Eve Annunziato

WHO ARE YOUR VIPs? January 19, 2009

I don’t make resolutions, rather I make annual goals. Nothing wrong with New Year’s promises – no judgment here. But, reportedly they have a less than 2% success rate. However, you exponentially increase your chance of success and personal growth by setting  goals. Personally, when I write down my aspirations and visualize my expectations, I’m more likely to achieve them. For 2009, one of my top goals is to live in the present, shelf my ego while maintaining work-life balance by focusing on my VIPs. I want to ensure my relationships with my Very Important People are a priority.  In times of busyness, I have tendencies  to shelf my relationships and focus on VDPs (Very Draining People) and VNPs (Very Negative People).  NOT ANYMORE.  Why put an effort toward folks that suck the life out of you and form only conditional, one-way relationships?

As all of you know, the effect of relationships in our lives simply cannot be overemphasized. When they are in a positive healthy state, tranquility is easy to find. When they go sour, stress, depression and even physical fatigue can result. Because it’s so important to foster our relationships with those with whom we care most about, our VIPs, we should purposely place a higher priority on them.

In The Five Love Languages author Gary Chapman makes a very pivotal point for relationships when he writes, “When your spouse’s emotional needs are met and he or she feels secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your spouse will move out to reach his or her highest potential in life.” Right then, it hit me: It’s not just enough to think about how much I love my most valuable players in life, I have to make sure and tell them.  It’s a daily decision to put the needs of your spouse, children and best friends before your own. There’s a healthy way to love and be loved and to be intimate.  Quality relationships require patience, consistency and attention. Too many times, because the rest of life wears us out, we just don’t have the energy to put toward the commitment. In reality, you’re likely going to have to rearrange schedules, drop some activities and not commit to so many other things that keep you from putting your full energy into your family and other quality relationships. Studies have shown 85% of our joy is rooted through nourishing relationships.

Ask yourself this after a conversation with your loved one, “Did I make that person feel better or worse about themselves about their life?” After all, people are already besieged by doubt and surrounded by negativity that can incidentally be profoundly sobering. One of my top goals is to make certain that after every VIP conversation, the people I love, admire, and respect feel more confident about their situation – about their life. My husband’s program, the Life Barometer, is a great resource for growing healthy relationships.

Abraham Lincoln said it this way, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” So, let’s start putting some life back in YOUR years and love your VIPs with all of your heart and soul in 2009!

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Gifted To Lead Like It Or Not September 13, 2008

I remember it well.  It was our 8th grade end of the year assembly right before 4th period.  Time to hand out the scholastic and academic annual awards.  I got up three times to receive my Captain of the Field Hockey, Captain of the Basketball and Captain of the Lacrosse letters.  Then unbeknownst to me, Ms. Macklin, our athletic director, got up and announced that they had a special medal this year to one of the only female athletes to receive 3 Captain titles in the history of our middle school.  As she announced my name, I went up to receive my special award and when I turned around there he was.  My father was cheering from the back row standing and clapping (he was easy to spot, since he was the only person in the room standing and frankly I don’t even think he realized it or cared).   Surprised to see my dad, I ran up to him and gave him a big hug.  My dad never missed a game or an opportunity to encourage me.  Dad leaned over to me and said with a smile, “Eve, I don’t know what you’re going to decide do with your life, or all the places you’ll go, all I can tell you is, like it or not, you’re going to lead and people are going to follow.”

It was at that point I had my defining moment.  And from that instant on I set out to do just that – figure out how, what, and who to lead.   Sometimes liking it and sometimes not.  But, what my father neglected to tell me is that I was going to be one of the only women in my management circles.  He never warned me that the other department heads hanging out at “mahogany hall” weren’t going to look like me.  He didn’t elaborate that I was going to have to work smarter, try harder, and accomplish more than my male collogues while yearning for respect.  He didn’t share the stats that show women earn less money, get less important job titles and smaller office space (crazy isn’t it – but think about your work, do the men have bigger offices, better titles and more pay?).  And it never crossed my dad’s mind to make a list of setbacks that would befall me if, and when, I ever chose to start a family.  He didn’t advise me of the enormous challenges ahead whilst trying to balance being a wife, mother and employee that can sometimes result to even more gender hurdles, resistance, and loneliness. No, my father never put it that way. However, Author Nancy Beach poignantly illustrate this exact journey in her latest book, “Gifted To Lead: The Art Of Leading As A Woman In The Church.”  It’s inspiring, refreshing and filled with guidance, hope and truth coupled with Nancy’s passion and grace to help women navigate leadership roles in a man’s world.  Such experience from this pioneer, (that makes her sound too old) rather, this revolutionary woman of influence.   I’m going to spend some time unpacking her discoveries that will resonate with every leader – men leading other women leaders, women leading their household and/or the PTA or folks leading a team of any kind with her hard-earned wisdom such as:

“No mistake was made in heaven when God gave you a gift of leadership or teaching. …We must stop apologizing for our gifts and opportunities!  We are not taking up too much room if we are seeking to fulfill a God ordained calling – a calling which may just require us to get over ourselves, take a deep breath, and simply start leading.”

My dear friend, amazing leader and woman of influence presented this book as a gift with the following inscription:

“I love the leader that you are – encouraging, generous, selfless, humble, loving.”

Not quite sure I can live up to her kind words, but I’m going to work really hard trying. Sure, I’m going to fail along the way, and probably often. But no matter what, I’m going to follow my calling whether I like it or not.