Reflection...pushing pause...& acting for change..

Dare to Be You!

Pushing pause for reflection is:

Moving below the surface / superficial space, digging deep to find the real me inside

Inner beliefs are tested against a foundation of personal core values (faith & courage)

Never is it going to be easy, but always needed for meaningful growth

Energizing & rewarding for the full potential & opportunities to maximize impact

An example of a "push pause moment" for me is when I witness and / or experience something that I believe is disrespectful and I do nothing about it. Might not be a situation unfolding in "real time," but may be the impact from a significant experience during a visit to a museum such as is the case for the young woman in my image above. This moment was captured while many of us visited the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in DC. As members of society, it may or may not be involving us individually & directly; it doesn't matter as we are all impacted just the same regardless of race, gender, religion, age, & political views. If something is not right for one, it just is not right period. Typically, but not always, I'm going to realize "it" at the moment using my core values as the benchmark for consideration. Almost always, too, I am prompted to dig deep inside to find the real "why, who, what, where, when" behind my reason for this particular "pushing pause" moment, and that means looking honestly at what I believe & why. (The M & I steps in what I've got listed above as M.I.N.E.).

The next step for me is going to be reviewing options for my actions through the 2 filters I want my eye's lens for seeing to be & those are faith & courage. This makes it critical that I am able to frequently self-assess what's in my heart in all aspects of my personal & professional life: 1. do I faithfully follow The Lord's call for my life's work, & 2. do I base all decisions on courage within that following even when it is unpopular, often lonely, to do so (N. of M.I.N.E.). If I personally experience / witness disrespect & I do nothing, it is important that I look at myself first.

How do I get past this step? As a person of deep faith, I'm first going to rely on personal methods of prayer to guide me forward & in the right direction. Like a lot of you, I have a core of trusted, close friends with whom I confide & with who I rely on to be in honest albeit difficult conversations. These friends are going to tell me what I need to hear, to expand my thinking when its stuck or in a spin, and who love me no matter how faulty my thinking can become given a particular situation with which I may be dealing. 😊. We hold each other accountable knowing personal growth & impact are highly sought after by each one of us.

Authors I deeply respect are important to mention here for they serve as "thought leaders" & are personally hugely inspirational such as Brene' Brown, Simon Sinek, words from Abraham Lincoln, Jon Meacham, Max Lucado, Bruce Waller to name only a very few.

Do I know organizational leaders who will always be on a list to energize me to act boldly, faithfully & with courage? Oh, for sure! One I want to mention who was my direct boss for 9 years, until about a month ago actually, is Dr. Cory Hines. While he has become Dr. Hines, President, HPU, all throughout our years of working closely together, I never doubted his respect for me as a person, as a leader, and as one called to unwaveringly act with faith & courage in all things. Never was there a time I worried my voice would not be heard, that I would not be understood, or that I risked retaliation saying what I believed needed to be said. There are 9 important descriptors that I have used in relation to Dr. Hines' leadership & they are: humble, wise, caring, visionary, gutsy, passionate, master teacher, incredible listener & Christ-follower. One who pushes self & others to be the best they can be; definitely a model for me & many others.

Trusted friends, incredible authors, & organizational leaders who have dedicated their lives to serving others so they reach their full potential represent the "E" in M.I.N.E.

This takes me to the second piece, equally important, in the reflection discussion which I call L.I.F.E:

Acting on needed change is....

Liberating - no matter whether it is volunteering our time, donating even the smallest amount of money, etc., through acting courageously there is always something individually each of us can do to bring about what we believe is needed change

Influencing - when we get involved, get connected, we then gain the ability to influence others to do the same & to be influenced ourselves

Freeing - it just feels good to be demonstrating through our actions (our faith) our belief in the core values we hold dear (acting with courage). Not striving for perfection, but rather to Dare to Be You!

Empowering - Webster may have it best in the definition "make stronger & more confident, especially in controlling their life & claiming their rights."

Call to Action - reflect on:

1. What a "push pause" moment is for you;

2. Why your personal M.I.N.E. evolved to where it is today; and

3. How L.I.F.E. is demonstrated in your every day activities.

Share your comments below for others!

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