Bend Without Breaking ✯

Bend Without Breaking ✯

By Denise Kennedy

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“What doesn’t bend…breaks.”

– Ani Difranco

It is so important that we do not let our failures break us, but that we choose to bend with the storms life sends us, and find a greater strength than before. Yes, these are easy words to write, but I can safely say I am doing this very thing myself.

I feel motivated by the deep emotion shown by the 2016 Olympians. Their enthusiasm and dedication has awakened a new desire in me to overcome obstacles and hindrances in my own life. How we handle defeat reveals more about our character than how we handle success. I am so moved by some of the Olympians who gave their very best, but were unsuccessful in winning a medal. Today they make their journeys home and try to pick up the pieces that disappointment and loss have dealt them. I want to tell them that they are champions too, whether they wear a medal around their courageous necks or not.

One such Olympian quoted the following:

The only thing I ever wanted was to compete in the Olympics.”

(Syria’s Yusra Mardini, representing the Games’ first ever refugee team, after winning her 100m butterfly heat.)

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I want to say to these amazing Olympians that you can bend without breaking; that what you’re waiting for could be just around the bend…if you can choose not to let the challenges drive you around the bend or lose your mind in the process.

For so many Olympians like the horse jumping champion Nick Skelton, taking part in the 2016 Olympics was a matter of great courage. The veteran British Olympian, aged 58, who quit the sport in 2000 after breaking his neck in two places, vowed: “I am not going to stop now.” Nick Skelton, riding Big Star, won a dramatic six-rider jump-off to claim GB’s first show jumping gold to become the oldest winner of an equestrian event.

Imagine what Skelton would have missed had he given up in 2000, or allowed the fear of ever recovering from a broken neck govern his future. His horse, perfectly named Big Star, had almost been put into retirement too, but Nick Skelton believed that they could come to Rio and win. To even have the opportunity to be an Olympian was a huge achievement for both rider and horse alike. If he had allowed a broken neck to literally break him, his future would not hold the amazing gold medal achievement he enjoys today.

But Nick is a winner, even if he had not won gold. Each Olympian is a winner simply because they overcome so many tough and challenging circumstances in order to compete. There are so many motivational stories being shared every day about the obstacles and personal health setbacks that many overcome in order to finally be in Rio. I am sure a book could be written with all their moving and exhilarating accomplishments. To me, it is one of the reasons I found myself glued to the televised overage each night.

“When life’s strong winds come blowing, bend with them and let go. By bending, you will become stronger in new places. By letting go, you will be making room for the new and the better.”

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You are all amazing individuals; you have chosen to bend, but not to break. How you choose to handle your defeats speaks volumes to the world waiting to see strength overcome weakness. Well done! I applaud you because you move me to keep persevering and bend with the storms of life.

The 2016 Olympics have ended, and as I watch the energy of the closing ceremony, I want to awaken a desire in us to overcome the obstacles that try to break us. Make a decision now, that by the time the 2020 Olympics start, you will be able to look back and see how very much stronger you have grown!

Start now…I am.

Denise  ✯

Your PB ✪

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Welcome to my latest blog piece for the Irish Academy of Public Relations…

What is your PB? (And no, I don’t mean peanut butter…) =) If you have been gripped by the exciting moments of triumph and devastation that the Olympics bring, then you will know that PB means ‘Personal Best’, and it is usually the absolute desire of every athlete to beat their previous PB record, and win an Olympic gold medal on the way.

Every time I have watched these amazingly well trained Olympians champion their course I am reminded of my own PB, in various areas of my life. When I wake up in the morning I am learning to remind myself that today is a new day to challenge my personal best. I can always try to improve on the choices I made yesterday and give my absolute best in all I endeavour to do.

Michael Phelps has astonished all who have been watching his journey. He has come back from great challenges and a retirement, to win more medals than he even believed he could himself.

Michael’s 200m butterfly gold medal made him the oldest swimmer to win an individual Olympic title at 31 years of age. He has earned the title, ‘GOAT’ – ‘the greatest of all time’, and quite frankly he is a medal machine! As I watched him shed a tear as he held his new three month old son, my eyes filled with tears with him. It felt exhilarating to watch him kick his doubts, fears and physical challenges to the curb and go for gold. My blood raced with motivation and excitement as I watched the faces of the crowds who applauded him; I thought to myself how many of them have overcome their own PB challenges too, and are living testimonies to the same courage we see in Michael Phelps?

Your PB may only matter to you…there may never be a gold medal placed around your neck, but that does not diminish the innate value in giving your best. You can award yourself every day; every time you overcome a challenge or advance towards something you dearly want.

It starts now…read more here

Time To Trade Up ⇅

Time To Trade Up ⇅

by Denise Kennedy

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“Be careful that you do not create what you fear.”  – These are pretty powerful words aren’t they? They stopped me in my tracks today. They arrested my attention and commanded my analysis and response.

What are we afraid of? What keeps you awake at night, feeling afraid or overwhelmed? Write it down right now…clearly, boldly and honestly. Okay…now on the same piece of paper I want you to write down any behaviour that you are currently endorsing in your life that in anyway contributes to these fears coming to pass in your life. Is there something you are doing, or not doing, that will help these feared circumstances actually becoming your very real reality?

It is time to trade up…it is time to trade in your fears, change your behaviours and dramatically change the course your life is on. In order to have the life you dream of you must be all in, there is no halfway commitment to what is required.

You are amazing. You have capabilities beyond what you can even believe. You have strengths and competencies that make you the valuable and precious person you are. If there is a chance that this short little blog stirs you, then please act on it. Let August 1st, 2016, be the day the game changes. What is it you are losing to? What is taking you off track? What is more important to you right now than achieving the lifelong dreams you carry around in your heart every day? Begin to believe in the person you are, and in the potential you have.

I wrote these words for you today, as much as I need them myself too. Even the most successful people you know, need a gentle push in the right direction sometimes. So here it is, a gentle push from me. Make the changes, even if you are white-knuckle riding for a while. Decide on the destination you are dreaming of and make it happen. Your life will pass you by, so make it the kind of movie you want it to be.

I believe in you. It is time to trade-up. Trade in your fears and change the route you are on. You can do it. Let today be the game-changer, the day it all begins. Be careful that you do not create what you fear…don’t let self-sabotage ruin all the great possibility that you possess.

Let’s connect on Facebook

=) Denise

 

Be Unstoppable 👊

Be Unstoppable 👊

by Denise Kennedy

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I am currently reading the amazing book, The Unstoppable Golfer, by Dr. Bob Rotella. For those of you who are not golf lovers let me say that this book will help you gain a greater sense of control over your personal life and career objectives, not just your golf game. The psychology of golf can impact such areas of your life, as confidence, discipline, vision, and drive.

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One of my favourite quotes in the book is: “Every golfer has two opponents, the golf course and himself”, we all can relate to this truth.  As a business person or in your personal life, there are obstacles and challenges that seek to prevent you from achieving your destination. It matters greatly how you master these challenges; you must stand up on the inside before you will find the courage needed to meet the external challenges life throws at you.  Bob Rotella mentions the importance of playing your game with no fear, with true passion and a belief that you can do it.

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There are different beliefs in the golfing world about how much you should concentrate on your long or short game, and as I read the many theories on this idea, I was reminded that it is also true of the visions and plans I make regarding my own life. Do we have the right long-term goals for our lives? Does my present situation make it easy or difficult for these dreams to become my reality? If I identify obstacles in my way, then I must work and challenge myself to remove them. It is not easy to do, but what is right is not always easy.

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So today I encourage you to dig deep inside your heart and search through the myriads of choices, dreams and plans you are cultivating there; are they truly leading you to living an unstoppable life? Are you living other people’s dreams or are you genuinely excited about the person you are becoming?

What you do today, whether in your game of golf or your game of life, directly impacts the game you experience a year, or ten years from now.

Your short game influences your long game: make sure it is a game worth playing…

Let’s connect on Facebook

👊 Denise

Gentle Strength 🌸

Gentle Strength 🌸

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“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”

Saint Francis De Sales

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Gentle Strength – both words could be seen as complete opposites, but when blended together they produce one of the most beautiful character traits a person can display. I love strong people; they are trustworthy, reliable and confident. I also love gentle people; they are safe, approachable and usually deep. Both traits have their good points, but also have their weak spots too. Have you ever worked or shared office space with a strong person, who is controlling and manipulative? Strength is beautiful, but not when wielded and used to control others in hurtful ways. Gentleness is attractive, but not when the person becomes  overly apologetic, timid or passive, especially about important things.

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I think there is a beautiful balance in the marrying of these two character traits; a grand display of gentleness and strength working together. We become stronger when we know where we are weak, and there is a lot to be learned in being brave enough to search our hearts in order to face our fears. How we handle our career and personal lives in these areas will determine the kind of aroma we leave when people interact with us.

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How we handle defeat or victory also speaks volumes about the type of people we are; when we are victorious and pronounced the winner are we proud or gloating ? It is a strength to really know ourselves, and it is an even grander accomplishment to then deal with the things we see in our hearts that we are not proud of. Sometimes not winning all the time makes us even more attractive, if our response is humble and gentle.

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When I saw this image of this magnificently strong elephant with gentle butterfly wings, I was moved by the thought ‘Gentle Strength’, and the perfect balance those two traits are; but I was also reminded that it is a precious thing to listen (butterfly ears) with a gentle response. A gentle response turns away anger…  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” ( Proverbs 15)

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Be a strong person, but use your strength in a gentle way. Look at the areas in your life where you need to be stronger, or develop a backbone of steel. But it is also  beneficial to examine the areas in your behaviour where you need to allow gentleness to govern your responses and choices.

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Be brave enough to look inside, and really know yourself. What a wonderful world it would be to work, live and do life with people who choose ‘gentle strength’!

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Nisey K

Let’s connect on Facebook

Rethinking Someday

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Check out my latest blog post for The Irish Academy of Public Relations

Rethinking Someday

Sometimes it is not easy to put your fingers on these humble laptop keys, to try to communicate what it is that you want to share with the blogging world….and does anybody out there really read what you write or even care? I believe it is still worth the risk.

The following words motivated me to write today… ”I will get around to it someday”, I heard her say as she passed me by on her cell phone. A total stranger to me, yet our hearts were linked simply by the phrase she used.  We plan to do it, we plan to achieve so much but rarely make it a reality in our lives.

Read more… Rethinking Someday

Your Uniqueness Has Value

I’m delighted to be writing for The Irish Academy of Public Relations

Here is a reminder of just how valuable your uniqueness is! Have a look at this week’s blog…Your Uniqueness Has Value

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In this age of digital and personal development, many have thrown around the term USP, or otherwise known as your Unique Selling Point. Some folks find it easy to identify these incredible strengths in others, but struggle to evaluate these attributes in themselves, their talents or their business offering.

As entrepreneurs, communicators or anyone with a dream, it is vital that you know what your unique strengths are, and utilise them in all of your business endeavours.

Let’s break it down into smaller parts and evaluate the significance of this term.  When you are asked about your business, your skills, your capabilities or accomplishments, do you struggle to see what makes you unique? If you do, don’t worry, you are not alone in this dilemma. But if you do not challenge this weakness it will hold you back in every area where you seek to be successful. It is like carrying out a SWOT analysis on yourself, while determining where you are most likely to achieve your business goals.

So take a pen and paper, and jot down the words that come to mind as you answer these questions: There is no wrong answer, just be as honest as you can.

  1. What differentiates you from what your competitors are doing or offering?

  2. How do you add value in the industry or market you are currently in?

  3. If you were not doing what you are doing, what would your consumers or customers miss out on?

  4. When you wake up in the morning, are you motivated by the thought that you can make a difference in your work day, and if so, how?

Okay – how do you feel in the pit of your stomach right now? Are you chasing a goal that actually has no real value to your heart? Is there a possibility that you are stuck in your comfort zone and are no longer excited about what you are doing? If this is the case, then make the decision today to ‘unglue’ yourself from this place of underachieving.

When we forget our value or what we bring to the table, it helps to encounter new opportunities and meet new people. It is time to follow your dream, so let the journey start today. At the Irish Academy of Public Relations, you will find new career ideas, training courses and opportunities to up-skill in many areas such as, Event Management, Journalism, Social Media Marketing, Mobile Journalism. There is something there for everyone.

“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.”Jim Rohn

Your skill set may be perfectly matched to the industry you are working in, so it just may be the case that you need to sharpen your focus in a more dynamic way. Either way, unless we challenge these thoughts, we can find ourselves drifting along with no real motivation and certainly having no lasting impression on those we desperately want to impact in business and life.

It’s up to you! Check out the Irish Academy of Public Relations today, and start to sharpen those amazing skills you already have. It’s time to make the move!

Guest Blogger – Denise Kennedy