Everyday Values

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” ~ Roy E. Disney.

If you say you value integrity, SHOULDN”T you be where you say you’re going to be, when you say you’re going to be there…do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you are going to do it…you know, be accountable to yourself?

Asking for a friend…

Inhale Integrity, Exhale Excuses…
Inhale Commitment, Exhale Guilt…
Inhale Accountability, Exhale Anxiety…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
#Values

Reality

What we refer to reality is basically our perception fueled by our past experience or what we interpreted from a past experience. When we filter the present through what has happened to us or how we perceived what happened to us, we often respond in ways that actually limit us. What IS real is God’s love and His plans for us.

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11, MSG

Inhale Conviction, Exhale Illusion…
Inhale Trust, Exhale Perception…
Inhale Reality, Exhale Story…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#Reality

Sight

A young activist, whom I’ve grown to respect, recently spent some time traveling outside of his south Chicago neighborhood. The experience opened his eyes, impacting the way he viewed his neighborhood, leaving him disillusioned…desiring more for himself, his family and those he has worked so hard to help…dreaming of a better life.

You can’t be what you can’t see.” ~ Marian Wright Edelman

Inhale Vision, Exhale Confusion..
Inhale Desire, Exhale Delusion…
Inhale Dreams, Exhale Illusion…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Lived Values

I saw a beautiful tribute to a Dad gone too soon…a father who showed how much he valued his children even in the way he looked at them….a father whose lived values impacted his daughter… who tries to make sure the “sparkle” she saw reflected in his eyes is what her children see when she looks at them.

Inhale Values, Exhale Inaction…
Inhale Values, Exhale Inconsistency…
Inhale Values, Exhale Dissatisfaction…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
#Values

Family Values

We all have different values.

Even in the same families, the values of each member reflect their individual experiences and might not mirror each other. As I sometimes remind my brother, his family was a lot different from my family. The last of five and the only male heir, he entered an established family over a decade after I was born to barely-out-of college twenty-somethings. From sleep-overs to after-school activities, our parents’ parenting philosophies reflected our personalities, their relaxation into their roles and impacted who we are.

The trick always is to accept as valid those experiences that are different from our own without projecting our values as right and judging other’s values as wrong.

Inhale Grace, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale Freedom, Exhale Projection…
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Disapproval…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#Values

Being Me

Having been judged for sometimes stumbling on this life journey, I am mindful of passing judgment. Because what I understand now is that each experience, especially the ones I’ve perceived as negative at the time, was there to teach me something if I was open and sufficiently humble to learn the lesson. And if I am willing to be vulnerable and courageous, my experience can inform and influence someone else.

We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.” ~ Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Inhale Experience, Exhale Ego…
Inhale Vulnerability, Exhale Ego…
Inhale Growth, Exhale Ego…
Just Breath…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Sometimes It IS About You…

In this semi-retired phase of my life, I am privileged to have fulfilled my dream of becoming a fitness instructor. And I’ve noticed that no matter how large or small my classes are at the Bar Method, no one is really paying attention to anyone else. In fact, some days, some clients are barely paying attention to me!

Of course, I’m looking at everyone to ensure each client is in the best possible form to get the maximum benefit from every exercise. Everyone else is primarily focused on staying in the present moment, staying in his or her own best form and staying in the exercise.

Most importantly, there is no judging anyone else, no comparison to anyone else, just encouragement to be the best YOU…

Inhale Self-Reflection, Exhale Pretention…
Inhale Self-Care, Exhale Neglect…
Inhale Self-Awareness, Exhale Unconsciousness…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Can I Live?

I eat pretty cleanly most of the time, which to me means lots of veggies. And because I eat cleanly most of the time, when I don’t, my body feels it pretty quickly and acutely. What I find interesting (puzzling) at those times is the judgment I get from others.

“I thought you didn’t drink,” if I’m drinking celebratory champagne, too much of which gives me a headache.

“I thought you ate clean,” if I’m enjoying a couple of bites of chocolate, which is about all I can stomach without feeling ill.

Author and Pastor Charles Swindoll says that “most of us fall short when it comes to letting others be…because we compare ourselves with others which leads us to criticize or compete with them.”

So I’m going to work on not judging others and being detached from how they respond to me.

Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.” Matthew 7:1-3, MSG

Inhale Wholeness, Exhale Comparison…
Inhale Wholeness, Exhale Criticism…
Inhale Wholeness, Exhale Judgment…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

It’s NOT Always about You…

A few years ago, I got a protective hairstyle to guard against the Chicago winter and let my stylist talk me out of my plan and into longer hair. I immediately realized my error and went back the next day for a corrective cut. In response to a query from another customer, I explained that long hair did not fit my life style, which she interpreted as a knock against HER long weave.

It is human nature to interpret external data through our personal lens, but it was fascinating that a person I did not know would react to my decision about me as somehow reflecting on her. I immediately thought of the second of “The Four Agreement”s by Don Miguel Ruiz:

1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.

Inhale Perspective, Exhale Personal…
Inhale Global, Exhale Naval-gazing…
Inhale Universal, Exhale Individual…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Three Ways to Create a Culture of Engagement

Savvy business owners know that employee engagement has to start at the beginning of an entrepreneurial effort. It has to be a part of the culture created, communicated through the hiring process and cultivated in how employees are developed and how their engagement is encouraged.

Reesheda and Darrel Washington know this, which is why last week, after their brand new business closed its doors for the evening, L!VE Café and Creative Space was open for team development. I was privileged to facilitate the training and witness firsthand their intentionality about creating, not just a coffee café, but a transformational and inspirational space for “courageous, authentic and abundant L!VING” for their customers, the larger community and most importantly, their crew.

The L!VE crew was as engaged and open as I expected, so much so that the training spilled over the allotted time. Toward the end, one team member asked an unexpected question of the owners …”Why are you doing this [training]?

I found the question poignant because it implied so many more questions…
Why do you care so much about your employees?
Why is it important to know the individual and collective strengths of your team?
Why is the development of your staff so important?
Why were you working so hard to create a team?
Why are you submitting yourselves to training you could conduct?

Why…?

The question also implied the behavior was abnormal, which unfortunately, it is. Many companies claim customer service is a top priority. Many claim to care about their employees. Many claim to want more engaged employees but they don’t prove their claims with actual action.

The way Reesheda and Darrel answered these questions reflect so much about their desire to live their purpose using their God-given talents. It also indicated their understanding of how their employees’ engagement impacts their bottom line. Here’s what I heard:

Get to know and care about your people.
People know when you care about them. We have a sense from the oldest part of our brains about who is safe and who is not, who has our best interests at heart and who is looking out for himself/herself only. And we are less likely to be enthusiastic about the latter! So find something that you can celebrate and appreciate about each member of your team.

People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” ~ Either Teddy Roosevelt or John Maxwell!

Take care of the people and the people will take care of the mission.
This is one of those lessons I was first exposed to at my very first Air Force assignment. It made sense to me then because I wasn’t the one doing most of the work!

I saw the Washingtons demonstrate their understanding that, as the leaders, taking care of their people entails much more than providing the resources needed to get the job done in a relatively safe physical environment. They are actively providing their team opportunities to grow, providing recognition for a job well done, providing honest feedback when needed, and providing an opportunity to do something else when necessary! In other words, they are actively and deliberately developing their team.

Demonstrate your culture.
Teams tend to model behavior based on behavioral cues from the leader. And there is nothing like taking the time to participate in a training session to demonstrate the importance of individual and collective development to your team. In this instance, the fact that the Washingtons submitted themselves to training they could have conducted themselves, also powerfully demonstrated their dedication to their own continuous growth and improvement.

If you’re a leader who is not intentionally creating an environment that encourages your employees to care about the company, I have a question for you …why?

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked