Flow

There is just something about the ocean that always invites me to stillness and reverence. Whether flying over, sailing on, or lying next to a large body of water, I am reminded of how a powerful Creator keeps the heavens and earth working and in order. And when I’m aligned to His flow, my life is in order.

“Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed…
“How Great Thou Art” hymn based on a poem by Carl Boberg

Inhale Connection, Exhale Division…
Inhale Alignment, Exhale Disjointedness…
Inhale God, Exhale Disorder…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Power

Authentic power comes from the Source of all power and authority. We are powerful when we are connected to God and aligned with His plan, His purpose for our lives.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV

Inhale Power, Exhale Disconnection…
Inhale Strength, Exhale Separation…
Inhale Protection, Exhale Exposure…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Development

Each of us has something we are uniquely purposed to do. All of our innate talents, to include our personality can be honed to serve that purpose.

But before our gifts or our talents become strengths we have to invest in them. The most successful people start with raw talent and multiply that talent by investing time to add the skills, knowledge, practice and experience to turn talent into strengths that can help us achieve our purpose.

He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.” ~ Ephesians 4: 11-13, The Message

Inhale Evolution, Exhale Inhibition…
Inhale Investment, Exhale Limitations…
Inhale Expression, Exhale Repression…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Discipline

Do or do not, there is no try.” ~ Yoda, Star WarsThe Empire Strikes Back

Most people only decide to make a lifestyle change when some aspect of their life becomes too painful. Once the pain subsides, they often revert to the original behavior, only to experience the pain again, sometimes even more severely than before.

Making a change that sticks requires the belief that you can do it, the commitment to your choice and the daily discipline to do what you’ve committed to.

The road to life is a disciplined life; ignore correction and you’re lost for good.” ~ Proverbs 10:17 The Message

Inhale Resolve, Exhale Regret…
Inhale Tenacity, Exhale Regret…
Inhale Resilience, Exhale Regret…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Discovery

There are a variety of assessments out there to help people understand more about themselves, whether it’s to understand how they make decisions, how they receive information, or how they lead. In fact, I’m convinced that self-knowledge is the key to effective leadership, to include leading yourself.

Of course, that’s only true if the knowledge informs your behavior. For example, knowing you have the analytical ability to ferret out all the factors affecting a decision is great however, if your analytical strength prevents you from making a decision, then it could be considered a liability.

If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.” ~ Romans 12: 6-8

Inhale Awareness, Exhale Unconsciousness…
Inhale Recognition, Exhale Rejection…
Inhale Insight, Exhale Ignorance…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Growth

“Are your painful experiences stumbling blocks or stepping stones?” ~ Bruce D. Schneider

One of the forever lessons I learned from my Air Force career is the ability to see the lesson in every experience. When I had great leaders, I took notes and unapologetically copied any behaviors that fit my leadership style. When I had not so great leaders, I learned some things NOT to do and how to exorcise those behaviors in my leadership.

When I had a positive leadership experience, I tried to understand what went right and build on it. When I had a negative leadership experience, I took the lesson and course corrected.

My goal was to never be complacent, never stop learning and never stop growing.

Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.” ~ Proverbs 15:22, The Message

Inhale Growth, Exhale Stagnation…
Inhale Renewal, Exhale Regression…
Inhale Increase, Exhale Decline…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Intention

I start any workshop I do by asking the participants to think of their intention for our time together. I remind them we are co-creating the experience we’re about to have…and if they want, expect and intend for our experience to be great, it probably will be.

Because it doesn’t matter how flawlessly my words flow, how important the topic or how we came to be in the same space, what they take from the workshop is as a much a function of their preparedness as mine.

“But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.” Luke 8: 15, The Message

Inhale Intention, Exhale Inattention…
Inhale Consciousness, Exhale Carelessness…
Inhale Deliberation, Exhale Disregard…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

The Choice is Yours…

Last spring, in the face of virulent racism in this country, I started rereading Daniel Goldhagen’s provocative bestseller, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. Published almost 20 years ago, it explores how ordinary Germans “came to be such potential willing mass killers and how the Nazi regime tapped this disastrous potentiality.”

Goldhagen argues convincingly that the German’s thoroughly anti-Semitic attitude, which led to anti-Jewish measures, legislation, persecution and finally, incarceration and death in concentration camps, had grown unabated for hundreds of years. Anti-Semitism did “not appear, disappear, then reappear in [German] society”; it was always present.” The Nazi’s simply tapped into the hate.

The parallels to the United States’ unique brand of racism are pretty obvious. There is no evidence the beliefs, which allowed, accepted, and condoned the theft of this country from its original inhabitants and the theft and enslavement of peoples from another continent have ever fundamentally changed.

It’s why the politics of fear and division offered by our 45th president have been so successful.

Last weekend, once again we saw the results of extreme and persistent prejudice when ordinary Americans brutally implemented an illogical, illegal and immoral immigration order. The order, which, apparently, was not reviewed by other government agencies, did not come with instructions for the people responsible for its enforcement.

FirstTheyComeAnd so a Somali women traveling with two small children with U.S. passports was threatened, harassed, handcuffed while officials tried to coerce her into signing papers that would send her out of the country. During the 18 hours she and her children were detained, they were not fed or allowed to get food.

I’m sure those officials will defend their actions saying they had no choice. But they did…and they chose to act with no compassion.

This is how ordinary people become accomplices to atrocities.

In the days to come, Americans will have ample opportunities to choose compassion over unquestioning compliance…what will you choose?

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked

Where is the Love?

But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah…”
The BlackEyed Peas

Everyday there seems to be a new executive action designed to divide, separate and isolate Americans from each other and from a suffering world. While our reality president is focused on ratings, I’m focusing on the Americans offering their talents, their time, their treasure…their love to those who need it most.

We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.” 1 John 4: 19 The Message

Inhale Humanity, Exhale Separation…
Inhale Kindness, Exhale Indifference…
Inhale Connection, Exhale Division…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Deeply Loved

If only we could see ourselves as God sees us, innocent and blameless, we would stop beating ourselves up, stop projecting our shame onto others, stop hiding in fear. We could be fearlessly vulnerable from a place rooted in conviction and connection and fearlessly loving from the knowledge that we are deeply loved…

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.” ~ Brené Brown

Inhale Innocence, Exhale Shame…
Inhale Innocence, Exhale Blame…
Inhale Innocence, Exhale Fear…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita