Tag Archive | passion

You can, You must, You will!


si_photoThis week on FB I saw a great little video of Maria Shriver describing what she received from her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver (yes, of the US Presidential Kennedys).  She was talking about the great work her mother did to bring children with disabilities into their home and how the work eventually led to the beginning of the Special Olympics. The picture on the right is Eunice cheering on “her kids” as they competed and played. I never knew the origins of the Special Olympics and I was impressed to hear of the story. Maria went on to talk about something her mother used to tell her all that time that has stuck with her and encouraged her.

“You can, you must, you will! Now go do it!”

                                                        ~ Eunice Kennedy Shriver

I was struck but the simplicity of the encouragement and even the enthusiasm of the “command”. That line was a gift to Maria that she never forgets. And now, it is a line that I shall not forget.

You see, I am in the middle of an awakening of a vision for work that I have been called to do in the world. The vision was given, without direction, about 15 years ago. The seed was planted and I knew it then, but had no idea yet what the vision really meant. Since then I’ve had confirmations and nudging  dreams which have kept the vision alive, but quiet in my mind. And now, last week I had another vision – one that has urging and purpose and a picture. One that I can now wrap my head around. It’s too early to tell the world about it, but it has already begun to urge me to action. In a flash, a prayer was answered. In a moment, a purpose was set, and consequently a passion has been lit in my heart. In the days since, my mind has played the doubting game as to my ability to bring my vision to life. But I will not listen to my doubting mind. I will follow my heart to create my vision. It is the passionate heart that has created all good and wonderful things in this world. And that is why Eunice’s words struck me.

Barb & Mom pic

As we go into this weekend of celebrating Mother’s Day here in the US, I think of my mother the way Maria thinks of hers – with love and a positive gratefulness. I am thankful for so many things about my Mom. I am thankful that she had an open heart for a little raggedy girl in the orphanage. I am thankful that she persevered through the emotional baggage that came hand-in-hand with adopting me and that she was strong enough to raise me with love and integrity of her upbringing. I am thankful that she has given me the gift of believing that I can be and do whatever I put my mind to.

I am also thankful that I have been blessed to be a mother. My kids, Tony & Maria, are the joy of my heart. They are embarking on their journeys of adulthood as they are both engaged. Soon they will broaden my joy with families of their own. I am mindful that my role as mother is changing from disciplinarian and teacher to one of friend, confidante, and encourager. I am blessed and thankful that they are healthy and happy and on their way.

As a side note, this year, I am thankful that I have forgiven and released my birth mother. For that reason alone I nod my head in her direction in spirit to acknowledge that the life lesson is learned and I am whole again.

And I acknowledge and appreciate Eunice Kennedy Shriver, for adding a little bit more inspiration into my heart. To prod me into the conviction that I can … I must … and I will!

If you are a mother – may you have a loving and blessed Mother’s Day on Sunday. For all others – remember your Mom! Appreciate the good. Release the rest. And be blessed!

IT IS FINISHED!


ItIsFinishedTBToday, for Christians around the world, is a solemn, sacred day. It’s not about theologians determining the exact historical day that it came to pass, but rather, it’s about what today commemorates. Today we hold vigil for the greatest travesty and most sorrowful of days in our faith practice – Good Friday. The day that Jesus wore the crown of thorns, bore the ridicule and scorns, suffered the beatings, and ultimately was crucified.

I cannot imagine the terror that was in his heart as he faced his sentence and walked the long and painful path to his ultimate sacrifice. As a mother I cannot bear to think of the horror that Mary felt as she watched her son, the pure and loving man, writhe in agony as he was hanging on that cross.

But I also recognize that it was the day that Jesus uttered the mightiest 3 words ever spoken – IT IS FINISHED!

For those of us who recognize the power of those 3 words, it is the most sacred of all spoken. It is in those 3 words that the world shifted from needing salvation, to having a Savior. Those words completed the sacred purpose for Jesus’ walk upon the earth. And today, with grateful tears, I remember the passion of The Christ. I pray with gratitude that He paid the price I cannot pay. And I know, if I was the only human on this earth, that he would have done it just for me. And likewise … he would have done it just for you! That is the humbling reality to the perfect love of God.

Here’s a song from my childhood that still bring me to tears as I remember the greatest of all sacrifices: 

Know that you are loved and be blessed!

Jn3

Fired up!!


I was in a conversation today with someone at work and he was talking about motivation and ambition. He was very clear about his goals, what it takes to reach them, and what action he would take if he didn’t reach them. He knows what is in his control and what is not. He knows who to talk to. He gets insights and feedback on a regular basis. He does course evaluations and course corrections without apology or shame. It was an intense conversation because he is intensely passionate. It was also insightful and motivating as well.

This person has a clear vision. Every word he spoke was in line with what he is aiming for. Every cell of his body was lit up with focus and energy. Just being around him as he talked about where he was going brought the energy up in the room. He was a text-book example of someone working with the laws of attraction as well as positive self-motivation. He was fired up and inspirational.

What can I learn from him? A ton! I have strong goals and strong passions as well. I sometimes allow circumstances to affect my thinking though. Big mistake. I should not question my timing, my energy, my motivation, etc.  I don’t have to get it right 100% but I need to be focused. I could see a contrast in my approach vs. his.  Where I question, he declares.  WOW the sheer power in seeing the strength of his conviction convinced me that he will indeed reach his goal. He has no doubt and I have no doubt. I need to move to that level conviction. I now have a recent and relevant role model. That is an unexpected blessing!

Do you? Who do you know that has passion, confidence, and conviction? Are you spending time with them and soaking up their energy. Do you help give them more? There are opportunities to learn from those who are forging ahead with passion.

So much to do. I have places to go, people to see, and things to do. Do you?

As my friend, Lynette says – be awed and be awesome. And, as I say … be blessed!

Uncertainty


In my work as an HR professional, in my life as a Mom, and in my study of human nature, I have many opportunities to observe people. It is infinitely clear that human beings do not “sit well” in situations of uncertainty. Some handle it better than others but very few master peace in the midst of the storm.

Along the way I have learned a few coping mechanisms that seem to help.

> Focus on the things you can control. For example, if there is uncertainty about your job security the things you can control are your preparedness if the loss occurs. Do you have a resume? Are you connected to your industry or networks? Do you have a mentor? Are you living within your means? Do you have financial support if things get tight. All of these, and more, are things that you can control in your readiness and reactions. And no matter what area of your life the uncertainty is attacking from, there are always things you can control. If nothing else, what you can control is what you learn about it. Information is power. And if you have a plan for the worst case scenario, you know you’ll be able to handle anything of a lesser degree.

> Learn stress management techniques. Even being prepared doesn’t mean you won’t be under stress during the uncertainty, as well as after change is known. Stress is the underlying cause of so many things that go wrong with our health. Do you know how to breathe differently to alleviate stress? Do you exercise and eat well to fuel the body that needs to take you through it all? Are you aware of when you hold your breath or tense your muscles and how you can, in just a few seconds, relax your body? Do you ground yourself in faith or community as a means of venting and seeking support? By having a way for your body to thrive vs. breakdown under stress you can minimize the physical effects and maintain, or heal, if necessary.

> Follow your passion!  When things are all up in the air it is so helpful to redirect your energy toward things that fan the flame of your passion. If uncertainty lies in health, work, relationships, etc., knowing what brings your soul alive allows you to progress by learning, sharing, teaching, participating, planning, and doing things that you love. Be it writing, art, music, volunteering, creating of any kind, whatever you enjoy doing, it can help you. Look for ways to do something related to your passion at least once a week, if not more.

Having a positive energy flow at times of uncertainty helps put things in a different balance of perspective. And reminding yourself that “this too shall pass” is a great way to prevent a fatalistic attitude.  Even in the midst of the unknown we know it won’t last forever. It is a season amongst many ebbing and flowing seasons.

Frankly, none of this is rocket science. Most people know these things intellectually but don’t often practice what they know. The hard part is, if you are not putting coping mechanisms in place before you need them, you might struggle more than you have to in the midst of the chaos. The best thing we can do for ourselves is really understand our options before we need them.

What are some other ways that you deal with uncertainty? We can all learn from each other. Be blessed!

How do I do that?


You hear a lot these days about living with purpose, following your passion, and creating the life of your dreams. All wonderfully enlightened and lofty phrases. Maybe – but they are also very achievable. Usually though, I quickly hear those statements followed by outcries of “What does that mean?” or “How do I do that?” The pull between desire and lack of practical understanding is creating the struggle.

I don’t have “THE” answer but I can share what I’ve learned on my journey. Primarily, I’ve learned that living with purpose is all-encompassing. It’s not just the big achievements and life-changing things. It’s being purposeful about our attitude, our gratitude and our habits. Start there. And when it is about achievements, I have learned 3 simple, practical steps:

1) CHOOSE – I truly believe that what draws us, attracts us, or what we dream of are all messages from our unconscious mind about the path we should be walking. It makes sense really – I won’t gloriously create that which I don’t find alluring. I know some people find themselves paralyzed into inaction because they are waiting for God to direct them. Ummmm – I think our intuition and desires are that very direction. But that’s just me. So, that’s where I start … what do I feel tugging on my heart? There are some things that are consistent themes throughout my life (connecting with people). And there are others that suddenly appear with great appeal or urging (writing my books). Actually, it was a sudden urge that loosed creativity upon me in my late 20′s and it hasn’t subsided yet. Whenever I feel the tug, I examine it and ultimately, I choose it.
2) DISCOVER – This is the trickier part for me because I find that I am drawn to, and subsequently choose, things that I have no knowledge about or previous exposure to. It figures! And I find myself saying “What the heck do I do with this desire?” And my follow-up response is always the same – research. We are blessed to be in the age of connection and information. At our fingertips, day and night we can search for what, when, where, and how of just about anything. So if the spirit moves me at 3 am when I can’t sleep I can actually do something about it. If I ask enough friends, someone will know something or someone who can help me move to the next level of understanding. The discovery phase can take a while but it’s part of the fun, really. I feel lucky and blessed in this way.
3) ACT – Ah, now we get into the “dangerous” part of truly living with passion!  I have found this to get a little less scary as I practice it, but it’s still a process. You see, if I act, then people will know what I’m up to. Someone might judge me or my worthiness, ability, or skill. While discovery takes curiosity, action takes valor. I’ve had to muster up the courage to call an acquaintance that I didn’t know well, or the friend of a friend of a friend, or email someone I found on the web. None of it was comfortable but all of it was in line with my choice. If I was going to be able to move forward, I had to connect.

That’s it. Nothing spectacularly secretive about my 3 steps or my methods. It doesn’t require me to buy a book, take a class, or learn at the feet of a master. But these steps have worked for me. Do I do everything with passion – no, certainly not. Do I live with purpose, yes, I do. Am I creating the life of my dreams and following my passions – indeed. And I am, in this middle stage of life, finding that the more I follow this path, the more I am surrounded by others who are in support of me. As my friend Martha often says, “The universe cooperates with a made-up mind.” And so it does. I am more grounded, comfortable in my skin, and more motivated to do even more.

If you are struggling with your desire to move forward in life with purpose, passion, or to create your desired life, I invite you to choose, discover, and act as well. And be blessed!

The whole enchilada


We have a concept in our company called “bringing your whole self to work”. With all the diversity and inclusion work that we do, that is our ideal goal. We do a lot to make our culture such that this is a reality and not just an empty slogan. The intent is that each person feels they can bring their individual passions, talents, skills, personality, and strengths to the workplace. And we are valued for who we are and how we see the world as a way to make our products better and our consumers more delighted. I love that concept and have been thinking about whether it is true for me. Here are the facets of myself that I do bring to work:

> Integrity/Moral Compass – I do not need to abandon what I believe in when I do my work and interact with people. This isn’t about religion but rather trust, honesty, respect, doing what’s right, etc.  This is so important – I would need to leave if this were not the truth for me.

> Passion for personality types – understanding what makes people “tick” and how they work together has been a long-standing passion and interest of mine. Being in HR and working with organization design and team dynamics is exactly what I need to be doing for this passion to come to work with me.

> Creativity – not just in problem solving, but also in creating a fun and energizing place to work definitely comes in with me. I especially love to bring this part of myself to “play” in my job. It’s much more about how I think and work rather than just what I’m working on.

> Compassion – is especially alive when I work with employee relations issues. I balance compassion for the person with doing the right thing for the Company. Being a principle-based company vs. rule-based makes this a lot easier for me to do.

> Spontaneity – while the workplace has much rigor in it, there are always opportunities for me to take initiative and be spontaneous within my own projects. For the most part, I’m the driver of my timing and schedule, which leaves room for my spontaneous side to thrive within the box.

> Leader – being in “middle management” brings opportunities to lead projects, as well as people. There’s a wealth of A-type personalities in my company so being a leader is important. I don’t just drive the strategies and priorities, but also influence the players. Leadership is an easy part of myself to bring and use at work.

> Humor – there’s nothing more fundamental to human beings than to smile and laugh. Luckily, I work with a group of folks who have just as much of a wacky sense of humor as I do. We get a big laugh quite frequently, which makes the hard work go down just a bit easier.

There are so many aspects of who I am and some do not translate into the workplace. That’s okay, because the ones that do relate all seem to be coming with me. I don’t feel like I’m abandoning “who I am” in order to do what I do. I know this makes me fortunate. I am grateful for the blessing.

What about you – do you bring your whole self to work? Are there some aspects of your personality, talents, or strengths that you leave at home because they are not valued? I challenge you to see if there is something you can do about that.

In the meantime, be whole, and be blessed!

Joy


“I am thrilled to realize in spite of the world’s trajedies, heartaches & conflict, there lives and thrives in this world a great joy. It is love of God, self, neighbor, creature & earth. It is the passion in us that keeps us striving for good. And the compassion inside of us that helps us continue to lend a hand to those in need. It is God inside of us working to change what is not God-like. We are blessed!” ~ Barbara Bernard Miller