Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. 

John Wooden

5 Principles for Overcoming Discouragement

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Discouragement can seem like an unscalable wall at times. It hits each one of us in different ways, whether it is losing a key client or setbacks with a major project or frustrations with a family member. How do we strengthen our resolve and keep going? Here are a few life principles to adopt:

Take small steps. Sometimes the big picture can be overwhelming, so let’s learn to take incremental steps forward and celebrate the little victories along the way. Create a few simple daily goals that are doable and move step by step in a positive direction.

Change the focus.  Life looks pretty bleak if we only focus on our problems. Let’s stop looking at what we can’t do, and consider what we can do. There is always a bright side, but we must be looking for it. Let’s make a deliberate effort to concentrate on what can be done and the possibilities ahead of us.

Be flexible. When we are fixed on only one outcome, we open ourselves up to defeat. Let’s be willing to adapt and adjust to Plan B. Could it be that “B” stands for Better?If we consider a variety of scenarios, it allows us to adjust our goals and broaden our horizon.

Ask Questions. Discouraging situations also bring opportunities for growth and learning. We can ask questions such as, “How can I do better next time?” “What can I learn from this?” “How can I help others as a result of this?” “Are there other people I need to seek out for counsel or help?”

Have patience. Let’s face it, waiting is hard, but if we persevere we will find that we become stronger and more courageous as we wade through deep waters. Victory, success and change take time. Hang in there and remind yourself that most things get better or easier over time. Even if our circumstances seem like they won’t change for a while, the good news is that we can grow and become better in the process.

Most important, let’s remember that we are not alone. There are others who have gone through similar tough times. We can reach out to them for advice, and we can find encouragement from their example. We can also find strength and hope in our faith that God will give us the courage we need one day at a time.

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For more about overcoming challenges, check out Karol’s book, Positive Leadership Principles for Women   n sale for $5 this month.

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Life and Liberty

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As we close out the week of Independence Day, let’s take some time to reflect on what it means to live in a free country. Truly we are grateful for the freedoms we enjoy –  the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But with freedom comes responsibility. Responsibility to live with:

  • Integrity to do the right thing.
  • Wisdom to always tell the truth.
  • Compassion and kindness toward every person.

Our society functions best when we choose to live respectfully and responsibly in regards to others. Ultimately, the greatest statement of respect and responsibility was spoken by the One who sacrificed His life for our freedom. Simply put, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Life tends to fall into place when we have these priorities in place.

My fellow writer and Baylor Bear, Ben Hagins, poetically put it this way:

This week we celebrate

The Fourth of July

To enjoy our freedoms

But let me ask why

 

Did so many go before us

And serve the country they love?

To protect our liberties

So we can worship the One above

 

Who gives us a choice

To pursue any quest,

With a mission and a goal

Of having happiness.

 

Now the privileges we have

Mean we can’t do just anything.

Put your God first, and others second.

You’ll be happy when freedom rings.

Ben Hagins, Woodway, Texas

 

May each of us live with love, joy and passion as we enjoy freedom and embrace responsibility.

Building Connections Through Engaging Conversations

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When it comes to making a connection with other people, a stimulating question can be our most effective tool. Whether in business, relationships or family life, bridges are often built through asking and listening rather than instructing or demanding. Engaging in meaningful and kind interaction is especially important when we are with people who have opposing points of view or see life differently than we do.

It’s not a bad idea to keep a few thoughtful questions at hand to open up dialogue and ignite positive conversations. Here are a few of my favorite questions:

What do you think about ________________? This opens up the door for you to discover another person’s point of view and where they stand on an issue or situation. This is an opportunity to listen, not to vent your opinion or stand up for your point of view or ideas. Simply listen and ask more questions.

What makes you feel that way?  With this simple question you are able to dig a little deeper than surface level and find out some of the reasons behind a persons words, actions or opinions. Everyone has a story, but few people take the time to listen.

What do you want?  Most people have hopes, desires and dreams but rarely verbalize them. This question is full of potential and allows the other person to identify what they are really after, both short term and in the big picture of life.

In what ways do you need help? You may not be able to solve all their problems, but you may be able to do something or point them to someone who can.  In many cases, they just need is a listening ear and to know someone cares enough to ask.

Let’s have the courage and strength to listen with love and understanding. We will learn and grow as we open up the door of conversation and ask questions that lead to truth and discovery. Use questions as your tools and wisdom as your guide in building bridges, rather than burning them.

 

Invite Karol to share with your group on the topic of ”Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive.”  Email Tammy at: positivelifeprinciples@gmail.com

 

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Narrowing Our Focus

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Ever feel slightly scattered? Do you have days when you run in twenty different directions, yet never seem to accomplish anything on your To Do list? Between the distractions on our cell phones, interruptions of the unexpected and overloaded schedules, most of us find it difficult to simply move from Point A to Point B of our daily agendas.

One way to help us stay focused and on task is to apply what I call the “Principle of Three.” Generally speaking, our brains find it easier to remember things in threes. In writing, the “Rule of Three,” suggests that a trio of three characters or events are more satisfying, effective and even funnier than other numbers (The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears, Three Blind Mice). And of course, every preacher knows the power of a 3-point sermon. The Principle of Three is seen throughout nature: three primary colors, three parts of a human (body, mind and spirit) and three beings in the Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit).

If we apply the Principle of Three to our daily lives it can help us narrow our focus, build on the essentials and reduce the distractions. Here’s a few ways to put it into practice:

  • Write out your To Do List each morning (some prefer to write it out the night before), then choose 3 priorities from the list. What 3 things are essential to accomplish for the day? Use a highlighter to designate your top 3 priorities and work steadily to accomplish them. With a focus of 3, you are more likely to remember and accomplish the essentials for each day.
  • Instead of writing yearly goals that fizzle by March, consider creating a list of 3 objectives that you want to accomplish in the next 3 months. Having a quarterly focus will allow you to stay on target and keep your aim in sight.
  • For each of your quarterly objectives, write out 3 doable action steps. For example, if one of your objectives is to lose 5 pounds, you may want to list your action steps as:
  1. Exercise 5 days a week
  2. Cut out sugar and white flour from diet
  3. Eat before 6:30 pm every night

 

There are many other ways to apply the Principle of Three to your personal life. Start each day with this combination of 3: pray, read, and count your blessings. You will find that your perspective is clearer and your outlook on life is brighter.

In what ways can you apply the Principle of Three to your daily routine?

 

Contact Karol to speak to your group on the “Principle of Three” – positivelifeprinciples@gmail.com

 

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Developing Grit

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Would you consider yourself mentally tough? In other words, are you able to push forward despite setbacks, disappointments and mistakes? I believe the potential is within us to strengthen our mental resolve and develop a mindset that allows us to take positive steps forward, especially when the going gets tough.

When the tragedy of 911 occurred in this nation, the US Military needed to train additional Navy SEALS, but they had one problem. Although many recruits began the grueling program, only a small percentage actually made it all the way through, as many quit before completion. Of course the Navy did not want to change the challenging standards to become a SEAL, so they explored what they needed to do to help more recruits complete the strenuous program.

They began to examine the common denominators of those who have grit – the quality to be able push through obstacles even when they felt like giving up. One of the basic factors they found was mental toughness and positive self-talk. Telling yourself, I can do this, rather than thinking, I’m not cut out for this, is one of the keys to getting through the most demanding circumstances. As the Navy began to apply this research, equipping their recruits with mental tools to help them rise up to their obstacles, their passing rates increased by ten percent.*

Negative and defeating thoughts can easily pop into our minds, especially when things don’t go as planned. One way we can turn our self-talk in a positive direction is to memorize certain phrases to repeat to ourselves, especially when we feel like throwing in the towel and quitting.

As a successful businessman, my dad kept a 3 by 5 card in his pocket to pull out at times when he needed an encouraging reminder. Here’s what was written on his card:

  • I can do this!
  • If it is to be, it is up to me.
  • Every day in every way, I am getting better and better.
  • God is the strength of my life.
  • The harder I work, the better I get.

Whether you choose a famous quote, a scripture or an encouraging phrase, fill your mind with what is true, noble and admirable. We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose our focus. Know what is important to you and where you want to go in life. Remember you are not alone. Be willing to invest the time, strength and mental grit to overcome obstacles and reach toward your dreams.

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Check out Karol’s book, Positive Leadership Principles for Women for more inspiration and encouragement.

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*Eric Barker, Barking Up the Wrong Tree (New York, NY: Harper One, 2017) p. 63.