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Say what you mean and mean what you say because your words mean things.

Somehow, 2022 is already over! So many great things transpired throughout the year to include: 1. I published my third children’s book (“Billy Dipper’s Time to Shine”). 2. I won a writing award (“Mutter Marines Command and Control Writing Award”). 3. I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary. 4. I welcomed additional guest bloggers like my wife Brea, Benjamin C. Fields, Jesse Iwuji, and my brother and illustrator, Josh. 5. I was promoted to major in the Marine Corps. 7. I added additional FREE Downloadable Resources at https://parent-child-connect.com/free-resources. 8. Much, much more! Even so, I am expecting greater things in 2023! I–like many of you–am ending this year with positive affirmations and goals for the next year. If you know me, you know that I am a firm believer in speaking things into existence; therefore, I will be extremely selective with my words. Why? Because, words mean things.

Words Mean Things.

I believe I first heard the expression “words mean things” from a Marine officer. Although I cannot remember his name or rank, I definitely mumbled, “thanks a lot for that sound wisdom Captain Obvious.” I didn’t miss his point though. We often say things without checking our tone, the accuracy of our words, the way the words will be perceived, or our ability to follow through. This would be a great article for politicians and reporters, but I digress. I want to take this opportunity as you prepare to bring in 2023 to encourage you to say what you mean and mean what you say.

Begin with introspection. Ask yourself these questions.:

  • What do people see and hear when I open my mouth?
  • Am I consistently reflecting my personal values and the values of the religion I profess, the organizations I support, and my family?
  • Are people compelled to follow me based upon what I say?
  • Do the people I lead feel like they will be heard when they talk to me?
  • Do the people I lead think I ramble and waste words or use my words wisely?
  • Do I sound competent and confident when I speak?

It’s important to ask these questions and search for an honest, objective answer. (Having someone in your corner who will give this answer is key). Overall, we need to examine whether or not the person we’re presenting is the person we intend to present to others. Oftentimes, we find that is not the case. The words we both consciously and innately speak reflect who we truly are. Therefore, beginning with introspection allows us to get to know ourselves by taking inventory of what we say. This introspection also allows us to focus on a few key factors as we learn to become more intentional with our words and live up to the positive words and affirmations we declare for the new year.

You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.

Matthew 12:34‭-‬35 NLT

Garbage in Garbage out (GIGO).

I remember learning this concept from Dr. Marv Brown during my COBOL computer programming classes. The meaning is self-explanatory; incorrect or poor quality input will always produce faulty output. This same logic applies to life in general. You will always waste words if you are constantly listening to inaccurate or faulty information that makes you feel inferior or superior to others or provides a one-sided opinion. Broaden your horizons by reading things you may not initially agree with or having hard discussions with others without getting offended. This is the only way to learn, form your own opinion, and say meaningful words.

Hurt people hurt people.

This is another common phrase that carries a lot of meaning. In other words, the bitterness, rage, anger, jealousy, condescending tone etc. may be the result of past hurts. Check your words for signs of past hurts, and you’ll probably be surprised what you find. How do you do that? Think about some of the most harsh things people have told you. How did those words make you feel in that moment? How do they make you feel now? What is your reaction to similar harsh words (whether to you or someone else)? Have you said something similar to someone? How do you interact with others in relation to the “harsh” topic?

These are just a few questions to help you not only identify the root of your hurt, but it will help you see how that hurt still impacts everyone you interact with. The only way to truly replace bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and evil behavior with kindness and forgiveness is to address the root of the pain. As always, I recommend that you hire a professional counselor to help you throughout this portion of your journey.

“Say less”: choose quality over quantity.

One of my favorite series that I have ever written is the “Distractions Causing Distance [From God]” journal series (download yours for FREE). Therein, I described how daily distractions are causing us to be more distant from God and others. On day three, I specifically discussed how our words are causing us to disconnect from others. I offered three T’s to check before you speak: Time… Type… Tone.:

  • Time: Is it the right time to speak or should you just be quiet?
    • Take inventory. How much of your time have you spent socializing in comparison to growing your relationship with God and others?
  • Type: Ephesians 4:29 NLT says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
    • What kind of conversations are you having? Are you giving encouraging words to everyone you encounter? 
  • Tone: Are you addressing the situation in the best manner possible? Are you using the “gentle answer” described in Proverbs 15:1?

The right to speak does not take precedence over saying the right thing with the right attitude at the right time.

Set a goal and follow through.

Make a planstick to the planalways deliver!

Storks

This is the second time I have quoted that line from the movie Storks on my blog. (No, I do not receive any kickback for mentioning the movie (although I would gladly collaborate *hint hint, Warner Bros.) I specifically love the part where one of the main characters prepared to deliver a package with a broken wing. This was, of course, the beginning of a long series of unfortunate events before the “package” was finally safely delivered to its destination. Storks reminds me of the one certainty in life: we will all encounter obstacles that will challenge us to remain committed to our words.

2023 will not be an exception to that rule. The question we have to answer is will we give up, or will we find a way to follow through on what we say? Obviously, I encourage you to do the latter. It will get hard, but that is ok. The resistance you feel is there to make you stronger. You are tough enough to overcome any challenges that come your way, because “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going!”

I know, I’m just full of cliches today! But cue Billy Ocean!

Billy Ocean – When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going (Official Video)

Speak blessings and positive affirmations.

Remember: words mean things, so stop whining and complaining! Complaining does very little to help you achieve your goals, and your whining may be the very thing that stops you from winning. Instead, use words that will positively impact your future. I found this wonderful summary from http://www.ymcansw.org as the author beautifully wrote about “The Importance of Affirmations.” :

“Affirmations have the power to motivate you to act on certain things, help you to concentrate on achieving your goals in life, give you the power to change your negative thinking patterns and replace them with positive thinking patterns, assist you in accessing a new belief system, but above all, affirmations can reaffirm the positivity back into your life and help regain or increase your self-confidence.”

Ryan Tanti | The Y NSW

So speak out! Use your words to positively impact everyone you come into contact with. Say what you mean by setting your goals with a purpose. Mean what you say by relentlessly pursuing your goals for next year. Make 2023 the year you dominate every situation you encounter. I believe in you!

Thanks for reading! I wish you a wonderful, prosperous, and blessed 2023!

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Here’s how “emotional bank account” deposits help great leaders develop healthy relationships.

I have read numerous books about relationships and attended several relationship classes. Therein, I found one reoccurring metaphor: the emotional bank account. I first learned about this concept from one of my favorite authors, Dr. Stephen R. Covey, so this is an exciting topic for me! Before we dive too deep, let’s quickly define the “emotional bank account” for those who don’t know.

What is the emotional bank account?

Dr. Covey, the author of several great books to include The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, creates a beautiful metaphor that aligns an emotional bank account to our relationship with others. He explains it like this: “By proactively doing things that build trust in a relationship, one makes ‘deposits.’ Conversely, by reactively doing things that decrease trust, one makes ‘withdrawals.’ The current ‘balance’ in the emotional bank account, will determine how well two people can communicate and problem-solve together.”

There is so much we can learn from this metaphor, so it will serve as the foundation of our discussion today. We’ll build upon this foundation by discussing how leaders can make deposits into others’ emotional bank accounts to build healthy relationships.

Whether we are leading a tumbling toddler, a superstar athlete, a company of marines, a church, or any other person or group of people, we all share one common imperative: we need to build healthy relationships to be effective leaders. I submit to you that the way to build those healthy relationships is to liberally deposit into the emotional bank account of those you lead. I’m going to break that account down into seven categories: love, compassion, peace, patience, knowledge, values, and redemption+restoration.

How great leaders apply the “emotional bank account” metaphor to their relationships.

Let’s start with “why.”

Why is it important for leaders to make daily deposits into others’ emotional bank accounts? Simply put, by overfilling the accounts of those we lead, we give them an abundance to share with others. These liberal deposits create a ripple affect; one healthy relationship begets another which begets another (and so on). This aligns with my belief that each of us can and should make a significant positive impact and leave a lasting legacy on the world around us. Our impact and legacy begins with our direct interaction with others, and it transcends generations as those we lead apply what they learn from us.

Now, let’s break down those categories.

1. Love.

“Love” is such a broad yet sublime virtue. It is also the root of the other six categories. Even so, love is often hard to define. In fact, Oxford languages defines love as, “an intense feeling of deep affection.” But what does that really mean? In my humble opinion, that definition does not truly encapsulate the powerful meaning of love. Since love often invokes a strong physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual response, I believe we need a more thorough definition.

Regardless of our theological belief, the Holy Bible provides one of the most universally accepted definitions of love.:

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬7 NLT

The foundation of “love” as described above highlights one’s willingness to sacrifice his or her life (time, service, ego, and emotional responses) for another. A continual, selfless sacrifice (love) for another is the most important daily deposit we can make as leaders! It is the foundational virtue from which all other categories stem.

2. Compassion.

I shared my thoughts on compassion in another great blog post “The Three Day Mental Health Guide: Major Payne Edition.” Here’s what I said: Compassion requires you to validate and value others’ thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Do not fall into the trap of saying, “it’s really not that big a deal.” Instead, allow others to share their feelings with you, so you become empathetic enough to have a strong desire to help. Don’t try to be “Mr. (or Mrs.) Fix It,” but at least express the desire to help! For example, someone once stole a very rare unicorn from my oldest daughter in an online game that she enjoyed playing. It seemed silly at first, but I realized this really hurt her feelings. So first, I had to verbally validate her feelings and emotions. Then, I shared the moment with her until she felt better. Simple but effective! 

Liberally depositing compassion instills confidence and a sense of loyalty in those you lead.

3. Peace.

Albert Einstein said it best, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” The “understanding” that Einstein is referring to is driven by the empathetic listening (compassion) that I mentioned above. Hopefully, you are starting to see how all of these categories intertwine. Without compassion, we are unable to maintain a peaceful environment. A peaceful environment begets a productive environment. This productivity leads to loyalty, confidence, and positive mental attitudes. Ultimately, a peaceful environment is one of the major keys to developing the synergy we require for relationships to thrive. That’s why we will park on this topic for a moment.

I personally view peace as “harmonious living.” Some view “harmonious living” as the absence of arguments and violence. With that in mind, we can deposit peace by simply avoiding the other person, right?! 👍🏾 Wrong! 👎🏾👎🏾 This passive method will only appear to work until you cross paths. Then the “peace” you thought you had will quickly disappear. Depositing peace into your relationships requires action.

Your overall objective is to create a culture of mutual respect and dignity. Here are a few tips:
  • Actively listen to understand, not to respond.
  • Become genuinely intrigued with the other person’s thoughts, interests, emotions, and hobbies.
  • Eliminate judgement (express a negative opinion from a moral high ground) while extending grace (undeserved kindness).
  • Be forgiving (seriously, let it go).
  • Enjoy the other person’s company and find a common ground (common interests).
  • Identify the value the other person brings to the table and create a safe/secure environment for them to grow, develop, and thrive.

4. Patience.

Here’s a little known fact about me and my brothers (and our close friends growing up): we all wanted to be music producers from Middle School through High School. We would go into our computer room, hop on the music studio software that came with the Windows 98 and XP Operating Systems, and record our own albums. I have been searching for some of our old work. It would be great blackmail material 😂. In one of the most infamous/hilarious songs that our buddies AJ and Nick created, they said, “Patience is a virtue. What you can’t wait on may hurt you.” At the time, they thought they created a hit… We thought they created a comical jingle. I never knew that little jingle would give me a profound revelation almost 20 years later. I subconsciously learned a lesson about the importance of patience. That lesson greatly contributes to my own philosophy.

I discussed that philosophy a bit in a previous great blog post “How to shift your perspective and live a better life TODAY!” Therein I asserted that similar to peace, patience requires action and we build our capacity to accept delay/troubles without frustration (patience) by hoping and anticipating that life’s situations will turn out just fine. That’s great for life in general, but how do we develop patience with others?

First, we must internalize this fact: we are all flawed human beings. We all make mistakes. Once we digest that, we must realize patience requires practice.

How to practice patience.:
  • Be attentive and avoid jumping to conclusions.
  • Practice waiting on others without getting frustrated.
  • Practice relaxation and breathing exercises when you feel like you are growing impatient.
  • Be more optimistic in any given circumstance. Identify the opportunities and progress instead of focusing on the “failures” and regression (although the latter may appear more blatant).

AJ and Nick had it right! Failure to deposit patience into our relationships can be detrimental or hurtful. Contrarily, patience deposits will help grow the healthy relationships we all want and need.

5. Knowledge.

I love the word “knowledge” because it describes the information we gain from both experience and education. Thereby, our job as leaders is to create an environment where those we lead have an opportunity to gain relevant experience and continued education.

Examples: For a parent, this may look like showing your child how to maintain a car while systematically teaching them the mechanics of a car. For a corporate leader, this may look like appointing a worker as “team lead” and sending him or her to certification training that will make them better at their job.

Creating this environment will pay dividends in the long run because it encourages critical thinking and problem solving, instills confidence to take action, and promotes continual growth and development. This all leads to a positive culture and an overall successful household, classroom, or organization.

6. Values.

Shared values are some of the most valuable currency we can deposit. See what I did there? Values are defined as, “a person’s principles or standards of behavior.” I believe our values guide our moral compass (i.e. a person’s determination of and subsequent action on what they deem right and wrong).

Here are some questions to think about:
  • What are your values? What do you stand for and/or believe in?
  • How do you decipher between right and wrong?
  • What values do you clearly and concisely teach?
  • What values do you consistently demonstrate?
  • How do you incorporate and enforce a shared value system?

Answering these questions and–more importantly–applying what you learn will help you develop shared values with those you lead which creates a collaborative spirit and informs daily decisions.

7. Redemption + Restoration.

One day, I was so disappointed. My oldest daughter did something (can’t remember what she did) that utterly frustrated and disappointed me. Accordingly, I administered the punishment I felt her wrongful act deserved. I believe I grounded her and restricted her electronic time for two weeks! She was heartbroken yet unapologetic, but I immediately mumbled to myself, “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time!” Then, I probably beat on my chest and celebrated being a firm dad/leader.

Of course that celebratory moment was cut short. My dad/leader, who has an uncanny way of sensing when I have made or will make a mistake, contacted me. I gave him my version of what happened. He responded with a calmness that did not match my high emotions in that moment. He simply told me, “Ok. Make sure you give her an opportunity to redeem herself.”

I initially neither comprehended nor appreciated how profound his advice was. As time progressed and my emotions waned, my dad’s words began to sink in. I went back to my daughter and gave her an opportunity to correct her mistake. She was immediately remorseful and understood why what she did was wrong. That’s when it hit me.

She learned more from her restoration than my condemnation of her.

I’m proud to admit she’s always been a “daddy’s girl,” but that’s when I feel our relationship (and my relationship with my other two children) became even closer. That day, I learned a much-needed lesson as a father and leader, and all of the other categories began to make more sense. I had to sacrifice my previous beliefs, ego, and judgement to truly understand my daughter and provide her the leadership she needed in that moment. I accepted that she (and people in general) will make mistakes, and my dad helped me adjust my perspective to view each mistake as a learning opportunity and an opportunity to make decisions based upon a shared value system. As a result, my patience has grown, and I have made a concerted effort to create an environment of respect that allows those I lead to constantly grow and develop. I truly learned that liberal deposits produce healthy relationships.

Conclusion

Though it may seem like a daunting task at times, we have an obligation to invest in the emotional accounts of those we lead. Those investments will pay dividends as those we lead become leaders themselves and develop their own healthy relationships. Ultimately, our emotional deposits will create a lasting legacy for generations to come! Will you start depositing today?

Olaolu Ogunyemi: U.S. Marine Officer | Mentor | Best-selling Author
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How to inspire your child for life.: Inspirational quotes from my parents. (Part 2)

Ten quotes came to mind when I decided to share inspirational quotes from my parents that inspired me in Part 1 of this series. My siblings responded by sending me some of their favorite quotes from our parents, and some of you were shocked that I was able to draw inspiration or anything profound from a couple of the “meaningless” quotes. With that in mind, I will begin with something I wrote at the very end of Part 1. No matter if you’re leading children in a classroom, troops on the battlefield, a small project team, or any other person or group of people, you never know how what you say or do will impact those you lead.

You never know how what you say or do will impact those you lead.

Use that to your advantage! I challenge you to be intentional in your daily interactions. Also, remember that when you mess up, your response, intentions, and commitment to leading with love will make the difference in how those you lead perceive your mistakes.

With that, let’s dive into Part 2 of “How to inspire your child for life.: Inspirational quotes from my parents.”

Inspirational Quote #6:

Olaolu, I know you are a marine, but don’t drive your family, because you might drive them away. Lead your family.

Dad

This is obviously one of the more recent quotes in this list. I was a brand new officer in the Marine Corps who had learned a new type of leadership from the sergeant instructors at Officer Candidates School. Yeah of course I loved my family, but I wanted to train them to be timely, organized, and prepared for the real world. I was determined to be empathetic and understanding, but firm, consistent, and I’d hold them accountable.

My dad patiently listened to me as I explained all the great things I had learned as a new marine officer and how I’d use those lessons to lead my family. He interjected every once in a while as I laid out examples of how I would implement my new leadership philosophy. Of course I had a response for each interjection, because I had it all figured out. When I finally finished, he responded with the above quote.

Lesson learned.

This was another quote that I did not immediately receive, but it began to make more sense as time progressed. My dad explained that though I had great intentions, my militant tone, disposition, and philosophy was bordering autocracy. He intentionally used the word “drive” to emphasize his point. “Drive” has several definitions, but the first three are to “operate and control the direction [of],”propel or carry along by force,” and “urge or force (animals or people) to move in a specified direction.” He taught me one of the most valuable lessons about leadership that afternoon.: If you attempt to control those you lead by force (coercion, manipulation, etc.), you will force (push) them in the opposite direction.

Instead, he encouraged me to lead them. That means I must empathetically understand and meet each of their unique needs to make them better contributors to the team’s (or in this case, family’s) overall goals. Each person becomes better because of my example, words, and actions. That is the ultimate goal!

Inspirational Quote #7:

Do it right the first time.

Mom

I, like most people, always just wanted to quickly finish whatever task list I had so I can do my own thing. Whether it was cleaning my room, folding and ironing my clothes, washing dishes, or anything else, I would rush through so I could do whatever recreational activity I had planned that day. I would inform my mom when I finished, and she would inspect. Without fail, she would find that my clothes were in a ball and stuffed in the drawer. She would find my khakis were somehow triple or quadruple creased. My mom would even find entire pieces of food still stuck to the dishes I “washed.”

Somehow, I was always shocked that she’d make me do it again. Didn’t she know she was stopping me from getting to my recreation time?! To make matters worse, it would usually be a school night, so my recreational time was already limited! Regardless, she would always leave me with the above quote.

Lesson learned.

My mom was teaching me to create and maintain priorities. I initially thought she just wanted to keep me from having fun. Contrarily, she was teaching me to allocate the appropriate amount of time, resources, and effort to each priority so I can have time to do the things I want! This lesson has not only helped me in my professional life, but it has helped me to ensure I make time to build and maintain my personal spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental strength.

Inspirational Quote #8:

“Your mouth is moving faster than your brain! Think before you speak!”

Dad

Have you ever heard someone just ramble? You know, the person who just says a lot of meaningless words, spews empty rhetoric, and makes hollow promises. It’s even worse when those people are in a leadership position. That’s when this character flaw is costly. Well, my dad recognized how costly this would be and sought to teach us the “think first” philosophy at an early age. I’ve heard people in the Marine Corps say, “‘PTT stands for ‘push to talk,’ not ‘push to think!'” (It’s radio jargon.)

Lesson learned.

My dad was teaching us one of life’s most valuable lessons that quite honestly many leaders and politicians need to learn. I learned a few things from this.:

  • Be a man of your word. Don’t promise something you cannot or will not deliver.
  • Don’t be reactionary. Sometimes, saying the first thing that comes to your mind can be costly, because you cannot take it back. Think… then respond.
  • Never pass up a good opportunity to shut up and listen. You learn more about people and understand their needs when you listen to understand instead of listening to respond. This ties in well with the other lesson about empathetic listening.

Inspirational Quote #9:

You should never look back on a day and see that you accomplished nothing.

Mom

I remember my mom would come home from a long weekend day of running errands to find us just lounging around. None of our chores were complete. Our teeth may or may not have been brushed. We hadn’t showered or changed clothes. And when she asked what we had been doing, the frustrating but accurate answer she would receive is, “I don’t know.” We couldn’t even say that we rested, because we were still tired! The obvious truth was that we hadn’t accomplished anything that day. That’s when my mom would say the above quote.

Lesson learned.

Feeding upon the previous lessons on establishing and maintaining priorities, my mom was teaching us how to establish and achieve daily goals. These daily achievements are cumulative and they create what Dave Ramsey calls the “snowball” effect in finance and what Jim Collins refers to as the “flywheel” effect in businesses that went from “good to great.” Those small personal and professional daily achievements build upon each other over time and create momentum. That momentum builds you into a successful leader, team, family, or organization.

As such, my mom was teaching us how to establish winning habits to build successful personal and professional lives and healthy families of our own. Check out my post “Establishing Winning Habits” if you want to learn more about habit creation. Check out “Chasing Purpose is Better than Chasing Success” if you want to learn more about living a purposeful life.

Inspirational Quote #10:

He’s your brother! He’s all you got. You should always have each other’s back.

Mom

My siblings and I have a great relationship; we literally talk and enjoy each other’s company every day. If one of us is unaccounted for, you can expect to receive an individual text or call! We weren’t always like that though. Because we were ultra-competitive, there were times people would call our parents thinking we were going to kill each other. Soon after, our parents would find us laughing and playing as if nothing ever happened. Even so, that childlike short-term memory began to wane over time. My parents could tell that there were some issues that would linger from day to day, and if they didn’t intervene, envy, animosity, and hatred would soon reveal itself.

Lesson learned.

Joining the Marine Corps was a very natural move for me, because the lessons that my parents taught us transitioned perfectly. They taught us that no matter what happens in life, you will always have each other. There is always someone you can turn to even if you feel like the world was against you. Therefore, I must love and cherish my family. I should treat them with honor, dignity, and respect while ensuring I prioritize their needs above my own. I should be their biggest fan, supporter, and reliable accountability partner, and I should give my time and efforts freely without expecting anything in return. And when the time comes, I should be prepared to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them to physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually fight!

If I somehow managed to forget every other lesson I have ever learned, this is the lesson I will not forget. So I will end with this encouragement for you. Fight WITH (not against) and for your love ones! Never give up on fighting for healthy relationships and fighting to keep everyone engaged on your team. You have everything you need within you to inspire the next generation, so keep fighting and lead well!

Honorable mention Inspirational Quotes

As I said before, my siblings bombarded me with quotes from my parents. However, I had to narrow them down to keep this series from extending through the new year. So here are just four more “honorable mention” inspirational quotes not in any particular order.

Honorable Mention Inspirational Quote #1.

There’s a right time for everything.

Dad

This is pretty self-explanatory; read the room and know when it’s time for certain actions and words.

Honorable Mention Inspirational Quote #2

If everyone else was jumping off of a cliff, would you?

Mom

A lot of parents used to say this one, but the message isn’t missed.: Educate yourself and have a purpose for everything you do. Never just blindly follow the masses.

Honorable Mention Quote #3

Sell your shares!

Dad

I didn’t even know what this meant when my dad would walk around turning off all the lights and stopping us from running water while brushing our teeth. Lol. He was jokingly telling us to “sell our shares” of the electric and water companies we were allegedly making rich. In reality, he was teaching us to be mindful of how we use our limited resources.

Honorable Mention Quote #4

Learn something new every day.

Mom

My parents taught us to be continual learners, and to never be content with your current knowledge. Whether it be reading, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, attending formal education/training in our professional careers, or obtaining advance degrees, they always wanted us to maintain a sharp mind. Come to think of it, I don’t think there has been a period of time where one of the six of us has not been attending some form of formal educational program beyond high school since 1994. These lessons work!

That’s all I have for today. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!

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Discipline: A U.S. Marine’s take on what it is and why we need it.

On the go? Listen to the audio version of “Discipline: A U.S. Marine’s take on what it is and why we need it!”

Whether you are a parent, teacher, mentor, or in any other leadership position, there is one thing that we all need: discipline! We need self-discipline and must demand discipline from those we lead (that includes our children).

The first image that pops in my head when I think of the word “discipline” is the iconic U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor. That’s partly because every drill instructor probably says the word a million times. In fact, one of the first things the senior drill instructor tells his or her recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (aka “boot camp”) is, “Discipline and spirit are the hallmarks of a Marine. Each one of you can become a Marine if you develop discipline and spirit.” Although it would be the absolute worst time to ask, a recruit may be wondering, “Sir, what is discipline?” So that’s where I will begin.

My thoughts on discipline.

As a guy who grew up in the south, I have always heard, “spare the rod, spoil the child” or as Ms. Trunchbull said in Matilda, “My school is a model of discipline! Use the rod, beat the child, that’s my motto.” Both of these are a spin off of the biblical verse in Proverbs 13:24 that says, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

I recognize that I probably just split my audience in two. One group’s pants just dropped as they ripped their belt from their waist and said, “that’s what I’m talking about!” The other is ready to just stop reading and give me a thumbs down. Either way, I am here to neither condemn nor endorse a particular disciplinary method. My goal is to simply provide my take on discipline. After you finish reading, I encourage you to research and develop disciplinary methods that will work for the people you are leading.

What is “discipline”:

My thoughts on discipline are a result of several things. First, my upbringing and life experiences as a U.S. Marine officer, parent, and mentor. Next, the books I’ve read like “Quiet Strength” by Tony Dungy , “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, “It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership” by Colin Powell, and many others. Most recently, I discussed discipline in my home Bible study group with other U.S. Marines (who happen to be special operators and fathers themselves).

Discipline is both a noun and a verb that is defined in numerous sources as “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.” In verb form, there is an even more direct definition that says, “punish or rebuke (someone) formally for an offense.”

Seems pretty clear that discipline is all about training by applying painful consequences!

Before we commit to that logic, let’s take a look at the root of the word.

The word “discipline” is from the Latin word “discipulus,” meaning “pupil, learner.” “Discipulus” is also the source of a familiar English word “disciple” which means “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another.” As you continue to follow the word “discipulus,” you will find it also produced the Latin word, “disciplīna” which means “teaching, instruction, branch of study, orderly conduct based on moral training.” Here’s where it gets interesting, “disciplīna” produced the Middle English word “discipline” which we have already defined. The interesting part is now the word “chastisement” or “punishment” was introduced in 13th century religious practices. To me, that means the word lost its purity over time as various teaching methods were introduced.

My counter cultural belief.

Aside from quotes like Ms. Trunchbull’s in the early 1990s, you will hear quotes like “pain retains” when discussing discipline today. Even so, I submit that if we truly want to achieve the ultimate goal, which is for our followers to develop self-discipline, we must return to the root of the word. With that in mind, my belief can be summarized by the quote below.

Discipline is training and preparing, not chastising and punishing.

“But it worked for me!”

I will give a personal example below; however, I encourage you to do your own research on the relationship between punishment and training. Here are a few scholarly articles to get you started: “The dark side of families: Current family violence research,” “The role of maternal discipline and involvement in peer rejection and neglect,” “Discipline and deviance: physical punishment of children and violence and other crime in adulthood,” and “Moderate spanking: Model or deterrent of children’s aggression in the family?” 

I believe the above authors would agree that punishment creates immediate conformity, but again, the goal should be self-discipline, which is a long-term objective. I define self-discipline as the continued application of lessons learned regardless of the circumstance or level of supervision.

My personal example

Sometimes, immediate conformity is necessary. For example, my 3 year old was innocently wandering towards the street. I rushed over, physically stopped her, and sternly commanded, “do not go into the street!” After doing this three to four times, one would assume that discipline by physical means or punishment was achieved. To that, I’d agree. My daughter (the pupil) has learned that I am willing to use physical force to immediately stop her from walking into the street. Many leaders would stop there–assuming the child has received the appropriate instruction and has adequate discipline. The immediate question I would ask is, “what happens when Dad is not around?”

In this case, I needed instant conformity to stop my daughter from wandering into a dangerous situation to prevent a potentially fatal outcome. However, as the instructor who is looking to help the pupil develop discipline, my work does not stop there. I must help her accept my teachings by making it relevant to her. Then, and only then, has she achieved self-discipline. In this example, I showed her how fast the car is going and explained how dangerous it is to walk into the road. When we passed vehicle accidents, I showed her how people could get injured and how vehicles were ruined. Now, she corrects me if she doesn’t see me check both ways before crossing the road. Self-discipline has been achieved.

Effective discipline leads to self-discipline.

If discipline is training your followers to accept what you or your organization believe to be right, then (as I said before) self-discipline is the consistent application of these lessons regardless of the circumstance. For example, I wasn’t the best free throw shooter in high school. In fact, I shot around 65-70% accuracy. I remember the coach telling us, “free throws are FREE!” In other words, the free throw is the only uncontested shot in basketball.

Of course like many other teams, we ran for missed free throws. Though it helped me get in better shape, running had very little impact on my free throw shooting accuracy. What forced me to change was my realization that my poor free throw shooting could be the difference between a win and a loss. That realization encouraged me to practice. Many great free throw shooters will tell you that the secret to shooting more accurately is to do the same thing every time. That means from the way you wipe your sweat to the way you bend your legs to the way you breathe to the way you release the basketball. These factors (and more) contribute to your accuracy. My free throw shooting percentage significantly improved when I learned to consistently apply my coach’s shooting instructions. This is what developing discipline is all about–consistently applying instructions regardless of circumstances for your benefit and the benefit of the entire family or organization.

How to lead others to develop discipline.

I wouldn’t dare claim this is an all-encompassing list, but here are my thoughts on how you can lead others to develop discipline.

1. Set the example!

One of my favorite phrases is, “more is caught than taught.” In other words, people want to see their leaders practicing what they are teaching. Leaders must have self-discipline before they can discipline others.

2. It’s a team effort.

In case you haven’t realized it yet, you have an integral role in helping others develop self-discipline. I know Hollywood would have us believe that we can climb Mount Fuji shirtless to find ourselves and develop discipline, but that’s not reality. For example, U.S. Marine Corps drill instructors don’t allow recruits to just wander around for thirteen weeks until they find this mythical thing called “discipline.” The drill instructors lead the recruits on a physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional journey and allow them to graduate once they demonstrate self-discipline.

3. Repetition is key.

I elaborate on this in a previous blog post entitled “Establishing Winning Habits.” Therein, I said, “You are what you repeat.” Which means we have to teach our followers to practice applying the instructions we provide. That is the only way to influence habitual behavior.

4. Be consistent and persistent.

I have had the opportunity to peak behind the curtains at Marine Corps boot camp. From that experience, I can tell you that some recruits require longer than thirteen weeks to develop self-discipline. That means that some recruits graduate with a different company than they started with. However, as long as the recruit (pupil) refuses to give up, the team at the Marine Corps Recruit Depots will continue to lead that recruit. This same logic applies to any pupil. Everyone is different, so that means you may have to train them longer (or shorter) than you expected. Remain consistent and persistent in your teachings.

5. Reward and hold accountable.

There are numerous studies that conclude that living beings respond positively to being rewarded for doing well. But, we cannot ignore the other half of the equation–accountability. Celebrate successes and quickly correct deficiencies. That is the best way to ensure someone accepts your instructions.

6. Prioritize education and explain the “why.”

This is one of the most important factors to encourage others to accept your instructions. As a leader, telling your followers what to do is easy, but great leaders understand that educating followers by explaining the “why” is what allows the followers to consistently apply the teachings regardless of the circumstance. Help your followers understand why your instructions are relevant to the family or organization as a whole, and help your followers understand why your instructions are relevant to them individually.

Summary.

There are a few key points that I want you to take with you today. Self-discipline is the ultimate goal. That requires leaders to lead their followers on a journey towards developing self-discipline. Along this journey, it’s imperative that leaders research and develop disciplinary methods that will adequately contribute to the overall goal. In the end, discipline is what will ensure your family’s or organization’s success. It is up to you to instill that discipline.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week!

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What do you see?: It’s all about perspective

Hello! I know some of you will click this expecting some form of optical illusion or a trivial search. I can assure you that I’m not trying to point your attention towards anything in particular. Instead, I want to introduce two kinds of people who differ based upon their perspective and why each is important.

On the go? Listen to the audio version of “What do you see?: All about perspective!”

Last weekend, my wife and I went to watch Kevin Hart in Raleigh, NC. (It’s a hilarious show by the way, but that’s not the point of this post). The pictures you see were taken from our viewpoint in our hotel room. One picture is what I immediately saw, and the other is what my wife immediately saw. While staring out of the window, I told her, “if you look down, you will be disappointed, but if you look up and out, you’ll see the beauty.” How romantic. Here I am spewing out a philosophical observation when we were supposed to be just taking in the view. She simply (and accurately) responded, “sounds like you have your next post.”

She was right!

At first thought, I thought I would discuss how important the “up-and-out” perspective was. Then something hit me: the “down-and-in” perspective is crucial to our success. So let’s talk about how both perspectives are mutually supporting.

The “up-and-out” perspective

You have probably heard this story, but I’ll share anyway! Sir Christopher Wren is the famous architect responsible for numerous reconstruction projects following the Great Fire in London in 1666. One of his most prolific masterpieces is the St Paul’s Cathedral. Legend has it that one day during construction, Christopher Wren observed three bricklayers hard at work. Christopher Wren posed a simple question to these three men, “What are you doing?” One bricklayer responded, “I’m a bricklayer. I’m working hard laying bricks to feed my family.” The second bricklayer responded, “I’m a builder. I’m building the walls of a church.” The third brick layer responded, “I’m a cathedral builder. I’m building a great cathedral to The Almighty.”

This is when most of the self-help books and blogs stop to praise the latter of the three men. This man has the up-and-out perspective, and he understands the big picture. People like him can usually keep a positive attitude in the worst situations, because they can forecast a positive outcome. Conversely, they can warn you of impending danger regardless of how positive the current situation is. Can you understand why a large amount of self-help literature recommends this perspective? This person sounds awesome, right? Let’s check how this individual interacts with the “down-and-in” perspective.

Interaction with the down-and-in perspective.

Are you actually going to pretend you don’t see that literal pile of trash right there?

Brea Ogunyemi

I think this quote accurately captures the kind of conversation I have at least once a week with my wife (😂). The up-and-out perspective person needs this reminder. Because they can often accurately predict the future, they easily become unrealistic. In other words, if untethered, the up-and-out perspective person can set lofty and unachievable goals. Also, their constant positive attitude or sense of foreboding can become exhausting. Sometimes, they need the down-and-in perspective people to ground them and help them embrace the moment.

Another important note is the up-and-out person often likes to document their thoughts (i.e. budgets, schedules, personnel tracking estimates, etc.) This can feel overwhelming to the down-and-in person and they’ll feel the up-and-out person is overbearing and too controlling.

The “down-and-in” perspective

This group of people represents the other two workers in our St Paul story. I always imagine that while Mr. Up-and-out is taking a break to lean on his shovel and admire his work, the down-and-in bricklayers keep working to meet the day’s timeline. They are all about doing the immediate work it takes to get the job done.

Because they have the down-and-in perspective, they can usually identify immediate dangers or opportunities. They are also more apt to embrace the moment –whether positive or negative. Their perspective may initially seem brash or uncalled for, but it can help inform future decisions.

Interaction with the other.

I live in the future!

Olaolu Ogunyemi

This is another weekly quote from our conversations. Down-and-in perspective people can often seem like “Debbie Downers.” The down-and-in people usually provide valuable feedback that the up-and-out person may not immediately understand or appreciate. For example, by pointing out the dumpsters in the first picture, the down-and-in person will give the up-and-out person something to think about when choosing rooms in the future.

To the up-and-out person, the down-and-in person seems to be shortsighted with no comprehension of or care for long-term initiatives. The #YOLO or Carpe Diem lifestyle with no future considerations makes the up-and-out person extremely uncomfortable. The up-and-out person feels the down-and-in person is too unorganized and solely focused on surviving the day. Thereby, the up-and-out person will (often unsuccessfully) urge the down-and-in person to understand how their daily actions contribute to the big picture.

These perspectives are mutually supporting but not mutually exclusive

Some of you may be thinking, “I’m a little bit of both.” Well, you’re right! Many of us find ourselves bouncing between these two perspectives. This is an important note as we fulfill our role in any team or relationship. We must constantly understand and adapt to the different perspectives to avoid the inevitable clash and work together to achieve common goals. If you are leading a team, you must constantly assess who’s who and find ways to incorporate each perspective to gain and maintain momentum on any given project.

So who are you today?

Picture yourself in that same hotel window with me and my wife. What do you see? And most importantly, how will you incorporate the alternate perspective? These are the questions I challenge you to think about throughout the week.

Thanks for reading!

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Chasing purpose is better than chasing success.

Happy Monday folks! As with every move, we find ourselves settling in our new neighborhood and searching for a church home. During our church visit yesterday, the lead pastor at Catalyst Church talked about finding our purpose. His sermon resonated with me and sparked this motivational quote on success:

Chasing success leads to disappointment. Chasing purpose leads to fulfillment.

Olaolu Ogunyemi

Allow me to use this metaphor to explain my thoughts: imagine you are a field goal kicker that your favorite football team recruited to kick long field goals. At practice, your coach pushes you hard to be the best you can be. As a part of his training regimen, he establishes a rule that he will move the field goal post back five yards each week. You attempt several kicks at every practice. After two months, you have found that your kicks have been consistently aligned yet five yards short of the field goal post.

Think about it. You have been extremely disappointed for the last two months if you have been solely focused on successfully kicking the ball through the field goal post. I call this success oriented. However, if you have been focused on your purpose (kicking long field goals), you would be celebrating the fact that you have consistently improved by adding an additional thirty-five yards to your original kick. I call this purpose oriented.

As goes life. We all have a reason for living that is greater than simply existing (purpose), and our daily actions either contribute to or detract from that purpose. We bring unique value and skills to those around us. Therefore, we can choose to obsess over achieving tangible results, or we can gain satisfaction in the daily pursuit of our purpose.

Have a great week!

Author’s note: I want to encourage you to live on purpose (what you do to maintain peak physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health) while pursuing your purpose (your reason for being on this earth). I believe your purpose aligns with what inspires you. As I stated in “How to shift your perspective and live a better life TODAY!,” there are three quick questions to ask yourself to find what inspires you. The intersection of these answers will reveal your inspiration.:

  1. What activities, thoughts, or passions energize me?
  2. What are my greatest strengths?
  3. What value do I bring to those around me (hint: we all bring value to those around us)?

Have a long-term focus and celebrate daily progress. You can do it!

Olaolu Ogunyemi: U.S. Marine Officer| Mentor | Best-selling Author
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Quick Parent Tip: Father’s Day Edition (Reblog)

Happy Father’s Day to all my Dads out there! We celebrate your accomplishments, sacrifices, and love today!

Let’s dive straight into today’s encouraging Quick Parent Tip for this Father’s Day weekend:

Fight for your family.

You are your family’s physical, mental, and spiritual protector. Embrace it. Fight for peace in your home and for your family’s unity and mental stability. Never stop fighting! You got this because you are not alone. I believe in you!

Accept responsibility.

You are responsible for everything that happens and fails to happen in your home. Let me be the first to tell you that this is both an honor and a burden. Regardless, keep pressing! Accept your responsibility willingly and take pride in being the leader of your home. Keep making decisions with your family’s best interest in mind.

Teach your family.

You are a great teacher and mentor for your family. You have the wisdom, knowledge, and experience to do it; just believe in yourself! Remember, more is caught than taught, so continue to set the example with your words and actions.

Hearing vs listening.

We all do it. We look up, see someone’s lips moving, and realize they have been talking to us the entire time. It’s ok. Next time, engage in active communication. Hearing is passive (i.e. your ears recognize a sound); however, listening is active. So be actively engaged in conversations today. Ask questions, nod along, mirror body language, and share the moment!

Elevate your perception of your contributions.

I know you are working your butt off, and oftentimes, it feels like it goes unnoticed. I want to encourage you to keep doing it. Your hard work, decisions, love, protection, and care are definitely making a difference. Even if no one else celebrates you this weekend, I am celebrating you right now! Great job brother! You are doing exactly what you need to be doing!

Relax and recover.

Take some time to focus on the positives–the great things you have done for your family! You have done (and continue to do) what many have turned away from. Rest well knowing that your impact is felt by more than those in your household. Society is indebted to you.

Thank you for your hard work, commitment, and sacrifices! Happy Father’s Day!

For those reading this who are not fathers, please take some time to thank a father this weekend. I promise you it means a lot!

Olaolu Ogunyemi: U.S. Marine Officer | Mentor | Best-selling Author
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I collaborated with Stand for the Silent to discuss how to build a trusting relationship! (Blog)

Thanks to Stand for the Silent for sharing the virtual stage and allowing me to discuss how to build trusting relationships! Continue to lead, inspire, and give our children a voice.

Olaolu Ogunyemi with Stand for the Silent: "How to build a trusting relationship with your children": 1. Authenticity 2. Transparency 3. Integrity 4. Consistency 5. Proficiency
Click here to read the full article

Here’s why I love Stand for the Silent:

A group of high school students in Oklahoma City, OK started Stand for the Silent in 2010 after they heard the story of Kirk and Laura Smalley’s son, Ty Field- Smalley. Ty (11) took his own life after being suspended from school for retaliating against a bully who had been bullying him for over two years. The organization exists as a platform to allow Kirk and Laura to share their story, and offer education and tools that will prevent their tragedy from happening to another child and family. Kirk and Laura’s mission is to continue to change kids’ lives and bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes.

Since May 2010, Stand for the Silent has reached over 3,000,000 kids in almost 5,000 schools!

Olaolu Ogunyemi: U.S. Marine Officer | Mentor | Best-selling Author

Thanks for your support! Go check out standforthesilent.org and donate if you feel so inclined!

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Command your thoughts: Three actionable steps to remove toxic thoughts!

Anyone else ever find themselves constantly battling a barrage of reoccurring toxic thoughts? If you are anything like me, it sometimes feels like you are losing that battle. What’s worse? Our thought patterns (i.e. our habit of thinking in a particular way, using particular assumptions) drive our actions. So we find ourselves in what appears to be an infinite toxic loop: our toxic thoughts create toxic assumptions which inform toxic actions. It’s time to break out of that loop with these three steps: 

Step 1: Create New Habits.

As in any other part of our lives, habits are formed by repetition. For example, this morning, my wife asked me, “why are you going to the gym so early if you are not required to go to work until a little later?” To which the only logical explanation I had was, “it’s a habit.” It is so much of a habit that I wake up at the same time (or earlier) even without an alarm, and if I try to lie there in the mornings, my mind will start racing and my body will start aching. So I just get up. The same is true when bedtime comes; I can easily fall asleep mid-sentence/mid-thought! (Ask my frat brothers who would have me out all night partying during college 😅.) Take a second to think about a habit like this you’ve formed over the years. When did you start? Can you even remember? My mom tells me that I’ve been waking up and falling asleep early since I was a young child. As it was when I was a child, that sleep pattern or sleep habit is fueled by an anticipation of what tomorrow holds.

This same logic applies to our thought patterns or mental habits. Whether we remember when the habits started or not, there is one thing that fuels these habits: our assumptions. In a previous post, I discussed my admiration for how our powerful brain gives us the ability to control our emotional responses. More specifically, I highlighted the cerebral cortex which, according to https://www.simplypsychology.org, the cerebral cortex “is the outer surface of the brain, [and it] is associated with higher level processes such as consciousness, thought, emotion, reasoning, language, and memory.” Many neuroscientists believe that our cerebral cortex “saves energy” by operating off of assumptions, and these assumptions are developed by our past experiences.

Author’s note: Most people stop here because they conclude since they cannot change the past and the past develops assumptions and assumptions fuel mental habits, then their mental habits cannot be changed. That is a very logical conclusion… Buuuuuut keep reading.

Keep reading below!

We can create new experiences! Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Become studious and an avid reader (audiobooks count!). Diversify your studies and reading beyond your craft. For example, my reading list spans from “The Kill Chain” by Christian Brose to “The Brain’s Way of Healing” by Norman Doidge, M.D. to “It’s Better Being a Bunny” by Marilyn Sadler. Broaden your horizons.
  • Watch different movies and documentaries. I am personally a huge fan of action & adventure and comedies; however, National Geographic and The History Channel are also two of my personal favorites.
  • Take a vacation or travel to a place you have never been (even if it’s only a couple of towns over).
  • Try new food. I love food, so any post I get to mention food is a plus for me! Again, broaden your horizons!
  • Listen to a variety of music. We all have our favorite genre, but remember, we are creating new experiences. Listen to different genres and international versions of your favorite genre.
  • Take an interest in writing. Write about what you see. Write about your fantasies. Create a journal to record your thoughts and emotions or a food log (my least favorite lol) to track what you eat. Write a book if you’d like (I did it and so can you)!

All of these tips will work towards creating new experiences and ultimately developing new healthy mental habits.

Step 2: Indulge in Fresh Thoughts and Ideas.

Now that we have established a way to break our old habits through new experiences, we have to start programming our mind to think differently. In my studies of the Holy Bible, I found an excellent passage that universally applies to thought: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” -Philippians 4:8 NLT.

Let’s break this down to how it applies to life.

  • True: Let’s start by focusing on reality vs our perception of reality. One of the first cliches that comes to mind is, “perception is reality.” Wrong! Our perception is the lens through which we view life. (Sometimes our perception can be more like blinders than lenses). Similar to our assumptions, perceptions are based upon our experiences. Therefore, by creating new experiences, we are increasing our ability to see and understand reality through a clearer lens.
  • Honorable & Right: Despite what we may see on the news, I am a firm believer that mankind is inherently honorable (ethically and morally good). This thought inspires me to show goodwill and serve others, so I encourage others to think the same.
  • Pure: I love how Oxford Languages defines pure: “without any extraneous and unnecessary elements.” Sometimes our minds get so bogged down with negative things we consume on a daily basis. My recommendation is to be aware of the world around you, but don’t become consumed with the negative aspects of the world around you. My challenge for you is for every negative you read or witness, consume and meditate on at least two inspiring or positive things for balance.
  • Lovely & Admirable: Have you ever just stopped to take in the beauty of nature? I am a guy who loves warm weather; in fact, I have been frostbitten before, so cold weather and I are not best friends. Even so, I absolutely love a sunny day after fresh snowfall. Although the temperature may not be as warm as I’d prefer, I cannot help but walk outside, take in deep breaths of the cold, crisp, and seemingly filtered air, and smile as I see the sun glisten off of the sparkling snow. This is just one example of the peaceful places I have learned to admire and enjoy. What lovely things can you think of? Where do you go to find peace?
  • Excellent & Worthy of Praise: Think about the things you are grateful for. Even our worst situation is better than someone else’s best. If nothing else, you are alive and able to read this post. No matter how seemingly small or insignificant, celebrate every single win. You deserve to celebrate yourself, your accomplishments, and your life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Step 3: Command your thoughts!

If you have ever seen the movie “Cast Away,” you may remember the main character, Chuck Nolan (Tom Hanks),  floating on a makeshift vessel. This vessel had no steering wheel, sail, or any way to control or steer. Chuck was at the mercy of the sea–carrying him whichever direction it pleased. Is anybody willing to admit our thoughts are just like this? 🙋🏾‍♂️ Mine are! Sometimes my thoughts take me to a place of bliss, enjoyment, and peace; but more often than I’d like to admit, my thoughts take me back to the infinite loop I mentioned before if I let them. Sometimes following these negative thoughts seems adventurous and addictive, but I assure you they lead to a never ending cycle of toxic actions and behaviors. Therein lies my final piece of advice:

Command your thoughts!

  1. Identify and write down your reoccurring negative thoughts. This is pretty simple: we cannot and will not get rid of what we cannot identify.
  2. Identify your triggers. What is causing your negative thoughts? Is it TV? Is it the people around you? Is it social media? Take some time away (at least 30 days) from your triggers to see if that helps you improve.
  3. Replace your thoughts with the thoughts we mentioned in Step 2: Fresh thoughts and ideas.

If you are anything like me, you read blogs like this with skepticism. Well allow me to encourage you; I use these steps in my daily affairs, and I have seen a huge change in my mental health and overall enjoyment of life! Start applying these steps to command your thoughts today!

Thanks for reading!

Olaolu Ogunyemi: U.S. Marine Officer | Mentor | Best-selling author

If you enjoyed this post, check out others just like it on my blog! https://parent-child-connect.com/blog

Need more on how to command your thoughts?! Here you go!

Deb Kartz’s Conquer Anxiety & Toxicity summit feature U.S. Marine & best-selling author, Olaolu Ogunyemi (Part 1)

Deb Kartz’s Conquer Anxiety & Toxicity summit feature U.S. Marine & best-selling author, Olaolu Ogunyemi (Part 2)

I also offer FREE resources here: https://parent-child-connect.com/free-resources

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Quick Parent Tip: How To Build Trust As A Leader

trust /trəst/: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. -Oxford Languages

Hey parents, teachers, and mentors! We know trust is a must when it comes to leading, but do we all know how to build trust with our children? Let’s have a quick chat.

I was recently thinking about a trip my family and I made to Sky Zone Trampoline Park to celebrate my oldest daughter’s birthday. This is one of my favorite ways to celebrate birthdays because it is fun for the entire family (and we are not on the hook for the after-party cleanup)! While there, my son–who is enamored by ninja warriors–decided to take on the Warp Wall (picture below). After a couple of tries, he made it to the top! There was only one problem; he miscalculated the distance between the Warp Wall and the pole to exit the obstacle.

Courtesy of Google Images

I instinctively told him, “alright son, go ahead and grab that pole and slide down.” I missed  the fact that he was clearly stuck–afraid that he would injure himself if he attempted to come down. I tried to coach him on how to safely dismount to no avail. After about two minutes of rough parenting (I was really struggling to get him down lol), I finally said, “just jump! I will catch you.” Surprisingly, he was more receptive to this idea. “Are you sure?” He responded. “Yes. Trust me.” He finally came down.

In retrospect, I probably said about one hundred words in that long two minutes, but  “trust me” were the only two words I needed. My son’s trust in me caused his fears to decrease and his confidence increase. Trust is a powerful and vital tool for effective leaders. Here are five ways to build trust with your children.

Five Ways To Build Trust

1. Authenticity

My generation would simply say, “do you, boo boo!” In other words, be who you are, not who you think others want you to be. On one hand, you do not want to broadcast every intricate detail of your personal and professional life. On the other hand, you do not want to give the perception that you are perfect. If you give that perception, you will inevitably build a tower of high expectations on a foundation of false hopes. Then, when you make a mistake, that foundation will shift and cause the tower to collapse. Be comfortable with the person in the mirror. That’s who your children want/need you to be.

2. Transparency

You need to have clear, open, and frequent communication with your children. They should never be surprised by your expectations or thoughts about them. Be completely honest by telling them how their unique skills contribute to your household’s success. Don’t be afraid to show emotion as you lather them in positive affirmations, but try to limit or completely eliminate your negative emotions while correcting them. Being transparent exposes your true motives, so let your children know you have their best interests at heart and prove it through your consistent actions. As I have said before, more is caught than taught.

3. Integrity.

According to Oxford Languages, integrity is “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” The key word is honesty. You should strive for your actions to be consistently honest and your decisions to be morally sound regardless of the circumstance. Why? Because your children are always watching! You cannot convince your children that you are transparent with them when your actions wreak of dishonesty and deceit. They would accurately assume your lack of integrity perforates every single aspect of your life–including your relationship with them. Be honest, make morally sound decisions, and consistently demonstrate integrity.

4. Consistency.

Here’s a general rule of thumb: whatever you do, follow through. Follow through on your promises, rewards, and discipline. Be organized, maintain structure, and be consistent with who you are (authentic), what you do (transparent), and how you do it (integrity). Be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually present for your children. Always remember this: empty promises lead to shallow and untrustworthy relationships.

5. Proficiency. 

Some say, “knowledge is power,” but I believe applied knowledge is power! Nobody wants to follow a clueless leader. So we have to be continuous learners who simultaneously apply what we learn. Our children are counting on us to constantly learn more and refine our parenting and mentoring skills. Guess what? You are working on your proficiency right now by reading this, so kudos to you!

Remembering and applying these five tips will undoubtedly enhance your relationship with your children and restore the power to those two words we discussed earlier: “trust me.” Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you next time!

Author Olaolu Ogunyemi explains five ways to build trust with your children.
Olaolu Ogunyemi: U.S. Marine Officer | Mentor | Best-selling Author

Find more great articles like this on my blog: http://www.parent-child-connect.com/blog

Did you know I offer FREE resources?! Check out http://www.parent-child-connect.com/free-resources

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The “Billy Dipper’s Time to Shine” release!

"Billy Dipper's Time to Shine" is scheduled to be released on February 16, 2022!
Billy Dipper’s Time to Shine