When I grow up, I want to be...

I have never considered myself “wise.”  

Smart - sometimes - but wise? Not usually.  There’s wisdom that comes from spending a certain number of years on the planet… being a mother… being married 24 years (25, next May!)... experiencing grief and loss… and I can recognize where I’ve grown.  Overall, though, there are plenty of women I would consider wise, and I don’t usually include myself in that category.

Now, before you call me out for “negative self talk”… I’ll bet you’re in the same boat.  

I’ve shared that Intentional Optimism is loosely based on Proverbs 31:10-31 - where we find a description of a fascinating, strong, competent, well-rounded and worldly wise woman, who is so confident in her place that she literally “laughs at the days to come” (v.25). In case you aren’t familiar with the book in the Bible called Proverbs, it’s what we call Wisdom Literature.  Much of it is written by King Solomon - generally known as “the wisest person - ever.”  

One of the things I like about this lady in Proverbs 31, is that her wisdom is so well-rounded.  She understands business & economics, parenting & relationships, social etiquette and politics - people listen to her. 

She’s who I want to be when I grow up. 

I feel like growing up is taking me a really long time… So, rather than telling you the things I think are important… let me share the aspects of her wisdom I want to imitate. 

 

  • Seek understanding - King Solomon said “Get understanding” - this is an active pursuit. Understanding rarely just drops in on your doorstep. You have to be willing to let go of some of your own ideas in order to be able to understand others and their ideas.
  • Drill down - There is always a “why” underlying the surface. Look for the spiritual in the everyday, in order to comprehend the greater meaning.  As trite as it sounds, it really may not be about “you.”
  • Recognize reality - It can be tough seeing all the “things”... the good and the bad.  In order to promote unity and community, though, you have to know what those things are.  
  • Be willing to see all the sides - Give yourself the gift of panoramic vision. It will help you to understand, and others will feel seen.   
  • Choose your words wisely - How effective is your filter? Is there a verbal habit you need to curtail? Or maybe one you need to begin? I try to visualize a “thought bubble” and a “speech bubble” - like in a comic strip.  The words in the thought bubble don’t always need to see the light of day.
  • Practice care when you speak - Words actually DO hurt people. That bit about sticks and stones - it’s rubbish. I can dodge a stick. If words hurt you, they will hurt others.  Be careful.
  • Speak words worth listening to - E.F. Hutton… everyone listened, right?  Are you sharing things worth listening to? They don’t need to be philosophical monuments. Share things that are important to you and matter to others.
  • Edify freely - Use your words to lift others up, pointing them to life and joy. I know I beat this drum a lot, but that’s because it’s so important. 
  • Promote respect - Sometimes it really is better to be kind than right. When we wisely respect others, their opinions, experience, skills - we open doors to communication.  Others will, in turn, respect you for it. 
  • Model and mentor - Demonstrate, through words and actions, how to live wisely, with respect for others. Seize every opportunity to lead by example, and build communities of respect.
  • Understand boundaries - You must understand where others end and you begin, and those boundaries need to be clear.  Everyone needs the space to be themselves. 
  • Earn it - The only way to gain wisdom and the respect of others, is through diligent, consistent practice.  Decide, and set your intention. This one rarely comes quickly. It’s the long game, but it’s worth it.  

 How will you grow in wisdom?  Head over to my to my Facebook page and let me know - we can encourage each other! 

Let’s laugh at the days to come!!

~ Andrea

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There are events in life that define our journey. Once they happen, we begin describing everything else as “before X” or “after X”. For me,it was the day my mother died. Suddenly, I became aware of my own limited timeline. The drive to find my voice, purpose and place became urgent. I dove in, head first, and discovered the desire to help myself fueled a greater desire - to help others. Soon, I stopped defining myself in terms  of roles (wife, mother, manager),  but in terms of qualities: curious, determined, happy, adventurous. I've come to understand, that the qualities that make us who we are, are what we must celebrate. We each have a special purpose, unique perspective, and unlimited potential. Better yet, we can both discover and develop them.   

I do this through speaking, training, coaching and writing -  with a focus on helping women grow into the leaders they truly are. Intentional Optimism is my philosophy of life, and includes these five pillars:

          Optimistic - Hopeful, Positive Proactive

          Present - Seeking Wonder, Generous, Kind

          Courageous – Leading Others, Adventurous, Resilient

          Energetic - Industrious, Excitement, Life-focused

          Wise - In Respect, Words and having Understanding

          Intentional - Purposeful, Planning, Growth Mindset

I'm building a global community of women helping women. A place where we foster leadership from every stage or position in life. A place where we celebrate wonder; move forward with hope and openness; share wisdom and encouragement; offer each other a helping hand; ask freely, and share lavishly; and celebrate our differences as avenues of growth and expansion.

Let’s  change our understanding of what it means to work, provide for our families, have financial stability, and be a leader in the community. Life is an adventure - let's live it to the fullest!  

It’s time to laugh at the days to come! - Prov. 31:25

Won’t you join me on the journey?