Personal Development


CHAPTER XXV – Quarterly Check-in

I am Jude. Many of us entered 2022 with intentions to Be Better versions of ourselves. We identified new goals, habits and daily practices in our search for greater purpose and fulfillment. Essentially, we committed to changes that we believed would result in happier, more abundant lives.

Time flies. It’s almost April which means that three months have elapsed and we are already a quarter of the way through the new year. 

Where are you with your New Year’s resolutions? Have you followed through with your intentions, established new rituals and completed identified tasks?

Some people may be feeling great about their new adopted practices and accomplishments, while others like myself, are struggling and are feeling somewhat overwhelmed with their respective commitments to change.

I believe we all begin the year with grand plans and the best of intentions. Unfortunately, most of us get distracted and lose our way. It’s easy to oversleep, lose your rhythm or break the chain.

Each day we may become a little less committed to our intended behaviours and farther away from our anticipated results. 

Perhaps your circumstances have changed, you have competing priorities or your newly adopted activities aren’t working. Nothing ever goes according to plan. However, the ultimate goal is to keep moving forward and to never give up. 

There is an old adage that says, failing to plan is a plan to fail. Many times our struggles with commitment are a result of a lack of planning and organization.

A quarterly review provides the perfect opportunity to check in on your overarching goals and associated action plans. 

In order to have any measure of success, we need to clearly articulate our anticipated activities and objectives and consistently review our progress. Here are three tips for remaining on task getting back on track:

1. Take an Inventory 

Review your current circumstances. Apply a forensic accounting of all your intended changes, resolutions and SMART goals. Determine what activities and objectives have value and make any required adjustments.  

Circumstances change and so do our intentions. Assess what’s working, review what you have learned, ensure that your goals remain actionable priorities and remove any strategies that don’t have utility.

However, I strongly encourage you to limit the areas of growth that you want to focus on. We often experience failure when we put too much on our plates and end up overwhelmed. 

In order to achieve the results we want, we have to set reasonable expectations for ourselves. 

2. Review your WHY?

One of the requirements of any successful enterprise is to have a clear understanding of your mission. Your ‘Why’ serves a reference point that always orients you and allows you to mark your progress in relation to your goals. 

It supplies you with motivation and sustains you when you are inevitably faced with hardship and adversity. It provides passion and perseverance when you want to give up which results in increased strength and resilience.

Your purpose provides you with clarity and is a constant reminder of the reasons you are trying to change. It encourages you to avoid distractions and to focus on what truly matters. 

People who have a strong sense of purpose shape their lives, live their dreams and achieve the impossible. 

Whenever you are lost, remind yourself of your ‘Why’, it will always lead you back to your intended path.

3. Show Self-Compassion

Throughout all of our attempts to Be Better, we need to ensure that we are demonstrating self-care and compassion for ourselves whenever we fall short.  

This means being gentle and patient with yourself and accepting that you are not perfect. It is understanding that failure is part of the process and that there is potential for learning and growth in every mistake you make.

So, the next time you fail to meet your expectations, be mindful of your thoughts and emotions. Celebrate your effort, acknowledge any missteps and determine what you can do differently next time. Remember you are only human. 

“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honour your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.”

Oprah Winfrey
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching And Consulting

I am continuing to slowly breathe life into Unshackled Solutions. I am checking tasks off my proverbial to do list, developing ever-evolving business ideas and am continuing to seek opportunities to learn.

More importantly, I am confronting the unknown. I am overcoming my internal fears and self-doubt and I am forging ahead with the belief I will figure it out. As long as I put the work in and make sound decisions I can live with the consequences. 

In the meantime, I am already into week six of my life coaching program. It’s been an interesting learning experience so far. I am enjoying my classmates and getting more comfortable with the architecture of the Flow coaching method. 

One of the challenges of a life coach is to hold space for the coachee and their agenda without interjecting their personal biases, values or advice. 

It takes practice to prioritize someone’s perspective above our own and to accept that they inherently have all of the answers to their problems.  

Coaching requires patience and a keen sense of self-awareness to allow them to come to their own conclusions, in their own way and at their own pace. 

Sometimes that becomes difficult when the coach can clearly see potential solutions and the coachee can’t, but that’s where some of the internal work is. Coaches always have to be mindful that the coachee is the expert in their own experience. 

The process of becoming more familiar and I am excited about the prospect of developing new skills and abilities.

The journey continues…..

Your Next Best Read – Soar! by T.D. Jakes

In Soar! T.D. Jake uses the metaphor of flight to describe the process of creating and cultivating a business. He emphasizes the importance of dreaming big and pursuing your passions and reveals how to transform your own unique vision into a reality. 

 “It is a practical and easy-to-follow flight plan for launching the entrepreneurial drive inside of you.” 

As you might expect, Rev. Jakes spotlights the central importance of faith in business and the need to believe in something bigger than yourself. 

He implores us to pursue entrepreneurship regardless of our circumstances and any perceived barriers. Considering my personal situation and my advanced age, race and lack of experience. I  personally needed to hear that.

Some of my biggest takeaways from the audiobook came from the final chapter. Rev. Jakes urges the reader to ‘teach down’ and reminds us that there is always someone who could benefit from what we know. If there is someone within our circle of influence who can benefit from any new information we acquire, we should offer it to them. 

I like the adage ‘lift as you climb’ better than the term ‘teach down’ but you get the point, communicate what you know whenever it can assist others. 

“I believe it is our attitude that determines our altitude. It is our attitude that allows us to soar above those things that would otherwise overcome us.”  

T.D. Jakes.

The author also suggests that we should ‘share best practices’ with colleagues and help them reach their goals. Exchanging resources, experiences and information not only supports your business, it also builds meaningful relationships.

Developing a network of support is critical to any sustainable or long-term success. In fact, it needs to be a constant point of emphasis in both business and in our personal lives.

Lastly, he encourages the reader to look up and ‘glean’ what you can from mentors and individuals who have already demonstrated achievement in your particular field of endeavour. 

Humility allows you an opportunity to learn from someone else’s experiences. You can always gain insight and avoid mistakes by considering someone else’s personal journey. Whether through reading, watching videos or in direct contact with others, it’s important to access the know-how of successful people. 

The author provides inspiration to would-be entrepreneurs and highlights some of the critical requirements for getting your business off the ground. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, this practical guide is for you. 

What’s Good – Positive Reflections

Descendants of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canada’s only all-Black unit to serve in the First World War, will receive an apology from the Federal government this summer for the racial discrimination their ancestors experienced.

Hundreds of Black men in Canada were turned away from recruiting offices when they volunteered to fight overseas in 1914 because they weren’t wanted in what was considered a white man’s war. 

Following two years of protests, the Canadian military was granted approval in 1916 to establish the No. 2 Construction Battalion, a segregated, non-combat battalion.

Recruitment took place across the country and more than 300 of those who enlisted were from Nova Scotia.

Only a few of its members would see combat, mainly because the battalion was repeatedly told its help wasn’t wanted on the front lines. In short, because of racism.

For the most part, the unit supported three major forestry operations and their duties included felling trees, operating lumber mills and maintaining roads, vehicles and railway equipment. 

The Canadian Government is FINALLY issuing a formal apology for the treatment these proud and patriotic men endured before, during and long after their service to Canada. 

Ottawa has been in consultations with descendants of the 600 members of the battalion over the last year. The ceremonial apology will be delivered on July 9th at 1pm in Truro, N.S at the T.A.A.C. Grounds, a space where these distinguished soldiers completed basic training.

The Prime Minister and other senior military officials will be in attendance.

“The apology is important for us historically to look at what happened in the past and to say publicly to all Canadians, including the descendants of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, that the discrimination they faced was unacceptable,” said Anita Anand, Canada’s minister of defence.

It’s a great start. I am pleased that the No. 2 Construction Battalion is being acknowledged, not only for its contributions to the war effort, but also for the systemic racism and disregard the men experienced simply trying to serve and protect their country. 

However, I’m more interested in whether this is merely political opportunism or if it signals a significant shift within the Armed Forces that prioritizes diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization. Only time will tell.

Public Announcement

You’ve Changed!

When we grow up or associate with someone for any length of time we begin making assumptions about who they are. We define their traits, assess their personal attributes and evaluate their potential. 

We put them in nice, neatly ascribed boxes. Unfortunately, most times these fixed mental profiles don’t leave much room for individuals to grow.

For years, I considered ‘change’ to be a derisive term. It was used to call out family and friends for stepping outside of established norms and expectations. 

Looking back, I am a bit ashamed of my small-minded thinking. People were simply outgrowing our tribal behaviours, maturing and focusing on new responsibilities. At the time I viewed those changes with contempt and a sense of betrayal.

Photo by hay s on Unsplash

It’s ironic how much your perspective can evolve. Now I consider it the highest form of a compliment. 

I commend the brave souls who go against the grain and follow the road less travelled to pursue their passions, meet their obligations or reach their goals. 

I truly believe that we should all be focused on becoming the best version of ourselves by taking whatever we have been given and making the most of it. We need to be constantly growing, adapting and evolving. 

One quarter of the year is gone, but that also means that we have three quarters left. Reassess, readjust and redouble your efforts to Be Better. We have work to do. 

Happy Heavenly Birthday

Happy Heavenly Birthday to my remarkable mother, Myra Greta Clyke. 

She was born on March 28th, 1936 and quite frankly, she was the most meaningful influence in my life. I was her Papa and she was my biggest, most loyal fan. 

Mar, as she was known to most people, was generous with what little she had and always put other people first. She was a genuinely good person and a kind, caring mother. 

She provided comfort, stability and constant attention and issued high praise and constructive criticism in equal measure. She placed a high value on respect, family and community service  and she passed those qualities on to me. 

I will eventually find the right words to express my sincere gratitude for her love, generosity and selflessness and for her exceptional belief in my abilities.

For now, I will utilize her birthday to recognize the twenty-three(23) extraordinary years we shared together and to honour everything that she was to me. 

She was truly a phenomenal woman who always seemed to possess a bright smile and a big heart. That is, unless you played with her – then she would give you the business. 

I am so grateful that this strong Black woman brought me into this world and raised me. I was truly blessed. Although she was taken way too soon, she left an indelible imprint on this world. 

I owe everything that I am to her. I am Jude. 

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