I Chose FEAR and SETTLED.

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The biggest F-word is FEAR. It is one of the most debilitating factors that triggers one of the biggest bad words: SETTLING.

One of my earliest memories is of 4/5 year old me wanting a baby. Instead of a baby, my mother gave me a Barbie doll. I burned it! About a year or so, I got my baby brother, the boy who to this day, everyone in my family affectionately refers to as my son. I consider that memory one of my early examples of me refusing to settle. I was bratty? Yes! But I was a girl who knew what I wanted and unwilling to settle even if it meant going out on a limb to get it.

Fast forward 13 years later. During a Youth Service at church, I was asked to give a word. My immediate internal reaction was one of fear and denial. Eventually I went up to the pulpit, legs and hands shaking, and opened my mouth. To my shock, non-stop words of power flowed out. Then a strange thing happened. I got into my own head: “Shit! Am I making sense?” as voice asked. Immediately as my nerves (fears) took over and my doubts crept in, my voice was stifled and I stopped and couldn’t continue. From that day on, I turned down almost every opportunity that I was given to bring the Word. I choose to settle in my roles of Sunday school teacher and praise and worship leader, shying from any opportunity to deliver the words that God often placed in my spirit.

Two versions of the same person but two different attitude to fear. Somewhere along the way, young Chañel morphed into a woman who settled because of fear. I allowed fear to become the pilot of my life, polluting it with doubts and second-guessing. Throughout my childhood, I was the one who let my younger sister take our childhood spotlight because of my fear of exposing and being rejected because of my inadequacies when compared to my sister. At 13, I was the teen who let her best friend have the guy she crushed on for three years, afraid to let her feelings known and face probable rejection. At 15, I was the person who saved for months to buy her dream phone and then settled for another when an unexpected price change deterred her, fearing that if she didn’t get it today, she never would. At 21, I was the Christian who turned down the request to speak during our Sunday School Convention, although I was given the Word two weeks in advance. After that, I would often wonder why God didn’t use me more. But who could blame Him? He couldn’t trust that I would deliver when:

  1. I was the person who allowed fear to become the pilot of my life.
  2. I allowed my circumstances to set my limits, the height at which I dared to fly.
  3. I let the expectations of others dictate the roads I took. I settled again and again.

Each time a new path/option arose, I often made a conscious decision to settle when I couldn’t be certain of the outcome. I placed my dreams on hold, afraid to take a leap, focusing on the voices that dictated my pending failure. I feared what others would say if I stood up and voiced my truth, shaking off the chains that shackled me. I doubted and I settled constantly. I settled for the mediocrity I hated. I settled for the friends and boyfriends who did not inspire me to be. I settled for the persons who silenced me while simultaneously trying to be my voice, speaking their inaccurate renditions of my truth. I bowed to the pressures of her job and life, settling for the immediate comfort and failing to pursue the things that made my soul sing. It was always tomorrow, never today.

In essence I became a person full of regrets about the roads consciously not trodden.

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I regret the times when I was asked to preach or be the lead singer but I turned down the opportunity, even though I had already been given the Word or knew the song. I sometimes wonder what would have been the results, if I hadn’t settled in the safety of being a Sunday school teacher or singing on the choir or leading the Praise and Worship team. I regret the times when I had the opportunity to voice ideas but stifled myself because I may look foolish. I settled and settled some more.

Somewhere along my walk on this earth I forgot 2 Timothy 1:7:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

I have no control over yesterday but I do have a say in the outcomes of today and tomorrow. Today, I choose to trust God who sees beyond today and tomorrow. Today, I choose to live with the spirit of power, love and self-discipline that God has bestowed upon me. I choose to stop settling and to just begin. Will you join me?

A SPECIAL NOTE:

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I am choosing to face everything and rise. As a show of the commitment, I am undertaking a “30-Day Journey of YES!” in which I will both say yes to any opportunity that my spirit agrees with. I look forward to documenting the testimonies that I am certain God is already in the process of making.


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May the Peace of God go with you!

XOXO
Chañel

 

The Boss who Mentored

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It’s hard to find good female role models who are willing to selflessly mentor and shape young proteges. When I reflect, I feel grateful that I have been blessed on this front. Today, I want to tell you about BCC, the boss I initially flagged as “bitchy cracker-crazy” but grew to love and admire.

My introduction to BCC was not the best. We both have dominant personalities and, alas, believed we were always right. Though we didn’t start off on the best of footing, over the 2 1/2 years that we worked together, she became someone I looked up to, more or less my mentor. In fact, knowingly or not, she helped to shape the person and professional that I am today to the point where, depending on the situation, I will find myself considering, “What would BCC do?”

Here are some lessons that she, wonder woman that she is, taught me:

NUMBER 1: CHOOSE TO CONNECT.

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I once prided myself on my ability to be friendly with people to the point where they would spill their guts to me but leave the conversation, thinking they knew me. The truth is, they knew nothing.

BCC was the first person to call me out on it. During one of our one-on-ones, she shared a story about her send-off at one of her early jobs. During her send-off, her manager commended her on her work ethic but indicated that, despite working together for a long period, he did not know her. They had worked together for a while but never truly made a connection.

That story was a mini wake up call for me. I did not want to go through life pretending to connect with people. So, I made a decision to connect and build relationships. When I parted ways with that company, I left with many treasured friendships.

A year ago, I paused to assess what my career vision statement. This part flowed naturally: “Not just doing a job but connecting with and positively impacting the people I come in contact with.”

 


NUMBER 2: SAY PLEASE.

 

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My dominant personality often made me overlook the importance of saying “please”. As a project management consultant, this was not the best way to go through projects. I did not notice the deficiency until one day I sent an email requesting that someone complete some activities. Of course there was no “please” in sight. A few minutes after, I saw an email (sent to me alone) from BCC. It simply read “Please.”

Over the course of my first few months of working with her, I got many of those little reminders until I got it right. Now, like autopilot, I never forget to include a “please” and/or “thank you” in my conversations and emails. I like to believe that that’s part of the reason why persons don’t mind doing things for me when I make the request. 😊

 


NUMBER 3: NEVER SEND AN EMAIL FROM A PLACE OF ANGER.

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In 2017, I had my first television interview. Whilst invigorated by the experience, I was upset by the waiting period and experience and the lack of courtesy that was demonstrated by the television team while I waited to go on set.

Following the interview, I decided that I would send an email to the producer who had invited me, documenting my experience. After writing the email, I asked BCC and another coworker to review. The feedback was simple: “Don’t send this, it will damage your character.” Though annoyed, I listened and rewrote the email under their guidance.

Over the course of the next few years, BCC became my “upset” email proof-reader. I never send out an email in anger and tried to ensure that I got her feedback to ensure that it was anger-free.

 


NUMBER 4: IF YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT SOMETHING, STAND UP FOR IT!

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BCC and I were the 2-wonder women team that made up our department. Due to this, we worked on many projects together. One of the projects that stands out in my mind is chiefly due to one of the biggest lessons she taught me. After working months, we had 2 Go Lives which, based on multiple factors, were not successful. In both scenarios, BCC was a strong advocate for keeping on the Go Live track despite the fact that all the members of our client team were against it. She stood up, before Executives, for what she believed in and passionately declared: “Tear the labels off! Don’t roll back!” (leave no room for recourse). Her voice shook but she was adamant about what she believed in.

Being the only one in a crowd with a differing opinion is not hard. Being brave enough to stand up and state it, is. Even if my voice, legs and hands shakes and my palms become #1 in the Sweat Generation Competition, if I feel strongly about it, I will stand up for it.

 


NUMBER 5: PROTECT YOUR BRAND.

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BCC had a beautiful name. Unfortunately, it was often mistaken for a man’s name by persons who did not pay attention to details. Despite her corrections, email signature and email address, people still called her the male version of her name. I always loved BCC’ response to these errors! Instead of getting upset (I’m sure she was probably annoyed in person), she responded by email and pointed out the error using a joke to soften any potentially ruffled feathers.

Her name was her brand and she would not sit by and let it be spoiled. Equally, she understood the importance of balancing her correction with humor to reduce the risk of offense or bruised egos. Giving corrections without offending is a skill that that I’ve seen few master. It’s certainly one that I would like to.

 


NUMBER 6: LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

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BCC taught me a thing or two about both being willing to go the extra mile and never asking a report to go the extra mile that you wouldn’t. Remember that project I mentioned before? Well, during that Go Live period, we did something that, probably a few months before, I could have never imagined doing. We operated on roughly 3-4-hours of daily sleep and spent the days and nights in meetings and walking up and down to address issues and soothe stakeholders.

Though I was sick for the entire period, I pushed because she pushed. I denied my need for sleep and rest because my manager and teammate denied her need for sleep and rest. And when she tried to make me leave or slow down, her request was in vain because I was loyal to her and our mutual cause. I was stubborn in my rationale that I would not leave her to endure on her own. She deserved my loyalty and sacrifice, even if the client didn’t. She was a lead worth following.

 


NUMBER 7: DON’T BE AFRAID TO ADMIT TO YOURSELF THAT YOU MADE A MISTAKE. RECTIFY IT!

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In one of our chats, BCC told me a story of her job transition from a major Jamaican company into a major international company. Within the first few days, she realized that she had made a mistake. However, instead of acting on it, she stayed in the position for 2 years.

When I changed jobs in June 2019, within a month I had misgivings. By the month and a half mark, I was certain. This was not the place I was meant to be at for long despite the high salary and the work-from-home benefits that gave me back my life. On top of that, I couldn’t get BCC’ story out of my head. I knew I had to take action. At that point, I seriously started considering another company who had been seriously headhunting me, despite the fact that I had initially turned them down before I made the switch in June 2019.

 


NUMBER 8: BE STRATEGIC

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Getting BCC to agree with a lot of my strange ideas was not always the easiest thing. I generally A-Z planned my requests to ensure that she gave me a yes. This meant that I would probably time it to catch her during our happy coffee time or ask via email and get a “no” and then reply with a total outline of my rationale. Those would be some long-ass emails 😂. The thing is, no matter the length, she always read and responded, even if the matter was outside her hands. Sometimes, I would also space out the timing between the re-requests or just make the request via a different medium. Yes, I was that annoying! Other times, we learned to agree to disagree or, if it wasn’t important, I learned to let it go instead of fight.

As our time together increased, I noticed a curious thing. Sometimes she immediately gave me a “no”. In the middle of my mental mutiny and gear-up for round 2, I would then get a “yes”, no further intervention required on my part. Through these experiences, I learned the importance of giving others the space and time to evaluate their decision-making options. That space could easily become the crux on which a “no” becomes a “yes”.

 


THE POINT?

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A couple months after BCC became my boss, we had a discussion about how she could better assist me. My request was for a mentor. Her response was to request that I quit focusing on getting a mentor the traditional way. Instead she asked that I focused on being the version of myself that someone would see and desire to mentor. At the time I brushed her response off as hogwash and decided to find one myself. Later, I got it! As I strove to excel, she saw me. She could often be heard saying that I reminded her of her younger self. She saw something in me that she found worthy of all the advice and tips and tricks that she had learned over the course of her life. 2 and a half years was certainly not enough time for her to impart it all! She also inspired me to become the “Unofficial Mentor” to many.

So my advice to any professional is the same one BCC gave me that day. Quit hunting for a mentor. Just be. Be the best you can be.


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May the Peace of God go with you!

XOXO
Chañel

Birthday Countdown – Reflections (Part 2)

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There was a time in my life when a huge portion of my self-validation was influenced by people-validation. I sought the approval of others to feel good about what I had accomplished and who I was. I allowed others to determine my worth while I unconsciously undermined my accomplishments and value.

One day, I sat down and made a list. In that list I documented all the projects and responsibilities that I had undertaken throughout my career. The results shocked me! Over the 6 years of my career, I had undertaken over 30 projects, most of which I led and a couple of which were my brainchild. That list also emphasized that I always demonstrated a willingness to undertake and execute roles and projects that were outside the realm of my responsibilities. Through that attitude, I gained a lot of experiences in areas that persons would deem me too young to have in the professional world. The problem is, many, including myself, still undervalued or underestimated me.

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Birthday Countdown – Reflections (Part 1)

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Today is the first day of April. April 1st marks the countdown to my 26th birthday. I’ve decided to slate this period (from now to the big day) as a season of reflection. Today, on reminiscing about some of the horrible seasons that I overcame, I feel incredibly grateful.

Recently, I had a conversation, with a friend about some of the seasons I’ve gone through. The conversation made me realize something important. My past difficult seasons prepared me for future, more difficult, seasons. For example, dealing with a horrible breakup while attending university full-time and working part-time taught me how to handle my business despite emotional trauma. This experience prepared me for a season in my professional life where I was required to handle a difficult professional scenario while dealing with health, family and emotional difficulties. Despite the difficulties and emotional toils, I fought hard and soared! I now feel incredibly grateful for the hardships of my difficult seasons. The future benefits outweigh the past hardships.

I also feel a sense of assurance. God prepared me for something that I didn’t even know that I needed to be prepared for and through it all, He held my hand. I will echo, once again, I am grateful.


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May the Peace of God go with you!

XOXO
Chañel

 

Great Things Never Grow There

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My backyard had a huge mango tree that shaded more than a quarter of our backyard land space. Recently, we were forced to cut down the mango tree after discovering that it served as a home for termites. Following that big chop I complained about the misfortune (aka as missed opportunities for mango juice) until I noticed the following changes:

  1. The entire yard looked brighter. The sun now had direct unlimited access to my entire backyard.
  2. My brother begun planting flowers and foliage in the area. They bloomed.
  3. Grass continuously sprung up in the areas that used to be shaded by the mango tree.
  4. Our laundry dried quicker.
  5. There were other blooming fruit trees that were previously overshadowed by the mango tree.

The transformation of my backyard got me thinking. My beloved mango tree was the comfort zone of my backyard! Our beloved mango tree shaded the backyard so long that the land, in conjunction with the sun, never had the opportunity to fulfill its potential and nurture and grow plants. We also didn’t understand the potential that existed in getting laundry dried faster and planting new flowers and foliage. Catch this, we were so focused on the vastness of the mango tree that we totally missed the fruit trees that were also blooming.

Similarly, our comfort zones shade us from the things we need to grow, overshadow other opportunities and limit our potential. Through this we often miss opportunities to fulfill our potential and make life easier. Are you willing to grow more? Are you ready to step into your potential? Step out of the shade of your comfort zone. Great things never grow there.


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May the Peace of God go with you!

XOXO
Chañel

A Way to Conquering Anger

Anger

Early in life I recognized two facts:

  1. I did not have a talent for cussing (quarreling and cursing). Since I never entered a match that I was bound to lose, I avoided the back and forth trading of barbs and curses.
  2. When angry, I lacked the time or patience to beat around the bush. When triggered, I got to the point physically, or I deemed my opponent unworthy of my time and energy and walked away to deal with more important things.

Whilst I tended to choose to walk away more often than not, at 17 years old I found myself in an altercation with a neighbour. Provoked, one too many times, I grabbed the man and attacked with the only thing in my hand, a steel fork. In the midst of my white-hot rage, something stopped me. I halted to find that I had cornered the man and had the fork pressed to his jugular. My red-hazed intent was to make him an example. In that moment, one thing crossed my mind: “If I continued on my current path, I was bound to end up in prison.” No one should have that much power over me or my life. I paused, looked the man up and down, said simply, “You’re not worth it.” and walked away. Shaken and stunned, he uttered not a word.

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Kings Exist! They Are Not Dead.

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A dedication to J, a king who loved me and taught me to love wholesomely.

Early last year, I grew to love someone romantically for the first time in years. He was perfect not because I couldn’t see his imperfections but because I did and I still wanted him. He made my day brighter just by being in it. He had the incredible ability to frustrate me in equal proportions as his ability to do something totally ridiculous that would have me squealing with laughter until tears ran down my face or smiled until my jaws hurt. He loved to make me smile! In his words, “What’s the world without the prettiest smile from the prettiest girl?”

He was the first man I’ve been involved with who wanted to pray with and for me. Although most of the times, he was thousands of miles away, travelling, there was never a night that we did not speak or a journey that he did not call to check that I had made it.

He understood that I wasn’t perfect but still he saw perfection in me despite my imperfections. He listened when I spoke. We spoke about the hard topics. We learned to agree to disagree on stuff that we both felt strongly about. He supported, motivated and pushed me to my limits. He was the type of guy who would spend hours learning and quizzing me about a topic that he knew nothing about just because I had an exam coming up. He made me want to be a better person on all levels. He forced me to be brave and let my voice be heard. He made me see the world in a more different and exciting way.

This guy was perfect! Incredibly, we synced and fit on everything but one…the one thing that turned out to be the deal-breaker. Before I knew it, I was planning to let my perfect guy go, overruling his protestations that he wanted me more than some childhood dream. Yet, I couldn’t bear the thought that maybe, just maybe, one day that special glow in his eyes, when he looked at me, would die when the conclusion sunk in that I was really serious and wouldn’t give him the one thing he has yearned for for as long as he could remember. And so, dying a little inside, I let him go and I walked away without looking back. We haven’t spoken since…

My heart aches whenever I hear a woman say that there are no good men out there. I know that’s a lie because I had one and he treated me as his queen. The queen in me rose and aligned to the king in him. But, before I could get there, the queen in me had to be readied so that she would see, acknowledge and respond wholesomely to the king he is. Only then did the incredible and rare thing occurs where we both connected, fitted and synced on another level. This is an experience I wish for all ladies. Only, when you find him, may you get to keep him.

 


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May the Peace of God go with you!

XOXO
Chañel