MORE THAN A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION – Tips for a Powerful New Year

201545% of the population makes some type of New Year’s Resolution. Whether we are working on a true lifestyle shift or a specific weight loss goal, we all resolve to be, do or have something better in the new year. Though statistics vary, only 8% of people actually achieve their goals, with the rest faltering anywhere between 17 days and 6 months after they are set. The deal is that enthusiasm wanes and real life kicks in! So here are some tips for creating a more powerful new year in whatever it is you resolve to do.
Tip #1 Make Feeling Good a Priority – the goals we set in the new year are set because we believe that in reaching them, we will feel better. The key is to understand that you can feel better NOW versus waiting on an external change to happen before you feel good. Success in any endeavor is always an inside job first. Tip #2 Create Tangible Goals – it’s nearly impossible to create a real plan around a goal that’s vague. And let’s face it, if you set a vague goal it typically means you want some leeway in terms of reaching that goal. It’s a lot easier to be undisciplined if you say “I’m going to save some money this year” vs saying “I’m going to put 10% of every check into my savings account” Get honest with yourself and set tangible S.M.A.R.T goals (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, time oriented goals) Tip # 3 Hold Yourself Accountable – From school to work environments, accountability is a huge part of how we start to really “be” who we want to be and accomplish our desires. However, accountability takes many forms. For instance, when we make a goal public either through social media, networking groups, friends and family we tend to follow-through on that goal. Psychologically, there is something about giving your word publicly, which holds most people accountable. This provides opportunities for your network to ask you about your progress which can keep you going when you want to go back to your old habits. Accountability also happens in the form of making a commitment to yourself. So often we are externally focused but when we build a true relationship with ourselves we can create a true commitment to ourselves. We start to really see ourselves as valuable and our promise worth keeping. Lastly, write it down! When you write and track your progress you are forming a new habit and more likely to continue it. Tip #4 Get Excited – feel what it would be like to be, do or have whatever it is you are desiring. If you can’t embody the feeling of having your desire, it’ll be that much harder to achieve it. Have fun “being it”, revel in the compliments, the scents, the sounds, the feelings of it all. The truth is, if you can’t imagine it happening it likely means you don’t believe nor expect it to. Without belief and expectation you will not be successful. Tip #5 – Be Easy with Yourself – having unexpected challenges, back-sliding and frustration are normal parts of life. Don’t look at these as signs of failure but rather increasing your clarity for what it is you really want. Every time you experience disappointment, in one way you are simultaneously strengthening your resolve for what you really want. So don’t get stuck in the thing that caused you to change. Be easy with yourself and get laser focused on the change you want to see! As you know, whatever you focus on grows.

One final reminder that’s worth reiterating; having a natural inclination to do what you’ve always done is NORMAL. Your brain has developed patterns of behavior that have been created in the same way you can see well worn patterns in the major walkways of your carpet. When you’re walking in the same place over and over on your carpet you don’t throw it out just because you notice it’s worn in one spot, you clean the carpet and walk in new patterns. So don’t throw out your new resolve if you find yourself going back to old patterns, clean it up and continue to develop new ones!

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Ferguson, More Than Just a Racial Issue

My work is in Diversity Consulting and Personal Development and so often in both my professional and personal life I’m asked why I talk the way I do. As an example, if I’m told about a disagreement or if I hear someone make a bold assumption about the intentions of someone else, I stop them in their tracks. I have questions. I want to know how they know their assumptions are correct. I ask them if they feel like the other person has been heard. I inquire about the impact their words or actions are having on the other person. For some, this is met with frustration. They want to know why I can’t just get their point. Others who don’t know me as well, perceive that “I’m not on their side” nor supporting what’s important to them. On the contrary, I just know something that so many still can’t seem to get or incorporate in their daily lives. EVERYONE WANTS TO BE HEARD AND FEEL VALUED! I also know that when people don’t feel heard or valued in their neighborhoods, intimate relationships, and work environments, there are real consequences. Consequences that impact not only the perceived victim but whole groups of people who may or may not be directly involved. For many people of color the situation that is currently taking place in Ferguson, MO is surprising…but not really. None of us wants to see the pain and chaos that is transpiring there but there is a frustration many of us can relate to. This of course is not a new topic nor is this a new reaction, history is simply repeating itself before our eyes. However, here is what’s surprising; many of us across cultural backgrounds, gender and economic status are contributing to chaos in our own homes, communities, schools and workplaces. However, since it doesn’t spill into the streets and result in such visible death and destruction we feel we couldn’t be contributing in any way to something so damaging. But here are some questions I want to pose for all of us, and yes that means people of color too. Are we in our daily lives honoring the people we work with, live with, and live around? Meaning when we see people on the street do we really see them or are we exclusively focused on where we want to go? Are we making subtle judgments in the grocery stores about how others are dressed, their forms of payment, the job of a cashier, etc? In our relationships whether at work or at home, do we dismiss others when we feel we’re right? Are people allowed to share their point of view? Do they feel whole after talking with you even if you have differing perspectives? When you argue are you respectful? Has the silent treatment or cursing someone out become normal? Do your feelings override the basic tenants of respect? Have you ever thought of the impact you’re creating inside of someone if you’re guilty of any of these behaviors? Have you considered the collective impact you’re having on employees if you are in a position of power or what’s churning inside of your spouse, or what it’s doing to the communities your ride through but don’t really honor? So what does this have to do with Ferguson? Everything. Ferguson does not happen overnight. What we are seeing is collective frustration and collective neglect. Yes Ferguson is a part of systemic racial issue but if we look closely it is also an issue of humanity. Demeaning an employee, not listening to anyone due to their age or sexual orientation, giving the silent treatment to your loved one or using derogatory language, is all the same vibration – a vibration that lacks value and respect for others whom you deem different and often less than. It all leads to the same place. So as we continue to watch this unfold take a closer look at the contribution you can make to build a better society. I promise you it will not negate the justice that needs to take place in Ferguson but it will assist in creating a better place to live and work for all of us.

OUTRAGED…Mr. Sterling, Me and You!

Typically I’m not outraged by the ignorant things I see, in my line of work I’d go crazy if I let it affect me, but today I AM OUTRAGED! I suppose it’s been brewing but after reading comments from an article in TIME from Karim Abdul-Jabbar I couldn’t keep it in. Abdul-Jabbar, along with other commentators, questioned why we weren’t outraged about Mr. Sterling’s discriminatory business practices in 2006 and 2009 but now somehow the thing that puts us over the edge is “this ridiculous conversation with his girlfriend” and I have to strongly agree. And no this isn’t a reiteration of what you have read several times on other blogs.

I own a firm focused on Diversity and Inclusion and Personal Development, yet my work is often met with comments like “it’s really noble work” or “you must be a child of the 60’s” or my all-time favorite, “I don’t need any work in this area because I’m Black” Really! The lack of equality, respect, and inclusion in this world is not just the problem of racist like Mr. Sterling, it’s everybody’s problem. The fact that Mr. Sterling has made it to 80 years old and has amassed billions along the way tells me he has run across thousands of people who have rarely educated him or held him accountable for his actions. It also tells me he probably lacks true self-awareness and personal development is most likely low on the list of his priorities. Today you may say “well he’s too powerful to touch” Apparently not! But what about 70 years ago when his belief system was forming I wonder what some of us were doing then? What about 40 years ago, what were we doing and saying to him or the Sterlings’ in our own lives? What about in 2006/2009 when these and hundreds of other documented cases of inappropriate discriminatory business practices were happening, were you awake then? Regardless to how you self-identify, did it cause you to have conversations with your peers about race and inclusion? Did you take a class? Did you read a new article and follow its recommendations for inclusion? Do you assume you have no responsibility because you’re a “minority”? Did you accept my calls when I told you there is a problem in your department or your children’s school? After complaining about how terrible it is, did you engage in an open conversation with your friends of different backgrounds and races about solutions or was it about blame? Did you talk to your children? Did you check to see if you know what it means to create a more inclusive environment in the society in which you are a part of, that you are raising your children in today? Were you too busy for this type of conversation?

I continue to be outraged that as I happily serve as one of the best consultants in the world on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion not only do I have to still explain to people of all cultural backgrounds what I do and why it’s important, but I get to simultaneously listen to the mocking of the industry and yet hear the tears and societal outrage when something hits close to home. I’m OUTRAGED that we don’t seem to get that we are all part of the solution. We don’t seem to see anything wrong with prioritizing education and solutions on this subject at the bottom of the list while being impacted by it every day. It boggles my mind that I can make a Facebook post about inclusion or self-awareness/personal development on all 3 of my pages and maybe 10 out of the collective 2000 friends/fans actually take it in and the rest find it to be cute anecdotes that have nothing to do with real life. THIS IS REAL LIFE! Can we wake up to the fact that societal and self awareness/development or the lack thereof, impacts why Mr. Sterling is able to comfortably say these words, or have a mistress while still married, why Ms. Stiviano SECRETLEY taped the conversation in the first place, why we are okay with some tapings and affairs and not others, why we are so moved by this and not other atrocities that happen every day?

Outside of venting, I’m hoping that this latest Travon Martin, Paula Deen, Mr. Sterling incident causes YOU to take a look at yourselves not for the point of judgment but so you can be a better person, mother, father, friend, boss, and global citizen. I’m hoping that even some of my peers in the industry find time to connect with people day to day even if those people are not able to support their business priorities. So, when you finish punching holes in the style of this article or the areas where you’re in disagreement, I wonder will you stop and take an inward look? Will you ask yourself “what am I doing to create a more inclusive environment?” And yes, financial contributions to worthy causes that help the advancement of people are always welcome, but know that this distant approach is one of the main challenges in our society. We’re all so distant from one another and how we feel that it has become easy for hurtful words, infidelity, racism and depression to become such a normal acceptable part of our society. After writing this post maybe I’m not really outraged maybe, truthfully, I’m just sad and disappointed.

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