But…will You catch me?

Jump

I am a water lover with a shameful secret… I can’t swim! Horrible?! I know right?! šŸ˜…

I had the below experience a while back… Please turn on video captions, if you are not a patois speaker or can’t hear clearly.

I hope you laughed as much as I did when I came across this video. As I watched it, for the fifth time, God spoke to me: “Isn’t this your behaviour sometimes when I tell you to jump into the deep end?”

Guys, I kid you not! I stopped laughing immediately. My mouth locked shop! The bubbling laughter died a painful death in my throat! I got serious! Because, God was right! Don’t you just hate and love that about Him?

Too often than not, when He tells me to jump, I react just as I did in that video. I pause. I laugh nervously, wondering if He is joking. I ask Him if He is sure. Not once. Not twice. But multiple times. Then I ask the persons around me their thoughts before going back AGAIN to Him to check if I should do it (hoping He may have changed His mind). Even then when He says YES! I hestitate, wondering what would happen if I fell or things worked out badly. Still unsure, I once again ask Him: “Are you sure you will catch me?”

And even then, there are many times I stay on the ledge, refusing to jump, swamped by fears, doubts and my analysis paralysis. I am sure God looks on sadly as I let what He earmarked for me go, without even taking the leap of faith and trusting Him.

But on the flip side, there has been times, when despite the fears, the doubts and analysis paralysis, I say a little prayer, trust that My Father will catch me and JUMP! And guys, I kid you not… those jumps were some of the best experiences of my life! You can’t see the end result after the jump in the video but I tell you, I smiled from ear-to-ear and went willing for the next jump that was way deeper than this one.

Pause for a moment and reflect. Does this sound like you? Be confident of one thing, Your Father, who “keeps track of all your sorrows” (Psalms 56:8), has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

So…what are you waiting for?! JUMP!


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XOXO
ChaƱel

Who is in your bad?

This week has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. In one of the first rounds I experienced, I felt like I had totally lost my footing. My first reaction was to feel sad, overwhelmed and lost. My perspective focused on the black and white where either things worked out the way I wanted (meaning a win for me) or they didn’t (meaning a loss for me). In that moment, my energy was focused on reacting to all the black. This perspective made me miserable to the point where I found myself breaking down in tears and crying inconsolably to God before brushing myself off and with a heavy heart heading out to deal with the day-to-day craziness of my job.

As I left, I felt led to set my playlist on some praise and worship. I chose a playlist of songs sung by Anthony Brown and Group TheRAPY’s and Trust in YouĀ filled my ear. As I listened, though my heart was heavy and my mind chaotic, my spirit calmed. I wouldn’t have won any smiling contests in that moment and anyone who looked into my eyes would have seen that I was far from okay but I felt my spiritual perspective shifting. I began to rejoice and talk to God from a stance of rejoicing and gratefulness:

I will trust in You, Lord. Because when I trust in You, nothing that happens in my life is ever just purely black and white, as it seems to me in the moment. Though my heart is heavy and focus shot, I will trust that my dark moment was meant to serve a part in your bird’s eye view plan. Because all things work together for the good of them that trust in You.

As I listened and spoke to God, I felt the tightness in my heart and ache in my chest unfurling. God got down in the bad thing with me and I came out better for it because He gave me a perspective that changed my narrative. Everything was not okay but that was okay because I trusted that, like many times before, God has me covered with His feathers and under His wings I had a guaranteed shelter. From that perspective, likeĀ Habakkuk 3:17-18,Ā I could declare:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in theĀ Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

In that moment, God took the time to remind me that “My situation can’t all be bad or for naught when He, the Master of all storms, is in the midst of it.” I felt comforted. Tonight, from a place of gratefulness and rejoicing, I say the same to you.

Copy of Possible

I would love to hear about your experiences in which you invited God into the midst. Tell me more in the comments section below.


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XOXO
ChaƱel

It Will Fit in Due Season – Part 2

Aligned

As I stood reviewing my 2019 vision board, I felt a bit saddened by the fact that I had not made significant progress on my number 1 goal. This goal I had simply labeled “House” to indicate my desire to own my own home.

As I stood in my disappointment, the Lord spoke to me:

God: “Are you sure what you wanted to be done regarding house aligned with my intent?”

Me: (confused) “Lord, what do you mean?”

He then reminded me that at the beginning of 2019, I had expressed a strong desire to move from the house and area in which I was renting because I did not like the landlord/his son and disliked the surrounding area and what it represented. He then guided my thoughts to the fact that I was now standing in a different house. After house-hunting for 3 months, He had guided me to an apartment that I fell in love with on sight. He had also provided the means to ensure that I could afford to live there comfortably.

At the reminder, I paused, stunned. My perspective of the goal had not been realized but God’s has. Not only that, I had wasted an entire year trying to make my version of the goal fit in a season that it was not meant to bear fruit. It was then the thought dropped in my spirit: “When writing and acting on the vision, ensure your version of the goal aligns with God’s.”

So often in our haste to achieve what God has promised us, we fail to confirm that our version of the vision aligns with His. In that moment, I could relate to Abraham whom God had promised would become the father of many nations. To fulfil this promise, God intended to give Abraham and his wife a true heir, a legitimate son, in the right season.

However, it would seem that Abraham and Sarah’s desire did not align with God’s. Tired of Ā waiting for the true heir, their desire centered on just getting a “son”. Similar to my definition of “house” that misaligned with God’s seasonal intent, Abraham’s definition of “son” misaligned with God’s intended season of provision. Their desire for that son led to them “helping” God out. So, Abraham had an illegitimate son (Ishmael) with Hagar, his wife’s handmaid.

The story doesn’t end there! In due season, just as He had promised, God gave Abraham and Sarah the promised son (Issac) and Hagar and Ishmael are sent away when Issac is weaned.

Today, the repercussions of that misalignment are still evident. The descendants of Issac and Ishmael still disagree over who is the true heir to Abraham’s Covenant blessings. From this disagreement stems the Middle East conflict between the Arabs (Muslims) and the Jews.

Wouldn’t you agree that it would have been better if Abraham had waited? I am happy that my reprecussions were just limited to roadblocks and disappointments.

Don’t rush the process. Take time to consult God and trust the pace of Grace. Ensure you and God are aligned on the goals He wants you to work on. Don’t miss God’s season of provision because you focused on the wrong goal. Once God has ordained it, whatever you are waiting for will fit in due season.


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XOXO
ChaƱel

It Will Fit in Due Season – Part 1

Anointed but not appointed.png

I bought a lovely blue dress about three years ago, on an impulse. I eagerly awaited the package’s arrival but much to my disappointment, when it arrived, there was something wrong! The dress was too big for my slender frame. Disappointed, I hung it up and forgot about it.

Two years later, my best friend got married. Hunting for a dress amongst the clothing I owned, I came across the dress. I fell in love with it all over again. I tried it on. Again much to my disappointment, though it fit better than the last time, its fit was still not perfect. Swallowing my disappointment, I once again banished the dress to a hanger.

In the midst of reorganizing, following a relocation, I came across the dress. As I made to throw it away in the give-away pile, a voice stopped me: “Suppose it fits this time?” I stopped. With reluctance I shifted the dress over my head and was shocked. This time it fit perfectly! Amazed, I dashed to my mirror and did a twirl to check how I looked from all angles. After three years, my dress felt like it was made for me. It was then the thought dropped in my spirit: “It will fit in due season.”

I can’t help but think about David. He was anointed king long before he was actually appointed king. Like my dress and I, maybe he thought that once he was anointed, he would have been immediately fit for the role and perhaps be taken to the palace to be appointed. Instead, he was sent back to the fields. The role was still too big for him. He was not ready.

Eventually, he was called to the palace. I can just imagine his excitement. Maybe his time had finally come! After all, he had killed a lion and a bear and had been anointed. But again the fit was not quite right. He was called to the palace as a musician. He was called to serve the one he was anointed to succeed.

Can you imagine how he would have felt after killing Goliath and hearing the songs that declared him better than Saul? Yet still, his season had not yet come. The role did not yet fit. He was not ready.

One of the things I love about David was his attitude during the wait. Declared a man after God’s own heart, though he was anointed, he waited to be appointed. He waited and served patiently during the seasons when it seemed like his time had surely come. He didn’t try to hasten God and make the timing of his fit come faster by killing Saul when he had the opportunity. He waited patiently and when his time came, his role fitted him perfectly.

Don’t rush the process. Don’t become impatient and throw away your purpose. Trust the pace of Grace. Once God has ordained it, whatever you are waiting for will fit in due season.


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ChaƱel

The Boss who Mentored

Image result for lady boss

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 BCCĀ do?”

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

NUMBER 1: CHOOSE TO CONNECT.

Image result for connection meme

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. šŸ˜Š

 


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!

Image result for stand up for what you believe in meme

BCC and I were the 2-wonder women team that made up our department. Due to this, we worked on many projects together.Ā 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.

Image result for guard your brand meme

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

Image result for be strategic meme

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 šŸ˜‚. 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?

Image result for the point meme

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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XOXO
ChaƱel

Birthday Countdown – Reflections (Part 2)

SELF-VALIDATION.png

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)

Reflections 1.png

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
ChaƱel