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Posts Tagged ‘Deanna C. Stevens’

A friend on Facebook recently posted the following image:

Although the message is humorous and one that is sure to be liberally passed around to friends, family members, and office colleagues alike, there is a lot of truth behind it.

There are people in our lives–whether intimates or casual acquaintances–who are haters. For whatever reason they choose to focus on the differences rather than the similarities. They prefer to hoard offenses, point out deficiencies, and recall failures.

Who knows why? More importantly, who cares?

There are individuals who revel in generating poison and being bossy, and no amount of your trying to clean up their outlook or reset their attitude or change their point of view is going to have lasting effect.

Good News: Your job is not to win over the haters. You are not the Jerk Whisperer.

Think about it for a second.  What are you trying to win them over to? Your point of view? Your ideas? Your ideal? And while certain things may work fabulously for you, obviously it is not the philosophy they have chosen for their own life.

Who’s to say you are exactly right and the other person is so wrong anyway? Frankly, your consistent nagging and criticizing and quarreling (trying to win them over) creates a strong argument for your being labeled a hater. >Ouch<

How about a little more kindness and flexibility in your approach? Why not give the other person the benefit of the doubt now and again?

What would happen if you would agree to disagree (without serving up a side dish of malice)? What would it take for you to find some common ground to build upon?

Remember, “the ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but hold hands” (unknown).

Whatever you are, don’t be a hater (or a jerk whisperer),

Deanna

Stevens Creative Consulting

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I tore a page from a Town & Country magazine a few weeks back and I’ve been carrying it around with me ever since.

It wasn’t colorful or clever or cute. It was a simple one-page ad, on a mostly white background, for Outward Bound. I can’t help but wonder how many times I’ve overlooked it in previous issues as I hurriedly flipped from one slick photo to the next interesting article, approving and disapproving of people I don’t know and lifestyles I can’t fathom.

But this time the message beckoned to me like a whisper of encouragement. And as I’ve reread it during the past few weeks, the hint of a suggestion has transformed into a shout of declaration:

A Farewell to CAN’T

This goodbye does not make me sad. I will not miss you.

I have discovered what it feels like to do the unthinkable.

The hard. The long. The challenging.

You have no business here anymore.

From now on, difficult will seem doable.

I will see the impossible as simply not-yet-conquered.

Farewell, Can’t. You will haunt me never again.

Hello, Can.

Welcome to my world.

Regardless of what person or circumstance or decision you’re facing, I encourage you to say your own farewell to Can’t, and a warm welcome to Can.

As Michael Jordan said, “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

Whatever you are, bid farewell to Can’t,

Deanna

Stevens Creative Consulting

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Time is the longest distance between two places.”
~Tennessee Williams

Did you happen to see the story about the teacher from New Hampshire who was awarded her degree the day before she passed away?

Harriet Ames earned a two-year teaching certificate in 1931, but her ultimate goal had been to achieve a Bachelor degree.  She had been taking classes until she retired in 1971 and her health began failing. Recently, the school reviewed her coursework and determined she had enough credits to award the long-sought degree.

Ames was waiting nearly 40 years.

Think about this story for a minute.  Nothing changed during the past four decades; Ames had already fulfilled the requirements to reach her goal. With a little action and perseverance, she could have proudly displayed her framed diploma on a wall in her home.

I know a lot of people who are waiting.  They’ve done the work, made the calls, completed the course work, been patient, diligent, faithful.

Waiting to finish this season of their life.

Waiting for the next big thing.

Waiting to see if the shoe will drop.

Waiting for an answer.

Waiting for the future to come into focus.

Waiting for the check to come in, for the tide to change, the pieces to fall in place, for the opportunity to present itself.

Yes, there is a season to wait  But don’t confuse waiting for something to happen as approval to do nothing.  Waiting is not some “no man’s land.”

What are doing while you’re waiting in the “right now” — the mundane, slogging through the motions, living the day-to-day, fulfilling the obligations life of yours?

Don’t become discouraged. Don’t quit. Don’t turn around and go home.

Keep dreaming. Keep working. Keep the attitude and confidence levels high. Seek out opportunity. Stay calm. Continue to be a person of character. Help others. Remain faithful.

“None of us knows what the next change is going to be,
what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner,
waiting a few months or a few years
to change all the tenor of our lives.”
[Kathleen Norris]

Hang in there.  Be patient. You can get through this season of your life. Your today is not the final answer for your tomorrow.

Whatever you are, your future is coming!

Deanna

*Just had to share another serving of one of my favorite posts.*

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Everyone is so busy during this time of year. Christmas will be here faster than three shakes of a reindeer’s antlers!

Expectations are piling up.

There is holiday baking to finish and presents to purchase.

Cards to be addressed and gifts to wrap.

Travel arrangements to plan and recipes to find.

So much to do.

So many deadlines.

So few moments to savor the simple things.

Maybe this is why the Advent Calendar, with its tiny windows filled with daily greetings, simple drawings, and small prizes, appeals to us. It provides a respite from the craziness and reminds us exactly what the activity is all about.

As a small child, I recall the anticipation of waiting for each December morning to arrive, and gathering  around the calendar with my sisters. Mom assisted our tiny hands as we took turns opening another window on the Advent Calendar and marveled at its contents.

Nothing spectacular or amazing — just a simple celebration of family tradition.

I won’t keep you long today.  I want to offer you one simple phrase, from Richard Wagner, to carry you through “this most wonderful time of the year”  . . .

Joy is not in things; it is in us.”

Tuck this thought into your pocket and carry it with you everywhere you go — the joy you seek during this season can be found within.

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

Such a simple but powerful reminder. This post was originally published last year.  It’s still one of my favorites!

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It’s not enough to rage against the lie . . .
you’ve got to replace it with the truth.”
[Bono]

Look at the person sitting across the lunch table today. If you’re in Ohio, chances are one of you didn’t vote.

In case you have missed the avalanche of political ads that have blazed across our televisions screens the last few weeks . . . or  avoided the talking heads discussing the candidates and issues and parties . . . or still think Tea Party only refers to an event in Boston Harbor we studied in History Class, today marks election day across the country.

People are angry. They’re fed up with no jobs and high taxes. A national government filled with people who pass bills without reading them and from which they, themselves, are exempt. Some constituents are even threatening to unseat the ?&*#! incumbents and put the President on a Performance Improvement Plan. We’ve drawn a line in the sand and said enough is enough.

But not everyone.

In fact, barely a majority of Ohioans are expected to put forth the effort to vote today. Only 52% of registered voters care enough about the future to take the time to do a little research about the candidates and issues, and then actually cast their ballot. Seriously?

I’m fed up with the whole ball of political whacks, too. Is one party any better than the other? Well, it depends on who you ask.  However, I’m probably speaking for a majority of citizens who are just sick and tired with the entire system and especially with the people who keep it running.

But I’m not about to let political foolishness silence my voice.

Every election is my chance to hit it out of the park by participating in one of the coolest gigs anywhere — helping choose who will hold positions of power in our government. Every time I vote I feel blessed and honored to have been born in a country where I’m given this right and allowed to safely exercise it.

In a lot of ways, though, politics is like life. How many times do we fail to take action, speak up, or do the research because we feel hopeless? We convince ourselves it’s too much energy, it doesn’t matter, things will always stay the same, what we want doesn’t count.

And in the end, what we get is a future looks surprisingly like our present, but not quite as glamorous (and usually with higher taxes).

Is that what you want?  More of the same?  Because that’s what will happen if  you are content with sitting around complaining while refusing to take action — whether in the political arena or in your own life.

Whatever you are, step up to the plate and be one of the 52% who are willing to put in the effort and make a difference.

Deanna

www.StevensCreativeConsulting.com

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The only thing certain was that the future would have to reveal itself in due time, and most likely it would be different from anything we had expected” [The Miracle of Mercy Land].

I recently read the book, The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan. This is not a book I would have typically chosen for myself, but I had agreed to read and review the book for the publisher, Waterbook Press.

After finishing the story (in which I found the pace to be a bit slow and the characters underdeveloped), I realized the amazing message the author shares goes far beyond the story she’s written on the page.

Set in the late 1930’s the book centers around a young woman in a small coastal town in Alabama. The daughter of a poor backwoods itinerant preacher, Mercy Land has moved to the “big town” of  Bay City to discover life, and winds up working at the local newspaper, Banner.

For seven years, under the watchful eye of the newspaper editor, Doc, and his wife, Mercy comes into her own.  Things get interesting when a mysterious book arrives which reveals the pasts, the choices, and the consequences people living in Bay City have experienced.

The information the mysterious book provides is not always comfortable for Doc and Mercy to read. Secrets are revealed. Choices laid bare. Decisions exposed.

Honestly, in some ways this book is not unlike the onslaught of today’s political attacks we see during election season.  Flippant comments made or senseless actions taken years ago come back to haunt candidates in full color on television.

The question the author presents is one we have all struggled with at one time or another. Is it possible to effect the past in some way in order to create a better present or future?   We’ve all done things then that if we had the benefit of our experience now would have been handled much differently.

This is especially painful when we realize our failings have negatively affected another. What then?

How long must we carry around regret for past mistakes?
Can we ever be absolved?
Can we ever make it right?

These are some of the same issues the characters in The Miracle of Mercy Land confront. There are no easy answers.

Many times, we do the best we can with what we have at the time. We cannot be faulted for that. Time does not stand still. Memories fade. Expectations change. We grow into ourselves and see things differently.

Regardless of who we are, everyone carries their past right along with them. It is our past which has helped shaped us into who we have become. Along the way, however, it is our choice to either sharpen the points or smooth off the rough edges.

As children, we are quick to blame others. As we grow into adults we must put this childish behavior away and take responsibility for choosing our own path — regardless of what our past looks like. The blame game is a sorry excuse for taking control of one’s life.

Perhaps Maria Robinson is right. “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Good advice for today, and for the characters in The Miracle of Mercy Land.

Whatever you are, as Doc and Mercy discovered, the choice is yours!

Deanna

This review also appears on BN.com via this link.

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I hold myself to a high standard. You have to.
You have to aim for perfection.”
~ James Laurinaitis

Except for cheering on the Ohio State Buckeyes Football Team, I must admit that I’m not much of a sports fan.  So, I’m not sure what prompted me to flip through the sports section of USA Today recently.  Perhaps it was the headline that included the name “James Laurinaitis.” For those who may not know, Laurinaitis served as a team captain at OSU in 2007-2008, the seventh member of the Buckeyes to be elected captain twice in a career.

After OSU, the linebacker was drafted by the St. Louis Rams where he started all 16 games and set a franchise record for a first year player by making 146 tackles (98 unassisted), two sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and breaking up seven passes. Obviously, this guy is a playmaker.

What is his secret?  It’s simple — be in the right position to make the play.  You thought it would be more than that?  Nope. That’s it.

“Laurinaitis understands the link between preparation and performance. He might not always make the play, but he is intent on being in position to make it [Pedulla].”

Laurinaitis says, ” You are going to make mistakes. That is part of the game. I was crazy out of position sometimes. It happens.”

And I started thinking how many times in my life I missed an opportunity simply because I was out of position. Maybe not in the literal sense of being on a “playing field,” but mentally I was somewhere else. I wasn’t in the moment as they like to say.

Thinking about the future, or the past, or someone or something else, but failing to recognize the great thing that was staring at me — begging me to open the door.

Or, I discounted the opportunity because it wasn’t flashy or exciting or fun or didn’t look profitable.

Or, I suffered through a difficult situation, grumbling and complaining — calling it a waste of time or a set-back, when in actuality it was a time of preparation, something to help me conquer a not-yet-revealed possibility.

I think the idea of “being in position” is about doing the work so you know what position to be in, when to be there, and how to proactively take control of events.

It’s about being prepared to turn the tables on unfortunate or unexpected situations.

Taking advantage of every encounter — whether standing in line at the grocery or standing on stage in front of a large crowd.

Putting your best foot forward and doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

Not letting the actions or apathy or accusations of others force you out of where you’re supposed to be.

Want to be a playmaker? Ask yourself where you are in relation to where you need to be and then get moving.  What are you waiting for?

Whatever you are, make sure you’re in the right position to make the play!

Deanna

Stevens Creative Consulting

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