Loving on Me!: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Mess to Message

Loving on Me!: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Mess to Message

by Katrina McGhee

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504349307
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 02/10/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 138
Sales rank: 656,107
File size: 399 KB

About the Author

Katrina McGhee is the founder and CEO of Loving On Me. Whether teaching corporate classes in sales and personal branding or mentoring young women in her community, her mission is the same—empowering individuals to become change makers by embracing the “me” they were created to be. For more information visit KatrinaMcGhee.com.

Read an Excerpt

Loving on Me!

Lessons Learned on the Journey from Mess to Message


By Katrina D. McGhee

Balboa Press

Copyright © 2016 Katrina D. McGhee
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5043-4929-1



CHAPTER 1

LESSON ONE

I Am Enough

* * *

How can I be so smart and be in something so stupid?

Working as a senior executive at an international breast cancer charity, I was at the top of my professional game. Blessed with the rare opportunity to do what I loved while also making a difference, I was fiercely committed to the mission and incredibly proud of our life-changing work. Life wasn't perfect, but it was pretty darn sweet.

That is, until a fateful January day when what should have been a private discourse over funding erupted into a very public and heated debate with another women's nonprofit. It was an absolute spectacle fueled by nonstop media coverage and confusion. Within twenty-four hours, we went from being one of the world's most beloved charities to being engulfed by a raging wildfire, one we had absolutely no idea how to extinguish or control.

Every day, our offices around the country were besieged with thousands of angry calls and e-mails from donors who weren't happy with our decisions. Our national office was routinely under the threat of protest, and one day someone even took a shot at our building. Yep! You read it right: a gunshot. As you can imagine, when building security told us they were considering putting bulletproof film on the windows, "job security" took on a whole new meaning.

It was a catastrophe of the worst proportions — personally and professionally — especially for those of us trying to put out the flames. Stressed doesn't even begin to describe our state. For weeks on end, it was an all-day all-hands-on-deck fight. Regularly we'd spend twelve to fourteen hours each day at the office being attacked over the phone and e-mail, only to go home and find the same thing happening on our personal social media pages. It was exhausting and incredibly frustrating. Worse still was that while we worked hard to put out the fire, I personally began to suffocate from the smoke.

As news coverage of our crisis began including references to hidden agendas and covert agreements, my stress level went through the roof. And my internal angst started manifesting in some pretty severe outward symptoms. In the middle of meetings, my chest would suddenly tighten and my face would start tingling. My lips would go numb, and no matter how much I massaged, I couldn't make it go away. After a while, it started happening at night too, along with uncontrollable jerking as I slept.

Initially, I chalked it up to elevated blood pressure. Given the extreme circumstances, it seemed a reasonable conclusion. I assumed things would go back to normal when the crisis had passed. But there were moments — actually a lot of moments — when I wondered if I were having a heart attack and a stroke at the same time.

After weeks of nonstop mania, I finally gave in to my son's pleas and went to see the doctor. I had almost blacked out while exercising, and the incident scared him half to death. Isn't it ridiculous that I, who had been working in healthcare marketing for over fifteen years and had created campaigns around taking charge of your health, had to be harassed by my child to stop what I was doing and take care of me?

The irony would hit me many months later, not to mention the foolishness of running around thinking I might be having a heart attack and not going to see a doctor! Clearly, my life priorities had gotten completely out of whack.

The great news is that when the doctor came in with the test results, he confirmed I wasn't having a heart attack or a stroke. Instead, he told me I was having anxiety attacks and hyperventilating, nearly all day, every day. I stared at him in disbelief, trying to absorb the news. Surely, he must be wrong. I didn't have problems with anxiety. I was a single parent, had been through a messy divorce, and faced any number of challenges in my life — all without being brought to my knees. There's no way this had gotten the better of me. He must have missed something in the tests.

But when I began to question him, he explained it more clearly. "You're right," he said. "I've been your doctor for twenty years, and I know you don't normally have anxiety issues. What you have now is an environmental issue, and at this point, it's time for you to make a change."

He tried to take me off work for a month, but I wouldn't hear of it. I couldn't leave in the middle of a crisis. They needed me. "Well, how about two weeks?" he asked. "Just long enough for you to get some rest and think things through."

I tried to wrap my brain around walking in and telling the team at work that I needed a medical leave, but I just couldn't do it. How would they maintain any hope if leadership bowed out of the fight?

As I drove back to the office, I felt very dejected. I kept asking myself over and over, How did I let myself get here, in a place I don't recognize and — worse yet — can't control? Huh. Maybe that was the problem. In trying to control everything, I eventually controlled nothing — not even me.

We busy women tend to do that, you know. We feel compelled to run everything and to fix everybody. But so often, it is the care and feeding of ourselves that we leave sorely lacking, which is why, even after the doctor told me to take a break, I dove right back in, determined to patch things up before I got some rest.

However, as the days unfolded, my anxiety continued to increase. The more I tried to fix things, the more frustrated I became that circumstances remained the same. So I prayed about it, sought some advice from my mentors, and eventually made the tough decision that my time there had come to an end. I stepped aside and resigned.

It was one of the toughest choices of my life, but in doing so, I learned a valuable lesson.

I can choose my path, even when I can't change the circumstances.


Boy, was that a bitter pill to swallow, because the fixer in me desperately wanted to stick around to see us get back on the right path. Surely I was smart enough to help figure it out. That was my thing.

By "thing" I mean that quality that defines us and sets us apart among our peers. It's what people know they can expect from us and what makes us feel good about ourselves. It starts when we're kids and continues throughout our adult lives. Some are told they're pretty, creative, or great in sports. Others are compassionate or strong. Me? I have always been smart, and in business that translated to being a strategic thinker who could figure stuff out and get things done.

I don't share this with you to brag, but merely as an explanation to why my self-esteem was rooted in being smart. You see, most of us spend our whole lives trying to live up to or live down the labels placed on us as children. Rarely is it that we are instilled with value purely as human beings, but rather for what we can do or accomplish in this lifetime, as compared to other people. As a result, we often let one element of our makeup define our whole self-worth.

I know that's pretty much what I did. So imagine my disappointment at being the "smart" girl embroiled in such a stupid mess. As one of the senior executives, I should have been able to stop this, shouldn't I? What will people say about me, and will they respect me once they find out I've resigned? They'll probably think I just up and quit because it got difficult. I'll never get another job. My stock price will be zero dollars.

It seems so dramatic as I write it. But when I listen to other women's stories, I hear much the same tale.

I was laid off after working in HR for twenty years. How could they, when I've given them everything? I so want to do something different, but I'm over fifty and afraid it's too late to pursue something new. No one wants to hire someone old like me.

We were married for ten years before things fell apart. I should have seen this coming! Now I'm past my prime and gained a little weight. I'm not as cute as I used to be. No one will want me for a wife again.


It all sounds so over the top, but truthfully, this is often our first response to change. When we can't go on doing what we used to do, or — heaven forbid — we have to pull off our Superwoman mask and just be who we are, what's in front of us can seem like insurmountable odds. We panic and many times discount our ability to do anything, because we allow our past or present circumstances to make us feel like we have nothing. Sometimes, we feel that we ourselves are nothing, with very little value to offer the world.

It can be a vulnerable, scary place that paralyzes us with fear of the unknown. But it can also be a season of incredible breakthrough. It really comes down to the standard we choose for determining our value and worth.

Honestly, I struggled with this. The public censure and private shame created a heavy load, and most days I felt like I was carrying it alone. Too embarrassed to talk about my health issues and not sure how to explain what happened to cause the eruption at work, I ended up isolating myself from most of my friends and family. I felt like a failure, largely due to my inability to control people and circumstances that were out of my control.

Isn't it amazing how often our hearts can be in the right places, but our hands are at work in spaces where God never intended? I suspect it's because we secretly believe we can control everything. But then a life-interrupted moment happens, reminding us that we can't. So to keep our illusion of control in place, we chastise ourselves for not doing more, rather than facing the reality that some circumstances are out of control.

However, the truth is there are some things in life we are not meant to change, fix, or handle. I know that's an unpopular notion in today's take charge culture, but of this I'm sure — taking on mantles of responsibility that are not our own locks us in an endless cycle of feeling less than, frustrated and unworthy. We cannot control every circumstance, and certainly not other people — nor are we meant to, which is why we have to learn to identify and address our own mess, while allowing others to do the same.

It can be tough to know when we're out of balance in this area when our swirling emotions have left us feeling empty and confused. But blessedly, God sends us who and what we need right when we need it, someone or something that holds a mirror before us, pointing out what our minds won't let our eyes see.

For me, that was a doctor friend from Africa. We hadn't known each other for very long, but he's one of those folks you recognize from the start as a kindred spirit. After days of watching my mounting worry, anxiety, and self-judgment from afar, he sent me this e-mail:

I want you to write this on a note and post it somewhere you can see it every day. Read it, say it out loud, and believe it — because it most assuredly is true.

I am enough.


To be honest, I wasn't feeling it at first. I was sick, tired, and frustrated. There was nothing about me that felt "enough." All I could see was what I wasn't.

But he kept at me until I agreed to try it. Eventually, every time I felt worried, upset or out of control, I would quietly whisper to myself over and over "I Am Enough." But then another voice in my head kept saying, why? Why are you enough?

Hmm ... why am I enough? I had to ponder on that, because if I looked at the destruction from the wildfire, there didn't seem to be a lot left. So much of what I had poured my heart and soul into building over the last six years lay smoldering at my feet. Clearly, what I had done had not been enough.

But one morning when I was talking to God in the pages of my journal, the Spirit deposited a word of comfort: You are His beloved child, and that's why you are enough. Yes! That was it. I am enough. Not because of what I do or how much I accomplish in this life. Not because I get it right all the time, or am oh so smart. And certainly not because I have super powers to control everything and everybody. Simply because I am God's beloved child, I am enough.

Oh, how I wish I could convey to you the relief and joy that floods my soul every time I think about being God's child. Even now tears come to my eyes when I reflect on how grateful and blessed I felt in that moment, because that reminder that my value and worth come from Him relieved me from the constant pressure of trying to earn it.

See, here's the thing — we're going to mess up, and every now and again feel lost and confused. Life is full of ups and downs. Some days we'll be soaring, and other times we'll crash and burn. Hard. But if our standard for self-worth is in who we are, not what we do, we can stay balanced even in turbulent times.

This is why it's so important that we truly understand who God says we are: a masterpiece made in His image, His treasured possession, and the apple of His eye. We are divinely purposed, more than conquerors, and destined to do great things. He loves us so much that we are never alone, and we can always depend on Him.

In the midst of the fire, those words became my oxygen. Over and over I meditated on what He said about me. Each time it was like taking a breath of fresh air — renewing my resolve to appreciate me as I am, and to know that what God made me is enough.

As I look back on it, I realize that what I was doing was reprogramming my thinking. I'm sure there is a scientific name for it, but I like to think of it as breaking the cycle of negativity by replacing the narrative. Speaking kindly to me, based on what God said, not what I saw, gave me hope. It helped me reaffirm my worth as a human being, in spite of the present circumstances.

I offer that same assurance to you. It doesn't matter if your life-interrupted moment is a normal course of life or an unplanned catastrophe. It doesn't matter if you're lost and confused, or know your next step. You are enough — without a job, without a title, or what you perceive to be an "important" task. You are a beloved Child of God, and that is what gives our lives meaning. The things we assumed made us of value are but mere manifestations of our being.

We struggle with this concept because we're so desperate to be better or best at something. However, if we embrace the notion that all human life is endowed with value from the moment it is created, it would cause a cataclysmic shift in our thinking. If we truly believed that we all came here as enough, it would set us free.

You see, when I understood that I am enough, I gradually stopped comparing my life to anyone else's, or to who I used to be. I started letting go of the pre-prescribed notion of how life was supposed to unfold, and I just lived it. I allowed for the impossible and unexplainable to take shape as life evolved according to the divine plan.

But those changes didn't happen overnight. I had to constantly feed myself positive messages to replace the negative loop running through my mind. That's how I fell in love with affirmations. They were short, sweet messages from me to me, little reminders to keep my thoughts on track and my eyes focused on the future rather than the past.

Most were just a sentence or two, but eventually I put a few together to write my own life affirmation so that even now, when the ups and downs come, as they most assuredly will, I won't be overwhelmed. I'll have an anchor that defines who I am, even when I'm not sure what to do.

I encourage you to write your own too. Post it somewhere prominent so you can see it everyday. That way you never lose sight of you. I've posted mine below to help you get started.

I am a beloved child of God.
I am here for a unique purpose, something only I can do.
I am gifted beyond what I can imagine.
I am more valuable than I can measure.
I am strong, I am mighty, I am enough.

CHAPTER 2

LESSON TWO

I Am Worthy

* * *

How will they get this done without me?

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., said, "One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." I think that is especially true when our life is enlightened by God's truths, because the more we understand them, the more our attitudes and actions in every aspect of our lives change.

We begin to examine the intentions behind our actions as we seek to bring all of our life in line with our Creator. It's a journey in search of something more, but in order to reach it, we have to leave some things behind and release them for good. And as I soon discovered, this is where the real work begins.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Loving on Me! by Katrina D. McGhee. Copyright © 2016 Katrina D. McGhee. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Thanks and Love, vii,
Introduction, xi,
Lesson: 1 I Am Enough, 1,
Lesson: 2 I Am Worthy, 11,
Lesson: 3 I Am Purposed, 18,
Lesson: 4 I Am Guided, 30,
Lesson: 5 I Am Productive, 37,
Lesson: 6 I Am Free, 45,
Lesson: 7 I Am Valuable, 55,
Lesson: 8 I Am On Time, 64,
Lesson: 9 I Am Growing, 73,
Lesson: 10 I Am Expectant, 85,
Lesson: 11 I Am Faithful, 97,
Lesson: 12 I Am Unstoppable, 107,
The Road Ahead, 119,
About the Author, 121,

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