Tag Archives: Success

Better than I Used to be

After taking off a few months from writing, it is a little overwhelming to try to start again. So much has happened that it makes it difficult to know where to start.

For those of you who don’t know, I took off the last few months to concentrate on studying for the CAPM exam. The CAPM is a “junior” certificate in project management. I decided to do this after an “ah-ha!” moment about 18 months ago and several failed attempts at getting a job in project management without obtaining a certificate in that area of expertise. I’m glad to say that I passed with a lot of effort and even more grace.

I’ll be honest, after applying for over 30 jobs in a little over a year, it got pretty embarrassing to receive job offers of less than 80% of my current salary. Each time I was turned down or offered one thing when I felt I deserved another, it felt like I another needle pierced through my pride bubble. Needless to say, it was painful. For those of you without jobs, I understand that I am blessed to have one, especially in the Bay Area and the state of the national economy, however, nevertheless it was heartbreaking every time. I felt cheated out of my destiny, out my dream job, my dream life.

Finally a manager offered to give me feedback on an interview I had done. I gladly accepted the offer to receive feedback from a manager who had hired and fired many staff. One thing she repeatedly suggested was investing in my own growth. Finally I realized that I had been prideful, I had felt entitled to succeed in the workforce simply by excelling in the one job I have had for the last 10 years. It was at that time I realized I was nothing special in the eyes of my interviewers. There is too much competition in an area of the nation where there are several major universities and organizations that invest in the development of leaders.

With this new-to-me information, I set forth praying and researching. What could I do to prove to the workforce that I am skilled in managing projects, leading, communicating, and coordinating activities and resources. My initial thought was to go back to school, however I just paid off my student debt and colleagues advised against it. Eventually I ran across the Project Management Institute website. I found all the resources and information I needed there, and bought some courses through Groupon believe it or not. I studied and studied and almost gave up, when I realized I needed to keep praying. Alas, it was the week of my test, and I met with a former student volunteer who will soon be starting medical school. I told her about my aspirations, and she gave me some invaluable advice, don’t study the day before or the day of your test. You won’t learn any more than you already know by then. That advice stuck with me, and I took the day off before my test to rest and relax. I ate healthy food, spent quiet time with God, treated myself to a massage and pedicure, took a tour of the testing facility, and prayed a lot. The day of my test, I awoke ready to conquer the world. I pulled on a shirt a friend gave me the day before. On the front was the word “Brave.” I used my time wisely on the test, and as I hit the “complete” button, I reminded myself that I had done everything I could and the results were up to God.

As I read the screen that popped up next, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I passed! I can’t forget the feeling I had. It was similar to the feeling I had going into the test, an overwhelming sense of peace.

I know what you are thinking. No, I haven’t forgotten that this is supposed to be a faith blog, but the above story is all a part of my testimony. You see, all throughout college I suffered pretty severe panic attacks. I remember one in particular happened the day of a test or a presentation. I went to the student health clinic thinking I was having a heart attack when, in fact, it was a panic attack triggered by the pressure I put on myself to perform without error. I have struggled with being a perfectionist my whole life, but God is freeing me from it.

Anyone that tells you God frees you from experiencing panic attacks the moment you become Christian, is either lying or has experienced a miracle. I can say, that since becoming a Christian trusting in God has helped me to experience joy which helps calm panic and anxiety, but no, anxiety hasn’t completely gone away. Over the years, I have learned ways of coping with it. I have come to know myself better which has helped. I realize that I need daily time to myself and time with God in order to enjoy social time. And I now recognize that social time, fellowship time helps too. It helps put things in perspective when I hear other people’s stories and when I tell my own.

Earning my CAPM is not the end of the road for me. I’m a lifelong learner, and I plan to get my PMP and other certifications in the near future. Above those goals though, is my ultimate God-given purpose to love God, love my neighbor, and to share the Gospel and all that goes with that. So no matter if I hold this same position another decade or get promoted to project manager, I know that I am fulfilling God’s purpose for my life every time I love Him, love my neighbor and share the Gospel. I also know, that with every day I read His word, live it out, and draw closer to Him, I will become freer and freer from anxiety and panic. He promises it over and over that someday all who believe will be free from what we suffer…someday.

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Realistic Goals

First, I would like to say that any goal is realistic if it is God’s will and you humble yourself to depend on Him even when things don’t seem to be going right. Lately there has been a lot of talk about goals, especially in my career and blog and other more personal areas of my life. Over the years I have learned one of the major keys to setting goals is a willingness to keep trying even after you have not met one of your stepping stone goals.

In 2014 I successfully became debt-free. I’m ecstatic about that! But I haven’t been so successful at other financial goals after becoming debt-free. Despite the little hiccups along the way I have still kept trying, and become a little more successful every month. Here are a few little reminders that have helped me along in goal setting.

  1. Avoid piling on too many goals. People have a tendency to pile them on during the New Year or around their birthday. Make one goal, and when you start to find success in that goal start considering implementing new goals.
  2. Find an accountability partner, someone that will check in with you on your goal. For me, my mom made a good accountability partner, but for others it could be a mentor, pastor, or close friend.
  3. Pray constantly. When I was working on my goal to be debt-free, I continually thanked God for His gifts and prayed that God was in control of my finances, that I would use His gifts wisely and be mindful of my spending.
  4. Make stepping stone, shorter term goals that will ultimately lead to your big goal. Becoming debt-free is a big goal for most people. Setting smaller goals really helped me achieve my big goal. I set timeframes for when I wanted each debt paid off.
  5. Do your research. Read up on how other people have achieved their goals. Make sure that your goal is the right goal for you. Perhaps you are aiming for a degree in a field you are really not that interested in or isn’t a best fit for you. It’s okay to adjust your goal even after you have made it.
  6. Don’t give up. Keep at it even when you stumble, and look for the opportunities to learn from those stumbling blocks.
  7. Thank God and your accountability partner every step of the way. Giving gratitude encourages, not only the person you are thanking, but also the thanker.

Remember even the best fail, but it is the transformation that happens with the failure that really pushes you to succeed.

Happy New Year!

Pushing Past Glue and Gravity

Gravity stabilizes our world. Without gravity things wouldn’t stay put. In the Lego movie there is an evil president who plans to glue all the citizens in place in an effort to control the world. Like gravity, glue, the very thing that stabilizes also stops things in their tracks. Gravity says you can only jump so high, you can only throw so far. When we lack self-esteem it is like we are affected with a powerful gravity, a super sticky glue.

We think we can only go so far in life. We sit in church every Sunday hearing about so-and-so off in Africa serving in an orphanage or building houses in Mexico, and we think, ‘Good for them, but God won’t call little old me to do that.’ Then we go to work and we hear that our coworker is being promoted, bought a house, and is getting married, and we think, ‘I guess God forgot about me.’ Let me tell you, friends, God didn’t forget about you. You forgot that you were made in his image with the purpose, not only, to love Him and others but to love yourself (Matt 22:37-40). When we love God first and then love ourselves our perspective has changed and our value becomes well-placed.

Aside from recognizing our value and the fact that we are made in God’s image, an image above all others, we must also remember that God knitted us in our mother’s womb for a specific purpose. While we all have the broader purpose to love God, love ourselves, and love our neighbor, we also have a specific purpose for which God uniquely designed us. Our lives did not come with an owner’s manual telling us our specific purpose. That is why we must see the sky as the limit. If God created a man that could walk on the moon, invent electricity, or part the Red Sea then why would he stop at you or me?

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Hmmm… So not only does God promise to prosper you and not harm you, but he promises that during trials and periods of doubt you will have hope and a future.

Often I get comfortable where I’m at. I think, ‘God can use me wherever I’m at. I don’t want to go chasing after money or the world’s definition of success.’ But I forget that pressing on is not just about enduring where I’m at now, but believing that there’s something bigger and better in store. We can’t just sit around waiting for that bigger, better thing to happen when God has given us tools to push ourselves, improve our lives, and become more skillful. Push past the glue and gravity toward passion and purpose.

Published on Jul 31, 2013. Music video by MercyMe performing Move. (C) 2010 MercyMe

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