Speak your truth…

“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

Oprah Winfrey

How much time do you spend really and deeply reflecting on your truth? Not the truth that others are waiting to hear or a perception of how facts should be but really truly understanding what you know and believe.

If you don’t know your truth how can you speak it?

A thousand lifetimes…

“Reading is a way for me to expand my mind, open my eyes, and fill up my heart.”

Oprah Winfrey

There is almost nothing better than a good book, and a quiet time and place to read. I have been fascinated with books and reading since childhood. I read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on growing up and reading has continued to be an important throughout my entire life.

Some of the reasons that I love to read are to learn and grow but as I get a little older and perhaps wiser I have come to realize that reading is the best possible way to come close to realizing all the potential that God had in mind when he created us.

I have long felt that I could have had a hundred different careers that I would have been both good and and thoroughly enjoyed. Through reading I have found that it is possible, if only temporarily and within my own mind, to embark on different journey’s and embrace the different facets and aspects of my personality.

A couple years ago I started keeping a list of the books I read throughout the year. I desperately wish I had done this for my entire life. Not so that I can show anyone else, but simply to reflect on all richness of the world we have access to, and to remember which books are worth rereading and really marinating in. I am sure that some of the ones I have read, and now forgotten, would be a great friends to pick up again.

The beauty of reading is that it allows the soul to expand and become a little bit more of what it is truly capable of. Whether you are reading for learning, reading to understand, reading to for joy, or simply reading to entertain your mind. Each book is an opportunity to live a touch more broadly and with greater flavor.

There is more life to live than we could ever achieve in a thousand lifetimes, but we can squeeze a bit more into the one precious life we have with each great book we read. So what’s on your reading list?

Old friends…

A life worth living…

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”

Oprah Winfrey

Are you focused on creating a life based on “getting” or “giving?” No matter how much you accumulate, it is never enough. By the same token, no matter how much you give, you can always give more.

The key is to think about how you feel AFTERWARDS. Which perspective makes you feel full and alive, and which one leaves you feeling empty and needing more…?

Integrity fuels trust…

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”

Oprah Winfrey

Trust is what makes real relationships with other people work. It is the foundational platform for any relationship. Without trust nothing else works. Trust is based on integrity. Integrity is internal to a person. It is how they show up and act. It is their own personal moral or ethical code. It manifests and conveys in a myriad of ways. For example, I have known people that lie to others and I can never fully trust them because I know that if they lie to someone else, they will lie to me. They will say they are “white lies” but a mistruth is still a lie.

It can heartbreaking to find out that someone you know and respect lacks integrity. It is especially tough because without integrity there can’t be trust. Doing the right thing, means knowing and doing it, even if it has negative consequences for yourself. Frankly, that can build trust with others that share your same ethical and moral code.

Turning this thinking inward, what are the little things that you do that demonstrate your personal beliefs and ethics? How do you demonstrate that you desire to live a life of integrity? What does “doing the right thing” mean to you?

Dwell with intent…

“I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.”

Oprah Winfrey

Is the glass half full, or half empty?  Are others out to help you, or persecute you?  Are you helpful, or helpless?  Are you a conqueror or a victim?  We all know people who  choose to fit into the  “negative” side of these questions.  They are focused on dwelling on what happens to them instead of focusing their energy on how they can change, grow, learn and evolve.  If one is determined to be taken advantage of, they will be.  How we frame the way we see the world becomes our world.  I also know people who focus on the “positive” aspects and they are the ones that truly inspire and motivate me.  They too have become what they dwell on, and have incredible impact on the lives of others because of it.  

The same trap applies in leadership as it does in life.  Do we dwell on the things we can’t control and look right past the things that we can influence and impact? Does our leadership focus on serving others or being served?   Focusing on the wrong side of the equation can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, for better or for worse.  The good news is that we have a choice.  Who do you want to become?  What is it that you need to dwell on to make that happen?

Who do you want on your bus?

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”Oprah Winfrey

It is easy to find people that will make you a priority when it is to their benefit, but what about when you really need them to help you? Do you have a list of people that you know would answer the phone and help no matter what?  

I am a person that struggles to reach out to others at times “because I don’t want to be a burden” and because I was taught growing up to be incredibly self-reliant. That doesn’t get it done when life and leadership gets tough.

You need to have people there that will support you and know that you will support them, no matter what.  I am reminded of one of my favorite verses in scripture when I read this quote.  “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Hebrews 17:17 ESV  Having that friend and brother (or sister) to rely upon is critical in life.  

I challenge you to think about these two questions and cultivate that list of folks that you know will get on the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

  1. Who is on your short list to call when you are challenged and need help fighting a battle?
  2. Whose list are YOU on?  Who knows that they can call on you anytime for anything?
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