4 Ways to make your interactions more powerful

Worcester SharksThis weekend my Rock star staff and I had the amazing opportunity to perform on the Ice for the Worcester Sharks. 125 of our members came – had an amazing time ABD style.

 

Sometimes one person tells you to...
Sometimes one person tells you to…

When we finished performing – waiting by our table was a young man and his mother. He was so excited to see me he ran over and gave me a huge hug. He then began quickly speaking about how good it was to see me again, how much he had missed me, and how excited he had been when he realized it was me on the ice.

He shared how he would soon be 18, how time flies. He shared how the last few years had been incredibly challenging for him. He had gotten himself into some bad situations, but he was turning his life around. He shared how much I had inspired him. He even commented how close we had been. How excited he was to be back, and get back to our relationship.

 

The thing is, I hadn’t seen him in at least 6 years, so I didn’t recognize him (12 & 18 a lot of growing happens). I have known him for about 15 years, since he was 3, But I only saw him a handful of times between the ages 3 & 4. Then again years later when I visited his school for the ABC of success seminars I do for school children.  He then took martial arts classes from us for a while.

 

What amazed me is in that 15 years the few times we interacted had such a powerful influence on him. It got me thinking, you never know how powerful your impact is on people. You don’t realize how giving positive encouragement that 1 time could drastically affect the influence how people see things. As I thought on this I recalled being in 5th grade and a science teacher who’s 2 minute chat and 5 second praise changed how I saw my potential as a student. See the teacher I had the previous year always noticed everything I did wrong, every mistake, every short coming. Entering 5th grade I fully believed I was a “bad” student and not very smart. We had just had our first science test of the year, the class did not do well. The teacher discussed the importance of studying – how it makes all the difference, then said only one student in all of the 5th grade classes got a 100 on the test. She then pointed me out and comment that I clearly was a smart student and was going to have a very successful school year because of my work ethic. I did, I had my best school year ever…because she took a moment to praise my success.

 

I promise, that teacher probably does not remember me, or that day, but I do. I remember and it had such an impact on me here I am sharing it now. Just like the young man I saw this weekend the positive energy she fed into me had a massive effect.

 

So how can you change someones outlook?

1. Point out the positive, in everyone you come in contact with. 

 

Yes, even your coffee barista should hear how much you appreciate their energy and passion.

 

2. Don’t harp on the negative.

 

My teacher the year before only cared about everything I did wrong.. I don’t ever recall her saying anything positive about me.

 

3. Make the praise public.

When ever public “brag” on those around you.. children, friends, spouse, coworkers, employees. Don’t keep their victories a secret. Just like my teacher that day – she highlighted me to all my peers.. boosting my confidence and helping to bring the best me to the surface.

 

4. Never Assume it doesn’t matter.

I never would have thought my interactions with this young man would have been so intense, the was clearly a major influence and after many years he still saw me as someone he could trust and rely on. It does not seem like this young man had very many positive people in his life who poured into and cared about him. My few interactions showed him a life worth living.

 

So every day, be a positive encouraging force..its not always easy, BUT ITS ALWAYS WORTH IT. 

 

btw you can check out the video of the instructors performing last saturday at the Worcester Sharks here,

 

ABD Team at Sharks game

#liveitloveit #alifeworthliving

I Knew They Were Christians..

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I knew they where christians shortly after I first saw them. The family of 4, 2 young boys..father and mother. What gave it away, where they carrying their bibles? Was their joy overflowing? Did they have their I love Jesus tshirts on? Maybe bible verse bumper stickers? Did the Holy Spirit jump when i saw them?

None of the above, I knew they where christians by their scowl….
We had taken the family to Lake George and the Shcroon lake area. We where excited from the break of the hustle and bustle to spend time with our boys. We decided it would be fun to visit the caves near Schroon lake. Clearly we where not the only ones, the caves where very busy that day. I had first noticed this family in the gift shop prior to starting our hike… I noticed them because it appeared the father was scowling at me.. the wife glaring. I looked around and noticed nothing amiss…assumed it was my imagination and went back to my family to enjoy our hike.two adults
This family started before us and we ended up running into them again at the first look out point…. this time they again glared, but at my whole family. It was then I recognized that look and was transported back to my teenage years…………
I grew up in church. I loved being a christian, I was homeschooled, as where most of the people my age in that church. I recognized that look, because I had been on the receiving end of it all of my teenage years. I thought that was how christians greeted each other, with a look of disgust as if you where not worthy of their time…. you had to climb the christianity ladder to be noticed.judgemental1
During those years I cried myself to sleep in pain and  heartache almost every night because I wasn’t good enough. I recall an announcements that a leader was needed for children’s church, when I volunteered I was told someone else had asked to do it.. I found out this person didn’t want to but was told they where the only one who was available. I was no longer allowed to sing solos in church after singing Petra & Dc Talk ( not even the raps etc.. ballads!!) I received letters from “concerned woman” about my tight clothing ( I was a size 4 wearing size 12 hand me downs…not sure how that could be considered tight…skater/baggy was the style) My pain at that point was overwhelming, the hurt overbearing.
cranky
I didn’t see at that time that it wasn’t me that was broken, but the lens in which those people where using was.
Then at 16 I was at the breaking point, the starts of an eating disorder, suicidal, severely depressed……. I started martial arts. There from the first moment I was accepted by all the cool kids and all the not cool kids lol. Kids-adults instantly welcomed me into their “family” loved me for exactly who I was, even though our style was different, liked different music, had different interest. I was loved, for me. No need to prove myself, or “earn” a place…ironically the place where rank matters on the floor, it did not matter in real life. But this was “the world” I had been warned to stay away from. The “heathens” who did not attend my church and homeschool like me. The wicked ones who wore the wrong clothes. Why then could they love unconditionally?
I knew they where christians by the way they judged us. Then, I noticed the cross he wore.
The rest of our hike we passed them countless times, each time being treated as if we had leporasy or something. I did a “check up from the neck up” –we where not being rude, we where patient, quiet, respectful, no inappropriate joking, everyone was dressed appropriately. I am not sure what we had done to offend them. My son finally asked me, “Mom, why do they keep looking at us like that?”
cranky-calvinists
I am blessed to say after my teenage years I have been part of 2 amazing church families who have loved on us like Christ commands. This small experience brought me back, made me think- If that is how my faith is represented, no wonder people would not want to be a christian. As I thought of it at this park, I was almost ashamed to have the same faith as this family who would, without knowing anything about us (even if they did know anything about us) treat us in such a cold fashion. I confess that at a point I was guilty of   the “scowl” to those who had not yet “ranked” as a christian.
“My son finally asked me, Mom why do they keep looking at us like that?”
I  believe it breaks our saviors heart that our churches do not love as he commands. That a teenage girl can find unconditional acceptance in a sport, but not in her church family. I strive to love, even when it isn’t easy. even when I don’t understand. When I find myself starting to cast assumptions or judgement – I recall that girl and her pain.
Whether you are a christian or not, I think the importance here is to remember, what we say and how we treat people can have an even deeper impact then what we see. Instead of pouring coals of judgement onto those you interact with, pour into them instead and help them to develop into the person they can be.
If you are searching for a church home that doesn’t judge and rank, I would love to have you join us at mine! http://www.fellowshipne.com is warm and welcoming and ready to get to know you….and not talk about you.

I was in an Abusive Relationship

in scripture

Not all abusive relationship are what you first think. When you hear abusive, you assume violence to a woman, from her boyfriend or husband. We also would assume the same of an emotional abusive relationship. The truth is any relationship that is destructive can be abusive. It can be a teacher, parent, friend, coworker, employer. These types are often referred to as bullies.

Now most of you who know me or have taken class for me have probably yet to wrap your head around how I could have been in an abusive relationship. Someone tear me down, or talk down to me? Not happening. That’s the thing about these kind of relationships, they are subtle..they creep up. the highs are high and the lows are low. But you cant picture yourself able to function without them in your life.Pain to myself

This was not a romantic relationship, and I was not the only victim. We had a “friend” this friend was so cool, they where very charismatic and seemed to know everyone and everything. They had things in life we thought we wanted and we “knew” if we hung around this friend life would be awesome. They where so much fun to be around. They planned the best trips. We couldn’t wait till the next time we all hung out.–I never experienced any physical violence – although i witnessed many explosive outburst and destruction of property when my friend would get mad at me. There was one occasion that one person in our circle was physically attacked– and yet, we stayed in this relationship, knowing it would “get better”…. I mean the friend did apologize.

I recall the first emotional attack. I recall, because I fought back. I was a strong, confident, confrontational  individual who would not take nothing from anyone. This “attack” like most, was public. That day I got toe to toe with my attacker and told them under no circumstances where they ever to speak to me that way again. If they had an issue or concern they could address me privately, and we would determine what needed to happen.

It was many years before my attacker or bully, some might say ever spoke to me that way again. But by then, the smaller attacks over the years had torn me down and destroyed who I had once been.

cycle_of_abuseAn emotionally abusive relationship is when someone tears you down, then builds you up, only to tear you down all over again. Its a cycle and when they build you up, they do so well you “forgive” everything else that happened because you are so excited by what they have promised or the compliments they paid etc etc. They have everything you want, life will be perfect, you will be the best of friends. Its a viscous cycle. One you may not even know you are in.

I didn’t have any idea. I thought the problems where all in me. I began to believe what they said. I even began to think I had or had not done things based on what I was told, not what

am I crazyactually had happened. I was going crazy, It was all in my head, I was a failure. It was at that point, I was on 2 different anti depressant medications and anti anxiety.  I also began looking forward to my Friday nights at the local bar  for “stress relief” I lost myself, who I was, who I wanted to be in that relationship.

I didn’t see until after I was out of that relationship, I recall the day I realized how much I had changed. I was at a new job, on my team conference call and I didn’t talk, I didn’t  say anything. Another manager was sharing a challenge he was having and I knew exactly what he should do, but I said nothing. I called my manager after the call to share what I thought should happen, She asked, why on earth didn’t you share? She gave me a great “pep talk” on not being shy etc. The whole time she was talking I couldn’t understand how on earth she thought I was shy and quiet. It was after she hung up and I sat down that I realized how different I was. That was the day I started rebuilding me. It was much harder then one could imagine and the damage was very deeply rooted .

I wish I could say what would have made me recognize the issue while I was there, so I could get out, but I was so blind. I spoke with one of the other victims the other day, the one who had been physically attacked, neither of us could comprehend why we did not end the relationship that day. Why did we consider that ok?

An abusive relationship, physical or mental, can happen to or with anyone. Sometimes referred to as a bully. Noticing the signs or changes in yourself or a loved one can help you recognize and remove yourself from the destructive cycle.

If you find that you relate, and are in an abusive relationship it is important to get out, be free. Find a trusted friend or family member and share with them what is going on and have them help you end things and make the necessary changes. If you don’t have a friend you trust, you local church pastor will have the resources to help you. If you are unsure of churches in you area, I know you can contact my church at http://www.fellowshipne.com and they will connect you with the best people to find yourself again.