September 26, 2017

Play Your Position (A Prelude to My Book)

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Why this picture reminded me of women fighting over men beats the heck out of me. When I saw it, I thought about how we women are in constant competition with each other, even resorting to verbal and physical abuse to get what we want.

Where did this competitive mentality come from? From TV? From the principle of scarcity? I’m inclined to think that it’s a combination of the two. When a woman sees another woman happy with a man, or a man seems unhappy with a woman, the scarcity principle will make the observer conclude in her mind that she is more deserving, and that she needs him NOW. In addition, most TV shows glorify mistresses, jump offs, office romances and “friends with benefits”. The mistress appears to be happy and fulfilled. Sometimes she even gets her man. If it works for them, it should work for us right?

Wrong! Life is not a reality show, video, or drama series. Life is everlasting learning, to be loved hard and played well. And to play well, you have to play your position.

The problem with us 21st century women is, we no longer play our positions. We try to play multiple positions, slack off in our own positions or cheat to win. When it comes to winning the game, half of us don’t know the rules, ignore them, or are unprepared to engage in competition.

I don’t want to give too much of my book away, but let me say this: if you have found yourself bouncing from man to man, running back to that old boyfriend or baby daddy, too afraid to leave that cheating husband or boyfriend, you are not playing your position. If while reading this, you have to stop to go pick up your man because he doesn’t have a car or job or both, you are not playing your position. And lastly, if you are the mistress, jump off, or a friend with benefits, you are not playing your position. Your position is, and always has been queen. Queens don’t compete to become queens. You were already chosen to be one before you were born. Play your position!

 

 

 

What Do You Need To Purge?

 

Every now and then you need to have a life fire sale. Everything and everybody prohibiting your growth and well-being must go!  Similar to spring cleaning, we should evaluate the stuff in our lives, keeping what we need and removing what we don’t.  We need to treat jobs, hobbies, habits, romantic relationships and friendships like old files.  After they have served their purpose they need to be purged, sent away or marked for destruction.  

Do you have any relationships or habits in your life that you need to get rid of?  If you do, but don’t know where to start, here are 5 things to consider purging.  Believe me, once you remove some of these things, you’ll feel lighter and brighter!

  1. Old Exes.  There’s a difference between being cordial, being friends, and being in limbo.  There’s nothing wrong with the first two, but the latter spells deep trouble.  If you clearly have feelings for an old “boo” or whatever you chose to call your ex, it’s best to cut off communication until you establish a clear understanding of where you stand.  And if you are not in agreement of the terms, close that chapter.  There’s nothing worse than waiting for someone to give you another chance.  It’s not mutually platonic therefore, not mutually beneficial or healthy.
  2. Rollercoaster Road Dogs. These are the type of friends that for some reason, they love you one minute and are cold the next.  You normally have a great time with them, but sometimes, they act like they are angry at you, or find a reason to be angry with you.  In actuality they are probably insecure, jealous or paranoid in some sort of way when it comes to you.  Why try to fix them or figure them out ?  A true friend should always be a constant.  Life throws enough curve balls without wondering where you stand with someone who’s supposed to stick to you closer than a brother.
  3. Homies in the ‘hood.  They are rollercoaster road dogs and childhood friends mixed together.  You broke a few rules with them, maybe failed a few assignments or classes.  You played, T-ball, kickball, hide-and-go-seek, duck-duck-goose and red rover with them!  Basically, you were extremely close with this person when you were growing up.  Even though you’ve matured, this person is still trying to take you back to the days when you were acting an @$$.  They do so intentionally and unintentionally. They secretly hate the new you but miss their old friend.  These types of people are the hardest to let go of because you have deep history with them.   At some point you will hit a crossroad with this person and will have to make a decision either way.  The earlier you purge them, the better.
  4. Unhealthy pleasure-seeking habits.  When you do anything in overabundance, it can be dangerous.  Drinking, smoking, and sex are the top three activities that comes to mind when seeking personal pleasure.  These things negatively effect the body and if they consume you, they can be a matter of sickness, disease and death.
  5. Insatiable love for money.  Allowing money to be the primary motivating factor in all you do will make you miserable at some point in your life.  Staying at a job you hate, working with people you hate or committing unethical acts to acquire money will bite  you in the butt sooner or later.  Whether it be stress, depression, poor job performance or ramifications from unethical behavior, the truth will show its head.  Make your living doing something you can be proud of and are happy with.   If you need more education or skills, make the sacrifices needed to obtain it. 

I’ll close with a quote from my role model Stephen Covey who passed away yesterday, “You can’t talk yourself out of problems you behave yourself into.”  This quote always reminds me that I am responsible for the people I allow in my circle and the situations I find myself in.  When it comes to growth and productivity, there can be no grey areas.  Ultimately, the things and people I choose to affiliate with will influence my thinking and thus my actions.  I have quite a few things to purge this year.  How about you?

Until next time,

-KB

 

 

Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Woman

Being yourself never gets old!

Let them pursue you - Courtsey of Getty Images

Let me say this: I’m a huge fan of Steve Harvey’s book and I think the movie was funny and done in great taste.  However, I do not believe ladies need to think like men to get a man.   We do need to consider one key concept in the book: setting standards.  Our problem is, even if we have standards, we don’t use them.  Dating without standards is like making a cake with no flour.  What you get is a complete mess!

If you haven’t read the book, you should. It’s an excellent, humorous and informative read.  Let me let you in on a little secret though…it’s nothing new!  Your grandmother, great-grandmother, church elder, and get this…your BIBLE will tell you the same things Steve did.  He just put it in a matter-of-factly sort of way.  I’m about to go biblical on you for a minute so that you get where Steve was coming from.  Some of you didn’t go to church on Sunday anyway, so here’s your Sunday school lesson:

Men haven’t changed much since the days of Adam.  Although men were created to lead, they will forsake all they know for a woman.  They work out, play sports, work, dress, lie, cry, and live to impress women.  The problem is that we women have made “the cookie” too available.   We’ve morphed into modern-day Jezebels, abandoning the virtues of Rachel and Ruth.  Rachel and Ruth were pursued by their men, and didn’t need a book or movie to attract them.  In fact, they did nothing!  They allowed men to do what they were made to do, and that was to find a wife (Proverbs 18:22).

By injecting ourselves into the process, we’ve allowed men to become lazy and non-committal.  Now our “Eve” nature is to be controlling and tell a man what to do (see Genesis chapter 3), and because of her sin, we bear her curse.  Painful childbirth isn’t the only thing we inherited, we also carry her controlling nature.  We were designed to help and accompany, not control or scheme.  God never intended for women to put men through college, find them jobs, do their homework, give them sex prior to marriage, be their side pieces, jump offs, friends with benefits or go half on ANYTHING.    We too, have conformed to lying, crying, working, dressing, working out and living to impress men.  And as we all know, it doesn’t matter how good you look, how good your sex is or how nice you are when it comes to keeping a man.  1 Peter chapter 3 states that inner beauty will make us beautiful, and that our virtues will make us attractive.  Virtuous women have standards (see Proverbs 31).

Another theme in Harvey’s book rings true “A man defines himself by what he makes, what he has and who he is.  In the movie, I love how each male character changed for the better.  Not because their women prodded them, but because they were left alone to think about what they truly wanted.  Once they became aware of self and what they needed to fix, they were husband material.  Relationships will always be difficult for a man who isn’t sure of who he is or what he wants.  Notice I said MAN.  Men who have no goals, nothing to call their own, no purpose or no work ethic aren’t men; they’re still boys.  See Project Boo post for details on these type of guys.

As good as the movie was (yes I’m still thinking about Michael licking Taraji’s knees and that good cooking), in real life, the turn around time isn’t that fast.  That “wait and see” method doesn’t work, and neither does taking on the role of his mother!  In short, if you have a man who doesn’t have his stuff together, there isn’t much you can do.  Thinking like a man won’t help.  What will help, is you setting and sticking to your standards, even if that means being by yourself.  Stop this main chick, side piece, dime piece, wifey, bed buddy madness.  Act like a lady and think like one!

Your Slow, Super Efficient Guide to Weight Loss – Part II

Spring is almost here!  Before you know it, it’ll be time to pack those sweaters away and put on those pretty skirts, dresses and shorts.  And for you guys, not too much of a change-up in wardrobe I know, but we do have one thing in common.

We ALL want to be slimmer when the weather gets warmer!  We feel better about ourselves and how we look in our clothes when we shed a few pounds.  Equipped with our new year’s resolution and gym membership, we’re on track to have a beach body by summer.  But is it really feasible to do so in 4 months?

It all depends.  It depends on what you are eating, how much weight you need to lose, if you are exercising and if you are consistent with your eating and exercise regime.  I’ve learned several things since I last blogged about weight loss, and I want to share them with you:

  1. Stop believing the infomercials and fitness ads.  There is no pill, powder, shake or liquid that is going to instantly make you look the way you want.  We have to realize there are no short cuts.  Furiouspete123 on youtube has a video that exposes advertisements on weight loss gimmicks.  Most of those commercials are shot in the same day.  The models bloat themselves after taking the “results” pictures.  Know this: if you are not going to put in the work a pill or potion won’t help, especially not for the long term.  I used to think I needed extra protein to build muscle and a fatburner to lose flab.  Since I’m what’s called an ecto-endo body type (skinny-flabby), I don’t build muscle very well.  I was eating the suggested amount of protein (1 gram per pound), so I was consuming roughly 120-180 grams of protein per day.  What I didn’t realize is that the protein wasn’t metabolizing because I wasn’t doing enough cardio. I ended up gaining weight instead of losing it, even though I was firmer from lifting weights.  Protein helps with muscle-building but not necessarily with weight loss.  So I was building muscle but not losing any weight, and my goal was to do both.  I thought about using a fatburner but they scare me.  The few times I tried them I experienced a racy heart and insomnia from the caffeine.  I’ve conceded to the fact that I need to run more, even though I hate it with a passion.  But the old ways are truly the best ways, and I’ve noticed a difference already.  I’ve increased my cardio from two days to four.  I am now aiming for five.
  2. Don’t underestimate how hard it is to lose weight and to maintain your goal weight.  I just finished “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” By Marshall GoldSmith (I’ll do a book review in another post) and he did an excellent analysis on goal setting and goal achievement.  He applied his principles to weight loss and listed the following reasons why people do not succeed in their weight loss goals: time, effort, distractions, rewards and maintenance.  According to GoldSmith (best-selling author, business professor at Dartmouth and top executive coach), these 5 reasons are commonly underestimated and are ultimately why we fail at our weight lost goals.  My achillies heel had been time, effort and distractions.  But no more!
  3. My Fitness Pal.  It’s an app you can download on your phone.  After you download and create an account, you plug in your current weight and your goal weight.  It then tells you how many calories you are allowed each day based on how many pounds you want to lose per week. I lost about 3 pounds last week!  My fitness pal is great for me because I can also see what nutrients I need to get in before the day is out.  It also made me aware of how much dining out was a hinderance to my progress.  I know I promised pictures but I accidentally erased my November pictures when I restored my computer to factory condition (I forgot to back up years worth of pictures and my favorites). I will put some up though, I promise!  I’ve put on some muscle but I  have quite a ways to go…wish me luck!

I’d like to close this post with the picture below.  I got it from my friends RawTwins on facebook.  If we would take the time to eat properly, we’d be 70% to goal.  Instead of stopping off at a fast food place after a long day’s work, I now take cucumbers, carrots and grapes to work and make sure I am drinking 80 to 100 ounces of water per day.  That’s only 5 to 7 water bottles!  You can do it!  Remember, what you put inside yourself is a reflection of who you are!

-KB

You Are What You Eat - Courtesy of RawTwins

Are You On The Balcony Or In The Basement?

Be like the goldfish "Carpe diem!"

When I came across the analogy of balcony verses basement people I was immediately intrigued.  Judy Landorf, author of Balcony People, used an interesting metaphor comparing balcony and basement people to the likes of living in a fishbowl.  In her analogy two-thirds of life is at the bottom, in the murk and grime of the bowl.  Remaining forms of life are at the top.  Basement people are in the murky water and balcony people in the clear.

To piggyback off Landorf, we can metaphorically compare basement people to scavengers.  They wait for opportunity to come to them.  They settle for what’s left and will fight for scraps.  If you know anything about scavengers you know they always operate in survivor mode.  Since two-thirds of the population is at the bottom, one can expect slim pickings.  This is probably why there is so much trickery, back-stabbing, clawing and scratching in the world.  Crabs in a barrel!

Basement people are pessimistic.  They are uncertain of their future because they can’t see through the murk of their environment. They feel like they’ve been denied opportunity and never caught a break.  In fact, they feel oppressed.  Ironically their sense of oppression makes them oppressors.  They will tell you that you can’t or you shouldn’t because they wouldn’t.  They do not realize they are mentally bound and their way of thinking is the only reason why they are at the bottom.   Basement people lack the ability to break free from mental bondage because they do not have confidence or faith.  They will not be genuinely happy for you and will offer little support.  Their discouraging behavior stems from their fear of you changing and leaving them behind.

Balcony people are just the opposite.  They are go-getters!  They will not wait for opportunity to fall in their laps.  Like fish swimming to the top of the bowl when food hits the water, balcony people jump on opportunity.  Since there’s room at the top there is plenty to choose from and plenty to go around.  There is no reason to fight, scheme or manipulate.  Seeking higher ground gives balcony people a clearer vision.   They are confident in themselves and do not need to take from others to be happy or to survive.  Balcony people are ambitious, supportive and encouraging.  They will be your biggest fans because they know their success comes at their own hands and that the harvest is ripe.

Balcony and basement people both have the power of transference.  When you associate with people who complain and are complacent you will start to see life from their point of view.  If you fortify your circle with people who are inspirational and optimistic you will share their sentiments.  Basement people are toxic and should be not be allowed space in your head, heart, or life.

Before you start cleaning house on your facebook friends list and unfollowing folks on twitter, examine your own heart.  We often don’t see our own flaws because we are mentally bound ourselves.  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you self-motivated?
  2. Are you genuinely happy for others and supportive of their ambitions?
  3. Do you wait or make opportunity?
  4. Are you confident in yourself and is your faith strong?
  5. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

Five Qualifications Needed on Your Date and Mate Checklist

Have you ever been told that you should have a list of qualities you desire in a mate?  A potential suitor asked me that the other day and I declined to disclose.  I feel it’s better to let a person show you who they are.  For the most part, people serious about settling down are looking for the same things.  Time will reveal if they meet the qualifications.  Yes qualifications!  Those are what qualities are right?  If they don’t meet them, they get the ax!

Do you have a list of qualities or need one?  Well I wanted to share my top five.  They are:

  1. Values.  There is a scripture that says: “A house divided against itself cannot stand”.  This is true when it comes to building a solid foundation, starting a family and weathering the storms.  In the beginning you need to value the same things and stay true to those values.  As time goes on your values will be tested.  If the will to work together isn’t there, kiss your relationship goodbye.  In most cases relationships are built on the physical.   By the time people realize they do not value the same things, it’s too late.  Many marriages and relationships end bitterly because once the physical attraction fades, there is no substance.
  2. Character.  This stems from common values.  Your mate should be a strong reflection of what you value.  What confuses me about some people is they’ll say they want a person of good character, then will date men or women who mistreat people, who are vain, insecure, irresponsible, or unprepared.  Some people can change when they fall in love but that’s a risky gamble.  You will soon realize you do not have a relationship but a high-risk, low reward project.  Good luck with that!
  3. Chemistry.  Physical attraction is only a small part of chemistry.  You can have chemistry with a person who is not necessarily physically attractive.  I’m not saying that physical attraction isn’t important but it shouldn’t be the main driver.  Have you ever sat with someone who just blew you away with their intellect, humor, confidence, ambition or talent?  These qualities stimulate more than just your libido.  With time and age beauty will fade.  What’s tight and ripped will become loose , stretched and flabby.  I’d much rather be with someone who has a captivating presence than a figure head.   Dig deeper than the surface!
  4. Goals.  If you are a day-to-day person, date a day-to-day person.  If you are goal driven look for someone who is the same.  Why?  Because at some point your opposite will irk you with their complacency or ignore you with their chase for achievement.  If you have your own goals or can help your mate with theirs, you’ll have more to share.  If both of you are day-to-day people, spontaneity will spark your relationship.  And if you have the same goals, imagine how deeper the connection will grow once you start to achieve them together!
  5. Wisdom.  This is where you will have to watch how they handle stress, how they treat people and how they approach life.  Do they get medically depressed when life comes at them?  Do they display signs of uncontrollable jealousy or rage?  Do they seek to get revenge or rectify conflict?  Do they lack common sense or speak profoundly?  Do they practice what they preach?  I believe a wise person seeks help when in need, can receive constructive criticism, and keeps a positive outlook on life.  They understand that they are not perfect and don’t expect you to be.  In fact, they bring out the best in you because they know what to say and when to say it.  They are perceptive, encouraging and caring.  They may not make the best decisions all the time but most of the time they are dead on.  Wisdom cannot be bought or taught.  Wisdom is the use of divine understanding and knowledge.  It is easy to distinguish a wise person from a foolish one.  Foolish people will show themselves if you give them time.  However if you are caught up in good looks, sex, or are preoccupied with a “project” then you will not be able to distinguish their foolishness from flaw.  None of us are perfect, but we all have good to offer.  If a person lacks in most of these qualities they are not long-term material.  Be wise enough to realize that!

Reflections – 2011

Mood - Grateful

Today I cried hard, harder than I have in a long time.  I cried tears of joy and pain, happiness and hurt.

I cried today because as I was washing dishes a bouquet flowers were delivered to my door.   Attached was a note with words of encouragement.  No one has ever done something so thoughtful for me before.  I was moved to tears and to write this reflection.

Looking back on the past year  I moved out-of-state with no job, got a job, quit a job for a higher paying job, lost the new job before I started but was able to get another job.  I met a great guy and he broke my heart.  I learned some family secrets should stay secret.  I’ve accepted the fact that I may have to adopt or foster and that I may be single for the rest of my life.  And I still have some medical issues I need to overcome.  So I needed to cry today.

You see, in spite of all that I’ve been through this year I’m still standing.  I get up each morning knowing today will be better than yesterday.  I have another opportunity to right all my wrongs, to try new things, to love and to laugh.  Life is a gift and I am utterly grateful for it.  I’ve been losing friends to prison and the grave since I was a kid, knowing in each instance it could have been me.  I know that if it wasn’t for God having mercy on me I wouldn’t be here to tell my story.  Where would I be without His unmerited favor?  He’s a miracle worker.  He makes a way out of no way.  He inspires me to keep pushing .  He’s given me the strength not only to carry my own burdens but the burdens of my loved ones as well.  And because I carry that responsibility and that strength,  quitting is not an option.

I cried today because I am happy to see 2011 go.  I had an eventful year.  But I know my events have made me stronger and more prepared for 2012.  I’m not claiming or decreeing anything because what is mine will be mine, good or bad.  But I am walking in rejuvenated faith. In spite of this past year’s events He still gave me much to smile about.  Life isn’t without its downs.  It’s not always fun or fair or easy. Each obstacle is an opportunity for character building and I’m grateful to be in the land of the living to experience it all.   When things get tough it’s good to know that  just like my fresh bouquet of flowers, when I least expect, it my Lord and Savior will be there.  Here’s to 2012.

New Year’s Resolutions For Men

Stockbyte via Goggles Images

Tradition has it that when a new year begins, we should resolve to change something about ourselves to become better people.   I thought of 3 unfiltered, unadulterated resolutions for men and 5 for women (sorry ladies).  The men are up first.   In 2012, I hope you resolve to:

  1. Tell the truth in your romantic life.  Women are tired of the “I didn’t want to hurt you” or “I didn’t have my dad” excuses. You are an adult and are accountable for what you do despite how you were raised.  You treat women the way you do not because of your upbringing, but according to your own selfish desires.  You want options.   It makes you feel good about yourself as a man to know you can go back to where you once laid your hat.  You don’t feel like being honest because you really don’t want to explain yourself, and you feel like the truth may get you voted off the island.  Women won’t break if you tell them the truth.  Most women are big enough to handle whatever you throw at them, give or take a few tears.  You might stand a better chance of reconciling if you’re honest rather than leaving them hurt from your fade-away tactic or cheating.   Heck, these days some women will accept whatever arrangement you put on the table.  At least give them the option of deciding if they want to deal with it.
  2. Grow a pair.  There are too many men out there who are unwilling to take certain jobs because they don’t respect the type of work available or just don’t want to work.  Then you wonder why women belittle you or don’t know their place.  It’s because they’ve been forced to take YOURS!  Real men don’t shy away from responsibility and don’t let their egos hinder them from taking care of business.  Be a provider in your home, at the very least a partner.  If you’re in between jobs, make home life easier by helping out domestically.  Women respect men who bust their behinds for their families.  Nothing is beneath you when it comes to maintaining your household.
  3. Learn how to lead.  Men have a special, unique function in the world.  To be an effective leader you first need to know how to follow.  Throughout history prolific leaders submitted themselves to a higher calling and led selfless lives.  Today’s men lack that type of sacrifice.  They wear eggshell armor because they stand for nothing, trying to maintain their manhood with no substance to stand on.  Men, your ability to lead will come from your ability to follow.  Your ability to follow will come from the values and morals in which you hold dear.  When you stand for something other than yourself it is easier for women to support, trust, and stand behind you.   No matter how strong and intelligent women are, they want you to be stronger and more intelligent.  At the end of the day a woman wants a man she can admire and support.  If she makes you feel otherwise, it’s probably because you have failed at one or more of these resolutions.