Awhile back I had used the letters in my name to put out some key words to show my leadership focus on my Twitter profile (@cjjordan76). I have since edited my profile and just today, I was thinking about how to get back into blogging and how to re-engage my focus when I read a post by a superb leader friend in the #LeadWithGiants community identifying 26 key leadership words. It reminded me of my desire to have an impact in the world of leadership and now, I want to put meaning to my name again.
I encourage you to try…and see where you fall in terms of the first word that comes to mind when you do this. It can truly be an eye-opening experience and quite fun to work through if you have some unusual letters to find a word for. Good luck and enjoy!
I shortened my first name for space sake…but I have done my full name. I find that these words closely relate to my values and are something I strive to be everyday. It also helps me to regain my perspective (#perspectivelead) and focus and take that necessary deep breath to start the day. I have done my own vision and mission statement as well, and may share them in a future post. I thank Linda Freeman from @ThriveJournal for helping me with that!
Hope everyone has a great weekend and talk soon!
*Disclaimer: This post was originally on another blog I was involved with and I thought it had relevance to where I am going with my “Thoughts on Leadership” blog. While I talk specifically about personal relationships here, the words could easily be interchanged to fit the leadership role. Enjoy, please comment and I look forward to our journey ahead!
Ok. We all know that relationships in general are a complex maze of different facets all coming together. Whether we are talking about long-term dating, marriage or a parent-child relationship doesn’t matter. However, with everything that goes into a relationship, there is one specific tool that ultimately ties it all together. You may already be saying this word before even reading it. The glue that keeps a relationship going, or not, is communication.
“The imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs” (dictionary.com)
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, if it were so simple I don’t think we would have so many wars, protests, strikes or divorces. Communication is a thing that we all want to do well, and yet seem to fall short on more than anything else. But, just focusing on communication and relationships, I can personally attest that the lack of open and honest communication has been the reason for two divorces in my life.
How do I mean? Well, without good communication, there is bad communication. Bad communication is what leads us to distrust, feel disrespected, get our feelings hurt and even feel resentful. Granted, I do think every relationship will have this issue at some point, but by engaging in honest and respectful communication we eventually are able to understand each other better, and ultimately learn to trust and respect each other in our sharing of opinions and thoughts. Even the best communicators hit bumps in the road. Maybe we need to just self-reflect, or internalize our thoughts in order to understand something. I often tend to over-analyze even the simplest of things and crave communication to gain knowledge to better continue analyzing. It can be ridiculously insane.
The bottom line is that a relationship will last, or not, based on the communication skills of the persons in said relationship. Learn to listen, try to see their side, think about your answer before ‘reacting’ as an answer. Try not to get defensive and be open to hearing criticisms and compliments. It is a continual learning process, but if you are willing, having an open communication that goes both ways will ensure a lasting relationship. Alas, a relationship will be short lived if, as the attached picture shows, there is a lack of communication; and not just a lack of communication…but a mutual and agreeable understanding that only comes from open and honest communication.
I am really starting to understand that the more I clear my head of doubt, and anxiety, and negativity in general, the more open my heart is and accepting of life’s gifts I am. Life’s gifts, abundant as they are, are amazing and often times unexpected. I have, in the last few months, been blessed beyond my understanding with gifts. I have mentioned these in a previous post, and yet I continue to receive.
I have focused on a goal to be a leadership advocate. I have finally come out of my shell and started to get involved with groups and people who are positive and supportive in my goals. For awhile I have felt that there is something more for me. I used to believe that was only related to my career. Now, with the abundance of gifts received, I am realizing that what I thought was a career goal is truly my life’s purpose!
Beginning this blog was just a shot in the dark. I knew I wanted to continue to grow and learn and journey down the leadership path, but I didn’t envision that my tiny thought would evolve as it has. Joining amazing communities have opened my mind to just how expansive this tiny thought truly is. So, now I am going to start moving forward. My career may change, and that is great! My life may take me many places, and I love that! This is because it will help me to fulfill my goal to become a positive leadership influence to anyone I come in contact with!
So, here we are starting the last month of the first quarter of 2013! Amazing how fast it truly goes, yet just mind-blowing for me how much has happened in such a relatively short time. Following is my life check…and I am thoroughly excited!
Things up to 2013 had been insanely tornadic in nature. It seemed as though anything and everything that could happen, was, and not in a great way. The negativity of job, personal and health concerns were tearing through my psyche and aggressively attempting to pull me into the abyss. I am a self-proclaimed realist, and as such over analyze and believed that I could think through anything. I was failing. Horribly.
Toward the end of 2012 I was finding myself thinking about God, and my lack of a relationship with him since I was about 12 years old. The reasons I walked away are not for here, however, the reason I went back, is. I found myself struggling with the idea of renewing my faith and it took circumstance to thrust my mind into the rear seat, and my heart into the driver’s seat of my life. I was driving during a hurricane that had made its way up the East Coast, and as I traveled down a decline and into a right curve, I lost control of my vehicle. Completely. I will pause, so you can imagine yourself entering into a uncontrollable 360 degree skid down an incline, heading off the road and toward a ditch…
What did I do!? Nothing. I felt an overpowering calm, and let happen what will. My vehicle went off the road and as it turned it entered where the ditch was, I could hear the dirt as the wheels tried to dig in to the wet ground. I came full circle and the vehicle straightened out onto the road, in the correct direction, and shut off as it rolled into the oncoming lane. Only one vehicle was coming toward me, and they had seen the whole event. I started the vehicle and drove up to the passerby, who asked if I was OK, and after I said I was and thank you for stopping, I drove on. I thought for a second as I started to drive away and immediately turned around to see where I had gone off the road and how in the world I did not get stuck, or worse, flip after hitting the ditch. To my amazement, my vehicle had spun onto the only area that was not a ditch, but a flat surface. I was speechless. I was amazed. I was alive and my heart knew that something bigger than me just saved me, and it woke me up.
This event was a deciding factor in me finally entering back into a relationship with God. Since renewing my faith in late 2012 and into the new year, I have felt a calm and peace I can hardly grasp. On-going work concerns simply faded away from my mind. A failed marriage and bitter custody battle became clearer and manageable. I medically began an aggressive treatment to hopefully finally eradicate an ear infection 6 years old, and I have been able to focus and see better goals. I was selected to become a member of BlackBerry Elite, a program to reward supporters of BlackBerry and something that I am very passionate toward. I have found and reconnected with my mother, who I knew nothing about until the last two months. I have grown in leaps and bounds in my development and goal to become a leadership advocate. I have found happiness and my life is now exciting and self-energizing versus depressing and destructive.
Life check? AWESOME! My attitude has completely changed. Something I now say to my son, “Attitude is everything, so have a good one!” I have been blessed in these first two months, and having just turned a year older yesterday (25 again…), I find myself looking forward to what’s next and not stressing about what else could possibly happen. I thank God for his guidance and am truly thankful to have been able to become a part of many simply superb communities; my church, the #LeadWithGiants team, the #BeALeader team, the #WeavingInfluence and #BuzzBuilder teams, and so many other groups and individuals that have helped to show me that being positive and loving is key in relationship development, and especially in my faith in God.
Bring on the rest of the year and the rest of my life! I am excited about my future, and look forward to continued friendship development and personal growth, and I am grateful to have you join me on my journey.
Through faith, honor and a strong system of values, I will be an effective leader that will provide knowledge, opportunity and positive influence to everyone.
So, I have had some time to reflect. Reflect on my decisions, reflect on my situations, reflect on my life. There is a lot that has come out of it for me, and one major thought process I found myself having was involving the title of this post. I am often finding myself trying to look at things from different perspectives and wondering if my already established perceptions have an effect on me even being able to do this.
Perspective, basically, is the ability to see things from different angles. For example, outside of our minds, it is being low on the ground and looking up at your child, or standing and looking down to your child. It is how you angle your eyes toward or away from something to view it in a different way. Our minds are not that different. We look at things and make decisions based on our perceptions, provided we continue to look at things with the same perspective. Looking up at our child changes our perspective, helping to develop our perceptions of them. How many of us have heard to get on level with a child when talking with them in order to create a better sense of equality? It is about using perspective to shape perception.
And, there, I said it. Perspective helps to shape perception.
But, can we perceive without perspective? What about the inverse? I doubt it. These two occur without us thinking most of the time. Our perceptions are built from experiences throughout life without us even considering perspective. However, now that perspective has been identified as a “thing” we all need to change and see from different sides of, what is its role in perception? Also, what does perception do to help us find another perspective?
I know that looking at things from different perspectives takes discipline. It takes the willingness to do that whole ‘filtering’ of our initial reactions (perceptions) and take a step back (perspective). I have been struggling to find different perspectives, and yet, I find when I do get to that point, the perceptions I often held initially, change.
Perception, it is our ability to use our senses to take in something and react to it. I give that a likening to being a leader and now coming in contact with a decision that needs to be made. Perspective, is the tool that allows us to get as much information as possible out to our senses so we can make the best decision we can. I feel that is where the proverbial “rut” comes into play. If we don’t change our perspective (through education, debate, reading, collaboration…), our perceptions won’t change and we will continue to make decisions the same way we always have.
Continue with me on this journey, and may we all affect each other’s perspectives, and in turn create stronger perceptions to when we need to get a new perspective.
I was rolling through Facebook and Twitter, just kind of really browsing. I wasn’t in any type of search mode nor was I trying to reach any goal. But, I ran across a great question from Debbie Thompson-Groupability:
“Focus on your strengths or build up your weaknesses? What’s your vote?”
I immediately thought, WOW! What would my answer be? Can I even give an answer specifically, because I naturally want to integrate everything and say you can’t have one without the other and things like that. I feel, personally, many of my greatest strengths are my weaknesses. So, again, how do you choose? Maybe it is a trick question? I finally decided, initially, that I would focus on my strengths, knowing that through that process I will learn to harness them properly and not cross the fine line of having that strength become my weakness. That is a basic answer and seriously general, since not all strengths are weaknesses. There are autonomous weaknesses that threaten certain strengths and also strengths to mitigate our weaknesses.
That being said, I go back to my first instinct, that it all ties in together. I attached the Yin-Yang because with everything in life, there has to be a balance. If I focus on my strengths only, then I fail to grow, develop and diversify through avoiding the build-up of my weaknesses. If that happens, I may feel very powerful and be exceptionally short-sighted in my decisions. If I choose to build-up my weaknesses, I risk being openly vulnerable as I may neglect my strengths temporarily. So, now I have decided I will build-up my weakness in order to, as I feel a leader should for others, develop.
Development is key. Without the desire or vision to create an environment of growth, then we as leaders, have failed. My final answer then? Build-up, by all means and any means necessary. If you have a strength, I feel it will be strengthened by developing and growing through any mitigation of weakness. That is true growth. That is true strength. Knowing and admitting you have areas of improvement, and then not neglecting that area, but developing it, will only be a powerful example to others how to be a leader who is true at heart to their values and your growth, development and influence. Once you stop learning, you have stopped living.
“Through faith, honor and a strong system of values, I will be an effective leader who provides opportunity for growth, development and positive influence.”
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