Inner Strength Part 1

For young people today the ability to overcome trials is becoming a more regular occurrence. These trials or challenges can be as simple as not making a sports team, the lead role in a play, not getting to asked to a dance, seeing others posts things on social media that may offend or even hurt you to losing a loved one or having to deal with constant bullying at school.

Our ability to develop an inner strength that allows us to move forward in a way that shows courage, determination and faith will help make life manageable and ultimately enjoyable. There are many ways for one to develop inner strength; over the next couple of weeks I will share with you the seven that have helped me throughout my life, especially while a youth.

  1. Understand that challenges and trials WILL happen in your life

It is important to realize and accept the fact that no matter who we are and no matter what our background is, we will face times in our life that test our inner strength. Some will go through more than others will, is it fair? I guess it depends how you look at it. The important thing here is to realize that you will be faced with times in your life where things just seem almost too overwhelming.

I have found that during these times, we are at our most humbling state which allows us to learn, as long as we are prepared. When we are teachable, great things can happen, personal confidence can grow and our inner strength can provide us with the drive to move forward. As we develop this important understanding and accept this reality, trials can become one of the greatest teachings tool ever created. Without this understanding on the other hand can lead to frustration, anxiety, depression, anger, bitterness, self-harm, sadness and despair. I know from feeling all of those at different times in my life, I had inner weakness, not strength. I was unable to function properly and life just seemed to be worthless.

I am a firm believer that we will never be given a trial or challenge in our life we cannot handle. Our task is to find the inner strength to overcome, learn and move forward. As we do this, we will generate happiness in our life. So the next time you are being bullied at school, or made fun of by others, focus on your inner strength, remind yourself that you can and must rise above it. As you face this head-on, change happens, not just to you but often those who are creating the challenge. I have seen it personally in my own life.

Heroes understand that challenges and trials will happen in their life but they develop the inner strength to be better because of those.

You Are A Hero!

So, have you been able to develop this understanding that we will face challenges and trials in our life? How?

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A Need For Harmony

There is no question that the world we live in continues to become more chaotic, negative, contentious and divided. What is interesting is that feelings run deep and emotions are controlling actions. When this happens in what I call a negative tornado the results are never good as we have seen all over the news. It is heartbreaking and sad to see such division and hate.

The real-time access we have to pretty much everything today because of technology and social media no matter how hard you try it is difficult not be exposed to all this negativity. We are seeing the media, celebrities, business leaders and individuals pointing blame at others for not saying the “right thing” when expressing regret and condemning acts of hateful groups and individuals. I will say right here that there is no place in this world for those who make it their mission to destroy the lives of others for the color of their skin, their beliefs, who they are, etc, these groups and individuals are the bottom of the bottom and will not ever win. However, the truth is, the more people try to point blame the more they are adding to the viciousness we are currently experiencing and actually helping to add fuel to the fire of those despicable groups and individuals. So what does all this have to do with leadership?

We are seeing the rise and fall of great leaders on a regular basis. Why is that? Leaders must be able to lead no matter what the situation is. There ability to quickly address problems and then create a movement to resolve the issue sets a great leader apart from others. However, when there is so much division and disdain for what is happening, even great leaders will stumble and fall short at times because of the scope or breadth of the issue. What I have experienced is that during these times, leaders need to take every opportunity to learn from their missteps and then quickly make a course direction without compromising their values or who they are. This takes incredible inner-strength and self-awareness. In short what a leader must find quickly is a way to bring some type of harmony. Harmony is defined as an “agreement; accord; harmonious relations; a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.” It will not always be a conscience but it provides the opportunity for all parties to move forward in a positive manner.

harmony

I feel this quote is perfect for what our world is experiencing right now:

“Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.”  A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Can you imagine if each of us, especially are leaders, could make this quote a reality in their lives? We would quickly see a complete paradigm shift that would have incredibly positive results. When there is harmony there is an environment where healing and happiness can happen. As a leader, there are going be times where decisions are made that will have negative impacts. These impacts will be felt most when it effects the lives of others. The key is to quickly find a way to create harmony so that the culture becomes one of healing and happiness. This will ensure your success. I know because I have experienced this numerous times in my career.

Let’s commit today to increase our willingness to create more harmony in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. Let us be proactive in showing love, concern and empathy. Let us remove from our thoughts anything that would promote negativity and hate. We can all be great leaders, we don’t need a title.

Time to go be hero.

The Value of Vulnerability

vulnerability

When was the last time you were vulnerable, really vulnerable? What did you feel? What was the situation? How did you react? What did you learn?

There is incredible and life-changing power when we are willing to be vulnerable. Let me provide a couple of quick definitions to ensure there is a clear understanding of what we are talking about:

Dictionary Definitions:

  • capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
  • open to attack or damage easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally

Expanded Definitions:

  • the courage to be yourself no matter what
  • willing to take risks
  • the ability to express ones feelings openly
  • increased humility to receive feedback and criticism

Now, it is important to clarify something, many focus on being vulnerable as a sign of weakness, shame and fear. The issue is they often stop with that singular vision and thus do not allow themselves to be vulnerable. Although those are a part of what vulnerability is, the truth is it is also where we find real peace, joy, belonging and creativity.

As we learn to increase our willingness to be vulnerable we will increase our ability to reach our goals, dreams and become who we want to really become. The greatest teachers and learners are those that value the need for vulnerability. They understand that the more open and real they are with themselves, the more opportunities they have to grow and achieve success.

One of the most rewarding aspects of having at the top of your values list vulnerability is that you will pave the path to living with greater happiness. This happiness will come as you express gratitude for opening yourself up by learning to live with increased vulnerability. It will take courage, faith and a willingness to confront truth head-on. It will not be easy but the more you practice living with vulnerability, the more it becomes a part of who you are and ultimately one of your core values.

I have personally seen the power of living with increased vulnerability. It has stripped me of pride and given me new hope and faith in the future. It has allowed me to become a learner in ways I never thought possible. It has strengthened my self-confidence and helped me to be a leader. It has helped me be a better father, husband, son, brother and friend. I still have work to do in this area but it feels refreshing to know the more I increase my vulnerability, the more I can become who I want to become.

What can you do to increase the value of vulnerability in your life today?