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What is An Effective Leader?
A native of Orlando, Fl my family soon moved to the Indianapolis Area when I was one year old, and we lived on the property where my great grandparents established the Evangelistic Center and Nursing Home within walking distance to the University of Indianapolis. This was where my life began to build the framework for modeling those around me. My family members were the innovators for bringing support and inspiration to people in the community through their programs including physical and spiritual health. A story was shared with me that my Great-Grandfather, Pastor, Elwood P. Qualls, Grandfather, Song Evangelist, Paul M. Qualls and my Great Uncle, Pastor, Roy McKinney held church camp meetings with Melvin Maxwell, John C. Maxwell's father in this Evangelistic Center over 50 years ago. My passion to inspire others is in my blood. Like my family, my fulfillment in my life comes from carrying on this connection of people with their purpose and inspire them to live their potential through their own unique journey. You see, I'm not passionate because "I was told about my family history" I'm passionate because I LIVED IT and I believe that what you believe in yourself is who you become. This belief can only happen through your own experience and actions, the choices you make. Life isn't easy, life doesn't come with a good book and a bad book that you are handed at birth. My life was filled with personal heartbreak, fear and rejection and I learned at very young age, through my own experiences. to ignore the sadness, fear and especially the negative self talk. I believed my life had a purpose. I believed my life was designed to mean something. I believed that I could help others to become stronger. The negative self talk that I heard in my head was, you're not good enough, you're not worthy of......, you don't fit in and you'll never be accepted. These are all real battles that I fought in my young life. Negative self talk is the biggest challenge for everyone. It can be painful and it can destroy your self image and your ability to reach your potential in life. I decided I was stronger than this negative self talk.
My energy to focus on my strengths became apparent to me at an early age as my father passed away when I was 5 and I became very close to my grandparents. I had been influenced by my grandparents since birth and was surrounded by positive energy at the Evangelistic Center. You see, we lived in a little trailer on the Evangelistic center property and my mother worked as a nurse in the nursing home there on the Evangelistic Center property. We lived there for several years until my father was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, I was five. We traveled to seek treatment at Stanford Medical Center and my father was tested and treated and told he had only months to live. My father was 30 years old. I started Kindergarten in Palo Alto, CA, spending time as a family in a small apartment, hoping for the best during his treatments. After a couple of months, my father decided to stop his treatments as he was becoming weaker and the cancer was taking over his body. We moved to Orlando to my grandparents house, where he died, a month later, 10 days before Christmas. It was a very difficult time for my family. My mother and I shortly moved back to Indianapolis and my grandparents stayed in Orlando. This was a very difficult time, after my father died. I didn't have any control over my environment; what I did have control over was how I would control my attitude about it. Once we moved back to Indianapolis my mother dated and married a man, my step father. This decision was painful for everyone. He was not a good man and divorce was the best option after a year. We ended up moving into an apartment in Indianapolis and my mom worked as a nurse at St. Francis Hospital. Life was changing and I didn't have any control over it. I didn't have any control over my environment; what I did have control over was how I would control my attitude about it.
We began to make a new life in Indianapolis, In second grade, at the age of 7, my mother signed me up to play hockey. She thought it was field hockey and when we got to the registration we realized it was ICE HOCKEY and I was the ONLY GIRL at registration. That FEAR didn't stop me. I said, YES, I want to do this. I will learn to ice skate, I'll make new friends, I'm committed, I'm in. My attitude determined my success. I was new to the area so I didn't know anyone in this league (and I was a GIRL-THE ONLY GIRL). Looking back I can only imagine what the coaches, boys and their families thought when they realized we were serious about signing up for the season. One of the greatest strengths of perseverance I've learned has been from my mom.
She didn't have any family to support us throughout the school year with getting me back and forth to practices and games and yet we didn't let that stop us. I learned to skate, I learned to make great friends on my teams, I shared a locker room with the boys, I decided that I would make this a great experience. I remained the ONLY GIRL in the league. My attitude determined my altitude. Playing Ice Hockey with this group, taught me to build coordination skills, believe in my own strengths, it provided an avenue to foster teamwork and most importantly friendships. This experience connected me to my purpose in valuing people for who they are.
I didn't have an easy childhood, I attended 6 schools before 5th grade. I became strong at an early age in learning how to adapt to change, making new friends at new schools and trying to "fit in" with everyone else. Every summer to remain connected to my purpose, I was so excited to spend time with my grandparents as I would travel all over the country to camp meetings watching my evangelistic, grandfather lead song service while my grandmother, Mae E. Qualls also sang and accompanied him on the piano. I felt connected to my purpose with my grandparents, I made friends everywhere and enjoyed the adventures of connecting with these same families year after year.
These "life" circumstances taught me self confidence that was critical to my success throughout my life. My summer friends were more consistent than my "school mates". My team mates although all boys, became my friends. They weren't like me, I wasn't like them, but we were all doing something that we believed in and that made the experience important for all of us. Because of these experiences, as well as many more, my strength to appreciate, encourage and understand others is a key characteristic and component of my personality. My "need and desire" to connect to and impact others on a personal level, is truly a part of MY STORY, MY DNA.
My greatest work influence happened before college, I intentionally made a plan to work with Walt Disney World and from that I learned the real value of taking care of people. It has made an impact in my life in everything that I have done to focus on how I can bring excellence to others. Disney's Story, "In Search of Excellence" is what I have modeled my life around, focusing on how I can add value to others in all that I do.
Your Life is YOUR LIFE, There is a time clock, This short life that we all have is about becoming aware of who we are and embracing every ounce of our strengths and living into our potential.
FAVORITE QUOTES: "People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did but People will never forget how you made them feel"-Maya Angelou "You miss 100% of the shots that you don't take"-- Wayne Gretzky
So, if you are family, friend or colleague I want to say THANK YOU, for being a part of my incredible JOURNEY, and making me who I am today. I am so thankful that we are connected. Thanks to my Mom, Joyce Brown for showing me the value of persistence and perseverance, you've been a great role model and have added tremendous value to my life!
If we haven't had the opportunity to meet, I look forward to getting to know you and helping you discover your personal story, discovering why your story has made you a unique gift to the world and how to connect your own story of obstacles, fear and pain and begin to be a catalyst for a fulfilled life of joy and happiness and move towards reaching your potential in life.
As a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker, I can offer you workshops, seminars, keynote speaking, and coaching, aiding your personal and professional growth through study and practical application of John’s proven leadership methods. Working together, I will move you and/or your team or organization in the desired direction to reach your goals.