Intentional Impact

Self-awareness is scary and hard. Because once you understand the consequences of your choices, once you realize the responsibility for your life choices lie with you, once you acknowledge your role in creating your life, you have to choose to do something …or not.

You can choose to intentionally impact your life or not choose and be unintentionally be impacted by your life. Not choosing is a choice.

People can be divided into three groups. Those who make things happen, those who watch what happen, and those who wonder what happened”. ~ Anonymous

Inhale Intention, Exhale Accidental…
Inhale Choice, Exhale Hesitation…
Inhale Responsibility, Exhale Immaturity…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Happy

Never, ever again will you tell me it takes you to make me happy.” ~ Carly and Martina Shipp.

These are some of the lyrics from a song I recently heard called “Make Me Happy.” Now fifteen, the authors, musicians Carly and Martina Shipp, wrote the song when they were thirteen. Watch the video here!

Like a lot of the songs I discovered when I visited their website, it is a call to chose empowerment from two young people who are very clear about who gets to make that choice. And I just marveled at their ability to recognize this powerful concept…they are responsible for their own happiness.

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” ~ Aristotle

Inhale Clarity, Exhale Confusion…
Inhale Happiness, Exhale Discouragement…
Inhale Peace, Exhale Chaos…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Feedback

Feedback is hard to hear. And it’s not just the negative stuff we have a hard time hearing; studies show that even comments that could be considered complimentary are hard for many of us to accept. That’s because, according to author Shelia Heen, most “people actively seek to verify their own perceptions of themselves”, whether those perceptions are positive or negative. We all want to be accepted for who we THINK we are.

But since we don’t get to hear or see ourselves or feel our energy, feedback can be very helpful IF we can receive it well.

Inhale Listening, Exhale Ignoring…
Inhale Receiving, Exhale Rejecting…
Inhale Accepting, Exhale Denying…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
#Grace

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Careless Comments

Be impeccable with your word.” ~ don Miguel Ruiz.

Have you noticed how one negative comment can negate a thousand positive praises? Like any decision, what we decide to say has consequences. Likewise, NOT deciding, intending or being deliberate and conscious about the possible impact of our words is also a choice.

How people receive and respond to what we say is their responsibility. Making sure we share our words in truth AND love is our responsibility.

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.” ~ Ephesians 4:29 MSG

Inhale Intention, Exhale Insincerity…
Inhale Clarity, Exhale Carelessness…
Inhale Responsibility, Exhale Recklessness…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
#Intent

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Self-Care

Self-sacrifice is a concept that is reinforced so strongly that women, in particular, sometimes give from a place of lack. Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of Goddesses Never Age, uses the imagery of the nursing mother to encourage women to take care of themselves. She points out that a nursing mother who hasn’t slept or eaten properly is less likely to be able to produce milk.

I shared the wisdom with a group of women and one woman expanded the vision to include the expectations that sometimes accompany our giving, especially when we’re giving from a space of lack or depletion…
Giving from a place of lack is like breast-feeding your child and expecting a thank you.” ~ Clarissa Lester Kenty

Inhale Self-Awareness, Exhale Other Focused …
Inhale Self-Esteem, Exhale Self-Sabotage …
Inhale Self-Care, Exhale Neglect …
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe

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Emotions

Our emotions are there to tell us something about the way we’re processing our experience. How we respond to our emotions says a lot about who we are…we get to choose.

Positivity is one of my strengths and I usually choose to be positive. Not always, but I work on it. I do things that fill me up, like getting still to pray and meditate and getting physical through exercise and eating healthy. I try to limit my exposure to negativity…be it people, experiences, or lies masquerading as news.

And when I do experience negative emotions, I process them. I cry, I read favorite passages…I get still to feel what I’m feeling. I go to my favorite healing places, like Lake Michigan or when it’s winter in Chicago, I listen to the sounds of the ocean and imagine I’m on a cruise ship or lying on a beach. I let the emotions flow through me like water…and then I focus on the blessings in my life.

We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” ~ Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Inhale Emotion, Exhale Stoicism…
Inhale Feelings, Exhale Repression…
Inhale Awareness, Exhale Numbness…
#JustBreathe…

Reflections With Renita

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Acceptance

I believe our God given gifts and talents and personality are to be used to achieve our purpose. But whether or not we use those gifts, apply our personalities or achieve our purpose is up to each of us based on our personal beliefs. It’s no one else’s business

Grace says you have nothing to give, nothing to earn nothing to pay.” Charles R. Swindoll

Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Rejection…
Inhale Embrace, Exhale Tolerate…
Inhale Grace, Exhale Judgment…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
#Strengths

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Shared Values

A week before I was scheduled to conduct a day of workshops for multiple leadership teams at a government agency, I was asked if I was going to laugh. The question might as well have been, “Are you going to breathe while you facilitate the workshops?”

I laugh loudly, uniquely and, as I age, with increasing frequency. But in this instance, my laugh, a reflection of my positivity, one of my strengths, was perceived as a weakness.

Trying not to laugh made for one of the longest, most exhausting, miserable experiences of my life. So I decided that in the future, I would only work with those whose values I share, one of which is, there will be laughter!

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” ~ Victor Borge

Inhale Authenticity, Exhale Repression…
Inhale Positivity, Exhale Restriction…
Inhale Fearlessness, Exhale Restraint…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

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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

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Bonds

We sometimes struggle trying to force family connections not of our creation fit some expectation of what we think they should be, ignoring the reality of what they are. And the reality is, the bonds that bind us together are often blood but could be shared backgrounds or might be based on similar interests and experience.

If your tribe is your family, that’s great. But if your crew is created with those who have chosen to co-journey with you, that is grace.

Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest, it’s about who walked in to your life, said “I’m here for you,” and PROVED it.” Author Unknown

Inhale Bonds, Exhale Shoulds…
Inhale Bonds, Exhale Have-tos…
Inhale Bonds, Exhale Musts…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

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