NACWL Podcast

About this podcast
National Association of Christian Women Leaders Founder, Karen Zeigler interviews various thought leaders in a weekly podcast series. Each week Karen explores the topics important to Christian women who are leading or aspiring to be the leaders God has called them to be.
Latest episodes
Aug. 5, 2016
Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. “She has a plan. She considers some land and buys it; then with her earnings, she plants a vineyard. She wraps herself in strength, carries herself with confidence, and works hard, strengthening her arms for the task at hand.” Proverbs 31:16-17 VOICE Max Lucado wrote, “Blessed are those who know what on earth they are here on earth to do and set themselves about the business of doing it.” Thus, it’s important that we ask God to reveal His plan for our lives so we can confidently and passionately go about working toward such business. Knowing what God’s plans are for our lives allows us to be confidant in the direction we are heading in. Zeal is the fuel that keeps us going forward. Here are several building blocks that God works within and through us as we diligently go about His business. Plan, Purpose & Passion - As followers of Christ we can be confident that God has a good plan and a greater purpose for our lives as we seek to carry out His kingdom work. We need to realize that true passion can never be assigned to us by others, it is found within each individual. It’s that inner zeal that causes you to arise and pursue the things you profoundly know God has called and is fashioning you to accomplish. The Lord says, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 NJKV Pause, Preparation & Patience – Passion and purpose that lacks proper understanding and preparation can be regarded as foolishness. We can easily rush ahead in trying to fulfill God’s plans rather than patiently wait for Him to gradually unfold them. It is wise for us to remember that God is not in a hurry to get us to the place where we zealously want to arrive at. Why? Because passion used wrongly can actually injure others, dishonor God’s name, and bring harm toward ourselves. God often has to do a work in us before He does mightier works through us. “Patiently wait for it to unfold in God’s full timing.” Isaiah 52:12 VOICE The Apostle Paul is a perfect example of someone who was known to have great zeal. At first he used his “zeal” wrongly in persecuting Christians. However, shortly after his Damascus Road encounter with Jesus, God turned Paul’s “passion” into a noble cause of preaching the good news about Jesus being God’s Anointed one. (Read full story in the book of Acts). Progress, Provision & Power – God often gives us opportunities where we can practice on a smaller field that is similar to what we hope and aim to do on a larger level in the future. When we successfully handle these smaller opportunities our confidence rises within. These smaller God-ordained practice rounds have a way of perfecting us for what is yet to come. Not only that, but God is confident that we are more equipped and skilled to handle the greater tasks He will eventually bring our way. God also supplies the provisions needed to fulfill the vision He gives us. He also blesses us with the power of His Holy Spirit; who helps us to grow and mature in the fruits of the Spirit so we can effectively use the gifts and talents God entrusts to our care for the building up of His people and for the advancement of His church. “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11 NIV No matter which road God currently has us traveling, we need to remain confident that what God calls us to do, He will help us accomplish it well. We only need to stay the course and make it our daily passion to run the race the Lord has marked out for us. As we passionately pursue the things God assigns us—individually and collectively—we can be confident that God is strategically arranging circumstances on our behalf. He does not call us to lose, He calls us to win! "And though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great." Job 8:7 ESV Questions: Do you truly know what on earth God has you here for? Are you confident and zealous toward accomplishing and fulfilling your God-ordained assignments?   Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.
July 19, 2016
What does it mean to yield? Yield: incline to give in; submissive or compliant The definition seems counter-intuitive to what we view as confident.  However, being compliant/submissive to God’s will is the BEST way to have confidence.  The confidence comes from believing that God’s plan is the best for our lives. Often times we are confident in God’s outcome but not in His process. Yielding means submitting to his process not just the outcome. Yielding means submitting to his process not just the outcome. Signs You are Not Yielding How do you know if you are NOT yielding?  There is unrest, chaos, and absence of peace.  When you are yielding to God’s plan and process you will have unexplainable peace.  That peace results in confidence. Worldly peace comes from being prepared and in control.  Godly peace comes from trusting his process and being comfortable with the lack of control you have in a situation. Misconception yielding means you lack confidence or are weak.  It actually takes greater strength to yield our own plans to those of another.  Humility is related to yielding – one must be humble to yield their hopes, dreams, and plans to those of another. Confidence comes from knowing the one we are yielding to has our best interest at heart.
July 8, 2016
Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Q: Why are we talking about X - X for eXperience? We choose Experience for our X because Experience is the “X Factor” for so many aspects of life. Whether you have it, or don’t have it; whether it was a good, bad, or ugly experience - experience colors how we see ourselves and our situations. When you are facing a challenge or something new, all the experiences in your life are what inform your perspective on the challenge, and impact your expectations of the result. When you’re LEARNING something new, it’s your experience that creates a foundation for - and helps you truly understand the things you are learning. It can affect our level of optimism, as well as our energy. Experience does several things that has a huge impact on our Confidence: Experience colors our expectations. Experience helps us prepare. Experience allows us to test our knowledge and ideas. All of these things play a role in molding our identity - our self-image. Experience is the X factor because it helps us both create and know who we are. Experience (and the lack of it) plays a huge role in our identity. Listen to the podcast to hear the answer to these questions: Q: What do I do if I don’t HAVE experience? How can I still be confident? Q: This can be hard - valuing the steps along the way as “experience.” Is there something we can do to help us see and value the experience of “doing?” Q: How do I show my experience without being prideful or discouraging others? Q: What do I do if I’ve gotten experience and still don’t feel confident? Q: Something you said toward the beginning of our time together was that experience can affect our optimism and energy. What is the importance of that? “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” ― Henry Ford Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.
June 28, 2016
Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. WISDOM is W - Women I - Inspired S - Saved D - Disciplined O - Obedient to the M - Master. What a great acronym for WISDOM! Wisdom is the ability to think and act using the knowledge that we’ve gained through the years, the experiences that we’ve gone through, the understanding that we’ve gathered from all of life, the common sense that God has given us and finally insight. It can be considered as a virtue. As a virtue, it’s a habit or even a disposition to perform the actions with the highest degree of adequacy and understanding in whatever circumstances that we find ourselves. When we apply the wisdom that we possess and the knowledge that we have and when we have the willingness to apply this wisdom to our given circumstances, I think that this involves a lot of understanding people, understanding different situations and events that’s going on around us. And having the willingness as well as the ability to apply our perception and judgement in an appropriate way. That’s the way that I think of wisdom. It’s not just getting information and understanding. It goes even further, it’s insight. It’s having the insight to make the right decision. Knowledge is acquiring information and wisdom is applying and using that information to make informed decisions. As women, we are the more emotional of the genders. Having wisdom helps us to control our emotional reactions in the various situations we find ourselves. The universal principle of reason prevails to determine our action. When we rely on our emotions, sometimes we tend to do and say things that we don’t want. In short, wisdom is a disposition to find the truth and coupled with an optimum judgement as to what option should be taken. When we have wisdom that comes from God it elevates our confidence to a whole other level. This is when we know, understand and are able to use the insight that God has given us to make good and sound decisions in our lives, our business, our family and our ministry. It causes us to walk around with our head held up and our shoulders back because we have confidence in God and not in ourselves. If we ask God for wisdom, he promises to give it to us. When we tap into our God-given wisdom, we can confidently help others. As leaders, which everybody is by the way, we must lead ourselves first before we can effectively lead others. I Kings 3, Solomon asked for wisdom to lead God’s people not wealth and long life. As a result of him not asking for riches and honor, God gave him those things in addition to the wisdom and discernment that he requested. With wisdom you can live a life that is meaningful and one that matters. Steps you can take to acquire wisdom: • Read the book of Proverbs, one chapter per day for months with 31 days. Just reading a verse or a proverb a day is a sure way to increase your wisdom especially if you are applying what you are reading to your life on a daily basis. Solomon was the wisest and riches man who ever lived • Read the wisdom literature of the Bible such as Psalm, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, as well as other books that are chock full of wisdom. • Surround yourself with people who are wise. Sitting at the feet of people who can coach and mentor you to live a full and abundant life is key. As a coach, it’s been very rewarding seeing the light goes on for my clients when they understand this important element in growing and becoming more for God. Some of the roadblocks to seeing and becoming aware of the wisdom that is already inside of you: • Lack of self-confidence – becoming aware of what you have inside of you and who you are is critical in dismantling this roadblock. • Fear – This is one of the most debilitating force in our lives. • Ignorance – sometimes we just don’t know or recognize when someone is trying to instill wisdom in us. My grandmother was a woman full of wisdom. She, along with my father, raised me for the first eight years of my life. My father was 45 when I was born. On a daily basis wisdom was being poured into me but most of what they would say seemed like rubbish to me. I was very ignorant and did not understand most of what they were saying. Now, I can see how all of what they instilled in me is paying off. Whatever mistakes you’ve made and whatever you’ve been through in life, you can gain wisdom from it because those experiences have the potential to be the greatest teachers in your lives. Reflecting, evaluating and looking back to see what can be done differently to change the situation and circumstances of your life. You are not alone in this. God has put people in your life to help you along in this. Get someone to coach you, to come along side you to propel you forward. Everything that we go through is content for not only helping us to be more and better for God but also for helping others to be more and better for God. We are surrounded by so many people that are full of wisdom. I think of Solomon and so many examples in the Bible and in our lives today, which is one of the reasons I have become a John Maxwell Certified Coach because of the wisdom that I gain from my affiliation with such an organization. As I gain wisdom, I am able to pass that on to my family, my ministry, my clients and those around me. I think about the words from Proverbs 1 and I know we can all find comfort in knowing that God will grant us wisdom if we ask. 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June 22, 2016
Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Confidence Through Living Our Values Values are the essence of who we are. Not knowing who we are creates instability and prohibts us from walking in confidence. Values are special unique God-given gifts inside of each of us that are the anchor keeping us in line with walking in confidence. When we don't live according to our God's unique design we quickly get off center. Feelings of insecurity and uncertainty arise that kill our confidence. Walking in our God-given gifts are important because they help us to harness our balance.  They eliminate the wasted energy spent on second guessing ourselves.  Values based decisions, make decision making easy. Keeping in alignment with our values is as important as brushing your teeth or taking a daily vitamin. Values are about what burdens or angers you, what enlivens you and awakens you. Our values are who we are at our very core. Understanding your values is key to walking confidently into the woman leader you are called to be. If you aren't familiar with your values you can take a free online assessment here. Steps to Increasing Confidence Through Living Your Values Know what your values are and align your life with them Understand how your values show up in your home, work, volunteering and relationships Look for ways to increase the play of your values in those areas Review your calendar to see how you can align your schedule for the day with your values Once you are aligned you can produce the fruit you are designed to produce. Being out of alignment causes us frustration trying to produce results from something we are not called to do. It's like trying to get apples from an orange tree. It just won't happen.  The enemy distracts us with many good things to get us off the path of the God thing we are destined for. Anytime we start a sentence with "I should", that is an indicator that there are wrong motives and underlying influences behind this decision; "I should do this...I should do that".  These are signs of manipulation and guilt, assigned to shame you into a decision.  When this is happening, there's actually a belief system trying to overtake our truth. Women tend to often deny the truth of their inner voice which guides them through the filter of "This is what I can do". Instead, they fall for the manipulating voices of "I should". As soon as this happens, misalignment is inevitable, which initiates a downward spiral fall. While systems and steps are great, ultimately, the best way to live based on values is to stay in the Word of God...The Bible.  Remaining in the Word keeps us truly balanced because it shapes and develops our values as a Child of God. Standing on His Word causes us to truly be confident, not in ourselves, but in the finished works of Christ. And that is the kind of confidence that can't be broken or disappointed. Because He's already done the work, we just need to believe and receive. Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.
May 24, 2016
Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! - Psalm 133:1 NLT God created us to be in relationship with others. Beginning at birth we experience interaction with people via family and friends, attending school, the work place, church community, and through hobbies and other interests. Being comfortable with who you are, having confidence in the things you aspire to do, knowing what areas you are strong and weak in helps you to grow and interact with others in a healthy and unified way. When we unite and there’s unity among us; amazing things manifest as each person contributes to the greater cause and prosperity of others. However, when discord is present it can gravely affect individuals and the outcome that is desired. Disagreements, conflicts and egotistical individuals, can actually tear down people’s self-esteem. Therefore, unity among others, even when there are differences involved, is detrimental to the wellness of all involved. A iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. -Proverbs 27:17 NLT Over the past few years I’ve been leading women’s small groups for my church. The longest one has been a Christian women’s writers group. During each semester I’m amazed over the many things that transpire and occur within each lady attending. At first, some members are intimidated by not knowing who else is going to be part of our small group community. However, overtime they become at ease and more confident in communicating and helping one another. One key factor for this taking place is that there’s unity within the group. There is no desire to compete, criticize or compare each other’s works. Each lady is confident in what she is working on while remaining open to receiving help in areas that she is weaker in. As we assertively work together critiquing each other’s works, each member becomes more confident in what she aspires to write. The body has many different parts, not just one part. -1 Corinthians 12:14 NLT A woman who is confident in who she is, what she does and the direction she is heading in, has a special way about her that stands out and can actually be contagious. Why? Because she is comfortable in being herself. In fact, she is actually a blessing to others. She is confident in what she is strong in and is more apt to reach out to help, encourage, and inspire those in her circle of influence. She is confident when she is weak and is more apt to ask for help, be willing to learn something new and to grow. Here are a few steps you can take that will improve your confidence, bring unity in the communities you are a part of, and help increase confidence in others. • Instead of competing - be confident in what you aspire to do while encouraging and helping others complete what they aim to achieve. • Instead of criticizing – offer constructive-criticism that build others up. Learn to embrace, enjoy and benefit from the giftedness of others while using the skills and talents you are strong and confident in doing. • Instead of comparing – be generous with your compliments to others. Accept that God has wired everyone differently. What works for you may not be true for someone else. One final note - God does amazing things through His people when they unite, bring their strengths and weaknesses to the table, and work effectively together. Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.
May 12, 2016
Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Confidence is a necessary ingredient to living our best life. We need the confidence to be successful in business, in relationships, in any area we wish to make our mark in the world. Confidence can’t be built on how we look, regardless of what advertisers want us to believe. We groom ourselves because it makes us feel better and when we look "put together," it’s easier for people to receive us. (Someone said, “Confidence is the best makeup you could ever wear!”) But as important as personal grooming is, we can’t depend on looks to give us confidence. If we depend upon looks to boost our confidence, then we end up comparing ourselves to others. Unfortunately, there will always be someone younger or “prettier” than we are...definitely not a confidence builder. Confidence can’t be built on our accomplishments. Accomplishments are important and achieving is actually one of the five pillars of well-being. But if we tie our confidence to our accomplishments, we keep ourselves small because we end up fearing failure and resist taking risks that are necessary to grow and succeed. Think back to when you were a kid – you didn’t worry about confidence – you took risks, tried new things, and learned by doing. When you fell off your bike, you didn’t say, “I’m stupid – I can’t ride a bike!” No, you said: “This is a stupid bike!” When you first tied your shoes, you were terrible at it. But you didn’t say, “I’m never doing that again. I’m no good at it!” You borrowed someone else’s confidence. They showed you, let you practice and encouraged you to keep practicing, until one day you did it all by yourself! Now it no longer takes confidence for you to attempt to tie your shoes – you just do it. Confidence Killer Fortunately, confidence is a skill we can learn and cultivate in any area of our life. But to do that we must get rid of the biggest confidence killer - Fear! Scripture has a lot to say about fear and how to get rid of it. Two of my favorite scriptures for dealing with fear are: 2 Tim 1:7 “For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a strong mind.” 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear. Whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” Love is the key to confidence because love extinguishes fear. God is love and He created us in His image. He made us to run on love. And now science is catching up with scripture and discovering the impact that love has on us. Science describes love as “shared positive emotions.” Love is Shared Positive Emotion Positive emotions like gratitude, kindness, joy, awe, and pride are necessary for each of us to thrive as human beings. We can experience each of these emotions on our own. But when we share a positive emotion with another person, it becomes love. There’s a song that says, “love isn't love till you give it away.” Well according to science, love isn't love unless you share it. Love isn't something you keep. It is made to be shared with pairs and groups of people. When we experience a positive emotion with another person, everything changes. Benefits of love: Love actually changes the neural wiring of our brains and it triggers parallel changes in another person’s body and brain. And now that science has been studying love for the past 20 years, there are measurements and data to help us understand a little better how God wired each of us to be love transmitters and love receivers. Science has actually proven that this tiny emotion is what broadens and builds each of us. It makes us better, bigger, stronger, and while we are experiencing it, it makes the person we are sharing the emotion with bigger, better, and stronger! Love Breeds Confidence and Strength Love makes us more open to others. It expands our vision and helps remove prejudices and barriers that keep us apart. The more loving interactions we have, the better prepared we are to face difficulties. Love builds our inner resources, increases our confidence, and helps us break out of self-absorption. According to Dr. Barbara Frederickson, research scientist and author of Love 2.0, even micro-moments of love between strangers can set off upward spirals in our life, self-sustaining trajectories of growth that lift us up to become better versions of ourselves. According to her broaden-and-build theory, love is the supreme emotion that makes us come fully alive and is perhaps an essential emotional experience for thriving and health. Within each moment of loving connection, we become sincerely invested in another person’s well-being, simply for his or her own sake. And the feeling is mutual. Love is Connection There are three elements of this amazing, confidence-building connection with others that we call love: Sharing, at least, one positive emotion with another person. Bio-behavioral synchrony: This describes the biochemical and behavioral changes that occur when you lean in, smile, and share meaningful verbal and nonverbal looks of care and concern. There must be a real-time connection, either in person or on the phone, to be able to experience bio-behavioral synchrony with another person. (You can’t get in sync with a text or an email.) Positive mutual regard. Both people must be willing to invest in each other, even if for just a moment. We can easily experience this connection with our loved ones, but we experience micro-moments of love with total strangers too: when you go to a ball game and your team scores, total strangers start hugging you and slapping you on the back; or when you smile at the person checking you out at the grocery store and they smile back at you. These are all moments of love where you shared a positive emotion with someone and for an instant, there was biological and behavioral synchrony between you and a willingness to invest in each other’s well-being. These brief moments actually make you and the person you share them with, stronger and more confident. Confidence builders: There are simple things you can begin doing immediately to build your confidence. Smile –The best smile is when you mimic another person’s smile or when they mimic yours. You feel an instant connection. Try it! Look people in the eye: Not in a challenging way, but in a way that is meaningful. Most people go through their day feeling invisible, so making eye contact is a way of saying, “You matter!” Write down three ways that other people have benefited your life and then share it with them. Dr. Robert Emmons, who has spent nearly his entire career studying gratitude, has found that few things in life are as integral to our well-being as the practice of gratitude. His research shows that practicing gratitude has amazing health benefits like strengthening the immune system, lowering blood pressure, decreasing depression, increasing energy and helping you get quality sleep (which is why you should count your blessings at night instead of counting sheep!) Gratitude makes your relationships better and helps you become resilient and more confident. Designate a “Kindness Day.” My dad always used to say that if you ever felt down, the quickest cure was to help someone else up. As kids, we learned never to complain to him because he would load us up in the car and take us with him to visit the nursing home, or tell us to cut the elderly neighbor’s grass or something equally horrifying to a teenager. But it turns out my dad was smarter than I knew. Scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise they’ve ever tested. Love is the most powerful force on the planet! Don’t miss out on your chance to harness it and grow your confidence! Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.
May 12, 2016
Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Trust is defined as “firm belief in the reliability, ability, or strength of someone or something.” When we have confidence we are pretty good with ourselves but do we trust other people? Do we have confidence in other people? Trust and confidence go hand in hand. If you don’t have confidence in someone’s ability, you may not trust their ability. So our confidence is not just in ourselves, confidence and how we carry it out really has to do with the confidence we have in others and if we trust them or not. Trust is a two-way street. To reach its greatest potential, trust has to allow inner action in two directions – between two different people. Everything that we get from God whether its love, grace or mercy, can’t stop with us, they have to flow through us to others so it makes sense that confidence or trust is on that same list. God entrusts us with our gifts and talents to do things and that trust can’t stop with us, it has to flow to other people as well. So how do we begin to know if someone is trustworthy or to have faith to put trust in other people? We obviously don’t live on an island and we all have to cooperate and work with people, so how do we know someone is trustworthy? The question of “can I trust you” is pretty much on our minds when we interact with other people, and when we meet someone for the first time, though we usually we aren’t consciously aware of asking it. Basic trust is based on truth. Qualities of a trustworthy person: Trustworthy people have to be truthful. When someone says something we hope they are telling us the truth and maybe later we find that they lied to us. Even white lies can be dismissed, but what we may perceive as harmless or even beneficial may not be so in the eyes of the deceived. Trustworthy people are honest. They match their words and feelings with their thoughts and actions. When their words and actions don’t match, would you trust that person? Trustworthy people are reliable; they keep their promises. Their “yes” means yes, and their “no” means no. They honor their commitments. When my grandson, who is 2 years old, comes to visit I promise him that his mommy will return. He repeats “I promise” and trusts me. I make sure to keep my promises so that he will trust me and want to come back to my home. Trustworthy people are not biased or prejudiced. They interact with others on the assumption that they don’t have all of the answer and all the insights. They don’t have a superior attitude. They have good motives to their actions. We just want to be careful how we put out motives out there that it is not a sign of distrust. We give ourselves credit in having good motives and putting ourselves out there, so shouldn’t we do the same for others? It starts with us. We must be truthful, honest and follow through on our commitments and promises. We are trustworthy and we should all be an advocate of God’s word that we “reap what we sow” and what we put out there comes back to us. What happens someone you knew was trustworthy they broke that trust or deceived you? A good friend of mine once said “give a person some time and they will show you their true colors.” People tend to act like they think you want them to be and once they get comfortable with you their true self will be revealed. Once trust is broken you must remain true within yourself and remain a trustworthy person. Here are to things to consider: Think about the person trust was broken with. Think about your hopes and dreams for that relationship. The more clear that is, the more determined we must be to rebuild that trust. Have an open conversation with them and tell them your true feelings. Trust your gut – trust your instincts – trust God to lead you. Get counseling if you want to save the relationship. If it was a dear friend, ask yourself: What happened? Was it because of something I did or something they did? Was it a misunderstanding? Ask to meet with them and talk about it. Don’t lose a valued friendship over a misunderstanding. Many times we outgrow people and relationships. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person. Just distance yourself from the relationship, but don’t lose the friendship. Realize that not everyone is as forgiving as you are. But forgive and move on. Although it’s hard to get trust back but it isn’t impossible. If you love someone or really want that person in your life, you must be open and honest and communicate with them. No relationship is worth throwing away if you truly love someone. If your heart is in the right place, God will help you to gain that trust back. As Christian women leaders we must not leave God out of this. When you meet someone for the first time and you get that “gut” check, and you don’t know why, be careful of allowing the relationship to go further because the Holy Spirit is trying to teach you something. Even when we miss the gut check and go on anyway, we must believe in the sovereignty of God and know there was something God wanted us to learn and not do the same thing next time. We must trust God to lead us and guide us in the relationships that we want and that will be trusting. How do we build and maintain influence with the people we trust and that trust us? Pay attention. Make eye contact, and hold it – both when you are speaking and listening. Nod from time to time to show you understand what’s being said to you. Smile, especially when they do. Focus and internalize what is being said to you. Everyone needs to feel that they have been heard, even when you can’t give them what they are asking for. Trust them first. We owe it to ourselves to give the benefit of the doubt first – even if it means getting hurt. You must be the good example to follow. Human beings have a deeply-rooted tendency toward reciprocity. We are naturally inclined to want to do favors, give gifts, and work to promote those who have done these things for us in the past. And the same holds true when it comes to trust – we are more likely to feel we can trust someone who has trusted us first. Show empathy. When you talk to them and they are telling you a story, reiterate the story and their feelings. We are highly tuned-in to the warmth and competence of those around us. Warmth is being friendly, kind, loyal and empathetic. It shows you have good intentions towards others. Your competence – being intelligent, creative, skilled, effective – is taken as evidence that you can act on your intentions if you want to. Others’ lack of trustworthiness isn’t a reflection on us. It’s a reflection on them. We love to be “fixers” but we can’t fix others trust issues. We can speak into their life to try and help, but they must first help themselves. The antidote for a tendency not to trust others is unselfishness. Our trust in others is a form of generosity. To paraphrase the golden rule, shouldn’t we strive to trust others, as we would have them trust us? Think about all of the areas of trust in our life: spouse, children and other family members, pets, customers, friends, external material things like cars, electricity, computers, etc. We must be careful in the types of things and people that we put our faith and trust in. When should you stop trusting, either as employer, friend, or a loved one, and move on from a relationship? There are instances where you out grow certain people and situations. You have to trust in yourself to know when it is time to move on. People can have faith in your character as a person but not in your competence as a leader. They can trust you as a friend but they may not trust you to lead them. You can only do so much, but there may be a time that you must move on. Relationships should be win-win. Each person gains something from being in the relationship. Some feel that each person must give 100% for a relationship to work, which may be difficult at times. I was told each person must give 80% - to go beyond the 50% for a relationship to work. You must be fully present in the relationship in order to have trust. The National Association of Christian Leaders (NACWL) believes for women to lead effectively you have to move on effectively. If we decide a relationship needs to move on, there must be forgiveness. Until you forgive, whether you keep the relationship or not, the feelings or issues will repeat themselves in future relationships until you forgive. It will hold you back from God’s potential. It will be a spiritual roadblock. You have to resolve feelings whether good or bad in order to move on. Be true to yourself and be true to others. Trust your gut! God placed that instinct in you for a reason. Don’t second guess the person God wants you to be. Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.
April 26, 2016
Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Have You Unwrapped Your Gifts? My fascination with strengths started when I heard an interesting talk a few years ago. I have forgotten much of what the speaker said that day, but one thing they said still rings in my ears is: “Strengths are individually wrapped gifts that the creator of the universe gives to each person the day they’re born. The tragedy is that many of us don’t open our gifts.” That really resonated with me and motivated me - I wanted to unwrap my gifts! And that started me on a treasure hunt for my unique strengths. Back then, I’d never heard of Strengths-Finders and I didn't know how to figure out what my strengths actually were. So I thought about what I wanted to be good at - I kind of “cherry picked” my gifts. (Have you ever done that, or am I the only one?!) Here’s what happens to a lot of us: we want to be great at something that isn’t really natural to us, so instead of developing our natural strengths, we try to open someone else’s gift! As a result, we end up spending time working on our weaknesses, trying to turn them into strengths. I found that whole process stressful, exhausting, and discouraging. We’re Born Extraordinary but Spend Our Lives Becoming Ordinary I hate to think of all the time I’ve wasted fixing my weakness. One of the first things I heard John Maxwell say was, ”If you spend significant time working on your weaknesses instead of developing your strengths, if you work really hard, you might claw your way all the way to mediocrity! But you'll never get beyond it.” That sounds like a lot of effort for very little return. I didn’t want to be average! Since my strengths are what could make me extraordinary, I decided to shift my focus from fixing my weaknesses, to discovering and developing my strengths. Content With Average Unfortunately, a lot of women I talk to don’t think they have talents, or they think that it’s selfish to spend time developing their strengths. They have grown content with being average. Scripture says that God made each of us special. He doesn’t have favorites and he didn't forget anyone when He was handing out strengths. Spending time learning how to stay in our strength zone is required if we want to reach our potential. It's not selfish, it’s what God expects from us. Parable of the Talents In Matthew chapter 5, we read about a wealthy master who trusted three of his servants with his wealth while he was gone on a trip. To one servant he gave one talent, to the second he gave two talents and to the third he gave five talents! I love this analogy, because the word ‘talent’ in scripture was a large sum of money. One talent was about a million dollars in today's currency. I think this parable has some great lessons for us! First, finding and using our talents can be a lot of work! The servants had to figure out what to do, find a way to invest their master’s money and get him results. Second, God doesn't give us each the same talents. We are given the talents He wants us to have and we’re expected to use them to create results. Well, if you know the story, the  second and third  servants doubled their master’s income and they received a “Well done good and faithful servant.” As a result, the master gave them even more responsibility, more talents,  and more opportunities for success. But the first servant took his one talent, -and lets not feel sorry for him because that was about a million dollars - and he hid it. The master was not happy - he fired the servant! If we want to reach our potential and hear “Well done good and faithful servant” we need to maximize our strengths. We need to be like the servants who worked at getting the most out of their talents.  Your Talents: Who You Are, Not What You Do Scripture says that we’re supposed to shine brighter and brighter each day. Our strengths should be multiplying, not diminishing.  As women of faith, we each have a call on our life and it just makes sense that God has fully equipped us to run our race. All we have to do is discover and develop our strengths. Then we will begin to see that our success isn’t tied to what we do, but who we are in Him. Businesses have begun to realize the importance of focussing on the strengths of their employees. One interesting study conducted by the Leadership Institute found that the quickest way to decrease performance and productivity within a company was to focus on employees’ weaknesses. They studied over 20,000 employees in over 30 different countries and found when they began focusing on their peoples' strengths, their productivity and performance soared by 36.4%. But when they tried to fix their employees weaknesses, job performance went down by 26.8 %. Why Do We Try To Fix Our Weaknesses? That’s the $60,000 question. I think we try to fix our weaknesses to protect ourselves, to blend in, to not be embarrassed by being wrong or different. If you think about it, as children, we learn to stand in line, color in the lines, and not to call attention to ourselves, because showing off is bad. So we  get good at becoming average. In a way, we learn how to hide. I don’t know about you, but I remember the day I began to hide - to make sure I didn't stand out. The Day I Began to Hide I was in fifth grade and Mrs. Latham called me to the board  to work out a math problem, right after our class genius, had worked out a really hard problem in front of the class. I stood at the board. I turned red. My mind went blank. I was mortified when my teacher finally said, “Jeane, since you don’t seem to know simple math, please take your seat.”  That was the moment I started to hide. I made a secret promise to myself to avoid ever going to the board again if at all humanly possible! I lived in fear of the blackboard for the rest of my academic career! So instead of trying to learn, I tried to be right - which, as we all know, is the death of learning. Can you recall a moment when you went into hiding: when you decided it was safer to fit in than stand out. Maybe it was when you didn't get invited to the party, or didn't make the cheerleading team, or when someone laughed at you. You decided it was better to be unnoticed than unaccepted. So you began to hide, to become average. Of course, we all care about what others think of us. But what could we have accomplished, if we had spent our time becoming more of who we were instead of hiding or trying to be like someone else! Many of us have hidden ourselves and our uniqueness, for so long that we’re not really sure who we are or what we think. We’ve been caring what other people think for way too long. Re-Learn How to Stand Out The crazy thing, is that when we get to be adults, we have to learn how to stand out again if we want to make our mark on the world and have any measure of success. People don’t pay of average. They pay for what’s different, what’s fascinating! Think of any brand name or commercial. They intrigue us with what makes their product special - how it's different than any one else’s. Whether it’s the un-cola, or the mini-cooper, or the toothpaste you use - advertisers know that what makes you buy a product, what makes you turn loose of your cash, isn't based on how their product is like another one, it’s how it’s different. The same is true for people. Our results are linked to recognizing our unique strengths and gifts - how we’re different. Where To Begin The first place to look for our strengths is our spiritual gifts’ inventory. 1 Corinthians 12 talks about our gifts and how we must understand them and get good at using them. Everyone needs us to use our gifts so they can use theirs. Discovering our strengths isn't selfish - it’s a command! If you’ve never taken a spiritual gifts’ assessment, I would encourage you to take one. There are several online tools and most churches have their own classes or assessments that help you identify and begin using your spiritual gifts. For many years I thought I had a certain spiritual gift, but it wasn’t until I began digging deeper into strengths that I found out why my spiritual gift didn't seem to really fit me. I didn't really understand myself or my spiritual gifting until I understood my personality type. We’re 99.9% alike  Here’s the thing, humans are all very similar  Basically we share 99.9 % of the same traits - the same DNA. That means that there’s only 1/10th of one percent difference between us. But it’s in that tiny difference, that 1/10th of one %, where we find our uniqueness! That difference is our personality. When you understand your personality, you can stop competing with other people, comparing  yourself to other people, and stop borrowing their personality style to lead - because there’s absolutely nothing better than your personality style! God’s Designer Label Personality is the most unique thing about us and our strengths are hidden there. Personality is God given, so I like to think of our personality as God’s designer label. Think about our designer. His love for diversity is everywhere. There are over 600 kinds of beetles. (I wonder why we need 600 types of beetles?) And there are no two snowflakes or two finger prints exactly alike. He just seems to delight in differences. And He made each of us to be one-of-a- kind. Now I know some people who I’m thankful are one of a kind - if you know what I mean. But those people haven’t found out how to use their strengths. Their strengths are out of control, or they’re just using their weaknesses. When we learn what’s strong about us instead of what’s wrong with us, we can begin to adjust our strengths to get the best out of ourselves and get the best out of others. The one thing  that no one else has, the one thing that no one else can copy, or steal from you, is your unique personality!  How You Fascinate the World I like what one author says: ”Our differences are how we fascinate other people.” Everyone woman listening to this podcast is fascinating! We don’t need to change who we are - just become more of who we are!. Peter Drucker always said that “Strengths are always specific!’ The more specific you get about your strengths, the better the chance you can find your ‘sweet spot.’ Why be on the fringes of your strength zone when you have a chance to be right in the center? A great  way to do that is  to take one of the many personality assessments. There are a lot of assessments out there and most of them are helpful. The best one is the one you will actually take and put to use. (Emphasis on PUT TO USE!) Just knowing the labels for yourself won’t change anything for very long. Once you identify you personality strengths, You’ll need to find a way to start using them everyday. D-I-S-Cover Your Strengths When people ask me which assessment to take, I tell them DISC because it is so easy to understand and use and it also helps you understand the personality styles of the other people around you. We all have patterns of behavior and when we understand ourself better- when we begin to  see our pattern of behavior, it follows that we’ll be able to to see other people’s patterns of behavior. When we can understand the pattern, we can understand the person- even those people who are very different than us. And many times, some of those people share our gene pool! We love them but sometimes we just don’t understand them. Click here to learn more about the DISC Assessment. Benefits of Understanding  When you understand your personality, It’s like being introduced to yourself  for the first time. We think understanding your personality is so critical, that in our company, we don’t coach or train anyone until they’ve taken D.I.S.C. or a similar assessment. Once we understand their personality, often we know more about them than they know about themselves. When we see their unique personality blend, we know how to best communicate with them, we know what motivates them, and how they make decisions. We can even predict what stresses them, and what energizes them. It helps us empower them to achieve success with a lot more ease: but most importantly, it helps them begin to understand themselves and their pattern of behavior. You Can Wrestle or Dance I like to borrow a visual that my daughter Megan always uses because she loves to dance. She says that when you learn how to truly unleash your personality on the world, when you stop trying to get better and simply become the very best you, then you can begin to dance instead of wrestle your way through life! Wrestling and dancing both involve a lot of focus, a lot of exertion, and a lot of interaction. But at the end of a wrestling match, there’s a winner and a loser; at the end of a dance, there are equal partners. Wrestlers resist and push against each other; dancers have this constant give-and-take that looks like magic. Wrestlers end up sweaty and bruised; dancers end up flushed with happiness and health. It’s up to every one of us to decide if we’ll wrestle or dance our way through life.  I hope each woman listening today, chooses to dance - to find out what makes them different and then unleash it on the world. Click here to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.