There is Power in What We Think About and Thank About

There is Power in What We Think About & Thank About!

Think About Thank About

          Plainly stated,  expressing Gratitude is one of the most important things you can do everyday to live a successful, victorious life!

            When you are truly thankful for all the things that allow you to live and breathe and have your being each and every day, you allow less and less room for dissatisfaction and complaining to take root in your mind. God/Creator/Universe honors gratitude and sends more of those things you are appreciative of your way!

When you change your thinking, you change your life!

When you are appreciative, your life changes!

Sounds like a win-win to me 🙂

Dr. Carmen April          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril

“God is Within her. She will not fail”

“God is Within Her. She will not fail” – Psalm 46:5

          Today’s post is really simple. The verse featured as the title of this blog post was on my heart and I wanted to share it.

          I set the intention of succeeding at everything I do, but honestly, some of the tasks that are before me initially appear to be overwhelming. However, I have to often remind myself that “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me”, “If God be for me, who can be against me?”, and specifically on today – “God is Within Her. She will not Fail.”

           Taking a little time to sit down & meditate on all the blessings I experience and posses, reminds me that I can and WILL conquer the day victoriously!

Dr. Carmen April

Dr. Carmen April          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader Award (NELA) Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril

Be Brave in Leadership: 5 Tips for Initiating Crucial Conversations

Be Brave in Leadership: 5 Tips for Initiating Crucial

Conversations

 

              There are often times when leaders are tasked with having Crucial Conversations with members of their team. Crucial Conversations are those conversations that can be uncomfortable because they involve risky, emotional and critical topics. One definition of Crucial Conversations states it this way, “A crucial conversation is a discussion between two or more people where (1.) Stakes are high (2.) Opinions Vary, and (3.) Emotions run strong. The outcome greatly impacts the lives of those involved.”

                Crucial Conversations should not be avoided and should be addressed with planning and clear intention. Mastering the art of initiating a Crucial Conversation is a key Leadership Skill. Here are 5 tips to help initiate a Critical Conversation:

1.) Create a safe environment –  Crucial Conversations are best when not had in public. I learned a long time ago to “Praise in public and reprimand in private”. Most people, when feeling like they are being criticized, become defensive. This can intensify if done in front of others. Instead of focusing on the subject at hand, the person on the receiving end of the information may begin to focus more on defending themselves and their dignity than on being fully engaged in the conversation.

2.) Be prepared for a number of responses from the other person(s) in the conversation – When planning to have these types of conversations, we often play them out in our heads the way we expect the other person(s) to respond. Well, what happens when that other person gives an alternative response? How will you redirect the conversation? Remember that the person you are having the conversation with may be either (1.) fully receptive, (2.) genuinely confused and caught off guard about why they are being approached in regards to the situation, or (3.) may become defensive. Be prepared for your response to various scenarios.

3.)  Approach your Crucial Conversations using the Sandwich Method – Imagine you have a fabulous cheeseburger with all the fixings in front of you. The major components of the sandwich are the bun, top and bottom, and the beef patty. Crucial Conversations are best structured with offering some sort of positive reinforcement about what the team member has done well (top bun), followed by the sensitive issue that needs to be discussed (beef patty), then followed up again by positive reinforcement (bottom bun). Essentially, you are ‘sandwiching’ the hard part of the discussion in between some positivity.

4) Remember that mutual respect is important for the accurate transference of information – Most adults don’t like to feel “talked down to” by anyone, including their boss/team member, etc. As the Leader, you must remember that the “fight or flight instinct”  kicks in when people feel threatened. These Crucial Conversations can easily go left if a mutual respect is not had by both parties. I did not say both parties had to “like” each other, but mutual respect is important here.

5.) Stay in control of the conversation – Stay on task with the conversation at hand. Keep emotions in check. Deal in the facts and not conjecture and remember the initial goal of the conversation.

How will you handle your next Crucial Conversation at work/community organization, etc?

– Dr. April

Crucial Conversations

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.

Leaders Motivate

Leaders Motivate

 

Leadership

 

                   In the book Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill lists “A Pleasing Personality” as one of the major attributes of a good leader. He states that Leadership calls for respect and says no one will respect a leader who doesn’t grade high on the factors of a pleasing personality. I suggest that being able to relate to others is a component of a ‘pleasing personality’.

                 A leader should be visionary in their approach to leading their team. He or she should conduct proper research that allows them to better direct the team in executing the tasks at hand. Once a leader has set an expectation based on study and research, they can more clearly communicate that with their followers. A Leader is not effective if they don’t posses the proper perspective to motivate their team in a shared vision.

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.

15 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up from a Day that Sucks

15 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up from a Day That Sucks

 

 smile

             Just admit it. No matter how “together” we try to run our daily lives, there are days that just plain suck! I had one of those days last week . I woke up with the best intentions for my day going great. I prayed to God for a good day before my feet even hit the floor that morning. I had a delicious breakfast and even snuck in a couple swigs of Mountain Dew (it’s my equivalent of coffee) before I left home for my office. So how in the world did I feel totally defeated by the time the clock struck 5pm???

            I have several ways of dealing with this type of day and I’m sharing some of those with you below. Some are things I’ve actually done, some are things that I’m mustering up the courage to do the next time a bad day rolls around and some are things little birdies have stopped by to tell me they’ve done (LOL). I’ll leave it up to you to decipher which is which 🙂 Here it goes:

1.) Find the best 90’s R&B Satellite Radio Station, turn it up, stand in the middle of a room that echos – hairbrush in hand as a microphone, and sing like you’re one of the last 3 contestants standing on American Idol!

2.) Buy the largest container of Vanilla and Salted Caramel Gelato in the grocery store freezer section and eat half of it before you even leave the grocery store parking lot

3.) Flip to the On-Demand station of Comcast and watch the past 3 episodes of  your favorite TV show, the same ones you’ve seen twice already

4.) Head to the nail shop to get your toenails painted, even in the dead of winter. Sit in the massage chair for a full 30 minutes after your nails have been polished. Don’t judge. Those massage chairs are awesome!

5.) Drink a glass, or two of a great white wine…….in the extra-large Olivia Pope style wine glasses!

6.) Retail Therapy – Set a budget though. Retail therapy while you are feeling ‘some kinda way’ can have horrible consequences

7. )Put on your best pair of running shoes and hit the pavement with no set destination in mind. Just run for exercise until you get tired…..

8.) Call it a night around 6pm. Lights out………………………………

9.) Have a glass of wine, imagine yourself as a character in a romantic novel………then call it a night around 7pm. Lights out……………………………….

10.) Read a really good book from cover to cover

11.) Go for a ride in a really wealthy neighborhood and imagine what it would be like to live there. If you already live in one of these neighborhoods……never mind.

12.) Cook a huge pot of pasta, preferably Fettuccine Alfredo! Throw in some chicken and Broccoli. It’s a great comfort food.

13.) Have a really good cry about the day that sucked 😦

14.) Pack a bag or two, book a flight, and leave for the Bahamas to enjoy some sun for a day or two

15.) Blog about 15 ways to cheer yourself up from a day that sucks!

Tell me, what do you do to turn a horrible day around??

— Dr. April

Your Playing Small Does Not Serve The World

“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 scares us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? 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 are 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.

— Marianne Williamson

Your Playing Small Does Not Serve The World

Your Playing Small Does Not Serve the World

                       There is so much good teaching going on in this quote that I have to marinate on it for a while and break it down into little, bitty pieces! What I’m focusing on is the part of this quote where Marianne says “Your playing small does not serve the world”! Let me let you in on little something, I literally just got up and did my happy dance right here in my office! I wholeheartedly believe that we starve the world of our gifts when we play it small! it takes the same amount of energy to ‘think small” as it does to “think big” so why in the world do we waste our time on things that ultimately don’t matter and don’t help to make our lives or those around us any better.

Fear is one of the main reasons we “play small”. We are afraid of what others will think, we are afraid we wont be good enough to accomplish our goals. When we can’t put all the pieces together from the get-go and can’t see the end in sight, we get nervous.

                        Peer Pressure, the desire to conform, is another big reason people often ‘play small’. I speak to a number of youth and high school groups on the topics of life skills, career choices, etc. I’ve had young ladies come up to me after my workshops/lectures and express that parents, family members and friends discourage them from their goals essentially because they perceive them to be ‘too lofty’. I encourage these ladies to be careful of taking advice from ‘any ole’ body’ because people too weak to follow their own dreams will often find a way to discourage yours. They may not understand the gift God has placed in your heart because God gave the insight to YOU, not them! Those not privy to the information will not understand it. Most of the visions that God has ever placed in my heart all started out sounding really crazy because of how GRAND they were! But, I serve an Extraordinary God! He doesn’t do anything half-way or pint-sized! What’s even more awesome is that when my dreams/visions manifested, they turned out much greater than I could have ever imagined and God gets the glory for it!

                        Be aware that peer pressure is not limited to school age children and youth. Adults experience it as well and sometimes to a much greater degree. I’ve talked with adults who are apprehensive about being proactive in the workplace for fear of being perceived as ‘too aggressive’. I’ve known women who “dumb-down” when dating men because they don’t want to “scare” men off. That’s crazy. What happens when the flirtation phase of meeting someone starts to fade and the individuals’ true character emerges? A man who can’t recognize or appreciate a woman who is using her gifts to Glorify God is not a man I want to be in a relationship with….Period!

                          What purpose does an unopened gift serve? Absolutely NOTHING! The giver of the gift is not pleased, the recipient of the gift can never experience the joy that comes from it and the gift itself goes to waste and never gets to shine. The people who feel insecure by your gift will feel insecure whether you use it or not because………. that’s just how insecure people are and you can’t change that. You were not born to make God look like an “ok” God that crates mediocre people. Not at all! God creates us to be wonderful, excellent manifestations of His love and to use the gifts He has given us!. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if working for God and not for man.” Never play small to satisfy the insecurities of others. I serve a God who is much BIGGER and BETTER than that! Those who are intent on feeling insecure while I do the work God has set out for me to do, can have a seat, sit back and watch me work!

What steps can you take, starting today, to live life in a more bold and intentional way???

— Dr. April

When Do The Stars Shine?

My parents live out in the country where it is beautiful, quiet, and serene. At night, it’s really dark outside because there aren’t tons of street lights, fluorescent fast food restaurant signs, etc. Nighttime in the country is awesome because you can see the stars shining so bright!

When do the stars shine?

“You may not always know the details of your Journey or clearly see where the trail is leading, but God will always give you enough light to take the next step”

Let me pose the question…when do the starts shine? Most people will answer that the stars shine at night. However, the correct answer is that the stars actually shine all the time! However, in order to see the brilliance and beauty of the stars it has to be dark outside. Sometimes, we have to go through seasons of darkness in order to see God’s light shine through in our lives. Those dark times are usually very uncomfortable and can cause us to fumble haphazardly because we can’t clearly see what is going on around us. We can often feel alone and nervous. Sometimes, it’s downright scary because we can’t see what’s in front of us. However, focusing on that little glimmer of light that comes from those stars is enough illumination to light our path. What I have found to be true out in the country at night is that if you stand still long enough to let the pupils of your eyes dilate (become larger to let in more light), you can actually start to identify shadows and objects and can see the stars more clear. 

A plaque my mom gave me in college states the following:

You may not always know the details of your journey or clearly see where the trail is leading, but God will always give you enough light to take the next step.”

Glory!! How awesome is it that God will always give you enough light to take the next step as long as you have the faith to keep moving! Just Keep Moving!

Don’t Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle

Don’t Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle

Comparison

Comparison

                    The death of contentment is comparison. Let me say that again….The death of contentment is comparison! Comparison can make us bitter, angry, and ungrateful for what we have. The people we tend to compare ourselves to have “arrived” to some degree either in their career, family life, etc and that is what makes the things they have so desirable to others. However, if you really knew what a person has had to endure to get to where they are today, you may end up not wanting what they have!

           Have you ever heard the phrase, “You may see my glory, but you don’t know my story”? We are all equipped with particular gifts, exposed to certain surroundings, and go through circumstances that shape our life experience. Yours is not the same as mine. Understanding that, we should not expect the same results with different ingredients. Everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t loose focus on your goals by comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle.

–Dr. April

Motivational Quotes Worksheet

                    Yes, it’s the weekend! It’s also the last day of January 2014! Did this month fly by as quickly for you as it did for me? Many of you probably made New Year’s Resolutions that have already fallen by the way-side. A lot of times this happens because we loose the motivation to stick with the resolutions. To help you out, I am sharing a page from my Success Kit Workbook (part of my new Empowerment Speaker Series!!!!!!!).

                    In the words of Zig Ziglar, “People Say that Motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily!”

                Take some time this weekend to refuel yourself with some inspirational quotes to help you keep pressing forward with your goals. Do an internet search of great inspirational quotes and write them down on the worksheet. Hang it up on your Fridge, Bathroom Mirror, in your office, etc and read it often. You’ll be surprised at how many of these you begin to memorize. Use them to motivate yourself when your determination starts to fade. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Click here or on the photo to download the Motivation Worksheet PDF

Motivation Worksheet

–Dr. April

Just Get Started

Just Get Started!

Hello World!

          This is the very first Blog post on my new site, DrCarmenApril.com ! Because I maintain a website for my medical practice, my Food Blog, along with several social media accounts, I wanted to create a “home base” for them all. It is here that I will also share my ideas and opinions to encourage others and that have absolutely nothing to do with Feet OR Food…HaHa!

          I’ve had the idea to create this site for over a year and between running a practice, staying busy with my food blog and serving my community, I had a hard time just “getting started” on this new site. I even found myself getting frustrated because it was constantly on my “To-Do list” since I wasn’t being proactive in getting it done. Here’s a little FYI about me……… I Looooooove to scratch items off my To-Do List. It’s one of the things that brings me joy each and every day. I’m totally being serious when I say this! I get so much satisfaction from checking off my list and throwing it away at the end of the day…..Yes!

          Having this site to house my online presence makes me happy! I have some awesome new projects that I’m working on in 2014 and this is step #1  in that process. A favorite Bible verse of mine kept filling my Spirit during the process of creating this site. In Genesis 12:1-2 God tells Abraham to “go to the land I will show you”. “12 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your family and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation. I will bring good to you. I will make your name great, so you will be honored.”

God's Blessings

          What I have learned from this scripture is that God tells Abraham to go to the land He will show him, not a land He has already shown him. Furthermore, after God said these things, He stopped talking. Abraham didn’t know what was in store, where he was supposed to be going, how he was going to get there, how long it would take to get there, what dangers he would encounter along the way, etc. God told him to go and just get started. God also promised that if Abraham was obedient in this endeavor, He would bring good to him and bless him and honor him. I appreciate when God blesses me and brings good to me. Even more so, it feels really good when I bring honor to God! I want Him to be pleased with my work and my obedience 🙂

          I don’t know about you, but this is sometimes the thought process in my head when God tells me to “just go and do it” –> ‘What? God, how are you gonna tell me something this GRAND and then just stop talking? Are you gonna tell me what to do next? How am I gonna do this? How long is this gonna take? Where am I gonna get the money? I don’t know if I can do all of that…….” Does this sound familiar to anyone else????

          I could have continued to take on additional projects and put this on the back burner, but for reasons I’m sure God will reveal to me in due time, I decided to just get started, trust, obey, and go where God is telling me to go! One of the reasons has already been made clear to me – 1.) This new site brings some order into my life because I consider it Grand Central Station for all of my website, blog and social media sites. I pray that the inspirations I share on this blog are received by the people who need to hear and read them the most. I’m pretty sure a blessing or 2 or 3 or 4……will come out of that as well 🙂

          Caring is sharing so please, if my posts resonate with you in any form or fashion, leave a comment, share the post via social media or email, send me an email, send a dancing telegram (lol) or something to let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you!

God Bless!

—Dr. April