STAND!

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BY KEISHA JOHNSON

At the beginning of 2016 I remember feeling like being on the banks of a huge chasm with absolutely nothing in the way of crossing over into a brilliant new beginning.  The horizon was sun kissed. The path ahead clear and welcoming.

I could see it, smell it, feel it! Personal expectations, morale, motivation, were all off the charts. 2016 would be nothing short of amazing. All I had to do was take the first steps. One foot in front of the other and keep at it! Sounds easy? Eleven months in and I’ll let you decide.

In the first quarter, nothing new had been achieved. Of the goals set, there was very little to record as progress. Or so it seemed on the surface. On the best of days, I was simply in maintenance mode. Maintaining my sanity. Maintaining faith. Maintaining my existing responsibilities.

Although still very prominent in my psyche, the promising vision for 2016 seemed to have been held hostage! Have you ever been there? It became uncharacteristically hard to articulate my frustration intelligently to anyone, which only exacerbated feelings of isolation.

Desperate to escape this funk, my analytical mind went into overdrive. Did I misunderstand, misinterpret the vision or was I just misguided? Were these challenges meant to derail me or propel me forward?  That determination I already knew was a matter of perspective, which made it a matter of choice.

So, I prayed, vented, lamented and heard these words of wisdom – STAND! (Stay in Truth and Not Deception) and then YES (Your Expectations Surpassed).

Those two phrases became my lifeline in 2016. STAND became a plumb line for everything against which I asked “is this true”? Whatever failed the truth test was discarded. From this technique emerged an efficient system to filter, maintain focus, prioritize, and move forward.

YES, reinforced my application of STAND because it constantly reminded me of the end goal – the reward. Having my expectations surpassed was contingent on ‘staying in truth’.  Embracing that perspective eliminated any allure to complain, procrastinate, be indecisive, complacent or to compromise.

The maintenance mode of the first quarter, I then realized, was not a sign of failure or even stagnation. To the contrary, it was a testing ground of my character to see if I could be trusted to maintain the integrity, humility, commitment and resolve to remain faithful with the responsibilities I already had, while I waited on the bigger goals to materialize.

How often have we heard the ‘trials to triumph’ stories of celebrated figures throughout history?  Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz coined it this way, “In times of adversity and change, we discover who we are and what we are made of.”

I am sharing all this to say, I don’t know what you tell yourself when your strength and resolve wanes. But it seems imperative to have something larger than life itself to keep you in alignment with the right perspective. To silence doubt, fear and any other attacks on your purpose and to keep you moving forward.

And with that perspective I began to rise out of the funk. By the second quarter, the doors of opportunity began to open. Many of you know of the radio program, Living the Dream in Canada that I pitched and began hosting on Carib101 radio in July. That platform fulfilled part of the vision to encourage others to thrive by connecting them with the personal success stories of those still among us who’ve been where they may want to go.  

At the time of writing, we have produced and aired 21 episodes with a growing local and international audience. One of my clients’ books that I edited in the second quarter hits the stores this Christmas. I’ve also refined my coaching niche and since joined the team at a leading firm in the sector.

What started out as a larger-than-life vision in January only began to materialize when I embraced and acted on the right perspective – to STAND!

 

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