Judgement, Chocolate, and Church

I have felt judged and I have judged. In business, at church, at dinner…it seems like judgement is inescapable. Oddly enough, I have noticed that people even judge acceptance. When I share that my husband races boats and goes 140 mph on the water, the pointed questions come:

Does it bother you that boat racing is dangerous? 

Yes.

Does it scare you that your husband races boats?

Sure.

How can you let him do that?

The audible voice says, “How could I not?” 

Then my daredevil man puts my son in the passenger seat of his new lightning fast boat, and runs through the race lights.  Yup, this happened.

Game changer, right?  *loud mama bear growl* 

Why does he have to love racing? Why can't he find something else?  Why can't he keep these risky passions away from our children?  

We let our kids jump off cliffs, drive cars, participate in potentially bone-breaking sports, snowboard, ski, ride motorcycles, swim in the ocean, ride horses...and explore relationships. They fail. They fall down. They get back up. 

We don’t deny our children these experiences because life IS risky. But, what is more risky, and far more dangerous, is denying our desires. What if I did prohibit my husband’s hobbies? What if I did prevent my children’s opportunities?

The man I love would be a shell of himself. As a result, I would be a shell of a woman, and probably not as attracted to him. Every one of our well-tended desires is worthy, without justification or alteration. Unconditional love supersedes judgment. So I let my husband race, and I let my kids adventure. 

Trying to force people into defending their enjoyment is asinine. It would be like saying, “why do you love chocolate?” I could come up with a hundred reasons why I love chocolate. I could even get a group of others to justify my passion for chocolate. Sure, an overwhelming appetite for chocolate could be unhealthy. But the reality is that I would still love chocolate. 

Why do I need to justify it? Why do we feel the innate need to explain ourselves?  Why should we? Each person has been designed as a one of kind expression.

The true hazard of every individual’s life is conforming to a pre-disposed stereotype and pre-ordained set of expectations. The peril here is real. When we ignore our desires, dissuade our passions, and direct ourselves toward the prescribed life that society has trained us to accept, the risk becomes fatal. 

When we are not engaged in active self-acceptance and fueled by the desires of our soul, we are stifled and unhappy. If I put on the disguise that tradition says I should, then I am wearing a straight- jacket while trying to traverse a chaotic obstacle course. 

I suppose this is why at places like conservative ladies luncheons or church functions, I often feel judged and excluded.  In my mind, and sometimes aloud, I hear the questions: 

Why don't you go to church more?

Why do you let your daughter wear that?

Where's your husband?

How are you cultivating a Christian family?

To these inquiries, I can only internally respond with the knowledge that Jesus’ entire life was an example of redemption. I have no cause for judgment. I have no place to selfishly expect others to modify themselves to comply with my fears or perceptions.  It is not within my time, at my will, or under my control.  It happened at the cross. It's done.

Love hard. Love every sinner, rule breaker, jdugers, adrenaline seeking men...and the women who love all of themselves. I am one of those women, willing to be judged and still willing to love.

Freedom lives in the full expression and acceptance of ourselves. The same acceptance Jesus had.

Alexis Asbe: wife, mother, best-selling author, serial entrepreneur, women's coach and business consultant. Find her @alexisasbe on Facebook; Instagram; Twitter.

 

Brave Marketing: 10 Musts for Wedding Professionals

The wedding world would call this time of year the Engagement Season. As we, the wedding and hospitality professionals, dig in to marketing, sales, and bridal fair season, it’s important for us to remember that the service we offer is an extension of who we are. How do we offer what we do in the best way that represents us? In everything we do we have the opportunity to do it with exemplified love. Whether it’s when we’re in the trenches of conducting and growing a business, parenting, or even at the gym *insert heavy lifting and grunt here,* when we are focused on the desired outcome with clear intentions, we can use any opportunity to serve up a big platter of excellence, authenticity, and care. I call this your best self. We put our best self forward, we know what our intentions are, and we keep them at the absolute front of our marketing plan.

Being able to provide people with information and resources is a gift. I like giving. Personally I give by showing I care and I want to help. Essentially, this is marketing. We market by helping, serving, and developing relationships with people. Marketing is building relationships. As many of us pros are headed to fairs and expos to boldly share and offer our services and/or products, the most successful will prepare for these events with the following list of these 10 musts:

  1. Be confident. You are an expert and there to serve. Share your experiences and knowledge positively, with enthusiasm, and don’t be afraid to share why you love what you do. Be completely you. Don’t pretend to be something or someone you are not.
  2. Don’t overwhelm. Couples on the average have 160 things to do when planning a wedding and not to mention family and friends with opinions and a desire to help. Keep your message and service simple. Provide a unique, clean and simple (emphasis on simple!) way to show what you do.
  3. Stand Up. Passively sitting can make people feel like you are not interested in meeting them (use chairs for short breaks).
  4. Smile. As in most situations, it is best to smile, smile, smile, and keep smiling in order to be more approachable. Smiling exudes happiness. Be happy; no one wants a grumpy person at their wedding and they certainly won’t want to work with a vendor they view as grumpy.
  5. Make eye contact. When talking with someone, make eye contact to create a sincere connection. Scanning the room or looking at your phone or iPad are sure-fire ways to make the person you are speaking to feel less than important. Side note: also true in your love relationship.
  6. Listen. When meeting someone new, it’s best to really listen to what they’re saying and connect with him or her by acknowledging that you can relate to understand what they’re feeling. Listening and establishing a connection can create trust and trust creates a strong foundation for business development.
  7. Ask questions. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the better you can help. Be sure to ask people questions and learn from what they say. How can you help?
  8. Be a connector. You may not be able to help everyone but make it a practice to connect and introduce people to others who can. Your connections and resources are more valuable than you may realize.
  9. Don’t worry about the competition. My Dad always said, “don’t worry about the competition, let the competition worry about you.” Focus on being your best and don’t waste energy thinking negatively of others. Run your own race and be the best at what you do. Seek coaching, learning, and improvement opportunities if you find yourself obsessing about your competitors.
  10. Give them a reason to see you again. Invite and give clients (and their families) a reason to contact you again. Preferably at a different location within a couple weeks of meeting them. Invite them to your office or shop for a seminar, open house, or event. This will give you an opportunity to show them what you actually do and for them to experience you or your service without distraction.

All that we are and everything we do can be a display, expression, and opportunity to represent our best self. With our best selves, we can bravely love ourselves and others through our work, even when selling and marketing our wares.