindness, Exhale Pain…
Inhale Joy, Exhale Painful Memories…
Inhale Gratitude, Exhale Regret…
Just Breathe


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Asking for Help

The month after my divorce, I moved to my Air Force assignment in England with my not-quite-three-year-old daughter. Within the span of a month, I became a single parent and took a new job in another country on a different continent. Stressful doesn’t really begin to describe the experience.

But, it was there I realized I couldn’t do everything by myself. So I took some baby steps and accepted the assistance that was offered and then, on occasion, bravely asked for the help I needed.

And I learned it didn’t make me less of a mom or a lesser leader. Accepting and asking for help just made me a more humble, humane human.

Inhale Help, Exhale Pride…
Inhale Humility, Exhale Pretense…
Inhale Humanity, Exhale Ego…
Just Breathe


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It’s been interesting to watch entrenched Trump supporters dig in even deeper after every misstep, misstatement, or mistake.

But before you dismiss them as idiots, let me ask you, especially my Chicago folks, do you buy R. Kelly’s music?

Have you chosen to ignore his problematic personal behavior or just been unable to see his behavior as problematic?

Or maybe, the things he does that you support, in your mind, offset the really nasty things you don’t support.

Or maybe the folks he’s doing the nasty things to, don’t matter to you.

“Folks stay on the “I KNOW R. KELLY IS TRASH BUT HE IS SO GOOD” wagon and THAT is wack … It’s like Trump supporters being all “WE KNOW HE CAN’T READ BUT HE IS OUR PRESIDENT. RESPECT HIM.”” ~ Awesomely Luvvie Ajayi

Inhale Clarity, Exhale Excuses…
Inhale Accountability, Exhale Hypocrisy…
Inhale Justice, Exhale Injustice…
Just Breathe


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