Tag Archives: fear and courage

Say Welcome to ‘No’: A Strategy for Going After Our Ultimate Success

The time has come for us to go after many more opportunities, ask more questions, and take more risks, while welcoming the many instances that we will hear the word ‘no’.

Have you ever talked yourself out of going for a job, approaching ano
person that interests you, or asking for something you needed; all because you feared rejection? Did you know that successful people experience more ‘no’ than others. They experience countless rejection and failures because they take more risks and do far more than others. We all can learn how to get what we want most in life, if we understand the true meaning of the rejecting word ‘no.’

A successful mountain lion catches its prey
A successful mountain lion catches its prey

Let’s consider the example of a mountain lion and its prey.  When the mountain lion goes after a deer, it does not get discouraged, even though the deer says ‘no way!’ To many it would seem as though the mountain lion does not have a single chance of catching the too swift deer. Yet, the mountain lion does not fear. It does not get emotionally hurt. It does not take its failure personally. Instead, it keeps focus on its ultimate prize, which is to catch a deer and not necessarily the one that escaped. It uses all its many failures to become smarter, and looks for opportunities to try again, having no doubt that it will succeed. Eventually, it perseveres and turns an unsuspecting deer’s ‘no’ into ‘yes’.

The successful among us are like mountain lions. However, we all need to be like Mountain Lions and welcome the necessary rejections of life. We need these rejections to develop the perseverance, skill, and confidence of a mountain lion. We need them to test our faith, and develop greater patience and fortitude needed to fearlessly go after our greatest desires.

Rejection often brings a message that says ‘you are greater than that which you seek. You are worth far more than you imagined.’ If you allow it to, it will push you in a direction that promises something much greater that the ‘yes’ you were hoping for.

In 2015 and beyond, I will use this  ‘welcoming no’ or ‘mountain lion philosophy’ to go after many possible rejections, for among this I will find my ultimate success.  Will you join me?

I will say more in future posts.

Stop! Hear What Your Life is Saying to You

Have you ever had something go terribly wrong in your life? You find yourself in a senseless argument. You feel shattered from the loss of someone close to you. Or you lose a job you desperately wanted.  Did you know that such bad situations are also how life speaks to us, blesses us, and pushes us towards our life purpose? Let me give you an example.

I’ve been working on what should have been a simple article for Good News Toronto. The article features Alicia Vianga, the founder of the After Breast Cancer charity and the Premier Jour Fine Lingerie and Swimwear boutique.

The interview opened up my life, in a way I could never have predicted.  Due to the stroke and my subsequent disability, I am unable to drive. As a result, I felt I had to do the interview from home, using Skype. Perhaps more importantly, the thought of travelling alone for 2 ½ hours by public transportation to do a face-to-face interview, paralysed me with unconscionable fear.

Shockingly, the Skype interview also seemed paralysing; though it began well. Alicia said that when she initially came to Canada, she was a live-in nanny.  I asked her, “What were the obstacles that stood in your way of getting where you are today?”

She responded, “me;” that is, she thought that no one would hire her to do anything more than clean houses.

I questionably responded. “That’s not it. That’s not what I am looking for.” I was thinking that the obstacle had to be something like breast cancer. However, she had no such painful health challenge.

Not yet aware of what was going on, I asked the same question several times. With increasing frustration, Alicia gave me the same answer, while trying to be as tolerable as possible.

The problem was that even though I was listening to her; I couldn’t hear her. I was hearing the thoughts in my head that said I needed to go and see her.

We tried the interview by Skype again, but I still couldn’t get what I thought I needed; and the frustration continued. Interestingly enough, both Alicia and I knew that this was not about writing an article.

It was not long before I just stopped. I then could see that my irrational fear of taking public transportation by myself was getting in my way. I knew that a breakthrough was being called for.  So I reluctantly planned the trip to Alicia’s boutique, which required travel by bus, subway, and street car. I got myself ready to take the long trip by myself for the first time, since the stroke 7 years ago.

I boarded the bus, the train and the street car for what turned out to be a peaceful, sometimes eye-opening trip, to Alicia’s boutique. She was a beautiful and insightful person, who I was blessed to meet. As a result of that trip, my limiting world of stroke, anxiety and disability subsided, and invited greater freedom into my future.

I was reminded that we sometimes have to stop and listen before we can hear that our problems may also be our blessings. Do you have a problem in your life that may just be your blessing? Stop! Listen and hear. What good is your life offering you?

The Hardest Story I Ever Had To Tell

apts-b1-cv4God is good, all the time. But He’s not always nice!

Nice gives us our happy times. However, most of us also need access to the ugly, mean, and painful stuff of life in order to discover and realize the very best of ourselves. At least, I did!

In 1971 my little girl self, stepped off the plane, and into the new world of Canada. Since then, I have been fighting against an emergence of cold, mean and painful forces at home, in the classroom and in the office. It was a battle I thought I could win, until I realized. I was fighting me!

At the age of 46, I had a massive stroke. The doctors said they could find no cause!

My life was stopped, like a swatted mosquito, for no reason! I felt as though I was dying without ever having lived, without giving the world the very best of me……..

Click here to read the entire short introduction. Your feedback is always appreciated.

When Life Wants to Open You

For the last few years, I have been working on completing a book. I have written some 300 pages! Yet, it has never been good enough. I was never good enough. It took a good friend and very successful colleague of mine to straighten me out. He told me, it took him 10 years to complete his last book, because he too was paralysed by his own undermining perfectionist voice! To challenge me, he told me that in 2 weeks, he wants my book presented to him!  Ahhhhhhhh!

Please pray that God gives me the wisdom, energy and courage to take the final step, and release what is being spoken through me. For now, while I am focused on finishing up the book, I thought I would share this short piece I wrote.

when life wants to open you

Showing the World What it Means To Be Successful and Able: Gabrielle Giffords and Jean Sok

Last week I saw former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford, walk on to the stage at the Democratic National Convention, to face a cheering and tearful crowd. As tears fell from my own eyes, I was reminded of what it is to be courageous despite the many obstacles we face in our life. I was not thinking of the horrific shooting that almost killed her. I was not thinking of her as a severely brain-damaged woman who struggled with ever step she took and every word she spoke. Instead, my heart exploded as I felt the triumphant smile on her face and the resounding joy in her heart.

Check out the video below and see if you can see what I saw, hear what I heard and feel what I felt.

As I watched her, I heard the following words in my own mind.

I am defeating my fear of facing the world with my growing ability. I am extraordinary, for I can rise no matter how low I must fall. With your love and support, I am rising to the true greatness I can now express to you all!

Sooner or later, we all go through some sort of misfortune that can virtually destroy us.  It could be a health crisis such as a life-threatening disease, a financial issue such as loosing a job, and so on. These misfortunes can be see as God’s gift to helping us find the greatness within ourselves.

Like Gabby, I had to find the courage to face the world with a body that appeared disfigured, a brain that could not perform as it did before, and the fear that everything I did risked killing me. Yet I faced all that physical disability, I faced the world, and I allowed many others to help me physically heal.

Yet what happens when our misfortunes are no longer as noticeable, yet the largely unseen emotional damages are still felt deep within our blood, and shows us our deepest fears? For example, we get another job, but we have such fear of losing it and causing further financial woes that we cannot rise. Or, someone like me is so scared of having another stroke that he or she will not let himself or herself out into the world. How do we find the courage to get beyond that?!

Perhaps we can use the example of Jean Sok, the amazing b-boy dancer with only one leg,  who I saw on ‘So You Think You Can Dance‘ yesterday. I found his dance absolutely beautiful and memorizing. What is different about him? As you will see in the video below, he came across as fearless, confident, and absolutely loving.

It is not easy to reach for and achieve our goals, despite our greatest tragedies. We must let go of the illusion and deceptive nature of the fears that hide out in our mind. We must also believe with complete faith in who we have been, who we are, and who we shall be. Then we must work hard for our dreams, be persistent and never give up, despite the rambling voice of our fears.

It is not an easy or short road, but it is a road that we can choose if we want to see our extraordinary selves. I am at the beginning of that road, walking behind role model like John Sok. With each step I take, I approach the wonder of me. I can then go back and help others travel the path from their misfortunes to their extraordinary selves.

How I Gave Away My Mojo

Have you ever lost yourself or given away the best of you?

It was 1971 and I was 10 years old when my mother carried out her promise to give me and my sister that better future. Off I went to Canada. To my new school in Toronto, I was that kid that needed to be sent to speech class to learn how to speak English properly. My Jamaican patois was just “wrong!” To some kids, my name was “nigger.” This meant it was their duty to direct me right back to Africa!

It all took the juice out of my mojo, and instead of fighting for good, I found myself fighting for survival. I needed to find an identity that would protect me in this apparently unfriendly land, a place which seemed home to some who hated ‘my skin colour.’  It may only have been a very few people who haunted me with their prejudice; yet at that time, they consumed a large part of my world.

Unlike Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi, I had no idea how to stand-up to such injustice and hatred.  I tried a little to boost my spirit with negativity, and I hurled back hateful words. But that only seemed to eat away at my spirit, making me ugly and devoid of anything good.

I had to think of something else, for I wanted so much to be I liked. So, out came the emergence of a new ‘mojo-less’ identity. It had a stark resemblance to Stepin Fechit, the famous Black movie character of the early 20th century. I grasped on to this identity; for it seemed the best way to avoid conflict, and be accepted in white society, was to ‘step and fetch,’ or do what I was told. I just had to fake contentment.

Stephin Fechit

Lincoln Munroe, who played Stepin Fechit, received a lot of acclaim, fame and riches from embodying this character in Hollywood films, who continuously played the fool. Interestingly enough, playing the fool, was the mojo, the magic, of Lincoln Munroe. He was sharing his gifts, with the deliberate intent of becoming a big star and getting rich.

 On the other hand, my main and subconscious intent was just to stay under the radar, to hide, and to please. This meant suppressing my mojo and not in any way reaching for the best in me.

I knew I was holding a lot back, but I had no idea that it made me unrecognizable

I worked hard, and got an undergraduate as well as a graduate degree. As a result, I got great professional jobs with the intent of rising high and making lots of money. Unfortunately, I was also carrying with me the subconscious, and more powerful, intent of staying under the radar. I felt I needed to submerge the rebellious forces in me that could cause others to hate me. For peace, I needed to quell the fires of my mojo, my magic, the real source of my success. I needed to be the fake I thought Canadians would like as opposed to the black, mojo-filled fighter for the evolution of my most authentic and gifted self.

I did not yet own the fact that people do not stop hating me or start liking me based of anything I do or pretend to do. I could never do or say enough good to be loved by all. I will always be hated by some, and loved by others, no matter what! Did I want to be a fake and loved only by some people or did I want to be authentic and loved only by some people. The point I, I will always be love by only some people. The only difference is choosing to be fake or choosing to be authentic.

Unfortunately I chose the fake. So, it should not have surprised me when, some 6 years ago, my boss sat down, looked at me and said “I really don’t know who you are.”  Yet it did surprise me, for when you become really good at playing a part, you can believe you are that part. I knew I was holding a lot back, but I had no idea that it made me unrecognizable.

This could be why I was fired. It makes sense. It’s hard to build a team and get excited about a player you can’t push to peak performance or who you can’t figure out!

Have you ever given away or lost a part of yourself? How do you get it back? How do you retrieve the magic of you? I would love to hear your thoughts.   I will continue my story next week.

A New Normal for Extraordinary Living and Achieving

Justina and the Creation of Positive, Life-long Impact in the Face of Death

Life hit Justina hard with a terrible fate. Over the last few months she has deteriorated rapidly due to aggressive brain cancer. Inside that disease, she accepted her new normal way of being, like an angel sent here to show us what it is to truly be a successful human being. Over the holidays, though her sight was practically gone and she could barely get up from her wheelchair, she came to church bearing prayers and gifts for many in the congregation.

I remember bending down to give her a New Year’s hug, as she reached up with one hand to embrace me, while wearing a beaming smile on her face. I felt I was absolutely blessed and witnessing a new normal way of being, called for when we must find the hidden gift in the seemingly terrible hand that life often deals.

Ditching Our Crutches and Taking Progress to the Next Level

Lately each day I go the gym, I walk one mile or eleven times around the track with my cane. Then I walk another four laps without the cane. Without the cane, I walk with much less energy and sometimes I must look as though I am going backwards. Yet last Saturday I decided that ditching my cane would be the new normal I am creating. I know I must face the fear and do it any way.

Create a new beginning, says my soul, knowing I will have to face more fear and courage. I rarely turn my back on a call to be my best; therefore I set a new goal of walking outside my home without my cane. Last Sunday, for first time, I went to church totally cane-less!

A New Normal Way of Being

What do you think the new normal has to do with achieving our life purpose? In my next blog I will look at this question and talk about the link to achieving our business and career goals.