Grace for the Imperfect

Thank you Kelly Balarie for today’s message

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many – Hebrews 12:15, NIV

It wasn’t a major thing she did to upset me. It was many minor things over many days. For instance, I shared a joy I was thrilled about, but she changed the subject. I sent her texts of love from the bottom of my heart, and she was either slow to respond, or didn’t respond at all. I showed love, but she didn’t invite me to things other friends were invited to.

Inside, I was ready to write her off.

I’ve invested so much, butI am done with her.

Consciously and decisively, I created distance when we were together: talking to her less, giving her short answers, avoiding eye contact, and paying attention to others more.

But at home, I felt convicted. What is true love if it is dependent on another woman’s response?

I’d looked to her response to define my worth. But in reality, my love isn’t unto her – it is unto Christ. I’d lost perspective.

Worst of all, I’d allowed something horrible to grow within me.

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many (Hebrews 12:15, NIV).

A bitter root was forming.

Do you have a bitter root forming within? Toward a co-worker? A husband? A friend? A child?

There are 3 ways to pull out bad roots:

1. Forgive.

Christ forgave us when we were still sinners. Likewise, we forgive others while they are still imperfect. This doesn’t negate or defend bad actions, but it frees us from carrying the weight of them.

2. Extend grace.

We can extend to others the very grace we could only hope to receive on our worst day.

No one is perfect. We all are growing. We hit busy seasons. Tough seasons. Rough seasons. Pain. Trials. Tribulations. Huge mistakes.

Christ-like love bears each other’s weaknesses, so as to carry the other person’s cross, even if only for a bit. This kind of love changes relationships, brings back marriages and restores what has been lost. It resurrects.

3. Receive grace.

Undoubtedly, I had eyes for myself in this situation. There was more to this woman’s responses. I could either beat myself up for what I’d done wrong or receive the grace Jesus paid for. The first option would keep me stuck in perpetual self-harm, but the other would set me free.

You too can let yourself off the hook, because Christ is not condemning you. The second you confess, you are blessed by His grace.

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday: Weaknesses

A weakness is defined as “a quality or feature regarded as a disadvantage or fault”.
Are you wondering why I am thankful for my weaknesses? Believe me, this was not always the case. For many years, I hid in fear of anyone finding out what my weaknesses were.  I  struggled to do everything asked – the people pleaser in me was afraid they wouldn’t like me if I shared my weaknesses.  How many of you can relate to this?
So, I focused on my strengths – to move ahead in my career, to grow my direct sales business, to build relationships and to hide my weaknesses.  Not letting many close enough to see my true weaknesses.  The first time I wrote this post, it was all about being in direct sales, this time it is more of a personal revelation to help those who may be struggling….
In business and in life, we can’t be strong in every aspect. For those of us who feel insecure, this is a hard pill to swallow.  We compare ourselves to others, afraid to admit what we don’t know.  Just because we may have a weakness, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.  Trying and failing is part of learning and growing.
Think about your life (and your business).  Things are probably dictated by what you’re good at.  In your life, your hobbies, your job,  your relationships are all based on the things you are good at and enjoy, right?  What about your business?  If you are in direct sales, don’t you focus on the things you are good at whether it is booking, selling or recruiting?  I mean we can’t all be good at everything, right?  We are usually good at one aspect and struggle on another.  As a result, we place a majority of our focus on our strengths. Makes sense though right? If you’re strong in one aspect then it’s probably the part you most enjoy as well! But is thinking like this letting you grow?
I challenge you to be thankful for your weaknesses. We all have them, but sometimes it can be hard to look in the mirror and tell ourselves we need to be better at the part we struggle with.  I don’t mean in a “beat yourself up” kind of way.  I mean to look at the things you want to change or aren’t good at; find resources to help you learn, and strive to be a better version of yourself tomorrow.

 

I will admit I have always been a “beat yourself up” kind of gal.  MS and recovery have taught me a lot.  I am able to admit my weaknesses, ask for help and then even try some of the suggestions I’m given.  Notice I didn’t say DO them but I said try.  My goal is to be a better version of myself every day.

 

Let’s start by writing down what you are strongest at right now.  What do you feel you do really really well. That’s the pillar you build upon. Next, write out what you feel you do decent. Not great but you can get by with the skills you have. These are items you’ll build up over time. But lastly, write out what you feel like you just aren’t good at, or not comfortable doing at all!

 

The last list is the one you have to go and face head on. These are the topics you should be searching for online, and watching videos to help give you the tools to succeed in your business or in life.   It can be hard to admit these to ourselves but it can be the most freeing exercises, as it’s you giving yourself the direction you need.

 

Some of my weaknesses I am thankful for today are being an introvert (shocker, right?), controlling my graze eating, taking everything personally when someone says something, and the dreaded comparison game.  The two things I am working on right now is controlling my graze eating and playing the comparison game.  Eating on the Wahl’s Diet which is designed for those with MS has helped but I still have the urge to “pick” once in a while.  The comparison game or being self-critical is a tough one to overcome.  Some days are better than others but I am learning to let go and let God on the days when I want to beat myself up for something I have no control over.  I am also learning asking for help allows us to meet some really great people and get to know others better.

 

What weaknesses are your thankful for?  Have a blessed day!

 

Confidence is Within Your Reach

Confident by definition is “feeling or showing self-assured; and feeling or showing certainty about something.”  Have you ever felt your confidence slipping?  Fear and doubt creeps in?  Those nasty inner gremlins play with your emotions?

I have a choice – it is time to make a decision and take action.  Time to stop wallowing in self-pity.  Time to find the independent confident woman I was.  Time to STOMP on those inner gremlins.  Yes, there may be tears.  Yes, there may be angry moments.  But in the end, all will be well.  God has a plan for me and I need to have faith.

I looked back at an article I read on the Direct Sales Education Foundation‘s website about “Finding Confidence“.  Yes, I need to hit “RESET” periodically because those nasty gremlins find their way past the closed (or what I thought was sealed) doors.

Has “self confidence” been a struggle for you?  I know I am always talking about it but I but I am often surprised by the people who share they lack confidence.  On the outside they appear strong, capable of overcoming anything while on the inside they are fighting the same inner gremlins many of us do.   Here are some of the tips which might help:

  • Practice makes perfect.   We have all heard this a million times growing up – from sports to school to musical instruments.  As I got older, practicing seemed silly.  I was a fan of winging it but have found when I do, my confidence is sometimes shaken.  “My mission is to bring a smiles and paychecks to those who are struggling and love #ThirtyOneGifts as much as I do!” Something simple but definitely worth practicing.  My party scripts are becoming a little bit more natural too since I have been practicing.  Practice may not make me perfect but it will help to build confidence.
  • Find a mentor.  I have an amazing upline, Hope Shortt has been supportive and knows just when to challenge me.  Find someone who you want to be like, ask them if you can shadow them.  Find someone who you can trust and respect and build a relationship.  I also am blessed to have Desiree Wolfe in my corner.  Her kick in the butt is what I need sometimes.
  • Find a partner.  Find a close friend, family member or even your spouse who can share in your accomplishments and help to bolster your confidence.
  • Dress for success.  This is something else I have heard since my college days.  Wear something which makes you feel good when you go to a presentation or a meeting.  It should fit well and be put together with accessories and hair style.  Someone asked me the other day if I had a makeover.  I was THRILLED.  No, not a formal one but I did in my head.  How?  Hair style instead of just hair hanging straight.  Out of my jeans for meetings and into a pair of khakis (capris right now) with a nice shirt and jewelry.  Makeup.  I never leave the house without some.  You never know who you will run into on the trip to the grocery store to grab a gallon of milk.
Simple tips but for those of us who have a small comfort zone, this is a BIG deal.  Things I have heard for years but thought I was “too old”.  You can teach an old dog new tricks – really!  Are you ready to challenge yourself?  Try one of these tips, if not all of them.  DREAM BIG!  The sky is the limit.
Time to accept your strengths and weaknesses. Challenges will come but it is how we deal with them which makes the difference in the end.  Time to be confident in myself and how I want my life to be.
How do you find your confidence?  Please share, I would love to hear and at the same time, you may help someone else.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Humility

monday morning

Happy MONDAY!  Can you tell that I love the little minions?  Every time I see one I think of The Crafty Recluse’s tag line “you are one in a minion” and I smile.

For those in direct sales, the key to growing into leadership is building a team, right?  We all what the “dream team”.  The ones who are focused, consistent sellers and all want the same things that we do.  The truth is that the people on our team are there for a reason.  They may not be someone else’s definition of a dream team but their are God’s definition of a dream team for YOU!  I LOVE the diverse personalities that are on my dream team.

As leaders, we are always looking for what it takes to be a great leader.  I am working my way through the Leadership Bible every day to be able to raise “my lid” as a leader.  Tracy Simmon summed it up in one word – humility:

Not the sickly sweet distorted version of humility which turns some people into doormats, but the powerful kind of humility that moves mountains while always upholding the dignity of every person involved.

I’ll take a humble, unskilled, inexperienced leader over an arrogant, experienced, highly skilled “leader” any day of the week.

So, what are some traits of a humble leader?  Here are just a few:

 

1. Admit It: You admit your weaknesses, flaws, and the things you don’t do well. You laugh at yourself. You know you have an inner freak and you’ve embraced it. Humility allows you to give an honest assessment of yourself.

 

2. Ask for Help: You know when you need to ask for help from others and you’re not afraid do so. You’re likely to hit your limit at some point, whether you’re running out of time, coming up against a lack of knowledge or missing skillset, or just feeling overwhelmed, and you’re not afraid to ask for help.

3. Better Than You: You do not feel threatened by (and are willing to hire) people who are smarter than you, have greater skills and experience than you…and you’re happy to pay them more than you make. You know that hiring people who are better than you doesn’t diminish you or your role.

 

4. Take Responsibility: When there’s a failure or a mistake made by someone on your team, you acknowledge that part of the failure belongs to you. You take responsibility for your team’s mistakes.

5. You Can Handle the Truth: You welcome constructive criticism. You ask for feedback—and openly listen to it and receive it—even when it’s hard to hear. 

6. Apologize: You’re willing to admit when you’ve blown it and to apologize for your mistakes.

7. Let It Go: You don’t always need to be right. You know it’s better to let some things go rather than trying to prove your point.

8. Forgive Others: You forgive others when they make mistakes. You speak with them about their errors and then let them start all over with a clean slate. 

9. Give Credit: You look for ways to give away credit for work done, shouting it out to anyone who will listen, rather than to soak it all up for yourself. 

 

10. Share the Knowledge: You willingly share your knowledge with others. You have no need to hoard it in order to look smarter or better than others. You want to help others develop and grow as far as possible.

I don’t know about you but even on this short list, I found a few of my own weaknesses.  In the areas where some may see me as “arrogant”, the real reason is probably due to a feeling of inadequacy as a result of shame and fear.  Yes, let’s get gut honest with ourselves so that we can be better leaders for our teams.

Would your team consider you a truly humble leader or an arrogant leader? Or do you bounce between the two.  I would love to know your thoughts…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Be Confident

be confident

This is definitely what I needed to hear this AM.  As I struggled for what to blog about, I reflected on the last week and its challenges.  I had a choice – it was time to make a decision and take action.

In direct selling, I have always heard that months that start with a “J” are challenging.  Well, I blew that theory in January and June with record sales but July was kicking my butt.  I started off the month with a fair about of bookings that should have gotten me through till National Conference feeling like I had accomplished at least my minimum goals.  WRONG!  My last party in June was supposed to kick off July – the customers wanted the June special since the hostess gave them the option.  UGH!  Now, I was down to 2 parties and 2 vendor events.  My first official party of the month, went from a home party to a catalog party & it is still open so I am optimistic.  I had a vendor event (typically high sales) cancel.  The one party I had is no where near my party average.  It was a combined bridal shower and Thirty One party.   Alright, so right now I am sounding ungrateful, right?  Not ungrateful, just getting a little shaky in the confidence area.

The above picture pops up on my Facebook news feed.  Time to look at the positive and accept my weaknesses along with my strengths.  The biggest positive was that at the Bridal Shower, I actually met a potential recruit.  She booked a party and is even considering it to be her launch party.  I have found that one of my greatest weaknesses is that I don’t take charge at a party.  I know that probably sounds a little bossy, right?  I don’t mean it that way, it is just that I defer to the group instead of sticking to the plan.  That is the people pleaser in me still wanting everyone to like me thinking that will help my business.  It is finding that happy medium between a girl’s night out and showcasing my products.  My greatest strength is hostess coaching, networking with the guests BEFORE the party starts and my one on one personal checkouts.  It is during these times that I am able to connect with future hostesses and recruits.  So what is the problem, right?  Not letting “negative nellie” take over when I have a setback.

The best laid plans don’t always work but I am not going to let that sabotage my business.  Time to kick it into gear, be confident and set up August to be a solid month.  Challenges will come in any business, it is how we deal with them that makes the difference in the end.  Although, I don’t consider myself a failure, any article  Direct Sales Education Foundation gave me some ideas for overcoming my challenges – check it out.

How do you handle challenges or set-backs in your business?  What are your best tips for staying positive and confident?   Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

bradley cooper                               breeze through summer