Sometimes you need to take a break from one thing, so you can take care of another. With a crazy travel schedule for speaking and coaching, blogging had to take a back burner. Temporarily.
But one of the cool things about focusing on something different for a short period, is the new energy and fresh vibe you bring when you return. That’s how I feel now that I’m back from a blog hiatus. I’m excited to share. There’s much more than I can say in one post, so stay tuned over the coming weeks for personal revelations, stories from the road, practical tips, new encouragement, with a touch of inspiration.
Inspired — I hope I left an audience of nearly 5,000 college students, their parents, and faculty feeling this way, as I spoke to a university in Texas a couple of weeks ago. But as often happens, I realized there were things I didn’t have enough time to tell them, things I’ve learned through life experience. Points that make work and personal relationships better.
Believing it’s never too late, here are three important things I would share with a colliseum full of people, or one-on-one if we were having a conversation:
1. Pay attention to your own words — especially those alluding to a promise. Too often, we stumble through life in a robotic-like state, without paying attention to what wer’re saying or doing. This puts us in jeopardy of making promises we didn’t notice, and betraying others when we break them.
Why do we tell someone we’ll take care of something when we’re not really connected to the promise? Sometimes we want to make ourselves look good, so we say what we believe the other person wants to hear. Often, we’re in a hurry to move onto something else, so we placate in order to move on. And what I think is the most common reason this happens, distracted by our own thoughts, we’re not paying full attention to what the other person is saying or asking, so we nod or say yes in agreement, without realizing what we just said.
If you want others to see you as someone who can be trusted, it’s imperative to keep your word. And in order to do so, you must pay attention to what you say. Always.
2. It’s okay to say I don’t know. I’m not sure why we human beings think we must look like we know everything. I can assure you, this trap has ensnared me more times than I can count. But it’s dangerous. Know-it-all’s are unapproachable, appear arrogant, and ineffective.
Why do we feel compelled to pretend we have all the answers? Insecurity. Afraid of rejection, looking dumb, or feeling embarrassed, we make a bigger fool of ourselves when we spout off about subjects we aren’t qualified to speak on. It takes courage to be the first to say you don’t know. But have you ever noticed the relief on the faces of others when you do? There are many things we don’t know, we don’t know. Get comfortable with that truth. And watch others respond to your honesty when you aren’t afraid to say it — one-on-one, or in a large crowd.
3. Never lose a teachable spirit. It takes a wise person to realize you don’t know everything, and to invest the time and energy to learn. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason, listening twice as much as we speak is one simple way to maintain a teachable heart. Another? Resolve to keep a student’s attitude in all things.
How can you practice a teachable spirit? When someone tells you something, don’t say, “Everybody knows that,” or “I already knew that.” If you don’t cut the person off, you might find surprises in the rest of what they have to tell you. Even if you think you know, allow them the respect of not stealing their thunder.
There are many things I wish someone would have taught my younger self so I could have saved years of foolish and heart-breaking choices. But at that stage, I might not have listened. Back then, I didn’t practice my life habits with this much intention. I wish I would have. But if I can save one person from making one of the big mistakes I made, then this is all worth it. This is why I write. This is why I speak. This is why I coach. Because I care.
Have you ever responded like the boy in the video? What life-altering tips would you share with your younger self?
Anita Fresh Faith
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Expert, Certified Training Facilitator, Communications Specialist, and national speaker. Anita is also the author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market. Now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Lifeway, Christianbook.com, select Walmart’s, plus many fine stores, Christian and otherwise.
She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business coaching firm. Member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, Toastmasters, and a client of WordServe Literary Group. A graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries. Anita co-hosts a weekly podcast, Engaging Life and Leadership with Darren Dake, available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.
Anita is passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.
Her favorite past time is lounging by a river or lake in Missouri, laughing with with her husband of thirty years, Ricky.