This morning I was moved to read and reflect on this scripture in the Bible:

First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. –Proverbs 16:18 MSG

I then began to write the reflection below followed by a prayer, that you can read in its entirety by visiting my Breaking Bread With Natasha blog. My message for today is lengthy but as it helped me to share it, hopefully it will help someone to read it.

Pride

Pride driven by ego is a dangerous weapon that always leads to self-inflicted torture. This form of pride should not be confused with being “proud of” overcoming obstacles or being proud of your children. That’s not the pride that causes crashes.

Pride, as referenced in the scripture above, is the manifestation of being so self-absorbed that you refuse to ask for help, admit that you’re wrong, admit that you can’t do something, etc. You could be struggling financially, spiritually, mentally, or physically yet you refuse to reach out for assistance so that you can struggle less or not at all.

This level of pride would allow you to leave a job or a relationship simply because you couldn’t see yourself letting go of the little control that you thought you had because you refused to be vulnerable, open and exposed with someone else. Not wanting it to appear that someone outdid or outsmarted you, you would rather uproot, disrupt, destroy, and walk away than to give in to the process that could bring peace, harmony, and restoration.

Ego says that you don’t need to pray to God before speaking, because “you’ve got this“. Ego convinces you to never surrender in an argument, to fight relentlessly to the end regardless of the collateral damage, and regardless of the fact that you could be and probably are 100 percent wrong. Pride says, “oh well if I am, you won’t get me to admit it”.

Strong people have a difficult time letting go and asking for help, and admitting that they simply don’t know or that they are weak in certain areas. Highly intelligent people oftentimes can’t fathom not knowing the answer to a question, having a solution to a problem—so pride will step up and declare all sorts of misinformation, distortions, and even blatant lies to mask the truth. Pride will sacrifice everything for self-image.

The ego doesn’t want to lose so pride steps in and cheats to win. To the ego the consequences of actions are meaningless or can easily be counteracted. The reality is there are always equal or greater consequences to the actions that we take, even if not immediate, they still come with a heavy penalty.

My Admission of Guilt

I’m guilty of letting my pride get the best of me. My ego can be whopper size and my stubbornness to defend my position at all costs can and has left me severely injured and a lot of collateral damage along the wayside.

My pride has caused me spiritual, physical, emotional, and financial harm. My pride has caused damage to personal and professional relationships. Things said and done oftentimes can’t be reworded or undone. It’s usually set in and embedded so deep that your only options are to flee (pride) or work to make things right (humility). You have to be willing to surrender, admit that you’re wrong, and pursue the steps required to make right your wrong. The ego hates that. It digs deep into your gut causing you a pain that makes you feel like dry heaving (also known as “retching”).

In the late 1990s to early 2000s, my pride cost me my career, car, home, furnishings, and lifestyle. I hit rock bottom and had to humble myself to slowly get my face up off of the ground. It was a devastating blow. I was reminded that my priorities were off and that I was listening to ego when I was supposed to be listening to God. My pride was quick to blame others, but God quickly silenced me with the bold reminder that the decisions I made were done so consciously, so credit and fault rested with me. You can argue with God but He has time on His side, so choose wisely.

Pride stepped in and caused me much grief after my March 2017 divorce. Ego told me that I could deal with the trauma on my own, alone, and isolated. Ego told me that I could heal, recover, and rebound faster and better if I did it by myself, without help from anyone. The problem with that scenario is that you tend to also block out God’s voice and avoid seeing the blessings in the form of opportunities and redirection.

God speaks through people, but if you’re isolated how can you interact with them to hear His message? And sadly, because I’ve always projected myself to be “strong” and a “super woman”, others see me this way, so when I did reach out for help, friends and associates dismissed the level and severity of my pain and circumstances because in their mind, “Natasha’s strong, she’s got this,” but what in my past has ever truly prepared me for divorce?

In my past I’ve experienced gut-wrenching heart break, I’ve experienced extreme loss and numerous human deaths (all of which were untimely). But nothing has ever prepared me for the devastating blow that comes from divorcing the person that you planned to spend the rest of your life with. You’re not given a handbook or put through a training program before or during marriage that prepares you for divorce.

Church, family and society preaches “for better or for worse, til death do you part…” and with that your mind isn’t focused on the death of your marriage, your union, your relationship—but that’s what divorce looks and feels like for so many of us—death—and you have to go through ALL of the stages of grief to fully heal. My ego was even fighting that process. My ego had me to wear the mask of “I’m perfectly fine with this situation, it is what it is…” knowing that it was a bold and blatant lie. I wasn’t even an inkling of “fine” or a shade of “okay”.

I was in denial and the pain and frustration reared up and clobbered me in November 2017 and dragged me like a ragdoll through January and February 2018, and plopped me on a stump in March 2018 with my truths staring me squarely in my face. I finally got my head turned around and senses together so that I could sit up and assess my situation. That happened in April 2018. I had a tumultous 2017 and 2018 had some very painful stumbles, but it didn’t have to be so extreme, had I listened to and obeyed God instead of my ego.

For two years my company, Foreman & Associates, LLC suffered because I wouldn’t get the help that I needed personally so that I could focus on the work that needed to be done professionally. Because I didn’t protect and take care of myself, my business was punished. That collateral damage is real!

I’ve come to realize that it’s not one single thing or even a handful of things or circumstances that prepare you for life’s clobbering sessions. It’s the culmination of all of the times that you were beat down in the “boxing ring” of life, and you got back up. It’s all of the times that life beat you and you found yourself pinned against the “ropes”, trying desperately to fend off the hits and not get knocked out—yet you never looked to your corner begging with your eyes for your trainer to throw in the towel of defeat.

When I look at all of my failings, disappointments, heartbreaks, losses, and blowups, I can see how I would pick myself up and go through the necessary steps to rebuild. I can also see the times when I thought that a shortcut to healing and recovery would work better, and jeesh was I painfully wrong. I can reflect on the pain that I felt and still feel from loved ones passing away and knowing that I won’t see and hear them here and now as I did before. Selfishly I want them here.

All of those experiences have tested, strengthened, challenged, and refined me. All of those experiences made me wiser and more humble. And yes, all of those experiences combined have prepared me for the death called divorce and the rebirth that I’m experiencing post-divorce.

It’s the shedding of one layer for the growth of a newer and better layer. It’s going from the caterpillar stage to emerge as the amazing and graceful butterfly. It’s being less of who you were to be more of who you’re supposed to be. It’s opening yourself up to the possibility of loving and being loved by someone new and unfamiliar in a way that is pleasantly new and unfamiliar.

Divorce is not the end. Losing your job, car, and house is not the end. Those things and experiences are only pages or chapters in your life. They are not your everything. What will you do, see, and experience on the next page or in the next chapter?

Through God I am confident. Through God I love and am loved. Through God I forgive myself and forgive others. Through God I can let go and gain more than I ever imagined. Through God I have peace, joy, happiness, and comfort.

The opposite of all of that comes from choosing ego instead.

This Week…

I’ve been under a lot of stress over the past two months—tied to work and house-hunting. This week my anxiety flared up and reached a level that scared me. I had to meditate on being present and not focusing on the what-ifs of the future or the past. The unknowns of the future are irrelevant when you’re focused on the present, and you can’t change the past so obsessing over it is deflating and counterproductive.

That’s ego getting in the way. I have to learn to stiff-arm ego like a football or rugby player and slam it to the ground.

Today I’ve been presented with a test, an opportunity, to do exactly that—put my ego and pride to the side and instead focus on God’s plan for my success. Will it be uncomfortable at times? Yes, that’s why it’s called “growing pains”. Would I prefer the temporary discomfort over the long-term agony that comes from being ego-driven instead of God-led? I will take those growing pains so that I can be, see, and do what God has called me to be, see, and do.

Will I slip up and let pride step in from time to time? Yep, I’m sure that I will. It’s my go-to default switch when I’m being stupid.

What I pray for is God’s love to see me through, the discernment to know His voice above all others, and the courage to stand and quickly realign on His path.

Change Starts With You

We can counter our pride with humility. We can start by saying:

…I don’t know”

“...I have no clue what the answer is”

“I don’t know but I can try to search online for the answer or ask someone who may know…

“…I need help with _____”

“…That’s not my strength. I’m better at doing ____ but maybe I/we can find help through ____”

“…I’m sorry. I was wrong. I won’t do it again. How can I make things right?” (And then you work to make things right)

“…I’m sorry I was being selfish/childish/stupid…

“…You’re correct, I’m wrong…”

“…I can see your perspective and that it differs from mine, so how can we compromise?”

Do you see how making it less about you (ego) allows you to be whole, healthy, and complete with and through God?

Being flexible and fluid, like water, allows you to bend and consider more than your perspective—it allows you to discover that it’s not all about you, you don’t know as much as you think you do, you can’t do everything you set your mind to, and the world doesn’t revolve around you. And it’s perfectly fine that way. It should actually be liberating to no longer carry that baggage that you have been lugging like deadweight for decades. Let it go!

We have to decide if we want growth or stagnation. Do we want pleasure or pain? Do we want health or sickness? Do we want prosperity or suffering? Do we want to be right or do we want peace?

We are given the freedom of choice. Our decisions have lasting consequences. What will you choose to do today? Don’t concern yourself with tomorrow. What choice will you make today about how you will think, speak, live, treat yourself and others?

Lovingly,

Natasha

Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved. Natasha L. Foreman.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc

This month let’s connect and see how my team and I can help your new or seasoned business.

At Foreman & Associates, LLC we specialize in management consulting, individual and team training, and business support services—you can outsource work to us or we can help your team setup your systems of success.

Companies call on us for large and small projects, operations and management overhauls, full-cycle recruiting, and to coach owners and executives to be more efficacious leaders.

Visit FOREMANLLC.COM for more details. Let’s make some moves together so that it can be our best year ever!

~Natasha

Wow I can’t believe it’s already NYE!
For the most part 2015 has been great. It has been crazy busy trying to juggle teaching students at two colleges, while running two companies, and managing a household with a busy husband and a very active chocolate lab Bishop Milo Bryant. 

December Challenges and Blessings

December has been VERY rough emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I’ve had medical issues, decided to change my plans and spend time in a Newport Beach hospital instead of hanging at the beach (*can you hear the sarcasm?*) and NOW this week I have strept throat. 

What??? As much as I talk…I’m the last person who needs to be shut down with strept throat! 😷

BUT even with all of that,  I’m BLESSED and that’s ALL that matters. Not everyone woke up this morning, but you and I did. So praise God for another day!

And STILL I RISE!

My Family

My sister Alexandra Foreman (as usual) has stepped up BIG time and she’s been taking care of me these past four weeks. I don’t know what I would do without her. 

It was doubly helpful when my mom Gwen Foreman came here for Christmas and just filled our days and my home with love and joy. My mom and sister, and my sister’s boyfriend Shawn helped me cook Christmas dinner. It turned out so awesome!!!! 😋

I’m such a busy body and don’t like being cooped up in the house, so it feels good knowing that my sister is helping pick up my household load, and when she’s not at work she drives me around (or rides with me when I stubbornly demand to drive) to run errands, etc. She’s such a blessing. 🙏🏽

I love my sister, flaws and all. I’m so grateful. 

I’m grateful that my husband picked up my meds the other day to fight this strept throat, and has been helping as my “room service attendant” the past few days. It has helped take some of the load off of me and my sister. 

My amazing dog Bishop rarely leaves my side. Where mommy is he wants to be, especially when mommy isn’t feeling good. He’s taking a nap next to me as I type this. There’s no loyalty and love like that of a dog!

Move Those Hips: Couch Potato I am NOT!

I can’t wait until I get the okay from doctors to get my Fitbit back on my wrist so I can actively rejoin the daily and weekly challenges with my cousins Vilynsia Collins Montgomery and  Kasi Lee-Aska, and my friend Paul Jones.

I know that they’ve been tearing up those challenges. I refuse to open my app because I feel so left out! It’s been four long weeks of inactivity. 😩

2015 is Wrapping up and Here’s What I See in my New Year:

I look forward to what 2016 will bring. I look forward to the opportunities and challenges. I look forward to the growth and the growing pains. I look forward to making my mark, doing big things, going new places, meeting new faces, and conquering my fears. 

The Entrepreneur

I look forward to watching Foreman & Associates, LLC and Storiboard Nation LLC grow and get closer to reaching our missions. Both companies have some big announcements and overhauls coming in January. I look forward to seeing where my Storiboard Nation business partner, Markeith Wood, and I take our company. Iron sharpens iron. So watch out for us in 2016!!!! 

The Servant Leader’s Call to Serve

I’m excited about a HUGE announcement that I have about my Breaking Bread With Natasha blog. I’ve painfully been inactive for several weeks. I know that people have been freaking out. But I promise to make it up to all of my readers. Stay tuned for details. 

So What Does All of This Mean?

NOTHING and NO ONE will stop me from being who and what God intends for me. Like it, love it, or leave it—just don’t think for one minute that you can stop what God has set in motion for me! God did not make me to be mediocre. God did not see “small” in His vision for me. The visions that He has given me are in no way small. 

I only want people around me who will be truly supportive of me (in thought, word, and deed) as I climb these behemoths and reach the top. Don’t small change me. Don’t reduce me to your comfort level. Help me or get out of my way. You can trash talk about me, while miles behind me! 

I’m blessed and highly favored. Thank you 2015 for the lessons. I’m ready to put things in motion for 2016.

 Let’s do this!!!!!!

Warmest wishes and love,

Natasha Foreman Bryant 

Check out the post I wrote for Foreman & Associates, LLC about the latest article published by The New Yorker. The article addresses ObamaCare and its impact on small business, and our beloved United States of America. I look forward to receiving your feedback on both articles!

http://wp.me/p11NVc-6T

Copyright 2013. Some Rights Reserved. Natasha Foreman Bryant

By Natasha L. Foreman

Today I wrote an article for my Business Management Firm, Foreman & Associates LLC, highlighting an article that I read about UPS’s decision to cut insurance coverage for 15,000 spouses of non-union workers in the U.S.

Read my article here: http://wp.me/p11NVc-5X and share your thoughts, experiences, and possible solutions for small business owners, and the employees that are caught in the middle.

Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Natasha L. Foreman.

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

The debate continues about the unemployment rate, job creation, and the potential boost in our nation’s economy. The Los Angeles Times shares all sides of the debate in last Saturday’s business section.

Although the national unemployment rate is currently at 8.1% (which is almost double in Black and Brown communities) the L.A. Times reported that this rate is not solely because more jobs are being secured by workers —since only 115,000 jobs were added in April (after winter gains of an average of $252,000 jobs December through February)– but rather because more people are discouraged and dropping out of the labor market.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington was reported as telling the L.A. Times that workers are dropping out of the labor market because they no longer believe that there are jobs out there for them. In April the numbers shrank by 342,000 workers. That’s 342,000 that are reported to have lost hope in securing a job.

President Obama sees and reports things differently and more optimistically. He reminded people in his speech last Friday at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, that we are surviving the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, have created more than 4.2 million jobs within the last 26 months, and 1.6 million of those jobs were created just within the last 6 months.

Obama’s chief economic advisor, Alan Krueger told the L.A. Times that the jobless rate fell a full percentage point since last August, and that nearly three-quarters of that drop was due to increased employment. Dean Baker however said that some of the three-quarters was attributable to adjustments in the population.

Analysts claim that the warm winter weather we experienced across the nation has impacted the reported rates of job growth, as certain industries, such as construction—that were booming in December and January, have since seen no increase in jobs.

However, car sales are strong, manufacturing continues to perform well, there is growth in the demand for growth, consumer spending is up, and there is an improvement in the housing market that once was severely depressed.

The L.A. Times makes a point of reminding and educating readers that our country’s economy is vulnerable to various “shocks” such as high oil prices, China’s slowed-down economy, and the debt-strained problems of Europe. When the rest of the world is suffering, our country is hit hard also; and vice versa. We’re literally in this together.

Let’s also not forget that more than 90% of the companies in our country are small business enterprises, with less than 200 employees, yet maybe 90% of job seekers are applying mostly to large corporations—less than 10% of the businesses in the U.S.

Who’s helping to equip these small businesses with the resources to hire more employees?

Who’s reminding and educating job seekers about employment opportunities with small businesses?

Who’s bridging the gap?

We must realize that our economy is impacted by other world economies and “shocks”. We must focus more on the things we’re for and less on what we’re against, and then help to bring about a progressive movement towards solution rather than allow a spiraling effect that will lead to ultimate failure.

We should also be grateful for our country and the numerous resources here. Let’s consider if we lived in Liberia where the unemployment rate is a staggering 85%. What if that was our reality?

Let’s look for solutions rather than people to blame. Let’s look for business opportunities and leverage our strengths, rather than examples of our weaknesses and failures.

What can we do individually and collectively to bring about positive change and to be the change we want to see in our nation, and in the world?

What can you do to help with unemployment in the United States?

————————————-

Source: Don Lee. Los Angeles Times. Job weakness feeds fear of a slowdown. Business section. B1, B4. Saturday, May 5, 2012.

Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. Foreman & Associates, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

by Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

Employers are quick to provide assessments to new hires, and sometimes invest in the administration of these learning tools periodically for certain key employees; but how many business owners and entrepreneurs are also investing in self-assessments for themselves, and then concentrating efforts on assessing every employee regardless of position or title? I would say very few.

It is extremely important to pull out the metaphoric mirror and look closely at yourself, your skills, interests, abilities, and strengths. It is important to know your and your employees insights surrounding personality, values and attitudes, motivation, decision making, productivity, emotional intelligence, communication skills, leadership and team skills, power and conflict skills, and how well you (and they) do in and with certain organizational structures, change, stress, and work-life balance.

Taking assessments frequently, learning from the results, and applying what you have learned both in your career and personal life, help you to become and remain a balanced individual. Your focus should not just be on changing others and the world, you must first look at your personal change through growth- for positive results only come through change.

At Foreman & Associates, LLC we help entrepreneurs and their team work through and learn from the assessments we administer. Organizational behavior concerns arise when you don’t truly know those individuals who make up your company, and when they don’t truly understand you and their value in your organization. Crafting and executing strategy within an organization is pointless if you do not have the complementary variables and assets (employees and leaders) to help your organization get where you desire most.

If you don’t know how to properly engage, motivate, inspire, work with, communicate, and lead your employees effectively, guess what? They will model what they see and hear. If you (or a manager) are like a canon ball exploding in a crystal shop, but you need someone who has the finesse of a feather, how else will you initially filter through your team to find this person without using an assessment tool?

As a prospective or new business owner you have to ask yourself what type of decision maker, leader, delegator, manager, discipliner, and team builder you are. You have to know your strengths and weaknesses, and then build your strengths as you delegate in areas of weakness. An assessment can help with this. It will also help an existing entrepreneur who may be struggling with team alignment and organizational behavior concerns.

Think about the boss or manager that you had (before you became self-employed) who drove you batty, was stressed out, ornery, and ruled through fear and not care. What if he or she had been given an assessment to see which type of environment and position that fit best with their personality? What if an assessment was used to weigh their ability to lead with the type of respect and care that the organization expected? By highlighting that this person is a brute, narcissist, unethical, or has poor communication skills the manager has the option to change through growth and application of skills taught through a training program, or they can leave and go to a company willing to put up with their bulldozer mentality.

When building teams you need to see each member’s strengths and weaknesses and line them up accordingly. There has to be a well-blended and balanced mix that is mutually rewarding for all parties and stakeholders. An unmotivated person will only give partial effort…how does this affect your relationship with customers, vendors, and investors?

When considering the cost of investing in assessments for yourself, your leadership team, or your entire company, consider how much you will lose because you did not take the time to invest in those that make up your company. Consider how much you will lose because you didn’t take time to invest in making sure that all of the components and parts needed to make your dream a reality were present and aligned with your mission.

How much time and money do you have to lose? What are you willing to invest in your and your organization’s future? Contact Foreman & Associates, LLC today! http://foremanandassociates.info

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Foreman & Associates, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

I just read a very interesting article by Sabina Nawaz, written for the Harvard Business Review that encourages executives, managers, and other professionals to take two hours per week out of our insanely busy schedules to create our own personal ‘white noise space’, separate from the ‘noise’ of mobile devices, iPads, iPods, tablets, video games, laptops, computers, telephones, television, radio, and the like. Instead, Nawaz suggests that for two hours each and every week we should be taking a relaxing walk, drive or bike ride; or sitting in a comfortable location and doing absolutely nothing but thinking and reflecting; allowing our minds to totally dump all thoughts and ideas where we can quickly write them down in a journal or notepad (plain ole’ pen/pencil and paper, no electronic devices).

This is similar to a method that I have used over the years and have suggested to my clients and mentees; but I use ‘alone time’ to ‘idea-dump’ or ‘stress-dump’ on paper everything that is in my head; but it has never been a requirement to do so in the absolute silence of non-silence, and without any distractions from electronic devices, etc. Nawaz’s method expands upon my thinking, eliminates all possible distractions (except whatever could pop up while driving in our car or riding a bike) and measures the results from doing so on a regular and consistent basis. She has shown the positive outcomes of creating and building our our white noise space.

Nawaz suggests that in our constantly moving and changing lives we can be so overly consumed with deadlines, projects, and closing deals that we may miss or overlook a great idea or concept that can be used strategically in our business, simply because we don’t take a few moments consistently each week to take in the non-silence of silence, and allow our minds to do what they were created to do…process, strategize, and create. She also suggests that by building this white noise space to think, we can also find ways to creatively free ourselves for our personal lives so that we can spend this time with family and friends, whom we oftentimes neglect because of work commitments.

She makes note of when in 2004, the BBC Symphony Orchestra gave a performance of the modern classic 4′ 33″ by John Cage, a composition that was made famous for “its counterintuitive focus on the sounds of music not being played.” John Cage, “…believed that true silence did not exist; he wanted people to pay attention to what was all around them, to recalibrate their perceptions of sound and silence. He wanted them to hear in a new way,” Nawaz wrote.

I agree with Nawaz that in business we rarely take time out to let our minds wander and breathe. We think that the only time we can ‘allow’ ourselves this moment of freedom is when we sleep, and if you’re only sleeping 3-5 hours per day yet up ripping and running 19-21 hours, that’s a great portion of your day being spent in high stress, high intensity environments where you don’t make the time to “wander around the edges of seemingly intractable problems.” Nawaz suggests that, “Building white space in your week lets you hear and think in a new way.”

I believe that it is something worth trying, especially since it has been proven effective with other managers, executives, and business leaders Nawaz highlighted in her article. So I’m going to give it a try for several weeks and see what changes I notice in my stress levels, clarity, business, and in my personal life. It takes my idea and stress ‘dumping’ to a higher level of thinking. So I’m inspired.

I recommend that you read Nawaz’s article in its entirety then share your thoughts: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/07/this_space_intentionally_left.html

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman and Foreman & Associates, LLC. Some Rights Reserved.