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3/23/09

Push Beyond Your Limits

The human body is a remarkable machine. Scientists tell us that within every cell of your body is enough power to light the world. You have infinitely more going for you than you can believe. Do not allow your self-imposed limits to keep you confined.

"No" is not fatal. There may be those who count you a failure and mark a big red “F” on your forehead, but do not you be one of them. As Olympic luge champion Ruben Gonzales says, “Do not listen to dream stealers.”

Problematic probabilities. I love the irony of the lottery. People who often consider themselves to be born losers in life invest hard earned money in million-to-one-odds that they will win the lottery. And yet, someone, some one person, will win. Know that you are born to win. The fact that you are alive on planet earth shows that God has faith in you. Adopt the philosophy of “If it is to be, it will be me.” Invest in yourself again and again and overcome the odds you feel are against you.

Practice smart. For years Babe Ruth was hailed as baseball’s home-run-king. He also was baseball’s strike-out-king. Babe Ruth kept his eye on the ball and tried again and again and again. Practice does not necessarily make perfect; practice makes permanent.
With focused attention to his delivery and honest feedback in the results, he continually improved his swing.

Keep the end in mind. Focus on results, not present performance. Continually ask yourself, “What needs to be changed?” Be open to new insights and approaches. Try and fail until you succeed.

Setbacks test stamina. Randy Prause, the beloved Carneige Mellon professor, believed that walls are not put there to keep us out but to test us to see how badly we want the goal. Recover quickly and do not lose your momentum. Refocus, regroup, recommit and re-enter the race. Get up, dust yourself off and get back in the game.

Build community. We need others – to love us (“aah”), to encourage us (“yea”), to challenge us (what?), and to criticize us (ouch!). Share your goals with family and make them a part of your dream team. Seek mentors who will believe in you to believing in yourself. Surround yourself with positive people.

The game of life is a marathon not a sprint. You are in it for the long haul, make it count.

Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Personal Success Coach of Solution Principles, specializes in maximum people development. Contact Mona at mdunkin@flash.net Read past articles at www.monadunkin.blogspot.com

3/16/09

Epiphany

In the Christian faith, epiphany is a term used to mark the arrival of the Magi in their search for the Christ child. Epiphany has expanded to mean a sudden realization or deep understanding brought about through ordinary circumstances that made a profound change in an individual’s life. Here are three epiphanies in my life.

Beauty is more internal than external. I struggled with self-esteem issues for years. I had the mistaken idea that if only my weight was less and I was shorter than my 5’6” height and if my nose was a different shape then magically all my problems would be over. I erroneously reasoned that I would be little and cute and everybody would like me.

An individual came into my life that was overweight, tall and with less than perfect facial features. She was loving and kind and funny and people were drawn to her. It dawned on me that there may be reasons to dislike a person, but the package is not one of them. If people did not like me, it had to be something more than looks. And, if someone did not like me because of my weight, who really had the problem?

Peace came through recognition that I could not “add one cubit to my stature” (or take away) and calm reigned with thankfulness that my nose worked okay regardless of its size. Silence descended with the realization that I could manage my weight with self-discipline. I began to work on things that were within my control, like letting go of the chip on my shoulder.

Vows are not to be taken lightly.
I hate to admit this, but I went into marriage with an escape clause in the back of my mind. From divorce statistics, that seems to be the irrational reasoning of society today. Through contemplation of separation I became aware of the sacredness of vows I had made before God and man. The wedding covenant is necessary because we are not capable of loving a flawed individual, therefore the need for public and spiritual accountability. Instead of looking for ways out, I began to pray for grace to stay. And God’s grace is sufficient. It has been forty-two years and these two flawed individuals are still together. I am glad that we each have made the work-through-it-commitment again and again.

It is relationship, not religion.
From childhood I have been tender toward the things of God. Even though teenage rebellion drove me in other directions, the wooing of Holy Spirit never let up – sometimes to my defiant anger. I relented and tried again and again to live godly, always messing up. In a downtime, a knowing although non-audible still small voice spoke into my conscious: “Mona, stop trying so hard. Quit trying to make me Lord and Master. Just let me be your friend.”

I needed a friend. My response was a subdued nodding of my head and a faint whisper of “Okay.” Rockets did not zoom and bells did not go off, but there was a definite change in my life from that day forward. I allowed Jesus to be my friend. It is a friend relationship that continues to grow, allowing me to be accepting of myself and compassionately charitable with a universe filled with other flawed human beings.

None of these transformations were instant; each gave enough light to foster permanent growth. Another meaning of epiphany is “a manifestation of a divine being.” The Magi were searching for solutions in a promised ruler king and were humbled to encounter the author of authority revealed in a vulnerable baby. The peace and life-changes I have encountered, and continue to chance upon, are brought about through my search for the Christ child – born, died and resurrected. The guiding star is still shining. Follow it and receive.

Mona Dunkin is a Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Personal Success Coach. Read past articles at http://www.monadunkin.blogspot.com/. Contact her at mdunkin@flash.net.

3/12/09

Discipline vs. Punishment

In correcting another, the overarching goal is for mutual respect and improved citizenship. Unfortunately the manner in which it is carried out often prevents this noble endeavor from taking place. Always check your intentions; is it to control another or to practice and to teach self-control. When the objective is for cooperation and healthy relationship, the correction will be administered impartially in a detached and neutral manner. It will be goal directed, not emotion driven.

Discipline is carried out in a caring manner with intent of character development of the child. Discipline sets a positive, creative learning environment by teaching the logical consequences of actions. Discipline is instruction by example that behavior results in outcome. Discipline aids in the child learning internal control. Discipline is the belief that outcome is an effective teacher. “Life is more pleasant when you listen and obey.”

Examples: A child who refuses to put his toys away may have the item put up for a few days to teach responsibility. If a child will not eat her dinner, she may be allowed to go to bed hungry to teach her healthy eating habits and to respect the family mealtime schedule.

Discipline teaches:
· A choice has been made
· Actions have consequences
· Child is responsible for his actions
· Internal control... self-discipline, respect for authority, to be neat, to listen and obey, etc.

Punishment carries with it an undertone of harshness and external control. Punishment reflects the parent’s displeasure of the child having done something that he/she considers to be wrong. Punishment is the belief that pain is an effective teacher. Punishment is rarely seen as being connected to the inappropriate act but as the parent’s angry response to a perceived wrongdoing. “You better do exactly as I say or there is anger and pain.”

Punishment teaches:

· Disconnect between actions and consequences
· Fear and resentment of authority
· To deny, manipulate, lie and cover up wrongs so as not to “get caught”, thus avoiding pain
· External control… the biggest bully rules

Disciplining another starts with self-discipline. Care enough about the future that you choose to take action today. Encourage positive behavior. Set routines like chores, mealtime and bedtime so the child knows what to expect. Gently remind of the rules and give room for compliance. Even though correction must be made, use a pleasant tone and always say something nice to the child.

Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Personal Success Coach of Solution Principles, specializes in maximum people development. Contact Mona at 254-749-6594 or mdunkin@flash.net Read past articles at www.monadunkin.blogspot.com