Who Are Your Closest Five?

In prosperity our friends know us. In adversity, we know our friends. Colin Powell, American politician and retired four-star general 

Friends are exceptionally important to me. As a motherless daughter and only child, I have always sought out friends to fill the mother/sister void in my life. I’ve learned that in adversity we know our friends, as General Powell says. 

In my lifetime, I have disappointed people, made them angry, and lost their trust. Some friends retaliated and abandoned me, others, the true friends, stood by me knowing I needed help to regain my balance. I’ve learned to carefully chose my friends. 

Jim Rohn, author and motivational speaker, says, “The most intimate of our associations, the closest five, have the greatest impact on our self worth, our habits, and our lifestyles.” Choose your five well—be one of the five for someone else.

Affirmation: I choose my friends carefully. 

Coaching questions: What do friends mean to you? If you don’t have close friends, how might you cultivate meaningful relationships? In what ways do you show up as a friend?

Blessed Are the Meek

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

I’ve always wondered about Matthew 5:5 which is part of the Beatitudes and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The definition of meek is a person who is quiet, gentle, easily imposed on; submissive. 

Yesterday, in a study with my pastor, I was introduced to a new definition of meek. The Greek word for meek is praus (prah-oos). Used in a sentence it sheds a bit of light on my dilemma. When a horse passed the conditioning required for a war horse, its state was described as praus or meek. The war horse had “power under authority” or “strength under control.” The horse had been conditioned to withstand the rigors and noises of battle under the authority of its rider without losing power or determination. 

As we become conditioned to the point of becoming praus as we overcome our adversities, we gain power under authority. Those of us who are believers, consider that authority to be God. 

Affirmation: I am meek.

Coaching questions: What strength have you gained from your training through adversity? How does it serve you? 



Building Muscles

There are uses to adversity, and they don’t reveal themselves until tested. Whether it’s serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths. Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

I believe the growth spurts of my life have been when adversity has reared its ugly head. At times the testing tapped into unexpected or latent strengths, as Justice Sotomayor suggests, and, at others, adversity created a Me who was stronger than before.

When I go to the gym, my exertion on the muscle building machines tears down my muscle so that when it repairs itself, it is bigger and stronger. I believe this is what happens when life brings us challenges. We are temporarily torn only to grow again,  stronger than ever.

Affirmation: I am strong.

Coaching questions: In what ways have you been tested? In what ways has the testing changed you?

The Rubber Band Effect

The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived. Robert Jordan, author, The Fires of Heaven, part of the Wheel of Time series

Resilience is the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; a rubber band. In a person, resiliency is the capacity to adapt well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or extreme stress. Why are some people more resilient than others and how can one learn to be more resilient?

People who demonstrate resilience generally have these traits in common: Ability to sustain supportive relationships with family and friends, a strong self-image and confidence in their strengths; they accept that change is a part of living and don’t see crisis as insurmountable. Developing your communication and problem solving skills while practicing good self care will also help to enhance your resilience. Build on your past experiences…trust that what you have survived has made you stronger.

Affirmation: I am resilient.

Coaching questions: What can you do now that will make you more resilient when crisis develop? How have you shown resilience in the past? What did that experience teach you?