Shared Wisdom

I was blessed to have my grandparents in my life until I was fully grown. My paternal grandmother would advise me to “Listen, and listen good,” and proceed to share what she felt I need to know, whether or not I wanted to hear it. She often did not spare my feelings. I am eternally grateful.

“If I don’t tell you, how will you know?” ~ Hattie Pride Smith

Inhale Knowledge, Exhale Stupidity…
Inhale Information, Exhale Cluelessness…
Inhale Experience, Exhale Ignorance…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#Wisdom

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I’m Black and I’m Proud

I am a black woman living in America. Therefore, my experience, whatever it might be, is a black experience.

It might not be your black experience…it might not mirror the experience of many or any black people in America, but it is a black experience … ‘cause I’m black.

Blackity, black, black…

Black.

“Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud!” ~ James Brown and Alfred James Ellis, songwriters

Inhale Experience, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Similarities, Exhale Separation…
Inhale Differences, Exhale Division…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#Authenticity

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Otherism

There is no universal black experience in America, no one way of being black, yet black people STAY tryna revoke folks’ black cards, trade those who have transgressed or deny other people’s blackness based on …
the familiarity of their lived experiences…
the amount of melanin in their skin…
the ingredients in their potato salad…
the political party with whom they identify…
how they speak English…
the race of their significant other …
their perceived level of “wokeness”… etc. etc.

My question…how does any one thing become the signifier of blackness?

“I am because we are.” ~ Ubuntu Philosophy

Inhale Experience, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Similarities, Exhale Separation…
Inhale Differences, Exhale Division…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Traveler

My daughter always attributes her love of travel to the nomadic life she endured (maybe retrospectively even enjoyed) as the child of a military member. And because we didn’t usually live close to relatives, summer always included several long visits to family in the South. She usually managed to achieve her goal of being gone all summer long!

Now, she uses the perks of working in the airline industry (of course) to fly to all the places she’s never visited. And sometimes, she invites me to come along. I always try to go…because if your adult child wants you to travel with her, you have to say YES!

“Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.” ~ Francis Bacon

Inhale Experience, Exhale Inaction…
Inhale Adventure, Exhale Inertia…
Inhale Participation, Exhale Isolation…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#Wholeness

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Lived Experience

Experience is the best teacher…”

I’ve seen some people live this saying as if they can ONLY learn through their own experienced mistakes. And while I concede those lessons tend to be the most enduring, I wonder sometimes how much smoother our lives would be if we could just apply the lessons from someone else’s experience…

But then I’m reminded that life is not necessarily supposed to be smooth all the time. The life lessons gained through good and bad experiences help us get to who we’re supposed to be.

Out of the cacophony of random suffering and chaos that can mark human life, the life artist sees or creates a symphony of meaning and order. A life of wholeness does not depend on what we experience. Wholeness depends on how we experience our lives.” ~ Desmond Tutu

Inhale Experience, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale Detachment, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Judgment…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#Development

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Lessons

I’m a learner. I’ve course corrected many times on my life journey to incorporate the lessons learned from experience, mine and others, and the consequences of my choices, good and bad.

I’m also a helper, so I try to share those life lessons, especially when I see folks going through something similar. But I’ve learned that for some people, the only lessons retained are those learned through experience. And that is perfectly okay.

We cannot drink only of happiness or sorrow and have life remain life.” Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Inhale Experience, Exhale Ignorance…
Inhale Consequences, Exhale Confusion…
Inhale Retention, Exhale Destruction…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
#Wisdom

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Being Me

Having been judged for sometimes stumbling on this life journey, I am mindful of judging others. 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…

#Development
#JustBreathe

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American Experiment: Can You Hear Me Now…?

I get it.

You tried to warn us.

You heard the outright lies…suspected Russian ties…watched the “Alt-right” rise…

You were unsettled. And you tried to warn us.

I saw it too. The “blacklash” that always comes after perceived progress by people of color in this country…

The videoed violence inflicted on bodies of the marginalized…black, brown, female, disabled…

The attack on clean water sources by energy companies intent on “digging up death” instead of investing in clean energy.

The virulent, relentless American brand of racism so reminiscent of the deep anti-Semitism that existed in pre-Nazi Germany.

I found a 40-year old copy of the George Orwell book “1984” on a visit home, started re-reading it and wondered, “Are we already there?”

The novel “1984”, portrays a dictatorship that imposes its own facts.

Now, of course, many Americans are feeling a sense of alarm.

Sales of “1984” have increased “almost 10,000 percent since the inauguration,” most notably when Kellyanne Conway appeared on Meet the Press and introduced the phrase “alternative facts”.

Actually, “alternative facts” is a very “1984” phrase, where “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.”

I suspect if the Women’s Marches that took place all over the world right after our inauguration were to happen this weekend, there would be double the participation, upwards of 5 to 6 million.

And now you’re wondering “Why couldn’t you hear and heed the warning?” and “Where were all these marchers when…” and you want to know, “Are you going to be here for the long haul?”

I get your frustration. I understand your anger. I feel your sense of betrayal.

But the majority of Americans did not vote for the person occupying the office of POTUS. Whoever can hear now, is here NOW…can space be made for the newly conscious?

And if you’ve just been awakened, educate yourself, don’t make this about yourself and try to stay engaged.

It’s not a time for cynicism, or finger pointing or embarrassment. It’s a time for Americans to come together and protect our fragile democracy. I pray it’s not too late…

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked

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Works

Now is not the time to grow weary, get distracted, become cynical, or loose hope. Now is the time to put into action that which you have been purposed to do….

“…You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.” James 2: 18 The Message.

Inhale Conviction, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Confidence, Exhale Distress…
Inhale Certainty, Exhale Insecurity…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe

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How is Your Leadership Impacting Your Team?

I once had a boss try to embarrass me in a meeting. I had been on the job about a month and was still trying to learn my way around.

I don’t really remember what she said, but I do remember hearing the roar of blood rushing to my face. I was stunned and momentarily immobilized. I managed to finish what I was doing (I think) but my emotions had been hijacked, rendering me unable to fully function. When I confronted her later, her response was basically, “Yeah, and I did it on purpose….”

Her action and response had a really negative impact on my desire to continue working for her.

Emotional Intelligence guru Daniel Goleman writes in Primal Leadership that the fundamental task of the leader is to prime good feelings in those she is privileged to lead and “that occurs when the leader creates resonance – a reservoir of positivity that frees the best in people”.

The opposite of resonance is dissonance; a dissonant leader throws people off balance and negatively impacts their performance.

A dissonant leader creates employees who don’t want to be there. According to Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, disengaged describes about 70% of American employees and employee disengagement is costing the U.S. an estimated $450-$550 billion annually.

The great thing about being in the military is that you get to experience leadership changes frequently. Either you or your boss will eventually move to another location. So the occasional dissonant leader may make your life miserable for a time … that you know will pass. I decided early in my career to try and learn from the good AND not-so-good leaders.

This particular dissonant leader reinforced for me the truth of a tenet I learned as a young officer…

Take care of the people and the people will take care of the mission.Tweet

I understood it to mean I was to provide what was needed to the people I was privileged to lead so they could do their jobs. Providing what they needed wasn’t just ensuring they had the resources they required, a safe physical environment and recognition for a job well done. It also meant creating a culture where people felt safe to make mistakes and being honest when the mistake was mine.

Taking care of the people meant being open and transparent when, for example, a unit I was leading was being outsourced.

It meant not asking my subordinate commanders to drop what they were doing to attend an emergency meeting…that was not an actual emergency.

A leader who understands how to take care of her people is going to attract and retain employees who want the organization to be successful and are actively engaged in creating that success.

Do you know how your leadership is impacting your team?

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked

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