Winning Archive

At the Crossroads

Posted August 1, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Corinth City Limits SingYesterday I had the privilege of speaking to several of the leaders of the community in Corinth, Mississippi. It was wonderful time but sobering as well to know that statistically, one out of every three women in our nation have been victims of violent assault of sexual abuse. 

After the luncheon, my Corinth photographer, Cheryl Meints, and I headed for downtown. We had to share a malt at the Bourroum’s Drug Store, the oldest one in the state, and touts the oldest working pharmacist. Ms.

Camille is 86 years old ans still works. I got to see her and prayed that I would look half that good when I’m her age.

We ventured to the famous Crossroads. I have heard so much about the Crossroads in the few days I’ve spent in this history rich

Inside Corinth Train Station

Inside Corinth Train Station

community and surrounding areas. I already knew how critical that place was in the history of our nation. Right there in the middle of downtown Corinth, major railroads moved north/south and east/west. During the Civil War, it was the only way to get supplies to the Confederate troops. It was literally the lifeline of the south.

The Crossroads at Corinth, MS

The Crossroads at Corinth, MS

After the Union defeated the Confederates at Shiloh just to the north, they headed south and gained control of Crossroads, effectively cutting off the rebels. Some say it was this critical Crossroads junction where the war was won.

I walked onto the railroad tracks and looked back toward the station and realized the gravity of that piece of ground. I understood how important the Crossroads were, and how vital they remain today. Both tracks are still in use today.

Many times we find ourselves at the same type of crossroads in our own life. Who controls it will determine the future. And we have the choice of which direction our journey takes us. 

I think back in my life to the many times I was at a crossroads and took the wrong turn. Things didn’t end so well. I’m sure you’ve had those in your life as well. You’re there, looking down the tracks that stretch as far as your eye can see in every direction. The possibilities are endless. Often the right direction is unclear.

The outcome of the Crossroads in Corinth, Mississippi changed the face of an entire nation. The crossroad in your life holds the same

Telegraph Desk in Corinth Train Station

Telegraph Desk in Corinth Train Station

significance. How you react to things in your life will take you in some direction. When you’re at the crossroads, chose your path wisely because it may just determine your destiny. At the least, it will shape your future.

I am so blessed to have stood on the very Crossroads that changed the course of the Civil War, and the future of this great nation we call the United States of America. I looked in each direction to the edge of the horizon and saw endless possibilities. I committed that I would chose the right path when I stand at the crossroads in my life. My prayer is that you will, too.

My time in Corinth will soon come to an end and I will be heading west to the Memphis area for a couple of days of service to the citizens of that area. I’ve learned so much during my time here. I want to say a very special thank you to author Pat Trainum (writing at Patricia Bradley) for being such a gracious host and for setting up so many engagements for me in Corinth. Pat took time from her busy writing schedule to show me this amazing place. Deadlines loom as her first novel will be hitting the bookstore shelves in February. Visit Pat at: www.ptbradley.com. 

Cheryl Meints and me

Cheryl Meints and me at Borroum’s Drug Store

I would also like to say a very special thank you to amazing photographer, Cheryl Meints, for photo chronicling my time in Corinth. I highly recommend her and the wonderful work she does. She is known as the flower lady in this area. Please visit her website and follow her blog: www.corinthrose.com. You can email her at corinthrose@gmail.com. Please check out her gallery. You’ll be as amazed as I am!

Thank you all for following this epic Road to Freedom Bicycle Tour Across America. As I reach out to women I meet along the way, I will be your arms extended.

 

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5 Reasons Why You Should NOT Quit!

Posted May 10, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

In a previous blog post, Five Reasons Why People Quit,  I talked about the five reasons people quit pursuing their dreams. Today, I want to flip the coin and discuss the other side. In my blog postThree Feet From Gold, I talk about how close a person may be to their dream when they abandon it.

It’s sad, really, but fortunately you don’t have to quit. In fact, most of the time, you should NOT quit. Here are five reasons why I believe this.

1) You may be inches away from a breakthrough. History has proven that many of the greatest successes have occurred because dreamers hung on just a tiny bit longer than those who quit.

2) Quitting sucks energy. You may be exhausted from all the effort you put into your dream, but with little or no positive results. You think you’ll feel better by stopping but that just won’t happen. You’ll actually feel more emotionally exhausted than ever.

3) Winners never quit. Winners may lose but they will never, never, never quit. They will dig in their heels and struggle to the bitter end. They truly understand it’s not over until it is.

4) You’ll miss out on lessons. Every person who has tried and not succeeded on the first try gained invaluable information that ultimately caused them to succeed. If you quit, that information will be lost and the world will be without your brilliance.

5) It becomes a habit. Once you start down that slippery slope, you’ll gain momentum. The only problem, it’s in the wrong direction. It’s fast and as you click off each inch of your downward spiral, you have no choice but to repeat your actions, over and over again.

Here’s how it works with most. You give up and abandon the pursuit of your dream. At first, you feel relieved. After all, you’ve worked really hard for a long time. But as you take time to enjoy your surroundings with the extra time you suddenly have on your hands, it begins to sink in. You’ve just chained yourself to that unfulfilling life you were trying to get out of. Eventually, you come face to face with the reality that you gave up your ticket out of your humdrum life by giving up your dream.

Quitting is not something that you will ever be happy with when it comes to pursuing your dream. If you quit, you’ll have a life of fulfillment and regret. Living your dream is a whole lot more fun. Not to mention way too important to remain unlived!

Have you ever quit pursuing your dream? What led you to that? Did you resist the temptation to quit? How? Share it here!

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In Honor of Boston: Winning Life From Last Place

Posted April 23, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Girl Crossing the Finish LineThe New York City Marathon is arguably the second all-time greatest marathons in the world. All the fastest runners compete for the gold medal. Everyone who crosses the finish line gets a finisher’s medal. After all, anyone who can keep putting one foot in front of the other for 26.2 consecutive miles deserves one!

Even the slowest runners/walkers make the trek in six hours or less. Except for New York. That marathon holds the world’s record for the longest time ever: over 33 hours. What’s more, the same person has come in last place in the last 23 NYC marathons. Zoe Koplowitz has crossed the line after everyone else for the last two and a half decades.

Think about it. She has viewed her running life from last place. As a runner, I’d be devastated. But not Zoe. She is determined. Dedicated. Daring. You see, Zoe faces every marathon with Multiple Sclerosis and has to have crutches to get around. Since 1987, every November she steps across the start line early on a Sunday morning, signaling the start of her individual race. Sometime the next day, Zoe crosses the finish line to the applause of those who waited for her to cheer her on to victory.

She doesn’t know what it feels like to break the tape with the fastest time. Nor does she get the encouragement of the other “runners”.little girl on road They left her in the dust. No, Zoe pushes herself with an intestinal fortitude that propels her to put one crutch in front of foot, then the other crutch and foot for thirty three hours.

Sometimes I feel like Zoe. Perhaps you do, too. You clearly recognize the view from last place. It seems EVERYONE is ahead of you. But, just like Zoe, you take whatever life has dished out to you, use whatever crutches you have, and slowly put one foot in front of the other. It may take you a lot longer to make it across the finish line but so what?!

Only one person gets the winner’s medal. Everyone who finishes the marathon gets a finisher’s medal. It’s not about coming in first. It’s about finishing the race. The view from last place is amazing when you are running the greatest marathon. So slow down, enjoy the scenery and keep moving forward!

HEADER PICTURE largeThis week, why not ponder these questions regarding what you’d like to do with the rest of your life. I would recommend you start a life plan journal. Think on these things:

      1)   What would I really like to spend the second half of my life doing?

      2)   Where am I right now in relation to that goal?

      3)   What do I need to do in order to get there?

 Finally, ask yourself this:

      4)   Am I willing to do what it takes to live my dream? If not, why not?

Share your plan here in the comments section. I’d love to hear your plan.

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Play the Game No Matter What

Posted February 5, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Running Back Carrying BallUnless you’re not a football fan, you know that, moments into the third quarter of the Super Bowl last Sunday night, the lights went out in the Mercedes Benz Super Dome in New Orleans.

An strange silence fell over the indoor stadium as players and fans sat in darkness. No one knew what was happening. It took a minute or two for the emergency lighting to come on.

I believe the final count was a forty-two minute delay in the game on the world’s biggest stage. I had lots of time to think as I waited with the rest of the world for darkness to disappear. I learned a lot in that seemed-like-eternity few moments. Here are some of them.

Play the game no matter what. Life’s a stage. Not one member of either team said, “this is too much. I’m heading for Ready to Hike Footballthe showers.” Instead, they toss the football on the sidelines. Stretched their muscles and rallied their teams.

It’s easier to keep momentum than to get it back. One team had a huge lead over the other at halftime and in the first play after halftime, they scored again! They were HOT! Then… lights out. They lost so much momentum they barely scraped out a win.

You don’t have to have light to feel the heart. Even in total darkness, I could feel the heart of both teams. I could see it in my mind’s eye. I felt they were still on the field even when I couldn’t see them.

Someone wins, and someone loses… always. Both teams played their hearts out but, in the end, only one team was called champion. One could argue that both teams were winners for just being there. Tell that to the losing team players who sat on the sideline crying after the loss.

Dejected Football Player Sitting in the ShowersThere’s always next year. Win or lose, the victory lasts but a moment. That’s the time to enjoy it. Bask in it. Drink it up, but come tomorrow, next year should be on your mind.

As inconvenienced as I was during the blackout in New Orleans Sunday night, I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn such great lessons and how to play the game no matter what.

Have you found hidden wisdom about life during a calamity? What did you learn? Share it here!

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And How Would You Like to Pay For That?

Posted October 16, 2012 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

The phone message came and I was surprised to hear that I had been nominated for induction into a very prestigious organization for professional women. Someone had anonymously nominated me to be named among the most influential women on the face of the planet.

They wanted an interview by phone to determine if I really was a suitable candidate so I figured why not? It wouldn’t take up much of my time and might actually turn out to be a wonderful partnership.

I was commuting when the interview took place. Amazingly, as a result of my honest answers to a dozen strategic questions, I made the cut. I was being inducted into the membership in this exclusive organization.

Then one final question threw me. “And how would you like to pay for that?” I shook my head and ask her to repeat the question.

“Would you like to put the $997 annual fee on your Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover?”

I gripped the steering wheel a little too tightly and realized she never mentioned that there was a fee involved. Nor did she ask me if it was something I would like to move forward with.

I asked her to explain and for the next fifteen minutes we played cat and mouse where she lowered the price all the way down to $99 per year for the privilege of being a member of her organization. Though I asked for it, there was no written information about the benefits of these different tiers of membership.

Her hard sell backfired. If my life depended on it, there will NEVER come a day when I will affiliate myself with this organization? Why? They weren’t authentic!

I share this story with you because, no matter what your dream is for your future, the only way you will be successful is to be authentic. My experience with this organization reeked with dishonesty. Fortunately, I picked it up before it was too late. It could have just been this one representative but she was my only experience with them.

It is critical that you be honest. With yourself. With others. At all times. My guess is her job is to find people who might be willing to pay the fee and approach them under the auspices of “being anonymously nominated for induction.” Unscrupulous.

As you think of your dream and how you present it to the world, take a hard look at it to ensure you show up authentic. If that’s not happening, make some changes. Be comfortable in your own skin, rather than trying to wear someone else’s.

Have you ever had a similar situation? How did you react? Share it here.

 

 

 

 

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What it Means to Win

Posted July 3, 2012 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net/ Hin255

Late yesterday afternoon as I drove home, my heart was filled with anticipation. My plan was laid out. I would run my 3 ½ mile course through my neighborhood, attend the My Book Therapy writer’s chat and spend the evening watching the second stage of the Tour de France.

I laced on my running shoes and out the door I went. If I were to be completely honest, my run looked more like the march of the penguins than the New York Marathon. So I’m slow. Painfully so, but here’s the thing. I was the only runner out there. Not another single soul dared to run.

I ran at the head of the pack, stayed in first place throughout the race, and broke the imaginary ribbon at the end of the run. I may waddle like the 55 year old cancer survivor I am but I have the heart of a champion! In my mind’s eye, I ran like the wind, passing runner after runner.

Know why I won? Because I dared to run the race! As I walked my cool down at the end of the run, I couldn’t help but think about what it really means to have the heart of a champion. Here are a few thoughts.

You envision yourself winning. As I waddled down the road, I felt like a marathon runner sprinting toward the finish line. Only when I passed a plate glass window did I remember I’m the penguin.

You keep going no matter what. It was 98 degrees. I could have stopped. In fact, my body screamed for me to do just that, but I kept putting one foot in front of the other step after step until I reached the finish line.

You dare to start the race. Remember, I was the only person out there yesterday. Winners are the ones who line up at the starting line and start running when the gun goes off.

I know you have your own race. Perhaps right now the race has not begun. Maybe you are afraid of starting but once you take that first step, you are already a winner. Whether you run like the wind or waddle like me, you are victorious.

Will you dare to run your race?

What is your race? Have you begun it? Share it here.

 

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