Your attitude is a powerful tool for positive action.  It’s inherently interwoven into everything you do.   – Kevin Harrell

 

When Plans Change

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This past Saturday I returned from a week in Deer Valley, Utah with my husband. Let’s just say that the trip held some unplanned adventures. One of the highlights of the trip was being at the Utah Symphony performance under the stars along with some wonderful friends. With an overflowing picnic basket and beautiful mountains surrounding us, it was a spectacular memory in the making. Unfortunately, the next day, we made a hiking memory that was slightly less than spectacular.

Knowing we had to check out of our hotel room at noon on Saturday, my husband and I set out for a morning hike on the Ontario Trail – a not-too-difficult, hour-long hike up the mountain and then down the ski lift back to our hotel. No worries…..except if you take the wrong path. When we got to the top of the mountain trail, we somehow missed a sign and started on a path that took us down a road less traveled.

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As we finally realized our error, we were too far down the trail and knew we had to push forward toward a large lake at the base on the opposite side of the mountain from our hotel and civilization. Along the way, we saw disconcerting evidence that a mountain lion was in the vicinity. Needless to say, we picked up some big sticks, as our one-hour hike turned into an almost three-hour tract through the wilderness. Along the way, I had an unfavorable encounter with a hornet’s nest which left me with several throbbing stings on my hand and arm. Did I mention we also saw fresh bear tracks?

We breathed (or should I say huffed and puffed) a sigh of relief when we made it to the base of the mountain and onto a small gravel road. Sadly, we were at least 11 miles from our hotel.  As we plodded down the road, thinking we still had miles until we reached a distinguishable Uber location, we heard a car approaching! Two young men who had camped in the area, became a much-welcomed relief to our tired and sore feet. They picked us up and drove us all the way back to our hotel, where we “more than slightly” over-extended our check-out time.

We never know when we will face challenges that stretch and strengthen us, but when we do, it is always good to consider what we learn from the experience. Here’s my take-away when plans change or life takes unintended twists and turns:

  • Pray for guidance and protection.
  • Stay calm and consider your options.
  • Be alert to the dangers or challenges. In our case, it was mountain lions, bears and hornets, but in life you may face difficult people, financial challenges or other unforeseen obstacles.
  • Equip yourself with necessary provisions. We needed big sticks, extra water and snacks. Consider what you will need for the possibilities ahead of you.
  • Enjoy the view along the way.
  • Accept help when needed.

Finally, always remember to thank God for His provisions. Curt and I recognize that God’s hand was with us all along the way. This was truly a wilderness opportunity to trust God for the outcome, plus we saw tremendous mountain top views that the typical tourist-hiker never has a chance to see. No matter what your wilderness experience is, allow these principles to help you through the unexpected paths in life.

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Hiking sign Photo by Callistus on Unsplash

Mountain Lion  Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Realistically Optimistic

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It’s easy to think that positive people are simply pie in the sky, superficially blissful. The truth is, that a sincerely optimistic person sees the real picture, but chooses to look at the upside instead of focusing on the negatives. Each of us can decide to be sensibly optimistic, or persistently pessimistic. Here’s a few principles to help us live with a brighter outlook.

Look at the Big Picture.  Ever been to a movie where you sat on the front row? Everything looks ginormous and blurry. But when you sit in the middle of the theater, you get a better perspective as you see the whole picture. Life challenges can seem overwhelmingly large at times, but step back and look at the situation in light of the bigger picture and you can have a calmer and wiser viewpoint.

Take one step at a time.  When we are facing a mountain in front of us, it may seem as though we will never be able to scale the heights. Yet if we take one small step forward, establish our footing and take the next step we will make progress. The key is not running to the top, but rather taking gradually steps upward to get where we are going.

Assess Your Assets.  It’s easy to focus on our weaknesses and feel as though we are making an accurate assessment of the situation. It is true that we each have weaknesses that need to be dealt with, but more important, we each have strengths that need to employed. Let’s take measure of our strengths and the assets, build on them and focus on how to use our gifts to the best of our abilities.

Seek Wise Advice. One of the best ways to stay grounded is to listen to wise counsel. We don’t want to allow someone to zap our hope and drain our dreams, but it is important to listen to other perspectives in order to make wise decisions. The wisdom of others can help us maintain a levelheaded optimism as we move forward with our goals.

Living life with a positive outlook, doesn’t mean we are impractical or unrealistic. On the contrary, we can choose to live with a confidence and boldness, knowing that we see the obstacles and are ready to face them head on with thoughtfulness and hope.

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:

Celebrate Small Victories. 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.

Photo by Tommy Lisbin on Unsplash

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

 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash