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10 Things To Stop Doing Right Now

24 Oct

This post doesn’t even need an introduction.  Just read.  It’s that good.

Happiness–in your business life and your personal life–is often a matter of subtraction, not addition.

Consider what happens when you stop doing the following 10 things:

1. Blaming.

People make mistakes. Employees don’t meet your expectations. Vendors don’t deliver on time.

So you blame them for your problems.

But you’re also to blame. Maybe you didn’t provide enough training. Maybe you didn’t build in enough of a buffer. Maybe you asked too much, too soon.

Taking responsibility when things go wrong instead of blaming others isn’t masochistic, it’s empowering–because then you focus on doing things better or smarter next time.

And when you get better or smarter, you also get happier.

2. Impressing.

No one likes you for your clothes, your car, your possessions, your title, or your accomplishments. Those are all “things.” People may like your things–but that doesn’t mean they like you.

Sure, superficially they might seem to, but superficial is also insubstantial, and a relationship that is not based on substance is not a real relationship.

Genuine relationships make you happier, and you’ll only form genuine relationships when you stop trying to impress and start trying to just be yourself.

3. Clinging.

When you’re afraid or insecure, you hold on tightly to what you know, even if what you know isn’t particularly good for you.

An absence of fear or insecurity isn’t happiness: It’s just an absence of fear or insecurity.

Holding on to what you think you need won’t make you happier; letting go so you can reach for and try to earn what you want will.

Even if you don’t succeed in earning what you want, the act of trying alone will make you feel better about yourself.

4. Interrupting.

Interrupting isn’t just rude. When you interrupt someone, what you’re really saying is, “I’m not listening to you so I can understand what you’re saying; I’m listening to you so I can decide what I want to say.”

Want people to like you? Listen to what they say. Focus on what they say. Ask questions to make sure you understand what they say.

They’ll love you for it–and you’ll love how that makes you feel.

5. Whining.

Your words have power, especially over you. Whining about your problems makes you feel worse, not better.

If something is wrong, don’t waste time complaining. Put that effort into making the situation better. Unless you want to whine about it forever, eventually you’ll have to do that. So why waste time? Fix it now.

Don’t talk about what’s wrong. Talk about how you’ll make things better, even if that conversation is only with yourself.

And do the same with your friends or colleagues. Don’t just be the shoulder they cry on.

Friends don’t let friends whine–friends help friends make their lives better.

6. Controlling.

Yeah, you’re the boss. Yeah, you’re the titan of industry. Yeah, you’re the small tail that wags a huge dog.

Still, the only thing you really control is you. If you find yourself trying hard to control other people, you’ve decided that you, your goals, your dreams, or even just your opinions are more important than theirs.

Plus, control is short term at best, because it often requires force, or fear, or authority, or some form of pressure–none of those let you feel good about yourself.

Find people who want to go where you’re going. They’ll work harder, have more fun, and create better business and personal relationships.

And all of you will be happier.

7. Criticizing.

Yeah, you’re more educated. Yeah, you’re more experienced. Yeah, you’ve been around more blocks and climbed more mountains and slayed more dragons.

That doesn’t make you smarter, or better, or more insightful.

That just makes you you: unique, matchless, one of a kind, but in the end, just you.

Just like everyone else–including your employees.

Everyone is different: not better, not worse, just different. Appreciate the differences instead of the shortcomings and you’ll see people–and yourself–in a better light.

8. Preaching.

Criticizing has a brother. His name is Preaching. They share the same father: Judging.

The higher you rise and the more you accomplish, the more likely you are to think you know everything–and to tell people everything you think you know.

When you speak with more finality than foundation, people may hear you but they don’t listen. Few things are sadder and leave you feeling less happy.

9. Dwelling.

The past is valuable. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the mistakes of others.

Then let it go.

Easier said than done? It depends on your focus. When something bad happens to you, see that as a chance to learn something you didn’t know. When another person makes a mistake, see that as an opportunity to be kind, forgiving, and understanding.

The past is just training; it doesn’t define you. Think about what went wrong, but only in terms of how you will make sure that, next time, you and the people around you will know how to make sure it goes right.

10. Fearing.

We’re all afraid: of what might or might not happen, of what we can’t change, or what we won’t be able to do, or how other people might perceive us.

So it’s easier to hesitate, to wait for the right moment, to decide we need to think a little longer or do some more research or explore a few more alternatives.

Meanwhile days, weeks, months, and even years pass us by.

And so do our dreams.

Don’t let your fears hold you back. Whatever you’ve been planning, whatever you’ve imagined, whatever you’ve dreamed of, get started on it today.

If you want to start a business, take the first step. If you want to change careers, take the first step. If you want to expand or enter a new market or offer new products or services, take the first step.

Put your fears aside and get started. Do something. Do anything.

Otherwise, today is gone. Once tomorrow comes, today is lost forever.

Today is the most precious asset you own–and is the one thing you should truly fear wasting.

Happy Hump Day Y’all!

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Romans 3:23

24 Mar

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

-Romans 3:23

We’ve all fallen short.  We’ve all sinned and failed.  But the good news is we have God’s grace!  Praise God and give him thanks today and everyday!

Follow Your Heart…

6 Jan

…Only if your heart is in the right place.

Think about it.

Project Sweet Caroline

23 Nov

This week is all about giving, right?  Well I have a story that will certainly touch your heart.

Let me introduce you to Melissa.  Melissa was a student teacher when I was in high school and many years later, I found out that Melissa and my late sister-in-law, Jill, used to be playmates as kids.  Small world, right?  Melissa also happens to be a knitter and let me tell you, she can knit.  The other day on facebook she wrote a status about donating knit caps to preemies so of course, I had to ask more.  Here is what she wrote:

“I started the charity Project Sweet Caroline after my best friend lost her preemie Caroline back in April of 2011. My friendwas diagnosed with HELP Syndrom and her daughter was born at about 26 weeks. Her family was blessed with just over a week with her before she returned to Heaven. While in the NICU and the hospital at the University of Michigan my best friend and her daughter received the very best care. My friend was touched when her daughter was given one of the few hand knit caps they had to keep her warm. After Caroline passed tis tiny hat was one of the only real possessions my friend had in memory of her daughter.

In order to show thanks to the University of Michigan NICU and their staff I started Project Sweet Caroline. Knitters from all over the world use sock yarn in washable soft wool to knit tiny caps. To date we have knit over 260 hats (More arrived on Friday). We have a group on Ravelry that can be found here and the pattern we use can be found here.

All hats are mailed to me or donated by the knitters to their own local NICU. You can always have people email me at tuttlesivley@yahoo.com for my address.

The pattern is basically the leg of a sock. That’s how tiny they are. We hope to expand to send meal and gas gift cards to the families of these children, as some families have to travel 4+ hours a day to see their children while they under-go care.”

How amazing is that?  One little girl, Sweet Caroline, went to be with Jesus but her memory will live on forever.  For any questions or ways you can help, please contact myself or Melissa.

Your surroundings.

20 Sep

Stop.  Take a moment to look at who you surround yourself with including your friends.  No, I am not talking about the 731 “friends” you have on facebook.  Most of those people are not your friends but rather someone you don’t mind staying connected to through social media.  Take a look at the people surrounding you.  The people you talk to on a monthly/weekly/daily basis.  Now I challenge you to make a list of these people and ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are they making you a better person?

2. Are they continuously challenging you?

3. Do they bring positive or negative energy to your friendship?

4. Do you share many of the same common values?

5. Are they there for you and are you there for them?

I have 1 friend that challenges me with her every thought.  I may not agree with her 100 percent of the time, in fact I don’t, but she is constantly challenging me about life, parenting and everything else in between and that’s one of the reasons I admire her so greatly.  I have another friend that, plain and simple, makes me want to be a better person.  A better giver, a better Christian, a better wife, a better mother, a better friend, etc.  Her words of encouragement and her positive spirit are contagious and it’s always nice to share many of the same values.  Lastly, I have another friend that I could call morning, noon and night and would simply sit there and listen to me ramble if that’s what I needed her to do.  There isn’t a doubt in my mind that she wouldn’t be there for me.

The point of this post is to realize that when you make lifestyle changes the people surrounding you change too.  That’s not saying you’re “too good or better” then the people you used to hang out with before but instead implying that you’ve made changes in your life that call for different surroundings.  For example, when Adam and I brought Jayden into this world we immediately saw some people come into our lives and others leave.  The fact of the matter is, someone that goes to the bar on a Friday and Saturday night are not going to want to sit at home with you and your newborn.  That’s reality.

As a Christian there is nothing worse (poor word choice) than surrounding yourself with people they are unintentionally trying to pull you further away from God.  It is hard to realize who those people are until you really stop and think about if they are making your a better person, challenging you and bringing positive energy to the table.  Would it be easier to just be friends with people who love Jesus?  Maybe.  But don’t forget sometimes it’s the people who aren’t in a relationship with Jesus that challenge you the most (in a positive way, of course).

The examples of friends I gave above are just a few examples of women in my life that do all the the above.  They challenge me, bring positive energy to our friendship, share some of the same common values and continuously help make me be a better person.  The point of this post isn’t to call out a few of my friend but to take a look at your surroundings and see where those people are going.  If those people have no more ambitions and goals, you’re going to find yourself driving along the same path.  Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you to become a better person and will be there for you in the good times and bad, those who will help your flourish in life and those will challenge you, your mind and spirit!

Contentment

30 Aug

Philippians 4:12 reads:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

How powerful is that?  Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone had this philosophy?  Or if everything learned the secret of being content in any and every situation?

I am no where near perfect and I struggle with contentment in every situation I face.  I must continue to pray that above all contentment is based on our salvation not on material possessions.

Running For A Cause: Maria Wegner-Johnson

24 Aug

God Bless my friend Maria and her amazing ideas, kind heart and eagerness to run, run and run some more.  Maria runs daily as part of her training for her first full marathon but instead of just running for self accomplishment (which is totally awesome, too) she runs for a cause.  Well I am honored to announced that Mara is running for the Jill E. Harrington Hanzalik Memorial Fund!  How cool is that?

Maria wrote about ways to donate in her blog post.  It reads, “Rather than having folks donate a flat rate (you can still do that), I thought I’d add some fun to it by pledging per mile, per pair of shoes (I’ve already burned through one pair!), per tube of nuun or ounces of Gatorade consumed, per protein shake, per ice bath taken, per mile biked in cross-training (not many, btw), calories burned…whatever you want. I will keep it all in a spreadsheet and provide updates weekly.”

So please join me in giving Maria some motivation and encouragement as she looks to conquer her first marathon in November with the Jill E. Harrington Hanzalik Memorial Fund in mind!

All My Single Ladies

9 Jul

My friend, Erin, tweeted a post from a blog titled See Preston Blog that really caught my eye this morning.  As many of my friends and I are in different stages in our lives, the dating scene is obviously non-existent in my life but a big part of their theirs.  With that being said, the author of this points out that men (or boys) need to treat women with the respect their deserve having been created in the image of God but continue to say that maybe the ladies could help out a little as well.  He writes:

“Dress like a woman who was designed, composed, thought up in the mind of God.  A woman who has a Father, even if the only good Father in her life is her Heavenly one.  Be beautiful by being faithful.  Challenge us as men to desire women of integrity by not settling for jerks’ teach us as men to long for a woman of purity by choosing not to compromise.  Stop acting like you think you’re supposed to, some silly, stupid, naive girl who is just eager to please.  Stop acting like you want to be a porn star.  A thing.  ”

How good is that?

My prayer for all my single ladies out there is to realize they are beautiful, beautiful women created by God who are worth pursing!

You’re Beautiful!

2 Jun

Proverbs 31:30

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

My prayer for you today is that you will see that your inner beauty is far more valuable than what is seen on the outside.  You’re beautiful, simply gorgeous!

The Power of Words

16 Apr

“Sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me!”

What a comeback!  I remember using it when I was on the playground in grade school.  Somehow it gave me this feeling of power.  I thought it was such a good comeback that unless someone really did throw sticks or stones at me, I could still hold my head high.  But let’s be honest, words are powerful.  They’re sometimes hurtful and sometimes kind.  They can cause an emotional high and a complete emotional low.  A few simple words can influence major decisions in your life, can cause you to act out of character, can change your mind and can cause you to do something you never thought you’d do.

Have you ever really thought about how powerful words are?

Sometimes we forget how powerful certain words are because we may use them everyday.  Or on the flip side, using a word we don’t often use can cause us to really think how powerful that one word may be.  For example, the word hate is not allowed in our house.  Period.  There are no if, ands or buts.  It simply isn’t allowed.  Hate is such a powerful word and for our sons small (big) heart, the strong feelings behind the world hate are too much for him.

Proverbs 18:21 declares this:

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

That is a powerful verse regarding the power of words.  The words that come out of your mouth may bring life to someone, may fill someone’s heart with faith or love or may shine light on someone.  Jesus used his words to teach and confess and as a Christian it is my will to use my tongue in a way that would honor the Lord.  However, we are all sinners. There are times, more often then not, that I misuse my tongue.  I gossip with my friends and criticize others.  I lie to my son to make him believe that I go to bed when he does and I sporadically drop a curse word when my emotions take over me.

This statement is true: Words are powerful.  It seems like such an easy statement to understand, yet it is so complex.  Be careful of the words you use; they could speak life or death into someone.  And that alone is enough to really sit back and think about what you confess with your tongue.