THE LEADERSHIP STYLE OF GENTLENESS
By Gayle Foster
I write about leadership. But today I want to focus on qualities that are not always associated with leadership. However, if you do not have these qualities no one will follow you. And if you have no followers you are not a leader. That’s pretty plain and simple.
The qualities are kindness, gentleness, humility and graciousness. Unfortunately for the segment of society that is most often associated with leadership, the cholerics, these qualities are often lacking. These qualities are often lacking in me.
Telling people what to do is not effective. It is offensive. No one wants to be told what to do. They want servant leadership, not dictatorship.
Using strong language to make a point only turns people off and offends their sensibilities. People seek shelter from a blast. They are never drawn to it.
Accusing others who do not get it of being stupid or lazy does not motivate anyone to change, it only motivates them to stay away from you. If someone has a different opinion than you, it does not make them stupid. And if you act like they are, you have completely lost your ability to win them over. If someone doesn’t do what you think they should do, it doesn’t make them lazy. It just means that you didn’t do a good job of motivating them.
Sarcasm is never an effective motivational tool with anyone. The only point it makes is that you are a toxic person who will hurt others.
Abruptness does not promote connection or conversation. It makes people feel devalued. It makes people feel like your thoughts and feelings and presence is not important. It makes people feel used. You got what YOU needed. You are done.
People will forgive almost anything except for arrogance. No one has a problem with people who make mistakes. Everyone has a problem with people who feel like they don’t.
If you want to make people pay, teach them a lesson, put them in their place, or make them feel like they made you feel , you will not only be a miserable person because you will be eaten up with bitterness, but no one will want to entrust themselves to you. They are not willing to pay the payment you will extract if they make a mistake.
Smugness does not prove a point. It only makes people want to slap you. If you get that look, you stand a better chance of people following you if you are wearing a paper sack over your face. You can turn people off without saying a word. You cannot lead or influence a person who is turned off by you. If you don’t know what “that look” is, I’m sure your spouse does. Ask them.
No one operates better under an atmosphere of guilt than they do under an atmosphere of praise. One of the best word mantras to live life by was written by Ken Blanchard in his classic book, “The One Minute Manager.” He said to “catch someone in the act of doing something good and tell them about it.”
Being opinionated is the opposite of being teachable. Even if you are completely correct, if you say it in such a way that puts everyone else down, people are not going to take your side.
People are more drawn to the way you relate to them than by what you say to them or what you have achieved. They will only follow someone who makes them feel safe.
Power is found in gentleness. Jesus said, “The meek will inherit the earth.” Kindness is the most motivating tool in the world. Humility will cause people to follow you through many mistakes. And graciousness will create an atmosphere that people will flock to.
If people are not following your leadership it is time to look inside. And the “you” in this entire post is directed toward me, Gayle Foster. I hope you have benefited by reading the private notes I wrote for my own benefit.
I would love to hear your thoughts on leadership styles and what is motivating or demotivating. Do you see anything that can be improved upon in yourself? Do you see where you have been hurt by someone trying to lead you and how things could have turned out differently. Let's all help each other.
Gayle Rogers Foster
Image by Caroline DePalatis.
Reflections on the Tribe 2017 Conference.
Tribe 2017 was not my first writer’s conference, but it is just what I needed at this junction in my life. Every writer’s conference I have attended has contributed to developing my craft by giving me tools, insights, and connections with others that broadened my horizons and given me the courage to push forward.
I have been a follower of Jeff Goins for a little over a year and appreciated the insight and energy that he brings to the table. When I began reading about the Tribe Conference 2017, I made it a priority to get myself over to Franklin, Tn for the event. Believe me, it was a great choice.
Tribe 2017 was different from the get-go in at least three ways. First, it was not billed as a Christian Writer’s Conference, while many believing people attended, I loved the fact that there was some meaningful cross-pollination. Second, the youthfulness and innovative tone of the presenters, as well as the Premium workshops gave me several insights in how to more effectively utilize the power of the internet to share my message. Third, the vibe of the Tribe, the genuine feeling that I was being invited to join a band of like-minded writers and other creatives who desire to share their stories with the world.
Jeff Goins thank you for listening to your mentors and putting yourself out there and inviting your Tribe to come along for a shared adventure.
Twenty-Five Stress Relief Tips
by John Thurman M.Div., M.A., LCMHC
I have literally just come back from a two week deployment as a Stress Counselor working with the FEMA Call Center in Denton, Tx. The folks at this facility take the calls from Hurricane survivors in all manner of stress, including life and death situations. My job was to be with them ans share tools and tips that could help them deal with the sometimes intense nature of the calls.
My freind, Maggie Anderson from Albuquerque is currently in Tx working with a ministry team to help the Harvey survivors begin the process of recovery, I am thankful for her photo.
Here are twenty-Four Stress Relief Tips.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know men and women are continually being bombarded with stress. Whether you are married or single, young or old, stress is an ever-present challenge. Stress-related illnesses are on the rise and have you noticed all of the sleep aid ads on television. With all of this stress we are faced with I thought it would be a good idea to give you Twenty-Five Stress Relieving Tips.
Today, I am in my hotel getting ready to go to work at the FEMA Call Center in Denton, Tx where I am detailed for a couple of weeks to work as a Stress Counselor. These people are on the phone 10 hours a day, seven days a week talking to survivors, helping people get their applications for FEMA support filled out correctly to get the callers what they need. I sincerely appreciate these folks, who have compassionate hearts. It is an honor to work with them. As the images of Irma flood out televisions and smart devices, the folks at the call center are preparing for the next wave of calls. Keep them as well as first responders, and survivors in your thoughts and prayers.
This is a second article concerning the components of resilient people, last week I wrote about the Two Traits of a Long-Term Marriage. Today I want to share a true story about a FEMA employee I met last hurricane season when I was working as a Stress Counselor at the JFO (Joint Field Office) in Baton Rouge last year.
I had been on the scene for a couple of days when a woman about my age asked if I would like to join some of the team mates for a cup of coffee and some homemade cookies. Being the “new Guy," I think they were trying to make me feel welcome in the very dynamic world of disaster response. I marvel at the team stories of what they had done over the years as they shared their FEMA stories. In FEMA land people identify their longevity by how many hurricanes they have experienced. As we begin to break up a couple of my new friends told me that I needed to speak to Deb (not her real name).
I introduced myself to Deb and asked about her FEMA story. Then I just engaged my listening ears and eyes as she began to unpack her story. In August of 2005 Hurricane Katrina unleashed her fury on Southern Louisiana in the days and weeks that followed a story of tremendous human suffering followed. Deb’s story begins here.
I lived near the 9th Ward, and shortly after the levee broke, my family and I found ourselves flooded out and stranded. Thanks to some strangers, we were rescued and eventually made our way to a shelter, after spending a night on a bridge. From there my children and I lived in a shelter for about a week, within a couple of weeks, we moved in with some friends outside of Baton Rouge to begin our lives again.
Once we settled in I heard the FEMA was hiring, so I applied. I was so excited when they told me that they would be calling me within a few days. And as sure as the sun rising this morning I had a job at FEMA within five weeks of being flooded out in New Orleans. I have loved working with this organization who care so much for survivors of natural disasters. After all, they helped my family, and I get our feet back under us, and now that my children are all grown up it gives meaningful work as well as some time to enjoy my grand babies.
Then it happened again. One night in August of 2016 one of my boys called me and asked me if my house was flooding. I told him that I was fine, and though it had been raining that I was high and dry. That was until I swung my feet over from my bed to my floor when I felt the water coming over my feet. I thought, not again. Well, guess what, again has happened. My home was flooded, and once again my son and some friends helped me get out of my house. Fortunately, what was left of my “precious things” that I recovered from the floods were up high on my walls and in a storage facility that was on higher ground. The only thing I lost was furniture and some clothes, and for that I am grateful.
Before the night was over several of my FEMA friends were calling me to check on my status. I ensured them that I was just fine and that I was with my boy. The office told me to take whatever time I needed to before coming back to work. Within a day of two, I decided to get back to my job which is helping others. My home was insured, I carry the Federal Flood Insurance, so there was no need for me to wait around for something to happen.
I asked Deb about what made her so resilient and gave her the persistence and tenacity to refuse to become a victim. Her eyes opened a little wider, and a smile quickly came upon her face. My people, my family, are a tough bunch. Over several generations my people have show grit in tough times. My grandmother used to tell me that no matter what happens you have to keep your chin up and look for better days ahead. You see, I know that no matter what happens to me, He is going to be there with me to guide me, strengthen me, and give me hope. I also know that He has given me this type of work to do at this phase of my life to be a help and a testimony to others.
What a powerful statement.
Today, as I am mentally preparing for the next few days of my FEMA deployment, I am grateful to know people like Deb. As we speak, I am sure that she is in Baton Rouge helping the survivors of Harvey and Irma.
So, when it comes to tenacity and perseverance how would you rate yourself? In a culture that is fixated on blame, do you find yourself drinking the Kool Aid of blame shifting or are you in a place where you own the space that you find yourself? Are you whining or winning? Are you developing tenacity and perseverance, or wallowing in self-pity and despair. The choice is yours; I hope you will choose the higher road.
I would love to hear your thoughts!
Two Traits of a Long-Term Marriage
by John Thurman
Perseverance and tenacity are two of the most important, least discussed, aspects of building and maintaining a long-term marriage. I should know, my wife, Angie and I recently celebrated our 45th anniversary. This year we took an anniversary trip to the Grand Canyon by train. We left Albuquerque on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief and got off the train at Williams Junction. The next day we took the Grand Canyon Railroad to the Canyon. We had a wonderful, memorable time celebrating this milestone, with great conversations, fun memories and moments of relaxation.
Over the years, young people have asked Angie and me about the secret of staying married for this long. She has been known to say something like, “John can quit on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I can quit on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Depending on which church service we attend, we confess our sins, we let the Lord know that we messed up, and so far he has given us the grace to move forward.
In all seriousness, if you stay married long enough you will go through various seasons. There will be warm Summers of recreation, joy, fun, and great memory building. There will be Fall seasons in your relationship when you will see things are moving toward a somber transition, some things like dreams, feelings of love may appear to be dying or at least losing their zest. Then there is Winter, a time when things could be very quiet, cold and apparently dead. Unfortunately, so many mistake this season in a relationship as final. Then comes the Spring, a time of new, fresh, growth, renewed hope and change.
One of the most important things that Angie and I have learned are that a couple cannot avoid these seasons. Way too many couples quit in the Fall and Winter seasons of their marriage. They lose hope, they quit.
The resilient couple, those who are tenacious and persevere, learn that these seasons are just seasons, nothing more. And with that resilient mindset they live and learn through the falls and winters to experience personal and couple growth.
Forty-five years ago we stood before the Lord, a preacher, as well as family and friends to repeat our vows. 45 years ago the vows were beautiful, vintage, romantic, and traditional words that gradually changed our lives.
Tenacious, preserving couples believe in the vows they said, and after forty-five years of multiple seasons, Angie and I can both say that we have and will continue to live out vows as long as we draw breath.
As I begin to wrap up this article, I would like you to take just a moment to review the meaning of perseverance and tenacity.
Perseverance comes from the eating word perseverance which means steadfast. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means - continued efforts to do or achieve something despite difficulties, challenges, and opposition.
Tenacity comes from the Latin word, tenacity and means not easily stopped or pulled apart. The Merrian-Webster dictionary means mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship. It also implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger.
I am not sure where you are in your personal relationships or marriage, but I want to encourage you to hang in there. Billy Ocean, and I am dating myself, performed a song, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Unfortunately, our culture is becoming a relationship wasteland. If people do not get what they want in a relationship, or if they are going through a hard time, they quit and go looking elsewhere.
I want to challenge you to do a gut check on yourself and about your relationship. Are you a person/couple who demonstrate tenacity and perseverance or are you a quitter.
Make the choice today to go for the long haul.
How? If you have made a mess of your marriage, confess your mess to God and your spouse, clean your mess up, and move forward.
Here are two articles that you might also enjoy: the first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal entitled Starts and Stops ; Ways to Keep Your Relationship Moving Forward. www.abqjournal.com/510859/headline-135-2.html
The Second,How to have a Happy Wife www.johnthurman.net/johns-blog/how-to-have-a-happy-wife
Would love to hear your thoughts, so let me hear your comments.
Be Decisive and Take Personal Responsibility
By John Thurman
In 2007, Steve Ballmer, then CEO of Microsoft stated, “There is no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No Chance!” He was off just a little bit.
Today we are going to take a look at the fourth pillar of resilience, decisiveness and taking personal responsibility.
Lee Iacocca, the former president of both Ford and Chrysler, said, “The one word that makes a great leader/manager is decisiveness.
While working on my new book, The No Fear Entrepreneur, I did a survey of over 1500 entrepreneurs, the most surprising results was that 74.24 % shared that Fear of Decision Making was a major struggle with them. I will address this fear and what to do about it in this short article. By the way, we are in the final stages of prepaing the book for it's launch.
The world we live in today has changed at a lightning pace and shows no indications that things are going to slow down. Take just a moment to see how much social media has changed the way we see and do things. Markets are shifting. Consumer habits are transforming the way business has been connected at breakneck speed. The world has become a global market. I can sit in a room in Espanola, NM and order an item from Kenya and have it at my door in a week to ten days.
I recently read an article about the top ten jobs in America today, much to my surprise a majority of the top ten didn’t exist ten years ago. Man, no wonder I feel my age.
Now, more than ever you and I need to quit looking back in the mirror of the past and make bold decisions to move forward, embrace change.
While being decisive is a must, it is not a guarantee of success, but it always proceeds it.
Being a student of language, which started in Mrs. Ruffo 8th grade Latin class, I decided to look up the Latin root for the word decision. Part of the derivative is the word cis or cid which literally means to ‘cut off’ or ‘to kill.’ That same work root appears in the work homicide and scissors. Since you and I live in a world with a super buffet of choices, to be most effective requires that we learn to “kill off options” sometimes. You see, every mature decision will potentially hurt somebody.
Decisiveness and taking personal responsibility takes an act of courage. It demands to have faith in yourself and in your concept of God that no matter what happens as a result of your decision you will be able to handle it, and you will ultimately benefit from it. That act of faith in both you and the Lord can go a long way in easing the paralysis of analysis that indecision can cause.
Resilient people embrace uncertainty as part and parcel of life. Living a decisive life based on assuming responsibility for one action, will position you in a place where you will be able to seize the opportunity when it comes your way.
So where do you begin? Start where you are today. The best way to become more decisive is to do just that, start making decisions and assuming responsibility for them.
Remember, the scariest decision is the one that you fail to make.
Jesus gives us a couple of great tools for decision making. The first is seek wise counsel. The second is to let our yes be yes, and our no be no. Maybe is a word that is absent from most of the Bible.
Be Blessed, because He that is in you is bigger than he who is in the world. And remember, the choice is always ours, so choose wisely.
Hey, I would love to hear your thoughts.
Social Support and Resilience
The importance of intentional connection. By John Thurman, M.Div. M.A., LCHMC
I am so excited to share this important principle with you. To be a resilient person, an individual who is moving forward with their lives is connected. Recently I was tasked to write, produce and lead a webinar for a large DoD agency’s civilian employees call Surviving Stress. In my research, I was able to identify six primary qualities of resilient people. I am very grateful for Dr. George Everly’s book Resilient Leadership and some of the fresh insight I gained into leadership. Hopefully; you can apply some of what I am sharing with yourself or any organization.
In recent blogs, I have discussed the importance of Active Optimism and Integrity.
In this article, I am going to look at the power of connection.
Research shows that healthy and supportive relationships can reduce stress and improve your overall health and sense of well-being.
Novelist and columnist Stephen Marche recently asked the question, "Is Facebook Making us Lonely?" In his article, "From Facebook to Twitter," published in The Atlantic. He notes, "Social media has made us more densely networked than ever. For all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)-and that loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.
In one rather striking surgery, Marche says, the mean size of networks of personal confidants in the U.S. was shown to have decreased from 2.94 people in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004. In 1985, he adds, "10 percent of Americans said they had no one to whom to discuss important matters, and 15 percent stated that they had only one such good friend. By 2004, 25 percent had nobody to talk to, and 20 percent only had one confidant. I invite you to read the entire article.
I don’t know about you, but these statistics were alarming.
What does this mean? It says that in spite of all of our social media connections we woefully lack in face to face, skin to skin interactions.
Why should we develop our social support systems? Simply stated, if we don't connect we die. Numerous studies are showing how the lack of social support can lead to increased loneliness, depression and anxiety.
I don't know if you remember the disturbing story of Yvette Vickers, the following excerpt is from Marche's article:
YVETTE VICKERS, A FORMER Playboy playmate and B-movie star, best known for her role in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, would have been 83 last August, but nobody knows exactly how old she was when she died. According to the Los Angeles coroner’s report, she lay dead for the better part of a year before a neighbor and fellow actress, a woman named Susan Savage, noticed cobwebs and yellowing letters in her mailbox, reached through a broken window to unlock the door, and pushed her way through the piles of junk mail and mounds of clothing that barricaded the house. Upstairs, she found Vickers’s body, mummified, near a heater that was still running. Her computer was on too, its glow permeating the space.
The Los Angeles Times posted a story headlined “Mummified Body of Former Playboy Playmate Yvette Vickers Found in Her Benedict Canyon Home,” which quickly went viral. Within two weeks, by Technorati’s count, Vickers’s lonesome death was already the subject of 16,057 Facebook posts and 881 tweets. She had long been a horror-movie icon, a symbol of Hollywood’s capacity to exploit our most basic fears in the silliest ways; now she was an icon of a new and different kind of horror: our growing fear of loneliness. Indeed she received much more attention in death than she did in the final years of her life. With no children, no religious group, and no immediate social circle of any kind, she had begun, as an elderly woman, to look elsewhere for companionship. Savage later told Los Angeles magazine that she had searched Vickers’s phone bills for clues about the life that led to such an end. In the months before her grotesque death, Vickers had made calls not to friends or family but to distant fans who had found her through fan conventions and Internet sites.
Such a sad story.
Why is it so important to have an active social support network?
First, it essential to life. Even the Bible talks about the importance of being connected on a personal level. Doing life together is good for your health.
Second, many researchers have discovered that social support if one of the key components in recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Third, being connected can have a positive impact on your income.
Fourth, sharing your life with others invites them to share their life with you.
Fifth, having social support makes you stronger both in your personal life and in your relationships. The ancient wisdom contained in the Book of Ecclesiastes says “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
So, how can you begin to be intentionally connected? However, all relationships are not equally supportive. Building a network of supportive friends, or even just one supportive relationship can be vital to your wellbeing. Here are some essential skills that can help you to build relationships with people that are supportive and sustaining.
How to Meet New People
One of the most rewarding things you can do to build resilience and enrich your life is to be intentional about building relationships.
I just finished listening to Jeff Goins’ new book Real Artist Don’t Starve. He does an excellent job of revealing how many famous authors, artist, and leaders were able to hone their craft in the context of intentional. It is a fantastic read, which demonstrates the importance of being connected.
I hope you will begin intentionally engaging others.
Resilience and Integrity
I am glad that you are making a choice to read by blog, my hope is to enrich your life by some of the lessons that I have learned along the way.
In the first piece on resilience, we talked about the top 6 characteristics of resilient people.
Let’s take just a second to review a definition of resilience.
Resilience is the ability to resist the manifestations of clinical distress, impairment, or dysfunction that are often associated with critical incidents, acts of terror, mass disasters, and personal trauma.
Dr. George Everly, Psychological Body Armor.
The first characteristic of a resilient person was active optimism.
The second is Integrity.
Simply said: Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than professing them. (Pinterest post)
Another way of looking at integrity is it gives you a real, fresh, and profound freedom because there is no hidden agenda, no slight of hand, being honest. C.S.Lewis said that integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.
A resilient person lives in factual reality. They maintain situational awareness, meaning that they are in tune with what is going on around them, and that take affirmative action to use opportunities to their advantage and to serve others.
So, how would you grade yourself in the integrity department?
Just something to think about as you learn to become a more resilient person.
I would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment.
(c) 2017 John Thurman
Image by Danny Gilleland
A New First for Father's Day
This will be the first Father’s Day that we will not be able to talk. He left this earth just a few weeks after my momma passed away. My Dad, J.H. (Howdy) Thurman died on January 11, 2017. Being the first born in my family, Dad and I had a long, rewarding relationship. Through my crazy teen years even up to the week before he died, Dad was always filled with encouragement and a good story.
A few weeks after returning from his funeral in Fort Valley, Georgia, a pastor friend of mine asked what I missed the most. I told him, “Thursdays.” He said, “What?” Then I told him that for over 20 years I called Dad on Thursday. Typically, these calls would provide him with updates on our kids and grandkids, as well as details about what my wife and I were doing in our businesses and ministries. He would update me on mom, my brothers and sister and then, being a true smalltown gentleman, he would update me on who had passed since out list call.
When he would share the news about friends and coworkers dying he would always be somewhat philosophical saying something like, “When you get as old as your mother and I you attend a lot more funerals than weddings.”
You know, I do miss Dad. While I will be with my children and my three grandsons this Sunday, I will deeply miss my phone calls with Dad.
With that in mind, I wanted to share an article that my friend and sometimes editor, Lee Warren published in Women’s Day Magazine. Lee lost his father several years ago, so this article comes from deep within his heart. As we approach Father’s Day, I hope you will allow his words to sink into a deep place within your heart. I hope you have a blessed Father’s Day.
A final thought before you go to my Lee's powerful article. If you need to get things cleared up with your Dad, but all means do so.
Would love to hear from you.
Overcoming Fear with Resilience
by John Thurman
What makes people move through tough times?
In my last post, I talked about resilience and its importance in being an overcome in life. Resilient, tenacious people make things happen.
My friend and mentor, Dr. George Evelry has made it his life mission to understand resilience and the impact it has on people. In his first book Resilient Child (2009), he looked at factors which influenced children on the road to resilience. In 2012, his book Resilient Leadership (Everly, Strouse,& Everly), he was able to identify and explain leadership factors which build resilience in their teams and organizations. The undaunted researcher continued his studies and released the book Stronger (Everly, Strouse, & McCormack, 2015). In this resource, he looked into the psychological and behavioral factors present in professional athletes, U.S. Navy Seals, as well as those civilians and wounded service members who recovered from catastrophic injury.
What I find most exciting about his research is his discoveries can enable us to understand ourselves as we seek to have an impact on our families, ministries, and work.
The first trait of a resilient person has engaged optimism. The core belief that life events will turn out well, mainly because one believes she/he possess the ability to assist in making things turn out well. For the Christian, it may sound like the Apostle Pauls reminder in Philippians 1:6, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."
One of the keys to understanding active optimism is to realize it is not some “pie in the sky, the world is all rainbows and lollipops.” Dynamic optimism is based on having realistic expectations.
Another key to understanding dynamic optimism is to understand the term self-efficacy. This term was coined by Dr. Albert Bandura (1977; 1997) and means “beliefs in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments.” Another definition is the person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a given situation.
My question is; Why do so many Christian businessmen and women, ministry leaders, and others struggle with this idea.
I think it is because of our mindset. I do not believe it is a matter or faith, but more about our mindset.
So John, what are some things I can do to increase my optimism?
Part of developing active optimism has the right mindset.
Dr. Carolyn Dweck’s book Mindset: The new Psychology of Success looks into this matter with great skill and practical insights.
Here is an excerpt from one of my blogs from a couple of years ago.
First, choose to shift into a “growth mindset.”Dr. Carol Dweck, the author of Mindset, spent her life researching the origins of mindsets, their role in motivation and self-regulation, and their impact on achievement and interpersonal processes. Her findings give us two options, a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.
A “fixed mindset” is one in which you believe you are born with a particular set of talents, abilities, and intelligence—all of which are unchangeable. Some people with a fixed mindset may find it harder to experience life change and growth. As a result, a fixed-mindset person fails to develop his abilities and is more likely to give up or become distracted and feel depressed when he fails to make the grade in his own eyes. I believe this is where so many fruitless Christians are stuck; they believe they have no power to change, which is a lie from the pit of hell. In my first book Get a Grip on Depression, I reveal six of the most common, fixed mindsets, or "stinking thinking" patterns that can hold us back. Why not order a copy today.
A person with a growth mindset begins in a different place. When you have a growth mindset, you see yourself and others as more flexible, adaptable, and hopeful. Way down inside, you know the potential for growth and development. With faith, the proper motivation, effort, moral compass, and concentration you have the ability to make the changes you need to make. A person who has a growth mindset does not take failure so personally. That individual tends to see failure as an opportunity for growth. If one path does not work, then the person will try another.
As a Christian therapist, I believe the Bible continually teaches the benefit of being growth-minded. I believe God is active in time, space, and history and He has an active, life-fulfilling plan for each of us. The Bible gives us truth, hope, and stories of those who have gone before us and have found such purpose.
From my struggle in this area, I know working toward a growth mindset in the middle of depression may seem close to impossible. However, the truth found in the Bible is, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”(Philippians 4:13 NLT). This confidence is not some magical incantation or mystical, spiritual event, but it is a process or a journey.
In addition to checking out your mindset here are four more ways to increase active optimism.
1.Being successful at something. Actual success builds the belief that one can be successful in the future. Past successes, no matter how small are the building blocks for future successes.
2.Vicarious experiences (observational learning, modeling, imitation) increase the overall confidence of people observes the actions of others. For example, my wife is a Senior Leader in Premier Designs Jewelry; she has been involved with this outstanding company for the past 25 years. Over these two and a quarter decades she has shared her story of abuse, recurrent major depression and suffering a Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury and how she built her business in spite of those challenges. Her hope is by sharing her story; she will inspire her audiences to embrace their challenges with a growth mindset and trust the Lord to bless.
3.Verbal persuasion and encouragement from others enhance self-esteem and resilience. Parents, leaders, coaches, co-workers and teammates have a positive impact on self-efficacy. These various sources of support help set the stage for success. Finding a supportive and encouraging mentor can mean the difference between failure and success in nearly every area of one’s life.
4. Learning to control one’s impulses, emotions, and reactivity under stress and adversity can convey a confidence which translates into proactive resilience.
So what do you want to do? Are you happy where you are? Alternatively, do you want to work on a reset, moving towards a growth mindset, and a more optimistic world view? The Lord put you on this earth to have an impact! One of the ways you can move out of the shadows and into the light is to open your mind to the things the Lord wants to show you and have the courage to live with an optimistic world view.
I’d love to hear what you think. Feel free to leave a comment.
(c) 2017 John Thurman All rights reserved.
John is a Counselor, Author, Speaker and Photographer that helps people "Get a Grip on Life."