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…


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“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 Expansion, Exhale Complacence…
Just Breathe…


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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…


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Our cells are renewing daily; if they weren’t, we would die. If we are not also growing spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, we might as well BE dead. We have to develop our spiritual muscles through prayer, meditation and study, exercise our emotional muscles by being present in our relationships and just like we would our biceps or pectoral muscles, flex our mental muscles through exposure to new information.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12: 2 ESVbook-912724_640

Inhale Growth, Exhale Regression…
Inhale Labor, Exhale Laziness…
Inhale Production, Exhale Decline…
Just Breathe…


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You Better Fix Yo’ Face!

I had an epiphany this week. It was during a conversation with a very successful woman business owner about a Huffington Post article on the second presidential debate.

Like the women in the article, we too have experienced disturbing behavior from men who try to use their physicality to silence us. Like most women, we were revulsed by Trump’s lurking, hovering, space invading attempts to intimidate Sec Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC). And as many women expressed on social media, we are in awe of her ability to refrain from physically attacking him.

And that’s when I had my “Aha” moment. HRC’s mastery at fixing her face may be a contributing factor to the widely held belief that she is a liar.

Hear me out! I’m not saying it’s the main factor. Most of the charges of lying stem from garden variety sexism levied at women leaders on a daily basis. HRC has had the temerity to be ambitious. She not only has definite ideas about how to do good in the world, she has implemented some of those ideas. She was the trail-blazing first First Lady to have a formal position in her husband’s West Wing. People across the political spectrum have attacked her for everything from her decision to stay with her philandering husband to how she wears her hair.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which was investigating the events surrounding the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others died.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which was investigating the events surrounding the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others died.

And of course, there are the multiple investigations, often launched as a result of fallacious charges, book-ended between the 8-year, $70 million Whitewater investigation, led by disgraced former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr and the $8 million, multi-congressional hearings on Benghazi.

There has yet to be a discovery of anything indictable but the impression remains that Hillary has something to hide.

The perception persists despite political fact checking organizations like PolitiFact rating over 70 percent of HRC’s statements as true, mostly true or half true.

Transparency loving Millennials have been particularly hard on her, calling her inauthentic. But what they view as a lack of authenticity could be the restrained responses of a woman, who, understanding how people react to powerful women, is trying to play within what is allowed even as she attempts to break this highest glass ceiling.

HRC has attained such mastery that she was able to listen to Trump’s incoherent and uninformed ranting for something she could actually respond to without laughing long and loudly. Can you listen to Trump without rolling your eyes?

HRC declined to match her opponent’s negative energy and managed to maintain a measured tone, when responding to the moderators and to Trump. Would you have been able to stop yourself from screaming at Trump’s lies?

This emotionally intelligent mastery of self is something HRC has been doing for a while. During the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, HRC fixed her face for every public appearance and focused on the long term goals of a unique partnership rather than the short term satisfaction of calling her husband out in public.

Image from Full Frontal by Samantha Bee
Image from Full Frontal by Samantha Bee

Can anyone say, after the public humiliation of having the leader of the free world cheat on you, that you would have decided to stay in your marriage AND refrained from any “my side of the story” interviews?

Speaking of indiscretions of a sexual nature, many people suggested she should come out swinging after Trump was revealed to have bragged about sexually assaulting women.

But sensitive to the political baggage of her husband’s own infidelities, HRC has left the Trump takedown on Tape-gate to the more than capable hands of our current FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, who at a NH rally, unleashed righteous hellfire on he whom she will not name. Can you go high when others go low?

In every experience, every encounter, we get a choice on how to respond. It’s not always easy to do and it’s not always the most satisfying, but an effective leader has the self-control to respond instead of react in a crises or to negative stimuli or to a perceived slight. And isn’t the ability to be effective what we want in a leader?

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked

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