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Barbara @ Barbara J. Henry

You Make a Difference!

Your questions, opinions, decisions, everything you do, is important, because you make a difference!

Have you ever decided to withhold your opinion because you thought it would not matter in the final outcome?
Do you keep your questions hidden inside because  you do not think they are important enough to ask?
Have you stayed home during local or national elections thinking your one
vote would not matter that much, or affect  the outcome?
Do you ever keep major decisions a secret because you think they impact  no  one  but  you?

If you answered yes to any of the questions, you need to know that you are important,  and what you do or fail to do, affects not only you, but those around you as well. Your questions, opinions, decisions, everything you do, is important, because you make a difference.

It is probably sobering, but we are all connected in many ways, and when this fact is fully understood, I believe we will become more concerned about and considerate of each other.

The great writer John Donne said it best in his  “Meditation 17″: ‘No man is an island, entire  of  itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less… Any man’s death, (actions, inactions, paraphrased added) diminishes me because I am involved…, and therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls;  it tolls for thee.”
Each of us matters; we have unique perspectives, talents, and gifts, and when we fail to express our uniqueness-share what we have been given- the ‘Whole’ suffers a great loss.

Remembering Donne’s words will help you to feel a sense of pride as you share whatever it is you alone possess.

Share your comment in the space provided.

‘Waiting,’ a Time to Grow and Serve

Waiting for your ‘ship to come in’ is the best time to grow by serving those in your network.

All too often we get discouraged and become disgruntled because things are not happening in our lives and careers as quickly as we think they should, and there may be justification for us to think  as we do.
Oftentimes, we have done all the work and paid all of our dues, but still the calls don’t come and the letters, texts, and emails are non-existent.
During  these times, it is so easy to lose hope, courage, and we consider ‘throwing in the proverbial towel.’ We just want a break already! After all, everything that we were told to do, we have done, but alas, our situation does not change.

What to do in times like these? How do you keep your hopes and dreams alive when all you see is more of the same inaction, and hear more of  your
sighs of disappointment?

These questions plague me now as they have in the past, and I thankfully remember what I did in the past to add more meaning to my life when it appeared that no change would  ever come.
In the past, when  no action seemed apparent on the surface, I engulfed myself  in serving others; I consciously decided to help others, if and when I could, make their dreams come true.

Frequently, we assume that delays  in  our lives or careers mean failure, but more often than not, there is no delay at all, but rather a conflict in timing.
Yes, in timing,  my timing, your timing,  and the timing that has been perfect  throughout time.
I must remember when I don’t get what I should when I think I should, that there is a “universal time” for all things to occur, and I  must trust that timing in my life and affairs.

During the “waiting period”,  there is so much that I can do.
For example, I can focus on some area in my life that needs improvement, and I can  consciously work on growing or enhancing that area. Who knows, it may be just what is needed for me to fully appreciate what I am waiting on when it finally arrives.
Growing the self is always in season, therefore  personal development is always needed.

As I wait for my ship to come in, I can also help as many as possible reach their goals, and fulfill their dreams.
Doing this takes courage, generosity, and a genuine concern for others. But, by doing these things,  I believe we will not only improve the lives of others, we will also expand so that when our ship finally does arrive, we will be able to fully appreciate all of its contents.

Consider adopting this perspective in the future when it appears that ‘waiting’ has taken over your life.

Please leave  your comment. I would like to know what you think about this post.

10 Ways to Become Your (own) Best Friend

“You should treat yourself as well as you treat your best friend!”

The phrase ‘best friend’ is a familiar one to all of us, and if I were to ask you to define the term, it would not be difficult to do.
Most of us are fortunate enough to have had friends all of our lives, and some of us still have our friends from childhood as our best and most trusted allies.

Over the years you  have confided in your friends and they in you.
You have fought, made up, and grown closer as a result of your battles.

I need to ask you a couple of questions here: Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your best friend? Are you as happy in your company as you are in the presence of your most trusted confidante?
I believe you need to be as kind to yourself  as you   are to those close to you, and until you are able to to do so, you need to keep working on your friendship with you.

Here are 10 things that will help you to improve your relationship with yourself, and as a result, all of your other relationships will also improve:

1.Accept yourself: You must come to terms with who you are  and learn to like yourself as you are. You can not give others what you do not have.

It took me a while to get this one right. You see, for  the longest time while growing up , and even into my adult years, I was quite uncomfortable with my Oriental  features; I did not like my eyes, nor my high cheek bones that made my eyes appear even more slanted.
It took a lot of living, as well as support from my mom and other loved ones, to get me to the point where I was able to accept my uniqueness;

2. Love yourself: This is difficult to do if you have not accepted who you are, how you look;

3. Forgive yourself: Too often we are very hard on ourselves for something we did or failed to do in the past. Instead of being so unforgiving toward yourself, you should determine what if anything you can do now to set things right, and begin doing it as soon as possible;

4. Protect yourself: It is important to protect yourself  from the negative influences that are so prevalent in our society. Not only must you protect your physical self, you need to protect your emotional, mental, and psychological self as well, just to name a few;

5. Discipline yourself: This seems easy enough, but how often do you consciously think about the need to physically exercise or to exercise discipline in your  life?

6. Pamper  Yourself: Right after discipline? Yes, because they are the flip sides of each other. Let me explain: Discipline is needed to focus on and to achieve a desired goal. If  you act only when you want to , it will take  longer for you to achieve the goal, if it is achieved at all. But when the goal is reached as a result of the discipline you exercised, and the actions you took, a little ‘pampering’  is  acceptable as a reward for completing or achieving the goal.

7. Respect Yourself: You must respect or value yourself ; you should respect and uphold the things that make you who you are: your uniqueness, your value system, the talents and gifts you have been given;

8. Challenge yourself: Like the discipline  you must dole out to yourself when needed, you must also challenge yourself to continue growing, stretching. You should seek ways to promote your personal growth  so that you can always give more value in quantity and quality to those around you;

9. Encourage Yourself: This can come in any form that is needed at any given time. Of course we would like for others to encourage us, but we must be our biggest fan, our most energetic cheerleader;

10. Enjoy Yourself: Enjoying yourself, the things you love doing, even when no one else is around, will help you to become your truest and best friend.
As a result of habitually doing these things to affirm and to improve our lives, we will become better: better people, better friends to others, and equally important, best friends to ourselves.

Please leave a comment to  let me know your thoughts on this post.

Winning Through Disappointments

The way we  handle disappointments in striving toward our goals determines our failures, successes,  as well as the overall quality of  our life.

Each of us has  our share of disappointments as we strive to reach those coveted goals and dreams in life.
It does not matter how motivated or inspired we are about what we hope to accomplish: Disappointments happen, in our personal relationships, our careers,  and in life in general. The way we handle disappointments in striving toward our goals determines our failures, successes, as well as the overall quality of our lives.

As with any disappointment or setback, we must evaluate it closely to see what if anything we did or failed to do, that caused the problem.
Correcting the flaw as quickly as possible, without casting blame or pointing fingers, will minimize the damage as well as the time it will take for us to get back into the fight.
Yes, you will need some time to recover, to regroup, and lick  your wounds, but you must not delay action too long because you know just how damaging inaction or idleness can be to your success.

The next time you are faced with a disappointing situation, try the following action steps to help you get back on track:

1. Acknowledge your feelings, and don’t be too hard on yourself or others who may be involved. This must be done as soon as possible if the situation is going to improve;

2. Determine  what if any role you played in causing the problem;

3. Identify and execute the action(s) you can take now to set things right;

4. Ask help from those for whom there exist mutual support and respect. Doing so will shift most of the stress from you;

5. Find the lesson(s) the experience has to teach you, and use it to help you
in some area of your personal development.

Disappointments will happen; they are a part of life, but you do not have to let them derail your goals and dreams or determine the quality of your life.

Please leave a comment.

Warning! Comfort Zones Dangerous to Self-Growth/ Personal Development

Our goals and dreams will not be realized until we leave our comfort zones and pursue them (goals, dreams) with a tenacity that refuses to  yield!

Are you moving closer to your dreams daily because of  the action you take to make your dreams come true?

Have you left your comfort zone ( s ) far behind because you have a clear vision of your dream? Or, do you cling to those things that comfort like one clings to an old hat or a pair of  worn comfortable shoes?

To realize your dreams, you must be willing to step outside of your area of comfort again and again.
Yes, I know this is scary, but the truth of the matter is, we must grow in all areas of our lives to embrace our dreams. Those soft, cuddly places in our lives, with which we are so comfortable, do not allow us to grow; they keep us where we are: content and comfortable. These two boarders do not budge; they have to be ‘thrown’  out.

No doubt, you have heard this saying: In order to reach your goals, or realize your dreams, ‘you must become comfortable with being uncomfortable’. Our goals and dreams will not be realized until we leave our comfort zones and pursue them (goals,dreams) with a tenacity that refuses to yield!
The more growth, or risks of the right kind, the more discomfort of the right kind, the closer you get to realizing your dreams. This should motivate you to keep stretching and moving forward.

After a certain age, all of our personal growth is from the inside out.  This is exactly what is needed if we are to realize our loftiest dreams.

So, when are you stepping outside of  your comfort zone? Don’t continue holding on to it for dear life!
Release your tight grip so that you can move forward to realize your loftiest dreams and to embrace your true destiny.

I welcome, I read, and I respond to all comments.

Believe in You

To accomplish anything worthwhile in life, you must first believe that it can be done, and that you are the one to do it.

Too often we take ourselves out of the competition, no matter what it is, before we even enter it. I know this is what I did many times in the past, because I did not have confidence in myself  or in my abilities.
Lack of confidence can be caused by many things. For example, past failures (mainly because we gave up too soon) can weaken our confidence.
Family members and friends, who were not supportive, or not as supportive as we needed or wanted them to be, often time contribute  to our failure as well.

Underestimating the amount of time or work necessary to complete a task because we failed to do the needed research before diving into the project,  can also lead to failure.
The list of causes as to why we fail can go on indefinitely, but when we examine the many reasons failures occur, we will conclude, if we are honest with  ourselves,  that  the  main  reason  for our   failures  is due to our not  believing in ourselves  or in our abilities to get the job done.

Somehow, over the course of your life, you have stopped believing in yourself, and because this is so, the things attempted are abandoned at the first sign of resistance or trouble.
You  should remember that many times in life, those of us interested in self- help and personal development,  must go where our paths lead, even when you  have to travel alone, as many of life’s challenges require us to do, and to accomplish anything worthwhile  in life, you must first believe that it can be done, and that you are the one to do it.

Frequently, the only way to improve ourselves, our situations, is to do those things that require the most from us, but we can and we will succeed in doing all that is needed as we believe in ourselves and take the right decisive steps, and by knowing this: There is within each of us whatever we need to succeed  in life.
Let us begin with this fact!

THE Importance of Faith(Originally posted:May 31, 2009)

To achieve true success, I believe, you must have faith, faith in yourself, and your abilities, faith in others whom you will need to help you, and faith in someone bigger than yourself; I call that bigger entity God.

Faith is a very common word with which all are familiar, and if I were to ask you to define faith, I believe it could be done with little or no thought since it is such a well known word.
But what exactly is faith? Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines faith as having: ‘complete trust, confidence, or reliance.’
Each of us has to have confidence, or faith in ourselves and abilities if we are to achieve any degree of success, but we also need to trust other people, those who can help us to achieve our goals,that group of people who supports and believes in us and the unique abilities we possess and with which we want to serve others.
I am sure we all agree that none of us achieves success alone.

But, for true and lasting success, it is my opinion, that an additional type of faith is needed, and that is a faith and confidence in one whom I call God.
You may use another name, or no name at all, but I sincerely believe that in all things, there is a greater force or power working, and when we have the faith to acknowledge and to tap into that powerful force, we succeed in our undertakings that add value to our lives and to the lives of those around us.

Faith in ourselves, faith in others , and faith in God, allow us to take risks, and risks are essential to growth, to increased faith, and confidence.

As you continue to grow your faith, you will continue to take the daily actions and risks, that allow you to expand and grow yourself.

Where is your faith?

Please use the space provided below to make a comment.

Moments of Quiet Reflection(originally posted:May 14,2009)

Taking the time to be quiet, to silence the mind and activities, help you to renew your energy, your creativity, and your gratitude.

Many of  you may have  forgotten how important it is to be still, to spend a few moments just quieting the  thoughts and the mind.
You may also believe that you should be busy, doing something, every single moment.
If  idle for any amount of time, you  probably think   productivity has been compromised.  This is especially true, I believe, for those of you who are high achievers. But more often than not, being idle or quiet, for a few minutes of the day, is exactly what is needed

Let me ask you: Have you ever taken the time to still your thoughts and activities and found in doing so that you were much more productive and creative after the period of silence ended?
Consciously building moments of silence into your daily schedule will improve the quality of your life and energize your activities.

It will also help you to become more in tuned with yourself, your thoughts, your goals and  dreams.

For those of you who are serious about personal growth and self-help, spending time alone is a must so that you can get to know yourself, who you really are, and who you desire to become. Trying to figure this out amid the noise and chaos of everyday living is impractical, if not impossible.

So much is overlooked or missed altogether when too many things are on the ‘to do list’.
Deliberately taking time daily to quiet your thoughts, to come apart for a while, will give you the energy, focus, and direction you need to continue your journey of personal growth and development; it will therefore, help you get a clearer perspective of the things that really matter to you.
So, here is the challenging question: Will you commit to working into your day at least a ten minute block of time, where you do nothing but quiet your thoughts and count your blessings?
This can be done in the morning, before the hustle and bustle of the day begin,  at night before you retire, or both.

I believe if you do this daily, you will soon be well on your way to accomplishing your goals, no matter how grand or lofty they may be.

Quieting our mind, our thoughts and  our actions, momentarily throughout the day, will produce fresh perspectives, renewed energy, as well as more gratitude and creativity.
Remember: Most great ideas happen during the quiet, the reflective, the contemplative periods in our days and nights. It is our responsibility to provide the proper environment for the flashes of insight just waiting to appear.

Let me know what you think by posting your comment in the space provided.

Growing from the Inside Out (originally posted March 31,2009)

Personal growth is an admirable undertaking, but don’t be too alarmed or too hard on yourself (or others) when the  desired changes take longer than  expected.

So much information exists now on personal growth and self-help. These topics are two of the more popular today.

Everyone it seems has some useful morsel or tidbit, that when used,will catapult us into a completely different level of success, if followed for 30 days.
Since most  growth is from the inside out, I wonder how much real growth can occur in such a short span?

Consider this: Many trees take years to reach their maximum height, and for others, hundreds of years are required.
But we humans, infinitely more complex than trees and other living things, want to believe that significant growth, permanent and life changing, can happen almost over night.
Real personal growth or self-help, I believe, takes years, and during those years, many challenges,which cause internal conflict and ultimate growth, arise. Yes, personal growth is an admirable and necessary undertaking throughout life, but don’t be too alarmed or too hard on yourself (or others)
when the  changes you desire  take longer than expected.

My journey of personal development began over 13 years ago, and although I have experienced long lasting results in some areas, I am still a ‘work in progress’, a work that will be constantly ‘under construction’.
For example, my patience, or the lack thereof, still needs to be worked on daily, and although I have seen amazing results in this area over the years, the true test, heavy traffic when I am pushed for time, still has not been passed with flying colors; most of the time, the only color I see is red, and until I consistently respond favorably in this area, I will continue to do exercises, write journal entries, read self-help books, including my own , and pray daily until I have mastered my impatience.

It would be wonderful if this area of my life improved significantly over night or at least over a period of thirty days, but so far, 13 plus years have elapsed, and I still see things that need to be tweaked in this area.
You and I both must also remember that because of our humanness, there will always be something in our lives that need work.

Thankfully there are tons of information and people available to provide the help needed.
So, give your self a break; don’t be so critical of your slow progress.
Keep working on you until you see the desired results even if it takes a bit longer than expected.

Please leave a comment below sharing your opinion with me. I ‘d be glad to hear from you and I will respond.

New Year, New Decade, New Growth

2011, is a new year, and it ushers in a new decade. It is the ideal time for all who desire change, or growth in any area of life, to go for it!

It is quite easy to be optimistic during the first few days of a new year,especially when it comes after 2010, a year that came in with challenges of sundry kinds, and strutted out the same way. Although 2010 was a challenge, that may be still felt, this year, 2011, is new, and it ushers in a new decade. It is the ideal time, therefore, for all who desire change, or personal growth, in any area of life, to go for it! The optimism that comes with a new year is especially helpful for setting goals, making plans and resolutions, and these actions can be the spring boards to success in many areas of life, especially in the area of personal growth. You need to remember that daily focused actions will always result in success. The key of course is consistency, and with a new year, as well as a new decade to consider, you should experience noticeable personal growth in those areas where you focus your attention and take consistent, relevant,  action. No matter what the year, or decade, success still follows planned, continuous action, and as a result, you will see your dreams fulfilled and your goals realized.

What to do Next?

* Identify your most important goals, plans, for this year, if you haven’t done so already;

* Write them down as clearly and as accurately as possible;

* Identify daily, relevant actions you can take to reach your goals;

* Share the goals with someone who is interested enough in your success to help hold you accountable;

* Celebrate the victories you achieve along the way!

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