Monday, August 24, 2015

A Mentor In The Making

You know how we've all heard or read the scripture, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" quoted to us in times when serving up a hefty buffet of revenge (notice buffet and not a plate) was deservedly being planned (although revenge is never for any one of us to carry out) but those plans were intercepted by Truth and so went that buffet. And rightly so.

I've come to learn that life in and of itself is steadily developing mentors of us all. Whether our learning is applied to positively or negatively impact others lives will be a lasting impact. For in this life we are all being molded and shaped into mentors - mentors in the making!!!

We mentor others on our experiences and our perceived knowledge of what we take from those experiences. Regardless of the subject matter, nor the age, creed, or color, we all need mentors and we will in turn become mentors to those who seek growth and development. This is essential in building lasting relationships across the divide and beyond, in order to build anything lasting mentors must be well sought, well advised persons that are willing to lead.

Let's be honest about all of this: If we didn't have experienced individuals who forewarned us of the risks we were taking - none of us we be here in any capacity.

Now that we have come to understand and receive that we are all mentors to others in some aspect or another, there are some essential aspects to developing and being a mentor that fosters positive impact on those seeking mentors. Let's take a quick look:

1. Always entreat others with "Love" first and foremost. People will always remember the genuineness of your care and counsel. The greatest lessons of my life were taught in love. Those lessons took me farthest in life and those are most treasured in that I too, wanted to pass those lessons learned in the same love.

2. Always, always be honest. Be honest about your willingness to commit to mentoring. If you're in a particular place in life that let's say transitioning and your time commitment isn't there - be honest and communicate that. Quite possibly the mentee may be willing to wait for a period of time for you to become available. Another example that strongly applies here is being honest about the depth of your experience(s) in a given area. You know what you know. Make sure the person asking for mentoring understands your level of expertise and allow that person to make the judgement for themselves. People need honesty. That doesn't include stroking your ego.

3. Be patient with others. Everybody simply don't think using the left side of their brains. Everybody adheres to learning differently. Don't get impatient because it may take two or three teaching methods to get the point across. Sometimes, it may take another mentor to get that particular idea or concept over to the mentee. The most important thing is that they "get it" not who teaches it.

4. Don't take the task of learning away from the individual(s). Instead, allow that person and/or persons to learn whatever lessons to best of their abilities. If they don't get it, they'll let you know. It will show greatly. But their receptiveness to really learn and develop has to be their desire. If you happen to meet those few who really are looking for others to do "their" work (and usually for ) "free" and want to invest no time in developing themselves, please show them the door. That ploy will serve two very empty purposes: (1) It will expend your time and talents with no pay and; (2) It doesn't bring anyone into accountability of the job being performed. Remember, this isn't for your development it's for the one who came knockin.

5. Respect the decisions of your mentees. The weight of responsibility comes with mentoring for both the mentor and mentee. However, this does not mean you have to carry the burden of mentees who act irresponsibly with your time, your resources, and your counsel. Be wise when mentoring others. You have heard the scripture quoted, "Don't throw your pearls before swine" (Matthew 7:6). This means, don't spend your time giving sound advice and wisdom to those who will do more with it than throw it in a gutter. Wow, what a waste! Too valuable. Whether we as mentors like it or not, we must respect the decisions of the adults who come to us for mentoring as to what they want to happen in their lives or businesses. They have the final decision. Let them have it!

6. Know when your season is past. Every person being mentored does so for varying reasons and again, everyone is not on the same level. Depending on what the individual's need determines the length of mentoring. No matter the time period, it is vital to know when you're done, after all, isn't this what growth is all about (to see if the person has learned enough to begin applying what you've taught?). 

Don't allow mentoring to take the place of fee-based consulting. It's imperative to know the differences as well as knowing upfront what is expected of all parties involved. Mentors need to be concise in delivering what's being sought of them so there will be a clear end to earmark. After you have given of yourself and your knowledge base there comes an end (or rather, until further notice - LOL) that must be expressed or all of this will become wearisome to a degree. Mentoring should not be wearisome - heartfelt yes, but wearisome, (hmmm, I guess if you find yourself with a problem child) not in the slightest. Why? Because mentors truly appreciate, respect and are honored that the attributes exemplified in part are noteworthy and that those attributes are worthy of being replicated. 

Mentoring provides an opportunity to help nurture and shape future generations. There is absolutely no way mentoring can occur without giving some of yourself in the process and this is and will continue to be the strongest element in mentoring; how much of ourselves we pass on to others. After all, shouldn't the best of our attributes live on forever?

Keep Going!
The Living Consultant

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Double-Edged Sword Of Time!

It seems as though it was just a few months ago (certainly not eight months) that the New Year's celebrations were high and rolling on through the night. Ringing in the New Year in Las Vegas, NV is like no other place in the world....They make magic happen! Lights, cameras, celebrities of every movie and music genre, sleek cars, beautifully dressed people, nervous entertainers, and overwrought hotel and restaurant staff running wildly from one step to the next...and it never stops! There to is something else that doesn't stop...the clocks on the wall. Whether they can be seen or not - they keep ticking, just as they're doing now. Ticking with the sound that another year is heading toward its end. As a business owner, in regard to the clock's warning tick, where are you in the process of ending this year strong.

Coming into this year so many resolutions were made. New Day Planners rolled out and/or Google Calendars were already being filled in and shared. Business goals were developed, posted, placed on internal message boards, etc., and shot out across social media venues telling others (internal teams or external stakeholders) what to expect in this new year. Man, oh man, when that ball fell in Times Square in New York city, and equally, when those rocket-like fireworks flew into the air from atop the various roof tops of the over-glamorized casinos in Las Vegas, people roared with excitement, looking hopefully into their futures with great aspirations and gladiator-like invincibility to succeeding in their various industries.

The following days were filled with vigor and gusto to beat it down the track! With new cell phones, laptops, netbooks, tablets, and phablets, all the goodies from the holidays fell out at new meetings ready to go...Let's get 'er done!!!

Now, it's August. For most, we've just entered the second month of the 3rd Qtr of the year and nearing Summer's end. School bells are ringing, college kids are getting in their last weekend hangouts before it's back to dorms and books, and stalled vacation plans have left others irritable and looking to grasp any amount of time even if it's a trip to the mountains or beach - any outing before the whip cracks again is better than nothing at all.

Herein is where a business owner assumes responsibility and accountability for having used time wisely and advantageously. Here's where all those meetings either meant something and nothing (profited by them in some way or not). For all the agendas and meeting notes compiled, for all the webinars and seminars taken or not taken (but were seriously needed), for the website(s) that went up or taken down, for the blog posts that were forgotten or never written, for the marketing campaigns that were planned and should now be ready for execution, the clock on the wall tells all.

It tells:

  1. Whether (or not) you heeded the advice of Influencers, Industry Leaders, and other successful corporate icons suggesting and recommending everything from starting up to starting over.
  2. Whether some attended summer school while others went out to play and now hurriedly return to "throw" something at the marketplace.
  3. Whether the patronage of every client and potential client is sincerely appreciated by their names already being in the Holiday card mailing list. (Oh, you did remember to plan, select and order the customized cards right?)
  4. Whether the few remaining business networking events convening in your area will be attended by you and staff.
  5. Whether fiscal reporting is accurate and stated fiscal goals are being achieved.
  6. Whether strategy was developed and deployed (at the beginning of the year) that yields measurable results that can be proven and continued; increased. If the strategy set forth isn't yielding the desired results, why?
  7. Whether the editorial content calendar...wait, there is an editorial content calendar, right? Press Releases? Anything that tells the public that you're alive and....
  8. What tools, technologies, or staffing is needed to handle the workload in the coming months.
  9. Whether the business is in proper position to hit the ground running with launched marketing campaigns before, during and after Labor Day week.
  10. Whether or not you, as a business owner, have a clue as to what's needed to enter this last stretch before heading into the Fall and Holiday Seasons.
The clock is telling what businesses will finish strong. It will tell what businesses will finish poorly. The evidence of the clocks findings in the coming months, will be your visibility or invisibility in the marketplace. Time will tell all.

Here's To You Showing Up!

(The Living Consultant)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Spiritual Clutter - Its 3 Devastating Effects: Procrastination, Alienation & Isolation

(Photo courtesy of gypsy art events)

This discussion on de-cluttering first outlined how clutter (physical, mental, and digital) stifles creativity, drains a significant portion of energy, and inhibits development and productivity on a major scale (ref. 

Continuing this conversation on de-cluttering it is dire to address a more deeper aspect of clutter and its origin. Spiritual clutter. When the spirit of a person is sick - so is the head (mental state of thinking and reasoning) as the outward show of the physical spaces confirm. 

What is spiritual clutter? What are its symptoms? First, to understand this in its most transitive form, the meaning of clutter as suggested by Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Comprehensive Dictionary the meaning translates as such for purposes of this article: To fill or cover with things in disorder or scattered at random or with things that impede movement or action or reduce effectiveness.

Examining this definition especially the latter part..."with things that impede movement or action..." is suggestive that clutter restricts flow, blocks thought, and hinders progress. Now, examining the definition of "spirit" using the same resource, it suggests the following: of or relating to the moral feelings or states of the soul as distinguished from the external actions :reaching and affecting the spirit.

When compounded with the spirit of an individual clutter takes its shape to impede the creative processes and the interconnectedness of the inner self to feeling. Thus, feelings of emptiness, distractedness, disconnectedness, fatigue, listlessness all show up in outward actions. Concentrating and focusing on progressive activities are hardly shaping up. Exemplifying one of its first signs: Procrastination. 

Procrastination is one of the biggest issues that is so downplayed that it is often overlooked as being spiritual dysfunctioning. Too often procrastination is viewed as being lazy, irresponsible, unconcerned and/or habitual time-waster. How many have admitted that the failure to move forward on a project (whether personal or professional) was due to procrastination? Too many. But when examined, the underlying issue to procrastination is a spiritual conflict that hampers progress. Here's an example to help clarify the point:

Mrs. X schedules a weekend to finally clean out the attic and remove the "clutter" of long ago events, family activities, old bargain store finds, outdated clothing, etc., but finds herself disgruntled within having to approach this project. Finding another reason (any reason) to keep from approaching the task is all too easy. Shoving the task aside for a moment brings temporary relief but it cannot shut out the gnawing agonizing feeling deep within. The spiritual clutter within is the culprit and this is what must be addressed.

What's in the attic Mrs. X cannot contend with? What's in the attic the reminds her of a time gone by? What memories are buried within that literally gnaw and dig at her? The attic is just symptomatic of the deeper issue, what is it? Is it dealing with the loss of a loved one? A relationship that ended? Is it confronting her childhood? Her failed marriage (if divorced)?

The problem is not in the attic - it is within her. It is dismissed as procrastination but literally, it is spiritual clutter that leads to spiritual chaos that must be quieted in order to fulfill her duties and complete the task at hand. In order to quiet chaos, the culprit that causing it must first be arrested.

People have a tendency to spiritually "bury" stuff never thinking that one day it compounds until one day it takes it toll thus, it diminishes our progress in other pertinent areas. It must be cleared. It can only be ignored for so long before its grip begins to strangle our thoughts, ideas, and impede actions.

(Photo courtesy of 

Next, let's examine another devastating effect of spiritual clutter: Alienation. 
Alienation simply means withdrawing. Separating from the things, or persons, even places once held in fondness. Spiritual clutter ushers in chaos that begins to control and confuse. It becomes a "chore' to think. When this occurs individuals begin to remove others from their immediate social sphere because he/she cannot answer questions that pertain to the individuals inability to relate. To safeguard oneself from this seemingly interrogation of others the person separates from engaging; socializing.

Alienation at first presents its deceptive self as "protection" from accusations, thwarting negative perceptions of others from oneself, literally hiding from others because one may feel as though he/she is being judged by others, running from peer pressure, and so much more. But the truth about alienating oneself is that it restricts the aide of others. It pushes and prides itself on this "Can do" "Don't need anyone" mentality that further subjugates a person into their own demise. Alienation's main components by which is snares its victim(s) is guilt and shame. When a person feels as though they have no power to reach out or battle against the tide they surrender to their own feelings of powerlessness reducing that individual to weariness and hopelessness. "Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present." (John Maxwell)

Third, the deep lonely feeling of isolation take hold. Isolation means cut off; separated. Depression drives an individual moreso in this condition than any other. When a person feels isolated (cut off) from his/her feelings, from others feelings, and find it quite difficult to articulate the present condition he/she is in will oftentimes lead to devastating measures. With depression comes a lot of pain; pain that is continually dragging and beating that individual literally to death. This is why oftentimes drug and alcohol abuse occurs in this spiritual state because the individual seeks relief. The resolve to spiritual chaos is peace.

Somethings are worthy of treasuring for the rest of our lives, while other things belong in the dumpster. Get rid of it! Ecclesiastes 3:6 says, "A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;..." Why continue beating a dead horse? Harboring old regrets, self-defeating emotional behaviors, REGRET, unforgiveness, self-hatred, neglect, spiritual depravity, anger all summed up together equates to spiritual clutter that shackles the growth, movement, and progress of anyone that refuses to rid him/herself of this garbage. The Apostle Paul summed it up in Hebrews 12:1-

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. . . . "

(Photo courtesy of 

You have the power within you to free yourself of the spiritual clutter that keeps you from living the abundant life you were meant to live. Seek the aide of others you trust to help you rid yourself of the compounded antagonizing weight that has you bound. Quit looking behind you - whatever happened, happened. Put your face toward the (Son) and believe that the power He granted you and me is real, is mightiest of all powers, and it's FREE! 

Do it! Get rid of the clutter and....RUN! Keep Cleaning!

The Living Consultant

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Clutter: Get Rid Of It...NOW!

(Photo courtesy of

As the summer months rolled in I began thinking of ways to carry less, do more with less, and rid myself of all the heaping piles of "stuff" all around me. Everywhere there was a pile, not only physically, but digitally, mentally, and also spiritually.

Just the thought of having to find a picture on my phone, or find the contact information of a videographer became a dreaded chore. It was awful. I remember saying to myself, "Why am I digging through all of this stuff? Where did it come from?! And WHY is my phone so slow!!!!"

Needless to say, it was the clutter. Clutter. You know that pile of "stuff" that has so much meaning to you (because no one else has any use for it) that if something happened to it, you would incur a setback of several months. But hey, if it's that important, why is it in a pile! It's because it has taken the shape of your mind; Everything stacking up on top of you. And guess what else? It's draining you of thought, activity, and creativity. It's time to take action.

First and foremost, when dealing with clutter (especially in the office) a system of organization has to take precedence. What needs to be stored and can those documents be stored digitally? What's important that requires daily handling? What got shifted to your desk but should have went elsewhere? A system helps you prioritize what goes and what stays.

Photo: Courtesy of
In being very honest, when considering what is usually found on desks can be found digitally, even signed copies of documents. Scan it. Throw it. If you have to keep that hard copy  for future audits or so forth, then conveniently place in storage boxes, date, seal, and send to storage. Get rid of it.

Second, dealing with mental clutter. I remember once I had a horrible time resting at night So much so that I almost worked myself into cardiac arrest. My physician gave me this great advice: He said, "Ms. Coleman, before going to bed at night, take a pen and paper and write everything you must do on the following day down on paper. Keep it in the drawer of your nightstand. As you're trying to fall into sleep and you're alerted because you remembered something - you can say to yourself, it's written down, I won't forget it. The brain remembers what is written." He was right. After a few weeks of that - I wasn't writing anything. I was sleeping!

It's imperative to clear the mind. When the mind is bogged down it leaves a drained, worn, always tired feeling and that can lead to depression. Feeling oppressed is never a good thing. Mental clutter can lead to other forms of illness if not properly addressed. Get rid of the clutter!

(Photo: Courtesy KD
It comes a time when one has to do the SMH (Shake My Head) thing at his or herself when it comes to Inboxes. Really? Really. I have a girlfriend who will remain nameless (she's named after a month - In Spring) whose Inbox on last count, registered 7,412 emails. I looked at her. I walked away. Never! Sigh....

Why would anyone allow this happen? Please note: I have just as many emails, however, they are labeled, categorized, and in folders. Thank you #Goggle! But, it isn't just the unending pile of emails but what of that Contact List that you have no clue as to who a third of the people are in your Contacts folder.

It's time to send that summer email that reads, "Hi, Do I Know You?" in the Subject line. How can you go on to clearer and sharper thinking, communicating, and strategic planning when you cannot make it out of your Inbox. It is a known fact, that many emails are sent erroneously because the sender got confused with email delivery. What's going to whom? Oops, thank goodness for the "recall" functionality of MS Outlook! A clear waste of productivity.

Organization matters. It helps you become a better YOU. Clear the clutter people. Get rid of it - NOW!

Happy Cleaning!

The Consultant Lives

P.S. Next post - Spiritual Clutter and It's Demise! Stay tuned!