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Part 4 of 4

Strengths and weaknesses. It’s a part of assessments. When you get a FREE DIAGNOSTIC TEST, you see results like “good battery” or “replace air filter.” Same thing happens with assessments of products, athletes, sports teams, potential mates, job capabilities, etc. We assess everything. In competition, you study strengths and weaknesses of the opponent. When you go on a job interview, they ask you about your strengths and weaknesses. (Sometimes people lie so they can get the job, but eventually, the truth will reveal itself.) Your strengths and weaknesses will reveal itself, whether it’s done proactively or not. If we continue to live life with the “check engine” light on, life itself will broadcast your assessment on the side of the road. That’s why it’s imperative for us to proactively do self-assessments.

Unfortunately, it seems to be common practice to ignore self-assessments. Looking at yourself and being honest seems to be a difficult task for many. It is humbling and sobering experience. Finding your strengths may be great and all, but finding your weaknesses isn’t a naturally fun task. It’s human nature to ignore or avoid weaknesses. Some drink or smoke it away. Some “vacation-it” away. Some chalk it up to “I’m gonna be me regardless.” Fixing things takes you out of your comfort zone, but what if I told you that there’s something just as bad, if not worse, as ignoring self-assessments? Yep, something worse. Believe it or not, a lot of people who actually do self-assessments tend to make this vital mistake: the mistake of fixing weaknesses their way. Let me explain by telling you a story:

There was a 4th grader named Jerry. Jerry was a good kid and well-behaved in school. He did all of his classwork and homework. When the first set of report cards came around, he received 3 “A”s, 2 “B”s and a “D.” The “D” was in Social Studies. Despite the fact that he was one grade shy of honor roll, he was distraught over his “D,” so much so that he worked twice as hard to pull that Social Studies grade up before the next set of report cards. Instead of looking for a tutor or asking for help, he studied extra hours and even did extra-credit work. He devoted just about all of his time and energy on improving that “D” grade. When the next set of report cards came around, he managed to get a “B+” in Social Studies, but ended up getting 3 “C”s, 1 “B” and 1 “D” for the rest of his grades. He spent so much time and energy trying to pull up the first bad grade, that he neglected the good grades.

This is a common mistake a lot of us make when we do take self-assessments. We see our strengths and weaknesses and immediately go into “fix-mode” towards our weaknesses. Now let me say that fixing your weaknesses isn’t a bad thing. However, abandoning your strengths to fix your weaknesses IS the bad thing. Whatever you are good at, you should double-down on it. We are not meant to be perfect, therefore we do not need to be good in everything. If you’re a good accountant, but a terrible musician, don’t abandon your financial abilities to go work in an orchestra. When you find your strengths, you go extra-hard at perfecting those strengths.

“Don’t settle for good when great is optional.” — me

You have the ability to be known for your strength(s), so give 200% to your strengths and be set apart!

But what about the weaknesses? Should we ignore them instead?

Nope. Weaknesses are designed for us to work with people. Trying to fix weaknesses on your own will cause you to neglect your strengths. In the story above, Jerry redirected all of this time and energy towards fixing his Social Studies grade. In the end, his good grades in other subjects suffered, and he ended up with an overall worse report card. We all have weaknesses. If we are not good at something, connect with someone who is good at your weakness. One of my strengths is graphic design. I’ve been in the field for over 17 years. I can make a mean flyer with the best of them. But guess what? I suck at plumbing! If something happened to my sink, I’m not going to take off from work to go to plumbing school to learn how to fix my sink. I’m not going to “Google it” either. I’m going to call…I don’t know…a PLUMBER! A plumber’s strength is plumbing, therefore it will save me time to double-down on my graphic design while allowing something that I can’t fix to receive the best attention possible. Now, that’s not to say that I shouldn’t make myself knowledgeable about plumbing issues. If pockets of time permits, I will brush up on my plumbing knowledge, but know that life is a game of speed. Time is precious. Spend it on what you’re good at, learn as you go, but connect with people who can fix and possibly teach/tutor you along the way. Also beware of self-made people. If they don’t have people helping them, life itself will humble them. Again, we were created with weaknesses in order to network with people.

“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” – Genesis 2:18

That scripture wouldn’t exist if we were created without weaknesses. Perfect people don’t need help, so if you’re not perfect get a FREE DIAGNOSTIC TEST and adjust accordingly. A matter of fact, let’s recap this whole series:

  • Don’t ignore the warning signs. If you see a consistent issue happening in your life, take time out to evaluate yourself first, then go from there.
  • Before you judge others, make sure that you have judged yourself first. Telling someone that their breath stink, while having bad breath is asinine.
  • Verify your assessment. Even in evaluating ourselves, sometimes we can be our toughest critic. Find you a trusted group of people to verify your assessment.
  • Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, double-down on your strengths and connect with people who can help with your weaknesses.

Thank you for tuning in for this series. I hope this helps someone.

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Read The Results

Part 3 of 4

I actually know people who would say “Nah, I’m good on doctors. I don’t like going to the hospital” or “It’s just a lil cough. I’ll pray it away.” That sounds bold and great! Sounds like a person of faith, right? Well, majority of those people that said those phrases either got real sick or ended up passing away. Prime example:

My father hated hospitals. He refused to get checkups or take medicine. One day, he lost feeling in his leg. What he thought was just random leg pain ended up being a blood clot that was triggered from prostate cancer…stage 4. It went in remission, but again, he hated medicine, so thinking that it would just go away, it eventually returned and ultimately took his life.

That’s a tough story to tell, but I tell it to really drive home a point that self-evaluation is so important, not just health-wise, but character-wise as well. Just like we shouldn’t avoid hospitals and routine checkups, we shouldn’t avoid looking at the person in the mirror either. A good friend of mine, Roahn Hylton, once said to me “if you can master yourself, you can master anything.” In order to master yourself, you have to assess where you are. Every goal has a destination (point B). Every destination has a starting point (point A). Most people dream, but hate the bed that they’re in. You have to assess where you are, and accept the present for what it is.

“Do not despise these small beginnings…” – Zechariah 4:10a

Most people do not like going to the doctors because they are afraid of what the doctors may find. Here’s the thing, no matter what the issue(s) may be, ignoring the diagnosis isn’t going to heal you or make things go away. You are possibly making things worse and postponing the possible road to recovery. And guess what? They don’t have bandaids or make duct tape for character flaws.

I know, I know…looking in the mirror can be tough. Possibly finding out that you’re a toxic person isn’t a fun process. Most people would just chalk it up to “keeping it real” or “I’m gonna be me and I don’t care what no one think about me.” It’s impossible to grow as a person with that mindset. One thing I can assure you, the minute you analyze the good and the bad parts about you, the better things are going to turn out for you. Case and point:

I would be in public places trying to network, and realized that little to nobody approached me. So instead of analyzing myself, I carried the belief that THEY were stuck-up. Time and time again, I would be in a crowd and hardly anybody would spark a conversation with me. Then I started justifying things with myself and saying “it’s ok, I’m just an introvert.” Here’s the thing, I AM an introvert, however I was using “introvert” as a scapegoat, instead of looking at myself and fixing the issue. One day, I asked a few of my closest friends to be honest with me and tell me what I can improve on as a person. (An IMPORTANT STEP that I will expound on in part 4). They were straightforward with me and told me quite a few things that I had to swallow. One of the those things was that I was was unapproachable because of my facial expressions. My default face wasn’t inviting and I needed to smile more. That was an eye-opener for me. I didn’t realize that I frowned a lot in public. No wonder people didn’t line up to socialize with me. I felt fine, but my face told a different story. So I worked on that, and eventually fixed the issue. (I still have slip-ups tho, lol)

We all have good and not-so-good qualities about ourselves. Self-inventory will help you become the best version of you possible. It’s tough, sobering, humbling, and necessary. When you get that FREE DIAGNOSTIC TEST, make sure you read the results and repair accordingly.

In part 4 of this series, I will explain what you should do with your results. Stay tuned.

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Three Fingers

Part 2 of 4

I’m sure you heard of the “one finger point at them, but three are point at you” concept, right? And I’m sure if your thumb was positioned differently, it would be pointing at you too. We can become experts at analyzing other people, but struggle analyzing ourselves, and social media has made it easier to finger-point without the proverbial three fingers point back. I’m here to tell you that self-judgement is a crucial step in self-awareness. The word “judgement” usually comes with a stigma. When you think “judgement” you think chastisement. The very word makes people defensive. Don’t look at judgement as a courtroom decision. Judging should be used as a helping tool to improve lives. If you’re not making someone’s life better in the process of judging, then you may need a crash course on HOW to judge properly. Remember when I said “If all of your exes are dogs or low-life scums, then perhaps it’s time to examine the common denominator (you). If you find yourself constantly removing toxic people from your life, then it’s time to examine your relationship picking skills.” in part 1? Well before I expound on it, let me tell you about a situation that happened in my household last year:

My precious pre-teen son, who is “innocent” at “all times,” and enjoys doing choirs “without being asked” to do them, had a memory lapse one day and “accidentally” had a messy room. If you missed my sarcasm, please reread the previous sentence and pay attention to the quotations (lol). I walked in his room and only saw a slither of carpet for me to walk on. The other 75% of the carpet was covered with dirty clothes. It was a Monday, which is important to note because by Tuesday, I found myself telling him to clean his room for the twelfth time. I was so upset that I yelled at him and accused him of being lazy. (Clearly not a “Dad of The Year” moment). As I left his room, I can hear him crying a bit, but I didn’t care…until I walked in my room and saw a pile of dirty clothes on the floor, spilling out on my side of the closet. It was right then and there I realized that I needed to lead by example. I had heard the saying:

“If you talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk.” – Jimmy Johnson

Now, I’m sure Jimmy Johnson didn’t come up with that phrase, but I remember him saying it first, and as much as I loathe the Dallas Cowboys, I remembered that potent quote from him. (Sidebar: Congratulations on being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Jimmy). Anywho, I realized in that moment that I had to go back into my son’s room and apologize to him. Not only did I apologize to him, I told him that we are in this together and we will both clean our rooms.

That story is important because I had to readjust my judgement. Mind you, I didn’t say that I shouldn’t judge, but in my judgement, I had to make sure that my affairs were in order. I had to judge myself first, then judge him accordingly. For those who reference the Bible, it speaks about it in Matthew 7:1-2 about judging others. In so many words, if you judge harshly, expect that same energy, my guy! Note: It does not say “Only God Can Judge Me.” That was Tupac, not scriptures. The aforementioned scriptures, in context, was discussing the PROPER way to judge.

Ahh…but what about James 4:12 that says “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?”

In context, James was talking to the believers (Jewish tribes) who became obsessed with judging people. It was more of a “stop speaking evil (gossiping) and criticizing people” type of thing. Accountability, done in love, is still necessary. That’s why it is important to judge other by first judging yourself, being a living example, and holding people you care about accountable for their actions via love. I’ll say it again, checking yourself before judging others is a crucial step in self-awareness.

Ladies, all men are NOT trash. Men, all women are NOT hoes. Social media, everyone is NOT toxic. Generalization is the laziest form of judgement and it removes the need to check yourself. If you keep getting flat tires, you need to analyze your tire treads, not say “all roads are trash.” Make sure your tires are in great condition before ranting to your local officials about road conditions.

In part 3 of this series, I will explain HOW to take self inventory the right way. Stay tuned.

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Don’t Ignore The Warning Signs

Part 1 of 4

Ahh…the sweet smell of “something” coming from your radiator. Meh…you ignore it and walk into the store. While you’re in the store, your car is leaking “green juice.” You ignore it because hey, it could’ve been there from the last car, right? Right. The next day: same smell, same leak. Eventually, you realize that the “green juice,” also known as antifreeze, is coming from your car. But, it’s just a small amount each time, right? Riiiight. Next thing you know, the local meteorologist confirms the Weather Channel app notification on your phone that today is going to be a record high in your area! You hop in your car like usual and drive. Your eyes are on the road, but your temperature needle is rising on your dashboard. You’re almost at your destination, then suddenly, ut oh…stop-and-go traffic on the highway. It is at that moment your car decides to notify you (via the beeping sound) that it is overheating! The beep sends you into denial (just like the sweet smell and leaking antifreeze from weeks prior), but the smoke from your hood brings you to a quick and sober reality and now you are on the side of the road, stuck. I’ll spare you the rest of the details and just let you know that you now have to pay about $1,000 for a new radiator (parts and labor included).

Now, why did I tell you that random story? Well…because antifreeze is about $10. I’m going to drive my point home (no pun intended) but really think about that for a second…antifreeze is about $10! That’s important to know because had you recognized the signs earlier, you could’ve saved about $990, without calling a tow truck and/or missing work. The signs were there; the sweet smell, and the “green juice” leaks. Now, I understand that thousands of drivers out there aren’t car gurus. In fact, a good portion of people may not understand what’s happening when they smell that sweet smell from the radiator. Heck, they may not even know what a radiator is. However, anything leaking from your car is not a good sign. Don’t ignore the warning signs.

Ok, this series isn’t about cars, so let me draw the parallels here. Instead of leaking antifreeze, it could be a late night snack, or an unnecessary purchase of something, or a little white lie. These may seem like small things, but they add up before you know it. Late night snacks can turn into obesity or other health issues. Unnecessary purchases can turn into financial turmoil. Little white lies can turn into people losing trust in you. Sure, these are extremes, but so is a $1,000 new radiator, and trust me, mechanics will never be without a job.

Just like it is important to get a free diagnostic test on your car, it is even more important to do a free diagnostic test on yourself. If all of your exes are dogs or low-life scums, then perhaps it’s time to examine the common denominator (you). If you find yourself constantly removing toxic people from your life, then it’s time to examine your relationship picking skills. It’s tight but it’s right. Now, that doesn’t always mean that something may be wrong with you, per se. However, before the finger-pointing game starts, examine yourself. Make sure you are without fault first.

“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” – 1 Corinthians 11:31

In part 2 of this series, I will explain HOW to examine yourself. Stay tuned.

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