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Harris in the House!

by Wendy Gladney on 11/23/20

This Thanksgiving, as families figure out how they can come together to give thanks and celebrate another holiday, we are faced with the horrors of the pandemic; where some families will have an empty seat (literally or virtually) at their tables.  We also have an administration that is set on holding back the transition process for the new President-elect and Vice President-elect. Even with all of the tactics the Trump administration has tried to do, we have a strong woman by the name of Kamala Harris that will occupy the White House as the first woman and the first person of color to hold the office of Vice President. She will not only stand with President Biden-elect to help rebuild our nation, but she will also bring a new flavor to the White House as a woman of color.

Several years ago, when I was an event planner and Ms. Harris was the Attorney General for the State of California, I had the pleasure of meeting her.  When she walked into the room her smile was simply radiant and you knew she was special and destined for more.  My maiden name is Harris, so I also felt a connection to her even though we are not biologically related.  I was proud that a woman with the same last name as my paternal family was making a difference.  Furthermore, I also learned that we are “sisters” as we are both proud members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  There is no doubt in my mind that she will represent all of us well.

When Ms. Harris is sworn in, she will be known as Madam Vice President and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will be known as the Second Gentleman. Together they will break new barriers and set new protocol terms for this nation and our democracy. America has a history of breaking with tradition, dating back to our founding fathers who left Europe for a new life. The Biden-Harris families have built a strong personal and working relationship that will help them fulfill the goal of restoring honor and normalcy to our nation. Together they will rebuild unity among the people of our country, as well as bring healing with the current pandemic and help our economy and unemployment crisis that is before us. 

The current state of America did not happen overnight, and it will not go away in the blink of an eye. However, a strong plan and having a strong woman on the team will make a difference.  Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter said, “A leader takes people where they want to go.  A great leader takes people where they do not necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” With the recent presidential race being close in some states, there are definitely some that will not willingly support the new administration. But Kamala not only has the strength to help the president, but she also has the leadership skills to move people forward. 

The mission for all Alpha Kappa Alpha Women is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women in order to improve their social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of  Service to All Mankind.”  While attending Howard University, Kamala pledged our beloved sorority, and she will continue to live out our tenets to serve all mankind to the best of her ability.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker. She can be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

Healing is a Process

by Wendy Gladney on 11/22/20

Healing is a process and for most of us it takes a while before we really get a grip on how to navigate through it successfully. The need for healing comes from a place where there has usually been an offense causing an open wound.  Depending on how deep the wound is will play a factor in the healing timeframe.  The deeper the wound the longer it will take to heal.  Secondly, we must identify where the hurt came from -- is it internal or external?  When it is internal (something that we caused) we have more control of the process. When it is external there are others involved in the process. Once we are clear about what we are dealing with and all of the parties involved, we can begin the path to recovery or healing.

America has gone through quite a bit over the past year.  We are all living with the reality of the COVID-19 global pandemic.  The fallout from this pandemic has caused social, economic, and emotional turmoil.  It will be years before we fully recover.  We have also experienced the civil unrest where people are fed up with racial injustices in our country.  Race relations, in some ways, have reached an all-time low and morale is suffering.  The current administration, under the leadership of Trump, has not done a good job to improve these problems. John Lewis taught us that it is time for us to lay down the heavy burden of hate. When we learn how to extend forgiveness and kindness towards others it allows us to live a life full of favor.  Joe Biden said, hate never goes away; it just hides until it is given oxygen and opportunity. Where there is lack of leadership chaos will abound. All of these situations have brought us to a place where we need forgiveness if we want to experience real healing.  The soul of America is in danger, but I believe there is hope and the process begins with each of us.

For over two decades I have spoken about the power of forgiveness and how it has the capability to heal us.  My experiences have taught me that forgiveness is a choice that contributes to the process of healing and it can become a lifestyle that we pass onto others.  As I shared in my opening paragraph, one thing that is critical for any path to healing is to understand the root of where it came from. As we enter the holidays and begin to close out this tumultuous year, many of us are tired, weary, and filled with emotions we do not know how to explain. There is a feeling of melancholy that resides in some of our hearts. This feeling can cause angst that leads to anger and bitterness that becomes a vicious cycle.  It is important to get a handle on negative emotions before they overtake us. This feeling may be the basis that needs forgiveness and healing. The holidays are a perfect time to begin the process of letting go of the past for a better future.

Nelson Mandela said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”  The same can be said about unforgiveness.  When we refuse to forgive others, in the end we are just hurting ourselves.  When we refuse to forgive ourselves, we only hurt ourselves even more.  When I coach people, I am often asked, “How do I even start the process?” It is easy; just begin. Or as Nike would say, Just do it!   It is a choice that each of us can make every day and if necessary, repeat again and again for as long as it takes.  If we want to experience a personal healing or healing for our nation, we must believe it is possible.  We must look towards the better good.  We may lose a few battles, but if we remember it is a process, then it is okay if we do not get everything immediately. Just keep your eye on the ball. Healing can be achieved.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker. She can be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

What Would Happen If?

by Wendy Gladney on 11/09/20

If anything is for sure this year has taught us is that nothing is certain.  Who would have ever thought we would experience the things we have gone through so far? From the election, natural disasters, fires, earthquakes, pandemics, closure of businesses and the loss of so many lives. It has been a year of challenges and disappointments. Recently I was out of town and my son contacted me to tell me that he and his family were forced to evacuate their house due to a fire and the Santa Ana winds.  He said, “Mom, don’t worry because I remember the conversations we had over the years and I am prepared.” I was so grateful, but I thought about all of the people I know who haven’t been prepared for disaster or death.

So many people get caught in situations where they are not prepared when life happens.  We all know about famous people like Chadwick Boseman, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Martin Luther King, Jr., Prince, Michael Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Howard Hughes, Tupac Shakur, Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse and so many more who died without a Will or Trust.  After their death, their families had to deal with the legal ramifications of holding onto everything they worked hard for during their lifetime.  But what about other situations that life can throw our way that do not necessarily include death?  Such as an earthquake, a fire or prolonged health situations.  Are you prepared?  Even though we push back from discussing such subjects, it is imperative that we have these important conversations with our loved ones.  I remember before I got married, my grandmother told me, “now after you get married handle your business and then put it in the drawer and then you do not have to worry about anything down the line.”  She was right.

Why is it so hard for so many of us to do what we know is best?  This could pertain to so many things in life.  I do not know if it is because we think we do not have enough assets to even worry about or if we just keep putting it off thinking we have time. Either way, I am here to tell you the time is now.  If anything is certain, time waits for no man and none of us know for sure what tomorrow holds.  The first thing I recommend is to take inventory of exactly what you do have (real estate, jewelry, art, family heirlooms, stocks, bonds, savings, retirement plans, medical records and anything else of value) then write it all down with the information necessary to put into your Will or Trust.  Secondly, think about other catastrophes such as a fire or earthquake and put the necessary items in place that you will need to get through that situation.  I also recommend that you have a designated person that each of your family members can check-in with to let each other know they are okay. This is real talk.

The answer to what would happen if, looks totally different when your affairs are in order than when they are not.  If you get married or divorced you will need to update your Will or Trust.  Regarding your emergency kit for your home or car, go through it from time to time to refresh it with new food, water and essentials.  Do not forget to stash some cash and break it up into small bills, change may not be easily provided when conducting business in such situations.  Also, keep your car filled with gas as much as possible, and never let it get under half a tank (I really urge this for women). It is better to be prepared and not need something than to need something and not be prepared. You or your family will thank you later.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

What Does Your Vote Mean?

by Wendy Gladney on 10/19/20

Plato said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” We are in countdown mode with less than two weeks before the election.  Some of us have already cast our vote, either in person where we stood in long lines, or we sent our ballots in by mail. For those that may still be on the fence regarding if you are going to vote, I am telling you it is not an option.  Too many people have fought, sacrificed, or even died for us to have the right to cast our vote.  It is imperative that each one of us does our research about the candidates and the issues that are before us right now. If you are not sure, I am here to tell you your vote means everything. 

I decided to take a personal look at how I view the importance of everyone’s vote, especially during this 2020 election.

V – is for letting your VOICE be heard.  For your voice to count it is essential that you do your research and understand what is at stake and how your vote will affect how you (and others) will live for possibly generations to come.  This goes for candidates and the various measures on the federal and local levels.

O – is for expressing your OPINION.  To express your opinion, you must have one.  Now is the time to be clear and understand what you believe and what are your core values.  If you are not sure spend some time searching your core and go back to your basics.  What is important to you?  What are you willing to live or die for? This will help guide your heart and mind to make the decision you feel is best.   

T – is for the TIME is now.  We are literally running out of time.  I think some of us fell asleep and have been on auto pilot and we think that everything will work itself out.  No. We must act now and do all that we can to help make a difference.  If we do not like the way things are, it is up to us to make a difference.  We must put our money, resources, time, and expertise to work right now.  Have you done your best to make a difference for this election?  If not, then pour yourself into whatever you can during these last few days before you look back and it is too late. 

E – is for EQUALITY.  It is sad that we are still fighting for equality for all Americans.  As I look at the injustices in our society, it saddens me that a white man can walk down the street with a gun in his hand after killing someone, while an unarmed Black man (or woman) can be killed while sleeping in their own bed. It also saddens me that even still, some Americans do not see the inequality that persists today.  Equality is also on the ballot if we want to achieve a better society.

No matter what your political affiliation, the time is now. You must let your voice be heard and express your opinion by casting your vote.  America is crying out for equality and justice for all.  Do not stand on the sidelines.  George Jean Nathan shared, “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”  We need everyone to show up and be heard.  The future of our children and grandchildren depends on the choices we make today. 

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

Do You Help People Feel Heard?

by Wendy Gladney on 10/12/20

Maya Angelou is famous for saying, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Today so many people are hurting and they have a real need to feel heard.  They need more than just someone who will listen; they also need someone who will really hear what they are saying and has a heart to care. People from all walks of life are suffering in silence and they feel as if they have nowhere to go or nobody to turn to.  There is an uncertainty in the air due to the issues we all have faced this year and some of us are struggling with how to express our feelings.  We are afraid that we will be judged and misunderstood. 

I have talked to friends, clients and even family members who are struggling with some level of trepidation about their future.  Between COVID-19, financial struggles and now with the election staring us in the face, it causes some of us to have feelings of desperation about our future. People who have, in the past, done a good job of holding things together are now facing the future with uncertainty. Of course, not everyone is struggling at the same degree; but pretty much everyone I have talked to is dealing with some sort of issue and they just want to feel as if they are being heard.  People oftentimes do not feel comfortable opening up and exposing their true feelings because they are not sure about the repercussions they may face once they get on the other side of whatever they are dealing with.  Vulnerability is a difficult emotion to share whether it is with friends or strangers.

What I have learned as I continue to make myself available to others is that first we must practice active listening.  Let the person know they matter and that no matter what they are going through, it is not trivial and that you genuinely care.  What may be a mountain to one person may be a molehill to another, but either way it is a barrier in that person’s life and it is causing them some level of angst. When someone trusts us enough to share what they are facing, we should try and make them feel safe and comfortable.  A good barometer or measuring stick would be how you would want someone to make you feel if you were going through the same situation.  What are some key signs you would look for that would make you feel safe and that they hear you? 

This year has caused me to reflect on the things that are really important.  On the top of my list is the importance of investing in others.  Yes, there are other things that are important like building our careers, philanthropy, and a host of other things, but when all is said and done, what will really be remembered are the lives we have touched and how we have made them feel.  When we leave this earth, we cannot take any of our earthly possessions with us, but we can leave behind a rich legacy of helping others to believe in themselves that will have an effect on future generations long after we are gone.  I have learned that patience is a virtue that can help us achieve this goal.  So, the next time someone approaches you and they need a little help, slow down, take a pause and just listen with all your heart.  Sometimes they do not even need any advice, just someone who will listen and let them know they care. I guarantee you they will feel heard.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.