Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rebounding is Not Just for Basketball Players

Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman made a name for himself in the NBA by perfecting one skill—rebounding. After playing pro ball for 14 years, he retired as the only man to lead the league in rebounding for seven consecutive seasons. He was known as a rebounding specialist, amassing nearly 12,000 rebounds during his career (1986-2000).

You and I are not professional basketball players, but we can benefit from becoming superstar rebounders in our own lives. We all need the ability to bounce back from adversity and turn negatives into positives. That kind of emotional rebounding keeps you in the game, regardless of how many fouls have been called on you.

In the book, “Successful Women Think Differently,” business coach Valorie Burton lays out a strategy to deal with major setbacks. After events like divorce or job loss we can begin recovering by telling ourselves four empowering messages:

1. This is a major blow, but it’s not the end of the world. I can start over.
2. I made some mistakes and I will learn from those events, so I don’t repeat them in the future.
3. All things work together for good, so I’m determined to come out of this situation stronger and wiser.
4. I’m not the only person to ever go through something like this. Other people have bounced back from similar situations.

If you’re recovering from a bad breakup, it might be tempting to beat yourself up and sulk. But this is the best time to apply Valorie’s strategy. Remember, healing takes time, and we eventually need to move on from unsuccessful relationships. After you have a little emotional distance from the trauma, identify why the marriage or relationship went sour and don’t make those same mistakes with your next mate.

Figure out how you can grow stronger and wiser from this experience. Don’t get bogged down, reliving your mistakes. They are just opportunities you can learn from. Many others have faced similar situations and they eventually bounced back.

I have had my share of challenges, changes and hard times. I have survived divorce, ridiculously high credit card debt and job layoffs. And I can assure you that it’s not the end of the world, I’ve learned from my mistakes, now I’m stronger and wiser because of those tough life lessons. Over the years, I have developed superstar rebounding skills!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Is Rosa Parks Still Relevant Today?

It’s almost been a year since President Barack Obama unveiled the first full-length statue of an African-American in the U.S. Capitol. And this summer I was filled with pride when I saw Rosa Parks’ nine-foot-tall bronze statue for the first time. It is a beautiful tribute to her strengthen of character and determination.

Ms. Parks is the first black woman honored with a statue in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. Her refusal to give up her seat on a segregated city bus in Montgomery, Alabama led to a year-long boycott that propelled Martin Luther King Jr. into the national spotlight and resulted in the 1956 U.S. Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transportation across the nation.

When President Obama dedicated her statue on February 27 of last year, he painted this picture of her legacy:

“Rosa Parks tells us there’s always something we can do. She tells us that we all have responsibilities, to ourselves and to one another. She reminds us that this is how change happens—not mainly through the exploits of the famous and the powerful, but through the countless acts of often anonymous courage and kindness…and responsibility that continually, stubbornly, expands…our conception of what is possible.”

Her historic actions took place nearly 60 years ago, but clearly Ms. Parks’ courage, sense of civic responsibility and vision of a better America are still relevant today. In 2014, I would like to see more lawmakers take courageous steps to end gun violence, more professionals take on the responsibility to mentor our youth and more student athletes with the vision to see that college is more than a stepping stone to the NFL or NBA.

Let’s keep Ms. Parks’ legacy of courage, responsibility and vision alive long after Black History Month ends by stepping outside of our comfort zones armed with:
  • COURAGE: Muster up the courage to take a stand for something. Publicly advocate for a change you want to see in your neighborhood or city. Use your Facebook and Twitter feeds to spread the word about a cause you care about.
  • RESPONSIBILITY: Be a responsible citizen. Volunteer, mentor, exercise your right to vote. I enjoyed teaching middle school students about budgeting and household finance as a Junior Achievement volunteer.
  • VISION: Expand your idea of what is possible. I can envision a female President of the United States and a Democratic governor of Florida! What’s your vision for a better tomorrow?