Friday, March 30, 2012

Love Note - Friday 3/30/12

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Find Out What’s Holding You Back

The simplest way to jump start progress in any area of your life, is to find out what’s holding you back and keeping you from seeing things through. Often we’re holding ourselves back, because of a fear or a lingering issue that we just can’t seem to move past.

By way of example: I have a friend (and I hope she doesn’t mind my using her story) who wants to lose weight. She has started over and over again, only to fall short. Many of us have this same issue—but what is odd about it for her, is that she is normally a very decisive person. She sets her mind to something, and accomplishes it without hesitation; and often on a whim. She just has an uncanny self-awareness that allows her to know what’s right for her, and to go for it. So why the block in this one area of her life?

The key to removing the blocks on her heart and mind—and to removing yours--is self-evaluation. You have to ask yourself the hard questions and really get honest about the answers:

1. In what areas of my life do I find that I’m spinning my wheels, but never getting anywhere?

2. What are the given circumstances of this situation? (The things that are out of your control; where you have to change yourself instead)

3. What past fear or hurt still lives in my heart today that is affecting my ability to thrive or to make progress at this thing in particular?

4. How have I been using that fear or hurt as an excuse?

5. What do I need to do to let go of the past?

The answers might come to you in meditation or stillness. They may come to you through goal-setting or action planning. They may come to you in prayer or while on a walk. Maybe you can’t come to the proper conclusions alone—talk to your pastor or a therapist. Do whatever will help you to gain the most clarity. Then, walk freely into your future.

And feel free to use the comments section here as a forum for discussion--you never know who else might benefit from your story.

Photo via Pinterest
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Monday, March 26, 2012

How to Avoid an Autistic Existence

In this PLPT guest post, Jess J. helps us to understand how we can become cognizant of our own behaviors to avoid an "autistic existence". Read on to learn more.

A few years ago I read the following quote by Geneen Roth in her book Women Food and God:

As long as I believe that pain is bigger than me, as long as I define being open and vulnerable as being vulnerable to annihilation, I believe in an image of myself: that I am someone who can be annihilated. And when I believe this, I bolt from different situations by engaging in various mind-altering and body numbing activities. I shut myself down or walk out the door when pain threatens to destroy me–which is any situation that involves another human being or whose outcome I cannot control. I live an autistic existence.

I knew it was important. I have used the saying, “autistic existence,” multiple times and knew it spoke to something that I understood as a truth. But it was not until very recently that I got a firm grasp on its importance and relevance in my own life.

I was looking at my bank account balance asking myself how I could have possibly spent $600 in a weekend with nothing significant to show for it. Not a bill was paid. No new clothes hanging in the closet, no major purchase were made so where did my money go? Simultaneously I was hungry (i.e. the reason I was looking at my account balance to begin with) and in need of food. I’d just gone grocery shopping a week ago, where had all my food gone? I was truly dumbfounded by how this had happened, yet again, and how I never quite understand the process behind my consumption. Not until I remembered Geneen’s words, I was living an autistic existence.

I was completely out of touch with the moments that I eat or the moments that I swipe my debit card. I did both mindlessly, without a second thought, without consideration of the moment or the next moment, day, week, month, or year. I was living in a fog that prevented me from clearly seeing that I was not hungry but eating out of boredom or habit, and that I was spending money I didn’t have to avoid the awkwardness of admitting my financial position.

So how do I stop? Stay awake, alert and present enough in the moment that I can make wise decisions? I have tried to make an ally of discomfort. I hate saying “no” when friends ask me to dinner or out for drinks, but unless all my personal affairs are in order then that should be my answer. I had grown accustomed to snacking at night regardless of hunger and so I had challenged myself to sit face to face, nose to nose with my bad habit reminding myself of the inconquerability of my soul. I have, in short, decided to sit in pain rather than try to remedy it. What I have realized is how hedonistic the ego can be, wooing us into autism so that we indulge at every possibly opportunity. What we are doing is existing in fallacies, and as a consequence we become the embodiment of lies and half-truths. But this is not about deprivation or restriction; it is about consuming better things to become a better person. It is about feeding my spirit rather than my ego and when I eat out of hunger rather than habit then my spirit feels fuller. When I manage my finances appropriately and place value in the intangible rather than the material then my spirit feels richer. In order to be better, be all truth and connected to the world around me, I had to accept it and I had to stay the course. That was the only fix, no Suze Orman books or Weight Watchers diets can account for the acknowledgement of the power that resides in our own truth.

Photo via Pinterest


For more of Jess' beautiful words and piercing insight,
visit her blog, Sincerely, Jess.
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Love Note - Friday 3/23/12

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Are You Experiencing Your Life or Just Recording It?

In this PLPT guest post, Pastor/Professor Lawrence Ware asks the question: "What if we cared less about showing others what we have experienced and cared more about experiencing it?"

I was at an OKC Thunder game the other day, and I noticed the strangest thing.

Very rarely would people actually look at the game—they were busy looking at the game through the lens of their phones or they were busy updating Facebook statuses about being at the game while very rarely enjoying the experience of being at the game.

Man, that was a three line sentence—the philosopher in me took over—let me see if I can break that down.

I noticed people tagging themselves at the game, and then commenting on the tag. I noticed people posting pictures about the game. I noticed people texting other people about BEING at the game. I noticed people videotaping the game. I noticed people taking pictures and then showing those pictures to other people who were looking at what was just photographed.

All this got me to thinking. In a nutshell: we have become primarily recorders of our lives instead of people who experience our lives. Think about it: we take pictures of food before eating. We take pictures of events instead of experiencing events. We meet famous people, and we are more concerned with taking a picture for other people to see than giving them our attention so that we will remember how they made us feel.

No, I’m not anti-technology, but I am pro-life. That is, let’s put down the electronic mediums that allow us to relive experiences in the future, and try to start enjoying what is happening to us at the moment.

What if we cared less about showing others what we have experienced and cared more about experiencing it? What a revolutionary thought.


Lawrence Ware is lecturing professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University and Pastor of Christian Education at Prospect Church. He writes for Tikkun and Religion Dispatchers all while living in Oklahoma City with his wife and sons.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Album Review: Selena McDay’s “Cry With A Smile”

With this post, it is our pleasure to introduce our guest music reviewer, Mugure Crawford. Mugure has extensive experience in the music industry, and we knew there was no one better to tackle this task. Enjoy.

With the current state of R&B/Soul artists and music, one can definitely use a huge dose of some good ole lovin’ and inspirational lyrics. After all, the Hip Hop/Rap Culture has dominated our Urban music world for the last 10-15 years. So you’re looking for that old thing back? Some good ole feel good music? You know the type of music that you won't hear playing in strip club? Look no further than a soulful, up and coming spoken word, soulstress like Selena McDay.

Selena hails from New York City but currently resides in the greater Washington, DC area (affectionately known to locals as the DMV). Selena went back home to the Big Apple not only to stake her claim but to win 1st place in the Apollo Theatre's weekly popular talent show "Showtime At the Apollo", and her very 1st time appearing and she took the top prize! We all know the Apollo don't like no junk, so Selena definitely brought down the house that night I'm sure.

With her debut CD, "Cry With A Smile", she wants you to know just who she is, what she stands for, and what she represents. Her CD is a bright mixture of soulful jazz and sultry R&B, mixed with spoken word--much like fellow stars Jill Scott or Angie Stone. The CD starts out with a clear introduction into Selena McDay as she professes" like McKnight but McDay" which features her radio interview with NYC Urban Adult Station WBLS.

Her featured single, and title to the album “Cry With A Smile” is an upbeat track based on Selena's personal experiences that reminds listeners to hold on, keep the faith, and that even through adversity, it’s okay to cry. You'll be surprised at how everyone goes through problems, so there's no need for you to feel alone or weak; this is how I interpreted this inspirational track. With a total of 16 solid tracks Selena McDay takes you through her journey of personal trials, triumphs, love and relationships.

I look forward to hearing her growth and creativity throughout her road to success in the music industry. After all, it's evident that Selena is a true artist, not afraid to express herself the drop of a dime, as she explained during her WBLS interview: "I'll sing over this telephone"...Now how many artists are that comfortable in their vocal abilities? As I stated earlier, R&B artists/music just ain't like it use to be. So check out Selena McDay's "Cry With A Smile" CD, sit back and find out what she's all about while, just maybe, finding out a lot more about yourself :).

To learn more about Selena McDay, check out her PLPT GEMS feature here. To access Selena McDay’s debut album, visit her website, SelenaMcDaySings.

Photo: source


Mugure Crawford’s love for music and radio started in her teens during the golden era of Rap/ Hip Hop Soul of the 1980s & 90s. She was exposed to music of all genres from her East African/Kenyan roots, which included a radio in every room of the house. This led her to pursue Communications as a major in college and she earned her B.A. in Communications from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2001. She currently holds one of her dream jobs working for the SVP of Programming for Radio One Inc. and supporting other Program Directors at Radio One's 53 Radio Stations in 15 Markets across the country. With over 12 years of experience, her career has kept her moving forward with a variety of roles in the radio industry. Mugure looks forward to propelling her career in radio and solidifying her brand as the "it" girl/media specialist with a passion for music & entertainment. Mugure resides in a suburb of Washington DC with her husband Lamon, daughter Laila, & son LJ.
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Celebrating in the Spirit of Friendship

GG, Me and Vonnie
(Vonnie wrote an At Your Best feature for us which you can read here)
Our relationships change, grow and morph as we do the same, but it is a wonderful thing to have those relationships that seem to stay the same because they mature right along with us. “They” say that female relationships are difficult to maintain, but I am happy to report that my group of girlfriends and I are largely the exception. Within our extended circle are women who have been friends since college, high school and even middle school! And we are all still able to come together in the spirit of love and friendship no matter how many years have passed.

Adriene and Me
(Check out Adriene's At Your Best feature here)
Two weekends ago, I hosted a wine tasting in celebration of my birthday, and I felt so lucky to be sitting at the head of a table surrounded by both old friends and new ones, with nothing but love and positivity flowing among us. Even for the women who didn’t already know each other there was a general sense of camaraderie that made my heart smile.

My cousin Tionah and me
(You can read Tionah's At Your Best by clicking here)
My birthday never feels complete until I have eaten, drank and giggled with my girls, and this year was no exception (and I believe I put this exact sentence in a few of the thank you letters, LOL). They are chicken soup for my soul and I just felt filled to the brim and buzzing with good energy when I left them.

Me and Kenya
(You can see Kenya's At Your Best feature here)
I really appreciate the ease of these friendships and the sisterly bond that we’ve created among a fairly large group. We all have careers and families and “grown up” responsibilities, but no matter how much time passes between our gatherings, the same love and level of comfort is always there. We don’t begrudge each other the freedom to live our lives because we know we’ll always come back to each other.

Do you have feminine relationships that fill you up with energy and creativity? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!
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Friday, March 16, 2012

Love Note - Friday 3/16/12

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Learning the Truth about Yourself

In order to reach your full potential and discover your purpose, it is vital that you learn the truth about yourself.

I have a deep seated belief that I’m not as smart or creative as I think, and that my endeavors won’t necessarily be successful or that people will hate what I’ve done. I know that this is because of the messages that were drilled into my head by my peers when I was a child and a teen. I skipped two grades in elementary school because I was an advanced learner. School just came easily to me. So my peers were, for the better part of my formative years, two years older than me and very often—just plain old mean. They didn’t understand why parents and principals and newspapers were so fascinated by me and would be sure that I knew they were certainly not impressed. And let’s be real: at that age it’s really your peers’ approval that you’re seeking—not your parents’. And so I shrunk against the weight of their scrutiny and tried not to be so “good”.

Even now, I continue to struggle with feelings that I could and should have done more and that I would be so much farther along in life and career if I had only done "X" (notice all the words there that don’t belong? “Woulda, coulda, shoulda” much?). So it is a constant struggle to allow myself to be a success at anything—oh I do well at things, but I have to push myself mentally and emotionally to really excel. I have to get really good with my self-talk to not only be unafraid to fail, but to be unafraid to succeed.

In order to establish and maintain healthy relationships, it is important to learn the truth about yourself.

I have a little bit of relationship baggage. I have an ex boyfriend who, every time we had a disagreement or he perceived me to have done something ‘wrong’, would stop speaking to me. Well—I’d get a few choice words via text or email and then he’d stop speaking to me. For days. And when he had been really offended, he’d break up with me (only to later come back). This cycle went on for way too long, and even though I eventually became immune to it with him, I still occasionally have moments of fear in my current relationship. When the honey and I have a disagreement there’s a moment where my stomach flips, and I’m terrified that he’s going to leave, before I remind myself that this is just my egoic insecurity and talk myself off the ledge.

My point in each of these stories is that I’ve learned enough about myself to know when I’m operating out of fear, or reacting based on past pain that is completely unrelated to my current situation. And that is how you too can overcome whatever it is you fear. Learn what your triggers are so that you are able to control yourself when they are tipped. You can start to take your power back just by being aware.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

PLPT GEMS: Meet Selena McDay

PLPT GEMS Presents
Selena McDay
Songstress. Mother. Legacy.

You've recently released an album, "Cry With a Smile", that was produced by your son, RiZ, to help bring your musical dreams to fruition. Tell us about the album and what type of sound your audience can expect to hear.

EVERYTHING I write is from personal experience! So the simple answer is: you’re going to hear a collection of “life lessons and love lessons”! Most (I hate to admit) were learned the really hard way, because I used to be so daggone “hardheaded”! But thankfully, I used writing as an outlet for a lot of things most of my life. And now, thanks to my incredible son RiZ, a 30 plus year dream deferred has come true! He’s produced and co-written my debut CD with me, and we’ve created a collection of “Ole Skool, Nu Kool” universal messages of love lost, love found, love cherished; self discovery; passion and fantasies; dreams realized and Karma, set to R&B, Neo-Soul, Jazz and Latin rhythms, sprinkled with a touch of Rock and Hip-Hop!

How did you know you wanted to pursue a career in music?

first recital at 7 or 8 years old

It feels like I was born into it! My mom was a lead singer in a band and they rehearsed at our house many times, and hung out at our house some nights after their gigs. I can remember more than one night (or early morning) during the 9 years I was the only child, I’d awake to somebody playing some instrument, my mom singing, or both! Music was just always a part of our lives. Then at 9 I was chosen to sing “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” in the Easter Pageant, and (when I) saw my Mother’s and the rest of the church’s reaction to what I’d just done, I got hooked! I decided right then and there that I WANTED TO SING! And that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since!

Is performing and promoting your album your full time job? How do you balance it with your other responsibilities?

Yes, these days at least! As for “balancing”, it’s much easier now than it used to be when I was raising children, in school full-time, working a day gig part-time AND singing 3-5 nights a week! I have a law degree and I did “the lawyer thing” for a while when I was trying to finish getting the kids through school. I started a Legal Consulting firm that I’ve used as a supplement to my performing income since my son and I started work on my debut CD. It’s called LegalEaze Consulting, and I mostly provide legal document drafting, review and analysis services, business entities formation including (but not limited to) LLC’s, 501(c)(3)’s, LLP’s, and For-Profit Corporations, and electronic and manual factual and legal research, on a contract-by-contract basis. However, MUSIC IS MY LIFE!

What does a day in the life of Selena McDay look like? What actions do you take each day to contribute to the continued fulfillment of your musical goals?

Little did I know, developing and having “the product” was the easy part. Because I am an independent artist, with a small independent label (HLFW Recordings-founded and co-owned with my son RiZ) with NO budget, and no big label or rich uncle to sponsor me, everyday, except Sunday is spent doing something, anything and everything I can to get my music out there! It’s a standing joke now with my family that I literally go to bed and wake up with my laptop! But I do that because now that the CD is completed, I (am) trying to build my brand, get my music reviewed, writing pitch letters and getting them to every outlet I can to request submission permission or strum up interest to get interviewed. Much like what RiZ was doing when he found you guys. I’m not complaining, because as exhausting as it gets sometimes, I’m living my dream!

Who, in addition to your son RiZ, is your support system and how do they contribute to your business?

with son RiZ

At this time, I have my son RiZ, and a few very close friends & family members that are willing and sometimes able to take away from their own life’s responsibilities and goals to lend a hand (thus the success of my 12/11/11 CD Launch Party, I will never be able to thank them enough).

You never gave up on your dream, despite the setbacks you encountered; and you are proof that determination and belief in oneself will eventually result in reaching that dream. How did you overcome doubt and negative thinking?

I came real close to giving up a couple times along the way here. In fact, that’s part of the reason I decided to go to law school. But music has been my life so long, I just couldn’t. I’d professed that I’d dive into law school head on, and there would be no performing, at least during the first (and hardest) year of law school. But my destiny was evidently already written because I wasn’t in school three months when The Lord put me right back into it (with) a seven year gig at Washington, DC’s #1 Jazz Club, The Takoma Station Tavern, as their “House Singer"! In fact, but for those Thursday, Friday and Saturday night performances, I don’t think I would have made it though law school, because that was tough!

What advice would you give to other people who are searching for their purpose, or are afraid to take the first step toward their own dreams?

If you’re not happy, feel like you’re lacking or missing something in your life, I implore you to please, at least once a day, turn off or unplug everything electronic, sit still and listen! If you have to sit in a closet, in a bathroom, in your car, on the roof, sit somewhere, quietly, all by yourself for a few minutes a day so that God can talk to you. You will discover your purpose, discover your Blessing. Then when you “feel” strongly like you should or want to do something, don’t waste time trying to find some guarantee that it’ll work, questioning whether it’s the right thing to do, just take that first step out there on Faith, thank Him in advance for its success, and get started!

How can our readers connect with you?

at CD launch party

Keep in touch, visit me and tell a friend please! Check me out on my website; enjoy new videos when I upload them for you on my YouTube channel; and follow me on Twitter.
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Monday, March 12, 2012

6 Soul Searching Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

click to purchase

I'm currently reading Gail McMeekin's "The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women" and I just can't say enough about it.   It's one of those books that you read and reread throughout your life. The tag line is -- A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women -- and that is EXACTLY what it is. 

I had to share the following self-discovery questions with you from the book.  These aren't simple questions, so perhaps the best approach is to write them in your journal and dig in when you have some "me" time. 

1. What do you feel most ashamed about and how can you heal it?

2. If you were much braver, what challenges would you tackle this year?

3. What kinds of filters do you need in your life to screen out negative thoughts, people who are "downers", the media, the Internet, stress overload, and anything else that you need to protect yourself from?

4. What you have been putting off in your life that you want to do/be/have now?  How will you make that happen?

5. Have you thought about your legacy lately?  How do you want to make a difference?

6. Lastly, what self-imposed limitation do you need to dynamite through and free yourself from?

One of the things that I've been putting off is my desire to write a book.  I tell myself that I have too much on my plate and I need to wait until the kids are older.  My kids are 9, 6 and 1 --  so you do the math.  Basically, I'm going to have a full plate for many years to come.  So, why wait?  Even if it takes me years to write it, my heart is calling me to start now.

What do you need to start now?  What's in your way?  I hope the questions above from Gail McMeekin's book will challenge you to think and grow.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Love Note - Friday 3/9/12

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

5 Ways to Instill Positive Thinking Into Your Children

"Children are imaginative, open, inquisitive and excited about everything. Isn't it wonderful to have an audience coming to you with all that open feeling?" - Faith Ringgold

Many of us are just now learning to adopt a more positive mindset to improve the quality of our lives.  As we learn, we can pass this knowledge on to our children.  Here are five ways to do so:

Teach by example.  Our children are constantly watching us.  They see how we handle stress, loss and adversity.  The energy that we put out into the world has a huge impact on them.  There have been many times when I've caught myself speaking negatively only to catch the wide eyes of one of my babies staring right at me and taking it all in.  The best way for us to instill a positive mindset into our children is through our own actions.

Tap into their imagination.  We can really bring home the concept of positive thinking for our kids without them even realizing it - through play.  For example, when my son grows up he wants to be a comic illustrator and write graphic novels all while playing professional basketball and teaching art.  He's going to be a busy guy! :)  So, he has a journal where he draws pictures of himself playing basketball, and where he writes stories and draws characters for his novels.  This is fun for him, but it also is teaching him the idea of using visualization to bring his dreams into reality.

Provide visual inspiration.  Just as I would encourage you to surround yourself with positive affirmations and images, so should you surround your children.  Our girls especially need to believe in their own self-worth and value at a young age.  My daughter's walls are covered with prints - some that we created and colored ourselves and some that were purchased. The messages on the prints are short and sweet like "There's only one You"  "Believe in Yourself" and "Giving up is not an Option."  When she's being hard on herself, I remind her of these messages and I encourage her to repeat them to herself to drown out her doubts.

Create an atmosphere of growth.  When our children struggle with new things or a certain subject in school, this is another opportunity for us to teach them to think positively.  It's so important to create an atmosphere of growth in the home, so they understand that everyone has personal challenges that can't be avoided and that these challenges build character.  My son struggles with math, so we are all learning together to stay positive about it.  When we get frustrated, he senses it and gets down on himself.  When we tell him that we believe in him and share our own examples of times that we've struggled in school, he feels more hopeful and determined.

Surround them with positive people.  Once our children start school, we can't be with them all day or completely control who they associate with.  However, they see who we choose to spend our time with and how we interact with them, so we must choose wisely.  When my children tell me that one of their "friends" is calling them names and being mean, I ask them to consider if this person is really their friend if they are constantly trying to bring them down.  Often, these same kids are engaging in other troublesome behavior that should be avoided.  Our kids have to learn these things on their own, but we can teach them to look for red flags and make wise decisions.

How do you instill a resilient, positive mindset into your children?

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Affirmations for Turning Your Life Around

I just celebrated my 33rd birthday, and I’m so grateful to have been blessed with another year. On my 28th birthday, I had a breakdown; I felt that I hadn’t accomplished anything that I thought I would have by that time in my life: my finances were a mess, my career was stalled, and many of my relationships were dysfunctional.

While that was one of my lowest moments, I’m grateful that things happened the way they did, because that was the moment of my own personal quantum shift. I got my finances together, found a way to do what I love and learned to let go of relationships that didn’t serve me and to be open to healthy ones to come in their place. I’ve been learning and growing and accomplishing and it feels fantastic.

As I reflect on this past year, I see a very different woman than I used to see. I have peace surrounding my circumstances, I dream big and work hard every day to get closer to seeing those dreams come to fruition, and I’m surrounded by amazing, driven and supportive people. I am so grateful for many things that contributed to a better me along the way. I’m reminded to be grateful--not just for the wonderful things that have happened, but also for the things that didn’t seem so great at the time, but turned out to be exactly what I needed when I needed it.

I share this because it is my hope for you to know that no matter your current situation, you have an opportunity to turn it around. You can take negative and turn it into positive if you set your mind to it. Your future can be as bright as you can dream it. Set goals, tap into your resources and set feverishly about making them manifest. You might have to take some steps backward in order to move forward, but just keep moving forward.


I am grateful for rock bottom because I know that I can only go up from here.

I let go of those things that do not serve me in order to make room for things that will.

I trust my gut to guide me, and I work to make solid decisions.

I am patient with myself because I know that just because I don’t get it right the first time doesn’t mean that I won’t ever get it right.

I know it’s never too late to turn things around; I’m grateful that every day equals a new opportunity.

For more guiding affirmations, click here.

Photo via google images
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Friday, March 2, 2012

Love Note - Friday 3/2/12

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to Accept Constructive Criticism

Part of self-assessing is learning to accept constructive criticism. It’s easy to decide on our own what we think our flaws are, or where we have room for improvement. It’s a bit more difficult to accept ourselves as other people perceive us—especially when we don’t agree with what they see.

Do you ever feel like people assign you flaws because they just don’t “get” you? It may be true that they don’t have a complete picture of your personality, but they can only go by the information you’ve given them.

Let’s take the office, for example: I have a rather subdued personality—and my professional personality, even more subdued than that. In a sales driven environment where people equate “energy” with loud, fast-talking, hyper-excited behavior, I’m a bit of an anomaly. More often than not, my performance feedback includes notes on being more “energetic” and “excited about {my} projects”. I know that I’m excited about my projects, and that my energy is exerted in a creative fashion—that standout marketing pitch or beautifully written communication is living breathing proof of my energy (and thankfully my direct manager understands this as well). But some people don’t seem to get that.

So how do we accept constructive criticism? We do just that—accept it. We listen, and take it in and consider for a moment, how we might “improve” in the given area, and we ask questions. Is there validity to this? How will this affect my career/family situation/friendships? Can I adjust this behavior without compromising my core values?

Weigh the balance between what feels like your true self, and what the perception of you might be. Get honest with yourself; this is not an excuse to be lazy or to let yourself off the hook for things you know need to be changed. Accept that this is the perception, and then either acknowledge it as your own truth, and adjust; or relegate it to their opinion and lock it away in that place in your mind of detached awareness. If there is too much of a disparity between what they see and what you feel is true, it may be time to consider changing your environment, if possible.

It is important to be aware of how we are perceived, and that’s why constructive criticism can be positive. Whether we agree or disagree, it gives us an opportunity to self-evaluate and to be more aware of how we are affecting others in our environment.

Do you find value in constructive criticism? Or do you have a difficult time accepting it?

photo via Pinterest
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