Friday, July 16, 2010

Excerpt from Chapter Two- The Little Black Book of Success

The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women
Written by Elaine Meryl Brown , Marsha Haygood and Rhonda Joy McLean

"The Little Black Book of Success" Video Lessons: Confrontation

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Rich with wisdom, this practical gem focuses on the building blocks of true leadership—self-confidence, effective communication, collaboration, and courage—while dealing specifically with stereotypes (avoid the Mammy Trap, and don’t become the Angry Black Woman) and the perils of self-victimization (don’t assume that every challenge occurs because you are black or female).

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Read Excerpt from Chapter Two- The Little Black Book of Success

To Attain Victory, Stay Positive

Master the art of positive thinking. To become a leader you must have a positive mental attitude, which you can achieve with positive self- talk and looking at what is right with people instead of what is wrong with them. Positive self-talk means saying positive things about yourself to yourself and to others. You are what you think, and you can accomplish what you think you can. For example, if you tell yourself that you can’t perform a particular task or difficult assignment, then you are setting yourself up for failure. You must tell yourself that you can meet professional challenges that come your way. Instead of thinking, “Oh, I can’t do this. I’ve never done this before,” say, “This is new to me. I’ll give it my best shot.” Then go do your homework, consult with others, go online, request the reports, do whatever you need to do to get the information to complete the assignment to the best of your ability. Positive thoughts create constructive energy around you.

You must establish this habit of positive self-talk in your mind, because it requires regular reinforcement. Make it a habit. Invest five minutes a day before you head out to work. Tell yourself you can meet any professional challenges that life has to offer. Write down your positive affirmations in your Personal Leadership Notebook and read them out loud, or write a positive prayer. The spoken word is extremely powerful.

For example:

• I release the past and now allow myself to be filled with positive thoughts.

• I deserve the best and welcome it into my life.

• I see the good in everyone.

• I accept for myself all the good things that life and work have to offer.

• I am worthy and deserving of new challenges that come my way.

• I am in the process of making positive changes.

Be actively aware of what you’re thinking. What kind of voice do you hear in your head? Does a voice tell you that you can’t do something because a family member warned years ago that you were going to fail? Or that trying something new was too risky? Or that traveling abroad or to other parts of the country is dangerous? If you begin to see a pattern of negative thoughts, write them down and then create positive affirmations to cancel them. You must reprogram your thoughts. It’s the only way good things are going to come to you in life. You can make it a good day or a bad day by controlling your thought process. Even if something bad happens to you during the day, you can decide how to react to the situation. Your reaction is your choice and your choice determines how you will respond—positive or negative. Create positive images, statements, situations, outcomes, interactions, and exchanges. You can change your life if you change your thinking.

Having a sense of humor also comes in handy and can help you with your positive attitude. There will be times when you’ll just have to throw up your hands and laugh.

Negative self-talk can lower your expectations, and do damage to your self-confidence and leadership ability. People want to follow leaders who are positive. One of a leader’s most important jobs is to set a positive tone.

People who are positive tend to be:

• More productive at work.

• More likely to be noticed and recognized by their boss.

• More likely to attract co-workers to them.

• More likely to be open to new experiences.

• More likely to recognize opportunity when it comes their way.

Cultural Code
We haven’t always been exposed to positive images in life, whether due to the media or the racial divide. Not everyone was raised by supportive or well-educated or instructive parents. We haven’t always been around positive family and friends. While growing up, some of us didn’t receive the attention and encouragement we deserved in classrooms from teachers. While our parents were sometimes struggling to make ends meet, or being challenged by more obstacles than we experience today, we haven’t always had the most positive view of the world. Unfortunately, we can even be negative about ourselves.

Sometimes we assume that the challenges we are facing have been set before us because we are Black or women. While this may or may not be true, we may become paralyzed with anger or fear because of our own beliefs. We can get in our own way by deciding that “they’re out to get me,” or “they just don’t understand or value me,” and that nothing can be done about it. Look beyond skin color and don’t focus on it. We cannot let differences, or what others think or feel, get in the way of achieving our leadership goals.

Despite the negative forces around us or inside us, we must overcome them as we embark upon this journey. We have to be positive and view the world in a positive light. For not to be positive would be to give up all hope. We are a strong and spiritual people. We have survived through the ages with physical strength and the strength of our minds. Negative thinking that creates negative emotions can lead to stress, anger, and hostility, as well as disease. So keep your thinking positive.

Write a list of your good qualities and assets in your PLN. Place positive messages to yourself around your home, tape them to your dresser and medicine cabinet mirrors. Read them out loud and often. Carry them with you in your purse and keep them in your desk drawer at the office and refer to them as a reminder whenever necessary. Refresh or update these positive messages or affirmations to yourself on an as- needed basis. Even if you’ve been in your position for years, look at today as if it’s your first day on the job and immerse yourself in positive thinking.

Excerpted from The Little Black Book of Success by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy McLean Copyright © 2010 by Elaine Meryl Brown. Excerpted by permission of One World/Ballantine, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Book: The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women
by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy McLean
Foreword by Essence® Magazine editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray

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