Have you ever had to wait on someone? I mean REALLY wait on them? Did you ever wait so long that you decided they forgot about you?
When I was about 13 or 14, I met up with a group of friends at our local amusement park, Wonderland in Amarillo, Texas. At that time, it had a Tilt-a-Whirl, a couple of roller coasters, a Hammer (OMGoodness I hated that one!!!) and other typical, small town amusement park rides, along with an arcade. These days, it's a huge deal and one of the largest amusement parks between Six Flags in Texas, and Disney in California.
I had a fairly strict upbringing and the fact I even got to go to the amusement park with my friends was a big event in my life. We had a great time. The warm summer evening drifted away in laughter as we dropped from the roller coaster and hammer and tilt-a-whirled into dizzy glee.
Eventually, it was time to go home and one by one my friends were gathered up and carried off in family cars. When I was offered a ride home, I said, "No, my parents are on the way." But, somehow, somewhere, a miscommunication happened between my parents and me and - well - no one came to pick me up. No mom. No dad. No brother.
It got dark. The amusement park closed. The lights went out. And, there I was in our big city park, outside the gates of our local amusement park. Alone
The one remaining park attendant let me back inside the gate (another terrifying moment) and I called my parents. They thought someone was bringing me home. I was almost in tears. Drama! Drama! Drama!
I really needed my mom or dad to show up! I lived a long way from the park. It was a several mile walk at night through some parts of town that weren't the best for a lone girl to walk through. And, I was highly sheltered - aka SCARED OUT OF MY WITS!
Manifest: clear or obvious to the mind or eye; display or show (a quality of feeling) by one's acts or appearance; demonstrate; prove; be evidence of; become apparent by the evidence of symptoms; appear
The word MANIFEST is tossed around in a lot of different circles. I probably heard it the first time in school when we learned about the concept of "Manifest Destiny."
My most common encounters have been in the realm of personal development and spirituality. And, depending on your POV the term MANIFEST can mean anything from focusing on something long enough until it appears, to the appearance of supernatural beings in your midst.
What I'd like to throw out for your consideration is the importance of living your life out to the full. The desire to be or do, is bigger than a simple idea in your head or heart. It is your destiny. It is a spiritual and holy thing. The world itself - all of creation - needs YOU to manifest - show up - prove - and be evidence of the power of God working in the world today.
Romans 8:19 in the King James Version of the Bible says, "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." WHAT you say???? Yeah. It's pretty archaic. How about we try a different version.
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
English Standard Version
As far as heredity, your DNA is unlike any other. The 23 chromosomes you were given by your mom and the 23 you were given by your dad are combined in such a way that the odds that you would be you are 1 in a trillion!
Your skills and talents are unique to you. Sure, there may be other teachers, or lawyers or artisans, but no one else sees things the way YOU do. No one else can explain concepts or demonstrate skills the way YOU do.
Inside of every person is a superstar waiting to be revealed. It might not be in sports or music - it might be in tapestry or life insurance.
Who you are, what you do, how you see the world, is not an accident.
Because you have experienced life in a way unlike any other human being on the planet, the nuances of your character could never be replicated - even by a super computer.
You have the ability to share information and insight with some people that no one else can reach. You can speak a word, turn a phrase, outline an issue in just the right way. There is someone out there waiting for you to explain the mysteries of your profession or passion - in exactly the way you do that.
If we consider you as a purely physical being, we've already stacked up the facts that you are 100% uniquely you. Your skills, talents, and acumen are unparalleled.
However, you are NOT purely physical. You are a spiritual being. And THAT opens up an entirely new world of influence and power.
As a Christian, you have been given Grace Gifts by the Lord. Depending on your theology you'll embrace all or some of the ones mentioned in I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and Romans 12. Whatever you believe about these gifts, the point is that you are meant to share them with the world. They aren't for you to hang onto. They are to be used to share the life of God within you with the world around you.
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
If you let it, Ephesians 2:10 can radically alter your thinking about your value to God and His Kingdom.
Which circles me all the way back to the scripture that says ALL CREATION is WAITING for you to SHOW UP as a Son - a Daughter - of God.
Just like in my story, I kept hoping my parents would appear around the corner at any minute. I had a HOPE they would MANIFEST and rescue me! Creation is anticipating your appearance in power and authority.
Physically, mentally, spiritually you are vital for this world. You have been given a role to play in destiny.
When we choose to hold back and hold out, because we don't believe we are important enough, or because we lack confidence - everyone loses. Especially you. 1 Corinthians 3:9 says we are co-workers with God. You have a really powerful partner. Isn't it time you let HIM show up - manifest - in you?
Live At Your Best! Live Inspired!
You are in a competition for consumer dollars. Your clients have X dollars to spend and you want your piece of the cake. Yet, when you think about the people you know, many of them do what you do. Whether it is sales, marketing, real estate, direct sales, real estate, education, information, coaching or any of the thousands of things people do, you most likely associate with people who are in the same market. You can begin to wonder how to set yourself apart from the crowd. This piece of writing is designed to help you think about your personal branding - aka "STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD."
Quick....right now...make a list of all of the different burger places you see advertised AND the ones in your local neighborhood that never get advertised.
Did you do it? Really, this is a great exercise and it will help you.
How many did you come up with? Did you grab the BIG 2? Mc and King? How about that Joker in the Box? Or that little red haired girl? Any regional favs? In Texas it's the Queen of burgers we think about. Not to mention that shady little joint around the corner that really makes your favorite even if it is dripping with grease. Or the trendy spot downtown that has artisanal bread and exotic meats.
What about sandwich shops or steak houses or seafood? Why in the world would someone ever think about creating another restaurant? It would seem like the odds are stacked against you. And, why, yes they are. But THAT is exactly the reason why each of these places has created a personal branding image. Because meat and bread and cheese - lettuce, tomatoes and mayo (or mustard or ketchup/catsup) are all pretty much the same when it comes down to it. The DIFFERENCE is the atmosphere, concept and community connection each of these brands has developed. And YOU can do the same thing.
The first decision to make is whether you want to create a look and feel for your brand that is comfortable and comforting - or radical and rebellious.
For instance, let's take 2 of the burger favorites - Mc and Joker. One is all about family friendly, spend quality time with your friends and get a great value. The other is about midnight munchies and in-your-face commercials. Hmmm. Both are meat and a bun. Two entirely different concepts.
Strategists have worked their magic for years to convince you to pick a tribe - any tribe. Are you a Mac or a PC? Are you a tried and true Seattle-brand of coffee or are you Running on something else?
Yet, names and content don't always connect. For instance, doing research for this I checked out some rebel-sounding sites, and shockingly found their appearance to be pretty tame. RebelMouse says, "Let Your Content Roar" but has a pretty tame, cutesy website. Rebel Branding bills themselves as a breakthrough branding agency, but their site looks pretty much the same as any other site around.
For another stab at finding something different, I searched for trendsetting websites and found a great web article by TopDesign Mag with 30 "gorgeous examples" of trendsetting web design. Be sure to check out KILFISH. Now that is one DIFFERENT kind of web presence!
The point is, you get to decide. You might have a rebellious-heart and a standard site. Or a common skill set and an in-your-face approach. It's about finding your voice and making sure it is heard loud and clear.
For me, I'm in transition. I'm returning to some things I love and working to maintain an air of trust. Or, maybe I should just go wild. Hmmm. Guess you'll find out later. :)
I've written a long story about how I came up with LAMB and Living At My Best in my book, Design Your Culture - Empower Your Team. For now, I want to give you the highlights.
I started my entrepreneurial career in Direct Sales. Party Plan for those in the know. I was one of thousands of consultants, though only a few were in my home town. I wondered how to set myself apart from the crowd and ran across some training about choosing a personal icon.
So, to the work.
My last name being WOOLAM, it wasn't hard to decide to create something around LAMBs. But, I didn't want to just carry around stuffed sheep. That wouldn't mean anything to the people I was serving.
I decided to create an acrostic from the letters - L.A.M.B. I spent a lot of time in the dictionary and I came up with a lot of iterations. Suffice it to say that those hours at my dining table with a dictionary and thesaurus in hand became what is now known as Living At My Best. (If you'd like to read the entire story, check it out here.
I became set apart and created a culture around that L.A.M.B. icon. It was powerful! It still is!
Over the years, I've had a love/hate relationship with my icon. There have been times I've tried to leave it all behind and do something different. But I always come back to the lamb, because it was birthed from my heart and the essence of who I am.
Any marketer or copywriter worth their salt will ask you a hundred questions about who YOU are and what you represent. Pay them if you want, however, it is important for you to ask those questions of yourself.
Who are you? How do you relate to people? What do you love? What matters to you? If you could do anything to change the world, what would it be?
These questions are a great starting place for you to begin to develop your personal brand identity.
At the end of the day, you know this truth for yourself...
People do business with people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST.
Your ability to communicate your core values to your clients and customers is vital. If you don't know what those are, you will struggle.
Once you have a handle on your core values and what you want to bring to your clients, you can begin to play around with the delivery methods and messaging.
Here is what I used to say in those early home party plan days. It is what I still believe. And so, it's why I've never been able to leave Living At My Best behind.
I've learned there are a lot of reasons why women will want to join me in this journey. Success means different things to every woman. It's why I call it Living At My Best.
Some women are looking for a way to stay home with their family. Some are looking for a way to get away from them!
Some women would like to earn a bit of extra income so they can pay the mortgage, buy a new pair of shoes or take a vacation. Some women want to earn enough income to leave a financial legacy for generations. Many women love their buttoned-up 9-5 but want something to add a little fun to their week. Some are desperate to get away from that 9-5 and are praying for a miracle.
Many women are looking for a community that gets them. They want friends who understand their passions. And some like me, want to lead other women and help them become empowered in life.
Whatever your definition is, I want to help you Live At Your Best, too.
What do you believe? Can you put it into words? When you do, you will begin to create a personal brand story that will help you stand out from the crowd. Your brand is you. Not the company you represent or the hashtags in your social media posts. When you become the real you, your customers will flock to you. No matter how many other "burger bars" there are like you.
Live At Your Best! Live Inspired!
I started the day off yesterday like most days, with Bible reading and prayer. I ran across some words that made me laugh out loud.
It was really one of those, "No KIDDING" moments. And, it was tucked into the paragraph in such a way that if you didn't really pay attention you would miss it.
So David went on and became great, and the LORD God of Hosts was with him." 2 Samuel 5:10 NKJV
It falls in the context of the beginning of David's kingship over Israel and Judah. There were enemies to put down, people to convince, favors to be granted, and promises to be kept. If you know anything at all about Bible history, you know that King David - shepherd boy turned leader - is one of the central characters of Scripture. It is the epitome of understatement to say, "and he went on and became great."
But, we have to remember that David didn't know the end of his story. He was living it every single day - with an anointing - but years of waiting to see the promise of his early adulthood come to pass. And from the day the Prophet Samuel came to the family (the ORIGINAL Cinderella story I believe!) until the day he stood as king over all of the nation of Israel, was speculated to have been 15 years!
Before that fateful day when Samuel showed up, he was just an ordinary shepherd living out his every day life of responsibilities. And, he went right back to sheep-keeping when Samuel left. He ran errands for his dad and brothers just like always. Then he began to take opportunities when they showed up. He was a YES man, when it came to moving forward in his life.
There David was, running food and supplies to his brothers at the front lines. He hears about a giant tempting and terrorizing the troops. He steps up and says, "I can handle this. With God on my side I can do anything!"
Here he is thrust into the spotlight. He gains national attention and begins to serve King Saul. You would think that would be a great honor, but, well - Saul was tormented, jealous and spiteful. For the next 15 years he chased David with spears and armies, until David ran off into the wilderness in hiding, simply to save his own life.
The people loved David. They shouted for him! Cheered for him! Honored him! You'd think that would be the definition of "great". No taxes. A beautiful wife (or two). Favor with the people. Favor with God. An army at your demand. But, no. It wasn't until David stepped into the role he had been birthed for that he "went on and became great."
I'm guessing you could list out a pretty nice resume' of accomplishments. Although, we typically have an easier time of listing out our failures - if you spent the time and honestly cataloged your skills, gifts and talents, they would probably be pretty impressive.
You've killed your share of giants, and lions and bears. You've spent time serving some pretty impressive people. You've got friends who support you (even if your family doesn't get you). And, in every sense of the word you are living out your days one-by-one as they come to you.
And you know what, that's okay. It's perfectly fine. It's the way most people live.
An important part of the context of 2 Samuel is the last half of the verse: "and the LORD God of Hosts was with him."
There were a few other places where that particular phrase and name of God was mentioned, so I did a bit of checking. Maybe this will interest you, too.
The Hebrew words are "Jehovah Sabaoth" - not to be confused with Sabbath.
It indicates God as the Commander of earthly armies, spiritual armies and heavenly (as in sun, moon, stars, etc.) armies. (Did you ever think of the earth as a weapon of warfare?) I want to suggest that when the Bible says, "if God be for us, who then can be against us", it carries more weight than you might have thought.
You aren't on your own. Consider the times the sun stood still, or hailstones rained down to destroy enemies, or there was the sound of armies in the mulberry trees. When you are called to a position, mission, vision or purpose, you have a support system already in place.
It may feel like you've waited forever for things to turn your way. It may also appear that everything is against you. But, I want you to be encouraged today. I Jehovah Sabaoth is Commander, there is nothing you need that He can't get to you for the fulfillment of your passion and purpose. There is nothing you need to know that you can't learn. There's no skill you need to develop which you can't master. There are no people who need to endorse or support you who won't show up. There are no enemies fighting against you that won't be defeated.
There are opportunities in front of you. Say YES. They may look like giants but they are a setup for victory. #ReIgniteYourDreams
You may feel harassed and pressured on all sides by the enemies of your dreams and goals. It's really an opportunity to get into position.
It is YOUR time.
Live at your best! Live inspired!
A popular sleep medication used this video as a reminder that when you don't sleep, you don't dream. (BTW, I'm not endorsing the drug, the company or anything associated with either.)
It was a terrific campaign but it meant a lot more to me than just sleep. The final tagline is something that has stayed with me for all these years...
Your Dreams Miss You.
When was the last time the passion for what you want to accomplish in your life burned white hot? When was the last time the thought of your vision and mission in life left you both terrified and electrified? Isn't it time for YOU to create the life, business, or mission you have been called to?
It seems cliche' - but really - you, I - only have one life to live on this planet. We don't get another shot at today. If you don't start moving forward today, when will you begin?
Are you familiar with the Parable of the Talents from Matthew 25:14-30. Here it is in The Message Translation. The part that I really want you to pay attention to is the last verse about playing it safe.
14-18 “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
19-21 “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
22-23 “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
24-25 “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
26-27 “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
28-30 “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’
Now understand me clearly. I don't believe you'll go to hell if you don't fulfill your destiny, mission, vision - whatever you call it. What I do believe is that this teaches we have an opportunity to do SOMETHING, even if it seems like a small thing like putting the "money in the bank to get interest."
The true question is are you playing it safe? Are you afraid to go out on a limb? I'm sure you're familiar with this oft referenced Marianne Williamson quote:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3 (Pg. 190-191).
Sometimes we think we have to do a BIG thing to make an impact or difference. Often though, it's one simple step in the right direction that begins to create the momentum. Zechariah 4:10 tells us, "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel's hand." (New Living Translation (NLT) - Holy Bible, New Living Translaction, copyright (C) 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. All rights reserved.)
Every solid and secure building begins not with a foundation, but with the dirt work to prepare a place for the foundation. The greatest buildings in the world, say for instance the Eiffel Tower, would be nothing but a pile of ruble if the original crew had not taken the time to make sure the foundation UNDER the foundation was right. (Here's a video about the history of the Eiffel Tower if you're interested.)
There is SOMETHING you can do TODAY to create a spark to begin the fire that will launch your dreams. Do you remember the scene from "Castaway" when Tom Hanks FINALLY got the fire to light? It took a lot of work, but it only took two pieces of wood and some dried palm fronds. But ask him, "Was it worth it?" I bet you can guess his answer.
The first step is gathering up your dreams like wood for a bonfire. As you begin to think about your dreams, put them down on paper, and categorize them. You're sure to find that some of them can be accomplished with little effort. Others may take a year, and still others may take a lifetime. My question is this, since you are going to get older anyway, why not work toward the dreams and visions that you might be afraid to say out loud?
I like to provide my clients with a Strategic Dream Planning Worksheet to get started. You can download it here - no opt-in required. But, I would love to know how it helps you, so please email me or give me a call.
Are you ready to start the process? Are you willing to let the world know that you will pursue your dreams? Share the Tweet link below.
It's time to #ReIgniteYourDreams! Join me as I go after the things I was created to do!
Live At Your Best! Live Inspired!