I’ve Moved!

on the moveI know I have been completely AWOL from here for awhile now. I’ve put up a couple of posts but nothing with the regularity that I had been. I’ve had a really good reason for my absence though. I’ve been working steadily on getting my business website up and running. It took a lot longer and way more out of me than I imagined it would be but I’m happy to report that it is finally DONE!

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Sneak Peek of my Home Page

I have moved my blog over to the new site and won’t be posting here anymore. But please come join me over there as I would love to stay connected with you. You can click on the pic or here to see what I’ve been up to and what I’ll be doing in my business endeavors.

I hope you’ll come hang out with me. It might be a business website but my blog will still have personal stories about me and the things happening in my world. Come join me! I’d love to see your beautiful face in my new online digs.

My Project Fascination Results

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In my last post I shared with you about the work of Sally Hoghead and her Fascination Project. Several people I know have taken the test and, like me, think their results are spot on. As promised here are my results from this assessment:

My Archetype

My ARCHETYPE from the assessment is The Veiled Strength (the idea that my strength is veiled tickles me for some reason). Words that describe me as The Veiled Strength are realistic, intentional, to the point, orderly and multi-layered (all of which are true). This is how the world sees me:

  • I command respect with a rational approach to problem solving (I love problem solving. Strategizing solutions is definitely my wheelhouse).
  • Independent and self-reliant, I have an unwavering confidence in my ability to find solution and reach goals (again true)
  • I prefer to base my decisions on hard data and quantitative information rather than gut feeling (mostly true although I’m learning to listen to my gut more these days)
  • My quiet demeanor hides a strong inner core (this the one I probably disagree with the most. I do have a strong inner core but I also think I have a strong presence about me that is not necessarily quiet. Calming? Yes. Quiet? Not so much.

Personality Archetypes

My Advantages

My Archetype is derived from the combination of my primary and secondary advantages. Mine are Mystique and Power respectively.

With Mystique as my primary trigger, I:

  • Intrigue others with understatement (not sure I agree with this one)
  • Communicates selectively and purposefully (agreed. I like to choose  my words carefully when speaking)
  • Rarely shows inner emotions (pretty much:) )
  • Remains calm in situations of pressure (I can do this even if I’m freaking out internally)
  • Works independently without disclosing insider process (I like brainstorming and collaborating in a group but generally speaking I’m a lone ranger when it comes to how I work)
  • Subtle style makes every detail influential
  • Mystique is the language of LISTENING (LOVE this because I value my ability to listen well and be present with others)

With Power as my secondary trigger, I:

  • Enjoy leading projects and easily win buy-in with teams (I like to think this is true)
  • Direct individuals and groups with confidence and success (true story)
  • Set ambitious personal and professional goals (agreed)
  • Express opinions and makes complex decisions with unwavering conviction (yeah I don’t have any issues making my opinions known:) )
  • Confront potential problems or obstacles immediately and decisively (I believe confrontation can be healthy when done right)
  • Lead naturally (pretty sure I came out of my mother’s womb telling the doctor what to do:) )
  • Power is the language of CONFIDENCE

I’ve taken a lot of these personality tests (INTJ on Meyer’s Briggs; Choleric/Melancholy on Personality Plus; D/C on DISC assessment) and they have told me a lot about how I see the world. They’ve helped me know and understand myself better. What I like about the Fascination Assessment is that it speaks to how the world sees me.  This allows me to maximize the natural strengths of my ARCHETYPE while being mindful of the liabilities that can get in the way of me effectively communicating with others. It’s nice to be able to see these things about myself on paper and be able to say that I agree, this is how I am.

I don’t believe in using these tests to box yourself into anything. Instead, I encourage the use of them as a way to understand yourself better so you can move more confidently toward the best version of you possible. I want you to be MORE of who you already are and this test is a tool that can help you on the road to being you.

If you haven’t already taken the test, click here to access it. Use the code BL-kedamak and you can take it for free. You have until July 25 so don’t wait, go find out your fascination advantage. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on tests like this. Do you find them useful or more a waste of time than anything else? Share in the comments below.

Project Fascination

Project FascinationThis isn’t about me. It’s about YOU.

It starts with YOU. It ends with YOU.

Intrigued yet?

Branding expert and leading authority on the science of fascination, Sally Hogshead, is launching her new book How the World Sees You this month.

To celebrate all of the new insights she’s learned over the past decade of research, she has started Project Fascination, with a goal to show 100,000 people how their personalities add value.

A friend shared this test with me and I was intrigued enough to take it. I’m all about people becoming the best version of themselves possible and this test can help in that process. It’s not another personality test. It has more to do with you discovering the ways you add value to the people around you. My results were spot on for who I am. I’ll share them in another post but for now I’d like to help Sally get the word out about her new book.

To do this, she’s given me a special code BL-kedamak to give the first 100 people who use it her Fascination Advantage® assessment for free! This has never been done before, and will only last until July 25!

And the best part is – they want this to be a chain reaction. So when you take the assessment using BL-kedamak, you’ll receive 100 assessments to share with your circle for free too!

So how do you take the assessment? Simple.

  1. Go to www.HowTheWorldSeesYou.com/You and use code BL-kedamak.
  2. Once you’ve taken the assessment, Sally’s team will load 100 assessments into your new account. Rinse and repeat.

That’s it. Now you’re ready to discover how your personality is custom built for certain situations, and which situations you should learn to avoid. And it only takes 5 minutes (you can even do it on your phone).

28 questions. 5 minutes. A whole new way to communicate.

Now, go ahead and take the test. Think of it as another tool in your tool chest of claiming the you, you were always meant to be. Just click here and you’re on your way. I’ll share my results in my next post. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your results so please share in the comments below.

Lost and Not Yet Found {Coffee for Your Heart}

Lose YourselfAs I often do, earlier this week I had my Pandora musical station playing in the background while I was working. I was barely paying attention to what was playing when these words floated into my consciousness. I checked in and discovered they were from the new Broadway version of the musical Aladdin. Of course they are! Lines like this one are why I love musicals so much. They will often have these lines that cause my breathe to catch in my throat.

These words, in particular, resonate so deeply with me. I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis since transitioning from my full-time job into the world of entrepreneurship. Add to that a strong sense that the Father is inviting me to explore some of the more ancient practices of my faith and I am in a space for which I have no road map to follow. I only know that I’m supposed to be here but where here is and more importantly where here will take me is completely unknown to me.

Feeling Lost

If I’m going to be truly honest, I feel a little lost right now. Not in a bad, “it’s scary and I want to run back home” way (although I have had those thoughts). More in an “I’m in really unfamiliar territory and though I know I’m supposed to be here, I still don’t know exactly where I am going”. I’m a planner and all these unknowns are a bit scary for me. I am confident in my skills, confident that I have what it takes to do this work well but as I step further and further down this road, I am having to craft a new definition of who I am.

I hear these words from the Aladdin musical and I breathe in a little bit of courage, able to rise to the challenge of CHOOSING to let myself get lost. CHOOSING to be at peace with all these unknowns. On purpose, CHOOSING to head into this adventure with no clear sense of what will come but staying open to the possibility of whatever might come. Because, as another line in the song reminds me “after a million miles or so we’ll [I’ll] find out who we are [I am]”.

Being Courageous

I love the idea of discovering new things about who I am; new things I’m capable of doing I never imagined doing; and experiencing things I never dreamed I would experience. Life is meant to be an adventure. I have one life, one wild and precious life, and I want to live that life to the fullest. If being lost for a little while is the path I have to take to unfold into my best self, then I’m willing to get lost; confident that in letting myself get lost, I’ll find out who I am.

You might be feeling lost today too. Maybe you are in a transition of some sort or maybe you’re at the start of something new and you can’t see the forest for the trees. I want to encourage you to see in this all the possibilities of what could come to you here. All the things you can learn and discover about yourself. I know feeling lost is scary but there is a promise in Isaiah that you can cling to help you hold onto your courage.

Whether you turn to the right or to the life, in your ear you will hear a voice behind you, saying “this is the way; walk in it” Isaiah 30:21 NIV  

So be strong and very courageous today my fellow lost traveler. We may be lost for awhile longer but after a million miles or so we just might find out we’re home.

From my heart to yours,

Makeda Holley-Gerth-Button-250x250This post is part of the Coffee for Your Heart link up with the lovely Holley Gerth, sharing a little bit of mid-week encouragement to help you get through the day.

Giving Myself Permission

Giving PermissionAs I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m in the middle of a new adventure in my life as I’m starting my own business. My new business will be mostly online since it will be more service based than product based. I knew starting this business would require a lot of me but I really had no idea all that would be involved. It is an enormous undertaking but one that, in all honesty, I am truly enjoying. Now anyway.

Initially I was getting completely overwhelmed. I’m connected with several small business groups, including some geared specifically for coaches which is one of the services I offer. There are so many “experts” out there, each with their own list of “rules” on how to get started. I was getting overwhelmed by everything I was being told I “had” to do if I was going to get started the “right” way and be successful. I was shutting down and getting nowhere.

Then last weekend as I was journaling I decided to SOPE the experts. I decided to give myself permission to do this my way. To honor what feels most right and most true in my heart and trust that God will orchestrate the details as He sees best. I even put a sticky note up on desk with a reminder of this permission. I get to do this my way.

The next day I read this post and the idea of letting go of the outcome really stuck with me. I realized that by trying to following the experts and their rules, I was ultimately trying to control the outcome. “They” said if I followed these specific steps then I will grow my business and be successful. The desire to be successful is not a bad one. But if I truly believe that the Father is leading me in this journey – and I do – then the outcome is up to Him. I just need to show up, do my part and trust Him for the rest. This isn’t permission to be lazy. It is, however, permission to decide that my journey to business ownership is going to be different than every other business owner out there and truth is that’s the way it should be.

The simple act of giving myself permission released something in me. As I let go of the need to control the outcome, my soul exhaled and in the space of all that tension and overwhelm came clarity and direction. I have made some really great progress this week in a number of key areas in my business. I feel clearer about how I want to offer my gifts to the world and I’ve been having a lot of fun this week.

Giving myself permission! It was such a simple act but it has made all the difference for me as I have worked this week. I feel like myself and that is the best feeling in the world!

Are there any areas where you need to give yourself permission? What would it feel like for you to let go of the outcome and trust the journey? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

P.S: I would love to have you tag along with me in my new adventure. Click here to sign up for my newsletter and I’ll keep you informed of all the happenings along the way.

Kindness and Redemption

This is the final post in my mini-series on the thread of redemption found in some of my favorite musicals. You can click here to read how it all started and here and here to read the other posts in this series. I’ve saved the best for last. Well maybe not but more than the other two the theme of redemption is easy to see in this musical.

les-miserablesI first saw Les Miserables on Broadway when I was in High School. Growing up in NYC, and being a lover of musicals, I saw my fair share of shows on Broadway. But watching Les Mis captured my heart and soul in ways I have never been able to fully articulate. It remains my all-time favorite stage musical. I have seen it more times than I can count and know the lines of every single song yet I STILL weep whenever I watch (I wept writing this post). The music is that powerful and the story that moving.

You Are NOT Just A Number

In the opening number Javert refers to Valjean simply by his prisoner number, 24601. Valjean responds by giving his full name but throughout the movie Javert sees him only as a number. He never sees the person behind the number. Valjean rightly states, a little later in the musical, that they gave him “a number and murdered Valjean”.

It’s easy to relegate someone to just a number. What size clothes does she wear? How much money does he make? We give someone a number and then judge them based on that number. But when we do, we miss out on everything about who someone truly is. The essence of a person is lost when they become nothing more than a number.

To the mom who can’t lose the weight she gained bringing life into this world, you are NOT the number on that scale. To the dad working too many long hours, missing the best parts of his children’s lives, you are MORE THAN the size of your bank account.

Society does a hell of a job trying to convince us to measure our worth by things external to us. My challenge is that you stand up to that notion and realize that your worth cannot be found in a smaller dress size, a bigger bank account or a larger house. You are of intrinsic worth and value and nothing can or should take that away from you. You are NOT just a number

One Simple Act of Kindness

A beat down, worn out Valjean is shown kindness by a priest, who invites him into his home, feeds him a hot meal and offers him a warm place to sleep. To repay his kindness, Valjean steals from the priest. When he is caught, however, the priest tells the police that he gave the silver to Valjean. He then tells Valjean he must “use this silver to become an honest man”. Something of the hardness in Valjean breaks at the kindness of this old man and he decides to change his life.

Years later, after assuming a new identity, Valjean learns that another man is set to go to prison after being mistaken for him. He remembers the priest, remembers that “his soul belongs to God” and he reveals the truth of who he really is, despite knowing it will send him back to prison.

The kindness of the priest rescued Valjean from the life of bitterness and misery he was heading down. His life was redeemed by this one simple act of kindness and the ripple effect of his life’s transformation is seen in many of the main characters. Fantine dying in a hospital instead of on the streets. Cosette growing up knowing she is loved and not unwanted. Marius not perishing with the rest of his friends. Valjean’s redeemed life, redeems the lives of so many others in the story.

Kindness and Redemption

Kindness begets kindness. Redemption begets redemption. We can never repay the supreme act of kindness shown to us by Christ on the cross. He does not ask us to repay Him. Instead, He asks that we love our neighbors as ourselves, give a cup of water to one who is thirsty and even share our bread with our enemy. His kindness to us should beget in us kindness to others, including kindness to ourselves. May we, like Valjean, be so humbled by Another’s act of kindness, our only response is to do the same for others.

From my heart to yours,

Makeda

I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts on redemption. I’d love to hear where, in your life, have you found unexpected stories of redemption?

Holley-Gerth-Button-250x250Linking this post with Holley’s Coffee for Your Heart series.

Love and Redemption

I’m continuing my mini-series on the thread of redemption found in some of my favorite musicals. You can click here and here to read the other posts in this series.

Next up is The Sound of Music. As a child I wore out our VCR copy, later I owned the DVD version and now I have the Blu-Ray. I also may or may not keep a digital copy on my iPad for those days when I need to get into my happy place:) Here are some lessons learned from this wonderful movie:

sound-of-musicBe Who You Are

I love the character of Maria. Despite the nuns desperately trying to figure out how to “solve a problem like Maria”, she naturally refuses to be “fixed”. She just is who she is. When she gets to the Captain’s house, he quickly realizes she is a handful and asks her if she was this much trouble at the Abbey. She answers “oh much more”. Isn’t that just fabulous?!:)

There will always be people in your world who think you need fixing. They want you to be who they think you should be and they invent all these “rules” you have to follow. Sometimes that’s okay. It’s good to follow the rules when they keep you out of harm’s way but when the rules start wounding your soul, when they start harming your essence that’s when it becomes a problem. That’s when you need to stand up and say, this is who I am, warts and all. The people who love you and support you won’t care and the people who do care and can’t accept you don’t deserve a space in your tribe.

Sometimes Love Comes Softly

They hardly know it is happening but slowly Maria and the Captain fall in love. My absolute favorite scene in this movie is of them dancing The Laendler. It is at the end of the dance that we see their love for each other, even if they haven’t yet figured it out.

I think sometimes we have a misconception about love. We think love is real only if it is filled with goosebumps, fireworks and all the superficial things romantic comedies lead us to believe is love. But real love, the kind of love that lasts for decades, sometimes that kind of love sneaks up on you at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected places.

I think the Father’s love is like that too. Sure there are moments when you stand in a church service and you weep because you feel His presence so strongly. But I believe the Father’s love is most present in the breathtaking stars of a clear summer night and in the kaleidoscope of colors in the sunset. His love is on display in the beauty of the Redwood trees, the majesty of the eagle soaring in the sky and the beauty of the Monarch butterflies in flight. Those are the moments when His love whispers softly and we stand in awe of what we are beholding as something deep within us stirs. That stirring is our heart remembering home and without fully understanding why, we exhale and relax into into the beauty of His love. Click here to see what I mean.

Letting Go of What’s Familiar

The Sound of Music is set amidst the backdrop of the Nazi take over of Austria. Captain von Trapp is ordered to join the German Navy, something he is unwilling to do but refusing them is not an option. He decides, instead, to take his family and leave Austria and everything they have known behind because it is the only right choice.

Sometimes doing what’s right, means letting go of what’s familiar. A job, a relationship, a friendship might have been right at one time but now it no longer fits and the only right thing to do is walk away. Walking away is never easy but if you can remember that in every The End is the promise of a Once Upon A Time, then maybe you can embrace the courage to let go and step into something more honest and right for you.

Love Redeems

It’s easy to see how Maria’s love rescued the von Trapp family from the life of sterility and order they lived. But she was also rescued by their love. She was headed to a life that was not right for her, a life that felt like what she “should” do but not what she really wanted to do. That’s the way of love, it rescues and redeems our stories from what we think they “should be” to what has been Divinely meant to be. That’s the way of the Father’s Love. As we embrace who we are, stay open to love, and let go of what’s not right, He WILL write an amazing story of redemption with our lives. That’s just how He rolls:)