CAN YOU MESS UP GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE?

Have you ever needed to make a decision and felt the weight of the world sitting on your shoulders? In these times it’s so easy to feel like we can mess it all up. It’s a really challenging thing to come to a crossroad in life and not feel like the stakes are high. I love the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Did you catch that God has plans? Not just one single plan? He’s a good Father, not a circus ring leader trying to get you to walk a tightrope through life! Check out this week’s Flashback Friday to hear more about God’s many plans for your life:

I really want you to get this—You cannot mess up God’s purpose for your life! He has many plans to get you to your purpose. So today, let’s take the high stakes out of the equation of our destinies, take the weight of the world off of our shoulders and take a deep breath. God wasn’t surprised or panicked that there was no room for Jesus to be born in an inn. In the same way, He’s not surprised that your life has not been perfect. Perfection was never the plan. And guess what? Whatever decisions you’re facing today, He is with you in them and He’s championing you into the incredible purpose He has set before you. I want to encourage you that no matter where you’re at in your journey, keep pressing forward and pressing into Him. He’s good, and He’s got your back! Do you struggle with a religious tightrope mentality? How do you work through that?

Gentlemen’ Etiquette

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GENTLEMEN’S ETIQUETTE
We have seen a lot of changes in the twenty first century, positive and negetive. Societies have to a huge leap, a leap never been seen or compared to by the previous centuries. But we have derailed from basic timeless etiquette that makes us men real gentlemen. I will share the remaining of what my grandparents from the nighteenth century left me with.

CHIVALRY
Would the ‘women and children first’ rule, had the Titanic sunk in 2016, have made way for ‘every man for himself’?
I was at a youth church meeting the other day. Then a lady entered in, there were not empty chairs left. Seeing that there were no chairs she came straight to us who were seating down but toward a group of men. None of them stood up. Seeing this from a distant seat I stood up and offered her my seat. In my mind I asked myself, where is the chivaly I used to see growing up in my grandparents home? But again we are not raised the same.
How we treat the opposite sex is one of the foggier seas the contemporary man has to navigate. But the modern Renaissance man is not a fence dweller; conviction is paramount in these matters, and our experience is that today’s eligible females largely appreciate favourable treatment.
With that in mind, essential musts apply: rise when a woman enters or leaves the room; fill ladies’ glasses first (unless you are seated at a large table with many guests, in which case go around the table clockwise); stand up for a lady on a train, except when to do so would disturb other passengers.
As far as courtship goes, a man should walk to the right of a woman, unless beside a road, in which case he should put himself between the thoroughfare and his partner. At a restaurant, he should choose the wine himself, but after consultation with her. He should assume he’s paying the bill, at least for the first few dates; if she consistently insists upon paying her share, he can assume his woo-pitching has failed – her shunning the evolutionary instinct for provision sends a pretty clear message.
Many of the tenets of Chivalry fall under the shadow of the other Pillars: insulting your partner or challenging her in front of friends undermines your respect for her, while bragging to friends about your amorous activities is a crass breach of your respect for her as an individual, and your own dignity. You spend hours and hours texting to your partner, but days without hearing her voice and telling her good night. Neglecting little thing such as these, costs a lot of men good partners. As a man never let partner lack your attention, you will be surprise if you were to know how many people are to give her.

I will leave you with these questions. One should ask himself, am I the man I would like my future children look up to?
With this technology and advanced social network platform, are phone calls still relevant? How long do you wait before calling after a first date? How do you behave when a male insults a lady’s honour, this age where a cutlass clash on the lawn is no longer appropriate or legal?

Photo and designs creds to Bobothe IG @bobothetailor

Timeless Advice… Image building

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Action Steps To Build Unshakeable Confidence…Even If You’re An Introvert | How To Become Confident When You’re Shy

You’re in the mall

A beautiful girl catches your eye.

You start coming up with a million ways to say hello.

Your paths are about to cross.
She’s walking by you right now, and….

Silence.

The opportunity is lost.

What held you back?
Lack of confidence? Fear of rejection?

Confidence is one of those things that’s hard to describe, it’s intangible so we can only realize it when we feel it or see it.
Confidence is what sets high performing individuals from the rest of the pack. People who have confidence reach for their goals, have the guts to approach anyone they want and are comfortable in their own skin.

Are you one of those people?
If not, chances are that you want to improve your confidence….but how exactly do you do that?! Because confidence is one of those things you can only sense or feel, it makes it really hard to improve it in a systematic way.
Well, you’re in luck today because I’m going to share four actionable strategies you can use to build unshakeable confidence.

1. Get out of your comfort zone…safely
Do you ever have an urge to do something out of the ordinary but talk yourself out of it? It may be approaching a girl you’ve been wanting to talk to for months.
Here’s the problem with not acting on those desires: Sitting inside your comfort zone leads to stagnation.
When you’re not exploring new experiences, you’re further digging yourself into the comfortable “comfort hole” you’ve been sitting in for years or even decades!
Although it can be intimidating to approach  and talk to someone you’re romantically interested in, you have to find a way to do it.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be scary, but it’s necessary because when you try new things you’ll improve your confidence by proving to yourself that you actually can do things you’ve always been afraid to do.  Why?
Because the hippie self-affirmations of telling yourself that “you are confident” or “you are strong” won’t really do much. You need to prove to yourself that you actually are those things and when you can do that, you’ll have a collection of positive experiences that you can reference to show yourself that you’re awesome.
The secret of true confidence is that it starts with you.

Action Item: Set micro-goals
Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you the cliche advice of “just do it.” Instead, I want you to tackle getting out of your comfort zone in a totally different way, and you can do this by setting micro-goals.
Micro-goals are “chunks” of a larger goal that you can use to your advantage to get things done and build momentum to continue improving.

Let’s take the CEO example. You have a business idea that you want to share with the CEO but you just can’t get the guts to approach her in the office. Well, think about a smaller goal that you canachieve that has a similar outcome…lower the bar.
Here’s what I mean. You may be afraid to approach the CEO, but how about an email? You can take the time to craft the perfect message about your idea without getting nervous approaching her as she’s briskly walking down the hall. By making your audacious goal smaller and much more digestible you increase the odds of following through.

Let’s take another common example– getting a date with that girl you’ve been eyeing in your class for the past few months. That’s a pretty aggressive goal. That girl may have a boyfriend or may not even be single!
How about setting a micro-goal of having a 5 minute conversation with her? You don’t need to get a “yes” to a date or even get her number, but you can establish some rapport and become friendly so that you can work your way up to asking if she’s up for a date. Doesn’t that sound better than continuing to stalk her by after class until she says something to you?
Setting micro-goals allows you to step out of your comfort zone safely. As you achieve your micro-goals you’ll begin to see that you do have the confidence to step outside of your comfort zone so you can begin stepping out more often.
Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone at least once a week. It may be joining coworkers for happy hour for the first time, trying something totally new like improve.
Here are a few more tips on setting micro-goals:
Write– physically writing down your goals will force you to think through the details and how you’ll actually accomplish the goal, it will also help you remember your goals since writing things down has been shown to increase retention. Get specific- Select a specific day and time when you will work on your micro-goal. Make a calendar event or reminder on your phone so it “cues” your new behavior towards your goalTrack your goals on a regular basis– I’d recommend tracking your goals on a daily or weekly basis. When you are tracking and eventually accomplishing your goals you’re priming your brain to focus in on what’s important to you– continuing to achieve more!
Visualize– Visualize accomplishing your goals. Studies have shown that visualizing something activates the same motor parts of your brain that are activated when you physically do something. This remarkable Harvard study split subjects who were to practice piano in two groups. One group practiced the piano physically and another group of subjects played it mentally (by visualizing) What happened? Both groups had the same changes in the motor parts of the brain showing that visualizing playing was just as effective as physically playing it!

2. Know your Values
Do you ever notice that confident people are pretty decisive? They don’t take 10 minutes to order food at a restaurant or get bogged down in analysis paralysis. That’s because people who are truly confident know what they want.
How do you start to define what you want?
The first step is to define your values.
Check out ‘In Awaken the Giant’, by Tony Robbins, he writes about values in two distinct forms. There are “means” values and “end” values and they’re tied to the emotional states you’re looking to feel like happiness, pride, safety etc.
Means Values- these are ways you can trigger the emotional states that you’re truly looking for. A prime example is money. Money is usually a means to something else. What you may actually be looking for is financial freedom, but money gets you there so it’s a “means value”Ends Values- these are the emotional states you desire like love, security, and happiness.They are the emotional states that your “means values” provide. Taking the money example, your end value may actually be security and wanting to feel financially stable
Note the distinction between the means and ends values here. The “means” values are basically the things you thinkyou want in order to get to your “ends” values.
That being said, it’s time to get specific and figure out what your ends values are. “Means” values can be helpful in getting you to think about your “ends” values but the point of this strategy is to clearly define your “ends” values.
Getting clear on what you value will allow you to make better decisions faster and  will give you a stronger sense of “self” which will give you everlasting confidence. This seems like a simple concept, but this is something most people rarely do.
Confident people take control of life, rather than letting life take control of them.

Action Item: Define your ends values
Block out one to two hours this week to sit down and write your top ten “ends” values. To get there, it may help to start with some of your “means” values that will help you arrive at the destination of “ends values” that you want to hone in on. Be honest with yourself and get clear on them.
Here are some questions that may help:
What are the things that mean the most to me in life?What are the things that I do not care about in life?If I had to make a tough decision, what are a few values I MUST consider?If I had to make a tough decision, what are a few values I’d disregard?If I had kids (or if I have kids) what are the lessons I’d teach them? (This will help you define what truly matters to you)

3. Embrace change
Do you ever find yourself obsessing over the past or the future?
Perhaps you obsess over “wrong” decisions or where you’ll be three years from now.
Don’t worry, it’s something many of us do. But here’s the catch about obsessing over your past and future selves– the person you were five years ago is way different than the person you are today and the person you will be five years from now!
Five years ago you had different tastes, friends, and interests and who knows what those will be five years from now!  Embrace the fact that “me” is constantly changing and evolving.
This is important to internalize because many times we say things like, “I can’t do that, that’s just not the way I am” or “Everyone thinks I’m shy, if I start talking to new people they’ll think something is off.” Thinking that our personalities are “fixed” will make it hard to grow.
Interesting research  shows that children thrive at school when they adopt a “growth” mindset. They have the belief that they can improve in a given area, opposed to students with a “fixed” mindset who believe that their skills can’t be changed and are permanent. It is able to show that this “growth” mindset improved performance.
So don’t fall for the notion that you have to be a certain way or that you can’t grow, that will only limit your confidence.
Action Item: No judgements for 24 hours
We’re constantly judging ourselves and those around us. Think about it, we’re out and about constantly “people watching” and judging what other people wear, how they act, etc. We’re also in our own heads judging ourselves about who we are and how we used to be.
In order to get out of the habit of making judgements about yourself, you have to develop the habit of making no judgements at all.
This is actually extremely difficult. When you attempt to cease all judgements in your mind you’ll realize how damn judgemental you are of yourself and others!
Simply choose one day per week to make no judgements whatsoever. You’ll notice that your mind defaults to judging events, people, and yourself instantly.
The goal here is to prime your brain to release all judgments and kill the habit of making automatic judgements. Not only will this help you become more present, but you will also find yourself being more accepting of others and most importantly, yourself.

4. Be present
This strategy may seem way too simple to be true, but it is absolutely necessary to build your own self-confidence.
Why? Because when you’re present you’re fully engaged.
Have you ever spoken to someone and felt like you were the only person in the room? Let me guess, that person made you feel super special.
They were able to do that because they were present in the moment and they could focus and feel the conversation on a much deeper level compared to someone who was in their own head.
Once you begin to develop presence you will find that you’ll be able to retain information better, you will have deeper conversations with others, and you will experience empathy on a much deeper level.
When you’re engaged in your own head or worried about what others think, you’re using up precious brain power in your prefrontal cortex which lowers executive functions (like decision making) and impairs your memory. Ever blanked in a conversation? You likely weren’t present and your prefrontal cortex was probably bogged down.
Living and experiencing life in the moment takes practice, but if you can make it a consistent habit you can transform your life.
Numerous books and studies have led us to understand the importance of presence. In Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now, he divides time into two types:
Clock time – is the practical matter of time including learning from the past, goal setting and doing our best to predict our future based on our experiences Psychological time – is the psychological construct of time that gets in the way of being in the now and turns into negative self-talk.
It’s the difference between using time practically (i.e. using time to be punctual for meetings) versus obsessing over the past and the future by worrying about psychological time. Focus on using “clock time” to live your life rather than “psychological time.”
Action Item: Mental Double Checks
A handy habit I constantly use to stay present is what I like to call  “mental double checks.” It’s an easy way to mentally “check-in” with yourself regularly.
You simply develop a trigger (like a reminder on your phone or calendar) a few times a day with the following question “Where’s your head at?” and just like a lifeguard observing the pool, you simply observe what is going on in your mind.
Are you thinking about dinner plans while you’re’ in a work meeting? Are you telling yourself that you’re not good enough instead of listening to your conversation partner? The only way to truly call yourself out is to mentally double check yourself.
You can start by doing this a few times a day or hourly if you really want to realize how often your mind drifts away from the present moment. After you answer the question, get back to the moment at hand.  Take three deep breaths to get you back into the present and re-focusing on what you’re currently doing.

Conclusion
Confidence may be one of those characteristics that ebbs and flows for you but by implementing these action items you can begin to build confidence that will last over the long-term.
By stepping outside of your comfort zone, defining your values, embracing change and being present, you will have the foundational confidence to make anything happen!

RESPECT : Steps to Earn Respect

EARN YOUR RESPECT PART 1

We all want respect but are you willing to do what it takes to get it. This are a series of step you has to do to ensure that you get respect.
You need to understand that respect is not automatic and not guaranteed; its something you have to earn. And it all starts by respecting yourself. If you don’t respect yourself, you can’t expect other people to respect you. They will sense it and treat you accordingly.

Step one : Take pride in your appearance

Taking pride in your appearance, this means your hygiene, grooming and style must be on point. By taking pride in your personal packaging you are sending a message to the outside world. Your dress like crab, your pants hang down showing your underwear. This sends a message about yourself worth, that you don’t care, so why should they. Your breath sink and your hair is a mess, people notice and are going to treat you accordingly.

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to be continued Step two : Stand up for you Beliefs

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African Brands you Need to Know

I had a chat to Ngugi Vere, Creative Director of Shona Accra lifestyle, a brand which making waves in the African fashion industry.

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MJ Smart : The Shona Accra brand is breaking all boundaries, having been wore by people of high esteem over the years and is still growing stronger day by day. What is the ethos behind it? And what do you think is ideal business model?

Ngugi Vere : Oh! Thank you very much. Shona Accra lifestyle is just all about Creative, Innovative an authentic Afro-centric pieces. Our aim is to produce authentic designs that set trends and use the best fabric co-ordination and quality to deliver our unique Bold piece.
Our ideal business model is be us and give the world the best fashion.

MJ Smart : The brand has been around for quite some time, how has it evolved or changed over the time? And where do you find you inspiration?

Ngugi Vere : Well it seems like we have been there for a while but we have only been in the industry for a year now. We just evolved quick but we still young in the business. God has been leading us well. We meet challenges and learn from them pushing for growth. Our brand has received good response from prominent people and wore our it. And this is increasing our value and exposure

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Rapper AKA rocking Shona Accra Brand

Our inspiration is overally from God. We also get our inspiration from our surrounding environment, people and nature. Africa itself is our source of design inspiration.

MJ Smart : Wow!! That’s amazing. I saw couple of post on FaceBook about the Kiamba Fashion Festival in Kenya, tell us more about it? Anything on the horizon we should be on the look out for?

Ngugi Vere : Well one of my goal for 2016 is to go global both as Ngugi Vere | Be Bold and Shona Accra Lifestyle. I think we have played our part in the local scene and it’s high time we go global and effect other fashion industries with our unique Creative work. Kenya has been following my work for a long time and they want me to come inspire and help change the fashion game in Kiambu Festival in Nairobi, so I’m hired as a Creative Director to produce the show and I will also showcase my brand. God keeps surprising us and we believe there are more cities around Africa and the world we need to be this year and it’s coming. All I want is to change the face of African Fashion and let Africa and African understand the wealth that fashion can create in our economies.

MJ Smart : That is the mindset we should have as African, shifting our focus from overseas brands and promoting our local brands, And its one of the reasons I started this weekly series “African Brands you Need to Know”. Moving on, winter is around the corner. What are style tips for this winter?

Ngugi Vere : True that . Keep pushing. My style is “Be Bold | Be Yourself”    *tip

MJ Smart : Thank you very much for you time and for being an inspiration

Ngugi Vere : Thank you

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#AfricanBrandsYouNeedToKnow #ekasivibe #menswear #fashiontrends #BrandsYouNeedToKnow #ShonaAccra #NgugiVere #BeBold #fashion

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Ngugi Vere, Shona Accra lifestyle

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Next week I will be starting my series “African Brands you Need to Know” and yesterday i had an interview will Ngugi Vere of Shona Accra Lifestyle
Be on the look out for the article

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#BeBold
#KingVere
#ShonaAccra
#menswear
#wordpress
#FashionCreative
#AfricanBrandsYouNeedToKnow

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