Lost your niche? You might just find it on my new website!

Have you heard? I am publishing a new book in June 2015 – Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change. What better time, than to create a new website and social networking platform for you, my friends and leadership community.

The excitement of this idea was quickly deflated as I found myself intimidated by the ocean of books, podcasts, webinars, and conferences one can read, listen too or attend to become a master of platform building.

One of the first things platform experts tell you to do when building your new platform is: “find your niche”. They advise potential bloggers and entrepreneurs to choose one area of expertise readers or followers can engage in. Pick content and resource that GRABS the reader’s attention, adds value – something worth the reader’s time.

This advice seemed relevant and right. But as I gained more information about building excellent platforms, I found myself lost in the sea of niches, stuck on the question: What is my niche? I thought I knew, until I read books and took classes that seem to be telling me, I didn’t know.

I am a learner.

I am creative.

I love Jesus.

I am moved to action by any injustice.

I get bored easily.

I am curious.

Albert Einstein said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” I relate to his statement.

A “niche” seems to be something I have struggled with, or maybe against, all my life. (Can you relate?)

I admire people who have a niche.

Jeff Goins is a writer.

Kris Carr is a wellness expert.

Cherie Zack is passionate about teaching women to fight for their marriages.

Jeremy Cowart is a photographer.

Donald Miller is a storyteller.

There have been many times in my life when I have wished I had a niche. Jealous of those people who seemed to have incredible singular focus, I even had visions of what it would be like to do the same thing every day, to focus on ONE life theme, one profession – maybe a doctor, or lawyer for social justice issues. It seemed so much simpler.

But then somewhere in the process, something happened, and I decided to quit apologizing for who God created me to be.

That person who is a learner, who is creative, who loves Jesus, who is moved to action by injustice, who gets bored easy, and is passionately curious, does have a niche after all.

That niche is YOU!

My passion is to help YOU develop purpose and meaning in life and leadership.

You are a unique, interesting, multi-facetted, diverse, and talented human being who was created to live a life of greatness.

My new website and book, Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change are just the beginning of resources I want to provide for you to read, watch, share, and get excited about as you walk into the life you have always dreamed of.

Are you ready? Simple sign-up to never miss a post in the block below this blog post and be the first to receive chapter one of Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change, as my free gift to you, on the book release date in June!

Together we will find the answers to the questions that hold you back, explore the possibilities, and celebrate the triumph of dreams coming true!

In life and leadership,

Angela Craig

PS: I would love to hear your thoughts on, Lost your niche? You might just find it on my new website! Please don’t hesitate to share your stories or comments below.

If you found this blog helpful or encouraging, it would be the greatest complement to me if you shared it on your social networks. Thank you for helping build our community!

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How do you find meaning in your life?

When asked, What is the meaning of life? Viktor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning replied: I find the meaning of my life in helping others find the meaning of their lives.

What is the meaning of life for you?

When you have the answer your job is to give it away!

It is your turn!

Do you have questions about meaning and purpose? A great place to start is by finding your voice. What do you love, who are you passionate about serving? I recommend starting with a simple coaching activity designed by Michael Hyatt called: Map your Message.

If you are clear on the meaning of life, please share it with us in the comments below! Your clarity will help others!

I would love to hear your thoughts on, How do you find meaning in your life? Please don’t hesitate to share your stories or comments below.

If you found this blog helpful or encouraging, it would be the greatest complement to me if you shared it on your social networks. Thank you for helping build our community!

In Life and Leadership,

Angela

What is more important – What you do or who you become? My Ivy League Experience…

The-most-important-thing

During Spring break, we made our first road trip. The purpose was simple – combine fun with some college tours for our high school son.

On one beautiful Spring break day, we toured a prestigious Ivy League School. The campus was pristine, the students impressive, the entrepreneurial legends, inspiring. Not only did it top my son’s list of our Spring break campus tour, I was ready to quit my job and apply for to complete my Ph. D.

At the end of our tour, the University’s Student Guide said: Don’t let your GPA stop you from applying to our school. I heard someone in the group shouted out: “What is the average GPA?” The Student Guide replied: Over a 4.0.

I laughed (Inside my head, of course). Aware of my ignorance, and conscience of my effort not to embarrass my 15 year-old son, I didn’t raise my hand and ask: How does my son achieve a 4.2 or a 4.5 to get into your University? Instead, I waited until I was safely away from the crowd and in my car to do a Google search.

After finding the answer. I didn’t spend a lot of time strategizing how I could help my son get in. I think I was too troubled by the implications of what that might mean for his life. I had heard from other parents that their kids had a 4.2, started a nonprofit business, and were able to play the violin while standing on their head, but still didn’t get into this Ivy League School.

My questions was: What would my son sacrifice? What would we sacrifice?

Our wallets were a given! But what about our sanity? Or our souls?

As a leader, I see the fall out of such sacrifice in the lives of people every day. They work so hard, only to lose what matters most – their health, their families, their friends and their identity. All because of an addition to performance that started at a very young age.

I have to ask myself, as a parent, am I leading my children down the same path or am I teaching them by my words and my actions that what really matters most is WHO they become, not WHAT they do?

What about you?

What matters most to you?

Where do you find your identity?

What is the condition of your soul?

I would love to hear your thoughts on,  What is more important – What you do or who you become? My Ivy League Experience… Please don’t hesitate to share your stories or comments below.

If you found this blog helpful or encouraging, it would be the greatest complement to me if you shared it on your social networks. Thank you for helping build our community!

In Life and Leadership,

Angela

Join My Book Launch Team and Get Pivot Leadership FREE (Bonus Surprises Included!)

Pivot Leadership book cover Nov 7

Hello friends, bloggers, and social media extraordinaires!

I need your help! I want to extend a special invitation to you. Would you be on my launch team for my new book, Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change? You need no special skills to apply. A passion for reading, living a life of meaning and purpose, and social networking is a plus. Everything you need to know about being a Launch Team Member, I will share in this email and future updates sent directly to our launch team.

But, before you read further, I want to tell you upfront if you join my book launch team (and are accepted) you will receive a FREE downloadable version of Pivot Leadership before it ever hits the stores as my personal THANK YOU! I also have some fun bonus surprises awaiting you! Does it sound interesting so far? Keep reading!

About Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change:

An invitation for every leader who wants to leave their footprints in their organizations, their families and ultimately the world!

You were made for greatness! But balancing the demands of leading in the ever changing fast-paced global marketplace can deplete the most seasoned leader of vision and the will to move forward.

Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change challenges us as leaders to recall the vision and passion we have for our work while empowering us to pivot our thinking. Angela Craig is on a quest to make you an effective powerful leader that will be unstoppable.

A field guide of relevant research, Pivot Leadership is written for leaders, coaches, and educators who are ready to propel their leadership. Each chapter includes:

  • practical application
  • daily challenges
  • chapter activities for both personal and professional reflection and
  • adventure

Get ready for change that will drive personal and organizational success! Leaders who seek to take their organization, team, client, or student to the next level will find Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change the perfect inspiration that will catapult them to extraordinary results.

Pivot Leadership Launch Goals:

RELEASE DATE: As of this email Pivot leadership is on target for a release date of Tuesday, JUNE 02nd (Koehler Studios). The countdown is on!

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST: Our goal is to hit the first opportunity on the NY Times Bestseller list which is Sunday, JUNE 21st!

How YOU Can Be A Part Of Making History:

How are we making history? I am told it is uncommon (but not impossible) for emerging writers to make the NY Best Seller list. I have a different opinion. I believe when a community of people band together for a purpose, any goal can be achieved. That is why I need YOU to help me bring Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change to the world. I believe, with your help, Pivot Leadership will change people’s lives!

Let’s make uncommon, common and share it with the world!!

Steps To Achieving Our Pivot Leadership Goals:

1. READ

As I said before, as a Launch Team Member, you will receive a FREE PDF version of Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change as a THANK YOU gift from me! Falling in love with the book is the first thing you can do! As I say, pivot your thinking and change your life. Greatness awaits you!

2. SHARE

Use your skill as a social media extraordinaire to share the message of Pivot Leadership. For the first few weeks our goal as a team is to create a BUZZ. Get your friends and colleagues excited to read Pivot Leadership as an individual or team. During the race to the finish line we will be more intentional with links, quotes, and hashtags, sharing with people where to buy the book. ALL this information and many examples will be sent to team members once they have signed up.

3. PREPARE A REVIEW

Amazon and Barnes & Noble will give our launch team the opportunity to REVIEW Pivot Leadership. If you want to go ahead and be thinking about your review, even drafting it in advance, while you review your FREE copy of Pivot Leadership, that would be great. Then I’ll send out a reminder to post that review on release day.

4. WRITE A BOOK REVIEW ON YOUR BLOG

If you are a blogger (or have friends that blog), one of the ways you can help spread the word is by writing a short review on your blog on the day or week the book is released. I will provide you with links and pictures if you choose to do this. 

What Others Are Already Saying:

Your distinctive edge is that you offer something more valuable than an ‘airport leadership book’, especially given that your book is both evidence based, practical, adventure oriented, and with tremendous applied exercises.  Dr. Adrian Popa, Ph. D. – Gonzaga University Department of Organizational Leadership

 

I’ve read a draft and it is AMAZING! Love the concise thoughts and line of thinking! I will use it as a leadership resource with my leaders! Gail Johnsen – Leadership Coach/Pastor of Spiritual Formation

Just completed your book for the first read through! Amazing!!!

It is so easy to read and understand all terms used. Quite often reading a book focused on leadership the content becomes blurry and leaves questions unanswered, often times turning the leader towards the thinking of the author instead of focusing on improving the client and self-improvement. 

This book is a guide book that should be read and then kept at desk side for easy and quick reference. It is an easy clear read and makes one look inside to, their own thoughts and style. The activities at the end of each chapter definitely bring the reader to a point of self-examination and improvement or assurance. 

Love – love – love – it! Bev Jorgensen – Life Coach

Angela Craig’s Pivot Leadership is a perfect blend of research, insight, and inspiration. This book is a great tool for anyone wanting to build a more unified and successful team. In her book, Angela states, ‘How you define success will determine the answer to why you lead others.’ Pivot Leadership provides an important opportunity for you to examine what you value and to identify some crucial changes that must be made in order for both your leadership and those you lead to rise to greater heights. Rebekah Metteer – Pastor’s Wife, Author, Speaker, and Founder of Loving the Leap Ministries 

An Invitation With A Heart of Gratitude:

I would like to thank all of you who have already went through the review process of Pivot Leadership. To all of you who will now committee to joining the Launch Team, my heart is filled with gratitude for the time you will take in the upcoming month of May and first days of June to share about the book, post reviews on your blogs, and sharing your PIVOT LEADERSHIP stories. In addition to your FREE PDF version of Pivot Leadership, I will extend a special invitation to you to an private Facebook group I have set up specifically for our Launch Team. This page is only accessible to Launch Team members where you will have personal access to me, and opportunity to interact with other Launch Members along with a BEHIND THE SCENES look at what happens with a book launch. This Facebook page will provide a place where you will be the FIRST to vote on cover selection, see my new platform, find valuable update on Pivot Leadership and build meaningful relationships with likeminded individuals! I look forward to our time together and could not do this without you! I can’t wait to celebrate with you when Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change hits the New York Times Bestseller List!!!!

Ready to SIGN-UP to be part of the Pivot Leadership Launch Team?

Simple email Angela with the subject line: SIGN ME UP!

Angela.pivotleader@gmail.com

In life and leadership,

Angela Craig

Because of my personal investment in this project, we need to keep the group to a manageable size. Therefore, we won’t be able to accept everyone who applies. If you are truly interested, make sure to apply before the deadline of Friday, May 1st at 5pm PST.

We’ll be emailing individuals to let you know if you made the team. If you don’t hear from us by May 4th, It simply means we ran out of room. Don’t worry; I am already scratching out ideas for another book! There will be other opportunities to get involved in an upcoming launch.

“You can do anything you want to do!” True or False?

David Allen

In coaching, speaking, and writing I am passionate about helping people find meaning and purpose in life and leadership.

As a born cheerleader, I want to shout from the rooftops, You can do anything, don’t hold back!

But is that a true or false statement?

As discouraging as it may sound, you and I were not created to do everything. We were created uniquely, with specific strengths and talents to share with the world. We were not created to make ourselves something we are not. For example, I may be a marathon finisher, but never a finalist. I was born with turtle speed and endurance, not a rabbit pace that gets the trophy. I am okay with that. I will make the best time I can, but I don’t plan on wasting extraordinary amounts of time trying to increase my speed. Why, because I understand physics and I have accepted my physical boundaries. Some people were made to run, others were made to jog or walk.

Here are three reasons that will make you happy you can’t do everything:

  1. Too many choices make it impossible to get started. This is actually called, “overchoice” or choice overload. 1 Too many options will paralyze you in and make you indecisive about your future.
  1. Trying to do it all will make you ineffective. In the February issue of Psychology today, research showed that multitasking was not only ineffective but dangerous. The obvious example is texting and driving. But the same applies to our professional and personal lives. When our time and attention is divided, so is our soul. Zig Ziglar said, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” The bottom line: You can’t go two directions at one time and be successful.
  1. If you could do anything, you don’t need others. That is a very lonely place to be. God created you for community and collaboration. No one was meant to walk in life or leadership alone. When you know what it is you were designed to contribute to the world, you can partner with others to make the world a better place to live.

If you are reading this blog and still feel unsure about what you were created for, start with the Map Your Message exercise, from Michael Hyatt on my last blog post.

I would love to hear your thoughts on, “You can do anything you want to do!” True or False?  Please don’t hesitate to share your stories or comments below.

If you found this blog helpful or encouraging, it would be the greatest complement to me if you shared it on your social networks. Thank you for helping build our community!

In Life and Leadership,

Angela

1 Whitmore, Paul. (2001) Choice Overload. http://www-psych.stanford.edu/~wit/CS547talk/choice01.html

Need a personal or professional makeover? Michael Hyatt to the rescue!

As a leader, coach and author, I am a big fan of Michael Hyatt. If you have not meet Michael, he is the virtual mentor you have been looking for to win at work and succeed at life. (BIG sell, I know. But, I promise, you won’t be disappointed.)

Last week I was watching his new series of free videos, (Yes, free! Michael Hyatt is also one of the most generous online leaders I have encountered) on Platform University – discover how to stand out, get your message heard, and grow your following. In addition to the videos, Michael has included two incredible resources you can use in both life and leadership.

Today, I want to share with you one of the exercises that challenged me the most. It is called Mapping your Message.

As a coach, this would be one of the first exercises I would give you. It asks the basic questions: Who are you created to be? What is your purpose? Who will you serve?

But as the person being coached, you might hate me. Personally, I felt a bit overwhelmed by the empty boxes on the map below. It paralyzed me for a few days as I chicken scratched some empty answers on the page. How could this be so hard, I asked myself?

What I needed was a place to get started, an example of what a finished map looked like.

I decided, today is the perfect day to map our message together! I will go first…see my answers under your map.

Michael H. Mapping Exercise

1. People: Leaders, women, marginalized. Cause: People seeking purpose and meaning in life and leadership who need resources, training, and advocacy.

2. I am most passionate about helping people interested in impacting their world and reaching their goals.

3. What causes the people I serve the most pain and frustration:Lack of training and resources. Lack of opportunity.

4. The one thing I wish every person knew (and believed): You were uniquely created by God to contribute something beautiful to the world!

5. What comes easily to me: Research & writing. Teaching and team building. Planning big parties.

6. What subjects do I find myself consistently sharing or teaching: Identity. Purpose. Destiny.

7. How could my interests help others: Equip. Encourage. Elevate.

8. If I could do what I describe in #7, people would live a life of purpose and meaning because they understanding their value and worth through a relationship with the God who create and chose them. Walking with Jesus, they would live lives to their fullest potential, working in community with others, to contribute good to the world around them.

9. If I quit, there would less encouragement, resources, and training for potential leaders to find meaning and purpose in life and leadership. The GIVE GOOD Awards would not exist and there would be a gab in elevating women in ministry and leadership.

Now, it’s your turn to map your message! Go for it. I will be here cheering you on!

 I would love to hear your thoughts on, Need a personal or professional makeover? Michael Hyatt to the rescue! Please don’t hesitate to share your stories or comments below.

If you found this blog helpful or encouraging, it would be the greatest complement to me if you shared it on your social networks. Thank you for helping build our community!

In Life and Leadership,

Angela

 

Finding the Beauty in the Prickles

Torch Cactus

We all know prickly people. But before we start pointing fingers, isn’t it true that we all act prickly sometimes.

Prickly people are hard to be around. They can be defensive, irrupt in anger, blame others for undesired circumstances and withdraw in silence…all in the same conversation.

What makes us prickly?

  1. Loss of dignity or self-worth.
  1. Feeling abandon or unloved.
  1. Fear of loss of relationship, position or financial security.
  1. Emotional or physical exhaustion.

But like the Torch Cactus feature in the picture above, under the prickles is something waiting to be discovered, healed, seen, heard and blossomed. We are not responsible for how a person will respond, but we can help to ignite the beauty that is hidden under the prickles.

Here are four ways that you can respond and encourage beauty to overcome the prickles: 

  1. See and encourage the potential in others when they can’t see it in themselves.
  1. Take the road less traveled and choose connection, love and physical affection in appropriate doses. Let’s admit it, the easier thing to do is mimic a prickly person’s behavior but the most productive and relationship building thing you can do is to tell the person through word and deed, you will not abandon them in their time of need.
  1. Don’t try to fix it. Accept that the person is in a process of understanding and change. The art of active listening will benefit you greatly in this process. If you need coaching on active listening watch my interview with Lynne Baab, Author of The Power of Listening HERE.
  1. Provide a safe environment of rest and renewal. For example, offer to make the person’s favorite comfort foods or participate in their preferred outdoor activities. If the person needs space, take their kids (or yours) out for a playdate so they can relax.

It’s your turn:

Share some reasons you have become a prickly person at times?

What advice would you give to a friend or loved one who wanted to ignite the beauty that can be hidden by the prickles?

I would love to hear your thoughts on Finding the Beauty in the Prickles, please don’t hesitate to share your stories or comments below.

If you found this blog helpful or encouraging, it would be the greatest complement to me if you shared it on your social networks. Thank you for helping build our community!

In Life and Leadership,

 

Angela

 

The Ungame, my 15 year-old son, and what I learned about having a dishwasher mentality

image

On vacation over Spring break, our family played The Ungame while driving from one destination to another. The Ungame “is a unique way to share opinions, feelings and beliefs, and increase understanding of yourself and others” (description from the side of the game box). Basically, it is a game designed to improve communication among families, couples, and teams.

The game begins by having a player draw a topic card. Everyone else commits to listening to the person’s answer, refraining from comment until they draw a comment card. My 15 year old son, Austin got a question I thoughimaget he would have a tough time answering: “Discuss a household appliance.” Apparently, I was wrong. Without missing a beat, Austin gave this response.

I would like to discuss the dishwasher. The dishwasher resembles the American consumer mentality. People desire the best results for little work. Like washing dishes by hand, no longer do people want to put in the effort and time it takes to create a great finished product. They want to skip the hard work of scrapping and scrubbing and press the “quick cycle button” to get their results.

I was challenged by my son to ask myself, “Angela, what areas of your life are you having a dishwasher mentality?”

What about you, what areas of your life are you feeling impatient about? What areas do you want to push the “quick cycle button” to see your goal accomplished instead of putting in the work that will truly result in yours dreams coming true?

I would love to hear your thoughts on The Ungame, my 15 year-old son, and what I learned about having a dishwasher mentality, please don’t hesitate to share your stories or comments below.

If you found this blog helpful or encouraging, it would be the greatest complement to me if you shared this blog on your social networks. Thank you for helping build our community!

 

In Life and Leadership,

 

Angela

 

How do you know someone loves you when you don’t speak the same language?

intentional loveHave you ever wondered why you feel you are not speaking the same language as your spouse, your child, or a colleague at work?

If you have ever taken the 5 love languages test, you might discover that you and the people you love do not speak the same love languages. My husband’s first love language is receiving gifts, mine is words of affirmation. To make things more interesting, my husband’s number 5 love language is words of affirmation and mine is receiving gifts. For both of us, what is most important to the other person is last on our list of priorities. The interesting fact is, most people in relationship find themselves in this same situation – opposites attract!

Here are 3 simple steps you can take to find love when you don’t speak the same language:

  1. Take the 5 love language test as a couple, a family or a work team and discuss the results to deepen your understanding for what each individual needs to feel loved or appreciated.

gift giving

  1. People will give love the way they want to be loved. My husband is an amazing gift giver (see picture of roses). He shows his love, affection, and affirmation for me through gifts. Just because it doesn’t come naturally for my husband to affirm me with words, doesn’t mean he does not love me or recognize my worth. His gifts speak volumes if I choose to listen.
  1. Practice intentional giving. Give gifts that are outside your comfort zone. Maybe you don’t see yourself as a good gift giver or affirmer. Find someone who an expert in the love language you lack and copy them! Or simply ask the person you love or are working with to give you examples of meaningful ways to express their #1 love language. Your acts of intentionality will show love and appreciation in ways you can’t imagine!

Take these 3 simple steps and you will be surprised to find love and appreciation in unexpected places!

I would love to hear your thoughts on How do you know someone loves you when you don’t speak the same language, please don’t hesitate to share your stories or comments below.

If you found this blog helpful or encouraging, it would be the greatest complement to me if you shared this blog on your social networks. Thank you for helping build our community!

 

In Life and Leadership,

 

Angela

 

Following Jesus in Baptism…

I have been baptized three times.

Angela's BaptismThe first, as a newborn in the sacrament of the holy church.

The second time I was baptized after I accepted Jesus at the age of 12.

And the third time was in my pastoral care class at Northwest University when I was going to school for my bachelor’s degree in Ministry Leadership.

Some say, three times a charm.

As an infant it was significant to everyone else in the room but me…accept maybe for the trauma it cause me when they sprinkled unexpected water over my head and my baby instincts kicked in making me scream because I thought I might be drowning.

As a twelve year old, I accepted Jesus purely out of fear. After watching A Thief in the Night, I would have done anything the pastor told me not to be “left behind” or burn in hell.

FJBut then, something unexpected happened. My pastoral care class took a field trip to Neighborhood Church in Bellevue to practice baptism. We didn’t have real candidates so we practiced on each other. I had no idea that this would be the most significant baptism in my life. Pastor Darrell Elliott led us in the ceremony, explaining the power of the resurrection waters. As each of us took turns following Jesus in baptism, the significance of our old lives being laid down in death, and left behind as we were immersed in the water grave was an extraordinary miracle that I tried to grasp. Then we celebrated as each of us came up out of the water and stepping into new life with Jesus! At the end of the evening I stood by the baptismal watching the water drain out of the pool. It was a divine and symbolic gesture of our sins being washed away, never to be seen again. As I stood there watching the waters recede, I could hear the words that God spoke to Jesus during his baptism, but this time He was saying, “This is my daughter, whom I love and am pleased with.”

 

Are you ready to follow Jesus in baptism? I promise, your life will never be the same!

If you are ready to take the plunge, contact your church for the next baptism class OR join me this weekend at our HER VOICE Women’s Retreat (Details and information: www.hervoice.us)! If you don’t have a church family, please contact me. There are many amazing communities that would love to meet you!

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