Back in the Habit by Fatima Salaam

For many women, August signals the end of summer and the beginning of a busy season. Back to school. Back to the grind at work before holiday season. Back to business. For some, this is a time when we need to lean most on hard won habits. For others, this is the time when we fall back on coping methods and bad choices.

What is a habit?  A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. Every day we wake up and make choices and decisions all day long. We can choose daily disciplines like drinking 8 glasses of water and walking or make errors in judgement like eating a Big Mac and going to bed late. Our daily disciplines or errors in judgement become our habits over time. We do them without thinking.

Why? For the next few months, we wanted to focus on the power of habits. Stephen R. Covey has two excellent books that we will highlight which feature powerful lessons called ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ and ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families’. His books support Go Women Global’s approach because they are based on a principle-centered paradigm. This ethic is based on the fundamental idea that there are principles that govern human effectiveness.

How? Stephen Covey defines a habit “as the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire”. Knowledge is the what to do and why, skill is the how to do, and desire is the want to do. “In order to make something a habit in our lives, we have to have all three”. The first habit is Be Proactive. Simply put it is the space between sh*t happening and how we respond to sh*t happening. We can choose to take personal “response-ability” or blame. We can choose to be empowered or be a victim. We can choose to problem solve or sit in the sh*t. It is up to us.

For the next week, I challenge you to practice being proactive. When a situation occurs or is forecasted remember that we have the freedom to choose:

  1. To be self-aware
  2. Use our imagination
  3. Exercise our conscience
  4. To act rather than be acted upon
  5. To accept and not judge.

Go Women Global believes that you can win. It is essential that a solid foundation is laid and cemented for lasting success. We developed a system based on our Power of Ten Principles-Belief, Courage, Self-Awareness and Development, Vision, Mission, Core Values, Authentic Brand, Strategic Living, Sacred Sexuality, and Mastery. For more information, please check out our website: www.gowomenglobal.com.

Do the Right Thing

“Don’t entrust your future on others’ hands. Rather make decisions by yourself with the help of God’s guidance. Hold your beliefs so tight and never let go of them!”–Hark Herald Sarmient

This week, we continue to explore the concept of growing through a storm. Last week, we discussed the importance of developing and refining a personal philosophy. Today, let’s look at how our personal philosophy impacts our decision making process. Do you understand that success and failure are attained the same way? Failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgment repeated every day. Success is a few simple disciplines practiced every day. Success nor failure happen overnight.  If we have a concrete well thought out philosophy, then it makes it easier to make sound decisions. It reduces our tendency to vacillate between different decisions. It strengthens our resolve. If we base decisions on core values, then we know how we will respond to most situations beforehand and stick to our resolve.

Here are some ways to use our personal philosophy to guide our decisions:

*Set goals and priorities.

*Use when this happens, always do this…For instance, if my child is sick, I will always stay home.

*Do this before this…For instance, no matter what, I consult my faith leader, mentor, and/or professional advisors before I change jobs, positions, relationships etc.

*Use time guidelines. For instance, I wait 3 days before signing major contracts etc.

What and How We Think Determines How We Face Adversity

This month, we are highlighting the value of “Growing Through A Storm”. We know that the wind blows on us all and that life is filled with tests. Rich and poor people experience death of children. Educated and uneducated people have marital problems. People of all races experience financial hardships. Some tests are light rain drops and other tests are raging storms. As Jim Rohn says: “it is not what happens that determines the quality of of our lives, it is what we choose to do when we have struggled to the sail and then discover, after all of our efforts, that the wind has changed direction.”

Now, that sounds easier said than done. The set of our sail is how we think and how we respond. Therefore, when the wind blows, we must quickly reset our sail by quickly and responsibly responding instead of reacting. Our philosophy, basically what and how we think, must be developed because it dictates how we deal with adversity. The best way to develop a powerful personal philosophy is do an objective review of the conclusions we have drawn about life. Any conclusion that is not working for us, may actually be working against us. For instance, as children we were told that we should go to school, get good grades, and get a good job. But we now understand that college does not always guarantee gainful employment these days.

If our philosophy no longer holds true and we are making decisions based off of our philosophy, then we can find ourselves moving further and further from our dreams and goals. If this is the case, then there are 5 ways to develop and expand our philosophy:

1. Learn from personal experiences. List all of your personal philosophies and mark if it no longer seems to be necessary or true.
2. Learn from an outside voice. Enlist help from a mentor, coach, or consultant.
3. Learn from other people’s success. Make a list of resources and take the time to read books, listen to audios, attend trainings, and watch videos.
4. Become a good listener and observer. Ask ourselves what did I get from the day instead of trying to just get through the day.
5. Keep a personal journal. It allows us to gather all of our observations and discoveries about life in our own words.

*Rohn, Jim. The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle.

Growing Through A Storm

This month, Go Women Global is focusing on “Growing Through a Storm”. Many people seem to believe that if someone is having success, then everything is smooth sailing. But that is rarely the case. People who are successful navigate choppy waters all the time. The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is that successful people understand the value of setting your sail. One of our favorite mentors, Jim Rohn, would say “it is not the blowing of the wind but the set of the sail that’s makes the difference. The WIND blows on us all.”

What does it mean to set your sail? Let me tell you a story first. In the month of May, I set very high goals and I had the perfect plan to achieve these goals. But I did not account for these obstacles like my husband traveling for 2 weeks out of the month, my toddler’s last day of school, and my eldest daughter’s mad dash to finish high school. So I had the perfect map or so I thought until the sharks showed up in the water.

At this point, I could have abandoned ship in defeat and said “oh well, I will try again next month” or I could have drifted and blamed everybody. Excuses are limitless. What I decided to do instead was to anchor myself. I prayed, reminded myself of my purpose, and eliminated all distractions. For those 2 weeks, I kept my map in front of me and I navigated those choppy waters. As a result, I know that I grew through the storm.

Therefore, setting our sails means to draft a navigation route, stick to your map, anchor yourself, focus on the beacon of light ahead of you, and throw anyone or anything off the ship that might capsize you. I am just joking. 😉 Seriously, you may not throw folks off the ship but you may need to put them in the galley until the storm passes.

The point is we are either going through a storm, in a storm, or just left a storm so we need to be prepared for them so that the storm leaves us stronger, smarter, and wiser. Next week, our blog will focus on what is the value of storms in our lives.

Out with the old and In with the New

This month, we continue to focus on Spring Renewal. This week, let’s discuss renewing our relationships. People who have deep and meaningful relationships are happier. But first, it is important to note that the people in our lives either fuel or drain us. Therefore, take some time to weed out toxic, negative, jealous, non-supportive haters. X them out right here, right now. Then we can begin the work of creating dynamic relationships.

Here are some tips from one of our favorite books, ‘The Charge’ by Brendon Burchard:
Define and design your ideal relationships. Ask yourself: what exactly do I want in my relationships in life? And how shall I attract, keep, and deepen my relationships with them?
Practice positive projection. This means that we must see the best in our relationships and expect the best from them. Remember, you get what you look for.
Find and cultivate growth friends. These are friends that you are actively going to engage and grow with so that your life is more energized. Growth friends excite you, will support you in a crisis, expose you to new ideas and concepts, make you laugh, are completely trustworthy, and introduce you to other quality people. And most importantly, you do all of this for them as well.
Once you define your ideal relationships, see the best in people, and focus on growth friends. Take the time to schedule out time to spend face to face time with the special and deserving people in your life. Do something everyday to grow your relationships and over time, your circle of friends can be rich, rewarding, and energizing.

Clean Up Your Stinkin’ Thinkin’

This week, we continue our Spring Renewal series by sharing ways to clean up our stinkin’ thinkin’. Here are 6 powerful steps from Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking”:

1. Develop and stamp permanently in your mind a picture of yourself succeeding.
2. Cancel out negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
3. Do not build up obstacles in your mind. Pick them apart and minimize them.
4. Do not be awestruck by other people and try to copy them. Be the best self that you can be.
5. Repeat the same affirmation 10 times daily. An example: If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
6. Get a coach or mentor to help you identify and increase your strengths. Self-knowledge leads to cure.
We have also added 4 more steps that are will increase a positive mental attitude:
7. Do something every day that scares you. It will increase your self-confidence.
8. Develop your own force field that allows you to deflect negative people, protect your positive attitude, and keep your mind focused on your purpose. Imagine that force field surrounding you every day.
9. Have some fun and give yourself an alter ego who is courageous, competent, and confident.
10. Commit to the process until you master it and then teach someone else these steps.

Finally, it is so important that we take time to connect with our higher power. Our belief empowers us. It emboldens us. It eases our dismay and difficulty. Belief in a higher power encourages us to move forward when we are not clear on our direction. So make time to connect multiple times per day.

Next week, we will share tips on how to renew relationships.

Spring Cleaning Our Heart by Fatima Salaam

This week, we are continuing to focus on renewing ourselves this spring by first paying attention to our hearts. As we shared last week, we know that we need to cleanse our spirit, when
we become self-satisfied. Remember, “a contented eye does not see faults.” Once we know the state of our heart, the work begins.

First, cleansing our heart is an ongoing process for the rest of our lives because the point is to avoid becoming content with ourselves. Second, cleansing our heart takes consistency–taking small steps daily. Here are some suggestions of small steps to take every day:
Wake up with a heart filled with gratitude. Take the time the time to sincerely thank someone every day.
Fast from overeating and overindulgence. It allows us to be more focused inwardly.
Practice kindness. Smile.
Be generous. Share your thoughts, space, money, and goodness.
Remember and reflect on God’s promise and mercy.

It cannot be said enough that renewing our spirit is a continuous process just like the seasons–check our hearts, cleanse our hearts, repeat.

Spring Renewal Part 1: Cleanse Our Hearts

This month’s theme is Spring Renewal. It is never too late to make a fresh start. On the other hand, if you set goals in January and you have been grinding, it may be time to recharge. This week, we will look at ways to cleanse our hearts. The first step is to do a heart check up by asking ourselves:
Have we become self-satisfied?
There are three ways to know that we have become overly satisfied. The first way is that we are very concerned by our rights and our very indifferent to rights of others. The second way is to ignore our own faults and become preoccupied with the faults of others. And the final way is to give ourselves too many excuses.
The remedy to becoming too comfortable with our faults is to first check ourselves and our intentions. Second, be careful of what we let into our hearts by filtering what we listen to, watch, read, and who we associate with. Lastly, we must force ourselves to do things that are outside of comfort zones and make our hands sweat.
Once you have done your personal heart check up, then you will be ready to do a spring cleaning on your heart. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.

Storytelling is Not Just For Children

If you have a purpose and you want people to support it. Then, you have to enchant them with your story. You have to become a “Master Story Teller”. Why is it important to be able to tell your story? Facts tell. Stories sell. Stories connect your mission and vision to people.

Other reasons:

  1. It is simple.
  2. Timeless.
  3. Demographic proof- everyone can relate.
  4. Contagious.
  5. Easy to remember than number and charts etc.
  6. Inspire.
  7. Appeals to all type of learners.
  8. Get your message across without arrogantly telling listeners what to think or do.

Two types of adults respond well to stories– story thinkers and men. People older than 40 were taught to be analytical thinkers. Presentations, charts, graphs, and reports jam packed with numbers and information worked for the analytical thinkers.

For story thinkers, think of how Facebook statuses are short stories of our friends and families. Twitter’s 140 characters is a shorter story. And Snapchat tells a story that captivates and then disappears. This means that we have to be able to capture our audience within the first 10 seconds.

Before you can tell your story, first you have to break free of your past story and create a new story. People are moved by heroic and vibrant stories. People want to hear a story of a heroine who overcame the odds.

When I meet with my clients initially, I ask them to write their narrative and then their press release. Think of a narrative as the story your attorney would help you craft for the judge in a contentious divorce after 25 long years of marriage. LOL. Our narratives tell the stories of our pain, baggage, heartbreak, failures and losses. We may blame, over exaggerate, or selectively remember. It is important to honor your truth, validate it, and then move on. But it is essential to remember that is your side of the story, your truth, and your perspective. While it may be what you know for sure, it may not hold up in a court of law.

After a client has written her narrative, I tell her to put it in a safe place and not to bring up the details again for the period of time that we work together. Then, I ask her to write her press release. Our press release is the story of our dreams, our future successes, and our triumphs over tragedy. It is the story that we would want on the cover of our local paper, or better yet O magazine.

Both of these activities lead to watershed moments and epiphanies for our clients. They are able to heal and then focus on the future. I encourage you to write your narrative, share it with a very supportive person, and then put it away. Then, write your press release, share it and post it in your office.

Built to Last by Christa Mekki

 When preparing to construct a building, the architects design the foundation but the builders create it. They build a solid foundation and constantly check for any flaws before they begin  construction on the remainder of the building. If the foundation is weak or flawed, the building will eventually crumble. 

   In Las Vegas, a new building was being constructed. They laid the foundation, checked it, and proceeded to build. Other construction workers got on site and began inspecting the process, along with the foundation. They found cracks deep down in the foundation with water leaking through. This wouldn’t have been a big deal to fix, had they caught the problem early. At this point, the structural beams were already placed, the building was taking shape. Needless to say, the potential building, that was given a billion dollar budget, was torn down and re-construction has not yet resumed. 

That was a building. The flaws in the foundation were easy to detect and a potential disaster was avoidable. As women, we have built a foundation that is held up by beliefs, philosophies, experiences, and our personalities. Who designed our foundation? Have you examined your personal blueprint? How often do we check our foundation for cracks? Will our foundation endure during difficult times?

Sometimes, we believe that we were the sole constructors of our foundation. But think about it…how long ago was our foundation created? Some of us may have great parents, who instilled great principles and philosophies into our foundation, while some of us may not have been that lucky. We may be holding onto negative philosophies in our subconscious that will eventually cause our foundation to crack. Our blueprint is constantly shaped by what we allow ourselves to be exposed to, who we associate with, and how we control our thoughts. 

Take a moment to think back to your earliest childhood memory, then think of your childhood:

1. What do you see, what do you hear, how do things look?

2. Now, think about your life today, what do you do currently that is a reflection of something you just remembered from your childhood? It may be positive or negative, but whatever it is, are you happy with it?

3. Will this behavior serve you in the future you want?

This is a very small activity to help you get in tune with your subconscious and to begin understanding where certain philosophies and behaviors come from.

If you felt great about that activity, congratulations! You probably have a solid foundation. However, if you felt bad or even a little uncomfortable, congratulations! Unlike the building in Las Vegas, you can repair your foundation and you can adjust your blueprint. You don’t have to live with cracks. You can construct a solid foundation for yourself- one that sustains movement, pressure, cracks, and weaknesses. 

I’m sure you are wondering how to do this now that I have you excited to the possibility. First, become in tune with your subconscious. Pay attention to behaviors and where they come from. Second, be careful of the information you allow to get into your head. Read and listen to positive things; you will see a shift in your outlook over time. Third, be aware of your associations. Some people will serve your old philosophies and keep you captive to them. Others will support the change you are looking to make. It’s tough; not everyone can sit at the table of your life, but it’s okay. You don’t have to loose someone you care about, you just have to limit the time because you care about yourself more. 

Good luck and continue to inspect (and re-inspect) your foundation.