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What Lies Beneath the Surface in Your Life?

by Wendy Gladney on 12/05/19

Recently my pastor was preaching a sermon on character.  As I listened to his sermon, and then reviewed my notes, I stopped and did my own self-reflection. The basis of his message focused on who we are when no one is looking. At the end of the day, are you a person of integrity or are you easily swayed by popular opinion?  Another way to think of this is to examine an iceberg.  Most icebergs only show approximately 10% of what they are made of and the remaining 90% lies below the surface of the water. People can also be like an iceberg where we only see 10% of who they really are and 90% is hidden.

During his sermon, Pastor Diego talked about the tragic situation with the Titanic and how it went down in 1912 after hitting an iceberg.  Information has come forth that shows there were several warnings sent to the ship that icebergs were ahead, but they were either ignored or not taken seriously. By the time the crew acknowledged the iceberg was ahead, it was too late to act.  Oftentimes things that are below the surface are ignored or not taken seriously until it is too late.  What lies below the surface can sink our lives. What warnings do you have in your life that show you are not quite on course?

When discussing this subject, we must look at the difference between one’s character versus reputation.  What is character? It is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. Is your character strong and of good quality or is it not so positive?  What about your reputation? One’s reputation is the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about them. Some say one’s character is who they really are (including under the surface), whereas our reputation is more about what we want people to think and what we are willing to show them.

I believe we should aim to have our character and reputation in sync with one another.  When you are truly the same behind closed doors as you are in the public arena it means you are trustworthy, you walk with integrity and basically try to live an honest life.  Ask yourself: is it easy for you to tell the truth about something, even when it is not in your best interest to do so? Are you able to forgive others even when you prefer to hold onto a grudge? What is inside of us will ultimately determine our lives and the choices we make. What is beneath the surface will eventually be revealed.

There are things we can do and practice that can help us align our character and reputation. It is important for us to practice self-discipline.  Practicing self-discipline is a good practice for everything in our lives.  Self-discipline requires that we do what is right and what must be done; oftentimes, over what we may feel we would like to do.  We must also learn to be committed to our core values and convictions. We must be clear on what we won’t bend or flex on that could cause us to make conflicting decisions.

As I’ve shared in other articles I’ve written, much of our lives boil down to the choices we make. The earlier we can establish what we stand for will help us to build our character. Ultimately, we must be true to ourselves.  It has been said we can lie to others, but we can’t lie to ourselves.  Frederick Douglass said, I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”

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

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. 

Do You Have an Attitude of Gratitude During This Season?

by Wendy Gladney on 11/25/19

When I teach about forgiveness, step number six (of my 10 steps) talks about the importance of embracing an “attitude of gratitude.”  This Thanksgiving, as we gather amongst family and friends, let’s be grateful for all our blessings as we also try to be a blessing to others; especially the less fortunate.  Thanksgiving represents the “kick-off” of the holiday season, where people look forward to celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe to just name a few.  How will you show your gratitude for all the wonderful people, places and things that are a part of your life?

I know for some, this past year may have had its share of trials and tribulations and I understand.  Although I live a very open and public life that shows a lot of joy, I too experience things that are not so positive and I am sensitive to the hurts and pains of others. One of the lessons I’ve learned is that no matter what we may go through there’s always someone else that has had it a little harder.  As long as we are above ground, we have another opportunity to make things better and improve our lot in life.  Our attitude plays a big role on our outlook and ultimately our outcome in life.

When you look at a glass, do you see it as half full or half empty?  When you awake in the morning is your attitude, “Good Morning God” or, “Good God; it’s Morning”? Remember, our perspective and how we internalize and think about things makes a difference.  Thoughts become actions. Before we can ever put our hands to doing anything, we must first think about it and visualize it.  Therefore, we must have an attitude of gratitude throughout our lifetime if we expect to see the brighter side of things.  

I believe our attitude is our choice.  If I am working on trying to improve my attitude, one of the things I do is make a list of all my blessings and all of the things I am grateful for.  The more I focus on the things I have to be grateful for, the less I have time to focus on the negatives or the things that may not be going as I would hope. My perspective begins to change and instead of feeling down I can smile.  Another thing I’ve learned over time is when I am a little down and having a hard time, I begin to help others more.  The more we help others, the less time we have to focus on ourselves. 

I would like to encourage all of us to pause before we get caught up in the throes of the holidays to practice kindness to all mankind.  Remember humanity is fragile and it is incumbent upon all of us to do our share of uplifting others along the way.  This is the perfect time to try and be less interesting and more interested in the lives of others.  Go out of your way to help someone that could use a little help from what you have to offer. I guarantee you will feel better and be grateful for the blessings in your life.

William Arthur Ward shared; “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” Let’s all be the change this season by having an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving.  Let’s take the focus off ourselves and turn our face to helping someone in need.  Helping others always makes me grateful.  Happy Thanksgiving!  

 

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

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. 

The Karman Line

by Wendy Gladney on 11/19/19

I recently watched a show on television where a man had to make a critical decision regarding the health of his wife.  His wife had studied and prepared her entire life for the opportunity to go into space as an astronaut.  She was experiencing some dizziness and when rushed to the hospital she was told that she may have a specific disease that could impede her from ever going into space because it affected her equilibrium. The doctor went on to share that there was a procedure they could perform that could possibly heal her, but he could not guarantee it.  The wife wanted the surgery, but her husband was against it because it had possible negative effects. However, when he looked into his wife’s eyes and saw her determination, he knew he had to surrender.  He went on to say he loved her to the Karman Line.

When I heard him say this it really intrigued me.  I had never heard that phrase.  I immediately went to look it up and the definition says, the Karman line is a boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.  Once you cross the Karman line you are in another space.  The husband in the show went on to share that he had to let her do what her heart always aimed for, even if it meant that she would leave him behind.  That’s some pretty deep stuff.  I started to wonder if I ever loved someone to the point where I was willing to help them reach their “Karman Line” and help them achieve what they always dreamed of – even if it meant leaving me behind.

I think as a mother, that is easy to say about our children (or grandchildren) because we want them to succeed and reach their highest potential. But what about our significant other or spouse?  After all, the whole purpose people get married is to be together and to hopefully live out their lives together while they are here on this earth.  Who, ever, thinks about marrying someone with the understanding that if you outgrow me or if you must leave me to achieve your goals, I love you enough to let you go?  Is this true love?  I don’t have an answer for this question, but it sounds very self-sacrificing. I’m sure there are examples of this kind of love, though I’ve never personally known anyone to exhibit this firsthand.

If we take this scenario to another level, my question would be: what are you willing to sacrifice in your own life to become your best self?  What do you need to do to reach your Karman Line?  Regina King recently said, “comfort zones are where dreams go to die.” Oftentimes we do what we must do in order to survive or reach a certain level. But if we get uncomfortable, we often give up or don’t push ourselves to the point of truly achieving our best; myself included.  As I really think this through, I also ask myself how can we achieve the perfect balance of reaching our goals and yet still be there for our friends, family and community?  That’s a question I think each person must answer for themselves.

At the end of the day, I think we all have a calling on our lives.  Some may be bolder than others, but none are more important than another.  We all need each other to live in this world and we all depend on each other in one form or another.  As I continue to get older and I look back over my life, I want to know that I always tried to do the best I could with what I had to work with at any given time. That I tried to help others along the way. That I learned lessons from the journey. That I loved and was loved in return.  For in so doing, then I feel I will have reached my Karman Line.

 

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

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. 

Life is a Journey Full of Lessons

by Wendy Gladney on 11/11/19

Why does it take so many of us a lifetime to understand that we are all on a journey made up of some good days and some bad days?  Life is not about one specific destination; but rather, a series of decisions we make along the way.  When we are young, we run around chasing “this thing” and “that thing,” not really understanding what it means to be still and discern what is important and what will lead us to our true calling.  We don’t take the time to discover the gifts we were born with that will allow us to live out our true meaning and purpose.  What I’ve come to learn is that even with all the twists and turns we make in life; we can still do the great things we were meant to do if we learn the lessons along the way.

As I reflect on my almost six decades on this earth, I feel that I’ve made some pretty good decisions.  However, I can’t help but also look at the times when I went right when going left would have been a better choice. But instead of focusing on the wrong turns I’ve made; I try to see what lessons I have learned on this path I’ve chosen and if I can possibly help someone else on their journey from those lessons.  Instead of beating myself up and feeling bad, I’ve tried to remember that I am a child of God and that He has a purpose for my life if I am willing to stop and learn the lesson at every turn.

I’ve had people tell me they appreciate the fact that I am pretty much an open book.  I’ve shared so many of my highs and lows in the hopes of encouraging others that no matter what you may have been through there’s always tomorrow and tomorrow can be a better day.  I think it is important to share what has gone well and not so well because people need to know that every day may not be perfect but if we hold on and not give up, what once was a test can become a testimony.  We live in time when we compare ourselves with false images that live behind a veil, showing only what they want others to see.  That’s not reality.

One of the areas I’ve struggled with is having a successful marriage.  I’ve been married three times and as a Christian woman I felt like a failure with each divorce. But I must say I’ve learned a lesson or two on where I went wrong.  I’ve even had someone say to me that they couldn’t come to me for marriage advice because I’ve been divorced.  Although I would never force my advice on anyone about anything, one thing that I can say about marriage is that although I may currently be single, I’ve not given up on the hope of true love and living out my remaining days with the person God has for me. My life lessons in this area have taught me to be still and wait on God. Make sure you take time to know someone and that you are equally yoked. 

What areas in your life do you struggle with that may cause you to feel like a failure or want to give up?  For some it may be losing weight or finding that ideal job or mending that broken relationship.  Whatever it may be, don’t let anyone tell you you’re a failure.  Learn the lesson that is associated with whatever trial you may be experiencing.  Just like the race between the tortoise and the hare, the race is not won by someone who may be swift, but rather to the one that never gives up and endures to the end.  As my grandmother would say, just keep lying down and getting up and life will bring you a trial that you will have to learn to overcome.  Be slow to pass judgment on others and remember, when we point our finger at someone there’s three pointing back at us.  Take the time to learn life’s lessons and your journey can turn out beautiful.

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

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. 

Fear of Missing Out

by Wendy Gladney on 11/04/19

Have you ever felt overwhelmed?  Where you have way too much on your plate and no idea how to get it all done?  I’ve been there many times over the span of my life.  One of the things I’ve learned is that it is better to take on less and accomplish more than to feel like you must conquer the whole world.  Oftentimes when we feel overwhelmed it is because we have taken on more than we can handle, we don’t have enough time, or we haven’t properly prepared. Most people have what’s called “FOMO” (fear of missing out). They feel they must do more so they can stay in the mix; so they don’t miss anything.  But I believe that whatever God has for you, no one can take from you.

Over the course of my life, I have come to understand that I don’t have to try and go to or do everything in order to have a wonderful, purposeful and beautiful life. The question is, are you comfortable in your own skin? When we begin to feel good about who we are and what we do, it’s amazing how other things begin to fall in place.  We begin to display a confidence that is contagious and complimentary and can even help others feel comfortable in their own skin.  When I moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA over four decades ago, I attended Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church. At that time the pastor was Dr. E.V. Hill and he used to always say, “If you can, don’t lie. If you can’t, don’t try.” That piece of advice has served me well over the years.

I think part of the problem some people face is trying to keep up with what they see on social, and other forms of, media.  What’s wrong with this is that oftentimes what we see on social media has been filtered and altered to fit the image that individuals want the world to see.  I think originally, social media was meant to just keep in touch with friends and family and share a few things going on in our worlds.  Now, people have turned social media into a personal marketing machine.  There’s nothing wrong with using social media to advance one’s career, but like the saying goes, “believe half of what you see and even less of what you hear.” Don’t compare your life with what is behind a veil or filtered through a lens.

Running an event management company and a nonprofit for over a quarter of a century, I’ve spent most of my life in the public working with and serving the community.  I enjoy what I do, and I’ve had my share of the paparazzi and red carpets, but what I’ve come to enjoy more than anything are quiet days at home enjoying my family (especially my grandbabies) and traveling taking in God’s beautiful world.  When I do attend activities in the community and special events, I enjoy them and support them any way I can, but if for some reason I can’t attend something it is okay.  I would hope my “presence” is felt even when I’m absent. When we live our best life and our true self you don’t have to worry about missing out.

The easiest way to not get caught up in FOMO is to focus on making your life the best it can be.  Focus on being the best you can be.  Learn to love yourself, warts and all.  It’s okay if we look to others for encouragement or guidance, but it’s best to be an original you versus an imitation of someone else.  Even when you don’t feel it, we were all made on purpose and for a purpose.  Spend more time working on  yourself  and then you will be able to give to the world what God meant for you to do.

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

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker.