I am Not In A Hole!

This is the first time I am using a video blog to share my message on how not to be in a hole.

Please click the Title to go directly to the message.

Please like and share with others. Thank you in advance.


Broken Glass!

In marriage or any dating relationship, the couple is met with great times and also times that may be filled with little or great conflict.  Couples often seem to feel like things are great as long as they are getting along, getting their way, and having a great time…just living their best life.  I can agree that it is definitely easier to function within a relationship when things are truly at their best. 

When conflict arises, it is as if the world has crumbled and the first thought is often focused on whether or not the relationship should continue.  Couples often do not want to work even though they commit to “for better or for worse.”  When worse or difficult appears, there is either fight or flight response. 

It is so imperative to understand that marriage or a committed relationship requires work. Yes, Marriage is Work!!!! Conflict for couples is viewed as a negative thing.  I consider it as an opportunity to communicate and bring the concern to a place of resolve. 

Think of conflict as broken glass left on the floor of a walking path in your home (the kitchen, hallway, on the side of the bed, or even in the bathroom).  When there is broken glass on the floor, the first inclination is to clean it up to prevent harm.  Well, imagine conflict that is left unresolved. It is like glass that is left on the floor presenting continuous harm that is caused for both parties as result of it not being taken care of. 

Envision the broken glass as the conflict in your life.  Prioritize picking it up and ensuring that no further harm is caused. Be careful not to harm even yourself in the manner of how you pick up the glass for clean-up. 

Learn to see conflict as something that needs to be dealt with immediately. Be careful in how you remove it and be sure to double check for any leftover remnants that could later cause harm. Learn to communicate, seeing conflict as a means to connect in a safe manner.  This small change in your mindset could be the very thing that impacts your marriage for the better.  Be intentional!!! Selah!!

Have At It!!

In this past year alone I've had the opportunity to see so many people near and dear to me and some people that I've never actually even met literally chase after their heart's desire.

I've celebrated, honored, and supported them because I realize that they're walking towards and in their destiny. 

Today, I encourage you that whatever it is that is in your mind and heart to go for it....Have At It. Go for what you want!! This is the time! No one is going to come and drop something in your lap or say, " hey by the way remember all those things you wanted to accomplish and do this year? So, here!! I'm going to hold you by the hand and take you from one point to the next.” 

What ends up happening is that when you have a desire and it's matched and married to God's plan and motivation along with a burning desire to achieve that goal you have the opportunity to knock on the door titled, "HAVE AT IT!” 

Whether it is to speak to the masses, write a book, train, present, encourage people , mentor, or start a company. No matter how big or small it may be, what matters most is that you know you can, "Have At It."  

So, step on out by faith and use your feet, skills, and gifts to walk towards that thing called destiny. Move with haste and don't let anybody discourage you on your journey. Have At It, because it's yours. Have At It, because it's time! Have At It, because nobody can do what you need to do but you! Have At It, because we believe in you and now is the time to believe in yourself! Go forth and conquer!!


Understanding Your Worth!!!

Have you ever looked on Wikipedia to search for famous people to learn more about them and their accomplishments? In your searching, did you learn that they have a value or net worth attached to their name and skill set? I am sure you did. Even though, you are looking for information about their career, it resulted in learning about their net worth.  This net worth speaks to their professional skill set and how they are valued in their career.

This is what crossed my mind on a recent trip to Greensboro, NC.  I thought about the worth that we have as individuals and how others see us.  Have you ever thought about the value that is placed on you as a person?

When I think of relationships whether they are personal or professional, I realize that often times we fail to realize the worth of someone or even the time that they may give to you or to others. It is so important that we fail not to recognize the worth of another or even our own.  

What I want to focus on in this blog is highlighting the necessity of identifying the value and worth of your own life. My reason for this is that this is a common behavior among us, that we are often not aware that this is even happening. We will adjust and shift, with no thought, and when it comes to prioritizing our needs, we view them as an optional task that is often ignored or disregarded. 

What I want you to start thinking about is when you see an individual as a person of worth, that you also make a conscious decision to see your own self as having value and worth.So I'm going to ask you a couple of questions:

1. Do you often give your time away to others without thinking about the important things that need to be done on your end?

2. Do you often reschedule your personal appointments in order to accommodate someone else's schedule or request?

3. Do you find that you put yourself last or not even think about what is important to you?

4. Do you find that you allow other people to tell you how to utilize your time to help them, while insisting that you can tend to your things later?If this is the case you truly have not recognized or taken seriously your own value and your own worth. If you answered “yes” to any of these questions this is a clear indication that you have put everyone else before you. Don't get me wrong, there are situations where you may need to say, “hey I'm going to need to put a hold on my things, in order to deal with this first because it impacts what I need to do for me at a later time.” By completing that task, it allows you to be successful in the following task and that is okay!

This should be an exception, not a rule.  Do not make it a habit of putting yourself on the back burner.  When you place yourself on hold you ignore your priorities, self-care and emotional well-being. This also means that you if you are functioning from this mindset, that it is impossible to know your self-worth and value.

There is huge movement at this time that encourages people to focus and prioritize their self-care and emotional well-being.  There is an increased understand that mental health and physical health are equally important, connected and vital in living our best lives. 

In order to be emotionally well and to have good mental health it means that you understand the value and worth of who you are. This equates to you putting yourself next to another priority and saying both of these are equally important and both require my attention. So that means that you don't have the luxury of ignoring YOU!In order to effectively learn your worth, prioritizing you is a necessity. This can be done by doing the following:

1.   Learn to set time aside just for you. It does not have to be daily, but at least once a week carve out some time that is designated just for you and no one else. Learn to enjoy time alone. 

2.   Learn how to say “no” when you are actually spending time working on things that are important to you. This means that you have to learn to say “no” when you are interrupted without feeling guilty to do whatever it is you need to do at that moment.  The word, “No” is not a bad word.  FYI, “No,” is a complete sentence.

3.  Learn how to schedule people on your calendar. What this looks like, is someone giving you a call at the last minute or maybe not at the last minute, and requesting your attendance, your support, or your guidance on a matter that requires more than a couple of minutes. Your answer can be as simple as this, “I'm not able to do it right now, but let's schedule a time so I can give you some more attention.” If someone says, “you owe me, take a minute,” stick to your plan if it is not life, limb or property.   If it is not a medical emergency, remain calm and carry on with your self-commitment. Remember, a lack of planning on someone else's part does not mean that it's an emergency for you. In no way is this saying that you don't care about the needs of others.  What I am saying, is stick to the commitment of taking care of you. Give yourself the attention you have needed for so long.  Learn to function in a place of self-care and worth with peace.  Set a standard of care for YOU.  When you're able to set standards such as this, that is when you learn your value and worth.   

So now that we have put some things into perspective, I want you to envision yourself as one of those people who you read about in the magazine. It's up to you what title or position that you may want to give yourself, but I want you to see yourself as a person of worth.

Now, ask yourself these 3 questions:

1.  What title have you given yourself?

2.  How do people see you?

3.  How would people describe you in regards to self-care and self-worth?

Once you have those areas listed I want you to then think about what net worth you would apply to yourself. You may say this is not about money, and it's not. I'm not even asking you to place a monetary value on who you are if you do not wish.  However, I am definitely asking you to place a qualitative value on who you are and your life so that people begin to see you and your worth.

If you have a hard time remembering your worth/value here are a couple of strategies:

1.   Use stickies to write down motivational statements or your strengths.  Place the stickies in the following places: bathroom mirror, in your closet, on the refrigerator and on the door posts so that you can see them when you are entering/leaving your home.

2.  Use a journal or composition book to write down things about yourself that you are grateful for. Be sure to recite the statements from strategy #1 so that it guides your thoughts when writing. 

3.  Establish a devotional and quiet time where you can reflect on who you are and what is important. This level of focus has the ability to shift your thinking and actions.  

Get Ready!!!! People will begin to value your time and respect who you are as a person not just based on what they believe you can give to them. If you take nothing away from this blog, I ask that you at least find something within you related to value and worth that will encourage you and motivate you to respect yourself. 

The goal is for people to see you model your worth so that they can respect who you are and hopefully follow suit.   Know your worth! Value you worth!  Protect your worth!! If you don't, no one else will ever value it more than you!


Managing Your Own Baggage

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with some individuals on how to address stress and unhealthy relationships. What I came to realize is that many do not understand that no one is exempt from stress or ever experiencing an unhealthy relationship. These are just two of many scenarios that we can face in our lives.  In presenting this information to my clients, I gave the illustration of a person with baggage.  We all have baggage.  Yours may be a purse, a clutch, a duffel bag, a suitcase or even a paper or plastic bag.  Whatever form it comes in, realize that it is still a method of holding things such as groceries, personal care items, clothing, emotions, stress, or frustrations. You name it, it has a bag.

On this journey called life, we have the obligation to evaluate relationships, situations and circumstances that we face.  In doing so, keep in mind that there may times when our experiences also involve someone else’s experiences which has the potential to create added stress. 

Here are 7 things to keep in mind when managing baggage:

1)       Know what is in your bag.

It is very important that you know what it is in your bag, what you carry, what you give out of your bag and what you replace it with. Be mindful of what you are dealing with and take with you daily. This requires a level of self-awareness that is necessary to manage one’s self accordingly and diligently. 

2)      Clean out your bag periodically.

There are times that I will actually begin to throw out some things that are either trash, expired, or just no longer needed for my daily routine.  I follow the same steps for my mind and my spirit. I reflect on what God wants me to keep, what is no longer needed, expired (meaning, it no longer has a place of value in my life) and/or just not needed at that point in time.  I love cleaning out my bag (and my mind) for it makes the journey so much lighter.  The time it takes to do this, is something that we do not like, but once the task is completed, we are better off than when we started.   

3)      Keep your bag organized.

Be aware of what is in your bag at any given time.  If you are anything like me, you may carry the same bag with you for weeks at a time not really knowing what is in the bag.  Every now and then, I go through my bags and organize them in a way so that I know what is in each area of the bag. This is the same for my emotional well-being.  Often, I take time to organize my thoughts, my feelings, and my emotions in order to check myself. This allows me be confirm that my mind is organized, clear and focused.  This helps me to be the best ME.  This will also help you to be the best YOU!

4)      Don’t carry anyone else’s baggage.

Unless someone has a physical or emotional limitation, there is no reason for you to even consider carrying someone else’s baggage.  I am talking about baggage that has the potential to slow you down, strain a muscle or even blow up causing great harm.  As humans, it is in our nature to jump in help, however, consider your next steps before taking on more than you should.  Especially, when you are in a place of learning to manage your own bags and that person could benefit from learning to carry and manage their own baggage as well.

5)      Keep your bags to a minimum.

Learn to pack light for the journey.  When traveling, have you ever packed as if you were going on a two-week vacation when you would only be gone for three days?  I definitely have been in this situation.  We do this when tackling multiple situations especially within our relationships.  We may overthink a situation or try to manage too much in effort to address the situation. We pack more than we should, realizing that it creates more confusion because we could not decide what to use for trip or our situations.  By keeping your bags to a minimum, you increase your chances and your ability to maneuver better. When you have less to carry, you can get the job done more efficiently. 

6)      Know when to throw some bags away. 

Let’s just get straight to the nitty gritty on this one.  Have you ever been carrying bags back and forth to work because you think you need what is in there?  This is the case for many professionals.  What I have found is that when you finally go through the bag, you realize that you no longer need what is in there and that the bag is so worn that it has no purpose moving forward.  It is imperative that you begin to look at what you carry with you daily.  My mantra is Pause. Reflect. Revive.  Take the moment, to pause and reflect on what it is you take with you emotionally daily.  Reflect on its value, evaluate if it is helpful or harmful. If it is the latter, trash it.  Get rid of it.  Remove it from your life so that you can experience a more Revived Life. Got it? Good.

7)      Don’t go back to being the Bag-Person!

Once you do all of this, walk in your freedom. Be a 1-2 bag minimum person. Walk and move in a manner where you can manage your emotions, tasks, and relationships, more effectively. Take time to process what you need without feeling like you are responsible for others baggage.

I encourage my clients daily to manage themselves accordingly by prioritizing them.  When solving your problems, the main person needed for the task is YOU.  Prioritize you no matter what, even when it may appear selfish. Taking care of you, is a form of self-care and mental health.  Let determination be a factor as you establish emotional wellness at a greater level.  Pack light for one!



Finding Your Niche!!!

Photo by RML

Photo by RML

Finding your niche is something that can take time! For seven years, I prepared for the population I wanted to serve while walking proudly in another niche.  Yes, what I am saying is that you CAN have more than one niche and it can actually change over time depending on the needs of the community or your skill set and passion.  

Often, clinicians and other professionals will inquire about how does one identify or develop a niche. I am glad that people are asking this very important question. One, because it is important not have too many areas that you supposedly "specialize in."  It will cause a client and other professionals to question if you actually have a specialty area. The other reason is because with the increase in mental health concerns, the community is in dire need of clinical professionals who specialize in areas that speak to their areas of concern.  Whatever the presenting issues, persons seeking support want to connect with someone they believe possess the skill set and training that can help them address those needs.

So, when develop your niche area, consider taking the following steps to help you on your journey...

Determine your mission and your end goal. 

Whenever I meet with my mentor, and I present a goal or idea to her, the first two questions that I am approached with is, "What is your end goal? What do you hope to accomplish?"  After the first two meetings with her, I realized that I have to be prepared to answer these questions when she asks and even when I ask myself. I also find, that these are now my questions I ask clinicians and new private practice/business owners when they present a goal or idea to me.  The moment you think of an idea, an area or a specialty, remember to keep your mission and end goal in mind.  Make sure you have a mission set in place for your vision.  What are you hoping to accomplish over the course of your venture? With any idea that comes to mind, please determine your end goal?  For example, is your goal to make money, to serve as many community members as possible, to increase awareness of a specific area, etc?  Whatever, your end goal is, that will determine how you market your service or event. But marketing and getting the word out cannot be done, if you do not know your end goal.   

Invest time in developing your niche. 

Your niche is not something that will take place over night. It is something that has to be developed with care and attention.  Time is necessary to determine if whatever your specialty of care is, that it is something you actually would like to do and something that you are prepared to do.  Please do not think of it in terms of a grocery list, believing that once you have it in the cart, you can just check it off the list.  It goes a little further than that, you not only need to place it in your cart, you need to know what you will do with it once you have it. You will need to know if requires a recipe for one or a group.  Once you know that, this will help you in planning how to obtain additional ingredients for a well planned niche. Keep in mind that a niche can also be developed by noticing how you manage other tasks and programming in your current line of work. Someone may notice that you are gifted in a particular area or you may notice that your drive increases when you are working in another area.  This is the time to pay close attention to your skill set.  For example, for 15 years, I worked with children and families. It was an area I loved and am still passionate about.  I also noticed that over the course of my career that I began to develop a passion for working and helping clinicians and professionals. For me, like I said, it took me 7 years, but that was due to me wanting to be sure that I could deliver a skill set and setting to meet their needs.  Taking your time is not a bad idea.  It will better prepare you for the course before you. 

Know the needs of the community. 

It is my hope that wherever you work or have your practice/business that you are doing something that improves the overall well-being of the community.  In order to do that, you must be aware of the needs of that community.  This can be determined by looking at statistics for mental health, federal and state regulations issued annually, and also through the media.  Knowing the trends of an issue can give you an idea of what community challenges exist. As the helping professional, you are then able to cater to the needs of the community.  Hey, who knows, you may be able to address issues on a larger scale at the state or nationwide level.  Knowing your niche and how it can benefit an overall need, can open doors for you.  

Get a mentor. 

Although, not written in this order, I recommend that the first thing you do is get a mentor, or two or three. That may have made you chuckle, but I am serious.  I actually have a total of three mentors who have provided me with different levels of support and guidance. They each serve a different purpose and have been extremely beneficial in teaching me the tools to be successful (even with a few failures and hiccups). I have grown tremendously because of their guidance.  The best part about having a mentor is that they are able to help you with the following: 

  • Bringing life to ideas
  • Challenging you to think bigger and beyond what you imagine
  • Giving you tools to accomplish goals
  • Identifying training and certification programs to improve your skill set
  • Helping you to focus on one task at a time
  • Establishing realistic goals
  • Being accountable to your mission and goals

Be consistent. 

Consistency is probably the most important thing once you identify your niche. After you have given your attention and planning, in order to be effective, it will require consistency.  This means that you may have a niche that you are known for with a couple of other areas that you are skilled at.  Make sure that you do not dabble in too many areas, that people are unable to identify you according to your niche.  Consistency helps with branding. Once your brand is developed, then feel free to touch on other areas, but make sure the community, organizations, and other professionals know you for your specialization/ niche.  

In the end, your niche is something that will stand out to others. It most likely will be how people are able to find you in order to request your service.  Remember, the niche is about identifying where the needs are and meeting your end goal. However, you cannot get there without following certain steps.  Please follow these or any other helpful steps to assist you in identifying your niche. I wish you well on your journey to greatness.