Monthly Archives: July 2019

Leadership: The New Neighbourhood Is Community

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photo credit: Perry Grone @perrygrone – unsplash

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” – Margaret J. Wheatley

The word community is familiar to all of us and probably has a unique definition for each one of us. We define community generally from what know through experience and also through what we think it should look like.

Today, the community no longer resembles what it did in the past. Now we refer the global community, the business community and other kinds of communities which may not have been common in the past or may even have been unheard of. There are new realities, new dynamics and new challenges. Leaders today, need to, more than ever, be aware of how the dynamics of the community are changing and what this means for the organizations they are leading.

The Book Paradigm Shift, 7 Realities Of Success In The New Economy, with forward by leadership speaker George Guzzardo, has a chapter entitled Community Is the New Neighborhood from which the following was inspired.

A Preliminary View Of Community

Depending on when we grew up and where community meant something different for each one of us. For some, growing up in the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s, the community represented an idyllic neighborhood with neighbors being a part of all activities, from meals at home, to picnics, to neighborhood surveillance. For others, this image of the community was not their day to day reality. Time is not the only determiner of what a community can look like.

Community is also a function of the culture we are surrounded by.  It could be the environment we find ourselves in or the culture we choose to be a part of.  We may grow up in a given culture and the later choose to live in another environment. New places, new situations, such as education, or career paths can change our sense of what community is.

Changing Definitions of Community

Today, many people struggle to gain a sense of what community is and build one for themselves. Varying challenges of growing up have left many with a sense that community is not what they think it is. Traditionally, community centered around family and the local neighborhood. Today, this is very far from the reality of many people.

The definition of what community represents is expanding well beyond the immediate environment and family to include global members, business partners, shared interest groups, etc.

So what can community mean today? One of the most important elements of the community is to have a common interest where all members have an unwritten code, so to speak of why they belong and how they contribute. No one who is part of a community stays there if he or she does not share a common interest with the group.

The Chapter entitled: Paradigm 7: Community Is The New Neighborhood, lists three questions to help define a community (p. 177).

  1. Whose interests would you put above your own? (these are your family)
  2. Whose interests would you work for at the same level as your own? (These are your community).
  3. Whose interests naturally benefit from your interests and visa versa (when you achieve, they achieve and visa versa) – (these are your long-term community).

Human beings flourish most in community. We want community. We seek it.- Paradigm shift

Building A Community

A community is a necessary, but complex foundation and network of relationships in which humans find companionship and structure. It is where they learn, develop skills and help others do the same. Members are necessarily interdependent. benefits. There are two fundamental aspects of community:

  1. shared benefit
  2. genuine love (caring for the other members)

However, people have struggled to combine these two aspects because, at the outset, they are innately oppositional. Our need to pursue self-interest seems to go against seeking to care for others. In our minds, one of these has to give. How do we reconcile the two to build a strong community where everyone benefits? This dilemma cuts to the very heart of what a community really is and also to why a true

Community flourishes where we find a way past the two extremes and blend the necessary ingredients: genuine love and genuine self-interest. – Paradigm Shift

The Core Of A Community

A healthy community provides everyone the freedom, encouragement, and opportunity to express both needs and desires. It is an environment of support and cheerleaders.

How can a community come together in this way? What is the nature of the glue? The common element that makes community work can be summed up in one word: service. When we begin with a desire to genuinely love (serve) others in our community, eventually our interests and their interests will begin to align with one another, come together, so to speak. The eventually become common shared interests.

Likewise, when we begin with our own self-interest and serve others in order to meet our self-interest, it benefits both parties ( a win-win). When we do enough serving (even to benefit ourselves), the dynamics begin to change. We begin to truly care about those we serve and our service becomes one of caring. Eventually, our interests mesh with one another and become common interests.

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller

The Power And The New Reality

The power of a healthy community lies in this dynamic, this relationship that blends both practical needs with emotional needs through one common bond: service.

The implications of this understanding of community building have the potential to transform the way we do business ( and, in fact, it is happening now). run schools and hospitals, and how we live in all aspects of life. In business, the success of the organization is a direct outcome of the success of the individual employees. Imagine business built on the foundation of service and love rather than on profit at all cost.

Leaders who want to build and transform businesses, organizations, schools, hospitals and other areas of society, would do well to recognize that self-interest and genuine love can no longer be mutually exclusive, but must necessarily be a function of service.”

The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca


Entrepreneurship: A Necessity In A Global Market

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photo credit: Daria Nepriakhina @epicantus – unsplash

Why do so many people today think that the America Dream is to get a job? To be an employee? That’s not what this phrase origionally meant. The American Dream was all about building a business, about owning your own company – about changing the world, and certainly your community, by the way you provided leadership in the enterprise (s) you owned. This was the cornerstone of free enterprise, the foundation of the American Dream. Any other definition is a step backwards, a symptom of modern decline. – Oliver DeMille

Today’s world requires new thinking and new ways of doing business. The economy is global and the winds are shifting, We can no longer hope to rely on old models that functioned in an outdated, dead and buried economy. We must pay attention to the Paradigm Shifts. It serves no purpose to whine and complain that the economy is bad. It is our job to fix it and the best and really, the only way is through entrepreneurship. The book entitled Paradigm Shifts, 7 Realities Of Success In The New Economy with a foreword by leadership speaker George Guzzardo has, as one of the shifts,: Building a Business Is the New Career. It is from this chapter that I have written the following.

The “Hidden Thread” of Success

It was entrepreneurship that built the economy (in the U.S) in the postwar years. Today, however, there is a global shift in the middle classes from North America to Asian countries such as China and India. Many see this trend as a disaster and a predictor of the downfall of America. They see Asia as the rising global force and worry about the standard of living for future generations.

But what people fail to see is that the same economic force of entrepreneurship that built up the economy in the postwar years is the same force that can rebuild, in the book The Millionaire Next Door the authors Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko found (in their research) that over 80 percent of America’s millionaires are self-made and two thirds are self-employed entrepreneurs.

Building a business was at the heart of the American Dream. Businesses allowed communities to thrive and people to be employed. It was a win-win situation. America was built on the foundation of entrepreneurship.

Yes, the trend is toward Asian economic wellness, but this is not disastrous. It just means that entrepreneurs need to step up to the plate and put on their creative and innovative caps to regain lost ground. Today, the North American West needs entrepreneurial leadership once again.

The new career is building a business for those who want to be economic leaders in the newly defined competitive market.

Thriving

Bringing back economic growth to North America requires a mind shift – a paradigm shift. We can no longer sit on and benefit from the business successes of the past. Economic wellness thrives in adversity and entrepreneurship came out of adversity, first from the need to survive and then from the desire to thrive. What has happened today is that we (North Americans) have, for the most part, forgotten how to face adversity and how to fight to survive in difficult economic times. We have coasted along on the sails of prosperity and become weak.

So, we have (unwillingly) passed the baton over to Asia and, as we know full well Asians are typically hard-working entrepreneurial people. They understand adversity and have built up their economy through hard work and plowing through.

What also needs to be revived is the spirit of entrepreneurship – the exciting challenges, the goals, the thrilling and fun aspects as well as the challenging sides. We need to once again teach the next generations that true economic freedom begins with entrepreneurship.

The Importance of Risk

Thoughtful risk-taking is very rarely taught in school and is generally thought to be reserved for the crazy few. Perhaps this is because we don’t fully understand the notion of risk. We are not talking about careless risk, but rather a risk that has been calculated and that brings about change, innovation and service.

Risk necessarily implies the possibility of both success and failure, It means being willing to try knowing that you could either succeed or fail. But without risk, nothing of any significance can happen. Risk-taking forces us to draw on our creativity and develop skills that help us to improve and expand our enterprise.

Risk is seen as negative by those who want to maintain the status quo. Chris Brady (leadership author and speaker) calls it the “committee of they”. This committee tries to put a halt to innovation, and criticize originality and authenticity. This committee of they would prefer for everyone to fall in line and not question their way of doing things.

Here is the problem, too many members of the committee if they have led people to believe that risk is dangerous and innovation is questionable. They have kept people in the old economy and academia rather than encourage entrepreneurship. But true success belongs to those who push the limits and lead.

Building Teams

It has been said that “no man is an island” and how true this is. No one can succeed in any endeavor without the help of others. True leaders team up with other leaders for a common purpose – to build and succeed. Leaders teaming up with leaders is powerful because it is the synergy of independent thinkers working toward a common goal.

Teams of leaders redefine the notion of success. Typically success was seen as a more individual endeavor in the old economic modal where such notions as conformity, standardization, specialization were the norm. But we no longer live in this old model world. Today’s global economy calls for a new way of thinking and doing. it calls for team units working together with shared goals.  A new dynamic of teamwork is required.

In today’s vision of the entrepreneurial environment, people are challenged in a friendly spirit of competition, supported, encouraged, and inspired by one another. the book Paradigm Shift calls these units cohorts. They work individually or in combination with other cohorts towards commonly shared goals.

Mentoring

An important key in the new model of entrepreneurship is the concept of mentoring, which is contrasted to the expert in the old way of thinking. Experts used to be looked up to as the ones who held the knowledge. They were specialists in different domains. Today, more and more these “experts” are losing ground and are increasingly being criticized or ignored.

Now mentors, which could simply mean someone who has more experience, a longer track record than you or someone who has the results you are seeking to achieve, are being sought after. Mentors are the new “educational / teaching source” when it comes to succeeding in an economic field and even personal areas of life. Mentors do not need academic credentials, badges or certifications. what they have to offer is wisdom from experience.

Mentorship is the “new college”. Who can be a mentor? Mentors can be people that you interact with in person, such as someone who has already built one or more businesses. They can also come in the form of books, audios, and seminars through which you can learn from the experience of many people. In today’s world, the guidance of a trustworthy and competent mentor is not just a perk, it is essential to success.

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca


The 10 Top Reasons We Fail

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photo credit: Kyle Glenn @kylejglenn – unsplash

Lord, deliver me from the man who never makes a mistake, and also from the man who makes the same mistake twice – Dr. William Mayo

Failure is a “bad” word in our society. No one wants to fail or enjoys failing. In school, students learn the lesson that failing is not the objective, passing is. Failure is not inherently negative. It is what we do with our failures that matters. If we allow our failures to be ur teacher so that we can learn from them and improve, then failure can be a positive element in our lives. If, however, we ignore the lessons of failure and keep on making the same mistakes and never learning from them, then, yes, failure is not to our advantage.

So failure is neither good nor bad; it is an experience that happens. However, there are ways that we can actively choose to fail ( or experience failure over and over) simply because of a lack of understanding (or information)  of what it takes to succeed. Often the key to success lies in getting the right information and acting on it. In his book  Failing Forward, Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones For Success author John Maxwell discusses the nature of failure in great detail. In one chapter he enumerates the top 10 reasons that people fail.

1.Poor People Skills

This really the #1 reason for lack of success on all accounts. If we are lacking in our ability to relate to others in our personal and professional lives, we will have a lot of difficulties preserving relationships and attaining any success in our professional lives.  Having poor people skills is like not having any money in our bank account. It is a state in which we are constantly withdrawing from our relational account and in which we are unable to make deposits.

Poor people skills include: monopolizing conversations and not taking the time to listen, not being honest and authentic with others, and being demanding of others without respecting their time and their needs,

2.A Negative Attitude

How we react to the circumstances that happen to us and around us determine our well-being and how well we succeed in life. In everything, our attitude determines how we view the circumstances. It really does not matter what we go through or what happens to us; what matters is whether we have a positive outlook or a negative outlook. Our perspective determines whether we will be negatively or positively impacted by the event. We are what we think. We control our attitude, one of the few things in life that we do have control over. And what we think determines our actio0ns and our words. So, having a  negative attitude will always bring about failure.  No one wants to associate, or work with a person who is known for their negative outlook.

3.A Bad Fit

Sometimes the problem is that we don’t fit the environment we are in or the job we are doing. Sometimes it might be that our abilities, interests, personality or values are misaligned with what we are doing or the people we are with. If we do not recognize this mismatch, we may feel that we are the problem. We might have the impression that we are incompetent, unmotivated or the cause of conflict. It is important to take an honest look at our circumstances. Are we where we should be so that our talents, interests, personality, and values can shine and benefit ourselves and others?

It is important to know ourselves, what we like, what we value and even who we are as a person when considering entering into any relationship or choosing a career path (or making career changes). By aligning ourselves in a way that is true to ourselves, we will have more success in whatever we undertake.

4.Lack of Focus

Losing focus or not being focused can cause a lot of problems and mistakes (sometimes very serious mistakes). It is easy to toss off the “lack of focus” with the quip ” I wasn’t thinking”, but therein lies the problem. Lack of focus usually means that are not thinking correctly about what is important. We can also lack focus in our lives. We chase rabbits everywhere, but we don’t know why. Our lives can seem like a series of decisions and consequences with no direction.  We try to “catch up” with people or tasks, but end up trying to be everywhere and do everything at once and not accomplishing anything of substance.

Usually, the cause of the lack of focus is that we have not established our priorities in life; We have not determined how our time should be spent and with whom. If we want to succeed in life, we need to set our priorities in stone and base all our decisions and activities on these priorities.

5.Unwillingness to Change

Unwillingness to change reveals inflexibility and lack of teachability. When we believe that we do not want to change, we also hold the opinion that the problem is not us, but rather other people or circumstances. If we are not getting anywhere or finding success in what we do, perhaps it might be good to do some interception. Success in anything requires humility and humility leads to a willingness to change what needs to be changed.

An unwillingness to change can be a huge stumbling block in career advancement and in improving our relationships. No one wants to be whipping a proverbial “dead horse” and certainly, no one wants to be that dead horse that no one wants to deal with. Success depends on our willingness to embrace change as a catalyst for growth and opportunities.

6.A Weak Commitment

Commitment is a heavy word – it evokes long term, “in it for the long haul” kind of thinking. It can even seem scary and daunting. the questions we may ask ourselves are: “Can I do this?”  “Will I be able to stay at it even if it takes years?”. Commitment to anything feels permanent. But success is built on commitment – a commitment to ourselves, to our family, to our dream or anything else that we want to see results in.

Success depends on our ability to make a commitment. Failures, setbacks will come and shake us. but if we have a firmly established commitment, we may be rattled a bit, we may experience discomfort or stress, but we will be able to weather the storm because we have made a longterm decision no matter what.

7.Relying On Talent Alone

It has been said that talent is highly overrated, but what does that mean? everyone has talent, but having talent alone will not get you very far. There are many “prodigies” in the world with extraordinary talent, but if they do not combine their talent with hard work and persistence, their talent will be all they have.

Talent, especially when we have been overly blessed with it, can actually be a hindrance to our overall success. why is this? Because we can end up relying on it too heavily and not on developing ourselves. We may lose out on the benefits derived from putting in the day-to-day hard work of honing our skills. as an example, think of the hare and the tortoise. The hare depended on talent, whereas the tortoise understood that he neede to be persistence.

8.A Short Cut Mindset

Nothing of great value can be accomplished by cutting corners. Whether we are talking about building a strong family, a strong business, lasting relationships,  a life of significance, or pursuing a dream, we can not accomplish anything by taking shortcuts. We tend to think short-term rather than long term; we overestimate what we can accomplish in 1 year and underestimate what we can accomplish in 5 or 10 years.

The real problem when we think this way is that we are impatient for results; we want to see results now. Thinking this way also undermines the need and value of self-discipline which is needed to bring about results over the long term. When we seek short cuts and “immediate” results and don’t see them right away, we may be tempted to ‘throw in the towel” – give up, so to speak. But success is built on a solid foundation, built on time and perseverance.

9.Response to Poor Information

Not all information is created equal. Some information is helpful and some information is not. Some information is correct and some information is incorrect. we can not accept or act on all information at face value. Unfortunately, acting on inaccurate or otherwise poor information is rampant given the high-paced over taxing way of life we have.  In our business, we tend to look for fast and effective rather than helpful and true.

In addition, there is an extraordinary and overwhelming amount of information competing (clamoring) for our attention. The most successful people do not look at the quantity of information, but rather the quality and the source. sometimes even a little bit of true and accurate information is more useful than extensive information. Successful people measure information against a standard and don’t allow just any information to influence them.

Having No Goals

Joe F. Griffith said, ” A goal is just a dream with a time limit”. What an awesome perspective on goals. We tend to avoid goal setting because it seems dry and tedious. but what if we took Joe F. Griffith’s perspective and attached a time limit to our dreas6 probably we would be more enthusiastic about setting goals because we would actually be planning our dreams.

The other reason we fail to set goals is that we haven’t actually thought about what we really want. We haven’t taken the time to think about it. Dreams and goals seem like something we might do int the future. successful people never think like this. successful people build their lives around dreams and goal setting. It is a way of life for them and they find meaning and enjoyment in doing so.

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca


How To Not Let Fear Control You

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photo credit: Alexandra Gorn @alexgorn – unsoplash

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” —Henry Ford

We All Have Our Fears and Doubts

Should we go for that new job?  Should we change jobs and take a chance on a new one?  Are we good enough to be able to compete? What will our family or our friends say? Maybe they will discourage us and say that we don’t have what it takes. Maybe we fear that we will fail or worse, that we will succeed and then what?  Our school experience may have taught us that if we don’t measure up, it is no use trying and we should just stick to what we are able to do.

I have to say that I was this way for a long time. I would have intermittent sparks of “I can do this” and then “reality” would bring me down to a level playing ground and I would settle down to doing regular, normal things, living according to (my and others’) expectations.  In fact, I had often dreamed of writing and speaking in front of audiences. This very blog was supposed to have been started about 10 years ago, but I just put it off because I believed that I was not technologically savvy enough to get it off the ground.  But here I am, 10 years later, doing what I always believed I could do.

Fear Is So Debilitating

Fear can paralyze us into apathy and victimhood.  It is a dramatization of what we think will happen based on nothing more than our overactive imagination and our interpretation of our current circumstances and our past experience. How many times in our lives do we allow fear to keep us from doing what we would really love to do, from doing something that we would be so passionate about?

And the crazy thing is our fears are often not even real. Probably close to 95% of what we fear will most likely not even materialize; Here is a cute acronym for fear: FEARis F.E.A.RFalse evidence appearing real. What we imagine is an obstacle doesn’t actually exist, except in our imagination.

What Do We Fear?

Most of the time, as adults, we fear (or worry about) what will happen to us and our families in the future. We anticipate (and imagine) scenarios that do not currently exist based on our present situation. Here are the top categories of what adults fear according to the Barna Research Group:

  • Finances 28%
  • Health 19%
  • Career 16%
  • Parental Problems 11%
  • Family Relationships 7%
  • Personal Life Goals 7%

All or most of our fears fall into one or more of these categories.

What Fear Does to Us

  • Causes us to become more fearful (fear breeds fear)
  • Causes inaction
  • Makes us weak (low confidence)
  • Wastes time and energy
  • Puts limits on what we can do

How Can We Tackle Our Fears?

In his book, The Difference Maker, author John Maxwell lists 8 tips to handling fear:

Admit Your Fears

Our natural tendency is to not admit that we are fearful; our human pride keeps us in a state of denial. We certainly do not want to admit to others that we are afraid- that would make us look weak, we think. But this idea of thinking that being fearful is a weakness is far from the truth. Fear is just an emotion and everyone experiences fear.

The first step is to swallow our pride and admit that we have fears (or the emotion of fear). Just by doing this we place ourselves in a position of strength because now we can begin to face it –  name it and decide how to deal with it. The second step is to identify what we fear- get to the bottom of it. Finally, the third step in dealing with our fear is to analyze our reactions and our perception.

  • Is what we fear rational?
  • Is it the reality or just what might or might not happen?
  • Are we overreacting and projecting?

Discover The Source Of Your Fears

We need to separate reality from imagination. Sometimes we allow our perception of a situation to paint reality falsely.  Fears paralyze our thinking and we are no longer able (temporarily) to think rationally about our circumstances. Part of the reason for this reaction is that it is possible that we don’t have all the facts. Maybe we are missing information or maybe we believe falsely about the information we do have. Misunderstandings and lack of information can breed fear in our minds.

Also, sometimes what we fear is not really what we fear. In other words, we don,t get to the root cause and stay on the surface. For example, at work, we may fear what our boss thinks of us or what colleagues say about us. But is this real fear? Maybe, if we dig deeper, we are afraid of losing our job and if we dig even further, we may discover that the real fear is not having enough money to live and perhaps losing our home. So it is important not to stay at the surface, but dig to find the true fear.

Realize How Fears Can Limit You

As stated,  fear is not a reality for the most part; it is an emotion. We can not allow our emotions to be the guideposts of our lives. Fear is normal and everyone experiences it from time to time. But when we allow fear to control our decisions, to prevent us from doing what we would like to do, there is a problem. Of course, I am not referring to jumping out of planes or climbing Mount Everest (if you want to do that, that is fine). I am talking about missed opportunities because of fear. I am talking about collecting regrets down the road. Don’t let fear be the reason you hold back. If you allow fear to control you, you may never know what could have been.

Accept Normal Fear As Par For The Course

Fear can be an ally to us, a motivator and a challenger. Fear is not inherently disastrous; it simply needs to be understood in the correct context. It is a negative and (potentially) destructive emotion, but it is only an emotion. Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the ability to confront it. Fear is normal and we need to acknowledge it as such, but not give it too much power over us. We control our fears, not the other way around.

Once we recognize that fear is normal, we can begin to turn it to our advantage. We can use it as a challenge rather than an overlord.  We will feel fear. This is the reality. But we do not have to be controlled by it.

Turn Fear Into A Positive

“The hero and the coward both feel exactly the same fear, only the hero confronts his fear and converts it into fire” – Cus D’Amato

Whatever we fear, we can turn it into the opposite. If we fear losing our job, we can turn around the way we do our job. We can be proactive and take initiatives as well as doing our job as well and efficiently as we can. If we fear meeting people or are afraid of what they think, we can turn this around and take the first step in greeting people, We can also decide that we will get better at connecting with people and improve our “people skills”.

For every fear, there is an opposite action of courage. We do not have to live in the fear zone and remain afraid of being afraid.

Concentrate On What You Can Control

We can not control a lot of things in life, but somehow we feel as if we can or should. Worry or fear is an emotional attempt to control something that does not even exist yet or may never exist. It serves no purpose to be fearful of what may never happen and try to control what we have no control over.

Where we should put our energy is into that which is within our power to change or influence.  We can not control people, politics, the economy, or any such things, but we can control what we choose to think and how we choose to act. We are in complete control of our attitude no matter what happens to us. We are also in control of how we choose to spend our time, despite what many people think. and the time I am talking about is right now, not the future. All we have is today.

Stay In The Present (Not the Past Or Future)

Yesterday no longer exists and tomorrow does not have a guarantee. All the time we have is right now. The only time we can impact is right now. There is no need or reason to mull over what we did or did not do in the past. There is no logical reason to replay yesterday’s video over and over to relive our failures or create imaginary conversations (we all do this, it’s not just me) unless the purpose is to learn from our mistakes and improve.

Likewise, when we focus too much on the future, we may miss the opportunities that are right in front of us now. It is good to not focus too much on the destination so that we can benefit from what is happening in the present. Parents- are you too focused on college for your children that you do not spend time enjoying them now? Employers – are you too focused on the next business partnership that you fail to connect with your employees?

Feed the Right Emotion

The opposite of fear is faith. Sometimes we are overwhelmed with fear and other times it is our faith that shines. Both faith and fear operate inside of us, but which one will we give more attention to?  It has been said: ‘ Where our focus goes, energy grows” If we focus on our fears, our fears will grow, but if we put more energy into faith, our faith will grow.

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote:

“You gain strength,  courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face, You are able to say to yourself ” I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you can not do.”

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca


How to Make Friends With Change

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photo credit: Matt Flores @matdflo – unsplash

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. Dr. Seuss

We are all resistant to change to one degree or another. For some of us, it brings feelings of dread and anxiety as we anticipate what we are leaving behind and possible (in our minds) losing. We feel anxiety over something new and different that takes out of our zone of familiarity. We may ask ourselves ” How will I make it, How will get through this?” Change is always uncomfortable and a lot of us do not deal well with anything that makes us feel uncomfortable or awkward.

Most people enjoy their routine. It is safe, it is known and predictable. But change inevitably happens and, if we have not developed the expectancy and understanding that change is normal, then we might find ourselves ill-equipped to deal with it emotionally, physically or even financially. The fact is, not everything stays the same; children grow up and leave home, jobs terminate, cherished friends move away or pass away, family members pass away. nothing ever stays the same forever.

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. Gail Sheehy

Let’s admit it once and for all: No one likes change. Usually, change doesn’t happen because we have initiated it; change usually happens to us or around us whether we want it to or not. We just have to learn how to deal with it in the best way possible. In his book The Difference Maker, John Maxwell talks about attitude and change; how we view change makes all the difference.

Five main reasons are given as to why people resist change:

  • .Personal Loss
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Bad timing
  • It Feels awkward
  • They cling to their traditions

Personal Loss

The first concern people have is one of loss. We are afraid of losing what we have worked hard to acquire in terms of finances, recognition at work or even a community of friends we may have to leave. We may fear losing the stability we are used to and a lifestyle we have been accustomed to. People around us may try to encourage us by saying that it is for the better, but, if we are the ones directly impacted by the change, it is very hard to see the gains and benefits. Change necessarily means that we will have to give up something to gain something else.

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Fear of the Unknown

When confronted with a new reality, we are not always prepared to step in and adapt. The newness carries with it a certain uncertainty because of what we don’t know. For example, moving to a new city means learning to get around, and making a new set of friends. We just don’t know how everything will turn out because it seems new and strange to us. A new job means new colleagues and new expectations. A change in health for us or a family member…….

Bad Timing

No time is the right time for change to happen,  but when we need to make changes, timing can make all the difference. There are changes that happen to us and changes that we instigate. When we go through a change such as a job loss, an illness or financial crisis it will never seem like the right time and we often feel like we have lost control. Other times we need to make changes such as career changes or moving, but, again, we may hold off because we feel that the timing is not right for a change.

It Feels Awkward

Anything that is new and different can feel awkward at first. Starting university for the first time, for example,  can feel uncomfortable and we may feel like we don’t belong there. When we are placed in new positions, it can feel awkward because we are called to assume new responsibilities that we had previously not had. Changing habits and adopting new ways of doing things feels strange until it becomes routine.

Hanging on to Traditions

Our traditions are a hindrance to change and innovation, but we hold on to them because we have “always” done things “this way”. It is very difficult to convince people to start doing things a different way because people, being people, cling to their traditions; they are a source of security for them.

When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills. Chinese proverb

How To Have a Different Perspective

Generally speaking, we resist change because we tend to focus too much on what it will take away from us, how it will inconvenience us or where it will take us. We fear loss and the unknown and change represents both in our minds.

What we need to do is alter our perspective on how we view change from one of loss to one of gain. Everything worthwhile will necessarily mean a certain amount of sacrifice and sacrifice means we have to let go of what we have or are used to in order to gain new advantages or experiences. It is also helpful to adopt a realistic perspective. Often we imagine any change to be much worse and catastrophic than it actually is. We also downplay the opportunities that could along with change.

John Maxwell lists some reality checks:

  • Change will happen whether we like it or not
  • Without change, there is no Improvement
  • There will be a cost

Change Will Happen

All of life is about change; it is unavoidable. No day is like another; they all come with their joys and their challenges. People change, circumstances change, the weather changes. Life is anything but boring. Just coming to grips with this reality and accepting it can be a good start.  Accepting and even anticipating change can help us to plan and adjust. We might not like change, but, because it happens all the time, we can learn to “roll with the waves”.

No Change, No Improvement

Change challenges us to hone new skills even if these are just skills of adaptation and patience. It will never leave us the same as we were before; it is always transformational. It can bring about gain, or opportunities, but it can also bring about loss. Change is the instrument, but our attitude regarding how we perceive change determines how we will be affected by it. Where there is no change, there can never be an opportunity to grow.

There Will Be a Cost

Change always requires payment in money, time, energy or other. No matter what the changes are in our life, whether it is personal change, professional change, or changes that “happen” to us or in our entourage, we must know that adapting or adjusting will require something from us. We may need to to make financial adjustments or schedule adjustments. We may need to adopt new ways of thinking and living. The best way to assume the cost is to understand that it is necessary and manage it.

A Perception of Change

It has been said that time changes things, but, in fact, changes are only circumstances or choices. We are responsible for assuming the responsibility for the changes we make and for our attitude towards changes that happen to us or around us. Change can not impact us, good or bad, without our permission.

Of course, the easy way out would be for everything and everyone to remain the same, but even the 3rd law of thermodynamics teaches us that change (or adjustments) is necessary otherwise everything will naturally go toward decline. nothing remains the same (or static). If we are not changing and growing, then we are necessarily going back towards decline.

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, and the pursuit of a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca


How To Master Communication And Avoid Misunderstandings

Category : Uncategorized

Communication and miscommunication, understanding and misunderstanding, how hard it seems to us to say what we want to say and be understood by others who want to do the exact same thing. We all want to feel important, feel heard and understood. We all feel certain that what we have to say is important and should be said first. We are naturally selfish, emotional and irrational beings.

Ho can we connect with and communicate in a healthy and effective way? How can we avoid being misunderstood? The Book entitled Point and Grunt with forward by Claude Hamilton breaks down the communication dilemma into bite-size pieces to help us improve in this crucial area of being human. Here are 4 main points (with subpoints) covered in the book.

  1. Master The 6 Big Ones

There are 6 big fixes or important unavoidable areas that must be adhered to no matter what context of communication you are dealing with. These are not earth-shaking ideas and most of us are familiar with their importance. However, in the context of improving communication, they are important to review.

Professionalism

Being professional in our communication implies that we raise others to a level of professionalism. It gives others the sense that you are trustworthy, that you are dependable. A professional approach also lets people know that you adhere to high standards and are consistent. In other words, you do not have others feeling that you are somehow unpredictable.

Clarity

Whether we are speaking or writing clarity is important. We need to say what needs to be said, what the other person needs to know rather than what we think they would like to know. Sometimes we get tripped up in unimportant and confusing details and lose focus on what is essential. The natural results are miscommunication and misunderstandings. If necessary repeat and confirm that your message has been understood.

Honesty

There is a saying that we need to say what we mean and mean what we say. This is integrity. Being honest is also about being authentic no matter who we are talking to. In every situation, we are consistent and genuine. Again, it is all about trust- can people take you at your word and is your track record consistent?

Frequency

Communicate often and with everyone, you come into contact with. Communication builds and strengthens relationships and people remember those who take the time to have a conversation with them. When we communicate often, whether, in personal or professional relationships, people see and know that we care and that we care about what we share.

Intentions

Our message is so much more than words. Whenever we speak, our tone, our body language, gestures, and other elements. all combine to give a message which may or may not convey what we intended to say. What is in the inside- in our heart- will always come out through one of these paths. Our tone of voice may convey hurt even if our words do not. So, we need to make sure that our intentions are right before speaking.

  • professionalism
  • clarity
  • honesty
  • frequency
  • Heartful intentions

2. The Small Important Details

Remember names

The practice of remembering names is important but often underestimated. In fact, in business, it can be a difference maker. We all have told ourselves that we are no good at remembering names and therefore, we don’t even try. But making the effort to remember people’s names is professional and it conveys the idea that a person is important to us. It is a very small detail that can have a huge impact.

Big Slip-ups (oops!)

Awkward! Try not to say those incredibly dumb “foot-in-mouth” things that make you feel like a skunk at a garden party. You know the kind –  asking a lady when her baby is due when she isn’t even pregnant. That is just awkward. Try not to do this, but if you do apologize or smooth it over with as much grace as you can.

Softeners

Sometimes we have to confront and communicate a message that is uncomfortable. But, as much as possible, we want to avoid making the other person feel uncomfortable especially before we have even said what we need to say. We can use softeners to lessen the impact, that makes our message less direct. We can add words such as maybe, perhaps, probably – or any expression that somehow makes our message less polarizing and more collaborative.

  • Remember names
  • Avoid the slip-ups
  • Soften the speech

3.  Listen

Active Listening

Active listening means being fully engaged in and connecting with the other person. It means seeking to understand with genuine intention. Often the tendency is to listen (out of politeness), but, at the same time, think in our head about what we want to say. So, in doing this, we are not really (or fully) listening, but simply preparing our response. Change and transformation happen when true communication takes place – speaking, active listening, and engaging.

Appropriate Eye contact

Good eye contact is important, but don’t be cheesy or weird about it. The eyes are “the window to the soul” and so making eye contact establishes trust and connection with the other person. It shows that we are engaged with them and interested in them. Eye contact also helps us to gauge how the other person is responding to our message. Keep the eye contact appropriate – as a connection and gauge, but not to intimidate them.

Summarize

Summarize what we have heard (or repeating in our own words) serves two purposes. First, it helps us to make sure that we have understood what a person has said to us so that we do not misunderstand and second, it shows that we care and respect the other person enough to take the time to make sure we have understood. A lot of times people pretend to be listening. they may have all the appropriate mannerisms, but clarifying through repeating truly shows that we have been listening.

Don’t Interrupt- Just  Nod

We know that we shouldn’t interrupt, but we all do it. We want to make our point regardless of whether the other person has finished speaking. Sometimes we may think we are helping by finishing sentences or jumping with a “helpful comment” that may turn into a paragraph. Steven Covey has as one of his principles in conflict resolution: Seek first to understand. We should also apply this to conversations. Rather than blurting out our “2 cents worth”, we should nod and acknowledge the speaker to show that we are genuinely listening.

  • Listen actively
  • Use appropriate eye contact
  • Summarize
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Acknowledge

4. Heal, Don’t Harm

Apologize

We all make mistakes. We all hurt other people. Sometimes we are wrong. In all cases, it is our job, our responsibility to own up for whatever our part in the hurt or misunderstanding is. Apologies need to be done as soon as possible – Don’t wait for a storm to brew.  They also need to be done well. Sometimes a simple “I’m sorry” isn’t enough. An apology given in the wrong spirit can often make a situation worse. so, it is also important to be humble and accept our part in the matter. Above all, it is important to only focus on apologizing, not explaining or justifying. The goal is to establish peace.

Don’t Gossip

Our society thrives on gossip from the coffee machine gossip at the office to the tabloids and just about everywhere else. Gossip is so prevalent that most of the time we are not even aware that we are doing it. What is gossip? Gossip is betraying the trust of someone in their absence, it is speaking negatively about someone else when they are not present. What is devastating about gossip besides that fact that it can destroy a person’s reputation, is that it comes back full circle. It destroys relationships, organizations, businesses and much more. Gossip should never have any place in the conversation.

Don’t Criticize for Sport

What does it mean to criticize for sport? Criticism can be constructive in order to help another person to improve. but when criticism is done for the sake of criticizing, out of habit or even to have a sense of superiority, this is criticizing for sport. There are “haters” or “trolls” in the world who spend their time finding things and people to criticize. They seem to get their energy in finding ways to criticize others. Other times people criticize as a way of “getting back” at someone, In any case, criticism in this spirit has no place in a conversation.

  • Apologize
  • Don’t Gossip
  • Don’t Criticize for Sport

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca


Capitalize On Your Emotional Potential

Category : Uncategorized

photo credit: Daniel Spase @danielspase – unsplash

“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head–it is the unique intersection of both.” —  David Caruso

We have certainly all heard about different kinds of intelligence. In particular, we are most familiar with intelligence quotient (IQ) as a way of measuring potential. For decades IQ was a standard for measuring one’s success in life: academically, professionally, and even healthwise. Who remembers the long IQ tests given in schools? More and more, other forms of intelligence are being looked at with more interest. One of these is Emotional Intelligence or EQ (Emotional Quotient).

According to one article in The Guardian, emotional intelligence might be the secret to a high salary

IQ gets you hired. EQ gets you promoted.”  — Time Magazine

“We might be hired for technical talents, but we are often fired because we lack emotional intelligence.” – Canaday

According to some researchers, emotional intelligence accounts for up to 75% of a person’s ability to succeed. A study, published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour (August 2017) found that students who tested high in emotional intelligence (EI) during their studies and who were followed for 10 years after, went on to have higher paying careers than students who scored a lower EQ. It seems that people with higher emotional intelligence are more skilled at connecting and relating to people on emotional levels, and better able to keep themselves in check in stressful situations and environments. They are more aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

In his book The Power of Your Potential, author John Maxwell lists and discusses Emotional Potential as one of 7 Potentials or abilities that we all have in order to make compounding choices that will maximize the potential we have. He lists 7 things we should either do or not do in order to capitalize on our emotional potential. these 7 points reflect how emotionally strong people act. Emotionally strong people:

1.Become Proactive With Their Emotions

What do we mean by becoming proactive with our emotions? It simply means recognizing them and learning to influence our emotions rather than allowing them to influence you. It means avoiding the victim position of our feelings being in charge of your decisions (to act or not act).

How can we influence our emotions? One of the ways is learning from our past reactions and mistakes and making a decision to choose how we will handle similar situations in the future. Another way is by learning to identify them. We all know that gut shots in life will happen and that quite often we will be taken by surprise (“I didn’t see that coming”). We can learn to identify the emotions attached to what happens to us, separate them and process them. When we become more skilled at doing this, we can more easily bounce back.

2. Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry For Themselves

Jon Maxwell writes “You can’t complain and get ahead at the same time”. This is so true. How is it possible to move ahead, improve, accomplish what we want to accomplish and at the same time, wallow in self-pity? And the fact of the matter is, that while we are having a pity party, the rest of the world is going on, business as usual. Our feeling sorry for ourselves will not change anything and, will probably work to our disadvantage.

So we have a choice; we can let life’s curve balls bring us down and allow ourselves to whine and moan, or we can tell ourselves that while we are feeling sorry for ourselves, the world is moving on and we are stuck in our pool of pity.

3. Don’t Let Others Control Their Relationships

Many of us are people pleasers and many of us are uncomfortable saying no when we know we should say no. Many of us allow others to run our lives for us (even unintentionally).  In fact, we are allowing other people’s behavior to be in control of our lives. Sometimes we allow the potential disappointment, frustration or even anger of others scare us from doing what we truly want to do or into doing things that we do not want to do.

John Maxwell talks about what he was told by a mentor ” The weaker person controls the relationship” What a powerful statement! If we are not aware, even though we are emotionally strong, we can find ourselves giving into the other person’s way of thinking. On the other hand, if we are aware of this dynamic, we can choose how we will respond either by adapting to or by influencing the other person.

4. Don’t Waste Energy On What They Can’t Control

The fact of the matter is, we can not control what we can not control, so why waste our energy trying to do so? An example of this would be a traffic jam. We can not control it, so we needn’t get all emotional (angry or frustrated) over the situation because it will not change anyway. There are, simply, things which are out of our control and all the emotional reaction in the world will do nothing at all to alter the situation.

However, there are areas where we do have control and these are where we should place our energy. For example, we are in control of our attitude. We can choose how we will spend our time. We can decide what is important to us and we can choose to follow our passion. We can choose what activities we will pursue and why. all of these areas are under our control and therefore, worth our energy.

5. Don’t Keep Making the Same Mistakes

The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over but expecting the same results. We instinctively know this to be true and, yet, we often find ourselves in a rut- doing what we have always done (because it is what we know and are comfortable doing) and, at the same time. wishing for something different. We spin our wheels or tread on our hamster wheel doping the same old, same old and wonder why we are not getting anywhere.

Repeating the same pattern and mistakes does not work! It,s a trap. If we want to have something different, we will have to do something different. We can not keep doing the same things in life and expect different results. One of the ways to break this cycle is to ask ourselves questions. “Is this working? Why? or Why not?  What can I do differently to get new results or change my circumstances?”

6. Don’t Allow the Highs or Lows to Control Their Lives

Life is naturally peppered with highs and lows, mountains and valleys. Every day comes with blessings and also difficulties. Both the highs in life as well as the lows can be detrimental if we remain there too long. Both can lead to stagnation and prevent us from growing and improving. We already know that staying in the doldrums can cause is to think negatively and make poor choices. Likewise, remaining on a mountaintop of success can cause us to become complacent and weak.

Either way, it is best not to remain there for too long. if we are successful, we shouldn’t sit on our laurels for more than a couple of days. Likewise, if we are at an emotional low or failure, we should lick our wounds for a bit, then get up and do something positive to bring ourselves out. We need to get back on track and regain our emotional control by taking action and not allowing the pendulum to swing too far in either direction.

7. Understand, Appreciate and Grow Through Struggles

Struggles make us strong. All of life is filled with struggles.  Whether we like it or not, we will have to go through struggles. Because many people are “change adverse”, they hope for a life without difficulty (we are all like this to some extent). But the absence of difficulty eventually can make us weak, ill-equipped to face difficulties when they come.

Those who are strong emotionally take a different stance; they expect and welcome struggles as an opportunity to learn and grow. They also understand that behind or at the end of the struggle lies opportunity. Failure is the pathway to success. Adversity paves the way for growth; it requires perseverance and belief. Emotionally strong people appreciate the blessing behind the struggle and seek to grow through it.

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Diana Lynne loves to travel, pursue self-improvement and debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and her dog Skye. You can connect with her through livingandstuff.ca


How to Think Creatively to See Options And Solutions

Category : Uncategorized

“Creative geniuses redefine the desired solution. They don’t just push the envelope; they create a whole new courier system.”
Puneet Bhatnagar

When we consider creative thinking, we tend to imagine that it is a personality trait- that some people are more creative than others. We put ourselves into boxes and stay there. But creative thinking is available to all of us and has little or nothing to do with our personality or gifts. Creative thinking is really about giving ourselves the freedom to trust our ideas and ask questions that maybe others are uncomfortable asking. It is about giving ourselves the freedom to think differently from conventional patterns. in fact, creative thinking is an innate trait given to all human beings.

Often when we encounter roadblocks or “unsolvable” or “impossible” problems we tend to get frustrated and fail to see any options or solutions because we only look at what we want to see. We become blinded by our own thinking. Other times we put up our own barriers and limit ourselves to what is expected or what has already been done before whether or not it has given positive results. Somewhere along the line, we lose the innate creativity that we were born with and which was so alive when we were children.

In his book The Power of Your Potential, international leadership author and speaker, John Maxwell gives 8 keys to increasing our capacity to think creatively.

1.Believe There Is Always an Answer

If we begin with this mindset that there is a solution, then we can also eliminate the idea that there is no solution. In this way, creative thinking is a choice to see what is possible rather than what is impossible. The process of finding a solution then becomes a stimulating challenge rather than a frustrating exercise in futility (banging our heads against a wall).  Choosing to believe that there is always an answer opens up new possibilities and new doors that we might never have thought of exploring.

“A conclusive mind cannot be a creative mind.”
amit kalantri,

2. Believe There Is More Than One Answer

John Maxwell likes the word optionsIt is natural to think that for every problem there is only one solution. We seem to be wired to think this way. But what if we chose to consider and think of several possible options and then choose which one is optimal for the situation? In this way, we can harness the thinking power of several people (brainstorming) to collectively find possible solutions/answers. Thinking this way helps us to develop open-mindedness, flexibility, and adaptability which are all efficient skills to have for problem-solving.

3. People and Situations Can Change and Get Better

People and situations can change and they change all the time. Whatever a situation looks like today is not necessarily how it will look tomorrow or next week. New information, new ideas can turn a situation around. People equipped with new and better information can begin to grow and change their mindset and ways of doing things. Nothing is a lost cause. When we believe situations and people can change and improve, we are beginning with an advantage over not believing in possibility. When we believe in possibility, we become part of the solution.

“Change the questions you ask, the way you view the issue will be transformed and innovation will start!”
Isaac You, 

4. Questions Help Us Become More Creative

Questions are an important catalyst in stimulating creative thinking and open questions such as “What if..?’ stoke the creative spark even more. Ultimately we want to think creatively to see how we can improve things, make them even better than before, and how we can improve ourselves in different areas. Questions force us to reflect and evaluate. Having creative people around us asking questions also stimulates us to think differently and collectively. Steve Jobs said:

Creativity is just connecting things.

5. Ideas Don’t Have to Be Perfect

What is important is having ideas and cultivating ideas. They do not need to be fully developed. Sometimes we are afraid of sharing our ideas with others because we fear they might be criticized or dismissed. The fear of rejection can have a paralyzing effect on us. But stimulating our imagination and cultivating ideas no matter how good or bad they are is part of the creative process. Some ideas will become superstar ideas and others will end up in the trash can. The point is to have ideas and not be afraid of them. If they don’t work, just move on to one that does.

6. Let Go of How You thought Yesterday

What worked or was valid yesterday might not be appropriate for today. Sometimes we sit for too long on what worked in the past and we expect that it will always be the case. Furthermore, by hanging on to past ways of doing things we inhibit ourselves from learning and embracing new ways of doing things. If we hang on to the past we could very well miss out on opportunities. Sometimes being too satisfied prevents us from being dissatisfied and we don’t actively seek out improvement. It really comes down to are we too comfortable within our secure structure to climb out of the box and embrace creativity?

7. Get Around Creative People

Having creative people around us is like supercharging our own creativity. So a group of out-of-the-box thinkers is an important tool in the creative toolbox. However, as John Maxwell says, it is also important to form a group of the right people who are flexible with ideas, generate original ideas,  willing to take risks, imaginative, have a shared value system and other qualities. It is important to get around people who will synergize with one another and not create fireworks.

8. Find A Quiet Space

The final key to increasing our creative potential is to regularly have alone time with ourselves to think from within. Just as it can be beneficial to bounce off of the ideas of others, it is equally important to spend time alone thinking and reflecting on various questions or whatever we want to think about.

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 


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